Act as windows to the soul, let you know when it's time to run, give appropriate drama, summon and expulse blasts of energy, and provide appropriately squishy targets, but what do they do the most?
And when eyes start opening up out of the walls or out of thin air to start staring at you, there's nothing that can't be seen. Whether it's a singular eye or legions upon legions of eyes, there's no body or flesh that they're attached to, and yet they still are there. Somehow existing.
Looking at you.
Staring at you.
When this happens, it's usually a sign of two things. Either one: The character is experiencing a mental breakdown (usually due to hiding something) and is terrified of it being found out, or two: Someone is accessing a different realm of existence because this sure as hell ain't possible in ours. Regardless of whichever reason, floating or hanging disembodied eyes are a surefire way to indicate that something is not all natural.
Compare Eyes Do Not Belong There (for when the eyes are on a human body), Giant Eye of Doom (for when it's just a single eye and may in fact belong to something), Portrait Painting Peephole (for when they're in a painting and definitely belong to something), Wallpaper Camouflage (when the eyes belong to a person disguised as wallpaper) and Ambushing Enemy (for when the eye is more than capable of popping out and maiming you). May be a feature of a Living Structure Monster.
In Japanese, there is a similar expression, "kabe ni mimi ari, shouji ni me ari" (literally "the walls have ears and the doors have eyes").
- In Bleach, when As Nodt goes into his Vollstandig, Tatar Foras, he can create walls covered with eyes to surround his opponent. This ensues his opponent cannot escape his Deadly Gaze of Fear. Byakuya quickly destroys them all with his Shikai.
- In Death Trance, eyeballs appear growing out of every available surface (even the sides of birds) when the heroes approach the Hatena's lair, to indicate the demonic presence.
- In Digimon Adventure: (2020), Algomon is able to weaponize this in its mega form. It projects dozens and dozens of eyes on the walls around it to fire Eye Beams at Omegamon. Omegamon, for his part, simply dodges them all and runs Algomon through, the first few episodes being a Whole-Plot Reference to Our War Game and all.
- "The Truth" in Fullmetal Alchemist is mainly darkness made up of lots of peering eyes - punctuated by incredibly creepy grins. The same goes for the homunculus Pride, and Father's true form.
- One of the stories in Fuan no Tane is about a bunch of disembodied eyes on a freeway, disguised as Botts' Dots. They look creepy, but they're easily squashed by speeding cars.
- In Hell Girl, Ichimokuren can spy on people by projecting an eye onto any surface. He usually uses walls and ceilings.
- In Hellsing's Manga and related anime series, this is a common element of the vampire Alucard when he enters his more powerful stages of Nightmare Fuel and appears more as an Eldritch Abomination.
- A (mainly) harmless example can be found in One Piece. Nico Robin's Devil Fruit powers enable her to grow parts of her body on any surface, including, yes, eyes.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bakura uses the card Dark Sanctuary to change their surroundings into a bloody, horrific world where the sky itself is covered with giant eyes and mouths. Or, as Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series puts it,
Yami Bakura: Look, we're in Hell, okay?! Did the giant bloody eyeballs not tip you off!?
- Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: When Circe follows and taunts Diana in "What Doesn't Kill You" the shadows on the walls and floor sprout golden eyes.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Inside Orgocorp's headquarters, there are eyes on the walls which act as security cameras.
- The President's Analyst - in deleted footage, Dr. Schaefer, in the throes of paranoia, rambles out his anxieties that he's a target for spies to his girlfriend in a hotel lounge. He then puts it to the test, loudly faking getting shot, and sees everyone in the lounge is on their feet with guns trained on each other - then sees that his girlfriend is too. He starts hallucinating disembodied pairs of eyeballs looming out at him until he falls out of bed.
- The Hitchcock film Spellbound features a dream sequence, designed by none other than Salvador Dalí, that includes this wall of eyes.◊
- Spike Milligan parodied this in his heavily embellished WW2 memoir Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. Referring to a wartime propaganda poster about being wary of possible spies, the yong Milligan remarked
Walls have ears. And eyes. And ice-cream. And sausages. note
- Bored of the Rings:
"But the Shadow is growing and your journey is long. It is best to begin at once, in the night. The Enemy has eyes everywhere." As he spoke, a large, hair-covered eyeball rolled ominously from its perch in a tree and fell to the ground with a heavy squelch.
- In The Candy Shop War, the main characters are constantly stalked by a strange, floating, disembodied eye-like thing. When they realize who it belongs to, they shoot at it to destroy it... ...when they quickly realize they shot out the bad guy's actual eye.
- In Doctor Who "The Almost People", there's a substance called the Flesh which is "fully programmable matter" - living matter. Jennifer, who was Flesh, once uses some in the raw form to paint eyes on a wall. When others pass by the wall, it's studded with huge lidless eyes which turn to track each person who goes by. One of them thinks the eyes are there to accuse.
- The video for "Torture" by The Jacksons. One scene features one of the brothers making his way along a wall covered with giant eyes. He accidentally sticks his hand in one of them, draws it out, and discovers that there is now an eye in his palm, looking up at him.
- tool's video for "Vicarious". Look around the 7 minute mark.
- Pippin has a scene where a backdrop full of eyes is watching Fastrada and Pippin conspiring to kill Charles. When Fastrada tells Pippin where and when Charles will be alone and unguarded, the eyes roll.
- The Haunted Mansion at the Disney Theme Parks has wallpaper with eyes in the design. The Disney world version introduces it with a dark space full of glowing eyes that becomes the wallpaper as you move to a place with better lighting. Even creepier, some of the eyes in the dark section are closer than other nearby ones, and a few are even moving in 3D space.
- Psycho: Through the Mind of Norman Bates was a haunted house from Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights 1999 with the premise of being a trip through Norman Bates' insane mind. One room was filled with illuminated eyeballs as well as a man in a black, bodysuit with a knife, making him resemble the silhouette of a knife murderer, who would startle guests.
- Some of the evil spirits in 99 Spirits fall under this, most notably the Hundred-Eye Screen Door.
- Abadox, which is set inside a planet-eating Eldritch Abomination, has wall-eyes all over the place.
- Lar in Aero Fighters is a giant floating disembodied eye.
- In The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, also referred to as just hell, there is a giant gate surrounded by unnatural-looking eyes on the wall, which all need to be closed with tokens earned by completing tests elsewhere in the area. Once they close, the gate opens to reveal the Final Boss.
- Commander Keen 6 has a few eyes on the background of some stages, and the final stage involves a part where you have to use giant eyes hanging from the roof by their optic nerves as platforms.
- Deep Rock Galactic has aptly-named "Wall Eyes," stretches of cave wall covered in purple gunk studded with blinking, rolling eyeballs the size of your dwarf's head, which can be found in the Radioactive Exclusion Zone or more rarely in the Crystalline Caverns. They don't serve much purpose beyond being creepy and reiterating why no one but your Badass Crew of dwarves are crazy enough to explore the depths of Hoxxes IV.
- Doom has some eyes acting as switches.
- In Doors, eyes appearing on the walls is a cue signaling Seek's arrival.
- The aptly-named Mansion of Terror from the NES version of Double Dragon II features a large, sinister and disturbingly well-drawn pair of eyes that open up in the wall and stare directly at the player. THERE IS EVIL IN THE AIR.◊
- Gloom (Amiga) has the second game, where the walls have eyes watching your every move even as you battle zombies.
- The God of Crawling Eyes has the walls on the school start to display eyes that appear and dissapear once the plot begins. In a couple of areas in the game, they even start following the protagonist.
- The end of the (surprisingly good) First-Person Shooter KISS: Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child has the final boss in a room covered in these. They shoot shuriken at you.
- There are eye-switches all over the walls in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. You have to shoot them with arrows or a slingshot. Ow.
- At the end of The Matrix Online open beta, the sky turned red and was absolutely filled with these.
- Rangda Bangda from Mega Man X and X5 is a Background Boss, and its eyes are its vulnerable spots.
- In Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2, there are hallways where the walls are covered in eyeball enemies that shoot lasers as they look around. Prime 2 also had numerous decorations on the wall that resembled eyes, and when scanned, said that they were Paranoia Fuel biological cameras transmitting images to U-Mos on Aether.
- Paranoiascape throws you into a hellish, eldritch landscape without any reason. You realize how messed up the whole area is when the first stage have the skies being coated with eyeballs (as far as the eye can see!).
- The final boss area in Pu·Li·Ru·La is a dark room, which sometimes lightens up to show lots of twitchy eyes on the walls.
- Romancing SaGa 3: The final boss, The Destroyer, in his temporary ultimate form during that battle. The background begins to consist of semi transparent bloodshot eyes fading in and out of existence.
- Stray: The Zurk infestation in the Sewers has gotten so bad that the Meat Moss on the walls have massive eyes growing out of them.
- Super Cyborg has most of it's interior levels decorated with Meat Moss as result of the mutant infestation. And more often than not, there will be eyes growing from those walls, some of them blinking, while watching you fight mutant monsters.
- In most Super Mario Bros. games from Super Mario Bros. 3 onwards, the hills have eyes!
- Barkhang Monastery in Tomb Raider II has areas with eye details on the walls. They just look like paintings at first sight, but closer inspection reveals that some of them move.
- In the Touhou Project series, Yukari Yakumo's extradimensional portals consist of innumerable eyes gazing from the other side.
- One of the bosses in Turok 2 is a giant eye protected by smaller eyes stuck on the wall.
- Wadanohara features the Sea of Death, which has large, realistic eyes on its walls and in its floors.
- In The Adventures of Puss in Boots, the Netherworld features countless giant eyeballs sitting everywhere. The Blind King turns out to have been able to take over the Netherworld because he has the ability to see through those eyes, and thus see everything that goes on in the Netherworld.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender "Nightmares and Daydreams", one of Aang's hallucinations involves a wall of eyes.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hurricane Fluttershy", Fluttershy must take part in a physical challenge, but flashes back to when everyone tormented her for her weakness during flight training as a filly. As part of her mental breakdown, she sees herself surrounded by a wall of giant eyes.