"Beautiful, isn't it? It took me half a lifetime to invent it. I'm sure you've discovered my deep and abiding interest in pain. Presently I'm writing the definitive work on the subject, so I want you to be totally honest with me on how the machine makes you feel."So, you're the Evil Overlord in charge of The Evil Army. You've got an insanely clever Evil Plan, an Evil Genius to hatch it and The Dragon to carry it out, Mooks, a Quirky Miniboss Squad to command them, and silly outfits for them to wear (including plenty of fanservice in the female uniforms). You have plenty of Applied Phlebotinum. You've got a Psycho for Hire for dealing with nasty stuff in the field. You may even have an Amoral Attorney to deal with any litigation-waving heroes. If you've got all that, you're missing only one thing: A guy who makes a "science" or "art" out of tearing body parts loose and inflicting serious pain. Enter the Torture Technician. The Torture Technician does just what his name implies. Based in his own Torture Cellar, he takes the heroes and turns them into screaming, skinned shambles. He makes for prime Nightmare Fuel, as he's often sadistic to the point of overblowing it. Note that many Torture Technicians apparently believe we're still in the Middle Ages as far as interrogation techniques go. That is, if they're not down with electricity. Though a fair number favor "upgrading" their arsenal with the use of a Robotic Torture Device. An alternative version of the Torture Technician is when he is not a sadist but completely unemotional about his job, in a Punch-Clock Villain -like way. He shows neither empathy or remorse nor pleasure at torturing his victims, it's just a job at which he's really good. It usually makes him even more scary, since sadism is a simple thing but it is much harder to make any sense of someone who lacks any kind of emotional response to suffering. Such Torture Technicians are usually described and/or depicted as having plain and unremarkable features. The Torture Technician typically isn't very physically strong, however. There's no real reason for him to be; all his enemies are restrained. When they do get free, however, the Torture Technician is usually taken out fairly easily, or better yet, fed to his own machines. If he's a fat, giggling, whip-toting, gay Nazi, he's probably one of these. Compare the Exalted Torturer which is basically the "heroic" version of this.
— Count Rugen, The Princess Bride
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Mr. Tick from Baccano! does some pretty nasty things with scissors.
- Vino the assassin is another great example; he boasts about knowing many different torture techniques as a result of his profession, but his favorite seems to be hanging people from moving trains and letting the rails slowly grind parts off their body.
- Considering what happened to Dallas, no matter how deserved proves Luck is just as capable.
- Fermet is very likely the crowning example of this trope when you consider that he got away with it toward Czeslaw for roughly 200 years.
- That creepy guy from the Golden Age arc locking up Guts and Casca in the dungeon cell with Griffith, the guy they had come to rescue, and it turns out that he was responsible for Griffith's horrific year-long torture. Among other things, he slashed the tendons in Griffith's wrists and ankles, and even giddily shows them that he cut his tongue out and made it into a necklace. In response, Guts smashes through the door, runs him through, and cuts his own tongue out.
- Mozgus's followers in the Conviction Arc, who torture people as punishment for defying the Church. The story actually shows them in a sympathetic light: they all suffer from deformities that made them outcasts, but Mozgus took them in and gave them purpose. One of their number even admits he doesn't particularly like torturing, but he would do anything to repay Mozgus's kindness toward him. All of them are turned into Apostle Spawn by the Egg of the Perfect World, and are slaughtered by Guts as he rescues Casca from Mozgus.
- Deadman Wonderland: The sadist doctor, Rei Takashima. Removing a body part or an organ from a living person (without anaesthesia) is her favourite part of the job. So much she's hugely disappointed when (due to rigging the Punishment game slot machine) she can only cut Minatsuki's hair because it's not "exciting".
- What Erika and Walker used to be in Durarara!!.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, the small town of Hinamizawa has some dark secrets in its history, including a shrine storeroom loaded with medieval torture devices that were once used to discourage townspeople from moving away from the village. Sonozaki Shion puts the Sonozaki family's old-fashioned underground torture cellar to good use during her Freak-Out.
- Masako Natsume's penguin Esmeralda in Mawaru-Penguindrum.
- Ibiki Morino in Naruto, although his preferred method is psychological torture.
- Martin, one of the Aldaac terrorists in Train Plus Train. We get a detailed look at his tools, and he gets to work on protagonist Reiichi, tearing one of his fingernails out before making him give in. Oh, and he's like fourteen years old.
- Feitan from Hunter × Hunter. Also, he is one of the strongest fighters in the series.
- Yamori from Tokyo Ghoul is this, when he isn't out being The Brute. It isn't clear what he was like prior to being imprisoned by CCG, but during his captivity he became the victim of a sadistic Investigator and tortured until he went insane. When he finally escaped, he had taken on his tormentor's personality and became a hockey-mask wearing sadist nicknamed "Jason" for his brutality. He keeps a "hobby room" and hunts for other Ghouls to make his playthings.
- Davis from the Sin City story, "The Big Fat Kill," is described as an "artist" when it comes to torture, able to put someone through sheer agony without leaving a single mark on the victim, and it's implied that he's even nastier when the "tools" come out. We don't get to see what he does with the tools, because Dwight, along with all the girls of Old Town, pitch in to save Gail in a Big Damn Heroes moment. In the movie, Davis's role is handed off to Manute.
- In the opening scenes of the CrossGen comic Sojourn, Big Bad Mordath is seen casually torturing a man so brutally that even his Troll Mooks are Squicked by it.
- From Jack Kirby's Fourth World, and elsewhere in The DCU, there's Darkseid's lackey, DeSaad. The name says it all.
- The Paine brothers from the G.I. Joe comics.
- In Mark Waid's limited series Empire, the Evil Overlord Golgoth has a typical inner circle of lieutenants. One of them is the "Minister of Punishment", Tumbril, whose characterization can be summed up in one line:
Tumbril: I mean, you give me an enemy of the state, I'm good for an afternoon. I'd do this for free.
- The Crime Doctor, from The DCU.
- Not a villain, but sometimes The Punisher qualifies, especially in the MAX series. Hit Frank's Berserk Button, and you'll wish he was just practicing the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
- Subverted with Herr Doktor Kilikil in the Spirou and Fantasio adventure "QRN On Bretzelburg": his methods involve scraping chalk on a blackboard, or cooking a lavish and fragrant meal in front of a hungry prisoner. He's so good at it, in fact, that he eventually becomes a restaurant cook.
- Batman villain Black Mask was reimagined as such in the early 2000s; he cites reading up on the Spanish Inquisition as an inspiration for him. His most notorious acts in this vein include torturing Catwoman's brother-in-law to death and driving her sister permanently insane by force-feeding her his eyeballs, and torturing and (for a while) killing Stephanie Brown during the War Games crossover event.
- In The Darkness, there was an appearance by a nerdy-looking fellow, Mr. Vespasian, described as the ultimate torturer. He took out an odd, hooked and twisted blade and did something to his own arm with it — something that made hardened criminals gag and look away in horror. "Ow," the torturer said cheerfully. "That hurt." Then he leaned close to the man he was supposed to interrogate and added, "Now imagine what I'm going to do to you." The victim immediately spilled everything he knew.... (And then Vespasian's employer gave him permission to work the guy over anyway.)
- In the Belgian comics Passe-moi l'ciel, Hell is full of this, with demons council always searching for new techniques.
- But when Pinosecu's (mix of Pinochet and Ceausescu) torture officer is brought to Hell, he ended torturing the demons to show them how to do it better.
- The Green Hornet falls into the clutches of one in Dynamite's The Green Hornet: Year One, and very nearly doesn't make it out alive (or intact).
- DC Comics has got Kid Karnevil, who first appeared in Shadowpact and later in Justice Society of America. He's a teenage sociopath dressed like a boy scout, and later revealed to be a Neo-Nazi, who apparently died and went to Hell, but was kicked out because he was scaring the other demons too much.
- The Transformers (IDW):
Whirl: He said he'd tell us everything if I promised to stop hurting him.
- The Decepticon Justice Division in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye all fit this to some degree. Most of them transform into torture devices. Torture devices capable of inflicting unspeakable pain on giant robots. Except for Vos and Tarn. The former likes to make his victims wear his◊ face. The latter simply modulates his voice to extinguish sparks.
- Overlord's minion Stalker tortures Twin Twist, Springer, Impactor and many more in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers.
- In "Dark Cybertron" Whirl catches an Ammonite before it can get away and while we don't see his methods they prove pretty quick and effective - it seems he skips straight to the hurting part until he gets the answers he wants.
- Astérix the Gaul features a rather cheerful Roman torturer.
- X-23 has been on both sides of this trope. As her primary purpose function has been indicated to focus on covert operations and assassination, she has revealed or hinted her experience at using torture to extract information, such as by describing her protocols for extraction of information in French class while going to school with her cousin in a Crowning Moment of Funny of Target: X, or being outright depicted using torture during her stint on X-Force or in her solo series. Her willingness to use these techniques often puts her at odds with her teammates.
- Her Ax-Crazy handler Kimura has been frequently shown torturing Laura, her friends, or her loved ones (such as punishing Laura with a chainsaw for escaping), and this is clearly shown to be part of the job. Xander Rice did it as part of the process of preparing her as a weapon (special mention goes to conditioning her for the trigger scent, which involved waterboarding and electric shock), and while his treatment of Laura is clearly established to be Revenge by Proxy, the adult Rice is introduced in Innocence Lost in the midst of performing experimentation on mutants which ends with the death of one of the subjects. Malcolm Colcord also utilized torture on Laura and various random citizens of Madripoor during his attempts to resume Weapon X experimentation.
- The Mice Templar has Boris the Royal Torturer, who specializes in...well, torture. He also has no problem handing his "subjects" over to be sacrificed for Druids.
- Psyklops, a psychic vampire working for the Dark Destroyer in Atari Force who feeds off pain.
- Mr. Brass from Scalped is a particularly sadistic torturer.
- Lobster Random is a rare example of one being the protagonist.
- Played for Laughs in the Oink! strip "Torture Twins''.
- Tortura from the infamous Power Rangers fanfic "Agony in Pink" is a monster created from books, reports and essays about torture, and is very good at it.
- Dr. Harker from The Incredibles fanfic Marrow.
- Volsky in the Firefly fic Forward. Considering who he works for....
- The Immortal Game: Terra appears to be this in her free time, when she's not busy creating Mooks unfortunately for Celestia.
- Harmony Theory: Charisma and she enjoys it.
- Hivefled's Grand Highblood and Condesce are this in their spare time. They enjoy it very much.
- The leader of the thugs who kidnap Mike Stoker in the Emergency! fic "The Numbers Game'' (bottom links here) is one. He flat out says he wants to keep Mike alive and lucid until they're good and ready to kill him. And when he is finally rescued, his crewmates are horrified at the extent of the burns,cuts,beatings ect designed deliberately to inflict as much pain as possible without killing him.
- Captain Jarvis from The Return is a scarily efficient emotionless Torture Technician and is one of the good guys* !!! Yes, this is a Grey and Gray Morality series.
- "Frostbite": Dalsh Ruul, by his own admission.
“I think this is very pretty. ... The design. It’s functional. Finely crafted to exacting specifications. Klingon ’oy’naQ are so crude. We acquired the design from them, of course, back in the reign of their Emperor Sompek, but we refined it far in advance of their pathetic efforts. It won’t kill you, but the amount of pain or pleasure you feel is entirely up to me. I find it is particularly effective to give akhvet—I believe the human term is ‘humanoids’, such a self-centered word—a powerful arousal, and then immediately before they peak, trigger their pain center as I did to you just now.”
- Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness:
- The Carrows regularly try new torture methods on rebellious students.
- Never mind Professor Hans Belsen, brought in (if briefly) to demonstrate his research on unruly students. Given that he is plainly based on real Nazi scientists.... * shudder*
- Lakaya in the Star Wars fic "Important Information". Besides the usual stuff she inflicts on Han Solo-beatings, whipping, broken bones, burning-she employs drugs that amplify the pain he's going through and keep him from passing out. In the sequel fic, it's also revealed she let some kind of creepy-crawlies called blood parasites burrow their way into his skin. And when he still refuses to tell her what she wants to know, she repeatedly rapes him as well.
- Parodied in this Death Note fanart, where Matt has all these scary-looking surgical instruments at his disposal with which to torture Light into admitting he's Kira...and chooses instead to eat Light's potato chips in front of him. Cue Light begging for mercy and promising to tell Matt anything he wants to hear.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Dictator, Aladeen's kidnapper tries to be this, but Aladeen, himself a Torture Technician, mocks and degrades his apparently outdated tool set, ruining the fun for his captor.
- In Lethal Weapon, Endo fits this and is described by Joshua as "having forgotten more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know."
- In True Lies, Harry Tasker is not happy to meet the Torture Technician Samir.
- In The Princess Bride, Count Rugen is a very good researcher:
What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest. How do you feel?(helpless sobbing)Interesting.
- A few villains from the James Bond franchise qualify:
- In Tomorrow Never Dies, Dr. Kaufmann and his protege Mr. Stamper have a whole torture system involving chakras, the point being to torture the person to death as slowly as possible. Dr. Kaufmann describes it as his hobby, and has a record of keeping someone alive during it for 52 hours.
- Largo from Thunderball who claimed he could do horrible things with just a lit cigar and a bucket of ice cubes. We have no reason to disbelieve him.
- Le Chiffre from Casino Royale (2006) almost subverts the trope by insisting that torture is quite simple: go for the nuts.
- Franz Oberhauser from Spectre tortures Bond by strapping him to a high-tech version of a dentist chair and drilling holes into various parts of his brain while explaining what effect this is having on him throughout. This goes Up to Eleven as he's disturbingly calm throughout this, especially when he threatens to take away Bond's ability to recognize faces.
- Agent Smith in The Matrix seemed to enjoy torturing Morpheus a little too much.
- The Scientist SkekTek of the Skeksis in The Dark Crystal seems to delight in his cruel experiments on animals and podlings, and was thrilled to have Kira wind up in his clutches.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark has Major Arnold Toht, who we see offering Marion a chance to play with a red hot poker:
Marion: Wait, wait. I can be reasonable.Toht: That time has passed.Marion: You don't need that. I'll tell you everything.Toht: Yes, I know you will. [Brings poker within inches of Marion's eye]
- Later, in a subversion, he whips out a bizarre contraption of metal bits and chains which looks like it would be quite nasty... and then reveals it to be a collapsible coathanger.
- Captain Vidal from Pan's Labyrinth finds torturing people disturbingly pleasant. He consciously subverts the stereotype of a sophisticated torture artist by using the simple contents of an ordinary toolbox to a monstrous effect.
- Brazil has Jack Lint, the white-collar government torturer pictured in the doll's head above, who brings his daughters to work and has a nice secretary to type out his subjects' screams. The role was Robert DeNiro's first selection, but Gilliam had already promised the part to Michael Palin.
- In Kafka, as in Brazil, Ian Holm plays a frail functionary in a dystopian bureaucracy. He's ultimately hoisted by his own petard when one of his subjects breaks loose of his restraints.
- Mercurio Cavaldi of Parma, Master of the Torturing Arts, in The Brothers Grimm. Not so evil at heart. Also by Terry Gilliam.
- Jonathan, the Ax-Crazy older brother in Arsenic and Old Lace.
- The movie Hostel and its sequel are all about this.
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico has Dr. Guevara, one of Barillo's most dangerous people, who was responsible for pumping Jorge Ramirez's partner Archuleta full of drugs for several days so that he and Barillo could torture him to death over two weeks. When the cartel gets their hands on Agent Sands, the Doctor drills his eyes out using a quite nasty little device.
- Barbarella has the Mad Scientist Duran Duran (yes, this is where the band got its name) who attempts to kill Barbarella with his Excessive Machine which provides increasing amounts of pleasure until you die of it. Barbarella shorts it out, and apparently has quite a bit of fun in the process.
- The Evil That Men Do (1984). A hitman played by Charles Bronson is hired to murder Dr Clement Molloch, a doctor who advises South American dictatorships on how to torture people. The movie opens with Molloch demonstrating to a group of army officers the use of Electric Torture on a dissident journalist.
- EV-9D9, Jabba the Hutt's torturer droid in Return of the Jedi. Somewhat subverted in that she only tortured droids.
- In Three the Hard Way three gorgeous women on motorcycles show up to have a little fun with a mook that the heroes have captured. They have to leave him able to talk before they can have all their fun. One of the good guys notices the last one is carrying a closed shoulder bag.
Keyes: Can I ask you what's in the bag?
Woman: Don't ask.
- Preston Scott is this toward the Independents captured by the Community in Six: The Mark Unleashed, played with delicious malice by Brad Heller.
- Sniper: "El Cirujano" (The Surgeon), a secondary target on Beckett and Miller's mission, is an ex-CIA spook who tortures prisoners for the Panamian insurgents. After Beckett is captured later in the film, the Surgeon applies his skills on his new captive.
- In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Uncle Rudy turns out to be an erstwhile Nazi and a prolific torturer. His specialty is Electric Torture using an apparatus of his own design.
- Francis/Ajax from Deadpool knows quite a bit about torture, since he awakens people's dormant mutant abilities through it (he's a firm believer in Die or Fly). He's also completely incapable of pity.
- In Dragon Blood the torturer is a loyal subject of the king, and just does his job. He does it well, and is proud of his ability to, as he claims, get correct information out of his victims, rather than just some nonsense that the victim says to make the torture stop, as he claims is the case with magical torture. He wants his grandson to follow in his footsteps, and points out to his victim that he'd like to stop the torture, really, he just needs the information. One is almost sorry for him when his victim stabs him. Almost.
- Inquisitor Glokta from The First Law trilogy is not only one of these, but a main character as well...
- Not just a main character, either, but a protagonist and, dare I say it, a decent guy compared to many of the characters. When you've got one of your foremost "heroes" routinely chopping off fingers and sending innocent people to prison camps, well, you know what state the world is in.
- Semirhage in The Wheel of Time — She tortures people entirely by stimulating the pain (and sometimes pleasure) centers of their brains with magic. Formerly the greatest healer during the Age of Legends, she would extract a price in pain in exchange for saving people. When people finally caught on to what she was doing, she was given a choice: take a magical vow to never do it again, or be severed from magic forever. She Took a Third Option and joined the Dark Side. People were known to kill themselves at the mere mention she would be questioning them.
- The Quisition (In- and Ex-) in the Discworld novel Small Gods. Also perfectly ordinary people doing their jobs, raising families and buying thoughtful gifts when one of their colleagues retires.
- Various former Kings and Patricians of Ankh-Morpork count, though their tendency is only mentioned in anecdotes within the text. There's a (nameless) Torture Technician with the Cable Street Particulars in Night Watch, however, and Captain Findthee Swing probably qualifies too.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has a number of examples:
- The Tickler in the band of Gregor Clegane tortures peasants to find hidden booty and track the movements of enemy bands. He asks the exact same list of questions of each person he tortures over and over again until they die horribly. Arya muses that not only is he asking the people questions they couldn't possibly have the answers to, he isn't even giving them time to answer before he keeps torturing them, suggesting he's ultimately just a sadist.
- Qyburn is a former maester who was thrown out of the organization for conducting amoral experiments on living creatures, including vivisections. Cersei puts his knowledge to use as a torturer, among other things.
- House Bolton gained notoriety over the years for flaying their prisoners. Their arms depict a flayed man, and they wear pink cloaks with red spots, indicating their old habit of wearing the skins of their adversaries.
- Alongside the official Family motto of "Our Blades are Sharp" we have the unofficial "A Flayed Man Holds No Secrets" and derivatives said by more than one person affiliated with the House. Some traditions are very much alive and well, it seems.
- Ramsay Bolton, in particular, has mind-breaking skills on par with O'Brien. He may be the most notable example in the series for the way he is able to take a captive and reprogram them into a loyal servant of his through absolute fear of what he'll do to them next.
- In If This Goes On—, a science fiction short novel by Robert A. Heinlein, our hero is captured by the evil government. He notices that the several Torture Technician workers for the government show no pleasure in their job, they are strictly business. It is implied that anyone who likes to inflict pain is not permitted in that job, as they are supposed to get information, not necessarily hurt people (although that is always an option if they think it will help).
- Bellatrix Lestrange of Harry Potter, having spent 15 years in Azkaban for torturing people into insanity and being described by Dumbledore as liking "to play with her food before she eats it." In book 7, while it's off-screen, she does torture Hermione, and, it's implied, not just with the Cruciatus curse.
- Amycus and Alecto Carrow really love torturing people, including their own students. Heck, they even teach students how to be Torture Technicians.
- Dolores Umbridge and her Blood Quill.
- The Mord-Sith in the Sword of Truth series, who double as bodyguards. Uniquely, they are on the side of the "hero" (he effectively inherited them), after the first book. In fact, the first thing he did on taking power was order them to disband, but they decided to serve him anyway, on the reasoning that a man who would set them free was worth serving. Every Mord-Sith was themselves broken through torture as a girl (of which only the gentlest were taken) and made to torture their own fathers to death as well for their initiation.
- There's a gruesome variation in Franz Kafka's story In the Penal Colony: there's a torture machine that slowly carves a single sentence into a person indicating the crime they committed and then lets them die for twelve hours, but it's being removed. The Officer, who works the machine and believes in it, asks to be the last person to use it and wants it to carve into him "Be Just." However, the machine malfunctions and ends up just brutally stabbing him to death.
- O'Brien from the George Orwell novel 1984 is shown to be one of these after revealing himself as a Heel–Face Mole.
- Doctor Jest, the chief torturer of the Melnibonean empire from The Elric Saga. It's not clear how much of a sadist he may or may not strictly be, but he clearly does consider himself something of an artist who takes both pleasure and pride in his work...and somewhat chillingly there's no sign that any other Melniboneans ever disagree with him on this point. (Even Elric, who attends one of his 'sessions' with a couple of human spies, isn't particularly disturbed.)
- Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun has the Weird Trade Union The Torturer's Guild which is an organization of these. Like some of the other examples, they are explicitly supposed to be unemotional and just doing a job, explicitly prohibiting those of a Psycho for Hire mentality. Moreover, they don't torture to extract information, only to carry out judicial penalties. It's their job to perform exactly the tortures decreed, and no more (or less).
- There is a poignant scene where the now-Autarch Severian tells one of his former masters that he is dissolving the guild, not out of ethical qualms, but because it is intolerable that good men should devote their lives to inflicting pain. The master responds that "It MUST be done by good men"; should it be left to those who take pleasure in it?
- In the jokes section of CASTLE OF THE OTTER, there is one about apprentices clumsily inflicting tortures because they are scared by the master yelling at them, until he demands "What are you trying to do? KILL the man?"
- The YA novel Dragon Cauldron in the Dragon Series by Laurence Yep features a cheerful and hairy man who believes one should always do one's job well. He's hurt by being called a torturer and prefers the term "facilitator".
- Sage Kindness in Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora. His employer, Capa Barsavi, is said to be a very capable torturer, but when Barsavi runs out of ideas, Kindness takes over. And does so with the "mellow disinterest of a man polishing boots".
- Johnny Dread in Tad Williams' Otherland is one of these; it's part of his Serial Killer schtick. He likes psychological torture every bit as much.
- Dr. Alice Hong, the Lady of Pain, who mixes psychopathy with surgical skill in S. M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time series.
- Barin Welachin from Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons trilogy served the Lion of Senet (the world's foremost ruler and religious nut) in this capacity. The protagonist, Dirk, has at one point to talk with him and, as part of the facade he has to put up, feins interest in the man's work. Barin is delighted to be able to share the joys of his craft to someone truly able to understand and appreciate it (Dirk was trained as a healer and had an, unwarranted, reputation as The Butcher of Elcast). The right hand woman of the corrupt and murderous (and dominant) segment of the church, Ella Goen, was also one of these.
- Venus in Furs has a character that borders on this, though with lots of fetishistic overtones and more psychology-heavy. The author of this novel, Leopold Sacher-Masoch, is the inspiration for the word "masochism."
- A minor, unnamed character in the pre-reviz Magic: The Gathering novel Shattered Chains tortures Rakel in many horrific ways—but he's not sadistic at all. To him, it's just a job. This, Rakel thinks, is worse than if he enjoyed it. To say nothing that they don't even want any information—a political enemy of hers just wants her to suffer before her execution.
- The "Turkey Makers" in the employ of The Mafia in The Executioner series.
- The captured insurgent in Prisoners of Power is kind enough to explain to his overzealous interrogators what a real Torture Technician should be like. No, he isn't Too Kinky to Torture, he's just making a point that they suck):
- You must learn to do your job coolly, officially — for the money. It makes an enormous impression on the victims of your inquisition. What an appalling state of affairs when you find yourself being tortured not by an enemy but by a bureaucrat. Take a look at my [missing] left arm. His Imperial Majesty's specialists sawed it off in three stages; and each order was accompanied by a lengthy official correspondence. Those butchers were just doing a disagreeable, boring, unrewarding job. While they were sawing off my arm, they cursed their wretchedly low pay. And I was terrified. I had to strain my willpower to keep from talking. And now... I can see how you hate me. You — me, and I — you. Fine! But you have been hating me less than twenty years, and I — you, for more than thirty. You, young man, were still toddling under the table and tormenting the cat.
- James Bond
- The Dragon Willy Krebbs in Moonraker got his nickname "The Persuader" for always getting the answers from prisoners through torture.
- Rosa Klebb in the novel From Russia with Love was a virtuoso Torture Technician, letting the pain of her torturers (she never actually did the work) build and build and build; then she would talk, softly and gently — being mother to her victims. "Tell mama and it will all be over." A chilling passage in the book indeed.
- The title antagonist of Colonel Sun is a torturer in the Chinese army, who believes that a torturer and his victim can attain a special connection through pain.
- Manipulative Bastard Ysanne Isard dabbled in this, using injections and machines that directly stimulated pain, heat, and cold receptors rather than dismembering people. One of the first things she does is use a drug that the protagonist thinks of as one that would have him reciting things his mother had forgotten while he was in her womb, but the real goal in mind is to set up her authority and prepare them to become Manchurian Agents. She also brought in a Trandoshan to do the grunt work of getting the protagonist in position, hooking him up, manipulating the switches and so on, because she knew his father had been killed by a Trandoshan.
- Floyd Ferris of Atlas Shrugged. He's definitely the Punch-Clock Villain version rather than the kind who enjoys it; he's more interested in psychology and controlling people than in actually enjoying someone's suffering.
- Taylor of Animorphs, who unfortunately for all involved, doubles as a Manipulative Bastard and Dark Action Girl. It's heavily implied that tormenting people is the only way Taylor can deal with her own horrific life.
- Senor Steel in the Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze novel The Freckled Shark.
- The entire cult of the evil god Liart from The Deed of Paksenarrion series by Elizabeth Moon. There's a particularly graphic torture session in the third novel of the series, Oath of Gold.
- The Gestapo torturers in The Secret of Santa Vittoria take pride in their work, even taking time to explain that pulling-out-nails is overrated; electric torture is MUCH more effective.
- Milovan Djilas historical novel Under the Colors has a prolonged torture sequence where the Turkish interrogator carefully explains to his assistant the name of each technique, where it came from, and what it USED to be called.
- Baron Ryoval in Lois McMaster Bujold's Mirror Dance has a staff of torture technicians.
- In the original The Phantom of the Opera book by Gaston Leroux, The Persian reveals that Erik (the titular Phantom) worked as one of these for the Shah-in-Shah in Mazenderan. Helps to explain a lot of things.
- Arkadeil from The Acts of Caine. His matter-of-fact, scholarly manner of To the Pain arguably makes him far creepier than many who take sadistic joy in it.
- The Philosopher in Transition.
- Wanderer from The Host believes Doc to be this at first.
- Andrei Koscuisko of Susan R. Matthew's Jurisdiction series, beginning with An Exchange of Hostages is this trope as part of his job as Ship's Surgeon.
- Susan Mortlake from The Power of Five.
- The Reynard Cycle: One of the crew members of the Quicksilver is Ghul, who is introduced as being so good at Cold-Blooded Torture that his victims don't have a mark on them afterwards. Even though they're dead.
- In Dennis Jones' Warsaw Concerto several KGB officers observe as a Torture Technician interrogates and administers electro torture to a female defector. A doctor monitors her vital signs as she is tortured to her death.
- In the Belisarius Series, the Malwa Empire employs a sect of torturers called the mahamimamsa. They're little better than violent, sadistic brutes and are a favourite target of the heroes and their allies.
- In the second Dexter novel, Dearly Devoted Dexter, we meet "Dr. Danco", who specializes in gradual amputations of limbs, facial features, genitalia, and so on. He keeps his "patients" conscious for the whole thing.
- Aftermath: Life Debt: Sinjir was trained in how to inflict pain on fellow humans, having been specifically taught of all the points on the body which will maximize this. When torturing an alien, he has to improvise. This is something he hates doing though.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Faith was quite fond of torture - at one point, Angel complimented her on how well she knew how to do it. One wonders how a teenager knew so much about the five basic torture groups.
- Angelus himself, the soulless version of Angel, an aficionado of physical and psychological torture (as he put it "The last time I tortured someone, they didn't even have chainsaws."). Angelus could inflict pain on people, either mental or physical, like no other being in the Buffyverse. There were vastly more powerful, there were even some (if not many) more sadistic, but there were none as skilled.
- There was also Marcus, the Roman-born paedophile vampire hired by Spike in an early episode of Angel to get the Ring of Amara's whereabouts out of Angel.
- Willow as a vampire. Just...Willow as a vampire. She had Angel (described above) trussed up and slowly burnt alive as a form of sex play.
