Houston Matters

The Bigger Picture: Why Movie Bad Guys Are Oh So Good

In the Houston Matters monthly film segment, we discuss why audiences are so drawn to good villains.


Emma Stone in the titular role from the new Disney film Cruella.


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The new Disney film Cruella comes out tomorrow in theaters and on Disney Plus. It's the latest example of a developing genre: the villain origin story.

Emma Stone plays Cruella DeVille, the antagonist from 101 Dalmatians, who in the original story famously wanted to turn the spotted puppies into fur coats.

Glenn Close portrayed the character in a pair of Disney live action films about 20 years ago and is one of the executive producers of this new imagining of the character, which is a bit darker than your usual Disney tale.

Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil in the 1996 live action version of 101 Dalmatians.

But then, the Disney villains are always at least a little dark — if not very much so — and often more interesting than the Disney heroes that stand up to them.

What does it say about us that we're drawn to and fascinated by such characters? That's the subject of this month's edition of the Houston Matters monthly film segment, The Bigger Picture.

In the audio above, producer Joshua Zinn discusses our love of cinematic villains with Charles Dove of Rice Cinema and area psychologist Dr. Michael Winters.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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