'His enemy is the eternal principle
of evil made flesh'
Amongst many other things, Guy N. Smith* spent the early nineteen eighties writing about Mark Sabat, an occult action man who specialises in combating the supernatural, a sort of psychic James Bond. Sabat appeared in four books, all of which are mirror images of each other. Whether Sabat is bringing down a European cannibal cult, a load of vampires or interceding in a planning dispute between ruthless developers and the spirits of Ancient Druids, the story always follows a fairly basic pattern, with only the types of violence, hideous death and sexual depravity changed to keep it interesting. Actually, the books are fascinating – in a crazed, out of control, often offensive way – not least because the central character is so fuck off fucking preposterous.
Mark Sabat is in his mid-thirties, tall, lean, with ‘jet black’ hair and a big scar running down his left cheek. He has a moustache. He always wears black, and I imagine him sporting a leather blouson jacket, but this may just be wish fulfilment. He drives a Daimler, is a weapons expert, knows Kung Fu and can astrally project, turning himself into a bat or a hawk while he’s out of his magnificently muscular body. Sabat’s early life was fairly straightforward until he entered in a sexual liaison with one of his male teachers (he often recalls the latters ‘tousled hair’). He enjoyed it, but, filled with guilt, chose to enter the Priesthood in order to escape the temptation of illicit sex. Yes, that is ironic, isn’t it?
The Church couldn’t contain a loose cannon like Sabat for long but, while in service, he discovered that he had a talent for exorcism, so he began to study arcane manuscripts to better understand the Devil and his disciples in order that he might vanquish them from this realm when called upon to do so. After the church, Sabat took the well-trodden ex-Priest route and joined the SAS, who taught him to kill, an activity that he greatly enjoyed.
After being caught sleeping with his superior officer’s wife, however, he was dishonourably discharged - so he set up on his own as a dark detective, a trouble shooter against the black arts, an exorcist for hire. His evil brother, Quentin, was one of his first assignments, but Sabat only succeeded in killing his body (he shot him in the head with his trusty .38) and didn’t perform the necessary rituals to vanquish his brother’s satanically naughty soul. It was a bad move, as Quentin’s spirit is now a lodger in Sabat’s body and, quite frankly, is a bloody liability.
Hardbitten, yet still strangely idealistic, Sabat is a cruel and ruthless enemy and, once miffed, sort of unstoppable, by which we mean that he is actually eminently stoppable, but his opponents always fail because they are marginally more rubbish than he is, just like in real life.
A curious thing about his character is that he is also a sex maniac - a habitual user of prostitutes and a serial abuser and rapist of women. Sabat is almost always in a state of arousal, and nobody is safe from his predatory erection. Quite often he decides that, once a particular shitstorm is over, he will shag an attractive heroine, villainess, acolyte, victim or passer-by as his ‘reward’ for getting rid of the bad stuff. They have no say in it whatsoever. If they object he either hypnotises them or forces the issue.
Naturally, being raped by a man like Sabat is actually a pleasurable experience – no matter how aggressive and unwanted his attentions are, a few seconds into it the women realise that this bastard is taking them to the heights of ecstasy. It’s pathetic, dangerous stuff. Mostly, however, Sabat is, quite appropriately, a wanker, forever cracking one out to ‘purge’ the evil within him. If anyone dares suggest he put it away, he usually blames his brother's baleful influence, or says that he was possessed by evil which made him toss himself off. It's all rather odd.
Brilliantly, in his invaluable tome ‘How To Write Horror Fiction’, writer Guy N. Smith says that he based Sabat’s CV on his own. I wouldn't want to be trapped in a loft space with him.
* No apparent relation to Mark E. Smith. But that would be awesome.