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One! One dramatic cape flourish!

Some characters will grasp the hem of their cape in one hand, then bring that hand to their opposite shoulder, with their elbow and cape now up and in front of their face. The elbow height may vary from just below the character's chin to just below the character's eyes.

Character archetypes known to do this include, but are not limited to:

Reasons for doing this include, but are not limited to:

  • Trying and failing to conceal their (fanged, bloodstained, or easily recognizable) faces
  • Drawing attention to their shifty and possibly hypnotic eyes
  • Trying to look cool and mysterious
  • Blending in with the shadows (for dark capes only)
  • Hamming it up
  • Goofing around with a stereotype when imitating or parodying any of the above

Sub-Trope of Cape Swish. Compare Hand-Hiding Sleeves, which can be used for the same effect, and Noblewoman's Laugh, which is usually hidden behind a handheld fan or just the hand.


Examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side comic has a strip, "Thwarting the Vampcow", where the titular vampcow covers its lower face with its cape, while the couple whose home it has invaded hold it at bay with a beef steak.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Great Mouse Detective: Ratigan makes this gesture at one point in his Villain Song, "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind". He drapes his black-and-red cape over his arm before hunching over, holding the cape over his mouth, and slowly walking towards some of his mooks to intimidate them.
  • In Megamind, when Megamind is caught off guard by Roxanne's And Then What? question, he pulls his cape up all the way to his nose with the addition of covering his large forehead with his other arm while exiting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Enforced in Plan 9 from Outer Space. The Ghoul Man constantly has his cape in front of his face, to cover up when he's not played by Bela Lugosi and instead by stand-in Tom Mason.
  • In the Disney movie Babes in Toyland Barnaby and his henchmen bring up their arms in this gesture during the "We Won't Be Happy 'Til We Get It" number. Only Barnaby is wearing a cape, and his arm stays below his chin. Roderigo is wearing baggy sleeves large enough for full lower-face concealment. They are indicating their Dastardly Whiplash-levels of cliched evil.
  • Black Panther: The Wakandan Border Tribe does this in battle because Vibranium technology sewn into their cloaks forms Deflector Shields they can close ranks to contain someone.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Vampires in The Sims 2 with the Nightlife expansion tend to walk like this while stalking a victim, going to the person they're about to bite, or sometimes just walking. However, only the Grand Vampires usually have capes while the others just take the pose.
  • The Vampire Hunter player character from Turn Undead holsters his guns to do a Victory Pose with his cape across his chest when he reaches the exit of each level. He has his face perpetually hidden in the shadow of his Nice Hat (except for Glowing Eyes of Doom), so the player can't see exactly how high he holds his cape compared to the rest of his face.

    Web Original 
  • In Acquisitions Incorporated: The "C" Team animated shorts, Trevor the Werewolf briefly does this while imitating his cousin, who is a notorious vampire.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck, as a parody of Batman and other vigilantes wearing fearsome cowls, likes to cover his beak with his cape.
  • The villain of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop is the Hooded Claw, a Dastardly Whiplash fellow sans the twirly mustache. He conceals most of his head and face with a large hat, tall collar and knee-length cape, which he likes to Cape Swish and peer behind because he's a Large Ham almost to Harmless Villain territory. Nonetheless, only Penelope's attached Idiot Ball keeps her from identifying the Hooded Claw as her attorney, Sylvester Sneakly.
  • Parodied by the Omicronians of Futurama, who alternately act the part of Scary Dogmatic Aliens and sitcom families. At the end of "When Aliens Attack", they all cover their faces with their capes and stroll off dramatically at the same time...walking sideways/backwards while glaring at the crowd.
  • Tommy from Codename: Kids Next Door tries to get the main characters take himself seriously by donning a cape and using it to cover his face, a failed effort to look mysterious.

    Real Life 
  • The Northern White-Faced Owl has a very similar pose with its wing substituting for a cape. When faced with a much bigger owl, the Northern White-Faced owl dramatically twists its body sideways and hunches its wing, squinting over its shoulder at the intruder. See a demonstration here, indicated gesture starts at 1:10. The video even calls this posture the "Count Dracula Cape and Glare" at 1:40. The intended effect is probably to make the owl look like a tree branch, which kinda falls into the "blending into the shadows" application of the trope.

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