troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Torture Technician
In addition to the physical torture, the doll mask adds to the psychological torture.

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.
Count Rugen, The Princess Bride

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 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.


Examples:

    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.
  • Berserk had a creepy guy 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.
  • 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 no Naku Koro ni, 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.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Seto Kaiba's butler is a professional torturer... and an amusement park ride designer. These two facts are not unrelated.
    • Dark Malik is one too. He's actually a Combat Sadomasochist, and in the manga, he is getting off to this.
  • 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.

    Comicbooks 
  • 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.
    • Considering the Fourth Worlders are embodied Platonic Ideals - apparently - this makes him the God of Torture. Yikes.
    • Darkseid's other lackey Granny Goodness is also a master torturer. Unlike DeSaad, she doesn't do it for interrogation, she practices it on orphans For the Evulz.
  • 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 eventually reimagined as such in the pages of Catwoman; he cites reading up on the Spanish Inquisition as an inspiration for him. In the same arc he once carved a man apart and force-fed pieces of him to the man's fiancé.
  • Darth Havok from Star Wars: Legacy
  • 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 Decepticon Justice Division in 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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.”

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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 almost subverts the trope by insisting that torture is quite simple: go for the nuts.
  • 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.
  • Captain Vidal from Pan's Labyrinth finds torturing people disturbingly pleasant.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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 cause 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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).
    • I would argue they do extract information. They call themself the "Order of the Seekers for Truth and Penitence" after all.
    • 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 Son's 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 overzealos interragotors 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.
  • 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 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 thes for the Shah-in-Shah in Mazenderan. Help 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also 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.").
      • 'Aficiniado' is an understatement. 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.
  • Adelai Niska has one in Firefly, 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).
  • "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'...." - Babylon 5, Cartagia describing his efforts to make G'Kar scream for his amusement.
    • Also, 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. And also Sebastian for the Vorlons, who was based more on religious cult brainwashing techniques, but wasn't above physical violence either.
      • The former was also 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.
  • A case could be made for Scorpius of Farscape, who gave us the scary-as-fuck Aurora Chair.
    • Unlike most torture technicians, Scorpius is remarkably strong- enough to force open one of Moya's prison doors with his bare hands. Well, gloved hands.
    • A more obvious case is one 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.
  • Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation 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.
  • 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 (I can't remember his name) 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In a propaganda holoprogram made about Voyager, the EMH is portrayed this way. The real Doctor is not amused.
  • Supernatural:
    • Creepily enough, Dean, after spending forty years in Hell.
    • 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.
  • On 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.
  • Batman TV Series: Parodied? 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 in an 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 from Utopia 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 of Utopia, 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, 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 1980s V 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". 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Videogames 
  • 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, 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 Spanish Scarlet 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".

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 
  • 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).

    Western Animation 
  • The Hunter 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 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."

    Real Life 
  • 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.


Torture PornA Tortured IndexWe Have Ways of Making You Talk
Too Spicy for Yog SothothExample as a ThesisTotally Not a Werewolf
Tom the Dark LordVillainsTragic Villain
Torpedo TitsAdded Alliterative AppealToy Time
Psycho for HireSliding Scale of Antagonist VilenessSerial Killer
BrazilImageSource/Live-Action FilmsBreakfast at Tiffany's

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
114409
1