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May Contain Evil

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"Pleasing taste, some monsterism."

A well known corporation has just come out with an amazing brand-name product. They've spammed it over every media channel, and everyone is using it because of its "health benefits".

Obviously the world is coming to an end, if consumerism has gotten to that point. It can't get any worse than this, right? Wrong! For whatever reason, the product in question May Contain Evil, and by "may" we mean "definitely does."

So now people are mutating into evil monsters in the streets, or falling under the villain's mental control, or simply dying left and right, yet the fatal product continues to take victims (because it's so good it's almost impossible to resist). Remember kids, ALWAYS read the small print, particularly the ingredients list.

This plot often occurs in Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World-type shows, as it easily connects a mundane plot (Drinking/peer pressure/vanity...) with an adventure plot (aliens/zombies/mind control...) The effect is often connected to the product to suggest a message that is then turned up to eleven, such as a card game that makes people so enthused they forget to eat, or a rock band's music literally turning people into murderers. Whether this message remains reasonable outside of context, or even applies at all, varies.

Depending on how scary the evil is, and how familiar the product is to the kids in the audience, this can easily become Paranoia Fuel. Or, more often, Narm.

Compare No Product Safety Standards, Sigil Spam, Paranormal Mundane Item and Evil Tastes Good.


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  • Ads for Hulu claim that the service's owners want to melt your brains with TV, because they're evil aliens that feed on brains. True story.
  • Ads for Polar Ice gum used this as a gimmick, claiming the gum turned people into polar bears. Of course this was totally not true.

    Alternate Reality Games 
  • Omega Mart: Additive S, an ingredient found in several Omega Mart products that makes them impossibly irresistible to customers. In the factory portion of the store, this is revealed to be Source, a form of energy extracted from pure creativity.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Connexus in Appleseed Ex Machina is basically a smartphone that you wear as a headset (it projects the images in front of your eyes). It becomes the must-have product in the Olympus consumer electronics market. It also has a nanotech chip in it that takes control of people's minds, turning them into what amounts to temporary zombies, when it receives a certain signal.
  • The villains of Blood+ had a variety of products including candy bars that could, under the right circumstances, turn consumers into giant freaky bat monsters.
  • The early Hayao Miyazaki film The Flying Phantom Ship has "Boa Juice", which causes people drinking it to dissolve.
  • Kemonozume's "health drink" made out of Flesh Eater claws.
  • In Kill la Kill, REVOCS, the biggest clothing company in the world, sells clothing containing hostile extraterrestrial Life Fibers to customers.
  • Essett, the Ancient Conspiracy in Knight Hunters, at one point markets the "health drink" Freude to young girls as part of a Mad Science experiment; drinking it regularly eventually causes their skin to degenerate gruesomely.
  • Early Sailor Moon used this as a standard plot, with gyms, jewelery and radio shows as the product in question.
  • As part of his plan to take down Japan's society in Speed Grapher, Suitengu uses the Tenozu Mega-Corp to distribute products containing a chemical that lowers people's inhibitions, making them more violent.

    Audio Plays 
  • The Cuddlesomes in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure Cuddlesome: cute fluffy toys that will infect anyone who doesn't love their toys enough with an alien virus.
    • The Torchwood audio drama "The Green Life" has Perfect Grub. Tastes good, made from organic materials, helps fight the signs of aging! ... and is made up of ground-up giant maggots. Hey, it's right there in the name.

