Monday, September 29, 2008

Fun Loving Criminals: Mad, Bad and Delicious to Know!

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, what you gonna do? What you gonna do when they come for you?

(Well, if you don’t know by now, I’m sure there’s a few good books on this site with suggestions..)

In coming up with the characters for Southern Spirits, specifically the two bad guys – the charismatic con man Jack Wheeler and the laconic, possessive gangster Mickey Whisper – I started looking for inspiration in the bad guys I’d read and watched, the ones that got me and others hot, and why it was so.

I mean, we all know that in just about every good story, the villain is more interesting than the hero, more interesting to watch, to read about, and certainly to write about (and any attempt to make the hero more interesting usually involved imbuing his background or character with dark elements). After all, to look clever and paraphrase Tolstoy, good guys are all alike; every bad guy is bad in his own way (which sounds much better than anything Chekov ever came up with, except in those episodes with the Klingons).

But of course for Lust Biters, being an interesting villain isn’t enough. I mean, Darth Vader may top every fanboy’s Villains List, but in terms of sex appeal, a wheezy guy who takes longer to undress than you, and ends up looking like a skinless chicken constantly distracted by disturbances in the Force, can stay a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

No, we want sexy villains, clit-throbbingly sexy bastards whom we’d bed as much as the heroes, if not more so! The guys you’d root for over the bland heroes - and whom you’d want to get a good rooting from. The guys with the black hats, the minions, the schemes and soliloquies about their ambitions, not like those good guys who were so squeaky clean they’d slip on sandpaper.

Let’s face it, the best men are often the worst ones!

But why is it so? In Olivia Knight’s excellent Crush Wednesday post a few weeks back, she put it best when she wrote, “It’s [explaining the appeal of wet men] like explaining the appeal of breasts to.. who doesn’t get breasts?” Well, I feel the same way about Sexy Bad Guys. But, just as Olivia valiantly strove to give us examples and possible reasons, I will endeavour to do the same.

As my list of Sexy Bad Guys, the Best in Show as well as in the sack, grew, I began putting them together in groups, until it became a sort of Villains Periodic Table, with common characteristics running through all of them.

One primary element they had was Charm, with a Capital Ch. Suave, debonair, classy, these are men whose idea of a night out with a lady doesn’t include lagers at the pub, a kebab and a fumble in the taxi. No, these men prefer Paris, a bottle of Dom Perignon ’53 (or the ’71, if one must slum it), and a Tiffany’s necklace to keep you warm as he slips you out of your gown and takes you from behind on the balcony of the penthouse suite.

These are the gentlemen Rogues: Raffles the thief (as played by the likes of Ronald Coleman and David Niven), James Mason’s highwayman in The Wicked Lady, Stewart Granger’s smuggler in Moonfleet, Steve McQueen’s (and Pierce Brosnan’s) millionaire crook in the Thomas Crown Affair, and Cary Grant’s retired cat burglar in To Catch a Thief.

These are men who keep one foot in polite society (who turn a blind eye to their activities) and the other on the ledge outside your bedroom window, men who would wine you, dine you and sixty-nine you – and leaving you not caring when you later find out they’d made off with your furs and jewellery.

Though most of these men seem consigned to the classic films, one modern example who made my mouth water was Rene Belloq, the amoral French archaeologist from Raiders of the Lost Ark, willing to work with the Nazis to achieve his goals (boo hiss!) but still a gentleman, saving Indy’s girlfriend Marion – for himself. Of course, that didn’t stop him from watching via a mirror as she undressed, or leaving her tied up as he plied her with food and wine. Just thinking about an imaginary deleted scene to that, where things went further between them, warms the cockles of my, er, heart.

Another property that popped up was Authority, men who commanded men, leaders so confident that they didn’t have to look twice to see if orders were being followed, who operated as if concepts of good and evil were for lesser men – and you believed them. From Yul Brynner’s roles as Ramses and The King of Siam (oh, those moody glowers and that rich, moistening baritone voice of his!), to Arnold Vosloo's powerful, charismatic priest in the first two Mummy movies, to Max Von Sydow’s strutting his cosmic stuff as Ming the Merciless, all intergalactic decadence and ermine finery. Hmm, all bald characters. Something in there?

