"The eyes are not the windows of the soul: they are the doors. Beware what may enter there."Some creatures can literally kill or at least maim people simply by looking at them. Turning them to stone is another common effect. People may be warned against the danger of making eye contact with these beings, since often they must meet the creature's gaze for the power to work. Mirrors Reflect Everything may be a way of making the entity Hoist by His Own Petard. Often works through some kind of magic; see No Eye in Magic for a more general application of this principle, and Eye Beams for a more weapon-like version. Not to be confused with Death Glare, which is only metaphorically related.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Basilisk, Gennosuke and Hyoma can kill people by glaring at them. Specifically, it's an eye power that reflects the Killing Intent of an attacker back on him, forcing him to kills himself with his own weapons.
- In Fairy Tail, Black Wizard Zeref kills Zancrow after looking at him. Not surprisingly, his magic kills everything around him.
- In Campione! one of Duke Voban's Authorities was taken from Balor (mentioned in Mythology below) allowing him to turn people into pillars of salt just by looking them. Doesn't help him much fighting Gods or other Campione since their magic resistance is high enough that it only slows them down at best.
- In Sunday Without God, Ulla has this. In fact, due to her mother's wish to kill all humans, it's not just her eyes that can kill, but also her voice and touch.
- In Bleach, when Äs Nödt actives his Vollständig, Tartar Foras, his Fear ability upgrades to the point that he can fill people with heart-attack inducing fear just by eye contact. It only takes one look; if the victim closes his or her eyes after the initial eye contact, the deadly fear will remain. He can also create a wall covered with eyes to surround the victim and ensure they look into at least one.
- In Darker Than Black, the contractor Ilya has the ability to shut down a person's brain by locking eyes with them. The effect is degenerative, giving the victim a few seconds of living out Flowers for Algernon before motor and cognitive functions give in and the victim chokes to death. Brrrrr...
- Ghost Rider's Penance Stare redirects all of suffering and pain inflicted on others by its target back onto the victim themselves. It can be downright fatal depending on who Ghosty is performing the move on. If Ghost Rider tells you to look into his eyes, you're in big trouble.
- An X-Men villain named Gorgon had the power to turn people to stone by looking at them. He was defeated when he sees his reflected gaze on Wolverine's claws.
- One version of Clayface could dissolve people into goo just by looking at them.
- Looking directly at The Spectre's eyes and the little skulls in them will do this.
- Judge Dredd: Judge Fear is a zombified Judge whose trademark move is to force his victims to stare directly at his face (normally concealed by his helmet), which shapes itself to the person's worst fears.
- Johnny Sorrow, a villan of Justice Society of America. He is an ghost-like entity, inhabiting a suit with a mime mask. Seeing Sorrow's face is instantly fatal to almost all living creatures, in other cases it can cause catastrophic madness; there are only two people depicted who've survived gazing upon him.
- Oboro from the Japanese live-action film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (inspired by the same novel that inspired Basilisk) is a Yamato Nadeshiko with the power of brutally killing someone just by looking at them.
- Played for laughs in Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, when the hero uses this look to render a gangster unconscious in the Batman Cold Open scene.
- In Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire, Baron Vengeous had the ability to cause a victim to rupture by glaring at them.
- Wild Cards: If it's Demise, don't look in his eyes! Demise's Wild Card allowed him to channel his own death experience into another person's by locking gazes with them. The experience was always fatal for the other person.
- The Laundry Files, given its Post-Modern Magik approach, has "gorgons" who are actually people who suffer a very rare form of brain tumor that serves as a conduit for an extra-dimensional particle-wave function that transforms carbon into silicon — in other words, a petrifying gaze. It also exists in snakes (basilisks) and chickens (cockatrices), and its effects can be mapped to a CCTV camera.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Muggle-born students keep turning up Petrified, apparently because of some monster loose in the school. The protagonists eventually realize that it's a basilisk, which kills with its gaze; the reason nobody has died so far is only because none of the victims saw it directly (except for Nearly-Headless Nick, who couldn't die because he already did).
- The Lost Years of Merlin features Balor (see below), who in this version guards the portal to the Otherworld.
- Very few people like looking into the eyes of The Man With The Terrible Eyes. Looking at them for too long tends to break people emotionally and mentally.
- Most of the titular "gifts" in the first Annals of the Western Shore book work this way: a look, and a gesture, and intent. The Caspros have a family legend of a brantor who had to go blindfolded in his youth due to Power Incontinence, and Orrec resorts to this as well.
- In Voyage of the Basset, Medusa (see below) has her famous gaze which can cause people to be Taken for Granite.
- Grettir's Saga: The revenant Glam's power to curse resides in his eyes. Grettir is able to throw Glam to the ground, but as Glam is lying on his back, a cloud is drifting from the moon, making the moonlight fall on Glam's face. Grettir is struck with terror at the sight of Glam's eyes, and is paralyzed; Glam then speaks his curse on Grettir.
Live Action TV
Myth and Legend
- In Classical Mythology, anyone looking into the eyes of a basilisk or cockatrice would be instantly killed or turned to stone.
- While Greek myth says that anyone who looks upon Medusa's face will turn to stone, the common popular depiction of her is that one has to be able to see her eyes to be stoned.
- Balor, of Celtic Mythology, was said to be able to char people to ashes by looking at them with his eye.
- The catoblepas is a hideously ugly oxlike creature who either kills you or turns you into stone if you meet its gaze. Fortunately, most versions go on to add that the catoblepas finds its head incredibly heavy to hold up, and is thus not much of a threat to anyone who isn't lying on the ground.
- The Talmud (Shabbat 33b) tells the story of Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Eleazar, who spent twelve years hiding in a cave as fugitives from the Roman government, and studying Torah. When the prophet Elijah told them it was safe to come out, they were furious to see people engaging in worldly occupations instead of Torah, and "whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately burnt up." A heavenly voice called out, "Have you emerged to destroy My world?" and ordered them back to the cave for another twelve months.
- According to the ancient Greeks a witch could cause harm by looking at someone. Medea, as the granddaughter of Helios (the source of the power of all witches), has it powerful enough that, in one version of her encounter with the unkillable bronze giant Talos, it caused him so much pain he killed himself.
- 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons
- Meeting the gaze of the catoblepas causes death.
- If you're on the Astral Plane, looking a basilisk in the eyes will kill you.
- The beholder has two small eyes which cause death or disintegration to any creature they look at.
- Warhammer: The Dark Elves have a creature called the Medusa which is a gorgon like creature with a terrifying ability to make its victims burst in blood when they look at its eyes.
- The Navigators of Warhammer 40,000 have a Third Eye that lets them see the Warp. It also kills anyone who looks at it, which is why they wear blindfolds.
- While not technically an example (his bionic eye shoots Eye Beams instead), the reason Commissar Yarrick got a bionic eye that could shoot lasers was hearing a rumor that he could kill with a look.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse: According to the Revised Uktena tribebook, Great Uktena's gaze will cause one of the target's loved ones to die. However, Great Uktena does not inflict this curse on Uktena Garou.
- In Jedi Knight, there's a Force power called Force Deadly Sight that is basically this. One of the bosses, Sariss, can use it against you in battle, and there's a way — if you play as a bad guy, that is — to become capable of using it yourself later in the game.
- In the Final Fantasy Tactics series, the flying eyeball creatures can cause nasty status ailments with a glare attack that never misses. However, if you can position your units to not look at the creatures straight in the eyes, then their gaze attacks always fail.
- In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Sai possesses evil eyes that can inflict several kinds of diseases and damage on his opponents if he stares at them with enough focus or removes his glasses. These can go from simply losing speed or guard, to having huge fish dropped on them when they jump, to an incredibly nasty combo of the three curses PLUS Life Drain.
- Dark Souls III: The Irithyll Jailers can reduce your HP just by looking at you. And it isn't just damage: they actually reduce your maximum health, meaning you can't heal. Your health bar will regenerate after about twenty seconds of not being looked at, but your actual health won't, and will need to be healed. This trait, as well as the fact that the Jailers tend to work in groups, quickly made them among the most hated enemies in the game.
- In UNLOVED, there is a particularly dangerous enemy called the Witch that will damage you through your armor if you stare at her Ghostly Gape for too long.
- In Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, the demon Aec'Letec will use his death gaze on your party. First, the victim becomes paralyzed. Then, he will die and is turned into a hostile ghoul.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the episode "The Stare Master" features a cockatrice, with the penalty of looking it in the eyes of the "turning to stone" variety rather than "instant death". And the cockatrice has the power to reverse it if one can convince it that it should stop turning creatures to stone, as Fluttershy successfully does.