My good friend and fellow author Jenny Twist makes the argument that looking for reasons for true evil, as in mass murderers, takes the emphasis away from the victims. I agree that we need to acknowledge the evil in our world. I also agree that evil in our society is being downplayed from a simple and straightforward nemesis of good into a more sophisticated concept, usually of a flawed human’s words or actions. Any rationale given in defense of human evil gives no basis for a lessening of punishment, a kinder view of evil men or women, or acceptance of their deeds. I am no friend of evil, of serious criminals, and a strong believer in capital punishment. So why do I find myself cheering on Hannibal Lecter?
I addressed this issue once before as part of a paper co-written by my husband, “The Allure of the Serial
Killer,” published in Serial Killers: Being and Killing. The conclusion was that our society is so beset by rules and regulations that we embrace the freedom offered by the sort of antihero that regularly breaks them with aplomb, such as Walter White, the hero of TV series Breaking Bad. Even classic villains such as The Wicked Witch of the West and Maleficent are now being transformed into more than an antagonist we love to hate. Simple black-to-the-soul evil is easy to recognize and abhor, but is almost never found in real life. Literature also has no power to physically hurt us. Realistic evil is complex and potentially deadly, which makes it much more dangerous. If we learn from fiction about evil—and how to deal with it—wouldn’t it be better to have truly complex villains, so we are not swayed by the intricacies of mortal monsters when we run across them in real life?
Enter the most famous evil seducers in fiction, the vampires of today’s literature. This new century predator has become a romantic hero. He’s a born killer who can’t help his desires—and might not even want to. He’s got a gift for one-liners, a ruthless possessive nature, and a mile-wide black streak in his otherwise white soul to keep the long nights interesting. I say bring him on! Who wants a simple monster doomed to die at the end of the tale, or a boring hero too perfect to feel comfortable with? I want my rogue villain who can seduce me with a single look, a few choice softly spoken words, and the brush of fangs in his passionate kiss, even as he saves me from the banality of my everyday life.
About Tara Fox Hall
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.