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White and Red and Eerie All Over

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Black ain't the only color that goes well with red.
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Whereas red and black is commonly used as a shorthand for evil or '90s Anti-Hero edginess, white and red has a tendency to seem... rather off.

White is a sterile color generally agreed upon by many to be a "pure" one, and when introduced with a touch of vibrant red, it creates a very jarring contrast. While this combination of colors can be elegant, in the contexts of certain works, a primarily white-and-red coloration can also seem uncomfortably ghastly at best, or at worst outright visceral — white is the color of bone and bloodless skin, and red the color of blood and bared flesh. Put them together and you get a design that can be strongly reminiscent of a pale corpse bloodily cut open; an unholy matrimony between Light Is Not Good and Red Is Violent, likely along with Bloody Horror. White with red accents make up most examples of this trope, but in some cases the inverse can also count.

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The sight of a "pure" color such as white being tainted with bloody red may be a key component in the eerie horror behind pale vampires who don't bother to wipe their mouths, white suits and wedding dresses stained with blood, blood in the white snow, sinister white-haired folks with red eyes, the makeup of many a Monster Clown, the striped tent of a Circus of Fear, the sterile walls of a hospital or laboratory where the zombies or test subjects leave a path of mangled corpses in their wake, that red spot on the sheet you just woke up on, etc. In addition, white is associated with death in China and other Asian countries, so a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl clad in blood-soaked robes can add to their inherent scariness.

See also Light Is Not Good and Red Is Violent. Contrast Light Is Good, Red Is Heroic, and Red-and-White Comedy Poster, the latter which is meant to be funny, not scary. Might turn up in Medical Horror as well, and is one of the reasons behind the assumption that Albinos Are Freaks—though in most albinistic humans in Real Life, the famous red eyes only show up under direct bright light (with blue being the most common color the rest of the time).

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Compare Red and Black and Evil All Over, for a common interpretation of another particular color combination, and Grayscale of Evil for villains who eschew color altogether. For a healthy dose of Irony, contrast Cheery Pink; white and red being one of, if not the harshest color combination you can have means it's quite funny that combining them gets you the color most associated with softness.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Many of the spider demons in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba are extremely pale with white hair, eyes and clothes, and are adorned with red markings. Further accentuated with Rui, who has red sclerae and his strongest technique with his Demon Blood Art causes him to bleed, turning his hands and webs bright red.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: The final Big Bad of the series is MaloMyotismon, a Digimon with white armor, a red mask and red claws.
  • In Digimon Universe: Applimonsters, Charismon acts as The Dragon to Leviathan and an Evil Counterpart to Globemon. As such, he wears a bone-white version of Globemon's armor covered in glowing red eyes.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: This color scheme is one of many visual features that make the "Mannequin Soldiers" so unsettling: in addition to being featureless Cyclops that attack in freaky waves like zombies, they are also chalky white with red stripes down their bodies.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The Angel Lilith is a featureless white figure in a red room.
    • The monstrous Mass Production Evas are mostly white with red-lined mouths.
    • The giant Rei in The End of Evangelion is white with red eyes.
    • A poster for The End of Evangelion depicts people floating in a sea of red liquid. Their skin and the lighter parts of their clothing appear white, the only other color present.
    • The giant Rei head in Rebuild of Evangelion is white with bloody streaks down its face and it's surrounded by red figures.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Among the setting's array of Lovecraftian Superpowers and Living Weapons, Hinami Fueguchi and Kureo Mado possess one of each respectively that employ this trope. Both can summon bone white, petal-like appendages with visible red veins and organs, as well as segmented Combat Tentacles of the same color with red muscle connecting each segment.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyubey, the magical girls' Mentor Mascot, has pure white fur and red eyes with a red, oval-shaped marking on his back. He's also an amoral Eldritch Abomination whose goal is to trick the girls into becoming magical girls for the purpose of having them eventually fall to despair and transform into witches, as part of his plan to prevent the heat death of the universe.

    Comic Books 
  • The new Hate-Monger from a recent The Punisher storyline is a Neo-Nazi bigot running a terrorist militia, and his uniform is a mockery of Captain America's, being completely white except for red gloves and boots and a black star with a white swastika on the chest.

    Fan Works 
  • Triptych Continuum: Sizzler's bone white + blood red coloration freaks other ponies out, as they don't like meat. He's appropriately colored for a butcher.

    Films — Animated 
  • Animal Crackers (2017): Played with. Horatio P. Huntington, the Big Bad, wears a white-and-red, Elvis Presley-inspired outfit throughout the movie. He starts out as simply an egotistical prima donna, but slowly gets more evil and unsettling as the movie goes on. After his official Face–Heel Turn, he starts out trying to steal the magical animal crackers to take over the circus. He later tries to manipulate his nephew, Owen, into making a deal with him that will give Horatio the animal crackers and control of the circus. Eventually, in the climax, he goes One-Winged Angel, becoming a white and gray chimera with red eyes. He announces that he intends to Take Over the World, and then tries to outright kill his own family and the circus performers.
  • Big Hero 6: Youkai, a silent No-Nonsense Nemesis with control over a massive swarm of microbots, wears a white-and-red kabuki mask along with his black trenchcoat.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: The film's main villain, Lord Shen, is an albino peacock with red eyespots on his train. He is almost always associated with red and fiery imagery, yet his white feathers and robe bring him into Light Is Not Good territory.
  • Megamind: Hal Stewart, also known as Titan, was given powers by Megamind to be a superhero who would fight him, but Hal instead goes through a Big Bad Slippage and becomes The Sociopath who uses his superpowers for evil. He wears a white superhero outfit with red and orange flames and a red cape. He also has red hair. This is in contrast to the film's other two supers: Megamind, a supervillain who turns good, who wears black and has blue skin, and Metro Man, the typical idealistic superhero who gets bored of helping people and becomes a slob, who wears mostly white. Hal's white and red contrast was intended in-universe to look heroic, but out-of-universe, it shows his fiery, destructive personality.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Turbo is a vaguely humanoid character in a white and red racing suit, and with pale grayish-white skin. Exposition reveals that Turbo was formerly the hero of his own arcade game, but turned bad out of jealousy when a similar game became more popular than his own. In the film proper, he's gotten even worse, disguising himself as a character in another game to take it over. This leads to a horrifying scene when his true form is exposed, causing him to flicker with white, red, and orange pixels as he switches back and forth between his forms as King Candy and Turbo and pulls a few Nightmare Faces as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II: The returned Julia, flayed and crimson, dons a luxurious white suit that she then proceeds to bleed all over. The end result is a disturbing mix of hellishly visceral and angelically pristine.
  • It (2017): Unlike his previous designs, Pennywise's appearance and outfit are much more monocromatic save for his orange hair and red decorations. Best invoked in the poster for It: Chapter Two, where Pennywise's face blends in with the rest of the poster, with the contrasting details being his red makeup and the movie logo.
  • The Last Jedi: In keeping with the film's Darker and Edgier themes, Red Is Violent contrasts with white in the film and the marketing.
  • Pan's Labyrinth: The Pale Man, as his name indicates, is a fairytale monster whose bleached skin is offset only be several flesh-colored highlights around its extremities and orifices.
    • Also from Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak emphasizes red and white in its colour palette, particularly in the final act, as the snowfall becomes stained with the red clay beneath Allerdale Hall.
  • Red Riding Hood: The marketing puts the fairytale's iconic red cape against Valerie's white dress and a foggy or snowy forest, highlighting that this is a darker take on the fairytale.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), Dr. Robotnik's various drones and tech all share the same white paintjobs and ovoid shapes, with red Glowing Mechanical Eyes and Tron Lines. Said drones are portrayed as much deadlier than the Badniks of the main franchise.
  • Sy's nightmare sequence in One Hour Photo consists of him dressed all in white and standing in a white aisle, as blood gushes out of his eyes.

    Literature 
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The weirwoods are strange trees considered sacred by followers of the old gods, whose coloration is compared to that of blood and bone: white bark, red leaves, and sap that greatly resembles blood. Several characters find them unsettling or frightening to look at for this reason, especially when it comes to weirwoods with faces carved onto them, the latter which often appear to weep blood due to sap leaking from their grooves.
    • A character strongly associated with weirwoods is Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, a sorcerer with one red eye and a red raven birthmark on his face. He was eerie enough during his natural lifespan, but by the time Bran meets him he's a skeletal figure merged with the roots of a weirwood.
  • Christine: The titular car, which one of the characters, before being killed, compares to "ivory and dried blood".

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • The earliest LP sleeve designs for Blue Öyster Cult are monochrome with splashes of red: that minimal touch of blood-red adds to the sinister, other-worldly quality of the LP designs.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible, especially in the New Testament, has a recurring theme where purity, redemption and spiritual rebirth in Christ are portrayed as pure clean white, whereas sin and unrepented evil are contrasted in vivid blood-red.

    Tabletop Games 

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE Legends
    • Pridak, leader of the Barraki, is a vicious, shark-like warlord with a pale body and Creepy Blue Eyes, as well as red tints on the tips of his fins and the area around his mouth.
    • Krika is the most horribly mutated member of the Brotherhood of Makuta, being a mantis-like being who possesses bone-white armor resembling vertebrae, and his pincers featuring a red center. Despite his creepyness, he's also the more decent member of the bunch.
  • G.I. Joe: Storm-Shadow is the primary Ninja operative for Cobra, the main villainous faction of the franchise. His signature outfit is a white ninja garb with a red sash or red Cobra symbol. He is usually depicted as the arch rival of the heroes' own ninja Snake Eyes.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 4: Sanctus is the Big Bad of the game and wears a white alb and red stole. He at first appears to be a kind and wise religious leader but is ultimately revealed to have designs of attaining the power of Sparda for himself. When he becomes Sanctus Diabolica, he gains glowing red eyes.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
    • In a variation, Phoenix's first main opponent is a man literally named Redd White, a master blackmailer.
    • The final culprit of Justice for All, Matt Engarde, is a conniving, murderous schemer with a creepily friendly demeanor and a red-and-white color scheme.
    • Dahlia Hawthorne from Trials and Tribulations has red hair and a white gown, with a bright pink umbrella and stole thrown in. She's a vicious Serial Killer and the Big Bad of the game. For bonus points, her spirit is shown as a featureless white figure with her signature red hair.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
  • DOOM (2016): More than a few of the demon's designs appear to resemble this trope, boasting bony exteriors with fleshy muscle underneath.
  • Doom Eternal: The Makyrs and their signature aesthetic are usually a combination of white and red, typically with a little gold mixed in. The Khan Makyr is an even better example: she wears beautiful white armor that covers her entire body, but as she gets damaged you can see more and more of her real body, which is both blood-red in color and better befits an Eldritch Abomination (complete with tentacles) than the Angelic Beauty she seems to be.
  • Fatal Frame II: Sae Kurosawa, the Big Bad of the game, is a murderous, Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl-like spirit whose white kimono has a red sash tied to her left side and is stained with blood.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Downplayed with Altera. She wears a white outfit with red highlights, and is not quite human who is very robotic in her interactions. However, certain interactions show that she is rather cute beyond her mid-battle Emotionless Girl state.
  • Final Nights 4: In Night 5, you will be frequently attacked by ghostly versions of the Fredbear and Bonnie prototypes known as the Insane animatronics, with pale white suits stained with bloody red.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: While the Gaerleans mostly have a red and black aesthetic, Livia sas Junius wears all-white platemail with a red patch in the middle.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • While dressed in black and red robes, the mysterious, menacing Flame Emperor's mask is white with splashes of red that almost look like bloodstains. And this motif carries over into her real identity as Edelgard, who upon ascending the Adrestian throne and becoming a ruthless tyrant wears a snazzy crimson Battle Ballgown with hints of white that compliment her head of similarly white hair.
    • Garreg Mach faculty member Jertiza wears an outfit that's primarily colored red and white, and thanks to his bloodlust and callous attitude, he's got eeriness down to a T. Especially since he's the murderous, teen-kidnapping Death Knight, though when he rides into battle he swaps this motif with a Red and Black and Evil All Over ensemble.
  • God of War: Protagonist Kratos is easily distinguishable by his ashen white skin (don't ask how he got it) and red tattoo running down the left side of his face and body. Fittingly enough, he's known by many as the "Ghost of Sparta", and he can be easily scary by virtue of being a god-punching, nigh-unstoppable berserker.
  • Half-Life 2: The Combine Elite are the toughest, most deadly soldiers under the Combine empire, distinguishable by their white armour, red right shoulder pad, and a single, piercing red eye.
  • Kirby: Zero — the Big Bad of the Dark Matter trilogy — is infamous for being an unexpectedly horrifying villain in an otherwise sugary series. Unlike its shadowy underlings, Zero is a huge, white, sphere-shaped mass with a single red eye who can shoot blood-like projectiles from slits in its body. Its appearance as 02 in Kirby 64 is an outright Angelic Abomination, now sporting red-tipped wings and residing in a dark Eldritch Location filled with swirling red mist and inexplicable black barcodes.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Mini-Boss monster Dead Hand from the Bottom Of The Well and the Shadow Temple is white with a reddish tint all over its body and has quite a bit of Nightmare Fuel going for its ghoulish appearance and behaviour.
  • The visuals of the Realm of the Dead level in Maui Mallard In Cold Shadow are based on ash grey and bright red. Dominating the background image is a huge creepy eyeball with red veins and iris contrasting its whites.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Khezu's body is completely pale white all over, save for its thick red lips. It is also one of the more alien-looking and disturbing monsters in the series.
    • White Fatalis is one of the most powerful Elder Dragons in the series, and is both beautiful and eerie in equal measure. Its ghostly white scales and fur combined with its blood red eyes make for an imposing apperance, and when it fights it forgoes its Black and Crimson cousins flames in favor of scarlet lightning that further drives home its status as a living calamity in dragon form.
    • The Frontier-exclusive Elder Dragon Disufiroa is a black dragon, which are a classification of extremely dangerous Elder Dragons that fellow white-and-red dragon White Fatalis belongs to. Its jagged white scales and red underbelly and jaw give it the appearance of a creature made of raw flesh and bone, and it can control fire and ice to deadly extremes. Thanks to its elemental powers being so unstable, its mere presence can wipe out entire ecosystems, and it's the only living thing in the World's End, the wasteland it rules over.
  • Ōkami: The pantheon of the Japanese setting the game takes place in are a more benelovent example; nevertheless, they take the form of various animals whose appearances are entirely white with red tattoos all over their bodies, serving to indicate their divinity and set them apart from mortal animals.
  • SCP – Containment Breach: The game's own interpretation of SCP-096's appearance is that of a lanky, deathly pale humanoid, whose complexion is contrasted by the fresh blood covering its hands and mouth. While initially docile, said blood provides a very important clue as to why you shouldn't make the mistake of looking at its face.
  • Sonic Forces:
    • The iconic Egg Pawns are redesigned to be much more menacing this time around, featuring simple white bodies with glowing red eyes or visors. While their previous incarnations were more akin to Adorable Evil Minions, here they are portrayed as unfeeling, militaristic automatons with no comedic traits whatsoever.
    • While Infinite himself does not count for this trope (he has some white fur, but his color scheme is predominantly black, red, and gray), the second boss battle against him qualifies. It takes place in a pristine white steel area, which contrasts with his red energy attacks.
    • The Death Egg Robot's final form is white with red claws and joints. It's very unnerving partially because it's a Starfish Robot with robotic tentacles, and also because Eggman uses the mystical Phantom Ruby to its full extent while piloting the robot, creating an eerie, dark battlefield for the robot to stand out against.
  • TinkerQuarry has the Rat King, the terrifying, monstrous king of the rats plaguing the Dollhouse. The Rat King is bright white, with white Cool Crowns and red eyes. Like the other rats, it's implied to be an Animalistic Abomination.
  • World of Warcraft: The Old God G'huun and its forces, associated with all kinds of rot and decay, make heavy use of this colour scheme; G'huun itself is a sickly maggot-white with a blood-red underbelly and growths on its back. The overall look seems to be inspired by the bleeding tooth fungus.
  • Kazuma Kiryu from Yakuza is a more grounded version. He wears a light gray suit, white shoes, and a red shirt, and while he's The Hero of the story and a definite good guy, he's also The Dreaded to many in the Japanese underworld.

    Web Animation 
  • The plot of a Creepypasta ghost story titled White with Red concerns a room in an hotel where a man once murdered his wife a long time ago, and anyone who stays in that room would turn pale all over save for their eyes, which turn a sharp red.
  • RWBY: The Grimm prowling the ruined world of Remnant come in many shapes and sizes, and have the same jet black bodies with white, skeletal features. One particular characteristic they generally share is their skull-like White Masks of Doom, which possess red eyes and tattoo-like markings.

    Webcomics 
  • xkcd: Invoked and Played for Laughs in this strip, which claims that Christmas presents are parasitic plants to Christmas trees. One piece of evidence listed is that the "bright white and red colors indicate a lack of chlorophyll."

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars Rebels: While the Grand Inquisitor's outfit mostly invokes Dark Is Evil, his face is deathly pale with red markings below his eyes and on his forehead.
  • Danny Phantom: In his ghostly alias as Plasmius, Vlad Masters wears a white outfit which includes a white cape with red inner lining. He also has glowing red eyes.

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