Follow TV Tropes


Predatory Prostitute

Go To

Antipholus: It is the devil.
Dromio: Nay, she is worse; she is the devil’s dam, and here she comes in the habit of a light wench.

The Opposite Trope of a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, a sex worker (prostitute, stripper, adult film actor, etc.) is portrayed as cruel, violent, and/or predatory.

Nevertheless, it's common for this to be a feature of the Sympathetic Murderer. They may even be Affably Evil. Because Rape Leads to Insanity, it's possible for the sex worker to have a Freudian Excuse that may have driven them to whatever cruel actions they commit later. Although not Always Female, they are usually female, therefore The Unfair Sex may apply here.

Therefore, these characters are usually not pure evil, but it's pretty strongly suggested that they fall on the "wrong" side of the Madonna-Whore Complex. Contrast Ethical Slut, which is usually this trope's opposite in several ways: not only is the sex worker specifically unethical, but sex, in this context, will usually be portrayed as violent, demeaning, and oppressive, rather than empowering. They will probably undergo Downfall by Sex, if not Sex Signals Death, so this trope may also co-exist with other "anti-sex" tropes, such as Bondage Is Bad and Sex Is Evil.

Contrast and compare Disposable Sex Worker, where the sex worker is a murder victim.

Compare Shady Lady of the Night, who may have any moral alignment, while a Predatory Prostitute is always evil.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Year One: Catwoman herself starts out as one of these, a Hell-Bent for Leather dominatrix living in Gotham City's Red Light District who doesn't hesitate to jump in when she witnesses a brawl break out on the street between Bruce Wayne and several other people.
  • Sin City: The prostitutes of Old Town are the law in their territory. If you play by the rules, they'll more than make your night. But messing with them or otherwise crossing them is one of the fastest ways to wind up dead, and they've been known to lure bad men into ambushes where they won't be leaving alive, much less in one piece. They only have one rule in regards to the latter, and that involves cops, who they will always let leave alive, though they're not above humiliating them if they piss the girls off. When this rule gets broken by mistake in The Big Fat Kill with Jackie-Boy, all hell breaks loose.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Big Tits Zombie: Maria, one of the five strippers who the movie revolves around, is the one who unleashed the Zombie Apocalypse in the first place. While she did so by accident, she then proceeds to screw over her co-workers just to save herself, and upon learning that she can control the zombies, decides to Take Over the World with her new zombie army.
  • Bordello of Blood: The titular whorehouse is teeming with vampire hookers, led by Lilith, who often end up tearing their customers to shreds.
  • Cam:
    • Discussed and subverted. Alice suspects Princess X of being involved in the takeover due to her bitchy dislike of Alice, but all the other women are furious with Alice and kick her out, and Alice figures out pretty fast that Princess might be a bitch, but she isn't involved at all.
    • Also subverted by Fake Lola. It's scary to watch her cam with the guys while Alice watches, but despite what sounds to be some veiled threats and her very creepy voice, she is just a computer programme and therefore has no actual way to hurt Alice in real life.
  • In Clegg, Wildman employs a former blue movie actress named Suzie the Slag as his personal assassin. She poses as a streetwalker to lure Lord Cruikshank to his death.
  • Crime boss Madeline "Ma-Ma" Madrigal from Dredd is an ex-hooker who resigned from her former job by castrating an abusive John with her teeth, and now rules the tower city of Peach Trees through extreme violence, intimidation, and a stranglehold on the illicit Slo-Mo trade.
  • Dutch: Dutch and Doyle catch a ride with two call girls who seem friendly enough at first, one helping Doyle work through his issues with his mom. Unfortunately, it gives her friend time to steal Dutch's wallet, and they also end up stealing their luggage and abandoning them at a gas station.
    Dutch Dooley: Your angel with the dirty wings flew! Taking my wallet, my luggage, my last cigar!
  • Euro Trip: Madame Vandersexxx is the mistress of an Amsterdam brothel specializing in BDSM. After the lech of the tourist group signs a consent form, she presents an indecipherable Safe Word and tortures him with electroshocks and various sex toys. This is played for laughs because of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York: Kevin encounters some frightening New Yorkers while wandering the streets at night, including a pair of streetwalkers who make fun of him and laugh like crones.
  • In Inland Empire, the main character Nicky/Sue is pursued by some creepy Los Angeles prostitutes (aka the Valley Girls) who appear to her both in the streets and in her own house, often behaving in a mocking or subtly threatening way and asking her "Look at us and tell us if you've known us before". While they're not outright malevolent (a common interpretation is that they actually want to HELP Nicky/Sue), there is a definite air of eeriness around them.
  • Last Night in Soho: Alexandra, a.k.a. Sandie, is forced into prostitution by her pimp Jack. She stabs him to death in self-defence after he threatens her and either rapes her or tries to rape her. After that, she moves into killing her clients full time, brutally stabbing them and continuing to hide their bodies under her floorboards. When Eloise finds out, she expresses zero remorse, although Eloise admits that the clients were predators themselves and deserved what they got.
  • Machete Kills: Madame Desdemona (whose name means "misery" in Greek), is a vicious brothel madam. She has a violent hatred of men thanks to her abusive father and claims to have eaten his testicles when he tried to rape her. She leads a team of prostitute assassins to kill Machete whom she mistakenly believes killed her daughter.
  • Monster: Reconstructed in the Dramatization of Aileen Wuornos, who kills her first client in genuine self-defense, but then jumps off the slippery slope and starts killing clients to steal their money and avenge what she sees as the injuries against her.
  • Payback: Val Resnick is seen hiring Pearl, a dominatrix whose methods veer into outright violence (including beating Resnick and being beaten by him in return). She gets visibly turned on when Porter holds the two of them at gunpoint, and participates in her gang's shootout with him towards the end.
  • If you want a REALLY good example, look no further than Ronnie from The Players Club. She gives off creepy vibes from how she eyeballs Diana aka Diamond the moment she's introduced. She even goes so far as to sexually assault Diamond during a private party while the latter is intoxicated and passed out. She tries it again later on in the film.
  • Played with by Primal Fear. Aaron was homeless when he was picked up by the Archbishop, meaning that he had monetary reasons for not being able to refuse when the Archbishop forced him to have sex with two other people on camera. Aaron then brutally murdered the Archbishop and the two other people.
  • Invoked in Promising Young Woman. Cassie poses as a stripper in the denouement and tells Al that she has to go upstairs with him, in order to be paid. She then handcuffs him to the bed and tries to brand him. Although she's not technically a sex worker, she plays with the image.
  • Red Rocket: Mikey is a porn star (on hiatus), and an Affably Evil jerk who lies to everyone and manipulates a teenage girl with a view to making her his meal ticket.
  • RoboCop 2: A mugger robs an elderly lady to establish what a lawless hellhole Detroit has become. He's immediately ambushed by two female hookers who beat the shit out of him, gouging his eye out in the process.
  • In the "Change of Face" section of the anthology film Verotika, Mystery Girl is a stripper who moonlights as "The Face Ripper", so called because she rips off her victims' faces to cover up her scars.
  • Zola: Stefani is an extremely racist Lower-Class Lout and a stripper who only reveals to Zola that she's also a sex worker after convincing Zola to come to Florida. She then gets Zola trapped with X, her violent pimp, nearly gets Zola sold into sex slavery, and then tries to pretend that it was all a big misunderstanding when they finally escape. And, on top of all this, her boyfriend Derrek reveals that she's done this to other women before.

