hero and villain are one and the same
January 7, 2010 7:00 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for stories of a type such that in some twist, the (for instance) police commissioner in charge of the search for the archvillain turns out to be the villain himself. Or something along that pattern.
posted by swimmingly to Grab Bag (38 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd -- Agatha Christie
posted by prettypretty at 7:03 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


L.A. Confidential
posted by Lucinda at 7:05 PM on January 7, 2010


Presumed Innoncent.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 PM on January 7, 2010


Kiss the Girls, the 1997 Morgan Freeman/Cary Elwes movie.
posted by something something at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2010


Snake Eyes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:11 PM on January 7, 2010


The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
A Hell of a Murder by Jim Thompson

I think there's at least one short story on this theme by Edward D. Hoch as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:12 PM on January 7, 2010


Lots of Roald Dahl's short stories have bizarre or macabre twist endings.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:13 PM on January 7, 2010


Top 10, a comic by Alan Moore.
posted by explosion at 7:13 PM on January 7, 2010


Hot Fuzz
posted by evilbeck at 7:15 PM on January 7, 2010


Witness
posted by SLC Mom at 7:15 PM on January 7, 2010


Also, Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane.
posted by evilbeck at 7:16 PM on January 7, 2010


There is an entire article's worth of examples at TV Tropes: The Killer in Me. I'll also add Make It Good (computer game) to the list.
posted by phoenixy at 7:16 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


For a very wild twist on this theme, read A Scanner Darkly.
posted by googly at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2010


I'm pretty sure that the Leroux book is the first modern Western-world exemplar of this trope (pre-1910). And yes, he's the same douchenozzle who foisted The Phantom of the Opera on us.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:30 PM on January 7, 2010


Fallen. It was a film starring Denzel Washington (with John Goodman in a supporting role), which my father and I caught once on the afternoon movie channel once when I was home; I just remember we kept on turning to each other during commercial breaks and saying, "...huh, this is good!"

(It also has one of the most memorable "chase scenes" I've ever seen -- the big-bad in the movie is a demon that is possessing people in order to play a cat-and-mouse game with Denzel, and he can move from one body to the next by making the body he's in touch another body. So there'sthis one cool scene where Denzel is trying to "outrun" the demon, and you see him running through a big crowd -- while behind him, you just see a whole wave of person upon person turning around and touching other people to "follow" him.

(Also, you'll never hear the Stones song "Time Is On My Side" in quite the same way again.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 PM on January 7, 2010


The book version of "Logan's Run". (They changed that aspect of it for the movie.) I don't want to reveal any spoilers, so I won't explain why it fits your requirement, but it does.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:37 PM on January 7, 2010


With Total Recall and A Scanner Darkly, I'll throw in another movie based on a Phillip K. Dick short story, Minority Report.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2010


Angel Heart.

Maybe Memento.
posted by alms at 7:51 PM on January 7, 2010


The thing that's currently making so much noise in my living room, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2010


So bad it's awesome: Face/Off. I'm Castor Troy!
posted by bfranklin at 7:55 PM on January 7, 2010


Another related trope, which one of my friends just asked me to point out, is called And Then John Was a Zombie.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:58 PM on January 7, 2010


This happened in the season finale of The Mentalist last year.
posted by yawper at 8:12 PM on January 7, 2010


Ridley Scott's Alien.
posted by effluvia at 8:21 PM on January 7, 2010


Man, spoilerfilter!!!

Adaptation's The 3 has the victim, cop and murderer all the same person.

In the Bollywood movie Don (the new one at least- can't comment on the orig), the chief of police running the investigation turns out to be the puppet master drug lord all along and is using his job to run off his adversaries. Another spoiler- this movie is awesome
posted by Large Marge at 8:39 PM on January 7, 2010


No Way Out with Kevin Costner. And saying it's not as simple as that is my way of indicating this is not entirely a spoiler.
posted by dhartung at 9:11 PM on January 7, 2010


Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:16 PM on January 7, 2010


Cracker, "Men Should Weep."
posted by bentley at 9:24 PM on January 7, 2010


Ransom
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:26 PM on January 7, 2010


Also, Agatha Christie's Curtain, sort of. And Steven Saylor's Rubicon.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:47 PM on January 7, 2010


Jeffrey Archer has a book of short stories called A Twist in the Tale that, oddly enough, all have twisted endings.
posted by tracicle at 10:00 PM on January 7, 2010


Roses Are Red by James Patterson
posted by SisterHavana at 10:11 PM on January 7, 2010


The Judge And His Hangman by Friedrich D├╝rrenmatt (German title: Der Richter und sein Henker)
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 10:30 PM on January 7, 2010


Bad Monkeys, by Matt Ruff
posted by hades at 11:56 PM on January 7, 2010


Ryusei no Kizuna book & tv adaptation - the murderer is not one of the three siblings; however, as it says in the description, "a shocking revelation leads to an overwhelmingly emotional ending."
posted by betweenthebars at 11:57 PM on January 7, 2010


(Bad Monkeys, it's worth mentioning, contains a lot of Phillip K. Dick references, apropos the Dick recommendations above.)

Also, kind of: Fight Club
posted by hades at 12:01 AM on January 8, 2010


Since Philip K Dick was mentioned, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has a short plot section that qualifies.
posted by msittig at 12:08 AM on January 8, 2010


The TV show Dexter is about a serial killer who has a daytime job as a blood spatter analyst. He stashes his bodies on the seafloor, and at one point they're found, and there's a long arc where he's helping to investigate his own crimes. You know he's the killer from the get-go, but there are still some good twists.
posted by Rinku at 2:29 AM on January 8, 2010


The movie Eyes of Laura Mars.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 9:30 PM on January 9, 2010


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