Ready for your operation?note
"Let's put a smile on that face!"
When a character suddenly breaks into an ear-to-ear grin, it's a Cheshire Cat Grin
. When this is permanently part of their facial structure, whether they're happy or not, it's a Glasgow Grin
. It may have curlicues or stitches at the ends. This also happens a lot with puppets, intentionally or not.
Named, of course, after the Glasgow Smile, an act of violence
where you hold someone's mouth open with a knife and cut a smile into the victim's face. Not all characters with a Glasgow Grin have been scarred; some of them were born with it. Generally, characters with Glasgow grins tend to be evil, insane, or both.
If it is a protagonistic character who is not a villain, it also just shows that they are somewhat of a dark
character. It's sometimes known as a Chelsea Smile, in reference to the London football team
, whose more violent fans
were reputed to inflict it on people as a Finishing Move
, or as a Traveller's Smile
, also called "sourire de l'ange" (the angel's simile) in french.
Compare with Cheshire Cat Grin
and Slasher Smile
. Contrast Perpetual Frowner
. An inversion is Mouth Stitched Shut
. Subtrope of Facial Horror
open/close all folders
- There's an infamous ad for Durex condoms that shows a woman with bandages at the edges of her mouth (the implication apparently being that her recent partner's endowment was a little too big.)
Anime & Manga
- The eponymous character of Franken Fran has stitches going ear to ear.
- Kakihara from Ichi the Killer; it was inflicted on him by some of his fellow gang members, though he let them.
- The Perverse Puppet Chachazero of Mahou Sensei Negima! smiles while saying the most twisted or acidic of things, if only for the fact that she was carved that way.
- Kakuzu of Naruto has most of his joints modified by his kinjutsu to come apart at will; this results in disturbing Glasgow Grin-like disfiguration of his face. While in the four-tails form, Naruto also displayed this, though it healed after.
- After injecting himself with Orochimaru's genes, Kabuto has a new snakelike form. In this form he can open his mouth so wide it practically rips open. This results in clear cut marks on the sides of his mouth even when it's closed.
- The Ten Tailed Beast has one filled with rows of jagged teeth.
- Heinkel from Hellsing gets one of these toward the end after taking a sniper round through the mouth. She doesn't seem too bothered by it, but it makes her dialogue a nightmare to read.
- Joejoe of Toriko has what looks like stitches on the entire length of his mouth, which runs for the entire width of his visible face. Zebra has half of a Glasgow Grin - his left cheek is torn, exposing his teeth up to the wisdom ones. It might be intentional - he claims it's useful for shoveling food in, and might be possibly useful for all his shout-based attacks. For a short time, Zebra's cheek was sewn together, but the stitches gave way quickly.
- Doctor Hogback in One Piece has stitches that extend beyond his permanent smile to encircle his whole face. It fits right in with his expertise of Frankensteinian assembly of corpses via stitching. Despite this smile, Hogback can express a full range of emotions via body language.
- Several of the Titans in Attack on Titan. The Most Triumphant Example is the Female Titan in opens her mouth so wide it splits so she can devour/capture Eren after defeating his Titan form. She pretty much redefines Body Horror.
- The Comedian in Watchmen has half a Glasgow grin, after being slashed by a Vietnamese woman whom he'd gotten pregnant.
- Though not typical, some artists do depict The Joker this way, particularly in out-of-continuity stories such as Brian Azzarello's Joker graphic novel.
- The Batman Confidential story arc Lovers and Madmen, a re-telling of the Joker's origin, had the Joker given his Glasgow Smile by a thrown Batarang.
- On a similar note, the Joker's Earth-3 counterpart, the Jokester, did have one of these from his encounter with Owlman I and Talon.
- The Ame-Comi universe's version of Duela Dent, the Joker's Daughter, received such scars after being attacked by dozens of bats.
- Mr Rictus from Wanted has this, though it's due to horrible burns rather than cutting.
- The Green Lantern series has Karu-Sil of the Sinestro Corps, a Wild Child who cut off her lips and sharpened her teeth into fangs so she could look more like the large beasts that adopted her, giving her a permanent predatory grin.
- Inverted with Whiteface, the Squadron Supreme's Alternate Company Equivalent of the Joker. After being assaulted in prison, he's left with a set of scars that make him look constantly sad. Differs from a Perpetual Frowner in that other than the scars, he has no affect display at all.
