Four Eyes, Zero Soul
brutally practical, a little cruel or even a soulless monster. To quickly tip off the audience to his personality, give him glasses. The eyes are said to be windows of the soul, so hiding them behind glasses makes the character seem more removed. They mask the spitefulness on a villain's face and usually after the facade is taken off it is seen in their eyes (oftenly goes with Creepy Shadowed Undereyes of evil). Particularly effective if the glasses have Opaque Lenses and you can have the light reflect off them in scary ways. Compare Sinister Shades. Contrast Stoic Spectacles, where the glasses make the guy look aloof, intellectual and cute. Since glasses also evoke physical weakness, this often also evokes Sissy Villain. On the other hand, since Smart People Wear Glasses, it can also signal that the character is a Badass Bookworm. It may also be a parallel to Evil Cripple, in which a physical defect (poor eyesight, in this case) reflects a moral one. When this is treated as Fetish Fuel, see Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend.
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Anime & Manga
- November 11 in Darker Than Black alternates between "sociopathic jerk" and The Charmer and habitually wears glasses with Opaque Lenses.
- Suitengu from Speed Grapher. Bespectacled Bishōnen, rich note , smart and a totally evil manipulative bastard.
- When Lady Une puts on her glasses in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, it means that her utterly ruthless "Iron Une" personality is in command, and that anyone who crosses her is going to die.
- Hellsing: Alucard himself is a very literal monster, and often wears a set of orange sunglasses before and sometimes during his rampages. The Major, gleeful warmonger and Nazi, also fulfills this trope nicely.
- Claude "Torch" Weaver from Black Lagoon is a fat, plain-looking man who is always smiling and wears thick glasses with basic "aviator" frames (bearing a strong resemblance to Drew Carey). He is also an insane Pyro Maniac who burned his wife to death and now works as a bounty hunter. Surprisingly capable in a fight too, since he was one of the last men standing during the Greenback Jane arc.
- Kyoya from Ouran High School Host Club invokes this and even some of the lighter shades of Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend (since the Host Club is all about fulfilling romance-novel stereotypes). He pretends to be polite and charming, but doesn't really make too much secret of the fact that he's ruthlessly scheming underneath it, and willing to go to terrifying lengths to protect and/or advance his own interests. This is at least partly an act: Kyouya in fact cares very deeply about his friends in the Host Club, and is even demonstrated to be kind to strangers when it wouldn't put him at a disadvantage to do so. Being scary just makes it less likely that people will mess with his plans...or his friends.
- Keroro Gunsou's Kururu is the resident Mad Scientist and wears Opaque Nerd Glasses. He's also the Token Evil Teammate in a group that is trying to take over the world, with a disturbingly blase attitude towards testing his inventions on his own teammates.
- The original Mobile Suit Gundam has Degwin Zabi, dictator of Zeon, who likely murdered his way into his position, and now prosecutes a war against Earth from behind his green-tinted glasses. In fairness to him, he's got nothing on his 20/20 sighted children when it comes to being truly evil.
- Kevin in Sin City is a cannibal Serial Killer is the Trope Image. He's first introduced to us after having eaten a woman's arm while she was still alive. This is further emphasized by how the art style frequently gives the lenses a solid, opaque look.
- Batman: When out of costume, Jonathan Crane (Alias: The Scarecrow) is a bookish, glasses wearing nerd. Who just so happens to love terrifying those around him and being a general sadist.
- The bespectacled Cleaner in the French film Nikita, and the American remake Point of No Return (chillingly played by Harvey Keitel), and the TV series Nikita. Though more efficient than cruel, his only concern over the twitching of the still-living victims is the inconvenience. He also doesn't hesitate to apply his methods to the heroine and allies.
- Brick Top in Snatch. is a brutal, sadistic gangster who wears a pair of thick rimmed glasses. His introductory shot is him bashing a man's teeth out with a hammer. All the characters in the film who know who he is are terrified of him, lest they get cut into pieces and fed to a pack of pigs.
- Boss Godfrey, of Cool Hand Luke. You don't talk to him, ever. The movie's rife with symbolism, and his sunglasses are meant to reflect a distorted view of man (most shots of him are close-ups on his Aviators).
- Humma Kavula, the evil religious leader in the Film of the Book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also wears glasses. To add to the creepiness, it turns out the apparently transparent "lenses" are actually small video screens. Beneath the glasses, he has no eyes.
- Emil Leopold Locque in For Your Eyes Only is Kristatos' quiet, cruel, ruthless enforcer who wears a distinctive pair of glasses.
- Nightbreed: Dr. Decker is a serial killing, genocidal psychopath. He's more of a monster than every being in Midian combined, and he's the only character in the movie with prominent glasses.
- Gold Glasses in The Bourne Identity. He guns down several bystanders (including a fellow assassin) without batting an eye. Later, he breaks Bourne's fingers by slamming them in a car door for no apparent reason.
- Zabulon, the head of Moscow's Dark Others in Night Watch, looks like a sensitive glasses-wearing intellectual. He's also a Magnificent Bastard who not only plays global Xanatos Speed Chess with his ages old nemesis Geser, but also manages to maintain the fearful respect of most of his Dark underlings - quite a feat in a faction of egoists which operates on a Klingon Promotion basis. He's also fond of having rough sex in his "true form" - a huge, monstrously endowed demon. While it's probably hard for him to find long term lovers, he has no reservations against tossing them aside once they're no longer useful to him, or even sacrificing their lives to further his agenda.
- 1984 uses this trope to enhance its introduction of "duckspeaking" (spouting politically-correct statements without thinking):
His head was thrown back a little, and because of the angle at which he was sitting, his spectacles caught the light and presented to Winston two blank discs instead of eyes. ... As he watched the eyeless face with the jaw moving rapidly up and down, Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy.
- Prof. Frost, from the last book of The Space Trilogy of C. S. Lewis. We never see his eyes because, by a nasty little miracle of staging, they are always hidden behind the reflections of his glasses. Technically, he must have a soul (or had one at one point), but we find out that he objects to the very existence of souls.
- In Interesting Times, Evil Vizier Lord Hong, who is not so much power-mad as power-sane (he doesn't even think of cackling madly, like the traditional type of Grand Vizier), wears little round glasses.
- In The Man Who Was Thursday, Saturday wears a pair of round, tinted glasses that obscure his eyes entirely, and have a terrifying effect on people around him. Once the glasses are removed, though, his looks turn out to be so wholesome and commonplace that his terrorist disguise is instantly blown.
Live Action TV
- Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer slips into this now and again, mostly because of I Did What I Had to Do. Shown perhaps most clearly at the end of season 5, where he's perfectly prepared to sacrifice Dawn and suffocates Ben in cold blood to stop Glory's return.
- A recurring villain on Alias was a Chinese torturer named "Suit-and-Glasses" because, you guessed it, those were his only identifying features.
- Inverted in Stargate SG-1 with alternate/evil Daniel Jackson, who didn't wear glasses. One WMG suggests that glasses are the inverse of beards in the Stargate Verse. (Both the glasses and the evil were the result of some Applied Phlebotinum)
- An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit once dealt with a case involving a man who had abducted a teenage girl and was holding her captive as a sex slave. At one point, the girl (who had managed to acquire a phone) mentions the guy was (for some reason...) at his absolute worst and sadistic when he was wearing his glasses (which was a lot).
- Criminal gang leader Charlie Elkin (played by Christopher Ellison) in the BBC children's drama serial Running Scared from 1986. In fact, his glasses are a major plot point, as they are a critical piece of evidence that could put him away for good, which is why he ruthlessly searches for them.
- Juror #4 in 12 Angry Men is the only one who wears glasses and represents the detached, analytical approach to deliberating the case. He's the second-to-last to switch his vote from guilty to innocent (and the argument that convinces him there's a reasonable doubt is in fact related to eyeglasses).
- Vriska Serket from Homestuck, arguably the nastiest troll in her group - and that's saying something. Bonus points for having her "8" motif extend to her eyes, making her doubly four-eyed.
- morphE begins with 8 normal humans taken from their lives and pit against one another in 1-on-1 combat. The one with glasses does not bother with the emotional weight of the predicament. He sees that it is kill or be killed and tries to choke a college girl to death with little need for coercing.
- The Story Of Anima has Hector, a glasses-wearing Psycho for Hire who has no qualms with murdering children.
- Eustace Bagge from Courage the Cowardly Dog. He ALWAYS mistreats Courage even in life and death situations in which the dog saves his life. He has a low-down and greedy personality, so his glasses do well even as Sinister Shades since his eyes are rarely seen.
- In Batman: The Animated Series, Mr. Freeze is a shades-wearing villain who is cold in every possible meaning of the word.