I was looking at the comments on some music videos taken from the movie Labyrinth. Several times I had a little double-take because of the commenters, probably women although with the character of Jareth the Goblin King you never know, talking about how foolish the heroine was to grab her little brother and escape from Jareth’s kingdom. Jareth was sooooo dreamy! So cool! They’d have stayed with him if they were here. I read those and thought, “Kid, you really missed the point of the film.” Or has pop culture changed so much that these folks do not recognize evil when it is beautiful?
2:15 and on is probably what the Goblin King fan-club was thinking about. He finds her among the crowd, takes her into his arms, standing between her and chaos . . . And the hair on my neck rises more than a little during this scene. He’s suave. He’s cool. He makes me want to reach for a crucifix, a hunting knife, and a shotgun, not necessarily in that order. That appraising look, as if he’s weighing her, looking through her at her weaknesses, using her confusion to draw her to himself . . . I have this urge to grab my skirts with one hand, draw a weapon with the other and get as far away as fast as possible.
The women(?) in love with the Goblin King do not recognize a predator. Even if you have not seen the rest of the movie, this video, even the first two and a half minutes, should make you twitchy. The Goblin King is stalking his prey, and the ladies head-over-heels infatuated with Jareth do not realize that. Or they want to be his prey, to be stalked by the king of the labyrinth. Either way, they are in a bad position. As another commenter on the song wrote, if you watch the movie closely, you can see hints about other little girls and babies the Goblin King has captured. The last bit of “Dance Magic Dance,” Jareth tosses the baby and looks away, not caring if his goblins catch the child or not. Gals, that is not the behavior of a guy you want to spend the rest of time with. If you do, eh, G-d speed and have mercy on you should you get what you think you want.
I think part of the problem is that we, as a society, don’t connect evil with beauty. Granted, I’m outside the pop-culture loop to an extent, especially on TV, but evil tends to be ugly, or obvious. The good-looking guy kicks the dog, revealing his black heart. The charismatic preacher or businessman will be the villain. Loki, from Thor and The Avengers lets you know that he’s a baddie, usually, mostly. OK, we still have the femme fatale, but even she has a reason, and is probably a victim (or will be by the end-of-season cliff-hanger). But predators do not have to be hideous. And Jareth screams “predator.” He’s not a dreamy forever-teenaged vampire, he’s not sexy although he is sensual in many scenes. David Bowie did a great job with the character. He gives me the creeps. I don’t know how men react to him, but the character hits my alert buttons.
I would not want to stay in the Goblin King’s realm. I do want the gal’s dress, preferably in a dark blue or green, even a rich brown, with slightly less puffy sleeves. And a good rapier* hanging at my waist, to fend off the attentions of Jareth, the predator, the Goblin King.
*Why not firearm? Hey, its a fantasy movie, gotta stick to fantasy trope weapons.