The Fascination With Good Vs Evil in Storytelling

For WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, we interviewed tons of experts aboutthe struggle of good vs evil in film, comics, pop culture, world myth, literature, and the real world. Here’s what some of them have to say about why people are so fascinated with storytelling about good vs evil?

DOUG SCHOONER—People are fascinated by stories of good and evil because of our desires to feel and be all the things we are not, and also to believe that we have the power to save as well as be saved. We like to feel the things that a good story can give us. It enhances our imaginations and aspires us to dream, to go beyond what we have previously known.

BRIAN PATRICK O’TOOLE—Every story needs a hero and a villain, whether it’s in a novel, a film, a religious sermon or just office gossip. The battle between good and evil is the essence of all storytelling. As an audience, we need someone to root for and someone to hate. There’s an old saying that God and the Devil can’t exist if one goes away. So there will always be the “good” looking for someone to “hate”. Good vs. Evil is the story structure of Life. Fascination with this life view turns dangerous when zealots take the concept off the page or silver screen and apply it to their own personal agendas. Good and Evil are also a matter of opinion and sometimes it’s the opinions of the wrong people that are the only ones heard and followed. The corruption of good by evil is also fascinating in storytelling because it gives the audience a chance to view redemption and hopefully take that into their everyday lives.

RICHARD MYLES—I think that people are fascinated with storytelling about good and evil because it helps us to deal with their own belief, disbelief, insecurities, affiliations, and fears of the unknown. Anything that is enigmatic, people tend to probe and question its’ origins, purpose, and destination to seek comfort.

DOUG JONES—Good and evil battle it out in our hearts every day. Watching or reading fantasy stories where these forces have names and faces inspires us to go back home and finish that battle of our own.

AMBER BENSON—The battle human beings wage between good and evil goes on into perpetuity, but a book or film dealing with that subject has a resolution. I think that can be very appealing to people. It shrinks something huge and overwhelming down into a more palatable size.

MELISSA BACELAR—I think people struggle with Good and Evil everyday. It’s part of being human and having the ability to make choices. It could be as simple as having the salad as opposed to the grilled cheese and french fries. But its good vs evil. Watching a movie, especially one that involves extreme good and evil makes us feel better about our little “evil” choices. My Mom would always tell me misery likes company. I think one of the downfalls of the human race is enjoying other peoples failures.  That is what I think the fascination is. Enjoying that someone else is MORE EVIL than we are.

MONIQUE DUPREE:  I think the reason why people are so fascinated with this is because of their own struggles of good vs evil within themselves. We all hold the power to do good and evil. Some people live vicarious through television & film others, well that’s another story.

RUBY ROCKET—Good versus evil is something that plays out every day. Often times it’s not as evident as it is in the movies and we can become frustrated by it, though. Seeing it laid out so plainly in movies offers us a sense of relief and hope. We always hope that good will prevail and I think seeing that played out on screen helps us basically cope with the evils of the every day.

DOUGLAS CLEGG—It is the duality we bring into life as human beings. The world itself is not about good and evil. It’s about creation and destruction and new creation from the destruction itself. It is a constantly changing world that keeps cycling on and on without regard to human values.

But the human perspective is that some things are good and some are evil—and it’s virtually impossible to get away from this, but the problem is defining the evil versus the good.

Human life is inherently contradictory.

The nature of what is evil seems to be very human in form: we create monsters from our minds.

Ultimately, we have the monster within us.

And this always makes for good reading.

Meet the Experts:

Doug Schooner is an artist who also plays guitar and writes.

Brian Patrick O’Toole is a screenwriter and independent producer whose works include Dog Soldiers and Cemetery Gates. He writes the monthly Horrorcade column for Fangoria magazine.

Richard Myles is Co-Executive Producer for Viper Productions, LLC , Mental Scars, LLC, and Viper Productions’ DEADZONE Magazine. His classic horror film Mental Scars was released in 2009.

Doug Jones is an actor who plays ‘Abe Sapien’ in the Hellboy films, among other works.

Amber Benson played ‘Tara’ on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the author of Death’s Daughter and Cat’s Claw (Ace Books).

Melissa Bacelar is an actress, model, producer and animal activist.  You can see her pictorials and film credits at

Monique Gata DuPree is a scream queen and star of SHADOWHUNTERS 2: ORIA and BACHELOR PARTY IN THE BUNGALOW OF THE DAMNED.

Ruby Rocket (aka Ruby Young) is an actress, model, and seamstress who can often be found portraying her favorite superheroes at comic book and other conventions.

Douglas Clegg is the award-winning author of more than 20 novels, including Isis, Neverland, The Priest of Blood and others. His fiction has won the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild and Shocker Awards

For more on the struggle between good vs. evil, check out WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE by New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker award winning author Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman. It includes interviews with folks like Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jason Aaron, Fred Van Lente, Peter Straub, Charlaine Harris and many more; and the book is fully illustrated by top horror, comics & fantasy artists


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  2. Wonderful piece in Wanted Undead Or Alive, Janice. How one simple question can lead to such assorted responses from the experts. My first thought was to differentiate good versus bad, rather than good versus evil. Contemporary characters are often never wholly evil or wholly good. Good traits and flaws humanize a protagonist and antagonist. Then again, the more evil characters are remembered long after you put down the book, or leave the movie theater. Thanks for the post.

  3. Great subject, and it certainly seems like horror writers are experts of sorts. Here’s my take. The books bring evil out into the open. As soon as you close the book evil recedes into the shadows. I guess for some people, it feels safer to confront it in the open.


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