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Evil Sounds Deep

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"The pitch of my voice is digitally lowered to make it sound more sinister!"

An easy way to tell if someone is evil is if their voice is much deeper than a good character's, often artificially so. If someone undergoes a Face–Heel Turn, then along with their Evil Makeover, their voice will either drop a few octaves, get put through a voice modulator, or be combined with another voice speaking in a much deeper tone. If an Anti-Hero decides to move a few notches down the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, then he will start talking in a deeper, more serious tone of voice. Male characters almost always get an unapproachable, commanding cadence. Villainesses usually get a sultry, suggestive one, unless they're supposed to be in command or scary, in which case their cadence will be dismissive and forbidding.

A deep voice makes the character sound strong, mature and competent, so it is a common trait for major villains that the audience is supposed to fear and respect. Consequently, such villains will usually speak in baritone register (or in villainesses' cases a contralto register), more rarely in bass register. It also provides a contrast for the more youthful Tenor Boy, especially in vocal music.

A common inversion is an unnaturally high, often cold voice, and especially laugh. Some characters with an Evil Laugh do high-pitched cackling or be a Giggling Villain, instead of the deeper, traditional one. These are usually a more unnatural and degenerate kind of evil, perhaps overlapping with Eunuchs Are Evil. Taken further, anyone speaking with the Voice of the Legion is incredibly dangerous.

Because deep voices are often considered attractive, this may overlap with Sexy Villains, Chaste Heroes. If it's to do with the character having great power it can be related to Power Makes Your Voice Deep.

May be justified if the evil character becomes a huge One-Winged Angel with longer vocal cords, since that would make their voice deeper.

    Types of villains who will often have a deep voice 

Has nothing to do with Fauxlosophic Narration or Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.

Due to its appearance in opera, this trope is at least Older Than Radio. This often pops up in theatrical productions as Alto Villainess.

Creepy High-Pitched Voice is the direct opposite. Compare and contrast Evil Sounds Raspy, where the villain has a harsh-sounding voice, but not necessarily a deep one.

Example subpages

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Blood+, Flamboyant Gay chiropteran Nathan Mahler changed his voice to a demonic rumble whenever he wanted to sound threatening. Even the Dragon-in-Chief Amshel will back down when this happens, because Nathan is far more powerful and dangerous than he seems. Good thing he's not actually evil.
  • Lelouch of Code Geass, who is sort of like a "flamboyant, possibly evil Batman", canonically has a voice changing device in his Zero costume which deepens his voice when he's wearing it.
  • Vicious of Cowboy Bebop. Norio Wakamoto is famous for these kinds of roles.
    • In the same series, this trope is inverted in Jet Black's deep voice.
  • Wei in the Darker than Black dub; also, particularly in the dub, Hei seems to do the Anti-Hero routine also, speaking in a deeper voice when being BK-201 than when being the friendly and harmless Li. Averted, though, with Mao who has a very deep voice but is a nice guy. And a cat.
  • Death Note:
    • Ryuk has a rather deep voice in both Japanese and the English dub. While he does have more standards than the soft-spoken Villain Protagonist Light, he is still rather evil, given his method of relieving boredom. Perhaps averted by L, who has a deeper voice than Light and is the Hero Antagonist.
    • Light Yagami actually plays this trope straight. When he is having his Kira-ish inner monologues, his voice tone gets deeper.
  • Show Hayami, who voices notable villains like Muraki Kazukaka in Descendants of Darkness and Sousuke Aizen in Bleach.
  • Tyki Mikk from D.Gray-Man reinforces this trope. Toshiyuki Morikawa gives him a normal voice in his human form but when in his Noah form, his voice drops to a calm baritone even if he is killing someone horribly.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The English dub does this with Frieza (portrayed then by Linda Young). Each time he transforms, his voice is artificially deepened. At first, it was just digital pitch-lowering with the 2nd form, but his 3rd form is more of a Voice of the Legion deal. The 4th form, in a subversion, brings it back to normal — high-pitched. This is entirely in keeping with the physical nature of his transformations: in his second form he grows larger and more muscular, in his third form he's larger still and looks like a Xenomorph, but his fourth form is barely larger than his first and is outwardly the least monstrous of them.
    • The dub of Kai takes this a step further in a brilliant move: by having Frieza's voice recast (now played by Chris Ayres), having a high voice at the start, and gradually getting deeper with each transformation — without the use of artificial pitch altering. By the time Frieza reaches form 3, Chris is using his natural voice, and considering that form 3 Frieza looks like a fish demon, it makes him sound like the devil he truly is.
    • The Japanese version does almost the same thing (though Freeza's Japanese voice is already noticeably deep), except for his third form, which uses a high, raspy growl.
    • Cell gets a bit of this too, in the English dub. His voice starts out as a sort of hissing rasp, and then grows deeper and more cultured as he gets more powerful. But it drops to downright Satanic levels when Cell gets ready to do something truly evil, like killing Piccolo. His second form sounds slightly deeper than the third, which is much smoother — again, the Bishōnen Line applies.
    • Inverted in the Japanese version, however, where his voice starts out monstrous and gets slightly softer and more human-like with each transformation. As with Frieza, this means the voice changes match up with the physical changes. Considering Norio Wakamoto voices him, though, this trope still applies.
    • Goku gets some of this in the English dub as well. Though he never turns evil, whenever he starts to get serious in a fight (ie, goes Super Saiyan) and drops his normal, goofy demeanor, Sean Schemmel adopts a noticeably deeper and slightly raspier voice for the character.
  • In the German dub of Dragon Ball GT, Super 17 apparently had an echo filter - probably due to being a fusion of Android 17 and his Hell Fighter counterpart. As a result, Merged Zamasu in both the English and Japanese dubs of Dragon Ball Super had an echo filter as well.
  • Lucy in Elfen Lied has a much deeper voice than her "good" personality, Nyu.
  • Fist of the North Star tends to play this straight. While main character Kenshiro has a pretty deep, gravelly man-voice, most of the heroic characters are noticeably more soft-spoken than the mooks and most villains, and the main Big Bads Souther and Raoh (and Kaioh in the second story) have impressively deep voices. Especially Souther, whose voice sounds too deep to be humanly possible.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Gauron, the main bad guy from the first season of Full Metal Panic!, has the deepest voice of all characters in the show. This is somewhat subverted in Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, where new villainous character Leonard Testarossa has a voice almost as soft and gentle as a girl's — though it's still deeper than that of his sister, who is naturally one of the good guys...
  • Nakago from Fushigi Yuugi. Yui's voice changes from sweet and sunny to rough and dramatic when she undergoes a Face–Heel Turn.
  • GaoGaiGar has Pasdar and Palparepa.
  • In Gosick, Kuiaran the Second has a relatively deep and aggressive natural speaking voice, which serves as a contrast to the sweet and bubbly voice she uses while impersonating Avril.
  • Alucard from Hellsing is technically a good guy, but monstrous enough to freak out undead super-Nazis, and speaks in Joji Nakata's ultra-deep drawl.
  • Russia of Hetalia: Axis Powers, in the original Japanese version of the anime and in his Image Songs, normally speaks in a high-pitched, bubbly and childlike voice that heavily contrasts with his outward appearance. But then there are a few times when he switches into his cruel mode, especially when threatening or trying to intimidate others, and his pitch plummets to frighteningly deep levels. Averted in the dub, where his voice doesn't change and isn't particularly deep.
  • Akira Touya in Hikaru no Go doesn't fit in the "evil" category (he's just The Rival to Hikaru with a tendency to look down on him), but he has a serious, introspective deep voice mode.
  • Many villains in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • In the first The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel, Kyon uses the term "clear soprano" to describe Ryoko Asakura's voice. Later on that day, she tries to kill him rather violently... because she got bored.
  • My Hero Academia has a couple of notable examples:
    • Shigaraki, also known as All For One, is given a notably imposing baritone in the Japanese version of the anime.
    • His lieutenants, Kurogiri and Gigantomachia, also have booming baritones, both in Japanese and in the English dub.
    • Danjuro Tobita, AKA Gentle Criminal, speaks with a deep, melodious voice in Japanese, and it suits his flamboyant exterior very well.
  • Several of the villains in Naruto have displayed this trait and changes in tone to indicate shifts in character.
    • The Kyuubi plays this trope straight: it's completely malevolent and has a very deep, very gravelly voice.
    • On introduction, Sasori has a deep and gravelly voice, but switches to a lighter voice later on. Rather than indicating an improvement in the character, this precedes the true horror of his abilities.
    • Kakuzu plays this trope straight; he's a Psycho for Hire and speaks with a deep and steady voice.
    • The most significant occurrence is that of Tobi. While in his initial persona, he speaks in a light, childish voice and his actions match. However, when he is acting as Madara, his voice deepens and matures as well as his actions (he even has completely different voice actors for each).
    • Itachi Uchiha also has a deep voice. Subverted in that he is actually Good All Along.
    • One of the most jarring and most recent examples in the English Dub of Pain, who has arguably the deepest voice on the show, which is expected when the voice actor is Troy Baker. Played with however, Due to Nagato, Pain's controller, having a high-pitched tone of voice.
    • The real Madara Uchiha (especially in the English Dub) has a fantastically chilling tone. His voice oozes authority, as if everything he says, comes from the mouth of an utterly torn individual (which is mostly truth). It's no wonder that he convinced Obito to succeed him.
  • In One Piece, the character Rob Lucci could at first only "speak" through his high-pitched pigeon Hattori. However, when he is unveiled as the immensely powerful evil leader in CP9's plot to capture Nico Robin, his 'real' voice is revealed to be much, much deeper. Interestingly, this was not done through the use of any synthesizers — the same seiyuu performed both parts. Arlong, Crocodile, Blackbeard, and Hody Jones also have rather deep voices.
  • Pokémon:
    • Giovanni of Pokémon: The Series has a very deep, echoing voice every time he appears on a television or computer screen in the earlier episodes. This appears to be the result of computer editing. However, even when he appears in person, his voice is still quite deep.
    • Mewtwo in the English dub of the first film, where it's the antagonist.
  • Xanxus from Reborn! (2004) has a much deeper voice than most of the good guys in the show — though most noticeably much deeper than Tsuna (who is voiced by a girl).
  • Slayers: SHABURANIGUDO! Especially in Japanese, the Dark Lord's voice is so artificially low as to be comical.
  • Soul Eater's Medusa, being a Consummate Liar, has a pleasant, normally-pitched voice when she's pretending to be on the good side and a deep, throaty voice when she's being her violent self. It's particularly alarming when coming out of the borrowed child's body later in the series.
  • Tribe Nine's Ojiro Otori is a major antagonist in the series, and his voice actors in both the Japanese and English dubs are well-known for their deep voices.
  • Type-Moon loves this trope, or, to be more specific, Joji Nakata. An interesting example is seen in Archer; his voice is much deeper than Shirou's, even though they're the same person. Proof that your moral alignment directly influences your tone!
  • Steve Blum's Lord Darcia in Wolf's Rain is a glorious example of this. The main wolfy cast have generally soft voices (except Tsume, but he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and his voice generally subverts this, getting softer over time), but Darcia's is deep and menacing during any scene with the wolves. When talking to female characters ignoring Jagura, his voice takes on a much gentler sympathetic tone but after he awakens his wolf side, his voice not only much deeper, but more menacing and mad.
  • Marik Ishtar's shadow self in Yu-Gi-Oh!. His normal self's voice is actually higher-pitched than a normal man. There's also Bakura, who, on top of being deep-voiced, is British, which increases his evilness.
    • When Marik pretends to be a good guy and after his Heel–Face Turn, his voice gets higher and softer.
    • Bakura both plays it straight and subverts it in the original Japanese. His Superpowered Evil Side has a deeper voice than his normal self, but he was voiced by a woman, so his voice is considerably high and effeminate.
    • During Season 0, even Yugi's spirit partner (the Pharaoh) could easily be interpreted as evil, or at least a Sociopathic Hero. Even this early on, when his voice was rather soft, it was still deeper than Yugi's.
    • The Supreme King... SPECIFICALLY in the English dub. Much like Super 17 did in the German dub of Dragon Ball GT, this evil version of Jaden had an echo filter... and boy, did it make him sound badass.
    • Dennis Macfield. Once he's revealed to be The Mole, he forgoes his normally upbeat and higher voice, and goes a deeper, more serious tone. The implication is that the original voice was a facade he used for his job.
  • Younger Toguro from YuYu Hakusho has one of the deepest voices of any character in the series, contrasting his high voiced elder brother. Which makes sense as he shares the same voice as that of the previously mentioned Cell.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Apayapi, the enlarged and more apparently evil version of Payapi, has a deeper voice than his default form.

    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: Tales from the Vault: When Charlie is possessed by Kali Korash, his voice drops about an octave and becomes far more resonant.
  • Parodied in the French web series Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk, where all the evil guys have deep, low voices. Subverted since the friendly ogre travelling with the... hem... heroes also has a low voice, and the fiery demon living in the dungeon has a rather high, metallic voice. The series also provides good examples of Evil Laugh.
  • Reflets d'Acide parodies this with the villainess Alia-Aenor, who is a giant black dragon with a very deep voice... in contrast with her human form, who has a little girl's voice.

    Comic Books 
  • According to Deadpool of Marvel Comics, Genius Cripple M.O.D.O.K. makes Terrence Stamp sound like Michael Jackson. A tad ironic, considering how high most adaptations take his voice.
  • It's often mentioned how deep the voice of the Gollywog is in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His balloons are typeset with a heavy bold. He's supposedly made of very dense non-baryonic matter. One of his best moves is causing an earthquake with a loud bellow. One more example of repurposing his very racist characterization and design into happy coincidences and heroic traits.

