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Slasher Smile

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With a face like this, it's very easy to tell which side is in control.
"He is Bob, eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run."
Mike, Twin Peaks

What's the difference between a smile and a grin? The same difference between kissing and tasting.

In the animal kingdom, baring your teeth is a sign of aggression. In the case of humans — well, there's something very disconcerting about a smile that doesn't have an ounce of happiness in it. It's downright frightening when the smile is in anticipation of pain or death — yours, probably. Needless to say, the Slasher Smile does not inspire warmth in anyone who sees it.

The Slasher Smile is the Evil Counterpart of the Cheshire Cat Grin. In general, the difference is in the eyes of the character. If the eyes sparkle or are mischievously wicked, it's a Cheshire Cat Grin. If, however, the eyes are clearly crazy or malevolent, it's a Slasher Smile. If the grinning person is holding a knife or an axe or some other implement of painful and often bloody death, it's best to assume the worst.


While the Cheshire Cat Grin is a staple of The Trickster, generally one of the good guys, the Slasher Smile is the staple of the Ax-Crazy, unless said hero is a particularly dark or vicious Anti-Hero. Only expect to see a "nice" hero with a Slasher Smile if they've been possessed or suffered a major Freak Out or if they have been taken over by their Superpowered Evil Side. Also, a devious Chessmaster or Magnificent Bastard is unlikely to look like this — it's too Obviously Evil, and they prefer the subtler Psychotic Smirk.

No, the Slasher Smile is more appropriate for The Dragon, the Mad Scientist, and most especially Serial Killers, but it can happen with any character who is gleefully violent and/or fits any "wild crazy person" stereotypes. Beings who hunt and eat victims we are supposed to identify with will also often have Slasher Smiles... in their case, it means "Hello, lunch!"


Some characters with a Slasher Smile wear the grin all the timein fact, it's physically impossible for them to move their face out of it. For many, this has the added worry of making it harder to tell what they're thinking or feeling, because their face betrays no expression beyond the smile.

Not to be confused with a Slashed Smile (although they sometimes overlap), and has nothing to do with the pleased smiles of Slash Fic fans upon the detection of impending Ho Yay. Hopefully.

Contrast Dissonant Serenity for a calm mood which isn't the slightest bit more reassuring, and also contrast Grin of Audacity. Sometimes paired with the Maniac Tongue. When the smile is merely creepy, it's The Un-Smile. May be part of the fear behind the Monster Clown. See also Technically a Smile.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In the Enzyte Commercials, Smilin' Bob has one of the most unnatural smiles ever seen in an advertisement. It's not MEANT to be a Slasher Smile, but still... BRRR!

    Card Games 

    Comic Strips 
  • Pearls Before Swine: When Starbicks Coffee seizes Pig and Rat's house to set up a new coffee shop, one of the Starbicks guys gives an evil grin to Rat before kicking him and Pig out.
  • Both hosts of What's New? with Phil and Dixie do it at the end of MegagameTM 3-page mini arc — they had a good reason.
    The company representative: ...cute joke, eh? Eh? Eh? ...why aren't you laughing?

    Films — Animated 
  • Budzo, the Big Bad of Adventures in Zambezia sports a pretty chilling slasher smile throughout the movie, only losing it during his Disney Villain Death.
  • When he killed Yamagata, Tetsuo let out a rather creepy smile. AKIRA has another good example of when he did this.
  • In All Dogs Go to Heaven after Killer, currently trying to do everything he can to get Carface to spare his life, tells him he has a gun they can use to try and kill Charlie (for good) with, Carface breaks into a wide satanic version. Not just figuratively, either –- his face (presumably, we're seeing him from Killer's POV) actually proceeds to transform into an actual devil's.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: When he goes into Villainous Breakdown mode, Rourke has a pretty awesome and crazy slasher smile when he tries to kill Milo with a fire axe. You can clearly tell the guy has gone batshit insane, especially after his attempt to steal the artifact had been ruined by Milo.
  • Gaston sports one at the start of his fight with the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. And yet another after stabbing the Beast in the side.
  • The Monster Clown that appears in Toaster's dream sequence in The Brave Little Toaster has a big one glued to its face.
  • Mrs. Tweedy is prone to those in Chicken Run, like before measuring Babs and later in the climax, when she thinks Ginger has been decapitated.
  • The Other Mother in Coraline does this, particularly towards the end of the movie.
  • In Frozen, Hans has a villainous smile as he raises his sword to kill Elsa.
  • Ratigan of The Great Mouse Detective sports a huge one after he's convinced he's mauled Basil to death.
  • Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame flashes such a grin twice in the story. First when he tries to burn Esmeralda at the stake. Later, when he raises his sword to kill her and Quasimodo, because he believes that he's won. It's particularly notable because, up until those two times, the worst Frollo did was a Psychotic Smirk.
  • The Incredibles: The look on Syndrome's face when he abducts Jack-Jack.
  • In Inside Out, Jangles does this when he's woken up by Joy.
  • Cera in The Land Before Time gives a pretty big slasher smile when she decides upon seeing what is apparently Sharptooth's corpse to use it as ramming practice. However, a few rams in, she soon discovers that Sharptooth was not quite as dead as she originally thought, and just barely managed to survive to tell the tale.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • Ed the hyena (and to a much lesser extent, Shenzi, Banzai, and all of the other hyenas) actually gains this type of smile when the hyenas all kill Scar at the end.
    • Scar gives one himself to Zazu when he points out how unhappy Mufasa will be that he didn't show up for Simba's birth ceremony. After he tells him this (as well as forcing Scar to let a mouse, his lunch, escape), Scar sarcastically states "ooh, I quiver with FEAR!", flashing this smile when he says the last word, and then tries to eat Zazu, and he would, had Mufasa not showed up right at that moment.
    • Scar gets another one before he kills Mufasa. His expression provides the image for the Disney subsection of the Moral Event Horizon page.
  • Ursula of The Little Mermaid (1989) does this a few times during the final battle. Her alter-ego Vanessa even pulls one off when she throws a pin at a mirror with enough force to knock it back while gloating about her inevitable victory.
  • In The Lorax, at the end of the Villain Song, "How Bad Can I Be", the Once-ler has one after shouting the last lyrics, "HOW BAD CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE?!"
  • Ay from Mr. Peabody & Sherman sports this when he drives his dagger on Penny's hand during the Ceremony.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie Boogie and Barrell have one constantly and Jack has one as his default.
  • In Osmosis Jones, Thrax does this several times throughout the movie. Drix, of all people, gives a pretty good one as well when he plays the bad cop to Osmosis's good cop when they shake down an informant.
  • The Pebble and the Penguin: The Big Bad Drake constantly sports a Trollface-like smile.
  • Pinocchio: The Coachman during his "They never come back as BOYS!" line.
  • In Quest for Camelot, Ruber sports these at times:
    • When he is invading Juliana's home and when he blackmails her into helping him by threatening to kill her daughter, Kayley.
    • He has a crazy one throughout his song when he transforming his human henchmen into ironmen with his potion.
    • When he is melding Excalibur onto his hand with the said potion.
    • He eventually has a creepy one, when he is cornering injured Arthur without mercy.
  • In Ratatouille
    • When Colette begins her mentorship of Linguini she flashes several during her Knife Nut monologue every time she asks him a question about the status of women in a haute cuisine restaurant.
    • Also, during Linguini's nightmare, there's Anton Ego's bone-chilling grin as he places an order for Linguini's heart roasted on a spit.
  • The sirens in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas give Marina one of these.
  • In the climactic battle of Superman vs. the Elite, Superman himself flashes a pants-shittingly terrifying one when confronting one of the members, and it's acompannied with literally blood-red eyes and a disturbing desire to kill. Worse is when you realize that it's George Newbern of all people nailing the completely pants-wettingly out-of-left-field unfettered brutality with chilling accuracy, almost as if Superman is deliberately becoming the brutal, white-haired, cold-blooded main villain of Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth, who's Newbern's second most famous role next to the Man of Steel himself!
  • Rothbart from The Swan Princess gains one of these near the end after he transforms into The Great Animal for the second time.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie: The scene where Doctor Applecheeks steals the ice cream truck. The ice cream truck music manages to makes this much, much creepier.
  • Chef, the Big Bad of Trolls does have a lot especially it's Terrifying.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, King Candy/Turbo sports a particularly notable one, in all of his forms.
  • The Blue Meanies in Yellow Submarine have this expression pretty frequently.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Just about every villain played by Willem Dafoe, with Speed 2: Cruise Control and Spider-Man standing out. Honest Trailers even comments "Echhh. His face looks a lot better with the mask on." Todd in the Shadows also noted that one of the many flaws in Body of Evidence is having Dafoe starring in an erotic thriller, when that smile is one hell of a Fetish Retardant.
  • Jim Carrey has done this trope in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! to demonstrate how remarkable his rubber face really is when it comes to expressions. According to one account, it's basically how he got the latter role: "He took his face and he Grinched it."
  • In Addams Family Values, Wednesday smiles thrice. The first was The Un-Smile after being forced to watch a Disney flick. The second was when she caused a riot at the Thanksgiving play and burns everything to the ground. The third is the very last shot of the movie where she pranks Joel to the point where he's screaming bloody murder (oddly, she had just said that the best way for a woman to murder her husband is to scare him to death).
  • Several particularly disturbing examples abound in the movie The Babadook. The protagonist, Amelia, sees charcoal-drawn images of herself in a supposed children's book...her eyes are hollow black orbs and she has a huge psychotic grin as she murders her dog, her son and herself. Later, she promises her son that she will keep them "safe". Unfortunately at the time she is pointing a kitchen knife at him and grinning like a complete lunatic. But that's just the warm-up. Moments later, she watches the TV half-asleep and listens to a grisly news report discussing a woman murdering her young son with a knife. In the background, barely visible, a Slasher Smile wearing woman is staring from a window... and it's Amelia herself. Oh, Crap!.
  • Mitsuko from Battle Royale before killing Megumi. The girl at the beginning of the film (the battle's first female winner) has a seriously creepy one too.
  • Natalie Portman unleashes a blood-curdling one in Black Swan while portraying her doppelganger in the bath scene.
  • Alex from A Clockwork Orange, whenever he gets deep into the old ultraviolence. (forms at around 1:10)
  • Donnie Darko, every single time he sees his giant bunny-friend Frank. It's a little creepy, to say the least. No teeth in this one, though.
  • Galaxy Quest also makes use of this trope when Sariss, disguised as Fred, arrives on the command deck to kill off the heroes. It's a very well-played Oh, Crap! moment.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), this, together with a horrifying demon voice, lets Dr. Venkman (and us) know "There is no Dana, only Zuul."
  • Highlander: The Kurgan sports one several times throughout the film. The most epic one being in the church meeting with Connor, when he pieces together from Connor's mortified reaction that the girl he raped in 1542 after he took Ramirez's head was actually Connor's wife, and takes some sick glee in the fact that she never told Connor about itnote .
  • It (2017) Pennywise sports a wicked, evil grin that flashes some sharp front teeth most of the time and gets taken Up to Eleven when all the teeth come out.
  • All of the various live-action incarnations of The Joker, naturally. Special mention to Jack Nicholson's version from Batman, who has his face permanently distorted into one, and Heath Ledger's take from The Dark Knight, who sports a large Glasgow Grin.
    • Interestingly subverted with Joaquin Phoenix's version from Joker. When he's shown smiling/laughing, it's either very subdued, or as a result of the medical condition that causes him to laugh uncontrollably; when he does kill someone, he's actually completely serious. It's not until the end that he actually starts to adopt one.
  • The Indoraptor from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Technically for a dinosaur, it has the mind of a serial killer, during the scene where one of the antagonists Weatley tranquilizes it to collect one of its teeth. the Indoraptor wakes up (it's not tranq'ed) and smiles before biting off Weatley's arm and killing him.
  • Rhonda flashes one to the camera as she holds up the giant safety pin at the end of Killer Workout.
  • The film version of The Man Who Laughs has Conrad Veidt with one of these permanently etched into his face. Considering his best-known role up to that point was a sleepwalking serial killer, the character in this film turned out to be a good deal more sympathetic than one would expect. His smile was the result of a surgical disfiguration. He was actually a pretty nice guy.
  • Mr. Sardonicus took liberal inspiration from the aforementioned The Man Who Laughs with the carved smile, but the character was much less of a sweet guy than Gwynplaine. It was up to the audience to decide whether he was a villain or an Anti-Villain — this being a William Castle film, they were polled, and a different ending would be screened based on whether they thought he should be treated mercifully. They killed him every time, and the mercy ending is probably lost for eternity, assuming it ever existed at all.
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation has Clark Griswald become somewhat unhinged come the end of the movie as his idea of a "perfect Christmas" gradually disappears; his smile, however, stays.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • In Psycho, Norman Bates gets off an epic one at the end while he's in a holding cell.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Dr. Frank N Furter has one of these right before he kills Eddie with a pick axe.
  • The "Here's Johnny!" scene from The Shining. (Alternate Version.)
  • The short horror film Smile revolves around body-snatching beings with hideous grinning faces. It's well worth a watch.
  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld briefly gives a creepy grin as he subjects James Bond to Cold-Blooded Torture in Spectre, and later on, when he takes Bond Girl Madeleine Swann hostage and threatens to have her killed by blowing up the old MI6 building in an effort to humiliate Bond.
  • In Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd just after the Pirelli sequence, Sweeney directs one at the Beadle. Scary doesn't even cut it. It's enough to make Jack the Ripper wet his pants. Although, like Donnie above he doesn't bare his teeth, so may overlap with Psychotic Smirk.
  • In the Tony Jaa movie Tom-Yum-Goong, or The Protector, one of the many opponents that Tony faces is a Capoeira fighter, who has just attacked a Buddhist temple full of innocent people, set the place ablaze, and then attacks Tony as soon as he arrives to help. What qualifies "Mr. Fake Eddie Gordo" for this trope is the fact that while he fights Tony, he laughs, taunts Tony, and openly toys with him using feints and false moves.
  • At the end of the third segment of the 1975 made-for-TV movie Trilogy of Terror the eponymous "Amelia" crouches down low in an animalistic manner, hiding in the corner with a carving knife. She stabs at the floor with the weapon, grinning ferally and revealing the horrific teeth of the Zuni doll.
  • The ever lovable late comedian John Candy had this expression on his face in Uncle Buck during the scene where he comes to the bedroom of Tia's "boyfriend" Bug to rescue Tia by drilling a hole through the doorknob, he's also holding a drill and smoking a cigar. Although generally throughout the movie Buck comes out as kind of kooky such as when he asks Tia "How would you like to spend the next several nights wondering if your crazy out of work bum uncle will shave your head while you sleep?" and where he's talking to Tia's boyfriend about burying the hatchet.
    Bug: Ever hear of a tuneup? Ah-hee-hee-hee-hee!
    Buck: Ah-hee-hee-hee-hee! Ever hear of a ritual killing? Ah-hee-hee-hee-hee!
    Bug: ...I don't get it...
    Buck: You gnaw on her face in public like that again and you'll be one. Ah-hee-hee-hee-hee!

    Light Novels 
  • Being possibly the craziest bastard in the series, Baccano!'s Claire Stanfield has a warehouse full of psychotic, blood-soaked grins and smirks to put to use. Not to say that Ladd, Czeslaw, and Graham don't get their fair share.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima of Durarara!! is fond of sporting these right before he's about to hurt someone.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic! usually cracks one of these whenever he's not wearing his Psychotic Smirk. HE WANTS TO RAPE YOU!!!
  • Jack Frost is the embodiment of this trope. The wider his smile, the bloodier things get. And things get pretty damn bloody.
  • Xellos from Slayers has this in spades. It's less common to see him not smiling than to see him with a smile (or a convenient Psychotic Smirk) on his lips, but if he's smiling and his eyes are open, you're in serious trouble. Especially exemplified as he's sadistically torturing Valgaav in TRY and a highly amused smile never leaves Xellos' face, backed up by a truly psychotic giggle.
  • As a Neat Freak, Ryuuji from Toradora! gets one whenever he cleans. As in, dirt and dust and mold. Combined with his permanent death glare, he looks like he's rejoicing in the thought of committing genocide on entire societies of dust mites and mold colonies. There's a brief shot of one right in the opening theme.

  • From Alice in Wonderland:
    "How cheerfully he seems to grin!
    How neatly spreads his claws
    And welcomes little fishes in
    with gently smiling jaws!"
  • The Archonate: In The Spiral Labyrinth, which is set in homage to the Dying Earth setting, one of the significant villains is a wizard by the name of Smiling Bol. He always maintains a cheerful expression — sometimes less menacing, sometimes more so.
  • In the Brotherband book The Hunters, the author describes Thorn's smile as unpleasant when he's warning a captured pirate not to break for it.
  • Skeeter Traps from Chronicles Of Magic is known for sporting these, despite being a ten-year-old girl. Combined with the fact that she can kill grown men three times her size, it makes her pretty scary.
  • Jame, the heroine of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, smiles like this, and it is very, very bad news. It signifies the depths of her darkness, and the author said, "In a way, everything about Jame grew out of that chilling smile."
  • From S.J Bryant's The Nova Chronicles, when Alden's attempt at turning himself into a monster fails, instead becoming a cute furry creature. Nova sports a wide grin as she brutally stomps the helpless creature to death beneath her metal boots.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Constantius does this while watching the guard be slaughtered and crucifying Conan.
  • Coraline: Done by the Other Mother, when she's not busy being a Stepford Smiler.
  • The Cosmere:
    • The Steel Inquisitors from Mistborn are exceptionally brutal enforcers of the Empire, and the chilling grins they have when going about their work are frequently remarked on. Anti-Hero Kelsier, leader of the rebellion, also smiles a lot because it's a way of proving that he's not beaten down, but from the point of view of his enemies (to whom he has little to no mercy) it comes off like this.
    • Bleeder in Wax and Wayne displays one of these while between forms, described as having "a face of stretched muscle and grinning teeth" and being "all smiles" as she scrambles towards her terrified cabbie.
  • Vlad Dracula in Count and Countess. Every time he's about to kill someone with his artificially sharpened teeth, he grins at them first, just to give them a preview of what's to come.
  • Sometimes it's a matter of perception. In Alan Dean Foster's The Damned trilogy, the first encounter between the multiracial alien alliance's and humans highlights the differences between them and us when the human, Will Dulac, first bats the gun out of the hand of the nearest alien scout out of a self-defense reflex, then offering a handshake and smiling when he realized they weren't hostile. The sudden reflexive strike nearly broke the scout's hand, and the smile confuses and alarms them as they wonder why baring one's teeth could ever be considered a friendly gesture. They also didn't get the handshake.
  • Deptford Mice: In The Dark Portal, a rat called Smiler had a Slasher Smile on his face all the time... because he'd been rude to his superior as a child, and said superior had cut off his lips.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Carcer Dun and Mr. Teatime are described as smiling like this all the time. The drawing of Mr. Teatime in The Art of Discworld perfectly illustrates this. Marc Warren does a good job with this in the TV adaptation, too.
    • At one point in Jingo the seriously pissed off "Vimes's grin was as funny as the one that moves very fast towards drowning men. And has a fin on top."
    • Angua, who at one point must have been smiling because "her mouth was open, and all of her teeth were showing".
  • Dragaera: Perhaps inspired by the Jack Vance example, Five Hundred Years After has the court wizard as a minor character and he is similarly described as always smiling creepily and chuckling in a questionably sane manner.
  • In Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, the character Iucounu the "Laughing Magician" perpetually supports one of these providing a clue that his sense of humor is not exactly benevolent.
  • Creepy caretaker Heimertz from the Edgar & Ellen series has a constant slasher smile. During the TV adaptation, it is shown that he has had this smile since he was a child.
  • In Abnett's series Eisenhorn, the demonhost Cherubael sometimes sports one of these. When he/it does, someone is going to die, very painfully.
  • The Eschaton Series: Portia Hoechst, in Iron Sunrise, is described as having this by several other characters, both good and evil, in the novel.
  • A few Death Eaters display this, as does Snape on occasion and Voldemort in the Harry Potter series.
  • Benjamin, the serial killer antagonist of Hollow Places manages to torment one of his surviving victims while in court simply by showing her a disturbing smile.
  • Gods and Warriors: Alekto, the only female member of the House of Koronos, is so sadistic that she draws her lips back from her teeth in a way that's half a smile and half a grimace when she thinks about pain or better yet, observes it.
  • The Icelandic Sagas: Older Than Print: Skarphéðinn Njálsson has one in Brennu-Njáls Saga. "And he grinned" is a common phrase in the story that implies that something really bad is about to go down.
  • In Jam everybody goes a little crazy during the course of the book but Cult-Leader Lord Awesomo has a memorable grin when he sees Travis in the crowd and realizes he can spin the election to his favor and get Travis killed.
  • The Jenkinsverse: Since most sapient species are herbivores and herd animals, they get very uncomfortable with human smiles, which involve far too many sharp teeth for their liking. Note that this is realistic; even on Earth among primates, humans are one of the only species that doesn't consider showing teeth to be a threat. Most humans who interact with aliens learn quickly to smile with closed lips. In Salvage, Adrian Saunders doesn't bother with that, which enhances his already terrifying reputation. When he finally meets more humans, it turns out that they find his smile even scarier than aliens do. At least aliens have little experience with humans and can assume that he's just normal. Humans know he's not.
  • In the Kate Daniels series, Kate is trying to enlist a man's cooperation with her plan to hunt down and kill the people who have hurt her friend.
    I gave him a smile. I was aiming for sweet, but he turned a shade paler and scooted a bit farther away from me. Note to self: work more on sweet and less on psycho-killer.
  • Nathan in Kill Time or Die Trying does this inadvertently; it's just how he naturally smiles.
  • Stephen King:
    • Randall Flagg/The Dark Man is described as having a grin of such good cheer and jolliness which comes across however as so unsettling the human mind seems to block it out.
    • Also from The Stand (where King first writes about Flagg) is Harold. Most of the other survivors in Boulder just see him as a Stepford Smiler... but the slightly damaged child Leo sees things a little differently.
      It's like there are worms behind his eyes, and they're eating his brain and making him smile like that.
  • The huge, catlike Kzinti of Larry Niven's Known Space universe instinctively show their teeth when they feel a certain way. That way is not happy.
  • In Devon Monk's Magic in the Blood, the villain does this while making demands on Allie.
  • Gwynplaine from The Man Who Laughs, as touched upon under the examples of The Joker and Mr. Sardonicus.
  • In Asi Hart's The Many Horrors Of Being A Tokyo Waitress main character Jonas has a very creepy forced smile until he is told that he's scaring the customers and instructed to use some other facial expressions.
  • Mr. Wonderful from Mogworld has this mixed with a Cheshire Cat Grin. It is described in the book as: "The widest grin he [Jim] had ever seen and he knew people with no skin on their faces" worth noting Mr. Wonderful's grin never drops even when he's hacking his own arm off.
  • The Name of the Wind: Cinder of the Chandrian has a smile that is described as "the expression a nightmare wore."
  • A rare heroic version: Ivarian Borenson, of The Runelords fantasy novels, is known for his chilling laughter and grin as he fights, which makes him feared even amongst warriors who have far more endowments (strength, stamina, speed, and so on taken from other people) than him. Not so much out of a love for killing, but because it works far better at frightening other people than a war cry, so he got himself into the habit of laughing instead.
  • Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' arch-enemy from the short story "The Final Problem." Holmes describes that, though Moriarty "smiled and blinked", there was something about the Professor's sunken eyes that made Holmes, a man who was used to danger, very glad to have a revolver with him.
  • Jaime Lannister of A Song of Ice and Fire recalls in his youth facing a particularly brutal and psychotic fighter known as 'The Smiling Knight'. 3 guesses why he is named that. Luckily even a slasher smile is no match for Ser Arthur 'The Sword in the Morning' Dayne and his greatsword Dawn.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, Lamia displays one of these during her search for the fallen star. Fortunately, we only have the Narrator's word on it.
    Her red, red lips curved upward in a smile of such joy, such pure and perfect happiness, that it would have frozen your blood in your veins to have seen it.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In some of the X-Wing Series and any other appearances written by Aaron Allston, Wedge Antilles has often been known to smile like this — actually, while it can be assumed that he's got normal smiles, almost any time the narration says he's smiling it's this trope. Humorless, feral. He gives it to politicians when he sees through what they say to what they mean and most often to enemies he's about to shoot down.
    • In the same books, "Runt" Ekwesh (being non-human) has a facial structure such that even a friendly smile is described as looking like a prelude to a biting attack. He's keenly aware of this and takes full advantage of it when he wants to be menacing.
    • Legacy of the Force has Wedge shocked and taken aback by being discharged — Wedge, who was sixty and had been in service since the age of twenty — then realizing that people are going to try to kill him. The thought is so familiar that it steadies and reassures him, and he's able to flash someone a smile "suggesting that he was a rancor and they were made of meat".
  • Rictus in Clive Barker's The Thief of Always at first seems to be a harmless goofball who's always got a big, cheesy grin on his face — until the dark side of the Holiday House (his employer) makes itself known, and his smile becomes terrifying (if Harvey Swick had read his dictionary, he'd know that a "rictus" is the grin of a skull).
  • In Randall Garrett's "Thin Edge", Harry Morgan is confronting the man who ordered his friend's murder. While discussing the death of a man who tried to illegally search his hotel room while he was out, "Morgan did a good imitation of a shark trying to look innocent"
  • Similarly played in David Brin's Uplift War when an allied alien found it disturbing that humans bared their teeth and bark when amused.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Lijah Cuu from the Gaunt's Ghosts novels has one of these. In Straight Silver'', it is explicitly noted that "the most evil servants of Chaos would have killed to have a smile that lethal."
    • In the next book, Abnett gives Magister Enok Innokenti (one of the evilest servants of Chaos ) an even better one. His smile is so hideous that it causes physical pain and nausea in humans and his daemonic bodyguard, who has murdered millions can't bear to look at it.
  • The Hellebore family from the Tad Williams' book The War of the Flowers liked these. Anton Hellebore was described as having a smile like someone who'd learned it from a book, Lord Hellebore one with absolutely no good feelings in it, and the Terrible Child had one like someone pulling up the corners of a corpse's mouth.
  • In Warrior Cats, Mapleshade. She can make Ivypool feel like Daisy is with her, right before trying to drown her.
  • The Witcher: Geralt of Rivia is frequently said to be "smiling nastily", usually either to intimidate or show his supreme disdain for an idea or position that he's been put in.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Garrett has one on full display just before he gets vaporized by Coulson.
    • The android AIDA flashes a very unsettling grin after she reads The Darkhold and constructs a portal device that saves Coulson, Fitz, and Robbie from being trapped between dimensions. At first glance one could assume that she was just happy she was able to rescue her allies, but this was the first time she showed a purely emotional reaction to anything, and it came after reading the demonic book. At the end of the episode, she's shown secretly drawing up plans for a human brain, and the unsettling smile is back...
  • The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon has a particularly disturbing smile that prompts his friends to say they're there to congratulate their friend, not kill Batman. (Howard: "Oh...crap, that's terrifying").
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Gentlemen of "Hush" wear these for the entirety of their appearance. And they never talk, despite gesturing at each other as if they were talking. The entire effect is ridiculously creepy.
    • The Gnarl, a skin-eating creature shown in "Same Time, Same Place", pulls this off chillingly. The smile is combined with a childlike personality, and it speaks in a singsong, like it's telling nursery rhymes.
    • Der Kindestod in "Killed By Death" who eats up kids' life force by pinning them down, extending horrible little pipes from his eyes and sucking the energy out of their foreheads, while they screamed helplessly under him.
    • The First does this as it's impersonating Cassie.
    • Angelus, Spike, Warren, and Buffy herself. She flashes a pretty smile to a group of bullies. Given some think she is crazy, others remember she burnt down her previous school's gym, and is on record for being a multiple murder suspect, is enough to make them back off.
    • Angel gives us Dana, whom Spike goes after, thinking she's a demon, and when cornered suggests having a talk about mistreating young girls and vamps out. Dana may well like to talk about mistreating little girls given her backstory, but turns out she's a Slayer, so when Spike does this her reaction is basically, "Score."
  • The Israeli skit show The Chamber Quintet, after the Real Life Gut Punch of Prime Minister Yitzkhak Rabin’s assassination and Benjamin Netanyahu being voted prime minister for the first time, aired this skit, featuring a monologue by assassin Yig'al ‘Amir about how the political climate in Israel will take a sharp turn to the extreme, nationalistic right over the course of 20 years, intermittently giving a particularly chilling one. Made worse by the fact that the prophecies in the skit have already partially come true.
  • Played for Laughs near the beginning of Disney's Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier of The '50s. Davy is trying to grin down a bear.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master often wears this expression.
      • In his last story, Ainley's Master had fangs to boot.
      • Simm's Master perfected a dishonest politician's smile in his first episodes. After that, he got even creepier.
      • Gomez's Mistress gives the most amazing Slasher Smile to Osgood, too, complete with a creepy reveal from the shadows.
    • The Fourth Doctor generally sticks to the Cheshire Cat Grin, but he does this, usually when he's pretending to be evil or bluffing about how dangerous he is — like his I Am He as You Are He gambit in "Meglos". Or occasionally when he actually is being violent, like when he snaps a man's neck in "The Seeds of Doom". (To be fair, he only bent it a bit and the sound effect is just extra snappy — the man gets up soon after.)
    • "Dalek": The Ninth Doctor does this when he meets the alleged last Dalek in the universe. Thing is, its armour is completely shut down except for its voice and eyepiece, so what does the Doctor do but give a slasher smile and attempt to "exterminate" the Dalek.
    • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit": Toby sports a nasty one while possessed by the Beast.
    • "Journey's End": Davros does this in his moment of (near) triumph.
    • "The Waters of Mars": To highlight his currently-deteriorating mental state, the Tenth Doctor has one of these while he's using Gadget the robot to fetch the TARDIS.
    • The Twelfth Doctor already has a creepy smile, but at the start of "The Lie of the Land", when he is pretending to be brainwashed by the Monks, he gives a proper slasher smile.
    • "Resolution": Lin gives a few of these while controlled by the Dalek recon scout.
      (on hearing police siren coming up behind them) "I sense your thoughts. That sound is no rescue. It is combat!" (grins)
    • The Thirteenth Doctor is capable of delivering some pretty evil smiles when fighting her enemies, as seen here.
  • Scorpius of Farscape fame is infamous for these, accompanied by his black gums and needle-sharp teeth.
  • In The Flash (2014), Eobard Thawne becomes prone to these once his true identity is revealed. It's pretty unnerving, especially since as Dr. Wells he was quite stoic and soft-spoken, and had an understated but friendly smile.
  • Played for laughs in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will and Cartlon know that when Uncle Phil smiles and laughs uncontrollably, he's about to explode.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Season 3, Episode 4: Viewers, meet Ramsay Bolton.
    • Jojen gives an awesome one to Karl, when he tells him that he's seen his future and his very imminent death.
    • Biter has a very frightening and sadistic smile.
    • The blu-ray lore shows King Aegon II Targaryen with this as he has Sunfyre eat Rhaenyra.
    • Euron's preferred expression on the battlefield.
    • The Night King, though normally known for having an unreadable and chillingly emotionless face, twice makes this expression on the show. First when he nonchalantly walks through the Children's defensive fire completely unharmed; and later, he flashes Dany a positively chilling smirk after she unleashes the full might of Drogon's fire on him and he emerges unscathed. Note that both times the Night King makes a Slasher Smile is when magical fire fails to stop him.
  • Unsurprisingly, both versions of the Joker on Gotham are prone to do this, although it is considerably more unnerving when the one who usually smiles less does it. Unlike the show's first take on the Joker, the second character who takes up the mantel doesn't become as laughably evil as the character usually is until undergoing considerable sanity slippage. When he is first introduced, he hardly smiles at all, but when he does, it's nightmare-inducing, and usually means multiple people are about to die horribly.
  • In the British TV series Jekyll the main character's Hyde persona is equipped with a frightening one. It's currently the page illustration.
  • Male Yandere Masato Kusaka from Kamen Rider Faiz does this when he's about to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Not uncommon on The League of Gentlemen, it being the horror filling station that it is. Most notably used by Papa Lazarou (who combines a nasty, clownish grin with yellow teeth) and Hilary Briss (whose smile really does not reach his eyes).
  • Little Lunch: At the end of "The Corridor Outside 6E", Rory asks Max and Elsa if they're sure they're not killers, to which they respond by grinning to reveal their new braces (the kids having convinced themselves that Max and Elsa were missing from school because Max had killed Elsa and been arrested, when actually they had just gone to the dentist to get braces). The kids all scream in terror.
  • Once Upon a Time's Captain Hook pulls off one of these after swearing revenge on his "crocodile." It is hot.
    • Cora gives some particularly disturbing ones while without her heart (i.e. most of her life). Even as she smiles and tells Regina she just wants the best for her beloved daughter, her eyes remain cold and lifeless.
  • Oz: Displayed among the characters like Shillinger, Adebisi, the Aryans, Timmy Kirk, Claire Howell, etc. Manipulative Bastard Chris Keller and Ryan have done this too. Even Beecher, when he was crazy in Season 2.
  • Evil!Tommy got in one or two good ones during the "Green With Evil" saga of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
    • Sky (or rather, the evil alien that swapped bodies with him) did a few of these during the episode "Recognition".
  • Psychopath Diary: In-woo has a truly terrifying grin.
  • Reba: Van's "winning smile" is incredibly creepy, and he's completely oblivious to it.
    • Van calls it a "killer smile". Reba's description is a lot more accurate.
      Reba: Van, that's not a killer smile, that's the smile of a killer.
  • Dr. Cox in Scrubs is very good at making these, a number of them occurring in J.D.'s Imagine Spots.
  • Miranda Hobbes on Sex and the City does one of these when she "fakes a sonogram" (i.e., fakes wild excitement during a sonogram of a child about which she's not quite happy, yet).
  • Sherlock: delivers a rather disturbing one in "The Sign of Three".
  • The Stand: Randall Flagg.
  • In "Mirror, Mirror" from Star Trek: The Original Series, Mirror Chekhov pulls one of these right before the commercial break when he momentarily has Kirk at his mercy:
    Mirror Chekhov: "So, keptin, you die... and ve all move up in rank. No vun vill qvestion the assessination of a keptin who has disobeyed prime Starfleet orders!"
  • A particularly lame episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has Data practicing his dance moves on the Holodeck while wearing an extremely disturbing, frozen rictus-like smile.
    • Gowron, on the other hand, mastered this trope and showed it off in almost every appearance.
  • Strangers From Hell: Moon-jo's "smile" is truly horrifying. Especially when he's killing people or trying to convert them into serial killers.
  • Jessica from True Blood usually makes one of these whenever she is hungry and sees a guy she wants for dinner. However instead of being scary, it makes her look incredibly cute.
  • Twin Peaks: BOB, and by proxy Leland Palmer. His bared-teeth grin is the clearest sign that someone is possessed by BOB, as he usually only wears it right before he's about to horribly murder someone.
  • Word of Honor: Wen Kexing often wears an unhinged grin, especially when he makes sure other ghosts are too scared of him to rebel. It's usually followed by him killing someone.
  • An episode of Xena: Warrior Princess flashes back to the point in her past where Xena went from ruthless but otherwise sane and rational warlord to utterly psychotic rampager; she has one of these grins on her face when she snaps a Roman soldier's neck, but it's her eyes that are the most disturbing.

  • Michael Jackson turns to the camera with cat eyes and a creepy smile at the end of his "Thriller" music video.
  • One of the detective's other selves in the music video for Blind Guardian's "Another Stranger Me." The band's singer also has a Slasher Smile at one point.
  • "The Guy," the mascot of the metal band Disturbed, is always depicted with this (always.)
  • Danny Elfman practically made a living doing this in the '70s and '80s. There's hardly any Oingo Boingo music video (or film, for that matter) in which he doesn't spend a few seconds scaring the living crap out of the audience. Overly obnoxious talk show hosts occasionally got the silent treatment from him, combined with a trademark psychotic grin.
    • The worst, or possibly the best example, has got to be the music video for "Little Girls", wherein the slasher smile goes on for the entire video and makes Danny look like he's in searing pain. See it here
  • And then there's... well, everyone but the band in the video for Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun".
  • Pustulus Maximus pulls one of these in the music video for GWAR's "I'll Be Your Monster".
  • In The Birthday Massacre's song Happy Birthday ( 3 guesses as to what it's about), there are the lines:
    • I think my friend said, "Don't forget the video." / I think my friend said, "Don't forget to smile."
  • Motörhead has a song about this trope called "Smiling Like a Killer."
    "Go to bed, lock the door,
    don't look in the mirror,
    what if I was right behind you,
  • The more disturbing of the Vocaloid music videos feature this, such as the chainsaw-happy "nurse" and the demented victims in the "Dark Woods Circus" series (you can even see a disembodied Slasher Smile behind the flap of the circus tent), and Miku in "Circle you" right before she cleaves you in half with a machete, at the moment when you least expect it. it will most likely catch you off guard.
  • The cover of Aphex Twin's Richard D. James Album.
  • Technical thrash metal band Coroner has a song entitled "Grin (Nails Hurt)" off the aptly titled "Grin" album, which itself features a pretty sadistic grin.
    Nails in my brain, all that's left just
    Grin 'til I lose
    Until I lose myself
  • The video for David Bowie's "Valentine's Day" consists of just about nothing but David playing guitar while making a Slasher Smile at the camera.
  • Annie Lennox has an unexpected one at the very end of the music video for Little Bird
  • La Camilla from Army of Lovers displays a rather frightening one in the video for "Obsession" as she's rolling her fellow band mate down the hall in a wheelchair. And later, while cutting his head open.
  • Then-prime minister Tony Blair is depicted with such a smile in a hidden booklet included with early pressings of Radiohead's Kid A. It's every bit as unsettling as it sounds.
  • The album art for Poets of the Fall's Twilight Theater gives us Hamartia, the Monster Clown jester who finds perverse humour and joy in others' disastrous errors. No wonder he's smiling.
  • The music video for The Lonely Island's "Threw It on the Ground" features Elijah Wood giving a hilariously creepy grin as he and Ryan Reynolds pin the narrator down and fire a tazer into his anus repeatedly. The guy definitely earned it, but it's still a strange experience to see this kind of expression on Frodo Baggins.
  • Brent Smith of Shinedown unleashes a blink-and-you-miss slasher smile in the band's video for "Devil." It's surprisingly creepy.
  • The sharks' smiles in Baby Shark become slasher smiles when they go hunting and we see them behind the children.

    Mythology And Folklore 



    Professional Wrestling 
  • Randy Orton doesn't smile often, but when he does...
  • Batista could be like this as well, both as a face and as a heel.
  • Kane too. Bonus points for not needing to smile to look scary.
  • Beth Phoenix is the rare Diva who is able to smile evilly without making it look the least bit sexy.
  • Chris Benoit. Throughout most of his career, he tried to keep his missing tooth hidden behind his lips, but WWE bookers decided to have him accentuate it with a slasher smile.
  • Madison Rayne, even when giving a genuinely friendly smile looks really unnerving.
  • So far in NXT, a slasher smile seems to be Asuka's trademark. During her NXT contract signing, she was interrupted and teased by Emma and Dana Brooke, and just before she walked backstage she turned around and smiled so creepily it scared them both into silence. She followed up by getting a bit of an ass kicking from Billie Kay in her debut match — then after Billie mocked her, she smiled and proceeded to hurt her.
  • Eddie Dennis is the master of this. He's usually smiling when he appears on NXT UK, but with how toothy it is and the fact that it never quite reaches his eyes, it comes off more like an animal about to attack you.

    Tabletop Games 



    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Many cartoon sharks grin at their victims as they sneak up from behind. For instance, the Finding Nemo promotional posters featured a blood-crazed Bruce looming over Dory and Marlin.
  • Amphibia:
    • Maddie has several moments where she sports an unsettling ear-to-ear grin which could haunt your nightmares, although she's actually a really chill person. One of the most notable instances is the grin she gives Barry while cackling, which is not a case of her looking more creepy that she means to be, in "Sasha's Angels".
    • General Yunan may be funny and silly, but when she intends to kill and her blood starts rushing, she looks like this.
    • Andrias smiles quite unsettlingly during and after the build-up to his reveal that he was Evil All Along, in "True Colors".
    • Though it's not quite a Glasgow Grin, the Cloak-bot grins a lot, most notably when it's getting close to killing Anne and it lets out an unsettling laugh to go with it.
    • Darcy has quite a few intimidating grins while they possess a human body, including a truly psychotic ear-to-ear grin after they cut off Grime's arm.

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula's iconic Psychotic Smirk gradually morphs into one of these over the course of the last few episodes of the series.
    • Her father, Fire Lord Ozai, also sports one in the finale when he's attempting to burn down the entire Earth Kingdom.
    • Toph's first sign of emotion in the series after winning the Earth Rumble tournament is to grin like the boss she is.
    • Sokka has a truly epic one, when he trying to sneak up on Aang during training which has long since become meme-bait.
  • The Grim Reaper in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! flashes one of these whenever he's about to fight someone. (Or whenever he's beaten them.)
  • Can you believe the titular duo from Beavis And Butthead can pull of one? Well, they both can and it's downright terrifying when they do. Just check out one here.
  • Kevin 11 did this very often in the original Ben 10. He stopped doing this after reforming in Alien Force... Then starts doing it again in Season 1 of Ultimate Alien after being turned insane again.
  • The twin kittens in Best Ed give these all the time, the only time they DROP their smile is at Buddy the Squirrel, who gives an Oh, Crap! moment whenever they do.
  • William Dunbar, of all people in Code Lyoko displays this while in Lyoko while possessed by XANA after the ending of the third season. This is helped by the fact that he is given a BFS to use as a weapon while backed up by Monsters.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children alternate between giving slasher smiles, psychotic smirks, or just smiling calmly. And yes, it's creepy.
  • Fred in the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Freaky Fred" wears one of these almost constantly. And speaks in prose in a delicious voice. Ironically, despite being one of the most genuinely and memorably disturbing characters in the series he's actually not such a bad fellow... provided you don't get locked in a room with him and his shaver, of course.
  • Wayne Cramp of The Cramp Twins has this as a default expression.
  • Danny Phantom villain Dark Danny does this quite frequently — it's part of his charm. Vlad Plasmius also gives us one from time to time when he's feeling especially deranged, but he mostly sticks to his Psychotic Smirk.
  • Daria's non-canon pilot has Daria's famous smirk as she performs a Batman Gambit to get petty revenge on Kevin. Averted in the show proper, where Daria (now much calmer and deadpan) is instead prone to the occasional Mona Lisa Smile.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Eddy's Older Brother gives a particularly creepy one of these in The Movie.
    • In a more comedic example, The Kanker Sisters were prone to these too.
    • So was Sarah.
    • And Eddy whenever he's cooking up a scam.
    • Kevin too, right before he'd beat up one of the Eds.
  • Mr. Crocker from The Fairly OddParents is an expert in these kinds of smiles. That grin is made even funnier when it shatters. Complete with a sound of breaking glass.
  • Near the end of an episode of Family Guy, New Brian actually does give this when he tells Stewie of him using Rupert the Teddy Bear for his pleasure, giving out the evilest slasher smile he ever gave.
    • Stewie gives one in "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" when he gets his picture taken with Santa.
    • In "Road to the Multiverse", Bunny!Tom Tucker has one of these before he and the rest of the Disneyfied characters beat up Mort.
  • Final Space: Grinning from ear-to-ear with a malevolent look in one's eyes and brows is a telltale sign of Demonic Possession by Invictus. Invictus' little Antichrist the Lord Commander himself sports a grin that would almost make Invictus proud when he's doing something really nasty or devious.
  • In Gravity Falls, "Bipper" (Bill Cipher while possessing Dipper's body seems to be wearing one of these at almost all times. Considering he's a psychopathic dream demon bent on bringing about the end of the world who delights in causing Dipper's body insufferable torture while inside it, this seems rather appropriate, despite even how unnerving it is to see a character we know well look suddenly so malevolent. The artists even went as far as to slightly change the way his teeth and gums look in order to make it especially creepy.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: The Grinch smiles in a sinister fashion when he gets his "wonderful, awful idea" to impersonate Santa Claus and steal Christmas.
  • Invader Zim typically dons one of these before unleashing doom on the Puny Earthlings, more-likely-than-not followed by an Evil Laugh.
  • Invincible (2021): When the Sequids gain a focal host for their Hive Mind in the form of one of the astronauts sent to Mars, said host has a Slasher Smile whilst directing the Sequids to overwhelm the Martian race.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Heloise, being Heloise, is prone to these. It's strangely adorable on her.
  • Mr. Cat from Kaeloo does this quite often, usually before using a chainsaw on Quack Quack.
  • Kim Possible herself flashes one to Drakken in Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama before punching him in the face so hard he flies across the room, which is also the first time she directly hits him in the series. She also has a tendency to flash Psychotic Smirks. Considering the fact that she's the good guy, it's rather unsettling.
  • Legion Of Superheroes: in the episode "Cry Wolf" Timber Wolf did this showing us that he was under the nanite's influence
  • Combined with The Looney Tunes Show song "We Are in Love", it might be hard to look at Lola the same way anymore.
  • The Loud House: Lola makes several smiles when she plans revenge on her sisters for slighting her in their fake stories about making her mad.
  • On Madeline, Pepito gets a few in the "Bad Bat Hat" song. Pepito being the wearer of said hat and the song being about him being a naughty boy.
  • Vendetta from Making Fiends has shown one out of aggression and frustration in the episode Super Evil.
  • Psycho, aka "Smiley," The Dragon from Max Steel.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic examples:
    • Pinkie Pie gives us an absolutely terrifying example in "Party of One".
    • Later on in Season 2's "Lesson Zero", Twilight Sparkle's Sanity Slippage results in a rapidly-worsening succession of disturbing Unsmiles. Taken out of context, these can result in some severe horror. This is probably the most famous "smile" she gives.
    • Discord from Season 2 also gives a nice one when he pretty much Force Chokes the mane cast.
    • Then there's Princess Cadence Actually an impostor in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1" when she imprisons Twilight Sparkle.
    • Trixie gives a nice one in the beginning of "Magic Duel".
    • In "Just for Sidekicks", Spike warns the Cutie Mark Crusaders not to leave the train in the Crystal Empire. In response, they each get one before subjecting him to Tickle Torture.
    • Rarity gives a pretty good one in Inspiration Manifestation when she shows off her new dress line she made while under the influence of the eponymous spell.
    • From the Season 8 finale after her true nature is revealed, Cozy Glow sports these a lot, especially when she is imprisoned in Tartarus. The last of these mentioned even provides the image for the episode's recap page.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Maurice flashes one after knocking out King Julien with a rolling pin in the episode "Kingdom Come."
  • Phineas and Ferb: Candace flashes these a lot, mostly when she's in busting mode and gets Mom to come out just before the big idea's disappearance. Doofenshmirtz also flashes these as well.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Buttercup gets a few in "Moral Decay". Also Blossom gives a rather sinister grin during the ending towards Buttercup.
    • Him is a master at doing this.
  • ReBoot's Hexadecimal had many masks with different emotions, with which she expressed herself, but her Slasher Smile mask is arguably the most (in)famous of all. Scarcely an episode went by without her using it at least once, and she always insisted on sticking her face right up against the camera when she used it.
    • In the Season 2 finale Megabyte gives one to Bob before launching him into a web portal.
  • During his mental breakdowns Ren of The Ren & Stimpy Show would often sport one of these.
  • Angelica of Rugrats would sometimes indulge in one of these.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Green Goblin possesses one that is quite creepy combined with his Evil Laugh and Sadistic One-Liners.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Waiting", SpongeBob mails in for a free prize for a box of Kelpo cereal. He waits for it at the mailbox for an impossibly long time. He finally gets it, and it turns out to be a toy. Patrick, his idiot starfish friend, "breaks" it (Squidward arrives later on and says it's supposed to do that). Spongebob just has a frozen smile on his face as he looks down at it. The smile stays on the entire following conversation:
    SpongeBob & Patrick: It's beautiful. (Patrick touches it and its springs pop out)
    Patrick: SpongeBob?
    SpongeBob: I waited so long...
    Patrick: SpongeBob?
    SpongeBob: And you broke it...
    Patrick: You okay, buddy?
    SpongeBob: Yes, yes I'm okay.
    Patrick: (sighs) For a sec, I...
    SpongeBob: (face shifts to fury) YOU! YOU RUINED MY FREE TOY!!!
    • In "I Heart Dancing", Squidward has one when SpongeBob is about to pass out.
    • In his own episode, Bubble Bass shows off a particularly nasty one when he got the idea to have Spongebob and Patrick do all of his moving for him.
  • Jasper of Steven Universe gives of an especially menacing smile when fusing with Lapis.
  • Storm Hawks: Most if not all of the villains are fond of making wide, malevolent grins.
  • In Tangled: The Series, The "Enchanted Girl"/ Zhan Tiri wears these smiles quite often.
  • Raven from Teen Titans (2003) dons one of these in "Nevermore", when her emotions and power go out of control.
  • Duncan from Total Drama shows these from time to time. More so in the second season.
  • Try to name someone in The Venture Bros. who hasn't done one yet.
  • Wakfu: Qilby is prone to grinning like a total psycho a lot after he merges with the Eliacube.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Omi sports a lot of malicious grins when he's converted to the Heylin side and becomes a Blood Knight Creepy Child.
  • Played for Laughs on Young Justice (2010) when Green Beetle allows Megan to read his mind and puts on an epically intimidating grin while explaining it's important they all trust each other. He's new to human customs and thought all smiles were friendly.
    Green Beetle: [Beat] Does my smile displease? Is this not how humans convey friendship and put each other at ease?

  • Many of the images on Encyclopedia Dramatica's "DO IT FAGGOT" page can either be examples of Slasher Smiles or Cheshire Cat Grins.
  • In Norse Mythology, Loki was often depicted with one of these (in some versions, due to a bet gone wrong Loki often had scars on his entire lip as well.
  •'s nightmarish grin is like this.
  • The urban legend of The Grinning Man, told as an event that coincided with the Mothman sightings in West Virginia during the 1960s. Some artistic renderings can be a little unsettling.
    • The last one... Is that Voldemort?
    • That last image may be Nightmare Retardant. It's an edited photo of the cockmongler.
      • It's only Nightmare Retardant if you actually knew who the cockmongler was beforehand. Otherwise?
  • Death is usually seen as a skeleton (with some accessories, like a scythe). Ironically, a human skull seems to "smile" all the time.
  • The devil overlooking Dante and Virgil in Hell doesn't seem to have lips and has teeth that look more like razor-like fangs. This leaves him with a permanent and threatening grin as he sees a man bite into the throat of another.

    Real Life 
  • Actor Jack Black can be seen with these in a wide number of photos.
  • The "literally smiling from ear to ear" disfigurement smile as evidenced by characters such as Kakihara in Ichi the Killer, Gwynplaine (of the aforementioned The Man Who Laughs), and The Dark Knight's Joker is commonly referred to as a "Glasgow smile" and is not a terribly uncommon humiliation injury by gangs. The actor Tommy Flanagannote  sports one of these courtesy of being jumped outside a pub in his younger days.
    • In Japan, legends abound of the kuchisake-onna (口裂け女), a female onryou with a surgical mask to conceal it and who is hellbent on returning the favor to every male she accosts around sundown
  • Jack Nicholson.
    • "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!" (that tends to happen when you play those roles).
    • With new Joker brand I get a grin again and again and again.
  • Lon Chaney was a master of this both in and out of makeup.
  • Michael Fassbender. There's a reason everyone on the Internet thinks he's a shark.
    • Smiling too widely is a good way to unsettle a fencing opponent.
  • Pittsburgh Steeler receiver Hines Ward is known for two things. The first is blocks so vicious and they made a new rule to try to keep him from hurting people. The second is almost always smiling. No matter how hard he gets hit, or how hard he hits someone, he gets up smiling like a lunatic.
  • Cult leader and sexual deviant David Berg's slasher smile never seemed to leave his face. Makes you shudder and want to punch him at the same time.
  • Marlon Brando, as seen here. (He looks like he might have been told by the makeup artist to grin so that the artist knows which facial wrinkles to highlight. Still looks freaky.)
  • Joe Biden smiles a lot: a nice smile, on the whole. But in this smile, as he explains why we have the Geneva Convention,note  there's nothing but pure distilled rage. And Nightmare Fuel.
    To protect my son in the military. That's why we sign these treaties.
  • Shirley Phelps tends to wear this expression during interviews.
  • Actor John Astin often sports one of these in his various roles. For example, take a look at the unnerving grin he's wearing during his credit close-up in The Addams Family theme song.
  • Andrew Kehoe was reportedly seen wearing one of these while heading toward Bath School, half of which he had blown up with dynamite minutes earlier, killing 38 people (mostly kids). Shortly thereafter, he blew up his car, killing himself and four others.
  • UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum often makes a goofy face at the camera that has become memetic. It involves a large, bizarre, Joker-like smile that makes him look insane. He's even worn shirts with himself making the smile.
  • David Bowie could produce one when he was in the right mood.
  • Satoshi Uematsu, suspected of stabbing 19 severely disabled people to death in a Japanese care home, has one of these in virtually every photo of him, both before and after the rampage.
  • Alligators and crocodiles often appear to have a permanent one, though, in reality, this is just how their mouths are shaped. Gators, however, look less threatening since they have an overbite, in contrast to crocs which have both their upper and lower teeth interlock with each other forming a toothy grin.
  • Averted with wolves, which is one of the reasons our two species get along fairly well. Granted, the phrase "wolf grin" exists for a reason, their smiles don't always look happy, but anything resembling a smile from a wolf can at least be read as non-aggression.
  • Played straight and inverted with chimpanzees. Any facial gesture from a chimp that shows teeth is at best a warning a sign, whether it's a smile or otherwise, even if it is a happy looking smile.
  • Due to autism spectrum disorder being linked to difficulty reading social and facial cues, many people on the spectrum often have to practice grinning to avoid it looking like a slasher smile.
  • George Eastman (no not that one) is a master at the slasher smile from his numerous villain and exploitation film roles throughout his career.
  • Ad voiceover artist Mona Abboud recorded a song called "The Pretty Little Dolly", which she was invited to perform on The Tonight Show as Johnny Carson's guest. While her expression starts off shy and sweet, as the song veers off Letter to Santa Road and onto Psychopath Boulevard, Abboud's smile slowly morphs into a pretty unsettling Slasher Smile.
  • Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame has naturally "angry eyebrows" shaped in a way that make her look perpetually pissed off, despite the fact that she's a really sweet, funny, and kind lady. She tends to smile a lot but her angry eyebrows make her smile look aggressive, despite the warmth behind it, making her an unintentional example of this.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Evil Grin


The Smile of Dan Kuroto

Saiba Nico attempts to be her usual sassy self when dealing with Danny Boy. His response immediately makes her rethink her life choices.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlasherSmile

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