Saturday 3 September 2011


I recently blogged in French about heroes and villains. Villains of all sorts, in all genres, are fascinating creatures. I don't like caricatures and ridiculous villains, it matters that they have good motivations (complex or simple, they have to be good), but in general I like them to be unambiguously evil. Like Dracula was in the original novel, or say Noah Cross in Chinatown. If they have to be believable, they need no excuse, let alone justifications, for their evil nature. Power, greed, cruelty, they should be in themselves strong enough motivations. In real life, badguys are often amoral, or have a twisted code of honour. Why should they be softer in fiction?

In horror fiction, my favourite villain is by far Dracula. When it comes to crime fiction, the choice is so wide I get lost. Maybe the original Blofeld from Bond's novels, if you consider James Bond novels as crime fiction. There is something bout his puritanism, his work ethics that just gives you the chill. As archetypes, I love to hate a good old evil mobster or wiseguy, or a femme fatale. Again, there are so many to choose from. My brothers and I created in our make believe games a handful of villains that were quite interesting. PJ had invented a sort of modernised Fantômas, named Le Squale (the Shark) and I once played Dracula (him again) one afternoon in September. And years later in Call of Cthulhu I had as a nemesis for the player characters a warlock named Nevill Byron, freely inspired by Joseph Curwen. He was more than a century old yet looked like in his forties and was making the good guy's life a misery.

But I wonder if my readers have favourite badguys and why.


PJ said...

Il faut absolument que tu écoutes la série Avatar: the Last Airbender (le dessin animé, pas le film live-action, qui est une merde). Il y a d'excellents villains, à la fois complexes et compétents. C'est une excellente série pour tout âge.

Je t'accorde évidemment Dracula. J'ai pas fini de lire les Conan mais il y a quelques méchants intéressants jusqu'à présent (aucun n'est particulièrement développé cependant). Le Thulsa Doom du premier film était assez bien d'ailleurs. J'aimais bien les Cardassians en général dans Star Trek aussi, en fait le principe au départ: des méchants avec qui les bons pouvait avoir une conversation.

Les méchants qui m'ennuient: les incompétents, les unidimensionnels, et les indestructibles (ceux qui sont trop puissants, sans faille sauf pour un talon d'Achille ridicule ou un deus ex machina pour vaincre). Les "trop chanceux" aussi (comme Light dans le manga/animé Death Note).

Anonymous said...

Well I usually prefer the good guys, but in terms of film baddies Hannibal Lector just makes my skin crawl he is so unapologetically evil, and sinister. As for crime fiction I would have to give that some thought...

The Gill-Man said...

Dracula is a favorite of mine as well, and I PREFER for him to be completely, unredeemably evil. So much of the films and other fiction stories have tried to make him sympathetic, noble or even romantic, which is so completely the antithesis of Stoker's character. Dracula works best when he is completely, utterly sinister in his motivations!

Guillaume said...

@PJ-J'ai trouvé le film Avatar okay, mais profondément manipulateur. C'est un peu l'étiquette que je donne aux films de Cameron. En science fiction je crois que les Shadows et leurs séides dans Babylon 5 étaient peut-être les meilleurs méchants. Ils étaient en tout cas mes préférés.
@Anonymous-I read somewhere that a story is only as good as its villains. Heroes need good antagonists.
@The Gill-Man-Oh I dream of a faithful Dracula adaptation!