The characters of a story are confronted by a large tentacle or appendage of an unseen, bigger monster who's [[CombatTentacles threatening them]] or [[TentacleRope binding them]] where they stand. However, whether for [[NothingIsScarier deliberate suspense]] or [[SpecialEffectsFailure lack of budget]], the tentacled monster will never appear, even if the heroes manages to hack off/harm the tentacle.

This is usually played, as said above, for suspense and possibly horror. Of course it's not strictly limited to tentacled monsters: It can be played with a gigantic arm or leg belonging to an unseen beast, but usually StockNessMonster types are quite popular. Sometimes it even looks like the [[ShapedLikeItself tentacle is the actual monster.]] In case of giant ManEatingPlant the plant itself may act as a tentacle of sort.

This can occur in two different forms:

* Only the limb/tentacle is shown and interacted with, but the rest of the body remains a total mystery.
* While the whole creature is shown later (thus killing the suspense part), its appendages are shown before and moving independently on their own, as if they were a different monster altogether.

Sea creatures often have these, especially [[KrakenAndLeviathan Krakens and Leviathans]]. {{Supertrope}} of GiantFootOfStomping and GiantHandsOfDoom; {{subtrope}} of OrganAutonomy. See also CombatTentacles and TentacleRope.
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!! Type 1 Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Advertisements]]
* A Farmers insurance commercial shows various property being threatened or destroyed in bizarre ways, including a brand-new minivan being crushed by a gigantic furry paw.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The cover for a ''ComicBook/DylanDog[=/=]MartinMystere'' crossover features our heroes [[TentacleRope ensnared]] by the tentacles of an unseen monster/machine.
* The Lure in the ''Greyshirt'' mini-series: a spinoff from ''ComicBook/TomorrowStories''.
* In a ''ComicBook/SwampThing'' tie in to ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', a group of the DC's most powerful magic users, including the god like [[ComicBook/TheSpectre Spectre]], do battle with the Original Darkness, a vast, alien being that existed before the universe. They all fail to impede it, and they eventually make a horrifying discovery: they haven't been fighting the Darkness. They've been fighting ''it's thumb''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' When [[BigBad Jafar]] brings Abis Mal to the bottom of the ocean (ItMakesSenseInContext) [[ButtMonkey he's almost instantly snatched by a large tentacle.]]
* In ''ANewHope'' we only get to see an eyestalk and later a massive tentacle of the Dianoga monster. Shown in the EU to be a squid-like monstrous alien octopus.
* ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian2011'' has said barbarian fighting the tentacles of an unseen EldritchAbomination
* The 2007 film of ''TheMist'' contains a scene in which a single large tentacle attacks several people in the loading dock of a grocery store. [[spoiler: In the end they see a huge four-legged monster sporting a bunch of these tentacles all over his belly/downside area. Note that these two weren't linked in the book, which had the tentacles but in the end only a monster so large, the mist prevented them from seeing the legs end]].
* In the ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' series, eventually we see the whole Kraken, but most of the time it's just tentacles rising from the water. A half-version is used in the first film, where a normal-sized appendage (an arm) gets removed from its owner and proceeds to attack Governor Swan on its own.
* In ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'', writhing branches reaching out of an elevator is all that's seen of the Evil Molesting Tree. [[spoiler: The final shot of the film shows a monstrous arm reaching out of the ground, which is all that's shown of the Ancient Ones that are rising to wipe out humanity.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BambiMeetsGodzilla'': Bambi meets one of Godzillas feets, the only part of godzilla we get to see.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* TheReveal of "Under the Pyramids" by Creator/HPLovecraft is that the five-headed creature that the narrator sees crawling out of the abyss (and which is implied to be the inspiration for the Sphinx) is merely the forepaw of some vastly larger EldritchAbomination.
* Creator/StephenKing's ''TheMist'': Some of the men decide to go outside to try to fix the generator. As soon as the door opens, a very much one-sided fight ensues with several tentacles before they snatch their prey and sink back into the mist. Also at the end of the book the survivors encounters a giant animal so big that only his legs are visible in the mist.
* The Swamp Monster from ''[[Literature/{{Shannara}} The Sword of Shannara]]''. Unlike other examples what seems to be his body does surface, but we never get a good look or description.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' has the Watcher in the Water, of which only tentacles are ever seen. Gandalf and Frodo aren't even sure whether it's one creature or several. (The trope is averted in Creator/PeterJackson's [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings film adaptation]], where we see more of the creature.)
* One of the ''Literature/ChooseYourOwnAdventure'' books features a heated battle against a giant land-dwelling tentacle initially disguised as a barrow. In the middle of a monster-infested fortress. Even after its defeat you can't know what was that.
* [[EldritchAbomination Bel-Shamaroth]] from ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic''. While he's mentioned from the beginning, only his tentacles are shown, and about the rest of his body, we only see a glimpse of his gigantic eye.
* The MyTeacherIsAnAlien series introduces "Big Julie", a massive alien who fills an entire room. Opening the door will reveal nothing but a massive eyeball filling the whole door frame. However, Julie is able to maneuver to some degree, as it can turn around enough to put its mouth at the door instead, allowing it to be fed buckets of swamp water.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside'': At the end of the episode "Seasons of Belief", two monstrous arms break through the windows of a room, killing a husband and wife in front of their two young children.
* Thing from ''Series/TheAddamsFamily''. Averted in the films, where Thing is nothing ''but'' a disembodied hand and wrist.
* In the "Salvation Fuzz" sketch from ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' (aka "Church Police" or "Bishop on the Landing") after the police pray for God to reveal the culprit, a giant hand comes down from on high to point to the culprit. Sometimes when they did the sketch during live shows [[SpecialEffectsFailure the hand didn't point to the right person]].
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' "Supersymmetry" had a mass of tentacles that popped out of a portal and picked up Angel and Fred. We never saw if it had a body, but each tentacle had its own pincer mouth on the end.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. The MultipleHeadCase Hellmouth Demon seen in "Prophecy Girl" and "The Zeppo".
* In ''{{Tremors}}: The Series'', only part of the giant shrimp-monster is ever seen above the water.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': The first thing we ever saw of the creature inside a Dalek was its claw peeking out from under the cloak that it was wrapped in. In the TV episode, the claw was a gorilla glove with Vaseline smeared over it; in the later Peter Cushing movie, it was far more reptilian.
** For that matter, the first view of a Dalek ''ever'' was a POV shot of one's suction-cup arm ominously approaching a horror-stricken Barbara. Cue audiences frantically discussing what might be at the other end, until later scenes turned it into a Type 2 instead of Type 1.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''{{Ravenloft}}'' has the EldritchAbomination Gwydion, who/which appears as a mass of tentacles emerging from a dimensional rift. Even WordOfGod has stated that what lies behind is a complete mystery.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' module G3 ''Hall of the Fire Giant King''. If a certain specific ceremony is carried out near the altar of the Elder Elemental God, that deity will send one of its tentacles out of the altar to grab the closest living creature as a sacrifice.
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'''s ''Dreamlands'' setting, adventure "Yellow Sails". When Mironim-Mer activates the Oracle Mirror, the wendigo demon possessing it sends out a tentacle to grab him.
* There's a few monsters in the ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' series like this, such as Squidzilla, the Unspeakably Awful Indescribable Horror, and the Big Ole Planet Eater Guy. Also "Big Foot" for the humanoid limbs variety.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'' there's a monster who's basically this: the tentacle of a larger, unseen underwater monster.
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' the [[EldritchAbomination Faceless Ones]] can summon huge, spiky tentacles at will from the ground. In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', they and their Old God masters continue this. The Old Gods are buried and of unknown size, so what tentacles are part of what creature, and what these creatures look like, are mostly unknown. ''Cataclysm'' adds massive mouth creatures that we never see all of.
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain: Defiance'' has some spiky tentacles pop out of the ground in order to drag Raziel to the other world.
* In the ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' expansion Baal can summon a trio of tentacles to harass the player during the final battle.
* ''VideoGame/DragonsLair'' featured a room which is gradually filled by the green tentacles of a massive monster from upstairs. Also the "Eyeworms" in the moat behaves much like tentacles.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Rayman 2}}: The Great Escape'' there are some giant skeletal limbs in some level which will drag you inside their coffins.
* ''VideoGame/ManiacMansion'' and ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'' actually have Green and Purple Tentacles as living, independent tentacle-people.
* One monster from ''VideoGame/DragonquestVIII'' is a hand made of mud, said to belong to a larger mud monster who lives underground.
* The Echidna from ''VideoGame/LegendaryTheBox'' appears as a massive green tentacle/s who appears three times during the game and [[PressXToNotDie tries to drag the hero underground]], [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath where it can devour him]]. Considering that the original Echidna was a Snake Woman that might be her tail.
* ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' has a a huge tentacle that pops out at least three times on the Ishimura and tries to drag Isaac towards a gruesome doom.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'', a hand reaching out from underneath a bathroom asks for your help. The owner of the hand is never seen.
* In the 1983 ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dino_Eggs Dino Eggs]]'' game, if you didn't have a fire burning the dinosaur mom (whose eggs and hatchlings you were stealing) would try to stamp you flat with her leg. You only ever saw the leg, not the dinosaur mom herself. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sihur0pcmBU#t=1m45s here]].
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar II'' and III there are the Arms of Hades: a swarm of (left) hands coming out of the ground to pull Kratos into the depths of Hades.
* In ''BanjoTooie'', there is a dinosaur in Terrydactlyland whose only visible portion is its foot, as it's too large to depict otherwise. It constantly tries to stomp you if you wander into its "Stomping Grounds."
* In Videogame/CastlevaniaHarmonyOfDissonance, there's a unidentified, huge green arm in a section of the castle. By pulling a lever you [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential squeeze it under a giant spiked press]] and use the blood in order to reach the upper floor.
** The boss Balor in [[Videogame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow both Sorrow games]] is never seen in full; all we are ever shown is his face (because his trademark attack in myth is EyeBeams) and one giant hand.
* ''MonsterBash'' has the livid hands coming out of the walls in order to toss knives at the hero.
* The Kraken in ''ShiningForce Gaiden: Final Conflict'' appears as long tentacles that move on their own.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersia2008'', [[spoiler: you fight the FinalBoss Arhiman from his point of view, and you can only see his huge, dark hands.]]
* In the fan remake of ''VideoGame/KingsQuestII'' if you choose the wrong books in Calduar's library, two green tentacles appear from the library and take you away with them to be eaten.
* "Reapervines" (and similar tentacles) in the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' series are stated to be appendages of some larger creature, but said "larger creature" is never actually encountered.
* One of the obstacles in ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' is a mass of gigantic alien tentacles sticking out of a rocket silo. Your guns only slightly annoy whatever it is, so you will need a bigger weapon. [[spoiler: like [[WeaponizedExhaust the rocket in the rocket silo]].]]
* One of the high-level summoning spells in ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'' opens a portal, out of which appears a multiple-space-long tentacle that attacks your enemies. After a time, the portal closes, severing the tentacle, which then turns on you until it dies a little while later.
* ''EccoTheDolphin'' had type one in the first game. Some of them just slapped at you and drained your health as you went by, but others actually latched onto you and could drive you nuts trying to escape before you ran out of air (unless you'd found the secret debug menu and invincibility mode, in which case they just annoyed you until you either escaped or got bored and pulled the 'switch off immortality to die'option.)
* The second installment of FatalFrame has ghosts that grip on the twins and attempt to drag them away. They mostly appear on the bridge that connects to the Kurosawa residence and, even though Mio can photograph them to make them go away, they only appear as hands phasing through the bridge. The first installment also had ghostly hands coming out of the floor, but they were extremely rare-to-see entities.
* In ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'', you never see the whole [[BigBad Mom]] [[AbusiveParents Boss]]. Instead, you only see her legs, hands and eyes, [[spoiler: And later inner organs and heart.]]
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' has Coffin Masters: little hooded guys that resemble Jawas from ''Franchise/StarWars'' with huge coffins on their backs. Whatever is inside is clearly ''way too big'' to fit in there and never steps out, but can do everything from kick with a cloven hoof, whip with it's lizard tail, and yank a party member inside to do God only knows what with it's huge arm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Vaarsuvius' "Evan's Spiked Tentacles of [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0020.html Forced Intrusion]]" spell.
* Both type I and II in the webcomic "Stand Still. Stay Silent". We see a tentacle breach the train, as well as act independently (Which is explained, as said tentacle has a working brain separate from the whole that needs killing), while it is guaranteed that there is a MUCH bigger variety of monster, complete with many more tentacles.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* "The thing with no name" that resides in a lake inside a cave where the Truffle Trolls live in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "A Mere Truffle".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Squid can shoot their two longest tentacles out a considerable distance from their bodies to grasp prey. Films of them grabbing bait from in front of underwater cameras often resemble this trope, particularly in murky water.
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!!Type 2 Examples:

[[folder:Anime]]
* In ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'', the first enemy that Canti is seen fighting is pretty much just an arm, albeit a strong one. The next episode, we see the rest of the robot, using an undersized replacement arm.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/DeepRising'': At first the monsters attacking the ship seem to be a patch of giant, carnivorous tube-worms. It's later revealed that they're just the tentacles of a colossal octopus monster.
* IIRC, in ''Film/TheGiantClaw'', we only see fuzzy photographs and what turns out to be the monster's feet for a few scenes before seeing the full creature. The studio likely wanted to downplay the monster's appearance because it was so low - budget.
* In the sequel of ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'' the [[KrakenAndLeviathan Kraken]] appears only as a mass of tentacles at first. During the climax we get to see the rest of the body of the massive monster.
* The Kraken from ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean''. However in both cases after seeing his body he doesn't get much more action.
* ''Film/{{Tremors}}'': The first few times the graboids attack, we just see their tentacles coming out from the ground and think the tentacles are separate snakelike creatures.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Visser Three had a couple of tentacled morphs in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''{{Monsterpocalypse}}'', [[CaptainErsatz Lord]] [[CthulhuMythos Osheroth]] enters the game underground, represented by four separate CombatTentacles. When he TurnsRed, he [[IAmNotLeftHanded uses his full power]] and takes his opponent on head to head, as a normal sized giant monster.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Kraken from the ''ShiningForce'' series as it appears in ''ShiningForce 2''.
* In ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns'', one level features a gigantic octupus first witnessed destroying a large ship in the background, which then uses its tentacles to destroy various platforms floating in the sea as the player jumps across. Later in the level it appears up close, wrapping its tentacles around walls to obstruct the player's movements.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Drakensang}} 2: The River of Time'' one of the bosses is a Newt Kraken (a river-infesting giant squid if you're curious). While both his tentacles and his main body are seen onscreen, you can only fight the tentacles to damage him, as his body is too far away.
* In ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice'' one of the first thing you notice in the now Eldritch Wonderland are large, fleshy tentacles in some areas. When you fight the Queen of Hearts is revealed that all those tentacles belongs to her.
* In a video game based on [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings The Fellowship of The Ring's book]] you get to fight the Watcher in the Water. While his large clawed tentacles slams on you, his moray eel-like main body is completely harmless through the battle.
* Sin, the [[{{Kaiju}} giant monster]] from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', is so huge it cannot be seen well at first and you can fight only parts of it, such as its fin. You only get to see it properly when [[spoiler: you get the airship]]. Note that even after that, you get to effectively fight more of its parts [[spoiler:when you get *inside* of it!]]
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar III'' you have to fight back several large water creatures known as Hippocampi. Later you find that that said Hippocampi are actually the tentacles of [[spoiler: Poseidon]]'s war form.
* The Kraken (again) from ''Franchise/TombRaider: Underworld''.
* In ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead 3'' you face several tentacles in one level, later revealed to be part of the Sun boss.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'' there is an underwater level where you fight tentacles, after defeating them you go on to fight a squid and its last remaining tentacles
* The [[LargeHam Great Mighty Poo]] from ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay''.
* Before you fight the Medusa-Kraken-hybrid-like Tentalus in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', its tentacles attack the ship you're on, bursting through walls and such. [[{{Narm}} Then you see Tentalus itself.]]
* Before fighting Scylla in Videogame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight, you first fight one of her snake-tentacles in a seperate boss room.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'': In the episode ''Sandy, [=SpongeBob=], and the Worm'', Bikini Bottom is threatened by [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever Alaskan Bullworm]]. [[EverythingIsBigInTexas Sandy Squirrel]] volunteers to hunt it down, arguing that ''her'' idea of big, and [=SpongeBob's=] idea of big are entirely different. She succeeds in capturing it's ''tongue'' before [[OhCrap realizing her mistake]] and making a run for it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The tentacles of octopuses function much like independent organisms, each having its own neural ganglia that operate almost as separate brains. When foraging, each arm probes the seabed for food independently of the other seven, to such a degree that they can even exhibit distinct ''personalities'': some arms more curious, others more cautious, still others more aggressive or stubborn, etc.
[[/folder]]
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