Next to deep voices
, this is the most common auditory clue to an evil character. Raspy voices are very popular as a vocal choice for evil characters, especially Evil Old Folks
Compared to deep voices, raspy voices have less of an intimidating effect but more of a sinister tone. This makes it particularly effective for the Big Bad
of a show, especially when juxtaposed with a deep voice of his Dragon
. A rasp is also good for a particularly creepy Evil Laugh
. Sometimes, this trope overlaps with Red Right Hand
, when the rasp is caused by a physical defect or injury, usually to the throat or otherwise to a respiratory organ. This can occur hand in hand with Vader Breath
, if the character is raspy because of smoking or a physical ailment.
Anime and Manga
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- The ruthless Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven smokes cigars and roars at his underlings. Much of his menace was supplied by the late character actor Vic Tayback.
- Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious is given a raspy voice in the Star Wars films. As Chancellor Palpatine, he doesn't speak this way, but he uses this voice more once this act is shed.
- Played for laughs in The Princess Bride when the albino in the dungeon starts out speaking in a raspy voice. Suddenly he clears his throat, and for the rest of the film he speaks in a perfectly normal voice.
- Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street has a distinctive demonic-sounding raspy voice. This is achieved by slowing down (the already raspy-voiced) Robert Englund's dialogue to sound even more menacing.
- Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show has a somewhat raspy voice to go with his creepy persona, though he's not exactly "evil" (at least less evil compared to Frank). The concept is Played for Laughs parodying the "creepy butler with a raspy voice" character from old cheesy horror/sci-fi films. His singing voice is also pretty raspy-sounding.
- The Killer's threat to Mark in Dario Argento's Deep Red is delivered in a creepy raspy voice. When her true identity is revealed, her voice is normal.
- Reversed and played straight in The Dark Knight Saga movies. Batman has a very raspy voice throughout all three movies of the trilogy, and the third movie's villian, Bane also has a ragged voice due to a respiratory problem.
- Note that Batman's raspy voice is an invocation of this trope. Bruce Wayne has a normal, smooth voice. He uses the raspy one deliberately to make him more scary as Batman.
- Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings sounds like this after centuries of corruption by the One Ring. He's nicknamed Gollum because of the distinctive swallowing noise he makes.
- Just about anybody Michael Wincott has ever played - Guy of Gisbourne in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Scroop from Treasure Planet, the warden Armand Dorleac from The Count of Monte Cristo, Gant from Strange Days, etc.
- Justified in The First Law with Shivers, who undergoes a Face-Heel Turn in Best Served Cold after he's captured and tortured and one of his eyes is burnt out. His screaming in pain damaged his vocal cords, causing him to have a raspy voice from that point onward- so, the evil and the raspy voice have a common cause.
- Many supernatural baddies in The Dresden Files speak with a rasp. Particularly, vampires of the Black Court are always noted as being raspy, on account of them being dried out corpses.
- Mr Slant, the Amoral Attorney supreme from the Discworld, is noted to have a particularly dry-sounding voice even for a zombie.
- Exploited by Professional Wrestler Brian Pullman, who had a raspy voice due to multiple childhood throat polyp surgeries and was almost always a heel.
- Lampshaded with Sir Despard's Villainous Lament in Ruddigore:
Sir Despard: Oh why am I husky and hoarse?
Chorus: Ah, why?
Sir Despard: It's the workings of conscience, of course.
Chorus: Fie, fie!
Sir Despard: And huskiness stands for remorse.
Chorus: Oh, my!
Sir Despard: At least it does so in my case!
- Magikoopas in the Mario franchise, including Kamek, are given a high-pitched raspy voice for their Voice Grunting.
- The Joker in the Batman Arkham Series, which is expected as he's voiced by Mark Hamill. He gets even raspier in City, as he's suffering from an illness.
- In Beyond Good & Evil, the DomZ Priest has a rather raspy, diseased voice, as if he's slowly dying.
- Phantom the Giant Spider demon from Devil May Cry has a very harsh, hard-to-hear voice, probably due to the fact that he's, well, a magma spider.
- In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden's voice gets raspier, harsher, and more guttural the more he reverts to his Jack The Ripper persona.
- Ravel Puzzlewell from Planescape: Torment (voiced by Flo Di Re). The in-game text describes the voice as if it's "trying to force itself through a thick layer of dust.''
- Ultra Fast Pony subverts this. Nightmare Moon sounds like she gargles sand every day. However, when the "vaguely established magical friend power" cures her of evil and turns her back into Princess Luna, she sounds every bit as raspy. Apparently that was just her normal voice all along.