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The Unblinking

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"...and if I keep blinking it weakens me. But if I'm talking to you, and I don't blink and I just keep going and I don't blink and I keep on going and I don't blink, you start to listen to what I'm saying. And it makes me a very strong person, as opposed to someone who is sitting there going, [blinks rapidly]"
Michael Caine, teaching an acting class, 1987

A character who never blinks or ceases blinking for a particular extended period. A relatively subtle way of enhancing a character's creepy, inhuman or evil nature. May be used as a "tell" that a character is a vampire, a robot, or otherwise not human, but unblinking characters may just be very creepy humans.

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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

  • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, Miaya Gekkogahara never blinks, which along with her never speaking a word adds to her uncanny aura. We find out in episode 4 that this is because she's actually a robot controlled by Monaka.
  • Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion doesn't blink, as another hint to her disturbing and mysterious nature.
  • L from Death Note never blinks, to emphasize his off-putting appearance and highly observant nature. The one time in the series his eyes noticeably close is when he dies.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live Action 
  • David in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. This aspect of the character was suggested to Steven Spielberg by Haley Joel Osment to add to his character's robotic nature.
  • In Dark Shadows, Barnabas Collins never blinks, which makes sense since he's a vampire. All instances of Johnny Depp's blinking were removed digitally to add an Uncanny Valley factor to the character.
  • Kaa from The Jungle Book (2016). While it's justified in that snakes can't blink anyway, the way the scene is framed and the emphasis on her eyes makes the whole thing that much more noticeable and off.
  • Large Marge in Pee-wee's Big Adventure never blinks for the entirety of the scene she appears in, which flourishes her status as a creepy undead truck driver.
  • Lloyd, the ghostly bartender who magically appears before Jack in The Shining, never blinks as a hint toward his corporeally-challenged state. Jack himself starts blinking less after his encounter with Lloyd, showing that the supernatural elements of the hotel are slowly manifesting within him.
  • Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace of the villainous variety.
  • In The Silence of the Lambs, the serial killer Hannibal Lecter almost never blinks. Anthony Hopkins picked up the idea from watching tapes of Charles Manson and noticing that he also seldom blinked.
  • In the 1961 British horror movie The Snake Woman, the title character never blinks as part of her snake-like qualities (that and the whole shedding skin and turning into a cobra). When she was born, the fact that the baby had cold skin and never blinked raised a cry of Burn the Witch! by the requisite Torches and Pitchforks mob.
  • The T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a robotic yet ultimately heroic example. The T-1000, ever the foil to the T-800, also never once blinks. Not even when firing his gun.
  • Lady Kesa, the Lady Macbeth figure in Akira Kurosawa's Macbeth adaptation Throne of Blood, never blinks. This adds to her creepiness as she urges her husband on to murder.
  • The 1964 British sci-fi Unearthly Stranger, the main character begins to suspect that his wife is an alien due to a number of inhuman characteristics, one of which is not blinking. To further confuse things, she does blink on several occasions, as if she suspects he's onto her.
  • While Judge Doom of Who Framed Roger Rabbit wears dark glasses nearly all the time, Christopher Lloyd decided to not blink in shots where his eyes are visible. This is a clue to his true nature as a Toon in disguise.
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    Literature 
  • In NOS4A2, Wayne realizes at one point that he has never seen Charlie Manx blink.
  • The Curse of M has Doctor von Rached, who blinks so rarely that it creeps out his patient-prisoners and even some of the staff. His children inherit the trait, which is one reason some people suspect he's actually their father.

    Live Action TV 
  • While it doesn't apply to the character normally, Rebecca from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a song where she never blinks, "I'm Just a Girl in Love". It's about her romantic obsession with Josh and how she has no issues to address, and the creepy unblinking smile through the whole thing helps sell the mania and the slightly off feeling of the song. When Trent sings his own version of the song, he doesn't blink either.
  • Doctor Who. In "The Invasion", the Doctor notices something odd about Corrupt Corporate Executive Tobias Vaughn. He's been given a cybernetic body by the Cybermen, whom he's in league with.
    The Doctor: The normal range of human blinking is about once every ten or fifteen seconds. Vaughn was blinking far less frequently than that.
  • In The Dropout the series about the Theranos scandal, Elizabeth Holmes is shown to avoid blinking as much as possible when talking to people. Combined with her artificial Contralto of Danger (both traits present in her real-life counterpart) it makes her come across as robotic.
  • In Wednesday the titular character almost never blinks. This is done to unnerve the audience and make Wednesday seem creepier.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Wraith: The Oblivion: Characters who use the Lifeweb ability never blink or close their eyes. This lead to their guild being named the Monitors, since they're always keeping an eye on the world around them. Since the Monitors caused a fair amount of problems for Stygia, especially during the Guild Revolt, by destroying or manipulating the Fetters of others for a fee, they're one of the lowest ranked among the Criminal Guilds, and considered to be completely untrustworthy.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • "Ninja" Brian Wecht from Ninja Sex Party and Game Grumps is known for this. For example, he once ate a hot pepper and stared at the camera for more than 3 minutes without blinking once! ("Ninja Brian only blinks when you do.")
  • Epic Rap Battles of History:
    • In the rap battle between two serial killers, Jack the Ripper and Hannibal Lecter, neither one of them is seen blinking. The latter's case is a nod to his film.
    • The portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg says that he doesn't blink, which adds to the rap battle's depiction of him as somewhat uncanny and robotic (something his opponent, Elon Musk, openly mocks him for). True to his word, the closest he's seen to blinking is when he's mock-sleeping to tell Elon to rest more.
    • Robert Oppenheimer doesn't blink in his battle with Thanos - it adds to the Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • Daniel from Camp Camp never blinks, which adds to his creepy cult leader vibe.
  • Youtuber Kennie J.D. brings up the trope when talking about one of the characters in the movie Teeth.
    Kennie: I knew he was a weirdo because he doesn't blink enough for me! The theory I have is that evil people don't blink enough because they're thinking of all the evil sh*t they wanna do, so they don't remember to do basic human functions. Think about it. When have you ever felt comfortable with someone staring at you without blinking?
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    Western Animation 
  • In the first episode of Gravity Falls, Dipper claimed that Mabel's new boyfriend Norman "never blinks". He eventually comes to the conclusion that he is a zombie only to be proven wrong when he was revealed to be a bunch of gnomes instead.

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