Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Villains Redux, Part 1

Because I’m not sure how well I’m going to be able to blog while I’m on vacation, AND I’ve figured out how to put up posts on a timer (which I didn’t know how to do last year), I decided to prepare a couple of goodies for you in advance.  (Hello from 2 weekends ago!)

When I first started this blog in early 2009, I put up a number of posts that really never saw the light of day.  Still, I’m proud of them and would like to air them out a bit.

So that being said, welcome to All-Time Favorite Villains, Pt. 1.  Let the reruns begin...


I saw a poll online the asked people to submit their favorite villains from TV, movies and books. That got me thinking about mine. The best stories have to have the best villains; that’s what makes them worth hating. So I started going through my memory banks to figure out who my favorite villains were. Naturally, I came up with too many for a simple Top Ten (or Twenty) list. Villains can be considered “best” for many reasons and come in many varieties, so I divided them up into categories. I’ll start with:

Monsters
8. The Terminator T-100 (Arnold Schwartzenegger) from “The Terminator”.
I suppose you could be charitable and say, he wasn’t inherently evil, it was just the programming, but his effect on the main characters was that of a nightmare.

Key quote: “That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with, it doesn’t feel pity or remorse of fear and it absolutely will not stop… EVER… until you are dead.” 

7. The Queen Alien from “Aliens” (The Queen, the drones, the whole damned species.)Good thing we have Ellen Ripley on our side. I’d hate to see a squad of these things running all over the place. Fast, smart, deadly, dagger-like tail, small jaws inside big jaws, rows of teeth, lots of drool and acid for blood.

Key quote: “Get away from her, you BITCH!”6. The Big Alien Bugs from “Starship Troopers”
These things are just nasty and there are way too many of them. This was a movie that basically revolved around attractive young male and female soldiers being killed in horrible ways by giant space-bugs. Not that I’m against that… But I’m always unsettled by the scene pictured above, where a small band of soldiers are trying to hold a fort against wave after wave of these killer bugs. Kind of like The Alamo if it were sponsored by “Raid.”

Key quote: “Kill everything with more than two legs!”
(Obviously, the audio isn't from the movie.)

5. Monster from “Cloverfield”
This movie used the original “Jaws” formula of rarely showing you a good look at the monster, (albeit without the sterling acting chops or masterful storytelling.) You just don’t know what the hell this thing is, but what you do see is compelling and quite scary.

Key quote: (none, really, but this will have to do) “Beth lives in Midtown. Midtown is that way. You know what else is that way? Some horrific shit! “

4. The Shapeshifter from “The Thing” (1982 John Carpenter version)
Another alien… this one is dug out of the ice by a crew stationed somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. This thing can take the form of anything it kills, so dropping it into this isolated camp in a frozen wasteland made for a very claustrophobic, paranoid thriller. The scene where it busts out of a body and the head separates, then grows big old crab legs and skitters away… that was just something out of an LSD hallucination. No one ever forgets that scene. But just to remind...

Key quote: “I dunno what the hell's in there, but it's weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”
3. The Great White Shark in “Jaws”
This is a “villain” that changed lives. Anyone that was alive in 1975 and went to the beach couldn’t help feel a bit uneasy about venturing into the water, whether it was an ocean, a lake or a puddle. I know this movie scared the living crap out of me back then. The shark was clunky by today’s special effects standards and didn’t always work, so Spielberg compensated by not showing it very often. And the unseen monster, even when you basically know what it is, is often scariest.

Key quote: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” (What did you think I was going to use, “Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women.”?)

Special note: The speech Quint gives about surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis still gives me chills and is almost as unnerving as the shark itself.

