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Borrowin' Samedi

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They've got friends on the other side.note 

A character uses Baron Samedi, a deity/spirit from Haitian Voudoun folklore, as a design template.

Visually, this means they're probably a Scary Black Man wearing top hat and tails (black is best and darker colors in general are preferable) and having a somewhat skeletal face, possibly by use of Villainous Cheekbones, if not an actual Skull for a Head. Personality-wise, they're probably sly and somewhat sinister, and may be a bit of a hedonist (in Haitian lore, the Baron is a festive sort who loves drinking rum and partying). Where they fall on the morality axis is a little less consistent: as far as the original is concerned, Dark Is Not Evil, but characters who fit the archetype may be villainous or diabolical, since Everyone Hates Hades.

They will often practice (or be worshipped by practitioners of) Hollywood Voodoo; this makes a small degree of sense, since possession by spirits is a big part of Vodoun doctrine, and someone hoping to be "ridden" by the Baron might dress like him to try and associate with him.

See also Witch Doctor (fiction often conflates voodoo with tribal rituals from across the rainforest belt), and Red-plica Baron for another feared Baron.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Brook in One Piece doesn't just look skeletal, he is in fact a walking skeleton and dresses in a nice suit and top hat as a matter of course. About the only switch-up is the huge afro. His love of music, upbeat and fun-loving personality, and horrible manners might be further references to Samedi. Even after the time skip his style doesn't change much, unlike most of the Straw Hat crew. On top of all that, the people of Zou name him "Baron Corpse."

    Comic Books 
  • One of Ghost Rider's fellow Spirits of Vengeance is Baron Skullfire of the Congo. Top hat, tails, and all, complete with the big blazing skull head.
  • Papa Midnite, the voodoo sorcerer in Hellblazer, will get into traditional Samedi dress when he's getting ready to perform magic, although his top hat is usually white. No matter what he's doing, he still got the "Scary Black Man in a really nice suit" thing down.
  • Voodoo priest Jim Crow from The Invisibles often wore a top hat and black jacket. There was a bit of a joke in his debut, where a character notes that he was expecting Crow to look like the James Bond example below. Once Crow starts a ritual, the same character hallucinates him as the Baron Samedi from that same Bond movie.
  • The Superman villain Baron Sunday, a gangster who utilizes voodoo sorcery to dispatch his enemies, exploiting Superman's vulnerability to magic.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Princess and the Frog: Dr. Facilier, the main villain, is a con artist (in the sense that he swindles people out of money; his voodoo abilities are genuine) who always wears top hat and tails, and is skeletally thin. During his Villain Song, his clothing briefly switches to pure black and he dons a skull mask, which completes the image.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the "Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After" segment of Cloud Atlas, the devilish spirit named Old Georgie (Hugo Weaving) tempts Zachry in various ways and sports ruined black clothes with a top hat, slightly invoking the trope.
  • In James Bond's Live and Let Die, the Big Bad uses an Enigmatic Minion who acts the part of Baron Samedi in some kind of festival for tourists in Haiti, played by Geoffrey Holder. One of the bigger mysteries in the film is exactly who the guy is, with the implication that he may be the Baron himself.

  • An example in American Gods by Neil Gaiman. The Baron himself shows up, but manifested in a highly atypical fashion: as a teenage goth girl from Chattanooga (she had her own top hat).
  • An unorthodox example the Skin-taker from the Creepypasta Candle Cove, who is a villainous glass-eyed skeleton who wears a top hat and cloak made of the skin of children.
  • An unconventional example is Minty Fresh from A Dirty Job. A death merchant whose job is to collect and then redistribute souls, he's a tall and menacing (but ultimately good and even friendly on a good day) black man with a penchant for suits. So far so good... but, due to his new attempts to embrace his moniker after a lifetime of being embarrassed by it, his suits are all fairly bright green and silky.
  • Live and Let Die: slightly different from the film version (mentioned above), the main villain is a Haitian-American gangster who keeps superstitious underlings under control by spreading rumors that he is the Baron himself. note 
  • One of Black Shadow's cover identities in Wild Cards is Mr. Gravemold, a semi-respected Joker who always dresses in a nice suit and a skull mask (masks don't really stand out in Jokertown), and smells of formaldehyde to boot.
  • In the Discworld novel Witches Abroad, the former ruler of Genua (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to New Orleans) is Baron Saturday, a literal translation of "Samedi" into English. He is raised as a zombie in the traditional evening dress by his ex-lover, a voodoo lady, and helps to depose the evil witch who usurped him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Coven introduces Papa Legba, the loa that Marie LaVaeu sold her soul for immortality for her and Delphine LaLaurie. While Papa Legba is an actual loa of the Voodoo faith (being the patron loa of communication, understanding and the mediation between the Loas and humanity) everything about Papa Legba in the show - ruling over the voodoo afterlife, the white face-paint and top-hat, his taste for drugs and his dark sense of humor - are all actually attributed to Baron Samedi, making it both a case of Composite Character and Sadly Mythtaken. Papa Legba in the actual religion is a kind old man who dresses humbly and his traditional offering is rum, not cocaine.
  • Grimm featured an arc villain called Baron Samedi (a "Cracher-Mortal"), who, by the series' basic premise, is probably the inspiration for voodoo in-universe. Not only did he dress the part, his true form was a pufferfish creature whose venom turned people into zombies (referencing the idea that voodoo priests may have created "real" zombies by drugging people with tetrodotoxin).
  • Heroes: the Haitian's brother is a crime lord who uses the name Baron Samedi. His power was indestructible skin, since you're curious.
  • Lois & Clark: Baron Sunday (see Comics) appeared in one episode. He uses voodoo to try and invoke images of being Buried Alive, but it fails to kill Supes because by this point he's engaged to Lois and the image he's seeing is actually his parents closing him into his ship on Krypton before it exploded, an image of self-sacrifice and life, not death. At their confrontation, Superman leaves Sunday tied to a plane seat but when the police arrive he's gone, as the camera focuses in on a snake slithering away unnoticed.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Walking Dead", Former Regime Personnel exiled from Haiti has settled down in Little Haiti, in MacGyver's neighborhood. They are selling drugs, collecting protection payments and threatening shopkeepers with "Baron Samedi". One of the gang poses as the Baron, in a black suit and white-pained face to help sell the illusion. At the end of the episode, MacGyver dresses up like Baron Samedi and tells the people that they've been lied to.
  • The Mighty Boosh has the Spirit of Jazz, who wears a white suit and top hat, skeletal makeup and dreadlocks. Howard sells his soul to him in exchange for jazz music skills.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Bones, the series' very first monster (and thus the first monster of the entire Power Rangers franchise), is a skeletal Samedi monster.
  • Lampshaded on Once Upon a Time, where Doctor Facilier's counterpart in the Land Without Magic is named Mr. Barron Samdi.

  • In the music video for the Cartoons cover of "Witch Doctor" (a.k.a. "Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang"), the eponymous witch doctor is a guy with skull-themed face paint and a black suit and top hat evoking Baron Samedi.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Charles Wright started his career in the WWF playing Papa Shango, a wrestling Voodoo Priest who used this look. He also used the name Baron Samedi in the independents.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Atmosfear: Baron Samedi is a Haitian witch-doctor who turned himself into a zombie.
  • The Mutants & Masterminds Freedom City setting has Baron Samedi show up as an evil god whose goal is to kill all humans and turn them into zombies.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Samedi Bloodline are vampires who assume a decaying corpse appearance after their Embrace. The oldest known member and probable founder of the Bloodline is Baron Samedi, possibly that one.
  • Scion has you play as the children of gods, and Baron Samedi and the rest of the Loa are available as possible divine patrons. One of the sample Scions provided is Brigitte de la Croix, daughter of the Baron himself, specializing in necromancy, top hats and suit coats, skull body paint, and having a great time.

  • Papa Ge, the "sly demon of death" from Once on This Island, is a capricious trickster god and the primary antagonist. He's basically a gadfly who likes to con people for the hell of it, and his costume is a skeleton outfit.

