Professor Screweyes is the main antagonist of the 1993 animated film, We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story. Played by the late actor Kenneth Mars, he is a mad scientist who runs a circus designed to bring the fears of its audience to life. Screweyes is a secondary player in the Disney vs Non Disney Villains Wars.
Disney vs Non Disney Villains
Zachary Thorndyke grew up in New York with his brother, Harold. At the age of eight, Zachary fell asleep under a berry tree. A single berry fell and landed on Zachary's eye, and was traumatised for life when a crow flew down and, in an attempt to eat the berry, plucked out his eye as well.
Zachary spent his childhood a one eyed outcast. The sting he felt whenever people stared at him was unbearable. At age eighteen, Zachary enlisted in the military in an attempt to escape from the judgemental who worked around him.
Soon enough, Zachary was drafted to Vietnam. He and his best friend, Ian, found themselves trudging through the jungle, rifles in their hands, fighting for their lives and apparently their country. On their sixth day in the Hell that was war, Zachary and Ian fell victim to a pitfall trap. They felt the ground under them collapse, as they descended to the mud below.
Zachary and Ian sat at the bottom of the pit for what felt like ages. Zachary lost the mental stability to continue counting days after a week. No food, and the only water was provided by the little they could attain in the dirt.
In his sleep, Zachary could hear Ian mutter to himself; "Afraid...to die...will not die...afraid..."
Sleeping was difficult, but Zachary eventually managed to slip into slumber. Sadly, this was short lived. Zachary was woken up to the feel of a cold metal on his neck. It was Ian, who was holding a knife to Zachary. Ian was hesitant, though, and Zachary managed to throw him off. Ian crept back to his feet. "Zachary...I'm afraid to die...please do this for me..." Zachary was confused at first, but quickly realized that Ian intended to eat him.
Ian ran at Zachary again, who saw no choice but to defend himself. Zachary threw down Ian a second time, and this time he picked up a rock. With a few slams to Ian's head, Zachary saved himself by murdering his best friend. Zachary saw no way out of the pit anytime soon. He had to survive on something...so he took Ian's advice.
It was another two weeks before Zachary was found by a few member of his platoon. Zachary hid Ian's bones and claimed he was shot. Given the circumstances, it was decided that Zachary be sent home.
Upon his return to the States, Zachary had plenty of time for thinking. He realized that Ian tried to kill his best friend, driven purely by fear. Fear was a truly powerful thing. he realized that if fear could have that much power over one man, how much could it have over the world?
Zachary began heavy study of illusion and psychology, particularly phobias and what caused them. Zachary began dabbling in some slight magic as well. He not only perfected his trademark Brain Drain, but used magic to attach his soul to a single screw that he kept in his missing eye, which he would use as a personal motif.
Zachary dubbed himself Professor Screweyes, and planned to open a circus of fear , which he'd use to scare people worldwide. If he could scare people, he believed he could control people. But, fear was a powerful weapon that easily be used againist him. He knew he'd have to eliminate his greatest fear. And out of all the horrors he faced in war, he found that more than anything, he feared crows.
Screweyes surrounded himself with crows and became their master, the master of his own fear. The Circus of Fear was very successful, and soon caught Mok's attention.
Master of Insanity
Professor Screweyes initially runs a lucrative fear circus, but finds his latest show interrupted by the cattle rustler, Alameda Slim. Though Slim's hypnotic song wins over Screweyes's bovine circus animals, Screweyes turns the settings on his fear projector to "Screaming Mad." The resulting onslaught of computer-generated bats, demons, and Chinese dragons drives the rustler crazy.
Mok Swagger observes the events of the previous battle and decides to make Screweyes his right-hand man. Screweyes agrees to the arrangement. Together, the sycopaths decide to use their combined brilliance to control or destroy all in their way.
Death by Crow
Mok assigns to Screweyes the task of guarding Emperor Zurg's tower, which Mok had previously taken over. In preparation for Zurg's assault, Screweyes revives the fallen Sharptooth (Rex) and uses his magic eye to hypnotize it. Zurg, ready to take back his tower, readies the Unimind laser, using it on the beast. Sharptooth breaks free of Screweyes's control and begins to hunt him down. The terrified Screweyes escapes, only for Zurg to use his device on the crows circling above. Screweyes does not get a chance to scream before the crows eat him alive.
Disney vs Non Disney Villains - Part Two
Resurrection and First Assault
But even ravenous crows could not eliminate Screweyes for good. Mok recovers Screweyes's eponymous screw, using it to resurrect the villainous doctor. When Mok realizes his old enemy, Captain Hook, has re-entered the war, Screweyes volunteers to incapacitate the pirate. Once again, Screweyes uses his infamous fear machine to conjure images of Hook's worst fears. However, the mere image of the ticking crocodile is no longer enough to put off Hook. Screweyes has some success, however, in frightening Sarousch, a magician sent by Ratcliffe to hire Hook for England's navy. The machine produces the image of a disturbing clown, mortifying Sarousch and sending his men into a nervous fit. Indeed, the men are so frightened that they attack their leader. Hook, however, confronts Screweyes down. Knowing he is ill-equipped to fight a heavily armed Hook, Screweyes retreats. He later rejoins Mok, Holli, and their new ally, Forte, as they plan their next move.
Murder and Celebration
Screweyes is then tasked with silencing the failed spy, Sarousch. He happilly accepts, visiting Sarousch in his cell. Sarousch is overjoyed, believing Screweyes has come to free him. But, Screweyes attacks with his powers of insanity; this overloads Sarousch's brain, which causes the magician's head to explode. Screweyes then takes part in Mok's celebration of taking over the underworld; being Mok's right hand man, Screweyes now is the second most powerful man in the underworld.
Non Disney Villains Tournament
The man that would later on grow to be known as the insane Professor Screweyes started out as little more than a simple child growing in the New York suburbs, curiosity donning his every step and move. Since a fairly young age, he found it awkwardly strange how other children seemed so scared of trivial things such as the dark or "the boogeyman under their bed", as his more adult outlook on life made such fears childish and immature. That is until the day he found himself scared.
He loved being taken to Central Park whenever his hard working parents could. One day, he accidentally wandered off, stumbling upon a strange bush that for some reason couldn't help but catch his attention. Stepping down it, he found himself horrified by stumbling into a land filled with trolls and goblins, being his parents insisted only existed in story books and that there were "no such things". One particular troll caught his attention, a female donning a toad-like skin, her big wart-filled lips sickening him to his stomach. He remembered running out screaming, fear filling his mind. Leaving the passageway, he ran helplessly to the encounter of his parents, who dismissed his agitation as a reaction to the fear of having gotten lost.
For the following evenings, the boy could not sleep, fearing the terrifying troll queen would come and take him to the place nightmares were made of. His parents grew increasingly worried as his insomnia grew more frequent, even though was getting older. One day, after being pushed into telling what afflicted him to a group of peers, he was forced to go into Central Park to show them such a world.
Hesitantly, but terrified and for once wishing to face his fears, he spead the bushes, only to find nothing. Laughter and humiliation drove him to a raging outburst, in which he accidentally scared a crow that was about to land nearby. The crow, as one could expect, had an agressive reaction, and in the attack it viciously poked the boy's eye out.
Contorting in pain on the floor as the crimson liquid left his now missing eye, the mixture of gasps and screams echoing in his mind made something in his mind wander off. For the first time in so many years, he found himself understood. As if for once, he was not "the freak"...even though he had literally become one at the same time.
Lying on the hospital bed as he recovered, he got annoyed at his mother's constant sobbing about his horrible fate, and was even amused at how disgusted his father's expression got upon laying eyes on him. He loved faces, more than anyone would ever understand. Their expressions soothed his pain, as if at a simple muscle movement, he could feel people around him. They were scared...and it made him happy, because they were just like him.
Eventually, the boy moved out of the hospital and proceeded with his studies, growing to excell in the fields of chemistry and psychology. One particular thing that amused him were the hallucinogens. He loved how he could create visions, almost as if he could control one's mind. One day, he decided he wanted to visualize whatever people had to show him. And so he tested his drugs on himself. For some reason, he burst out screaming when an image of a crow materialized infront of him. But out of his fear, came laughter...his shock turning into childish giggling and later into mad laughter. Fear drove him to extasy, fear made sense, fear was life. He had to share it with the world. He had to find something new to be afraid of...he needed it. Trolls and crows were nothing now...he needed a new thrill.
Creating a freak circus, he wandered out into the world, looking for the strangest and most disturbing figures the world had to offer, and yet...none of them disturbed him. At most, it bored him. He was about to give up home when he saw a vision. Someone coming to him...the being nightmares were made of...
Greed Vs Fear
When Doctor Greed seeks to acquire Screweyes's circus as part of a publicity stunt for his own company, Screweyes scorns the offer. Greed proceeds to insult Screweyes, leading Screweyes to turn his fear machine on Greed and his associates. As Greed and his goons fall into paranoia, Screweyes causes the floor to crumble beneath them, leading them to fall to their deaths. With this victory intact, Screweyes discovers the Nightmare King, a demonic entity he greatly admires.
In order to feed the Nightmare King with the fear of innocents, Professor Screweyes strikes up a deal with Puppetino. The two will lure bystanders in with their showmanship then drain the fear from them into the Nightmare King. The plan works well for a time, until a puppeteer known as the Great Fusilli arrives. He seeks entry into Screweyes's "family," but Screweyes decides to let him in only if he can impress Puppetino. As it turns out, Puppetino simply turns Fusilli into a puppet.
