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High Collar of Doom
Who wears the evilest collar of them all?

"I think my favorite part of his costume is his giant, four-foot wingspan, hang-glider collar. Why can't I ever find a lab coat with one of those?"

The high, turned-up collar is synonymous not only with Classical Movie Vampires, but with Obviously Evil villainy in general.

This began when Dracula was adapted into a stage play, Bela Lugosi famously played the count wearing an opera cape with the collar upturned, so that he could just turn around into the shadows, and the collar and blackness of the long cape made him seem to disappear. When it was made into a film, the effect was redundant, but Lugosi kept the collar of the cape up just for the appearance, and it became iconic.

It's usually paired with a long, flowing cape, but it's not necessary.

Even Evil Queens and Daddys Little Villains can wear collars like this, although they tend to be more extravagant than when male villains wear them.

Also note that heroes are not excluded from wearing high collars, it's just not a sign of evil when they do it.

A Sister Trope to Mystical High Collar (and overlaps with mystical villains), Ominous Opera Cape (and is often paired with this trope, as was codified by Lugosi's performance).

Compare Badass Cape, Spikes of Villainy.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Lelouch as Zero wore a cape with a high collar in Code Geass, which is an early sign Zero is not the white knight hero Lelouch passes him off as.
    • The Knights of the Round also wear high collars, and they are the elite forces of The Empire. Okay, one of the members is a good guy, but the rest count, and this is a Black and Gray Morality series.
  • Oda Nobunaga from Sengoku Otome wore a dark cape with a high collar
  • Mushiban, the main villain in the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo! movie, wears a cape with a collar like this.
  • In Naruto, the Akatsuki uniform has a ridiculously high collar. Practically speaking, it might be intended to reduce the ability of people to identify their faces when traveling or serving as mercenaries.
    • In particular, Zetsu's venus flytrap-like covering can act as a large, menacing one.
    • Sasuke's third Part Two outfit has one as well. Considering how almost all of the Uchiha wore high collars, it was not surprising.
  • Folken of Vision of Escaflowne combines this with Shoulders of Doom and All-Encompassing Mantle for the complete villain look.
  • Nnoitra Gilga of Bleach has a collar that resembles a spoon. It's easily twice the size of his head.
    • This is later the case among several Stern Ritter members during the Wandenreich arc, of which a notable instance is As Nodt.
  • Skull, the leader of the Black Ghost organization, wears one in Cyborg 009.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman:
    • Berg Katse has a nice high and wide collar, with red lining. Some of his captains have high collars as well.
    • In Gatchaman Fighter, Egoblosser has a high collar on his nice coat.
  • Madame Suliman of Howl's Moving Castle wears a dress with a fur-trimmed high collar. She's more antagonistic than villainous, but still pretty dangerous when the protagonists cross her.

     Comic Books  

  • Batman villain Ra's Al-Ghul's most common outfit has a high collar. Although he is a terrorist and assassin, he has an air of nobility about him.
  • The Flash villain Weather Wizard.
  • Flash Gordon's nemesis, Ming the Merciless, most of the time. It was, of course, carried over into the Film and TV versions.

     Film  

     Literature  

  • Dracula is the Trope Codifier from the aforementioned adaptations.
  • A throwaway line in Drakon mentions "the high-collared black uniform of war."
  • Queen Etheldredda's collar in Septimus Heap is so large that it makes her head look like it's stuck at the top of a box, making her look very arrogant and disdainful in the process.
  • Emperor Zhark in the Thursday Next series naturally wears one. He once remarks that it is hard to get it properly starched.
  • Archlecter Sult in The First Law trilogy wears an immaculate white uniform, of which the high collar is occasionally mentioned.

     Live-Action TV  
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master not only wears one of these (and regulation evil villain's cloak) in the special "The Five Doctors", he appears to obtain it while teleporting (via a "power-boosted open-ended transmat beam"). Those Time Lords clearly know a thing or two about instantaneous transport and sartorial elegance, at least when not being played by Colin Baker. (The Master gets his collar back in the TV film, 13 years later).
    • Inverted with "normal" Time Lords, who are (sort of) good but whose formal wear comes with a truly ridiculous collar which is taller than their heads.
    • Though by "The End of Time", the trope is in full play, with the Time Lords becoming omnicidal maniacs prepared to destroy the rest of the universe if it means they can survive.
  • Lord Fear in Knightmare sports a colossal black collar that's higher than his head.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • In "Warlord" the villain launches a coup d'etat, executing the previous ruler and removing his symbol of office. Rather than a crown this is a metal collar, so this trope comes into effect once he puts it on.
    • Captain Janeway playing intergalactic Femme Fatale Queen Arachnia in "Bride of Chaotica!"

     Professional Wrestling  

     Tabletop Games  

  • Crops up occasionally in Warhammer 40,000, most commonly with officers in the Imperial Navy.
    • In the 40K film Damnatus, both inquisitor Lessus and his flag captain have one.
    • Heavily vampire-themed Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston has a very grand one of these, complete with flowing black cloak. It does, however, act as his psychic hood. And, being a space marine, his is made of metal and has two horned skulls on the points.
  • Warhammer Fantasy's Von Carstein family of Vampires tend to wear these, exhibiting all the traditional movie vampire aesthetics (although recent models have cut back a bit on this to give them a more heavily armoured, unique look. But Konrad von Carstein's heavy armour still has a high collar of spikes on the back). They are also common among High Elf Mages, Imperial wizards and a few other character types.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks, most of the artwork of Illithids portrays them wearing these.

     Video Games  

     Webcomics  

     Web Original  

  • In a The Universal Genre Savvy Guide list for henchmen of the Evil Overlord, the section for the Wicked but Beautiful Daughter include this tip:
    Do not wear dresses with high, fan-like collars. Stick with close-fitting, simple little numbers that allow you to turn your head to see behind you. If for some reason you have to wear a dress with a high collar, there is an arcane device called a "mirror" that will help you watch your back.

     Western Animation  

  • The wicked queen, shown above, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
    • Snow White herself wore a high collar with her Pimped-Out Dress, but it was rounded and shaped in a softer manner, in contrast to the sharp corners and flat shape of the queen's collar.
  • Spoofed in Futurama, with the Omicronians, who all wear capes with high collars.
  • Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
  • Driven Up to Eleven by Yzma in a single scene in The Emperor's New Groove.
  • The Queen of the Crowns in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers has a costume and style that is an homage to them and to Ming the Merciless.
  • Mega Mind loves these. They're even on his pajamas!
    • Taken Up to Eleven with... The Black Mambaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    • Everybody on his home planet loves these.
  • In the Dave the Barbarian episode "Sorcerer Material" (where Malsquando is first introduced), Fang deduces that Malsquando is evil because he has a "pointy collar". The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Pig also has one.
  • The Transformers: The Sweeps have these integrated into their Robot modes.
  • In the Fairy Tale episode of X-Men, Magnus has this on his cape.


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