Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Ununnilium: Is this any villain with a deformity, or just the ones that are mostly good-looking except for one grotesque feature? If the latter, several of these examples need to be taken out.

I'm pretty sure this refers to any deformed or grotesque villain, especially where the trait is used to identify them as the villain.

Ununnilium: But we already have Beauty Equals Goodness. I think "villains that are good-looking except for one grotesque feature" is a more interesting trope to explore, and more distinct. I'm going to take out all the examples that don't apply, and clarify the entry on that.
  • Shakespeare's Richard III has a prominent hunchback and withered arm. That males this one of The Oldest Ones in the Book.
  • Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars is a big ugly lumpy guy with yellow eyes and claws (he gained all three after becoming Emperor, though).
    • Palpatine's apprentice Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace had facial tattoos and horns which are very reminiscent of Satan.
  • Ephialtes, the traitorous hunchback in 300.
  • Nearly all the villains from Dick Tracy had some grotesquely distorted physical feature. This is most prevalent in The Movie.
  • Eraserhead has a particularly frightening character who has burns all over his body.
  • Probably one of the best examples would be Max Schreck's character, Count Orlock, in the classic horror film Nosferatu. He had clawlike fingers, enormous ears, buggy eyes, no hair, and a batlike nose. Oh, and fangs.
    • This portrayal would even influence games like Vampire in the World of Darkness, with the creation of an entire clan of Nosferatu vampires who epitomize ugliness and fear in contrast to their more "photogenic" cousins. In the original, Vampire: The Masquerade, every single Nosferatu is horrifically deformed in some manner (the "signature" Nosferatu is clearly modeled after Count Orlock). In its relaunch, Vampire: The Requiem, the Nosferatu may appear normal, but has some innate quality that unnerves and frightens onlookers.
  • The Austin Powers villain Fat Bastard. 'Nuff said.
  • Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter adaptations; completely hairless, with pale rubbery skin, no nose, and sunken eye sockets.

Later: For the same reason, taking out:
  • Shakespeare portrayed Magnificent Bastard Richard III as a malevolent hunchback. For a particularly good rendition of this, see Ian Mc Kellen's movie version.
  • The 80s Dune movie has a lot of this. Baron Harkonnen is grossly fat and has horrible acne and every Harkonnen has very pale skin. David Lynch, though, so it's what you pay for.
    • A literal big red hand keeps popping up in the dreams of Paul "Usul/Muad'The Messiah" Atreides. (It isn't a bad guy's.)
  • The comic strip, Dick Tracy, is famous for its grotesque villains who are as hideously deformed in appearance as their murderous personalities.

And this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the trope:
  • The symbol of the Shadow Lord from the book series Deltora Quest is a red right hand. It's either a reference to this trope or a rip-off of Saruman's symbol.

Thausgt: I'll argue that the "Red Right Hand" is an example of semantic drift. I theorize that the phrase is derived from the same source as the name of the star "Betelgeuse", which Europeans took from a mistranslation of the Arabic phrase "yad al-jauza", which means "hand of the central one". The story of how the phrase got corrupted into its present form is surprisingly funny, in that for a while it was translated as "armpit of the central one".

J Bridge: You know, the title Red Right Hand kinda suggests someone's been... busy.

Lull The Conqueror: Thausgt - I don't know if that's where the phrase itself originated from, but its association with evil almost certainly comes from a misremembering of certain lines from Book II of Paradise Lost: "What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,/Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,/And plunge us in the flames; or from above/Should intermitted vengeance arm again/His red right hand to plague us?" Sounds pretty evil, except (as I noted in the main page) this is the speech of the devil Belial, and he's talking about God. Of course, depending on your reading of the poem, this might be pretty evil anyway.

Robert Bingham: Why has it taken this long to mention Batman's top three bads? This wiki must be slipping!

Terminus Est 13: Why is Nero from Devil May Cry 4 mentioned and pictured on this page? He's not a villain, and from what I can see, this is a villain trope.

Man Without A Body: Antiheroes, too. Still, I think we should be able to find a more appropriate picture, ideally with a literal red right hand. [Update] There, I changed the picture to a more famous/influential character with a far subtler hand.

Joysweeper: Hey, random anecote: I was working with an iron-based glaze in large buckets, and it's necessary to stick your arm in and stir with your hand to get the mix consistent. My arm came out pure rusty red, and let me tell you, it looked awesome. I'm almost sad that the color washed off.