Baddies & Goodies

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Baddies & Goodies Costume Ideas

When it comes to dressing up as Baddies & Goodies, or Heroes & Villains, there are so many costume choices out there that it can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. Here at Props & Frocks we try to guide you through the costume choices by dividing the areas into what we hope will be helpful categories. There is some crossover between book characters and film characters and it is always worth checking these sections as well for additional ideas.

Book Days and Weeks are a common occurrence for children, and there is a growing supply of suitable outfits coming to the market, baddie and goodie book character costumes for adults are a little harder to come by. (Unless, of course, the book has been made into a film). As a general rule, most films/series’ and their source novels share the same characters, so even if you have not read the book, you can usually ‘cheat’ with the screen version. Beware though – sometimes the movie-makers have made changes – in the MGM Wizard of Oz Dorothy’s slippers are famously red, but in the book they are actually silver!

Another factor to bear in mind is that people’s perceptions of a character can be influenced either by their own image of the character, the illustrations which accompany the text (such as Tenniel’s pictures for ‘Alice in Wonderland’), or by more recent and/or popular incarnations, especially where the book has been turned into a film and the characters’ looks may have changed or developed.

Baddies in Films

Baddies Character Costumes from Films

As we have said before, not everyone necessarily wants to be a goody-goody hero/heroine and sometimes they want  to be wicked. In this piece we look at a wide range of villains and baddies to be found in films (and not just the usual suspects!). For simplicity, although we could try to categorise this bad bunch, instead we are keeping it semi-alphabetical (taking liberties with given and first names in some cases). Because of film merchandise, a number of these characters have ‘official costumes’, but others may need some creative improvisation. You will also notice that in some cases an ostensibly male outfit (Riddler, Beetlejuice, Chucky) has a female equivalent costume available for the benefit of couples, pairs or femmes who think they cannot be fatale without imitating a male!

Alex Delarge (Clockwork Orange) – The antihero and master of the ultraviolent in a film that was banned on video for many years because of its content. The look involves a white boiler-style suit with braces, a bowler hat and walking cane. Another feature is the false eyelash worn on one eye. A commercial costume is available.

Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction) – The original femme fatale bunny-boiler. 1980s style power-dresser with a wild corkscrew-curl hairstyle. Because of the pivotal role of a rabbit (?), some sort of bunny prop might be useful to enhance your impersonation. If you do not get the reference, get the DVD – which has a choice of endings!

Baby Jane Hudson (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) – The faded film star with a vindictive edge and love-hate relationship with her sister.

Beetlejuice – The bio-exorcist from the film of the same name. Supposedly helping a deceased couple to reclaim their homestead, he is working on his own agenda. The commercial outfit (of which there is also a female version) is based on a distinctive black/white stripe suit plus mask/wig. A red frilled wedding suit could also work.

Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) – Does your hire outlet have one of those Napoleonic war naval uniforms (the sort of thing seen in Pirates of the Caribbean)?  An excuse to use it in a baddie context and recreate the Charles Laughton anti (Fletcher) Christian role.

Blofeld (James Bond films) – Although there have been twenty plus Bond films, the arch villain Blofeld has only appeared in about five (depends if you count ‘For Your Eyes Only’ where his role is a fleeting one). Different actors have taken the role, but the basis of the outfit is a grey Nehru-style suit (not dissimilar to the commercially available Dr Evil (Austin Powers) costume).

Bonnie & Clyde – Instant couple costume! In theory Bonnie wears a number of outfits not usually associated with a gangster’s moll (beret, long coat, etc.) but if you avoid the flapper-style and go for the female pinstripe counterpart to the male gangster outfit, you can probably crack the impression.

Carrie (Carrie) – An early Stephen King book character who has featured in at least two movies (there have been lesser-known sequels). The outfit is based on the climactic Prom scene where (spoiler alert) things get messy.

Catwoman (Batman films) – Whether she is a heroine or villainess is debatable, but this is a costume popular for all number of reasons. As Catwoman has had almost as many costumes as a cat has lives, there are a range of looks to go for, from the basic stretch-knit catsuit and winged mask (Lee Meriwether – Batman, 1966) to Anne Hathaway’s cat-burglar ensemble (Dark Knight Rises) through the Michelle Peiffer’s  PVC (Batman Returns, 1992) and the ‘nothing-to-do with Batman (but Razzie Award-winning)’ Halle Belle street-fighter Catwoman.

Child Catcher (Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang) – Things were so much simpler before DBS checks – a wheeled cage, some sweets as bait and a large net, you know where you stand with this ultra-meanie – nowhere near him if you are a child!

Chucky (Child’s Play & Chucky films) – The spirit of a psychopathic killer gets trapped in a doll through voodoo and this little chap then spends several films wreaking havoc, gaining a wife and offspring in the process. Going one better than the films, the costume trade has created a female version (Chuckee, Chuckette?) for that living doll with a homicidal edge.

