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Dark Is Evil

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Break out the holy night-lights.

"From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment."

Darkness is associated with evil, ugliness, scary monsters, and super creeps. This is the reason for the naming of The Dark Side and why Evil Counterpart characters and certain Underground Monkeys often have 'dark' in front of their names.

The logic behind the trope is as follows: most humans fear the dark, at least to some degree; our sight is the sense we depend on the most, and we cannot see well in darkness, therefore a lack of light makes us feel very vulnerable to danger.note  Furthermore, the fact that it's so hard to see in darkness (well, for humans, anyways) has caused some of us to associate darkness with deception. Evil is associated with deception, fitting in with darkness. If you want to be even more obvious about it, give the bad guy a name that has something to do with darkness, shadows or the color black.

Enforced in many movies because all those CGI monsters need to look real. It's easier to cheat realistic CGI in a dark scene where you're not able to scrutinize every single pixel of the creature.

Why Evil Is Not Well-Lit, and why having the sun vanish is a bad sign. See also Light Is Good, Light/Darkness Juxtaposition, Bad Powers, Bad People, Obviously Evil, Darkness Equals Death, Nice Day, Deadly Night, and White Is Pure. That said, stories where Dark Is Evil and Light Is Not Good are commonplace to show that the light can be just as foul as darkness, if not eviller. Dark Is Not Evil is the inversion and the good counterpart of this trope. Another one is The Sacred Darkness, where Dark may or may not be evil, but is just as important as Light.

A Super-Trope to Evil Wears Black. Black is the favorite color of the Card-Carrying Villain, as it is associated with the color of death in the western world. Vampires, witches and necromancers are also traditionally seen in black garb. Dark purple is also often lumped together in this trope as Purple Is the New Black. That being said, a character doesn't have to wear black to qualify for Dark Is Evil. A Evil Sorcerer that whose magic is rooted in shadows and darkness, still qualifies even if he wears a white costume.

Contrast Mysterious Purple if the dark color is a shade of purple and the morality or evilness of the character/place/object is more ambiguous. If a character has darkness-based powers, see Casting a Shadow.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • The Godhand are the Big Bads of the series. All of them are known as Black Angels (or Demons).
    • The white-haired and morally ambiguous Griffith turns into the black-winged demon Femto when he gives himself completely to evil. Although he appears in his old human body as Griffith, with various connections with the light, Femto is his true form underneath this mask.
    • The Beast of Darkness, the entity that constantly pressures Guts towards acts of inhuman butchery, is a monstrous hound made out of black shadows that lives in the darkest part of Guts's subconscious.
  • Black Clover:
    • The devils are malicious beings from the underworld who desire to sow destruction and suffering wherever they go. They appear as black, horned beings and serve as the Greater Scope Villains after the elves.
    • The Spade Kingdom's Dark Triad and their Dark Disciples are this. They are all dressed in black and use the powers of devils, with higher percentage use manifesting horns and dark demonic wings.
  • Bleach:
    • Fourth Espada Ulquiorra Cifer is highly associated with darkness and the color black. His hair is black, and when he transforms into his Ressureccion, he gains a pair of black wings and his Reiatsu turns from dark green to jet black with a green outline. He can fire a jet black colored Cero called Cero Oscruras, though Ulquiorra implies that any Espada can use it when in Resurreccion. In his Ressurection: Segunda Etapa, his lower body is covered in dark fur, his arms are colored black, and a dark substance pours down from his Hollow hole.
    • Kugo Ginjo dresses in all black, has black hair, is manipulative, rude and brutal and freely admits he makes a cliched villain. He is eventually revealed to be the true Arc Villain and that Tsukishima is following his orders. His true personality shows him as a malicious and sadistic individual. During the climax of the arc, he becomes clad in black and white skeletal armor.
    • The Quincy have a preference towards cladding themselves in all white. The Big Bad, Yhwach stands out among his men due to being the only Quincy that wears dark clothing; in particular, a dark maroon cloak which he wears over his white uniform. It makes him look like he's permanently enclosed in shadow. It is also very fitting with his dark, ruthless nature as a being who thrives on violence and death to prolong his own life. He commits a brutal slaughter on Seireitei with many Soul Reapers, including Captain-Commander Yamamoto, losing their lives. He cares for his men not as people, but rather as fuel sources to extend his life when their use innevitably expires. It's strongly implied that the reason the Quincies' war with the Shinigami is solely his doing, rather than it being a natural thing for the two sides to do. After absorbing Mimihagi and the Soul King, his body becomes shrouded in darkness that oozes around him, and he forgoes all of the Quincy's "holy" attacks in favor of mauling his opponents with globs of dark energy. In the final battle of the series, he is bisected by Ichigo, but uses The Almighty to revive himself as a living mass of darkness that attempts to swallow all of Seireitei in dark Reiatsu.
  • Death Note: Unlike the Villain Protagonist Light Yagami, Misa Amane fits this trope. So do most of the Shinigami, especially Ryuk.
  • Digimon:
    • The Always Chaotic Evil Virus Attribute Digimon tend to have a copious amount of either black or red in their color schemes, but more often than not black. There are multiple Evil Counterparts to normally heroic Digimon that are simply just the base form painted black, nine times out of ten with "Black" added as a prefix to their names (Saberdramon and MetalGreymon-Virus being rare exceptions) as well.
    • Dark Evolutions in the anime generally invoke this trope by making the heroic Digimon turn into either dark or very monstrous versions of the the Digimon and they often have the Virus Attribute. Agumon either Dark Evolves into the giant skeletal beast SkullGreymon or the giant dark-blue MetalGreymon rather than his usual orange version of the latter. ShineGreymon's Dark Evolution is a dark version of its Super Mode called Ruin Mode, with black flames being its most prominent feature in contrast to the Burst Mode's crimson flames. GulusGammamon is a black version of BetelGammamon and acts as a Superpowered Evil Side to Gammamon. Megidramon takes the cake, which is Guilmon's Dark Evolution in form of a a giant, monstrous and edgy-looking dragon capable of destroying the Digital World by merely existing, and the evolved form is so extreme that Rapidmon comments on that even for a Virus Digimon, he didn't expect Guilmon to end up looking like that. The heroic equivalent of Megidramon is a Knight in Shining Armor called Dukemon, which is probably the most notable contrast between a Dark Evolution and a heroic evolution.
    • The corrupted Spirits of Darkness turn the wielder into Duskmon and Velgrmon. The former being a black knight with a skull theme, has multiple eyes on his body and has swords instead of hands. The latter is gigantic dark-red bird with three eyes that can create a giant swear of darkness that swallows everything. The true Spirits of Darkness, however, go the Dark Is Not Evil route, where the Human Spirit and Beast Spirit have far more heroic appearances despite being all black (the lion theme that helps).
  • Dragon Ball:
  • In Fairy Tail, there are villainous characters that use the Black Arts and dark related magic for evil.
    • Zeref is the biggest example here, not called "Black Wizard" for nothing; along with other, more common dark magics, he could create his own demons and magical objects that were designed to kill people. He himself wasn't that bad of a guy, though; the evil part came much later.
    • Acnologia is a black dragon and no friend to humans. He's also indiscriminately destructive, seeing both humans and demons to be beneath him. He also seeks to destroy every living this in the world and will not rest until everything and everyone is killed in his wake.
    • Brain/Zero is another, his spells are depicted with a Sickly Green Glow, and most of them even begin with the word "dark".
    • Hades/Precht the Guild Master of Grimoire Heart is the self proclaimed master of the Black Arts developed and preformed by Zeref himself, he has many spells that are part of the Black Arts and created his own spell called the Grimoire Law and behind his eye patch is the Devils Eye which increases his already immense magic power.
    • Everyone in the Taraoros guild is this since they are demons created by Zeref and they use curse power instead of magic power.
    • Bloodman of the Spriggan 12 dresses entirely in blood red and black, and is one of the most ruthless villains in the series.
  • In Hellsing Alucard the vampire has darkness powers. He's also COUNT DRACULA himself.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
  • In My Hero Academia, most villains are this:
    • All For One is one example, he wears dark clothes, has a black helmet, has dark colored Quirks, and is the most powerful villain in the series.
    • Shigaraki’s preferred attire color is black, which serves to emphasize his malice. After the Paranormal Liberation War, Nana's hand, the sole remaining Creepy Souvenir from his family, is scorched black by Endevour's flames when he's trying to overtax Tomura's Healing Factor, and placing it on his face awakens Toura's instinctual Unstoppable Rage when the villains are backed into a corner... and facilitates All for One starting to possess him as the stronger Tomura's anger, the more All For One's grip on his mind and body grows, fulfilling the trope even more.
    • Kurogiri is an obvious one since it’s understandable that a walking mass of dark fog would be one of the villains, in addition he can create dark-colored portals for him and the other villains to go through.
  • My-Otome: the main antagonists use dark-themed GEMs. Nina Wang has an Ultimate Black Diamond, which is said to be representative of her "extreme and mostly selfish" bonds with Sergay and Arika, which is the opposite of the selfless bond between Master and Otome exemplified by the original Pure White Diamond. Tomoe and the rest of the Valkyries use Cursed Obsidians of the Darkness, and Schwartz, named after the German word for black, is evil.
  • Naruto:
    • A cursebite that Orochimaru leaves on Sasuke during the Chunin exams is black, and the expanded marks when he wakes up are also black.
    • The Akatsuki members, for that matter, wear black garbs.
    • Black Zetsu is a pitch-black shadow thing responsible for all of the suffering throughout ninja history.
    • In general, darkness is used as a metaphor for villainy and strong negative emotions, such as hatred, nihilism, and despair. As a result it's strongly associated with villains such as Sasuke, Tobi (by Konan), and Madara.
  • One Piece: Both men who have Dark-related Devil's Fruit powers, Blackbeard (Darkness ala Black Hole) and Gecko Moria (Shadows) are, indeed, not pleasant people.
  • Onegai My Melody: the Big Bad is simply called "The Spirit of Dark Power", and anyone possessed by it will say the word "dark" as a Verbal Tic.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Dark-type Pokémon are common with antagonists and a rarity amongst the protagonists, though Ash does own a Scraggy and a Greninja (both part Dark-types). Zig-Zagged as despite the Dark-type being known as "Evil" in Japan, it's established early on in the series that few Pokémon are outright evil, with ones owned by antagonists simply being loyal to their masters.
    • Played straight with the Iron-Masked Marauder's Dark Balls in Pokémon 4Ever.
  • Pretty Cure: In each season, the Big Bad always has a darkness motif that puts Ansem, Seeker of Darkness! to shame; to the point that the first Big Bad was often put in Fansubs and the short-lived English dub as the Dark King. note . Though that does not rule out some Dark Is Not Evil allies (mostly those through Heel–Face Turn), like Cure Passion and Cure Beat. A few Big Bads have different motifs, however, though some are still dark based. Dune has motifs based off deserts and sand, for example.
  • Sailor Moon has The Dark Kingdom and the Black Moon Clan both of whom are Obviously Evil. There’s also the Malefic Black Crystal which is outright said to be Malefic.
  • Saint Seiya has the Black Saints, plus Hades and his Specters.
  • Space Patrol Luluco: The Blackholians, a race with black holes for heads (as dark as you can get) that set the entire series in motion so that they could break Luluco's heart For the Evulz.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Invoked by Darkness/Nightshroud. Since darkness in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe is stated to be a form of raw potential that is molded by human hearts, Darkness/Nightshroud is implied to be created from The Sacred Darkness specifically because humanity thinks that Dark Is Evil.

