Films

6 Film villains who would fall foul of the 21st century

The year 2011 really crept up, didn't it? And as we plunge into global recession, a time ruled by health and safety and a generation hardwired into the internet, times are tough. Nobody's immune, not even film villains...

1. Norman Bates (Psycho) In the Sixties, places such as Bates Motel didn’t have to worry about standards, as repeat business was rare and it could rely on passing trade, often from vulnerable young women with good personal hygiene. However, in the 21st century, Norman Bates’s habit of murdering such guests and dressing up — rather unconvincingly — as his dead mother would be all over Trip Advisor, putting quite a few people off staying there.

2. Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars) Force or no Force, large construction projects cost money. We all know the emperor spent a fortune on policing the galaxy (those shiny white outfits don’t come cheap), so forking out public funds on a Death Star-building programme in this austere climate would undoubtedly be subject to a Twitter backlash, a series of consultations and, subsequently, a reining in of plans, leaving him with little more than Mild Discomfort Meteors.

3. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) If you view becoming a paranoid vigilante as successful, then Travis Bickle would have no chance these days. For one thing, as a licenced taxi driver on the night shift, he’d be undercut as all the pimps, addicts and thieves that fuelled his desire to ‘clean’ the streets would be jumping into minicabs of questionable legitimacy instead. Second, as a lonely, socially-awkward insomniac, he would spend most of his time in internet chat rooms.

4. Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) As we all know, Freddy Krueger’s modus operandi was to prey on scared, vulnerable teenagers in their dreams. However, the teenagers that the metal-handed, walnut-faced stalker would chase in the 21st century are a whole new kettle of hormones. If anything, they would be terrorising him by stealing his hat, mocking his off-trend green-and-red striped jumper, wiring his metal fingers to car batteries and screaming about their ‘human rights’ if he tried to attack them.

5. The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz) There are witches in the 21st century, but they are generally confined to mid-morning discussion programmes about religion, alternative medicine or broomsticks. They certainly haven’t got castles full of winged monkeys. Castle owners these days rely on tour groups to fund much-needed maintenance, and it only takes one visitor to be banana-bombed from a great height and they have a lawsuit on their hands.

6. Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) We only need three words to explain why this sadistic, passive-aggressive psychiatric nurse wouldn’t hack the 2000s: undercover Panorama reporter.

Main image: Rex/allstar

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