The human face is supremely important on a social and biological level. Most of our non-verbal communication comes from reading subtle facial movements, and its importance in our cognitive thinking is best shown in our tendency to see faces in inanimate objects (think of how many times you've looked at a rock face and thought you'd seen two eyes and a mouth). So there's something genuinely disturbing to most people about seeing a face visibly distorted, mutated, or rearranged ... so, naturally, this type of Body Horror is one of the most common Horror Tropes.
It is in fact at least Older Than Feudalism—armies the world over have based their war masks around this trope, and in Mythology and folklore, just about any self-respecting demon or supernatural evil will have one.
More recently, it has also become a staple of Surreal Horror.
Sub Tropes include:
- This trope's well-meaning (but still scary) sister, The Grotesque
- Uncanny Valley, which usually ends up here by accident.
- Game Face, which comes into play when a supernatural villain disguised as a human flashes his true form's Nightmare Face to scare someone.
- Demon Head, cousin to this trope.
- Take Our Word for It, when the face is too grotesque to even show.
Interesting tidbit: this is one theory as to why so many people are afraid of clowns. Exaggerated mouths, bulbous noses, and pin-prick eyes are downright terrifying to young children who haven't yet figured out that the person is wearing make-up and not deformed.
Anime and Manga
- Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru makes a few during her fight with Koyomi.
- In Parasyte, many of the mutants suffer from this trope. This is primarily due to the fact that the titular Parasytes are shapeshifting creatures that take over a host body by invading, absorbing, and replacing the head, then change the head into whatever form is necessary for combat and/or consuming its victims.
- Very often in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Some of the Ax Crazy expressions get really weird. Here's a good example.
- Here's one that is a bit more obvious.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni also makes use of this; a couple of times, the first twilight murders have all had their faces plowed in.
- It was rather easy to find that Auntie Eva was scary, with her cynical softness....but then she did this this. Sweet dreams, everyone.
- Also, Maria, of all people.And again. And again, in the following page.Just to emphasize her Creepy Child status.
- And then there's Rosa, who, although is the central character in Episode 2, makes this face at a point. What hits the most is not the expression of it, but the situation. It came after a rather moving Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, and it hits you like a punch. Rosa, by this moment, really is losing her mind, anyone can tell.
- D.Gray-man is very, very good at this. Half the Akuma qualify, and even they have nothing on the Millennium Earl. As he would probably say: <3
- Don't forget Tyki and Road. They have some pretty damn terrifying faces too.
- Fullmetal Alchemist also likes this. Besides a certain failed attempt at human transmutation, Envy's One-Winged Angel form is covered in screaming, melting faces begging for release from their torture. Oh, and there's the Cyclops army, whose stunning good looks have led the fandom to conclude that they're the illicit love children of Mass-Production EVAs and zombies.
- Hellsing has a lot of characters with these. Like Alucard himself.
- This is Renton [dead link] from Eureka Seven. This is Renton when he sees a hallucination while mercilessly ripping apart an LFO in Episode 20. Any questions?
- Anyone going crazy in Soul Eater. It's a combination of Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, a Slasher Smile, and extreme violence in large quantities.
- Initially just played with in Bleach; instead of horrifically deformed faces, it's instead had a number of horrifying expressions mainly given out by Hollow Ichigo and Mayuri Kurotsuchi, so those never really counted as much as the other examples.... until this happened.
- How about this then.
- As mentioned above, the MP-EVAs, which are basically Humongous Mecha straight out of the Uncanny Valley and grinning like madmen. Some of Asuka and Shinji's Freak-Out faces may also count, and the (thankfully brief) shot of Asuka as a maggot-filled corpse in a particularly Mind Screw-y sequence in The End of Evangelion definitely does.
- Barefoot Gen has *lots* of this, what with people's eyes melting out of their sockets, faces burned off, etc.
- Shows up a few times in Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest. Haguro and Ryuuko in particular are very good at making these kinds of faces.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Bakura and Yami Marik have the tendency to make these kinds of faces in the anime. Especially Yami Marik since he is prone to having veins randomly pop up on his face, usually while his eyes are out of proportion and his tongue sticking out. Even the Off-Model shots of their faces are nightmarish.
- Yubel from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is practically the successor of the two above when it comes to this, especially near the end of his/her duel with Judai, and quite possibly even surpasses the above two villains. The fact that she looks like both Yami Marik and Yami Bakura doesn't make it any better.
- Perfect Blue: Mima sports one of these as she kills a guy while disguised as a pizza delivery guy, Rumi's eyes are too widely spaced, which gives her an eerie look, but it's towards the end of the movie where she really gets into this trope. And Me-Mania pretty much has this as his default facial expression.