Apparently not, because my all-time favourite in this category is Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. More cunning than a serpent, more ruthless than a dog with a pork chop, he looked hot, sounded hot, and did more for me than the fabulously average Kevin Costner could in this or any other of his movies. I wasn’t the only one in the cinema cheering him on as he forcibly married Maid Marian and tried to consummate the union before the hero broke through the door. He burned out the villagers, cancelled Christmas and tortured the stunningly annoying Christian Slater. Gorgeous, amoral – what’s not to lust after?

Another quality that came to light was Ruthlessness. These were not small-time crooks selling bootleg DVDs down your local, but big men with bigger ambitions, larger than life bad boys. Notable examples included Rickman’s breakout role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, effortlessly masterful and cool, with a sharp sense of humour and sharper clothes; James Mason as Captain Nemo, dapper and lethal, who’ll take you places (whether you want to go or not) in style under the sea; Doctor Who’s nemesis The Master, one of many Nehru jacket-clad villains in this article, with a barely-concealed love of tying up the Doctor’s female companions; Schizoid Batman villain Two-Face (especially played as he was by the deeply delicious Tommy Lee Jones), if you kept on the right side of him. Literally. And if you didn’t mind threesomes, even if there was just the two of you in bed.

Oh, and pretty much any of the earlier Bond villains, so long as they come with a secret lair. They’ll shower you with gifts (these bad guys are always generous, albeit on their own terms), have his outlandish henchmen crush that asshole who cut you off in traffic that morning, and make sure you have the best suite in his volcano lair. Just don’t get caught swapping bodily fluids with any British secret agents, or you’ll end up feeding his exotic pets in a way you’d rather not.

But the Mack Daddy of this class of villain is Lex Luthor (another baldie!), a man of humble origins, whose self-styled reputation as the greatest criminal mastermind since Moriarty appeared well-justified, and lacking superpowers of his own, he nevertheless manages to repeatedly put the bitch slap on the Boy Scout from Krypton and nearly taking over the world. And Lois keeps getting captured by him, again and again. Don’t tell me she didn’t do it on purpose; she may not have been able to tell that Clark Kent was Superman, but she was no dummy. Sure, inevitably she went home with the deeply caring, deeply vanilla Superman – but later, while he was out rescuing kittens from trees, she had some Personal Time in bed recalling what Luthor had done to her while she was tied up in his hideout, waiting to be “rescued”.

At the extreme end of the spectrum are the Beasts, more hands-on characters like Hannibal Lector, Christian Bale’s American Psycho, and TV’s sardonic serial killing hero Dexter. Absolute madmen who have married high intelligence and charisma with a lethal ferocity and a twisted code of honour and chivalry. They could kill without batting an eyelash, and literally have you for dinner if you crossed them. But you wouldn’t, because you’d be the Beauty to these Beasts, possessed and possessor. Preferring the quiet life, they tend to lack the immense wealth and ambition of the others on this list – but they're like your own human Roittweiler. And they do tend to clean up after themselves…

So why do we pant after them? The thrills? The fear? The free goodies?

Maybe it’s because all these men who walk on the dark side can have anyone they desired – so, if they desire you, you can’t help but get an ego boost. So long as you don’t do the stupid thing and blurt out that you want them just as much as they want you. Attainability is the kiss of death for these guys – in some cases, quite literally. So by all means, resist all the way, so they can chain you up to have their wicked way with you – and free you from any responsibility.

So 'fess up girls, which bad guy do you want to tie you down and ravish you? Who do you want to be hanging at the side of while he threatens the hero? Whose lair do you want to mark as your own?

Hurry, before the hero shows up and spoils your good time!


JamiSings said...

Being a big Alan Rickman fan I'd have to say Hans Gruber. (I never saw POT as I cannot STAND Cosner.) Dracula would also be a great choice. Especially if Dracula was played by Alan Rickman.

Anonymous said...

