Names To Run Away From: Notorious Killers
A form of Names to Run Away From Really Fast. If a character has either the first or last name of a noted criminal, real or fictional, it's a good sign they're headed towards a life of crime themselves. If their name is followed by "the" and a violent-sounding verb (like Jack the Ripper or Barry the Chopper), then they're almost certainly a Serial Killer. Gunman with Three Names is a subtrope characters referred to by three names, likely a killer or dangerous sort, based on the examples of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, and Mark David Chapman, famous assassins. There were also enough people named Cain or variants that it got its own article as well. See also Named After Somebody Famous, and The Butcher.
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"Hitler" almost never appears per se, being an already very rare variant of "Hiedler," but variants such as that, "Hiller," "Hidler," and "Hibler" are. "Adolf" (and its slightly less stigmatized variant, "Adolph") is still seen, especially in period pieces, to evoke a kind of Retroactive Recognition. Literature
- Averted: In the children's book Heidi, written long before World War II, Heidi's kind, lonely grandfather is named Adolf.
- Adolf is actually used in the novel Evil Genius. One of the villains is named Adolf Hauser. To make matters worse, he's actually nicknamed "The Fuhrer" and teaches at the Axis Institute, a school for future supervillains. May be a case of Refuge in Audacity. Oddly enough, he's not the Big Bad.
- Distortions of Hitler's name, especially "Hiller", are featured in works ranging from Who's the Boss? to Isaac Asimov's The Martian Way. In these cases, these people are shown to be Hitler Expys either in-universe or by Word of God.
- There is a clothing line called Adolfo that was created by Adolfo Sardina.
- Dolph from Suikoden V may qualify, though.
- The video game Vandal Hearts pulls a double whammy with the Big Bad Dolf Crowley. In fact, Vandal Hearts is full of these—it also has an antagonistic character named Hel Spites and his son, Kain.
- Dolph, one of the bullies on The Simpsons.
- Interestingly, Dolph is Jewish. He's even in Hebrew school.
- Also, one of Mr. Burns' vicious hounds is named Hitler. Ironically, when seen, he's a very old dog, and not vicious anymore, although Mr. Burns fondly remembers when he was young and "bagged his first hippie".
- Dolf The Crow, the sort-of Big Bad from the Dutch TV-Show Alfred J. Kwak was a halfbreed of a crow and a blackbird, spoke in a German accent, turned evil, started a political party with a banner obviously similar to the Nazi flag. He also attempts world domination a few times, and all this while wearing a Napoleon-like attire.
- Before the end of World War II, Adolf was one of the most popular names that German parents chose for a baby boy. After the end of World War II, nobody in Germany named their son Adolf any more. (And many German men suddenly started to use the nickname "Adi".)
- Dolph Lundgren, too, maybe.
- During World War II, there was a US soldier with the same name as Adolf Hitler. When asked about whether he would change his name, the soldier replied "let the other guy change his name."
Certainly a name to watch out for. Anyone named this will almost always be covered in muscles and/or weapons, and extremely prone to violence. Literature
- Brutus, the handsome but idiotic King of Bebba's Town from the sequels of The Sea of Trolls.
- Subverted with prison guard Brutus "Brutal" Howell in The Green Mile. A big man, but not as dangerous as his name or nickname implies. (Unless you're a recalcitrant new inmate.)
- Brutus Malfoy, referenced in The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Someone had to pave the way.
- General Brutus Brute Clay from COLD, a high ranking member in the eponymous organization.
- Brutus Jones, the Villain Protagonist of The Emperor Jones.
- Brutus/Bluto from the Popeye cartoon.
- Brutus, the psychotic, hulking guard rat from The Secret of NIMH
- Bruticus, a particularly, um, brutal Combining Mecha in Transformers
- Brutaka from BIONICLE.
- In The Rescuers, the villain has two pet alligators named Brutus and Nero. See above.
- The original Brutus (Lucius Junius), who ousted Tarquin the Proud, and his descendant Brutus (Marcus Junius the Younger), who betrayed Caesar. At the time, the name only meant "stupid" (or by the latter's time, "icon of democracy"), without the connotations of cruelty it would take on in later centuries.
Was the first name of Dr. Crippen, a murderer famous in Britain. Comic Books
- In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore gave this name to the Invisible Man, identifying him as Hawley Griffin. Not only is this a Punny Name kind of like Jackson Ripper, but it foreshadows "dangerous to women" - Crippen murdered his wife, while Griffin is a Serial Rapist.
- Hawley was the name of the villain of the musical Rose-Marie.
- Survival of the Fittest's Hawley Faust.
Jack the Ripper
- The villain in Red Eye is named Jackson Rippner. He even notes the connotations, and why he never goes by the name Jack.
- General Jack D. Ripper, in Dr. Strangelove is even more directly based on Jack the Ripper.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ripper, who, even 30 years later and much more mellow, is still quite dangerous (technically, he killed Glory/Ben, which means he killed a Hellgod).
- Fallout 3 has a unique Ripper chainsaw named Jack.
- Metal Gear: Raiden, whose first name is Jack, was called "Jack the Ripper" during his days as a (very effective) child soldier during the First Liberian Civil War. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, he succumbs to his repressed bloodlust and rage, which unlocks "Ripper Mode" in-game, increasing damage dealt and causing every attack to break armor and dismember enemies.
It doesn't help that the name also means "Insanity". Anime and Manga
- Lucrezia Noin from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
- Lucrezia Borgia is a character in Gregory Maguire's novel "Mirror, Mirror".
- In Going Postal, Adora Belle Dearheart's stiletto shoes are in a style called "Pretty Lucrezia." It fits the trope despite not being the name of a person, because she uses them to attack a drunk (and in The Film of the Book, Moist himself, with whom her relationship is more Slap-Slap-Kiss than in the novel) and delivers a line about how she doesn't know if she can press them straight to the floor, but is willing to try.
- Lucrecia McEvil from an Earth, Wind & Fire song. Also an example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Lucrezzia Belladona (belladonna is a type of poison), a mercenary poisoner (and husband killer!) from Warhammer.
- The Zork parody of Lucrezia Borgia counterpart Lucrezia Flathead
- A slight variation of the name: Lucrecia from Final Fantasy VII
- Lucrezia Mongfish from Girl Genius, who before she married a hero was an evil scientist and is the Other.
- The original Lucrezia Borgia, usually (but wrongly) regarded as a notorious poisoner.
Victor or Frankenstein
Any variation; however, while his creation was a murderer, Dr. Frankenstein himself was not. Anime and Manga
- Frankenstein: Franky in One Piece
- Franken Fran herself may never be referred to as explicitly as her name is given in the title, but...
- Dr. Franken Stein, an obvious reference in Soul Eater
- Casanova Frankenstein was used as the villain of Mystery Men just because of his awesome name.
- Agent Franks of Monster Hunter International was a bad guy but eventually pulled a Heel-Face Turn and just became a major Badass.
- Victor: Victor von Gerdenheim in Darkstalkers
- Doctor Vicktor (Benvictor as well) in Ben 10.
- (Icky) Vicky from The Fairly OddParents.
- Victor Frankenstein from Frankenweenie.
Who killed King Arthur, does a double whammy, crossing into the Mor names category. Literature
- Mordred Deschain in The Dark Tower.
The name of a Scottish noble family, pronounced "Rivven," whose members were involved in several conspiracies in the late 16th century. Their surname was banned for several decades after the Gowrie Conspiracy of 1600. Literature
- Lord Ruthven, the vampire of The Vampyre.
- In Ruddigore, the mild-mannered Robin Oakapple is revealed to be Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, one of Ruddigore's line of Bad Baronets.
Might not sound like a threatening name, unless you happen to have studied the French Revolution, where the original was the guy in charge of the original Reign of Terror. You know, where they chopped off all those people's heads. Literature
Anime and Manga
- Grell Sutcliff of Black Butler has a slightly altered version of the surname of Peter Sutcliffe, also known as The Yorkshire Ripper. Appropriate, considering Grell is one half of this universe's version of Jack The Ripper.
- Retroactive aversion: Ralph Hinkley on The Greatest American Hero was renamed Ralph Hanley after a man with the name Hinkley attempted to assassinate President Reagan.
- The future humans in The Sarah Connor Chronicles really should have known better than to give the Terminator captain of a submarine the name Queeg, even if they thought it was funny.
- Red Dwarf: Queeg is also used for the computer that temporarily replaces Holly. He's actually Holly trying to teach the crew to apprectiate him more.
- Jesse St. James from Glee - named after Jesse James, obviously.
- In Hannibal, like Grell Dr. Donald Sutcliffe shares his name with the aforementioned Peter Sutcliffe, and is friends with The Chesepeake Ripper aka Hannibal.
- Charles Lee Ray - Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.
- At least three comedy-westerns over the years have named a villainous gunslinger "Slade": The Villain, Evil Roy Slade and The Great Bank Robbery. This might have been inspired by the Real Life western gunslinger Joseph Alfred Slade.
- Marilyn Manson's "gimmick" for stage names was to take the first name of an iconic female sex symbol and the last name of a notorious Serial Killer and combine the two. In his case, he combined Marilyn Monroe with Charles Manson; the rest of his original band (which was called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids) did the same. (The stage names of the original members who did this were Daisy Berkowitz, Olivia Newton Bundy, Zsa Zsa Speck, Madonna Wayne Gacy, and Ginger Fish. Members who joined after that did not do so, but Manson's current bassist/guitarist, Twiggy Ramirez, dis so.
- Fawkes, the renegade Super Mutant in Fallout 3, after British terrorist Guy Fawkes.
- A hitman in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 has the first name Sirhan (in the Fan Translation), after the assassin who killed Robert F. Kennedy.
- Survival of the Fittest v4's Aileen Borden, who shares parts of her name with two female murderers. Subverted in that, ironically enough, Aileen is a cranky yet good intentioned Unwitting Pawn of Aaron Hughes whose one kill is a set-up by the latter.
- The Legend of Korra has Amon, possibly named after Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth.