Follow TV Tropes


Evil Makes You Ugly

Go To

"When in crime one is fully employed
Your expression gets warped and destroyed:
It's a penalty none can avoid;
I once was a nice-looking youth;
But like stone from a strong catapult,
I rushed at my terrible cult —
Observe the unpleasant result!
Indeed I am telling the truth!"
Sir Despard Murgatroyd, Ruddigore

Using certain evil superpowers or evil artifacts will leave characters scarred, disfigured, or deformed. So will committing acts of evil repeatedly.

When evil makes you ugly, it's often to exhibit the "side effects" of obtaining untold amounts of evil power or of using that power to hurt innocent people. The external form morphs to match the internal form.

Since evil super villains care only about obtaining power (typically at the expense of everyone else), they generally shrug it off when they suddenly age by 100 years, have limbs that they didn't have before, or can't go out in public anymore. This is because these changes usually have no negative effects other than the ugliness. A villain that has aged a hundred years, while he may be no wiser, will somehow avoid being physically hindered by the extra years. The villain with the extra limb will find neat uses for it...

Trying to hide with makeup is sometimes tried, because Makeup Is Evil.

In video games, such transformations may be caused directly by less-than-honorable actions taken by PCs. The transformation may either grow or shrink in intensity the more evil one becomes. See Character Model Karma Meter.

Taken to the extreme, the evil transformation that corrupts the supervillain could do them in.

Sometimes an attempt at this trope fails; the character's new features improve their appearance.

When Beauty Equals Goodness, this is used to mark Face Heel Turns.

Compare Red Right Hand, The Corruption, Evil Costume Switch, Punished with Ugly, Evil Makes You Monstrous, Power-Upgrading Deformation, What Measure Is a Non-Cute? and Subpar Supremacist. Also compare Wasted Beauty, which is more "Evil Makes Beauty Not Matter."

Contrast with Evil Is Sexy, Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, The Makeover, and With Great Power Comes Great Hotness. See also Beauty Equals Goodness, where beauty is seen as proof of being good regardless of whether it's true.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • When Ladies Of War Claymore in Claymore tap into their Superpowered Evil Side, they inevitably become something in between the Uncanny Valley and an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Apparently their normal forms aren't entirely without taint either. When a band of human bandits approaches to rape Teresa, several of them turn off-screen and vomit upon seeing her begin to disrobe for it. Proof that they are already on the path of being ugly. Then again, the Organization does have to implant the Yoma flesh into them in the first place – that could have just been scarring from the operation that they were seeing.
    • Dae of the Retrieval Squad is another example. He obviously has ill-intent in mind when he experiments on the Claymores, and thus, half of his face is fucked up.
  • In Death Note, Light Yagami is a Bishōnen whose facial expressions become noticeably twisted whenever he's angry or excited. He goes from this to this. The same goes for Teru Mikami, who takes it further with his hair hanging over his face and his eyes turning red.
  • Naruto's Kabuto, for most of his screentime, looked pretty normal, even if he technically never really was a good guy. After taking Orochimaru's place however...
  • Justin Law in Soul Eater becomes Asura's dragon after a Face–Heel Turn, and after being disfigured he has half his face burned and shows his corruption.
    • After Crona goes back to Medusa, she has much more success turning Crona into a Kishin than before. Crona's appearance doesn't change too much by default but is subject to a lot of bizarre Art Shift, such as getting a very puppet-like head with a face mostly taken up with a ridiculously huge, solid black Slasher Smile.
    • Masamune, Tsubaki's older brother, was once an adorable little Bishōnen. After he snapped and went evil, he developed a sickly, pale complexion, heavy bags under his eyes, and a tendency to go into Black Eyes of Evil mode.
  • Marik from Yu-Gi-Oh! was hardly a good guy, but he's got nothing on his disfigured Superpowered Evil Side for sheer malice. Notably, the more Axe Crazy Dark Marik gets, the more his veins stand out, the more his eyes bulge, and the more his face stretches.
  • In One Piece, the World Nobles are horrible tyrants and also Gonk. What makes it this trope is Word of God by Oda saying that he draws them so ugly to highlight their ugly personalities, and any reformed nobles look much better. Mjosgard is another typical selfish World Noble when he first appears in flashbacks, and he's just as Gonky as the rest, but when he reappears in the Reverie arc having undergone a Heel–Face Turn, he actually looks somewhat handsome.
  • Practically a law of the setting in One-Punch Man, as monsterification typically turns people into bizarre abominations, barring a select few.
    • Especially highlighted with the Ugmon, a type of monster where an ugly person fixates on their appearance, becoming an absolutely hideous beast. Inverted with Amai Mask, an ugly person who fixated on looking good, turning him into an attractive monster.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Takuma Saioh goes through the same process the more the Light of Destruction possesses him. By the time the Light chases out his soul and completely takes hold of his body, his face looks like a stage mask with a permanent distorted grimace.
  • The Godhand and Apostles in Berserk all used to be human before they made a Deal with the Devil and transformed. Most of their demon forms are indescribably grotesque, but even their more human forms are hideous enough to let you know that they are no longer human. Even those that do manage to maintain a decent level of beauty, like Locus, Rosine, and Griffith, still look very off-putting.
  • In Heat Guy J, most of The Mafia leaders are very ugly. Clair is somewhat an exception, as he is a Bishounen, but a very sickly-looking one.
  • Cat-Eyed Boy features the Demon Child, a young man who was born deformed and ugly with a wicked personality to match. When he was 22, he transplanted his mind into the body of his deceased but handsome father, but as his true nature slipped out he slowly made his new body as ugly as he was in his original body.
  • Queen Millennia: When a La-Metalian is close to death, the darkness in their hearts is said to start appearing on their face. Daisuke's face gets half-black but becomes normal in the end, while Selene's is normal to begin with.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Batman:
      • Death of the Family: It's debatable if Joker could be considered ugly most of the time. What's not debatable is that this time around, he is ugly, thanks to wearing his face-skin like a mask!
      • Dark Nights: Metal sees the army of Evil Counterparts of Batman, the Dark Knights, suffer from this from the Devastator looking like Doomsday, the Merciless looking like an old man, to the Batman Who Laughs being subjected to Depending on the Artist to the extend that he can look far more inhuman than his origin (a Batman infected with the Joker's blood) should suggest (with a seemingly noseless face, a wider-than-humanly possible Slasher Smile, Scary Teeth, and Overly-Long Tongue).
    • The recurring Superman enemy Bizarro is an odd example. Bizarro is usually portrayed as a failed copy or clone of Superman whose physical appearance looks like a chalky-faced ghoul with sunken eyes and ragged hair. In some versions, he even starts out looking like the normal Superman but begins to degenerate physically once his mind begins to decay and his behavior becomes irrational and unpredictable. Bizarro isn't "evil" in the traditional sense, but his mind is so twisted that he ends up causing a ton of damage and death.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • When Calvin Zabo, Marvel's version of Mister Hyde, transforms into his villain identity, his face twists and convulses into a horrid, angry scowl that matches his uncontrollable temper.
    • This has happened to a few of Captain America's enemies:
      • Sin, the daughter of Cap's Arch-Enemy the Red Skull, received horrible facial scars in an explosion when she tried to put her father's mind into Steve Rogers' body. She is now her father's daughter in every way, at least until Kobik repairs her face.
      • The Skull himself literally took on his infamous moniker after getting hit with his own Dust of Death after one skirmish with the Captain.note 
      • Early in the current (and present) Baron Zemo's career, during a fight between him and Cap, he fell into a cauldron of a caustic chemical called Adhesive-X and was left for dead by the hero. Zemo actually survived, due to the protective properties of his costume, but because he had lost his mask previously in the fight, his face was hideously marred, giving it the appearance of molten wax. (Of course, Zemo has changed from outright villain to Knight Templar now, but evil still made him ugly.)
    • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom's pride and arrogance pushed him into an ill-considered experiment that backfired, permanently scarring his face. Though it could also be argued that his less handsome appearance presaged his fall into villainy instead. Tellingly, no matter how many times he fixes his face either through supernatural means or by switching bodies, he always ends up with facial scars again. Scott Lang once claimed that Doom does it to himself so he can pretend that he is alienated from humanity because of his physical scar tissue when it's really the scar tissue of his soul that repulses people.
    • Iron Man's enemy and former lover Whitney Frost, a.k.a. Madame Masque, is a terrorist leader with an origin similar to Doom's; a plane crash horribly disfigured her face, forcing her to wear a golden mask (provided by the gold-obsessed criminal leader Mordecai Midas) to conceal it. The scars have since been healed via surgery, but she still wears the mask to continue using her nom de plume.
    • Zig-zagged in Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers. Loki is withered, nearly toothless, and looks decades older than his biological mother. Then the evidence starts stacking that, in this continuity at least, Odin intentionally warped and molded Loki into both ugliness and evil so that arrogant, brutish Thor would look better by comparison.
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four:
      • This happens to Victor Van Damme early on, transforming him from a surly pretty boy into a metallic satyr.
      • This is also the ultimate fate of Reed Richards, when it's revealed that he has been behind everything in the Ultimate Doomsday Trilogy — fittingly, since he has in effect become Ultimate Doctor Doom.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dick Tracy, most of the Rogues Gallery have blatant deformities, often suggested by their names such as Pruneface, the Brow or Ugly Christine. When asked why this was, the author, Chester Gould said their crimes made them ugly.
