This is the villainous counterpart to Heroic Mime; while the hero's silence makes him open to interpretation, the Silent Antagonist's silence makes him a sort of Enigmatic Minion, or in the worst of cases, an utterly implacable force of nature. A Subtrope of The Voiceless. The Supertrope of Enemy Mime. Sister Trope to Enigmatic Minion.
open/close all folders
- The captain of Hellsing never speaks. In fact, the only time he shows any emotion at all is an Oh Crap! when Alucard releases his Level Zero transformation, and a quick smile during his battle against Seras. And that only happens right before he dies, implying that he's a Death Seeker, which fits in nicely with a monologue said by Integra's father in a flashback.
- Janemba from the Dragon Ball Z movie Fusion Reborn! never actually spoke. In his first form, he was only able to say his name over again and his second form only consists of maniacal laughs or growls.
- Twelve of the Sixteen Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the exceptions being Leliel, Arael, Arimisael, and Tabris (also known as Kaworu).
- Noro from Tokyo Ghoul is both The Voiceless and The Faceless, never making a sound even when suffering brutal injuries. His utter silence is one of many things creepy about one half of the Aogiri Co-Dragons. It isn't clear whether he simply chooses not to speak or is incapable of it.
- The Mysterious Woman from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
- The Thin Man in the first Charlie's Angels movie. He originally had lines in the script, but they decided he'd be more villainous if he was The Voiceless.
- Jaws from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. He also counts for most of Moonraker but it's finally subverted when he gets one line near the end of the film.
- Also Goldfinger's top henchman and butler, Oddjob can't speak English, so he doesn't talk. Other than the painful scream he emitted as he was electrocuted.
- Karl Ruprect Kroenen from the film version of Hellboy. The comic version not only speaks but is quite Affably Evil.
- The Baseball Furies gang in The Warriors never utter a word, even as they fight the Warriors. (They do grunt a bit as they're punched or clubbed, but that's it.)
- Darth Maul only has a couple of lines, and none in the presence of the heroes.
- Kevin from Sin City. Apparently, he spoke only to Cardinal Roark and "had the voice of an angel" but the audience never hears him.
- Adolf Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He meets Indy face to face, but doesn't say a word. A variation in that he's not an antagonist in the context of the scene, because he doesn't know who Indy is. Indy is wearing a stolen Nazi uniform and is remaining silent himself, so Hitler assumes he is just another autograph-seeking soldier. He takes Dr. Henry Jones's book from Indy and signs it, then promptly gives it back without realizing that it was the diary he was trying to get his evil mitts on in the first place.
- Rinzler, The Dragon in TRON: Legacy, is mute for 99% of the film. It's not just to make him creepier; it's because Rinzler is Tron, reprogrammed to serve the villains, and hearing his voice would spoil The Reveal. When he does speak, it indicates that he's himself again. The only word he speaks before is "USER!" is his debut scene, which is hardly recognizable as Tron's voice.
- Kiriyama from the film version of Battle Royale.
- Colonel Gunther Reza in Duck, You Sucker! speaks a grand total of two lines, both during his first appearance. From that point on he's completely silent, a fact that only makes his Implacable Man status all the more disturbing.
- Most Slasher Movie villains are mute, especially Michael Myers from Halloween and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. Exceptions include Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street (who eventually becomes a sadistic wisecracker) and Pinhead from Hellraiser (who will regularly enter into discussions with his victims).
- Katya, the blond assassin in the Die Hard film Die Hard with a Vengeance, who utters only a single sound (a frustrated scream) in the entire film. Ironic, given that the actress who plays her, Sam Phillips, is a noted singer in real life.
- A common device in John Carpenter's work is the monster or villain that does not speak. They are either unable or unwilling to explain their motivations, which enhances the sense of Otherness about them. We never know what they're thinking; all we know is they intend us harm and will not tell us why.
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the Future Sentinels do not speak or make any sort of noise, which is bad for any mutant trying to hide as they can creep up on you and you wouldn't know it until it be far too late.
- Kyle and Ken Katayanagi in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, unlike their comic book counterparts.note
- The Big Bad of Big Hero 6, Yokai, combines this trope with his creepy Kabuki mask, black coat and massive swarm of microbots to make for a terrifying No-Nonsense Nemesis. He finally speaks when revealing himself as Professor Callaghan to Alisair Krei.
Live Action TV
- Played to horrifying effect in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush, with "the Gentlemen," a group of demons/monsters/whatever-the-hell-they-are who show up to steal people's voices and rip out hearts. Throughout the episode, they never utter a word, just grin at each other and use gestures... and yet they still manage to be absolutely terrifying.
- This is basically the point of the Star Trek: Enterprise episode Silent Enemy. Aliens show up and menace the Enterprise, but refuse to respond to any hails, save for playing back an edited version of a message Archer had sent to them. But no alien voice is ever heard and the crew never does figure out what exactly they were doing, nor why they were doing it.
- Kimi Milard from Alphas qualifies as this.
- Twin serial killers Robert and Nicholas Millberry from Series 2 of Luther never communicate while hunting, spending their whole first episode and most of their second in total silence. Robert doesn't talk until after his arrest, and Nicholas only speaks to Luther during their last confrontation, when body language alone will not do the trick.
- In the Masters of Horror episode "Incident on and Off a Mountain Road", the villain Moonface fits the typical mute serial killer character. His only sort-of dialogue is shushing his victims to be quiet while he tortures and murders them.
- Doctor Who: The Flood from Waters of Mars says all of a few lines through one of its victims, and then never says a word again. Inhuman screeching and roaring, on the other hand...
- The X-Files:
- Flukeman in "The Host" is a humanoid radioactive parasite incapable of language.
- The Peacock Brothers in "Home" seem to understand English, as their mother speaks to them, but they remain silent while onscreen.
- Lord Vile from Skulduggery Pleasant doesn't speak until Death Bringer. He whispers Valkyrie's name before snapping out of it.
- Almost all of the Demons from The Elfstones of Shannara are like this, except for their boss, the Dagda Mor, who has one line of dialogue. Most notable is the Reaper, who is silent, faceless and implacable, pursuing the two main characters tirelessly for most of the book.
- Original Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher more most of their careers. They did begin talking in their semi retirement, especially Abdulla, who developed an apathy for all things but money.
- X Pac and Jim Cornette pushed the rest of the World Wrestling Federation to let Kane remain one of these, all his speaking being done by Paul Bearer. As soon as they were gone, Kane started talking though.
- In The Golden Apple, Paris never speaks, though he hardly needs to talk when Hector is around.
- MOTHER 3: The Masked Man does not talk at all... until Claus unmasks himself.
- The Dark Knights in Record Of Agarest War never speak.
- Caim in Drakengard becomes this in the sequel, where he becomes a Rogue Protagonist.
- King Bulblin from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess doesn't talk and is assumed to be an unintelligent monster until he gets a few lines near the end.
- Dark Link never speaks.
- In Mass Effect 3, although possibly unintentionally, Harbinger comes off as one. You might expect a long exposition, but you just get shot instead.
- Tabuu from Super Smash Bros. Brawl doesn't say a thing throughout his entire storyline. While the other characters communicate through gestures and expressions, augmented by short grunts or exclamations (Snake is the only character to speak a full sentence) Tabuu doesn't say a thing. No Evil Laugh, no angry grunts, no screams of pain, nothing.
- In Hotline Miami, this applies to the hitman when you fight him.
- Interestingly, not counting flashbacks, Sephiroth himself actually never speaks in Final Fantasy VII. This is most noticeable during the final encounter with him, where he doesn't say a single word. Most villains in the series give a speech of some sort before throwing down with the heroes, but Sephiroth? Nothing. The "Sephiroth" who appears for most of the game and is comparatively chatty is simply Jenova taking his form and acting out his will; the true Sephiroth spends much of FFVII sleeping in the planet's core, and thus can't speak.
- Bowser in Paper Mario: Sticker Star doesn't speak at all, and only gets voiced by Kenny James for his roaring. It makes him rather menacing compared to the humorous and hammy portrayal he got in all the other Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games.
- Jill in Resident Evil 5 when she's Brainwashed and Crazy only has two lines to Wesker and Excella, and none toward Chris and Sheva.
- Ridley, despite being the Big Bad of Metroid and the one personally responsible for starting the series in motion by destroying Samus's home colony and killing her parents, never says anything beyond from roaring. He doesn't even leave behind any written logs to scan from in the Metroid Prime games, instead we get our information from his underlings, who have implied that he's a cunning warlord who relishes in violence and death. He's quite chatty in the official Metroid manga and prequel however, so it's not like he's just some animalistic beast.
- Darth Nihlus in Knights of the Old Republic II technically "speaks" in bizarre language that is possibly generated telepathically. None of the major characters have any trouble understanding it (including the Player Character), but the player is left clueless, as his dialog is not subtitled, in contrast to all the other characters' lines, which are (even when they're speaking perfectly clear English). This serves to make him even more unsettling.
- Invoked in Goblins by one of the Alternate Universe Minmaxes; as a result of Min-Maxing, he traded away his ability to speak in exchange for becoming a more deadly combatant.
- There are a few enemies in Awful Hospital who don't speak any lines, such as Molly Curdle and the X-Ray Skeleton. They are not to be trifled with.
- Israphel, from the Yogscast series Shadow Of Israphel, never says a word in any of his appearances. Even his most recurring Co-Dragons, who have spoken a combined total of two words, are chattier. To get around this, he occasionally leaves mocking signs, but he does this less as the series goes along.
- The Slender Man is this, in addition to often being hidden in plain sight. It's part of his charm.
- Mannequin in Worm is incapable of speech, having severely modified his body and long since removed his mouth, digestive tract, lungs, and anything else similarly without use. Instead, he communicates by mocking gestures with his fingers.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has Combustion Man, who would rather blow stuff up with his mind than talk.
- The fourth season of The Legend of Korra features an apparent Enemy Without of the title character who appears to her in the Avatar state and dressed as she was when she fought the previous season's big bad. She never speaks the entire time she repeatedly beats up Korra, and what exactly she is remains ambiguous to the end.
- Skurge the Executioner, Annihilus, and Galactus do not speak at all during their appearances on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
- Apocalypse from X-Men: Evolution is like this during his first appearances, though he finally talks during the Grand Finale.
- Soundwave's Transformers Prime incarnation, who has stopped talking on his own since coming to Earth. He "speaks" by replaying clips of other people talking (with the standard Soundwave voice effect underneath), and usually doesn't even bother with that unless prompted.
- This actually led to some Viewer Gender Confusion, because the first voice he replayed was that of Action Girl Arcee.
- By the end of the series, he's spoken exactly once: When captured and being interrogated by the Autobots, he tells them, "Soundwave superior, Autobots inferior," before shutting himself down.
- This is what Jinmay from Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is in her first appearance when she was under Sakko's control.
- Hong Kong Phooey once encountered a pickpocket who never spoke.
- Wallace & Gromit has the following examples: