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Beat the Curse Out of Him

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"The power of fight compels you!"
Huey: This isn't an exorcism — it's a beating.
Uncle Ruckus: There’s very little difference!
The Boondocks, "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back"

Oh, no! Your best friend has been entranced by Pazuzu! Bummer! No need to call any specialists, though; just pull up your sleeves and you can deal with this yourself. In many works of fiction, the best way to free a possessed or cursed person is to simply beat the crap out of them — think of it as spiritual Percussive Maintenance. You won't need to worry about hurting your friend, either; it's just the curse/demon you're punching, not them. Once you punch them into unconsciousness, they should wake up perfectly fine (albeit probably with a massive headache).

You better believe a Badass Preacher is going to do this. Holy Burns Evil, right? So the fists of a holy man or woman should be sufficient to free the victim.

This is especially common in Video Games where combat is the standard reaction to anything anyway, and can result in making a new friend or getting a new player character. Unfortunately, it also comes up a lot in stories with a villain with a Dark and Troubled Past or a Freudian Excuse — it turns out their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or somebody thought they were evil/cursed/possessed and tried to beat the evil out of them, or to prevent them from becoming evil (which is precisely what made them evil). In other words, trying to do this in real life is very much not recommended.

In some cases, the curse breaks upon death such as This Was His True Form or Dying as Yourself. If Only Mostly Dead is available, sometimes a Revival Loophole is possible. Kill the cursed, the curse dies with the victim, bring the cursed Back from the Dead and hopefully the curse stays away.

Compare: Get A Hold Of Yourself Man, and "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight for when the battle is with words. Oftentimes overlaps with Fighting Your Friend. See also Defeat Means Friendship for when the enemy isn't cursed or possessed, just opposed to the hero for personal reasons. Mostly unrelated to Hollywood Exorcism.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Frontier: Dealing a 'mon enough damage causes their data to be revealed in the form of a glowing ring of barcode-lines, which can be taken away, costing the loser power-ups, but also purifying victims of The Corruption.note  A lot of villains, all the way up to the Big Bad for the first half of the series, once he regenerates, are much friendlier after a sound thrashing made them able to be purified.
  • Drifters: Shimazu Toyohisa gets into a brutal fistfight with Jeanne d'Arc, until both fall into a well. Being submerged in water kills Jeanne's pyrokinesis and makes her bloodlust fade for a bit, allowing her to think critically for a few moments. Toyohisa ruins it by knocking Jeanne out, finding no honor in killing a woman.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Tamahome is mind-controlled and the spell is Cast from Hit Points. Thus it fails when he is beaten within a literal inch of his life.
  • Inuyasha: Miroku does this in episode 132 to the possessed village women and Sango. It's less extreme than most examples; it only amounts to him attaching Paper Talismans to either the women or his fist and then punching them in the gut, forcing them to cough up the baby salamander demons that were controlling them.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: When Kakyoin suddenly exhibits strange behavior to random people and acts uncharacteristically violent, Jotaro responds by punching him to "beat up his possessed ass". Subverted when it was actually the Villain of the Week, Rubber Soul, shapeshifting as Kakyoin.
  • Kill la Kill: When Ryuko goes berserk and turns into a monster, Mako punches her until she goes back to normal... then keeps punching her.
    Ryuko: I'm *SLAP* back *SLAP* to *SLAP* normal! *SLAP*
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: There are two separate instances of this (the second one had an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight mixed in for good measure). First, Subaru used a point-blank Divine Buster to remove her sister's brainwashing. Then, Nanoha used five Starlight Breakers to free her daughter from the Saint's Cradle's control. This is explained in-universe by the specific means that the Mind Control works in both cases: namely, both Ginga and Vivio are infused with Ancient Belkan Relics. These effectively give the bad guys remote control over them but can be overloaded with magical energy from a concentrated bombardment attack (like the aforementioned Divine Buster and Starlight Breaker), destroying the Relic and freeing the victim without lasting harm.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Maomolin (the giant ghost cat also called Bakeneko) possesses Ranma's father Genma to avoid getting beat up. However, while Ranma has a paralyzing fear of cats, he has no problems whatsoever beating the crap out of his father. The ghost cat screams at him about what kind of son he is to do that to his own father and flees to possess someone else.
    • This also is a plot point in the "Evil Oni" storyline in the manga and OVA. An Oni gets released, possessing a number of characters. The Oni will vacate the body when the body is punched in the head. Ranma has no problem popping his dad, Kunō, the Priest and Ryōga in the head, but Kasumi...?
  • Red River (1995): The only way to cure someone possessed by Queen Nakia's magic waters is to hit them in the stomach hard enough that they puke it up. Just about everyone who undergoes this does react in pain when they wake up. The ends up being very unfortunate for poor Prince Juda, who is fed so much of his mother's mind-controlling water that he has to undergo a particularly brutal beatdown from Ilbani before he coughs it all up.
  • Sailor Moon: This occasionally shows up.
    • In the first story arc, Sailor Moon isn't able to free Mamoru from Beryl's brainwashing with gentler methods, so she eventually realizes that the only way to stop him is to stab him with her sword. Upon killing him and stabbing herself in grief, she awakens to find that both of them survived and Mamoru is now free of the mind control.
    • An unusual variant occurs in the Infinity College arc. Hotaru Tomoe is possessed by Mistress 9, who is so powerful that none of the senshi attacks so much as slow her down. What defeats her in the end is when Hotaru herself beats (or rather, burns) Mistress 9 out of her from within, causing the alien to explode and reveal Hotaru as the newly-awoken Sailor Saturn.
    • In the first anime, Sailor Moon had a special attack just for purifying the victims of the Monster of the Week. While the attack was not meant to be harmful, the monster would usually scream and writhe before turning back to normal.
    • Horribly subverted in the final manga arc. Sailor Moon finds all of her dead friends resurrected under the power of Galaxia, causing them to happily try to kill her. While she initially is unable to face the idea of fighting them (watching them die already did a number on her sanity), she finally accepts that it's the only way and attacks. They all turn to dust and have their star seeds re-stolen by Galaxia before they can turn back to normal. Although if one argues that their subsequent appearance in the Cauldron, where they're back to normal counts as a part of it, it's played straight after all.
    • Also in the manga, Sailor Venus eventually starts exorcising possessed people by hitting them with her chain. She also enacts this trope by accident during the Exam Battle: while she exorcised Rei with her own Shinto exorcism technique consisting in applying an ofuda (also Rei's), she was so surprised by the possessed Rei trying to kiss her that she slapped the talisman on Rei's face with enough strength to send her flying.
  • Saint Seiya: Inverted. During the Sanctuary arc, Leo Aioria is Brainwashed and Crazy by Gemini Saga with a curse that will only lift after he kills someone. When he's about to kill Seiya, Cassios gets in the way and ends up taking the attack for him.
  • Soul Eater: In the anime's penultimate battle, Maka uses her scythe's Genie Hunter to reap Medusa right out of the body she's possessing without harming the little girl.
  • When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: This happens to Mirei (a Power Parasite), who starts stealing superpowers — including one that burns up your own body — after getting possessed and never stops. The pain was enough that the mysterious possessor released her, which meant she was suddenly dealing with the problem.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Throughout the series, the standard cure for Mind Control is "beat them in a duel". Success may vary based on the controller's power and controllee's vulnerability.

