are already pretty scary, but some villains just want more. But the faces under
the helmets aren't particularly fearsome
, and Spikes of Villainy
just don't cut it. Something to suggest the pain these guys are gonna bring...
Solution: make the helmet itself
look angry. Enter the Rage Helm
This is when a helmet's visor is embossed with a furious face or something similarly frightening. Merely having scary-looking eye-slits doesn't count, although features that just vaguely suggest a wrathful expression might. Stern looks also count, and might even be scarier than the raging ones. Mecha-Mooks
might have this, depending on how their "faces" look. Compare and contrast Malevolent Masked Men
(for when the scary visor is the whole point) and Expressive Mask
(which actually changes
expression). See also Faceless Goons
and Gas Mask Mooks
. A common feature of Scary Impractical Armor
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Anime & Manga
- The MS-07 Gouf series of Mobile Suits in have a distinctive triangular protrusion hanging down from the middle of their mono-eye visors, giving them a perpetually scowling look.
- The MS-14 Gelgoog series have stern looks due to their wide, flat 'brows' and narrow visors. Uma Lightning's variant deserves credit for looking like it's actually trying to glare someone to death.
- The Physalis Gundam also has an unusually malevolent looking face, with a curious, angry looking red "mouth" in place of the iconic twin horizontal vent slits.
- As does the Legilis (Regulus?) Gundam in Gundam AGE.
Films — Live-Action
- In the movie of Prince Caspian, Miraz's forces wear helmets embossed with a fearsomely snarling face, and Miraz himself wears a slightly fancier one.
- Iron Man: The closure line of Stark's Iron Man helmet suggests a thin-lipped scowl.
- Star Wars
- Darth Vader's helmet has a chillingly penetrating stare. Appropriate as the concept was based on samurai armor (see Real Life below.)
- Stormtroopers are intended to look this way, with their frowning mouth grills vaguely resembling a grimace, but they look more sad to some people.
- Dark Helmet from Spaceballs is an over-the-top parody of Vader.
- Evil Robot Maximillian in The Black Hole has that bright red eye with a furrowing brow sculpted/painted above it, making it look like he's permanently scowling.
- The immortals in 300. Not that they need it, really.
- The Dragon in Willow has a helmet with a terrifying skull face that really leaves an impression.
- Agamemnon's helm in Time Bandits.
- Starting with Tim Burton's Batman movies, every film version of Batman's costume has frowning eyebrows sculpted into the cowl.
- In Zardoz, the Exterminators wear grimacing Zardoz masks.
- In the Lone Wolf gamebook series, the Drakkarim — Elite Mooks of the Darklords — always wears metal helmets with scary facemasks, most often skull-shaped, in battle. To the point this is frequently the main feature used to describe them.
- Discworld likes to mock this trope. They appear in Interesting Times and Pyramids. In Pyramids the soldiers wear them even during innocuous conversation, and some of the palace guards in Interesting Times have actually cultivated the art of going to sleep in their feet, confident of not being detected behind the expressions of metal rage on their visors.
- In The Silmarillion, dwarvish helms apparently were like these. One of these helms becomes significant as the signature item of the hero Túrin Turambar.
- A Song of Ice and Fire. The Hound has a helm resembling a snarling dog. It comes to represent the dark part of his personality as well as that of other people who wear it.
- The Blood Pact of Gaunt's Ghosts wear bronze masks cast as snarling, angry faces when they go into battle. If that was not intimidating enough, they also undergo ritual scarification and intentionally stain their uniforms with blood.
- The high-ranking Jaffa soldiers in Stargate SG-1 tend to wear full-face masks depicting the inspiring Egyptian, animal-headed god of their commanding Goa'uld, either snake heads for the Serpent Guards or hawk heads for the Horus Guards. Those are quite scary, except for Setesh guards' helmets. Apparently, the latter are the subject of many jokes among the Jaffa, jokes whose humor is Lost in Translation.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and several other Power Rangers/Super Sentai series have Mooks and Monsters of the Week with sculpted mouths on their helmets. The rangers' helmets often feature sculpted mouths as well, but the trope is inverted in their case since their helmets' mouths are universally sculpted into neutral/calm expressions.
- Scary helmets◊ are the default for Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines. Righteous fury is extolled amongst them, after all. Taken Up to Eleven with the fanmade Angry Marines chapter, pictured above. To say nothing of the Chaplains◊ and their skull-shaped helmets...
- The Chaos Space Marines follow suit, some legions have spiky helmets for extra intimidation, and some legions have distinguishing features, the Night Lords have bat wings on their helmets designed to look really intimidating.
- BattleTech: Rage Helm plus Humongous Mecha = Atlas. The Atlas head is sculpted to resemble a skull and as such is technically incapable of displaying any emotion, though many Atlases are customized to look angry. The Atlas II, a mech reserved for the elite units of the Star League, has an especially angry head◊.
- Screaming giant robot skull face? Screaming giant robot skull face◊. Behold the BNC-series of Battlemechs, known as the Banshee. Only 5 tons lighter than the Atlas and still plenty intimidating at first glance.
- Mutant Chronicles: The Venusian Rangers◊ come with skull-faced helmets as standard issue.
- A couple of the helmets in Vindictus have scary faces on them, notably the Beholder Mask. Vindictus is also the Trope Namer, but the item in question is not this trope; it's actually a helm enchanted to cause Unstoppable Rage.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Inverted with Ordinator (Indoril) helmets from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. These display an emotionless Frozen Face. Played straight, however, with Almalexia's war mask, and with the Daedric helmets.
- The Tamriel Rebuilt Game Mod (which seeks to expand Morrowind by adding the rest of the province of Morrowind) indicates that there are specialized Ordinator groups whose helmets are altered to show other emotions. The ones who have shown up thus far are the Ordinators in Mourning, the guards for the necropolis of Necrom, whose helmets are designed to look like Nerevar (supplementary materials back around Morrowind said that the Ordinator helmet was based on Nerevar's face) crying.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's Dwarven Helmets exhibit this, with the faceplate of the mask crafted to look like a perpetually furious Dwemer (unless your character is female, in which case it's smiling). And again with the Daedric Helmets...
- The Wolf Armour helmet has a cheek-guard shaped to resemble a wolf's jawbone.
- The Carved Nordic Armour introduced with the Dragonborn DLC, has a helm shaped like a bear.
- The Fallout series' Enclave have Powered Armor helmets so intimidating that, in the third game and Fallout: New Vegas, they reduce your Charisma by one point! Not that it makes much difference. In the third game, they're nicknamed "devil suits" in-universe, as the Enclave suits resemble, er, devils with pointed horns.
- Legate Lanius's demonic helmet, which comes with a scowling facemask.
- Also the helmets worn by some Marked Men on the Lonesome Road. The best are near-perfect replicas of Lanius' helmet, but a step below that are the ones that are imcomplete, cracked, and deformed.
- Several helmets in Blacklight Retribution put a nasty-looking face on the helmet, such as the Bonebreaker, which is a scowling skull.
- Concept art for Commander Rimanah in EYE Divine Cybermancy had him wearing a grinning skull helmet◊. However, in-game both he and your Mentor wear serene facemasks. The Mentor's facemask even has a beard!
- A scowling helmet known as Dragon Helm in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is described as frightening to enemies, and it halves their defense because of it.
- Samurai helmets tended to have scary faceplates.
- In an aversion, certain Roman soldiers wore metal face masks, but they always had impassive expressions to represent the gods.
- Soviet gas masks often were colored white and had small eye windows, making them look eerily like skulls. Since they conceal nearly all of the face, this adds to the Uncanny Valley effect, making designs like the PBF◊, and the PMG◊, look rather imposing, but the PMK◊ comes closest to the trope, but the GP-5◊ is definitely the scariest. Because of three key facts, which are that it is much easier and economical to make gas masks with small windows, that modern combat seldom takes place at close range, and form follows function, it is highly unlikely that the masks were designed intentionally to be intimidating.