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"...I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face and... the blackest eyes — the devil's eyes."
Dr. Loomis (about Michael Myers), John Carpenter's Halloween

Traditionally, a cheap and easy way to show that a character is evil is the use of colored contact lenses in live action, or colored or glowing eyes in animation. Since the 1990s, however, a new trend has emerged — the Black Eyes of Evil.

These days, when someone is possessed by demons, dabbling in the dark arts, psychically dominated by evil aliens, or gone evil in some other way, their eyes will go perfectly black with no whites at all.

Presumably this perfect blackness indicates the purity of the evil within them and their total lack of humanity. Even if a person's eyes are weirdly colored, there is still a possibility of human connection, but if his/her eyes are gaping wells of nothingness...

One interesting feature of this trope is that these black eyes will return to their normal state if the demon is exorcised/psychic link is broken/etc.


Alternately, a character's face can be shadowed in such a way that their eyes are completely hidden, or at most reflecting back a glint. Typically, these characters don't actually have black eyes and it's a temporary thing. This version can show up in characters who aren't the ultimate evil, merely sinister or mysterious. In many cases, heroic characters may also gain shadowed eyes in this way.

This can be surprisingly hard to tell apart from normal eyes in photos, because if a person has normal-colored eyes that happen to be deep-set or narrow to the point of looking squinty, then there won't be that much light hitting their sclera from most angles. It's easier to pick up on when the actor is in motion, and a lot more obvious in drawn art.

This is a subtrope of "Uh-Oh" Eyes, which, in turn, is a subtrope of Technicolor Eyes. These are also a specific type of Monochromatic Eyes; sometimes related to Prophet Eyes, which can also be used to indicate a supernatural or evil character, as well as Mind-Control Eyes, which are dull and flat-colored.


Compare Evil Wears Black.

Now in Real Life, scleral lenses worn by persons with light sensitivity will render a person's eyes completely black, but that doesn't tell you if they are evil or not.

Contrast with Black Bead Eyes, where the eyes are simply black dots done as an artistic style. Compare Black Eyes of Crazy, where black sclera plus technicolor irises equals Ax-Crazy, although both heavily overlap with one another. Compare also Excessive Evil Eyeshadow. Overlaps with Ghostly Gape.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fist of the North Star features this trope relatively frequently, although it is almost always seen among the anime's main characters. Expect Kenshiro's eyes to become shadowed at least once during a fight, especially if he is angered, shocked or injured.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry for the (former) page image, of course. The eyes change depending on the media, though. The anime goes for cat eyes, as do the sound novels. The manga artists change between this trope and cat eyes.
  • Ken Akamatsu, rare in most anime and manga, which opt for Red Eyes, Take Warning, prefers black eyes to make his characters in Negima! Magister Negi Magi look scary. He's also quite fond of Black Eyes of Crazy, too.
    • Evangeline, in particular, does this whenever she wants to scare people.
    • Negi does it too, once his Black Magic kicks in.
    • And Tsukuyomi fits both tropes at once.
  • Majin Buu (specifically Super Buu, Evil Buu and Kid Buu) of Dragon Ball Z fits both this and Black Eyes of Crazy to a T, having black sclerae and white (for Evil Buu) or red (for Super Buu and Kid Buu) irises.
  • Both Polpo and Risotto Nero of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo have these, and are vicious members of Passione.
  • Lilith (a.k.a. Giant Naked Rei) develops this in End of Evangelion. Prior to that, in episode 23, Armisael had developed a Rei-like protrusion at one end, which also had Black Eyes of Evil.
  • Combining Dou (anger) and Sei (calmness) ki in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple causes severe damage to the body, which notably causes a temporary blackening of the eyes. One of Ryuto's eyes is now permanently black and he is also wheelchair bound because of this technique. Shou Kanou's right eye also turned black and he implied that the damage wouldn't be as severe in his case. It's unknown if this is actually true or not.
  • Alexander Gaidar and Tirawit Kokin both naturally have these features. And both are very scary guys.
  • In the manga version of The Big O, Beck gets this after attacking Roger with the Gigadeus and getting blown away by a Chrome Buster. It's especially creepy as the chapter is structured in such a way that it's hard to tell if it's All Just a Dream or not (the imagery is trippy for the series), and the part with Beck's eyes turning black is just a line and a full shot of Beck's head taking up a whole page. The last page. Which you have to turn the page for. And comes out of nowhere, but was hinted at as Beck kept asking Roger what Big O was showing him.
  • In Fairy Tail, when Gemini takes the form of a human, sometimes, one or both of its eyes transform back into Gemini's original solid black eye. Although not particularly disturbing on Gemini itself, when the eye is on a, it's scary! In the anime, in the scene when Gemini is posing as Gray cackling evilly and transforming into Lucy, Gray's transformation face could qualify as a Nightmare Face.
  • Bleach
    • Aizen's chrysalis stage of his One-Winged Angel form resulted in jet black eyes - no irises, no pupils, not even any visible eye sockets. Nothing. Just black eye shapes on top of a flat face-like surface that didn't even look like it could have eyes (it had no nose or mouth or ears, for example).
    • As Nodt's black eyes are creepy and black and seem to gain a strange pale sheen at the edges when he uses his power to give them an even more alien look. It turns out to be a clue to the basis of his power which, in Vollstandig, targets the eyes of his victims.
  • In Naruto, Naruto's inner darkness has a constant Slasher Smile and eyes that are completely black.
  • The Tales of Symphonia OVA gives us Kvar. Once thought to be permanently squinty-eyed, Kvar was shown in the OVA to have red pupils in his otherwise wholly-black eyes. With that combination, it's no surprise that Kvar is one of the most despicable villains shown in Symphonia.
  • Evil Twins in Oto x Maho have these.
  • Jaki from Gamaran has heterochromia: one is normal, the other is black with a white iris. Later, Ryuho Kibe's sclerae turns black when he uses Juugan, a battle drug.
  • In Bungou Stray Dogs, it's stated by Word of God that the more evil (or hopeless) a character is, the darker their irises are.
  • All of the vampires in Shiki have black sclera and red eyes when their Horror Hunger takes over. The older vampires, namely Chizuru and Sunako, take this further and have solid black eyes. They still have pupils and what not, you just can't see them unless they glow.
  • Alluka Zoldyck from Hunter × Hunter gets this when she turns into Nanika.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
    • The Dark Signers from the anime.
    • Kiryu from the manga.
  • Downplayed in Mahoraba. The Occult Research Club President has almost entirely black eyes, with just a sliver of white at the outer edges. They still signify her Evil nature, which is more a case of being unholy than malicious.
  • Averted with the Super Dimension Fortress Macross character that would become Dr. Emil Lang in Robotech. Although Dr. Lang owes his black eyes to being touched by Vorlons, he remains a personable character. In the aborted Sentinels animation, they did away with them and actually gave him normal eyes. They returned in recent comic book stories. In the original Macross, Lang was a minor unnamed background character and his all black eyes was simply one of the trademark quirks of Haruhiko Mikimoto's character designs.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, a Ghoul's Game Face involves black sclera and red pupils. These are known as "Kakugan", and used as a primary identifier of the species by authorities. Notably, One-Eyed Ghouls earn their name from only having a single Kakugan that marks them as half-breeds.
  • Very common and used to great effect in the works of Tsutomu Takahashi. Of particular note is the main antagonist of Hito Hitori Futari, Kouji Kubo.
  • Morga, the first youma to show up in Sailor Moon had these, adding to an already frightning monster.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Red Robin villains the "Daughters of Acheron" gain pitch black smoking eyes when using their abilities as a daughter of Acheron. The source of these powers is not explicitly stated but considering that Acheron is the river of pain and woe in Hades and the use of these powers on Tim Drake knocks him out for a good while and is considered to have come close to causing permanent damage when they weren't intended to they're rather dark.
    • Detective Comics (Rebirth): The League of Shadows's foot soldiers have scary black eyes.
  • Superman:
    • In Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl, the eponymous antagonist is not quite evil, but she is wild, violent and dangerous. And her eyes are black.
    • The eyes of villain Mongul are nearly completely black with very tiny red pupils in War World, his first appearance. Subsequent artists ignored this trait, though.
    • Last Daughter of Krypton: Reign is a blood-thirsty, sentient biological weapon, wholly devoted to conquering worlds and crushing the weak under her foot. Her eyes are completely pitch-black.
  • The Sandman: Dream, a.k.a. Morpheus, also has completely black eyes, in which, at times, pinpricks of light like distant stars can be seen, as it is said that, by staring into his eyes, you can see the vast emptiness of eternity. He isn't evil, however, or not a typical villain at least, but he can be uncaring (to the point of cruelty) and takes very long to forgive a perceived slight.
  • Marvel Comics The Sentry as The Void
  • In the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe, Mickey has occasionally tangled with a trio of simian mad scientists named Professors Ecks, Doublex, and Triplex, who each have distinguishing features to tell them apart. One of Professor Doublex's unique traits is that he has black eyes with white pupils.
  • The Punisher MAX: During the "Up Is Down And Black Is White" arc, a mobster figures out the best way to get under Frank's skin is to desecrate his family's graves. Frank takes his usual violence against criminals Up to Eleven, and the art style makes it look like his eyes have gone completely black.
  • Robot 23 from Mega Robo Bros has these.
  • Rat Queens shows these when Hannah calls upon her demonic powers instead of her usual necromancy.
  • Wonder Woman
    • Wonder Woman (2006): After taking on some of Genocide's power Alkyone's eyes turn fully black, with a bit of red. For extra emphasis on "evil", her pupils now look like skulls.
    • In Wonder Woman (2011) Hermes' former playful personality is given a revamp to make him more dour and pessimistic with a cruel streak a mile wide and his eyes are drawn as solid black. He's not necessarily evil, but he's not nice either and fits right in with the rest of the cruel Jerkass Gods of the pantheon.
  • The title character of Hillbilly, Rondel, was born with an Eyeless Face until a witch cut him some eyes. They appear as completely black holes in his face. He's actually the hero, but he's got some sinister abilities and is more than a little bit Creepy Good.
    • In the "Red-Eyed Witchery from Beyond" arc, Rondel is faced with an extraterrestrial curse that turns people into its red-eyed minions. When trying to fight off its mind control at the story's climax, he ends his Badass Boast with a defiant "And my eyes are black!"

    Fan Works 
  • In the creepypasta Sonic.exe, the corrupted Sonic the Hedgehog title screen features a Zalgofied Sonic.
  • The demon/witch Esmeralda from Silent Dreamer by TheNight130 has black eyes with red pupils. When Alice accidentally receives Esmeralda's powers, her eyes turn the same.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Finding Nemo, when Bruce the shark gets the taste of blood, his pupils grow to the point where his eyeballs become completely black, like that of a real shark. Up until this point, he lacks irises, but the pupils are surrounded by white, like a common animated character.
  • This is likely one of the things that makes the pink elephants in Dumbo so disturbing. Not only are their eyes black, they appear to be empty sockets.
  • Subverted with Stitch from Lilo & Stitch. While he isn't evil, he is pretty nasty.
  • Also subverted in Brave. When Elinor turns into a bear, she still has human eyes. But the longer she stays a bear, her humanity starts to slip and she goes feral. In which her eyes become pitch black, as well as her face becomes much more seriously realistic.
  • The Big Bad of The Black Cauldron, the Horned King, has pitch-black empty eye sockets as eyes by default, though they glow red (with a black pupil) whenever he's darkly excited or very angry. In close-ups of his face, it is actually possible to see a very little white pupil in the middle of his empty black eyes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The vampires from 30 Days of Night, which combined with their fang-like teeth makes them resemble sharks quite a bit.
  • During the first exploration of Carl Stargher's mind in The Cell, he manifests as a pale king with gaping black voids in place of eyes.
  • In The Axe Murders Of Villisca, everyone possessed by the ancient evil in the house has their eyes turn black.
  • In The Covenant, the four members of the eponymous covenant as well as the villain, a descendant of a covenant member, all get these at some point in the film. Subverted for the four members, who are all "good guys". Played straight for the villain.
  • Excellently done in Detective Pikachu. It is an established fact in Pokémon lore that Ditto have Black Bead Eyes when they transform. However, in this movie, Ms. Norman the Ditto transforms into humans, so the eyes become very disturbing and an example of this trope (hence why Ms. Norman has to wear big black sunglasses in all her human transformations).
  • Shivers the Clown from the Fear of Clowns duology has a disorder that causes his eyes to appear almost completely black.
  • Fright Night (2011) and Fright Night 2: New Blood both had their vampires sporting black eyes when in kill-mode. Interestingly, the 1985 movie and its 1989 sequel used Supernatural Gold Eyes instead.
  • In From Hell, when Sir William Gull realizes he has been found out as Jack the Ripper by Inspector Abberline, his eyes turn black as he goes berserk and attacks the Inspector. Seeing as Sir William is a normal (if deranged) human being, this seems to be just for shock value. Possibly a reference to the comic, when during his death Sir William has a long out-of-body-experience that carries him all over the world and across time.
  • Halloween (1978): As related by Dr. Loomis, the villainous Michael Myers has "the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes." We never get a close-up to confirm this description, but the space behind the eye holes of Michael's mask is always completely obscured by shadow, giving him a blank white face and solid black eyes.
  • Pinhead and the rest of the cenobites from Hellraiser movies always have either black, shark-like eyes or more subdued black eyes with white sclera, depending on the director and makeup artist.
  • In Ink (2009), the Key Master Incubus has eyes that are pure black and they occasionally flare white with interest.
  • In Invasion of the Bee Girls the titular monsters have compound black eyes.
  • Discussed in Jaws. Quoth Quint: "You know the thing about a shark, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye."
  • Krull
    • When the Seer is killed and replaced with a doppelganger, his duplicate has pure black eyes (not as much of a giveaway as you might think, since he usually keeps his eyes closed).
    • Another creature from the same film, this one a female shapeshifter, is a subversion of sorts, as she finds herself unwilling to go through with her mission of killing the main character and gets quite a sympathetic speech before the Big Bad eliminates her for her betrayal.
  • The Dark Queen in MirrorMask sports pitch-black eyes, as does her daughter. When Helena is used as a replacement for the Princess and given an appropriate makeover, her eyes turn black as well.
  • Possibly one of the earliest examples in film was in The Mummy's Hand (1940), in which the mummy's eyes are completely black - an effect achieved by laboriously painting over the film in post-production.
  • In Oliver Stone's Nixon, CIA director Richard Helms' eyes appear to turn completely black for a second due to a coincidentally-timed light reflection, right after Nixon muses that there are things worse than death, and right before Nixon continues that there's such a thing as evil. Needless to say, Helms' real-life relatives had some issues with that scene. Although Helms definitely was a ruthless bastard in real life, implying he was a soulless force of pure evil may have been pushing it. The scene was removed for the theatrical release and only viewable in the Director's Cut.
  • In Push, whenever the evil pusher uses his powers, his pupils stretch so his eyes turn entirely black. The good pusher, by comparison, will only stretch her pupils so the irises are barely visible.
  • Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper: When Jane touches the wall behind which the Ripper is imprisoned, the Ripper looks up and his eyes are completely black.
  • In Sherlock Holmes (2009), a temporary version is used when Lord Blackwood is talking to Holmes in his cell. He's standing just out of the light, so that the areas around his eyes are completely shadowed and all that is visible is the evil glint.
  • Shrooms: Tara has them in some of the flashbacks during the ending.
  • The Santa mask worn by the killer in Silent Night gives this effect.
  • Katherine Ross' doppelganger (intended to replace her after she's killed) in The Stepford Wives has blank black eyes. (They're supposed to be empty eye sockets, but there was a minor Special Effect Failure).
  • Though technically literature at one time, the script of Stephen King's Storm of the Century — sold in book form, before it was made into the film it was designed to be (and likely afterward, depending on the director) — had a Big Bad whose eyes, upon possessing others, turned swirly black.
  • The Thing (1982): The mutated Bennings-Thing had pitch black eyes. Palmer's eyes were also cast in shadow while everyone else's reflected light, and in the original script the pre-reveal dog thing's eyes were "black orbs".
  • Michael, vampire-werewolf hybrid from Underworld (2003), has black eyes whenever he loses control. It's probably pupils stretching so far whites and irises are invisible, as is shrinks down to pupil size when he calms down.
  • In X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, as the main character continues using the x-ray eyedrops, his eyes begin changing color: at first, they're only silver irises on black, but by the end of the film, they're entirely black.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Toad's irises are so big they look black from a distance.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Jean Grey as the Phoenix.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Xavier's eyes turning completely black as he declares, "I've never felt power like this before" is the result of Apocalyse taking control of him to use Cerebro for disabling all of the world's nukes simultaneously. Everyone who is possessed during the process gets the same eye color.
  • Although it seems to take a while after the onset of zombification, the titular Zombie Strippers! eventually develop pure-black eyes. Their flesh also begins to rot and their fingers turn black and sharpen into claws. Because the virus in the film affects men and women differently, this only seems to happen to female zombies.
  • Screamers: The Hunting. The Five-Second Foreshadowing that a human is a Screamer, before sharp cutting instruments come bursting out of their bodies.

