Blogs Gone Bad Week: Seduction of the Dark Side

Gladiator’s Pen

I’m not quite sure of the exact moment when villains started to become really appealing for me. Somewhere along the way of crushing on Prince Philip, I started to realize the true awesomeness of Maleficent. Somewhere in my extensive film study, I started rooting for the bad guys to win. As much as I adore the hero there are times where I didn’t want his adversary to die.

I think that Vladimir Nabokov sums it up best from his novel Pnin with the following:

Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.

Heroes have certain moral standards and behaviors that fall outside of that are not acceptable. Antagonists are not held up to such high values. They don’t have to be necessarily evil, but you must admit that they do have more fun. They’re so very good at being so very bad.

Is there a girl out there who didn’t fall head over heels in love with David Bowie as the Goblin King?!

It seems that horror movies are bipolar about letting the bad guys (or monsters depending on what you like to watch) survive or not. It seems that a lot of them used to allow the monster to somehow make it. And then I watch a lot of horror/suspense films now where the villain is truly and clearly dead. Seriously? Have you seen a lot of the movies coming out with that scenario? I’m in utter pain when the protagonists don’t die in the film. How bad is a movie when you feel that way?

I was watching one of those movies in my big Sean Bean marathon (I can explain) when I seen something unexpected. Now I was never set definitely on an actor to be in the role of Sauron if the Fates would show pity on us Silmarillion fans and make a television series (because it’s just too damn epic for movies). I toyed with dream cast options of Cillian Murphy, but only half-heartedly. However, while I was watching Outlaw and seen Rupert Friend? I think I have my dream Sauron. Is it bad that the thought of him making a good Sauron was the first thought that crossed my mind the moment I laid eyes on him? I swear that I don’t spend all my time thinking about Arda… just most of it.

American Psycho is one of those things where I’ve been meaning to read the book for ages, but somehow it keeps getting put on the back burner. I’ve watched the movie several times, and own the Killer Collector’s Edition. Like a good book that never gives up all its secrets at once, I glean more from the film each time that I watch it. And Christian Bale should do more antagonist roles.

I am a huge fan of classic movies. If you ask me what my favorite scary movie is, I’ll probably say House on Haunted Hill. My mother bought me the cassette tape of it when I was about eight or nine years old and it has been watched so many times. I’ve seen it available on DVD as a color version but the thought of that just seems so very wrong to me. I love a good ghost story and Vincent Price is such a good actor. You can’t quite decide what to make of him in this film. I was disgusted when seeing the remake of this film a few years ago. Now don’t misunderstand me. I do like remakes and I’m not one of those snobs who refuses to watch them, but some of them make me want to weep with how epic they fail. Children of the Corn, anyone?

So what attracts you to the dark side, dear reader?

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7 thoughts on “Blogs Gone Bad Week: Seduction of the Dark Side

  1. I’ve just finished American Psycho, haven’t seen the film, but the books is definitely worth reading – it will certainly provoke a reaction!

  2. Ooooh, never heard of him but I see exactly what you mean but him making a perfect Silm!Sauron. Damn. Wow.

    Anyway. Slightly more on topic… I’m not quite sure why I like the bad guys. Well. Actually, its better put that I tend to like the characters the audience is “supposed” to hate. When I saw ‘The Core’ years and years ago, my favourite character was the really “annoying” one that everyone hated. I loved him. (Don’t ask me why – haven’t seen the movie in ages!)

    I think it has a lot to do with the attitude of typical villain/antagonist/not-good/anti-hero types. The “good guys” are often too bland and morally obvious, or worst, preachy and paladin-like, for me. The “bad guys” have attitude, they have swagger and arrogance and style… and they tend to have very interesting pasts. (That, and I have a thing for rogue or anti-hero types, as well.)

    And I do take a certain amount of amoral glee in having the side of good/the Light/whatever lose. Or at least not win. Ending of Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Brave New World? Unf, yes. Just had a thought – do you think books have an easier time of ending without The Good Side winning than movies do?

    • Oh! And that reminds me: my favourite good guys/protagonists/heroes tend to have the same attitude/traits that “bad guys” have. But I find them rather rarer. Good guys with loads of snark are most likely to win me over, of any “good” type.

    • Good points. I also find that heroes tend to bore me. My favorite characters rarely seem to be main characters as I always find myself liking those to be found on the side, or even the antagonist. They’re so deliciously interesting.

      I think it’s easier for books to have less than happy endings. I know it doesn’t apply to everyone who watches movies, but I think there’s a mentality out there which believe that movies should end happily and the evil is vanquished. Yes, I believe that’s good to a point. But I think we need films not so predictable. Antagonists can offer situations or dialogue that cause one to think. I know that I like to come away from a movie with more than two hours of eye candy.

      • I tend to like most main characters well enough – more actively in books than movies – but it is usually a more minor character who catches my especial attention, too. (Unless a main character fits one of the types I am practically defaulted to like!)

        I agree, I think that’s definitely a mentality out there – if not in actual audiences, than in producers. As for eye candy… it depends on the movie, for me. Something like The Expendables – a cheap, fast light-on-plot action movie – is just something I want for eye candy/pure unthinking entertainment. But a really good movie… definitely has a lot more. My favourite movies are Lord of the Rings… and Hidalgo. Hidalgo has plenty of eye candy but also a LOT of wonderful, interesting plot and things to think about. Some of it (much of it) provided by antagonists.

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