A new kickstarter project has been started by Michael Reaves, the multi-award winning writer for Gargoyles and Batman: The Animated Series, among other things. A vampire noir horror movie starring Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson (Tara from Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, among other things), and a companion comic drawn by Tom Mandrake, this project is aiming for $50,000 before June 14.
Go. Fund. It.
At least go and check out the kickstarter video. Aside from just looking blatantly awesome, it shows how much the people involved truly care about this project, especially Michael Reaves himself, who says “I just want to get this movie made”. Neil Gaiman, one of the most successful (and in my opinion, best) fantasy writers alive, personally endorses the script, and says that “there’s nobody else I would act for”. Most of the people involved will not be drawing a salary.
Seriously, this looks like one of those rare movies which will be fantastic, well thought out, interesting, and surprising. Plus, there are a bunch of great rewards, including digital downloads of the movie (when it’s done, that is. Sadly no time manipulation is involved), posters, DVDs, and a download of the original script! Not to mention, vampires could definitely do with a bit of a comeback from the deep dark pit of lameness into which they seem to have been dropped recently. I mean come on? An ancient monster (which may or may not be sex-on-legs), which hides in the night and kills you by devouring only your blood? They should be the undisputed height of cool!
Peace Out and Fund Fangs
Image taken from the kickstarter page for Blood Kiss.
Remember that time when Iron Man slept with Spider man?
The movie is even called ‘Wonder Boys’ So, if they ever had kids would they be The Iron Spider?
And is it just me or in 13 years R.D. Jr has aged quite a bit, he looks super young here!
[Trigger warning: discussion of abusive relationships]
Over the weekend, Liz and I attended Supanova Pop Culture Expo (post on that coming) (also why there’s no comic this week, my sincerest apologies). On the Saturday, I went in costume as 80′s prom date Joker. It’s the second time I’ve done a Joker costume, and it’s always a lot of fun. It also speaks to one of my lady-parts’ greatest weaknesses: villains.
A brief list of some of my evil crushes: Loki, The Joker, Catwoman, pre-reform Zuko from Avatar: the Last Airbender (post-reform is fine, too), Poison Ivy, the Phantom of the Opera, Bane, Spike, Drusilla, Jareth, Alan Rickman in most things, bleedy-eye guy in Casino Royale.
So aside from my fetish for facial scarring, what is it about villains that I’m so into? And, most importantly, why is it that my lady-boner for bad doesn’t translate into the real world?
Most of the guys on that list have huge female fanbases. The heroes of their films do as well, but frequently fans of villains can seem to eclipse those of the heroes in passion and numbers. I imagine this is somewhat perplexing for casting agents and the like, but first, let’s analyse why heroes and villains are cast and characterised the way they are.
Male heroes in films occupy a certain role, and that role is male wish fulfillment (as do the women, but that’s a whole other article). He is muscular, traditionally handsome and intensely masculine, solving his problems through the twin strategies of punching and shooting (I am a huge fan of Bruce Willis, so don’t assume I’m knocking this as a method). The women love these heroes with their rippling, virile manliness. Villains are, generally speaking, the antithesis of this – they are what men are taught to push against, the opposite of what they should aspire to. Villains are smaller, thinner and generally physically weaker than the heroes of their films, and gain the upper hand not through physical combat but through their vast intellects and cunning use of traps. Heroes are usually blonde and tan, villains pale with long, raven locks – long(er) black hair and/ or some kind of facial scar is a sure-fire sign of villainous tendencies. Villains are not supposed to be sexually desirable to women on a physical level, though they are frequently extremely charismatic, and thus attract a single (usually crazy) female hanger-on, who they order about and are generally massive butts towards (this is often shown as a sign of their evil tendencies, despite male heroes treating their female admirers in remarkably similar fashions – but again, I am digressing into an entirely different argument). Villains are delicate male Snow Whites, consistently geniuses, sly and effeminate, while the heroes are great, hulking Fabio’s, frequently battle-smart but school-dumb, brave and hyper-masculine. There are some very obvious exceptions to this rule, but these are the models on which most heroes/ villains are based. It’s the jock/ nerd dynamic, only with death rays.
The main reason I can see for the appeal of these villains over their heroic counterparts is that the heroes are, quite frequently, boring. Even if they do manage to spend reasonable portions of their films shirtless, a glorious set of abs is generally not enough to base a relationship around. Liz will likely take me to task for this but Thor is, in essence, a loghead. He’s pretty, certainly, but ‘roguish charm’ and ‘bravery’ tend to translate into ‘frightfully dull’ when I imagine what Thor would be like in a long-term relationship. Your typical hero is certainly eye-candy, but they’re generally written with about as much depth as a Petri dish. That’s why, for the discerning person of intellect, the jock-y hero seems a pretty bland option.
