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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/TeamFortress2 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_m6ggvyehry1qengqso1_500_5096.jpg]]]]

->'''The Spy:''' One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask. What dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty.
-->-- '''A description of The Pyro by its own teammate''', ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUhOnX8qt3I "Meet The Pyro"]]

A villain or AntiHero whose primary characteristic is the fear the other side has of them.

To be the Dreaded, a character has to be far and away the most feared person in the story. These are people who make you quail not because of anything they are doing at that moment, but simply because you know who they are and what they've done before... and sometimes the latter part is optional. Maybe this character has a [[FamedInStory reputation]] as a HeroKiller; a person who kills the other side's strongest and noblest supporters. Maybe [[EmotionBomb they use fear as a magical effect which triggers panic in others]]. Maybe they've done so many horrible things that nobody ever wants to speak of them again. Maybe they are simply [[EldritchAbomination so mind-breakingly horrible]] even the strongest of hearts falter. But the defining trait of the Dreaded is that they are ''feared''. Probably has a [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast scary name]], unless they use a really scary [[RedBaron alias]] instead. If their ability in combat lives up to their reputation, then the only choice one has when facing them may be to RunOrDie. When/if the Dreaded character dies, his/her/its death will almost certainly be followed by [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing much rejoicing]]...if he's actually dead, that is (see the entry from Vlad the Impaler under the Real Life section).

Although there are exceptions, (particularly on the other side of the fence) a key characteristic of this trope tends to be [[TheUnseen invisibility]]. In general, characters--villains, in particular--who conform to this trope will not be seen directly the first few times they are mentioned. The show will tend to work on building up their perceived threat in the minds of the audience: a dark, shadowy ''something'' that's out there somewhere, but you don't know where, who or what they are, or even whether or not they can be killed, at least at first. As such, it usually involves acceptable forms of CharacterShilling. It is possible for them to remain this trope after they come out of the shadows, but if they do not then beware VillainDecay.

Additionally there is a heroic equivalent called the TerrorHero, when there is a hero so renowned that the enemy would rather flee than possibly encounter them. They tend to be [[AntiHero anti-heroes]] of some kind though (ranging from grades 2-4), due to audiences seldom associating dread as an emotion a pure hero inspires. Some criminals also tend to go for this [[TheMobBossIsScarier in order to prevent anyone from informing on them]].

Note that it isn't the audience's reaction to the Dreaded that matters, but the other characters' reactions to the Dreaded. Other characters think this person is pure NightmareFuel, whether they deserve this reputation or not.

See also MookHorrorShow; when TheHero is the dreaded to his enemies, this is a common way of demonstrating it. Not to be confused with characters who are merely [[DreadlockRasta dreaded]], although both tropes may apply to [[DreadlockWarrior the same character]].
!!Examples subpages:
* TheDreaded/AnimeAndManga
* TheDreaded/ComicBooks
* TheDreaded/{{Fanfic}}
* [[TheDreaded/LiveActionFilms Films--Live-Action]]
* TheDreaded/{{Literature}}
* TheDreaded/LiveActionTV
* TheDreaded/TabletopGames
* TheDreaded/VideoGames
* TheDreaded/WesternAnimation
* TheDreaded/RealLife


[[folder:Audio Play]]
* [[EldritchAbomination Zagreus]] in ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho''. Even ''Death herself'' is frightened when she's suddenly humming his song, without any idea where it came from.
-->''Zagreus sits inside your head,''
-->''Zagreus lives among the dead,''
-->''Zagreus sees you in your bed,''
-->''And eats you when you're sleeping.''
** The Dalek Time Controller is treated like this by the 8th Doctor, who considers them the most dangerous Dalek of all.
** Then there are the Eminence, a SuperSmoke from the end of time who use the Breath of Forever to turn people into [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Zombies]]. They are so dangerous 8 is willing to work with the Dalek Time Controller against them, despite the Time Lords trying to use them against the Daleks.
* Played for laughs in ''{{Podcast/Thrilling Adventure Hour}}''; Frank and Sadie Doyle fear only one thing, and that is the bumblebee that got into their apartment through an open window. Whenever it is spoken of or remembered it is with horror and terror.

* Rattlesnake Jake from ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}}''. Even the BigBad's minions are deadly afraid when told to contact him.
* Monstro from ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'' is known throughout the village and is famous for swallowing whole ships; even the mere mention of his name is enough to send other sea creatures fleeing.
* Shere Khan from ''Disney/TheJungleBook''. Nearly everyone is scared of him, and the rest are TooDumbToLive. He's stripped of this status in the sequel, what with his humiliation at the hands of Mowgli, and goes full-blown KnightOfCerebus trying to get it back.
* Tai Lung in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'', a rogue kung fu master so scary that an entire prison was built specifically to hold him. When he escapes from said prison, ''everyone'' in the Valley is afraid of him, including his former master and TheChosenOne.
* Played completely straight with Chakal from ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', but also parodied with a RunningGag where the same child announces that him and/or his bandits are coming to others, usually by bursting through a door and yelling.
* [[TyrannosaurusRex Sharptooth]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'' series, especially in the very first movie. The very word frightens any other dinosaur who hears it.

* A typical feature of the main characters of MemeticBadass sites.
** The most famous one: Bogeymen scare their children with stories about Website/{{Chuck Norris|Facts}}.
** The only reason Chuck Norris is afraid of death is because he knows Creator/BruceLee will be waiting for him.
** [[Literature/HarryPotter Neville Longbottom]] is the only thing that Dumbledore ever feared.
** "Death had to take him sleeping, for if UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight." This was ''actually said'' about his death by UsefulNotes/WoodrowWilson's vice-president, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_R._Marshall Thomas Marshall]].

* Myth/ClassicalMythology
** Typhon likely doubles as the [[UrExample original]] HeroKiller, storming Olympus by himself and driving the gods into hiding. When he first showed up to fight Zeus, all of the other Olympians except Athena and Enyo immediately fled in terror.
** Hades was this to the Greeks themselves; he's the yardstick by which terrifying creatures in myth (like Typhon) are compared to. Typhon is so bad that he was not only scarier than Hades, he ''frightened'' him.
** Zombies are always depicted as this. A walking, living, brain-eating corpse any normal/sane person would definitely fear these creatures. And to make things worse, think of how many people die, since the creations of graves...yes consider us humans screwed.
* Myth/NorseMythology
** Jörmungandr and Fenrir. When there's prophecies running around about how you're going to end the world you tend to get this.
** Odin the Allfather himself. He has over 200 recorded names and titles and half of them are about what a [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast scary guy he is]].
* Myth/EgyptianMythology: Apep/ Apophis. He was so terrifying, the Egyptians built temples to ''prevent'' him from coming to them.

* Monster heels are this by default, especially if they are inhumanly large. The definitive examples in the WWE would be Wrestling/TheBigShow and Wrestling/MarkHenry.
* The Great Khali was a special example, at least during his heel runs. It wasn't just his colossal size and strength, or his [[SilentAntagonist barely being able to speak]]; opponents also had to fear his PsychopathicManchild tendencies, which could easily be exploited by his handlers. Khali could be told to do ''anything'' terrible - and by God, he would do it. [[DefeatingTheUndefeatable Knocking down Undertaker with a single blow]] also helped his rep a great deal.
* Wrestling/BrockLesnar. As Wrestling/CMPunk put it, for all his physical gifts, Lesnar's greatest weapon was the sheer fear all of his opponents had for him, whether they showed it or not. Punk himself was not intimidated, because he wasn't after Lesnar -- to him, Lesnar was just another obstacle in the way of his ''real'' goal, Wrestling/PaulHeyman.
* Wrestling/RandyOrton is this for no other reason than his uncontrollable rage, his inability to be reasoned, and the fact that his finishing move can literally come out of nowhere. The fact that he HatesEveryoneEqually means he's a danger to ''everybody'', not just whoever has directly earned his ire at the time. He'll often RKO someone for no other reason than because they were hanging around the ring too long, or because the RKO has been banned at the next pay-per-view and he needs to get them "out of his system."
* Wrestling/TheUndertaker. It doesn't matter who you are, even if you're [[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon the owner and chairman of the biggest wrestling promotion in history]] -- you do NOT fuck with the Deadman.
* Wrestling/VinceMcMahon is primarily this to authority figures, especially heel ones. For all their frequent abuses of power to stroke their own egos, as far as Vince is concerned, they are even more expendable than the talent on the roster and if they screw up, he has no issue making that very clear.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/GrisaiaNoRakuen'', during the climax, Yuuji [[spoiler:invades the floating fortress of Heath Oslo]]. Heavily outnumbered and arriving almost unarmed, he goes out of his way to fight in as terrifying a way as possible in order to sow confusion. He baits people and then destroys them, completely crushing the morale of his opponents.
* ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' has legendary prosecutor Manfred von Karma, who hadn't lost a single case in forty years by the time Phoenix had to go up against him. He throws out objections left and right to counter his opponent's every move and has been rumored to have fabricated evidence and twisted testimonies in order to maintain his perfect record.
--> '''Edgeworth''': Manfred von Karma is a man to be feared. Just picture a prosecutor as vicious as me... [[ThisIsGonnaSuck multiplied by a factor of ten]].

* The Irregulars from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod''. Normally, people who climb the Tower to get their deepest desire fulfilled have to be Chosen and are invited as Regulars. Not these guys. They came and kicked the metaphysical doors open by themselves and every time that happened, the Tower underwent drastic changes. Five Irregulars are known. One was a man-made god who defeated the [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking entire]] [[WorldOfBadass ruling structure]] of the Tower and then simply disappeared. Before him came a person who slew a PhysicalGod and could create life. The third followed the former into the Tower, climbed it ten times faster than anyone else[[note]]it took him 50 years[[/note]] and built a NGOSuperpower that rivals the government. The fourth one was almost completely immune to magic and could copy any spell on sight. And the last one [[spoiler:was an incredibly normal girl who stabbed her best friend in the back]]. People are not very fond of Irregulars. They are afraid of them.
* Kore in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' has a tendency to induce OhCrap moments in those he meets, or even those who hear stories of him, particularly since he has utterly no qualms about killing anyone [[KnightTemplar if he perceives them as evil]], and is said to have [[OneManArmy fought entire armies and won]]. Even a fellow dwarf paladin refers to him as "the Cursed Scourge of the Realm". And then there's how he WouldHurtAChild...
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''.
** [[spoiler:Jack Noir]] is a fairly light hearted take on this. Due to some alternate timeline stuff, [[NightmareFuel not always so lighthearted.]]
** [[spoiler:Doc Scratch]], who is feared by anybody knowing him (including [[spoiler:Jack]]). He has nothing on his boss [[spoiler:Lord English]], though; even Hussie (the ''author of the comic'') is afraid of him.
* Para Ventura from ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' is a [[KillerRabbit hilarious variant]]. [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2008-03-30 That's how she got enlisted]]--Captain Tagon knows the cost of a good reputation (just for comparison, ''[[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2005-11-13 that]]'' was the incident which ''didn't'' impress the dock bot).
* In ''Webcomic/OurLittleAdventure'', Angelo invoked this feeling when he confronted Randi and Peganone during their quest to capture Umbria. He probably would have for [[LeeroyJenkins Eva]] as well, but she retained her resolve due to her [[ThePaladin Paladin's]] fear immunity. [[spoiler:What happened to Eva due to her not backing down and running away was [[FateWorseThanDeath accordingly]] [[AndIMustScream horrifying]]]].
* In ''Webcomic/TheMansionOfE'', Uncle Frederick's bed-mate is called variously the Woman of Mystery or the Scary Lady.
* ''Webcomic/KarinDou4koma'': Seren is infamous as a brutal PersonOfMassDestruction, with nicknames such as "The Human Solar Cannon" and "The Bomb Princess". Before Meguru actually met Seren, her mental image of Seren featured a SlasherSmile, glowing eyes, and claw-like fingernails. She's really not a bad person. She ''is'' still a PersonOfMassDestruction, however.
* [[PsychoElectro Slade]] from ''HeartCore'', TheDragon of [[BigBad Royce Lashiec]]. Not only does he love to cause even MORE pain than his master does, not only does [[BadassPrincess Ame]], the third strongest living demon so far, fear the mere thought of being in his presence, bu not even his own allies can be with him without fearing for their lives, knowing how he can at any point kill them just out of curiosity and boredom.
* In "''Webcomic/AxeCop'': The Moon Warriors", the Moon Warriors can't fight the Vampire Man Baby Kid on their own because he's too powerful and "scary". When Axe Cop sees him, even he says he's scary. [[InformedAttribute Then they kind of forget about that and try to decapitate him in different ways.]]
* In ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'', one very well-organized gang of villains had detailed dossiers on Rusty's crew and all the people who are likely to help them. When Princess shows up and they [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-7-53/ open her file]], the mugshot shows her snarling at the camera from behind her oncoming fist and the notes "DO NOT ENGAGE. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. '''RUN'''."
* The Old Heterodynes in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' were this. In a world filled with depraved MadScientist warlords, the Old Heterodynes were a particularly egregious example... [[WhiteSheep Until the Heterodyne Boys, Bill and Barry, redeemed the family.]] The current scion, the titular heroine Agatha, has proven to have the capacity for good like her father Bill... and the capacity for brutality of her forefathers.
** Apparently Agatha's uncle Barry did ''some''thing to make the BigBad fret at the mere offhand-dismissive mention of him, fearful that it might invoke another encounter with him.
** On the Wulfenbach's side, there's the Dreen, strange, clawed cyclops with conic hats and veils that don't quite look ''that'' threatening. But once they enter the fray, general Zog's plan immediately turns towards getting the hell out of here. A reminder: These creatures scare the crap out of a [[StrongerWithAge centuries-old]] SuperSoldier [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority general]] who single-handedly shot down a carrier full of troops. And just to rub it in, one particular Dreen survived a stomp by a HumongousMecha intact, and blew it up by ''touching'' it, immediately afterwards.
* The [[CardCarryingVillain gleefully evil]] [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]] Xaneth Antaris of ''Webcomic/TrueVillains'' is this, [[http://www.truevillains.com/comic-2011-08-15~N-Enter%20the%20Demon-jpg.htm knows it]], and [[EvilFeelsGood loves it]].
* ''Webcomic/BasketsOfGuts'': Pangreedi, the head of the [[StateSec Royal Secret Chancellory]], is described as "a beast, not a human" with scars all over his face. [[spoiler:It turns out to be quite far from truth though, so it's rather a subversion.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'':
** Mr. Popo, who the rest of the cast are quietly terrified of (and in Goku's case, ''loudly'' terrified). The only ones who aren't scared of him are Kami and Piccolo (both of whom are just below Popo himself on Popo's "Pecking Order").
** The Ginyu Force and Freeza both scare Vegeta, who has spent most of his life living under Freeza's rule. When Vegeta realizes that Freeza has summoned the Ginyu Force to Namek, he panics. And when Freeza himself shows up during one of Vegeta's angry rants, he stops mid-sentence out of sheer terror. Though he manages to overcome his fear of both the Ginyus and Freeza and fight them.
** In ''Dead Zone Abridged'', Goku is this to Garlic Jr. Upon finding out that his minions just [[BullyingADragon beat up his wife and kidnapped his son while stealing one of the Dragonballs,]] he understandably [[OhCrap freaks out]].
* Franchise/{{Kirby}} from ''WebVideo/ThereWillBeBrawl'', or as he is known in the series, "The Cannibal". Suffice to say Mario is rather reluctant to let Peach visit him when she looks for information about The Butcher.
* [[ImplacableMan The Meta]] from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''. Given its utterly [[{{Determinator}} ruthless demeanour]] in battle, the [[GrenadeLauncher massive gun]] it carries, and the [[PowerCopying the variety of additional abilities it can avail of]] [[PowersAsPrograms from the AIs that it captured]], it's understandable why the first instinct that many of the main characters who come across it is to run for the hills. It even manages to go toe-to-toe with [[LightningBruiser Tex]], who's renowned in the series as being a [[OneManArmy One Woman Army]].
* Near the end of ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'', [[spoiler:one of the most dangerous and insane mutants is found crying in a corner because ''[[WhiteMaskOfDoom Ace]] is coming'']].
* '''[=BKCRMWDJVG=]''' of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. When even a small part of it is let onto Earth, it causes insanity and terror and MindRape just by revealing its true appearance.
* Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses:
** ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'': Lord Vyce. Interestingly, virtually no one except Vyce himself has heard of the far more dangerous Entity he was battling.
** Less eldritch-y, but WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows visibly sinks lower every time WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick tries to get him to spend time with her. Considering some of the things she's done, his fear is very justified.
** Linkara himself, at least according to WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic.
--->"Keep your voice down, [[WebVideo/ThatSciFiGuy Sci-Fi Guy]]! He can ''smell'' geek!"
** Hyper Fangirl has made Critic drop to the floor in fear of her several times. Her responses to this are usually [[NotGoodWithRejection anger]] or [[WeaknessTurnsHerOn excitement]].
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': SCP-173 is a living sculpture that kills its victims when they break eye contact with it. What puts it firmly in this category, however, is that 682, the regenerating lizard that just doesn't die and hates all life on earth, only yelped in what appeared to be terror and stared at it for hours when put in the same room, growing new eyes when they were shot out so 173 could do its thing. When you scare the crap out of ''this'' thing, you know you're feared. From [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/dr-clef-s-proposal Dr. Clef's 001 Proposal]], this is a creature so powerful that ''[[AxCrazy Able]]'' refuses to go anywhere near it.
