Every fairytale needs a good old-fashioned villain – by Laura Klöpping

Portrayals of „the evil“ have always been an important part of films from all around the world. Not only do we find detailed portrayals of the villain in contemporary „western“ movies and series, but the figure of the antagonist is also very important in for example South Asian movies. Representations of the bad, the evil, the antiheroseem to gain more and more attention from audiences all around the world, even leading tot he creation of fanclubs and of what can almost be described as a fan cult around the villain.


Examining the villain in contemporary pop culture raises a lot of questions:

How is „the evil“ depicted?

Is „the evil“ always „the other“?

What does the villain stand for and how is this related to the society s/he originates from?

Are villains gendered?


This column is an ongoing project and aims at depicting villains from different cultural backgrounds.

All are invited to send in their ideas of the perfect villain from a book/movie/series- feel free to present us your example of the ultimate evil in popular culture!

Please explain in a few sentences, for example in relation to the questions above, why you consider your villain a good example, and send your short analysis to: anthropologyinmotion@gmail.com


This project is inspired by the seminar „Transcultural Figurations of the (Anti-) Hero“ at Heidelberg University in Summer 2014.



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