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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Since I've recently advanced the notions that (a) a combative work must contain no less than two opposed characters possessed of megadynamic "might," and (b) that level of "might" extends from a low level ("the exemplary") to a high level ("the exceptional"), it behooves me to provide a short list of examples of the more newly-defined of the two categories, the "exemplary."

As of this writing I've reviewed over 200 films on my movie-blog, though there are fewer than 200 entries given my tendency to "double up" or "triple up" the films to which I've given short critiques.    In each case where a film had a combative mode, I noted that status in the label section, along with each given film's status in terms of its Freyean mythos.  So the easiest thing is to go down the list and determine which if any films are qualified by either protagonist or antagonist (or both) being of the lower level in the combative mode.

Since the separate "demihero concept" also requires some elucidation, I'll also mention whether or not it appears in this grouping of films, though this will not be a list of all demiheroes in the corpus of films reviewed.


Under the label "combative ironies"--

Only one of the films, John Carpenter's THEY LIVE!, has a protagonist of the exemplary level, the hero John Nada.


Under the label "combative comedies"--

In 1989's EASY WHEELS, the villain She-Wolf and her gang of bad bikers are exceptional; the heroes are only exemplary.

Both 1994's BLANKMAN and 1989's CHOMPS pit exceptional heroes against exemplary gangster-villains.

Both of the DOCTOR GOLDFOOT films pit an exceptional mad scientist against merely exemplary secret agent heroes.


Under the label "combative dramas"--

Both 1958's HORROR OF DRACULA and 1960's BRIDES OF DRACULA present a "Doctor Van Helsing" who, while not exceptional in his level of power, is a much more athletic and resourceful hero than the character from the novel DRACULA.  In past essays I've mentioned that the assembled "vampire killers" of the novel, though they are demiheroes, also qualify for greater-than-ordinary status, though I was not using the term '"exemplary" at that time.

The 2011 RED RIDING HOOD potrarys the titular heroine as an exemplary demihero.

In 1999's VIRUS Jamie Lee Curtis' character Foster is an exemplary demihero.

In 1954's MISS ROBIN CRUSOE, both the demiheroes and villains are exemplary types.

The character of the vampire-slaying monsignor in 1968's DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE has the same exemplary status as Hammer Films' Van Helsing.


Under the label "combative adventures"--

The villains of 1941's JUNGLE GIRL are exemplary types.

Exemplary villains menace the heroes of 1945's ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS and 1953's THE SIREN OF BAGDAD.

Both THE WHISPERING SHADOW (1933) and SHADOW OF CHINATOWN (1936)  pits exceptional villains against exemplary demiheroes.

Exemplary villains constitute the threats in 1986's ADVENTURES OF THE AMERICAN RABBIT, 1937's DOCTOR SYN, 1963's DR. SYN ALIAS THE SCARECROW, 1953's BANDITS OF CORSICA, 1943's THE PHANTOM, 1953's VALLEY OF HEADHUNTERS, 1951's MASK OF THE AVENGER, 1953's THE KID FROM BROKEN GUN, 1937's THE SHADOW STRIKES, 1958s LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD, 1984's SHEENA, two of the "uncanny" HERCULES films, many of the TARZAN films and all of the BOMBA films.

NOTE: I have used the term-set "exemplary and exceptional" before, to denote differing types of literary merit.  However, I don't envision using them in that manner very often in future, and so have chosen to re-use the terms in this very different context.

ADDENDUM 4-29-17: Since writing this I have disallowed CHOMPS, the GOLDFOOT films, and DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE from combative status.

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