A Glasgow smile (also known as a Glasgow, Chelsea, or Cheshire grin) is a wound caused by making small cuts on the corners of a victim's mouth, then beating or stabbing him or her until the muscles in the face contract, causing the cuts to extend up the cheeks to the victim's ears. This leaves a scar in the shape of a smile, hence the name.
The act is usually performed with a utility knife or a piece of broken glass, leaving a scar which causes the victim to appear to be smiling broadly and may lead to death by exsanguination (blood-loss) if left untreated.
The practice is said to have originated in Glasgow, Scotland, but became popular with English street gangs (especially among the Chelsea Headhunters, a London-based hooligan firm, where it is known as a "Chelsea grin" or "Chelsea smile").
The Glasgow smile has been inflicted on characters in multiple films and television programs, including Green Street, House of Tolerance, The Krays, Sons of Anarchy, Pan's Labyrinth, and 2008's The Dark Knight, in which Heath Ledger as the Joker both has the scar and carves it on numerous victims. It was featured in season 1, episode 10 and season 2, episode 3 of Hannibal. The main character of The Man Who Laughs (1928) who has a Glasgow smile, has been listed as one of the inspirations for Batman's nemesis The Joker.
Salt Lake City-based deathcore band Chelsea Grin named itself after the maneuver.
In Fight Club, the narrator's cheek tearing open on one side (as a result of fighting) and a self-inflicted gun wound on the other side gave him a Glasgow smile.
The character Skull Face from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also bears scars resembling one.
British metalcore band Bring Me The Horizon has a song called "Chelsea Smile". It was the second single to be released from the band's second studio album, Suicide Season.
2012 horror film Smiley features a villain of the same name whose face has been mutilated in a variation of the Glasgow smile.
NBC's Hannibal features a serial killer in the episode "Buffet Froid" whose signature was carving a Glasgow smile into each of their victims.
The clan leader in the 2001 film Ichi the Killer, Kakihara, has a Glasgow smile.
Season 2, Episode 1 of Whitechapel references the Chelsea Smile upon the DI asking about a man that bears the scars in a local pub.
- Black Dahlia
- The Carver
- Colombian necktie
- Blood eagle
- Kakihara (Ichi the Killer)
- Kuchisake-onna ("Slit-Mouth Woman")
- Mr. Grin
- "Surgeon Says Hospitals Treat a Knife Victim Every Six Hours". The Daily Express. Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- Harvey, Oliver (2009-10-16). "If the Booze Doesn't Get You, The Blade Will". The Sun (London). Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- Arlidge, John (1995-04-24). "City Slicker Glasgow". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-11-20.
- Peter Ward Booth, Barry L. Eppley, Rainer Schmelzeisen (2003), Maxillofacial trauma and esthetic facial reconstruction, p. 555
- MIKE SULLIVAN, Crime Editor, and ALEX PEAKE (2011-03-26). "The end of a reign of terror | The Sun |Features". The Sun. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- How The Joker Works
- The Man Who Laughs: A Forgotten Masterpiece