Last week, I participated in the Bad Boys Blog Hop, so some of you may already have heard my ramblings on the subject of sexy villains. Fortunately for you, I can always go darker. The fine folks at http://www.hdthomson.com want to know how we define deadly. ‘Is he deadly to the heroine’s peace of mind?’ they ask. ‘Deadly to her sense of security?’ To which I reply with hearty laughter, because there is only one way my hot-n-deadlies are deadly and I think we all know what it is.
So let me take your hand and lead you back in time. You’re sitting in the dark. Ahead of you, you see a hedge maze at night. You can hear the howling of wolves, here in your own safe garden. Your friend has run on ahead up the dark path; you can never catch more than a glimpse of her filmy nightdress—deep crimson, winding around her slender, pale body like blood. Do you know where we are yet?
We’re in a movie theater, watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula and it’s about to get good.
I was in my teens when this film came out and already a die-hard horror fanatic. I fell into this movie with happy abandon, losing myself immediately in that gothic world, but up until that moment, understand, it had been a monster movie. Vampires were not love interests yet. Dracula was Death.
And then Mina slipped around that last hedge and there was Lucy, crying out with what even my fourteen year-old ears knew was not pain as Dracula (engaged in a little cosplay as Beastman from the Masters of the Universe cartoon) moved against her. This was not the first sexual act I had seen on film before, nor the most graphic, but it was the most sexual. Then he raised his head and his face was awful, batlike and contorted and smeared with blood, and he ordered her not to see him and then he was gone and nothing was the same for me again.
From that moment on, I was aware of all the sex in horror movies, the sex that so often led irrevocably to death. I realized for the first time that the heroes were often frustrated, the victims were promiscuous, the virgins were vulnerable and the monsters were sexy. Yes, I mean it. Just don’t look at the face. Underneath the mask, the vast majority of monsters are ripped as hell, with bulging muscles and rocking abs. And generally speaking, the deadlier the monster, the uglier the mask and sexier the body. More and more, the sexuality of the monster is being emphasized rather than hidden, and I’m not talking about campy crap like Killer Condom or Poultrygeist, I mean real movies—Species, Slither, Splice. The age of the globulous blob and the giant irradiated insect is gone. We don’t want our monsters to eat us anymore. We want to be fucked to death.
But you don’t watch horror movies, you say? You don’t have to. Hot-n-deadly is everywhere. Twilight sold a billion books (and a billion shades of grey) precisely because the hero was a vampire; he had killed people, he could do it again and some part of him desperately wanted to. There’s no way that series would have been the juggernaut it is if the hero was instead some poor sap who wears body glitter and thinks the heroine smells nice. No. Only an implied history of barely-suppressed carnage makes that sexy. The X-Men franchise began with a whole cadre of superheroes that might as well have never existed except the Wolverine. Because he’s heroic? Charming? Courageous? No, because he can murder-stab his way through a city block and he does not apologize for it. He is the best at what he does and what he does ain’t pretty. My mother literally papered the walls of her sewing room with posters of Indiana Jones, who brought a gun to a swordfight, a spinning propeller to a fistfight, and a kid to a pit full of alligators. And don’t even get me started on James Bond. Any James Bond.
So what is the appeal? With very few exceptions, we wouldn’t want to meet any of these men in real life, much less cohabit with them. (Seriously. You know Wolverine drinks and taps that nasty cigar ash everywhere and he’s always ripping the hell out of his clothes.) Why do we fantasize about these men?
Personally, I think it’s for the same reason we fantasize about smacking them. In my writer’s workshop beta group, not one woman, not one, has ever slapped a man in the face for any reason, and yet we’ve all written a righteous manslap in at least one of our books (I’m not sure, but I may have one in all of mine). Why do we do it? Because deep in the unevolved part of our brains, violence = passion = sex. The more passionate the passion, the hotter the sex, so it follows that the hottest men have the highest body count. That’s my theory, anyway. Now excuse me while I go watch AvP in my room. In the dark. Don’t judge me.
Anyhoo, to celebrate the Hot and Deadly Hop, I thought I’d give away an ecopy of one of my books, winner’s choice, including The Last Hour of Gann, which should be available at the end of summer. If you want to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on any post tagged “Hot and Deadly” (which is pretty much limited to this post and maybe one other) before the end of the hop on June 24th, making sure to tell me you want to enter and to leave a viable email address so I can contact the winner, who will be drawn on June 25th. Remember that because all my books contain graphic violence and strong sexual content, I cannot just assume that everyone who comments wants a book. Therefore, if you want to enter, YOU MUST SAY SO in the comment.
For more thoughts on the invisible tie between sexy and deadly, head on over to http://www.hdthomson.com for a list of authors participating in the Hot And Deadly Blog Hop or just click the link in the sidebar (third from the top). There are lots of talented authors of every genre and heat level, as well as prizes and giveaways, so check them out and share the love, and remember, it’s all fun until somebody gets hurt. Then it’s hot as hell.