As many of you know by now, I love reading mysteries, suspense, and suspense thrillers. Needless to say, I am excited to host a visit by John Raab, CEO and Publisher of Suspense Magazine. As I said, I love mysteries, suspense and more, Mr. Raab loves villains and today he'll discuss some of his favorite villains.
One thing I like to do is sit down and think of a question and then try to answer it. Does that sound strange? I mean sitting around thinking of stuff and then answering it to myself? I guess if you really think about it, yea it's pretty strange. But anyway that's how my mind works when I don't have some Captain Crunch cereal to occupy mind.
Well the question I pondered over this time was "Why do I like villains so much?" To me it's the villain that draws me into the story. In most cases the hero will always survive, so when I watch a movie or read a book and see that the hero is in trouble in the first ten minutes, I just think to myself "It's not like he's going to die right now, so what is the point of this?"
One thing you rarely ever see if the villain in a life threating situation so early on in a story. I mean can you sit back and think when was the last time a villain was put into that kind of situation? I can't. Most of the time you see the villain being, well a very, very bad guy or girl. They cause some pain to someone, steal the jewels, or show off their power to the reader or watcher, early on so you hate them right from the start.
Now sometimes you will see the back story of their life, giving you the sense why they grew up the way they did and even in some cases they started off good and ended up being bad, example Darth Vader.
Ok I'm getting off topic. I decided to talk about some of my favorite villains and why I love them so much. They are in no particular order.
Jaws – What I love about him is that he thinks. You might not think of Jaws thinking, but even Quint says "he's either very smart of very dumb." To this day people are still afraid to get into the water because of Jaws. He never said a word. He let that damn creepy music do all his talking.
Darth Vader – I mentioned him earlier because he is a very complex character. He started out being good but was seduced into darkness. He was ruthless. He made sure anyone around him knew he was in charge. If you didn't like it, tough he would simply use the force and strangle you. Randall Flagg / The man in black – Flagg was Stephen King's most used villain. He was written in several books with several different personalities. "The Stand", "The Dark Tower Series", "The Eyes of the Dragon", I could go on and on. What made Flagg so special was the fact that he was several different people and had several different personalities. You might think Pennywise was worse in "IT" but Flagg would look at Pennywise and laugh. Dr. Hannibal Lecter – To several top authors he is the best villain ever created in novels. Lecter was a villain that could have you over for dinner, making you the main course, but also had a side that was soft (the end of Silence of the Lambs). He was calculated. He was precise. He was highly intelligent. He was everything that you would want in a man, except for the fact he might eat you for dessert. Moriarty – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did such a wonderful job writing one of the best characters ever in literature with Sherlock Holmes, I would say he did an equally superb job in creating Moriarty. Cunning, intelligent, ruthless, and driven, would be some of the words used to describe him. Although readers might pick up a Sherlock Holmes book because of Sherlock, when Moriarty was involved it would elevate the story that much more.
Now I've given you only five. We could go on for days talking about villains, but that would be a very long post. I will say that all the villains listed do have one thing in common, something that I think is the most important feature for any villain. They all knew they weren't perfect. No matter how many people they would kill, or how many millions they would steal, they always knew that one day they would face someone that would catch them or kill them. However, that didn't bother them and in most cases didn't stop them from doing what they loved to do. Being bad is much more complex than just being a petty thug. Showing a full range of emotions and being able to feel pain from the inside, shows they are human (well except the shark but if you remember in Jaws 2 this fish was getting revenge so it did have emotions). Anyway, let me know your thoughts and some of your favorite villains. After all the hero will pretty much always survive, but what will happen to the villain?
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