Feature

Top 10 Creepiest Masks In Video Games

by Katie Seville on Oct 31, 2013 at 09:00 AM

Masks serve many functions in video games. Sometimes they’re just used to change a character’s appearance, and sometimes they bestow bonuses or trigger transformations. It’s undeniable, however, that some of the best or most memorable masks are also pretty creepy. Whether it’s the way it looks, the story behind it, or some combination of the two, some masks are just plain scary. The following are our top ten picks for the creepiest masks in video games.

Be aware that the following list contains spoilers, particularly in the final entry.

10. Don Juan Mask (Hotline Miami)

The player-character in Hotline Miami always wears one of many animal-head masks, which are anything but funny. With the masks’ cut-out eye-holes, anyone who dons one looks like a soulless chimera – in the game’s art, at least. Apart from the default one, each mask grants players special abilities or bonuses. The Don Juan Mask may grant the most frightening bonus of all: lethal doors. Think about how many doors are in your house. Kratos forbid some wacko comes to your house wearing the Don Juan Mask.

9. Cubone’s Mask (Pokémon)

Cubone seems like a normal Pokémon at first, if a bit of an oddball for wearing a skull on its head. The Pokédex tells a different story, however. In several of the Pokémon games, including Versions X and Y, Cubone’s Pokédex entry identifies the skull as that of Cubone’s mother. That’s a pretty frightening description for a character in a game primarily marketed toward children. Does every Cubone kill its own mother? While it makes for a frightening story, that doesn’t seem to be the case; the Pokédex also tells players about the mournful cries Cubone emits at night or when it’s feeling lonesome.

8. Handsome Jack’s Mask (Borderlands 2)

Handsome Jack is pretty damn funny, but his mask? Not so much. That mask is disturbing. The mask is skin-colored, but is slightly lighter than Jack’s skin, suggesting he’s been wearing it for a while. Jack even seems to have pieces of metal grafted onto his face to better secure the mask. Most unsettling is the way it moves with his face when he’s talking, even reflecting his emotions. The creep-factor is amplified further when you learn more about Jack’s history, and start speculating about why he wears it.

7. Death’s Mask (Darksiders II)

This mask may look simple, but it provides the Horseman of Death with a visage that suits his occupation. It most resembles a skull, but features narrower eye sockets and is completely solid where the mouth should be. Death first dons his trademark mask after executing countless members of his own race, the Nephilim, on the orders of the Charred Council. As a Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death is expected to be imposing. He carries giant scythes, and wears impressive armor, but it’s his beady red eyes peering from behind this mask that really completes the look.

6. Miraak’s Mask (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)

Scattered across Skyrim are the resting places of the powerful dragon priests, servants of the great beasts in ancient times. A few of these priests wear masks of great power, which players can take for themselves if the priest is defeated. There are many such masks in Skyrim, but one in particular looks like it was designed by H.P. Lovecraft. Its owner, Miraak, is even said to be the first Dragonborn by Tamriel’s resident cthulhu monster Hermaeus Mora himself. Besides looking like a tentacled abomination, Miraak’s mask also grants its wearer additional Magicka, letting the Dragonborn shock people on multiple fronts.

[Next up: See our five creepiest masks. Are you wearing one of these for Halloween?]

5. Psycho Mantis’ Gas Mask (Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

There’s far more to Mantis than his Mask, but the thing is an essential and identifying aspect of his character. Psycho Mantis is an extremely disturbing – and disturbed – man, with psychokinetic powers to boot. His mind-controlling ability may be the most terrifying thing about this villain, but the gas mask gives him the rasping, gasping voice he’s known for. His whole getup is reminiscent of bondage, and reveals his emaciated frame, but the mask goes so far as to make him seem inhuman. The mask is such a pivotal part of his character that even his mental projections wear it.

4. Corvo’s Mask (Dishonored)

Being worn by a good guy doesn’t make this mask any less creepy. Player-character Corvo Attano wears this mask throughout most of the game in order to conceal his identity. In addition to protecting both his identity and his face, the mask possesses a telescopic function that allows Corvo to see things at a distance that’d make Legolas proud. Corvo’s striking new look isn’t exactly a hit with the people of Dunwall, and it’s obvious why they’re so put-off by the mask. The thing looks like some kind of Borg skull or prototype Terminator head, neither of which are likely a common sight on the island of Gristol. 

3. The Grin (Payday 2)

No one can say that The Grin doesn’t live up to its name, but this mask isn’t a welcome sight for those who aren’t fans of its demented, toothy smile. Those Jack Nicholson eyebrows and that face-splitting grin make for an unsettling combination to say the least. If there’s anything creepier about this mask than the way it looks, it’s the gruesome backstory included in its in-game description. The Grin is said to match a certain man’s facial expression the day he snapped and lost his mind. More disturbing is the implication that the man in the backstory had no nose. Very disturbing.

2. Terror Mask (Splatterhouse series)

Worn by series protagonist Rick, the Terror Mask is a constant presence in the both the original Splatterhouse games and the 2010 reboot. Jim Cummings provides the Mask with a sarcastic voice in the reboot which, while hilarious, makes it much less creepy than it was in the original games. The Mask’s retro incarnation is much less chatty, usually only speaking when necessary or to manipulate Rick. Most memorable is its chilling laugh, first heard at the end of the series’ first entry. The limited audio capability of the game only enhances the effect.

1. Majora’s Mask (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)

It’s difficult to pick just one mask out of all the awesome ones in this game. I’d also considered the Deku Scrub Mask and the Fierce Deity Mask: the former because of its pivotal role in the beginning of the game, and the latter for its sheer awesomeness. It’s the power of Majora’s Mask, however, that gives the skull kid the power to trap Link in Scrub form. The Fierce Deity Mask’s usefulness is limited to boss battles against creatures born from the evil of Majora’s Mask. The Mask had originally been used by an ancient people for witchcraft, who sealed it away to prevent a disaster like the one in the game. Similar to the Terror Mask, Majora’s Mask is actually a sentient entity that uses a host to achieve its own ends. It’s one of the most shocking moments in the game when the mask literally shakes off the skull kid, discarding his limp form on the ground. Majora’s Mask tops our list because it’s powerful enough to obliterate all of Termina and gives Link a truly unexpected final boss. It’s truly creepy appearance is an added bonus, and has earned it many fans. Artist Mario Mayer is one, and has created an incredibly realistic replica of Majora's Mask, which you can see in our coverage here.

Let us know what you think of our selection in the comments. Did we forget any masks? Which ones would be in your top ten?