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Evil Redhead
Congratulations, you're now contemplating switching to the Dark... er, Red Side.
"Those whose hair is red, of a certain peculiar shade, are unmistakably vampires."

Some heroes are redheads and we all know that Heroes Want Redheads. By contrast, there are also Evil Redheads. These are characters who are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. (Not to imply that heroes can't want evil redheads.)

This trope is Older Than They Think - red hair was supposedly a mark of a witch and favored by Satan himself. In the Balkans, people unfortunate enough to be born with red hair were said to be doomed to rise as vampires when they died, if they weren't vampires already. In some parts of Eastern Europe, babies born with red hair were once common targets of infanticide.

Bullies in school media often have red hair because of the temperamental redhead stereotype. Note the dovetailing with the Violent Glaswegian, though that seldom overlaps. Contrast Redheaded Hero, wherein the hero's red hair makes them noble leaders, and Redheaded Stepchild, wherein the redhead is despised but not necessarily evil, as well as the growing tendency over the past few decades for heroes to have red-haired romantic interests, especially green-eyed ones.

May be used to visually demonstrate the difference between this character and the blond or dark-haired hero.

Compare Evil Albino, Blond Guys Are Evil, and Blondes are Evil.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Phoenix from X-Men, in both the comic and the movie.
    • Not to mention her clone, Madelyne Pryor, who became the Goblyn Queen.
    • Of course, Dark Phoenix is simply redheaded Jean Grey (a founding example of Heroes Want Redheads) on too much power or a confused godlike being, depending on the story/retcon/ret-retcon. The way she's thought of more for that one arc than for her decades of being a hero before and after it is a trope of its own. Maddie didn't start out evil, either.
    • Also in X-Men, Cain Marko, aka Juggernaut, is a redhead, though it's rarely explicitly shown thanks to his signature helmet of psi blockage.
    • Then there's Belasco, the red-haired, devil-horned sorcerer who stole Illyana Rasputin's childhood.
    • And the shape-changing Mystique, whose default body is a combination of blue skin and red hair. Her adoptive daughter, auburn-haired Rogue, starts out as a villain (the Scarlet Witch's hair has pretty much the same shade).
    • Aversion: Thomas is the evil member of the Cassidy family. Sean and Theresa are redhaired and heroic, while Black Tom has black hair.
  • Pamela Isley, alias Poison Ivy, of Batman fame.
    • Also, Hush, one of Bruce's childhood friends, introduced rather recently (and has taken The Only One Allowed to Defeat You route as of Detective Comics #846).
    • The Scarecrow and The Riddler can be redheads depending on the artist.
  • Lex Luthor usually has red hair, when he has hair. In fact, he didn't lose his hair until his fifth generation.
  • Lightning Lord, older brother of the Ranzz siblings of Legion fame...although his more iconic look is from after his hair has turned white.
  • From Spider-Man's milieu:
    • Carnage's alter ego Cletus Kasady has red hair.
    • Norman and Harry Osborn, the first and second Green Goblin, are described as having reddish-brown hair.
  • 'Red' Gurdy Pickens, the recurring Villain Sue of B.A.'s campaigns, in Knights of the Dinner Table.
  • Lucifer's hair is red most of the time in The Sandman and in his own comic. Of course he isn't exactly evil in them, but more like a rather amoral Anti-Hero.
  • Based on the cover art and the video game, Scott Pilgrim's ex-girlfriend Envy is one, though they made her blonde in the movie. To be fair, her "evilness" isn't so clear-cut, as we learn what an Unreliable Narrator Scott is.
  • Batman: Jason Todd was retconnednote  into being a redhead. Batman apparently made him dye his hair black to hide the fact that the role of Robin had gone to someone else.
  • Commander Winter from Lady Mechanika.
  • When Red Skull still had his original body, he was a red head. His daughter, Sin, is also a red head and completely Ax-Crazy.
    • Red Skull is a literal version of this trope.
  • Chastity is the redhead of all of Chaos Comics' band of Heroic Sociopaths.
  • Giganta, supervillainess with growing powers and foe of Wonder Woman, is a red head.
  • The Incredibles has Mezmerella.
  • Lillie McGurty in Runaways, though her villainy didn't really start until after her hair had turned grey. Ironically, one of the biggest victims of her obsession turned out to be herself, as her machinations in the present were ultimately responsible for the events in 1907 that caused her to become bitter and lonely in the first place.

