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Stupid Evil
"I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility."
Dmitri Noumenon, Dresden Codak

An exaggerated form of For the Evulz, where a character feels the need to do evil things even at times such actions are clearly not in their best interests. Such characters will betray allies, kill team-mates, be a jerk for no reason, be petty, piss off all the wrong people, attack fellow villains to prove they're eviler and generally be suicidally stupid simply because it's eeeevil.

This, along with Chaotic Stupid, is also often one of the reasons the forces of evil never manage to destroy the forces of good: it's not particularly evil to work with others, or acquire wealth and power through legal means, and so forth.

It should be noted that Stupid Evil is not the same thing as Evil Is Dumb; simply doing stupid things whilst being evil isn't enough; those stupid things must also be evil.

Compare with Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, Stupid Neutral and Stupid Good. Contrast with Pragmatic Villainy. If an antagonist momentarily becomes Stupid Evil, they've caught a Villain Ball.

Not to be confused with Stupid Criminals.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon
    • Hansel and Gretel, the insane twins. After being hired to perform an assassination, they proceed to abduct and torture a bunch of random mooks for sport, and then murder the person who hired them, not because he was planning on betraying them, but because they just felt like it. They then decide to go through with the assassination anyway, even after it's pointed out to them that they are no longer being paid (in fact, they already took the money in the process of killing their employer). It should also be noted that their target makes a policy of surrounding herself with some of the most deadly soldiers in the world, is a world-class markswoman in her own right, and is justifiably considered within the series to be the most dangerous woman alive...and the twins try to take her out armed only with an axe. It turns out exactly how you'd expect.
    • Chaka from Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise, who got the bright idea of kidnapping the daughter of his boss, a Yakuza. This incurred the wrath of not only Ginji Matsuzaki, her hulking samurai-sword wielding bodyguard, but Revy as well. Needless to say, his fate was not pleasant yet most still believe he got off easy.
  • The Apostle Wyald in Berserk, A berserker who put so much effort into being a vicious sadist that he tried to kill Griffith, the one person he was absolutely not supposed to kill. When he's called on it, he mouths off to his superior, Zodd, who tears Wyald in half for being such a moron.
  • Particularly in the manga version, all of the characters of Ranma ˝ have moments of acting like this, particularly if "Smart Evil" threatens the status quo. Two of the most notable examples are Soun Tendo stealing a cure for Ranma's curse with the intent of blackmailing him into wedding Akane with it, only to blab about it in front of Genma Saotome, who promptly stole it... and Nabiki's attempt to sell Ranma Saotome's engagement to one of the other members of his Harem during her stint as his official fiancee, only for the girls to spontaneously decide that it would be better to simply kill her rather then pay her price. If it wasn't for the fact Ranma is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, she would have been killed, making this an example of Stupid Evil on the parts of both parties.
  • One Piece
    • Bellamy was little more than a sociopathic bully who terrorized an entire town with his crew with no real reason or goal; he just wanted to push his weight around and be as much of a dick as possible. Of course, he was also operating under the flag of the Warlord of the Sea Donquixote Doflamingo, who was NOT pleased to find out that he was being associated with Bellamy's idiocy, which led to Bellamy getting stabbed and kicked out of Doflamingo's gang.
    • His Number Two, Sarquiss, takes after him as well. Blackbeard is checking out Luffy's bounty when Sarquiss threatens him for no real reason (other than being annoyed at Luffy being mentioned) and promptly gets himself knocked out.
  • Ribbons in Gundam 00 blows up his own allies, and replaces them with worthless kamikaze machines, that are a complete waste of technology and time and seem to serve no purpose other to make him look even more evil for using such weapons. Most of the atrocities his puppets committed early in the second season including blowing up a country or two were committed for no solid reason.
  • Prince Braunschweig from Legend of Galactic Heroes is an example when you put together a corrupt nobility with a futuristic military. An example? When a protest breaks out on one of his planets, he immediately declares the order to nuke the whole planet of 2 million people to death, rendering it uninhabitable. Luckily, Oberstein has the whole thing recorded and broadcasts it to the whole Empire. Even soldiers once loyal him immediately abandon him, resulting in his eventually death and the loss of the Lippsadat League.
    • What further increases his stupidity is that he's advised by Ansbach to provide a more proper punishment. His justification is that since it's his planet, he has the right to do it. His reckless actions are even lampshaded by the same adviser, stating how the Goldenbaum dynasty can't survive when it cuts itself apart.
      • This is debatable since Braunschweig lost a relative from the same protest, which made him very unstable.
  • Happens a lot in Bleach.
    • Loly Aivirrne. "Let's beat up the human girl our boss told us to specifically not hurt as she is useful to "the plan" for no reason other than we're jealous!"
    • Aaroniero Arruruerie could have killed Rukia almost immediately. Instead, he feels the need to pointlessly mentally assault her. The only possible reason is that he's just really sadistic, but what's the point? This was slightly pragmatic at first, as on the off-chance that he could convince Rukia to kill her friends, it would be easier for him, but if not, who cares?
    • Zommari is similar, as he could have used his body controlling powers to off Byakuya with little effort, but was so full of himself and explained everything about his powers that he ended up dead. That whole battle was pretty stupid. Byakuya had shown himself to be perfectly capable of blocking Zommari's technique and using a power that the Espada had NO defense against. It took him literally losing an arm and a leg, and being forced to disarm himself before finally dropping the Idiot Ball.
    • Szayelapporo is pretty awful at this for a mad scientist. He doesn't seem to have bothered to even research the Captains, even though he could just ask Aizen, he invents a room that seals Bankai and deliberately turns it off to watch Renji try to beat the clones he's made with it, at which point Renji destroys his lab, and finally started eating strange people, which resulted in him being poisoned. It's also questionable why he makes mindless subordinates whom he can heal from by eating them when there's no conceivable reason he couldn't just make a pill, or something.
    • Nnoitra refuses to release when Neliel does, because he refuses to believe a woman can be stronger than him. This is especially strange considering he put together a complicated plan with Szayel to ambush her years prior that actually worked pretty well.
    • Yammy is only 2 things: Stupid and evil. He kills a nurse who healed his arm just to test it, and several other of Aizen's minions for no real reason.
    • Before Aizen found him, Barragan was going to divide his army in half to kill each other for his own amusement. Granted, Hollows get stronger from eating each other, and he's far more powerful than any of his soldiers, so he's not really losing much military strength, but he still loses half of his servants. Then again, he didn't really seem interested in attacking Soul Society or the World of the Living, so it's unclear if he was actually using his army for anything.
      • Most dialogue indicates he wasn't. He was going to do that because he was so bored he couldn't think of anything else to do with it.
    • Aizen murders his own minions for no particular reason, allows an obvious traitor to continue working for him despite knowing that this person wants him dead, forgets to use his powers on the one person who could stop him, and allows Ichigo to train and become stronger than him despite knowing about it and easily being able to prevent it.
      • It's even worse because Aizen was initially portrayed as an extremely intelligent, calculating, and genre savvy villain. All of that changed once he'd finally gained mastery of the Hogyoku, which he then relied upon exclusively. Once he had it, he suddenly became an over-confident fool who believed he could no longer lose and that was his downfall. Despite all its reality bending powers, that magical wish-granting marble of his really only served as a very literal Idiot Ball.
    • The root of the Shinigami's beef with the Quincy is the fact that when Quincy destroyed Hollows with their powers, they completely obliterated the souls composing them, instead of purifying them the way Shinigami do. This screwed up the balance of souls, and would eventually lead to the destruction of both the World of the Living and the Soul Society. Even after being informed of this, the Quincy refused to stop their activities. Even Uryuu and his grandfather say that they kind of understand why the Shinigami tried to wipe them out. So far, it hasn't been cleared up why the Quincy are apparently unconcerned with the fact that the success of their goals would lead to the end of them and everything else.
  • The buffoonish Genma of Darker Than Black has a scene where he uses his Instant Armor powers to dismantle a truck and then amuses himself by beating up the protagonist while transformed into a human mech. This wasn't the brightest idea for two reasons: First, the protagonist was interested in the MacGuffin in one of the trucks, and Genma showed him which was the decoy. Second, when the protagonist starts escaping, Genma's first reaction is to get in the truck to pursue him, but then he does an Oh Crap when he remembers he just disassembled his mode of transportation.
  • Pokémon
    • Paul trained his Chimchar vigorously enough that it was legitimately exhausted enough not to be able to battle the next day. We know this because Nurse Joy, a medical professional told him this. So what does he do? He forces Chimchar to battle anyway, and then when she turned out to be right, he was, for some reason, disappointed by this and left Chimchar, thinking it was simply too weak. This led to Ash taking Chimchar into his care and raising it into one of the strongest members of his team. Not only that, it was the Pokemon that defeated Paul in a later battle.
    • Team Rocket, oh so very much. They're so dumbly obsessed with stealing valuable Pokemon that they haven't taken the time to even think about Meowth. A Pokemon that speaks human language fluently could be the single most valuable and useful Pokemon in existence: He could solve countless problems between humans and Pokemon, and could give priceless insight on the behavior and mental abilities of every Pokemon to have ever lived (which, in a world with a culture so heavily ingrained with said creatures, would be a big deal). They would go down in history and be amongst the richest people on the planet if only they put Meowth to proper use instead of blindly chasing some kid and his Pikachu.
      • Moreover, you'd think the rest of the Team Rocket organization would stop giving the bumbling trio so many exotic, expensive gadgets after maybe the fiftieth time they proved too incompetent to catch any valuable Pokemon with them (althought it's implied it may be money from James' estate, since he's the son of apparently the richest people in the world).
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, both Lust and Envy fall into this, loving to inflict pain so much that they can't resist "twisting the knife" and antagonizing the heroes, even when it is foolish to do so, This backfires on both of them when they do it to Mustang, while he kills Lust as cleanly as he can, he makes Envy suffer so much that it's running and begging for its life before he's done with it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Marik has a few bouts of this, most notably when he sabotages Noah's computer system during the Virtual Nightmare Arc, not seeming to realize that destroying it would kill both Yugi and Kaiba, ruining the most vital part of his master plan: gaining their two Egyptian God Cards. (To make things worse, he laughs like a lunatic while doing it.)
    • Also keep in mind that during this Filler Arc, Yami Marik had the perfect opportunity to check off one of his objectives: kill regular Marik's stepbrother, Rashid. During the entire arc, he and Rashid are pretty much alone on the ship and Rashid is comatose. Instead of just getting it out of the way, he just wanders around doing nothing for the entire arc and seemingly puts his plans on hold until the arc ends.
    • The regular Marik does something very stupid too (which was the biggest reason his Super-Powered Evil Side took over in the first place). First he puts a counterfeit copy of The Winged Dragon of Ra in Rashid's deck (given what had happened to all of the his other minions who had tested the fake copies, it really wasn't smart to have such an important minion have one). Rashid is smart, knows that it would likely be dangerous to use it, and would have beaten Jonouchi without it, but when it seems likely that everyone will figure out that Rashid is acting as Marik's stand-in, Marik orders him to use it in order to cover up Marik's true identity. Rashid complies, and... it turns out Marik really should have listened to Rashid...