    Eastern Animation 
  • The adaptation of Long John Silver from Treasure Island (1988) may look non-threatening because of his short, rotund body and page boy haircut, but don't let that fool you, he has a low, gravelly voice befitting of a hardened pirate thanks to his voice actor, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan. In contrast to his book counterpart's more boisterous personality, this version always speaks calmly, even when he's being threatened with violence, making him a chilling antagonist.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hell, any character played by Christopher Lee. Especially Lord Summerisle.
  • Xerxes in 300 also had his voice deepened, to the point of sounding inhuman. Then again, he's also nine feet tall.
  • Justified in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Lois Einhorn has a rather low vocal register compared to other women in the film, hinting that the lieutenant is a man disguised as a woman.
  • Played with in Burn After Reading, when Brad Pitt's character attempts to act menacing by narrowing his eyes and lowering his voice. Unfortunately, he keeps forgetting and reverting back to his normal speech. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Bruce Wayne invokes the trope by affecting a deep growl while he's being Batman.
    • When people are tripping on the Scarecrow's drug, they perceive others (including the Scarecrow himself, of course) as evil monsters with inhumanly deep voices. While the Joker's voice is usually high-pitched and nasally, he goes surprisingly low for his choice lines, such as, "Look at me!" Bane zigzags the trope, in that the mask over his face does lower and distort Tom Hardy's rather nasally voice, but not very much. The only character to play it constantly straight is Henri Ducard, a.k.a. the real Ra's Al-Ghul, portrayed by Liam Neeson with his usual deep, husky voice.
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • D-War: The evil dragon's human Dragon (no pun intended) is the best example.
  • Demon-possessed Regan in The Exorcist has a very loud, deep bellow, like getting yelled at by a truck horn.
  • Brad Dourif's character in The Exorcist III. "It's the smiles that keep us going, don't you think?"
  • The Fifth Element: Mr. Shadow, being more or less evil incarnate, has the requisite very deep voice.
  • Sartoris in The Final Sacrifice has a rather deep voice, humorously altered in post-production.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), when Dana Barrett (under possession by the demonic Zuul) tries to seduce Peter Venkman, he repeatedly deflects and asks to speak to Dana which angers her to the point where she responds in an inhuman, growling voice with "There is no Dana, only Zuul." (to which Venkman replies "What a lovely singing voice you must have.")
  • GI Joe The Riseof Cobra: The Doctor's voice is half crazy snake and half Darth Vader, and he manages to drop it an octave lower when he upgrades to Cobra Commander and dons the new mask. It's no less deep or menacing in the sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, even though he's played by a different actor who's dubbed over.
  • The Gingerweed Man: The main villain of the movie speaks in a deep, reverberating voice.
  • The Heartpower children's educational video ends with a Villain Song sung by Tobacco Man, a guy who looks like a bum, has cigarettes all over his costume, and raps in a super-baritone voice. His attempts to get the kids in the video to smoke fail, and they ultimately defeat him by telling him to buzz off, after a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. When he realizes they're never gonna bite, he escapes in an explosive puff of smoke.
  • The Kurgan, of Highlander fame.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux: Parodied and subverted. During his lightsaber battle with the President, Saddam speaks with a raspy Darth-Vader esque voice. He then uses an inhaler, and starts speaking in a normal voice.
  • The Jurassic Dead: Dr. Wojick Borge's voice became a LOT deeper in the time between being hit by a car, and putting his plans in motion in his bunker.
  • In Kill Bill, GoGo Yubari first uses a stereotypical high-pitched girlish voice (as well as looking cheerful) when she introduces herself to The Bride but then when she takes on a serious expression, her pitch drops rather dramatically.
  • The Lord of Darkness in Legend was an electronically-deepened Tim Curry. And you thought he was scary normally.
  • Lifeforce (1985). The male vampire at the end when he talks to Col. Caine.
    [inhumanly deep] It'll be much less terrifying if you just come to me.
  • In Let Me In, when Abby is provoked, whether through anger or hunger, her voice becomes much deeper and more guttural, adding a layer of Vocal Dissonance given she looks like a 12-year old girl.
  • Several villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have notable deep voices:
  • Khan Tusion, the sadistic Breaking Speech-prone director of the Meatholes series of porn, often has his voice shift in and out of the electronically deepened range while he's verbally abusing the performers.
  • In the first several A Nightmare on Elm Street films, Freddy Krueger spoke with a very deep, sinister voice (in the first film for instance, he sounds almost demonic). It became less deep in later films as Freddy became more comedic in general.
  • Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men speaks with a grizzly, low voice, which essentially acts as a death rattle considering his character.
  • In Osmosis Jones, Thrax's voice is done by Laurence Fishburne.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Nathan's voice becomes a deep growl when he's in his Repo Man persona. It's lampshaded at one point:
    Nathan: (deep) So Rotti thinks he can take Shilo from me.
    Shilo: Dad?
    Nathan: (normal) Nothing, Shilo, nothing. Go to bed.
    • Rotti is a baritone in song and speech.
  • Played with in Spaceballs, wherein Dark Helmet's voice is deep and impressive when his helmet is down, but when it's up, he sounds like a whiny Rick Moranis.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, the villainous Harrison has a very deep and very cool voice.
  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Vader, whose voice is provided by James Earl Jones. The original actor, David Prowse, has an almost laughably nasal voice and a nonthreatening accent in comparison.
    • Count Dooku needs no cyborg enhancements to sound deep!
    • Palpatine's voice drops a whole octave when he becomes The Emperor.
    • Jabba the Hutt has a deep, booming voice. Understandable, as his larynx is presumably as over-sized as his neck.
    • Kylo Ren of The Force Awakens uses a vocoder in his mask as part of his efforts to emulate his grandfather, Darth Vader. Not that Adam Driver doesn't have a particularly low voice to begin with
    • Krennic in Rogue One is an aversion — perhaps to underscore that he's not really on the same level as Darth Vader (despite his best efforts), his voice isn't notably deep. His Death Troopers are another story — they don't "speak", precisely, but the noises they make are pretty deep.
    • Sith lightsabers generally let out a lower-pitched, growling noise when ignited. Interestingly, Anakin's lightsaber uses a lower-pitched sound exactly once, when he switches it on to slaughter the younglings. The same effect is heard when he uses his (definitely evil) new sword as Darth Vader.
  • Perennial The Three Stooges villain Kenneth MacDonald.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Hobbit: The dragon Smaug has a deep, growling voice provided by Benedict Cumberbatch, and on top of being one of the main antagonists is a really malicious piece of work. There's also another major villain, Azog the Defiler — who speaks exclusively in the harsh-sounding Black Speech and who is a total psycho.
    • The Lord of the Rings: The films combine this with Voice of the Legion when Galadriel gets drunk on the Ring's power. Sauron himself too as can be discerned from what little he actually speaks. "There is no life in the void. Only... death."
      • The Mouth of Sauron from the extended edition. A deep voice that sounds like dead worms.
      • The Witch King also has a rather deep voice.
      • So do the various Uruk-hai, who all have growling voices fitting their bestial nature.
  • In the Transformers Film Series movies, instead of Frank Welker's screechy, gravelly delivery as Megatron, we get a deep, growly performance by Hugo Weaving. The sequels also gives us The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, and Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In Transformers: Age of Extinction, Welker comes back with a much deeper voice for Galvatron, and along with some reversal of three movies' worth of Villain Decay, it's pretty intimidating. In Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, instead of Megatron, we get Unicron and Scourge. Scourge, played by Peter Dinklage, has a dark, gravelly timbre that shows intimidation. Whereas the voice of Scourge's dark master, Unicron, provided by Colman Domingo, is reminiscent to the voice of Orson Welles in the original animated film in 1986. Scourge's gravelly dark baritone is reflected on intimidating his victims and shows no faliure whereas Unicron's voice is considered a resonating, also gravelly, and devil-like cavernous basso profondo reflecting on his quest of devouring entire worlds and the multiverse.
  • Subverted in the Underworld (2003) film series where Kevin Grevioux's character is a Lycan named Raze with an unnaturally deep voice. He is brutish and violent, but he is not an inherently evil character. In the Rise of the Lycans prequel, he is decidedly a positive character. Even more jarring is that this is Grevioux's actual voice.
  • Inverted in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The main antagonist, Judge Doom, doesn't have an extremely deep voice, but when he's revealed to actually be a toon, he talks in a really high-pitched voice.
  • The Djinn of Wishmaster in his true form has a suitably deep voice for a demon.
  • Magneto in the original X-Men Film Series trilogy, courtesy of Ian McKellen.
  • Inverted with Mordo, the main villain of Zu Warriors. He always speaks in a high-pitched voice, even when becomes a giant in the film's climax.

