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Reminiscing About Your Victims

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"Do you have a brother? I shot a man once who looked like you. In Kiev. In... '93, I think. I'm sure you heard about it. The Spetsnaz team that tried to sell a warhead? Nobody ever saw them again. [breaks into a psychotic chuckle] That was a good winter for me!"
Michael Westen from Burn Notice deliberately plays up his Shrouded in Myth/Psycho for Hire image

We know that Evil Feels Good. So, it's also natural that evil people can get nostalgic for times that felt particularly good, such as an especially fun victim or a favorite city you destroyed. Sometimes the character does it in such a way that it would be cute if not for the monstrous deeds being talked about.

Some typical uses of this trope include: a Serial Killer thinking about their kills, a Blood Knight recalling a Worthy Opponent, when the villain is intentionally trying to hurt or provoke a hero they are talking to, to show the villain having an attachment to a victim such as a Villainous Crush or a touch of Lima Syndrome, or to reveal that the villain's only known victim was Not the First Victim.

Would You Like to Hear How They Died? and the Post-Rape Taunt often go hand in hand with this trope. Contrast But for Me, It Was Tuesday, where the villain doesn't remember their victims. Compare and contrast Antagonist in Mourning. Can be an excellent Establishing Character Moment, particularly if a character is meant to be established as Ax-Crazy. See also Writing About Your Crime, when the past atrocities are committed to paper instead.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Tiger & Bunny three criminals sharing a jail cell swap stories of their misdeeds, one of them remarking that he loves kidnapping, because you can get a bunch of money and then kill the kid afterwards. They immediately then get incinerated by Lunatic.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • During his interrogation Barry the Chopper talks about his various kills this way, reminiscing about how beautiful the moonlight on the pools of blood was, treasuring the memories of such halcyon days. He also instantly spots the one bogus incident they mentioned to test him.
    • Kimblee offers an oddly noble reason for this behavior: If you're going to kill somebody, you should remember them because their last memory will be of you.
  • Generally averted with Death Note's Villain Protagonist Light, who often seems completely unconcerned with his victims' identities beyond their being acceptable targets and/or being convenient to kill... However, he does seem to do this quite a lot in reference to one particular victim during the series' second half.
    Light: In the end, L is indeed the greatest detective on earth...
  • Bleach: Mayuri reveals to Uryuu that he had studied the Quincies by launching into a long speech about all the things he did to the Quincies he'd captured in order to study responses to mental and physical stimuli. It's a speech that reveals just how far down the road of Mad Scientist he's willing to go For Science!.
  • In K, the Colorless King appears in the cell where Mikoto, the Red King, is being held and taunts him about the murder of his closest follower, Totsuka. He then goes on to say he'll kill all of Mikoto's followers, one by one, and make him watch.
  • Made in Abyss has Bondrewd, the Lord of the Dawn, who despite sacrificing countless of his "adopted" children for horrific human experimentation, takes the time to remember each of their names and even their hobbies and dreams in detail, reminiscing about them to Reg during their second encounter. It's made complicated by the fact that he's simultaneously able to genuinely care for them while also being willing to horribly mutilate them and subject them to fates worse than death for his ideals.
  • D'Arby the Elder from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders knows the names of his victims, the dates of the time he trapped their souls and how he defeated each of them.
  • During the King Piccolo saga in Dragon Ball, after Goku had caught up with Tambourine, he asks Tambourine if he was the one who killed Goku's friend Krillin. Tambourine thanks Goku for telling him that Krillin died and fondly tells Goku how he killed Krillin and how easy it was for him, which deeply angers Goku, and later Tambourine mentions how he loves to hear the sound humans make when they die.

  • Les Innommables has a pair of panels where the ghosts of Chinese victims are surrounded by fire, then cut to Colonel Lychee, who's dozing happily at the memory.
  • The Judge Dredd story "Young Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend" serves as Judge Death's Origins Issue. It's basically one long use of this trope as Death, being interviewed by a terrified journalist, happily recalls all the people that he gruesomely murdered during his long career of killing every living thing.
  • Robin (1993): Sir Edmund Dorrance starts describing in loving detail the way he killed Clyde Rawlins' wife and children while beating him to death, and the last words Rawlins hears in life are Dorrance saying the only thing he regrets about the whole affair is that his blindness means he won't be able to actually watch Rawlins himself die.
  • In The Sandman (1989), an imposter Bogeyman (see Swamp Thing, below) at a "Collector's Convention" is found out when someone blurts out a number and he doesn't immediately talk about eyes. Things do not go well for him afterwards.
  • A typically creepy Alan Moore issue of Swamp Thing has a Serial Killer who calls himself the Bogeyman and remembers his victims by number... and their eyes. Every time he hears a number, the panel shows a disembodied pair of eyes and his description of same.
  • In an issue of Uncanny X-Men around the 200's, Selene is confronting Rachel (Phoenix) because Selene killed a man who was helping Rachel, and Selene taunts her by pointing out that she knows all about the man she killed while Rachel doesn't even know his name.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Harry Potter fanfic Aspirations has Bellatrix LeStrange remembering she used to pleasure herself in Azkaban with the memory of breaking her father's skull with a crowbar.
  • Hivefled has a sidechapter where the villain couple have sex while discussing what they did to previous victims and what they plan to do to the rebel gang when they find them.
  • In Shadow Of The Valley Light and Ryuk wax nostalgic about past kills.
  • In the second chapter of Old West, set one year after the ending of Rango, Rattlesnake Jake remembers with sadistic satisfaction how he killed Tortoise John for his betrayal.
  • Common Sense: A non-lethal and non-Ax-Crazy version: one of Team Rocket's favorite ways of Holding the Floor for their schemes and Draw Aggro from Ash Ketchum is to smugly remind him of the many (and that is many) defeats he's had to them throughout the story.
  • Downplayed in The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf tends to mention his victims in passing rather than making a big deal out of it, even complaining that they weren't much of a fight (including the Mountain and Ramsay Bolton), and implying he's killed (among other things) Fenrir Greyback and an Onion Knight.


  • In the first book of the Sword of Truth series, the Big Bad is remembering a girl he took to his bed, and how she laughed at his scars. Since it happens during a situation when he must smile to another, he shifts to recalling what he has done to her in response.
  • In King Solomon's Mines (where Allan Quartermain got his start) the Zulu warrior Umslopagaas says that he wouldn't mind meeting and talking to some of the people he had killed in battle. In this case, it isn't to show that Umslopogaas is evil but that though he is a Blood Knight he is also an honorable Proud Warrior Race Guy who respects a Worthy Opponent.
  • Discworld's Carpe Jugulum:
    • The vampire Count and Countess Magpyr reminisce about their honeymoon:
      Countess: And we met such lovely people. Do you remember Mr and Mrs Harker?
      Count: Very fondly. I recall they lasted nearly all week.
    • Inverted by the Old Count, who decides to reminisce about some former Worthy Opponents who had killed him over the years as well as one of his intended victims (and her very shapely neck) in front of their children and grandchildren.
  • In Hannibal, Mason Verger reminisces about a Christian camp he attended and his fellow campers, some of them disadvantaged youth who "would do anything for a candy bar" which allowed him to molest them. This is meant to mark him out as an Asshole Victim of Hannibal Lecter's and later of his sister Margot's.
  • In The Two Princesses of Bamarre, the dragon Vollys treats her prisoners as "guests" before eating them, letting them live longer with a system of giving and taking away pieces of treasure from her hoard for entertaining her. She reminisces about several of her previous victims fondly, talking about them like they were old friends and mourning the fact that she got bored and killed them. In return, the protagonist Addie later regrets having to kill her to escape.
  • In the Warrior Cats field guide Battles of the Clans, Tigerstar remembers how fun it was when he killed Redtail.
  • Chiswyck's weakness for this trope leads Arya to contrive his assassination in A Song of Ice and Fire; his bragging about his band's rapes and murders proves a little too much for her.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry's last-minute escape from Voldemort in Godric's Hollow triggers a Through the Eyes of Madness vision where Voldemort recounts the night he killed Harry's parents.
  • In The Jungle Book story "The Undertakers", a jackal, adjutant stork, and mugger crocodile chat on a riverbank. The crocodile reminisces about the various humans he's eaten over the years.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the above quote, Michael Westen from Burn Notice is deliberately using this trope (and playing up the image Russians have of him as the CIA's version of the Boogeyman) to speed along an interrogation by freaking out the guy he, Sam and Fi are interrogating.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite fond of discussing and reminiscing about the Slayers that he has killed. During his "weepy drunk" phase post-Drusilla breakup, he remembers killing a homeless man on a bench with her...while Buffy and Angel listen in disgust. Post-chip, he tells Dawn a Ghost Story about him killing an entire family.
  • Parodied and subverted in Veronica Mars.
    Veronica: I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
    Dean: Oh, how'd that go?
    Veronica: ...It was kind of a letdown.
  • The Kids in the Hall, naturally, play this for laughs with a group of friends gathered to memorialize their dead buddy. Turns out they killed him, of course.
    "It really makes you think about the fragility of life."
    "Not really. Remember how he struggled at the end?"
  • Subverted in The X-Files episode "Paper Hearts", where the villain of the week tries to convince Mulder that it was he who kidnapped and murdered his little sister by describing her last moments. Mulder eventually calls bullshit and is right: the bad guy wasn't Samantha's kidnapper, just a jerkass.
  • On The Mentalist, a man claims to be the Serial Killer Red John and tries to prove this by telling Patrick Jayne how nicely Patrick's wife and daughter smelled right before he killed them. However, it does reveal he's close with the actual Red John since he couldn't have acquired these specific details otherwise.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Deaths-Head Revisited", the former SS officer Gunter Lütze returns to Dachau after 17 years in South America to reminisce about all the suffering that he caused there.
  • In the Being Human episode "Though the Heavens Fall", MacNair attempts to preface killing Herrick with describing all the vampires he has killed. Taking Herrick on a trip down memory lane proves to be a very bad idea.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit features this in the episode entitled "Quarry." The team believes they've unearthed another victim of a convicted murderer and pedophile. When presented with a slew of baseball caps that belonged to the victims (he had kept the caps as "mementos"), the man is able to recall the full name of the corresponding child, along with the exact date he committed the crime, after giving each hat a momentary sniff. It's just as creepy as it sounds.
  • Liar (2017): After his mask slips, Andrew starts talking fondly about how he raped not only Laura but previous women in private conversation with her, to her utter horror. Not only that, but he video-taped each rape, and regularly views the recordings again for his enjoyment.
  • Nate Haskell did this in CSI and actually was asked to do it in an attempt to get the burial location of his victims out of him. It didn’t work. He reminisced but refused to tell.
  • A French Village:
    • After he comes back from the Soviet Union, Müller tells Hortense (who's horrified) that he'd overseen mass murders of Jews there, happily talking about it and wondering at why one dug his own grave so willingly.
    • The Milice leader Janvier happily talks about massacring an entire family after he returns from doing it. Later, his successor and other men talk about how they had a show trial of Communists, with all the "defendants" horrified to see that their benches were actually coffins, plus mockingly singing the Communist anthem "The Internationale" to them first.


    Video Games 
  • In Portal, GLaDOS is quite happy to talk about forcing you to kill Companion Cube
  • Invoked by Kefka in Final Fantasy VI:
    Kefka: Say, remind me to show you my Magicite collection someday! You might see a few familiar faces!!!
    • Explained: Magicite crystals are the dead bodies of magical beings, whom Terra was born amongst.
  • At one point in Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack will call you to complain about how you just aren't giving up, which somehow segues into him reminiscing about his assault on New Haven, during which a man stupidly tried to attack him with a spoon. So he scooped out the man's eyes. With the spoon. While the man's children watched.
  • An odd example in Hitman (2016) where there's a rumor that Jordan Cross has a recording about the night in which his girlfriend Hannah died. He does have a recording, but he's wracked with guilt over her murder which he is responsible for.
  • In Overlord the Wizard/first Overlord boasts during the boss battle about how he corrupted the Heroes, reciting the single sentence that destroyed each of them.


    Web Original