- The villain Birds in Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
- Beelzebub has this shot. It's drawn with so much detail it's disturbing.
- Serial Experiments Lain: The girl from episode 1 and 2, the one that's supposedly hit by a train. One word: HOLES. And Evil Lain's grin.
- Dear god, Angel Densetsu practically runs on this trope.
- Normally, Kyubey of Puella Magi Madoka Magica freaks viewers out with his Frozen Cat Smile. Not so in the manga.
- Wolf's Rain: Darcia makes a few of these.
- Mitsudomoe: Hitoha's face when she's mad, or whenever she feels like doing it.
- Prism Ark is normally a happy-go-lucky Harem Genre, but then there's FBC manga adaption, where this it turns Karin Mibu into a sadistic teacher, who's ready to give a Nightmare Face anytime she's fighting or getting upset. And then there's a devil Hyaweh, who's much worse than Karin.
- New Getter Robo, Batshit Ryouma is already insane with his Slasher Smile. The final episode has him absorbed a large amount of Getter Ray turning parts of his face and his eyes green. and then he starts his hot blooded and insane yelling. Scary...
- Magic Knight Rayearth: Vigor's face looks especially creepy when he first starts turning back into his monster form (he's a monster Ascot sent out to trick the Magic Knights, since Vigor can take on a cuter form that endeared itself to Hikaru), with the way his head is tilting slowly, his eyes are huge and glowing red, and his fur looks very wild too.
- Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 11: Drugged up!Tabuki. Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit...
- This... from the recent manga addition "Hideout".
- Toriko villains love this trope, and the worse their nature is, the more over-the-top disgusting their facial expressions during emotionally charged moments are.
- Manami from Life often puts on a Nightmare Face when she isn't trying to be cute.
- Gouda from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig was badly disfigured in an accident, but chose not to undergo reconstructive surgery because his new look was more memorable.
- Drosselmeyer from Princess Tutu has a permanent manic grin and unblinking owl-like red eyes etched to his face.
- If Fuan no Tane is compared to a car, Nightmare Face is the High Octane Nightmare Fuel that powers it. The stories are subtley written, almost never exaggerated but includes ridiculous amounts of people/demons/poltergeists having faces that should not exist in any case. These range from three blacks holes for eyes and mouth, diluted sclera and contracted pupils at the same time, faces made of shadow, completely agape mouths with unhinged jaws, face with only skin, and faces completely distorted like that of Rorscach from Watchmen. Special mention goes to the baby who was so ugly, they put a bag on it's face, leaving a hole for it to breathe. Too bad it's permanent smile covers two-thirds of it's face while it consistently begs for someone to talk to.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena: Saionji's face whenever he gets pissed. As well as the blank face or Scary Shiny Glasses that Anthy sometimes has. Also, in episode 38 when Akio tries to make Utena his princess Anthy responds with another scary blank face and her eyes roll back in her head as she disappears.
- Sasuke in chapter 574 of Naruto makes a creepy crazy face here.
- Of all series, One Piece gives us Caribou [dead link] and Big Mom [dead link].
- Jonah Hex. (That second link includes an informative essay on what the result of Hex being unable to close his right eye would lead to.)
- Two-Face, obviously. Well, half of him. Varies from artist to artist, with Tim Sale's rendering (pictured) being particularly gruesome.
- The Joker, naturally. Frozen Face with a Slasher Smile? Check. Permanent Uncanny Valley Makeup? Check. Looks like a Monster Clown from your worst nightmares? Fucking check.
Films -- Animated
- Twice in Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. First, the hideous gnarled faces Snow White sees on the trees during her escape in the forest. Then, the Queen the first time she reveals her hag look.
- The face Fidget from The Great Mouse Detective makes when he breaks through the window.
- The face Joanna makes from The Rescuers Down Under when she sticks her head out at Cody in the hole.
- 101 Dalmatians: The face Cruella De Vil makes here.
- The face Jack Skellington makes from The Nightmare Before Christmas when he threatens Lock, Shock, and Barrel [dead link].
- Also Jack's expressions and movements when he sings, "...and they call him Sandy Claaaawwwwwzzzzz!!!!!"
- The closeups of the goblin faces from The Hobbit when we get our first look at them, especially the last one.
- One of the Velociraptors from Dinosaur does this when said Velociraptors attack Aladar and the lemurs prior to the Herd's arrival.
- The wolf actually does this during his introductory scene in the film Make Mine Music.
- Lumpjaw also does this when he first meets Bongo in Fun and Fancy Free.
- Lampshaded during this scene by the narrator: "This is no dream, this is a nightmare!"
- The Emperor's New Groove: Yzma waking up pissed.
- The Sword in the Stone: When Mad Madame Mim turns into a warthog.
- The Matchmaker's face just right after Mulan accidentally sets her dress on fire.
- The song "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo has a giant Combining Mecha of a monster that's made entirely out of pink elephant heads!
- The otherwise ridiculous movie Care Bears In Wonderland features a scene during the Evil Wizard's song when he very briefly produces an uncannily terrifying face.
- Oliver and Company: "But everything up there... ...IS MINE!!!"
- Pinocchio: That face the Coachman makes at the end of the line "They never come back as...BOYS!"
- The Lion King: "Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared!"
- Jafar briefly gains one of these at the end of Aladdin as he is gradually turning into a snake.
- Toy Story: ...so PLAY NICE!!!"
- The Princess and the Frog: Doctor Facilier during his spell-casting: "I hope you're satisfied..."
- The first appearance of Bruce in Finding Nemo.
- The snarling, vicious look on Tod's face during the fight with Copper in The Fox and The Hound.
- The face Maleficent makes during the first shot of her as a dragon at the end of Sleeping Beauty.
- Beauty and the Beast: Whenever the Beast gets pissed.
- Also, the Stove in the climax when he scares off the villagers.
- Peter Pan: the Indian chief's faces when he has Michael john and the lost boys tied to a pole "burn em at stake"!
- The face Pete-as-the-Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come makes in Mickey's Christmas Carol when he tells Scrooge McDuck-as-Ebenezer Scrooge, "Why yours, of course... ...the richest man in THE CEMETARY!!!"
- The Monster Clown sequence from The Brave Little Toaster. "Run..."
- The face Hades makes in |Hercules as a result of him getting very angry at his cronies Pain and Panic for messing up one of his evil plans.
- Also when Hades discovers that his henchmen had bought Hercules-themed merchandise, Pain wearing a pair of Hercules-themed sandals and Panic drinking from a Hercules-themed thermos.
Hades: (to Pain) I've got 24 hours to get rid of this bozo, or the entire scheme that I've been setting up for eighteen years goes up in smoke, and you are wearing HIS MERCHANDISE?!!??!"
- The Aristocats: The scene where Thomas O'Malley scares the milkman so that he, Duchess, and her kittens can sneak onto his truck.
- Shrek: "Da-da!!!"
- The Queen of Hearts' face in Alice in Wonderland when she says "Someone's head's going to roll for this!!!"
- Any of the cats from first 2 An American Tail; some more than others.
- Shown frequently in the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence from Fantasia.
- The Black Cauldron does this a lot.
- A gargoyle comes to life snarling at Frollo who then falls to his death near the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Lucifer roars in front of Gus who's holding the corn kernels in Cinderella.
Films -- Live-Action
- In Pan's Labyrinth, "The Pale Man" was a Child Eater whose most memorable feature was his Eyeless Face. His eyes are kept on a plate, and he picks them up and sticks them into sockets in his palms whenever he needs to see.
- The Orphanage, produced by Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro, features a seriously creepy mask and ... *shudder* ... car crash; missing jaw.
- Mr. Sardonicus from the film of the same name.
- The Man Who Laughs
- The victims' faces in The Ring are prime examples.
- Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring when he sees the Ring.
- The Mouth of Sauron definitely counts.
- Probably the most memorable scene of Inland Empire. Two for the price of one, in fact.
- Large Marge's claymation horror face from Pee-wee's Big Adventure is one example that made everybody jump. Here.
- The Exorcist gave us two scary faces- namely, the girl herself and the subliminal white face that appears randomly in the movie and in the director's cut- also known as Captain Howdy or Pazuzu. It's also features in most (if not all) screamers.
- Reportedly, there were incidents with viewers fainting of shock at the unmasking scene in the 1925 silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney Sr. who did his own make-up, going as far as to use metal wires to mold his face. To this day, his portrayal of the Phantom remains by far the most faithful to the original novel - and certainly one of the most effective.
- Beetlejuice shows Adam and Barbara that he can be scary - we only see him from the back as his face erupts into...something.
- Adam and Barbara have their own Nightmare Face moments as well, when demonstrating their ghostliness to their...caseworker?
- Thai thriller Dorm includes some boarding school students sharing ghost stories. The face that accompanies the first story about the pregnant daughter... blech.
- Batman Begins: "SCAAAAAAAARRRRRECROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW" -- also a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Gary Oldman's character in Hannibal. Here.
- In Let the Right One In. Hakan pours acid over his own face as an attempt to kill himself, or avoid capture, or...something. He lives, and the effect is horrifying.
- Nina's crazy face in Black Swan that also is in the TV ads. Sweet dreams tropers!
- In Dagon, almost everyone in Imboca has one of these.
- The movie Ink has these in the form of Incubi, pictures not enough? Here is a lovely video. Oh no, please, don't thank me. Really. (Video may contain some spoilers.)
- Movie Megatron.
- This is the real reason why Darth Vader wears a mask.
- The titular creatures from the Predator series have a face terrifying enough to warrant the phrase "You're one ugly motherfucker!"
- Jason Voorhees in all the Friday the 13th films, and it gets worse as the films go along. He has it in the remake as well.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: "Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked... JUST... LIKE... THIS!!!!"
- Winslow Leach in Phantom of the Paradise
- In Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, the main character's lower jaw is shot off. This fanmade image (WARNING: NSFW) gives a pretty good idea of why this is a bit of an upsetting thing.
- Redwall's Slagar the Cruel has a badly mutilated Two-Faced look thanks to a snakebite in his youth.
- The Phantom of the Opera. This is the primary cause of Erik's tragedy (which makes all the slightly-marred-prettyboy adaptations that much more galling).
- While we're at it: Sandor "The Hound" Clegane from A Song of Ice and Fire, who had the left half of his face burned off by his older brother when he was a kid.
- "The Dream" from Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark? We don't know what the mysterious dream woman in the new edition looks like yet, but let's just say the one from the infamous classic edition will make you wish you slept with a Warhammer 40,000 weapon next to your bed.
- Also, the illustration from The Haunted House. We would post a link, but we're too scared to search.
- Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame is described as being so ugly, people mistake him for the Devil.
- Menshikov from The Kane Chronicles, whose face was burned when he tried and failed to awaken Ra.
- A heroic example can be found in Bes, whose trademark attack is to scare the shit out of his opponent by distorting his face hideously and screaming "BOO!" Not that he's that handsome when he's not making that face.
- From the first book (and second to an extent) there is a demon named Face-Of-Horror who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and worse. Compared to how other demons can be called Death-to-Corks and have corkscrews or other objects (or limbs) replacing their heads, Face-Of-Horror is a legitimately terrifying demon.
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," the gas mask forces itself out of the mouth and over the victim's face with an audible cracking of the bones.
- In "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" we get Miss Evangelista's horribly distorted face in the virtual reality. Both of these two-parters were written by Steven Moffat.
- Then there are also the infectees in Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford's "The Waters of Mars" with their split, cracked faces.
- The Weeping Angels are beyond frightening. The nightmarish implications, the living inanimate objects, people ceasing to exist, all of these already put the Angels at the top, but when they're in mid-pounce form... JAEEEEZZUSS!!
- Speaking of The Grand Moff, he also gave us New Series 6 villains The Silence. Best part? You forget you saw them as soon as you stop looking at them.
- In both the classic series and the new ones, there was a group of alien creatures called the Autons, which were mannequin-like at first, but turned alive. They turn more human-ish later on, to the point where in the episode "Spearhead from Space", they look completely human. It's not scary now at all, but back in the eighties when most of the villains were Daleks or wore rubber suits... oh god [dead link].
- In the classic series, there was the Master in The Deadly Assassin and The Keeper of Traken who, being on the very verge of death, had basically become a walking corpse with the skeletal face to match (as best makeup of the 1970s & 80s could manage, anyway).
- A lot of Doctor Who monsters, especially if they initially seem friendly, get a lot nastier-looking when they get down to business. For example, the Gelth [dead link] from "The Unquiet Dead"
- The Siren from "The Curse Of The Black Spot" when she gets angered.
- Subverted in "Midnight." When Skye turns around, there is clearly a new consciousness, but her face is unchanged.
- The "Angry Face" of the mechanical Smiler androids from The Beast Below, it should be noted that the Smilers' heads rotated 90 degrees to display one of two Frozen Faces (pleased and disappointed), making the sudden appearance of the angry face (also revealed by rotating the head 90 degrees) a total surprise.
- The creature dubbed "The Great Mutato" in The X-Files, a genetically-engineered mistake whose many deformities included a grotesquely oversized double-face. As it turns out, though, he wasn't such a bad guy, and in fact his greatest desire was to see Cher in concert.
- Though obviously a mask, who doesn't wish they could forget the chilling grimace of Mr. Noseybonk from the old British TV series Jigsaw? And if that wasn't bad enough, Stuart Ashen had to go and use his powers of necromancy to revive the horror!
- Papa Lazarou of The League of Gentlemen.
- Pennywise in the made for TV movie version of IT.
- Fringe has one episode where a biological weapon results in people developing scar tissue at an alarming rate. Biggest problem with this is that it turns them into a blank, covering their eyes, nose, and mouth, resulting in them suffocating.
- Mild-mannered demon Clem on Buffy is capable of showing one, while we only see the back of his head, in an obvious Shout-Out to Beetlejuice.
- On Angel--Jasmine's real face. [dead link] Shudder.
- Balok in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver".
- The lion from The Teletubbies, especially when he says "Where is THE BEAR?!!!"
- Breaking Bad has a good example of this in the Season 4 finale, when Gus is caught in an explosion. He calmly exits the crumbling room, adjusting his tie and looking perfectly fine, until the camera pans around to reveal half his face missing, hollowed eye socket staring blankly, teeth bared through the distinct lack of cheek. Exploded flesh adorning his shoulder. Incidentally the name of the episode is "Face Off". Heh.
- Aphex Twin's "Rubber Johnny". In fact, Aphex Twin has played this trope for Surreal Humor and Surreal Horror (sometimes both at the same time) in most of his music videos.
- The last scene in Lady Gaga's video "Alejandro" in which the film burns up from the eyes and mouth out.
- In the music video for Madonna's "Bedtime Story", there’s a part near the end where Madonna's mouth has been replaced by an eye and her eyes by two mouths. Do NOT click on that image! You have been warned.
- In the music video for "Mama," by Genesis, when Phil Collins laughs. Also done in live performances of the song as well.
- "In the Air Tonight" does this as well. When the drum solo kicks in, Collins' black-and-white visage suddenly transforms into a blazing, brightly-colored, and very angry thermographic image.
- Soundgarden's video for "Black Hole Sun". It has this suburban neighborhood of creepy smiling people whose faces very suddenly become horrifyingly distorted.
- Barry Godber's cover artwork from King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, helpfully reproduced on the band's TV Tropes page..
- The Gorgons, whose faces would turn you to stone.
- They supposedly had been beautiful originally, before they became like this. And some think they might still be beautiful, but there is no way of finding out.
- Half of the creepy images hosted on the Creepypasta Wiki. Especially the "GO TO SLEEP" one.
- Let us not forget about any variation of the smiledog found on that site either [shudder]
- In Marble Hornets, near the end of Entry #22, and in one of totheark's video responses.
- Speaking of Marble Hornets, the Operator from Tribe Twelve has a pretty nightmarish face at the end of COMECLOSER.
- Villains in the original Dick Tracy newspaper comic were notoriously Nightmare Faced. This waned at about the time Chester Gould suffered a Creator Breakdown, but has returned with the new artist, Dick Locher, who absolutely loves this trope.
- The Rahkshi from Bionicle. Averted in the toys themselves (due to the limitations of toy design), but it is used in full force in the movie Mask of Light to unleash pure nightmare fuel on other characters (and the viewers, naturally).
- The Barakki also count. They all have these freakishly bulbous, emotionless eyes that seemingly stare into nothingness. Pridak takes the cake, however, with his butt-ugly Slasher Smile, and what looks like blood splashed all over his face (which is actually his natural coloring, according to Word of God).
- Makuta, being a Shape Shifter-race, are full of examples, and many of the fan-built Contest Winner Cameo figures have these as well.
- The Grunt and the Brute from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The Brute pretty much doesn't even have a face, though you can find an eye and some teeth in there... [dead link] And the Grunt isn't much better. He doesn't really have a jaw, it's just a flappy bit of skin. Well, that's an understatement...
- Essentially, every single splicer in BioShock seems to have a gruesome, mutated face, sometimes hidden by a New Year's party mask, their mutation either thanks to their rigorous splicing or Dr. Steinman's attempts to fix the effects of said splicing, and it certainly didn't help that Steinman had his own ideas of beauty...
- Left 4 Dead: The Boomer, the Smoker, the Tank, the Spitter, the Jockey, and the Charger. Boomer's face is coated in bile-filled pustles. Smoker's face is laden with tumors and, in the sequel, extra tongues. The Tank is missing his lower jaw. The Spitter has her neck elongated, and most of her lips burned off. Jockey's face is twisted into that of a constant manic glee, with his lips torn off. And the Charger's face looks like someone took a hammer to it multiple times.
- Giygas from EarthBound.
- Yume Nikki gave us Uboa and Face, among many other things that could also easily fit this trope.
- Face, by the way, is full-screen. And once the scene starts, you cannot manually exit it. When it does end, you wake up.
- The Kaibutsu in the Fan Sequel .Flow also count...
- What about the extremely low-poly face of Andross in the original Star FOX (later brought back as an Assist trophy in Super Smash Brothers Brawl)?
- In Fatal Frame 4: Mask of Lunar Eclipse, the final stage of the Getsuyuu Syndrome is Blooming, which doesn't directly affect the victim's face itself but somehow makes it appear horrifically blurred and distorted. Oh, and the people who die of this syndrome become ghosts, and anyone who just looks at the face will suffer the same fate.
- Silent Hill 3. The final boss. It's just so wrong on a subconscious level, because the skin has a strange netlike pattern to it. Also, it never opens its eyes.
- More recently, we have The Aristocrat from Silent Hill: Downpour. You meet him for only a few seconds at the end of the terrifying train ride at Devil's Pit Mine, but he will most likely remain etched into your mind's eye for quite some time: a disembodied piece of flesh draped on the cave walls, wearing High-Class Glass. Fancy.
- The enemies in Rule of Rose are this. FUCK.
- In Eversion, the smiling block faces you see at the start of the game become less and less happy as you evert into deeper worlds. In World X-5, they have blank, terrified expressions with empty eye sockets. In X-6, they're disfigured, as if they're melting.
- The Psycho Heads from (SNES) Final Fantasy V. They are floating heads with the faces ripped off, with long, pink tongues sticking out. (shudders)
- The ending of Final Fantasy VIII shows the main character, Squall, with no face.
- One of the bosses in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, (Blizzeta), has her face flip around backwards to show a Nightmare Face.
- In Labyrinth of Touhou, Alice's boss sprite is apparently a reference to a very obscure game. For the rest of us who don't know about that (and is challenging her for the first time), her face can be quite startling to look at.
- Wario in the infamous commercial for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. "Obey Wario, DESTROY MARIO!!!"
- The scary maze game.
- Also, screamers in general.
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's Ryu and Bosch. Ryu for getting stabbed and beginning his transformation into Odjn, some sort of a super powered beast. Bosch, the one who stabs him, does it with a complete cold look without any emotion. And later when we realize he's not quite dead, he has more or less turned insane. Character designs really helps boosting the fear.
- In Corpse Party, many of the evil spirits sport these. At times, the victims' reaction faces can veer into this, too, particularly in the manga.
- The Necromorphs from Dead Space. This is not surprising considering they are the remains of violently slaughtered corpses, reanimated and deformed by an alien virus. The concept art is little better (perhaps even worse since every little horrible detail is layed bare for all unlucky viewers to see). Don't look at it if you don't have a strong stomach.
- Dead Space 2 throws their face literally into yours, with the opening showing someone within kissing distance of Isaac turning into one of those face-exploder-type slashers, while still alive.
- Lady Tsepish from King's Quest VII, whose face is apparently so horrifying that it'll instantly kill Valanice/Rosella if they look upon her.
- During the final boss battle at the end of Super Mario World, after taking a certain amount of damage, Bowser will actually temporarily fly away in his Koopa Clown Car and towards the camera very fast, and we get to see a closeup of the Clown Car's face!
- The Pokémon games have the move Scary Face, which is pretty much what it says on the tin: a scary glare that affects the opponent's speed. You actually see a cartoon scary face on the screen when it's used.
- Mean Look, which keeps a Pokemon from fleeing, may also count.
- Phanto of Super Mario Bros. 2, in contrast to its counterpart in Doki Doki Panic, which just looks like an expressionless mask.
- Venom Myotismon suffers from this in Digimon: Digital Card Battle after being possessed by A. Most notably, an eye pops out of its Domino Mask. Funny thing is, his mask conceals his eyes behind a yellow film, so the eye popped out through the film. Lest the kids sleep tonight.
- A comedic In-Universe example is Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater. Let's just say he doesn't show his face for a reason.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures's background material gave us this. Oh Lordy. Gee, I wonder what that clan feeds on...
- Some people in Goblins are very good at this. Very good.
- In Stardroids here. Hope you weren't planning on sleeping tonight...
- Return X is rather skilled at these...as seen here...
- Homestuck has a few. Particularly notable is Jack Noir, who... holy shit.
- and you... GOT ONE
- Romantically Apocalyptic's main protagonist, "Zee Captain" has a face like this, apparently. In issue 23, he confronts the aliens that abducted Snippy after OWNING one of them with a slice of cake(!) and forces them to gaze upon his Angry face, removing his gas mask in front of them. We don't see, but the alien's reaction says a lot!
- A short Korean webcomic that will ensure you will never sleep ever again. Your mileage may not vary. Just scroll down...
- Frankly, it's not the face that's going to freak you out. It's just a blood-covered, but otherwise normal face (though it does pull an Exorcist and twist around 180 degrees). It's the Jump Scares in an otherwise static strip that'll get you.
- Correction: It had sound. That is not just static... this troper's heart is still pounding, and she only had the audio (thank you 'shrink window' button...).
- Gunnerkrigg Court has a couple of instances... Zimmy's already a scary girl, given she's got some kind of black clouds where her eyes should be and having "many, many fine sharp fangs". Then this happens in the middle of a psychic jaunt Astral Projection into an unconscious Antimony's subconscious.
- Ax Crazy Fluttershy from the PONY.MOV episode "Shed" sports this during her Sanity Slippage Song intending to eat Rainbow Dash's brain........my god http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YRQhAnQcgs&feature=related
- MOAR APPLES!
- Homestar Runner: "Look lively. LOOK LIVELY!!!" (walks off using his bow as legs while producing Homsar's walking noise as he does so)
The Homestar Runner: That monster's gonna give me nightmares.
- A Running Gag in Mr. Plinkett's reviews is for him to react (or overreact...) to an inhuman looking face:
OH MY GOD, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR FACE!?
- The Ren and Stimpy Show owes much of its horror to this trope.
- A really exaggerated and freaky one happens in "Ren Seeks Help". Here, but you're warned - it's REALLY scary. I'm not kidding.
- He makes another terrifying face later in the episode after he kills Mr. Horse, and the face he makes in "Stimpy's Pregnant" when he finds out Stimpy's "pregnant" and attempts to abort the "baby" is also pretty frightening.
- Family Guy parodied The Ring in one Manatee Gag; Peter watches the cursed tape despite fair warning, and the next cut we see him? Nightmare Face, just like what you might expect from a reference to The Ring (The joke is that the cursed video was a copy of Mannequin; Take That!).
- The character of Death also apparently has on of these, causing Peter to scream in terror when he see it and vomit afterwards.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has actually used this on occasion. Probably the most well-known (and disturbing) example is Moar Krabs, from the "more" montage from the episode "Jellyfish Hunter."
- MOAR Krabs is absolutely nothing compared to that face in "Who Bob What Pants." The face I speak of is scarier than any of the pictures on the Image Links page.
- Adventure Time does this entirely too much for a children's cartoon. But it's okay.
- Vampiress Marceline cranks the Nightmare Face up to eleven when she gets angry or feeds on anything red.
- The shot of Lemongrab with his eyes rolled back into his head, with only the whites exposed, could count as this. That just came out of nowhere... *shudders*
- There was a deleted scene from that same episode, where Lemongrab sends a tiny candy kid to the dungeon. When the kid meekly tries to protest, LG makes an exceedingly creepy, deranged face, and the kid leaves the room in tears.
- The Lich's face, all the time.
- Ricardio's close-up. "AND MAKE OUT WITH IT!"
- I soiled my tunic... completely by choice!
- The Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Courage in the Big Stinkin' City" contains a freaky one; this is made even worse by a loud, demonic scream.
- The Harvest Moon Spirit is another example. To those who have seen it, you should know what I mean.
- The Simpsons: "NOW HOW BOUT A HUG?"
- Rugrats: "I'M NOT TOMMY!" Here you go
- These three images of Ezekiel from Total Drama World Tour as he descends into complete madness from an obsession with winning the season.
- Some of the faces the Grinch makes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas could qualify, like this one or this one.
- Invite that cat ... to TEAAAAAA
- Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe: Renegades is implied to have this by the unnerved reaction of several bikers who saw him unmasked. Scrap-Iron's scarring after taking a missile to the face definitely qualifies.
- No mention of Cobra Commander? In the Marvel comics, he wore the mask just to stay anonymous, but in the Sunbow cartoon, the mask was to hide his face. Destro, himself masked but a normal guy underneath, is repulsed in one episode when walking in unexpectedly on Cobra Commander dining. When the animated movie rolled around, everyone saw why... then It Got Worse.
- The Problem Solverz episode "Funny Facez" invokes this several times with "funny face artists." The characters find the faces hilarious, but they're really kind of creepy looking. At the end of the episode, Alfe makes the "funniest" one.
- Transformers Animated: Blackarachnia without her helmet.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Lesson Zero", Twilight gets a Slasher Smile (here), grinding teeth, and a horrible mane when she falls off the deep end.
- Nebby K. Nezzer during the climax of the Veggie Tales video "Rack, Shack, and Benny" when he dumps Bob the Tomato as Shadrach, Junior Asparagus as Meshach, and Larry the Cucumber as Adbenago into the furnace.
- The faces the Hitchhiking Ghosts make to scare Pete in the House of Mouse version of the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts."
- In an episode of Tom and Jerry Tales, a shape-shifting alien takes the form of Jerry, and pulls off a terrifying Slasher Smile.
- The Danny Phantom episode "The Ultimate Enemy" has the creation of Dark Danny. It's not the scene that's freaky (though it has its Squick moments), but the part when Dark Danny before he kills his human half gives off a face past the disturbance scale. Oh, if looks could kill...
- * Hey Arnold!: In the episode "Arnold Visits Arnie" at the end of Arnold's Nightmare Sequence Arnie gives one of these after going Ax Crazy.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack occasionally has such faces show up once in a while.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: "PRANK TIME!!!"
- Phineas and Ferb: "...Everything okay, Candace?"
- The skeletons in The Skeleton Dance do this occasionally.
- Food Chain of Evil's page image. Squick. The creature is actually less scary in the actual film.
- Live Action TV/Nightmare Fuel
- The image on the Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Fuel page.
- That....That thing that was on Margaret Thatcher's page.
- The picture on the Latex Perfection page. You don't want to look.
- Fluffy the Terrible's page image-- the beast from "The Crate".
- Some of the scarier Vanity Plates sometimes used these. Some notable ones include the "VID Mask" and the Klasky-Csupo Robot (or SSF).
- Korean singer Hang Mioku, a cosmetic surgery addict, ended up having so many procedures (at the height of her obsession, she injected cooking oil into her skin) that her face ended up massively enlarged and disfigured beyond recognition. You don't want pictures. But in case you do, here's one.
- Various cancers and skin diseases that affect the face can result in this. Such as tumors, which, if left unchecked, can grow to the point where a part of a person's face is swollen to the size of a balloon.
- Not just nightmare face but nightmare head and brain too: a mistake in the womb around day 22 of pregnancy can result in a condition called anencephaly, where the baby is born alive, but without a brain. Don't search for it, the image will scar you for life.
- Related is a condition called holoprosencephaly...well basically another name for this is 'Cyclopia'. Yeah. Guess what it does. It results from the brain not splitting into two hemispheres; Cyclopia is the worst form, but the simplest of cleft palates is the least...
- Joseph Merrick - You might know him as "The Elephant Man". Tragically, he was treated as a freak and exploited by freak show owners and doctors despite simply being born with a terrible illness.
- Huang Chuncai, also known as "China's Elephant Man" Think Joseph Merrick to 10th power. And that includes woobie points as well.
- Charla Nash, the victim of a domesticated animal attack, had most of her face as well as her right hand ripped off when her friend's pet chimpanzee mauled her in 2009. The result is extremely hard to look at; hell even her operators needed counseling after seeing her damage!
- Even after her famous face transplant surgery, she was still extremely difficult to look at.
- Raymond Robinson, more commonly known as the Green Man or Charlie No Face, was disfigured by an electrical line accident when he was eight. He was never able to go out during the day, but went for frequent walks at night. He was also the subject of urban legend around his home in Pennsylvania.
- Juliana Wetmore, as a result of an extreme form of Treacher Collins syndrome. She has a face, but it's not supported by bone. And she has normal intelligence too.
- Darren Bigley lost his eyes and most of his face when he was mauled by a bear in 2003. Now that he has fully (well, almost, he still lacks eyes) recovered, he looks pretty okay though. Heck, he looks like a normal, even handsome, guy when he wears his sunglasses.
- This Russian guy (WARNING: graphic) also had his face ripped off by a bear.
- In a similar, but more horrifying vein, Chrissy Steltz got a prosthetic face (well, eyes and nose). She previously wore a sleeping mask when she went out.
- Denise Wagoner, who was blinded and severely disfigured in a DUI accident. The EMT on the scene remarked that her face looked like "bloody hamburger" after the crash, and that's pretty much exactly what it was. Don't google image search this.
- In hindsight, it sounds eerily similar to the case of the "hamburger lady" described in a certain Throbbing Gristle song, which was based on a real life car crash/burn victim.
- Jacqui Saburido was also disfigured in a drunk driving accident, but is even more of a Woobie because, unlike Wagoner, the accident wasn't her fault.
- Chase No Face, a cat who looks like someone took a blowtorch to her eyes and nose. She was hit by a car and survived, but her nose, whiskers, and most of the fur on her face could not be repaired by doctors, leaving nothing but pink flesh left where her fur was.
- Jose Mestre, the "Bad Face of Lisboa" (according to rotten.com), who had his face taken over by a hemangioma/AVM. Rumor has it that he died during the surgery... However, as everyone knows, rumors are unreliable. He lived. What he looks like under the bandages has yet to be seen.
- Look up "keloid" (a scar that starts absorbing collagen, so it gets wicked huge; they commonly form from radiation exposure) on Google images.
- Dear God, Pete Burns, the late lead singer of the band Dead or Alive. Even the botched lip job that nearly cost him his life didn't stop his plastic surgery addiction.
- This video demonstrates how our perception of faces can be toyed with.
- Something is very, very wrong with Newt Gingrich's wife Callista [dead link] in a recent[when?] photo.
- short of hitting ALT+ F4