Torturer: Just give us the answers we want and I'll stop.Torture Always Works, of course, but there are some cases when that doesn't happen: Normally, because the torturer got a little excited and started torturing before asking any questions. Note that this isn't about when the torturer has no desire to actually learn any information; that's a subversion of Torture Always Works. This is when the torturer wants information, they think the victim has it, and they want to torture the victim first to soften him up or inflict punishment before getting to the questioning. Or maybe they just want to show the victim they're serious about inflicting pain. Compare Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, which is about interrogating by torture, Torture for Fun and Information, which is about being into interrogating by torture.
Torg: YOU HAVEN'T ASKED ME ANYTHING YET!
Torg: YOU HAVEN'T ASKED ME ANYTHING YET!
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Hange Zoë, from Attack on Titan does this when trying to "interrogate" a corrupt Military Police member. Specifically, she starts ripping out the man's fingernails without asking him any questions, as she's never tortured a human before. The man even lampshades this.
- Happens with the pair of wrestling sisters in Futaba-kun Change!. They beat people up for information, but forget to ask the question before beginning the beating, so the poor victim has no idea why he's being beaten.
- This is a common for Kakihara on Ichi the Killer as torturing is his hobby. He makes sport out of starting to torment his victims right off the bat to break them before they can even get to tell the information they're getting tortured for!
- In Kick-Ass, the titular character gets tortured for information by having a car battery attached to his nuts. He immediately folds, letting them know that he'll tell them anything, but is informed that the questioning won't start for another 20 minutes yet.
- One of the many running gags in Groo the Wanderer. He enjoys slaying and sometimes when he greatly needs information from someone he kills them first. Afterwards, he reminds himself that he should ask questions first next time.
- In Trolls De Troy, it's once said that past a certain level of pain, the victim can guess the question without help (and if they're wrong, that extra info can always be useful).
- In an Astérix and Obelix book, Obelix starts hitting a suspect upside the head while demanding "Aren't you going to answer? Well, aren't you?" Asterix points out that they haven't asked him anything yet.
- In Pan's Labyrinth, Vidal does this intentionally to one of the captured guerillas. It's because he claims that he won't believe anything the guerilla says unless it's a result of torture. The rebel does talk a little as a result, but it's flat-out implied that Vidal doesn't necessarily believe what he says, he just does it anyway, because he can. There's a good reason why Vidal is considered one of the worst villains to grace 21st century screens.
- Darth Vader tortures Han Solo to within an inch of his life in The Empire Strikes Back. When Han is taken back to his cell, he weakly remarks that they didn't ask any questions. This is because Vader doesn't want any information from Solo (or Chewbacca, who is tortured with high-frequency sound). He just wants Luke to sense the suffering of his friends and come to Bespin to rescue them; also, to test whether Han Solo can endure the painful process of being encased in carbonite.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel (under possession of his evil former self, Angelus) took a time-out from his impending world domination to blithely torture Giles, who may or may not have the information needed to help him, because it had been hundreds of years since Angelus last tortured somebody. He openly admits he hopes Giles is either ignorant or defiant, because it'll give him an excuse to torture him longer.
"I mean, the last time I did it, they didn't even have chainsaws.''
- In the pilot episode of You Have Been Watching, Charlie Brooker played a clip from 24 where Jack Bauer threatens to shove a towel all the way down a guy's throat, leave it for a few days to work its way into his stomach lining, and then pull it out. David Mitchell asked, "At what point in that scenario is he supposed to talk?"
- Foyle's War:
- In an episode, the murderer plays Russian Roulette on a guy he wants information from, and kills him on the third try before he hears what he needs. Judging by his Oh Crap! face, he didn't really consider this as a possibility.
- In another episode, Foyle is investigating the death of a conscientious objector. From one look at the guy's former cell, he deduces that the poor sod was hosed down until his weak heart gave out. Nobody actually wanted to ask the guy any questions - they just wanted to punish him for not wanting to go and get killed. Foyle's disgust at the torturers is palpable.
- In Agent Carter, the Jerk Ass Agent Thompson plays the bad cop in questioning a Leviathan agent. He brings in a carrot and a stick and after the suspect says that he won't talk, Thompson responds to the effect that he doesn't expect him too, and then has him bite down on the stick before proceeding to pummel him.
- Doctor Who. Strax (the Battle Butler of the Paternoster Gang) is fond of this trope. Being a Sontaran Warrior the subtleties of criminal investigation are often beyond him.
"Suggest we melt his brain using projectile acid fish, and then interrogate him! [beat] Other way round..."
- The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth. KGB thugs torture a Dutch fence of stolen diamonds by Hand Gagging him and breaking his fingers one by one. When the thug takes his hand away, the fence is begging to be asked questions.
- Captain Geary actually questions his senior Intelligence officer to make certain the Alliance hasn't started doing this while he was busy being a Human Popsicle, to which the young lieutenant responds that of course they don't; that sort of thing spoils the lie detector results. Having just caught his subordinates preparing to leave enemy crewmembers tied up on the captured ship he'd ordered them to scuttle, Geary is slightly reassured by this.
- Silverstar, a psychotic elven rogue added in one Baldurs Gate 2 mod did this during a sub-quest.
- In the first Assassins Creed, in order to interrogate someone, you must first beat them into submission. Note that you can't just ask them what you want to know before you start attacking them.
- In the second one, you usually have to fatally stab them. The conspirators get very generous with their Last Words, apparently.
- Volgin in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater winds up actually giving critical information to the interrogated during the torture scene. Fittingly, this is who Ocelot, shown in Metal Gear Solid to be almost as incompetent at torture, learns torture from.
- Lampshaded, of course, in Hi Im Daisy's Metal Gear comics
Ocelot: Well, I guess I'm gonna torture you now.
Snake: But I don't have any information.
Ocelot: That's okay. I just need someone to talk to.
- Actually, Ocelot was a quite competent torturer. He killed the DARPA chief on purpose and, unless the player has thumbs of steel, he breaks Snake.
- Lampshaded, of course, in Hi Im Daisy's Metal Gear comics
- Played for Laughs in Armed and Dangerous when the Big Bad's new torturer decides to 'soften up' one of the captives before interrogation by pulling out his tongue. For some strange reason, he doesn't say a word during the interrogation. The torturer then picks another prisoner and replaces his head with a large cauliflower, but for some reason he doesn't say a word either.
- In Grand Theft Auto V, both the IAA and the FIB torture Mr. K on the grounds that he knows the whereabouts of a suspected terrorist. However, they just skip straight to the torture before asking him anything, even going so far as to cut him off when he's will to provide details they want.
- Mike engage in a bit of this in the Bob and George when trying to interrogate Bob.
- In Sluggy Freelance Hereti Corp got a little bit too enthusiastic when trying to get information out of Torg.
- When they figure this out, Torg and the interrogators share a somewhat hysterical fit of the giggles. Hey, they're infectious.
- Looking for Group: Richard isn't good at interrogations. Neither is Sooba.
- Bangladesh Dupree does this in Girl Genius when interrogating the circus.
- Invoked in Exterminatus Now with Lothar. They just played it for Bad Cop / Worse Cop, though.
- From Remus:
Seth: You know, usually, that was where I'd offer you a way out. But to be honest, I don't really expect you to talk no matter what I do to you. So just for you, I think I'll skip the rest of the official routine... avoid wasting my time with more pointless questions... and allow myself a little bit of fun.
- In The Last Days Of FOXHOUND, Baker tries to avoid being tortured by Ocelot by immediately giving Ocelot the information he's looking for. Ocelot informs Baker that he doesn't operate like that:
Ocelot: I can't trust any information you give me until I'm sure you're not capable of concentrating hard enough to lie.
- Bloodrose from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth:
Bloodrose: It's amazing what a man will tell you when you're beating him over the head with his own spine.
Katherina: What'd he say?
Bloodrose: Hm? I don't know; I don't speak Hoard.
Katherina: Then what was the point of torturing him?!
Bloodrose: I don't understand the question.
- A variation of this tends to happen in Time Squad, for example where the Power Trio must help Confucius, who instead of writing short maxims to express his Aesops, writes books thicker than a dictionary to convey them. Officer Buck Tuddrussel tries to fix this the only way he knows how: by beating the Chinese sage repeatedly within an inch of his life until he changes his ways. At the end, it was revealed that the reason Confucius kept writing long anecdotes despite his beatings was because Buck forgot to tell him what he was supposed to do instead, having bothered only with the violence.