    Video Games 
  • The voodoo-themed video game Akuji the Heartless have none other than Samedi himself as a major character. Namely, he's the grim reaper who offers the titular hero a second chance to return to the plane of living.
  • Bounty of One has The Undertaker. He wears a black top hat, a huge black coat, has a literal Skull for a Head with Villainous Cheekbones due to being an undead skeleton, and is a necromancer with Soul Power.
  • Sam B from Dead Island is this In-Universe. He's a rapper whose scene persona wears a black longcoat and a black top hat, and his two songs ("Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch?" in the opening cutscene of the first game, and "No Room in Hell", a live-action music video serving as promotional material for the Dead Island: Riptide sequel) are voodoo-themed; there's also the "Sam B"/"Samedi" pun. In proper game, he's merely a Celebrity Survivor with purely mundane ability. He's also a player character and a good guy (though not a nice person).
  • Death Road to Canada has the rare character Samedi, a woman with skeletal face paint wearing a top hat. She has the ability to summon skeletons every time she gets hit. When she dies, she resurrects herself as a skeleton.
  • A few of the armours for the Witch Doctor in Diablo III sometimes have Baron-Samedi like appearances.
  • Present and correct in Dungeons of Dredmor - two enemies called "Samedi" and "The Baron" appear early on with this appearance, with variant versions showing up later in the game.
  • Tensay the shaman from Far Cry Primal looks vaguely like the Baron despite predating Voudoun as a religion. Apart from being a Scary Black Man, Tensay is thin and wears white Tribal Face Paint that makes him appear skeletal. He carries a simple staff in place of a Classy Cane, wears a wolfskin headdress instead of a top hat, and has pretty crass manners, urinating on a mask before letting Takkar put it on his face, and urinating on a captive Izila who he doesn't like. He's also eager to serve Takkar his blood potions and is something of The Hedonist, as whenever he's not doing creepy things, he's doing a dance with his staff, or encouraging other Wenja to "dance with spirits", as he does in celebration of Takkar killing Batari.
  • Josey from Lollipop Chainsaw is the Master of Funk and one of the five Dark Purveyors, five powerful zombies summoned by Swan from the Rotten World who unleash a Zombie Apocalypse on the world. Josey is the only Black member, with skull make-up and a top-hat meant to evoke Baron Samedi's iconography.
  • An outfit in Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen called Demon's Game is likely a reference. The clothes are almost monochrome, contrasting against bone-white skin and a face like a desiccated corpse, with a prominent top hat, and the figure carries both a creepy doll and an oversized scythe (bringing in European iconography of death). Ghosts swirl around it, and the item descriptions all refer to lost souls, lamentations, the brevity of life and the inevitability of death.
  • MadWorld has the Black Baron ("Stop staring"), who gives the shout out to Baron Semedi a pimp twist; rather than a top hat he has a wide-brimmed hat and instead of wearing black, he's wearing garish leopard print. He is, however, superhumanly powerful and aside from his name has an interesting connection to death, as he's killed to demonstrate each level's gimmicks and comes back with no explanation. The semi-sequel Anarchy Reigns has the Blacker Baron, who may or may not be the same guy.
  • In obscure Amiga game Master Axe: The Genesis of Myster X (1997), one of the opponents is named Le Baron. Some pre-gameplay info calls him a "Voodoo swamp lord". Pre-battle text calls him "Mistah Midnite", whose Home Stage is Devil's Bayou, Louisiana.
  • Mutant Football League features the Brawltimore Razors as a team (a parody of the Baltimore Ravens NFL franchise.) Their team logo is a skull and crossbones, where the crossbones are knives, and the skull is wearing a styling red and purple tophat and has a streak of blood down one of its eyes.
  • Path of Exile has the unique helmet "The Baron", which looks like a skull mask, a top hat, and a black hood adorned with bones, and empowers the player's zombie minions.
  • The Sons of Samedi from Saints Row 2 are a street gang whose hat is Hollywood Voodoo. The Leader of the gang, an enigmatic man known only as The General, doesn't fit this trope very well aside from being a Scary Black Man and a bit of a hedonist. That said, his second-in-command, Mr. Sunshine definitely counts as he's a "psychotic witch doctor" (to borrow a phrase from rival gang leader Maero) who practices voodoo that may or may not give him magic powers and certainly makes him hard to kill. He's also enthusiastically sadistic and immoral. In terms of aesthetics, he's definitely emaciated with a long, bony face, he has a skull on top of his staff, and he wears an understated, dark blazer and slacks as an allusion to the usual tailcoat. When the gang are introduced at the beginning of the game, Shaundi even explains who Baron Samedi is as a figure of Vodoun myth.
    The Boss: What the fuck's a Vodoun?
  • Smite features Baron Samedi as a playable character from the Vodoun pantheon, and he looks exactly as one might expect him to.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Spy is given not one but two cosmetic items that make him resemble the Baron: the Shadowman's Shade is a tattered, team-colored top-hat with a skull-shaped charm on the front, while the Voodoo Vizier is a skull mask accompanied by a pristine black top-hat.
  • Sam from Twisted Wonderland arguably also falls here, due to his name and being twisted from Dr. Facilier.
  • Limbo from Warframe is a dapper warframe, clad in a top hat and tailcoat, whose schtick is sending himself, his allies and his enemies in and out of the Rift.
  • The World of Warcraft troll loa Bwonsamdi hits many of the right notes. He is the god of death for a race heavily associated with voodoo, has a skull face, is frequently sinister even when he's ostensibly on your side, and always trying to make deals which he'll usually adhere to the letter of, if not the spirit. Throughout the Horde storyline of Battle for Azeroth, Bwonsamdi is making deals and trying to find ways to exploit the situation to his advantage, culminating in becoming the loa to which the Zandalari king Rastakhan swears fealty. He's surprisingly chill—often mocking the players when they die and even mentions that despite being the loa of death, he is all for balance and is generally against undead. Above all, he has the assurance of one who knows that all in time will answer to him.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The late "Papa Doc" Duvalier, dictator and president of Haiti, actively cultivated the image of him being Baron Samedi.


Video Example(s):


Baron Samedi

Baron Samedi is a Haitian witch-doctor who turned himself into a zombie.

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