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Attack of the Monster Appendage

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The characters of a story are confronted by a large tentacle or appendage of an unseen, bigger monster who's threatening them or binding them where they stand. However, whether for deliberate suspense or lack of budget, the tentacled monster will never appear, even if the heroes manages to hack off/harm the tentacle.

This is usually played, as said above, for suspense and possibly horror. Of course it's not strictly limited to tentacled monsters: It can be played with a gigantic arm or leg belonging to an unseen beast, but usually Stock Ness Monster types are quite popular. Sometimes it even looks like the tentacle is the actual monster. In case of giant Man-Eating Plant the plant itself may act as a tentacle of sort.

This can occur in two different forms:

  • Type 1: Only the limb/tentacle is shown and interacted with, but the rest of the body remains a total mystery.
  • Type 2: While the whole creature is shown later (thus killing the suspense part), its appendages are shown before and moving independently on their own, as if they were a different monster altogether.

Sea creatures often have these, especially Krakens and Leviathans. Supertrope of Giant Foot of Stomping and Giant Hands of Doom; subtrope of Organ Autonomy. See also Combat Tentacles, Naughty Tentacles, and Tentacle Rope.

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Type 1 Examples:

  • A Farmers insurance commercial shows various property being threatened or destroyed in bizarre ways, including a brand-new minivan being crushed by a gigantic furry paw.

    Comic Books 
  • The cover for a Dylan Dog/Martin Mystery crossover features our heroes ensnared by the tentacles of an unseen monster/machine.
  • The Lure in the Greyshirt mini-series: a spinoff from Tomorrow Stories.
  • Rat Man is a comedy superhero story, but amongst its many parodies it had a moment where a Galactus expy was ensnared and devoured by thousands of tentacles coming from the inside of the Earth. It was never revealed what that entity was, with the vague implication that Earth itself was an apex predator of sorts.
  • In a Swamp Thing tie in to Crisis on Infinite Earths, a group of the DC's most powerful magic users, including the godlike Spectre, do battle with the Original Darkness, a vast, alien being that existed before the universe. They all fail to impede it, and they eventually make a horrifying discovery: they haven't been fighting the Darkness. They've been fighting its thumb.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, writhing branches reaching out of an elevator is all that's seen of the Evil Molesting Tree. The final shot of the film shows a monstrous arm reaching out of the ground, which is all that's shown of the Ancient Ones that are rising to wipe out humanity.
  • Conan the Barbarian (2011) has said barbarian fighting the tentacles of an unseen Tentacled Terror called the Dweller.
  • Grave Encounters has one scene where the title ghosthunting crew is attacked by a series of ghostly black arms reaching out of the walls and ceiling. An earlier scene shows one of the characters being grabbed by an arm that bursts through a door window.
  • The 2005 adaptation of King Kong (2005) has a gigantic crustacean claw sticking out a hole and grabbing an unfortunate sailor during the recreation of the original film's Spider-pit sequence. Audiences doesn't see what kind of monster said claw is attached to, but there's a tie-in artbook called The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island where turns out said claw belongs to a Giant Crab called a Deplector.
  • Monster, a 2008 Asylum film, which rips off Cloverfield from the same year, is a found-footage movie depicting a giant squid-like beast attacking Tokyo, with the two protagonists (a pair of American tourists) caught in the mess. For its entire screentime, the audience only sees grainy footage of the monster's tentacles smashing into buildings. To quote a review from IMDB, if Cloverfield is "Blair Witch Godzilla", Monster would be "Blair Witch Calamari".
  • Peacock King features a disembodied, clawed hand of a monstrous Yokai hiding in a woman's locker, who lunges out trying to grab Peacock and Lucky. Lucky managed to sever it, but then said hand continues moving on its own.
  • Star Wars has done this a few times.
    • In A New Hope, there's the garbage monster, the Dianoga. We only ever see one of its eyestalks pope out of the rubbish, and then one of its tentacles, the latter of which grabs Luke and drags him underneath the surface. Shown in the EU to be a squid-like monstrous alien octopus.
    • In Return of the Jedi, when Threepio is being led down into the dungeon, something's tentacle emerges from a cell and grabs his neck. One of the Gamorrean guards escorting him beats the thing back. Return of the Jedi also features the Sarlacc, which is only ever seen as a giant, tentacle-filled mouth (and in the Special Edition an inner mouth with a beak) that grab victims and drag them down into the mouth to eat.

  • The Citadel of Chaos has a massive tentacle from an unseen, underground monster pretending to be a barrow in the courtyard of the titular fortress. Even after killing the tentacle, you're left in the dark about the nature of the owner.
  • The Scylla boss from Cretan Chronicles appears as a set of six serpentine heads that takes turn lashing out at the player's hero, Altheus. The rest of the monster is hidden in a whirlpool, and remains as such for its entire screentime.
  • Lone Wolf: One of the monsters found in Castle Death is a giant verrucose fist occupying most of the passageway, which crushes Tavig to death. The full monster is never seen.
  • La Saga du Prêtre Jean: One of the encounters in Temujin's abode in The Desert of Death is a fight against a mass of rubbery tentacles breaking the floor under your feet and trying to drag you to the watery abyss under the mansion.

  • Bel-Shamaroth from The Colour of Magic. While he's mentioned from the beginning, only his tentacles are shown, and about the rest of his body, we only see a glimpse of his gigantic eye.
  • The Lord of the Rings has the Watcher in the Water, of which only tentacles are ever seen. Gandalf and Frodo aren't even sure whether it's one creature or several. (The trope is averted in Peter Jackson's film adaptation, where we see more of the creature.)
  • The Mist: Some of the men decide to go outside to try to fix the generator. As soon as the door opens, a very much one-sided fight ensues with several tentacles before they snatch their prey and sink back into the mist. Also, at the end of the book, the survivors encounter a giant animal so big that only his legs are visible in the mist.
  • The My Teacher Is an Alien series introduces "Big Julie", a massive alien who fills an entire room. Opening the door will reveal nothing but a massive eyeball filling the whole door frame. However, Julie is able to maneuver to some degree, as it can turn around enough to put its mouth at the door instead, allowing it to be fed buckets of swamp water.
  • In the short story "The Moving Finger" from Nightmares & Dreamscapes, the protagonist is confronted and attacked by a bizarre, multijointed finger poking out of the drain in his apartment's bathroom sink. After cutting it off, he starts thinking about the creature to which it must have been attached. Eventually, the police arrive, and something starts lifting the toilet lid. The officer goes to the toilet to investigate, and the story ends.
  • The Swamp Monster from The Sword of Shannara Trilogy. Unlike other examples, what seems to be his body does surface, but we never get a good look or description.
  • The Reveal of "Under the Pyramids" by H. P. Lovecraft is that the five-headed creature that the narrator sees crawling out of the abyss (and which is implied to be the inspiration for the Sphinx) is merely the forepaw of some vastly larger Eldritch Abomination.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Thing from The Addams Family. Averted in the films, where Thing is nothing but a disembodied hand and wrist.
  • Angel: "Supersymmetry" has a mass of tentacles that pops out of a portal and picks up Angel and Fred. We never see if it had a body, but each tentacle has its own pincer mouth on the end.
  • In the British No Budget sci-fi series Blake's 7, a giant claw reaches through the door to attack someone in the episode "Weapon".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Multiple Head Case Hellmouth Demon seen in "Prophecy Girl" and "The Zeppo".
  • Doctor Who:
    • The first thing we ever saw of the creature inside a Dalek was its claw peeking out from under the cloak that it was wrapped in. In the TV serial, the claw was a gorilla glove with Vaseline smeared over it; in the later Peter Cushing movie, it was far more reptilian.
    • For that matter, the first view of a Dalek ever was a POV shot of one's suction-cup arm ominously approaching a horror-stricken Barbara. Cue audiences frantically discussing what might be at the other end.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power': The Sea Serpent that lives in the waters of the sundering Sea is never fully shown when it attacks the people he shipwrecked. At best only his dorsal plates and several strategic shots of its body are shown.
  • In the "Salvation Fuzz" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus (aka "Church Police" or "Bishop on the Landing") after the police pray for God to reveal the culprit, a giant hand comes down from on high to point to the culprit. Sometimes when they did the sketch during live shows the hand didn't point to the right person.
  • The Munsters' pet dragon Spot. Usually, the only thing shown were his glowing eyes and teeth seen under the staircase. When he gets loose in one episode, all we see is the tip of his tail.
  • Once Upon a Time: Although more than its tentacles can be seen, the kraken is rarely, if not, never, shown entirely in most shots. Additionally, the way it reveals itself to Jasmine and Aladdin is by one tentacle ominously coming out of the water.
  • Tales from the Darkside: At the end of the episode "Seasons of Belief", two monstrous arms break through the windows of a room, killing a husband and wife in front of their two young children.
  • In Tremors: The Series, only part of the giant shrimp-monster is ever seen above the water.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu's Dreamlands setting, adventure "Yellow Sails". When Mironim-Mer activates the Oracle Mirror, the wendigo demon possessing it sends out a tentacle to grab him.
  • Dungeons & Dragons module G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King. If a certain specific ceremony is carried out near the altar of the Elder Elemental God, that deity will send one of its tentacles out of the altar to grab the closest living creature as a sacrifice.
  • There's a few monsters in the Munchkin series like this, such as Squidzilla, the Unspeakably Awful Indescribable Horror, and the Big Ole Planet Eater Guy. Also "Big Foot" for the humanoid limbs variety.
  • Ravenloft has the Eldritch Abomination Gwydion, who/which appears as a mass of tentacles emerging from a dimensional rift. Even Word of God has stated that what lies behind is a complete mystery.
  • The monster living under the cornfield in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure Tales of the Scarecrow is a sort of mix of types 1 and 2 - the GM knows what the beast looks like (as there's a diagram in the book) but unless the players decide to dig up the whole field all they'll ever see of it are its tentacles.

