Back in 1989, creating a perfect Joker was as simple as painting Jack Nicholson white and letting him whiskey-jackal that shit up. Heath Ledger was at the disadvantage of not naturally sounding like a strangle monster – and as a result gave The Joker a crazy-ass voice to compensate. It made sense for the specific character, but until that moment, creepy voices weren’t exactly the style for actors playing supervillains.
Out of all the famous comic villains leading up to 2008, the only one even close to attempting a bizarre delivery is Green Goblin – and even that is partially Willem Dafoe’s routinely terrifying inflections. Everyone else just used their regular speaking voice, and we were fine with that.
Then the late Ledger nabbed an Oscar and all of Hollywood bought a one-way ticket to cackle-town.
Suddenly, every bad guy growled, squawked, boomed, reverberated – lines were overly enunciated, garbled, muffled, foreign. Scenery was chewed to shreds as if by the fucking Langoliers. And while a lot of these choices were justified (if not pretty genius) at times (see: The Mandarin), I’ve yet to figure out why Lex Luthor is suddenly channeling The Mad Hatter. Equally am I baffled that Tony Stark designs A.I. to sound like James Spader snarling through an echo mic, or why Zod always seems to have a mouth full of wheat paste.
The Art of Writing Horror: Motivation For The Antagonist
This post today is more about writing fiction in general than writing horror, but the rules still apply. I’m going to talk a little about character development and why it’s important to consider, even when writing your story’s main villain.
Let’s start with Craig Toomey, the main antagonist in Stephen King’s, “The Langoliers”. For my money King is the master of character development and not just in horror either.
If you haven’t read the Langoliers then let me give you a brief synopsis. A group of strangers wake up on a commercial airliner en route to Boston to find that most of the people on the plane have disappeared. Toomey, one of the few left on the plane, is a fascinating character. As the story unfolds, we find out that he was traveling to Boston to commit career suicide. He was a business man who had been pushed to the brink his entire life by an overbearing father and a mother who didn’t love him. He’s a sympathetic character. As we read about his life story we begin to feel empathy for Mr. Toomey, who only desperately wants to escape the life his father forced him into. All he desires is to be his own man. And guess what? He’s the bad guy.
Finding himself smack dab in the middle of a paranormal phenomenon is enough to crack Toomey’s already fragile psyche. He becomes distraught and paranoid. Once the plane lands in a seemingly abandoned airport, he runs off from the rest of the group and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
The story is a powerful one, not because of “cool monsters” (or whatever the hell they are) like the Langoliers. It’s Toomey’s internal turmoil that sells it. We as readers see why he’s choosing to commit the terrible acts that he does and we feel bad for him. We sympathize with him and it makes us feel conflicted. That right there is good storytelling.
So next time you’re writing a story, try to think about what’s happening from the bad guy’s point of view. Writing horror is so much more than, “and then this creepy thing happened.” You have the opportunity to tell your readers the hopes, thoughts, and dreams of the characters you’re trying to bring to life! Don’t forget about the villains!
Hey, gee wiz Doc! How do you- how do you do the time traveling?
Boy, I’m glad you asked, Little Tommy.
Well, to keep it to the basics, nowadays when the time car travels through time, it creates a new timeline and forever leaves behind the one it came from.
So in this example, from an outsider’s perspective, Timeline A, the time car just disappears and is never heard from again. But in the new timeline, Timeline B, it- it reappears in the future… or appears to come out of nowhere if in the past.
It gets a little more complicated after that… anyway we can all agree the time car is awesome.
Okay so I had wanted to do this with more promo time, but the storm and boredom forced my hand… I guess we’ll call tonight a test pilot. A test pilot of RETSU THEATER! Remember those big changes I was talking about? This is one of them! Retsu Theater is going to be a weekly stream of crap movies and VHS miscellany on cytube. Every week! I actually have quite a collection of weird crap, from art films to weird Christian propaganda shit. It’s gonna be great!
I guess you can consider this the non-canon KTMA season… Anyway, in our pilot ep, we’ll be watching the single most inane made-for-TV movie I’ve ever seen. Based on the worst thing Stephen King ever did (yes, worse than the Shining miniseries), it’s THE LANGOLIERS! In which soda being carbonated is a major plot point. I cannot even describe how bad this movie is.
Are creatures in the Stephen King novella of the same name. This novelle was included with three other novellas in Four Past Midnight released in 1990. They are depicted as ravenous fur balls with no legs and three mandibles. Their only form of sustenence would appear to be time. As time passes, they devour the universe that is left behind. The only way to come into contact with one is by being asleep as you pass through a time rift.
The Langoliers possess no visible organs besides skin, teeth, and mandibles. While the monsters described by Toomey in his father’s stories had fur and legs, these creatures have an almost reptilian skin texture and no legs. Their means of locomotion is flight, but they possess no wings or propulsive organs making the nature of this flight mysterious.
The Langoliers’ teeth are a silver color, with the consistency of liquid. In their jaws, these teeth rotate around the three mandibles and morph shape continuously. Regarding intelligence, it is extremely unlikely that the Langoliers have any kind of consciousness greater than that of a basic bacterium. As they appear, they have no brains, no eyes, no sensory organs whatsoever, but still seem able to detect sounds and sights and hunt organic prey.
type: scenario summary: either he has her, or he has her not -it’s his
decision. genre: angst warning: language, trigger word count: 6.317 note: there will be no part three to that, so you better
enjoy it hehe. gah, it came out really lame lmao, it was cooler in my
imagination but i think i’m still a little bit rusty from the vacation, wah.
for those who didn’t read the first part…well, i think it’s kind off
necessary since it’s better for understanding so click here:
by the way, the book used in
this scenario is langoliers by stephen king (aka one of my fave writers).
“I’m not sure
if we should keep this part here or transfer it to the beginning and have it on
repeat. What do you think?”
Jung Hoseok didn’t
expect Min Yoongi to answer immediately -after all, he was known to think a lot
and to keep most of the thoughts to himself, choosing carefully between the
decisions in his head before picking out the best one. But this time, it was as
if he didn’t hear him -and that was almost impossible because Yoongi was one of
the most attentive person Jung Hoseok knew, and he knew a lot of persons, hell,
almost the whole of the college was friends with him.
lunarprincessyue just gave me the most fascinating idea: What if someone did play the “elevator game”, it actually worked (as admittedly far-fetched and unscientific as the notion is), and they ended up stuck in that parallel universe?
What if, like in The Langoliers, the food there tasted bland? What if the matches there wouldn’t light? What if everything seemed eerie and abandoned, like in Silent Hill? What if you weren’t meant to be there, and disrupted something by entering? What if, like in the “reset game”, there was an alternate version of yourself that you either had to avoid, or kill?
Oh man, this could make such an awesome horror movie. Maybe slightly derivative, but it could be pure gold in the hands of the right person. Imagine if it was an Italian horror movie from the late 70′s.