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 ruin the mood of the story they're in, this trope can overlap with Knight of Cerebus or, if they're bad enough, Complete Monster. If a series has a lot of villains like this, then it's taking a ride on the Cerebus Rollercoaster.

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. A major cause of Sugar Apocalypse and Surprise Creepy.


Examples:

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    Anime & 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 anime is usually light-hearted and normally has a goofy and incompetent Terrible Trio composing of two delinquents and a talking Meowth as the primary antagonists, but it still has:
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 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 it 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. 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.
    • 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 light-hearted 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.
  • In a (semi) Live-Action example, 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.
  • 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 eventually leaves them to die in an incinerator AFTER THEY SAVE HIS LIFE!
  • 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 is a delusional and sociopathic murderer who kills anyone who he even thinks threatens his discovery.
  • 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."
  • 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 he 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.
  • The Brave Little Toaster is a cute musical film about talking electrical appliances, but then we meet the Junkyard Magnet...
  • 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 both manage to get away with everything!
  • 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 villian 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 and threatens to take him away from his mother if he doesn't tell him what he wants to know. Oh, and then chloroforms him.
  • Cats Don't Dance has the Ambiguously Human Darla and Max, who try to drown a group of animals in a soundstage and God knows how many Hollywood workers.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Lord Business from TheLegoMovie. 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.

    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 remains being just as mean as (if not meaner than) 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.
  • Ghostbusters is a classic lighthearted 80s comedy with a fun bunch of characters—at least, until Gozer and company start to show up.
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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 very 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. Unfortunately, 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.

    Professional Wrestling 

    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 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 apperance. It also started the trend of "Soul" transformations.
    • Sectonia from Kirby: Triple Deluxe is the only villain in the franchise to be a case of Light Is Not Good (Except maybe Galacta Knight, but we don't know anything about him), and she manages to stay regal and beautiful even in her Eldritch Abomination form. While most villains are just generic "smother the world in darkness", she outright states her intentions are to fuel her ascenscion 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 Elin'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 Elin to escape and revive Kirby and Bandanna Waddle Dee to help her save both Popstar and her best friend.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 3, 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 eggs? Put them in a zoo?
    (mook in the background giggles quietly)
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

    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 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).
  • 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 an omnipotent 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Him, one of the scariest (and most daring) villains on a Cartoon Network comedy ever; he even turned Townsville into a living hell on Earth when the girls accidentally traveled forward in time. But at least Him has comedic traits, which is more than can be said for...
    • Dick Hardly. He tricks the girls into giving him some Chemical X, and then starts making shoddy knock-off Powerpuff Girls to sell around the world and become rich. He has them made intentionally poorly, so that they fall apart and he can sell more of them, and when he sees a perfect Buttercup copy, he angrily orders it to be melted down for its excess Chemical X. When the girls go to his factory to stop him, he starts draining their Chemical X, nearly killing them. And when the Professor offers to become Dick's slave and make Chemical X for the rest of his life in exchange for the girls' safety, Dick laughs at him and says that he'll destroy the girls and keep the Professor as a slave.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Sideshow Bob has always been distinctly darker than anybody else in a cast of hundreds. Especially prevalent in his third appearance, "Cape Feare", in which he forgoes evil plans and just tries to slice Bart to pieces with a machete. Perhaps to balance this out, Sideshow Bob episodes are also frequently Denser and Wackier, even in the show's earlier, more "down to earth" seasons. In "Cape Feare" alone, he's driven through a cactus patch, walks through a pile of rakes and gets trampled by circus elephants.
    • Cecil Terwilliger is Sideshow Bob if he was more competent. He tried to kill two children and his own brother.
    • Mr. Burns, especially in the earlier seasons. Freudian Excuse aside, his Kick the Dog moments are much more frequent than those of other Simpsons villains. The few excuses he is given seem so disconnected from his evil, he is hated throughout Springfield, (Who Shot Mr. Burns has even Snake Jailbird apologizing for not being around to shoot him).
  • 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 beings.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • A Finnish Children's show called The Moomins stars a family of cute claymation hippos — occasionally visited by the Groke, some void/cold/death incarnation that can apparently kill things just by standing near them. It also moves like some kind of demon ghost.
  • Darkwing Duck is a show where even the Devil (who's a loser) has comedy value. Taurus Bulba, however, had none. He had Gosalyn's grandfather murdered, and when he was trying to get the code for the Waddlemeyer Ramrod he threatened to drop Gosalyn off a building if Darkwing didn't get the code. He was presumably killed in the explosion that destroyed the weapon, but Steelbeak and FOWL later brought him back to life as a near-indestructible cyborg, assuming he would accept their offer of employment. They were wrong. He not only turned it down, he destroyed the place in rage calling them out for "forgetting small details, like... asking my permission". All played completely seriously.
  • 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.
  • 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 people right or conquer the world; she's just Ax-Crazy and wants to tear the 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.
  • The Old Crazy Farmer/Janitor from Beavis and Butt-Head. Although, probably played for laughs, he certainly is much more frightening and creepier villain than any other.
  • Jake's father ("Mad Dog" Morgendorffer) from Daria. Even to be a mentioned character, he is the only villain in the entire series that has sociopathic traits. Violent, impulsive and Domestic Abuser.
  • 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 BSOD 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. Nicara 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.
  • Dr. Robotnik gets this treatment in Sonic Sat AM, which was the Darker and Edgier continuity for Sonic the Hedgehog in its day. Admittedly, Mobius in this series is a Crapsaccharine World at best (cutesy talking animals... who are hiding from a relentless army of robots in a world that's growing increasingly poisonous and polluted), but he's the guy responsible for making it so crapsack, his favorite method of conquest is herding sentients into a machine that transforms them into helplessly obedient machine slaves, and he's so creepy even his main toady (who is also his nephew) is scared to death of him.
  • 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."
  • While Courage the Cowardly Dog is pretty creepy and no stranger to Nightmare Fuel, most of the villains have some sympathetic motive or backstory or are otherwise Laughably Evil. But there are some who can take villain level much, much further. In order of appearance:
    • Katz, Courage's Arch-Enemy, is simply put the most disturbing example of a sadistic Serial Killer played straight on a kid's show. Never Played for Laughs, his MO is to set up false businesses to lure victims, then murder them in brutal ways when he's done (feeding them to spiders, turning them into appliances or candy, etc). And it's heavily implied that the family is the latest in a long line of victims and possibly the only ones to escape.
    • Benton Tarentella, one of the lesser known villains, is a Zombie director who was a Serial Killer when he was alive, murdering people with his partner while pretending to film them. When he died, he still continued his murderous work. His debut episode had him attempt to revive his partner so they could devour Muriel. His second appearance, however, downplayed his vileness.
    • Mad Dog is a vicious gangster who regularly abused his girlfriend Bunny and implied to put her in prostitution. When Bunny's friend Kitty tried to get her away from him, he threatened to kill her. The event traumatized Kitty to the point where she assumed all dogs were evil and took her rage out on poor Courage. Much like Katz, Mad Dog is played completely seriously and is basically a Domestic Abuser played horrifically straight on a kid's show.
  • Danny Phantom has many villains that, while powerful and dangerous, have many Affably Evil moments are 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.
  • 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. That all changes with the arrival of the first season's Big Bad Duumvirate, Jasper and Peridot. Peridot is a ruthless, businesslike Punch Clock Villain whose plan will result in the destruction of Earth to create more Gems. Jasper is a cruel Blood Knight who shows absolutely no hesitance to brutally beat the show's 10-year-old lead. And both of them work for the Homeworld regime, which we learn in "Keeping it Together" is curious about the results of deeply sick, Mengele-esque experiments based on merging shards of fallen Crystal Gems in a twisted parody of fusion.
  • 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.