Monday, October 31, 2011

The Psychopath

I find, far more frightening than the monsters, whether humanoid or furry, are the PEOPLE with... erm... sometimes no conscience... sometimes it is an alternative consciousness... I will include, for the sake of this, people with psychic power—mind control, telekinesis... the scariest villain I ever ran across was able to look at someone and turn them to a puddle of slime... yeah. Good skill.

Now I prefer my psychopaths of a 'non-natural' form... that is to say, I don't want someone just born with a bad brain, even though this is the more common form. What is better in a BOOK, though, is justified psychopathology... a person who is MADE... who is really rotten because of experiences they had. And I am NOT talking about Jason from Halloween, though Freddie Krueger has some appeal because how he kills is so scary.

Those psychic powers though, are best if they run in the family... it is a nice opportunity to set up dark backstory and 'fate'... to pit the story hero against a villain who is FAMILY—sort of a making right.

Sickos of the best sort?

Hannibal Lecter comes to mind. I think his charm and intelligence are what makes him so compelling that you can sort of love (but definitely fear) a cannibal. I love that he is a bad guy helping the good side... in fact, in Silence of the Lambs, he is not actually the villain... but MAN, is he spooky!?

How about Norman Bates? Man, talk about a psychopath with a good reason!? Man, you'd be a psycho too with a mother like that! But I find he is all the scarier because he has that sort of nerdy charm I love... he is awkward and self-deprecating... and I am torn between wanting to helping him and knowing he is terrifying.

There is all variety of sicko out there. There are serial killers. There are people who just like to hurt... people and even animals (you KNOW the people who hurt animals are even worse, yes? Don't they pull the heart strings bigger?)

But HERE, again, I prefer villains where it's personal. I want to understand their motivation, even as they scare me. If they are horrible for no reason, I frankly can't stomach it.

I also love to hate villains who aren't particularly 'sick' but rather are power drunk or self righteous in thinking they are 'doing the right thing' when in fact they are either following unfair laws or are using unjust means. They can be the worst of all—think about Dolores Umbridge and her 'Order at any cost' regime.

I think the idea that there are really frightening people walking around among us, unidentified... terrifying... though I also like the idea that SOME people can see them... I plan to watch Grimm, even though I didn't see it while it was on... that is the idea... it brings to life the idea of the monsters among us that only a few can identify...

I wish all of you a very happy Halloween!!!


Old Kitty said...

Oh now I'm scared! They are out there and they certainly are not most NAKED! Yikes!! And I think I work with one of "them"..!! LOL!

I've already mention this person before in another blog but I thought Carrie's mum was a bit of a monster too.

Happy Halloween!! Take care

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Halloween, psychopaths and a Naked Tart -- why am I not surprised. LOL


Dana said...

Hi Hart!

Dana from ABNA here - great post!

I agree, I'm far more terrified of the human villians (can't watch CSI anymore when hubby's away) than any imagined moster.

I'll confess to being a total Lecterphile! He's a fascinating (and frightening) character who's gruesome practices are only matched by his charm and elegance.

How about Dexter? I love the idea of a serial killer fighting to hold onto some sort of moral code - only kill other killers. He's hot (but I wouldn't want to be alone with him).

Best wishes!

Deb said...

Great post Hart! Scaaaaary food for thought. May I add Dexter to that list? Such a compelling character. I have never really rooted for a serial killer until he came along!

vic caswell said...

yes! this is my scariest list as well! though, i prefer scary with no supernatural powers. and scary because of flawed philosophy and zealousness is great!!!
happy halloween lady!

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-Oh, yes... some definitely scary mums out there! *shivers*

Mary-so now what we need is NAKED Psychopaths, eh? *snort*

Dana-hey, welcome! Oh, I LOVE Dexter--and he makes the exception to that 'not natural' as he IS natural but it trying to fight it. It's a fabulous twist.

Deb-Oh, yes--Absolutely!

Hart Johnson said...

Vic-I think my special powers love is a layover from my horror reading days. And I really like them both ways.

Unknown said...

people are definitely scarier...little story, an artist who shared a studio with me, started show definite signs of being a psychopath- hung a noose at the entrance to my studio space- wrote dark poetry -thinly veiled attacks on me - black roses...I quickly and quietly left that building!!! we hardly have to look far to find the "crazies" for character studies. :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oh, I loved this villain breakdown. I think sociopathes are some of the scariest!

Krista McLaughlin said...

Umbridge totally creeps me out and she is definitely a psychopath. Great post about villains!

Happy Halloween!

LTM said...

oh, yes. Those Dolores Umbridge types are so wicked and can cause so much more damage than your average slasher. Scary.

Hey, you have a happy Halloween, too! Yay! :o) <3

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Oh I couldn't stand Dolores Umbridge. She was such a villain. I hated her almost instantly.

Hart Johnson said...

Sylvia-you gave me shivers! Man, that would freak me out. I've known some creepy people, but no one I had to share space with.

Katie-the sociopaths are scary, but at least you can spot them--they differ from psychopath in an inability to 'fit in'. but yeah... scary.

Krista-Yup--I find her far more frightening that Voldemort, or even Belletrix because she thinks she's on the 'good' side.

Leigh, exactly! So scary they work in government!

Michael-me too! Man, I spotted her at that trial!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I thought the pilot for Grimm was good. You'll have to watch it, Hart.

Deb and Barbara said...

What about Dexter??? So loveable! Apparently American Horror Story is the one to watch ... if you dare :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Well said. Those are the monsters that scare me most, too.

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Southpaw said...

Great villain dissection.

Johanna Garth said...

Ooh, I'm with you. People are way scarier than zombies any day!!

Hart Johnson said...

Alex-watched it today--I liked it, though not as well as 'Once'.

Barbara-absolutely on Dexter! And thanks for the reminder on American Horror Story--that has been on my list but I keep LOSING my list!

Carol-yeah, right?! teehee.

Prasetyo-Welcome! Always love new readers and I will stop in!

Holly-thank you!

Johanna-well maybe not scarier than REAL Zombies... but definitely scarier because the one is real and the other not so much...

CA Heaven said...

We had lots of scary monsters on our door tonight. I gave them some candy, and they all left happy and smiling >:)

Cold As Heaven

Helena said...

I saw Grimm and (ironically) liked the helpful human/werewolf best. He's a good dash of humor in the plot.

Danette said...

Pretty scary, no doubt about it. I was always most frightened by the Hitchcock thrillers which where seemingly average people who could murder for no apparent reason. 'Suspicion' comes to mind... Another scary one (not Hitchcock) 'The Bad Seed'. *shivers* You made my Halloween!