Without question, James Nesbitt as Mr. Hyde in the 2007 BBC Jekyll.

I mean, get a load of that.

magdalune said...

Oh, Carla, that was yummy. Is the rest of the series as good as that?

Villains. Who cares about the bad boys? I want the fucking villains. I want Hannibal Lector, Lord Voldemort, Emperor Palpatine, Dracula, Freddy Krueger, basically all of the Buffy big bads and then some... I could keep going. Charisma is a part of it, but part of that charisma is their intensity and focus - if they were to channel that amount of intensity and focus on the pleasure of their partner... hel-lo. The other part is that they have the freedom to ignore taboos, including those enforced in the bedroom. The sheer possibilities...

Of course, you'd have to be lucky enough to be someone they wanted alive rather than dead. And that's why these things only work in fantasies. :D And that's why it's okay to like villains in fantasies - fantasies are the ultimate safe space.

Portia Da Costa said...

I must admit I'm dangerously fascinated by Hannibal Lecter, both in the movies and the books.

And thanks for reminding me of James Nesbitt's Mr Hyde, Carla. I loved that performance.

Erastes said...

Oh great post!


Lucius Malfoy - looks, cut-glass accent, a ton of money, moral ambiguity - he's not even loyal to Voldemort!

Captain James Hook: The wig! The hook! The Classical Education. His obsession with pre-pubescent boys! The Bod! The violent temper!

James Mason as Rokeby in The Man In Grey. Because. Phwoar.

Nicola Harris said...

Oh, yes, James Nesbitt in Jekyll, I agree. Yum! Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, yes and oddly enough, i have to say 'Q' from Star Trek, The next generation. He was omnipotent, for crying out loud, and naughty with it.

Olivia Knight said...

Wine you, dine you, and sixty-nine you. Hell, I wish I'd said that. ("You will, Oscar, you will..." and damn right, I will too.) My memory of the Sheriff of Nottingham, however, is forever corrupted by Robin Hood: Men in Tights which has a much sexier Robin (and one who, unlike other Robin Hoods, can speak with an English accent.) But I can never remember which version has that priceless line about spooons...

Damn Erastes, she got to Lucius before I did. On the whole, I think it's the sheer bloody well-deserved arrogance of them. I have a weak spot for womanisers. (I wouldn't have a relationship with one, but I'm more than happy to manise right back at 'em.) And of course, sexual decadence is often used an extra "bad guy" signifier. And yes, their floors are going to be cleaned. Too many heroes are of the "just-a-normal-bloke-saves-the-world" ilk, traditionally signified by a scruffy house. Scruff is lovable in clothes and hair, but if one's going to be shagged on the carpet, one would just as soon not encounter pizza remnants and damp bits.

Oh, god. You gave me criminals and I managed to bring it back to housework. Flog me, please. No please, really. No, I mean it. I don't mind at all. Look, I brought my own whip and everything!

Janine Ashbless said...

Woah - Carla - that Jekyll production looks great! I'm kicking myself for missing it now. Off to Amazon, I guess...

Madelynne Ellis said...

Mostly I'm more of an anti-hero girl than and out and out villain addict, however, I do have to agree with Erastes on Lucius Malfoy. It's just the sheer beauty and arrogance of him. In a similar vein I have a thing about Phobos from W.I.T.C.H (yeah, I know it's kids TV) but he's seriously hot (even if he is a cartoon character) though my kids despair at me. Apparently, I'm not supposed to cheer for the bad guy!

Olivia Knight said...

Oh, and another thing - the villains are usually seriously, seriously bright, whereas the heroes are often just brave. Give me intelligence over gung-ho any time.

Janine Ashbless said...

Ooh yes - intelligence! Funny, the media equation between Brains and Evil, eh?

Edie Bingham said...

I missed out Stewart Granger in Moonfleet - one of my earliest out and out Phwoar moments. There's an oozing of confidence that makes my heart skip a little.

JamiSings - Amen on the Costner thing, though Bull Durham is one of my fave movies (I'm a big Tim Robbins fan ) but that movie is a prime example - Robin is 2 dimensional, and The Sherrif is 3 or 4D with charm and personality in spades.

So glad I'm not the only one burning for the badies :) especially good to drag up some of the Old Schoolers - James Mason, Yul Bryner, Sttewart Granger...

I know, showing my age. xx

Edie xxx

Madeline Moore said...

Bad boys. Must say Jekyll was fabulous and I'm hoping there's a season two. It was always a great moment, watching the good Dr turn into Hyde. Terrific work all around, on that series.

I'd like to come up with a new bad boy for the list. I have to agree on Hannibal. I said to Felix, when we were about to read the latest book, about H's youth - 'I am not going to feel sorry for Hannibal.' Well, it was the best written book of the bunch, and at the end - yup. Poooooor Hannnnibal! Same with the movie. For that reason, I won't watch Dexter. I said to Felix, I said 'I will only feel sorry for ONE serial killer, and that is Hannibal.

Oh! I got one! Frankenstein's monster! So terribly misunderstood. C'mere you big lug, let me tighten your lug nuts and teach you a little bit about charming the ladies.

Do monsters count as bad boys? He didn't mean to, no really he didn't, he just doesn't know his own strength!

Madeline Moore said...

Happy to see the old time bad boys in here, Edie. My first crush was on Robert Wagner in TV's 'It Takes A Thief.'

I wish I could come up with a bad boy played by Paul Newman. Luke?
Just want to say he was a class act right to the end.
Goodbye Blue Eyes... the women of the world will miss you.

Olivia Knight said...

You have to watch Dexter, Madeline. Sorry. It's not optional. If only for the most magnificent opening sequence ever, The Violence of Mornings. (I've always felt they were violent.) The Murder of the Orange... The Rape of the Eyelets... The Gimp-Mask T-Shirt... Anyway, while Dexter is a sympathetic character, I don't think one ever feels exactly sorry for him. So you're safe. (Unless you're an eyelet or an orange. Or a serial killer yourself.)

Kate Pearce said...

When I read Tom Brown's Schooldays, many years ago, the man I loved was Flashman-so evil so dirty and obviously sexual even I got it and I was a trifle naive.

Also like Lucius Malfoy-of course!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Carla, that was yummy. Is the rest of the series as good as that?

There's this one bit (I couldn't find) where he's stalking the good doctor's lovely lady assistant through a darkened apartment...

Edie Bingham said...

Oooh Nicola - I forgot about Q!! Ultimate naughty guy, definately! I loved his petulance (John Delancie is a lovely fella too - met him at a TRek Con once!!)

Edie xxx

JamiSings said...

I don't see Q or Frankenstein's monster as "bad boys" myself. Q is just mischievious but seems to have a good heart deep down. (Remember when gave Data the gift of laughter?) And F's monster is really a sweetheart who doesn't know you shouldn't throw little girls into lakes.

I've only read the Dexter books, not seen the show, but again, I have a hard time seeing him as bad cause he kills other killers, he especially loves to go after pedophiles cause he admits he likes kids and doesn't like people who hurt them. The book-Dexter also doesn't like sex (or anything to do with bodily fluids) - he kind of thinks "What's the big deal" about it.

Would Professor Snape count as a bad boy? Especially considering the last book? I'd rather do him then Malfoy, personally. But again, it is Rickman we're talking about.

When I was a kid I had a thing for The Riddler as played by Frank Gorshin. There's this one episode where he's leaving this box with a flashing question mark on it in a room with a blond girl. (She thinks it's a bomb, it's not.) Before he leaves, Riddler grabs her in his arms, turns her around so she's leaning back - and even though I know it just ends with him talking to her and then putting her back on her feet, I keep expecting him to kiss her in that bodice-ripper romance novel type way. Ever since the first time I saw that scene, I've fantasized about being grabbed and kissed like that. Especially by a bad boy who'll do anything in his power to seduce me and get me to submit to him.

Edie Bingham said...

Q messed with entire civilisations for his own amusement. He threw the crew of the enterprise at The Borg, with the excuse that "They were coming anyway, you needed to be prepared" when in fact he could quite easily have wiped them out of exhistence instead, thuis saving the need for the poor trekkers to "be prepared" He got away with seeming mischevious because of his sociopathoic charm.

