by Rob Bendell
As terrifying as a villain who has a plan for utopia can be, somehow a villain who intentionally disrupts plans rather than designing one for them self is infinitely worse. The best example in recent times is the more recent portrayal of the Joker. This is a man for whom evil is an end in itself, for whom no victory is more exciting than being able to keep playing the game. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this is the fact that it is simply impossible to understand for any sane person. Add to this the Joker’s essential changeability, and you have a character that will never be grasped. From Hannibal Lecter to Gollum, from Bellatrix Lestrange to Jigsaw insanity seems to have an innate draw in a villain that reasonability and morality just can’t match.
Possibly the best well-known representation of this is the Heath Ledger Joker in Dark Knight. From the first moment we are introduced to him, other characters show our own reaction; a desperate clutching for understanding. The words said before the Joker reveals himself are ‘What do you believe in? This search for some kind of logic behind this essentially illogical character is perhaps what generates such fascination, and such fear. As the first film of the trilogy puts it, ‘This is a world you’ll never understand. And you always fear what you don’t understand.’