  • In Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel, Lucifer's wings are starting to turn black, starting from the outside. This signifies his fall from grace and his becoming the prince of Hell. Additionally, shadows pool on his face and the clouds below him are black.
  • The Last Supper: Judas, the traitor Jesus is alluding to, is framed in shadow to distinguish him from the just apostles in the light.
  • It's easy to find where Judas is in the Sistine Chapel's version of the Last Supper, you just need to pick out the apostle with the black beard, dark clothes, and shadow-framed face.
  • The Sin: The Obviously Evil snake is black and dark-grey that blends into the darkness of Eve's hair and the shadow she is hiding in.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Black follows traditional "evil" aspects, like death, necromancy, demons, betrayal, poison, plague, etc. However, the staff puts a lot of effort stating that Black itself isn't evil, and many of the things it embodies are, context depending, neutral (decay to make way for new growth, shadows) or actively desirable (free will, as opposed to Green's surrender to fate and White's conformity). It's just that 90% of the things associated with it and a lot of Black-aligned characters are kinda awful, though in recent years things are getting more nuanced. Perhaps as a consequence to this, many recent Magic villains have had other mana-alignments, including "good" colors like Green and White.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Darkseid (pronounced "dark side") is one of the most utterly and wholeheartedly evil and dangerous beings in the setting.
    • One of Doctor Fate's villains is a man named Ian Karkull who can control shadow magic.
    • Among the various differently colored forces in Green Lantern, there are several who tend to favor evil methods, such the Sinestro Corps, the Red Lantern Corps, and Agent Orange. However, the worst by far is the Black Lantern Corps, an army of Zombie Mooks who can all regenerate From a Single Cell. Their ultimate goal is The End of the World as We Know It, with "the world" in this case being every living thing in the universe. They are so evil that every other color, good and bad, teamed-up to stop them. Though Geoff Johns has described the Black Lanterns as being Above Good and Evil. To them, they're simply fighting off the light, which they see as intruding in the universe.
    • In Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, Diana's outfit for the Contest is all-black, and she ends up unleashing monsters and inadvertently killing her fellow Amazons to win.
  • 2000 AD:
    • In the Strontium Dog "Max Bubba" story, Bubba's Vikings all wear black armor. The (somewhat) more good Vikings that side with Johnny have rather paler armor and weapons.
    • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges are undead lawmen from an Alternate Universe who are obsessed with destroying all life. When they took over Mega City One during the "Necropolis" arc, their allies the Sisters of Death blacked out all sunlight in the city to make it as cold and dark as their black hearts.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Doctor Strange: Dormammu and Umar, rulers of the Dark Dimension. It's been implied that the Dark Dimension is something of a Fisher Kingdom, however, and millennia of Dormammu's rule has made it into the nasty place it is today. Despite the name, the Dark Dimension is a colorful Acid-Trip Dimension.
    • The Incredible Hercules: Amatsu-Mikaboshi's true form is a mass of infinite darkness, specifically the Primordial Chaos kind that preceeded all of reality, and is an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Blackheart, the "son" of Mephisto. He's a monstrous jet-black abomination spawned from the collected evil of a Wretched Hive.
  • Astro City: Invoked in "The Dark Age", when a dark energy from another dimension enters people's minds as they revel in Darker and Edgier behavior.
  • The Smurfs: In "The Smurf Menace", the Gray Smurfs wear darker clothes to show that they are Evil Twin versions of the original Smurfs.
  • In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Eclipso's strength and powers only work in the dark, and he is a cruel villain who generally operates by taking over their opponents.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Jei-san. Let's see: black wolf, black kimono, the blade of his spear is black... yeah, definitely not a good guy. As if to emphasize this, any blade he touches turns black.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction; the underground and darkness are associated with the antagonists. When the Many and Keizer Ghidorah do come to the surface, they darken the skies with apocalyptic thunderstorms. Inverted by Monster X: they have near-black flesh from their second form onwards (in contrast to Ghidorah's and its other "children's" gold), but this fic's incarnation of Monster X is very much one of the good guys.
  • The Black Stallion: Black ponies hold a heavy stigma in a culture where most come in shades of the rainbow. Their lack of color is seen as a lack of a soul:
    In the ponies' culture, black foals were despised. The color black was the absence of color, a sign that the Rainbow was not with the child. To have a black body was crime enough, but to have no shred of color on your person like the black stallion was unspeakable. Such an equine was labeled a demon-foal. Most did not survive past foalhood. When they did, they were outcasts. So went the ways of the herds.
  • Subverted in A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script: Although Morgoth is called the Dark One by other Ainur, he is able to manipulate darkness, and his servants wear black, darkness isn't evil per se. The same as Light, Darkness was created by the Children of Eru's pleasure before being usurped by Morgoth, which is because Luthien declares she isn't afraid of reclaim their birthright.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    • Thunderstorm, one of the most competent villains in the series' largely-harmless Rogues Gallery, wears a black lab coat and has jet-black hair. It's even lampshaded:
      Socrates: Wow, this guy is obsessed with black.
    • Ironically, the negative figment of Socrates (faced inside his mind) also fits this trope.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl wears black clothes, in contrast with her blue-clothed and heroic genetic template, and is a murderous, remorseless psychopath. Also, when the Legion of Super-Heroes travels to Hell to stop Mordru, the Essence of Evil is depicted as an endless mass of jet-black energy.
