"Monsters are tragic beings. They are born too tall, too strong, too heavy. They are not evil by choice. That is their tragedy."Mostly, a monster is something like what we call evil, and it has a plan and wants to inflict pain. Either that, or it operates on a value system completely alien to ours, and inflicting pain is a completely unimportant by-product. Sometimes, however, it is just as unable to comprehend itself as you are, and it's filled with pain, horror, and disgust for itself. It just wants to be put out of its misery. What happens when a monster must scream, but rather than being trapped with no way to fix it, they can (and do) lash out. They may be trying to get help and not understand that they're hurting people, or they're trying to provoke someone into killing them, or they just want everyone else to feel as bad as they do. They'll eventually meet The Hero who fights back and releases them from their pain (if they get a happy ending — living on like this is a much worse fate). The hero may or may not realize after the thing is dead that he just did it a service. Not to be confused with a monster which is being tortured by some other entity. Prone to Monster Sob Story, Cry for the Devil, Alas, Poor Villain, Apologetic Attacker, and Mercy Kill (on the receiving end). The Monster from Beyond the Veil varieties of Came Back Wrong can be this; can also be the end result of The Punishment or To the Pain. Often found in a Tragic Monster. This is not just a mutilated or disgusting thing that wants to die — it must be able to do damage.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Alexander/Nina Chimera acts like this, even mentioning that something feels wrong. (Un?)fortunately for it, Scar gives it a Mercy Kill when he sees it.
- The Mannequin Soldiers. Cannibalistic undead souls in artificial bodies who can only say "I'm hungry" and "it hurts".
- Digimon Adventure has Apocalymon, a Digimon made from the leftover bits of Digimon who died failing to digivolve, the dead ends that occurred before the title Mons reached their current forms. He is filled with their combined pain and misery and wishes to wreak misery on the entire world - both of them - because... misery really does love company, apparently.
- Arguably the Witches of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- The Titans in Attack on Titan are slowly being revealed as this. Someone or something has transformed humans into twisted, stories-tall caricatures of themselves while their minds remain trapped in what is described as an endless nightmare. It's even speculated now that their reason for eating humans is a desperate and instinctive effort at curing themselves.
- In Heaven's Feel, Rider/Medusa is drinking an unconscious girl's blood when the hero meets her...but before fighting him, she gently rests the girl against a nearby wall.
- Anthrax in Requiem Vampire Knight is a humongous mutant who's essentially unkillable as he regenerates all wounds. However, when Requiem uses a spell on him that reveals his deepest desires, he proceeds to jump off a skyscraper.
- In Matt Fraction's Defenders opening arc, the monster Nul is one of these.
- Invoked by the evil wizard in a "Mickey Mouse in medieval fantasy" comic as part of a Xanatos Gambit based on You Kill It, You Bought It and magic transformation: The wizard employs a fierce dragon as a guardian. However, the dragon is actually a cursed knight, and if someone should be able to defeat it, it will revert to its normal form and the one who defeated it will transform in its place. The transformed dragon, apparently remaining semi-intelligent as well as becoming altruistic, will fight fiercely precisely so that no-one else will be forced to take its place.
- Galactus is often presented this way. Despite being a Planet Eater, he has no desire to actually eat planets and regrets his actions, as he Was Once a Man in the universe that existed before the current one and only does so to survive. And if this still sounds unsympathetic and selfish, it has been shown several times that doing away with Galactus (who is something of a universal constant, almost on par with the Anthropomorphic Personifications of concepts such as Time and Space) instead of letting him be is by far the worst of the two options.
- A few of the Marvel Zombies are like this, particularly Spider-Man, who still feels guilty over his Horror Hunger. Most of them, however, just accept what they've become and even come to enjoy it.
- The Bleach fic "Winter War" has Aizen doing this to captured Shinigami. As if merging them with their Zanpakuto wasn't bad enough, just wait until we see Hitsugaya, left as a jumble of icy wings and claws that can't even talk because of how badly he got broken, yet still all he wants is to protect an understandably horrified Momo.
- Imperfect Metamorphosis has Rin Satsuki.
- The rusalka in The Incredibly Thrilling Investigation of Storm Kicker, which uses Mind Control to enslave ponies in order to alleviate its crushing loneliness. Deconstructed, as it’s stated that even though a Tortured Monster is tortured, it’s still a monster. It doesn’t matter why the rusalka is enslaving and killing ponies, only that it is.
Film — Animated
- In Coraline, both the Other Father and the Other Wybie were created by the Other Mother to lure Coraline in, but clearly feel conflicted about that and seem to care about her. Both pull Heroic Sacrifices to save her.
- ParaNorman reveals that the witch's ghost is actually a terrified little girl named Aggie Pendergast who could see ghosts just like Norman. Several centuries ago, she was hanged because the other townsfolk feared her powers, and now she's lashing out in anger and fear.
Film — Live-Action
- Frankenstein's Monster, specifically in Bride of Frankenstein where he blows himself and his bride up with the comment, "we belong dead."
- In The Fly (1986), the monster — Seth Brundle post-Tele-Frag — is confronted by a shotgun - wielding Veronica Quaife, and grabs the business end of the shotgun and places it against its head.
- According to Word of God the Monster in Cloverfield was a terrified infant, looking for its mother.
- Godzilla, especially in the original 1954 film. His actions throughout the film are basically him getting revenge on humanity for mutating him via nuclear bomb testing. Word of God even states that he's just as much a victim as anyone else in the film.
- The Night Flier: Dwight may be a bloodthirsty monster who massacres people by the dozens, but there are hints dropped throughout the movie that he loathes what he has become, being forced to live in a maggot-infested aeroplane traveling from airport to airport in search in prey. At the end he also seems to regret killing the protagonist after previous attempts to warn him off.
- In the Werner Herzog remake of Nosferatu, Count Dracula is portrayed as a miserable, pitiful, self-loathing creature.
- One possible interpretation of the room in 1408, if you believe the fire killed it, as several of the endings imply. Twice it flashes the phrase "burn me alive" at Mike, which eventually he does, the only inhabitant of the room to try arson.
- Grendel from the 2007 film adaptation of Beowulf is driven to his rampage not only by his hunger, but also by an apparent case of extreme misophonia triggered by the noise of revelry at Hrothgar's mead hall. His numerous deformities also appear to leave him in almost constant pain.
- The protagonist of the Canadian horror film Afflicted was terminally ill before a vampire took pity on him and turned him. It turns out to be a horrible mistake. While it does cure his disease, his particular kind of vampirism is a very nasty kind: he cannot survive on anything except human blood, and if he goes too long without feeding, he will turn into a mindless killing machine until sated. Unfortunately, he also cannot end his suffering by any conventional means.
- The Void: One of the monsters is seen trying to kill itself, and failing miserably at it. Powell notes that these are his "experiments", and he simply won't let them die.
- The wolf in Witches Abroad, which was once a normal wolf but was twisted by the villain's magic, making it intelligent, dangerous, and horrified by its own existence. It's generally a bad idea to grant sapience to an animal that spends most of its waking life hunting other animals.
- The Hiver in A Hat Full of Sky is a bare awareness that is terrified of its awareness of everything around it and seeks refuge in living beings' more limited minds, in which, due to its nature, it unintentionally becomes a terrifying possessing presence. The protagonist helps it find a self of its own, which enables it to finally die.
- Played with in Thief of Time. One of the Auditors, beings who abhor any sense of individuality, takes on a human form and gets to like it. However, they recognize how wrong this is and consider themselves insane, while still being too attached to life to give it up. For the Auditors being human is this trope.
- The Creature in the original Frankenstein novel is a very intelligent creature that is fully aware of how hideous and repulsive he is. Anything wrong he does is borne out of bitterness from how people treat him.
- In Mio My Son by Astrid Lindgren the Big Bad has a heart of stone. He is in constant agony from how his stone heart chafes in his chest, and begs to be killed at the end.
No-one hates Sir Kato more than Sir Kato himself!
- Haliax in The Name of the Wind is a perfect example of this trope. After his lover died, he tried bringing her back, but ended up depressed and suicidal - but unable to die. He ended up insane and now goes around killing anybody who knows his name.
- Nyarlathotep from the Cthulhu Mythos may be an example. It is known that he despises the Outer Gods, but his very nature (being the personification of their will) would make him unable to go against their will. So it is theorised by some that his habit of spreading chaos and generally being a dick is caused by him taking out his frustration with his "job" on those weaker than him.
- The Crippled God of Malazan Book of the Fallen was used as the colony in a mystical Colony Drop. It couldn't die, but the damage done to its body is so severe that it never fully healed. After millennia, it's finally reaching into the world and is sharing its pain with the mortal races.
- Dark magic caused Shruikan from the Inheritance Cycle to go batshit insane and become like this.
- When she first appears in Finn Family Moomintroll, the Groke appears as a terrifying monster and a bit of a jerk to boot, and in other appearances after that she's just a generic malicious monster. Several novels later, though, it's revealed that she is not merely a heartless monster, but desperately lonely and cold, wanting nothing more than to be warm, to make friends and to live in the light. But since she's something like an Elemental Embodiment of the cold and dark, she can't ever have any friends — they run away from her because she is so very cold that she fatally freezes everything she touches — and, for the same reason, she can never be warmed. In one of her earliest scenes, she sits down right atop a blazing fire and immediately extinguishes it. She's that cold. Since she's been shown as both actively hostile and lonely, there could be a metaphor in her literal coldness driving everyone away.
- The Sword of Truth series have the Mord-Sith, a caste of Torture Technicians created by taking the nicest girls in all the realm and breaking them over several years of torture. The most skilled of them, Denna, was told by the Big Bad of the first book that he can send her to capture the protagonist of the series, but the prophecies state there is a good chance he will kill her one day. She begged to go.
- Doctor Who:
- The Daleks are bred and conditioned to view all other forms of life as a threat, and spend their entire lives sealed in a war machine. Take this quote from the Doctor in "Doomsday".
"Technology using the one thing a Dalek can't do — touch. Sealed inside your casing. Not feeling anything... ever. From birth to death, locked in a cold metal cage. Completely alone. And that explains your voice! No wonder you scream."
- The Twelfth Doctor's era leans further into this, showing that their machines periodically mind-wipe them to prevent them questioning orders, and their vocalisers won't even allow them to express concepts like love or friendship. Oh, and any Dalek that lives to see "old age" gets flushed into their sewers as Meat Moss.
- The Minotaur from "The God Complex." It was a creature that fed on the faith of other creatures, and hated its own existence. However, it was a being of instinct, and could not help pursuing its food source whenever one appeared. The Doctor allowed it to die by cutting off its food supply by destroying Amy's faith in him. At the end of the episode, it also explicitly compares itself to the Doctor.
- The Cybermen went from being an implied case of this in the Classic Who seriesnote to an explicit case in the New Who series. The "cross-dimensional" Cybermen were victims of one madman's obsession with "perfecting" humanity, and were only able to survive because of their emotion suppressors; when these were shut down, they invariably killed themselves out of horror at their transformation.
- The 12th Doctor amps up this attitude, with both a more tragic portrayal of the Mondasian Cybermen - victims of hideously cruel medical experiments by doctors who figured shutting off their emotion centers was better than fixing the fact they were in hideous pain - and by retconning that Cybermen are a recurring constant throughout time and space; wherever cybernetic integration technology develops, it will be misused and give rise to a breed of Cybermen.
- The Daleks are bred and conditioned to view all other forms of life as a threat, and spend their entire lives sealed in a war machine. Take this quote from the Doctor in "Doomsday".
- In the Toku show GARO, the Monsters of the week are humans possessed by demonic entities called Horrors. Whenever a human is possessed by a Horror, they will feel excruciating pain. They all get the Mercy Kill.
- Dino Attack RPG:
- To a degree, all the Mutant Dinosaurs can qualify for this trope. They would not be actively malicious if it weren't for the Maelstrom constantly hurting them and thus driving their urges to lash out and destroy everything in their anger and confusion.
- Dr. Rex after Baron Typhonus's Divine Intervention, which left him perpetually in a Fate Worse Than Death. He wanted nothing more than to die, but was left with no choice but to continue battling Dino Attack Team.
- In Warhammer, Count Mordrek the Damned was a special character, a Champion of Chaos who was constantly mutating randomly under his armour and would always be brought back to life any time he died. His main hope was that he wouldn't be, but there's probably not much hope for the Chaos Gods to stop messing around with someone.
- A similarly immortal character appears in Primogenitor, a novel starring Fabius Bile. Bile comments that he once dissected him down to the atomic level trying to learn the secret of his immortality. His assistant comments that it's no wonder the immortal hates Bile, and Bile corrects him: the immortal's angry because Bile wasn't able to kill him.
- In Warhammer 40,000 Dark Eldar Talos is the most literal example possible. It's a mini-mecha/torture device, piloted by some poor SOB, who's being held prisoner inside the machine and submitted to unimaginable torment by it. The pain only subsides when Talos is engaged in battle, ensuring that Taloses will fight with outmost ferocity and zero regard to their safety.
- Later editions changed the unit's look and fluff so that the poor SOB isn't the pilot of the Talos... they ARE the Talos.
- The Neverborn in Exalted really, really want to die, to end their eternal torment and insanity. Sadly, they can't. As a result, their agents work to destroy the world so that they can finally fade away.
- Sin from Final Fantasy X. Whoever chooses to become the Final Aeon becomes the next Sin, killing everyone it comes across and unable to stop it.
- In Brütal Legend, the summonable but uncontrollable Tainted Coil unit named "Bleeding Death" may be this: it is a perversion of nature (and the single strongest non-Hero Unit in the game), which is slowly dying, so its attacks are merely expressions of its agony.
- The zombies from Half-Life are humans who have been turned into People Puppets and mutated by the parasitoid headcrabs attached to their heads. In the second game they can be heard screaming for help as they attack you (although it's implied this may be a subversion - that the headcrab is mindlessly parroting the last words its host made).
- Many Silent Hill monsters can be interpreted this way, particularly the God in Silent Hill 3. Prematurely born, cast in a grotesque image of the burned girl Alessa, all it does is writhe in agony and attempt to blindly flail at the player as though it desires to be put out of its misery.
- Giygas of EarthBound : "...It hurts, ...it hurts... Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness..."
- The character of Harold from the Fallout series. He's a mutated human, and one of the only characters to appear across multiple games. In his first appearance he looked similar to a ghoul with a tree growing out of his head. By Fallout 3, he's a tree with a head growing out of its trunk, and he's rooted to the dirt. Surrounded by the only patch of green vegetation left in the entire Capital Wasteland, he is worshipped by a nature-loving cult called the Treeminders. Being rooted to one spot for eternity is obviously agonizingly boring, and thus Harold asks to be put out of his misery. The Treeminders misinterpret his pleas for release as "tests of their faith", and do everything they can to nurture him and keep him safe. The Lone Wanderer can decide his fate: grant Harold's request for a merciful death, grant the request of one Treeminder who wants the vegetation growth caused by Harold to spread throughout the entire Wasteland so that everyone can enjoy it, or grant the request of another Treeminder who wants to keep the vegetation contained to the area because they feel the cult is the only one who respects it enough to deserve it, or take the sole Evil option and give Harold an unmerciful death by burning him alive.
- In the remake of Resident Evil, Lisa Trevor is a twisted mockery of a woman who's been trapped in a constantly-mutating, undying body for thirty years, and was driven insane by her ordeal a long time ago.
- The victims of The Many in System Shock 2. They can often be heard begging you to run or to kill them even as they attack.
- Gergoth in the Castlevania series is mentioned in the in-game bestiaries as once having been gentle, but having lost its mind to insanity due to torture and imprisonment.
- The Forgotten one is also a good example.
- Cave Story's example is Ballos, the game's True Final Boss.
- Mantorok the "Corpse God" in Eternal Darkness was sentenced to a long and painful death by another god's champion, Pious. Despite (eventually) dying, he gets his revenge over the other Eldritch Abominations that use Pious, through a multi-dimensional centuries-spanning plot involving numerous player characters.
- The Handymen in BioShock Infinite were originally injured or terminally ill Columbian citizens who were grafted into huge, primitive cyborg bodies in an attempt to save their lives. However, their new bodies render them in constant, agonising pain and keep them from sleeping, and most of their "taunts" in battle are either loud laments about their situation or begging Booker to simply leave them alone.
- Or, if you're hanging from a skyline, warnings to "Get Down!"
- Painwheel from Skullgirls, most definitely. She used to be an ordinary girl called Carol before she was kidnapped, taken to a laboratory, implanted with synthetic symbiotes, and infused with a synthetic serum in order to serve as a weapon against an Eldritch Abomination. The end result left her in constant pain, unstable, and violent, so she was placed under Mind Control. Not terribly surprisingly, her story mode concerns her attempts to break free and go home.
- The Hecatomb in Phantasmagoria 2 turns out to be the original Curtis Craig, sacrificed to the aliens by Paul Allen Warner. He has been encased in their organic matter and mutated to the point that his organs are outside his body and he will die if his biomask is removed. In his torment he uses his psychic powers to lash out at everyone he can and tries to drive alien Curtis to madness for inadvertently stealing his life.
- World of Warcraft has Ordos, an ancient yaungol who is in a state of eternal agony due to his body being wreathed in fire.
- Borderlands 2 has Krieg, once a heroic individual turned into a Psycho through brutal experimentation that destroyed his sanity. Whatever remnants of his former self is left as a simple voice in his head who attempts to steer himself towards "the deserving" and away from the innocent, even swearing to commit suicide if he ever sheds innocent blood. Similarly, his primary motivation for being a Vault Hunter is because he's in love with Maya and sees her as the one who can make him sane one day.
- Flame Hyenard in Mega Man X7, who complains about being in pain and delusionally believes that killing the Maverick Hunters will end his suffering.
- Tormented Demons in RuneScape are demons affected by a curse that makes them far stronger than regular demons by causing them to be in constant agony. Their flesh is constantly healing and being burned away by flames.
- In Our Little Adventure's pantheon page, Tlodnal is a god that was eternally afflicted with torture, and suicide never releases him from his pain since he is immortal. Eventually the torture he endured and the evil surrounding him warped the child into an Eldritch Abomination.
- Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court is a Humanoid Abomination of some sort who has what appears to be a mix of schizophrenia/hallucinations and Reality Warper powers. Her eyes are constantly covered by black muck and her teeth are razor sharp, giving her a very discomforting appearance. She also has a rather unpleasant personality. She can't control her powers, though, and even in her lucid, sane moments she has a constant "static buzzing" noise in her head that drives her up the wall. She's also abrasive toward most people in an attempt to keep them away from her for their own safety. Her only relief comes from her best friend Gamma, whose presence dampens Zimmy's powers (while she's awake, anyway), or in natural rain storms, which washes away the muck in her eyes and grants her a totally clear head. Zimmy really likes rain.
- In Stand Still, Stay Silent all of the infected were once normal humans or animals, hideously mutated, still conscious, driven to attack those around them. When a giant (an amalgamation of many infected creatures into one) is split apart, one component of its arm is recognizable as a shriveled, blackened head still wearing earrings, which begs for help.
- In The Order of the Stick, Crystal became this after she was brought Back from the Dead to hunt down the Order and was turned into a flesh golem suffering constant pain. Since there was no way to cure her pain or stop her from attacking innocents, the good guys threw her into a lava pit.
- More than a few SCPs, especially the ones that are or were humanlike. On the more tortured end of the scale, you have ones like 191 (a little girl who was sloppily turned into a cyborg, who can no longer speak and seems to be in constant pain); on the more abominable end, you have 682, a monster that wants to kill everything because it finds life on Earth horrifying and disgusting. 682 gets its fair share of torture too. Its containment procedures include being dunked in acid on a regular basis to keep it from mounting escape attempts (which is only partially successful given how often it escapes). It's also one of the only SCPs that the Foundation wants to destroy, not merely contain. They have tried to kill it many, many times, usually with other SCPs. 682's existence in the Foundation consists of constant torture and frequent attempts on its life.
- DSBT InsaniT: Killer Monster was destined for evil, and even thogh he and Koden tried their best to prevent this, You Can't Fight Fate. This has left him extremely bitter and violent.
- South Park:
- Stan falls in with a bunch of extreme environmentalists who marry animals. The "child" of such a pair - a man and an ostrich - can only say "kill me."
- This is also said by one of the failed Towelie clones in "Towelie".
- Not started outright in Generator Rex, but heavily implied; most people who've gone EVO seem to become insane, rampaging beasts, and generally seem very happy to be cured.
- Paper Jam Dipper from the Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper" is a shrieking, sputtering Body Horror created during a Magic Photocopier mishap. It can only say 'Nyang!' in an agonized scream and seems to welcome its death-by-melting.
Paper Jam Dipper (translated): It's better this way for Paper Jam Dipper.
- The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XII does a parody of Harry Potter, where Bart at one point attempts to turn a frog into a prince. He bungles the spell and creates a "sin against nature" unable to do anything except vomit and claim to be in pain.
- In the Samurai Jack episode "The Lava Monster" the eponymous monster was a warrior, imprisoned in the rockbed by Aku. The only way for him to escape and ascend to Valhalla was to be slain in a combat. To this end he shaped his prison into a deadly labyrinth that only a great warrior could traverse, and began to lure passers-by into it in the hope that one of them would release him.
- In the American Dad! Thanksgiving episode "Kung Pao Turkey", when Stan is watching football, it's shown that FOX created a living turducken that's a genetic mashup of a chicken, turkey, and duck, with the announcer saying verbatim that its every waking moment is agony.
- The gem mutants in Steven Universe are this, considering their first appearance has one crying out in pain as silhouettes of its original forms appear before it fully forms, and it wasn't hostile, only clinging on to Garnet as if it recognized her and was begging for help.
- In the Family Guy episode "Into Harmony's Way", the Griffins are watching a satire of Muppet Babies where Kermit and Miss Piggy are looking at Kermit Jr., a frog-pig hybrid who yells "Kill me! I'm in constant pain!"