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Face Stealer

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"Parker! I never get tired of seeing that face. No matter how times I've cloned it, masked it, unmasked it, liquified it or worn it as a little hat."
The Jackal, Spider-Island

Voluntary Shapeshifting is a really powerful and useful ability for a character to have. However, shapeshifters occasionally run into a problem of logistics (other than the usual ones); how do they get the information to change shape? Sometimes it is enough just to look or touch whatever the character wants to change into.

Other times, nastier things have to be done. Some face stealers — almost exclusively villains — must kill a person in order to take their form. While sometimes any body part will do, the purest form involves removing the target's face. Occasionally the victim will even survive, perhaps being left as The Blank until they can steal their face back. Either way, this has the added benefit of making it impossible for the original owner to show up and ruin the charade.

Named for One-Scene Wonder Koh of Avatar: The Last Airbender, who steals any face he sees that doesn't have an emotionless expression.

Occasionally an application of Cannibalism Super Power in which case it's You Are Who You Eat, although skinning the target is just as common. See Kill and Replace, which is what this trope often leads to. Compare Physical Attribute Swap. Contrast Clone by Conversion, where the victim is the one who assumes a different form. See Beast with a Human Face for when the character has a human face for another reason. A subtrope of Collector of Forms and Transferred Transformation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chriopterans in Blood+ can take on the form of anybody whose blood they have drunk. Used for extra squick points when Diva walked around as Riku, Saya's and Kai's little brother, who she had previously raped and killed.
  • In Digimon Ghost Game, Monster of the Week Asuramon was both a face stealer and Emotion Eater who stole the upper halves of people's faces in order to feed on their emotions, leaving its victims as The Blank Empty Shells. It manages to do this to dozens of people across Tokyo and attempts to attack an entire stadium full of people until the heroes manage to talk it down after it steals Hiro's face and compassion.
  • Inuyasha:
    • One of Naraku's henchmen was Muso, a faceless man who wore the faces of people he'd killed. Being based on Naraku's human side, he at first had no face, presumably to keep the mystery of what Onigumo looked like before he was burnt; though in this series it's not much of a secret. Later, he killed a young Buddhist monk and took his face, "wearing" it as its own from then on.
    • Naraku, to a degree, fits in here as well. He at first was some sort-of mysterious man with an animal pelt (fitting, since Naraku was badly burned before he made his Deal with the Devil), but then he took over the body of a local Princely Young Man who was dying of an illness and kept the guy's handsome face. The rest of his body, on the other hand...
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru and his underlings literally take the faces from a team of Grass Village genin during the Chunin exams, either while or after killing them and wearing them as disguises. He also used it when impersonating the Kazekage. Judging from his appearance when posing as the Sound Team's jonin sensei, he is capable of creating faces if he wants to.
    • Zetsu can transforms into people and even imitate their chakra to fool sensor-types, but he needs to take some chakra first.
  • Hanzo in Ultimate Muscle slices the faces off his defeated opponents.
  • In Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Rikuo fights a guy who cuts off girls' faces.
  • Etzali (Unabara Mitsuki) of A Certain Magical Index.
  • The twist at the end of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos involves this trope but is also a huge spoiler: The person who the audience has been led to believe is Ashleigh Crichton for the entire movie is actually the Crichton family's security chief Atlas, who had Ashleigh's face alchemically implanted over his own to impersonate Ashleigh, gain his little sister Julia's trust, and use her to create a Philosopher's Stone (the eponymous "sacred star"). Ashleigh, meanwhile, survived the attack and took on the identity of Colonel Herschel, from Creta; he ultimately confronts Atlas about the latter's deception and isn't too happy about it.
  • One from Japanese Mythology is seen in GeGeGe no Kitarō. In the 96's series, a cute young woman's face is stolen right before her wedding by Nopperabo and she's left as The Blank; her little brother decides to write to Kitaro and ask him for help, and this leads Kitaro and his friends to a face-off with the youkai who's to blame...
    • Another face-stealing youkai appears later, where Kitaro gets the help of Nopperabo, now a farmer after their initial confrontation, and fights against Oshiroi-Babaa.
  • The protagonist of Kasane was given lipstick by her, now deceased, mother that allows her to swap faces with anyone she kisses. Kasane is an Ugly Cute girl who has horrible self-esteem and has suffered bullying all her life. The ability to turn into someone beautiful attracts her, though it only lasts a day (or until she kisses the person again). Kasane is into acting in plays. She at first uses it without people's will but the third time she makes a deal with a gorgeous, but poor in terms of actual ability, actress that she'd pretend to be her while acting.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man:
    • The Chameleon usually uses masks that perfectly resemble the people that he impersonates (and, Depending on the Writer, killing them — the picture above is from one of his murderous phases), but some continuities have him actually eat the target.
