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Evil Mask

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A more literal version of Becoming the Mask, this is a mask, helmet, or other headgear that has some form of corrupting influence on its wearer. It may be possessed by an evil entity, a Mind-Control Device controlled by the Big Bad, a strange alien parasite... whatever the specifics, it is powerful enough to turn most ordinary people evil or drive them insane. Often grants the wearer supernatural powers as well, which of course reduces the victim's temptation to remove the mask.

The mask may have an immediate, obvious effect, or it may take a while before the wearer's friends notice he is Not Himself.

Bonus points if you can't get it off. And God help everyone if the mask can fly.

Sub-Trope of Artifact of Doom, Mask of Power and Clothes Make the Maniac. See also Murderous Mask and Clingy Costume. Not to be confused with Malevolent Masked Man.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Masquerade's mask allows his personality to dominate Alice's.
  • Ichigo and the other Vizard's hollow masks in Bleach. Although once he's beaten his inner hollow into submission it becomes just another powerup as long as he isn't pushed too far...
  • In High-Rise Invasion, the main enemy is a group of people wearing white masks that compel the victim to put them on and attack people if you look at the inside. They can also force you to commit suicide if you are incapacitated.
  • The cursed Noh Mask in Inuyasha. All it wants is a body, but there's the slight problem that it causes its wearer to decompose so fast they turn into crude oil within minutes. Naturally, it'd like a stronger host. Guess who it decided to go after.
  • The ancient Stone Mask from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure that grants its wearer vampiric powers of superhuman body control by driving bone spikes into the wearer's brain when blood is spilled on it.
  • The Dark Mask Corps from SD Gundam World Heroes relies on these, forcing other people to wear them in order to corrupt them into joining their ranks.

    Comic Books 
  • The Helmet of Nabu is this for most versions of Doctor Fate. Nabu, a (former?) Lord Of Order has his consciousness inside the helmet and takes control of the wearer. Sometimes, the host has been able to take control and even kick Nabu out of the whole Fate arrangement since technically he's not supposed to be involved, but he always ends up back in the helmet.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "The Blood of Azrael", Azrael's mask contains the memories and powers of the Omnicidal Maniac Azrael, waiting for a host of a suitable mindset to continue his work. Danny provides that host. It's unclear if he was already an Omnicidal Maniac at that point, although he was already a murderous and sadistic xenophobe.
  • One of these turns out to be the villain of the Ghost/Hellboy crossover comic.
  • The Mask: Unlike The Mask as portrayed by Jim Carrey, and the cartoon adaptation The Mask, the original comic book version of The Mask is an Artifact of Doom that dredges up the absolutely worst aspects of anyone who wears it, no matter how well-intentioned they start out. Making it worse, unlike the movie and cartoon' the Masks Toon Physics only apply to the wearer, leading to a brutal and horrific death for most of his victims. Several scenes adapted for the movie, such as the mechanics and the street thugs, were NOT moments of cartoonish payback, but gruesome acts of murder in the comic book.
  • A trilogy of Italian Mickey Mouse story arcs has Mickey and Goofy transport to a fantasy-esque dimension, where they help overthrow the Big Bad The Lord of The Mists, originally a powerful Reality Warper reduced to using illusions (albeit dangerous ones) after his first defeat centuries ago, which had left him mostly incorporeal. Thought dead after the first story, he seemingly returns in the third part, only for the heroes to discover that it's little more than a case of Fighting a Shadow; this Lord of the Mists is a random civilian who had been hijacked by the mask worn by the original, which gave him the Lords personality and some of his powers.

    Fan Works 
  • In "The Peddler" (one of the stories in the second Halloween Unspectacular), Sam buys a venetian mask from the titular peddler and tries it on. Minutes later, she's screaming about how the mask is burning and, shortly after, turning into a demon.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: The Mask of Darth Nihilus slowly corrupts its owner into drawing power from the Dark Side of the Force and enables Nihilus's spirit to influence the owner's mind. When Jaune finally puts on the mask in "Destiny", he is immediately subjected to a painful Transformation of the Possessed as Nihilus takes over his body.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the film version of The Mask, the mask adapts itself to its wearer's personality. It's only evil when the wearer is; otherwise, the main character who uses it is a good-hearted person, therefore, the mask is also good, as well. When the villain later acquires it, he becomes an invulnerable, Ax-Crazy monster.
  • In Onibaba, the mysterious samurai wears an intimidating demon mask, but it isn't until Kichi's mother steals it that we begin to suspect it harbors a malicious curse.
  • You Might Be the Killer has the woodcutter's mask, which is reputedly possessed by an evil spirit and forces anyone who dons it to go on a killing spree.

  • Goosebumps:
    • The Haunted Mask has a Halloween mask that makes it child's play to frighten people, but alters the wearer's personality and becomes progressively more difficult to remove.
    • The sequel has another one appear, then reveal that the entire shop is filled with these—all of the masks are evil and sentient.
    • In the live-action adaptation of the sequel, even the masks that aren't themselves evil make the wearer vulnerable to mind control from the more powerful ones.
  • Inverted in the Rainbow Magic series. In Flora the Dress-up Fairy's book, the loss of her magic mask makes people act like their costumes at a masked ball.
  • In the Tales From Camp Crystal Lake book series, people become Jason Voorhees when they put on his mask.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Dead Man's Party" features an evil African mask that Buffy's mom has hanging in her room. Unlike most examples, it starts summoning zombies and causing havoc just by being there. Once one of the zombies reaches it and puts it on, however, things get even worse.
    Giles: [mimicking Joyce] Do you like my mask? Isn't it pretty? It RAISES THE DEAD! Americans.
  • In Power Rangers Wild Force, the mask of Zen-Aku holds the spirit of the Duke Org Zen-Aku and its wearer becomes possessed. The next season, Power Rangers Ninja Storm, has the mask of Shimazu, but thankfully, that one is on a statue in Shimazu's likeness when it gets woken up, so though there's another bad guy in town, you don't have to worry about the poor guy he's piggybacking on.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Masks", the dying Jason Foster forces his daughter Emily Harper, son-in-law Wilfred, Sr. and grandchildren Wilfred, Jr. and Paula to wear grotesque masks on Mardi Gras. If they don't, they will not inherit any of his vast fortune. The masks were created by an old Cajun and are imbued with certain properties. Jason tells his relatives that it is a Mardi Gras custom to wear masks that are the antithesis of one's true personality. However, all of the masks reflect the personalities of the wearer: the cowardly Emily, the self-obsessed Paula, the miserly Wilfred, Sr. and the dull-witted Wilfred, Jr. When they take the masks off at midnight, they find that their faces have been transformed so that they now match the masks. Their appearance therefore finally reflects their true personalities.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Fragments of Fear, adventure "Valley of the Four Shrines". A metal mask with Cthulhu's face grants the wearer powers such as being able to breath and see underwater. However, each time it's put on the wearer must make a SAN roll or lose sanity. Once their SAN reaches 0 they become a devout slave of Cthulhu and are subject to his mental commands.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has the Crown of Sorcery, which is this trope but with a crown rather than a mask. It contains a portion of the Supreme Lord of the Undead's undying spirit, and confers some of his magical powers as well as acting as a vector for his corrupting influence. Strong-willed or single-minded wearers, such as the man-god Sigmar and the Orc Warlord Azhag the Slaughterer were merely influenced and addled by the crown, but less willful wearers such as the beastmaster Kadon were entirely subverted.

  • Infected Kanohis and Krana in BIONICLE. Wearing the former enslaves you to the will of Makuta, wearing the latter turns you into an appendage of the Bohrok Hive Mind.

    Video Games 
  • The Carnival of Shadows masks in City of Heroes; the original, owned by the Carnival's leader, is the Soul Jar of a woman who led a similar group in 17th century Venice.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped introduces Aku Aku's Evil Twin Uka Uka, who is then retconned into being the Big Bad of the Crash Bandicoot series. He reprises this role, as well as being a powerup, in Crash Team Racing. However his position has shifted back towards Cortex over time.
  • The mask worn by Jack of Blades in Fable. At the end of Fable: The Lost Chapters the player is given an option to wear it leading them being possessed.
  • Jonathan Kane: The Protector revolves around a cursed Aztec Mask which grants it's wearers superpowers from the ancient Gods, but can only be harnessed by evil folks. Most of the game revolves around Jonathan's attempts to find it before the terrorist syndicate called Scarlet Vengeance does, but by the final stage the Big Bad managed to retrieve said mask, wearing it and turning One-Winged Angel as a result.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land has the mask that Forgo Dedede was wearing. Unlike the standard masks that Dedede wears for battle, this one was forced upon him by the Big Bad to amplify their control on Dedede's mind. He's even seen trying to pull the mask off him before the battle starts, unfortunately to no avail.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
    • The title character. That Skull Kid wearing it might seem like a monster, given the various gruesome curses he inflicts on you and the residents of Termina—but then you learn that before he put it on, he was just a lonely kid who wanted friends. By the end of the game, it becomes clear that the mask itself has been pulling the strings the entire time, and seeks to destroy everything.
    • The same game also has the Fierce Deity mask, which is implied to contain dark powers nearly or perhaps even more powerful than Majora—wearing it while fighting Majora turns him into a laughably-easy Anticlimax Boss. Link doesn't seem to have a problem with the mask, though, probably because he's, well, Link.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Fused Shadow isn't a helmet, but Midna wears on on her head for the whole game. At one point the other fragments close around her and transform her into... something huge, tentacled and wielding a trident that blasts through the castle's barrier. Despite the warnings given throughout the entire game not to use its magic, Midna seems to be alright after using them.
  • The Pokémon Yamask carries a mask that will possess anyone who wears it.
  • The Snow Queen Mask in the original Persona.
  • The Evil God's mask of Scratches.
  • Kane's mask in Shining Force is a mind-controlling device created by the Big Bad Darksol. Defeating Kane causes the mask to crack and fall off, returning Kane to his former self.
  • The Mask of Dark Earth from Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, a floating ancient evil being which possesses people.
  • The Terror Mask from Splatterhouse games: in the first game, it looks more like a white hockey mask - a very obvious nod to killer Jason Voorhees which they had to change to a blood red colour when the game came to the West. In the third game, the mask appears more organic-looking, almost skeletal or cranium-like. The mask is actually sentient, and is eventually revealed to be the Big Bad in the third game.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Maker 2: Phanto is a sinister-looking mask that guards certain keys. If Mario or any of his friends grabs the key, Phanto will chase them relentlessly until the key is either dropped or used to open a Locked Door.
  • In World of Warcraft victims of the sha often have their possession signified by masks which vary in appearance depending on the source of the infestation, appearing as a perversion of the masks carved by the Monkey King that were used by Shaohao to imprison the sha. Averted with the ones you can buy from the Monkey King on the Timeless Isle and the one given to you by Ken-Ken in one Krasarang Wilds storyline.

  • Snow By Night has Talon's-that-Seek's mask. According to the vignette "A Berry From The Sun", wearing it can drive the wearer to madness as it channels the corrupted spirit bond to it. It can also absorb other manitou to feed the eagle spirit, making it dangerous for both humans and spirits.

    Web Original 
  • Looming Gaia: Mankind's Disgrace's mask grants him Resurrective Immortality and monster-forging abilities at the cost of forcing him to feed on the pain of others. It's also magically hooked to his skin and causes him constant pain.
  • This, courtesy of the SCP Foundation: SCP-035. It's a mask that compels anyone within a certain range of it to put it on. Once they do, they die due to a brainwave pattern (the mask's) overlaying theirs. It also degrades whatever wears it, meaning it needs a new host once the old one degrades past the ability to move. It's Keter class because it is extremely malevolent, and none of the containment methods used on it can stop it permanently, meaning it has to be moved to a new room every two weeks because the caustic blood and runes it creates wear down the cells.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, the Ice King's crown post "Holly Jolly Secrets".
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) had an episode entitled "Masks of Power". Given the trope page, the plot is pretty obvious.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures season 4 featured the nine Oni Masks, which held the spirits of nine demon generals who commanded nine different tribes of Shadowkhan (the heroes having only faced one type throughout the past three seasons). Anyone who wears an Oni Mask becomes increasingly demonic, although a good person can hold off the effects unless they're forced to summon Shadowkhan.
  • The Mask, yet again. The move from big screen to Animated Adaptation brings with it an interesting possibility: The mask, even when Stanley isn't wearing it, is subtly influencing Edge City to obey cartoon logic, thus allowing improbable supervillains such as Terrible Two and Kablamus to exist and also another posssibility: The mask becomes more alive and self aware as Stanley keeps wearing it such as the mask knows that Stanley tried to control it with a sister mask and that it has its own mind as well since it likes to be attached to Stanley's face.
  • The three Oni masks in Ninjago.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: Captain Freeman has been possessed by ancient alien masks at least 3 times.
  • Villainous has Mascara Macabra, an ancient Aztec warrior who was transformed into a parasitic mask, he possesses the strongest warriors he can find, including the fighter El Valiente and later, Demencia.


Video Example(s):


D'Arsay Mask

Captain Freeman is possessed by a D'Arsay mask where she tries to transform the Cerritos into a temple. This is the third time she's been possessed by an ancient mask.

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