Typically, movie protagonists are very handsome, and the worst-looking still tend to appear more attractive than the average person. There are some protagonists, however, that are not only bad-looking, they’re deformed or disfigured. Some are born like that, while others have suffered horrible accidents or attacks that have left their faces in shambles. Without good looks, these protagonists must find ways to effectively endear themselves to the people around them. Here’s a look at eleven memorable movie protagonists who are either deformed or disfigured.
Rocky Dennis – Mask
How he got his looks: Roy L Dennis was born with a very rare disorder called craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, which causes calcium to build up in the skull, resulting in deformed facial features.
How he deals: Rocky does his best to act just like a normal kid, doing things like planning trips to Europe and collecting baseball cards. He also does very well in school, hangs with bikers, and his best friend. Rocky Dennis is truly brave; he did his best to live a normal life where many in his position would have just felt sorry for themselves.
Quasimodo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
How he got his looks: Quasimodo’s looks vary depending on which version of the film you see, but his hunchback and deformed face are simply the result of his being unlucky enough to be born like that.
How he deals: He passes the time by ringing cathedral bells. Quasimodo also saved Esmerelda, but his hideous looks were too much for her to overlook. In the Disney version, he sings songs with his gargoyle friends.
John Merrick – The Elephant Man
How he got his looks: Merrick was born with a genetic disorder that some believed was Proteus syndrome. This, however, has not been proven, and Merrick’s condition remains a mystery.
How he deals: He leaves the freak show of which he was a part, dresses to the nines, and displays a high level of sophistication and intelligence.
David Aames – Vanilla Sky
How he got his looks: A psycho woman of David’s decided to drive her car off a bridge with David in the passenger seat. The accident left David’s arm and face disfigured.
How he deals: David has himself cryogenically frozen by a company called Life Extension and lives out his life in a “lucid dream”where his looks have been restored. Once David learns that his life is indeed a dream, though, he opts to wake up in the future when his face and arm can be repaired properly.
Justin McLeod – The Man Without a Face
How he got his looks: A car accident left McLeod disfigured and killed one of his students, to boot.
How he deals: McLeod tutors a boy named Chuck, hoping to have a positive influence on someone’s life. He succeeds, as Chuck eventually graduates from a military academy with honors.
Peyton Westlake – Darkman
How he got his looks: Westlake is horribly burned after a corrupt developer and a mobster blow up his laboratory.
How he deals: Westlake develops a syntehtic skin, but the material remains stable for only 99 minutes at a time. Using the skin to create masks (or otherwise just wrapping his face in bandages), Westlake hunts down and destroys the men that blew up his lab and scarred his face.
V – V for Vendetta
How he got his looks: In the graphic novel, it’s not entirely clear what V looks like, but in the movie, we know that V suffered facial disfigurement in the form of severe burns during his escape from Larkhill.
How he deals: By doing whatever he can to overthrow the Totalitarian British government, including blowing Parliament to smithereens.
Marv – Sin City
How he got his looks: Marv was born ugly, but the extensive scarring on his face is most likely due to all the fights he’s gotten into over the years.
How he deals: Despite his scary appearance, Marv is a good dude. He avenges the murder of a prostitute (for which he was framed) by decapitating her killer and killing Cardinal Roark, the man behind the murder.
Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands
How he got his looks: Edward wasn’t born, but rather created, and his inventor died before presenting him with suitable hands. The reason for the scars on Edward’s face are pretty obvious.
How he deals: Edward temporarily becomes a big hit in his new neighborhood, trimming hedges, cutting women’s hair, and even grooming dogs. Despite his scissorhands, he also manages to find love.
Gwynplaine – The Man Who Laughs
How he got his looks: Gwynplaine’s face was disfigured by the surgeon Dr. Hardquannone because Gwynplaine’s father had offended the king. The king instructed the surgeon to carve Gwynplaine’s face so that it always had a wide grin.
How he deals: Gwynplaine discovers an abandoned, blind baby girl and after she grows up a bit, they perform in plays for a living. Eventually, Gwynplaine falls in love with the girl and leaves England on a boat with her.
Al Simmons – Spawn
How he got his looks: Al Simmons was a CIA agent killed by his own boss. He made a deal with the Devil while in Hell, agreeing to become a Hellspawn in the Devil’s army in return for seeing his wife just one more time.
How he deals: With his new Hellspawn powers and awesome costume, Simmons can destroy just about anything in his path, including the malicious Violator. Spawn more than deals; he ruins everyone.