Commodus (Gladiator) – The villainous Emperor featured in the film Gladiator (2000) who has his father strangled and forces General Maximus Decimus Meridius into exile. Any Roman Emperor-style outfit should command respect.

Darth Maul (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) – The dark assassin sent to eliminate the young Anakin Skywalker. Although an imposing figure, the red/black facial tattoos and vestigial horns may involve more make-up time than people want to put in (and we have seen some female Mauls in our time). There is, of course, the mask alternative, but this brings its own problems, especially for those wanting to eat and drink.

Darth Vader (Star Wars films) – Undoubtedly one of the best recognised film villains of all time, but the problem is the outfit: Not only does being the Dark Lord of the Universe involve wearing an imposing suit, but the mask is Vader and it is difficult to be the character without it (it can be difficult to eat, drink talk and see with it). That said, there is a female Vader costume available on the market which is short, sexy and far, far away from the original Dark Lord concept.

Dr Elsa Schneider (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – The sharp dressed but devious archaeologist, who works with both Joneses to further her plans.

Dr Evil (Austin Powers) – Models himself on arch Bond Villain Blofeld in his plans for world domination and his grey Nehru-jacket-style outfit.

Faora (Superman/Man of Steel) – Also known as Ursa, this is a super-villainess from Superman’s home planet of Krypton who joins with General Zod (below) to try to defeat the Man of Steel.

Frank the Rabbit (Donnie Darko) – Cult film involving an air disaster, time travel, physics and this giant menacing rabbit, for which there is (or at least was) an official costume.

Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein) – Classic horror monster, available in a wide range of costume options. For a couple, there is, of course, the Bride of Frankenstein, but despite a striking hairdo, her conversational skills were a little limited and she probably wasn’t bad – just made that way.

Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street) – Wes Craven’s nightmare made flesh (sort of). With his burned flesh, tatty striped jumper and fedora he has become one of the most popular modern day Halloween baddies. Although masks can be found, use of some of our specialist make-up products such as the bloody face scar special effects kit can yield dividends.

General Zod (Superman films) – Arch-enemy of Superman who, with female accomplice Faora, seeks to destroy the Man of Steel. An official costume and accessories are available.

Ghostface (Scream) – A popular and simple Halloween baddie whose look derives from Edward Munch’s famous Scream Painting.

Gollum (Lord of the Rings) – Although a victim of circumstance, portraying this devious creature may prove a challenge, as it is generally agreed that a mask is essential and little else.

Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) – The ‘greed is good’ yuppie of 1987, who preceded the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ by many years.

Gru (Despicable Me) – Looking like a cross between Uncle Fester of the Addams Family and Dara O’Briain, the Irish writer/comedian, Gru is a criminal mastermind much helped (or hindered) by his multitude of Minions (for which costumes are available even if they are not ‘baddies’).

Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs and others) – Infamous cannibal made famous by Anthony Hopkins, although films of the other books with other Hannibals have also been made. Commercial outfit usually involves a prison strait-jacket and mouth-guard, but a suit plus a bottle of Chianti may be more subtle.

Jason Voorhees (Friday 13th) – Along with Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, one of the three classic modern horror fiends who have appeared in multiple sequels, although Jason has also made it into the 25th century future in Jason X. The commercial outfit, is however based on the original outfit worn for the Camp Crystal Lake homicides.

Jigsaw (The Saw movies) – Although Jigsaw is ostensibly a killer, taking his name from cutting a jigsaw piece of flesh from victims, his later argument is that many of his victims harm/kill themselves when forced to take chances in perilous situations. He works through two intermediaries (for which costumes are available) – Billy the Ventriloquist Puppet (who also rides a trike!) and the cloaked Saw Pig.

Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) – A horror fiend with a chainsaw, and a film which has been remade/recut. There is also a female version, featuring a chainsaw handbag as an accessory.

Lex Luther  (Superman films) – Although some of Superman’s foes from the Krypton Phantom Zone have been already mentioned, this is the Man of Steel’s main earth-bound nemesis and leading criminal mastermind.

Loki (Avengers Assemble) – Thor’s wicked brother in Norse mythology and the Marvel Avengers series. An official costume, involving a muscle chest, cape and interestingly horned helmet could certainly create an impression, but for licensing reasons, it seems to have been withdrawn from the market.

Medusa (Clash of the Titans) – Medusa was the snake-haired gorgon from Greek mythology, whose glare could turn you to stone. For such a supposedly ugly character, there are a surprising number of Medusa costumes commercially available. One to look at (carefully) for Halloween!

Michael Myers (Halloween) – From the successful series of horror movies started by John Carpenter (although Halloween III Season of the Witch, involving evil masks, was not part of the Myers series).  In best slasher movie style, the costume involves a mask and large knife!

Mystique  (X Men) – For the girl who wants to make an impression, this blue-bodied shape-shifter should do the trick.

Poison Ivy (Batman and Robin) – A delinquent in the original comic, in the film Poison Ivy was a sultry seductress played by Uma Thurman. In recent years she has also taken on other incarnations as one of the Gotham Girls group of female heroes/villains. She is often teamed with the Joker’s sidekick, Harley Quinn, but as Harley has not appeared in a movie (yet) she does not qualify as a movie baddie.