    Gould: I think the ugliest thing in the world is the face of a man who has killed seven nurses — or who has kidnapped a child. His face to me is ugly.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San considers the creation of the Many to be a new debasement even for Ghidorah. Ni/Elder Brother's patchwork body created using the Many is shown to be gruesomely devoid of Ghidorah's Beauty Is Bad.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfette's Inner Beauty", Tapper expresses his belief that evil and sin causes people to age much quicker than normal, which to him is why people like Gargamel and Hogatha look older than their actual ages.
  • In Everqueen, Narthan Dume, the leader of the Pan-Pacific Empire, used to be very handsome, but when the Emperor meets him after the guy falls to Chaos, he resembles a zombie with Mad Scientist manners.
  • In Fractured (SovereignGFC), a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, Lilith gets hit with this hard because using huge amounts of Psycho Serum in the service of an Insane Admiral is probably not the best idea. In the sequel, Origins, Sarah experiences this, as per Star Wars canon, when using certain powers. Like Shepard in Mass Effect 2, use of "bad" abilities causes good looks to fade, while taking a more "paragon" path banishes ugliness.
  • Pokémon Strangled Red gives us Steven, who uses Missingno to bring his Charizard back from the dead. He then undergoes a shocking transformation:
    "He was hunched over, his bangs obscuring his face, his hair was wild and feathered out. Between his bangs, there wasn't even a face at all, just black, two red eyes looking straight forward, a white grin contrasting with the darkness."
  • In The Stronger Evil, Daolon Wong's appearance is explained as a result of constant use of dark magic draining and twisting his body.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast is comparatively subtle about this—as Gaston gets more and more obsessed with killing the Beast, he begins to stand and move in a more bestial manner, and he stops trying to keep his hair and clothing tidy. The Beast, by contrast, seems more and more human as he spends time around Belle.
  • An interesting willing case in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs happens, as the Evil Queen magically transforms herself into an ugly hag to fool Snow White, kill her and regain the title of the fairest of them all.
  • In Tangled, Gothel invokes this in her lectures to Rapunzel about the dangers outside. Alas for her, it means that Flynn does not appear to be dangerous, because he has normal teeth and doesn't look monstrous. The thugs of the Snuggly Duckling do fit the stereotype — but Rapunzel's appeal reveals their softer core.
  • White Snake (2019): The use of Daoist Black Magic takes its toll on the body of the villains who use it. The General is already wrinkled and disfigured, and the "Little Daoist" uses a mask to cover the disfigurement on his lower jaw.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Child's Play: In the original trilogy, as Chucky stayed in the doll's body, his face slowly changed from a young boy's to looking exactly like Charles Lee Ray.
  • Harry Potter: Voldemort practically turns into a snake from his dealings with the darker sides of magic. In the Prequel series, Fantastic Beasts, Big Bad Grindlewald was very handsome in his youth but in middle age is gaunt and prematurely aged. In contrast, middle-aged Dumbledore (who's The Hero but not The Protagonist) is very handsome given that he's played by Jude Law. However when the character was recast between the second and third installments, he became more of a conventional Silver Fox.
  • Near the end of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, one of the mooks drinks a concoction that gives him incredible size and strength...and glowing red skin with horrible acne.
  • Inverted with the eponymous Nanny McPhee in Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. The title character starts as an ugly witch, but as the family learn the lessons she teaches, and becomes better-behaved, she becomes less ugly for each lesson learned.
  • Star Wars:
    • Palpatine is severely disfigured by having his own Force lightning rebounded on him by Mace Windu. He displays little concern for his own disfigurement; in fact, he uses it as part of his overall gambit, first using it to convince Anakin to side with him, and later using it to garner overwhelming support for his seizing dictatorship and turning the Republic into the Empire.
    • Anakin wouldn't have fallen into that lava if he hadn't turned evil. Even before falling into the lava, Anakin experienced slight changes in appearance (the glowing yellow eyes in particular). After his son Luke manages to pull him away from the Dark Side, he asks him to remove his mask before he dies, revealing that his eyes are blue again.
    • The expanded universe seems to have an alarming large number of Sith, such as Darth Sion, who suffer accidents that horrifically disfigure them. In a universe where the Force exists, it might be a form of Laser-Guided Karma that hits them when this happens.
    • Darth Maul technically averts it in The Phantom Menace, as while he has a very menacing appearance, he's not deformed in any way (his species is naturally horned and his Sith markings are just tattoos)-aside from the standard 'yellow Sith eyes'. By Star Wars: The Clone Wars, however, he's been forced to replace his lower body with a pair of mechanical legs after Obi-Wan sliced him in half and left him for dead, Also his teeth are in horrible shape, making him look like he's rotting from the inside out, qualifying him for this trope.
    • Zigzagged with Kylo Ren in the sequel trilogy:
  • Bavmorda from Willow gets uglier the more black magic she uses.
  • In The Dark Crystal, the Skeksis were once beautiful, slender, vibrantly colored bird-like creatures. They clearly didn't age well after a thousand years of ruling as hedonistic tyrants, resembling ugly old humanoid buzzards at the time the film takes place.
  • When Jim Carrey's character uses the title object in The Mask, he becomes a clownish figure who's not that abnormal-looking excluding the green hairless face without ears. To contrast, when the handsome villain puts on the mask, he turns into a green-faced demonic figure with a much deeper voice.
  • Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's partially justified since he was burned to death, but the deal with the dream demons probably contributed to his ugly, disfigured look too. The reason he was burned to death in the first place was that he was a Serial Killer who preyed on children.
  • In Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Chad's insane refusal to see the good-natured hillbilly protagonists as anything but evil (helped by his friends' terminal stupidity) leads to an explosion that burns half of his face. Then he really loses it.
  • Mason Verger in Hannibal is left hideously disfigured after an encounter with Hannibal Lecter years before the beginning of the story, and his appearance matches his equally hideous character.
  • Michael Corleone at the end of Godfather Part II appears much older in the final shot of the film than he does the rest of the film. Word of God has it that the scene takes place nine years later but even so it seems somewhat likely that the evil he has exhibited over the course of the film has started to physically corrode him.
  • In Excalibur, Morgan Le Fay uses the magic she stole from Merlin to keep herself beautiful. When he tricks her to create a fog, her looks deteriorate to show her as an ugly, old woman, so much that her own son strangles her because he couldn't recognize her
  • A possible explanation for Glinda's "Only bad witches are ugly." line in The Wizard of Oz.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful makes it explicit. Going wicked results in grotesque physical changes. Evanora uses a charm to mask her hideousness.
  • In the Jekyll & Hyde style film I, Monster, scientist Charles Marlowe uses a Fantastic Drug to change himself into a different individual, Edward Blake. Blake starts out looking exactly like Marlowe, just with a different name and personality. However, as the film progresses, and the more evil acts he commits, the more physically repugnant Blake becomes.
  • Unlike the comic counterpart's original origin, Captain America: The First Avenger (and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) has the Red Skull's red face as his true form after taking the Super Soldier Serum, which physically enhances the subject's true nature. Per the serum's creator Dr. Erskine, "Good becomes great. Bad becomes worse". So unlike Steve Rogers, he ended up horrifyingly disfigured to match his cruel and twisted nature.

