Tuesday, October 23, 2007

By the pricking of my thumbs. . .

So, I like lots of villains, really. I like ones that scare me, I like the ones in mystery books (when you don’t know who they are until the end,) I like goofy, inept ones . . . it’s hard to pick a favorite.

But Halloween is next week, and that has long been my favorite holiday. October is my favorite month in general, and Halloween is the perfect end to it. So, in honor of Halloween, I’ll say for now that my acme of bad-guy-ness is Mr. Dark from Ray Bradbury’s classic Something Wicked This Way Comes.

The first time I read that book, it was a grey, windy day in October in Indiana – the kind where enormous sycamore leaves are cartwheeling across the lawn like scared animals and the clouds are low and heavy. I could feel that carnival blowing into town. Cooger and Dark were somewhere out there, I was sure of it.

And he knew. Mr. Dark knew exactly what to say to people, what it was that they wanted most, what one thing would make them screw up so royally that he’d own them for all of eternity. He had all those tattoos (nothing against those – I have some myself!) that turned out to be reminders of all the people he’d conquered (that’s the creepy part.) It made me shiver. Plus, in this day of too much, too gory, too depraved, like those Saw movies that I can’t watch, or half of the adult horror books out there that I can’t read . . . Mr. Dark is a pure villain. He’s scary without being gross. His possibilities are what terrify me about him. I love that.

So in honor of Halloween – Mr. Dark. Best Villain. Shudder.

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