Knight Of Cerebus: Film

    Films — Animated 
  • Hopper from A Bug's Life. He contrasts any comedic trait, and his sociopathic behavior is played very seriously.
  • Dag from Barnyard. The movie completely loses its comedic tone whenever he appears on screen.
  • DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp: Though the movie does sort of play as an extended episode of the show, it's clear that Merlock poses a far darker and more serious threat to Scrooge and his nephews than any other enemy has in the past.
  • Rattlesnake Jake from Rango, whose appearance instantly stops the funnier bits of the movie.
    • Lampshaded when Rango starts to make another joke, but Jake cuts him off by showing his fangs.
  • In the first Jungle Book film, Shere Khan didn't come in until the final act of the movie which until then had only featured Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Kaa. And when he did appear, things took a turn for the darker, particularly where Baloo was concerned.
  • Though already being hauntingly dark, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, when The Nightmare King shows up, this trope is brought on home.
  • Finding Nemo is filled with a colorful cast of characters—virtually all of the villains are either mindless predators, oblivious to their own wrongdoing, or turn out to be not so bad after all. However, there is a dead-set example in the first five minutes, in the shape of the barracuda that kills Coral and every one of Marlin's children except Nemo. It appears for only a minute, but that minute is often regarded as the darkest in the movie. The mood instantly darkens when it appears, it's one of the few creatures not anthropomorphized, and the rest of the scene is just heart-breaking. It's in effect for the rest of the movie, too; the barracuda triggers a lifetime of mental trauma for Marlin and leads to his violent overprotection, driving Nemo to abandon Marlin and get captured as a result. In a sense, this thing is responsible for the entire plot and all the dark and sad moments within. Not bad for one scene.
  • Hey Arnold! The Movie: Scheck is the descendant of a commanding red coat during the Revolutionary War who has the power and influence to have the neighborhood where a significant battle occurred that the colonists won against his family demolished so that he can put up a mall complex on it and thus, reclaim it in the name of his family. He also seeks to have Arnold and Gerald locked up when they get to close to exposing that he's covering it all up and later on when he's defeated, attempts to run them over with his car. And this was a movie to a show that involved ordain, but sometimes strange, things only happening in this city.
    • The Jungle Movie would have had La Sombra, a greedy river pirate who likely kept Arnold's parents stranded in another country for nine years away from their son, as the movie's central antagonist.
  • The Rugrats Movie: The biggest and most deadly threat the babies ever encounter comes in the hungry and Dead Serious form of Scar Snout, the Wolf. He stalks the babies with the single-minded intention of eating them essentially. He'd do the Shark from Jaws proud.
  • Toy Story 3 has Lots O' Huggin' Bear, who is anything but what his name implies and represents the first truly evil villain in a Toy Story film. Sid, depending on your view, was an Obliviously Evil kid who is implied to be growing up in a broken home and wasn't aware that the toys he tortured were sentient. Stinky Pete was a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Al... Well, he was a greedy jerk, but calling him evil outright is a bit of a stretch. Lotso is a downright monster with no redeeming traits or excuse for his actions.
  • Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2. While the first film featured slapstick kung fu fighting, Bloodless Carnage, and a Big Bad more interested in a title than anything else, the sequel opens with Shen ordering a mass genocide, and then a few scenes later he rolls out his new invention, the cannon, and murders a legendary kung fu master.
  • The hunter from Bambi. And to make matters worse, we actually never get to see what he looks like.
  • In The Lion King, Scar himself qualifies. The film begins quite cheerful, but when Scar kills his own brother and takes the power, the film definitely becomes quite dark. He may be this to the whole franchise as he's the first Disney villain to successfully kill a main character.
    • Zira's no slouch either. Her appearances in the film are quite dark and her Villain Song is even more intense than the last.
  • The Coachman from Pinocchio, who turns children into donkeys for his own benefit. Granted, Stromboli is pretty mean too, and Monstro is scary, but they can't match the Coachman for pure evil.
  • Jugde Claude Frollo for the entire Disney Animated Canon. In the first 5 minutes of his movie he kills a woman begging in front of a church for sanctuary. Later he reveals his plan to wipe out all of Paris's gypsies. Then he begins to burn down all of Paris in order to find a gypsy he has the hots for and lets her choose between sleeping with him or being burned alive.
