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Villainous Face Hold

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A villain forces their victim to look them in the eye.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Clanger00 on Jun 28th 2018 at 7:36:02 PM
Last Edited By:
Clanger00 on Aug 17th 2018 at 10:40:36 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/peter_hook.jpg

A villain has the Damsel in Distress or Distressed Dude at his mercy and wants to intimidate, humiliate, or otherwise subjugate his prisoner. One way to do this is to grab the chin or jaw of a captive and force them to look the villain in the eye whilst he gloats or threatens them. This could happen with a demoralised captive who is looking at the ground, a captive who is distracted by something and the villain wants to be the object of attention, or a captive actively avoiding looking the villain in the eye due to the villain's powers. Less commonly happens with a Defiant Captive, who is probably already making eye-contact with the villain.

In most cultures, the face is considered one of the more intimate parts of the body and face touching is usually reserved for friends and family. A villain touching someone's face would therefore be considered a violation of personal space, and an easy way of showing they have a high degree of control/power over their captives.

Can be paired with I Have You Now, My Pretty, and related tropes, though this trope does not have to be sexual in nature, and can be employed by a villain simply to mock/intimidate the hero.

Compare Neck Lift, Angry Collar Grab, and Face Palm Of Doom (where the face grab is intended to be painful).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In a filler episode of the Kuroshitsuji anime, Angela has Sebastian chained to a wall, and she uses the handle of her whip to lift Sebastian's chin up so that she can see his face while she mocks him.
  • In early Gensoumaden Saiyuki, a leery guy holds Sanzo's face still whilst complimenting him on his feminine beauty.

    Comic Books 
  • During the "Hyper-tension!" arc of Superboy 1994, Black Zero uses his telekinesis to hold Kon-El still and force him to look at him while he monologues at his captive audience.

    Film — Animation 
  • Having lured Basil, The Great Mouse Detective to his lair, Ratigan ambushes the hero with a faux surprise party. After tearing away Basil's fake mustache, Ratigan toys with Basil, holding Basil's chin while sarcastically complimenting him on his seafarer disguise.
  • In Tarzan, when Clayton has captured Tarzan on the ship, he uses the barrel of his gun to lift Tarzan's chin up so he's forced to look him in the eye when Clayton reveals his betrayal.
  • In Hercules, when Hades has taken Meg hostage. He grabs her face and makes her look at him (Hades) and then at Hercules in order to mock Hercules.
  • Disney's Aladdin
    • In the first film, Jafar does this to both Jasmine and Aladdin. When mocking Jasmine over Aladdin's status as a peasant, he uses his staff to lift her face up so he can see her expression. He mocks Aladdin further by grabbing his face and then slaps him.
    • In the sequel film Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Jafar again does this with Jasmine as she's chained to a wall, but she bites his hand.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo does this multiple times to Quasimodo. He grabs the face of an upset Quasimodo and forces him to look up at him whilst mocking him over his only friends being the stone gargoyles. He grabs Quasimodo's face again during his Villain Song, where, in an attempt to control Quasimodo, Frollo tells Quasimodo he'll be killed if he ever leaves the bell tower.
  • In The Jungle Book Mowgli runs into Kaa a second time, and Kaa repeatedly uses his tail to try to force Mowgli to look him in the eyes so he can hypnotise him. Shere Khan later does this to Kaa himself, lifting the snake's face up with one of his claws whilst threateningly recommending he inform Khan if he spots Mowgli again.
  • In the Peter Pan sequel Return to Never Land, as shown in the page image, Captain Hook lifts a captured Peter's chin up using his hook so that he can see his face whilst he gloats.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    • In the first film, Ursula holds Ariel's jaw with one of her tentacles and forces Ariel look at her, whilst feigning concern for her fractured relationship with her father and her inability to be on land. She does this to better pressure Ariel to bargain with her.
    • In the sequel The Little Mermaid II, Morgana has Ariel caught in one of her tentacles and grabs her jaw to make her look at her, in order to mock Melody.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, a Cy-bug corrupted Turbo/Candy King has captured Ralph and holds his jaw still so that he's forced to watch Sugar Rush be consumed by Cy-bugs. As he does this, he taunts Ralph about how Vanellope will be killed as she is unable to leave the game.
  • In Tangled, while Mother Gothel is singing "Mother Knows Best", she grabs and squishes Rapunzel's face while gazing "lovingly" into her eyes, immediately after a line that mocks Rapunzel's weight and intelligence. Gothel does this to patronise Rapunzel as she wants her to think she (Rapunzel) won't survive if she leaves the tower.
  • In Frozen, Prince Hans holds a weakened Anna's chin up so she's looking him in the eye whilst he tells her of his plan to kill Elsa and usurp the throne.
  • Pixar's The Incredibles
    • In the first film, Bob is being lectured by his supervisor, Gilbert Hugh, for helping customers with insurance claims. When Bob notices someone being mugged outside, Gilbert grabs Bob's jaw and screams "Look at me when I'm talking to you, Parr". He then proceeds to mock Bob over being unable to help him.
    • In the sequel film Incredibles 2, the monologuing villain holds the incapacitated Elastigirl's chin up as she's suffocating to near death.
  • In Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Captain Gutt lifts Shira's face up using one of his claws while he threatens her for failing to kill Manny, Sid and Diego.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Johnny Mnemonic, Shinji, who has been sent to hunt down the titular hero, grabs the chin of Johnny's most recent client in order to intimidate him into revealing where Johnny is going.
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:
    • Head monk Methodius has Johnny, Moreau, and Nadya captured so he can execute the latter's son. He holds Nadya's jaw whilst telling her there's nothing she can do to save her son before knocking her unconscious.
    • Blackout later returns the favour, holding Methodius's jaw so that he's forced to look him in the eye as he slowly kills him by rotting his flesh. He does this again to a powerless Johnny, whilst mocking him that Danny was now possessed and witnessing the execution. Fortunately, Danny gives him his Ghost Rider powers back before Blackout can kill him.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • The Joker crashes a party and begins interrogating the guests on the whereabouts of Harvey Dent. First he grabs the jaw of a middle aged man and jiggles his jowels, then he grabs another man by the jaw and threatens him with a knife. When he's prevented from going further by Rachel, he grabs her jaw and forces her to look at him whilst he tells her how he got his scars.
    • Joker later does this again to Gambol during the famous 'Why so serious?' scene. He holds Gambol's face still as he threatens him with a knife and again tells the origin story of his scars.
  • In Snow White and the Huntsman, Ravenna holds the chin of a young captive so she can get a good look at his face. This is meant as a threat to the man's father.
  • In It (2017), Pennywise prepares to eat Eddie, and holds his face still so Eddie can't look away whilst Pennywise imitates his crying. As a being that feeds off fear, it's clear Pennywise is doing this to scare him more.
  • Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars: A New Hope grips captive Princess Leia's chin while mentioning that he's signed her death warrant. Leia is unbowed by this bullying.
    Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
    Leia: I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.
  • In Oz: The Great and Powerful, Evanora forces a captured Glinda to look her in her eye when Glinda wouldn't look at her: grabbing her jaw and stating, "I'm going to wipe out your light until there's nothing left but my darkness".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Once Upon a Time
    • In Season 1, Regina visits a crying Mary (who had been falsely imprisoned on a murder charge) in her cell. When Mary pleads innocence, Regina grabs Mary's jaw, holds her face still and brags that she knows Mary is innocent but will fight to have her convicted anyway.
    • In Season 4 the roles of the characters were swapped, resulting in Snow White being evil and the 'Evil Queen' Regina now being an outlaw. When Snow White has disarmed Regina, she holds her face with both hands and tells Regina her head would make a good trophy.
  • In Season 7 of Game of Thrones, Cersei kills Tyene Sand by giving her a poisoned kiss. To mock her mother, who is chained to the opposite wall, Cersei holds Tyene's jaw whilst commenting on her 'dornish beauty'.

    Literature 
  • In Redwall, Emperor Ublaz does this to captives (and mooks), as he has a hypnotic gaze that works on birds and reptiles.
  • In Faith of the Fallen, when Richard realizes the new dark sorceress everyone fears is one of his former teachers, he tells the messenger "Pray you never have to look into Nicci's eyes, Captain." We then cut to the next chapter, which starts with Nicci telling a child to look into her eyes while cupping her chin.

    Video Games 
  • In Furi, while The Stranger is still restrained inside his cell, The Chain lifts his chin up and punches him in the face. Subverted, in that while The Chain's a sadistic brute, he is not exactly a villain and he has some very solid reasons for keeping The Stranger locked up.
  • In the E3 trailer for Spider-Man (PS4), Scorpion uses his tail to grab an unsuspecting Spider-man by the neck and drags him up so that he is looking Spider-man in the eyes whilst he gloats.
  • In the 9th Dynasty Warriors, Dong Bai uses two fingers to lift up the chin of a defeated Diaochan, while she (Dong Bai) thinks of ways to kill her.

    Western Animation 
  • In Season 1 of The Legend of Korra, Amon grabs a captured Korra's jaw and forces her to look up at him when he threatens to take away her bending.
  • In Season 2 of Teen Titans, Terra tries to quit working for Slade. Unfortunately the armour suit she's wearing is integrated into her nervous system, and as she tried to leave Slade uses the suit to drag her back to him and electrocute her. He grabs her jaw and holds her face still while he brags about how she can never leave him.
  • Occurs in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • In the first episode, Nightmare Moon crashes a party and uses her starry mane to hold Rarity's chin up and then hit her whilst mocking the ponies over failing to predict her return.
    • In Queen Chrysalis's debut episode, she holds the brainwashed Shining Armor's face and makes him look at her, whilst she boasts to his fiance that he will soon be too weak to maintain the magic shield he has put around Canterlot, allowing her army to attack. She does this to Twilight in the same episode, holding her chin up whilst mocking the Mane Six's failure to stop her plan.

Feedback: 53 replies

Jun 28th 2018 at 8:04:06 PM

  • Furi: while The Stranger is still restrained inside his cell, The Chain lifts his chin up and punches him in the face. Subverted, in that while The Chain's a sadistic brute he is not exactly a villain and he has some very solid reasons for keeping The Stranger locked up.

Jun 28th 2018 at 8:30:51 PM

  • Some of the examples aren't linked properly. Use this: {{ on either side of the title name if the title is one word.
  • The description is a bit short.
  • Other than that, I think it's good, so don't take my criticism the wrong way.

Jun 28th 2018 at 9:35:55 PM

Does this have to be done by the villain? An imperative of eye contact seems to be a trope already.

Jun 28th 2018 at 9:40:14 PM

We have romantic eye contact tropes, but I couldn't find any villainous eye contact tropes. Though the eye contact itself isn't the important part, it's that the villain is grabbing their prisoner's face and physically forcing them to do it.

Jun 29th 2018 at 2:39:00 AM

  • Capitalized the title.
  • Examples section
    • Put a blank line between the "——" and "Examples" so the line will display.
    • Corrected illegal Example Indentation. Warning: this rules violation can result in being suspended from editing.
    • Corrected punctuation (added commas, deleted unnecessary commas).
    • De-capitalized (Hook).
    • Corrected spelling (hold's -> holds).

Jun 29th 2018 at 4:55:36 AM

^ What? We do have a "romantic eye contact" trope? Where?

  • "it's that the villain is grabbing their prisoner's face and physically forcing them to do it." Then the title should be more specific; right now it sounds like any order to look someone in the eye (and not necessarily villainous, like when a superior officer does it), not the specific gesture.

Jun 29th 2018 at 7:19:46 AM

There's Held Gaze but that seems to cover any case of characters meaningfully staring into each other's eyes, not just romantic ones.

Jun 29th 2018 at 7:47:35 AM

Redwall: Emperor Ublaz does this to his victims (and some of his mooks), as he has a hypnotic gaze that works on birds and reptiles as well. In the mook's case, he makes him jump out a window to his death.

Jun 29th 2018 at 8:14:48 AM

Animated Films

  • The Jungle Book:
    • Early in the movie, Kaa has Mowgli in his coils and is about to eat him, but Bagheera stops him before he gets the chance. Kaa is upset with Bagheera and confronts him, telling him to look in the eyes. Bagheera tries to resist, because he knows that Kaa has hypnotic powers, but eventually gives in. Before Kaa can attack Bagheera, Mowgli knocks him out of the tree they're in.
    • In a later scene, when Mowgli runs away from Baloo, he comes across Kaa again, who wants him to look him in the eyes, and although Mowgli tries his best to resist, he becomes depressed when he feels like he has no friends to trust and eventually gives into looking Kaa in the eyes. This ends up turning out to be a good thing, as Kaa ends up protecting Mowgli from Shere Khan, who is smart enough not to look Kaa in the eyes.

Jun 29th 2018 at 10:18:34 AM

The title looks like dialogue and makes no mention about it being about villains.

Surely there are other situations where someone will instruct another to look them in the eyes?

Jun 29th 2018 at 10:37:36 AM

Yeah the title isn't fantastic, but I'm struggling to think of a better name for the trope.

Jun 29th 2018 at 10:39:54 PM

How about Forced Eye Contact?

Jun 30th 2018 at 2:44:39 AM

If we're being specific about the very pose, then the current title is good, and this is part of Stock Poses.

Jun 30th 2018 at 5:42:00 AM

Villainous Face Grab?

Jun 30th 2018 at 8:50:01 PM

Compare also Face Palm Of Doom when this is done to actually hurt.

Jul 1st 2018 at 5:45:14 PM

"Face Grab" is not really what I'd use in this trope's name, because it implies actually grabbing the face, a la Face Palm Of Doom. I'd suggest using "Face Pull", to emphasize that the trope is about pulling someone's face close to the villain's own, rather than a villainous version of Face Palm Of Doom.

Jul 7th 2018 at 5:01:30 PM

Film

  • Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars A New Hope grips captive Princess Leia's chin while mentioning that he's signed her death warrant. Leia is unbowed by this bullying.
    Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it, signing the order to terminate your life.
    Leia: I'm surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.

Jul 8th 2018 at 4:49:19 PM

Somewhat preferred Captain Hook's more

Jul 8th 2018 at 5:50:12 PM

Alternative name suggestion: Villainous Face Hold, since in addition to my previously mentioned reservations about using the word "grab", holding something in place doesn't necessarily require a hand (as demonstrated in the above two image suggestions), whereas grabbing by definition must be done with a hand (whether natural or artificial). And the point of the trope is that the victim's face is held stationary so that they're forced to look at the villain, whether or not that requires pulling them in close, right?

Jul 9th 2018 at 2:46:15 PM

Changed title to Marq's suggestion and I agree with 4tell that the Hook image is a bit better, as it's immediately obvious Peter has been captured. Thanks all.

Jul 12th 2018 at 9:49:58 AM

Jul 12th 2018 at 2:07:59 PM

Film Animated

  • Having lured Basil, The Great Mouse Detective to his lair, Ratigan ambushes the hero with a faux surprise party. After tearing away Basil's fake mustache, Ratigan toys with Basil, holding Basil's chin while sarcastically complimenting him on his seafarer disguise.

Jul 16th 2018 at 6:15:58 AM

I'm on the fence with the Tangled example. Gothel is a villain and Rapunzel is a prisoner, but Rapunzel doesn't see Gothel as a villain at that point and doesn't see herself as a prisoner. Depends on what others think.

There are also some other examples I'm on the fence on

  • In Ice Age 4 Continental Drift, Captain Gutt lifts Shira's face up using one of his claws while he threatens her for failing to kill Manny, Sid and Diego. (as they're both villains at this point and Shira isn't really captured I'm not sure it's an example)
  • In The Little Mermaid, Ursula holds Ariel's jaw with one of her tentacles and forces Ariel look at her, whilst feigning concern for her fractured relationship with her father and her inability to be on land. (as Ariel isn't there against her will I'm not sure it's an example)
  • In Wreck It Ralph, a Cy-bug corrupted Turbo/Candy King has captured Ralph and holds his jaw still so that he's forced to watch Sugar Rush be consumed by Cy-bugs. As he does this, he taunts Ralph about how Vanellope will be killed as she is unable to leave the game. (as he's not forcing Ralph to look at him, I'm not sure if it counts)
  • In The Incredibles, Bob is being lectured by his supervisor, Gilbert Hugh, for helping customers with insurance claims. When Bob notices someone being mugged outside, Gilbert grabs Bob's jaw and screams "Look at me when I'm talking to you, Parr". He then proceeds to mock Bob over being unable to help him. (as Gilbert isn't technically a villain and Bob isn't a prisoner, I'm not sure if this is an example)

Jul 23rd 2018 at 4:33:42 AM

@Clanger 00: I'm seeing this proposal as a G-rated Bitch Slap, meant to humiliate / subjugate / intimidate / terrorize the recipient. It's a kind of "I have you in my power" kind of thuggery. Thus, going by your list of four...

Ice Age 4 Continental Drift is Gutt issuing Shira a You Have Failed Me warning; one more slip-up, and Shira becomes expendable.

The Little Mermaid has Ursula needing Ariel to make a Deal With The Devil to further Ursula's coup d'etat. Ursula does the face pull to keep Ariel focused on the matter at hand, and thus preclude second thoughts.

Wreck It Ralph has that Forced To Watch moment, as you noted. This is King Candy compelling Ralph to witness the devastation and horror that he's powerless to stop. Most examples of this trope are "look at me when I'm talking to you!" Kick The Dog moments, but Tropes Are Flexible enough to allow slight variations of villainy.

The Incredibles has Bad Boss Huph power-tripping on poor Bob Parr, using the face-pull to lord it over Parr that Huph is Da Boss while Parr is a lowly pawn. Granted, Huph isn't an actual villain, but he's certainly antagonistic, and there's no compassion, no mercy, no sympathy in that office, nosiree.

Which means that I think all four examples count. Meanie grabs Goodie's face to get ugly on him.

Jul 23rd 2018 at 10:37:36 AM

Thanks! Reading your interpretation, I've also added the Gothel/Rapunzel example, and a Frollo/Quasimodo example as they are in the same boat as Gothel/Rapunzel.

Jul 23rd 2018 at 11:20:51 AM

I don't know if we're still taking suggestions on a name, but I kinda like Evil Eye Contact.

Jul 23rd 2018 at 2:01:53 PM

Real Life examples are probably barred because the word 'villainous' is in the title but there's a fairly well known photo of Albert Seedman holding Tony Dellernia's face up by the jaw, because Dellernia was keeping his head down and Seedman wanted to parade him in front of the cameras.

Jul 25th 2018 at 2:10:21 PM

I would hat this, but I'm still waffling about whether or not I like the title.

Jul 25th 2018 at 3:42:14 PM

Namewise, "Villainous" certainly aims at the intent of the trope: namely to manhandle and denigrate the target, often while delivering some Evil Gloating. "Face Hold" specifies that some part of the target's face be gripped or wrenched, both as a sign of control and of disrespect. If villainous is too strong, then perhaps Sinister Face Hold.

And, pardon me, @Clanger 00, but the Disney.Pinocchio example has the Coachman grasp Fox by the collar, not the face. That example properly fits under Angry Collar Grab, which is a Sister Trope.

Jul 28th 2018 at 10:13:58 AM

  • Thanks Bunny, I didn't know we had Angry Collar Grab as a trope. I've added it as a Sister Trope in the description. I like the word 'sinister' replacing 'villainous' as this better allows us to include non-villainous-but-still-antagonistic characters.
  • eroock, I think tilt would work better than grab, as some of the examples don't involve a grab because the face is lifted up with a weapon (eg. Clayton's gun, Hook's hook, Angela's whip, etc)

Aug 1st 2018 at 3:02:05 PM

On the subject of the name "Villainous Chin Tilt" sounds like the villain is tilting their own head so lets not go with that. I honestly like the current iteration out of the proposed names I'm seeing here, it gets across the idea of a villain forcing a captive to turn their face someway pretty clearly and avoids using "grab" which has connotations that do not apply to a lot of the examples. Forced Eye Contact works too but I still prefer Villainous Face Hold.

Comic Books

  • During the "Hyper-tension!" arc of Superboy 1994 Black Zero uses his telekinesis to hold Kon-El still and force him to and look at him while he monologues at his captive audience.

Aug 1st 2018 at 8:49:45 PM

I'm also going with tbe current title.

Aug 3rd 2018 at 8:17:42 AM

So name suggestions so far are:

Any ideas on how to resolve this? A crowner on whether to change the current name maybe?

Aug 3rd 2018 at 8:45:44 PM

^ Good idea, though someone besides me will have to make the crowner. No matter how many times I read How Crowners Work, I just can't seem to do it right.

Aug 4th 2018 at 2:18:59 PM

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/SingleProposition/VillainousFaceHold?openall=yes#top-of-page

Here is my attempt at a crowner (its my first time) so I apologise if I've done something wrong.

Aug 4th 2018 at 6:37:35 PM

Edit: Shit, my bad. Didn't see the read more button and thought you didn't have any examples yet.

Aug 5th 2018 at 9:19:44 AM

I did vote, right? (checks) Yes, I did.

Aug 5th 2018 at 10:23:57 AM

No worries FGHIK, I've added the Gambol example.

Aug 7th 2018 at 3:57:29 PM

Bump because we need lots more votes

Aug 8th 2018 at 3:48:34 PM

This is how the crowner should look like.

Aug 8th 2018 at 6:31:32 PM

But we haven't decided on whether the trope should be renamed at all yet? At the moment 'do not rename' has more votes.

The Crowner Administrivia says: "Since [Alternate Title Crowners] come after an initial rename decision (usually decided by a Single Proposition crowner), “Keep the old name” or any variant is not to be put on an Alternative Titles crowner. These crowners are for listing and voting on possible new names, not for arguing for the old one."

Aug 8th 2018 at 6:46:16 PM

That protocol is for existing trope pages, for drafts we usually skip this step.

Aug 8th 2018 at 9:51:04 PM

Kind of wondering if the Face-huggers from Franchise.Alien would count, or are they too tangential for this proposal?

Aug 14th 2018 at 6:43:54 PM

That's a really in interesting point. While I don't think the facehuggers themselves would be an example since they seem to have no concept of fear or humilitation, I think the design of the facehuggers could fit the trope. They're obviously designed after a pair of hands, the gripping of the face is clearly part of the horror, and H R Giger is known for purposely designing things to be intimate-looking to make people uncomfortable. If we could get a quote from someone who worked on Alien saying that the facehuggers were designed with this trope in mind (baddie gripping the face = scary and uncomfortable) then we could add it as a sort of Meta example.

Aug 15th 2018 at 6:53:23 AM

Is this trope good for launching? Or do we need more votes on the name? 3 for change name, 6 for leave name.

Aug 15th 2018 at 9:04:22 AM

In Faith of the Fallen, when Richard realizes the new dark sorceress everyone fears is one of his former teachers, he tells the messenger "Pray you never have to look into Nicci's eyes, Captain." We then cut to the next chapter, which starts with Nicci telling a child to look into her eyes while cupping her chin.

Aug 15th 2018 at 9:42:15 AM

This is a nice trope! Oh and for an example:

In Oz The Great And Powerful, Evanora forces Glinda to look her in her eye when Glinda wouldn't look at her. Stating, "I'm going to wipe out your light until there's nothing left but my darkness".

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