  • Oscar Wilde played with it in The Picture of Dorian Gray: The picture doesn't just grow old in the place of its possessor, it also bears the cosmetic consequences of his sins, growing ever uglier as Dorian descends into depravity. Part of its monstrosity comes from Dorian's incredibly dissolute lifestyle with all manner of drug abuse; worse is that while Dorian maintains a Faux Affably Evil facade, the portrait is twisted by the manic sneer of a Fully-Embraced Fiend.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Lord of the Rings has Gollum. While living in a cave for five hundred years also does its work, his precious greatly twists and distorts his appearance in a fashion that appears very similar to Age Without Youth — that is, he's inhumanly strong but looks like a pathetic shriveled creature that should barely be able to walk.
    • The Silmarillion reveals that Sauron, who once was a master shapeshifter and used a beautiful, benevolent appearance to trick gullible people, was eventually so consumed by hate and malice that he could only take the form of an Obviously Evil Dark Lord after his handsome body died in the fall of Númenor.
    • Morgoth, Sauron's old boss, had the same thing happen to him after he destroyed the Trees of Valinor, though in his case it didn't even involve discorporation — he just stopped being able (or willing) to change out of his hideous ogre-like Dark Lord body.
    • The orcs, bred from elves and/or Men, are apparently among the most hideous things alive (Morgoth probably made them deliberately ugly, to mock Eru).
    • The above having been said, it isn't a surefire thing, so don't assume Beauty Equals Goodness or you might end up like Celebrimbor. But evil does tend to turn formerly handsome beings into freakish monsters.
  • Sophie from The School for Good and Evil: She is initially a beautiful girl from a village who dreams of becoming a princess. However, she's dumped into the evil school and gradually comes to show she is indeed truly evil. Not only does she become a real witch, she turns hideous, grows warts, wrinkles, loses teeth, and eventually becomes an atrociously wrinkled, toothless, bald hag.
  • This is apparently a law of the setting in the original 1997 version of The Jewel Kingdom, although it's not elaborated on in much detail. The 2020 reprint removes this; rather than turning pale with "ugly, twisted" features, the Dreadlings have normal faces but Black Eyes of Evil (though a mention of their bony, furry feet slips through, they might just be wearing really weird shoes).
  • Discussed and averted in the Raffles stories: the narrator, Bunny, notes that neither his life of crime nor a stint in prison has robbed him of his youthful good looks and his innocent-looking face.
  • Tom Riddle from Harry Potter was a handsome young man, but by the time he is reborn, he is bald, has pale white skin, bloodshot eyes, and slits for nostrils. In a Pensive memory, Dumbledore has of him entering his office to ask to be the Defense of Dark Arts professor after he began dabbling in Dark Arts but before he gained power, Harry notes that he had already lost his good looks by then and was beginning to resemble the pale, snake-like creature he would fully become later on. Even many years before that when Tom Riddle was still pretty handsome, he was stated to have already begun to look a little pale by the time he took a job in a store to get hold of an ancient artifact. This is justified as each time he mutilated his soul to create a Horcrux, he became 'less human'.
    • Bellatrix is a more mundane example. She was once beautiful, but her years of incarceration in Azkaban, which were punishment for her evil deeds, left her a withered twisted shell of her former self. This is made even more apparent when Harry meets her sister Andromeda, the Black Sheep of the family who was disowned for marrying the muggle-born Ted Tonks, and is startled by how similar she physically looks to Bellatrix but with a ton more kindness in her eyes.
  • In Swan Song, many people injured by nuclear bombs in World War III wind up with a condition known as Job's Mask, where growths overtake their faces. These eventually fall off, leaving good people attractive and healed, but the bad guys wind up hideously deformed. One villain is so horrified by his appearance that he puts on a mask he refuses to take off.
  • In The Twits, Roald Dahl explicitly states that Mrs Twit looked quite nice once but has become ugly from having ugly thoughts all her life.
  • Many versions of Cinderella include the idea that Cinderella's sisters used to be beautiful but grew to be ugly because they were jealous and cruel.
  • The more dark magic a witch in the series The Land of Stories performs, the more grotesque features they gain.
  • In the Drizzt novels, the ritual of zin-carla brings back a dead person as an undead revenant that retains the appearance and skills it had in life along with all of the other advantages/disadvantages of being undead. The revenant is placed under the total mental control of the cleric of Lloth invoking the ritual, and the strain of it physically withers the cleric. It's heavily implied that Matron Yvonnel Baenre's wrinkled appearance isn't due to her age (though she is over a thousand years old, she would normally still be beautiful since she's a Drow) but because she invoked zin-carla in the past. Twice. The same thing happens to Matron Malice when she invokes zin-carla on Zaknafein in a bid to kill Drizzt.
  • In The Belgariad, Torak was once the most handsome of the Gods (and knew it) before he stole and attempted to dominate the Orb of Aldur. When he raised it to crack the world, it destroyed his looks and left him in permanent pain, hiding his now deformed face behind an iron mask.
  • The rulers of Laputa in Gulliver's Travels suffer from deteriorating health and appearance due to their obsession with science. In addition to a questionable mental state, their heads have become stuck reclined to one side, and they often suffer from strabismus: one eye turns inward and the other looks up "to the zenith". Their clothing is ill-fitting because they insist tailors use quadrants and a compass rather than with tape measures, and it only makes them look ridiculous.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, angels demand to know who Satan is, and he scornfully retorts that they should know him. They scornfully return that his looks are not what they were before his fall.