    Comic Books 
  • In the 2010 Supergirl story arc Death & the Family, super-villain Insect Queen has possessed Supergirl's surrogate aunt Lana Lang. In order to free Lana and force Insect Queen to get out of her body, Supergirl lays an impressive beatdown on her.
  • Frank Stack did a series of comics starring Jesus. One strip has a man approach him with his demon-possessed brother (who just looks like a babbling fool) — Jesus tells him the only way to get them out is to make it uncomfortable for them, giving the guy a good whopping. Finally with one good kick the tiny demons jump out of the guy's mouth, crying "every man for himself!" Jesus grabs one and tries to get him to talk, and then tosses him to a hungry dog.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Brothers Grimm version of The Frog Prince, the princess accidentally breaks the frog’s curse and turns him back into a human prince by throwing him against a wall in disgust. More familiar retellings replace the violence a kiss in order to deliver An Aesop.

    Fan Works 
  • Discord's New Business: In Rarity's second chapter, Ember brings a dragonified Rarity (who's succumbed to Greedgrowth Insanity) back to her senses by literally beating the living daylights out of her.
  • Averted in Steven Universe fangame Flawed Crystals. Beating the corrupted gems only stops them from rampaging. To heal their corruption, you have to perform a Journey to the Center of the Mind.
  • Son of the Sannin: The only known method to remove the mind control effects of Kotoamatsukami is to inflict potentially life threatening injuries on the victim. Sasuke ends up having to do this to Naruto in the climax of the Senju Twins Retrival arc by stabbing him through the gut and shocking him from the inside out. It ends up being deconstructed when Obito briefly tricks him into thinking that the wounds were fatal so that he'd awaken his Mangekyo Sharingan and the guilt of nearly killing one of his friends is still haunting him after the Time Skip.
  • Where We Don't Belong: After Ethel and Ashera get possessed by the Fog, the only way to free them is to knock them out. Unfortunately, the effect makes them very violent, and they're some of the most skilled combatants in the world.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Justice League vs. Teen Titans, if you don't have the Lasso of Truth or an appropriate spell, the best way to get Trigon's spirits to leave their hosts is to poison or injure their host bodies.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Done in the Turkish Exorcist knockoff Seytan, when Turkish Father Karras finally rids Turkish Regan of her possession by Turkish Pazuzu simply by beating the crap out of her Turkish face.
  • Scary Movie 2: Parodied in the Exorcist spoof segment. The priests end up manhandling and spitting vomit on the possessed girl (hey, she started it) before just deciding to shoot her when they get fed up with her insults.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy gets mind-controlled by the Thuggee, and is brought out of it when Short Round burns him with a torch.
  • In The Avengers, a solid blow to the head seems to reverse the mind control caused by Loki's staff, at least in the cases of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig. Black Widow, not wanting to take the risk that the trope isn't in effect, punches Hawkeye out just to be safe.
    Black Widow: Cognitive recalibration. I hit you really hard in the head.
  • In Ghostbusters (2016), Patty manages to free Abby from being possessed by bitch-slapping her. "The power of Patty compels you!"