Pris (Blade Runner)One of the four replicants who return to Earth from the mining colonies in search of their Maker. Pris’ combat gear whilst disguising herself as an automaton, involves a white unitard/catsuit, racoon-style eye-make-up and an orange/white frizz wig – very discrete.

Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland) – There have been several film versions of Alice in Wonderland and, not counting the more recent Tim Burton variation (see Red Queen), possibly the most memorable is Disney’s 1950s cartoon creation. Although the playing card-inspired red/white/yellow outfit is pretty standard, there are also some interesting short and skimpy versions available – watch out for the one with the flamingo handbag.

Ravena, Queen  (Snow White & the Huntsman) – In a 2011 reimagining of the Snow White story, we have a wicked stepmother who is also a shape-shifting sorceress, turning into a flock of ravens occasionally (hence the name). There is an official costume for this character.

Red Queen  (Alice in Wonderland) – A variation on the Queen of Hearts noted above, this character from the Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland combined elements of both the Queen of Hearts of the Wonderland story and the Red Queen of the Looking Glass sequel. The heart motif is dominant in the commercial costume.

Regan (The Exorcist) – Good excuse to look bad and behave even worse. If you can create the look, it should turn a few heads.

Riddler (Batman films) – Frank Gorshin reprised his TV portrayal of the Riddler in the 1966 Batman movie and Jim Carrey undertook a suitably restrained interpretation in ‘Batman Forever (1995). Either way, the outfit involves a green suit (or jumpsuit) with a question-mark pattern. Accessories may include a green bowler (also decorated with question-marks) and a cane with a question-mark shaped handle. Carrey also had an orange buzz-cut wig. A ‘Miss Riddler’ outfit is also commercially available.

Saruman (Lord of the Rings) – The white wizard who went to the Darkside. Commercial costumes are available.

Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood) – Classic film baddie (he is the one who cancelled Christmas in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), the outfit is basically rich medieval.

Sweeney Todd  (Sweeney Todd – Demon Barber of Fleet Street) – Seeking revenge on a judge who has wronged him, Sweeney deals with the cut-throat competition head-on and, with his accomplice Mrs Lovett, goes into the catering business.

The Invisible Man (The Invisible Man, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) – There are those who cannot see this working, but aside from a complex commercial costume of a few years ago involving  ‘floating glasses and a hat’ and a trench coat, the usual approach is a bandaged head, glasses and gloves.

The Joker (Batman films) – Rather like the comic book character, the Joker has had a few different screen incarnations. Cesar Romero recreated his successful TV persona for the 1966 Batman movie, Jack Nicholson gave an impressively enigmatic performance for the Tim Burton Batman (1989) and most recently Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his manic portrayal of the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008).

The Shark  (Jaws films) – We have not had many animal baddies in our list, most probably for practicality reasons. We could have had King Kong, but many regard him as Victim not Villain, T. Rex (Jurassic Park) or Godzilla are no-nos, and although there are a few manimals such as Werewolves and Cat People, we thought a Shark was best, most famously seen in Jaws and also in an upgraded version in Deep Blue Sea (1999). It is also helpful that there are a few shark outfits on the market.

Tony Montana (Scarface) – An American gangster of Cuban origin who commands respect throughout the underworld with the help of his trusty ‘little friend’, a companion of lethal calibre. He has a trademark white suit worn with a 70s-style burgundy shirt. The outfit is available commercially.

Baddies from Books

Baddies Book Character Costume Ideas

You want some book character ideas and, as always, Props & Frocks aims to deliver with, on this occasion,  a range of baddie/villain suggestions. Please note that we are suggesting a list of character ideas to be conveyed by use of distinctive outfits and accessories – we cannot promise that either we (or indeed any other hire/sale outlet) necessarily has all these costumes ‘off-the-peg’.

Right – if you are short of time and do not want to read the whole article, here’s a sort of speed-read of ten quick ideas which need little explanation and which you (but unfortunately also anybody else) should be able to find at ours and any other outlet.

Captain HookPeter Pan – J M Barrie

Cruella de Vil101 Dalmatians – Dodie Smith

DraculaDracula – Bram Stoker

Frankenstein’s MonsterFrankenstein – Mary Shelley

Fu ManchuFu Manchu series of Books by Sax Rohmer

Hannibal LectorRed Dragon/Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

MedusaFrom Greek Myths & Legends

Queen of HeartsAlice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Sheriff of NottinghamRobin Hood – From English folklore

Wicked Witch of the West Wizard of Oz

Meanwhile, initially, let’s work with a few specific authors:-

Charles Dickens, the English Victorian author offers a wide range of characters in his books and with the help of a suitable Victorian outfit you could adopt the identity of many of them. Amongst those that stand out are;

Fagin - The ‘pickpocket gangmaster’ of Oliver Twist; Long black coat (with internal pockets), grey wig and black skull cap.

