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Evil Cripple

"You can't even manipulate your own body. What's left? The manipulation of everyone around you?"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Inert Dwarf"

An Evil Cripple is a villain or generally morally perturbed character who also suffers a debilitating physical condition, often taking the form of paralysis that causes him or her use a wheelchair. The Evil Cripple doubles as the Genius Cripple a lot, making them an intellectual threat to compensate for their physical frailty. Alternatively, the Evil Cripple can become a physical threat if they use sci-fi enhancements to overcome their disability, such as replacing missing or defective limbs with super-strong Powered Armor or cybernetic parts.

There are a variety of reasons this trope exists. In some stories, especially those featuring superheroes, the contrast between a hero with super strength and a villain who is physically handicapped and instead relies on his brainpower plays on the archetype of brain vs. brawn. It also provides a buffer against the standard "solution" of punching the bad guy out since the hero would look pretty low hitting a cripple compared to an able-bodied villain. These stories also tend to feature a Freudian Excuse in the background of the villain that is often based around his disability and is the cause of his hatred for the world. This has Unfortunate Implications and it's rare for the hardship of the bad guy having to live as a cripple to be used to suggest they are deserving any sort of sympathy.

A popular image in the Evil Cripple Humiliation Conga or Break the Haughty situation is for such a character to be knocked out of his wheelchair and have to crawl around on the ground helplessly. This, along with the tendency for the disability to be implied to be the fault of the character or some sort of karmic punishment, can fall into Unfortunate Implications and Acceptable Hard Luck Targets. This is a profoundly negative portrayal of handicapped people that has recently begun to be examined in the field of Disability Studies.

Many villainous pirates are Evil Cripples with peg legs and hook hands, though this may simply be to reinforce their badassery, more a case of Handicapped Badass than Evil Cripple. These attributes seem to be cases of Follow the Leader; the peg leg originated with Long John Silver of Treasure Island and the Hook Hand with Captain Hook of Peter Pan, and later writers just based their pirates on these guys.

A common subversion of this trope is when the character is revealed to not actually be crippled, leading to a Throwing Off the Disability scene, but was exploiting that image to maintain a cover or give the illusion of helplessness. Given that, some of these examples contain spoilers.

This trope may overlap with Handicapped Badass in the case of particularly badass villains.

See also Evil Albino, Depraved Dwarf, Hook Hand, Red Right Hand, Good Scars, Evil Scars, Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery, Four Eyes, Zero Soul. Dark Lord on Life Support is this trope taken to the extreme.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Shiba'i in Ikkitousen is The Chessmaster behind Kyosho Academy's Sousou Motoku, and though she later does start walking around it's not made clear whether or not it's because she was faking being disabled or if Motoku (who had turned her into his Soul Jar this point) was the one who allowed her to do it. Shiba'i is based on Sima Yi, who faked an illness, which suggests that she was able to walk the entire time.
  • One of the Code Geass manga spin-offs makes Nunnally a straight-up Yandere whose hatred for the world results in another personality developing.
  • Mariko from Elfen Lied has spent most of her life in isolation and has extreme atrophy in her legs, so she has to get around in wheelchair. She also gets a scene of crawling around on the ground helplessly, though she, like all of the Diclonius, also falls squarely in Woobie territory.
  • The Chairman in Paprika.
  • Mashiro Kazahana in Mai-HiME falls more into morally ambiguous throughout much of the series, given that she actively manipulates the HiME and has certain Creepy Child tendencies, though by the end of the series she's fully on the side of the good and provides a convenient Deus ex Machina to the heroes.
  • Quincy Rosencreutz of Bubblegum Crisis 2040 is stuck in a complex life-support system, controlling his company entirely by means of a voicebox. While definitely not a straigh-up good guy, he is contrasted with his ever viler underling, Brian J. Mason, who eventually betrays him. They both share the same medical condition, but Mason avoided the life support system by having Boomer-technology installed in his body.
  • Gauron became one late in Full Metal Panic!, as the result of injuries sustained during the first season finale. He still managed to set in motion events that led to Kaname's near death at the hands of one of his Creepy Twins, the destruction of a major portion of downtown Hong Kong, and the deaths of multiple high-ranking Mithril and Amalgam personnel.
  • Edge Turus in Until Death Do Us Part started off as just plain evil; only after going too far and invoking Diplomatic Impunity did he lose An Arm and a Leg.
  • Kagari Izuriha from the anime Black★Rock Shooter. A possessive girl who would strike at anyone who got too close to her friend. After the death of her supposed "other self", Kagari was able to walk.
  • Any evil automail user from Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • Both the manga and the 2003 anime feature a terrorist leader named Bald with an eye patch and an automail arm that conceals a knife and a double-barreled rifle. (Bald didn't appear in the 2009 anime, though.)
    • At the end of the 2003 anime, Wrath lost his right arm and left leg when they were pulled through the Gate of Truth. note  Ed took pity on him and asked Rose to rescue him. At the end of the anime, we see him living with the Rockbells, fitted with automail. In the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, he's still wearing the automail.
    • Also in the 2003 anime, we have Frank Archer, who lost half his body in Lior and had to have his whole left side replaced by automail.
  • The Area 88 manga and OVA, have Farina, an elderly arms dealer who uses a wheelchair.
  • Nagato in Naruto is eventually be revealed to be this - sort of. He uses his powers to control dead bodies and use them to fight for them. When Naruto eventually defeats the bodies, he finds that Nagato himself is emaciated and crippled. This is somewhat subverted since Nagato is an Anti-Villain Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Rei Hazama from Doubt. The sweet girl in the wheelchair? She's actually the Big Bad and hellbent on Revenge.
  • A milder example, but when Joker becomes the villain of the story in ROD the TV, he's suddenly walking with a cane and claiming he has bad legs while in the OVA prequel, when he was still a good guy, he had no problems there.
  • Lorenz Kihl from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Kagemaru, the Big Bad of Season One of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, was an elderly invalid kept alive by a liquid-filled tubular stasis chamber with robotic arms and legs. Halfway through the Final Battle with Judai, however, the power he gains from the Sacred Beasts make him a young man, who not only breaks out of it, but effortlessly throws the entire device away.

    Comic Books 
  • There was a one-shot Golden Age Batman foe called the Thinker who fit this trope, especially the "brains over brawn" part.
  • The Ultimate Marvel version of The Leader fits this very closely: he's crippled because the experiment that gave him super intelligence expanded his head to the point his body couldn't support it.
    • Also the case over at The DCU with Green Lantern villain Hector Hammond, whose head has gradually expanded to this point over decades of stories.
  • Professor Xavier from X-Men when he goes evil.
    • The X-Men have also faced a Japanese cripple mutated by the atomic bombings, who tried to take revenge on the team for not being freakish like him.
  • And M.O.D.O.K. in most of his incarnations is in a powered wheelchair because his head is too large to move around in.
  • Miami drug czar Ulysses X. Lugman, aka the Slug, (who first appeared in Captain America's comic) is so enormously obese, he can't move on his own, requiring a custom-made mechanical wheelchair with tank treads. (He has been known to asphyxiate a man in the folds of his flesh when he wants to kill someone personally.)
  • Alistair Smythe, one of many Spider-Man villains to build the Spider-Slayer robots, was originally unable to walk and wheelchair-bound. However, after enhancing himself with cybernetics to become the Ultimate Spider-Slayer, he became able to walk again (and became strong enough to be a match for Spider-Man on his own).
  • Another Green Lantern foe, Baron Tyrano, is permantly confined to an iron lung.
  • Dr. Caulder, leader of the Doom Patrol is arguably insane, and, despite good intentions, tries a little too hard to force the world to be a better place.
  • Ma Gnucci in The Punisher story "Welcome Back, Frank", after her unfortunate encounter with a group of polar bears.
  • Valiant Comics, a company that is sadly no longer around, had a crime lord by the name of Dr. Silk who was an elderly man in a wheelchair who couldn't breathe properly.
  • Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onnz's brother Malefic was convicted of Mind Rape and sentenced to memory wiping and having his Psychic Powers removed. Unfortunately, Malefic's hatred of his people remained, and he created a telepathic plague "Hronmeer's Bane" that caused all Green Martians who contracted it to burst into flames. Also a case of Disability Superpower — Malefic lacked the crippling weakness to fire since it is linked to the Martians' telepathy. J'onn defeated him for good by curing Malefic (restoring his weakness to fire) and sending him into a sun.
  • Armless Tiger Man.
  • One particularly vile Ghost Rider villain was a multibillionaire who was paralyzed in a drunk driving incident. He was the drunk driver and the other victims were a school bus full of children. He's a Ghost Rider villain because he made a deal with a Fallen Angel trapped in Hell — granting the entity and his cohorts passage to Earth in exchange for restoring his ability to walk — and Ghost Rider was sent to stop him.
  • Lex Luthor became one of these at the conclusion of a story arc wherein he had implanted his mind in a cloned body and posed as his own son, Lex Luthor II. The clone underwent severe degeneration, ultimately leaving Lex in a vegetative state, unable to move, feel, hear, or even close his own eyes. He still managed to take control of Superman's Kryptonian warsuit, and wearing it as a suit of Powered Armour, nearly beat the hero to death. After his defeat he was confined to an intensive care unit; one of his henchmen helped him escape and eventually restored him to full health.
