Evil Mask

A more literal version of Becoming the Mask, this is a mask, helmet, or other headgear that has some form of corrupting influence on its wearer. It may be possessed by an evil entity, a Mind-Control Device controlled by the Big Bad, a strange alien parasite... whatever the specifics, it is powerful enough to turn most ordinary people evil or drive them insane. Often grants the wearer supernatural powers as well, which of course reduces the victim's temptation to remove the mask.

The mask may have an immediate, obvious effect, or it may take a while before the wearer's friends notice he is Not Himself.

Bonus points if you can't get it off.

Sub-Trope of Artifact of Doom, Mask of Power and Clothes Make the Maniac. See also Murderous Mask and Clingy Costume.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ichigo and the other Vizard's hollow masks in Bleach. Although once he's beaten his inner hollow into submission it becomes just another powerup as long as he isn't pushed too far...
    • Arguably, all Hollow masks are this; spirits who transform are completely taken over by the mask when it appears over their faces; best shown in Inoue's brother; he tries to kill his sister, but when the mask is shattered, he reverts to his original self just long enough to be purified and sent to the Soul Society.
  • The ancient Stone Mask from Jojos Bizarre Adventure that grants its wearer vampiric powers of superhuman body control by driving bone spikes into the wearer's brain when blood is spilled on it.
  • The cursed Noh Mask in InuYasha. All it wants is a body, but there's the slight problem that it causes its wearer to decompose so fast they turn into crude oil within minutes. Naturally, it'd like a stronger host. Guess who it decided to go after.

    Comic Books 
  • One of these turns out to be the villain of the Ghost/Hellboy crossover comic.
  • The Mask. It's much more evil than its film counterpart, and intentionally turns its wearers into mass-murdering psychotic lunatics.
  • A trilogy of Italian Mickey Mouse story arcs has Mickey and Goofy transport to a fantasy-esque dimension, where they help overthrow the Big Bad The Lord of The Mists, who returns in the third arc, only for it to be revealed that it's his helmet being worn by a random passersby who had found it in the ruins of the Lord's castle, and had his personality overwritten by the helmet.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "The Blood of Azrael", Azrael's mask contains the memories and powers of the Omnicidal Maniac Azrael, waiting for a host of a suitable mindset to continue his work. Danny provides that host. It's unclear if he was already an Omnicidal Maniac at that point, although he was already a murderous and sadistic xenophobe.

  • In the film version of The Mask, the mask adapts itself to his wearer's personality. It's only evil when the wearer is.
  • In Onibaba, the mysterious samurai wears an intimidating demon mask, but it isn't until Kichi's mother steals it that we begin to suspect it harbors a malicious curse.

  • The Haunted Mask from the Goosebumps series of books had a Halloween mask that made it child's play to frighten people, but altered the wearer's personality and became progressively more difficult to remove.
    • And then the sequel had another one appear, then reveal that the entire shop was filled with these—all of the masks were evil and sentient.
    • In the live action adaptation of the sequel, even the masks that weren't themselves evil made the wearer vulnerable to mind control from the more powerful ones.
  • In the Tales From Camp Crystal Lake book series, people become Jason Voorhees when they put on his mask.
  • Inverted in the Rainbow Magic series. In Flora the Dress-up Fairy's book, the loss of her magic mask makes people act like their costumes at a masked ball.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There was an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with an evil African mask that Buffy's mom has hanging in her room. Unlike most examples, it starts summoning zombies and causing havoc just by being there. Once one of the zombies reaches it and puts it on, however, things get even worse.
    Giles: [mimicking Joyce] Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It wakes the dead. Americans.
  • In Power Rangers Wild Force, the mask of Zen-Aku holds the spirit of the Duke Org Zen-Aku and its wearer becomes possessed. The next season, Power Rangers Ninja Storm, has the mask of Shimazu, but thankfully, that one is on a statue in Shimazu's likeness when it gets woken up, so though there's another bad guy in town, you don't have to worry about the poor guy he's piggybacking on.
  • In The Twilight Zone episode, "The Masks", a dying man forces his greedy, ill-mannered family to wear hideous Mardi Gras masks until midnight. At the stroke of midnight he dies and they all remove their masks, only to discover that the masks have deformed each of their faces to look like the masks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Fragments of Fear, adventure "Valley of the Four Shrines". A metal mask with Cthulhu's face grants the wearer powers such as being able to breath and see underwater. However, each time it's put on the wearer must make a SAN roll or lose sanity. Once their SAN reaches 0 they become a devout slave of Cthulhu and are subject to his mental commands.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has the Crown of Sorcery, which is this trope but with a crown rather than a mask. It contains a portion of the Supreme Lord of the Undead's undying spirit, and confers some of his magical powers as well as acting as a vector for his corrupting influence. Strong-willed or single-minded wearers, such as the man-god Sigmar and the Orc Warlord Azhag the Slaughterer were merely influenced and addled by the crown, but less willful wearers such as the beastmaster Kadon were entirely subverted.


    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    • The title character. That Skull Kid wearing it might seem like a monster, given the various gruesome curses he inflicts on you and the residents of Termina—but then you learn that before he put it on, he was just a lonely kid who wanted friends. By the end of the game, it becomes clear that the mask itself has been pulling the strings the entire time, and has no motive for any of its cruelty besides its own amusement.
    • The same game also has the Fierce Deity mask, which is implied to contain dark powers nearly as powerful as Majora—wearing it while fighting Majora turns him into a laughably easy Anticlimax Boss. Link doesn't seem to have a problem with the mask, though, probably because he's, well, Link.
  • The Masque of Clavicus Vile in The Elder Scrolls.
  • The Carnival of Shadows masks in City of Heroes; the original, owned by the Carnival's leader, is the Soul Jar of a woman who led a similar group in 17th century Venice.
  • Kane's mask in Shining Force is a mind-controlling device created by the Big Bad Darksol. Defeating Kane causes the mask to crack and fall off, returning Kane to his former self.
  • The Snow Queen Mask in the original Persona.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped introduced Aku Aku's Evil Twin Uka Uka, who was retconned into being the series Big Bad. He reprised this role, as well as being a powerup, in Crash Team Racing. However his position has shifted back towards Cortex as of late.
  • The Pokémon Yamask carries a mask that will possess anyone who wears it.
  • The Mask of Dark Earth from Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, a floating ancient evil being which possesses people.
  • The Evil God's mask of Scratches.
  • The Terror Mask from Splatterhouse games.
  • In World of Warcraft victims of the sha often have their possession signified by masks which vary in appearance depending on the source of the infestation, appearing as a perversion of the masks carved by the Monkey King that were used by Shaohao to imprison the sha. Averted with the ones you can buy from the Monkey King on the Timeless Isle and the one given to you by Ken-Ken in one Krasarang Wilds storyline.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) had an episode entitled "Masks of Power". Given the trope page, the plot is pretty obvious.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures season 4 featured the nine Oni Masks, which held the spirits of nine demon generals who commanded nine different tribes of Shadowkhan (the heroes having only faced one type throughout the past three seasons). Anyone who wears an Oni Mask becomes increasingly demonic, although a good person can hold off the effects unless they're forced to summon Shadowkhan.
  • In Adventure Time, the Ice King's crown post "Holly Jolly Secrets".
  • The Mask, yet again. The move from big screen to Animated Adaptation brings with it an interesting possibility: The mask, even when Stanley isn't wearing it, is subtly influencing Edge City to obey cartoon logic, thus allowing improbable supervillains such as Terrible Two and Kablamus to exist.