[[quoteright:354:[[http://pavuk.cgsociety.org/gallery/703045/ http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/EvilRobo.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:354:My [[UncannyValley Nightmare]] Buddy]]

->''"Just for my own edification, did you have to design [[Franchise/{{Terminator}} the robots]] with such horrifying features? I'm not a design guy, or anything, but I can't see any either performance or aesthetic benefits in designing the robots with cold, skeleton heads, [[RedEyesTakeWarning piercing red eyes]] and giant metal teeth."''
-->-- '''Website/{{Cracked}}.com''', "[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/a-series-of-emails-from-cyberdynes-tech-guy/ A Series of Emails from Cyberdyne's New Tech Guy]]"

A visual trope in science fiction materials: humanoid robots that look skeletal in design. They all have relatively thin limbs that are reminiscent of bones, and they usually lack "filling" in places where humans have only soft organs, like the abdomen.

Such robots can be very obvious, with sinister, grinning skull-faces, ''a la'' the T-800 from ''{{Franchise/Terminator}}'' films. Others are more subtle, often with fairly realistic faces.

Obvious [=SkeleBots=] are meant to scare characters. Often, these are the cold, inhuman soldiers of the BigBad. On the other hand, subtle [=SkeleBots=] are often presented (at least at first) as perfectly innocuous consumer devices, but they're meant to subtly creep out the audience. While there might be no mechanical ''need'' for the extra padding or housing necessary to keep a robot built on the human frame from looking skeletal, "not looking creepy" is a general design goal for consumer products, especially those with recognizable faces. Subtle [=SkeleBots=] with "intact" faces often lean as much towards the "moving corpse" nadir of the UncannyValley as DemBones.