    • Another Superman villain, the Ultra-Humanite, is most commonly and most famously shown as an albino gorilla, but he actually began as a mad scientist in a wheelchair. He soon gained the ability to Body Swap with any person or animal he pleased, however, so he didn't stay crippled for long.
  • X-Men villain Apocalypse employed a few of these within his Horsemen, artificially curing their condition as a sort of Deal with the Devil. The original Horsemen included War, a quadriplegic army veteran confined to an iron lung; Famine, an anorexic teenage girl whose body was morbidly withered by the disorder; and Death, the X-Man Angel who lost his wings.
  • X-everything villain Gamesmaster is a telepath so powerful he's called an "Omnipath"; he constantly hears the thoughts of everyone in the world. The cybernetics that keep his powers under control confine him to a hoverchair and he can only communicate with the rest of the world via astral projection.
  • The Mekon in Dan Dare uses a hoverchair and the strip makes clear that he can only crawl without it, although this is mostly due to his legs being unable to support the weight of his enormous head.
  • Downplayed by Captain Marvel villain Dr. Sivana, an older man who walks with the aid of a cane.
  • The Vampirella story "The Running Red" has Jabez Kruger, a wheelchair-bound Arms Dealer who plays both revolutionaries and the governments they're fighting and has gamblers Driven to Suicide by their losses.

    Film 
  • One of the most famous examples, and possibly the inspiration for many others of this type, is the eponymous Doctor Strangelove, an ex-Nazi scientist. At the very end of the film he manages to stand up out of his chair... and then the world ends.
  • The crappy B-Movie The Atomic Brain starred a wheelchair-bound old woman as the primary villain. When the film turned up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike and the bots even made a Doctor Strangelove reference.
  • Obesandjo, the Nigerian crime boss from District 9, uses a wheelchair. Speculation that it might be his version of a throne crumbles when the viewer notices the knock-kneed way he sits and how he never gets up from it, even when his men are getting bumped off.
  • The wheelchair-bound crime boss who talks through a hole in his throat in the Thai action blockbuster Ong Bak is a truly vile example, cynically selling his country's religious treasures to foreigners and causally orders the deaths of anyone who tries to protect them.
  • An unnammed Blofeld appears in a wheelchair in the opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only.
  • Dr. Arliss Loveless in the 1999 version of Wild Wild West lost his legs in the Civil War. He replaced them with robotic spider legs.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, when David Lo Pan is in his "old man" form, he gets around in a motorized wheelchair.
  • Jan Murray plays a wheelchair-bound Nazi Mad Scientist in the Z grade movie A Man Called Dagger
  • Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life
  • Dr. No in the eponymous James Bond film lost his hands in an industrial accident and replaced them with mechanical ones.
    • Similarly, The Dragon Tee-Hee from Live and Let Die. He lost his right arm to an alligator and replaced it with a mechanical arm and a pincer.
  • Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill) in Mystery of the Wax Museum.
  • Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Granted, her able-bodied sister Jane (Bette Davis) was actively tormenting her, but as we find out Blanche put herself in that wheelchair when an attempt to kill Jane by hitting her with a car went wrong.
  • Jason Stryker in X2: X-Men United Mind Raped his parents so severely that his mother took a power drill to her temple to get the images out. He was experimented on by his father, a mutant-phobe, and turned into a living Lotus-Eater Machine in a wheelchair in contrast to Charles Xavier, who is with the good guys. Jason is portrayed sympathetically, but his appearance is definitely intended to be creepy.
    • The tie-in video game seems to suggest he was not all that evil, the good side of his personality helping Nightcrawler defeat The Master Mold.
  • Though more of a Corrupt Corporate Executive Anti-Hero, Rufus Shinra spends part of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in a wheelchair. He's still hurt, but he's at least partially faking it.
  • The Big Bad, aka Elijah Price in Unbreakable, a movie which draws from comic book lore and explicitly contrasts the villain's physical frailty with the "unbreakability" of the hero/main character.
  • Darth Vader in Star Wars. He is a severe burn victim and was repeatedly mutilated, so he has to rely on his suit. Of course, given his slow descent into villainy, the deformities were more icing on the cake than the direct cause.
    • Similarly, General Grievous was pretty much blown to bits by a bomb and was rebuilt into a robotic body with some 80% of him being prosthetics.
  • A minor character in Edward Scissorhands had a prosthetic leg, and when he first met Edward he encouraged him not to let anyone call him a cripple. However, when Edward was accused of terrorizing the neighbor, this same man parked his lawn chair on his driveway in the middle of the night, wondering if they had "caught that cripple yet".
