Vader, Voldemort and Other Villains

Essays on Evil in Popular Media

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About the Book

What is evil? How do we understand it in our culture? The thirteen essays in this critical volume explore the different ways in which evil is portrayed in popular culture, particularly film and novels. Iconic figures of evil are considered, as is the repeated use of classic themes within our intellectual tradition. Topics covered include serial killers in film, the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series, Star Wars, and more. Collectively, these essays suggest how vital the notion of evil is to our culture, which in turn suggest a need to reflect on what it means to value what is good.

About the Author(s)

Jamey Heit is the co-founder and CEO of Essay Assay, Inc., an automated assessment company. An active researcher and writer in cultural studies, he teaches humanities courses online at Walden University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jamey Heit
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 233
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5845-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8510-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. The Aesthetic of Evil      13
DANIEL A. FORBES
2. The Devil Made Me Do It! The Devil in 1960s–1970s Horror Film      28
ANTOINETTE F. WINSTEAD
3. Frankenstein’s Legacy: The Mad Scientist Remade      46
KRISTINE LARSEN
4. Focus on the Family: Good and Evil Vampires in the Twilight Saga      64
A.J. GRANT
5. The Dichotomy of the Great Mother Archetype in Disney Heroines and Villainesses      80
SARAH LYNNE BOWMAN
6. Exploring the Relay Gaze in Hollywood Cinema: Serial Killers and the Women Who Hunt Them      97
SARAH LAFFERTY
7. Wanting the White Witch      113
BRYAN DOVE
8. Paradise Inverted: Philip Pullman’s Use of High Fantasy and Epic Poetry to Portray Evil in His Dark Materials      125
E. QUINN FOX
9. Sim Evil: Avatars and the Ethical Game Mechanic      145
KELLY KELLEWAY
10. Making Modern Evil: Terrorism, Torture, and the Creation of Evil in 24      162
MICHAEL J. LEWIS
11. No Laughing Matter: The Joker as a Nietzschean Critique of Morality      175
JAMEY HEIT
12. I Am Your Father: The Villain and the Future Self      189
NATHANIEL VAN YPEREN
13. Hearts of Darkness: Voldemort and Iago, with a Little Help from Their Friends      202
KEN ROTHMAN

Epilogue      218
About the Contributors      221
Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“Looks at villains and evil as portrayed primarily in the movies…interesting look at pop culture”—Critical Mass