Trygve.Com > Humor > Evil on a Budget Translate this page: Chinese (Simplified) Franšais Deutsch Italiano Japanese Korean Russian Espa˝ol
evil genius plot

previous humor page next humor page

in this issue

it's time for equal rights for evil

evil in the news
the latest gossip, rumor, and innuendo

complicated plans for killing captured heroes; yes or no?

book review
the seven habits of highly effective world conquerors

is it time to kill that henchman? Take this quiz!

pick the right population center to threaten for your portfolio

the ten best - and worst - places to build your stronghold

know when it's time to stop plotting and just attack something

evil temp agencies: a better source for minions?

love & sex
ten ways to make that cute secret agent swoon for you, instead of the other way around

equipment reviews
Evil Labs rates ten new personal anti-tank guns!

skin-tight black leather: still in for another season?

EVIL Magazine

Weapons | Tactics | Love & Sex | Fashion | Schemes

Evil on a Budget

- or -
How to threaten the free world on fifty dollars a day

lighting the evil lair

Part IV, getting that "high-tech" evil lair look, before you've robbed Fort Knox

Back in the good old days . . . er, bad old days, running an evil empire was a lot simpler: it was a lot easier (and cheaper) to find a remote and forbidding location to put a fortress from which to launch one's diabolical schemes, minions were relatively cheap and generally pretty reliable, and one could count on being able to support a moderate-sized campaign of world-threatening efforts from the returns of a reasonable investment portfolio, especially if one timed stock trades to coincide with relevant threats against humankind.

rock climbers have eroded the privacy of mountain strongholds
the popularity of rock climbing has eroded the privacy of mountain strongholds
Over the past few decades, the cost of effective villainy has skyrocketed, outpacing the Dow, the Consumer Price Index, and even health insurance. These days it's hard to find a secluded mountaintop or isolated island that hasn't already been covered with condos. All the really formidable-looking abandoned warehouses have been converted into high-priced lofts. And don't even think about finding a "fixer upper" castle for a reasonable price.
trygve logo
what's new
email this page to a fiend

Easy 'n Evil Quiz: Villain Aptitude Test:

Part 1, Mutations
(check all that apply)
  • impenetrable exoskeleton
  • ability to rip apart buildings with bare hands and/or teeth
  • power to fire destructive particle beams from fingertips or other body part(s)
  • psychic mind-control of humans, animals, and/or plants
  • cute fur
Part 2, Secret Vulnerabilities
(check all that apply)
  • flesh dissolves in water
  • tendency to short-circuit and catch fire when asked nonsense questions
  • prominent, clearly-labeled "self destruct" button
  • easily embarrassed

(continued on page106)

So what's an up-and-coming villain to do? For the well-heeled would-be-world-conqueror, there are still some abandoned missile bases available such as those from 20th Century Castles [ ] For those seeking more urban accommodations, there are plenty of aging strip malls headed for the chopping block that can be picked up at a reasonable price, and you can add on missile silos later as your fortunes permit. a kind word and a gun....

Behind-the-scenes shots and stills from
Dragon and the Hawk
used with permission.
Dragon and the Hawk DVD cover
Available On
[VHS] [DVD] [CD]
buy Dragon and the Hawk on DVD buy Dragon and the Hawk on VHS buy the soundtrack album on CD

Whether you're building your secret stronghold in a mountaintop castle or (shudder) a simple townhome, having to live within a budget doesn't mean having to live without style, but it does mean you'll need to exercise that much more imagination, resourcefulness, and creativity when decorating your fortress. Plan your decor with as much care as you'd put into a plan for unleashing deadly biological weapons on an unsuspecting public; begin by formulating a basic theme and style that expresses your own personal style of villainy and always remember these two fundamental principles:

  1. No matter what happens or what you have to work with, make it look like it's that way for a reason.
  2. Accessorize.

still life with Anna Hadzi
sturdy-looking walls are essential

The one thing any stronghold or fortress needs most is a sense of impenetrability.

If you can afford it, try to start with a basic structure that gives a sense of strength. It doesn't have to be something as elaborate as a castle; the walls of older, heavily-built warehouses and industrial facilities can exude almost as powerful a feeling of sturdiness, as can former prisons, mental institutions, and high schools.

Broken windows and decrepit construction may add to the atmosphere of your evil lab, but with the "atmosphere" there also comes the rest of the stuff that's in that atmosphere--bugs, rain, and, occasionally, neighborhood children.

The "open to the elements" style of evil laboratory went out with Baron von Frankenstein. Fortunately, with a few inexpensive touch-ups--like these stylish plastic wallcoverings from the Mothra Stewart "Lab Wrap" collection--even a poor-condition, hidden-in-a-long-abandoned-warehouse research lab can be updated to a more modern (and sanitary) look.

lab all wrapped and ready
note how putting an ordinary world map on the wall counterpoints the stark simplicity of the plastic sheeting and gives this lab an international flair.