  • The drug kingpin in Brick has a clubfoot, and walks with a cane.
  • The Man With A Plan from Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. Bonus points for being played by Christopher Walken.
  • The Man Behind the Man of Once Upon a Time in the West is a crippled (and dying) and walking only by crutches Railroad Baron. However, he's pretty much a villainous Woobie.
  • Ephialtes, the deformed, treacherous hunchback in 300. While the deformities themselves were added by the adaptation, he's also portrayed more sympathetically than the classical myths show him as. He's depicted as a Spartan outcast who was only saved from being killed in his infancy by his compassionate father. When he tries to offer his services to King Leonidas only to be shot down, leading to a switch to the Persian camp that reads less like a Face-Heel Turn and more like a moment of Then Let Me Be Evil. In 300: Rise of an Empire, he is deeply remorseful for his betrayal.
  • A pedophile and drug dealer from Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!! has some unspecified condition which requires him to use crutches.
  • Mother of Mother's Day wears a neck cast for some reason.
  • Christopher Lee's wheelchair bound Big Bad in Once Upon A Spy. Bonus points for having said wheelchair equipped with missiles.
  • "Big Brain" from The Hills Have Eyes (2006) has a, well, big brain and uses an old-fashioned wheelchair, where he serves as the Mission Control for the other mutants.
  • The killer in Midnight Movie has a foot so fucked up it it sometimes looks like he's walking on his ankle. Unfortunately for the other characters, it doesn't seem to slow him down that much.
  • Invoked and then subverted in Hugo. The orphan-hunting Station Inspector's leg brace is fodder for a number of sight gags, but The Reveal he was horribly wounded in World War One—is a genuinely emotional moment, and a clue that he's actually more of a Broken Bird.
  • Hannibal's Mason Verger (described in the Literature section) features as the Big Bad but the film version ends with Hannibal chopping off his hand to free himself from Clarice's handcuffs. He's still plenty evil without his hand: on his plane ride out of the country, he feeds an unknowing little boy pieces of a man's brains
  • Highwaymen features a serial killer named Fargo who runs women over with his car, including the protagonist's wife. The protagonist rammed into him with his car in revenge and the guy is barely-able to move with several braces (neck, legs, etc) on his body. He remade his car into a super-durable weapon as an extension of himself and continued his murder spree.
  • Boris the Animal (IT'S JUST BORIS!) from the third Men In Black movie, who lost his arm in a fight with Agent K.
  • Dr. Finkelstein from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  • Inverted in The Amazing Spider-Man. Dr Connors is a Genius Cripple whose arm was amputated above the elbow, but his goal is to better mankind. The lizard serum he injects himself with gives him back the arm, but also turns him into an Ax-Crazy Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Lon Chaney in The Penalty: he plays a man whose legs were amputated when he was a boy. He later became the leader of a criminal gang, and sought revenge on the doctor who crippled him.
  • In West Of Zanzibar, Chaney's character is crippled in a brawl with his wife's lover. He uses magic tricks to dominate a local tribe and steal ivory, among other criminal acts. He had his daughter raised in a brothel, because he thought his rival was the father. He collapses when he finds out the truth.
  • Azog the Defiler from The Hobbit, who lost his arm and replaced it with a spike. He also doubles as an Evil Albino.
  • In Anonymous, Robert Cecil is depicted as a malevolent, hunchbacked villain. The parallels with Richard III speak for themselves.
  • Stephen from Django Unchained needs a cane to walk. He doesn't actually need it, not that it matters when Django kneecaps him shortly after.

    Literature 
  • Johann Spurzheim the Chief of the Napolitan Royal Police in The Companions of Silence by Paul Féval despite so so forgotten today is perhaps the Trope Codifier or even Trope Maker. He is a Machiavellian Chessmaster but is completely crippled. He is the Big Bad of the story which is latter retroactively made in continuity with The Black Coats.
  • Captain Hook from Peter Pan.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Lothar Frey, nicknamed "Lame Lothar", one of the masterminds of the "Red Wedding".
  • Non-wheelchair example: In A Series of Unfortunate Events, one of Count Olaf's more frightening henchmen has hooks for hands — interestingly, he's the only one who eventually gets a semi-detailed backstory and becomes relatively sympathetic.
  • Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code was wheelchair-bound due to polio, and turns out to have been in on the Gambit Roulette surrounding the location of the Grail.
  • The "Tzaddik" in the Sally Lockhart detective novels.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only in Death, when Hark finds Soric at the end, his keepers are an old woman with a deformed face, and a hunchbacked dwarf. Judging by the psychic impressions of them that other characters received from Soric throughout the book, they are evil indeed; Maggs was convinced that the woman was Death itself. They do their best to keep Hark from killing Soric at his own request, and Soric warns Hark to make it appear a commissarial execution or they would hang him out to dry.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Shere Khan the tiger, Mowgli's great enemy who separated him from his parents at infantry and presumably killed them.