The circus takes a blow when the ghost, Samhain, attacks. Screweyes tries to defend his enterprise, but his mystical eye can only keep Samhain at bay. Screweyes proves unable to stop Samhain from killing Puppetino and causing general mayhem. He tries to fight, only for the Nightmare King himself to fight Samhain. The Nightmare King eventually kills Samhain.
Yet More Dealings with Darkness
Professor Screweyes is forced to fight yet another member of the Legion of Darkness when the Grand Duke of Owls enters his lair. Screweyes summons a fire-breating dragon to frighten the Grand Duke away, but the owl manages to destroy it with some magical breath. Screweyes is later thrown in for a loop when the Kralahome, a mischievous adviser intent upon joining the Nightmare King's faction, summons his own fire-breathing dragon. Screweyes, terrified of an apparition that is not his own, cowers in fear. He begins to second guess himself, though, when the Kralahome eliminates the Grand Duke. Screweyes uses his fear machine to destroy the Kralahome's dragon, but he decides to add the vizier to his faction.
When Vlad Masters and Valmont break into his circus, Screweyes tries to have the Kralahome keep them at bay. The vizier fails, and Screweyes decides to take them on by himself. He uses the magic of his eye to trounce Vlad, but Valmont gives his fallen comrade an artifact that gives him the powers of a poltergeist. With his eye no longer able to affect the ghost, Screweyes is helpless as the reborn Vlad Plasmius turns up the fear of the circus, convincing the Nightmare King to devour his favorite disciple.
Heroes Vs Villains War
A Deceived Deal
Professor Screweyes enters the war, on the first moments of the tournament. He makes his way to New Orleans, where he introduces himself to Tiana and Naveen, a desperate couple, wanting to built a restaurant, that it would be the next attraction of New Orleans. Screweyes then reveals, that he would help them, as he shows them his "Brain-Drains", exclaiming, that they put their trust on him and sign a deal, which it would "change their lives". Even though, Tiana is suspicious at the ringmaster's motives, Naveen doesn't care about Screweyes' options and signs the deal. The result ends, with both being transformed into toads, thanks to the effects of the "Brain-Drains". However, much to his frustration, Tiana and Naveen make their escape from New Orleans.
An Amusing Torture
Later, Screweyes becomes one of the official perfomers in the Festival of Fools, though not taking the event very amusing as he would prefer. However, a new addition comes in the Festival, as the hunchback, Quasimodo, makes his foolish move to progress in the spotline of the show. Upon being witnessed by both the audience and the performing cast, everyone starts to tie up Quasimodo in a wheelchair and humiliate him, for the reason, that he disobey his master, Frollo. After the end of the Festival, Screweyes returns to the Lobster Inn., homelair to the sinister Coachman.
Much more later, the Coachman and his gang of perfomers are approeached by Dr. Schechter, a scientist working for Tyler. The doctor demands from the Coachman to lure many children to their circus, promising them a vast sum of money as a reward. The Coachman then sends his perfomers on separate ways to lure kids for the circus, eventually drawing many of them to the circus tent. After a small introduction from Stromboli, Screweyes, Hotep, Huy and Forte begin their ultimate masterpiece. Initially, showing fuzzy and loveable spirit creatures, soon enough the show turns out to be a trap, as Screweyes unleashes visions of nightmares and shadows upon the children. He, even, transforms Lampwick into his worst nightmare; a jack-ass. He then turns on Pinocchio, hoping that he would transform him into same animal creature, as Lampwick. However, the wooden boy escapes from the circus, much to his disappointment. Despite the minor loss, Screweyes and the rest of the perfomers manage to frighten off the children and imprison them to cells. The entertainers then show their newest captivities, before Tyler himself.
The Battle at the Circus
Later, the Coachman recruit Rex and his gang, to the circus, under the control of Sarousch. He then unviels an idea, in which they would present a show, featuring the brainwashed dinosaurs. However, the show is interrupted by several heroes, who storm in the circus to save their friends. After the dinosaurs return to their previous state, thanks to Louie, Cecilia, Clara and Pinocchio, the Coachman orders his allies to stop them at any cost. Screweyes then turns on his fear machine, to new levels of insanity, unvieling a projection image of a terrifying clown. After the image of the clown disappears, Screweyes takes matters into his own hands. He eventually corners the animal heroes, including the children, but before they would capture them, a great source of assistance breaks in the interior of the circus, as Jim Hawkins, Mulan, Julie, Clopin and Pinocchio make their way to the circus to save their friends. When the defense falls apart, since Mommy Fortuna's demise by the Marahute, Screweyes makes his escape, along with some of the perfoming cast of the Coachman.