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Rage Helm

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Faceless Goons are already pretty scary, but some villains just want more. But the faces under the helmets aren't particularly fearsome, and Spikes of Villainy just don't cut it. Something to suggest the pain these guys are gonna bring...

Solution: make the helmet itself look angry. Enter...the Rage Helm.

This is when a helmet's visor is embossed with a furious face or something similarly frightening. Merely having scary-looking eye-slits doesn't count, although features that just vaguely suggest a wrathful expression might. Stern looks also count, and might even be scarier than the raging ones. Don't be surprised if this is part of the Doom Troops' uniform. Mecha-Mooks might have this, depending on how their "faces" look. Compare and contrast Malevolent Masked Men (for when the scary visor is the whole point) and Expressive Mask (which actually changes expression). See also Faceless Goons and Gas Mask Mooks. A common feature of Scary Impractical Armor.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Gundam
    • The MS-07 Gouf series of Mobile Suits in have a distinctive triangular protrusion hanging down from the middle of their mono-eye visors, giving them a perpetually scowling look.
    • The MS-14 Gelgoog series have stern looks due to their wide, flat 'brows' and narrow visors. Uma Lightning's variant deserves credit for looking like it's actually trying to glare someone to death.
    • The Physalis Gundam also has an unusually malevolent looking face, with a curious, angry looking red "mouth" in place of the iconic twin horizontal vent slits.
    • As does the Legilis (Regulus?) Gundam in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE.

  • No stars in sight: The soldiers of Val Vindica'aur's honour guard aboard the Rancis Olytus wear helmets engraved with the likenesses of snaring war beasts.
  • The Palaververse: Moonlight Palaver mentions "black-coated rams, clad in thick armour and with helmets that entirely covered their faces behind snarling masks", the guards of the Tyrant of Ovarn.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: The guards of Zaldia are noted to have helmets designed to look like roaring bears.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Big Hero 6, Baymax's helmet (visible on one of the posters) frames his friendly Black Bead Eyes just right to turn them into perpetually scowling Conjoined Eyes.
  • In Moana, the Kakamora are a tribe of crazy intense coconut-armored pygmy pirates. Right after Moana comments at how cute they are, they paint angry faces over their armor.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie of Prince Caspian, Miraz's forces wear helmets embossed with a fearsomely snarling face, and Miraz himself wears a slightly fancier one.
  • Iron Man: The closure line of Stark's Iron Man helmet suggests a thin-lipped scowl.
  • Star Wars
    • Darth Vader's helmet has a chillingly penetrating stare, and this was exaggerated for Star Wars Rebels, making him look much more angry. Appropriate as the concept was based on samurai armor (see Real Life below.)
    • Stormtroopers are intended to look this way, with their frowning mouth grills vaguely resembling a grimace, but they look more sad to some people.
  • Dark Helmet from Spaceballs is an over-the-top parody of Vader.
  • Evil Robot Maximillian in The Black Hole has that bright red eye with a furrowing brow sculpted/painted above it, making it look like he's permanently scowling.
  • The immortals in 300. Not that they need it, really.
  • General Kael, The Dragon in Willow, has a helmet with a terrifying skull face that really leaves an impression.
  • Starting with Tim Burton's Batman movies, every film version of Batman's costume has frowning eyebrows sculpted into the cowl.
  • In Zardoz, the Exterminators wear grimacing masks of the titular Zardoz, their god who showers them with blessings in the form of guns and ammo.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Immortan Joe, a despotic leader suffering from respiratory problems, wears an oxygen mask decorated with horse-teeth to have a skeletal/feral appearance.
  • In Black Panther (2018), Erik Killmonger dons his own vibranium armor with a snarling jaguar pattern baring its teeth on his mask.
  • Bloodsport of The Suicide Squad has a helmet that makes him look like a grimacing Xenomorph.

  • In the Lone Wolf gamebook series, the Drakkarim — Elite Mooks of the Darklords — always wears metal helmets with scary facemasks, most often skull-shaped, in battle. To the point this is frequently the main feature used to describe them.
  • There are multiple villains, both minor and major, from the Fighting Fantasy books wearing scary-looking faceplaces as part of their attire.
    • Voivod from Legend of the Shadow Warriors wears a horned helmet with a face-plate resembling a demonic skull, while his underlings, the titular Shadow Warriors, have half-masks that glares menacingly at their victims.
    • Lord Belgaroth from Knights of Doom, besides his black plated armour, also dons a faceplate with a grinning demon's skull, complete with jagged fangs, alongside two vertical horns as tall as the faceplate itself.
    • Conrad Zaar from Moonrunner, the zombie executioner and a Jason Vorhees Expy, wears a faceplate bearing a smile as he hunts you down.

  • Discworld likes to mock this trope. They appear in Interesting Times and Pyramids. In Pyramids the soldiers wear them even during innocuous conversation, and some of the palace guards in Interesting Times have actually cultivated the art of going to sleep in their feet, confident of not being detected behind the expressions of metal rage on their visors.
  • In The Silmarillion, dwarvish helms apparently were like these. One of these helms becomes significant as the signature item of the hero Túrin Turambar.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. The Hound has a helm resembling a snarling dog. It comes to represent the dark part of his personality as well as that of other people who wear it.
    • When Eddard Stark visits Tobho Mott's smith shop, Mott offers to make him a helmet with a snarling wolf so detailed/realistic, children will cry upon seeing it. Stark declines.
  • The Blood Pact of Gaunt's Ghosts wear bronze masks cast as snarling, angry faces when they go into battle. If that was not intimidating enough, they also undergo ritual scarification and intentionally stain their uniforms with blood.
  • Ithicanian army in The Bridge Kingdom Archives wears helms resembling savage animals, which—as prince Aren says, was his grandfather's stroke of genius, even though they are uncomfortable to wear. But they hide the identity really well, which allows Aren himself to go on spying missions, as well as hiding the fact that a large proportion of Ithicanian military consists of women.
  • Kane Series: General Javro in Dark Crusade wears a helm with a visor that looks like a snarling demon's face. Underneath, his own face is horribly disfigured by burns.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: The Hound's helmet looks like a snarling dog.
  • The high-ranking Jaffa soldiers in Stargate SG-1 tend to wear full-face masks depicting the inspiring Egyptian, animal-headed god of their commanding Goa'uld, either snake heads for the Serpent Guards or hawk heads for the Horus Guards. Those are quite scary, except for Setesh guards' helmets. Apparently, the latter are the subject of many jokes among the Jaffa, jokes whose humor is Lost in Translation.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and several other Power Rangers/Super Sentai series have Mooks and Monsters of the Week with sculpted mouths on their helmets. The rangers' helmets often feature sculpted mouths as well, but the trope is inverted in their case since their helmets' mouths are universally sculpted into neutral/calm expressions. In seasons where the rangers are animal themed, the helmets will often be based on that animal, but the snarling mouth acts as the helmet's eye piece.
  • The helmets of all Makai Knights in GARO appear to be stylized images of wolves baring their teeth.
  • The Spectre siblings, a trio of demonic alien conquerors from Andro Melos, who later returned decades later in Tsuburaya's Ultraman X (and have been recurring villains since their comeback in 2015), wears such faceplates alongside their helmets. The younger brother Juda Spectre wears a golden mask with large, piercing red eyes and a sadistic smile, while the older brother Mold Spectre have his facemask resembling a scowling skull.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 

  • BIONICLE: The Kanohi Hau's eyes are cast in an angry scowl, which is fitting for its most prominent wearer, the angry and Hot-Blooded Tahu, but is also worn by other characters with a variety of temperaments.

    Video Games 
  • A couple of the helmets in Vindictus have scary faces on them, notably the Beholder Mask. Vindictus is also the Trope Namer, but the item in question is not this trope; it's actually a helm enchanted to cause Unstoppable Rage.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Played straight with the each of the game's various Daedric helms.
      • Averted with the Indoril helms of the Ordinators, which instead have an emotionless Frozen Face. The lore-friendlynote  Tamriel Rebuilt Game Mod (which seeks to expand Morrowind by adding the rest of the province of Morrowind) indicates that there are specialized Ordinator groups whose helmets are altered to show other emotions. The ones who have shown up thus far are the Ordinators in Mourning, the guards for the necropolis of Necrom, whose helmets are designed to look like Nerevar (supplementary materials back around Morrowind said that the Ordinator helmet was based on Nerevar's face) crying.
      • Played straight with Almalexia's "War Mask" in the Tribunal expansion, which you get to see up close and personal when she tries to kill you.
    • Skyrim:
      • Dwarven Helmets exhibit this, with the faceplate of the mask crafted to look like a perpetually furious Dwemer (unless your character is female, in which case it's smiling).
      • Played straight once again with Daedric helmets, as is standard for the series.
      • The Wolf Armor helmet has a cheek-guard shaped to resemble a wolf's jawbone.
      • The Carved Nordic Armour introduced with the Dragonborn DLC has a helm shaped like a bear.
  • The Fallout series:
    • The Enclave have Powered Armor helmets so intimidating that, in the third game and Fallout: New Vegas, they reduce your Charisma by one point! Not that it makes much difference. In the third game, they're nicknamed "devil suits" in-universe, as the Enclave armor resembles, er, devils with pointed horns.
    • The helmets of the T-series (T-45, T-51, and T-60) Power Armor, especially the T-51, are not too far behind in this regard as their visors are always slanted in such a way as to make the soldier wearing them look like they're perpetually angry.
    • In Fallout 4, the Enclave's Advanced Power Armor returns under the name X-01. The helmet still has the same insectoid appearance as in 2 and New Vegas, but without the Charisma penalty. In fact, you can actually get a Charisma bonus depending on what paint job you get for your armor. Also, Charisma is no longer a Dump Stat.
    • New Vegas has Legate Lanius's demonic helmet, which comes with a scowling facemask. There are also the helmets worn by some Marked Men on the Lonesome Road. The best are near-perfect replicas of Lanius' helmet, but a step below that are the ones that are incomplete, cracked, and deformed.
  • Several helmets in Blacklight Retribution put a nasty-looking face on the helmet, such as the Bonebreaker, which is a scowling skull.
  • Concept art for Commander Rimanah in E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy had him wearing a grinning skull helmet. However, in-game both he and your Mentor wear serene facemasks. The Mentor's facemask even has a beard!
  • A scowling helmet known as Dragon Helm in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is described as frightening to enemies, and it halves their defense because of it.
  • Meta Knight from the Kirby series wears a mask that has this expression on his visor. However, given that most of the time he's an Anti-Villain, Anti-Hero, or just an outright good guy, it's not indicative of what he's (usually) like.
    • Dark Meta Knight from Kirby & the Amazing Mirror has a much thinner visor, which makes him look more aggressive and constantly scowling at certain angles. His more violent nature definitely helps.
    • There's also Masked Dedede from Kirby Super Star Ultra, who has a mask that has this expression, giving off an angry glare.
  • In the roguelike game Angband, the Iron Helm of Gorlim is described as a gaudy, barbaric helm, and it aggravates all nearby creatures.
  • In Halo: Reach, Emile decorates his visor with the visage of a demon skull.
  • The Last Guardian: The man-eating beasts (Including our Trico originally) all wear metal helmets that have snarling dragon faces carved into them. Even just the shape of the helmets make the beasts look more threatening.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] redesigned the Blackwatch mask to become this.
  • In The Witcher 3, the Wild Hunt wear scary skull themed black armor with skull-like helms. This is a deliberate intimidation tactic on their part. It's made more effective by the fact that they are Aen Elle, elves who are much taller on average than humans. Their helms also seem to be enchanted to make their voices sound deeper — when their helmets are off they sound fairly normal (if arrogant) but with them on they sound like demons from the pits of hell.
  • Half-Life 2's Combine Guards wear creepy gas masks similar to the skull-like Soviet PMG and PBF designs.
  • Helghast soldiers in the Killzone series have slanted glowing eyepieces that make them look angry. Particularly when coupled with the low-sitting edge of their helmets and the Kubrick Stare they give on the covers of the first two games.
  • Darkly inverted with the Looking Glass Knight in Dark Souls II. There are three faces on its helmet, but between their disturbing calm expressions and the constant rain, they give the impression of constantly crying.
  • The Black Knight in Astalon: Tears of the Earth wears a helmet engraved to look like it has two rows of bared teeth.
  • X in the Mega Man X series is a downplayed example. The design on his default helmet slightly resembles angry eyebrows, reflecting the more aggressive playstyle and darker tone of the games themselves compared to his predecessor.

    Visual Novels 
  • The helmet of Muramasa from Full Metal Daemon Muramasa in her armored form is adorned with a perpetually scowling face and whenever she or her wearer is using some of her more powerful moves the lips part to reveal gritted teeth, going from scowling to a violently rage filled expression.

    Web Comics 
  • Jagganoth from Kill Six Billion Demons has his signature helm that looks like a grinning, demonic, vaguely elephantine entity with several skull-like attributes. He never goes out without it in public, to the point that it's rarer to see him out of the helmet than wearing it.

    Real Life 
  • Samurai could wear protective masks together with their helmets. The Menpō (from nose down to chin) and Sōmen (entire face) masks usually bore the shape of wrathful faces, and sometimes had a moustache made from horsehair.
  • In an aversion (or perhaps a Tranquil Fury-invoking variation), certain Roman soldiers wore metal face masks, but they always had impassive expressions to represent the gods.
  • In a downplayed present example, early medieval helmets , especially the heaume de croise combined a heavy brow with full-face covering impersonality elsewhere to amplify the effect.
  • Soviet gas masks often were colored white and had small eye windows, making them look eerily like skulls. Since they conceal nearly all of the face, this adds to the Uncanny Valley effect, making designs like the PBF, and the PMG, look rather imposing, but the PMK comes closest to the trope, but the GP-5 is definitely the scariest.
  • Speaking of gas masks, modern panoramic masks, such as the M50, GSR, and PMK-4, have a somewhat scowl-like appearance to the lenses at certain angles. They also vaguely look like the helmets worn by death troopers.
  • There's a closely related idea in automotive design - it's common for people to anthropomorphize cars, with the lights as the eyes, the grill as the mouth, etc. Sports cars and high-end luxury models tend to be designed with a lot of hard lines and downward-sloping angles to give the car's "face" an angry, intimidating look, which presumably appeals to the kind of people who buy those cars.
  • Some balaclavas to have big, toothy maws printed over the wearer's mouth to make them look scary. While often worn by civilians to look cool, soldiers sometimes wear this variety as part of their protective gear for intimidation.
  • In youth hockey, many goalies wear helmets with an intimidating, angry-looking animal face on them: a wolf, a shark, a big cat, a bear, etc.