"That dude... scares me."
The good guys don't always have to be warm and cuddly, or even all that attractive for that matter. Sometimes, they're even downright scary
This trope mostly applies to Friendly Neighborhood Vampires
, Noble Demons
, Uncanny Valley Girls
, etc. Nonhuman characters get this a lot
, but it can also apply to full humans who unnerve allies and audience members with their methods or mannerisms. It can also follow a Heel-Face Turn
, if the character switching to the side of good retains some moral ambiguity
or monstrous traits
. Psycho Sidekicks
and good-guy (or at least harmless) versions of Stalker with a Crush
can fall under this, as well.
Contrast Handsome Devil
and Villain with Good Publicity
, which are inversions, and Face Monster Turn
, in which a good character changes sides after becoming creepy. Creepy Awesome
may also apply, especially in the case of particularly Badass
Compare Good Is Not Nice
and Dark Is Not Evil
, which are sister tropes, and the Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
, who is usually also Creepy Good (unless, of course, they're evil). If it's the main character
who's Creepy Good, it's a case of Horrifying Hero
or Terror Hero
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Anime and Manga
- Hallelujah in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the other personality of Allelujah, is a Crazy Awesome psycho that'll do anything to stay alive and enjoys killing people. The others don't see much of him outside of battle, though.
- Even after his Heel-Face Turn, Gajeel from Fairy Tail is one of the series' more brutal, bloodthirsty characters who jumps into a fray with a wicked grin and cackle, so it takes a while for his comrades to trust him (that, and he destroyed their guilhall and assaulted three of their most defenseless members earlier). This becomes most evident when Gajeel eats Rogue's shadow and gains his powers, giving him a downright nightmarish face that freaks out his friends, and a Badass Boast to remind Rogue just how terrifying he is.
- In some continuities of Cyborg 009, such as the 1980 Legends of the Super Galaxy movie, Albert Heinrich (Cyborg 004) has a dark personality. Averted in the 2001 series, which softened his personality considerably.
- Attack on Titan: The Rogue Titan that appeared during the Battle of Trost is utterly terrifying in both it's appearance and fighting style, but it has no interest in attacking humans and instead runs around beating the crap out of the regular Titans. That's because the Rogue Titan is Eren Jaeger.
- Some interpretations of Batman's membership in the Justice League are portrayed this way. Everyone has their seat at the table, and Batman's off in a corner being quiet (if you notice him at all). This crosses with his status as Crazy-Prepared. The rest of the League is creeped out that this guy has files on how to kill/maim/disable the rest of them. That, and being creepy is Batman's schtick.
- In DC Comics, we have The Creeper, adequately enough. The guy is so batshit loco that even The Joker considers him a lunatic!
- In the early days, Spider-Man was often seen as creepy by many fellow heroes in the Marvel Universe, even as recently as The Nineties, as seen when he and Nova fought the Tri-Sentinel. Prominent reasons for this were his face-covering mask with giant menacing bug-eyes and his penchant for contorting himself in strange ways, his ability to cling to any surface, and his knack for showing up out of the blue, to say nothing of the fact that he is often a Hero with Bad Publicity.
- When Iron Man made his debut, he had an all gray suit of armor. A passerby mentioned how creepy he looked in such a dark color so he repainted the suit gold in order to avert this trope.
- Marvel Comics also has the Legion of Monsters, which is what it sounds like. Mostly they just try to protect their own kind from over-zealous monster hunters, but they're basically good people (and Morbius the Living Vampire is an occasional full-blown superhero).
- Varies with Doctor Strange. He often unnerves muggles and other superheroes without intending to. When he does try, he's frightening enough to un-hulk and completely alienate Red She-Hulk with a few whispered words. Depending on the Writer, the unsettling effect he has on others does not trouble him at all and is just another tool he can use to his best advantage; in other depictions it makes him unhappy and increases the burden of loneliness and isolation he carries as Sorcerer Supreme.
- In Operation: There Is No Operation, a Codename: Kids Next Door fanfic, V8 is this to the rest of the KND, being the local Exalted Torturer who works with them.
- Nobody Dies: Rei and her sisters. Everyone in the story reacts like they're the scariest things around (even the Angels are considered less threatening), what with the Stealth Hi/Bye, the kidnapping people through air vents, and general strangeness. Even the fans refer to this version of Rei as Terrifying!Rei. However, they're all good and kind at heart (even if they have possibly the most bizarre ways of showing it), and would do anything to protect those they care for.
- In Terminal Justice, a Harry Potter/Justice League crossover, Harry was interpreted as this by the League members a lot of the time, chiefly due to his gray morality and his ownership of a sword that could turn into a scythe and a motorcycle that could turn into a ghost horse.
- Life After Hayate notes that most people are frightened of the Wolkenritter to the point they will physically react to their presence by going for a weapon or wetting their pants, as they constituted one of the best-known nightmare scenarios a soldier of the Time-Space Administrative Bureau could have faced for sixty years before they came to serve the Bureau instead.
- Elise in Insidious is a creepy old lady with Psychic Powers who talks about Things Man Was Not Meant to Know as if she's discussing the weather... but she's legitimately trying to help the protagonists save their kid from evil spirits.
- Most of the characters of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The people of Halloweentown aren't evil (except for Oogie Boogie, who's ostracized by the rest of the townsfolk), but they're scary both by nature and because it's their job. They do nearly ruin Christmas, but out of lack of understanding rather than malice, and Jack eventually has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and sets things right.
- Cameron Vale in Scanners is a seemingly-psychopathic drifter with terrifying psychic powers who talks in a Creepy Monotone and has little-to-no personality or outside interests beyond the main plot. The basic undercurrent of his character is that he's fighting the evil psychics because it's slightly more interesting than staring at the wall.
- In many of the film adaptations of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo is hideously deformed and socially inept, which makes him deeply unsettling to other characters. However, he shows himself to be heroic by protecting Esmeralda, defending Notre Dame, and giving Frollo his just desserts.
- Harry Potter
- Luna Lovegood is a mild version of this, in that she spouts horrific conspiracy theories and seems to be attuned to whole levels of magic the other characters can't access. She even gets stuck with the nickname "Loony Lovegood" because everyone else thinks she's crazy. Some consider it a good thing that the movie left out the huge portraits of her friends she painted on her bedroom ceiling that were linked with chains made of the word "friends".
- Harry's godfather Sirius Black. He's a falsely convicted mass murderer who, immediately after escaping prison, attempts to commit one of the very murders he was falsely convicted of. (The man Sirius tried to kill, who wasn't even dead, was the one who framed Sirius in the first place and was behind all the other murders Sirius allegedly committed.) Sirius can turn into a huge black dog that's often identified as a death omen. He lives in a creepy old house he inherited from his Dark Wizard ancestors, with house-elf heads mounted on the walls. He used to ruthlessly bully Severus Snape as a teenager, once attempting to play a Deadly Prank on him (and at the time the story takes place, Sirius doesn't show much regret for this incident). He sometimes seems a bit off his rocker due to the horrible years he suffered in prison. He's an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. And yes, he's a good guy.
- Severus Snape, although it's not clear that he's a good guy until the very end of the series.
- Misha, the ghost boy in The Farwalkers Quest, fits. Ghosts aren't very common in the world, and he can only really communicate with the protagonist in her dreams, during which she sees his true form.
- In the Inheritance Cycle, Elva is an infant with violet eyes and an adult's voice in a child's body, which scares the hell out of many adults. She is (ostensibly) on the good side, but she isn't above using her power of knowing what someone's future pain is, someone's fears, or hopes for manipulation of powerful people for her own benefit.
- Nightside: Razor Eddie, "Punk God of the Straight Razor", is described as "an extremely disturbing agent of good. The forces of good didn't get a say in the matter". Fair enough, since he's a reformed — but not retired — Serial Killer who targets those who threaten children and the homeless and has been known to leave buildings soaked in blood but conspicuously absent of corpses.
- The Igors are (usually) good guys, but tend to creep out a lot of people, due to their Mix-and-Match Man prowess.
- Carrot gives off this impression to some, if only because they're unable to tell if his seeming pure-heartedness is genuine, or an incredibly convincing ruse to get what he needs.
- You don't get much creepier than a seven foot tall skeleton in a hooded black robe yet DEATH is Adorkable and unmistakeably on our side.
- His granddaughter Susan as well. She started out as Creepy Neutral, and was rather cold and cynical. She has since become something of a Friend to All Children, taking jobs as a much-loved governess and school teacher, as kids have no trouble accepting her strange abilities. She still tends to freak out adults a little, as she hangs out as a bar for undead patrons, and her hair has an unsettling tendency to rearrange itself. (And she's still cold and cynical.)
- The eponymous character of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. Sure, he's personable, hilarious, and has an Awesome Ego. That does not get rid of the fact that he is a walking skeleton. And that's not even going into his extreme anger issues and the details of his Dark and Troubled Past.
- Willy Wonka is the world's greatest candymaker and Fun Personified. He is also a Trickster, a Mad Scientist, and a Nightmare Fetishist whose factory is a Crapsaccharine World and False Utopia — should one not heed his warnings about what should and shouldn't be touched, absurd-yet-dreadful fates are in store, and he'll have No Sympathy. He's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, even an Anti-Hero, but he and his world are presented as fundamentally good and wonderful, especially when contrasted to the dreary, unfair outside world that is often easy on the bad and hard on the good. And his strange way of thinking is what's made him the success story he is (to the point that he's named a trope). His creepy-good nature becomes more obvious in adaptations, particularly the 1971 film and the 2013 stage musical (in the latter, the character's introductory song "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" is a Welcoming Song / I Am Great Song, but stylistically owes a lot to the Villain Song trope...).
Live Action TV
- Smallville, Homecoming, Brainiac 5. When he first appears, he starts off by performing some of his trademark Mind Rape. The fact that he keeps his Creepy Monotone doesn't help matters, and Clark immediately demanded that he leave everyone alone the moment he came in.
- Det. Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent: He's One Head Taller, can Breaking Speech like a pro thanks to his FBI profiler training, and has issues being The Unfavorite of his mother because his father was a serial killer, though he didn't know that. Also, the only person who seems to understand him is a female serial killer.
- Sherlock Holmes
- Finch from Person of Interest can find out pretty much everything there is to know about someone's personal life and will show off that knowledge in many offhand ways, has surveillance on everyone he's in contact with, and is impossible to pin down or find anything about him.
- Will Graham in Hannibal is somewhat off-putting in how he interacts with others (other human beings at least, he's better with dogs), has serious psychological issues, and has an almost supernatural knack for empathizing with serial killers and mentally reconstructing violent crimes.
- Glen Bishop's off putting behavior in the early seasons of Mad Men along with his odd mannerisms have earned him the name Creepy Glen, but his intentions have largely been benign and in the latter seasons has proven to be the most decent person in Sally's life.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor generally acts affably and charmingly, but we are constantly reminded that he is an alien with his own system of morality which only partially overlaps with human conceptions of good and bad. He seems to be rather a fan of the human way of doing things, even if he has no instinctive capability for it himself, which is the primary reason why he tends to take Companions in the new series. Some of his incarnations are particularly terrifying, such as his First self, who looks and acts like a Mad Scientist and does not seem to care about other people at all, his Fourth self who had strange bulging eyes and cared exclusively about his own freedom, his Sixth self who bordered on Monster Clown, his Seventh self, a Machiavellian Chessmaster who used a thin veneer of bumbling-fool to use everyone around him as pawns, and his Tenth self, who appears to be a dashing romantic but is at heart unspeakably ruthless. Several characters mention being instinctively afraid of the Ninth Doctor, with Rose even saying at one point that she found him scarier on first meeting than her first encounter with a Dalek.
- A number of monsters end up being this, such as the Ood, and as revealed in "Time of the Doctor", most of the Silence. "The Sensorites" introduces us to a race of aliens that use psychic Mind Rape as a weapon and uses a closeup of a hideous Sensorite against the glass of the spaceship as its first Cliffhanger, but they turn out to be a rather sweet, vulnerable species who really just want the humans to leave them alone.
- The fish people in "The Underwater Menace" horrify Polly, but it soon turns out that they're actually just human survivors of shipwrecks who were surgically converted to work as slaves by the Atlanteans. They aren't bad people and are persuaded very easily to go on strike in order to help defeat the Mad Scientist trying to blow up the earth For the Evulz.
- The title characters from Sapphire And Steel. It's explicitly stated a couple of times that they aren't human. What they are is never explained, but they verge on the Humanoid Abomination with their chilly personalities, somewhat unconvincing attempts to connect to humans, and tendency to Shoot the Dog a lot.
- Honorable Hogwarts loves this trope. Jason, Aldous, Lena, Mandos, and Abel are just the main-character examples. And considering the site's aggressively gray morality, more characters will likely be introduced who fit this trope later on.
- There's a serious reason why angels in The Bible always say "Be not afraid!" to mortals before trying to say anything else. While a few of them do embody the Theme Park Version of angels that so many of us imagine when hearing the term, a majority of angels were downright eldritch in their appearance. Some biblical descriptions of angels are almost identical to what today would be perceived by the public as a UFO sighting.
- Warhammer 40K: Eldar Harlequins are Monster Clown Dance Battler Ninjas, with horrifying weapons that can explode you in an instant or turn you into a drooling imbecile, wear grinning masks and serve a god who is, for all intents and purposes, The Joker. They are also the best line of defense against both Chaos (servants of the gods of rape, murder, mutation, and disease) and the Necrons (robot servants of the Grim Reaper who are trying to end all life in the galaxy).
- Onua from the BIONICLE series, at least in his first incarnation. He's a hunchback, his body is completely black, he lives underground, he has gigantic bladed claws for hands, and like all other Toa he wears a mask that completely obscures his face, but his mask looks like Jason Voorhees'. This is not made any better in his Toa Nuva form, in which he ditches the big claws for chainsaws. And through the series the poor guy is one of the most helpful and useful characters. Seriously, though, in some of the promotional art he looks like a monster that's about to attack Tahu.
- From Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel: Even after Soma makes a Heel-Face Turn and start helping the heroes, she's still creepy as hell, due in no small part to her spectacular Slasher Smile. Her Limit Break in particular is disturbing. Of course, it helps that she's a Monster Clown.
- Faust from Guilty Gear is a freakishly tall, demented, sometimes Ax-Crazy Deadly Doctor who wears a Brown Bag Mask... and yet is still indisputably good.
- Justice from the Dragon Age: Origins:Awakening expansion is an spirit inhabiting a decayed corpse. He also happens to be noble, just and genuinely looking to help mortals. However, by the start of Dragon Age II, he has changed.
- Anders can be this himself at times in Dragon Age II, even without Justice's help. It is all but outright stated that Anders is practically obsessed with a romanced Hawke, even before the romance officially kickstarts. If in a rivalmance with Hawke he can make the remark, "I swear! I don't know whether to kiss you or kill you!". In another scene he can also say, "Why is it you can say nothing without making me want to wring your neck?". And then, in any romance, he can always make the extremely disturbing statement, "I would drown us in blood to keep you safe."
- Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins. She's a snarky Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette Ladyof Black Magic who views love as incompatible with her Darwinist outlook on life. She also happens to know fifteen different poisons that grow in the Kocari Wilds.
- From Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, The Messenger, one of the Disciples of the Architect, he's a sapient Darkspawn, that depending on the player's choices can actively aid the player in the final battle and if allowed to leave afterwards will become a Mysterious Protector, helping out random travelers on the road, albeit accidentally tainting a few of them.
- Skylanders has shades of this for some of his members. Most notably, the ones classified as "Undead", including Chop Chop, a skeleton knight; Ghost Roaster, a ghost who has the habit to eat other spirits; Hex, an undead elven Necromancer with bone-based spells and a taste for grim lines; and Cynder, a redeemed Black Dragon who despite being portrayed as a nice character is known to still creep out some of her teammates.
- Tales of the Abyss: The setting's foremost retired Mad Scientist and widely believed to be a Necromancer, Jade Curtiss can definitely pull this off when he wants to, although he spends most his time as a Deadpan Snarker.
- The Diablo series:
- The second game allows the player to incarnate a Necromancer who uses bone-based spells, summons skeletons and golems made of blood, can use poison-based attacks, and has a liking for dark comments, but is otherwise a good guy.
- The third game introduces, as a player character, the Witch Doctor, who, in addition to summoning creatures such as spiders, poisonous frogs, or zombie dogs and bears, is a Nightmare Fetishist, but is portrayed as one of the nicest characters amongst the playable classes.
- Planescape: Torment:
- The Nameless One. Even if played as the nicest and noblest person ever, he will still be a corpse-like man covered by horrible scars.
- Also Morte, who despite being a floating skull is the only party member who's actually good aligned.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Twilight Princess:
- Midna. She spends most of the game either as a creepy imp covered in strange markings, or as a Living Shadow. At one point in the game, she uses the Fused Shadows to transform into a borderline Eldritch Abomination. She possesses strange powers of darkness, and acts mysterious and disagreeable. But she's definitely on the side of good.
- Link himself, who has the power to transform into a wolf with dark powers.
- The cursed family from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: they live in a dark creepy house and look like spiders, but they're harmless and will even reward you for breaking the curse.
- Batreaux from Skyward Sword is a type of bat-demon who lives in a creepy old shack beneath a graveyard, and also he's best buddies with a little girl. The whole questline associated with him is all about helping him turn human so he can safely befriend the residents of Skyloft instead of terrifying them with his very presence. note
- Sabrina from Pokémon, up until the Pokémon Gold and Silver remakes where her design was made more casual. She's possibly the most powerful psychic human in the games, has a whip in her original appearance, has red eyes, and her official art doesn't◊ help◊ her case◊. She is however a nice, if stoic, woman who is a Reluctant Warrior.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: It's hard to get much creepier than Henry without blazing right on past any semblance of hero territory. He's dangerously unhinged and seems to have no concept of human empathy or morality, and even his in-game profile notes him as cruel and having a gruesome lack of mercy on the battlefield... all while being disarmingly optimistic. He's almost never seen without a cheerful smile and often displays a surprisingly sweet and affectionate demeanor with his friends... right up until he offers to do things like murder their own side's leader in order to start the most chaotic and bloody war in history if doing so would make a friend feel better. The kicker? He genuinely doesn't understand how that could possibly be wrong if the end result was a friend being happy. The other kicker? He didn't start like this, but became the incarnation of the trope after a Dark and Troubled Past that includes Parental Neglect, a dead Only Friend, and either an Orphanage of Fear or a Boarding School of Horrors... all before he was in his teens. And it takes Henry quite a while to start realising that violence isn't the way to solve all stuff.
- Tharja, too. Mostly comes off as a deranged Stalker with a Crush who only joined the good guys because of her fascination with the protagonist (and also because they appeared to be the side with the better chance of victory), and similar to Henry and violence, her solution to almost anything is to put a curse on someone. Noire's unpaired ending suggests that she might have become a bit more stable in the end, though.
- Persona has Igor. He's hunched, balding, has bulging bloodshot eyes, a long nose, and a Cheshire Cat Grin you could easily mistake for a Slasher Smile. He's one of the most benevolent figures in the franchise and only seeks to help the main characters through their hardships.
- Mantorok in Eternal Darkness: An Eldritch Abomination that has coexisted relatively peacefully with humans for millennia, and is certainly better than the other three Eldritch Abominations you encounter.
- Worm: Admittedly, the goodness of most of The Undersiders is more easily measured in what they refuse to do then in any outright heroics, but they are mostly decent, despite the fact that their powers include Sensory Deprivation, Bug Control, and Lovecraftian Dogs. This isn't that unusual in the setting; a few heroes and a number of the more benevolent villains are naturally unsettling, though not to the same degree.
- The Nostalgia Critic is an all-human Tragic Hero, but different parts of his personality have been explicitly compared to HIM from The Powerpuff Girls, Baby-Doll from Batman: The Animated Series and Elsa from Splice.
- Welcome to Night Vale's Cecil Palmer comes off as this, given his calm and deadpan narration of the horrifying events that routinely occur around town, as well as his cheerful endorsement of the maniacal City Council and the Sheriff's Secret Police.
- Almost any citizen of Night Vale, no matter how kind and affable, will drift into this trope occasionally. A number of quite creepy characters seemed almost certainly malevolent at first, only to turn out to be good many episodes later.
- Teen Titans: All of the other four members of the team find Raven unsettling to some degree. Also, their enemy Dr. Light is absolutely terrified of her. With good reason. After all, she sucked him into tentacly darkness.
- In Adventure Time, Marceline may be an ally, but Jake is still terrified of her.
- Ben 10 occasionally has this. Several of Ben's alien forms are downright creepy: Wildmutt is a savage-looking beast with no eyes and impressive fangs; Ripjaws looks like a mermaid merged with a deep-sea angler fish with More Teeth than the Osmond Family; Big Chill is a skeletal-looking insect with a ghastly voice, ghost-like powers, and Grim Reaper-esque cape-wings; Swampfire and Wildvine are Plant Aliens with disturbing vine abilities; and three aliens Ben acquired (Snare-oh, Blitzwolfer, and Frankenstrike) are based on classic horror monsters. Ben remained a good guy while using all of these forms. That said, he has no problem taking advantage on his alien forms' creepiness to scare his opponents...
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- Princess Luna, who, aside from turning into Nightmare Moon, and having a hoodie made of bats, is a kind, just ruler.
- Zecora the Zebra is ostracized and feared by almost all of Ponyville, wears a face-concealing cloak that makes her eyes look like they glow, lives in the middle of the Everfree Forest (home to countless dangerous critters and plants, and host to strange supernatural phenomena) in a hut covered with grimacing masks and sinister knickknacks, and speaks in cryptic, eerie rhymes. In truth she is nothing but a good samaritan who is willing to make plenty of effort to help anypony out.
- In "Maud Pie", this is how Pinkie Pie's friends see her sister Maud after they get past her stoic and serious exterior.
- South Park Episode "Insheeption": Freddy Krueger, of horror film fame, turns out to be a family man and a former goverment agent, who specialized in dreamscape operations. He did kill those teenagers, but it was done for the sake of national security, and it was the reason he left the service. He ends up saving the day.
- Data 7 from Cyber Six, being a fierce-looking black panther, is this. He's actually quite friendly, and some of his interactions with Julian are down-right adorable.