[[quoteright:200:[[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Sorrow_7138.gif]]]]
When a character [[TheFaceless always wears a mask]], one will wonder what his face really looks like. Sometimes it turns out that he doesn't have a face. Instead of some kind of mundane [[LukeIAmYourFather climax]] or [[NerdInEvilsHelmet anticlimax]], we get thrown straight into NightmareFuel territory: Instead of a face, the character has some kind of blank slate, rotten mess, arcane forcefield or other completely inhuman thing that does not qualify as being a face.

Also happens when someone mistake a suit of AnimatedArmor for a person.

Not exactly a SubTrope of TheFaceless or TheBlank, since those tropes are character types and this trope is a situation where a character transitions to the second trope from one specific subtype of the first trope. It's a kind of TheReveal as well as a kind of TheUnreveal. As such, '''expect unmarked spoilers'''. Compare NotAMask, where what you'd see if you took the "mask" off would probably still be pretty bad.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In the infamous [[spoiler: MindRape scene]] of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', the hooded demons that [[spoiler:Asuka]] meets are like this.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Alphonse Elric appears to be a large man wearing a medieval suit of plate armor… unless his faceplate is lifted or his helmet is knocked off, revealing ''empty space''. (Technically it's his soul, as it was bound to the armor when his body was consumed by a failed transmutation spell, but souls are invisible).
* In ''FateStayNight'', True Assassin wears a white mask to conceal the fact that he doesn't have a face.
* Celty from ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}'' does this with a motorcycle helmet.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In the first albums of ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', Mazikeen chose to have a half-face and to wear a mask over the faceless half. Mortals assume she wear it for RuleOfCool or because of some mundane injury. TheReveal freaks out at least one human enough to make a ''really'' bad choice.
* One {{JLA}} story had some AppliedPhlebotinum separate all the heroes and their secret identities into separate people, and the separated Batman had nothing under his cowl.
* JusticeSocietyOfAmerica villain Johnny Sorrow is an intangible specter while wearing his mask. When he removes it, he becomes solid and reveals an other-dimensional visage so incomprehensibly hideous that all but the most powerful (or blind) of living things will instantly die at the sight of it.
* This happened in ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'' when Sensor Girl joined and Ultra Boy used his vision powers to see under her mask. [[spoiler:Sensor Girl is Projectra and the blank face was created with her illusion power.]]
* Sort of happened during Franchise/{{Batman}}'s first encounter with ComicBook/{{Anarky}}. Batman took Anarky's mask off, only to see a flat white plastic surface underneath. [[spoiler:Anarky was just a teenager, so, underneath his cowl and mask, he wore a plastic mannequin part on top of his head to appear taller.]]

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[[folder: Film ]]

* Dumb Donald was revealed to literally have no face once he removed his hat in the LiveActionAdaptation of ''Film/FatAlbert''.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''The Doomfarers of Coramonde'' by Creator/BrianDaley, the general of the evil wizard's army is wearing a golden mask. Turns out he is blank under the mask: No eyes, no nose, no mouth, no nothing. The wizard must have either created him or mutilated him horribly.
* MichaelMoorcock's ''The Queen of the Swords''. {{Corum}} uses the Hand of Kwyll to open the visor of Prince Gaynor the Damned.
-->Corum stared at a youthful face which writhed as if composed of a million white worms. [[RedEyesTakeWarning Dead, red eyes]] peered from the face and all the horrors Corum had ever witnessed could not compare with the simple, tragic horror of that visage. He screamed and his scream blended with that of Prince Gaynor the Damned as the flesh of the face began to putrefy and change into a score of foul colours which gave off a more pungent stench than anything which had issued from the Chaos Pack itself.
* When the prince unmasks the stranger at his costume party in EdgarAllanPoe's "The Masque of Red Death", the costume is completely empty.
* Robert Chambers' ''TheKingInYellow'' owed an obvious debt of inspiration to Poe, though when it comes to the Stranger at its masked ball (who is probably some kind of HumanoidAbomination) the 'mask' in question may be not so much an example as an [[NotAMask inversion]]:
-->'''Camilla:''' You, sir, should unmask.
-->'''Stranger:''' Indeed?
-->'''Cassilda:''' Indeed, it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.
-->'''Stranger:''' I wear no mask.
-->'''Camilla:''' ''(Terrified, aside to Cassilda)'' No mask? No mask!
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the Lord of the Nazgūl (the Witch-King) wears a mask-cum-helm to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, despite having no corporeal head beneath it. In the film version he is seen placing it atop his robe's empty shoulders, in effect ''defining'' his head. Otherwise, all the Nazgūl wear concealing hoods, which have the same function -- in fact, their robes as a whole define the shape of entirely invisible bodies. Of course, with the benefit of Ring-O-Vision, Frodo gets to see 'through' to the ethereal remains of their faces.
* In Creator/FritzLeiber's ''Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser'' stories, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face wears a mask to conceal the fact that [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin he has no eyes in his face]] -- if memory serves, there's just a flat patch of skin where eye sockets ought to be. This doesn't seem to cause him any difficulty with vision, but then, he is a mighty wizard.
* One of the most famous examples is ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', who's described in the book as being hideous-looking and skull-faced underneath his mask. This has not held true of all the film adaptations, however, especially the most recent one where Gerald Butler appears to have just a mild skin rash underneath his half-mask.
* Creator/ThomasLigotti uses this trope to drive home a rather unsettling point about identity in "The Greater Festival Of Masks". Variations on the theme also occur in "Masquerade Of A Dead Sword" and "The Last Feast Of Harlequin"; it is also used as a metaphor in several of his poems.
* SherlockHolmes give us "The Veiled Lodger", who is described as this:
--> ''It was horrible. No words can describe the framework of a face when the face itself is gone. Two living and beautiful brown eyes looking sadly out from that grisly ruin did but make the view more awful.''
* Bo Cleevil is revelaed to be this near the end of the ''May Bird'' trilogy.
* At the end of ''Literature/MoonOverSoho'' [[spoiler:Lesley takes off her surgical mask and Peter's reaction is that the scars and wreckage left from Punch's possession of her means that what is left no longer qualifies as a face]].

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Not only does Omega from ''Series/DoctorWho'' lack a face under his mask, but he doesn't even have a body. His willpower was the only thing that kept his existence.
** The Headless Monks are another example, having no heads beneath their hoods.
* At the season six climax of ''Series/StargateSG1'', master villain Anubis sheds his mask to the ascended Daniel Jackson, who reacts with considerable surprise. Not until partway through the second season would we find out what lies beneath his mask and cloak: a black, cloudlike energy form, the physical manifestation of the "half-ascended" Anubis.
* Stark of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' has two-thirds of a normal humanoid face, while the other third is a shimmering golden energy mass with telepathic properties, normally hidden beneath a leather mask.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Bobbin Threadbare and the rest of the Weavers from ''VideoGame/{{Loom}}''.
* The Shy Guy Ghosts in ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion''.
* One possible answer to the question of what's under Darth Nihilus' mask in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic 2''.

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[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''{{Exiern}}'', we have a woman who has a human body but no face or physical brain. Instead, her mask hides a swirl of bluish energy that she can use in combat. [[http://www.exiern.com/?p=1064 At first, the kids who run into her and knock her mask off don't realize this]].
* Parodied in ''DarkLegacyComics''. In [[http://darklegacycomics.com/311.html one strip]], two characters are busy unmasking "liars", thus ruining everyone's Halloween costumes. In the end, they "unmask" a pandaren by tearing of his real face. Since he doesn't have any face left under that "mask", well, ewwww....

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'' has Ace, who wears a metal mask. Beneath it, his "face" is a writhing mass of tentacles or possibly worms.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Perils of Penelope Pitstop 2900 (a futuristic version of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop) has H.C. 2000(a robot version of the former) in the same outfit as his human may years ago, when Penelope Pitstop IV unmaskes this robot, it's just metal.
* Hexadecimal of ''WesternAnimation/{{Reboot}}''.
* Played with in ''{{BIONICLE}}''; the Toa Inika's faces glow brightly when they remove their Kanohi. Setwise, their faces are just blanks.
** As well, Makuta Teridax's nature as an entity composed of gas and armor is revealed in-universe when the Piraka attempt to steal his mask off of his [[NotQuiteDead corpse]], only to find absolutely nothing underneath.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' featured such a villain.
* Invoked in the very first Strong Bad Email from ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' where Strong Bad actually mentions that taking off his mask and boxing gloves is the same thing as taking off someone's face and hands. Another Email was actually about him actually taking off his mask, but when he does so, [[TheUnreveal he is completely covered up by the back of the new chair]] he bought from Bubs in the same Email. Maybe his mask really is his face after all.
* On one episode of ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'', a villain created magic clones of the heroes, including [[MaskedLuchador El Toro Fuerte]]. Later, when the heroes accidentally removed his clone's mask, he was like this (however, this was more of a spell glitch than an intended/expected side effect). The others turned out [[spoiler:''all'' like this, each wearing a LatexPerfection mask]].
* Slade of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' loves it. In "Masks", Robin defeats him and removes the mask, revealing the communicator screen and [[OhCrap the self-destruct timer]], since it was [[ActuallyADoombot Actually A Sladebot]]. In the season four finale, his mask is knocked off, [[spoiler: displaying bare skull with a single blazing eye, as by the time he was TheUndead. He gets his human body restored later, but we don't get to see his normal face.]]
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