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For the Evulz

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"It's not about the money. It's about sending a message. Everything burns."

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
Alfred, The Dark Knight

Most people have logical motivations for their actions, so by extension most villains have logical motivations for (morally) reprehensible actions and intentions. Ambition, zeal, greed, pride, envy, lust, wrath, fear, love, hatred, bigotry, revenge, misery, jealousy, resentment, selfishness, glory, anguish, misanthropy, good intentions, a troubled childhood, the desire for utopia, infamy, and other warped "ideals" can all drive people to evil in ways that we understand and may be familiar with. If a villain's motivations can just be understood, they can be reasoned with — sometimes.

On the other hand, some villains cannot be reasoned with because there is nothing reasonable about their reasons for acting... well, evil. Unlike the amoral motivation we call It Amused Me, which may lead to evil in the pursuit of (attachment-free) amusement, someone whose motivation is For The Evulz knows and cares about the morality of their actions — insofar as they deliberately choose to do evil, and delight in doing so. To them, evil is not a bad means to a good end or even a bad means to a justifiable end; to them, evil is the means and the end, their motivation, and their justification. In short, it's saying "I did this evil thing because it was an evil thing to do."

The name of the trope comes from a portmanteau of "evil" and the Internet phrase "for the lulz."

This may be because Evil Feels Good while Good Is Boring and Dumb, but The Evulz is different from It Amused Me in that the Evulz-seeker need not find any pleasure in their evil acts — in some cases, they themselves (also) suffer as a consequence of the crapsack world they inflict upon themselves and others. In other words, while many villains who follow this trope enjoy what they're doing, their actions also possess an underlying sense of indifference. Note that self-centered and immoral types merely seeking amusement wouldn't bother doing something bad if it harmed them too.

What keeps a villain going in the name of The Evulz (and The Evulz alone) is not strength of character, however, but rather a complete lack of motivation. The quintessential For the Evulz villain's suicidal bravery actually stems from their nonexistent sense of self (beyond 'I love doing and being evil for no reason') and, by extension, lack of a self-preservation instinct. They probably don't actively want to die or be tortured, but they really don't (and psychologically can't) care about it either.

A non-comedic character whose personality is defined by this trope can be a Complete Monster, the Complete Monster being defined as, well, completely monstrous — needing no justifications for doing evil and having no humanizing or sympathetic elements (e.g., good intent or self-doubt) whatsoever. Note, however, that the reverse is not true — the Monster, after all, is a character defined by their boundless heinousness, not by having reasonless evil as their only possible motivation; some may be Pragmatic Evil types who want to Take Over the World. Other villainous personality types associated with For The Evulz include the Psycho for Hire (who is very likely to be Ax-Crazy), the Straw Nihilist, The Sociopath, the more extreme and hedonistic kinds of sadist, and variants of the Chaotic Evil character alignment. A Magnificent Bastard, in the other hand will always avoid this since they will never commit heinous acts for the sake of, no matter how monstrous they are.

That said, Chaotic Evil is not the same thing as For The Evulz. Chaotic Evil is a likely Character Alignment for someone with this as their motivation, since irrationality and acting chaotically often go hand in hand, but Chaotic Evil encompasses anyone else who is clearly more evil than good and more chaotic than not. This means that, realistically, even if someone is Chaotic Evil, they still can and likely do have more logical motivations than For The Evulz. Furthermore, it's possible to be Neutral Evil or even Lawful Evil and be in it For The Evulz.

Of course, Tropes Are Tools without fail. Poor writing of this trope can lead to Stupid Evil territory when villains do petty things or even dumb things that lead to their own downfall.note  Laziness in regards to this motivation can also lead to writing a Generic Doomsday Villain, since some writers don't bother to put any characterization behind the motive to make it believable.

Some variants of For the Evulz characters, such as the Straw Nihilist and most notably the Joker, compensate for this character flaw using philosophy; they question and challenge the heroes' concept of justice, order, reason, and the workings of the world, especially when it's a Crapsack World where those who do evil without any reason whatsoever can get away with it. These people are very likely to give a Breaking Speech that deconstructs the other characters' assumption that there should be a logical, beneficial, realistic reason behind every behavior.

Video Game Cruelty Potential is when the player of a game is allowed or even encouraged to do things For The Evulz. If a whole race has a motive like this, it's Always Chaotic Evil (but Always Chaotic Evil can have other flavors of shared evil). Compare It Amused Me, for (comedically) callous or amoral seekers of amusement, If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten! for the demand of evil acts as proof of evil, and Trolls.

Compare Made of Evil, which is a character which also does evil for the sake of it, but do so because they are actually an Anthropomorphic Personification of evil. A villain who is self-aware enough to boast that their acts are just for the sake of evil is a Card-Carrying Villain. See also Dystopia Justifies the Means, when a character strives to create a perpetual dystopic world simply for the sake of suffering. Compare and contrast villains with Blue-and-Orange Morality, who do have underlying motivations beyond a mere desire for death and destruction, but not ones most people would understand. May overlap with Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad.

Sister Trope to Threw My Bike on the Roof. The Evil Counterpart to For Great Justice.


