Unintentionally Silly Over the Top Villains (Spoilers)

I’m probably going to regret starting this thread, for want of brain bleach, but I’m reading the first Jack Reacher book (some open spoilers to follow.) It’s very gripping in parts, but I’m a little sensitive to the horror elements.

So when I initially read what the villains do to their victims, I was disturbed.

Spoiler - really disturbing or possibly stupid

They show up in slick protective gear, nail you to the wall, cut off your balls and force your wife to eat them. Then they mutilate your wife while you watch, and kill her, then kill you.

Objectively this is a nightmare scenario. The kind of thing that would normally keep me up at night.

But the longer I thought about this, the stupider it sounded. Apparently these teams of four show up in hazmat style rubber gear and pull all of this off in just ten minutes. They wear little plastic footies. And they’ve bought out the entire town. And they are also killing everyone everywhere at this point which seems pretty sloppy. Plus is it actually possible to swallow a testicle?

Have you ever read a scary book or seen a film that just tries too hard, backfires and becomes unintentionally silly?

Is it just me?

Still an enjoyable read!

Agreed !
I’m thinking the same about the Lincoln Rhyme series.

007 went up against some pretty silly villains.

Jeez! I thought from the thread title that you were going to be talking about guys like Turner D. Century or The Codpiece

Castration is more a bit further over the top than I expected. They didn’t even castrate The Codpiece

any villain that declares themselves “evil” or calls on the spirits of evil …

Just curious, haven’t read that book although I have read at least one Reacher book, what was the point to all that gruesomeness? I mean, was there some mastermind with a plan, or was it just mayhem for the sake of it?

It’s actually a really interesting question, because most of the time in modern cinema (books being slightly different), those villains are intentionally over the top, so childishly evil that at some level you are being pointed at laughing at them as fools / tropes / safely unrealisticly evil and therefore safe.

Most of the first dozen OTT antagonists all fell in the category. It’s a Lot harder to find a villain that was intended to be played straight but comes off after the fact as silly / trying to hard.

The closest I can think of in recent memory is Jigsaw from The Saw franchise, although I could still argue that it’s still in the above category. I mean really, why the hell go through all that work just to mentally torture a few people. Sure, there’s the extra thrill, but with all that work… nawwww.

Possible overlapping tropes: For the Evulz, Stupid Evil

In the TV series, Reacher says it is a message to the other employees. “Don’t fuck up!”

I remember being fairly impressed by the Chung Kuo series - despite having far too many characters than it truly needed - and expecting to be reading it for quite a while, to get to an exciting end. When suddenly, the author realized that he’d forgotten to make the bad guy “bad” and felt like he needed to make up for the lost time. So, without any warning, you turn the page and an otherwise fairly ordinary character… puts on a spiked metal penis-sheath of enormous size and murder-rapes someone with it.

I think I finished the book and then decided…nah. If you’re writing stories this complicated and yet can’t develop a proper villain, it’s probably not going to be worth waiting to see if you can pull all of this together into something coherent.

Same in the book. The guy they did it to fucked up and they were sending a message to the others.

It felt a little, I don’t know if gratuitous is the right word, but you could tell the same story effectively without all that. Also this is just getting into preferences for villains, but there’s no attempt to flesh out any of these baddies. Even the regular henchmen are nondescript looming adversaries.

The result in my opinion is that the book drags on the back end because they’ve already done the scariest thing, so where can the stakes go at that point? Afterwards people are dying and it’s like, “Yeah, but they only got stabbed. Big deal.”

Lol I swear I’m not a sociopath. I’m normally really disturbed by things like this.

Wasn’t there a Hannibal Lecter book where he cuts open some guy’s skull and eats the brains while the guy’s still alive? I seem to remember saying “Oh, come on now…” at that point. That was just stupid.

I don’t remember any of those steps in How To Make Friends And Influence People.

I remember one where a victim of Lecter tries to get revenge by having him eaten by pigs. I think more than a few genres of book and film would be eliminated if the sane advice of “Just shoot him” was accepted.

That makes me kinda sad because Hannibal was pretty effective in the first book. The saddest thing is when a good villain is taken over the top in subsequent stories to the point they become ridiculous.

Haha that reminds me of Marvel’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

“Are we the baddies?”

/Mitchell and Webb

Is she allowed to chew or just swallow in general? 4x3x2 cm is apparently the average human testical size, or one hard boiled egg. So, only if they can chew.

I think the gross torture porn is sort of a phase, like the BDSM crap from the 70s [anybody remember Sharon Green? Her Amazon Warrior series is chock full of really nasty BDSM crap similar to the Gor novels. ]

It stands to reason that if she chewed, it wouldn’t be recognized on the autopsy as testicles.

No matter which way you slice it, it’s hard to swallow.

I do a lot of eye-rolling at super-intelligent villains who can predict anything or manipulate anyone to a ludicrous degree. That’s why I was somewhat disappointed by BBC series Sherlock where about half of the episodes featured some kind of ridiculous villain.

That was in Hannibal from 1999, and I’m convinced that Thomas Harris was trolling everyone when he wrote it. I didn’t think he really wanted to write a book, which is why we got a ridiculous story that made Lector the hero. But then Harris went on to write another ridiculous Hannibal book making him the hero again . So who knows?

The excellent movie 13 Assassins does this as well. You don’t see the villain do any of the horrible things to a woman, but you see the results. Disturbing content ahead:

A samurai is summoned to speak with one of the shogun’s advisors. The advisor wants the samurai to kill the shogun’s half-brother, because he’s gaining political power, he’s a psychopath, and he’s a threat to the peace of the realm. To show how evil the half-brother is, the advisor introduces the samurai to one of his victims, a woman who had been raped, had her tongue removed, her limbs removed, and now only cried tears.

I just thought, “Damn, that’s a bit much.”

Agreed. They made her cry? Monsters.