  • A less violent but no less traumatic variation in Animorphs, where the Puppeteer Parasite Yeerks can be starved out of their host's brain by preventing them from returning to a Yeerk pool every three days.
    • When this happens to Jake, he's tied up in a shack in the middle of the forest, and while he can morph to escape, the rest of the team are watching. The Yeerk eventually gives up, but doesn't stop mentally torturing Jake until the end. And once he does die, Jake sees Crayak for a brief instant.
    • Visser One's former partner failed to completely leave its host's brain in time, resulting in the host sometimes speaking Yeerk or otherwise acting crazy.
  • Averted in Fablehaven: Tanu the potion master knows that using this trope on Berrigan would cause physical harm, so he uses a potion that causes hallucinations of excruciating pain, which doesn't actually hurt Berrigan.
  • In the not so acclaimed novelisation of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Irenicus turns Imoen into a monster to attack the elves. The monster's form breaks free from under her skin. It's all right, though, because all the protagonist Abdel Adrian needs to do to free her is tear the monster apart, because obviously she would be intact inside the monster that burst out from inside her.
  • In the Katharine Kerr novel Snare, Zayn's father beat him regularly to try to purge him of his demon power (Photographic Memory). It isn't until the epilogue that Zayn learns that his father consulted dozens of Mullahs before doing that, and only went with the advice of the one who suggested beating him because all the other Mullahs wanted Zayn's father to kill him instead, and the man was desperate to find a way to 'purify' his son without murdering him.
  • In Unseen Academicals Dr. Hix is the only one who dares to try this when Ridcully is under the control of a whistle possessed by Evans the Striped, former sports-master of Unseen University. It's literally in his job description as the official "bad" wizard.
  • In Monte Cassino, Sven Hassel's fellow soldiers beat him up after he suffers shell shock in the middle of a battlefield. This is regarded as standard procedure to stop someone going permanently crazy.
  • One of the (many, many) plots from Warhammer 40,000's prequel series The Horus Heresy involves the life of Fulgrim and his army after Fulgrim drives a species called the Laer extinct, and he takes a holy artifact of theirs (a sword) as his trophy. The sword was possessed by a daemon, and it's influence lead Fulgrim and his followers into madness and depravity, ultimately possessing Fulgrim's body and leaving his soul trapped in a painting. Fulgrim's Legionaires eventually notice something is wrong, capture Fulgrim's body, and try to force the daemon out by torturing it into submission. They knew this worked on some shaky assumptions since it was a daemon of pleasure and pain, but they were short on options and what little sanity and decency they had left compelled them to try and rescue Fulgrim. By this time, Fulgrim had forced the daemon out and reclaimed his body through an act of sheer willpower, though with his shattered sanity he just preferred this new life. He was enacting a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to manipulate his soldiers into torturing him for the fun of it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (and all following series), this was typically the way to free people and animals who had been turned into the Monster of the Week by the Big Bad's evil spells (and thankfully so, otherwise the Rangers would have unwittingly killed Kat). When the transformation had been done by means other than a direct spell the Rangers had to seek alternate cures.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • It is established early on that a near-death experience will break nearly any form of brainwashing. This method is risky, however, since the brainwashee must be brought quite literally to the edge of death, so there's a very real chance that they will die in the process.
    • Rya'c is cured of brainwashing in Stargate SG-1 by shooting him with a zat gun. Zats usually just knock a person out, but since Rya'c was a child, the effect was more severe, enough to break the brainwashing.
    • Teal'c is similarly cured of brainwashing, though it takes more effort since, as a battle-hardened badass from a society of warriors, he can resist quite a lot of punishment. They do so by removing his Goa'uld larva (which functions as his immune system), and just letting the resulting sickness take its course.
    • In Stargate Universe, the idea is revisited when Colonel Young locks a brainwashed Colonel Telford in a room and vents the oxygen until he's virtually dead in order to undo the process.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer naturally — when a demon Giles and his friends summoned up in their youth possesses Ms. Calendar, Angel strangles her until the demon jumps to another body - Angel's, it turns out, where it's destroyed by his own inner demon.
  • In Hemlock Grove, if a werewolf transforms too many times without a full moon, they risk losing their minds and becoming feral beasts unable to change back into a human. Unfortunately, circumstances force Peter to transform several times, until the last time ends with him advancing on his vampire friend Roman and their love interest. How does Roman deal with this? He grabs Peter by the jaw, rips his head apart, reaches down past his gullet and pulls out Peter's human body. While it's weird that a werewolf transformation would work like that, it's still pretty cool.
  • Several seasons of Kamen Rider have had Riders rescue hostages from inside the Monster of the Week using violence.

