Welcome back to Villains and Villainy! Last week, we looked at the masterminds, some of the villains who have the most fun, hands down. But if there are any villains that are more fun to watch, it’s the crazy ones.
|Like Azula... who is crazy, but I will be looking at for a different category|
These villains are completely nutty and don’t operate on the same rules that the heroes do. They have off the wall reasons for doing things, or perhaps no reason at all. And they’re always a delight to watch.
|In fact here's a battle between two nutjobs from Baccano. Gotta love 'em|
It should be noted that I do not mean ‘crazy’ in the sense that a villain has a mental illness. While this might be true of some in the archetype, I recommend against using a mental illness as a cheap, easy explanation for why your villain does what they do. Also, misrepresentation of mental illness is a problem and it needs to be avoided.
No, when I talk about crazy villains, its all in their carriage and how they handle life. There may not be anything technically wrong with them, but there world view is twisted into seven kinds of knots.
The fun think about this villain type is that it has so many possibilities and levels. A villain can have a touch of crazy or be absolutely gone. The key is to find the balance that will make your story the most interesting.
For instance, a villain has to be sane enough to offer a challenge for the heroes. If they’re completely nuts, they won’t be much of a threat. And yet, they’re also unpredictable which makes it hard to predict their movements. Their off the wall view on life can often lend to interesting spotlights on the human condition. It helps us see human beings from a different angle and its endlessly fascinating.
The crazy villains often have so much fun with what they’re doing as well, and I can get behind any character who has a passion for what they do. But they do not necessarily have to enjoy what they do. They can be disturbingly crazy as well, not enjoying what they do but still believing in some way, that what they’re doing is ultimately right. In my spotlight this Friday, I will look at two different villains who each handle their insanity very differently.
The key thing to remember with crazy villains is that they still need rules. You can’t excuse yourself from the mechanics of reality. And if you do choose to give them a mental illness of some kind, be damn sure you research it, because mental illness does not need misrepresentation.
Every nutty villain has rules. But these are rules that make sense to them. And as long as they make sense to one person, you have a solid foundation for a crazy.