- A Hellblazer story-line had Constantine encountering a version of the Chelsea Smilers.
- In American Vampire, Hattie has one of these after losing a fight with another vampire.
- Klak from Pocket God has half a Glasgow grin on the left side of his face. He's not a bad guy, just clumsy.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a cute, cuddly-wuddly cartoon featuring adorable ponies. The chief smiler, Pinkie Pie, makes it her job to put a smile on everypony's face. In the dark and violent fanfic Pagliacci, however, Pinkie Pie puts THIS smile on everypony's face... because she has one, too. Yes, it's Nightmare Fuel.
- Hivefled: this is what happened to Gamzee when his Monster Clown and Stepford Smiler parents got frustrated with his refusal to pretend to be happy through all the terrible things they did to him.
- In Cloneserpents' "Screams" series Harry has one due to extensive torture by Death Eaters. Hermione, who's equally tortured and equally insane, refers to him as her "Smiling Man."
- Mr. Sardonicus. AKA: Glasgow Grin: The Horror Movie.
- In Coraline, the Other Wybie has a perpetual, blankly cheerful smile on his face. When it starts to falter, the Other Mother attempts to keep it that way, permanently...with a needle and thread.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sally has a wide-stitched mouth, but only a fairly small central part of it seems actually functional as a mouth.
- In The Dark Knight, the Joker has had his mouth cut open at the corners in lieu of the character's traditional rictus grin. The origin of these scars is left "unknown". During the movie he appears to give one to Gambol.
- Which, interestingly enough, brings the chain of references full-circle: The comicbook Joker's rictus grin was based off Gwynplaine from the film version of The Man Who Laughs—who had a Glasgow Smile in the original novel.
- The Bride gives one to a hapless Mook during her battle with the Crazy 88. Compared to some of the other wounds she inflicted, it's hardly the worst way to go.
- In Pan's Labyrinth, Captain Vidal gets half a Glasgow Grin on his right cheek, courtesy of Mercedes.
- Matt Cordell, the eponymous villain in Maniac Cop trilogy, received one when he got shanked in prison.
- Robin shoots one to The Dragon Godfrey in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.
- The film Green Street sees Matt threatened this by a group of Birmingham Football Hooligans. Being hooligans, of course, they refer to this as a Chelsea Grin.
- Keiko sports one after her transformation to the latter half of Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl.
- One of the most fearless of the Dead Rabbit warriors in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York is a large Irishman named Jack Mulraney whose left cheek is curved up in a permanent grin thanks to a long-ago knife injury. Because of this peculiarity, the other gang members call him "Happy Jack."
- Kakihara (from Ichi the Killer) sports one. Except it hasn't healed and is held together with rings at the corners of his lips.
- In Saw 6, Detective Hoffman gets half of one of these as he barely escapes a reverse beartrap with his jaw intact. There is a scene in the seventh movie where he stitches his torn cheek shut.
- In Wrong Turn, Francine meets her end when one of the murderous, cannibalistic hillbillies sneaks up behind her and uses barbed wire to tear her mouth open. We later get several prolonged views of her mutilated face when the hillbilly trio bring her corpse back to their cabin.
- Psychotic clown Sergio sports one of these in The Last Circus.
- The original film example is The Man Who Laughs, whose face was permanently deformed into a grin as a punishment for his father's misdeeds.
- I Saw the Devil has a horrifying variation, wherein one of the cannibals gets "A permanent smiley face" by having his lower jaw pulled until his cheeks begin to split.
- Godzilla has a "born with it" variation in Godzilla (2014), though it's only really visible when he opens his mouth to roar or use his atomic breath. Its design seems to be based off the similar "smiles" of many real life reptiles.
- Mr. Grin from Stormbreaker, a former circus performer who used to catch a knife between his teeth as the finale of his act, until the time he was distracted at the crucial moment. In addition to the scars on his cheeks, he has no tongue.
- The title character of The Man Who Laughs, by Victor Hugo. Despite having this trope, he isn't that bad.
- In the Discworld novels, author Terry Pratchett plays with this when he writes about Death, who carries the personage of the grim reaper. "Death grinned" is a frequently used description, averting mention of the fact that he never stops grinning, being a skeleton in a robe.
- Early in Fight Club the protagonist gets a hole punched in his cheek, which he covers with two fingers when he drinks coffee. Later he tries to commit suicide by fighting fifty guys, splitting the cheek completely. The he shoots out the other cheek. He points out that he now looks like a piece of vandalism from earlier in the book.
- Katniss from The Hunger Games would've gotten one if Thresh hadn't stepped in when he did.
- In Clive Barker's The Thief of Always, Rictus has a Glasgow Grin.
- Also Mr. Sardonicus. The short story version.
- In Joanne Harris's Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, Inès Bencharki turns out to have one of these.
- Vestara from Fate of the Jedi has a deformity near her mouth that gives her the appearance that she is smirking. The fact that it resembles a smirk is also the only reason the Lost Tribe of the Sith let her live (as they don't want their members to have birth defects).
- Mentioned in "Journal of a UFO Investigator" by David Halperin. The MIB discuss to cut the protagonist one "so he looks better". (At least that he is spared.)
- The Rifter: Kyle has the "Glasgow smile" scar. He was a supposedly celibate initiate at a monastery; the senior priest Dayyid cut him as a mark of shame after catching him with a man in an alley. Dayyid needed him to become the Kahlil and so couldn’t have him publicly accused of homosexuality and executed, but everyone in Rathal’pesha knew what the scar meant and he was utterly ostracised.
Legends and Mythology
- Kuchisake Onna, a woman in Japanese legend, wanders around wearing a mask over her slashed ear-to-ear mouth and asking people whether she's beautiful. What happens after this varies, but it always includes the threat of her slitting your cheeks like hers, whether you say "yes" or "no" (the word she uses for "pretty" is a homophone of the verb form of "cut", which is why she will attack you if you say yes). Some versions also give her More Teeth than the Osmond Family on top of it, just to up the creepiness factor. However, there are several third options for dealing with her, such as apologizing that you have to be somewhere else right now or saying you're neutral or ambivalent on her appearance.
- On Dollhouse, Alpha gives one to Victor, though it later heals.
- In season 3 of Nip/Tuck, this is the identifying mark of victims of The Carver.
- There's a minor character on Wizards of Waverly Place who has this.
- On the season 3 finale of Sons of Anarchy, Chibs (see "Tommy Flanagan" in Real Life, below) gives Jimmy O a payback Glasgow Grin just before killing him.
- Marcie, the invisible girl, threatens to do this to Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- In the Masters Of Horror episode "Imprint", the disfigured prostitute has half of one as a result of a genetic defect.
In the context of the line, Pepe is dead,and his mugshot is used to fool authorities into thinking people are dead.
- Chimneyspeak's Chelsea Grinn has one that completely bisects both cheeks. One of the for-pay side stories, "Smile", gives the backstory of how she got it.
- In Judecca it's Nayako's defining feature.
- Zoophobia's Skoni has this, though whether or not it's a scar isn't known.
- The Jester, master of Le Cirque d'Aberrations, has one of these as a magically-induced deformity.
- Jeff The Killer, of Creepy Pasta fame (and best known for the infamous "Go to Sleep" picture), carved himself one in the attached story.
- Red from Ruby Quest used to sport one, courtesy of Ruby herself. It healed, but it developed into a Slasher Smile.
- In Worm Jack Slash inflicts half of one on Tattletale.
- Punsy McKale in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has a permanent smile. It gets kind of sad when he's offended that someone's laughing at him when he himself is actually very sad after losing a pun-off and sheds a Single Tear.
- The very first episode of Batman Beyond features a Joker pulling a huge knife on Terry and declaring his intention to "put a smile on his face." This is probably something Jokerz do a lot.
- Character actor Tommy Flanagan (who was in Braveheart and Gladiator, among other things) has what a healed Glasgow Smile really looks like, having received one after being jumped outside a bar. Also Tommy Flanagan is from Glasgow. His most frequent role is as Chibs in the series Sons of Anarchy where his scar is part of the plot.
- The body of Elizabeth Short note was found with a Glasgow Grin carved into her face.
- David Faber, a Holocaust survivor, once visited a school and calmly told an auditorium of middle schoolers how his Nazi interrogators put a vice inside his brother Romek's mouth and proceeded to - slowly - crank it open until Romek's jaw broke and his cheeks tore open. All this to get information from David, who knew nothing about what they were asking him about.
- UFC featherweight champion José Aldo received a partial one in a childhood accident. Though healed, the scar is easily noticeable.
- Union general William Rosencrans of the American Civil War had been injured badly in a fire; he got reconstructive surgery on his face that left him looking like he was permanently smirking.