    • Skulljacket was a one-shot villain using former-Soviet technology. He mimicked appearance by means of holograms, but could copy enough of a person's memories for a better-quality impersonation by taking a small sample of flesh (getting the memory info from RNA), usually leaving victims rubbing an aching neck. After taking on a police detective's semblance, he made a snide, mock-sympathetic remark implying that the memory absorption told him the detective's grown son was homosexual and dad was having trouble dealing with it. Skulljacket typically left those he mimicked alive, so they could take the fall for any crimes he committed wearing their appearance.
  • The Chitauri in The Ultimates (2002) need to consume a human to take their shape.
  • One famous Fantastic Four storyline has an embittered scientist impersonate the Thing by using a special device to transfer Ben Grimm's mutation to himself, reverting Ben to human form. Things take a surprising turn, though, when he realizes what good people the FF are, and goes out saving Reed from the Negative Zone.
  • An obscure Iron Man villain was a Japanese demon called the Face Thief, who was exactly that.
  • The Warwolves, creatures from Excalibur (Marvel Comics), could drain a living target's life force and then assume its form by wearing the empty skin that remained.
  • Orlando, a minor demon from The Invisibles, skinned his victims' faces off and, pretending to be them, went on to kill their relatives.
  • Everyman in 52 needs to eat a part of something in order to turn into that shape. He mentions many nails and hairs when discussing combat shapes (and some of the shapes he uses just for fun), but as time goes on he begins to take more than he needs and take advantage of the wide variety of meats available in the DC universe.
  • Gravity Falls: Lost Legends: One story has Pacifica, self-conscious about getting her first wrinkle, summoning a shadowy monster named Mr. What's His Face. He offers her a "blemish-free face", which turns out to involve stealing her still-living face for his collection and leaving her The Blank, but he ends up taking Mabel's face instead.
  • Lucifer:
    • Mazikeen tries to restore her face to half-destroyed this way and manages only to turn someone else's face into The Blank (non-consensually).
    • The Jin en Mok do this too, more successfully.
  • The female Dire Wraiths introduced in ROM: Spaceknight didn't need to kill, but by sucking out the target's brain would also gain access to their memories, making impersonation easier.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye introduces us to Vos, a member of the Deception Justice Division, who inverts the trope. His favorite method of torture is to give his face to others. His spike laden, nightmarish face.
  • Batman: Jane Doe is a rare non-supernatural variant of this trope. She studies her victims movement and mannerisms before she ambushes them and surgically removes their face to steal their identity.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 5: When Deimos and Phobos steal Veronica Cale's daughter's soul, they also take her facial features. She doesn't need to eat or breathe in this state, but she is also entirely non-responsive.
  • Orange Crows: Appearing in Volume 2, there's an unnamed, blank-faced Forsaken Witch working with the Free Minds who gleefully steals the faces of other witches. She wears a belt of still-living faces around her waist and uses them as disguises to sneak into the tightly controlled "Arx" cities to carry out the Free Minds' spying work.
    Unnamed Face Stealer: You just don't understand the value of true friendship, Adinella. If you let me wear you, then I'm sure you would understand.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers, of course.
  • In The Thing (1982), the titular alien is able to infect and take over anyone who comes into contact with a single cell of it.
  • The Bug in Men in Black. In the spin-off movie Men in Black: International, there are Hive's near-invincible mutants who steal a victim's appearance and kill him after stealing it.
  • The Zandozan assassin in The Last Starfighter
  • The Djinn from the first, third, and fourth Wishmaster movies. In the second he used the same human form he had in the first, a corpse from the morgue. In the third and fourth it gets worse as he skins living people, a hapless college professor and a lawyer played by Michael Trucco, respectively.
  • The gingerbread... thing in The Brothers Grimm only got a face after she stole that of a girl, leaving her with a blank face.
  • Pavi Largo in Repo! The Genetic Opera, a vain playboy whose own face was scarred horribly by some unseen accident, and who now wears the skinned-off flesh of women's faces bolted over his mutilated flesh like masks. (It's implied that he takes them from women he rapes- and that he possibly even stole them as trophies anyway even before he was disfigured. After all, we see a picture of him with a normal face cutting away a dead woman's skin in an alley...)
  • In The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter breaks out of a Cardboard Prison, kills a guard, cuts of his face and wears it like a mask, so that he can play possum and pose as the guard in order to escape while being taken to the hospital.
  • A literal double example, done with surgery and much squick, in Face/Off, with Sean Archer receiving Castor Troy's face and vice-versa.
  • Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.
  • Lazlo Soot does this in Smokin' Aces and in Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball
  • Leonard from Mask Maker.
  • The Borrower: An alien killer is only partially turned into a human being and dumped on Earth as punishment by its brethren. Periodically it will need to steal the heads of a nearby human, taking on their appearance and acquiring their memories in the process.
  • Hellraiser has a bit of a unique take on this with how Frank takes the skin of his brother Larry.

  • In Three Parts Dead, the protagonist does this to another character. Anyone with the right tools and some necromancy skills can do it in this world.
  • The Karas Demons in The Cycle of Fire have to eat their targets to keep their shape for long, and in the process they also acquire access to the target's memories.
  • In Ozma of Oz, the third Land of Oz book, Princess Langwidere can change her head at will. She takes a liking to Dorothy's head and wants to add it to her collection. (She does offer Dorothy one of her cast-offs in return, and it's implied that it wouldn't have killed Dorothy, but still...)
    • In the film Return to Oz, she gets adapted into the spectacularly creepy Princess Mombi. Unlike the original Langwidere, who's just a Royal Brat, Princess Mombi is a straight-up villain who imprisons Dorothy to forcibly steal her head later.
  • Abeloth from the Fate of the Jedi books. Unlike other examples, she doesn't seem to consume anything physical just her victim's presence in the Force.
  • In the seventh Harry Potter book, Nagini the evil snake (Voldemort's familiar) impersonates an old woman by hiding inside her corpse.
  • The changeling demon from the High Druid of Shannara trilogy takes forms this way, by literally wearing the skin of the person it is impersonating.
  • The Kandra in the Mistborn series. To take a person's form they have to consume their bones and use those as a skeletal structure and an imprint for their flesh to imitate.
  • The Banned and the Banished: Legion, The Mole, turns into any animal he wears the skin of. It isn't that disgusting until he kills and skins a friendly Shapeshifter . . .
  • The creatures in The Apocalypse Door by James D. Macdonald remove and wear the face of the person they're imitating. They also apparently take part of the brain, giving them access to the person's memories.
  • The Guild of the Faceless Men in A Song of Ice and Fire use several different means to hide their appearance, one of which involves removing people's faces and using magic to temporarily graft them onto their assassins. This is used both for impersonations as well as to blend into a particular environment.
  • In The Taking by Dean Koontz, a group of people are discovered literally faceless, and the shapeshifting demonic invaders use Molly's father to torment her after he is dead.
  • In The Kingkiller Chronicle, some "demons" have this ability, but when they are in someone else's skin, it is very obvious that they are not human, as they only speak gibberish.
  • Thursday Next: Acheron Hades took the face from his dying Mook Felix and applied it to a succession of abducted and brainwashed replacements. He later threatened to make Thursday the next Felix.
  • In a rare heroic example, Patton Burgess from the Fablehaven series recalls wearing goblin skin to disguise himself as a goblin and fool a dragon.
  • Ian Covey in Everyman is a person who, by taking important possessions, can assume the shape of another person. Pretty much the textbook definition of this trope.
  • The protagonist of Sergey Volnov's Army of the Sun has been cursed by a witch. Now, he periodically has to kill in a certain manner (rip out the heart and stare into the fading eyes of the victim) to stay alive. After this, he can, for a short time, take on the appearance of the victim, even if it's a Human Alien. He doesn't like this, and his main motivation is to find Earth so that the curse can be broken.
  • Padraic, an exiled Faerie prince in Pact, has the ability to take a name from a person to render them an Unperson, and can then use Glamour to subvert and consume the remainder of a person's identity by acting as them, until the original person is lost forever and all that remains is another mask for Padraic to wear.
  • Shapeshifters in The Licanius Trilogy can only take the forms of those they have personally killed. The explanation given is that killing someone causes you to take an "imprint" of their soul, which can later be used to assume that person's shape.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? invokes this with an ancient woman who traps young girls and steals their faces in order to retain her youth. She stores their faces in a book, and uses the featureless girls as masked servants.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Idiot's Lantern", the Wire steals people's faces as a side-effect of stealing their brainwaves in an attempt to get enough energy for it to regain a physical form.
  • The Skinwalker from the pilot of The Dresden Files TV show.
  • The Flash (2014): Eobard Thawne uses a machine to kill the real Harrison Wells and steal his identity. Bonus points for it resembling the Fringe process from below.
  • The Shapeshifters on Fringe are a Squick-y example of this, as the transformation looks exceedingly painful, requires that the victim to be dead, and involves a three-pronged metal thing jammed into the roof of their mouth. The second group of shapeshifters from the fourth season require an even more nightmarish and biological Body Horror to take their victims' form.
  • Game of Thrones: The Faceless Men have a whole hall of faces they've stolen and can use.
  • Accidental usage. There was a character in Heroes who had the ability to mimic people with just a small physical sample for their DNA. Then Sylar met him, stole his ability and became a Face Stealer in his own right.
  • In an episode of The Mighty Boosh, Vince starts to tell a story about his childhood about an ape who needed to steal a man's face to be king, or something... it ends on a sort-of cliffhanger as Vince (in the story) falls asleep, leaving him susceptible to the ape's intent, but obviously the adult Vince telling the story has a face, so to an extent it's obvious how it ends.
  • There also was a monster from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with this name. Victims are left as an Empty Shell and The Blank. Needless to say, the scene in which some of the Rangers had their faces stolen was terrifying to some kids.
  • A shapeshifter is the Monster of the Week in the Supernatural episode "Skin". He takes on many people's appearances and uses the ability to frame others for murder. The Leviathans from season 7 can also take on the faces of others, but require a piece of DNA from the intended target (which they usually take by eating the victim).
  • In the fourth season of True Blood, we learn that shapeshifters can take the form of humans only if they have killed a member of their immediate family. However, the process is Cast from Hit Points, and shifting more than a handful of times always proves fatal.
    • The concept of "killed" in this case is a little broad. The first time we hear this is from a female Shifter whose mother died at childbirth. According to this definition, she is the one who killed her mother and is able to shift into humans.