  • Lux-Umbra Magna Auguratricis is more or less all about this: The main antagonists are Shadows, they come from cores of Darkness, There's a creature similar to Gemini named Divisu who's a black Gemini with golden eyes, The Lux Auras have evil counterparts in the Umbra Auras, who also have black uniforms and golden eyes, and so on.
  • The Night Unfurls:
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows: The Shadows are dark in nature and come from a realm hidden in the darkness. They are portrayed as evil and self-serving.
  • PMD: Another Perspective: The Rocket grunt becomes the Dark-type Purrloin during her mission to the world of Pokemon, and she retains her mindset that Pokemon exist primarily for Team Rocket to profit off of.
  • In Pokémon Strangled Red, Steven's face turns jet black after he tries to bring Miki back from the dead.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: The Xenomorphs are predatory aliens that hide in the shadows to attack the crew of the Nostromo.
  • Attack the Block: The ferocious alien creatures have near-vantablack fur. If not for their glowing blue teeth, it'd be impossible to even tell which way they're facing.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy: Surely, a group called the League of Shadows will do nothing but good deeds, right? Right...?
  • The titular Death Ship, a former Nazi POW transport, looks dark and ominous and is evil all over, being controlled by the malevolent ghosts of its former crew.
  • Dracula (1931): Dracula himself wears clothing that is as dark as he is diabolical, namely, a black cape, a tailcoat with matching pants, and black shoes. The only articles he wears which are not black are his white shirt, and white bow-tie.
  • In Erik the Viking, Halfdan the Black got his nickname from being evil.
  • In How to Murder Your Wife, Jack Lemmon's Italian bride stays up late watching American movies on TV and keeps asking "Which are the good guys, the white hats or the black hats?"
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:The Indoraptor is a black hybrid dinosaur with gold strips down its sides, that more closely resembles a Veliociraptor, and in contrast to the Indominus, shows a sadistic pleasure in playing with its prey before killing it.
  • Legend (1985): The demonic villain Darkness is a personification of the concept and wants to extinguish all life so he can subsist in the dead icebound world.
  • Little Dead Rotting Hood: The wolves in the movie have pitch black fur, and are responsible for the deaths of numerous townsfolk. Out of their wolf forms, the werewolves wear black clothes.
  • Malcolm X: Deconstructed. In the prison library scene, Charles Dutton's character gives a monologue about the implicit association of darkness with evil and lightness with good in the English language, which has a profound effect on the man who would later name himself X.
  • Maleficent: The eponymous character initially plays the trope straight, but simultaneously fluctuates between it and Dark Is Not Evil. She ultimately pulls a Heel–Face Turn and goes with the latter.
  • Mandy (2018): The Black Skulls are a gang of extremely sadistic bikers high on a really nasty drug, and there are implications that they may not even be human anymore. They wear almost completely black uniforms and are always in shadow or silhouette against a blue, blinding red or fiery background.
  • In Man of Steel, all of Zod's technology is a metallic black.
  • MonsterVerse: The Stinger of Kong: Skull Island uses this trope when images of ancient cave paintings of the next movie's four main Kaiju are shown: whereas the benevolent Godzilla and Mothra's paintings are light-colored, Rodan and Ghidorah's paintings are black, signifying their malevolent nature (Ghidorah especially).
  • Nosferatu has a pale villain, but he needs darkness to survive. It's from this film that all modern legends of vampires and daylight not going together stem. In the original novel, Dracula was able to walk around in human form in the daylight.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West: Frank is the Trope Codifier for classic westerns, along with Angel Eyes. Frank always wears a black hat, and sometimes a black coat, something very typical for villains in western movies.
  • In Prehistoric Women, the brunettes are cruel, wicked people (although the dialogue indicates that they are, to some extent, repaying the treatment they recieved when they were the slaves of the fairhaired people).
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • The bad guys' starship, the Vengeance, has a jet black hull.
    • The villainous Harrison dresses in black clothing.
  • Star Wars: The Dark Side, the Force's generally corrupting and destructive aspect. Darth Vader wears a dark costume in the original trilogy and Darth Sideous wears a cloak so his face is in shadow. Word of God is that Luke wears a light costume and it gets progressively darker as he goes from innocence to accepting the dark side as something that exists and overcoming it as opposed to avoiding or destroying it. In the prequels, Anakin favors darker clothing than the rest of the Jedi Order, even before his turn to the Dark Side.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder uses juxtaposition of Thor and Jane Foster, heroes wearing colorful and shiny armor, against the dreary, washed-out and bleak shades of Gorr the God Butcher and his shadow monsters. A crucial signifier of the villain's might is the Shadow Realm, a black and white, colorless world of shadows, where he is so strong the darkness allows him to beat the heroes.
  • Unbreakable: Deconstructed. Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson) lectures a buyer in his comic art gallery on the appearance of a supervillain as opposed to a superhero, including the Dark Is Evil trope. After The Reveal where Elijah turns out to be a mass murderer, the implication is that Elijah convinced himself he was a supervillain because of how he resembled this and other Villain Tropes.
  • Under the Skin: Played with in the (very Mind Screw) movie adaptation. The aliens (who kidnap humans and remove their insides, leaving only the skins) are throughly associated with darkness: the room to which the men are lured is black, the liquid that traps and processes them is a black oil, most of their illumination comes from red lights, and their real forms are black skinned humanoids with yellow eyes. However, it's also subverted, as not only does the protagonist seem to develop a conscience, but she also only reveals her real form at the very end, well past her ostensible Heel–Face Turn.
  • Upside Down: The Up Top Transworld employees tend to wear darker colors. Subverted by Bob Boruchowitz.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: The black background of the "Destroy" poster (which promotes the villains) signifies this.