    "His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for nothing," said Mother Wolf quietly. "He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our children must run when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are very grateful to Shere Khan!"
  • The Wheelchair Assassins of Infinite Jest are some pretty nasty customers; a crew of pissed-off and legless Quebecois trying to take down the government by means of a mind-destroying video cartridge.
  • Subverted in Lord Kelvin's Machine: The villain is crippled from a childhood illness — until, about three-quarters of the way through the book, a time-traveller visits his child self and treats him with medicine from the future; result: in the present, the villain is now no longer crippled, nor ever has been... but he's still just as evil.
  • The crippled and disfigured Inquisitor Glokta of The First Law, while arguably not exactly evil in the context of the story, is nonetheless more than morally bankrupt enough to qualify.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and sequels has the lovely Ledroptha Curtain. He remains in a wheelchair, but not because he's paralyzed - he has a rather short temper as well as a disease that makes him fall asleep whenever he feels strong emotions... such as rage. Hilariously, his brother Nicholas has the same disease, but he fits the Evil Cripple's benevolent cousin trope (Genius Cripple) just fine.
  • In The Silence of the Lambs sequel Hannibal, Mason Verger continues to bring suffering and misery to children even after being paralyzed by the title character.
  • Subverted in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man," in which they initially suspect the titular 'crooked man' of being mixed up in a murder. It turns out to have not been a murder at all; the victim died of a heart attack, tangentially related to the appearance of the crooked man, but it wasn't the crooked man's fault at all and he was actually a very kind person.
  • Death's agent in the novel Final Destination: Looks Could Kill is a severe burn victim, who the entity promised to make beautiful again if she helped it.
  • Chodo Contague from the Garrett, P.I. series is TunFaire's dreaded crime lord, who uses a wheelchair in his first few appearances. In later novels he's even more impaired, having suffered a severe stroke.
  • The One in Last Legionary is revealed to be a badly mutated human, who can barely move without the use of his Powered Armour exoskeleton. Outside the skeleton he's a truly pitiful figure, unable even to walk. In the skeleton, he becomes The Juggernaut, and nearly kills The Hero on several occasions.
  • Prime Minister Mark Normanby in Jo Walton's Small Change series, after surviving the assassination attempt in Ha'Penny.
  • Hurwood from On Stranger Tides has only one arm, and betrays and murders a bunch of people in an attempt to install his dead wife's spirit in their daughter's body via voodoo magic.
  • The High Priest (Priestess?) of Helgrind from the Inheritance Cycle. Leader of an H.P. Lovecraft-esque Religion of Evil, possesses immense psychic powers, regularly performs Human Sacrifice—and is missing his/her arms, legs, and part of his/her tongue. These body parts were presumably given up as part of the extensive self-mutilation performed in the Religion of Evil.
  • Long John Silver of Treasure Island fame isn't just an Evil Cripple, he's the Trope Maker and Codifier of the common idea of one-legged pirates.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Barty Crouch Jr. in his Mad-Eye Moody disguise. Oddly, he wasn't actually disabled, but he adopted Moody's identity to serve his evil purposes, and Moody just so happened to have a peg leg and a missing eye (though the latter wasn't at all crippling, as Moody had a replacement that let him see in all directions and through solid objects).
    • Peter "Wormtail" Pettigrew, who sacrificed his right hand to resurrect Voldemort and was given a silver prosthetic hand with super strength. This hand eventually proved to be Wormtail's downfall, as it strangled him after he hesitated to kill Harry.
  • Ivar the Boneless from Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, a Viking warlord crippled from birth and unable to walk, is noted as outstandingly clever, but also extraordinarily cruel.
  • Hackle from the Knight and Rogue Series, who lost a leg to a wolf trap.
  • Kirie Fujou in Kara no Kyoukai is an ill girl in a hospital and the last member of the main branch of the Fujou clan, a group with psychic abilities. She forces teenage girls to commit suicide with some form of telekinesis.
  • Gozen and the Uber-Director from the Maximum Ride series. Gozen is built partly from cybernetic parts and has a screwed-up arm, and the Uber-Director is just a head attached to a series of Plexiglas boxes containing his organs.
  • General Zaroff from The Most Dangerous Game has a deaf-mute thug named Ivan.
