open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Mazinger Z:
- Several Mechanical Monsters — such like Deimos F3 and Briver A3 — could detach their hands from themselves and attacking with them, or simply picking or holding their enemies.
- The titular Humongous Mecha is an heroic example: During his first battle in the manga Doublas M2 coils one of its necks around one of its forearms and rips it off... and then the wrenched arm flies on its own and punches through Doublas M2. This scene is replied in the first opening. Kouji often also uses Mazinger's fists to pick things or people.
- The Zeong mobile suit from, well, Mobile Suit Gundam can disconnect its arms at the elbow (they're connected by wires, but very long ones) in order to attack with its beam cannon fingers from any angle. For example, it could disconnect an arm and circle around a GM in order to shoot it in the back, bypassing its shield, but this isn't very necessary given its incredible power. This ability was built into the suit in order to let pilot Char Aznable make use of his telepathy to guide the arms and attack from unpredictable angles. There are several mobile suits in Gundam that use this ability, such as the Hamma Hamma and Turn X.
Films — Animation
- All parts of The Iron Giant can move on their own, for self-repair purposes. This was also in the original book.
Films — Live-Action
- Red Dwarf:
- After suffering critical damage, Kryten uses one of his hands, an eye, and assorted other parts to build a miniature robot for the express purpose of getting help. And then the miniature robot starts running around in Lister's "joy department".
- In another episode where the main characters are back on the Dwarf and imprisoned, another part of Kryten's "fully simulated anatomy" detaches itself and starts to scurry about the cell.
- Tenaya 7 in Power Rangers RPM often detaches her hand to have it get into places she can't.
- The detached Cyberman arm and octopus-head-thing in the Doctor Who episode "The Pandorica Opens". They even shoot out tranquilliser darts!
- In Atop the Fourth Wall, Mechakara's hand has to contain a stupendous amount of technology for Lord Vyse's escape plan to work — technology that does not seem to serve much purpose being installed in a hand. Of course, as it turns out, this is exactly what he needs, so ...
- Cyborg from Teen Titans apparently built spy-drone capability into his modular hands on purpose (though, presumably, the hands weren't both modified at the same time).
- Optimus Prime is disassembled, and he controls his limbs to re-unite, via robot telepathy, in an episode of The Transformers.
- In a weird variant of this trope, Megatron can turn into a giant, disembodied hand in Robots in Disguise.
- A both robotic and zombie version occurs in the Transformers Prime episode "Shadowzone". After shooting off Zombie Skyquake's arm (using Starscream's disembodied arm, no less), Jack, Raf, and Miko are then promptly pursued by it.
Miko: How can a zombie arm move faster than the actual zombie?
- Bender from Futurama does this frequently, often for the purpose of stealing things while everyone's distracted by some other part of him. The very first episode has Bender putting both of his detached arms back on, with Fry wondering how he did it.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: XR has to do this as part of his Chew Toy job on occasion.
Zombies & Other Spookiness
- The mascot for Hamburger Helper is a disembodied glove with a face on it.
- And Arby's mascot is an oven mitt.
Anime & Manga
- In the anime Vampire Hunter D, we have the title vampire hunter's left hand, which has somehow gotten a Demon embedded in it. Said demon is shown by having a face in the palm of the hand, including eyes, nose, and mouth. After being severed in a rather gory scene that includes D being staked through the heart, the hand crawls back to D's body, reattaches itself to D's arm, pulls out the stake, then attempts to revive D by a) eating earth for energy (with accompanying belch afterward), b) sucking wind to give him breath, then pounding on his chest to restart his heart. All this while a monster approaches that would be the Final Death for D. Naturally, he wakes up in time to kill the monster and progress through the story. Of course, all this is helped by the titular D being a dhampir, a half-human half-vampire hybrid.note
- The pirate captain Buggy from One Piece ate a Devil Fruit that gave him this power. Unfortunately, he can feel pain in his detached bits, as he finds out when Luffy kicks him in his disembodied fork.
Films — Animation
- In Corpse Bride, the title character Emily has a skeletal right arm. After she first appears rising from the ground, said arm starts crawling after a fleeing Victor until she picks it back up. Much later in the movie, when the two are performing a piano duet, her hand comes off on its own and proceeds to crawl onto Victor's shoulder.
- In Western Animation/Coraline, the Other Mother's disembodied hand, which is an spindly abomination made of sewing needles, pursue Coraline all the way to the real world.
Films — Live-Action
- Ash's severed hand comes back to cause him trouble in Evil Dead 2.
- Governor Swann gets to deal with a undead hand in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- The zombie-witch thing in House. No, not the one with Hugh Laurie.
- Null the biker zombie from Braindead; after getting chopped to pieces his body parts and organs continue to attack Lionel.
- A severed zombie hand crawls across a lawn at the end of Waxwork. In the sequel it murders someone, and the characters who destroy it then must hunt through several worlds to bring back proof it wasn't the Love Interest who committed the crime. Their proof is yet another zombie hand.
- In the horror-comedy Idle Hands, a slacker's hand gets possessed by a demon. He eventually cuts it off, only for the hand to continue trying to kill people.
- They weren't detached from anyone... probably, but there are the "Helping Hands" of Labyrinth and they are fairly creepy. They were trying to help, not their fault "she chose down."
- Various mummies in (wait for it...) The Mummy Trilogy pull this move. Rick actually manages to turn it to his advantage. A sword is lying just out or reach, but once a severed mummy hand grabs it he then just grabs the hand and pulls the sword to him.
- The Phantasm series does this a couple of times, first with severed fingers, later with whole hands.
- In the MST3K movie Attack of the Eye Creatures, one of the creatures' severed hand takes refuge in someone's car.
- In A Christmas Carol The Musical (2004), one of Marley's ghost companions carries a Thing-style hand in a box as his ironic punishment for "never lending a hand".
- The Cabin in the Woods. A zombie gets hacked up by one of the protagonists, but its limbs are still twitching. When a guard bursts in with the intention of shooting them, a zombie hand grabs his ankle, distracting him. The protagonists knock the guard out and the last thing we see as the doors close is the hand crawling up to the unconscious man's face...
- Lone Wolf:
- From the book Castle Death, the Rahkos is a floating, undead hand fond of eating brains. Unfortunately for Lone Wolf, he's confronted to it in a No-Gear Level, and it's rather hard to put down without a magic weapon.
- The novelization of Fire on the Water also describes the severed limbs of the zombies from Vonotar's ghost fleet still moving on their own until hacked to pieces.
- In Masques, Aralorn has to get rid of an undead arm by crossing running water, and she mentions that taking the arm with her might result in the undead reassembling itself wherever the arm is.
- Patchwork, a.k.a. Modular Woman, from the Wild Cards novels, can tear off her body parts and use them remotely. She had people plant her eyes and ear (she needed the other ear to communicate with others) where they could spy on her boss's enemies.
- The Other Mother in the Coraline story loses her right hand as the titular Coraline escapes from the Mirror Universe. Then the right hand starts following Coraline around, trying to get the key to let the Other Mother through.
- Necromancers who stay alive way too long in Nightrunner turn into Dyrmagnos, beings with withered corpse bodies. If you cut them up without separating the body parts, they will rejoin. The wizards' museum has a pair of hands from an infamous Dyrmagnos which still move after hundreds of years.
- The Handlingers from Perdido Street Station and its sequels are simply creatures that look like disconnected hands. They also happen to be Puppeteer Parasites.
- The severed hand of an executed sorcerer seeks vengeance on the man who betrayed him in the Solomon Kane short story "The Right Hand of Doom".
- In The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, published as The Iron Giant in the United States and very loosely adapted into the film of the same name, the title character arrives on Earth as a large collection of disassembled bits that then have to assemble themselves. The book example probably belongs here rather than in the Robots folder, as the titular Iron Man behaves more like a kaiju than a Humongous Mecha.
- The wights in A Song of Ice and Fire have limbs that continue to move about and attack even after dismemberment.
- In the 1838 penny dreadful Hugues, the Wer-Wolf, a butcher who'd chopped the werewolf's hand off tries to get rid of the severed part by burying it or dropping it down a well, but it keeps turning up again at his home, as if it's crawling back when he's not watching. A subversion, as it's strongly implied that his daughter is secretly retrieving it and planting it in her father's house, to punish him for maiming the werewolf with whom she's in love.
- C.H. (short for Crawling Hand) works as a masseur and bathhouse towel-boy in the fourth Dan Shamble Zombie PI novel.
- The Angel episode "I Fall to Pieces" has a surgeon who can detach parts of himself to aid in stalking/molesting his victims.
- Wizards of Waverly Place. The episode that plays with this trope is even called "Helping Hand"! Although it isn't very helpful after Alex uses it to clean up the shop, then doesn't give it a break or reward it in any way.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy herself once had to sell a detached mummy hand to a picky customer. It didn't go so well.
- Good Eats lampshades Thing from The Addams Family. The Thing in Good Eats is canonically the grandson of the one from The Addams Family.
- Doctor Who:
- The infamous "Hand of Sutekh" from the episode "Pyramids of Mars". While this is only really a stagehand's hand holding down Sutekh's cushion when he first stands up, it has become an in-joke among Doctor Who fans.
- Played straight for a spell in the classic story "Hand of Fear".
- A living plastic mannequin's arm in the first episode of the new series tries to strangle the 9th Doctor.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Trolls can attack with any severed parts.
- In 3.5, Warlocks have an invocation that severs their own hand, which animates and crawls around like a spider, to be used as a sort of scout. They can also do this with an eye. Don't worry, the limbs come back.
- Lebendtod of Ravenloft can remove their hands, heads, or whole limbs in a similar manner.
- "Bigby's Many Hands" line of spells, which summon the disembodied hands of, presumably, the Wizard Bigby, which do various "things" depending on the spell. Similar spells are "Mage's Hand", which is for non-combat purposes, the "Spectral Hand", and others, including one even called "Helping Hand".
- The Book of Vile Darkness has the "Grim Revenge" spell, used by undead caster, to sever (painfully) the hand of a living victim, and then animate it as an undead monstrosity bent on draining the lifeforce of its previous owner.
- Forgotten Realms adds a lot of variations, such as Alcimer's Flying Fist or Daltim's Flaming Fist (the signature spell of a Halruaan mercenary pyromancer: the same general idea, but on fire) and a few grasping and/or attacking claw variants, such as Caligarde's Claw and Manshoon's Xorn Talons. There are also more tricky and obscure spells like Halaster's Grappling Hand (door-sized force hand selectively intercepting magical attacks and creatures with magic items, but passing through non-magical matter) or Duhlark's Long Reach (large arm remotely formed from any present material that can grab, smash or pull and conducts spells like Spectral Hand).
- Crawling claws, a mindless, weak, but usually swarming monster originally from Forgotten Realms — an animated severed hand in any shape from fresh to skeletal. It doesn't count as a proper undead, just a construct, thus is not turnable and even good wizards sometimes make one or two dozens. Mostly used as a guardian, but there's a more useful flying variety which can grasp and move at once, so those who can make them get hovering testtube holders and suchlike. The vampiric variant, though, is much nastier.
- In CD&D, a powerful form of undead known as the druj exists, which takes the form of animated body parts: either eyes, skulls, or this trope.
- The advantage Independent Body Parts from GURPS: Powers.
- In Munchkin, the Crawling Hand is an Undead monster; it can be fought normally, or, if you give it an item, it becomes your pet crawling hand and gives you a combat bonus.
- In some scenarios of Mansions of Madness dead bodies spawn 2 autonomous hands under GM's control. These buggers are more annoying than all the zombies and demons combined.
- Master Hand and Crazy Hand from Super Smash Bros. are giant, disembodied, floating, gloved hands.
- The iconic Choking Hands from Blood.
- One of these is available as a non-combat pet in World of Warcraft.
- Guybrush's left hand gains a mind of its own when it's infected by the Pox of LeChuck in Tales of Monkey Island, and acts on its own whether or not it's attached to Guybrush's arm.
- The Floormaster and Wallmaster enemy types in The Legend of Zelda games resemble gigantic disembodied monster hands.
- Dead Space has this as a major issue with one of its enemies.
- In Post-2014 Dwarf Fortress, severing body parts from the undead renders them inanimate, but necromancers and mummies can easily reanimate the body parts so long as they have a part capable of grasping (i.e. hands, mouths, pincers). They can even do this to body parts severed from living beings, so adventures can find themselves in the unlucky circumstance of having to fight their own severed arm.
- Tibia has Hands of Cursed Fate, which are human-sized purple hands. They're one of the strongest enemies from the unnamed Demon dimension and, by extension, in the entire game.
- In Baten Kaitos Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean you have the Develish Hands and their family of monsters. Unusual in that they're two hands, fused together at the bottom of the palm, and they crawl along akin to a Giant Spider.
- The old Infocom text adventure The Lurking Horror had one, in the form of an amputated human hand you could reanimate. It's actually very helpful to you, and is key for surviving some of the late game challenges, including helping you defeat the Final Boss.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Hands on a Hamburger", Master Shake detaches his hand/glove so he can go to the bathroom while still technically touching the giant hamburger. This startles Frylock, who apparently didn't know Shake could do that.
- In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, the eponymous school has a butler who is a floating white hand.
- In the Gravity Falls episode "Little Gift Shop of Horror", one segment involves Grunkle Stan's hands getting stolen by a "Handwitch", who has a veritable army of disembodied hands at her beck and call.