  • Pops up often in An Outcast in Another World. Rob has a very literal fear of the dark due to being traumatized by his passage through the void, and as such he despises complete darkness. Additionally, the skies above the Blighted lands are unnaturally dark and signify that you really, really shouldn’t go there.
  • The Bad Unicorn Trilogy: The Maelshadow, and most of the characters who work for it. Even the place where the Maelshadow is from, a world called the Shadrus, is this.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Among the many avatars of the evil god Nyarlathotep are the Black Man and the Black Pharaoh. No, not someone with an African appearance. His skin is described as looking pitch black, like the light was sucked out of it.
  • The Divine Comedy: The final circle of Hell, the most fundamental representation of evil, is first referenced as the "più oscuro" (darkest) circle just before Dante has to have his eyes closed to survive Medusa's glare. When he actually reaches the Ninth Circle, he describes himself shivering in that "l’etterno rezzo," a term meaning "eternal shadow."
  • Thud!!: Discworld Dwarfs, spending so much time underground, have a whole mythology around spirits of darkness, some of which are evil and some of which aren't — and the Big Bad of the story is the Summoning Dark.
  • An Ember in the Ashes: Is it any coincidence that the Nightbringer is the greatest threat to the Scholar nation?
  • In Book III of The Faerie Queene, Prince Arthur goes on a monologue detailing how night is a corruption from Hell. He blames it for hiding the crimes of sinners, obscuring the beauty of God's creation, and giving the wicked rest while leaving the scrupulous turning in bed in fear, guilt, and sorrow.
  • Forest Kingdom: The Darkwood, a demon-infested blot of absolute darkness. Later in book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), it expands to cover everything.
  • The Genesis Code: Umbra Domini (Latin for "The Shadow of the Lord"), a right-wing reactionary Catholic group whose members are the main antagonists.
  • The Great Zoo of China: The black dragons are the ringleaders of the dragon revolt, and as the final confrontation with the superking and superemperor shows, they're the only dragon subspecies to be actively malicious towards humans instead of just predators following their instincts.
  • Gone: The Big Bad is sometimes called "the Darkness".
  • Harry Potter: Voldemort is referred to as the Dark Lord, and the in-universe category of dark creatures or "demons" (as explained in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) consists of any creature that can use magic and mainly uses said magic for malicious intent. Dementors are the most promenent members in the books.
  • James Herbert:
  • John Carter of Mars: The First-Born, who can only be described as drow ON MARS, are a dark-skinned race of pirates and raiders that regularly enslave outsiders and also practice cannibalism. Interestingly, their archenemies are the White Martians (who represent Light Is Not Good) and both factions are introduced as antagonists but once John Carter dethrones the First-Born's mad tyrant, they become friendlier.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord Sauron is the most powerful and evil entity in the Third Age of the world, casting a shadow over all the lands his armies corrupt and raze.
      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    • The Silmarillion: Before him was his own master, Morgoth. Some of Tolkien's unpublished writings imply that dark is associated with evil because Morgoth's ultimate goal is to tear down the world until it is reduced to the original primordial void.
    • Averted with Tolkien's Dark Elves, the Moriquendi. While "Dark Elf" has come to mean evil in nearly every subsequent High Fantasy, the Moriquendi are simply Elves that never went to Aman and never saw the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. They're no worse than any other group of Elves.
  • Last Mage: Some of Rhianna's minions are black otherworldly things, others are shadows, and her own black dresses are described lovingly.
  • Madeleine L'Engle uses this trope in several of her books, starting with A Wrinkle in Time where the Black Thing covers the world of Camazotz and threatens the planet Earth. In later books, the Echthroi (repeatedly refered to as "the powers of darkness") also gain an association with a horrible sound and a disgusting smell.
  • In Doctor Who novel Matrix, the London of an alternate 1963 is permeated with a coalescence of airborne shadows. It feeds on the turmoil sown by a near-century of militia-ruled poverty; and inhabits corpses to shred the living.
  • The Old Kingdom series is an example of both Dark Is Evil and Dark Is Not Evil, as necromancers and the Sealed Evil in a Can that they represent are the main antagonists, but then again, the protagonists also use Free Magic (which tends to be pretty nasty) to fight it.
  • Paradise Lost: The primary imagery for Satan and other demons is unadulterated darkness.
    No light, but rather darkness visible
  • Conan the Barbarian: In "The Phoenix on the Sword", the high priest, having deduced the story of a demon is not All Just a Dream, calls on Mitra to guard them against the powers of darkness.
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned, Darkness is one of the two "supra-elements", surrounding and infusing the four elemental magics. The dark aspect of each mage's power tempts him or her to abuse it, and must be mastered with training and meditation. On top of that, it is possible to become a hoshek, a mage aligned with Darkness itself. This grants access to all four elements, but With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • In The Rape of the Lock, Umbriel (whose name means "Shadowy") goes to the Underworld (the pit of Ill-Humor) to bring up a bag of temper tantrums to create even more chaos.
  • Shaman Blues: The villain has all the walls in her house painted black, and no windows to shine light into. And all this dried blood from the sacrifices.
  • Shattered Twilight: Played with; in the backstory (before the Shattering), the god of night was a benevolent and powerful ally in holding evil at bay. In the current age, however, his total disappearance during or after the Shattering has made night incredibly dangerous. The setting also has a strong association between darkness and demons, which are portrayed as writhing, moving darkness.
  • In Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, the vampires. Their influence on their prey is even called the dark.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact, the presence of the blood wolf causes the street lights to go out as it races by.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • When villains die, they go to a forest of pure darkness. And when they fight the Clans, there is a prophecy that describes the Dark Forest/Place of No Stars as "the darkness that lasts forever".
    • Also, most of the main villains have been dark brown tabby toms, for some reason. Even Thistleclaw, a gray and white cat, accidetally got described as dark brown a couple times. Once fans pointed this out, villains began to have different pelt colors: Sol and Mapleshade are torties and Dark Forest cat Snowtuft is white.
    • Also seen with the characters' names: Darkstripe is evil, Darktail is evil, Blackstar starts out as evil, and Blackclaw isn't a particularly nice cat and tends to support Hawkfrost. ShadowClan cats have the worst record for having evil cats, and Secrets of the Clans made their founder Shadow the aggressive and unpleasant one of the original four leaders, though Warriors Dawn Of The Clans makes it more complicated.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Big Bad is called the Dark One (there are also other names, but Dark One is the most common one) and the evil side, i.e. everyone and everything associated with the Dark One is referred to as Shadow. Human servants of the Shadow are called Darkfriends, one name for the creatures that command the universe's Orc-equivalents is Shadowmen, and...yeah, maybe you get the point by now.
  • Wicked Lovely: The Dark Faery court, although this is possibly a subversion — they are more cruel than evil and need to be to survive. They are essencially emotional parasites, but Irial truly loved Niall and Leslie (although he was very cruel to them, using Leslie as an emotional conduit and stripping her of emotion and free wiil and allowing his servants and guards to both phsically and sexually abuse Niall), and although Gabriel comes into the "abusing Niall" category, although only physical, he was NOT one of the fey who raped Niall - this is a common misunderstanding — and can be incredibly kind to his halfling children. Niall himself comes more under Dark Is Not Evil, although the injustices of the past push him more and more towards the moral grey area Iri and Gabe occupy.
  • Shades of Magic: The Big Bad of the trilogy is the "Shadow King" Osaron, a Living Shadow that consumed one world and has set his sights on another. His name even means "Darkness" in the dead Antari tongue. Best exemplified when he merges with the magical river in Red London, turning it inky black and summoning a dark fog that mind-controls people who breathe it.
  • This is a major element of the setting in Shadow of the Conqueror alongside Light Is Good. The de facto religion of Hamahra, Lightseeking, seems to be based on this.
  • The Black Spider: The titular creature is a big, black demonic monster which rampages through a valley, killing both humans and animals indiscriminately.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Dark magic is actually a state secret because of how bad it can be. You can't use it unless you perform a human sacrifice and it allows you to alter the emotions or memories of anyone you're in physical contact with. It can do significantly more dangerous things than this as well. That being said, neither of the dark magic users we see are 100% evil.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • In a TV movie on the making of the Vietnam Memorial in DC, people kept objecting to it because it's black and therefore bad and makes their sacrifice seem bad. A black army officer stands up and reminds him of his years of service and that if anyone makes another comment on how "black is bad" they are going to take it outside.