Scrooge - The meanie who comes good in A Christmas Carol; White Victorian nightshirt, night cap, half-moon glasses, grey wig

Miss Havisham – The embittered spinster of Great Expectations; All pale and cobweby! The outfit marketed as Ghostly Girl (or similar) can be useful here.

Wackford Squeers – The cruel schoolmaster of Dotherboys Hall in David Copperfield;  Grab a cane and channel the style of the schoolmaster from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’

William Shakespeare may not have written many novels, but he did manage a few plays  – books of a different type. Often the character is revealed in the words rather than the look, but here are a few suggestions.

Lady Macbeth – Co-conspirator with her husband  in the murder of King Duncan – hence the blood-stained hands.

Richard III - The alleged hunchback and killer (by proxy) of little princes. Medieval king costume (with a hunch).

Shylock – An unfortunate Jewish stereotype from The Merchant of Venice but the pound of flesh thing is not the most endearing idea. You could use the same outfit as Fagin (above) but carry a large fake knife and one of those luggage weight-scales!

Amongst modern authors, horror writer Stephen King has created many memorable villainous characters, and in this case, because many have been made into movies, there are some ready-made outfits available.

Pennywise the Clown - The evil horror entity from the book ‘IT’. Aside from the male version, we have seen a female variation on the market.

Carrie – The telekinetic teenager from the book of the same name. This book has actually been made as a movie twice but the result’s the same – it gets messy at the Prom.

Jack Torrance – Distracted caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in ‘The Shining’. Slight sideways thinking here as you find an axe, an Overlook Hotel T-shirt from movie-tee specialist suppliers and do your best Jack Nicholson ‘Here’s Johnny’ bit (That line was never in the book, Nicholson improvised it for the film!)

Annie Wilkes - The dedicated literary superfan from ‘Misery’. Again, you characterisation may be influenced by the Kathy Bates version seen in the film, but a Misery book and mallet may be useful props!

As we are talking a horror author here, there are a few King novels for which you could use generic horror outfits – Zombies (Pet Semetary), the Devil (Salem’s Lot & Needful Things) and ‘nosferatu-style’ vampiresThe Night Flyer’.

There’s also everyone’s favourite cannibal, Hannibal Lector, from the books Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, etc. by Thomas Harris.

Whilst we are in horror mode, we might mention that the Devil/Satan turns up in many guises in other literature, notably Milton’s Paradise Lost (where Satan is the rebellious fallen angel) and Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, where, as Mephistopheles, he persuades the Doctor to sell his soul. If the full red Horned One outfit is a little OTT, try a more subtle approach with a smart suit (male or female), a red pointed tail hanging from the rear and some small head-horns!

Road Dahl is a popular author often portrayed at Book Days/Weeks. He tends to do ‘grotesque’ rather than horror, and amongst the villains in his works are Agatha Trunchbull (Matilda) and the Grand Witch (The Witches).

Lemony Snicket also does larger-than-life and offers us Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

From the devious, there are also villainous masters (and mistresses) of the Dark Arts : Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter), White Witch (Narnia) Saramun & Witch King of Angmar (Lord of the Rings).

 

Goodies from Books

Goodies from Books

There are undoubtedly a large number of literary heroes – many books are named after them! When it comes to costumes for adults for a Book Day/Week style event, the first consideration is your market/audience. If you are a teacher, learning assistant or similar, you are obviously looking to portray someone your students will be familiar with (which may have a lot to do with their age). It may also be that you and your assistant are looking to portray a literary or linked pair. Similarly, the age of the character is another factor. Even small children have a good idea what age (or size) their favourite characters should be, so an adult playing a youthful – say - Dick Whittington might not work.

On a wider scale, it may be true to say that in some respects ‘film goodies’ offer more choice than literary characters and even then, some book character outfits are available only because there has been a film adaptation. Of course such costumes are one interpretation of characters ‘created’ in the reader’s imagination, but films shape people’s perceptions of appearance. In other cases, there may be a particular aspect of clothing or prop which ‘makes’ the character. As with a costume party, it helps if your character is easily recognisable. Anyway, as with our companion Literary Baddies piece, we start off with a quick list of characters usually easily found ‘off-the-peg’.

The Cat in the Hat – Distinctive Dr Seuss character, key costume elements being the tall red/white stripe top hat and big red bowtie. A potential ‘partner’ is Sally, a girl in a white blouse and green apron/pinafore dress. An alternative pairing is/are Thing One & Two.

The Mad Hatter (Lewis Carroll) – Popular character, now available in two styles – the ‘classic’ style and the slightly more madcap Johnny Depp interpretation. Obviously once again the hat (with price tag in hatband)and bowtie are key items. Partner characters can be the March Hare, Dormouse or, of course, Alice.

Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) – Another popular choice of character. The traditional style is light blue dress with a white pinafore apron but variations are available thanks to the more recent Tim Burton film. As a partner, aside from the Hatter mentioned above, the White Rabbit or Queen of Hearts suggest themselves.