  • Although The Brave Little Toaster is a dark film, it starts getting much darker once the infamous Monster Clown makes his appearance.
  • Sykes from Oliver & Company is introduced rolling up a car window against a man's neck after he had difficulty paying off a loan.
  • While the villain of the first Cars film is an arrogant and obnoxious green racecar, the sequel's villains are an organization of evil, beaten-up cars led by a German microcar and a malfunctioning British SUV.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: As mean and dislikable as Madame Medusa was in the first film, Percival C. Mc Leach, a poacher who sadistically enjoys torturing and killing animals and is more than willing to drop an innocent boy into a river full of crocodiles, proved to be far worse.
  • An example where the villain gets darker as the story does: most of Wreck-It Ralph is a comedy about a pair of misfits trying to find their place in life, and the antagonist King Candy's a whimsical Mad Hatter Expy. By the climax, when the Cy-bug apocalypse Ralph caused threatens to devour a whole game, King Candy becomes a giant insectoid monster that almost kills Ralph, and it's established he most definitely WOULD kill a child (and ruin their life for 15 years to suit his ego, to boot.)
  • Scroop from Treasure Planet is definitely the darkest character in the movie, with a threatening appearance and voice to boot. He heartlessly kills Mr. Arrow and is never played for laughs. His evilness stems from the fact that we need someone to root against when John Silver reforms, and it's done well.
  • Sharptooth from the original Land Before Time. Beyond simply being outright terrifying, causes the movie to get much darker after he appears when Littlefoot's mother dies from the injuries he inflicted on her.
  • Ice Age appears to be a lighthearted comedy film about a ragtag group of animals in a fun prehistoric setting, its sequels even more so, and for the most part the series' antagonists are simple predators. This wasn't the case for Soto in the first movie, who drains all comedy the film whenever he shows onscreen. To demonstrate his vileness, his plan involves the murder of a baby.
    • The fourth film gives us Captain Gutt an evil pirate primate who has razor sharp claws for gutting his victims. He has a twisted sense of humor. And he holds a powerful grudge against Manny. So powerful in fact, that he eventually resorts to attempting to kill Manny's family
    Manny: Alright! Let them go!
    Gutt (chuckles darkly): I don't think so. You destroyed everything I had! I'm just returning the favor.
  • Thrax from Osmosis Jones.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit had Judge Doom, whose first appearance had him dipping an innocent toon shoe into the dip and from then on, the film became much darker. Not only that, but his plans to destroy Toontown to build a freeway, which for context means he's committing genocide against his own people would probably be the most sadistic act committed in this film.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has the Red Death. While most of the film is a heartwarming spectacle about Hiccup befriending Toothless and learning that dragons are not truly evil, this character shows up and immediately takes the film in a darker direction, since it explains why the dragons are constantly attacking the Viking village, drives a wedge between Hiccup and his father Stoick, and comes very close to killing a lot of Viking warriors.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 has Drago Bludivist. Unlike the Red Death, Drago is a human being that is fully aware of his actions, and manages to rapidly push the film into Darker and Edgier territory, even taking the Big Bad of the previous film into account. His introduction via flashback involves him burning down a hall full of Viking chiefs and killing them, with only Stoick surviving. Two major characters die, one on screen, as a result of his actions. Nothing about him is remotely funny, even his Large Ham tendencies, and the mere mention of his name causes the goofy, heartwarming side of things to stop more or less instantly.
  • "The Boxtrolls" is a very whimsical and funny movie. It's [[Big Bad]], Archibald Snatcher, however, is a genuinely threatening villain.
