Friday, May 23, 2008

Favorite Villains

The fun part of being a writer is that we get to write about bad guys. At first glance it would seem pretty simple. We just need a bad hat, as Madeline would say. Actually, to have a really good villain, you need to think just as much about his character, his background, his goals, and his motivations as you do about your hero and heroine.

It is very important that your villain be a worthy opponent. Even their desire is bad for other people, they should believe that they are right and be able to justify it to themselves, otherwise they become two dimensional. You know the landlord tying the beautiful girl to the railway track and laughing.

I think the scariest villains are those who outwardly seem the nicest, someone just like us except for that one little flaw that tips them over the edge.

Who are some scary villains in movies? Norman Bates. I kinda felt sorry for the guy.

What about Hannibal Lechter? He was pretty scary, but he was also clever and witty. And I hate to admit it, I was secretly glad that he escaped. — As long as I didn’t meet up with him. And of course the last movie, the making of.... well we really understood him then, didn’t we?

And Dr. Evil in Goldmember? Not scary at all, do you think? Cardboard to the extreme, and therefore very funny.

How about you? Was there one villain who all the way through the movie, you thought he was a good guy until the very end? They are the best.

Hit me with your favorite villain and why. I would love to know.


  1. Hey Michele,
    I LOVED that Hannibal the Cannibal escaped too! I haven't seen the latest in the series, but what a great character! Like Iago in Othello, you are repulsed and yet, you can't take your eyes off him.

    One of the most memorable movie villains I can recall (besides Hannibal) was the character Edward Norton played in his very first film. This was a young teen with a split personality, it turns out. Norton was mesmerizing!

    Great topic,

  2. I have a tie--and these are between the two villains I have the earliest memories of: The evil Queen in Snow White and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. There's just something about those early Disney villains that are still extremly scary!!

  3. Oh, Michelle, I'm always a sucker for the villain. I usually think it's the most interesting character in the story. I adore Norman Bates myself; he's terribly sympathetic. Some other villains I have enjoyed are Terence Stamp in Superman II (General Zod!), and Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects, and almost every villainous vampire. Fun post!

  4. Favorite villain? I gotta go with Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo in Never Say Never Again. He was brilliantly insane.
    I didn't like him really--he kinda gave me the creeps--but Jeff Bridges in Iron Man was delightfully evil.

  5. See, we love 'em. thanks for telling me yours.