The Queen of Hearts can, of course, stand as a literary character in her own right – either Alice style, or more nursery-rhyme mainstream with The Knave (or King) of Hearts as a partner.

Where’s Wally/Wanda (or Waldo) – A character who probably needs no introduction.

Dorothy Gale & companions (L Frank Baum)Another potentially popular group of characters. Whilst Dorothy might be the ‘leader’, one of the others (Lion/Tinman/Scarecrow) may prove more visual, and female versions are available (although some might consider them a little skimpy for some environments).

Dumbledore/Merlin (JK Rowling/Sir Thomas Malory) – The wizard headmaster Dumbledore is obviously familiar to those who have grown up with the Harry Potter books and films. Thanks to the recent TV series, the younger generation are probably most familiar with Merlin the wizard as a young boy but, of course, technically Dumbledore and Merlin share similar traits and have a potential wow factor.

Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) – Another character that has undergone a recent modern reimagining, but the classic Inverness cape, deerstalker and meerschaum pipe (plus magnifying-glass) is the stereotypical (if rather inaccurate) look.

Cleopatra & Anthony (Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw) – Arguably, Cleopatra works as a standalone character whilst Anthony could be just another Roman unless put in context. Unfortunately Cleo and Anthony are often a popular costume choice pairing, but if your heart is set on this couple, you will just have to step up your game and, with our help, knock the competition asp over apex (a pyramid reference, of course).

Mary Poppins & Bert the Sweep (PL Travers) - Another couple where the female character works on her own and puts her partner in context.

Roald Dahl characters are always popular, and amongst the leading Goodies are Willie Wonka, the famous chocolate factory owner,  and Fantastic Mr Fox. The latter is perhaps classified as a children’s book character, but this vulpine hero was played by/voiced by George Clooney in the animated film.

Are the choices so far a little too kiddie orientated for you? Try these from the Dark Side. (We will assume that Dracula does not Count as a Goodie).

Dr Jeykll & Mr Hyde (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson) –  Interesting dual personality character covering both Goodie and Baddie camps. You might find one of those half-n-half costumes which embodies the two, but the character is open to improvisation.

Frankenstein’s Monster (Frankenstein – Mary Shelley) – Literary/Halloween crossover character familiar to most people. The Bride of Frankenstein is unfortunately more a creation of the movie-makers seeking a sequel to the original film.

Quasimodo (Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo) – Another Halloween-orientated character, also a victim of circumstance.

Death (Discworld books – Terry Pratchett) – A more off-beat book character, Death is a full-on Grim Reaper of few words but tending to MAKING AN IMPRESSION WHEN HE DOES SO.

Goodie Characters born of Myth and Legend…

Greek and Roman Myth and Legend are filled with such male hero characters as Hercules,  Achilles and Jason. Unfortunately, aside from goddesses doing good deeds and saving mortals, there are few Greek myth heroines. The nearest we have is Medea, who assisted Jason in obtaining the Golden Fleece, betraying her own family and people in the process, but then being betrayed herself and exacting a terrible revenge.

Beowulf (Old English poem) – The fearless warrior Beowulf battles the demon Grendel and incurs wrath from other dark forces.

Conan the Barbarian (Robert E Howard) – A Sword and Sorcery of the Dark Ages character created in the 1930s but now associated with movies starring the then unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tarzan (Edgar Rice Burroughs) – Possibly the most famous character creation of this author, but not one for a cold day!

Game of Thrones (George R R Martin) – This is a modern multi-volume classic of political machinations in a medieval-style land, a summary which may not do the work justice. Fans will have their favourite characters, and although off-the-peg outfits are not always easy to come by, the use of the heraldic devices and sigils of the families in the series may create a satisfactory outfit impression.

Lord of the Rings (3 books) and The Hobbit (J RR Tolkien) – Both works offer a wide range of potential characters (although unfortunately not too many female) notably Gandalf, Frodo (and Bilbo) Baggins, Gimli the dwarf warrior and Legolas the elfish archer.

King Arthur, Guinevere & Lancelot (Sir Thomas Malory) – Having mentioned Merlin earlier, other leading characters from the Age of Chivalry could also be chosen.

Robin Hood (Traditional) – Robin and his Merrie Men (plus Maid Marion) are heroes of English folklore.

A few modern Book Goodies..

James Bond (Ian Fleming) – Often requested in connection with movies or a standalone Bond theme, the basic tuxedo or Naval Commander might be favoured, but you could also draw on some of the movie incarnations – Sir Hilary (OHMSS), Frogman (Thunderball). The later films, though offering strong female roles, wandered from the actual Bond book characters, so Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) might be the best bet for a Bond female.

Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffanys – Truman Capote) Call girl tart-with-a-heart made famous (or at least more familiar) by Audrey Hepburn’s film interpretation.

Lisbeth Salander (Millenium trilogy – Stieg Larsson) Punky computer hacker who has been portrayed in two different film adaptations. The dragon tattoo is a starting point to the look, and slogan t-shirts could also be useful.