  • The Dazzlings from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks could be seen as such for the Equestria Girls series, despite their occasionally comical dialogues. The first movie's villain, Sunset Shimmer, spent most of the movie as an Alpha Bitch and was not able to do much more than picking on Twilight. She turned into a demon at the end, but lasted all of five minutes and accomplished almost nothing before being nailed by the Elements of Harmony. Come the second movie, we get this Terrible Trio who immediately start out armed with insidious magical powers and only keep growing stronger throughout the movie. In addition, their leader Adagio is by far more competent and Genre Savvy than Sunset ever was in the first movie. Within hours, the Dazzlings manage to essentially turn the school on itself, feasting on the resulting hostilities. Within days, they manage to strain the Mane Six' friendship to a borderline breaking point despite the fact that they could not affect them directly with their Compelling Voice. When finally comes the time to confront them, they put up a far better fight than Sunset Shimmer had, too.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story started out pretty lighthearted with the dinosaurs going to New York City to make children's dreams come true. All that changes when Professor Screweyes is introduced and the film takes on a darker and scarier tone.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Not a villain, but Yoda definitely took the series in a darker direction when he made his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. The original 1977 film had been generally lighthearted with a few dark points (the massacre at the Lars homestead, the destruction of Alderaan, Obi-Wan Kenobi's death), and Yoda himself at first comes off as comical with his diminutive appearance, "Muppet" voice, and annoying behavior. But he then establishes himself as the character who first warns Luke Skywalker about the possibility of falling victim to the Dark Side, and things get serious right quick (and then some). Yoda also serves this role in the prequels, particularly The Phantom Menace: almost everything up to the Coruscant scenes had been pure escapist entertainment, and then we hear, "Fear leads to anger...Anger leads to hate...Hate leads to suffering...I sense much fear in you." Even if you didn't know from the start what was to become of Anakin Skywalker, Yoda's speech is more than a little foreboding.
    • The very first movie, A New Hope, was only as dark as it was because of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin (the latter is not even a Sith lord, and yet is known as one of the nastiest characters in the series).
    • Vader continued this in the next movie.
    • The Emperor/Darth Sidious not only brought it full circle in Return of the Jedi and the first two entries of the prequel trilogy (as did Darth Maul and Count Dooku), but brought it Up to Eleven in the third entry, Revenge of the Sith.
  • Clockstoppers: Henry Gates. This is a movie about kids freezing time and not a sci-fi thriller about manipulating the device to be used by an Evil Corporation, yes? No? Gates is Dead Serious in pretty much all of his scenes and clearly cares nothing for what the potential consequences of manipulating time could be. He's willing to use anyone who is of value towards his goals and is more than capable of having those who interfere stomped out if he deems necessary.
  • Clue: Mr. Boddy is pretty much played seriously in his all his scenes in the beginning. Though the third ending is still funny like the rest of the movie, it takes a dark turn not only with the reveal that Wadsworth, who seemed to have nothing to gain from it, killed the Singing Telegram Girl, but was also the real Mr. Boddy all along.
  • Fouchet from Bad Boys. There's absolutely nothing funny about him, and every time he appears, the film dramatically loses its comedic beats.
  • Calvin Candie and Stephen from Django Unchained. Once Calvin and Stephen are presented on screen, the plot of the film focuses much more on the drama than the Black Comedy.
  • Something Wild is a quirky comedy - til Ray Liotta makes his entrance.
  • The Boondock Saints is a series with lots of laughs along with the kickass action. But when Il Duce gets called in, things get serious very quickly.
  • The first half of A Fistful of Dynamite is a Black Comedy, as we watch bandito Juan Miranda try to convince Bomb Throwing Anarchist Sean Mallory to join his bank robbery attempt, whilst getting into a lot of trouble in the process. Then Colonel Gunther Reza arrives, murders Juan's children, and turns the entire film into a serious drama.
  • Good Burger: Kurt Boswell, though somewhat over-the-top and Played for Laughs a little bit, is incredibly vicious and uncompromising in how he deals with his business, insubordinate employees and crushing any unwanted competition. In a movie based on an All That comedy sketch of all things, he goes as far as to try to poison Good Burger's customers in order to ruin the business. In a sketch it might have been a small thing, but in the movie, the consumption of that poison was likely to either cause severe illness or death. While there were villainous characters on All That who would threaten others and succeed in taking lives, it was always Played for Laughs. In this case, it's not.
  • Hollywood Homicide: Antoine Sartain is shown to represent the dramatic and dark aspects of the film. He is a greedy record producer who has no qualms whatsoever about getting the acts who defy him and try to leave dealings with his company killed. He even has the men who are hired to do the job killed too. He mentions how he has to be detatched emotionally from the job because it requires him to be cold and how he sees the singers and groups as wannabes and posers towards gangland.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean became significantly darker in its second film with the introduction of Lord Cutler Beckett.
  • This Is England started off as a edgy but nice enough movie about a twelve year-old befriending some affable skinheads who protect him from bullies. Then racist thug Combo crashes the party (literally) and the film immediately takes a dark turn.
  • The Big Bad of Galaxy Quest, Roth'h'ar Sarris, is actually pretty disturbing for a sci-fi comedy movie villain. He even guns down most of the main characters at one point, beheads his second-in-command, and has a rather scary design.
  • James Bond:
    • After Daniel Craig took over as James Bond, we had the menacing Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and the cunning Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace. But the drama didn't really kick off until Raoul Silva made his entrance in Skyfall (though he's a Large Ham in true Bond tradition and is funny along with being threatening), elevating the body count significantly and killing off M.
    • In Licence to Kill we meet the overly ruthless drug lord Franz Sanchez, who beats his girlfriend with a whip and has her secret lover's heart ripped out, and after being captured by Bond and Felix in the opening, later escapes from jail and maims Felix and murders his wife, setting up Bond's Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Throughout the movie, as Bond starts getting under Sanchez' skin, the villain starts killing his own henchmen in some rather gory methods like making one explode in a decompression chamber and impaling another on a forklift. Even compared to the Daniel Craig movies, Licence is arguably the darkest Bond flick of all.
  • Brick Top from Snatch.. While he has a lot of funny moments {Albiet in a rather dark way} and is generally Laughably Evil, he's also responsible for the more intense situations in the film, and not all of his cruelty is played for laughs either. Special mention goes to him ordering his men to burn down the Caravan that belongs to Mickey's mother, while she's still sleeping inside it.
  • Frank D'Amico of Kick-Ass; is responsible for the serious shifts in tone throughout the movie. He is also responsible for the origin of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. If thats not enough he has Kick Ass and Big Daddy tortured live on TV and has Big Daddy burned alive, and killed.
  • Hancock starts out as a spoof of the superhero genre, showing us a drunken jerk who can't stop a crime without destroying a city block. And then we quit hearing about Kenneth "Red" Parker Jr. and we actually get to meet him. After that first appearance, he seems defeated, until we see him hatching a revenge plan. Cue the movie mutating into a deconstruction instead of a spoof. Bonus points for Red causing the Cerebus Syndrome by accident: it was Hancock's reaction to taking him down that changed the tone of the movie, not Red's revenge plot.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is particularly dark, but things become extremely bleak once our heroes arrive at the titular temple and face Mola Ram, who may well be the most evil villain throughout the whole Indiana Jones franchise, which is quite the accomplishment in a franchise that features Nazis and Adolf Hitler himself. It's pretty telling that he's the only villain who dies by Indy's direct doing, instead of having a Karmic Death like the others.
  • While Die Hard 2 was a serious movie to begin with, Col. Stewart causes a planeful of people and children to crash and burn and he even manages to deliver a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to McClane in the climax.
  • The Winter Soldier is a Knight of Cerebus for the entire MCU. While various other villains had their humorous moments, both the Winter Soldier and the man behind him have none. Between Alexander Pierce's fairly accurate depiction of a paranoid and xenophobic (sort of) intelligence agency spying on citizens and performing preemptive strikes against individuals who could potentially be threats in the future, and the backstory behind Bucky's decades of torture and brainwashing leaving him both a deadly efficient assassin and completely submissive to his handlers, they're pretty horrifying. The end result? Even with the day saved, nearly thousands are dead, and several named heroes nearly end up being brutally murdered.
  • Green Goblin is this in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The film is essentially a romantic comedy/teen drama with a superhero backdrop, up 'til the final fight. For one, he is the first villain in the series thus far that does not fall victim to Peter's insults and jokes. And by extension, he has no comedic/lighthearted traits whatsoever in contrast to every other villainous "character" that Peter has confronted in the entire series. He also indirectly led to the death of Gwen Stacy.
  • Man of the Year: The corporate villains James Hemmings and Stewart are played straight and not for laughs. Their plotline involving Eleanor Green creates such a sharp, dark contrast to the main plot involving Tom Dobbs that it's almost like it exists in another movie.
  • My Girl: In this light-hearted comedy starring Macaulay Culkin as 11-year-old Thomas J. Sennett, the Bees go from being just bees in their first scene to a symbol of death in their second scene when they attack Thomas J. and because of his allergy cause his death.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction gives us Lockdown and Harold Attinger. The former is a ruthless bounty hunter who is not aligned with either the Autobot or Decepticon factions and will stop at nothing from carrying out the contract given to him by his clients, and proves to be one of Optimus' most dangerous foes. The latter is a borderline insane Knight Templar who is convinced exterminating every Cybertronian on Earth, be it Decepticon or Autobot will safeguard humanity, and woe if you happen to be any of the unlucky humans trying to help the Autobots.
    • Same goes for Dylan Gould, the first human villain of the series introduced in the previous movie.
  • Good Morning Vietnam is admittedly a comedy-drama mix, but Sergeant Major Dickerson is an utterly hateful villain from the start. At least Cronauer's rival Lieutenant Hauk is a comic figure; Dickerson is just a humorless Jerkass who actually tries to arrange Cronauer's death. At the end, General Taylor tires of Dickerson's nastiness and reassigns him.
  • 12 Years a Slave is a harsh movie, but Edwin Epps stands out even there. Vicious, lustful, and whip-crazy, he personifies the evil that is chattel slavery. The weird thing: he was much worse in real life.
    • His wife Mary also applies and is arguably worse.
  • 21 Jump Street: The bikers that they were threatened by earlier and later in the film are Dead Serious and qualify as Not So Harmless Villains compared to the Big Bad and his Dragon who are Played for Laughs.
    • 22 Jump Street: While Mercedes is a Deadpan Snarker who makes a lot of jokes, her uncle The Ghost does not have many funny things to say and truly poses the movie's most legitimate threat to the heroes.
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West has Clinch Leatherwood. As soon as he shows up, all comedy goes out the window as he establishes himself as a sadistic murderer and abusive husband.
  • In Rambo IV, Major Tint is more brutal, sadistic, psychotic and noticeably disturbing then the previous Big Bads or previous kinds of villains all together. He's the complete 180 degree contrast to the first film's Big Bad Hero Antagonist Teasle if comparing Tint's large amount of Kick the Dog acts to Teasle's large amount of Pet the Dog acts.
  • Return to Oz was already a dark film, but when the Nome King finally made his appearance, the film gets even darker as the Nome King raised the stakes for Dorothy and her friends and even ( briefly) managed to capture most of Dorothy's friends in his deadly game. Mombi was pretty bad herself, especially with the infamous "head scene," but she doesn't quite match the Nome King in terms of evilness.
  • The main villains of each of the Rush Hour movies, Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights play up the serious and threatening aspects of each movie. Often when these characters have either ordered that someone die or killed someone, it's always shown that they mean business and that if they are involved in the comedy aspects in any way, their attribution is next to nothing.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, whilst Valentine and Gazelle are comedic villains, Arthur is, for the most part, portrayed very seriously and both of his scenes with Eggsy (shooting the dog and the poisoned brandy) are pretty tense.
    • Even despite being a Large Ham, Valentine's character takes a bit, particularly when he doesn't pick up the Idiot Ball and elects to shoot Harry Hart rather than gives him the opportunity to figure out how to get away.
  • Wedding Crashers is pretty lighthearted until we meet Claire Cleary's current boyfriend Zachary "Sack" Lodge", possibly the biggest jerkass romantic rival in a romantic comedy, who's not above "accidentally" shooting someone while hunting.
  • The tone in Predator becomes a lot more serious once the titular character is introduced.
  • Due to this entry being Darker and Edgier, Mick from Sudden Impact is a more depraved and sadistic threat then the previous Big Bads and the later one in the next film.
  • In comparison to previous dinosaur antagonists, the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World is the most threatening, homicidal, intelligent, depraved, and frightening. She also had managed to kill Hammond expy Simon Masrani, who only wants to delight the visitors much like Hammond and dies trying to stop this dino from going on a rampage, which shows how much a dangerous threat she is that not even the park owner can stop her and dies trying to.

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