Bully Brutality

Often in media, The Bully is portrayed as a typical Jerkass who's biggest threat to their victim is a wedgie or fist in the face. Aside from that, they are mostly harmless in the grand scheme of things. Bully Brutality takes the typical bully Up to Eleven by having him do things that could actually kill their victim, even though the bully doesn't actually want to commit murder. Where the typical bully just wants to give their victim a black eye, the brutal bully wants to beat them to a bloody pulp. The fact that the bully is capable of inflicting such harm is usually lampshaded by the characters. Other times, it becomes clear that these bullies have no limits.

Do not confuse this with cases where bullying has led to the victim committing suicide, that's just a specific case of Driven to Suicide. This trope is where the bullying itself has reached levels that the bully has committed manslaughter, or come close to it by landing the victim in hospital or leaving them permanently disabled.

Related to Teens Are Monsters. Compare No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, a common weapon in the bully's arsenal for this trope. Contrast with School Bullying Is Harmless. This is Truth in Television since there are countless Real Life examples of kids being bullied to death.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy/Kaede's Precious Puppy was killed with a vase by Tomoo and his friends, the bullies who bullied her on a regular basis. They just wanted to see how she would react. She killed them with her Vectors.
  • Iris Zero: Toru is viciously bullied by other students for being an Iris Zero, that is, somebody without a special eye-related power. Because of this, he develops his "low exposure" policy to avoid standing out as much as possible. It's really brought home later in the series where another character gets angry and starts kicking him repeatedly. A girl asks him why he didn't fight back, and he calmly stands up, dusts himself off, and says it's better to just get it over with.
  • In Private Actress, Shiho Kobayakawa is hired by a rich couple whose daughter, Fuyuka, was almost surely murdered by her bullies after months of being their target. The grieving parents want Shiho to investigate Fuyuka's Boarding School and confirm this. Shiho eventually finds out that yes, Fuyuka was killed... but the exact reason was that she walked on the bullies murdering someone else, and they turned their attacks towards her...

Comic Books
  • In the original volume of Omega The Unknown, a nerdy student is beaten so badly by bullies that he must be rushed into the hospital for surgery. When he returns, a bully kicks him hard enough to rupture his stitches and he dies.
  • There's a story arc in The Sandman where at a Boarding School of Horrors, dozens of students return from the dead - including a trio of bullies who attended the school back before the First World War (for reference, this story took place during the Gulf War.)It turns out that these bullies killed one of their fellow students decades earlier as part of a Satanic ritual (and this unfortunate lad is also back from the dead.) Displeased with the way that the ritual failed to gain them any special attention from Satan, and generally unhappy about being back at their old school, they decide to resume being bullies and inflict their tortures on one of the few live students left at the school. The poor kid ends up dying from the wounds they inflict upon him after several agonizing days without medical care.

Films - Live Action
  • Biff Tannen from the first Back to the Future engages in this, by using his car to try and run a skateboarding Marty into a manure truck.
  • Henry Bowers, the lead bully in IT, pulled a knife on one of the child protagonists and later on he and his posse chased the protagonists into the sewer (while they were confronting IT) in order to kill them all. This is pretty much standard for Stephen King.
  • In the movie Pay It Forward Two bullies stab the kid with scissors and he actually dies.
  • In Young Adult, Mavis befriends Matt, a nerd who was so severely bullied in high school that he's now permanently disabled.
  • In Drillbit Taylor, the titular character is hired by the protagonists to protect them from two bullies who are actively trying to kill them.
  • Discussed in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; Dodger gets bullied physically by Juice and his gang. When asked why he hasn't reported it to the police, Dodger explains that the last one who snitched on Juice got "poured" into the West Side highway.
  • In The Karate Kid, every one of the nasty karate students Daniel runs into (the Cobra Kai, Chozen) gives him sound beatings.
  • In The Goonies, a highschool bully drives up next to Brandon who is riding a little girl's bike (long story), grabs his hand, and attempts to drag him along before sending him over a cliff. Somehow he survives.
  • In the Walking with Dinosaurs film, Scowler beats up his brother Patchi in a fight and leaves him to die in a ditch.

Literature
  • Inverted in Enders Game - a bully attacks Ender, who responds by beating him to a bloody pulp, actually (if unintentionally) killing him. He gets away with it because the military recognizes it as a sign of his potential for measured brutality.
  • The bullies in Let the Right One In were pretty vicious. At one point a bully's older brother gets into the fray and literally attempts to drown the main character. Yeesh.
  • Inverted In Ben Elton's book Past Mortem a bunch of school bullies are killed by a serial killer, years after the bullying took place, usually in an Ironic Death. While the serial killer takes it Up to Eleven, however, several of the various misdeeds perpetrated by the bullies in the past touch on this trope.
  • In The Saga of Tuck, the protagonist is beaten almost to the point of death at one point. More than one chapter focuses on his dubious chances of survival.
  • Rumer Godden's The Diddakoi, the eponymous girl is bullied repeatedly by the other girls at her school, which comes to a head when they physically assault her and leave her with a broken neck. Thankfully, she survives, but had he guardian not been there, it would have been fatal.
  • In Roald Dahl's The Swan, the bullies who torment Ernie go as far as to tie Ernie to railway tracks and later shoot him in the leg with a rifle.
  • In Powers, the third book of Annals Of The Western Shore, Hoby's torment of protagonist Gavir comes to a head when he and his pack hold Gavir upside-down in a well. Not only is he nearly drowned, he's badly bruised and battered, and their owners finally send Hoby away.
  • In The Soldier Son series, there is a tradition of hazing new recruits at the military academy. The sons of the new nobles were subjected to far worse hazing than the old nobility, to the point that several of them were discharged for health reasons afterwards.
  • Brutal bullies is part of Stephen King's Signature Style:
    • In The Body, the four protagonists all receive beatings from Ace and his gang; one gets a broken nose and fingers and another one has a badly broken arm.
    • In It, Henry Bowers is shown as perfectly willing to do such things as carve his name into Ben Hanscom's belly (only managing the "H" before Ben gets away), poison Mike Hanlon's pet dog, break Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, nearly drown Bill Denbrough in a dunk tank, and white-wash Stan Uris' face in snow until he draws blood. The other members of his gang are depicted as actually being horrified that he would go so far. Needless to say, it's easy for It to use him as The Scapegoat for Its killing spree.
    • Chris Hargensen of Carrie fame. Aside from tormenting Carrie over her first period, and the pigs' blood prank, it's noted that she's committed such horrible things as stuffing fireworks on someone's shoes and nearly blowing her toes off. The principal of the school even flat-out tells Chris' father that, with all of the things she's done, they could easily have her thrown in prison.

Live-Action TV
  • Inverted in a CSI episode actually called "Bully For You" - the bully, Barry Schickel, is the Asshole Victim there. It turns out the murderer is the school counselor.
  • Freaks and Geeks used this with a bully who landed a kid in the hospital by using peanuts, which the kid was allergic to.
  • In Grange Hill, "Booga" Benson was expelled after the beating he gave Tucker landed Tucker in the hospital.
  • One Midsomer Murders episode has a kid with a Disappeared Dad want to join the local gang of bullies and dies accidentally, though it looks like a suicide, causing his mother to die soon after (he was supposed to stay on a chair in a noose and slipped off). Years later, one of the murderers thinks he's going to die and confesses to the priest... who happened to be the kid's father.
    • In another, a child is left for dead by the bullies, and is found amnesiac by a couple who'd recently lost their child. They end up keeping him in their basement for years (not out of abuse, but so that he wouldn't be taken away from them).
  • An episode of The George Lopez Show has Carmen play a prank on Max by photographing him with a teddy bear while he's sleeping. It goes horribly wrong when Max ends up getting stitches in the back of his head from the bullying that ensues.
  • On Graceland, Carlito Solano is an overgrown bully of the Psychopathic Manchild variety. In his first appearance, he shoots one of his own bodyguards in order to test an antique pistol, and the poor bastard only survives because Johnny intervenes and prevents him from bleeding out. In another, he nearly chokes his own sister to death.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger has an inversion in one episode, where one particular kid is picked on by almost all of the other students, for being smaller than they are, for wearing ratty clothing, for being "stinky", for his Hispanic accent, among other reasons. Eventually, the boy makes it to the roof of the school, and intends to jump to his death, but Walker arrives on the scene, and proceeds to try and talk him out of it; the boy appears to change his mind, only to accidentally slip and fall to his death anyway. Walker immediately starts an anti-bullying campaign, not just at the school, but in the entire community, in the wake of the boy's untimely death.
  • In Halt and Catch Fire, Joe's initial explanation for his scars was that he was chased off of a roof by bullies, however, Cameron later figures out that this is a lie.
  • In the season finale of Necessary Roughness, T.K.'s career is effectively ended when Coach Wizinski enlists some of his former teammates to utterly wreck his shoulder to "punish" him for defecting from the Hawks.

Video Games
  • In the Mystery Case Files game Shadow Lake, a tough-looking girl follows the boy who found the artifact up to the school's bell tower, and tries to bully him into handing it over. In the struggle, he's knocked over the railing and falls to his death.
  • In Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers, Big starts off as just a bully who steals Tiny's treasured underpants. However, said pair of underpants turn out to be a magical artifact that slowly turns Big into an Omnicidal Maniac, and by the end of the game, he's so hell-bent on outright killing Tiny that he's hurling whole brick walls at him.
  • Bully largely consists of typical schoolyard bullying and fistfights, up until one of the Greaser bosses comes at you with a massive iron sledgehammer.

Visual Novel
  • In Yume Miru Kusuri, Aeka Shiraki is being continuously harshly bullied to the point of breaking, and everyone turns a blind eye. The bad end of her arc is past that point and has her jump off the school roof in a suicide attempt. Good end? That one has herself and supportive-of-her protagonist quit the crapsack school after having snapped, that is having retaliated at escalative bullies once, near-strangling the instigator to death among other things.

Web Comics
  • The bullying of Lidusis from Black Haze crosses from Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics to this when bully Manon and a group of upperclassmen take him and strap him to a target with his hands tied behind his back while ordering his classmates to throw stones at him, promising a perfect score to anyone who can hit "the decoration" (i.e. him). Thankfully, he only gets hit once (though in the head, when one of the bullies demonstrates how it should be done) before Rood shows up and rescues him (while utterly demolishing the upperclassmen in the process). However, had Rood not shown up (or had he been unable to do anything, which was what Manon was counting on), Lidusis could have very easily been stoned to death by his classmates.

Western Animation