The latest update to Call of Duty: Warzone has added a variety of horror villains to its Haunting of Verdansk event, including one Dr Karlov who may not be familiar to all players.

Some characters, such as Jigsaw from Saw or Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, are instantly recognisable to horror fans of the modern era.

Dr Karlov, though, is a bit of a deeper cut. This character has a long legacy as a horror icon, but he’s less recognisable to anyone who isn’t a silent film afficionado.

Who is Dr Karlov in Call of Duty: Warzone?

Dr Karlov in Call of Duty: Warzone is named for a character from a 1920 novel called The Drums of Jeopardy, which was later adapted into a Broadway play in 1922, and a pair of movies in 1923 and 1931, respectively.

In the story, a scientist named Dr Boris (or Gregor, in the case of the 1923 film) Karlov becomes obsessed with the men of a wealthy Russian aristocrat family after the death of his daughter – he suspects one of the men of seducing her and driving her to suicide, but he can’t be sure which one.

In an act of vengeance, Karlov pursues these men across the globe, desperate to chain them up and use them in his grizzly “experiments”. The character is an iconic mad scientist, and many of the tropes associated with this genre of horror were popularised by The Drums of Jeopardy.

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Why is Dr Karlov in Haunting of Verdansk?

While the Dr Karlov from The Drums of Jeopardy does bear some resemblance to the character in Warzone, it’s clear that the developers have taken a lot of liberties when designing their own mad scientist character.

According to the official description of the character, Dr Karlov is something of an urban legend in Verdansk. Down in the Gulag, he has been experimenting with electricity, to the point that he has created a variety of terrifying weapons.

Considering that the original Dr Karlov is fairly obscure in modern times, there was no need to adapt him directly in Warzone, and it’s likely that this character’s namesake is simply an in-joke for vintage horror fans. Even so, it’s interesting to note the history behind the villain.

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