The pinkish colour is makeup.
You, sir, should unmask. Stranger:
Indeed, it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you. Stranger:
I wear no mask. Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.)
No mask? No mask!
A horror trope which has become something of a Dead Horse Trope
, as it's now almost always played for comedy. It involves a character seeing an ugly face and begin pulling at it, on the assumption that it's a mask. Of course, it's actually someone's face and the puller will typically be Horror Struck
. Sometimes a purely comedic variation will occur with wigs if the joke is that a woman looks like a man
. Also closely related to "I'm not pregnant, I'm just obese" jokes. Compare with Your Costume Needs Work
and For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself
. Can be a result of the monster being Mistaken for an Imposter
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Anime and Manga
- Happens to the main character of Angel Densetsu where a new guidance counselor first scolds him for wearing a frightening mask and begins pulling on his face, and then accuses him of mutilating himself to scare people.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, most people assume that Alphonse Elric just really likes wearing armor, since he never even takes his helmet off. In fact, after Al lost his flesh-and-blood body, in order to keep him from dying completely, his soul was bound to the closest substitute in the immediate vicinity, meaning that empty suit of armor ''is'' his body.
- In the 2003 anime, there's an omake episode that has the premise that the characters are actually actors. One of the jokes involves the reveal that the freakish looking Gluttony is not an actor.
- During the Water 7 arc in One Piece, a ban on masks is put into effect (since there was a carnival going on in a nearby town) after a failed assassination attempt on the mayor. An ugly looking woman out to board the sea train can be seen desperately tugging at her face in order to prove that it isn't a mask.
- A straight and kind of subtle example occurs with the villain of the first Tenchi Muyo! movie. Kain is a semi-amorphous black figure wearing what seems to be a white opera mask, though an unusually expressive one. Viewers might well assume it's an affectation that he uses to define where his head is. In the finale, when he gets serious and takes a form like a giant rat, the mask changes as well, illuminating that this is his actual face.
- A very creepy example turns up in an EC story: For years, maybe two, maybe three, this dude has seen this gal with a fabulous figure and a wonderful personality at a Halloween party (and only at that party). Only thing is, she's always wearing this horrible wrinkly witch mask. Finally, he proposes to her, they go get married right after the party- still in their costumes. They consummate their marriage in a hotel, but the kicker is, she turned out the light before they undressed. He dreams that she's still wearing the mask; pulling it off, she wears the same mask underneath. He wakes up, turns on the light, and yep, there she is, wearing the mask. So he pulls it off and... off comes her skin. It was her real face.
- The Joker sometimes likes to pretend he's wearing makeup, but that ain't makeup. Well, except...
- Depending on the Writer, he does sometimes wear lipstick. The bleached skin and the green hair are almost always the real deal, however.
- On their second meeting, Batman tries to unmask Man-Bat.
- Done in a Firebreather comic, where half-dragon Duncan, while on a field trip goes to a mall, and escorted out by security after they insist on him "taking off his mask."
- In the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo's deformed face is mistaken for a mask when he attends the Festival of Fools, leading to an awkward moment when Esmerelda tries to remove his "mask" on stage in front of the entire festival. Thanks to some hasty damage control from Clopin, the crowd gets over their initial horror and embraces Quasi as the King of the festival... until a couple of soldiers start throwing vegetables, after which the mood quickly turns ugly.
- Used in the first Austin Powers movie, although it was perhaps more a case of Not a Wig.
"I'm sorry, Basil. I thought your mother was a man."
- The Archbishop of Canterbury in Johnny English, though in this case it was because Johnny had discovered the villain planned to have a henchman impersonate the Archbishop with a fake rubber mask. The villain, realizing that he had been found out, wisely decided to forego this plan, leading an unaware Johnny to humiliate himself in his attempt to remove the "mask" from the Archbishop's face.
- The Joker in 1989's Batman wore flesh colored makeup to cover up his face, which toxic waste had earlier bleached white.
- Help! - after the cult members get rounded up in a snare knocking out who they think is Ringo (but is first Paul, then John in a latex mask) the Mad Scientist finds the real Ringo, first pulling at his face a few times before yanking him away by the nose.
I can't understand - they kept pullin' at me nose! And mine of all noses!
- Rocky from Mask is asked to take his mask off. It's his face.
Live Action TV
- Used in the first episode of Torchwood. The fact that the guy looks like an alien wearing a normal janitor's jumpsuit plays with you.
- The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou is not normally wearing makeup.
- In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Only Skin Deep", the guy finds out the woman a deranged Serial Killer who murders men and cuts off their faces for her "art" he hooked up with during a Halloween party isn't wearing a mask when he scratches her and draws blood.
- Used in an episode of Angel when Fred's "very normal" parents first meet green-skinned demon Lorne, they refer to him as a man in a bathrobe wearing make-up. Lorne defensively replies that "it's just a little eyeliner."
- Cyrano de Bergerac: In Act I Scene I, Cyrano is described by one of his friends, Raguenau:
Above his Toby ruff
he carries a nose!—ah, good my lords, what a nose is his! When one sees it
one is fain to cry aloud, 'Nay! 'tis too much! He plays a joke on us!' Then
one laughs, says He will anon take it off. But no!—Monsieur de Bergerac
always keeps it on.
- This happens in Persona 4 in the first meeting with Teddie. While Teddie's head isn't a mask at first, it is detachable, to Yosuke's shock when Teddie takes it off to reveal his hollow body.
- Fain of Lusternia. He used to be a handsome leader amongst the Elder Gods, but he partook of too much of the Soulless elixir and his trademark mask became fused to his face. His full title, incidentally, is "Fain of the Red Masque".
- Rendered even creepier by the fact he can still make expressions with it, the metal of the mask violently contorting to reflect his wrath.
- Played for laughs in the second Professor Layton game. When the professor and Luke first run into Inspector Chelmey, who Don Paolo had impersonated in the previous game, Luke immediately assumes it's him again. He has to be pried off the victim, who has no idea why Luke is trying to pull his face off.
- Strong Bad's mask is his face in Homestar Runner.
- In one video by College Humor, which is a parody of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy immediately suspects that a security guard is the culprit. He grabs for the guard's face and pulls it off, revealing...the inside of the guard's face.
- SpongeBob SquarePants once pulled Squidward's face off, thinking it to be a disguise. (Hint: It wasn't.)
- Same thing happened with Mrs. Puffs and the prison guards after SpongeBob and Patrick tried to sneak into prison disguised as guards.
- Used in at least two installments of the Scooby-Doo Direct-to-Video Film Series, namely Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase and Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. The former example happens with some enemies that originally were fake monsters, and the latter with one of the zombies.
- Another Scooby-Doo example is the Halloween 1976 episode, where Shaggy falsely thought Elwood Crane was wearing a mask.
- Hanna-Barbera also did it with Loopy de Loop and Magilla Gorilla.
- Used on The Simpsons at the end of "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 1":
Chief Wiggum: This isn't Mr. Burns' face at all! It's a mask! (pulls on his face) Oh wait, it is Burns. Heh — his wrinkly skin lo — looked like a mask.
- Also, Krusty to Homer in "Homer's Triple Bypass", telling him what heart disease has been like and pointing at his own face: "I got news for ya. This ain't makeup."
- Also inverted by Krusty. In "Bart the Fink", for a while Krusty went under the alias "Rory B. Bellows". The Rory persona looked like a "normal" Simpsons character, that is, with yellow skin, short brown hair and a normal nose. It turns out that it wasn't Krusty without his clown makeup, but Krusty with a disguise that covered his usual clown face... even his red nose was hidden under a fake yellow one!
- Inspector Gadget, in his usual fashion, did this. In "The Infiltration", which involved Master of Disguise Presto Change-o, Gadget tried to pull off a young woman's very pretty face; he believed she was Presto in disguise.
Gadget: All right, so perhaps I was mistaken. I assure you it won't happen again! But if I don't find Presto Change-o soon, the security of the free world could be in jeopardy.
- In one episode of Popeye, Bluto asks the Sea Hag to disguise him via a youth potion which makes him look handsome so he can charm Olive Oyl. Popeye somehow recognized Bluto via the latter's voice, then tries to "takes [sic] off that mask" (to quote Popeye directly) by clawing at Bluto's face, which obviously doesn't work, much to Olive's disconcertion.
- Played with by Drawn Together in a Scooby-Doo parody.