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Wipe That Smile Off Your Face

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More like the Merc with No Mouth.

Neo: You can't scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights. I want my phone call.
Agent Smith: Tell me, Mr. Anderson...what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?
[Neo's lips melt and seal his mouth shut]

A character's mouth is removed by some means. Only the mouth. Any further and they would become The Blank. As the old saying goes: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

The most common gesture accompanying this is to close an imaginary zipper in the air, maybe even accompanied with a zipper sound, and the mouth of the victim close up and stay shut. There are other variants, of course, most quite horrifying.

Related to Eyeless Face and The Noseless. Not quite as catastrophic as And I Must Scream (no actions or communication). Compare with No Mouth, an animation style where characters are drawn without mouths, and Mouth Stitched Shut, in which the lips are sealed by brute force rather than erased.


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  • In the Register for Vote series of Public Service Announcements, consistently with the figure of speech Vote as your expression at least a couple of Announcements hinges heavily on this trope:
    • In the 2006 David Lachapelle's Vanity hinged about the Lipsealer, a lipstick supposedly able to grant America's Next Top Model second winner Joanna House, the ability to become unable to form any opinion and indifferent [to political matters]. The lipstick effects turn to terrifying when Joanna is shown with half-melted lips, grunting in front of the camera in the desperate attempt to speak up.
    • In the 2009 Jessica Alba's The Muzzler Jessica Alba is shown as a sleazy telemarketer selling The Muzzler, a Hannibal Lecter like mask able to silence young voters, preventing them from having to express their opinions. Hayden Panettiere shows up in a cutesy Pink dress, mumbling and moaning that she liked so much the idea of being stripped of the responsibility to vote that she got her mask surgically implanted.
  • The Trix Rabbit zips his mouth shut when he wouldn't tell the kids where he hid the Trix cereal/yogurt in the first part of the 3-part Jungle Jumble ad.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens in chapter 234 of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, when a captive Anya is loudly protesting whatever Fate is doing to Asuna, and Homura makes a swift gesture with a finger, resulting in Anya's mouth closing like a zipper.
  • Fukuro from One Piece, a member of CP9, has a zipper for a mouth, which he must unzip whenever he wants to speak. In spite of this, he's very gossipy and has a tendency to blurt out critical information.

