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What makes movie & television villains more deliciously fascinating, alluring, & far more
interesting than regular good guys/women?
They are acting. I could just leave it at that, which should be self explanatory, But if we compared an actor acting to any person just LIVING (a normalish life) and we were to apply geometrical values to the two, the actor would be one dimensional and the actual person would be multidimensional. The actor, in his role, does not have to remember to buy toilet paper and pay the internet bill and pick up his niece from school. "Bwah HAH, Fair teacher, I have arrived for she who is of my blood, and NOW YOU will DIE" or "Hello peasant salesgirl, I wish to buy these rolls of soft tissue for my bum. Do you THINK for ONE MOMENT that you can stop me? I will split you from nape to chops." You see, all the action and dialouge is focused only on what furthers the plot. That makes it one dimensional. The villian can afford to be ridiculously evil because most likely the playwright has not suddenly written in some construction worker who is going to beat him to a pulp for being such a simpering psychopath. Or just for the betterment of the human species. Only a very special group of REAL PEOPLE can get their daily duties accomplished and still be deliciously alluring and fascinating. These people are called patients who decided to stop taking their meds but haven't crashed just yet.
Thank you,helenstuart, for having given this answer. It hit the nail on the head!
I meant regular good guys/women in television & movies, not real life. This question was asked on a comparative basis in relation to television and movies.
That depends on how they're portrayed. In most movies, the good guy wins, so to hold the interest of the audience, you have to make the bad guy complex, since it's already known how the story will end. The good guy can afford to be a cookie-cutter figure for that very reason. There's a saying that all healthy families are the same, but each dysfunctional one is unique in its own way.
I don't find them (villains) any of "the above" things at all. In kids' entertainment it's a different thing. The villains are bad - plain and simple. Kids' entertainment uses villains in a different way than movies/tv aimed at "non-kids".
In "regular" (non-kids') stuff there are the out-and-out evil/psycho/sociopath villains (I pretty much avoid anything with any of them in it). And, there are the more complex portrayals of "villains" (who are kind of "regular people" but just have "some edge" that makes them do rotten things (and apparently makes them "more interesting" to SOME viewers). I'll put up with one of those (latter) types in something if s/he doesn't take up more than than "x percent" of the overall story. Other than that (and again, other than in the case of children's entertainment) I stay away from anything that places too much emphasis on a villain and/or even has one in it at all; because I can find pure evil in the news and in history books (or documentaries) and don't believe it making entertainment out of evil characters. They just don't impress me, and In don't find them "all that fascinating" either.
In kids' stories they represent something else. If more grown-up/realistic entertainment they aren't worth watching (or my time).
I think in some movies the actor/character has a certain desirable charisma..
Some examples I think of include Claude Aiken who normally played the villain in many westerns.
Jack Nicholson especially in his role in The Shining and the Joker in Batman
Hans Gruber played by Alan Rickman in Die Hard and his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series-though in the end he is revealed to be a hero.
Captain Hook from Hook
Norman Bates from Psycho
The shark from Jaws. I also loved Quint but I consider him more of an anti-hero rather than a villian
I can't forget The Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz
Yoleen Lucas said a lot of bad guys get more complexity than good guys. I agree with that answer. Often a movie’s plot’s quality is determined by the bad guy’s character. And these bad guys can become very attractive to us because we can observe them from a distance, knowing what we’re seeing is not real.
For example, Heath Ledger’s Joker; you can’t say it isn’t a freaking awesome performance by an actor (and that’s what it is - a performance, by an actor, nothing more). And it’s such a masterful performance and such a fascinating character that it becomes something enjoyable to watch (not that your perception of him is altered, he is a murdering sociopath but you don’t fear him, you’re thrilled, waiting to see what he’ll do next).
That’s why movies and books and the like are an ideal medium to represent and explore these kinds of things that we handle differently in the real world (villains and other stuff too like social issues, politics, etc.) and deal with them. Comedy is a good filter for it too.
On the other hand, would that perspective you get on the Joker while watching the movie be the same if he was real and you were face to face with him? Fudge no! nop, nope, no thank you.
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