  • The Crippled God of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is the closest thing to an overall Big Bad of the rather non-linear series; as his name suggests, to say he's not in prime physical condition would be an unbelievable understatement (he was pulled into the mortal world by a spell, crashed into the planet like a meteor, and his body was pretty much destroyed in the process- he's spent the millennia since in constant agony), and he's extremely ruthless, manipulative, and spiteful. However, it gradually becomes apparent that he's a deconstruction, as he's played with great sympathy and it becomes increasingly clear that all he really wants is to go home. And when the local Abusive Precursors hijack his powers in the last book, the protagonists end up helping him.
  • Subverted with Lord Cett in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. In the second book, he's one of three tyrants who attacks the protagonists' home city with his army, and he's paralyzed from the waist down. However, pretty much everybody agrees he's easily the best (or at least, least bad) of the three (though compared to the brutal and sadistic Straff Venture and the visibly unstable Jastes Lekal, anyone would look good) and it's gradually apparent that his bark (Cett makes up for being unable to do much physically with his hammy and overbearing personality) is far worse than his bite. Cett ends up teaming up with the heroes against Straff (with some prodding from his daughter) and is a solid (if ambitious) ally by the third book.
  • The single most malicious character in Glen Cook's The Black Company series is an Evil Sorceror called "The Limper." Like all of his kin among the Ten Who Were Taken, his name is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Another Taken, the Howler, is good with flight and levitation magic because he has trouble walking, in addition to having the tic of constantly screaming.
  • In the first Repairman Jack novel The Tomb, Kusum Bahkti is a one-armed Indian diplomat who's secretly over a hundred years old, and master and father of the monstrous rakoshi.

    Live Action TV 
  • The episode The Evil Three from the 1950s series The Adventures of Superman included an insane old lady in a wheelchair as one of the eponymous three. She was horrifying to some viewers, but she protests the other two's plans to murder Perry and Jimmy, if only because she "don't want no more [blood] on [her] conscience" after what one of the others did to his uncle.
  • Davros, the creator of the Daleks, from Doctor Who is totally this. Hit by a nuclear missile, Davros was burned, blinded, and lost the use of his legs and left arm. And later in the classic series, his right hand. He was already a psychopath but this really pushed him off the deep end.
    • The Captain, of classic Who story The Pirate Planet.
    • Also Lumic, creator of the new series Cybermen.
    • The Lady Cassandra, a plastic surgery addict who got so many operations that she was reduced to a face attached to a sheet of skin stretched across a wheeled metal frame. Servants have to wheel her around and regularly moisturize her to keep her from shriveling up and dying.
    • The villain Max Capricorn is just a head attached to a machine.
    • The heroic Dr. Judson from "The Curse of Fenric" inverts this by standing up out of his wheelchair as soon as the Eldritch Abomination possesses him.
  • Spike spent some time in a wheelchair in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though he had been faking it for an undetermined length of time. He was clearly established as evil before he became crippled, and was injured fighting Buffy.
  • The X-Files has had its share of crippled Monsters Of The Week:
    • "The Walk" — quadruple amputee war veteran committing murders via astral projection
    • "Home" — limbless Evil Matriarch of the incestuous Peacock clan
    • "Badlaa" — legless Indian Body Snatcher/illusionist
    • "The Amazing Maleeni" — banker in a wheelchair turns out to be able-bodied and impersonating his deceased twin
  • Breeny from Zoey Duncan Jack And Jane
  • Hunchback, leader of Black Cat gang from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent had a Stephen Hawking expy who was not as handicapped as he made himself out to be, and almost got away with the murder.
  • Criminal Minds
    • In the two-parter "The Fisher King", the UnSub turns out to be a guy with burns over ninety-percent of his body.
    • "Roadkill" features a wheelchair-using killer who committed hit and run homicides with a modified pickup truck.
    • "To Hell..."/"...and Back" featured a quadriplegic doctor who was manipulating his mentally retarded younger brother into committing murders so he could have fresh bodies for his experiments (he wanted to find a way to cure his condition). Although, it was said there was no way he could get actual information from his experiments. He just liked killing people.
    • "A Family Affair" had another wheelchaired UnSub, except this one had his family bring him victims and then he would kill them.
  • Lex Luthor in Season 8 of Smallville, courtesy of horrific injuries sustained in the previous season's finale. Confined to the back of a truck, he is unable to move or breathe without the means of a respirator, is down an eye, and is hooked up to a life-support system in the back of a moving truck. Luckily for him, he maintains his Chessmaster status, which continues to render him very dangerous.
  • In Strange Luck, Chance's love interest, a former faith healer is being chased by a crippled billionaire (who looks like Stephen Hawking) as he wants her to heal his condition as her powers are genuine. When she does heal him, it only ends up killing him instead.
