What’s more thrilling than unstoppable monsters, cults of personality, and heartless psychopaths? We NEED villains that we love to hate, they keep us on the edge of our seats. Straw men belong in corn fields, not a great suspense novel. A badass heroine only shines with a truly evil villain to defeat. And let’s not forget that bad guys are often bad girls. Bring the pain!
FREE shorts that feature evil villains
- Pizza Overdrive: a Self Driving Nightmare
- A Death Ray Blunder (coming summer 2020)
- Recoil Redux (coming fall 2020)
Why evil villains?
Why the hell not? No one wants to see a badass woman fighting a dishrag. You can build the most amazing, strange world. Epic. Fantastic. Immersive. All that, but if the conflict isn’t compelling, well then there’s not a story is there? And nothing makes for more dramatic tension than a truly evil villain who is hellbent on corrupting the heroine. Throw a little chaos in there created by wild tech, and you’ve got something special.
Horror always seems to bring the greatest evil villains. By definition, the genre focuses on them. And in this realm, Stephen King is the, well, he’s the fucking KING. But even Disney serves up evil villains in every story. It’s a tale as old as time. The white hat versus the black hat. Compare and contrast. Conflict supreme!
It’s a new age, and our stories need to be more compelling. Amp it up!
So, when I say, “evil villains,” what exactly do I mean? Well, let’s break it down.
Definition of evil
Here’s what the dictionary has to say:
e·vil | ˈēvəl |
profoundly immoral and wicked: his evil deeds | no man is so evil as to be beyond redemption.
- (of a force or spirit) embodying or associated with the forces of the devil: we were driven out of the house by an evil spirit.
- harmful or tending to harm: stories about the evil effects of television on children make good copy.
- (of a smell or sight) extremely unpleasant: a bathroom with an ineradicably evil smell.
profound immorality and wickedness, especially when regarded as a supernatural force: the world is stalked by relentless evil | good and evil ineternal opposition.
- a manifestation of profound immorality and wickedness, especially in people’s actions: the evil that took place last Thursday.
- something which is harmful or undesirable: the various social evils of our modern world.
OMG, yes to all these definitions.
Monsters are always assumed to be evil. Whether it’s the xenomorph from ALIEN, the t-rex from JURASSIC PARK, or the great white in JAWS, the goal is the same–doen’t get eaten! This appeals to us on a primal level. It’s pure survival instinct. Evil villains also seem to be synonymous with unfeeling, cold, detached criminals, as in the delicious case of Hannibal Lector.
Definition of villain
vil·lain | ˈvilən |
(in a film, novel, or play) a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot: I have played more good guys than villains | cartoon villains determined to spread evil for evil’s sake.
- • the person or thing responsible for specified trouble, harm, or damage: the industrialized nations are the real environmental villains.
“Important to the plot?” I declare that a strong, evil villain is essential to the plot, and I will die on this hill.
And let’s not forget the wonderful:
vil·lain·ess | ˈvilənəs |
(in a film, novel, or play) a female character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot: she’s portrayed as a glowering villainess, accompanied by ominous music as she enters.
Evil villainesses… Now THAT’s what I’m talking about.
Putting it all together
Evil villains have always been easy for me to write. From a very young age, I was an advanced reader and started diving into adult horror at the age of ten. When I’d exhausted the small town library, my parents took me to the city for a library card. There, I found a copy of THE EXORCIST. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this novel defined my teenage years, and to this day, it’s still my favorite book of all time. I love William Peter Blatty‘s efficient style. And I’m still impressed with the fair way he treated both the strengths and weaknesses of science and faith in this story without editorializing. He was a true master.
As a young adult, I wanted–no NEEDED–to know what made certain people violent. I was a pacifist to a fault (which also set me up to be a fantastic victim). But I just couldn’t understand how one person could hurt another. Don’t they CARE? I became obsessed with the question and driven to learn more about criminals. This led to an undergraduate degree in sociology and a short stint in graduate school where I pursued a Ph.D. in criminology. By day, I taught lectures in juvenile delinquency, social theory, and statistics, but the real lesson came at night, when I was left alone with my abusive husband.
Prison visits, gang-member interviews, and court appearances; I’d become so fascinated with the criminal mind that I became desensitized to it. Then I accidentally married a covert narcissist. It wasn’t until we moved in together that this monster showed his true colors. I soon found myself transforming into a battered woman. It was a textbook case. The gaslighting. The constant head games. The fits of unprovoked rage. I was trapped in a living nightmare, truly Sleeping with the Enemy.
Someday (soon) I’ll write a novel about how I escaped.
I’m so grateful to be a survivor! After years of therapy and treatment for PTSD, I now know all the nuanced tricks of all kinds of evil villains. And I’m thrilled to report that I’ve been happily married to a truly loving husband for over thirteen years. Thanks to his love and support, I finally feel safe enough to write about my personal horrors. In the meantime, give one of these thrillers a try: