YMMV / Fantômas

Fantômas novels:

  • Complete Monster: Fantômas, the Villain Protagonist, is a terrifying sociopath and Master of Disguise who holds all of Paris in terror as he could be anyone in the city and you'd never know it before he slit your throat. Through the first novel, his activities are so extensive it is unclear if "Fantômas" refers to a criminal network acting together, but by the end of the third novel, it is clear there is only one Fantômas. Known as the "Man of a Thousand Faces" and the "Lord of Terror," Fantômas commits murder after murder, for personal power, wealth or simply his own amusement. Not even his own children are safe as Fantômas uses his son and daughter as pawns in his schemes and even murders his own son's girlfriend to twist him to Fantômas's purpose. Fantômas routinely frames the innocent to face the guillotine for his crimes, and puts special emphasis in mentally tormenting the Hero Antagonist Inspector Juve. Fantômas also loves committing murder in elaborate ways: from strangling, stabbing and poisoning to more elaborate death traps such as chambers filling with sand, or even unleashing plague-infested rats on an ocean liner. Alan Moore once summed up Fantômas well in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: "The Count had once been human. Fantômas was a thing. He had always been a thing."

Fantômas movies:

  • Camp: The '60s movies have not aged well: De Funès is over the top, Fantômas looks silly in his greenish blue mask and the fight scenes are quite bad. To be fair the film is intentionally lighter than the books. Also, it's part of De Funès' over-the-top acting that makes him so great. It actually works quite well in comedic scenes.
  • Critic-Proof: While the films were not critically praised (the sequels especially), they achieved popular success in France.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The '60s movie trilogy was bizarrely popular in Latin America (especially Cuba) and the former Soviet Union.
  • Older Than They Think: For Spy Fiction tropes, Fantômas Unleashed predated You Only Live Twice's tobacco-gun and Volcano Lair by two years.