    Myths & Religion 
  • See, elves weren't always nice creatures — actually for most of history they were downright evil. Changeling Fantasy was not about being super-awesome because you were really the fairy king's daughter when people actually believed in it. Kids with birth defects or mentally challenged or autistic children were thought to be elf children, and the elves had taken your normal, beautiful child away from you and replaced it with their ugly, stupid one. Beating these supposed elf children — sometimes to the point of death — was standard practice, because this was thought to be the only way to convince the elves to give you your normal child back.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • CHIKARA offered an example where the curse was already gone, and a character was dealing with the effects. At CHIKARA Disk on April 2, 2016, Hallowicked and Frightmare used the Eye of Tyr on UltraMantis Black, causing Mantis to become possessed by Nazmaldun, the mysterious entity Wicked and Frightmare follow.note  Mantis subsequently put a spell on Icarus, The Batiri and Mark Angelosettinote , with Jigsaw joining even though he was not hexed on camera, with the group being named The heXed Men. At the 2016 Season Finale Supremacy, there was a Torneo Cibernetico between CHIKARA's Mightiest Heroesnote  and The heXed Men, with Dasher pinning Hallowicked to win the match. After the match, Ophidian, in response to Frightmare having defeated his teammate Amasis earlier in the night in a Mask vs. Mask match at Temple Of Doom, grabbed the Eye from around Mantis' neck and used it on him, saying "Be free." Mantis woke up, realized where he was, got out of his wheelchairnote , screamed, "I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!", and chased Hallowicked to the back.note  After the closing credits, Ophidian and Thunderfrog were shown in a forest with Thunderfrog bringing his Hammer of Peace down on the Eye as the screen faded to black. Icarus and Angelosetti went back to their normal selves. Jigsaw hasn't returned so it isn't known how the Eye's destruction has affected him. Obariyon and Kodama of The Batiri are demons, so they went back to about as normal as you would expect. Kobald, a goblin and the third member of The Batiri, did not take the loss of connection to Nazmaldun well, and spent much of Season 18 begging for Oleg to hit him.note 


