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Nightmare Face

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"Can I be scary? Well, whaddya think of this?"

[W]hen she turned, it was the burned face of Sandor Clegane looking down at her, his mouth twisted in a terrible mockery of a smile. "You are shaking, girl," he said, his voice rasping. "Do I frighten you so much?"
He did, and had since she had first laid eyes on the ruin that fire had made of his face...

The human face is supremely important on a social and biological level. Most of our non-verbal communication comes from reading subtle facial movements, and its importance in our cognitive thinking is best shown in our tendency to see faces in inanimate objects (think of how many times you've looked at a rock face and thought you'd seen two eyes and a mouth). So there's something genuinely disturbing to most people about seeing a face visibly distorted, mutated, or rearranged ... so, naturally, this type of Body Horror is one of the most common Horror Tropes.

A Sister Trope and effective primary component of Nightmare Fuel.

It is in fact at least Older Than Feudalism — armies over the world have based their war masks around this trope, and in mythology and folklore, just about any self-respecting demon or supernatural evil will have one.


More recently, it has also become a staple of Surreal Horror.

This is a main symptom of Coming Back Wrong. Most humanoid examples of Our Monsters Are Weird will fit this trope.

This trope is commonly doubled with the Jump Scare in a Screamer Prank.

Sub-Tropes include:

See also:

  • This trope's well-meaning (but still scary) sister, The Grotesque.
  • Uncanny Valley, which usually ends up here by accident.
  • Game Face, which comes into play when a supernatural villain disguised as a human flashes his true form's Nightmare Face to scare someone.
  • Demon Head, cousin to this trope.
  • Demonic Head Shake, when the head shakes uncontrollably
  • Take Our Word for It, when the face is too grotesque to even show.

Interesting tidbit: this is one theory as to why some people are afraid of clowns. Exaggerated mouths, bulbous noses, and pin-prick eyes are downright terrifying to young children who haven't yet figured out that the person is just wearing make-up and not deformed.

Warning: Many of these examples contain image links. Read at your own risk if you are prone to losing sleep, especially if you're on a touch device where you may accidentally tap and therefore open links.


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  • Some of the scarier vanity plates sometimes used these. Some notable ones include the VID Mask, the Klasky-Csupo Robot and the Nickelodeon Pinchface.
  • This horrific 60s print ad from Mobil, created to advocate against driving with tension. And it does so by showing a horrifically distorted face. Interestingly, this image is actually of a dancer named Killer Joe Piro, and the original photograph was taken mid-dance, giving it its creepy look.
  • 90s Rice Krispie Treats commercials showed kids who, upon having none of the treat left to satisfy their craving, would morph into a of some kind while bellowing "IIIII WAAAAANNNTTT OOOONNNNEEEE!!!" Brrrr.
  • This Scotland Against Drugs PIF. Let's just say the title of the upload ("I've Just Shit Me Pants") is VERY apt.
  • Infamously, this Eggo commercial from 2001. A boy tries to steal some of his sister's waffles, only to immediately regret it.
  • This anti-smoking PSA from the 70s has an animated variation of the "Three Little Pigs" story, and the Wolf gives off such a face right at the camera before leaving his place to get to the pigs' straw house.
  • Wario in the infamous commercial for Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. "Obey Wario, DESTROY MARIO!!!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom:
    • Do NOT make Koro-sensei angry. Just don't.
    • A Running Gag with Hazama is that she's very good at scaring the crap out of people, including her fellow students and Koro-sensei, and loves doing it.
    • As a general rule, the manga also loves to give certain characters metaphorical nightmare faces when their evil intentions come up front, like Chairman Asano or Nagisa's mother. The results are suitably terrifying.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Many Titans are characterized by this trope. Even when critically injured, their face is stuck into a perpetual expression that depending on the Titan can be really creepy or really hilarious. Here is an example.
    • Also, quite a lot of them seem to have their facial skin streched, often bearing epic Slasher Smiles. Here are two lovely examples.
    • Of course, the worst offender among mindless Titans has got to be the Smiling Titan, the Titan that killed and devoured Carla Yeager, Eren's mother.
    • Among the Titan Shifters, the Female Titan shows an example of this after its fight with Eren's Titan form. As soon as it defeats him, it violently splits open its mouth to swallow Eren, thus capturing him. Just look at it. The manga version managed to take this Up to Eleven and beyond
    • Human characters are not exempt from these either. Both Armin and Annie manage to pull off some really creepy evil grins. Here is an example.
    • Eren himself managed to wear a disturbing expression when he reacted against Reiner lapsing into his "soldier" persona.
    • Of course, nothing above can even come close to Eren in Chapter 123, as in the final panel of the chapter has Eren declare his war on humanity using the Wall Titans.
  • ''Akame ga Kill!:Every single villain has one.
  • Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru makes a few during her fight with Koyomi.
  • Barefoot Gen has *lots* of this, what with people's eyes melting out of their sockets, faces burned off, etc.
  • The Behelit in Berserk is an Artifact of Doom, a blue or red amulet covered in a mixed-up jumble of eyes, nose, and mouth like a creepy Mr. Potato Head. Ironically— and very much in keeping with the themes of the series— it's not until the parts rearrange themselves to more closely resemble a human face that the REAL horror begins.
    • Void of the Godhand looks like the aliens from Mars Attacks!, but with a Frozen Face that has stitched eyes and a flayed mouth.
  • Of all people, Beck in The Big O manga gets one of these in his final appearance, when he's left in the bizarre Eldritch Location below Paradigm City. His last appearance is him making a horrifying face.
  • Initially just played with in Bleach; instead of horrifically deformed faces, it's instead had a number of horrifying expressions mainly given out by Hollow Ichigo and Mayuri Kurotsuchi, so those never really counted as much as the other examples... until this happened.
    • Unohana manages to have one of the most unsettling looks upon her face in the entire manga after her past self was revealed.
    • Äs Nödt might have just won the prize for scariest face after the release of his Vollständig, Tatar Foras.
  • Every episode of Casshern Sins Cold Opens with random scenes of Casshern killing Luna. Oftentimes it'll settle on Casshern making this face.
  • Claymore: Given the amount of Gorn, Body Horror, Facial Horror and Lovecraftian Superpowers that come into play, this trope is pretty widely spread. The reigning queen, however, is Roxanne, who manages to have some of the scariest expressions in the series without any kind of mutation or disfigurement whatsoever, and spends half her panels being a straight-up stunner. Then she smiles. Her one on-screen fight as a human pits her against a giant centipede-like monster made of oversized women's body parts, that was once Cassandra, her generation's Number 1. Even though it hands her her ass (at first), Roxanne's still scarier than the thing she's fighting.
  • D.Gray-Man is very, very good at this. Half the Akuma qualify, and even they have nothing on the Millennium Earl. As he would probably say: <3
  • Dissolving Classroom features Chizumi Azawa, the grotesque younger sister of main character Yuuma, who has some of Junji Ito's trademark deformities: bulging, starey eyes; a too-large grin; and an enormous tongue.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, it is very uncommon to see Nightmare Faces. However, several insane expressions and facial deformities that makes Super Buu/Kid Buu are quite disturbing, which makes him the most frightening villain in the series.
  • Renton from Eureka Seven when he sees a hallucination while mercilessly ripping apart an LFO in Episode 20.
  • Fragments of Horror: The story "Magami Nanakuse", in typical Junji Ito fashion, gives us a particularity horrifying one
  • K from From the New World has an absolutely terrifying one. He has his eyes rolled back, his face pale, and sports a Slasher Smile if there ever is one when he slaughtered 1,000 villagers. On the first day of his rampage alone.
    • Before Saki and Kiroumaru manage to defeat Yakumaru's Akki, she unleashes an ear-piercing scream that blasts a hole through Kiroumaru, coupled with a disturbing face of pure rage.
  • If Fuan no Tane is compared to a car, Nightmare Face is the Nightmare Fuel that powers it. The stories are subtly written, almost never exaggerated but includes ridiculous amounts of people/demons/poltergeists having faces that should not exist in any case. These range from three black holes for eyes and mouth, diluted sclera and contracted pupils at the same time, faces made of shadow, completely agape mouths with unhinged jaws, face with only skin, and faces completely distorted like that of Rorschach from Watchmen. Special mention goes to the baby who was so ugly, they put a bag on its face, leaving a hole for it to breathe. Too bad its permanent smile covers two-thirds of its face while it consistently begs for someone to talk to.
    • Pumped into full gear with Kouishou Raijo.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist also likes this. Besides a certain failed attempt at human transmutation, Envy's One-Winged Angel form is covered in screaming, melting faces begging for release from their torture. Oh, and there's the Cyclops army, whose stunning good looks have led the fandom to conclude that they're the illicit love children of Mass-Production EVAs and zombies.
    • Lust also lets loose a face of pure rage before using her Ultimate Spear in an attempt to kill Roy Mustang and prevent him from killing her. This is from the Brotherhood anime.
  • Gouda from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig was badly disfigured in an accident, but chose not to undergo reconstructive surgery because his new look was more memorable.
  • Hellsing has a lot of characters with these. Like Alucard's face on the first series box.
  • Very often in Higurashi: When They Cry. Some of the Ax-Crazy expressions get really weird. Here's a good example.
    • Umineko: When They Cry also makes use of this; a couple of times, the first twilight murders have all had their faces plowed in.
  • In-universe example: according to... Well, just about everyone at school in Hokenshitsu no Shinigami, Hades-Sensei has this. They even call him "Shinigami"!
  • Hunter × Hunter is very fond of breaking these out now and then (they're usually found on Hisoka.)
    • Zoldyck family members do break some disturbing expressions occasionally (especially Killua and Alluka when possesed by Nanika), but the one that takes the cake is actually Miike, the Zoldycks' gigantic guard dog. He wears a cold, machine-like glare as his default expression, that managed to mortify even Gon.
    • Shaiapouf makes one at Knuckle when he senses that Meruem has been wounded.
    • Netero also breaks multiple ones during different stages of his fight with Meruem. These two are by far the most disturbing.
    • Palm Siberia is a rare example that is Played for Laughs. During her more unstable moods, she starts to resemble Sayako from the Ring.
    • Another example not played for laughs is Hisoka's face during the fifth round of his fight with Chrollo. Hisoka is in general a master at breaking creepy faces, but this is downright terrifying. In fact, it has to be among the creepiest faces in the history of manga.
    • Machi breaks into rage and gives a rather hateful look towards a resurrected Hisoka when he resolves to slaughter the Troupe, all while screaming.
  • Jagaaaaaan not only are the "Fractured Humans" incredibly warped to look at as their faces mirrors their emotions when transforming, every single ordinary human are dwellers of the Uncanny Valley as well thanks to the art-style as well.
  • These happen quite often in Kakegurui, usually during a Motive Rant or before someone makes a big play, and (in the Animated Adaptation) almost always accompanied by Glowing Eyes.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple gives us Lugh, a blind martial artist. Under normal circumstances, he's just a pale pretty boy. But when he gets serious about breaking his opponent, particularly when he opens his eyes, the results can be... remarkably distressing.
  • Manami from Life often puts on a Nightmare Face when she isn't trying to be cute.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Vigor's face looks especially creepy when he first starts turning back into his monster form (he's a monster Ascot sent out to trick the Magic Knights, since Vigor can take on a cuter form that endeared itself to Hikaru), with the way his head is tilting slowly, his eyes are huge and glowing red, and his fur looks very wild too.
  • From the first chapter of Magical Girl Apocalypse, the final panel of the little girl in the Lolita costume after blowing up a school staff member's head using an indescribable weapon.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro BREATHES this trope. Every villain has one, Neuro has multiple and even the good or neutral characters delve into really disturbing spheres, be it thanks to a Slasher Smile, a deranged animation for shock or similar. That most characters with such faces are humans isn't making it less scary, it rather adds to the horror, seeing that a lot of the faces don't even resemble humans AT ALL.
  • Mob Psycho 100: before the second season of the anime, each time Shigeo displayed anger was a case of Tranquil Fury, with little change of expression. When he discovers however what appears to be as the burning corpses of his family in a house fire, his expression becomes a DOWNRIGHT TERRIFYING case of a face of overwhelming, burning rage. Sweet dreams everyone.
  • Mitsudomoe: Hitoha's face when she's mad, or whenever she feels like doing it.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Tomura makes one in chapter 69. But Tomura's face is creepy in general, due to the overabundance of detail lines used to draw it, making him look 50 years older than he really is.
    • Kirishima, in chapter #134, when he turns his Quirk Up to Eleven. The facial crenelations that usually come with activation of his Quirk intensify and extend onto his eyeballs, his irises become polygonal, his hands are transformed into talons, and his mouth becomes a distended, lipless maw.
    • For someone who is usually friendly and harmless, Izuku Midoriya is quiet capable of sporting terrifying expressions, to the point he starts looking like a character from Berserk Especially during the Paranormal Liberation War arc.
  • Despite being a Romantic Comedy, My Monster Secret has a fair share of these. More often than not they're played for the humor of the characters overreacting to things, but later on a few real dramatic ones show up, such as Youko getting a case of Horror Hunger or Future Nagisa threatening to kill her past self.
  • Gaara in Naruto has many of these.
    • Sasuke in chapter 480 makes a famous scary face as he’s killing Danzo. Overlaps with Evil Makes You Ugly.
    • The Byakugan is an effective tool to help a Death Glare become one of these, thanks to a combination of a pale iris and the veins around the user's temple bulging when it's active. It's effectiveness ranges depending on the user, though the cake is definitely taken by Kaguya.
  • Nejimaki Kagyu: The manga seems to specialize in stuff like this. Case in point.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The follow-up movie The End of Evangelion has several:
  • Getter Robo, Batshit Ryouma is already insane with his Slasher Smile. The final episode has him absorbed a large amount of Getter Ray turning parts of his face and his eyes green. and then he starts his hot blooded and insane yelling. Scary...
  • Of all series, One Piece gives us Caribou and Big Mom.
    • Katakuri. Just... Katakuri.
    • Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island is the darkest of the One Piece films, a genuine horror flick. As such, there are a few examples of this trope, but perhaps the best one is of Muchigoro. Here is what he looks like normally. Here is what he looks like when his life force starts running out. And here is what it looks like when it's completely run out.
    • 6 of the Straw Hats have faces like this just before they layeth the smackdown on Oars during the Thriller Bark arc. Take a look at them... oh, except for Robin. Whatever you do, don't look at her...
    • The Straw Hats do this again, this time during the Punk Hazard arc. Because they are out in the freezing cold, Luffy, Zoro, Usopp, and Robin need warm clothes, so they decide to steal them off of their attackers' backs! The scene can be seen here. Why are the Straw Hats so scary?!
    • In the Dressrosa arc, after being thoroughly trashed by Sugar's bodyguard, she decides to feed Usopp his own weapon, which she thought was poison but was actually an incredibly spicy grape. The face Usopp makes upon being force fed it and passing out is so utterly terrifying it scares her unconscious too! Which cancels her Devil Fruit powers, which was the intended goal of his going after her anyway, Pyrrhic Victory much? For extra hilarity points, that face later became the basis for a projectile Usopp used to scare the crap out of Sugar again to save Luffy and Law, a statue the citizens of Dressrosa built in gratitude, and even the figurehead of Leo's new pirate ship.
  • In Parasyte, many of the mutants suffer from this trope. This is primarily due to the fact that the titular Parasytes are shapeshifting creatures that take over a host body by invading, absorbing, and replacing the head, then change the head into whatever form is necessary for combat and/or consuming its victims.
  • Penguindrum Episode 11: Drugged up!Tabuki. Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit...
  • Tokyo Ghoul, understandably. Any Ghoul can fit this trope with their black and red eyes, but spcial mention goes to Jason, the second Owl and even Kaneki himself.
  • Perfect Blue: Mima sports one of these as she kills a guy while disguised as a pizza delivery guy, Rumi's eyes are too widely spaced, which gives her an eerie look, but it's towards the end of the movie where she really gets into this trope. And Me-Mania pretty much has this as his default facial expression.
  • Pokémon: What could possibly be worse than an Ursaring? An Ursaring seen through the eyes of someone hit by the terror-inducing Secret Power. SWEET DREAMS.
  • Drosselmeyer from Princess Tutu has a permanent manic grin and unblinking owl-like red eyes etched to his face.
  • Prism Ark is normally a happy-go-lucky Harem Genre, but then there's FBC manga adaption, where this it turns Karin Mibu into a sadistic teacher, who's ready to give a Nightmare Face anytime she's fighting or getting upset. And then there's a devil Hyaweh, who's much worse than Karin.
  • Normally, Kyubey of Puella Magi Madoka Magica freaks viewers out with his Frozen Cat Smile. Not so in the manga.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Saionji's face whenever he gets pissed. As well as the blank face or Scary Shiny Glasses that Anthy sometimes has. Also, in episode 38 when Akio tries to make Utena his princess Anthy responds with another scary blank face and her eyes roll back in her head as she disappears.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: The girl from episode 1 and 2, the one that's supposedly hit by a train. One word: HOLES. And Evil Lain's grin.
  • Anyone going crazy in Soul Eater. It's a combination of Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises, a Slasher Smile, and extreme violence in large quantities. In fact, Soul Eater likes to do this A LOT, both in its manga and subsequent anime adaptation, though here they are trying to be covered up by a Slasher Smile.
    • Also, Asura's smile. Seriously, just... just look at it.
    • Crona becomes a master of this as the series goes on and he/she succumbs to the Black Blood more and more.
  • Toriko villains love this trope, and the worse their nature is, the more over-the-top disgusting their facial expressions during emotionally charged moments are.
  • Shows up a few times in Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest. Haguro and Ryuuko in particular are very good at making these kinds of faces.
  • Yowamushi Pedal's Midousuji can fall into this a LOT. Gross.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Bakura and Yami Marik have the tendency to make these kinds of faces in the anime. Especially Yami Marik since he is prone to having veins randomly pop up on his face, usually while his eyes are out of proportion and his tongue sticking out. Even the Off-Model shots of their faces are nightmarish.
    Noah: (Displaying Off-Model face) Huhuhuh! Poor Seto! He has no idea what's about to happen!
    Kaiba: Oh my god! What's wrong with his face? Guys are you seeing this? What the hell's wrong with his face?!
    Joey: (Also Off-Model) I fail to see the problem!
    Kaiba: What the hell is wrong with everybody's face?!
    • In the anime, Jonouchi (and on occasion Honda) is infamous for making a bizarre as hell creepy smile that is very much in the Uncanny Valley.
    • Yubel from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is practically the successor of the two above when it comes to this, especially near the end of his/her duel with Judai, and quite possibly even surpasses the above two villains. The fact that she looks like both Yami Marik and Yami Bakura doesn't make it any better.
    • Aporia in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's dishes these out during his duel with Jack, Rua and Ruka, despite ironically claiming to have become a machine at the time.
    • Vector in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL is fond of these as well, an impressive example despite not having a mouth. When he revealed himself to Yuma as "Rei Shingetsu", we get a dramatic close-up of his face contorted in a nightmarish fashion.
    • Yuri of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V is also quite capable of making these faces, especially as he grows madder and madder. Likewise his original progenitor Zarc dishes these out with the added advantage of draconian features.
    • Specter is the primary distributor of these in Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, but Windy and Lightning manage to pull this off despite like Vector, having no mouth.Especially when Windy resurrects himself using Flame's data with a twisted form.
  • Despite being a Shoujo, the horror anthology manga series Zekkyou Gakkyuu has many instances of horror faces to accompany each macabre story, including a seemingly kind grandmother who keeps a feudal Japanese diorama of dolls filled with the bloody remains and faces of her victims, the vengeful spirit of a kitten left to suffer and die after being run over by a car belonging to the chapter's soon-to-be Victim of the Week, an insane house-wife masquerading as a gift-giving online Pen-Pal named Mama, the ghost of a girl burned in the school incinerator by her jealous rival, a classroom of students who take up the appearances of any student who becomes popular in the school, the ghost of a one-armed girl who will respond to the victim's refusal to find her lost umbrella by tearing off their arms and killing them, a freeze tag demon, a money tree that tempts victims to greed by blooming money from its branches leached from the bodies of its victims underground, and even a lonely statue (huge emphasis on the LONELY).

    Comic Books 
  • Jonah Hex. (That second link includes an informative essay on what the result of Hex being unable to close his right eye would lead to.)
  • Two-Face, obviously. Well, half of him. Varies from artist to artist, with Tim Sale's rendering being particularly gruesome.
  • The Joker, naturally. Frozen Face with a Slasher Smile? Check. Permanent Uncanny Valley Makeup? Double Check. Looks like a Monster Clown from your worst nightmares? Quintuple check.
    • Taken up several notches in Death of the Family. Prior to the story arc, Joker was last seen having his face surgically removed and left for the police to symbolize his "rebirth". When he returns, still without a face, he steals his original, preserved face from the GCPD lockup and proceeds to wear it like a mask, using several hooks and leather straps to stretch it across his head in a grotesque parody of his original face. As the series goes on, the face starts to visibly decay and attract flies and at one point Joker even wears it upside-down to psychologically torment Red Robin.
  • Another Batman villain of lesser renown, the Great White Shark, lost most of his face (including ears, nose and hair) after being locked in a freezer and has since filed his teeth into points. As a result, he's nothing to scoff at, either.
  • Vos. Oh sweet holy crap, Vos. Vos is a Decepticon Justice Division member from Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, and he combines Cold-Blooded Torture with this trope. Transformer faces have been pretty ugly before, but somehow this takes The Blank, inverts the concept of the Face Stealer (a Face Giver, perhaps?), and comes out the other side unsettling and terrifying.
    Vos: wear. my. faaaace.
    • Vos now has competition in the form of the incredibly creepy Sunder from the same series. It probably comes as little surprise that he's a serial killer.
  • Implied for Doctor Doom of Marvel Comics; first he gets his face scarred up by being caught next to an exploding machine (though precisely how badly scarred varies), and then he, in some tellings at least, puts his trademark metal facemask on. While it's still red hot.
  • Judge Fear, one of the Dark Judges in Judge Dredd, is able to kill by simply revealing his face, though the reader never sees it. Averted once by Dredd himself.
    • Dredd himself for that matter. The first time we "see" his face with his helmet off, there is a big black bar over it reading Censored For Graphic Content and the gang holding him at gunpoint are so horrified at what they see that they decide Dredd needs to die immediately. And while never taken to that extreme again, under Carlos Ezquerra's pen, both Dredd and his clone father Judge Fargo tend to look like lumpy lipless potatoes as they get older.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Raghor's face is usually under a helm,but when he takes it off...not only he seems to be completely scarred,but he also has Medusa-like tentacles.
  • Rhona Burchill from Ultimate Fantastic Four has one courtesy of self-inflicted brain surgery to boost her own intellect, which left her with a large bald spot that exposes a very ugly, ragged scar and unnaturally bulging skull.
  • Crazy Jane from Doom Patrol has several. including Black Annis and a personality whose head is a sun that shoots smaller suns.
  • Wonder Woman: Some members of the Greek pantheon like to manifest with horrific things for faces, most notably the fear god twins Phobos and Deimos, who each like to appear with a desiccated dog skull for a head, or in Phobos's case to manifest with shadow and twisting cobras for a face. Their father Ares also tends to go the shadow route, manifesting with formless darkness and two glowing red eyes beneath his helmet is his go to look.
  • Irish Mob member Finn Cooley, a memorable one-off villain in The Punisher MAX. A bomb went off in his face before he could get away, and now everything above the lower lip is just skull wrapped in sticky exposed musculature. At all times he either needs a transparent face mask or a mess of bandages to hold it in place. In spite of all that, he was one of the less nightmarish mobsters in that storyline.
  • In Faith Dreamside, Belu's minions all have large yellow eyes and wide, sharp-toothed grins.
  • The chapter of Tales from the Dark Multiverse dealing with Knightfall features a version of Bruce Wayne sporting yellow eyes and a Slasher Smile as a result of the torture he was subjected to as he gets revenge on Azrael.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is no stranger to the stuff of nightmares, but most Sonic media avoids this particular sub-trope. IDW Publishing's comic book adaptiation, however, features several notable examples.
    • Mimic the Octopus, a new villain introduced in the Tangle & Whisper miniseries, is a shapeshifter with Black Eyes of Evil and wrinkled lips (as part of a Skeleton Motif). He can show these features while disguised as someone else, with terrifying results.
    • During the second major arc, Dr. Eggman causes a Zombie Apocalypse (on purpose) with his Metal Virus bioweapon, which turns its victims—including some of Sonic's allies—into evil robo-zombies. The faces of these "Zombots" are intimidating by default, but they turn outright demonic when silhouetted, as Sonic's Zombot-ified friends demonstrate.

    Comic Strips 
  • Villains in the original Dick Tracy newspaper comic were notoriously Nightmare Faced. This waned at about the time Chester Gould suffered a Creator Breakdown, but has returned with the new artist, Dick Locher, who absolutely loves this trope.
  • Al Capp's Li'l Abner had a character named "Lena the Hyena" whose face was never shown, but by reputation and the reactions of other characters was this. Capp eventually ran a contest for readers to send in their own depictions of Lena. The winning entry, by Basil Wolverton, can be seen here.

    Fan Works 
  • Glitchtale's Season 2 Arc Villain, Bête Noire, excels at this (fittingly for an someone whose power is rooted in Fear). If you don't mind spoilers, see here for an example. Looking like a cute little girl most of the time, in reality her body is a shell made from a dead little girl's corpse. Her true form has sharp teeth, a wide Slasher Smile, and the skin can be torn off to reveal inhuman pink flesh that looks disturbingly like someone who's been Flayed Alive.
  • TS!Underswap:
    • Temmie follows in Flowey's footsteps by busting out a few of these, complete with evil cackling.
    • Asgore makes a scary face during his final attack on a genocide run, as a reference to one of Toby Fox's original concepts.
  • Underverse:
    • Especially with their already eerie black-and-white designs, X-Chara and later on X-Gaster are very good at pulling this, with wide jagged-mouth Slasher Smiles and creepy Black Eyes of Evil that have sinister red and purple irises.
    • Ink Sans of all people does one as well in Xtra Scene 2, though it's implied to have been a dream (or possibly Foreshadowing that he isn't all that trustworthy). It's currently the page image for the Nightmare Fuel page for the series.
    • Unsurprisingly, Flowey does this in OWNERS.

    Films — Animated 
  • Vlad Vladikoff does that do the Sour Kangaroo in Horton Hears a Who.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie
    • The face the bulldog makes when he encounters Tom.
    • "We've got to have...Money"
    • The face Aunt Figg makes at the end of the line "I'll make sure Dr. Applecheek takes special care of you."
    • The face Dr. Applecheek makes when he goes for the ice cream truck.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Begins has some surprisingly freaky hallucination scenes as a result of Scarecrow's fear gas, with characters turning into demons and things.
  • Notable filmmaker Drew Daywalt makes you imagine sleeping right beside this in his short film Bedfellows.
  • Beetlejuice:
  • Carved 2018: The pumpkin gains this face when it comes to life.
  • In Dagon, almost everyone in Imboca has one of these.
  • The title character in Darkman gets this trope after mobsters attack him and destroy his lab, leaving him horrifically burned. He then goes about seeking revenge on the villains for his disfigurement.
  • In The Devil's Advocate, John Milton (Al Pacino) and all the representatives of his law firm are actually Satan and his half-human bastard children, respectively. Several of them reveal their true faces, which remind one of living corpses or vampiric cats. Milton himself goes One-Winged Angel at the film's fiery climax, showing himself as both an emaciated humanoid with wings and (subliminally) a short, greenish-skinned, grinning troll.
  • In The Devil's Nightmare one of the guests says "The butler has a face that would give you a nightmare."

  • Harry Potter: Voldemort is described as having a face like a skull, with glowing red eyes and slits for nostrils. It's hinted that his involvement with the Dark Arts warped him; in later books it's explained that he got this way by splitting his soul to achieve immortality through his Horcruxes — he actually used to be handsome as a young man. Ralph Fiennes does a pretty good job of conveying this description in the movies.
  • Quasimodo in Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame is described as being so ugly, people mistake him for the Devil.
  • In Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk, the main character's lower jaw is shot off. This fanmade image (WARNING: gory/NSFW) gives a pretty good idea of why this is a bit of an upsetting thing.
  • The Kane Chronicles:
    • Menshikov, whose face was burned when he tried and failed to awaken Ra.
    • A heroic example can be found in Bes, whose trademark attack is to scare the shit out of his opponent by distorting his face hideously and screaming "BOO!" Not that he's that handsome when he's not making that face.
    • From the first book (and second to an extent) there is a demon named Face-Of-Horror who is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and worse. Compared to how other demons can be called Death-to-Corks and have corkscrews or other objects (or limbs) replacing their heads, Face-Of-Horror is a legitimately terrifying demon. If any of you are wondering what Face of Horror looks like: scaly, clawed talons instead of feet, and his face seems to have all the skin torn off, leaving only muscle. Anyone else reminded of a certain monster from Attack on Titan?
  • The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Redwall:
    • Slagar the Cruel has a badly mutilated Two-Faced look thanks to a snakebite in his youth.
    • Riggu Felis from High Rhulain is probably even worse. After having his face raked by an osprey's talons, he is described as looking like this: "The black-and-grey-striped fur was normal from ears to eyes, but below that it was red, glistening flesh and bone. The whole muzzle, nose, and upper lip had been torn off. Half of the warlord's face was a frightful mask - a spitting, bubbling skeleton, as he continualy sucked air to breathe."
  • "The Dream" from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Let's just say the pale woman from the original edition will make you wish you slept with a Warhammer 40,000 weapon next to your bed. Also, the illustration from The Haunted House; we would post a link, but we're too scared to search.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, who had the left half of his face burned off by his older brother when he was a kid.
    • Lady "Ser" Brienne of Tarth was known for being extremely plain. But after the encounter with Biter she has now a very similar disfigurement to the Hound's, except caused by festering teeth of an evil idiot rather than by fire.
    • Lady Stoneheart formerly known as Catelyn Stark, who, before having her throat cut, tore up her own face out of grief and insanity, and was then thrown in the river, where she spent considerable time before being resurrected. The result is not pleasant.
  • In John French’s Thousand Sons novels, the sorcerer Ichneumon is so heavily mutated by the powers of Chaos that his face no longer resembles anything even remotely human. One half of his face is covered with clusters of eyes, and the other half is dotted with lamprey-like mouths. Ctesias, a fellow sorcerer, is so put-off by the sight of it—and by Ichneumon’s obvious pride at having been “blessed” with such a hideous face by the Chaos Gods—that he can’t think of anything to say for a long moment.
  • Brightheart from Warrior Cats has half of her face torn off by a pack of dogs, leaving her permanently scarred and missing an eye. This picture from Cats of the Clans sums it up nicely.
  • In Wax and Wayne, Bleeder displays one of these between forms, a skinless face "of stretched muscle and grinning teeth". When she realizes she's been seen she makes another one by trying to copy the cabbie's face over the wrong bones, leaving her face a twisted nightmare.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Angel, Jasmine's real face. The magical glamor that makes everyone who sees her fake face love her is her main weapon, so if you can see her real face, she needs you dead.
  • Little Ghoul on Beetleborgs Metallix had one, shown from the back a la Beetlejuice.
  • Breaking Bad has a good example of this in the Season 4 finale, when Gus is caught in an explosion. He calmly exits the crumbling room, adjusting his tie and looking perfectly fine, until the camera pans around to reveal half his face missing, hollowed eye socket staring blankly, teeth bared through the distinct lack of cheek. Exploded flesh adorning his shoulder. Incidentally the name of the episode is "Face Off". Heh.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Clem showed this to the potentials in "Potential".
    • The ghostly James Stanley's rotting zombie-like face in "I Only Had Eyes For You" while scaring Buffy and dancing to a song with his teacher.
  • In the Cadfael series, this is the fate of Lazarus, the titular Leper of St Giles. He was once the legendary knight, Guimar de Massard, but caught leprosy whilst crusading. He let himself be thought of as dead, though secretly returned to England to watch over his orphaned granddaughter. In the end, he leaves her safe with a man she loves, not wishing to sully her memory of him with the truth of what he has become.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The hideous alien face of a Sensorite pressed up against the glass of a spaceship in the first Cliffhanger of "The Sensorites".
    • The Chameleons. There's a good reason why their story is called "The Faceless Ones".
    • The early Cybermen in "The Tenth Planet", with surgical-like cloth masks, black voids for eyes, and jaws that, when they talk, just lock open without moving for the duration of their speech.
    • The Autons are living plastic. In appearance, they can range the spectrum from animate mannequin to indistinguishable from human. While costuming's moved on from their '70s heyday, back then... oh god.
    • Davros, who created the Daleks, had his face (and the rest of his body) hideously disfigured when his lab exploded.
    • The Master in "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Keeper of Traken" who, being on the very verge of death, had basically become a walking corpse with the skeletal face to match (as best makeup of the 1970s and '80s could manage, anyway).
    • Xoanon, the titular Face of Evil in "The Face of Evil", so terrifying the people on the planet have a religion based upon placating it — an especially unusual and upsetting case because it's also played by Tom Baker, with eyes bulging out of his head and the jaw working wrong.
    • The robots in "The Robots of Death" are an in-universe example. Some people in the story are fine with them or even relate to them, but others subconsciously equate their weird, distorted faces with disfigured people or animated corpses, a recognised psychological disorder in the setting.
    • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang": Magnus Greel has a melted, spaghetti-like face due to a mutation caused by primitive time-travel technology.
    • A lot of Doctor Who monsters, especially if they initally seem friendly, get a lot nastier-looking when they get down to business. For example, the Gelth from "The Unquiet Dead".
    • The Weeping Angels. The grey faces of a humanoid angel statue, with fangs.
    • In "Forest of the Dead" we get Miss Evangelista's horribly distorted face in the virtual reality. She looks like a walking Picasso painting.
    • Subverted in "Midnight". When Skye turns around, there is clearly a new consciousness, but her face is unchanged.
    • The infectees in Russell T Davies and Phil Ford's "The Waters of Mars" with their split, cracked faces.
    • The "Angry Face" of the mechanical Smiler androids from "The Beast Below". Their heads rotated 180 degrees to display one of two Frozen Faces — one pleased and smiling, the other disappointed and frowning. This made the appearance of the angry face, which was furious and snarling — and revealed by rotating the head another 180 degrees — a total surprise.
    • The Silence from series 6, with their eye-covering eyelids, long faces and lack of a nose and mouth.
    • The Siren from "The Curse of the Black Spot" when she gets angered.
    • The Whispermen in "The Name of the Doctor" have no eyes or nostrils, only sharp-toothed mouths.
  • Fringe has one episode where a biological weapon results in people developing scar tissue at an alarming rate. Biggest problem with this is that it turns them into a blank, covering their eyes, nose, and mouth, resulting in them suffocating.
  • Pennywise in the made for TV movie version of IT.
  • Though obviously a mask, who doesn't wish they could forget the chilling grimace of Mr. Noseybonk from the old British TV series, Jigsaw? And if that wasn't bad enough, Stuart Ashen had to go and use his powers of necromancy to revive the horror!
  • Papa Lazarou of The League of Gentlemen.
  • Lucifer is rather fond of scaring humans with his "Devil Face". In the episode "Monster", Lucifer's psychiatrist, Dr Linda Martin, gets tired of his 'metaphors' about being the Devil, so he decides to drop his glamor. Linda just stares at him in shock. He restores his human features and asks what she thinks. She still keeps staring. So Lucifer quietly gets up and walks out, leaving Linda still staring at the place he was sitting.
  • Valin Hess from The Mandalorian is a normal human Imperial officer with no alien traits whatsoever. And yet, his empty bug eyes and unnerving smile along with his sociopathic tendencies and phony nice guy attitude make for a character who's bound to make your skin crawl.
  • Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld gives us this.
  • The Shining 1997 mini-series, though not considered as scary as the Kubrick version, certainly has it's moments.
  • The Soup, of all shows, has this in their "Tales from Home Shopping" segment. The intro for the segment shows some old-timey footage of people shopping. One of the customers' faces melts into a horrifying expression while a scream plays. It's Played for Laughs, but is arguably still rather scary, especially when they froze on the face when the intro was still new.
  • Balok in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver".
  • Supernatural
    • One who has sold their soul to a Crossroads Demon and whose time is nearly up begins seeing Nightmare Faces on anyone they encounter as a reminder that their own death is coming soon. We see these from the POV of these people a couple times, twice in "Crossroad Blues,", and again later at the very end of season 3 where we see Sam from Dean's POV, his appearance briefly taking on a Nightmare Face. Happens again much later where someone sees Dean with a similar appearance.
    • Other episodes also often have the various Monster of the Week cases briefly take one at some point, usually when being confronted by Sam and Dean. These faces can also often be revealed through mirrors, even when their non-reflection appearance is outwardly normal.
    • Angels can see demons' true faces, which is useful for identifying those possessed. It poses issues a couple of times when amnesiac angels run into demons and are extremely confused and horrified, while everyone else just sees a normal human face.
  • The lion from Teletubbies, especially when he says "Where is THE BEAR?!!!"
  • In The Twilight Zone (1959) episode The Masks, a dying man promises his entire fortune to his daughter and her family if they will wear grotesque masks for one evening. When the man dies at midnight, after telling them they have earned their inheritance, they remove the masks and find their faces have permanently taken on the masks' features.
    • The..uh..medical staff from the infamous episode "The Eye of the Beholder". In-universe, the patient's face (which looks like a normal face from the perspective of the audience) is seen is this.
  • The creature dubbed "The Great Mutato" in The X-Files, a genetically-engineered mistake whose many deformities included a grotesquely oversized double-face. As it turns out, though, he wasn't such a bad guy, and in fact his greatest desire was to see Cher in concert.
  • Twin Peaks has moments of this, mostly in its surreal dream sequences - the animalistic scream Laura gives in Ronette's nightmare, for example. In one scene toward the end of season 2, the villainous Windom Earle unexplainedly has a chalky, white face and black teeth. And, finally, there are the Woodsmen of Season 3, glaring psychotically out from behind a heavy layer of soot.


    Mythology and Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: The Gorgons, whose faces would turn you to stone. They supposedly had been beautiful originally, before they became like this. And some think they might still be beautiful, but there is no way of finding out. In the original, only Medusa could petrify with a look; her sisters had different powers (one just caused people to instantly drop dead).
  • Celtic Mythology: One of the many horrific details of Cu Chulainn's infamous riastrad or "warp-spasm" was that one of his eyes would bulge out of the socket (and fall out) and the other would be sucked in, his lips would peel back to reveal a Slasher Smile with More Teeth than the Osmond Family, and his mouth would stretch down to his chest. Even if he wasn't exactly an evil guy, people tended to be really uneasy around him.

  • A recurring motif in I Am in Eskew. The main protagonist, David Ward, sees them on the blueprints of an unending, blank building he visits, the audience that watches him and Allegra, and especially on his fake son, Happy Jack Adam, who he is forced to live with after he lets Jack kill his fake daughter, Lucia.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The krenshar, a catlike monster introduced in 3rd edition to give low-level paladins a use for their fear immunity, uses its complex cheek and brow musculature to fold its whole face back, exposing bare muscle and bone, when using its Scare special ability.
    • Changelings from the Eberron campaign can take the "Disturbing Visage" feat, which among other tricks can unnerve foes by looking more intimidating. The illustration on the Races of Eberron sourcebook definitely falls into this trope, but exaggerates the actual effectiveness of the feat.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade:
    • The Nosferatu have this as a Clan Curse, as their founder was Punished with Ugly by Caine himself, and anyone embraced into the clan will follow suit. They can't live in normal human or vampire society, but they've learned to cope, woe be to anyone who underestimates this.
    • The Tzimisce do this by choice. Their Vicissitude discipline allows them to mold flesh like clay, and as one of the more inhuman clans, they modify themselves and their servants into horrifying forms, faces included.

  • The Rahkshi from BIONICLE. Averted in the toys themselves (due to the limitations of toy design), but it is used in full force in the movie Mask of Light to unleash pure Nightmare Fuel on other characters (and the viewers, naturally).
    • The Barraki also count. They all have these freakishly bulbous, emotionless eyes that seemingly stare into nothingness. Pridak takes the cake, however, with his butt-ugly Slasher Smile, and what looks like blood splashed all over his face (which is actually his natural coloring, according to Word of God).
    • Makuta, being a Shapeshifter-race, are full of examples, and many of the fan-built Contest Winner Cameo figures have these as well.
  • The Evil Wand toy discovered by a parent at an Ohio dollar store has a hidden image under the foil on the wand: A disturbing photo of a girl with glowing orange eyes and a bloody, rapacious Slasher Smile cutting into her wrist with a knife.

    Video Games 
  • In Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapter 4, Bertrum Piedmont is revealed to be a gigantic, bloated, deformed head who leaks ink from his eyes and mouth, and has veins all over.
  • Spoiled Rotten from Wario Land 4, once Wario gets her down to her last few hit points. YEESH.
  • 46 Okunen Monogatari: The Shinka Ron (4.6 Billion Year Story: The Theory of Evolution) is a Japanese-only precursor to the cult favorite E.V.O.: Search for Eden. Your enemy is no less than Lucifer himself, who operates under the guise of a naked vampire Marilyn Monroe (really). Lucifer represents the the flip side of Gaia, the green/blued-haired Earth goddess who appears in both games. Anyhoo, Lucifer turns up in person after you foil her plans too many times, fought first in her flayed human form with a leering skull, and then as a winged spider-alien.
  • The Grunt and the Brute from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The Brute pretty much doesn't even have a face, though you can find an eye and some teeth in there... And the Grunt isn't much better. He doesn't really have a jaw, it's just a flappy bit of skin. Well, that's an understatement...
  • There are a few of these in the BlazBlue series as well. Izanami has one that is basically bone white with no eyes and a creepy smile.
  • In Mortal Kombat 3, Kabal has this as one of his Fatalities; namely, he takes off his mask, reveals his ugly mug then turns and screams at his opponent, terrifying them so much that their soul actually leaves their body and runs for the hills!
    • The Tarkatans (Baraka's species) are all about this trope, with More Teeth than the Osmond Family being the most noticable thing about them. A particularly noteworthy example is Mileena, who (being a clone of Kitana) manages to combine this with a beautiful body for an unnerving contrast. Her victory pose in Mortal Kombat 9 has her horrifying face on full display as she leaps towards the camera.
  • The Ao Oni. Go to that page if you dare.
  • Essentially, every single splicer in the BioShock series seems to have a gruesome, mutated face, sometimes hidden by a New Year's party mask, their mutation either thanks to their rigorous splicing or Dr. Steinman's attempts to fix the effects of said splicing, and it certainly didn't help that Steinman had his own ideas of beauty...
  • Left 4 Dead has the Boomer, the Smoker, the Tank, the Spitter, the Jockey, and the Charger. Boomer's face is coated in bile-filled pustles. Smoker's face is laden with tumors and, in the sequel, extra tongues. The Tank is missing his lower jaw. The Spitter has her neck elongated, and most of her lips burned off. Jockey's face is twisted into that of a constant manic glee, with his lips torn off. And the Charger's face looks like someone took a hammer to it multiple times.
  • The sprites for Abobo in the NES Double Dragon games give him one of these. They're clearly based on the same character's arcade sprites, but the head is enlarged and the contrast in shading almost makes him look like he's made of rock. In addition, his handlebar mustache looks enough like a severely distorted mouth that some have mistakenly confused it for one.
  • Giygas from EarthBound doesn't have one of these — He is one of these.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Sachy is a mysterious war beast who always accompanies Melleau, and it wears that mask for a reason. Nemone (Melleau's sister) tried to take a peek under it once and ended up comatose for three days.
  • Unused enemies in Mother 3 feature this: creatures with no eyes and a wide open mouth which, simillarly to Giygas, act as a background. These have been flying around YouTube for a while.
  • Yume Nikki gave us Uboa and FACE, among many other things that could also easily fit this trope.
    • FACE, by the way, is full-screen. And once the scene starts, you cannot manually exit it.note  When it does end, you wake up.
    • The Kaibutsu in the Fan Sequel .flow also count...
  • What about the extremely low-poly face of Andross in the original Star Fox (later brought back as an Assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl)?
  • In Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, the final stage of the Getsuyuu Syndrome is Blooming, which doesn't directly affect the victim's face itself but somehow makes it appear horrifically blurred and distorted. Oh, and the people who die of this syndrome become ghosts, and anyone who just looks at the face will suffer the same fate.
  • Silent Hill:
  • Seraphic Blue has its Big Bad Er, her very last CG gives us this. It is so terrifying.
  • The Aristocrat from Silent Hill: Downpour. You meet him for only a few seconds at the end of the terrifying train ride at Devil's Pit Mine, but he will most likely remain etched into your mind's eye for quite some time: a disembodied piece of flesh draped on the cave walls, wearing High-Class Glass. Fancy.
  • The enemies in Rule of Rose are this. FUCK.
  • In Eversion, the smiling block faces you see at the start of the game become less and less happy as you evert into deeper worlds. In World X-5, they have blank, terrified expressions with empty eye sockets. In X-6, they're disfigured, as if they're melting.
  • The Psycho Heads from (SNES) Final Fantasy V. They are floating heads with the faces ripped off, with long, pink tongues sticking out. (shudders)
  • The ending of Final Fantasy VIII shows the main character, Squall, with no face.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Twilight Princess:
    • In Ocarina of Time, the only thing that distinguishes Phantom Ganon from the real Ganondorf is his demonic, skull-like face (after ripping off his "real" Ganondorf face, no less).
    • Majora's Mask:
      • The Happy Mask Salesman's face becomes this when he gets angry. The frightening expressions on some of the masks he carries don't help much either.
      • The face that appears when you put on the Deku, Goron, and Zora masks. It's the face of Link going through a very painful transformation.
      • The Moon has a horrifying face with glowing orange eyes and a Slasher Smile. It's even more disturbing that it's descending towards the capital town.
  • Suikoden II has Luca Blight, who sports a very huge Slasher Smile on his face in the opening cinematic.
  • In Touhou Labyrinth, Alice's boss sprite is apparently a reference to a very obscure game. For the rest of us who don't know about that (and is challenging her for the first time), her face can be quite startling to look at.
  • Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter's Ryu and Bosch. Ryu for getting stabbed and beginning his transformation into Odjn, some sort of a super powered beast. Bosch, the one who stabs him, does it with a complete cold look without any emotion. And later when we realize he's not quite dead, he has more or less turned insane. Character designs really helps boosting the fear.
  • In Corpse Party, many of the evil spirits sport these. At times, the victims' reaction faces can veer into this, too, particularly in the manga.
  • The Necromorphs from Dead Space. This is not surprising considering they are the remains of violently slaughtered corpses, reanimated and deformed by an alien virus. The concept art is little better (perhaps even worse since every little horrible detail is layed bare for all unlucky viewers to see). Don't look at it if you don't have a strong stomach.
  • Dead Space 2 throws their face literally into yours, with the opening showing someone within kissing distance of Isaac turning into one of those face-exploder-type slashers, while still alive.
  • Lady Tsepish from King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, whose face is apparently so horrifying that it'll instantly kill Valanice/Rosella if they look upon her.
  • Robin Blackwood's face at the end of Scratches, to the point that Micheal Arthate had actual nightmares of it for weeks. It's implied that Robin had these deformities due to the Thalidomide his mother was taking while pregnant, and long-term exposure to some unfriendly feral cats.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Phanto of Super Mario Bros. 2, in contrast to its portrayal in Doki Doki Panic which just looks like an expressionless mask, has a sinister expression here (and also has it in Super Mario Maker 2).
    • During the final boss battle at the end of Super Mario World, after taking a certain amount of damage, Bowser will actually temporarily fly away in his Koopa Clown Car and towards the camera very fast, and we get to see a closeup of the Clown Car's face!
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, major villain Frau Engel gets a big chunk of the left side of her face ripped out by a commandeered Nazi warmech. When she confronts BJ shortly afterwards, the results are not pretty in the slightest. By Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, her face has mostly healed, but she still bears some gnarly scars from the incident which make her face still quite hideous to look at.
  • Pokémon:
    • The move Scary Face, which is pretty much what it says on the tin: a scary glare that affects the opponent's speed. You actually see a cartoon scary face on the screen when it's used.
    • Mean Look, which keeps a Pokemon from fleeing.
  • Venom Myotismon suffers from this on Digimon Digital Card Battle after being possessed by A. Most notably, an eye pops out of its Domino Mask. Funny thing is, his mask conceals his eyes behind a yellow film, so the eye popped out through the film. Lest the kids sleep tonight.
  • Dota 2 has quite a lot of examples with the Dire heroes being the biggest offenders... Let's see, here's Bane and Faceless Void guilty of the Eyeless Face trope, but Lifestealer and Doom Bringer are not pleasant sights either, and while we're at it, Undying is pretty scary as well. But the crowner Nightmare Face definitely goes to Night Stalker.
  • Jan Pharris has a horribly deformed face in Morpheus, which scared away his entire family for years. It was caused by his doctor, John Mahlerbe, administering herbal medicines he didn't understand, while Jan was a boy. Later on, Jan had designed a machine, the Neurographicon, that could heal terminal illnesses, and attempted to use it to heal both his face and his stepsister's polio, but it only lasted for a few minutes during their dance together at the masked ball.
  • All the Shibito and Yamibito monsters from the Forbidden Siren series. Hideous mutations, Tears of Blood, ax craziness, Slasher Smiles, implacability, invulnerability, Shining powers, insane laughter and overwhelming bursts of Uncanny Valley are not good combinations AT ALL! Doesn't help that images of real human faces were captured from eight different angles and superimposed onto the character models.
  • Slappy from Dead Rising 2. Especially his death.
  • Aran Ryan from Punch-Out!! Wii gets some really unnerving close up facial expressions showcasing his insanity. Bald Bull and Mr. Sandman could also qualify.
  • Darkstalkers gives us Demitri's smile as he remarks on the humans suffering. It is full of dozens of sharp teeth. To make manners worse, all of those teeth are rotten.
  • Uzaza from Gyossait is a giant leering face with a permanent Slasher Smile and covered in red wires/tentacles. The game also have two mysterious horrifying faces that very briefly flash by you.
  • This is from Splatterhouse 3. If you fail to save Jennifer in time, then be prepared to see one that is truly worthy of being one of the most nightmarish faces that ever existed, on a FREAKING SEGA GENESIS.
  • Just like Splatterhouse 3 above it, Ghostbusters for the Sega Genesis also has one of the most nightmarish faces that ever existed for the system as well in the form of Janna. Good luck trying to go to sleep once you see it for yourself in the cutscene right before the Final Boss battle.
  • Even knowing Shin Megami Tensei's reputation as a franchise that doesn't shy away from creepy demons and events, there is still an off-putting example of this trope in Shin Megami Tensei IV when Issachar becomes a demon and flashes an evil grin with completely blood-red eyes.
  • The Colonel in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty gains one once the player is taken onto Arsenal Gear near the end of the game and he starts calling them at odd times to deliver complete gibberish - seemingly at random, he will shift from his normal Codec mugshot to one in which the flesh on his face is almost completely transparent, showing just his skull.
  • The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, whenever he pushes his eyes out of their sockets.
  • One of the Superbabies from Sluggish Morss: A Delicate Time in History appears as one. The face is a horrifying amalgamation of a human face, dentures or jaws, and metal. It also speaks in a comparatively shrill voice.
  • M. Bison does this during his ending in Super Street Fighter II. He overlooks a burning city with Glowing Eyes of Doom with a Slasher Smile full of Phlegmings. The look on his face is slightly different depending on whether you're playing the SNES or Sega version, but still equally creepy.
  • The appropriately-titled Nightmare from Metroid Fusion. At first it just looks like a robot, but then the robot's faceplate starts leaking green tears... and then the mask comes off to reveal a slimy green mug with six eyes... and then it starts melting!...
  • There's a reason why Terraria's Face Monster is named that way. Doesn't help that it's found in one of the creepiest biomes in the game.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's has a lot of these faces.
    • A black-eyed Bonnie staring at you (inches away from the camera), and Freddy's black-eyed face when he catches you on later nights.
    • Old Chica in the sequel.
    • Toy Chica likes to invoke this by removing her beak and eyes, giving her the appearance of a black-eyed yellow M&M with a Slasher Smile. It's more disturbing than it sounds.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, the first thing players are treated to when swimming towards the end of an underwater tunnel in Clanker’s Cavern, is the face of the eponymous Clanker. With Clanker being a gigantic shark-like creature with bulging eyes and an enormous, sharp-toothed, smiling mouth, it’s safe to say that this greeting has traumatized more than one player throughout the years. Thankfully, Clanker’s face doesn't match his personality, and once you get past the horror, it’s shown that the guy actually is one of the sweetest and friendliest characters in the game.
  • Cry of Fear tends to have a lot of these, which suits the Monstrous Humanoid enemies. Of particular note are the Tallers (who have a black void for their face and mouth) and the Fasters (who have bleeding eyes and a circular, bleeding hole for a mouth).
  • In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, the deliberately-mysterious stranger on Crab Island claims this part of the reason not to show his face.
    Morgane: Don't tell me. You've been known to scare children?
    Stranger: I've been known to scare wolves.
  • Once he got upgraded into Big Bad status for Batman: Arkham Knight, the Scarecrow got a new face (after being mangled by Killer Croc in the first game) to go with his new voice and look, which includes pale white eyes and missing lips and most of his nose. In fact, it's actually believed that Scarecrow's new look is part of the reason that Arkham Knight was giving an M Rating.
  • Undertale:
    • Flowey does this a lot. In fact, he does this right after he tries to kill you for the first time.
    • When Sans is being serious, the Glowing Eyelights of Undeath in his eye sockets disappear, most infamously when he tells you that he would've killed you if not for his promise to Toriel, and on a No Mercy run when he acknowledges that you're going to fight his brother soon.
    • The Fallen Child if you choose the "wrong" options to their questions at the very end of a No Mercy run.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Hans's face during a cutscene after chapter 13 of the Conquest path as he slaughters innocent civilians also doubles as a Slasher Smile.
    • Oboro is often accused of making such a terrorizing face whenever something remotely similar to what happened to her in her childhood is within sight: Nohrians in general are always the primary reason, though there are a few times other stuff makes her pull it out such as whenever her critical hit cut-in occurs...which will be often if you made her learn Rend Heaven.
  • In the Director's Cut of The Organ Trail, inspecting tombstones carries a small chance of a zombified head bursting up instead of a hand.
  • Mr. Hopp's Playhouse: Getting caught will treat you to a flashing screen with Mr. Hopp's lovely mug.
  • With the game being a Five Nights at Freddy's fan game, One Night at Flumpty's can be expected to have Jump Scare deaths. While Flumpty himself sports one in his jumpscare, Birthday Boy Blam takes it one step further. When near you, he sports a nasty Slasher Smile and his jumpscare, well, hope you don't suffer from trypophobia.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt expansion, Blood and Wine, features Regis, a kind and cultured gentleman who also happens to be the epitome of a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. When his bloodlust is triggered or his life threatened, he takes on quite a different appearance, loosely inspired by Count Orlok, which comes off as extra shocking, because the game makes it amply clear beforehand that he doesn't have a violent or malicious bone in his body.
  • Darkest Dungeon: Partly played straight, and partly implied with the Leper. There are only two times he takes his mask off: When he's failed a Resolve test and gone insane (his face is framed heavily in shadow so one cannot see many details, but it's enough to notice he has no actual nose), and as a Camping action to reduce his own stress (he finds the air in his face almost intoxicating), which will stress out everyone else from the sight.
  • Nuclear Throne: The "Scarier Face" mutation, the art of which shows a menacing-looking version of Crystal with demonic horns. In-game, its effect is lowering enemy health, implying that your face strikes so much fear in the hearts of your enemies that it weakens them.
  • Shesha in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse pulls a 2-hit combo on the player: In the Neutral routes, first you see a surprisingly realistic image of Shesha disguised as Flynn, but with green skin and a face very reminiscent of The Joker; that it just suddenly shows up without warning makes for a hell of a Jump Scare. Then, when the image disappears, you see the dialogue portrait of the same, with simplified features but now with a Slasher Smile.
  • Kokichi Oma from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has five of these, introduced more or less once a chapter. He makes a new one just as you get used to the old ones. Among these are impossibly wide grins, inverted color palettes, and shadowy black skin with bulging eyes. The final face really takes the cake.
  • Pilgrim (RPG Maker): In the card game, if you lose to Master Alice, she charges at you with a bloodshot left eye and sharp-toothed, wide Slasher Smile.
  • In the AWE expansion of Control, the "Wake Photograph" is one of these, an off-center, over-exposed, soft-focus photo of whatever is disguised as Alan Wake and tormenting his wife shrieking at the camera.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: Play as a Nosferatu, and you'll get all the benefits of having a monstrous face— being a walking masquerade violation, humans screaming and running away from you, the inability to seduce blood dolls because of how ugly you are, and giving an old lady a heart attack. The player has to stick to alleyways and sewers to avoid all of this, but luckily enough, most plot-relevant human NPCs will still give you the time of day after the initial shock.
  • Psych 2021: The killer's face is pulled back in an unnaturally huge smile, and his eye sockets look empty.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • deviantART: This Manticore
  • The Hellbeast in NES Godzilla Creepypasta.
  • Whateley Universe story "The Turks or the Geek": Carmilla threatens a superpowered mutant. Hundreds of tentacles come out of her body and grab him. Then her face splits. Down the center. Inside are teeth and more tentacles, and a lot of the tentacles have eyeballs on the tips, and... It's so horrifying the guy wets himself.
  • This fan-made image of the Creepypasta Suicide Mouse.
  • An unintentional example. There are a couple of jokes on the web about the Rejuvenique mask being this. Because despite never being portrayed as such in the commercials, it's still creepy. Why? It's a mask that looks like this and delivers tiny shocks to the face.
  • Killerbunnies' Io "Nightmare Fuel" McMorrison posses a somewhat milder example of this trope. To elaborate further, she has with her wide, somewhat angry looking blue eyes and her teeth are growing through the skin to outside of her mouth. Naturally,on the note of her teeth, with such a deformity, one wonders how she eats.
  • And then of course there's the infamous Momo of the Momo Challenge, which originated as a creepy statue in Japan with giant blank, staring eyes and a rather unsettling smile.
  • The picture in the Creepypasta ''Teeth.jpg. It was made from one of the protagonist's friends with more than just Photoshop.
  • Science and math-based artist Robby Kraft composed a face from various inanimate objects resembling faces, i.e. pareidolias. The result is square in the middle of the Uncanny Valley, and worthy of a Creepypasta.

    Web Videos 
  • In Marble Hornets, near the end of Entry #22, and in one of totheark's video responses.
  • Speaking of Marble Hornets, the Observer from Tribe Twelve has a pretty nightmarish face at the end of COMECLOSER.
  • A Running Gag in Mr. Plinkett's reviews is for him to react (or overreact...) to an inhuman looking face:
  • Todd in the Shadows is revealed to have this in To Boldly Flee, neatly explaining why he does all of his reviews in the shadows or wearing a mask. Naturally, the other characters see it but the audience does not. The horrifying thing about his face? According to Word of God, his face is a mirror into people's souls — the worse you are, the worse his face looks. Which is why the Makeover Fairy and The Nostalgia Chick have both reacted in horror to it. The fact that Lupa remained calm when seeing Todd's face may lessen this slightly (indicating that good people see a more normal-looking face). The concept is still pretty creepy, though.
  • "The Glitch" by Corridor Digital focuses on a group of game characters as they try to evade a series of game-breaking glitches. Mario falls into a glitched portion of the game world, and just before he sinks in completely, his face suddenly and graphically morphs into several hideous visages as his screams digitally decompose.
  • The reason why Laina Morris became well-known as the Overly Attached Girlfriend. And she only needs to open her eyes wide and smile to do so.
  • This trope plays a major role in Illusion of Bias when the girl is unhappy the she lost her face. She then has a nightmare where she has a hideous face.
  • The entirety of Monster Factory is based on this trope. Out of all of the monsters in the series, Truck Shepard has by far the most nightmarish face, because its features have been horribly distorted thanks to a little hacking. For example, at one point his cheek stretches into infinite and his eye is several inches away from his face. In the words of Griffin, "Yikes!"
  • Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel) has Michael Taylor's face at the ending of "The Devil Made Me Do It". It didn't help that the narrator had mentioned that there were still 3 demons still possessing him after an incomplete exorcism.
  • The "basic" expressions for the Inhuman Emotions that the Fantastic Drug Thalasin+ enables you to experience. Junji Ito would be proud.

    Western Animation 
  • Centaurworld: In "Holes, Part 2", when Comfortable Doug suddenly shouts "tell it to the judge!", his goofy-looking rounded teeth suddenly become fangs, he loses his accent, and his voice gains a distorted, echoing effect.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show owes much of its horror to this trope.
    • A particularly extreme one happens in "Ren Seeks Help", where Ren's eyes become huge and bloodshot and his lips flap back and away from his mouth to reveal gums studded with small, misaligned pointy teeth.
    • Ren makes another terrifying face later in the episode after he beats Mr. Horse. The face he makes in "Stimpy's Pregnant" when he finds out Stimpy's "pregnant" and attempts to abort the "baby" is also pretty frightening.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "There's No Disgrace Like Home", Homer, disgusted by his family, imagine each family member as horrible demons.
    • In "Brother from the Same Planet", Bart is so mad at Homer for being late to pick him up that he has a brief Imagine Spot of Homer's face burning and melting, with his face looking like a skeleton covered with blood and rotting skin and his eyes devoid of pupils while moaning ''"NOW HOW 'BOUT A HUG?"'.
    • "Treehouse of Horror V": In "The Shinning", while being manipulated by the ghostly Moe, Homer makes several terrifying faces, at one point he mocks Marge for being afraid of them, he makes one and looks at his reflection in the mirror and scares himself.
  • Family Guy:
    • One Cutaway Gag parodied The Ring; Peter watches the cursed tape despite fair warning, and the next cut we see him? Nightmare Face, just like what you might expect from a reference to The Ring (The joke is that the cursed video was a copy of Mannequin; Take That!!).
    • The character of Death also apparently has on of these, causing Peter to scream in terror when he see it and vomit afterwards.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has used this on occasion.
    • Probably the most well-known example is Moar Krabs, from the "more" montage from the episode "Jellyfish Hunter."
    • "Skodwarde", from the episode "Just One Bite". "Does this look unsure to you?"
    • "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?" has one as a Gross-Up Close-Up. "Is there something wrong with me?"
    • "Face Freeze!" is all about SpongeBob and Patrick making these faces. This is Played for Laughs at first, but later for horror when they cannot undo their faces.
  • Adventure Time does this entirely too much for a children's cartoon. But it's okay.
    • Vampiress Marceline cranks the Nightmare Face up to eleven when she gets angry or feeds on anything red.
    • The shot of Lemongrab with his eyes rolled back into his head, with only the whites exposed, could count as this. That just came out of nowhere... *shudders*
    • There was a deleted scene from that same episode, where Lemongrab sends a tiny candy kid to the dungeon. When the kid meekly tries to protest, LG makes an exceedingly creepy, deranged face, and the kid leaves the room in tears.
    • The Lich's face, all the time.
    • Ricardio's close-up in "Ricardio the Heart Guy". "AND MAKE OUT WITH IT!"
    • I've soiled my tunic... completely by choice!
    • Even Finn gets in on the action: during...expressive moments, his face resembles a cross between this trope and the Trollface meme.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • The episode "Courage in the Big Stinkin' City" contains a freaky one with The Violin Girl; this is made even worse by a loud, demonic scream.
    • The Harvest Moon Spirit is another example and one that more than makes up for the fact that it is nothing more than a face.
  • King Ramses from "The Curse of King Ramses". Like the Harvest Moon Spirit and the Violin Girl, this example is extra horrifying because its animated in a different style than the rest of the show. (King Ramses is CGI, the Spirit is live-action and the Violin Girl is claymation)
  • Rugrats: "I'M NOT TOMMY!" Here you go.
    • "I'M NOT STU!"
    • Charlotte in the spin-off series, All Grown Up! looks a bit unnerving thanks what was clearly too much cosmetic surgery. She made Didi scream in terror at least once.
  • These three images of Ezekiel from Total Drama World Tour as he descends into complete madness from an obsession with winning the season.
  • Some of the faces the Grinch makes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! could qualify, like this one or this one.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades:
    • Snake Eyes is implied to have this by the unnerved reaction of several bikers who saw him unmasked. Scrap-Iron's scarring after taking a missile to the face definitely qualifies.
    • In the Marvel comics, Cobra Commander wore the mask just to stay anonymous, but in the Sunbow cartoon, the mask was to hide his face. Destro, himself masked but a normal guy underneath, is repulsed in one episode when walking in unexpectedly on Cobra Commander dining.
  • The Problem Solverz episode "Funny Facez" invokes this several times with "funny face artists." The characters find the faces hilarious, but they're really kind of creepy looking. At the end of the episode, Alfe makes the "funniest" one.
  • Transformers Animated: Blackarachnia without her helmet.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    Pinkie Pie: Betcha can't make a face crazier than... THIS!
  • Nebby K. Nezzer during the climax of the VeggieTales video "Rack, Shack, and Benny" when he dumps Bob the Tomato as Shadrach, Junior Asparagus as Meshach, and Larry the Cucumber as Abednago into the furnace.
  • The faces the Hitchhiking Ghosts make to scare Pete in the House of Mouse version of the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts."
  • In an episode of Tom and Jerry Tales, a shape-shifting alien takes the form of Jerry, and pulls off a terrifying Slasher Smile.
  • The Danny Phantom episode "The Ultimate Enemy" has the creation of Dark Danny. It's not the scene that's freaky (though it has its Squick moments), but the part when Dark Danny before he kills his human half gives off a face past the disturbance scale. Oh, if looks could kill...
  • Hey Arnold!: In the episode "Arnold Visits Arnie" at the end of Arnold's Nightmare Sequence Arnie gives one of these after going Ax-Crazy.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack pretty much runs on this trope, usually accompanied by the shows signature "Horrified Scream" sound effect.
    • Especially a certain cat
    • Comically averted with a creepy character called Teehee Hummy tums, who wears a burlap sack with a weird face drawn on it over his head (as does his family). When he takes it off at the end of the episode, it turns out that he's so stunningly beautiful that his face projects a halo of light (the viewers dont get to see it, but the other characters are all mesmerized and throw money at him as thanks for gracing them with his presence).
  • On one episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball's dad goes off the deep end trying to prank him and makes some hideous faces in the process.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
  • The skeletons in The Skeleton Dance do this occasionally.
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Crash", Raven scares Gizmo into helping to cure Cyborg by lowering her hood. We only see her shadow on the floor next to gizmo, but there are implied to be tentacles coming out of there.
    • Interestingly, prior to it Robin indicates that he wants her to do this. Which could mean he knows about it...
    • Teen Titans Go!!! has Robin with his mask off. Unlike the reactions by viewers, the Titans thought his face looked beautiful.
  • Batman: The Animated Series loves playing this trope:
    • The very first episode, "On Leather Wings", has a transformation sequence that's guaranteed to frighten anyone who sees it (as well as providing an unforgettable scary sounds).
    • The Scarecrow, having fear as his shtick, is often shown inducing hallucinations of this in others. Here's an example.
    • Here's the title card of the episode "The Last Laugh"...
    • Calendar Girl in "Mean Seasons" hides her face behind a White Mask of Doom — her appearance is perfectly normal, even beautiful, but being cast aside by the modeling industry as "too old" warped her perception so that she sees only the minor flaws and thinks of herself as hideous.
  • Rankin-Bass' ''The Stingiest Man in Town." has their version of the Marley-knocker. Enjoy!
  • In a Porky Pig cartoon called "Porky in Egypt", a harem girl removes her veil to reveal her ugly and unattractive face.
  • Despite being full of Gorn, Metalocalypse usually averts this. Except the end of Dethkids and Murderface after plastic surgery (his face got infected).
  • This happens on occasion on Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • When Numbuh 3 gets quite upset, her head will, in any way, shape or form, becomes demonic. Case in point: when she finds out her stuffed toys have been destroyed by monster lice and breaks down crying:
      Numbuh 1: It's okay, Numbuh 3, we'll get you some new toys.
      Numbuh 3: New toys? I don't want new toys. I WANT REVENGE!!!
    • And then there's the episode "Operation: P.I.N.K.-E.Y.E.", which shows Numbuh 86's reaction to Numbuh 2 calling her "toots".
    • Father's angry face in the season 1 finale, where it suddenly turns demonic and shows a mouth full of sharp teeth. This is the only time we see his mouth when he's wearing his shadow suit.
  • The Pluto the Pup cartoon "Pluto's Judgement Day" in which Pluto dreams he winds up in trial in Dog Hell, the cat prosecutor makes a rather terrifying face when he says "Justice!".
  • Young Justice has a moment when Klarion the Witch Boy's face...shifts into something pointed and ratlike as his eyes go demonic. Many fans have cited it as one of the scariest parts in the whole series.
  • Several of the faces the devil or B.L. Zeebub as he calls himself makes in "The Devil and Daniel Mouse".
  • The Legend of Korra; Eska's face when she goes full Yandere after Bolin leaves her at the altar.
  • Breadwinners has a particularly unsettling Gross-Up Close-Up of Buhdeuce's face in "Stank Breath". It's... really not worth looking up if you have a weak stomach.
  • The High Priestess of Aku in the fifth season of Samurai Jack has the High Priestess deliver one while ordering Ashi to kill Jack. We even see the face in an actual nightmare that Ashi was having.
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents Timmy wishes that everyone in Dimsdale didn't have to sleep. Without getting his "beauty rest" Cosmo becomes more haggard and hideous in appearance with each passing day, until eventually his face all out becomes this. Timmy winds up the same way at the end of the episode.
    • Another episode has Timmy wish for 24 hours of pitch darkness so he can get some sleep. Unfortunately, if Fairies spend too much time in darkness, they turn into horrible monsters called Scary Fairies, which we get to see glimpses of throughout the episode.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Toepick, is a being with a metal grate over his face. Whenever he lifts the grate (his face is never shown to the viewer), everybody (according to Word of God, even a Celestialsapien) is terrified beyond belief. Only beings who are blind or emotionless are immune. Apparently, even Toepick himself is not immune if he were to see his own reflection. Whether this is true for actual members of his species or just for Toepick (a.k.a. Ben) is unknown.
  • Big City Greens:
    • "Reckoning Ball" closes on one, courtesy of Chip Whistler.
    • In "Impopstar", Amaryllis has one as she pursues Cricket (thinking he's Zillon Brax) to stay with him.
    • In "Flimflammed", Gloria has one as she comes after Cricket after he scams her out of her rent money.
    • In "Chipocalypse Now", Chip gets one, complete with crazy eyes, as he attempts to kill Cricket and his family with his chopper just before he gets slung out of town. This one is not quite as threatening as the "Reckoning Ball" one, however.
    • Cricket has one briefly in "Shark Objects" as he plans his shark prank. Bill even lampshades it:
    Bill: Boy, what are you doin'? You've got that devious look in your eyes.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • In the episode "Spider's Little Daddy" at the beginning when Jeff the spider greets Billy whom he thinks is his dad, we then see from Billy's point of view, it shows a closeup of his face which is very exaggerated making him look hideously deformed and having huge dripping fangs.
    • And in "Wishbones" when Pud'n finds the wishing skull he wishes for a cute little bunny to love, when he gets the bunny he picks it up and hugs it, it then headbutts him and roars at him making a hideous face in the process, for that moment the bunny has fangs, tusks, a forked tongue, and horns.
  • Smoke in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, whose face occasionally morphs into a skull while talking to Michael.
  • Mighty Man And Yukk practically breathes this trope. When Yukk lifts the doghouse mask off his face, watch out.
  • Steven Universe: In "Message Received", Yellow Diamond gives Peridot one (that doubles as hilarious) when the latter calls the former a CLOD.
  • Wander over Yonder: Lord Dominater, during her Villain Song, momentarily gives a dark one to Lord Hater before causing her helmet's face-plate to cover it. Even more unsettling is the cold giggle she gives just before she does it. You can see it on the show's Nightmare Fuel page.
  • Grojband: Scare-master Blade Stabbington has one of these in "Creep Away Camp"; once Grojband helps him get his scare back, that is.
  • The face Dale makes from the King of the Hill episode "To Kill A Ladybird" when he hisses at Nancy and John Redcorn when he breaks into the house to bring back food for himself after he has decided to live in the woods after he thought he contracted rabies from a raccoon bite.
  • In the Animaniacs Goodfeathers cartoons, the usually placid Godpigeon can turn his face into a terrifying monster face at will. He does it in two cartoons: to cure Squit's hiccups in "Hiccup," and in "Pigeon on the Roof" as Restrained Revenge on Pesto after the latter confesses to fantasizing about murdering him and taking over the flock. He also has has the same face in zombie form in Pesto's actual nightmare from the same cartoon (a parody of "Tevye's Dream" from Fiddler on the Roof with the Godpigeon in the Fruma Sarah role).
  • In one episode of Spongebob Squarepants part of the reason Spongebob and Patrick mistake Sandy's pet caterpillar-now-turned-butterfly Wormy for a monster is because the Butterfly is supremely hideous, to the point it probably gave more than a few kids actual nightmares, since we actually get to see its face up close multiple times throughout the episode. Despite the mainstream view of Butterflies as beautiful, this is Truth In Televison. They didn't pick some random insect and give its face to Wormy. That's what a Butterfly actually looks like when you scale it up to a point where a human can make out every detail.

    Real Life 
Warning: Look up these examples at your own risk. Many of which are quite graphic.

  • At the time of this episode of Guinness World Records, Leonard McQueeny holds the world record for most extensive facial prosthesis. And yes...he can remove it.
  • Korean singer Hang Mioku, a cosmetic surgery addict, ended up having so many procedures (at the height of her obsession, she injected cooking oil into her skin) that her face ended up massively enlarged and disfigured beyond recognition. You don't want pictures. But in case you do, here's one.
  • Various cancers and skin diseases that affect the face can result in this. Such as tumors, which, if left unchecked, can grow to the point where a part of a person's face is swollen to the size of a balloon.
  • Not just nightmare face but nightmare head and brain too: a mistake in the womb around day 22 of pregnancy can result in a condition called anencephaly, where the baby is born alive, but without a brain. Don't search for it, the image will scar you for life.
    • Related is a condition called holoprosencephaly...well basically another name for this is 'Cyclopia'. Yeah. Guess what it does. It results from the brain not splitting into two hemispheres; Cyclopia is the worst form, but the simplest of cleft palates is the least...
  • Joseph Merrick. You might know him as "The Elephant Man". Tragically, he was treated as a freak and exploited by freakshow owners and doctors despite simply being born with a terrible illness. Once Dr. Treves found him, he was admitted to a hospital and lived quite a comfortable life there, was treated with respect by the public (due to freak shows and the people who attended or ran them rapidly being seen as disgusting and immoral) and had lots of friends, including Princess Alexandra of Wales.
  • Huang Chuncai, also known as "China's Elephant Man" Think Joseph Merrick to 10th power. And that includes woobie points as well.
  • Charla Nash, the victim of a domesticated animal attack, had most of her face as well as her right hand ripped off when her friend's pet chimpanzee mauled her in 2009. The result is extremely hard to look at; hell, even her operators needed counseling after seeing the damage to her face
  • Raymond Robinson, more commonly known as the Green Man or Charlie No Face was disfigured by an electrical line accident when he was eight. He was never able to go out during the day, but went for frequent walks at night. He was also the subject of urban legend around his home in Pennsylvania.
  • Juliana Wetmore, as a result of an extreme form of Treacher Collins syndrome. She has a face, but it's not supported by bone.
  • Dan Bigley lost his eyes and most of his face when he was mauled by a bear in 2003. Now that he has fully (well, almost, he still lacks eyes) recovered, he looks pretty okay though. Heck, he looks like a normal, even handsome, guy when he wears his sunglasses.
  • In a similar, but more horrifying vein, Chrissy Steltz got a prostetic face (well, eyes and nose). She previously wore a sleeping mask when she went out.
  • Denise Wagoner, who was blinded and severely disfigured in a DUI accident. The EMT on the scene remarked that her face looked like "bloody hamburger" after the crash, and that's pretty much exactly what it was (search it at your own risk). In hindsight, it sounds eerily similar to the case of the "hamburger lady" described in the Throbbing Gristle song of that name, which was based on a real life car crash/burn victim.
    • Jacqui Saburido was also disfigured in a drunk driving accident, but is even more of a woobie because, unlike Wagoner, the accident wasn't her fault.
  • Chase No Face, a cat who looks like someone took a blowtorch to her eyes and nose. She was hit by a car and survived, but her nose, whiskers, and most of the fur on her face could not be repaired by doctors, leaving nothing but pink flesh left where her fur was. Now works as a therapy animal for people with disfiguring injuries.
  • Jose Mestre, the "Bad Face of Lisboa"(according to, who had his face taken over be a hemangioma/AVM. Rumor has it that he died during the surgery... However, as everyone knows, rumors are unreliable. He lived. What he looks like under the bandages has yet to be seen.
    • There's been at least one TV documentary that showed his face after surgery. This slideshow, here includes a photo of him after his tumor was removed. Whether or not this trope still applies is debatable.
  • Look up "keloid" (a scar that starts absorbing collagen, so it gets wicked huge. commonly forms from radiation exposure) on Google Images.
  • Dear God, Pete Burns. Even the botched lip job that nearly cost him his life didn't stop his plastic surgery addiction, which may have contributed to his early demise.
    • What's truly tragic and infuriating was that he used to be GORGEOUS and none of that surgery was ever necessary. He was fine the way he was, but he suffered from the delusion that he was hideous.
  • This video demonstrates how our perception of faces can be toyed with.
  • Something is very, very wrong with Newt Gingrich's wife Callista in a recent photo.
  • Google image search "Ronald Poppo chewed face" if you dare.
  • Harlequin baby - a baby with an extremely rare disease where the skin is hard and cracked, and the eye sockets are full of blood where the eyeballs should be. They also have no nose or ears. Don't look this up. Note that this trope ONLY applies to newborns with the disease; although the condition is lifelong, their appearance improves DRAMATICALLY as they gradually age past the newborn stage. Although they remain identifiable through various distinguishing features of their condition, such as sparse hair and thick, sometimes peeling reddish skin, children and toddlers with the condition are often actually quite cute in an unconventional way. Sadly, the condition is very painful and sufferers are often susceptible to a shorter life expectancy than average, though they're now living longer thanks to advancements in treatment/care.
  • The "gueules cassées" ("broken faces"), World War I veterans disfigured because of heavy injuries in the face. Trying to treat their injuries contributed to the advance of aesthetic surgery.
  • If you can consider it a face, a farmer in the US chopped off the head of a chicken but did it in such a way that just enough of the important bits of the brain were still intact, allowing the chicken to live practically headless for years.
  • There are plenty of animals that pretend to have these through protective coloration to drive off predators.
  • Famous singer, Dave Clark, became so obsessed with fighting the ageing process that his surgery has left him looking like some kind of monster.
  • Khadija Khatoon was born with an extreme form of neurofibromatosis which has left her looking as if she has no face. She does have a mouth covered by the tumor which is visible when she moves it out the way, but her eyes and nose are completely covered and she doesn't know if she even has them anymore. You can see her here. WARNING: Very graphic.
  • Hydrocephalus is a condition caused by a build up of fluid around the brain that can cause the person's head to grow to abnormal sizes. The most well known example is a toddler from rural India whose head grew three times larger than normal, though she was eventually treated and her head is now regular size. Don't look this condition up, the pictures can be very distressing.
  • Jocelyn Wildenstein. Supposedly her husband talked her into the plastic surgery which makes her look like a Rule 63 version of the Joker.
  • Similar to Chase No-Face above but possibly even more distressing is Kalu, AKA The Dog Who Regrew His Face. This stray in Brazil had a maggot-infested crater where his face use to be by the time rescuers found him. It could however also be taken as a great survival story, as vets decided to treat him instead of putting him down, and not only did he survive, but he regained the use of his remaining eye. In any case, read his story with caution.
  • The incurable illness Cacrum Oris will cause you to have a ridiculously disfigured looking face. Here's an example, but prepare the Brain Bleach.
  • Most pictures of Anneliese Michel feature this. If you look at the photos and listen to her exorcism audio you'll be scarred forever.
  • Also, unidentified decendents (Jane/John Does) and their reconstruction images. Depending on the artist and medium used, the reconstructions can look wrong and downright creepy. Some of them are made by using post-mortem pictures as a reference, which is even worse, because you are basically looking at a dead body. It doesn't help that some reconstructions aren't accurate at all and might not aid in identification. If you k upnow the cause of death, well, good luck sleeping at night.
  • Professional wrestler Jun Kasai has one the most frightening faces in the whole of pro wrestling. His forehead scars, contact lense and missing teeth would be enough to give anyone nightmares. And then there's when he's covered in blood.
  • Anglerfish, particularly the females, look like nightmares incarnate. They're far from alone when it comes to ocean life: goblin sharks and blobfish, just to name a couple, have faces you would definitely not want to see swimming at you in the ocean abyss.
    • Averted with the blobfish, as they only look nightmarish when their out of the ocean. Otherwise they look like relatively normal fish when in the water.
    • Played straight with the Hatchetfish when looking straight at them. Their black, pupilless eyes and gaping mouths... it's a real good thing they're only 5 inches long.
    • In the same vein, goblin sharks.
  • Blanche Monnier was a 24-year-old lively lady in France, 1876. When her mother learned that she was planning to marry a 'penniless lawyer', however, things turned tragic. The mother, after failing to convince Blanche to end the relationship, locked her in an attic, to a single bed, for twenty-five years. When an anonymous note to the Attorney General revealed the horrific conditions she was living in, police were duty-bound to investigate, and, subsequently, break her out. She was taken to the nearest hospital, and the resulting photograph shows her body, particularly her face, in all its uncanny horror. You can see by looking at her face that she had gone through something torturous.
  • A lighter but still creepy example: In 1989, Chicago TV station WMAQ aired a missing person ad for one Joanna Lopez after the national anthem for the sign off. The graininess and print deterioration of the image not only makes the person in question barely identifiable, but the entire image, played in complete silence, extremely unsettling. Even creepier, they ran the same slide signing off in 1991, where it just stays on the slide for a bit before cutting off to color bars and a tone (though, at least the quality was slightly better on her picture). Even creepier is there’s seemingly no information on the case anywhere online so no one knows her fate or the circumstances behind her disappearance, if she was really a missing person at all.
    • What's interesting is that Lopez wasn't disfigured and was probably a normal-looking, pretty gal, it's just the qually of the photo that made her look scary. At first glance, she looks like some bug person or deformed with white eyes, rather than a perfectly normal black woman wearing large glasses.
  • Artie Lange of The Howard Stern Show and MADtv suffered from a massive cocaine addiction that got so bad that it caused his nose to collapse, leaving him with a flat piece of flesh in the middle of his face. He's opted not to get it fixed so that it serves as a reminder of his addictions and to keep him from going back off the wagon.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Face Worse Than Death


Nate is Late [Monster Instructor's Warning]

Scene from "Nate is Late" Ep 6B - "The Adorable Monster". Nate and Malika come across a dark house ride in the park which the owner lets them ride for free and go through a few jump scare save for a monster near the end. They soon find out that the ride was a test for monsters to scare people and the last one failed his attempt. The duo help out by asking the owner/instructor to give him one more chance. She agrees... with one stern warning however.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / NightmareFace

Media sources:

Main / NightmareFace