ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Horror fans have been freaking out about the news that the new Scream TV series will NOT feature the iconic Ghostface mask - but maybe this freakout is premature.

Horror designers can draw on many cultural traditions for inspiration - check out 8 freaky masks that could make any horror movie totally disturbing...

1. The Splatter Mask

Origin: Britain, World War 1

Despite looking like a horrifying face-torturing method from the dark ages, this Splatter Mask is a functional tool from the First World War. British soldiers inside tanks wore these to protect their eyes and mouths from metallic debris that chipped off the vehicle's interior when under fire.

2. The Toilet Mask

Origin: Ohio, 1875

51-year-old dressmaker Madame Rowley patented her 'toilet mask' in 1875, designed to 'soften and clarify the skin by relieving the pores and the superficial circulation' - or, you know, wring a lot of cash out of desperate women who believed in it...

3. The Lady's Visard

Origin: Europe, 16th Century

Want to maintain your enigmatic feminine mystique? Try wearing a black velvet mask from the 1500's! Problems include being rendered mute by the securing device - the mask is held in place by a tiny bead in the wearer's mouth - and looking like a nefarious assassin!

4. Mickey Mouse Gas Mask

Origin: USA, 1942

After Pearl Harbor, American authorities were particularly nervous about a gas attack on US soil. In a sweet - but ultimately, totally misguided - attempt to make gas masks look a little more appealing to children, Sun Rubber Company worked with Walt Disney to create the Mickey Mouse gas mask, and a thousand nightmares were born.

5. Peden's Disguise

Origin: Scotland, 1663

Presbyterian fugitive Alexander Peden got into a bit of trouble with the Scotch government during the Restoration and employed the rather natty solution of wearing this cunning disguise to aid his escape. If it looks freaky on the mannequin, bear in mind that Peden paired his fabric face with wooden teeth - a bizarre trick that actually worked!

6. Iroquois False Face

Origin: Native American tradition

The Iroquois - comprising of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations - created awesome masks to represent a living embodiment of spirit. Non-Iroquois aren't privy to the ceremonies involved, but rumor has it that healers dramatically expel demons...

7. Dirt Eater Mask

Origin: the American slave trade

Many slaves were so underfed that they resorted to eating the earth. Rather than giving them more food, owners and traders fitted them with metal masks. Thomas Urquhart described the practice in 1816:

they are in the habit, unless forcibly prevented, of eating earth; at this time their mouth is covered until a cure can be effected.

8. Schandemaskes

Origin: 17th Century Germany

In the 1600s, Germans used 'shame masks' to humiliate and punish criminals. Some were forged into foolish animalistic features, and while semi-comical, the practice was brutal: the masks were heavy, claustrophobic and painful - the mouthpiece extended an iron bit into the wearer's mouth, holding down their tongue and keeping them uncomfortably silent.

Sources:, Wiki, Beauty with Brains, Gas Mask Lexicon, The Wild Peak


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