** One SCP isn't an artifact but a location, an ancient prison somewhere in the desert that used to hold something horrible and only referred to as "bastard son of Apep" (see the Mythology folder). [[OhCrap Used to]].
* [[EldritchAbomination End]][[{{Kaiju}} bringers]] and Class S supervillains in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' have this status: Nilbog and the members of the [[HeroKiller Slaughterhouse]] [[SerialKiller Nine]]. Of the latter, Jack Slash's superpower (being able to [[SwordBeam extend the cutting edges of his knives to a near-unlimited range]]) is not nearly as frightening as [[ManipulativeBastard his ability to pull together a team of the most murderous sociopaths in the world and terrorize entire cities with them]].
** Among the Slaughterhouse Nine, there is one who inspires more dread than any other, even within their ranks: Gray Boy. [[spoiler:When Jack decided to have all the past members cloned by a factor of nine each, Gray Boy was the sole exception. Bonesaw guesses that one Gray Boy is all Jack could hope to control]].
** When he was running the Nine, King held this position.
** Skitter is also starting to be added to the list by some circles, due to her creative use of her power and propensity for winning fights that are ''way'' out of her league.
** The most feared of all is the Sleeper. When he [[spoiler:portals to another world]] and "subsumes" it, everyone simply writes it off as a lost cause. [[spoiler:Khepri, having gathered every cape she can find in every universe and the Endbringers to her service]], sees him sitting peacefully on a lawn chair and decides to leave him alone.
* ''WebAnimation/MarioBrothers'' has King Koopa, who is portrayed as a terrifying, nigh-unstoppable villain.
* Franchise/{{The Slender Man|Mythos}} is a walking BrownNote, a living MeaningfulBackgroundEvent and the single most terrifying InvincibleVillain of all time. He also [[NoodlePeople looks]] [[TheBlank creepy]] [[BadassInANiceSuit as]] [[CombatTentacles hell]]. Understandably, no one goes near him ''willingly''. [[MoreThanMindControl Maybe]].
* In the ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'' webseries and comic, Dark Avenger is heavily implied to have been the most feared {{Player Kill|ing}}er of the game before he got in his MistakenForBadass situation with [[InvincibleIncompetent Sparadrap]]. The Game Master seen in the comic shows his WantedPoster among two others, the two other being [[TheCracker Tenshirock]] and [[RealMoneyTrade Ash]].
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Yang left ''quite'' the impression with her visits to Junior's nightclub. Her first visit caused so much chaos that it can be best described as Yang turning into a [[RedEyesTakeWarning red-eyed]], [[FlamingHair flaming-haired]] [[Anime/DragonballZ Super Saiyan]], [[CurbStompBattle Curb-Stomping everybody]] with [[PlayingWithFire Fire]] [[ElementalPunch Punches]] and [[ShotgunsAreJustBetter exploding bullets]] and [[MegatonPunch completely]] [[KungShui destroying]] [[StuffBlowingUp the]] [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill place!]] In her second visit, a few FacelessGoons tried to prevent her from entering the club again, only to get knocked out of the way. Yang then [[ThereWasaDoor literally burst her way in]] and cockily say [[HesBack "Guess who's back!"]] with a big grin on her face. ''Every single one of Junior's men has her at gunpoint!'' ([[BadAss Not that it would've done them any good...]]) Needless to say, ''they remember her very well!''
** Her Uncle [[DrunkenMaster Qrow]] has the outward appearance of a surly drunk, but he is one of the best fighters in the entire series (and [[IAmNotLeftHanded he was probably holding back]] during his fight with Winter). His mere presence is enough to cause Mercury, one of [[BigBad Cinder's]] CoDragons and a seasoned fighter/executioner, to panic and run to let Cinder know he's here.
* In ''Literature/{{Citadel}}'' there is a man called Monster. He got the name by slaughtering a bunch of random people and then forcing the lone survivor to record an answer to a simple question. Despite not having any obvious powers, though there's lots of theories, he's so feared that even the Citadel's most famous operative shudders at the thought of facing him again.
* In Creator/RubberFruit's videos, Machinima/PainisCupcake tends to play this role. This is most prominent in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkIP7oGe7vw Heavy's Tiny Picnic Adventure - Part 6]], where the introduction of Painis Cupcake causes ''everyone'' to panic and stop their current petty conflict to help each other run for their lives.
* In ''Literature/{{Jolt}}'', we have Perses. He is known by everyone in the setting as the most dangerous villain in the world, having apparently ravaged the world while he was free.