The concept of a Shock Collar is simple: A character is forced to wear a Slave Collar
or torc and when he does something undesirable, as designated by whoever put the collar on him, he is shocked. Such things exist in real life for dogs, but it is more likely that the trope is in use as a way to replicate the iron slave collar with a Speculative Fiction
How it actually works is nearly always undefined. It's a metal ring, it hurts, end of statement. Sometimes it is electricity for some Electric Torture
, sometimes it's a generic Agony Beam
generated by some alien Techno Babble
. It makes a good Restraining Bolt
for the plot, you can even spin some plot lines out of how to get it off (especially if it's designed to go off automatically if tampered with), and sometimes it'll have the added feature of being able to be pumped up to deadly levels so that it can also be, effectively, an Explosive Leash
. On other occasions, expect some fun with Pavlovian conditioning.
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Anime & Manga
- This happened in Mahou Sensei Negima! to the girls under slavery in the magical world.
- In Slayers, captured Lina Inverse was restrained by a circlet that zapped her when she tried to use magic. They really haven't a slightest idea what her big sister used to put her through, however...
- InuYasha has a collar of enchanted prayer beads (or rosary) designed to make him hit the ground whenever Kagome says "Osuwari" or "Sit" / "Sit, boy". Kagome is an easily pissed off Tsundere Type B. Bad day for InuYasha.
- Yaoi series Ai no Kusabi's plot revolves around how Badass Biker Riki was made into a Sex Slave by Iason Mink. Each "Pet" gets an identity ring in the standard form of jewelry like earrings, necklaces and such. Iason uniquely makes Riki's a cock ring which doubles as a Restraining Bolt Shock Collar whenever Riki rebels. Which is often.
- In the "Queen of the Adriatic Sea Arc" in A Certain Magical Index, several of Biagio Busoni's enslaved nuns are forced to wear enchanted clothing that causes them incredible pain if they try to escape or use magic. Sisters Lucia and Angeline manage to modify their clothes to power up their magic instead, but they still experience pain when they get out. Touma's Imagine Breaker is used to destroy them.
- The Caged Bird Seal of the Hyuga clan in Naruto works this way, in addition to sealing off the Byakugan after the wearer's death. With a single gesture, a main branch member can cause agonizing pain to a branch member who even seems to be acting out of line.
- In Captain Earth, Daichi, Teppei, and Hana are briefly forced to wear "lead gear", a headset-like device that causes them pain if they try to venture too far from the military base where they're quartered, or at the press of a switch. Daichi braves his way out of the perimeter, summons his Livlaster, and blows the broadcast antenna away.
- The more villainous members of DC's Suicide Squad were fitted with these on missions. If they got too out of line, the collar could also be commanded to blow off their heads.
- 1980's British Starblazer.
- The Slave Collar had variable pain settings to punish wearers who disobeyed their owner.
- Issue 157 "Warworld", The Valk put headbands on their prisoners that can inflict any level of pain on their victims, up to and including death.
- This fanfic shows Eridan being put in a shock collar to stop him swearing. Unfortunately, said collar was made by Equius, and so it sets off at "darn". Eridan eventually resorts to "Goodness, you've cracked my skull!"
- In Coneheads, the two humans are carted off to the Conehead homeworld and kept in check by a collar with glowy red lights.
- The eponymous hero wears one in Hell Comes to Frogtown.
- Cartman has a V-chip implanted in his skull in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. It sends out an electric jolt when he swears, in an effort to make him stop swearing. It, for the most part, doesn't work; towards the end of the movie, it even turns into a Deus ex Machina when the chip shorts and Cartman gains lightning powers as a result.
- In the 1996 version of The Island of Doctor Moreau, all of the beast-folk have an implant that causes them excruciating pain when a remote control is triggered. This system of keeping them in check backfires when the Hyena-Swine figures this out and removes his own implant, then steals the control device to use it to dominate the others.
- In Crank High Voltage, Chev Chelios encounters two assholes that are torturing a dog with a shock collar even though it was obeying their commands. Chev tells them off, takes the collar, and puts it on. He then makes them shock him to power up his artificial heart.
- Saving Silverman used this as a form of aversion therapy - if Darren mentioned his late-girlfriend on a date, he'd get zapped by the stickers on his nipples.
- In Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge note , the Grey Men attach one to James ("Slippery Jim") diGriz, connected by a cable to a control box. It inflicts searing pain by stimulating neurons in the brain.
- Han Solo's Revenge: The Lurrian slaves captured by Magg and Zlarb are chained together, the collars acting as Shock Collars: the slavers can hit the whole string at once in an emergency.
- Jim Butcher's Codex Alera has slave collars that will hurt the slave if they disobey or go against the master's will (to the extent that calling the person "bad" for no reason will hurt them) and send signals of pleasure when the person obeys. They often drive the victim completely insane, and it's played for every possible drop of horror.
- A similar device is used in Parable of the Sower and its sequel, by slavers to keep their slaves in line. Lauren and her community also have these put on them when they are attacked and captured in the second book.
- Voluntary example: In the Dream Park series, Gamers wear remote-control amulets that deliver a mild electrical stimulus to inform them that they've been killed out of a scenario. The initial shock is merely uncomfortable, but if a player stubbornly refuses to lie down and "die" when the simulation demands it, the voltage can be increased to inflict actual pain. (Presumably they're required to sign a release to allow this.)
- in The Red Vixen Adventures when captured Rolas is given one that triggers if he goes through his cell's door (but not the vents) without the Red Vixen's permission, or if he gets more than five meters away from her when she takes him for a "walk." Ali is fitted with an ankle bracelet that does something similar when she's arrested.
Live Action TV
- Babylon 5
- When the captain of Babylon Five, John Sheridan, found himself captured by the Earth government, who had recently given themselves a little 1984 Shout-Out by setting up the Ministry of Peace, he had a Shock Collar put in place as a Restraining Bolt to explain why he didn't just attack the torturer who was trying to make him
see four lights sign a confession.
- A torturer/assassin makes G'Kar wear one. One of his political enemies on the Kah'Ree had just died, and wished to exact revenge.
- Star Trek: The Original Series had two episodes with collars that inflicted pain:
- Both Twin Peaks and Cheers used the gag in which the wearer of the collar gets hold of its control box and uses it in the mistaken belief that it will shock the other person instead of himself.
- Chiana is wearing one of these when she first appears on Farscape, activated by a button on her handler's forehead. In another episode, the entire crew is fitted with collars- even Pilot.
- In an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Princess Ardala tells Buck that, when he marries her (due to her holding Earth hostage with an invincible Kill Sat), she will have him fitted with a lovely, decorative choke collar. If he displeases her, the collar will gradually constrict until he dies.
- In an episode of Married... with Children, Al Bundy had to wear one.
- These collars are worn by the imprisoned women in the "Gladiatrix" episode of Birds of Prey. It also drugged them to the point of insanity.
- The aliens in The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Rite Of Passage" put shock wristbands on the humans they were raising to prevent them from trying to leave their enclosure. It wasn't due to malice; the woods were full of dangerous creatures.
- Human slaves in Pylea wear these on Angel.
- The beginning of the Sliders episode "In Dino Veritas" is set in a world where all people wear shock collars that prevent them from lying.
- David Cross has to wear one of these at the beginning of the second episode of Mr. Show, as part of a government program monitoring artists. He gets a constant electric shock if he stands on a stage.
- Lily gets the idea of Barney having to wear one (or rather, a cock shock ring) to get him to behave in How I Met Your Mother.
- In one Zits comic, Jeremy's mother forces him to wear a shock collar to stay at home after he breaks curfew one time too many.
- There was a series of Dilbert strips where the employees all had to wear headbands that the boss could use to shock them at will. Dilbert reprogrammed his to redirect its signal to Wally.
- In a case of Shock Collars being used for good, in Batman: Arkham Asylum the inmates have shock collars (dubbed "Suicide Collars") that double as life sign monitors. We see them demonstrated at the beginning as the only thing that can help keep Killer Croc under control in a Chekhov's Gun moment.
- A bit more of a straight use of this trope occurs in the game as well, since The Joker uses them to keep tabs on his goons (and as an alert system to where Batman is or has been) and presumably also uses them when they get too out of line. Batman can also overload the collars with a specialized batarang so that they shock the goon wearing it into unconsciousness.
- In MOTHER 3, Salsa the monkey has a Shock Collar that is used by Fassad to punish him.
- The Kingdom of Loathing Web Game has the Stab Bat, a familiar with the unfortunate habit of stabbing the player rather than the enemy every now and then. The familiar-specific equipment is, appropriately enough, a Shock Collar.
- Dungeon Siege II had your character wearing one near the start, after being captured by dryads.
- Baldur's Gate II has one trippy level where you follow a band of kidnapped actors into a Pocket Dimension where the slaves are kept in line by a magical version of these collars. If you're schmuck enough to fall for the bait, you can pick them up and try them on.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, slave girl Vette has one that the Sith Warrior can choose to abuse. However, you can also remove it for Video Game Caring Potential.
- In Enslaved: Odyssey to the West a slavers' headband is the (initial) reason Monkey goes along with Trip in the plot; in the gameplay it also provides a reason to keep the player character close to Trip at times with the headband programmed to deliver painful shocks that eventually kill you if you wander too far from her.
- In World of Warcraft, Thok The Bloodthisty, a Devilsaur (a T-rex) that's a boss in Siege of Orgrimmar, has a shock collar by the orcs that are trying to tame him as a beast of war. Unfortunately, the shock collar ends up causing damage to the players during the fight by zapping them with electricity.
- In The Gamers Alliance, the Grey Cult uses magical shock collars donated by the Totenkopfs to force captured demons to work in the cult's army as foot soldiers against the cult's enemies...but once a spell ends up disabling the collars, the once enslaved demons lash out horribly and turn against their "masters". It later turns out that the Totenkopfs only used the cult for their own ends to help further test the collars' effectiveness. Once they make some adjustments, they force a few captured higher demons to wear the new, modified collars which will force the demons to work as their more or less loyal minions and use these new lackeys to infiltrate demon hordes so that the Totenkopfs can learn the demons' weaknesses.