Which one is it, you love the most?
Of course, this doesn’t cover all of the ‘monsters’ that wander the realms of darkness; that test the veil between the living and the dead at that brief moment when day transcends to night, but we will come to them another time.
I felt that you deserved a break from the catacombs of my mind and thought I’d talk to you about the four antagonists dearest to my heart. In the coming weeks, we will delve more deeply into each of them, but first I feel an introduction is in order.
Vampire (My antagonist, Antony Cardover, in Bonds)
Do you see him as friend or foe; as lover or enemy; as good or evil; as trustworthy or corrupt; as erotic or repulsive?
I could go on, but you catch my drift. The vampire is hardly an ‘either/or’ character. He is neither black nor white, in my opinion, but more of the in between, for a vampire’s personality can change in an instant and a once loving embrace can become a fight for survival (see Chapter 59 of Bonds).
As you will have gleaned from previous blogs, dear reader, vampires are my favourite antagonist. The way I see them, though, isn’t ‘in the black’, but mainly as white, occasionally tinged with grey. In other words they reside in that alluring and mysterious in between; a place you want to go, but your rapidly increasing heart rate warns you against.
For me, dear reader, the vampire is the most erotic and deadly creature ever created. A creature that can seduce you with a look and kill you with a kiss. Yet, still, they epitomise true love.
Vampires have had a rather chequered run of it over the years, being alternately cast as the evil Lord of Darkness in Hammer films, The Lost Boys and Underworld; to the character every teenage girl wants to climb in through her bedroom window, thanks to Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. Not many seem to dwell on the complexity of the character, but examples do exist.
The first archetype of the enigma, that is the vampire, was brought to us by Joss Whedon. I fell, instantly, head of heels in love with the most enigmatic and engaging vampire of all time, Angel – superbly portrayed by David Boreanaz (who would be perfect as Antony Cardover so, David, if you’re reading…..call me!).
More recently, though, thanks to the amazing imagination of Charlaine Harris, True Blood has been brought alive on screen. This show is for grown-ups; grown-ups who like their vampires real; who like their vampires erotic; who like their vampires deadly; who like their vampires to be, well, vampires, in all their complex and wonderful glory.
What people often fail to see, dear reader, is the underlying danger. Through all the romance and eroticism of vampires, they are, in essence, killers and, unlike you and me (well, you), they wouldn’t hesitate to kill ……in an instant.
Werewolf (My protagonist, Ellie Lawrence, in my second novel)
Ah, the werewolf. The most misunderstood and, for most people, terrifying antagonist of all. If a werewolf were to get hold of you, there would be two possible scenarios. Either you would be ripped to shreds; your guts spilling from you as you stare unseeingly up at the full moon, or you would survive. Your wounds would heal, over time, but you would be cursed, for the rest of time. Which would be worse?
Werewolves are often portrayed as blood thirsty animals that cannot control the beast inside, especially when at the mercy of the full moon.
I don’t believe this to be true. Werewolves are simply people blessed or cursed, depending on your viewpoint, with an ‘illness’ that they have to learn to control before it controls them. Some will succeed; some will fail – as in life – but, at the end of the day, the wolf is only part of who they are.
This struggle with learning to control the wolf inside is reflected, most aptly, in the TV series, Teen Wolf. Yes, it’s another teen show, but if you like the supernatural, it’s well worth a watch.
Despite my viewpoint on this endearing character, I do love a werewolf movie, but sadly, very few good ones have been made. The ones that have and that stand out for me are:
‘An American Werewolf in London’ – no-one has surpassed the opening scene on the moors or the scene where he transitions into wolf form on Jenny Agutter’s living room rug.
‘Dog Soldiers’ – an awesome film by Neil Marshall, which depicts a very lifelike view of werewolves.
‘Wolfman’ – the remake, starring Benicio del Torro, which epitomises the more ‘gothic’ image.
Now, I’ve never liked zombies. Up until fairly recently, they’ve always freaked me out, to be honest with you. I realise some of you may find this very strange, but I think the chance of zombies actually walking the earth to be a very real possibility and, hence, something to be really afraid of.
Those of you who have ever watched the 1988 movie by Wes Craven, ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’, will know exactly where I am coming from.
But then, at the other extreme, there is ‘Return of the Living Dead’; a film my brother subjected me to many moons ago. Now, I realise that the main element of this film was comical (intended or otherwise), but the premise of the film – chemicals seeping into the earth and creating zombies – is a highly possible scenario. In today’s world, with germ warfare and diseases that can be transmitted in microscopic doses, there is no real knowing what the effects could actually be on the human body. Think about it….
It wasn’t until my dad persuaded me to watch ‘The Walking Dead’, that I overcame my fear of zombies. For, if the apocalypse comes, dear reader, I’ll just call for Rick Grimes.
I feel that ghosts have gained a really poor reputation, thanks to the film industry. I have yet to see a film (Casper aside) where ghosts are not out to get the cast of characters.
As a believer in ghosts and one who has experienced paranormal phenomena on a number of occasions, I have to disagree with the portrayal of ghosts as one sided, evil, out to get everyone characters.
It is true, that poltergeists like to cause disruption, but they are children and children get angry when they are being ignored by adults. Ghosts, on the whole, are not out to get you. More often than not, they just want to communicate, to pass on messages and to warn of something to come.
I find ghosts, and writing about them, a very melancholy experience. More often than not, my ghosts will be part of a broken romance or a tragic situation. Never have my ghosts set out to deliberately harm anyone…..not yet, anyway.
As for recommended viewing, my favourite has to be ‘The Woman in Black’, but not the film; the stage play – very very spooky. The ‘Paranormal Activity’ films have some excellent suspense building and spooky elements, if you can bear to tolerate the rest! If you like your ghosts bad, then I would recommend ’13 Ghosts’, which depicts some memorable and despicably evil phantoms.
And so, dear reader, a brief introduction to some memorable antagonists; an introduction that will lead to something deeper; something darker; something to test your mettle in the coming weeks.
May fear protect you when the darkness comes.
Til next time.