  • Ma'el Koth from The Acts of Caine has a voice that is usually described as rumbling.
  • Animorphs — The Crayak, a malevolent godlike alien and the Ellimist's opposite number, has a voice so low Jake feels like it's shaking him apart when they meet in person.
  • Lord Foul in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is described as having a voice that's inhumanly vast, deep, and dripping with raw contempt, compared to what it might sound like if an abyss were speaking.
  • "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer": Clockpunk (the hero) considers The Vitalizer's (the villain) voice to be this. It only works halfway on her.
  • Death from the Discworld is definitely a subversion; he's not nearly as bad as he looks or sounds.
    • Doubly so in the animated miniseries of Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music, where he's voiced by Christopher Lee, who practically based his career around the trope.
    • The demon in the animation of Wyrd Sisters has an extremely deep and gravelly voice... Which is subverted as he (in contrast to the book) switches back to his natural voice when Granny threatens him into dropping the theatrics. Said voice is high-pitched with a notable lisp and sounds like a stereotypical theatre actor.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures have an antagonist called Sabbath, who, due to not-exactly-evil motives and frequent Enemy Mine situations, is about as non-evil as you can get when you perform Meatgrinder Surgery and continually try to screw up The Multiverse. His voice, described as a "low rumble" and a "resonant bass", gives him villain points, though. Extra villain points for the fact that it functions as a mild, mundane version of Charm Person. It probably goes along with the Stout Strength and "hands like hams".
  • In The Dunwich Horror by H. P. Lovecraft, Wilbur Whateley spoke with a frighteningly low voice. Justified in that he grew more than twice as fast as any other child and reached a height of seven feet (among other things). The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society "radio play" of the story electronically pitched the actor's voice to Goa'uld levels.
    • The narrator mentions that Wilbur sounded like his voice-producing organs were somehow different from a normal human's — which, naturally, they were.
  • When the High Seekers in the Emberverse really want to intimidate, they'll let loose a deep voice that borders on the aural equivalent of Alien Geometries.
  • Aries in Greystone Valley is described as having a voice like a rumbling volcano.
  • Harry Potter likes to play with this.
    • Inverted with Voldemort, who is described as having a high, cold voice. However, his voice gets deeper after his resurrection in the films, where he's played by Ralph Fiennes.
    • Subverted with Snape, who has a deep, ominous voice (portrayed by Alan Rickman in the films), since Snape is intended to appear evil, or at least dark and brooding, right up to the end.
    • Oh-so-inverted with Umbridge, whose shrill, girlish voice is at odds with her toadlike appearance.
    • Played straight with Runcorn, one of Umbridge's cronies in the seventh book's villain-run Ministry. His chief characteristic is his deep, intimidating voice. When Harry uses Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him, he finds the voice very useful for giving orders.
  • In Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, Cronal, unseen by his troops or his enemy, called himself Lord Shadowspawn and had his wheezy old man voice amplified and made deep. Luke thinks of it more than once as a "faux-Vader" voice.
  • Sword of Truth: Emperor Jagang is described to have a "deep, grating voice". Averted with Darken Rahl, who has a "clear, almost liquid" voice...and a trope-fitting right hand man.
  • In the Horus Heresy series from Warhammer 40,000, First Captain Ezekyle Abbaddon of the Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus is described as being a big man with an incredibly low voice, even for an Astartes. In the "present day" of the franchise, he has since become Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of the Black Legion. As such, he is the closest thing the Chaos Space Marines have to a cohesive leader.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Tigerstar is described as having a deep voice.
    • Inverted with Scourge, whose voice is high and cold.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for Laughs in an All That sketch called Bridget's Slumber Party; the goth girl Claudia, who has supernatural powers, would often talk in a demonic voice especially if she was angry. Also, in the Poetry with Claudia short which had her read poetry to children, she would alternate the lines of the rhymes to sound creepy — at the end, she would scare the kids by saying the final line in a demonic voice.
  • Angel:
    Recording: Hi, you've reached the Tittles. We can't come to the phone right now. If you wanna leave a message for Christine, press one. For Bentley, press two. OR TO SPEAK TO OR WORSHIP MASTER TARFALL, UNDERLORD OF PAIN, PRESS THREE.
    • Lampshaded when Holtz tries to convince Wesley that he's trying to protect Connor.
      Holtz: You don't believe me?
      Wesley: Hm, not sure, could be the low scary voice that's giving me trouble.
  • Space Monster M from The Aquabats! Super Show! speaks in baritone.
  • In Banshee, Chayton (played by Geno Segers) speaks with a voice so deep that it almost vibrates through your bones. While there are many more depraved villains in the show, he is by far the most physically intimidating, and he does more damage to Hood than anyone else.
  • Breaking Bad: Walter White eventually develops a deep, intimidating baritone as he completes his Protagonist Journey to Villain.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow Rosenberg when evil. Overlaps with Compelling Voice.
      Willow: Get Out!.
    • Averted with Darla. Her voice is noticeably higher and softer than the other characters, even the female ones.
  • The drug dealer who may have ordered Becket's mother's murder in Season 3 of Castle (2009) has a deep, scary voice.
  • Cole Turner in Charmed (1998) has a much deeper voice in his demonic Belthazor form.
  • Banning in Code Name: Eternity will sometimes switch to an inhumanly deep voice when angry. This usually has to do with Ethaniel ruining his plans.
  • Doctor Who: Several villains have deep voices.
    • The Cybermen have had either high or deep voices, depending on when the episode was made.
    • Subverted with some of the Dalek Supremes in the classic series and the Big Finish stories — their voices tended to be higher than the average Dalek's, making them sound even more unstable and highly-strung than the norm.
    • Sutekh and the Beast, both voiced by Gabriel Woolf, have deep voices to represent their ancient, primal evil.
    • The Black Guardian, voiced by Valentine Dyall, who, in life, could've challenged BRIAN BLESSED in a booming voice contest.
    • The Dalek Emperor from "The Parting of the Ways" has one of the deepest Dalek voices yet heard.
    • The Sycorax leader from "The Christmas Invasion" has a low, rough voice.
    • Interestingly played with the Cult of Skaro — Dalek Sec has a higher pitched voice than any of his followers, but as it turns out, he is also slightly less evil than your average Dalek — not that it's saying all that much.
    • When Rose Tyler has her body taken over by the vain Lady Cassandra in "New Earth", her voice gets significantly deeper, gaining Cassandra's Posh accent as well. This is ironically rather closer to Billie Piper's own accent.
    • From new series 6, we have the Silence and House.
    • "Face the Raven" brings us the terrifying spectre of the Doctor entering this mode when, after the death of his companion Clara, who had spent the last few minutes of her life convincing the Doctor not to Pay Evil unto Evil after her demise, nonetheless drops his voice into an ultra-low register as he puts the fear of god into an immortal (launching a two-part story in which the Doctor becomes The Unfettered and very nearly Woobie, Destroyer of Time).
  • Although his evilness is debatable, Scorpius from Farscape is tall, imposing, vicious, wears all black and speaks... quite a few octaves higher than everyone else. He is definitely a badass though. However, when upset, his voice drops to demonic levels. The pitch of his voice is sort of a gauge on his emotions. When his voice is high and Sebacean/Humanesque, he is his usual five-steps ahead of you, eloquent Magnificent Bastard, tightly controlled self. When things start to go wrong, he starts to slip into his Scarran side, and his voice drops about four octaves and picks up some teeth.
  • In Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister is played by Charles Dance and has a deep voice that makes him sound twice as serious and menacing as he would be otherwise. See here. His biggest henchman, Ser Gregor Clegane, is even deeper, nearing basso profundo territory, especially when played by Ian Whyte, who seems to be channeling Christopher Lee.
  • On Heroes, Sylar's voice gets very deep and starts to echo a bit when he's about to do something evil.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lestat de Lioncourt is a ferocious vampire and a baritone, and his deep voice makes him all the more menacing.
  • Inverted in Kings: Corrupt Corporate Executive William Cross has a high, thin voice. Evil is relative in a Decadent Court, but he seems to be the only one (still alive, anyway) who wants war.
  • Knight Rider:
    • Michael Knight's Evil Twin Garthe Knight had a noticeably deeper voice than Michael (as well as a goatee, of course.)
    • KITT's Evil Twin KARR also has deeper voice than KITT does. For reference, KARR is voiced by Peter Cullen (AKA Optimus Prime).
  • Loki (2021): The President Loki Variant embodies the worst of Loki's traits such as his ambition, selfishness and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. He also speaks with a much deeper and raspier voice than the other versions of Loki who use Tom Hiddleston's normal speaking voice. This leads to a funny contrast when President Loki's hand is cut off and he reacts with a high-pitched shriek.
  • Red John from The Mentalist is a subversion of this trope in that even when his voice is seemingly manipulated, he still has an odd, higher sounding voice. It turns out he was faking it, and he plays this trope straight courtesy of Xander Berkeley.
  • Inverted in Once Upon a Time with Rumpelstilskin: In his more demonic form as the "Dark One" in the Enchanted Forrest, his actor Robert Carlyle plays him with a far more high-pitched voice and a high-tone giggling compared to the human form of Mr. Gold he takes on in the "real world".
  • In a Mr. Show episode: Lucien, the ratings child, who forces Bob and David to put content warnings on their show, has an evil man voice, despite looking like a 8-year-old kid.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Power Rangers Jungle Fury, Dai Shi has an artificially deepened voice even while possessing Jarrod. (It gets deeper still when he's in his armored form.)
    • In Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, Trent's stint as the evil White Drago Ranger is accompanied by an artificially deepened voice. When an accident turns him back to normal, so does his voice. The evil white Drago Ranger clone has the same voice as the former.
    • In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Hunter and Blake got pitched down before their reveal as Rangers and stayed with their normal voices through their Heel–Face Turn and Brainwashed and Crazy stints.
    • The Page Quoter, Koragg, also has his voice deepened — especially during the shift to syndication. Geoff Dolan left Mystic Force after the shift & was replaced by Chris Graham, but Geoff's grunts & other stuff remained via archived audio. Geoff would later play the role of Gosei(who is not evil) in Power Rangers: Megaforce.
  • The Secret Circle: A side effect of Demonic Possession, natch.
  • In Smallville, the phantom that borrowed Clark's DNA and made a clone body out of it (becoming the show's incarnation of Bizarro note ) has a deeper voice than the real Clark, though it's not always obvious and can be turned off at will, apparently (he impersonated Clark for some time with the viewers and other characters unaware).
    • In Season 8, Lex Luthor pulls this off courtesy of a respirator, complete with Vader Breath. His protege, Tess Mercer, isn't as extreme an example, but she has the lowest voice of any of the girls in the cast. Davis' voice also become deeper when he is about to transform into Doomsday.
    • In Season 10, Godfrey's voice gets deeper when possessed by Darkseid, but if he doesn't want to reveal it, only people with superhearing could notice the extra deep voice. Oliver and Lionel's voice is also turned much deeper when possessed. Also, Lois's voice gets deeper when possessed by Isis.
  • The Stargate-verse has the Goa'uld and the Wraith. The Asgard have a vocal effect, too (toned down in later seasons), but it's a lot friendlier-sounding than the ones used by the baddies. The Goa'uld, in fact, do this on purpose to sound more intimidating and can turn it off at will when they want to blend in or just be more personable. By the end of the series, Ba'al almost always drops the voice effect when he's talking to the heroes, as by that point he only makes a pretense of godhood toward those who will actually believe it.
    • Ra in Stargate sounds a lot like Xerxes, bordering on Voice of the Legion territory.
    • The Tok'ra are the same species as the Goa'uld, so they can turn it off if they want to as well — however, they rarely do, in order to make it clear who's talking.
    • Three times this has been used by humans for subterfuge: Daniel used a voice modulator on Jacob Carter's cargo ship to record sentences in Goa'uld, which would then be broadcasted in a deeper voice; Daniel and Carter both used a voice modulator during a training exercise when one pretended to be a Tok'ra and the other one a Goa'uld; and Vala used an alien voice modulating device shaped like a glowing pendant in order to pretend to be the Goa'uld Qetesh (because Vala was Qetesh's final host before the latter was killed, and it wasn't widely known that Qetesh had died). In both of the latter cases, a member of SG-1 would get annoyed at the voice and ask to turn it off.
    • The episode that introduces the Asgard first shows Thor as the Norse Mythology 7-foot-tall imposing figure with a deep voice. This is a hologram, though. After Daniel passes the test, the real Thor reveals himself to be a frail, diminutive Grey with misshapen facial features.
  • The Star Trek franchise has two character actors — Brian Thompson and Danny Goldring — who have deep voices and frequently play bad guys. (The latter combines this with Evil Sounds Raspy.) Even when they're not the bad guys, they still tend to be on the darker side of good.
  • The Kadrin in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nemesis". Subverted. It's revealed that they're actually the good guys. In reality they don't even sound like that.
  • Strangers From Hell: Moon-jo has a deeper voice than the other residents and is the most evil character in the series.
  • Supernatural's Castiel is an interesting example. Ambiguously played straight in the first and second episode he appeared in, as we didn't know whether the angels are on the Winchesters' side or not. Averted later, when it is revealed that, unlike the other angels, he doesn't want the world to be destroyed and genuinely cares about Dean and Sam. With his sacrifice in 4x22, he ultimately became a part of the family.
    • Also, it is revealed that his vessel, Jimmy, has a much higher voice.
    • Definitively inverted in the Season 6 finale. When Castiel becomes a not-so-nice god, he loses the Batman voice. It's fantastically creepy.
    • Lucifer is mostly an aversion, as in his Nick meatsuit he speaks in a tenor voice with a hint of vocal fry.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: The mysterious beings known only as "Them" have electronically lowered voices, as demonstrated with the only one to speak played by the normally much higher pitched Mark Evans. It helps sell just how terrifying They are.
    Host: Thankfully, to date, none of Them have got in.
    Them: That's not the right answer.
  • Inverted on Turn with Captain Simcoe (later Colonel Simcoe). He is the most morally bankrupt character in the show, and while he plays this trope straight in the pilot episode, he spends the rest of the series speaking in an eerily high register that is very off-putting.

  • Inverted with Tom Waits when he wants to be creepy, he usually goes for a higher voice. Compare "Hold On" with "In the Colosseum" from Bone Machine. An example where he plays this trope straight is "Oily Night" from The Black Rider. It has a very deep and frightening voice repeat the title over and over again, while the music around him slowly but surely goes berserk. In the context of the play it is meant to be music for a Satanic ritual.
  • DMX's Damien songs occasionally fall in to this, especially when Damien reveals his evil nature — "You sold me your soul when you didn't say 'no'. Just let a human with dark skin go? Well, give me what you owe!" If you listen closely, in the first song, Damien's voice sometimes even has a deep reverb to it.
  • Lupe Fiasco does this occasionally as well, such as the intros to the songs Little Weapon and Put You On Game. In ''The Coolest', the last seven words of "The ones that had deadbeat daddies, and well-to-do mommas, but not well enough to keep 'em from us..." are spoken with a second, deeper voice behind his own.
  • Played straight with the original incarnation of the Psychopathic Records supergroup Dark Lotus, where the darkest lyrics were delivered by deep, gravelly voiced rapper Marz. The rest of the label averts it:
    • Insane Clown Posse: Shaggy 2 Dope, who has a scratchier, higher voice than Violent J, is usually the one to perform the "evil" parts of any given song. He's also more vicious in their wrestling matches. In fact, the fact that his voice ISN'T a stereotypical deep, booming bass makes him just that bit more intimidating.
    • Twiztid: Neither Monoxide nor Madrox has a particularly deep voice.
    • ABK, who has a prominent lisp.
  • Inversion: the predominant vocal style in Death Metal consists of a low, menacing, and almost completely incomprehensible growling, while in Black Metal, mid- to high-pitched shrieking and screaming tend to be used. The inversion becomes apparent when you learn of the violence (church burnings, murders, and one particularly infamous suicide) that was part and parcel of the Black Metal scene around the time of its inception. Additionally, the death metal growl as a style is much-derided in many circles, pejoratively referred to as "Cookie Monster vocals".
  • Front Line Assembly's Bill Leeb averts, subverts, plays straight, and twists this trope every which way thanks to his near-obsessive vocoder use, dropping his voice to a guttural growl and just as quickly raising it to a high-pitched, windy tone.
  • Eminem occasionally uses this to represent Slim Shady when he's speaking as an Enemy Without rather than his usual Enemy Within role (where he has a high-pitched, nasal voice). In "SHADYXV" he eventually names the character/voice 'the Monster'.
    • The skit introducing Slim Shady EP is a Split-Personality Takeover in which Slim overpowers a crying, miserable Eminem.
    • The "Dr. West" skit at the beginning of Relapse has Dr. West's voice trail off into the demonic voice, as it's revealed it's Slim Shady taking on Dr. West's form in Marshall's nightmares, to mess with him.
    • He does this in the song "My Darling", where Slim Shady raps back and forth with him in a deep, demonic voice.
    • Similarly, Slim shows up to lecture Eminem in "Bad Guy" as he drowns, though he soon agrees to join up with him for a second chance at life.
    • In "The Monster", Eminem wonders where his dark thoughts even come from, and Shady responds in the deep voice to warn him not to think about it.
    • In the skit in the middle of the live Empire State Building performance of "Venom", the rapper has an awkward chat with a bystander in an elevator... who then calls him Eminem. He responds "you mean, Slim Shady" in a demonic voice.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic in the song Your Horoscope For Today when he gets to Sagittarius.
    All your friends are laughing behind your back. KILL THEM.
  • Dimmu Borgir's song "The Sacrilegious Scorn" has Satan appearing as a beautiful woman, who turns out to have a deep voice as she performs a spoken-word rendition of one verse.
  • Tyler The Creator has a very deep voice, naturally. When he slips into his Wolf Haley persona, it gets even deeper. This is exactly as creepy as it sounds.
  • Type O Negative's Peter Steele employed this in many songs, due to his naturally deep voice. In songs such as "Nettie", it really contributes to the atmosphere.
  • The Silent City has a cast that leans tenor and higher. The one baritone is the tyrannical Ultimate Authority Mayor.
  • Subverted in "Beelz" by Stephen Lynch. The song's narrator, Satan, starts off with a deep, menacing growl but quickly switches to a high-pitched, almost feminine tone.
  • Used by Evangelia Kingsley in her rendition of the Murder Ballad To Keep My Love Alive — while she's a soprano, at the end of her performance, she deliberately goes below her singing range, resulting in a rather creepy and evil vocal effect.
  • Kendrick Lamar's "i" has a mood of growing darkness, represented by the chorus dropping steadily in pitch and the darker lines being more emphasised.
  • The Megas: The nigh-unstoppable "peacekeeping" robot Gamma is represented by a much deeper electronic voice than either of the Megas' singers tries to pull off.
    It's indecision... that destroys.