    Video Games 
  • In Akuji the Heartless, the first enemies encountered in the shores of hell are giant worms, who attacks Akuji by extending their heads from underground. Players defeat them by decapitation, but after they're dead the body slinks back underground and we never see what the rest of the monster looks like.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, there is a dinosaur in Terrydactlyland whose only visible portion is its foot, as it's too large to depict otherwise. It constantly tries to stomp you if you wander into its "Stomping Grounds."
  • In Battle for Wesnoth there's a monster who's basically this: the tentacle of a larger, unseen underwater monster.
  • An early encounter in Beyond the Beyond have Annie narrowly getting dragged into an underground lake by some gigantic tentacle, until Finn comes to her rescue.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, you never see the whole Mom Boss. Instead, you only see her legs, hands and eyes, and later, her inner organs and heart.
  • Blood West have fleshy tentacles sticking from the desert ground or the floors of an abandoned cabin in a few areas. You never know if they're worms or limbs of some unseen tentacled monster.
  • In an underwater stage of Blood Money where you pilot your submarine through a cavern, the huge pincers of some unseen Giant Enemy Crab (larger than your submarine) will stick into the screen from above or below, where you'll suffer damage when colliding with them.
  • Castlevania:
  • Chaos Heat has a boss which is a set of four gigantic arachnid-like legs suddenly sticking out a grate to attack you, which you shoot at until it's health is spent and it retreats back into the hole whence it came.
  • Dead Space has a huge tentacle that pops out at least three times on the Ishimura and tries to drag Isaac towards a gruesome doom.
  • Debris, being set entirely underwater, have a section in some caverns where you get assaulted by gigantic heads of Bobbitt worms sticking from underground. The most you see of them is their heads and upper bodies, with plenty of talons, and you're definitely not staying behind to see what the rest of those monsters looks like.
  • Demon Front has these types of enemies in the jungle level, just as the players are atop a treetop plateau, where occasionally brown tentacles of some unseen subterranean monsters will lash out from the edges at the players. Shooting the tentacles make them dissolve, but the monster the tentacles are attached to remains unknown.
  • Demon Skin has an area in the graveyard where gigantic, skinless hands sticks out the soil and tries swatting everything above them, and you must jump over or get pulped. Prior to the jumping, a cutscene shows a random bird flying pass only to be squashed.
  • In the Diablo II expansion Baal can summon a trio of tentacles to harass the player during the final battle.
  • In the 1983 Dino Eggs game, if you didn't have a fire burning the dinosaur mom (whose eggs and hatchlings you were stealing) would try to stamp you flat with her leg. You only ever saw the leg, not the dinosaur mom herself. Watch it here.
  • One monster from Dragon Quest VIII is a hand made of mud, said to belong to a larger mud monster who lives underground.
  • Dragon's Lair featured a room which is gradually filled by the green tentacles of a massive monster from upstairs. Also the "Eyeworms" in the moat behaves much like tentacles.
  • One of the high-level summoning spells in Dungeon Crawl opens a portal, out of which appears a multiple-space-long tentacle that attacks your enemies. After a time, the portal closes, severing the tentacle, which then turns on you until it dies a little while later.
  • Dungeons: the sequel has a Demon trap consisting in a massive tentacle poking out of the ground, best placed in the middle of a 3x3 room, that flails at intruders for a while, and can be powered up into a more massive, shelled version. The expansion adds the Undead, who have a similar trap in the form of a gigantic skeletric arm. The following game has the tentacle as a researchable spell that blocks a corridor tile and lashes at heroes.
  • Fatal Frame II has ghosts that grip on the twins and attempt to drag them away. They mostly appear on the bridge that connects to the Kurosawa residence and, even though Mio can photograph them to make them go away, they only appear as hands phasing through the bridge. The first installment also had ghostly hands coming out of the floor, but they were extremely rare-to-see entities.
  • One of the bad endings of Fear Effect 2 involves Hana getting snatched by the tentacle of some lake monster, who then drags her into the water before devouring her.
  • Ghostly Matter has one of the bosses, the thing at the bottom of the well, clearly based on the Dianoga from Star Wars mentioned above: tentacles attack the player character and to defeat it we need to shoot its eyestalk. Nothing else of the creature is revealed.
  • In God of War II and God of War III there are the Arms of Hades: a swarm of (left) hands coming out of the ground to pull Kratos into the depths of Hades.
  • Going into the Unknown have you coming across dead humans from the viral infection, and sometimes long, fleshy tentacles from some unknown creature will shoot out from the corpses to attack you. The tentacles are too thin for your firearms to hit, but shooting the corpses they're spawned from will make them retract to the bodies.
  • One of the obstacles in Half-Life is a mass of gigantic alien tentacles sticking out of a rocket silo. Your guns only slightly annoy whatever it is, so you will need a bigger weapon. Like the rocket in the rocket silo.
  • Hidden Deep, where you explore an isolated underwater facility, have giant tentacles sticking out through walls and ceilings as enemies. Shooting them dead makes them fall and hang limply from whichever hole they emerged from, but you don't see the monsters they're attached to.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, a series of massive brown tentacles emerging from a canal reveal the presence of a giant octopus luring inside. After feeding it a crab, the tentacles will stop emerging, meaning that you can safely cross the canal.
  • The first Isoland ends with a cutscene of your ship breaking through the domed city and over the seas outside, just as numerous gigantic tentacles from a krakken - each larger than your ship - sticks out the surface and makes a lunge at you.
  • In the fan remake of King's Quest II if you choose the wrong books in Calduar's library, two green tentacles appear from the library and take you away with them to be eaten.
  • Kileak has those worm-like tentacles popping in and out of holes on the ground and walls, and after having their tips exploded they then slinks back forever.
  • Legacy of Kain: Defiance has some spiky tentacles pop out of the ground in order to drag Raziel to the other world.
  • The Legendary Axe II has areas containing gigantic, skeletal appendages sticking out of holes in walls, from bony limbs and skeletal foot trying to stomp you in to dracolich heads biting at you. These appendages can be killed, but you never see what they're attacked to.
  • The Echidna from Legendary: The Box appears as a massive green tentacle/s who appears three times during the game and tries to drag the hero underground, where it can devour him. Considering that the original Echidna was a Snake Woman that might be her tail.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a hand reaching out from underneath a bathroom asks for your help. The owner of the hand is never seen.
  • Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle actually have Green and Purple Tentacles as living, independent tentacle-people.
  • "Reapervines" (and similar tentacles) in the Metroid Prime series are stated to be appendages of some larger creature, but said "larger creature" is never actually encountered.
  • Monster Bash has the livid hands coming out of the walls in order to toss knives at the hero.
  • The old Super Famicom RPG, Neugear, starts with your ship being attacked by tentacles of a massive krakken summoned by an Evil Wizard, and you spend most of the stage dodging huge tentacles lashing from below deck while fighting lesser mook-grade enemies. Said level ends with your ship crashing and you washing ashore, without revealing the rest of the monster.
  • The Thames Monsters from Nightmare Creatures are depicted as large, tentacled heads attached to a single, even larger tentacle on the surface of the Thames, which will use their limbs to lash out at players from a distance. After killing them however, the tentacled heads simply sinks into the water and nothing else is revealed about the monster.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: During the graveyard/ghost city level, you're required to cross a bridge spanning over a river where underneath it, the scythe-like claws of some unseen horror lunges out from its bottom. You'll need to move fast to avoid getting sliced apart by the claws, but even after you completed the level you never get to see what kind of monster those claws are attached to...
