Evil Overlooker

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Composition wise this cover is actually more interesting than the ones we're used to seeing. We actually have something that catches the readers attention, with the menacing villain holding the symbols of the heroes by knives.

Box art or advertisement that features the villain's head "watching" the hero.

This trope is related to Floating Head Syndrome, though the latter is not typically viewed as fondly. For when a villain is overlooking a scene in-story, see I Have the High Ground.

Examples of Evil Overlooker include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books


  • Many a Star Wars poster has Darth Vader doing this; in fact, the series may well have originated the trope.
  • The poster of Star Trek: Insurrection features the Enterprise-E flying towards the giant face of the movie's main villain (whose actually has a rather minor role in the film, considering how prominently he's shown on the poster).
    • The poster to Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country shows the very large, very angry eyes of General Chang glaring down at the Enterprise-A from the background.
    • And one poster for the 2009 Star Trek film does this with Nero.
    • Oddly, most of the posters and DVD covers for the 2009 film do this with Kirk; one could be forgiven for assuming that Christopher Pine plays the villain (although that film's Kirk is arguably an Anti-Hero).
  • 28 Days Later has a poster with just the eyes of an Infected hanging in the sky over a silhouetted Jim.
  • Fright Night uses a variation: villain as an evil cloud.
  • This movie poster for Inglourious Basterds.
  • The original poster for Childs Play.
  • The film adaptation of No Country for Old Men portrays Anton Chigurh this way. The effect is actually very creepy, especially since this is one story where, justice and logic be darned, The Bad Guy Wins.
  • The 2002 adaption of The Time Machine.
  • The poster for The Haunting of Molly Hartley does this with Joseph, who is revealed in the last ten minutes to be part of a Satanic cult.
  • The poster for The Untouchables has a giant Al Capone in shades, smoking a cigar and smirking over the Untouchables.
  • The Poster for the film "Lion of the Desert", about the life of Libyan anti-colonial rebel Omar Mukhtar, depicts Benito Mussolini glowering over his troops and tanks as they clash with the rebels, with central villain General Rodolfo Graziani in the foreground. [dead link]
  • And also with the zombie nazis flick "Horrors of War", which does this with Adolf Hitler and his zombie hordes.
  • The posters for Halloween: H20 and Halloween Resurrection do this with Michael Myers' Black Eyes of Evil looming over the frightened-looking protagonists.
  • Battlefield Earth, as seen here.


Live-Action TV

  • In Heroes, the Season 1 graphic novel collection has 2 different front covers, both of which feature Sylar's head looming over the main cast of Heroes.
    • On the cover for the Season 2 DVD, the main cast of Heroes stands in the foreground at Times Square while Sylar's head grins down at them from an overhead billboard.
  • The Troll King is doing this on the DVD cover for The Tenth Kingdom—which is a subversion, as he is neither the real BigBad of the miniseries nor even impinges very much on the plot, particularly since he only briefly menaces the heroes in Parts 1 and 2. (He's actually much more of The Rival for the Big Bad.) This might be a borderline case of Billing Displacement, since while Dianne Wiest is greatly respected and a well-known actress, Ed O'Neill is probably more popular. Or it could be a bit of canny advertising to misdirect the audience.
  • Every Angel DVD case has Angelus looking over Angel's shoulder.
  • An inversion: Upon opening it, the House: Season One box set features the main cast looking down at you in a circle with a surgical light over all of their heads, as if you were a patient.


Video Games

Web Animation

  • A widely circulated fan poster of Red vs. Blue Season 3 features the head of Big Bad O'Malley doing some Evil Overlooking of the main cast. A similar fan poster of Season 4 featured the Alien in a similar position, although it was revealed rather early in the season that the Alien was actually not the new villain (it was still O'Malley).

Web Comics

  • The third Penny Arcade book, The Warsun Prophecies, has Tycho's eyes looming over Gabe.

Western Animation

  • Many posters and video boxes for Western Animation have these, especially if they are from The Nineties. Sometimes, the villain looks like they are trying to grab the main characters or the MacGuffin. A few of these include:
    • The video box art for Fern Gully. Hexxus is seen in the background trying to grab the main characters.
    • The poster for All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 has Red attempting to grab Gabriel's Horn.
  • The interior art for The Venture Bros season two DVD features the Monarch looming over portraits of the main characters.
  • Plenty of Disney movies, including Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and The Return of Jafar.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: the poster for Season One depicts the Gaang down the front, with Zuko looming over them evilly. This is also shown prominently in one of the last episodes "The Ember Island Players", when the in-universe poster showing the Show Within a Show is pretty much exactly the same as the poster for Season one.
    • Also the poster for Season 3, which has Ozai looming behind Aang in the Avatar State.
    • The SDCC poster for The Legend of Korra featured Amon looming over Korra, Mako, and Bolin.
  • The film posters for 1986's Transformers: The Movie had Unicron (both his planet form, and his robotic head) prominently in the background behind the main cast. Funnily enough, since Unicron is the size of a planet, for once this skewed perspective is actually proportionally correct.
  • The box art for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker has Joker's (green-tinted) head doing this.
  • The American cover of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron's DVD case features the Colonel's ethereal head looking over his shoulder at the heroes. Thing is, his expression and the semi-transparency makes him look downright benevolent...
  • The film poster/VHS cover of Tom and Jerry: The Movie features Tom chasing Jerry (which only happens for a few minutes in-film) while the face of the villainous fat lady watches them with utter rage in cloud-form (much as the Beast did in the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast poster).
  • A variation on the cover of Filmation's animated movie Happpily Ever After. Snow White and the Dwarfelles are front in center, with The Shadow Man glaring malevolently at them from behind a tree. This is a case of Covers Always Lie, as the character in question is actually Snow White's very-harmless, mute Stalker with a Crush (actually the prince under an enchantment), and the film's actual villain is nowhere to be seen on the cover.
  • One of the posters for the Hanna-Barbera feature film Heidi's Song features two of them.
  • The film poster/video/DVD cover of Hey Arnold!: The Movie
  1. You can erase saved data on the cartridges to avoid this. See the manual on how to do it; it involves holding certain buttons pressed when loading the game from the DS start screen.