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I can’t help it. There are certain male actors I love and always have and most likely always will. I like to call them the “good” bad guys. Not because they’re good at being bad, though they are, but because they’re so filled with attractive angst and most importantly gentility. Oh come on. Nearly every paranormal romance (especially Gothic) has the genteel hero be he demon, devil, angel, or vampire. He’s the gorgeous one dressed to the teeth (pun intended) in livery.


Why the sudden musings on good bad guys? Vincent. As in Price not Beauty & the Beast in any of its television incarnations. I don’t even remember what I posted on FB that got me thinking about him and about all those good bad guys.


I think if I had to sum up Vincent Price in a sentence it would read this: “He was such an evil gentleman.”  And he was. Vincent, regardless the role cheesy or cherished, carried himself with the air of a tortured nobleman: a good guy turned bad sometimes through no fault of his own (sound familiar romance readers?) He had that voice, distinguishable anywhere; not quite British but not quite American or “continental” either. And that laugh. At once evil and refined, mad and sexily bad. He never showed up onscreen in jeans or a cowboy hat (though I think one of his films might have danced along that vein) and the only horses he rode were those of the gentility as well: those used for “the hunt” or for nobility travel.


No, Vincent was always dressed formally usually in historical settings and apropos costuming. It didn’t matter if he was the scheming vizier to the king or queen or the crazed curator of The House of Wax or even the goofy lonely archaeologist in the cave during The Brady Bunch’s vacation in Hawaii, even in Margaritaville garb (Hawaiian print shirt, khaki shorts and flip flops), Mr. Price could give you shivers and make you love him for it.


I think it’s that gentility that makes me love Clark Gable as Rhett Butler; he’s a thorough scamp but a nattily dressed one and I get chills from him too! 


Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps not. Perhaps you are intrigued by well-dressed men as well, be they good, bad or indifferent toward you (the worst kind). 


I think the Vincent Price/Rhett Butler syndrome is one that helped nourish the paranormal romance parameters–I see so much similarity between them and the immortal heroes of today.


Or it could just be as simple as this:



Top coat, top hat,

I don’t worry coz my wallet’s fat.
Black shades, white gloves,
Lookin’ sharp and lookin’ for love.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
Coz’ every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.


~~ Sharp Dressed Man~~

Music and Lyrics by ZZ TOP




  1. Fabulous post and I have to agree! I love Vincent Price because of the qualities you described, and I can think of a whole host of other ‘good’ bad guy characters in the same vein (yes, mostly vampires, ha ha!).


    • Thanks so much!! I didn’t have much time when writing that post or I’d have gone deeper into the influence of Vincent et al on today’s paranormal genre’.


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