The Most Evil Fictional Characters


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Boy, it's been a while since I've been here. Anyway, I wanted to start a thread about evil fictional characters, to see who you guys would nominate. There are gut wrenching villains like Hannibal Lecter and Ragyo. Then there are the more, I guess, iconic bad guys who are more about being the best villains out there. Rand's villains were pretty original, but I just don't think they were really evil. Here's someone who I think looks pretty damn cruel and hellish:

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Interesting question.

Hannibal Lecter was a psychopath, but it could be argued that he wasn't necessarily a bad guy, at least not according to the source material. The people he killed were either pretty bad people themselves or people he felt threatened his existence or the existence of those he loved. A twisted mind, of course.

My son and I are reading A Wrinkle in Time right now. IT is definitely a bad guy, and a Randian villian of sorts since he seeks to eradicate the individual.

I Am Legend, again according to the source material not the movie(s), presents a situation where we think we know who the hero is until the end when we find out that he is actually the legendary feared monster.

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Very rare that movie villians or monsters jolt me, because no matter how well its done I know its a fiction.

The scariest things are reality based. Although Psycho made an impression at 9 yrs old. Picked up again with Dexter. Now that for me was a scary tale basing his character on a disturbing scene in his youth. It was very human.

Thomas Harris wrote his story and based it on a real person.

http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/04/20/the-terrifying-hannibal-lecter-was-based-on-a-real-criminal/

No one scared me more than my old man. He ate snakes. )

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and gave you an awful name.)

Heres where that came from. During emails coming of age, it was my street address. And it has proven to be a good one too. Google can kma. )

It takes one to know one. ) My given name is Geoff. I feel a little funny introducing myself to whYNOT. )

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and gave you an awful name.)

Heres where that came from. During emails coming of age, it was my street address. And it has proven to be a good one too. Google can kma. )

It takes one to know one. ) My given name is Geoff. I feel a little funny introducing myself to whYNOT. )

Smile for Tony, he is a South Africaner and photographer...

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and gave you an awful name.)

Heres where that came from. During emails coming of age, it was my street address. And it has proven to be a good one too. Google can kma. )

It takes one to know one. ) My given name is Geoff. I feel a little funny introducing myself to whYNOT. )

Only funnin' with ya Geoff.

Are you old enough to remember A Boy Named Sue from way back?

Pleased to meet you.

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and gave you an awful name.)

Heres where that came from. During emails coming of age, it was my street address. And it has proven to be a good one too. Google can kma. )

It takes one to know one. ) My given name is Geoff. I feel a little funny introducing myself to whYNOT. )

Only funnin' with ya Geoff.

Are you old enough to remember A Boy Named Sue from way back?

Pleased to meet you.

Peshaw.

Jesus you nailed it with that song.

"Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad

From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,

And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.

He was big and bent and gray and old,

And I looked at him and my blood ran cold"

Nice to make your acquaintance also, Tony.

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Samson,

I have a list of things I want to mention about this, especially the characteristics of what bad guys are (so we can try to measure our favorite bastards against each other :) ), but for now, you might be interested in looking into a guy named Dan O'Bannon, unfortunately now deceased. He created some iconic monsters for the movies like Alien, Schwarzenegger's alter-ego in Total Recall and so on.

Google him and go to YouTube for videos. The guy has a lot of great advice about creating evil things for stories. (I looked into him because I got his posthumous book on screenwriting.)

More coming...

Michael

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Very interesting topic. The word "evil" is pretty problematic, as it is somewhat subjective and doesn't really have a specific objective meaning. It would be helpful to first define what makes a person evil, and then continue from there.

As far as villains go, I don't think Hannibal Lecter is particularly bad. Usually the other killers in the Hannibal movies are much worse.

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Boy, it's been a while since I've been here. Anyway, I wanted to start a thread about evil fictional characters, to see who you guys would nominate.

I nominate the fictional character named "Kant" whom Rand invented, and whom her followers add to by inventing zany, scary fan art of the character's destructive exploits and influence.

J

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Boy, it's been a while since I've been here. Anyway, I wanted to start a thread about evil fictional characters, to see who you guys would nominate.

I nominate the fictional character named "Kant" whom Rand invented, and whom her followers add to by inventing zany, scary fan art of the character's destructive exploits and influence.

J

But Kant can't scare you.

I was scared most by the Blob in The Blob--the original movie, closely followed by the creature in The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

--Brant

you had to be young and it had to be back then for today's kids won't watch black and white movies

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"Believable"? Are you sure he's fictional?

--Brant

Without authenticity and believability he's a thin cardboard figure. Almost the same as with a heroic character, the reader has to be persuaded by an author of the villain's credibility as 'real life' person - and as having a few redeeming features (like Lector) or at least some human qualities to gain the strongest effect of his evil.

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"Believable"? Are you sure he's fictional?

--Brant

Maybe not. My understanding is that Graham took his inspiration from a real life figure he ran into in southern Mexico.

He was the Kant to Rand's Ellsworth Toohey.

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This is a difficult subject because a lot of "evil" villains are simply not very believable.

Platonic avatars of Evil... Satan-archetypes... characters who are evil-for-the-sake-of-evil... are impossible to really get. They're impossible to comprehend.

This is because human beings deliberately try to act in a way that's good. The difference is that we have radically different views of what counts as "good." ISIS believe themselves to be fighting on the side of good, after all. Even though they are obviously evil, their version of Islam enshrines them as good.

It is against human nature to act in a way one sincerely believes to be evil. People can absolutely act in ways which are in-fact evil, but they do so because they believe it may be the lesser of evils, or that it is actually good.

I know we all have a lowish opinion of Kant, but Kant described this idea of actors who knowingly embrace evil as the "diabolical will" and he argued it did not exist. For all of Kant's mistakes, he wasn't wrong on that.

Hitler may have been evil, but he BELIEVED he was good. And frankly, that makes Hitler scarier. Do you think fundamentalists or the like believe themselves to be evil? I believe H L Mencken said that the worst tyranny is the tyranny driven by good intentions. Belief that one is good and that one is right can provide a psychological license to commit evil. The road to hell is paved in good intentions.

So I find it difficult to discuss the idea of the "most evil" fictional villain. Are we talking about actual evil or cartoony evil? Then there's the issue of mental disorders and the like; if these conditions are neurological, then it becomes harder to describe them as "evil."

Fictional characters who are "pure evil" are impossible to relate to, impossible to understand. They don't have a motivation which makes sense to anyone. Desire for money is understandable. Desire for revenge is understandable. Even the idea that existence is suffering and therefore the destruction of existence is a good thing is understandable (because everyone wants to avoid suffering).

So does this topic want the most "evil" villains? Or the most effective villains (i.e. the best villains)?

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I have no opinion about Kant. I have some opinions about some people who have opinions about Kant.

Ellsworth Toohey was about as evil a character as Rand could imagine (with some outside model as help). She couldn't understand much less retain the evil of a man who butchered up a little girl. A lot of evil is deference to authority as illustrated by Milgram. That makes doing evil very easy for many.

It took me decades to grow out of susceptibility to authority. Few do, unfortunately. Children are trained to defer to authority. That's the hard core essence of their education. They then grow old and die, still no more than children that way. Their reward is in the form of sundry "benefits"--psychological and economic. One economic benefit in working lives is to have many occupations protected by certifications and restricted immigration.

--Brant

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Toohey represents maximum evil because, clearly, he knew better. He knew exactly what he was doing (in wishing, scheming and taking actions to defeat man's independent mind, our ultimate value, and forseeing the human suffering it must eventually cause). In other words, a prime "evader", who accurately identified and appreciated the merits of his 'enemy' better than most knew themselves - but would employ his insight to destroy them.

'Evasion as evil' may be seen by some as an Objectivist idiosyncracy, one which I'm sure is too casually tossed out on occasions. However, it serves the essential purpose of broadening evil outside of its normally accepted parameters and widening the scope of moral responsibility.

(Our common fall-back on the usual culprits, "Hitler" and "Stalin" (now, "Isis") and other 'obvious' evil doers is overly facile, I think. It seems a stretch, but, in principle, murdering one man and ordering the eradication of many is the same thing. In the full sense of "evasion", for every "Hitler" there had to be tens of thousands of equivalent evaders who supported his ideology, knew what they were doing, physically saw the consequences and faithfully went on carrying out their 'duties').

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