Let’s talk villains!
My brother recently introduced us to the Disney board game Villainous, which is (pardon the pun) wicked cool. I love it, from the uniquely sculpted gamepieces representing well-known Disney villains to the individualized game objectives set for each villain to the hilarity that inevitably ensues when the players start sniping at each other to prevent any other villain from achieving their goal.
What is it we love so much about villains? Is it their deviation from rules and expectations? Their sly, cunning wit? Their dedication to a goal, no matter how misguided?
I suppose it’s different for every villain. I know my personal favorite, though, is never going to be someone you meet in a clever, cute Disney board game. My favorite villain of all time is Pennywise the Clown.
Now I know, lots of people got their early start in absolutely hating clowns from this guy. Some saw the 1990 miniseries of It a little too early in life... or maybe just seeing it at all was enough. Tim Curry playing a murderous, shapeshifting nightmare clown can be a lot to deal with. Bill Skarsgård’s rendition gets under my skin even deeper. The true Pennywise, though, the true It, comes right from the pages of the original novel, and he. Is. Terrifying!
Maybe it’s because I’m a monster movie girl at heart. I can listen to It over and over on audiobook and never get tired of it. I can watch both film adaptations, neither of which is perfect or captures the terror of the book quite the right way, and still love them, because I love the entire concept of Pennywise. A monster older than time and hidden away deep in the cold earth, yet able to manifest its evil in physical form and absolutely revel in the ugliest, most nightmarish moments in the lives of the people above it.
Neither adaptation really gets into the ways Pennywise cultivates and stalks the entire town of Derry for his feast of fear. Both mention events in the town’s history where the clown has been seen, but in the book we see the events in lovely, lurid detail. One recounting of a gunfight in the center of the town results in multiple sightings of the clown in multiple different places—and each person who sees him claims to see him firing the exact same type of gun they themselves are holding. Creepy!!
I just love how much Pennywise gets inside the heads of not only his victims, but readers and moviegoers as well. I love the horrible monsters he shapeshifts into to perfectly frighten his victims, and I love the gleeful, giggling, “who, me?” attitude he pulls right before diving in to terrorize the main characters who oppose him.
Pennywise is my absolute favorite villain, and he gets my vote every time there’s a hypothetical matchup proposed. Alien vs Pennywise? Definitely Pennywise. Jason vs. Pennywise? Jason’s going down. Any-Other-Stephen-King-Monster vs Pennywise? Sorry, the great It has you beat. Even Randall Flagg. Yes, I know he’s the devil. But Pennywise is going to swallow him whole.
He might never be in a cute and clever board game like Villainous, but I’ll fund the hell out of a Kickstarter that gives him his own well-deserved horror version.
Oh, and one of the best things about Pennywise that neither film adaptation included?
It... is female.
Who’s your favorite villain of all time? Leave a comment letting us know who they are and where they’re from. Share the love of all beings villainous!