Examples with their own subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
    • Judge Dredd: Dredd's enemies the Angel Gang, are described as "never committing a murder when a vile atrocity would do."
    • Aquila: Most of what Nero does is strictly for his own amusement. He even refers to torturing Christians with knives as 'playing' to Locusta.
    • Blackblood from ABC Warriors ran a weapon shop where you didn't pay with money or goods, but with videotapes of the weapons being used on orphanages and such.
  • American Vampire: Even before he became a vampire, Skinner Sweet was fond of committing needless atrocities in his outlaw career. Hattie Hargrove is also perfectly happy with slaughtering people, but she could be (partly) explained as insane.
  • The Authority:
    • Seth Angus Billy Cletus Bubba Jamie Clement Callum Cowie is a truly depraved piece of work who gets off hurting people, as he himself admits to the U.S. President:
      President: I didn't get involved in this because I'm some cackling super-villain who gets off on hurting people or anything.
      Seth: Hell, I did.
    • Kaizen Gamorra from the very first Warren Ellis arc. When asked why he orders his armies to invade major cities, he answers that Gamorra-nation is built on terrorism, because "Terror is its own reward". In addition, just before his Karmic Death thanks to Midnighter, he whines: "I just wanted to have some fun."
  • Avengers: Back to Basics: When Kamala tearfully asks Kang why he manipulated events to kill her mother's past self and thus doom Kamala to nonexistence, the latter callously replies that he did it simply because he felt like it. However, this is later subverted with the reveal that Kamala's future self will go on to become one of Kang's most formidable foes, and that Kang's actual motive had been to try to remove her from history to prevent this.
  • Batgirl:The final arc of Batgirl (2009) deals with the Reapers, a semi-cult of college students with advanced combat armor who have been running around Gotham for a few weeks. In their final battle, after Batgirl foils their individual schemes for money and power, Batgirl asks them why they were doing any of this in the first place. The response was the simple "because we can."
  • Batman:
    • Nearly all depictions of the Joker depict him as being motivated by either sadism or a deliberate drive towards evil. While
      • The Batman Adventures: In one issue, Harvey Dent has reformed and is starting a romance with his lawyer Grace Lamont. Joker hints to Harvey that Lamont is dating Harvey's friend Bruce Wayne and is just seeing Harvey out of pity. Then he gets his assistant Harley Quinn to leak to a newspaper that Lamont is planning to marry Bruce and delivers the newspaper to Harvey. One breakdown, jailbreak, attempted murder and broken heart later, Batman asks the Joker why he caused such a horrible disaster. His response:
      • Even when he is out for money, he only really wants it to fund his sadistic plans. One of the first things he does in Brian Azzarello's Joker is to rob a bank. While he does get a decent of amount of cash, he considers the robbery itself to be ho-hum at best, due to a lack of carnage.
      • Injustice: Gods Among Us: In an alternate version of The DCU, the Joker's main reason to nuke Metropolis, link the trigger to Superman's wife Lois, and trick the Man of Steel into killing him was that since he was getting tired of losing to Batman, he decided to go on "easy mode" by preying on an even more vulnerable target. Joker even thinks it was as good as "beating a puppy to death with a kitten". It's so effective that the Clown Prince of Crime managed to psychologically break Superman after giving him a nasty lecture. To him, it doesn't matter at all if he was killed as a consequence, as the fact that he is laughing maniacally as Superman kills him says it all. On top of that, Joker's death becomes the catalyst for the Injustice-verse becoming a Crapsack World.
    • Some other members of the Rogues Gallery have played this card as well:
      • Victor Zsasz, a foe who, even more than the Joker, just likes to kill people. That's it. Unlike the Joker he does not have schemes, plans or esoteric motivations, or even a need for his crimes to be "funny" from his own perspective. He just likes to kill. When Black Mask, the criminal mastermind who managed to take control of all crime in Gotham City after the Batman: War Games crossover, tells Zsasz that he has potential for greater evil as a part of Mask's criminal empire, he asks Zsasz what he would like to do. Zsasz's reply is simple: "I like to hurt people."
      • Some versions of the Riddler. Sometimes, he steals purely for the financial gain and only leaves riddles because of a psychological compulsion that he cannot defeat. However, in other stories he just wants to see if he can leave a clue and still get away with his crimes.
      • While the Scarecrow often claims that he's exposing people to his fear gas for scientific interests, it's pretty generously implied that he just likes watching his concoction's effects.
  • Captain America: As a teenager, the man who would later become the Red Skull tried to woo a Jewish girl and murdered her after she rejected his creepy advances. He realized that he enjoyed it more than anything else. Everything he's done since are attempts to relive that moment of dark bliss. Conquering the world with the Cosmic Cube, abusing his lovers and his daughter, eating an apple in front of a starving child — as long as he's hurting or killing someone, he's happy.
  • Daredevil: This is the reason for Bullseye's success as a Psycho for Hire. The cops have a hard time figuring out when he kills because he was hired to and when he kills because he felt like it. He even claims that he probably has more money than Norman Osborn yet doesn't feel the need to spend it and continues killing "because it's fun". Sometimes, he'll even kill his client's own mooks just to entertain himself when he's bored, as in Daredevil (2003), in which the Kingpin finds Bullseye sitting in his office with the still warm corpse of his security guard.
    Kingpin: [motioning at the body]: Was that really necessary?
    Bullseye: Necessary? No, it was fun.
  • Empowered: Willy Pete. What else is there to say about a cannibal who doesn't even need to eat at all, but just happens to like the taste? (Plenty, actually, but the squick doesn't need to be mentioned here.)
  • Hellblazer: One of the tropes that introduced the Devil (known here as the First of the Fallen) perfectly in the celebrated Dangerous Habits storyline. Being the sole personification of evil himself, John is surprised to discover the First of the Fallen and his friend Brendan had made a deal to give the latter the biggest wine collection, seeing that Brendan was just a simple pathetic drunkard. The First of course, responds by saying he finds Brendan amusing, and wanted to see him fail as he tries to cheat the Devil. This of course, triggers John to try and save his friend. The rest was history.
  • Justice League of America: In JLA (1997), Prometheus has this exchange with Lex Luthor during "World War III", the last arc of Grant Morrison's run:
    Luthor: You could make yourself very wealthy patenting some of this equipment, Prometheus.
    Prometheus: Money isn't what motivates me. If I want something, I just take it. I'm in this for the buzz.
  • Preacher: The "Reaver-Cleaver" killer confesses to one of the protagonists that he only does what he does because it's fun; amused at having gotten away clean with killing a man in a drunken hit-and-run, he just kept on killing to see how far he could push his luck.
  • The Sandman (1989): Doctor Destiny's Diner of Death. A supervillain armed with the King of Dreams's ruby wanders into a diner full of perfectly ordinary people and spends an entire issue just breaking them. When he briefly frees his victims from his control, one of them demands to know why he's tormenting them this way. His answer: "Because I can."
  • This is the only visible motivation of Antonio Prohías' Sinister Man and Sinister Woman.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Cletus Kasady and his Carnage symbiote are motivated to wreak havoc simply because they can. It isn't the symbiote's influence on Cletus, either — he was a psychopathic Serial Killer before he ever bonded with it, and if anything, he had more of an influence on it.
    • Norman Osborn and his Green Goblin Split Personality are... well, split in this regard. The Goblin's motivation in all situations is just evil fun, while Osborn himself is usually out to extend his power and influence. Sometimes the Goblin's lulz actually bite him in the ass. However, Osborn often indulges in this sort of behavior himself out of spite and sadism — he's just less self-destrictive about it.
    • When the Hobgoblin is asked why he framed Flash Thompson for his crimes, he answers "Why not?" That being said, this in fact turns out to be a subversion, since there is a reason why the Hobgoblin decided to frame him. At the time of Tom DeFalco's story, when the Hobgoblin frames Flash, Ned Leeds (whom DeFalco was using at his Hobgoblin Red Herring) has discovered that Flash has been sleeping with his wife. This would be a "clue" to the readers, as Leeds would be understandably pissed. Years later, Roger Stern wrote a retcon in which the true Hobgoblin is actually Roderick Kingsley (his original choice when he created the Hobgoblin). Kingsley also has a reason to single out Flash, however; Flash has been on TV calling the Hobgoblin a "creep and a coward", among other things.
  • Star Wars:
    • One Boba Fett comic features a Mengele-analogue who has given up any pretense of being scientific. He openly admits that he's butchering entire alien races because it's fun.
    • In Dark Times, this is why Dezono Qua Eats Babies.
  • Supergirl: Fatalist starts a twisted, sick game of emotional manipulation in Many Happy Returns that messes with God's Plan and could have destroyed the whole multiverse... just because he can.
  • Superman:
    • Though they're not as frequent or as memorable as his Gotham counterpart, Lex Luthor has his moments. He once killed a person he was sparring against and framed a janitor for it — on another occasion, he cured his invalid sister's disease, and then undid it. His reasons for both: simply to prove that he could. If there's one thing that can be said of Lex, it's that despite generally preferring to profit in some way off of his villainy, if he's in a really bad mood (or a really good one), he doesn't need much.
    • Averted in Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. Superman accuses Luthor from devastating half a city for the sake of a simple theft, but Lex replies that his crimes are always methodical and with purpose.
    • Dev-Em the Daxamite creates all sorts of chaos and mayhem on the Earth's moon for his own sick pleasure in the 30th century during the Time and Time Again story arc, culminating in activating bombs that would destroy the moon. Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes arrive on the scene to stop Dev-Em, but although they manage to do so, they only postpone the moon's destruction until the Linear Man shows up to resume the countdown to send Superman back home to his own time.
    • In Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Mr. Mxyzptlk explains that since immortality is boring, he tries out different things to break the monotony. He spent 2,000 years not moving at all, another 2,000 years being purely good, and then the last 2,000 years being a mischievous prankster. Now he's going to be evil. Things gets ugly, fast.
  • Supreme Power: Redstone's reasons for killing are "Because I can, because I'm good at it, and because I like it." He was once a 'normal' Serial Killer, motivated by misogyny and feelings of powerlessness, but once he got his powers, he became inhumanly vicious and ruthless.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage): This trope is explicitly stated to be the motivation behind Baxter Stockman's plan to blackmail the city with his mousers. He's using the Mousers to rob banks as well. When April O' Neil tries to explain that he could have made millions of dollars legally, Baxter replies that he just did it because "it was FUN!"
  • Thanos: In Thanos Annual #1, Ghost Rider talks about various evil acts committed by Thanos for no reason in particular. He stalked a man for his entire life and inflicted various misfortunes on him every year on his birthday (including murdering his father, breaking him up with his girlfriend, burning down his grad school, etc.), stopped a chain of events that would have led to a woman curing all diseases and ending hunger, and murdered an alien species' "god" and destroyed their afterlife because he "was curious".
  • Transmetropolitan: President Evil Gary "The Smiler" Callahan. He flatly tells protagonist Spider Jerusalem that he ran for President simply because he likes to hurt people and wants to do it on as grand a scale as possible. By the time he's done, Spider is almost nostalgic for Callahan's predecessor, a thinly veiled Richard Nixon stand-in dubbed "The Beast".
  • The Ultimates 2: Loki.
    • His original reason for invading Asgard was to steal the Norn Stones for Laufey, but as Balder notes, he's more confused than acting out of any real plan.
    • Despite enabling The Liberators to conquer the United States, Loki doesn't seem to have any real goals of conquest of his own aside from screwing with his brother and shiggles.
  • A Walk Through Hell: While Carnahan does have an actual purpose and plan as the Anti-Christ, most of how he actually goes about doing this is purely this, as well as what he decided to do to Shaw and the others purely out of spite for catching him the first time, even though it was all part of the plan to begin with.
  • Wolverine:
    • Whenever Sabretooth isn't carrying out a job, he's either tormenting Wolverine or slaughtering random innocents. Sometimes he does those things anyways even when he is on a job.
    • One comic has Wolverine running into a group who videotape themselves hunting and murdering innocent mutants. When confronted, they readily admit that they're just doing it for kicks and that they don't have a specific agenda in targeting mutants; as Logan puts it, "It could have been anyone — blacks, or gays, or Jews".
      • A bit of fridge logic there, as random blacks, gays, or Jews are less likely to have powers that could let them easily kill you.
  • Wynonna Earp: Boone Helm admits that he commits his crimes (which usually involve a massive body count) for no reason other than to spread chaos.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Their message with the headcam footage seems like it was left by the Artificial Zombies purely to screw with the teams sent into their lair. Later, it's pretty clear that MaNi/Elder Brother is not just doing what Ghidorah's middle head wants and that he's enjoying torturing Monster X for his own sadism immensely.
  • Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles: Gilda breaks Medley's wings after a prolonged torture for no other reason than her own entertainment and (perhaps) driving Rainbow Dash into a Heroic BSoD.
  • Batman Beyond Revisited: A lot of what Chainsaw does seems to be purely sadistic pleasure.
  • BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant: Terumi tends to commit acts that are either vile for their own sake or come off as counterproductive to his group's plans for nothing more than a quick laugh at others' misery. One such example is when he tortured Roman and Neo to learn what happened at the docks, except he openly admits that he already knew the full story since he was watching the entire time and tortured them for his own sadistic amusement. To drive it home, the reason he passed along information to Ruby and her group regarding the Southeast operation which helped lead to its downfall and the prevention of the planned breach of Vale? He just wanted to see the look on Cinder's face when she realized it.
    Emerald: So that's it? You screwed over the Southeast operation for a quick laugh!?
    Terumi: Yes, and it was hilarious. Thank you for asking.
  • Boiling Isles and Beyond:
    • Bloodhound kills a Cyclops family to use their house as a lure for Luz, and because he was bored about having not killed anything in a while.
    • Boscha is confirmed to have no Abusive Parents who pressure or abuse her; she, as Skara put it, was born bad and embraced it.
  • Bound Destinies Trilogy: In Wisdom and Courage, Veran displays this trait to a T. Using the Sins of Our Fathers card as a poor excuse to mask her own immense bloodlust, she constantly goes above and beyond to gather power so she can use/abuse said power to cause as much collateral damage and kill as many innocent people as she possibly can, simply because she can.
  • Code Prime:
    • One of the biggest differences between Britannia and the Decepticons is that the Decepticons don’t pretend to be righteous, and revel in the evil that they commit, whereas the Britannians have at least something resembling a code of honor, and do genuinely care for their people, while the Decepticons will throw away as many of their numbers as it takes to accomplish their goals.
    • Airachnid is the most vile of all of the Decepticons. While most of the other Cons follow Megatron because they believe in his cause, Airachnid only joined the Cons because it allowed her to indulge in her sadism.
    • While Megatron himself is not above committing evil for the sake of it, he only does it if it’ll benefit him, and will not indulge in committing evil if it doesn’t bring him closer to his goals.
    • Luciano Bradley only joined the Britannian military because it would allow him to kill other people without getting punished. He’s also the only Britannian who has no illusions to the evil that Britannia commits, and absolutely relishes in it.
  • Dave Stidider Pokemon Traner has Team Bad, who want to kill Dave and take his Pokemon for NO REASON. They wanted this since the first chapter, when they haven't even met Dave yet.
  • In the Kim Possible fic "Other Side of the Mirror", when Kim and Ron’s evil counterparts come to the prime reality and provide Drakken with a weapon of mass destruction, they only reveal after he’s started using the weapon that there’s no way he could actually use it to take over the world and they just “want to hear the screams”.
  • Equestria: Across the Multiverse:
    • Lord Yomi and his minions from the Lighting the Darkness Arc, being demons and willing minions of demons, are pretty much defined by this trope.
    • One of the major villains Ispita/Lady Babylon basically has this as her main motivation. It doesn't matter if she's screwing someone over in a small way or ruining an entire world, she gets a kick out of causing pain and suffering. Played for Drama, as she's one of the most dangerous beings in the multiverse and the heroes are currently no match at all for her to the point she barely acknowledges them.
  • Equestrylvania: This is pretty much the only reason any of the villains do anything. It's clear they enjoy their work. During the epilogue to the first book, Aeon tells Applejack about why Dracula's minions would do the things they do, leading to an explanation of this trope.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Why else would the bully have jumped out of nowhere donned in a grotesque to terrify Italy, a guy who had been brutally beaten just earlier with bruises all over his body to prove it?
  • In Harmony Theory, Max Cash is a criminal mastermind with complex plans to seize ultimate power, which require the sacrifice of specific individuals. He also admits that he sets fire to schools and kills random people he runs into even if it is unnecessary because it is fun and makes him happy.
  • I See What You Do Behind Closed Doors Miraculous Ladybug: After she's finally exposed to her classmates as a Manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, Lila freely admits that she never actually expected to stay in Paris for so long; she's used to her mother's work forcing them to move frequently. She was also astounded by how gullible most of the class proved to be, and kept amping up the blatancy of her claims just to see how much she could get away with. Once they find out her true nature, Lila laughs it off and gloats about how much fun she had, thanking them all for providing so much entertainment.
  • In The Last Son, Superman sums it up rather nicely about the Joker:
    Superman: He's a completely different breed from anyone else; Creed, the F.O.H.... even Doom. I didn't understand it, the first time I came here... but Joker is true evil; the kind that doesn't exist for wealth, or for power, or for any goal; he's the kind of evil that exists simply because it wants to exist.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Proto Man is only working for Wily because he wants to do whatever he wants.
  • New Tamaran: Blackfire was only sent to Earth to find the Anti-Life Equation; everything she does to her sister and her native people is all for fun.
  • Didier, the Big Bad of the Blood+ fic Nobility. Everything he does is for the sole purpose of making his brother Anjou suffer, even starting a war to this end. It's been noted that he's had several chances to kill Anjou, but passed them over in favor of Mind Rape.
  • Play the Game has Bardot, a zoner who, due to his white chalk, red chalk combination, does not really care about what he does, and does it for no other reason other than sadistic pleasure.
  • In a sidestory of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Accentus, the oldest of the Seven Brothers of Orre is introduced wielding a sword and a machine gun before going on a rampage to kill every Pokémon in a forest sanctuary. At the same time, an evil shiny Aegislash named Dainsleif appears in a human village and mind-controls half the denizens and orders them to kill the other half. When asked why they're doing it, they both give the same answer: "Because I choose to".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic Project Mobitropolis Act One: Evil Rises has Robotnik respond to Sonic questioning why he's done so much evil with, "Because I can."
  • Queen of Shadows: Shendu's first appearance in the rewritten reality sees him incinerate a slave dancer on the flimsy excuse that she'll probably never dance as well as she just did, so she's expendable. Judging by the reactions of his court, this is a regular occurrence.
  • Roar of the LION: A mix of this and For Science! is Inori's entire motivation. When she creates Virtue, her first Extermination Armor, the very first thing she does is order it to go on a massacre and sends it to attack Vale General Hospital.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III, this is essentially the only reason Kuyou burns Astreal alive.
    • The original Jovian and Jacqueline who served Hokuto revel in committing mass murder, tormenting people, and blowing things up just for kicks. Among other things, they hold Tsukune's cousin Kyouko hostage and rape her, and then taunt Tsukune about it over the phone, and blow up Tsukune's house just to torment him; they would have killed his mom in doing so if Gin hadn't gotten her out in time. While they're often acting under Hokuto's orders, there's no doubt that they enjoy doing committing acts of evil for the sake of it, and their brief revival via Babylon in Act V proves once and for all that even without Hokuto, they enjoy committing acts of wanton mass murder and city-wide destruction simply as a matter of course.
    • The new Jovian and Jacqueline who serve Talon in Act VI, while considerably less sadistic and cruel than Hokuto's, aren't above indulging in this either; in Act VI chapter 43, when they're looking for Akua and Kahlua in the Shuzen castle, Jacqueline suggests that they just blow up the castle, leading to this exchange:
      Jovian: Why is it that whenever we can't find somebody your first instinct is to blow up everything around you?
      Jacqueline: Because it's fun.
    • In Act VI chapter 25, it's mentioned that during their time enslaved to Babylon, Rathieal regularly abused the Otonashi sisters and tortured them with their Slave Collars just for laughs.
  • Ruby and Nora: Mercury’s only motivation is to kill as many people as possible.
  • RWBY: Dark features a twisted take on Ruby Rose, who wants to become the most evil being in existance by killing, torturing, and mutilating anyone and everyone she comes across.
  • Same Difference: When April points out that the Kraang could just harvest her DNA by taking her hair rather than put a large needle in her head, the Kraang admits that she's right and they could harvest her DNA painlessly, but they just find the painful and torturous way more entertaining for them.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos:
    • Tsali has shades of this. Though he has actual reasons to want revenge against the Seedrians, he butchers entire worlds simply because he can, even if they had nothing to do with his enemies.
    • Beelzebub rapes Chris in Episode 67 not because he needed to run a demented experiment like he did on Cosmo, but because he thought it would be fun.
  • Sonic: Evil Reborn Zero: The Serdist aristocrat Malfiore de Torquemada sets a dying apprentice on a ridiculously simple mission for her, then complicates it to nigh-unbelievable levels, sabotaging her own mission for this reason. Malfiore is also a Troll so it's in character.
  • In This Bites!, when the CP9 investigated several countries that formed a trading coalition, said coalition was found to be completely innocuous. Rather than simply withdraw, they utilized the worst case scenario to pit every country at war with the others and stole all possible liquid assets which were added to the Celestial Dragons' tribute.
  • In A Triangle in the Stars, Chapter Fourteen and Chapter Twenty-Two flesh out the events at the school of Chapter Six, which Bill instigated because he was bored and itching to cause a grander scale of chaos. More specifically, he messes up the school on a Sunday despite Sadie watching him and gets a lot of people hurt and/or traumatized, much to then unknowledgeable/ignorant Steven's chagrin and to Bill's own hidden amusement as they watch the results on the news in Chapter Fourteen. As for Chapter Twenty-Two, that's a witness account of the horrors.
  • The Two Sides of Daring Do gives this as Ahuizotl's motivation. However, despite Ahuizotl's character this is NOT Played for Laughs, as Ahuizotl is a Sadistic psychopath who considers the prospect of being the only living being still alive on a lifeless Death World a thing of beauty. Yearling even admits he's more of a joke in the books because on paper this sounds a lot less horrific than it actually is.
  • The Ultimate Big Brother: Katakuri discusses this trope with Makoto after the first trial when he talks to the Ultimate Lucky Student about Junko being the mastermind, telling him that where he comes from, there's no shortage of such people that would destroy everything just because they felt like it (Crocodile and Doflamingo come to mind).
    Katakuri: Where I'm from, my world has countless people like Junko who desire chaos above all else. No money, no reason, no bargaining. Just wanting to see the world burn with everyone screaming is a demon's dream come true.
  • Ultimate Spider-Woman: Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With the Light features Jack O' Lantern, who starts out with bank robberies before graduating to hostage-takings, gassings, Mind Rape, and finally orchestrating a city-wide gang war. He implies that the reason he commits these increasingly ghastly crimes is, quite simply, because he knows it's wrong. Jack O' Lantern also brags about being so superior to people who in his mind hide their impulses behind their civilized facades, and develops an almost insane hatred for Spider-Woman in part for defending those people and in part for interfering with his fun.
    • Blizzard is a less malevolent example, in that he and his entire family are a group of chronic jailbirds who are always in and out of prison for offenses ranging from drug dealing to armed robbery to car theft. They actually enjoy prison, which for them is an extended family reunion. On the other hand, Even Evil Has Standards and Blizzard and draws the line at rape or murder. When an army of Brainwashed and Crazy supervillains are invading New York, Blizzard actually helps Spider-Woman protect the people of the city, before sticking around for the police to take him back to Ryker's Island.
  • To Undo it All: In the Bad Future, Aizen did things like cutting off Uryu's arm and letting hollows eat Rukia's leg just to see if they could find a way to use their abilities without said limbs.
  • Vow of the King: Aizen specifically set up his fake corpse along a route he knew Momo would take simply because he wanted to watch her emotional breakdown when she discovered said corpse. He was rather put out when Momo senses Orihime and takes an alternate route to confront her.
  • Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune has Big Bad Argath, who has Mind Control powers and toys around with people's heads just because he got bored and finds watching others react to it fun.
  • Webwork has Simon Leston, the new Squid Khan General, who intends to kill everyone on the planet, partly because he hates people and thinks they deserve it, but mostly simply because he now can. Tarakudo and Jade are both disgusted by this, with the former describing villains with this kind of motivation to be like viruses.
  • Anything relating to yukkuri abuse tends to revolve around monsters of humans who delight themselves in causing harm and death towards defenseless head-like creatures just because they can. Then there's the factory, which all yukkuri are naturally afraid of. They say it won't let them "take it easy", but it's way more sinister than that. There are even yukkuri shops people can go to select their "victim" on some works.
    • The spiritual descendant of yukkuris, fluffy ponies, are just as subject to this. "Fluffy abuse", in which humans torture and slaughter fluffy ponies, was at one point so rampant that not only did it drive the original creator of fluffy ponies out of the fandom, Derpibooru banned fluffy pony art and stories altogether. (The moderators eventually found a compromise.) Unlike yukkuri writers, some fluffy-abuse fans are viciously defensive of the practice.
  • In the Zeppo No More series, Xander is repeatedly said to be the most evil vampire to ever live, and repeatedly commits atrocities for the sheer hell of it. Zeppo No More 3: The X File is particularly notable, with three standout examples:
    • His Evil Plan turns out to be to turn the President of the US into a vampire, and then have him launch nuclear weapons at targets around the world. When its pointed out that even a vampire couldn't survive the reprisal, the characters speculate that from his point of view, being able to kill that many people would make his death Worth It.
    • In addition to that, he takes the time to pose as the human Serial Killer "The D.C. Strangler". When asked why, he replies that he wanted to know what it was like to be a regular serial killer, with specific victims, specific ways of killing, and sending taunting letters/calls to the police.
    • Finally, he at one point grabs a chainsaw and just runs out onto the streets and starts killing people. This has absolutely nothing to do with either of the above plans, and is simply to cause as much death and terror as possible.

    Film — Animated 
  • Lady Tremaine in Cinderella and its sequels despises her stepdaughter and does everything she can to make her life miserable. And for what reason? All because she didn't push Cinderella out of her cooch. Cinderella's stepsisters also apply in the first film, though Anastasia is redeemed in the sequels.
  • All the Mad Scientists in Igor are of the traditional sort, loving evil for its own sake. But the prize goes to the king, who created a weather-controlling device that cast the entire country under permanent storm clouds, destroying the citizens' livelihood, and then suggested they all turn to mad science to make the country successful again. Okay, and… why did he do this, again?
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie Boogie's motivation. During his Villain Song he carefreely sings out that he does all the bad things because "It's much more fun" when "lives are on the line".
  • The Coachman from Pinocchio, who actually kidnaps naughty young boys, brings them all to Pleasure Island, turns them all into donkeys, and locks them all up in crates headed either for the salt mines or the circus just for the fun of it! And to make matters worse, he's actually a Karma Houdini!note 
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: This is a pretty good way to sum up Big Jack Horner. He has no Freudian Excuse or any motivation for his crimes, and it’s quite clear that he’s evil simply because he wants to be. Heck, the main reason why Ethical Bug is in the movie at all is specifically to highlight this, and to show that Horner is truly Beyond Redemption.
  • Sleeping Beauty has Maleficent. She tries to murder the titular character. And when that fails, she captures her Prince Charming so she can send him back when he's old and grey. Why? 'Cuz she's "the mistress of all evil!" That and she didn't like the fact she wasn't invited to the little baby princess's birthday party.
    • The family doesn't seem to be Fantastic Racists against fairies in general; after all, they do invite the somewhat truculent Merryweather. They specifically didn't invite Maleficent because they believed she would do something nasty. "Mistress of all evil", remember? The "snub" just gave her an excuse.
  • Madam Mim in The Sword in the Stone despises anything pleasant (such as flowers and sunshine) and tries to murder Arthur just because Merlin sees something good in him.
  • Sid from Toy Story spends most of his free time thinking up ways of torturing toys for a quick laugh, including, but not limited to, tearing them apart and switching their pieces together. Sid only seems this way to the audience and the toys—who are aware that he is doing this to sentient beings—but as far as he and any human in the movie is concerned, he just has a creepy hobby. He does wreck his sister's toys and delights in her horror at the monstrosities he creates, but bullying your sibling isn't exactly "evil".
  • Gnorga, the Queen of Trolls in A Troll in Central Park, who likes to watch babies cry just for fun and goes so far as to sing a song about this being her motivation.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: At the climax of the movie, the Big Bad King Candy gloats to Ralph that because of his gamejumping, the giant mechanical bugs Ralph introduced to Sugar Rush have turned the King into one. This has made him powerful enough to take over the whole arcade. Still, he tries to kill Ralph first, apparently just because he feels like it.

