Four Eyes, Zero Soul

So you have a guy who is cold, emotionless, or 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.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Film 
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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 
  • 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.

    Music 
  • The music video for Maroon 5's Animals stars Adam Levine as a creepy stalker/serial killer, wearing a pair of stereotypical psychopath glasses all the way through.

    Theater 
  • 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).

     Video Games 
  • Director Raymond McMullen, the Director of Research at Gentek, in Prototype. Mad Scientist, Evilutionary Biologist, nice little designer specs. A more spoilery example: Doctor Alexander Mercer himself wore glasses too, before he died. The virus animating his corpse obviously doesn't need them.

    Webcomics 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Scarlett of Total Drama wears glasses that make her look innocent, but she quickly allies herself with the season's Card-Carrying Villain, Max. Oh, and later she tries to kill the remaining five contestants by hijacking the computer that controls the entire island.