    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, most enchantment spells allow another save when the target is attacked. The most common practice is to beat the crap out of your Dominated friend.
  • The Scion known as Faultless in Sentinels of the Multiverse is an ancient entity of positive energy, Reforged into a Minion by OblivAeon. If his health can be reduced to zero, he restores some semblance of his original state and becomes an ally of the heroes (albeit a fragile one). This can manifest as the heroes beating the curse out of him, or, depending on circumstances, OblivAeon getting a wee bit careless with his collateral damage.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum. When Poison Ivy takes over the guards, you just beat the everloving crap out of them. Though to be honest, this is more of a "I'll beat you unconscious so you don't try to kill me while I deal with that gigantic plant over there" kind of deal.
  • In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, Nathan's rival, Hugh, has been turned Brainwashed and Crazy, but one boss battle later the character comes back to their senses.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Operation: V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E.: The level "Operation: S.P.A.N.K.H.A.P.P.Y." has Numbuh 4 doing this to his teammates, who have been transformed by Count Spankulot into Spank-Happy Vampires. Numbuh 4 had to use his S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R. to free his friends from the curse, although in the original television series, the cure to the curse was as if the victim spanked back the vampire who spanked him/her or spank the original vampire (Count Spankulot himself).
  • In Ever Oasis, wild animals that have been taken over by Chaos (i.e,regular enemies) return to normal upon being defeated.
  • In RPGs, attacking one's own teammate is usually the quickest way to cure Charm or Confuse status.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: One effect of the bracelet is to make every animal within range rampage. The heroes solve this in the short-term by fighting the animals until they wake up, look around in confusion, and scamper off. This also happens when certain major characters become brainwashed, necessitating a boss fight to pummel them back to their senses.
  • In Warcraft III, the "Sleep" effect renders a unit standing still unable to attack enemies or use abilities for a potentially-very long time. However, the effect is canceled if the unit is attacked, so one way to deal with it is to make another unit to attack the sleeper once.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • This is the standard method for dealing with the "Confuse" side-effect in almost any Final Fantasy game; hit the affected character with a physical attack to regain control of them. This can be dangerous if your party members are high enough level to kill the afflicted in that strike.
    • Wrexsoul in Final Fantasy VI brings this to a different level. To start, the boss will "possess" one of your party members at random. There is no way to tell which party member is possessed (because the party member in question will continue to attack and behave normally), and there is no way to damage the boss until the party member who is possessed by Wrexsoul dies, when the boss then rematerializes and becomes available to attack. Expect to repeat this process multiple times... unless you decide to take the easy route and just X-Zone/Banish the Soul Savers. But going this route costs you a fairly useful item drop.
    • This is one of the ways you can save Adelle in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. The other is to keep talking until she returns to normal.
    • One of the side quests in Final Fantasy X-2 has the Big Bad possess Rikku and Paine, forcing Yuna to fight them in two separate Duel Boss battles and beat them senseless so they can return to normal.
  • A variation in Dragon Quest VIII - The best and only permanent way to get rid of curses in the setting is to beat the crap out of the person who placed the curse. King Trode and Medea's curse not being lifted after Dhoulmagus gets his ass handed to him is the party's first clue that he's not the real Big Bad of this story. You also beat a powerful curse out of one of your own party members.
  • In EarthBound (1994), most humans and animals that you fight are "turned back to normal" after you defeat them. This is because they're being influenced by Giygas, and thus a solid beating makes him let go.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails:
    • In Trails in the Sky SC, while Estelle and the others travel through an Ouroboros base, they encounter Bracers who have been put under Weissman's control, leaving Kevin to use his abilities to free them from the effect.
    • Trails of Cold Steel IV has New Class VII doing this to Rean Schwarzer to snap him out of his Superpowered Evil Side to give one of his allies a chance to free him from its influence.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Anything affected by dark magic, up to and including Princess Zelda herself, can be fixed with a good butt-whupping.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Link does this without first knowing about the "curse" in the Spirit Temple. After defeating the red Iron Knuckle, its armor breaks and it is revealed to be a brainwashed Nabooru, who starts coming to her senses. She is sent away by Twinrova shortly after, and Link then has to fight them in order to properly save her.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games:
      • Ages has only one subversion, where Link can't attack Veran when she's possessing someone because doing so would supposedly only hurt her host. Defeating Veran when she's possessing Nayru and later, Queen Ambi requires shooting Mystery Seeds at her and to remove Veran's spirit from her body, and then switching places with Veran to attack her before she can repossess her host.
      • In Seasons, the boss fight against Onox has Din trapped in a crystal and slowly move towards you, causing damage if she hits. Whacking at her with your sword will actually damage you, so instead you need to use the Rod of Seasons to push her back.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Justified twice. Yeta, a friendly Yeti living in the Snowpeak Ruins, which is the game's fifth dungeon, is cursed by a shard of the Mirror of Twilight, turning her into the boss of that dungeon, Blizzeta. A good old fashioned ball and chain is enough to destroy her palanquin and break the curse. Then, during the final battle, Ganondorf possesses Zelda's corpse and uses her magic against you, which includes holy light. When you send it back at him, Zelda is dead and a holy being, but Ganondorf is demonic, so only he gets hurt. Also, this only weakens him. It takes magic from Midna to actually drive him out of Zelda.
  • In Chrono Cross, the Porre military has used a cursed fruit to bring out Orcha's evil nature. As soon as you beat him, he immediately regains normality.
  • In Penny Arcade Adventures, characters can get brainwashed and attack their own team. Either you wait until they're damaged, or hit them yourself—they take far less damage and are cured instantly.
  • In Disgaea 4, the repentant former Big Bad Nemo gets corrupted by the power of Fear the Great, which he had (unintentionally) tapped into for the final episode, forcing Valvatorez and company to beat some sense into him for the very final battle... Well, the final battle for the normal/best ending, anyway.
  • In Donkey Kong Country Returns, when a boss character is possessed by a Tiki the only way to release it is to defeat the boss in battle.
  • At the end of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, when Peach is possessed by the Shadow Queen's spirit, the only way to free her is to lay out a massive beatdown. It's not an easy task.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga before the duo meet Prince Peasley, they fight him as a dragon who was previously trapped in an egg that Blablanadon was incubating.
