Follow TV Tropes

Following

Evil Redhead

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mystique_3.jpg

"Those whose hair is red, of a certain peculiar shade, are unmistakably vampires."
Advertisement:

Some heroes are redheads and we all know that Heroes Want Redheads. By contrast, there are also Evil Redheads. These are characters who are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. (Not to imply that heroes can't want evil redheads.)

This trope is Older Than They Think — red hair was supposedly a mark of a witch and favored by Satan himself. In the Balkans, people unfortunate enough to be born with red hair were said to be doomed to rise as vampires when they died, if they weren't vampires already. In some parts of Eastern Europe, babies born with red hair were once common targets of infanticide.

Bullies in school media often have red hair because of the temperamental redhead stereotype. Note the dovetailing with the Violent Glaswegian, though that seldom overlaps. Contrast Redheaded Stepchild, wherein the redhead is despised but not necessarily evil, as well as the growing tendency over the past few decades for heroes to have red-haired romantic interests, especially green-eyed ones.

Advertisement:

May be used to visually demonstrate the difference between this character and the blond or dark-haired hero.

Also see A Sinister Clue, another indicator of evil stemming from an ancient superstition.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Anime & Manga 
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch:
    • The first shown member of every Quirky Miniboss Squad is a redhead (Izuuru, Sheshe, Fuku). Also twisted with Sara, whose natural colour was bright orange but changed to black.
    • Aside from Fuku (who never attacks the Mermaid Princesses directly, anyway), the first real member of Michel's Winged Ones who shows up is Lady Bat, who also has burgundy red hair.
  • Momomi Minoi, the Cute and Psycho Yakuza Princess from Mezzo Forte, fits quite well. One of her recreational activities seems to be casually murdering her father's employees when they fail to meet her expectations... and that's just when she's having fun. If someone actually tries to get in her way, she will do her best to ensure that they experience far worse.
  • Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has magenta hair and is the first genuinely antagonistic dragon in the series (though she later undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and becomes more of a Rose-Haired Sweetie).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
    • Ali Al-Saachez is red haired and one of the most evil characters in the series. For one, he was once a "freedom fighter" who recruited child soldiers to fight in the name of "God", even though he's an atheist who just wanted an excuse to carry out acts of terrorism.
    • Nena Trinity, though she's more batshit insane than anything else.
    • Patrick Colasour, though he's more of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain than truly evil.
  • One Piece:
    • Eustass Kidd, who starts impaling people with glee once he's in the New World.
    • Gekko Moriah also fits this trope, being the main antagonist of the Thriller Bark arc, or at least in his original coloring in the manga. The anime gave him purple hair.
    • Vinsmoke Ichiji, the oldest son of the royal Vinsmoke family and Sanji's oldest quadruplet brother, was born with red hair despite both of his parents being blond-haired. He's also an Evil Prince who shares his father's Darwinist beliefs in the strong ruling over the weak and royals not serving anyone, and even joined in his younger brothers' vicious bullying of Sanji for being compassionate. However, there's a reason why he's evil: He and his younger brothers were experimented on in utero against their pregnant mother's will by Judge, who wanted his children to become strong, ruthless warriors by irreversibly removing their empathy. The mother, Vinsmoke Sora, desperately tried reversing Judge's modifications by consuming a dangerous drug to save her sons, but ended up saving only Sanji. Ichiji, Niji, and Yonji only have a shred of empathy left.
    • There are quite a few members of the Charlotte family with varying shades of red: Oven and Basskarte have fire-colored hair, Katakuri has maroon hair, Cinnamon and Mobile are dark brunettes, twin sisters Galette and Poire are fuschia-haired, and Marnier's hair has darker/lighter red-violet colors. All of them are fanatically loyal to their mother, Big Mom/Charlotte Linlin, a ruthless pirate queen who, whenever she craves something, goes on a hunger rampage during which she destroys everything and kills everyone until she gets it.
  • Jessie, the self-appointed leader of the Team Rocket trio in Pokémon: The Series, although she doesn't qualify as evil, just hot-tempered and morally dubious.
  • Played with by Kyouko in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. She's the only redhead in the cast, and is easily the most amoral and violent, but Sayaka's influence causes her to evolve into more of an Anti-Hero. She was originally an overtly heroic person like Sayaka, until her Deal with the Devil convinced her religious father that she was an evil witch, and he killed himself and the rest of her family. After that, she decided to be completely selfish to avoid hurting people she cared about... by not having any.
  • The Ranma ½ anime gets an episode full of this trope. When Happosai splits Ranma's male side and female side into two different people, the female side turns out to be evil to the core. The glowing eyes, floating red hair, and supernatural powers certainly don't hurt in making her seem any less sinister.
  • Touga Kiryuu in Revolutionary Girl Utena. He tricks his sister Nanami into thinking that they were not blood siblings and that he never loved her, even though they were merely adopted into the same family and Nanami was too young to be able to remember. Also, he gets his friend Saionji expelled from school and burns the exchange diary right after Saionji entrusted it to him.
  • Himura Kenshin, the titular protagonist of Rurouni Kenshin, was once a legendary assassin named "Hitokiri Battousai", who killed several men before the Meiji era. He turned away from that life, though, and seeks to atone for his actions because, in his words, the alternative was committing Seppuku. For every person that tries to kill him, there's many more who are inspired by his heroic deeds.
  • Sailor Moon pulls this one on multiple occasions.
    • The Dark Kingdom arc/Classic season's Big Bad, Queen Beryl.
    • The Black Moon arc/R season's first member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, Rubeus.
    • The Dream arc/SuperS season:
    • Galaxia has gold-blonde hair... which fades into blood red. In the anime, her hair turns completely red when she is fully corrupted by Chaos in the Grand Finale and becomes "Chaos Galaxia", making her even more vicious than she already was.
  • Sa Sakujun from The Story of Saiunkoku is... not a nice person. He serves as a red-headed Shadow Archetype to Shi Ryuuki, both being intelligent men, except Sa is willing to manipulate people if they get in their way, and has a hard time understanding the concept of caring for someone other than himself.
  • Fiery Redhead Princess Rubina from UFO Robo Grendizer subverts the trope. She was the loyal daughter of Big Bad, so you would expect that she would fulfill the trope, right? Wrong. She was loyal to her father but she did not approve of his actions either, and she was the only person who ever called him out on it. She also tried to convince both sides to stop the war and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Unfortunately, it did not work very well for her...
  • Q-vier from Valvrave the Liberator is a Cute and Psycho Dorssian Child Soldier who is such a Blood Knight that he enjoys killing both military and non-military personnel to satisfy his own bloodlust. His violent methods were responsible for killing off one of the Valvrave pilots' girlfriend, Aina, when a Drossian assault on New JIOR got out of hand because of him.
  • Amon Garam from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is a a glasses-wearing villain who is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist in that he wanted to create a world without poverty and unfairness. However, while his intentions were pure and he has no inner darkness in his heart, he still ended up betraying his own morals in order to create the ideal world he wanted, so ultimately he ended up embodying the unfairness he sought to erase by betraying and manipulating his allies.

    Art 
Advertisement:

    Comic Books 
  • Chastity is the redhead of all of Chaos! Comics's band of Heroic Sociopaths.
  • Bera from Helheim, who effectively destroys an entire village in her war with a rival witch.
  • Lillie McGurty in Runaways, though her villainy didn't really start until after her hair had turned grey. Ironically, one of the biggest victims of her obsession turns out to be herself, as her machinations in the present were ultimately responsible for the events in 1907 that caused her to become bitter and lonely in the first place.
  • Lucifer's hair is red most of the time in The Sandman and in his own comic. Of course he isn't exactly evil in them, but more like a rather amoral Anti-Hero.
  • Based on the cover art and the video game, Scott Pilgrim's ex-girlfriend Envy is one, though they made her blonde in the movie. To be fair, her "evilness" isn't so clear-cut, as we learn what an Unreliable Narrator Scott is.
  • Sin City: One of the female assassins in the Wallenquist mob is a Femme Fatale redhead named Mariah. Much like her colleague Blue Eyes, that trait is highlighted in the otherwise black and white comic.
  • Fiona Fox, the Love Interest of Sonic's Evil Counterpart Scourge, in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) after her Face–Heel Turn. Not only her hair is red, but also her fur.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Carnage's alter ego Cletus Kasady has red hair, and was a Serial Killer serving eleven consecutive life sentences before being infected by the Carnage Symbiote.
    • Norman Osborn, the first Green Goblin, is described as having reddish-brown hair and is a very evil supervillain.
  • The Ultimates: Black Widow, a traitor of the team that kills Hawkeye's family and Jarvis.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Giganta, supervillainess with growing powers and foe of Wonder Woman, is a redhead.
    • Villainess Queen Atomia is a redhead who likes to overwrite people's physical forms and minds to make them her slaves.
    • Mona Menise is a redheaded spoiled brat who quickly turns to murder if she doesn't get her way.
    • The second Cheetah was a redhead, and while she was brainwashed into her villainy, she was also a dangerous murderer in that guise.
    • Zara, an Arabian cult leader.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Genocide is a redheaded Anthropomorphic Personification of genocide.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Tomas Byde was already a redhead before he gained his illusion and necromancy powers and became a villain, but the new powers came with brighter, more red hair that glows when he's using his necromancy.

    Fan Works 
  • Kainatrol in Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon has deep red hair and a red colour scheme, and is probably one of the more evil members of the Etherium and certainly the least likable. Even the first on-screen victim of her Mind-Control Eyes, Mia, has red hair.
  • Downplayed in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Alexis Lois "Lexi" Luthor is the granddaughter of the infamous Lex Luthor and the heir to his company. She isn't shown to be evil per se and claims that her family has long since left supervillainy. On the other hand, she's certainly amoral, slipping Izuku thinly veiled threats, effectively stalking him by dredging up all of his personal details through her connections, and not caring if people get hurt by an out-of-control robot that she's more than capable of stopping. All that matters to her is that she's entertained and that she gets one step closer to making the world revolve around her.
  • The Encanto fanfic Past & Future has Victoria Madrigal, who has orange hair. Victoria is also an abusive spouse and mother, kidnapper, and murderer.

    Films — Animated 
  • Queen Ariana in Barbie as the Island Princess has bright red hair and plots to murder King Peter and his family for exiling her family to a pig farm following an assassination attempt. To achieve this, she married an elderly king whom it's implied that she killed and had a daughter (whom she's neglectful at best towards) for the sole purpose of marrying her off to Peter's son. In the film proper, she bribes a guard to kill main character Ro and her friends by knocking them into the ocean and poisons the kingdom's animals so they'll starve to death in an endless sleep.
  • In Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation, Dark Heart's human form is a boy with bright red hair. (A form of Color-Coded for Your Convenience, since he also has red clothes and eyes, red being the main color of whatever form he takes.) He makes a Heel–Face Turn at the end, though.
  • One of Cinderella's bullying evil step-sisters in Cinderella, Anastasia, is a redhead. Subverted in that she later makes a Heel–Face Turn over the course of the film's two sequels.
  • Prince Hans in Frozen has auburn hair, and takes advantage of Princess Anna's loneliness and naïveté to manipulate her into marrying him so he can take over the throne of Arendelle.
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: Cousin Mel is red haired and tries to get all of Santa's money in a lawsuit because she hates happiness.
  • Buddy aka Syndrome, the main villain of The Incredibles, has bright red hair that's styled in a flame-esque way.
  • Kent Mansley, the paranoid government agent in The Iron Giant, has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Sunset Shimmer (pre-Heel–Face Turn, anyways) from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, though she also has yellow streaks.
  • Quest for Camelot has the Big Bad Ruber, with shoulder-length reddish-orange hair and green eyes, who wants to take over Camelot and plunge Britain into eternal warfare.
  • The Rescuers features Significant Green-Eyed Redhead Madame Medusa as the Big Bad. She's an abrasive, greedy woman who kidnaps a little girl to force her to enter a dangerous cave and fetch a valuable diamond, verbally abusing her all the while.
  • Sheila Broflovski in South Park Bigger Longerand Uncut. While she's generally just a Fiery Redhead, in this film she takes that trope into full-on Knight Templar Parent territory, causing the United States to declare war with Canada and personally shooting Terrance and Phillip dead, the latter of which fulfills a prophesy that allows Saddam Hussein and Satan to rise to Earth and take over the world (though she didn't intend that last part).
  • The Stabbington brothers in Tangled are a pair of thugs who start out attempting to steal the royal crown with Flynn, before teaming up with Rapunzel's abusive mother Gothel in a scheme to get Rapunzel back under Gothel's control and Flynn/Eugene executed.
  • From the perspective of players of Fix-It Felix Jr., the titular character of Wreck-It Ralph is this, as the premise of the game is that he wrecks the Niceland apartment building and Felix has to fix it. Outside of his day job, though, he's a Nice Guy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Chucky from the Child's Play franchise is a serial killer who used Voodoo to transfer his soul into a redheaded doll, continuing his killings while searching for a human host to take over the body of.
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, there's a scheming female boss who tries to seduce Billy and is a Jerkass to Kate. She ends up being trapped in Spider Gremlin's web. Guess who saves her bacon.
  • Holidays: Grainne of St. Patrick's Day is a Creepy Child who's in a sinister pagan cult which impregnates Liz without consent. Liz begins to qualify as well as she acts more and more deranged as her pregnancy progresses.
  • James Bond: ** SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe in Thunderball — so evil she's even immune to James Bond's legendary bedroom charms!
  • Lil from Red-Headed Woman is a gold-digging vamp who breaks up marriages without the slightest pang of conscience.
  • Revenge (2017): Main antagonist Richard had reddish-brown hair and a lot of freckles. He is an adulterer who tries to murder his mistress when she plans to report that she has been raped by one of his friends, because it would be bad for his image.
  • Randal Graves of The View Askewniverse could fit in here somewhat. Although he isn't technically evil, he thinks nothing of spitting water in customers' faces, ordering porno titles in front of children, manipulating his best friend into horrible but brilliant verbal traps, indirectly destroying several of said friend's romantic relationships, and generally causing chaos and frustration wherever he goes. And when he's not in black and white, he is titian-haired (dirty red-blonde).
  • What Keeps You Alive: Jackie is red-haired and a ruthless, homicidal sociopath.

    Jokes 
  • A joke where a man wearing a hat sells his soul to the devil in exchange for all his earthly desires to be granted. Years later, the devil returns to collect, only for the man to remove his hat, revealing a magnificent flame-red mane. The joke, of course, is that gingers have no souls.

    Literature 
  • Area 51: The Airlia all have fiery red hair, and are uniformly malicious.
  • The Chronicles of Amber: Brand, who wants to destroy the universe and remake it in his own image. To be fair, the rest of his family have its own moral issues, though by the end, some of them have made some progress toward outgrowing it.
  • Morgan Le Fay in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The narrator, when explaining why she imprisoned and tormented a man:
    He had said she had red hair. Well, she had; but that was no way to speak of it. When red-headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.
  • Celia Madden of The Damnation of Theron Ware, though perhaps "evil" might be a bit strong, as "bitchy" serves just as well. But it still counts.
  • In The Day of the Triffids, the protagonist is fired upon without provocation by a nameless gang leader with red hair. He later shows up in an armoured vehicle as "Torrence", representing a despotic feudal "government" trying to extend its influence over Britain. He shows up again in Simon Clark's sequel, The Night of the Triffids, 25 years older but still with some red in his hair, and a successful despot with some really nasty secrets.
  • In I, Coriander, Arise insists that Coriander must be evil because of her red hair — "All these curls, red as the flames of Satan! This is vanity, this is pride."
  • In the Illuminatus! trilogy, Satan prefers redheads and they explore this trope in depth. It's a reference to old folk-beliefs. It works because the Black Mass participants believe it should. In an inversion, one of the participants is a protagonist who is taking his first steps in his path away from social conventions towards illumination. He and the redhead get some good sex out of the deal and get to meet Malaclypse the Elder disguised as Satan disguised as Billy Graham.
  • All Shades (Evil Sorcerers possessed by spirits) from the Inheritance Cycle have red hair. Even becoming a Shade turns the being's hair red.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, this is one of the reasons Jeeves advises Bertie to steer clear of Bobbie Wickham.
    Jeeves: I would always hesitate to recommend as a life's companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.
  • Middlegame: Erin was raised to be a ruthless assassin and has strawberry-blonde hair that one character, seeing her for the first time, immediately likens to faded bloodstains, "like the aftermath of slaughter". Subverted with her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Ruin, the personification of entropy, chaos, and destruction — while usually either shapeless or impersonating people — physically manifests as a redheaded man. Notably, the mind of Ruin (separate from the power) was actually once a man named Ati, and a note in The Way of Kings indicates that Ati was a nice guy before he became bonded to the power and it warped his mind. So his evil had nothing to do with being a redhead and his physical body was essentially completely irrelevant. We don't even get to see his physical form until he's already dead.
  • My Sweet Audrina: Vera, Audrina's cousin and half-sister, is a very unpleasant person, even as a child; she is constantly trying to get Audrina in trouble and is an Attention Whore, is a good example of a Vamp, and for extra evil orchestrated Audrina's rape.
  • In keeping with his fox motif, Mr. Croup from Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is a psychopath with lank, red hair.
  • Lampshaded in the short story "Nobody Here But—" by Isaac Asimov, where the protagonist suspects that his girlfriend is bitchy just because she has to live up to her red hair.
  • Fagin, the ruthless leader of a gang of child thieves in Oliver Twist.
  • In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, the genie tries to invoke this, abusing Ginny for having "hair like hell". She ignores it.
  • Roussette in Madame d'Aulnoy's Princess Belle-Etoile is a redhead with two younger sisters — one brunette and one blonde. Roussette becomes jealous of her sisters because they married princes while she only married an admiral, leading her to make a Face–Heel Turn and side with her sisters' evil mother-in-law.
  • Attorney Arcinas of Smaller & Smaller Circles borders on this. His hair is dyed nearly raspberry-red, although he's less evil and more of an arrogant Glory Hound who is willing to risk lives in his quest for fame.
  • Melisandre of A Song of Ice and Fire is an marginal example. As a Knight Templar priestess who worships a fire-themed god and often recommends human sacrifice by burning, she's regarded by many characters as an Evil Chancellor. However, she's also firmly committed to fighting the overtly evil Others, believing that the brutal actions she recommends are necessary for the greater good of humanity. Ultimately, her morality is somewhat debatable.
  • In the Andrew Vachss novel Strega, unlicensed private eye Burke does a job for the titular character, the crazy flame-haired relative of a Mafia boss, who wields a mysterious power over men. It later turns out that the Mafia boss molested her as a little girl; when Strega told her father, she was beaten for telling "lies", teaching her an early lesson in power that she later puts to use.
  • Talking to Dragons, Book 4 of Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, has a redheaded fire-witch (fire-witches in general are prone to red hair) who likes turning people into statues and uses torture to power her spells.
  • Played with in Trash of the Count's Family, where the redheaded protagonist Cale is a hero... his enemies have a difficult time believing that though and consider him outright evil.
  • The ghost of Peter Quint from the Victorian novella The Turn of the Screw, who the main character thinks has come back from the dead to try and corrupt the small boy she's been charged with watching over. Of course, the ghost may just be in her head. Apparently, at the time the novel was written, it was quite common for red-haired characters to be portrayed in this villainous way.
  • Victoria from Twilight is a bloodthirsty, ruthless vampire, with fiery red hair to match.
  • The Unicorn Trilogy: While many people certainly believe that all redheads are evil witches, Tanaquil is unequivocally good, and her mother Jaive is eccentric and cold, but not particularly evil. The closest this trope gets to being played straight is in Tanaquil's Evil Counterpart Tanakil and even then she's proven to be less 'evil' and more 'very troubled'.
  • Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles: The yandere-like Armand arguably fits the bill.
  • Isosceles, one of the evil witches from Warren the 13th, has long red hair.
  • Bliss from The Women's Room. She's racist, anti-Semitic, has an affair with Adele's husband Paul, and she and Paul conspire to make Mira take the fall for her, leading to Adele growing colder towards Mira. However, it can be argued that she's just another victim, and that she's not 'evil' so much as ruthless, jaded and trying to survive in a harsh world.
  • The Lone Power from the Young Wizards series often appears as a young man with red(dish) hair.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Burn Notice, one of the most vicious female characters (and definitely the youngest vicious character), Eve, is played by redheaded actress Aviva. Fiona comments that she's the first natural redhead she's seen since leaving Ireland.
  • Criminal Minds has some red-haired UnSubs, like Karl Arnold, aka The Fox, a serial killer and rapist who sneaks into the homes of his psychiatry patients and forces them to treat him as their father before killing them and their entire families.
  • Dexter: The title character, a sociopathic serial killer who grew up with bloodthirsty tendencies and directs his murderous urges at other serial killers since they "deserve it".
  • Doctor Who: In the revival episode "Amy's Choice", the villain of the week is played by red-haired actor Toby Jones. And considering that he's a twisted manifestation of the Doctor's self-loathing, it looks like the Doctor got to be ginger after all.
  • Edna from Downton Abbey, who manipulates everyone she meets (but doesn't fool Mrs. Hughes for a second).
  • Joey Caruso from Everybody Hates Chris is a redheaded bully who serves as the main antagonist of the show.
  • Jimmy Murtha (played by Joe Pantoliano) from the short-lived EZ Streets is a violent redheaded mobster.
  • In Firefly, we have Saffron. Or Yolanda. Or Bridget. No one's sure what her real name is, we just know she has red hair. And that she's a con woman who, while she prefers theft, con games, and treachery to outright murder, considers it more a difference in style than an actual rule.
  • Game of Thrones: Melisandre is a Knight Templar priestess of a fire-themed god who practices blood magic, advocates human sacrifice by burning, and generally serves as an Evil Chancellor to Stannis. However, she seems to believe that her actions are necessary to save humanity from the White Walkers, and from what we've seen of them, she may in fact be right.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace has the hero battling evil Scotsmen, with his own hair turned red after a killer bagpipe attack. Fortunately, his personality is not affected (probably because he's already a bigoted Jerkass).
  • Gotham has the psychopathic, mother-killing carny Jerome Valeska and his twin brother Jeremiah.
  • Justified has the Crowes, an extended family of poachers, smugglers, and ne'er do-wells, most whom have red, or at least red-tinged, hair. Individual members include Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Dewey; his opportunistic thug of a cousin, Daryl; Daryl's crooked paralegal sister, Wendy; and their psychopathic brother Danny, whose actor joked that Season 5's message is "don't mess with gingers."
  • Peggy from Married... with Children — at least if you believe Al about her role in destroying his life by forcing him into marriage. She expects him to be the sole breadwinner of the family without even doing any housework in return, instead just sitting around on the couch all day watching TV and eating Bon Bons. She'll even steal from others if his hard-earned cash isn't enough.
  • Melrose Place: Kimberly Mancini pretty much swings back and forth between this and Fiery Redhead. When she's sort of normal, she's the latter. Other times, she commits some pretty horrible acts of violence.
  • In NCIS, McGee is wooed by a North Korean-employed red-haired assassin, played by Lindy Booth. Booth seems to have the seductively evil redhead down pat.
  • Budnick from Salute Your Shorts has bright red hair (the other main characters all have blond, brown, or black hair) and is by far the most scheming and manipulative person at Camp Anawanna.
  • Spellbinder Ashka from, well, Spellbinder is a redhead and also a power-hungry, cunning, vicious bitch.
  • On Succession, Shiv — the only daughter in the central family of Villain Protagonists — has strawberry-blond hair and is the most ruthless and calculating among her siblings.
  • Supernatural:
    • Abaddon, the last of the Knights of Hell, throws Hell into a civil war because she wants demons to stop bribing mortals for their souls and just outright take over the world.
    • Then there's Rowena, a powerful centuries-old witch and abusive mother to the boy who would grow up to be Crowley.
  • Played with Lydia on Teen Wolf, particularly in "Lunatic". Way to blatantly manipulate Allison and Scott.

    Music 
  • The sinister Thin White Duke from Station to Station had red hair, like many of David Bowie's other stage personas (including less nasty characters like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane). How scary is the Thin White Duke? Ultimately, he turned out to be Bowie's last stage persona because the guy got Lost in Character and started losing his grip on reality. In other words, the Thin White Duke became an honest-to-God Enemy Within, and Bowie decided to give up Alter-Ego Acting (along with cocaine) because he didn't want to risk that happening again. Also note that in contrast with the usual stereotype of the Fiery Redhead, the Thin White Duke is creepy in part because he's so inhumanly cold.
  • Garbage's Shirley Manson sings in a rather evil fashion. Well, she did get tapped to play Catherine Weaver, after all.

    Religion & Mythology 
  • Rumour has it that red hair was considered a positive factor in selection to become a druid — this may account for the malign reputation of red-headedness amongst those cultures that were hostile to Celts. (And probably among the Christian missionaries too.)
  • The Bible:
    • It's a common folk belief that many evil figures in, most notably Cain and Judas Iscariot, had red hair, despite there being no textual evidence of this. In Medieval times, when most of the population was illiterate, stained-glass windows in churches would tell various stories from the Bible in picture form and red hair was used as a shorthand for evilness, since it evoked the image of fire and Hell. To quote I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, "Judas is carrot".
  • Inverted in Robert Graves's King Jesus, where Jesus has red hair, this being one of the eight "signs of royalty".
  • Zig-Zagged with most depictions of Mary Magdalene, who is generally portrayed with red hair and (countertextually) depicted as Hooker with a Heart of Gold, so it depends on one's view on the profession.
  • Subverted by David, whom Samuel is reluctant to appoint king because of his red hair, which was associated with violence and bloodshed, until God tells him that David would shed much blood, but it would be that of Israel's enemies.
  • At least one painting of Classical Mythology's Pandora, the woman whose curiosity brought diseases into the world, gives her fiery red hair and a scary look on her face.
  • Older Than Dirt: The ancient Egyptian pantheon has the god Set, best remembered for hacking his brother Osiris into bits and scattering the pieces about the world. And then there was the attempted schtupping of Horus...sheesh. He was depicted as being a redhead — or at least red-furred, since he was usually depicted with the head of an unidentifiable animal. There is some speculation about which one, but it resembles an aardvark — which don't have much fur on their heads anyway.

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Sir Oliver Humperdink, a manager and heel during the 1970s and 1980s, combined this with Beard of Evil. Some of his ring names, such as Red Sutton or Rooster Humperdink, reflected on this.
  • Sweet Nancy dyed her hair red for her ruda run in the International Wrestling Association.

    Radio 
  • Old Harry's Game:
    • Thomas, the most loathsome human in Hell, has red hair. Which means that, as for all redheads in the setting, there are Nephilim somewhere in his family tree.
    • It's hinted that Satan himself is one; given that all descendants of angels are redheads, it stands to reason that all angels are as well. Satan himself claims that only the junior angels have red hair, and he had golden hair as an archangel — but of course he's been demoted quite a lot since then.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Pathfinder, Chelaxians born with bright red hair are considered to have some sort of fiendish influence. Given the kind of country Cheliax is, this is usually treated as a gift. The most notable example is Ileosa Arvaxni, later Arabasti, who ended up becoming a genocidal tyrant and all-around monster.

    Theatre 
  • Macavity the Mystery Cat from Cats is stated to be a "ginger cat", and he's the main antagonist of the musical.
  • Heathers: Heather Chandler, in the original off-broadway production at least. She's a ruthless, manipulative Alpha Bitch who picks on people she herself even admits never did anything to her.
  • Macbeth: Given their origin, the "dead butcher and his fiendlike queen" are generally portrayed as redheads.
  • Because of the association with Judas, Shylock of The Merchant of Venice was originally portrayed as a redhead, and this was generally a common trait of "evil Jew" characters.
  • Sweeney Todd:
    • Sweeney Todd, the murderous barber who kills his customers and disposes of his bodies by having them baked into meat pies, was a redhead in the book. Modern depictions tend to run more toward Looking Like Cesare, though.
    • Many depictions of Yandere Stepford Smiler Mrs. Lovett have her as a redhead.
  • The Big Bad The Mad Hatter from Wildhorn's musical Wonderland has reddish-brown hair.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights:
    • Lady Luck is an attractive evil spirit who plays games of chance with people, killing them and eating their remains if they lose.
    • Jack the Clown is an undead Monster Clown serial killer with bright orange hair who loves murder and torture more than anything.

    Toys 
  • Monster High: Alpha Bitch catgirl, Toralei Stripes. Her crowning moment is stealing Cleo's routine at fearleadig camp as revenge for not being allowed to rejoin the school team after walking out on it.

    Video Games 
  • Captive (RPG Maker): The protagonist is a redhead and turns out to be the one who kidnapped and killed all the people in the basement. Downplayed as she did it to cure her dad's illness.
  • Castlevania:
  • Bob Page, the Big Bad of Deus Ex (and Greater-Scope Villain of its prequel games). Oddly, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, his hair appears to be black, though this could be due to in-game lighting — his concept art still has very dark auburn hair.
  • The Devilish Hairdresser is (usually) redheaded. Being the Devil, she's a naughty trickster whose main goal is to ruin the Angelic Hairdresser's day by spoiling her client's looks.
  • Etna of Disgaea has red hair and, being not just a demon but one of the crueller and more irresponsible demons at that, probably qualifies as "evil" no matter how amusing she is about it. Especially if you ask her beleaguered minions, the Prinnies, whom she regularly uses as impromptu artillery.
  • Red from South Park has the hair colour her name implies, and three of her five cards in South Park: Phone Destroyer give off some serious villainous vibes:
    • Alien Queen Red from the Sci-Fi theme, who is a Shout-Out to the Alien Queen from Aliens: Genocide, wants to take over the planet, and her summon quote implies a very unpleasant fate for her victims:
      Alien Queen Red: You seem fertile for impregnation.
    • Dark Angel Red from the Mystical theme is a Fallen Angel with a red and black colour scheme and voice lines like "Hail Satan!" and "Darkness will consume you!".
    • Changeling Red from the Superheroes theme is a shapeshifting supervillainess whose card art depicts her pulling a Kill and Replace and who mocks the forces of good in a very card-carrying way.
  • Street Fighter IV: Akuma's appearance just screams Obviously Evil and his powers are very much of demons. While he does have a code of honor when it comes to killing opponents, it's a very skewed one, and he's still not a nice guy in the slightest.
  • Bowser from Super Mario Bros., the most iconic villain of the franchise. He constantly comes up with various schemes and plots to either defeat the Mario Bros., kidnap Princess Peach, take over the Mushroom Kingdom (or the world or the universe), or all three at the same time. Despite being a Koopa, he still has some hair. But he's also unwittingly contradicted his evilness at times helping his enemies as an excuse to get his way.
  • Subverted with Axel Almer of Super Robot Wars. He's an honest Evil Redhead in Super Robot Wars Advance, as well as the GBA version of Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2. However, in the subsequent remakes, he's more or less a Noble Demon, not outright evil... then he pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tales Series: Potentially subverted in Tales of Symphonia. Late in the game, it is revealed that Zelos Wilder was a spy all along. However, just prior the boss fight, he defects back to the heroes' side. If you choose to talk to Kratos in an event prior to this revelation, though, you kill Zelos instead and Kratos takes his place.
  • In Trauma Team, the "Raging Bomber" is revealed to be a woman named Sandra Liebermann. When the player finally sees her in person, she's holding an airport hostage with bombs strapped to her chest, and her general appearance can only be described as "Ax-Crazy Up to Eleven".
  • Lady Harken from the original Wild ARMs 1 subverts this. She starts out as a member of the Quarter Knights, sporting flowing red hair and red armor. The subversion comes from the fact that she is really Elmina Niett, a former knight of Arctica and implied Love Interest for Jack, a genuinely good character who was willing to sacrifice herself if it meant Jack (Garrett) could get to safety.

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 
  • Bob, of Bob and George, is a literal fiery redhead: His hair is red, his powers are fire-based, and when he's really pissed off, his hair tends to burst into flames. His place in the comic tends to swing between Heroic Comedic Sociopath and outright villain.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del's Manipulative Bastard Christian has dark-reddish-brown hair and a soul patch to boot.
  • Magick Chicks: While it may not be Cerise's natural hair color (she dyes it), the trope most definitely applies. From the moment the Hellrunes transfer to Artemis, her actions become progressively darker — from merely plotting to take over the Coven, to trying to take over their new school. It culminates in Cerise betraying Melissa and Jacqui by outing them as witches, then trying to kill them along with the student council.
  • Psycho for Hire Valentino from Marilith. To her defense, she was made a psycho killer in a gulag.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Belkar Bitterleaf generally looks bald in most panels, but look at the close-ups or his feet: He's a stubbly Chaotic Evil redhead.
    • Pompey, Vaarsuvius's second Evil Counterpart in the Linear Guild, has bright red hair — part of his being an evil opposite to V involves the fact that V wears red and has purple hair while Pompey wears purple and has red hair.
    • While he's only made a few appearances in the comic, the Norse deity Loki is a literal Fiery Redhead and identified as being Chaotic Evil. On the other hand, he seems pretty nice and gets along well with Thor.
  • Hwaryun from Tower of God. While she is a pretty laid-back person who can even forgive Bam for cutting out her eye in self-defense, she is part of a conspiracy. That means that she was well aware of the cruelties that was ahead of our cute little protagonist and even contributed to these plans.

