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Mutilators are extremely violent, dangerous, and vituperative, so they mutilate their victims. Unlike the killer, they do not always kill their victims, but scar or disfigure them for life, a sub-type of the torturer (though not all mutilation starts as torture).

Any villain who causes severe, often long-term injury or disfigurement to their victims without necessarily killing them belongs under this category. The injuries that these villains inflict upon their victims are often disturbing (e.g. slit mouth, disfigured face, limbs, etc.), which is why many mutilators belong to the horror and thriller genre.

It can also refer to killers who severely disfigure their victims or the corpses after said killings (for example, villains who tear bodies apart, remove organs, or generally cause the victim to become almost unrecognizable). It is often a sign of mental illness or extreme violence, and is considered to be worse than regular killing due to the graphic nature of mutilation.

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