aka: Mustache Twirling Villain
Curses! But though I be foiled to-day, my proud beauty, a time will come! Ha-ha! (Boo! Hiss!)
An oddly specific kind of character, the Dastardly Whiplash is a cartoonish villain taken from the silent film tradition (or really from the old stage melodrama tradition
). Usually a Man of Wealth and Taste
, in Great Britain (*cough Evil Brit
cough*), he was generally a Bad Baronet
; in the US, he was often an Evil Banker
who held the mortgage on the heroine's farm. Physically, he's slightly hunched with an exaggerated nose
and chin, a curling black moustache
(to twirl menacingly while threatening you, my dear
), and an elaborate costume, usually an old-fashioned black suit
with a cloak
and a hat, usually a top hat
In personality, he is a one-dimensional, over-the-top, openly evil villain
of limited intelligence who comes up with elaborate schemes for the hero to foil — tying a woman to a railroad track
in an attempt to coerce her
into "marrying" him
or relinquishing the deed to her property is the old standard. He can usually be expected to go to great lengths to cheat at things he could easily win legitimately.
He generally has two moods: when happy, he sneers, cackles
, and rubs his hands in malevolent glee
, and when unhappy, he glowers, sulks, makes a fist
, and bites his index finger and snaps at his sidekick/henchman
, should he have any. He speaks largely in Antiquated Linguistics
, preferring expletives such as "Curses! Foiled again!" and "Drat!" (or, for extreme cases, "Drat and double
Expect his musical cue
to be "Mysterioso Pizzicato
", "The Maple Leaf Rag
", or similar.
Often turns out to be a Harmless Villain
, despite his menacing appearance. This trope is almost never played straight today. The Dastardly Whiplash is well on its way to being a Dead Horse Trope
, although some modern works still use it for sheer Camp
value, or as a go-to gag about stereotypical one note villains. The look
, however, is far from a Dead Horse Trope
amongst the "bear" subculture
Compare Darth Vader Clone
for when the bad guy wears Dark Armor
and a scary looking helmet
The Trope Namer is a combination of Snidely Whiplash (from Dudley Do-Right
) and Dick Dastardly (of Wacky Races
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- This T-shirt.
- A worker's compensation law office commercial airing in the United States casts the boss forcing his injured worker to continue working as a hilariously stereotypical example of this trope, complete with gigantic fake curled mustache, eye patch, and corny Evil Laugh.
Anime & Manga
- Viper Snakely from Kimba the White Lion is one of these wearing safari hunter gear.
- "The Grandest Dream Thief Leon the Great" from episode 45 of Pokémon Black and White is this trope to a tee. He does not have a top hat or black clothes, but his mustache, attitude, and scheme has this trope written all over him.
- Subverted with Vista of the Whitebeard Pirates from One Piece. Despite the distinctly Snidely Whiplash-like mustache, he's an Officer under Whitebeard and certainly comes off as a heroic character
- Kurayamiman from Anpanman. He's a giant darkness monster that wears a top hat (this is also how he travels, he can suck his whole body into his hat and let it float around) and black cloak. He was a former magician, and now only uses his magic for evil purposes. He's more of a gentleman compared to the other Anpanman villains, yet he's completely fine with attacking the other villains as well as the heroes. Oh, and he also has access to a wasteland dimension inside of him.
- Grandis' ex-fiancee in the infamous Africa arc from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. Or rather, his portrayal as one, which is enough to make one wonder why Grandis fell for him in the first place - or even falls for him again after the latter destroyed her life!
- The Spy piece in Stratego looks like one of these.
- An MVP (named star player who can be hired in League Play) in Dreadball called Slippery Joe is a goblin who wears a false one of these. According to the fluff about him on the website, between games he often sports a top hat and plays the 'moustache-twirling' villain image to the hilt. His showmanship after throwing a strike often includes actually twirling his great black slug of a moustache to the cheering crowds.
- Lord Licorice from Candy Land.
- Tom Strong's archnemesis Paul Saveen is one of these, except for the hat part. However, in an issue where he uses a time machine to call several versions of himself, one has a top hat. He's actually much more competent than usual examples of this trope, even though Failure Is the Only Option for him, like for most supervillains.
- Krimson from Suske en Wiske (Spike & Suzy) is a classic example from Belgium.
- Green Lantern
- Nemesis Sinestro certainly looks the part. In terms of personality, he's more complex. The added depth is relatively recent with his reinvention as an antihero/disgraced ruler in Emerald Dawn; before that, he was this, but less cartoonish about it (outside of the Super Friends anyway).
- Hector Hammond would look like this if not for his superhumanly giant head.
- Captain Marvel's Mad Scientist nemesis Dr. Sivana doesn't have the wardrobe, but does invoke a few of these traits, including his Catch Phrase "Curses! Foiled Again!"
- Zot!: The Harmless Villain Dr. Ignatius Rumbault Bellows was based on Professor Fate from The Great Race (see below) and is a pretty straight invocation of this trope. He's also a Steam Punk Mad Scientist with No Indoor Voice.
- In a Golden Age story where a supervillain called Funny Face was bringing to life various villains from comic strips, Superman fought an Expy of the Hairbreadth Harry villain Relentless Rudolph Ruddigore Rassendale in the form of the Viper from the fictional strip Happy Daze. This story was later retold in All-Star Squadron with members of the Squadron taking the place of Superman.
- The iconic 'stache was sported by the villainous Herr Doktor Count Baron Napoleon von Strudel (a.k.a. Bert Maudsley) in one Wallace & Gromit comic, who also had an Eyepatch of Power concealing an experimental ping-pong ball that would explode on contact with the ground. And yes, he did twirl the moustache at least once.
- Turner D. Century
- Adolf Hitler in one-shot Russian comic Stalin vs. Hitler acts like this trope.
- One of the earlier examples of this was Relentless Rudolph Ruddigore Rassendale, the villain of C.W. Kahles' 1906-1940 newspaper strip Hairbreadth Harry. An almost direct rip-off of this character was the eponymous Desperate Desmond.
- Buck Rogers' recurring nemesis Killer Kane was this sort of character in Space Clothes.
- Several villains from Dick Tracy could count as such, such as the early 30's villain Benito Spaldoni or the new undead-magician-themed villain Abner Kadaver.
- In one series of Garfield strips, Jon buys a fake novelty mustache. Garfield wears it and pretends to be "Evil Roy Gato".
- Believe it or not, Shapoklyak from Cheburashka. Bonus points for being a female example.
Films — Animation
- Bowler Hat Guy in Meet the Robinsons is an incompetent example. Turns out, the Bowler Hat itself is a better villain.
Films — Live-Action
- Professor Fate, Jack Lemmon's character in The Great Race. In fact, Dick Dastardly was clearly based on Professor Fate, so this is, in fact, the (half-)Trope Namer's origin.
- Gustav in the Czech film The Stolen Airship
- Terry-Thomas made his career out of playing these:
- Sir Percy Ware-Armitage in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. With his clipped moustache, clipped English accent, and clipped morals, he was the epitome of the "disreputable cad".
- In Monte Carlo or Bust (a.k.a. Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies), he plays Sir Percy's equally devious son, Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage.
- Bill The Butcher in Gangs of New York could be seen as a reconstruction of this character, as he fits the description in dress and outward behavior, but betrays more depth as the movie progresses. While partially just a product of his time period, the visual references must be deliberate.
- Barnaby from Laurel and Hardy's March Of The Wooden Soldiers replaces the mustache with sideburns, but fits every other aspect of the trope, including forcing the heroine to marry him in exchange for the mortgage.
- In the Disney re-make (which reverted to the title of the original Victor Herbert operetta, Babes in Toyland), Barnaby (played by Ray Bolger) changes the side-whiskers for a small waxed moustache.
- Tod Slaughter, in nearly all his roles, played this character seriously — or, at least, as seriously as one can. "So, you wanted to be a bride, my dear Jessica, did you? So ye shall be — a bride of DEATH! Ehehehehehhehaaa!"
- In 1940, the silent movie villain was caricatured in The Villain Still Pursued Her in the person of Silas Cribbs (Alan Mowbray).
- In an Unbuilt Trope aversion, the silent film epitome of this character, Koerner (Paul Panzer) in The Perils of Pauline, is a fairly young man (the secretary of the eponymous Pauline (Pearl White)'s guardian, bent on gaining her fortune), clean-shaven, and not particularly antiquated or exaggerated in manner or appearance. (Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, few of the "Pauline" films were cliffhangers; most were self-contained episodes.)
- Cactus Jack, Kirk Douglas' character in the 1979 Western spoof The Villain uses the personality characteristics of this trope, but the costume conventions of the bad-guy-in-a-black-hat from Westerns.
- Any given Jeroen Krabbé role. This includes The Fugitive, An Ideal Husband, Prince of Tides, and The Living Daylights.
- Older Than Radio: Simon Legree from Uncle Tom's Cabin is a sort of proto-Whiplash combined with a Greedy Jew stereotype. No pretensions to refinement, but plenty of exultation-in-evil.
- Soon I Will Be Invincible: Trophies from his past exploits indicate Baron Ether was one of these in his youth, before becoming an Evil Overlord.
- Since Moving Pictures races through the entire history of cinema up to Gone with the Wind in a couple of weeks, a Dastardly Whiplash naturally appears early on. He's tying Ginger to a tree (in the absence of railroad tracks on the Discworld) and a sign is held in front of the picture-box saying "Ahar! My proude beauty!"
- Abrim in Sourcery is sort of this trope meets Evil Chancellor. When he first appears, it's said that "He twirled his mustache, probably foreclosing another dozen mortgages."
- Alec D'Urberville, from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, is an early version of this trope played straight (it's Victorian melodrama with a Realist touch). Hardy starts to give him Hidden Depths when he attempts to become a religious man, but he soon drops it and goes back to his dastardly, womanizing ways.
- "Squire Hardman" from H.P. Lovecraft's "Sweet Ermengarde" is an early (ca. 1920) parody:
When the lovers had finally strolled away he leapt out into the lane, viciously twirling his moustache and riding-crop, and kicking an unquestionably innocent cat who was also out strolling.
"Curses!" he cried — Hardman, not the cat — "I am foiled in my plot to get the farm and the girl!..."
- Sir Percival Glyde, a "bad baronet" in The Woman in White, is this, involved in the standard financial scheming and wife imprisonment.
- The trope is mocked by Artemis Fowl:
Butler: Focus, Artemis, one dastardly crime at the time.
Artemis Fowl: Dastardly, Butler? Dastardly? Honestly, we are not cartoon characters. I do not have a villainous laugh or an eyepatch.
- Discussed in White Night:
Harry Dresden: The wacky thing about those bad guys is that you can't count on them to be obvious. They forget to wax their mustaches and goatees, leave their horns at home, send their black hats to the dry cleaner's. They're funny, like that.
- Referenced in the episode "War Stories": after Simon has planned and executed his first heist, Shepherd Book asks if he's got his next scheme lined up, referring to him jokingly as a "criminal mastermind". Simon responds, "Not yet, but I was thinking of growing a big, black mustache. I'm a traditionalist."
- In the first episode, Simon is used as a Red Herring and looks a lot like this kind of character.
- A couple of the original incarnations of The Master from Doctor Who had aspects of this.
- Lampshade Hanging in the spin-off novel Who Killed Kennedy: when Intrepid Reporter James Stevens sees a TV report on "Reverend Magister", his reaction is that nobody who looks that much like a Dennis Wheatley villain could possibly really be a terrorist and this is obviously part of the UNIT coverup.
- Also lampshaded in "The Time Monster" when Jo Grant — finding the Master speechless with fury over how she and the Doctor escaped his latest Death Trap — suggests "Curses, foiled again!" as an appropriate remark.
- The American North and South miniseries (no relation to the English novel) had several spanning the course of three books, most of them Southerners: mega evil plantation owner/wifebeater/slave abuser David Carradine, cackling racist and adultery enthusiast Ashton, slimy slave overseer Salem Jones, bloodthirsty prison warden Wayne Newton, seemingly-immortal wannabe warlord Elkinah Bent, and Ku Klux Klan co-founder (and evil landlord, god help us) Robert Wagner, among others. Lest you think the Confederacy gets the short end of the stick, there are plenty of Yankee bigots: Jonathan Frakes and wife (hates the Irish), Kirstie Alley (hates southerners), and Forest Whitaker (hates white people). The latter forms an alliance with his old overseer and raids their plantation, all for the express purpose of raping one slave girl who turn him down years ago.
- Speaking of racists, Roots rolled out a new arch-villain for each chapter. First there was the truly creepy first mate of Kunta's slaving ship, Mr. Slater; then the ghoulish, rape-happy plantation owner Tom Moore; and finally Lloyd Bridges as a particularly meddlesome racist. The latter even says "you haven't seen the last of me" during an encounter with Kunta's grandson.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard references this archetype when he refers to "villains who twirl their moustaches" being easier to spot than "idealists" who "clothes themselves in good deeds" in "The Drumhead."
- M.T. Promises on The Great Space Coaster.
- Robbie Rotten of LazyTown may not have the loftiest of goals (he just wants the kids to be lazy so they won't be running back and forth across the roof of his subterranean lair all day — one might suggest he move, but it's probably rent-controlled), but he more than makes up for it with the kind of elaborate costumes and schemes that define this trope.
- The Star Wars Holiday Special. All of the Imperial troops, naturally, especially a Lord Helmet clone who beats a trader out a groomer for no other reason than to be a dick, but even in the animated special, Boba Fett does everything but chortle "MWUAHAHAHAHA!" when speaking to Luke.
- Angel. Becomes the subject of a pun by a secretary at supernatural law firm Wolfram & Hart.
I'm sorry. Wrong extension. You need "529" for Curses
. Foiled again, huh? (chuckles)
- The original picture sleeve◊ for The Beach Boys' 1967 single "Heroes and Villains" had a cartoon illustration of one of these (getting bested by a Dudley Do-Right-esque hero).
- The cover◊ for the 1969 Ohio Express album Mercy features a villain with everything but the mustache in a match of fisticuffs with a lumberjack on a handcar, while the rope-bound Damsel in Distress cries for help.
- The Coasters' song "Along Came Jones" has the exploits of the Villain, Sweet Sue, and Jones running on the TV — on every channel, apparently.
- One of Doctor Steel's steampunk outfits includes a black stovepipe top hat and black PVC cape (along with his ubiquitous goggles), reminiscent of 19th century villains. '
- Taylor Swift's "Mean" has a picture in the liner notes of a stereotypical villain standing over Taylor, who is tied to a railroad track. He's also in the music video and on the single cover, too.◊
- In Tom Smith's song "Sheep Marketing Ploy", the title sheep in question (the usurper of Satan's position as ruler of Hell) is described as having a classic villain mustache.
- Dr. Scrooge, from Spirit Of The Century's supplement "Spirit of the Season", is essentially one of these. He's an evil banker (well, businessman of many stripes, really) who uses his wealth to greedily acquire more wealth to acquire more wealth, and so on, but will gladly go out of his way to steal cookies from orphans while he's at it. Somewhat more developed than most in that he's suffering from a delusion where he thinks he is actually Ebenezer Scrooge's heir, despite the character from A Christmas Carol being entirely fictitious. He's (somehow) calculated an exorbitant sum of money that he would have had if Scrooge hadn't squandered it on charity. His goal in life is to earn back that money. His hatred of orphans is tied to the fact that he is one. So...yeah...really messed up. Still comes across as almost a Care Bears villain, though.
- In 1947, Pearl White's life was romanticized in The Musical The Perils of Pauline. In this musical, actor Timmy Timmons (Billy DeWolfe) plays the villainous character "Hugo Mortimer" in White's films as the full-blown Dastardly Whiplash character of the popular imagination, rather than strictly recreating the Koerner of the original serial (who didn't really fit this trope). Interestingly, the original Koerner, Paul Panzer, plays the bit part of a "Drawing Room Gent" in this film.
- The villain of the Victorian-era Show Within a Show in Show Boat, "The Parson's Bride".
- The silent movie stereotype derives partly from seducer figures in Victorian melodrama; Alec, from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, with his curling black mustache which he constantly strokes in order to show off his diamond rings, is one of the most notorious. For some reason, the character is often given the name Jasper, as in the Bawdy Song Oh, Sir Jasper Do Not Touch Me.
- Spoofed in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore (1887). The baronet of Ruddigore is required, due to an ancestral curse, to commit a single evil deed daily. When the leading man, Robin Oakapple, is exposed to secretly be Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, the true heir to the seat of Ruddigore, he exits and then returns, as traditionally portrayed with the moustache and top hat. Similarly, his servant Old Adam spontaneously acquires a hump.
- One of the deceased "bad baronets" was actually named Sir Jasper.
- The Show Within a Show entrance of "King Simon of Legree" (see Literature, above) in The King and I is accompanied by blood-curdling screams. His cruelty toward the slaves is presented as a barely-veiled allegory for the King of Siam's persecution of Tuptim and her secret lover Lun Tha.
- The recently discovered Mark Twain play Is He Dead? gives us the evil landlord Andre who stalks the stage and offers to forgive the Starving Artist's debt if said artist's Love Interest marries him. Later, he makes the same deal, offering marriage in exchange for debt-forgiveness to the Starving Artist, now in drag, posing as his sister.
- In Imperium Nova, Fornuxian Count Giacomo di Scaliger and his family were all officially titled "the Dastardly" by an Imperial judge. He embraced the trappings of this trope very quickly.
- In Spoony's review of Avatar, he comments that the only way the villains could possibly have been more one-dimensional and Obviously Evil is if they had moustaches to twiddle.
- Dr. Strangeglove from Moshi Monsters. His top hat is his face (the eyes pop out of the top of it, and the moustache right under it moving like a mouth). There's even a promotional poster of him tying Tyra Fangs to a railroad track (in sepia tone!)
- In The Cartoon Man, Simon becomes this type of character when in his cartoon form.
- Manatee Girl The Movie has the InHumanatee who has a comically large mustache despite being in live action. He dumps oil in manatee inhabited springs simply because he considers it a "sufficiently evil undertaking for a man of [his] talents".
- The co-Trope Namers:
- Snidely Whiplash from Dudley Do-Right is among the most prominent examples, although the character type had already existed beforehand, and, like everything else about the show, Whiplash was more of a parody than a straight example.
- As is Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, though he eschews the top-hat, morning-suit, and cape, and dresses in purple rather than black.
- Thaddeus Griffin, Peter's evil twin from Family Guy.
Thaddeus: Nyah, this will surely affect my inheritance... nyah!
(escapes in hot air balloon)
- The Powerpuff Girls has two of these: One is a zombie Stage Magician, and the other appears when they enter a silent movie.
Buttercup: Whoa! Who’s that?
Blossom: The bad guy.
Bubbles: How can you tell?
Blossom: He’s the one with the flycatcher for a mustache.
(The girls giggle.)
- Oil Can Harry in the old Mighty Mouse cartoons.
- Dishonest John from Beany And Cecil. "Nya-ha-hah!"
"DJ, you dirty guy!"
- Dan Backslide (coward-bully-cad-and-thief) of the Looney Tunes short The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall:
- The 1933 Bosko The Talk Ink Kid short Bosko's Picture Show has one "Dirty Dalton (The Cur!)".
- The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop has Dastardly Whiplash mannerisms, though his appearance — with color scheme on loan from The Joker — is more flamboyant than most. No surprise, since he's voiced by Paul Lynde.
- George of the Jungle
- A Super Chicken episode features theater actor Briggs Badwolf, who, playing the melodrama villain once too often, believes he is the character — he makes off with the female lead of the play. Attempting to get her to go to the Villain's Annual Picnic with him, he takes her to the usual places — the sawmill, the railroad track, the old abandoned mine...
- And Baron Otto Matic, in the Tom Slick segments.
- In Sheep in the Big City, there's "The Count D'Ten" (one, two, three-darn it!). A Speed Racer parody featured "Greedy McGreed-Greed", who resembled this character type.
- In a Pinky and the Brain episode set at the beginning of the silent film era, Brain decides to conquer the world by making himself a movie star. The movies that he and Pinky make together spoof various silent film tropes, including one with Pinky as a villain of this type — complete with cloak, top hat, and mustache — tying a Damsel in Distress to railroad tracks so that Brain, as the hero, can rescue her.
- Phineas and Ferb: While Dr. Doofenshmirtz is clearly a Mad Scientist, he still echoes quite a bit of this trope: exaggerated nose and chin, hunched posture, elaborate crazy schemes, and over-the-top mannerisms. No mustache or hat, though, and, in keeping with his Mad Scientist role, he wears a lab coat.
- Professor Hinkel, the self-styled Evil Magician of Frosty the Snowman has the antiquated costume (though he loses the top hat), the handlebar moustache, the exaggerated mannerisms, and the general incompetence associated with this trope. The fact that he is voiced by Billy DeWolfe (see Films, above) demonstrates the provenance of the character.
- As an Expy of Trope Namer Dastardly, the Dread Baron from Laff-A-Lympics naturally falls into this category as well.
- Issue #13 of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book (Marvel, Feb. 1979) notes that Dick Dastardly and Dread Baron are brothers.
- The Vinegar Bottle, the villain of the 1935 Merrie Melodies short "The Little Dutch Plate", mit addischonal German akzent. He even ties the little Dutch girl figurine to a log and is about to saw her in half — using the gears of a Dutch clock. But in a nicely contrived Twist Ending, he replaces his head with a more handsome one from a perfume bottle and goes off with the heroine!
- Rum-Baa-Baa, the evil sheep from British toon Henry's Cat, may not have the moustache, but has everything else. One variation of the show's end credits even show him doing the old train track routine.
- The Simpsons
- Sideshow Mel in '"The Lastest Gun in the West".
- Moe appears this way on one side of his business cards, which state his "profession" as villain. When he becomes a volunteer firefighter, he modifies the back of his cards so they reflect the fact that he is now a hero.
- Homer as Mr. Stingly in Rent II: Condo Fever.
Homer: Where is the rent? I must have the rent. Dollars, dimes, and nickels — I need them all right now!
- Heeza Ratt, the villain from the 1934 Betty Boop short "She Wronged Him Right".
- Spike the dragon dressed up like this in his day in the limelight episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Owl's Well That Ends Well", while plotting to get Owlowiscious the owl in trouble.
- On Mystery on the Friendship Express, one of Pinkie's imagine spots painted Gustav LeGrande in exactly this trope, down to the "tie a mare down on the tracks so the train can crush her" and the silent film dialogue screens.
- Rattfink, from the Roland and Rattfink cartoons.
- Phantom Phink in Yogis Space Race is a Captain Ersatz of Dick Dastardly, who was also a Hanna-Barbera character.
- The Amazing Mumbo from Teen Titans definitely sports the look and one-dimensional villainy, although he's never seen engaging in mustache twirling or Antiquated Linguistics. Justified in that his whole theme is stage magic turned horribly real; top hats, black suits, and cloaks just happen to be the stereotypical garb of stage magicians.
- In The Fairly OddParents short that first aired on Oh Yeah! Cartoons which was the pilot to the series. When Vicky is trying to run away she ends up tied to a railroad track, with Timmy gloating over her with mustache and top hat.
- In the Popeye short "Cartoons Ain't Human", Popeye makes one of these the villain of his home-made cartoon.
- The Peculiar Purple Pie Man of Porcupine Peaknote , from the Strawberry Shortcake cartoons.
- Hippolyte Aucouturier, a French cyclist known for cheating in dangerous and creative ways (but, to be fair, so did almost everyone in that particular race). His handlebar moustache, outrageous striped clothing, and nickname of "Le Terrible" bring him extremely close to a RL example.
- The Black Team was a group of debuggers working for IBM. Their jobs were to find the errors in code, and they liked to pretend that crashing code made them evil. They cackled maniacally, twirled their mustaches, wore black, etc.
- A joke going around the social networks points out that using an alcohol-gel hand sanitizer makes you look like you're hatching an evil plot.