    Folklore & Mythology 

  • Magic users in Almost Night get this when they use black magic, or anam.
  • In Coraline, Neil Gaiman combines this with Eyeless Face in the form of the Other World's inhabitants, who all have Black Button Eyes of Evil. They can be any colour according to The Film of the Book, but apparently, "black is traditional."
  • Harry Potter
    • Subverted with Severus Snape whose eyes are consistently described as black - despite his unpleasant manners, behavior and history, Snape is firmly on Dumbledore's side.
    • Inverted with Hagrid ("a giant of a man with beetle-black eyes"), perhaps the most benevolent person in the series.
  • The Ra'zac and Lethrblaka from the Inheritance Cycle. Averted by the black dragon Shruikan, who Eragon originally assumed would have these since most dragons have eye colors close to that of their scales. His eyes, however, are a startling blue, which Eragon describes as worse by the madness visible within them.
  • Prophet's House has the incestuous, theocratic Rassianus family who sport black eyes when exercising their prophetic powers.
  • The Big Bad of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books has these as part of being a Dream Walker. If that wasn't creepy enough, everyone knows when he's looking at them, even though his eyes are effectively black spheres. It's never explained.
  • In Garth Nix's early novel The Ragwitch, the eponymous villain is described as having "black, black pupils." The horror.
  • In The Elder Scrolls novels, Sul describes Umbra as having eyes "like holes into nothing." However, Vuhon's eyes are pure white, instead.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • The god Fate, except, in his case, they aren't actually eyes, but rather openings into a boundless void.
    • The eyes of Trymon, the villain of The Light Fantastic, after reading seven of the eight spells of the Octavo.
    • Vorbis, the villain of Small Gods, has completely black eyes (described as a desert adaptation akin to wearing sunglasses inside your eyeballs).
    • Mr. Teatime from Hogfather has an artificial eye that is portrayed like this, while his remaining natural eye has a shrunken iris the size of a pinhole.
  • A sign of possession by some kind of alien superweapon in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Fall of Yquatine.
  • Subverted by the Harshini in The Hythrun Chronicles— they have obviously inhuman, solid black eyes, but are pretty much the nicest people you could possibly meet and, with the exception of Half Human Hybrids, utterly incapable of so much as contemplating the thought of violence or malice. Hence why they're almost extinct at the start of the trilogy...
  • Infected people transforming into the monstrous vampires in Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro's novel The Strain gain "dead black" eyes, among other things. In the case of a Goth-Metal singer, people didn't even notice at first, they thought he still wore his pale make-up and black contact lenses...
  • Though the most prominent character with black eyes in the Modern Faerie Tales books, Kaye Fierch, is not evil, a lot of the other Fair Folk have black eyes and evil traits.
  • The villain of Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box has eyes that look like they were scribbled out with a black Sharpie; another character refers to the black blotches as "sunglasses of the living dead".
  • Used in the short story "That Night in the Mirror".
  • In Lawrence Watt-Evans' Lords of Dus series, the eyes of the King in Yellow are always hidden in shadow by the hood of his robe, although, occasionally, a brief glint is seen.
  • In The Demon's Lexicon and the books that follow it, the eyes of demon-possessed people turn black. Nick also has black eyes, because he's a demon who's been possessing a human body since its birth, but he's an Anti-Hero.
  • The nameless unmagic mage in Magic Steps. Unlike the people who removed his legs and got him hooked on a powerful drug in order to make him help them with their crimes, he's not evil, but he's certainly no longer sane and has become very inhuman.
    "When had all the white vanished from his eyes? Now it was like staring into two vast pits. She turned dizzy, as if she might fall, when she met his gaze."
  • The evil creatures in David Nickle's Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism. The cover is especially creepy.
  • Gaithim in The Quest of the Unaligned gets these as a side effect of becoming a hoshek.
  • Arpazia and Coira in White as Snow have "cold water eyes" normally, a color that's not quite blue or gray, but when their pupils dilate, their eyes appear to be black. With Arpazia in particular, this is taken as a sign of witchcraft, or at least insanity.
  • The Mortal Instruments:
    • Valentine Morgenstern's eyes are described as black. He's also the genocidal Big Bad.
    • Thanks to the demon blood, Sebastian/Jonathan had these at birth. Jocelyn was so repulsed by him she refused to care for him.
    • Amatis Herondale when under the influence of the Infernal Cup.
  • The Nightmare Queen in Terra Mirum Chronicles is recognized as a Nightmare for having these eyes.
  • Subverted in Auf zwei Planeten by Kurd Laßwitz: The Martians' eyes can turn almost entirely black, but that is because they evolved on a planet much further from the Sun than Earth and so their pupils can dilate so much that they cover most of the visible parts of the eyeballs.
  • In the world of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and The Last American Vampire, solid black eyes are part of a vampire's Game Face.
  • In Septimus Heap, the eyes of users of Darke Magyk turn dark themselves.
  • SandWings in Wings of Fire have completely black eyes without pupils or sclerae like this, including Burn and Blister. There are also heroic SandWings who avert this, though.
  • In The Wheel of Time, people permitted to draw directly on the Dark One's power gain tiny motes of darkness that float horizontally across their eyes, becoming more and more numerous until their eyes black out entirely. The Dragon to the Dark One gains them by the end, at which point the power had driven him completely insane.
    • On a more mundane level, the Aiel are often referred to with the epithet "black-eyed", especially when meant negatively. Actual Aiel usually have blue or hazel eyes, and anyone who's fought them would know this, whereas most people ignorantly take the term at face value.
  • Zig-zagged in The Dresden Files with the Fae Queen Mab. Normally, she has Mystical White Hair and Icy Blue Eyes and is plenty dangerous enough; when something personally offends her, she switches her hair and eyes to dead-black, which usually means it's far too late to run.
    • Used straightforwardly in the case of the Red Court vampires, which turn black when they are hungry. It's a glimpse of their true forms (humanoid bat-creatures) under the human disguises.
  • Barnabus gets black eyes when uses his sorcery in The Barbarian and the Sorceress. When his slave, Kira, uses sorcery against an Eldritch Abomination he's summoned, her eyes turn black as well.
  • In The Locked Tomb, the Ninth House, members of which typically have extremely dark, almost black eyes, isn't evil, per se, but it is a shitty place to live. Double Subverted with the Emperor, who has pitch-black eyes and is a necromancer of incredible power, but he's a kindly father figure sort of character, right up until it's revealed that he's a monstrous, manipulative, vengeance-driven, sadistic mass murderer, and has been the whole time.
  • The Barbarian and the Sorceress: Barnabus' eyes turn black when he uses his sorcery, as do Kira's, though in her case it's subverted as she's doing good]].

