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Black and red. In the western world, these are the two most sinister colors, as red typically conveys the meaning of blood and black of darkness or death. Sticking to these two colors is common for designers who want to create something as sinister as possible.

The favorite colors for villains to dress in. Most Ominous Opera Capes are a case of this: black on the outside, red on the inside. Also common for the covers and credit sequences of Horror books, films, and games, to show that a work is Darker and Edgier. It's not uncommon for cases of this to be juxtaposed with a group of characters represented by blue and white.

Dark Is Not Evil can also apply with Anti Heros and even Villain Protagonists heavily using a red and black color scheme as a visual reminder that these people, no matter how much we are supposed to identify with them, are not "good guys".

See also Good Colours Evil Colours, Dark Is Evil, Dark Is Not Evil, and Red Filter of Doom. Contrast Gold and White Are Divine.

Examples of Red and Black and Evil All Over include:


Anime And Manga


Comic Books

  • Deadpool's red suit with black stripes and matching red and black hood. Subverted in that he's not evil. He's just fucking nuts.
  • Superboy (Conner Kent) uses this color scheme in regards to Superman's trademark "S". This is especially true for his DCnU incarnation, where his costume is completely red-and-black. While Superboy is a hero, the opening issue of his comic (as well as the rebooted Teen Titans comic) uses the color scheme to make him seem sinister.
  • Seems to be popular with Batman-spinoff characters these days. While Batman and his protege are heroic, they use the color scheme to appear sinister and intimidating or to achieve Villain Cred when they need to, making this an Invoked Trope.
    • Nightwing has donned a red-and-black outfit after the reboot to reflect the new, grittier Nightwing.
    • Tim Drake (known as "Robin" or "Red Robin" depending on the time period) uses this color scheme.
    • Batwoman also has black-and-red digs.
    • The Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn wears a black and red playing card motif.

Film

  • Azazel from X Men First Class wears black, because he's a member of the Black Hellfire Club. His naturally red skin compliments his suit.
  • The uniforms, flags, and other props used in Ian McKellen's excellent 1995 film adaptation of Richard III are like this, due to the film's use of parallels to Nazi Germany in its 1930s-era Setting Update.
  • The Norsefire Party in the film version of V for Vendetta uses a black and red logo, specifically in order to imply a similarity to the Nazi party.
  • The basic color scheme of the neo-Nazis in Pink Floyd's The Wall? Black with red detail.
  • Most Sith Lords in Star Wars dress in black and wield a red lightsaber.
    • In Return of the Jedi, The Emperor's guards wear these colors.
    • Emperor Palpatine himself wears black and has red eyes and deathly pale skin.
    • Darth Maul, who made full-body, red-and-black, Sith tattoos popular. You'll find them on lots of Extended Universe characters.
  • Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin adopts this color scheme instead of her regular red-and-green motif in a final effort to seduce Robin into sharing a kiss with her, for love. It works. Though not as she expected.

 Robin: "Is your thumb the only part of you that's green?"

Poison Ivy: "You will just have to find out!"

Literature

  • The Custodes Fidei [1] order in the Deryni works have black robes with red belts and trim. Officially, the red is supposed to suggest allegiance to and protection for the House of Haldane. Guarding the Faith from what? From Deryni and their sympathizers, of course.
    • The order's name can also call to mind the famous Latin question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"[2] Since they are an aspect of the corruption in the church, this is justified.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron's forces use black banners and an insignia marked with a red eye.
  • In Heathers, these are the school colors. This makes the antagonistic cheerleaders wear red and black.
  • The seventh room in Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death is black with red stained-glass windows.
  • In The Spiral Labyrinth by Matthew Hughes, the magic system is colour-coded; each wizard has a major and a minor colour. The Big Bad uses black and red.
  • Red and black are the colors of House Targaryen, former ruling house of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • It's cadet branch House Blackfyre inverts it's heraldry; a three headed black dragon on red.
  • Raksha in Tales of Kolmar are always red and black.

Live Action Television

Music

Religion and Mythology

  • Satan, in most of his modern depictions, is usually colored this way. The closest thing to this description in The Bible is a red dragon, but even then said depiction is not "dark" per se.

Video Games

  • Artix Entertainment has some examples
    • In Mechquest when becoming a vampire the player character dressed in red and black fancy vampire cloths
    • Gravelyn from Adventure Quest Worlds has a black cape and red armor
  • The cover of the PC version of Resident Evil 4.
  • The Brotherhood of Nod in Command and Conquer wear black and red uniforms.
    • Similar to the above example, Soviets in Red Alert also often wore these colors.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog's Shadow Archetype Shadow has primarily black fur with streaks of red.
  • Zekrom from Pokémon Black and White is a black dragon with red eyes. But it's not really an evil Pokemon, being at worst The Dragon to an Anti-Villain, and if you're playing the White version it's on your side.
  • Golbez of Final Fantasy IV has his attire vary Depending on the Artist, the color of his armor and cape ranging various shades of blue, but he's also commonly depicted wearing black armor and a black cape with a red lining.
  • Final Fantasy VI, in keeping with Putting on the Reich, Gestahl wears a red and black robe and the imperial banners are red with a black emblem.
  • Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII, Genesis wears a red longcoat with black pants and a shirt.
  • Ultimecia of Final Fantasy VIII wears a red dress with black edgings on the bottom with black wings and a black feather ruffle.
  • All the Judges Magister in Final Fantasy XII wore a (red) Archadian seal on their (black) capes. Suitably imposing? Oh yes.
  • Kingdom Hearts, Master Xehanort and Ansem Seeker of Darkness wear black longcoats with red linings, while Xemnas wears a black cloak and wields red Laser Blades as his weapons. Ansem furthermore features the Heartless symbol as a Chest Insignia, the Heartless symbol being universally associated with the creatures and appearing as a black heart with a red lining and cross over the center.
    • Vanitas, Master Xehanort's apprentice, wears a red and black outfit looking disturbingly like exposed muscle matter, and his Void Gear Keyblade is red and black.
    • In his Dark Mode Riku wears a variation of Vanitas's attire, but features blue and white more prominently. When possessed by "Ansem", the Keyblade he wields is an Evil Counterpart to Sora's Kingdom Key, with a black shaft and red handguard. Before he completed his Heel Face Turn and became a Yin-Yang Bomb, Riku's normal weapon was the Soul Eater, a sword shaped like a black and red bat wing. Subverted in that in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Riku can switch to his Dark Mode despite having learned his lesson from dabbling in evil.
    • While not evil, Terra is an Anti-Hero and thus two of his unique keyblades that symbolize his darker tendencies, the Darkgnaw and Chaos Ripper, are prominently black with red markings.
    • For his cameos in the series, Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII gets red linings added to his trademark black coat.
  • In Runescape, red and black are the colors of Zamorak, the evil god of chaos.
  • In The Last Story, the Gurak have a black-and-red theme going on, as opposed to the Human's white-and-blue color scheme.
  • Legacy of Kain, Villain Protagonist Kain wears numerous outfits over the course of the series, but many of them are prominently black with some red bits. His iconic attire for the series is black leather pants with a red cape wound over his chest like a sash.
  • Associated colors of the Inferno faction from Heroes of Might and Magic V were black and red.
  • The Vampiric Ghouls from the online RPG Dragon Fable have corrupted evil versions of the heroic Guardian armor of the "good guys" with Spikes of Villainy and a black and red color scheme instead of the normal white/silver and gold.
  • The Saboteur: all Nazi controlled areas are in black-and-white, except for the red from the blood or the swastikas.
  • Impossible Thief extraordinaire Carmen Sandiego frequently pairs her striking red coat and Nice Hat with an all-black getup underneath.
  • As part of being a Char Clone, Elzam of Super Robot Wars paints his robots black with red bits (along other tweaks). He eventually gets his own robot, the Aussenseiter, which is also in this costume. He eventually does a Heel Face Turn, though.
  • Team Rocket from Pokémon is often associated with the colors red and black. Their logo is even a red "R" on a black background.
    • Team Magma is also associated with Red and Black. In contrast, Team Aqua is Blue and White.
      • Darkrai, despite only being evil in some continuities, is completely black with a massive red collar.
  • The Black Knight from Fire Emblem Tellius wears Black armor and a Red Ominous Opera Cape. In the sequel, he gets a Red Inside/Black Outside Opera Cape instead. The Hero Ike is typically associated with Blue and White, in his Vanguard Costume.
    • Also The Black Knight's Alter Ego Zelgius wears a full suit of Red Armor. So it can be said that the character is both a Red and Black Knight.
  • Although he himself is colored green, many of Bowser's insignias are a red face on a black background.
  • In Lego Adaptation Games, red and black objects can only be manipulated by evil characters.
  • Split Dynasty ships in the X-Universe games have rust-red armor panels with gray/black unarmored sections. The Split aren't particularly evil, but they have a burning hatred for the peaceful Boron Kingdom. The Xenon fleet, a bunch of rogue terraforming robots, have pitch black hulls and exposed internals glowing blood red.
  • The Phantoms in Star Ocean the Last Hope.
  • The Terran Dominion of Starcraft, which despite the name is The Empire, is a stylized arm holding a whip. Sometimes the arm is red on a black background, other times it's black on a red background.
  • The opening and ending credits of the first Gabriel Knight game are in red text over a black screen. I you use higher resolution settings, you get illustrations in the style of old wood carvings, also in black and red. This is used to make the credits more ominous, as it is a horror game.
  • Bayonetta: Both Bayonetta herself and Jeanne have this color motif. Each is also Anti-Hero. Meanwhile, the Angels use Gold and White Are Divine, but are definitely not good.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Black and Red are associated with the Chaos faction while Law takes White And Blue. Subverted since neither side is that much worse than the other.
  • Blaz Blue: Ragna the Bloodedge wears his black vest and pants on his red jacket. He's a Type 3 Anti-Hero who wields the power of life-sucking darkness... and is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at best. And he actually has no qualms of killing innocent people who get in his way.
  • Kano, Sektor and Reiko in the Mortal Kombat games.

Web Original

  • In Drowtales, the resident Living Doll Collector, Kharla, seems to like the Red/Black combo.
    • These are also the colors most often worn by Syphile, Ariel's abusive caretaker.
    • And Luliane switches to this outfit after the timeskip, because she's been possessed by Khaless, also qualifying this for Evil Costume Switch.
    • In the last two cases, a more innocuous reason for the colors are because they are the Sarghress clan colors, along with this trope.
  • Rich Burlew uses red/black word balloons for several demonic characters.
    • Redcloak's most distinguishing features are his, well, red cloak and black armor.

Western Animation

Notes

  1. "Guardians of the Faith"
  2. "Who watches the watchmen?"
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