An easy way to tell if someone is evil
"The pitch of my voice is digitally lowered to make it sound more sinister!
is if their voice is much deeper than a normal character's, often artificially so. If someone undergoes a Face-Heel Turn
, then along with their Evil Makeover
, their voice will either drop a few octaves, get put through a voice modulator, or be combined with another voice speaking in a much deeper tone. If an Anti-Hero
decides to move a few notches down the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
, then he will start talking in a deeper, more serious tone of voice. Male characters almost always get an unapproachable, commanding cadence. Villainesses usually get a sultry, suggestive one
, unless they're supposed to be in command or scary
, in which case their cadence will be dismissive and forbidding.
A deep voice makes the character sound strong, mature and competent, so it is a common trait for major villains that the audience is supposed to fear and respect. Consequently, such villains will usually speak in baritone register
(or in villainesses case a contralto register
), more rarely in bass register
A common inversion is an unnaturally high, cold voice, and especially laugh. Some characters with an Evil Laugh
do high-pitched cackling or be a Giggling Villain
, instead of the deeper, traditional one. These are usually a more unnatural and degenerate kind of evil. Taken further, anyone speaking with the Voice of the Legion
is incredibly dangerous.
Because deep voices are often considered attractive
, this may overlap with Evil Is Sexy
. If it's to do with the character having great power it can be related to Power Makes Your Voice Deep
May be justified if the evil character becomes a huge One-Winged Angel
with longer vocal cords, since that would make their voice deeper.
Has nothing to do with Fauxlosophic Narration
or Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
This often pops up in theatrical productions as Alto Villainess
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Anime & Manga
- Lucy in Elfen Lied has a much deeper voice than her "good" personality, Nyu.
- Gauron, the main bad guy from the first season of Full Metal Panic!!, has the deepest voice of all characters in the show. This is somewhat subverted in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, where new villainous character Leonard Testarossa has a voice almost as soft and gentle as a girl's — though it's still deeper than that of his sister, who is naturally one of the good guys...
- Slayers: SHABURANIGUDO! Especially in Japanese, the Dark Lord's voice is so artificially low as to be comical.
- Alucard from Hellsing is technically a good guy, but monstrous enough to freak out undead super-Nazis, and speaks in Joji Nakata's ultra-deep drawl.
- Lelouch of Code Geass, who is sort of like a "flamboyant, possibly evil Batman", canonically has a voice changing device in his Zero costume which deepens his voice when he's wearing it.
- Wei in the Darker Than Black dub; also, particularly in the dub, Hei seems to do the Anti-Hero routine also, speaking in a deeper voice when being BK-201 than when being the friendly and harmless Li. Averted, though, with Mao who has a very deep voice but is a nice guy. And a cat.
- Vicious of Cowboy Bebop. Norio Wakamoto is famous for these kinds of roles.
- In the same series, this trope is inverted in Jet Black's deep voice
- In Blood+, Flamboyant Gay chiropteran Nathan Mahler changed his voice to a demonic rumble whenever he wanted to sound threatening. Even the Dragon-in-Chief Amshel will back down when this happens, because Nathan is far more powerful and dangerous than he seems. Good thing he's not actually evil.
- GaoGaiGar has Pasdar and Palparepa.
- Xanxus from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! has a much deeper voice than most of the good guys in the show - though most noticeably much deeper than Tsuna (who is voiced by a girl).
- Marik Ishtar's shadow self in Yu-Gi-Oh!. His normal self's voice is actually higher-pitched than a normal man. There's also Bakura, who, on top of being deep-voiced, is British, which increases his evilness.
- When Marik pretends to be a protagonist and after his Heel-Face Turn, his voice gets higher and softer.
- Bakura both plays it straight and subverts it in the original Japanese. His Superpowered Evil Side has a deeper voice than his normal self, but he was voiced by a woman, so his voice is considerably high and effeminate.
- During season zero, even Yugi's spirit partner (the pharaoh) could easily be interpreted as evil, or at least a Sociopathic Hero. Even this early on, when his voice was rather soft, it was still deeper than Yugi's.
- Nakago from Fushigi Yuugi. Yui's voice changes from sweet and sunny to rough and dramatic when she undergoes a Face-Heel Turn.
- Ryuk of Death Note has a rather deep voice in both Japanese and the English dub. While he does have more standards than the soft-spoken Villain Protagonist Light, he is still rather evil, given his method of relieving boredom. Perhaps averted by L, who has a deeper voice than Light and is the Hero Antagonist.
- Light Yagami actually plays this trope straight. When he is having his Kira-ish inner monologues, his voice tone gets deeper.
- Several of the villains in Naruto have displayed this trait and changes in tone to indicate shifts in character.
- The Kyuubi plays this trope straight: it's completely malevolent and has a very deep, very gravelly voice.
- On introduction, Sasori has a deep and gravelly voice, but switches to a lighter voice later on. Rather than indicating an improvement in the character, this precedes the true horror of his abilities.
- Kakuzu plays this trope straight; he's a Psycho for Hire and speaks with a deep and steady voice.
- The most significant occurrence is that of Tobi. While in his initial persona, he speaks in a light, childish voice and his actions match. However, when he is acting as Madara, his voice deepens and matures as well as his actions (he even has completely different voice actors for each).
- Itachi Uchiha also has a deep voice. Subverted in that he is actually Good All Along.
- One of the most jarring and most recent examples in the English Dub of Pain, who has arguably the deepest voice on the show, which is expected when the voice actor is Troy Baker. Played with however, Due to Nagato, Pain's controller, having a high-pitched tone of voice.
- In One Piece, the character Rob Lucci could at first only "speak" through his high-pitched pigeon Hattori. However, when he is unveiled as the immensely powerful evil leader in CP9's plot to capture Nico Robin, his 'real' voice is revealed to be much, much deeper. Interestingly, this was not done through the use of any synthesizers - the same seiyuu performed both parts.
