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Tear Off Your Face

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There are few sights more gruesome than that of a human face with all the skin removed. Something about the absence of eyelids, lips, and the nose combined with the rather bloody results makes this an extremely powerful image. Sometimes, a character will have their face completely destroyed, while other times, their face will be cut off and preserved. The one who does the cutting may end up wearing the face for themselves. Note that simply damaging the face isn't enough — to qualify, the entire face must be removed, leaving only some combination of muscle, teeth, blood, bone, and (usually) eyes. In a more cartoony version, it's probable that only the skull will be left behind the face. Despite having just been deprived of lips, the victim's ability to talk will be rarely impeded.

Very much the scariest part of Flaying Alive, and often the M.O. of the Face Stealer.

Subtrope of Facial Horror. Not to be confused with the end of a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax (in that case, it's Dramatic Unmask).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Akame ga Kill!, Nyau, a bodyguard to the evil general Esdeath, does this to the bodyguard and daughter of the former prime minister. He also plans to do it to Tatsumi and Bulat.
  • In Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Lambada has done so to Rice, although in a less gory manner — the polygonated Rice was left with with no apparent injuries, save for not having polygon edges or colour on his face. The face also turned into a nice little rectangular brick thing. It has been said that Lambada does this to defeated enemies regularly.
  • One scene in D.Gray-Man has Road Kamelot demonstrate her Healing Factor by tearing her own face off and regrowing it.
  • In the first of many horrific injuries she suffers over the series, Dorohedoro features Kaiman biting on Ebisu's face, then Fujita comes in through a dimensional door, grabs her by the arm and pulls her out. A few scenes later and Ebisu's face is hanging around Kaiman's teeth.
  • Happens all the time in Franken Fran.
  • Hayato Jin's introduction in the original Getter Robo manga has him tearing the face off a student planning to desert his group of revolutionaries. Another would-be deserter "merely" loses his eyes, ears, and nose.
  • Hellsing features a particularly brutal version. Seras Victoria finishes off Zorin Blitz by grinding her face against a wall until all that's left is a mass of blood and bone.
  • In one Inuyasha arc, Naraku expels his heart, which takes the form of a naked faceless man, who proceed to slay a whole bunch of bandits and rip their faces, looking for a suitable one for him. Without them he's shown to be The Blank.
  • Junji Ito:
    • The Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection story "Flesh Colored Horror" has Chikara's mother rip Maya's face off (revealing that she wears a skin suit like her in the process), in a desperate attempt to save herself after Chikara dissolves her skin suit.
    • This also happens in the story "Layers of Fear", in which the mother does this to herself, thinking the curse afflicting her family would make her young again by doing this.
  • During the American Tour arc of Kinnikuman, Beauty Rhodes gets part of his face ripped off by Skull Bozu. When we later see him, he's had that part replaced by a metal plate.
  • Orochimaru Naruto does in his first appearance. Offscreen thankfully.
  • One Piece: Franky accidentally causes an explosion while exploring one of Vegapunk's labs. Next we see, his face minus the eyes has been blown to ash. The whole thing is played for laughs, as Franky is a cyborg that can replace his face (even though that part appeared to be flesh).
  • A more mystical example in 3×3 Eyes: a minor villain from the second series tries to force Pai into lending her Triclop powers by forcibly putting the souls of her best friends inside a monstrous, two-headed marionette she can control and threatens to burn. The ritual involves making the faces of the girls disappear entirely and reappear on the doll's heads. Fortunately, Yakumo give them back their faces and souls.
  • Soul Eater features Free and Eruka Frog hallucinating that their faces are being chewed off.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman Vampire: Joker's vampire henchman Mr. Creach rips a gangster's face with his fangs.
  • A Parallax-possessed Hal Jordan does this to The Specter during the climax of Blackest Night.
  • The Female from The Boys has a tendency for maiming, delimbing and mutilating her enemies/victims. At one point, she walks into a room for a hit early on and while we don't witness it directly, the face of one of the criminals inside splatters against the window. We do get to witness her do this in a fight against a low tier superhero team, where she rips the face off clean off a rather pretty superheroine without actually killing her.
    • She is not the only source of this in the comic however. During the Russia Arc, a Russian ally's worker is sent on an errand and the protagonists end up receiving their pizza order with his sliced off face plastered across said pie. Also lets not forget what happened to the President during the final arc...
  • The cliffhanger to #1 of New 52 Detective Comics is the Dollmaker freeing the Joker from Arkham ... and leaving the Joker's face pinned to the wall. This sets up Death of the Family; an event that happened issues later. Batman: Endgame had the Joker with his face again and revealed he had a healing factor.
  • There was a Hellblazer story that featured a demon that ripped the face off an angel and now wears it as a mask. It would make deals for fame and fortune.
  • Inverted in Joker - instead of the face, an unfortunate bartender is stripped of everything but.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Fear demonstrates this when possessing a resistance fighter as his new host body, reaching somewhere down his throat to present the man's torn off, leathery face.
  • It's normal for Lucifer's pal Mazikeen to be missing half her face, just don't try to "fix" it.
  • Moon Knight infamously cut Bushman's face off, even wearing it once!
  • Necronauts: A medium tears off his face when he's possessed by entities from beyond during a seance.
  • Preacher: Serial Killer Si Coltrane is shown to have not only cut off the face of one of his victims, he nailed it back upside down. The only thing he can say is "kuh muh".
  • The Tales from the Crypt story "Only Skin Deep" (later adapted for the TV version) features a man who elopes with a woman he met at Mardi Gras, who refuses to remove her mask and insists on consummating the marriage in the dark. He gets curious and tries to remove it, and...well, it's listed as an example here, isn't it?
  • Overlord does this near the end of The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers - since this came out after Revenge of the Fallen, cue fandom yelling the page quote.
  • Vos from Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is a bizarre inversion— he removes his own face, which is actually more like a mask lined with numerous spikes, drills, and other painful implements, and forces it over someone else's face as a means of torture.
    Vos: Wear my faaace.
  • Optimus Prime does this to Ultra Magnus in Transformers: Shattered Glass. Before you're too horrified by that mental image, note that this is a Mirror Universe where the Autobots are the bad guys and Optimus Prime is an evil, megalomaniacal dick—one who could put the Megatron of our universe to shame when it comes to really being cruel.
  • Ultimate Red Skull did this and gained his red face after killing over 200 men at 17 in order to reject his father Captain America.
  • In Uncanny Avengers, the Death-Seed resurrected (and completely insane) Sentry did this, in excruciating detail - even ripping away everything bar his eyes and brain and continuing to communicate telepathically - while giving Thor a Breaking Speech and a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Since the Sentry's powers include de facto immortality and a Healing Factor that makes things like being disintegrated mere passing inconveniences, this is not entirely surprising.
  • Black Adam did this to Father Time in the World War III miniseries, at the same time as he cracked a joke about Americans always trying to "save face".

    Fan Works 
  • The Night Unfurls: With Super Strength, facial destruction couldn't be any more creative.
    • Original version:
      • Chapter 4: Kyril rips a mook's eyes and tongue out with his bare hand, destroying the face in the process.
      • Chapter 10: Kyril rams his Saw Cleaver into a mook's face, ruining it beyond recognition with a crunch.
      • Chapter 11: Kyril slams the butt of his pistol into a mook's face, with enough strength to utterly shatter it.
      • Chapter 20: Sanakan caves a mook's face inwards by punching him in the face with her metal bracer.
      • Chapter 34: Kyril shatters a mutant's face via a punch while giving an order to Bergen.
    • Remastered version:
      • Chapter 5: Kyril blasts an orc in the face with his Hunter's Blunderbuss, its face being destroyed by the shot.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Army of Frankensteins, one of the Frankensteins tears off a Union soldier's face.
  • In Beetlejuice, Barbra hangs herself in her closet by her dress via a clothes hanger, pulls her own face off, her eyes fall out of her face and screams in an attempt to frighten off the Deetzs from their home. Unfortunately, she soon realized they can't see her when they moved her like a shirt.
  • In Birds of Prey, Roman Sionis has his henchman Victor Zsasz peel off the face of a fellow crime boss who refuses to work with him (and then does it to his wife and daughter). Sionis also threatens to remove Harley's face and pickle it.
  • In Braindead (aka Dead Alive), one of the victims of the zombie outbreak has his face torn completely off.
  • Butterfly and Sword: Yip's first onscreen kill is that of an Imperial traitor whose face he cleaves off with a single swipe of his sword.
  • Child's Play (2019) has Chucky rip off the face of his first victim and nail it to a watermelon. He then brings it to Andy's room (possibly inspired by the below mentioned The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which Andy is shown watching in a prior scene).
  • Inverted by Cloverfield: A character gets everything except his face destroyed.
  • Creep Van: In the film's climax, when confronted by the killer, Campbell shuts the killer's van's razor-sharp window, slicing his face (as well as half his head) off.
  • Preston in Equilibrium kills a dude by slicing his face off with a katana.
  • The other obvious example is Eyes Without a Face, where Dr. Génessier's main goal is to find a replacement face for his disfigured daughter Christiane by any means necessary.
  • In Faceless, beautiful women are abducted by Dr. Flamand's female assistant and kept hostage. The doctor uses the skin of the women to perform plastic surgery on his disfigured sister, but the experiments leave the victims mutilated and dead.
  • The obvious example is Face/Off, in which Sean Archer and Castor Troy, for contrived reasons, end up surgically switching faces (and taking each other's places). After Castor wakes up and finds himself missing his face, when his cronies abduct Dr. Walsh and bring him to the Walsh Institute, Castor is briefly shown walking around without a face (literally, briefly - for the most part we only see Castor's shadow or shots of him from behind where the damage can't be seen, until Castor claps and says "Bra-fucking-vo!" upon seeing the conclusion of the videotape of the surgery.
    • There is also a scene when Archer-as-Troy, high on a massive dose of drugs he had to take to keep up his cover, goes off on a rant about how he is going to take Archer's "...face... off! His eyes, his nose, his... mouth... off!" which manages to creep out even Troy's jaded goons.
  • Jason Mewes' character gets his face torn off early in Feast.
  • Going Overboard: Dickie Diamond does this to his face at the end of Shecky's nightmare, when he becomes animated in a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • In Hansel vs. Gretel, Gretel removes Jacob's face with her bare hands after he rejects her advances.
  • One of the villains in Hellboy (2004) is a cybernetic Nazi Mad Scientist named Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, who, we're told, became addicted to surgery and amputated most of his own face. We only briefly see what he looks like under his gas mask, but it's very nasty.
    • This is in contrast to Kroenen's characterization in the comics, where he wore the gas mask at all times due to an intense case of germophobia, and there was never any indication that there was anything especially wrong with his face.
  • A very graphic and detailed example is shown in Hostel. A scalpel is used to cut an outline onto the face, before the torturer uses the scalpel to pry away the top layer of skin. Then, using his hands, he slowly peels off the rest while the man being tortured screams in absolute agony, being alive afterwards while an audience of rich elites watch in enjoyment before the torturer places the skin on a mannequin head like it's an art piece. It's definitely one of the harder example to watch.
  • Happens in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. In the former, Otis guns down Denise's father, then he skins off the face and chest, wearing it to taunt the captive Denise, even trying to kiss her. In the latter, Otis holds two men at gunpoint in the desert, before a fight breaks out and he kills one and injures another. He grabs the wounded one after he shot him in the throat and uses his combat knife to skin off his face while he's still alive. He then wears the face in front of the man's wife, then forces her to wear it.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa kills Immortan Joe by hooking his mask to a harpoon and onto the wheels of his car, gruesomely ripping his face off in the process.
  • In the old Wuxia film, Magnificient Bodyguards (one of Jackie Chan's earlier movies), one of the characters is named Chang Wu-yi the Face-peeler, and lives up to his nickname by ripping off at least three victim's faces with his bare hands in the movie. Including the main villain's daughter-slash-henchwoman.
  • A Jerkass farmer named Edgar gets his face ripped off along with the rest of his skin by a cockroach-like alien in Men in Black. It tears the "suit" off so it can fight properly.
  • The Emperor from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor uses this trope as a combat tactic, ripping his own terra-cotta face off like a death mask and hurling it at the heroes. His curse immediately rebuilds his ceramic features.
  • In NightBreed, one character starts to cut his own face off as part of his passage into Midian.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Tina rips off Freddy's face as she struggles with him. But he allowed that to happen to scare her even further.