  • Amon showed this in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. His ace card was Exodius the Forbidden Lord. It seemed completely indestructible and immune to all card effects, and granted him an automatic win if it attacked five times. But he became so Drunk with Power because of it, he challenged Yubel using it... Completely forgetting that she was the one who gave it to him. You'd think if anyone had known a weakness in this card, she would, and she did. It ended badly for Amon.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds
    • The Earthbound Gods and their servants the Dark Signers displayed this a LOT. One instance was thinking that recruiting Carly Nagisa to their side was a good idea, despite the fact that she was in love with the Signer that they wanted her to oppose. (The Earthbound God controlling her ended up having to control her like a puppet after she rebelled, and even that failed to work.) Another act of stupidity on their part was thinking that Bommer would be easy to manipulate, because he thought that Godwin had destroyed his village... And then put him under the sway of the Earthbound God who was really responsible for destroying it. (Again, after he learned the truth, the creature had to completely dominate him, and still failed.) Demak summoned the hostage Ancient Fairy Dragon during his duel with Ruka, practically, inviting her to rescue it (which is exactly what she did, causing him to lose). Possibly the stupidest move one of them made was when Kiryu didn't kill Yusei when he had the chance, claiming it "wasn't the right time" (a mistake villains tend to make fairly often). Know what the irony of this is? Rudger's motivation for causing Zero Reverse and leading the Dark Signers is because he was disgusted with humanity, and thought that destroying the world would only make quick something that they would eventually do themselves. In other words, he thought humans were stupid.
      • Looking back at the duel with Demak again, he may have had a slightly good reason other than gloating to summon Ancient Fairy Dragon. Using anime rules, while the Earthbound Gods cannot be attacked by opposing monsters, the duelist using one can, so he'd have been vulnerable to a direct attack if he didn't defend himself in some way. (And Ancient Fairy Dragon did have a Defense Score of 3,000.) Still, he probably could have thought of something a little smarter.
    • Divine deserves special mention here. After having been tricked into revealing he was responsible over the death of Misty's little brother, he mocks his death. While Misty has her Earthbound Immortal summoned. Cue Divine getting Eaten Alive as payback.
    • Aporia fits during his duel with Z-One, which is strange, because he was anything but stupid previously. Basically, he made the same mistake that Amon made, thinking that the Meklord Emperors would be effective against Z-One, despite the fact that Z-One had given them to him. The duel was a Curb-Stomp Battle in every sense of the term, with Aporia never having laid a glove on Z-One.
  • Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL
    • Tron has a habit of giving his henchmen who are his sons, by the way cards that are too powerful for them to control, which cause disasters when played. The first example was when he gave IV a Spell Card called Flaming Hell Blessing to use in a duel against Rio Kamishiro; it won the duel for him, but it also caused a raging fire that destroyed the building they were in. Rio was in the hospital for months recovering; IV managed to get out (carrying Rio to safety before she was killed) but not unscathed. The accident left a scar on his face that never healed.
    • Even worse was the card he gave III to use against Yuma, Angolmois. The true effect of this card was to open a portal to the Barian World, which would basically have done the same thing that a black hole does. If it had worked, it would have killed everyone, Tron included (and he didn't even seem to care; he was laughing his head off as he watched the duel). Fortunately, III came to his senses before that happened, and Yuma was able to win the duel before the full effect occurred.
  • Dragon Ball Z's Namek arc brings us Freiza, who wants the Dragon Balls in order to become immortal. He does this by collecting them from the villages that have them...then butchering the Namekians in the village. By the time the Ginyu Force has brought him the Dragon Balls, only three (Guru, Nail, and Dende) remain alive. Freiza very nearly screwed himself out of his chance for immortality simply by being himself. For context as to why this is bad, in order to use the Dragon Balls on Namek, you have to speak Namekian.
    • In all fairness, prior to collecting all of the Namekian Dragon Balls, none of Freeza's Army, including Freeza himself, had any idea that you needed to speak Namekian to summon the Porunga and grant your wishes. He just assumed that all you needed to do was to call out the Dragon in English. It was only when the Ginyu Force had arrived that Freeza discovered that you needed to speak a password in Namekian to summon Porunga and have your wishes granted. Which then leads to him hunting down Nail, one of the last few reaming Namekians, and horribly torturing him in an attempt to reveal the password of the Dragon Balls. But by that time it was too late, Freeza was already screwed over.

    Comic Books 
  • The Devil in the Deal with the Devil tends to do this a lot, but Mephisto is one of the worst. He tends to be both a Literal and Jerkass Genie to anyone he makes deals with, fulfilling the letter of a deal but then screwing the dealer in the process, this frequently costs him the soul he'd otherwise be able to easily get. Probably the example that most backfires for him is when he made a deal with Johnny Blaze to save his adoptive father from an unspecified disease, only to get said father killed anyway. This ended up which turning Blaze into his Arch-Nemesis.
  • The vast majority of Comic Book villains between 1930 and 1980 qualify, especially the ones made during World War II.
  • Superboy-Prime also goes from Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds to this, as he's a psychotic teenager with the Hair-Trigger Temper to end them all, though with a very strong Freudian Excuse. That notwithstanding, he flies off the handle at the slightest provocation and responds by destroying everything in sight and killing anyone who looks at him funny. Everything in sight, by the way, includes entire planets and a future version of himself, though the latter wasn't bright enough to know that provoking and ordering your younger self would have consequences.
  • Norman Osborn had the world as his oyster during Dark Reign, with him in charge of the US security, the Avengers replaced with a team of villains loyal to him, and all the regular heroes incapacitated or wanted fugitives. But he just had to defy the President and go rogue and attack Asgard for some reason, losing everything and getting the good guys back in power in one day. You know a plan is bad when Bullseye tells you that you're out of your fucking mind.
    • The fact that the Norse god of mischief tricked him into doing it explains but does not excuse his behavior.
    • This is Norman's entire M.O.. While he can be The Chessmaster when he is at his best, he always falls back into this. Throughout Dark Reign everyone, from Spider-Man to Dr. Doom, continues to hang a lampshade on the fact that he's a ticking timebomb who will implode and cause his own downfall.
  • Anybody in the Marvel Universe who tries to build Sentinels falls into this category. These robots inevitably turn on their creators, and no matter how many times someone thinks they can improve, upgrade, or alter the design so it doesn't happen, they simply get a stronger robot that turns against them. The Sentinels first appeared to challenge the original team of XMen, and it seems that no-one since then ever learns.
  • During the Acts of Vengence storyline, Loki's plan may have looked good on paper: form a Legion of Doom consisting of several supervillain masteminds so that they and their minions could wipe out The Avengers (and most other heroes) once and for all. Loki's biggest (and stupidest) mistake was putting both Magneto and the Red Skull on this team. Magneto is a Holocaust survivor and the Skull is a Nazi, and if that wasn't a disaster waiting to happen, we don't know what is. You can't get much more stupid than that.
  • The Monitors in Countdown to Final Crisis, whose plan makes no sense, accomplishes jack shit other than pissing off a bunch of other villains, and involves grandstanding to cover for The Mole even though there's no one for them to grandstand for. Then again, this is Countdown to Final Crisis.
  • Mammoth of the Fearsome Five:
    Psimon: So who do we blow up first?
    Mammoth: I want to destroy the United States for putting us in jail all those times!
    Psimon: Shimmer, please explain to your brother that it's a bad idea to nuke the United States. Where we are.
  • Mongul II, while certainly capable of formulating and carrying out fairly complex schemes (and he sometimes does), tends to waste far too much of his time trying to go further and further beyond the pale by way of being a horrifically sadistic and cruel bully for no real good reason other than because he thinks it's funny or amusing, or just because he feels like being a dick. It's the cause of his many, many Hoist by His Own Petard moments, the last one of which more or less put him away for good.
  • Iznogoud, while displaying intelligence from time to time (and being much smarter than both most people around him and the Caliph) occasionally falls in this trope: a lot of his plans backfire precisely because he made idiotic mistakes, or couldn't resist the temptation to Kick the Dog at the wrong time.
  • In The Punisher MAX story arc "Up is Down and Black is White", Nicky Cavella tries to make The Punisher angry(er) by digging up the bones of his family, urinating on them and filming it. It works.
  • In Wanted, the Big Bad Mr. Rictus is proud to be this. When he takes over control of the Fraternity to blow the League of Supervillains' cover and start a new campaign of unremitted slaughter, the rest of the organization's heads warn him that it will bring the weight of every superhero in the multiverse to bear down on them. Rictus is delighted at this, for even if they lose he will have enjoyed the carnage.

    Fan Fic 
  • Dr. Brainstorm in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series rarely invents something that doesn't blow up.
    • And his sister Sheila can't even really invent.
  • This is Queen Celesia's alignment in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure. It's exemplified when she impales King Gilda for no reason beyond "Because... I'M EVIL BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Belluzub in Star Wars: Paranormalities. He's too intent on making his victims suffer to kill them quickly by simple means such as depressurizing a room when he can survive in vacuum. Zolph Vaelor lampshades this both after trapping him in a force cage and after he gets out of it.
  • Many Naruto fanfics point out Gato's incredible stupidity for bleeding Wave dry. It's an island country with easy access to almost half the continent. He's a shipping magnate. With a little imagination and money, he could have made the country incredibly prosperous, made himself richer, and gained a boatload of good will.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Wily would be much more successful if he resisted the urge to be a dog-kicking jerk all the time. It's repeatedly lampshaded by Elec Man, who notes that Wily and the Robot Masters could easily just build weapons for the mob rather than trying to Take Over the World, and they would be much more well off.

    Film 
  • Resident Evil
    • The Umbrella Corporation in the film series seems to live and breathe Stupid Evil. The company's actions are geared entirely towards nothing more than propagating the existence of a deadly, uncontrollable virus that has no discernible practical applications.
    • Particularly by the third film, wherein the whole planet has been reduced to an arid desert by the Zombie Apocalypse (somehow) and money no longer matters to the roving bands of survivors. Yet Umbrella keeps making new strains of the T-Virus to sell to... actually, the films never explain who they hope will buy the damn thing. It could at least be shakily justified in the previous films by concluding that, as in the games, Umbrella planned to sell the virus to bioterrorists, insurrectionists, or even warring nations, but who's left at this point? And even if such parties did still exist, who would want to Take Over the World in its current state?
    • The premise of Resident Evil: Retribution involves Umbrella perfectly recreating sections of major cities in underground facilities, cloning large numbers of humans, and implanting them with false memories of living in a real city - all for the sake of infecting the mini-city with the T-Virus and showing the footage to potential buyers. Not only would all three of the steps taken cost Umbrella more money to pull off than they could ever hope to make off selling the virus, but any one of these innovations would make Umbrella rich if they didn't waste them on furthering their T-Virus initiative. And again its worth reminding they're still running these experiments and demonstrations for no clear reason.
    • Resident Evil: Damnation finally shows BOWs being used in the context of mildly conventional war. Lickers and other creatures are depicted as being very, very effective weapons in the right context. But then, unlike the live-action films, Damnation is actually made by Capcom, where they prefer their Rule of Cool stuff to make at least a miniscule semblance of sense.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shang Tsung's strategy for conquering Earth appears to largely depend on this trope; despite tricking Sonya into entering the tournament, which he must win to conquer Earth, he still repeatedly sends henchmen after her to kill her both before she gets there and after she arrives.
  • Aguirre's followers in Aguirre, the Wrath of God betray their commander Ursua and go downstream on the Amazon in search of El Dorado. They all die. Turns out that taking orders from a raving Chaotic Evil lunatic wasn't a very good idea.
  • The Wishmaster films, in a big way. The Jerkass Genie actually has motivation for his job: once the person who releases him makes three wishes, genies will be freed from the hell-dimension they're trapped in and rampage across the Earth. He time and again proves not just to be Obviously Evil, but also a unique combination of Stupid Evil and Chaotic Stupid. He could simply trust that the person who released him would have three things that they wanted to wish for (and odds of that are pretty high), but instead, he insists on causing mayhem and destruction whenever someone makes a wish (particularly random people who aren't the person who can free the genies with three wishes), ensuring that whoever actually did free him will never make their three wishes.
  • The family in, er, The Family are walking embodiments of this trope. Despite being in witness protection, in fear of their very lives, and despite having left all hope of the mob life behind them ages before, they engage in vicious violence against anyone and everyone who crosses them, no matter what the slight, including beating a slightly late plumber to death with a bat and blowing up a snarky local grocery store with everyone in it.
  • Max Schreck in Batman Returns, what was he thinking when he decided make a clearly psychotic circus freak into a mayor? The worst part is, he almost succeeded.
  • In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, the Sorceress (despite her player claiming to be Chaotic Neutral) has a tendency to incinerate peasants just because The Roleplayer of the party wants to talk to them.
  • The made-for-tv Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness has the evil adventuring party acting like this. At one point they slay a dragon and the undercover paladin just barely convinces them not to raze the nearby village so they can treat them like heroes instead, and the evil adventurers still murder some of the villagers offering them hospitality for no discernable reason.
  • Roderick from Jack the Giant Slayer does a lot of actions just to show what an evil Jerk Ass he is; he has his sidekick send four soldiers to their death which in-turn leaves the group with barely any rations. And then he goes out of his way to throw another one off a cliff for literally no reason despite knowing he's in a hostile territory and could use the protection until he seized control. It's a bit of a relief when he pans out to just be a Big Bad Wannabe and Fallon reclaims his position.
  • Ax-Crazy prisoner Hydell in Lockout is pretty much the poster child for this trope, as he tries to rape the damsel or kills multiple people simply For the Evulz no matter what the consequences. He undermines his brother Alex's Pragmatic Villainy in taking hostages and keeping technicians alive to keep the space station in orbit just to satisfy his bloodlust, even though it would doom him. Hydell even kills his brother in a moment of anger when he again doesn't allow him to rape Emilie, depleting his own options even further.
  • In The Dirty Dozen, the dozen are proceeding with the infiltration of the German-occupied chateau in France, staffed by dozens of soldiers and generals and more reinforcements waiting nearby. Maggot, the most murderous member of the group, purposely sabotages the mission to take the opportunity to kill a German woman and tries to kill the rest of his team. He even urges the woman to scream in fear, alerting the Germans to his presence.
  • The titular Paparazzi are pretty much all cackling, over-the-top supervillains, but one in particular stands out. After the quartet of paparazzi that serve as the film's villains cause a car wreck that cripples the celebrity protagonist's wife and puts his son in a coma, and then proceeds to hound the two for more photographs, the protagonist gets in a motorcycle accident with one of them that leaves him hanging off of a cliff overlooking a fatal drop onto a rocky shore. Despite all the crap they pulled, the protagonist is still willing to pull him up...until he starts bragging about how he's going to ruin his life even more with this accident. Three guesses as to what happens next.
  • In Predators, while on the run from the title alien hunters, Edwin steps on a Bear Trap, so Isabelle helps him walk. Out of nowhere, he stabs her in the back and reveals he's a Serial Killer who has decided to make her his next victim. Fortunately, Royce shows up before he can finish her off, and he is killed when he tries to stab him in the back.

    Literature 
  • The Wheel of Time
    • The Forsaken pretty much ran the areas they were in charge of during the Age of Legend into the ground because the only thing they were capable of doing was fighting. Asmodean, a relatively weak Aes Sedai, was made one of them because he only did things like kill all of his musical rivals, instead of feeding everyone to trollocs. When they were released from their prison, they didn't do much better. Most of the times they are seen holding the Idiot Ball, because they don't seem to understand that they can hold off on being evil for one day. Rahvin allows Morgase to escape because he's too busy brainwashing people so he can have sex with them, and Sammael does such a poor job running Illian that the nobles hand the country to Rand as soon as he kills Sammael. There are implications that they were picked by the Dark one precisely for being people with huge issues.
    • And all the less important Darkfriends (anyone who pledges himself to serve the Ultimate Evil) are even stupider. They spend slightly less time committing evil than their Forsaken masters, but only because they're too busy dying like flies. If they're not being ordered off into suicide missions or being executed for failing other impossible tasks, they're being stabbed in the back by their rivals or casually tortured and killed just for being in the wrong place when somebody important has a temper tantrum. And to add to the Stupid Evil of it, they all earnestly believe that they'll get the immortality and infinite power they were promised even though the Ultimate Evil hasn't given that to anyone in over three thousand years.
    • Jordan himself noted that much of the Forsaken's behavior and group dynamics are based on Nazi internal politics, a group notorious for being really good at out backstabbing one another and not so good at running things. Of the Forsaken only Ishamael cum Moridin has a deeper more philosophical understanding of the nature of oblivion and the Dark One's seeming true goals, arguably he is the most dangerous because he isn't selfishly evil and is much more deeply nihilistic. Also worth noting is that most of the Forsaken mentioned above got killed off fairly early in the series, the handful who remain by the last book include some of the most dangerous villains in the series, most obviously Demandrednote  and Graendal.
    • Played interestingly with the Dark One itself. It isn't really a person so much as the idea of evil, and as such has next to no capacity to learn from its mistakes or change its behavior. Word of God from Brandon Sanderson (who took over the series after Jordan's death) indicates that the Dark One barely even has a personality, being more an aspect of the universe than anything. Because of this, for all its cunning it's essentially blind to all that is not itself, and tends to seek out those humans who most resemble it to serve it- hence the rogues gallery of spectacularly unstable people mentioned above.
    • Elaida, the Amyrlin Seat after she betrays and stills Siuan, is an incompetent Knight Templar who sees herself as the ultimate good in the world, but is too much of a spoiled brat to actually act like it. She has a hilariously bad track record of misinterpreting her own prophecies, is absolutely ineffective as a ruler, and through her stupidity, allows the entire White Tower to become infested with Darkfriends. Egwene sums it up:
    I dare the truth, Elaida. You are a coward and a tyrant. I'd name you Darkfriend as well, but I suspect that the Dark One would perhaps be embarrassed to associate with you.
  • Draag, the Dark Paladin in Game Night by Jonny Nexus, plays Stupid Evil to the hilt, as his answer to nearly every problem is either A) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and stab it or B) Pull out his evil sword DeathSinger and torch it. The opening chapter has the GM/God of the world having to rewind time several times as Draag first stabs a gatekeeper before he can tell them the riddle they need to solve to get past, and then stabs the gatekeeper after he delivers the riddle, but before they can answer. Then, once they do solve the riddle, he kills the gatekeeper anyway.
  • The scorpion in "The Scorpion And The Frog" is the Ur Example. Subverted in the Legend of the Five Rings take on it.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Joffrey Baratheon. Crown Prince and later king of Westeros, and a spoiled brat with way too much power. Throws his royal weight around whenever he possibly can, openly mocks everyone regardless of their standing or authority, has a friend of Arya's killed as vengeance for Arya making him look like an idiot, sends an assassin after Bran Stark armed with a Valyrian steel blade that no common assassin would have, which leads the Starks to start suspecting the Lannisters of treachery, and orders the execution of Ned Stark, sparking off a gigantic Civil War.
    • Prince Viserys, who at least has the excuse of being half-mad through years of exile, begging merchants and city rulers for support in retaking Westeros from The Usurper. When his sister comes of age she is married off to a Dothraki horselord with a huge army in exchange for his aid, but Viserys endangers the agreement by failing to understand Dothraki culture and continuing to abuse his sister, who is now in fact a powerful queen. He goes too far when he threatens her unborn child while in a Truce Zone, thinking the Dothraki can't harm him as they're not allowed to spill blood there. They get round this with some handy Loophole Abuse, pouring a pot of molten gold over Viserys' head while his sister calmly looks on.
    • Also Ramsay Bolton. His father, Roose, discusses this trope in A Dance with Dragons; though Roose is a sadistic psychopath himself, he at least has self-control, and points out the foolishness of his son's openly cruel ways.
    • Cersei Lannister as well. She does such things as dismissing the idea of paying the money that the realm owes to the Iron Bank of Braavos (an institution that has a reputation of replacing rulers that don't pay debts), as well as spending a very large amount of money building an entire fleet of warships, then handing it over to a man of questionable integrity and reliability. As soon as she's imprisoned in A Feast For Crows, the guy makes off with every ship. The only thing she succeeds at during her stint as a ruler after Joffrey dies in A Storm of Swords is running the Seven Kingdoms into the ground, whilst in the process amuses Littlefinger greatly and makes the realm that much easier for Varys to help Prince Aegon Targaryen VI - the lost son of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen - take for his own. In fact when Cersei's competent uncle, Kevan Lannister, takes over the Regency, Varys kills him as he was actually beginning to stabilise the realm.
  • LaMOEs (pronounced "Lame-os") in World War Z fit this description. Short for "Last Man On Earth", LaMOES are people isolated for years by the Zombie Apocalypse, so used to living by themselves that they attack any and all people who threaten their "happy" lives, even soldiers attempting to bring back civilization, running water and central heating.
    Todd Wainio: "Those were the ones who were a little too used to being king. King of what I dunno; Gs, Quislings and crazy F-critters, but I guess in their mind they were living the good life."
  • Discussed in Stephen King's novel Desperation. The demonic being Tak murders an entire small town for kicks, despite needing a fresh supply of human hosts in order to survive. (To make this even more absurd, the town in question is in the middle of the desert.) When questioning Tak's actions, the characters come to the conclusion that, as a being Made of Evil, being evil is what it does, even if it means it's sabotaging itself.
    "Evil is both fragile and stupid, dying soon after the ecosystem it's poisoned."
  • The Hunger Games
    • The whole premise behind the goals of the Capitol. They actually think that killing children and forcing the populace to watch will prevent another insurrection? One could argue it's a particularly brutal and extreme example of Make an Example of Them, but forcing the tribute kids to kill each other in a heavily-publicized and mandatory gladiator game instead of quietly Unpersoning them? That's what pushes it into Stupid Evil.
    • If it was done in the form of Battle Royale while the fittest survive. It is stupid evil. But the point of the games is to force the districts to grovel to the Capitol for mercy in the games. You dont win the hunger games by being the fittest but by begging to the Capitol for mercy.
  • Nikolai Carpathia of the Left Behind series shows some hysterically poor planning, considering he's supposed to be both a mastermind and the Antichrist. His entire plan to win out over God basically boils down following a prophecy that is guaranteed to lead to his defeat to the letter, then deviating from it and trying to shoot Jesus at the very last possible second. The only reason Carpathia even succeeds as much as he does is because everyone else on earth are even bigger idiots than he is.
  • Evil Harry Dread from The Last Hero is one of these, and indeed all true 'Dark Lords' are (as is the elder Count Magpyr from Carpe Jugulum), as part of an ancient covenant with the heroes.
    • Actually, he is a deconstruction of the trope, as he KNOWS what the stupid decisions will lead to, but makes the mistakes anyways out of a sense of honor.
  • Dune and its sequels offer several examples:
    • In the first book, Rabban brutally mistreats the Fremen at every opportunity with very little provocation. Of course, unbeknownst to him, his uncle, the Baron Harkonnen, is deliberately letting Rabban abuse his power so that he can eventually be deposed by his brother Feyd, with the expectation that Feyd will be hailed as a savior. Unfortunately for Harkonnen, Feyd is also prone to stupid evil - he tries to have the Baron killed before the plot has played out.
    • In Children of Dune, Wensicia tries to have Leto and Ghanima - a pair of nine-year-old twins with genius-level intellects and the collected military experience of all their ancestors combined - with tigers (sure, they're specially trained and have little devices in their brains that allow them to be remotely controlled, but they'll still dumb animals against genius kids.) And she sets this plan into motion for no other reason than petty revenge - since the kids have not yet ascended the throne, their deaths won't actually bring down House Atreides or the Cult of Muad'Dib. The plan fails, of course, and her own son is so disgusted by her stupidity that he forces her to give up her power and then has her exiled.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Heroes
    • Sylar and Elle: Elle is bored on their first mission date and decides it would be fun to kill the rental car guy. Sylar gets one after killing four people in broad daylight and then not even trying to hide all that blood.