2. The Toy Clown from “Poltergeist”
OK, now it’s getting personal. It’s a clown thing, and again, Spielberg always seems to know what scares me. I’ve always hated clowns. When I was little, I used to have recurring nightmares about a little clown trying to get me. I think it goes back to when I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad. (sorry… that’s a Jack Handey quote.) To tell the truth, I got a shudder just pulling the photo above. And the one below…

Key quote: “Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help, it knows too much already.”
1. Pennywise the Clown from “It” 
Another shudder… Tim Curry was a brilliant choice to play Pennywise, the evil clown-monster from Stephen King’s “It”. This is a clown that taunts you, mocks you, makes fun of you, then bites your arm off. And this was just a TV movie. I’m actually kind of relieved that it was never a feature film.

Key quote: “I'm every nightmare you've ever had. I'm your worst dream come true. I'm everything you ever were afraid of.” 

Coming soon: “Comic” villains and “Character” villains.

11 comments:

  1. I saw Tim Curry in concert in the early eighties, at the former Agora on the corner of Dorr and Byrne. Not nearly as frightening without the pancake makeup.

    I bought a concert t-shirt sporting a really cool photo of him and the line, "Behave Badly." (See, I like swag too.)

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  2. Why, thank you. You have fueled my nightmares for weeks to come. You sick, sick bastard.

    That head from "The Thing"? Yeah. Scariest.Creature.EVER.

    (You know I luvs ya.)

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  3. Oh, I HATE clowns. HATE them. Have since I was a little kid. They are just so dang creepy.

    And hate the Thing too. Ugh, it doesn't get any creepier.

    However, the Alien movies were amazing, even with those awful aliens and that whole baby alien coming out of the stomach thing.

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  4. Sherry,
    Yes, I remember Tim Curry as a musical act... I used to play one of his songs when I was in college radio, called "I Do the Rock." So he goes from musician to scariest clown of all time, to King Arthur... Versatile!

    Red Pen Mama,
    Sorry about the nightmares, Mama...

    I hear they're re-remaking The Thing... I can't imagine how they can do better than the Carpenter version... that was so over-the-top...

    Jessica,
    Yep... I can't hack the clowns either... that's why they're two of them on the list, ranked 1 and 2. Hate'em.

    I LOVE the Alien franchise, but #2 is easily the best, in my book. I'll never forget seeing that in the theater... such a rollercoaster ride. I definitely want Ripley on MY side, in a crisis.

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  5. Oh, clowns. I personally think the scariest thing I saw in all the Harry Potter movies wasn't Voldemort or the dementors - it was when they were fighting boggarts & were supposed to turn it into something funny, and Padma turns it from a snake into a giant clown jack in the box. I'll take the snake.

    Also - Jaws? I used to send summers in FL as a kid and it scared the shit out of me. Especially when there would be actual sharks & they'd chase us out of the water.

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  6. This evil, scary, hellbeast: http://fuckyeahmaraudersmap.tumblr.com/post/3675161798/so-im-watching-hp3

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  7. Gina,
    I don't know... the Dementors skeeved me out pretty good. But yeah, that clown was unnerving as well.

    Luckily, I never had an actual shark experience on the beach, or I might never have gone back in the water. The couple times I did wander into the ocean in the mid to late 70s, suffice to say, I was on "high alert."

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  8. I was SO. PISSED. OFF. when I finally saw the Cloverfield monster. I thought it looked rather like Chihuahua.

    In fact, I considered putting her in a tiny gray sweatshirt and taping plastic spiders all over her body and making that her Halloween costume.

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  9. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    I don't think you see Chihuahua the same way that everybody else does... Maybe they both have spindly legs and a bad attitude, but the similarities end there. But don't tell her I said that.

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  10. I remember being terrified for months after watching IT when I was a kid! Oh, BTW, it's me "Virgil" I changed my profile to my real name.

    I left Red Town Blues but still follow your blog because it's been one of my favorites! Take care Bluzdude!:)

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  11. Justin,
    I loved the book "It," and was thrilled when they made it into a movie... well... 2-episode mini-series anyway. I thought they did a pretty good job, despite the clunky final showdown. But that freakin' clown... brrrrrr.

    Thanks for the kudos, and please, if you start up a new blog, please let me know. I'll be there.

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