Evil Makes You Ugly

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Nothing says evil like a complete makeover...

"When in crime one is fully employed
Your expression gets warped and destroyed:
It's a penalty none can avoid;
I once was a nice-looking youth;
But like stone from a strong catapult,
I rushed at my terrible cult --
Observe the unpleasant result!
Indeed I am telling the truth!"

Sir Despard MurgatroydRuddigore

Using certain evil superpowers or evil artifacts will leave characters scarred, disfigured, or deformed. So will committing acts of evil repeatedly.

When evil makes you ugly, it's often to exhibit the "side effects" of obtaining untold amounts of evil power or of using that power to hurt innocent people. The external form morphs to match the internal form.

Since evil super villains care only about obtaining power (typically at the expense of everyone else), they generally shrug it off when they suddenly age by 100 years, have limbs that they didn't have before, or can't go out in public anymore. This is because these changes usually have no negative effects other than the ugliness. A villain that has aged a hundred years, while he may be no wiser, will somehow avoid being physically hindered by the extra years. The villain with the extra limb will find neat uses for it...

Trying to hide with makeup is sometimes tried, because Make-up Is Evil.

In video games, such transformations may be caused directly by less-than-honorable actions taken by PCs. The transformation may either grow or shrink in intensity the more evil one becomes.

Taken to the extreme, the evil transformation that corrupts the super villain could do them in.

Sometimes, an attempt at this trope fails—the character's new features improve their appearance.

When Beauty Equals Goodness, this is used to mark Face Heel Turns.

Compare The Corruption, Evil Costume Switch, and Evil Makes You Monstrous and What Measure Is a Non-Cute? and

Contrast with The Makeover, Evil Is Sexy. See also Beauty Equals Goodness where beauty is seen as proof of being good, regardless of if its true or not.

Examples of Evil Makes You Ugly include:

Anime and Manga

  • Claymore: When the eponymous Ladies Of War tap into their Super-Powered Evil Side, they inevitably become fuck ugly.
    • Apparently their normal forms aren't entirely without taint either. When a band of human bandits approaches to rape Teresa, several of them turn off-screen and vomit upon seeing her begin to disrobe for it. Proof that they are already on the path of being ugly.
      • Maybe not. The Organization does have to implant the Yoma flesh into them in the first place – that could have just been scarring from the operation that they were seeing.
    • Dae of the Retrieval Squad is another example. He obviously has ill-intent in mind when he experiments on the Claymores, and thus, half of his face is fucked up.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: White-Haired Pretty Boy Marik was hardly a good guy, but he's got nothing on his disfigured Superpowered Evil Side for sheer malice. Notably, the more Axe Crazy Dark Marik gets, the more his veins stand out, the more his eyes bulge, and the more his face stretches.
    • Untill he slips into Narm territory that is.
    • Takuma Saioh goes through the same process the more the Light of Destruction possesses him. By the time the Light chases out his soul and completely takes hold of his body, his face looks like a stage mask with a permanent distorted grimace.
  • Kabuto, for most of his screentime looked pretty normal, even if he technically never really was a good guy. After taking Orochimaru's place however...
  • Justin Law in Soul Eater after a Face Heel Turn he becomes Asura's dragon and after being disfigured he has half his face burned and shows his corruption.
  • One Piece:
    • the tyrannical World Nobles are very Gonk-ish, supposedly due to centuries of inbreeding. Oda claims this is intentional, that he intentionally made the World Nobles ugly to emphasize how rotten they are. Consequently, the few World Nobles who make a Heel Face Turn show an improvement physically; Mjosgard is just as ugly and repulsive as the others in flashbacks, but after reforming, he loses a lot of weight and almost starts to look handsome. Oddly, this does not seem to apply to the Five Elder Stars, who are clearly World Nobles but higher ranking than the others. They look pretty much like any other old men in the series, hinting they have a vastly different background than the others.
    • Charlotte Linlin, aka Big Mom, the Arc Villain of the Whole Cake Island Arc. As this illustration shows, she was very beautiful as a young woman, but decades of being a tyranical ruler of Totto Land and a Villainous Glutton who demanded annual tithes of candy from her subjects, she grew into an obese, hag-like, barely human monstrosity. Of course, even as a young woman, her beauty was very much only skin deep.
  • Dragonball Z; Frieza's henchman Zarbon is a handsome Human Alien, but becomes an ugly toad-man alien when he goes One-Winged Angel. He admits to Vegeta it's not very pretty, but he values the incredible strength that comes with it.

Comic Books

  • Captain America has a few enemies that qualify:
    • Sin, the daughter of Arch Enemy the Red Skull, received horrible facial scars in an explosion when she tried to put her father's mind into Steve Rogers' body. She is now her father's daughter in every way.
    • The Skull himself literally took on his infamous moniker after getting hit with his own Dust of Death after one skirmish with the Captain.[1]
    • Early in the current (and present) Baron Zemo's career, during a fight between him and Cap, he fell into a cauldron of a caustic chemical called Adhesive-X and was left for dead by the hero. Zemo actually survived, due to the protective properties of his costume, but because he had lost his mask previously in the fight, his face was hideously marred, giving it the appearance of molten wax. Of course, in recent years, Zemo has changed from outright villain to Knight Templar now, but evil still made him ugly.
  • Zig-zagged in Thor and Loki: Blood Brothers. Loki is withered, nearly toothless, and looks decades older than his biological mother. Then the evidence starts stacking that, in this continuity at least, Odin intentionally warped and molded Loki into both ugliness and evil so that arrogant, brutish Thor would look better by comparison.
  • Batman also has a few:
    • Warren White, aka the Great White Shark. Originally a Corrupt Corporate Executive arrested for embezzling millions, he thought he could get off easy if he plead insanity; a mistake few criminals in Gotham are dumb enough make. The horrors of Arkham quickly drove him insane, and an assault by another inmate resulted in him locked in a freezer. By the time anyone found him, the advanced frostbite and injuries cost him his nose, lips, hair, and several fingers, giving him the hideous appearance of a shark and driving him irrevocably mad. He proceeded to embrace his condition by filing his teeth into points, calling himself the Great White Shark, and started to use his business connections as a liaison and fence for inmates, becoming one of Arkham's most dangerous residents without even having to leave.
    • With Two-Face it's either a case of this Trope or Being Ugly Makes You Evil, Depending on the Writer; some versions claim Harvey Dent was originally was an honest lawyer and a trusted ally of Batman, others say he had a darker personality bottled up inside that made him corrupt and dangerous. In the latter case, the scarring of his body and soul brought that corruption to the surface, creating Two-Face.
  • Doctor Doom: After an accident caused by his own pride and hubris left his face scarred, he fashioned himself a mask to conceal what was, in his eyes, no longer unblemished. Sadly, in his hast to don the mask, he didn't wait for it to cool from the forge that was used to make it, destroying his once handsome features forever.
  • Iron Man's enemy and former lover Whitney Frost, aka Madame Masque is a terrorist leader with an origin similar to Doom's; a plane crash horribly disfigured her face, forcing her to wear a golden mask (provided by the gold-obsessed criminal leader Mordecai Midas) to conceal it. The scars have since been healed via surgery, but she still wears the mask to continue using her nom de plume.
  • When Calvin Zabo, Marvel's version of Mister Hyde, transforms into his villain identity, his face twists and convulses into a horrid, angry scowl that matches his uncontrollable temper.
  • The Punisher's arch enemy Billy "Jigsaw" Russo used to be a handsome Maggia hitman nicknamed "The Beaut". That is, until Frank got his hands on him and shoved him through a mirror and horribly mangled his face. With his visage hideously scarred beyond recognition, Jigsaw has gotten even worse since then and has sunk to all kinds of new lows in his vendetta against Frank.

Fan Works

  • From the DeviantArt series Vanguard City, Sinister Minister and fundamentalist extremist Father Mattais was believed to have perished in a fire that resulted when the VCPD raided his headquarters. He survived, but not unscathed, with the incident costing him his looks and much of his already-questionable sanity. (Be warned, this link is SFW, but much of the series is not.)


  • Harry Potter: Voldemort practically turns into a snake from his dealings with the darker sides of magic.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Near the end of the film, one of the Mooks drinks a concoction that gives him incredible size and strength...and glowing red skin with horrible acne.
  • Nanny McPhee: Inverted. The title character starts as an ugly witch, but as the children realize that she is doing good, and grow more affectionate towards her, she becomes more and more attractive (until she is Emma Thompson).
  • Star Wars: Palpatine experiences Rapid Aging from his use of the Dark Side
    • In addition, other Sith, such as Darth Sion, from the Expanded Universe experience this.
      • Not to mention that Anakin wouldn't have fallen into that lava if he hadn't turned evil.
        • That might even be true. The expanded universe seems to have an alarming large number of Sith who suffer accidents that horrifically disfigure them. In a universe where the Force exists, it might be a form of Laser-Guided Karma that hits them when this happens.
        • Even before falling into the lava, Anakin experienced slight changes in appearance (the glowing yellow eyes in particular).
        • Palpatine, in particular, got that way from getting the piss shocked out of him when Mace Windu deflected his force lightning back at his face. Of course, one could say Mace's assault simply gave him an ugly body to match his much uglier soul. Many fans have theorized this incident is also what drove Palpatine irrevokably insane.
  • Willow: Bavmorda. The more black magic she uses, the uglier she gets.
  • Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. It's partially justified since he was burned to death, but the dream demons probably contributed to his ugly, disfigured look too.
  • In the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog movie, Dr. Robotnik at first looks pretty much like actor Jim Carrey normally does, the only difference being a (regular-looking) moustache. However, as the film progresses, he loses the hair on his scalp and his moustache gets progressively bushier, until he almost resembles the Robotnik from the video games. He's not fat - yet - but his appearance could well degenerate further in the sequel.


  • Oscar Wilde played with it in: Dorian Gray's picture doesn't just grow old in the place of its possessor, it also bears the cosmetic consequences of his sins, growing ever uglier as Dorian descends into depravation. Notice that by the end of the story the picture is nearly monstrous but Dorian is about 40 years old at most, so most of the change must have come from evil as opposed to aging.
  • The Lord of the Rings: While living in a cave for a few hundred years also does its work, Gollum's precious affects his appearance greatly.
    • In the backstory it's mentioned that Sauron, who used to be a master shapeshifter and used to make use of a beautiful, benevolent appearance was eventually so consumed by wrath that he could only take the form of terrible Dark Lord after his body died in the fall of Numenor.
      • Morgoth, Sauron's old boss, had the same thing happen to him after he destroyed the Trees of Valinor.
  • This is apparently a law of the setting in The Jewel Kingdom, although it's not elaborated on in much detail.
  • Tom Riddle from Harry Potter was a handsome student, but by the time he is reborn, he is bald, has pale white skin, bloodshot eyes and slits for nostrils. We don't really know how he looked before, when he was just evil.
    • We do see him in a Pensieve memory Dumbledore has of him entering his office to ask to be the Defense of Dark Arts professor after he began dabbling in Dark Arts but before he gained power, and Harry notes that he had already lost his good looks by then and was beginning to resemble the pale, snake-like creature he would fully become later on. Even many years before that when Tom Riddle was still pretty handsome, he was stated to have already begun to look a little pale by the time he took a job in a store to get hold of an ancient artifact.
    • Bellatrix and Narcissa are more mundane examples. Bellatrix was once beautiful, but her years of incarceration in Azkaban which were punishment for her evil deeds left her a withered twisted shell of her former self. When Harry sees Narcissa for the first time, he notes that she would be pretty if she didn't have an ugly expression on her face all the time.
  • In Swan Song, many people injured by nuclear bombs in World War III wind up with a condition known as Job's Mask, where growths overtake their faces. These eventually fall off, leaving good people attractive and healed, but the bad guys wind up hideously deformed. One villain is so horrified by his appearance that he puts on a mask he refuses to take off.
  • In The Twits, Roald Dahl explicitly states that Mrs Twit looked quite nice once but has become ugly from having ugly thoughts all her life.
  • Many versions of "Cinderella" include the idea that Cinderella's sisters used to be beautiful but grew to be ugly because they were jealous and cruel.
  • In the Drizzt novels, the ritual of zin-carla brings back a dead person as an undead revenant that retains the appearance and skills it had in life along with all of the other advantages/disadvantages of being undead. The revenant is placed under the total mental control of the cleric of Lloth invoking the ritual, and the strain of it physically withers the cleric. It's heavily implied that Matron Yvonnel Baenre's wrinkled appearance isn't due to her age (though she is over a thousand years old, she would normally still be beautiful since she's a Drow) but because she invoked zin-carla in the past. Twice. The same thing happens to Matron Malice when she invokes zin-carla on Zaknafein in a bid to kill Drizzt.

Live-Action TV

  • In Season 7 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the heroine's Adorkable friend Willow is brought to the edge of the Despair Event Horizon after Warren murders Tara, and becomes dead set on revenge, absorbing the forbidden knowledge of several tomes of black magic to become more powerful. It has an adverse affect on her physical body, changing her chestnut hair jet black, her eyes solid black, and her skin pale and covered with dark veins.

Tabletop Games

  • This is one of two options available to the Abyssal Exalted. As their permanent Essence score increases, they must either work to become the beautiful and stunning incarnations of death, or allow their bodies to decay into putrescence and rot.
  • The title characters of Leviathan: The Tempest have their human forms become steadily less so as their Karma Meter plummets.
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Harpies are ugly, savage, predatory beasts; one myth regarding their origin claims the first harpy was a Vain Sorceress who could turn herself into a bird to spy on enemies, and was also a temptress who used her beauty to destroy and enslave men. Her sons - whom she had many of as a result - were her loyal accomplices, and she shared the power with them. Eventually, however, they angered a powerful fey lord who cursed them to remain in bird form forever, their descendants becoming the harpies.
    • Heironeuous, the God of Valor, is a handsome, noble warrior. His evil brother Hextor, the God of War, is an ugly, brutish monstrosity. Some myths claim Hextor was once also handsome, but his violent nature and jealously towards his brother caused him to degenerate into a physical form that matched his ugly soul.
    • Same deal with Karontor, giantish god of hate and beasts, and patron of the formorians. Supposedly, he (like most of the Giant pantheon) was a son of Annam, who showed quite a lot of favoritism towards his firstborn sons; Karontor's jealousy and resentment towards his father and elder brothers caused him to degenerate into an ugly, deformed brute who would embody Hatred and Anger.


  • Played straight in Bionicle due to creative license, but averted in the canon storyline. When the Av-Matoran of Karda Nui got turned into evil henchmen by the Makuta, they only received their ugliness after being mutated by them through other means. Yet in the comics and books, they went through the makeover right away, to ensure that the kids reading them would get the message immediately.

Video Games

  • Fable I: The main character has his looks change for the worse the more evil they get.
  • Fall From Heaven: The Orcs are human worshipers of a god, who were deformed when the god fell (thus becoming evil).
  • Knights of the Old Republic: In both games, the main PC character gets gradually more sinister-looking as he/she commits more "evil" deeds.
  • Mass Effect 2: Commander Shepard's scars (and, eventually, eyes) will glow red according to how Renegade the Commander is. You can remove the scars by building a specific ship upgrade.
  • Black and White: In Black and White 2, if you choose to do mostly evil actions, your hand-cursor will go from a healthy pallor and trimmed nails to having noticeably tanner skin and claw-like nails.
  • The Neverhood: When Klogg stole Hoborg's crown, he turned from a normal-looking klay-person to a bug-eyed, fanged, sharp-cheeked monstrosity. The Bad Ending has the same happen to Klaymen.
  • In Warcraft Cho'Gall's association with the Old Gods has led to mutations like spines sprouting from his skin, one of his mouths becoming a beak, and his heads sprouting tentacles. No, the second head isn't one of them, all Ogre Mages have them.
    • Deathwing's body is horribly scarred and twisted due to his use of the Demon Soul and association with the Old Gods, with metal plates fastened all over it to stop his body tearing itself apart.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Serving the Chaos Gods will inevitably result in receiving various mutations such as horns, unusual skin color or tentacles. These changes do put strain on their psyche though, and it's not rare for a rising champion to receive too many in quick succession and become a mindless Chaos Spawn.
  • In In Famous, going down the evil route will cause the main character's skin to turn gray, and to develop what seem to be electrical burns on his head and clothes.
  • Both played straight and subverted by the Dunmer in The Elder Scrolls. Previously, they were known as the Chimer and had pretty golden skin. According to one legend, when the Tribunal betrayed Nerevar, Azura cursed the whole species with eyes as red as fire and skin as grey as ash. Somewhat subverted in that the Tribunal kept their former appearance; the evil-looking Dunmer really had nothing to do with the betrayal. Also, the whole story may just be allegorical for the physical changes caused by living in a blasted hellscape of ash and lava.
  • Justified by Gabriel Belmont regarding Carmilla, the tyrannical vampire queen in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. In spite of her attempt to make herself sexy so that she can attract hapless victims into her prey, Gabriel sees through this very easily (players should immediately recognize her failed disguise as ugly as well) and proceeds to give her a Karmic Death.
  • Many of the Tainted in Lusternia. Notably, this trope is justified: the Tainted venerate undeath as an exalted state of being, so the blue skin, red eyes, and profound decomposition are happening for a good reason. Some of their aristocrats are hundreds of years old. Also, there are plenty of sexy Tainted - if you're into that kinda thing.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins Loghain Mac Tir is a miserable fellow whose physical condition has deteriorated due to his actions, which he feels makes him a Necessary Evil. His face has sunken cheeks, his eyes are bloodshot with dark bags under them, and his hair is unwashed, uncut, and uncombed. It clearly seems that stress caused by his self-doubts and self-loathing have made him as unhygienic as he is bitter.
  • In Mortal Kombat, Earthrealm characters who were around in the first three games are about 50 years old by the time the 10th and 11th game comes out. The ones regarded as Good (like Johnny, Sonya, Liu Kang, and Kung Lao) have aged rather well, and still look pretty good for their age. Kano, however, who is squarely in on the Evil end of the moral spectrum, not so much. He's still muscular and an excellent fighter, but is almost always dirty, disheveled, unshaven, and unhygienic.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, Roxy, Chica, and Monte start out as what seem to be robotic versions of cartoon Funny Animals, maybe slightly into an Uncanny Valley but not that high. However, as the game progresses, they become dirty, cracked, and dented, the eventual boss fights mangling them and making them hideous. This is due to the corruption caused by the true villain, Burntrap, the current vessel for series Big Bad William Afton. While this corruption is happening to Freddy too, he avoids degenerating because he has Gregory to fix him, a benefit from Fighting From the Inside.

Western Animation

  • The Superfriends episode "Universe of Evil" portrayed an evil Justice League from a Parallel Universe. For the most part, they look just like their normal selves, but with different costumes. Superman gets some weird eye makeup. Wonder Woman particularly stands out, as she has the exact same costume as her normal self, but just seems really hagged-out. Either this trope is at work, or "our" Wonder Woman relies heavily on talented makeup artists for her good looks.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • The radioactive treatment given to him for the exposure to his own mutagen nerve gas leaves Derek Powers looking like a pitchblack skeleton surrounded by fluorescent green tissue. Clearly Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Also happens to Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow; exposure to experimental agricultural chemicals turns him into a nine-foot-tall, deformed, hulking monster with Super Strength; which he doesn't mind in the least; he considers himself Cursed with Awesome, and likes the fact that people respect him now, even if it's because they're afraid of him. In his second appearance, Max told Terry that "Charlie always was a monster, now he just looks the part."
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rocksteady and Bebop were two Dumb Muscle humans who couldn't do anything right before Shredder used mutagen to transform them into... two Dumb Muscle mutants who couldn't do anything right. In fact, this Trope was lampshaded by the Shredder himself when the experiment was actually done:

Rocksteady: Hey, you sure this is gonna give us all them powers you promised?
Shredder: Certainly. Of course, you may have trouble getting a date for Saturday night..

  • Nerissa of W.I.T.C.H. looks incredibly ancient with silver hair and nearly grey skin, despite her being roughly around her fifties or sixties, when her former guardian friends all have more normal appearances. According to Cassidy, draining her life force for extra power has done this to her.
  • Beauty and The Beast is comparatively subtle about this—as Gaston gets more and more obsessed with killing the Beast, he begins to stand and move in a more bestial manner, and he stops trying to keep his hair and clothing tidy. The Beast, by contrast, seems more and more human as he spends time around Belle.
  • In the Harley Quinn episode "The Most Culturally Impactful Film Franchise of All Time", a Bad Future scenario shows that Robin (as in, Damien Wayne) has betrayed humanity and become the Evil Overlord of the post-apocalyptic Earth. He hasn't aged well; his Face Heel Turn has resulted in him becoming balding, overweight, with a scraggy, unkempt beard, wearing his old costume which now doesn't fit.
  1. or in this case, The Captain and Captain America, as Steve was currently operating under the identity of "The Captain" and John Walker was Cap at the time of the incident