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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: Why do we find villains sexy?

Die Hard Alan Rickman

Yesterday we talked about which villains are sexiest. Today I want to ask a tougher question:
Why do we find villains sexy?

Yes, it’s only fantasy, but I admit it bothers me sometimes to realize I’m getting a thrill from a bad guy. In real life such people are abhorrent to me. In the case of one of my favorite villains, Hans Gruber, I could almost forgive him his very clever theft of bearer bonds from Nakatomi… but not his plan to murder all his hostages. No way, never — even though the plan doesn’t come off, merely conceiving of such a plan is beyond obscene and repulsive. And yet still: Hans Gruber is pretty awesome. Why?

Am I overthinking this? Does it bother you that you find some very bad people — even if they are only fictional — attractive? Any ideas about why we find them so attractive?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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