OK, so I said we have a few clichés still to run down, and here is one that’s absolutely obligatory: the villain’s hideout being destroyed.
Up to the end of the thirties, Hollywood considered it absolutely sufficient to have the villain disposed off, and his evil plans foiled. But then, come the 40ies, emerged a rule that an evildoer’s real estate has to go down with him- it can collapse, blow up, burn down or sink beneath the waves, but it has to go no matter what. (Note, for example, how the 1928 ‘Phantom of the Opera’ flees from his hideout and is killed on the streets, while the 1943 ‘Phantom’ already has his ceiling cave in on him.) I say this change was brought either by the psychological impact of WW II, or the belief in pyrotechnics as audience magnet.
To facilitate it’s ultimate destruction, many villains equip their humble abodes with self-destruct features. I can’t believe how common these things are in movies, given how seldomly real life building feature them.
(‘…and this would be the kitchen. You have a washer, sink, fridge – and that red button over there triggers the condo’s self-destruction device.’ – domestic disputes would never be the same again.)
Actually, it might be for the better that real life villains don’t usually have such options. I’m pretty sure Enron tower wouldn’t stand anymore, if Ken Lay had had one of these red buttons in his office.
Secretary: ‘Sir, there are some people from the Attorney General’s and the SEC to see you.’
Lay: ‘Uh, tell them to wait a minute, I’ve got a call to make first…’ (stuffs cash into two suitcases, triggers self-destruct and parachutes out of the window.)
If a hideout doesn’t have a self-destruct, it’s often blown up by it’s own power unit, usually a nuclear reactor. (Very common power supply for villains – cheaper than gas, and you only need a building permit for a ‘temporary structure’, since they always blow up sooner or later.)
If the hideout is below ground, or inside a cave, it can also simply collapse, because a single stray bullet somehow managed to knock out the central supporting pillar.
And of course, there’s no limit to the pyrotechnics if there’s a military setting. Propmasters stock ‘military’ sets with lavish amounts of ammunition crates and fuel drums standing about, obviously they consider military routine to go something like this:
Lieutenant: ‘Sir, the trucks with the ammunition supply have arrived – should we unload them, and move the ammunition into the reinforced shelter?’
Colonel: ‘No, that’s too dangerous. Leave the crates on the trucks, but build a protective wall of full fuel drums around them. Make sure it’s in the most likely sector of enemy attacks.’
And of course, barring all other forms of destruction for a villainous hideout, there’s always Godzilla.
But isn’t it nice to finally have Mopey back to normal? A few questions remain open, though: Will our heroes escape from the collapsing tomb? What happens to Rutentuten? Why must even an invalid Snuka do all the work? – Don’t miss the chilling next episode of: ‘Revenge of Rutentuten’ (Uh, given it’s December, I’m actually doubting whether ‘chilling’ is something that would draw people…) And don’t miss your chance to vote, or visit the forums. Thanks.