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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 invoking an Uncanny Valley effect, usually to enhance a character's creepy, inhuman or evil nature.

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Examples

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    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.
  • 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.
  • Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace of the villainous variety.
  • In The Silence of the Lambs, the serial killer Hannibal Lecter almost never blinks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • In NOS4A2, Wayne realizes at one point that he has never seen Charlie Manx blink.

    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.
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    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.

    Western Animation 
  • The titular characters of Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure are a more benign example; the trope here is used to highlight the fact that the characters are dolls.
  • 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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