Villainy! Ah, yes, villainy!
The requisite dress attire of a villain: the black cape, the walking cane, the high-top hat, the mask, the monocle and the twirling moustache. All darkish elements, amended, abridged and transformed for differing eras, no? The scoundrel from the old silent movie era traded in curling, long, waxy hair above his upper lip for the shaggy and wild back hair of the werewolf creature. The cylinder hat of the early twentieth century rogue was reimagined as Darth Vader’s mask in a galaxy far, far away.
The obligatory physical disfigurement of a villain: the limp of John Doe in the movie Seven and the lumbering gait of Jaws from the James Bond series of films; there is also the repulsive facial scar of The Phantom of the Opera, the immoral tattoos of Maximilian Cady in Cape Fear, the pale skin, the flared nostrils, the long fingernails and the sharp teeth of the vampiric entity, Nosferatu.
The mandatory, malevolent instruments of a villain: rusted chains in the Saw film franchise; the Mantle brothers’ needles and surgical tools in Dead Ringers; knives that glisten wet in the Nightmare on Elm Street moonlight, the maniacal laughter of the Joker from The Dark Knight; the gaping maw of Stephen King’s Pennywise from It and the convulsing muscle of Mary Shelly’s gothic monster, Frankenstein.
And we couldn’t even speak of this wickedness knowledgably without mentioning the many unhealthy desires of: bodily probing, unscientific curiosity, weirdly places, untoward attractions and thoughts of dominion over others.
The villain. The monster. They are all of these malicious things and more. Is it so strange that we love each and every one of them for it?
Whether they be mysterious, unexplainable entities, creatures that emanate from the darker aspects of written mythology or, indeed, warped and twisted versions of our own human selves, the villain and monster tandem will always intrigue us, beguile us, frighten us to our very core.
It’s a delicious rush of adrenaline, isn’t it? Being afraid?
Fear is a fine emotion when you’re safe in the confines of the populated movie theatre amongst friends or resting comfortably on the couch, the doors to your home, firmly locked.
Still, with the psychologically dark aspects inherent in these entities, there’s always the remote risk, however minute, that what you’re reading or what you’re viewing could be real – could be true. There was, if you recall, an article in the front section of the newspaper, not so long ago, that seemed eerily similar to the film or book you are now experiencing.
And therein lies the power of the villain and the monster: the power of the possible.
Continuing our dark October tradition, we here at Biff Bam Pop! love the shadowy entities that antagonize heroes, that provide a foil against all that is good and true in our world, that frighten the heebie-jeebies out of us!
And, more importantly, we know that you do too!
All of this week, our writers are going to shine a light on some dark places, focusing on the villains and monsters that freak us out the most! Hold our hands and help keep us steeled as the rats scurry from the blackest corners of literature, film and even reality.
Villains & Monsters Week starts here and now! Enjoy!