  • Invoked in the title track to Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen, which is a semi-fictionalized account of the 1957-58 Starkweather-Fugate spree murders.
    They wanted to know why I did what I did
    Well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world.
  • "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash:
    But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die
  • Voltaire's "When You're Evil" sums up the trope.
    And it's so easy when you're evil
    This is the life, you see
    The Devil tips his hat to me
    I do it all because I'm evil
    And I do it all for free
    Your tears are all the pay I'll ever need
  • My Chemical Romance's "I Never Told You What I Do For A Living":
    It ain't the money
    And it sure as hell ain't just for the fame
    It's for the bodies I claim
    And those only go so far
  • "Only a Lad" by Oingo Boingo discusses Johnny, who appears to have been born this way, despite society's attempts to suggest otherwise (primarily as an excuse not to deal with it). Johnny does have motives occasionally, but they are so absurd that they hardly count — he once shot a neighbor in the leg just so that he could steal her radio.
    His teachers didn't understand
    They kicked him out of school at a tender, early age just because
    He didn't want to learn things
    Had other interests
    He liked to burn things
  • "Such Horrible Things" by Creature Feature:
    I'm not a bad man
    Even though I do bad things, very bad things, such horrible things
    But it's not quite what it seems, not quite what I seem
    Ah, hell, I'm exactly what I seem
  • "Vampire of Düsseldorf" by Macabre:
    I need a victim to do things sickening, I just want to make you bleed
    I'm going to kill you just because I want to
  • "French" by Tyler, the Creator:
    I'm openin' a church to sell coke and Led Zeppelin
    And fuck Mary in her ass... ha-ha... yo
    I'm fuckin' Goldilocks up in the forest
    In the three bear house eatin' their muthafuckin' porridge
    I tell her it's my house, give her a tour
    In my basement, and keep that bitch locked up in my storage
    Rape her and record it, then edit it with more shit
  • "The Bright Young Things" by Marilyn Manson is this meets The Hedonist, referencing the titular "Bright Young People" of 1920s London.
    We set fashion, not follow
    Spit vitriol, not swallow
    Good for nothing but being
    Everything that's bad
  • "The Curse of Milhaven" by Nick Cave is a prime example.
    I keep telling them they're out to get me
    They ask me if I feel remorse and I answer, why of
    There is so much more I could have done if they'd let
  • "Sinner" by Judas Priest doesn't seem to give a motive to the subject of the song beyond enjoyment of his (or her) own sin (evulz) — the same can be said of the Drowning Pool song of the same name. No particular preference is given to any one sin in particular over the others.
  • Euronymous, the late guitarist for the Black Metal band Mayhem, often claimed to support murder, rape, necrophilia, and dictatorship, solely because they are evil. The scary part is, he was dead serious about this. On a side note, this is the same guy who, after his band mate committed suicide, took pictures of the messy aftermath and put it on the cover of his new album.
    • Many so-called "Orthodox" Black Metal bands seem to follow this line of thinking. Members of Deathspell Omega, Watain, and Funeral Mist have all claimed to support terrorism, war, and basically anything that brings about human suffering. Few of them actually have the actions to back up their talk, though, so it's unknown if they would still hold to those viewpoints if push really came to shove (Euronymous's band Mayhem, and a couple others, are the few examples of musicians actually committing murder).
  • Blue Öyster Cult's version of a song penned by Patti Smith, "Career of Evil":
    And then I'd spend your ransom money, but still I'd keep your sheik
    I'd peel the mask you're wearing, and then rob you of your sleep, rob you of your sleep
    I choose to steal what you chose to show
    And you know, I will not apologize
    You're mine for the taking
    I'm making a career of evil
  • Kids Praise: Risky Rat's motivations seem to decay into this over time; while he still describes himself as a Con Man in later albums, he seems to want to keep kids from knowing or praising God... simply because.
  • Outlaw cowboys burn down Bonnie Tyler's house and attack her just for fun in the music video for "Holding Out for a Hero".
  • Oingo Boingo'''s song "When the Lights Go Out" describes What You Are in the Dark:
    Just common folks like you and me
    Turn into mobs that get so crazy
    Prowl the streets like cats
    Out for the hunt
    Breaking all the windows just because it's fun
    Just because it's fun, just because it's fun