Bad boy through and through, if only because he was choosing when and how he interfered, with no real concern for the consequences for others. Same with Dexter - what I love is that he challenges our flimsy morality by being charming and likeable, but the long and short is that not only is he capable of taking lives, but of calculatingly deciding who and when and how, and then chopping them up without remorse. He can indeed (as written of course) convince the watchers or readers that his morals are sound, but then, was it OK for Peter Sutcliffe killing prostitutes? He thought it was.... Not all his victims were prostitutes in the end, but if they had been, would that be OK? If it is OK, why leave it to serial killers, why doesn't the state sort it out for us? In Dexter's case, would we all be happy for him to be in the employ of the government? since he is doing a service? Woa, it's what I love most about charming bad guys, they convince you to redefine bad just for them :)

Edie - just theorising :)

Angell said...

As soon as I saw the title of this post, Rickman's Sherrif came to mind.

No one mentioned Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables? Intelligence, cunning, ruthlessness...only to repent at the end...Oh my....

I love the character of Dracula, and while Gary Oldman was fabulous, he wasn't quite as yummy as I would have liked him to be.

And the latest incarnation of Harvey Dent/Two Face...Aaron Eckhart - seriously so YUM. Although I don't know if he counts as a villan per se...

But I know that Heath Legers Joker sure does...funny, never found clowns to be sexy before...

JamiSings said...

I guess it's just hard for me to see either Q or Dexter as evil as they have kind of "for the greater good" at heart. They just go about it in the wrong way.

Now - Lore, Data's evil older andriod brother - he is pure evil. Remember when he was kind of King Of The Borg? Yes, I had a thing for Data (well, my first crush ever was Mr. Spock, so that explains a lot) - but I admit, it would be fun to dabble a bit with big brother Lore.

Edie Bingham said...

Yowsa!! I knew I'd miss out many great ones and you lusties haven't let me down! :) Lore!! Indeedy. I too had a thing about Data and I loved Lore, because you never really knew where you stood at all - I like the unpredictability - it's the opposite of what I need in an actual relationship, but that's what fantasies are for, right!! :)

Heath Ledgers Joker looks like he'd be a great candidate for the Periodic Table. (not had chance to see it yet tho)

Don't forget to check out my own bad guy, Mr Jonathan "Jack" Wheeler, and see if he'd win you're heart with his sly Southern Charm :) Southern Spirits is well worth a read if you love the bad guys!! :)

Edie xxx

t'Sade said...

I *love* Alan Rickman. Hans Gruber and also Snape... Snape is love for me, mainly because of the his attitude and dancing right on the edge of being "evil" (for the books I have read).

I do so much enjoy the idea of what a proper villian (even if I'm a magic/steampunk type of person) would do "off camera" as it were.

Yummy. :)

JamiSings said...

Ooo! Forgot another scifi baddy - The Master from Doctor Who! Not just evil, but has all those lovely Time Lord powers. So he could, when he's through with you, leave you in Salem during the witch trials and you end up in stocks.

The Doctor can be pretty bad and dark himself without a companion to keep him in line. Especially when Daleks are involved.

And of course there's always Evil Spock from the Mirrorverse.

If I keep going I'll probably end up taking this whole thing over. LOL I better shut up now.

Edie Bingham said...

Ya Jamisings - the Master is in there - how could he not be! The archetypal bearded villain!!

Edie xxx

JamiSings said...

You know, the entire Mirrorverse in Star Trek provides all sorts of bad boy yumminess. You have not only Evil Spock, Evil Kirk, etc, but Evil Picard, (Lore would probably be in Data's place in the Mirrorverse as suggested in the book Q&A), Evil Sisko, Evil Archer - I can't think of a guy on Voyager whom I'd want to do the Evil Sheet Mambo with, unless the hologram Doctor is Evil too. Cause IRL the guy who plays him can sing and I've got a weakness for a guy who can sing.

Sarah said...

I adore Alan Rickman!