  • In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, you can save people who have turned into Symbiote Zombies... by hitting them a lot. Apparently, you can knock the symbiote off of them with long enough combos. (This has the added bonus of making it easier to "cure" people if you're playing as "Normal" Spider-Man, since he's got longer combos — his "Black Suit" version focuses more on huge area-effect attacks and powerful blows.)note 
  • In the first Metal Gear Solid, Psycho Mantis tries to brainwash Snake's love interest into committing suicide. To prevent this, you need to deal enough nonlethal damage to knock her out (complicated by the fact that she wakes up every so often).
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Sayo claims attacking Kisuke with her Buddhist charms will show him the light. She's right and it restores his memories. At least, if he survives the boss fight.
  • At the end of the recent Mythsong saga in AdventureQuest Worlds, you do this to the sixth Lord of Chaos, who turns out not to be Discordia, but Kimberly of One Eyed Doll, the special guest of the big Friday event, in order to get Drakath's mind-controlling Ear Worm out of her head.
  • Interesting variation in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the villains use "shadow bugs" mined from Mr. Game & Watch to create evil, purple-tinted versions of some of the heroes, like Peach and Diddy Kong. Most of the time, the real hero is trapped in trophy form and can't be brought back to life until the cursed version is defeated. However, it is possible for Diddy to fight his own Evil Twin, and at one point, Bowser does this to himself so he can be in two places at once.
  • Suberted in Resident Evil 5: at one point you are attacked by former partner Jill Valentine, who is under the influence of a mind control device (which is attached to the chest, naturally). Administering a beating is a bad idea, since if you do too much damage to her, you'll accidentally kill her. Instead, you have to work with your partner to hold her still while one of you tries to pry off the device.
  • Variation of this trope in Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour: When Joey Wheeler gets possessed, you have to tie him in a card battle.
  • In the Ar Tonelico series , how do we confine I.P.Ds? Blast them apart! This is strange when you use 100 Replekia amplification and the ultimate song magic, that's Overkill.
  • World of Warcraft includes this at least once each expansion.
    • In Throne of the Tides (Cataclysm) you face off against Erunak Stonespeaker, a shaman who saved your life multiple times throughout the preceding storyline who is being controlled by a Face Hugger. After knocking him to half health, the boss himself becomes attackable (though he may jump onto one of your own party members during the fight.)
    • In Ulduar (Wrath of the Lich King) you must fight the four Titan Keepers — Freya, Thorim, Hodir, and Mimiron. Wait, aren't they good guys? Well, yes, but they're being mind-controlled by Yogg-Saron, Old God of insanity and death. (Mostly insanity.) Punching them sufficiently will cure the mind-control; once they reach 1% health they turn friendly and will help you in your battle against Yogg-Saron.
    • In the Sunwell (Burning Crusade) you must fight against Kalecgos, a blue dragon who till now has always been one of the good guys. While you battle his body in the real world, you also get a chance to go inside his mind and punch out the evil forces enslaving him.
    • In Mists of Pandaria, reluctant zombie Lilian Voss has become a Death Knight who hunts down necromancers. Can you see the logical conclusion of a zombie trying to take down a magician who specializes in controlling zombies? Anyway, after you beat her up enough she breaks free of his control and helps you take out the Big Bad.
  • In Girls' Love Visual Novel Aoi Shiro, the fastest way to free someone from the <<Sword>>'s influence is by beating the crap out of her —lethally, even, in case of Kaya at the end of Migiwa Route.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, you do this to Bann Teagan to free him from a demon's mind control. Which is kinda startling given that going with the Darker and Edgier nature of the setting, fighting mind-controlled people usually means having to kill them.
    • The Legacy expansion of Dragon Age II features the party storming the prison of ancient Darkspawn Corypheus. If your party includes "ex"-Grey Warden Anders, he starts hearing voices as Corypheus communicates through the darkspawn taint in his blood. He eventually becomes a mini-boss fight, after which he manages to resist for the rest of the DLC. Since Anders is also sharing a body with a hacked-off spirit of Justice, it's unclear which part of him you're fighting.
    • In both games, you have the option to go into the Fade with your companions to defeat a demon. Origins has you rescue your companions from their nightmares, where they can either cower uselessly in terror or join you in fighting themselves free, but 2 has every single companion (save for Anders, who's protected by Justice, and Sebastian, who refuses to go into the Fade in the first place) turn on you at a demon's urging. The result is Beat The Curse Out Of Them until they 'die' (drop out of the Fade and back into the real world)—and if you've been carefully building your companions' stats, abilities, and gears, it will not be fun.
  • In Sonic Adventure, both the game and the Archie Comics adaptation, Super Sonic defeats Perfect Chaos this way. The comics have him used this method again against a cursed Knuckles, even going so far as to compare it to the previous Perfect Chaos example as "beat[ing] the evil out of you."
  • Ghostbusters
    • In the Sega Genesis Ghostbusters (1990) game, you must battle your possessed teammates in the Castle level. In order to repossess them, you must get behind them and attract the very visible possessor.
    • In the 2009 game, the Slime Blowers have the same effect.
  • In Golden Axe III, you choose one or two of four available characters, the rest will become level bosses wich you have to beat. They're said to have been cursed by Death Adder, and once you beat them, they become normal again. They won't join you, though, since we're in a Beat 'em Up, not a Role-Playing Game.
  • Mega Man X:
    • In Mega Man X2, you'll be forced to fight a reprogrammed Zero if you failed to get all his parts from the X-Hunters. Once you beat him, he comes back to his senses and helps you stop Sigma.
    • As in Mega Man X3 you bring Doctor Doppler back to his senses, after fighting him.
    • In the Mega Man X5bad ending path, you fight a Zero that has succumbed to the Maverick Virus and has gone Maverick himself. After you beat him, the two lay rone on the ground. As Sigma prepares to finish X off, Zero comes back to his senses and leaps in front of the blast, taking the hit that was meant for X.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Cynder started out as a dragoness the same age as the titular hero, but the Big Bad corrupted her with his dark powers, causing her to unnaturally grow to her adult size. Upon being defeated by Spyro, her mind is released from the dark spell and she returns to her normal age, and afterwards spends the remainder of the series as friends with Spyro and eventually falls in love with him.
  • During the climax of The Crooked Man, the player character David is finally consumed with the sadness and despair of The Crooked Man's spirit, which exacerbates his preexisting feelings of misery over the unfortunate events in his life. You're suddenly given control of David's best friend Paul; he and his fiance Marion travel to the abandoned hospital where David is and come across Sissy, D, and Fluffy while traveling through, but when Marion tells him to stop messing with her by talking out loud to no one, Paul realizes that all three of them were spirits/non-corporeal memory fragments, and his ability to perceive ghosts means that Marion just sees him talking to the air; he insists that she turn back and wait in the car where it's safe. Eventually he makes it to the roof only to find David with a gun to his temple and The Crooked Man over his shoulder. Since every crucial dialogue point up until now has had the seemingly incorrect responses actually being the right ones, it makes sense that the only choice that doesn't end in tragedy is to actually pummel David; he's so surprised and angry with Paul for clocking him that it snaps him out of it.
  • In Rayman Origins, four kings (As well as the last nymph, Fée de la Mort) have been turned into huge monstrosities, and it is Rayman's job to beat the crap out of them in order to return them to normal.
  • The final battle of Double Dragon III on the NES has Billy and Jimmy Lee, as well as allies Chin Seimei and Ranzou Yagyu, having to do this to Billy's Brainwashed and Crazy girlfriend Marian.
  • Tales Series:
  • Subverted at first in BlazBlue: Chronophantasma. In her arcade path, Makoto tries to beat some sense into the Brainwashed and Crazy Tsubaki. Two battles later, Tsubaki escapes control, but is quickly overcome again, and only the local Time Crash prevents the confrontation from escalating into a full-blown deathmatch.
    • The "at first" is because the trope is played with later. In the story path, Makoto tries again with Noel and Jin at her side. Makoto doesn't succeed in directly neutralizing the curse, but that wasn't Jin's plan in the first place; with Tsubaki's strength exhausted and Izanami unable to intervene due to the Eclipse Field, Noel could observe the Zero-Type for Tsubaki to grasp and control on her own terms. Jin pushes her to the point where she has to use the Immortal Breaker technique or risk dying, except Jin stops trying to fight so he doesn't kill her. The attack fails because [A] the Immortal Breaker is only meant to destroy entities outside of logic (Jin's power of order is tied to the world's logic, which makes him immune) and [B] Jin was forcing a Sadistic Choice on Tsubaki to see if her love for true justice and Jin is greater than her devotion to then-Imperator Izanami. In the end, it's less "beat the curse out of her" and more "beat the curse so she can break it herself".
    • In a separate incident in Continuum Shift, Makoto runs into Noel in Arcade mode after Terumi stuck his mental dick in her, and proceeds to the percussive maintenance stage to break her out of the resulting trance. She succeeds... and then Terumi shows up and drags her away.
  • In the fourth game in the Morgash Chronicles series, the final boss is a hypnotized George H. W. Bush. The Dragon and Ronian the Druid decide to just shoot lightning and/or fire at him until he recovers, while he fights back with attacks based on soundbites from his speeches ("Thousand points of light", "no new axes", and "the Pledge of Allegiance"). It works, though the un-hypnotized Bush decides it "wouldn't be prudent" to reward them.
  • Near the end of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the Big Bad Demigra uses his mind-control magic to turn several of the Z-Fighters against your character. For the most part it falls under the heading of "Knock them unconscious so they can't kill me", but when the heroes start reacting after you beat them up, it quickly becomes this trope. During the marathon Final Battle, Time Patrol Trunks is himself mind-controlled, and resists the control long enough to encourage you to hit him more since it's helping him break free.
  • In Kero Blaster:
    • In the final level of normal mode, the frog salaryman protagonist's boss has been fully possessed by the Negativus Legatia and the only way to turn her back to normal is by beating her up in a boss fight.
    • In Zangyou Mode, Nanao's former boss is possessed by the Work Producing Machine salesman. Defeating him in battle will free him and allow him to take a much needed nap.
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, most of the Mooks are Lemmings turned into evil monsters by Evil Ed. "Killing" said mooks turns them back into normal Lemmings that run away and escape the screen.
  • Golden Sun has Tret the Holy Tree, who's been driven to mad Unstoppable Rage due to Psynergy Stones falling from the sky. Only when Isaac and his friends hand him his ass does he return to his senses.
  • Kingdom Hearts III has Sora facing off with Aqua, who had been corrupted by darkness thanks to Ansem, Seeker of Darkness, giving her eyes and hair color similar to Xehanort, and being forced into fighting her one-on-one to purge the darkness from her, where when the darkness is purged, she's returned to her normal appearance before Sora brings her home to the Destiny Islands.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The two shown cures to the hypnosis Hugh Bliss and his cronies use are either a Battle in the Center of the Mind, or just hitting them in the head with a boxing glove. Given our heroes, they opt for the latter method. This culminates in Sam and Max having to track and punch everyone on the planet after foiling Bliss's mass hypnosis scheme and accidentally giving everyone the personality of Max.
  • In Cthulhu Saves the World, in "Cthulhu's Angels" bonus campaign, the heroines who save the world on Cthulhu's behalf encounter Umi who was possessed by cursed sword Sharpe and had her personality split in two. As Elona reveals she never learned the spell of exorcism because back then it seemed useless, she explains that beating people senseless tends to have a similar effect. Their success was very short-lived as Sharpe cannot be thrown away, and Umi's evil personality returns. However, the party successfully convinces both personalities of Umi to join them in their quest.
  • Darksiders II: Averted in most cases; generally, the only way to "cure" someone of The Corruption is to kill them. Played straight by Jamaerah, the scribe of the Ivory Citadel, whom Death successfully beats to his senses; this isolated case is probably justified in that powerful holy light can destroy solid Corruption, and the final blow to Jamaerah - an angel - is dealt by his own holy laser.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps plays this straight with Mora the Giant Spider, but subverts it with Kwolok, who dies from his wounds after Ori frees him from Demonic Possession.
  • A downplayed example in Secret of Mana when a possessed Dyluck suckers his love interest Primm in then drains her life energy and sends her to Thanatos to be used as a sacrifice, driving Randi into a fit of rage and causing him to attack Dyluck, breaking Thanatos' control over him. It's not much of a beating in the original (Randi just attacks him with whatever weapon he has equipped, Dyluck's sprite didn't have any animations to reflect being attacked, and due to the game's script having to be compressed Dyluck just says "Phew, I'm alright now") but the 2018 remake gives it a full cutscene where Randi furiously cuts Dyluck down with one blow from the Sword of Mana, visibly wounding him as he slowly shakes off the possession.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge: The boss of Episode 10 is Metalhead, who's normally an ally of the Turtles, but is shown being reprogrammed by Shredder to fight them. You restore his programming to normal by beating him up.
  • In Skylanders: SWAP Force, Kaos and his minions uses weapons made out of petrified darkness to turn creatures around Skylands into evil versions of themselves. Beating down these creatures will free them, but the only ones this doesn't work on are Greeble enemies, likely because they had no true alignment prior to being evilized.
  • Guild Wars 2 Secrets of the Obscure: One event chain in Skywatch Archipelago concludes with a commoner NPC being possessed by the Kryptis. You free her by pounding on her long enough for the possessor to manifest, killing the possessor, and repeating until she's out of health bar. She's perfectly fine once you finish the process.

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue, AI can Body Surf by jumping between hosts via their radios; they can also control their hosts, making them highly dangerous as a result when they get malevolent, as Omega was. One of the ways that an AI could be removed from the host was knocking them out. Thus, Tex punching people in the face quickly became the expedient way to force the AI out, usually because Tex didn't have the patience for the less violent alternatives. That and it's funny.

  • Mob Psycho 100 has one of Reigen's "special moves", the "Anti-Possession Jumping Knee Strike".
  • In Wonderlab, Taii engages in battle with Catt, who had become a Distortion, in an attempt to reverse their condition, and it works...for a moment, before Catt ends up re-Distorting again.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Liam the griffin is under a mind control spell, being knocked briefly unconscious is enough to restore him to his senses.
  • In Girl Genius, Agatha, possessed by a neural copy of The Othernote  is confronted by Von Pinn. Von Pinn, knowing Agatha is "not herself" immediately starts to beat the tar out of The Other. When The Other warns her that she'll kill Agatha if she keeps going, Von Pinn tells her she's well aware of that and is willing to sacrifice Agatha to stop her, but also gives her the chance to retreat (i.e., cede control of her body back to Agatha). The Other does so, but taunts she'll be back.
    Von Pinn (to Agatha): Your mother was always a coward.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998), HIM unleashed a Hate Plague that turned the entire town evil and all attempts to resolve the matter peacefully failed... until the girls beat the crap out of the Townsville citizens. The girls convinced themselves the Brainwashed and Crazy citizens actually were not their loved ones (Since, as the heroes of Townsville, everyone adored the girls). The curse only breaks after the girls take out their Brainwashed and Crazy loved ones and scare HIM into retreating.
    Blossom: Don't ever make us have to do that again!
    Buttercup: Or it will be your last!
    "HIM": Tsk, tsk. You girls underestimate me. I never give repeat performances, but I assure you, I'll be b-a-a-ack! (Evil Laugh)
  • This happens once, indirectly, in Code Lyoko. XANA has possessed Aelita, but needs her alive as much as the children do. To coerce XANA into releasing her, Odd shoots at her repeatedly until she is an inch away from dying, at which point he surrenders. Note that XANA's process of extracting what he wants from her would kill her, so the kids have nothing to lose by threatening to kill her themselves.
  • One episode of Dexter's Laboratory has Dexter's mother, father and big sister all become infected by alien parasites that turn their skin green, their eyes red, and distort their voices. Dexter is forced to equip his Powered Armor to beat up his family (who, under the aliens' control, are all sitting on each other's shoulders so that all three can attack him together as a group) until the parasites abandon ship, after which Dexter immediately stomps the aliens flat, killing them. Afterwards, his parents and sister don't recall any of what happened, though they don't feel particularly well after the beating they received as they all lie in bed together.
    Dad: This flu stuff hits you hard...
  • If Danny Phantom fires a ray of ectoplasm at a person possessed by a ghost, it pushes it out, leaving the person unharmed. If it turns out that person was Not Brainwashed, however, it does hurt.
  • During the "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back" episode of The Boondocks, Uncle Ruckus' attempt to exorcise Colonel Stinkmeaner from Tom's body was to strap him to a bed and beat him while repeating the phrase "Nigga, get your black ass outta here!" The actual solution was the exact opposite (get Stinkmeaner to agree with someone, in this case Ruckus).
  • In the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Let's Get Shadowy", K.O. learns that his longtime enemy Shadowy Figure is actually the Split Personality Superpowered Evil Side of Professor Venomous. Venomous's minion Fink knew this, but never said anything because Shadowy Figure threatened to perform a Split-Personality Takeover on Venomous if she ever talked. Immediately after this revelation, he tries to do exactly that, but K.O. and Fink reluctantly team up and work together to defeat him, which turns him back into Venomous (for now).
  • In Dragamonz, Dax's best friend Boaragon is forcibly brainwashed by the Big Bad Grimserver. Dax tries not to fight with him at first, which ends with him being badly beaten. When the pair meet again, Dax realizes that since all Dragamon's are a Proud Warrior Race. Grimserver's hold on Boaragon does break after Dax wins the rematch.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Sock Opera," Mabel manages to get Bill out of possessing Dipper by exhausting him in a fight until he collapses. This knocks Bill out of Dipper's body and allows Dipper's own soul to re-enter.
  • Subverted in The Legend of Vox Machina: Vex attempts this on her possessed twin Vax, but it's almost certainly Keyleth's Sunlight spell that removes the effect, leaving Vex beating the shit out of her brother until he manages to let her know that he's fine, actually, and she can stop hitting him now.

    Real Life 
  • Many exorcism rituals involve physical abuse.
  • Unfortunately Truth in Television today. Some preachers such as Michael Pearl still advise parents to beat the crap out of their kids on the excuse that insubordinate or bratty behavior is caused by demons. Unfortunately, children have died from these practices, even as recently as 2011.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Beat The Curse Out Of Her


The Party Saves Hortensia

After becoming brainwashed by Zephia in Chapter 14, Alear and her troops (including Ivy, Elusia's princess in exile) are forced to fight her. Fortunately, they snap her out of the possession after beating her up. While initially hesitant to join the party, Hortensia is eventually convinced by Ivy and Alear due to them telling her that Elusia isn't currently under either Ivy or Hortensia, due to their father, Hyacinth being murdered via being devoured by Sombron, who basically usurped control from the royals and returning would only make Hortensia a puppet for Sombron and the Four Hounds' schemes.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BeatTheCurseOutOfHim

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