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This week’s topic is… Things that go bump in the night!
I’ve always been a fan of the baddie masquerading as someone completely normal, or even completely innocuous, therefore the “boy next door” who turns out to be a murderous psychopath is always top for me, as nobody ever expects such a “nice guy” to turn out to be the exact opposite.
The perfect example of this is Norman Bates of The Bates Motel in Psycho. In the original version, he is portrayed by mild-mannered Anthony Perkins who is rather skinny and eager to please, so who would suspect what darkness lies under the surface. In the remake, Vince Vaughn portrayed him as rather shy and slightly simple which also made for a great twist (yes, I rather enjoyed the remake!).
In a complete turn-around, I also love a suave, charming bad guy. Take Dracula in his many guises, for example. He’s absolutely mesmerising and a master of deception, and the double-whammy of sex and blood is always great – the uptight Victorians were absolutely shocked and scandalised by the novel when it was published. Now, of course, we find it difficult to separate the blood and the sexiness when it comes to our vampires. Dracula has been played by many a fine actor, but the ones that always spring immediately to mind are Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and Gary Oldman – the latter actually managing to infuse his portrayal with sadness and perhaps even a little sympathetically, as well as sexy and scary.
Finally, I have to admit, I love my bad guys to be smart – there’s a lot to be said for intelligence playing a part in psychopathic activities. That’s where my last choice comes in. Dr Hannibal Lecter is quite the most chillingly intellectual murderer ever. Of course, he was first played by Brian Cox in Manhunter (1986), but he is often overlooked in favour of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal in Silence of the Lambs (1991). Both, however, were scary as hell and worthy of mention.