When it comes to decorating your lab, remember the adage that more is ... more. A busy, even cluttered, work environment gives victims and secret agents alike the impression that your fingers are into many fiendish plots.

hey, what is all this stuff?
stocking your lab with equipment that even your own minions don't understand will help keep them from misbehaving

Don't worry if some of your lair accessories aren't actually useful or relevant to your evil plots, or even if you don't know what they are. As long as they fit with the overall decor, they'll just add to the sense of complexity and mystery of your operation.

Studies have shown that most secret agents will flee as soon as a few large and imposing items in your fortress begin to emit sparks and smoke; add a convincing "it's about to blow up" warning siren, and over 90% of international counterintelligence agents will run out the nearest exit without ever checking to see whether any of the smoking equipment is part of the evil plot they were attempting to foil. Having a few idle or unnecessary high-tech items that appear prominently in your fortress decor provides an easy and convenient method of ridding your stronghold of secret agents who have overstayed their welcome.

Be sure to shop around and take advantage of sales and quantity discounts. Foreign arms dealers are often eager to get new clients and may offer attractive pricing structures and financing options.

If you're new to the villain trade, adding a few international arms deals to your resume' always looks good and helps build up your credit rating and credibility.

always keep plenty of firearms on hand
always keep enough firearms on hand to take care of unexpected visitors

Don't forget to save the packing material. Not only will you need it in case you have to return some defective weapons for a refund, just having the extra armaments packing boxes around looks impressive; no one else will know if they aren't really full.

last year's IT and networking gear
last year's IT and networking gear is often dirt cheap and just needs a little cleaning and polishing to make it look as impressive as when it was new

After you've settled on a basic style, picked out a few major decorating items, and selected the devices critical to your fiendish scheme, an inexpensive way to round out your fortress decor is by hitting a few computer and IT surplus sales.

A few years ago this kind of equipment would have cost tens--if not hundreds--of thousands of dollars, but if it's not state-of-the-art this week, you'll find everyone from going-out-of-business dot-coms to major defense contractors practically giving away their most imposing-looking equipment.

If you're lucky, some of your surplus computer and IT equipment will come with documentation. It probably won't be for the equipment you've bought, but it will be documentation. Read it anyway.

Why? Because more evil plots have been foiled as a direct result of villains foolishly disclosing the details of their plans to their enemies than all other reasons combined. Wading through a few manuals for high-end networking equipment won't stop you from blurting out the details of your plots, but if you can master their style, you'll never have to worry that anyone will understand those details well enough to thwart anything.

In this case, we picked up an ordinary DEC VAX 11/750 minicomputer, a Qualstar 9-track half-inch-tape drive, and a US Robotics analog modem bank. The total out-of-pocket cost was under $100, but you can see how it adds a high-tech flavor and much-needed blinking lights to an otherwise dark corner.

An IBM 3290 multisession flat-plasma display is just odd-looking enough to look higher-tech than it really is, yet obsolete enough to be free for the hauling. Combined with the VAX, the Pertec interface tape drive, the modem bank, and a phone-book-sized Bang & Olufsen remote control, it was possible to decorate a lab without ever having any two pieces of hardware that were compatible with each other.

This might not seem like a laudable goal, but it's a common side-effect of buying surplus computer equipment.

qualstar 9-track with Vax 11/750, USR modem bank, and black tape
modem banks are an easy way to add lots of dramatic blinking lights to an otherwise unexciting equipment rack.

If you are going to include high-tech looking stereo or video equipment in your lair decor, be extra-careful to remove or obscure any logos of product names that could prove embarrassing if noticed during a critical moment of evil. No matter how cool the equipment looks, it's going to look unprofessional if it's labeled "Nintendo," "Sony," "Fisher," or--even worse--"Fisher-Price."

That caveat aside, no matter what it really is, if it looks high-tech, cool, and does not have a translucent fruit-colored case, by all means, sneak it into your decor. After all, if a Grass Valley Group television production switcher was good enough to be the planet-destroying laser control system in the Death Star, there's no reason you can't put some of your own audio and video accessories to bad use--and, when you're relaxing between schemes, you can still use them to change channels on the TV from the comfort of your evil lab.

just put a little more junk in that corner
a bit of clutter makes it look like you're serious about world domination

Surprisingly, a cluttered-looking lair is easier to maintain. The stark, minimalist look in evil labs will only be taken seriously if it's also kept immaculately clean and polished--and who has time to keep their equipment dust-free, especially with the demands of coming up with world-threatening plots? With high-tech equipment in every corner, nobody will notice a few fingerprints or a little dust, and it'll maintain its intimidating quality even when you don't get around to dusting as often as you'd like to.

Of course, you still have to provide the ominous, malevolent presense. No amount of decorating finess will make up for a lack of an overwhelming aura of evil. Make sure you stay in practice even in between evil plots by cruelly dispatching rival villains, feeding stray secret agents to sharks, or--if absolutely no more challenging victims are available--ordering in pizza and then refusing to pay the delivery person.

say, that's an interesting necklace
don't forget to cultivate an aura of restrained menace
Wappler Electric Cabinet, Violet Ray, and other accessories
19th and early 20th century electromedical devices might have looked great in Moriarty's day, but have little place in modern-day fortresses of evil

One caveat, however: avoid "Jacob's Ladders" and other electrical discharge devices; not only did they go out around the time that plumbing came in, they can wreak havoc with modern-day electronics.

Leave the spark gaps at the electronic surplus store, or you'll be risking a computer crash right when you're about to take command of a missile guidance system or having your radio jamming system start transmitting the chorus from Britney Spears' "Oops, I did it Again" when you'd meant to be broadcasting your demands to the President.

Often it's a good idea to put the equipment for the real control center in some innocuous room underneath your fortress; an unfinished storeroom can work well for this purpose.

One other helpful hint: hide a boom box outside behind a bush or other suitable spot and leave a tape of a sports car speeding away in it. Often, you just have to duck through a secret panel and then start the boom box outside to get gullible secret agents to run off on a wild goose chase, leaving you the time and privacy to get your work done.

ncr 6257 storage array, nfs servers, and modem banks
fault-tolerant computers and data storage is even more important when you could be under attack at any moment
netframe redundant processor arrays make spiffy pedestals
those old netframe redundant processor arrays still make spiffy pedestals

Alternatively, your secret control equipment can simply be integrated into your decor. If you want to hide your supercomputer from prying eyes, don't put it behind locked glass doors or even throw a canvas tarp over it--just put a vase on top and nobody will look twice at it.

... but don't put any computers you actually intend to use next to your Apogee Divas, even if you think their respective lines would complement each other; with more than a hundred pounds of magnets in each speaker, the reliability of your data could be compromised, multiple redundant processors or not.

Don't overlook the impression you create with your getaway vehicle either; successful villains don't drive station wagons or VW minibuses. Even if you can't afford to buy a sports car or stretch limo, you can still rent one for important occasions.

With a little thought and creativity, you can turn any structure into a professional-looking secret hideout. Remember, world conquest isn't just about having the right weaponry, it's about having the right attitude.

when  life hands you a limo...
when life hands you a limo...

getting the most from mutations and deformities

It used to be that merely having an unusual physical deformity or minor mutation was enough to make the general public realize you were a serious villain and feel properly threatened. Sometimes, just having a limp, a missing arm, a heavy foreign accent, or a flat-topped head would do the trick.

But in today's cultural climate, you can no longer count on even a really intriguing physical deformity to get you very far as a villain. Sure, it must be cultural progress in some sense that having one's hands be made of tempered steel blades--even with the optional Sawzall attachment--no longer stands in the way of obtaining gainful employment as a stewardess or in the lucrative field of vacuum cleaner repair, but it means that the modern-day villain needs to go beyond what was required in the Dick Tracy days.

a tasteful scar can lend interest
a tasteful scar can be an intriguing highlight of your appearance, and just like tattoos, are available in temporary form if you're uncertain whether a particular scar is the right style for you
energy blasts always get attention
the ability to generate psychic energy blasts is a great attention-getting mutation that won't make it harder to find clothes that fit

Remember, a deformity or mutation can make or break a villain's career, so if you have any control over what happens to you, choose wisely. As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid exposure to any alien technology or experimental mutagenic ray that's likely to transform one or more body parts into anything commonly served in a cafeteria.

No matter how nefarious your plot to unleash nuclear devastation on a major population center may be, the sad truth is that your threats will probably not be taken seriously if circumstances force you to refer to yourself as something like "Doctor Parsley"; even the scariest of food-related supervillain identities--"Brussels Sprout Knuckles," for example--will rarely strike terror into the heart of anyone over the age of seven.

Mechanical bodily modifications, on the other (ahem) hand, can be fraught with almost as many pitfalls as the vegetably-styled. A drilling bit from a large oil rig might look menacing, but bear in mind that one of those can weigh in at more than a hundred pounds. If you have trouble carrying your luggage all the way down the main concourse without switching hands at least once, having one for a hand is almost certainly a bad idea.

Nobody's likely to be intimidated by a villain who's dragging his mechanical limb along the ground, and your credibility as a potential threat to national security will drop every time you have to call off an evil scheme on account of persistent back pain.

Pick mechanical body modifications that are scary-looking and fit your personality, but are compatible with your physical skills and limitations. If in doubt, go for stainless steel claws; they're lightweight, never go out of style, and all but the klutziest of villains can keep from hurting themselves with just a little bit of practice.

everybody loves a laser
A laser or particle-beam weapon is a tasteful addition to almost any villain's wardrobe.

(not recommended for use with Swamp Thing or Merman-style motifs.)

(, that world be the aquatic-dwelling type of Merman, not the Ethel type.)

be bullet-proof, or give it your best shot

Finally, whether you're immune to gunfire or not, it's best to pretend to be.

If people think you can be destroyed with a few well-aimed bullets, they'll probably try to shoot you. As long as they believe you're invulnerable, they won't bother. Simple enough?


The Shadow Walkers

The first movie in which I eat the rest of the cast
Now available on

every lair needs a library
next issue, Part V, The Lair Library, where we'll discuss how to pick books that will make the right impression (hint: it's not Reader's Digest collections or those Harlequin romance novels)

previous humor page next humor page

the Unnatural Enquirer
the base of the tree