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead:
    • Kelly gets this when possessed by Eligos in "Brujo" and "The Host".
    • After Ruby reveals herself to have been Evil All Along, her eyes turn black while threatening or fighting Ash.
  • Babylon 5 was one of the first to use this trope: When telepath Lyta Alexander makes psychic contact with the Big Bad Shadows, her eyes turn pure black, but return to normal when contact is broken. After prolonged contact, she also began to weep black tears. Similarly, when she makes psychic contact with the Vorlons, her eyes glow green.
  • Battlestar Galactica has this occur in a deleted scene of the episode "The Farm". Starbuck has a nightmare where she sees Anders with black eyes. Considering what he is revealed to be, it is interesting.
  • Being Human (both versions) has the vampires using all-black eyes as a Game Face.
  • Averted with Henry Fitzroy in Blood Ties, whose eyes go black for his Game Face and during hypnosis, as he is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire (more or less).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • This seems to be one of the standard side effects of using powerful Black Magic, as primal energy fills up the body of the caster and then is released through the spell. When the black eyes don't fade after the spell is done, something's generally wrong.
    • When Willow Rosenberg goes overboard with magic, she gets these, most notably in her Dark Willow phase. In season seven, she gets these when she invokes powerful magic. They fade when the spell in question ends. The dark arts also darkens her hair, causing to complain that she can't get any work done without getting dark roots. Interestingly, she also becomes a Jerkass while she is using such magic. In one scene, while using a powerful barrier spell to stop a demon, she tells the woman she is protecting to stop whining. After the demon leaves, she apologizes.
    • Catherine Madison, the first witch actually seen on the show, got these as she casts a powerful spell. As does her daughter, Amy.
    • Oz's eyes turn solid black as part of his transformation into a werewolf and are usually one of the first things to change. Black eyes are not a standard werewolf trait per se though, as Veruca's turn bright blue.
    • Caleb's eyes turn black when he is merged with the First, which also turns his blood an oily black.
    • In the episode "Forever" there is reason to believe this won't turn out so well when the nice man with the spell to bring back the dead goes black in his eyes.
  • Carnivàle: Brother Justin, Henry Scudder, and Sofie all have obsidian orbs when they tap into their innate evil.
  • Charmed
    • Demons sometimes sport these. The Source of All Evil adds licks of hellfire in them for effect.
    • Beings possessed by the Nexus or the Hollow also sport black eyes, though these powers are technically neutral (in the same way that an Eldritch Abomination doesn't care about the struggles of morality).
  • Doctor Who:
    • When the Master is summoning Azal in "The Dæmons", a few shots use the Hidden Eyes version of this trope: he's lit in such a way that his eyes are completely obscured by the shadow of his browbones.
    • "Tooth and Claw": The werewolf virus' host body has completely black eyes when human.
    • "The Next Doctor": The Femme Fatale gains pure black eyes when the Cybermen forcibly "upgrade" her to be their new Cyberking (noun/gender agreement notwithstanding). As befits the trope, her eyes return to their normal colour when the Doctor forces her to look as a human at what she has become, leading her to suicide explosively and take the Cybermen with her.
  • In Farscape, the mysterious representative of the Ancients (nicknamed "Einstein" by Crichton) appears to others as a tall, impeccably-dressed human with pitch-black eyes. However, Einstein and the Ancients remain neutral throughout the series.
  • In The Flash (2014), Zoom's eyes are entirely black, although he can make them glow blue, if he wants, similar to the Reverse-Flash making his eyes glow red.
  • Game of Thrones: The glimpse we get through Gregor's visor is black dots that are bloodshot and wide awake. Turns into Red Eyes, Take Warning as they begin to rot.
  • The eponymous monster in Ghoul, which takes on the form of whatever person it last ate, adopts black eyes every time it shows its true form.
  • Inverted in Grimm, where it's the titular monster hunters who are seen this way by the Wesen when they woge in front of them. The Wesen see the Grimm's black eyes reflect their nature back at them.
  • On an episode of A Haunting, a devil or demon is shown to look like a regular man, except for the black eyes...which made the actor look [bleep]ing scary.
  • In Heroes, Maya's eyes turn pure black with tar-like tears running down her face when her powers activate. While she's not really evil, her ability—to kill everyone around in a matter of about a minute using what amounts to some sort of psychic poison—is.
  • The BBC's Jekyll uses this as one of the warning signs that Hyde is about to show up, and they're one of the few cosmetic changes made to show the difference between the main character's two personalities.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga. When protagonist, Yuusuke Godai, first receives visions of his Ultimate Form, Ultimate Kuuga, the coloring of his eyes are pitch-black, symbolizing the risk of his becoming evil should he transform into Ultimate Kuuga. In the penultimate episode, Yuusuke does, in fact, transform to Ultimate Kuuga, but due to his self-control, manages to retain the red-eye coloring of his normal Mighty Form. The risk of slipping into 'Black-Eyed Ultimate Kuuga' is not entirely eliminated, however, and Yuusuke, in fact, tells his partner, Ichijou, to shoot him should it happen.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, it's not presented as evil (at least insofar as stealing a person's soul and free will is presented as "not evil"; the show's basically taken the route of "types of magic aren't evil, it's what you do with them"), but whenever a Confessor uses her power, there is a close up of her eyes (and the eyes of her victim) turning pure black for a few moments. This isn't the case in the original books, though the effect is somewhat similar to the villainous Emperor Jagang's permanently black eyes.
  • In Lexx, solid black eyes represent possession by His Divine Shadow.
  • The Librarians: In "And the Apple of Discord", the titular magical artifact turns whoever is holding into the worst version of him or herself. Some people (e.g. Jacob, Flynn, Eve) get Glowing Eyes of Doom the moment they touch the Apple, while Cassandra's eyes go completely black (she also plans to do the most damage by blowing up a huge chunk of Europe's power grid).
  • In Sanctuary, when Nikola Tesla's plans to rebuild the vampire species go awry, all of his former patients who have been killed turn into vampires way before schedule and exhibit completely black eyes.
  • Sapphire and Steel: This happened to Sapphire when she was channeling the Darkness in the second serial.
  • In Smallville, whoever is possessed by Bizarro gets black eyes. Also occasionally the case for Brainiac's or Darkseid's victims.
  • The obscure (but apparently cult-ish) 1988 SF-horror miniseries Something Is Out There, starring ex-Bond Girl Maryam D'Abo. Those who are being controlled by the evil alien cannibal parasite are shown to have pure black eyes.
  • Supernatural
    • Most of the lower-ranking demons, although more powerful demons with yellow, or white eyes have also been seen. Cross Road Demons have red eyes.
    • Sam Winchester can get these when using his powers to telekinetically drive demons out of their human hosts. Justified since getting the power to do that requires drinking demon blood...
    • In Season 8, a demon named Abaddon appears. While she does have black eyes, she is also a Hell Knight and unbelievably powerful.
  • Not quite the same thing, but a body modification-centric episode of Taboo featured a man injecting black tattoo ink into the whites of his eyes.
  • Shortly after his resurrection, Owen Harper of Torchwood experienced moments when The Grim Reaper possessed his body: during these moments, his eyes would turn black and he would start chanting "I shall walk the Earth and my hunger will know no bounds."
  • In True Blood, people under Maryann's control have totally black eyeballs.
  • Twin Peaks
    • Windom Earle gets this for a brief moment.
    • Cooper's doppelganger has black eyes in the revival.
  • The X-Files:
    • In one of the most effective applications of this trope, the show had the black oil. This living substance violated your organism through various orifices. Eyes turning black meant the substance took over.
    • It was used with the surprisingly sympathetic Monster of the Week in the episode "Hunger".

  • Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland regularly wore contact lenses onstage that made his eyes look like this.
  • "Blackest Eyes" by Porcupine Tree is a song about serial killers with the lyrics "Swim with me into your blackest eyes".
  • 2D from Gorillaz has these, although this case would be some sort of subversion, since he's generally nice and often a source of comic relief. Also, the trope is justified, because they're apparently not really black eyes, but eight-ball fractures, caused by having them dented into 2D's eye sockets, which gave him his nickname (2 Dents).
  • "Spectrum" by Zedd features a music video that shows a woman (presumably from outer space) with pitch black eyes who falls in love with a man from Earth. They have a romantic relationship and wear sunglasses in order to hide the uncannily human alien woman's black eyes from the public. Here, watch it for yourself.
  • The "Mother Maiden" Character from the eponymous music video by Dutch rock/metal band Within Temptation is revealed to have eyes just like this.
  • The music video for "Ov Fire and the Void" from Polish Death Metal band Behemoth has one in the main female character.
  • The woman on the cover of Diary of Dreams' Elegies in Darkness.
  • Tenacious D's "Tribute" has the band making a CD about a demon in a shopping mall karoke studio. While the band are dragged away by security a little old lady takes the CD, her eyes glow read and she laughs manically.
  • A couple PVRIS songs make reference to eyes with missing whites as a bad sign, such as the song “Mirrors”:
    Your dead eyes before mine
    The way they're missing their whites, yeah, they're just right
  • This trope is a focal point of Chelsea Wolfe's "Feral Love":
    Your eyes black like an animal
    black like an animal
    crossing the water-
    lead them to die...
  • In the video for Poets of the Fall's "Lift," Mad Dreamer and implicitly Ax-Crazy jail inmate Mark manifests matte black eyes briefly during his psych screening when the female psychologist evaluating him confronts him with an evidence bag containing a red ball-head straight pin. Though his mouth is out of frame, his expression implies that he's smiling at the sight of it.
  • The music video of Muse's "Dead Inside" shows a woman with black eyes and a man dancing in a field of chalk dust, effortlessly managing to combine seduction and contention in their moves. In the end, the man's eyes turn black like the woman's.

  • Cecil in Welcome to Night Vale describes Kevin as having black eyes and says "he must be wicked, this man'', despite Kevin describing Cecil as having "eyes like mine"; though since Cecil's had all of his mirrors covered since he was fifteen, he might have similar eyes and not know it.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In addition to have what appears to be a bleeding skull mask, Bolivian wrestler Estertor's eyes also seem to be pitch black, making him look kind of disturbing.
  • The Big Bad of CHIKARA's 2014 season, Deucalion, was revealed to have these. Given his proclivity for executing wrestlers who defied him or failed him, he was unquestionably evil.

  • One of the symptoms of frequent exposure to the Void between worlds in AJCO. While it remains to be seen if the Auditor has them due to her Scary Shiny Glasses, A_J certainly does. Partially due to the fact she's taken so many trips through it and partially due to the fact that in the years before her first trip she was in close contact with it every single day.
  • In Roll To Dodge: Savral, pitch black eyes usually indicates that a character has been possessed by the setting’s demonic unicorns.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dark Fantasy and Modern Horror roleplaying games from the 1990s onwards love this trope, from Old World of Darkness to the German game Arcane Codex (where this is actually a trait buyable at character creation called "Eyes of Hell" that indicates the character is a half-breed who has demonic blood).
  • The Excrucians of Nobilis have a variant on this. Falling stars drift through their otherwise-black eyes.
  • Used with the Night Lords of the Warhammer 40,000 'verse. Each original member of the Legion has enormous pupils, along with irises and scleræ that are totally black. It gives them nearly perfect night vision: bright lights can cause tissue damage to their eyes along the lines of Tears of Blood. Justified, since the Legion recruited all of its members from its homeworld of Nostramo, where the human population lived in thousands of years of isolation and adapted to Nostamo's state of perpetual darkness note . Within canon, this is a Zig-Zagging Trope (being the only army in the Imperium who extensively utilized terror tactics), but played straight after their Primarch declared "Then Let Me Be Evil". Generally averted in the tabletop game, where they all wear helmets, and probably need them in most conditions. This is also averted with normal Space Marines descended from the Raven Guard. A defect in their gene seed causes most of them to become Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunettes. Also notable are the Cacharadons whose eyes are also completely black, and tend to be a bite more... violent and brutal than the other loyalist chapters.
  • Several examples from Magic: The Gathering:
    • This was a symptom (along with greasy black tears) of the Phyrexian oil in Time Spiral. Naturally, the people living in black-aligned places got the worst of it.
    • In "Shadows of Innistrad" this is the mark of corrupted angels, especially Avacyn herself.
    • In the city plane of Ravnica, there are several factions of angels, and the ones inhabiting the Corrupt Church guild of Orzhov possess black eyes.


  • Karzahni from BIONICLE was first described as having empty, black eyes. Later, a book illustration gave him brightly glowing yellow eyes (and took other liberties with his colors), and his eventual figure sported red eyes. The change is somewhat justified in the figure's case, as it represented his mutated form, which didn't look anything like what his original description suggested. There's also the fact that Karzahni constantly rebuilds himself, so he may have possibly changed his eyes...
  • The villainous teams in The Grossery Gang are designed with black eyes with red pinprick pupils, instead of the standard white eyes with black pupils that the standard Grosseries have.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Attorney, Dahlia has these, foreshadowing she's evil. It's part of her Animal Motif.
  • The titular Ao Oni possesses these.
  • Artwork of the American/European style of Dr. Robotnik usually depicts him with no eyes at all, with two pitch black eye-sockets instead. In Sonic Adventure 2, the Boom Boos from the haunted stages have a pair of black eyes which blinks every few seconds. When you hit them once, however, they will turn into the creepy, yellow-eyed, slasher smiling Attack Boos.
  • While he is by all accounts a heroic character, Undertale's resident Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, Sans, has this trope as one of his defining character tropes. When being serious, his eyes go completely dark, almost as if he is addressing the player directly.
  • In Chrono Cross, the boss "Hell Orcha" has black eyes with red pupils.
  • A few of the character designs for the mutant enemies in Destroy All Humans! feature black eyes.
  • When Kreia unveils herself as a Sith Lord in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, her eyes turn from milky white to pitch black.
    • The Sith Emperor has pitch-black eyes from birth. It is a sign of his great evil and power. Vector Hyllus and all other Killik Joiners also has completely black eyes, though, while he is part of the Imperial Agent's entourage, he's not evil so much as following Blue-and-Orange Morality and is actually the nicest person in their party.
  • Inverted with the asari, Liara, from Mass Effect. If you choose to have her as your romance partner, her eyes will turn black while you're having a roll in the sack with her. Her eyes also turn black when activating telepathic linking powers - something observed in another asari, Shiala, an asari Commando, who links with your character during the Feros mission. If you look closely, they aren't solid black, but have faint star-like lights in them.
    • Played straight when Morinth does it - that an asari's eyes turn black just before sex has a whole new effect when the asari in question is an Ardat-Yakshi, especially since they lack the faint lights seen in other asari.
  • Master Albert combines this with Red Eyes, Take Warning. No, really.
  • Mitsuo Kubo from Persona 4, a really creepy loner whose most prominent feature is his black fish eyes. He eventually killed resident Sadist Teacher Mr. Morooka over a grudge and attempted to claim the murders currently taking place in Inaba.
  • In The Suffering: Ties That Bind, the Creeper has black, doll-like eyes.
  • Jak and Daxter: Jak's Superpowered Evil Side has these, as do Daxter's and Skyheed's.
  • Chaos Havan in The Reconstruction.
  • The character creator in City of Heroes gives a few faces with black eyes as an option.
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. A seemingly human housewife has these in the E3 2010 trailer.
  • In the Civilization 4 mod Rise of Mankind, the leaderhead for Richleiu has, inexplicably, completely black eyes. While likely just a glitch, or an incomplete design, it does make him fairly creepy.
  • Oh, Crap!, it's the Proto Badger!
  • Subverted with the Lady of the Forest from Dragon Age: Origins. Although she possesses pitch-black eyes, she is not evil, only inhuman. In fact, she wishes to end the curse that has been placed upon the werewolves of the Brecilian Forest, even though doing so will require her death.
  • M. Bison from Street Fighter has all black eyes, except for the irises (normally black), which are white. That was in his early designs. Averted afterwards, when his eyes were changed to be completely white.
  • In Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle , this afflicts all those who drink the demonic scotch. It also afflicts Ecinacea, due to her having been replaced by an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Your father, Bhaal, has many forms in Baldur's Gate, but one thing remains the same in all of them: his pitch-black eyes. In the same vein, a couple of your prophetic dreams have you looking into a mirror or body of water and seeing your reflection with a Psychotic Smirk and the same black eyes.
  • If you are trying to reach the happy ending in Afraid of Monsters, you have to fight your Doppelgänger, who has completely black eyes.
  • The Alice Clones from ESP Ra.De. and the Espgaluda series.
  • Ōkami subverts this. Ammy is the hero, but has pitch black eyes. Can become terrifying if you look at her face when using the "Realistic Wolf" karmic transformer.
  • The Outsider, the resident Eldritch Abomination of Dishonored has completely black eyes. However, he's not so much evil as simply a disinterested entity who enjoys observing humanity and the chaos they can create, occasionally granting powers to rare individuals that gain his interest.
  • Most of the enemies in The Breach.
  • The killer 'bots in Five Nights at Freddy's and its sequel usually have animatronic eyeballs, but sometimes just empty black space with tiny pinpricks of light to make it clear that they can still see you.
  • In Haunted Legends 5: The Stone Guest anyone who's under one of the curses cast on various voodoo dolls by the villain has a chalk-white face with dead black eyes that have cracks radiating out from them.
  • The Bearminator, a huge polar bear, has some pretty scary black eyes in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bash.
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Fancy Island: Some of the monsters have these, and a few bleed Tears of Blood from them.
  • The supernatural creature from White Noise 2 has black eyes with yellow irises.
  • The Shade, the demon behind the events of Mystery Case Files: The Countess, appears as a black version of lady Gloria Codington with pitch-black eyes with glowing white irises.

    Web Animation 

  • While not evil, Clara from APOC has black eyes. She's not sure how she got them, but they seem connected to be connected to hosting the Horseman of Death within her.
  • Celesto Morgan from Dominic Deegan has a case of this whenever he uses his dark Seer powers.
  • Found on Captain Vole of Girl Genius, an ex-Jagerkin (no, we're not sure how that works either) who is hell-bent on killing any Heterodyne that comes his way, including Agatha.
  • Bloody Mary from Flipside has these, though she does still have visible pupils, allowing us to somewhat connect with her as she transforms into The Woobie.
  • All the titular characters in Goblins have this, whether hero or villain.
  • Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court is initially presented as this: she's antagonistic and seems to have dark holes where her eyes should be. However, subsequent chapters make her The Woobie. Dark Is Not Evil, indeed. Also, it turns out she does have eyes: they're just perpetually/stylistically covered by black gunk.
  • Despite being a benevolent entity, Caprice from A Miracle of Science gets totally black eyes and the Voice of the Legion when Mars is talking.
  • Babi Rusa, a cannibal hag, has all black eyes, in Witchprickers. Interestingly, the comic's hero, Ilemauzer the bat, also has black eyes at first.
  • In Paranatural, Mr. Spender wears Sunglasses at Night for a plethora of reasons, including to hide that his eyes are completely black, though not because he's evil, but because he's possesed by an evil, mysterious spirit and the only things holding it back are himself and the spirit inside his sunglasses.
  • In Pumpkin Flower, all Mancers have black eyes, including the main character.
  • Subverted in Homestuck. Sollux winds up with these after a duel with Eridan goes badly, but he's actually much more relaxed now that he doesn't have to deal with his psychic powers anymore. As a half-ghost in the farthest ring, he has one eye that's solid black, and the other that's solid white, to indicate he's not entirely alive or dead.
  • This was used in El Goonish Shive as part of the effects to show a particularly intense Death Glare. It's also present on both Lord Tedd and Tedd when he activates his gauntlet.
  • A Tale of Fiction: Sneaky's eyes are always black, no matter how much shapeshifting he does. Subverted, though, because he's a nice guy and the protagonist. While shapeshifted into human form, he usually wears sunglasses to blend in.
  • In Sam & Fuzzy, the heavy metal band Noosehead (which has 15 members) has several members with monochromatic black eyes of evil. This includes their front man, Sidney "the Sicko", and main guitarist, Nicole. As it turns out, when they end up taking the stage during the "roadies" arc, they are a subversion: all of them are really nice (if a little eccentric) people who treat the heavy metal life as a job.
  • S.S.D.D: Robert. While not evil, he admits his eyes make people feel ill and scare children.
  • In Last Res0rt black eyes with red irises are an undeniable sign of being a Djinni-si, or "dead inside". Vampires are capable of hiding their "dead" eyes though. Also a bit of YMMV on whether that automatically makes one evil too.
  • Spina Cage has a race of human eating faeries with completely blacked out eyes.
  • In Our Little Adventure, kobolds would be cute if their eyes weren't large, black, soulless eye sockets.
  • Moon Crest 24: (Averted) Derek has what are basically black circles for his eyes with no sclera to speak of, but is far from evil.
  • Slightly Damned: Sakido gets solid black eyes when she goes berserk while trying to get Buwaro and Rhea out of Hell, when she touches Buwaro's star pendant she regains partial sanity and (ironically) gets Black Eyes of Crazy.
  • In Polandball, when writers want to portray characters as scary or creepy, they may draw the character with all black eyes.
    • Most of the time, this works in distilling fear into readers, because it is in jarring contrast with the completely white eyes they usually have.

    Web Original 
  • The Dark Queen's true form in Sailor Nothing.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-899: shrieking, black-eyed, bloodstained ghost children in a forest.
    • But they also avert the trope with SCP-134: a harmless young girl whose black eyes happen to be vistas into an uncharted region of space. SCP personnel have actually been reprimanded for getting too attached to "Stella".
  • In the Foundation's sister site, The Wanderer's Library, they're alleged to be a symbiotic pairing of a spirit and a child that had a near-death experience.
  • The Lovercraftian ZALGO edits, which originated on Something Awful.
  • The nightmare "Whispers in the Dark" posted on the Nightmare Project.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Hyphema, better known as an "eight ball hemorrhage", where blood pools inside the eye and blacks out one's vision.
  • In 2007 the first case of scleral tattooing was reported. This procedure makes it possible to tattoo the whites of your eyes black. Possible side effects include: a permanent black eye as the ink migrates into tissue surrounding the eyeball, terrible headaches, blurry vision, seeing black specks (basically floaters made of ink), extreme light sensitivity, glaucoma and even blindness.
  • On a non-squicky note, it's a matter of light, shadow, and positioning to appear to have these, if only for a moment, with both eyelids and eyebrows shadowing the eyes themselves. This can look creepy, especially in non-flash photographs.
  • Roméo Dallaire, Four-Star Badass of the Canadian Forces mission in Rwanda, described the genocidal Interahamwe militia as having eyes so black, no light could be seen in them (or something along those effects).

Alternative Title(s): Monochromatic Black Eyes


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