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Vertical Kidnapping

Our heroes are patrolling around completely alert but somehow miss the monster on the Ceiling...

Cousin to Neck Lift, this is where a character is lifted up by said monster. Usually the character will be unnaturally silent when this happens, and often they will be dropped moments later very dead, and possibly disemboweled. This often happens to the last person in a group while the main characters aren't paying attention.

It seems every monster worth its salt has Super Strength and a knowledge of Pressure Points.

For the more personal, intimidating version, see Neck Lift. For a horizontal horror equivalent, see Barrier-Busting Blow.

For reasons they may have missed the monster see Behind the Black, No Peripheral Vision and Failed a Spot Check. May also be preceded by a Drool Hello.

If it's done by a Big Badass Bird of Prey, presumably an eagle: it's Kidnapping Bird of Prey.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kyouya of Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever does this to a member of the special forces they're demonstrating against at the beginning of the OAV. With Piano Wire. He "tried not to kill him."
  • Code Geass: Roofzaku, a.k.a. Suzaku dropping down from freaking nowhere to attack two Britannia guards going after Lelouch when he announces himself Emperor.
  • A heroic example in Fullmetal Alchemist: Jerso, a frog-gecko-something/human chimera allied with the heroes, sneaks in via the ceiling in the middle of a hostage situation and yanks the current opponent, the gold-toothed doctor up into the air, enabling the heroes to regain control of their situation.
  • Sorta used in Ranma ½: ''Big Trouble in Nekoron, China", when one of Kirin's henchmen uses his Razor Floss to grab Akane by the arm and pull her up to their airship.
  • Subverted in Tentai Senshi Sunred: The ceiling monsters not only don't capture anyone, but insist on making their presence known by nagging everyone else in the house. Amusingly, instead of a monsterous voice, their voices are girls from a JPOP group.

    Comics 

    Literature 
  • Tarzan made this one of his favored tactics, once he learned how to use a rope. A whole village ended up convinced there was a supernatural force that would yank men up into the trees.
  • Bite Me! by Christopher Moore (third in the series that starts with Bloodsucking Fiends), one of the Animals (the Safeway stock crew) is vertically kidnapped by Chet, the huge vampire kitty. He's pretty much eaten right away, but still.
  • The first book of Galaxy of Fear has people being instantly sucked down into the ground, leaving no trace. Which is still on the vertical axis. Since their footprints in the dirt also vanished, it raised the question of whether those people had been there at all.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Alien series.
    • In Alien, after a Cat Scare.
    • Aliens: When the Colonial Marines are attacked by the aliens under the atmosphere processing plant, one of the aliens grabs Dietrich by the neck and lifts her up (and then takes her away, alive). As she is wielding a flamethrower at the time, she panics and shoots... hitting Frost, who was carrying all the ammunition.
    • In Alien³ the soon-to-be victim is denying that there are any aliens. He experiences vertical kidnapping by the non-existent alien mid-sentence. Cue panic in everybody else in the room, and when all is quiet again, an Atomic F-Bomb.
  • Day of the Dead (2008): A guy is lifted by a zombie in air vent; everyone else only notices when he is thrown down with part of his chest missing.
  • Sort of happens in The Wizard of Oz. Scarecrow laughs off the Cowardly Lion's suggestion that the woods are haunted, then is lifted into the air by an invisible force and dropped back down.
  • Terminator Salvation. A Humongous Mecha reaches down through the roof of an abandoned gas station and starts grabbing people to put in cages.
  • The Phantom rides through the Tree Top Town of the Rope People, who snare the mooks chasing him and dangle them high above the ground.
  • Leon, The Professional, does this to a mook riding the elevator with his strangling cord in a quite famous scene.
  • Batman uses the exaggerated version of this trope in Batman Begins on a mobster.
  • Used in Hollow Man. Apparently being invisible also gives you super strength and grip.
  • In Spider-Man 3 Venom sneaks up on our hero, grabs him by the neck from above and throws him into a girder.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the first episode of LOST, the Oceanic 815 pilot is dragged out of the cabin by an off-screen monster (which was later revealed to have a giant pillar of smoke as its default form).
  • Lexx: In the episode "Lyakka" a humanoid plant woman mesmerizes her victims, before having tentacles descend from the celling and devour them.
  • An episode of the re-imagined The Outer Limits has several people across the world sealed in impenetrable bunkers to act as Dead Man Switches for the global nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenal, when alien ships are detected in the Solar System. When all contact with the outside world is lost, the trapped people assume the worst. Then one of them notices her bunker's ceiling buckling and assumes it's the rescue. As she approaches the hole, black tentacles reach in and grab her.
  • The Day of the Triffids (2009). After Torrence launches his takeover bid, Mason and Cocker are taken out to the woods to be fed to triffids. An armed mook is ordering them out of the back of the truck when triffid venom drops on his shoulder, then one of the Man Eating Plants yanks him screaming into the air.
  • The werewolf from the Doctor Who episode "Tooth and Claw" uses this to punish someone for Tempting Fate. The Ice Warrior in "Cold War" also uses it.
  • In Supernatural the wendigo kills a park ranger this way. Apparently the monster was annoyed about being shot.

    Music Videos 
  • The video for "The Night" by Disturbed features a security guard inspecting a mysterious, inky black energy present throughout the video while the band plays in an underground parking lot. At the end he seems to be picked up and killed in this fashion by the dark while the band leaves on an elevator.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Nightgaunts from Arkham Horror will swoop down on unsuspecting investigators, tickle them into submission, then deposit them into the nearest portal. This can occasionally be beneficial if they let you cross the board or kick you out of the Other World you're exploring.

    Video Games 
  • In Half-Life, enemies on the ceiling called barnacles perform this, grabbing you with their long, rope-like tongues and pulling you up to be eaten. However they aren't too bright, and will attempt this on anything you throw to them, up to and including Exploding Barrels. And even though they never move, and their only means of catching their prey is to lazily just hang their tongue limply below them, you will run into one and get caught, and you will feel like a complete moron for it. And never mind how easy they are to kill—even while they're trying to eat you—they are terrifying
  • The Hidden does a variation on this in Tape 617, a Hidden Source machinima. You can replicate this in the game by landing on someone, stabbing them in the back, then grabbing their body and launching off onto a railing or ledge above. Bonus points if the body is later found pinned to a light fixture being butchered and eaten.
  • In the Street Fighter series, Rolento has the Take No Prisoner supermove. He ducks to pick up a thin wire hidden in the ground, and pulls on it; the wire can be seen "advancing" toward the opponent. After Rolento tugs the wire to hang it from a hook at the top of the screen, the target is then yanked toward Rolento, clutching at their throat. It stands out as a particularly violent move in a game built around beating people to near death in the street.
  • Agent 47 can do this in Hitman, via creative use of his strangling cord and open elevator ceiling panels, in a Shout-Out to The Professional.
  • Nicholai in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis meets his end to Nemesis pulling one of these, during one of the branching end paths.
  • Sam Fisher can do this to unwary guards in Splinter Cell when moving via pipes in the ceiling. You can draw your pistol and shoot while upside-down. In later games, you can choose between a nonlethal (midair choke hold) or lethal (Neck Snap) melee attack. There is also a subversion in the form of the "water snatch".
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, this is again one of the standard moves. Batman snatches a mook and leaves him hanging upside down and yelling for help. For an achievement, Batman can then use a Batarang to cut the rope, dropping the guy onto any friends who came to investigate.
  • Happens to an NPC in Star Trek Elite Force 2.
  • The Smoker from Left 4 Dead.
  • Its possible to kill mooks this way in Tenchu: Shadow Assassins.
  • Bungee Zombies in Plants vs. Zombies do this to your plants, resulting in a One-Hit Kill. Not a big threat, but truly annoying.
    • Also happens to Crazy Dave at the beginning of the battle with Dr. Zomboss. He shows up again in the post-victory music video, though.
    • Capsule Cages in Mini Robot Wars do this to your Minirobots in a similar way and in even greater numbers, but stay much longer and are easy to handle.
  • A variation plays in the first Starcraft during a cutscene, a squad of Terran Marines are aboard the science vessel Amerigo on a mission to destroy it owing to the previous mission. Alongside their nuclear warhead, they also packed drinks in the ice surrounding the warhead. A quick dialogue exchange followed by the line "I got your Zerg riiight here!" is said by one of the Marines. Cue Hydralisk scythe going right through his face and then the rest of him being dragged into the ceiling.
  • This is one of Noir Spidey's preferred tactics in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
  • These Unfortunate security officers from Dead Space 2.
  • Ezio Auditore is capable of pulling these off on two mooks at once. From rooftops mainly, mind you, but there are segments where he gets to double-assassinate from crossbeams, so it's all good.
  • You can do this in Total Annihilation: aerial transports work by flying down and picking up your unit...and they can also do it to an enemy unit.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron shows Jazz doing this to a Decepticon during Cliffjumper's level where they fighting their way through an energon mine.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Spiders sometimes use this tactic to catch prey. The other wiki has more.
  • Wading birds such as herons and egrets make a living by performing this trope on fish that don't pay enough attention to what's beyond the ceiling of their pond or river.


Bet you look up real quick just to be sure nothing's there after reading all that.
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alternative title(s): Head Lift; Head Grab; Arm From Above
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