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Sid Fernwilter of Piranha Club (formerly known as Ernie) is vicious just because he can. Purely on principle, he refuses to spend money on anything useful or necessary. He would rather sit in the darkness and freeze than to pay the electricity bill — and he has.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Doing this in pro wrestling is generally called garnering "Cheap Heat"; being booed by the fans, not for doing something legitimately vile, but for doing something simply for the sake of being jeered. Interrupting someone's well-deserved title match to spoil their opportunity at glory is a truly nefarious act and being booed for this is well-earned. Reminding the town you're in that their local football team just lost to [some other city] is done For the Evulz. Sometimes, cheap heat really adds to a wrestler's charisma (it's a great way to show how arrogant their character can be), but done sloppily, the facade is easily lost and the obviousness that it's a swing at just being bad for bad's sake is made evident.
  • The Big Boss Man practically sprinted past the Moral Event Horizon for no reason whatsoever on multiple occasions, other than that he enjoyed it. This included everything from breaking the wrist of a much smaller woman while threatening to use a nightstick to club her (the woman was more than 200 pounds lighter than he was and had no chance to defend herself); tormenting The Big Show after his father's death; and chopping up the carcass of a dog, using its meat as the main ingredient of chili and then feeding the chili to the deceased dog's master Al Snow, only telling him afterward what he had just eaten.
  • During Mike Knox's short run in WWE, he attacked Rey Mysterio multiple weeks in a row. When asked what he had against Rey Mysterio, he said he didn't have anything against Mysterio. He was then asked why he kept attacking him, to which Knox replied Hm… I don't know. I guess I don't really have a reason.
  • Seth Rollins once took Edge hostage and threatened to Neck Snap him. After John Cena gave in to all his demands, Seth decided to stomp on Edge's neck anyway. Fortunately, Cena was fast enough to stop him.
  • Crossed with The Bully, this seemed to be why Jazz does what she does. She Hates Everyone Equally and had no problem beating people up at random. Attached to the "Bra and Panties Trish vs. Miss Jackie (Gayda)" extra on the 2004 WWE Divas South of the Border DVD is an Easter Egg of Jackie doing a photo shoot next to a small pool and Jazz randomly walking over, pushing Jackie into the pool and yelling "BITCH!", with Jackie looking completely confused.

  • Downplayed in Extreme Prejudice (2019). While the mass murderer Fraser Barton Colborne is certainly driven by a desire to inflict pointless cruelty according to his journal, he is also driven by feelings of powerlessness and insecurity. Fraser believes that the more suffering a human being inflicts, the more powerful they are.
  • In Migraine, the protagonist, serial killer Kenneth Jason Muntz, ruins a couple's relationship out of simple schadenfreude.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In one George Carlin routine he discusses the Catholic doctrine of sins of intent: "What you want to do, that's how we'll judge you. You wake up one morning and say to yourself, 'I'm gonna go down to Forty-second Street and commit myself a mortal sin.' Save your carfare, you did it, man!"
  • In a John Mulaney routine, he describes attending a Wild Teen Party during high school hosted at the house of a hated teacher while the latter was away. It went predictably horribly wrong, and the next day, John talked to the teacher's son who was freaking out not so much because of the horrible destruction to the house itself but by the disappearance of some vintage photographs of his grandmother. Since John barely remembers what happened, he feared that he was somehow responsible… until a few years later, while staying at a friend's house, said friend ended up showing him a secret room filled with photos stolen from similar parties. A flabbergasted John gave a Big "WHY?!" prompting the friend to reply "Because it's the one thing you can't replace".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Ebon Dragon is the incarnation of this trope. Seriously, when the world was being created from formless chaos, he invented the entire concept of betrayal. He also argued for the invention of a being of virtue and light to defend the world solely because its formation would empower him as something to oppose. His power suite is built entirely around dicking people over. Just to cap it off, while he's trapped in the prison-body of his king like the rest of his kin, he would gladly make his escape back into the world and slam the door shut behind him in the face of the Yozis, and possibly seal them away for all eternity just to laugh in their faces. This guy just doesn't do it For The Evulz, he wrote the book on it as a checklist for personal life goals. The only consolation is that he is such a complete pathological dick that when sealing his kin while escaping, his own component souls are likely to betray him and trap the rest of him within the permanently sealed hell.

    Some of the material implies that he actually orchestrated the war that resulted in him and his fellows being trapped in said Hell. And actually came out ahead for it — he was a fairly minor Primordial, but he's one of the most powerful and prominent of the Yozis.

    On, threads involving acts of unmotivated malice, especially when the malice is counterproductive or self-destructive, are sometimes tagged "Pleasing to the Ebon Dragon." Amusingly enough, one thread with this tag actually had a poster using the handle "The Ebon Dragon" get permabanned, which hilariously enough is something the in-setting Ebon Dragon would have considered a great success.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Quite a few Dark Eldar and followers of Chaos have lost whatever reasons they once might have had for their journey to what lies beyond the Moral Event Horizon and are now in it for the giggles. The Dark Eldar are a particularly stellar example as the reason for their current predicament (hiding in the Webway and constantly hunted by the god of perversion) is that their entire civilization imploded in an orgy of hedonism and depravity, and they have no intention of stopping.
      • Played with. While they do need to torture living souls to survive, Dark Eldar tend to feel genuine pleasure doing it. Should be also noted that they engaged in such activities well before the Fall. And the only reason they "need" to offer up souls to Slaanesh to protect themselves unlike the rest of the Eldar is because they are still engaging in the behavior that spawned Slaanesh in the first place (which naturally attracts Slaanesh's attention). All they really need to do to is stop acting like such horrible monsters. Occasionally, a Dark Eldar realizes this, grows weary of the madness and evil in their lives, and leaves the Dark Eldar city to find a new life. Sometimes they even join a Craftworld.
    • As for Chaos, most who serve it do so for the promise of power and advancement from them, or are even just clinging to it for the hopes their god(s) may help them (they generally won't, and if they do, you still probably won't find it pleasant). However, it's not uncommon for many of their servants to simply become addicted to the horror they inflict in the names of Chaos. With Khorne's followers, it's generally hard to tell due to their sheer Ax-Crazy. It also is worthy of mention that once you get far enough into slaaneshi cultism, everything you do to yourself/other beings is for some kind of high. Removing your own arm then replacing it with someone else's leg, for teh lolz.
      • It also should be noted that any association with Chaos tend to corrupt a person. More often than not it reaches For The Evulz status even if his original intentions were noble and pure.
    • The Orks, meanwhile, are an entire species who embark upon interstellar campaigns of genocide for entertainment purposes. "Orkz wuz made fo' fightin' an' winnin'!" The Orks are also a justified case since they were created to be a warrior race by the Old Ones. They were literally made to fight and win.
    • Remiare, the assassin, in Mechanicum, who casually burned out a man's memory centres simply because she enjoys making living beings suffer.
  • The old fantasy Warhammer has the Skaven... Frankly, most of their clans neither want nor need a motive for what they do. Though they are pretty goal-oriented whenever they are put up against someone of equal or superior skill (and considering the strength of the average skaven, that isn't too hard).
    • And Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay had Constant Drachenfels. His idea of a really funny joke involved pretending to reform, and luring many of the Empire's nobility to a feast at his castle… laced with paralyzing poisons, so that they starved to death with a feast spread out before them.
  • Tends to happen rather spectacularly every time PCs are permitted to be actually evil rather than just designated. The Full Frontal Nerdity take on this gave us Dark Lord Evisceratrix O'Kittensquisher. This is not much of an exaggeration.
  • Depending on what Haunt you trigger in Betrayal at House on the Hill, the Traitor's motivation can range from Tragic Monster to More than Mind Control to this. The poor preacher might randomly turn into a werewolf, or the geeky Tagalong Kid may just decide the Giant Spiders are just too cool to fight.
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, one of the most deranged things introduced in the game is a ghoul family called the Crassus. Unlike most ghoul families, these guys are pretty awesome. They're a 6,000 member family with tons of cash, connections, fame, and Kindred disciplines. They're called the Caesars, and sometimes the royalty of America. They have their hand in everything from insurance to Mob wars. But there's a catch: see, this family was created when a Ventrue dude named Lysander agreed to paying a Roman gambler's debt, but in return everyone in his family is now a toy for Invictus members. Only a few individuals in the family know this. And by "toy," we mean the Invictus can beat and rape the hell out of them whenever they want to vent out some of their frustration (or the lulz), only to return the poor Crassus member to their normal life as if nothing has happened. The Crassus are noted for being incredibly resistant to the thought of anything supernatural, even their own powers, so they always always rationalize this regular degradation as some "evil uncle paying a visit." The fluff actually encourages this behavior: the Crassus are consistently portrayed as vain and snot-nosed rich kids that "need to be taken down a peg or three"! But wait, it gets better! All Crassus ghouls can have their choice of either the Ventrue or Daeva weakness. Clearly, being part of a rich family sucks in this world.
    • The Crassus estate actually has an insane asylum for all their family members who were unable to use their money and power to fix themselves up from all the rapes. Their estate has a wing with a coterie of Invictus in it, as well… This family is doomed.
      • They have created two more ghoul families specifically for the Crassus to piss on? It just never ends. One family is perpetual butlers with undeveloped vocal cords, who are systematically killed the second they mention being self-aware of their condition, and the other is a purpose-bred family of pit fighters knowing no life outside the arena.
    • Or, a Crassus can spend his Staff merit on other Crassus ghouls. Think about that for a second.
    • Then we have the Strix, who being The Unfettered now, primarily prosecute vampires for this reason. They represent the predatory urges that drive vampires, and consider the fact that vampires are corpses pretending to be human tantamount to perversion. Whether they're harrowing vampires or just joyriding corpses in order to exercise their vices, every one of their actions is aimed at proving that being humane is weakness and must be routed.
      • A Strix in the opening of the Strix chapter of Wicked Dead speaks of his decaying possessions, and how they don’t know who he really is anymore, or why he does all these terrible things. "...and I wouldn't have it any other way."
  • Fiends in Dungeons & Dragons. As the Witch-queen Iggwilv explains in the Demonomicon:
    "To understand a demon is to know what drives it. All demons crave carnage and absolute ruin, but to what end? Unlike devils, demons do not commit acts of violence from a philosophical desire to foment evil for its own sake. The desires of a demon are less existential. More instinctual."
    • This was what basically what Chaotic Evil was retconned into in 4E. Which is a common misinterpretation of what the term actually means.
  • In the Magic: The Gathering set Ravnica, the Rakdos Cult is populated entirely by Always Chaotic Evil demons and supplicants, whose entire reason for doing their actions is For The Evulz. Interestingly, in the magically-enforced government of Ravnica, there needs to be that sort of group as part of the government... even if it spends most of its time trying to destroy said government.
  • Most agents of the Wyrm in Werewolf: The Apocalypse don't have a whole lot of motive for what they do. When there is a motive, it seems to be rooted in profit or validation built off the idea that someone, somewhere else, is suffering, or that it doesn't matter that your actions make the world a worse place as long as you get something out of it. A fair amount of the Pentex book is scary not because of the malevolence on display, but because most of it seems to have no motive at all beyond "yay Wyrm".
    • Despite all that, however, the Wyrm isn't necessarily about making everyone suffer. While its minions want to see the world rot, both physically and spiritually, because that's what their dark master commands, the Wyrm wants to make the world rot because it's literally bound up in the fundament of reality, and the contortions those bonds put it through have driven it mad.
  • Similarly, the Nephandi from Mage: The Ascension exist under absolutely no delusions of being badass antiheroes or misunderstood rebels or any of that shit. They know that they have given themselves over fully to what they consider anathema, they view the world as a rotted pit to either revel in or flush down the cosmic toilet, and their actions are meant to either convince others of this worldview or to hasten the end of all things.
  • The Fabled/Magoshin are this according to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Terminal story, as they would randomly attack warring factions already in battle just for the hell of it. Fabled Leviathan takes it to the extreme as he would randomly appear during great battles and kill everyone there before disappearing again.
  • Manitous, in Deadlands, often do things out of sheer gratuitous malice, particularly when in control of one of the Harrowed.

  • William Shakespeare villains are known for doing this:
    • Iago's motives from Othello were noticeably thin and contradictory, which leads many scholars to surmise that he doesn't have motives at all, only excuses. This trope was almost named "The Iago" because of this. The alternative title Motiveless Malignity is a term Shakespearean scholars often use to describe his actions. Verdi's opera version of Iago, however, made him into a Straw Nihilist with his Villain Song.
    • The "Villains by Necessity" speech in King Lear Edmund gives, in which he mocks people blaming their faults on the stars, as they did him, for being an illegitimate son of the Duke of Gloucester conceived under "bad stars." Edmund sums up with "S'foot (bullshit): I should have been what I am had the maidenliest star twinkled on my bastardizing." It's also possible that he went bad because people thought he would, in something like a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. To Edmund it doesn't matter anymore...
    • Don John from Much Ado About Nothing, actually mentions early in the play that since people have pegged him as a bastard already, he might as well get into it and enjoy himself.
    • Richard III: He tells us in the very first speech of the play that he's going to be a villain because he has nothing else with which to occupy himself.
    • Aaron of Titus Andronicus does everything he does over the course of the play because he simply likes being evil.
      Ah, why should wrath be mute and fury dumb?
      I am no baby, I, that with base prayers
      I should repent the evils I have done;
      Ten thousand worse than ever yet I did
      Would I perform, if I might have my will.
      If one good deed in all my life I did,
      I do repent it from my very soul.
  • The witches in Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas (text by Nahum Tate) have lines like 'Harm's our delight and mischief all our skill' and 'Destruction's our delight, delight our greatest sorrow', and they decide to ruin the life of Queen Dido of Carthage just because they 'hate [...] all in prosp'rous state'.
  • Ursula in the stage version of The Little Mermaid, from her Villain Song entitled "I Want the Good Times Back".
    I wanna taste their tears
    I wanna hear their screams
    I want that special rush
    You get from crushing
    Hopes and dreams
  • In Shrek: The Musical, Farquaad describes his plans for total domination ("with some torture, just for fun!") in "The Ballad of Farquaad".

    Theme Parks 

  • From BIONICLE, we have the Piraka, six (formerly seven) former Dark Hunters out for the Mask of Life. They didn't have to enslave and brainwash the population of Voya Nui to help them; they didn't even have to pretend to be Toa in the first place. Basically, they just did it to screw with them and try to avoid getting their hands dirty.
    • Even Makuta Teridax himself strayed into this territory at times, like when he became the Matoran Universe itself, and so gained control over the natural forces of the universe.
    • Though he isn't truly evil, Brutaka once decided to amuse himself by using his mask to drop the forty-foot Tahtorak into Metru Nui, causing it to both terrorize the Matoran there and become scared and confused as to how it got there. Apparently, this was back during his early years as an Order of Mata Nui member.
  • The Purr-Tenders had to deal with Ed-grr, the grumpy pet dog of the owner of Pick-A-Dilly Pet Shop. While they'd all gotten adopted thanks to their disguises, meaning his owner didn't have to care for them anymore and they were out of his hair, Ed-grr wanted to capture and drag them back to the shop just so they'd be unhappy and he could laugh at their misery.
  • Transformers:
    • The Stunticons are made up of Drag Strip, Dead End, Breakdown, Wildrider and their leader Motormaster. All of them have some sort of mental issue, but the worst of the lot is Motormaster himself. A sadist who is well aware of their issues, he takes a perverse pleasure in using those issues to punish them (e.g. Wildrider gets extremely jittery when forced to stay still, so naturally Motormaster forces him to stay completely stock-still and silent). This is partially to maintain discipline so they remember who's in charge, and partially because he enjoys it.
    • Soundwave's original toy bio mentions that the other Decepticons hate his guts because he uses his ability to 'read' electrical impulses (basically making him the Transformers equivalent of a mind-reader) for petty blackmail. Why? Because as Megatron's right-hand bot and invaluable member of the faction, he can.
    • The original toy bio of Tarantulas, back when the series seemed to merely be a continuation of the traditional Autobot/Decepticon war, mentioned that he was suspected to be responsible for the disappearances of many people, and that he maintains a terrible hidden layer where his cocooned victims are drained dry. As a Transformer, he's perfectly capable of surviving on fuel sources like Energon... but he enjoys the act.

