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Sickly Green Glow

"Why is it that deadly chemicals are always green? Why can't they ever be pink?"
Batgirl, The Batman note 

Power Glows, but evil power glows green. Most of the time, this glow is closely related with death, as well. Good characters may wield power that has a green glow, but this is always a "healthy" or "natural" shade of green. Evil green is a more sickly, yellower shade that makes you want to take a shower to wash it off after just looking at it.

According to the principles of Technicolor Science, radiation and all things nuclear have a green glow, although this is seldom the case in Real Life (Cherenkov radiation in the pools of nuclear reactors is blue, radioactive cesium chloride fluoresces faintly blue, and hot radioactives are orange).

Maybe the trope originated with radium-dial watches, or perhaps bioluminescence (usually green), or perhaps just the odd pale green that corpses turn (and very faintly glow).

Not to be confused with Green Around the Gills.

See also Good Colors, Evil Colors, Technicolor Toxin, Emerald Power and Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. Contrast Bioluminescence is Cool.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z movie villain Broly, aka the Legendary Super Saiyan, is the only character to have a consistently green aura. This may have been an effect of his father's mind control device, but afterwards he still has a green tint to his hair and aura and all his special attacks are green. Finally, his imperfect clone "Bio-Broly" degenerates into a green blob monster.
  • Sesshoumaru from InuYasha, when he uses his Toxic Flower Claw or any variation of it. In fact, the first time you see the Aristocratic Assassin, he uses it against a ferocious pack of wolves, and eviscerates them with ease.
  • Reversed in many Super Robot shows, such as Getter Robo, GaoGaiGar, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Kotetsu Jeeg, where the good guy's energy shines neon green. The enemies in these shows typically use a different coloured energy, such as pale blue for Anti-Spirals (and red for Lord Genome) or Purple for Zonders.
    • The Loud G-Stone used by the Sol 11 Masters in GaoGaiGar FINAL glowed the same color as the normal G-Stone, but displayed an upside-down G symbol when active. But then, real power in GGG was orange (THE POWER, Genesic Aura), though it was always the G-Stone that did the job in the end, thanks to its theoretically infinite energy output.
  • In Shaman King, Deadly Doctor Faust VIII's mana is a sickly yellow-green color. Later subverted because for Faust, defeat victory means friendship.
  • In Black★Rock Shooter, Deadmaster often has this. This combined with her skeletal robot minions and skull motif often has fans making Necron jokes.

    Comic Books 
  • Kryptonite glows green in its most common - and most directly toxic - form.
  • Necroplasm in Spawn.
  • On a few occasions the Hulk has become so angry that he glowed with gamma energy.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Lord of the Rings: Mordor and environs have a green cast. Minas Morgul has a bright green glow. The army of the dead is green. Gollum doesn't glow, but he sure has a sickly green pallor.
    • And in the book Gollum's eyes are sometimes described as making pale green glow. Minas Morgul gets the same deal as in the movie, too.
  • X-Men:
  • The Matrix is suffused with a greenish tint, and the green Matrix Raining Code has that nice, sinister Borg-ish hue over a black background.
  • The thalaron beam in Star Trek: Nemesis is green, and the final battle takes place in the Bassen Rift, which is a nebula with a very sickly green glow.
  • In Alien: The movie poster shows a cracked egg with a green light shining inside.
  • In Creepshow, Ted Danson's character acquires a green glow as the tide covers his head. "I can hold my breath for a long time!"
  • In 1987's The Curse, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space", the colour turns out to be green. Of course, in the story, the color was something never seen on Earth before. Any special effects team that can really produce that probably HAS cut a deal with the Great Old Ones.
  • All the scenes taking place in the Slytherin dorms in the Harry Potter movies. Someone went crazy with green light. In this case, though, there's a valid reason: in the second to last novel, the Slytherin dorms are explicitly said to be green-lit due to the windows being below the lake's waterline.
    • Avada Kedavra.
  • The outer glow around the Hobgoblins titles is green. Take warning.
  • The titular artifact of The Mask sometimes emits a green glow.
  • By the end of Repo Man, the aliens in the trunk convey a bright green glow to the Chevy Malibu.
  • The giant Sphere of Doom thing in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) shines with a dirty green light.
  • The alien un-terraforming machine in The Arrival emits giant glowing green balls of greenhouse gases.
  • The evil Queen Narissa's magic in Enchanted manifests as green electrical discharges.
  • The titular monstrosity doesn't glow, but this page wouldn't be complete without a reference to the old space monster movie The Green Slime.
  • In Stuart Gordon's modernized film version of H.P. Lovecraft's "Re-Animator", Dr. Herbert West's re-animation reagent is an illuminating chartreuse color.
  • In The Wizard of Oz movie (but not the book), the Wicked Witch of the West is green. Some of her magic is other colors though.
  • In Batman Forever, this was the Riddler's visual-effects motif.

    Literature 
  • In Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers, the alien power has a green glow.
  • The Illearth Stone in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, though there's at least one example of a "good" green glow as well - explicitly stated as being of a different, more natural shade.
  • The Killing Curse in Harry Potter fits the bill, as well as a particularly nasty potion that also has strong ties to the Big Bad.
  • The Boundaries in The Sword of Truth series, being gateways into the underworld, are naturally bright green.
  • In Gone , by Michael Grant, this trope is both played straight and averted: The radioactivity in the underwater cave is bright green, while the nuclear reactor is bright blue.
  • In The Green Futures of Tycho by William Sleator, the main character (11 year old Tycho) travels repeatedly in time, constantly altering the primary timeline. The time travel device (an egg-shaped object) becomes more green-glowing as he uses it, as does the future. First just in the color of the house paint, later there's green liquid-like shapes as furniture or structural additions to the house, glowing sickly green. The older versions of the main character gets more evil (and evil looking) as the "greenage" increases thus closely adhering to this trope.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, the Dark Forest (which is basically a feline Hell) is described as being completely dark except for a sickly green light.
  • Titus Groan, the first Gormenghast novel, features Swelter the chef sharpening his cleaver in preparation to murder Flay in a room lit by a green lantern. Even the title of the chapter is "In Lime-Green Light".
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Barrow-Wights. The Dead Marshes. Minas Morgul. In short, anything associated with the undead.
  • Shoggoths in H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness are described as enormous black masses of protoplasmic bubbles covered in luminescent green eyes that are constantly forming, shifting around and dissolving.
  • More like a Sickly Blue Glow in Star Carrier: Earth Strike, courtesy of an Orbital Bombardment leaving the area surrounding a Space Marine base so irradiated it's giving off Cherenkov radiation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Pearl and Nash's powers.
  • The Borg on Star Trek: The Next Generation have a particular green glow, sometimes referred to as "Borg-green".
    • Also from TNG, both Klingon and Romulan ships and weapons are coloured green. Subverted in the case of the Klingons, who are the Federation's allies. Subverted again with the Romulans in Deep Space Nine when they join the Alliance.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Galileo Seven", the Murasaki 312 object is a glowing green cloud, in both the original and the new special effects.
  • Jasmine of Angel glowed green when she ate people.
  • Because it's just not a trope without a Doctor Who reference; nine out of 10 classic series monsters, at least, were green. This was even referenced by former script-editor / writer Terrance Dicks in a documentary about the show; "The colour of monsters is always gween!"
    • Don't forget the classic story, The Green Death, which was perhaps the epitome of this trope.
    • The Family of Blood has a green glow to their ship as well as their faces when they communicate with one other.
    • The Discontinuity Guide's entry on "Logopolis" lists "Entropy is green" as one of that story's goofs.
    • In The Doctor's Wife, House manifests itself as a cloud of green smoke when outside its "body". When it possesses an Ood, its eyes glow green (rather than red, which is what usually happens when Ood get possessed). Once it gets inside the TARDIS, the usual lighting scheme is replaced with a suitably ominous green one.
  • The evil Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. Before the Heel-Face Turn, that is.
  • In The Incredible Hulk, David Banner's face glows green before he turns into Lou Ferrigno.
  • The Battlestar Galactica'' episodes "Torn" and "A Measure of Salvation" feature a Cylon Baseship (which is bio-mechanical) infected by a virus. As the ship slowly dies, the computer panels and other sources of light on the ship give out an eerie green glow. Moreover, the "fleshy" bits of the ship, which normally have a healthy red coloration, take a rotten, dark-green appearance.
  • Dr. Clayton Forrester from MST3K is perpetually outfitted in the absolute brightest greens possible, to denote his mad scientist nature.
  • The green kryptonite in Smallville, well, at least when Clark comes near it. Usage of some kryptonite-induced powers also glow like this.
  • In Hercules in the Underworld, the entrance to the realm of Hades is a large hole that emits a column of green light, from which little green ghosts ascend.
  • Parodied in British Dom Com One Foot in the Grave. Victor Meldrew takes delivery of a large consignment of horse manure which is dumped at the end of his drive so in order to stop people walking into it, he places fairy lights on top. When the public finds out that the manure was taken from a farm near a nuclear power plant, they immediately panic and think it's dangerously radioactive.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Though not glowing, Death's horse in The Book of Revelation is called "Khloros", which can be translated as "Pale", "Sickly green", "Yellow green", and so on.
    • We get the word "chlorine" from the same place - quite fitting, as chlorine does look sickly green.

    Pinball 
  • This is one of the primary color schemes in Big Bang Bar. Somewhat justified in that it's taking place inside a wild alien nightclub.
  • A sickly green goo drips all over the playfield in Scared Stiff.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Necrons in Warhammer 40,000.
  • Warpstone in Warhammer.
  • This is a running theme for the Yozi Malfeas in Exalted. His central soul Ligier is the Green Sun, illuminating his hellish landscape. A considerable number of Malfeas's powers also manifest a green glow of some form, and any Infernal Exalt who opts to learn Malfeas's powers can join the fun.
    • The "Green Sun Wasting" disease (caused by Malfeas's powers) is basically radiation poisoning.
  • The Martian Menace in Monsterpocalypse.
  • The Cryx in Iron Kingdoms are renowned for the sickly green emanations of their jacks' necrotite-fueled engines and their tendency to stalk swampy areas, to the point where the livings of Immoren call even mere will-o'-the-wisps "Cryxlights".
  • Occasionally played straight with those suffering from the Shadowlands Taint in Legend of the Five Rings, but more frequently inverted, as blessed green jade is pretty much the only reliable way to protect both one's soul from spiritual corruption and one's body from physical harm when dealing with the Shadowlands. It also gives off an apparently radioactive glow. This, for instance, is a chief holy priest of the good guys.
  • In the modern version of the Arkham Horror board game, the Color Out of Space, which in the original story was a color never seen on Earth, is pictured as a glowing green.
  • The black-mana regions of Mirrodin in Magic: The Gathering are covered in eerily glowing necrogen gas, and that's only gotten more pronounced with the Phyrexian takeover.

    Toys 
  • Antidermis in BIONICLE's story. For the toys, there are the figures that come with glow-in-the-dark pieces — Nocturn, Takadox, Morak, Gadunka, the Piraka teeth, the thingamajig in Roodaka's mouth, and the 2004 collectible disks. Also the Visorak Minifigs and the special Rhotuka spinner from the 2005 playsets.

    Video Games 
  • Xel'lototh and her minions in Eternal Darkness; although technically all the three major gods are Eldritch Abominations, she can be best described as the Goddess of Insanity.
  • Wherever there are demons in World of Warcraft, there's usually green-burning 'Fel Fire'.
    • Except for Warlock spells.
      • Which was Averted with Mists Of Pandaria, which adds a Harder Than Hard (at the time of release, at least) quest chain that turns all warlock fire spells green as a sign of prestige among the class.
    • Similarly, the Scourge used to have the same glow as demons when they were still servants of the Burning Legion. After they became independent, they adopted a new blue white scheme. The color of their embalming ichor remains unchanged however.
    • Also, the plague created by the Forsaken is green (the Scourge one is mostly orange, though they continue to use green glow at times).
  • Tron 2.0. Anything "corrupted" in the virtual world glows a sickly greenish-yellow.
  • In Samurai Shodown, Zankuro glows green when first introduced in the third game; also, several of his attacks have a green glow or make him glow green.
  • In The King of Fighters, Rugal's (KOF '98 and after) "Dark Barrier" is green, and one of his Desperation Moves has him producing green flames. Also, Ash Crimson fights using green flames.
  • Tiberium crystals in Command & Conquer are green and give off toxic green gas. (Later, other forms are different colours).
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 radiation is green.
    • In the Command & Conquer: Generals series Anthrax is a green gas so you know not to move your units into it.
      • However, after you upgrade to extra-nasty anthrax, it's blue. You can also upgrade it to pink on the expansion as Dr. Thrax. Radiation, on the other hand, is orange.
  • In Geneforge, the canisters are filled with a green glowing substance.
  • The background nebulae in Freelancer have all a dominant color depending on where you are. Liberty's backgrounds are orange and dark blue, Bretonia's are purple and orange, Kusari's are turquoise, Rheinland's are orange with a little bit of green, while the Border Worlds' usually incorporate some white. The Edge Worlds, meanwhile, are barren, crime-ridden places where you get to fight the real enemy; coincidentally, all of them have gas clouds and backgrounds colored sickly green.
  • Radiation from nuclear strikes in DEFCON glows green, though you change the colour if you wish.
  • Radioactive material in Half-Life is florescent green liquid.
  • Mako energy in Final Fantasy VII.
  • In Max Payne, the designer drug Valkyr glows sickly green. And Drugs Are Bad, in case you didn't know.
  • Parasite applies this to the eyes and drool of creatures subjected to Mind Control.
  • In Overlord, your weapon gains a bright green flame when you infuse it with enough Minions.
  • Emperor Doel's castle in The Legend of Dragoon has a sickly green glow on the inside due to all the green magical fire lighting up the place.
  • All over the place in the various Fallout games, naturally.
    • Fallout 3 has a side-mission where an atom worshiping cult is tainting water with radiation. There are multiple ways to solve the problem, but the easiest involves convincing the cult that you're the avatar of their god and that you want them to stop tainting the water. Since the avatar is said to have a bright glow, you need to get said glow, which involves getting over 800 rads (1000 is the lethal level).
      • Another side-mission has a character ask you to get radiation poisoning so she can study it's effects for a survival guide she's writing. The optional objective is to get critical poisoning (600), which will cause her to mention that you're actually glowing (and get you a perk... which may possibly come in the form of a benign tumor).
    • The series also has a form of ghoul called a Glowing One. They generally tend to be hostile, save for Jason Bright of Fallout: New Vegas.
    • If you nuke Megaton, the surrounding area is covered in a sickly green fog. The same thing is seen in Camp Searchlight and other irradiated locations in Fallout: New Vegas.
    • Almost everywhere in Fallout 3 has a strong green tint anyway, which echoes both this trope and the post-nuclear war setting. The above examples are simply cases where it is exaggerated.
  • Unreal Tournament: The GES BioRifle's toxic ammo and payload, which lingers on the ground until fading or activated by another player.
  • Starcraft: No matter what color the rest of your units are, the Zerg Spawning Pool is always green.
  • The very useful and very Toxic Phlebotinum Kojima Particle that turns your mech into a Walking Wasteland in Armored Core 4/for Answer is very much a sickly shade of transparent light green.
  • The Mace of Molag Bal in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a sickly green glow when drawn. If that wasn't enough to convince you that it's an Obviously Evil weapon, it's also spiky and has a demonic face with glowing red eyes adorning it. Guards will freak out if you carry the Mace and demand that you get away from them.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: Anyone injected with Titan develops eerie glowing green eyes. Then they turn into hulking ogre-like monsters with an ample supply of Body Horror.
  • Inverted in the Synthesis ending of Mass Effect 3, with the green glow actually being an instant transhuman upgrade, and Reapers that are glowing green are considerably more helpful than they were before they started glowing green.
  • In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, the Bogs' magic is like this, as is Zara's.
  • Feeding Frenzy has tiny glowing green fish among all the others. They're small enough that you can eat them at any level, but they're either toxic or radioactive (the game doesn't specify) and eating one makes your controls freeze or work in reverse, depending on which version of the game you're playing. Eating a glowing green fish is a good way to die.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth features Xenomass, a harvest-able resource that the Harmony affinity specializes in, glows green. Miasma, a Deadly Gas found across the landscape that damages human forces and prevents resource extraction, also glows green. And, of course, there are cylinders of glowing green stuff on Harmony tanks (which is believed to be either Xenomass or Miasma).

    Webcomics 
  • The Harbinger, the demon in Garanos, is identified by this shade of green.
  • The Green Glowy Things chapter from Girl Genius.
  • The mushrooms in Roza.
  • In Homestuck, energy with a Sickly Green Glow is associated with the powers of the First Guardians and their energy source, the Green Sun. While First Guardians are not necessarily inherently evil, there is apparently a high tendency for them to be spawned as agents in the service of Lord English, facilitating his eventual emergence into and subsequent destruction of their universe. Currently, five known entities have/had the powers and accordingly the Sickly Green Glow - Becquerel, Doc Scratch, Jack Noir, Jade Harley, and the Peregrine Mendicant; however, of the five only Scratch and Jack are evil, and how.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons anything radioactive glows green. In the episode "The Springfield Files", Mr. Burns reveals that "a lifetime of working in a nuclear power plant has given me a healthy green glow."
  • "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!": A "ghost" appears in a glowing green deep-sea diving suit.
  • In Kim Possible, Shego's hands can glow green.
    • She's generally got a green tint all over, although admittedly not to the extent most fanart flanderizes her to.
  • This is inverted in Jackie Chan Adventures: While magic is often Color-Coded for Your Convenience, Uncle's "chi spells" all shine neon green, while dark magic tends to be purple-blue.
  • In the Futurama episode, "The Honking", the headlights and grill of SATAN, the original were-car, emit green rays when he awakes.
  • Almost subverted in Danny Phantom, where the hero often glows green due to his ghostly powers (and gets 'glowing green eyes' according to the show's opening). However, so do all the other ghosts, who also tend to have green skin or other attributes (and also tend to be evil).
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, the Flying Dutchman glows green, as does his ship. This is lampshaded in one episode:
    Spongebob: I dunno, Squidward. That ship has a spooky green glow around it.
    • Same series, one of Mermaid Man's nemesis the Atomic Flounder can apparently shoot out a green beam while howling.
  • The Batman Beyond villain Blight, appears as a black skeleton wrapped in translucent, glowing green flesh.
  • Izzy gets one after jumping in a box marked 'radioactive' in Total Drama Island. She then complains to Noah that there wasn't a radio in the box at all.
  • Princess Cadence from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is shown to have a magical aura that is best described as "radioactive green". The flashback that shows her actual aura is light blue rings the bell that something is definitely wrong; in truth, the green aura is that of the changeling Queen Chrysalis, who's kidnapped and replaced the real Cadence.
    • In The Crystal Empire, King Sombra has radioactive-green eyes, as does Twilight when using Black Magic.
    • Rarity's magic is changed to this colour by the Inspiration Manifestation spell, and her eyes take on the same colour.
  • Yuck from Yin Yang Yo has this color to his magic. Considering that he doesn't bathe and has a similar color to his fur could tie into the gross factor and his evilness.
  • The Lich from Adventure Time has this going for him. He's the spirit of an Atomic Bomb.
  • In Barbie And The Secret Door, when Malucia drains others' magic it gains a sickly green color as it's being absorbed into her scepter.

    Real Life 
  • Mr. Yuk, a warning label applied to poisonous materials, is always colored sickly green; appropriate, considering that he's designed to warn children away.
  • Green was also considered the official color of evil during the Middle Ages, because it's the color of decay.
  • In the early 20th century, radium dial watches were painted by young women who shaped the brush tips with their tongues. This resulted in osteonecrosis of the jaw and other conditions.
    • There was only one company where workers painting the Radium dials developed said condition, as was they were the only corporation cruel enough to encourage their workers to shape the brush with their mouths. All other Radium painting corps provided special cups for shaping the brushes.
  • Many old monochrome monitors displayed green-on-black text. You can guess where that led.
  • Heavily irradiated glass happens to glow this color.
    • There is a sort of colored glass, named "uranium glass" because it is tinted with uranium salts, which was extremely popular in the beginning of the 20th century. This was the primary use of uranium before its role in nuclear applications became more prominent (uranium's existence was posited in 1789, and pure uranium was isolated in 1841; uranium minerals were well known in antiquity); ceramic glazes and glass containing small amounts of uranium oxide as a coloring agent have been found in Roman ruins dating back to the first century CE. It can be yellow to green or even blue, depending on the actual tinting composition, and is often smoky or opaque, but invariably glows neon green under UV light, including direct sunlight.
  • According to Terry Pratchett, back when he was the press officer for British Nuclear Fuels, TV news crews used to arrange for a sickly green glow in the background so the viewers would know it was a nuclear power station.

Green Lantern RingGreen TropesGreen Aesop
Pre-Explosion GlowSpectacleSphere of Destruction
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