Rincewind (T. Pratchett) – The flipside to Merlin, Rincewind is the inept wizard from the early Discworld books (he has a hat inscribed ‘Wizard’ for the benefit of those unsure).

Arthur Dent (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books – Douglas Adams) – Hapless earthling rescued from Earth just before it was blown up to create a by-pass. Classic outfit involves a dressing gown and all-important towel.

Does your interpretation of literary characters run to comic books and graphic novels? Aside from the obvious cop-out of Batman, Superman, etc, try these..

 V – (V for Vendetta graphic novel  Alan Moore) – Rebellious anti-hero who models his masked look upon the British 17th century participant in the Gunpowder Plot,  Guy Fawkes. The look has been widely adopted by modern-day activists.

The Watchmen (Watchmen – Alan Moore) Goodies? Well superheroes have fallen from grace in this ‘alternative history’ story, and not all heroes are as they seem, but thanks to the film of the novel, a range of character costumes are available.

Tintin (Herge) – The famous boy detective with a quiff who has recently moved from comic book to big screen.

Snoopy  & Peanuts characters (Charles Schulz) – This stretches the book character concept to comic strips, but these are some of the most successful comic strip characters ever. The Peanuts gang celebrate their  65th anniversary in 2015, and so are probably worth a mention.

Goodies in Films

Goodies Character Costumes from Films

Because there are so many books which have been turned into films, many film goody characters may have counterparts in our literary goodies list, but with movie merchandise deals, in many cases there are official costumes available for film character versions. The downside is that, in a franchise situation, with multiple episodes, prequels and sequels, the costumed look of the character may change to keep the merchandise money coming – it’s a bit like football shirts!  The other problem is that only a select group of characters from any given film are made available – not good if you are trying to be original. We have tried to provide a mix of suggestions in our list.

Batman – The comic book hero who has had many movie incarnations. The 1943 version is lost in time, but the  Batman: The Movie (1966) built on the success of the cult TV series and since then there have been many new reincarnations and reboots, the most recent being the Dark Knight series. A future film (due 2016) features Batman and Superman (plus Wonder Woman and Aquaman). Batman’s sidekick Robin has also undergone a few image/costume changes.

Batgirl – Aside from her appearance in Batman & Robin (1997) (the one with George Clooney as Batman), Batgirl’s screen action has mainly been on the small screen.  Nonetheless, with female superheroes in short supply, she is a potential movie hero choice.

Superman – Another comic book character much in demand thanks to his several movie appearances over the years.

Supergirl has had her own movie, but although it was not a great success, Supergirl  can be a popular choice.

Catwoman – There is a debate as to whether Catwoman is good or bad, but she is a popular character. There is even a film featuring a Catwoman (Halle Berry) who has nothing to do with the Batman franchise.

The Avengers – Not Steed and Emma Peel (although there was an Avengers film featuring these two (Ralph Fiennes, and Uma Thurman involved) which was not a great success), but the gathering of Marvel superheroes such as Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow to see off threats to the Earth.

Thor – Originally the God of Thunder in Nordic folklore, and whilst he still retains these roots, many are now more familiar with him as another of Marvel Comic’s group of Avengers heroes. A female warrior from Asgard, Lady Sif, has assisted Thor in his missions. There is also word that in a future development, the position of Thor may be taken by a female anyway.

X- Men – Aside from the Avengers, Marvel’s X-Men have also generated a number of films and potential character choices, notably Wolverine and Storm.

Other comic book/video  heroes who have had movie adaptations include Green Lantern, Spiderman, Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario.

Mr Incredible and Elasti-girl – In a time of comic-book heroes, Mr Incredible and Elasti-girl were originals, at the top of the crime-fighting game, but they then married and raised a family. Unfortunately the rise of a new threat to the world forced the whole family out of retirement and into combating this menace.

He-Man – Alter-ego of Adam, the Prince of Greyskull in the popular 1980s TV cartoon series (and later spin-off film). His female counterpart is She-ra.

Woody the Cowboy  & Buzz Lightyear –  The original Toy Story film created a new standard in animated films and the two follow-ups maintained the same quality of characterisation and humour.

Indiana Jones – Originally created to bring back the ‘Saturday Matinee cliff-hanger hero’, Indiana Jones, the action archaeologist, has now starred in four films. The fedora and whip are key costume elements. His female counterpart is Lara Croft, originally a video game character, but brought to life on the big screen by Angelina Jolie.

Rocky Balboa – Sylvester Stallone created this underdog boxer character who has retained his star quality through several sequel movies.

James Bond – Although a book character, Bond is arguably more familiar from his movie incarnations. As the franchise developed, the plots and characters of the films diversified from the books of the same name. Despite this, within the films, Bond has many incarnations, so aside from the inevitable suit/tuxedo, you can have Commander Bond (Spy Who Loved Me), Scottish Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Para-HALO jump Bond (Tomorrow Never Dies).

