Kubrick Stare supercut: Jack Nicholson, Malcolm McDowell and more do the scariest look in the movies (VIDEO).

A Supercut of the Kubrick Stare, the Scariest Expression in the Movies

A Supercut of the Kubrick Stare, the Scariest Expression in the Movies

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Slate's Culture Blog
April 28 2015 8:32 AM

A Supercut of the Kubrick Stare, the Scariest Expression in the Movies

nicholson_kubrick_stare
He’s not going to hurt you, he’s just going to bash your brains in.

Still from Vimeo

There are a lot of ways for an actor to make a scary face, but there might be none scarier than putting the head down, the eyes up, and staring directly into the camera. The look is called the “Kubrick Stare,” after its repeated use in the movies of Stanley Kubrick (especially A Clockwork OrangeThe Shining, and Full Metal Jacket), but as chronicled in this supercut made especially for Slate, it’s not unique to the director.

Many other movies seem to have followed Kubrick’s lead: Silence of the Lambs and Donnie Darko do the stare perfectly, while Jack Nicholson has shown his mastery of it in not just The Shining but in Tim Burton’s Batman. In fact, with its repeated use by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, it seems to have become a signature of the Joker character—we’ll see soon whether this tradition is continued by Jared Leto.

Jacob T. Swinney is a video essayist, filmmaker, and cinephile.