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Evil Cripple

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The man who would be God (with stairs being his Hell).

"You can't even manipulate your own body. What's left? The manipulation of everyone around you?"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent, "Inert Dwarf"

An Evil Cripple is a villain or generally morally perturbed character who also suffers a debilitating physical condition, often taking the form of paralysis requiring the use of a wheelchair. The Evil Cripple doubles as the Genius Cripple a lot, providing an intellectual threat to compensate for their physical frailty. Alternatively, the Evil Cripple can become a physical threat if they use futuristic enhancements to overcome their disability, such as replacing missing or defective limbs with super-strong Powered Armor or cybernetic parts.

There are a variety of reasons this trope exists.

The first is rooted in eugenics-based ideas linking disability or other physical deformities with a "natural" predisposition towards madness, criminality, vice, etc. The Rule of Symbolism is often at work here, since a "crippled" body can be used to represent a "crippled" soul — and indeed, a disabled villain is usually put in contrast to a morally upright and physically "perfect" hero. Whether consciously on the part of the writer or not, this can reinforce cultural ideas of disability making a person inherently inferior or negative, much in the same way the Sissy Villain or Depraved Homosexual associate sexual and gender nonconformity with evil.

In some stories, especially those featuring superheroes, the contrast between a hero with super strength and a villain who is physically handicapped and instead relies on his brainpower plays on the archetype of brain vs. brawn. It also provides a buffer against the standard "solution" of punching the bad guy out since the hero would look pretty low hitting a cripple compared to an able-bodied villain. These stories also tend to feature a Freudian Excuse in the villain's background—either trauma from an accident, or, if they were born disabled, envy of the able-bodied, that is the cause of their hatred for the world.

Many villainous pirates have Hook Hands, Seadog Peg Legs, and Eyepatches of Power, though this may simply be to reinforce their badassery, a case of Handicapped Badass rather than Evil Cripple as these things are rarely shown to handicap them much. These attributes seem to be cases of Follow the Leader; the Seadog Peg Leg originated with Long John Silver of Treasure Island and the Hook Hand with Captain Hook of Peter Pan, and later writers just based their pirates on these guys.

A common subversion of this trope is when the character is revealed to not actually be crippled, leading to a Throwing Off the Disability scene, but was exploiting that image to maintain a cover or give the illusion of helplessness. Given that, some of these examples contain spoilers.

This trope may overlap with Handicapped Badass in the case of particularly powerful crippled baddies, and with Dark Lord on Life Support in particularly extreme examples. See Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency for villains who are intellectually rather than physically disabled. See also Depraved Dwarf; Eunuchs Are Evil; Hook Hand; Red Right Hand; Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic; Good Scars, Evil Scars; Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery; Four Eyes, Zero Soul.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Area 88 manga and OVA, have Farina, an elderly arms dealer who uses a wheelchair.
  • Kagari Izuriha from the anime Black★Rock Shooter is in a wheelchair and homebound after being hit by a car when she was a kid, and is a possessive girl who would strike at anyone who got too close to her friend Yomi. After the death of her supposed "other self", Kagari was able to walk again, and it's strongly implied that her using the chair even after she had physically healed was a combination of a psychosomatic condition and invoking helplessness to guilt Yomi into staying with her.
  • Quincy Rosencreutz of Bubblegum Crisis 2040 is stuck in a complex life-support system, controlling his company entirely by means of a voicebox. While definitely not a straight-up good guy, he is contrasted with his ever viler underling, Brian J. Mason, who eventually betrays him. They both share the same medical condition, but Mason avoided the life support system by having Boomer-technology installed in his body.
  • One of the Code Geass manga spin-offs makes Nunnally a straight-up Yandere whose hatred for the world results in another personality developing.
  • In Doubt, the one who killed Rei Hazama and trapped the rest of the cast in the Rabbit Doubt game turns out to be Rei herself, who was Faking the Dead.
  • Played with in the Izaya Orihara spin-off from Durarara!!. After the end of Durarara, Izaya was badly injured both physically and psychologically during his final fight with Shizuo, leaving him unable to walk. He is amoral in all regards, willing to mess with anyone just to see what will happen. However, it is explicitly stated that while that is true, Izaya is neither good nor evil and simply does as he pleases.
  • Mariko from Elfen Lied has spent most of her life in isolation and has extreme atrophy in her legs, so she has to get around in a wheelchair. She also gets a scene of crawling around on the ground helplessly, though she, like all of the Diclonius, also falls squarely in Woobie territory.
  • Any evil automail user from Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • There's a terrorist leader named Bald with an eye patch and an automail arm that conceals a knife and a double-barreled rifle. (Bald didn't appear in the 2009 anime, though.)
    • Exclusive to Fullmetal Alchemist (2003):
      • Near the end, Wrath lost his right arm and left leg when they were pulled through the Gate of Truth. note  Ed took pity on him and asked Rose to rescue him. At the end of the anime, we see him living with the Rockbells, fitted with automail. In the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, he's still wearing the automail.
      • The antagonistic military man Frank Archer, who lost half his body in Lior and had to have his whole left side replaced by automail.
  • Gauron became one late in Full Metal Panic!, as the result of injuries sustained during the first season finale. He still managed to set in motion events that led to Kaname's near death at the hands of one of his Creepy Twins, the destruction of a major portion of downtown Hong Kong, and the deaths of multiple high-ranking Mithril and Amalgam personnel.
  • Kirie Fujou in the Garden of sinners is an ill girl in a hospital and the last member of the main branch of the Fujou clan, a group with psychic abilities. She forces teenage girls to commit suicide with some form of telekinesis.
  • Chuutatsu Shiba'i in Ikkitousen is The Chessmaster controlling Kyosho Academy's Sousou Motoku, and though she later does start walking around it's not made clear whether or not it's because she was faking being disabled or if Motoku (who had turned her into his Soul Jar this point) was the one who allowed her to do it. She is based on Sima Yi, who faked an illness, which suggests that she was able to walk the entire time.
  • Mashiro Kazahana in My-HiME falls more into morally ambiguous territory throughout much of the series, given that she actively manipulates the HiME and has certain Creepy Child tendencies, though by the end of the series she's fully on the side of the good and provides a convenient Deus ex Machina to the heroes.
    • In the My-Otome manga she’s a straightforward example- it turns out she was manipulating Nagi into doing everything he did, making her the true Big Bad responsible for every bad thing that happens (until Sergey’s betrayal), and takes over as Queen with the intention of controlling the world. All while still in a wheelchair.
  • Nagato in Naruto is eventually be revealed to be this - sort of. He uses his powers to control dead bodies and use them to fight for them. When Naruto eventually defeats the bodies, he finds that Nagato himself is emaciated and crippled. This is somewhat subverted since Nagato is an Anti-Villain Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • In the anime version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kushana wears armor on one arm and removes it to reveal that the whole limb is artificial. She suggests that her armored legs may be similarly mechanical and that her body may be further maimed: "Whatever lucky man becomes my husband shall see far worse than that."
  • Keel Lorenz in Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the architects of The End of the World as We Know It. The full extent of his disabilities is only revealed in The End Of Evangelion when his body liquefies into tang and we see he had extensive cybernetic implants and seemed to have had most of his spinal column replaced. Like most things in Eva, we never get an explanation for how or when this happened to him.
  • The Chairman in Paprika.
  • A milder example, but when Joker becomes the villain of the story in R.O.D the TV, he's suddenly walking with a cane and claiming he has bad legs while in the OVA prequel, when he was still a good guy, he had no problems there.
  • Edge Turus in Until Death Do Us Part started off as just plain evil; only after going too far and invoking Diplomatic Impunity did he lose An Arm and a Leg.
  • Kagemaru, the Big Bad of Season One of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, was an elderly invalid kept alive by a liquid-filled tubular stasis chamber with robotic arms and legs. Halfway through the Final Battle with Judai, however, the power he gains from the Sacred Beasts makes him a young man, who not only breaks out of it but effortlessly throws the entire device away.

    Comic Books 
  • Big Bang Comics: The Sphinx's foe the Doomsayer is an Evil Genius who is confined to a wheelchair. He considers himself an 'artist in evil' who commits crimes For the Evulz. He is working towards a masterpiece he calls "The End of All Life on Earth".
  • The Big Bad of the C.O.V.E.N. series and leader of the Illu-men, Saverio Adami, is in a fancy, throne-like wheelchair. Subverted — he can walk, but physical excursion makes his very dangerous powers flare up. Therefore, the chair is Adami's Power Limiter.
  • DC Comics:
    • There was a one-shot Golden Age Batman foe called the Thinker who fit this trope, especially the "brains over brawn" part.
    • Doom Patrol:
      • Dr. Caulder, the wheelchair-using leader of the Doom Patrol, is arguably insane, and (despite good intentions) tries a little too hard to force the world to be a better place.
      • Captain (later General) Zahl was a Nazi U-Boat commander who was left crippled in a battle with the Chief, losing an arm and shattering his spine. Regaining some of his mobility through the use of a neck and back brace, Zahl masterminded the destruction of the Doom Patrol and Madame Rouge's subsequent invasion of Zandia.
    • Green Lantern:
      • Hector Hammond is crippled because the Magic Meteor that gave him Telepathy gradually expanded his head to the point that his neck can't support its weight, confining him to a special chair.
      • Baron Tyrano is permanently confined to an iron lung.
    • Professor Ojo was born without eyes and is blind without his special helmet.
    • Martian Manhunter: J'onn J'onnz's brother Malefic was convicted of Mind Rape and sentenced to memory wiping and having his Psychic Powers removed. Unfortunately, Malefic's hatred of his people remained, and he created a telepathic plague "Hronmeer's Bane" that caused all Green Martians who contracted it to burst into flames. Also a case of Disability Superpower — Malefic lacked the crippling weakness to fire since it is linked to the Martians' telepathy. J'onn defeated him for good by curing Malefic (restoring his weakness to fire) and sending him into a sun.
    • Prez (1973) portrays Dracula as legless. He uses this to fit in a suitcase in order to sneak into the White House.
    • Shazam!: Downplayed with Dr. Sivana, an older man who walks with the aid of a cane.
    • Hollywood producer Vincent Vermillion in Silverblade. Vermillion was another child on the set of the original The Silver Blade movie who served as Milestone's stunt double near the climax. The gargoyle threw Vermillion off the top of a castle, but the safety net broke and Vermillion suffered broken bones and a shattered pelvis. Vermillion had been an excellent dancer and planned to become the next Fred Astaire in film, but instead is confined to crutches and blames the two for his ruined dream. Vermillion kidnaps Milestone and hires assassins to kill him.
    • Superman:
      • Lex Luthor became one of these at the conclusion of a story arc wherein he had implanted his brain in a cloned body and posed as his own son, Lex Luthor II. The clone underwent severe degeneration, ultimately leaving Lex in a vegetative state, unable to move, feel, hear, or even close his own eyes. He still managed to take control of Superman's Kryptonian warsuit and wearing it as a suit of Powered Armour, nearly beat the hero to death. After his defeat he was confined to an intensive care unit; one of his henchmen helped him escape and eventually restored him to full health.
      • Another Superman villain, the Ultra-Humanite, is most commonly and most famously shown as an albino gorilla, but he actually began as a Mad Scientist in a wheelchair. However, he soon used his genius to surgically implant his brain into any person or animal he pleased (including the aforementioned gorilla), so he didn't stay crippled for long.
      • In Supergirl storyline Way of the World, Eddie Rose, a.k.a. "Aftermath", ended up in a wheelchair due to a battle between Superman and Doomsday, and decided to become a villain to show the public that heroes could not be trusted.
    • Teen Titans villain Blackfire, Starfire's evil sister, is an interesting example. She may appear perfectly capable to the average human, but she's disabled by Tamaranean standards: she can't fly. It's a natural ability for most Tamaraneans, and being born without it is akin to not having legs. This caused her to be pitied by her parents and the people of Tamaran, while her younger sister was adored by all. Her resentment only got worse over time, leading to her betraying Tamaran to its enemy, the Citadel, and selling Starfire into slavery.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • M.O.D.O.K., the leader of the Mad Scientist terrorist organization A.I.M., is (in most of his incarnations) in a powered wheelchair because his body can't support his enormous head.
    • Armless Tiger Man, a villain with no arms, who fought the Golden Age hero named the Angel.
    • Captain America: The Miami drug czar Ulysses X. Lugman, a.k.a. the Slug, is so enormously obese that he can't move on his own, requiring a custom-made mechanical wheelchair with tank treads. (He has been known to asphyxiate a man in the folds of his flesh when he wants to kill someone personally.)
    • One particularly vile Ghost Rider villain was a multibillionaire who was paralyzed in a drunk driving incident. He was the drunk driver and the other victims were a school bus full of children. He's a Ghost Rider villain because he made a deal with a Fallen Angel trapped in Hell — granting the entity and his cohorts passage to Earth in exchange for restoring his ability to walk — and Ghost Rider was sent to stop him.
    • The Punisher: Ma Gnucci in the story Welcome Back, Frank, after her unfortunate encounter with a group of polar bears.
    • Spider-Man:
      • The elderly crime boss Silvermane is either using a wheelchair and often on some sort of life support, except the times when he's a Cyborg. There was even a time when he was running his criminal organization while bedridden.
      • Alistair Smythe, one of many villains to build the Spider-Slayer robots, was originally unable to walk and ina a wheelchair. However, after enhancing himself with cybernetics to become the Ultimate Spider-Slayer, he became able to walk again (and became strong enough to be a match for Spider-Man on his own).
      • Doctor Octopus, a normal scientist who was repeatedly hit and kicked by superhumans who can bench-press buildings, gradually ended up in a wheelchair.
    • The Ultimate Marvel version of the Leader fits this very closely: he's crippled because the experiment that gave him Super-Intelligence expanded his head to the point that he needs a metal frame to keep it from snapping his neck.
    • X-Men
      • Professor Xavier, normally a firmly heroic Genius Cripple in a wheelchair, becomes this on any occasion that he becomes evil.
      • In Warren Ellis' run of Astonishing X-Men, the X-Men face Kaga, an elderly Japanese man mutated in the womb by the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leaving him unable to walk, with disfigurements that cover half of his face and ten fingers on his right hand. Kaga tries to take revenge on the team for not being freakish like him.
      • Apocalypse employed a few of these within his Horsemen, artificially curing their condition as a sort of Deal with the Devil. The original Horsemen included War, a quadriplegic army veteran confined to an iron lung; Famine, an anorexic teenage girl whose body was morbidly withered by the disorder; and Death, the X-Man Angel who lost his wings.
      • Gamesmaster is a telepath so powerful that he's called an "Omnipath"; he constantly hears the thoughts of everyone in the world. The cybernetics that keep his powers under control confine him to a hoverchair and he can only communicate with the rest of the world via astral projection.
  • Kaon, of the Transformers: More than Meets the Eye comic books, is blind. This hasn't slowed him down any. Unfortunately, what it hasn't slowed him down at is being a member of the team that tortures and kills anyone who wavers from the Decepticon cause.
  • Valiant Comics, a defunct but currently returning company, had a crime lord by the name of Dr. Silk who was an elderly man in a wheelchair who couldn't breathe properly.
  • The Vampirella story "The Running Red" has Jabez Kruger, a wheelchair-using Arms Dealer who plays both revolutionaries and the governments they're fighting and has gamblers Driven to Suicide by their losses.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Mekon in Dan Dare uses a hoverchair and the strip makes clear that he can only crawl without it, although this is mostly due to his legs being unable to support the weight of his enormous head.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Victor Hugo from Cars 2. Unlike the other Lemonsnote , Victor seems completely unable to move on his own, owing to frequently breaking down, resulting in him having to be chauffered and towed to where he needs to go. After the Lemons are defeated by the Radiator Springs residents plus Finn and Holley, the remaining Lemons opt to retreat, leaving Victor behind.
  • Though more of a Corrupt Corporate Executive Anti-Hero, Rufus Shinra spends part of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in a wheelchair. He's still hurt, but he's at least partially faking it.
  • In the 1977 cartoon movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Saruman the Wizard and Kamúl the Ringwraith walk with a limp, the latter's massively overacted for the creep factor. Once the Nazgûl drop their Black Cloaks in favour of Animated Armor, it clears up and becomes a Menacing Stroll, revealing it to be an Obfuscating Disability.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ephialtes, the deformed, treacherous hunchback in 300. While the deformities themselves were added by the adaptation, he's also portrayed more sympathetically than the classical myths show him as. He's depicted as a Spartan outcast who was only saved from being killed in his infancy by his compassionate father. When he tries to offer his services to King Leonidas only to be shot down, leading to a switch to the Persian camp that reads less like a Face–Heel Turn and more like a moment of Then Let Me Be Evil. In 300: Rise of an Empire, he is deeply remorseful for his betrayal.
  • Inverted in The Amazing Spider-Man. Dr Connors is a Genius Cripple whose arm was amputated above the elbow, but his goal is to better mankind. The lizard serum he injects himself with gives him back the arm but also turns him into an Ax-Crazy Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • In Anonymous, Robert Cecil is depicted as a malevolent, hunchbacked villain. The parallels with Richard III speak for themselves.
  • The crappy B-Movie The Atomic Brain starred a wheelchair-using old woman as the primary villain. When the film turned up on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike and the bots even made a Doctor Strangelove reference.
  • In Baahubali, Evil Uncle Bijjaladeva has an underdeveloped left arm, which he believes is the reason he's been denied the throne in favor of his younger brother. In reality, it's because everyone knew he was a Manipulative Bastard.
  • The wheelchair-using Professor who invented the remote-control device in the 1949 serial Batman and Robin is set up to be one of these, and is heavily implied early on to be the supervillain The Wizard. He's not. He's just a massive, misanthropic jerk. His butler is The Wizard.
  • Jeffrey Lebowski (not the protagonist, but the millionaire with the same name) from The Big Lebowski lost the use of his legs during The Korean War and is generally a deceitful, manipulative asshole who scams the protagonist and mooches off his dead wife's charity money while claiming to be more successful than he actually is.
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, when David Lo Pan is in his "old man" form, he gets around in a motorized wheelchair.
  • In Bottom Feeder, Charles Deaver is a millionaire who was badly burned and left crippled in a car wreck. He's also a ruthless sociopath who by his own admission will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. In this case, have a scientist brutally beaten nearly to death, locked in an underground sewer system, and injected with an untested serum to see if it works. This leads to him mutating into a murderous rat monster.
  • The drug kingpin in Brick has a clubfoot, and walks with a cane.
  • The ruthless leader of a Latino gang in Bright is in a wheelchair.
  • Downplayed in Brotherhood of the Wolf with Jean-François de Morangias, who apparently lost an arm in his trip to Africa but in reality, it was only horribly mangled and he tied it behind his back to give the impression he amputated it. He is still a monstrous psychopath in the same way.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu has Howard Clifford, whose evil plan to merge humans and pokemon stems from him being in a wheelchair.
  • Dick Tracy's Dilemma: The Claw was run over by a Coast Guard cutter when he was a bootlegger, and the prop severed his right hand and crippled his leg. He now has a Hook Hand and walks with a shambling limp.
  • Obesandjo, the Nigerian crime boss from District 9, uses a wheelchair. Speculation that it might be his version of a throne crumbles when the viewer notices the knock-kneed way he sits and how he never gets up from it, even when his men are getting bumped off.
  • Stephen from Django Unchained needs a cane to walk. He doesn't actually need it, not that it matters when Django kneecaps him shortly after.
  • One of the most famous examples, and possibly the inspiration for many others of this type, is the eponymous Doctor Strangelove, an ex-Nazi scientist. At the very end of the film he manages to stand up out of his chair... and then the world ends.
  • In Dracula vs. Frankenstein, wheelchair user Mad Scientist Dr. Durea, the last descendant of the original Dr. Frankenstein, takes to murdering young girls for experimentation in hopes of perfecting a blood serum of his own creation with help from his mute, simple-minded assistant Groton. Durea hopes the serum will heal his crippled legs and cure Groton of his condition.
  • A pedophile and drug dealer from Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! has some unspecified condition that requires him to use crutches.
  • A minor character in Edward Scissorhands has a prosthetic leg, and when he first meets Edward, he encourages him not to let anyone call him a cripple. However, when Edward is accused of terrorizing the neighbor, this same man parks his lawn chair on his driveway in the middle of the night, wondering if they have "caught that cripple yet".
  • Feeding Frenzy: The main villain is Mr. Plinkett, a cantankerous old murderer who is confined to a wheelchair.
  • In Frankenstein Island, Mad Scientist Dr. Van Helsing is confined to a bed in the Mad Scientist Laboratory following his near-death experience. Much of his wife Sheila's work is devoted to finding a way to make him mobile again.
  • In the 1978 version of Game of Death, Steiner is Dr. Land's right-hand man and needs a cane to walk. His cane hides a knife though.
  • The Big Bad of Le Gendarme et les Gendarmettes, who's overseeing the stealing of military secrets and the kidnapping of the Gendarmettes, is a wheelchair user.
  • Hannibal: Mason Verger (described in the Literature section) features as the Big Bad but the film version ends with Hannibal chopping off his hand to free himself from Clarice's handcuffs. He's still plenty evil without his hand: on his plane ride out of the country, he feeds an unknowing little boy pieces of a man's brains.
  • Hawk the Slayer: The hunchback (no name given) is a slave trader.
  • Highwaymen features a serial killer named Fargo who runs women over with his car, including the protagonist's wife. The protagonist rammed into him with his car in revenge and the guy is barely-able to move with several braces (neck, legs, etc) on his body. He remade his car into a super-durable weapon as an extension of himself and continued his murder spree.
  • "Big Brain" from The Hills Have Eyes (2006) has a, well, big brain and uses an old-fashioned wheelchair, where he serves as the Mission Control for the other mutants.
  • Azog the Defiler from The Hobbit, who lost his arm and replaced it with a spike.
  • In Horrors of the Black Museum, Bancroft is the mastermind behind the reign of terror of the 'Monster Killer'. He has a crippled leg and cannot walk without the aid of a cane.
  • Professor Henry Jarrod (Vincent Price) in House of Wax (1953) spends most of the movie in a wheelchair but he's faking it.
  • Invoked and then subverted in Hugo. The orphan-hunting Station Inspector's leg brace is fodder for a number of sight gags, but The Reveal he was horribly wounded in World War I—is a genuinely emotional moment and a clue that he's actually more of a Broken Bird.
  • Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life uses a wheelchair that looks like a throne. An interesting note: the reason for the wheelchair in the first place was that actor Lionel Barrymore needed one in real life.
  • Jack The Bear has the children tormented by an anti-social neo-Nazi neighbor who walks with a cane.
  • James Bond
  • The Jurassic Dead: Dr. Wojick Borge. At the beginning of the movie, he's a fully-abled person, but after getting hit by a car, he's seen confined to a wheelchair when he makes an in-person appearance in the bunker.
  • Jared, the head of Chrysalis Corporation in Knight Rider 2010, is one who uses virtual reality to stalk after one of his employees, Hannah Tyree, whom he has a crush on.
  • In Left for Dead, one of Mary's gang is a blind woman with deformed legs who walks with a stick. She is a Psycho Lesbian who attempts to rape the heroine Clem.
  • The unnamed crime boss in The Lineup.
  • Low Tide: Smitty repeatedly rats out, sets up, or blackmails his friends with little remorse, and he spends almost all of the film with crutches and his leg in a cast.
  • Jan Murray plays a wheelchair-using Nazi Mad Scientist in the Z-grade movie A Man Called Dagger. Except it turns out at the end he's been faking all along, for no adequately explored reason.
  • In The Man Who Changed His Mind, Clayton—-The Igor to Dr. Laurience—is a bitter wheelchair-using old man who is Working for a Body Upgrade.
  • Boris the Animal (IT'S JUST BORIS!) from Men in Black 3, who lost his arm in a fight with Agent K.
  • The killer in Midnight Movie has a foot so fucked up it sometimes looks like he's walking on his ankle. Unfortunately for the other characters, it doesn't seem to slow him down that much.
  • Mother of Mother's Day wears a neck cast for some reason.
  • Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill) in Mystery of the Wax Museum is seemingly confined to a wheelchair following the museum fire. This is actually an Obfuscating Disability as his legs work fine, but it is really his hands that are crippled.
  • Wilhelm Grimm, the antagonist of None Shall Escape (a 1944 film about a trial against a Nazi officer following the end of the then-ongoing second world war, told via flashbacks from the points of view of the witnesses at the trial), lost a leg in The Great War and now has a prosthesis and a cane to help him walk. He also loses an eye during the course of the film.
  • Langda Tyagi, the Iago character in Omkara, walks with a heavy limp due to a congenital defect. He makes up for the difficulty walking by being the best sharpshooter in the gang. Rajju helps him along by pointing out that "for fifteen years you've served this half-caste on a leg a half, and now this pretender Kesu comes out of nowhere and coolly snatches the bone from your mouth? Where did your guts go walking off to then? Company Garden?"
  • Christopher Lee's wheelchair-using Big Bad in Once Upon a Spy. Bonus points for having said wheelchair equipped with missiles.
  • The Man Behind the Man of Once Upon a Time in the West is crippled (and dying) and walking only by crutches Railroad Baron. However, he's pretty much a villainous Woobie.
  • The wheelchair-using crime boss who talks through a hole in his throat in the Thai action blockbuster Ong-Bak is a truly vile example, cynically selling his country's religious treasures to foreigners and causally orders the deaths of anyone who tries to protect them.
  • In The Penalty Lon Chaney plays a man whose legs were amputated when he was a boy. He later became the leader of a criminal gang and sought revenge on the doctor who crippled him.
  • Jonathan Small, the Big Bad in The Sign of Four: Sherlock Holmes' Greatest Case, has a wooden leg. He also qualifies as a Handicapped Badass, as he is an expert in using the leg as a weapon.
  • The Big Bad in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is Gadgeteer Genius who was paralyzed by a police bullet and uses an exoskeleton to move around.
  • The Dragon from the Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured film Space Mutiny, who uses a cane to get around (and to occasionally kill people.) Tom Servo describes him as "Handi-capable."
  • Spoofed in Spy Hard with General Rancor (Andy Griffith), after his first encounter with agent Dick Steele (Leslie Nielsen) he loses his arms. After the second he loses his legs.
  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Vader is a severe burn victim and was repeatedly mutilated, so he has to rely on his suit. Of course, given his slow descent into villainy, the deformities were more icing on the cake than the direct cause.
    • Similarly, General Grievous was pretty much blown to bits by a bomb and was rebuilt into a robotic body with some 80% of him being prosthetics.
    • Emperor Palpatine invokes but ultimately subverts this trope. To all external appearances, he is a withered old man with a cane who would probably collapse if you breathed too hard in his general direction. In truth, he is much more than he appears...
    • Jabba the Hutt is morbidly obese even by Hutt standards and can hardly move by the time he appears in Return of the Jedi.
  • The Man With A Plan from Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead. Bonus points for being played by Christopher Walken.
  • In Tower of London, Duke Richard is a hunchback, and his dragon and Torture Technician Mord has a clubfoot.
  • Tower of London (1962): In keeping with William Shakespeare's portrayal of him, Richard III is a megalomanical hunchback who murders any member of his family who stands between him and the throne.
  • The Big Bad, a.k.a. Elijah Price in Unbreakable, a movie which draws from comic book lore and explicitly contrasts the villain's physical frailty with the "unbreakability" of the hero/main character.
  • Alonzo (Lon Chaney) from The Unknown must be one of the only villains to deliberately transform himself into an evil cripple. Masquerading as an armless knife thrower, he later blackmails a surgeon in amputating his arms: giving him the disability he had previously pretended to have.
  • In West of Zanzibar, Lon Chaney's character is crippled in a brawl with his wife's lover. He uses magic tricks to dominate a local tribe and steal ivory, among other criminal acts. He had his daughter raised in a brothel because he thought his rival was the father. He collapses when he finds out the truth.
  • Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Granted, her able-bodied sister Jane (Bette Davis) was actively tormenting her, but as we find out Blanche put herself in that wheelchair when an attempt to kill Jane by hitting her with a car went wrong.
  • Dr. Arliss Loveless in the 1999 version of Wild Wild West lost his legs in the Civil War. He replaced them with robotic spider legs. He actually lost way more than just his legs. He lost everything from the waist down or in his words "a lung, a spleen, a bladder, two legs, thirty-five feet of small intestine, and the ability to reproduce". One wonders how he disposes of his bodily waste or even digests food.
  • Jason Stryker in X2: X-Men United Mind Raped his parents so severely that his mother took a power drill to her temple to get the images out. He was experimented on by his father, a mutant-phobe, and turned into a living Lotus-Eater Machine in a wheelchair in contrast to Charles Xavier, who is with the good guys. Jason is portrayed sympathetically, but his appearance is definitely intended to be creepy. The tie-in video game seems to suggest he was not all that evil, the good side of his personality helping Nightcrawler defeat the Master Mold.

  • The single most malicious character in Glen Cook's The Black Company series is an Evil Sorcerer called "The Limper." Like all of his kin among the Ten Who Were Taken, his name is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Another Taken, the Howler, is good with flight and levitation magic because he has trouble walking, in addition to having the tic of constantly screaming.
  • At the start of Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, the narrator gets directions from an untrustworthy-looking cripple, whom he fully expects to betray him.
  • The demon bear that wreaks havoc in the first part of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is created by a Soul Eater called Crippled Wanderer. He's said to have been crippled by an accident that happened during a hunting trip. When he eventually appears in the second book, it's revealed that he only pretended to be crippled in order to remain anonymous.
  • Johann Spurzheim, the Chief of the Napolitan Royal Police in The Companions of Silence by Paul Féval is perhaps the Trope Codifier or even Trope Maker. He is a Machiavellian Chessmaster but is completely crippled. He is the Big Bad of the story which is later retroactively made in continuity with The Black Coats.
  • Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code was a wheelchair user due to polio, and turns out to have been in on the Gambit Roulette surrounding the location of the Grail.
  • In The Divine Comedy, the Eagle of Justice singles out the "Cripple of Jerusalem" as a Christian worse off than any ignorant pagan, for his evil deeds outnumber his good ones a thousandfold.
  • Baron Harkonnen from Dune needs anti-gravity devices to move around due to his morbid obesity. The prequel novels make his condition a karmic one since it's due to a Reverend Mother inflicting a disease on him in retaliation for his needless cruel brutality while he was siring a child with her as part of a deal.
  • Death's agent in the novel Final Destination: Looks Could Kill is a severe burn victim, who the entity promised to make beautiful again if she helped it.
  • Fire Bringer: Sgorr is a one-eyed, antler-less, and apparently sterile stag who once killed a human baby and ate its heart.
  • The crippled and disfigured Inquisitor Glokta of The First Law, while arguably not exactly evil in the context of the story, is nonetheless more than morally bankrupt enough to qualify. He's also arguably a deconstruction of the trope, as it's clear that people around him find him terrifying because of his deformities - but the reader, who's told in detail just how much pain and humiliation Glokta has to suffer from his broken body, is more likely to just find him pitiable. Also, while he is frequently in a position to dominate others through underhanded means, and thus comes across as an evil mastermind who can do great harm in spite of his physical frailty, he actually has very little agency of his own but is usually just trying to avoid getting killed by his own superiors.
  • Chodo Contague from the Garrett, P.I. series is TunFaire's dreaded crime lord, who uses a wheelchair in his first few appearances. In later novels he's even more impaired, having suffered a severe stroke.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only in Death, when Hark finds Soric at the end, his keepers are an old woman with a deformed face, and a hunchbacked dwarf. Judging by the psychic impressions of them that other characters received from Soric throughout the book, they are evil indeed; Maggs was convinced that the woman was Death itself. They do their best to keep Hark from killing Soric at his own request, and Soric warns Hark to make it appear a commissarial execution or they would hang him out to dry.
  • In the Hannibal Lecter novel Hannibal, Mason Verger continues to bring suffering and misery to children even after being paralyzed by the title character.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Barty Crouch Jr. in his Mad-Eye Moody disguise. Oddly, he wasn't actually disabled, but he adopted Moody's identity to serve his evil purposes, and Moody just so happened to have a peg leg and a missing eye (though the latter wasn't at all crippling, as Moody had a replacement that let him see in all directions and through solid objects).
    • Peter "Wormtail" Pettigrew, who sacrificed his right hand to resurrect Voldemort and was given a silver prosthetic hand with super strength. This hand eventually proved to be Wormtail's downfall, as it strangled him after he hesitated to kill Harry.
  • Kurtz in Heart of Darkness is a cruel, callous ivory trader who exploits the people of the Congo and surrounds his house with heads on spikes. He's also dying of jungle fever, which has left him emaciated and unable to walk — the native laborers have to carry him around on a stretcher.
  • The Wheelchair Assassins of Infinite Jest are some pretty nasty customers; a crew of pissed-off and legless Quebecois trying to take down the government by means of a mind-destroying video cartridge.
  • The High Priest (Priestess?) of Helgrind from the Inheritance Cycle. Leader of a Lovecraftian Giant Animal Worship cult, possesses immense psychic powers, regularly performs Human Sacrifice — and is missing all four limbs and a chunk of tongue.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Shere Khan the tiger, Mowgli's great enemy who separated him from his parents at infancy and presumably killed them.
    "His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for nothing," said Mother Wolf quietly. "He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our children must run when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are very grateful to Shere Khan!"
  • Hackle from the Knight and Rogue Series, who lost a leg to a wolf trap.
  • The One in Last Legionary is revealed to be a badly mutated human, who can barely move without the use of his Powered Armour exoskeleton. Outside the skeleton, he's a truly pitiful figure, unable even to walk. In the skeleton, he becomes The Juggernaut and nearly kills The Hero on several occasions.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium offers a couple of examples:
    • In The Silmarillion there's Morgoth, the Big Bad of the First Age. Though he could originally shapeshift, his evil use of his powers leads to him being locked into the form of a huge, dark humanoid. During Dagor Bragollach, the Elvenking Fingolfin challenges Morgoth to single combat. Morgoth eventually wins, but not before Fingolfin has wounded him seven times and nearly cut off his foot. Morgoth can't heal these injuries, so he's wounded and crippled forever after.
    • In the Third Age, Sauron also fits. His physical form was killed by Isildur at the end of the Second Age, leaving him as just a shapeless shadow. Eventually he needed a new form, but without the One Ring (which Isildur took) he can't make a new form, so he has to use an old one: the Lidless Eye. In this form, he could watch, and use his will to influence others, but he couldn't physically do anything. Without a functional physical form, he had to leave all the actual work of conquering Middle-earth to his minions.
  • Subverted in Lord Kelvin's Machine by James P. Blaylock: The villain, Ignacio Narbondo, is a crippled hunchback due to a childhood illness — until, about three-quarters of the way through the book, a time-traveller visits his child self and treats him with medicine from the future. Result: in the present, Narbondo is now no longer crippled, nor ever has been... but he's still just as evil.
  • The Crippled God of the Malazan Book of the Fallen is the closest thing to an overall Big Bad of the rather non-linear series. As his name suggests, to say he's not in prime physical condition would be an unbelievable understatement: he was pulled into the mortal world by a spell, crashed into the planet like a meteor, and his body was torn to pieces in the process, leaving him only what crippled remnant of it he can conjure into coherence within a pocket realm. He's spent the millennia since in constant agony, and he's extremely ruthless, manipulative, and spiteful because of it. However, it gradually becomes apparent that he's a deconstruction, as he's played with great sympathy and it becomes increasingly clear that he is not inherently evil, but rather lashing out in hurt and desperation, trying to do anything to improve his situation and that the local Abusive Precursors hijacked his powers sometime before the last book. It becomes the chief objective of the series in the last two books to actually free him and send him home to his own dimension.
  • Gozen and the Uber-Director from the Maximum Ride series. Gozen is built partly from cybernetic parts and has a screwed-up arm, and the Uber-Director is just a head attached to a series of Plexiglas boxes containing his organs.
  • The villain of Medusa's Web is in a wheelchair and lacks the strength to lift anything even as heavy as a full wineglass, his body being wracked by overuse of the "black geometry".
  • Subverted with Lord Cett in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. In the second book, he's one of three tyrants who attacks the protagonists' home city with his army, and he's paralyzed from the waist down. He is a nobleman (which means he is complicit in, although in no way personally responsible for, enslaving the majority of the population). However, everybody agrees he's easily the most reasonable of the three warlords considering that Straff Venture is sadistic on a good day and Jastes Lekal is wildly unstable and only barely in control of his army. Cett makes up for being unable to do much physically with his hammy and overbearing personality, but he ends up teaming up with the heroes against Straff (with some prodding from his daughter) and is a solid (if ambitious) ally by the third book.
  • Moby-Dick has Captain Ahab, who isn't really evil but is nonetheless an utter lunatic who recklessly endangers his crew in order to kill the whale that bit off his leg.
  • General Zaroff from The Most Dangerous Game has a deaf-mute thug named Ivan.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and sequels has the lovely Ledroptha Curtain. He remains in a wheelchair, but not because he's paralyzed - he has a rather short temper as well as a disease that makes him fall asleep whenever he feels strong emotions... such as rage. Hilariously, his brother Nicholas has the same disease, but he fits the Evil Cripple's benevolent cousin trope (Genius Cripple) just fine.
  • Hurwood from On Stranger Tides has only one arm, and betrays and murders a bunch of people in an attempt to install his dead wife's spirit in their daughter's body via voodoo magic.
  • Felix Jongleur, initially the Big Bad of Otherland, is so old and frail that he can only survive inside an elaborate life-support apparatus. Since most of the action of the story takes place in Cyber Space, this doesn't slow him down much, but he is still desperate to find a way to permanently upload his consciousness before even these extreme measures can't keep his body alive anymore.
  • Peter Pan: The sinister pirate Captain Hook lost a hand to his enemy Peter Pan, who fed it to a crocodile that subsequently became Hook's Animal Nemesis in a borderline Moby Schtick plot.
  • Ivar the Boneless from Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, a Viking warlord crippled from birth and unable to walk, is noted as outstandingly clever, but also extraordinarily cruel.
  • In the first Repairman Jack novel The Tomb, Kusum Bahkti is a one-armed Indian diplomat who's secretly over a hundred years old, and master and father of the monstrous rakoshi.
  • In The Saga of the Bordenlands, by Liliana Bodoc, the main villain is Drimus El Doctrinador, hunchback and with the deformed body, but also a powerful wizard, cruel, intelligent, cunning, and the most faithful servant of Misaianes the Son of Death.
  • The "Tzaddik" in the Sally Lockhart detective novel "The Tiger in the Well"; he was originally the criminal Ah Ling, who was shot through the spine in "The Ruby in the Smoke".
  • Subverted in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man," in which they initially suspect the titular 'crooked man' of being mixed up in a murder. It turns out to have not been a murder at all; the victim died of a heart attack, tangentially related to the appearance of the crooked man, but it wasn't the crooked man's fault at all and he was actually a very kind person.
    • Played straight in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire", in which the real threat is a teenage boy with a twisted spine who'd been harming his new baby half-brother out of jealousy.
    • In James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes novel The Thinking Engine, Professor Moriarty has become this trope; having survived Reichenbach thanks to a body harness that protected his vital organs, Moriarty had one arm and both legs amputated and now only 'speaks' through a series of phonographic recordings as his larynx is too damaged for him to say more than a few words at a time, but his mind remains as brilliant as ever, to the point that he essentially imitates an early computer.
  • Prime Minister Mark Normanby in Jo Walton's Small Change series, after surviving the assassination attempt in Ha'Penny.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, one of Count Olaf's more frightening henchmen has hooks for hands — interestingly, he's the only one who eventually gets a semi-detailed backstory and becomes relatively sympathetic.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Lothar Frey, nicknamed "Lame Lothar", one of the masterminds of the "Red Wedding". One of his half-brothers in his POV notes that even the other Freys don't trust Lothar, suspecting he intends to murder his way up the line of succession.
    • His father Walder Frey is this due to his age. By the time the series begins he is almost 90.
    • Played with by Tyrion Lannister. He is a hideous Depraved Dwarf and despised by almost everybody. He is on a line between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain and does perform some quite villainous acts, however he is very sympathetic and tries to be decent, his actions largely being to help his family despite them usurping the throne and performing a mass of atrocities. He is partially based on Richard III.
    • Tyrion's brother Ser Jaime Lannister who loses his sword hand in "A Storm of Swords". However, like Tyrion he is on the line between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, but is seen as overly villainous by most people in-universe due to acts like fathering bastards on his sister and breaking his vows by murdering King Aerys II, though it is later revealed he slew the Mad King to stop him burning down King's Landing.
    • From "The Dance of the Dragons", a civil war that occurred over a century before the main series, was Larys Strong, known as "The Clubfoot". He served as Master of Whisperers for Aegon II Targaryen. Larys is also one of the suspects for the fire in which his father and brother died, leading to him becoming Lord of Harrenhal.
