Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shoot the Devil

"It was Keyser Soze, Agent Kujan. I mean the Devil himself. How do you shoot the Devil in the back?... What if you miss?"

Say what you will about our love for the heroic champions of morality, few things in the world resonate as well with the public as an embodiment of evil. From modern giants of Keyser Soze and Hannibal Lecter to the classic masters like Norman Bates, Darth Vader, and The Wicked Witch of the West. How many of you can spit out the name HAL-9000 without batting an eye, but struggle to remember Dave Bowman?

It's a common place aspect of society in which cinema has finally found its niche. The right villain with the right actor/actress can present a world so vile, cold, and cynical that we can't help but turn away. They are theatrical performers on a stage of evil, representing the aspects of the world we fail to understand. Because of it they can get away with anything, and everything. Every thought we ever dreamed of having. Every action we ever wanted to take. In their own interests they act, because that's what we've made them.

After all, when it comes down to it. For them, it's only business.

So, what are some of your favorite film villains and why?

8 better thoughts:

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

hmmm, good topic. Some of my favorite villains are:
Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes, is he really a villain though?
Khan from Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Ricardo Montalban played the part so perfectly.
Stansfield from Leon (The Professional). Gary Oldman played this part perfectly over the top.

Hmm, harder than I thought it would be to think of proper villains from my favorite movies.

Also, I know that for most people the memorable line from The Usual Suspects is, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist." My personal favorite is "How do you shoot the Devil in the back?... What if you miss?" Nice to see I am not the only one that appreciates it.

Nikhat said...

Norman Bates, Alex Delarge, Joker (both Nicholson and Ledger), Keyser Soze, Catwoman, O Ren Ishi, Elle Driver, Patrick Bateman, Hannibal Lecter, Amon Goth, The Toothfairy, Lord Voldemort, Jack Torrance, Regan McNeil, Agent Smith, Colonel Hans Landa, Lotto...way too many to count. I luuuurve villains!

I'm actually making a list of my favourite actors who play villains and anti-heroes in may blog.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, you name an excellent one right there - and from a great movie. I can see many great ones have already been named in the comments. Darth Maul is another that comes to mind.

The Mad Hatter said...

Nurse Ratched from CUCKOO'S NEST (Or how to use passive aggressiveness to make a bad situation worse)

Mr. Potter from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Or how to use greed to show how valuable a good man really is)

Annie Wilkes from MISERY (Or how homely can mask insanity rather nicely)

Rev. Harry Powell from NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (Or why preying on children will never cease to be scary as shit)

Jack L said...

I love the Bad from the Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Lee Van Cleef was so classy...
Also Joe Pesci's character in Goodfellas and Casino were pretty chilling.
Robert Mitchum in The Night Of The Hunter is scary.
Those are the ones that immediately came to mind, there are many more great villains though.
Interesting topic.

Castor said...

Gordon Gekko in Wall Street
Freddie Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street
Alonzo Harris in Training Day

Univarn said...

@Rick it is an awesome quote and Spacey's deliver of it is perfect. The way he lifts his crippled hand up with that lip tremble - he won that Oscar for a very good reason.

@Nikhat I think your comment more than proved my point and some great selections.

@AlexJ I need to revisit SW4, but I remember Darth Maul being entirely forgettable. Well, with the exception of the final duel, but even then...

@Mad Would I be correct in assuming your parenthatic (yes, made up word but still awesome) additions are Strangelove references or just a lovely coincidence?

@JackL You can't do much better than Van Cleef. Team up GBU with Escape from New York and you've got yourself a Cleef-gasm of excitement.

@Castor King Kong ain't got nothing on me? Love that line.

Fletch said...

So many great ones listed. Nikhat mentioned Hans Landa (an all-timer there), but no mention of that other Hans yet? I'm shocked.

Not "Shoot the devil." "Shoot...the glass."

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