How To Successfully Deliver A Villainous Monologue
Every good story needs a good baddie. This week at Cracked, we're examining supervillains of all sorts and kinds and finding out what makes them tick.
Well, you've done it. You've finally trapped your pesky arch-nemesis. The one who has been foiling your dastardly deeds for as long as your deeds have been dastardly. This is the culmination of months, maybe years of hard work; your hard work! And as such, you are entitled to gloat juuuust a little bit. Sure, maybe your plan hasn't come completely to fruition yet; maybe the button hasn't technically been hit. Nevertheless, who wants to talk about the plan after it is all said and done? A chump, that's who.
No, a genius like you has to reveal all the inner workings of your diabolical scheme out loud because, let's face it: you've earned it, dammit! The world can wait to explode because you have a smug sense of satisfaction and a speech to give …
Make Time For Preamble
First thing's first (and this should go without saying), don't kill the hero right away. This is the person who has been a real fly in the ointment. They've killed countless henchmen, infiltrated your defenses, taken down your security network, and found your secret hideout. And you're not even the first one they've done this to! So it's probably 100% fine if you want to just, like, tie them to a chair or something. You're an evil genius with endless resources, so presumably, you have a "knots guy" who's good with the knots.
Once your guest is comfortably bound to something and defenseless, you might be thinking, "Now we kill them." Well, if that's the case, then it's a wonder you have even made it this far. This is actually the perfect spot to begin ramping up the tension. Maybe you've knocked them out, and you're waiting until they come to before making your grand entrance. Perhaps you've perfectly timed your reveal to a T, and you just have to sort of hide behind the door for several minutes before you can pop out. Either way, biding your time is crucial. Sure, it gives them time to assess their situation, formulate an escape plan and possibly find a way to stop you. But think of how annoyed they'll be by the time you do finally begin talking.
While we're on the subject of talking, let's talk about the delivery of them speakin' words.
The stage has been set. The audience is literally captive. But before you go in there, guns blazing, you might want to take a step back and be sure you have a clear head. Use this time to gather your thoughts and reflect on your demeanor because, at this moment, delivery is going to be everything. If you don't believe what you're saying, how do you expect that good-looking buffoon in the other room to buy it? You go in there half-cocked and see how that ends up.
Instead of going in there and looking like a complete bozo, use these last few moments before showtime to put yourself in the proper headspace. Be confident. Like, overly so, if possible. Do you have a big hat or a loud blazer? Maybe some interesting eyewear? If so, they can be excellent accouterment to the verbal smackdown you are about to lay down. It also can't be said enough to have fun! You may benefit from just getting silly with it by way of a mocking laugh, a theatrical flourish, or even a little song if you've got the pipes for it.
Whatever you decide, being humble is for suckers, and there is no such thing as "too arrogant," so make sure your presentation is as loud as your resolve.
Almost as important as your outward appearance is the voice you are going to go with. For at least the first few minutes of your big speech, your voice has to be perfectly cool. If your tone falters at all, this whole thing falls apart real quick. So get your ass in the zone! Before you go out there, sing a few scales of 'Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So's' and maybe drink some chamomile tea or Licorice Root, if your local grocer carries it. Strong eye contact and a purposeful voice will be your allies while you're spitting truths at your enemy.
Now, at some point, your hostage is inevitably going to say something you don't like, which will cause you to flip out, raise your voice and maybe throw a glass at the wall or knock over a table. And before that happens, you're going to want at least half of this monologue spoken with a cool head, or else it no longer sounds intimidating and professional. Once you've hit your stride, then feel free to let your emotions take a front seat. Because, in case you've forgotten … you're in control. You've won and probably won forever.
Plan Your Talking Points
You've got the confidence and the swagger to finally go and do the thing. But before you do, you'd better have thought of some cool crap to say. In all the excitement and adrenaline of prepping yourself for the big moment, it is possible to neglect the most important thing: the script. Your carefully crafted words, designed to cut like a thousand daggers with each syllable, need to be the culmination of everything you've worked toward so far. If you don't slide in with your lines memorized, you could wind up off-script. That could throw your game completely off, diverting you from the calm and collected energy we've spent so much time establishing. You could come out looking less like a mastermind and more like a whiney douchebag.
But don't let it get that far. Not yet, anyway. You have to show that you're in charge, maybe by strolling on over to an adjacent minibar and offering your captive a drink? After all, just because your deeds are nefarious does not excuse you from common courtesy. And before you even think about it, do not poison that drink! Dead men don't hear cool speeches. First impressions are important, so choose your opening wisely.
You could start things off with a question that you fully intend to answer right away with a personal experience. It could be something as simple as "You want the truth?" Or something long-winded and rhetorical like, "Do you seriously think I would explain my master stroke to you if there were even the slightest possibility you could affect the outcome, you absolute simpleton?"
Posing the question in this way will make it seem like you have all the answers. After that, you can begin to go in-depth about every step of your villainous scheme. Describe, in detail, the methods used, and be sure you rattle off a list of everyone from the hero's inner circle who may have secretly been involved if you really want to twist the knife in. The more info you provide, the more impressed your audience will be.
After you've said your piece, this is the point of the whole shebang where you open it up to questions and comments. They'll probably repeat a watered-down version of your plan back at you to make it seem lame, and that's when it's important to correct them on anything and everything they got wrong. You worked hard on this thing, and you're not going to let some wiener goody two-shoes give you some Cliff's Notes version of the conspiracy you manufactured. Don't let it happen! Set the record straight. Keep in mind that soon, the information provided will be useless to them because you'll have made them too dead to use it.
If all else fails and you're really not hammering your point home, it can't be said enough how much a maniacal laugh can enhance any situation. Even if nothing is funny or it doesn't fit the vibe. You're gonna want that laugh in there.
At the end of the day, the hero is a mouse, and you are the cat. But like every game, it eventually has to end. So this is about the point when you stop playing around and begin making the actual threats. It's okay to draw from a bit of experience to ratchet up the tension for this step. Let's say, hypothetically, you gobbled up a census taker one time, as we all do once or thrice in our lives. A good tactic would be to admit that in detail to your victim before revealing that you're keen to do it again. This way, you have them thinking, "Daaaamn, hope he doesn't do that to me."
We need to establish the seriousness of the situation. But only a coward comes right out and says, "I am going to kill you." It's tired and uninspired. Setting up tension should be easy and fun! And you can accomplish this by being intentionally speculative in the scope of your threats. If you're good enough at it, just your mere presence alone is the gift of anxiety you're looking for. A quick change from a smile to a scowl is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.
Your threats are only as good as the information you are holding over your nemesis' head. You may have inside info that the deflector shield on the Death Star will be operational by the time anyone arrives to do anything about it. That can be a threat! Maybe Mr. Takagi has the codes, and you're getting impatient. This is an excellent opportunity to use the tried-and-true "I'm counting to three" threat.
The ball is in your court, and there is no time like the present to lob that ball at the good guy's head as hard as you can.
Only Reveal The Plan If Your Plan Can't Fail!
Finally, let's discuss your endgame. This one is important and, admittedly, should be a bit higher on the list. This is where 99.98% of devilish deeds fall apart. You've prepped yourself up; you've lambasted your counterpart and made all the revelations you reasonably can just before ending the world or blowing up that bridge. So, what's next? You'd better have a good answer, too, because this is the part where you find out if your little soliloquy is worth the legal pad you drafted it on.
It can't be sugar-coated: after you've revealed everything and your plan is about to reach its apex, that's typically about the time the hero will reveal their own plan to thwart you. And maybe nine times out of 10, they will succeed in that plan. If you haven't remained at least two steps ahead the entire time, your goose may be thoroughly and deliciously cooked.
You should really only be inviting your adversary to dinner if there is absolutely and unequivocally nothing they can stop you (or if they've previously had you over for an earlier investigative lunch. You're a villain, not a boor). Sure, it's common sense, but you'd be surprised how many villains need it spelled out. If you're planning on dropping a giant squid in a major metropolitan city, maybe drop the squid before you chat with your would-be dispatchers. If the plan is to have the army kill a bunch of laser sword ninjas across the galaxy, make the freakin' call before anyone with the power to stop you knows what hit them. And would it kill you to put the wife's head in the box before you get yourself captured?
These small but important tasks handled before you culminate the plan can help you achieve nominal success in whatever horrific and apocalyptic undertaking you set your mind to. Even if you do end up losing in the end, at least you gave a cool speech that might end up on a T-shirt at Hot Topic! Sure, there are more important things happening right now, but if branding isn't on your mind, just what kind of criminal mastermind are you?
Top image: Walt Disney Pictures