Brain Monster

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I can has Metal Slug?

The brain. A big, juicy, wrinkled organ on our head that is protected by the skull for a good reason. Now, imagine when it's not...

There are two types of monstrous brains:
  • Just Brain: The brain moves around by itself. It might have some bits attached, such as legs, hovering jets or helicopter rudders, but its main "body" is a brain. Alternatively, it is stationary, and attached to something.
  • Acranial Monster: A monster that has an incomplete skull, thus exposing their brain.

A sister-trope of Brain in a Jar, although of lot of these brains don't really need the jar life-support system, as well as the furthest extension of My Brain Is Big.

Subtrope of Evil Is Visceral and Body Horror, and thusly, is always played for Nausea Fuel.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • Several incarnations of Brain of The DCU — as the disembodied, preserved, sentient Brain in a Jar of a Mad Scientist. Together with his sentient gorilla servant/boyfriend Mallah, the two of them would go on to gather the Brotherhood of Evil.
  • The B.P.R.D. short comic that introduced Lobster Johnson involves a scientist who gained psychic powers in an experiment, then used those powers to kill his colleagues. When the Lobster shoots the psychic in the head, his brain crawls out of the bullet hole, grows several times larger, then flies around the room. The Lobster barely kills the mutant brain before it strangles him with its spinal cord.
  • Amadeus Cho's subplot in the Hercules title pitted him against Boltzmann Brains; disembodied brains that are hypercomputer quantum constructs capable of creating virtual scenarios in pocket dimensions at will. They also shoot bolts of electricity.

     Film  

  • Gor and Vol from The Brain from Planet Arous are aliens that resemble giant disembodied floating brains. The former wants to take over the universe, the latter wants to stop him.
  • The 1958 film Fiend Without a Face featured invisible monsters that when revealed are actually slimy crawling human brains. Said brains strangle victims with their spinal cords.
  • The 1988 film The Brain featured an alien that resembled a gigantic brain with a face as the titular monster.
  • In The Time Machine (2002), the Morlock leader is of a caste in which the brain has become so enlarged that it's not only visibly exposed on the back of his head, but its lobes extend halfway down his back as well.
  • The invading Martians from Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! are the acranial type. Their brains visibly pulsate and explode inside their clear helmets when exposed to their Weaksauce Weakness: really bad singing.

     Literature  

  • Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle in Time. The Big Bad IT is a huge disembodied brain. It has Mind Control abilities that involved making the victim think in repetitive patterns.
  • The Grand Lunar from H. G. Wells' work The First Men in the Moon is the ruler of the "Moonies," and rests in the throne room with his exposed brain taking up most of the cathedral-like ceiling space. There are lesser Moonies that hover around moistening this huge brain. The Grand Lunar is Lawful Neutral, but takes Doctor Cavor prisoner on the belief that humans are intelligent anarchists.
  • In the Lensman series novel Galactic Patrol, Mentor of Arisia is revealed to Kimball Kinnison to be (barring a few minor bits and appendages) "simply and solely a brain." Then in Second Stage Lensmen the Boskonian Prime Minister Fossten is revealed to be a nearly identical brain, explained by his being a renegade Arisian. Except that this was a false appearance in both cases, arranged by Mentor to hide from Kinnison that Fossten was really Gharlane of Eddore.
  • In Rudy Rucker's Master of time and space, a giant brain became the Messiah of a Religion of Evil in an alternate dimension. Then it spawned regular-sized brains that can move around by crawling, attach to people's backs and mind-control them.

     Live Action TV  

  • Farscape. The evil version of Crichton of the "My Three Crichtons" episode is the future version with the wrinkly head to show off his advanced brain lobes.
  • In an episode of Angel "That Vision Thing" Wolfram & Hart hire a psychic with an exposed brain to torture Cordelia, forcing Angel to release a soul from torment in return for stopping the torture.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Evolution of the Daleks", Dalek Sec turns himself into a Dalek/Human hybrid, which has a large exposed brain.

     Tabletop Games  

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Illithid elder brains, which float in large brine pools in illithid cities. They are made up of the combined brains of old illithids that sacrificed themselves to join it.
    • The Intellect Devourer is basically a brain running around on four little legs. Its modus operandi is to crack a victim's skull open, remove the brain and then squeeze inside, taking over the body.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, several Tyranid creatures, especially those with strong psychic powers, have partially exposed brains.

     Video Games  

  • Metroid
    • In Metroid the final boss, Mother Brain, is a massive brain in a tank, with a laser shooting eye. It's stated that it started off as an organic computer built by the Chozo, which took command of the Space Pirates.
    • In Super Metroid, Mother Brain reappears as the final boss this time as an "acranial" example, having gained a massive mechanised body.
  • The first boss of Stinkoman 20X6 is the brain of the Humongous Mecha Stinkoman defeated in the opening cutscene.
  • Doom series
    • The first final boss - the Spider Mastermind - was essentially a giant brain carried by a robot body. Its children in Doom II are the Arachnotrons, which are basically smaller versions with plasma guns.
    • Doom 2's final boss is the Icon of Sin, a giant skeletal goat face with an exposed brain as a weak point. It is only vulnerable to rockets, however.
  • One of Duke Nukem 3D's monsters is Octobrain, a large floating brain-like creature with tentacles hanging down beneath, 3 red eyes and a large mandibled mouth.
  • The first XCOM game also features the Alien Brain on Mars as the Big Bad.
  • The demon Omoikane from Shin Megami Tensei series isn't evil, but is a floating brain with tentacles nevertheless.
  • Metal Slug 3: Rootmars, the Final Boss, is an alien with a big exposed brain that serves as his weak point. Said brain can occasionally emit a shockwave that is hard to dodge.
  • The final boss of Vectorman 2 is a giant black widow spider with an exposed brain in her thorax. Sure enough, that exposed brain is her weak point.
  • The Lickers of Resident Evil are T-Virus zombies which have mutated further and have had their brain extend out of their cranium. Despite the (relative) boost in intelligence, they also become more bestial; crawling on all fours and attacking based on sound with an elongated tongue.
  • The Binding of Isaac has enemies that are large brains that crawl around the floor, leaving a trail of blood that damages you if you step on it. There's also an even larger variant that splits into two smaller ones when it dies.
  • The Mind Cripplers in Underworld Ascendant are floating humanoid brains that aggressively attack the unwary with psychic powers.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death has the brain enemy. It just sits there and doesn't attack. The problem is that it gives all other enemies much improved path finding, greatly complicating avoiding being overrun by them.
  • The Weirdboy in Dawn of War 2 has an upgrade called Bigger Brains, the icon for which shows his brain swelling out of his skull.
  • The fourth guardian in Unepic, the aptly-named Neuron, is a giant floating brain with a single eye which lives in the castle's library. It has an ungodly amount of Psychic Powers — up to an including mind-controlling your character or causing an Interface Screw — that make it one of the trickiest (and most annoying) enemies in the game.
  • Bloodborne has Amygdala and its brethren, whose head consists of a mostly-exposed brain occasionally covered in eyes. As well, the Brain of Mensis is a giant brain covered in eyes.
  • In Terraria, the boss of the Crimson is the Brain of Cthulhu, a giant demon brain with some tentacles and a few vertebrae sticking out of the bottom. Once you kill the Creepers surrounding it, the two hemispheres open up, revealing a beating heart with an eye on it.

     Web Comics  

     Web Original  

  • Neopets has the Brain Tree, which gives out quests in the form of a questions you must answer. The rationale behind this behavior is that the Brain Tree loves knowledge but, being rooted to the spot, it must rely on others to find information.

     Western Animation  

  • The Brain Spawn of Futurama are a race of giant, flying, telekinetic brains with the ability to telepathically drain the intelligence of animals, robots, and some plants. Their goal is to store all knowledge in the universe in a giant database, then destroy the universe so that no new knowledge will be generated, because apparently that's less work than making continual updates for all eternity.
  • The principal antagonist of the French film Gandahar, a.k.a Light Years, is a giant brain, made by the people of the utopian city of Gandahar as a prototype organic computer. When the superbrain didn't work out as planned, it was dumped in the ocean and forgotten. Interestingly, when the heroes first encounter this giant brain, it seems docile, and even gives the heroes the tool for its own destruction.
  • Krang, as seen in the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cartoon has been reduced to a brain thanks to a judgment in his home dimension of Dimension X. He went through several iterations of armor to protect this squishy body until he reached a full robotic suit of armor.
  • Ben's Alien Brainsorm from Ben 10: Alien Force can open his head to reveal his oversized brain and shot electricity from it.
  • The Brains from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, contestants in the Galactic Showdown game. They bragged on how they evolved to not need bodies anymore, as they consisted of nothing but floating brains.
  • Gunter briefly becomes this leading up to the sixth season finale of Adventure Time, after a head injury literally splits his head open, and Gunter remembers that he is in fact Orgalorg, an ancient Eldritch Abomination from space, prompting his brain to hijack Princess Bubblegum's spaceship.
  • Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls has his enlarged brain protected by a transparent helmet.
  • An episode of George Shrinks featured these in a B-movie.
  • What other show has such a creature as its main character other than Evil Con Carne?
  • An episode of Darkwing Duck revolves around a machine that gives the user Psychic Powers and enlarges their brain as a side effect. At the episode's climax, the villain crank the machine Up to Eleven and turns himself into a truck-sized, floating brain. They beat him by making him think too much during the power-up process, which blows him up, making this one of the Squickiest episodes of the series.


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