- Show Hayami, who voices notable villains like Muraki Kazukaka in Descendants of Darkness and Sousuke Aizen in Bleach.
- Giovanni of Pokémon has a very deep, echoing voice every time he appears on a television or computer screen in the earlier episodes. This appears to be the result of computer editing. However, even when he appears in person, his voice is still quite deep.
- Paul from the Sinnoh arc is by far the meanest rival in the series and has a voice that's way too deep for a 10 year old.
- Mewtwo in the English dub of the first film, where he's the antagonist.
- Soul Eater's Medusa, being a Consummate Liar, has a pleasant, normally-pitched voice when she's pretending to be on the good side and a deep, throaty voice when she's being her violent self. It's particularly alarming when coming out of the borrowed child's body later in the series.
- Used in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood with the Greed/Ling relationship. Greed isn't necessarily evil, but he is given a very deep voice on the show. In contrast, his human host, Ling, has a fairly soft voice.
- Type-Moon loves this trope, or, to be more specific, Joji Nakata. An interesting example is seen in Archer; his voice is much deeper than Shirou's, even though they're the same person. Proof that your moral alignment directly influences your tone!
- In the first The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel, Kyon uses the term "clear soprano" to describe Ryoko Asakura's voice. Later on that day, she tries to kill him rather violently...because she got bored.
- In Descendants of Darkness, Muraki's voice is very deep. In the dub, however, he sounds like Riff Raff.
- The English dub of Dragon Ball Z does this with Frieza (portrayed then by Linda Young). Each time he transforms, his voice is artificially deepened. At first, it was just digital pitch-lowering with the 2nd form, but his 3rd form is more of a Voice of the Legion deal. The 4th form, in a subversion, brings it back to normal - high-pitched.
- The dub of Kai takes this a step further in a brilliant move: by having Frieza's voice recast (now played by Chris Ayres), having a high voice at the start, and gradually getting deeper with each transformation - without the use of artificial pitch altering. By the time Frieza reaches form 3, Chris is using his natural voice, and considering that form 3 Frieza looks like a fish demon, it makes him sound like the devil he truly is.
- The Japanese version does almost the same thing (though Freeza's Japanese voice is already noticeably deep), except for his third form, which uses a high, raspy growl.
- Cell gets a bit of this too, in the English dub. His voice starts out as a sort of hissing rasp, and then grows deeper and more cultured as he gets more powerful. But it drops to downright Satanic levels when Cell gets ready to do something truly evil, like killing Piccolo. Although his second form sounds slightly deeper than the third, the latter is much smoother.
- Inverted in the Japanese version, however, where his voice starts out monstrous and gets slightly softer and more human-like with each transformation. Considering Norio Wakamoto voices him, though, this trope still applies.
- Goku gets some of this in the English dub as well. Though he never turns evil, whenever he starts to get serious in a fight (ie, goes Super Saiyan) and drops his normal, goofy demeanor, Sean Schemmel adopts a noticeably deeper and slightly raspier voice for the character.
- Akira Touya in Hikaru no Go doesn't fit in the "evil" category (he's just The Rival to Hikaru with a tendency to look down on him), but he has a serious, introspective deep voice mode.
- Steve Blum's Lord Darcia in Wolf's Rain is a glorious example of this. The main wolfy cast have generally soft voices (except Tsume, but he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and his voice generally subverts this, getting softer over time), but Darcia's is deep and menacing during any scene with the wolves. When talking to female characters ignoring Jagura, his voice takes on a much gentler sympathetic tone but after he awakens his wolf side, his voice not only much deeper, but more menacing and mad
- In Spirited Away this is both played straight and inverted in the way the Japanese and English voice actresses were directed to voice the evil Yubaba and her good twin sister Zeniba. The original Japanese actress, Mari Natsuki, used a higher-pitched voice for the good Zeniba and a deeper voice for the evil Yubaba. In the English dub, Susanne Pleshette voiced Yubaba in a higher pitch (intending the evil one to be more shrill) and Zeniba with a lower alto.
- Fist of the North Star tends to play this straight. While main character Kenshiro has a pretty deep, gravelly man-voice, most of heroic characters are noticeably more soft-spoken than the mooks and most villains, and the main Big Bads Souther and Raoh (and Kaioh in the second story) have impressively deep voices.
- Younger Toguro from YuYu Hakusho has one of the deepest voices of any character in the series, contrasting his high voiced elder brother. Which makes sense as he shares the same voice as that of the previously mentioned Cell.
- According to Deadpool of Marvel Comics, Genius Cripple M.O.D.O.K. makes Terrence Stamp sound like Michael Jackson.
- A tad ironic, considering how high most adaptations take his voice.
- It's often mentioned how deep the voice of the Gollywog is in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His balloons are typeset with a heavy bold. He's supposedly made of very dense non-baryonic matter. One of his best moves is causing an earthquake with a loud bellow. One more example of repurposing his very racist characterization and design into happy coincidences and heroic traits.
Films — Animated
- Played with in Up. The otherwise intimidating dog Alpha has an incredibly high and squeaky voice that causes the other dogs to laugh at him; apparently, his voice box malfunctions sometimes, but when it's adjusted, it does sound quite deep. Naturally, it breaks down again when he's defeated.
- In the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo is given a deep baritone by the late great Tony Jay.
- Scar in The Lion King; though Mufasa's voice is deeper, Scar's voice is much deeper than the main hero (and tenor), Simba.
- The Disney version of Beauty and the Beast almost subverts this one by giving its hero a growly, artificially-deepened voice as long as he's in Beast form and not. So why isn't it a subversion? Gaston's voice is still lower.
- Also nearly subverted with Belle herself. She is a mezzo-soprano while her foils, the three Bimbettes, are breathy sopranos. They aren't evil, however—just air-headed fans of Gaston.
Films — Live-Action
- The Kurgan, of Highlander fame.
- Star Wars
- Darth Vader, whose voice is provided by James Earl Jones. The original actor, David Prowse, has an almost laughably nasal voice and nonthreatening accent in comparison.
