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A form of Names to Run Away From Really Fast: If a character has either the first or last name of a noted criminal, real or fictional, it's a good sign they're headed towards a life of crime themselves. If their name is followed by "the" and a violent-sounding verb (like Jack the Ripper or Barry the Chopper), then they're almost certainly a Serial Killer. See also The Butcher, Name of Cain.

There were enough people named Cain and Abel or variants that it even got its own article.

Examples of Names to Run Away From Really Fast/Notorious Killers include:


Adolf Hitler

"Hitler" almost never appears per se, being an already very rare variant of "Hiedler," but variants such as that, "Hiller," and "Hibler" are. "Adolf" (and its 'slightly' less stigmatized variant, "Adolph") of course, is still seen, especially in period pieces, to evoke a kind of Retroactive Recognition.

Literature

  • Averted: In the children's book Heidi, written long before World War II, Heidi's kind, lonely grandfather is named Adolf.
  • Adolf is actually used in the novel Evil Genius. One of the villains is named Adolf Hauser. To make matters worse, he's actually nicknamed "The Fuhrer" and teaches at the Axis Institute, a school for future supervillains. May be a case of Refuge in Audacity. Oddly enough, he's not the Big Bad.

Live-Action TV

  • Distortions of Hitler's name, especially "Hiller", are featured in works ranging from Whos the Boss to Isaac Asimov's The Martian Way. In these cases, these people are shown to be Hitler Expys either in-universe or by Word of God.

Other

  • There is a clothing line called Adolfo

Video Games

  • Dolph from Suikoden V may qualify, though.
  • The video game Vandal Hearts pulls a double whammy with the Big Bad Dolf Crowley. In fact, Vandal Hearts is full of these--it also has an antagonistic character named Hel Spites and his son, Kain.

Western Animation

  • Dolph, one of the bullies on The Simpsons.
    • Interestingly, Dolph is Jewish. He's even in Hebrew school.
    • Also, one of Mr. Burns' vicious hounds is named Hitler.
  • Dolf The Crow, the sort-of Big Bad from the Dutch TV-Show Alfred J Kwak was a halfbreed of a crow and a blackbird, spoke in a German accent, turned evil, started a political party with a banner obviously similar to the Nazi flag. He also attempts world domination a few times, and all this while wearing a Napoleon-like attire.

Real Life


Brutus

Certainly a name to watch out for. Anyone named this will almost always be covered in muscles and/or weapons, and extremely prone to violence.

Literature

Video Games

Western Animation

Real Life

  • The original Brutus (Lucius Junius), who ousted Tarquin the Proud, and his descendant Brutus (Marcus Junius the Younger), who betrayed Caesar. At the time, the name only meant "stupid" (or of course by the latter's time, "icon of democracy"), without the connotations of cruelty it would take on in later centuries.


Hawley

Was the first name of Dr. Crippen, a murderer famous in Britain.

Comic Books

Theatre

  • Hawley was the name of the villain of the musical Rose-Marie.

Web Original


Jack the Ripper

Film

Live-Action TV

  • Don't forget Ripper, who, even 30 years later and much more mellow, is still quite dangerous (technically, he killed Glory/Ben, which means he killed a Hellgod).

Web Comics


Judas

Live Action TV

Video Games

Web Original

  • During her time on Atop the Fourth Wall, Iron Liz had a murderous doppelgänger named "Judas Liz". The name had a double meaning, as the character was both evil and wore a Judas Priest tee shirt (in contrast to the Iron Maiden tees Liz normally wears).


Lucrezia

It doesn't help that the name also means "Insanity".

Anime and Manga

Literature

  • Lucrezia Borgia is a character in Gregory Maguire's novel "Mirror, Mirror".
  • In Going Postal, Adora Belle Dearheart's stiletto shoes are in a style called "Pretty Lucrezia." It fits the trope despite not being the name of a person, because she uses them to attack a drunk (and in The Film of the Book, Moist himself, with whom her relationship is more Slap Slap Kiss than in the novel) and delivers a line about how she doesn't know if she can press them straight to the floor, but is willing to try.

Music

Tabletop Games

  • Lucrezzia Belladona (belladonna is a type of poison), a mercenary poisoner (and husband killer!) from Warhammer.

Video Games

  • The Zork parody of Lucrezia Borgia counterpart Lucrezia Flathead
  • A slight variation of the name: Lucrecia from Final Fantasy VII

Web Comics

  • Lucrezia Mongfish from Girl Genius, if she is the Other.

Real Life

  • The original Lucrezia Borgia, usually (but wrongly) regarded as a notorious poisoner.


Victor or Frankenstein

Any variation; it should be noted, however, that while his creation was a murderer, Dr. Frankenstein himself was not.

Anime and Manga

  • Frankenstein: Franky in One Piece
  • Franken Fran herself may never be referred to as explicitly as her name is given in the title, but...
  • Dr. Franken Stein, an obvious reference in Soul Eater

Comic Books

Film

Music

  • Not to mention Viktor Vaughn, the sinister street criminal and star of MF DOOM's Concept Album Vaudeville Villain.

Video Games

Western Animation

Real Life


Mordred

Who killed King Arthur, does a double whammy, crossing into the Mor names category.

Literature


Saint-Just

Might not sound like a threatening name, unless you happen to have studied the French Revolution, where the original was the guy in charge of the Terror. You know, where they chopped off all those peoples heads.

Literature


Others

Literature

  • Herod Sayle in the Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker shares his biblical namesake's desire for infanticide.

Live-Action TV

  • Retroactive aversion: Ralph Hinkley on The Greatest American Hero was renamed Ralph Hanley after a man with the name Hinkley attempted to assassinate President Reagan.
  • The future humans in The Sarah Connor Chronicles really should have known better than to give the Terminator captain of a submarine the name Queeg, even if they thought it was funny.
  • Jesse St. James from Glee - named after Jesse James, obviously.

Gunman with Three Names: any character referred to by three names is likely a killer or dangerous sort, based on the examples of John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, and Mark David Chapman, famous assassins.

Film

  • One of the assorted crazy connections thrown out in the movie Conspiracy Theory is noting that successful assassins are remembered by their full names, but unsuccessful ones by just two.
    • One character makes an implicit accusation about a murder to another character by asking what his middle name is.
  • Charles Lee Ray - Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.

Live-Action TV

  • For exampe, Alpha (real names: Carl William Craft) in Dollhouse. It's even lampshaded.
  • Not to mention the Saturday Night Live episode in which Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat is assassinated (in circumstances reminiscent of the then-recent attempt on Ronald Reagan's life), conferring instant fame upon his triple-named assassin John David Stutts (also played by Murphy).

Real Life

  • When a real-life serial killer's identity is finally established, it's common for the news media to report the full name of the killer, including his middle name, even if the killer never used his middle name in his life. Westley Allan Dodd and John Wayne Gacy are examples. Thus, serial killers tend to be remembered as people with three names.
    • Not so when the middle name is an awkward one.
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