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Flying Face

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"The target is just a-head!"
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A fictional character or creature that is just a head (as opposed to a Waddling Head or someone who's recently lost their head) that can also fly, hover, or just get around under its own power.

Comes in a few artistic styles:

Sometimes these Flying Faces are nice, sometimes noisy Cloudcuckoolanders, often intelligent, and sometimes they don't talk.

Not to be confused with Floating Head Syndrome.

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See Also: Cephalothorax, Oracular Head, and Oculothorax.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black★Rock Shooter, Dead Master fights using flying skulls.
  • Gate Keepers 21: Yuurei Shoujo with her "pretty" skull-in-a-ball.
  • In Hell Teacher Nube, one of the Obake the eponymous Nube runs into is a human head with bat wings.
  • Jack Frost features Arvid, the Blood Pirate, a vampire that sprouted leathery wings from his Eyepatch of Power and flew away when all that was left from him was his head.
  • Mazinger Z villain Count Broken is a flying head with a headless android body... that just follows it around. He never attaches the head to his body; in fact sometimes he carries the head under his arm.
  • Ushio and Tora: The Gamin-sama are a family of five Youkai (Grandfather, father, mother, son and daughter) taking the form of huge floating heads. According to Tora, they come from China and their clan is Hitoban.

    Asian Animation 
  • ViR: The Robot Boy has the floating green alien heads in "Vir Vs Bodyless Aliens", who try to give themselves a body by latching on to the other characters.

    Card Games 
  • Munchkin: One of the monsters has a Mortal Kom Bat: a flaming skull with bat wings.
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    Comic Books 
  • Doom Patrol: Part of the iconography of government agent Yankee Doodle is an aureole of floating faces around him all having different expressions. He can weaponize them if needed to terrifying effect.
  • Madballs, published by defunct Marvel Comics subsidiary Star Comics, depicts the titular Madballs as heads that can get around by flying.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Mind Screw horror film, The Boxer's Omen, features the penanggalan cryptid from South-East Asian folklore (see Mythology folder) as one of the demons summoned by a witch doctor.
  • In Bride of Re-Animator, the already body-deprived Dr. Carl Hill gets bat wings grafted to his head, allowing him to personify this trope.
  • Mystery Men: The Bowler, has her father's skull embedded in her weapon, a bowling ball. She talks to it, and it, apparently, to her. It saves the day.
  • Zardoz: The eponymous Zardoz, an enormous flying head which is actually a vehicle.
  • The climax of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier involves the huge, floating head of the "God" character chasing Kirk up a mountainside while howling "YOOOUUUU!!!" at him.

    Literature 
  • Book of Imaginary Beings: The Chonchón is a Chilean creature resembling a disembodied head that flies with its prodigiously large ears.
  • Dinotopia: Fritz the robot is an hoverhead, a model whose head can detach from his body and fly around on its own.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: Shrieking skulls are a relatively common presence in old manor homes with supernatural residents. They're a distinct species and are benign when not bothered; Varney finds a walnut-sized hatchling playing with his drapes and squeaking.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • In Japanese folklore, Ōkubi are youkai that appear as giant flying human heads. Their appearances are an omen of impending disaster, which may be a typhoon, earthquake, tsunami, or fire. Despite that, they are otherwise harmless and will disappear soon after the first sighting.
  • The Penanggalan is a type of vampire from Southeast Asian folklore that appears as a floating disembodied woman's head with its trailing organs still attached. Certain witches develop the ability to become one at night in order to drink blood and terrorize people.
  • The Chonchon from Chilean folk myth is a flying human head with feathers and talons, as well as extremely large ears that serve as wings. They are created kalkus (Mapuche sorcerers) from decapitated heads and used by them to perform evil deeds and attack their enemies.
  • In Brazilian Folklore, the Cumacangas are floating woman heads engulfed in fire that scare travellers in Friday nights. A Cumacanga comes to be when a girl is born after six boys or, in some versions, as a punishment for women who had intercourse with a priest. Their head disattaches during their sleep in Thursday to Friday nights and only goes back at dawn, and the curse may be lifted by making the previous son be the godfather of the girl.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Beholderkin resemble floating heads with a single eye and fang-lined maws, and topped by a varying number of eyestalks. There is considerable speculation in-universe as to how they make this body shape work, and they have some interesting organ placement to compensate — their stomachs are in their lower jaws, for instance.
    • Demiliches, liches who have over time decayed into nothing more than a mad, flying skull studded with gems.
    • Vargouilles resemble heads flying around with bat's wings where their ears should be, and their "kiss" can turn you into one of them by making your own head sprout wings and fly away.
    • In adventure OA6 Ronin Challenge, the last manifestation of General Goyat is a 50 foot tall floating head. Once the PCs do enough damage to it the flesh flakes away, leaving a giant flying skull.
    • Forgotten Realms has Skullport, an underground city ruled by flying, spellcasting skulls that order the inhabitants to perform bizarre actions (and punish them if they don't).
  • Warhammer 40,000: Servo-skulls are human craniums embedded with machinery and turned into floating recording devices, light sources, projectors and communication terminals.

    Video Games 
  • The Battle Cats features The Face as its Disc-One Final Boss, along with other floating variants like Shy Boy and I.M. Phace. His other variants don't play this straight, however; Leggsy runs on normal human legs connected to its lower jaw, while Hannya and Black Okame simply drag themselves along the ground.
  • CarnEvil: Umlaut is a floating Villainous Harlequin head that appears between levels and later serves as the penultimate boss.
  • Castlevania:
  • Chrono Cross: Skelly, one of the many optional party members, starts out as this. You have to find and assemble the rest of him to recruit him.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The Giga-Fortress is built as a floating pile of laser cannons and missiles, but transforms into a giant floating head with a ridiculously overpowered laser that outranges Anti-Air defenses, kills most ground units in one or two shots, does Splash Damage, and self-heals, so that the only reliable way of killing it involves lots of fighters as it can't attack air. Unless it's over water, in which case it just needs to land to take out the fighters and take off again.
  • Devil May Cry: The Sargassoes are flying skulls, appearing in the first two games as recurring enemies.
  • Distorted Travesty 3 has flying Skull Balls as an homage to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
  • Doom has Lost Souls (flying flaming skulls which home in on you like missiles), Cacodemons (big red faces that belch ball-lightning), and Pain Elementals (giant brown faces with stubby arms that would cough up a potentially endless crowd of the aforementioned Lost Souls).
  • Dragon Blaze 2000 have a giant floating horned skull as a sub-boss.
  • Eyes - The Horror Game have your protagonist being constantly stalked by a floating, pale white, female ghost head.
  • Face Raiders involves being attacked by a number of flying heads with the faces of anyone you've photographed.
  • Fairune 2 has the Water Sphere, resembling a skull floating inside a bubble of water.
  • The Architect from Ghostrunner appears as a floating blue face projected by holograms. Since you don't know he's an AI when he starts calling you, its a shock to free him from his "cell" to find a gigantic digital head instead of a person.
  • Great Dungeon In The Sky has tons of characters to choose from, including several varieties of floating skull.
  • Holy Diver has the zigzagging flying head Lyer. Besides being annoying, it's one of the most common enemies in the game.
  • Hong Kong '97: Tong Shau Ping, the Big Bad, is a giant disembodied head dripping with blood.
  • Keith Courage in Alpha Zones has two types of flying skull enemies.
  • Pokémon: Glalie resembles a floating skull, and is even classified as the "Face Pokémon".
  • Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.²: Gith the Spoiler is nothing more than giant floating gas mask.
  • Prince of Persia 2: The ever-annoying flying heads in The Shadow and the Flame.
  • Septerra Core: Ghosts are huge, ghostly floating skulls. Their damage reduction and magic attacks make them Demonic Spiders
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Some demons, such as Chatterskulls and Loas, are usually depicted as floating skulls.
    • YHVH normally appears as a floating, golden head.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei NINE, Yaldabaoth's head detaches from its body and floats freely after taking enough damage.
  • Sinistar: The titular Sinistar may be the earliest Video Game example.
  • Skylanders: Dreamcatcher in Skylanders: Trap Team.
  • Something: The Yukkuri head appears as the main adversary of Yukkuri Take in Something Else. It's a sprite-swap of the Angry Sun, so it can fly and mercilessly pursue Luigi.
  • Sonic Adventure: Chaos is a character of the third type, with a liquid like main body and core organs.
  • Space Bomber gives nearly all the bosses, and some of the higher-level mooks this design. For starters, the first boss is a dustbin-shaped robot who, upon receiving enough damage, transforms into a huge robotic head to continue the battle. There's also a comedic-looking cartoon skull and a clockwork elephant head as bosses.
  • Spelunky: The final boss, Olmec, is an enormous golden head that tries to crush the spelunker.
  • Star Fox: Andross, the Big Bad of most games, usually appears as a flying primate head paired with disembodied hands. In Adventures, his natural face is fused with the face of a Krazoa Statue, meaning that both sides of his body (front and back) have a face each.
  • World of Warcraft: There's a floating ghostly skull available as a non-combat pet. Floating ghostly skulls also appear during the fight against Yogg-Saron. Looking at them makes you lose sanity.

    Web Animation 
  • Cat Face: Cat Face is essentially a giant floating cat head. He has a body but it is extremely small and atrophied and just hangs underneath limply.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Balloon and Evil Balloon, the sentient balloons.
  • Strong Bad Email: Strong Bad considers becoming one of these in "disconnected", on top of having an autonomous headless body.

    Webcomics 
  • Cassiopeia Quinn: Averted by Motor Minx — her (robotic) body is stolen, and the remaining detached head can't move by itself, but is carried about by Penny.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Ennesby the robot, whose physical body is a spherical computer core outfitted with a face and an antigravity system.
    • Averted by the various AI characters, who (mostly) appear as flying heads but are actually holographic projections.

    Web Original 
  • The Monument Mythos: Normally, Giza Glass severing a limb or fragment of the body just lets it remain alive while separate, controlled by the person it belonged to but still entirely affected by gravity. Cutting off someone's head with it has entirely different effects, leading to a body that is ambiguously alive and a mute, but living floating head that slowly bloats and gets bigger and bigger, more so if not supplied with vinegar. These are known as Canyon Crowns, due to their abundance around the Grand Canyon thanks to political dissidents regularly getting decapitated by Giza Glass in the area, and being lured by the heads. Their permanent levitation is strong and controlled enough that multiple war zeppelins during WWI were lifted and powered by Crowns alone, showing superior speed and maneuverability.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The CIMON2 robot onboard the international space station floats around in microgravity gently and for extra points is a TV Head Robot.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Yaldabaoth

After taking enough damage, Yaldabaoth's head detaches from its body and continues the fight.

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