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Looks Worth Killing For

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I've really stopped at nothing
Murder, treachery and lying
Whatever it takes to keep my looks
You really can't blame a girl for trying

A character, often female, will go to desperate measures for the sake of staying eternally beautiful.

Maybe the character is currently beautiful and is scared of growing old. Maybe she has lost her good looks and is intent on regaining them. Either way, she will do whatever it takes to maintain a beautiful appearance, often crossing the Moral Event Horizon in the process.


A Super-Trope of Vain Sorceress and Blood Bath. Sister Trope to Immortality Immorality.


Anime and Manga
  • Junji Ito's horror manga, "Flesh-colored Horror", has Chikara's mother and her macabre sense of beauty that she tries to inflict on her son. Her husband, now deceased, created a serum that causes the flesh to cleanly separate from the muscle and she becomes obsessed with this "perfect" new aesthetic. She tricks her sister into using the serum and then demands they treat Chikara as well. While his aunt sabotaged the formula to protect him, he's still regularly subjected to the grueling treatment process, turning the boy into a sullen, violent, diseased-looking wreck. The removable skin must be treated with brine to stay fresh and it must be worn like a jumpsuit to prevent damage to the muscle.
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  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 anime, Big Bad Dante personifies this trope, willing to sacrifice thousands of people's souls just to stay young and good-looking for a few more years. On top of that, she uses body surfing to take other women's bodies when her currently possessed bodies fall apart.

Comic Books

  • For a while in the late 1990s, Spider-Man villain the Vulture used advanced technology to steal the youth and vitality of others in order to restore and maintain his own.


  • In Tangled, Mother Gothel psychologically abuses Rapunzel so she will stay voluntarily in the tower, then becomes a Knife Nut when she escapes—all because she needs the magic in Rapunzel's hair to stay eternally youthful.
  • As shown by the page quote, Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove originally acted like this before her role was retooled, committing "murder, treachery, and lying" in order to find a potion that would give her eternal youth. She even wants to block out the sun in revenge for how it shriveled her skin and aged her.
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  • In Snow White and the Huntsman, Ravenna restores her own youth and beauty by draining them out of young village women who catch her eye. She also wants to eat Snow White's heart to gain immortality.
  • The Sanderson Sisters in Hocus Pocus drink the souls of children to extend their youth.
  • This is the motivation that drives the plot in Death Becomes Her.
  • The Leech Woman. June needs to murder men by getting at their sweet pineal gland juice along with a special African flower extract. The reverse happens when drinking a woman's pineal juice.

Legends & Folklore


  • The book Fairest is basically all about this trope. Ivi, the new queen of Ayortha, basically blackmails the main character Aza into being her singing voice (as a beautiful singing voice is one of the most important things to Ayorthaians). And if her physical beauty is threatened in any way, you'd better watch out...
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray: Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man who is frightened at the prospect of losing his good looks. He sacrifices his soul for eternal youth, but his portrait ages in his stead and reflects all his corruption back at him.

Live-Action TV

  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Queen of the Nile", Pamela uses a scarab to suck the life force out of men and transfer it to herself to maintain eternal beauty.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "The Royale", the fictional villain of a simulator of a cheesy The '40s potboiler namechecks the trope after killing a lovestruck bellboy.
    Mickey D: You shoulda listened to me, kid. No woman's worth dying for. Killing for. Not dying for.
  • In the Smallville episode “Redux”, the heroes discover that Chrissy Parker has been draining the life force from her victims in order to stay young, and has been doing so for 80 years.
  • An episode of CSI featured a sufferer of a rare disease who ate other people's organs so she wouldn't be disfigured by it (it's left ambiguous as to whether it makes any difference). It's made clear she was using it to preserve her looks rather than her health to avoid making her Unintentionally Sympathetic.

Tabletop Games

  • The Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 have resorted to drinking the souls of their victims (Whom they usually torture to death for their own pleasure) in order to preserve their youth and, in effect, prolong their lifespans to avoid feeding Slaanesh.
    • Inverted by Lucius the Eternal of Warhammer 40,000's Emperor's Children. He used to be the most Bishōnen of them all, but after two fights broke his nose and scarred him, he started scarring his own face before every battle, and these days is absolutely hideous.

Video Games

  • Reaver in Fable II has made a Deal with the Devil with The Shadow Court, rendering him immortal and perpetually young in exchange for him providing them with Human Sacrifices.
  • The Twisted Metal reboot's version of Dollface will kill anyone she fears might be considered a more beautiful model than her. She even killed a doctor who fixed her face after an accident...because he left a minor, tiny and superficial scar.

Western Animation

  • In Danny Phantom, Penelope Spectra is a ghost who becomes Amity Park High's school counselor and purposely lowers the students' self-confidence, then uses their negativity to keep herself beautiful.


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