Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Attack of the campy villainesses

The first of this year's two Snow White films,Mirror,Mirror,is due to arrive at a multiplex near you later this month,with Julia Roberts playing the Wicked Queen role.

The more that I see of the promos for this picture,the more I am convinced that Roberts is setting up a new perch in an unexpected-for-her section of the pop culture kingdom. That special spot happens to be right in the heart of the campy villainess headquarters.

Nothing against Julia here,but let's face it,friends;this whole arrangement has the makings of Campy Evil 101. You've got your overblown costumes,over the top sets,make-up and hair that even by Halloween standards is less than subtle and self mocking one liners that cry out for a drum set's rim shots. Our Miss Julia is becoming a live action cartoon in more ways than one:

Well,she's certainly in good company. Glenn Close was so dynamic as Cruella De Vil in the 1996 live action remake of 101 Dalmatians that they made a sequel just to showcase her Anna Wintour from Hell approach to the part.

Frankly,I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Meryl Streep took a few tips from her before doing The Devil Wears Prada and dialed it down a bit. Then again,the only real justice one can do to recreating the ultimate fur connoisseur is to shoot for the sinister stars,or spots in this case:

Before Glenn even thought about putting on the dog,however,Bette Midler rocked the Disney scene as Winifred, the mean girl in charge of the Sanderson witches in Hocus Pocus.

With great campy sidekick support from Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy,these three back-from-the-beyond babes were not able to blend in with the rest of the costumed trick-or-treat crowd,they also had a chance to pull off a musical number.

That scene was the biggest high point of that merry mixed-up film and a true fan favorite. Leave it to Bette to not miss an opportunity to grab even more of the spotlight than she already had:

Enchanted was a film that knowingly tipped it's hat to the Disney princess classics and that included Susan Sarandon's take on evil Queen Narissa. Her persona and powers were a combination of several evil doers but there was one major menace that her character was truly meant to emulate.

While she did do the whole poison apple routine(right down to the old hag disguise),most of her look was based on the wicked fairy from Sleeping Beauty. You had to hand to Sarandon,she really stayed on campy track there,even when turning herself into a talking dragon:

One of the better campy villainess acts came right of the pages of comic book lore,as Uma Thurman planted her wacky roots as Poison Ivy in the infamously awful Batman and Robin.

In terms of camp,Uma had plenty of competition here with Mr. Freeze's clunky as a block of ice puns,the wind-up doll antics of henchman Bane and Batgirl's blonde highlights to boot.

Yet,Thurman gave her Poison Ivy some serious Mae West panache and certainly knew how to make a memorable entrance(and exit):

So,good luck to Julia Roberts if she wants to stand out in this crowd. Talk about your fierce competition,indeed! Speaking of fierce,it might be a smart idea for the princesses,Disney and otherwise,to revamp their image if this trend for fairy tale retellings keeps growing.

Campy or serious,the bad girls have a strong advantage over the goody two shoes gals when it comes to being attention getters. Evil is alluring,after all,and such roles can give an actress plenty of room to play in,not to mention scenery to chew. Maybe they should think about taking on the small screen to adjust their sweetness scale,or at very least,reality TV:

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