    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 

  • Inverted in The Adventures of Superman, in which Superman's transformation from Clark Kent to Superman would be signalled by his voice going deeper, often mid-sentence: "This looks like a job... for Superman!"

    Tabletop Games 

  • In general, contralto roles in opera are somewhat limited, sometimes described as being "witches, bitches, and britches".
    • Inverted in Rossini's La Cenerentola: the heroine is sung by a contralto or mezzo-soprano, while Clorinda, one of the stepsisters, is sung by a soprano. The kindly tutor Alidoro is also sung by a bass, but the bass role of Don Magnifico plays it straight.
  • In oratorios, however (basically operas without sets or costumes and meant for church), the parts of God and Jesus were often sung by basses.
  • This was taken one step further in Baroque Opera, wherein any character anywhere within the actual male voice range -i.e. not meant to be played by a castrato — is INVARIABLY evil. Yes, even tenors.
    • There's a good tenor guy Bajazet in Handel's Tamerlano. Still, no bass in any Baroque opera could ever be good.
  • Musical theater in general; heroes tend to be sopranos and tenors, while villains are altos and basses.
  • Leon Czolgosz, while arguably the most sympathetic of the Assassins, is the only bass among them — possible subversion. The Proprietor is also a bass, and certainly a wee bit sinister himself.
    • Booth, Hinckley, Byck, and Guiteau are all baritones, however (though Guiteau is sometimes played by tenors).
    • As well as the only good character, The Balladeer, being a tenor.
  • The title role in Verdi's Attila is somewhat of a Villain Protagonist and is a bass-baritone.
  • Claggart in Billy Budd is a super-low bass. One of the most satanic characters ever.
  • The title role in Boris Godunov is something of a Villain Protagonist, and is a bass (though is occasionally sung by baritones). Interesting in that he's a bit of an Anti-Villain.
  • Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Consul features as its antagonist a secret police agent, who is a bass-baritone. Has a creepy Villain Song to boot.
  • The Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo. 90-years-old, blind, and he sings the other bass, King Philip, literally off the stage. On the other hand, the baritone Rodrigo is the nicest and purest character ever to happen in a Verdi's opera.
  • Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin: the titular character is a baritone role, and while he's not exactly a villain, he's not really a straight-up hero either.
  • In Gounod's Faust, the basso gets to play Satan. He has a terrific aria toward the end, with one of the best Evil Laughs ever in opera. Mefistofele in Boito's opera has three magnificent bass arias, "Ave Signor" (Hail, Lord"), "Son lo spirito che nega" (I am the spirit that always and everywhere denies) and "Ecco il mondo" ("Here is the world"). He's not much impressed with God or humans.
  • Bartolo in the Figaro operas was cast as a bass by Paisiello, Rossini and Mozart.
  • Der Freischütz gives us one straight-play and three subversions. Kaspar, the main antagonist, is a basso, but so are the kindly old hermit and Kuno, the protagonist's Mentor and father-in-law-to-be. Samiel is a speaking role, but generally high-pitched.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan weren't usually kind to tenors, portraying many of them as idiots or jerks. However, they had bass-baritone Richard Temple, who had a talent for macabre roles, creating such sinister bass roles as The Mikado of Japan, the Pirate King, and the ghost Sir Roderick.
  • Claude Frollo from both the film and stage version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a bass-baritone.
  • The Hidden Ba(da)ss: you know, there's that boring old bass guy, Ferrando, in Il trovatore. He sings that long aria in the beginning that you sleep through. Then, in the current London production, Ferrando becomes Luna's bad spirit instead of the old buddy... being bald and having a Villain Scar.
    • Played straight with Count di Luna, who's sung by a baritone or bass-baritone.
  • Played with in Jekyll & Hyde, when it comes to the lead character. In the 1994 Concept Recording, Jekyll & Hyde are played by a baritone (Anthony Warlow). In the 1997 Original Broadway Cast Recording, they are played by Robert Cuccioli (who is capable of singing both tenor and baritone/bass notes as both characters). In the Resurrection Recording, Jekyll/Hyde is played by Rob Evan, and he is capable of both tenor AND baritone notes. However, in the 2012/2013 Cast Recording, the role is played by Constantine Maroulis, who is a tenor or high baritone. The role of Jekyll & Hyde is meant for tenors, but it can be played by a baritone (as several productions have done). It should be noted that some actors who have played the role will use a low register for Hyde, and a high/normal register for Jekyll.
  • As is Caiaphas from Jesus Christ Superstar. A deep bass at that.
    • However, Annas is tenor who sings in falsetto.
  • Subverted in Khovanshchina: Dosifey, the bass, is a good, wise priest.
  • Les Misérables: Valjean, Marius, and Enjolras are tenors; Javert and Thenardier are baritones.
    • May be a subversion, as Enjolras has been played by baritones many times, and Marius's song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" is more in the baritone register.
    • Also subverted in the female characters: Fantine and Eponine are both contraltos, or at least mezzo-sopranos, yet fully sympathetic, although social injustice has made them less "innocent" than soprano-voiced ingenue Cosette.
  • Subverted in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. The bass Raimondo is a good guy who is Lucia's mentor, while her brother Enrico, is a baritone and is crazy manipulative and an all-around jerk responsible for Lucia's demise.
  • This trope is all over the place in Verdi's Macbeth. Banquo, the main victim of the Macbeths, is a bass. Macbeth himself is a baritone. Macduff and Malcolm, the avengers of the story, are both tenors. Most interestingly, Lady Macbeth, the main driving force of the story, the most evil character, who gets no less than 4 great arias is a very difficult role for soprano. The soprano must be able to sing both great high notes and strong low notes and have masterful coloratura technique. The two most notable Lady M's are Maria Callas and Shirley Verrett
  • In Matilda: The Musical, Miss Trunchbull is played by a man in the high baritone range.
  • Baritone Robert Merrill in his autobiography described getting ready for a performance and his son said "You're the rat again, aren't you, Daddy?" To which he replied "The baritone is always the rat, my boy."
  • Mozart wrote mostly for basses as opposed to tenors, so he plays with the trope in different ways.
    • Completely inverted in The Magic Flute, when the villain is an EXTREMELY high soprano, and the low bass is the good guy.
    • Played straight with Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio, who is a very low bass. He is cruel and vindictive with a Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • In Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni is the most villainous guy and is sung by baritones or bass-baritones, but he is not the lowest voice of the cast.
The Commendatore, often the one with the lowest bass voice, is actually one of the nicer people (he dies defending his daughter, and even as the Stone Guest he urges Giovanni to repent several times before time runs out).
  • In Nabucco, the bass is a Good Priest, while the soprano, Abigaille, is the baddie.
  • Iago in Othello is a baritone — sometimes sung by bass-baritones.
  • Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles has the baritone part of Zurga, who is the tenor hero's best friend. And while he does condemn both the tenor and soprano characters to die, he ultimately regrets his actions and comes to save them in the end.
  • Averted in The Phantom of the Opera as the role of the Phantom was written for, and is almost always portrayed by, a tenor — although this trope was played straight with the casting of baritone Norm Lewis on Broadway.
  • Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress — see "Samuel Ramey" above.
  • Marc Blitzstein 1949 Regina (based on The Little Foxes) is all over the place with this one. The title role, greedy and morally bankrupt, was initially supposed to be a mezzo-soprano, but ended up a soprano. Her husband, Horace, and servant, Addie, are a bass and contralto respectively, but are good guys, as are Birdie and Zan, who are sopranos. Ben and Oscar, also greedy, are both baritones, and their son Leo, a much less endearing version of The Ditz, is a tenor.
  • Nathan Wallace in Repo! The Genetic Opera gets a deep, gravelly voice when he is the Repo Man.
    • Graverobber is a baritones, but Rotti, Luigi, and Pavi are tenors.
  • Rigoletto: The Duke of Mantua a very deliberate subversion; he is a tenor, and a heartless whoremonger who is morally grey at his most sympathetic and gleefully sprinting for the Moral Event Horizon at worst. The basso, Sparafucile, is an assassin, but he's honourable and almost sympathetic. Rigoletto himself is a baritone, and while sympathetic and more of a victim of circumstance and misplaced loyalty than anything else, he is a far cry from heroic.
  • In Rimsky-Korsakov's operas, you can never guess.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney are an alto and a bass-baritone respectively. They are the protagonists, but also evil. The wicked Judge Turpin is a bass.
  • From The Tales of Hoffmann, there are four characters: Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, and Dapertutto. They are all played by the same bass-baritone, and are, quite literally, the incarnations of evil.
  • Scarpia in Tosca is a baritone, but lately, often sung by bass-baritones. He's an evil son of a bitch who wants to kill the tenor and rape the soprano.
  • Officer Lockstock from Urinetown is a bass. Cladwell, too.
  • Richard Wagner often fell into this. His heroes, such as Siegfried and Parsifal, would be Heldentenors. Villains such as Hagen were often basses or bass-baritones.
    • On the other hand, Landgraf Hermann, Henry the Fowler, Hans Sachs, Gurnemanz, and Titurel are all basses or bass-baritones as well.
    • Ring Baddies are mostly deep. Alberich is a bass-baritone, Hagen, Hunding and Fafner are basses (Fafner as a dragon in Siegfried has his deep bass amplified by megaphone), Fricka is a mezzo-soprano. However, Mime is a character tenor, but Mime is a fun villain.

