There’s no denying that villains remain the absolute best movie characters in cinema. Villains are important in most genres, and many viewers find evil so much more fascinating to watch than goodness. As Terry Eagleton writes, the flipside of human existence is evil. Villains have some of the best backgrounds and are irresistibly glamorous to watch. In fact, the scarier the villain, the better the film, and here’s why.
They are more creative
A superhero has one widely known assignment, which is to stop the villain from accomplishing their goal. They often do this using their overwhelming good will, strength, and power. On the other hand, villains never cease to stun with their convoluted mind-boggling plots. You are pretty sure their end goal is to cause earthly destruction. But their plans to achieve this are often creative and always changing. It’s scary and shockingly fascinating to watch.
They are complex
Most viewers find that watching the lustrous, golden, and all-round good guy hero trope is somewhat boring. Is it true someone can be that perfect? In the case of our favorite villains, we know they have a backstory explaining why they are evil, and watching the decisions they make is often so much more interesting.
It is difficult to predict their next moves
Villains change their minds quickly. Their ability to change their minds in an instant makes things extremely interesting. Supervillains will keep you on your toes, unlike superheroes who are easy to predict.
It intensifies positive feelings
Horror movies actually create negative feelings at the start. However, when a hero triumphs in the end, positive feelings tend to be intensified. And even if the hero doesn’t triumph, the scary parts of a horror film increase people’s enjoyment.
Goodness can be boring
There is a reason why evil looks so alluring – it’s because goodness can get boring pretty quickly. It isn’t difficult to see why viewers prefer watching zombies and vampires. Nowadays, goodness just seems restrictive and even repetitive. However, goodness wasn’t as dreary as this in the past.
Ancient thinkers like Aristotle believed goodness was about knowing how to live an enjoyable and happy life. It was about developing humanity to its fullest extent in order to flourish as a human being. For Aristotle, happiness could be derived by developing humanity and being virtuous. For him, those who become good at being human are the virtuosi of life. Think of goodness as joie de vivre, a source of high spirits and energy. In the past, goodness had an intimate link with happiness and an abundance of life.
Now things have changed. At the moment, you live your life as you please and things like evil doesn’t really exist in every-day life. People enjoy watching horror films and action movies, with bad guys running rampant and ghosts and zombies hovering between life and death. It’s interesting, because sometimes they look human enough, which often makes them seem even scarier.
When villains are well developed, cunning, and scary, they really do make movies better.