Neo: You can't scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights. I want my phone call.A character's mouth is removed by some means. Only the mouth. Any further and they would become The Blank. As the old saying goes: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The most common gesture accompanying this is to close an imaginary zipper in the air, maybe even accompanied with a zipper sound, and the mouth of the victim close up and stay shut. There are other variants, of course, most quite horrifying. Related to Eyeless Face and The Noseless. Not quite as catastrophic as And I Must Scream (no actions or communication.) Compare with No Mouth, an animation style where characters are drawn without mouths, and Mouth Stitched Shut, in which the lips are sealed by brute force rather than erased.
Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Anderson...what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?
*Neo's lips melt and seal his mouth shut*
Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Anderson...what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?
*Neo's lips melt and seal his mouth shut*
open/close all folders
- An ad for Hardee's (and Carl's Jr.) depicts a robot unwrapping a sandwich from the sponsor, putting it to his face and recognizing that he has no mouth. Slogan: Machines can't eat them. They shouldn't make them. A sad Family-Unfriendly Aesop if ever there was one.
- In the Register for Vote series of Public Service Announcements, consistently with the figure of speech Vote as your expression at least a couple of Announcements hinges heavily on this trope:
- In the 2006 David Lachapelle's Vanity hinged about the Lipsealer, a lipstick supposedly able to grant America's Next Top Model second winner Joanna House, the ability to become unable to form any opinion and indifferent [to political matters]. The lipstick effects turn to terrifying when Joanna is shown with half melted lips, grunting in front of the camera in the desperate attempt to speak up
- In the 2009 Jessica Alba's The Muzzler Jessica Alba is shown as a sleazy telemarketer selling The Muzzler, a Hannibal Lecter like mask able to silence young voters, preventing them from having to express their opinions. Hayden Panettiere shows up in a cutesy Pink dress, mumbling and moaning that she liked so much the idea of being stripped of the responsibility to vote that she got her mask surgically implanted.
Anime & Manga
- Happens in book 26 of Mahou Sensei Negima!, when a captive Anya is loudly protesting whatever Fate is doing to Asuna, and Homura makes a swift gesture with a finger, resulting in Anya's mouth closing like a zipper.
- Fukuro from One Piece, a member of CP9, has a zipper for a mouth, which he must unzip whenever he wants to speak. In spite of this, he's very gossipy and has a tendency to blurt out critical information.
- The mutant Chamber in Marvel Comics blew off his entire lower face when his powers manifested. Technically, he can't even speak — he talks telepathically, with a Funetik Aksent.
- Arseface, from Preacher, is a teenage boy who tried to kill himself, in imitation of Kurt Cobain, by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun. It didn't work. He is left with a giant gaping hole instead of a mouth. He eventually goes on to become a world-famous rock star. Based on the real-life botched suicide of James Vance, although that was allegedly due to hearing subliminal messages in Judas Priest songs.
- In The Books of Magic, one fey has his mouth magically removed when he wouldn't shut up.
- During The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, Eros attempts to sway his evil (and now omnipotent) brother Thanos to surrender using his powers of emotional manipulation. Thanos's angry response (he knows what his brother is trying all too well) is to remove Eros's mouth, which stays gone until the Reset Button is hit near the series's end.
- During the "Emperor Joker" storyline in Superman, Joker removes Batman's mouth. Batman then communicates by Morse code using his jaw. Because he's Batman.
- Thor: First Thunder #2: Loki sets about working mischief by transforming the employees at Donald Blake’s hospital into strange and terrible new forms. Jane Foster is one such victim. She ends up missing a mouth after Loki is done with her. Even more Fridge Horror kicks in when you remember that Loki's lips were once sewn shut, and this incident was a huge part of what embittered him toward Asgard — and Thor — to begin with. What he did to Jane was reflective of the worst thing that had ever happened to him, dealt out to someone else this time.
- Justice League Of America(2006) #23: Zatanna has her own powers turned against her by Amazo, who uses them to “EVOMER S’ANNATAZ HTUOM.” She restores herself to normality by writing out a spell with her own blood.
- New Mutants #21: Trista, a mutant who can control the behaviour of others just by speaking to them, has her mouth magically sealed by an arcane device operated by Doug Ramsey.
- Uncanny X-Men
- In an early issue of W.I.T.C.H., Elyon does this to Taranee when the captured Fire Guardian insists that her friends run from Cedric and his soldiers rather than rescue her.
- Murmur, psychotic member of The Flash's Rogues Gallery, cut out his own tongue and sewed his own mouth shut.
- In Afterlife with Archie Sabrina the Teenage Witch's punishment for reviving Hot Dog and accidentally starting a Zombie Apocalypse is having her mouth removed and being forced to marry Cthulu.
- In the sixth part of the Superman story Time And Time Again, when Etrigan the Demon reveals Morgaine Le Fey's black knight to be Superman during her assault upon Camelot, Merlin the magician bids the hero to speak, only to see that a metal plate has covered his mouth via one of Morgaine's magic spells.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act II: During his combination No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Extreme Mêlée Revenge against Miyabi for raping Mizore, Dark punches him in the face with such force that Miyabi's jawbone snaps clean off.
- Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Planes of Existence: Imperators Fuoco and D'Artificio use this as the highest form of judicial punishment in their Micronation.
Films — Animation
- Spirited Away: Yubaba seals Chihiro's mouth shut with a "zipping up" motion of her hand.
- Toy Story 3: Mrs. Potato Head gets her mouth pulled off when she starts complaining, but her husband snatches it back for her.
- Aladdin: Happens twice with the Genie. The first time, Genie zips up his mouth and the second time, Aladdin does it again to Genie.
Films — Live-Action
- From The Matrix, the first encounter between Agent Smith and Mr. Anderson. When Neo demands his one phone call, Agent Smith responds by erasing his mouth.
- Twilight Zone: The Movie: A young Reality Warper does this to his sister when she snaps at him (as seen here). It's a remake of the TV episode "It's a Good Life" — the original did not feature the trope.
- Toward the end of Beetlejuice, when Barbara tries speaking three times the name of the eponymous ghost to banish him back, Beetlejuice uses his Reality Warper powers to cover her lips with a zipper. However, she just opens it up and manages another "Beetlejuice". Now truly annoyed, Beetlejuice conjures a metal plate to completely shut her mouth.
- In Un Chien Andalou, the man wipes his mouth off, and replaces it with the woman's armpit hair. It makes about as much sense as anything else in this movie.
- In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stryker finally finds a way to shut Wade up by first sewing, and in the finished version, plastering his mouth shut. The Stinger shows the decapitation/fall of the head somehow opened it again.
- A poster for the Silent Hill movie depicts the character Alessa, a little girl, as having no mouth.
- Mr. Nick wipes off the smiles of an entire temple full of monks in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to prove a point to the good doctor. They get better.
- Warlock: The Armageddon: The Warlock pays an unscheduled visit to an office building to retrieve a magical artifact. When the front desk receptionist challenges his right to enter, he puts an end to the conversation by causing flesh to grow over her mouth. Later he mentions the fate of the poor woman to her employer: "She's looking for a new opening."
- The last sentence of the Paul Jennings story Santa Claws has one of the characters utter "I wish you didn't have such a big mouth."
- In Perdido Street Station, there is an ex-con described who because he wouldn't rat on his associates, was "Remade" without a mouth. In order to eat, he cut a hole into his face.
- The X-Files, episode "Je Souhaite", where a Literal Genie is passed around. One man wishes another man would "shut up". You know what happens...
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: The Original Series. When Charlie X finally starts to go off the rails. "There will be no more laughing!" Soon they're all moaning as their faces become blank.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, episode "Q2", q (Q's son, who has been told to stay on Voyager) is approached by cheerful, talkative Neelix. Except he still has his Reality Warper powers. Whoops. Neelix doesn't just get his mouth removed, but also his vocal cords.
- The episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled "Witch". Lishanne gets better.
- In one episode of Blood Ties, a voodoo witch does this to Coreen.
- In the British comedy My Hero there is a compound from ultron called lipweld which literally welds your lips together making your mouth disappear.
- A wizard does this to Tommy early in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. It's just a throwaway gag, though, and has no effect over the episode's plot.
Ethan: Beldorf, give him his mouth back.
Conner: Can he wait til after midterms?
- Haven: In the episode "Sketchy", this along with Eyeless Face, happens to one of the victims.
- The Fades: Paul causes his sister Anna's lips to fuse together when she rudely interrupts a kiss between Paul and Jay.
- The zipper-over-the-mouth version is played for laugh in a sketch of The Benny Hill Show.
- In a Monty Python animated spot, a smarmy announcer is talking until his mouth has enough and leaves his face - the announcer chases it around, catches it, and nails it back into place.
- The art for the Magic: The Gathering card Silence shows this.
- Unknown Armies: A signature Epideromancer attack. One spell allows the caster to manipulate an area of flesh roughly the size of one's palm. Its most common use in canon is to seal a victim's mouth and nose shut. Have we mentioned it's a horror game? Have we mentioned that Epideromancy is freely available (beyond the craziness and sadism required to get magic power from self-mutilation) to player characters?
- The characters in the Little Apple Dolls doll line don't have mouths.
- Clive Barker's Undying: Tiring of her brother's smart-aleck comments, Bethany chained up Aaron in a dungeon and ripped off his jaw before leaving him to be flensed alive by rats, then hid it in her cottage! The PC, while being repeatedly attacked by hoards of things sicced on him by the tormented Aaron, must find the jaw, break into the dungeon Aaron is chained up in, and place it back on Aaron's corpse.
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Raziel's lower jaw is one of the many casualties of his time spent dissolving in the Abyss. Oddly enough, this in no way hinders his ability to speak. Given his status as a spectral ghoul capable of shifting between the worlds of the living and the dead, the superfluous nature of all his internal organs given his missing abdomen and the many reality-defying powers he has, his jaw-deficit Shakespearian elocution is a fairly minor facet of his abilities.
- Twisted Metal: Head-On
- The "motorcycle" Shock Site image, in which a man apparently blew off most of his face with a shotgun in a Bungled Suicide.
- In Violent Sky, a Knife Nut agent "silences" the genius of the protagonist's side by stabbing her in the back of the head and cutting a nerve for expressing thoughts. The victim is later implanted with an AI who's meant to impose her until her body dies of old age. Her nerve self-healed by luck later.
- A common Looney Tunes gag is the "zipper over the mouth" variety of muffling a character. In Bugs and Thugs, Giant Mook Mugsy takes the expression "button your lip" in the most literal way possible.
- Happens in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Be Careful What You Wish For". The evil Literal Genie does this to an NYC subway agent.
- In Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century, Dodgers demands that Eager Young Space Cadet Porky perform the trope. He does so rather literally.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy
- Ed has a nightmare that his mother is... Johnny 2x4. At some point, Johnny tells Ed to "wipe that smile off of his face," which causes Ed's mouth to disappear. If that weren't horrifying enough, Johnny then sentences Ed to be tossed into a pit of shark-like versions of the Kanker sisters, which causes Ed to tear his face back open to get a new mouth to scream with.
- In another episode, the Eds stumble on an alternate universe. After discovering that the Eds have removed Jimmy's outline, Sarah starts to chew them out, until Eddy pulls her mouth off. However, she can still use it, and it bites his face.
- Teen Titans: An alternate version of Robin and Expy of Bat-Mite who acts like a crazed fanboy and has a magic finger, breaks reality, making the world look like, as Cyborg put it, "it came off my grandma's fridge." Beast Boy loses his mouth, and in order to talk, pulls Raven's off and puts it on his face. He then talks with her voice. Later, when trying to figure out how to fix it, Raven pulls off Cyborg's mouth and puts it on her face, then talks with his voice while Cyborg uses Starfire's mouth to talk with before they all get fed up with it and give everyone their proper mouth back. When BB finally recovers his mouth, he puts it on BACKWARDS, resulting in reversed speech!
- In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Nose Mouth" Cyborg once again looses his mouth to Raven.
- I Am Weasel: Baboon's hand becomes magical and he makes wishes with his hand. Near the end, Weasel gets fed up with the wishes he makes, he wishes Baboon to shut up and, before Baboon can make another wish, his mouth disappears.
- House of Mouse: "Congratulations, you would like to: Pay your bill."
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy "Zip it, Mindy."
- The Super Hero Squad Show: In the episode “the Fate of Destiny!” Nebula has her mouth sealed by the Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Thanos. Thanos grants Nebula’s wish to have a gag removed from her mouth by magically removing the mouth from her face. She escapes his clutches and, still sans mouth, returns in a later episode, "When Strikes the Surfer!" where she has her face restored to normality by Molecule Man.
- In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Plucky Comic Relief Orco tries to borrow time by using his magic on the leader of the snake men, King Hiss, to seal his mouth shut with a trap so he won't recite a powerful incantation. Being a multi-headed snake creature, King Hiss simply manifests his four extra heads from his arms and continues with the spell, only to have THOSE mouths shut with traps as well.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Boast Busters", Twilight puts a zipper on Spike's mouth with her magic to stop him from boasting in her stead to Trixie.
- In the episode "Magic Duel", Trixie deletes Pinkie Pie's muzzle. She deletes the flash "Pinkie Pie Muzzle" model (as the show is animated in Flash) by opening the Flash GUI and dragging it to the recycle bin. Twilight returns Pinkie to normal during an Iris Out gag.
- In "Dungeons & Discords", Discord does this to himself by closing a zipper over his mouth, after promising Spike that his "romantic delusions" are safe with him. This doesn't stop Discord from talking in spite of the zipper a few seconds later.
- Ratty performs the zipper variant of this trope on Mole in the third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Kung Fu Campout", after Mole said something stupid.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode, "The Joy", Gumball, according to Ms. Simian, is "infected" with "joy", a disease that makes Gumball unable to stop smiling and being cheerful. He attempts to stop smiling by literally ripping his mouth off of his face and slapping it back on, upside down. It then forcibly rotates right-side-up while still on his face.
- In The Venture Bros. Christmas episode, Dr. Orpheus desperately magically clamps a metal plate over Dean's mouth (see Beetlejuice) to stop him from reciting an incantation summoning the Krampus - a moment too late.
- In Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, Carmen does this to the Chief.
- In the MAD episode "The Fantastic Megan Fox", Megan takes away Angelina Jolies mouth and uses it for her own face.
- Deep-sea tubeworms, which live off nutrients generated chemosynthetically by bacteria in their gills, lost their mouths because they no longer needed to ingest food.
- As deuterostomes, humans — like all other chordates — go through a very early developmental phase when they have an anus but no mouth. The opening that will become the mouth doesn't arise until the end of the gastrula phase.