Some, such as the T-800s, are designed to be covered with "something", so they literally are robot skeletons.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The Boomer androids from the original ''BubblegumCrisis'', as Terminator Expies, also have skull-like heads under their artificial skins (The rest of the body is much less skeletal).
* During the Red Ribbon Army arc of ''DragonBall'', Goku and crew encounter what appears to be a skeleton with a ArmCannon in an abandoned pirate's lair.
* Despite its name, the Skull Gundam from ''GGundam'' doesn't quite fit this trope. While its arms and legs are skeletal, its torso is [[{{Cephalothorax}} a giant skull]].
* The Skullgunners from ''Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner'' are AI controlled MechaMooks which communicate with each other through a HiveMind for ruthless efficiency.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The "anorexic Cybermen" from the ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' comic story ''The Flood'' are another example of the subtle version, as seen [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VHmUFK5-L._SL500_AA240_.jpg here]].
* The robot in "Spirou and the Robot Blueprints" (fr. orig. "Spirou et les plans du robot"), a ''[[ComicBook/SpirouAndFantasio Spirou et Fantasio]]'' comic from 1948, is at least vaguely skeletal.
* Most robots from the comic ''MagnusRobotFighter: 4000 AD'' are somewhat subtly skeletal. They have flatly mechanical faces or faceless heads, thin limbs, and chests joined to hips by nothing more than a thick cable.
* DCComics villain Metallo, at least in his PostCrisis version, as a direct ShoutOut to the T-800.
* The mid-80's version of {{Brainiac}} in ''{{Superman}}''.
* Some later versions of ComicBook/{{Warlock}} from ''NewMutants'' have played with this trope, by having him look [[http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh60/Arkakoira/warlock_new_mutants.jpg very skeletal]] when in low energy, and much more fuller and human-like when in full power.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'': The T-800 and T-X endoskeleton. While the endoskeleton is designed for [[JustifiedTrope a reasonable purpose]] - to be a framework on which to grow human flesh to better disguise the Terminators - the real reason is the [[NightmareFuel horrific image]] (no pun intended - one of them ''really'' illustrates the trope page) of implacable metal skeletons coming after you. The fact they are also terrifying has another in-universe reason, they are built for warfare and the psychological effect on the enemy would be rather potent.
* From the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequels: The B-1 battle droids are skeletal, designed to be easily packed up and stored. According to ExpandedUniverse material, they are actually supposed to resemble the skeletons of Nemoidians (the people who designed them), which would be scary...[[NightmareRetardant if you're Nemoidian]].
** ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' concept art shows that the original plan was for the Nemoidians themselves to have elongated faces and skeletal limbs just like their battle droids. This was scrapped for the movie (perhaps because it would have required the Nemoidians to be fully animatronic or CGI, and they figured were already pushing it with Jar-Jar) and the EU explanation was retconned in.
** The unfinished version of C-3PO, with his "parts showing," in ''The Phantom Menace.''
** The [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/YVH_1 Yuuzhan Vong Hunters]] from the ExpandedUniverse are meant to be an ''[[IShallTauntYou insulting]]'' sight rather than a scary one.
** General Grievous, though he is technically a {{Cyborg}}, invokes this trope with his appearance.
* The highly evolved robots at the end of ''[[Film/AIArtificialIntelligence A.I.]]''
* The NS-5 and NS-4 robots in ''Film/IRobot''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* One of the methods of fighting the [[NewJediOrder Yuuzhan Vong]] is the YVH-1, a droid that perfectly resembles the [[TheTerminator T-800]] and is specifically designed to scan and identify hidden Yuuzhan Vong agents and battle the extremely technophobic race in full combat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''[[Franchise/StargateVerse Stargate: The Ark of Truth]]'': The replicators take over a human and the results is one of these after the flesh is burned off. This is a clear ShoutOut to ''TheTerminator'', especially the similar music in that scene.
* Creator/CraigFerguson's "robot skeleton" sidekick Geoff Peterson on ''TheLateLateShow.''
* The Cylon Centurions in ''Series/{{Caprica}}'', specifically referred to as "skeletons" more than once. Though in the finale ones with added armor plating are shown.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music Videos]]
* The creepy baby bot in Music/DaftPunk's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoPplpBPQxQ "Technologic".]]
* The Music/LouReed robot in [[http://www.metacafe.com/watch/sy-36166905001/lou_reed_no_money_down_official_music_video/ "No Money Down"]] goes from UncannyValley to this.
* DoctorSteel's iconic robots are built this way.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* The T-800 endoskeleton from ''Pinball/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', prominently featured on the playfield between the flippers.
* The T-X from ''Pinball/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': All of the Necrons, barring scarabs, tomb spyders, and arguably the pariahs take the form of skeleton-themed robots - which makes sense, considering they were inspired by/based on ''{{Terminator}}''.
* [[TheEmpire The Coalition States]] in ''{{Rifts}}'' actually calls theirs Skelebots. Given that all their wargear (body armor, PoweredArmor, HumongousMecha, ''[[TankGoodness tanks]] and {{SpiderTank}}s, '''aircraft...''''') have a [[NothingButSkulls skull motif]], this was pretty much the logical extension. It's also useful in their role as military terror weapons.
* "ICONS: Superpowed Roleplaying" has a adventure with a bad guy called Skeletron.
* Several [[MagicTheGathering Phyrexian]] bio-mechanical abominations. Several of them ''used'' to be humans.
* ''Tabletopgame/BattleTech'' features the ''Atlas'', a [[HumongousMecha ten-story tall battlemech]] armed with [[{{BFG}} 30+ tons of weapons]] and [[MightyGlacier enough armor to shrug off almost any attack]], and has a white skull shaped head for a cockpit. [[WeaponForIntimidation It was intentionally design to intimidate foes on first sight]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Robot Master Skull Man from ''VideoGame/MegaMan4''.
** The Skeleton Joe from the same game.
** His counterpart from the ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' series is even lankier, more skeletal, and downright creepier for a multitude of reasons, including his manic grin.
* After [[MadScientist Dr. Lugae]] loses his first go-round with the heroes in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', he transforms himself into a skeleton robot for the second battle. The implication is that he just tears his skin off.
* [[spoiler:The Human Reaper Larva]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', often called the [[spoiler:Reapernator]] by fans.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}'' features Terminator-like robots. In fact, they looked so much like the Terminator that the localized release had to change their glowing eyes to green to avoid copyright infringement.
* ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters 2'' has the Chasisbot, which has one of the smallest frames in the game making it hard to hit. some speculate that is just the chassis of a sentrybot with some additional equipment. seems logical no? it would also seem to explain its sub-par stats.
* The MMORPG ''ToontownOnline'' has Skelecogs in-game which you will most often find in cog factories, during HQ raids, and in high level buildings (but sometimes, also during district invasions). Not only do they look creepier than their regular cogs counterpart (which already hangs around the border of UncannyValley), but they're almost always more powerful as well.
* Dr Nefarious from ''[[RatchetAndClank Ratchet & Clank]]''.
* Mini-bosses Scurvo and Dreadfuse from ''TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' are [[GhostPirate Pirate]] [=SkeleBots=].
* Phase 1 Dark Troopers in ''VideoGame/DarkForces'' are essentially robot skeletons with a [[BladeBelowTheShoulder vibroblade]] in one arm and a [[LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe blast shield]] in the other.
* The ''Videogame/MechWarrior'' series (based on ''Tabletopgame/BattleTech'') often features the Atlas, a [[HumongousMecha 100 ton battlemech]] with a skull-shaped cockpit. ''Mech 4'' in particular emphasizes the skeleton nature, by making the Atlas the tallest and giving it a bone-white head and fists. ''Multiplayer Battletech 3025'' also gave it [[GlowingEyesOfDoom glowing]] [[RedEyesTakeWarning red eyes]]
** The final boss for ''Videogame/MechAssault 2'' is essentially an incomplete HumongousMecha skelebot. The mech has a huge, articulated skull for a head (with moving jaws), and is missing its entire lower torso and legs. Both ''Mechassault'' games likewise feature Atlases similar to the ones in ''MPBT 3025''
* ''{{Videogame/Contra}} 3'' features a giant one as a boss. It breathes fire, fires homing eye beams and throws time bombs around the room. Eventually it will lose its grip on the doors it was holding open, [[OffWithHisHead cutting off its head.]]
* Boss villain Yaridovich from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Roofus the Robot's [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20070512.html unfinished appearance]] in ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob.'' His finished form is actually [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20070515.html fairly hefty.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject Infiltration Unit Zeta]] in TheDCAU.
* The "ghost robot" Scared-Stiff in ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters''. However, he might be a subversion, as he's described in fan circles as "a wimpy [[StarWars C-3PO]]".
* Transmutate from WesternAnimation/BeastWars.
* Krang in [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012 the 2012 version of]] ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'', as opposed to his [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987 original]] [[FatBastard version]].
* Aku created a whole horde of things like this in the ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' episode "Samurai versus Samurai", but despite their ghastly appearance, they really weren't much better than the rest of his MechaMooks. (After Jack destroyed them all, the pieces pulled themselves together into a giant junk-monster, but that was only slightly more formidable.)
[[/folder]]
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