Austin Powers – As a counterpoint to Bond, we have Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. The first film (of three), though made in the 2000s was (initially) set in the 1960s spoofing not only the Bond movies but also cult 1960s film Blow Up (Austin’s ‘day job’ is an internationally famous photographer). His ‘accomplice’ for the first film is Vanessa Kensington, whose outfits range from 1960s Dolly Bird fashion, through Avengers leather catsuit to silver space-dress. He is joined by Foxy Cleopatra (Beyonce) in the second film, and the third features a spin-off Austin movies with Tom Cruise (as Powers) and Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Austinpussy’).

Luke Skywalker – Possibly the best known of the Jedi Knights of the original Star Wars series. There are many official outfits available for this character and others such as Princess Leia and Han Solo, and more may be expected with the new Disney Star Wars films.

Neo  – The Matrix was a ground-breaking film, introducing the concept of a computer generated reality. The Neo look, featuring a long coat and wraparound shades, is not complex, and for Trinity, his co-freedom fighter, a PVC catsuit and shades can create a great impression.

Maximus Decimus Meridus – Ridley Scott’s Gladiator created this hero of ancient Rome.

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid – Possibly the best known cowboy pair beyond the more specialist Brokeback mountain duo.

Spartacus – The slave who led a major revolt in Roman Times.

The Lord of the Rings films (plus The Hobbit series) throws up a whole range of Goodies, from Frodo and Bilbo Baggins to Legolas and Gimli to Arwen, Galadriel and Gandalf. Costumes for many of these are available (although the ones for the Hobbits may be on the small side).

John McClane (Die Hard films) – Not so much a question of dressing up as dressing down for this oft-battered action hero.

Rick Dekard (Blade Runner) – Forties Film Noir meets Sci-fi as this cop hunts replicant robots in a future Los Angeles.

Terminator – Of course the Terminator tends to change sides according to his mission – in the first film he’s trying to eliminate Sarah Connor, mother of the future rebel leader, the next he’s a T800 upgraded model defending the Connor family against other robo-baddies.

Clarice Starling – FBI agent involved in a battle of wits with everyone’s favourite cannibal baddie, Dr Hannibal Lector. The problem is portraying Clarice without her evil counterpart.

The Man With No Name (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly) – This role established Clint Eastwood’s star quality.

Ellen Ripley  (Alien Films) – Undoubtedly a ground-breaking goodie, but perhaps not easy to portray in a costume context. A spacesuit is possible, if a little cumbersome.

Spongebob Squarepants Major undersea cartoon hero – the costume is usually in a tabard-style outfit.

Lawrence of Arabia – The David Lean film about TE Lawrence, the Englishman who lead a revolt in the Middle East is a classic and proved the breakout role for Peter o’Toole.

Kick Ass & Hit Girl – When a teenager decides to turn crime-fighting vigilante, he is aided and abetted by Hit Girl, a like-minded feisty female whose supportive father seems to model himself on the Adam West/Batman method.

Baby Doll - The film Sucker Punch sees Baby Doll, wrongly committed to an institution, and her companions Amber, Blondie,  Rocket, Sweet Pea attempt to escape from their imprisonment through a series of fantasy adventures.

Flash Gordon – He started as a Saturday matinee cinema hero, but most now connect him with the 1980 Dino de Laurentiis movie featuring Flash as an American Football star, who saves the Earth. His female partner is Dale Arden, but a subsequent TV series has generated some alternative costuming.

Zorro – At one point this masked swordsman of Old Spanish California was one of the most filmed characters in the movies.

Captain James T Kirk – Although Star Trek has its origins in television, there have been many Star Trek movies covering the two major versions of the franchise (plus new reboot films). Kirk may seem the obvious choice but Spock could work equally well.

The Tramp – Charlie Chaplin presents an iconic image of early silent cinema.

Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell  (Top Gun) – Tom Cruise has starred as a goody in many a film (see also Austin Powers), but this is one of the few you can portray through costume.

Rambo – Sylvester Stallone’s other major screen hero – a Vietnam veteran who’s fighting for right.

Robocop – The law-enforcement cyborg has generated several sequels and reboots.

Shrek & Princess/Queen Fiona – Admittedly originally book characters, but the ogre and his missus are probably better known from their film appearances.

Wyatt Earp & Doc Holliday – Heroes of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Wild West folklore.

Gandhi – Inspirational leader in the Indian subcontinent in the latter days of the British Raj.

Abraham Lincoln – From the foundations of American History, a true historical icon (even if played by a Brit).

The Blues Brothers – On a mission from God to save an orphanage, Jake and Elwood Blues wreak havoc and create some cool music.

The Ghostbusters – Along with the Three Musketeers (and possibly the Three Amigos), one of the few Goodie trios available. In an interesting turnaround, whilst female Ghostbuster outfits have been available for a few years, it is rumoured that a forthcoming Ghostbuster remake may feature a female cast.

Wiliam Wallace (Braveheart) – Okay, the film was not historically accurate and featured a few jarring errors, but a Scottish Warrior with a sword and war paint could prove popular.

Rooster Cogburn (True Grit) – Such a hero, they did a remake which stood reasonable comparison to the original.