  • Angela rips a girl's face off with her bare teeth in the Night of the Demons (2009) remake. When the victim returns as a demon, she's still faceless.
  • In Poltergeist one of the scientists investigating the Freelings' house hallucinates that he pulls off his own face.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera this happens to Amber Sweet during the song "Blame Not My Cheeks", thanks to a botched surgery.
    • It's also her brother Pavi's MO. He seems to have done it to himself at some point, as underneath his masks his face is skinned muscle, but the masks themselves are the faces of women he's murdered. He even buys the face that fell off his sister in the above mentioned scene at the end of the movie, to wear "with pride".
  • The "Pride" victim in Se7en has her face mutilated and nose cut off by John Doe.
  • Lamon Cranston does this in a dream in The Shadow, revealing the face of Shiwan Khan underneath.
  • The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter. He does this to a guard and wears his face as part of his legendary escape. In the Backstory to Hannibal, he talked Mason Verger into cutting his own face off. Admittedly Verger was high at the time.
  • In Son of the Mask, Loki removes Dr. Neumann's face from his head and places it in a glass case. As it's a G-rated movie, no blood or gore is shown, and the victim is alive and rather disappointed about the whole situation rather that being in pain.
  • In Surrogates, this is done to some of the surrogates as a surgical procedure.
  • In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a character gets his face cut off with an electric carving knife.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Optimus Prime shouts "Give me your FACE!" at The Fallen, the progenitor of the Decepticons of sorts whose face appears to have inspired their logo, right before ripping it off. Regardless this quickly became a meme in the Transformers fandom.
  • Mike Strauber, the lunatic psycho in the low-budget flick Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness cuts a chunk of his own face off because one of his hallucinations dares him to.
  • The killer from the half-comedic Slasher Movie Unmasked Part 25 rips the first victim's face off, and then pulls his heart out, all with his bare hands. Later killings are not nearly as brutal.
  • This is the MO of the killer in Wrestlemaniac.
  • One guy has his face cleanly sliced off by a swinging scythe trap in Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead.

  • In 1635: The Eastern Front, an explosive trap set to take out the John George blows the face of his wife off her skull, the face winding up plastered onto the hindquarters of one of the horses hauling their carriage.
  • Downplayed in After the Revolution: After escaping Pleno under heavy fire, Roland (a black Super Soldier who had been disguised as a white man during his visit) notices that his Healing Factor is causing all the skin he lost to re-grow in its original colour. He promptly decides to tear off the rest of his disguise, starting with his face, much to the consternation of everyone else in the escape vehicle. Luckily, his real face is (mostly) intact underneath.
  • Tom Clancy is rather fond of this. Multiple books feature somewhat graphic descriptions of a well-placed headshot plastering someone's face against a wall.
  • The Curse of the Blue Figurine: In the later sequel The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, Johnny Dixon has a nightmare about this — in it, the book's villain, a hideous old woman named Corinne LeGrande (better known as Mama Sinestra), shows up at the Halloween party at his school, looking like herself. When it's time for everyone to take off their masks, she removes her entire face, revealing only a grinning skull underneath.
  • The Dresden Files: In Changes, Murphy slices the front of a Red Court noble's skull off with one of the Swords of the Cross. Not as horrific as some examples, as the vampire in question was wearing a mask, so the actual face is fully covered as it falls to the ground.
  • In the Franny K. Stein book Frantastic Voyage, one of Franny's experiments going wrong because of her dog Igor's meddling has her Automatic Face Scrubber tear her face clean off. Fortunately, she had the surgical skills needed to reattach her face.
  • This happens to several people in one of the stories in The Further Adventures of The Joker.
  • At the end of the Horus Heresy novel "Fear to Tread", a very angry Horus pulls off Erebus's face and keeps it as a trophy. Since Erebus is a Super Soldier and blessed by the Chaos Gods, he survives, and by the present of the setting, ten thousand years later, he seems to have regrown it.
  • In the Laura Caxton books, when a vampire brings a victim Back from the Dead, the psychological trauma of the event causes the revived person to rip their own face to shreds.
  • The Saga of Arrow-Odd: When the half-trollish Ogmund and Odd fight at Geirrodsgard and Ogmund once again realizes it is looking bad for him, he tries to escape from Odd by diving into the earth (as trolls can). As Ogmund sinks into the ground, Odd gets hold of his beard, and rips his entire face off. As Ogmund is nigh-indestructible, he survives and takes to permanently wearing a mask.
  • Smaller & Smaller Circles: This, plus evisceration, is the primary M.O. of the Depraved Dentist Serial Killer. The sight of a faceless victim is enough to make one priest throw up his whole breakfast (although in fairness, the child's corpse was found in a garbage dump, so the nauseating smells of decay certainly played a part).
  • Thursday Next: Acheron Hades took the face from his dying Mook Felix and applied it to a succession of abducted and brainwashed replacements. He later threatened to make Thursday the next Felix.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens at least once in 1000 Ways to Die, when a dumbass drunk gets a literal face-full when operating a machine...
  • BattleBots: DUCK! had its entire "face" (= front plow/shield) ripped off by a massive hit from Cobalt in the show's second Discovery Channel season.
  • In The Boys (2019), Kimiko does this to a Russian gangster as part of an Internal Homage to her first appearance in the original comic.
  • The first and only victim of the villain in the Criminal Minds episode "About Face" is killed this way.
  • Hannibal:
    • Like in the book series, finally has enough of Mason Verger, gets him high, and compels him to cut off his face and feed it to dogs.
    • Verger intends to have his doctor Cordell Doemling cut off Will Graham's face and attach it to his own head. Hannibal turns the tables on him here, too.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In the climax of the first episode, Lestat de Lioncourt's Super Speed punch through a priest's head results in a large, empty hole where the latter's face used to be.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Kilgrave tell two cooks under his control to do something if he doesn't return within a certain time.
    Kilgrave: Alva? Laurent? If I'm not back within two hours, please remove the skin from each others' faces.
  • Inverted in the "Operatic Orange" sketch from Sesame Street. "L'AMOOOOOUUUUURRRRR-" (face explodes).
  • An underground pit fighter in Spartacus: Blood and Sand does this to defeated opponents, then wears their faces as masks.
  • The X-Files: The Monster of the Week in the episode "Sanguinarium" conducts a ritual that will allow him to change his face by killing hospital patients as sacrifice. In the end, he cuts his face with a scalpel and rips it off, revealing the new one underneath it. Mulder later finds the old one lying on the floor.

  • The music video "Mono", created by the Cat Ghost crew and premiered in Candy Bowl 2017: shows a cat girl whom has an unrequited crush with a rabbit girl, not handling her silent refusals very well. Eventually skinning the latter alive and then wearing their face.
  • The Trope Namer is "Pirahna", by Exodus.
  • Lou Reed's video for "No Money Down" is a head and shoulders shot of an animatronic Lou singing - already creepy, then halfway through "he" starts pulling his face off down to his robotic skull.
  • GWAR often rips the skin off of people's heads during live performances.
  • In the video for Slipknot's "The Devil In I," Mick Thompson thoroughly rips the skin off of his own face!
  • In the video for Tricky's "Evolution Revolution Love"; he, Ed Kowalczyk, and Hawkman (the singers on the track) peel their faces off when the singer changes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Terror Australis. The Mimi are creatures from Aboriginal Australian Myths. When angry at a human they may eat all the flesh from his face, leaving the victim alive but horrendously disfigured.
  • This is why Iuchi Karasu of Legend of the Five Rings wears a mask. Being forced to cut off his own face was one of many tortures inflicted on Karasu by Moto Tsume.

    Video Games 
  • A bunch of disembodied hands do this to the titular character of Alice: Madness Returns during the introduction.
  • This is the M.O. of the Identity Thief in Batman: Arkham City. First he paralyzes the victim's vocal chords, then removes the face while they're still alive.
  • In Brütal Legend, the special attack "Face Melter" (originally a generic term for a particularly powerful guitar solo in Heavy Metal) literally melts the faces off any nearby enemies who have one.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Guido Szandor, the final acolyte you need to fight, gets "rewarded" with this by Satan, who's very unhappy that he never took notice of the fact that Dracula has been tailing him. Noticeably, either due to Guido's or Satan's endurance, Guido's face is still moving as Satan's holding it in his hand.
  • In Deltarune, Susie — who's some kind of purple lizard attending high school with the other monsters — has a habit of threatening to bite people's faces off when she wants to scare them. The first time, feeling like she's doomed to be expelled and ponders going out big, threatens to bite off Kris' face and it's not entirely clear if she was serious before she thinks better. When she shows a perky Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain how to be scary in almost the exact same way, he is very briefly dismayed and then has an "oh, I get it" reaction.
  • Vinesauce Joel discovers a horrifying instance of this on the game over screen of a Russian bootleg Felix the Cat Genesis game.
  • An ultimately unused scene in the Five Nights at Freddy's trailer showed Bonnie removing his face to reveal the endoskeleton head underneath. This ended up becoming true (in a fashion) in the sequel, where Bonnie is worn away and damaged, including his face being removed save for his lower jaw.
  • The headcrab zombies in Half-Life 2 can be seen to have had their face eaten away (and what's left of it set in a scream) if you shoot off the headcrab.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Phantom Ganon does this to himself before the fight begins.
  • One of Reptile's Mortal Kombat 4 fatalities.
  • One of Shinnok's brutalities in Mortal Kombat X. Appropriate that it's called Face Off.
  • One of Baraka's new fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11 involves him first tearing off the skin of the victim's face once for pain, again to reveal their skull, then ripping their skull open, impaling their brain and eating it.
  • Persona 5: When party members first rip off their Persona masks, their face becomes appropriately bloodied as if it were their actual face. Ripping the mask off Shadows also hurts them, giving you an advantage in battle.
  • One of Pocket God's more nightmarish sacrifices.
  • Resident Evil
    • A few enemies in the series can do this (for example the novistators from 4 if they kill Leon with an acid-to-the-face attack).
    • Lisa Trevor ripped the faces off several Umbrella employees who tried to pose as her mother.
  • In Episode 4 of Tales from the Borderlands, Rhys's first order of business is to find the body of his recently-dead rival Vasquez so he can scan its face for a disguise... only to find that said face has been sliced off and that he'll need to get it from a Psycho wearing it as a mask.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, murders where the corpses end up like this happen repeatedly in some of the different arcs. Often, half the face is left on - Beatrice says that this is to prevent Battler from always arguing in response that the corpses are planted and aren't actually any of the people they're identified as by the clothing. However, the first twilight in the first arc has a case where five of the six victims wind up with their entire faces removed. This pretty thoroughly traumatizes all of the cousins who see it (save Maria, who doesn't see it directly and has her own... issues).
    Battler: Dead people are supposed to have faces like they're asleep, right?! They've got no faces! My dad and Kyrie have no faces! Oh God! I can't picture what they looked like before they died! What's wrong with me?! Will I have to picture this every time I remember them?!


    Web Original 
  • In the AOK short, "MUPPET ELDERLIES", Kermit does this to Fozzie when the latter continues making inappropriate jokes about Miss Piggy dying from complications in her hip surgery.
  • In Bart Baker's 22 Parody, Taylor Swift slices off Harry Style's face.
  • Harry, the Handsome Butcher of Cyanide and Happiness shorts does this to himself when asked for the most handsome meat he has. He uses a knife though.
  • In the Dingo Doodles Fools Gold series, this is the reason Gothi is always wearing a mask.
  • The "Don't eat my face" meme, although it has a Gory Discretion Shot and ends with someone incredulously asking "You ate his face?"
  • In the Kickstarter video for Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the page from the anthropomorphic Sketchbook with her face on it is briefly shown on the ground. Given that she's a sketchbook, it could very well be the equivalent of this trope for her.
  • Do you know why Strong Bad from Homestar Runner never removes his "mask?" It is actually his face. Shortly after getting a new chair, Strong Bad got an email asking him to remove his mask; he does, but the experience was incredibly painful to him (and we thankfully do not see anything because of his chair blocking everything).
  • Zalvetta from Thrilling Intent has been known to do this.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animaniacs episode "Warner's 65th Anniversary Special" has a scene where Daffy Duck recalls a cartoon where the Warners got flypaper stuck to their butts. Dot gets hers ripped off when she tries to remove the flypaper from Yakko, and upon seeing this Wakko then rips his own off.
  • Back to the Future: In "Solar Sailors", Doc and Clara, on a second honeymoon far in the future, see a musician who looks like Marty and go over to talk to him. "Marty" pulls off his face, revealing himself to be an actor (who is actually not very happy about the role or the Loony Fans who apparently come with it.)
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Courage the Fly", Eustace accidentally rips off Muriel's face while trying to grab Courage with flypaper. When she orders him to put it back, he puts it on upside down and then fixes it, and predictably she hits him with her rolling pin.
  • In the Drawn Together episode "Requiem for a Reality Show", during a montage of Captain Hero and Foxy bonding over their newfound love of sadomasochism, Foxy plays golf with the tee in Captain Hero's mouth. When she swings the club, his whole face comes off, and it can still emote.
  • In the Evil Con Carne episode "The Right to Bear Arms", where Boskov and Skarr switch arms but can still control their arms on the other's body, Boskov makes Skarr do this to himself. When they're recovering in the medical wing after Ghastly has chainsawed their arms off and reattached them to their respective bodies, she also sewed Skarr's face back on but sewed his lips together.
  • Family Guy:
    • Peter does this to Chris in a Cutaway Gag when telling his friends about how he is better than Chris at everything, even magic tricks.
    • In "Grumpy Old Man" Peter thinks that one of the residents of the retirement home is Old Man Withers, owner of the amusement park, and tries to unmask him and find out who he really is. After finding a skeleton, Peter refuses to give the man his face back and tells him he is going to jail.
    • This happened to Chris again in another episode; while impersonating a corpse he took from the morgue, it turned out the man had gave his body to science and a part of him is given to a girl whose face was torn off by a chimp (see below in Real Life).
    • In "Connie's Celica", while trying to clear Lois's name after she's arrested for murder, Peter figures that he and Brian are basically Shaggy and Scooby-Doo and goes around ripping off random people's faces to find the real killer.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy makes this into a Running Gag with Billy (who never seems to notice it when it happens).
    • In "Tricycle of Terror", Billy gets sent flying off his bike and has his face run into ground against the road. When he lifts his face up, only small shreds of skin are left, and his skull is visible - all in front of a group of children selling lemonade, too.
    • Providing the page image, in "Reap Walking", Billy puts his mouth on a running egg beater to taste the waffle batter he's making and ends up ripping his face off with it, only commenting that the batter tastes smooth.
    • In "The Loser from the Earth's Core", a visiting Nergal tosses away a push mower and it lands on Billy's face, shredding it clean off.
    • In "He's Not Dead, He's My Mascot", the school's cat mascot claws Billy's face off his skull as he tries to take care of it. It later does the same to Grim, but since Grim has no skin, he's just left with a hole where his face was.
    • In "Billy and Mandy Save Christmas", Billy wanders into a wampa's cave and mistakes it for Santa when the group visits the North Pole. The monster tears Billy's face clean off in response to his entrance.
      Billy: Santa has sharp nails.
    • In Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure, Billy's face gets caught in an explosion caused by his future self returning to his own time, and is totally vaporized as a result, leaving his skull exposed.
    • In "Short Tall Tales", the sheer strength of the wind from a tornado causes "Pecos Billy" to have his face ripped clean off his skull.
  • A dream-controlling villain in the Justice League episode "Only A Dream" rips off his own face in a nightmare as part of embracing his new abilities. (This isn't his own nightmare, incidentally, and he does this while announcing that he's going to "perform some surgery" on the victim. It's probably for the best that we're not shown what happens to her, instead simply being told that she died in her sleep.)
  • In Korgoth of Barbaria, Korgoth does this to a thug who spends too much time monologuing about the "Whole new spectrum of pain" he's going to introduce to Korgoth.
  • Roll does this in Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) to a cosmetics robot.
  • Mickey Mouse (2013): In "Nature's Wonderland", Mickey and Minnie ride in a mine train that runs so fast, that the white "mask" parts of their faces peel off.
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit demonstrated the ability to attach and detach his face at will, with no justification other than the Rule of Funny in which is shown in the short "Africa Before Dark".
  • The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder: In "New Kids on the Block", Michael tries to make LaCienega look beautiful again by using hot wax and paper to remove her unwanted facial hair. Instead, he rips her entire face off, and she's somehow still able to see and talk from the paper.
  • The title characters of The Ren & Stimpy Show have had their faces ripped off on several occasions, one specific example comes from "Travelogue" in which Ren has his torn off by a baboon who collects the faces of "lucky tourists".
  • In a Robot Chicken Terminator sketch, an unfortunate jock has his face ripped off by John's Terminator bodyguard for making fun of him.
  • This has happened a couple of times in Rocko's Modern Life, such as in "Carnival Knowledge" when on a roller coaster, the ride gets so intense that it peels Heffer's face off.
  • A mountain lion does this to Chef as part of his death scene in his final episode in South Park.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • SpongeBob has had his face ripped off a few times, the first and most memorable example being in "Squid on Strike" where after getting fired from the Krusty Krab, the third time Squidward pries him off of the doors, his entire front is gone revealing his skeleton and circulatory system.
    • In "Doing Time" when SpongeBob and Patrick come up to Mrs. Puff revealing themselves to be disguised as prison guards, they walk away and two real guards appear. Mrs. Puff accuses them of being SpongeBob and "that guy who likes the chili" and rips off their faces, at which point they decide she's gone completely insane.
    • In "Spy Buddies" when everyone is revealing themselves to be someone else in disguise, SpongeBob rips off Squidward's face revealing his flesh. He then angrily takes his face back and walks away.
    • In "Don't Look Now" when Squidward is stalking SpongeBob and Patrick dressed as the fisherman from the Slasher Movie they saw, Patrick gets the hook from Squidward's fishing rod stuck in his face. When he goes into SpongeBob's house and the fishing line gets caught in the door, Patrick tries so hard to break free that his face comes off, revealing his skull underneath. He grows a new one by simply stretching the skin on his forehead over his skull.
    • In "Stuck on the Roof" when Squidward's face gets stuck to the grill, his face gets ripped off and sticks to it when he pries himself loose. It's fairly more graphic than the "Spy Buddies" example.
  • In the first episode of Squidbillies, the Sheriff does this to himself when he goes insane after a young Rusty inadvertently shampoos him with over half a million dollars of crystal meth. Later at the end of the episode "Butt Trouble", he gets his face ripped off by vampire squids, and near the end of "Forever Autumn", he's shown with his face removed again in Dan Halen's latest ad.
  • In Thomas & Friends, all locomotives have faces, but this is how one of the Scottish Twins actually kills the Spiteful Brakevan (a bullying caboose) at the end of the episode "Brake Van", by ramming into him face-on, smashing the caboose to bits, and tearing off his face.
  • An episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat has Felix trying to remove the mask of someone who looks just like him... and only finding a skull below once he manages to do so.
  • In one of the Villainous shorts, after the statue-making machine the whole cast has been abusing runs out of power and gets stuck in a statue of them all in a big hug, Black Hat facepalms, followed by ripping his face off. Yes, he has a bit of a temper.

    Real Life 
  • Peeling the skin downwards from the forehead, exposing the frontal bone, is one of the first steps in accessing the brain during an autopsy.
  • At least one surviving victim of an attack by a pet chimpanzee (Charla Nash) had her face torn off. She's had a facial transplant since.
  • Many, many anatomy textbooks have diagrams of the skinless human face at the beginnings of their chapters on skeletal muscles. Some even use such illustrations as cover art.
  • One man had his face shredded when his rider mower overturned. Others have had their face ripped off when their hair got caught in machinery.
  • This happened to a Russian grenadier at the battle of Eylau. He was trying to stab Captain Marbot with his bayonet, but he was so drunk that he hit Marbot's horse instead, and the horse in question (a ferocious mare called Lisette) bit his face off.
  • In Chinese history, Sun Hao, Fu Sheng and Gao Heng all skinned the faces off of their enemies.
  • Common and horrible tactic used by many drug cartels, especially in Mexico. The face is cut off, sometimes while a victim is still alive as a punishment and as a scare tactic. The victim can live for quite a while afterwards. A specific example is the video "Funky Town". Viewer discretion is very much advised.
  • A facial degloving injury can result in something like this, especially if it's severe. A degloving injury is when the upper layers of skin and tissue are ripped off of the lower ones or even off of the bone. You should NOT look up "facial degloving", even if you think you have a strong stomach.

Oooh faced!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tear Your Face Off



Joel comes across the now-infamous game over for a Russian Felix the Cat bootleg.

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Main / TearOffYourFace

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