  • In 10 Things to Do Before I Die, Mark hires a prostitute for Ted to lose his virginity to, only for Ted to refuse. She later steals his parents' credit card and runs up thousands of dollars in fraud.
  • American Gods: Bilquis is an ancient love goddess working as a prostitute in Los Angeles. While she doesn't have any enmity towards her customers, it doesn't make her way of sustaining herself any more palatable: she feeds on their worship before devouring them with her vagina.
  • In East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Cathy aka "Kate Albey" is an elite prostitute who murders the madam of her brothel and becomes the new madam, turning the brothel into a den of sexual sadism.
  • Phryne from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, who is the captain of the Ishtar Familia as well as the number two of the eponymous deity. She is deluded into believing she's the most beautiful woman, even more so than both goddesses of beauty Ishtar and Freya. She takes any and all men she finds "tasty" and drags them off against their will into her "love nest" dungeon, hidden in the basement of the Ishtar estate. She terrorizes them, pumps them full of aphrodisiacs, and then rapes and tortures them until she gets bored, by which time they are completely broken, bloody, and permanently impotent.note  She happily tells herself, and anyone she thinks will listen, that they're so love-struck that they will never be satisfied, sexually, by anyone else.
  • Judge Dee:
    • One of the murder victims in "The Red Pavilion" is a High-Class Call Girl who openly boasted that one of her lovers killed himself after she spurned his advances. In fact he killed himself for entirely unrelated reasons, believing himself to have caught leprosy like his father. But the father thought the courtesan was telling the truth and murdered her in revenge.
    • One courtesan turned out to have been Stringing the Hopeless Suitor Along, allowing him (a poor, crippled private tutor) to ruin himself by purchasing expensive orchids for her. When she finds a rich husband to dig her claws into (Magistrate Lo), she murders him to avoid him making a scene.
  • Log Horizon: Nureha is a 25-year-old unemployed, socially-awkward NEET who was forced into Compensated Dating at a young age, as well as bullied and physically abused by everyone around her. Or maybe not, as she claims this happened to "someone she knew". Her only escape was the online game "Elder Tale", where she claims to have met the protagonist Shiroe and felt kindness for the first time, developing a twisted infatuation with him. When the players become trapped in Elder Tale, she sets herself as the Moriarty to his Sherlock, being the orchestrator of several crises that Shiroe has to avert. When they finally meet face-to-face, she directly tells him that she is madly in love with him and has planned all this to make him hers, even trying to entice him with sex by claiming that although she is "tainted" due to her former profession, she has given a lot of thought and practice into ways to specifically cater to his desires and pleasure. He turns her down, but she promises to continue acting against him until he agrees to be hers.
  • Moonflower Murders: Frank was sadistically killed by "Leo", a male prostitute who he paid to have violent S&M sex with him, after he realized "Leo" was Aiden Macneil, Cecily Treherne's gold-digging new husband, and then tried to blackmail Aiden into having sex with him on his wedding night. Aiden admits to never regretting what he did and actually enjoying it. When Cecily realized the truth, he cold-bloodedly murdered her, too.
  • Monstrous Regiment: After Polly and Shufti help Jackrum steal clothes from some Camp Followers for the girls to "disguise" themselves as washerwomen, Jackrum tells them not to feel too sorry for the "Solid Doves" as he caught their madam trying to drug and roll him.
  • Rebuild World: Carol is a nuanced case. She's introduced as a Femme Fatale who undresses to try to seduce the protagonist Akira. Carol, whose main job is as a Private Military Contractor ("Hunter"), has the side job as The Oldest Profession, specifically seducing strong hunters and doubling her fee after each time in order to force them to risk their lives to pay for her, often accepting information as payment. Carol's Origins Episode reveals that she has two reasons for this behavior: the first reason is that since she has a dark secret that would ruin her life if it got out, she puts other hunters on the edge of ruin as a Hope Crusher to feel like she's not alone in her misery. The second reason is that Carol was Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, trying to find someone who wouldn't spill a secret like hers, to be The Confidant. After Akira takes this role, Carol considers quitting her side job.
  • Tony Hill and Carol Jordan: In "The Mermaids Singing", Serial Killer Angelica Bain is also a Creepy Crossdresser who prostituted herself in order to pay for her transition operations, and then worked as a phone sex operator where she met her victims - and then brutally tortured them to death using medieval devices when she believed that they betrayed her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Reconstructed in American Horror Story: 1984. Xavier is a genuine and sweet person who was forced into doing porn after being cleaned up for a heroin addiction. He even risks his own life to save Bertie and Margaret. However, when he was murdered by Margaret, he became a vengeful and bloodthirsty ghost due to the amount of pain he suffered.
  • Played with in American Horror Story: Double Feature. Mickey prostitutes himself due to his drug addiction and following his thwarted dreams of being a great writer. When he takes the black pill, he becomes increasingly susceptible to doing other people's dirty work. However, he still shows himself to be more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and his sex work is used mainly to show his desperation.
  • Criminal Minds:
  • CSI: In the episode "Boom", Nick investigates the murder of a Hooker with a Heart of Gold that he had befriended, who wanted (following Nick's urging) to quit the business and go back to school. The murderer turned out to be her pimp, who tells Nick that everything she told him was a big fat lie: the girl was only going back to school to scout for more women to recruit to start her own prostitution business and the pimp killed her to prevent her from becoming a rival. Nick is quite shocked at this revelation.
    Pimp: This is not Pretty Woman and you're not Richard Gere.
  • Game of Thrones had two apparent subversions that then turned out to be textbook examples of this trope:
    • Doreah becomes a genuine friend to Daenerys, teaching her how to "please" men and becoming a confidante to her. This all changed in Season 2 when she betrayed Daenerys to Xaro Xhoan Daxos, leading to the massacre of Daenerys's men.
    • Shae has a lot of sympathetic characteristics and claims to be behaving only in the way she was taught, going so far as to help Sansa at no benefit to herself. However, she then fully zigzags into this trope by betraying Sansa after Sansa and Tyrion's marriage and finally reveals that she was sleeping with Tywin, using the same Affectionate Nickname she had for Tyrion (implying that it really was a lie), and then finishing it off by going first for the knife (a piece of Adaptational Villainy) so that when Tyrion brutally strangled her, he's portrayed as killing someone who would have killed him first.
  • Killing Eve: As a young female assassin, Villanelle likes to pose as a sex worker to get some of her victims to trust her. For example, she dresses up in a pig outfit at a sex club in Amsterdam in order to kill a cheating husband, and she poses as a nurse in a fetish clinic in Berlin to kill a Chinese diplomat.
  • The Law According to Lidia Poët: The accused in 1x5 is a prostitute who admits she had drugged and robbed her clients all the time, but denies murdering one.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
  • Mad Men:
    • Don was raped as a child by a woman at the brothel where he grew up, just as he was starting to see her as a mother / maternal figure.
    • Manolo is implied to be a gigolo who seduced Pete's elderly mother, married her for her money, and then pushed her off a cruise ship. Maybe.
  • Marcella: Downplayed. Series 1 has Cara, a young cam girl and sex worker who steals money and valuables from her clients while outwardly being very charming. While unethical, she didn't deserve to be murdered by a serial killer, and she's a rare example of this trope co-existing with Hooker with a Heart of Gold, as she is shown to be a good and loving friend, just not to her clients.
  • Riverdale:
    • Betty's evil alter ego, Dark Betty, is a cam girl.
    • Betty's fake brother, Chic, is a sex worker and webcammer (the latter while living at Coopers) and an immature evil brat who killed Betty's real half-brother and stabbed Jughead.
  • Wire in the Blood adapts out Angelica having prostituted herself pre-transition, but keeps that she was a phone sex operator and that was how she met her victims.
  • The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window: Rex explains that he and Julia/Chastity were ripping people off after meeting each other in a strip club. Anna notes that of course the manipulative Julia would be a stripper, before Rex corrects her that she was the bartender and he was the stripper. Although he is a scammer, too.

  • In The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus and Dromio make a big deal that the Courtesan may as well be the Devil and that it is self-evident by her profession that she's going to Hell.

    Video Games 
  • Criminal Case: Pacific Bay has Erikah Mabayo, a former prostitute who now runs an illegal brothel while masquerading as a voodoo priestess. She had murdered several of her workers who had tried to escape the brothel, and when she is eventually arrested, she tries to use her past as an abused sex worker as a Freudian Excuse to justify her actions. Honorable Dante doesn't buy her excuse and sentences her with life imprisonment without a possibility of parole.
    Erikah: I was one of those women once! I have been used, abused and tortured by fellow men. It is they who should be charged, not me! I'm the victim!
  • In the videogame The End Is Nigh based of the eponymous comic series Watchmen, Rorschach and Nite Owl are forced to do battle with Nite Owl's former Dating Catwoman enemy, now prostitute madam, Twilight Lady, who now runs a stable of high-priced call girls and BDSM fetish operations for influential clients. The duo end up having to fight an army of violent prostitutes and gimps when they storm her hideout.
  • Police Quest: Downplayed in Open Season. John Carey meets a Camp Gay male prostitute on Hollywood and Vine who seems merely annoying and gossipy. However, when the detective leaves the Bitty Kitty, he catches the prostitute when he's trying to meddle with his car and managed to break its side mirror.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: So-called "Killer Prostitute" approaches the player at one point and asks for help with the corpse of a man who she murdered in self-defence. Or so she claims, but given that the player loses honor if they try to help her (either by getting rid of the body, or by turning her in and then speaking up to prevent her from being hanged) it can be presumed that her story is false, and that players are better off arresting her and watching her get hanged. It's also implied that she drugged her clients using whiskey.
  • Saints Row: Tanya Winters, one of the Vice King's lieutenants, is a former prostitute who kidnaps and forces women into prostitution, and is stated to treat her own workers badly. Alongside her boyfriend Warren Williams, she ousts Ben King out of the gang by trying to have him assassinated, only to kill Williams and seize power for herself.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole: The mission "The Bowels of the Beast" has the New Kid and Captain Diabetes follow Classi into the Peppermint Hippo strip club. Classi and the strippers believe the kids to be "tiny cops" and physically attack them. The main boss of this fight, Spontaneous Bootay, is an oversized stripper who can jump on and crush the kids, leading to a One-Hit Kill.

    Western Animation