[[quoteright:310:[[Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/evil_queen_dark_cape_1996.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:310:Who wears the most sinister cape of all?]]

Villains love to wear a long, dark cape.

In the 19th century, the opera cape was a fashion accessory that upper class men wore AtTheOperaTonight. It was grand, but not too flashy, and went great with a top hat, white tie and tails. But fashion changed, and the cape went out of style, destined to fade into the kind of outfit you would see only in {{Period Piece}}s.

But then ''{{Dracula}}'' was adapted into a hit stage play, and an even bigger hit film. Creator/BelaLugosi used his old-fashioned cape, and turned it into something iconic, giving the garment a sense of grandeur and menace, especially as he flourished it whenever possible.

Since then, any similar cape has become an iconic accessory for major villains everywhere, from TheDragon to the EvilOverlord. Also a standard outfit of the ClassicalMovieVampire.

But all have to fit these three criteria:[softreturn]
* Long (at least knee length)
* Flowing
* Dark-colored ([[EvilWearsBlack not necessarily black, but it wouldn't hurt]])

A SisterTrope to HighCollarOfDoom (which is often paired with this trope, and was also codified by Lugosi's performance), BlackCloak.

Compare CapeSwish, BadassCape, SpikesOfVillainy, SuperheroesWearCapes (which ''can'' include villains), PimpedOutCape, SimpleYetOpulent.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* [[Manga/BattleRoyale Kazuo Kiriyama's]] {{Coat Cape}} looks so much like this you'd think it was this to begin with.
* The Count from ''{{Gankutsuou}}''.
* Zero's cape in ''CodeGeass'', even though he is supposed to be a good guy. The show is full of BlackAndGrayMorality though.
* OdaNobunaga from ''SengokuOtome''.
* Mushiban, the main villain in the ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5 Gogo'' movie, wears a cape like this. It also has that high collar.
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'', the Endless Magician, [[spoiler:Battler Ushiromiya]], wears one of these from Episode 6 onward.
* In ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', Oktavia Von Seckendorff wears one [[spoiler: to complement Sayaka's BadassCape]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Franchise/{{Batman}}, who uses his cape in a very Dracula-like fashion. [[WordOfGod Bob Kane]] himself cited Lugosi's Dracula as one of Batman's inspirations.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''{{Dracula}}'' is the TropeCodifier from the aforementioned adaptations.
** To make it that much freakier, in the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series the damned thing is arguably ''alive and sentient''.
* Darth Vader of ''Franchise/StarWars''
** Parodied in ''NightAtTheMuseum: Battle of the Smithsonian'', when Khamen Ra pokes fun at Darth Vader. "And what's with the cape? Are we going to the opera? I don't think so."
** Standard wear for Sith Lords who don't go for full black robes, like Darth Malak and Count Dooku.
* ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' wears one.
* WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}: The Black Mambaaaaaaaaaa. Yes, there are that many A's in the name.
* Subverted in ''DonJuanDemarco.'' Nobody finds the title character's cape frightening; on him it looks [[http://www.deppimpact.com/gallery/albums/pub_djd/djdcape.jpg more dashing than sinister.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the {{Mind Screw}}y ''SherlockHolmes'' pastiche "[[http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/sherlock/deerstalker1.shtml The Deerstalker]]" by Creator/PaulCornell, a group of fictional and historic characters who have ascended to popular mythology try to shift Holmes from Doyle's character to the one that exists in the public conciousness by giving him a deerstalker. It's mentioned that for Moriarty, the equivalent item was an opera cape.
* ''De rigeur'' for ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' vampires, along with every other ClassicalMovieVampire trope. According to Arthur Winkings, Count Notfaroutou, this is because you need something flappy to transform into wings when you [[VoluntaryShapeshifting turn into a bat]].
* TheShadow wore one in his books to help him blend into the shadows.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Master wears one in [[Recap/DoctorWho20thASTheFiveDoctors "The Five Doctors"]], which is ironic because, [[NotMeThisTime for once]], he ''isn't'' the villain of the story.
** He does it again in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E12TheSoundOfDrums "The Sound of Drums"]], this time in a red-lined black cloak which doubles as a direct reference to the Third Doctor's fashion sense.
* ''Series/KamenRider'' villain Dr. Shinigami.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* Florence Welch of Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine wore a large, black cape while performing on various stages, to compliment her macabre tone of song.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The Hammerites in ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' have armor like this, making it much harder to knock them out with a blackjack.
* Subverted by Siegfried in ''SoulCalibur'', but played straight by Nightmare. Those familiar with the series' storyline will get why this is funny.
* [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft The Lich King]], to EPIC effect.
* Per his favoritism of watching opera movies, [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Relius Clover]] wears it all the time.
* Pretty much every villain in ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy''. Namely, Garland, Emperor, Cloud of Darkness (it being all she wears), Golbez (who has the option of stripping down to just the cape, too), Ex-Death and Gabranth. Note that, subtracting The Emperor and the Cloud, these guys also get the [[TinTyrant Evil Overlord Armor]], to boot.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* [[spoiler: The members of the Society of the Free Mind]] in Webcomic/{{An Epic Comic}} wear these [[spoiler: with the symbol on the back.]]
* Bun-Bun from ''SluggyFreelance'', after suffering burn wounds, [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20090813 wears one of these]] as part of a ''Literature/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' theme he's got going on.
* Eridan of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' and his purple, high-collared opera cape. He goes to great lengths to try and portray himself as a MagnificentBastard, but ends up more of a clingy, self-conscious IneffectualSympatheticVillain.
** [[spoiler:he gets rid of the cape just before he stops being an IneffectualSympatheticVillain and upgrades himself to Total Bastard status]].
* Drake from ''WebComic/GoldCoinComics'' is a villain with a dark cape to match.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* In ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'', Linkara was reviewing ''The Others'' [=#1=], and thought it was silly that a wolfman (not a werewolf though) would wear one of these.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The Queen of ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' wears a black cape, but with white trim, just for [[ErmineCapeEffect a touch of grandeur]].
* Jenner wears one in ''TheSecretOfNIMH''.
* Maleficent from ''Disney/SleepingBeauty''. Bonus points for the flame-like fringe.
* Jafar from ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''.
* Doc Ock and Vulture wore those in an opera-themed episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan''.
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