Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday's Ways... To Craft Your Timeless Villain

JA from MNPP here, once again doing a next-day brief-riff on my most recent Thursday Ways Not To Die post over at my blog, this time on Alex Proyas' 1998 film Dark City.

Dark City is a film that's an amalgamation of many parts before it - a big steaming dose of Metropolis of course, with some of Blade Runner's future-noir sprinkled on top, so on and so forth, ad infinitum... and nowhere is this more evident than in the design for The Strangers, the evil group of beings that seem to be controlling whatever it is that's going on that's making out main characters so confused and dour all the time:

Bald and pale and clad in black... I just know I've seen that somewhere before! Did you know that Dark City's Strangers influenced Joss Whedon's idea of what The Gentlemen, his villains in the terrifying 4th season episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called "Hush", would look like?

Yes, he basically admitted he ripped Dark City off. But Dark City's Strangers were rip-off's themselves! Oh "rip-off" is such a cruel word. Influenced by, of course, is what I mean. So I just thought it'd be fun to point out the top five influences that came to mind when I thought of things that must've, in turn, influenced the design of The Strangers. Why five? Because random lists are fun!

1) Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

2) The Cenobites from Hellraiser

3) The Borg from Star Trek

4) Nosferatu, duh

5) Slugworth from Willy Wonka

Got any others? Tell us in the comments. I can think of several more, but sadly limited myself to five... them's the rules of finite lists!

And we all know what this entire post comes out to mean: Bald is evil. Evil!!!

Fun fact! Did you know that the lovely actor David Wenham, aka Faramir in The Lord of the Rings, played one of The Strangers in Dark City? Well he did:




as someone who loses more hair every year and now shaves his head... I resent Hollywood's insistence that I'm pure evil. I'm TOTALLY sweet.

Except for when I hate a movie.

Billy D said...

Except for effeminite men, yes, the baldies do get a bad rap. Perhaps it's a whole lack of virility thing? Watch out for those eunuchs!

Jason Adams said...

I knew you'd appreciate my conclusion there, Nat.

And even though I've got a full head-o-hair that doesn't appear to be going anywhere, I get a free-pass since my boyfriend's bald as the day he was born.

And isn't the opposite true, billy - I could've sworn that I read something about how bald men actually have too much testosterone. Am I nuts?

null said...

And then there's also the luscious Richard O'Brien and his many odd roles...

Anonymous said...

ja - According to a citation on the "Baldness" wikipedia page, "Increased total or free testosterone would help them build and repair muscle, but may cause susceptible individuals to lose hair." So, sometimes. I guess.

M said...

I can never recognize David Wenham for films I've already seen. He always looks so bloody different in each.

Glenn said...

That's because Wenham is amazing.

I always saw the Strangers as a mix between Pinhead and Nosferatu, but I will forever imagine there's a bit of Dr Doom in there for good measure.


from my understanding of concepts of virility... body hair is associated with it but so is baldness...

so like... is there anyone who would think that, say, Bob Hoskins isn't manly? Bruce Willis and Jason Statham. Totally manly. That sort of thing.

but i'm the guy who thinks concepts of gender and manliness and womanly and whatever are ridiculous to some degree. I hate all the "becoming a man" "becoming a woman" stuff that's constantly spewed at us. It's often dangerous ('becoming a man' gets equated with stuff like inflicting violence and so on... or stifling your feeling. 'don't cry. take it like a man' etcetera...)

to me if you have a penis you're a man and if you have a vagina you're a woman -so it stays pretty simple that way ;)

Chris Na Taraja said...

Here are a few possible influences for the Strangers, off the top of my head (pun intended)

The Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Arc

Mr. Dark from Something Wicked This Way Comes

Clockwork Orange (even though they wore white and had all their hair)

Dr Evil from Austin Powers

Demi Moore in GI Jane

Sinead O'conner in her infamous Pope ripping picture incedent on SNL

So what if someone is born with a penis and a vagina, or a mix of something like that, like a paginis?! Not so simple anymore.

Pfangirl said...

Definitely the Nazi agent in Raiders of the Lost Ark... and although I'm pretty sure he had hair, Kane from 2nd Poltergeist film as well.


Chris --panginis. What? my head is spinning

Ian said...

Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street, bald and also wears a similar "gangster hat."

Seeing_I said...

I can't believe anybody didn't pick up on this - they are obviously "Men In Black." Not smirky Will Smith ones, but the real-deal creepy ones who've been allegedly intimidating UFO witnesses for decades.