    Comic Books 
  • The soft drink Goruda in "The Golden Ones" strip in Doctor Who Magazine (actually a product of the Axons) which transforms children into aliens.
  • The Incredible Hulk: In Annual #18, "Spelling Made Easy" is a best-selling book about necromancy aimed at the layman. Reading it aloud turns you into a demon.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Zig-zagged in the story "Everything Must Go" (DC issue #44), in which Mojo Jojo holds a yard sale of all his weaponry. The girls start answering calls to calamities caused by people not knowing how to properly use the weapons they bought. They confront Mojo about it, but he's merely conducting a yard sale under the "supply and demand" dichotomy. It's not his fault people are misusing the stuff.
  • A Treehouse of Horror comic story has a certain brand of food make those who eat it super-intelligent. This is revealed to be a plot by Kang and Kodos to gradually mutate humans into Rigellians. They're stopped when tricked into eating Krusty Burger, which turns them into dumb and compliant humanoids. Unfortunately, this is revealed in a last-panel twist to be because Krusty Burger is a plant made by Krusty-looking aliens to prepare humanity for consumption.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Batman Film Series:
    • Batman (1989) has the Joker lace beauty products with the ingredients for his trademark Smilex poison. The twist is that the contaminated products aren't poisonous on their own; they have to be mixed when the consumer uses multiple products together, making it harder to find the cause of the poisoning.
    • Batman Forever has the Riddler's "Box" devices which sap people's intellect/thoughts and feed it to him; they don't notice because they're so transfixed by the virtual reality imagery it beams into their minds.
  • Beauline beauty cream in Catwoman (2004) can transform regular users into Made of Iron, but if someone stops using it, they look like a burn victim, and the heroine's best friend becomes ill enough to be hospitalized simply from using it regularly.
  • Subverted with the lead-up viral marketing campaign for Cloverfield, which heavily featured a fictitious drink called "Slusho!", leading to online Wild Mass Guessing that the monster would be attracted to and devour its imbibers.
  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America gives us the drug Contrari, which is supposed to cure drapetomania, a "condition" that Confederates believe causes their slaves to run away. It pretty obviously just keeps them drugged enough to be compliant.
  • Freaked is about a former child star hired to do a publicity campaign for a dangerous new fertilizer that turns people into mutants... or, in the case of Mr. T, a woman.
  • The Silver Shamrock Halloween masks in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which kill their wearers with snakes and bugs when a certain commercial plays.
  • A variation in Idiocracy: Brawndo, the Thirst Mutilator, is harmful for plants, due to it being used to water farms, which results in the soil being salted by its electrolyte ingredient. Such usage is encouraged by the manufacturer, even going so far as to literally buy out the FDA to ensure the message gets through.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, we have Valentine's sim cards, which double as receptors for a signal that drives up aggression while disconnecting the inhibitors.
  • In Logan, the Big Bad reveals that he's been gradually eliminating the mutant race with crops genetically modified to prevent the X-Gene from passing on in those who eat them. This is part of a grander scheme to bring mutants entirely under his control as living weapons by also having surrogates give birth to embryos spliced with specific mutant powers.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie has Ivan Ooze creating a plaster-like stuff tainted with Ooze's blood which turns any person who touches it (or at least their parents) into a mindless zombie.
  • The "Regenerate" product seen in the adverts for the Resident Evil Film Series, being made by the giant evil organization.
  • Serenity:
    • The Oaty Bar commercial contains subliminal messages put there by the Alliance designed to trigger River's latent homicidal tendencies. (As far as anyone knows, the bars themselves are harmless.)
    • The Pax the government used to calm the populace. The ones who didn't lie down and die from extreme calm turned into reavers.
  • Soylent Green is made of people!
  • Strange Brew has a mind-control agent added to beer.
  • The titular product in The Stuff is incredibly popular, addictive, and a Puppeteer Parasite.
  • In Undercover Brother, a racist conspiracy involved putting a chemical in fried chicken to make black people act like minstrel stereotypes of blacks.

  • The Stormbreaker computers from the Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker, which contain the smallpox virus.
  • In Kevin Brockmeier's The Brief History of the Dead, it is suggested that the lethal virus threatening the world was spread by a new Coca-Cola formulation.
  • In The Candy Shop War, white fudge is a delicious treat with the mild side effects of total addiction and mind control.
  • Basis of most of The Demon Headmaster books and their television adaptation, whether it's a mind-controlling computer game, a frightening pig-themed TV show or a DJ.
  • Played for laughs in Harry Potter, when the Weasley twins test their products on unsuspecting students. These candies cause anything from mild illness to turning the person who eats it into a canary. Eventually, they develop Skiving Snackboxes, so that students can take one to get out of class, since they will cause you to puke or develop boils, etc.
  • Downplayed and played for laughs, then subverted in The Laundry Files. Apparently Apple puts a low-level glamour on their products that makes people want to buy them. In The Fuller Memorandum Bob falls for it and buys an iPhone. It ends up saving his life after his friend installs anti-monster apps on it without permission.
  • In Margaret Atwood's science fiction books Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, the BlyssPluss pills are marketed as the ultimate sex aid: they act as contraceptives, prevent the transmission of STDs and enhance sensation. Unfortunately some of the pills also contain an artificially created hemorrhagic Ebola-like virus that wipes out almost the entire human race.
  • In The Transformation from Marilyn Kaye's YA Replica series, teenagers' strange behavior turns out to be caused not by the candy fad or the hypnosis fad, but by subliminal messages in the television show everyone's watching.
  • The Trippy Show in When the Tripods Came, a prequel to The Tripods trilogy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adam Adamant Lives! episode "The Sweet Smell of Disaster" centers around a soap powder company distributing an addictive perfume in plastic carnations.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of Animorphs (assuming you admit it existed) had an episode with Yeerks hidden in cell phones.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
  • Doctor Who uses this trope to a ridiculous extreme:
    • The old series pioneered the trope with the Autons. While the image of the sentient shop-window dummies is famous, anything made of plastic can be an Auton, from dolls to wheelie bins, and in one particularly hilarious instance, evil plastic chairs that eat people.
    • Earpieces that directly upload information into your mind (allowing for brainwashing).
    • Television sets from the 1950s that steal your face.
    • Emotion patches that killed the entire government of New New York and 99% of New Earth's population.
    • Season four has: weight loss treatments that animate your flesh ("Partners in Crime") and catalytic converters that poison you ("The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky"). For the first one, the "may" part is actually accurate. On the original setting, the weight loss treatment actually removes that fat you didn't want, and turns it into a non-evil (and cute!) Adipose. But when it's ramped up to convert all your flesh...
    • Its Spin-Off, The Sarah Jane Adventures, continues the tradition with the "organic" fruit drink from the Bubble Shock factory in "Invasion of the Bane".
  • Every episode of Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension featured a bad guy of the week who would open a store that featured this particular trope as part of their product or service. It invariably sold ridiculously well.
  • A "Brent Smythe and Barry" sketch on Fast Forward involved Brent and Barry being asked to a market a product that consisted of fat, sugar and unidentified radioactive isotopes. They decided to sell it as a children's ice confectionery. Upon being told it eats through wood and plastic, they decided to make that a selling point: the only icy pole on a metal stick.
  • One episode of The Goodies has them attempting to dispose of a biological weapon for the U.S. Army. They sell it off as tomato soup to motorway cafes. It eventually ends up being used as petrol. And turns everyone into clowns.
  • In S2:E9 ("Seasons Greedings") of Lois & Clark, a displaced toymaker comes up with a chemical formula which makes anyone who smells it act extremely greedy and childish. He invents a new toy (the Atomic Space Rat) to unleash the toxic substance on the public.
  • Episode S3:E5 ("Welcome Back, Charlotte Richards") of Lucifer (2016) centers about investigation of murder at the Pudding Plus company, whose production, incidentally, is beloved by Dan Espinoza for its really high protein content. Eventually it is found that murder was in fact a suicide of a worker who expected to die from a renal failure in a few days and wanted to bring an attention to the cause of it: usage of "secret ingredients" that actually both falsified the protein estimate individually and formed strong nephrotoxin when combined.
    • Both usage of cyanuric acid and melamine to falsify the results of nitrogen-based assays (e.g. Dumas and Kjeldahl methods) and nephrotoxicity of melamine–cyanurate complex are actually not fictional but real life causes of a number of food scandals in 2007-2008.
  • Being a cyberpunk satire of consumer culture, Max Headroom was fond of this trope in general, starting with the blipverts in the Pilot Movie which could fuse the synapses of your brain.
  • In The Middle Man, the drink !!!! (pronounced by stomping one foot, throwing your hands in the air, and smiling excitedly) turns people into fish-craving zombies.
  • Any product SKUL uses as the basis for one if its schemes in M.I. High. Examples include the mind regressing beauty treatment in "Forever Young", the logos that turn kids into human/clothing hybrids in "Evil by Design", and the addictive wursts in "Fit to Wurst" to name a few.
  • Seriously Weird: In order to get more slaves for building a pyramid in "When Pyramids Were Square", an ancient Egyptian sorcerer travels to the future and offers Harris a secret ingredient that will make his new soft drink irresistible - and highly addictive.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Game", an alien race plans to take over the Federation with a video game that directly stimulates the pleasure center of the brain, starting (naturally) with the crew of the Enterprise, save for Wesley and Data, who lacks a pleasure center.
