Evil Old Folks

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Lua error: callParserFunction: function "SUBPAGES" was not found.


Get off his lawn, or he'll suck the soul out of your planet.


"If you live like a villain all your life, sooner or later you will be 60 and still being shot at."
Roger Ebert, reviewing The Limey

Some people grow old gracefully, and sit back to enjoy the last few years of their life. Others want to spend their final days as the supreme ruler of all humanity. Not all senior citizens can be kind, loving grandparents, or old masters. Some are just as evil in their old age as they were in their youth, and still want to destroy everything, conquer the world, or generally be evil.

To qualify for this trope, a character must be old (by their species' standards), and must also be visibly aged. Even if they're Really Seven Hundred Years Old, it doesn't count if they look like a ten-year-old child. Just being a cranky old man is not enough to qualify one as evil, either. World domination, death to humans, or anything else that could be pulled off by younger villains are all suitable goals to make one qualify as an Evil Old Folk. If they happen to be really old and remain young by stealing the youth of others, it can count so long as they occasionally look old.

So next time Mr. Jenkins next door yells at you to get off his lawn, you might want to listen—he might be hiding a death laser under his rocking chair.

See Liquid Assets for evil old folks who look young by stealing the youth of others. Compare Cool Old Guy, Dirty Old Man, Grumpy Old Man. See also Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids and Jade-Colored Glasses. For old folks who were evil when they were your age, try Retired Monster.

Examples of Evil Old Folks include:


Abridged Series[edit | hide | hide all]

  • A running gag in Ranma 1/2: The Abridged Chronicles is the old folks living in the town who seek world domination. At first it was just Ranma's suspicions that one old lady was up to no good, but later several senior citizens gathered outside were plotting to "strike at midnight," and another attempted to kill Ryoga after he found her a good spot from which to plot world domination.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Enya Geil from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3 is a cunning, nasty old woman who tries to get revenge on the heroes for killing her depraved psychopath of a son.
    • Dario Brando, father of Dio Brando is also an example. He was a wife-beating self-centered drunk who tormented Dio as a child and the largest contributing factor to Dio's Complete Monster personality. Perhaps everything could have been avoided had Dario just been a little nicer to his son...
  • Danzou from Naruto, who is tied with Homura, Koharu, and The Third Hokage for being the oldest known person in the Leaf Village. One word: Sharingarm.
    • For that matter, Kakuzu (91) and Madara Uchiha (at least in his early 80s) are probably two of the oldest humans in the entire world, and are both bad guys. Orochimaru would count too, being in his 50s, but he retains his youth using new bodies.
  • Drosselmeyer from "Princess Tutu", an evil old fucker if there ever was one.
  • The main antagonists from both Fullmetal Alchemist continuities fit this trope nicely. Father has the appearance of an imposing old man robed in white, and even though he can be somewhat goofy at times, his evil is hardly a secret. He's behind nearly every tragedy in the entire series.
    • Dante from the first anime is arguably a little more faithful to the trope. When she's first introduced, she seems like a genuinely nice old woman, and Alphonse in particular seems to take a liking to her. After all, an old bonnet-wearing pharmacist couldn't possibly be the leader of the homunculi, right?
  • In the actual Ranma ½ series, the (small) Old Master Happosai is often described as the ultimate evil. Trying to think of a good deed for Christmas literally made him explode with pain, and, in the animated version, he was evil enough to made a suddenly Not So Harmless Evil Oni writhe in pure agony.
  • Yubaba from Spirited Away is the wicked owner of the bath house, and has the nasty habit of stealing peoples' names once they begin working for her. The fact that she enslaves nature spirits doesn't help her case either.
    • Don't forget turning hapless human intruders into pigs or pieces of coal, used for food and fuel respectively.
  • In Bleach Filler episodes, the Bount are several centuries old, but retain their youth by eating ghosts. The exception to their youthful appearances is Sawatari, who looks very old due to recklessly devouring human souls.
    • Meanwhile in canon, the second Espada, Barragan is this trope incarnate. Of the ten Espada, each of whom embodies an aspect of death, he is the one who represents "death by old age."
  • Gash Bell has a Filler Villain named Dr. Ichiro (Dr. Hakase in the dub) who wants to use his demon to get his revenge on the scientific community for mocking his ideas. And from there? Take over the world.
  • Kagemaru from the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is so old he has to live in a giant tube with robotic arms. Of course, that all changes once he draws life force from other cards thanks to the Sangenma.
  • Dr. Gero from Dragon Ball Z/GT.
    • In the earlier Dragon Ball, Piccolo Daimao originally looked ancient and wrinkled like an old prune. This didn't stop him from completely dominating Goku in their first encounter; when he got his youth back thanks to the Dragon Balls, well, It Got Worse.
  • Szilard Quates of Baccano!!. Evil deeds including but not limited to betraying a shipload of people who trusted him, enslaving a homunculus of his creation on pain of death, and "devouring" people's minds left and right to increase his own knowledge. Possibly lampshaded in that he once rationalizes some of his behavior by noting his distrust of young people. Quates' Battle Butler notes that he is quite likely the oldest person on earth (which means that he distrusts/will do badly by everyone else).
  • For the first three arcs of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Kinzo isn't portrayed quite so much as evil as he is crazy and desperate. Then comes the fourth arc, and he definitely crosses that boundary. By the end of the arc, though, it's subverted, since Kinzo was dead the entire time.
  • In The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk, we learn that King Gilgamesh is immortal, as his mortal self was sealed atop the tower. As he grows older, his heart grows colder, until he becomes a cold-blooded tyrant who slaughters his own citizens.
  • Mikado of Hayate the Combat Butler. Nagi's grandfather, targetted the Power of the Gods prior to the story started, and messed with Hayate growing up as Santa! Perverted as well.
  • Tiger and Bunny's Big Bad is Albert Maverick, who seems so nice in the first half of the series...until we learn what he's really like. Eventually picks up the Villain Ball and runs with it.
  • Vamp of Florsheim from Tentai Senshi Sunred looks and acts like a fuzzy old man and has the goal of World Domination, right after he crushes his Arch Enemy Sunred. Of course, fortunately for the world, he is a fuzzy old man and about as 'evil' as a boot; Sunred won't even fight him directly because he'd look like someone bullying the elderly if he did.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Spider-Man has several in his Rogues Gallery. The most famous is probably the Vulture, who briefly possessed the ability to steal the youth of others, but the webhead has also had trouble from The Tinkerer and elderly crimeboss Silvermane.
  • Frau Totenkinder from Fables. She may look like a frail old woman though she could easily undo her aging if she wished, but she is every unnamed witch in fairy tales; meaning she is one of the most powerful Fables alive. While she is firmly aligned with Fabletown, even a cursory glance into her past will reveal that she was(is?) not a good person. She even fought Baba Yaga at one point and, in a rather Eviler Than Thou manner, defeated her.
  • Captain Marvel, Jr. fought a villain named Greybeard a couple of times. Sentenced to 99 years in prison when he was a young man, Greybeard served his entire sentence. On his release, he became a supervillain, basing his crimes around the theme of age, to take revenege on a world that had passed him by.
  • Doctor Sivana, while not quite as extreme an example, also fit the bill, seemingly at least in his late fifties.
  • DC Comics villains Granny Goodness and DeSaad, New Gods and minions of Darkseid. Interestingly, both are actually younger than their master, who doesn't quite fit the trope himself; it may have something to do with his personal power being far greater than theirs.
  • Sin City has the Roarke brothers who are powerful politicians who run crime in the city and harbor Serial Killers. Both of them are easily in their sixties or older. There is also the short story entitled Rats about a retired Nazi war criminal.
  • In All Fall Down, IQ lives in a squalid retirement home and has not lost an inch of his hate for the good guys.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Emperor Palpatine.
    • Jabba the Hutt, being 600 years old. He is an example, but not an extreme one. Hutts typically live 10 times longer than humans.
    • Count Dooku from the prequels, who looks more like a dignified elderly statesman than a terrible Sith Lord. In fact, most of Christopher Lee's roles from the past few decades likely count.
  • Obadiah Stane from Iron Man is relatively old, having been in charge of Stark Industries when Tony was a teenager, and is certainly not a nice guy. At least, if selling weapons to terrorists then attempting to kill Tony and go on a rampage with his own giant suit is any indication.
  • Every character past middle age in Hot Fuzz. Except, strangely, Bill Nighy.
  • Most of the Satanists seen in Rosemary's Baby are old. For this reason, Rosemary holds a party for young adults only.
  • Wilson, Terry Valentine, and Avery in The Limey.
  • R.J. Fletcher from UHF.
  • Howard Beale from Network
  • Brick Top from Snatch.
  • Momma from Throw Momma from the Train

Larry Donner: She's not a woman-- she's the Terminator!!!

  • Judge Smails from Caddyshack
  • Noah Cross in Chinatown.
  • Son of the Mask: Odin, Ruler of Asgard & Valhalla, His Wrathful arrogance & his tyrannical all-mighty stature is physically a dead giveaway. He's grown more impatient as his son Loki fails time and time again to find and recover the lost God-Mask.
  • Parodied with Old Man McGinty in Mystery Team. Despite being clearly comatose, the trio still suspects him of murder.
  • The MacCreadys from the 1984 thriller Cloak & Dagger.
  • The Duke brothers from Trading Places decide to completely upend the lives of two men for the sake of a dollar.


Folklore[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Felix Jongleur in Tad Williams' Otherland is the oldest living human being by quite a few decades, and the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the local Mega Corp. He keeps his crippled body clinging to life in a support capsule lined with machinery while he spends his time in the 'Net. All of his considerable resources are dedicated to one task: learning how to cheat the inevitable death of his body, and he's willing to go to any lengths to accomplish it.
  • Fistandantilus of Dragonlance is so old that it's tough to find an artifact or ancient manuscript that can honestly be said to predate him- he uses a variety of unpleasant means to keep himself going. Because he always wears a Black Cloak with the hood up, the only part of him anyone ever sees are his hands, which are little more than withered, age-spotted talons. A few characters speculate as to what his face looks like, but come to the conclusion it's something best left unknown.
  • In House of the Scorpion, El Patron is the ancient ruler of Opium, a nation built out of the US-Mexican border and based on enslaving illegal immigrants(from both sides) by turning them into what basically amounts to zombies, and the international drug trade. And he maintains his long life through harvesting the organs of clones.
  • Ctuchik from The Belgariad is an Evil Sorcerer and Sinister Minister who serves as The Dragon to God of Evil Torak. Appearing as an ancient old man with a long, yellow, filthy Wizard Beard, and a face ravaged by centuries of depravity and excess, he's a Type A Elderly Immortal, and a Deceptive Disciple to his god, plotting to Take Over the World himself. His colleague and Co Dragon, Zedar, is another, far more sympathetic example, being a former good guy who was drafted into serving Torak.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Tilda and Tabby from the Doctor Who story Paradise Towers cook and eat their guests. It is also implied that every one of their generation does.
    • "Amy's Choice" has a retirement home full of evil pensioners taken over by a race of aliens. However, that was a dream.
  • The Colbert Report, in the January 21, 2010 episode, lists "Old People" on the Threat Down, due to all the old folks who go on airplanes with swords and knives hidden in their canes.
  • In Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, it is revealed that virtually all of the residents of the Crowley Heights retirement home are Satanists. Considering they were keeping a man captive and drugged, it qualifies for this trope.
  • Tubbs and Edward from The League of Gentlemen, who torture and sometimes kill any non-locals who intrude on their shop.
  • A few UnSubs of Criminal Minds fall into this category, but Anita and Roger Roycewood from "Mosley Lane" stand out the most.
  • Granny Goodness on Smallville combines this with Straight Edge Evil and Bitch in Sheep's Clothing for genuinely frightening results.
  • In Cutey Honey the Live, the nice old lady who owns a fish shop is one of Panther Claw's highest ranking generals. Get in her way and she will bludgeon you to death, cut you up with frozen food, or just use the missile launchers built into her stomach. But however she kills you, she'll do it without losing her kind, motherly demeanor for a second.
  • Daniel Linderman and Arthur Petrelli, the Big Bads of Volumes One and Three of Heroes, are both in their sixties. In fact, they were Army buddies during the Vietnam War before becoming Fallen Heroes.
  • On Leverage, Nate's dad Jimmy is an aging member of The Irish Mob who, having lost his former position of influence in the Boston underworld during a long prison term, is scheming to get it back.


Magazines[edit | hide]

  • This is basically the only way to describe T. Herman Zweibel, the "Editor" of The Onion since taking it from his father at the age of 20. According to this timeline he has opposed social change of any sorts (he went into a coma upon hearing of the Civil Rights Movement), is indirectly responsible for several historical acts such as the sinking of the Lusitania, the assassination of JFK and Archduke Franz Ferdinand (thus indirectly starting World War I) and has put a bounty on the heads of Upton Sinclair and Ring Lardner. Despite being diagnosed with countless diseases and suffering from (to put it generously) crippling senility is still somehow alive and still writing at the age of 140. (Specifically, writing uplifting prose such as his "Huzzah for the Death of a Child!" in which he gloats that a recently deceased eight-year-old was on the organ donor list and thanks to her gristly demise, Zweibel will be able to get drunk again for as much as three weeks before he kills his transplant liver, too...)


Videogames[edit | hide]


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Sarda from Eight Bit Theater.
  • Baron Klaus Wulfenbach of Girl Genius may have gray hair, but he rules his empire with an iron fist and isn't afraid to subject people to unethical experiments or lay waste to entire cities if he finds it necessary.
    • He's only evil from a very superficial standpoint, though; he's more about efficiency and doing it right, and is, in fact, a Well-Intentioned Extremist.[1] His ruling style (and official mission statement) is "Don't make me come over there", and the local lords and mad scientists are largely left alone provided they don't break any rules; he's also very supportive of the arts and the sciences, and sponsors many young geniuses from noble families (even if his sponsorship does double as the taking of a hostage to keep said families in line).
  • Xykon from Order of the Stick wasn't always a lich. Before he transformed, he was already 80 years old, yet he was still a strong enough sorcerer to wipe out a squad of paladins without any of them touching him.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Mom from Futurama is a prime example. Despite presenting herself as a loving, motherly figure, she hates pretty much everyone and everything, and has actually sent every robot in the world on a revolution against humans so that they could conquer the world for her.
  • And along that vein, we also have Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, who could qualify as the Trope Codifier for the comedic version. He's done pretty much every evil deed imaginable, from blotting out the sun to stealing candy from a baby, and that was just in one episode.
  • Several Disney villains would qualify for this trope.
  • Grampa Marsh once rallied the elderly residents of South Park to conquer the town.
  • Señor Senior, Sr., of Kim Possible came out of retirement to conquer the world.
  • Mumm-Ra of Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) appears both elderly and undead when he's powered down.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has the Senior Citizen Squad, a trio of old people that from time to time fight the main group. There's also Grandfather and his senior citizombies.
  • An episode of The Powerpuff Girls involved "The Ministry of Pain", a supervillain team that used to terrorize Townsville but are now mostly harmless because they've become old and feeble. They're still as evil as ever, though, and the girls won't fight them because they're old...
  • Female example- Nerissa, Big Bad from the second season of WITCH is very old and looks even older due to her hard life and the rigors of her magic, and she's also a Knight Templar out to take over the universe as she thinks it's the only way to end all war and suffering. Of course, in the last third of the season she manages to get her youth back and becomes more another trope.
  • Mad Mod from Teen Titans.
  • Ed Bighead from Rocko's Modern Life, In the Episode: "Zanzibar" Rocko and the populace of O-Town had the courage to convince Conglom-O to turn against Ed Bighead and the evil he's done to the environment.
  • Invader Zim: Ms. Bitters. True to her namesake, she's completely devoid of any compassionate emotion and possesses demonic hatred for all life on planet Earth.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Lord Azulon was canonically 95 years old when he ordered Ozai to kill Zuko. He never made it to 96.
    • Firelord Sozin died at the age of 102 after many years of prosecuting a war against the other nations. He was already this trope when he started said war.
    • Old Lady Hama is a Water Bender who was captured and imprisoned by the Fire Nation and, along with dozens of others, kept locked in terrible conditions and away from water. She escaped when she realised that blood is water and she could manipulate it at the peak of her powers during a full moon, allowing her to seize control of a living person's body, which she used on the guards to escape. But she was still stuck in the Fire Nation so she set up shop as a kindly old innkeeper... and at the full moon used her new technique, which she called Bloodbending, on the ordinary and innocent Fire Nation neighbours in revenge for her treatment.
  • The Terror from The Tick (animation), a 100+ year old supervillain who used to be buddies with Joseph Stalin. Played for Laughs as he's, putting it mildly, gone a little bit senile with age (until his reappearance in the show, his last public appearance was in the 70's when he tried to get his revenge on his arch-enemy Teddy Roosevelt by punching out Mount Rushmore).

Arthur: Oh, come on. The guy's got to be, what, a hundred and fifteen?
The Tick (animation): Evil, chum, is ever-green...

  1. Prior to becoming a hard-handed dictator, he, along with the Heterodyne boys, forged peace throughout Europa using diplomacy and nonviolence. After a brief leave of absence, he returned to discover that the Heterodyne boys had disappeared, and with them had gone the peace he'd worked so hard for. He reasoned that, if peace by diplomacy was so fleeting, peace by busting heads was going to be at least as permanent as he was.