Villains That Love Being Bad: Loco, The Great Silence
As played by the incomparable Klaus Kinski, Loco is the definitive Black Hat: cunning as a fox, venomous as a rattlesnake, and dirtier than a rat. And yet… he’s able to play by the same “rules” as director Sergio Corbucci’s protagonist, the titular bounty hunter; in one of the film’s most memorable, suspenseful scenes, the smug villain refuses to even lay a hand on his pistol–eventually removing his gun belt entirely!–unless Silence draws first, knowing that the pragmatic “hero” will only kill if he can plead self-defense. The only difference between these two gunslingers is that Loco is intelligent, crafty, and evil enough to know when to break the rules–a detestable trait which, in a cruel and bitter twist, allows him to win.
[Originally written January 6, 2012.]