    Visual Novels 
  • Most of the villains in Ace Attorney have motives for their crimes, because their motives are often key to proving their guilt in court. However, there are a few villains that exhibit this on occasion:
    • From Justice for All we've got Matt Engarde. Sure, Engarde does have a motive for paying an assassin to kill Juan Corrida (to keep Juan from exposing a dirty secret that would ruin his reputation), but pulls a For The Evulz when he asks Phoenix to feed his cat. Why? Because he's plotted to abduct Maya Fey and is holding her hostage in his wine cellar, and the assassin he paid is there guarding Maya and posing as Matt's butler. He's sending Phoenix to his house essentially just to enjoy the fact that Phoenix can't solve his case or escape his blackmail plot even when the killer and Maya are literally right in front of him.
      • Though it could also be a Pet the Dog moment since he does seem to genuinely love his cat.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Kristoph Gavin invokes this trope and claims to have killed Shadi Smith simply because "I am an evil human being." The truth is a little more complicated: Shadi is really Zak Gramarye, a defendant who spurned Kristoph in favor of Phoenix Wright 7 years ago. Kristoph murdered him to exact revenge and clean up loose ends for his plot to get Phoenix disbarred.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc's Big Bad Monokuma (who is actually Junko Enoshima) is an intentional creation of this kind of character. Head scenario writer Kazutaka Kodaka feels that giving a villain a Freudian Excuse is "cheating", and so crafted the villain to be defined by a complete lack of purpose in creating the Deadly Game that the series is based around. Junko loves Insane Troll Logic because she can't analyze it, and so her entire philosophy beyond 'more despair=good' is an intentionally contradictory mess.
  • Fate Series:
    • Fate/stay night has Kirei Kotomine, playing this trope straight in the "Fate" route but deconstructing it in the "Heaven's Feel" route. He ultimately aims to empty the contents of the Holy Grail, an Artifact of Doom containing a tangible form of all of man's evil upon the world. This would have unleashed horrific amounts of death and destruction upon humanity. When the All-Loving Hero confronts him about his motives, this is Kotomines's summed up answer: "Just as some people find music or art entertaining, I can only find amusement in watching other people suffer". In "Heaven's Feel", Kirei's backstory shows that he is perfectly capable of understanding the nuances of right and wrong and has, in fact, on several occasions tried to live a good life (becoming a priest, specializing in healing, trying to have a family). However, time and time again he was unable to get any pleasure from life. This is ultimately subverted, seeing he's pissed for having been born evil while being fully aware of how deviant he is. Turning this something closer to a Rage Against the Heavens. Fate/Zero explores Kotomine's slow realization that Evil Feels Good, aided by Gilgamesh.
    • Zouken Matou is a straight example in Fate/Zero and even Kotomine is disgusted by him. Zouken only allowed his prodigal son (who despises him) to participate in the Fourth Holy Grail War in the place of Zouken's little granddaughter not because sending the girl would have been cruel beyond belief, but because he enjoys making his son suffer more than anything.
  • Seems to be almost the entire motivation for the witches in Umineko: When They Cry, especially the Voyager witch Bernkastel. But when you live for a thousand years, your sources of entertainment eventually start to run out.

  • Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater frequently has this as the motivation for his behavior. Here's just one example out of many.
    Dwarf Villager: By Moradin's beard! Why do only our homes and children burn!
    Black Mage: Because it seemed excessively cruel! (winks)
  • This is the motivation for easily half the people and events involved in Ansem Retort. Axel even explicitly stated that this is why Zexion should steal tax dollars from his constituents to finance Axel's wedding: just to prove he could.
  • This seems to apply to bad guys in general in Axe Cop. Being a bad guy is almost like a medical condition, except that it makes you a free target for good guys to kill rather than excusing your actions. It can even be induced or cured; in "The Dogs", one bad guy who was given a good potion and turned into a good guy noticed that he "no longer wanted to hurt people." Before that he had just wanted to destroy the world for no particular reason.
  • In Brawl in the Family, Master Belch of EarthBound (1994) is apparently given to doing disgusting things for their own sake. His response to a cat stuck in a tree is to lay a Bear Trap.
    "That is incorrect, Master Belch."
  • Norman from Dragon Tails wants to conquer the world and destroy Enigma seemingly because he has nothing better to do. Unfortunately for him, he's... not very good at either.
  • In the second Dungeons and Discourse, Dmitri's character in Dresden Codak excuses stopping to eat the philosophical zombies with "Evil for Evil's sake." Then he kills off the entire party with the Dungeon Boss's mega-weapon. Again, For The Evulz. His character type, Dark Kantian, is based on this trope. His Categorical Imperative is that he must do evil regardless of its utility. (And all the Platonists have headaches now. Whee....)
  • Entire basis of EvilFTW, but not NEARLY so extreme.
  • In Girl Genius, most of the old Heterodyne family's sadistic experiments were For Science!, but they left behind a Castle whose motivation for messing with prisoners is, aside from protecting heirs of the Heterodyne family, For The Evulz.
  • The Grand Highblood from Homestuck seems to be the troll incarnate of this trope, killing those who seek him out on a whim simply because he truly thinks of himself as the highest on the troll totem pole. And he's also Gamzee's ancestor, and the moment Gamzee sobers up, he decides it's time to prepare for The Vast Honk via killing off all the other remaining trolls. Which he successfully does in a doomed timeline (except for Aradia), considering he has their blood to paint with.
  • Juathuur averts this trope, and explicitly evokes it here. The comic, as a whole, makes a point that no one is evil 'just because', everyone has his reasons.
  • Richard from Looking for Group is a delightfully evil character who will happily slaughter entire villages out of sheer boredom. He takes great joy in seeing the hero of the comic, Cale, slowly become less innocent, more violent, and more cynical. His motivations are largely unknown for most of the story, until it's revealed that his immortality is literally powered by destruction, but at one point the main characters state their primary motivations and goals outright:
    Krunch: Kethenicia. At last... I will see, I will learn what no other scholar has ever dreamed of.
    Benn'joon: I'll be able to get Aelloon off my back.
    Cale'anon: I will resurrect Gamlon and fulfill my true destiny.
    [Beat as everyone turns to Richard]
    Richard: I. Like. To. Kill. Things. How is that not clear by now?
  • Aram of Men in Hats. His two entertainments are television and the physical and psychological torment of his housemates.
  • In Neko The Kitty, McJefferstein, the 'evil' counterpart of Jeff, often says, "The evil is the fun part!", even though he rarely does anything particularly harmful.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The lich Xykon, the Big Bad, is simply out to be as evil as possible, and often goes out of his way to commit atrocities just 'cause it's fun. In fact, he's so direct about it he believes trying to have justifications and causes for one's evil is simple cowardice. The result is the bizarre twist of Affably Evil Faux Affably Evil.
      Xykon: ...sure, I could've just blasted you all from above with fire and lightning and such... But I've always felt that when it's really important, it's worth to go that extra mile. Don't you agree?
    • General Tarquin is a flamboyant case. He thinks he's Above Good and Evil, but he keeps doing things in the most cruel and unusual (and often Obviously Evil) way possible. Often it's pragmatic, ruthless evil, but sometimes he's just in it for the drama. Basically, evil isn't good; it's dramatic awesome.
      Tarquin: But you can't make an omelette without ruthlessly crushing dozens of eggs beneath your steel boot and then publicly disemboweling the chickens that laid them as a warning to others.
    • While Tarquin has at least the dubious benefit of seeking power and eternal fame, his son Nale seems to perform most of his monstrosities just because he's Lawful Evil. He even falls victim to the 'evil opposites' schema just because he thinks it's a thing he should do. This ultimately turns on him in the end, when he's just too unhinged for Tarquin to work with.
  • Cyndi of Penny and Aggie toys with others' lust for her, and manipulates people into abandoning their friends or into eating disorders and suicide attempts, simply because it amuses her: "I do like to play." Best summed up by Penny:
    Penny: She never tries to win. She just tries to make everyone else lose.
  • Dionne's impetus to do pretty much anything in Precocious. Example. Not that the Gemstone Estates kids usually cite any other reason...
  • Milkman Dan in Red Meat. Anything is fair game to him. "I hate you Milkman Dan" indeed.
  • Jeff of RPG World, Eikre's former best friend, essentially killed Eikre's mother, neighbor, and burned down part his village simply to show everyone what true evil was and because he enjoyed it. By the end of the comic, he had ascended to Dragon status.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: In "Evil Ethics", a couple of kids discuss ethical theories they supposedly subscribe to, which advocate doing the evil-sounding things that different existing moral theories could lead to and being happy about it.
    "I'm an evil deontologist. For example, I like finding situations in which I could save a life by telling a consequence-free lie, then refusing to do it on principle."
  • Bun-bun of Sluggy Freelance fame is sometimes this. A lot of the time, he's after something (money, strippers, alfalfa hay), but sometimes, he just wants a bit of a laugh. A sadistic one. Ka-CLICK.
    • One of the clearest examples was in "The Island of Dr. Steve" right after he took control of Oasis, a mysterious brainwashed superhuman assassin, to use her for his own ends. By doing so, he coincidentally saved Torg from having his neck snapped by her... so he immediately gave her the order to do it anyway, just because. He would have got other main characters killed for fun more than once if they didn't have Plot Armor.
    • In "Oceans Unmoving", he told another character: "I thought there was something about you that I liked. Now that I have the opportunity to crush your soul, I like you even more."
  • One Stolen Pixels strip has Francis trick Bill into thinking a pushbroom is the best weapon.
  • Starfish in Unsounded is a fairly practical version. He does a lot of bad things for practical reasons, but when he does things purely for cruelty it's something he thinks won't come back to bite him. He beats his already dying henchman to death rather than just letting him bleed out. After all, either way he's dead, but it's more fun. And he tries to make Matty watch his father die because he already intends to dispose of him too.
  • Cuntons of Vegan Artbook hates wolves and likes to kill them because...who knows? She's an evil Straw Man and she does it just for shits and giggles apparently. Even her bio says no one knows why she's like this.
  • The black hat guy in xkcd enjoys inventive ways of being cruel, and only sometimes as payback for someone being stupid.

    Web Original 
  • The Ninja from Ask a Ninja. 99% of the time, he doesn't actually have anything against the people he kills. He just kills them because they're there.
  • In The Cartoon Man, Simon starts out with a plan to exploit transformative black ink for his own profit. After he consumes some of the ink himself, however, he becomes a Dastardly Whiplash type cartoon villain with a plan to take over the world. His reason: "Why not?"
  • Cobra Kai: In stark contract to most of the other antagonists, this is Kyler's motivation. A Jerk with a Heart of Jerk that loves to Kick the Dog (no less when they're disadvantaged) any chance he gets, simply for the thrill of it.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible's sole motivation for trying to take over the world is so that he can qualify as a supervillain and get into the Evil League of Evil. Dr. Horrible is also a subversion; it's made a clear on a couple of occasions that he feels the world is corrupted, and the only way to "save" it is to take control himself; most obviously in his opening spiel and during the song "My Eyes". Indeed, when it comes time to kill the "hero" of the piece, he can't bring himself to do it until he's lost his chance.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • When contemplating what to do after he becomes immortal, Freeza decides that for the first century or so he'll take it easy on his subjects, lull them into a false sense of security, before becoming a full on bloody tyrant for another few centuries. After that, he'll disappear for a millennium or so, until they come to believe the old stories were false and Freeza never actually existed... at which point he'll return and kill everyone.
    • This is the only conceivable reason for why Guru decided to kill himself after he sensed that the main characters had summoned the dragon. He even acknowledges what a dick move it would be right before he does it.
    • When Future Trunks demands to know why the Androids are killing and terrorizing everybody, 17 answers, "Why not?"
    • The only possible explanation for why Vegeta wants to kill Santa in "Plan to Eradicate Christmas".
  • Doug Walker did a sketch about the Joker from The Dark Knight trying to come up with an origin story. After several rather ridiculous attempts, he decides to forsake the attempt altogether.
    Joker: "Argh, that will never work! You know what? I'll just say I'm an asshole!"
  • Smiffy is the Token Evil Teammate of Hat Films, and tends to commit evil actions either out of spite or to amuse himself, such as killing their tamed animals, setting things on fire and weaponising what the team create (up to and including building nuclear weapons).
  • Dr. Heiter in Human Centipede: The Musical, even more so than his film counterpart.
  • This is nothing short of the motto for Kakos Industries as commiting Evil acts is no different than everyday life. To "Do Evil Better" is simply a way of living with no real rhyme or reason necessary.
  • Kim Richards becomes... rather excited at the thought of going into a Crematorium where they are dead bodies with a cannibal on the loose. Hannah Rutherford is not so excited.
  • Carl from Llamas with Hats. A few of his victims did piss him off in some way, but usually he just kills people for the sake of killing people. Or so it seems, anyway. The latter half of the series seems to suggest that he's actually acting to get Paul's attention.
    Paul: Why would you think any of this was a good idea?
    Carl: Probably because I'm a dangerous sociopath with a long history of violence.
    Paul: ...Oh.
    Carl: I don't understand how you keep forgetting that.
  • Fort Kickass from SBI Rust don't really have a reason for their violent behavior. Tubbo and Hycei embrace the "bad guy" role, though Krinios is more apprehensive. They also lean pretty heavily into It Amused Me.
  • Veronica Carter of Shadowhunter Peril, through a technicality, falls under this category. When she originally existed in Fan Fiction, Veronica was a psychotic vampire who had bullied her three siblings into working for her in her quest for total destruction of everything, murdered her rebellious little brother's best and only friend, killed and drained blood from the bodies of humans well after she was full satisfying her thirst, and went on a celebratory trek across of vandalism across the country after she killed her own army and attacked the opposing one (her idea of vandalism is burning everything she sees). Her reasoning for all this is because she "was just bored".
    • Even in Shadowhunter Peril, she will occasionally do something that could be slightly considered evil towards the Resistance, such as setting demonic, tentacled, man-eating pies on her friends (she commands them to eat Nicholas and Umbra); and firing missiles at Oblivion. When asked why she does this, she just giggles. It goes without saying that Veronica is definitely insane.
  • Simon Lane's more bizarre and irritating troll moves can largely be put down to this, such as frequently committing RDM (killing without evidence or good enough reason) in Trouble in Terrorist Town or shooting Lewis Brindley in the head just because he can.
  • Survival of the Fittest:
    • Word of God states Blood Boy does have a motive, but it A) Doesn't make sense, and B) If it did, boils more or less down to this anyway.
    • There's also the Alternative Character Interpretation some handlers have that this is essentially why Danya is abducting American students and making them kill each other.
    • Maxwell Lombardi is one of the few killers in v4 who genuinely enjoys killing, and often goes out of his way to kill people. He's... quite good at it.
  • Don Sebastiano of the Whateley Universe. His idea of 'romance' is seducing a classmate, having sex with her until she's in love, then humiliating her in front of the whole school. And that's the least damaging side of him.
  • Though a fair chunk of Worm's truly despicable villains have developed motives or at least evidence of one being there, several of the worst are just in it for kicks. Jack Slash, the leader of the Slaughterhouse Nine, is the standout example. Upon finding out that he will cause the end of the world, he decides that sounds like a great idea.
  • Ask That Guy with the Glasses: Ask That Guy is similar to Carl, but there's no ambiguity here. Once, he advised a man who had only one day to live and wasn't sure whether or not to spend it killing his enemies "Well don't go killing people you've always hated. Do something much more random, like... killing people that you've never met."
  • SCP-1481 used to be a Benevolent Genie who would grant an unlimited number of wishes to his master, but now he is a hopelessly inept, perpetually stoned loser who is much too out of it to grant wishes, usually just conjuring up food for himself to satisfy his munchies instead. At one point, during some drug-addled incoherent rambling, he reveals that a previous master of his used their first wish to put him in this state, their second wish to make the first wish irreversible, and then walked away without another word. Just to be a dick.
  • Left POOR Dead: Smedley released the virus because he's a troll.
  • Red vs. Blue: Felix is a sadistic sociopath who gets his kicks from killing and manipulating people. While he admits that the money is good and likes it a lot, he makes it perfectly clear that the feeling of overpowering others and besting them is better than anything money can buy.
  • Barney Bunch: Drew Pickles and his many, many pals do what they do simply because they're gay.
  • Arson Sam: The fire brigade burns down buildings for two reasons: one, the owners don't pay protection money, and two, they're monumental jerks.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • This appears to the modus operandi of the Arrow'd Guy from Teen Girl Squad.
  • ASDF Movie: This appears to be the motivation of several characters, including the French Jerk throwing muffins, the guy punching the salad, and the guy who squashed the talking potato.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Motiveless Malignity, For The Evil, Evil Is Fun


Makai Toshi SaGa

The Creator admits that he saw the game's events as a game and created Ashura just to test humanity. It's a bit like watching Reality TV.

How well does it match the trope?

3.25 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForTheEvulz

Media sources: