The Great Villain Blogathon: Waldo Lydecker, Laura, 1944

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This post is part of the Great Villain Blogathon hosted by Ruth of Silver Screenings, Karen of Shadows & Satin, and Kristina of Speakeasy  — see all the movie baddies at any of these three blogs.

YES, there will be SPOILERS.

“I don’t use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.” – Waldo Lydecker

When it comes to film noir, the 1944 film Laura is a bit of an odd duck. Most detective noirs widen their scope to the lower echelons of society, including the underworld of organized crime. Rich characters may be revealed as slumming among the lower dregs of society, as drug addicts or other kinds of addicts (i.e. The Big Sleep). The crime may have international and/or political implications (i.e. The Maltese Falcon and Chinatown).

Laura never leaves the upper crust world of its handful of characters. It’s structured more like an English cozy mystery. Instead of a matronly busybody, a professional detective investigates the crime.

The film opens after Laura Hunt’s (Gene Tierney) murder has occurred and is narrated by Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb). He is a newspaper columnist and radio commentator who was her friend and mentor. Police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) questions him. He also interviews her fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) and aunt, Anne Treadwell (Judith Anderson). Continue reading “The Great Villain Blogathon: Waldo Lydecker, Laura, 1944”

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Writers, Know Your Archetypes: The Shadow

ClariceLecter

I will be participating in The Great Villain Blogathon next week, so what better way to set the tone than a post about the shadow archetype?

1. I’ve already done a post with tips for creating a great antagonist, but shadow characters don’t necessarily have to be antagonists or villains.

As I will demonstrate with examples, it’s perfectly possible for shadow characters to have functions in a story other than that of the antagonist.

2. That said, shadow characters make fantastic antagonists.
Continue reading “Writers, Know Your Archetypes: The Shadow”

9 Tips For Creating A Great Antagonist

1. Think of your antagonist as the potential outcome for your protagonist. We hear a lot about how antagonists should contrast with your protagonist, but few people recognize how many great antagonists are actually very much like the protagonist. General Zod is exactly what humanity fears Superman COULD become (an alien out to dominate and/or destroy humanity). Harry Potter fears constantly that he will become like Voldemort, because he can also speak with snakes (in fact, a part of Voldemort literally lives within Harry). Darth Vader is the Jedi knight who gave into the temptation of the dark side of … Continue reading 9 Tips For Creating A Great Antagonist

My Favorite Female TV Villains

Note that I’m saying “favorite” instead of “best” female TV villains. I haven’t seen every TV show, and it’s mostly a matter of opinion, anyway. Here are my top five favorite female villains on TV, past and present: 1. Gillian Darmody, Boardwalk Empire: I’ll admit I’d never been that impressed by Gretchen Mol as an actress before her first scene on Boardwalk Empire. That’s when her character jumped topless into the arms of a young man who turned out to be her own son. Thus began the tale of the chilling Oedipal nightmare that is Gillian Darmody. An undoubted victim … Continue reading My Favorite Female TV Villains

Reality TV Show Villains – Real Or Not Real?

I’m not one of those people who seek to trash reality TV or their viewers. Mainly, because I like some reality TV a lot. Mostly the competition shows, like The Amazing Race, Top Chef, Face-Off (my personal favorite) and Project Runway. The ones featuring celebrities who weren’t celebrities until they got a reality show aren’t my cup of tea, but to each their own. One thing I’ve never thought about reality TV is that it’s actually real. A while back there was a big hoo-ha over HGTV’s ubiquitous show House Hunters not being real. Turns out, the people on the … Continue reading Reality TV Show Villains – Real Or Not Real?