November 18, 2010
Posted In: Villains

A Guide to Creating Villains

First, avoid making the villain too evil. This is usually an issue when the protagonist is too perfect since  the antagonist is often portrayed as the polar opposite of the hero. It is important to remember when creating likeable characters (both hero and villain)  that perfect is boring and completely unbelievable. The hero does not have to be nice to everyone and the antagonist should have some redeeming qualities.
Each character should have strengths, weaknesses, and a solid motivation for their actions.   
I have not yet been to the theater to see “Megamind”, but the previews hint that it  touches on the theme of role-reversal amongst heros and villains.
A children’s book I enjoyed growing up is, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by  Jon Scieszka.  The story is the retelling of the “The Three Little Pigs”, but from the Wolf’s point of view. 

And for anyone who might appreciate a tragic comedy in the form of a musical,  “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” demonstrates that the roles of good and evil are not always as distinct as black and white.

From the archives of, the ten most common types of Hollywood villains:

1. The wild beast: He usually has only one eye or only one arm, long unwashed hair, and he’s creeping in smelly dark alleys. He carries a big gun to attack people at random, and sometimes drives a bike. He will visit a shady bar during the movie to have someone unsuspecting pick a fight with him.

2. The gentleman killer: He’s well-educated (he knows French words), has a sense of arrogant humor, a suit, and often sports a well-trimmed beard. He usually has muscular henchman to perform killings but also kills himself at least once to prove how cold his heart is (very, very cold).

3. The small-time crook: He’s small-time (bank robber and similar), but kills a lot and without second thoughts. His down-to-earth brutality serves to add realism (hence suspense) to the movie.

4. The super villain: A super hero needs a super villain to compete against in near-eternal rivalry. Super villains are always the opposite of the super-hero and mostly have special reasons to hate him. They will always fall in, inhale or drink some poisonous green substance in the beginning of the movie to make them “super” (mostly, super-schizophrenic). The super villain is highly intelligent, usually a scientist, and feels his acts are justified.

5. The pseudo-buddy: You won’t know he’s the bad guy because he seems to be the good guy’s best friend (or his cop colleague, or his mentor, or his satanic child). Well, at least you won’t know the first time you watch this kind of movie, so once you are around 10 years old you probably do know.

6. The nemesis: He’s a big corporation kind of guy, bullying our hero within the realms of the perfectly legal (albeit immoral). A more harmless version of the nemesis didn’t quite qualify as a villain; it’s the kind of annoying career-oriented news reporter who gets knocked unconscious by the hero in the end.

7. The psycho: He’s a maniac with a smile on his face and hunts people, especially the movie hero. What separates him from other types of evil-doers is that he doesn’t want money (he’s just crazy). Sometimes the psycho is also partially a gentleman killer (see type 2).

8. The gentleman burglar: He’s actually a good guy posing as bad guy. He’s into stealing jewelry but leaves notes for the good good guy to track him down in a sort of love-hate relationship. A somewhat more brutal variant of the gentleman burglar is the mafia hit man.

9. The nice guy: This man will pose as clown or family man, but always starts to kill. You will see him handing candy to kids on the street during sunset, while our hero (the only one with inside knowledge) runs towards him in slow-motion, uttering a hyperdramatic “Noo-o-o-o….”

10. The sports villain: OK, the sports villain – a boxer, Karate black-belt etc. – is not really evil, he’s just trained by Russians (or whatever is the evil du jour) to beat the brains out of our hero, repeatedly.

By the way: variants 1-4 will always die at the end. 5 and 6 may die, 7 never does, and 10 mostly only ends up in hospital. 8 and 9 escape to Morocco.


Who is Kimberlee Turley?

Kimberlee Turley grew up in California where she earned a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM in 2005. Soon after, she married her husband, who was neither Mr. Darcy nor Edward Cullen, but he’d read her atrocious first novel and said it was “good” with a straight face.

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