By Series:

  • It comes with Unfortunate Implications that the dark-skinned Eartha Kitt in Batman (1966) is by far the meanest puddytat of the three actresses.
  • In Babylon 5, the Psi Cops wear all-black uniforms, the Nightwatch wear black armbands, and the Shadows' ships are blacker than the darkest night. Londo's costume also subtly darkens as he becomes more involved with the forces of chaos.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the outfits of many vamps take on this trope. Also, The Bringers, servants of the First Evil, all wear black robes.
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk primarily wears all-black suits for the first part of season 1. He later starts wearing an even fancier gray suit after he begins a relationship with Vanessa, who is often wearing a white dress to contrast Fisk. Likewise, Fisk is fond of a painting of a white background which he says embodies his loneliness. This is averted when he embraces his evil and becomes the Kingpin, whereupon he's always shown wearing white.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The White Guardian and the Black Guardian. The White Guardian is the epitome of good and dresses in white clothing, the Black Guardian is the epitome of evil and dresses in black clothing.
    • "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" plays with it: The Vashta Nerada living in the Library kill people by stripping them to skeletons, and outright state that they are "not kind". However, the Doctor points out that the aggressiveness of the swarm in the Library is unusual, as on most worlds they're largely benign and live off roadkill.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • House Bolton members dress themselves in black and grey armor, in contrast to their book counterparts who dress in pink and red. Their sigil is a red flayed man in a black background, rather than pink like in the books.
    • Tywin Lannister favours black leather even though his family colours are red and gold. His daughter, Cersei, adopts his style of dress when she, an already unpleasant person, descends over the Moral Event Horizon and into complete irredeemable evil and kills hundreds of people in the burning of the Sept of Baelor.
    • Drogon has black-and-red scales and is the most aggressive and blood-thirsty of the three dragons. Subverted, in that he serves the heroic-leaning Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Glee, obviously, makes use of this, although with an interesting variation; every single male character who is an asshole wears black. The only exceptions are the jock bullies, who wear typical jock attire, and the occasional Anti-Hero. The (usually) unambiguously heroic Kurt Hummel does wear dark purple, but he does so less and less, so the Dark Is Not Evil factor probably decreased.
  • On Lexx, His Divine Shadow might as well wear a placard around his (black-clad) neck announcing that he is an Evil Overlord. Between the title, the black robe, and the decor of his planet-sized Evil Tower of Ominousness, it's pretty obvious.
  • Lost: An extremely blatant example — Jacob wears white and the Man in Black/smoke monster wears black.
  • Lost Girl: Played with. The two factions of Fae given the series are the Dark Fae and the Light Fae. And while both sides are manipulative show Fantastic Racism towards humans, the Dark Fae have far worse policies when it comes to humans, and an over darker morality. On the other hand, several Dark Fae are shown to be decent people, and don't display any evil characteristics.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Borg, probably the most powerful enemy on the franchise, not only are Borg Cubes very dark save for the Sickly Green Glow, they also wear dark colors.
    • In the Mirror Universe, Terran ships are darker than their Federation counterparts. This is explain in Star Trek: Discovery as the Terrans are not just an alternate universe "evil" version of our universe's humans, but they're a different species with some minor biological difference which causes more sociopathic behavior and sensibility to bright lights.
    • Klingon ships are also generally presented as much darker. The first time the interior of a Klingon ship is shown was on the TOS-era movies, by Star Trek: The Next Generation the Klingon are allies but still use internally dark ships.
    • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine the Terok Nor space station was considerably darker during the Cardassian control of it. Why was this is never explained as Cardassians are said to like hot temperatures but nothing has been said about darkness. All other time we see the interior of Cardassian ships, stations and buildings the lighting is normal (if a little blue-ish).


    Myths & Religion 
  • In Zoroastrianism, The Anti-God Angra Mainyu is often associated with darkness.
  • The Bible:
    • Hell is described as the "outer darkness" in Matthew 8:12.
    • Inverted with Satan/Lucifernote , aka the Morning Star. As well as by (the false idol?) Moloch, which is appropriately identified as a solar deity.
    • A borderline example occurs in the synoptic Gospels' (Matthew, Mark and Luke) descriptions of the crucifixion, with the sky darkening as Jesus dies.

  • In Kakos Industries, they play this trope as satirically as possible. They regularly hold a Darkest Universe Festival in which they use collective Evil thoughts to lure someone into commiting an atrocious act and apparently everything is made out of a material called Dark Mega.
    Corin Deeth The III:They say there's no use crying over spilled ink because everything you own is black anyway.
  • The Magnus Archives: Shows up, along with most [fears, here, especially where the People's Church of the Divine Host are concerned. Although, to them, Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good. One of the People's Church's followers was a profilic Serial Killer.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Downplayed with Simon, as his black hair and clothes indicate that he's a jerk rather than evil. Played straight with his alter ego, the Dark Dragon, who's fully evil and shows it with an all-black ensemble.
    • Played With in regards to Sebastian. He has an eldritch spirit living inside him that grants him the ability to control shadows. Sebastian is a nice person, but said spirit is always encouraging him to take the most pragmatic course of action, which includes murder, and she believes that he's the cast member most likely to come to terms with having to kill.

  • One study found that National Hockey League teams that wore black were more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls. The same likely applies to other sports.
  • Canadian figure skater Beres Clements performed to the Angels & Demons soundtrack for his long program during the 2020-2021 competitive season, and the black part of his costume represents the demons in the title.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The drow ("dark elves"), distinguished by their coal-black skin, are the cruelest and most evil of the elven races, living in a society founded on slave labor and rampant treachery and regularly engaging in raids and warfare against other species.
    • Black dragons are far and away the most evil and foul-tempered of the dragons, far more so than even the other habitually evil chromatic dragons.
    • Across the myriad settings are multiple examples of malevolent gods associated with night, darkness or shadow. One of the more well-known examples is Shar, from the Forgotten Realms, who embodies the primordial darkness from before creation began and who calls upon her faithful to snuff out hope, joy, trust and love wherever possible, ultimately seeking to annihilate all that is and bring back the endless darkness of before.
    • The Church of the Sacred Flame believes that the Shadow Cults, those who worship the Exalted Darkness, the cosmic opposite to their own Sacred Flame, are universally evil. And, in fairness, many of the dark spirits collectively lumped together under the term are malevolent monsters who desire to snuff out all light, either spiritual or literal.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Dark Elves are the High Elves' crueler kin, living in a society founded on slavery and the worship of the god of war and murder and regularly raiding other species for wealth and fresh slaves.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Dark Eldar are cruel, sadistic, murderous raiders and rightly feared throughout the galaxy for their vicious raids and the terrible tortures they inflict on their prisoners.
    • The Black Legion of traitor Space Marines belonged to the Primarch Horus, and was the first to follow him in his fall.
    • An Invoked Trope with the Night Lords. Even before they fell to Chaos, their renegade behaviour and shocking psychopathic and sadistic tendencies earned them summary destruction.
  • Exalted: The Ebon Dragon. A fifty-mile-long dragon made of the shadows of everything, he's also the inventor and embodiment of the concept of being a treacherous, sadistic, needlessly cruel scheming asshole. In his case, Dark is so evil that it even predates the codified concept of Evil (which in Exalted is best described as 'acting like the Ebon Dragon'). Before becoming the Ebon Dragon, he existed as an entity referred to as the Dragon's Shadow.
  • VOR The Maelstrom: Inverted in the beliefs of the Zykhee — being evolved from a nocturnal species, their culture believes that that Dark Is Good and Light Is Evil.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade gives us the Lasombra, the clan that leads the Sabbat and has the unique Discipline of Obtenebration. Not only is the darkness most often wielded by wicked people, but it's implied to be wicked itself — the clan's founder, a right bastard himself, is said to have merged with the Abyss that powers Obtenebration, and things can occasionally be called out of it that serve as twisted mirrors of a vampire's sense of morality.
  • Princess: The Hopeful has both this trope and Light Is Good in full effect in its naming schemes. The eponymous Hopeful draw their power from the Light, a Sentient Cosmic Force that embodies virtue, hope, and the desire to make the world a better place, while their chief enemies are the minions of the All-Consuming Darkness, a force that embodies despair and malice and everything that the Light is not. And many of the powers wielded by creatures of the Darkness are tied to or invoke physical darkness and cold.
    • Similarly, the five Courts of Princesses that have fully repented from their former failings are known as the Radiant Courts, while the three Courts whose philosophies still incorporate fundamental moral compromises are referred to as the Twilight Courts.
  • Ars Magica: The infernal aura of Unholy Ground becomes one point stronger while the sun is down, which can be enough to create more overt and dangerous manifestations of evil.
  • Res Arcana: Among the colour-coded essences, Death is the black-coded one. It's associated with many evil-flavoured cards, like the Corrupt Altar, Gates of Hell, Cursed Forge, and almost everything related to Demons.

    Theme Parks 

  • BIONICLE plays this straight, but also subverts it: every character in the Matoran Universe has an inner balance of light and shadow. Those characters that tap into their dark side or are drained of their inner light turn evil as a result, gaining shadow-based powers and becoming darker in their coloration. At the same time, thanks to Color-Coded Elements, some element-based good guys also sport dark colors and a handful are almost completely black.

    Web Animation 
  • Chadam: In addition to living in the shadows, everything about Viceroy is dark: he has dark gray skin, black clothing, black tentacles, and uses black and purple magic against Chadam.
  • Dreamscape:
    • Unlike Keela, Kaila's demonic look and powers are played straight.
    • The Master of the Dammed, being the one who created Kaila and gave Keela her powers, is an obvious example. He's a living skeleton who rules over the Unworld and can turn people into demons.


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The main villain from Samurai Jack, Aku, is essentially a giant shadow demon, and things under his control are often artistically depicted as being wrangled by black veins. There's another element to his darkness as well, with robot enemies having black thick oil instead of blood, and his effect on the corrupting effect on the world is a pollution of it in some cases.
    • Aku takes it to the logical extreme in that he is essentially dark and evil itself incarnate. This actually serves as a weakness for him: He's completely incapable of doing anything remotely good, to the point that it makes him predictable and bites him in the behind when doing good would have benefited him more yet he couldn't help but be evil.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Played With. The Horde has the Black Garnet, which controls shadows, and which they use for their magic and world domination plans. On the other hand, it's not that the Runestone itself is evil, just that overuse of one Runestone throws the others out of balance, and the Horde has been abusing its powers heavily. When Adora activates the Runestones in the climax of the first season, it throws off the Horde tech siphoning from it.
    • Also, the Horde's fashion sense (in those that seem to express one) trends towards dark colors. The princesses prefer pastels or bright colors and the two that don't (Entrapta and Scorpia) went Horde.
    • Averted with Horde Prime, whose chief colors are white and bright green, and who is the most evil person in the series. When Adora exorcises him from Hordak, however, he appears as a black mass with various eyes.
  • Zigzagged with Raven from Teen Titans (2003). She's not evil, but she is part demon, and that's the side of the family her powers come from. This means she has to maintain incredibly strict self-control, especially while using said powers, lest she lose control of them or, worse, unleash her Superpowered Evil Side.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is the first clue Jet (synonym for "black") is not such a good guy.
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long: The Dark Dragon, is listed as the only dragon to have gone bad, and is listed as the #1 threat to the magical world. For comparison, the Huntsman, the Big Bad of most of the show, is listed as #3.
  • Nightmare Moon from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic played this very straight, being a jet black Mad God who usurped Princess Celestia and plunged the world into eternal night. While her true self, Princess Luna, isn't evil, Word of God confirms that the rest of Equestria is still afraid of her partly because of her actions as Nightmare Moon and partly because they still believe in this trope. King Sombra takes this trope even further. He is described as having a "heart as black as night" and was able to subjugate an entire empire on his own with dark magic. Even then, the comics show that he actually Used to Be a Sweet Child, but his constant treatment by the other Crystal Ponies and his discovery of being an Eldritch Abomination eventually made him snap and invoke Then Let Me Be Evil.
    • The Pony of Shadows, a creature of legend and the main antagonist of "Shadow Play", can be marked down as the literal interpretation of the trope. The Pony of Shadows is actually a small unicorn by the name of Stygian but bonded with a mysterious destructive force that is Made of Evil, formed of shadow energy and made powerful by Stygian's anger over being rejected by the ponies he thought were his friends. Stygian himself has no want of being a monster but the dark force that has consumed him forces him to be such and by the end he is saved by Twilight and the other ponies while the shadow is banished to the Limbo realm without him.
  • In The Super Hero Squad Show episode featuring Chthon (a grey, wrinkled, vaguely demonic man with claws, pointy teeth, and glowing eyes)...
    Iron Man: So, what's your prognosis, Doctor?
    [Doctor Strange sizes up Chthon, who is cackling and rubbing his hands]
    Doctor Strange: He's evil...?
  • In Thunder Cats 2011, Big Bad Sorcerous Overlord Mumm-Ra is usually a grey, red-eyed, withered little Humanoid Abomination in Shapeshifter Default Form, but his personal tank and the weaponry and armor he possesses in One-Winged Angel form are deep black and chased with Tron Lines.
  • Ben 10:
    • Kevin Levin, who wears dark colored clothing, however after his Heel–Face Turn as a teenager in black, this trope is more like Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Ghostfreak, Ben's scariest alien, turns out to be evil with a mind of his own and becomes an Enemy Without. When it's only Ben in control, however, he's just Creepy Good.
  • In Winx Club, practically every major villain is a dark magic practitioner.
    • The Trix have darker color schemes and use dark magic frequently. It's even Darcy's specialty. They wish to take over the Magic Dimension by using the powerful Dragon Flame.
    • Lord Darkar's body is pure black, and he's encased in dark red armor. He wants to take over the Magic Dimension with the power of the Realix, and is willing to hurt anyone is his way.
    • The Wizards of the Black Circle, in addition to having black in their group name, all wear black or dark grey clothes. They wish to take over Earth and imprison all the Earth fairies.
  • Darkness is a rather large motif in Over the Garden Wall, where its associated with despair, callousness, cruelty, and theshow's Big Bad, a monster framed in shadow called The Beast.
  • Pibby: The Eldritch Abomination terrorizing the multiverse takes the form of a black ink-like blob with glitches. A guideline for the show refers to it as "The Darkness," and it's called "DArkn∊∬" [sic] by the description of the show's YouTube trailer.


The Dark Presence

The Dark Presence is an unambiguously evil entity that is manipulating everyone so that it consumes the world.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkIsEvil

Media sources: