Vile Villain, Saccharine Show
Nothing illustrates friendship better than hopelessness, Nightmare Faces, and green slime.

[The game has] a sense of timeless nostalgia... there's innocence to it as well, Cosmic Horror not withstanding.

Okay, so you have a villain who is legitimately intimidating and frightening. Maybe they try to destroy all positive emotions, or maybe they turn people into twisted shambling abominations, or maybe they're plotting genocide. Point is, they're a creepy villain. The irony is that they're stuck in a Sugar Bowl.

As one could tell, this trope is about villains in normally lighthearted fiction that are so disturbing, so terrifying, that they clash harshly with the tone of the work. Because of this type of villain's ability to alter the mood of the story they're in, this trope overlaps with Knight of Cerebus, or even Complete Monster. In fact, vile villains in general are exaggerated Knights of Cerebus, since the contrast with the rest of the setting leads to an even stronger contrast with the mood, while a Knight of Cerebus isn't necessarily in a saccharine show at all and may even be right at home in a darker realm, if he is the crowning example of its darkness. If a series has a lot of villains like this, then it's taking a ride on the Cerebus Rollercoaster. Done well, it provides a powerful contrast. Many family-friendly and Slice of Life shows have episodes that choose to take a turn down Nightmare Road by presenting disturbing imagery, creepy characters and dark situations as a figment of some character's imagination or nightmares. This doesn't count, however, as the characters aren't real in that universe either; they merely represent the fears and the anxieties of some individuals. They do show, though, that even these worlds aren't perfect, since such concepts exist.

A violation of Genre Consistency. Compare and contrast the Crapsaccharine World, where it's not just the villain, but the entire world that is rotten to the core albeit sparkly and sweet on the surface. Also compare What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?. A major cause of Sugar Apocalypse and Surprise Creepy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mon Colle Knights is cheerful and wacky and the enemies usually are the Terrible Trio. When they're not, there's Reda, with his bloodstained wings and a fondness for driving people to suicide and subjecting things to splooshy transformations. The English Gag Dub toned him down and edited some scenes.
  • The Pokémon franchise is usually seen as innocent and child-friendly, and this especially applies to the main anime, with a goofy and incompetent Terrible Trio composing of two delinquents and a talking Meowth as the primary antagonists most of the time, but it still has:
    • The coldhearted Diabolical Mastermind Giovanni (who albeit gets a massive case of Badass Decay later on, with the exception of in the Unova saga), and the psychic Gym Leader with a split personality Sabrina, in the Kanto Saga.
    • The intimidating Mewtwo in Pokémon: The First Movie, who, while eventually redeemed, has a body count, mind-controlled people, and planned to commit total human and trained pokemon genocide leaving only his clones remaining.
    • The merciless Pokémon Hunter J, the Omnicidal Maniac Cyrus and his evil organization Team Galactic, and the abusive Jerk Ass trainer Paul in the Sinnoh Saga.
    • The Iron Masked Marauder, Grings Kodai, and Alva in the 4th movie, 13th movie, and 19th movie respectively.
    • As of Black and White, the usually goofy, incompetent Terrible Trio isn't so goofy and incompetent anymore, and the Episode N arc has Ghetsis (albeit toned down from his game incarnation), Colress, and Team Plasma. Whenever they show up, expect the mood to drop dramatically and the battles to get more intense.
    • Team Flare in the XYZ arc of the anime are this as well; largely eschewing the campier aspects of their game counterparts in favor of a darker rendition more in line with that of Big Bad Lysandre, who is portrayed more or less accurately. They are even the first villain team in the anime to devastate a major city on screen.
    • Pokémon Origins (because it's a faithful retelling of the Pokemon Red and Blue games) plays this trope straight with Team Rocket, despite the already somewhat harsher tone of the special, in a stark contrast to their depiction in the anime. Just like the games, they actually kill Pokémon, and they're shown conducting horrible experiments on them, too. Giovanni's reasoning for doing all this? Because a Pokemon-based society is a business, and Pokemon are tools for business.
    • The race of Unown, which are a borderline Eldritch Abomination. In the third movie they absorb a person alive, infest a lonely girl and let her do quite scary things, like freezing the entire city in crystal as well as kidnapping and brainwashing the hero's mother into thinking she's her Missing Mom.
    • Pokémon: Jirachi: Wishmaker, otherwise the fluffiest pokemon movie made, has an Eldritch Abomination that absorbs any lifeforms nearby to sustain itself and looks like Groudon.
    • Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 starts out as a cute story about a Phantom Thief boy and his Lucario. That is until we learn about an especially aggressive Team Galactic. We find out his twin sister who was kidnapped years ago has been brainwashed and is one of the strongest Galactic grunts. As she doesn't remember him she has no issues beating him and his Pokemon to a pulp. She gets better though.
    • Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! is about a Wild Child named Hareta, who has more than a few resemblances to Goku, going on a journey. It's all fun and games except for Team Galactic, who is presented just as intimidating as they are in the games and then some. It doesn't help that his best friend Mitsumi is an ex-Galactic member (and a ferociously strong one at that) who is blackmailed into rejoining and gives his Pokemon a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • The Big Bads of the Pretty Cure franchise are usually like this. One of them is an entity that existed before everything and wants to plunge everything into nothingness, another is a life-hating Eldritch Abomination that turns every planet he visits into sand dunes, yet another is a monster born out of humanity's collective negative emotions, etc etc... This is a series that is (supposedly) for little girls in elementary schoolyears.
  • Sword Art Online's second arc features the characters in Alfheim Online, which is full of cute elves who are trying to rescue the princess from an evil villain, until the princess discovers that he has been experimenting on 300 people in real life, he sexually assaults her, tortures Kirito when he comes to save her, and attempts to kill him in the real world was a knife.
  • Fruits Basket is an adorable series about a cute high school girl who befriends a lot of pretty boys and the hijinks that ensue. Then we are introduced to Akito, who we learn has been committing various forms of physical and psychological abuse on various family members, and has no problem with doing the same to any "outsiders" who look like they're butting in. Later, Akito actually becomes sympathetic when her mother, Ren, is revealed to be even worse.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam is known for its campiness and can also be kinda cheesy at times. The main threat is a vile Eldritch Abomination known as the Dark Gundam (AKA Devil Gundam in Japan) that can take control of people and animals via metallic cell replication that covers the victim's body over time. Not to mention it can mutate its own body into grotesque forms and grabs people with creepy tentacles that sprout out of it. Its master plan is to rid the world of humanity all to save the planet.
  • Although it's about World War II, Axis Powers Hetalia manages to be pretty goofy while focusing on the general incompetence of the nations. While there is fighting, it's portrayed as comical punches and cartoonish damage. In the movie Paint it, White!, we are introduced to invading aliens called the Pictonians. The Pictonians quickly conquer nearly all of Earth, transform most of humanity into their species, and abduct them as slaves. Everything the nations do to fight them fails, and they very nearly lose at the end, when all of them but Italy are turned into Pictonians. While screaming.
  • Despite Tenchi Muyo! GXP being a lighthearted adventure comedy, Tarant Shunk still tries to behave as a real and scary Ruthless Modern Pirate, though it doesn't help him much. Kagato from the original OVA and Tenchi Universe was no slouch himself.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Most villains were dealt with comically, and only a few were shown to pose a serious threat to Goku and his friends. Then came Tao Pai Pai, a Psycho for Hire who cares only about profit and ruthlessly and remorselessly wipes out anyone who gets in his way with his bare hands. After he murders Upa's father and defeats Goku in battle, he laughs at Upa and tells him that he's lucky that he's still alive, meaning that he has absolutely no problem killing children. When he returns to Karin's Tower to look for the one Dragon Ball he neglected to find, he grabs Upa and throws him against the tower (fortunately, he was saved by Goku). One time he forced a tailor to overwork on making an outfit for him in about three days... which he rewarded by killing him. After his defeat, he was rebuilt into an Ax-Crazy cyborg who wanted nothing more than the deaths of both Goku and Tenshinhan.
    • King Piccolo and his children. King Piccolo's arrival marked the series's complete shift to a much more serious tone, which carried over into the Sequel Series Dragon Ball Z.
  • Digimon Adventure starts off fairly lighthearted, then we meet Devimon, a cunning, devil-like monster with the power to brainwash friendly and peaceful Digimon into rampaging, savaging berserkers.
    • Myotismon is even worse. A sinister, Vampiric Digimon with a sadistic streak a mile wide. Myotismon treats his underlings awfully, having taking Gatomon in when she was young and abusing her until she was a killing machine. When his henchmen fail him, he eagerly destroys them. When two harmless minions couldn't bring themselves to harm children, Myotismon declared them useless and killed them immediately. When he invaded Tokyo, he proceeded to destroy much of it and held a number of children captive to identify the final child connected with Gatomon. Not only that, but he figured that if it took too much time, he'd simply kill them all. Myotismon also proceeded to attack multiple young women and drain their blood. Any minions he hadn't already killed were cannibalized to fuel his Mega transformation. Myotismon's spirit survived to return as the final villain of the next season as MaloMyotismon. Using Oikawa's sadness and despair to make him a pawn, he proceeded to consume him from within and upon manifesting anew, Myotismon repaid his perfectly loyal ally Arukenimon by sadistically torturing her to death and brutally killing Mummymon when he tried to avenge her.
    • Machinedramon is a cold-hearted, brutal and gigantic Killer Robot who speaks, though rarely, with a growling, hateful and metallic voice and mostly acts like a lifeless machine, unless when he's on a murder rampage, which is when his true sociopathic nature is shown, ordering a massive bombing over his own territory and telling the hero's 8-year-old sister he's going to kill her as painfully as he can. It makes him one of the scariest villains in the show, and if that wasn't bad enough the Wonderswan games reveal he survives his fight with Wargreymon and becomes Milleniummon.
    • Puppetmon has shades of this despite being Laughably Evil. He's a dark version of Pinocchio who thinks he can make friends by killing and enslaving everyone around him, and uses a revolver to "play" a cruel version of hide-and-seek with T.K. and kills his minions, Mushroomon and Blossomon, with it because he thought they lied. Some countries edited the scenes with Puppetmon killing Mushroomon and Blossomon and holding the gun during the TV run of the series. It's a living puppet pointing a gun at an eight-year-old child!
    • And then there's Piedmon, a Monster Clown who enjoys to toy with his opponents and sadistically inflict pain and fear upon them before finishing them off, which culminates in him transforming the kids and their Digimon into keychains one by one in a series of sequences that seem to come straight out of a horror movie.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is a cutesy film about dinosaurs being sent to our time to make children happy. Nothing scary about that at all. Well, except for the creepy old Mad Scientist Professor Screweyes, who runs a Circus of Fear, has children sign a contract in their own blood, and is eaten by birds at the end of the film.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Evil Queen (Grimhilde) from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While most of the film is very cutesy and whimsical, she takes her pursuit to preserve her narcissistic self image to dark extremes. She ordered her Huntsman to assassinate Snow White and bring her heart as proof of the deed. When he failed, she took matters into her own hands, becoming a frightening looking hag who conducted a poisonous apple that would've put her into a deep sleep. Her response was that her caretakers, the dwarfs would've buried her alive, not knowing the truth.
    • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. The story was very lighthearted till she showed up and sentenced baby Aurora to death for a petty reason, though it is more likely for the hell of it. All the heroes could do was stall for time, which only worked because her minions thought babies stayed the same age, but once she sends her raven, Aurora is soon ensnared by her powers and is put into a deep sleep by a spindle created by Maleficent. She captures the one prince that could undo the spell and have him wait for a hundred years so Aurora would go mad from the sight of an aged and broken man, implying that even with the counter-curse to her death sentence, she could twist it to something worse. And since she is easily a Reality Warper who was so beyond the heroes in power, that the fairies had to cheat along the way in order to even do her in. She also turns into a scary dragon with power to match that almost manages to defeat the prince, "almost" meaning the fairies had to intervene in order to land a deathblow.
