*gasp* *wheeze* *raise helmet* I CAN'T BREATHE IN THIS THING!
"Oh, boy. Here comes an evil asthmatic.KSSSHHH KUUUHHH...
There is something particularly creepy about wheezy or labored breathing. KSSSSH KUHHH
Unnatural breathing can characterize someone as being ... KSSSHHH KUH
unnatural, or less than human. As a result, KSSSSHHSH
this sort of breathing is often given to evil characters. This has been particularly true since 1977, when the Trope Namer heh huuhhh
first appeared in film
. Ideally, the creepy breathing is combined with some sort of KSSSH KKKUH
creepy voice, and an Evil Laugh kssshhheh heh... heh heheh... KSSSHH
. Sometimes the creepy breathing is justified by some sort of disfiguring accident, which gives the evil character a creepy appearance
as well. cough
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- Kuma in Afro Samurai, until his helmet is torn or knocked off.
- Jagi of Fist of the North Star is also given to this, as a result of the damage inflicted by Kenshiro in their first battle.
- Death Gun in Sword Art Online's second season has this going on with his skull-looking gas mask.
Films — Animated
- Toy Story. Buzz's breathing when he first appears on the bed and we see from inside his helmet.
- The opening video game of Toy Story 2 uses the real Vader sound, along with some other Star Wars sound effects in and around Zurg's base.
Films — Live-Action
- In Phantom of the Paradise, Winslow Leach has a freak accident with a record press, severely deforming his face and damaging his vocal chords. He later sneaks into the Paradise, with his own laboured breathing imposed over the soundtrack- predating the Trope Namer, by the way.
- The version of Cobra Commander (known as "The Doctor" before he assumes his famous title) from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
- The very creeoy Pale Man from Pans Labyrinth.
- Kroenen from Hellboy.
- After Hellboy resurrects a long-dead Russian man named Ivan, the guy has to breathe in to speak and does so with a large wheeze.
- Michael Myers in the Halloween movies.
- In Quarantine, when the CDC guys enter the building, their gas masks make this noise; it's a little over-the-top.
- In The Grudge 3, Naoko makes raspy, gurgling breathing noises after she becomes a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, thanks to being stabbed through the throat.
- The gas-mask wearing slasher in My Bloody Valentine 3D.
- Non-villainous (but still damn creepy) example: the astronauts' heavy breathing in their spacesuits in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Done for laughs in The Graduate, when Benjamin's demonstrating the scuba outfit his parents gave him.
- In When a Stranger Calls, many of the phone calls made by the titular Stranger consist of his creepy, heavy breathing.
- The thing that haunts Lucie in Martyrs.
- The opening scene of the Ian McKellen version of Richard III has the title character leading gasmasked commandos in a raid on the previous King's headquarters. Once the tank smashes through the wall the gun battle is muffled, with the main sound being Richard's breathing through his gas mask up until the moment when he shoots the king. The script notes that he is breathing in iambic pantameter.
- Rippner in Red Eye gets a distinctly wheezy breath after he gets stabbed through the windpipe with a pen, which would do that to you. Especially if your idea of medical attention for it is ripping it out with your bare hands and using somebody's silk scarf as a bandage/cravat to buy you some time for the climax of the film.
- Vega in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
- The appropriately-named Wheezy Joe in Intolerable Cruelty.
- One of the casualties in Dog Soldiers realized that there was a werewolf behind him in the back seat of the truck due to its heavy breathing, then had his suspicions confirmed when a rush of exhaled vapors flowed past his shoulder. Oh, and also when it ripped him to shreds.
- Referenced in Jarhead. During a gas mask drill, one of the solders can't help but breathe extra-deeply and throw a few Vader lines.
- Saddam Hussein does this (Along with a Vader impersonation) in Hot Shots! Part Deux, before succumbing to a coughing fit. After a drag on his inhaler, he's back to normal.
- Parodied in the second Night at the Museum film, where the Big Bad Kahmunrah recruits historical "bad guys" Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible, and Al Capone as his Dragons. Later, two more "bad guys" ask to join them. One is Oscar the Grouch and the other is Darth Vader, who doesn't say a word. Kahmunrah doesn't get what's so scary about Vader and points out that he sounds as if he's having trouble breathing. Vader tries a Force Choke, further confusing Kahmunrah.
- For Your Eyes Only. When Bond is about to be attacked by an enemy diver in JIM equipment, all we see is a POV shot accompanied by the sound of the air regulator.
- Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.
- In Revenge of the Nerds, the head jock is wearing a helmet and gas mask disguise at the carnival. Louis, the head nerd, "borrows" this disguise to get with the head cheerleader. A perspective shot through the mask has a Vader Breath sound.
- In The Wraith, the title character is The Voiceless, with this trope as an exception.
- Wheezy the weasel from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, complete with hacking and coughing, due to his smoking habits.
- Max Barry's Machine Man has this for Dr. Charles Neumann after he's been reduced to a Man in the Machine. Every word he speaks requires another gasp from plastic lungs.
- In The War of the Worlds, Martian breathing is described as "Timultuous," and it's assumed that it's because they're not used to Earth's atmosphere and gravity.
- A minor character in the Ciaphas Cain novels is severely injured during Caves of Ice, and doctors have to give her an augmetic lung as a result. Every other time she shows up in the series, there's at least one reference to the noise of her breathing.
Live Action TV
- The X-Files:
- The Cigarette Smoking Man, the main villain of the Myth Arc, always smokes and his habit gave him heavy breathing.
- The creepy mutant hibernating liver-eating serial killer from episodes "Squeeze" and "Tooms".
- William Raines in The Pretender.
- Doctor Who:
- The Ice Warriors.
- So does the Astronaut in "The Impossible Astronaut".
- And older Amy in "The Girl Who Waited".
- Malcolm in the Middle... ... ...
- The show... has...Malcolm's...friend...Stevie...who has...a really...bad...case...of asthma...and...only...one...lung. His...inability...to say...more than...a couple...words...at a time...is always...played for....laughs...usually...by giving....him....very....long...lines...and having...the other....characters...lose patience...before he's...finished....speaking.
- And when....he's under...stress...his father...develops...this same...problem.
- Cheney's cough is played up in this clip on The Daily Show. Part of their running riff on the evil of the former vice president. They eventually stopped. Vader called and complained.
- Evil Cripple Lex Luthor in Smallville's eighth season suffered from this, due to breathing by means of a respirator.
- Tony Soprano from The Sopranos had one of these when he got particularly worked up.
- An episode of That '70s Show centered on the original release of Star Wars had Eric punch an asthmatic rival for Donna's affections in the nose; this causes him to speak in a Vader-like voice ("Donna WILL be mine!") and develop the trademark breathing.
- In Sherlock, "The Hounds Of Baskerville" features the true killer doing this through his red-eyed gas mask.
- "Forsaken" by Jonathan Davis as covered by David Draiman has this layering the track.
- The intro of "Edge of Dawn" by Covenant.
- "Mr Frump in the Iron Lung" by "Weird Al"Yankovic has this, done with the air valve from his accordian.
- On of the scares in The Haunted Mansion is a door that bulges out and gives off a heavy breathing sound.
- Brainy (That boy who keeps creeping up behind Helga and getting clobbered) in Hey Arnold!. There's also the legend of "Wheezin' Ed."
- Rocko's Modern Life:
- In "Teed Off", the groundskeeper whose job is to ensure that Mr. Dupette wins has a respirator just like Darth Vader.
- Another episode features a rogue vacuum cleaner that does this as it comes after Rocko and friends.
- Noxious from Skysurfer Strike Force.
- Kaia from Motorcity does this, due to her gas mask. When she takes it off, her voice is somewhat distorted.
- The territorial calls of groups of howler monkeys, if heard from a long way off, can sound exactly like Darth Vader's breathing.
- There are people still alive today who contracted polio (which causes muscle paralysis, including the diaphragm which is what allows us to breathe) as children before a vaccine was discovered and thus permanently reside in iron lungs.
- The Star Wars sound designer, Ben Burtt, got the effect by sticking a microphone inside a set of SCUBA gear and then breathing through it. Needless to say, that means anyone wearing real SCUBA gear has Vader Breath, intentionally or not.
- Bears. One of the many recognizable things about them is their heavy breathing.
- Breathing while wearing a gas mask or a respirator can give out this sound as well.
- Since Darth Vader doesn't seem to be carrying an oxygen tank around with him, he is assumedly using a Real Life device known as an oxygen concentrator. As the name implies, these work by pulling concentrated oxygen out of the surrounding air, and it really does sound just like Vader Breath.
- Or, judging by the description, he could be supported by some form of super-lightweight iron lung, as above.
- Heavy breathing while wearing a face mask for paintball or airsoft (such as after making a long run) can cause the person to hear their own breath in this way. Similarly, snorkeling has the same effect.
- Steam locomotives can, from time to time, make dreadful wheezing, hissing, gasping noises, especially if they have not been properly maintained.
- Chest colds can make one do this.