  • William Raines from The Pretender who is dependent upon an oxygen tank that he wheels everywhere with him that only increased it by the squeaking noise the wheels made. To really nail it in, the Costume the Pretender picks for a Halloween Costume is to make himself look like William Raines.
  • Warehouse 13 has Walter Sykes, who was turned evil by an artifact that also allowed him to walk. His entire goal is revenge on the warehouse for taking the artifact from him.
  • Louis Canning of The Good Wife is a rare justified Evil Cripple; a deceitful Manipulative Bastard of an attorney who defends equally unscrupulous rich clients and shamelessly exploits his Parkinsons-like neurological disorder by exaggerating his symptoms in court to milk sympathy with juries, judges and prospective clients. While the disorder is real, Canning toys with whether you should feel sympathy for him or consider him an insult to disabled folks who don't make a spectacle of it.
  • Lois and Clark had a quadriplegic villain who moved around in a giant wheeled pyramid-like contraption, who tried to lure Superman into a trap, hoping to amputate Supes' head and replace it with his own.
  • Hector 'Tio' Salamanca of Breaking Bad is a high-ranking cartel man reduced (presumably) by a stroke to being bound to a wheelchair and communicating via a bell. However, he's still as ruthless as he ever was and retains his cartel connections with the help of his psychotic nephews.
  • Justified has two examples:
    • The first is Johnny Crowder who was a member of an organised crime family long before he was crippled by a shotgun blast from his Uncle Bo (whom he had tried to betray). He holds his cousin Boyd responsible for this, and spends the rest of the show plotting against him, even as he recovers enough to leave his wheelchair with the aide of crutches.
    • The second example is marijuana dealer Dickie Bennett, who walks with a limp thanks to Raylan Givens striking him in the knee with a baseball bat when they were teenagers (Dickie started the fight). He's essentially trapped at the moment when Raylan broke his leg and has never fully grown up; he's best described as physically crippled, emotionally stunted, and dangerously unpredictable.
  • In The Tribe, Ram, the leader of the villainous Technos, uses an advanced wheelchair he probably designed himself. He does eventually learn to walk again by the end of Series 5, so we get to see this slowly subverted.
  • Mission: Impossible: Jake Morgan in "Bayou". He is a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit who runs a white slavery ring and has a wooden leg because a gator bit his leg off.

    Music 
  • In the video clip of Rammstein's "Ich Will", all band members are depicted as bank robbers/terrorists who all have some form of physical handicap. Till wears a leg brace, which the makers say was meant to be reminiscent of a devil's hoof.
  • In the DVD musical performance of !Hero: The Rock Opera, Governor Pilate is depicted as this during "Kill The Hero".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During his stint in Ring of Honor in 2008, normally squeaky clean babyface Zach Gowen was wheeled out as a surprise member of the Age of the Fall, the dominating heel faction of that time. What makes him an Evil Cripple? How about the fact that he only has one leg?
  • Vickie Guerrero, during her Smack Down! general manager run in 2008, in cahoots with Edge and the faction La Familia.
  • In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, there was Ron Wright, former wrestler and manager, who used a wheelchair after years of in-ring abuse. He tried to play the sympathy card with the crowd, but he was still the same heel as he'd always been, interfering on behalf of his clients and berating the crowds for not sending him money for a surgery that would help his condition.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • In No One Lives Forever II (which is an Affectionate Parody of Spy Fiction in general), a villain from the original game returns in a wheelchair... with integrated rocket launchers. For starters.
  • Averted with Belger, the Big Bad of Final Fight. He only appears to be a cripple, but when his wheelchair is destroyed, he proves perfectly capable of of standing.
  • Ze mad scientist Professor von Kriplespac from Conkers Bad Fur Day; an anthropomorphic weasel with a mechanical arm, eye, and thick German accent, he zips around in a hoverchair to make up for his lost legs. Oh, and did we mention that he's the leader of an army of robotic Nazi teddy bears?
  • Von Bolt from Advance Wars: Dual Strike.
  • Subverted in one of the Ace Attorney games. The killer is wheelchair-bound, but he's easily one of the series' most sympathetic murderers and it's even said that he isn't really a bad man. He's also smart enough to accuse Nick of being discriminatory, since accusing a man in a wheelchair of murder is generally seen as a bit tasteless.
  • The Society's Controller from Front Mission Gunhazard gets a giant flying fortress and life support for his wheelchair.
  • Cunningham from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, although his missing leg doesn't impede his ability to move around (but he was forced into a desk job anyway, which was why he set out on his Evil Plan). His disability is treated relatively realistically, though - well, for Metal Gear.
  • League of Legends: Jericho Swain. He's a cripple with a cane. He's one of the bad guys, has a raven that can blast enemies with lightning, and he can shapeshift into a giant humanoid vampiric raven himself. He also walks faster than the game's phoenix and gyrocopter pilot champions.
  • Crysis 2: Jacob Hargreave - He guides you, designed the suit you're wearing, has the most intimate knowledge of the Ceph incursion then turns on you, tries to kill you to peel you out of the suit (that is keeping you alive!), and when that fails, tries to blow you up. Oh, and he was crippled, floating in a stasis tank the whole time.
  • Ozwell E. Spencer, Bigger Bad and The Man Behind the Man to almost everything in the Resident Evil games, is ultimately revealed in Resident Evil 5 to be a sick, crippled old man in a wheelchair, hooked up to life support and dreaming of godhood. Without his Dragon-in-Chief Sergei Vladimir he's of very little threat, and is slain by Wild Card Albert Wesker before the heroes can even meet him.
  • Hugh Darrow from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. His plot to turn humanity against augmentation is mostly driven by his resentment over not being able to treat his condition with the technology he pioneered due to genetic incompatibility.
  • During Triple H's story in WWE 12, The Miz uses a wheelchair after a career-ending leg injury. Or so it appears; it's eventually subverted when he jumps out of his chair and attacks you during one of your matches.
  • In the video game version of The Warriors the leader of the Turnbull AC gang is Birdie, who is bound by his wheelchair since he can't walk. Despite being in a wheelchair, some of Birdie's henchmen fear him and he is known to running over people's groin with his wheelchair. When you fight him, he pulls a gun on you and you knock him off a ledge by hurling bottles and bricks at him.
  • Eye of Adam from The Cat Lady is completely paralyzed and dependant on a computer (which has a special attachment that registers his eye-movement) for communication. He's also The Troll who goaded Mitzi's boyfriend into committing suicide.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Survival of the Fittest: Jackie Broughten in a nutshell, who has a permanently damaged leg from getting hit by a car. Her first action on the island? Slicing Maria Santiago's throat open with a saw. And that's not even going into her Hearing Voices...
  • Caustic Critic Mr. Plinkett of Red Letter Media is allegedly 90+ years old and in a wheelchair. He also regularly talks about committing actions that would make him a monster if he wasn't so funny.
  • Smosh's parody of Death Note has wheelchair-bound thief Cecil Adams as the first victim of the Death Note.
  • Doctor Philippe Moreau, even geneticist and Mad Scientist extraordinaire, from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. He's in a wheelchair because he only half-succeeded in his quest for immortality. He will never die of old age... but now that he's in his late 160's and feeling every second of his age, he wishes he could. He takes his rage and frustration out on the world as a consequence.
  • Loiselle Barthelemy is pretty damn malicious and once burned half of Provence to the ground. She is also on Interpol, meaning she is wanted in several countries.
    • If requiring prosthetic limbs count, Atlasnaya Molotov and according to her description, she was trained to be utterly ruthless.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in the episode of South Park featuring Christopher Reeve.
    • And Jimmy under the effects of steroids.
  • Mr. Brisby from The Venture Bros..
  • The evil Deen in the Jonny Quest episode "Turu the Terrible" uses a wheelchair. (Just how did a guy in a wheelchair get into the Amazon rainforest?). There's also Doctor Jeremiah Surd, the quadriplegic super-hacker and Mad Scientist from Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures who repeatedly uses Questworld VR technology to compensate for his disability (in Questworld, he's a god) and twice attempted to cure himself with it.
  • Lucius VI on Jimmy Two-Shoes. Apparently, his wheelchair wheels are grafted right onto him.
  • The leader of the Jerk Jocks in The Cleveland Show is deaf.
  • Combustion Man from Avatar: The Last Airbender has a prosthetic right forearm and lower leg, purportedly from injuries sustained when still learning to control his technique.
  • The Batman Beyond villain Shriek, an engineer specializing in sonic technology, was rendered deaf after his first encounter with Batman, which led to him becoming a vengeful recurring foe.
  • The Handicapped Mafia from American Dad!
  • A later Inspector Gadget episode, "Gadget Meets the Clan", featured a disabled mafia boss.
  • Word of God confirms that minor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) villain the Garbageman has no legs, explaining why he was only ever shown riding around in Mini-Mecha.
  • Krang from the first cartoon also counts. He's a disembodied brain according to backstory, so essentially helpless without his android body or bubble-walker.
  • The disable boy that Penny dated in The Proud Family seems to be friendly at first but turns out to be a rude asshole towards her family and friends.


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Bury Your DisabledGender Dynamics IndexInspirationally Disadvantaged
Evil AlbinoIndexitisEyepatch of Power
The EverymanCharacters as DeviceEvil Jesuit
Evil CounterpartVillainsEvil Debt Collector
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