  • Kerrigor in the Old Kingdom was once a handsome prince, but as the Greater Dead Adept he's horrific and repulsive. In this case, it's a function of him giving up his original body long ago though he still keeps it around as a Soul Jar, and subsequently spending too much time in the deeper precincts of Death, which cause any spirit that lingers there to lose its human appearance.
  • In Chance And Choices Adventures, most of the evil characters are ugly (with the notable exception of Hank Butterfield, who is described as being very handsome). It is commonly noted that their faces are wrinkled from years of evil thoughts and grimacing expressions.
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia: When the Force-sensitive women of Dathomir draw on The Dark Side, small blood vessels burst in their skin. Years of this leave the Nightsisters looking like raw, blotchy, lumpy messes.
  • In Fengshen Yanyi, almost all the evil Taoist Immortals of the Jie sect tend to have monstrous, off-putting appearence, being often several feet tall with very long hair, fang-like teeth, bulging eyes and amazing skin colors, ranging from indigo to purple to red to black to flour white. In some cases it's because they actually are beast spirits in human form (such as the four disciples of Tongtian Jiaozhu or the Winged Immortal). Almost all the heroes are virtuous and overall good-looking, with the exception of the good but grotesque Tuxingsun (a dwarf with earth-colored skin), Leizhenzi (a blue-skinned Tengu-like monster) and Longxuhu (a large, one-legged dragon-like monster).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The incarnation of the Master we see in "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Keeper of Traken" is in his thirteenth body and looks like death warmed over; Geoffrey Beevers remarked that this is what the Master is like without his smooth looks and charm: as he put it, "the essence of the creature". This seems to be a running theme with this Master. The first Crispy Master is the ugliest and cruellest of all, while the second Crispy seems to have "healed" a little and is a step back towards Delgado behaviour (how much of the "healed" appearance is intentional and how much of it is due to the limitations of Beevers' makeup compared to Pratt's mask is unknown).
  • MacGyver (1985): Played straight with Murdoc; although his ugliness isn't caused by the use of any evil power it is a direct result of his own actions, as the near-deaths he's suffered at the hands of MacGyver and Pete gradually render him more scarred and hideous over the course of the series. He even gets his looks back after retiring, thanks to reconstructive surgery... and then when he turns evil again he gets some new scars to go with it.
  • The Flash: Savitar when unmasked is revealed to share the face of our handsome, dashing hero, albeit with a disfiguring scar on the right side of his face. This makes sense when you learn that he is our Handsome, Dashing Hero gone bad, or more like, Barry's only surviving Time Remnant during his battle with Savitar, that was destined to become Savitar.
  • In Game of Thrones, Gregor Clegane spent his life spreading misery as the Lannisters' muscle. One of his most vicious acts was murdering the children of Elia Martell, followed by raping and murdering her. Elia's vengeful brother Oberyn would duel him years later as Tyrion's champion in Trial by Combat. Though Oberyn dies due to a moment of carelessness, he is able to fatally wound Gregor with a poisoned spear. In an effort to keep his power, Cersei has Qyburn experiment on him. Qyburn turns Gregor into a zombie that is as strong as ever but is still visibly rotting. By the time Sandor faces him for the last time, Gregor's flesh is pale and rotting with visible necrotic sores.
    Sandor: Yeah, that's you. That's what you've always been.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • When Rumplestiltskin becomes the Dark One, he goes from a plain, peasant middle-aged father to a wild-eyed, gray-green glittery scaled being. Other Dark Ones have gone through the similar transformation, though it may also depend on how long one has been corrupted. Ex. Zoso and Nimue have the same scaly skin look after being Dark Ones, respectively, for decades and centuries, while a recently transformed Dark One Emma only gets a hair color change, and Hook doesn't change his appearance.
    • Downplayed with Zelena/The Wicked Witch of the West. Here she has a regular human appearance and her skin can change to green and back. Her green skin makes her look more of an Uncanny Valley than ugly, but the transformation stems from her jealously.
  • Supernatural: An internal example is implied; Lucifer's angelic form is specifically described as beautiful by other angels who knew him in Heaven — but in the present day the implication is that Lucifer's true form has been altered by millennia of corruption and evil and that there is actually something seriously wrong with him; with the prophet Donatello describing Lucifer's power as dark and toxic, and he's the only angel of any kind whose eyes glow red with dark pupils instead of the normal blue-and-white. It's also worth noting, Sam and Rowena found seeing Lucifer's true form and afterwards living to be permanently traumatizing, though it's unknown if the same would happen from seeing any other archangel's true form. It's not clear whether it's influenced by the Empty, but the form we see summoned by Nick is deeply off-looking, especially not long after seeing AU Michael's true form through Anael's eyes.
  • Played for Laughs (albeit dark ones) in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Dee Day." At one point, Dee makes Dennis remove all of his cosmetics, including concealer, eyeliner, tape to pull his skin back, hair paint, and "pec pads" (false padding in his shirt to make his chest look larger). When Dennis's true appearance is revealed, he looks like a pale, ashen ghoul with sunken eyes, thinning hair, and a generally unsettling demeanor. Charlie remarks: "That's what his soul looks like."

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Die Liewe Heksie, there is the wicked Yellow Witch and the goblins of the barren and sterile Gifappeltjieland. Even their country is ugly. this compares to the Beauty Equals Goodness presentation of the heroine and her friendly elves.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Eye: The goddess Rahja is said to be more beautiful than her demonic counterpart Belkelel, as the face of the latter is contorted by her evilness. They are implied to be both beautiful and human-looking, with subtle differences. Played straight with Rahja's son Levthan, who raped another goddess and was cursed to look like a goat. (He's that world's stand-in for the devil, though he's nominally a god - the archdemons are the really evil ones) Those who worship (some) archdemons, or the nameless one, become gradually uglier, as the domains of some demons are directly connected to things that make you ugly, like disease, and the nameless one requires the sacrifice of body parts. On the other hand, being friends with the churches of the love goddess Rahja or the goddess of youth, Tsa, tends to preserve your beauty, as both have blessings that can remove blemishes or regrow body parts.
  • Exalted: This is one of two options available to the Abyssal Exalted. As their permanent Essence score increases, they must either work to become the beautiful and stunning incarnations of death or allow their bodies to decay into putrescence and rot.
  • The title characters of Leviathan: The Tempest have their human forms become steadily less so as their Karma Meter plummets.
  • While In Nomine's angels sometimes look bizarre or alien in their true forms rather than beautiful, Falling almost invariably results in an uglier or darker form for the new demon (with the exception of the vain Lilim and Impudites, the latter of which still have the classic horns and bat wings).
  • In Warhammer 40,000, this is a given for anyone falling to Chaos, such as obese plaguebearers oozing pus from open sores, mutilated hermaphrodites with extra breasts, and general mutation such as multiple faces, tusks, tentacles...
  • In Warhammer, serving the Chaos Gods will inevitably result in receiving various mutations such as horns, unusual skin color, or tentacles. These changes do put strain on their psyche though, and it's not rare for a rising champion to receive too many in quick succession and become a mindless Chaos Spawn.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In most editions, when evil mortals die, Lawful ones go to the Nine Hells (or Baator) and become either lemures or nuppuribo; Chaotic ones go to the Abyss and become manes, dretch, or rutterkin. All these fiendish mooks are butt-ugly. Even the ones who manage to get promoted into higher-ranking members of the infernal of diabolic hierarchy won't likely get any handsomer; with the exception of those that act as tempters, like erinyes and succubi, fiends are always monstrously ugly. (A question pondered by philosophers in the setting even more than it is in reality is why evil exists at all when the afterlife for evildoers is known to be so unpleasant.)
    • Hextor, the God of Tyranny in the Greyhawk setting, is clearly very ugly, unlike his handsome brother and Arch-Enemy of Heironeous, the God of Valor. However, at least one myth says he used to be just as handsome, but his violent nature, and possibly jealousy of his brother, warped him into an ugly creature.
    • The Splat book The Book of Vile Darkness has several Feats called Willing Deformities. By taking them, a character becomes deformed in some way (such as becoming morbidly obese, sickly thin, or even gaining a third, demonic eye) becoming hideous, but gaining special powers that benefit characters with Vile abilities.
  • In Demon: The Fallen, a demon's Torment affects its true, apocalyptic form. At low levels of Torment, demons may look strange or frightening, but they will at the very least come across as majestic and awe-inspiring. High-Torment demons, on the other hand, are hideous, deformed monstrosities, usually with a generous helping of Body Horror. For example, a Devil specializing in the Lore of Flames will be a radiant figure Wreathed in Flames at low Torment, and a scorched, burning skeleton at high Torment.
  • Shadow Of The Demonlord: Literally and explicitly true. When a person does evil deeds, like harming innocents wilfully or for selfish reasons or using Dark Magic, they accrue Corruption. The greater your Corruption (or the worse your luck) the more likely you are to gain a Mark of Darkness. These Marks can range from strange and disconcerting supernatural quirks or blemishes to horrifying disfigurements.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: Mostly Played Straight with the minions of the Darkness. Most Umbrae have hideous deformation as either a drawback or a side effect of the benefit, and even a number of Calignes can result in the user looking grotesquely deformed.
    • Even the Tainted Allure of Vice Umbra, which does make those who have it inhumanly attractive, specifies that this is a depraved attraction, such that just looking at a Darkened with this Umbra tempts you towards cruelty and depravity.
  • Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting: The Circlet of Barbed Vision is a magical item created by an evil spider-goddess that morbidly twists the appearance of anyone who wears it to amuse the evil goddess. In practice, this means only characters who aren't good can use the Circlet and when used, it reduces the character's Charisma by 2 points, making them 5% worse at persuading and entertaining people.


  • Played straight in BIONICLE due to creative license, but averted in the canon storyline. When the Av-Matoran of Karda Nui got turned into evil henchmen by the Makuta, they only received their ugliness after being mutated by them through other means. Yet in the comics and books, they went through the makeover right away, to ensure that the kids reading them would get the message immediately.

    Video Games 
  • In ADOM, the reverse is also applied: your Appearance stat determines how quickly you gain new corrupting (chaotic, thus evil) mutations, and a lower score results in you mutating more easily. In ADOM, Ugly makes you Evil!
    • It also becomes a slippery slope since most corruptions lower your Appearance, making the next corruption occur even faster and so on.
  • The main characters in the Fable games have their looks change for the worse the more evil they get, and non-evil NPCs are also less likely to become attracted to an evil Hero.
  • In Fall from Heaven, the Orcs are human worshipers of a god, who were deformed when the god fell (thus becoming evil).
  • In both Knights of the Old Republic games, the main PC character gets gradually more sinister-looking as he/she commits more "evil" deeds. In the second game, this also applies to the party members who are turned to the Dark Side via the PC's influence.
  • Likewise in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dark Side player characters will gradually gain a more sinister appearance, though this effect can be disabled.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard's scars (and, eventually, eyes) will glow red according to how Renegade the Commander is, but recede if s/he's Paragon, explained in-universe as the cosmetic surgery used when resurrecting him/her responding badly to stress. Go far enough, and eventually they'll glow in the dark. You can remove the scars altogether by building a specific ship upgrade.
  • In Black & White 2, if you choose to do mostly evil actions, your hand-cursor will go from a healthy pallor and trimmed nails to having noticeably tanner skin and claw-like nails.
  • When Klogg stole Hoborg's crown in The Neverhood, he turned from a normal-looking klay-person to a bug-eyed, fanged, sharp-cheeked monstrosity. The Bad Ending has the same happen to Klaymen. It's downplayed in that Klogg was always selfish and cruel (the very first thing he did, seconds after being born, was try to steal the crown), so the act is more his true self coming out because of his evil deeds.
  • In Warcraft Cho'Gall's association with the Old Gods has led to mutations like spines sprouting from his skin, one of his mouths becoming a beak, and his heads sprouting tentacles. No, the second head isn't one of them, all Ogre Mages have them.
    • Deathwing's body is horribly scarred and twisted due to his use of the Demon Soul and association with the Old Gods, with metal plates fastened all over it to stop his body tearing itself apart.
  • Reversed in Two Worlds II: at one point, the helpful leader of a nearly-doomed colony asks the protagonist to hunt down the reason of their misery - an evil witch, who not only lives deep in a swamp but who is indeed hideous. However, instead of killing the witch, the protagonist can also listen to her unexpected pleas. Doing so opens an entire new subplot, which eventually reveals that the real Evil One was actually the charismatic leader, while the witch was the true protector of the people, and it was due to helping them for decades that she had spent her life force and turned ugly. But in the end of that subplot, the other related trope is restored, as the witch's beauty is magically returned, once the real villain is eliminated.
  • In inFAMOUS and its sequels, going down the evil route causes Cole's skin to become much paler (almost gray), and to develop small electrical burns. Your powers are also affected, with good powers being bright, natural-looking, and precise (minimizing collateral damage), whereas evil powers are dark, unrefined, and destructive. Interestingly, this isn’t just a gameplay mechanic; the rule applies just as much to NPCs as it does to you. Evil Conduits like the Beast, Sasha, and Bartrand either have Lovecraftian Superpowers or manifest their powers in messy, creepy-looking ways like evil Cole. This is best seen with Lucy Kuo; she’s initially good-aligned and thus has very clean and refined-looking attacks, but when she does a fear-induced Face–Heel Turn and allies with the Beast, her powers become much more chaotic and flawed in appearance.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is either Played Straight or Subverted by the Dunmer (Dark Elves), depending on the version of the story. Previously, they were known as the Chimer and had pleasant golden skin. According to one legend, when the Tribunal betrayed Lord Nerevar, Azura (Nerevar's Daedric patron) cursed the entire race with eyes as red as fire and skin as grey as ash. Only the Tribunal (mostly) kept their former appearance; the evil-looking Dunmer really had nothing to do with the betrayal. Also, the whole story may just be allegorical for the physical changes caused by living in a blasted hellscape of ash and lava.
  • Justified by Gabriel Belmont regarding Carmilla, the tyrannical vampire queen in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. In spite of her attempt to make herself sexy so that she can attract hapless victims into her prey, Gabriel sees through this very easily (players should immediately recognize her failed disguise as ugly as well) and proceeds to give her a Karmic Death. Gabriel's not looking too good either after spending a few centuries as an immortal super-vampire.
  • Many of the Tainted in Lusternia. Notably, this trope is justified: the Tainted venerate undeath as an exalted state of being, so the blue skin, red eyes, and profound decomposition are happening for a good reason. Some of their aristocrats are hundreds of years old. Also, there are plenty of sexy Tainted - if you're into that kinda thing.
  • Deathshead from Wolfenstein: The New Order is rather disfigured-looking. Frau Engel starts off looking rather normal but is disfigured by a hacked robot just as she shows how crazy she is.
  • In West of Loathing you can read Nex-Mex tomes that give you some quite potent spells but at a cost. Reading these books doesn't make your stick figure ugly, but will give you different "Perks" like white hair and weaker muscle, that decrease your moxie and muscle stats, so it's recommended to use the Beanslinger Class if you want some necromancy.
  • In Fire Emblem Gaiden and Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia, the Duma Faithful all have discolored skin and glowing eyes due to making frequent deals or sacrifices to their Mad God. Some of them, like Jedah, even go a step beyond that and have odd pointy ears as well.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Hag was an ordinary young woman who was turned into a hideous Wicked Witch as a side effect of her constant experimenting with dangerous potions and strange plants.
  • Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse plays with this trope. The culprit, Anja, is quite beautiful and remains that way even when she's jailed...but she wears a grotesque troll mask to intimidate her victims. So Anja's soul finds a way to mirror itself in her appearance, even though it doesn't.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps' antagonist, Shriek, had been grotesquely disfigured by The Corruption since hatching, and was ostracized by the other owls, leading her to fully embrace The Dark Side.

    Visual Novels 
  • Downplayed in Danganronpa Another: once he is outed as the Mastermind, Yuki Maeda's appearance becomes noticeably more dishevelled and haggard-looking.


    Web Videos 
  • In Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, abuse of Satsui no Hado deforms its user, turning them into a brutish demonic figure. This is how Gouki becomes Akuma after two years of training Satsui no Hado. When Ryu somehow taps into it, his face changes in a similar fashion and only reverts after Ken knocks him out of it with his Flaming Dragon Punch.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Omniverse:
    • Albedo's new versions of the Ultimate Aliens are far more monstrous than Ben's were.
    • After being severely burned and losing his arm, Kundo has gotten scars and a clawed cyborg arm, with his eyes having turned red.
  • The Superfriends episode "Universe of Evil" portrays an evil Justice League from a Parallel Universe. For the most part, they look just like their normal selves, but with different costumes. Superman gets some weird eye makeup. Wonder Woman particularly stands out, as she has the exact same costume as her normal self, but just seems really hagged-out. Either this trope is at work, or "our" Wonder Woman relies heavily on talented makeup artists for her good looks.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), Rocksteady and Bebop were two Dumb Muscle humans who couldn't do anything right before Shredder used mutagen to transform them into... two Dumb Muscle mutants who couldn't do anything right. In fact, this Trope was lampshaded by the Shredder himself when the experiment was actually done:
    Rocksteady: Hey, you sure this is gonna give us all them powers you promised?
    Shredder: Certainly. Of course, you may have trouble getting a date for Saturday night...
  • Wakfu: Qilby fusing with the Eliacube transforms him into a pretty gnarly-looking One-Winged Angel form; but even after he's separated from the Eliacube, his hair has been discolored, his lips remain blue and his fingernails black; and if one looks closely, there are scar-like marks where his Eliacube-fused form's tattoos used to be.
  • Batman Beyond has a couple examples that double as Evil Makes You Monstrous:
    • In his first appearance, the sociopathic industrialist Derek Powers is revealed to have produced a deadly biochemical weapon to sell overseas. He ends up getting exposed to some of the poison gas himself. After receiving emergency radiation therapy, he turns into Blight, a radioactive supervillain who looks like a glowing green skeleton. Now his appearance really matches his inner self.
    • This later happens to Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow; exposure to experimental agricultural chemicals turns him into a nine-foot-tall, deformed, hulking monster with Super Strength. Which he doesn't mind in the least; he considers himself Cursed with Awesome and likes the fact that people respect him now, even if it's because they're afraid of him. (In his second appearance, Max told Terry that "Charlie always was a monster, now he just looks the part.")
  • Nerissa of W.I.T.C.H. looks incredibly ancient with silver hair and nearly grey skin, despite her being roughly around her fifties or sixties, when her former guardian friends all have more normal appearances. According to Cassidy, draining her life force for extra power has done this to her.
  • Nemesis, a villain who appeared on a late season of The Smurfs (1981), was a rather handsome warlock, until an accident where he fell into a pool of slime made his face so hideously ugly that nobody could stand to look at him.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Ego Trip, the Mandark of the future has not aged well after conquering the world. Having complete power, he seriously let himself go, becoming a lazy slacker who gradually became a morbidly obese thing that couldn't even move without a block and tackle device.
  • Inverted in the Season 6 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Thorax, the defected changeling from earlier in the season, has developed glittery wings as a result of making new friends in the Crystal Empire. When Starlight encourages him to release his love energy to overpower Queen Chrysalis, his body becomes more streamlined and colorful. The same happens to the changelings who follow his example.
  • Implied in Plastic Man. Whenever Plas' past criminal identity Eel O'Brian is shown onscreen, he looks ugly and thuggish compared to his current heroic self, post-Heel–Face Turn.
  • Spiral Zone uses a high-tech variation of this trope. Big Bad Overlord creates the titular Fog of Doom, a Synthetic Plague that turns its victims into disfigured "Zoners", Technically Living Zombies with no free will. Overlord and his enforcers, the Black Widows, use a device called the "Widow Maker" to protect themselves from the Zone's Mind Control effect — at the cost of becoming even worse-looking than the Zoners.
  • Skeleton Warriors does this to many individuals of evil heart. As the Big Bad, Baron Dark, had wicked intentions, his struggle for the Lightstar Crystal had converted him into a skeletal monster with the power to transform others of evil heart into living skeletons.


Video Example(s):


The Daoist Wrinkled Face

Use of his evil Daoist magic has made the Daoist deteriorate and he used a silk veil to conceal it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilMakesYouUgly

Media sources: