Most of the time, we generally forget what happens to the antagonist after their are defeated by the main character, especially if that antagonist was to die (Does somebody bury it? Do local wildlife eat it? Does it rot in the sun?). On a few occasions, some efforts would be put out of the way to give them a proper burial... or at least offer condolences.
But there are a few occasions where people will go out of their way to actually go the extra step (potentially too far in some avenues) to further strike down against the enemy after they stopped breathing. Naturally, these characters have gone beyond standard moral code with dealing with their foes
. This is when a hero has a chance to cement themselves as the dignified individual of the universe... and then does very bad things.
The point of the trope is that the villain doesn't even get a funeral, if that. Rather, the heroes or main characters will mutilate the body, destroy their possessions (which is further driven if the possessions could've been used for more benevolent purposes and they were aware), or actually going out of their way to finding the spirit or soul of the villain and taunting them even further.
Usual examples of this trope are generally as a result of characters violating the Due to the Dead
trope that they are taught or believing that more needs to be done against the antagonist. However, the main problem with this is that it can run the risk of being interpreted as mean-spirited or heartless, and could potentially revoke any sympathy or support of the character. This trope also only applies to heroes, because it is expected for villains to do very bad things to heroic corpses as a model to show just how dang evil they are
However, the occasions where this does happen sometimes do try to support the character's actions. Though this may be of the viewer's choice, it can lead to Cry for the Devil
It can sometimes be justified - when your villain can reassemble him/herself
or has insane but limited regenerative abilities
, you'll need to make sure it won't haunt the population again by mutilating it and then bury (or seal
) it in separate places.
Compare this to Dead Guy on Display
(that's when the corpse is exposed publicly, instead of mistreated), Kick Them While They Are Down
(it's not even a corpse, the victim is still alive), There Is No Kill Like Overkill
, What the Hell, Hero?
, Creepy Souvenir
and If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him
, and this being the opposite of Sympathy for the Devil
. Could be a sign of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
or Sanity Slippage
If a game's physics engine enables a player to do this, it doesn't count (it may fall instead into Beating A Dead Player
, if it's done on another player).
Because this is a Death Trope
, there will be no marked spoilers. Be forewarned.
Anime & Manga
- Bleach anime episode 272. After Ichigo enters his ultra-powered Hollow form and apparently kills Ulquiorra, he prepares to stab Ulquiorra's body with his zanpakuto. His friend Uryu Ishida grabs Ichigo's arm and pleads with him not to mutilate Ulquiorra's body. He warns Ichigo that if he does it he won't be human anymore.
- Transmetropolitan: After vice-president Alan Schact was revealed as a practicing pedophile by Spider Jerusalem and committed suicide large mounds of human bodily waste were found piled on his grave. A leaked report claimed Spider's DNA was found in the turds.
- In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards demonstrates how much of an anti-hero he is by shooting out eyes of a dead Comanche warrior. He explains to his allies that, according to the Comanche religion, one can't enter the afterlife without eyes, so he's just doomed the dead man to wander the Earth forever.
- In the Spanish film Torrente 3, after killing an Elite Mook with their guns, Torrente and his sidekick not only empty the whole magazine of their guns on the mook, but they also throw the guns on the mook, then they spit on the mook.
- Sergeant Donowitz has the pleasure of killing Adolf Hitler in the movie theater in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. The theater is burning, the exits are blocked, and bombs are set to detonate. But that's not enough for "the Bear Jew," who repeatedly changes magazines to continue pumping bullets into Hitler's body.
- In Pacific Rim, after downing the Kaiju Leatherback, Raleigh "checks for a pulse" by unloading several rounds into the corpse to the point where its chest cracks open and starts melting to pieces.
- The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton ends with the title character's killer stomping on his face.
She had drawn a little gleaming revolver, and emptied barrel after barrel into Milverton's body, the muzzle within two feet of his shirt front. He shrank away and then fell forward upon the table, coughing furiously and clawing among the papers. Then he staggered to his feet, received another shot, and rolled upon the floor. 'You've done me,' he cried, and lay still. The woman looked at him intently, and ground her heel into his upturned face.
