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Kubrick Stare

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Head down, eyes up.note 

"In that showdown, and at several other times in the film, Kubrick indulges his favorite closeup, a shot of a man glowering up at the camera from beneath lowered brows. This was the trademark visual in A Clockwork Orange, and Jack Nicholson practiced it in The Shining. What does it mean? That Kubrick thinks it's an interesting angle from which to shoot the face, I think."

The Kubrick Stare is really quite simple to pull off. You simply do the following:

  1. Tilt head down
  2. Look up beneath eyebrows

...and voila! Instant super-creepy look!

It generally signifies that the character in question is either really, really pissed or really, really deranged, and the person they're looking at is really, really screwed. Other times — usually when combined with a smile — it means they're feeling really, really clever (regardless of whether or not they actually are). It's arguably the most easily executed type of Death Glare.

When a show or film utilizes the look, it's often a homage to Stanley Kubrick.

Either way, it's really creepy and ominous. Although depending on the context, it can also be very badass.

If the character in question is normally a Shrinking Violet, this is a sign that said character has just been pushed way too far, and whoever's responsible will almost certainly regret doing so.


Often accompanied by Creepy Shadowed Undereyes, Red Eyes, Take Warning, a Forehead of Doom, a Psychotic Smirk or a Slasher Smile, and also a reveal matched with Scary Shiny Glasses. If a character combines this with Finger-Tenting and/or a Psychotic Smirk, odds are, he's a Magnificent Bastard. Heroic examples often are used for Staring Down Cthulhu. See also: Hidden Eyes, Death Glare, and Disapproving Look. Compare Primal Stance and Limp and Livid.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • Guts does this from time to time.
    • Femto's Kubrick Stare during The Eclipse is terrifying, since although he's raping Casca, Guts' love interest purely out of spite, he's also staring at Guts the entire time.
    • What's even more creepy: We saw some warning signs before the Eclipse when Griffith was giving them the SAME STARE when it became clear to him that Guts and Casca were a couple who were in love, and not just the blind admiration that people gave to him, which probably helped to set him off.
  • Bleach: Kubo plays with this trope a lot for many of his characters.
  • Ophelia of Claymore does this a few times, as if we need any more reminders that she's psychotic.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass commonly does this while his plans go as expected. When they fail... he does all sorts of different gestures.
  • Used in the first episode of Darker Than Black. When the viewpoint character of the episode meets Lee/Hiei, he is stargazing and has a very normal conversation with her, and helps her escape her pursuers even. When she leaves, his expression slowly changes to this as he stares at her back, lending hint to the fact that he is chasing her himself, only much more subtly.
  • Light Yagami gets a few of these in Death Note. Notice how devilish he looks especially when it is combined with those glowy red eye effects.
  • Dragon Ball characters do this quite a lot, usually right before Kicking it Up to Eleven but most notably Goku when first transformed into a Super Saiyan 3. This tends to be Frieza's default expression.
  • The Flowers of Evil: In her introductory scene, after a teacher also tries to hit Nakamura for calling him a "shitbug," she does this to him. It works, as he's freaked out, stops his action, and just tells her to see him after class.
  • An (intentionally) hilarious one is pulled off in the blooper reel of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Alex Louis Armstrong pulls one on Ling Yao at a normally serious moment when the heroes are discussing the homunculi. However, by messing around with the script, Greed instead says "You could say he's used its energy to claim the power of God for himself. Now will you please put on a fucking shirt? " What was a Kubrick Stare suddenly became a look of shame. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • Yuno of Future Diary does this through Yuki's letterbox — while wishing him a good night after he discovers the room in her house that contains the corpses of her parents, and her second self who she murdered.
  • The protagonist of Gamble Fish uses these in particularly dramatic moments.
  • Buruge from Ginga Densetsu Weed does this when part of his army is ready to intercept the incoming Ohu soldiers.
  • Gravitation: Yuichi is about to be gang raped by a group trying to get at him and Yuki. They restrain and threateningly approach him. He simply gives them this glare with a defiant smile, basically daring them to do their worst, and cursing them.
  • Kyon does one in the Haruhi Suzumiya anime, when the plot just screws with the viewer's head in "Remote Island Syndrome Part 2".
  • Hellsing: Many examples.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry elevates the Kubrick Stare and the Slasher Smile to an art form.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, many villains usually have this expression. When they're first introduced, this stare is often accompanied by the Japanese onomatopoeia 「ゴゴゴゴゴ」note  on-screen.
  • Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z displays this expression quite frequently, usually when mad or after thinking of some devilish scheme.
  • Yuri in Megalo Box does this when he gets passionately serious about something. This usually means the match is about to get settled in the next ten seconds.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
  • Several yakuza mermen stare down Nagasumi during the second episode of My Bride is a Mermaid to intimidate him.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto generally precedes asskicking with taking enough damage to kill a small town before pulling an incredibly bloodied one of these.
    • Madara pulls a couple of these.
    • This was Gaara's only facial expression before his Heel–Face Turn.
    • Sasuke does this when Itachi ambushes him and Naruto in Part I, and also in part 2 after he learns the truth about Itachi.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy pulls this at least once, perhaps most memorably at Sabaody Archipelago, looking at a Celestial Dragon after Charloss shot Hachi. In fact, he pulls it off a lot while looking from underneath his straw hat. A general sign that something seriously pissed him off and is in for a beating.
    • Zoro does this. It's usually combined with Let's Get Dangerous!.
    • Sanji as well. Usually when's he's in a Unstoppable Rage.
  • Commonly done by Mewtwo in Pokémon: The First Movie, though his most famous is arguably the one right before he proceeds to reduce the lab he's in and everyone in it to rubble.