Rick Blaine – From film classic Casablanca, a cool look and a white tuxedo can create the right impression.

Inigo Montoya (Princess Bride) – Off the beaten hero track, there is this loveable thief-cum-kidnapper from a film which has become something of a cult favourite. Inconceivable!

Aladdin – Okay, technically a book character, but as with so many books adapted by Disney, Aladdin takes on a life of his own beyond the basic story (helped, of course by the big blue genie – an interesting costume challenge).

Barbarella – Well before Princess Leia and her metallic bikini, a different Space heroine enthralled the Universe with her futuristic clothing (or, sometimes, lack of it).

Princess Leia (Star Wars) – Leia was distinctive in being feisty, but also virtually the only female in the early Star Wars films. She upped her profile in the second film with some skimpy slave-wear, courtesy of Jabba the Hutt.

Queen/Padme Amidala (Star Wars prequels) – The follow-up prequel films did not do much better, even if she did spend the first film of the series seeming to be in two places at once!

The Bride/Beatrix Kitto (Kill Bill) – Out for revenge following an incident at her wedding, The Bride takes the action heroine genre to a whole new level.

Historical Goodies

Historical Goodies?  Tricky, because in some cases (notably military history) one person’s goody hero is another’s baddy enemy. Take Napoleon Bonaparte. Undoubtedly a baddy on the field of Waterloo, where his army was beaten by British forces under the Duke of Wellington but in other fields, such as metrication and administration, he did much to shape aspects of the modern world. In other areas of historical heroes, the representation of a particular personage might reply on props relating to his/her major achievement as much as the look and costume. Nonetheless, let’s risk a few suggestions for historical Goodies…

Jesus – Undoubtedly has the right credentials, but perhaps controversial for some. Seems to us if street sellers can offer Instant Jesus kits in St Peter’s Square, Rome, he is a potential contender.

Buddha – Bringing some religious balance, the main costume representation of this most influential entity is a gold statue.

Joan of Arc – Feisty French freedom fighter against the English.

Moses – One of the few biblical choices, but you should be okay if you take the tablets.

Winston Churchill – Renowned wartime leader and British Prime Minister.

King Henry V – English king who took the fight to the French at Agincourt and, thanks to Shakespeare, is better known than he might otherwise be.

Sir Francis Drake – Major sailor, explorer and privateer of Elizabethan/Tudor times.

Sir Walter Raleigh – The ‘other’ famous Elizabethan explorer, legendary for laying his cloak down for the Queen and introducing tobacco and the potato to western civilisation (or vice versa).

Queen Elizabeth I – Aside from her current counterpart and Victoria (who presided over the expanded British territories), possibly the best known of English Queens.

Pochahontas (& Captain John Smith) – The Native American Chief’s daughter and the English explorer whose life she saved and fell in love with.

Mother Teresa – A modern sainted soul whose charity works amongst the poor of India were tireless.

Cleopatra – There were actually several Cleopatras in Egyptian history, but this is the famous one who attempted to save her kingdom through romance with two of the military leaders of Rome.

George Washington – Founding Father of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln – Probably the second most famous American historical figure from the British point of view, noted for his Gettysburg address on the matter of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Although he was tall already (around 6’4’’), he was also noted for his stovepipe top hat in which, it is said, he kept important official documents.

Mahatma Gandhi – Pacifist who led the Indian sub-continent to Independence from British rule.

William I – William the Conqueror may not be seen as a hero by some, but like his later compatriot Napoleon, his skill with administration  and quelling of meaningless Saxon violence was admirable.

Robert the Bruce – Scottish leader of early times who, legend has it, was inspired to continue his fight against the English invaders after watching a spider taking several attempts to build a web.

Napoleon Bonaparte – The little Frenchman with big ideas for a European Empire, built out of the foundations established by the French Revolution.

Horatio Nelson – Opposing Napoleonic forces at sea was Rear Admiral Nelson whose heroic leadership lead to the Victory at Trafalgar and his unfortunate death.

Duke of Wellington – Military strategist whose skill with land forces defeated Napoleon’s attempts to establish a European Empire, capitalising upon the Frenchman’s failed campaign against the Russians.

William Shakespeare – The greatest and best-known of English authors.

Queen Boadicea – As leader of the Iceni tribe in Eastern England she took on, and almost defeated the Roman Invaders.

Captain Scott – Arctic explorer whose attempts to reach the South Pole ended in disaster.

Charles Darwin – British scientist whose work on the science of evolution proved controversial but influential.

Emily Pankhurst – Leader of the Suffragette movement to gain voting rights for women.

Isaac Newton – Scientist best known for his ‘discovery’ of the principles of gravity and motion of objects.

Jane Austen – Possibly the best known British female author.

Florence Nightingale – Miss Nightingale’s work in the field of battle during the Crimean War set groundbreaking standards for nursing care. For those choosing this character, she had a small pet owl – Athena.

And finally, if you are still having trouble with suggestions for Historical Goodies why not check out our Historical Character section.