Follow TV Tropes


Scary Stitches

Go To

In fiction, many creepy things need to have something unnerving about them, without going into outright gore or Scenery Gorn. The solution? Stitch it up! Stitches often carry unsettling implications, such as the notion that the being or object stitched together was never meant to be reassembled, or was cobbled together from different sources not meant to be combined; the idea that they resemble or close nasty scars; and that their conspicuous appearance connotes shoddy, off-putting repair, or merely looks out-of place and strange when used stylistically.

This trope is often used in depictions of Frankenstein's Monster, but it's not exclusive.

Compare Good Scars, Evil Scars, Glasgow Grin, and Mouth Stitched Shut, which occasionally overlaps.



    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Black Butler features a crudely-made doll of Sebastian with obvious stitches.
  • Dr. Franken Stein from Soul Eater has several visible stitches on his face and on his clothing, an obvious callback to his namesake's creation. He turns out to be Creepy Good, though his first appearance deliberately plays up his creepiness for the protagonists as much as possible.
  • One Piece: Baroque Works Saga main villain and one of the 7 Warlords, Crocodile, has a stitched scar going across his face that alludes to a crocodile's teeth.
  • Junji Ito has featured these in the Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection's adaptation of Frankenstein for the monsters, and in the one-shot story "Army of One" (printed with Hellstar Remina), about mass murders resulting in stitched-together corpses.
  • Some of the characters in Zombie Land Saga have plainly visible stitches on their skin. Junko in particular takes it Up to Eleven, having a literal patchwork of skin colors.

     Comic Books 
  • Batman villain The Scarecrow is often shown with a stitched-together outfit, and sometimes his burlap mask is included.
  • Marvel Comics' Scarecrow also has these.
  • The Dollmaker, another Batman villain, stitches together human skin in horrifying ways, including a mask and tapestries.
  • Flash enemy Rag Doll in his modern appearance is made to look like a demented rag doll, with yarn-like hair, button eyes, and plenty of stitches all around his body.
  • Judge Dredd: As part of their cadaverish nature, the uniforms of the Dark Judges are held together by crude stitches rather than the zippers on the regular Judges.

     Fan Works 
  • Fan interpretations of the Tails Doll from Sonic R will often emphasize the stitches on its body for horror.

     Films — Animated 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • Sally is a Frankenstein-inspired rag doll whose skin and dress are made of stitched-together cloth. She takes advantage of this by undoing these stitches to detach her limbs and let them act independently.
    • Oogie Boogie, the antagonist, also displays these. He's a walking burlap sack with prominent stitches along his sides and above his mouth.
    • While it's not the case, Jack Skellington's mouth can be mistaken for these, to the point where the Collector's Edition DVD cover mistakenly portrays it as such.
  • In Coraline, the Other Wybie's mouth is stitched into a forced smile. The sewing thread used for the button eyes of the Other World's denizens also counts.
  • It's subtle, but Emily's wedding dress from Corpse Bride is haphazardly sewn back together.
  • Frank from Hotel Transylvania has stitches all over his body. These apparently don't hold well, as he mails his disassembled parts to the Hotel, and falls apart after an extra-high dive into the pool.
  • 9 invokes this, being set in a grim universe populated by rag doll "stitchpunks" and featuring a sewing-themed threat, the Seamstress.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • Frankenstein gives us the most famous and popular example, with its portrayal of the Monster.
  • Young Frankenstein parodies this element of the Monster, and as such, the stitched-up scars are replaced with zippers.
  • Sam from Trick 'r Treat wears a stitched-up burlap mask with visible seams.
  • In Batman Returns, Catwoman has a costume that is roughly stitched together from random torn pieces of PVC, symbolising the unstable nature of her new persona after her old self was destroyed by trauma... as well as allowing for sexy Clothing Damage when the stitches start to fail.

  • The Igors in the Discworld believe in advertising: whilst it is pointed out that they have ointments that can eliminate scar tissue in fifteen minutes, in the main they prefer to advertise their status as surgeons of last resort by wearing lots of visible scars and stitches with pride. Their distaff side, the Igorinas, are the ones who tend to actually use the scar cream. However, every Igorina will subtly advertise her Igor nature with a single, subdued and discreet, stitched scar somewhere on her face or visible body. It's like having a discreet membership tattoo.

     Newspaper Comics 

  • Most theater productions of Arsenic and Old Lace will give Jonathan stitches on his face to help drive the idea that he's had plastic surgery on his face and now "he looks like Boris Karloff". The script does not call for stitches, merely saying he looks like Karloff, whom modern audiences will likely know best for his role as Frankenstein's Monster. The original production had the benefit of actually having Karloff himself playing Jonathan.

  • Beanie Baby Frankenteddy is made to look like a greenish bear with multiple pieces of fabric making up his body. Since he had several color variations, the fake stitches on his body also vary, but each version has a few scattered around his body.
  • Many of LEGO's minifigures of the Monster have these, but the first three versions use more amusing methods to close the forehead.
  • LEGO minifigures of the Batman Scarecrow have all featured these, but his 2016 Batman: The Animated Series variant takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Lalaloopsy doll Scraps Stitched 'N Sewn has a few on her skirt and skin in reference to the famous Monster.
  • Monster High characters Frankie Stein, her sister Alivia Stein, and Hoodude Voodoo naturally use these.
  • Playmobil has made several zombie/Frankenstein's monster figures whose face and clothes are stitched together.
  • A line of bizarrely cute plush toys called the Animazombs, zombified animals with gruesome body-part separation features, has these on each of the animals, and Samuel the meerkat's largest line of stitches hides a zipper which allows you to remove his intestines.
  • The "Once Upon A Zombie" line of zombified fairytale princess dolls features stitching in place of more serious gore.

     Video Games 

     Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner toon "I Killed Pom Pom" shows Pom Pom being (temporarily) popped. A possible scenario is shown with a zombie Pom Pom returning, with the many pieces of his inflatable body being crudely stitched together.

     Web Original 
  • Stitches from Ruby Quest is a bear who has been stitched back together.

     Western Animation 

  • Any depiction of a cloth Voodoo Doll is bound to include visible stitching on the body.
  • Occasionally, a Wicked Witch will have a shabby, stitched-up outfit to emphasize her outcast status.
  • Spirit Halloween:
    • The Evil Rag Doll looks like a real doll, but is covered in stitches and scars.
    • The Deady Bear and Deady Teddy props also feature some stitches on their bodies.
  • Scary Scarecrows tend to exploit this, as friendly scarecrows often have innocent stitched smiles and patchwork outfits.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: