Evil Sounds Raspy YKTTW Discussion

Evil Sounds Raspy
Raspy voices are common in bad guys.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-01-04 23:51:10 sponsor: WaxingName edited by: MetaFour (last reply: 2013-08-17 01:03:30)

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Next to deep voices, this is the most common auditory clue to an evil character. Raspy voices are very popular as a vocal choice for evil characters, especially Evil Old Folks.

Compared to deep voices, raspy voices have less of an intimidating effect but more of a sinister tone. This makes it particularly effective for the Big Bad of a show, especially when juxtaposed with a deep voice of his Dragon. A rasp is also good for a particularly creepy Evil Laugh. Sometimes, this trope overlaps with Red Right Hand, when the rasp is caused by a physical defect or injury, usually to the throat or otherwise to a respiratory organ. This can occur hand in hand with Vader Breath, if the character is raspy because of smoking or a physical ailment.


Anime and Manga

Film - Animated
  • The ruthless Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven smokes cigars and roars at his underlings. Much of his menace was supplied by the late character actor Vic Tayback.

Film - Live Action
  • Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious is given a raspy voice in the Star Wars films. As Chancellor Palpatine, he doesn't speak this way, but he uses this voice more once this act is shed.
  • Played for laughs in The Princess Bride when the albino in the dungeon starts out speaking in a raspy voice. Suddenly he clears his throat and is speaking in a perfectly normal voice.
  • Freddy Krueger has a distinctive demonic-sounding raspy voice. This is achieved by slowing down Robert Englund's dialouge. It helps that Mr. Englund has a pretty raspy-sounding voice to begin with so slowing it down makes it sound even more meanacing.
  • Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a somewhat raspy voice to go with his creepy persona, though he's not exactly "evil" (at least less evil compared to Frank). The concept is Played for Laughs parodying the "creepy butler with a raspy voice" character from old cheesy horror/sci-fi films. His singing voice is also pretty raspy-sounding.
  • The Killer's threat to Mark in Dario Argento's Deep Red is delivered in a creepy raspy voice. When her true identity is revealed her voice is normal.
  • Reversed and played straight in The Dark Knight Saga movies. Batman has a very raspy voice throughout all three movies of the trilogy, and the third movie's villian, Bane also has a ragged voice due to a respiratory problem.
  • Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings sounds like this after centuries of corruption by the One Ring. He's nicknamed Gollum because of the distinctive swallowing noise he makes.

  • Justified in The First Law with Shivers, who undergoes a Face-Heel Turn in Best Served Cold after he's captured and tortured and one of his eyes is burnt out. His screaming in pain damaged his vocal cords, causing him to have a raspy voice from that point onward- so, the evil and the raspy voice have a common cause.

Live-Action TV
  • Professor Yana from the Doctor Who episode speaks in a low raspy voice after he remembers who he really is.
    Yana: I...am....The Master....


Professtional Wrestling
  • Exploited by Professional Wrestler Brian Pullman, who had a raspy voice due to multiple childhood throat polyp surgeries and was almost always a heel.

Tabletop Games

  • Lampshaded with Sir Despard's Villainous Lament in Ruddigore:
    Sir Despard: Oh why am I husky and hoarse?
    Chorus: Ah, why?
    Sir Despard: It's the workings of conscience, of course.
    Chorus: Fie, fie!
    Sir Despard: And huskiness stands for remorse.
    Chorus: Oh, my!
    Sir Despard: At least it does so in my case!

Video Games

Web Animation
  • Ultra Fast Pony subverts this. The villainous Night Moon Mare sounds like she gargles sand every day. However, when she gets cured of her evil by the "vaguely established magical friend power" and reverts to her original Princess Luna persona, her voice still sounds just as raspy.

Western Animation
  • Mark Hamill's Joker from the DCAU is a classic and one of the most iconic examples.
  • Rasp in Dino Riders has a, well, raspy voice. And he's evil.
  • Kip O'Donnell (voiced by Keith Szarabajka) in The Wild Thornberrys
  • Played for laughs in an episode of South Park, in which one of Satan's minions is telling a corrupt politician what to say and has to remind the politician not to repeat the raspy hisses that punctuate his phrases.
  • Heavy Metal segment "Harry Canyon". The main villain Rudnick has a raspy voice that he uses to repeatedly threaten and warn the title character.
  • Baron Silas Greenback from Danger Mouse has an extremely raspy voice, bordering on Vader Breath.
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