Weasel: Shall I repose of [Eddie Valiant] right now, Boss?
: Let him watch his toon friends get Dipped. Then shoot him.
After capturing the hero, the villain
will threaten him with Cold-Blooded Torture
unless he reveals where he's hidden the MacGuffin
, etc. Being a good hero, he dares him to do his worst. Not only can he take it
, but will do so with a smile!
The villain will then calmly rotate the chair they're strapped into and show them a friend or loved one in deep trouble instead. Oh, Crap
This "deep trouble" can be just about anything: a camera feed showing a hit squad offing allies or friends
one by one, the Love Interest
in a slowly moving Death Trap
or being outright tortured. If the villain has the means, they might force the hero into Watching Troy Burn
or the Red Shirt Army
being massacred by the villain's Gas Mask Mooks
The possibilities are nauseatingly endless, but the one constant is that they are Forced To Watch, often with the offer that they can make it stop if they just give in. Sometimes the act isn't meant to make someone talk, but to Kick the Dog
in a truly heinous way, Mind Raping
them by taking whatever they love and destroying it before their very eyes. More cynically, this is a way for the writers to make sure that the heroes remain absolutely sympathetic—caving under torture would make them "weak," but caving to a loved one's torture makes them heroic.
In family-friendly works it can be a way of softening a torture scene: rather than getting out the knives, simply threatening the hero's loved ones can carry the story without rousing the censors. It can even be a moment of comedy if the subject of the threat is absurd or the punishment is ridiculous
In more adult works the hero's head may be strapped
to prevent them from looking away.
In more extreme works their eyes may be taped open, or their eyelids removed
. An anesthetic or blow to the head may leave the hero too dazed to look away. Other times, like a car wreck, the hero just won't be able to look away. For bonus points, a hero trying to look away will have the villain grab them by the chin and force them to face forward while screaming that they look on.
The hero may find they Ain't Too Proud to Beg
and might plead "Please, I Will Do Anything!
We might discover this dark scene in fragments as a Troubled Backstory Flashback
Morally dubious heroes
may also force a victim to watch. It can mark where the Well-Intentioned Extremist
just crossed the Moral Event Horizon
The villain is Tempting Fate
by attempting this form of torture with Determinators
, Plucky Girls
and badass antiheroes
, as the consequences
will not be pretty
if they do not succeed
in breaking them. Especially if the hero manages to bust loose from their imprisonment
— in which case the villain is going to be facing torture and/or death
See also We Have Ways of Making You Talk
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Anime & Manga
- This happens to Guts in a supremely heinous fashion during the end of the Eclipse when he is forced to watch his lover Casca be brutally raped to the point of insanity by his best friend turned Big Bad Griffith, who has become a demon god named Femto. He tries to reach her by chiseling off his own arm which was trapped in the jaws of a demon, only to be dogpiled by more demons before he can and is forced to watch the rape as a demon claws out his right eye. It's made even more heinous in that Casca was forced to look at Guts in the middle of her rape by Femto when he began to rape her from behind. Not only is Casca being degraded more and worse by the minute, but she has to look at Guts while it happens, and it's heartbreaking to see Casca beg Guts not to look at her during her last sane moments, even though he's just as forced to look on while he's still trying to get to her.
- Earlier (but later chronologically), in volume two of the manga, Vargas, the kind but deformed and revenge-driven fugitive, recounts how he was forced to watch as the Count ate his wife and children. This alluded to Guts's own experience with Griffith.
- And Guts forced Theresia, the Count's twelve-year-old daughter, to watch as he stabbed the mutilated but still living Count dozens of times. He actually dragged the Count over to her so she'd have a front row seat. This was one of Guts' darker moments.
- In Rideback, though it only gets to implying such before he gives in, the main character's brother is forced to give false confession by threatening to rape his sister in front of him.
- In Naruto Itachi has twice used his Mind Rape abilities to make Sasuke watch as Itachi murders their entire family over and over and over again.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry,
- the maddened Shion decides to lock Mion up and torture all of her friends where she can hear (but not see) it before finally killing her.
- Later on Takano kills all of the True Companions in front of each other.
- On a much larger scale, Hanyuu has to watch each timeloop, forced to see her best friend and everyone else die, without being able to physically interact or help until the final world.
- In Black Bird: Kyo's brother Sojo threatens Kyo with this (more exactly, with ravishing his girlfriend, Misao).
- Elfen Lied:
- Seras Victoria from Hellsing has a rather dark and disturbing backstory, which seems to have happened when she was very young. It consists of her father being murdered by burglars, her mother hiding her in a cupboard to protect her, and her mother's subsequent murder by the same burglars. Seras tries to exact revenge by stabbing one of the guys in the eye with a fork; she gets shot for her trouble and one of the perpetrators proceeds to rape her mother's corpse, due to it being "still warm". In full view of little Seras, who lies on the ground bleeding profusely.
- In Bleach,
- Nnoitra orders his subordinate Tesla to beat Ichigo to death and grabs Orihime (who's in love with Ichigo and is the person whom Ichigo has come to rescue) and forces her to watch. He even says "I want you to watch while the guy who came to save you gets torn apart." Thankfully, Kenpachi pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment before Tesla can kill Ichigo.
- Similarly, when Ishida and Orihime arrive to the place where Ichigo is fighting Ulquiorra, the latter lampshades the trope when he tells her (paraphrased) to "watch as the person you love the most dies", and then blows a massive hole in Ichigo's chest, killing him.
- In Tantei Gakuen Q, while she and Ryu investigate a girl's vanishment in a Boarding School, Megumi is caught and kidnapped by a mysterious masked man. She finds herself Bound and Gagged and is forced to watch as said masked man kills the also kidnapped Student Council President by smashing a bottle in his head. Few later, Ryu and other kids find a video featuring this as well as how the masked man threateningly approaches poor Megu and the scene goes to black, implying he's killed her too. He has not, and Megu is released unharmed but very shaken by what she was forced to see.
- In Digimon Tamers, the D-Reaper forces Sakuyamon and Gallantmon to watch Beelzemon fall to his death by sending a Zerg Rush of its Agents at the former and physically restraining the latter. Gallantmon can't break free, and by the time Sakuyamon is done with the Agents Beelzemon's too far away for her to help. Fortunately, he's not too far away for Grani to help.
- In Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest, Akira Inugami arrives to Haguro's house in search of hints about where he and his goons are keeping and continuously gang-raping his Morality Chain, Akiko Aoshika. He only finds a goon there and said goon forces him watch a video where she's yet again being raped... by Haguro himself. The horrifying discovery sends out the normally Tall, Dark and Snarky werewolf into a MASSIVE sobbing breakdown.
- Averted in Rurouni Kenshin. Because Enishi did not force Kenshin to watch as he "killed" his love interest Kaoru even though he knew what effect it would have on Kenshin, this... set off Aoshi's suspicion that Kaoru was not dead at all. He was right.
- In the climax of the 'Saint Beasts' arc in YuYu Hakusho, Suzaku has a giant screen showing the footage of Botan and Keiko being hunted down by his bug-zombies. At first, this serves mostly as a distraction, but as Yusuke increasingly gets the worse end of the fight and things get tighter and tighter for Keiko, it gets closer to torture, culminating in Yusuke on the ground, beaten past moving, while the zombies close in on Keiko. (Botan is not in real danger, as her real form is a spirit the zombies can't touch.)
- InuYasha: In Episode 51, Gatenmaru, after trapping Inuyasha and Miroku in an acidic cocoon, decides to show them just how helpless they are before they die by making them watch as he kills and eats innocent village women For the Evulz. He gets his just desserts when Inuyasha succumbs to his Superpowered Evil Side and rips him apart.
- Happens in Deadman Wonderland to Ganta when he is strapped down and made to watch Senji lose an eye during a penalty game. There was no point to this; Tamaki was just being a dick.
- Played for Laughs in Kamen no Maid Guy, when Kogarashi punishes a Psycho Lesbian who has installed a hidden camera in his (female) master's bathroom. Kogarashi paralyses her with a Brown Note and forces her to watch an overweight 40-year old man take a bath in the nude, with closeups as he starts washing his 'private parts'.
- In Haou Airen, this happens thrice. In two of these times, the person forced to watch is the same:
- First, Kaafai is forced to witness how Hakuron rapes his girlfriend Kurumi, whom Kaafai himself has just befriended. This turns out to be VERY plot-important: it inspires the mentally broken Kaafai to join the police, learn how to handle guns... and to shoot Hakuron dead the next time their paths cross.
- Also used when a rival Triad gang kidnaps Kurumi, and their leader has Hakuron watch via video as he strips and molests her.
- In Shaman King, Faust VIII has Yoh forcibly restrained by skeletons and forces him to watch as he vivisects Manta.
- Happens more than once in Detective Conan, being a mystery series and all. In example, Conan and his friends are given a tablet supposedly coming from Officer Takagi — and when Takagi's girlfriend Sato turns it on, they see it's connected to a camera that shows them a kidnapped Takagi who's Bound and Gagged inside a Death Trap. So either they find and free him soon, or they'll only be able to watch as he dies — either by hanging in a makeshift gallow, by being blown up by a time bomb, or simply by freezing to death. (He's rescued in the nick of time, though.)
- In Saint Seiya, it takes place once in a while. The biggest example is Cancer Deathmask using his Psychic Powers not only to restrain a girl named Shunrei and lift her up several meters over a waterfall located at the other side of the world... but to force her prospect boyfriend/adoptive brother Shiryu to watch as he tosses her into the waterfall and to her death. Though this massively backfires, via pressing Shiryu's biggest Berserk Button to the core and sending him into a huge and glorious Unstoppable Rage. (And it turns out Shunrei survived thanks to Old Master Dohko's efforts.)
- Played with in Hell Girl. A little girl named Tsugumi Shibata is somehow able to see through Ai Enma's eyes as the Hell Girl meets with her clients, and she uses this ability to help her Intrepid Reporter father Hajime track the clients down and attempt to tell them not to take Ai's deals. As an adult, she still has this skill.
- In Blazblue Alter Memory, after delivering a brutal thrashing to Noel and Makoto, Hazama tortures Makoto to enrage Noel and disable her Bolverk's limiter.
- In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (the movie followup of The Melancholyof Haruhi Suzumiya), Alt!Yuki is forced to watch when [[Yandere Ryoko Asakura stabs Kyon. Ryoko even spins around, waves the knife, and splatters blood on Yuki's face!
- Dragon Ball Z:
- During the Saiyan Saga, Vegeta calls for a three-hour break in the fight to give Goku more time to get there - because, as a "traitor to the Saiyan race", he wants Goku to watch his friends die first. This doesn't work out for him.
- In order to hit Gohan's Berserk Button and see his true power firsthand, Cell spawns seven Cell Jr.'s and then sics them on the other Z Fighters while Gohan watches helplessly, and finally pushes Gohan over the edge when he crushes Android 16's still-living head underfoot right in front of him. At this, Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 and promptly annihilates the Cell Jr.'s before wiping the floor with Cell.
- Kagerou Project: Outer Science, which describes the story's possible bad end, is three and a half minutes of Mary being forced to watch all of her friends die horrible deaths at the hands of the Wide-Open Eyes Snake - possessing her newest friend, Konoha - as driving her to despair is the only way he can convince her to reset the timeloop.
- Black Mask is fond of this technique as a torture tool; he drove Catwoman's sister insane by torturing her husband to death and forcing her to watch and eat the bits he cut off.
- In X-Men, Mojo does this to Professor Xavier at one point, using metal wires that force his eyes open while making him grin in Mojo's image.
- In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail, The Joker uses his newly bestowed energy powers to capture Robin and Batgirl, and then make Batman watch while he rips them apart. Batman gets free (too late) and promptly kills the Joker..
- The most painful moment in the "Avengers Under Siege" storyline: Mr. Hyde forces a captive Captain America to watch as he brutally beats the Avengers' elderly butler, Jarvis.
- At the end of Superman's "Conduit saga", Conduit sets up television around the deathtrap he stuck Jimmy Olsen in, presumably to invoke this on Superman.
- The Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War crossover has one: The Warden kidnaps Billy, Teddy, and Karolina (bringing Xavin's dead body along), and preceeds to perform a vivisection on Teddy, while his boyfriend is forced to watch, able to hear everything except his own voice. This leaves said boyfriend brokenly trying to use his powers to kill The Warden.
- Barracuda in The Punisher MAX attempts to exact the ultimate revenge on The Punisher by torturing Frank's illegitimate baby daughter in front of him before torturing Frank himself to death and even gloats about his intent to a tied-up Punisher. It backfires spectacularly.
- Typically a key part of the creation of a new revenant in any given episode in The Crow series. It's especially bad when fans of the first movie read the first comic, and realize just how loose an adaptation it was.
- Done to the audience in Alan Moore opus From Hell. An entire issue is spent on the grisly details of one of the killings and subsequent mutilations.
- In one New Gods/Superman story, Darkseid forced Mr. Miracle to watch a porno that his wife and Superman did (while brainwashed by Darkseid's rejected underling, Sleez).
- In Ultimate X-Men, Magneto punished Pietro for making the Brotherhood a joke by knee-capping Pietro with a shotgun. Wanda's punishment? He made her watch.
- Towards the end of an Outsiders arc in which Indigo is revealed to be the latest form of Brainiac, she briefly regains her normal personality long enough to beg Shift to kill her, claiming that once the Brainiac programming reasserts control, she'll be forced to watch as she kills all of her friends.
- In Thorgal, Kriss de Valnor takes advantage of Thorgal's amnesia by claiming that he is Shaigan the Merciless, a fellow pirate and her lover. Kriss enslaves Thorgal's wife Aaricia using her and Thorgal's daughter as leverage. Kriss then forces Aaricia to be her personal attendant so that Aaricia has a front row seat as her amnesiac husband makes love to Kriss night after night. It's not enough for Kriss that she finally has Thorgal to herself. No, Kriss has to rub it in Aaricia's face that she's stolen her husband.
Films — Animated
- In The Man Called Flintstone, the Green Goose tortures Barney Rubble on the rack to make Fred Flintstone talk. Subverted when Fred doesn't crack and tell the Green Goose what he wants to know, but ignores Barney's suffering.
- In Wreck-It Ralph, during the climax, the Cy-Bug King Candy/Turbo tries to force Ralph to watch as Vanellope is about to be eaten by the other Cy-Bugs. This only prompts Ralph to attempt his big Heroic Sacrifice. A few minutes later, the Turbo side can only watch as he is drawn towards destruction.
- In The LEGO Movie, Lord Business would prefer to let Emmet and the Master Builders have a front row seat to the destruction of Bricksburg (Emmet's home city) to really torture them before the Think Tank self-destructs. He imprisons the latter in his Think Tank and ties the former to the self-destruct mechanism's battery. Emmet, being the one forced, is closest to the computer screen where the apocalypse is effectively taking place.
- In The Incredibles, Syndrome does a variation of this to Mr. Incredible; he's made to listen to a radio transmission from his wife and children as their plane is being targeted by missiles. Worst of all, Syndrome didn't know it was Bob's family, but thought they were his back-up. The reveal that there were children on board didn't stop Syndrome in the slightest.
Films — Live-Action
- In A Clockwork Orange, Alex does this to Mr. Alexander.
- Law Abiding Citizen: Clyde removes the eyelids of the man who killed his wife and daughter and puts a giant mirror above the operating table he's been strapped to, forcing him to watch as he is tortured and dismembered.
- Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li: After capturing Chun-Li and letting her see her father again, Bison enters, declares that Chun-Li's dad had outlived his usefulness to him, and then proceeded to snap his neck right in front of her despite her pleas.
- Princess Leia was forced to watch the destruction of Alderaan in Star Wars: A New Hope. It is also the core of the Emperor's plan in Return of the Jedi: park Luke in front of a window with a view of the slaughter of the Alliance fleet, and indulge in some good old fashioned Evil Gloating until he's ready to cross the Moral Event Horizon.
- In Marv's short of Sin City, his friend and parole officer Lucille was kidnapped by the cannibal Kevin, who then ate her hand. When Marv finds her, the poor woman breaks down and cries "he made me watch!"
- Mal does this to the Operative in Serenity - torture in this case being watching a heartbroken Alliance researcher tell and show of the atrocity on Miranda - the Alliance's greatest crime - right before the speaker is attacked, raped, and ultimately eaten by Reavers. The feed goes on. It also tortures him in a different way. It destroys his entire view that the Alliance is truly making the universe a better place, which is the reason he was doing horrible things for them.
- The killer does this to his first victim in Die Watching, setting a TV monitor next to the chair she is tied to so that she can watch him kill her.
- RoboCop 2: Hob turns away as Cain mercilessly butchers a traitor to his cause. Cain forces the maybe-15-years-old-tops Hob to watch anyway.
- In The Final, the outcasts chain their victims to the floor and set up a torture chair in the front of the room, torturing and mutilating them one by one as their friends watch.
- In The Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the West has Dorothy and her friends cornered at the climax of the movie, she gloats, "The last to go will see the first three go before her. And her mangy little dog, too!"
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Professor Fassbender refuses to help Dreyfus create a Weapon of Mass Destruction, so Dreyfus "tortures" Fassbender's daughter by dragging his steel-clawed gauntlet on a chalkboard. Starting at 6:15.
- In the new Star Trek movie, Nero makes Spock watch as he destroys his home planet.
- In The Dark Knight:
- The Joker makes Harvey Dent listen to Rachel's last words as part of his Evil Plan to break him.
- One of the Joker's own multiple choice pasts involves him as a child watching helplessly as his father stabbed his mother, then used the same knife to give the future Joker his Glasgow Grin.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane gives the imprisoned Bruce Wayne a satellite connection so he can watch as Bane rips Gotham apart. Bruce smashes the screen before escaping.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Judge Doom does an offhand version of this when he has Eddie Valiant, Roger Rabbit, and Jessica Rabbit captive, providing the page quote.
- General Chance in Plunkett And Macleane, in a supreme Kick the Dog moment, forces Rebecca to watch as Macleane is hanged.
Chance: Open your eyes!
- In For a Few Dollars More, El Indio, the Big Bad, in one of his first Kick the Dog moments of the movie, forces a guy who took money to place him behind bars to watch as the family that he started with that money (his wife and his little boy) are taken outside and shot to death, while also making him listen to the pocket watch that Indio always carries.
- Invoked in The Green Hornet. "He took my favorite toy, and he ripped the head off. Right in front of me."
- Bryan Mills threatens to invoke this in Taken when confronting a corrupt French agent about the whereabouts of his kidnapped daughter. After the agent attempts to intimidate him into dropping the case, Bryan shoots the agent's wife in the arm, assures him that he only winged her, and orders him to help, or "the last thing you'll see before I make your children orphans is the bullet I put between her eyes." The agent complies.
- In the sequel, the tables are turned and it's Bryan who is told that he'll have to watch his ex-wife die when her throat is partially slit and she's suspended upside down to bleed out.
- In Underworld Rise Of The Lycans, after Sonja is tried and found guilty of high treason mainly due to her being impregnated by her lover, the werewolf Lucian, with a child who would be half vampire, half werewolf, her punishment consisted of having her chained to a pillar and Lucian chained to the floor face-to-face, where she was forced to watch Lucian get whipped. Then, it all gets worse when Lucian was then forced to watch her get burned to death by exposure to the sun.
- A rather chilling example in Strange Days: a rapist blindfolds his victim, then hooks her up to the memory-recording device he's using at that moment... forcing her to experience her own rape and subsequent murder as though she were in his body. So not only is it happening to her, she's forced to get off on it the way he is.
- In A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Freddy forces Alice to watch as he sucks the life out of Sheila, his first victim after the death of Kristen Parker.
- In The Avengers, Loki threatens to have Clint, who's under Loki's control, ambiguously rape, torture, and finally kill Natasha, and then release him from the mind control to allow him to see what he did before killing him. A bit of variation, however, as it's Natasha who he is threatening.
- Red Eye: Inverted. When Rippner faces Lisa in their final confrontation, Rippner tells Lisa that he is going to make her father watch what he's going to do to her (instead of the hero/heroine watching a loved one get harmed). Whatever he was planning on doing, it is averted in the end.
- In Soldier, the Super Soldier squad is forced to watch a pack of dogs attacking a wild boar as children during their training.
- Big Bad's thing in Opera is forcing the main character to watch him brutally kill people. He does this by placing needles under her eyes, making her unable to blink.
- The Quick and the Dead. As a child, Lady was forced to watch Herod hang her father, who asks the Big Bad not to let her watch. Instead, Herod says he'll let her father go if she's able to Shoot the Rope. Unused to the heavy revolver, she accidentally puts a bullet in her father's head.
- Spaceballs parodies this; the bad guys' plan to have the King give the air-shield combination is to force him to watch them give his daughter back...her old nose!
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: After Bootstrap Bill betrays him by helping Will escape the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones makes him watch as he summons the Kraken to destroy the ship that Will is currently on. Though Bootstrap is initially unaware of it, Will gets out alive.
- Done, quite notoriously, to Tony in Scarface. After being captured in a drug deal gone bad, Tony is forced to watch as Angel is messily dismembered with a chainsaw. He's rescued just before facing the same fate.
- Spawn: After Clown's plan is foiled in the climax, he prepares to rape Wanda in front of a beaten Spawn and forces him to watch. Cogliostro intervenes to prevent this, prompting Clown to retreat to Hell.
- In Salt, the heroine is forced to watch her husband getting drowned by Russian mobsters. The scene is particularly cruel as she is actually being asked if she wants to save her husband but doing so would have blown her cover.
- In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Azog takes great delight in holding up Thorin's nephew Fíli and impaling him while Thorin and his companions are too far away to act.
- His son Bolg noticeably pauses right before he kills Kíli in front of Tauriel, giving her just enough time to realize what he was about to do.
- Inverted and Subverted in an episode of Workaholics-high on acid, Alice is convinced a man has information on how to find a poaching fellow salesman, Psycho D. She threatens to melt her face with a clothes iron in front of the man's children if the man doesn't start talking. She then puts it to her face, screaming-only to realize it wasn't on.
- In another episode, the guys come to rely on Jillian after she saves them from a tough guy in the opening of the episode. At the end, she defends them from a man by threatening to beat his ass in front of his "ugly, funky-butt children."
- In American Horror Story: Coven, Delphine is sent is sent to a personal hell where she is forced to watch her daughters be tortured over and over again in torture devices she herself devised .
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In season five, Glory, while confronting Buffy in her own home, invokes this when she openly threatens to kill Buffy's loved ones and friends and make Buffy watch her do so if she doesn't turn over the Key.
Glory: I'll kill [your sister]. I'll kill your mom, I'll kill your friends ... and I'll make you watch when I do.
- In the Wishverse Alternate Universe, Vampire!Xander and Vampire!Willow kill Cordelia in front of Giles, who's trapped in the library bookcage. "So you're a Watcher? Watch this."
- Angel season 2 has a particularly brutal example. Just as Angel has finally saved Darla and convinced her to live out the remainder of her life as a human, Wolfram & Hart comes in with Drusilla; Lindsey McDonald himself tasers Angel and makes him watch as Drusilla turns Darla into a vampire again. This pushes Angel into He Who Fights Monsters territory for a good few episodes.
- Battlestar Galactica has an unplanned bonus to Boomer impersonating identical humanoid robot Athena. Helo, Athena's husband, comes into the bathroom where Boomer has just Bound and Gagged Athena in a bathroom stall, and mentions that since "she" is going on a mission they should take the opportunity to say an intimate goodbye. Of course, Athena chooses that moment to become drowsily awake enough to watch.
- Doctor Who has many examples. One is found in Genesis of the Daleks. The Doctor has to tell Davros how every Dalek war was lost or Sarah Jane and Harry will be tortured.
- In the New Series, the Master also does this to the Doctor, forcing him to watch Earth literally get decimated while helpless to stop him. Why? For the Evulz, of course! Most villains find that this is the most effective way to break the Doctor. In Season 1, the Doctor was forced to reveal who he really was when Rose was getting tortured in front of him. In Season 4 Davros once again tried to break the Doctor first by making him watch the Tardis (with Donna in it) get destroyed and then was seconds close to forcing the Doctor watch as the Daleks destroyed reality itself with a reality bomb.
- Torchwood: Jack Harkness describes being subjected to this in his past: "I went to war when I was a boy. I was with my best friend. We got caught crossing the border over enemy lines. They tortured him, not me, because he was weaker. They made me watch him die. And they let me go." Icing on the cake: Jack convinced his friend to go to war. It would have been an adventure, he claimed
- In Firefly the crew stumbles upon a derelict ship plundered by vicious space cannibals called Reavers. All the passengers on the ship but one man were brutally tortured and murdered. As it turns out, the Reavers deliberately left him alive and made him watch as they did their work on the others, traumatizing the man so badly that the only way he could cope was by becoming a Reaver himself.
- On Star Trek: The Next Generation Ensign Ro told a story about when she was a little girl, the Cardassians made her come into a room and watch her father being tortured to death.
- In "The Mind's Eye", Geordi is brainwashed into a Manchurian Agent by the Romulans by being shown horrifying images directly to his brain through his ocular connections.
- Space Cases: Spung do not question Andromedans. Humans are far more vulnerable to this trope.
- Jerks like this are common on Criminal Minds:
- In "True Night", the UnSub's backstory was that a street gang forced him to watch as they murdered (and implied gang-rape) his pregnant girlfriend, whom he'd just proposed to. No wonder he snapped.
- It was part of Karl "The Fox" Arnold's modus operandi: he targeted dysfunctional families and forced the father to watch as he killed the other members before finally killing him.
- Tim Curry's character in the two-parter "Our Darkest Hour"/"The Longest Night" would always leave behind a witness after raping, beating and killing their loved ones. It turned out that his mother, a prostitute, used to make him watch while she worked. It's implied she also offered him up to her clients.
- In "Revelations", the UnSub (Tobias Hankel) watches his potential victims through their webcams, then records and posts their murders online. He also kidnaps Reid and forces him to choose one of the victims to be murdered. When Reid instead chooses one to save, Tobias goes and kills a different one (and their spouse), leaving Reid tied up and forced to watch it happen on the laptop in front of him. Cue Reid's guilt. The next time we see him, he's staring catatonic. Garcia also had to watch all of the videos repeatedly, unable to track Tobias. Later in the same episode, when the team's efforts to track him down make him angry, Hankel punishes them by switching the video camera back on and making them watch while he beats Reid nearly to death.
- In "100", The Reaper (using a stolen cell phone) forces Hotch to listen to his wife being shot dead. The entire team hears it, too. It does not end well for the Reaper.
- The same thing happened to the team when Prentiss was being beat up by a cult that had her and Reid. She used the fact that the team was listening to get a message to them.
- The episode "Proof" when the UnSub kidnapped and tortured his niece, burning her hands off with acid. In the final scene of the episode, her father as some sort of self-punishment for not noticing that his brother was seriously screwed up, forced himself to watch the video of his daughter being tortured.
- In the episode "Children of the Dark" the two UnSubs would force the kids to watch as the first UnSub beat the parents to death. Then the second UnSub would inject them with poison.
- The entire point of the MTV Game Show Trashed. Don't get enough questions right, and you get to see your prized possessions go up in smoke (sometimes literally).
- Downfall is similar to Trashed.
- The "Bonus Round" on Distraction: Get a question wrong, watch your brand new car get vandalized or one of your prizes get destroyed.
- A Sunset Beach storyline involved an evil twin imprisoning his good brother... and forcing him to watch through a two-way mirror as he made love to the man's fiancee.
- A third Ozian example. In Tin Man, Cain was locked in a Steampunk stasis chamber for eight years while a holographic recording of his family's torture was set on repeat playback.
- The Space Cases first season finale contained a textbook exmaple, where Warlord Shank demands information about the Crysta from Harlan after some of the gang have been captured and tied up. When Shank brings out his Agony Beam, Harlan, of course, defiantly tells him that torture won't make him talk. Shank calmly asks, "Who said anything about torturing you?" before turning it in the direction of the unconscious Catalina. Good thing he also didn't say anything about giving him truthful information.
- Sylar does this in Volume 4 of ''Heroes; he tortures one of the soldiers sent to kidnap him, then immobilizes him while torturing two innocent bystanders. Well, one innocent bystander and one villain wannabe, but he didn't know that yet...
- On 24, Jack Bauer orders Qurac soldiers to kill a terrorist's son on a webcam feed in order to break him. It was staged.
- Jack threatens to do something similar to the villain of Season 3:
Jack: When your daughter is infected, I'm going to make you watch her die.
- In Kurosagi, Kurosaki is unable to stop his father from murdering his sister and mother before coming for him as well.
- In the TV movie Echo, Jack Wagner's twin brother character moves into his brother's life after abducting him and makes love to his fiancee, having it broadcast to his brother through a live camera so he can sit helplessly and watch.
- Recurring bastard Kolya on Stargate Atlantis pulled one of these on the entire city of Atlantis when he forced nearly every member of the command team to watch his torture of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard via live-telefeed.
- In the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad, Jesse, who was captured and made to make his trademark blue meth for Jack and Todd, gets caught trying to escape their compound. Jack retaliates by forcing Jesse to watch his girlfriend Andrea get executed at her front porch by Todd and then threatening to do the same to her son Brock if he tries to escape again.
- On LOST, Pickett prepares to execute Sawyer for killing his wife Colleen and, knowing that Sawyer and Kate are involved, ordered a caged Kate to watch (in the rain, no less). Sawyer tells Kate not to look, though she ignores this and tries for a Please, I Will Do Anything! instead, but Pickett is interrupted Just in Time by a call from Jack, of all people, who arranges for Kate's escape.
- In Power Rangers Super Megaforce, after Vrak has defeated the Rangers for a second time (the first time showing them Cruel Mercy), he tells them that he will leave them alive so they are forced to watch his drills destroy the planet.
- In BIONICLE, Karzahni's Mask of Power has the effect of trapping the target in a vision where they're usually unable to move, and witness horrible alternate futures. In one instance, he made Jaller see what would have happened if he had frozen in place instead of saving his friend Takua, thus allowing the villain Makuta to win. In this alternate future, the terrorized islanders would have risen up against Makuta's rule, only to be brutally killed one by one by his henchmen. This also counts as Mind Rape, as it leaves the victim too shaken to try to escape Karzahni's realm.
- A common trope used during the Attitude Ere, particularly in the feud pitting "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. One example is Austin showing — via the Titan Tron — that he had earlier poured tons of concrete in McMahon's new Chevrolet Corvette!!!! Another time, as Austin and The Rock were trading verbal jabs, Austin revealed, via video footage, that he had dropped a steel beam on top of the Rock's brand new Lincoln Continental!
- But bad-guy wrestlers forcing their face opponents to watch beatings and other wicked actions has dated back long before. Two examples come to mind:
- In 1988, to help set up the first-ever SummerSlam main event (Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage against Ted DiBiase and André the Giant), Savage (with Miss Elizabeth in tow) delivered a promo throwing out an open challenge, to which Andre came out and taunted the "Macho Man." Savage accepted, only to have DiBiase sneak in and attack the champion, after which Andre and DiBiase double-teamed the champion; the trope-fitter here was Elizabeth being restrained by Virgil, forced to watch a brutal-for-the-time attack.
- In 1991, Jake Roberts vs. Earthquake was set up in memorable style: Roberts was scheduled to take on Earthquake, who eventually got the better of "the Snake" and tied him in the ring ropes. Manager Jimmy Hart threw the snake bag (containing Roberts' snake, Damien) into the ring as 'Quake told Roberts, "You are going to see me ... (pause for dramatic effect) ... squash that snake!" Roberts was crying and trying to break free, but could only watch as Earthquake repeatedly performed his "Earthquake splash" to (Kayfabe) crush the snake to death.note Roberts was disconsolate as he finally broke free of the ropes ... but by that time, 'Quake was being led from the ring. Commentators McMahon, Roddy Piper and Savage remarked that it reminded some of the cruel childhood memory of being forced to watch a bully kill a beloved pet.
- Colt Cabana tried to force Christopher Daniels to watch CM Punk's murder of Allison Danger, which he was to perform in retaliation for Daniels attacking CM Punk's girlfriend and Second City Saint manager Lucy. Danger was spared when it was revealed BJ Whitmer was the one who attacked Lucy.
- When one of Serena Deeb's protege's, Davina Rose, showed up in SHIMMER, Portia Perez was delighted, boasting that she would force Deeb to watch Rose's destruction.
Religion and Mythology
- In The Bible, a priest named Pash-Hur throws Jeremiah into jail for the night because of his prophesying about Judah's sins and the upcoming invasion by Babylon. The next morning Jeremiah declares that God has changed Pash-Hur's name to Magor-Missaviv, "terror all around," because he will watch all his friends die in the attack before being dragged off to Babylon for the rest of his life.
- Knights of the Old Republic: Admiral Saul Karath eventually manages to capture the heroes and starts grilling the Player Character for information. He already expects that his Cold-Blooded Torture isn't going to work very well if he simply uses the painful electrocution on the PC themselves. However, he has both your potential love interests in similar torture chambers...
- In Evil Genius, you defeat one of the superagents by mangling her teddy bear.
- In The Darkness, the eponymous Eldritch Abomination does this to Jackie by using it's Combat Tentacles to hold him back while Paulie Francetti executes his girlfriend Jenny. THEN it lets go and scares off the villains. And then it cruelly mocks Jackie.
- One bit of Flavor Text in Alpha Centauri notes that the one man tough enough to endure The Punishment Sphere broke pretty quickly when they threatened to put his wife in.
- Dm C Devil May Cry: Near the climax of the game, when Kat is arrested by the Feds, Dante, trapped in Limbo and unable to save her, can do nothing but watch helplessly as the SWAT team shoot her in the shoulder and beat the ever-loving shit out of her.
- While he doesn't get to see how it happened, Cormag from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is forced by Valter to have a long and good look at his murdered brother Glen's mangled corpse. What Valter didn't say, though, was that he was the one who killed Glen.
- Also invoked in Fire Emblem Awakening, when Gangrel takes Emmeryn to be executed in a cliff near Plegia Castle so he can force Prince Chrom and his Badass Crew to watch how she will die if Chrom doesn't hand the Fire Emblem itself to Plegia. Emmeryn thwarts this via willingly throwing herself off to her own death. (Or so we thought).
- One of the bad endings of Hijikata's route in Hakuōki has Kazama threatening to hurt Chizuru in front of Hijikata because, he declares, he's heard that humans suffer more watching someone they care about get hurt, and he wants Hijikata to suffer. When Hijikata responds by throwing down his sword in surrender, Kazama tortures him to death in front of Chizuru with the specific intention of teaching her not to defy him.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, Orphan forces Fang to watch him torture Vanille in order to get her to transform into Ragnarok and kill him. Fang ends up transforming into an incomplete Ragnarok but turns back into a human before she can kill Orphan. Then Orphan proceeds to torture Fang while Vanille watches. Who knows what would've happened if Lightning and co didn't pull a Big Damn Hero moment.
- One was at the very end of Xenosaga 3, Wilhelm tortures Shion to try and get KOS-MOS to activate Zarathustra. It doesn't work of course because KOS-MOS decides she simply wants to be herself instead of someone else so she destroys the key to Zarathustra, making it spiral out of control. Woops. Everything gets better though.
- A major driving force in Luca's rage-filled insanity in Suikoden II is that he was forced to watch his mother be gang-raped for an entire week by Jowston Alliance rebels when he was a child. And when he finds out the kidnapping and gang-rape was all orchestrated by the mayor of Muse and leader of the Jowston Alliance Council, Darrel, he resolved to wiped the City-State off the map and murder all its inhabitants.
- Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny was one of the first to use this trope. If you are captured by Lord Blackthorn, you are asked one of the mantras to the Shrines of Virtue. If you refuse, Lord Blackthorn will drag a companion under a swinging blade and ask "are you sure you don't want to tell me?" If you continue to refuse, your companion will die and will never return.
- At one point in Kingdom Hearts II, Donald and Goofy are captured by a bunch of Heartless while Sora is unconscious. When he comes to, he encounters a "Heartless Commander", who then tortures the two with electricity after Sora makes a snarky comment on his status. Sora instantly surrenders to save his friends, and all three of them are thrown in prison.
- The scene is recreated in the manga adaptation, but Sora is the one who gets tortured, while his friends watch in complete horror.
- Sonic Lost World: Eggman invokes this while ranting at the Deadly Six for their rebellion, vowing to "destroy everything they love and make them watch." Later happens to Sonic, who can do nothing but watch helplessly over the Miles Electric as the planet-draining machine sucks the life out of Knuckles and Amy.
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes: Skull Face uses Chico's crush on Paz to his advantage by making him watch as he has her tortured and gang-raped.
- On one hand, she's a mass murderer. On the other hand, Skull Face tortures Chico even FURTHER by forcing CHICO to rape Paz. Basically, Skull Face is teaching Chico about this horrible torture... and prove what he learned by forcing him to do it - "Watch and learn, there's a pop quiz at the end".
- Batman: Arkham Origins: During the climax of the "Cold, Cold Heart" DLC, Ferris Boyle, after freezing Batman and incapacitating Mr. Freeze, dismisses Freeze's pleas to restart the cryogenic machine and save Nora, stating that he'll keep Freeze alive just long enough to watch her die before he kills him. Fortunately, Batman breaks free from the ice and subdues Boyle before that happens.
- Final Fantasy Tactics: Delita witnessed the death of his sister Tietra at hands of Argath.
- This happened to The Blonde Marvel when she didn't want to pay for Madame de Sade's broken window.
- In Sluggy Freelance Hereti-Corp tries torturing Gwynn to make Torg give up information on Dr. Steve and Oasis, until Torg points out that they hadn't asked him any questions yet.
- Parodied in Aoi House when Elle finds out two heterosexual men have joined their club. As they really can't lose two more members without getting closed by the university, she is determined to fix the minor problem with Alex and Sandy.
- Redcloak of The Order of the Stick attempts this, threatening to throw groups of prisoners into a rift in front of O-Chul, unless O-Chul gives him information. O-Chul simply doesn't have the information Redcloak is after, and tells him that if he's going to kill the prisoners, then do it quick and be done with it. Redcloak is astounded at how vile humans are. Notably, Redcloak orders that the prisoners be informed of O-Chul's statement... and fails to realize they'll see it as a sign of resistance rather than one of cowardice.
- In Unsounded, Matty Quigley is blind, yet he is able see through the eyes of his pymaric doll, Chitz. When Starfish orders Matty's father killed, he holds up Chitz so that, even though Matty is crying and trying to close his eyes, he still sees everything. Luckily, Jivi performs a Big Damn Heroes and manages to save both Matty and his father.
- The Greatest Gift has a disturbing example with Astra/Venus. Her father forced her to watch her Evil Twin Jupiter/Fake Venus strangle their mother to death. Did we mention they were fillies when this happened?
- Any time Susan overpowers Anna in Sire she is forced to helplessly watch her "Sister" pilot the body that they share and commit impassioned crimes. This has included confirmed kills so far. One of which was their beloved uncle.
- This is how Marie feels in Pyrrhic, having been forced to watch Joshua Mercy Kill Chase.
- In Receiver Of Many in the nightmarish illusion weaved by Cronus for Persephone this happens in two ways: illusionary Hades is forced to watch how Cronus rapes his wife and real Persephone herself is forced to see this scene play before her eyes.
- Oddly averted by Megabyte of all characters in Reboot. Before giving his henchmen the okay to dissect Frisket, he tells them to take Enzo away so he doesn't have to see it. He doesn't let him say good-bye either, though.
Megabyte: The boy doesn't need to see this.
Enzo: Can't I at least say good-bye?
Megabyte: Well... ... ... no.
- The premise behind Robot Chicken, the show opens as a dead chicken is brought back to life, then watches a bank of monitors with his head locked in place and eyes forced open. One of the monitors is blank as the show begins and zooms in upon it, supposedly this is what the chicken is going to be forced to see, and we will see it. As of Season 5, the tables have turned and the chicken has put the scientist in the same situation.
- In Teen Titans Slade uses the threat of this to make Robin do a Face-Heel Turn.
Slade: If you join me, if you swear to serve me, if you never speak to your friends again, I will allow them to live. But if you disobey even the smallest request ... I will annihilate them, Robin. And I'll make you watch.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures has this example:
Living Laser: New York is gonna burn. And I'm gonna make you watch.
- In an American Dad! episode Roger goes on a campaign to ruin the life of a man named Sidney who Roger believes stole from him. This vendetta includes destroying Sidney's garden and raping his favorite sycamore tree. Later, Roger sends Sidney a letter that says, "Your sycamore had saplings. I made them watch."
- In an episode where Stan puts his mind in the body of a horse, he (in the horse body) keeps getting poked in the face by a little kid despite Roger warning him not to. To the kid's shock, horse-Stan threatens to go to the child's house and kick his mother to death while he watched.
- Freakazoid! had a mild version of this played for laughs. The villain, Gutierrez, wants a code that will give him super powers. When the hero and his mentor refuse to give it to him (the hero doesn't even know the code), he reveals he has the hero's family captured as well. The method of torture used on the family? The best of Marty Ingles.
- "What kind of sadistic creature are you!?!"
- In the Spongebob Squarepants episode Krab Borg, SpongeBob and Squidward think Mr. Krabs is a robot who can talk to electronics. They tie him up and force him to watch them interrogate his expensive appliances. Most of them end up destroyed, making the money-grubbing crab scream and cry.
- All in vain, as Spongebob realized the whole thing was all in his i.ma..gi...na....tionn — oh look, there's Halley's Comet! (runs away).
- In the first animated movie bridging the original Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, World's Finest, Joker decided to get revenge on Lex Luthor by destroying everything LexCorp built in Metropolis with one of Luthor's own weapons and making him watch.
- Comically inverted in Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Lighter and Softer Animated Adaptation of Emperor Joker: after Bat-Mite becomes powerless by accidentally giving all his powers to the Joker and making him a Reality Warping god, the new Clown Emperor would use his newfangled cosmic powers to kill the Dark Knight and then bring him back from the dead. To make matters worse, he attempts to make Batman go insane. Despite Harley Quinn's pleas to spare the lives of Batman and Bat-Mite, the Joker complies of sparing Bat-Mite by turning him into a Jester!Harley version of him, then forcing him and Harley to watch (along with the newly-created Joker-Mite) while the Clown Emperor forces the Dark Knight through a comedic, torturous Death Montage in an attempt to make him go insane! Poor, powerless Bat-Mite... or is that Harley-Bat-Mite?
- In The Simpsons, after Mr. Burns accidentally walks into a tree, he orders its acorns killed while the tree watches.
- The trope was Played for Laughs when Homer was carving pumpkins for Halloween.
- The Clock Orange scene mentioned above is parodied when Mr. Burn uses a similar device to force Santa's Little Helper to watch scenes of terrible violence in an attempt to make him a vicious attack dog.
- One episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender has an Earth Kingdom general try to force Aang into the Avatar State by making him watch as he slowly bends Katara underground, presumably to suffocate. It works.
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "To Heck and Back," Heffer is confronted with his gluttony in Heck, and forced to watch Rocko dying inside his guts (after Rocko fell in while trying to retrieve a chicken bone that had gotten caught in Heffer's throat.)
- In the final episode of Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid tells Superman that this is his plan. He talks about how he is going to destroy the planet and kill everyone on it, and only after Superman has seen it, will he kill him.
- A Family Guy episode has Peter doing the really old cartoon gag where the steam coming off a freshly baked pie forms beckoning fingers and tries to go up Peter's nose, which is supposed to draw Peter into eating the pie. When Peter refuses, the steam somehow starts ripping off Peter's clothes so it can rape him. We then see the steam is also holding Quagmire's eyes open, forcing him to watch.
- In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Zurg manages to capture Booster, XR, and Mira and gloats about the tortures they are in store for. He's especially proud of Mira's, saying she can ghost right out of cell. Doing so however causes alarms to go, breaking her concentration, leaving her in her cell. The torture is that she has to watch her teammates be tortured, powerless to stop it. Except it's a kid's show. So XR finds being stretched enjoyable (it gets out the kinks); and while Booster's cell is supposed to turn his strength against him and throw him around the room, he sees it as a Bounce House and great fun. So Mira just smirks at him.