    • The Disney version of Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is essentially a medieval stand-in for Hitler. The movie was already more adult than is normally thought of for Disney, but it was still shocking. His Villain Song is basically the limit of the most child-friendly way for him to proclaim his sexual lust for the heroine, and then being torn between wanting to rape her or burn her at the stake for forcing him to have these perverse thoughts! He is one of the most realistic Disney villains ever produced, and he doesn't have an iota of comedic qualities, many seeing him as the darkest villain the company has ever made.
    • The Princess and the Frog gives us Dr. Facilier, a voodoo witch doctor willing to sacrifice all of New Orleans to pay off his debts to dark voodoo entities. Although he gets in on the light, jazzy theme of the movie with a cool Villain Song, it's still clear that he's selfish, relentless and bad to the bone. That he murders the comic relief in cold blood on screen cements this. And then there's his Family-Unfriendly Death...
    • Pinocchio:
    • Oliver & Company is a very lighthearted movie, featuring talking cats and dogs. However, the storyline is a loose Setting Update of Oliver Twist, and its human villain Sykes — the counterpart of the novel's Bill Sykes — is a Loan Shark played utterly straight. There's nothing cool, funny, sympathetic, or even hammy about him. He's just a cold-blooded thug who wants his money now and doesn't care what he has to do to get it.
    • Mulan is the story of a girl who goes into the army to save her father's life. While the movie is comedic much of time (and has a non-threatening dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy and a cute little cricket), the Big Bad Shan-yu is implied to kill vast numbers of innocent civilians. The aftermath of his handiwork makes a Mood Whiplash from a song about getting a girl to seeing the most straightforward example of War Is Hell in a Disney movie. The scene with the destroyed village also has a subtle implication that the Infant Immortality was averted with the appearance of a doll without its owner. Further, of the Disney villains listed here, he's the one whose sidekicks are also scary, mostly competent, and definitely not wisecracking parrots.
    • Professor Ratigan of The Great Mouse Detective spends most of the film as the epitome of the Faux Affably Evil, Evil Is Hammy villain (this is helped by being voiced by Vincent Price, who is very obviously really enjoying himself), so it's easy to forget that he kidnaps frightened children and has no qualms about threatening them or getting them killed — a throwaway line in his Villain Song refers to "those widows and orphans you drowned". Then his temper gets pushed that little bit too far; cue Villainous Breakdown and vicious No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • 101 Dalmatians has Cruella DeVil — for all her campy vampiness, her basic goal is still to kill and skin a bunch of puppies to make them into fur coats.
    • Scar, from The Lion King. Simply put, he gets the honor of committing the first onscreen murder in a Disney film.
    • Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Even her appearance is pure Nightmare Fuel.
    • Jafar from Aladdin is an example, despite being less menacing than other villains.
    • Wreck-It Ralph has the Walking Spoiler that is King Candy/Turbo. He becomes even more vile during his Villainous Breakdown in the climax, and more vile still after getting assimilated by a Cybug. The worst part of all this? He's ruling over a saccharine world, making him a villain who seems saccharine at first but just gets viler and viler!
    • Beauty and the Beast has Gaston. While he starts out as a fairly comedic foil for Belle, as the movie goes on, he turns into one of the most realistic depictions of a possessive abuser ever shown in a kids' movie. By the time he's having Belle's father committed under false pretenses, leading a mob bent on murder to the castle, and stabbing the Beast immediately after the Beast saves his life, he's become one of Disney's most menacing villains.
    • The Fox and the Hound starts off as a cute dog/fox bonding story, and ends in a fight with an utterly terrifying bear.
    • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, during the "Ichabod" story. Everything is comedy and laughs, until the very scary Headless Horseman shows up.
    • Yokai from Big Hero 6, is surprisingly dark and menacing for a film that's otherwise so lighthearted and adventurous, commanding an army of little robots that can construct anything and he isn't afraid to use them to cause all manner of destruction and family-unfriendly scenarios. Long before he is finally revealed to be Professor Callaghan, he decides Murder Is the Best Solution to deal with the titular team (who at that point of the film are just a bunch of powerless "meddling kids") and when he finally unmasks himself and gives his Motive Rant to Krei, he's three-quarters of the way of unleashing a plan that will probably destroy all of San Fransokyo because, in his words, "you [Krei] took everything from me (his daughter), so I will take everything from you". And even when in his introductory scene he acknowledges Tadashi is one of his best students (if not the best student), he gives absolutely zero shits that the fire he used to steal the microbots and fake his death also killed Tadashi (which drives Hiro into flat-out murderous rage).
    • Frozen has Hans, one of the most chilling depictions of a sociopath in any Disney movie.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a film chock-full of deaths and a surprising amount of danger that is played quite seriously given the understandably hazardous nature of the main cast's expedition to the supposedly lost city of Atlantis. That being said, it's easy to get swept up in the lighthearted moments, the quirky characters, and sense of exploration and discovery the movie gives off, especially since it seems to actually lack any kind of real villain. That is, until we find out Commander Rourke is a Faux Affably Evil, sociopathic Soft-Spoken Sadist who openly admits they are Only in It for the Money and absolutely nothing else. When Milo, The Hero and Token Good Teammate of the expedition confronts them about how stealing the Atlantians life-force crystal and selling it for money will finally destroy what little remains of the Atlantean Civilization (in addition to killing them all) the villain apathetically states that, in that case, they could easily get away with tripling the price. They then proceed to murder the Atlantean king, betray The Dragon, and leave everyone to die when they don't side with them, because even though the rest of the cast are amoral mercenaries, even they turn against the villain when they finally grasp the full extent of just what they are. And just to really drive it home, Rourke seems genuinely incredulous as to why the others would willingly pass up the opportunity to wipe out an entire race of people just for slightly more money than they already would have got for finding Atlantis in the first place.
    • The Pink Elephants in Dumbo — already quite creepy to begin with, but not exactly evil — become this via Adaptational Villainy in the Spanish dub, in which the song during their Disney Acid Sequence is titled "Souls of Terror" and calls them Satan's relatives.
  • Toy Story is a lighthearted series where the main conflict is usually within the heroes as opposed to external. Villains tend to be either Obliviously Evil or relatively harmless. Until Toy Story 3, that is, where we meet Lotso, a sadistic teddy bear overlord of a day care center who subjects new toys to being broken by toddlers, tortures, brainwashes, imprisons, and attempts to murder the heroes, and when they save him, he repays them by leaving them to die in an incinerator.
  • Hopper in A Bug's Life is a ruthless tyrant who delights in the fear he instills in the ants, and was fully prepared to publically execute their queen to keep them compliant. He even admits to his minions that they don't even need the food the ants provide, implying his actions are motivated purely by sadism.
  • Charles Muntz in Up, though Carl's childhood hero at one point, is a delusional and sociopathic murderer who kills anyone who he even thinks threatens his discovery.
  • Coco takes place in the vibrant, party-filled, music-laden Land of the Dead, which is populated with fondly remembered skeletons and colorful alebrijes. At first, the only real conflict seems to stem from Miguel’s dead family chasing him through the Land of the Dead as he searches for his great-great-grandfather so he doesn’t have to choose between staying alive or being a musician. (It Makes Sense in Context.) Until we discover the actions that set up and drive the entire film’s plot. Ernesto de la Cruz murdered his homesick songwriter simply to get famous off the songs he wrote. The songwriter’s widow, unaware of what happened to her husband, believed he had abandoned her and their daughter and banished music from her family, unwittingly putting the love of her life on the bleeding edge of the Final Death and insulating her family from any evidence of the real reason her husband never returned home. By the time all the dots were connected, it’s almost too late to save Miguel from dying/being murdered or Héctor from dying the Final Death.
  • Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland has the Nightmare King suddenly show up in a world that was just plain Sugar Bowl till then, ruling over a section of Slumberland known as Nightmareland, the place where nightmares come from.
  • Osmosis Jones: For the most part, this is a lighthearted parody of Salt and Pepper cop movies with copious amounts of Toilet Humour for the kids all set inside the human body. Enter Thrax. He's portrayed as a mix between a supervillain and an international terrorist who travels between human hosts (which in the context of the movie are self-sufficient city/nations for countless micro-organisms) and destroys them, for no other reason than fame (if he can kill a human in less than 48 hours he'll get a chapter in every major medical text). Also, the slightest touch from his claw is enough to kill other microbes in a spectacular and horrible fashion, burning them from the inside out until they finally explode. Then, just to ratchet up the Nightmare Fuel even further, at one point he counts out his previous victims; the one he's most proud of is "a child who didn't wash her hands like she was told." It says something when the inspiration of the villain comes from "The Masque of the Red Death".
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 has Lord Shen, an evil peacock tyrant who is bent on destroying kung fu with heavy artillery, terrorized many innocent pigs and bunnies with his army of wolves, and almost pushed the entire panda species (which includes Po) to the point of extinction. All of this is enough to make Tai Lung, the snow leopard villain of the first Kung Fu Panda film look like a scaredy cat. When Shen's right hand and the leader of the wolves objects to him opening fire on his own soldiers to get at the heroes, Shen responds with a dagger to his back, making it the first time in a DreamWorks movie a villain actually offs someone onscreen. And then there's Kai The Collector...
  • The Brave Little Toaster is a cute musical film about talking electrical appliances, but then we meet the Junkyard Magnet, who puts alive cars (and even tries to do the same with a human and the main character) in a Conveyor Belt of Doom that takes them to the trash compactor.
  • The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: While the series is lighthearted with an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, The Movie introduces Dennis, a somewhat comedic but still surprisingly terrifying hitman hired to kill SpongeBob and Patrick using sharp spiked boots. Meanwhile, Plankton turns out to be Not-So-Harmless Villain, framing Mr. Krabs for stealing Neptune's crown and getting him frozen, coming back in anticipation of seeing Mr. Krabs get burned to death, and proceeds to brainwash and enslave all of Bikini Bottom. And there's the cyclops diver, who captures sea creatures and painfully kills them using the heat of a bright lamp, then sells the dried-out remains as knick-knacks. (Whether or not he knows the fish are sapient and screaming is left as an exercise to the viewer. Though he does laugh evilly when Spongebob and Patrick are running around their fishbowl in a panic, so whether he knows they're sentient or not, he's obviously enjoying what he does in a sadistic way.)
  • Despicable Me has Miss Hattie and Mr. Perkins. Although Big Bad Wannabe Vector ended up getting some punishment of some sort, these two manage to get away.
  • Brave gives us a sweet mother-daughter bonding story...with a villain, Mor'du, that happens to be a red-eyed, twelve-foot-tall bear with a taste for human flesh. As well as plenty of scenes that could have come right out of a horror movies, such as Mor'du watching a young Merida in the forest, Merida going into a castle and having Mor'du sneak up behind her after she's learned his gruesome origin story, and the end fight, where absolutely nothing hurts him except a bear of similar size and a multiton rock.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted follows a parade of colorful animals, some escaped form the New York zoo, others part of a circus. The villain, Chantelle DuBois, ostensibly an animal control officer, is out to murder the protagonist by any means necessary. Even after the escaped lion in question is safely contained in the zoo, she still tries to kill him (and an innocent sea lion!) and steal his corpse so she can add it to her collection of trophies.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest takes place in a forest filled with fairies and wildlife and copious amounts of scenery porn. The main villain is Hexxus, the spirit of destruction who first takes the form of a smoke monster and later looks like a demon straight from hell.
  • The Iron Giant starts off looking basically like a funny, cute Wish Fulfillment story about a lonely young boy who befriends a giant alien robot while dodging a bumbling, ineffectual government agent... until said agent locks him in a shed, threatens to take him away from his mother if he doesn't tell him what he wants to know, chloroforms him and finally tries to nuke his hometown.
  • Ice Age:
    • The first movie is one of the forerunners of the family-friendly CGI comedies. Its villain is Soto, a sabertooth tiger who wants to murder a human baby.
    • The fourth movie has Captain Gutt, an evil pirate ape with jagged sharp claws for um...gutting his victims. He has sick twisted sense of humor. And he holds a grudge against Manny, a grudge so powerful that Gutt eventually resorts to trying to kill Manny's family just to get back at him.
    Manny: Alright, let them go!
    Gutt (chuckles darkly): I don't think so. You destroyed everything I had! I'm just returning the favor.
  • Rise of the Guardians is an animated adventure film focusing on a team of Santa Claus, The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost that protects children. The villain is Pitch, the living embodiment of childrens' nightmares, who commands an army of monstrous shadows and murders one of the core team members in cold blood (he gets better) and in the finale is willing to kill an innocent child in order to boost his power.
  • Coraline is an animated fantasy film about the titular heroine who wishes her busy parents would pay more attention to her and is, for the most part, pretty lighthearted. The main villain is the Other Mother, AKA the Beldam, a villainous creature who lures children to the Other World with false gifts and love to feed on their Life Force. She assumes a more monstrous form as her plan unravels and it's heavily implied that Coraline is the latest in a long line of victims and possibly the first to escape her clutches.
  • ParaNorman is a goofy Fantastic Comedy that plays a lot like a deconstruction of zombie movies, with the zombies being pathetic and harmless, but this doesn't stop the Witch from being terrifying, especially when she starts edging into Reality Warper territory. She's not the villain however; the villains are the zombies themselves, who set the plot in motion by murdering a child. The comedy levels drain rapidly after that little reveal.
  • Lord Business from The LEGO Movie. Where to begin with this guy? First off; His Evil Plan is essentially to freeze the entire Lego universe in order to achieve "absolute perfection". Second; There's his treatment of his lackey, Good Cop Bad Cop, which includes erasing his Good Cop personality and forcing him to demonstrate his superweapon, the Kragle, on his parents, all while sporting a Psychotic Smirk, as well as abandoning him in the think tank along with the heroes when he no longer needs him. And third; He kills Vitruvius on-screen by decapitating him. Makes you wonder how this guy got into a kids' movie.
    • Probably because it turns out that he was based upon the child who created the whole world's father, who has a Heel Realization when he realizes his son views him as the bad guy, and promptly undergoes a Heel–Face Turn that extends to Lord Business as well.
  • Dark Heart from the second Care Bears movie is far creepier than he has any business being. A Lucifer-like corrupter who turns children into sadists that wreck a summer camp. He apparently is motivated only by evil, and captures the souls of the Care Bears in a giant ruby chandelier.
  • Barbie:
    • Barbie: Princess Charm School has Dame Devin, who is one of the few antagonists to actually murder someone. In her case it was her sister-in-law.
  • Katy the Caterpillar is a sweet little cartoon about a caterpillar exploring the world and meeting wacky characters. Its sequel, Katy Meets the Aliens, focuses on her children doing the same thing—except it throws in a sinister alien who can turn into anything it sees, and zaps the cute little animals away to a prison where it will drain their energy.
  • The Road to El Dorado is a wacky, hammy, screwball comedy with two antagonists who are two different flavors of this trope. Tzekel-Khan is about as light-hearted and comedic as the rest of the film, but is a murderer, a traitor, and is into human sacrifice. Then there's Cortes, who isn't particularly active but seems like he came from a completely different movie, as he has the terrifying ability to kill all of the comedy in every scene he appears in.
  • The Emperor of the Night from Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night is the cruel ruler of a nightmarish dimension, who gains power by trapping souls in his domain, while weakening the Blue Fairy enough so that he can destroy her. Working through his vile human henchman, Puppetino, they lure and tempt numerous victims into signing away their freedoms, and turn them into lifeless puppets for all eternity; one of the countless puppets trapped in the empire of the night includes a woman holding her baby. The Emperor soon targets Pinocchio as his next victim, and has Puppetino lure Pinocchio with a little girl they captured and turned into a puppet. Using magic from his master, Puppetino then transforms Pinocchio into a lifeless puppet, but not before torturing Pinocchio for his amusement. When Pinocchio is freed by the Blue Fairy, the Emperor manipulates Pinocchio and his friends into entering his domain. He uses Gepetto as his hostage, in order to coerce Pinocchio into signing away his freedom willingly, so that the Blue Fairy cannot save him. Pinocchio submits as long as his friends and father go free, until the Emperor orders Puppetino to take them all into the dungeon anyway. Once Pinocchio fights back, the Emperor smites Puppetino for his cowardice, and threatens to harm Gepetto if Pinocchio does not obey.
  • While Sausage Party is not a children's movie, it's still (for the most part) a goofy, light-hearted comedy, albeit one with heavy doses of adult humor. However, the Big Bad, Douche, is an unstable monster whom wants revenge on Frank and Brenda for (unintentionally) ruining his chance to be used. He starts off somewhat sympathetic at first. However, moments later, he sadistically sucks the juice out of a wounded juice box in a very sexual manner. He also goes on killing and drinking the liquids of various drinks to strengthen him up and even murders foods via controlling the manager of the store through a very grotesque Ratatouille-esque way. He later then nonchalantly and gleefully takes a bite out of Frank, making him scream in pain. He's a truly ruthless character in this otherwise light-hearted (in its own way, at least) film.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Galaxy Quest is a lighthearted Actor/Role Confusion comedy with endearingly innocent aliens and the cast of a Star Trek Expy... and the villain Sarris is a sadistic, genocidal maniac, not above murdering underlings who fail him, who takes a specific glee in forcing Jason to Break the Cutie. And he looks creepy, too.
  • The 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz, unlike the book, portrays the Land of Oz as a Sugar Bowl, but the Wicked Witch of the West is at least as mean as her literary counterpart.
  • And in Oz: The Great and Powerful, there is Evanora, The Wicked Witch of the East, who manipulates her formerly good sister Theodora, turning her into the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy is generally pretty lighthearted and fun... that is, with the exception of Ronan the Accuser. Disgusted with the Kree for signing a peace treaty with Xandar to end the war that resulted in the loss of his father and grandfather, Ronan immediately separates himself from the rest of the Kree and doubles his efforts to find what Thanos had requested of him so that he will annihilate Xandar; once he realizes that that item is actually an Infinity Stone, he immediately ceases their partnership and vows to come after Thanos once he's done scouring Xandar clean of life. He's a genocidal maniac and brutal zealot who thinks that wiping out an entire planet as retribution for two deaths is a totally acceptable course of action, and his incredible cruelty towards enemy combatants and callousness when confronted with his actions further hammers home how truly loathsome the guy is.
    • It's masked by a Gory Discretion Shot so that it's not immediately obvious, but watch carefully: Ronan's introduction is him literally bathing in the blood of a captured and executed Xandarian like some kind of perverse baptism.
  • The sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 follows suit by amping up the comedy and featuring one of the most vile villains in the MCU to date with Ego the Living Planet, for killing thousands and thousands of his own children, murdered the woman he loved by giving her cancer because she was distracting him from his master plan: to assimilate and absorb all planets in the universe and turn them into an extension of himself. Ego manages to top Ronan the Accuser from the first movie in terms of power and scope, not to mention the very personal nature of his vileness. Ronan was just a one-dimensional genocidal terrorist, whereas Ego is a predatory, grandstanding narcissist and pathological liar who actively grooms his targets for the task of signing a universal death warrant. Ronan's ideology was undeniably worse, but Ego's sheer callousness and selfishness will strike beyond the pale for anyone who has ever been victimized by an abusive family member, s/o, friend, or authority figure.
  • For the most part Thoroughly Modern Millie is a happy-go-lucky musical in the vein of Singin' in the Rain. "For the most part" means "except for the parts with Mrs. Meers, a woman who kidnaps people and sells them into a human trafficking ring."
  • Paddington introduced a Cruella to Animals villain who wanted to kill Paddington and stuff him, leading to a newspaper article complaining in general about why film versions of gentle kids' stories always seem to introduce a murderous villain to make the story "bigger".
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is for the most part lighthearted - but the Child Catcher more than makes up for that lightheartedness. Seriously, his name kind of says it all.
  • Romancing the Stone: Ira and Ralph, even if they kidnapped Joan's sister and just appear to be the Big Bad Ensemble of the movie, are pretty much Those Two Bad Guys in threat level (Ira, even if a Dirty Coward and a drug dealer, is also a man of his word and lets Joan and her sister go the moment he has the stone, as he promised). Zolo, however, is a homicidal psychopath that uses the country's Secret Police as his private army and Ira and Ralph both repudiate and are afraid of him.
  • The 1995 Australian kid's film Napoleon is mostly about a cute puppy's adventures in the Australian outback...except when it's about an insane feral cat trying to murder him.
  • Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The film initially seems like a classical family movie until we meet him. We discover that not only is he responsible for all the bad things that happen in the movie, but he's also the same psychopathic murderous toon who killed Eddie Valiant's brother long ago and he was planning the genocide of his own species to profit him.
  • Moonraker is probably the campiest, most lighthearted film in the James Bond franchise. And yet, its Big Bad, Hugo Drax is possibly the most diabolical villain in the franchise. As a cold, snobbish, understated executive, Drax wishes to exterminate the human race, except for those he considers "superior beings". To this end, Drax captures men and women whom he sees as physically perfect, planning to keep these people in his giant space station while he covers the earth in a rare toxin that will kill every human being on earth.

  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl, has the sudden intrusion of a Horde of Alien Locusts into an outer space sequence that until then is mostly whimsical.
  • Goosebumps is one of the biggest examples of "kid-friendly horror" out there, and as such most of the antagonists tend to have sad backstories, goofy quirks or are generally watered down. A few, however, manage to be even more disturbing reading into the series as an adult.
    • Mr. Toggle from Piano Lessons can Be Murder initially appears to be an eccentric, goofy janitor who helps out Jerry when he can't find his way around his new school. Come the third act, we discover he's been luring people to the piano school with the robotic Dr. Shreek as a teacher, before murdering them and turning their hands into piano-playing machines. He "never" stops acting polite and friendly, though, and claims he just feels music sounds so much better without human mistakes. Finally, it's all but implied that he gets Dragged Off to Hell by the angry ghosts of his victims.
    • The titular Mutant of Attack Of The Mutant is a comic supervillain brought to life, and most of his book is a parody of 90s superheroes. Near the end, though, we actually meet him in person. It turns out he's been posing as Skipper's friend and manipulating the boy into finding his lair. He reveals that he transformed Skipper into a comic book character like himself, and is always seeking out new "heroes" that he can fight to the death in his comic stories. The Mutant also melts his henchman alive and makes it clear he intends to do the same to Skipper.
  • Redwall; it seems like a happy fluffy world full of cuddly talking animals. Then you meet the villains, who made this the first book series to get its own Complete Monster page.
  • Tove Jansson's The Moomins take place in Moominvalley which is, at least at a very quick glance, somewhat of a saccharine world in the early novels and some of the adaptations. Then we are introduced to the Groke. The revelation in later stories that she's a Tortured Abomination rather than consciously evil may make her less, or even more, horrifying depending on your taste.
  • As stated above in Fims - Live Action, from J. R. R. Tolkien, his works about Middle Earth, from the POV of hobbits, everything related to the Dark Lord can be seen like this. Let's remember that hobbits are a peaceful people, mostly farmers, cattle breeders, small merchants and like that who love simple life and food above all else. Sauron's forces are totally the opposite, specially the Nazgûl in The Lord of the Rings. Also the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit.
  • Gorgo the Ogre is, overall, a child-friendly story, but the King of the Black Ogres is really a despicable, childish sociopath willing to kill his subjects on the slightest whim, even when they're doing the right thing, and tries to disintegrate the protagonist with a series of magical stones. Not to mention his horrible appearence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Even though Seinfeld is not exactly a cheerful show (it's actually quite cynical), Joey "Crazy Joe" Devola still adds a surprising dash of darkness to it.
  • An in-universe example appears on Star Trek: Voyager with the Show Within a Show The Adventures of Flotter, a series of fantasy holonovels for children. One of the title adventures involves a character called the Ogre of Fire, who shows-up, vaporizes the main character in front of the child's eyes, and then torches the setting to the ground.
  • Yogoshimacritein - The true Big Bad in Engine Sentai Go-onger. Not only is he more evil than his son, but he's also a very Bad Boss, killing off his two minions once they double-cross him to help the Go-Ongers. He also has access to a device that deletes people from existence.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze is a Lighter and Softer High School version of Kamen Rider. The monsters, known as Zodiarts, are actually fellow students—many of them having lots of psychological issues—alongside the teachers who actively are giving them the means to become evil. It has the most amount of monsters out of all the Kamen Rider Series with a total of at least eight that are trying to kill teenagers.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show! is a surreal children's show that runs on pure silly camp. Then in the season finale Space Monster M shows up murders superheroes before the team's eyes, devastates a city, and vows to destroy the earth.
  • Malcolm in the Middle has Grandma Ida. While she is Played for Laughs, there's no denying that she's probably the most evil character on the show.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is notably Lighter and Softer than the series it spun off from. The Big Bad, however, is Jafar, bastard son of the Sultan of Agrabah, Evil Sorceror, and all-around monster. Every episode has him doing something despicable: torture, murder, attempted murder, manipulation, and turning his lover into his serpent staff. He also has a particularly dark backstory that features his equally horrible father attempting to drown him when he was a child among other things.
  • Kickin' It's Sensei Ty started out this way; in The Pilot he ordered a student to break Jack's leg. Let me restate that - he ordered a teenage martial artist to break another, younger one's leg in tournament play. He's gotten broader and sillier since.
  • Thunderbirds has the Hood, who regularly causes disasters that could potentially kill hundreds or thousands of people, just to force International Rescue into action so that he can try to copy their technology.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers tried this with Lord Zedd, contrasting the ineffectual Wicked Witch Rita Repulsa with a seriously villainous and terrifying boss. Moral Guardians complained that he was too evil, and he was repeatedly toned down and softened through various devices until his villain family had become a comedy sketch act.
    • Later villains are even darker than Zedd.
  • The 1960s Batman TV series had Mr. Freeze. Unlike all the other villains, who merely wanted to rob banks and play pranks and the like, Freeze only wanted to kill Batman out of revenge - in his first appearance, anyway.
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs had Shadowborg, who appeared in the much more lighthearted first season of the show. Whereas most of the Magnavores were Laughably Evil Harmless Villains, Shadowborg is powerful, frighteningly competent, and has little to no humor except for sarcasm and deadpan one-liners mocking the heroes. He not only curbstomps the Borgs in his first appearance without even trying and served as an Implacable Man for most of his arc, his attack on the town is portrayed as dead serious as opposed to the more petty crimes his fellows committed, with him actively trying to hurt innocent people, resulting in Heather being hospitalized with a broken leg. Until Nukus showed up, Shadowborg was the most serious villain the show got.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Game 

    Video Games 
  • Kirby is a Sugar Bowl with some really nasty major villains.
    • The most common recurring villain, Dark Matter, is an Eldritch Abomination who appears in a multitude of disturbing forms. These include the basic cycloptic dark ball with yellow dots on its back, or a cloaked knight appearing as the first form of Kirby's Dream Land 2's True Final Boss, Miracle Matter, a 20 sided die that appears as the Final Boss of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and Zero from Kirby's Dream Land 3, the boss of Dark Matter who cuts its own iris and bleeds as an attack, and later it rips its own iris out. It is reincarnated as 02 in Kirby 64 as the True Final Boss, a creepy angel thing with a blood-dripping eye.
    • From Kirby Super Star there is Marx, first appearing to be a cute jester-like creature balancing on a ball, he manipulates the Sun and Moon to fight and sends Kirby to stop them as part of a plan to wish for ultimate power. He is killed, but his grotesque soul appears as a Bonus Boss that terrifyingly screams when you defeat it.
    • Kirby Mass Attack has Necrodeus, the monster that split Kirby into ten pieces, and the Skull Gang, his minions. It doesn't help that his name translates to "Death/Corpse God".
    • Kirby: Canvas Curse has the lesser-known Drawcia Soul; the soul of a painting that came to life. Not only does it look and act like an Eldritch Abomination, but it has a high-pitched, warped and rather disturbing scream to go with its appearance. It also started the trend of "Soul" transformations.
    • While most villains are just generic "smother the world in darkness", Sectonia from Kirby: Triple Deluxe outright states her intentions are to fuel her ascension to godhood by feeding on Pop Star and its inhabitants for eternity.
    • In Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, the true big bad, Dark Crafter, is a paint-themed expy of Dark Matter, having possessed Elline's best friend Claycia to do his bidding. The plot is kicked off by him draining all of Popstar of its color through Claycia, only for Elline to escape and revive Kirby and Bandanna Waddle Dee to help her save both Popstar and her best friend.
    • Notably, the main villains of Kirby: Planet Robobot aren't supernatural forces of evil, but a Mega Corp. called the Haltmann Works Company, led by the Corrupt Corporate Executive Max Profitt Haltmann. Their goals is to mechanize Pop Star's inhabitants and to claim the planet's resources for their own. However, their villainy is trumped by the company's super computer Star Dream, which goes rogue and seeks to wipe out all organic life in the universe.
    • From Kirby Star Allies, we have the main villain, Hyness. Where to begin? For one, his entire demeanor can change between eerily stilted and slow and a full-on Motor Mouth rant at the drop of a hat. He's abusive to his underlings, punching one of them out of his way for no reason, then draining their life to replenish his own, using their unconscious bodies as weapons and even outright sacrificing them when they outlived their usefulness. The worst thing about him is his ultimate goal: resurrecting his dark god, Void Termina, to destroy the entire universe, in a serious upgrade from Star Dream's villainy as noted above.
    • Perhaps the best way to illustrate this extreme juxtaposition of absolutely monstrous antagonists to the otherwise light and sugary setting and characters are the opening lines of the first and last cutscenes in Kirby: Squeak Squad.
      First Cutscene: Early afternoon in Dreamland... It's so peaceful even the clouds are drowsy. And now it's Kirby's favorite time of the day - snack time. Today's yummy snack is a sweet, fluffy slice of strawberry shortcake!
      Last Cutscene: The treasure chest was the prison of Dark Nebula, ruler of the underworld.
  • Earthbound combines this with Mood Whiplash, in the final fight, in what had started as a funny and lighthearted game, with Giygas, a horrible Eldritch Abomination with more than a few similarities to Azathoth that you cannot defeat in the normal manner and whose attacks are so powerful your mind cannot comprehend them, but the fourth wall doesn't protect him from you.
  • MOTHER 3 has Porky Minch, who commits an array of disgustingly horrible acts,note  ultimately because he was bored. Being influenced by Giygas will do that.
  • Real Overlord Zenon in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories. She's made even more horrifying in the infamous worst ending. And yet, thanks to the magic of reincarnation, she's also the hero's love interest.
  • Ni GHTS Into Dreams has a relatively cutesy and bright-colored aesthetic to it (much like Kirby, but to a lesser extent), but the bosses, in addition to being (arguably) the most difficult parts of the game are Eldritch Abominations that look like something out of a Tim Burton movie.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Cave Story is a pretty cheery-looking game with Ridiculously Cute Critters, a Quirky Miniboss Squad with a memorable Catchphrase and a main character who's Badass Adorable incarnate. And you're facing a Mad Scientist who is irredeemably evil. It gets even creepier when you enter the Brutal Bonus Level. Ballos is not only creepy, but his story is really depressing. He destroys the kingdom because he went insane from torture.
  • Pokémon:
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • The series takes place in a dreamlike environment with mostly cute characters... but occasionally has genuinely creepy enemies. The Dark Passage level from the first game is rife with these as is Haunted Towers.
    • The Metropolis level from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! is a rather jarring break in an otherwise cutesy game, with its psychotic cows in space suits who stare angrily and shoot you, as well as exploding pigs who come flying at you out of nowhere (and they will always hit you unless you kill them first). The robotic sharks in water levels are horrifying, especially when you try to go in there without a submarine (you are killed instantly). And also there are levels where plants can eat you. There are quite a few bosses who are pretty unnerving as well.
    • The Sorceress in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, who steals all the baby dragon eggs because she wants to kill them and use their wings for an immortality spell. Yikes! No wonder her Dragon did a Heel–Face Turn after she found out! The most disturbing part is that she didn't need to kill the hatchlings, she just didn't want them squirming about while she cut them off. Scorch, the 3rd boss, is pretty damn creepy as well, being solely created for the purpose of brutally murdering the heroes. Granted the manner the Sorceress reveals her evil plan fails to be that terrifying at all...
    The Sorceress: What did you think I was going to do with all those dragons? Open a zoo?
    (mook in the background giggles quietly)
  • Toontown Online is a video game filled with goofy cartoon characters that enjoy tossing pies, riding trolleys, fishing, and playing with their doodles. Likewise, their homeland of Toontown happens to be bright and colorful as well. Unfortunately, the main villains of the game (the Cogs) wish to take over and transform Toontown into a land full of colorless skyscrapers. It's best reflected in the Cog HQs, in particular Bossbot HQ, which has surprisingly eerie music.
  • Wario Land 3 has enemies and bosses typical of the series... and then there's Rudy the Clown, who turns this Up to Eleven via Interface Screw and sudden subversion of a core game mechanic. Not only is he a powerful demon (blood-red teeth and Evil Laugh not shown) who becomes even more disturbing when he Turns Red, but he's the only thing in the game that can actually kill Wario, and the game auto-saves if he does. Fortunately, all this does is let you skip the cutscene before the fight next time, and most consider him an Anticlimax Boss once you know how to dodge his lethal attack.
  • LeChuck from the Monkey Island series can be truly threatening sometimes. And even when he's more humorous, his entire concept of being a demon zombie pirate is incredibly vile. To drive the point home, he slaughtered a ship's entire crew before the start of the first game, tortures Guybrush with a voodoo doll in the second game note , becomes a demon in the third game and, again, slaughters several dozens of pirates, and to top it all off in Tales of Monkey Island he stabs Guybrush. He kills the protagonist of the game!.
  • Rez the evil cyborg overlord from the Gex series. In addition to being incredibly creepy looking was downright Nightmare Fuel when you read between the lines. Judging from the fact that he has sentences like "NO HOPE" "30 DAYS IN THE COOLER FOR TALKING" "YOUR WORK IS THE REASON YOU LIVE" and "EMOTIONS ARE CRIMINAL" written throughout his lair it was heavily implied that he was using slave labor. Not to mention the sweatshop vibe the place gives off.
  • Lord Arktivus Brevon from Freedom Planet is an alien warlord who's as vile as they come, in what would otherwise be a lighthearted romp in the style of the early Sonic the Hedgehog games. You don't have to go further to learn of this than the game's opening sequence, in which he breaks into a palace with his army and beheads its king on-screen and in front of his son, who he promptly and painfully brainwashes to serve him. Whenever he shows up, expect things to get serious, and fast.
  • HarmoKnight is a downloadable Rhythm Game from the Nintendo eShop that is on par with Kirby in terms of cuteness. The game features an Adorably Precocious Child as the hero, a talking bunny as his sidekick, and a Plucky Girl archer and a Badbutt Viking with a pet monkey as tritagonists. Then you have its Big Bad Gargan, a Humanoid Abomination who's the leader of a race of Planetary Parasites called the Noizoids who intend to take over Melodia. At first he seems like your average Generic Doomsday Villain, kidnapping the princess and whatnot. But later in the game its revealed he's slowly turning her into a Noizoid. And by the time you meet him on the final level, he's nearly succeeded.
  • While most of the villains in Kid Icarus: Uprising are lovable, quirky, and outright hilarious, Hades and The Chaos Kin manage to be a cut above the rest in terms of sheer evil.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure 2 has Eggman's grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, who wants to destroy the world. Seems like pretty typical supervillain stuff, but what makes him this trope is his surprisingly tragic backstory and motive, namely getting revenge on the world for the death of his granddaughter, Maria, which he blames both the people of Earth and himself for. The clincher is a pair of scenes, one of a speech of his before his execution and another where the main characters come across his diary that outlines his guilt-ridden slip into insanity, exacerbated by the good writing and how his actor nails the voice of a man with nothing left to live for.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) has Mephiles The Dark, who manipulates the entire cast so he can eventually fuse with Solaris and destroy the time and space continuum. He also ends up killing the main protagonist and then laughing at Elise crying afterwards sadistically. The reason why Mephiles is as bad as he is? None.
    • Sonic Forces has Infinite, who was personally responsible for one of the series' darkest moments by effortlessly defeating Sonic, clearing the way for Eggman to Take Over the World within mere days. He's also one of the few villains in the series to be shown murdering someone onscreen; in this case, he killed the Avatar's teammates and gave Cruel Mercy to the Avatar with the intent of traumitizing them. Infinite was also responsible for one of the Resistance's biggest defeats, as a simple activation of his powers caused 80% of the Resistance to be defeated during the siege of Metropolis.
  • Undertale is a very quirky RPG in the vein of EarthBound, with a myriad of goofy and likable characters, and even includes talking down enemies from fighting as a major gameplay mechanic. And then there's three villains who provide the greatest amount of Nightmare Fuel in the game: Flowey, a sadistic Foul Flower who pulls plenty of Nightmare Faces and constantly taunts the player and revels in their misery before stealing Asgore's six human souls and transforming into an Eldritch Abomination intent on torturing and killing the player over and over again. The second is the First Child, a Creepy Child responsible for nearly every single bad thing that happened in the game's backstory, and possibly even the one who corrupted Flowey into the monster that he is now. The third and final villain is you, the player. Or to be more specific, you if you decide to go for the Genocide route and turn the entire game into pure tragic Nightmare Fuel as you systematically murder every single monster in the Underground, egged on by Flowey and heavily aided by the First Child. At the end of the massacre, Flowey dies and the First Child destroys the world.
  • While Mercenary Kings is a little too Gorny to be saccharine, the game is still written like a mix between an 80's action movie and a Saturday morning cartoon like G.I. Joe, with characters spouting goofy G-rated one-liners at each other and the story not being taken particularly seriously. Then Dr. Neil, the man the main characters have been tasked with rescuing, reveals himself to be Evil All Along after the death of Commander Baron, and with his depraved cloning experiments (along with being at least partially responsible for turning the last three members of the Kings into the Brainwashed and Crazy Prime Soldiers,) turns out to be a far creepier villain than Baron could ever hope to be.
  • The Japanese Nintendo 3DS downloadable game Cororoke no Mori Poitto is a very saccharine game, having cute Mononoke and a pleasant setting. The villains, however, are Mononoke that represent disasters (Pollution, wildfires, floods, pests, and paranoia) and the final one is a demonic eye void-like entity that is the king of all disasters.
  • Kingdom Hearts starts off on a tropical island with three friends and the trailers promise allying with Disney people. While things go south a bit quickly, it's a Saturday Morning Cartoon style where you team up to rescue friends, meet Fanservice, and just a lot of hope. In fact there is a lot of emphasis on friendship, Disney worlds, princesses, sunny places, gorgeous designs... and Xehanort. Who has been trying to destroy the universe for YEARS, is the master of the Xanatos Gambit, has a multitude of different alter-egos, and as of KH3D, the cast of heroes is looking at his plans and are trying desperately to think of a way to stop him. This cast includes Disney Wizard Extrordanaire Yen Sid, the Three Good Fairies, Donald Duck, Goofy, and MICKEY MOUSE.
  • Touhou is a game that usually ends with even the game's bad guys becoming friendly and nice and befriending the protagonists, that is when the bosses are even villains to begin with(the 12th and 13th installment, for example have no bad guys), but there are some genuinely evil characters.
    • Junko, the Greater-Scope Villain of Urban Legend in Limbo and Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom. She attempts to cause a genocide against the Lunarians by filling the Moon with impurity, making a Lunarian Goddess attempt to purify Gensokyo for the Lunarians to escape there(which would cause death of humans ans yokai alike), she has no problem in letting these people be killed as long as she gets her revenge. The extra stage shows her and Hecatia attempting to attack the Lunarians that tried to escape the moon. She does give up when you show up, but just because she knows you will beat her anyway.
    • Utsuho Reiuji's plan was to set the world ablaze and assimilate it as a part of hell. Sure, she decided to do this mostly because she had gone crazy with power at the time, and she's actually a lot more stupid than she is malevolent, but the fact still remains that the world was almost destroyed because a Hell Raven ate a god, gained its power and then didn't spare a second to consider the possibility that people on the surface might not want their world to turn into a literal hellscape but instead decided that if you get unfathomable power, you're obliged to try to Take Over the World.
    • Saigyou Ayakashi, the Cherry Tree of Perfect Cherry Blossom. It turns out to be an evil spirit that Mind Rapes people with its otherworldly beauty into languishing under its branches until they fall asleep, whereupon it consumes their souls.
  • Can't get any viler than having Old Scratch serve as the main villain of Cuphead. The game itself is a lighthearted Genre Throwback to 1930s cartoons with an anthropomorphic cup and mug serving as the protagonists that provides An Aesop on the dangers of gambling. Then there's the Devil himself, who has no qualms with forcing two innocent people to do his dirty work for him in collecting the Soul Contracts from the inhabitants who lost the gambles against him and also killing said protagonists if they back out of his deal, or turning them into his demonic servants if they agree to join him. Fittingly, he's the only boss who's Have a Nice Death screen is not Played for Laughs. (While every other boss gets some kind of pun related to their attacks The Devil's is simply "All who oppose me will be destroyed!")
  • Moshi Monsters: The main setting is mainly a wacky Sugar Bowl, with little creatures running around, but there are a group of villains: the Criminal League Of Naughty Critters, or C.L.O.N.C. for short. Though not all C.L.O.N.C. members are scary enough to fit this trope, a few of them are. These include their leader, who once hatched an Evil Plan to kill the entire planet's population, Dr. Strangeglove who likes to turn little animals into a Servant Race of Always Chaotic Evil creatures called Glumps, and Sweet Tooth who, despite their obsession with candy and clownlike appearance is still pretty creepy with their frequent use of mind control.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Starro, a giant space starfish of unknown origin complete with a menacing voice, tiny minions that latch onto your face and turn you into a slave, and one cold, unblinking eye. As a bonus, he feeds on the life force of the inhabitants of each planet he invades. Any planet he can't enslave or devour, he destroys.
  • Care Bears, of all franchises, tends to have this in spades, what with Professor Coldheart, the Spirit in the Book, Dark Heart, No-Heart and others all dedicated to the removal of any ability to feel emotion. Appropriately, Professor Coldheart has the (relatively) lightest/softest/most saccharine look, but the resemblance of his tactics to those often used by pedophiles could be said to make him simultaneously the creepiest.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh:
  • The G1 My Little Pony continuity has a lot of villains who came close to enacting a Sugar Apocalypse.
    • The initial specials have Tirek, a demon-centaur who wanted to turn the ponies into an army of demonic dragons with his "Rainbow of Darkness", and Catrina, a catwoman sorceress who plotted to enslave the ponies into gathering ingredients for her Fantastic Drug of choice, "witchweed potion".
    • The movie has The Smooze, an all-consuming Blob Monster unleashed by a Card Carrying Villainess and her bumbling daughters.
    • The series proper has:
      • Squirk, a tyrannical sea monster who wanted to reclaim part of his undersea kingdom by flooding Dream Valley.
      • Crunch the Rock Dog, a huge dog made out of stone that hates all things soft, has the power to turn anything he touches to stone and turn normal rocks into sharp-toothed monsters to stalk his prey. The way he and his rock minions chased after the Bushwoolies, turning them to stone one by one, seems right out of a horror movie.
      • Grogar the demon ram sorcerer, who captured unicorns by intercepting their teleporting powers, and wanted to banish the main characters to another dimension. He also threatens to do the same to his mooks.
      • King Charlatan, a penguin monarch who wanted to freeze the entire world so that only the strongest and most worthy would survive. He and his soldiers also had a Nazi vibe, referring to creatures unable to survive the cold as "impure".
      • Lavan, a lava demon who unbalances the magic of Pony Land and tries to kill the Princess Ponies and the Ice Orcs on more than one occasion (and like Tirek, is himself killed for it).
      • Arabus, a cloud monster that eats shadows. The characters were forced to send for the Flutter Ponies to stop him.
  • The G4 My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic continues the franchise's tradition of cute ponies being menaced by terrifying villains.
    • Discord seems harmless enough, right? Sure, Celestia is on edge, but he's a pleasant fellow and loves playing games. He's also a Reality Warper with a passion for psychological torture, corrupting Twilight's friends into a twisted mirror of their true selves and driving Twilight herself to the brink of the Despair Event Horizon. He celebrates his victory by turning Equestria into a World of Chaos where the ponies are reduced to playthings for his amusement. He's such a nasty piece of work that his Heel–Face Turn a season and a half later came as a genuine shock, and even then it took a temporary Face–Heel Turn, being betrayed just like he betrayed everyone, and Twilight being willing to help him despite what he'd done for it to fully stick.
    • "Hearth's Warming Eve" introduces the Windigos, evil spirits who feed off of hatred and cause deadly blizzards. They drove the original ponies from their homelands, and nearly destroyed Equestria. Moreover, it's implied that they freeze people in a state of hatred but keep them alive so that they can have a continuous food supply.
    • Queen Chrysalis in "A Canterlot Wedding", whose modus operandi is to replace and impersonate individuals, draining their loved ones to increase her own power and put them under Mind Control, before leading her minions in a full scale invasion so they can feed as well and drain everyone. It's implied that Equestria isn't the first land she's done this to, and she's even worse in the IDW comics.
    • "The Crystal Empire" has King Sombra, an evil unicorn who used dark magic to enslave the ponies of the Crystal Empire and make it vanish for a thousand years when Celestia and Luna defeated him and sealed him away. He is never played for comedy at any point, is so feared that the crystal ponies imply that part of their Laser-Guided Amnesia is them intentionally repressing the events of Sombra's rule, and comes within inches of killing a main character — a child no lessbefore being Killed Off for Real himself, in a first for the show.
      • Made even worse with the tie-in My Little Pony: FIENDship is Magic issue focusing on him, which reveals he's an Animalistic Abomination — a living embodiment of malevolent shadows that was created to disguise itself as a pony to set its progenitor force/race free from under the Crystal Empire. Perhaps worse is that he's also a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds; he spent his entire life believing he really was a pony, and only embraced his origins when it seemed hopeless that he could ever be anything but what he was destined to be.
      • The show reveals what Sombra would do if he had succeeded in recapturing the Crystal Empire in the episode "The Cutie Re-Mark", in which he creates mind controlling armor to militarize the entire empire and pitch war against Equestria. In the time of his return to when this episode takes place, he would have conquered half of Equestria, which is shown to have gone through an industrial revolution to fight Sombra.
    • Season 4's two part finale brings in a G4 revamp of Tirek, the Trope Codifier and the very first of these to appear in the franchise. He escaped from Tartarus, the In-Universe Hell-equivalent and prison for Equestria's absolute worst monsters — to put things in perspective, Discord was merely petrified and kept in Celestia's garden. He has powerful fire magic and he is capable of leeching the magic out of ponies, which includes erasing their cutie mark. He's so terrible that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna feel the only hope they have of bringing him in and re-imprisoning him is to send Discord to capture him. That decision backfires spectacularly when Discord is tricked into siding with Tirek instead. And then he turns on Discord and steals his magic too when he has no more need of him.
    • The second film has the Dazzlings, who were originally Equestrian sirens that were banished to the human world. Ironically, the defeat of Sunset Shimmer by the Humane Six at the end of the first film was what allowed them to rediscover Equestrian magic. Like the Windigos and Changelings, they are Emotion Eaters who feed on the hatred incited in CHS's students by their Magic Music. Once they absorb enough to regain their power, they transform into anthro-pony-siren Dark Magical Girls who can summon frightening avatars of their original forms. They are implied to have been even more powerful back in Equestria.
    • "The Cutie Map" had Starlight Glimmer, a dictator who steals ponies' Cutie Marks and talents and then brainwashes them into believing that only by stamping out individuality and making sure all are "equal" can ponies be friends. Notably, her methods have been compared to those of real-life cults, and her Villain Song was based on World War II propaganda music. Much like Discord above, she was such an evil and realistic villain that her Heel–Face Turn in her second appearance came as a genuine shock, particularly after she spent the majority of that second appearance using time travel to prevent Twilight and her friends from ever meeting, and drags Twilight herself along so she can see it happen. They wind up doing this several times, each creating a worse timeline than the last; while Starlight didn't intend this part or even know about it at first, being shown that what she's done will result in Equestria being reduced to a barren wasteland does disturbingly little to dissuade her from this course of action.
    • "Do Princesses Dream Of Magic Sheep" has the Tantabus, a formless (at first) nightmare entity created by Luna to punish herself for her actions as Nightmare Moon. Since it gains strength from inflicting anguish onto sleeping ponies, it eventually becomes strong enough to flee from Luna's dreams, needing only for a sleeping pony to dream of some pony else to enter another dream... and did we mention that all it needs to do to turn something into a horror tailor-mad to terrify you is touch it? And then it gains enough strength to tear open a portal which would let it enter the real world, which would let it turn it into an eternal, waking nightmare. Worst part? Unlike the rest of the show's villains, it's implied it might not even be an intelligent being, merely a force of nature, like an earthquake or a hurricane, meaning you can't reason with it, threaten it, or trick it, only fight it. If you can.
    • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) has the Storm King, a comical yet ruthless and insane dictator who has conquered much of the world outside of Equestria — the Hippogriffs turned themselves into Seaponies and fled to Seaquestria to evade conquer — and has set his sights on the magic of the Alicorn Princesses to give him the power to control weather and live up to his name. His field commander, Tempest Shadow, an embittered unicorn with a broken horn, appears as the more direct and serious threat, having effortlessly disabled three of the four princesses by petrifying them with Obsidian Orbs, and actively on the hunt for the escaped Twilight Sparkle with her friends, but then, we learn that as a filly, she lost her horn after an Ursa Minor attack, and was shunned by her friends due to her unstable magic sparks, making her believe that friendship is meaningless. And then, at The Climax of the film, after the Storm King creates a huge tornado that engulfs all of Canterlot, Tempest asks him to restore her horn to fulfill his end of the bargain, but he reveals that he only used her and attempts to kill her, but Twilight saves her, leading to her Heel–Face Turn in risking her life to defeat the Storm King once and for all.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Father is a shadowy figure with control over fire, who brainwashed five children into thinking they were his/being evil. He is always beaten by the skin of everyone else's teeth and you've got a very threatening villain for such a harmless show.
    • Once Father went through massive Villain Decay, The Movie gave us Grandfather, Father's father (and Numbuh Zero's), who possesses many of Father's abilities as well as the ability to turn all the people in the world into undead senior citizens.
  • While a few of them do play nice, most of the diesel engines in Thomas the Tank Engine are very vocal about their desire to overtake the steam engines and aren't above trying to hurry that day along. At least twice, they've tried to smelt down other engines and escaped any consequences.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The unnamed Drill Sergeant Nasty in "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", especially in contrast to the usual Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. He spends the entire episode coldly and sadistically pounding out any creativity and happiness from the duo to the point they essentially become mindless drones. He even dies in the end. He's also a literal nightmare, so the show can get away with this.
    • The crossover with Marvel presented Red Skull. His evil plan was to destroy the Tri-State Area, and he modified one of Doofenshmirtz's inventions to drain matter and living energy from other superheroes.
    • The bald mad scientist Aloyse Von Roddenstein, especially in the special "Phineas and Ferb Save Summer". He started out as a childish rival to the show's Big Bad Heinz Doofenshmirtz during the series, but it wasn't until the "Save Summer" special, that he finally reveals his true maniacal plan to take over the Earth by sending it into a new Ice Age based on one of Doofenshmirtz's successful schemes, something that even Doofenshmirtz is horrified to learn about.
    • The Movie gives us an Alternate Dimension version of Doofenshmirtz who is far more successful—and far more cruel—than the Doof we know. He has successfully taken over his Tri-State Area for his family and turned it into a totalitarian dystopia where everyone lives in fear. Plus he's turned his old enemy Perry the Platypus into a mind-controlled cybernetic "platyborg"—a condition which turns out to be permanent, even after the brainwashing is lifted—and has no qualms about doing the same to Phineas.
      • The episode sequel gives us an Alternate Dimension version of Doofenshmirtz's ex-wife Charlene, who is still married to the alternate Doof and is just as cruel and intelligent as him. As it turns out, she had used her husband's technology to turn 25 more animal agents into cyborgs to help enforce her family's rule over their Tri-State Area. She even helped staged a fake divorce with the alternate Doof to satisfy their family's safety and finances in case their reign would be overthrown.
    • The Faux Affably Evil Mittington Random in "The Klimpaloon Ultimatum" only appears in one episode but he definitely qualifies as this due to his intentions to experiment on the titular Klimpaloon to make a perfect new brand of old fashioned swimwear. This wouldn't be too bad for the show, if the episode didn't show off his deformed failed attempts and mention how his experiments will ultimately kill the cryptid. Also not helping were his claims that he'll rip Klimpaloon apart stitch by stitch if he has to.
  • Teen Titans sometimes has this trope. The show itself is usually lighthearted, and most of the one-shot villains are comical (with a couple of notable exceptions)- but lets take a look at some of the Big Bads. Slade is a creepily emotionless diabolical mastermind who runs on blackmail, Mind Rape, Hannibal Lectures and Foe Yay, and delivers No Holds Barred Beatdowns to several characters in surprisingly vivid fashion. Then there's Trigon, who's Satan and wants to use the show's main Woobie, who's also his daughter, to bring about The End of the World as We Know It- and he actually succeeds in causing Hell on Earth for two episodes. Fun times. Both villains (as well as Brother Blood) were toned down a lot for the cartoon. For much of the '80s, the Teen Titans was one of DC's darkest books. The fact that they were able to make it a kids' show is a feat for the ages.
  • Adventure Time is more crapsaccharine than saccharine (though the characters inside don't seem to care), but some villains are a cut above the rest:
    • Hunson Abadeer is the soul-sucking Lord of Evil, who rules the Nightosphere (which is a Chaotic Evil Hell) and has a One-Winged Angel form Lovecraft would have been proud of. He does genuinely love his daughter Marceline, but the way he expresses his love is twisted at best.
    • The Lich seeks to eradicate all life, kills things simply by being near them, looks like a half-rotten corpse, his possession of Bubblegum is straight out of The Exorcist, he kills Billy and uses him as Living Bodysuit, kills Prismo, is a master of manipulation and Mind Rape, and he's voiced by Ron Perlman. He's the only villain in the entire series that is played dead seriously (pun intended), and he is all the more terrifying for it. It's implied he's the embodiment of the first bomb of the Mushroom War, making him the avatar of the apocalypse. And it turns out he's merely a disciple of someone FAR, FAR worse.
    • The Fight King, who tricked friend warriors into fighting his Gladiator Ghosts, and then eventually forced them to fight and kill each other for his own amusement. Just like The Lich, he is a completely serious villain without any comical trait.
    • Me-Mow threatens to kill Jake if he doesn't assassinate Wildberry Princess for her, and at one point injects him with half the poison. Once she's discovered she tries to blind Finn with a knife.
    • The Destiny Gang are a band of marauding thugs that terrorise and plunder a village, burn it down purely out of spite, then set Finn's house on fire while his family are still inside (including his infant sibling). The two-part episode in which they appear features The Lich and finally confirms that Ooo is set After the End, and they are still one of the darkest things about the episode.
    • Ricardio is not only a blood covered giant organ with a scary looking face and hideous biomechanical limbs, he's also the closest thing to a rapist they could get away with having in a kid's show.
  • Transformers Animated is notable for making the Decepticons far more dangerous than in other versions of the franchise, given the lighthearted tone of the rest of the show.
    • Megatron takes the cake, as the mere mention of his name can cause a collective Oh, Crap! from the Autobots.
    • Shockwave murdered Blurr in an incredibly horrifying manner, and Wasp is in a continuity where his insanity isn't played for laughs and is completely terrifying for it.
    • Lockdown is a freelance assassin Transformer who's caused Ratchet to have war flashbacks. His whole body is a Swiss Army Weapon whose left arm and leg don't match his right. Why? He butchers other Transformers for their parts to increase his power, or just to keep as trophies.
    • Prometheus Black/Meltdown is a rare human example in the series. While the other human villains are deliberately used as filler and to exemplify the Decepticons as a greater threat, Meltdown manages to be genuinely depraved and terrifying. Case in point — in his second appearance, he was experimenting on humans to try and create human transformers (he'd already done at least two adult humans, one of them his former lawyer, and was planning to use 8-year-old Sari Sumdac as his next test subject).
  • The Classic Disney Shorts have The Mad Doctor, who is an evil doctor bent on cutting up Mickey's dog Pluto as part of a lab experiment. Later, he actually threatens to cut open Mickey Mouse himself! Fortunately, he only exists in one of Mickey's nightmares.
  • Zordrak of The Dreamstone. A gargantuan bellowing Eldritch Abomination with a serious Hair-Trigger Temper that frequently abuses or even exterminates his Slave Mooks the Urpneys for the slightest irritance. While also managing to be rather funny, he's a pretty creepy guy, even when not compared to the cutesy residents of the Land Of Dreams.
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin has Quellor, the Supreme Opressor of M. A. V. O., the Monsters And Villains Organization, who gives off a very ominous vibe.
  • Yin Yang Yo!:
  • The Smurfs:
    • Gargamel, sometimes, only other times he was too Laughably Evil or too much of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain.
    • Nemesis, a warlock who was introduced late in the series, had the goal of gaining immortality by stealing the Smurfs' Long Life Stone, and an accident in the past had made his face so hideous that most people couldn't bear to look at him. His skills in black magic were greater than Gargamel could ever fathom.
    • Gargamel's godfather Lord Balthazar, a far more competant wizard. The show's Never Say "Die" policy was severly compromised in his first appearance, when he used a gun (he didn't refer to it as such, but it was clearly a blunderbuss of some sort) against the Smurfs, killing their pet duck. (He later got better, due to Swiss Army Tears.) Balthazar mellowed a great deal in future episodes where he really didn't really care about the Smurfs at all, but his plots to predict the future often made him a dangerous threat.
    • The Wicked Witch Chlorhydris, who was so full of hate that she wanted to make the entire world feel the same way, eradicating everyone's ability to feel happiness and love. While such goals are not uncommon for villains in a series like this, Chlorhydris did some downright sadistic things in pursuit of it, like kidnapping the wood elf Laconia and using her wand to kill the flowing plants in the forest - not caring in the least that doing so was causing Laconia to die an agonizingly slow death as she felt their pain. (Unlike most villains in the series, Chlorhydris was given a backstory; apparently, she was once in love with a wizard who left her at the altar, and apparently, the heartbreak was enough for her to want to deny all of creation what she had once had.)
  • Some of the oldest Looney Tunes shorts had villains that made even Yosemite Sam look timid:
    • The 1949 Porky Pig cartoon "Bye, Bye Bluebeard" had a Serial Killer (that's right, a serial killer) named Bluebeard who would likely have given most of today's children nightmares. (Forget the fact that he was hideous, stood 6' 11 tall, actually had a long, blue beard, and the most nightmarish Evil Laugh in Looney Tunes history, he nearly decapitated poor Porky using a homemade guillotine; Porky was saved when a mouse (who Porky had been chasing earlier, who decides to flip a coin to decide what to do) tricks Bluebeard into eating some bombs disguised as popovers, causing the villain to explode.
    • Even some of the more recent (relatively speaking) shorts had some darker villains, like the Evil Scientist from "Water Water Every Hare". While his trained monster Rudolph was more Laughably Evil, he himself was true Nightmare Fuel, his attempt to kill Bugs using an axe being a scene that likely startles anyone who sees the cartoon for the first time.
  • Dr. Blowhole in The Penguins of Madagascar. In his debut episode he planned on flooding the world, just because of all the embarassment humans put him through when he was a circus dolphin. And in his second appearance, he intentionally meant to drown Skipper when he gave him amnesia. And that, after his first appearance, some of the other episodes went through Darker and Edgier territories.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy is a Sadist Show, but everything that happens to the Eds up until is played for laughs and could be considered lighthearted enough. The end of The Big Picture Show however introduces Eddy's brother, who manages to genuinely harm both his own brother and Edd, and he's been abusing the former for years. What all the typical bullies in the show witness him doing is horrific enough for them to redeem themselves and accept the Eds as their friends once and for all.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk is a fairly light hearted and optimistic show, and most of the villains are either misunderstood (if dragons) or redeemable (if human). It also has Dagur the Deranged, the one villain who is presented without any redeeming features whatsoever. In his earlier appearances, he's a Laughing Mad Axe-Crazy Blood Knight with Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder who repeatedly heavily implies that he killed his pacifistic father, Oswald the Agreeable, as well as being enough of a badass to hold his own against Alvin (who, in turn can match Stoick the Vast in combat) for a while. As of Race to the Edge, he's toughened up, swapping the last of his Dirty Coward tendencies for even greater psychosis (he's mentioned to have destroyed Heather's village, killing her adopted parents) and a fairly impressive beard. Oh, and he's got a serious Foe Yay thing for Hiccup. Comparisons with the Joker have been made, and with good reason. Until his Heel–Face Turn revealed much of that was exaggerated, anyway.
  • XANA from Code Lyoko. The show takes place in a boarding school that appears to be a rather light-hearted, comical setting, with a ridiculous gym teacher, a Lovable Alpha Bitch and characters making jokes, but as soon as XANA starts acting, we suddenly get stuff such as Killer Wasps/Rats/Birds invasions, Giant Destructive Teddy Bears, place where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, Zombie Apocalypse, cataclysms, Demonic Possession, and the list goes on. And just in case this wasn't scary enough, XANA itself never appears in person.
  • Dora the Explorer normally only has Swiper, but some of the Big Bads in the double-length specials qualify — especially the Witch from "Dora's Fairy Tale Adventure", who put Boots in a never ending sleep For the Evulz and was genuinely evil.
  • Meatman from the Camp Lazlo episode of the same name is much more intimidating and terrifying than you'd expect from a show like this.
    Lazlo: Please, Meatman! I'm sorry I called you stinky, smelly, and stupid!
    Meatman: But that's how I like my dinner. Stinky... smelly... and STUPID!
  • Ben 10, especially the original series, is goofy with a Silver Age feeling to it, yet even some of its one-shot villains are outright disturbing. (With the exception of Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, which both have creepy sinister villains but are already dark to begin with.)
  • The Fairly Oddparents:
    • Miss Doombringer, unlike Crocker, desires to find Fairies not to prove to everyone that they exist or to conquer the world; she's just Ax-Crazy and wants to tear the wings off of Fairies to mount on her wall!
    • The Destructinator from the episode "Wishology". An Omnicidal Maniac dedicated to the destruction of other worlds and willing to kill a 10 year old boy. He is so atrocious he was the first and only character in the series to be Killed Off for Real.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Trip Larson from the Halloween episode "Pigmalion". Not only does he try and transform Luanne into his ideal woman, he tries to kill her with a pork processing machine.
    • Luanne's mom Leanne is an alcoholic, self-absorbed criminal who neglects Luanne and physically abuses her husband and later Bill. Her foibles are not played for laughs.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is Darker and Edgier than previous Scooby Doo series, but is still child-friendly, making the truly nasty villains all the more shocking:
    • The Freak of Crystal Cove blackmailed the original mystery gang into leaving town and took the baby of one of them hostage, raising it for 18 years and threatening to harm him if they ever came back. Professor Pericles murdered Ed Machine, and the Gang's friend Cassidy Williams, and later experiments with genes to create a mutant army of cattle that cause wide property damage and killed at least 29 people. He later puts mutated cobra venom into his former master's spine so he can induce terrible pain when he disobeys him.
    • The Entity that the Myth Arc leads up to is an Eldritch Abomination played 100% straight, complete with a Leaking Can of Evil that twists and corrupts the lives of everyone in Crystal Cove for centuries. In the Grand Finale, "Come Undone", it's released and proceeds to eat the entire town, threatening to devour galaxies once it's powerful enough, and is only stopped by a literal Cosmic Retcon.
  • Similiar, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo has titular 13 Ghosts (sometimes called demons). While some of them are goofy, few are quite nasty. Maldor the Malevolent, first ghost they fought, was a menacing dark sorcerer, attempted to kill the gang with magic, imprisoned and threatened a wizard to get magic wand that would let him conquer the world and trapped Daphne in magic sleep Scooby barely managed to break. Time Slime was outright sadistic, even for ghosts' standards, and managed to terrify Scooby so much he got Heroic B.S.O.D. and only broke from it when Vincent showed him vision of the future in which Time Slime turned world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, corrupted Flim Flam and Scrappy and drove Shaggy and Daphne insane. Nekara is a Femme Fatale, who makes wizards fall in love with her and then drains their magic powers and almost did that to Vincent. Rankor actually looks like classic demon and, in order to prove himself worthy of joining a group of ghosts trying to destroy the world, turned Vincent into stone, attempted to kill the gang and then some plane passengers.
  • The Flintstones had a few of these. One James Bond-inspired episode had Fred and Barney the victims of Mistaken Identity and wind up kidnapped by a Mad Scientist named Dr. Sinister. One example of how evil the villain was: in one scene, he ordered a henchman to throw another guy in "the bottomless pit", Fred and Barney being able to do nothing but watch, terrified, as the guy was dragged away, begging for his life. Fred eventually had the nerve to ask who the guy was, to which Dr. Sinister replied, "Oh, just a former assistant."
  • Danny Phantom has many villains that, while powerful and dangerous, have many Affably Evil moments and still have standards, such as not fighting or harming humans during Christmas. "The Ultimate Enemy" features Danny's future self, Dark Danny. He never attempts to act Faux Affably Evil, and all of the destruction and death he's responsible for is played seriously.
  • Megabyte and Hexadecimal from Reboot are incredibly serious characters that are stuck in a show that at least started much more lighthearted. They're capable of levity, including Megabyte getting into a guitar duel with Bob at Enzo's birthday, but Megabyte's Magnificent Bastard personality and Hexadecimal's Split Personality almost always pushed the heroes to their limits in between the more comical "game survival" episodes. The show later became much more serious and the two were simply allowed to do real damage instead of just be intimidating.
  • Over the Garden Wall is a Coming-of-Age Story based around Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! and is mostly a practitioner of Rousseau Was Right, filled with people who underneath their problems genuinely want to help and make things better. The Beast is the reason for the "mostly" disclaimer; a shadow creature who stalks The Lost Woods and all in The Unknown fear, he turns lost people into Edelwood trees, preying on those struck with grief or despair, and targets children in particular. In the end he is implied to be Killed Off for Real, albeit offscreen, and it is very much deserved.
  • Rose Petal Place, a 1980s toy franchise in the Strawberry Shortcake mold, yielded two animated specials—and the antagonist, the spider woman Nastina, lives up to her name and tries to kill the heroines at least five times over the course of the specials, interrupting a musical number to try and crush them with a birdbath, trying to flood the garden by breaking a dam, locking Rose Petal in a room with no light so she'll die, trying to catapult a heavy rock onto everyone, and trying to run everyone over with a lawn mower.
  • Steven Universe is a Coming-of-Age Story where the main threats for the first season are the occasional mindless monster, and as much time is spent interacting with the wacky townspeople as it is fighting monsters. Even the show's first major threat, Lapis Lazuli, is a confused and traumatized being who Steven is able to reason with and calm down. This changes with the introduction of the Homeworld Gems, which reveals that the rest of the Gems are a planet of Scary Dogmatic Aliens which attempted to conquer the Earth thousands of years ago, leading to a war which lead to hundreds of casualties. In the current, Homeworld is responsible for forced fusion experiments of shattered gems - analogous to necrophilic rape within the show's context - and the production of a tortured superweapon made out of millions of these gem shards. It's telling that the show's darkest moments are all a direct result of Homeworld's atrocities. Some specific examples:
    • Jasper is a ruthless, Darwinian Blood Knight who marks as the show's first major Knight of Cerebus and introduction to Homeworld beyond Peridot. Notable as the first Gem Steven immediately knew he couldn't reason with, Jasper introduces herself by casually ordering Peridot to use their ship's cannon to vaporize the heroes, brutally destabilizing Garnet and headbutting Steven into unconsciousness. In all her appearances thus far, Jasper's been consistently treated as an intimidating and domineering threat to everyone and everything around her.
    • Jasper is later topped by a figure who is ironically at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of appearance. Aquamarine is tiny, cute and child-like, with an adorable British accent. She is also a completely sadistic sociopath, who enjoys inflicting pain and misery on others. How vile she is gets shown clearly when she has several of Steven's friends hostage, then wonders aloud if Homeworld's instructions to collect humans specified if they were needed alive.
