A few days ago I had the tv on and they were running an ad for the re-digitized version of the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. Yeah, I love Disney so of course I had to look and I couldn't help kind of smiling when the Wicked Queen showed up. What is it about Disney villains and villainesses that is so naughty, so rivetting, so...FUN! They are always colorful and give the audience a reason to cheer. Now, I happily admit, I'm a Disney fan from way back. I loved Old Yeller and Pollyanna and the original Parent Trap but the animated stuff really has my heart. There's just something so romantic and wonderful about the princess finding her prince while the birds, rabbits, and mice cheer the happy couple. And of course, no decent Disney movie would be complete without the wicked villain/villainess who tries to tear the two apart. To me, they've always seemed just a bit smarter, more clever and well, more like us than the lily-white pure heros and heroeines. Bad of me to say, I know, but there you have it.
One of my favorites was Cruella from 101 Dalmations. Her overall appearance is so well, VIVID, but I think what is even nastier about her is that she pretends to be friends with the owner of the puppies. I think most of us can connect with the idea of a "friend" who isn't really one at ALL. My other favorite villain is Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, my all time favorite Disney movie. The entire movie revolves around people's perceptions or misperceptions about beauty. Of course, Gaston is beautiful even when he's singing....and every last inch of me's covered with HAAAAIIIIRRR". God, don't you love that?
In regular movies I have to say that Alex (Glenn Close's character) in Fatal Attraction was downright creepy and in books...there are sooo many but I have to say the serial killer from Linda Howard's Dream Man completely freaked me out. Maybe it's because you don't really "see" him through the entire book, you only see his actions. To me that was completely creepy. Of course there are many, many others and too many to name.
Perhaps the best villains are three-dimentional. They have vulnerabilities and redeemable qualities despite the fact they are also so evil. I remember attending an RWA workshop years ago that was given by Tami Hoag. Never forget the title of it: Twisted Minds, Psychopaths are People Too. Funny. It was all about creating an unforgettable villain and was my most informative class. Making the villain always ugly and outwardly reprehensible is taking the easy way out. Maybe that's why I like good old Gaston so much. How could such a gorgeous guy be such a dipwad?
Do you have a favorite villain or villainess? Who is the naughtiest, meanest, most hateful creature to ever grace the page or the screen?