Karma Houdini is a villain who is rarely or never adequately punished for their evil actions by the end of a story, thus escaping justice and "pulling a Houdini" (disappearing) from the way of Karma. But no matter how often this happens their karma eventually gets to them and a noticeable thing is that they're punishments are worse than almost anyone, this is because their karma has been building up to the limit. Most scapegoats have eventually become karma houdinis, because of how much they suffer eventually covers up their actions in the future. Deceased or imprisoned villians do not count, so don't add them. Generally such an occurrence falls under one of six types:
1. The villain is defeated, but simply is not aptly punished in the resolution. This often happens when a villain is simply humiliated or harmed in a comical manner when the audience's impression is that they deserve worse. (Example: Lady Tremaine in the Disney version of Cinderella, and Negan in The Walking Dead Comic).
2. The villain makes an escape at the story's climax. Probably the most common type. Often the villain escapes while the heroes are preoccupied with some other danger (usually that they created), sometimes because in most stories preventing whatever disaster is caused by a villain is more important than going after them. Sometimes this is done to set up a sequel, or at least leave the story open for one. (Example: Dr. Wily in every Megaman game, Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Ernst Stravo Blofeld from You Only Live Twice, and Xur from The Last Starfighter).
3. The villain simply exits the story after performing their function, and is not encountered by the hero again. This usually occurs with secondary antagonists (as opposed to central ones), as the most common scenario for this type of Karma Houdini is that the protagonist simply escapes the villain, who is not seen again because they are not relevant to the rest of the story. (Example: Honest John Foulfellow, and The Coachman in Disney's Pinocchio and Scratcher from Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July).
4. The villain is redeemed/forgiven after having crossed a Moral Event Horizon, or at least way too easily for the amount of harm they've already caused. (Examples: Peter Griffin, Funnybot, Kevin Levin, The Grinch, Sour Kangaroo, Mr. Krabs, Lord Business).
5. The villain outright wins at the end of the story, defeating the hero and succeeding in all their evil plans. For extremely obvious reasons, this is by far the least common type and can reasonably be expected to occur only in the very darkest of stories, and is in fact, very common in modern horror films. (Example: Audrey II in the most common ending of Little Shop of Horrors, Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, and Bagul in Sinister).
6. The villain is more of a jerk and thus many don't see the need to punish the villain. These kinds of villains are usually sitcom villains and thus are not really threats. Because of this, many heroes simply let the villain do what they want. (Examples: Peggy Hill from King of the Hill, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, and Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.)
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