"You know, I never understood all these elaborate tortures. It's the simplest thing... to cause more pain than a man can possibly endure.... And of course, it's not only the immediate agony, but the knowledge... that if you do not yield soon enough... there will be little left to identify you as a man. The only question remains: will you yield, in time?"
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. Guts promptly puts a big sword through the cell door and through his gut before throwing him down into a big pit. And that's in the anime — he gets it even worse in the manga.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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. Except for their leader Tarn, who simply modulates his voice to extinguish sparks.
What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest. How do you feel?
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.
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.
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.
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 — interestingly, she tortures people entirely by stimulating the pain (and sometimes pleasure) centers of the brain and is quite possibly the finest healer who has ever lived. She extracted a...price in pain in exchange for saving people. when ordered to cut that shit out, she turned to the Dark One. People were known to kill themselves at the mere mention she would be questioning them.
Also interesting because she was the greatest doctor of the Age of Legends, able to heal anything short of death or severing, though only the desperate would endure the side effects.
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.
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. He is in all other respects completely unexceptional, suggesting that he's a Punch Clock Villain.
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.
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 Technicianworkers 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.
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".
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 S&M overtones and more psychology-heavy.
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.
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.
Rosa Klebb in the James Bond 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 BastardYsanne 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.
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.
The Phantom of the Opera: In the original 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.
Wanderer from The Host believes Doc to be this at first.
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.
"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.
In Supernatural, creepily enough, Dean, at least after going to Hell. His "mentor" there, Alastair, also obviously qualifies. Alastair is in fact considered Hell's greatest torturer.
If Sam's flashbacks 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, but is more than skilled at it himself.
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.
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.
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...
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, 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.
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.
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!"
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.
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."
Wanda from Erfworld is known as one of these... Well, it's her hobby at least.
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.
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).
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.
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.