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Facial Horror

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"You look like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah!"

"OH MY GOD, what's wrong with your face!?"

Much like audiences get squicked out by horrible things happening to our body or our eyes, so too do they get absolutely sickened by the thought of something horrible (and permanent!) happening to our faces. It's the #1 part of the body we use for socializing and is strongly tied to our sense of personal identity, so in essence, destroying a person's face is the equivalent to destroying his or her life. It can often lead to a Nightmare Face, but if the victim is lucky, he can maybe at least achieve the level of The Woobie or even Ugly Cute. This trope can include those who die from the disfigurement, but it's more effective (and more horrifying) to have the victim live with it.

Compare and contrast to Nightmare Face. The main difference between these two tropes is that Facial Horror deals specifically with severe mutilation of most or all of the face, whereas Nightmare Face covers exceptionally scary faces in general.

Interestingly, even the most gruesome examples of this trope will often, like Two-Face from Batman, leave the eyes completely intact. Perhaps this is to emphasize the facial disfigurement by contrast, or merely a sign that Eye Scream is a whole different level of horror. Or perhaps it's so that the victim can see himself in a mirror.

See also Eye Scream, Glasgow Grin, Jawbreaker, Mouth Stitched Shut, Two-Faced, and Tear Off Your Face.

Contrast Sunken Face, where the disfigurement is played for pure comedy.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan features this pretty often in later chapters.
    • Exhibit A, after Eren has far and away overtaxed his Titan Shifting abilities, it gets harder and harder to pull him out of his Titan, until the third time they yank him out and his entire face comes off his head, leaving eyes and barely-fleshed skull underneath. Hange wisely decided to move on after this.
    • Reiner has this happen to him midway through the Shiganshina battle, having the top half of his head blown off only to regenerate it. As expected, it looks pretty gruesome between then and when it's mostly done, showing brain and eyes at one point and later still not being fully covered in skin when he's defeated and being tortured by Hange.
    • At the same time, Zeke goes up against Levi and loses, and Levi makes a point of trying to torture information out of him by shoving his blade up through Zeke's mouth and into his eye socket and then out of his head. It left him mangled even worse when he had to suddenly yank it out to dodge the Mule Titan.
  • In Baccano! one of the white suit's face is ground off from having it held down on the railroad tracks. From a MOVING train.
  • Berserk: After Guts and company rescue Griffith after his year-long torture, his normally Bishōnen face is implied to have been affected as we see them take off his mask, gasp, and put it back on.
  • In Corpse Party: Another Child, there are the three ghosts of the children murdered in the Heavenly Host Elementary School. The teacher who killed them used scissors to mutilate them, prompting their spirits to seek revenge on the unlucky victims transported and trapped in the dilapidated school by killing them the same way as was done to them. Out of the three ghosts, Tokiko is the most worse for wear. This is because while the other two ghosts, Yuki and Ryou, only lost an eye and tongues, Tokiko lost the ENTIRE TOP HALF OF HER HEAD, LEAVING NOTHING BUT AN EXPOSED TONGUE AND LOWER JAW.
    • This example also provokes some Fridge Logic if one is knowledgeable about skeletal anatomy, though that could be chalked off to Rule of Scary.
  • Happens to Mello from Death Note after he blows up his own base.
  • One chapter of Dissolving Classroom features girls whose faces distort in monstrously ugly ways after hearing Yuuma praise them too much which is implied to be something similar to the lethal properties of his apologies, as he's actually praising the devil.
  • Fist of the North Star:
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Tim Marcoh had his face damaged by Scar so people wouldn't recognize him during his travels.
    • Scar himself may count as a minor example, but his face isn't really disfigured like most of the examples here.
    • When Roy Mustang burns them to death, Lust and Envy both have their faces destroyed before they die.
    • The 2003 anime has Frank Archer, who lost half his face and half of the rest of his body while fighting in Lior. The half of his body that was destroyed was eventually replaced by automail.
    • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos features a villain who removed Julia's brother's face and wore it as a mask for years. Julia's brother later returns, still faceless but with a horrifying mask covering the scars and exposed fascia.
  • Hellsing invokes this trope several times, most of them involving Alucard. The worst is probably Zorin Blitz, who gets her face cheese-grated down a hallway by a supremely pissed-off and newly-awakened Seras, leaving only ragged strips of skin. Towards the end Heinkel Wolfe ends up suffering this trope when the Captain (nonlethally) shoots her through the mouth, giving her a Glasgow Grin and forcing her to wear bandages over it for the rest of her life.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7, Gyro uses the Super Spin technique to prematurely age half of Valentine's face.
  • Happens to Wakatsuki in Kengan Ashura during his fight against Julius, when the latter smashes his head against the wall and drags his face halfway across the arena with enough force to break the concrete. Thanks to his incredibly dense muscles, the resulting injury isn't that bad, but he does spend the remainder of the match with half of his face torn off. This doesn't last, however, as Furumi grafted new skin on his face, and he suffers no permanent disfigurement.
  • Kichikujima:Mari the oldest daughter of her family lost half of her face to her crazy giant grandma Otoki by Accident which is why she has been wearing a mask to cover it.
  • One minor antagonist in Murciélago had an experiment with a high-powered laser go awry and got the right side of his head horribly burned, making him look a lot like Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Save for his jaw, All For One's entire head consist of nothing but scar tissue. As such, he has no visible nose, ears, hair, or eyes. In public, he wears a Darth Vader-esque helmet connected via tubes to a collar-like life support system around his neck.
    • The Hero Killer Stain has no nose, with only a gaping hole left in its stead. And My Hero Academia: Vigilantes reveals that he cut it off himself, which signified his transition from hero to villain.
    • Dabi's face looks about as good as the rest of him, which means it looks like a patchwork of burned flesh and skin grafts more befitting a corpse. He also admits he's Unable to Cry because his tear ducts are burned away. It's also the reason Endeavor and Shoto never realized he was actually the assumed-dead Toya Todoroki, which he sarcastically lampshades when he reveals himself at long last while removing his black hair dye and admits he knows that he doesn't look at all like how they remember him.
  • One Piece:
    • Franky gets caught in an explosion so powerful that it blows his skin off. Luckily, he's a cyborg, but the sight of his unskinned face is pretty terrifying. It's Played for Laughs as much as horror, though.
    • In the manga only, Akainu blows half of Whitebeard's face off. Even more scarily, Whitebeard barely slows down and proceeds to smash his attacker, while his face is melting by magma.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • A mild example late in the first season is how, after a road accident, Team Rocket's Meowth cries over how he lost his charm (the huge coin on his forehead), and there's a deep gash where it should usually be. So deep, in fact, that Meowth didn't seem to realize that the charm was actually just stuck inside the gash until it popped right back out.
    • In one Unova episode, the victims of having their memories altered by Beheeyem have their faces become Beheeyem-like.
  • Minor character Hannya from Rurouni Kenshin did this to himself in order to become a perfect spy, capable of wearing any mask. Specifically, he burnt his lips, sawed off his nose, shattered his cheekbones, and chopped off his ears.
  • Several characters in Tokyo Ghoul have been left with disfigured faces as a result of run-ins with ghouls.
    • Chuu Hachikawa's lips were torn away to leave his teeth exposed, which he usually covers with a high collar. He likes to pull the collar down to intimidate people. In comparison, Torturers Goumasa Tokage and Shiki Kijima both ended up mangled beyond recognition when ghouls took revenge for their cruelty. They are left suitably hideous to match their cruel natures.
    • Used as The Reveal late in the series. After years apart, Kaneki asks Hide to show him the damage he inflicted while out of control. Hide obliges and takes off his scarf, revealing very little flesh left on the lower half of his face and a hideous neck injury. Even Hide's vocal cords have been torn, so he can't speak until he's given a voice prosthesis.
  • Pandora/Arkana from Yu-Gi-Oh!, probably. The viewers never actually see his face under the mask, which was scarred in an accident he had as a stage magician, but Yugi seems pretty horrified when he briefly sees it.

