Follow TV Tropes


Deadly Gaze

Go To

"The eyes are not the windows of the soul: they are the doors. Beware what may enter there."

A lot of Brown Notes can literally kill or at least maim people simply by looking at them. Turning them to stone is another common effect. People may be warned against the danger of making eye contact with these beings, since often they must meet the creature's gaze for the power to work. Mirrors Reflect Everything may be a way of making the entity Hoist by His Own Petard.

Often works through some kind of magic; see No Eye in Magic for a more general application of this principle, and Eye Beams for a more weapon-like version. Not to be confused with Death Glare, which is only metaphorically related.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Basilisk, Gennosuke and Hyoma can kill people by glaring at them. Specifically, it's an eye power that reflects the Killing Intent of an attacker back on him, forcing him to kill himself with his own weapons.
  • In Fairy Tail, Black Wizard Zeref kills Zancrow after looking at him. Not surprisingly, his magic kills everything around him.
  • In Campione!, one of Duke Voban's Authorities was taken from Balor (mentioned in Mythology below) allowing him to turn people into pillars of salt just by looking them. Doesn't help him much fighting Gods or other Campione since their magic resistance is high enough that it only slows them down at best.
  • In Sunday Without God, Ulla has a killing glare. In fact, due to her mother's wish to kill all humans, it's not just her eyes that can kill, but also her voice and touch.
  • Fujino Asagami from The Garden of Sinners has the Mystic Eyes of Distortion, enabling her to twist whatever she looks at.
  • Bleach: When Äs Nödt actives his Vollständig, Tartar Foras, his Fear ability upgrades to the point that he can fill people with heart-attack inducing fear just by eye contact. It only takes one look; if the victim closes his or her eyes after the initial eye contact, the deadly fear will remain. He can also create a wall covered with eyes to surround the victim and ensure they look into at least one.
  • In Darker Than Black, the contractor Ilya has the ability to shut down a person's brain by locking eyes with them. The effect is degenerative, giving the victim a few seconds of living out Flowers for Algernon before motor and cognitive functions give in and the victim chokes to death.
  • The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Ryner Lute's Superpowered Evil Side disintegrated a Magic Knight by looking him in the eyes and used an Eye Beam to blow the heads of the rest of the squad.
  • The first chapter of the Kaguya-sama: Love Is War spin-off "We Want to Talk About Kaguya" deals with a rumor that Kaguya can kill people just by looking at them. The truth is far more mundane; Erika ended up suffering a Cuteness Overload and passing out after Kaguya said hello to her.
  • Hishigi in Samurai Deeper Kyo. Subverted in that the Devil Eyes are not his eyes, and he can't see out of them. His right eye is red when activated, but otherwise normal.
  • Rider from Fate/stay night has Cybele, the Mystic Eyes of Petrification, which will leave you Taken for Granite. Because her true identity is actually Medusa.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Cockatrimon has an attack called Petra Fire, which shines a petrifying light from its eyes and works on both humans and Digimon. Unlike the cockatrice of mythology, he doesn't need his victims to look into his eyes for it to work.

    Comic Books 
  • Ghost Rider's Penance Stare redirects all of suffering and pain inflicted on others by its target back onto the victim themselves. It can be downright fatal depending on who Ghosty is performing the move on. If Ghost Rider tells you to look into his eyes, you're in big trouble.
  • An X-Men villain named Gorgon has the power to turn people to stone by looking at them. He is defeated when he sees his reflected gaze on Wolverine's claws.
  • Batman: One version of Clayface could dissolve people into goo just by looking at them.
  • Looking directly at The Spectre's eyes and the little skulls in them will do this.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Fear is a zombified Judge whose trademark move is to force his victims to stare directly at his face (normally concealed by his helmet), which shapes itself to the person's worst fears. Unfortunately for Fear, Dredd is not only immune, but isn't having his shit.
  • Johnny Sorrow, a villan of Justice Society of America. He is an ghost-like entity, inhabiting a suit with a mime mask. Seeing Sorrow's face is instantly fatal to almost all living creatures, in other cases it can cause catastrophic madness; there are only two people depicted who've survived gazing upon him.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Agahnihm paralyzes Link by glaring at him, rendering him unable to stop him from transporting Zelda to the Dark World.
  • During the The Unknown Supergirl storyline, the eponymous heroine has an hallucination where she suddenly develops the uncontrollable power to kill living beings by staring at them.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): The Adjudicator can turn disintegrate people or cause them to fade right out of existence with his gaze if he so chooses.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Meeting Medusa's eyes kills by turning her victims to stone and giving their souls an express ride to Hades.

    Fan Works 
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Downplayed. Ruby Rose's silver eyes are shown to induce discomfort in Jaune and Remy and cause Lavender to faint, though the effect is not permanently harmful yet despite having the potential to eventually become lethal. It's also one of the only things that can knock Jaune out of his Berserker Mode. The God of Darkness eventually reveals that the Silver Eyes are the result of the God of Light's tampering. In the Distant Finale, Ruby and Jaune's son has silver eyes as well. What effect this will have on him is unknown, given that Silver Eyes are an anti-Grimm weapon and the kid is part Grimm.
  • To My Death I Fight: The nameless female Taichou's Bankai in chapter 49 has the ability to turn everything they look at, into ash.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Oboro from the Japanese live-action film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (inspired by the same novel that inspired Basilisk) is a Yamato Nadeshiko with the power of brutally killing someone just by looking at them.
  • Played for laughs in Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, when the hero uses this look to render a gangster unconscious in the Batman Cold Open scene.
  • The eponymous monster from the Soviet 1967 horror movie Viy. Although not directly. Viy being some kind of undead shaman, his gaze penetrated the protective circle around the protagonist, so he pointed the poor guy out to the rest of the mob.
  • In Conan the Barbarian (1982), Thulsa Doom uses his power to kill people by staring at them to murder Conan's mother.
  • In Warlock the evil sorceror curses a man simply by staring into his eyes. The man bleeds out of the eyes and very nearly dies.

  • David Brin's short story Those Eyes has humans being able to kill fairies, in a form of Masquerade Enforcer. Humans that look at fairies with skepticism can utterly disintegrate the fay.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire, Baron Vengeous had the ability to cause a victim to rupture by glaring at them.
  • Wild Cards: If it's Demise, don't look in his eyes! Demise's Wild Card allowed him to channel his own death experience into another person's by locking gazes with them. The experience was always fatal for the other person.
  • The Laundry Files, given its Post-Modern Magik approach, has "gorgons" who are actually people who suffer a very rare form of brain tumor that serves as a conduit for an extra-dimensional particle-wave function that transforms carbon into silicon — in other words, a petrifying gaze. It also exists in snakes (basilisks) and chickens (cockatrices), and its effects can be recreated in a CCTV camera with a programmable chipset, thousands of which are deployed across the country as the Scorpion Stare network. So not only is Big Brother watching you, he can kill you instantly.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Muggle-born students keep turning up Petrified, apparently because of some monster loose in the school. The protagonists eventually realize that it's a basilisk, which kills with its gaze; the reason nobody has died so far is only because none of the victims saw it directly (except for Nearly-Headless Nick, who couldn't die because he already did).
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the program Potterwatch addresses the ridiculous rumor spreading amongst the populace after Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry of Magic that he has the same capability.
    Fred Weasley: So people, let's try and calm it down a bit, things are bad enough without inventing stuff! For instance, this new idea that You-Know-Who can kill you with a single glance from his eyes. That's a Basilisk, listeners! One simple test: check whether the thing that's glaring at you has legs: if it has, it's safe to look. Although, if it really is You-Know-Who, that's still likely to be the last thing you ever do.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin features Balor (see below), who in this version guards the portal to the Otherworld.
  • Very few people like looking into the eyes of The Man with the Terrible Eyes. Looking at them for too long tends to break people emotionally and mentally.
  • Most of the titular "gifts" in the first Annals of the Western Shore book work this way: a look, and a gesture, and intent. The Caspros have a family legend of a brantor who had to go blindfolded in his youth due to Power Incontinence, and Orrec resorts to this as well.
  • In Voyage of the Basset, Medusa (see below) has her famous gaze which can cause people to be Taken for Granite.
  • Grettir's Saga: The revenant Glam's power to curse resides in his eyes. Grettir is able to throw Glam to the ground, but as Glam is lying on his back, a cloud is drifting from the moon, making the moonlight fall on Glam's face. Grettir is struck with terror at the sight of Glam's eyes, and is paralyzed; Glam then speaks his curse on Grettir.
  • The Man with the Terrible Eyes: Very few people like looking at the main character's eyes, though he himself is immune to their effects. Looking at them for too long tends to break them emotionally and mentally. If a person has a weak heart, there's even a risk of look at them causing a heart attack.
  • In The Sorcerers Receptionist, the powerful mage Alois can set things on fire by looking at them. This is why his eyes are red and usually covered with magical glasses. According to Word of God, this quirk isn't related to his Power Incontinence, although high emotions do make it worse.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: If you see a Weeping Angel, you have to keep your eyes on it to keep it in its statue form. But if while doing that you look it in the eye, it can gain a foothold in your mind and kill you slowly For the Evulz.

    Mythology and Legend 
  • In Classical Mythology, anyone looking into the eyes of a basilisk or cockatrice would be instantly killed or turned to stone.
  • While Greek myth says that anyone who looks upon Medusa's face will turn to stone, the common popular depiction of her is that one has to be able to see her eyes to be stoned.
  • Balor, of Celtic Mythology, was said to be able to char people to ashes by looking at them with his eye.
  • The catoblepas is a hideously ugly oxlike creature who either kills you or turns you into stone if you meet its gaze. Fortunately, most versions go on to add that the catoblepas finds its head incredibly heavy to hold up, and is thus not much of a threat to anyone who isn't lying on the ground.
  • The Talmud (Shabbat 33b) tells the story of Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Eleazar, who spent twelve years hiding in a cave as fugitives from the Roman government, and studying Torah. When the prophet Elijah told them it was safe to come out, they were furious to see people engaging in worldly occupations instead of Torah, and "whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately burnt up." A heavenly voice called out, "Have you emerged to destroy My world?" and ordered them back to the cave for another twelve months.
  • According to the ancient Greeks a witch could cause harm by looking at someone. Medea, as the granddaughter of Helios (the source of the power of all witches), has it powerful enough that, in one version of her encounter with the unkillable bronze giant Talos, it caused him so much pain he killed himself.
  • The online article entitled "How to Survive an Encounter With the Fairies" alleges to provide various suggestions on how to survive an encounter with fair folk. In addition to the use of Iron and apotropaic symbols, the article also states that humans have the power of the evil eye which can hurt fairies by merely looking at them, or at least prevent them from using their magic. Apparently, this serves as a kind of Masquerade Enforcer, encouraging fairies to hide themselves from human observation.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Meeting the gaze of the catoblepas causes death.
    • Basilisks petrify you if you meet their eyes; one variant poisons you instead. If you're on the Astral Plane, looking at one in the eyes will simply kill you. Likewise, medusas petrify with their glare.
    • A beholder has two small eyes which cause death or disintegration to any creature they look at.
    • A nothic can inflict necrosis on any creature it can fix its single eye's sight on.
  • Exalted: The Deathlords can do this to a mortal, killing them instantly, turning them to a ghost which the Deathlord can then control.
  • Warhammer: The Dark Elves have a creature called the Medusa which is a gorgon like creature with a terrifying ability to make its victims burst in blood when they look at its eyes.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Navigators have a Third Eye that lets them see the Warp. It also kills anyone who looks at it, which is why they wear blindfolds.
    • While not technically an example (his bionic eye shoots Eye Beams instead), the reason Commissar Yarrick got a bionic eye that could shoot lasers was hearing a rumor that he could kill with a look.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: According to the Revised Uktena tribebook, Great Uktena's gaze will cause one of the target's loved ones to die. However, Great Uktena does not inflict this curse on Uktena Garou.

    Video Games 
  • In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, Sai possesses evil eyes that can inflict several kinds of diseases and damage on his opponents if he stares at them with enough focus or removes his glasses. These can go from simply losing speed or guard, to having huge fish dropped on them when they jump, to an incredibly nasty combo of the three curses PLUS Life Drain.
  • In Arc Angle, your character has a downplayed version. Their "angle of light" doesn't hurt enemies, but any bullets that enemies fire will be slowly turned into holy bullets which then home back into the enemy that fired it. An upgrade allows the "gaze" to slightly slow down enemies. The Final Boss' version on the other hand is lethal, and it covers an angle that's greater than 270-degrees.
  • In Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast, the demon Aec'Letec will use his death gaze on your party. First, the victim becomes paralyzed. Then, he will die and is turned into a hostile ghoul.
  • This is one of Tchernobog's attacks as the Final Boss of Blood. If he looks at you while there's direct line of sight between you and him, you will catch fire and slowly take extra damage until you can hide behind something.
  • Dark Souls III: The Irithyll Jailers can reduce your HP just by looking at you. And it isn't just damage: they actually reduce your maximum health, meaning you can't heal. Your health bar will regenerate after about twenty seconds of not being looked at, but your actual health won't, and will need to be healed. This trait, as well as the fact that the Jailers tend to work in groups, quickly made them among the most hated enemies in the game.
  • EXTRAPOWER Giant Fist: Power King uses the classic Portable Medusa Head as his EXTRAPOWER technique, pulling it out of his Badass Longcoat to stun everyone in her gaze and deal massive damage. Just be warned: it's everyone in her gaze. Aggressive enemies can end up in the gap between the Medusa's face and Power King himself, as he holds it at arm's length.
  • In the Final Fantasy Tactics series, the flying eyeball creatures can cause nasty status ailments with a glare attack that never misses. However, if you can position your units to not look at the creatures straight in the eyes, then their gaze attacks always fail.
  • A common ability for enemies in Final Fantasy XIV, generally referred to as "gaze attacks". Early-game enemies tend to require you look at their eyes, but particularly powerful enemies invert it with abilities that inflict status effects if you are looking at them regardless if they're looking at you, but in all cases turning around is enough to render you immune to the attack.
  • In Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, there's a Force power called Deadly Sight that is basically this. One of the bosses, Sariss, can use it against you in battle, and there's a way — if you play as a bad guy, that is — to become capable of using it yourself later in the game.
  • The page image is of Cassiopeia, the Serpent's Embrace from League of Legends, a woman who was cursed into the form of a lamia-like creature. Her ultimate ability blasts all enemies in front of her with light from her eyes, damaging and petrifying them if they're facing her at the time, and merely slowing and damaging them if they have their backs turned. A somewhat downplayed version of the usual Medusa myth; due to LoL's short CC durations by MOBA standards, the petrification lasts only 2 seconds.note 
  • E.M.M.I.-05IM in Metroid Dread has freezing vision, a power it demonstrates in a cutscene by freezing one of its support drones solid and charging through it, shattering the poor drone to pieces. This is not Cutscene Power to the Max; if it sees Samus, she will freeze solid for a few seconds, time it will spend catching up to her to attempt a One-Hit Kill. It loses this power when it enters berserk mode after she secures the Omega Cannon, however.
  • In UNLOVED, there is a particularly dangerous enemy called the Witch that will damage you through your armor (with a Sickening "Crunch!") if she has line of sight on you for too long. The Rotten version will instead kill you instantly!

    Web Animation 
  • Power Star: A variation of this occurs in part 4, where Devil Mario is seen using optical shockwaves against several bystanders, reducing them to mere drops of blood upon contact just before his final duel with Luigi.
  • RWBY: According to legend, the Creatures of Grimm are afraid of silver-eyed warriors because the warriors are capable of striking the Grimm down with a single look. It's supposedly a ridiculous tale, but it is actually true. Ruby inherited her silver eyes from her mother, but doesn't learn about the legend until the end of Volume 3. She doesn't learn how to use them properly until she meets another silver-eyed warrior in Volume 6.

  • A minor villain in Noblesse is able to attack by merely looking at someone. His opponent is naturally shocked that he takes a hit without seeing any gesture from said villain.
  • A spectral being called a Shadow seems to kill using this method in Soul to Call.

    Western Animation 
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the episode "The Stare Master" features a cockatrice, with the penalty of looking it in the eyes of the "turning to stone" variety rather than "instant death". And the cockatrice has the power to reverse it if one can convince it that it should stop turning creatures to stone, as Fluttershy successfully does.

Alternative Title(s): Gaze Of Death