Dr. Facilier has got to be the scariest Disney villain so far this century. He is a classic bad guy complete with crooked deals, dark magic, and scary shadow henchmen. Unlike other classic characters, he has a grand and sweeping plan. This plan involves killing key people, taking over New Orleans, and feeding the souls of its inhabitants to the evil spirits of the underworld. Facilier has no delusions that he is working for the greater good, upholding a correct world view, or doing something a little wrong for a better purpose. He is evil. He knows it. He revels in it.
There is something truly frightening about a character that is this overtly evil. His name suggests the French ‘facile’ which means easy. We all know that someone offering the ‘easy’ way to do something big and important doesn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. And someone named “Dr. Easy” with voodoo connections should raise at least a few questions. However, there are always people (in narrative and in real life) that are willing to believe that there is an easy way to get what they want. Facilier preys on those people, steals their souls, and feeds them to his ‘friends’: Happily and with great enthusiasm. While Facilier is not set on world domination, it doesn’t seem like a big leap to imagine it. Neither he nor his friends would be easily satisfied with only one city full of souls to consume.
Like many villains, Facilier is an object lesson for the viewer. He is what can happen when we turn our back on hard work and try to find an easy out. While we may not lose our souls to evil shadows, we can be lost and wandering. Facilier is frightening because he offers hope, while delivering something else entirely.