  • Super Sentai: Many episodes have a Monster of the Week distributing a suspicious product as part of their evil plan.
    • Himitsu Sentai Gorenger: A syringe-themed monster in one episode tricks people into taking a vaccination that makes victims act like zombies and become obsessed with the color black. Luckily the effects are temporary, but it is eventually lethal if a person has the injection too many times. In another episode, a pineapple-themed monster is selling pineapples for very cheap and giving away potted pineapple plants along with them. The Gorangers are immediately suspicious but don't find anything wrong with the pineapples. It turns out that the evil was in the pineapple plants. The pineapples growing from the plants were actually disguised spy drones intended to find the Goranger's base.
    • Denji Sentai Megaranger: A very funny episode had a pig monster disguised as a chef selling diet crepes which he claims will allow people to eat as much as they want and lose weight even though the crepes are very clearly high in calories. It turns out that the sauce he uses actually does do what he says it does, at the cost of making consumers unable to stop eating and able to consume inhuman amounts of food, as part of a plan to cause a famine. The effects only wear off if the victim goes for twenty minutes without eating anything. Another episode had a bat monster infecting CD with bats so that anybody who listened to them would be driven violently insane.
    • The High School Heroes: The villains are distributing an evil smart phone app that makes people who download it act upon their grudges and allows them to transform into monsters. The BigBad's plan is to distribute the app to everyone into Japan so that he can control their minds. Hyuma Oura also modifies an illegal gambling app that several students downloaded to allow him to transform those students into Mooks whenever they are needed.
  • Supernatural:
    • In season seven, the Leviathans take over — among many other things — companies that produce corn syrup, which is in practically every kind of fast food. They proceed to engineer the corn syrup so that it wipes out every other kind of monster, cures all major human diseases, and — oh, wait — makes us docile enough to not notice we're being systematically killed and eaten on a worldwide scale. Dean's major concern, of course, is that he can't eat pie any more.
    • They didn't get it right first time though — their initial attempts turned a small percentage of people into ravenous, flesh-hungry monsters. And — to Dean's horror — an infected Turducken Slammer oozed grey goop when it was left for a while.
  • In The Tick (2016), the Terrible Terror reveals to the board of a cola company he had founded that the recipe includes something extremely evil, but refuses to tell them what. It's his pee.
  • The genetic Sterility Plague in Utopia is formed of two parts that only activate when combined in a human. The two parts are genetically modified corn starch and a flu vaccine.
  • While it never hit retail shelves, Vyvyan on The Young Ones hits it on the head, pointing out the inherent marketing advantage of selling Evil In A Coke Can:
    Vyvyan: ... when the patient drinks it, he turns into an axe-wielding homicidal maniac. It's basically a cure, for not being an ax-wielding homicidal maniac. The potential market's enormous!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any consumable product made from ghost rock in Deadlands contains evil, and most of them have some nasty random side effects.
  • The introductory story for Shadowrun 4th Edition subverts this. The Shadowrunner team is hired by a corp to put something nasty in a rival corp's soda in order to make it taste bad. The runners find out that the substance in question would have led to the mass poisoning of many of the orks and trolls it was supposed to be marketed to, and the culprit is their employer's human assistant, who it turns out is part of the human-supremacist hate group Humanis, who engineered this scheme to ruin the reps of both his boss and the group's fixer.
  • The ethos of the Pentex Corporation from Werewolf: The Apocalypse went something like this: cram products full of corrupted spirits that serve a divine embodiment of entropy and suffering; work towards encouraging a general crapsack atmosphere, so that your customers can act as receptive hosts; watch as the possessed customers mutate and degrade into hideous monsters; claim profits and soldiers.
    • There also was an entire source book about Pentex and its subsidiaries which explored the multitude of themes possible. It also noted that the rather heavy-handed approach described above was once taken by a Pentex-owned computer hardware corporation. What do you get when you plunk a spirit of entropy and destruction into every piece of hardware you sell? Yup, a product that is entirely unreliable and won't be bought, thus entirely undermining the purpose of the whole thing. When the Pentex Board of Directors learned of this, they were... disappointed. The CEO's successor takes a more moderate approach, using it primarily to supply the other branches of Pentex with cheap computers - and of course selling a few outdated and mildly tainted models to schools.
    • The Pentex products that aren't loaded with Banes exist in two categories: ones that are otherwise geared at making the world a worse place (and thus contain more mundane evil than supernatural), or ones that aren't yet but will be as soon as they can come up with something suitably malignant. In the second category are things like the "End Run" mini-marts attached to Endron petrol stations, which will allow them to roll out whatever evil scheme they come up with so that it hits everywhere; in the first are things like King Breweries' beer, which only occasionally contains Banes but is always specifically designed to make your hangover a little bit worse than it would otherwise be. Then there's the occasional bit of memetic warfare, with companies like Avalon Toys (shoot werewolves like Action Bill does!) and Omni Television.

    Urban Legends 
  • Tropical Fantasy Mountain Dew, only sold in Harlem (New York City) was thought by some paranoid blacks to contain infertility drugs dispensed by the KKK.
  • Similar rumors abound regarding far-more-widely available menthol cigarettes. There is a small grain of truth in this, though: while they don't outright make you infertile, they can make you impotent. Then again, so can any tobacco product.
  • Not that long ago, Hamas started a panic in Gaza over aphrodisiac chewing gum, supposedly sneaked into their territory by Mossad to 'destroy the morality of their youth'. Probably best described as a combination of paranoia and Values Dissonance.
  • Pop Rocks, a candy that fizzled when you put it in your mouth (the main reason being it had carbon dioxide in tiny bubbles) and would give off sparks if stomped on, got a number of urban legends that kids stomachs had exploded from consuming too much of the material (usually in combination with soda, causing a carbon dioxide cascade effect), the most popular of these being the actor who played Mikey in the Life cereal commercials. None of this proved to be true (and was thoroughly Jossed by Mythbusters), though a resurgence of the legends has recently developed, replacing the Pop Rocks with Mentos (also Jossed by Mythbusters; neither candy combined with soda will create enough gas to rupture your stomach, and in fact simply drinking the soda would decarbonize it before the cascade reaction with it and either the Pop Rocks or the Mentos could occur).
  • Rumors have long abounded about Bubble Yum bubble gum containing spider eggs, which would hatch and grow in kids' stomachs. Even presuming a gum processing company had such low standards of cleanliness to allow this to happen, the point being ignored is the fact a spider would drown and be dissolved from the hydrochloric acid in one's stomach. But apparently, this wasn't enough to assuage both kids' and parents' fears, and the makers of Bubble Yum had to take several full-page ads out to assure the public that there was no danger.
  • Urban Legends persistently surround McDonald's, usually that the meat in the hamburgers is not beef. Exactly what the rumor says it is varies from year to year; among the most surreal claims was that it was kangaroo meat, which would have had to be shipped halfway around the planet to be used in the US (and it's more expensive than beef, even in Australia). Also, fun fact about that one: kangaroo filets are perfectly normal in Australia, meaning there would be nothing particularly evil about eating kangaroo meat anyway. Other, more gullible folk believe their soft-serve ice cream is made from chicken feathers.
  • A similar urban legend claims that Kentucky Fried Chicken recently changed the decor and logos in its restaurants to show just the chain's initials instead of spelling out the word "chicken," because they are feeding the public genetically engineered chicken-creature-tumor-flesh grown in vats instead of actual chicken, and for reasons of legal liability they no longer claim it is chicken. Except on the menu, of course, right? Right.
  • Urban legends indicating the Powers that Be are dosing the food of males (colleges, the army) to lower their sex drive. This legend persists in spite of the fact that all the drill sergeants, training cadre, and officers all eat the same food as the trainees.
    • 'Saltpeter' (a flammable salt derivative used in gunpowder) is the usual culprit.
    • Another culprit is the Potassium Bromide, which was supposedly used in the in the British Army as well as in the Finnish Defense Forces and the Soviet Army. Spike Milligan mocked this legend in his war memoirs, claiming that the only way this could have possibly worked as planned was if they'd loaded the stuff into artillery shells and fired it at a British soldier from the waist down. Also, veterinarians use Potassium Bromide as a sedative, so using it on troops heading into combat would have been counterproductive at best.
  • Tapeworm Diet Pills. Being infested with tapeworms will make you lose weight, so....
  • A surprising number of people are convinced that the artificial sweetener aspartame, often used in diet soda, is extremely harmful, or going to control their minds, and that there is a massive conspiracy to cover this up. Though a certain percentage of the population may develop headache and/or upset stomach upon ingestion due to an inability to properly metabolize phenylalanine (one of the chemicals into which aspartame breaks down), fueling the conspiracy theories further. A study did prove that using too much increases cancer risk considerably, but bear in mind that the lethal dose was equivalent to a human drinking hundreds of cans of diet cola per day, so one dose in a cup of coffee per day shouldn't be an issue for anyone. Also, some studies suggest aspartame might make it harder to recover from depression or schizophrenia.
  • A conspiracy theory that occasionally pops up on the net is that certain junk foods (Coke and Doritos, among others) contain the eggs of a Puppeteer Parasite that makes one crave sugary foods. Certain parasites like that do exist - moulds that infest bread, not intestinal worms; and they do so through digestive distress rather than outright mind control. But really, your body doesn't need any help to crave sugar, which is a quickly and easily-metabolized source of energy; carbohydrates are, in turn, made up of simple sugars which get broken down in your system. What makes sugar harmful is that it's very easy in today's society to eat too much of it (especially corn syrup, which is in everything), and since most people don't use all of that energy, it gets turned into fat and stored for later. (And even that's only a problem because "later" never comes, and we hardly ever run out of food and have to live off that fat for days or weeks until we can get more.)

    Video Games 
  • The ADAM in BioShock is extremely marketable and incredibly useful, with capabilities ranging from curing terminal illnesses and incredibly easy cosmetic surgery to giving people the power to set things on fire with their minds. However, it also drives people bonkers. This is caused by the extreme physical dependency ADAM users suffer from. ADAM-granted physical changes are not stable and decay in... unpleasant ways if not regularly topped up with fresh ADAM. The developers made the main character's hands become increasingly like those of a Splicer as the story progressed, implying that he's being affected too, although the really bad side effects take more time than the game lasts, and the worst gene cocktails for your sanity, the appearance modifying ones, aren't available for the player's use. However, the good ending shows that he lives for several decades after the game ends anyway.
  • City of Heroes:
    • At least a couple of easy examples come from friendly neighborhood Evil, Inc. Crey Industries. One is Crey Cola, a subtly addictive soft drink that would condition people to buy more and more of it as they drank. The other is the Crey OS, a computer operating system which controls the minds of its users via subliminal messages, causing them, among other things, to want to buy more Crey-made products. That's sort of their business plan, to a large extent.
    • Then there's the actual drugs (Superadine especially) which make you super powerful... and irreversibly mutate you, and a great example you don't learn about till the late game. The Circle of Thorns are named for the 'spirit thorns' they use to make themselves more powerful. Only they don't actually make the user more powerful, they replace his soul with that of an ancient and powerful sorcerer. So it almost literally contains evil while being marketed as a power-up.
    • Almost everyone in Praetoria drinks Enriche instead of ordinary water. It makes you happy... and if not actually Brainwashed, less inclined to notice or care about the cracks in Emperor Cole's little Utopia.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade has (unuseable) vending machines that dispense tiberium-laced soda-pop. The implication being that "if anyone wants to participate in our ongoing Super-Soldier project, go ahead".
  • Proto-Cola of Defenders of Dynatron City caused people to mutate. Strangely, it was both played straight and parodied at the same time: The Big Bad tried to use it to scare away the inhabitants of the city, but the people who used it viewed the mutations as beneficial.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Tai Yong Medical's upgrade is essentially a backdoor that allows people to hack into your brain and either make you helpless or drive you insane.
  • Teleporter technology, the new killer app of United Aerospace Corporation in Doom³. Yes, we do acknowledge that right now it tends to, well, open the gates of Hell, but our engineers are diligently working on the problem, and we expect to have a marketable solution shortly!
  • Red Lyrium in Dragon Age: Inquisition is an extremely potent variant of regular lyrium. Everything lyrium does, Red Lyrium does better. Unfortunately for the Templars who use it, that includes the negative side effects of lyrium usage as well. One side quest reveals that Red Lyrium is regular lyrium Tainted by the Blight.
  • Mineral powder in Eternal Sonata gives people the ability to use magic and heals illness before it turns them insane and kills them.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: If you pay close attention to both the plot, and the various channels during the intro sequence, you'll notice lots of things with nanomachines...
  • The Happy Boxes from Mother 3. Do you have one yet? It'll improve your life!
  • Oddworld:
    • Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus has Soulstorm Brew, a delicious soft drink sold by the Magog Cartel. Unfortunately, it's as addictive as heroin and the glukkons use this to obtain mudokon slaves to work in the brewery and joint facilites. Abe, the player character, is for unexplained reasons resistant to it. Instead, brew gives him literally explosive flatulence. In addition, the brew also contains powdered mudokon bones to add a cannibalistic vibe to it.
    • Oddworld: Soulstorm adds another layer to the Brew; Not only is it highly addictive, but it's designed to kill off its addicts if they try to quit. The latter half of the game consists of trying to develop a cure, and then distributing the cure to the rest of the mudokons.
  • And of course, Scum Soda from Rampage: Total Destruction, which made people turn into giant monsters. The worst part is, even after the public found out nobody seemed to care anyways...
  • Resident Evil: According to supplementary materials, a number of the Umbrella Corporation's pharmaceutical products were created thanks to their B.O.W. research. The First-Aid spray somehow harnesses the T-Virus's ability to reactivate and regenerate dead cells, but on a small scale to heal wounds (if that makes any sense).
  • The hypnotic teddy bears and "Eye-Bo" videos from season one of Sam & Max: Freelance Police.
  • In The Simpsons Hit & Run, "New and Improved" Buzz Cola is almost used by Kang and Kodos to control human behavior for a galactic "reality show". Soon after the first plan fails, they let the "all-purpose evil cola" seep into the water supply and ground, causing the dead to rise from their graves.
  • Sunset Overdrive has Overcharge energy drink, which, after a massive party to celebrate its launch, was revealed to cause mutations into horrific monsters. Floyd, who worked on the development of the drink, mentions that it was an accident that the mutagenic drinks were made available, but with all the cover-ups FizzCo uses to hide the catastrophe (including killer robots, a force field keeping anyone from leaving the city, and a giant balloon of their mascot armed with loads of weapons, it is obvious it wasn't as accidental as it seems. The ending pretty much confirms this, as it shows several large containers of Overcharge being shipped to other countries despite FizzCo being fully aware of its effects.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Saronite ore mined in Northrend appears to actually be the crystallized blood of an Eldritch Abomination that lies imprisoned beneath the continent. And you can totally wear it on your head as a helmet, which, despite lore, has no actual ill effects. It does seem to induce madness in NPCs, though, and the metal is highly prized by The Scourge for its unique properties.

  • One fairly early Bruno the Bandit story arc involved a fast-food chain called Archio's, which was founded by a chaos demon. When a counterperson said "May I take your order?", if the customer replied "yes" then once they got the food home they turned into a mumbling shapeless blob. In a later arc the same chain sold shake-like concoctions made from bits of Archio's son Croatoan, which made habitual consumers morbidly obese by basically sitting around in your body forever and ever without being digested or excreted.
  • When in El Goonish Shive, never accept a soda from Dr. Germahn. Odds are it'll shrink you but not your clothes. Granted, all he'll probably do is leer, so it's less "evil" and more "creepy", but still not a very pleasant experience.
  • In Girl Genius, Othar Trygvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) worries about beer quality in Castle Heterodyne, among other things.
    "We are in Castle Heterodyne with exploding collars around our necks, caught between a fake Heterodyne and a real one. (As well as assorted criminals, maniacs and various monsters.) And I suspect that even if we found any beer in here, it would be evil or, at the very least, flat."
  • In Goats, the transdimensional pudding has "evil" listed in the ingredients. Right after riboflavin.
  • Helen Narbon of Narbonic invented a self-cooling soft drink in a non-canon storyline. The problem (or rather, plan, since she's evil) was that it was STILL self-cooling inside the human body. 80% of the world's population died of hypothermia. Good thing it was non canon.
  • In Nodwick, a brand new curse word ("Krutz!") has a marketing campaign (complete with informative pamphlets), it's bizarrely addictive to anyone who uses it, and it has a strange ability to actually relieve the speaker of whatever stress is bothering them. After saying it, a dragon even stops caring that it's dying slowly from internal injuries after the roof of its lair collapses on top of it. It's a magic word that the villains have invented to siphon off all the anger, fear, pain, and other negative feelings of anyone who says it, to power a dark magic ritual.
  • Sluggy Freelance had the evil Hereti Corporation create the fast food chain House of Cheese. The food itself isn't harmful (at least not the stuff they give to the customers; a special pizza that instantly clogs arteries is reserved for their enemies), but the restaurant's logo is designed to trigger a homicidal response in the slightly unhinged fugitive experiment they're after. Once she sees a House of Cheese restaurant, she'll go insane and kill everyone inside, and Hereti Corp can use the series of fast food restaurant massacres to track her down.
    • Just to drive the trope home, every pizza is served with a small toy, that can be poison, or antidote. Explicitly labeled, for your convenience.
  • In User Friendly, Pitr orchestrates a hostile takeover disguised as a merger between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, forcing them to produce Pitr-Cola, whose only ingredients are caffeine and blind obedience.