    Comic Books 
  • Albert Einstein: Time Mason: While fighting a time-traveling Nazi in Ancient Egypt, Albert dips his face in a fountain full of mercury, leaving his face burned and swollen, and turning his eye from blue to red.
  • Batman:
    • Two-Face is a prime example. As mentioned below, it's especially gruesome in the New 52, The Dark Knight, and the Batman: Arkham Series. Some artists, as well as Batman: The Animated Series and the aforementioned Arkham series, have gone into Body Horror and include his left arm in the scarring, with a hallucination of the Joker in Batman: Arkham Knight not-subtly wondering to Batman if this includes Two-Face's penis.
    • It also happened to the Joker during the incident with the vat of acid. Exaggerated in the New 52, especially when Death of the Family comes around.
    • Before the reboot, there was also a character called "No-Face", a perfectly harmless inmate at Arkham who lost most of the skin from his face in an accident, and the "Hamburger Lady", a middle-aged woman who might have been hideously disfigured... or might just think she is.
    • Black Mask also suffers from this as one of his earliest fights with Batman caused his namesake mask to fuse to his face — and while adaptations present his current Skull for a Head look as a mask, in the comics, it's his actual face, having finally somehow ditched the mask in Batman: No Man's Land.
  • The Beauty: Mr. Calaveras' face, when we do see it, looks quite skeletal under the Dia De Los Muertos-style skull mask that he wears. He even has a visible lack of nose.
  • Captain America: Sometimes, the Red Skull's skull-face is just a mask a mask. Other times, it isn't, usually caused by the Dust of Death poison, his own weapon.
  • Deadpool: Wade's covered in tumors and his face is no exception, lacking hair and featuring bumpy, rough skin, though this also is Body Horror as said condition is all over his body.
  • In Dolltopia, Soccer Scotty has half his face damaged after leaving the dollhouse to go after Kitty. The doctor replaces the damaged half once Scotty comes to Dolltopia.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Doctor Doom, although of course a) you never do see his face, only people occasionally reacting in horror, and b) as a result, no two writers agree on how bad Doom's face is. Some say his face was horrifically disfigured in a lab accident, with acid scars and burn marks and all that, while some say it was a small cut, which his pride and vanity exaggerated into a horrifying injury. And some combine the two; he suffered a minor cut from the accident, then massive burns when he put on his trademark mask without waiting for it to cool. Secret Wars (2015) ultimately shows Doom's face, hideously mutilated and the only thing he couldn't fix.
    • One of the more infamous bits from Tom DeFalco's tenure is The Thing getting his face mutilated by Wolverine, forced to wear a helmet for a while, and then end up with a red splotch for scar tissue until Hyperstorm reversed the damage.
  • The Goon:
    • The minor villain Houstus Graves is cursed with this when he agrees to provide the Zombie Priest with fresh cadavers. His face becomes increasingly distorted, and his wife dies giving birth to two sons so grotesque that they must hide their faces behind burlap sacks.
    • Also the faces of the inbred Decaster family, and various other monsters and mutants throughout the run of the comic. Eric Powell clearly really likes drawing hideous monsters.
  • Jonah Hex: Jonah has the right side of his face scarred. Depending on the Artist, he can just be the bulging eye, permanent sneer, and the mouth tendon, some will remember that he got these from being burned and adding burn scars, and others will make him look like a mirror-flipped version of Two-Face in a cowboy hat.
  • Judges convicted of corruption in Judge Dredd are sentenced to twenty years of hard labor on the Titan penal colony. The work is done outside, and space suits aren't used because they make the wearer too clumsy for the work. Instead, the offender is surgically altered so they can survive in vacuum, which includes removal of the nose, sealing the lips together, and shoving cybernetic implants wherever they'll fit. They don't reverse the surgery if the offender survives the sentence, either.
  • Justice League of America: The classic villain Dr. Destiny is typically portrayed with a Skull for a Head, originally as a result of the League ridding him of his ability to dream. However, for his appearances in the later 1980s-early 1990s (most notably, The Sandman (1989) and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth), this got extended into full Body Horror with his whole body becoming emaciated.note 
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Half of Malekith the Accursed's face was badly scarred by a wizard he killed, who managed to strike back before dying.
    • Harald Jaekelsson from Thor: Vikings also counts as this by virtue of being a thousand-year-old Technically Living Zombie.
  • Monstress:
    • When forcibly removing the two mask fragments that Gull is wearing, Maika tears her entire face off in the process.
    • While we haven't seen the damage yet, Hammer's face was apparently ravaged by the Constantine blast, hence why she's mute and always wears a veil.
  • Preacher: A Bungled Suicide attempt with a shotgun left Arseface with... well, a face that looks like an arse.
  • Jigsaw from The Punisher christened himself with this moniker after Frank Castle threw him through a glass panel and reduced his face to a jigsaw puzzle-like mess of scars.
  • In Red Hood and the Outlaws #17's end, a trap the Joker left in Jason's helmet sets off, sending Joker Venom all over him and scarring him deeply. He remains unconscious until the end of #18, and doesn't have his face shown in that time.
  • The Sandman (1989) has Mazikeen, Lucifer's lover/Dragon. One side of her face is beautiful, while the other side is horribly mangled and appears to be rotting. She considers the disfigured half a point of pride, as it symbolizes her demonic heritage. When it gets healed against her will, she takes it rather poorly.note 
  • In SnarfQuest, Snarf and others assume that Aveeare (a robot stranded in a fantasy world) is a victim of this trope, mistaken the circuits and gears under his faceplate for scar tissue.
  • Spider-Man:
    • In Grim Hunt, after Spider-Man has been pushed to his limit, he presses his hand to the villain's face and uses his wall-crawling ability to rip the skin off.