  • Almost every character in Reborn! (2004) does this when fighting at least once.
  • Robotech: The Robotech Masters do this occasionally. In the episode "A False Start", Captain Komodo does this before his decision to disregard orders and open fire on the Masters' Bioroid dropships. During the opening credits montage, Rand is seen doing this (actually taken from the opening credits for Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, one of Robotech's root anime shows).
  • Akuha of Rosario + Vampire often does this to hint at her unstable Yandere side.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kaneki does the deranged version of this occasionally after significant Sanity Slippage when fighting.
  • Yugi of all people does this during his final duel with Bakura.
  • It may be the shape of his eyes, but Noble Demon Hiei in YuYu Hakusho seems to perpetually wear this expression.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • Big Hero 6: It happens in a super contrived and obvious way. Lacking a forehead and eyebrows. The instant Baymax turns evil his helmet tilts forward inexplicably, giving him a permanent Kubrick Stare.
  • Corpse Bride: Emily pulls one off late in the movie.
  • Elsa in Frozen does it at the end of "Let It Go" and while fighting the Duke's guards.
  • Hercules does this when he decides to rescue Meg's soul from Hades.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
    • When Quasimodo is finally pushed over the edge by the gargoyles, he looks down into the street, grimacing for one of the few times in the film as the chorus begins to break out in Latin chants.
    • There is an instance where Esmerelda gives Frollo one when he essentially offers to save her from being burned at the stake if she sleeps with him. Just before the stare, she spits in his face.
  • The Incredibles:
    • Syndrome uses it multiple times, including:
      • When he reveals his identity to Mr. Incredible.
      • When he walks away from Mr. Incredible in a later scene in the movie, grumbling an Ironic Echo.
    • Bob uses it a couple of times too: during the scene where his boss is chewing him out and forbidding him from trying to stop a mugging, and later, after Syndrome mocks him, immediately after everyone thinks Bob's family has died. He gives Syndrome the stare as he lunges in for an (attempted) kill.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Twilight gives a few of these toward Tempest to show defiance as she sings her Villain Song, moments before her Dark and Troubled Past is revealed.
  • The Prince of Egypt: After Moses returns his princely ring, Rameses holds it tight in his fist, his head bowed in sorrow, then suddenly glares up at Moses.
    • He also glares at Moses in a similar way as he grieves over the death of his son.
  • In Ratatouille, Anton Ego somehow manages to do this to Linguini when the two first meet, even though Anton's standing — looming, really — over a seated Linguini.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:
    • The Queen when she orders the huntsman to kill Snow White.
    • The monster trees' look and the evil glowing eyes in the darkness during the spooky forest scene, although it's just Snow White's imagination.
  • Tangled's Rapunzel and Flynn, at least in this poster. See also Dreamworks Face.
  • Deluded Buzz in Toy Story 3. It's even mentioned by name in the DVD Commentary.
  • Treasure Planet: Jim after his fight with Silver over the map when Silver turns to leave and orders Morph to come.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Spartacus, Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut are the Trope Namers: all of them are Kubrick films where someone wears this expression. According to stories, the stare was often worn by Kubrick himself when he wanted to look gruff and intimidating on set.
    • Ironically given Stephen King's well-publicized disdain for Kubrick's adaptation, the cover art for the King-written and -approved TV miniseries version of The Shining also features Steven Weber giving his best Kubrick stare.
  • American Beauty: by Jane in the very first scene.
  • Sir John Gielgud gives one of these in the movie Arthur (1981), although it looks more disapproving than scary.
  • Loki does this throughout The Avengers. It's especially terrifying in his first appearance; justified on that occasion as he's rising his head up from a crouching position.
  • Bedazzled (2000): Elliot gives one to the Devil when she says that God exists and is a man, then quips that most men think they're divine, he's just actually right. He also gives another to his not-so-nice co-workers when they mock him near the end.
  • Black Narcissus: Sister Ruth delivers a super-scary version of this to Sister Clodagh as a signal that her Sanity Slippage has reached a tipping point.
  • Some freak kid does it in The Box.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari might be the first example of this trope in film. The actor doing the stare is Rudolf Klein-Rogge, who also popularized Milking the Giant Cow in Metropolis.
  • Capote: Perry Smith does one later in the film when he confronts Truman about his book's title.
  • Edmund Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when he is tempted by evil again.
  • The Crow: Post-mortem Eric Draven is quite fond of this.
  • John Murdoch does this in Dark City after getting a lifetime's worth of training in Tuning injected into his brain. Roger Ebert even points out the Kubrick connection in his audio commentary on the DVD.
  • The Joker in The Dark Knight, as his posture is often slightly hunched over, is practically built to give these stares. Perhaps this is most noticeable when he's sitting in the holding cell, even more so when he joins in the clapping for Gordon's promotion. As it happened, Gary Oldman told Heath Ledger after this was shot that his performance was reminding him of Alex in A Clockwork Orange; Ledger admitted he had just been watching that film in his trailer.
  • Virtually every shot of Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko is a Kubrick Stare. Apparently, it runs in the family; Maggie Gyllenhaal does an oddly sexy Kubrick stare in a few of her movies, particularly Secretary.
  • Girlfight: Diana stares at the camera in this fashion during the first shot of her.
  • Connor Macleod gives one of these in Highlander (the first film) when The Kurgan reveals he raped Heather. (She never told Connor, likely fearing he'd go after The Kurgan and get killed.)
  • Thorin Oakenshield is much given to these in The Hobbit. When you're a dwarf you don't have much choice but to glare up at people.
    • King Thranduil pulls off some really chilling ones as well, especially fighting orcs. Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel can really pull off just plain terrifying ones.
  • Stane's expression in the poster for Iron Man. Kind of odd — Obie's actually a pretty nice guy.
  • IT: Pennywise does this in all the promotional images for the film. His actor, Bill Skarsgård, also pulled a similar face on a few talk shows to show his natural and eerie knack for the expression.
  • Try to find a photo of James Cagney where he's in character and isn't doing this. (No surprise that he was one of Kubrick's favorite actors). See Gary Oldman's Tonight Show appearance below for a description of the Cagney version of the Kubrick Stare.
  • In the 2000 adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar, King Herod pulls this look toward Jesus just before he really starts going: "At least, that's what you've saaaaaid-" [Fascinating Eyebrow] "-dah."
  • The 1953 film adaptation of Julius Caesar has Marc Anthony doing this a lot — the actor was Marlon Brando! Underscoring that this movie made Marc Anthony a rather sinister figure.
  • Kill Bill Volume 1: Gogo Yubari, O-Ren Ishii's chief bodyguard, gives Kubrick stares in most of her scenes, including her flail-wielding confrontation with The Bride.
  • Licence to Kill: Dario, Sanchez's right-hand man, makes this look several times, accompanied with a Slasher Smile.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Frodo does one in The Return of the King for just an instant, when he claims the Ring for himself in Mount Doom.
    • Merry gets the effect in The Two Towers when he's yelling at the Ents for refusing to fight, though it's actually incidental due to him having to look up at them.
    • Gandalf also has this effect when he faces the Balrog, again it's incidental due to The Balrog being 35 feet taller than him.
    • In the introduction of The Fellowship of the Ring Isildur gives this look to Elrond when he refuses to destroy the Ring.
  • Man of Steel: General Zod does one near the end when his plan to Terraform Earth is foiled and his crew are banished to the Phantom Zone.
    • Zod's actor, Michael Shannon, is actually well-known for doing good Kubrick stares — appropriately so, considering he's normally typecast as crazed and/or violent types.
  • Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein gives this stare to John Cleese as Professor Waldman in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The intention is not so much to intimidate as to impress Waldman with Frankenstein's knowledge and dead seriousness about resurrecting the dead.
  • Keanu Reeves gives us one after blowing up Smith in The Matrix.
  • Naomi Watts, of all people, gives a chilling glare near the end of the film Mulholland Dr..
  • Ms. Appleyard at the end of in Picnic at Hanging Rock — an especially disturbing example.
  • Norman Stansfield is fond of giving these in The Professional.
  • The Prophecy: Quite unsettling to see on a little girl like Mary.
  • Norman Bates at the end of Psycho, made in 1960.
  • The Defence Secretary gives such a stare to M when he levels various complaints against her and her agency in Quantum of Solace.
  • Tommy Wiseau does this in the poster for The Room (link).
  • James Van Der Beek gives this look in an early scene from The Rules of Attraction, in the scene featuring Kate Bosworth.
  • The default expression of the Mad Scientist villain in Runaway. Of course, it only helps when your name is Luther and you're played by Gene Simmons.
  • Hannibal Lecter gives a cold, emotionless one in The Silence of the Lambs with an emphasis on creepy because he doesn't blink.
  • Kevin, the sociopathic cannibal (no, not the one above) from Sin City, gives an indescribably creepy Kubrick Stare right before he ambushes the protagonist Marv. Marv does one right back upon overhearing the cannibal's name from his prison. "See you later, Kevin."
  • Barbara does this in Stark Love when Rob comes to rescue her from brutish Jason, only for Jason to kick Rob's ass. Barbara then rescues herself.
  • Star Trek (2009): One of the movie posters has Chris Pine in this pose, which unfortunately makes Captain Kirk look like a dead ringer for Dexter.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison tilts his head down and to the right, and then angrily stares up at Kirk while delivering his Breaking Speech about the failures of Starfleet.
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: When Anakin Skywalker turns evil, he gets yellow eyes that he always displays by using one of these.
  • Throughout the first half of The Ten Commandments, Rameses has this look whenever Moses proves how much more awesome he is at pretty much everything.
  • Terminator series:
    • Sarah Connor in the hospital in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
    • Robert Patrick's T-1000, throughout the entirety of the second movie, is a prime example.
    • Terminator's face in the opening credits, even though it lacks eyebrows, is permanently grinning a skull grin.
  • The Thing (1982). Used as a Red Herring when Windows is receiving the blood test; he's shown staring at Mac in this fashion as if he's about to attack him, but as soon as the test proves negative Windows visibly relaxes.
  • Used in The Third Man, making this trope Older Than They Think.
  • Evil from Time Bandits does this a few times while apparently trying to cast a spell. He lifts his arms up and his face glows red, but he's interrupted before he can finish what he's doing. In the end, it turns him into a crumbling statue, and the Supreme Being appears to clean things up.
  • Played for sexy by Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not, reportedly because Bacall was nervous about working with Bogey and was trying to keep from shaking. Considering that they later got married, that's adorable.
  • In The Transporter, the villain manages to do this off camera. That is to say, he stares villainously into the camera for his driver's license photo. He ensured that every cop who pulled him over would realize he was evil. He also pulled it off several times on camera, but the driver's license deserves special mention.
  • Another Kevin, Kevin Katchadourian from We Need to Talk About Kevin usually gives one of these before a Break Them by Talking.
  • When Darkness Falls: Leyla's mother does this after Leyla realizes that her mother staged her sister's death, not her father which she thought first.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Hugh Jackman in the films deliberately adopted a subtle version of this, but he came upon the idea independently. In an interview he said something about always trying to keep his head just slightly bowed, to imitate the way a wolf looks at you over its nose.
    • Magneto in his plastic prison in X2: X-Men United.
    • Logan: Like father, like daughter. Laura delivers a positively withering one to Pierce at Logan's hideout, when she walks towards him and tosses the head of one of his Reavers at his feet. The fact it's being delivered with aplomb by an eleven-year-old girl just makes it even more chilling.

  • Employed by Krook, the unpleasant rag-merchant in Bleak House:
    His watchfulness of [Jarndyce] was incessant... he got opposite to him, and drawing his hand across and across his open mouth with a curious expression of a sense of power, and turning up his eyes, and lowering his grey eyebrows until they appeared to be shut, seemed to scan every lineament of his face.
  • The cover of Hand of Thrawn: Vision of the Future has this.
  • The Harry Potter series refers to this as well; in Order of the Phoenix, Bellatrix Lestrange's mugshot apparently shows her with a Kubrick Stare (judging by its description).
  • In The Kiss, Charles shoots a very murderous one at Pierre after catching Pierre kissing his wife.
  • In Perelandra, the Un-Man gives Ransom an extraordinarily creepy one, judging from the description and the effect it has on Ransom.
  • The main cover of Poison by Chris Wooding features the eponymous character doing one, complete with noir-style coloring.
  • In the first Vampire Academy book, Natalie gives this glare to Rose when she she turns Strigoi to bust her father Victor out of jail, approaching her with a glare so cold and dangerous it chills her to the bone. She then beats her within an inch of her life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Common for Gomez Addams (John Astin) in The Addams Family.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Grant Ward does this in the stinger of "Turn, Turn, Turn" as he is shown to be helping Garrett. Following it right after what looks like he may snap back just serves to drive the point home.
    • Garrett himself does one to Coulson and Fury after Fury shoots him several times in the finale.
    • Fitz pulls one off at the end of "Rewind" after he is asked by Enoch on whether he can survive amongst the galaxy's worst "monsters, mobsters, and mercenaries." Spoiler! He totally does.
  • Alias: Allison Doren delivers one during the epic fight scene in the second season finale.
  • Angel: Wesley is impersonating the titular hero and gets cornered by two threatening goons. Since he isn't actually supernaturally strong or fast like Angel, he has to bluff them by playing on Angel's reputation and tries a standard death glare on them, hoping to look scary and demonic. He fails. Then he uses the Kubrick Stare instead, and suddenly he really does look scary and demonic, even though the difference in expression is quite subtle. (This is, in fact, the story that marks the beginning of his transformation from comic relief to tragic hero.)
  • Babylon 5:
    • Mr. Morden flashes one of these at the brig's security camera at the end of the episode "In the Shadow of Z'ha'Dum", right at the point where Sheridan is looking at him in the monitor and sees the two Shadows among him detectable at different wavelengths — it is almost like Morden knows exactly when Sheridan was looking at him, and what he saw.
    • Sheridan also gives a haggard but defiant Kubrick Stare a couple of times while under Earth Government interrogation in the episode "Intersections in Real Time".
  • Norman Bates in Bates Motel, channeling the original character from Psycho, does the Kubrick stare many times in promotional photos, the show itself, and even in funny promotional skits.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Gaius Baltar combines this with a Death Glare to rival Adama's. When he's not crying that is.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the first season opening (and the episode that scene was taken from).
  • Cheers. Diane does this a lot when speaking/listening intently to someone — and as such, it's usually played for cute (and sometimes for sexy, a la Lauren Bacall). There are moments, however, when she really is ticked off when giving the Stare — though it's usually just a quick flash of one, in those instances.
  • In Coronation Street, whenever David Platt gets this look, you know he's planning something and things aren't going to end well.
  • Dallas. J.R. Ewing has done this....
  • Doctor Who:
    • Our first glimpse of the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who is an Eyed Screen of him doing one. It becomes a trademark of Twelve's, particularly toward the end of Series 9. Considering the Darker and Edgier nature of this Doctor and his particular story arc, plus the eyebrows, it's really to be expected.
    • The Cheshire Cat Grin variant is one of the main expressions in the Fourth Doctor's repertoire, with the brim of his hat substituting for eyebrows. He does this when he's being particularly creepy.
  • Firefly's River has also been known to do this, particularly in Serenity.
    "Also, I can kill you with my brain."
  • The Flash (2014): Hartley Rathaway delivers one from inside his jail cell.
  • Fortitude: Jason gives one when looking out his window shortly after being infected by the parasite.
  • Frasier and his brother Niles do this quite a bit when driven to a near breaking point.
  • Frontline: "Supreme Revenge" ends with a still of Mitch McConnell doing this in shadow as voiceovers talk about possible departures from the Supreme Court of the United States, either by retirement or by death.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tywin Lannister, whose default facial expression is this combined with a stoic scowl of utter contempt. This expresses his cerebral calculating mentality, his no-nonsense "Well-Intentioned Extremist" attitude, and his near-psychopathic ruthlessness against all who dare threaten the pride of the Lannisters (the song "the Rains of Castamere" was dedicated on how he exterminated a rival House). He had mastered this expression to the point that he can Death Glare and scare the hell out of Joffrey, aka the psychotic and sadistic dictator of Westeros.
    (after Joffrey bursts out, Tywin stoically does his Stare) "The King is tired. See him to his chambers."
    • The look Sansa Stark often manages to give Joffrey Baratheon. She does it after having to watch her father's decapitated head on a spike, and when Joffrey acts as her "father" giving her away at her wedding to Tyrion.
    • After spending two seasons as the stoic and a serious supporter of Robb's regime, Roose Bolton puts out a flat out disturbing one after he's revealed to Catelyn that he's wearing chainmail and is about to betray Robb along with the Freys thus starting the Red Wedding, one that quickly turns into a subtle but noticeable Psychotic Smirk.
    • Tyrion gives a fantastic one while threatening Joffrey in "Second Sons" and another to Tywin and the entire Decadent Court in "The Laws of Gods and Men."
    • Dany keeps an impassive expression throughout Master Kraznys' string of insults because she's pretending not to speak his language, but the last time he calls her a bitch, she gives him one of these when he's not looking. Kraznys' horrible flame-y death ensues shortly after.
    • Osha is good at these, and they are aided by actress Natalia Tena's huge eyes.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: June makes one at the camera as she roped into appearing in the Waterfords' appeal for Nichole's return from Canada, clearly infuriated as her fists clench.
  • Adrian Pasdar uses the Kubrick Stare both in Heroes and Profit.... It's very, VERY creepy.
  • Dafne Keen is proving quite adept at this: Lyra does one in the poster for the HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials, and it shows up a few times in the show itself.
  • Horatio Hornblower, "The Even Chance": Jack Simpson, a depraved tormentor of his fellow midshipmen, has this disturbing and ominous look when he comes aboard the Indefatigable and confronts poor Archie Kennedy. Horatio, the only one who stood up to him back on their old ship, makes it clear to him that these are new times and that he's not going to bother them anymore. Simpson then makes a swinging move, tilts his head down and looks up beneath eyebrows, being half-hidden in a shadow. During his next scenes, he tries to murder both Archie Kennedy and Horatio when they take part in a covert night raid and Boarding Party of a French ship.
  • Greg House from House almost always wears a Kubrick Stare, as shown in many publicity shots. It works to make him look like a strung-out crazy asshole. Which isn't far from the truth.
  • iCarly: Freddie of all people, in iWin A Date. They are trying to comfort Gibby, who's crazy for a girl named Shannon who actually likes Freddie. After Gibby runs off, Carly comments on how sad it is to be in love with someone who won't love you back. Freddie gives her a well-deserved stare, and Carly goes 'Sorry'.
  • Jekyll in Jekyll usually combines this with a Slasher Smile for pure terror.
  • The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou does this from time to time. It's incredibly frightening.
  • Of all people on Lie to Me to give this look, we get it from Loker in an episode where he's pretending to be a mobster. It actually is fairly creepy.
  • Loki (2021): Loki pulls the expression on the poster, continuing his penchant for it from The Avengers (2012). However, unlike in the movie, it's more of a sly look than an unhinged look.
  • Lost: Sawyer, especially in the first season. Claire has also come down with this.
  • Edward James Olmos as Lieutenant Castillo on Miami Vice does this so frequently and well that it's been nicknamed "the Castillo staredown".
  • NCIS. Gibbs is comforting a crying woman whose deceased husband was a cannibalistic Serial Killer... until he's informed that some of the bodies buried in her backyard had been buried after the husband died. Cue instant Kubrick Stare from the woman, revealing her true evil self.
  • In Once Upon a Time, after Henry eats the poisoned turnover and is in a coma, Emma gives one when Regina, who gave her the turnover for Emma to eat and fall into a coma arrives at the the hospital, and beats Regina up.
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D., Sky (the Blue Ranger) gets bodyjacked by an alien, and starts doing this a lot. It worked a little too well on the fandom.
  • Patrick McGoohan is seen with a Kubrick Stare at least once in the opening credits of The Prisoner (1967).
  • Moriarty does this at least once in Sherlock. He really doesn't need to look more frightening than he already is.
    • In "A Scandal in Belgravia" Sherlock deduces that Mrs. Hudson has been attacked. In a few seconds, his expression moves from "Bad stuff happened" to "Oh God, he's actually going to kill someone." It's chilling to see.
    • He also does this when trying to solve a crime in "The Sign of Three". Probably not at the best time though; he does it in the middle of his best man speech at John's wedding.
  • One example in Stargate SG-1 is a genetically modified human called Khalek who upon the protagonists realizing his true nature, gives this look. The main light in the room is above him, which enhances the look.
  • Stranger Things: Eleven usually pulls a K-stare whenever she is about to do some telekinesis. Of particular note is when she and her friends are cornered by goons with guns; she pulls her most intense stare of the series and crushes all of their brains!
  • Supernatural:
    • Meg does this in "Devil's Trap".
    • Cas, while possessed or later cursed, pulls these off. "This is gonna be fun."
    • Lampshaded in "Point of No Return": Dean responds to one of Castiel's way-too-intent angry glares: "Last person who looked at me like that, I got laid," followed by a wink when Castiel promptly turns the Death Glare into a Kubrick Stare. Shippers may disagree.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has Cameron apt at doing this. Given it's Summer Glau it doubles as Head-Tiltingly Kinky.
  • Gary Oldman taught Conan O'Brien how to do something like this during an interview near the end of Conan's run on The Tonight Show (Oldman also related a story how he used it to scare off a paparazzi reporter). Seeing the normally upbeat Conan do this was unnerving.
    • Oldman credited this version to James Cagney. Step one: turn your head to face the opponent, keeping your eyes glued elsewhere. Step two: the eyes follow.
  • Jesse from The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "A Game of Pool".
  • In United States of Tara, Bryce uses this often.
  • In The Walking Dead, you can tell Shane's gone off the deep end when he starts using the stare near the end of the second season.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess does this a lot when she goes into Badass Normal mode.
  • 7 Yüz: Used pointedly in "Karşılaşmalar". As Gödze intently assesses the results of the app's analysis, the camera frequently cuts to close-ups of Onur's eyes, which glare at his wife with growing suspicion. The unnerving gaze, set beneath a furrowed brow, hints at his sinister secret.

  • One of the opening shots of Sia's music video for Chandelier features Maddie Ziegler [1] making this face at Shia La Beouf.
  • This, combined with a Slasher Smile, has become the trademark pose for the electronic artist Aphex Twin, first featured on his "Richard D. James Album".
  • Featured heavily in EPICA's "unleashed" music video, mostly coming from Simone Simons, but also the rest of the band at the end of the video.
  • Cobra Starship frontman Gabe Saporta has become famed for leveling "The Psycho Stare" at any camera in his vicinity. This has done nothing to quell the rumors about his basement of unspecified horrors.
  • Oomph!'s singer Dero Goi does this at the end of the music video of Labyrinth.
    • Also worth noting that for the majority of the video, he looks like a cross between Alex DeLarge and the Mad Hatter.
  • Regal Pinion's page has a picture of him doing this, that same picture is also part of the cover of his album, "Shadow Plays".
  • They Might Be Giants singer John Linnell is made for this with his crazy sparkly eyes and slightly ridiculous forehead. He frequently expresses one during interviews as he is not a very gregarious man.
  • Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park have used this quite a bit, especially earlier in the group's career, namely the latter vocalist three minutes and fourteen seconds into the video for Crawling.
  • Blur's video for "The Universal" contains several references to 'Clockwork Orange', so Damon Albarn does one or two of these, as well as a rare side-angle version.
  • Hatsune Miku at the beginning of the High Definition PV of Nebula, especially in this preview.
  • Jay Reatard gives a creepy Kubrick stare on the cover of his album 'Watch Me Fall' in what is clearly an homage to Nicholson in The Shining. Can be seen here
  • Rob Zombie does his own imitation of Alex's stare in the music video for Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy) which itself is based on A Clockwork Orange.
  • The art on the CD of Jerry Cantrell's Boggy Depot features him giving such a smile.
  • David Bowie does this throughout the video for "Valentine's Day", a sweet-sounding tune about mass murder.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic, of all people, does this during the music video for Foil
  • Exaggerated in the full video for Poets of the Fall's "Drama for Life," as the madman Ghost in the Machine enjoys staring at the viewer while the downward angle of his head results in totally Hidden Eyes due to a Face Framed in Shadow.


    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Very common in modern video game box art in general. [2]
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Damon Gant has one.
    • Edgeworth also has a pretty good one.
    • So has Apollo Justice, which is part of the reason why a fraction of the fanbase is convinced that Damon Gant is his biological father.
    • During his Villainous Breakdown, Kristoph Gavin combines this with a Twitchy Eye for maximum creepiness.
  • Hazama of BlazBlue usually reverts to his Terumi state when he's the kind of angry required for this trope, but that doesn't mean he can't do it. One of the most infamous instances is the true ending of Slight Hope, when he lost all of his plans to, and has finally run out of patience with, Makoto Nanaya.
  • In Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow, Soma Cruz's character image get this expression when he's influenced by Dracula, but not the rest of the time.
  • You cannot kill the Messiah.
  • Conker of Conker's Bad Fur Day does this in the first scene, in a parody of A Clockwork Orange.
  • Fenris of Dragon Age II does this during your first meeting, when you ask if he intends to do with his former master.
  • Quite a few of the talking heads of Fallout and Fallout 2 had this as their "angry" expression.
    • In FO2, the Kubrick Stare ratchets up in increments as you pushed their buttons. In particular contrast with First Citizen Lynette's "superior civilization" poise, which would fade until her lips were locked in a snarl.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth does this in the famous 'Nibelheim in flames' cutscene, both in the the original game and the updated version in Advent Children and Crisis Core. Sephiroth's Kubrick Stare also frequently appears in his more recent official artwork.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses
    • Edelgard’s retainer, Hubert, does this in his early supports with Byleth, warning them that they better live up to Edelgard’s standards, and that he’ll be keeping an eye on them in case they ever get in Edelgard’s way.
    • Marianne unintentionally gives one to Ashe in their C Support, with him telling her that it makes her look creepy.
    • If Byleth chooses to side with Edelgard in the Holy Tomb, Rhea will give an inverted Kurbrick Stare, by lifting her head up and staring her eyes down at them, while declaring to have passed judgment upon them.
  • Child Alma from F.E.A.R. is fond of doing these.
    • Same with the Point Man. Seems it's genetic
    Jankowski: "It's something about his eyes. Like he's looking right through you"
  • Freddy Fazbear bears this in the game's cover art in a similar vein to Alex DeLarge.
  • You will seldomly see Arthur from the Ghosts 'n Goblins series without this expression. Consider how Nintendo Hard the games from said series are, can you really blame him for looking so upset all the time? On the other hand, one could also interpret this as him being a focused, no-nonsense Determinator.
  • In The Godfather, upon becoming the Don of the Corleones, the player character Aldo delivers an epic one to the camera. Witness for yourselves.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Terra does this sometimes as he is very tall and hunches over somewhat. Particularly notable is the one he gives Master Xehanort in the opening after the latter nearly eradicates Ventus.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, as you further corrupt your party members to the Dark Side, their portraits evolve into this.
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda series, pretty much every time he's Staring Down Cthulhu. Special mention to Skyward Sword, where he does it particularly often.
  • Shinji Naruse does this from time to time in Lux-Pain. You'll know you're seeing it when you can't see his pupils.
  • Mass Effect 3: When questioned by Admiral Hackett on how they got the krogan and salarians to cooperate (answer: by sabotaging the genophage cure), Shepard's response of "careful diplomacy" is accompanied by a Kubrick Stare and Psychotic Smirk.
  • Heroic example: Almost every piece of official Mega Man Zero artwork shows Zero like this.
  • Every official concept artwork of Solid Snake ever drawn or rendered.
  • Erron Black from Mortal Kombat X has a pretty nice one going on in his X-Ray attack.
  • Any of the characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4 could qualify when they get a critical hit with their Persona. Especially the Protagonists and Antagonists
  • If Futaba in Persona 5 is romanced she will try to give the Protagonist a cute look, only to have it turn into this by accident.
  • Cyrus does this in the title sequence of Pokémon Platinum. It tells you exactly what kind of guy he is before you even learn his name.
  • Lucas Baker, an antagonist of Resident Evil 7, pulls this look off in an official illustration. [3]
  • Many of the covers of Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Sega Genesis had Sonic giving a Kubrick Stare, especially in North America.
  • In Starcraft Kerrigan both on the cover and her in-game avatar.
  • The Tournament menu of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has Mario of all characters giving one to the player. And before that, he had given a similar look to the viewer on the box art of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • System Shock: SHODAN's avatar depicts her giving this expression in both the first and second game. The trailer for the third game has her doing an inverted version.
  • The "Meet the Engineer" video in Team Fortress 2 ends on this, in spite of eye-concealing goggles.
  • Lee Chaolan from Tekken 2 [4]

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Lich does a very menacing one in a flashback in Adventure Time.
  • Hama on Avatar: The Last Airbender gets treated to this once her intentions are revealed.
    • Appropriately enough, Katara does this when she threatens to "end" Zuko, "permanently", if he hurts Aang.
    • Zuko does this the best during The Boiling Rock part 1.
    • Azula does this too, right after she fires her Dai Li agents in Sozin's Comet.
    • Sokka gets one as well in the four-part finale. Wind and everything!
    • Amon of The Legend of Korra does this to help highlight that he's a bad guy.
      • But the fiercest one of all is Lin's in Turning the Tides.
  • In Code Lyoko, William Dunbar performs one of these just after (faking) escaping from XANA's possession for a moment. The screenshot has reached Memetic Mutation as his "rape face."
  • In the episode "Party Of One" in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, usual Genki Girl Pinkie Pie, delivers one to the main cast after being dragged to her surprise party. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • One-Man Band: The little girl busts out one of these when she's glaring angrily at the musicians, both of whom are obviously quite a bit taller.
  • Robot Chicken parodies this in their "Just The Good Parts" sketch: a segment of that dealing with The Shining consists entirely of the Kubrick Stares from the film (and a black dude dancing in the kitchen for some reason).
  • Samurai Jack sometimes does this when he's ready to get dangerous, especially in the pilot.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "Treehouse of Horror V", Homer does this during a Shining parody. The creators mention in the DVD commentary that they made Dan Castellaneta do this while recording those lines. "Tilt your head forward and look up, you'll look like a lunatic."
    • It appears again in "Treehouse of Horror XXV" with the "Clockwork Yellow" segment, which homages Kubrick's work by Kubrick himself.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "A Nightmare on Face Time" Randy does this twice in the Shining parody subplot.
    • Happens again in the episode "Sons a Witches," Cartman is furious at his girlfriend for constantly making him late to Halloween events. He delivers a glorious Kubrick Stare at her from across the lunch room while the rest of the boys around the table talk about something unrelated.
  • Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels gets this look whenever he edges closer to The Dark Side. The Loth-wolves also get it as part of their Creepy Good aesthetic.
  • Slade from Teen Titans somehow pulls this off with his entire face covered aside from his right eye.
  • Nearly every villain from TRON: Uprising does this at one point or another, but Dyson seems to be especially fond of it.
  • Aqualad has a very epic one in the Young Justice episode "Depths"

    Real Life 
  • Lord Byron (yes, it's very old) called this the 'under look'.
  • None other than Stanley Kubrick himself, all the freakin' time.
  • Skandar Keynes, the actor who played Edmund Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia, does it a lot. A few examples are on his page.
  • Also of the NewsRadio alumni, Dave and Foley.
  • Many animals will express their aggression by taking this position. If an animal flattens their ears back while giving a Kubrick Stare, they may be planning to attack.
  • Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers describes his "seductive stare" as the "Classic Kiedis Chin Tilt". Needless to say, it is very much a Kubrick Stare.
  • Often used by fashion models as a stock pose of seduction.
  • Christine (formerly 'Christian') Weston Chandler used to do this pretty often, naturally. His fans have even dubbed it "The Creepy Stare". An example. In most cases of him doing this, though, it's probably unintentionally creepy and just normal for him, a symptom of his autism whereby he can't internalize emotional reactions nor display them properly. To his credit, he doesn't do it very often now since he seems to be much more comfortable having his picture taken than he used to be.
  • Lee Unkrich's cat is pretty good at it.
  • Check out the stare on Perry Smith in his mugshots. How did Truman Capote ever fall for that guy?
  • Oddly, a benign version of this: Princess Diana had a habit of adopting this posture.
  • Adolf Hitler had quite the impressive one in some pictures, particularly on the most well-known cover of Mein Kampf.
  • Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propagandist, gives the photographer a hard look after finding out that he's Jewish.
  • In chess, or in any type of competitive game, the Kubrick Stare is a common tactic used by players to intimidate, annoy, confuse, or discomfort their opponents. Mikhail Tal, the Eighth World Chess Champion, was a chess player well known for his stares. It also didn't help his opponent's case that Tal was a tactical genius like no other on the chessboard. One of Tal's opponent's, Pal Benko, was so uncomfortable with Tal's gaze that he wore sunglasses during a game to avoid it. Watch the reaction of one of Tal's opponents to his Kubrick Stare.
  • If you're tall and hard of hearing, you'll find yourself doing this unintentionally while trying to read the lips of whomever you're talking to.
  • Kirk Douglas was very good at this in his younger days. Examples here.
  • Peter Strzok, an FBI agent who became a controversial figure in the Trump/Russia Investigation, made this with a smile during a hearing.
  • In particular eerie photo, Columbine shooter Eric Harris can be seen doing this, with the other shooter Dylan Klebold standing right beside him, pulling what appears to be a Slasher Smile.


Video Example(s):



His default posture is this to emphasize his sinister nature.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / KubrickStare

Media sources:

Main / KubrickStare