    • Aegon II ends up as this, due to being severely wounded in a dragon-duel, leaving him bedridden for half a year, bent and twisted. He broke both his legs during another dragon-duel with his cousin Baela Targaryen when as his dragon fell to the ground he leapt 20 feet; both his legs were shattered on impact and never healed properly, leaving Aegon unable to walk under his own power without a cane.
  • Treasure Island: Pew is entirely blind, but still enough of an Ax-Crazy bastard that the remainder of Flint's crew still lives in fear of him, with only Silver and (possibly) Billy Bones being able to stand up to him.
    • Long John Silver is famously one-legged but doesn't let that prevent him from organizing mutinies and committing murders.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Luban Chan, an evil witch who tries to kill the protagonist during orientation at an equally-evil Wizarding School, walks with a limp because one of her legs is a couple inches longer than the other.
  • Young Sherlock Holmes: Baron Maupertuis, the Big Bad of Death Cloud. Accidentally trampled by British troops during the Charge of the Light Brigade, he was left paralysed from the waist down by a broken spine. He employs servants to move him around like a human puppet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superman: "The Evil Three" includes an insane old lady in a wheelchair as one of the eponymous three. She was horrifying to some viewers, but she protests the other two's plans to murder Perry and Jimmy, if only because she "don't want no more [blood] on [her] conscience" after what one of the others did to his uncle.
  • Barbarians Rising: Geiseric, King of the Vandals, is portrayed with a severe limp requiring the use of a cane, in accordance with histories that describe him as having a physical disability. Unlike the other "barbarians" of the series, he operates as The Chessmaster, playing the Romans and the Huns off against each other in hopes of ensuring Rome's downfall.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • No less than Professor Stephen Hawking adopts the Evil Cripple persona, when he trolls Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter with abusive critique of their science, just for the fun of it. As Sheldon and Leonard try to puzzle out who the stalking troll is, the camera pans to Hawking grinning and making mechanical cackling noises.
    • Raj dates a mute-deaf girl who turns out to be a Gold Digger, much to Penny's surprise, as she thinks that disabled people couldn't be bad.
  • Breathtaker from Black Scorpion. Shot through both lungs, he was legally dead for 13 minutes before his heart spontaneously started beating again. However, the damage caused to his lungs and neural damage from his brain death left him dependent on a suit of powered armour to breathe and move.
  • Hector 'Tio' Salamanca of Breaking Bad is a high-ranking cartel man reduced (presumably) by a stroke to being in a wheelchair and communicating via a bell. However, he's still as ruthless as he ever was and retains his cartel connections with the help of his psychotic nephews.
  • Spike spends some time in a wheelchair in Buffy the Vampire Slayer after he's injured when a church organ falls on him, though he turns out to have been faking it for an undetermined length of time. He's clearly established as evil before he becomes crippled and is injured fighting Buffy.
  • Class of '09: As a first test of the AI system, Poet uses it to help identify a suspect in serial murders of women across the US. He turns out to be a man in a wheelchair, which has made multiple other FBI agents and police detectives clear him. Poet soon realizes he's still quite capable though, and really is the killer.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In the two-part episode "The Fisher King", the UnSub turns out to be a guy with burns over ninety percent of his body.
    • "Roadkill" features a wheelchair-using killer who committed hit-and-run homicides with a modified pickup truck.
    • "To Hell..."/"...And Back" features a quadriplegic doctor who manipulates his mentally handicapped younger brother into committing murders so that he can have fresh bodies for his experiments (he wants to find a way to cure his condition). It's later revealed that there's no way he can get actual information from his experiments; he just likes killing people.
    • "A Family Affair" has another wheelchair-using UnSub, except this one has his family bring him victims so that he can kill them.
  • CSI: Cyber: 'Smokescreen' in "Gone in 6 Seconds". A hacker who lost the use of his legs in a car crash, he now commits Murder by Remote Control Vehicle.
  • Cursed (2020): Brother Salt, a blind Red Paladin, is also their sadistic torturer.
  • Lily Flagmer from the Decoy episode "High Swing" is paralyzed from the waist down. She helps her husband Otto plan muggings to feed her opioid addiction.
  • Divorce Court: The 1980s version had an episode where a paralyzed man, accused of beating his wife, had sought to keep the full amount of an insurance payment he received in the wake of the accident that rendered him a wheelchair user, after his wife's attorney argued that the settlement was considered part of their marital assets. The man had viciously beaten his wife regularly before the divorce ... and after his accident still found ways to physically abuse her, to a point where it is even more brutal than before. There is even a scene where he corners her in the courthouse lobby and – grabbing and twisting her wrist – threatens her if she doesn't drop her petition for divorce. She almost follows through ... until she changes course and reveals what had taken place. Judge William B. Keene is outraged and, after ruling in favor of the wife, awards her two-thirds of all marital assets ... including the (hefty) insurance settlement, and – to add insult to injury – recommends that the district attorney file charges against the husband.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Delegate from Arcturus from "The Curse of Peladon" is a peculiar example. He's a Little Green Man in a Can dependent on an elaborate life support mechanism/wheelchair to survive, with just his head sticking out. The Doctor initially assumes he couldn't possibly be responsible for the attempted assassinations on the grounds that he couldn't physically do any of it, but it turns out he was colluding with the evil high priest to murder the others.
    • Davros, the creator of the Daleks. Hit by a nuclear missile, Davros was burned, blinded, and lost the use of his legs and left arm. And later in the classic series, his right hand, meaning his later appearances have him with a mechanical hand. He was already a psychopath, but this really pushed him off the deep end. The Daleks themselves may also count, being hideous mutants inside armour, though they are sometimes shown to be dangerous even outside of their shell.
    • Interestingly, RTD intentionally reversed this trope with the 2023 Children in Need short by giving us a pre-Genesis Davros without the chair. "The world changes and Doctor Who has to change with it".
    • The Captain, of "The Pirate Planet". Being a pirate, he has an artificial arm and eyepatch, though these are fancy space-age versions.
    • The heroic Dr. Judson from "The Curse of Fenric" inverts this by standing up out of his wheelchair as soon as the Eldritch Abomination possesses him.
    • Lady Cassandra, a plastic surgery addict who got so many operations that she was reduced to a face attached to a sheet of skin stretched across a wheeled metal frame. Servants have to wheel her around and regularly moisturize her to keep her from shriveling up and dying.
    • John Lumic, creator of the Alternate Universe Cybus Cybermen, is suffering from a terminal disease that keeps him in a wheelchair and dependent upon a life-support system with a breathing mask. He wasn't always going to be, though; his actor broke his leg shortly before filming began.
    • "Voyage of the Damned": Corrupt Corporate Executive Max Capricorn is just a head attached to a machine.
    • Spin-off media tends to play up this aspect of the Master when he was in his 'burned' stage during the Fourth Doctor's era, with many of his plans focusing on his efforts to restore his body as he fights against the agonising pain of his current state.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • The show zigzags it with one villain. Wheelchair user Harrison Wells (a.k.a. Eobard Thawne) turns out to be faking his condition, but he's certainly evil.
    • Played straighter with Clifford Devoe, aka the Thinker, who was overly ambitious before his accident, but when his efforts to heighten his intellect gave him an advanced form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, he was left confined to a hoverchair and lost his ability to emotionally connect with others even after he was able to 'heal' his body.
    • Essentially relevant for Orlin Dywer, AKA Cicada; the breathing mask he wears is intended to help him cope with the shrapnel in his lungs he sustained from the accident that gave him his powers.
  • Game of Thrones: "Lame" Lothar Frey is a vicious participant in a massacre despite his limp.
    • House of the Dragon: Lord Larys Strong is a cunning and scheming shadow councillor to Queen Alicent. He's clubfooted, he had his father and brother killed in a fire, and he has a creepy foot fetish with Alicent's feet as object.
  • Louis Canning of The Good Wife is a rare justified Evil Cripple; a deceitful Manipulative Bastard of an attorney who defends equally unscrupulous rich clients and shamelessly exploits his Parkinsons-like neurological disorder by exaggerating his symptoms in court to milk sympathy with juries, judges and prospective clients. While the disorder is real, Canning toys with whether you should feel sympathy for him or consider him an insult to disabled folks who don't make a spectacle of it.
  • Oswald Cobblepott in Gotham, kneecapped in the pilot episode by boss turned mortal enemy Fish Mooney. He may have a walk like a penguin, but he has shown himself to be a ruthless, cunning, and all-around dangerous character.
  • Deranged, abusive billionaire Mason Verger becomes this at the end of season 2 after being sufficiently rude to the title character of Hannibal, at which point he devotes his massive wealth to tracking down and killing him.
  • Justified has two examples:
    • The first is Johnny Crowder who was a member of an organised crime family long before he was crippled by a shotgun blast from his Uncle Bo (whom he had tried to betray). He holds his cousin Boyd responsible for this and spends the rest of the show plotting against him, even as he recovers enough to leave his wheelchair with the aid of crutches.
    • The second example is marijuana dealer Dickie Bennett, who walks with a limp thanks to Raylan Givens striking him in the knee with a baseball bat when they were teenagers (Dickie started the fight). He's essentially trapped at the moment when Raylan broke his leg and has never fully grown up; he's best described as physically crippled, emotionally stunted, and dangerously unpredictable.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent had a Stephen Hawking expy who was not as handicapped as he made himself out to be, and almost got away with the murder.
  • In The Legend of Zhen Huan, the Princess of Glory has a retainer with a pronounced limp - the only regular character with a physical disability. He's also the one whom she sends to assassinate people, and he plays up his sinister role with great aplomb.
  • Little House on the Prairie: In the memorable episode "Bunny," Nellie pretends to be one – a cripple, that is; she didn't have to pretend to be evil – after a horse-riding accident (caused when she was bucked off Bunny, who was tired of her abusing him). Hilariously averted – the cripple part, anyway – after Laura exposes Nellie's ruse ... in a scene that became one of the best-loved of the entire run.
  • Lois & Clark had a quadriplegic villain who moved around in a giant wheeled pyramid-like contraption, and tried to lure Superman into a trap, hoping to amputate Supes' head and replace it with his own.
  • Subverted for use as a red herring in the original M.A.N.T.I.S. tv-movie as the movie makes it look like wheelchair user Miles Hawkins is a shady businessman and scientist while setting up other people to be the M.A.N.T.I.S., before the reveal that he's Hawkins using Powered Armor to walk.
  • Hunchback, leader of the Black Cat gang from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed.
  • Mission: Impossible: Jake Morgan in "Bayou". He is a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit who runs a white slavery ring and has a wooden leg because a gator bit his leg off.
  • Dale "The Whale" Beiderbeck, one of the archvillains from Monk is a Faux Affably Evil ruthless billionaire who controls half the city of San Francisco from his bedroom, combining this with Genius Cripple. 800 pounds and bedridden (later gaining some semblance of mobility through a wheelchair), not only is he a corrupt and greedy businessman who enjoys taunting the heroes, but is openly abusive to his staff because he can get away with it, has enough connections and knowhow that the heroes both fear him and hate him, and was involved with the plot that killed Adrian Monk's wife, Trudy Monk. Monk especially hates Dale because he retaliated against an unfavorable piece about him in the newspaper by dragging out a frivolous lawsuit against her just to bankrupt the Monks.
  • The New Avengers: Felix Kane in "The Last of the Cybernauts...??". A double agent crippled and hideously disfigured trying to escape from Steed, Gambit, and Purdey, Kane is confined to a wheelchair and resurrects the robotic Cybernauts to exact his revenge.
  • William Raines from The Pretender, who is dependent upon an oxygen tank that he wheels everywhere with him that only increased it by the squeaking noise the wheels made. To really nail it in, the costume the Pretender picks for a Halloween episode is to make himself look like William Raines.
  • Lex Luthor in Season 8 of Smallville, courtesy of horrific injuries sustained in the previous season's finale. Confined to the back of a truck, he is unable to move or breathe without the means of a respirator, is down an eye, and is hooked up to a life-support system in the back of a moving truck. Luckily for him, he maintains his Chessmaster status, which continues to render him very dangerous. By the end of the tenth season, he is restored to a healthy body through a series of transplants from his own clones.
  • In Strange Luck, Chance's love interest, a former faith healer is being chased by a crippled billionaire (who looks like Stephen Hawking) as he wants her to heal his condition as her powers are genuine. When she does heal him, it only ends up killing him instead.
  • Tidelands (Netflix): Lamar is the lieutenant of The Queenpin Adrielle, and has only one eye.
  • In The Tribe, Ram, the leader of the villainous Technos, uses an advanced wheelchair he probably designed himself. He does eventually learn to walk again by the end of Series 5, so we get to see this slowly subverted.
  • Warehouse 13 has Walter Sykes, who was turned evil by an artifact that also allowed him to walk. His entire goal is revenge on the warehouse for taking the artifact from him.
  • The X-Files has had its share of crippled Monsters of the Week:

  • In the DVD musical performance of !Hero: The Rock Opera, Governor Pilate is depicted as this during "Kill The Hero".
  • In the video clip of Rammstein's "Ich Will", all band members are depicted as bank robbers/terrorists who all have some form of physical handicap. Till wears a leg brace, which the makers say was meant to be reminiscent of a devil's hoof.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In the Book of Nehemiah from The Bible, Nehemiah deals with one in the form of Shemaiah, the crippled son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who tries to make Nehemiah sin against his God by hiding himself in the house of God to protect himself from those that Shemaiah claims are out to kill him. Nehemiah sees what Shemaiah is really up to and calls him out on it.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In Smoky Mountain Wrestling, there was Ron Wright, former wrestler and manager, who used a wheelchair after years of in-ring abuse. He tried to play the sympathy card with the crowd, but he was still the same heel as he'd always been, interfering on behalf of his clients and berating the crowds for not sending him money for a surgery that would help his condition.
  • After their breakup following their Lacey's Angels stint, Jimmy Jacobs would wind up injured and forced to rely on crutches after many failed attempts to cripple BJ Whitmer for a vengeful Lacey.
  • During his stint in Ring of Honor in 2008, normally squeaky clean baby face Zach Gowen was wheeled out as a surprise member of the Age of the Fall, the dominating heel faction of that time. What makes him an Evil Cripple? How about the fact that he only has one leg?
  • Vickie Guerrero, during her SmackDown general manager run in 2008, in cahoots with Edge and the faction La Familia.