    • Also, Peter Petrelli during his brief Face-Heel Turn phase after absorbing Sylar's ability and its corresponding psychosis. In comparison, Sylar, for his part, is perfectly capable of faking normal if it will advance his long-term goals, or even of occasionally showing mercy if the mood strikes him. Evil Peter, on the other hand, had No Indoor Voice and was instantly compelled to decapitate every single person that he met after he gained Sylar's craziness.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Master seems to want to take over the universe for the fun of it. In "Logopolis," he not only accidentally kills octillions of people, he draws attention to himself by randomly killing a policeman and The Doctor's companion's aunt. This is caused by extreme Flanderization he went through soon after his first appearances.
      • This could be justified by regeneration changing his personality.
      • The Rani calls him on this: she just wants to rule one planet, beneficently if she can get away with it — but what are you going to do with the Whole Universe?
      • The new series attempts to rectify this by making the destruction of his homeworld and his species in the Time War the motivation to take over the universe, and giving him a Freudian Excuse as motivation for his more psychotic actions. Its success is debatable. Although he still enjoys killing lots of people just for the hell of it.
      • Alternatively, this has led to the completely serious fan theory that the Master is evil simply to get the Doctor's attention, in the manner of the stereotype of a boy pulling the hair of a girl he likes. After all, why would he consistently target the Doctor's favourite planet?
      • The most likely explanation, offered by the new series, is that while he claims to want to conquer the universe and have big plans, he is simply driven to acts of destruction by the pathology that started when he looked into the Time Vortex and the sound of drums filled his head.
      • And in Big Finish Doctor Who, this is due to him being Death's Champion.
    • Nyder in "Genesis of the Daleks" has a brilliantly illogical moment where he opens fire on the Doctor, Harry and his own boss, risking his general's life just to kill a couple of people out of racism. This actually works to enhance how much of a psycho he is.
    • The Weeping Angels are the only monsters who continue to antagonise the Doctor and his friends for the sheer point of it despite knowing exactly who he is and what he's capable of. Even the Daleks know better. Naturally, this ends very badly for them.
  • In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Bad to the Bone", the killer is close to this (he's shown to have a short temper and be extremely violent). He steals poker chips (and never cashes them in despite having thousands of dollars worth), starts fights (in which he beat a man several times his size to death with his bare hands) and then walks into a diner covered in blood to wash his hands and order a sandwich. He's killed when he decides to try and strangle Grissom when he's swabbing his hands for blood residue and dies in the ensuing brawl with the police (his sister, and only surviving family member, is relieved he finally got himself killed). The rest of the episode is devoted to the team finding the remains of one of his victims in his garden. While he's not the only example in the series, he's the only one who doesn't have the excuse of being on drugs or a stupid kid.
  • Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones, starting with his execution of Ned Stark which triggers a war with the North, leaving his regime vulnerable to those who want to usurp his rule (and they quickly put on an appearance). In a world of Magnificent Bastards practicing Pragmatic Villainy, no-one's very impressed. Reaches a peak when Joffrey triggers a riot in King's Landing by ordering the crowd of starving smallfolk put to death because one of them threw cow dung at him. His uncle Tyrion does not hesitate to express his distaste.
    "We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king!"
  • In Stargate SG-1 The Goa'uld can be like this. In "In the Line of Duty" Teal'c explains that he has seen certain victory turn to defeat simply because the Goa'uld cannot rein in their gloating or pointless sadism. There were really only three Goa'uld who managed to avoid this. Yu who was a case of Pragmatic Villainy, and Anubis and Ba'al who were Dangerously Genre Savvy.
  • In one episode of Once Upon a Time, it's shown that the previous Dark One was under the control of the local Duke, who was having children conscripted into the army to go fight against the ogres. The question is why? The duke had the power of the Dark One at his disposal, which is later shown to be more than enough to drive back the ogres (as Rumpelstiltskin did). There were plenty of adults around, so why pointlessly throw away children in the war? It seems that the only reason to squander that magical power and get children killed for no point or purpose was to get Baelfire involved so that Rumpelstiltskin would have a reason to grow a backbone, and kick off his character arc.
  • Reacher Gilt is this in the TV adaptation of Going Postal. Having taken the clacks system away from the Dearheart family thanks only to the happy coincidence of Moist Von Lipwig's bank fraud, which ruined the family enough that they were forced to sell the clacks, he basically runs it into the ground, allowing the towers to break down, treating the employees like shit, and making business decisions based solely on what will profit him the most in the short term. And when he's actually forced to compete with someone, he automatically resorts to criminality. After Vetinari decides to force Moist Von Lipwig to resurrect the post office, Gilt responds by hiring a banshee to try and kill Lipwig and burn down the post office. When Lipwig manages to keep the postal service running anyway, Gilt hires bandits to intercept the carriages. It never seems to occur to him that the clacks could have easily crushed the postal service if he'd actually bothered to maintain and improve the towers.
    • This is a particularly regrettable case of this given his characterisation in the book, where he is a full-blown Magnificent Bastard who is suggested to have little liquid wealth, and is simply extremely Genre Savvy with financial tricks and showmanship. In the book it is explained that he is fully aware that the clacks are nearly unusable (and are constantly getting worse,) but he is still making a fortune from them, and when they (inevitably) completely fail he will make an even larger fortune by selling them, regardless of their condition, making his cheapskate management a solid case of Pragmatic Villainy. The only reason Moist and the post office are a genuine threat to him is because Boxed Crook Moist is equally clever at showmanship, and can make the post office appear a viable (and divinely supported) institution, even though he is fully aware that a functional clacks is a better system by any sane standards.
  • Anslo Garrick in The Blacklist. He's given the task of capturing Red and no shortage of resources, and yet he barely pulls it off because he can't control his temper and becomes entirely focused on trying to force Red to open the cell in which he's trapped himself.
  • Bomber Adrian Bale from Criminal Minds. The man is a textbook sociopath who only cares about blowing people up to the exclusion of all else, including his own wellbeing. One year before the start of the series he held a group of people hostage in a warehouse until Gideon was able to talk him down; Bale gave himself up but held on to the remote for his bomb, and detonated it when six FBI agents went in to do a sweep, ensuring he was imprisoned for life and destroying any chance of parole. In Season 1 he was called in to advise the BAU on how to disarm a necklace bomb on a hostage that was copied from one of his designs- in exchange he managed to negotiate a transfer to a secure hospital and force Gideon to make a written statement that Bale was smarter than him. When it came down to a Wire Dilemma he lied about which wire to cut (fortunately Gideon didn't believe him), invalidating his deal and getting himself put back in prison, now branded as a snitch.
    • A number of other UnSubs also qualify, but unlike Bale they have the excuse of being desperate or crazy, Adrian was 100% in control of himself and understood the consequences of his actions, he was just too stupid to care.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Angelus can be guilty of some really moronic acts. Lashing out at allies and preferring torture For the Evulz instead of just killing those in his way is Tuesday for him. Killing the demon that would have allowed him to win for keeps, on the other hand, is just Chaotic Stupid.
    • Harmony tries to convince people she's not evil, even as she's betraying them to their faces.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Any heel who clearly has the match won but can't resist posing for or taunting the crowd, or further assaulting the helpless face, when he should just go for the pin then and there.
  • Any ally of a heel wrestler challenging a face champion for a title who will enter the ring and strike the champion for no apparent reason, thus getting their partner disqualified (though this actually makes sense if the heel is the one who is champion, since a champion can get disqualified and still keep the title). Sometimes the interfering ally will weakly try to justify this by claiming to have wanted to "help" his friend, which is not only completely ridiculous but kind of insulting as well, particularly if the challenger who was just "helped" is the interferer's superior.
    • Or sometimes the ally will at least try to wait until the ref's back is turned to do something. Of course, the ally will usually fail in their effort and end up getting their ass kicked.
  • Kane kept falling into this pattern of behavior when he was trying to get John Cena to "Embrace the Hate" in the course of their recent feud. Although his long-term plan was to poison relations between Cena and the "Cenation" and then between him and his friends Zack Ryder and Eve Torres (and this plan proved partially successful), Kane just could not restrain himself from attacking and maiming Ryder (or further maiming, since he had already put Ryder in a wheelchair) simply because he could, which only shifted attention away from Cena's ambivalent relationships with his allies and motivated Cena to oppose Kane all the more.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has examples of this one.
    • The forces of Chaos (appropriately enough) make some pretty questionable tactical decisions from time to time. There's a reason that the symbol for Chaos is an arrow that points in eight different directions.
      • They enjoy sacrificing hundreds of their own cultists for purely symbolic reasons (as opposed to sacrificing hundreds of cultists for perfectly practical reasons, like summoning daemons, bigger daemons, and really really big daemons to attack their opponents).
      • infighting between various Chaos factions has spelled the ruin of more than one attack on the Imperium. This might be an aversion since it seems that the Big Four doesn't want to win their war with the Imperium. If they win the war, human population will drop drastically along with human psychic emanations that forms their existence.
      • Kharn the Betrayer is such a bloodthirsty, frothing Ax-Crazy that even his fellow Ax Crazies don't want to get anywhere near him. This is because he has a tendency to slaughter friend and foe alike when his blood is up. At one point, when the World Eaters (Kharn's legion of Chaos Space Marines) were attacking an enemy force of Emperor's Children (another Legion of Chaos Space Marines), a blizzard so terrible even the genetically-enhanced and daemonically-powered Super Soldiers couldn't take it descended and forced both sides to retreat into shelter. In a fit of rage, Kharn burned shelters to the ground and proceeded to run around in a psychotic frenzy, slaughtering anyone that came within chainsaw-axe range. Both Legions had to kill their own battle brothers to get inside the shelters and survive and as a result, they were never again able to take the field as a unified fighting force, and are now reduced to fighting alongside other Chaos warbands as shock troops. This is represented in the tabletop game by Kharn's special rules: if you roll poorly to hit in close combat, where any other character would simply miss, Kharn instead hits someone on his own side. Though he does have a little Justification; Kharn is fanatically dedicated to Khorne, the Blood God, and Khorne cares not from where the blood flows, so long as it flows. Thus, as far as his faith is concerned, he was doing the right thing and all the other world eaters were being cowards.
      • Diverting shock troops in extremely rare and strong armor, even by Space Marine standards, from a strategically important battle to take out an enemy propaganda station run by a dozen unarmed monks, then annihilating it from orbit while the shocktroops are still inside. Chaos commanders seem to have a collective inferiority complex or something.
    • The Imperium of Man suffers heavily from this, half the time it seems like it's done to keep them from completely wiping out the Chaos Marines. Acts done by the Inquisition are the worst case, they can vary from committing acts of Necessary Evil, but are infamous for doing things like leveling whole planets just because a few people came into contact with alien technology. The Imperial Guard, Depending on the Writer, will be led by incompetent General Rippers that can't think of any tactics beyond throwing human wave tactics at things that will tear them in half, as opposed to say, shooting them from a distance with their huge tanks.
    • Dark Eldar love torturing stuff. Technically, they do have a reason, as they do it so that an evil god their ancestors ended up creating won't eat their souls, but let's face it, they just love torturing people for fun (especially when you consider that doing stuff like that created the thing in the first place). So much so, in fact, that their vehicles are designed for swooping in, grabbing prisoners, and zooming off into the sunset at the expense of all else — including armor and crew & passenger protection, though not necessarily firepower. Though the Dark Eldar avert this to a degree. They are backstabbing assholes, yes, but unlike Chaos, they at least understand that turning on each other during a life-or-death battle is absolutely moronic. Of course, once the raid is over, their rivals are fair game again.
    • Orks are done this way on purpose. They pick a fight with anything they meet, including each other if there's nothing else around. But for them, it's part of their appeal, and the fact that they basically reproduce by dying helps cover for their stupidity.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Drow elves in most campaign settings. Being forced to live underground, surrounded by swarms of magic-eye-beam-firing, mind-controlling, acid-spewing and other nastiness-causing beasties? Sure, why not worship an insane demon and turn your own civilization into a Social Darwinist nightmare so you expend three-quarters of your energy fighting yourselves? It helps that in most settings the Drow have an Ax-Crazy Goddess who rules their society DEMANDS that they constantly double cross each other. She is specifically described as "constantly watching for signs of too much cooperation."
    • Of course, the Drow are far from alone amidst evil D&D monsters and villains here. In fact, some of the most blatant examples are human (many of the Forgotten Realms's Zhentarim come to mind) — in this case, their individual evilness may be unconsciously or deliberately played up because they have no convenient "monstrous" traits to clearly mark them as Obviously Evil otherwise.
  • Intentionally employed in the Paranoia RPG system, where all of the player characters are supposed to be stupid evil and the "plot" is just an excuse to put them all in one room while they try to out-backstab each other. Not only that, but they're all at the mercy an omnipresent Lawful Stupid NPC, Friend Computer, so that have to try get away with being Stupid Evil while acting like they're Lawful Stupid.
  • The Skaven of Warhammer Fantasy are very much Stupid Backstabbers. While this serves a useful purpose in ensuring only the strong survive, this isn't saying much since Skaven take the We Have Reserves and Zerg Rush approaches; on the other hand, their tendency to turn every minor engagement into a five-way leadership battle is pretty much the sole reason apart from sheer troop inadequacy that they haven't taken over the entire friggin' world. Seriously, in one of the Gotrek & Felix novels, Thanquol could have won by page 200 if he hadn't been sending the heroes to eliminate his rivals out of fear for his position.
  • World of Darkness as a whole seems to always have a Stupid Evil faction for the players to fight against (or join). In Vampire, we have the Sabbat, who want to rule over humankind openly, ignoring that the Camarilla, their opposing faction ALREADY basically rules the world. In Werewolf, we have the Black Spiral Dancers who would really really like to help the Wyrm destroy the universe. And finally, for Mage, we have the Nephandi who want to help Demons/The aforementioned Wyrm/Every other otherworldly abomination destroy the universe basically for the lulz.
    • Lampshaded in the Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade supplement Infernalism - The Path of Screams: "Here comes my Dark Lord! Booga-Booga-Booga!" "No, you don't - taste my steel!" SPLAT! End of story, right? Not if you do (Infernalists) justice." That passage goes on to describe complex and intelligent motivations and behaviors for Infernalist antagonists.
    • The New World of Darkness has its share as well, most notably Belial's Brood in Vampire: The Requiem. ...unless you happen to have their book, which shows them to be more of a Gnostic Religion of Evil that views the chaos they cause as needed for their enlightenment, and quite capable of subtlety and patience if the situation calls for it. In fact, the pneuma (soul-focused) factions are actually all about subtlety and patience-the Nameless are primarily researchers and scholars, while the Mercy Seat regards playing The Corrupter as a holy mission.
  • Exalted
    • Subverted with the Infernals... most of the time, anyway. Even after offering their souls to the Yozi and merging with a demon, most Infernals are at least practical in their quest to turn Creation into a living hell. That being said, Infernals are expected to be paragons of demonic will while they are in Malfeas, and participate in baby-eating contests and the like.
    • Side note: you can commit super-villain style antics, such as telling the heroes about your magnificent plans, kidnapping maidens (or men), or setting up elaborate death-traps in order to reduce your Limit (and avoid the wrath of your demonic overlords). In other words, the game encourages you to be Stupid Evil, at least some of the time.
    • Played straight with the Ebon Dragon, Shadow of All Things. He is one of the Primordials, one of the great creators of the world, the embodiment of literal and metaphorical darkness... and he defines his win condition as "making you lose more than he does." He is perfectly willing to screw himself over so long as it screws you over more, and has apparently done so on numerous occasions.
    • The Neverborn's punishments of the Deathlords when they don't preform to their satisfactions, mainly, not destroying all of creation, even if they can destroy most of it. The Neverborn's punishments have proven so brutal that the Deathlords actually hesitate to carry out their plans because they so afraid of their masters that they won't try any plans unless they are absolutely sure they will work. Granted, the Neverborn were not exactly sane even in life as Primordials, and being dead has unhinged them even more. The fact that they aren't too smart is hardly surprising.
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • The Rakdos from the Ravnica bloc are this intentionally. They even draw a great deal of their strength from mindless slaughter, which is also reflected in their representative gameplay mechanic (Hellbent).
    • The Gruul might also be either this or Chaotic Stupid, depending on who you ask. They have good reason to be pissed, though: Backstory tells that when the guilds were first formed, the Gruul were put in charge of "protecting nature." The problem is that Ravnica, their setting, is a plane-wide city, so between having much of their purpose being co-opted by the other Green-based guilds, or just eliminated by urban planning, they were eventually cast down as a guild. They didn't take it well.
    • In New Phyrexia this seems to be the role of the black mana Phyrexians. Blue, green and white all seek the creation of a more perfect creature or society, respectively through research, accelerated evolution, or spiritual purity. Red keeps the world running through construction and forging. Black...fights amongst itself over who gets to be in charge of their faction. Anything actually useful they contribute is pretty much just a side effect of their infighting.
  • Legend of the Five Rings Sealed Evil in a Can villain, Iuchiban, was eventually revealed to be this. After twice nearly conquering the empire through subtle infiltration, relying heavily on his enemies not even realizing his existence, he trumpets his third return in blatantly evil style by murdering a ki-rin spirit.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum is a perfect example. Most evil actions fall into the stupid evil category. For example, you recover a wedding ring for a person who offered you 200 gold for it, the wedding ring is worth 30 gold in the pawn shop. The good option is to sell him his ring for 200 gold, the evil option is to murder him (and not get any money since he doesn't carry it on him).
  • The grand exploding dunce cap of Stupid Evil in this medium must go to whoever created the Markers in Dead Space. The Markers are clearly artificial; someone must have made them. That someone is also, clearly, no longer alive- just like every other sentient race to have evolved in the millions of years since the Markers' creation. The only conceivable reason anyone would be insane enough to build these things would be as a kind of nuclear-style doomsday deterrent- mess with us and we'll drop this on you. And yet, apparently for no other reason than because it was kinda sick, they decided to make the Markers drive people insane, kill each other, bring their corpses back to life as rampaging monsters, and, most bizarrely of all, instil in anyone who looked at them for even a second a fanatical desire to complete their doomsday program. Yeah. That won't have unintended consequences. Averted with a vengeance in Dead Space 3. The Markers' creators are still around. In fact, they are actually a race of eldritch horrors called the Brethren Moons that use the Markers to reproduce by using their victims' biomass to create new Moons.
  • Doom 3's Dr. Malcolm Betruger, who apparently has no actual motive for attempting to transform Earth into Hell and its people into screaming demon-fodder. It is implied, however, that he has been possessed or is in some way controlled by the demons.
  • The textbook video game example is Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins. She's supposed to come off as merely practical and ruthless—but given that she actively suggests you screw over other people who you need to defeat the Blight, encourages betrayal and being a prick to people whose aid you need, and in general, just being a snarky asshole, she comes off as Stupid Evil. Also, Arl Howe definitely qualifies. While he thinks he's being a Magnificent Bastard, he actually is just a Smug Snake who makes ridiculously bad decisions simply because they are the most evil option available. Arl Eamon even lampshades this by saying that Howe is the type of man who will kick a puppy for fun.
  • Completely averted in Planescape: Torment. You can try to be Stupid Evil, but this just gets you a visit from Sigil's resident Physical God, the Lady of Pain. You get many, many chances to be a highly intelligent Manipulative Bastard, though, and probably the smartest of your previous incarnations, the Practical Incarnation, was easily both.
  • Can be played straight, Averted or even Subverted in the first two Fallout games. While it's quite possible to go through the games killing nearly everything that breathes, many of the "evil" sidequests can be accomplished without wholesale slaughter or dog-kicking malice, and many of the "good" sidequests can be solved with needlessly violent acts as well. Need to get a hostage from the slavers? Don't bother negotiating a deal that benefits everyone, or seducing the leader. You can just kill them all! An evil-pacifist run isn't entirely impossible, just annoyingly difficult. In Fallout 2 the most ideal ending for New Reno, where it stops being a Wretched Hive and becomes somewhere you'd actually want to live, is gained by wantonly killing everyone save the Wrights (and not becoming a made man with the Wrights, since this will lead to the Wrights using the military tech in the Sierra Army Base to create a military dictatorship). Or you can simply cloak and dagger tactics to eliminate the heads, each being a case of being Hoist By Their Own Petard (Each New Reno head have a way to die without pissing off their fellow family members.
  • A common criticism of Fallout 3 is that, while the game allows you to play "good", "neutral" or "evil" characters, the Karma system much more frequently gives you "good" points for completing quests. It's virtually impossible to become "evil" or even remain "neutral" by playing just the main quest. Therefore, the only way to be recognized by the game as "evil" is to be an unthinking sociopath, literally going out of your way to be a dick, paying no attention to what you're actually supposed to be doing, and in the process engaging in numerous acts that are unnecessarily risky. In other words, the same thing as Neverwinter Nights mentioned below. Some of the main quest "evil" choices make no sense even from the perspective of immoral self-aggrandizement and can only be justified by misanthropic, psychopathic stupidity. The extra caps given for doing the evil options are usually a pittance and in many cases even major rewards aren't worthwhile. What's more valuable? A house in a well placed settlement on several major routes throughout the wasteland (good reward) or an apartment on the extreme edge of nowhere that is under siege by ghouls (evil reward)? (This is even assuming you find and reach the evil option entirely on the other side of the game map before completing what is essentially the very first sub-quest in the entire game.) And the evil choice presented in the main quest endgame is incredibly idiotic in-game for you to do. It's well past psychopathic into suicidal. It's a Press X to Die option. Granted, without Broken Steel, you died having to deal with the repercussions, but the main character, and non-spoiled players, didn't know that would happen. And Broken Steel let you live with that choice. (Resulting in a lot of confused forum messages by players who weren't paying attention to the plot and wanted to know why drinking water killed them.)
  • Fallout: New Vegas is much better about how evil you really can be, but still a bit stagnant.
    • Legion playthroughs and quest chains amount to about 1/3 of the content of a NCR or House friendly Courier. Granted, New Vegas also reduces the importance of Evil Karma, but at the end of the day you'll probably end up mindlessly gunning down every NCR soldier you can, followed up by gunning down most civilians who are happily aligned with NCR.
    • Really, a Legion-aligned Courier is this. The Legion is said to ideologically support rape, mass murder, slavery, racism, and the killings of the weak, the sick, the elderly, and the homosexuals. They also have a policy of enslaving all their allies; in fact, everyone but Caesar himself is effectively a slave. On top of that, anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that the Legion is near collapse due to their disastrous war with the NCR. Yet a Courier can still help them. They don't even have the excuse of wanting personal gain, as Mr.House offers way more wealth and rewards if that's all the Courier is after- certainly more than the militaristic, dystopic, anti-technology group of barbarians that make up the Legion. And it's very, very stupid if the Courier is female. No one can seriously think they would really promote a woman to a position of power within their society, or even let her live freely in it.
    • New Vegas also featured Fallout 3's weird bits of random karma for killing certain NPCs. In particular before being patched, killing randomly encountered(fixed location, but they respawn) Fiends would give you something ridiculous like +100 Karma per kill. If you've spent the entire game as the sickest bastard in the Mojave, your first trip down the west side of outer New Vegas can turn you into a saint in as little as two shootouts.
  • Street Fighter has M. Bison. Not only does he aspire to Take Over the World, not only does he routinely tell the hero that Soon I Will Be Invincible, he also routinely betrays his own freaking underlings, most of whom would be perfectly happy serving him if they continue being paid (Balrog) or if they get to keep fighting/killing (Sagat and Vega). Incidentally, Bison's lackeys usually turn against him and kill him in their (generally non-canon) endings. Bison turning his henchmen is mostly in non-canon stories. The canon cases we have is Sagat turning on him due him having moral issues about Bison's attempted Grand Theft Me with Ryu, and the other case we with Seth, who is a Starscream.
  • The Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil, though not as single-minded and suicidally dumb as its aforementioned film counterpart, still can't escape the fact that all the money poured into viral research, sprawling underground laboratories scattered across the world, kidnapping countless test subjects, and covering their tracks vastly outweighs any profit they could have made selling their bioweapons to interested parties - not to mention the constant risk that their viruses will get out and cause The End of the World as We Know It, as has already come close to happening multiple times.
  • Guilty Gear: I-No is a dumbass who frequently causes huge messes in the name of That Man. Not only do said messes more often than not have nothing to do with what he wants, but he usually has to clean up after her. As such, it's really quite surprising that he even still lets her work for him.
  • Most of the things you have to do to get 100% corruption in Overlord are just For the Evulz and grant no practical benefit. The most egregious being the last peasant-killing requirement, which can only be reached by repeatedly reloading one of the town areas to spawn more villagers to kill. The sequel's 100% destruction path is the same. Among other things, requiring you to kill off all the people in your own towns instead of making them work for you. Since the game is not that serious, however, it's not that much of an issue. In the original overlord you had evil vs good, where evil is a mix of a lot of destruction with a little domination. In the sequel you are evil, and your meter is "destruction" vs "conquest". Enslaving people is "conquest", slaughtering towns is "destruction". In the sequel you are not actually forced to be stupid evil if you don't want to.
  • Many of the options for "Closed Fist" in Jade Empire fell under "Kill people or trick them into killing others or themselves just because you can." However, more memorably and in something of a subversion, many of them actually offered the opportunity to provide interesting justifications; you might not just kill the fox spirit protecting a forest because you could, but because her weakness in allowing evil to taint it was a sign she wasn't fit to guard it anymore... or have a girl who was about to be sold into slavery kill her would-be buyer to teach her that freedom is worth fighting for. On the other hand, most of the Closed Fist choices of have absolutely nothing to do with the philosophy. It is worth noting that if you get your Closed Fist meter to maximum, the dogs which can be seen walking around the city become targetable. Yes, once you're pure dang nasty evil, you really can Kick the Dog.
  • In the game Harvest Moon DS, to marry the Witch Princess, the player has to kill 50 animals (which cost a lot of money to acquire, and then make the player a lot of money in return), litter in the road and poison the stew pot at a festival (which makes everyone else in the valley hate you, naturally), and pass out from overwork 100 times (which costs time and money, again, as passing out will cause you to go to bed immediately and lose half of your gold). Surely there are easier ways to prove that she's evil besides making you play the game horribly to make her like you?
  • The Demon Path of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters. Once you beat the game normally, the New Game+ option opens up to play the game evilly. And boy can you. As a baby-killing, genocidal monster whose only goal is to kill everyone in the most painful way possible, the characterization lies not in you but in the previous timeline's villains who have to deal with you being Eviler than Thou. Some actually turn good in this timeline, having joined forces with the heroes opposing you and discovering they like it. Others are still evil, but are scornful of the pointlessness of your actions or are eventually driven mad just by being around you.
    • And the game ends with destroying the entire world, including yourself. The main character certainly doesn't care, though. In their own words: "Who cares? It was fun."
  • Baldur's Gate II
    • Lilarcor is Stupid Evil personified, seeking only to kill everything the party meets — and he's a sentient sword, with a personality apparently based on a fantastically stupid hick, which fortunately means he's incapable of doing anything on his own. But then, when all you are is a sword, all problems look like stab victims.
      Lilarcor: I don't know what you were expecting, but as a sword I'm pretty one-dimensional in what I want.
    • This is also actually consistent with the AD&D rules for intelligent weapons at the time the game was created — they had intelligence, but no wisdom as such.
  • The Baldur's Gate series in general. Most often, the 'evil' dialogue and quest choices have you acting like a big Jerk Ass to everyone you meet, for no good reason. And the rewards are usually worse than if you'd taken the 'good' path.
    • Evil party members demand you have a low reputation and will actually leave the party or even attack you if your reputation gets too high. Possibly justified in the case of some of the more Ax-Crazy characters, but at least half of them are smart enough to easily see the benefits of being a Villain with Good Publicity yet still insist that you consistently stay Stupid Evil.
    • Fortunately, the second game eventually gives you a quick and easy way to lower your reputation without resorting to Stupid Evil-ness: Just turn into the Slayer and turn back. Bam, two reputation points gone.
    • Attempting to infiltrate the bandit camp by going the Stupid Evil route (by telling the bandits that you want to join because you want to kill people) will end in failure when the bandits tell you they don't need psycho killers working for them.
  • Mass Effect is a notable exception to the "evil or equivalent is always Chaotic Stupid" tendency in CRPGs. The evil-equivalent options tend more towards I Did What I Had to Do or even Lawful Stupid. Even things as subtle as taking a more aggressive or reckless tack in conversations can earn you a few points for it. You do tend to have to kill more people on this route, but you tend to kill them because it's the most expedient route or "lawful" option, while the good-equivalent emphasizes restraint, helping those in need, and finding a peaceful and equitable solution whenever possible. Renegade Shepard does, however, engage in a great deal of Insane Troll Logic on occasion to justify racking up those renegade points.
    • Mass Effect 2 has probably the dumbest idea when you have the fight between your party member Samara and her evil daughter Morinth. A very high-score Renegade has the option of siding with Morinth over Samara and having her take her place in your crew. While this doesn't have any huge repercussions for the player, it's still an incredibly dumb idea from a logical standpoint. Samara is a justicar fanatically devoted to her code and has sworn her on her life to aid you (until the oath expires, which you can plan for ahead of time), Morinth is a serial killer that had just tried to murder you for fun. You have no reason to trust Morinth and every reason to trust Samara, so there is really no practical reason for Shepard to side with Morinth.
    • A low-score Renegade Shepard may be the best example, as not only will their overly aggressive dialogue fall flat on its face and fail to intimidate anyone, the only way to really get a low score in Paragon or Renegade is to alternate answers. It's no wonder s/he can't intimidate people, s/he probably just made some compassionate overtures, then said something bigoted, then over threats and then back to compassionate.
    • There's also Renegade Shepard's actions in the third installment, where picking Renegade choices often results in deaths for the target (including party members and vital political figures whose support you need) which can result in you trying to take back Earth from the Reapers with a fleet that starts getting shredded by them within minutes of engaging.
  • Neverwinter Nights (and its related expansions) works like this when it comes to the Good/Evil alignment axis. It's almost impossible to gain evil points unless you kill anyone who looks at you a little bit funny, regardless of the number of witnesses or your own personal credo. Meanwhile, performing any kind of altruistic act — even for nefarious or selfish purposes — will have you racking up the Good points. Unfortunately, this is one of the major weaknesses of alignment in NWN, in that most characters end up as dog-kicking evil, or good. Almost no subtle, selfish evil, and it's very hard to maintain a neutral character over a long (series) of modules.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer introduced a mechanic of "soul consuming". Your character is given the option to suppress the urge (lawful & good points on alignment meter) or indulge in it (evil and chaotic points on alignment meter). Suppressing / consuming happens at regular intervals of real time. Indulging actually increases the rate of hunger generation, should you indulge, your hunger will grow enough to consume your own soul, ending the game permanently and requiring that you restart the entire game from the beginning or a far enough ago save where you can still salvage it via suppression. The consume path is thus nearly impossible to play to completion unless you do a speed run. This means almost everyone suppresses and are 100% Good/Lawful despite being utterly evil in their choices. A patch was released to resolve this situation by making suppression not affect your alignment.
  • The Mastermind of Mastermind World Conquest, whose goal is to destroy the Earth since he thinks it's the same thing as World Domination. He's also a big example of a Bad Boss, who takes more joy in executing Patsys than he should.
  • Knights of the Old Republic
    • It seems to be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation: no sane light-siders like Carth or Bastila would stay with someone who kills every single NPC just because they can, but for the player, it's justified by their pursuit for Dark Side Points.
    • The Sith on Korriban are little more than a bunch of violent bullies with force powers. Even one of the masters is actively encouraging hypothetical decisions like executing a loyal subordinate for an explicitly minor and insignificant mistake, or backstabbing a competent superior to take his place, despite the implication that he does a far better job than you could ever do. His answer to the logical counterargument that a capable commanding officer is a valuable asset to the Sith and killing him would be counterproductive? FORCE LIGHTNING! One of the disciples actually switches sides after realizing that he just signed up because he likes bullying people and ended up with a bunch of freaks that do a far better job.
    • The Sith on Korriban's way of thinking is a problem that follows the Sith throughout the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The Sith insist that conflict amongst themselves strengthens them because it weeds out the weak from their ranks, but ultimately this leads to more than a few wars against the Republic and that Jedi that the Sith lost in part due to their infighting. And they still insist on that tradition even though any sane person can see that when the Sith fight each other the only winners are the Jedi.
    • KOTOR's Big Bad Darth Malak heavily suffers from this. Everyone you talk to says he's little more than a lunatic that does nothing but throw the endless fleet the Star Forge provides him with at the enemy, and he lives up to that since the first time we see him he orders and orbital bombardment to level an entire planet just because he was impatient about his army's progress with looking for one Jedi. This is a rare case where being Stupid Evil makes the villain more threatening, not less. The fact that Malak is such a psycho and now has supply to the Star Forge, means that there isn't anything holding him back from nuking the galaxy into a new dark age.
    • Darth Revan, Malak's former master, completely averted this. Revan was an extremely pragmatic and calculating individual, striking key positions, assassinating select individuals with very subtle strategies and never doing more damage than needed to be done, attempting to keep the galactic stability in place for when the takeover was completed. The brilliance of his strategic thinking made him nearly unstoppable, until Malak betrayed him and started undoing everything Revan had worked for with his blunt brute force approach.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords presents much more variety in dark side options, such as convincing a mother to sell herself into slavery so she can be together with her daughter. In fact, the game recognizes two kinds of dark side acts: "cunning", which represent a Manipulative Bastard and which your teacher Kreia approves of, and "psychotic", which correspond to Chaotic Stupid and which Kreia scolds you for. There are other party members who do approve of psychotic acts, though, like the assassin droid HK-47.
    • On the other hand, there are moments when you are forced to learn how bad Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Stupid are by the mechanism of only giving you those options. No matter how subtle a villain you are, when a beggar asks if you have any spare change, your only options are giving him money or threatening to kill him. Which means it's lecture time from Kreia, and she won't be telling you to just keep walking and avoid eye contact.
    • In The Old Republic Overseer Tremel will actually call you on this during one of the opening quests for the Sith Warrior if you decided to kill a spy that the Empire had taken prisoner instead of taking the light side points by sparing her life in return for her service to Imperial Intelligence. If you kill her Tremel basically tells you to never waste someone who could be of use to you.
      • Indeed, many if not most of the Dark Side options in TOR veer towards this trope — when they're not just the only pragmatic ones, making the Light Side Dark Side contrast rather chaotic sometimes.
  • The Combine in Half-Life 2 are the Lawful Evil version. They invade Earth for the sole purpose of consuming all its resources (including draining the oceans) and using humans as cannon fodder soldiers, and while they're there they implement a needlessly brutal totalitarian regime in which the "civil protection" forces apparently have "beating quotas" (this is actually just a joke by Barney, but it still makes sense given what we're shown) and any captured "Anticitizens" are transformed into the horrific Stalkers.
  • The Ilwrath in Star Control 2. Turns out there's a reason for it, though — the Umgah have been interfering with their culture for generations as a practical joke.
    • You can even momentarily confuse them in a conversation by pointing out that they self-identify as "evil" yet it's the preferred behavior in their society, meaning that acting "evil" is actually a good thing in their value system, and therefore them calling it evil is a paradox.
  • While calling anyone in Touhou evil is inaccurate at best, there are still those that fall into this trope (Stupid Antagonism?), causing mayhem for petty reasons (if they have any at all) in spite of the miko with impervious Plot Armor that will not hesitate to beat the living crap out of them. The best example is Utsuho, who goes mad with power and has ambitions to Take Over the World almost immediately upon receiving her powers from Kanako.
  • If you decide to venture down the path of Corruption in Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising, you'll end up doing things this way most of the time. For example, the very first atrocity to commit is to blow up the city gates thus leaving it unprotected...OR you can walk ten meters aside and open the gates with a switch. Every time corruption points are awarded for lingering with a mission, rest assured that you will have to actually wait for the timer to expire twiddling thumbs two steps away from the objective. Tainted wargear is just moderately better then the "clean" one so it'll be more like "damn, Cyrus' corruption level is low! Ok, what can I give him to fix things up?" And powers of Chaos, while great, have such long cooldowns it makes them essentially Too Awesome to Use, so they too will be mostly used for they corrupting potential.
    • This is made even worse by the fact that which ever one of your characters has the highest corruption, except for the Commander, will turn out to be the traitor, so having high corruption on somebody valuable (notably Cyrus) can completely screw you over because you lose them for the final mission, which includes That One Boss.
  • Joe Barbaro from Mafia II, I guarantee it!!
  • There is a mission in City of Villains that invokes this trope. When checking on a Arachnos base, the agents you come across are spouting Stupid Evil lines. This is your first clue that something is wrong, as most Arachnos agents are Punch Clock Villains. Then, when you defeat one and it blows up, you figure out that they're Nemesis Automatons, which are known for being perfect replicas, until you look closely.
  • Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. When he captures Big Boss, and "interrogates" him, he actually manages to reverse interrogate him, as Big Boss is too busy being beaten half to death to say anything, and Volgin is busy disclosing the location of The Philosopher's Legacy. Later, when he and Snake are preparing to fight to the death, Snake asks what that is exactly, and Volgin tells him for no discernible reason.
  • Admiral De Loco from Skies of Arcadia. Unlike the Big Bad, he's not in it to make the world a better place, and unlike some of the other admirals he's not a Punch Clock Villain or in it for the fringe benefits. He just plain likes burning things and hurting people, and working for The Empire gives him plenty of opportunity. While he is clearly bugfuck insane and often lets his passion for pain and his vendetta against Vyse get in the way of making the right decisions, his position as the chief of Valua's research and development division is the only reason they don't just jettison him. And nobody gave a damn when his ship blew up in the Vortex after his last battle.
  • Mortal Kombat
    • Shao Kahn is obsessed with conquering other realms, and merging them into Outworld, so that (being the megalomaniac tyrant he is) he can not only cause devastation during his invasions, but exploit and oppress survivors for his own egotistical gain. He's treated as the personification of evil in the series. Problem is, as indicated in his ending in Armageddon, he conquers everything in the universe, destroying all land, seemely destroying all life too. And with nothing else left to conquer, he is left alone forever... to essentially grow mad with bordom.
    • Moloch's ending somewhat counts as well. Yes he is a lumbering, towering, destructive demon from hell, but his non canonical ending in Armageddon reinforces that stereotype by telling that he would gain so much power and rage, becoming the ultimate destroyer, but in his stupidity and haste to unleash his power straight away, he destroys all portals to escape the realm he is in, and thus is unable to inflict his wrath upon other worlds.
  • In the Lost Chapters version of Fable, the evil option of the final choice is this. The options are either A. Throw an evil talking mask into the lava (Good) or B. put on the talking mask that tempts you with power and obviously just wants you to put it on so it can possess you (evil).
  • Inotia 4: Assasin of Berkel. The Berkelen Empire wants to go to a "holy war" with the empire of Arnen just for the heck of bloodshed. That in itself is isn't that bad, but then they dispatch an entire army and risk sending hundreds of elite knights to their deaths, even risking sending them through a faulty portal gate which will cost them several lives, only to track down and murder one helpless woman because she refused to read war propaganda in public. There's probably some social commentary here but as these things usually turn out, it's so incredibly naive and detached from reality that it's impossible to take seriously.
  • While Megatron in Transformers: War for Cybertron was some evil moments that would easily lead on question his leadership quality, Starscream in the sequel puts him to shame when he actually manages to briefly lead the Decepticons. After Starscream blunders an assault on a huge Autobot energon transport, he orders the mission called off even though the Combaticons are still in the fight and making progress, and succeed in bringing down the transport. Starscream berates them destroying half the energon from crashing, and when they point out that the Autobots would have gotten all of it if they did nothing and point out Starscream's incompetence, he has them arrested for talking back to him.
  • Alpha Protocol averts this, for the most part. The game has no Karma Meter, and most choices are more questions of values than morals. Even the more straightforward "evil" choices are more ruthlessly pragmatic (you execute an enemy because you don't want to risk letting them live, or let an arms dealer go free so you can get more intel from him). There are, however, some Stupid Evil actions you can take, such as massacring everyone at a party for absolutely no reason, or abandoning valuable intel to rescue an ally from a villain who plans to kill them, and then immediately killing them anyway. However, all significant choices give you different "perks," so there may be some benefit to a player who takes such actions, even if they are still Stupid Evil in universe.
  • Mild version in The Sims 3. If you have the evil trait, your Sim will most likely just piss off most non-evil Sims and make it hard to actually be friends with anyone in town. You can also "donate" money to sabotage charities, for no other reason than to be a dick.
  • In World of Warcraft, Garrosh Hellscream is easily this. It has been outright stated that he views any non-orc member of the Horde to be completely expendable at best and a traitor at worst. Bombing Theramore out of existence in every timeline, attempted assassination of Vol'Jin, attempted enslavement of the Darkspear Trolls, treating Blood Elves and Forsaken as cannon fodder, attempted assassination of Anduin Wrynn, refusing to pay Goblin mercenaries, and digging up a holy site of the Pandaren to gain more power. Garrosh's actions read like a To-Do List to make everyone in the world want you dead.
    • Although it's still stupid, he reveals in the Patch 5.4 trailer that he WANTS the world to come after him so he can lay waste to all his enemies with his newfound power and rule the world with his "True Horde." Three guesses how well that works for him.
  • Ar tonelico has the Tenba mercenaries, who abuse Reyvateils, magical songstresses and battle partners, by adopting a "use and discard" policy where they wear girls out to exhaustion and replacing them when they are no longer of uses. The problem is that the most common knowledge in unlocking the girls' potential is a strong personal bond with their partners. Tenba mercenaries, basically, have totally waste their potential at an expense of being Straw Misogynist for the sake of evil.
  • The Scrapper decisions in Epic Mickey yield much fewer benefits than the Hero decisions. If you consistently let Mickey perform good deeds, Oswald and the rest of the townsfolk in Wasteland will rally behind Mickey, shower him with rewards, and lend him a helping hand whenever they can. On the other hand, being an overall dick to everyone will invoke the hatred of the people Mickey meets, not only locking him out of helpful benefits but also out of more story content (including pieces of the ending).

    Web Comics 
  • In Looking for Group, Richard started out like this. In fact he's still like this a lot. It helped with him being undead and a powerful sorcerer, not having to suffer any real consequences for his actions - although the other party members certainly did. Later revealed that his Stupid Evil acts DO have a point though. If he doesn't continually kill innocents, he loses his powers. All of his powers. His undeath (i.e. his immortality, inability to feel pain, and ease of regeneration) and his magic. His insane actions are shown to be a bit of a facade, as he's aware he's doing evil things, but he is doing them in hope for the Greater Good. The crazier he acts the less responsibility he has to take for his actions, and the less clearly he remembers his old self.
  • In Dresden Codak, Dmitri's "Dungeons & Discourse" character is a Stupid Evil "Dark Kantian" as a parody of Kantian philosophy.
    Dmitri: I am compelled to do evil, regardless of its utility.
  • The Order of the Stick: Belkar is a great example because he's not just evil in a stupid way, he's evil because he's stupid. When Vaarsuvius cast a wisdom-boosting spell on him, he swore off evil and needless killing. Then V dismissed the spell and he ran off to kill things. However, he had a vision/hallucination of Lord Shojo which has seemingly convinced him to avoid this; if he's a bit more selective with his carnage and act as if he's playing by everyone else's rules (in his word "faking Character Development"), he can get people to stop hating him and possibly even get them to do what he wants. Considering the setting (Dungeons and Dragons), Belkar is eerily effective at times compared to more intelligent and less stab-happy people. Belkar may also be smarter than he looks, as shown when he did a pretty effective job of dismantling Miko despite her ridiculous combat proficiency. He is defeated off-camera. Of course, then he was just as stupid as you'd expect when the little hole in his resurrection plan is pointed out.
  • Subverted in the RPGamer comic Knights of the Dinner Table, where player Sara Felton becomes evil because of a cursed object, but acts, as she points out, definitely not Stupid. And she likes it.
  • 8-Bit Theater
    • Black Mage, who puts the "sociopath" back into Heroic Comedic Sociopath — and removes the "heroic" for good measure. His apparent solution to every problem is "kill everyone, starting with the people I hate", and it seems the only reason he hasn't put this plan into action is that he doesn't know where to start.
    • He also has a flowchart.
    • Kary is also this, considering she blows up her own minions just for fun and to prove that she is evil, which depletes her supply of them. Later, she blames the Light Warriors for killing her minions despite admitting that it was all her fault.
  • Minor villain, Jaxon, in Dominic Deegan is in the middle of a chaotic and extremely dangerous wilderness when he decides to stab his boss and go hunting for a monster that completely outclass him. Later, while wounded, he decides to attack the unscathed main character. He's either classic Stupid Evil or just suicidal.
  • Girl Genius gives us Bangladesh Dupree. Her attempts to follow orders inevitably add a lot of "kill people" between the lines. On a more specific note, she has to be beaten unconscious so she stops trying to kill the guy trying to keep the airship they're on from being destroyed. In all fairness, she was dazed, delirious and barely awake, and he had recently broken her jaw. And he did that because she attacked him when she saw him dragging her unconscious boss through the halls. Bang also (surprise) sees Klaus as some sort of a father figure, so she might have been trying to protect him. In her case it's sometimes hard to tell motivated violence from unmotivated. She's the girl who complains about orders to not burn any towns and then adds "even if a town really needed burning".
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic when princess Dewcup tried to join the Drow because Evil Is Cool, she got a thing or two mixed up.
  • Homestuck

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack
    • In one episode, Aku promises a genius scientist to spare his village if he will make some super-robots to destroy the title character for him. The scientist does so. After they are done, Aku decides to "test them" by destroying the scientist's village for no reason whatsoever. This naturally leads to said scientist giving Jack the means to defeat these robots. Aku threw Villain Balls around a lot; there were many occasions he successfully caught Jack but ultimately came out short due to his sadistic tendencies, be it stalling his execution in favor of a Cool and Unusual Punishment or doublecrossing a Noble Demon that has the means to his escape for the sheer kick of it.
    • It's telling that Aku went for the direct killing blow exactly once, having beaten down Jack, pinned him with a massive claw, and was in the process of skewering with his own blade. Sadly (for Aku anyway) the blade simply goes 'plink' against Jack's skin, leaving Aku so shocked that his eyeball flames poof out. Turns out that, since Jack's blade was forged to fight the ultimate evil - AKU HIMSELF - it couldn't hurt those who were pure of heart. Mind you, there was no reason to use that particular method instead of the rest of his lethal arsenal, other than it was kinda ironic. So yeah, even when Aku decides to just kill him, he still does it in a Stupid Evil way.
  • Almost all the Captain Planet villains seem to have no other desire in life than to pollute the planet for the sake of polluting the planet. It's rare that the villain is actually trying to accomplish another goal with pollution being an unwanted (or even wanted) side effect.
    • Plunder, with his endangered animal hunting, seems to have basic greed as his ulterior motive as he seeks to cash in on his extreme poaching. This is the most sense that any villain makes on that show, and even then it's as one-dimensional as it gets.
      • Even then, Plunder already has enough cash to finance any business he feels like and yet he consistently chooses those that will lead to a superhero and his teenage hit squad wrecking everything for him seemingly just so he can be an asshole to the environment.
    • Though Sly Sludge was just out for money. In one episode, he was almost a good guy, legitimately disposing of toxic waste for profit, although he didn't realize that his method, a shrink ray, would undo itself after a certain amount of time.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, this is the reason why most of the Delightful Children From Down the Lane's plans fail, either because of their own incompetance or because of their dim view of the heroes' own intelligence. The worst part is, they are pots calling kettles black most of the time; they never get tired calling the Kids Next Door fools, when the truth is, their own intelligence can often be compared to that of a box of hammers. "Operation: F.L.A.V.O.R." and "Operation: U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R." are two of the best examples.
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck where Quackerjack teamed up with Megavolt, Quackerjack pulled out a fire truck the size of a bumper car with a hose that acted as a flamethrower. After he used it, there was this exchange between the villains:
    Megavolt: Not bad... But... Shouldn't a fire engine shoot water?
    Quackerjack: Course not! Then it would be a water engine.
    Megavolt [Looks around nervously]: Uh... Got one of those?
    • In case you missed the point, Quackerjack's stunt had set the entire city block on fire, and they were in the middle of it. Really not smart. Of course, Quackerjack is outright insane, so at least he kinda has an excuse.
  • In the Grand Finale of Transformers: Beast Wars, Megatron picks up the Villain Ball by deciding to kill the entirely helpless human village before the armed Maximals, and was attacked while waiting for it to recharge. To add insult to injury somehow the attack failed, and it appeared the only ones who died were Quickstrike and Inferno.
  • Dr Robotnik of Sonic Sat Am leaned into this in later episodes. The guy savored polluting the earth and was vehement on destroying all sentient life or robotocizing it into a mindless slave, leaving him the only free willed being on earth, par his nephew and subordinate, who he was proved to find rather dispensable as well ). He also fell into other cliched Villain Ball, capturing Sonic frequently and putting him in an easily escapable Cool and Unusual Punishment, and regularly abusing his potentially dangerously skilled minions (in the comic adaption Snively did indeed alter Robotnik's devices to kill him as revenge).
  • Wacky Races
  • Invader Zim veers between this and Chaotic Stupid:
    Zim: I put the fires out!
    Tallest: You made them worse!
    Zim: Worse... Or better?
  • Lampshaded in Justice League Unlimited: The Flash, stuck in the body of Lex Luthor (don't ask), has to keep up the charade of being Luthor in front of a gang of supervillains. The problem is, all-around-good-guy Flash has no idea how to act like a bad guy, much less one as suave as Luthor, which leads to this exchange as he's walking out of the bathroom:
    Dr. Polaris: Hey, aren't you going to wash your hands?
    Flash: [in Luthor's body] No! 'Cuz I'm evil.
  • Transformers Prime
    • Starscream plays it up with all the arrogant gloating he does and his bad habit of thinking out loud - something which even Megatron has called him out on. He also thinks that every bot should bow down to him because he's in charge(or he thinks he should be), even if those bots tend to be twice his size and strength.
    • Airachnid. Whilst dangerous, her ambitions far exceed her capabilities, something that even Starscream manages to keep some check over. She attempts to take command of the Decepticons in Megatron's absence, despite Soundwave, his most loyal follower and the one Decepticon that everyone else on the ship is wary of, standing no less than 10 feet away from her. When she tries to assert authority by force, Soundwave effortlessly puts her in her place. Later, after breaking away from the Decepticons, she attempts to lure Megatron out alone and then kill him by sicking an Insecticon on him. When Megatron starts fighting back and winning, she panics. Apparently she forgot there was a reason the guy was in charge. Underestimating Badassery is a flaw of hers that comes back to bite her every single time and she almost never learns from it. Her final humiliation in the series even comes from Soundwave himself.
  • The Vreedle Brothers from the Ben 10 franchise take this trope plus Chaotic Stupid and run with it Up to Eleven. They are supposed to be bounty hunters, but have ended up with the reputation to fail at bringing anything alive. They only reason they survived so far is because there are actually an army of them.
  • South Park has an episode where Satan sends three serial killers from Hell back to Earth in order to get him a birthday cake and a car. Unfortunately, they keep killing the vendors, ruining their efforts.
  • Played for laughs in The Simpsons when Burns decides to fulfill a lifelong dream of blotting out the sun. Even Smithers calls him out for this act of "Cartoonish Supervillainy."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has Plankton who's own evil schemes keep failing because of his own stupidity. He claims to be an evil genius yet he doesn't know some of the simplest things like snow and blinking.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Nightmare Moon wanted to make the night last forever, apparently just to make the ponies appreciate the night. This would have caused a slow and excruciating death for every living thing on the planet due to cold and starvation. As a firm motivation is never outright stated, however, it's possible that Nighmare Moon, being Princess Luna's Superpowered Evil Side, took Luna's bitterness to a new level and was intentionally attempting a vengeful omnicide, or even a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum.
    • Diamond Tiara veers into this in the episode "Ponyville Confidential." Having been appointed the editor of the school newspaper, she attempts to blackmail the Cutie Mark Crusaders into continuing to write their anonymous gossip column, despite the fact that A) everyone in town has stopped reading the paper due to the hurtful lies the gossip column spread, and B) everyone in town already knows who the collumnists are.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Lampshaded and subverted in one episode, where Mojo Jojo and Him are each trying to prove to the Rowdyruff Boys that he is more evil than the other (and is thus more worthy of being their father). Him's final attempt is to brainwash two scientists into using a device that starts to move the Earth into the sun. Mojo quickly launches into a tirade about how stupid that is (for obvious reasons). This is a subversion because Him was bluffing. After letting Mojo speak him mind, he simply waves his hand, and it stops. (For all we know, he wanted Mojo to embarrass himself.)
    • Princess tends to do things like this a lot (combining this Trope with Didn't Think This Through more often than not), but her crowning moment of stupidity came when she bribed the Mayor into letting her be Mayor of Townsville, and then, making crime legal, hoping to put the Girls out of business. She was on cloud nine and Townsville was in a crisis - until someone robbed her father's mansion. Robbed them blind. (Didn't count on your house, which was everyone knew was owned by a millionaire, being robbed once you made crime legal, did you, Princess?) With the three heroines unable to help her because of her own ill-conceived law, she was quick to revoke it, and then they were quick to round up every criminal in the act of breaking the law. But they didn't recover her property, mainly because they were the ones who had robbed her. Once the Girls politely explain the legal options of a victim against criminals who commit a crime before it is declared an illegal act (which is none) the Girls are able to "convince" her to relinquish the town back to the mayor. (Even worse, for Princess, it's implied that she's still punished by her father for what happened.)
  • Butch from Mr. Bogus occasionally shows shades of this, due to his cowardice and rather low intelligence.
  • Kim Possible has Dr Draken, a self proclaimed evil scientist whose plans mostly involve stealing stuff from other scientists, and there are times that he doesn't even know what the thing he stole does, nor does he know how to use it properly.
  • Played straight by a few of Exosquad's main characters, as well as a few throwaway characters. Notably general Typhonus who is irrational evil stupidity and bad timing has actually benefited his enemies more than anything. At one point, sent by Phaeton to sabotage any deal between Exofleet and the Pirate clans to unite them, but his betrayal of the pirate clans and kidnapping of their leader only serve to unite the factions into a new powerful force against his species.
    • One Neo-Sapian human collaborator betrays his fellow operatives and allies for the sake of currency. Considering their now revealed plans to enslave humanity or genocide, it's pretty stupid. The Stupid Evil is enhanced when you realize that he has no way to even use the money he's being paid with!
    • Despite the fact the Neo Sapiens plan on wiping out the enemy human fleets such as the pirate clans or Exosquad. One Pirate Clan leader still betrays the entire clans, sabotages their fleets, and tries to cause infighting just to he could get in power. His actions get him killed though he was fairly successful as a spy otherwise. Strangely, the Neosapiens recruited him but never seemed to support him with anything other than angry forceful orders, so why did he even work for them when he could've gained leadership through his regular none traitorous means?
    • Despite Phaeton clearly going insane, and eventually plotting blowing up planet earth along with the majority of the remaining Neosapians. Several still serve him unquestionably. Some even bathe in villainous excitement of the plans despite the fact everyone would be dead and their species nearly extinct.
    • Subverted in most of the series, notably one scene where Phaeton continually questions Marsala's switching sides, constantly providing him with tests of loyalty, even nearly turning one ally into a vegetable during interrogation, on top of capturing the rest of the squad and beating up an ally. Even that wasn't enough as Phaeton orders Marsala to kill his allies. Marsala is given a gun and in the last minute finally proves his actual loyalties. Most other villains would of been stupidly evil and accepted his faked betrayal in an instant.
  • All of Von Reichter's plans to kill the titular Cyber Six shove him violently into this territory. Cyber Six needs a chemical called Sustenance to survive, a chemical that only Von Reichter knows how to make and her only means of obtaining it are from vials she recovers after killing his other creations that he repeatedly sends to kill her. If he just took some time off and hit the beach, he could sit back with a margarita while she literally starved to death.

    Other 
  • Insofar as lying is "evil", then the knaves in Raymond Smullyan's logic puzzles count; they always lie, even if they would give away their being knaves (eg, if you ask them "Is the Pope Catholic?", they will say "No"). The most famous and widely imitated such puzzle is described under Knights and Knaves. In that one and its variants, puzzle solvers are limited in the number of questions they can ask, and there is often a more conventional "Normal" character hidden among the Stupid Evil knaves, who can usually imitate a knight or knave whenever convenient.
  • There are in fact some schools of thought that would say that all evil actions are stupid by definition. Selfishness is a form of special pleading, so acting in a selfish manner is inherently irrational. Strangely comforting in a way really... To know that no matter how badly the immoral hurt everyone else, decent people can always know that they're inherently smarter than them because of it.
Stupid GoodLawful Stupid, Chaotic StupidStupid Neutral
Stupid CrooksStupidity TropesStupid Good
Stroke the BeardCharacterization TropesStupid Good
Stupid GoodTabletop RPGStupid Neutral
Stock Evil Overlord TacticsEvil TropesStupid Jetpack Hitler
Neutral GoodAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Stupid Good
Slasher SmileObviously EvilSwamps Are Evil

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