Trust me, eternal torment would be wearing those shoes with those pants.
Want to demonstrate that your villain is undeniably Chaotic Evil
but also has a flair for the (melo)dramatic or a knack for classically decadent self-indulgence
? Make him a Flaming Devil!
Simply put, the Flaming Devil is a representation of Satan
with Camp Gay
characteristics. While this type of villain may not be a demonstrable Depraved Homosexual
, the implication is always clear. Whether or not he's particularly successful at villainy is irrelevant—in fact, he may even be Affably Evil
—as long as he's effeminate and wicked.
The origins of this trope are Older Than Steam
. Epicene depictions of Satan date back to the Middle Ages, in which folklore often described the Devil and his minions as having Ambiguous Genders
and tempting men sexually. The homosexual implications in Christopher Marlowe
's Doctor Faustus
and overtly gay Mephistopheles in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
eventually codified the image of a gleefully evil and flamboyantly effeminate devil.
While this trope carries its own Unfortunate Implications
(conflating effeminacy and/or homosexuality with evil), the Flaming Devil almost never appears in works meant to be taken seriously and is rarely the subject of audience complaints.
Not necessarily related to Horny Devils
. See also Sissy Villain
. Though it is possible that they could overlap, the or a devil appearing Wreathed in Flames
is a different trope.
Anime & Manga
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Boris Lermontov in the 1948 film The Red Shoes is strongly implied to be Satan in human form. As with nearly the entire cast of the movie, he's also implied to be gay.
- Satan from Terror Toons gives this impression, referring to everyone as darling, among other things.
- The Chaos god of lust Slaanesh and its followers, whether daemon or human, are generally rather... flamboyant.
- Him in The Powerpuff Girls. One of the rare (mostly) serious versions.
- The Red Guy in Cow and Chicken.
- The Robot Devil in Futurama tortures Bender with musical theater when they first meet and is typified by his flamboyant mannerisms.
- Satan is presented in this way in South Park, notably in the movie version where his gay relationship with Saddam Hussein is a major sub-plot.
- On the short-lived animated series God, the Devil and Bob, the Devil, voiced as an Evil Brit by Alan Cumming, isn't extremely camp, but he's certainly dapper and way more uptight than God, who's voiced by James Garner and is more of a laidback Jerry Garcia type.
- Although not precisely a work of fiction, this anecdote is one of the most amazing examples of the trope, featuring Bill Cosby and Samuel Jackson.