- In The Stolen Throne, Prince Maric puts the puppet king Meghren's head on a spike in front of Fort Drakon in retaliation for Meghren doing the same to Maric's mother Moira the Rebel Queen a few years before that.
- In Homer's epic poem The Iliad, the Greek hero Achilles slays the Trojan warrior Hector. After doing so, he ties Hector's body to the back of his chariot and races around the Trojan beach, proclaiming Greek superiority to Troy for twelve days and twelve nights. Achilles does this because Hector does it to Achilles's much-loved cousin and best friend Patrocles (well, Hector doesn't really desecrate Patroclus's corpse, he just intends to, and not in the exact same way that Achilles desecrated Hector's). The Trojans do get their revenge, and even the Gods themselves eventually get offended by Achilles's actions — it is the involvement of the Gods that prevents Hector's corpse from being further mutilated, and the end of the Iliad involves Hector getting a proper burial by the Trojans.
- In the end of Macbeth, Macduff severs the eponymous Villain Protagonist's head after he has slain him and has it paraded through the castle.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas ends with Officer Frank Tenpenny's body being reportedly stripped naked and mutilated by several of Los Santos's homeless.
- Appears a few times in the Assassin's Creed series:
- In Assassins Creed 2, Ezio shakes the corpse of Vieri de Pazzi vigorously and screams rather rudely at his face, and is then rebuked by his uncle for not showing appropriate respect. When he later assassinates Fracesco de Pazzi, he leaves his corpse hanging from the Palazzo della Signoria.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, it's revealed that after murdering Al Mualim for betraying the assassin order, Altair decided to publicly burn his corpse in order to prove he was dead. This greatly troubled Abbas, one of his fellow assassins, who believed Al Mualim's corpse had to remain whole in order for his soul to reach the afterlife.
- In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, Joshua Graham creates gruesome totems out of the remains of his enemies, the White Legs tribe, to send a warning to any surviving White Legs who threaten the Dead Horses (another tribe who have elected Joshua as their protector).
- In Heavy Rain, Lauren will spit on the Origami Killer's grave if she survives the game but the killer doesn't.
- Ace Attorney has an example of this in "Trials and Tribulations" involving Dahlia Hawthorne's spirit, as Phoenix Wright and Mia Fey (who is using Pearl's body) taunt and mock her about her failed crimes in order for her get out of Maya Fey's body. Dahlia must then spend the rest of her time in the afterlife to forever think about these failures, especially since Mia took great glee in pouring salt on Dahlia's wounds.
- In Schlock Mercenary when Tagon is questioned about his willingness to take a job working security for his old enemy General Xinchub's funeral (actually a cover so they can steal the corpse) he says: "Aside from the money? I want to be sure he's actually down there when I dance on his grave."
- Taken Up to Eleven by Vaarsuvius in The Order of the Stick. After defeating a black dragon that was threatening the elf's family, Vaarsuvius decides that the dragon hasn't suffered enough for her crimes. The elf resurrects the dragon's head with necromancy, targets it with an epic-level spell that kills any creature that the dragon was related to by blood (cutting the world's black dragon population by about a quarter), and then disintegrates it.
- In in the Animated Adaptation of Planet Hulk, the Red King is humiliated upon death in several different ways. First, the Hulk utterly whips the floor with him in their battle, only to hold off at the last minute so that the reformed Caiera may get the last blow. Caiera kills him by infecting him with his Spike parasite, causing him to mutate into a zombie. Recognizing him as infected, his own robotic guards turn against him and incinerate his corpse.
- After Benito Mussolini's execution his body was shot, kicked, and spat upon, hung upside down on a meathook from the roof of a gas station and stoned.
- After Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the Pirate, was killed by Robert Maynard and his crew, his head was cut off from the body and placed on the bow of Maynard's ship. Of course, this was also done as a means for Maynard to collect the bounty that was put on Blackbeard's head.
- Pseudo-Demetrius, a XVII century Russian adventurer who pretended to be the lost last heir of the Rurikid dynasty and usurped the Tsars' throne as such. After he was exposed, they executed him, cremated him, stuffed his ashes into a cannon and shot him in the direction of Poland, from where he came.
- The body of King Richard III of England was subjected to multiple mutilations after his death in the Battle of Bosworth, as confirmed by the examination of his remains that were discovered in 2012.