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Ominous Opera Cape

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Who wears the most sinister cape of all?

Villains love to wear a long, dark cape.

In the 19th century, the opera cape was a fashion accessory that upper class men wore At the Opera Tonight. It was grand, but not too flashy, and went great with a top hat, white tie and tails. But fashion changed, and the cape went out of style, destined to fade into the kind of outfit you would see only in Period Pieces.

But then Dracula was adapted into a hit stage play, and an even bigger hit film. Bela Lugosi used his old-fashioned cape, and turned it into something iconic, giving the garment a sense of grandeur and menace, especially as he flourished it whenever possible.

Since then, any similar cape has become an iconic accessory for major villains everywhere, from The Dragon to the Evil Overlord. Also a standard outfit of the Classical Movie Vampire. Even Dastardly Whiplash has been known to twirl one.

But all have to fit these three criteria:

A Sister Trope to High Collar of Doom (which is often paired with this trope, and was also codified by Lugosi's performance), Black Cloak.

Compare Cape Swish, Badass Cape, Spikes of Villainy, Superheroes Wear Capes (which can include villains), Pimped-Out Cape, Simple, yet Opulent. All-Encompassing Mantle is when this trope goes overboard.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman, who uses his cape in a very Dracula-like fashion. Bob Kane himself cited Lugosi's Dracula as one of Batman's inspirations.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • Judge Fear, the largest and most imposing of the four Dark Judges, is also the only one who wears a huge black cape.
    • Judge Death himself adopts a black cape after repairing his body in the hospital on Dominion.
  • In the Supergirl story Demon Spawn, villain Nightflame wears a long, flowing, black cape which has a high collar.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the Mind Screwy Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Deerstalker by Paul Cornell, a group of fictional and historic characters who have ascended to popular mythology try to shift Holmes from Doyle's character to the one that exists in the public conciousness by giving him a deerstalker. It's mentioned that for Moriarty, the equivalent item was an opera cape.
  • De rigeur for Discworld vampires, along with every other Classical Movie Vampire trope. According to Arthur Winkings, Count Notfaroutou, this is because you need something flappy to transform into wings when you turn into a bat.
  • The Shadow wore one in his books to help him blend into the shadows.
  • In The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy by Avram Davidson, Eszterhazy's attention is attracted to Milord Sir Smith, the English Wizard (George Marmaduke Pemberton Smith, master of the Odyllic Forces) because the latter wears a long black cloak lined with brown silk — not, as one would expect, red.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine wore a large, black cape while performing on various stages, to compliment her macabre tone of song.

  • The Phantom of the Opera sports one of these in most of his scenes, and uses it to very spooky effect indeed, usually sweeping it around himself before vanishing, right until the very end.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Per his love of opera, Relius Clover wears one all the time.
  • Gehrman in Bloodborne normally does not have cape, but when you finally get to fight him or submit your life, he wears a long cape to bid a farewell to you.
  • Pretty much every villain in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Namely, Garland, Emperor, Cloud of Darkness (it being all she wears), Golbez (who has the option of stripping down to just the cape, too), Ex-Death and Gabranth. Note that, subtracting The Emperor and the Cloud, these guys also get the Evil Overlord Armor, to boot.
  • Subverted by Siegfried in Soulcalibur, but played straight by Nightmare. Those familiar with the series' storyline will get why this is funny.
  • The Hammerites in Thief have armor like this, making it much harder to knock them out with a blackjack.
  • World of Warcraft: The Lich King, to EPIC the opening cutscene. Model limitations prevent this from being achieved in-game.


    Web Original 
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara was reviewing The Others #1, and thought it was silly that a wolfman (not a werewolf though) would wear one of these.

    Western Animation