Yesterday, Empire posted a new trailer for a horror movie called Triangle. You can watch it here. It looks pretty scary! The plot seems to be that a bunch of yuppies sail their sailboat into Scott Wolf’s White Squall and when they come out on the other side they are in the Bermuda Triangle, and that’s where they discover the Ghost Ship. Careful, that Ghost Ship is full of ghosts! Then it’s all stab you in the face this, shoot you in the face that, and if you see a black cat twice it’s a glitch in The Matrix. People be going out of their minds up in this Ghost Ship!

I don’t know. Go watch the trailer, you’ll figure it out.

But one thing that is also in that trailer is a murderer wearing a floppy sack mask. Oh man, FLOPPY SACK MASKS ARE THE SCARIEST MASKS.

After the jump, a brief history of the floppy sack mask*:

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

The first recorded (?) floppy sack mask. Hopefully this is one of those trends that will never take off. Like the catchphrase “Mazel.”

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

The floppy sack mask’s first appearance on TV. LET US HOPE IT IS THE LAST.

Friday the 13th, Part Two (1981)

Yikes. Two floppy sack masks in one year is TOO SCARY! Take that floppy sack mask off, you creep! Get yourself a respectable hockey mask, like a gentleman.

[Ed. Note: the 1990s are a period of economic growth and relative peace in the United States. They are also a period of NO FLOPPY SACK MASKS.]

Batman Begins (2005)

Ahhhh! They’re back! This one is not that scary though. Careful, floppy sack mask, Batman is going to beat your butt! And anyway, we had 24 years to recover from the last floppy sack mask.

The Orphanage (2007)

No. No no no no no. The floppy sack mask has JUMPED THE POND. In Spain they are called el masks del floppy sackos. Strangely, that silly name does not make them any less TERRIFYING. Especially because the Spanish seem to have no problems with putting horrifying floppy sack masks on CHILDREN, which only increases their HORRIFYINGNESS.

The Strangers (2008)

By 2008, floppy sack masks were appearing at an exponential rate. Here is the modern floppy sack mask as seen in The Strangers. As you can see, the modern floppy sack mask is just as upsetting as the floppy sack mask has always been, that is the indelible, unchanging misery of the floppy sack mask.

Triangle (2009)

Scientists predict that by 2012, if the world is not covered in water, which it will be, every movie will feature a floppy sack mask.

I hate you, floppy sack masks.

*It is possible that I have missed some examples of floppy sack masks through time. If so, please email these examples (with photographic evidence, if possible) at I am hoping to make this America’s most complete history of the floppy sack mask. For our children.

Comments (64)
  1. J  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +68

    I bet the killers are smelling potatoes the whole time, and they’re all like, “Man, so many potato smells up in my nostril’s smellbuds.”

    Yeah, they scare me too.

  2. In France they are called Les Masques des Floppes

  3. As much as I want to rag (ha!) on floppy sack masks, I know that if I saw someone in my general vacinity wearing one (standing motionless for effect!), I’d would run away in the least dignified fashion possible.

  4. ohhhh, you have to cut eye holes in them.

  5. You forgot about the most famous real life instance:

    Sure, the sack isn’t floppy, but he manages to walk the line between hilarious and completely balls-to-the-wall terrifying quite nicely.

    • I can’t decide if the sunglasses make him more or less terrifying…..
      Though, they definitely make him cooler. Like the 7UP Cool Spot. Relevant.

  6. The woman says “When i have a bad dream I close my eyes and think of something happy.” Does she sleep with her eyes open? Or does she sleep with one eye open because things are so scary?

  7. I hope there is at least one more instance for the “Floppy Sack Masks” tag to be used in the future.

  8. I’m an adult, but when the boy came out wearing the Floppy Sack Mask in The Orphanage, a little bit of pee came out. That’s true.

  9. Don’t they make a pill that brings that stiffness and turgor back to these sack masks? You know, for SMD (Sack Mask Dysfunction).
    Viagra jokes, you guys.

  10. Do Dumb Donald and Cobra Commander count? Probably not.

  11. The Elephant Man, duh.

  12. “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” 1976

  13. Mabuk  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +102

  14. El Bombastico  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +25

    To be fair, I’ve always considered “Batman Begins” to be a deconstruction of the floppy sack mythos. In that Scarecrow puts it on, and everyone is all like “That’s not scary, that’s dumb, you fey little freak.” And then Scarecrow blasts them with the Jesus-juice, and then that floppy sack starts BLOWING MINDS.

    • For me, the true power of Scarecrow lies not in his floppy sack mask or in his juice, but in Cillian Murphy’s blue eyes of doom.

  15. < img src="" >
    more of a sack lunch mask than a sack mask.

    • and i fail at html code. i was trying to post this picture.

      • Yeah, I was going to mention “Baghead”– it starts out as a kind of parody of this whole idea, where friends are writing a horror movie in which the villain wears a stupid brown bag on his head…. but turns out that shit can be just as scary as a floppy sack mask, too! (Though, maybe not THIS particular screengrab :) )

  16. And then there’s the alien from Signs.

  17. El Bombastico  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +12

    As a child, I was always scared by this foreboding figure. Fortunately, it could be vanquished if a B-level sitcom star furiously struck a large copper plate.

  18. Oogie Boogie is a walking, talking floppy sack mask:


  19. Well, Resident Evel 4 isn’t a movie (YET), but let’s not forget Dr. Salvador. Before you can even finish emptying your bladder at his floppy sackedness, he’s chainsawed your head clean off. Plus he makes upsetting noises.

  20. And that would be Evil, not Evel. I’ve got my floppy sacks mixed up with my crash helmets.

  21. Clive Barker’s Nightbreed had a good floppy sack mask, too.

  22. Martin  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +3

    En Español, se les dice mascara de saco flojo. Tambien, el señor Dave me saco el pipi.

  23. Hell in that Tim Burton movie 9, the characters ARE floppy sack masks. And if you wanted to expand to video games, there’s Sackboy in Little Big Planet.

  24. The floppy sack mask that scares me the most is definitely from the Orphanage. Something about the grandma makeup, burlap and yarn curls (why the yarn curls?) that gives me the willies.

  25. I think Magritte did the first floppy sack mask. And fucking – WHAT IS THIS PAINTING. Other than your boyfriend AND girlfriend.

    • Good call! I think this is my favorite Videogum comment ever.

    • rachel  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +20

      I hate to make this joke into a downer, but Magritte actually had a sort of real-life floppy sack mask horror – his mother drowned when he was a child, and was found with her nightgown draped over her face, and that’s largely believed to be the inspiration for his paintings of couples embracing like this.

      Doesn’t it make the image that much more fucked up, and yet poignant? Anyways, forget it and go back to the laffs!

  26. i feel like this should count:

  27. Ziss subject iss very intriguing to me! I’m really thinking about what makes this mask so terrifying, and I think it’s that there is nothing but horrific intent to it. Nothin schnazzy, you don’t have to go down to the mask store (“what about this one? no? you don’t like it? I kind of like it.”) You just go into the barn (barns are terrifying!), get a sack, cut eye holes, and let your pathological murdering insanity do the rest. That is scary as fuck!

  28. It slipped!

  29. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • I really don’t get it!
      Also, I don’t want to be the guy that is spoiling all the floppy mask fun around here, but posting pictures of people with their actual face is just kinda mean!

  30. You can already tell this movie will have a terrible twist ending where the guy in the sleeveless shirt turns out to be the sack head guy… yawn

  31. Ms. New Jersey  |   Posted on Jul 17th, 2009 +4

    The Zodiac killer’s floppy sack mask was nice, as far as floppy sack masks go. He chose a nice fabric that matched his suit – it was like the Gucci sack mask of sack masks. He wasn’t all haphazard, deciding on the way home from the general store that he was going to kill someone, and he’d need a mask. He wasn’t smelling potatoes.

  32. There also happens to be some in open range.

  33. There also happens to be some in open range.

  34. Something I really like about myself is how I was watching an episode of Psych on Hulu a few weeks ago. In the episode (315, it’s still on Hulu and, no, I’m not going to screen cap this shit) they semi-parody all horror movies and the stereotypical scary bad guy has a floppy sack mask on!

  35. eve  |   Posted on Jul 18th, 2009 +2

    well. it’s about time you acknowledged our children gabe. they miss you!

    j/k. please don’t vote me down.

  36. I’m not Professor Francais over here (because let’s face it I am completely lacking in my baguette, striped shirt, and beret… although I do have one of those tiny tiny mustaches) but isn’t aux incorrect? Let’s set aside the fact that floppes is a totally invented word for minimal comedic value, but isn’t “les masques aux floppes” translated as “masks in flops” whereas “les masques des floppes” is more roughly translated as “the masks of flops?” It’s been forever since I participated in the the french canadian grammar rodeo. And on a completely unrelated side not because this is my attempt at making this the absolute longest post because I that nerdtastic… but how do I get funny little pictures next to my comments?

  37. duder  |   Posted on Jul 20th, 2009 0

    There is a sackhead bad guy in a horror movie coming out called The Collector…I had assumed that’s what inspired this post. There’s also a Spanish movie called TimeCrimes that has a spooky bandaged head guy (almost the same).

    • I’m sorry (not really) but every time you post I have to roll over your avatar and go AWWWWW. Please tell me that is your kitty, and that is your pink scarf and pink knit hat. Just let me have the fantasy.

  38. May be it’s because of the scene shown on the cover, but I find the floppy sak mask in The Strangers absolutely terrifying and in this particular scene some people don’t notice the killer in the back for a while and while they’re waiting for him to attack or something… BAM! They realize the killer has been there the whole time. I think it’s the mask mixed with the personality of the person underneath it, like in this movie he’s so calm and plays with the girl’s mind, toying with her, driving her insane with paranoia, acting like he’s going to kill her, then never doing it until the end.

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