My theme for the A to Z challenge is Villain Archetypes.
Yes, 26 descriptions of some of your favorite villains of literature, TV, and movies.
April 4th – D is for Diabolist
I could have done “Devil” here, because lord knows Old Scratch is the villain in plenty of fiction (and occasionally the hero…you should read Lucifer before they make it a TV show) but I feel like that would be cheating. Instead, I present the Diabolist, essentially a villain that serves or is aided by devils or deviltry (thanks Webster). These are the folks who make Faustian deals, or believe foolishly doing the devils bidding will somehow get them favor from a dark master. Usually, they’re wrong.
Occasionally the main antagonist in a storyline, the Diabolist is most often a henchman or flunky, tasked with serving a devilish master to bring about an evil grand scheme. Not possessed of any great skill on their own, these baddies get most of their abilities, powers, and ability to combat the protagonists straight from their hellish overlords. Many times magicians or wizards have these pacts with the darkness to grant them the ability to manipulate reality. Other Diabolists are simply too weak or foolish to succeed on thier own, and look to demons for a shortcut to power, success, and wealth.
The Diabolist is usually involved in dark, grim storylines and tends to be employed as a character in horror stories riddled with suspense. This is not a hard and fast rule, however, as Diabolists sometimes play a key role in children’s stories, comedies, and even romance stories. A warning story that taking the short path to success is self-destructive, we’re sometimes made to feel sympathy for the Diabolist as they meet their messy end, and they rarely redeem themselves, instead reaping the morbid benefits that they’ve sown by consorting with devils.
Some Famous Diabolists:
- Benny (from The Mummy)
- Boris Balkan (from The Ninth Gate)
- Pain and Panic (from Hercules)
- Dr. Facilier (from Princess and the Frog)
- Faust/Dr. Faustus (multiple representations in books, TV, and Graphic novels)
- Brother Blood (DC Comics).