  • The cave of the Rat Demon in Oriental Legend has an area where from a hole in the background, the tail of some unseen giant rat monster will stick out and pull a Tail Slap on you until you sever it. You don't get to fight (or even see) the rest of the rat monster though.
  • In the SNES game based off of The Pagemaster, the gigantic fist of Frankenstein's monster will emerge from holes in the wall to try and pound Kevin into oblivion. Only the big fist is ever seen, never the entire monster, and, judging by the hand's scale versus that of Kevin, the whole monster must be big enough to fight King Kong!
  • Paranoiascape has one of the areas in hell where gigantic, disembodied human limbs will assault you, either from above the skies or from underground. The hands will claw at you, while legs will attempt a Giant Foot of Stomping.
  • Both PAGUI games:
    • The Demon King boss of the first periodically summons gigantic, deformed hands from underground and within walls to lunge at you. They can only be avoided while you take aim at the Demon King with the dragon fireworks.
    • In the second game, you're trapped in a haunted corridor by the ghost hag, who sends gigantic demon hands periodically smashing through windows trying to snatch you.
  • In Prince of Persia (2008), you fight the Final Boss Arhiman from his point of view, and you can only see his huge, dark hands.
  • From [PROTOTYPE], we have the Hydras, which are enormous tentacles with giant jaws that they use to throw objects (most commonly cars and trucks). Anything below the tentacle is a mystery, but there are hints they are somehow connected to Elizabeth Greene, or at least the giant bloody entity she uses to fight against Blackwatch and Alex.
  • In Rayman 2: The Great Escape there are some giant skeletal limbs in some level which will drag you inside their coffins.
  • Resident Evil has the vines of Plant 42, which emerge from the floor in the guest house. Similarly, in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, there are large tentacles in the Antarctic Base that are actually part of a T-Veronica mutated plant controlled by Alexia.
  • Röki has the gigantic shadowy hand of a Yeti-like monster bursting in to attack you at one point. Which you can fend off using a Molotov Cocktail.
  • The Kraken in Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict appears as long tentacles that move on their own.
  • Skeleton Krew have a recurring enemy in the prisons, being fleshy tentacles sticking out of walls and floors to whip your player. These tentacles can be killed, but you don't see what they're attached to.
  • Skully has various areas in pools and lakes containing long, black tentacles trying to drag you underwater, but they're attached to fixed locations and can be evaded by running past.
  • In Space Quest II, if you get too close to the occupied prison cells on Vohaul's space station, the monster hands crush you.
  • Tales of Symphonia has Coffin Masters: little hooded guys that resemble Jawas from Star Wars with huge coffins on their backs. Whatever is inside is clearly way too big to fit in there and never steps out, but can do everything from kick with a cloven hoof, whip with its lizard tail, and yank a party member inside to do God only knows what with its huge arm.
  • In Warcraft III, the Faceless Ones can summon huge, spiky tentacles at will from the ground. In World of Warcraft, they and their Old God masters continue this. The Old Gods are buried and of unknown size, so what tentacles are part of what creature, and what these creatures look like, are mostly unknown. Cataclysm adds massive mouth creatures that we never see all of.
  • Sluggoth from Wildcat Gun Machine is a boss who's fought as a giant slug-like head sticking from underground. And can periodically send its tentacles out of floors and walls as an attack.
  • World of Horror: In the mystery "Curious Case of a Contagious Coma", the Dream Devourer feeding on the coma patients turns out to be the "finger" of a much larger Eldritch Abomination, glimpsed only briefly in the mission's Ending A.
  • X2 contains giant limbs in two areas, notably the Sarlacc-like tentacles that ambushes you while you're flying over some sand dunes, and the beetle-like pincers of some giant insects in the last stage. These limbs can be destroyed, but you never see what subterranean horrors they belonged to.
  • In Yooka-Laylee, you never see the whole body of Trev the Tenteyecle; only tentacles and occasionally peeking eyeball.


    Western Animation 
  • Western/Teen Titans: Raven at one point opens her hood to reveal a shadowed mass of horrific mass of shadowed tentacles. What the implication of that are are never elaborated on.
  • Cecil from Beany and Cecil was never shown in full. This was justified when it was a puppet show, but it was kept when it became an animated show. Word of God is that Cecil's body was kept a mystery on purpose.
  • "The thing with no name" that resides in a lake inside a cave where the Truffle Trolls live in The Smurfs (1981) episode "A Mere Truffle".
  • In The Trapdoor, the many fearsome creatures which break through the titular trapdoor to inconvenience Berk and friends include a set of enormous, inquisitive tentacles, which briefly barge in to cause havoc.
    Berk: Who asked you in?

Type 2 Examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted example in Doraemon: Nobita and the Castle of the Undersea Devil. The gang gets attacked by a Giant Squid, and barely made it into their underwater tent. Then the squid smashes one of the tent's windows, and the gang spends a lengthy scene fighting off a gigantic squid tentacle.
  • In FLCL, the first enemy that Canti is seen fighting is pretty much just an arm, albeit a strong one. The next episode, we see the rest of the robot, using an undersized replacement arm.
  • Played with in the anime adaptation of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story. While in Raspberry's labyrinth, Yachiyo and her original crew were attacked by giant pale arms that protect the Witch's main body... which is an even larger arm.
  • The Turtle Island monster Islanda from The☆Ultraman initially appears as a series of serpentine tentacles, resulting in passing ships mistaking the seas to be infested by Sea Serpents. At the end of the episode, the rest of the monster finally reveals themselves, where the serpents turns out to be Islanda's limbs.

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: Milo's Return features a Kraken in the first segment as the main antagonist. Its humongous, octopus-like tentacles are seen emerging from the water, but the whole beast is only shown in the climax of the segment, as the heroes fight it underwater and get to see its fish-like body and head.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alien from the Abyss, the main creature (which the back of the DVD cover nicknames "The Big Claw") isn't seen until the very end of the film. Until then, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a really, really big black crablike claw that randomly emerges from various places (usually from underground) to grab and snap at people.
  • Aquaman (2018): When Arthur is first confronted to the Karathen, all we see of the monster is its titanic squid-like tentacles trying to crush him. We see the full monster later, and it's quite colossal.
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom: Black Manta and his crew are attacked by huge tentacles with giant pincers while exploring the Antarctic Seas, with most of Manta's men snatched and dragged off into the darkness before Manta finds the Black Trident. The tentacles' owners turns out to be numerous eldritch-looking monsters which appears in full during the film's climax.
  • In Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, after Nancy grows all that it shown is her huge hand inside her bedroom. She is only seen in full after she breaks out to look for her husband, ten minutes before the end.
  • Deep Rising: At first the monsters attacking the ship seem to be a patch of giant, carnivorous tube-worms. It's later revealed that they're just the tentacles of a colossal octopus monster.
  • The Empire Strikes Back: The Wampa.
    • In both versions of the film, it's glimpsed first as a suddenly appearing, roaring face with a mouth full of teeth, and then a big ol' arm that attacks Luke and then his Tauntaun. We later do see the full creature very briefly. The Special Edition shows more of the Wampa in its cave, as opposed to one decent glimpse the original version gave.
    • In a deleted subplot that involved a Wampa running loose inside Echo Base before the Rebels managed to trap it in a side room, there's a literal interpretation of the trope name in the form of a Call-Back or Brick Joke (whichever you prefer), when some intruding Snowtroopers get tricked into going and opening the door. The Wampa's arm shoots out, grabs one (who we'll call Private Wilhelm), and drags him in, whereupon Private Wilhelm's companions quickly close the door, looking as confused as Faceless Mooks can look.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: at first we only get to see the chitin-covered feelers and the scorpion tail of the Manticore Queen hiding in the deep pit of Erkstag. Eventually, the entire monster emerges from the lair when angry enough, revealing more tentacles, a scorpion-like body and massive maws.
  • In The Giant Claw, we only see fuzzy photographs and what turns out to be the monster's feet for a few scenes before seeing the full creature. The studio likely wanted to downplay the monster's appearance because it was so low-budget.
  • In Island of Terror, our first glimpse of the Silicates are their tentacles. We don't see a full Silicate until after it's already appeared as a grasping tentacle from offscreen twice.
  • The 2007 film of The Mist contains a scene in which a single large tentacle attacks several people in the loading dock of a grocery store. In the end they see a huge four-legged monster sporting a bunch of these tentacles all over his belly/downside area. Note that these two weren't linked in the book, which had the tentacles but in the end only a monster so large, the mist prevented them from seeing the legs end.
  • The Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean. Most of the time it's just tentacles rising from the water, but eventually we see the whole thing. However in both cases after seeing his body he doesn't get much more action.
  • In The Super Inframan, one monster has long tentacles that attack the main character scientist in his laboratory. Roger Ebert referred to them in his review of the film as "giant arms."
  • Tremors:
    • Tremors: The first few times the Graboids attack, we just see their tentacles coming out from the ground and think the tentacles are separate snakelike creatures.
    • In Tremors 5: Bloodlines, it turns out they are separate creatures, at least in the African Graboid species (it's never explained why they were tentacles before and now they're not).
  • In The Blob (1988), the monster reaches a pseudopod up through a kitchen sink to grab a man by the head. We see the monster's entire body throughout the film, but it looks like nothing so much as it does a gigantic mass of strawberry jelly.

  • The Riddling Reaver have gigantic tentacles attacking the players in the second and third act, firstly one belonging to a Giant Squid who tries snatching the players off their ship, and later a gigantic green vine in the Allansian Forests who tries dragging one of the players into a pit, where a gigantic Man-Eating Plant resides.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Beast Below", the characters encounter tentacles growing through the floor in several places before The Reveal that they're all from the Star Whale that Starship UK has instead of an engine, and who is seen in full at the end of the episode.
  • Ultra Series
    • Return of Ultraman: An episode involves Jiro being trapped in an abandoned space station, and constantly being threatened by the snapping pincers of some unseen kaiju. It turns out those are the pincers of the crab-like monster Yadokarin, who finally reveals itself in the final battle.
    • Mizunoenoryu from Ultraman Gaia first appears as separate dragon heads all over the city, which is later revealed to be part of the titular monster's separate tail.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In American McGee's Alice one of the first thing you notice in the now Eldritch Wonderland are large, fleshy tentacles in some areas. When you fight the Queen of Hearts is revealed that all those tentacles belongs to her.
  • The King Krakken boss from Arabian Magic is fought twice, firstly as two tentacles sticking out of a hole, and if you win you then jump in to face the rest of the monster.
  • Before fighting Scylla in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, you first fight one of her snake-tentacles in a separate boss room.
  • The Great Mighty Poo from Conker's Bad Fur Day is first seen as a huge arm made of crap rising from a cesspit to grab a kernel of corn, with the rest of him following soon after.
  • The Hydra boss from Crypt Killer comes at the player, one head at a time, which goes down in a few hits. But after defeating the individual heads, the Hydra then reveals itself as an eight-headed monster sharing one body.
  • The Cliffhanger: Edward Randy have giant mechanical arms in the mines stage, which lunges at Edward trying to crush him until they're beaten off. At the exit of the mines, it turns out these arms belonged to the stage's boss, a Humongous Mecha.
  • In Deep Town: Mining Factory, each of the Elders are initially encountered as one of their appendages as a boss battle for the first 11 sections of an area. On the 12th section, you finally get to fight the full Elder itself.
  • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, one level features a gigantic octopus first witnessed destroying a large ship in the background, which then uses its tentacles to destroy various platforms floating in the sea as the player jumps across. Later in the level it appears up close, wrapping its tentacles around walls to obstruct the player's movements.
  • In Drakensang 2: The River of Time one of the bosses is a Newt Kraken (a river-infesting giant squid if you're curious). While both his tentacles and his main body are seen onscreen, you can only fight the tentacles to damage him, as his body is too far away.
  • Buster Claw from Mazin Saga: Mutant Fighter, the boss of the New York stage, firstly appears as a gigantic green tentacle that pursues you, Advancing Boss of Doom-style, right into the middle of where appears to be Central Park, where you then fight the rest of the monster.
  • The Kraken from Shining Series as it appears in Shining Force II.
  • In a video game based on The Fellowship of The Ring you get to fight the Watcher in the Water. While his large clawed tentacles slams on you, his moray eel-like main body is completely harmless through the battle.
  • Sin, the giant monster from Final Fantasy X, is so huge it cannot be seen well at first and you can fight only parts of it, such as its fin. You only get to see it properly when you get the airship. Note that even after that, you get to effectively fight more of its parts when you get *inside* of it!
  • In God of War III you have to fight back several large water creatures known as Hippocampi. Later you find that that said Hippocampi are actually the tentacles of Poseidon's war form.
  • In House of the Dead 3 you face several tentacles in one level, later revealed to be part of the Sun boss.
  • Before you fight the Medusa-Kraken-hybrid-like Tentalus in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, its tentacles attack the ship you're on, bursting through walls and such.
  • While visiting Halloween Town in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Roxas is attacked by several "Tentaclaws" that eat Heartless. Eventually, he finds their main body, the Leechgrave Heartless. Exactly how the Tentaclaws connect up to the Heartless's vines isn't shown as they tunnel through the ground to get to their (fixed) locations. That said, if one does manage to swallow Roxas during the boss fight, he's seen moving up the nearest of the Leechgrave's vines via Dinner Deformation to be spat back out through its flower.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, Planet Oozla has a boss fight against a pair of large tentacles that emerge from the swamp. Once you get the Grave Boots, you can return to the planet and fight the whole monster as an Optional Boss.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2: A bunch of long, root-like tentacles snatching a corpse and dragging it under a shack is the first sign of the massive, vegetal-based B.O.W. known as Durga, which is later fought by Barry in the same area as a boss fight.
  • In Super Mario RPG there is an underwater level where you fight tentacles, after defeating them you go on to fight a squid and its last remaining tentacles.
  • The Kraken (again) from Tomb Raider: Underworld makes its presence known when you run into a massive flailing tentacle retracting in a hole. You later get to witness the behemoth in all its squishy glory.
  • Transistor: The Spine makes its first appearances with its stinger tail, before fighting it directly.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Ghostfreak has a writhing mass of tentacles under his skin, which was implied to contain some kind of eldritch horror. Later he rips off his skin to reveal that the tentacles are just tentacles he has in his chest.
  • The crater vipers from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, as seen in the series pilot The Adventure Begins: Initially appearing to be several eyeless, multi-limbed, serpentine monsters emerging from a series of holes, later those serpents are revealed to be the fingers of a kaiju-sized Slag Monster.
  • The Pirates of Dark Water: in the first episode, the Constrictus in Bloth's ship first seemingly consists in a bunch of fanged leech-like monsters emerging from the watery pit... then, after Ren sets the water surface ablaze with oil, the real one emerges, revealing that the first three creatures were the "tongues".
  • The cryptid believed to be Kur from The Secret Saturdays is first seen as a giant snake, but it's revealed later that the snake is just one of its tentacles.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", Bikini Bottom is threatened by an Alaskan bull worm. Sandy volunteers to hunt it down, arguing that her idea of big, and SpongeBob's idea of big are entirely different. She succeeds in capturing its tongue before realizing her mistake and making a run for it.

    Real Life 
  • The tentacles of octopuses function much like independent organisms, each having its own neural ganglia that operate almost as separate brains. When foraging, each arm probes the seabed for food independently of the other seven, to such a degree that they can even exhibit distinct personalities: some arms more curious, others more cautious, still others more aggressive or stubborn, etc.

Alternative Title(s): Independent Limb