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Anime And Manga
- Vincent Law/Ergo Proxy from Ergo Proxy.
- Alucard from Hellsing is already a vampire in his least terrifying form; he can also turn into a roiling mass of shadows, hellhounds, eyeballs, Slasher Smiles and some kind of stampede of black knights that kill people on contact.
- Kudou Denji from Tsutomu Nihei's Abara who is a Gauna—which is some serious Body Horror and a taste for human flesh.
- Devilman. Anyone who sees him is instantly horrified. Jun, the female counterpart in Devilman Lady fares little better.
- Abel Nightroad from Trinity Blood is secretly a Crusnik, a technologically-augmented monster that can feed on vampires the way vampires feed on humans. He looks human most of the time, but when it's time to get serious...
- Darkrai (a Pokemon that controls nightmares) was actually portrayed as one in the film Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai.
- Franken Fran: Leading lady Madaraki Fran normally resembles a teenaged girl version of Frankenstein's monster, but at times she adopts her multi-armed "Operation Mode." While the precise value of "hero" may come into question, the "horrifying" very much definite.
- Her sister Veronica seems to be much closer to human morality and is genuinely nice person. But while Fran was designed as an ideal surgeon, Veronica was designed as an assassin, and a fairly good one.
- Kaiman from Dorohedoro is a man with a Caiman's head who tracks down every magic user (in search of the one who turn his head into a caiman). If they're not, he kills them, brutally. Also there is a guy who lives in his mouth and can tell whether the victim is the responsible or not. And yet he is the hero.
- Kaiman is actually a human who became a brutal magic-user/gang leader (and currently trying to become a devil); fortunately Kaiman is now his own person thanks to magic resurrection while the guy in his mouth is the "Curse" of a seemingly non-magical magic-user "pre-Kaiman" betrayed and murdered (ditto on having his own body back).
- Pretty much every "heroic" character can be fairly horrifying given the setting. That kindly, enthusiastic doctor who's so much like Dr. Newt? He made a magic door out of magic-user body parts (magic-users are indistinguishable from normal humans except for a tiny devil-shaped tumor in their brains).
- Eren becomes this in this Attack on Titan after gaining the ability to transform into a Titan. He may be on their side, but that doesn't stop most people from being terrified the first time around.
- From the anime Hell Girl, we have Ai Emma, the titular Hell Girl. Her job is simple. She runs a website called Hell Correspondence. If you have been tormented and want to be avenged, you can visit her through this site and she'll offer to literally send your tormentor to Hell. Her way of doing this involves inflicting terrifying illusions on her victim before finally sending them to Hell. Is there a catch you ask? Oh, nothing grandiose. Just your own soul going to Hell when you die. That's not a problem is it?
- Berserk has the Skull Knight, who is an undead, skeletal knight riding a Hellish Horse. His speech is rendered in the manga the same way as the speech of the demonic Apostles or the Godhand. More than one character who has met him has been absolutely terrified to be in his presence, and at least once he was mistaken for an avatar of Death itself. Despite all this, he is the closest thing the series has to a Big Good, and has been nothing but heroic in his deeds (at least, that the readers have seen). He also literally eats the resident Artifacts of Doom for breakfast.
- Guts himself is a monstrously large amputee with an even larger sword with a demonic wolf roosting in his psyche that gets let loose through Skull Knight's old armor, which has been retrofitted to its new host. It's implied that if he keeps down this path, Guts will become just like Skull Knight, an undead warrior in an endless battle against the Godhand's forces.
- The eponymous character of Spawn, as befits the most iconic '90s Anti-Hero to survive out of the 90s. First, there's the look; taller than a human and prone to towering ominously over others, with a hugely collared, blood-red, shroud-like tattered cape framing a jet-black bodysuit adorned with Spikes of Villainy and bedecked with writhing chains. Eerie green eyes that glow with hellfire stare out of a blank-featured mask, brooding at all before him, while fingers grow into razor-sharp claws. Then you see how he fights; using Combat Tentacles and bare limbs to tear his opponents apart and rip off limbs, or emotionlessly gunning them down. Then you find out he's a Humanoid Abomination; a walking, rotting, undead corpse with a living demon serving as his (fiercely protective) costume and with enough Black Magic to wipe out armies singlehandedly.
- Also the eponymous character of Ghost Rider; not much scarier than a leather-clad demonic biker with a Flaming Skull head that can destroy any evil character just by looking into their eyes and visiting every ounce of pain they've inflicted upon the innocent onto them.
- Swamp Thing, definitely.
- Marvel's Man-Thing. Provoking fear is an explicit part of Man-Thing's powers: those that fear him burn at his touch.note
- Hellboy is the demon who was supposed to bring about the Apocalypse, and he probably would have become a straight Eldritch Abomination if not for being raised like a human. He's personable enough that he isn't treated like the abomination he is, but underneath it all he was still by his very nature supposed to be evil.
- Although he can pass for human, the aptly-named Doc Horror of the relatively unknown comic Nocturnals probably fits under this trope, being a creature from another dimension who escaped to our world. His teammates definitely qualify, as they include a wraith, a pyrokinetic swordsman, a fish woman, a flesh golem/gunfighter and his daughter, who carries around a collection of possessed toys.
- The Tattered Man from the obscure one-shot comic of the same name is a spirit of vengeance whose body is composed of the tattered clothing worn by Jews who died in a concentration camp. The strands of clothing act as Combat Tentacles that he uses to impale violent criminals.
- Eddie Brock, famous for wearing a carnivorous alien symbiote with Lovecraftian superpowers as a costume, thinks of himself as being one of these. As Anti-Venom, he expresses shock that a Mook is more terrified of the Wraith than of him.
- During the AXIS event, Carnage was one of the villains affected by the inversion spell, which made heroes turn evil and villains turn good. While he is driven by an urge to do good, he's still brutally violent and is largely terrible at hero work.
- As a spirit of vengeance who could teach even Ghost Rider a thing or two, The Spectre hunts down evildoers who escaped justice and uses his vast magical powers to inflict nightmarish deaths and worse-than-deaths. Turning a villain's body into cheese but leaving his mind intact and then loosing the villain's trained rats to have dinner? That was in the Lighter and Softer Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon series. When he gets serious, he's even more cruel.
- Aside from facing general hatred just for how they were born, many of the mutants in the Marvel Universe have either powers or an appearance that terrify anyone not on their team (and even some that are). A lot of these end up becoming Morlocks, living in sewers and such, and the go-to targets for the latest "test" of a mutant genocide without wiping out a bunch of beloved main and secondary characters.
- The Thing started off like this, but after a few decades of Character Development, the public have gotten used to an orange, rocky hero, and they love him. In-Universe, the Thing is considered the most beloved Marvel hero, tied only with Captain America (in some versions, this is because the Fantastic Four is secretly Reed Richards's wildly successful PR campaign. He may not have been able to undo mutating his family, but he could rebrand them as heroes instead of freaks).
- Astro City mainstay The Hanged Man definitely qualifies, being a silent black spectre whose only features are a burlap sack on his head and a noose around his neck.
- Nemesis the Warlock: Nemesis is a powerful demonic alien with Bizarre Alien Biology. He is a Blood Knight Anti-Hero as well, but he's positively heroic compared to his genocidal arch-enemy Torquemada, leader of The Empire.
- DC's Creature Commandos include Frankenstein's monster, a werewolf, a (pseudo)vampire, and a woman with snakes for hair, and occasionally a possibly sapient combat robot. The robot is the least creepy of the lot.
- The Incredible Hulk is an unfortunate victim of this trope, due to his traditionally low intelligence and bad temper. He has a tendency to lash out in incredibly destructive rampages whenever anything angers him, which is pretty much anything. It doesn't help that he's subject to a smear campaign by the U.S military, who make him look even more bestial than he really is, and follow him around to try and capture him even when he seeks out solitude.
- The protagonists of The Return, since they are all fascistic, cannibalistic-demons, in various stages of devolving into Humanoid Abominations. And they are our world's best hope for survival against a true Eldritch Abomination which might in fact be a whole 'nother universe in itself.
- In The Darkness Series Harry in his snake form saves Fleur from the Grindylows.
- In The Bridge, say you're an Equestrian native. You see a giant Pillar of Light shoot out in front of your capital city and a forty story tall, razor clawed, multi-fanged, giant dinosaur with sharp spines down its back appears from the light and promptly starts mauling another giant creature that was on the attack. Congrats, the dino is the good guy.
- Taylor in Starry Eyes is this so much. This is mostly due to the fact that her body is its own pocket dimension to another realm, hosting a couple of Eldritch Abominations who allow her to use their many multi-tentacled appendages to her will. Half of the heroes who see her mistake her for a villain simply because she is so mindbogglingly terrifying.
Film - Animation
- The Nightmare Before Christmas stars Halloween Town's local hero, Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King.
- James P. "Sulley" Sullivan and Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. are monsters whose job it is to scare children.
- Though not horrifying to the audience, the hulking green ogre Shrek certainly is to the humans he meets. He enjoys acting the stereotype of a foul man-eating monster to scare people, and he does a good job of it. He causes a panic wherever he goes, and nearby human warriors spend a good deal of time trying to slay him like heroes in stories usually do to ogres. His main motive in scaring people away is peace and quiet, and once he starts to come out of his shell, everyone gets to know him and becomes less afraid of him. In fact, one of his frustrations in the fourth movie is that he's undergone Badass Decay: he's a Bumbling Dad and a beloved member of the community, and he longs for the days when everyone used to be afraid of him.
Film - Live Action
- Lou Garou, the main character of Wolfcop. He's a small town cop transformed into a Wolf Man via a dark magic ritual. Although he's definitely savage and has a habit of tearing apart his opponents, becoming a werewolf actually makes Lou into a better cop who starts cleaning up his Wretched Hive of a town.
- A nebbishy janitor is transformed into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength after falling into a vat of nuclear waste. Though a monster, he realizes that with his newfound power, he can clean up the crime and corruption that has overtaken his city. Thus The Toxic Avenger is born.
- Faust: Love of the Damned: John Jaspers' superhero form, in true Faustian Rebellion style, is a giant winged demon with Wolverine Claws.
- Godzilla himself is this, particularly in his most anti-heroic incarnations. He's a gigantic, mutant dinosaur who shoots atomic fire from his maw, yet he's nowhere as dangerous as beings like King Ghidorah or Space Godzilla.
- Eva Ibbotson likes to play with this trope. Some of her heroes are beings that should be horrifying, but actually aren't. For example the ghost whose ectoplasm is, unfortunately, of a bright pink. His brother is a screaming skull, and his sister has done something horrible and has to wash her bloody hands regularly. No one knows what's wrong with him. He'd still be a horrible sight to anyone who fears everything supernatural. Or the little witch, whose sisters look terrible, with clawlike fingernails and such, but the only thing strange about her is that she has a blue tooth. Sadly, it's not one of the front teeth. Played straight with others, such as the (ghost of a) man who has a rat eating his heart. People run away screaming when they see him, but he's one of the good guys.
- The eponymous character of Skulduggery Pleasant is a living skeleton. The cover of the American edition of the first book had a picture of him and a blurb saying "And he's the good guy!"
- Shrek, from William Stieg's original picture book of the same name, may be even more of a Horrifying Hero than he is in The Film of the Book, since he doesn't have a hidden nice-guy side to him and the entire story is about how foul and scary he is.
- Invoked in Worm by Skitter, a teenage girl with total control over every insect in a massive radius. She regularly covers herself in insects to give herself the appearance of The Worm That Walks and normal battle tactics involve stuffing insects down people's throats. It's no wonder that the first superhero she runs into thinks that she's a supervillain!
- The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" subverts this. The singer is Satan, but he probably represents humanity. As it turns out, we're the really horrifying ones.
After all, it was you and me.
- Stephen Lynch's "Beelz," also from Satan's viewpoint, subverts this one too. Lynch's voice starts out deep and guttural, presenting Satan as an ancient and sinister presence, but then it abruptly shifts several octaves higher and acquires a feminine lisp. The rest of the song presents Satan as a Laughably Evil Flaming Devil.
Mythology and Religion
- Cú Chulainn, the young hero of the Ulster Cycle of Celtic Mythology, particularly of the Táin Bó Cúailnge. Though he is portrayed as being as Bishōnen as a teenaged Irish ginger can be, he is a descendant of either the Tuatha Dé Danann Lugh or the Fomorians, a monstrous race from the mythic prehistory era of Ireland. Though he is heroic and stalwart, and generally perceived as a good guy, his defining mystical characteristic is his ability to transform into various disfigured superpowered abominations through the use of his warp-spasm. After he transforms, he becomes a berserker that slaughters anything in his path, friend and foe alike. Even out of his warp spasm, he is described in the Táin as having Multicolored Hair, four multicolored dimples in each cheek, seven pupils in each eye, and seven clawed fingers and toes on each hand/foot.
- In The Bible, when angels aren't disguising themselves as humans, anyone they appear to tend to react in fear. On the rare occasions the Bible physically describes one, it involves strange descriptors like "faces made of lightning" or "fiery interlocking chariot wheels". Despite all this, one of the first things an angel usually says is "Do not be afraid", and they are after all the messengers and soldiers of Heaven, and are definitely on the side of good.
- When played as heroes, the Abyssal Exalted can exhibit this sort of behavior, due to some being hideous pseudo-undead monstrosities. The (probably more common) darkly beautiful variety aren't such good examples, though their anima still sends mortals fleeing in terror.
- Lunar Exalted, too. Their most common battle tactic is "turn into an 8-foot-tall animalistic monstrosity", after all.
- Infernal Exalted on the other hand are basically turning into Primordials (beings with hundreds of souls and are the creators of the world), and are supposed to be helping their masters bring about the Reclamation.
- Many Infernal powers were directly conceived as being very evil and scary in special effects but not actually mandatory-evil in execution...for a sufficiently lenient definition of "evil" anyway.
- Hell, the Solar Exalted are the targets of a massive smear campaign from the dominant faith and as such, even if they save the day and convince a few people they really aren't so bad, if they want to avoid witch hunts and fate ninjas they tend to move on very quickly.
- If a Raksha decided to play hero it would be most likely the definition of this Trope. As pretty as they are, they're still an Alien Intelligence from the Wyld and all.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a slight lack of personalities who could reasonably be described as heroic. Inasmuch as they're technically "good guys", the Legion of the Damned probably qualify as they are silent warriors whose black armour is adorned with chilling images of bone and fire, and they basically will appear out of nowhere and completely slaughter a losing imperial force's foes and then disappear.
- It's a slim chance that anyone can be a truly heroic character in any of The World of Darkness gamelines, but both versions of Werewolves have a form of Weirdness Censor that force normal people to flee in terror when they are, uh, being werewolves.
- Some Player Character races in Dungeons & Dragons are weird enough, although rarely to the point that they can't function socially. But some sourcebooks allow you to either evolve yourself into an Eldritch Abomination, implant Eldritch Abomination flesh into yourself, or just plain be an Eldritch Abomination— one sourcebook has a Good Illithid. Either way, the result is… disturbing. There is the Dragon disciple class which allows you turn yourself into a half dragon. 4e allows you to play as a war golem, living mass of crystals or Minotaur.
- [PROTOTYPE]'s Alex Mercer is a living pile of general-purpose biomass sporting a multitude of Shapeshifter Weapons, Combat Tentacles, as well as the ability to perfectly mimic any person and assume their memories and knowledge by eating them. He's also the player character, and the one person who stands a chance at defeating an equally-horrifying personification of a different strain of The Virus.
The same goes for James Heller of [PROTOTYPE 2]. Fits all of the criteria above, along with being a Scary Black Man who can not only summon up tendrils to tether enemies to each other but infest them with a biological bomb of sorts as well as control Elite Mooks to some extent. It's really shown in the finale, where his daughter is too terrified of him to approach him at first.
- Raziel of the Legacy of Kain series is basically the ghost of a vampire. His blue skin, glowing yellow eyes, clawed hands and feet, tattered wings, and lack of a lower jaw leave him looking more like a demon than anything else, although in the first Soul Reaver game he can convince humans that he's on their side by not killing them. His sire Kain may qualify as well, even if he straddles the line between Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist. Although he looks mostly human, people's reactions in the first game (when he's not using disguise magic) make it clear that he's recognizable as a vampire on sight.
- Wolf Link from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a wolf with mysterious powers of darkness, ridden by Midna, a creepy imp with strange markings and a Fused Shadow helmet. Wolf Link and Midna aren't really horrifying to the player, but in-game, the two of them cause a general panic wherever they go. (The only people who aren't scared of them are the lady who operates a canoe minigame, and her brother who is more scared of her than he is of Wolf Link and Midna.) But they're definitely on the side of good.
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm gives us Sarah Kerrigan, formerly known as the Queen of Blades and the self-proclaimed Queen Bitch of the Universe, as the protagonist. Kerrigan has been a Brainwashed and Crazy Fallen Hero and Omnicidal Maniac for most of StarCraft and all of Brood War, who only got recently turned back to normal in Wings of Liberty. She leads a Horde of Alien Locusts, possess creepy psychic powers and is motivated by a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Over the course of the game, she gets an upgraded but just as creepy version of the powers she had as a villain, basically turning into a Humanoid Abomination Physical God. And yet, while she is on a thin line between Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist, she still is a better person than Arcturus Mengsk, the perfectly human Villain with Good Publicity who she wants to make pay. She has also dropped the habit of backstabbing allies and executing rivals, and even goes out of her way to minimize collateral damage; things that Mengsk has done in the past without a shred of remorse.
- A high-Humanity Nosferatu player character in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a hideous undead monstrosity who can do quite a lot of good around town. Some humans can be quite vocally grateful for their help. Others drop dead from the sight of them.
- The image above comes from Cthulhu Saves the World, where it's Played for Laughs.
- Vincent Valentine of Final Fantasy VII. He fights by invoking mutations in his body to turn him into monstrous creatures, which include: Galian Beast, a werewolf-gargoyle hybrid; Death Gigas, a hulking Frankenstein's Monster; Hell Masker, a Hockey Mask and Chainsaw freak; and Chaos, a demonic entity based on himself. He also invokes the image of a vampire, as the heroes find him sleeping in a coffin in the basement of a creepy haunted mansion, but they can recruit him to the party and it turns out he's a pretty decent guy, if a little broody and unsociable. Oh, and he was so popular that he managed to get his own game.
- Beatrix from Battleborn is one of the more disturbingly creepy characters among the heroic Battleborn. It's best shown in a number of her taunts which make her look like something from a horror movie.
- Duane from Unsounded is a sentient skeleton with a zombie's perpetual predatory drive who occasionally grave-robs to replace broken limbs. He's also one of the most noble, lawful, moral characters in the story.
- Cody Giles in Angel of Death is a lich which, in his universe, entails devouring human souls. He smells like a noxious corpse, and his powers include smelling fear, surrounding himself with a dark shadowy cloud by draining light out of the area, and inflicting any disease or injury on anyone with a mere touch. He is extremely moral, and is always very concerned about hurting as few people as possible.
- The two fairies in CD-I Super Guns Fight are based off of Left 4 Dead witches, which proves to be horrific for anyone that encounters them whose not on their side. In the first appearance, they brutally murder Lupay and her entire squad, though in the former's case she almost escapes...minus one arm. However, they're aligned with the good team instead of the evil team.
- In Total Drama Revenge of the Island, Dakota becomes this after her mutation. Although Sam likes her better that way.
- From Godzilla: The Series: Godzilla is over 200 feet tall, looks like a cross between an iguana and a Tyrannosaurus rex, and breathes a stream of atomic fire. The citizens of New York are quite justifiably terrified of him.
- American Dragon: Jake Long: Jake is a human most of the time, but can turn into a... well, guess.
- Surprisingly averted with the mutant "Muckman" in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012); After his mutation, his body becomes a mass of slime and tumours, with exposed bones (and even a gaping hole in his torso, leaving his organs and spinal cord clearly visible). When he saves a man from being mugged, the man reacts with gratitude rather than horror, even pointing out to an understandably freaked-out woman that Muckman is a hero. Muckman soon gains a legion of fans who follow him wherever he goes (to his chagrin).
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy stars The Grim Reaper himself, though he's actually less scary than Mandy, an ordinary girl.