The villain represents an extremely enticing long-term possibility: stimulating conversation. Aside from being able to talk about something other than truth, justice and the American Way (I assume that is a diner), they are also frequently much more complex characters than the heroes, with many layers of moral ambiguity. Characters like (movie) Loki and Two-Face struggle with their good sides. Catwoman frequently oscillates between good and evil (my usual answer to when people ask me of her villain status is that it depends on whether or not she’s boning Batman at the time). Their actions are not inherent in their characters, but fluid and dependent on intervening circumstances. In this way they are much more human. Villains also, importantly, have that sexy, sexy ‘danger’ thing going for them. Plus, they typically wear more leather, which is always good.
Heroes do good stuff because they’re good; their motivations are always very simple and approvable. Sometimes they struggle with what is right and what is wrong, but they always make the right choice in the end. Villains always believe they’re doing the right thing, even when they’re committing acts of terrible evil. Often, they’re trying to ‘save’ the world, or reform it. Heroes can be rebels, working outside the system for the right cause, but villains try to crush the system completely. They are intellectual anarchists trying to fix the world, not afraid to tarnish themselves for the Greater Good. Heroes seek to preserve the established order, one which we in the real world know is flawed. In the fangirl mind, just about every villain is secretly an anti-hero in disguise.
So why is this complexity so important as to turn murderers into heartthrobs?
This next thought should always, always result in alarm bells for anyone: they’re bad, but I could be the one to fix them.
I don’t like admitting it, but it’s important and I have to: the subconscious appeal of villains is the appeal of the abuser. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and a very hard one to get out of. The romanticised appeal of the ‘bad boy’ is an extremely dangerous one. We are taught that if we just show them a little love, or help them be more secure, they will be revealed as romantic and emotionally deep, the dude in the motorcycle jacket capable of far more sensitivity than the dunderhead on the football team. Unfortunately reality is much harsher. Reality has fists, and it will use them on you, not to protect you.
To demonstrate with pop music, please watch the following video:
Realistically, no person really wants to be with someone who goes around murdering people in cold blood a whole lot. We might want to be able to show them forgiveness, and for them to move on, to grow and change, like in Beauty and the Beast, but given the option it would be a rare person indeed who’d be willing to shack up with Pol Pot or Gaddafi. The fictional villain, on the other hand, allows for the wishes of a darker part of ourselves.
To look past the abuser dynamic that is the reality of falling for a ‘bad’ person, we with a hankering for evil must focus on the fictional nature of these characters. The distinct line between fiction and reality is extremely significant in the appeal of the villain. We know exactly the kind of person a villain is, so we cannot be deceived the way we can deceived by real people. We can pretend they wouldn’t kill us or maim us in an instant because we can imagine ourselves as the one thing they cherish, and it doesn’t have to be a lie. Kidding ourselves about the behaviours of a fictional character is safe, because they can’t actually hurt us if we get it wrong.
Even those who fundamentally ignore all the murder going on will agree on a central point: evil is sexy. We pinpoint the appeal of these characters in the fact that they are bad. This is really obvious in the case of classic femme fatales, whose source of evil is their sex appeal. Villains aren’t a Project on the same level as the problem person may frequently be in real-world abusive relationships. Rather than wanting to root out the evil in the villain we allow ourselves to give in to it, to fall through the rabbit-hole of temptation and into a world where we sit beside these characters, laughing maniacally along with them. By imagining ourselves as a villain’s squeeze we can give in entirely to our subconscious fantasies, the ones we can’t actually ask for but which we know our villains are smart, sympathetic and plain ol’ messed up enough to understand – and be into. In our minds, we can always make it stop while it’s still fun. It never has to be real, with all the consequences that would bring. It’s all very Freudian, really.
We can’t really help who we’re attracted to, and my ‘thing’ for evil has led to more stigma, ridicule and disgust than my thing for being into dudes and ladies at the same time. Still, as with everything in our lives, it’s important to know what it means, to analyse, question, and dissect. And, for all you out there wondering if your crush on Loki could get you in real-world trouble, it is so, so important to know where to draw the line.
Agent Smith has discovered some sort of Agent of Good in hospitals. And yes, it’s actually Hugo Weaving.
According to GE, the Wachowski siblings, creators of The Matrix, have never before licensed out The Matrix for advertising until now. I hope you stayed for the end of it. It’s worth it.
The release date inches ever closer for Star Trek: Into Darkness – May 9th in Aus. Check out the trailers if you haven’t already. More bit and pieces of media are being released across the Internet to rev up the hype. I’ve been watching Deep Space 9 recently. I don’t need any revving up to be honest. But if you do, here’s something awesome:
It’s hard to believe Richard Griffiths has really passed away. For those who do not know who he is, he is an English Actor who is most known in our generation as ‘Vernon Dursley’ of the Harry Potter movie.
He died only a couple of days ago on the 29th of March at the age of 65, after some complications with his heart surgery.
Remembered warmly by his peers, Daniel Radcliffe remembers when he and Richard Griffiths worked together in Equus. Radcliffe said, “It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage, and humor made it a joy. In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him.”
He may not be often remembered for his roles in serious works, that of Equus and Withnail & I, but Mr. Griffith’s has made an impact on millons of children and is remembered until our generation finishes and maybe not even then. He was the first villian we saw in the Harry Potter movies and we won’t ever forget it.
Thank you, Richard Griffiths, and may you rest in peace.