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Wicked Nerdery

Where psychology, pop culture, and true crime collide

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films

The Trial of Kylo Ren: Hero or Villain?

First and foremost this post will contain spoilers concerning Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  A lot of spoilers.  MAJOR spoilers.  If you’ve not yet seen the film and wish to remain spoiler-free then I suggest you just save this page and come back to it later.  If you’ve seen the film or simply don’t care about knowing everything keep on reading…

Seriously though, from now on there will be spoilers!

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Tough Women Have Traumatic Pasts

It takes a special kind of woman to be as tough as the men and in pop culture it takes one with a traumatic past.  Something that’s hardened her enough to hang with the guys, do a “man’s” job, and perform those tasks most often considered masculine in nature.  The trauma itself is not always the same – domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape, the death of a parent at a very early age – but the results are.  Someone tough and determined enough to live and succeed in a male-dominated world, but never without some terribly painful past that underlines she’s still the “softer” sex. 

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When Characters Get Real, Audiences Get Mad

Certain characters achieve a level of venom from audiences that can be surprising.  Even when they aren’t the main antagonist, trying to take over the world, or even all that villainous, people loathe them…but why?  Why is it that certain characters garner more hatred than others?  Is it that they aren’t as clever, physically attractive, or entertaining as their more tolerated counterparts?  …Sometimes, but not always.  Usually there is a deeper reason behind the audience’s intense dislike.  It would seem that those characters on TV, film, and in comics who really get our blood boiling are those we’ve met – in one way or another – in real life before.

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A Love for Every Age

The saying goes “Age ain’t nothing but a number”…but this isn’t exactly true, especially when it comes to one’s sexual desire for another.  While some may simply cause raised eyebrows there are others that can get a person in very serious legal trouble and brand them as an outcast for life.  While the specifics of which term is most appropriate for which preference may seem irrelevant it’s important to both mental health professionals and law enforcement…and it never hurts to know as a layperson either.

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Secret Psychopath: The Dark Knight’s Joker

Psychopaths are not easy to spot; in no small part because they are masters of disguise, skilled at fitting in even when they stand out.  With the ability to read a room and the expectations of those within it they can follow social norms to fly under the radar or openly defy them to whatever advantages there might be.  Whichever they choose though rarely are psychopaths spotted for what they are.  It’s only if you look closely, dissect with a rational mind, that you can see beyond the surface behaviors to the true person beneath.  It holds in real life and it holds in the fictional world…there are a number of characters in TV, film, and comics that hide themselves behind either subdued or over-the-top behavior so that you don’t notice who, what, they really are.

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Survive the Dinosaurs, Survive Nature

Jurassic World recently came out to own – it’s fun, a bit silly, and just maybe has a message.  And not just this Jurassic movie, but all of them collectively.  A rather important message really, albeit hidden under monstrous dinosaurs and running humans and, yes, a healthy dose of ridiculously fantastic deaths.  So…what is this message?

That nature is a powerful force that should not be interacted with lightly.  Nature should be respected at all times and playing God is not a wise choice, especially if you’ve not considered the repercussions of what you do.  Disregarding Mother Nature is dangerous – both for you and those around you – and these films show that in very clear ways…especially concerning two specific facets in dealing with Nature.

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Twisted Love: The Sharpes of Crimson Peak

For the film Crimson Peak director Guillermo del Toro said he wanted to take the classic Gothic Romance story and twist it.  As an example he pointed out that it’s not necessarily the woman who needs rescuing by the man, but the reverse.  Whether he realizes it or not he also put twists on the classic concept of the serial killer couple.  While the one in Crimson Peak realistically follows the basics of how these sorts of pairings function it also subverts the cliches found in most fictional portrayals for a fresh take. …But before I continue please note, if you’ve not seen the film, there will be lots of spoilers to come…

…Seriously, I’m going to reveal plot points and secrets…

…Last chance…

Okay, if you read past this, it’s your fault!!

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Sinister is Sexy

Onscreen sinister is sexy, whether we care to admit it or not.  Villains in TV and movies are fascinating to watch; you can’t take your eyes off them.  (Casting may help, true, but Hannibal Lector is entrancing played by Mads Mikkelsen, Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, or Gaspard Ulliel.)  But why?  Why do so many of us fall for the villain even when he or she is so…well…villainous?

Please note: I’m not talking about the villains in slasher films like Jason Voorhees or Freddie Kruger, but the ones that lean towards sane, sober, and sociopathic; the ones that could actually exist, in one form or another, in the real world.

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Ode to Sociopathic Love: Hannibal Lecter

One of the most common arguments I hear against someone – real or fictional – being a sociopath is that the person loves someone else.  While I understand the presumption that a psychopath/sociopath cannot love, it simply is not true.  They love, just not in the same manner or presentation as the average/neurotypical person.  Theirs is a selfish, incredibly intense, love that can come and go seemingly at random…but it is love.  A love that a fair number of fictional “psychos” feel, including Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

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