Ghosts (and some other forms of supernatural creature) are often depicted with their eyes or mouth as deep black hollows, often accompanied by the mouth gaping wide, either slack or screaming. Eyes so depicted might be missing pupils, sclera or even eyelids, while mouths may lack teeth or lips. In extreme cases the shapes of the mouth or eyes may be unnaturally rounded or distended.
In some cases the presence may imply a loss (or lack) of humanity, and be reversed should that humanity be regained (or gained in the first place).
One way or another, the effect can be unsettling; perhaps it's the lack of the emotional cues that those features provide, or the aforementioned loss of humanity, or simply a descent into the Uncanny Valley
The Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl
may have eyes like this, and they're commonly (and often the only) facial features of the Bedsheet Ghost
. Compare Glowing Eyelights of Undeath
, with which this may be paired to create eyes like gaping pits surrounding pinpricks of light.
A subtrope of Nightmare Face
. Overlaps with Black Eyes of Evil
; see also Looks Like Cesare
and Hidden Eyes
. Compare/Contrast Evil Eyeshadow
, and compare Scary Flash Light Face
, which can produce an appearance much like this.
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Anime & Manga
- YuYu Hakusho's Shishiwakamaru can summon ghosts with this kind of face in addition to his sword getting this kind of face via opening it's hilt to reveal that it contains strange, muscular tissue with said face.
- In Nanatsu No Taizai, during the nightmare sequence in which Gowther Mind Rapes Dreyfus with his powers, the still impaled and bleeding corpse of Zaratras, Dreyfus' brother whom he murdered, appears. As Dreyfus cowers in guilt at this apparition, its eyes and mouth become dark empty abysses which spew out blood all over Dreyfus.
Film — Live-Action
- Salvage/Gruesome: Near the end, the (presumed) spirits of the two teenage victims have this appearance; bonus points for standing uncannily still, their faces tilted up.
- The Grudge has the ghost of the little boy, whose mouth is deeply black within.
- Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz. Having escaped from his cell before the Nazis can use him for their experiments, Russian commando Dolokhov hides in another cell when he hears patrolling guards, but realises he's not alone in there. A bald-headed man is standing in the shadows, giving a Quizzical Tilt. Dolokhov peeks back outside, then suddenly realises the man is crouched right next to him. The man's eyes morph into Black Eyes of Evil and his jaw drops to an impossible depth — Dolokhov gets the hell out of there.
- In most versions of A Christmas Carol (including the original book) Marley's ghost wears a bandage around his head to keep his jaw from hanging down, and at one point takes it off in order to frighten Scrooge even more.
- The "Ghostface" mask (as seen in Scream) might be seen as a "classic" Ghostly Gape.
- In Gottlieb's Haunted House, many of the ghosts — and even some of the objects in the house — have jagged black eyes and mouths.
- Hello? Hell...o?. The ghosts of Akari and Kazuki have black, nearly-round eyes and mouths. (See here)
- One of the ghosts encountered in The Lost Crown, as shown in the page image.
- At least one apparition in Dread Out has this appearance◊ (albeit with white eyes above a black mouth).
- The infamous Uboa of Yume Nikki, who resembles the Scream mask a lot.
- In the first Animal Crossing game, forgetting to save while in another save file's town will render the character without their possessions... including their face. The poor villager will be stuck with holes where their eyes and mouth used to be until the game is started up again. This is to say nothing of the Gyroids and the NPC rabbit named Coco, who all permanently have this expression in all games.
- These show up with the hostile ghosts as enemies in the game Nanashi no Game.
- The ghost from Black Rose now has one of these in the revamped version.
- Golden Freddy, resident Easter Egg/Legacy Boss Battle of Five Nights at Freddy's and its sequel, has no eyes and a slack jaw, in addition to having his head tilted to the left. Understandably, he's the most dangerous of all the animatronics; in the first game, he can crash your entire game, while in 2, modifying his AI only changes how often he appears; he's always really, really fast and capable of killing you from the hallway, before he's even in the room.note
- The Phantom Shadows from the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Night of Fright is No Delight" have orange spots for eyes and a gaping orange mouth.