Masked Mystery Villain
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A Masked Mystery Villain is a stock character in genre fiction. The Masked Mystery Villain was frequently used in the adventure stories of Pulp magazines and Movie Serials in the early twentieth century. They can also appear in Crime fiction to add to the atmosphere of suspense and suspicion. The "Mask" need not be literal (although it often is), referring more to the subterfuge involved.
He or she is the often main antagonist of the story, often acting behind the scenes with henchmen confronting the protagonists directly. Usually, the protagonists must discover the villain's true identity before they can be defeated. Often the Masked Mystery Villain will turn out to be either one of the protagonists themselves or a significant member of the supporting cast. The author may give the viewer or reader clues, with many red herrings, as to the villain's identity - sometime as the characters find them and sometimes for the audience alone. However, the identity is not usually revealed to the audience before it is revealed to the characters of the story. Even the villain's henchmen rarely know the truth about their master.
The archetype tends to be a popular one to be parodied, often using a literal mask and breaking into a stereotypical evil laugh.
Examples of Masked Mystery Villains
- The Lame One from Dick Tracy.
- The Lightning from The Fighting Devil Dogs.
- Don Del Oro from Zorro's Fighting Legion.
- The Scorpion from Adventures of Captain Marvel.
- The Octopus from The Spider's Web.
- The Gargoyle from The Spider Returns.
- The Crimson Ghost from The Crimson Ghost.
- The Wizard from Batman and Robin.
- Dr. Vulcan from King of the Rocket Men.
- The Colonel from The Man in the Brown Suit.
Anime and comics
- The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.
- The Carver from Nip/Tuck.
- Amon from The Legend of Korra
- The Blank from Dick Tracy - (1990 film)
- Darth Sidious from the Star Wars prequel trilogy (Star Wars Episode I, Star Wars Episode II)
- Jigsaw from the horror movie saga Saw.
Computer and video games
- Murai from Ninja Gaiden.
- The Masked Man from Mother 3.
- Jack of Blades from Fable.
- Jean Descole from Professor Layton.