    Web Original 
  • The burgrr.comARG is all about this trope, what with the interdimentional fast-food franchise selling brainwashing "food" that eventually turns you into the host for a type of brain parasitoid that then goes on to be processed and sold to yet another unknown world.
  • Several objects contained by the SCP Foundation are consumer products with strange and harmful effects on user. The mysterious organization known as The Factory intentionally mass-produces several such products.

    Web Video 
  • Oxventure has a D&D campaign which opens up during brunch in a tavern. As it turns out, the tavern carries both normal mimosas and "evil" mimosas. Token Evil Teammate Prudence, naturally, wants extra evil in hers. Apparently, it tries to choke her on the way down. After brunch ends, the publican offers the remainder of the evil mimosas to the group.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries involved an energy drink that when drank turned certain people (about one in every 10,000) into hulking monsters (like, literally Hulking). In a twist, the company had no intention of doing so, and immediately fixed the problem when Archie told them. However, they kept the whole fix secret to save their reputation, so the episode ends with them convincing Archie not to tell the public as hundreds of people would lose their jobs if the company went down.
  • Arthur has a new candy bar called Big Boss bars. The bars make the kids experience happiness, but wind down and go depressed unless there's more. Binky even capitalizes it buy reselling the bars at a higher price. It turns out that the bars contain insect parts, chemicals and radioactive elements. Naturally, the company that makes it shuts down when word gets out.
  • Renuyu in Batman: The Animated Series allowed anyone to look young again... but if you stop using it, you suffer horrible withdrawal. When an overdose was applied to a particularly recalcitrant actor, he became Clayface.
  • Chop Socky Chooks got jobs at Wasabi Burger to discover why they were so addictive. Turns out the special sauce was made from used body fat sucked out of Lipo Lounge customers. This made it an Anvilicious lesson on eating properly.
  • Danny Phantom had Ember McLain, a ghostly rock star who used her music to Mind Control people.
  • On Doug, Doug draws a Quailman comic in which the villain of the week, Dr. Klotzenstein gets everyone in Bluffington addicted to "Zombie Chips" and other snack foods. Quailman breaks the spell with beets.
    • In the Disney version, a new product called "Nic-Nacs" start making their way around the community for a Very Special Episode. They are little candies filled with nicotine, and (as one would expect) highly addictive.
    • Another Quailman story had a villain distributing free samples of shampoo which gave users a bad hair day so that everybody in the city would be too embarrassed to go outside so he could easily take over. What the villain didn't plan for was the shampoo also turning all the hair that had washed into the sewers into a giant hairball monster.
  • Drawn Together had an episode where the villain's conspiracy was to ship grape menthol pencils for students writing SATs, so that the black ones would fail, stay stupid, and keep buying overpriced bling.
  • The Fairly OddParents! had this with lemonade from Cosmo's stinky feet. The evil came around because Timmy temporarily valued cash more than his friend.
    • However, the problem was that the lemonade would randomly fulfill the drinkers' wishes (often without the wish needing to be stated, even), resulting in chaos.
  • Futurama had Slurm, a soda advertised with the slogan "It's highly addictive!"
    • The Slurm episode also parodies this with Soylent Cola, the taste of which "varies from person to person".
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero sees Cobra try this twice: Once with mind control music in "Cold Slither" and once with brainwashing personal products in "Let's Play Soldier".
  • An episode of Grossology had Sloppy Joe starting his own fast food chain that sold extremely addictive food in enormous portions that nobody would be able to finish, so that they would have to throw most of it out, thus creating lots of garbage. Although it's a bit of a stretch to call this plan "evil" since he really just wanted to hoard all the garbage for himself. It only crosses over into evil once his garbage stash gets so full that it explodes and causes garbage to rain down over the entire city. Joe didn't intend for that to happen, and was even momentarily distraught over losing his stash, but then he decided an entire city covered in garbage was even better.
  • Misery Inc.on Jimmy Two-Shoes builds its business off manufacturing such products and distributing them to the citizens of Miseryville. They range from simply being faulty and overpriced to being capable of destroying you along with your house.
  • In one episode of Kim Possible, Drakken develops "Dr. Drakken's Brainwashing Shampoo and Cranium Rinse", which does exactly what it says on the bottle. He then attempts to market it; this is a complete failure, both for the obvious reason and because he put his face on the bottle. (Notably, Drakken consciously refuses to re-brand the product to make its evil nature less obvious — because he believes in truth in advertising. He's a supervillain, not a corporate shyster!) He then attempts to work out a Product Placement deal with a rapper; when she's not interested, he decides to promote the product himself by appearing on "American Starmaker" and singing about it. Hilarity Ensues.
  • One episode of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee had a snack food that contained a plant that is both extremely addictive to magical creatures and causes some magical creatures that eat it to turn into rampaging giant monsters. When Juniper confronts the manufacturers they initially pretend to be unaware of the plant's effects and promise to put a warning label on their product, which they make too small to read without a microscope.
  • The Oblongs. The kids get rich selling a sugar-laden energy drink everyone loves. It's obvious the drink is a horrifically unhealthy mess, but it turns out to be much, much worse. They used discarded morphine bottles from the local hospital for their containers; the remnants of the morphine is what the people really wanted.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Doof may try this if he ever actually tries to sell anything. He's tried to use mind-controlling songs at least twice, for example.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): The episode "Fashion Forward" has the criminal duo the Fashionistas marketing a new bandanna. The Professor forbids the girls from having one, but Blossom secretly does. When she puts it on, she falls under the Fashionistas' hypnotic control.
  • In a Halloween Episode of Recess, Cornchip Girl eats some untested corn chips imported from Britain, which turn her into an evil little werewolf.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "When the Cicada Calls", Destructdo is making snack foods that contain toxic waste landfill.
  • An episode of The Simpsons had a health drink distributed around town which accidentally contained peyote.
    • Then there's tomacco; the disgusting tasting but hideously addictive tomato-tobacco hybrid.
    • Any edible product endorsed by Krusty The Clown is likely to make you sick. It's also likely to contain ingredients that aren't technically food.
  • In Squidbillies, Dan Halen Industires marketed Glug, a soda (actually moonshine) that makes people blind that so that the CEO can rob them. They also sold a body spray that causes hallucinations and melts human flesh.
  • The Totally Spies! episode "Passion Patties" has the Spies investigating a new super-addictive (and super-fattening) cookie being sold by the Happy Girls, which were the result of a mad scientist (and disgruntled ex-Happy Girl) putting an additive in the cookies.
  • Power-8 from X-Men: Evolution was a delicious, refreshing sports drink - unless you happened to be a mutant, in which case it was poisonous.
  • Young Justice (2010): The Reach soft drink is designed to mutate human DNA over several generations, making humanity loyal to the Reach.

    Real Life 
  • Coca-Cola used to contain a small amount of cocaine. Should also be noted that cocaine wasn't exactly considered evil at the time. It was, in fact, invented as a more pleasant way to take one's medicine.
  • Web Game Evony's real purpose is to install spyware on your computer. This is particularly insidious when combined with its infamously naughty ad campaign.
  • Jamaican Ginger, better known as "Jake". A patent medicine made to get around prohibition laws, it used a similar-looking but better-tasting chemical in place of the ginger solids it was supposed to contain, since the government test was done by boiling off the liquid and weighing the residue. The problem was said chemical was later found to be a neurotoxin that led to numbness and partial paralysis of the limbs ("jake leg") with prolonged consumption.
  • Certain artificial food colourings, such as 2G and Brilliant Blue FCF, have been linked to hyperactivity in children. Not necessarily evil, but as Urban Dictionary puts it: "... it is extremely unwise to give Smarties to hyperactive children, unless you want to pry them off of next door's TV aerial."