    • This is a parallel to Spidey's imperfect clone, Kaine, whose spider-powers are amplified and twisted; back in the '90s comics, before his Heel–Face Turn in modern times, Kaine uses his gripping power to burn his handprint into his murder victims' faces, leaving scars from the crisscross patterns of the lines of his hand (the so-called "Mark of Kaine").
  • Stray: The Doberman's killer(s) has/have a scar going right down the middle of his/their face.
  • Superman:
    • The Phantom Zone: Thul-Kar's face is half-skinned, half-melted, a grim reminder of what happened when he challenged a cosmic horror.
    • Superboy and the Ravers: Byron Stark (a.k.a. Half Life) was injured and "repaired" when an alien craft crashed into his parent's house back in the 1950s and most of the flesh, including his eye, on the left side of his face was replaced with transparent green goo that his skull can be seen through. A fair portion of the rest of his body got the same treatment.
  • In The Transformers (IDW), Soundwave gets shot in the head. It takes him out for several issues, and when he's brought out of his coma, he now has a Two-Faced appearance and cannot talk because his voice box has been damaged. In the sequel The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, he's been fixed as of issue 13.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
  • In The Walking Dead, the group ironically known as the "Saviors" faces this as a punishment if any of the men attempt to sleep with a member of their leader Negan's Paid Harem. Negan responds by burning part of their face off with a hot clothes iron. At least two members of the Saviors are marked like this, and one of them, a man named Dwight, becomes an important character.
  • Wanted: Mr. Rictus was severely burned in an industrial accident that (briefly) killed him. This has left him with his teeth gruesomely exposed in what seems like a permanent grin, hence his name.
  • Wildstar: At the start of the "Sky Zero" Four-Parter, Wildstar forcibly removes a bounty hunter's alien symbiote, which is attached to his face. He ends up taking the skin off the guy's head.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): After Paula's Heel–Face Turn, her face is horribly burnt in a fire when she enters a munitions factory already set alight by Nazi spies (who she'd previously been collaborating with, under duress; they had her daughter) in order to find and disable the explosive device in the factory that would have made everything so much worse. This scarring is never shown as she is bandaged or wears a veil over it, but other characters' reactions make it clear that it has thoroughly disfigured her.
    • In the Huntress feature, Helena fights a human trafficker named Herbert Hynde whose face seems to be chemically scarred — most of his nose and his lips are gone.
  • When Youngblood and Spawn were part of the same universe, part of the backstory was that Chapel from the former killed series Al Simmons, thus setting into motion Al becoming the eponymous character of the latter series. Spawn repaid this by ripping off the area of skin on Chapel's face where he wore his skull-themed facepaint, exposing his skull for real. Then again, as said murder of Simmons involved setting him on fire, Spawn himself is an example of this, featuring burnt skin (and later a skull-like face) and missing a nose.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Amazing Fantasy:
    • Stain is subject to a brutal beatdown courtesy of Peter, who decides to cut loose out of disgust for Stain's actions and with confidence that the Hero Killer's Made of Iron status would let him survive a punch comparable to a mortar strike. By the end, Stain's jaw is fractured and partially dislocated, a chunk of his cheek is torn off, and his lips are a bloody smear.
    • Toga is also subject to this after ingesting Peter's blood. Causing half of her face to melt off and her left eye to go cloudy until she resembles Kaine from Ultimate Spider-Man.
  • In the Encanto fanfic Burned, the plot is kicked off when Pepa accidentally strikes Camilo with lightning. Half of his face is scarred because of this.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters:
    • Calisto, one of the wardens of Cavigor, is missing all the flesh on the lower half of his face, which was burned off by Drago when he was captured and locked away. This looks even worse when Calisto is in his tiger form.
    • After Phobos kills Uncle, Jade goes into an Unstoppable Rage and slashes his face, destroying his left eye, removing his nose, and taking a chunk out of his right cheek.
  • J-WITCH Series: While taking Tynar prisoner in "The Knights of Vengeance", Drago also takes the time to slash an immobilized Drake's face, purely for his own amusement.
  • In The Judgement of the World (5Ds), Yubel's attack leaves horrific burns on half of Momoe's face. What's worse is that the corrupted flame Yubel used continues to eat away at Momoe's flesh and will apparently burn through her skull eventually, spelling out a slow and painful death.
  • In Pro Hero Metal Bat, Izuku gets punched so hard by the USJ Nomu that part of his face comes off. Shoji and Sero need to tape a piece of cloth over it to stop it from falling off.
  • Priest suffers this in Project Horizons when Sanguine blows Pink Cloud in his face, melting his eyes and sealing his mouth and nose shut.
  • Queen of Shadows: During the Battle of Tobe, Ozeki forcibly removes Yasashi's Oni mask, tearing off her face in the process.
  • OC Midnight suffers from this in the Sonic The Hedgehog fanfic A Rose And A Thorn 5: Resurrection - the left side of his body was damaged in an explosion in #4, and now he has terrible scarring all down that side of his body, as well as requiring a We Can Rebuild Him ordeal. He's convinced that the amnesiac Mirage will never want him back but finds that she is still sympathetic to his appearance, even before she remembers him.
    Mirage: ([touching his scarred cheek] If she really loved you before, she would not care what you look like now. And if she did, she was not worth having.
    Midnight: But she was...
  • In Sixes and Sevens, Schmitt says that he was present when Red Skull got hit by the worse side effects of the super soldier serum. His face melted off.
    • In a later story, "The Haunting of Villa Layla", a vampire minion of Velanna is shot through both cheeks and barely flinches. Instead he smiles, tearing the wounds open wider and giving himself a Glasgow Grin that shows off his fangs.
    • Another story shows the death of Velanna herself, in which her jaw unhinges and stretches to the ground the same way her limbs do before her entire body collapses into tar.

    Films — Animation 

  • Always Coming Home has the story of a woman who walked with a mask ever since, in a delirium, she approached a bear too closely.
  • The title character in Eden Green has her teeth and nose broken in a violent murder; when an alien needle symbiote awakens her, she carefully describes the sensations of her face being repaired with microscopic needles.
  • Erebus Sequence: It turns out that the reason Anea wears a veil and can't speak is that she doesn't have a jaw.
  • Fight Club: By the end, the narrator has had both cheeks ruined—one split open after a tooth punched a hole in it, and further fights exacerbated the injury to the point that it became half a Glasgow Grin, and the other opened by a gunshot. The former injury is omitted from the film.
  • Fox Demon Cultivation Manual:
    • Sun Yunniang had her face ripped off on her husband's orders.
    • The people Song Ci sees outside the inn had their skin ripped off by Sun Yunniang's ghost, leaving their faces a "skinless, bloody mess of rotten meat".
  • The Ghost Writer: The climax reveals that Alice Jessell's face is horribly deformed.
  • The owl Metalbeak/Kludd from Guardians of Ga'Hoole. He had his beak, among other parts of his face, ripped off in a fight and replaced it with a metal one.
  • In The Girl Who Drank the Moon Antain is attacked by a flock of animate origami birds that slash his face, leaving it a mass of scars.
  • Mason Verger in Hannibal. He peeled off his own face under the influence of Lecter, plus some party drugs.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Goblet of Fire describes Alastor Moody's face as rough and misshapen, with heavy scarring and a big chunk of his nose missing. He also averts Eyes Are Unbreakable, since his most striking feature is his bulging, lopsided Glass Eye (they don't call him "Mad-Eye Moody" for nothing, you know). Chalk it up to years and years of ferocious battles against practitioners of The Dark Arts.
    • At the end of Half-Blood Prince, Bill Weasley gets mauled by Fenrir Greyback and acquires a series of nasty facial scars that are compared to Moody's.
  • Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Has a disfigured face and body from birth. This is also implied to be the reason why he was abandoned as a toddler. He is also deaf and half-blind.
  • Joelle Van Dyne in Infinite Jest following an incident with some acid,(maybe) causing her to wear a veil and join the Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed.
  • Vlad Menshikov from The Kane Chronicles had part of his face, along with his lungs and eyes, burned when he tried and failed to awaken Ra.
  • Lorka Trench in the steampunk series Lockhart And Teague had her lips cut off when she was a teenager. This causes her to make very unconventional word choices when speaking, as she doesn't use words she can't pronounce correctly.
  • Handicapped Badass Colonel Lomax in the Matthew Hawkwood novels. Pinned under a dead horse and caught in a grass fire, the left side of Lomax's body was badly burned; crippling his left arm, destroying his left eye, and badly scarring the left side of his face.
  • Mortal Engines: Hester Shaw sports a very nasty scar and is missing an eye and most of her nose as a result of being attacked during her childhood.
  • Oliver Twisted: The wolf Bullseye is described to have a face scratched and torn in twenty different places.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Erik the opera ghost. He has a deformed face and body and therefore hides himself away from the world and lives beneath the Paris opera house.
  • The eponymous painting becomes for a while this in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The book is kind of vague about it, but many adaptions show all the gruesomeness.
  • Professor Moriarty Series: The daughter of one of Moriarty's men had acid thrown in her face by a Crazy Jealous Guy. Moriarty has Lee Chow pay said crazy jealous guy a visit and cut off his cheeks.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: The assassin Chade's face and body are covered with deep, angry pockmarks by a long-ago accident with volatile chemicals. Combined with his prematurely wizened appearance, some peasants actually mistake his face for the Anthropomorphic Personification of Plague.
  • Redwall has Slagar the Cruel, who wears a mask to hide his deformities caused by Asmodeus' venom. There's also Riggu Felis, whose face was mostly torn off by a hawk. The lower half of his face is described as "red, glistening flesh and bone... the whole muzzle, nose and upper lip had been torn off. Half of the warlord's face was a spitting, bubbling skeleton." Lovely.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Hartnet is an otherwise attractive young woman who is missing her nose. She wears a veil (and later a helmet with a nose guard) to cover it, but people are still unnerved by the sight of her.
  • What the Big Bad of the first Rivers of London book does to his victims, magically cracking their bones, shredding their muscles, and stretching their skin until they become perfect imitations of Mister Punch; when he finishes with them, their face falls apart and they die. If they are lucky. A survivor's face is described in book two in excruciating detail, for a start her nose and lower jawbone is mostly missing having been shattered into too many pieces to rebuild. Talking is only possible with one of those Stephen Hawking speech programs.
  • A lot of the art in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark straddled the line between this trope and Nightmare Face. Probably the best example would be the art for "The Red Spot", a story where what seems to be a zit on a girl's face actually contains a nest of baby spiders.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • In the story "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client", Kitty Winter gets revenge on Baron Adelbert Gruner, who destroyed her life, by throwing acid in his face, leaving him hideously disfigured. The story was later adapted by '"Elementary''.
    • The eponymous character in "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger".
  • The Shining: Towards the end, Danny tries to break his father from the hotel's influence (and temporarily succeeds), only to have Jack become completely possessed and forced to smash the roque mallet into his own face, repeatedly, until it is a barely-recognisable mess. This fully kills Jack and allows the ghosts to take full control of his body.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Sandor Clegane's burned face is described as horrifying, Shireen Baratheon's is badly scarred by greyscale and Brienne's was half eaten by Biter. And then there's the delightful face of Tyrion, with that long scar and all, including having his nose pretty much cut off. Most of these are downplayed in the TV show.
  • A Sorrow Fierce and Falling: Molochoron's Familiars, which Henrietta recreates for a test for Maria, are described as having melted faces.
  • Thebe and the Angry Red Eye provides a fatal example. During a spaceship crash, a panel on a bunk wall in the control room explodes and hits The Medic's head so hard that her face is torn off.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Elli Quinn has her face burned off by plasma-arc fire - "she looked like an onion". Fortunately, she lives in a universe of advanced biotech where the commander of her mercenary company buys her reconstructive surgery which leaves her looking better than she had before, but plasma fire is one of the few things that can truly terrify her.
  • Warrior Cats: Brightheart was savaged by a pack of dogs, who mangled her face to the point that she lost an eye and parts of her skull were showing even after she recovered. She was even called "Lostface" for a while, but fortunately, Firestar renamed her.
  • Waste of Space: Dashiell Gibson feels this way about Sonja Sjoberg when she's not wearing her makeup. Sonja has had many plastic surgeries before coming to Moon Base Alpha, and since they were all designed for Earth's gravity, the moon's lower gravity is having an adverse effect on them. To wit, her inflated lips have swelled up to three times their size, and the helium micro-pockets she had injected into her face are rising too high.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Jasmine, once someone is freed from her love spell, has a mangled, maggot-infested face. Once the spell is broken for the whole world, her face breaks out in boils and lesions.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Jonah Hex's appearance on Legends of Tomorrow depicted a more pragmatic version of his scars, mostly due to being a series on The CW and hence lacking the budget to go all out.
    • The Flash reveals that the right side of Savitar's face is covered with burns, with his eye discolored and possibly left blind for good measure.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Richard Harrow lost his left eye and the left side of his face in World War I, forcing him to wear a crude-looking half-mask with face-like features.
  • Breaking Bad: from the appropriately titled "Face Off" episode, Gustavo Fring meets his end when hit with a bomb, but not before surviving long enough for the camera to pan around and showing half of his face blown off.
  • Chernobyl: Besides blackened legs, we never get to see what's happened to Akimov for ourselves, but after interviewing the still-living Chernobyl operators, Ulana reports to Valery that she found the poor guy with no discernible face. The fact an HBO series had a Gory Discretion Shot, especially during an episode which showed the effects of late-stage radiation poisoning on screen, must mean that whatever happened to Akimov's face was genuinely too horrible to depict.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Cybermen in "The Tenth Planet" have cloth facemasks, black void eyes, and mouths that just sort of hang open while they talk, implying severe facial disfigurement going on underneath. It's part of why they are so disturbing.
    • Davros, whose face (and the rest of his entire freaking body) was horribly disfigured when his lab exploded.
    • One incarnation of the Master: he has hit the end of his regeneration cycle and his body is literally rotting, with a fixed skull grin and googly eyes.
    • Magnus Greel's face looks like it's melting, or turning to spaghetti, due to a bizarre mutation. He covers it up with a mask as a result.
    • Stories written or script-edited by Eric Saward have a tendency to this. Examples include a soldier's face melted off by corrosive gas in "Resurrection of the Daleks", and prominent facially-disfigured characters in "The Visitation", "Vengeance on Varos", "Timelash" and "The Caves of Androzani".
    • Kane's face melting off his bones in "Dragonfire", one of Doctor Who's most gruesome moments.
    • "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" gave us a Painful Transformation into a mindless zombie with a gas mask, with the air-filter forcing its way up through your throat and out your mouth, and your eyes turning into goggles. Ouch. The effect was originally going to be accompanied by a graphic bone-cracking sound, but the staff decided that was a bit too much. They were probably right.
    • "Planet of the Ood" has jerkass slaver Mr. Halpen, whose face peels off as he turns into an Ood.
    • "Forest of the Dead" has Miss Evangelista, whose face was warped in Donna's dream world so she looks more like a walking Picasso painting.
