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Latex Perfection

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Just to show it's not a real face…

"The age-old mask device? We've seen it a million times!"
The Brain, Arthur, "Bugged"

In fiction, full-head pullover latex or silicone masks can be made so perfectly that it is impossible to tell the wearer from the person he is impersonating until the moment he pulls off his face by grabbing an invisible seam at the back of his jaw. Sometimes the mask is pulled off by grabbing the top of the head.

Even close acquaintances and family members will be fooled. Masks of this quality can completely alter the shape of the wearer's face and head, even to the point of making them thinner or smaller as needed, regardless of common sense or physical law. If you want to make out with someone while wearing one, don't worry—the person you're kissing will never notice your face feels like rubber rather than skin. Best of all for those who need them, masks of such exquisite detail can be made without resorting to casting the face of the target—a couple of small black-and-white photos will do just fine as a reference.

Typically, a mask like this can even easily mimic the wearers' expression, making it easier to fool others. In animation, the wearer's eyes can sometimes change to match the eyes of who he is impersonating, or the mask may have molded on eyes that seem to become real when the mask is worn. Regardless, the mask will almost always have eyelids that blink with the wearer's, something that is rare with such masks in real life.

This is the number one tool of the Master of Disguise. It's not seen nearly as often in modern TV, but it still lurks about and surfaces every now and then. The Darkman movies, for example, and the opening of the first Charlie's Angels (2000) film. Sometimes the unmasking is done in a rather dramatic manner.

If a man disguises as a woman this way, the unmasking can often be seen as an Unsettling Gender-Reveal.

This trope can be nightmare fuel for some people, especially if it's accompanied by a graphic "peel-the-face-off" shot (and it often is). Woe to the Masklophobic who runs into a film using this trope (especially if they don't know it's coming) and gets treated to seeing an actor remove their face.

If it's around Halloween, then this trope may come into play, as that's the time of year when people can be expected to wear rubber masks. Also expect to see this in parodies of the secret agent genre, particularly spoofs of Mission: Impossible (which gradually made this trope into a cliche), but sometimes in James Bond-styled spoofs as well (despite the films in that franchise not using it as often - see "Film" for their examples.)

The exact polar opposite of Latex Perfection is the Paper-Thin Disguise. When it covers the entire body (i.e. a full rubber bodysuit), then it's a Full-Body Disguise. A usual technique is to use a different actor under the "mask" (Compare Magic Plastic Surgery for another method of "explaining" how one actor can suddenly perfectly resemble another). Remember, We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future, and the latex mask will be subsumed by Applied Phlebotinum.


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  • A really memorable but creepy Smokey bear PSA commercial from 1973 had this. It starts off with actress Joanna Cassidy talking to us about forest fires and then towards the end she takes her face off like a rubber mask to reveal a creepy Smokey Bear costumed character underneath. It was remade in 1980 with the unmasking being less scary and Smokey being more cuddly and friendly-looking and have a voice that sounds remarkably similar to John Goodman. The Joanna Cassidy original can be seen here.
  • This late-entry Mac vs. PC ad, featuring the PC guy impersonating the Mac guy, complete with actor-switch effect and the mask suddenly looking different and cheaper once removed.
  • Speaking of Apple, their latest promotional short film advertising the new iPad Pro containing the M1 chip involves a Mission: Impossible spoof where a spy resembling Andy Dick snatches an M1 chip from a MacBook Air via a "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop and is later revealed to be Apple CEO Tim Cook in a rubber mask, placing said chip into the new iPad Pro.
  • Back in the 1990s, Waffle Crisp cereal uses this in two related commercials. In the first part, a team of boys send a spy, disguised as "a real granny" with a mask, into the factory where the cereal is made and steals a supply. In the second part, two of the boys fall victim to a pair of pretty "young girls" who remove their masks (and costumes)... revealing two "Real Grannies (TM)" underneath that steal back their cereal and escape.
  • A young couple go on a light-hearted date, and the young man drives off with a photograph and a wave. Once he's out of sight, the young woman unmasks to reveal another man. Apparently, he'll do anything for his friend.
  • "But I don't use it. Because I'm a woman,"
  • This 1998 Subaru Forester commercial, where in some kind of spy parody, a pretty red-haired woman (complete with suggestive feminine American voice) escapes the bad guys' hideout in a Subaru Forester SUV, managing to get out before the exit door closes. Then once safely outside, the announcer says that the vehicle can be "full of surprises," as the woman peels off her rubber mask and her wig to reveal Paul Hogan, who says in his normal deep Australian accent, "Like mine for example!"
  • Also seen in the Walmart "Rollback Man" commercial from 2003-2004, which parodies all the old action/spy tropes as a parody of "Secret Agent Man" plays in the background, when a hot female Wal-Mart employee disguises herself with a rubber Smiley Face mask (a CGI effect.)
  • In this Vodafone Omintel commercial from 2000, the main character must smuggle the titular product across some kind of checkpoint. She drives into a convenient car wash, changes clothes, and removes her mask to reveal a completely different look underneath. However, the curly-haired-blonde look was apparently the result of a makeover... which she then covered up with a mask of her original, "natural" appearance.
  • Barney Rubble has done this from time to time in some Pebbles cereal commercials, even though he usually manages to blow his cover anyways.
  • Got Milk?
  • One Eggo Waffles commercial from 1996 involved a Mission: Impossible parody where a teenage boy is preparing his waffles, his younger brother notices, sneaks into the basement, lays out the plan, then dons a rubber mask of his father, along with a black business suit. He jumps down from a vent and says to his brother "Leggo my eggo... son" (still in his true voice though), and then the real father enters, saying "Good morning," and the ad ends with him glancing suspiciously at what looks like a copy of him at the table with a shorter body and a wider shirt collar.
  • Combined with Dream Within a Dream in this 1990 Froot Loops commercial.
  • You see a gorgeous woman on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with a broken-down car, what is she driving? Is it a Toyota Corolla or Maneja Confiado? Keep driving, it's a trap.
  • This ad for Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt involves Bob Saget disguised as Full House co-star John Stamos using a rubber mask, as part of a prank with the real Stamos as the target.
  • This McDonald's ad cross-promoting Looney Tunes and the NBA uses the full bodysuit variation, where Elmer Fudd refs what looks like a game between Taz and NBA player Charles, but they both unzip their costumes to reveal Sylvester and another NBA player, respectively, and then unmasking from other suits such as the Road Runner, other NBA players, Wile E. Coyote, etc. until we're left with two Michael Jordans.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Transfer in Around the World with Willy Fog, being a Master of Disguise, is able to flawlessly disguise himself in his attempts to kill off Willy Fog. Since he is a wolf and all the characters are anthropomorphic animals, he can impersonate other animal types, from a badger to an elderly antelope to a doe, even impersonating Willy Fog himself on a couple of occasions! He isn't shown putting on the disguises or unmasking very often, but it doesn't matter as no matter the disguise, he always has that freaky glowing left eye that shows up even when he's wearing a mask, so the audience will know...
  • Gosho Aoyama frequently employs this trope in his manga, Case Closed and Magic Kaito. This makes sense in the context of manga where people from both the good and bad sides need to disguise for undercover missions, as well as a thief who needs to do so to facilitate his operations.
    • Kid in Magic Kaito uses masks pretty much all the time. Given that he's also a magician, he can pull off not only facial masks but also whole body masks, which has helped him fool his nemesis, inspector Nakamori, every single time.
      • He often appears in in Case Closed and is pitted against its protagonist Conan. He can disguise as anyone, but often as Conan's acquaintances (Ran, inspector Nakamori, Sera), although his lack of knowledge about them (especially their habits or demeanors) has been critical in helping Conan expose him.
    • Shinichi's mother, Yukiko, is very talented in making masks so convincing they fool her son (shrunk into a little kid known as Conan) into thinking his parents are kidnappers. While not being pointlessly used for pranking her son, her masks have been crucial in the fight against the Black Organization.
    • Yukiko was a student of the original Kaitou KID, Kuroba Touichi (who also taught his son Kaito). Later on, other characters who also learned from him show up with the same abilities (for example, Vermouth, and, through her, Bourbon.
  • Appears in Cat's Eye. In a variant, the titular thieves use this both for masks and for gloves with different fingerprints.
  • Sayoko as Lelouch in Code Geass. It's a somewhat more realistic example, as the mask is clearly a hard piece of whatever shaped like Lelouch's face, and there are white pads on parts of her face presumably to make up for differences in facial structure.
  • Doraemon: In "Noby, the Great Illusionist", Noby uses a Full-Body Disguise of Sneech's mother to retrieve his rare Cardosaurus card from Sneech, and later uses a similar disguise of Big G's sister to retrieve his Beast Mask comic from Big G. Both times, he uses latex masks of whoever he is disguised as that fit perfectly over his head.
  • The manga series Gimmick! features this in nearly every chapter, but Kohei is a professional SFX artist. It started with perfectly layering multiple latex masks on the same person in a scheme to help a model/actress escape from her abusive manager and only got more absurd from there.
  • In Love Hina, Kanako Urashima masquerades as a number of other characters, including her older brother Keitaro and Naru Narusegawa. Her disguises are so perfect that everyone assumes it is actually the person she is disguised as, except for the last time she is disguised as Naru, when Keitaro knows the whole time that it is really Kanako. (This lent weight to an oft-mentioned dig at the manga artist that many of his characters' faces look alike.)
    • In addition, to make up for differences in skeletal structure, she would, without any apparent pain, dislocate and rearrange her bones at the joint. Logically, of course, this doesn't make any kind of sense, but hey, at least they took body differences into account too...
    • Anyone capable of making Mutsumi look convincingly enough like Keitaro to pass muster in a Furo scene wearing only a Modesty Towel...
      • Notably Kanako fooled even herself for a moment there. It's worse in the manga, with Kanako even going so far as to give Mutsumi a schlong, commenting that her brother "should be about that big".
  • Lupin III is a Master of Disguise, so this trait has been included since the beginning, even by characters other than Lupin.
    • Lupin's favourite disguise is Zenigata. His pointy chin is changed to the Lantern Jaw of Justice the cop has.
    • Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo has Zenigata yanking on a security guard's face in the opening, just to see if it's Lupin in disguise. Later on, it turns out it was, but he has switched to using a stronger glue to hold his masks on.
      Lupin: "You gotta tug harder!"
    • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin doesn't even need a mask for his face to match latex perfection to Zenigata. Makeup and mask played straight for other disguises.
    • In the manga, and also in Lupin III: Part 5, is revealed that Lupin is wearing a mask all the time, and we actually haven't seen his true face. The only person who knows what he actually looks like is Fujiko, who is shown in Part 5.
  • Orochimaru of Naruto puts his own unique spin on this trope. He's able to perfectly disguise the face of his current host body to look exactly like his old face using his skin-shedding jutsu. On top of that he also has a habit of wearing other people's faces as a real disguise. Not masks of other people; he peels their faces off and wears them.
  • Cassidy and Butch in Pokémon: The Series did this in "The Fortune Hunters" when they set up a phony daycare center to steal trainers' Pokémon, both of them wearing perfect rubber mask disguises of a kindly old couple. Jessie tried this a couple of times when she would impersonate a Nurse Joy to convince the heroes that she is a good nurse who can help their Pokémon. The disguise is nearly flawless, except for the mask's mouth not moving when she speaks. In fact, this was one of the things the girl-crazy Brock would notice when he would detect the Nurse Joy is a fake. Later, Cassidy did the same thing wearing the same Nurse Joy mask, and once again Brock knew something was up with "Joy."
  • In the Read or Die manga, Paper Master Ridley Wan uses paper to make a full-body mask to impersonate Yomiko's deceased lover, Donny Nakajima. It's so detailed that Yomiko had no idea that he was an impostor until he voluntarily unmasked himself after bedding her. This is really impressive when you consider that not only had Yomiko been present when Donny died, she was the one who killed him.
  • Rurouni Kenshin - Hanya is purported to have this ability (it's only seen very briefly on-screen), hiding his real face behind the Noh mask that bears his name, and for good reason: he broke his own nose and jaw and sliced off his lips and ears so that he could reconstruct them as he wished for his disguises.
  • This is one of Twilight's skills in Spy X Family. He is able to change his whole appearance completely on the fly using incredibly realistic masks. Sometimes, Franky gets in on it as well, and in one chapter he complains about having to take off one of said masks due to his unattractive looks.
  • Deconstructed in Swallowing The Earth by Osamu Tezuka. Much of the story focuses on the development of an artificial skin that allows anyone to disguise themselves flawlessly and the catastrophic effect it has on society. Not only does it make criminals harder to catch, it's a massive source of Paranoia Fuel in general. Think about it: In a World… where Latex Perfection is not only possible but commonplace, you never know if the people around really are who they are.
    • One particular chapter features a very interesting take on this trope, along with Becoming the Mask. The members of dysfunctional family go their separate ways and one by one are replaced with fugitives disguised as them, who eventually come to love each other more than the real family ever did.

    Comic Books 
  • This is a pretty common Trope that many an artist of Superhero comics use when drawing their heroes/villains/vigilantes that have masks, especially full-face ones and especially the kind that inexplicably show the wearer's moving mouths. Even a character whose hair is inches thick or goes down to their collarbone or that have thick facial hair will appear bald and clean-shaven when wearing these kind of masks, and when they remove it, their hair is none the worse for being compressed under a sweaty mask for however long (assuming they've even been shown to have broken a sweat). This Trope often extends to the rest of their costumes, too, to the point where one sometimes wonders how they even get in or out of said costume. In essence, when these characters go out as their alter egos, they literally become them.
  • A regular feature of the Italian comic Diabolik since the first story, published in 1962 (this is effectively the Trope Maker in Italy, with the local name for this trope actually being "Diabolik's Mask"). As this series thrives in having reality hit the characters at exactly the wrong moment, the masks have a few limits:
    • While the masks can also disguise fingerprints and different eye colours can be dealt with by coloured lenses, they cannot disguise different body builds, forcing Diabolik and Eva to go without using disguises on multiple occasions.
    • As Diabolik is a well-known criminal and the existence of the masks is a known fact, the police and/or possible victims will set up face checks (consisting in pinching the face to try and take off the eventual mask) any time they suspect Diabolik is around (this was actually expected by Diabolik back when the masks were still unknown to the public, hence him trying to prevent their discovery).
    • Some of the masks have been confiscated by the police or ended in the hands of other criminals. While nobody so far has managed to reverse-engineer them, a scientist has discovered enough of the formula that he could assemble a device to detect their presence.
    • As said above, many want to reverse-engineer the masks, but the closest anyone got was masks that would resist a few hours before melting (Diabolik solved this problem). As Diabolik is the only one who knows how to make the plastic for the masks, everyone who wants to put their hands on the secret is after him.
    • Finally, the very existence of the masks often causes the same paranoia mentioned in the Swallowing the Earth entry above. After all, how do you know that the rightly feared Assassin With a Thousand Faces (one of Diabolik's many terrifying nicknames) isn't right behind you wondering if your death would be useful for his next caper?
      • The full effect of the paranoia was seen in the issue "The Bounty", in which a group of wealthy businessmen put a bounty on Diabolik and Eva... And many people were assaulted, with two killed, because someone else decided they acted funny and thus were Diabolik and Eva Kant. The police promptly forced them to retract the bounty.
  • In Magico Vento (Italian western comic) the secondary character Dick Carr can mimic any face with makeup... around 1880. Partly justified as he is a professional actor, used makeup for years, and has a makeup kit on par with his skills. Made hard to believe when you factor in that his face has been horribly burned with vetriol by his jealous wife, and he has no more skin and damaged muscles. How he can make any expression is a mystery, much more voice imitation.
    • Again, at least a couple of times he is busted by people that recognized the act.
  • Human Target stars Christopher Chance, a man who is paid to mimic people who have been targeted for assassination. The twist in later versions is that he's so good at mimicking them that he sometimes forgets who he really is.
  • In Sillage, Nävis often wears a semi-liquid symbiote over her skin. Since she is the only human in a giant space fleet composed of thousands of species, normal disguise wouldn't be very effective. As a bonus, the symbiote adjusts her metabolism and immune system for No Biochemical Barriers and serves as Translator Microbes.
  • Batman:
    • Batman would occasionally disguise himself (often impersonating Superman to get the bad guys to use their Kryptonite on the wrong target) and then pull off the false face, revealing his cowl, ears and all, underneath. This seems to have finally become a Discredited Trope because it just stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief too far.
    • This was common in Batman: The Animated Series, as well.
    • Probably reached its apex when Batman disguised himself, full-body, as Killer Croc. While playing poker for what was apparently several hours. And not only did no one notice any oddness in the way his (much taller, more muscular, and all-around bigger) body moved when the light started swaying and he went into shadow, you could see his Batman costume underneath it. (This last was pretty much purely for dramatic effect, but still.) Making it even more implausible, the show's design of Killer Croc had a very wide, cheekless mouth open on the sides, making it impossible to hide a normal human face underneath it.
    • There was also the time that Dick Grayson dressed up as Bruce Wayne to discredit a man that had discovered Batman's true identity. Aside from looking and sounding exactly the same as Bruce, Dick's only complaint was that he had to use leg extensions to appear taller, lifting up his pant legs to reveal that he's on stilts. Did no one notice the disturbing bulges right in the middle of Bruce Wayne's shins?
    • This was also done shockingly well in Batman and Robin with the character of Oberon Sexton, who we are led to believe is an English best-selling crime author/detective, who assists the Dynamic Duo. Damien suspects Oberon is faking his accent and believes he is Bruce, but he denies this, and Dick confirms this. It turns out he is The Joker. Yeah, let that sink in for a while.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Evolution: The Falleen woman Savan flawlessly impersonates a human female Vigo and an elderly male falleeen antique dealer by wearing plastic masks.
  • Superman:
    • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man Lex Luthor dresses up as Superman and makes Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson disappear. Not only was his Superman mask real good but he also manages to look as muscular as Superman.
    • The Great Phantom Peril: In order to not be immediately recognized by the Phantom Zoners, Superman disguises himself as a blond, mustached man. None of his enemies figure his identity out until he removes his mask.
    • The Untold Story of Argo City: As posing as a Kandorian named Bira, Edna wears a full-face lifelike mask which perfectly masks her identity, and even mirrors her real face's emotions.
    • In The Death of Superman (1961), Supergirl crashes Lex Luthor's victory party in a full Superman suit and mask. Before removing them to reveal herself, the gathering of crooks really thinks she is her taller and bigger cousin.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, one crook impersonating Lex Luthor wears a full face mask which makes him look like Superman's nemesis despite his very different facial features, cranium shape, and hair.
    • In The Supergirl-Batgirl Plot, Black Flame's full-head Supergirl mask completely fools Superman, even though he should know that his cousin is shorter.
    • The Leper from Krypton: Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter impersonate Superman successfully, even though they wear Superman's full-face mask upon their own masks or cowls.
    • One time, Superman was unable to save an alien woman, but fortunately for him, she was actually Supergirl in disguise.
    • The Super-Revenge of Lex Luthor: Luthor and Brainiac impersonate General Blade and his assistant after kidnapping them, and their full-face masks fool everybody until they make a mistake which cause Superman to scan them.
    • The Death of Lightning Lad: Mon-El dons a full-face mask as disguising himself as "Legionnaire Lemon". Neither of his friends realizes what he is wearing a mask until he rips it off.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Several Canon Discontinuities ago, it was explained that Aunt May was really alive because the one who died was an impostor in disguise. How any mask or makeup could possibly have fooled a close relative like Peter Parker (let alone a close relative with Spider-Sense) was left unexplained.
    • In an early storyline, the late Frederick Foswell took on the alternate identity of a low-life stool pigeon known as "Patch." He wore a latex mask to look like a generic middle-aged man with brown hair and an eyepatch, and also wore a fedora. He even once nearly figured out Spider-Man's true identity this way, but Peter Parker managed to fool him anyways, not even knowing Patch and Foswell were one and the same.
    • The Chameleon, a Master of Disguise by trade, often took advantage of this trope. In his first appearance, he used his trademark "mask pouch" to create seamless disguises of anyone he encountered, virtually on the spot. Later on, he abandoned the masks in favor of holograms or actual shapeshifting. More recently, he returned to Latex Perfection, with the justification that he does take molds of the person he's impersonating's face. (And then kills them.) Justified, as he's also able to stunningly duplicate a person down to voice and more. He once impersonated Tigra to fool Finesse, the heroine stunned and unable to believe Chameleon could duplicate Tigra down to her micro-expressions. His reaction: "I'm a professional."
    • The Molten Man uses such disguises to commit robberies in the classic Spider-Man comic issue 35. One of them he even designs to be shed in a manner of seconds just in case he's caught in Spider-Man's webbing.
    • Another time when Peter Parker was caught removing his Spider-Man mask on camera by Spencer Smythe's Spider-Slayer robot, Parker was able to later fool Smythe by appearing on camera again as "himself," and then tugging off a latex Peter Parker mask to reveal his Spidey mask underneath, well aware that Smythe was spying on him.
    • The Green Goblin's (and other Goblin's) rubber goblin mask is so expressive that he could easily be mistaken for an actual goblin creature and not just a disguised person.
  • Harvey Dent uses one of these in The Long Halloween.
  • In The Authority: Kev, an alien infiltrator somehow manages a Latex Perfection disguise, despite being something of a Starfish Alien, having 5 eyes, and about seven short, stubby fingers on each hand.
  • Regularly used by DC Comics' Unknown Soldier.
  • One of the trademarks of Master of Disguise Nemesis in The DCU. He uses special masks of his own invention that dissolve with the application of a special spray, allowing him to resume his normal appearance in seconds.note 
  • The DCU heroine Black Orchid frequently uses Latex Perfection, even managing to disguise herself as a man.
  • Daredevil:
    • In earlier issues, Daredevil disguised himself like Thor to attract Mr. Hyde and Cobra, usual foes of the Nordic God. Thor himself said that it was like looking in a mirror. DD even used some skin-coloured latex to cover his costume and resemble the naked arms of Thor. Yeah.
    • A few issues later, DD participates on a movie with the Stunt-Master. The Stilt-Man knocks down SM and disguises his face to look like him. In about five minutes.
  • Captain America:
    • Steve Rogers' origin story, the Super Soldier project is hidden beneath an antique shop. The "old woman" who tends to the shop is, in fact, a young woman agent named Betsy Ross in disguise. In the 2011 movie, however, she appears to be an actual old woman, albeit one who's handy with a machine gun.
    • In Captain America #606 (No Escape, part one), Baron Zemo wears a latex mask of a person to break into a mental asylum to interrogate Sin. Like some other examples on this page, he wore it over his actual mask.
  • Rat-Man (1989): In an issue, the old shopkeeper the young woman agent is disguised as is actually an old woman identical to her former appearance under the young woman mask. Also, her pet cat is actually a guard dog in disguise.
  • One Darkwing Duck story in Disney Adventures had Darkwing wearing a mask that looked exactly like his real face over his traditional eye mask and under a few other superhero masks, to fool a villain collecting crimefighters' masks. Appropriately lampshaded by Launchpad and Gosalyn.
    • This was stolen from Paperinik stories: Latex Perfection is one of Paperinik's (Donald Duck's superhero/antihero alter ego) most used tricks (something he inherited by Fantomius, the Gentleman Thief whose journal inspired him), and his trademark disguise is to wear a Donald mask over his usual domino mask, helping his Clark Kenting (after all, how do you know that Paperinik isn't wearing his domino mask over a Donald mask?).
    • Fantomius once pulled one better: planning to get arrested he wore his face-covering silk mask over a mask of his true face worn over another of his face-covering masks. That successfully convinced the police that Fantomius was just disguised.
  • Partly adverted in a Spirou and Fantasio story where a latex mask is used to frame Fantasio. While the mask is good enough to fool people watching him on TV or from afar, it always keeps the same, smiling expression, and the guy under the mask has a similar frame. He also never meets a close relative of Fantasio's while masked.
  • The Tex Willer villain Proteus was capable of nearly flawless disguises, which he used to frame our heroes (Kit Carson for example) for robbing and murder.
  • Found in Ric Hochet where more than one perpetrator wore a mask with a face identical to the victim. In one instance, she even had manly-gloves.
  • Parodied in a MAD story that is supposedly teaching readers how to make a parody comic. At the end, the two main characters (Brutus and Marc Anthony, as this was supposed to be a Julius Caesar parody) start unmasking themselves to reveal they're someone else, and it goes over and over with the two guys removing thousands of masks. The narrator comments that "Unmasking scenes are great to end a story. Everyone takes off their masks and reveal that the bad guy is not really a bad guy and the good guy is not really a good guy... also, I'm not the real narrator and this is not MAD...", with the last panel showing the narrator unmask himself to reveal he was Marilyn Monroe all along, and also unmasks the panel revealing a Mickey Mouse comic underneath.
  • Lampshaded in a Mickey Mouse comic. After Mickey and Goofy, involved in a competition for detectives at a millionaire's mansion, discover that among other stuff the butler was a criminal in disguise, he pulls a mask revealing his true identity as a criminal called Tommy Bignose. An amazed Mickey wonders how he was able to hide his giant nose inside the mask, Goofy rips it off revealing he was actually wearing a fake nose to keep his "having a nose for crime" image.
  • In Chlorophylle, Anthracite -a male rat- impersonates an attractive lady cat with such a disguise, and several males find "her" attractive.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin has occasionally imagined his parents really being aliens disguised this way, such as a nightmare where they reveal themselves as "bug-eyed aliens from Neptune" and attempt to cook Calvin, and a poem Calvin comes up with about his parents...
    Early each morning as the sun rises,
    Mom and Dad put on their earthling disguises.
    I knew right away their masks weren't legit.
    Their faces are lined, they sag and don't fit.
  • A Doonesbury story arc from 2000 involved Duke, Truck, Honey, and Earl all disguising as each other with latex masks to sneak into a reform party. Worth of note is Duke humming the Mission: Impossible theme as he peels off his Honey mask, and Earl getting stuck in his Truck mask.
  • Modesty Blaise: In "Butch Cassidy Rides Again", the gang uses latex masks to make themselves appear identical to the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang.

    Fan Works 
  • In My Immortal, Lord Voldemort and the "Death Dealers" are able to disguise themselves as the band My Chemical Romance simply by donning masks. Why they didn't use Polyjuice Potion is never explained. It's that kind of fic.
  • This is how the Teacher Creature is unmasked in Attack of the Teacher Creature.
  • Dahlia Hawthorne Escaps From Pirson has Kristoph Gavin disguise himself as Pokemon Trainer Pearl, a character much younger than him. This disguise apparently also reduces his height, is able to trick a radar, and makes his own brother unable to recognize him, despite standing next to him.
  • Avengers: Infinite Wars: Chapter 18 features a holographic version of this once again allowing Natasha Romanoff to pose as someone else to thwart the villains' plans.
  • Discussed in Shazam! story Here There Be Monsters. It is stated there should not be plastic masks capable of deceiving the human eye... but Doctor Sivana has somehow succeeded into creating them.
    Ingram had reached beneath his chin and peeled something up for a few seconds.
    There are no examples of the mask-maker's art which, as far as we know, can deceive the human eye. Such things as perfect likenesses of the human face which can be put on to fool another person into thinking he is really looking at flesh and bone features, rather than a plastic simulacrum, are beyond current capabilities.
    Nonetheless, the mask Ingram had on was far beyond current capabilities.
  • At the end of Rhyme and Reason, the Big Bad leaves Chip a mask of what he had taken for her face until then. Not only does this mean that she is still alive, but she leaves completely unclear what she looks like (this may or may not be her actual face) and even if she is a mouse after all. This is made even more impressive by the fact that we're talking about a realistic mask of a small rodent with a fur-covered face that Chip deems capable of even concealing the wearer's species.

  • Fantômas did it back in 1964, being probably one of the oldest live-action examples. It consisted of the titular Master of Disguise villain always wearing a bald, bluish latex mask to conceal his true identity. He would often wear other latex masks over it when committing crimes. At other times he would peel off his bluish latex mask to reveal his new impersonation (then later on remove that one to reveal his bluish mask again...)
  • Used as a plot point in the martial arts film Black Lizard 1981; the main villain, Luo-yi, after slaying his family due to an affair, used latex masks to assume himself to be his dead wife to keep the truth hidden.
  • James Bond
    • From Russia with Love has one of the earliest live-action examples. The Action Prologue has Bond being killed by the assassin Red Grant, only to reveal it's a SPECTRE mook wearing his face in a Deadly Graduation.
    • The Big Bad of Live and Let Die is Dr. Kananga, a Caribbean dictator who's working in league with an African American gangster called Mr. Big. When Mr. Big captures Bond and tries to interrogate him, Bond stalls for time by saying he'll only talk to Kananga himself. Mr. Big then rips off his face to reveal they're the same person. In a variation from the usual Dramatic Unmask, he grabs his nose and pulls it, stretching and removing the latex in pieces in a satisfyingly disturbing reveal.
  • Spoofed at the start of Austin Powers. Austin reveals that a woman is actually a man in disguise. The scene is done with special effects worthy of the 60s, where the actress playing the spy is obviously a (good looking) woman until the camera angle changes as Austin pulls off "his" hair, the actress having been replaced by a bulky man in Drag. Subverted later when Powers tries to recreate his triumph by assaulting a woman and trying to pull off her wig, only to be told she's actually an innocent woman. In fact, his boss's mother.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire seriously abused this trope, as Robin Williams' character would duck into a restroom to put on his "old woman" disguise in a matter of seconds, in spite of the fact that the "making of" documentary on the DVD explained that it took several hours to apply the mask to the actor's face. What's more, it seems to be realistically painstaking and time-consuming the first few times he puts on his disguise, but that gets set aside in favor of the Rule of Funny for later scenes, where he not only changes in and out of the disguise in seconds, but he manages to fit everything he needs in a large lady's handbag.
  • Steps Trodden Black features these in the stinger, with Men In Black Jinx and Meddler revealing themselves to be aliens. Justified in that they're implied to be made from still living cloned human flesh, they aren't disguised as anyone specific, and all Meddler is really doing is changing his skin color.
  • White Chicks (the Wayans Brothers' semi-ripoff of Some Like It Hot) featured secret agent brothers Kevin and Marcus Copeland (played by Shawn and Marlon Wayans) disguising as Caucasian blond-haired co-eds (though they seem to resemble pale-faced lower-voiced imitations of the girls rather than perfect replicas), and like the case with Mrs. Doubtfire, prosthetic appliances are used to make the brothers look like white women, with regular latex masks used as props for unmasking scenes.
    • However, it has to be given with them an example in one of the beach scenes, in which Marcus appears in disguise, wearing a bikini! White-skin-colored body, fake boobs and all! (specifically the part in which "she" is sunbathing when Latrell (Terry Crews) unexpectedly casts his shadow over "her" just by standing by).
  • The Associate is a semi-combination of the previous two examples. Whoopi Goldberg dresses as an elderly white man to get ahead in business. Her latex mask fools everyone perfectly.
  • Latex scars are used to conceal the true identity of Professor Zero, supposedly the main antagonist of the spy flick, The Brain Stealers. It turns out he's an ally of the heroine who works double-duty as the badly-scarred (and eyepatched) leader of a powerful crime syndicate.
  • The Swindlers: Ji-sung uses this twice as part of his con artist games. He uses a latex mask to disguise himself as an old man in order to bilk a sucker out of $100,000. More importantly, he uses a latex mask to disguise himself as Ponzi schemer Jang Doo-chil, in order to fool Prosecutor Park (the true villain). This works even though Park knows both Doo-chil and Ji-sung well and is in close contact with both of them.
  • The 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit featured the evil human villain Judge Doom (played by Christopher Lloyd) revealing himself to be an evil maniacal 'toon in disguise wearing a latex mask and a human suit. We don't see Doom unmask or a glimpse of his true identity, and the only traces of his 'toon form are his glowing evil eyes (which were hidden by prosthetic contact lenses resembling human eyeballs) and his yellow hand which can change into an anvil and buzzsaw (hidden by a black glove), and ends up melted by his own dip, and all that remains is his human mask and clothes. After this scene, a brief sequence can be seen where a sheep peels off his sheep disguise to reveal Disney's Big Bad Wolf - a literal Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Subverted in Minority Report, where several years in the future Tom Cruise's character injects himself with something in a pen-syringe that makes the skin on his face droop dramatically. It doesn't change his face into any other identity, but it does disguise his identity, which is all he needs.
  • Handled somewhat realistically in Smokin' Aces, where assassin Laszlo Soot has to spend a considerable amount of time (though not quite as much as he should have) applying his make-up/mask and working on a voice imitation of his target. It was more impressive that the film did not use the "actor switch" but actually did the full make-up of the other actor over Flanagan's features.
  • Subverted in Back to the Future Part II, when Doc Brown details the rejuvenation treatments he got in the future and pulls off his latex mask to reveal his new appearance. And he looks almost exactly the same underneath, just a little bit younger. It's a bit of a meta-joke — 1985 Doc in Part I was played by Christopher Lloyd in aging makeup, but he didn't look much different from 1955 Doc, played by Lloyd without makeup. Now that both "versions" of Doc looked the same, they didn't have to do the makeup anymore, a feature they kept for Part III (just in time for Doc to pick up a Love Interest).
  • In The Witches (1990), the evil Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) does this to hide her ugly witch face. At the meeting of the witches, she peels off her "normal" human mask to reveal her hideous witch form. Interestingly, Huston's real face represents the witch "in disguise," and prosthetic masks were used for her true witch form and removing her "beautiful face" mask.
  • Used many times in a flashback montage of The Suite Life on Deck The Movie. To clarify, Dr. Olsen disguised himself as a janitor to sneak Dr. Spaulding's facility and steal his research, and most importantly to hide the fact that he is Dr. Spaulding's twin brother.
  • In The Master of Disguise, the mask device is used (sometimes even parodied) for several of the disguises in this film. Such examples include Fabrizzio Disguisey (portrayed by James Brolin) masquerading as Bo Derek, Michael Johnson, Jesse Ventura, and Jessica Simpson. For these disguises, the Cast as a Mask technique is used, and only the unmaskings of Bo Derek and Jessica Simpson are depicted on screen, while Fabrizzio in his Michael Johnson disguise lifts up the Constitution scroll to cover his body out of frame, and among moving it back down he goes from black to his true Caucasian identity, and Jesse Ventura is only seen tugging on his cheeks as we cut away to a close-up of the villain as we hear the mask stretching offscreen. Similarly, Grandpa Disguisey disguises himself at one part as a smaller female maid, done via the "actor switch" technique and an off-screen unmasking, and Pistachio Disguises (portrayed by Dana Carvey) wears various disguises, the majority of them played by Carvey himself under different makeup/prosthetics, yet the only disguise we see him unmasking onscreen is when the villain manages to see through Pistachio's disguise of one of his henchmen (where the actor-switch trick was employed yet again).
  • Played straight in The Face of Another. A man whose face was burned off in an industrial accident gets a flawless latex mask. The doctor suggests he wear sunglasses as the join around the eyes might show, but as it turns out even that isn't necessary. The mask then undermines the man's sanity.
  • Seen extensively in the Mission: Impossible Film Series (since the original TV show, listed under Live-Action TV, liked it a lot).
    • One of the first scenes in the first film has Ethan wearing a mask to trick some information out of a crook. He also impersonates a senator during the opening job, but more realistically, Ethan in disguise is played by Tom Cruise in heavy makeup rather than a different actor.
    • Mission: Impossible II provided some particularly egregious examples of this, with Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt apparently carrying perfect latex masks, not only of various bad guy henchmen but also of himself. These he was able to apply unaided to himself (or in the case of the mask of himself, a bad guy henchman), in about ten seconds flat.
      • It also showed how they mimicked the voices as well, with a thin strip of circuitry placed at the base of the neck (which somehow affected sounds made mostly in the mouth).
    • Mission: Impossible III made it more realistic and time-consuming than its predecessors, leaving us to wonder what happened to the technology.
    • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol had this technology malfunctioning, thus forcing Ethan and Jane Carter to impersonate Wistrom and Moreau without the help of such masks. Later, Wistrom turns out to be Hendricks wearing a mask.
      • Ghost Protocol also showed an IMF team doing a retinal scan and DNA test to make sure Ethan Hunt really was who he said he was.
    • Subverted in Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, where Benji is gleeful at the idea of wearing a mask as part of a heist, only to be disappointed when he learns that it wouldn't fool this particular system. An Imagine Spot shows him getting found out and the mask ripped off.
    • By Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the CIA seems to take a dim view of the IMF's face-scanning technology, with agent August Walker likening it to a Halloween costume. It still fools Walker enough to spill the beans in front of who he thinks is Solomon Lane.
    • In the N64 game of the film, the Face Maker seems to even duplicate the enemy's clothing (if the original body doesn't disappear).
  • Spoofed at the beginning of Charlie's Angels (2000), which was nearly a direct spoof of the beginning of Mission: Impossible II, combined with Black Like Me and Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • In the film Nikita, we briefly see a supporting character applying a complex, realistic-looking disguise, complete with extensive makeup to alter the shape of his face and a wig. Not quite a mask, but it does completely alter the way he looks.
  • Undercover Brother: The title character, while masquerading as an elderly janitor and James Brown.
  • The Beatles' Help! has the Eastern bad guys getting captured when they knock Ringo unconscious, then find it's Paul, and then John (but not George?) in a Ringo mask as bait for a police ambush.
  • The big reveal at the end of Murder by Death is that Bensonmum, after being accused of murdering Lionel Twain using increasingly outlandish deductions by all the assembled Agatha Christiesque detectives, pulls off a mask that he is really — Lionel Twain. And then, after all the detectives go home, he then pulls off another mask to reveal he's really — the mute maid, who laughs very vocally.
  • A pretty surprising example in North Korean (yes!) Martial Arts Movie Hong Kil Dong. Thuk Jae is in pursuit of the evil ninjas. He traces them to a tavern being kept by a single old lady. Something doesn't seem right—there's a fine horse without an owner standing behind the tavern, and the old lady displays lightning-quick reflexes when she catches some falling plates. "She" then whips off a rubber mask and reveals herself to be one of the ninjas, who has laid an ambush.
  • Partially averted by Darkman, whose synthetic skin (not latex) masks are only really convincing when he backs up the deception by researching his target's voice and mannerisms. The substance the masks themselves are made of is seen as a technological breakthrough in itself, the MacGuffin of the film.
  • Done when the security chief in Swamp Thing removes his mask, revealing himself to be the main villain Anton Arcane.
  • Could be said of Quaid's fat lady disguise in the original Total Recall (1990), though in this case, the mask is a highly sophisticated device, resembling a wearable, realistic animatronic, while the "fat lady" suit conceals Arnold's bulky frame.
  • The Scooby-Doo live-action theatrical films, naturally, made use of this trope:
    • In the first one, when Shaggy's girlfriend Mary-Jane is possessed, is riding on an all-terrain vehicle with Shaggy when a low tree branch hits her in the face, dislodging a rubber mask from position and revealing glowing green eyes, much to Scooby's shock. Mary-Jane then stretches her mask as if she's about to remove it... but instead snaps it back into its' proper place. Then near the end, Emile Mondavarious is unmasked by Fred to reveal he's actually a Mobile-Suit Human controlled by the movie's true villain, Scrappy-Doo.
    • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, Heather Jasper-Howe, unmasked not twenty seconds prior as the villain, is then revealed to be Jonathan Jacobo aka. the Pterodactyl Ghost, wearing a full-face latex mask (and presumably fake breasts).
      • Subverted shortly afterwards when Fred confronts Howe/Jacobo's accomplice, Ned:
        Fred: And the real identity of Ned is- *pulls at Ned's hairline*
        Ned: Ow!
        Fred: ... Ned!
  • Used briefly in Bloodfist VI where the main villain disguises himself as an elderly tourist at first. To their credit, after most of the mask is pulled off, the actor is left with patches of latex and glue on his face until continuity loses track of them.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Red Skull wears a mask like this at first, resembling how he looked before his face got disfigured into his red skull look in an attempt to gain superpowers. The mask slips a few times before he finally does away with it completely.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Natasha uses a hi-tech version to impersonate Hawley of the World Security Council.
    • Captain America: Civil War: Implied when Zemo disguises himself as Bucky Barnes, explicitly with facial prosthesis and a wig. We only ever see the disguise in blurry news footage, so it might have been imperfect.
    • In Black Widow (2021), Natasha again uses the same high-tech version from Captain America: The Winter Soldier when she switches clothes with Melina to infiltrate the Red Room when the entire family is captured by Dreykov. Dreykov does recognize Natasha's disguise, though.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has an interesting case of a person doing this with a copy of their own face to hide damage. It turns out that the reason the High Evolutionary's face looks stretched and stapled on is because it is; Rocket's Extreme Mêlée Revenge when he escaped the lab years ago mauled his creator's face down to the bone, leaving him needing to wear a copy to disguise it.
  • Parodied in German comedy Neues vom Wixxer where one of the characters dons a perfect latex mask that looks exactly like his face, just with added moustache. In the original Der Wixxer main antagonist wears such a mask over his trademark bulky skull mask.
  • Played with in Johnny English; the villains make a near-perfect mask of the Archbishop of Canterbury as part of the Big Bad's plot to make himself king, but they suspect (correctly) that English knows about the mask, so they scrap the idea and decide to trick the real Archbishop into going along with their plan. Naturally, English tries to remove the mask that the not fake Archbishop is not wearing, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Parodied in Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th when the survivors try to discover the true identity of the killer, revealing hundreds of masks before getting the answer.
  • In Machete Kills, the assassin El Camaleón can look like anyone. He's portrayed by Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lady Gaga, and finally Antonio Banderas.
  • The short film Stripped by Mark Jackson. You should be VERY thankful that things like this do not exist in real life.
  • Used to evil effect in the movie The List of Adrian Messenger. A serial killer with a theatrical background uses a series of disguises to kill a group of people standing between himself and an inheritance. We only see who it really is later in the movie. To confuse matters further a half dozen guest stars appear in disguise as well and are only revealed at the end. Although two of said guest stars only took part in The Stinger and weren't in the main part of the movie at all!
  • In Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, a latex mask is used to make Commissar Ledvina look exactly like the hero so he could pose as a Body Double. Later the hero uses a latex mask for himself to convincingly pose as another character. Ends in a Dramatic Unmask scene.
  • In Ex Machina, the skin on the robots is easily moved from robot to robot and blends with no seams, even when one robot takes a skin that's clearly asian in its coloring and merges it with her caucasian face with the skin suddenly looking caucasian too.
  • Naked Lunch: Doctor Benway disguises himself as Fadela with a perfect bodysuit to remain incognito in Interzone.
  • The Silence of the Hams: This is parodied in the ending when basically every character in the film reveals themselves to be wearing a latex mask (e.g. Antonio's mother disguising herself as her son, Detective Balsam disguising himself as Lily, Jo disguising himself as Antonio's mother's corpse). It's so prolonged that by the end the characters are placing bets on it.
  • The main villainess of the film, Temptress of a Thousand Faces got her name from the numerous latex mask she wears when going on a crime spree, where the baffled police spends pretty much most of the movie trying to figure out the elusive temptress' true identity.
  • Happy Birthday to Me: Ann is able to impersonate Ginny by wearing a latex mask made for her by Alfred that makes her Ginny's exact duplicate.
  • In Mystery of the Wax Museum, Ivan Igor conceals his disfigured features beneath a wax mask that is so perfect that no one standing near him ever even suspects it is a mask.
  • In Good Time, two bank robbers pull a heist wearing actual bald African-American silicone masks. Bonus points for averting Cast as a Mask, and having the actors wear actual "SPFX Player" silicone masks.
  • The Assignment (1997) has a nice twist. A former lover of terrorist Carlos the Jackal goes to meet him after several years apart. She enters his safehouse only to be grabbed by a bald-headed man with a mustache who threatens to kill her (and other things) if she doesn't reveal where Carlos is. She denies ever knowing anyone of that name, whereupon the man peels off a latex headpiece and removes his fake mustache to reveal a smiling Carlos. Here's the kicker: it's not actually Carlos, but an intelligence agent who looks like him and has been trained to impersonate him. It wasn't a Secret Test of Character but a trick to throw her off her stride and be less ready to see the deception.
  • In the film version of The Crucifer of Blood, Sherlock Holmes wears a (non-period) latex mask to impersonate the Opium Den proprietor.
  • In The Butchers, Jack the Ripper wears a mask that not only makes her look hideously disfigured but hides her long black hair.
  • Police Academy 6: City Under Siege has the film's Big Bad, the Mastermind, disguise as Commissioner Hurst this way. When another Commisioner Hurst walks into the room, St. Nick decides to use the "Pinocchio Test" on both Commissioners, by pulling on their noses. Sure enough, the latex mask's nose stretches out quite far, giving him away, and is thus unmasked to reveal the Mayor.
  • In The Mad Magician, Gallico is an expert mask maker and is able to create masks that allow him to impersonate both Ormond and Rinaldi. Only Claire is able to see through the disguise when he is posing as Ormand, and she has the advantage of having been married to both Gallico and Ormond.
  • Special Female Force: At one point the heroes are puzzled the aging Big Bad doesn't look like he aged a day post the 20 years Time Skip. It's later revealed he has actually been killed, and the man they're after is actually his son who wears a latex mask resembling his late father's face, appearing as his old man in public.
  • Parodied in Zoolander 2, where an imprisoned Mugatu boasts that he's spent his time in jail crafting a pair of realistic latex masks which he intends to use to switch places with Zoolander. He places the masks on himself and a restrained Zoolander off-screen with much fanfare, only for the camera to reveal said masks are as realistically shoddy and unconvincing as you'd expect someone working with only jailhouse materials could make, looking like cheap celebrity Halloween masks at best. However, the guards at the jail are former male fashion models, so Mugatu's disguise ends up fooling them anyway.
  • In The Wizard of Gore, Montag takes Jack's place by wearing a perfect latex mask of Jack that even conceals the fact that Montag has a moustache. Or does he?
  • In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Kirsty does this with human skin, tricking Chanard into believing she's Julia by wearing the skin she left behind when she fell into hell. It's bloody and prone to tearing, but it follows the motions of her face and lips perfectly. Of course, Julia took it off other people in the first place, so perhaps this can be chalked up as a little Cenobite magic.
  • A more realistic version appears in SAS: Rise of the Black Swan. Grace Lewis, a mercenary wanted for crimes against humanity, slips through security at the Chunnel by using fake skin to change the shape of her face to fool Facial Recognition Software. When Grace removes the latex she has to peel it off in pieces rather than the usual Dramatic Unmask version.
  • They Came Together: In this parodic, absurdist romantic comedy, there is a breakup scene where the woman comes clean to the man, telling him, "I always faked it." The man immediately assumes she's talking about faking her orgasms, but the woman, instead, pulls off her face and reveals to have been secretly Judge Judy the entire time. Judge Judy insists that the orgasms were indeed real.

  • A very extreme example of this is featured in the Anonymous Rex novels, where the whole premise is that dinosaurs are still alive, just disguised as humans. Using very complicated latex costumes. Egad.
    • The TV movie adaptation had the dinosaurs hide themselves using Hard Light holographic that better?
      • Setting aside that the movie kind of sucked, this is revealed in one scene to be a recent switch — as in, probably in the last couple years. The characters need decoys, so they pull out the old latex costumes, which, aside from being terrifying and obvious fakes, don't look too much different from the holodisguises the characters are using right now.
      • The books Hand Wave the "elaborate costume" trick by saying it's also part evolution; the dinosaurs (which, undisguised, are quite dinosaur-shaped, if human-sized) have developed soft, rubbery skeletons so that they can fit into the costumes without, for example, having an elongated velociraptor snout poking out of a human face. It works if you're willing to ignore the fact that this pretty much defeats the purpose of having a skeleton to begin with.
  • In Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien books, this is how aliens disguise themselves as humans. Somehow it works despite them having very different features such as extra eyes.
    • To be fair, it's not simply latex, it's some sort of alien technology (note, for example, that it can automatically change skin tone). And while aliens in that series can look very weird by human standards, the aliens sent to Earth were basically (and probably purposefully) humanoid; Kreeblim just had to deal with only using two-thirds of her usual vision for a while.
  • In Dominique Jean's La Fiancée du Vent, the heroine, who can exist in 3 places at the same time, uses a latex mask to pass for a friend and pretend to betray herself, so as to work as a double agent with her enemies.
  • Subverted in H. P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness", in which the mask and hands used for Latex Perfection by a disguised alien aren't latex at all, but the actual face and hands of the abductee it's imitating.
  • Goosebumps occasionally used this trope, as well as the spin-off TV series, but perhaps the most famous use was in "The Haunted Mask" stories, where whoever wears a creepy, hyper-realistic mask that was taken from a mysterious party shop is transformed; the mask attaches to his or her face and takes over the mind of the wearer, making him or her act evil. In the sequel ("The Haunted Mask II"), a mask resembling a ghoulish old man even goes as far as making its victim wearer become very old and weak.
    • The Goosebumps 2000 novel "Return to Horrorland" has the main kids and some TV reports disguise as Horrors this way, especially since the horror amusement park sells Horror Halloween costumes and masks.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Vigilantes use this a lot. In fact, Alexis Thorne carries a red bag that contains the necessary tools to create latex disguises. One book explains that Alexis had Hollywood aspirations, and while she couldn't get a job as an actor, she proved to be very good at dressing up actors. Those latex disguises have certainly proven to be very helpful!
  • The Yuuzhan Vong in the Star Wars Expanded Universe have a (typically bizarre and painful) biotech version of this trope, the ooglith masquer, a full-body suit of, essentially, incredibly thin fungus that lives parasitically off its wearer and can mimic human-like features, even copying the wearer's expressions to a degree (although masquers are sometimes noted to have odd, understated expressions). Masquers are so effective that the humanoid-but-decidedly-not-Human Alien Vong were able to successfully disguise themselves as human for years at a time.
    • In the Wraith Squadron novel Mercy Kill, Yuuzhan Vong biologist "Scut" joins the team and specializes in creating neoglith masquers, a refinement of the original design that does away with the inconvenient and painful parasitic elements in favor of quickly-grown, disposable masks that imitate a specific target with great accuracy. Over the course of the novel, he creates a number of masquers to fake a variety of general and specific appearances, but the most impressive example is the "Embass" masquer, a full-body suit that successfully converts the team's Human Alien actor into a monstrous lobster-fish-man that completely takes in the marks, even when they perform medical and genetic tests on it!
  • In a non-facial example, Lord Vodni from Teresa Edgerton's Goblin Moon has a grotesque bird-like claw for a hand, which he conceals with some kind of artificial-skin glove. Until he peels it bare in a rage, Sera notices nothing unusual about his hands, even though it has talons long and sharp enough for combat.
  • Spy School: Averted, in the eighth booths. A latex mask was discussed as a possible strategy of the villains to have framed Erica for shooting a missile at CIA headquarters. Jawa reveals the CIA doesn't have any masks like that, as the plastic sags and dissolves in a manner that makes the faces look like zombies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On the pilot episode of Babylon 5, a central plot point of the episode is someone impersonating Commander Sinclair in an attempt to poison Ambassador Kosh via a holographic disguise.
    • In an episode of season 2, a gift shop in the station sells masks that let humans look like aliens and aliens into humans. Commander Ivanova was understandably freaked out.
    • Later in the spinoff TV Movie Legends of the Rangers, Malcolm Bridges sports the same holographic disguise tech from the pilot when he masquerades as G'kar and as Minister Kafta.
  • Princess Silver:
    • Hen Xiang wears a mask that makes her look exactly like Rong Le when she tries to murder Zhao Yun. Later she does the same thing when she seduces Fu Chou.
    • Used again when Lin Shen disguises himself as Fu Chou.
  • Used a couple of times in the FX-makeup effects show Face/Off, mainly in the early seasons and only once a season. It was done very rarely, as these tended to be both the hardest and ugliest makeups of the entire season. Artists often had to change age, race, and sex of their model, which often showed how hard and time-consuming the trope is, i.e. when a model's hair was so thick it pushed the bald cap off the skin or a full mask vs individual pieces. They even had to apply makeup to themselves in one episode, and attempt to fool their own family members. This worked for the most part, as the artist were "store employees" while the loved one was there for a random task the show gave them. The family (and the public) rarely tried to make eye contact with the store help, who themselves tried to change their voice or act "in character" which was just weird all around.
  • Rollin (Martin Landau), Paris (Leonard Nimoy), and Casey (Lynda Day George) on Mission: Impossible not only made use of this trope but gradually turned it into a cliche. This was done in two ways: In some early episodes, the target would be someone who just so happened to look like Martin Landau with make-up and a wig; then Rollin Hand would later replace this person. The other version, which was done occasionally with Landau and almost always with Nimoy and George, was to use an ordinary guest actor for the target; then once Rollin (or Paris or Casey) had donned the disguise, the guest actor would play him as well. Many episodes actually showed the team Master of Disguise creating the mask and studying the mannerisms of the person he/she was planning to impersonate to make it look plausible that they could make the switch.
    • In the 1980s revival series the masks were made automatically with a digital camera (with an umbilical the size of a small fire hose), a computer, and a sort of vacuum forming machine.
    • Interestingly, in the first movie Tom Cruise actually did play a guest character (a senator) who as Ethan Hunt he later impersonated.
  • Used frequently in The X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen.
  • A high-quality rubber mask was worn by a bank robber in an episode of NUMB3RS and it was totally convincing, though the wearer wasn't impersonating anyone in particular, just concealing his own appearance.
  • Austin & Ally: Brooke did this twice.
  • Spoofed in Sledge Hammer!: the female KGB spy turned out to be a male KGB spy behind a latex mask, however, the rest of the bodily alterations were apparently permanent (so that he/she could win the Miss Iron Curtain pageant).
  • Similarly spoofed in Police Squad!'s second episode, when a pretty cocktail waitress in a club turned out to be a bearded Frenchman in a mask and wig.
  • In the Earth: Final Conflict episode "Motherlode" two characters used this type of mask to impersonate two Taelons as part of a heist, with the goal of stealing 3 trillion dollars in gold from the Taelon mothership.
  • The Master in Doctor Who uses the latex mask routine several times in the Third Doctor era — totally convincing while he's wearing it, the mask suddenly becomes an obvious lump of rubber when he takes it off. In one episode, the disguise also seemed to involve being nearly a foot shorter while wearing the mask.
    • Of course, considering that this is the series (and race) that gave us the Does Everything Tool in the Sonic Screwdriver, the Master being able to create masks that do that kind of stuff is a little more believable. In his first appearance, he had a deal with the Nestene Consciousness, controller of the living plastic Autons - he could have gotten them then.
    • However, despite this great disguise he'd still in some way refer to himself as The Master, usually by translating it into another language.
    • On some occasions, he'd pull a reverse trick - slap a disguise of himself on someone else while he makes a getaway.
    • The Rani also pulled this one in her debut appearance, disguising herself as an old woman, and the new series gives us the Twelfth Doctor wearing an actual dead person's face over his actual face to disguise himself as a Clockwork Droid.
    • In the new series, the Slitheen use actual dead people to form complete body suits in this fashion.
    • In the serial "City of Death", the main villain has a head which is a mass of tentacles with a single eye in the center. Despite this, a latex mask enables him to perfectly appear as a human being complete with eyes, tongue, facial expressions, et cetera.
  • Spencer in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive at one point assumes the form of the much younger, much more female Ronny and succeeds. He'd done disguises of this nature before, but this one really embodied the trope. In a similar manner, his Super Sentai counterpart, Makino, does the same with female team member Sakura. For Makino it was a one-time thing, but Spencer can turn into pretty much anybody with a rubber mask regardless of age, sex, or size.
    • A similar instance occurs in an episode of Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, in which Kogure, an elderly butler, manages to disguise himself as Kairi in order to throw off police suspicion that he and his coworkers are the Lupinrangers. He manages to pull this off via nothing more than a rubber mask and a change of clothes- despite being both shorter and more rotund than the real Kairi- though a pair of ridiculously high platform shoes (that the officers somehow failed to notice) were part of the ensemble.
  • In another particularly egregious example, aliens in V (1983) used latex masks to disguise themselves as human despite having noticeably larger heads (thereby causing some problems for the makers of the action figures).
    • In the episode "The Secret Underground", the Resistance Duo Mike and Juliet board the main mother ship, undercover as Visitor scientists disguised as humans (while wearing the Visitors' distinctive orange jumpsuits), and at one point, Diana nearly catches Mike and Julie, until our heroes peel off their latex masks to reveal Reptilian heads underneath, thus letting them pass without any trouble. But in the next scene, it's revealed that the Resistance Duo "impersonators" are indeed the real Resistance Duo, wearing latex Reptilian masks and having pulled masks resembling their human selves over their scaly disguises (we don't see them peel off their Visitor heads, although we do clearly see them peeling off the human masks to reveal their alien masks). Then when Mike and Juliet make their getaway, they knock out two unmasked Visitors and slide their human masks from their earlier charade onto their Reptilian heads to fool Diana.
    • In V: The Final Battle, a Visitor fifth columnist disguises himself as Mike Donovan to make Diana believe Donovan has been killed.
  • A.N.T. Farm: Angus once tried to do this to frame Fletcher for "killing" Olive's videogame pet. Chyna, being the Great Detective in this episode, is very quick to recognize him as an imposter and unmasks him.
  • In V (2009), the aliens cover themselves in human skin that grows and ages with their bodies. In fact, one of Anna's preferred execution methods is skinning. The V in question dies a very painful death, despite his own skin remaining intact.
  • Done twice in a single episode of Alias, and then never seen or heard of again.
  • Used once in The BBC Robin Hood. Which is set in 1192.
  • In an episode of Due South, Ray Vecchio and Benton Fraser are each simultaneously abducted by someone in a mask of the other.
  • A staple of the Canadian action show F/X: The Series. Averted in the sense that lead character and makeup/effects artist Rollie Tyler often takes several hours to create the masks he wears, which are applied as separate strips with supplemental makeup. The same goes for his arch-nemesis, Victor Loubar. On the other hand, they do fall prey to the "extrapolate the face from a few photos" setup.
  • In Sci-Fi Channel's The Invisible Man, the character of Arnaud De Thiel (aka De Fohn) manages to disguise himself as a perfect copy of the office gopher, Eberts, for an entire episode. He is found out when the characters find his 'mask' in Eberts's apartment and further identified when he won't shut up.
    • As a fun bit of trivia, Arnaud De Thiel is also the name of the first case of identity theft legally recorded in France.
      • Better known for the name of the man he stole the identity of, Martin Guerre.
  • On NCIS, the team hunt a marine who's seen on video killing a fellow officer at a base. When he's found dead in his car, they figure he died in his escape...until the autopsy shows the man was dead hours before the video of the murder. It turns out to have been an agent using such a mask but while he could look the part, that other officer realized something was wrong with his voice and mannerisms which cost her her life.
  • An episode of The Dukes of Hazzard used this trope to try and ruin Bo and Luke Duke's reputations. Boss Hogg apparently found a fellow who made such masks to order from people's photographs.
  • Used more improbably than usual in an episode of The Wild Wild West when Artemus Gordon wears one latex mask under another for a double reveal, (when he impersonates the henchman Leto impersonating him.) In the following episodes, "Artie" often uses disguises with makeup, fake noses, fake bald cups to the point he is barely recognizable.
  • An episode of Eerie, Indiana had Marshall using a "Disguise Yourself So Even Your Own Mother Can't Recognize You" Disguise Kit to pretend to be an Amish-like IRS agent, complete with peel-off mask and wig. Also a nice example of Chekhov's Gun, as the Kit was introduced early on in the episode.
  • Partly subverted on The A-Team. Hannibal Smith used disguises like this frequently, but just to hide his own appearance, not look like any other specific person. Usually to screen people he would "send" to the A-Team later. He also apparently had a few regular personae.
  • Days of Our Lives:
    • Dr. Marlena Evans was shocked when she witnessed her then-husband Roman Brady committing a murder, thus revealing him to be the Salem slasher. However several episodes later, "Roman" pulled off his face mask to reveal that it was actually Tony Di Mera underneath, seemingly having undergone a Face–Heel Turn, or was it?. The murderer turned out in the end to be Andre, Tony's identical cousin.
    • Many years later, Kristen DiMera used this method to pose as Nicole Walker for several months. This time, the show went to significant lengths to justify it. Kristen talked about being roughly the same size as Nicole, which is true enough of the actresses. Kristen also mentioned having her large back tattoo removed. And because Nicole had been presumed dead in a fire, Kristen was able to conceal her body from her lovers and Nicole's by claiming to be insecure over scars. When the ruse was finally discovered, characters acknowledged that the mask exceeded the capabilities of any publicly known mask techniques, having been created by Mad Scientist Doctor Rolf.
  • An episode of Get Smart parodies The Fugitive when Max is framed by a rubber mask-wearing impostor. At show's end, the real criminal is caught, and in a TV-drama-style night scene, Max walks off, putting on the captured rubber mask...and walking straight into a lamppost in the process.
  • Scrubs:
    • Spoofed in the episode "My Balancing Act". In one of JD's daydreams, Dr. Kelso pulls off his face to reveal Carrot Top underneath.
    • In another JD's mental opera singer (don't ask) interrupts him just as he's about to kiss what is clearly an attractive woman. The singer pulls off her wig (and only a wig), revealing an ugly guy in drag, complete with facial hair.
    • In yet another example, JD is wondering how he could use the Janitor's fear of Carla to his advantage. The fantasy cut is to a straightforward scene of Carla telling the Janitor to leave JD alone, but then she doesn't know how to speak Spanish, which tips the Janitor off to the fact that it is JD in an implausibly good disguise. When he takes off the mask, JD is revealed, still in a nurse's uniform, but suddenly with his own figure.
  • Childrens Hospital: Malin Åkerman is Jon Hamm.
  • Used a few times in Lois & Clark. They even justified one case by showing how it takes a long time for the Master of Disguise to achieve it with makeup.
  • The Mission: Impossible version was examined by the MythBusters: Adam and Jamie got silicone rubber masks of themselves from a professional mask-maker (to be precise, it was SPFX Masks) and were instructed by an acting coach in an attempt to see if they could fool people. There were little problems here and there,note  but the disguises managed to fool fans, Kari, and Grant until they got close enough to notice the Uncanny Valley, so the myth was declared plausible.
  • She Spies episode "Learning to Fly" included this gem, with the rarely-seen complication: "Mine's stuck!"
  • The Cheers episode "The Improbable Dream" includes this reason why Sam might not want to date Rebecca.
  • Catherine Martel from Twin Peaks fakes her death after the fire burns down the mills, and comes back disguised as a Japanese businessman. In fact, actress Piper Laurie had to come on set disguised in order to keep the plot twist a secret and she managed to fool a couple of the other actors, including her on-screen husband.
  • Batman (1966): Although False Face is supposed to be an expert at this, pretty much anyone in this series can pull it off.
    • Episode: "Smack in the Middle". The Riddler's henchwoman Molly puts on a mask made from Robin's face and masquerades as him.
    • Episode: "Batman Sets the Pace". At the end of the episode, a mask is pulled off the face of the Maharajah of Nimpa, revealing him to be the Joker in disguise.
  • The Slammer: When Melvin and Pete are abducted and replaced by the aliens, the aliens wear latex masks that somehow perfectly conceal their lumpy and misshapen heads (and also disguise their longer hands).
  • Sherlock: One of the theories for Sherlock's survival in "The Empty Hearse" involves Moriarty's body being with a latex mask of Sherlock's face good enough to fool John.
  • The Following averts this in a way in its second season. Followers of the first season's antagonist continue his work while wearing latex masks of him. The result is particularly effective, since the masks are much more realistic and not "perfect" in the sense of this page, and so drop the people wearing them straight into Uncanny Valley.
  • Used twice by Penelope on Sonny with a Chance.
  • An episode of a Show Within a Show in The Famous Jett Jackson has a new supervillain calling himself Mr. Kilimanjaro (with a heavy African accent) gathering all of Silverstone's enemies for a dinner to announce his plan to deal with Silverstone. The bad guys get together and immediately start boasting about their recent crimes, trying to outdo one another. Kilimanjaro then peels off his face to reveal Silverstone. Agents storm in and grab all the bad guys with Silverstone revealing microphones in the table. Basically, they just confessed their crimes. For reference, Silverstone and Kilimanjaro are played by different actors.
  • Parodied in the opening credits of The Chaser's War On Everything. Chas Licciardello pulls off his face to reveal he's...a chicken?
  • MADtv (1995): Parodied in a sketch spoofing Arnold Schwarzenegger in his new movie Stolen Identity 3 ("Because sequels make more money at the box office!") where one of the Arnolds tries to tell his clone that he's the real one by pulling off his latex mask... to reveal the exact same face underneath.
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the hi-tech version previously seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier makes several appearances, first appearing in the episode "Face My Enemy" and mostly used by Agent 33 as the events of "Face My Enemy" leave her with the mask permanently fused to her face.
  • Played straight then parodied in Le cœur a ses raisons. When Brad reveals that he used one to pass as Lewis to spy on his wife Becky, she reveals that she wasn't Becky. She proceeds to tear off her mask to show that she was... Becky. Brock even tells her that it was a very bad choice for a mask.
    Becky: "It's all that was left at the store."
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Jenny's Chance", Mac impersonates the Cuban drug lord, Lucky Charlie, with a realistic latex mask. He had to pull off this stunt after news broke out regarding the real Lucky Charlie that threw a wrench into the elaborately designed sting operation, which included Jack impersonating Lucky Charlie.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Wonder Woman faced enemies with this ability several times.
    • "Wonder Woman vs. Gargantua" uses it to disguise the Nazi gorilla trainer as Wonder Woman in order to train Gargantua to attack the Amazon Princess. It's unclear whether the perfect disguise is only from the audience's perspective and not perfect in canon, but just enough to fool a gorilla (thus allowing the director to use Lynda Carter in the faux Wonder Woman scenes), or the Nazis just didn't think of any other uses for the mask and duplicate outfit.
    • "Stolen Faces" centered around a rather convoluted plot to impersonate Wonder Woman and IADC agents. Oddly enough, it was Steve Trevor that the buys guys impersonate.
    • "A Date With Doomsday" features the creation of the masks. The evil plot centers around a dating company so they fool random people into sitting on their high tech chair to make the perfect face and hand masks. They probably would've done better had they used a higher-tech delivery system than throwing the deadly virus by hand from a helicopter and hoping that Wonder Woman wouldn't catch it. She did.
  • Seen in some episodes of Pretty Little Liars, most notably Mona disguised as Melissa in the series finale. The recurring villain A.D. also often did this, later revealed to be Spencer's twin sister in the finale. Bonus points for A.D. often using actual silicone rubber masks instead of just CGI and switching actors.
  • The Magician: Used as part of a Frame-Up in "Ovation for Murder": allowing a hitman to impersonate the patsy and commit murder in plain sight.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The villain in "A Man Alone" disguises himself this way. Odo isn't fooled.
  • The villain of the Mann & Machine episode "Mann's Fate" uses latex masks to disguise himself first as an electrician, then as a security guard in order to get into the buildings where he wants to plant bombs.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", the aliens use masks which perfectly hide their true appearance. Somerset Frisby shatters their leader's mask when he punches him in the face.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): Parodied in "A Day in Beaumont". The Insectoid Aliens are able to perfectly disguise themselves as humans using rubber face masks.
  • Penn & Teller: Fool Us had magician Chris Dugdale utilize this as part of his act, disguising himself as a bald African-American man named "Leroy" using a realistic silicone mask and arm gloves (again from SPFX Masks).
  • In the Broad City episode "Friendiversary," Ilana disguises herself as a Dirty Old Man using a mask that seems to disguise her voice as well as her face.
  • One episode of The Brittas Empire has Brittas, worrying about his mortality and wanting to push age awareness, disguise himself as an old man this way. The result is remarkedly convincing (helped by Brittas putting on a good impression of an old man) and it does dupe Colin (although Laura isn't convinced).
  • In Game of Thrones, Walder Frey (an old man) hosts a meeting at his place for his sons and daughters to attend. After he is done boasting about the Red Wedding, he reveals that not all the Starks had perished during it. As soon as Walder reveals that members of the Stark family had survived, his sons showed symptoms of poisoning. Walder Frey pulls off his mask, revealing himself to be none other than Arya Stark (a young woman). She had killed the real Walder Frey and masqueraded as him to lure his sons into a false sense of security, so she could kill them as punishment for their role in the death of her family.
  • CSI: NY: In "Civilized Lies," three perps use identical masks...of the face of an ex-con one of them had previously shared a cell with. This throws the investigators off for a while, until they track down the ex-con and determine *he* had nothing to do with the current case.
  • Wicked Science has Toby create a device so best friend Dina can impersonate Elizabeth. It's when they try it that they realize that Dina may perfectly replicate Elizabeth's face but not the rest of her body, as she's shorter and heftier than the real Elizabeth.

  • Makes a brief appearance in the video for Britney Spears' song "Toxic" when a stewardess rips the "face" off a fat, balding businessman to reveal a Brad Pitt lookalike underneath.
  • Makes a brief appearance in video clip of U2's Hold me, Thrill Me, Kiss me, Kill me - just watch.
  • The very end of Switchfoot's "New Way To Be Human" music video features Chad Butler yanking his face off to reveal that he's actually Tim Foreman, at which point the other Tim rips off his face to reveal that he's actually Jon Foreman, at which point the other Jon pulls off his face to reveal that he's actually Jerome Fontamillas.
    • That isn't Jerome. He didn't join the band until at least a year later. It could possibly be the legendary "Chin", namesake of their first album.
  • During L.E.G.O.'s video for "Te Robaré El Amor" ("I Will Steal Love From You") a female shopper unmasks to reveal a much larger male robber.
  • They Might Be Giants's "Marty Beller Mask" reveals that the band's drummer Marty Beller is secretly Whitney Houston in a mask. (The song was retired from performance after Houston's death.)
  • Lindsey Stirling's collaboration with The Piano Guys on the Mission: Impossible theme. After successfully stealing a sheet of music from the eye-patched villain, Stirling gets knocked out by her accomplice, who takes off his face to reveal he's the villain.
  • Played with to unsettling effect during Pink Floyd's original tour of The Wall. During the opening number, "In the Flesh?", a "surrogate band" wore life-masks of Pink Floyd's members and lip-synched to prerecorded vocals. From a distance, the effect is passable, but something is visibly amiss up-close. It qualifies as this because of the idea behind it: Lost behind the spectacle of their own shows, the band theorized that disguised session musicians could mime to a recording. The audience wouldn't care to tell the difference, and the real Pink Floyd could laugh all the way to the bank.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At SummerSlam 2005, a man in the crowd tried to attack The Undertaker during his match with Randy Orton. Undertaker hesitated to strike the man, mistaking him for an overzealous civilian, but the distraction allowed Randy to beat him. The man then pulled apart his prosthetic latex mask to reveal he was Randy's father Cowboy Bob Orton, and the Ortons mocked Undertaker for falling for his disguise.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the tabletop RPG Cybergeneration, there is an entire subculture - the Facedancers - devoted to the high-tech version of this.
  • Active Flesh Masks from GURPS Ultra-Tech even have tiny motors to make them move properly.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Tian-ding has the cutscene near the train station, where you infiltrate a train right underneath Colonel Matsumoto's nose while disguised as an elderly woman. Once boarded, you then yank off your rubber mask in a cutscene.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake is given a mask that remarkably resembles a major in the enemy army. If you call a specific character over the radio while wearing it, he explains how it is the cutting edge of masquerade, with the ability to allow the wearer to blink with the mask blinking with it. Naked Snake promptly replies with a query of why they didn't work on the ability to have its mouth move with the wearer, to which the person on the other line shrugs it off, calling the man who invented the mask "just weird". (Though in the creator's defense, while someone may not be suspicious of a guy who doesn't talk to you, they will definitely be suspicious when the guy doesn't appear to blink for a while.) It fulfills its intended purpose of getting Snake through the Colonel-only security checkpoint, but the trope is subverted when Volgin becomes suspicious of the disguised Snake because crotches are hard to disguise, latex perfection or not.
    • In Metal Gear Solid, although the player doesn't find this out until well after the fact, one of the NPCs you interact with turns out to be master of disguise Decoy Octopus in a very convincing mask. Octopus, in fact, invoked this trope: he had sliced off his own ears and shaved down his cheekbones in order to remove distinguishing features under masks.
    • Speaking of Octopus, there's the face camo that Snake nabs off of Laughing Octopus in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which is somewhat of a justified example, if only because it's explicitly tech and not just a fancy disguise. Still, it does have the problem that it has nowhere to breathe out of.
  • Professor Layton:
    • Professor Layton and the Curious Village has Don Paolo disguising himself as Detective Chelmey with a mask featuring a full body suit. It gets more ridiculous in the second game where he disguises himself as Flora who is about half his size.
    • Unwound Future has him impersonating Dr. Schrader, the Dean of Layton's university, and Layton himself during their temporary truce. Paolo pulls each one off so well that even Layton requires some serious contemplation on each person's mannerisms to begin catching on.
    • Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, the movie, has Don Paolo disguising himself as an old lady in the intro, with a totally different body shape.
    • Jean Descole is just as ridiculous. In Last Specter he disguises as Doland Noble, an old man half his size and with a completely different body shape, and in Miracle Mask, he's disguised as Angela Ledore, a woman.
  • Monkey Island:
    • This was how LeChuck disguised himself as the sheriff in the first game. A bit more justified, due to his use of voodoo powers to aid him.
    • In Tales of Monkey Island, LeChuck is turned into a human. During a conversation in the second episode, Guybrush can test this theory by pulling on LeChuck's face, thinking he might be wearing a mask. He's not.
  • Can be seen in the trailer for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, when after a typical thieving by a silhouetted Sly Cooper, we fade into the Cooper Gang hideout, where Sly enters with his loot, only for him to peel off his latex Sly Cooper mask and reveal Dimitri underneath (it should be noted that his silhouetted tail actually changes from raccoon to lizard and that he was also smoking, with his cigar completely hidden by the mask!)
  • The Super Spy have you fighting the terrorist leader near the end, and of you win, the leader... pulls off his face, revealing it to be a latex mask and he's Actually a Doombot. The game continues for another stage before you face the actual leader.
  • In Team Fortress 2, this is how the Spy's disguise ability looks to the enemy team (to the Spy's own team, it's just a paper mask over his face).
  • Taken to an extreme level in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, where The Phantom wears layers of masks underneath each other, each of which are indistinguishable from the person the mask represents. Although, once his Villainous Breakdown begins, you can clearly see the eye-sockets and possibly the jaws sagging. Amusingly, his eye color changes with each mask but then once the breakdown begins it suddenly shows black eyes as opposed to the color used when he was wearing that mask calmly.
  • Handsome Jack of Borderlands 2 wears a mask that perfectly replicates his original appearance, down to facial movements, and looks exactly like he used to. The trope is subverted in that the metal clips holding the mask to his face are obvious, spoiling the effect somewhat.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, the phantom takes this to the extreme by wearing multiple masks, all of which qualify for the trope, on top of each other. It's never stated how, exactly, he managed to hide Phoenix's Anime Hair underneath a mask.
  • Kissed by the Baddest Bidder: On more than one occasion Baba disguises himself as an anonymous Mook using a latex mask designed for him by Ota. During his route, he'll disguise himself as Mamoru, again, thanks to the artistic talents of Ota.
  • WILL: A Wonderful World: One of Kang Baek-Ya's subordinates is a master of creating perfect latex masks, first passing herself off as a muscly goon, and later as Kang.


    Western Animation 
  • Extremely common in Scooby-Doo; the vast majority of bad guys were made up this way, to the point where a more efficient way to solve the mystery would be by tugging on the face of everyone they met and seeing whose came off. The Scooby-Doo shows of the 2000s do not feature latex mask disguises as often, such as What's New, Scooby-Doo? (where holograms, animatronics, and makeup are often used for the portrayal of the "monsters") and Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! (a bizarre series where the only latex mask featured in the show was in the final episode when Shaggy finds his rich Uncle Albert posing as Dr. Trebla, assistant to the main villain). Subsequent shows like Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated bring it back though, even with good guys sometimes almost always masked (such as the Wild Brood and their orc biker costumes). Even Sheriff Stone would occasionally use rubber mask disguises to catch a criminal in the act.
  • On the same topic, many Hanna-Barbera series often involved at least one episode where the main character was impersonated, typically by a villain wearing a mask and costume of the character. This has happened with Yogi Bear, Ricochet Rabbit, Squiddly Diddly, Hong Kong Phooey, Richie Rich, Don Coyote, and a few others.
  • Even Disney got into the act in some of their animated movies and shorts.
    • One early example includes the Donald Duck short "Canvasback Duck," with a small boy at a fair really being an adult anthropomorphic dog in a boy suit and mask.
    • The Great Mouse Detective had Basil of Baker Street disguise himself as a white Chinese mouse, complete with stretchy rubber mask and an inflatable bodysuit, during his introduction, despite taking place in 1897 before latex masks were invented.
    • The 1992 animated Aladdin film has Jafar disguise himself this way as an ugly old man to lure Aladdin into the Cave of Wonders (his mask even gives him hideous teeth, one with a gold filling!) Justified in that Jafar has some kind of magical powers, even before he wishes himself to be an all-powerful sorcerer later in the film.
    • Huey, Dewey and Louie combined this with Totem Pole Trench in "Donald's Halloween Scare" (2000) in a prank involving the triplets disguising as a stereotypical Irish police dog-type character in a large raincoat (resembling Chief O'Hara). The disguise was perfectly flawless and the viewers did not know "Chief O'Hara"'s true identity until Donald accidentally wound up unmasking him.
    • Parodied in the Goof Troop episode "Buddy Building." At one point on their mission, Goofy and Max bump into each other, and then Goofy tugs off his rubber mask to reveal Pete. But then he pulls off that mask to reveal Giblet the Clown, and under that is a cute female dogface person, and then "she" pulls that mask off to reveal Goofy once again, who somehow is able to take off his own face, but Max isn't amused.
    • It's even in Adventures of the Gummi Bears, out of all places, in the episode "Never Give a Gummi an Even Break"; first Cubbi Gummi scares Grammi with an orc mask as a prank, and then an elf named Carney disguises himself as a Gummi Bear as a sideshow exhibit wearing a particularly convincing rubber mask that manages to fool Grammi and take him in. But once she figures out the trick, she allows Carney to capture them for the sideshow, where an accident causes Grammi's mask to fall off and reveal a human woman underneath (that looks suspiciously like her voice actress June Foray), but once the coast is clear and the Gummis are safe, Grammi removes the old woman mask to reveal her true self once again.
    • Bonkers has done this quite a bit as well, such as the means of The Collector's toon disguise in "Gone Bonkers", a duck suit that Lucky reluctantly wears to go undercover in "The Cheap Sheep Sweep," a ghost playing the Mirror Routine on Bonkers in "When the Spirit Moves You" (similar to the Scooby-Doo example above) and others.
    • The trope of disguising oneself using a ludicrously realistic mask is used in the Darkwing Duck episode "Merchant of Menace" when Weasel Lowman uses such a mask to impersonate Herbert Muddlefoot.
    • The villain of the Quack Pack episode "Pardon My Molecules" was a scientist who suffered a molecular accident that made him look like an abstract painting. Until this mishap of his is revealed, he hid his secret by wearing a mask to look like a normal human being, specifically, how he appeared before his accident.
  • Quite a few examples from the Looney Tunes cartoons from Warner Bros. Animation also often employed the mask device as well, typically when a surprise ending/gag is needed, or when wearing a cheesy disguise would not work...
    • A rare World War II-era cartoon titled I Got Plenty of Mutton (1944) has a wolf trying to snatch some sheep from a big ram named Hercules. For a good bulk of the cartoon, he decides to disguise himself as a sexy ewe and tries to lure the horny ram to his doom. The latter part doesn't go so well, but the attracting bit works all too well.
    • Another war-era cartoon, Confusions of a Nutsy Spy (1943), has the titular spy Missing Lynx (an anthropomorphic lynx) be a Master of Disguise, impersonating a friendly elderly dog-man and Porky Pig this way. He keeps his disguises in a handy bag, which he ducks his face into when changing into or out of a disguise.
    • What Makes Daffy Duck (1947) has Daffy Duck masquerade as a ranger dog near the end.
    • Odor-Able Kitty (1945) has a cat (already painted up to look like a skunk) hiding from Pepé Le Pew disguise in a completely convincing Bugs Bunny costume and mask, which Pepe instantly sees through.
    • The ending of Scent-Imental Over You (1947) has Pepe Le Pew peel off his skin to reveal a dog underneath when "confessing" to a chihuahua who had been wearing a skunk fur, then removes his dog mask revealing Pepe's true skunk features once again.
    • The Sheepish Wolf (1942) ends with a twist on the old wolf-in-sheep's-clothing gag (ala "The Far Side").
    • Tex Avery's Of Fox and Hounds (1940) has George Fox masquerade as another dog to fool his adversaries, most notably the dopey hunting dog Wiloughby.
    • Paying the Piper (1949) features a cat disguising himself in a convincing rat suit and mask to fool Pied Piper Porky.
    • Don't Give Up the Sheep (1952) has Ralph Wolf disguise himself flawlessly as Fred Sheepdog in a realistic latex mask and suit, but Sam Sheepdog sees through his disguise and hits him on the head with a club, to which his growing head bump stretches and pops the mask off.
    • Muzzle Tough (1954) has Sylvester disguise himself full-body as a very cute and attractive female dog to lure away Hector, but instead it fools the dog catcher! Then Sylvester makes the mistake of removing the dog mask in front of the other dogs inside the truck...
    • Fowl Weather (1953) has Sylvester wear a convincing (and quite expressive) goat mask when hiding behind a fence and trying to sneak up on Tweety, though Tweety instantly detects him as the "puddy tat".
    • The 1948 Warner movie Two Guys from Texas featured an animated dream sequence (directed by Warner Bros. Animation's Friz Freleng) in which an animated Danny Foster (Jack Carson) is entertaining a flock of sheep by playing a piccolo, but then his rival Steve Carroll (Dennis Morgan) shows up and slips into a realistic 'toon wolf costume and mask (complete with giving him 'toony eyes and becoming completely unrecognizable), which also includes a bowtie, tuxedo jacket, and straw boater hat, gets out a music sheet setup and wolf-whistles to attract the other sheep, then peels off his wolf mask once he has their attention, thus causing all the sheep to gallop over to him in excitement. Bugs Bunny then helps Dan with a plan to get the sheep back; as Steve is singing to the swooning sheep, Dan puts on a similar 'toon wolf suit and mask (but without the straw boater) and tries badly singing the same song as Steve is, except here he forgot to take off his mask, so the sheep toss their sneakers at the "wolf" and then a large fat Native American lady comes up and chases Danny away (a running gag in the film itself).
    • The 2000 direct-to-video movie Tweety's High Flying Adventure has a couple instances of this; a human hot dog man in New York City turns out to be Sylvester in a rubber mask, spying on Tweety and his friend Aoogah, and then at the end, one of the businessmen that Colonel Rimfire was talking with earlier in the film pulls his rubber human mask off to reveal Cool Cat.
    • It's generally avoided in most Looney Tunes material since the Turn of the Millennium, but Looney Tunes Cartoons brings it back when in "Pest Coaster" Bugs Bunny is Disguised in Drag... as a human mother!
  • The 1990-1992 WB TV series Tiny Toon Adventures was full of masks and disguises of this type...
    • It's even featured in the opening sequence (where Buster and Babs pose as each other)!
    • "Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow" has Furball, Fifi Le Fume, and Tyrone Turtle all disguise as Buster Bunny to play a prank on Elmyra and teach her a lesson.
    • "Buster and the Wolverine" has Babs attempt to pose as a female wolverine to woo the male one terrorizing our heroes, by only wearing a mask that comes right off during a kissing scene).
    • "Pluck' of the Irish" has a Twist Ending in which a beautiful lass reveals herself to be three male leprechauns in disguise!
    • The faux "making of" documentary for "Kon Ducki" explains how latex masks are made in a cartoony manner, as Plucky Duck has a mask of his head upside-down grafted onto his head, taking eight hours to apply each day.
    • "Real Kids Don't Like Broccoli" has a bunch of missing androids disguise themselves as many of the main characters, but Buster sees through their disguises -because they're eating broccoli, which real kids don't eat.
    • "Stuff That Goes Bump in the Night" begins with Buster Bunny wearing a Fantasia-esque demon suit in the opening act to scare Babs, and then Babs scares Buster with a devil suit. Later in the episode, a vampire scares Babs, but the vampire turns out to be Buster in a mask and on stilts, and at the end Buster and Babs both disguise themselves as a two-headed monster.
    • "The Year Book Star" ended with a Recurring Extra in the episode - an average human boy with glasses and an orange baseball cap - get awarded for most appearances in the Acme Looniversity yearbook, beating out Babs Bunny and Plucky Duck. But then he reveals to everyone that he was teaching Plucky and Babs a lesson, and then strips of his latex mask and disguise to reveal Buster Bunny - whom Babs and Plucky proceed to beat up in a rage.
    • "The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain" has a surprise ending featuring Elmyra posing as a monster (she even lampshades it!)
    • "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas" ends with Bugs Bunny revealing he had worn a convincing disguise as Harvey, a white rabbit in a purple bowtie through the entire episode.
    • "Night Ghoulery" has a few; the segment "The Devin and Daniel Webfoot" has Satan unzip his Full-Body Disguise at the end to reveal Babs Bunny ("Ain't I a devil?"), "A Gremlin on a Wing" ends with a stewardess — which looks strikingly like Lt. Uhura from Star Trek — unmask to reveal the gremlin that was torturing Plucky throughout the skit, and the ending reveals Buster and Babs to be monsters in disguise.
  • Its sister show Animaniacs also had quite a few mask scenes as well, but not as much as Tiny Toon Adventures did. Some notable examples include in "Chalkboard Bungle" when the Warners impersonated their teacher Miss Flameel near the end (with Dot on top wearing the mask and easily imitating Miss Flameel's voice, thanks to Dot and Miss Flameel both being voiced by the same actress), and "The Three Muska-Warners" with a Honeymooners-esque ending where the Warners announce the people playing the king, the wizard and the window wiper, who all unmask to reveal actors and actresses from the Honeymooners (the King is played by Sheila MacRea, the Wiper is played by Art Carney, etc.)
  • Warner Bros. Animation sure knows how to have fun with this trope. In the Wacky Races (2017) two-parter "Muttleys are Forever," among the many secret agent/spy trope spoofs featured in the episode, the mask and unmasking device is parodied to ridiculous proportions. Agent Z was actually Muttley the whole time and the S.C.H.T.I.C.K collaboration were actually each other, who are actually the other racers, who are actually other Hanna-Barbera characters. Yes, it’s as silly as it sounds.
  • I Am Weasel: Usually averted with the Red Guy with No Pants since he always wears Paper Thin Disguises, but in "I Am Vampire" he actually disguised himself as a beautiful young woman named "Hildegarde" at a party wearing not only a latex mask but also a latex bodysuit and dress. He did this as he is an undercover vampire hunter who was tracking down vampire Weasel and vampire Baboon to kill them.
  • Kaeloo: One episode had Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Quack Quack wear masks to look just like Mr. Cat, fooling Pretty each time she saw one of them. Later, in the same episode, Mr. Cat dresses as Pretty, with a very convincing mask (and costume) and almost fools Kaeloo, only for her to identify him because of Vocal Dissonance (but not right away).
  • Biker Mice from Mars has the main antagonist Lawrence Limburger, a member of a fish-like alien race called the Plutarkians, wear a latex human face mask, which is later shown to be done by other Plutarkians stationed on Earth, one example being his rival Napoleon Brie. Limburger is rarely seen with his mask off but in some episodes, he is such as in the first episode where in one scene Throttle (it's Modo in the comics) unmasks him- which is also done near the end of the intro by Throttle. It does not cover the stench, or lack of fifth fingers, but somehow changes his grayish-yellow fangs to a Hollywood smile.
    • In the episode 'Mouse And His Motorcycle', we actually do see Limburger with his gloves off, indicating that Plutarkians actually do have fingers - albeit webbed, clawed ones at that.
    • Diet of Worms has Vinnie, Throttle, and Modo disguise as Plutarkian waiters at a gathering of the Plutarkian race by using conveniently-displayed rubber masks, and knocking out three actual waiters for their clothes. Many of the other Plutarkians at the gathering are wearing rubber human masks, too.
    • In the Once Upon a Time on Mars three-parter, Lawrence gets the mask glued onto his face, which makes it difficult for him to peel it off when his boss orders him to. Later in the episode, a Martian mouse is unmasked to reveal Mace, a rat.
  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century had "elasto-masks" justified by the use of future technology.
    • Sherlock Holmes arguably deserves his own sub-section of this trope, in that one of his shticks was that he could follow a client or a suspect anywhere in Victorian London due to his "mastery of disguise". However, in the actual original stories, he simply used theatrical makeup and prosthetics to very good effect.
    • In his, it's more justified, ESPECIALLY in the Robert Downey Jr. movie. Instead of using latex perfection, he just disguises his features.
  • Jem: The Misfits' pal, Clash is quite guilty of this trope. Her best-known disguise is her attempt to fake Jem from "One Jem Too Many".
  • Parodied in Sam & Max: Freelance Police. When the trusted doctor reveals himself to be the big bad (and a woman) by removing a mask, the reaction is simply "Oh, that old parlor trick. We can top that!" Sam, Max, and the Geek then each remove several layers of masks (even including masks of Sonny & Cher!), but eventually stop when the villain orders them to (and they return to their normal faces off-screen).
  • The ID Masks from the Ben 10 series function as these.
  • Totally Spies!: "That's not sweat. That's latex!"
  • Arthur sometimes does this, mostly during fantasy/dream sequences Buster comes up with (often involving aliens or supervillains), though one exception was the ending to "The Boy Who Cried Comet" when all of the characters peel off their masks to reveal they are actually aliens, acting out the show on the moon.
    • The Teaser to the Halloween Episode "The Fright Stuff" has Arthur explain practical jokes until another Arthur (with white hands) appears from behind a tree. Arthur unmasks his doppelgänger to reveal Buster, who then unmasks the original Arthur to reveal Francine. But then Buster is unmasked to reveal he's actually Binky, who pulls off Francine's head to reveal no head underneath; but then Arthur's head pops up from in his shirt, revealing that was another prank.
    • The Brain lampshades this in one episode, when he and Binky are watching an episode of The Bionic Bunny Show, and the Brain is unimpressed at how predictable it is, and he knows when the villain, Dr. Fowl (a chicken) will reveal his Evil Plan, which will be robbing banks dressed as Bionic Bunny (and he slips on a rubber mask of him while explaining this.) The Brain's reaction resulted in the quote at the top of the page.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • The "Spy Buddies" episode has Mr. Krabs in a Plankton suit, and vice versa (Plankton wears the Mr. Krabs suit over his cheesy Mr. Krabs robot that appeared in a few episodes). Then the trope is parodied, even going as far as having Patrick impersonate Sandy Cheeks!
    • In the episode "Doing Time", Mrs. Puff is seeing SpongeBob and Patrick everywhere in prison, even seeing two guards remove their masks to reveal the twosome! She even accuses the two guards (after they take Sponge and Pat's places) and rips off their faces, to reveal their skulls underneath. It's then later revealed that Mrs. Puff's time in prison is All Just a Dream.
    • In "One Coarse Meal" Mr. Krabs disguises himself as Pearl to scare Plankton. The flaws in the disguise don't appear until he takes it off.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "The Monkey Suit" parodied this. After Bart tries to have Milhouse stand in for Lisa (by wearing Lisa's clothes and a wig of her distinct hairdo), Bart tells Milhouse he can take off the wig, to which Milhouse responds in Nelson's voice "I'm Nelson," then peels off his mask to reveal Nelson underneath, which is then followed by a puzzle-piece transition to the next scene with spy-like music playing (ala The Saint). This also occurs at the end of the episode, when Nelson impersonates Todd Flanders.
    • Played straight in "The Great Money Caper," "Lisa Gets an 'A'" (the trope image), "How I Wet Your Mother" and "The Frying Game," among a few others.
    • Another memorable example was in "Burns' Heir," when the evil Mr. Burns hired three actors to portray Homer, Marge, and Lisa to fool Bart into thinking via a hidden camera that the family does not love him anymore. While their disguises were physically flawless, they performed with deadpan delivery and off-sounding voices, most notably "Homer" uttering "B'oh" (rather than "D'oh.") They briefly peel off their latex masks when Mr. Burns complains about their second-rate performance. The actor in the Homer mask looks strikingly similar to Michael Caine, Marge is really a beautiful black-haired Asian woman, and Lisa is actually a crossdressing Estonian dwarf.
    • A 1993 Simpsons Butterfinger sweepstakes commercial, "Who Laid a Finger on Bart's Butterfinger," had the culprit seem to be Homer Simpson, until Maggie noticed the large red clown shoes and dramatically pulled the latex mask off "Homer" (complete with little drops of sweat flying) to reveal Krusty the Clown, the true thief.
    • In "Paths of Glory," Groundskeeper Willie is Disguised in Drag as a beautiful, slender blonde woman in a latex mask and torso, with tools in a bra for the breasts.
    • It's implied this is how Sideshow Bob disguised as Krusty the Clown, to frame him for robbing the Kwik-E-Mart. But Bart uncovered his plan when he saw in the security camera footage that Homer accidentally stepped on "Krusty's" unusually large foot, whereas the real Krusty has little feet under his big shoes.
    • Chief Wiggum referenced this trope at the end of Part 1 of "Who Shot Mr. Burns," claiming the victim was actually an impostor in a mask until he tugs at his face a bit. "Wait, it is Burns. His wrinkly skin l-looks like a mask."
    • The first story in "Treehouse of Horror XXIX" featured a Tim Cook expy really being a plant-like alien disguised in a rubber mask. Rather fitting for Halloween.
    • "Undercover Burns" has Mr. Burns disguise himself as an employee named "Fred" using a high-tech type of mask that includes a voice-changer and communications device so he can speak to Smithers anywhere, combined with a mecha-type body suit. Worthy of note is Smithers hiring a make-up artist from the Mission: Impossible movies to help in making Burns's "Fred" disguise, appearing to initially be an old man until peeling off "his" face to reveal a gorgeous young woman. And then when they are ready to make up Mr. Burns into "Fred," as preparation the makeup woman peels off her mask to reveal... her exact same face, but with a doctors' head mirror.
  • Family Guy:
    • In one of the show's famous gags from its' early years, a talk show hosted by Diane Simmons features a dating couple. The male was really a woman in a mask, but then confesses that she is not even a woman, and unzips her full body suit to reveal a horse, and then confesses that he is a broom, removing the horse disguise to reveal a broom that lifelessly falls over.
      "To be honest with you, Diane, I'm surprised."
    • "Brian in Love" had Stewie be awoken from his dream of killing Mr. Rogers by Lois who unmasked into Fred Rogers, awaking Stewie from yet another dream.
    • "Family Guy Viewing Mail No. 1" had Peter get to see Kelly Ripa behind the scenes of Regis and Kelly, where she peels off her latex mask to reveal an alien that eats her captive human husband's heart. When there's a knock at her door, she says "Be right there, Rege. I just have to put on my face."
    • Another episode had Fred Savage doing so, impersonating Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, and other celebrities through the use of full rubber bodysuits, in an attempt to show his career as the world's greatest actor.
    • Spoofed in "Business Guy" when Quagmire is high on weed and he hallucinates a rabbit sitting next to him in his airplane cockpit. The "rabbit" pulls off his latex mask to reveal another Quagmire, and they both briefly freak out. The real Quagmire thinks there may be a rabbit head under his human skin, but ends up tearing off his scalp.
    • "Farmer Guy" had a cow disguise himself as a human this way, and was mostly flawless until Peter got wise.
    • "Foxx in the Men House" had Lois impersonated this way again, but this time by Meryl Streep who, after unmasking, beat up Peter for using her reserved restroom.
    • Spoofed in "Disney's The Reboot" at the end of the pilot for Lois's proposed spinoff, where Peter disguised this way as an older businessman to bribe Lois’s boss into giving her a promotion, but then after revealing himself and explaining he did it because he loves Lois, he removes another latex mask to reveal Lois, and then Peter again, and it repeats for a bit as if he were engaged in an argument with Lois about the show, but then he ends up ripping off his own face to reveal his bloody skull, thinking he had “one more face” underneath.
  • G.I. Joe:
    • Zartan. In fairness, he was also a trained contortionist and master of voice mimicry, but even so. In the movie, he achieves it through surgery. His siblings, Zandar and Zarana, were also masters of this.
    • The Baroness also frequently did this as part of her schemes to capture the G.I. Joes. Sometimes she'd team up with Zartan, with both of them in disguise. A random woman would often peel off her mask and wig to reveal the Baroness. In one instance, she actually dressed up as Lady Jaye, and vice-versa. Heck, she once dressed as a man (specifically, the cameraman of Hector Ramirez) as part of a plot to discredit G.I. Joe's purpose. Said man had a briefcase he constantly kept very close hold of... so the Baroness could keep her chest hidden behind it.
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, this trope is referenced when Dale hatches a ridiculous scheme to sue a tobacco company for five thousand dollars. They counter sue him for a larger amount, and Dale decides to step up his game a bit. Hank tells him what a dumbass he's being, and tells him that if he drops the lawsuit they might go easy on him. Dale is instantly suspicious and suspects Hank of being the company's CEO in disguise due to his 'insight'. He then demands Hank remove his "false face" by grabbing behind his jaw and pulling with a flourish. He even demonstrates the technique with an imaginary mask. Hank refuses and Dale grabs at his hand, prompting Hank to slap him away. Dale tells him he just earned himself an assault charge. Later in the episode, when they actually go to court and he meets the CEO, Dale's response is "Wait... if you're here... THEN WHO'S THAT?!", with him pointing at an annoyed Hank.
    • This trope is used in an episode of the recurring Spanish-language Show Within a Show Monsignor Martinez that Peggy watches in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Hill." A villain disguises himself as Monsignor using a realistic latex mask, leading into a Spot the Impostor moment. Naturally, after the impostor is defeated and unmasked, Monsignor shoots him.
  • Freakazoid! has a full body suit of himself in one episode, where Lobe is trying to remove his brain to find out: What makes him tick?
  • Played with (of course) in the Beany and Cecil episode "The Capture of Thunderbolt the Wondercolt," when the titular heroic horse notices Dishonest John's duck Full-Body Disguise he got out of a trunk labeled "Dishonest Disguises", Thunderbolt rushes to his own chest labeled "Honest Dishonest Disguises" and puts on a blue Mickey Mouse-esque mask to confront the "duck." To which said "duck" yanks the mouse mask off Thunderbolt to reveal a brown Bugs Bunny-esque mask, prompting the following Multilayer Façade exchange, referencing a few other incidental characters in the process...
    Dishonest John: You're not that Tom and Jerry-drinking mouse!
    Thunderbolt: (removes D.J.'s duck head to reveal a Porky Pig-esque mask) And you're not Quain Quacker!
    Dishonest John: (removes Thunderbolt's rabbit mask to reveal a dog mask) And you're not Harecules Hare!
    Thunderbolt: (removes D.J.'s pig mask to reveal a smiling Beany Boy mask) And you're not Frankenswine!
    Dishonest John: (removes Thunderbolt's dog mask to reveal another Beany Boy mask) You're not Rin Tin Can! (now imitating Beany's voice) Beany? You're not Beany Boy!
    Dishonest John and Thunderbolt: (unmasking each other in unison) IMPOSTOR!
    Thunderbolt: (as himself once again seeing D.J.'s true face) A HUMAN!
  • The Garfield and Friends episode "Video Airlines" has a movie playing on every TV channel involving a man's girlfriend really being an alien in a rubber mask...
    • It's also done in the U.S. Acres episode "Rooster Revenge," where a male pig that seems to be an Expy or Orson is revealed to be Lanolin in a rubber mask.
  • An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had The Rodeo Clowns wear several disguises like this.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Attack of the Killer Bebes", Ron demonstrated a surprising skill with latex by almost perfectly impersonating Kim's father, who was being targeted by Drakken. Not quite perfectly, as he doesn't ever speak until just before he pulls off his mask, and when he does so, the lips on the mask don't move.
    • In this same episode, Ron made that mask, along with some others, thanks to his new Movie Makeup Magic Kit. He even made a mask of Kim Possible (which he briefly wears at one point when mocking her), and he also created the mask for his Mad Dog mascot costume prominently featured in the episode this way, complete with the ability to foam at the mouth (which is actually a banana cream).
  • Subverted in an episode of Stroker and Hoop, Coroner Rick rescues the titular detectives by disguising himself flawlessly as a Hispanic gangster named Chico, whom they'd met earlier. However, upon Hoop asking where the Coroner could have possibly acquired a perfect mask of a total stranger, he replies that he had actually cut off the man's actual face and wore it like a mask. The fact that Chico was already dead by someone else's hands at that point did little to leaven the horror.
  • During the 1989 season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), the Turtles have disguises made by April's TV studio consisting of latex masks that resemble generic male bald humans. They usually simply wear these masks with only trenchcoats and nothing else (not even caring if their true turtle hands are exposed). Raphael initially doubts this will work...
    Donatello: Hey, great! Now we don't look like mutant turtles.
    Raphael: Yeah, we look like mutant turtles wearing people masks.
    • In "Beyond the Donatello Nebula," to get inside the heavily-guarded TV station building and get April out, Michaelangelo figures he can get in if he disguises himself this way as a reporter. It doesn't work, because he ends up putting on a rubber dog mask that makes him look more like McGruff the Crime Dog instead of a reporter from the press.
      Michaelangelo: OK, so I put on the wrong mask!
    • On another occasion, Raphael wanted to be a Master of Disguise and made himself up with latex to look like the gangster Mad Dog. Of course in classic cartoon tradition, a mix-up occurs and the real Mad Dog winds up with the turtles, and Raphael winds up with the gang Mad Dog works with.
    • "The Starchild" had Master Splinter do this, using such as mask as part of a costume fully covering his rat body when impersonating the father of the child alien Quarx as part of a ruse to convince Quarx to finally grow up.
  • Men in Black: The Series frequently has aliens disguising as humans this way, more often than not as a Full-Body Disguise. Agent K is also impersonated in the episodes "The I Married An Alien Syndrome" and "The Take No Prisoners Syndrome" by an alien and a robot, respectively, wearing a rubber mask of him. (The latter also had Agent J destroy the robot and wear its' K mask to pass himself off as said robot to fool that episode's villain Dr. Lupo, and the real K points out a flaw with the way the mask is worn.)
    K: Do me a favor and tuck in your face. I don't like myself with a turkey neck.
    J: You mean THIS? (pulls a Dramatic Unmask to reveal his true face)
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • Spoofed at the end of the episode "Aloha Hoek"; the Gainax Ending features Stimpy mourning the loss of the seemingly deceased Ren, only to be interrupted by his buzzing wristwatch. In the next shot of them, they suddenly look all bulgy with empty eyeholes and exposed zippers and mask-lines, and they both tug their Ren and Stimpy masks off to reveal they are actually two human vaguely "Russian" spies (who resemble Soviet versions of Fred and Barney for some reason) and ride off in a Russian submarine.
    • Another spoof occurred at the end of the episode "Eat My Cookies," where Ren and Stimpy join a girl scout group. The head baret girl (voiced by Rosie O' Donnell in a guest appearance) says they will now share their biggest secret, and the girls proceed to unzip themselves to reveal old businessmen underneath. Then Stimpy follows suit (no pun intended), and then Ren comments "When in Rome" and unzips himself to reveal his own skeleton underneath.
  • An episode of the 1993 Pink Panther series (where the Panther talks) entitled "Werewolf in Panther's Clothing" had a small male gypsy disguise himself full-body as a werewolf (complete with stilts to make him appear larger), and the disguise appeared perfectly flawless, but suspicions were aroused when a part of the "wolf"'s skin was torn off on his chest during a fight with the Panther.
  • Flying Rhino Junior High: The secret agent-themed episode "Live and Let Spy" has one of Earl's henchmen, The Impostor, being a Master of Disguise who wears rubber masks (and usually the costumes to go with them) to impersonate Edna the lunch lady and Mrs. Snodgrass. During his proper introduction by Earl, he demonstrates his disguise ability by removing a mask of his normal face to reveal rubber masks of another teacher, Principal Mulligan and Ratticus.
  • Also a common practical joke on April Fools' Day in animation, as demonstrated on CatDog, Rocko's Modern Life and Disney's House of Mouse.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Crystal Empire, Part 1", Fluttershy walks up to Twilight Sparkle to report what she's found out about a way to protect the Crystal Empire... only to then unzip her head, revealing herself to be Pinkie Pie in a full-body Fluttershy costume. Somewhat justified by the fact that the main ponies all share the same build, and that Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy have the same voice actress.
  • The Geronimo Stilton episode "The Gator Samaritan" featured Simon Squealer dressing up as the titular superhero this way (using the mask a form-fitting full-body alligator costume complete with tail) and performing good deeds as part of a scam to help the struggling Daily Rat newspaper. After saving Thea from drowning, Simon realizes Good Feels Good and continues the charade independently from the scam. But then a criminal rat steals the costume's mask and attempts to use it to rob a museum (and in the next episode we see that Simon has gone through a Heel–Face Door-Slam and is back to being a villainous henchman.)
  • In the Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon episode "Batteries Not Included", one of the Funbusters used a life-like mask to disguise himself as a kindly toy store owner named Mr. Killjoy.
  • The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Affairweather Friends" had Berry try to make Bloo hers by disguising herself as a rich kid named Barry. Her disguise was actually convincing up until her masquerade was exposed.
  • The Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode, "Agent Y" had Yumi mistaken for a secret agent. The latter shows up as an exact duplicate of the former and unzips "herself" revealing the real agent who is shown to be much bigger than the shape and size of the Yumi suit.
  • In The Incredible Hulk (1982) episode "The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow", a criminal named Waldo uses a life-like mask to impersonate a scientist named Dr. Kessler.

    Real Life 
  • Some jewelry store robbers did this. Not to look like anyone in particular, but just to disguise their appearances without people realizing they were disguised before they pulled out their weapons. It worked so well that even afterwards witnesses, and cops looking at the security footage, didn't realize they were disguised. But the make-up artist wasn't in on it – he'd thought the makeup was for a party. So when he saw the footage on the news, he immediately went to the cops for protection, as he was the only one who'd seen the robbers' real faces.
  • This mask. Rather creepy... especially regarding what uses criminals could put it to.
  • In this story, a twenty-something man was able to pass as an elderly one. Suspicion was raised when the man had young-looking hands but was only discovered after he went into a bathroom on the plane and returned without his disguise.
    • The sequel to this story will involve someone with the budget to purchase not only the mask but the associated "sleeves" to go with it.
  • In most cases, the above crimes were done using silicone masks manufactured by the now-defunct SPFX Masks, a company that specializes in realistic and horror masks. When those crimes have occurred using the masks, they went to the company's founder, the late Rusty Slusser, who was shocked and appalled by criminals using masks for evil purposes.
    • There is also Composite Effects, which also makes hyper-realistic silicone masks, including a few realistic ones (such as their "Mac" series), but mostly specializes in REALLY INCREDIBLE horror/fantasy-related masks (most famously their imp mask). They have proved popular in haunted houses/attractions and for harmless pranks or amusing YouTube videos. There are some other companies that make high-quality silicone masks that can range from horror/creature masks to realistic humans, such as Studio 135, RealFlesh Masks and Immortal Masks.
      • Composite Effects has created a spin-off company called Dermal Synthetics whose goal is to create lifelike masks for use by people with facial disfigurements. They currently offer male designs in Caucasian ("Martin"), Asian ("Jae"), and African ("Derek") styles, and female designs in African ("Denise") and Caucasian ("Emma") designs.
    • A European company called Greyland Films also makes rather decent realistic masks, but out of foam latex (like many movie prosthetics/masks are), and while some can be pretty realistic, they are not as impressive (or expensive) as the silicone masks are.
    • Some of these silicone masks are actually used in the above Film and Live-Action TV examples, resulting in being an instance of Off-the-Shelf FX.
  • Be advised that Rule 34 is definitely in effect. For the time being, the subculture in question simply refers to its membership as "Female Maskers", although sometimes rubber fetishists and furries are included. This YouTube video features such a rubber fetishist explaining how using such a mask to become someone else is an amazing experience, even if it's not sexual.
  • offers stiff resin "3D portraits and wearable masks" made from customer-supplied photos. Given that Shapeways already offers online fabrication of anything customers can submit in the appropriate programming language (weapons and other obviously dangerous things excepted, of course), it seems like only a matter of time before some demented genius starts marketing an online mask-making service.
  • Aside from professional sources like the above-mentioned SPFX Masks and Composite Effects, there are also dozens of hobbyists around the world who make and sell masks of varying levels of realism. In addition, a growing number of companies offer full-torso and lower-body suits. Full one-piece bodysuits are available, but would-be impersonators must still pay steep fees and wait several weeks for completion.
  • There was also this time when professional jumper Jeb Corliss attempted to parachute off the Empire State Building in New York. He snuck in wearing an elaborate disguise including a fat suit and a full-head latex mask that transformed him into a mustached, balding middle-aged man. Upon entering the observation deck, he stripped the fat suit to reveal his jumper outfit and parachute but kept the rubber head on when he was eventually caught by the police as he tried going over the guard rails. People on the deck at the time didn't realize that the middle-aged "daredevil" was actually the former host of Stunt Junkies in disguise.
  • Probably one of the closest uses of this trope in Real Life to fiction is the story of Robert Barron, a former CIA operative who specialized in making easily-donned and removed latex masks for agent insertions into the Eastern Bloc. He now uses those skills to create makeup prosthetics for people who suffered disfiguring accidents, cancer, or birth defects. Look at some of the pictures of his patients in the linked video. Latex Perfection, indeed.
    • Here is another look at the CIA's usage of this from former Chief of Disguise Jonna Mendez, who joined them in the early 1970s and helped develop such masks, known as "five-second masks" due to how quickly they can be put on.
  • Another interesting real-life example of this trope was at Europride 2005 in Oslo, Norway, during a lecture on homosexuality and fetishes, Svein Skeid, the late leader of ReviseF65, came in to put on the lecture wearing one realistic latex mask underneath another, peeling off the first mask to symbolize coming out of the gay closet. Once the other realistic skinhead mask was revealed underneath, the audience laughed at the example of "maskception," the leader saying "Well, we can say that I just came out of the closet now, can we?" The reveal was to represent that gay fetishists would often come out of the closet two times, the second as a fetishist.
  • In August 2019, a Brazilian gang leader attempted to break out of prison by disguising himself as his teenage daughter using a silicone mask and appropriate clothing. It didn't work, but only because the guards found his nervousness suspicious and confronted him. If he had acted a bit more confident, he might have been able to walk right out of the front door without a problem.
  • This was the entire concept for the pranking show Made Up, as professional high-quality mask designers were used to dress up teenagers that were in on the pranks, successfully fooling their targets (which were usually relatives, no less). Using their voices would be optional if that gave them away.
  • This con man allegedly used a series of realistic latex masks to impersonate elderly casino patrons, in order to steal money from casinos' cash advance programs for elderly club members. The Coronavirus outbreak made the deception even easier, as he could wear sunglasses and a mouth covering without drawing suspicion, concealing the eyes and mouth, the two parts of a realistic face mask that are most likely to give away the deception.

Alternative Title(s): Perfect Latex Disguise


Bravo Dooby Doo - Unmasking the ghost

Where did the ghost manage to get latex masks of Don Knotts and Joe Barbera anyway?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / LatexPerfection

Media sources: