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High Collar of Doom

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Who wears the evilest collar of them all?

"I think my favorite part of his costume is his giant, four-foot wingspan, hang-glider collar. Why can't I ever find a lab coat with one of those?"

The high, turned-up collar is synonymous not only with Classical Movie Vampires, but with Obviously Evil villainy in general.

This began when Dracula was adapted into a stage play, and Bela Lugosi famously played the count wearing an Ominous Opera Cape with the collar upturned, so that he could just turn around into the shadows, and the collar and blackness of the long cape made him seem to disappear. When it was made into a film, the effect was redundant, but Lugosi kept the collar of the cape up just for the appearance, and it became iconic.

It's usually paired with a long, flowing cape, but it's not necessary.

Even Evil Queens and Daddy's Little Villains can wear collars like this, although they are sometimes more extravagant than when male villains wear them.

Also note that heroes are not excluded from wearing high collars, it's just not a sign of evil when they do it.

A Sister Trope to Mystical High Collar (and overlaps with mystical villains), Ominous Opera Cape (and is often paired with this trope, as was codified by Lugosi's performance).

Compare Badass Cape, Spikes of Villainy.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Oda Nobunaga from Battle Girls: Time Paradox wore a dark cape with a high collar.
  • In Berserk, Void has a mantle that includes a high, sinister collar.
  • Bleach:
    • Nnoitra has a collar that resembles a spoon. It's easily twice the size of his head.
    • Several Stern Ritter have high collars.
  • In Casshern Sins, Dio and Leda wear suits with high collars. Casshern does too but is ultimately a subversion, though he was evil in the past.
  • Lelouch as Zero wore a cape with a high collar in Code Geass, which is an early sign Zero is not the white knight hero Lelouch passes him off as.
  • Skull, the leader of the Black Ghost organization, wears one in Cyborg 009.
    • The Knights of the Round also wear high collars, and they are the elite forces of The Empire. Okay, one of the members is a good guy, but the rest count, and this is a Black-and-Gray Morality series.
  • Madame Suliman of Howl's Moving Castle wears a dress with a fur-trimmed high collar. She's more antagonistic than villainous, but still pretty dangerous when the protagonists cross her.
  • Houka Inumuta of Kill la Kill. All versions of his stylized uniform feature a high collar that can snap shut in the front, and when he is not speaking his collar covers his mouth. This, along with his Stoic Spectacles, gives him an aloof and detached appearance. This is fitting, since he is The Smart Guy of the team; his greatest weapon is his technological skill, so he sometimes takes the role of Non-Action Guy. In his nerdier moments, Inumuta straddles the border between Mystical High Collar and Dork in a Sweater.
  • Croix Meridies in Little Witch Academia (2017) wears a really high collar which seems to just scream her impending antagonist role.
  • In Naruto, the Akatsuki uniform has a ridiculously high collar. Practically speaking, it might be intended to reduce the ability of people to identify their faces when traveling or serving as mercenaries.
    • In particular, Zetsu's venus flytrap-like covering can act as a large, menacing one.
    • Sasuke's third Part Two outfit has one as well. Considering how almost all of the Uchiha wore high collars, it was not surprising.
  • One Piece provides us with Gekko Moriah, who had a spiked high collar. Fits very well with his obvious horror theme.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman:
    • Berg Katse has a nice high and wide collar, with red lining. Some of his captains have high collars as well.
    • In Gatchaman Fighter, Egoblosser has a high collar on his nice coat.
  • Lord Grandfather, The Patriarch of the titular Shadows House wears the coat with a collar so high, his head is completely obscured.
  • Folken of The Vision of Escaflowne combines this with Shoulders of Doom and All-Encompassing Mantle for the complete villain look.
  • Voltes V: The Evil Prince Heinel's mantle is adorned with mink at every hem except the collar, which fans out around his neck and resemble the points of a snowflake.
  • Mushiban, the main villain in the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go Go! movie, wears a cape with a collar like this.
  • In Zatch Bell! the main antagonist Zofis wears robe with high collar.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: The Vision... sort of. His design up until the 2010s includes a large flared collar that goes up to his ears, having started off as a reluctant minion for Ultron until he turned on him. Evidently Vis just liked the look and kept it, though it does help play into the recurring theme of Vision unintentionally unsettling people.
  • Batman:
    • Ra's al Ghul's most common outfit has a high collar. Although he is a terrorist and assassin, he has an air of nobility about him.
    • In Alternate Continuities and futures where he becomes Batman, Damian Wayne's Batsuit frequently features a high collar, such as in Batman: Urban Legends, Super Sons, and Injustice 2. This feature is perhaps a nod to his maternal grandfather, the aforementioned Ra's al Ghul, and to reflect the fact that he tends to exhibit more violent tendencies than his father.
    • Batwoman has the High Madame, the queen/high priestess/kingpin of the Religion of Crime. Her costume includes a collar with several points that is only slightly shorter than her head in the back
  • Edge of Spider-Verse (2022):
    • On first appearance, when she simply seems to be an overly stern mother, Queen Mysteria does not have a collar on her robe. However, when she reveals herself at her ball and that she is The Man Behind the Man for Bishop Octopus, her outfit suddenly does have a high popped collar. (In case the name wasn't a tip-off that she's her story's version of Mysterio, she's also a Composite Character with the Evil Queen from Disney's Snow White.)
    • Meanwhile, Norma the Fairy Gob-Mother is visually based after Maleficent, and comes with a high collared cloak of her own, though she's Ambiguously Evil. Until the follow-up story, when she turns out to have been Evil All Along.
  • The Flash villain Weather Wizard.
  • Flash Gordon's nemesis, Ming the Merciless, most of the time. It was, of course, carried over into the Film and TV versions.
  • Morbius the Living Vampire had one when he was introduced as a Tragic Villain in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. Later inverted when he became more of an Anti-Hero, sometimes a hero outright but still wore the same outfit, with the collar often being drawn even higher and more pronounced than it was in his first appearance.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Pre-Crisis Doctor Cyber wore a purple costume with a standing green collar that was taller than her head. It matched her cape.
    • Giganta (Doris Zeul) often wears a popped collar on her costumes, unlike many examples on this page hers seems a bit more feasible since it only reaches just past her jawline.
    • Minister Blizzard's blue cape has a collar tall enough to usually cover his ears.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove. The thing was at least a foot tall, going by normal human proporations, towering above the top of her head.
  • Concept art for Frozen shows several designs for Elsa when she was meant to be a villain, and she's wearing a high collar.
  • Megamind loves these. They're even on his pajamas! Then there's... The Black Mambaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Everybody on his home planet loves these.
  • Maleficent, the evil fairy, in Sleeping Beauty wears a black, purple lined cloak with a high collar.
  • The Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White herself wore a high collar with her Pimped-Out Dress, but it was rounded and shaped in a softer manner, in contrast to the sharp corners and flat shape of the queen's collar.
  • Vector in Despicable Me wears a tracksuit with a high collar.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Loki sports one in The Avengers, which, while relatively subdued, is larger than in Thor.
  • The evil wizard Mestema wore one in The Dungeonmaster, that was a bit more wide than high.
  • Zorg in The Fifth Element has a collar so high, it reaches the top of his ears.
  • As with the original comic strip version of the character, movie versions of Flash Gordon's nemesis Ming the Merciless very frequently wear these (often very over the top ones), from the Flash Gordon serials in the 1930s to Max von Sydow's version of the character in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie.
  • Forsaking All Others: Connie shows up to meet her ex-boyfriend Dill on the night before Dill is to be married. Sure enough, she's wearing the popped-up collar. The fact that Connie's an obvious schemer supports this trope. Sure enough, she gets Dill to run away with her, the night before Dill's wedding.
  • This concept art of Pinhead from the Hellraiser remake. Fittingly enough, it makes him look disturbingly like someone in an iron maiden.
  • In Labyrinth, Jareth the Goblin King has two outfits featuring these — the shining black one when he first appears, and the red leather jacket with the really high collar when he appears in the tunnels.
  • Legend (1985)'s magically animated black dress that Lily dances with features this collar.
  • Fatima Blush wears one in the video game scene in the not-so-canon James Bond film Never Say Never Again.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Dr. Frank N. Furter first appears sporting one of these, but it disappears pretty quickly.
  • In The Thirsty Dead, Baru, the high priest of the evil cult, wears a cape with a collar that is higher than his head.

  • Scarlett Burnish in The Bone Season Series always wears her significant outfit with high collars. According to Paige Mahoney, they look like a hangman's noose.
  • Dracula is the Trope Codifier, if not from the book, than from the aforementioned adaptations.
  • A throwaway line in Drakon mentions "the high-collared black uniform of war."
  • Archlecter Sult in The First Law trilogy wears an immaculate white uniform, of which the high collar is occasionally mentioned.
  • Queen Etheldredda's collar in Septimus Heap is so large that it makes her head look like it's stuck at the top of a box, making her look very arrogant and disdainful in the process.
  • Emperor Zhark in the Thursday Next series naturally wears one. He once remarks that it is hard to get it properly starched.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7. Worn by several characters in the episode "Weapon", most bizarrely by a woman who's supposed to be a slave employed as a menial worker.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master not only wears one of these (and regulation evil villain's cloak) in the special "The Five Doctors", he appears to obtain it while teleporting (via a "power-boosted open-ended transmat beam"). Those Time Lords clearly know a thing or two about instantaneous transport and sartorial elegance, at least when not being played by Colin Baker. (The Master gets his collar back in the TV film, 13 years later).
    • Inverted with "normal" Time Lords, who are (sort of) good but whose formal wear comes with a truly ridiculous collar which is taller than their heads.
    • Though by "The End of Time", the trope is in full play, with the Time Lords becoming Omnicidal Maniacs prepared to destroy the rest of the universe if it means they can survive.
    • Monarch, the Big Bad of "Four to Doomsday", wears green robes with an enormous collar.
  • Forever Knight. Worn by Lucien LaCroix in flashback scenes along with a black Badass Longcoat. Probably a Bela Lugosi Shout-Out in this Vampire Detective Series. In the present day he prefers a Badass Longcoat and loses the unfashionable collar.
  • Game of Thrones: Roose Bolton occasionally wears his collar up, most notably at the Red Wedding. Of doom, indeed...
  • Lord Fear in Knightmare sports a colossal black collar that's higher than his head.
  • Once Upon a Time uses this a lot. Almost all of the major villains have worn this at one point or another, but of course, the most iconic is The Evil Queen from Snow White story, a major character. Beyond her, Maleficent, Hook, and the Queen of Hearts all have high collars at one point or another.
  • Sherlock Holmes. In "The Last Vampyre" John Stockton, who is rumored to be descended from vampires, wears the classic black collared cape. Holmes himself wears one while startling Watson with fake vampire fangs. Watson is not amused; Holmes of course says it's a scientific test to establish the pernicious nature of the vampire legend.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Captain Janeway wears an outfit with a spiderweb-style collar when playing intergalactic Femme Fatale Queen Arachnia in "Bride of Chaotica!".

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks, most of the artwork of Illithids portrays them wearing these.
  • Inverted on the Gothic-horror-themed plane of Innistrad in Magic: The Gathering. There the humans wear high collars as a defense against vampires (not to mention the cold). The vampire houses, on the other hand, wear no or low collars, as they have no need to protect their jugulars and are weather-resistant.
  • Warhammer: Von Carstein family of Vampires tend to wear these, exhibiting all the traditional movie vampire aesthetics (although recent models have cut back a bit on this to give them a more heavily armoured, unique look. But Konrad von Carstein's heavy armour still has a high collar of spikes on the back). They are also common among High Elf Mages, Imperial wizards and a few other character types.
  • Crops up occasionally in Warhammer 40,000, most commonly with officers in the Imperial Navy.
    • In the 40K film Damnatus, both inquisitor Lessus and his flag captain have one.
    • Heavily vampire-themed Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston has a very grand one of these, complete with flowing black cloak. It does, however, act as his psychic hood. And, being a space marine, his is made of metal and has two horned skulls on the points.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 


    Web Original 

  • In a The Universal Genre Savvy Guide list for henchmen of the Evil Overlord, the section for the Wicked but Beautiful Daughter include this tip:
    Do not wear dresses with high, fan-like collars. Stick with close-fitting, simple little numbers that allow you to turn your head to see behind you. If for some reason you have to wear a dress with a high collar, there is an arcane device called a "mirror" that will help you watch your back.

    Western Animation 
  • The Queen of the Crowns in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers has a costume and style that is an homage to them and to Ming the Merciless.
  • Arcane: Big Bad Silco wears his greatcoat with its collars up, giving him this look.
  • Ben 10: Charmcaster has high collars on several of her outfits, ranging from just reaching the jawbone to up around her ears. Interestingly, the highest collar is on the outfit she wore in the original series episode "Tough Luck", where she's helping her Uncle Hex with one of his nefarious plots.
  • In the Dave the Barbarian episode "Sorcerer Material" (where Malsquando is first introduced), Fang deduces that Malsquando is evil because he has a "pointy collar". The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Pig also has one.
  • Spoofed in Futurama, with the Omicronians, who all wear capes with high collars.
  • Lord Boxman from OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes wears a lab coat with a high collar as part of his regular outfit, and in the episode "We're Captured", his suit jacket has a high collar as well.
  • Lord Balthazar of The Smurfs has this on his cape, as does the evil witch Chlorhydris.
  • The Transformers: Scourge and his identical Mooks the Sweeps have these integrated into their Robot modes.
  • Master Cyclonis from Storm Hawks has a ring of spines around her collar that she can collapse into a hood for extra style points.
  • In the Fairy Tale Episode of X-Men: The Animated Series, Magnus has this on his cape.