I have been observing mad scientists, Satanic demons, and other evildoers my entire life. I have to admit; it looks like a sweet gig. You can punch people all you want and nobody bats an eye, because you’re evil and that’s what evil people do. If you’re dissatisfied with the service at Applebee’s, there’s no need for a pithy e-mail or phone complaint. Just up and burn the place down! Families with small children inside? So what? You’re EVIL.
There is, however, one major drawback with this lifestyle: the living arrangements are horrible. A good guy, with a good wife and good kids, gets to live in good house with a good dog and good, comfortable furnishings. What do you evil people get? Squat, that’s what! The typical evil lair is devoid of anything even remotely livable. What about those times when you just want to take a 20-minute break from the dark side and just BE?
These crappy living conditions get worse once you realize that, as a true evil-doer, you’re stuck in this inhospitable abode. You can’t just wake up, drive to the office, punch in, be evil for eight hours, and then drive back home to relax. Sadly, due to that whole “everybody wants to bring your ass to justice” thing, you’re stuck sleeping at your desk.
But you shouldn’t have to! It is entirely possible to be both evil and comfortable, and I’m going to show you how. All those stereotypical bastions of a truly evil castle are about to be simplified, beautified, and romanticized. Hey, evil geniuses need lovin’ too.
The first step is to work on your first impression. The outside of a typical evil lair is too dark and foreboding. They always feature faded colors and decaying brick structures, which only alert the passersby that the castle’s owner is probably not immortal. After all, no one with that much time on their hands would let their home go like that.
So plant some flowers. Tend to the bushes. Re-paint the bricks with a welcoming hue that will increase your inner chi, while still making it clear to all who oppose you that they will not leave these grounds alive. Put your guests (OK fine, enemies) at ease with a warm and inviting outside arrangement. Once inside, the giant monsters that crush every bone and blood vessel in their body will more than make your point.
And do something about those creaky gates and bridges, for God’s sake. It’s not just a looks thing; it’s a practicality thing. If they just up and collapse, you’d better hope they kill the intrepid adventurer out for your head, or they’ll be too busy laughing to take you seriously ever again.
OK, so you’ve spruced up the outside; what of the inside? From what I’ve seen, the typical evil lair is little more than hallways, stairs, and doom. There’s nary a chair or table in sight, and the ones that ARE there have likely been possessed to attack anyone who dares approach them. This, by the way, includes their evil master. Few things would screw up your plans for world domination like collapsing into a plush sofa, exhausted from a long day of battling Defenders Of All That Is Right, and being immediately eaten by your own creation.
Now, some of your castles have potential for luxury – giant bookshelves, hallways lit by romantic candlelight, in-house convenience stores – and yet you do nothing with them! The hallways are filled with demonic Hellfiends instead of soft music and the seductive sway of a charming lady’s dance. The bookshelves are cursed with flying homicidal literature, and you have nothing to read the real ones on. Worst of all, your stores only sell items that make your enemy STRONGER! Are you evil geniuses dense or something?
Simply put: you NEED a place or two to lay your head. Yes, being evil and megalomaniacal is a full-time-plus job, but everyone deserves a break. Find some comfortable chairs and loveseats, add a complimenting throw pillow or two and, no matter what, do not transform them into sentient beings of destruction. You already have plenty of those.
Next order of business: you’re overdoing it with the booby traps and dangerous obstacles. Yes, you need to ensure that the dashing warrior, out to avenge the brutal murder of his girlfriend, never gets past the first area. That’s totally understandable. So, if you need some spikes here and there, an underground lake filled with rabid sharks, or the occasional giant pit of molten lava, go right ahead.
The problem arises when you load up every inch of every room with the damned things. Yes, it makes it hard for the hero, but you know who else it makes it hard on? YOU, that’s who. You may be an evil mastermind, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the occasional derp moment. And the more lava pits or giant buzzsaws you have hanging around, the more likely your derp moment will become your last moment ever.
It’s great for the hero, because you just did their job for them. You’re dead, the world is saved, and they have an utterly hilarious story to tell the local townsfolk. It’s less great for you though; all of your plots and schemes pay off with being named the most evil Darwin Award recipient of all-time. Your Legacy Of Wickedness deserves a far better ending.
Besides, it’s so damn cheesy. Endless beams of fireballs, tons of paper-thin floors leading to bottomless pits, cannonballs constantly dropping from the ceiling? Enough already! Ever hear of “less is more?” Not only does all this crap lying and flying around look silly and overdone, it projects the wrong message. You know that macho dudeski who pimps his ride in order to get around how much he sucks in bed? That’s you; people are going to look at your elaborate setup, and assume you can’t beat the good guy on your own. The last thing you need as the Sultan Of Suffering is for your reputation to take a massive PR hit, so tone it down, will ya?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “what chance do I have if my castle looks like something out of The Secret Garden, only somehow less manly? The hero will just storm through the castle, and confront me lounging in my warm canopy bed with bright lavender sheets. How fast would they set the entire room on fire while laughing about how they THOUGHT this was going to be a challenge?”
Well, it depends. How evil are you, truly? Do you NEED all these silly little gimmicks to convey the destruction you intend to unfurl? If you truly carry the darkest and coldest of hearts inside of you, it shouldn’t matter if your throw rugs have your name effeminately stitched in the front. Plenty of serial killers have nice furnishings in their home, after all.
Re-doing your lair of darkness to allow a little light isn’t the end of your world, but it can mean the end of everyone else’s. This can only happen, however, if you truly despise all of humanity and wish to see everything burn, while you dance to the tortured screams of women and children everywhere. If that sounds like you, there’s no reason why you can’t destroy all that is good, while also indulging in a bit of luxury.
Listen to all I’ve said, and your evil castle can become your evil casa. Just don’t forget to install a bathroom or two. You idiots never have those. Where do you do your business, at the top of the tallest tower? No wonder all your visitors want to kill you.
Jason Iannone is a humorist and editor for hire. His Facebook is a rockin’ party, and his Twitter is the awesome afterparty. Tumblr is where he rides out the hangover, and archives anything he writes from anywhere.
Jason did evil things to his stomach when he Ate A Giant Burger Totally Unprepared, and tackled the evil things done to a great franchise in Why Bill And Ted Can’t Make An Excellent Video Game.