One of the core tenets of storytelling is to make sure every story features some form of conflict, and that usually comes in the form of a tangible antagonist. Making a villain that inspires certain feelings in the audience is key to creating a compelling antagonist. Usually, they’re fearsome in some way or another, but there also needs to be more: for a villain to feel real to the audience, it’s important that there’s something about their story or motivation that rings true. In other words, having a villain that makes a good point is actually far more common than one might think.
Of course, villains in the horror genre are a different breed. Many of them are wordless monsters (literally), and more still are responsible for multiple deaths and varying degrees of violence. However, just because horror movie villains are often brutal and sadistic, that doesn’t mean that they’re never right.
In fact, many horror movie villains actually make a very good point. Some are pushed to their heinous acts by trauma or mistreatment, and some are simply looking to survive. Often, they’re out to avenge the wrongs visited upon them or their loved ones, and though murder isn’t exactly justifiable, it’s not impossible to understand how they could be driven to it. Though murder and mayhem aren’t something we can (legally) condone, these horror movie villains were actually sort of right.
9. Edward Lionheart – Theatre Of Blood (1973)
Played by the horror movie legend Vincent Price, Theatre of Blood‘s Edward Lionheart is by far the most charismatic character in the entire film. It’s a tale as old as time: a man’s livelihood is ruined by a group of snobbish critics, so he enacts what he believes to be poetic justice by killing them each by replicating deaths from various Shakespearean plays with the help of an army of homeless people. It’s a pretty straightforward revenge tale, all things considered.
Okay, so maybe faking his suicide before enacting his insane murder plot was a tad drastic, but was it really entirely unjustified? As Lionheart sees it, it’s a life for a life. The actor’s entire identity was built around his acting, and the critics’ somewhat unfair analysis of his performance ruined his reputation in a way that was practically impossible for him to recover from. As he sees it, they took his life from him, and he makes their deaths as ironic and poetically contrived as possible.
Maybe the fact that the character is played by Price is a major contributing factor. Price is such an incredible actor that it’s almost impossible to believe that Lionheart could have ever been as bad as the critics say, and that makes his plan to murder them all seem marginally more reasonable. Though it was perhaps a little extreme, we can all understand the urge to get back at those who refuse to appreciate our greatest efforts, so Lionheart wasn’t entirely wrong for seeking revenge – even if he went about it in the wrong way.