    Web Animation 
  • The voices of the Shadowmen in Broken Saints are distorted to make them deeper both to disguise the fact that we know two of them, and to of course, make them sound more menacing. This is doubly true for Lear Dunham, who has one level of distortion for his Shadowman scenes, and another for his mysterious presence in Kami's vision and Shandala's dreams.
  • Ludwig Von Koopa in A Day With Bowser Jr. As a matter of fact, his voice is even deeper than Bowser's.
  • When Flippy from Happy Tree Friends is reminded of war and converts to his Superpowered Evil Side, he gains this trait.
  • Hazbin Hotel: Alastor the Radio Demon normally speaks in a chipper soprano with a trans-Atlantic accent, but when threatening Vaggie his voice drops several octaves to pair up nicely with his Nightmare Face.
  • Hellbent from Planet Dolan is a Jerkass who is also a literal devil. He also happens to have a pretty deep voice.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • One of the signs that the AI O'Malley/Omega is possessing someone is their voice suddenly going deep and random psychotic comments ("So you didn't threaten to cut off my head and give it to Church as a birthday present?")
      Caboose: Fix the tank so I can talk to Sheila. And start killing everyone.
      Tucker: You mean all the reds, right?
      Caboose: Of course! For starters.
    • Inverted with the evil AI Sigma, however. He has a rather soft, cold, tenor, which is fitting, given that he's voiced by Elijah Wood.
    • Played straight by Sigma's partner Maine, however, who has a very deep voice the few times he speaks, and a very deep growl the rest of the time.
    • Played completely straight with Locus, who has a menacing, gravelly voice 100 percent of the time, and later, Sharkface as well.
  • RWBY:
    • Hazel and Dr. Watts both have deep-set voices, and both are lieutenants of the series' Big Bad. Hazel in particular has the deepest voice of all the characters.
    • The Creatures of Grimm all have their trademark deep growl. However, one Grimm in particular stands out. The Hound Grimm is the only Grimm in the series thus far to be capable of speech due to its unique circumstances, and speaks in a deep, guttural voice provided by Jason Liebrecht.
  • Mercury from Wings has the deepest voice out of the characters. The first thing he does on-screen is try to kill Dawn and Comet.
  • The Death Alpha from Wolf Song: The Movie speaks in a deep voice compared to most major characters, and he is the main antagonist. However this trope is zigzagged in the film. His lackey Cobalt speaks in a more moderate bordering on high pitched voice, but that is mostly to signify how insane he is, whereas Lightning, who is on the heroes’ side firmly (and shares a voice actor with Cobalt) speaks in a deep, stern, gruff voice, which is about an octave deeper than the Death Alpha. Oh and the Greater-Scope Villain Cerberus speaks in a voice so low he is the only character with subtitles… despite speaking perfect English


    Web Videos 
  • In All Your Base videos, CATS is usually voiced by Microsoft Sam at his lowest pitch setting. Other characters usually get higher-pitched, and less robotic sounding voices.
  • Tony the Clock from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared has a somehow low voice. While Sketchbook from the original short was Ambiguously Evil and quite creepy, Tony is portrayed in an even more malicious way.
  • Played with in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Dr. Horrible does speak/sing a bit deeper and more harshly when he's in evil mode, but he's still a normal, non-creepy/cold tenor either way. Meanwhile, Captain Hammer is a baritone, and Penny is an alto.
  • Echo Chamber's Mr. Administrator.
  • Played for laughs in Yahtzee's Christmas poem in Jim and Yahtzee's Rhymedown Spectacular, which is in the form of a letter to Santa written by the Heartwarming Orphan Tim. It starts out in the soft, high-pitched voice fitting to a young boy, but gets progressively deeper and raspier when Tim asks Santa for a "Giant robot spider" and describes the Roaring Rampage of Revenge he plans to enact with it in great and gory detail.
    Eyes that looked away now staring terrified at me. / That's what I want for Christmas! Failing that, I'd like a Wii.
  • ProZD: King Dragon, the Big Bad of the "King Dragon" skit saga, hits the voice actor's lowest pitch.
  • Overlord DVD: In keeping with his supervillain persona, Doomcock has a deep, booming voice courtesy of a pitch-adjustment filter. The creator has posted new videos without the filter at least once, allowing viewers to hear his real voice before he caught it and reuploaded the video with the proper "Doomcock" pitch.
  • The Noedolekcin Archives: Kirk Odd talks in a very deep voice to add to his overall creepy appearance.
  • Deathside from Super Academy. Even when he's speaking in his higher-pitched, mocking default tone, there's a definite bass rumble behind his words. When he gets mad, though, he loses the affectation, revealing just how damn low he can go.
  • Channel Awesome:
    • Played for laughs in Ask That Guy, where The Guy's voice will spontaneously drop a few octaves when he feels particularly evil.
    • Also parodied with N. Bison in Kickassia.
    • Played straight in Atop the Fourth Wall with Lord Vyce, who always speaks in a deep, growling baritone.



You won't find a Decepticon more loyal to Megatron than Lugnut.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / UndyingLoyalty

Media sources: