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    Thoughts on Villain Fest Entries
    #1
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Gosh I really wish I could have entered this festival. I have always loved watching films with memorable villains, even as a child i think i think i got more excited seeing skeletor cackle evilly over he-man (doing that weird boob jiggle thing in his cartoon intro.) I imagined that this festival would create a unique opportunity for filmmakers to create memorable villains too.

    There is nothing so useful really within the horror genre especially (but thrillers too...) or lets just say drama and narrative full stop - than creating a memorable villain.

    Wes Craven did it with Freddy Krueger, Shakespeare did it with Macbeth, Freud did it with our genitals.

    It made those artists and there works legendary.

    Now... pause for a moment and consider the entries for Villain fest. How many of those villains would you remember in a weeks time? True - it is not an essential component for a story to have a memorable villain, neither was it a pre-requisite, and most of all its quite unnecessary that every film should have aimed to produce one.

    But for me and my own love of memorable villains, I think off the bat of my head, we have 'New Hire' and then we stumble into a miasma of drawn out looking men (or chubby men) mostly with beards doing a kind of manic kid/kidnapping faux serial killer (with self referential cliche'd monologues) in there best post modern ironic take of Zach Galifianakis.

    Oh and twists... but did Frankensteins monster need a twist? did Dracula? Did Frank from Blue Velvet or Pee Wee Herman from my sleepover? No... but of course (and its a particualrly American - and imititive UK insecure sensibility ) that any short or every short requires either an obvious twist (or an issue revolving around marital infedility - see betrayelfest.)

    And don't even get me started with the torture porn set up... i mean really even porn is less cliched (well the crazy stuff im into) er...

    If you take away that setup, and the clumsy twist - then we're only really left with v656, dr kvorak and new hire ;)

    I just wish my films were immune to cliche (there not unfortunately) but I wanted to raise the observation and discuss the films villains (spoiler alert)

    Apropos - We get a hint - a whiff of an awseome lady killer who gets off drowning ex soldiers. Boy thats dark and sexy - now if Zaza was on this we'd have a post modern russ meyer and a host of army victims. Hawk does teases us with it but then throws off this cool scary character gradually revealed for sake of our well... straight monologue bath tub guy. Its a waste of a good character. Sexy should mean more than a sly smile btw (to guys directing would be lady killers.) When they kill they get real freaky.

    Dependence/Thick Window utilised similar characters really, guys pretending to be nice then killing kids. Likewise with The Millers... (but remember in monsterfest when this was done with an ancient mummy) I guess not all our kid killers in movies should be ancient mummies but it was memorable. I think it goes to show just what an automatic response it is for (predominately male directors...) to go 'oooh a villain - thats a kid killer' and post haste comes our exhausting set up.

    Then there were films clearly inspired by Saw (the rest of them) such as Trickle, which featured interesting torturous set ups with tired formulas and very incidental characters. We get a cuddly toy and a badge? Interestingly you could replace both those character villain elements with any two inanimate ojects to create your own alternative saw-esque villain. Yet remember Mr. I.... the guy in the suit with the bag head prophesising at every turn about what freaky nightmare was about to inflict itself on or beleagured lead... That was a villain... I'll remember him.

    It seems to me that many filmmakers missed the real value of villainfest. To create a villain, to focus around a villain (be it with featured screen time or as a puppet master - whatever.) Instead we got badmanfest.... or serial killer fest or murdererfest... which is essentially most dvxfests. Lets not forget just how unique (and awesome) the dvxfest environment is, no where else will you find such a predominance of genre inspired/accessible style fiction shorts. But there in lies the challenge in trying to be unique outwith the confines of filmmakers more inspired by popular culture and mainstream feature filmmaking.

    Which films had the biggest balls and took the greatest challenges? The Waters Edge? A little bit (the actor certainly did) but where else?

    Creating memorable characters with impact should be a priority for every writer/filmmaker regardless of story and genre, but in a festival called Villainfest it seems that for most entries it was an opportunity lost for the filmmakers themselves.
    Last edited by lawriejaffa; 07-11-2011 at 07:06 PM.
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    #2
    Senior Member ZazaCast's Avatar
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    Russ Meyer...really?


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    #3
    Silent Bob's Evil Twin Dustin R. Rogan's Avatar
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    I think Jason Spinos is a real villain
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    Senior Member AJ Brooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawriejaffa View Post
    Creating memorable characters with impact should be a priority for every writer/filmmaker regardless of story and genre, but in a festival called Villainfest it seems that for most entries it was an opportunity lost for the filmmakers themselves.
    I very much agree with you here Lawrie. The moment I saw that the next fest was focused on "Villains" I got pretty giddy.

    I wanted to do a short that explored how interesting/funny/smart yet entirely pure evil villains became who they are, but alas I let my indecisiveness get the best of me and it was the beginning of July and we had to shoot something just to enter. I can't skip out on a fest as fun as this!

    Smarter villains and multi-faceted villains needed to be more common in this fest. And yes, more memorable villains.


    AJ Brooks - Writer / Director


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    #5
    Senior Member Anthony Todaro's Avatar
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    #6
    Senior Member CallaghanFilms's Avatar
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    I also had hoped to see some good ol' (or bad ol') Robert Mitchum-Javier Bardem-Alan Rickman-inspired villainy in the VillainFest characters. It seems that the need to avoid convention greatly excluded these (old fashioned?) baddies.

    That being said, I am re-posting the Top Callaghan Picks for anyone who missed them...

    The Callaghan Top 3 VillainFesters

    #1 Dependence
    favorite bit of dialogue: (possible spoiler) "...Because. Because he loved her so much that he never, ever wanted anything to happen to her."

    #2 The Water's Edge
    favorite bit of dialogue: (possible spoiler) "We're......we're bad guys??"

    #3 New Hire
    favorite bit of dialogue: "Who did you last work for?" "Saaaa...lly"
    Last edited by CallaghanFilms; 07-12-2011 at 10:14 AM.


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    #7
    Senior Member MrFluffy's Avatar
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    Lets face it, its not much of a challenge to make a super cool villain in 90 minutes, but its as hard as hell in 6 or less.


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    #8
    Senior Member CallaghanFilms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFluffy View Post
    ...its as hard as hell in 6 or less.
    That could be said of any element: plot; motivation; love/relationship-building; character-empathy; whatever...


    Nothing about a good story (and good storytelling) is easy.


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    #9
    Senior Member CallaghanFilms's Avatar
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    Also...
    Are you saying that Bardem's beautiful evilness wasn't conveyed in his first minute of screen time?? (Let alone 6 minutes...)


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    #10
    Senior Member Matt Harris's Avatar
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    I was all set to do some sort of a classic villain like Hanz Gruber from Die Hard, but then Barry posted something about "your villain doesn't have to be the stereotypical villain", so then i second guessed my original inspiration because it suddenly seemed too obvious. That's why, personally, I went with more of an obscure take on what or who a villain is or isn't. But in hindsight, I agree with you Lawrie, It would have been fun to do a classic old school villain for villain's sake.
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