- Firefly: Adelai Niska has one, although he's keen on getting hands-on himself. Niska wasn't particularly attached to any one torturer. In his first appearance in "The Train Job" he used Crow, who was also The Dragon before the guy got kicked through Serenity's engine in a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Mal. In "War Stories," he had to hire another torturer and Dragon.
- Dr. Zhang "Suit And Glasses" Lee on Alias (or as he was known on Television Without Pity, the Sadistic Dentist of Asian Persuasion).
- Babylon 5:
- Cartagia describing his efforts to make G'Kar scream for his amusement: "Did you know we assigned one of our best pain technicians — 'pain technicians', they used to be called 'torturers', ever since they got organized it's 'pain technicians'...."
- The Clark Administration interrogator, a truly chilling Punch-Clock Villain, assigned to break Sheridan 2 + Torture = 5 style in "Intersections In Real Time." J. Michael Straczynski based that on actual prison camp/totalitarian regime methods. Blatantly influenced by 1984: Sheridan is being held captive in a place without windows that makes it impossible to tell what time of day it is by a government that includes a "Ministry of Peace", an ominous "Room 17" is repeatedly mentioned, he is coerced to sign a confession of his crimes against the government and embrace the regime and his interrogator informs him that if he submits, he will be released, live in peace until he's forgotten then quietly killed.
- Sebastian for the Vorlons, who was based more on religious cult brainwashing techniques, but wasn't above physical violence either.
- Farscape: Selto Durka, who not only manages to fit this role like a glove, but knows it well enough to eventually break free of a hundred years' worth of brainwashing.
- Game of Thrones:
- Gregor employs one nicknamed the Tickler at Harrenhal in an attempt to root out the Brotherhood Without Banners.
- The Bolton family's traditional hat is flaying, probably the cruelest torture ever thought up by man. Their cruelty also manifests itself in more subtle forms, such as psychological torture of people. Their family motto may be "Our blades are sharp," but their guiding principle is summed up often in the series as, "a naked man has few secrets, a flayed man has none." In particular, Ramsay Snow is a master of this Bolton tradition. Ramsay has also shown absolute mastery of mental and emotional torture, which is shown fully in "The Climb" and get worse from there.
- Polliver alludes to being one in "Two Swords".
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Gul Madred fills this role for the Cardassians in "Chain of Command", even in a time when (as Picard protests) any usefulness torture once had as an interrogation technique has been made obsolete by the drugs they have available. He just likes breaking people's spirits.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: This was occasionally one of Garak's "jobs" in his past as a spy for the Obsidian Order. In "The Die Is Cast", a chance to return from exile made him willing to torture Odo, although the scene makes it clear Garak is hurting as much as his subject and deeply regrets his actions. Odo reveals his longing to return to his own people, paralleling Garak's own motivation. In the Mirror Universe, Garak is a brutal and notably unsubtle Smug Snake of the Torture First, Ask Questions Later variety.
- Interestingly enough, and feeding the theme of the repentant torturer, is that one of the interrogations that Garak was proudest of involved no physical violence whatsoever: he simply stared at a prisoner until he confessed.
- Star Trek: Voyager: In "Living Witness", the EMH is portrayed this way in a propaganda holoprogram made about Voyager. The real Doctor (or rather, the retrieved backup copy of him) is not amused.
- In Lost, Sayid acted as an interrogator for the Iraqi army. He puts his torture skills to use on Sawyer in the first season, though he quits pretty fast and has generally sworn off such things. In a later season, Oldham acts as the DHARMA Initiative's torture expert. He's a folksy psychopath who lives on his own in the jungle and uses drugs that appear to be LSD as part of his technique.
- Averted in 24 where the torture technician seems to just treat it like a job, and in many cases appears to be less willing than Jack to torture suspects.
- The TV version of La Femme Nikita features a male and female duo of disturbingly adept "white room" operatives. Often brought in at the behest of Madeline (who was an effective torturer herself), these cold-eyed techies got answers for Section One... and occasionally torture errant members of that group as well.
- Creepily enough, Dean Winchester, after spending forty years in Hell. The Angels even ask for his expertise to torture information out of the captured demon Alistair.
- His "mentor" there, Alastair, also obviously qualifies. Alastair is in fact considered Hell's greatest torturer. One demon called him "Picasso with a razor".
- If Sam's flashbacks and hallucinations are anything to go by, Lucifer has a gift for this himself—not that that should be any surprise.
- Crowley has a few on staff, such as Viggo, the demon assigned to torture Samandriel, and is more than skilled at it himself. He even has his own butcher's aprons.
- Very surprisingly, Castiel, who is blatantly hinted to be better in this art than even Crowley. Shocks both Dean and Bobby. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
- Meg studied under Alastair. It should be no surprise that she's an old hand at both torturing and being tortured. "The best torturers never get their hands dirty", after all. A demon wearing Christian Campbell is assigned to torture Meg in "Caged Heat" (S06, E10). She spends the whole time criticizing his technique and making snarky comments.
- Batman TV Series: Parodied (maybe) when Mr. Freeze lowers Miss Iceland body’s temperature convinced that she will fall in love with him when she also hits fifty degrees below zero. When that fails, he converts her to a Human Popsicle.
- On Good Eats, there is the Dungeonmaster, who lives in Alton's basement. He shows off more advanced cooking implements, and is not above tormenting bunnies and such. Alton doesn't particularly like him.
- Lee is one of Those Two Bad Guys who dresses like a Teddy Boy and specialises in Eye Scream and calmly tortures Wilson Wilson with chillies, sand and bleach in his eyes before removing one with a spoon. A blinded Wilson kills him with his own gun shortly afterwards.
- In the second series, this trope is pushed even further through Mr Omida, who refers to torture as "communication" and calmly introduces himself to his victims sometimes days before torturing them. Like Lee, Omida is also killed off in his first episode, stabbed with one of his beloved surgical tools. "Always with my first torture I like to start with something brutal and traditional."
- In Merlin (2008), Alator of the Catha is a skilled torturer, although he takes no pleasure in it. He uses a form of magical mind-torture which is extremely painful and efficient but apparently leaves no lasting physical or mental damage.
- Janina Kleiberson from Dracula, in a rare case of this trope being played out by a woman.
- In the V (1983) series, Diana is basically a Mengele-Expy with her medical "experiments". She's also the head interrogator of the Visitors and responsible for brainwashing people to serve them against their will. She insists on carrying out the Mind Rape herself specifically because she enjoys it.
- George King, "The Skinner" from Dexter used to be a torturer in Nicaragua with the nickname "The Blade" as he specialized in skinning people alive. In present day, he's a serial killer who still tortures his victims for information, though Dexter points out that he really just does it because he enjoys it.
- Madam Secretary: In a flashback to Liz's time in Iraq, she at one point hands a captured insurgent over to an Army interrogator after spending a couple hours trying to get him to talk as the Good Cop. The shot cuts away and all you hear is the suspect screaming. In the present, Liz explains to her daughter what "stepping it up" meant, including stress positions and waterboarding (straight out of the mid-2000s "enhanced interrogation techniques" handbook).
- Gotham: Bob in "Welcome Back, Jim Gordon". Falcone's chief interrogator, he is sent to extract 'an apology' from Fish Mooney and maintains a polite banter with her while he is torturing her. However, he is pounded unconscious by Butch before he can get too far into the process.
- Braindead 2016: Agent J. K. Cornish is a mild examples. He's cheerful (which at first makes it all the creepier) reluctant to use "enhanced interrogation techniques" and happily lets Laurel go when the authorization doesn't go through. He also admits he's been through all of them in his training, which probably helps his reluctance. Still, he believes they're necessary at times.
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daniel Whitehall, former SS officer and one of the heads of HYDRA. In the episode "Face My Enemy", he boasts of torturing a woman "on and off" for a week and remarks that he finds the body's tendency to make people black out due to too much pain "frustrating".
- Disturbingly, in the virtual alternate reality of the Framework, Fitz is one himself. In his position as Number Two and chief Mad Scientist of HYDRA, he personally carries out the torture and experimentation of Inhumans in order to study their powers. His cool, disconnected attitude about it is the most frightening aspect of it all.
- Preacher (2016): Viktor Kruglov employs one who has a room packed full of instruments, and is completely matter of fact about his work.
- Hunter: The Vigil has the Malleus Maleficarum, a refined branch of the Inquisition that really does not have much mercy to spare for supernatural creatures. Your character can be one of these with the Torture Suite Merit, which adds a bonus to interrogation attempts.
- Magic: The Gathering gives us a dimensionful of these in the form of Phyrexia, which also double as Clockwork Horror and Cosmic Horror Story.
- Eonian Justifiers from Mutant Chronicles. To quote:
"No Cult cell wishes to be visited by a Justifier, for that visit will most certainly conclude with the excruciating vivisection of an errant member."
- Dark Eldar Haemonculi and Imperial Inquisitors in Warhammer 40,000.
- Warhammer 40K has this and has it done to its Illogical conclusion. Dark Eldar Homonculi are Torture masters whose skills are so good as to make them highly dangerous warriors. Seeing as the Dark Eldar have to torture mortals to survive their entire race may well touch on this.
- The Dark Angels and their successors have Interrogator-Chaplains, who serve as a sort of internal security as well as torturing any captured heretics into repenting their sins.
- The Inquisition have Torture Technicians raised from birth in the "art" of torture - woe betide any unrepentant heretics. The Inquisition even has a several-stage routine for torturing people; the first step is telling the victim what the rest of the steps are...
- Adeptus Arbite interrogators and Ecclesiarchy torturers are also worth a mention. The first go about things in an utterly pragmatic way, generally moving from Perp Sweating to Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to Truth Serums. The latter generally aren't there to extract information, but to purify the soul through mortification of the flesh. The Commissariat and some of the chapters of Space Marines also employ various specialists.
- The Night Lords legion of Chaos Space Marines wear this proudly as their Hat along with being The Dreaded even before they turned traitor.
- Revolver Ocelot (or just Ocelot when he said this) from Metal Gear Solid. "You know, it's not all that bad...it's the ultimate form of expression." This was in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, after seeing Naked Snake with one of his eyes bleeding from having a muzzle flash destroy it.
- He was inspired by Volgin, who, hilariously, is an absolutely horrible torturer. He's a sadist, and either kills the subjects, or ends up giving them more information than he gets.
- When you enter the interior of the thieves' guild in Baldur's Gate II, one of the first people you'll see is the house torturer and his squeamish child apprentice, the torturer trying desperately to impose some manner of love for the art in his successor, who ends up running off sobbing whenever he gets to the good parts.
- This guy in World of Warcraft. Fittingly, he works for the local branch of the
SpanishScarlet Inquisition (and, in-game at least, has the same voice coach as his better-known comrades. Best-known nowadays for being slaughtered remorselessly because a high-level holiday event took place in his instance.
- In Heroes IV, the Necromancer Castrata is described as having a collection of rare and ancient torture devices, along with written confessions of those she tortures.
- In Knights of the Old Republic, you run into droids with this specific purpose. Furthermore, in the sequel Atton Rand reveals that he used to be one for the Sith, torturing and killing Jedi.
- "There's ways of gassing them, drugging them, making them lose control, torturing them. I was really good at it. What's worse, is that killing them isn't the best thing. Making them fall...making them see our side of it, that was the best."
- In Liberal Crime Squad There is a Psychology skill. A higher Psychology skill means that the character was better at "enlightening" kidnapped conservatives. That means you can train and employ torture technicians.
- Bayonetta has aptly named "Torture Attacks" when she has sufficient magic in her magic meter that she can use to dish out more pain (and higher combos) against her angel enemies. Spiked iron maidens, pulled through a chain winch, crushed by two giant hands, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey has the demons of Bootes, who have captured several humans and are subjecting them to nightmarish tortures. The reasoning? They're trying to find out just how much of the material body is necessary for a human to survive. That the answer is "all of it" doesn't satisify them.
"When we cut into the human's skull, a gray material leaked out of their skull, and they stopped moving. Our conclusion is that humans need something called a 'brain.' But in hindsight, we've created a person who can never get angry. We've done a good thing! What a good thing we demons did!"
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
- In the opening act, the player character ends up passing through a torture chamber staffed with torturers that are part of the Imperial Legion.
- The Thalmor are the GODS of this trope, as demonstrated quite vividly during the Diplomatic Immunity quest. Their First Emissary and ambassador to Skyrim, Elenwen, is particularly skilled in the art of torture, such that other emissaries and associates will often have her evaluate their technique. And one of her most prominent victims? Ulfric Stormcloak.
- In Diablo III, the Inquisitors of the Templar Order are essentially this, in charge of "cleansing" new initiates of their sins by beating and whipping the living daylights out of them. They don't particularly give a damn about the guilt or innocence of the initiate, and will gladly pile false sins upon an innocent if they feel he would make an asset to the Order, as happened with Kormac, your Templar follower who was put through this.
- Deconstructed with the interrogator for the Damned 33rd in Spec Ops: The Line. Far from being a sadistic maniac, he was tortured himself... and cracked, just like his victims. "We will be like brothers," he writes, "Having stared down death, and flinched."
- Dr. Vahlen of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a rare heroic case. Part of her job is to interrogate captured aliens. While her motivations are noble - the defense of Earth - she does seem to take a certain pleasure in her work. For that matter, none of her subjects have ever survived interrogation.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, an unseen member of the Athena crew occasionally referred to as "The Dentist" is strongly implied to be this. Being sent to him/her is considered an extreme punishment, on par with having your body harvested into a mindless cyborg. One seasoned merc is willing to face the One-Man Army that is Riddick when Revas threatens him with a "trip to the Dentist". Earlier in the game another merc can be overheard joking about it, and his partner immediately shuts him up with a sincere "Don't even fucking joke about that".
- Wolfenstein: The New Order has The Knife, a minor antagonist Nazi doctor at a prison camp who sadistically tortures prisoners and incinerates their corpses.
- The Voices of Nerat in Tyranny generally just gets the information he needs by devouring souls. But he got his start as a torture technician, and he still keeps it up for kicks.
- Wanda from Erfworld is known as one of these... Well, it's her hobby at least.
- Bangladesh Dupree of Girl Genius, much to Othar's dismay. Not that Baron Wulfenbach is above a little torture himself.
- Dellyn Goblinslayer in Goblins is a sadistic fantastic racist who captures monsters, then vivisects them in order to learn their weaknesses. His favourite possession is the 'Finger of Hell', a knife which he designed himself in order to inflict as much pain as possible on goblins, who he reserves a special hatred for.
- In Minion Comics, one of the minions specializes in torture - offering such options as the "Spiky Thing" or "The Shocker" - "They'll all have to go in the stink, but that's what makes it torture."
- Colonel Dehaans from Schlock Mercenary was one of these, happily explaining his enjoyment to his upcoming victims.
- In Tales of MU Steff is preparing to be one of these.
- Terrence in KateModern, especially in "Answers". It's hardly his official position, but at least he has fun.
- Dusk Peterson's series The Eternal Dungeon, where prisoners are respected, the truth valued, and confession is considered necessary for the health of the criminal's soul. In the first book the main character is sent to the Eternal Dungeon after being accused of murder. The series continues with him after he has himself become a Seeker (Torture Technician).
- Web-writer Cor's unstoppable tickle "monsters".
- While A_J herself does enjoy carrying out most of the torture in AJCO this role often falls to whoever her second in command is at the time - usually it's Pythos, though during her absence the role was taken over by Breyos (which she wasn't too happy to find out when she got back).
- Dr. Emily Gray in Red vs. Blue is able to do what even Carolina cannot: get information from a captured space pirate. We don't actually see what she does to the poor son of a bitch, but the sounds of power tools, the man's screams, and Dr. Gray enthusiastically singing opera can be heard. She has to "put him back together" before Carolina is able to speak with him again.
- Hunter of Monsters Valerie Gray briefly turns into this in an episode of Danny Phantom, torturing Danny for ghost information, mostly of the Electric Torture variety. Danny's hurt, but he refuses to tell, focusing on the true matter at hand (His Opposite-Sex Clone).
- Dr. Moon from Justice League Unlimited (originally meant to be Professor Hugo Strange) wasn't allowed to get too graphic, as per the censors (not that that's necessarily a bad thing), but seemed to be Cadmus' go-to guy for extracting information with a combination of Electric Torture and implanting images directly into the victim's mind. Incredibly, The Question manages to take the scene and play it for laughs.
Interrogator: Tell me what you know!The Question: The plastic caps... on the ends of shoelaces... are called aglets. Their true purpose is... sinister.
- "Say hello to THE SCREAM EXTRACTOR!" Randall Boggs in Monsters, Inc..
- In a more literal sense of the title, his assistant Fungus operates the machine. He genuinely feels bad for Mike as it gears up.
- Sym-Bionic Titan: 3G uses lets one loose on Lance in "Fortress of Deception".
- Supposedly Cyclonus of Transformers: Generation 1 is one of these, as Galvatron mentions how much he loves watching Cyclonus carry out an interrogation. The only time we see him do this he's merely whipping someone and since he's actually Starscream in Cyclonus' body working with the interogatee to give Galvatron false information, he's deliberately missing.
- The Starscream of Transformers Prime. "Bring the prod."
- Ed, Edd n Eddy has Eddy's brother being this, playing "Uncle" CONSTANTLY with his little brother. Not only had this form Eddy into a prankster, but allowed the use of The El Mongo Stink Bomb.
- During its military dictatorship, Brazil exported torture technology.
- Brazil is not alone in this. At the time British Prime Minister Tony Blair was calling for the British military sales industry to be more ethical, it was revealed British companies were exporting "police and internal security equipment" that inexperienced eyes might mistake for torture equipment. End users of "restraint and detention" equipment included Israel, Saudi Arabia, other Arab states, and various Far Eastern and Central/South American states - all of which were on Amnesty's list for human rights abuses. A year after Blair's call for more ethical sales, British makers were still attending international arms fairs marketing the world's best detention, restraint and interrogation equipment. The US has also been found to be guilty of this, along with training personnel from various dictatorships in "interrogation". It's fair to say most such countries (but also many democracies) employ people with these skills.