  • Survival of the Fittest: Jackie Broughten in a nutshell, who has a permanently damaged leg from getting hit by a car. Her first action on the island? Slicing Maria Santiago's throat open with a saw. And that's not even going into her Hearing Voices...

  • Robert Cecil is presented as an unpleasant, thoroughly amoral schemer in Equivocation (which stars William Shakespeare and revolves around the Gunpowder Plot), and is depicted as walking with a pronounced limp.
  • Stuyvesant in Knickerbocker Holiday. While his silver leg is based on Real Life (though historians don't believe it was solid silver), his villainy is not.
  • Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner. He's only temporarily in a wheelchair due to a broken leg, but he's definitely the villain of the piece.
  • In The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui:
    • Giavola, Ui's Evil Genius is (like every character) inspired by people related to Hitler's rise, and in Giavola's case, he's supposed to be Joseph Goebbels. Like Goebbels, Giavola has a crippled leg and walks with a limp. The play refers to his (paraphrased) "crooked body and crooked mind".
    • Ui himself is shown as hunchbacked in some productions, probably a combination of having him walk like Hitler (of whom he's a stand-in) and to further the play's explicit invocation of Richard III.
  • Shakespeare's Richard III is quite possibly the Trope Codifier, is presented as having a hunched back and withered arm. Some productions find other ways of expressing this, like giving him a brace that's straightened his spine but stiffened his movements, or presenting his arm as paralyzed but normal-looking. Notably, these are strong exaggerations of his real-life scoliosis and an unconfirmed mild injury of the left arm visible in some of his portraits- and while he certainly had to be ruthless to come to power in the 15th century, there's no real evidence that he killed his nephews or was generally any worse than his contemporaries. This is also used to attack him in the previous play, Henry VI Part 3, where Henry's parting insults to Richard are entirely based on Richard's appearance rather than his choices.
  • Nessarose in Wicked eventually becomes "the Wicked Witch of the East"—a tyrannical ruler over Munchkinland, having inherited the position from her equally tyrannical father. Played With, though, in that her villainy really kicks off after her sister gives her a way to walk with magic.

    Video Games 
  • Von Bolt from Advance Wars: Dual Strike is an old man stuck in a life support system including a wheelchair and a head tank who commits his evil in order to achieve immortality.
  • The Batman: Arkham Series incarnation of Calendar Man has one leg shorter than the other, requiring a specially-made platform shoe to stand, which also makes him walk with a limp. It somehow doesn't hinder his ability to kill people in gruesome holiday-themed ways.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine's "Bendy" is able to walk and run, albeit with a limp due to one foot being twisted inwards. He also has vision problems due to his eyes (he does have them - right?) being constantly covered by ink. Still, he is the fastest, most powerful being in Joey Drew Studios, and its other inhabitants fear him.
  • Eye of Adam from The Cat Lady is completely paralyzed and dependent on a computer (which has a special attachment that registers his eye movement) for communication. He's also the Troll who goaded Mitzi's boyfriend into committing suicide.
  • Ze mad scientist Professor von Kriplespac from Conker's Bad Fur Day; an anthropomorphic weasel with a mechanical arm, eye, and thick German accent, he zips around in a hoverchair to make up for his lost legs. Oh, and did we mention that he's the leader of an army of robotic Nazi teddy bears?
  • Crysis 2: Jacob Hargreave - He guides you, designed the suit you're wearing, has the most intimate knowledge of the Ceph incursion, and then turns on you so that he can use your suit and save the world himself. Oh, and he was crippled, floating in a stasis tank the whole time. At least he decides to help you out after it's clear that you're going to survive and he isn't: all of CELL's forces stop trying to kill you, for once.
  • Marian Mallon, the director of Phenotrans from the Dead Rising series, is confined to a wheelchair and thus never directly engages the player, instead using things like remote-controlled loading arms attack with.
  • Hugh Darrow from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. His plot to turn humanity against augmentation is mostly driven by his resentment over not being able to treat his condition with the technology he pioneered due to genetic incompatibility.
  • Crime boss Salvatore in Fallout 2. He is extremely old and decrepit, needs an oxygen tank and mask to breathe, and is effectively confined to his room. While arguably being the vilest evildoer in New Reno.
  • Subverted with Belger, the Big Bad of Final Fight. He only appears to be a cripple, but when his wheelchair is destroyed, he proves perfectly capable of standing.
    • He can stand all right, but his mobility is limited to jumping and skipping around, not walking like an able-bodied person.
  • The Society's Controller from Front Mission: Gun Hazard gets a giant flying fortress and life support for his wheelchair.
  • Jericho Swain from League of Legends. He's a cripple with a cane. He's one of the bad guys, has a raven that can blast enemies with lightning, and he can shapeshift into a giant humanoid vampiric raven himself. He also walks faster than the game's phoenix and gyrocopter pilot champions.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Cunningham from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, although his missing leg doesn't impede his ability to move around (but he was forced into a desk job anyway, which was why he set out on his Evil Plan). His disability is treated relatively realistically, though - well, for Metal Gear.
    • Huey Emmerich from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker starts off as an ally of the heroes and was born unable to use his legs, which he blames on radiation exposure. By the time of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has gone full-on Evil Cripple, especially in the way he treats his wife and son and sells out Big Boss and the rest of the MSF. This was something of a Foregone Conclusion given that we already knew from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that he would eventually be Driven to Suicide and attempt to take his stepdaughter Emma with him after he finds out that his second wife has been sexually abusing his underage son, Hal/Otacon (and tellingly he reacts to this like it's an insult to his masculinity and a betrayal on Hal's part, rather than an ugly statutory rape) but it wasn't until the two prequel games that we learned how he started. Ironically for this trope, his more negative traits only became evident after he moved from a wheelchair to a lower-body exoskeleton.
    • Venom Snake's Start of Darkness in V is created by his mutilation in an explosion, leaving him with a Red Right Hand and brain damage that resembles a devil's horn.
  • Alexander Cayne, the Big Bad of Hitman: Blood Money, is confined to a wheelchair and has what appears to be burn scars on the left side of his face.
  • In No One Lives Forever II (which is an Affectionate Parody of Spy Fiction in general), a villain from the original game returns in a wheelchair... with integrated rocket launchers. For starters.
  • PAYDAY 2 has Gage, an Afghan War veteran and black market arms dealer paralysed from a failed assassination attempt. The FBI Files note a rumour he was shot by his own unit in Afghanistan for looting a dead comrade.
  • Ozwell E. Spencer, Greater-Scope Villain and The Man Behind the Man to almost everything in the Resident Evil games, is ultimately revealed in Resident Evil 5 to be a sick, crippled old man in a wheelchair, hooked up to life support and dreaming of godhood. Without his Dragon-in-Chief Sergei Vladimir, he's of very little threat and is slain by Wild Card Albert Wesker before the heroes can even meet him.
    • Resident Evil 7 has the grandmother, a frail old woman in a wheelchair who appears throughout the game in increasingly unlikely places. This turns out to be the true form of Eveline, who's responsible for all of the game's horrors and is the final boss.
  • Sludge Vohaul, the Big Bad of most of the Space Quest games. He had a habit of testing his experiments on himself, and the repeated mistakes had taken their toll, reducing him to a barely mobile, deformed, and obese creature on life support.
  • The Mann twins from Team Fortress 2 backstory. Despite both being almost dead (heck, even some time after they are completely dead!), they still pursue their pointless strife with all the nefarious means they can think of (which is, admittedly, not much).
  • In the video game version of The Warriors the leader of the Turnbull AC gang is Birdie, who is uses a wheelchair since he can't walk. Despite being in a wheelchair, some of Birdie's henchmen fear him and he is known to run over people's groins with his wheelchair. When you fight him, he pulls a gun on you and you knock him off a ledge by hurling bottles and bricks at him.
  • Wick has Tom, a ghost child who suffered from polio in life (and possibly fell down a well). His body is contorted into unnatural positions and you can hear what sounds like bones breaking when he attacks you.
  • During Triple H's story in WWE 12, The Miz uses a wheelchair after a career-ending leg injury. Or so it appears; it's eventually subverted when he jumps out of his chair and attacks you during one of your matches.
  • Monaca Towa of Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls appears to be this, using a wheelchair due to abuse from her older brother that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Subverted: she's not.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All. The killer in one case is a wheelchair user, but he's easily one of the series' most sympathetic murderers and it's even said that he isn't really a bad man. He's also smart enough to accuse Nick of being discriminatory, since accusing a man in a wheelchair of murder is generally seen as a bit tasteless.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in the Society of Virtue episode "Aluminium Island" where Ginger Panther has to fight progressively more handicapped villains culminating in The Cabbage who is in a coma.
  • RWBY side story, RWBY: Before the Dawn, has one as its main villain. Jax Asturias suffered birth complications as a result of his twin sister's Semblance, leaving him extremely weak and sickly as a child. Born into the harsh desert kingdom of Vacuo, Jax resented his condition and used it as a means to manipulate his sister Gillian into serving as a living power battery for him. Cruel and ambitious, Jax's plan to become King of Vacuo involved human trafficking, a brainwashed army Powered by a Forsaken Child, and forcing his sister to do whatever he asked. When his plans are foiled, he decides they should go down fighting. Gillian's refusal leads him to try to force her to give him ALL of her Aura, which would kill her in the process. Gillian is forced to help Yatsuhashi mind-wipe her brother to save herself from his suicidal plan.