    Comic Books 
  • In Afterlife with Archie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch's punishment for reviving Hot Dog and accidentally starting a Zombie Apocalypse is having her mouth removed and being forced to marry Cthulu.
  • In The Books of Magic, one fey has his mouth magically removed when he wouldn't shut up.
  • The Serial Killer Murmur from The Flash cut out his own tongue and sewed his own mouth shut.
  • The mutant Chamber from Generation X blew off his entire lower face when his powers manifested. Technically, he can't even speak — he talks telepathically, with a Funetik Aksent.
  • During The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries, Eros attempts to sway his evil (and now omnipotent) brother Thanos to surrender using his powers of emotional manipulation. Thanos's angry response (he knows what his brother is trying all too well) is to remove Eros's mouth, which stays gone until the Reset Button is hit near the series's end.
  • In Justice League of America (2006) #23, Zatanna has her own powers turned against her by Amazo, who uses them to "EVOMER S'ANNATAZ HTUOM". She restores herself to normality by writing out a spell with her own blood.
  • In New Mutants #21, Trista, a mutant who can control the behaviour of others just by speaking to them, has her mouth magically sealed by an arcane device operated by Doug Ramsey.
  • Arseface, from Preacher, is a teenage boy who tried to kill himself, in imitation of Kurt Cobain, by shooting himself in the face with a shotgun. It didn't work. He is left with a giant gaping hole instead of a mouth. He eventually goes on to become a world-famous rock star. Based on the real-life botched suicide of James Vance, although that was allegedly due to hearing subliminal messages in Judas Priest songs.
  • During the "Emperor Joker" storyline in Superman, Joker removes Batman's mouth. Batman then communicates by Morse code using his jaw. Because he's Batman.
  • In the sixth part of the Superman story Time and Time Again, when Etrigan the Demon reveals Morgaine Le Fey's black knight to be Superman during her assault upon Camelot, Merlin the magician bids the hero to speak, only to see that a metal plate has covered his mouth via one of Morgaine's magic spells.
  • In Thor: First Thunder #2, Loki sets about working mischief by transforming the employees at Donald Blake's hospital into strange and terrible new forms. Jane Foster is one such victim. She ends up missing a mouth after Loki is done with her. Even more Fridge Horror kicks in when you remember that Loki's lips were once sewn shut, and this incident was a huge part of what embittered him toward Asgard — and Thor — to begin with. What he did to Jane was reflective of the worst thing that had ever happened to him, dealt out to someone else this time.
  • Uncanny X-Men:
    • Uncanny X-Men #191: Selene (who is actually Magma) has her mouth erased by Kulan Gath so as to hinder her ability to cast spells.
    • In issues #262-263, Banshee briefly has his mouth removed by the flesh-warping Masque, in order to nullify his screaming power.
  • At the beginning of Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik's graphic novel Void Indigo, Zepharr of the Dark Lords magically erases Jhagur's concubine Ren's mouth before going on to torture her for over a day.
  • In issue #3 of W.I.T.C.H., Elyon does this to Taranee when the captured Fire Guardian insists that her friends run from Cedric and his soldiers rather than rescue her.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Doctor Who Magazine strip "The Piggybackers", the eponymous Puppeteer Parasites have bonded with a Stern Teacher and, under their influence, she's become a Sadist Teacher and Reality Warper. One of the first things she does with this power is prevent her students (and subsequently the rest of the staff and Ryan) from ever answering back.
  • In this Phoebe and Her Unicorn strip, Marigold warns Phoebe of the consequences if she keeps "trifling in silence curses":
    Marigold: I advise caution! It is all fun and games until a curse goes awry, and everyone winds up without a mouth.... Everyone always thinks this time will be different, and before you know it we are plunged into a second Epoch of Mouthlessness.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Happens twice with the Genie. The first time, Genie zips up his mouth and the second time, Aladdin does it again to Genie.
  • Spirited Away: Yubaba seals Chihiro's mouth shut with a "zipping up" motion of her hand.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: When Dennis is searching for SpongeBob and Patrick, one of the two gas station owners that heckled them earlier makes a joke about his hat. Dennis silences their laughing by ripping their mouths off.
  • Toy Story 3: Mrs. Potato Head gets her mouth pulled off when she starts complaining, but her husband snatches it back for her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Toward the end of Beetlejuice, when Barbara tries speaking three times the name of the eponymous ghost to banish him back, Beetlejuice uses his Reality Warper powers to cover her lips with a zipper. However, she just opens it up and manages another "Beetlejuice". Now truly annoyed, Beetlejuice conjures a metal plate to completely shut her mouth.
  • In Un Chien Andalou, the man wipes his mouth off, and replaces it with the woman's armpit hair. It makes about as much sense as anything else in this movie.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022): Toons in debt to the Valley Gang are kidnapped and bootlegged when they can't make their payments, with their mouths erased so they can't scream or call for help. This is demonstrated when they kidnap Flounder and almost happens to Chip before Ellie (and Captain Putty) intervenes.
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: An Alternate Universe Reed Richards boasts to Wanda Maximoff that Black Bolt can destroy her with a single whisper from his mouth. Probably not the wisest thing to say to a Reality Warper, since her response to simply say "What mouth?". He then accidentally lets out a muffled Sonic Scream in panic, which causes his head to implode.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: A young Leta casts the Oscausi spell on a Gryffindor girl who was badmouthing her, which erases her mouth.
  • Mr. Nick wipes off the smiles of an entire temple full of monks in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to prove a point to the good doctor. They get better.
  • From The Matrix, the first encounter between Agent Smith and Mr. Anderson. When Neo demands his one phone call, Agent Smith responds by erasing his mouth.
  • Ouija: Origin of Evil: In one scene, Paulina as a nightmare where her lips melt together and her mouth seals itself shut.
  • A poster for the Silent Hill movie depicts the character Alessa, a little girl, as having no mouth.
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie: In "It's a Good Life", Anthony took away his real sister Sarah's mouth so she would not be able to yell at him anymore.
  • Warlock: The Armageddon: The Warlock pays an unscheduled visit to an office building to retrieve a magical artifact. When the front desk receptionist challenges his right to enter, he puts an end to the conversation by causing flesh to grow over her mouth. Later he mentions the fate of the poor woman to her employer: "She's looking for a new opening."
  • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stryker finally finds a way to shut Wade up by first sewing, and in the finished version, plastering his mouth shut. The Stinger shows the decapitation/fall of the head somehow opened it again.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The zipper-over-the-mouth version is played for laugh in a sketch of The Benny Hill Show.
  • In episode 3 of Blood Ties (2007), a voodoo witch does this to Coreen.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In the episode The Witch, Lishanne, one of the cheerleaders, gets a spell inflicted upon her, causing her mouth to disappear, leaving her with inaudible screams and in a state of panic. After the witch was defeated, Lishanne's mouth was restored to normal.
  • Charmed (1998): In the episode "Charmed Noir" Mr. Monkeyshines briefly removes Miss Donovan's mouth while arguing.
  • The Fades: Paul causes his sister Anna's lips to fuse together when she rudely interrupts a kiss between Paul and Jay.
  • Haven: In the episode "Sketchy", this along with Eyeless Face, happens to one of the victims.
  • In a Monty Python animated spot, a smarmy announcer is talking until his mouth has enough and leaves his face - the announcer chases it around, catches it, and nails it back into place.
  • In the British comedy My Hero (2000), there is a compound from Ultron called lipweld which literally welds your lips together making your mouth disappear.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Nightmare", the skin around Lt. Christopher Valentine's mouth fuses over after he is struck by an Ebonite weapon.
  • A wizard does this to Tommy early in Power Rangers: Dino Thunder. It's just a throwaway gag, though, and has no effect over the episode's plot.
    Ethan: Beldorf, give him his mouth back.
    Conner: Can he wait til after midterms?
  • Zippy from Rainbow has a zipper for a mouth, so when he's being particularly obnoxious, other characters will zip it shut. For unexplained reasons, he usually seems unable to open it himself.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: This happens when Charlie X finally starts to go off the rails. "There will be no more laughing!" Soon, they're all moaning as their faces become blank.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Q2", q (Q's son, who has been told to stay on Voyager) is approached by cheerful, talkative Neelix. Except he still has his Reality Warper powers. Whoops. Neelix doesn't just get his mouth removed, but also his vocal cords.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Je Souhaite", a Literal Genie is passed around. One man wishes that another man would "shut up". You know what happens...


    Tabletop Games 
  • The art for the Magic: The Gathering card Silence shows this.
    All the wizardry in the world has to pass through one small and easily sealed door.
  • Unknown Armies: A signature Epideromancer attack. One spell allows the caster to manipulate an area of flesh roughly the size of one's palm. Its most common use in canon is to seal a victim's mouth and nose shut. Have we mentioned it's a horror game? Have we mentioned that Epideromancy is freely available (beyond the craziness and sadism required to get magic power from self-mutilation) to player characters?


    Video Games 
  • Inverted in Broken Age, where the Dialogue Tree starts without a mouth, and you have to give him one.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Tiring of her brother's smart-aleck comments, Bethany chained up Aaron in a dungeon and ripped off his jaw before leaving him to be flensed alive by rats, then hid it in her cottage! The PC, while being repeatedly attacked by hoards of things sicced on him by the tormented Aaron, must find the jaw, break into the dungeon Aaron is chained up in, and place it back on Aaron's corpse.
  • Cultist Simulator: Passing through the White Door of the Mansus heals your mouth shut. This happens to all the dead, outside of unusual circumstances.
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Raziel's lower jaw is one of the many casualties of his time spent dissolving in the Abyss. Oddly enough, this in no way hinders his ability to speak. Given his status as a spectral ghoul capable of shifting between the worlds of the living and the dead, the superfluous nature of all his internal organs given his missing abdomen and the many reality-defying powers he has, his jaw-deficit Shakespearian elocution is a fairly minor facet of his abilities.
  • Twisted Metal: Head-On: The Outlaw ending features the Roberts siblings arguing over how to handle Calypso — shoot him or arrest him? Finally one of them makes a fatal mistake: "I wish you would just shut up!" Now, yelling that in front of Calypso... (It is an apparent Shout-Out to Neo's de-mouthing in The Matrix.)

    Web Animation 
  • How It Should Have Ended: At the end of Deadpool 2 at the Villain Pub, Deadpool gloats how he saved all the villains by using time travel to seize the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos thus began to rant that he "didn't sit in that chair for ten years for nothing," and warns Wade that he'll have what's rightfully his in the end... only for Deadpool to erase his mouth with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet.
    Deadpool: What's that, One-Armed Willy? I didn't hear you.


    Web Original 
  • In Violent Sky, an agent "silences" the genius of the protagonist's side by stabbing her in the back of the head and cutting a nerve for expressing thoughts. The victim is later implanted with an A.I. who's meant to impose her until her body dies of old age. Her nerve self-healed by luck later.
  • One of the special effects tricks in this video involves a girl getting tape gagged and accidentally removes her mouth after ripping out the duct tape.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode, "The Joy", Gumball, according to Ms. Simian, is "infected" with "joy", a disease that makes Gumball unable to stop smiling and being cheerful. He attempts to stop smiling by literally ripping his mouth off of his face and slapping it back on, upside down. It then forcibly rotates right-side-up while still on his face.
  • In Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century, Dodgers demands that Eager Young Space Cadet Porky wipes the smile off his face. He does so rather literally.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
    • Ed has a nightmare that his mother is... Johnny 2x4. At some point, Johnny tells Ed to "wipe that smile off of his face," which causes Ed's mouth to disappear. If that weren't horrifying enough, Johnny then sentences Ed to be tossed into a pit of shark-like versions of the Kanker sisters, which causes Ed to tear his face back open to get a new mouth to scream with.
    • In another episode, the Eds stumble on an alternate universe. After discovering that the Eds have removed Jimmy's outline, Sarah starts to chew them out, until Eddy pulls her mouth off. However, she can still use it, and it bites his face.
  • Happens in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Be Careful What You Wish For". The evil Literal Genie does this to an NYC subway agent.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • In "Just the Two of Pus", Sperg gets a case of acne that he's told can be cured by rubbing his face with Grim's bones. When he challenges Grim to an arm-wrestling match and sends his arm flying into Billy's pot of stew, he jumps in to retrieve it and comes out sans mouth.
    • In "Zip Your Fly", Mandy uses Grim's magic zipper to remove Mindy's mouth.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Plucky Comic Relief Orco tries to borrow time by using his magic on the leader of the snake men, King Hiss, to seal his mouth shut with a trap so he won't recite a powerful incantation. Being a multi-headed snake creature, King Hiss simply manifests his four extra heads from his arms and continues with the spell, only to have THOSE mouths shut with traps as well.
  • I Am Weasel: Baboon's hand becomes magical and he makes wishes with his hand. Near the end, Weasel gets fed up with the wishes he makes, he wishes Baboon to shut up and, before Baboon can make another wish, his mouth disappears.
  • A common Looney Tunes gag is the "zipper over the mouth" variety of muffling a character. In Bugs and Thugs, Giant Mook Mugsy takes the expression "button your lip" in the most literal way possible.
  • In the MAD episode "The Fantastic Megan Fox", Megan takes away Angelina Jolie's mouth and uses it for her own face.
  • In Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, after Badgerclops and Adorabat break one of Mao Mao's prized possessions, he refuses to talk to them; just to emphasis this, he somehow manages to wipe the mouth off of his face and spends the majority of the episode this way. Badgerclops tries to mimic this, unsuccessfully.
  • Ratty performs the zipper variant of this trope on Mole in the third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Kung Fu Campout", after Mole said something stupid.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In "Boast Busters", Twilight puts a zipper on Spike's mouth with her magic to stop him from boasting in her stead to Trixie.
    • In the episode "Magic Duel", Trixie deletes Pinkie Pie's muzzle. She deletes the flash "Pinkie Pie Muzzle" model (as the show is animated in Flash) by opening the Flash GUI and dragging it to the recycle bin. Twilight returns Pinkie to normal during an Iris Out gag.
    • In "Dungeons & Discords", Discord does this to himself by closing a zipper over his mouth, after promising Spike that his "romantic delusions" are safe with him. This doesn't stop Discord from talking in spite of the zipper a few seconds later.
    • Another self-inflicted case in My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever: Pinkie Pie closes her own mouth with a zipper just as she promises "My lips are sealed" to Prince Rutherford.
  • The Super Hero Squad Show: In the episode "The Fate of Destiny!", Nebula has her mouth sealed by the Infinity Gauntlet-wielding Thanos. Thanos grants Nebula's wish to have a gag removed from her mouth by magically removing the mouth from her face. She escapes his clutches and, still sans mouth, returns in a later episode, "When Strikes the Surfer!" where she has her face restored to normality by Molecule Man.
  • Teen Titans (2003): An alternate version of Robin and Expy of Bat-Mite who acts like a crazed fanboy and has a magic finger, breaks reality, making the world look like, as Cyborg put it, "it came off my grandma's fridge." Beast Boy loses his mouth, and in order to talk, pulls Raven's off and puts it on his face. He then talks with her voice. Later, when trying to figure out how to fix it, Raven pulls off Cyborg's mouth and puts it on her face, then talks with his voice while Cyborg uses Starfire's mouth to talk with before they all get fed up with it and give everyone their proper mouth back. When BB finally recovers his mouth, he puts it on BACKWARDS, resulting in reversed speech!
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Nose Mouth" Cyborg once again loses his mouth to Raven.
  • In The Venture Bros. Christmas episode, Dr. Orpheus desperately magically clamps a metal plate over Dean's mouth (see Beetlejuice) to stop him from reciting an incantation summoning The Krampus - a moment too late.

    Real Life 
  • Deep-sea tubeworms, which live off nutrients generated chemosynthetically by bacteria in their gills, lost their mouths because they no longer needed to ingest food.
  • As deuterostomes, humans — like all other chordates — go through a very early developmental phase when they have an anus but no mouth. The opening that will become the mouth doesn't arise until the end of the gastrula phase. A common joke is that some people never move past this stage.
  • Fish Flies, aka May Flies, lose their mouths and/or stomach acid when they transform from larva into their flying, mating form. This is why they are so short-lived after they take to the air as they can no longer nourish themselves.



When a Gryffindor girl is badmouthing Leta, she overhears and casts the Oscausi spell on her, erasing her mouth.

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