    Music Videos 
  • A literal Face Stealer (similar to the Avatar: The Last Airbender example below) appears in "Maskara" by Filipino band The Eraserheads.
  • Inverted in "Devil's Night" by Motionless In White, in which they go around correcting the effects of this trope.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Ganabe in Chill.
  • The Lunars from Exalted all have a spirit animal they can shapeshift into at will, but can also assume the form of any creature whose heart blood they consume following a ritualistic hunt. And yes, this applies to humans, as well.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, there is a species of all-female troll-like monsters who pretend to be human women by killing them and wearing their skin (the illusion holds as long as the skin is more or less fresh.)
  • The Pisanob bloodline of the Giovanni clan in Vampire: The Masquerade has a ritual that allows them to skin someone alive, then "wear" the skin to change their appearance into that of the victim.
  • The D&D splatbook Monster Manual IV introduces the Defacer, an undead shapeshifter that turns its kills into The Blank, which can't even be restored with magic because the defacer also has the victims soul. Only killing the defacer restores the face and frees the soul.
  • D'Anjainy in Anima: Beyond Fantasy are able to do this, skinning the face of the person who want to copy and placing it over theirs. It lasts as long as they want, or until they receive damage in the face.

    Video Games 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the three transformation masks are actually made from the souls of dead characters - or possibly a manifestation of their Ghostly Goals, the game isn't exactly clear about the mechanics. Regardless, the character has to die in order for you to get their mask.
    • Note that you get the mask by playing the Song of Healing, implying that the mask-transformation process is in some way beneficial to the soul of the departed.
  • In the N64/PSX Mission Impossible game, the Face Maker not only duplicates people's faces, but their clothing as well.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Doopliss in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Not only does he take Mario's face, leaving him as a shadow, he also takes his name, making him unable to tell others who he is, or leaving Twilight town, since you need to have your name written on you for the pipe to work.
    • In Super Mario 3D World, certain levels let you wear a Goomba suit disguise that spawns as a Power-Up from defeated Goombas.
    • Several Toads were on the receiving end of this trope in Paper Mario: The Origami King: after all, when you mix a world where people are made of paper with a self-centered hole puncher, it is to be expected. It can also happen to Mario during the fight against the aforementioned hole puncher, resulting in Maximum Hp Reduction.
  • Alex Mercer from [PROTOTYPE] eats people and uses this so often he starts body surfing.
  • The Spy in Team Fortress 2 can invoke this with the "Your Eternal Reward" knife. Normally, Spy is a Master of Disguise and uses a kit to manually and gradually disguise himself as an enemy, ideally to precede a Back Stab with his usual butterfly knife. However, using Your Eternal Reward exchanges full use of a disguise kit for the ability to let him instantly disguise as anyone he backstabs. Doing so also mutes the victim's scream, near-instantly turns their corpse invisible, and the death won't be mentioned on the kill feed, making it especially good at catching large enemy groups off guard as he jumps between his victims' identities.
  • In Thief: Deadly Shadows this is how Gamall, the main antagonist infiltrates the Keepers. This involves skinning people, so it's a very literal example.
  • Doctor Thomas Elliot / Hush in Batman: Arkham City. In the comics, he made himself look like Bruce Wayne through Magic Plastic Surgery. In the game, he does the same murdering people, carving off parts of their faces, and replacing his own face with the assembled pieces.
  • Fallen London has the Snuffers, Humanoid Abominations which will physically tear peoples' faces off (with naturally fatal results) and wear them like masks, which fit perfectly despite the fact a mask-less snuffer looks less like a human and more like an insectoid horror. Being sapient, some have particular tastes, and a few have been known to piece whole faces together out of bits of others simply to experiment. They also eat their victims, at least when they aren't out devouring candles (hence the name, they "snuff" candles). They've become quite the problem in London, to the point wearing masks in the local prison is mandatory to avoid unwanted face-ripping.
  • A popular (yet technically incomplete) Minecraft mod called "Morph" allows the player to shapeshift into any mobs they killed.
  • Mortal Kombat X plays this trope in a very unsettling way: one of Shinnok's Brutalities involves him using his power-stealing move on the opponent while using his "Impostor" variation. Thing is, it tears off the face from the opponent's head and puts it over Shinnok's face as a mask.
  • The plot of Miitopia kicks off with the Dark Lord stealing Miis' faces to build an army of demons to help him spread chaos all over Miitopia. It's explained later on that the monsters are normally quite docile, and only attack because the Dark Lord uses the stolen faces to control them.
  • The Changelings in Space Station 13 are this. They are capable of transforming into anyone who they either stealthily sting or suck all body fluids out of, making them unclonable. Their other powers include turning their arm into a weapon, freezing people from the inside, turning into monkeys to escape handcuffs, reviving out of anything that doesn't destroy their body, turning people into other people and turning into hulking masses of meat and organs. They make you suspect everyone even more than traitors.
  • In Dead by Daylight, if Leatherface sacrifices one of the original four survivors twenty-five times, he unlocks a cosmetic of their stitched up face to wear.
  • In Zampanio Sim you can meet Shambling Horrors with Your Face.

  • In canon, it is unclear how Decoy Octopus of Metal Gear Solid impersonates people so perfectly, but it appears to involve exchanging his blood for theirs. (Assuming he wasn't just using the blood of his victim because of the nanomachines inside the blood.) The Last Days of Foxhound explains that he can take the appearance of anyone whose blood he drinks. He spends an early portion of that series using the form of a dead villain, just because there was a lot of blood left over. Afterwards he tends to assume the appearance of one of his teammates, generally Liquid or Ocelot.
  • Reynardine of Gunnerkrigg Court fame is an inversion, with a little bit of Body Snatcher; he can take the form of anything with eyes, but they don't die until he leaves that form.
  • Rumors of War features a Face Stealer of the Kill and Replace variety, in the B Plot of its first major Story Arc. Creates a What Happened to the Mouse? moment when another character is "disappeared," and a protagonist is blamed for it, concluding with an Attempted Rape (foiled in Action Girl manner) and the arc suddenly ending.
  • The samurai demon from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja keeps the severed head of the person he's impersonating close by, apparently to maintain the transformation spell. If you don't mind ruining the mystery of which teacher is secretly a demon, here's the relevant page.
  • In The Dragon Doctors, one identity-theft spell uses the blood of the victim as a component.
  • The Fox Sister: The Kumiho takes on the form of Yun Hee's sister, Sun Hee, after killing her.
  • In Brutus, Italia takes the form of Alucanth by stabbing him through the chest. Due to Alucanth's undead nature, this is inconvenient rather than fatal.
  • In True Villains, the Lady of Black Magic Elia takes this up a notch by swapping out her skin when she feels like it. As she explains, it's simple intermediate Necromancy to peel the skin off a corpse, preserve it, and graft it onto yourself, which the 86-year-old does whenever her current skin starts to get wrinkles.
  • City of Blank: Blanks, which are the reason masks are so common. Upon sensing an unmasked human, they congregate around the hapless victim in hopes of stealing a face.

    Web Original 
  • ASDF Movie: "Nice hat." "Thanks!" "I was being sarcastic." "Well, I stole your face!" (Guy slaps his own blank face and finds it gone.)
  • FilmCow has the character Vulo the Face Borrower. The people he takes faces from are rendered comatose but he eventually does give them back.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-974 ("Treehouse Predator"). After killing and eating a human being it can take the form of that person.
  • The Not-Them from The Magnus Archives plays with this, in that, while it consumes and replaces whatever poor soul is unfortunate enough to be left alone with it, it doesn't resemble the original individual at all. These obvious discrepancies don't affect it too badly, though, as it will change almost all images and recordings of the original to show itself, instead.

    Western Animation 
  • Koh, The Face Stealer in Avatar: The Last Airbender, is the Trope Namer. This centipede-like Eldritch Abomination takes the faces of people and animals who show any facial expression in front of him, whilst keeping the faces to use as masks. Even worse, his victims don't dienote , if the faceless monkey outside his lair is any indicator.
    • When Aang is first told of Koh by Roku, he is warned that he can only save himself by not showing any emotive facial expression at all near Koh, which helps him a lot when he meets Koh in "The Siege of the North, Part 2"; when he nearly blows it by smiling behind Koh's back. Aang does at least resume his straight face at the last moment.
    • The tie-in comics make Koh look more like a Woobie than a monster when it's revealed why he steals faces: he's been estranged from his mother, the Mother of Faces - who, as her name implies, creates all faces - since time began, and he steals faces because of how much he misses her.
    • Of course, even if Koh is not overtly antagonistic, he does still try to provoke reason to steal someone's face, by using Jump Scare tactics.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One of the latter appearances of Sideshow Bob has him surgically trade faces with his cellmate in order to escape from jail.
    • One episode has Chief Wiggum taking a count of various prisoners and asks about the whereabouts of a guy who eats people and steals their faces. The guy, who is totally normal looking, cheerfully indicates his presence.
  • According to the Cartoon Network version of MAD, Megan Fox got her looks by stealing Kristen Stewart's hair, Scarlett Johansson's eyes, and Angelina Jolie's lips. Before this, she was an actual fox.
  • The Mysteronsnote  appear to be doing something like this in Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, with the target's corpse disappearing in a swirl of motes of weird green light to reconstitute as an evil, Mysteron-controlled duplicate. It's not clear exactly how necessary this is, because they have shown the ability to out-and-out possess animals and remotely interfere with machinery: If you subscribe to the notion that the whole War of Nerves is really just the Mysterons trolling humanity For the Evulz and/or it amuses them, one could argue that they think it's more dramatic that way.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Sleep Spells", when Star keeps casting spells in her sleep it turns out that it was her defending herself from a monster princess on the run from St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses, who wanted to make Star go there in her place by trading faces with her. Since Star and Princess Smooshy look nothing alike (despite the latter's claim to the contrary), Star and Marco laugh at this idea, which doesn't stop Princess Smooshy from trying to go through with her plan.

    Real Life 
  • A certain sea slug called the nudibranch eats jellyfish and uses their stinging cells to protect itself from predators.
  • Hermit crabs, though they don't actually hurt anyone, they just use the shells of dead sea creatures.
  • Assassin bugs will "wear" the exoskeletons of prey on top of their bodies. Due to size disparities this may cause them to appear as a pile of insects rather than one. It still works.
  • Quite possibly the most sinister of real life face-stealers is a queen Polyergus breviceps. This ant queen will sneak into a Formica ant colony and find its queen. She will then cut open the queen with jaws designed just for this task and bathe in the fluids of her victim for around 25 minutes while the victim is still alive. Once the Formica queen finally dies, the Formica colony will think that the murderous outsider is their real queen. Furthermore, if the colony in question has more than one queen, she will kill all of them, even though she only needs to bathe in the blood of one queen to be accepted.
  • Man possesses the ability to wear products made from dead animals including each other. But instead of the nudibranch's usage of assimilating jellyfish or the hermit crab's obvious naturality, the skins that humans wear are instead transformed into numerous varieties that are totally unrecognizable from where they came.