    Web Original 
  • The MS Paint Fan Adventure Alanna has Tristan, primary antagonist and confirmed murderer. Later in the story, Alanna finds a half-empty bottle of red hair dye.
  • One Not Always Right customer refuses to be served by a waitress wearing a pentagram necklace. The (black-haired) waitress goes to the back, removes the necklace and comes to find the customer all smiles, going on about that horrid red-haired heathen who just tried to serve them. The customer's husband just looks tired, evidently going through this scene any time they eat out.
  • RWBY:
    • Jerkass and resident bully Cardin Winchester.
    • Notorious criminal Roman Torchwick, whose hair is closer to a dark orange.
    • White Fang leader and Faunus Supremacist Adam Taurus.
  • Survival of the Fittest: While not an actual redhead, Maxwell Lombardi has dyed red streaks in his hair. And given that he is one of the few killers in V4 to actually enjoy killing...well, he fits.

    Western Animation 
  • On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Music Meister is a redhead as well as a Card-Carrying Villain who proclaims himself to be "the maestro of villainy".
  • Ed Wuncler III from The Boondocks is a destructive criminal who's prone to impulsive outburts of violence.
  • Lenore from Castlevania seems like the kindest of Carmilla's sisters, at least compared to Striga's Blood Knight, Morana's Torture Technician, and Carmilla's Ax-Crazy Faux Affably Evil, but she's still fully complicit in their plan to conquer a large region of land and turn the people into livestock. She shows her true colors in full at the end of the season by tricking Hector into sexual slavery and normal slavery.
  • C.O.P.S.: Dr. Badvibes is a Mad Scientist who makes diabolical machines and gadgets for Big Boss's gang of Crooks.
  • The Wicked Witch in Cyberchase has bright, flaming red hair. In fact, it could be considered orange.
  • Spectra's human form in Danny Phantom is a redhead, and she's a Vain Sorceress who causes despair and depression in people so she can feed off of it to keep herself young and beautiful.
  • Abraham Kane from Motorcity is protagonist Mike's primary adversary and runs Deluxe with an iron fist, outlawing any sort of personal freedom in the name of safety and security.
  • PAW Patrol has Sid Swashbuckle, a pirate thief with blood-red hair.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
  • Eva Medal, the Big Bad military leader/Corrupt Corporate Executive of The Prince of Atlantis, has bright scarlet hair.
  • Recess:
    • Randall Weems is a Stool Pigeon who snitches on the other kids for his own benefit, being obnoxiously smug about it all the while.
    • Ashley Q. is a member of the Ashleys, a group of rude, spoiled rich girls who look down on the other students.
    • Kurst the Worst is an aggressive bully who steals from the school cafeteria.
    • Gelman is also a bully, though unlike Kurst he only targets one victim at a time. He's feared and hated around the school for this.
  • Subverted with The Hex Girls from Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost. Thorn's black hair is highlighted red and Luna is a Dark-Skinned Redhead. Shaggy and Scooby originally fear that they're evil vampires, but it turns out they're just normal Perky Goths.
  • Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons is a murderously egotistical and Wicked Cultured homicidal maniac who has made it his life's goal to murder Bart Simpson and Krusty the Clown.
  • South Park has the episode "Ginger Kids", where Cartman is convinced that "gingers" (pale, freckled, red-headed kids) are monstrous, Children of the Corn-like abominations. In what would have been a surprising example of Hypocritical Humor were we speaking of anyone other than Eric Cartman, after his friends try teaching him a lesson by making him up to look like a "ginger" while he sleeps, Cartman soon decides that "his people" are the master race. And since this is Cartman we're talking about, he's attempting genocide before the end of the episode.

    The Ginger kids return in "200" and "201" and demand the town hand over Muhammad so they can obtain his ability to not get ripped on. It is revealed that a now Ax-Crazy Scott Tenorman is their leader. He justifiably wants revenge on Cartman for making him eat his parents and puts him through an ordeal much like the one the Joker puts Commissioner Gordon through in The Killing Joke.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Bounty hunter Aurra Sing features a red topknot on an otherwise bald head, and she enjoys violence and killing.
  • Kelly from Stōked. "Evil" is a bit of a strong word for her, but she is a huge Jerkass who only dates rich boys for their money and takes pleasure in humiliating the employees ranked below her.
  • Montana Max from Tiny Toon Adventures is a selfish, greedy rich kid who enjoys using his massive wealth to make everyone else miserable.
  • Total Drama:
  • On Xiaolin Showdown, the series's initial Big Bad, the ancient sorceress Wuya, has red hair in her physical form and is immensely cruel and wicked.


Alternative Title(s): Evil Redheads, Gingers Have No Soul

Top