Reminiscing About Your Victims
Do you have a brother? I shot a man once who looked like you. In Kiev. In... '93, I think. I'm sure you heard about it. The Spetsnaz team
that tried to sell a warhead? Nobody ever saw them again. [Breaks into slightly psychotic laughter] That was a good winter for me!
We know that Evil Feels Good
. So, it's also natural that evil people can get nostalgic for times that felt particularly good, such as an especially fun victim or a favorite city you destroyed. Sometimes the character does it in such a way that it would be cute if not for the monstrous deeds being talked about
Most commonly, this is done with a Serial Killer
thinking about their kills, a Blood Knight
recalling a Worthy Opponent
, with the villain intentionally trying to hurt
or provoke a hero
they might be talking to, or to show the villain having an attachment to a victim such as a Villainous Crush
or a touch of Lima Syndrome
Would You Like to Hear How They Died?
and the Post Rape Taunt
are common parts of this. Contrast But for Me, It Was Tuesday
, where the villain doesn't remember their victims. Compare and contrast Antagonist in Mourning
. Can be an excellent Establishing Character Moment
, particularly if a character is meant to be established as Ax-Crazy
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Anime and Manga
- In Tiger & Bunny three criminals sharing a jail cell swap stories of their misdeeds, one of them remarking that he loves kidnapping, because you can get a bunch of money and then kill the kid afterwards. They immediately then get incinerated by Lunatic.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, during his interrogation Barry the Chopper talks about his various kills this way, reminiscing about how beautiful the moonlight on the pools of blood was, treasuring the memories of such halcyon days. He also instantly spots the one bogus incident they mentioned to test him.
- Generally averted with Death Note's Villain Protagonist Light, who often seems completely unconcerned with his victims' identities beyond their being Acceptable Targets and/or being convenient to kill... However, he does seem to do this quite a lot in reference to one particular victim during the series' second half.
- Bleach: Mayuri reveals to Uryuu that he had studied the Quincies by launching into a long speech about all the things he did to the Quincies he'd captured in order to study responses to mental and physical stimuli. It's a speech that reveals just how far down the road of Mad Scientist he's willing to go For Science!.
- A typically creepy issue of Swamp Thing has a Serial Killer who calls himself the Bogeyman and remembers his victims by number...and their eyes. Every time he hears a number, the panel shows a disembodied pair of eyes and his description of same.
- In an issue of Uncanny X-Men around the 200's, Selene is confronting Rachel (Phoenix) because Selene killed a man who was helping Rachel, and Selene taunts her by pointing out that she knows all about the man she killed while Rachel doesn't even know his name.
- Judge Dredd: Boyhood of a Superfiend serves as Judge Death's Origins Issue. It's basically one long use of this trope as Death, being interviewed by a journalist, happily recalls all the people whom he gruesomely murdered during his long career of killing every living thing.
- In Rob Roy when Rob and Cunningham finally meet face to face, Cunningham teases Rob about how good it felt to rape Rob's wife. "Your wife was far sweeter forced than many are willing."
- In Gangs of New York, Bill Cutting considers Priest Vallon a Worthy Opponent and does an Antagonist in Mourning type of celebration of their fight every year.
- Hannibal Lecter seemed to really enjoy that memory of the census worker that he ate with fava beans and Chianti.
- The Joker does the Would You Like to Hear How They Died? version in The Dark Knight.
Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can't savor all the ... little emotions. In ... you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?
- In The Princess Bride, while talking with Buttercup, the Man in Black tells her how Westley pleaded for his life before he killed him. Here it's used in a more respectful way, since the Man in Black hints at being moved by Westley's sincerity and devotion. Ultimately subverted in that the Man in Black did not in fact kill Westley...he is Westley!
- Con Air. About midway through the film, convicted serial killer Garland Greene strikes up a conversation with Cameron Poe during which he happily recounts how he once killed a girl, then drove through three states while wearing her head as a hat.
- In Return to Cabin by the Lake, Stanley Caldwell recalls Kimberly, his last succesful victim before his crimes were found out, quite well. He relays to Allison, a curious script writer, that she gave him "a good fight" and clawed at his arm as he daydreams about Kimberly.
- In the first book of the Sword of Truth series, the Big Bad is remembering a girl he took to his bed, and how she laughed at his scars. Since it happens during a situation when he must smile to another, he shifts to recalling what he has done to her in response.
- In King Solomon's Mines (where Allan Quartermain got his start) the Zulu warrior Umslopagaas says that he wouldn't mind meeting and talking to some of the people he had killed in battle. In this case it isn't to show that Umslopogaas is evil but that though he is a Blood Knight he is also an honorable Proud Warrior Race Guy who respects a Worthy Opponent.
- In Carpe Jugulum, the vampire Count and Countess Magpyr reminisce about their honeymoon:
: And we met such lovely people. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker
: Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.
- In Hannibal, Mason Verger reminisces about a Christian camp he attended and his fellow campers, some of them disadvantaged youth who "would do anything for a candy bar" which allowed him to molest them. This is meant to mark him out as an Asshole Victim of Hannibal Lecter's and later of his sister Margot's.
- In The Two Princesses of Bamarre, the dragon Vollys treats her prisoners as "guests" before eating them, letting them live longer with a system of giving and taking away pieces of treasure from her hoard for entertaining her. She reminisces about several of her previous victims fondly, talking about them like they were old friends and mourning the fact that she got bored and killed them. In return, the protagonist Addie later regrets having to kill her to escape.
- In the Warrior Cats field guide Battles of the Clans, Tigerstar remembers how fun it was when he killed Redtail.
- Chiswyck's weakness for this trope leads Arya to contrive his assassination in A Song of Ice and Fire; his bragging about his band's rapes and murders proves a little too much for her.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry's last-minute escape from Voldemort in Godric's Hollow triggers a Through the Eyes of Madness vision where Voldemort recounts the night he killed Harry's parents.
Live Action TV
- Kamelot's song The Zodiac is inspired by the Zodiac Killer, and in the lyrics he reminisces about breaking the neck of a woman.
- Spike Jones' parody of "My Old Flame" presents the song as sung by a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Peter Lorre as a psychotic killer who is trying to remember which one of his victims the song is about.
"My old flame / I can't even think of her name / (beat
) I'll have to look through my collection of human heads."
- Jack Slash, a superpowered Serial Killer who leads a band of the same in Worm, does this a lot, recalling the numerous and inventive deaths and/or Fates Worse Than Death that he and his group have inflicted upon their victims in order to unsettle and disturb his enemies.
- In There Will Be Brawl, Kirby particularly enjoys taunting Luigi with his murder of Daisy: "I can only imagine how you must have felt...when I ate your princess, I wore her head like a hat and danced through the streets..." Fitting because he is directly inspired by Hannibal Lecter, he enjoys messing with Luigi, and doing just that was most of his point in instigating the series.
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure Abridged has J. Geil go on about this while bragging about killing Polnareff's sister.