    • The Big Bad Duumvirate, the Diamond Authority, stand out as the biggest example of this. Though we've only seen two of them, Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond, it's clear they're the worst of Gemkind. Beyond being responsible for overseering Homeworld's atrocities, on their own record, they are incredibly petty and willing to murder anyone they perceive as insulting them. Yellow Diamond in particular is engineering the Cluster - the aforementioned superweapon - not out of any pragmatic purpose, but instead to obliterate Earth out of vengeful spite. It makes one fear what White Diamond is like...
  • Gravity Falls has major villains from the start, but both season one Big Bad Lil' Gideon and recurring threat Bill Cipher are within the usual tone of the series. That is not the case for the two villains in "Northwest Mansion Mystery". The Lumberjack's Ghost is an Ax-Crazy vengeful spirit who is willing to condemn an entire party of innocents to a horrible fate as payback for a hundred-years-old betrayal. The true villain of the episode, and the most unambiguously evil character on the show so far, is Preston Northwest, an abusive parent to his daughter Pacifica, and willing to condemn hundreds of people, including most of his closest friends, to a terrifying living death to save his own skin. He even states that his family plans to survive by eating their butler.
    • As of the final arc of the series Bill Cipher certainly qualifies. While his initial appearance had him more of a twisted games master with Blue and Orange Morality, once he gains the power he needs, he turns into a villain straight out of the work of Clive Barker, turning the entire town into a twisted hellscape, engaging in casual use of Body Horror and Taken for Granite, and taking great glee in setting horrific monsters upon the innocent townspeople. He's easily evolved into the darkest and most dangerous villain the show has ever seen.
  • The Real Ghostbusters has an In-Universe example in the episode "Who're You Calling Two-Dimensional": Winchester Wolf, was a cartoon villain and nemesis for Dopey Dog, both characters created by cartoonist Walt Fleishman (a homage to Walt Disney and Max and Dave Fleischer). Evil, black suit, brooches and belt buckles shaped like skulls here and there, a cape, godlike powers and voiced by Frank Welker.
  • Pretty much every villain in ChalkZone due to the show being sweeter than most of its Nickeloden ilk. These ones stand out in particular.
    • Skrawl, a malformed zoner, who loathed Rudy for the mistaken belief that he was directly responsible for making him the misshapen being he is (It was really a bunch of kids messing with the drawing that made Skrawl whatever he is). Almost any episode with Skrawl in it is not Played for Laughs with his deeds including imprisoning Rudy and various innocents to throw into the ocean, convincing Penny to join him as future co-ruler of ChalkZone, creating a gigantic sentient brain to mind control everyone in ChalkZone, and teaming up with the robot zoner Craniac to create a robot doppelganger of Rudy to destroy magic chalk.
    • Terri O'Bouffant and Vinnie Raton. The former was a news reporter and the latter was a businessman, but both intended on proving ChalkZone existed for the sole purpose of making millions of a world made of chalk with Terri going as far as to stalk Rudy and Penny (10-year old children!) to collect evidence. Even Vinnie was shocked.
    • The Quicksand Man. This one-time villain was a demonic being who mysteriously appeared in NightZone. He created magical sand that put people to sleep and sucked them into a sand-filled world where they were harassed by their worst nightmares. Not a funny character at all.
    • The Red Chalk was a piece of magical red chalk like the white one Rudy had. Unlike Rudy's chalk, anything it drew became evil. A chicken would become a fire-breathing monster, a baseball bat would become animate and attack bystanders, a garbage truck would launch living garbage at people, etc. The worst part was that the moment it was used, it could not be removed from the hand in any way unless the bearer exited ChalkZone where its power would become useless, though it still had enough self-awareness to move itself into a place where an unsuspecting person would find it and become its next wielder.
    • Word of God has stated that if the show had lasted longer, it would have introduced a team-up between Skrawl and a human who had transformed into a zoner from spending too long in ChalkZone. It was apparently intended to be a story arc for the show, and considering how much time Rudy has spent in ChalkZone, a Wham Episode would not have been out of place for the story.
  • The obscure cartoon Piggsburg Pigs! is a slightly surprising inclusion to this last. As the name suggests the show's about a town of anthromorphic pigs right out of your standard Saturday morning fare. It does have a pair of bumbling wolves who are always trying and failing to eat the protagonists, but every episode ends up being about the Forbidden Zone on the edge of town. Which is crawling with evil undead and mad scientists who like to whip up evil monsters in their gothic castles....
  • Parodied in Futurama during the during the "Purpleberry Pond" segment in the episode "Saturday Morning Fun Pit".
  • Sheriff Callie's Wild West has at least three examples:
    • In "The Train Bandits", the titular villains have no problem with sending the train's passenger cars towards a broken bridge, spelling certain doom for the passengers.
    • All of the villains in the book The Cat Who Tamed the West are this - one of them even steals Callie's horse, Sparky.
    • In "Boots or Consequences," Mean McGee, who states that he steals whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and doesn't "give a baked bean" if it makes someone cry.
  • The DiC Entertainment Animated Adaptation of Sylvanian Families into a Western Animation series delves into this. While the original toyline and Japanese OVAs were pure Tastes Like Diabetes and Sugar Bowl, the DiC cartoon added very hostile and frightening villains Gatorpossum and Packbat.
  • Lord Dominator from season 2 of Wander over Yonder is, according to Word of God, deliberately this, evoking the storytelling conventions of more serious, story-oriented animated shows such as Gravity Falls. She's a sadistic planetary destroyer who takes pleasure in destruction, is the first villain in the show to actually kill off a character for real, and succeeds in destroying every single planet in the entire galaxy except for one. All her evil actions are played with uncommon seriousness, and she easily curb stomps every other villain in the galaxy, save Hater. And had the show continued, we would have seen someone even worse than her show up.
    What if Wander’s weird little galaxy was our weird little show? And what if Dominator represented all the extremely perilous, high-stakes, big mystery storytelling that some of our favorite shows have? Heck, she’s even forcing our silly Cartoon guys into a season long serialized arc! Does zany Cartoon silliness even have a right to exist in the face of unspeakable odds?
  • Strawberry Shortcake's most famous adversary, the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak, qualifies as this in the first of the 1980s specials, The World of Strawberry Shortcake. When his Berry Birds fail to plunder her strawberry patch, he masquerades as a friendly old peddler and sells the kids a watering can that never runs dry to give her as a birthday present. The trick is that he's the only one who knows how to stop its flow. Strawberryland ends up completely flooded in a Sugar Apocalypse. The poor kids end up harvesting all the strawberries and transporting them to the Pieman's castle in exchange for his making the waters recede (leaving a muddy wallow behind). To make matters worse, the kids lose track of the baby of the group, Apple Dumplin', in the process and she ends up in the palace as well. At this point the Narrator, Mr. Sun, pulls a Deus ex Machina and offers to grant Strawberry a wish, which she uses to summon an army of living trees — which bring the castle down, forcing the Pieman to surrender. The kids actually induce a Heel–Face Turn in him once he's returned the berries and the baby, but he reverts to his old ways by the time of the next special, whereupon he's more of a Harmless Villain with extremely petty, childish motives and any real damage his plans pose to others is often an unintended side effect of his plotting.
  • One episode of The Little Lulu Show had a guy who hypnotized girls and used them as mannequins. He even does the same to Lulu.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Toffee. A Lizard Man totally at odds with the series around him. He's a planner, a manipulator, someone who has been fighting Star's family for several generations. However, thanks to his intelligence, he's able to do all sorts of things to get things his way. In his last appearance in season 1, he gets Star's wand destroyed after threatening Marco's life. And while he seems to die... he survives in a piece of Star's Wand. And when he returns in season 2, it pulls a Grand Theft Me on Ludo's body and then causes the defeat of the Magic High Commission, 4 of the most powerful magic users in all dimensions. Crafty, ruthless and ultimately as strong in body as in mind, Toffee is the most vile thing in Star Vs, and easily her greatest threat.
  • Not even Wallace & Gromit isn't safe from this trope either, as showcased in A Matter of Loaf and Death. Piella Bakewell seems to be a sweet natured woman whom Wallace falls in love with, but is actually a ruthless serial killer who has already killed 12 people by the time the short starts, and plans on killing Wallace next, all because she dropped by a baking company when she got too fat to ride their hot air balloon. The short opens with her killing someone onscreen, presented from her own POV.
  • The 2017 Bob the Builder Movie Called "The Mega Machines" had a villain named named Conrad who Started a flood so he could ruin Bob's good name and threatens to scrap his machines if they don't do his bidding .
  • The 2012 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) is considered the Lighter and Softer version of the 2003 version as there is plenty of humor around. However, there are some villains in this show that make it actually seem like it could be the darkest in the series:
    • The Shredder himself is definitely. In far, FAR contrast to his 1987 version, the 2012 Shredder is much more evil, stronger, and dangerous than even his 2003 version. Shredder as had many people painfully mutated in order to serve his cause, forced his own daughter Karai who is not his real daughter actually) to have a worm planted in her head forcing her to fight by his side, and don't even get us started on the lengths he will take in order to get back at Splinter. One of his plan even involved having Splinter's four sons turned into snakes and brutally kill him! Oh yeah! Shredder has actually KILLED Splinter before they all got sucked into the black hole even saying it was Worth It as he finally killed his rival. And then there is when he is mutated into the Super Shredder where Shredder completely loses the last bit of sanity he had and was hell bent on killing anyone and everyone! He actually manages to kill Splinter for good this time in a rather brutally fashion! It's very easy to say that Shredder is definitely the most evil villain of the show.
    • The Rat King for sure counts as one considering, next to Shredder/Super Shredder, he is the scariest villain in the entire show. Unlike most other villains who are comedic and have their moments (even Shredder has some The Comically Serious moments), the Rat King has NO comedic moments whatsoever! The Rat King's methods include taking over New York with his army of rats and killing off every human. You know you're scary and a threat if even Splinter is scared shitless of you! As revealed in season 4, the Rat King actually died from his fight with Splinter. However, despite being dead, there are hallucinations of him that STILL frighten Splinter! That's right! Even dead, the Rat King still makes Splinter tremble in fear of him! His appearance is similar to a Grim Reaper doesn't help in the slightest.
    • The Triceratons considering what their plans are. Even though they are against the Kraang and are trying to stop them, the Triceratons are no saints themselves. They are willing to destroy entire planets just to stop the Kraang from spreading ( including Earth). Even though they are in the right that the Kraang must be stopped before they spread to other planets, the Triceratons still had many innocent people killed when Earth was sucked into a black hole making the Triceratons have the highest kill count of any villain ever!. It doesn't help they threatened to destroyed the entire solar system as well...
    • If you think Shredder and the Rat King are threatening and scary villains, then behold Kavaxas! Kavaxes is an extremely powerful being known as a Demodragon that served as the Big Bad for the first arc of season 5. Like with the Rat King, Kavaxes is NEVER played for laughs and all of his actions seen are extremely evil. Like stealing the souls of people and killing them ON SCREEN! It doesn't help he's pretty much unkillable since he is a being from a different relm and his supernatural powers makes him immune to pretty much anything the heroes can throw at him. Kavaxes' only weakness is an artifact known as the Seal of the Ancients that whoever is in possession of it, Kavaxes will obey whoever as the seal to no objection. This was how Tiger Claw was able to keep him under control. However, when the seal got broken, Kavaxes proceeded to release the full potential of his powers and attempted to take over the ENTIRE planet!