- Count Dooku needs no cyborg enhancements to sound deep!
- Palpatine's voice drops a whole octave when he becomes The Emperor.
- Jabba the Hutt has a deep, booming voice. Understandable, as his larynx is presumably as over-sized as his neck.
- Laufey, the leader of the Frost Giants in Thor.
- Xerxes in 300 also had his voice deepened, to the point of sounding inhuman. Then again, he's also nine feet tall.
- This is present in many of the Batman films:
- In The Dark Knight Saga, Bruce Wayne invokes the trope by affecting a deep growl while he's being Batman. When people are tripping on the Scarecrow's drug, they perceive others (including the Scarecrow himself, of course) as evil monsters with inhumanly deep voices. While the Joker's voice is usually high-pitched and nasally, he goes surprisingly low for his choice lines, such as, "Look at me!" Bane zigzags the trope, in that the mask over his face does lower and distort Tom Hardy's rather nasally voice, but not very much. The only character to play it constantly straight is Henri Ducard, aka the real Ra's Al-Ghul, portrayed by Liam Neeson with his usual deep, husky voice.
- Michael Keaton already has a Badass Baritone and speaks slightly lower as Batman, along with whispering nearly all of his lines.
- Sartoris in The Final Sacrifice has a rather deep voice, humorously altered in post-production.
- Played with in Spaceballs, wherein Dark Helmet's voice is deep and impressive when his helmet is down, but when it's up he sounds like a whiney Rick Moranis.
- The Lord of Darkness in Legend was an electronically-deepened Tim Curry. And you thought he was scary normally.
- Khan Tusion, the sadistic Breaking Speech-prone director of the Meatholes series of porn, often has his voice shift in and out of the electronically deepened range while he's verbally abusing the performers.
- In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Nathan's voice becomes much deeper when he's in his Repo Man persona. It's lampshaded at one point:
Nathan: (deep) So Rotti thinks he can take Shilo from me.
Nathan: (normal) Nothing, Shilo, nothing. Go to bed.
- Dana's voice when possessed by Zuul in Ghostbusters. "There is no Dana, only Zuul."
- Demon-possessed Regan in The Exorcist has a very loud, deep bellow, like getting yelled at by a truck horn.
- Brad Dourif's character in Exorcist III. "It's the smiles that keep us going, don't you think?"
- Lifeforce. The male vampire at the end when he talks to Col. Caine.
[inhumanly deep] It'll be much less terrifying if you just come to me.
- The Lord of the Rings
- The films combine this with Voice of the Legion when Galadriel gets drunk on the Ring's power.
- Also, Saruman. Hell, any character played by Christopher Lee. Especially Lord Summerisle.
- Sauron himself, too, as can be discerned from what little he actually speaks. "There is no life in the void. Only... death."
- The Mouth of Sauron from the extended edition. A deep voice that sounds like dead worms.
- The Witch King also has a rather deep voice.
- So do the various Uruk-hai.
- Played with in Burn After Reading, when Brad Pitt's character attempts to act menacing by narrowing his eyes and lowering his voice. Unfortunately, he keeps forgetting and reverting back to his normal speech. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Osmosis Jones, Thrax's voice is done by Laurence Fishburne.
- Subverted in the Underworld film series where Kevin Grevioux's character is a Lycan named Raze with an unnaturally deep voice. He is brutish and violent, but he is not an inherently evil character. In the Rise of the Lycans prequel, he is decidedly a positive character. Even more jarring is that this is Grevioux's actual voice.
- In the Transformers movies, instead of Frank Welker's screechy, gravelly delivery as Megatron, we get a deep, growly performance by Hugo Weaving. The sequel also gives us The Fallen and Sentinel Prime.
- Then in the fourth movie Welker comes back with a much deeper voice for Galvatron. Along with some reversal of three movies' worth of Villain Decay, it's pretty intimidating.
- D-War. The evil dragon's human The Dragon (no pun intended) is the best example (check it out at 7:12 here).
- The Fifth Element: Mr. Shadow, being more or less evil incarnate, has the requisite very deep voice.
- The Ripper in My Soul to Take.
- German voice actor Tilo Schmitz, everytime he dubs a villain, usually tall and big, thanks to his deep, sonorous, basso voice.
- Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men speaks with a grizzly, low voice, which essentially acts as a death rattle considering his character.
- The Djinn of Wishmaster in his true form has a suitably deep voice for a demon.
- In the first several A Nightmare on Elm Street films, Freddy Krueger spoke with a very deep, sinister voice (in the first film for instance, he sounds almost demonic). It became less deep in later films as Freddy became more comedic in general.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Doctor's voice is half crazy snake and half Darth Vader, and he manages to drop it an octave lower when he upgrades to Cobra Commander and dons the new mask. It's no less deep or menacing in the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, even though he's played by a different actor who's dubbed over.
- In Star Trek Into Darkness, the villainous Harrison has a very deep and very cool voice.
- Perennial The Three Stooges villain Kenneth MacDonald.
- Magneto in the X-Men trilogy, courtesy of Ian McKellen.
- Hans Gruber from Die Hard, played by Alan Rickman.
- Thanos, Ronan, and Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Inverted in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The antagonist, Judge Doom, doesn't have an extremely deep voice, but when he's revealed to actually be a toon, he talks in a really high-pitched voice.
- Aries in Greystone Valley is described as having a voice like a rumbling volcano.
- Harry Potter likes to play with this.
- Inverted with Voldemort, who is described as having a high, cold voice.
- Subverted with Snape, who has a deep, ominous voice (portrayed by Alan Rickman in the films), since Snape is intended to appear evil, or at least dark and brooding, right up to the end.
- Oh-so-inverted with Umbridge.
- Played straight with Runcorn, one of Umbridge's cronies in the seventh book's villain-run Ministry. His chief characteristic is his deep, intimidating voice. When Harry uses Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him, he finds the voice very useful for giving orders.
- In The Dunwich Horror by HP Lovecraft, Wilbur Whateley spoke with a frighteningly low voice. Justified in that he grew more than twice as fast as any other child and reached a height of seven feet (among other things). The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society "radio play" of the story electronically pitched the actor's voice to Goa'uld levels.
- The narrator does mention that Wilbur sounded like his voice-producing organs were somehow different from a normal human's - which, naturally, they were.
- In Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Cronal, unseen by his troops or his enemy, called himself Lord Shadowspawn and had his wheezy old man voice amplified and made deep. Luke thinks of it more than once as a "faux-Vader" voice.
- Death from the Discworld is definitely a subversion; he's not nearly as bad as he looks or sounds.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures have an antagonist called Sabbath, who, due to not-exactly-evil motives and frequent Enemy Mine situations, is about as non-evil as you can get when you perform Meatgrinder Surgery and continually try to screw up The Multiverse. His voice, described as a "low rumble" and a "resonant bass", gives him villain points, though. Extra villain points for the fact that it functions as a mild, mundane version of Charm Person. It probably goes along with the Stout Strength and "hands like hams".
- When the High Seekers in the Emberverse really want to intimidate, they'll let loose a deep voice that borders on the aural equivalent of Alien Geometries.
- In the Horus Heresy series from Warhammer 40,000, First Captain Ezekyle Abbaddon of the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus is described as being a big man with an incredibly low voice, even for an Astartes. In the "present day" of the franchise, he has since become Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of the Black Legion. As such, he is the closest thing the Chaos Space Marines have to a cohesive leader.
- The Sword of Truth: Emperor Jagang is described to have a "deep, grating voice". Averted with Darken Rahl, who has a "clear, almost liquid" voice...and a trope-fitting right hand man.
- Ma'el Koth from The Acts of Caine has a voice that is usually described as rumbling.
- Animorphs - The Crayak, a malevolent godlike alien and the Ellimist's opposite number, has a voice so low Jake feels like it's shaking him apart when they meet in person.
- Lord Foul in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is described as having a voice that's inhumanly vast, deep, and dripping with raw contempt, compared to what it might sound like if an abyss were speaking.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Averted with Darla. Her voice is noticeably higher and softer than the other characters, even the female ones.
Hi, you've reached the Tittles. We can't come to the phone right now. If you wanna leave a message for Christine, press one. For Bentley, press two. OR TO SPEAK TO OR WORSHIP MASTER TARFALL, UNDERLORD OF PAIN, PRESS THREE.
- Breaking Bad: Walter White eventually develops a deep, intimidating baritone (often to Guttural Growler levels) as he completes his Protagonist Journey to Villain.
- The Stargate Verse has the Goa'uld and the Wraith. The Asgard have a vocal effect, too (toned down in later seasons), but it's a lot friendlier-sounding than the ones used by the baddies. The Goa'uld, in fact, do this on purpose to sound more intimidating and can turn it off at will when they want to blend in or just be more personable. By the end of the series, Ba'al almost always drops the voice effect when he's talking to the heroes, as by that point he only makes a pretense of godhood toward those who will actually believe it.
- Ra in Stargate sounds a lot like Xerxes, bordering on Voice of the Legion territory.
- The Tok'ra are the same species as the Goa'uld, so they can turn it off if they want to as well - however, they rarely do, in order to make it clear who's talking.
- Three times this has been used by humans for subterfuge: Daniel used a voice modulator on Jacob Carter's cargo ship to record sentences in Goa'uld, which would then be broadcasted in a deeper voice; Daniel and Carter both used a voice modulator during a training exercise when one pretended to be a Tok'ra and the other one a Goa'uld; and Vala used an alien voice modulating device shaped like a glowing pendant in order to pretend to be the Goa'uld Qetesh (because Vala was Qetesh's final host before the latter was killed, and it wasn't widely known that Qetesh had died). In both of the latter cases, a member of SG-1 would get annoyed at the voice and ask to turn it off.
- The episode that introduces the Asgard first shows Thor as the Norse Mythology 7-foot-tall imposing figure with a deep voice. This is a hologram, though. After Daniel passes the test, the real Thor reveals himself to be a frail, diminutive Grey with misshapen facial features.
- In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Dai Shi has an artificially deepened voice even in human form. (It gets deeper still when he's in his armored form.)
- In Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Trent's stint as the evil White Drago Ranger is accompanied by an artificially deepened voice. When an accident turns him back to normal, so does his voice. The evil white Drago Ranger clone has the same voice as the former.
- In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Hunter and Blake got pitched down before their reveal as Rangers and stayed with their normal voices through their Heel-Face Turn and Brainwashed and Crazy stints.
- The Page Quoter, Koragg, also has his voice deepened - especially during the shift to syndication (he's a Darth Vader Clone). Geoff Dolan left Mystic Force after the shift & was replaced by Chris Graham, but Geoff's grunts & other stuff remained via archived audio. Geoff would later play the role of Gosei(who is not evil) in Power Rangers: Megaforce.
- In Smallville, the phantom that borrowed Clark's DNA and made a clone body out of it (becoming the show's incarnation of Bizarro note ) has a deeper voice than the real Clark, though it's not always obvious and can be turned off at will, apparently (he impersonated Clark for some time with the viewers and other characters unaware).
- In Season 8, Lex Luthor pulls this off courtesy of a respirator, complete with Vader Breath. His protege, Tess Mercer, isn't as extreme an example, but she has the lowest voice of any of the girls in the cast. Davis' voice also become deeper when he is about to transform into Doomsday.
- In season 10, Godfrey's voice gets deeper when possessed by Darkseid, but if he doesn't want to reveal it, only people with superhearing could notice the extra deep voice. Oliver and Lionel's voice is also turned much deeper when possessed. Also, Lois's voice gets deeper when possessed by Isis.
- On Knight Rider, Michael Knight's Evil Twin Garthe Knight had a noticeably deeper voice than Michael (as well as a goatee, of course.)
- In Doctor Who, several villains have deep voices. The Beast and Sutekh, both voiced by Gabriel Woolf, have deep voices to represent their ancient, primal evil. Meanwhile, in the new series, the Dalek Emperor from "Parting of the Ways" and both Supreme Daleks seen so far have deep voices to denote their supremacy. The Cybermen have had either high or deep voices, depending on when the episode was made, and the Sycorax chief from "The Christmas Invasion" has a low, rough voice.
- Interestingly played with the Cult of Skaro - Dalek Sec has a higher pitched voice than any of his followers, but as it turns out, he is also slightly less evil than your average Dalek - not that it's saying all that much.
- Subverted with some of the Dalek Supremes in the classic series and the Big Finish stories - their voices tended to be higher than the average Dalek's, making them sound even more unstable and highly-strung than the norm.
- The Black Guardian, voiced by Valentine Dyall, who, in life, could've challenged BRIAN BLESSED in a booming voice contest.
- From new series 6, we have The Silence and House.
- Inverted in Kings: Corrupt Corporate Executive William Cross has a high, thin voice. Evil is relative in a Deadly Decadent Court, but he seems to be the only one (still alive, anyway) who wants war.
- Played for Laughs in an All That sketch called Bridget's Slumber Party; the goth girl Claudia, who has supernatural powers, would often talk in a demonic voice especially if she was angry. Also, in the Poetry with Claudia short which had her read poetry to children, she would alternate the lines of the rhymes to sound creepy - at the end, she would scare the kids by saying the final line in a demonic voice.
- Lampshaded in Angel when Holtz tries to convince Westley that he's trying to protect Connor.
Holtz: You don't believe me?
Westley: Hm, not sure, could be the low scary voice that's giving me trouble.
- Supernatural's Castiel is an interesting example. Ambiguously played straight in the first and second episode he appeared in, as we didn't know whether the angels are on the Winchesters' side or not. Averted later, when it is revealed that, unlike the other angels, he doesn't want the world to be destroyed and genuinely cares about Dean and Sam. With his sacrifice in 4x22, he ultimately became a part of the family.
- Also, it is revealed that his vessel, Jimmy, has a much higher voice.
- Definitively inverted in the Season 6 finale. When Castiel becomes a not-so-nice god, he loses the Batman voice. It's fantastically creepy.
- Although his evilness is debatable, Scorpius from Farscape is tall, imposing, vicious, wears all black and speaks...quite a few octaves higher than everyone else. He is definitely a Badass though.
- However, when upset, his voice drops to demonic levels.
- The pitch of his voice is sort of a gauge on his emotions. When his voice is high and Sebacean/Humanesque, he is his usual five-steps ahead of you, eloquent Magnificent Bastard, tightly-controlled self. When things start to go wrong, he starts to slip into his Scarran side and his voice drops about four octaves and picks up some teeth. Discussed in this interview, around 3:20.
- The drug dealer who may have ordered Becket's mother's murder in season three of Castle has a deep, scary voice.
- On Heroes, Sylar's voice gets very deep and starts to echo a bit when he's about to do something evil.
- On Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister is played by Charles Dance and has a Badass Baritone voice that makes him sound twice as serious and menacing as he would be otherwise. See here. His biggest henchman, Ser Gregor Clegane, is even deeper, nearing Basso Profundo territory.
- Red John from The Mentalist is a subversion of this trope in that even when his voice is seemingly manipulated, he still has an odd, higher sounding voice. It turns out he was faking it, and he plays this trope straight courtesy of Xander Berkeley.
- Space Monster M from The Aquabats! Super Show! speaks in baritone.
- In a Mr. Show episode: Lucien, the ratings child, who forces Bob and David to put content warnings on their show, has an evil man voice, despite looking like a 8-year-old kid.
- The Kadrin in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nemesis". Subverted. It's revealed that they're actually the good guys. In reality they don't even sound like that.
- The Secret Circle: A side effect of Demonic Possession, natch.
- Banning in Code Name: Eternity will sometimes switch to an inhumanly deep voice when angry. This usually has to do with Ethaniel ruining his plans.
- Nick Cave.
- Inverted with Tom Waits when he wants to be creepy, he usually goes for a higher voice. Compare "Hold On" with "In the Colosseum" from Bone Machine. An example where he plays this trope straight is "Oily Night" from The Black Rider. It has a very deep and frightening voice repeat the title over and over again, while the music around him slowly but surely glows beserk. In the context of the play it is meant to be music for a Satanic ritual.
- DMX's Damien songs occasionally fall in to this, especially when Damien reveals his evil nature— "You sold me your soul when you didn't say 'no'. Just let a human with dark skin go? Well, give me what you owe!" If you listen closely, in the first song, Damien's voice sometimes even has a deep reverb to it.
- Lupe Fiasco does this occasionally as well, such as the intros to the songs Little Weapon and Put You On Game. In ''The Coolest', the last seven words of "The ones that had deadbeat daddies, and well-to-do mommas, but not well enough to keep 'em from us..." are spoken with a second, deeper voice behind his own.
- Played straight with the original incarnation of the Psychopathic Records supergroup Dark Lotus, where the darkest lyrics were delivered by deep, gravelly voiced rapper Marz. The rest of the label averts it:
- Insane Clown Posse: Shaggy 2 Dope, who has a scratchier, higher voice than Violent J, is usually the one to perform the "evil" parts of any given song. He's also more vicious in their wrestling matches. In fact, the fact that his voice ISN'T a stereotypical deep, booming bass makes him just that bit more intimidating.
- Twiztid: Neither Monoxide nor Madrox has a particularly deep voice.
- ABK, who has a prominent lisp.
- Inversion: the predominant vocal style in Death Metal consists of a low, menacing, and almost completely incomprehensible growling, while in Black Metal, mid- to high-pitched shrieking and screaming tend to be used. The inversion becomes apparent when you learn of the violence (church burnings, murders, and one particularly infamous suicide) that was part and parcel of the Black Metal scene around the time of its inception. Additionally, the death metal growl as a style is much-derided in many circles, pejoratively referred to as "Cookie Monster vocals".
- Rammstein's Till Lindemann is made of this trope.
- Front Line Assembly's Bill Leeb averts, subverts, plays straight, and twists this trope every which way thanks to his near-obsessive vocoder use, dropping his voice to a guttural growl and just as quickly raising it to a high-pitched, windy tone.
- Frontman Milan Fras of Slovenian group Laibach.
- Eminem does this in the song "My Darling", where his separate identity (Slim Shady) is heard in a deep, demonic voice.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic in the song Your Horoscope For Today when he gets to Sagittarius.
All your friends are laughing behind your back. KILL THEM.
- Dimmu Borgir's song "The Sacrilegious Scorn" has Satan appearing as a beautiful woman, who turns out to have a deep voice as she performs a spoken-word rendition of one verse.
- Tyler The Creator has a very deep voice, naturally. When he slips into his Wolf Haley persona, it gets even deeper. This is exactly as creepy as it sounds.
- Type O Negative's Peter Steele employed this in many songs, due to his naturally deep voice. In songs such as Nettie, it really contributes to the atmosphere.
- The Silent City has a cast that leans tenor and higher. The one baritone is the tyrannical Ultimate Authority Mayor.
- Subverted in "Beelz" by Stephen Lynch. The song's narrator, Satan, starts off with a deep, menacing growl but quickly switches to a high-pitched, almost feminine tone.
Opera & Musical
- Scarpia in Tosca is a baritone, but lately, often sung by bass-baritones. He's an evil son of a bitch who wants to kill the tenor and rape the soprano.
- The rare case of this trope in Puccini's operas. His other low-voiced characters, like Colline in La Bohčme, Timur in Turandot and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly are nice, or at least sympathetic, like Michele in Il Tabarro and Rance in La Fanciulla del West. And Gianni Schicchi is a Loveable Rogue.
- Claggart in Billy Budd is a super-low bass. One of the most satanic characters ever.
- Richard Wagner often fell into this. His heroes, such as Siegfried and Parsifal, would be Heldentenors. Villains such as Hagen were often basses or bass-baritones.
- On the other hand, Landgraf Hermann, Henry the Fowler, Hans Sachs, Gurnemanz, and Titurel are all basses or bass-baritones as well.
- Ring Baddies are mostly deep. Alberich is a bass-baritone, Hagen, Hunding and Fafner are basses (Fafner as a dragon in Siegfried has his deep bass amplified by megaphone), Fricka is a mezzo-soprano. However, Mime is a character tenor, but Mime is a fun villain.
- Subverted by Mozart, who wrote mostly for basses as opposed to tenors.
- Completely inverted in The Magic Flute, when the villain is an EXTREMELY high soprano, and the low bass is the good guy.
- Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio is a very low bass, but he's a funny and human villain.
- Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Consul features as its antagonist a secret police agent, who is a bass-baritone. Has a creepy Villain Song to boot.
- Gilbert and Sullivan weren't usually kind to tenors, portraying many of them as idiots or jerks. However, they had bass-baritone Richard Temple, who had a talent for macabre roles, creating such sinister bass roles as The Mikado of Japan, the Pirate King, and the ghost Sir Roderick.
- The Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo. 90-years-old, blind, and he sings the other bass, King Philip, literally off the stage. On the other hand, the baritone Rodrigo is the nicest and purest character ever to happen in a Verdi's opera.
- Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress - see "Samuel Ramey" above.
- Subverted in Khovanshchina: Dosifey, the bass, is a good, wise priest.
- Iago in Othello is a baritone - sometimes sung by bass-baritones.
- Subversion: the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto is a tenor, and a heartless whoremonger. The bass, Sparafucile, is an assassin, but he's honourable and almost sympathetic.
- In Nabucco, the bass is a Good Priest, the soprano, Abigaille, is the baddie.
- The Hidden Ba(da)ss: you know, there's that boring old bass guy, Ferrando, in Il Trovatore. He sings that long aria in the beginning that you sleep through. Then, in the current London production, Ferrando becomes Luna's bad spirit instead of the old buddy... being bald and having a Villain Scar.
- Well, the Commendatore isn't a friendly guy either. Don't invite him for supper.
- On that note, Don Giovanni himself counts, depending on whether he's cast as a bass or lyric baritone.
- From The Tales of Hoffmann, there are four characters: Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto. They are all played by the same bass-baritone, and are, quite literally, the incarnations of evil.
- This was taken one step further in Baroque Opera, wherein any character anywhere within the actual male voice range -i.e. not meant to be played by a castrato- is INVARIABLY evil. Yes, even tenors.
- There's a good tenor guy Bajazet in Handel's Tamerlano. Still, no bass in any Baroque opera could ever be good.
- Marc Blitzstein 1949 Regina is all over the place with this one. The title role, greedy and morally bankrupt, was initially supposed to be a mezzo-soprano, but ended up a soprano. Her husband, Horace, and servant, Addie, are a bass and contralto respectively, but are good guys, as are Birdie and Zan, who are sopranos. Ben and Oscar, also greedy, are both baritones, and their son Leo, a much less endearing version of The Ditz, is a tenor.
- Bartolo in the Figaro operas was cast as a bass by Paisiello, Rossini and Mozart.
- The title role in Boris Godunov is something of a Villain Protagonist, and is a bass (though is occasionally sung by baritones). Interesting in that he's a bit of an Anti-Villain.
- Der Freischütz gives us one straight-play and three subversions. Kaspar, the main antagonist, is a basso, but so are the kindly old hermit and Kuno, the protagonist's Mentor and father-in-law-to-be. Samiel is a speaking role, but generally high-pitched.
- In general, contralto roles in opera are somewhat limited, sometimes described as being "witches, bitches, and breeches".
- In oratorios, however (basically operas without sets or costumes and meant for church), the parts of God and Jesus were often sung by basses.
- Musical theater in general; heroes tend to be sopranos and tenors, while villains are altos and basses.
- In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney are an alto and a bass-baritone respectively. They are the protagonists, but also evil. The wicked Judge Turpin is a bass.
- Also subverted via the two villainous tenors, Pirelli and the Beadle. Then there's Anthony, who has been played by both baritones and tenors.
- Officer Lockstock from Urinetown is a bass. Cladwell, too.
- As is Caiaphas from Jesus Christ Superstar. A deep bass at that.
- However, Annas is tenor who sings in falsetto.
- Leon Czolgosz, while arguably the most sympathetic of the Assassins, is the only bass among them—possible subversion. The Proprietor is also a bass, and certainly a wee bit sinister himself.
- Booth, Hinckley, Byck, and Guiteau are all baritones, however (though Guiteau is sometimes played by tenors)
- Claude Frollo from both the film and stage version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a bass-baritone.
- Les Misérables: Valjean, Marius, and Enjolras are tenors; Javert and Thenardier are baritones.
- May be a subversion, as Enjolras has been played by baritones many times, and Marius's song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is more in the baritone register.
- Also subverted in the female characters: Fantine and Eponine are both contraltos, or at least mezzo-sopranos. Cosette is a soprano, but she's usually played less sympathetically than the others.
- Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera gets a deep, gravelly voice when he is the Repo Man.
- Graverobber is a baritones, but Rotti, Luigi, and Pavi are tenors.
- In Gounod's Faust, the basso gets to play Satan. He has a terrific aria toward the end, with one of the best Evil Laughs ever in opera.
- Baritone Robert Merrill in his autobiography described getting ready for a performance and his son said "You're the rat again, aren't you, Daddy?" To which he replied "The baritone is always the rat, my boy."
- Inverted in The Adventures of Superman, in which Superman's transformation from Clark Kent to Superman would be signalled by his voice going deeper, often mid-sentence: "This looks like a job... for Superman!"
- The Order of the Stick does this sometimes with speech balloons—-several characters have theirs colored, with the colors often meant to imply their personalities.
- In 8-Bit Theater, Garland complains that his evil voice hurts his throat.
- Schlock Mercenary plays this straight with the gate keepers, with their speech in a different font (until they were told not to). The subversion is used for psychological advantage with TAG.
- Richard, the Token Evil Teammate of Waiting For Group, has a rather deep voice if his singing voice in the "Slaughter Your World" video is any indication.
- Darkseid's voice is very deep in both Superfriends and Justice League. His son Kalibak had a very raspy voice in the former but a very deep one in the latter, as well. It helps that this version of Kalibak is voiced by Michael Dorn. Then there's Despero...
- The Transformers averted it with Megatron and Starscream both having very high, whiny voices. In The Movie, Unicron played it straight. Megatron in Beast Wars and Transformers Animated are another story, though. Animated also has Lugnut, but Starscream still has a high, scratchy voice despite being a bigger threat to more people than ever before.
- The live-action movie played it straight by making Megatron's voice very deep as well as Barricade's. Movie Starscream is the first incarnation of 'Screamer to have a very deep voice as well - though ever so slightly higher than the others.
- Its worth noting that the most noble of leaders, Optimus Prime, has a very deep voice (especially in the live-action movie).
- When Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime his voice drops quite a bit, but this might be part of the whole 'becoming a man' Hero's Journey theme the movie has.
- Welker's performance as Megatron in Transformers Prime is nothing like his G1 voice, much deeper and subdued, and much more intimidating as a result.
- Most of the Decepticons from Prime have some very deep voices, in fact. Dreadwing and Shockwave are perhaps the deepest, but even Starscream and Knock Out has a deep voice!
- As is traditional, the Prime portrayal of Unicron also possesses a deep, imposing voice... In fact, this portrayal of Unicron gets the type of voice typically used for God, which is somewhat unsettling.
- Motormaster, one of Megatron's henchmen in G1, is frequently portrayed as having a hollow, bottomless pit sort of voice.
- Killface, from Frisky Dingo, who is also electronically deepened.
- Inverted in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), where Skeletor's voice gets rather shrieky, complete with cackling, after he loses his face. Played straight with Marzo, when being freed from his dwarfing curse.
- Played straight in the Italian dub of the 2002 version, where Skeletor's voice sounds like a deep growl.
- When Flippy from Happy Tree Friends is reminded of war and converts to his Super-Powered Evil Side, he gains this trait.
- Batman: The Animated Series used this not only for Batman (see the entry for "Film") but also for their version of Two-Face: Harvey Dent's voice was relatively high and lively, while his darker personality's voice was gravelly and deep.
- Both subverted and played straight in G.I. Joe; Cobra Commander has a very high pitched, whiny voice, while Destro has a suitably deep one and Zartan's is relatively normal, but with an electronic echo effect that makes it sound louder than it is.
- Played straight in the live action movie, where the Doctor who later upgrades to the Commander pulls the deepest and most menacing voice he can do.
- One of the differences between Darkwing Duck and his Evil Twin Negaduck is the latter's deeper voice.
- In American Dad!, it's revealed that Steve's obese friend Barry has to take mind altering medication. When Barry doesn't, he becomes malicious and gains the matching deeper and a Creepy Monotone voice.
- His voice also takes on a british accent at the same time (again, for the creepy effect)
- Mumm-Ra of the ThunderCats.
- In Futurama, Morbo the Annihilator subverts this by having a deep voice and an expressed desire for destruction of all of humankind, but only works as a news anchor.
- In the first episode, his voice was digitally lowered, but in the rest of the series, the voice actor simply lowered his voice to match.
- Any similarity between Morbo, Horrible Gelatinous Blob, and Lrrr, RULER OF THE PLANET Omnicron-Persei 8 is just your imagination. So the voice actor insists.
- Asajj Ventress from Star Wars: Clone Wars has a deep, gravely voice.
- Dr. Claw, of course. (Unless the voice comes from excessive chain-smoking, and he just puts the echo on for effect...)
- In the same vein as Dr. Claw, there's Dr. Robotnik in Sonic Sat AM. Easily the most intimidating incarnation of the character, his dramatically reverberating voice usually stayed at the level of a whisper (at least in the first season), but its menacingly low tones are among the most memorable aspects of the series.
- Kim Possible: "Rufus In Show" Subverts this with the villainous Falsetto Jones who was caught in a "freak helium accident" that heighten his voice. Naturally he was hilarious, but too Genre Savvy to ever be used again.
- In the early Popeye shorts, Bluto's voice was baritone. Especially notable if he were being played by Gus Wickie.
- Inverted with the villainous HIM from The Powerpuff Girls, who possesses a creepy falsetto voice.
- He does, but when he gets serious/angry/just wants to be extra dramatic, his voice goes from high-pitched to really deep and growly.
- Makuta Teridax of the first two BIONICLE films has a REALLY deep voice. Becomes a bit jarring when you realize the actor playing him secondarily plays the high-pitched Pewku.
- Subverted in Gargoyles. Not only does Goliath have a deeper voice than the main antagonist, but he has the deepest voice in the entire primary cast. Played completely straight with Goliath's Evil Twin, Thailog.
- Officer Shallowgrave on The Fairly Oddparents. It's even lampshaded by Cosmo.
- Also Jorgen Von Strangle, though he's less evil and more Lawful Stupid.
- Latanya Hippo from My Gym Partner's A Monkey may not be evil but she does talk in a deep, scary demonic voice especially when she is angry. It was later revealed that she's an alien named Hipeon in drag.
- Danny Phantom
- Dark Danny.
- Also briefly with Sam when Undergrowth brainwashes her. Not only is it deeper, it's seductive.
- When Trigon, the main villain of the fourth season of Teen Titans, had to be even more evil and threatening than Slade, the creators decided that he also had to have an even deeper voice than Slade's already quite deep Creepy Monotone.
- Inverted in the 1960's Spider-Man cartoon, where Peter Parker deepened his voice significantly every time he put on his Spidey mask.
- Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas has quite the deep voice. Also played with the hero Jack Skellington, as he uses a deep voice both for his more creepy scenes and when he tries to be Santa.
- Even though he's very small, Plankton of Spongebob Squarepants has a very deep baritone voice.
- Heihu, the demonic Big Bad of Shaolin Wuzang, even though he's possessing a woman's body.
- Aku, nemesis of Samurai Jack. As his voice actor Mako once put it, "Evil comes from the belly."
- In The Legend of Korra, evil is deeper than the bottom of the ocean. Given that Amon and his Lieutenant, are voiced by Steve Blum and Lance Henriksen. Which is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
- Not to mention non-equalist bad guys, Tarrlok and his father Yakone.
- Now there's Vaatu, who may have the deepest voice in the series.
- The previous series had Firelord Ozai, with possibly vary small traces of the Guttural Growler.
- Vandal Savage, Big Bad (or at least the founder of the group that collectively forms the Big Bad) of the first season of Young Justice has a very deep, growling voice.
- Black Beetle from the second season has an even deeper voice, as does Mongul, who is voiced by Keith David.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, the Shredder has a nice deep voice with a Japanese accent, which, while wearing his armor, sounds like it echoes robotically. Sh'Okanabo's voice in Fast Forward, of course, is surprisingly deeper than that of the Shredder. It even has an almost alien-like echo added to it (which is no surprise as Black Doom from Shadow the Hedgehog sounds exactly like him).
- Belphegor, the antagonist of the Belphegor series, voiced by Denis Mercier (who sounds like a mix between Steve Blum and Dr. Claw, if they spoke French). His voice is always deep, even when screaming or talking loudly. A small example can be seen here.
- In American Dragon Jake Long, after time traveling Jake finds out that as a teenager, his arch enemy the Huntsman, had an incredibly high crackly voice and was taunted by the entire Huntsclan for it. After an incident with a Kraken, he developed the voice that most magical creatures fear.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic provides a couple of examples:
- Nightmare Moon of the pilot has a pretty deep voice and a great Evil Laugh. Justified by the fact that her larger stature (roughly 1.5 times the size of the main characters) would give her longer vocal cords, and thus a lower-pitched voice.
- Zig-zagged by Discord, who, being voiced by John de Lancie, has a somewhat high-pitched voice. However, he's got a great range, and there are several lines where it sounds deeper than normal.
- King Sombra of the Season 3 opener has a very deep voice indeed.
- In Equestria Girls, Sunset Shimmer has a notably deeper voice than the other girls, and retains it even after her Heel-Face Turn.
- At first in Twilights Kingdom Part 1, Lord Tirek's voice is frail and old, but he later gains a deep, booming voice as he returns to his original power.
- Two of the Dazzlings in Rainbow Rocks, Adagio Dazzle and Aria Blaze, have alto-range voices, but Sonata Dusk subverts this trope with her Valley Girl-esque soprano voice.
- Pete in most of his appearances is this, especially the ones where Jim Cummings or Arthur Burghardt provide his voice. Meanwhile his longtime antagonist Mickey Mouse has a very high voice, as does Pete's walked-upon Nice Guy son, PJ from Goof Troop. Interestingly enough, PJ didn't always have a high voice—in his prototype Enfant Terrible form, his voice was far too low to make sense for a child his age, making him an example too.
- The Lich from Adventure Time, what with his voice being provided by Ron Perlman.
- Inverted in the animated version of Flash Gordon; Ming the Merciless has a somewhat high-pitched and nasal voice, while Flash's loyal ally Thun the Lion Man speaks in a deep growl.
- When not pretending to be Mike, his evil personality, Mal, in Total Drama All Stars speaks in a Demonic sounding voice, which also sometimes reverbs.
- As his Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart, Thanos on Avengers Assemble has a deep voice.
- The Beast in Over the Garden Wall, voice provided by operatic bass Samuel Ramey.