Kill or cure
The medical profession, by definition, is supposed to do good things for you. It's supposed to make you feel safe. It's supposed to make you well. It's supposed to fix anything that's wrong with you within a clean, healthy, nurturing environment and then send you on your way, enriched, empowered and altogether happier.
And for exactly those reasons it's a brilliant archetype to subvert when you want easy access to drama, horror, or dramatically horrific comedy. A bad or incompetent character is one thing, but a bad or incompetent character with access to invasive medical tools and the license* to use them? Uhurhrrgh.
*License may not be current or legally recognised.
Ada Straus - Fallout: New Vegas
You wouldnt go to her with your ills because: She has a the same level of medical competence and soothing bedside manner as a drunken five-year-old. Shes probably spent about as long in medical school too. Shell assume that a request for help with addictive substances means you want to buy. She sees sterile equipment as a luxury. She doesnt pay her staff. She wears a bloody stupid hat. She is though, unsurprisingly, cheaper than any of the other doctors in the game. But even less surprisingly, you wont lose Karma if you kill her.
Alan Probe - Amateur Surgeon
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: Hes a pizza delivery boy who uses a pizza cutter as a scalpel, and is learning his craft from a coughmixtureholic ex-surgeon who he ran over with a van. His other tools include a stapler, a Zippo lighter and a pot of glue. Youd be treated less like a patient, more like a papercraft project. And your cuts would have crumbs and cheese in them forevermore.
The Medic - Team Fortress 2
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: When the patient woke up his skeleton was missing, and the doctor was never heard from again. Anyway, thats how I lost my medical license.
With the gleeful experimental air of a kid taking his toys apart to see how they work, the Medic treats the human body like a Meccano set; it's less a complex physiological nexus, more a big jumble of stuff to poke and prod in order to see what he can make happen. And who cares if a few bits get bent or lost along the way? Though to be fair, if your medical needs fall within the area of wanting to be better at killing people, youll have his full attention. Otherwise though, youd better have a pretty high tolerance to exploding internal organs.
Nurses - Silent Hill 2 onwards
You wouldnt go to them with your ills because: Someone in Silent Hills medical school made a mistake when putting the training curriculum together. Instead of using the phrase caring, attentive, highly professional medical assistant on the course notes, they made a typo and wrote Twitching, broken-bodied psycho-sexual nightmare instead. Thus, Silent Hill 2s nurses are made almost entirely out of boobs, blades and bloodshed, meaning that any appointment will last only long enough for you to become highly conflicted about your feelings before some really haphazard invasive surgery cuts the examination short.
Dr. Steinman - Bioshock
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: Hes a self-proclaimed plastic surgery artist, driven by the pursuit of aesthetic excellence above all else. Unfortunately, hes an artist more in the mould of Picasso than Da Vinci, so youd likely to go in with a broken nose and come out with a head made of bum holes.
Dr. Saleon - Mass Effect
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: Until stopped by Shepard, Saleon had a handy side-line business going in the form of black market organ sales. The snag? Rather than selling his various meaty pumps and pipes as and when they became available, he cloned them within his employees, turning his staff into perpetual spare-part production lines. Oh, and if an organ failed he just left it in there, meaning that a transplant operation from this guy would be the medical equivalent of buying sweatshop trainers and ignoring where they came from. Except with less poverty-stricken 10-year-olds and more bleeding from places you shouldn't.
Dr. Challus Mercer - Dead Space
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: Theres something ever so slightly off about a doctor who evangelises death. Its a like a nutritionist or gym instructor having shares in a company that makes burgers out of lard. But thats exactly Dr. Mercers standpoint.
As a Necromorph collaborator, he not only advocates the slithery corpse invasion of the Ishimura, but acts as the putrefied armys R&D chief, speeding along the infection by applying it to living targets as well as the dead. Over a brief course of treatments hell turn your irritating sports injury into full-blown living death, with a secondary symptom of wanting to tear the brain out of anything with a pulse.
Dr. Schabbs - Wolfenstein 3D
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: As promising word combinations go, finding Nazi and Doctor in close proximity to each other is a far, far cry from chocolate ice-cream kitten party. In works of fiction theres only going to be one outcome. Occult jiggerypokery combined with ribald mutant-related rumness.
Yes, Shabbs is one of those kind of doctors. The kind who see their medical training simply as an initial jumping-off point for all kinds of improvisational adventures, like a person who learns basic car maintenance and then trying to build a nuclear missile in their garage. Also, hes liable to administer any medication you need by putting it into a syringe and throwing it at your face, and whatever treatment he applies will take the approach of curing you of your earthly ills by turning you into a zombie instead.
Adrian Baker - Heavy Rain
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: Hes (quite literally) a basement-dwelling psychopath. Struck-off surgeon turned suburban drug dealer, Baker now does a charitable line in free health care on the side of his pharmaceutical business. Only problem is that said free care a) takes the form of surgery, b) is forced upon the patient whether they want it or not, and c) is performed with hammers and power drills rather than scalpels and anaesthetic.
Oh, and it happens in his dingy cellar rather than in a sterile operating theatre, and is more a recreational activity for Baker than anything with the patients best interests particularly at heart. Plus theres a chance hell have sexy times with your corpse after the inevitable multiple organ failure. So you know. That.
Dr. Mario - Dr. Mario
You wouldnt go to him with your ills because: HES A PLUMBER NOT A DOCTOR! The human body cannot be fixed with plungers and spanners. Not least when the wielder of said blunt instruments of pipe manipulation is trained only in the fixing of easily replaceable metal tubes, rather than the delicate fleshy ones that you definitely cannot get from the local hardware shop.
Let Dr. Mario anywhere near your insides and you will due. Simple as that. Very possibly with ballcock where your kidneys should be.
Who else is sick in the head?
So there's our ten. But who have we missed? If you can think of any other masters and mistresses of murderous malpractice, stick them in the comments.
And while you muse upon that, why not check out some other tenuously related content? The 12 most misunderstood video game villains is one such port of call, as is The Top 7 Villains we liked better than the hero.