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Up Close with the Monster

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Ugh, just kiss already!
A moment in a horror work where one of the characters is confronted by a predatory monster invading their personal space, which does not immediately kill or eat them. Instead, the monster will take a moment to inspect them closely, often with Scary Teeth on display and/or Phlegmings dripping out of their cavernous mouth. A bellowing Mighty Roar may or may not be involved. This is usually depicted with a Medium Two-Shot, showing both from the side as the monster slowly enters the frame to make the audience feel cornered as well.

This can be the precursor to a direct attack, drawing tension from the imminent danger to our (often female) character. However, the monster may be scared off by another character intervening right before they can strike or something else that serves to distract them from their target. In fact, this trope tends to be utilized with characters who possess some form of Plot Armor.

Compare Villainous Face Hold; I Have You Now, My Pretty; Lecherous Licking; and Perverted Sniffing. If the person is not showing any fear whatsoever at the monster, that's Staring Down Cthulhu. It may be preceded by an Enemy Rising Behind before the person turns around. See also Alone with the Psycho, which deals with being in close confined proximity with a human antagonist.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the movie How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup the Viking goes looking for the Night Fury dragon that he caught in a net. Hiccup shows mercy to the dragon by removing the ropes and freeing the dragon. The dragon pounces on Hiccup, pins him down and roars right in his face, but then returns the mercy by leaving instead of killing him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien:
    • AlienĀ³: Ripley is attacked by a Xenomorph in the Infirmary, which then proceeds to inspect her closely, inner mouth on display and all that, before scattering without explanation as it detected that she was carrying another one of its kind.
    • Alien: Resurrection: The Newborn hybrid, immediately after it is born and kills the Xenomorph Queen that birthed it, gets up in Ripley's face and clearly considers ripping her apart as well before stopping and imprinting on her.
  • Annihilation: There's an extended three-for-one when the mutated bear that killed Cassie earlier in the expedition finds Lena, Josie, and Ventress where they've been bound and gagged by their increasingly unhinged teammate Anya. The bear circles the three captive women, and has an opportunity to get up in everyone's face and terrify them as its mutations allow it to mimic its previous victim's dying screams.
  • Deep Rising: In the climax, the monster grabs the hero Finnigan with one of its tentacles and pulls him up to its face to have a look at him. This gives Finnigan the perfect opportunity to blow one of its eyes out with his shotgun.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: The Indoraptor bites the human Dragon's arm off, then pauses to show off its teeth as it has the terrified man pinned up against a wall. In this case he really does eat him, the Indoraptor is just intelligent and sadistic enough to play with its food. He then gets up close with Maisie in her bedroom, acting the part of some sort of boogeyman — just before Owen and Blue burst in to save her.
  • King Cobra: Happens twice within several minutes as the King Cobra first inspects the seasoned snake expert up close before killing him, then goes after the female heroine and tries to bite her as she's backed up against a tree.
  • The Mummy: As Beni tries to escape the cursed Pyramid, he turns a corner and finds himself face to face with Imhotep himself. The mummy slowly advances on him as Beni tries to pray to whatever god will help him. Imhotep stays his hand when he discovers that Beni's knowledge of Hebrew makes him useful enough to keep alive.
  • The Night Flier: Dees gets his wish when he finally runs into a real monster in the climax. Dwight approaches him from behind and cradles his head, terrifying Dees to no end, but he actually tries to avoid showing his Nightmare Face at first since he would prefer not to feed on Dees. However, Dees won't let the matter drop, and ends up getting killed as a result.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Played with. A dragon pursuing Thor is decapitated by the Bifrost. Due to momentum, the dragon's head skids up to a pair of girls on the other end and its left eye opens and rolls to look at one of them.
    Skurge: Well, well, look who decided to pop in. Thanks for scaring away my company and drenching my workplace in brains.
  • Warm Bodies: R finds himself face-to-face with a suspicious Boney, a member of a race of predatory skeletal superzombies who actively seek out living humans to eat, and attack regular zombies in the process of regaining emotions, and thus, their humanity.
  • In The Grudge 3, Kayako goes after one victim by climbing out of a painting and crawling toward her. Said victim gets backs into a wall right before Kayako gets right up into their face, screeching her death rattle at them before going for the kill.
  • Played for romance in The Shape of Water. This monster just wants a kiss.
  • Sputnik. The protagonist deliberately does this twice, putting herself in the same cell with the alien. The first time she's lucky to just to get a nasty bite on her foot, the second time the alien doesn't harm her but does kill someone else when a loud noise startles it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stranger Things:
    • When the Demogorgon has Jonathan at its mercy in the Season 1 finale, "The Upside Down" it does not go for the quick kill as usual but roars into his face, giving Nancy time to fire a shot at it.
    • In "E Pluribus Unum", the Mindflayer has Nancy at its mercy on the floor and roars into her face from inches away.
    • Occurs in the Season 3 finale, "The Battle of Starcourt", when the Mindflayer has Mike, El, and Max cornered inside a Gap store at the Starcourt Mall. Though the creature itself is too big to fit inside the store, it sends in several toothy, tentacle-like appendages to search for the hiding kids. One of the tentacles passes within inches of Mike's face where he's crouching behind a display stand, the "mouth" at the end hissing and shrieking before Lucas distracts the creature with a well-placed slingshot volley.

    Music Videos 
  • In Aphex Twin's Music Video "Come to Daddy", the demon that came out of the TV turn around and screamed at the old lady who was horrified at this moment.

    Video Games 
  • One of the bad endings in Blazblue Calamity Trigger has the Black Beast staring face to face with Noel.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 2: Due to the fact there's now no metal door to separate you and the animatronics. Your only protection is a Freddy mask to fool the animatronics into leaving you be. Bonnie, Toy Bonnie and Toy Freddy especially love to get up close and personal to you when you use it.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator has segments where you're in a dark alleyway, performing tests on one of the animatronics. The animatronic is already right in front of you, but every time you look away, it gets closer. You have to keep a close eye on it, or you'll get jump scared.
    • Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted has levels where you have to get up close to a supposedly deactivated animatronic to perform repairs on it. However, you have to follow the instructions closely and be as delicate as possible, or the animatronic will lunge at you.
  • Half-Life: Alyx has a level where you must navigate an old brewery, full of empty bottles, while the unstoppable but blind monster Jeff roams around, attacking anything that makes a noise. In one particularly harrowing sequence, Jeff wanders into the same cargo elevator you're getting on, and it stands in a corner while you're huddling in the other corner trying very hard not to get heard.
  • This happens to Sam at the end of Until Dawn where they distract the wendigo to buy time for the other friends to escape. Should you manage to distract the monster long enough, it will get right in the player character's face and roar before walking away. Should the player fail the quick time event, the monster will kill them.

  • Trevor (2020): When Trevor breaks into the security terminal room, he lands crouched over Colin, who is absolutely terrified.

    Web Video 
  • Alien Abduction Role Play: the unnamed human and Tori each endure this with Ackt, who clearly wants to eat them, but cannot legally do so. She contents herself for the time being with licking their faces, putting their heads in her mouth, and (in Tori's case) even deepthroating her entire body.

    Western Animation