We're Not That Different, You And I...
The thing that makes villains scary--whether they are on the silver screen or running around with us in the asylum of the real world--is not the depth of the atrocities they commit. Those are causes for horror and revulsion.
The fear comes from the recognition that with the right set of circumstances, from brain chemistry through inciting incident, we could be the monster. It might not be as simple as “one bad day” or “one screw loose” but sometimes it is clear that the societal web that keeps us all from preying upon each other is very thin indeed.
Being human means that we all have the capacity for great kindness and hideous cruelty. It is too easy to look at those who have more wealth, less wealth, a different skin color, gender, sexual preference and see the Terrible Other. All too easy when the truth is we all have a little monster inside us.