    • "The Crimson Horror": Ada Gillyflower had her face burned (and lost her eyesight) when her mom experimented on her with leech venom.
    • The main antagonist of "Deep Breath", the aptly titled "Half-Face Man", is a cyborg millions of years old kept alive with stolen human body parts from the customers at the restaurant, leaving him with a face that is half robotic and half human.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": The antagonist, alien warlord-to-be Tzim-Shanote , takes teeth as trophies from the people he kills, and implants them on his face.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Oberyn Martell. Not only were his teeth knocked out and his eyes destroyed but also his head is crushed into a disgusting pulp. His gorgeous, gorgeous head.
    • Sandor Clegane has nasty scars on his face from his brother holding his face into a brazier as a child.
    • Ramsay's dogs begin their feast by ripping his face off jaw-first.
    • Gregor Clegane's face is rotten and deteriorating more and more over time.
    • The left side of Shireen Baratheon's face is scarred by (cured) Greyscale.
  • Gotham: Jane Doe acts like her face is horribly scarred or deformed underneath the mask she wears. It's subverted though as she's perfectly normal. Her conviction is just a part of the delusion she has.
  • Kingdom (2019):
    • In a flashback, we see the people in Yeong-shin's home village having their faces covered in bloody bandages. This is likely a result of Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordering the invading Japanese soldiers to bring back severed Korean noses for their remuneration claim. It may also be connected to the fact that the village is said to be afflicted with some kind of disease.
    • Lord Cho Hak-Ju also gets a dose of this when a zombified Lord Ahn Hyeon tears into his cheek.
  • The Helvetica scenario from Look Around You. The scenario is a fictional experiment, presented in Switzerland (Helvetica), which assumes that removing only the nucleus (the center of an atom) of a calcium atom in one's skin, but still leaving the electron shell at its position, would cause a massive reaction ending up in heavy mutations.
  • The Masters of Horror episode "Imprint":
    • The disfigured prostitute has the features on the right side of her face stretched out.
    • The dwarf pimp is missing part of his nose.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Stitcher's Society", the third Victim of the Week is killed when one barrel of his shotgun is stuffed with rages, causing it to backfire in face. The Coroner Fleur Perkins comments that there wasn't much left of his face afterwards.
  • Roan's face in Nikita was partially permanently disfigured when Nikita splashed hydrochloric acid on him, in an effort to escape.
  • In Person of Interest Shaw does a relatively minor version in her first appearance when she throws a flashbang inside a mook's gasmask.
  • A fourth-season episode of Quincy, M.E. ("The Depth of Beauty") involves an incompetent plastic surgeon who kills two women and leaves an actress with a horribly disfigured face. Includes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when Quincy gently unpins the actress' veil and kisses her; also a Crowning Moment of Awesome when she later accuses the plastic surgeon by revealing her face on live television.
  • In the fifth season of Resurrection: Ertuğrul, this happens to Artuk Bey after the Mongols interrogate him regarding the location of several important documents, responding with the burning of both of his eyes when he refuses to give them a reply.
  • RoboCop: The Series featured a disfigured villain named William Ray Morgan, nicknamed "Pudface" because of his face, which was disfigured in a chemical accident that he chose to blame Robo for, despite Sgt. Parks (Sgt. Reed from the movies in all but name) saying it was his own fault.
  • Played for laughs on Seinfeld. Elaine's handsome outdoorsy boyfriend takes a big fall while rock climbing with George and Kramer — by the looks of the bandages, he landed square on his face. He's not terribly upset, but Elaine (who had emphatically denied the attraction wasn't all physical) pointedly asks him if he recalls the doctors mentioning "horrible scars" or "radical reconstructive surgery".
  • Sharpe: Captain Frederickson's head is pretty much covered in scars. He has burn scars all over his head that cost him most of his hair, and took a musket ball in the face which shattered his jaw, knocked out most of his teeth, tore one of his eyes out of its socket on the way out, and left him with a Glasgow Grin. He deliberately cultivates his fearsome appearance to instill fear in his enemies, removes his false teeth and glass eye before going into combat (much to the disgust of people around him), and collects teeth from dead Frenchmen to make himself a set of dentures.
  • From the third season of Teen Wolf, the true face of Jennifer Blake, who was grotesquely mutilated and left for dead by a werewolf. She hides it via supernatural means - most of the time.
  • A segment of Untold Stories of the E.R. concerned saving a woman who had been mauled by a mountain lion. When she regained consciousness, she despaired at the state of her mangled face but calmed down when she saw the "before" photo and realized she was lucky she still even had a face.
  • The now little-known 1961 anthology series Way Out (hosted by Roald Dahl) had an episode called "Soft Focus" where a man finds that he can alter people's appearances by retouching their photos. Unfortunately, his wife (whose face he started tampering with when he found out she was cheating on him) spills retouching fluid on his own photo and...! One of Dick Smith's more interesting makeup works.

  • Peter Gabriel: The Hipgnosis-designed cover art for Melt depicts half of Gabriel's face melting off, courtesy of a manipulated Polaroid. According to Hipgnosis member Storm Thorgerson, the imagery was inspired by a dream he had about a wax figure being melted by fire.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, Loki was punished by some dwarf blacksmiths for losing a wager by having his lips sewn shut. (He was originally going to lose his head, but he managed to finagle himself out of that one due to a clever application of Exact Words.) Since he is not represented as mute in any of the other myths, presumably he just tore his lips free later.

  • Fat, French and Fabulous has the following description of radium jaw, a malady caused by the body incorporating radioactive substances into the bones instead of calcium after a victim ingests radium:
    "When we say that your jaw falls off, radium jaw describes what happens before that happens. When your jaw is breaking down, your body's response is basically to inflame it as much as possible... People with radium jaw have these giant jutting protuberances sticking off their jaws. Like, it doesn't just quietly drop off one day... It's just this necrotic mass of rotting tissue."

  • Survival of the Fittest character Blood Boy had his face heavily mutilated as a child by having a marble stuck in his throat, and clawing at it to get it out. He wears a mask over it to hide it. Later he slices off what's left for a trap. Other examples have occurred throughout the versions, such as Melina Frost getting a Molotov cocktail to the face.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Captain Tycho of the Blood Angels Chapter of Adeptus Astartes suffered a near-fatal psychic attack from an Ork Weirdboy that caused the right half of his face to freeze into a hideous rictus grin. Given the Blood Angels' aesthete inclinations and general physical beauty, this was an especially damaging blow to his psyche, and the trauma compounded to the point that he snapped.
  • Appears a fair bit in Vampire: The Masquerade:
    • The Nosferatu Embrace warps people who receive it, to the point that they become atrocious wretches that cannot be seen in public without risking the Masquerade (luckily, they have powers to get around that). Some people get more messed up by the Embrace than others, like the Camarilla Justicar Cock Robin, whose mouth is more of a beak. He primarily communicates in Morse code, has to be fed by his assistants, and - in the rare cases that he succumbs to Frenzy - is noted to feed by gouging out his victim's eyes and drinking deeply.
    • Vicissitude can regularly produce cases like this. Mexico City by Night features Jaggedy Andy, a fratboy visiting Mexico who had the mistake of throwing out a bunch of racist and transphobic insults to Sascha Vykos. Sascha responded by making all the features on Andy's face disappear, then having someone Embrace him. He has to chisel his eyes and mouth open every night and is pretty much barred from exiting the junkyard he lives in for the sake of the Masquerade.

  • The Phantom of the Opera... again.
    • Incidentally, this is what the Phantom looks like unmasked in the play.
  • In the musical Violet, this is the title character's reason for traveling by bus to meet the televangelist. However, this is an Informed Deformity, since her scars are left to the audience's imagination, rather than being depicted through makeup or prosthetics.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Simkin, from Chadam, who survived Viceroy's attempt to extract his gland, has been left disfigured, with half of his face gray and sunken, while the rest of him is blue; his mouth is cut off half-way, and a second mouth formed on the Pallid side, and only one of his eyes remain as well.
  • Dingo Doodles: It turns out that this is the reason why Gothi keeps her face covered with a wooden mask. Her entire face was completely cut off. She has no skin, nose, or lips under the mask. The sight of this is disturbing enough that it makes one person who sees it vomit.
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • In "Remains to be Seen", when she's killed and comes back as a zombie, Petunia has had most of her face skinned, the maggots burrowing into her flesh are visible, and her left eye is sunken into its socket.
    • In "Peas in a Pod", Sniffles dies when one of Lumpy's clones wipes his face for an extended period of time and leaves a hole in his face, exposing his skull. Both the fact that his face was eroded away and that he died can be chalked up to Rule of Funny.
    • In "Wrath of Con", after Giggles has her toy lightsaber modified by Splendid (using laser vision) to become a real lightsaber, the heat ends up melting the plastic which falls on her head and sets it on fire. The next time we see her, her entire face and most of her head is gone, with the only thing remaining being a few of her teeth embedded in her skin.
  • Lobo (Webseries):
    • In "Market Day", Lobo's face is reduced to some brain matter.
    • In "Lobo for President", Lobo's face gets covered in acid urine. His face's flesh is visible.
  • In the RWBY Vol. 6 episode "The Lady in the Shoe" we finally see what's under Adam Taurus' mask, and it's not pretty, to say the least... He was branded with the S.D.C. logo across the front of his face including his left eye. Said eye has red sclera and a grey and black iris, implying that it's heavily damaged and possibly blind.

  • The Bikini Bottom Horror: Spongebob’s face is torn off during his battle with the Tortured One, giving way to a horrifying Nightmare Face.
  • Ennui GO!:
    • Jerry's face grows in feature-by-feature, starting with his mouth. Second, his eye... his left eye.
    • One of the strip's major Call Backs involves this. Venus' face is horribly scarred and her left eye is damaged due to an allergic reaction to the whale semen Izzy unwittingly poured on her.
    • A filler strip has a man who cranked off a chimp get his face torn off.
    • Asher gets half of his face chopped off, and we get a nice view of it in the strip where it happens. He "fixes" it with a crude cybernetic mask.
  • This Penny Arcade strip.
  • Tales Of Greed: "Face Correction" is about a photo-editing app that also changes the person's face in real life. Vandalizing the picture will painfully distort the face, possibly killing the person too.
  • Trevor (2020): Trevor's skin does not keep up with his ever-shifting muscles and constantly tears away from itself.
  • Unsounded:
    • When they ambush and try to kill her Elka spells one of the Ethelmik constable's faces off in a rather gory panel.
    • When Duane is having his breakdown at Litriya he rips the skin from around his right eye.
  • In The Zombie Hunters, Jameson gets eaten mostly on the face. Good stuff.

    Web Original 
  • Gold Tongues has Petrol, a giant man whose nose and cheeks have been sliced off, forcing him to constantly wear a gas mask to cover the deformities. On top of that, his face is gradually decaying from an unknown virus.
  • Creepypasta character Jeff the Killer. His face was heavily damaged by chemicals, and then by self-mutilation. The resulting face is a shocking image that will take quite a while to get out of your head.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Too Old," Lemongrab 2 is revealed to be alive after Lemongrab 1 tried to eat him in "Another Five More Short Graybles", but horribly disfigured. The extent of his disfigurement includes, but is not limited to, almost half of his head just being gone, replaced by massive bite marks.
  • American Dad!:
    • In the episode "Flirting With Disaster", Francine gets hit in the face with acid. For the remainder of the episode, until the last few seconds, her face is conveniently obscured. For good reason.
    • In "The Long Bomb", Stan kills a terrorist by melting his face with superheated steam.
    • In "The Mural of the Story", Hayley ends up hated by the town after Stan blames her for his botched attempt to restore a mural, so Stan attempts to reconstruct her face in her sleep, with horrific results. Hayley later has a real plastic surgeon give her a new face as part of a plan to make Stan suffer.
    • In "Men II Boyz", Stan gets the right half of his face burnt in an explosion. He doesn't notice.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Zuko, who has half his face burned. But he manages to work it well and still have an Estrogen Brigade.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Garbage Ballet"; in Molly's comic, after Fista-Puffs' kiss melts Kite Boy's face, he reveals that the skin around his mouth has been melted off revealing his teeth and bone.
  • Clone High: In "Snowflake Day," Abe keeps getting gruesomely injured in his face and mouth. First he is forced by Napoleon to eat a glass he dropped on the floor during his shift at the dish pit at TGI Chili's, then accidentally cuts his cheek open with the knork (a combined knife and fork he and Gandhi invented) when eating with it, then gets even MORE injured when he loses control of a motorized version of said utensil, and finally, when he eats a weenie tot that Joan hid a razorblade in during a fit of anti-holiday pique.
  • Implied in The Fairly OddParents! episode "The Good Ol' Days", when Timmy gives his grandfather a sour ball that causes his face to suck in. It then pans to Timmy as his grandfather's disembodied eyes roll to the former's feet, the latter complaining that "candy was better before when it didn't make your face implode".
  • Family Guy:
    • Though we don't see the damage, in "Petarded", Peter learns that he's legally retarded and starts using his status to do whatever he wants without repercussions. The fun stops when he attempts to take a deep fryer from a restaurant and throws the oil onto Lois, severely burning her.
    • "The Man with Two Brians" had Peter watching an episode of Jackass where Johnny Knoxville gets half of his face blown off with a shotgun, exposing his skull.
    • "Hannah Banana" had a scene where Chris smashed Peter's face between two logs ala Saw IV. Miraculously, he survives despite one of his eyeballs hanging out his socket, part of his bone structure sticking out of his face and overall disfigurement and stupidly, he did to win a free hat.
    • "Bigfat" had Peter eating some poisonous berries that caused his lips and the skin around his eyes to recede.
  • Generator Rex: Circe looks like a beautiful young woman at first glance, but whenever she uses her EVO powers, her jaws protrude from her face, tearing her skin in the process. She can go back to normal with little fanfare, and can still speak normally with her Game Face active.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Weirdmageddon", Preston Northwest offers his allegiance to Bill Cipher, and has the functions of every orifice on his face rearranged. His mouth becomes a giant eye, his eye holes turn into a set of ears, and his ears turn into a pair of noses. All of which is shown to the viewer, along with his pained, terrified, and muffled screams from not having a mouth. How they ever managed to get that past Disney's censors will be a question for the ages.
  • Billy on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has his face shredded, ripped open, or removed at least seven times over the show's run, from having his face ground against the road after he gets sent flying off his bike, putting his mouth on a running egg beater, getting hit in the face with a push mower, the school's cat mascot clawing his face (which it also does to Grim later), a wampa tearing his face clean off after he wanders into its cave, being caught in the explosion from his future counterpart returning to his own time, and a living tornado.
  • The 2002 reboot of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe rewrites Skeletor's history so that he was originally a human warlock named Keldor who had his face burned off with acid fighting King Randor.
  • In the Metalocalypse episode "Dethvanity", Murderface goes to a back-alley plastic surgeon to have his face rebuilt. When the operation is complete, he's ordered to wear a metal helmet until his face fully heals, but when he takes it off at a ceremony, it turns out that his face got an infection that made him even more disfigured than before.
  • A less horrifying example is The Smurfs (1981) episode "Hats Off to Smurfs", where a new yellow hat worn by Vanity causes his face to be disfigured every time he gets it wet by washing his face with water.
  • In the South Park episode "Britney's New Look," Britney Spears gets the top half of her head blown off, leaving just a lower jaw and a tongue. And she survives.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast: Played for laughs in "Flipmode". At the end of the episode, Space Ghost learns they lost the footage to the "Space Ghost: A Tribute to Freedom" segment and a Reveal Shot shows that all the skin has been removed from Space Ghost's face as he complains "Then what was the point of sanding my face off?"
  • A much lighter example is from the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic", where a jellyfish scientist called Dr. Manowar talks to a crowd about how he was stung by a monstrous jellyfish called "Big Lenny" and lived. He now has a huge welt that "only hurts when you touch it" which Patrick does immediately after he says that.
  • Happens to the Spiteful Brakevan (a bullying caboose) at the end of the Thomas & Friends episode "Brake Van" (The Scottish Twins' debut episode). He is smashed into pieces after being hit by one of the aforementioned Scottish Twins head-on, and in the process, his face is torn off his body.
    • Just right before this scene happens, for some reason, if you look very closely, you can easily tell that this Scottish twin's face is falling off his body!
  • The Venture Bros.: There's a security checkpoint at Dr. Venture's yard sale (as it's a magnet for arch-villains) where Baron Underbheit is made to remove his metal lower jaw, which leaves his tongue hanging limp out his exposed throat hole and horrifies people around him.
    Dr. Girlfriend: I'm gonna throw up, I swear, I can taste it!


The Brady Bunch Parody

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