    Fanfic 

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 

    Jokes 
  • A joke where a man wearing a hat sells his soul to the devil in exchange for all his earthly desires to be granted. Years later, the devil returns to collect, only for the man to remove his hat, revealing a magnificent flame-red mane. The joke, of course, being that Gingers Have No Soul.

    Literature 
  • Pictured above: Melisandre of A Song of Ice and Fire is an marginal example. As a Knight Templar priestess who worships a fire-themed god and often recommends human sacrifice by burning, she's regarded by many characters as an Evil Chancellor. However, she's also firmly committed to fighting the overtly evil Others, believing that the brutal actions she recommends are necessary for the greater good of humanity. Ultimately, her morality is somewhat debatable. The series as a whole averts this, though.
  • In The Woman in White, the female villain is red-haired, and she's stated to have a bit of a Freudian Excuse due to having always been considered ugly because of it.
  • Jack from Lord of the Flies.
  • All Shades from the Inheritance Cycle have red hair.
  • Roussette in Madame d'Aulnoy's Princess Belle-Etoile is a redhead with two younger sisters - one brunette and one blonde. Roussette becomes jealous of her sisters because they married princes while she only married an admiral, leading her to make a Face-Heel Turn and side with her sisters' evil mother-in-law.
    • Grognon from Graciosa and Percinet is even worse. Unlike Roussette, Grognon is bad from the start, and she becomes the Wicked Stepmother of Graciosa, and repeatedly tries to get rid of her - using methods such as ordering her to be beaten, abandoning her in the woods, and imprisoning her.
  • Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles has many red-haired vampires. Most notably, Maharet and her scary-as-hell sister Mekare - though the yandere-like Armand arguably fits the bill too. Maharet, however, is nothing approaching evil (apart from being a vampire, which she was made into against her will).
  • In the Illuminatus! trilogy, Satan prefers redheads and they explore this trope in depth.
    • Well, it's a reference to old folk-beliefs. It works because the Black Mass participants believe it should. In an inversion, one of the participants is a protagonist who is taking his first steps in his path away from social conventions towards illumination. He and the redhead get some good sex out of the deal and get to meet Malaclypse the Elder disguised as Satan disguised as Billy Graham.
  • Both used and averted in Talking to Dragons, Book 4 of Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The first girl the protagonist meets (and his eventual love interest) is a redheaded fire-witch who's rude and temperamental, but basically good. Later, they meet another redheaded fire-witch (fire-witches in general are prone to red hair) who likes turning people into statues and uses torture to power her spells.
  • Lampshaded in the short story "Nobody Here But-" by Isaac Asimov where the protagonist suspects his girlfriend is bitchy just because she has to live up to her red hair.
  • Celia Madden of The Damnation of Theron Ware. (Though perhaps "evil" might be a bit strong, as "bitchy" serves just as well. But it still counts.)
  • The ghost of Peter Quint from the Victorian novella The Turn of the Screw, who the main character thinks has come back from the dead to try and corrupt the small boy she's been charged with watching over. Of course, the ghost may just be in her head. Apparently, at the time the novel was written, it was quite common for red-haired characters to be portrayed in this villainous way.
  • Lumiya from the Star Wars Expanded Universe — formerly known as Shira Brie, as well as Admiral Natasi Daala. Also, judging by the images of his clones, plus some earlier life picture, Emperor Palpatine himself was one. Mara Jade counts, at least until she gets married to Luke Skywalker.
  • SO averted in Harry Potter. J. K. Rowling must like redheads.
  • Brand from The Chronicles of Amber, who wanted to destroy the universe and remake it in his own image. And his redheaded siblings, Bleys and Fiona, are also fairly morally dubious. To be fair to Brand, the rest of the family had its own moral issues, though by the end, some of the others had made some progress toward outgrowing it.
  • In The Day of the Triffids, the protagonist is fired upon without provocation by a nameless gang leader with red hair. He later shows up in an armoured vehicle as 'Torrence', representing a despotic feudal 'government' trying to extend its influence over Britain.
  • In the Andrew Vachss novel Strega, unlicensed private eye Burke does a job for the titular character, the crazy flame-haired relative of a Mafia boss, who wields a mysterious power over men. It later turns out the Mafia boss molested her as a little girl; when Strega told her father, she was beaten for telling 'lies', teaching her an early lesson in power that she later puts to use.
  • The Lone Power, from the Young Wizards series, often appears as a young man with red(dish) hair.
  • Psycho Misandrist Adept Red of the Apprentice Adept series
  • Victoria from Twilight
  • Children of the Corn has Malachi.