  • Galatea from Ennui GO! is a ruthless comic-book executive who purposefully blinded herself so she could rip off her customers more, operating under the logic that it's a lot easier to dehumanize people when you can't see their faces.

    Web Original 
  • Loiselle Barthelemy is pretty damn malicious and once burned half of Provence to the ground. She is also on Interpol, meaning she is wanted in several countries.
    • If requiring prosthetic limbs count, Atlasnaya Molotov and according to her description, she was trained to be utterly ruthless.
    • Anwen is rather tragic in that she turned to villainy to distract herself from her illness and to hopefully find someone/thing to cure her illness or prolong her life but nevertheless she is rather malicious.
  • Rhett Talbot from To Welcome Oblivion is paralyzed from the neck down. He's also a murderous Serial Rapist who's not above slaughtering innocent civilians or even children for his own pleasure.

    Web Videos 
  • Umphrey Bridgeport, the Jerkass villain of the Echo Chamber episode "Tyrant Takes the Helm", walks with a cane. However, it turns out that his disability, along with his snide personality, is fake; he's an actor playing a role.
  • Caustic Critic Mr. Plinkett of RedLetterMedia is allegedly 90+ years old and in a wheelchair. He also regularly talks about committing actions that would make him a monster if he wasn't so funny.
  • Smosh's parody of Death Note has wheelchair-using thief Cecil Adams as the first victim of the Death Note.

    Western Animation 
  • The Handicapped Mafia from American Dad!. They're The Mafia, but exclusively for handicapped people.
  • Combustion Man from Avatar: The Last Airbender has a prosthetic right forearm and lower leg, purportedly from injuries sustained when still learning to control his technique.
  • The Batman Beyond villain Shriek, an engineer specializing in sonic technology, was rendered deaf after his first encounter with Batman, which led to him becoming a vengeful recurring foe.
  • The Boondocks has Colonel H. Stinkmeaner. Despite being a blind old man, he's also the local bully. We first see him driving a car for some reason, almost running over pedestrians and not giving a damn about it.
  • Mother Brain in Captain N: The Game Master as a Brain in a Jar, moves around using a special wheelchair-like machine.
  • The leader of the Jerk Jocks in The Cleveland Show is deaf.
  • Count Duckula has The Egg, an obvious spoof of this trope. A condition that could only happen in a world with anthropomorphic birds; he never hatched, but still remained conscious and has the mind and voice of an adult, so now he's a criminal mastermind bent on vengeance against the world for that, confined to a chair.
  • Grandma-ma in Duckman; turns out it was Agnes Delrooney, her criminal Evil Twin who impersonates her for several episodes faking to be comatose and in a wheelchair. She does get to care for her surrogate family nevertheless.
  • A later Inspector Gadget episode, "Gadget Meets the Clan", featured a disabled mafia boss.
  • Lucius VI on Jimmy Two-Shoes. Apparently, his wheelchair wheels are grafted right onto him.
  • The evil Deen in the Jonny Quest episode "Turu the Terrible" uses a wheelchair. (Just how a guy in a wheelchair got into the Amazon rainforest is never answered.)
  • Two recurring villains from Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures exemplify this trope.
    • Doctor Jeremiah Surd, quadriplegic super-hacker and Mad Scientist, repeatedly uses Questworld VR technology to compensate for his disability (in Questworld, he's a god) and twice attempted to cure himself with it.
    • Ezekiel Rage, disfigured leader of an Apocalypse Cult, seems to get horribly killed in every episode he appears in, only to re-appear later showing more physical damage or even missing body parts.
  • Justice League: Lex Luthor fundamentally becomes one partway through the series in the form of kryptonite-induced cancer — he carried a sizeable lump of it on his person for years so that he would have it whenever he encountered Superman, receiving long-term exposure to its radiation, and suddenly has a seizure while escaping from the Justice League at the beginning of the episode where this is revealed so Superman has to save him. He wakes up in a hospital bed and is informed of his condition, and that it has an uncertain level of terminality — a later episode shows that he's built a life-support device that he wears constantly which could extend his life for as long as thirty years to as short as thirty minutes. He (or maybe Brainiac) actually manages to cure his own cancer, taking him out of the Evil Cripple category but uses the pretense of his ongoing condition as the justification for an apparent Heel–Face Turn in a long-term gambit to destroy the League and run for President, and it nearly works, too.
  • Master Blaster (not to confuse with the Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome character of the same name), the Big Bad Corrupt Corporate Executive in Kidd Video is confined to a wheelchair and medical machinery.
  • The Magician: Black Jack needs to fly around in a hovering wheelchair and can't walk on his own.
  • Plastic Man spoofed this with The Clam, a literal sentient clam that somehow leads a terrorist marine organization but... is a clam, and as such can only live inside his fish tank and has to be carried by his goons, as he can’t walk on his own (has no limbs).
  • Not so much an "Evil" Cripple as Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery; Johnny McBride, a disabled boy that Penny dated in The Proud Family seems to be friendly at first, but turns out to be a rude asshole towards her family and friends.
  • Parodied in the episode of South Park featuring Christopher Reeve.
    • And Jimmy under the effects of steroids.
  • Word of God confirms that minor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) villain the Garbageman has no legs, explaining why he was only ever shown riding around in Mini-Mecha.
    • Krang from the first cartoon also counts. He's a disembodied brain according to backstory, so essentially helpless without his android body or bubble-walker.
  • Depending on one's point of view, Megatron, the Big Bad of the Transformers franchise, could be considered one. He's hardly a "cripple" in his true form, but in his alternate form of a handgun, he's practically helpless and can't do anything without another Decepticon's help. (Ironically, this is usually Starscream.)
    • Dr. Meridian / Mandroid in Transformers Earthspark. A human scientist working for the agency G.H.O.S.T. during the war between Autobots and Decepticons, he lost his arm during a massive battle in San Francisco. Since then, he’s been stealing body parts from Decepticons with the ultimate goal of getting rid of all Cybertronians on Earth.
  • Doctor Octopus from Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), which also counts as a Genius Cripple. He lost the use of his limbs in the very accident that grafted his tentacles to him, now needing to use the tentacles to work, fight and move around, until he injects himself with nanites to repair his body.
  • Nemesis in The Smurfs (1981) is a deformed wizard who walks with a limp and has a constant hiccup.


Video Example(s):


Risking lives for amusement

Seeing how injured people get from demolition derbies gives Mrs. Puff a rather dangerous idea... (This was thankfully toned down in the book releases.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlackComedy

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