Thulsa Doom is a villainous fictional character first appearing in the Kull novel Delcardes' Cat by Robert E. Howard. A powerful necromancer, Thulsa Doom is Kull's primary foe, and later becomes an enemy of the Celtic hero Cormac mac Art, another Howard character further expanded by Andrew J. Offutt. He is apparently immortal and is visualized as a skull-headed sorcerer ( or as an albino when taking on the illusory apperance of a living man).
The similar concept of an evil, skull-headed sorcerer wearing a hood and operating in a serpent themed base was later used for He-Man's arch enemy Skeletor.
Thulsa Doom in Films
A character of the same name is the antagonist in the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian. Played by James Earl Jones, the cinematic Thulsa Doom is considerably different from the literary one, who is described as having a skull-like face. In the film, he appears to be an ordinary human, but can transform into a snake. Though purportedly immortal as he never aged throughout the years Conan grew up, in the film's climax, Conan beheads and kills him.
Doom appears to have been re-invisioned as a cult leader in the manner of the real life demagogues that had popped up in the decade previous to the film's release. In the movie he is shown to have an extraordinary command of his followers. For example, in one scene, after Thulsa Doom signals to one of his female followers on a high ledge, she jumps off and crashes through the ground, instantly dying. In this he resembled Hassan-i-Sabah, the Nizari leader, who according to Arab sources had one of his followers leap to his death to demonstrate his power to visiting dignitaries.
Notably, the antagonist has Conan crucified, an act which has dire if not mortal results for the Barbarian.
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