Eon: "And what's up with the giant head ? It looks ridiculous!"
: "WHAT?!" (cut to inside his ship, where we see that the real Kaos projecting the holographic head is a small, weak guy) "My head is awesome, I tell you! Fear it! Fear my GIANT FLOATING HEAD!"
When the alien Glorious Leader
, Evil Overlord
and Mad Scientist
want the world to know about their nefarious doings, they will usually take control of every TV
(and sometimes even computer screen) to give their Motive Rant
and/or New Era Speech
. However, if they have access to powerful Hologram
projectors they may also/instead project themselves over every city as a Huge Holographic Head.
Needless to say it also includes
a hidden sound system powerful enough most rock bands would kill for (and metal bands would sacrifice fans onstage for) in order to let everyone hear them. For some reason
, subtitles under a big floating holographic head just aren't as impressive as a big booming voice.
If they don't have the tech to do this, they may substitute it by using huge screens on dirigibles or buildings, which is a favorite for dictators.
See also Hologram Projection Imperfection
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- In one Post-Crisis Superman story where Jor-El confronts the Science Council, the Council is represented as Huge Holographic Heads. Jor-El sardonically notes that even when you go to see them in person, you don't see them in person.
- In a Starman issue, when the heroes are diverted to Krypton's past, Jor-El's father Seyg-El has the annoying habit of only speaking through these.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- In Equilibrium messages from the leader of the totalitarianist regime, "Father", does this with massive screens throughout the city. Subverted in that the real Father died years before. DuPont has been impersonating him since then.
- TRON has the MCP, which is gratuitously spoofed by Moses of the Super Best Friends in South Park.
- The Wizard of Oz may be the Trope Codifier.
- The Emperor uses one of these to talk to Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. (In contrast to how other holograms in Star Wars are small full-body projections; the Expanded Universe said that the Emperor reserved the Huge Holographic Head setting for himself).
- Things to Come (1936). Theotocopulos addresses the people of Everytown with his Luddite message via a giant full-length holographic image.
- The Big Bad Xur in The Last Starfighter.
- Daxus in Ultraviolet.
- Totenkopf, played by Zombie Laurence Olivier, has one of these in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
- It was necessary because Olivier had been dead for ten years before the movie was made—the hologram is a CGI recreation compiled from samples of home movies made shortly before his death.
- The "Oedipus Wrecks" segment of New York Stories has the Woody Allen character's Beloved Smother vanishing during a disappearing act of a magic show. Audience expectations are Subverted, however, when she appears as a giant head floating over Manhattan, to torment her son in front of the entire world.
- Sador in Battle Beyond the Stars.
- In The World Is Not Enough during the briefing in MI6 Scotland scene, M shows Bond how the bullet lodged in Renard's head is slowly killing him by blowing up a large holographic depiction of his head and the bullet's travel therein.
- In Superman, Jor-El speaks to and finishes training Kal-El in the Fortress of Solitude using this trope. However, By Superman II it has been downgraded apparently to a projection of his mother on a crystal screen.
- In Burnt by the Sun, a giant poster of Stalin◊ appears at the end, watched by an awestruck peasant and saluted by secret policeman Mitya.
- Simon Jones, the original Arthur Dent, as the Magrathean hologram in The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.
- Subverted in the Star Wars Expanded Universe by the Hutts. As noted above under "Film," Huge Holographic Head mode is reserved for the Emperor himself by Imperial decree. It is mentioned at least once that many Hutts dislike how diminutive tiny-full-body mode made them appear and refuse to use holographic communicators, insisting on being displayed on large 2D viewscreens or by audio only so that they can appear more intimidating.
- In The Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn quietly lampshades this after C'baoth contacts him using "the Emperor's private hologram setting." Pelleon himself notices one of the flaws in the technique, in that C'boath doesn't have the self control and confidence needed, meaning that little flaws and hesitations are amplified for all to see.
- Wraith Squadron has Warlord Zsinj use an oversized holo of himself to talk to an admiral, who adjusts the size downward, saying that he's getting a crick in his neck.
- Big Brother in 1984.
- Partial example: The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, having originated on radio, doesn't bother with the giant head and just has the alien menace speak through the hidden powerful sound system with no visuals. Still notable because the novel actually spares a paragraph to explain how the hidden powerful sound system was achieved.
- In the Chung Kuo series, a surveillance system scanning random people in the lower City levels
- A fantasy example in Codex Alera has powerful Watercrafters able to create lifelike images in pools of water.
- A non-villainous example in The Pendragon Adventure. When Bobby first steps onto Veelox, he's greeted by pitch blackness and Aja Killian's giant, floating, holographic head. He eventually starts wondering whether the hologram reflects the physical reality in any way. Considering what he's been through, you can't really blame him.
- Played for humor in "Reach" by Edward Gibson. The Jerk Ass boss has set up a holoconferencing call to establish what went wrong with their latest space probe. Everyone is shocked when one of the callers appears as a giant head because he accidentally set his camera on closeup.
- The Wizard of Oz: The Wizard takes this form when speaking to Dorothy. The others, though, are treated to different illusions.
Live Action TV
- Giant floating heads are common in Ultraseven X
- The alien visitors in the remade V (2009).
- Londo Mollari from Babylon 5 used such a system to speak to his subjects
- And Sheridan borrowed Draal's system to do the same thing on B5 to announce they were seceding from the Earth Alliance.
- Considering the TRON example above, one wonders if JMS wasn't indulging in a little Actor Allusion.
- The Oz example gets a Shout-Out in Tin Man with the Mystic Man's cabaret show.
- In an homage to the Superman example above, a season 8 episode of How I Met Your Mother has Barney using this in his apartment, first as training for Ted, then for fun, then Robin uses it to scare some people out of the apartment.
- Although not evil, Red Dwarf has the titular ship's computer, Holly, use this as in interface to interact with the main character. Holly's not evil, but definitely mad.
- Zordon, the main exposition source for the first 4 series of Power Rangers, exists solely as a floating head in a tube.
- Named but never seen in his natural form, the alien visitors in 3rd Rock from the Sun' live in perpetual fear of a superior known only as The Big Giant Head, an egotistic monster who takes on human form in a body looking suspiciously like William Shatner.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Nth Degree," an alien race called the Cytherians greets the Enterprise crew via a huge, presumably-holographic head manifesting on the bridge. Unusually for this trope, the Cytherians are benevolent.
- The tours of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds gives Sir Richard Burton this treatment. It went through two variations: the first, from the 2006 tour, was a large, papier-mache "head" over which the hologram was projected. The second, from the 2010 tour, was a full-on CGI recreation of the actor.
- In DC Universe Online, true to tradition, Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude does this.
- Doctor Breen in Half-Life 2.
- Another full body example: in the civilization stage of Spore, religious attacks on a city will include a giant hologram speaking to the city trying to convert it.
- Happens in Sonic Adventure 2 when Dr. Robotnik announces his plans for world domination, shortly before blowing up the moon.
- In the Mass Effect 2 Kasumi DLC, Donovan Hock addresses the player using one of these that fills half the (rather large) room. And the acting is at least as over-the-top as the presentation.
- At the end of the Arrival DLC, Harbinger himself pops up as one of these to vent his annoyance at Shepard for delaying the Reapers yet again, along with the usual "we cannot be stopped" monologue.
- In the first Space Quest, you encounter one of these as part of a puzzle. In the fourth, Vohaul is resurrected as one.
- In Dm C Devil May Cry, Bob Barbas' true form is a giant holographic head seemingly made of data.
- As shown in the quote above, this is how Kaos portrays himself in Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. This is mostly a way to intimidate people, since his real self isn't that scary. Sadly, his hammy tendencies usually ruin it. He basically trades it in for a Humongous Mecha in the second game.
- In StarCraft II, this is Arcturus Mengsk's favorite way of talking to his son and Sarah Kerrigan. It's monochrome green and marred with lines.
- In Shin Megami Tensei IV, King Kenji's demon form is a gigantic head of data, with energy streams violently arcing along it surface.
- Narbonic treats the idea with its usual irreverence:
PEOPLE OF EARTH, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! I choose to address you as a 300-mile holographic projection against the ionosphere solely to secure the attention of Helen Narbon, whom I regret I am unable to join for dinner this evening. I apologize profusely and assure Miss Narbon that when Earth is brought under my heel, she, the planet's loveliest blossom, may have the continent of her choice
. Except Europe. Mother dibsied it.
- The Order of the Stick does this with a magical image of Lord Shojo's head when Belkar activates his Mark of Justice.
- In Bob and George, the leaders of the Soviet Union consult the projected giant floating head of Josef Stalin whenever Communism faces a crisis. Later on, the leaders of the United States consult the giant floating head of Joe McCarthy when faced with a communist threat.
- In Futurama one episode features Jorel, MASTER OF SCHEDULING who uses this to make mundane announcements about the stock market.
- One of these pops up on Mars in Invader Zim, leading Zim to believe that the long-dead Martians were a race of holographic instruction manuals.
- In Beast Machines, Megatron's face appears as this inside the even huger Megatron head that is his base. (He's got something of an ego, yesss.)
- On South Park, Moses in "Jewbilee" and the Prime Minister in "Christmas in Canada".
- During the big finale in Storm Hawks, Master Cyclonis uses one of these to speak to all of Atmos.
- This is how The Sovereign likes to appear in The Venture Bros.. Although given his shapeshifting powers, he could actually make himself look like this.
- In the Australian satire Go to Hell! (1997) by Ray Nowland, Ancient Astronauts G.D. uses this to convice the primitive Earthlings that he is a God. They get less impressed over the centuries, so he has to resort to more physical interventions, like giving King Ramses II a nuclear reactor. Eventually G.D's rebellious son Red (who bares a physical resemblence to Satan) nicks the reactor and uses its holographic projector for more mundane purposes, like scaring away bandits from the Israelites or Flipping the Bird to G.D.