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 Namerheh huuhhh first appeared in film. Ideally, the creepy breathing is combined with some sort of KSSSH KKKUH creepy voice, and an Evil Laughkssshhheh 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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Star Wars, obviously. Weirdly, the breathing never stops, even when he's talking. This is most apparent at the very end of Episode III, when Vader's yelling "Noooo..."
According to the EU, his vocal cords and lungs are both only barely usable and he relies on an artificial life support system built in his suit, and the constant "HRRRR...HRRRR..." is a constant mechanical pump supplying oxygen, while his speech is really severely amplified to make it louder than a whisper. In Shadows of the Empire we see that he can use the Dark Side of The Force to briefly heal and breathe on his own, but only for a moment, and then his sudden joy at being able to do that breaks his Dark Side focus.
If he had lived a bit longer he might have actually been able to keep himself out of his suit permanently. Too bad destiny had other plans for him.
Actually, there were plans to give Vader a new suit that would remove several of the problems mentioned above. Too bad the procedure put his life at serious risk. note Namely, the previous suit, including the oxygen pump, would have to be removed.
In addition to the more obvious Darth Vader, General Grevous has a rather nasty sounding hacking cough from when Mace Windu made his chest implode.
Almost any parody of Vader, including the ones done by Family Guy and South Park, must include Vader Breath. Conversely, if a character on a show such as these suddenly develops Vader Breath, it becomes a parody of Vader.
The German sci-fi parody (T)raumschiff Surprisenote It's a German language joke. "Raumschiff" is German for spaceship. "Traum" is German for dream has a Vader-like character who is merely asthmatic. No mask, but he needs to use his puffer a lot.
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.
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 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.
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.
Toy Story. Buzz's breathing when he first appears on the bed and we see from inside his helmet.
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 the second Hot Shots movie, before succumbing to a coughing fit. After a drag on his inhaler, he's back to normal.
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.
Techpriests in Warhammer 40,000 often have their lower face and lungs replaced by cybernetics. Because of the strongly varying tech-levels of the setting, this can work perfectly well and even surpass the original organs - or result in Vader Breath, which in the roleplaying games makes strenuous physical activity harder (the lungs are less efficient at oxygenising the blood) and applies a penalty to Sneaking rolls.
Cue inevitable Shout Outs—for example, a Techpriest model for Inquisitor reminding the creator of "He's more machine now than man."
Dmitri hisses like an asthmatic pensioner when he breathes, naturally.
Kassadin, one of the Champions in League of Legends, has this when he has charged one of his moves, Force Pulse. It gets irritating after a while which makes the player want even more to use the move on an unsuspecting enemy.
Gol in Jak and Daxter wheezes constantly for no apparent reason. It may be an effect of his Dark Eco corruption, but none of the other corrupted characters in the series have any noticable breathing difficulty, including Gol's sister.
Gol has parts of his body replaced with precursor technology, so it's probably either a result of the tech itself, or whatever injury caused him to lose those parts of himself in the first place.
Only because the Prince kills him first. It was a sign he was dying, making part of his motivation to find the sands the promise of immortality.
Used as part of the background music in Silent Hill 1. The in Universe explanation is that it's Alessa's laboured breathing in hospital. The real world explanation is that a game that breathes as you play it is fucking creepy.
The G-Man, particularly in Half-Life 2. * gasp* The right man in the wrong place...
In the original game's Expansion Pack, Opposing Force, the second stage of Headcrab Zombies could be identified by their creepy breathing.
For some strange reason, the magical lampposts and lanterns in the Night Elf regions of World of Warcraft make this noise whenever you stand near them, leading many confused newbies to ask in the in-game chat rooms, "All right, who keeps doing the Darth Vader impression?"
The Pyromaniacs from Sacrifice. Their unit quotes are also filled to the brim with Darth Vader and Lord Helmet Shout Outs.
The zombies in Thief have a bad, bad case of bronchitis.
Vohaul from Space Quest II is hooked up to a ventilator machine and has a Vader-like mask (although his dialog is all text).
Battle Realms Lotus Clan has a unit called the Diseased One, which attacks by coughing toxic spores onto enemies.
The volus in Mass Effect. The drastic differences in pressure and gravity require them to wear special environment suits on other planets (or at least all the ones Shepard has seen them on). They're not exactly evil, but they are a Proud Merchant Race without any really "heroic" representatives until the multiplayer DLC.
Knights of the Old Republic 2 has a section where you character must don a spacesuit to travel across the outside of a space station. Seeing as it's a Star Wars game and as such, you can't go ten minutes without a Shout Out, the spacesuit has breating very similar to Vader's.
In Metro 2033, you breathe very loudly when you put your gas mask on, and when your filter starts to fail, you start wheezing (while looking at your lens fog up).
One of the sound effects in Fate/stay night, generally only used in very creepy situations and when the narrator is sufficiently badly injured.
In Darkfall: Lost Souls, the Inspector whom you play has emphysema, and starts breathing hard if you climb steps or ladders, or stay in one place outside in the cold for long. The opening segment of the game consists of a black screen, and the sound of his increasingly-desperate attempts to draw air into what's left of his lungs.
RuneScape has Mi-Gor, a small zombie wearing a gas mask. The breath is not actually heard, just described in the dialogue lines as *wheeze* before every line, and before that, "as if someone is trying to talk with his throat full of mud".
Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money has the Ghost People, all of whom have wheezy, raspy, loud breath. The loud breathing is the best way to tell when they're sneaking up on you. Serves as Paranoia Fuel when you can't see them, but you can hear them breathing.
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 likeVader 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.