  • In I, Coriander, Arise insists Coriander must be evil because of her red hair - "All these curls, red as the flames of Satan! This is vanity, this is pride."
  • In Good Omens, a woman first introduced as Scarlett and later Carmine "Red" Zuigiber is a Fiery Redhead who deals in weapons and seems to cause violence through her mere presence. She's eventually revealed to be the Anthropomorphic Personification of War, first of the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. Averted with Pepper, one of Adam's friends.
  • In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, the genie tries to invoke this, abusing Ginny for having "hair like hell". She ignores it.
  • Ruin, the personification of entropy, chaos, and destruction in Mistborn - while usually either shapeless or impersonating people - physically manifests as a redheaded man.
    • Notably, the mind of Ruin {separate from the power) was actually once a man named Ati, and a note in The Way of Kings, which is in the same Verse as Mistborn, indicates that Ati was a nice guy before he became bonded to the power and it warped his mind. So his evil had nothing to do with being a redhead and his physical body was essentially completely irrelevant. We don't even get to see his physical form until he was already dead.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, this is one of the reasons Jeeves advises Bertie to steer clear of Bobbie Wickham.
    "I would always hesitate to recommend as a life's companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous."
  • Morgan Le Fay in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The narrator, when explaining why she imprisoned and tormented a man:
    He had said she had red hair. Well, she had; but that was no way to speak of it. When red-headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.
  • In Ian Fleming's Moonraker, Hugo Drax had red hair that really underscored his startling appearance.
  • Foxface in The Hunger Games... for a certain value of evil.
  • Mr. Croup from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
  • Neferet from The House of Night. Elliot from the first book is a pretty big asshole and later becomes an undead Fledgling.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Dream Masters on Sliders. Very ginger and very evil.
  • Played with Lydia on Teen Wolf, particularly in "Lunatic." Way to blatantly manipulate Allison and Scott.
  • In Burn Notice, one of the most vicious female characters to date (and definitely the youngest vicious character), Eve, is played by redheaded actress Aviva. Fiona comments that she's the first natural redhead she's seen since leaving Ireland.
  • Criminal Minds has some red-haired UnSubs, like Karl Arnold, aka The Fox.
  • Edna from Downton Abbey, who manipulates everyone she meets (but doesn't fool Mrs. Hughes for a second).
  • Both film adaptations of Dune have this going on: David Lynch's has a strawberry-blond Feyd-Rautha (played by an enthusiastic Sting in brass underpants) and the miniseries features Ian McNiece as a Baron Harkonnen rocking the henna look.
  • ER's Kerry Weaver, although she's generally more a pain in the ass than actually evil.
  • Joey Caruso from Everybody Hates Chris.
  • In Firefly, we have Saffron. Or Yolanda. Or Bridget. No one's sure what her real name is, we just know she has red hair.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace has the hero battling evil Scotsmen, with his own hair turned red after a killer bagpipe attack. Fortunately, his personality is not affected (probably because he's already a bigoted Jerk Ass).
  • Peggy from Married... with Children - according to Al, at least.
  • Kimberly Mancini and Sydney Andrews from Melrose Place. Also, Violet from Melrose Place, 2009.
  • In NCIS, McGee is wooed by a North Korean-employed red-haired assassin, played by Lindy Booth. Booth seems to have the seductively evil redhead down pat.
  • Budnick from Salute Your Shorts.
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles has Catherine Weaver.
  • Sharona in Sonny With A Chance.
  • Spellbinder Ashka from, well, Spellbinder was a redhead and also a power-hungry, cunning, vicious bitch.
  • Seska, the manipulative Cardassian spy from Star Trek: Voyager.
  • In Supernatural, Anna Milton, who ends up fighting the blonde Mary Winchester in The Song Remains The Same.
    • This was, however, a rather sad addendum to her original Heroes Want Redheads function (which was perhaps subverted in that the redhead wanted the hero!).
  • Kitty Monroe in True Jackson.
  • Semi-averted in Waterloo Road. The show's only redhead, Danielle, hangs around with Aleesha, who is pretty evil (sabotaging Park Side Story, tricking Karla into the whole petition thing). However, Danielle, to her credit, has balked at many of Aleesha's more evil schemes and actively refuses to take part in them.
  • In The X-Files "All Souls", Aaron Starkey.
  • The Young Ones: three brunettes, one ginger, all unpleasant. Still, guess which one is the most violent and destructive.
  • In the Doctor Who story The King's Demons, the king's champion has red hair.
  • Smallville: Prior to her Heel-Face Turn, Anti-Villain and Well-Intentioned Extremist Tess Mercer is this. Her brother Lex Luthor is technically also this, though due to an accident he's actually Bald of Evil.
  • Stargate SG-1: The Goa'uld Hathor inhabits the body of a red-haired woman.

    Music 
  • Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, at least in his songs.
  • Garbage's Shirley Manson sings in a rather EVIL fashion.
  • And before Garbage, this was Danny Elfman's stage persona. He looks so cheerfully demonic that you have to wonder why he wasn't cast as The Joker.
  • David Bowie's stage persona of The Thin White Duke, a heartless aristocrat, had predominantly reddish-orange hair.

    Mythology 
  • It's a common folk belief that many evil figures in The Bible, most notably Cain and Judas Iscariot, had red hair, despite there being no textual evidence of this. In Medieval times, when most of the population was illiterate, stained-glass windows in churches would tell various stories from the Bible in picture form and red hair was used as a shorthand for evilness, since it evoked the image of fire and Hell.
    • Averted — actually, inverted — in Robert Graves' King Jesus, where Jesus has red hair, this being one of the eight "signs of royalty".
    • Also averted with most depictions of Mary Magdalene, who is generally portrayed with red hair.
    • To quote Im Sorry I Havent A Clue, "Judas is carrot".
    • Straight-up subverted by David, whom Samuel was reluctant to appoint king because of his red hair, which was associated with violence and bloodshed, until God told him that David would shed much blood, but it would be that of Israel's enemies.
    • According to some translations of the Bible, the devil has curly red hair.
  • Older Than Dirt: the ancient Egyptian pantheon has the god Set, best remembered for hacking his brother Osiris into bits and scattering the pieces about the world. He was depicted as being a redhead — or at least red-furred, since he was usually depicted with the head of an unidentifiable animal.
    • And then there was the attempted schtupping of Horus...sheesh.
    • There is some speculation about what kind of animal Set is often shown as, but it resembles an aardvark — which don't have much fur on their heads anyway.
  • Loki, the god of mischief in Norse Mythology, in contrast to the much more masculine Red-Headed Hero Thor. In Norse tradition, those born with red hair and blue eyes were thought to possess supernatural strength and were more likely to be harbingers of battle. The modern depiction of Thor with blond hair is wrong on multiple levels, as blonds were considered to be calmer and more strategic in battle, hence Odin's coloration.
  • Rumour has it that red hair was considered a positive factor in selection to become a druid - this may account for the malign reputation of red-headedness amongst those cultures that were hostile to Celts. (And probably among the Christian missionaries too.)
  • At least one painting of Pandora, the first-woman whose curiosity brought diseases into the world, gives her fiery red hair and a scary look on her face.
    • A few pre-Raphaelites depicted Salomé as a ginger, too.
  • Averted with King Menelaos of Homeric legend, always depicted as a redhead, because his name is Menelaos Xanthos, which means "Menelaos the Blond". Yeah, it's that sensible.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • Macbeth: Given their origin, the "dead butcher and his fiendlike queen" are generally portrayed as redheads.
  • The original Sweeney Todd was a redhead in the book. Modern depictions tend to run more toward Looking Like Cesare, though.
  • Because of the association with Judas, Shylock of The Merchant of Venice was originally portrayed as a redhead, and this was generally a common trait of "evil Jew" characters.
  • Redhead.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • Psycho for Hire Valentino from the Marilith webcomic. To her defense, she was made a psycho killer in a gulag.
  • Lysinda and Oasis from Sluggy Freelance. Particularly emphasized with Lysinda, who sports red hair even when the rest of the strip is in black and white.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf generally looks bald in most panels, but look at the close-ups or his feet: He's a stubbly Chaotic Evil redhead. He does have hair. Not much of it, though.
    • Pompey, Vaarsuvius' second Evil Counterpart in the Linear Guild has bright red hair - part of his being an evil opposite to V involves the fact that V wears red and has purple hair while Pompey wears purple and has red hair.
    • While he's only made a few appearances in the comic, the Norse deity Loki is a literal Fiery Redhead and identified as being Chaotic Evil. On the other hand, he seems pretty nice and gets along well with Thor.
  • Player 2. He's entierly red, but his actual hair is ginger. Also the only Player with a Beard of Evil.
    • Christian has dark-reddish-brown hair and a soul patch to boot.
  • Mal from Head Trip probably counts, although she isn't completely heartless.
  • Evil Diva has the red hair of the character she's supposed to have. White Sheep, unfortunately for her.
  • Cerise from Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks, who is not only part of Melissa's clique, but also plots to overthrow Melissa and take over.
  • Bob, of Bob and George, is a LITERAL fiery redhead: his hair is red, his powers are fire-based, and when he's really pissed off, his hair tends to burst into flames. His place in the comic tends to swing between Heroic Comedic Sociopath and outright villain.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamers Alliance, Duchess Vaetris L'andariel of the Eastern Horde and her sister Nina are quite evil and ambitious villainesses who have red hair. It runs in the family.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, Melina Frost of V3.
    • While not an actual redhead, Maxwell Lombardi has dyed red streaks in his hair. And given that he is one of the few killers in v4 to actually enjoy killing...well, he fits.
  • Broken Saints - Lear Dunham. His son Gabriel also has a reddish tint to his hair, at least in some lights.
  • The MS Paint Fan Adventure Alanna has Tristan, primary antagonist and confirmed murdered. Later in the story, Alanna finds a half-empty bottle of red hair dye.
  • N'Ktane in Tasakeru fits the bill. So does Hanami, whose hair changes color when N'Ktane possesses her.
  • Monster High: Alpha Bitch catgirl, Torelei Stripes.
  • RWBY: Jerkass and resident bully Cardin Winchester. Also notorious criminal Roman Torchwick, whose hair is closer to a dark orange.
  • One Not Always Right customer refuses to be served by a waitress wearing a pentagram necklace. The (black-haired) waitress goes to the back, removes the necklace and comes to find the customer all smiles, going on about that horrid red-haired heathen who just tried to serve them. The customer's husband just looks tired, evidently going through this scene any time they eat out.

    Western Animation 
  • Vicky, the babysitter from hell from The Fairly Oddparents. Chip Skylark writes a song about her titled "Icky Vicky".
  • South Park did an entire episode, "Ginger Kids", where Cartman was convinced that "gingers" (pale, freckled, red-headed kids) were monstrous, Children of the Corn-like abominations. In what would have been a surprising example of Hypocritical Humor were we speaking of anyone other than Eric Cartman, after his friends tried teaching him a lesson by making him up to look like a "ginger" while he slept, Cartman soon decided that "his people" were the master race. And since this is Cartman we're talking about, he was attempting genocide before the end of the episode.
    • The Ginger kids return in the 200th and 201st episode and demand the town hand over Muhammad so they could obtain his ability to not get ripped on. It is revealed a now Ax-Crazy Scott Tenorman is their leader. He justifiably wants revenge on Cartman for making him eat his parents. He puts him through an ordeal much like the one the Joker put Commissioner Gordon through in The Killing Joke.
  • Death Watch member Bo-Katan from Star Wars: The Clone Wars (since her first un-helmeted in Season 5's Eminence).
  • The Boss from Dan Vs..
  • Jack Spicer from Xiaolin Showdown, Hotstreak from Static Shock, and Montana Max from Tiny Toon Adventures, all voiced by redhead Danny Cooksey, who also played red-headed antagonistic jerk Budnick on Salute Your Shorts. Perhaps Danny Cooksey himself is evil, too. Nobody knows.
    • If he is, he's bound to be harmless. He also lends his voice to the heroic-but-cowardly Dave from Dave the Barbarian (who, notably, is not redheaded—but his more aggressive sisters are). This overlaps with Jack's notable cowardliness, so we've little to worry about from Mr. Cooksey if he's a villainous type.
      • Don't forget the first appearance of his Teen Titans villain, Control Freak.
      • Aaand subverted with Keef on Invader Zim, who is terrifyingly nice.
  • And back to Xiaolin Showdown, Wuya's true form has red hair.
  • The Wicked Witch in Cyberchase has bright, flaming red hair. In fact, it could be considered orange.
  • Kelly from Stoked.
  • Princess Morbucks from The Powerpuff Girls, who is probably the best example of Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. Blossom's two Evil Counterparts, Brick of the Rowdyruff Boys and Berserk of the Powerpunk Girls (who is a comic-only character) also count..
  • Lee Kanker and Sarah in Ed, Edd n Eddy
  • Subverted in the direct-to-DVD followups of Disney's Cinderella: Anastasia, who was a Rich Bitch in the original movie, is now less evil and more like a Well Done Daughter Girl.
  • Demona, from Gargoyles.
  • Mertle from Lilo & Stitch.
  • Spectra's human form in Danny Phantom is a redhead.
  • Vanessa Warfield from M.A.S.K..
  • Candace, from Phineas and Ferb, is a more benign example of the trope. She's not really evil per se; she just wants her brothers to get caught doing the outlandish things they do. Several episodes prove just how much she loves them.
  • Ed Wuncler III from The Boondocks.
  • Looney Tunes: Yosemite Sam.
  • COPS: Dr. Badvibes is a maniacal scientist who makes diabolical machines and gadgets for Big Boss's gang of Crooks.
  • On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Music Meister is a redhead. And of course, one or two characters from the comics, like Poison Ivy, fit as well.
  • Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.
  • Queen Ariana in Barbie as the Island Princess plots revenge on King Peter and his family.
  • Randall Weems, Ashley Q., Mundy, Kurst the Worst, and Gelman from Recess
  • Cousin Mel from Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Just one of the many things fans like about her.
  • Abraham Kane from Motorcity.


Dark Skinned RedheadAn Index OrangeFiery Redhead
Dark Skinned RedheadPaint the Index RedFiery Redhead
A Song of Ice and FireImageSource/LiteratureSpice and Wolf
Evil Power VacuumEvil TropesEvil Smells Bad
Dark-Skinned RedheadHair ColorsFiery Redhead
Evil ReactionaryAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Evil Tower of Ominousness

alternative title(s): Evil Redheads; Gingers Have No Soul
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