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Gross-Up Close-Up

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"I've never brushed before, and I'm not about to start now."

Nat Peterson: (angrily at Plankton) You think this is funny?
Plankton: In a cosmic sort of way, yes.
Nat: Well, Mr. Funny Man... is this how you get your sick kicks?! (Nat shows Plankton a normal-looking Krabby Patty)
Plankton: What? It's just an ordinary Krabby— (zoom in to show the patty made with gross-out items) OH MY GOODNESS! SQUIDWARD!!!!!

An Extreme Close-Up of something disgusting. For some reason, these pop up most in comedy and horror, though in practice, it's more Nausea Fuel than anything else. If done in an animated series, the close-up is usually drawn in a much more detailed style than the rest of the show.

Trope codifier is The Ren & Stimpy Show as it was used extensively in the show, but the trope can be considered older than dirt in the sense that looking at something up close is bound to reveal its imperfections. John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren & Stimpy says he drew the inspiration from Fleischer Popeye cartoons, though it was co-creator Bob Camp who coined the term "gross up." The phenomenon spawned many copycats of both the Gross-Up Close-Ups, the original show's disgustingly revolting aesthetics and the revived Deranged Animation. Currently, this trope can be spotted in a number of shows and usually leads to visual Memetic Mutation.

Essentially the opposite of a Discretion Shot. Compare Nightmare Face, a trope that gets a lot of these kind of close-ups. Frequently occuring in many a Grossout Show. Also a staple of Sensory Abuse. See also Too Much Information.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • An early example of one of there can be found in the famous "Yuck Mouth" PSA, in which Yuck Mouth discovers a new cavity in his mouth and the camera zooms in on the rotting, holey tooth.
  • A European advert for the first Playstation depicted a family having a conversation at the dinner table, but they only communicate through video game SFX. It then zooms in on their mouths to show that their uvulas are in the shapes of the PS buttons!
  • This commercial for the Wuv Luv dolls shows the toy giving birth close-up in great detail. It's actually pushing a plastic egg containing its "baby" out of a pouch, but still, it looks very much like actual birth...

    Anime and Manga 
  • Junji Ito loves these. There are many reasons Uzumaki, The Enigma of Amigara Fault, and Gyo are infamous for nightmarish images, and this is one of them.
  • In the Haruhi Suzumiya anime, there's a brief scene after the Locked Room Mystery with Koizumi observing a disgusting mole on Kyon's head, while Kyon is talking. The mole has hairs.
  • In Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli spared no expense on the scene where Chihiro's parents turn into pigs. There's a very detailed closeup on the food dripping out of their pig mouths and the flying spittle.
  • In an example which takes the page out of the usual Western cartoons, the 23rd episode of Pani Poni Dash! features two gross closeups of Kurumi (who was suffering from a cold) and Becky (getting paint dropped on, smearing her makeup).
  • Unfortunately the anime Death Note chooses to give us a close view of some of the Yotsuba members' corpses, particularly Midou, who either fell or jumped off a building onto the sidewalk.
  • Even Sailor Moon has its moments: The SuperS episode "Dentist of Horrors? Palla-Palla's House" treats the audience to a lovingly detailed close-up of Chibiusa's rotting, cavity-filled teeth. Grody.
  • Zombie Land Saga will occasionally use this to remind the viewers that yes, our heroines are the walking dead, and their oversimplified appearance in show is strictly for the benefit of the audience and the animators.
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited: There’s a reason Oscha usually wears a mask. A few shots show a manic eye surrounded by withered, rotting flesh.

    Comic Books 
  • Violine, has a mild example, where sometimes characters' eyes are shown closeup, in more detail and with red veins visible.
  • In the defictionalized Creepshow comic book, Nathan Graham comes back as a skeleton rather than a zombie. We get an Eyed Screen after he strangles Bedelia that shows his skull is full of worms.
  • The fourth issue of the 2022 I Hate Fairyland series has the last panel of the first page consist of a grotesque close-up of Gertrude's face where she has hairy nostrils, nasty teeth and bloodshot eyes.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: After zooming in on a wounded eye, Usagi has to throw up:
    Ami saw her friend jump up from her chair and sprint toward the kitchen sink with a hand in front of her mouth before the crystal ball went black. About half a minute later, the image returned.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin, Jafar who is disguised as an old man bares his teeth after saying "Whoever has the gold makes the rules."
  • The Emperor's New Groove: We get a loving closeup of villainess Yzma's very old face, complete with a bit of greenery stuck in her teeth. And the result when a transformed Kuzco attempts to eat grass like a normal llama.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree, Snips asks Gloriosa Daisy if she has a spare toothbrush, as she's forgotten his, and there is a close-up of his buckteeth with some food stuck in-between.
  • The bit in Toy Story 3 where the little kids are playing rough with the toys and we see a shot of a kid sticking his/her tongue on Buzz's helmet from Buzz's point of view. Yuck.
  • In Turning Red, there is a shot where Miriam, who wears braces, chews gum, with her mouth open, right in front of the In-Universe camera and is called out on it being gross.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dementia (1955): The film focuses in on a close-up of the rich man's greasy lips as he munches on chicken drumsticks. The woman looks on in disgust.
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!; We would rather not have seen the Grinch's "termites in [his] smile"...
  • Serenity has a number of zooms on and flashes to the semi-decomposed remains of people who died on Miranda. Not to mention the close ups of people who survived on Miranda, before venturing out for a spot of raping and pillaging.
  • There's Something About Mary, at least in some edits, features a rather gratuitous scene showing the hero's Beans above his Franks.
  • The mole scene in the third Austin Powers movie. Moley moley moley moley moley!
  • The closeup of Lt. Aldo Raine carving a swastika into Landa's forehead in Inglourious Basterds.
  • Rob Zombie seems to like these. In his Halloween II (2009), we're treated to close views of Laurie having her head sewn shut, a man's face after he's mutilated by a crash, a guy having his head sawn off with broken glass, Big Lou Martini getting his arm snapped...
    • There's plenty in the original series as well. For example, in Halloween II (1981) (which is where the gorier trend of the series began), Micheal kills a nurse by repeatedly dunking her head into scalding water. Every time he pulls her out, we get an up close look at the effect this has on her skin. Suffice it to say, it's horrifying.
    • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers shows a close-up of Michael tearing a man's throat out with his bare hands.
    • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, which shows Jamie being impaled on a corn thresher.
  • The toilet in Mystery Team as Duncan put it:
  • The lovely closeup of Denethor eating a tomato in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King after he commands Pippin to sing him a song.
  • In Female Trouble by John Waters, we get a whole screen full of the diseased-looking penis of the man who is raping Divine's character.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle has the creepy tow-truck driver's pustulatent boils shown close up.
  • Carry On Up the Khyber. The Brits have been thrown into an Afghan prison, awaiting horrible torture.
    Brother Belcher: Let me out! You can't do this to me! I'm a man of the cloth!
    [Afghan guard charges up so close we can only see his blackened teeth]
    Guard: What do you want, Engleesh PEEG?!
    Brother Belcher: Err, I was going to ask you for the name of a good dentist, but I don't think I'll bother.
  • Daybreakers has lots of these shots.
  • You're watching Hereditary? Have fun with the extreme close-up shot of a child's severed head being eaten by ants!
  • Vampire's Kiss has a close-up of Peter eating a cockroach. To make matters more disturbing, Nicolas Cage actually ate a real cockroach. It took three takes before the scene was finished.
  • Possibly the granddaddy of them all, Un Chien Andalou (1929), by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. A man holds a straight razor up to the eye of a woman seated passively. Cut to the moon with a thin cloud passing in front of it, then to a close-up of an eye cut with a razor. It's the eye on a butchered calf's head, but it's too close in to tell
  • Happens in The Sweeper when Mark's mom gets shot, an closeup shot of the blood splatter on the TV can be seen.
  • The first time we see Ingrid in Ingrid Goes West it's just her eyes as she desperately looks through the Instragram feed of a girl she's stalking, ignoring the dirty and yellow reality around her to immerse herself in the life of someone she doesn't even know.
  • In Hellboy (2019), we get lots of unnecessary insert shots of close-ups on gross things, including Baba Yaga's missing eye and the necrotic flesh of the hag who reassembles Nimue. The camera virtually pushes the viewers' face into it.
  • In the spoof film Epic Movie, the main character Peter is seduced by Mystique, a sexy shapeshifter who is portrayed by Carmen Electra, a very attractive woman who says she'll change into whatever he wants. His first few requests are quite nice, at first being bigger breasts and a larger ass size, followed by the request of a badonkadonk...and then he takes the last request back for a Monobrow (or as he calls it, a "mamabrow"). We get a disturbing close up of her growing a monobrow which is already gross... and then he then follows it up with "Big Flabby Grandma Arms/Bingo Wings like a fat blue Britney Spears"...and we get a close up of her face after the transformation. She's incredibly fat and chubby, has yellow dotted eyes, is crosseyed, has a gross looking blue wart on her chin, has a noticeable hairline, and wiggles her tongue obviously turned on. It's followed by her falling on Peter, starting to get it on with him which thankfully fades to black...
  • The ABCs of Death: In the "X" segment, the main character ravenously chows down on slop she takes out the fridge, with close shots of her mouth as she chews.
  • Poor Pretty Eddie has an extreme close-up of a guest putting food in his mouth and chewing.
  • Leo the Last: During a party at Leo's mansion, rich people eat food in various disgusting ways while the camera focuses on their mouths.

  • Happens twice in Gulliver's Travels: the six-inch-tall Lilliputians call the average-looking Gulliver exceptionally ugly, to his consternation; when he meets the giants of Brobdingnag, their enormous size makes all the tiny imperfections of their faces revoltingly obvious to him. Also inverted, since Gulliver thinks the Lilliputians are very handsome and receives the same praise himself in Brobdingnag.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Graphic closeups of dead body parts are common on CSI. Television Without Pity calls it "TMI Cam".
    • Bones also seems to like "TMI Cam".
  • Graphic closeups of internal structures are common on House.
    • "Resignation", where when the patient was having an MRI, she started saying that her head hurt. The camera zoomed in on her head... her scalp and skull were split open, showing her brain!
    • "Big Baby", where they were testing the patient by attaching electrodes to her brain, first by cutting the top of her skull off.
    • Let's not forget (though anyone who watched it wishes they could) the eyeball popping out in "No Reason".
  • Name an episode of Bar Rescue that involves an infestation, a dirty kitchen, or any shoddy equipment, and chances are something is going to be zoomed in on.
  • Dexter's morning routine, shown in extreme close-up and shot to be reminiscent with his hack-n-slash murders.
  • In 30 Rock when NBC gets High Def cameras, Liz Lemon walks in front of one revealing her horrible complexion, much to the disgust of the viewers.
  • The contents of pretty much any gross stunt on Fear Factor will get zoomed in on.
  • Young Blades: Oliver Cromwell's fabled mole in "The Exile" has close-ups complete with dramatic music and gives King Louis some surreal nightmares.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), there is a close up of an arm with the skin burnt off to show the muscle in the forearm among the debris of the burnt down Roadhouse.
  • One of the earliest cases comes from The Jack Benny Program of all things. In the opening of one episode, Jack explains that the reason he hasn't aged too much is he has the camera move back every season so it's harder for it to see what he looks like. He then has the camera do a zoom in on him. His face suddenly becomes horribly wrinkled and shriveled, making him look like Pruneface from Dick Tracy.
  • In Arrow at the end of The Promise we get a nice close up on Slade Wilson's face where we can clearly see his empty eye socket.
  • Orphan Black uses this almost routinely from its early episodes. Anytime a character gets wounded, operated on, sick, we're bound to see it briefly filling the screen.
  • Breaking Bad would do this often; sometimes it would turn out to be something mundane, sometimes what looks like a strawberry up close would actually be an extreme close-up of Walt shaving his head.

    Music Videos 
  • Aphex Twin's "Rubber Johnny" does this.
  • Don't Speak by No Doubt has long, detailed shot of rotting, wormy orange.
  • The music video to Natural by Imagine Dragons involves close ups of milipedes in rotting debris and decaying food, but they're gone so quickly, it's actually fairly tame compared to other examples on this page.
  • While not exactly disgusting, several of the closeups in Nine Inch Nails' video for "Into The Void" are pretty... disturbing, to say the least...
  • Shitty G's girlfriend gets one in Your Favorite Martian's cover of Bartender Song

    Video Games 
  • In general, this can happen in games when an enemy or other character which is ugly, disgusting, etc., gets too close to the in-game camera, such as zombies getting right in your face in a game with first-person perspectives.
  • Played for horrors in Snatcher when Gillian and Metal discover the Snatchers' morgue. They go down... and then the player sees the digitised but otherwise photorealistic face of a rotting corpse, dripping with wriggling maggots, and its eye drops out. Squick.
  • Used for horror in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, with the infamous "bathtub scare" that features a vision of Alexandra Roivas's mutilated corpse in a bathtub of blood.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, this is given to pretty much everything involving Isaac's abusive mother, save the opening cinematic.
  • Jitsu Squad have one cutscene featuring Balthazar, the most overweight of the villains, where the camera closes in on Balthazar's face and lingers closely on his British Teeth.
  • The cutscenes from The Legend of Zelda CD-i Games, due to their hideous and awful animation.
  • Metal Slug 2/X/3 all use the same character selection screen with four characters in their creepy expressions on standby and selected. Metal Slug 5 adds this with Scary Flashlight Face.
  • The attract mode for the second Dragon's Lair has Daphne's hand undergo some Body Horror after the Death Ring is placed upon her finger, with her hand transforming into a claw-like thing as boils form all over it.
  • Final Fantasy VII combines this with Art Shift for our first look at Jenova. In the game's bold, bright, cartoony graphics, Cloud notices a container and peers through the porthole. The scene cuts to what he sees - a photorealistic closeup of a huge pair of skinless tits with an eyeball for one of the nipples.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • asdfmovie has these during the lines "YOU'RE DEAD TO ME!" and "I AM PUNCHING YOUR SALAD!".
  • The Bravest Warriors season four episode "The Crowd I'm Seeing" features disgusting close-ups of the Upta Gals' ulcers and bunions.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared makes frequent use of this:
    • "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared": As the camera zooms in on one of the characters cutting a cake, it's evident it's actually made of organs on the inside.
    • "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2 - TIME": The camera is placed close to Yellow Guy's hears as they begin bleeding while Tony screams directly into them, and it goes right into the characters' face as they rot rapidly in end.
    • "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 3": The camera centers on the egg as the bloody maggot pops from it and gets smashed by Duck Guy.
    • "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4": Colin's "digital mind", which is really more a collection of gore, pops out of his head as the camera cuts closer to him.
    • "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 5": The can eating Duck Guy's organs is right in focus.
  • This is a staple of Image Macros, especially of the Rage Comic variety. Several of the more artistically complex ones can get truly disgusting in this regard.
  • One can only wonder what was done to "that poor sink."
  • Homestar Runner:
  • In Vaguely Recalling JoJo, A gross picture of Cursed Devo is shown whenever he says, "Damn you, Polnareff!" The only time where that didn't happen is the time he fell off the Singapore hotel balcony.
  • A dermatologist, Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper), posts close-up videos of her work extracting yucky stuff out of peoples' skin.


Video Example(s):


Never Wash this Hand Again

Bart makes this declaration after Laura (the next-door neighbor girl whom he has a crush on) spits in his hand as part of a prank. He sticks with it until it's practically black and covered with band-aids and old gum, but decides to clean it after an attempt touch Lisa causes his hand to get stuck on the dog's fur.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / KissedKeepsake

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