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Bully Brutality

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"Who are these kids!? Jeffrey Dahmer's bastards!?"
Bennett the Sage on Lucy's bullies, Elfen Lied
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Often in media, The Bully is portrayed as a typical Jerkass whose biggest threat to their victim is a wedgie or fist in the face. Aside from that, they are mostly harmless in the grand scheme of things. Bully Brutality takes the typical bully Up to Eleven by having him do things that could actually kill their victim, though the bully may or may not actually want to commit murder. Of course knowingly using violence than can result in serious injury or death isn't any better than premeditated murder. Where the typical bully just wants to give their victim a black eye, the brutal bully wants to beat them to a bloody pulp. The fact that the bully is capable of inflicting such harm is usually lampshaded by the characters. It becomes clear that these bullies have no limits. And clear as well, that because of that they have crossed all lines which makes it a great example of crossing the Moral Event Horizon.

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Do not confuse this with cases where bullying has led to the victim committing suicide; that's just a specific case of Driven to Suicide. This trope is where the bullying itself has reached levels that the bully has committed manslaughter, or come close to it by landing the victim in hospital or leaving them permanently disabled.

Related to Kids Are Cruel, Teens Are Monsters, and Bullied into Depression. Compare No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, a common weapon in the bully's arsenal for this trope. Contrast with School Bullying Is Harmless. Sadly, this is Truth in Television; there are countless Real Life examples of kids being brutally beaten, maimed, disabled and even murdered by bullies.

See also Barbaric Bully, for more unrealistic and stereotypical portrayals of brutal bullies.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Accel World: Araya initially just resorts to bullying Haruyuki, extorting him into giving him lunch. After Kuroyukihime gets him expelled, he jumps right into brutal territory by trying to run Haru and Kuroyukihime over with his car.
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy/Kaede's Precious Puppy was killed with a vase by Tomoo and his friends, the orphanage kids who bullied her on a regular basis. They just wanted to see how she would react. She snapped out and killed them with her Vectors.
  • Iris Zero: Toru is viciously bullied by other students for being an Iris Zero, that is, somebody without a special eye-related power. Because of this, he develops his "low exposure" policy to avoid standing out as much as possible. It's really brought home later in the series where another character gets angry and starts kicking him repeatedly. A girl asks him why he didn't fight back, and he calmly stands up, dusts himself off, and says it's better to just get it over with.
  • In Private Actress, Shiho Kobayakawa is hired by a rich couple whose daughter, Fuyuka, was almost surely murdered by her bullies after months of being their target. The grieving parents want Shiho to investigate Fuyuka's Boarding School and confirm this. Shiho eventually finds out that yes, Fuyuka was killed... but the exact reason was that she walked on the bullies murdering someone else, and they turned their attacks towards her...
  • Blue Exorcist: The Starter Villain, Reiji Shiratori, invokes this. He is shown killing pigeons with a crossbow and threatens Rin with a warning shot for getting involved. As retaliation for beating him up, Reiji tried to brand Rin with a metal rod that he doused in fire, which leads to him getting possessed by Astaroth.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Many one-off antagonists during the Shadow Games Arc were guilty of this.
    • Ushio, who beat Jonouchi and Honda to a bloody pulp with hopes that Yugi will pay him to be his bodyguard. When Yugi refused, he beat him up instead. When Yami challenged him to a shadow game that involved knife play, Ushio tried to cheat by attempting to stab him.
    • The TV Producer and Fujita, who targeted Yugi to fabricate a bullying news story.
    • Sozoji, who forced Yugi and Hanasaki to sell tickets to his concert. Because he has an infamously terrible singing voice, nobody would buy tickets, so Yugi to Hanasaki's off his hands, which led to the latter getting brutally beat by Sozoji.
    • Hirutani, who forced Jonouchi to rejoin his gang. When Yami confronted him, his gang members threatened him with Tasers.
  • Narutaru has 12-year old Aki Honda, who forces her victim to eat worms, beats up her friend for being late, and then rapes her favorite bullying victim with a test tube.
  • Manami from Life and her Girl Posse can be very violent. It gets to the point where one character threw herself off the school balcony to avoid their wrath. Early on they attempt to shove a handful of needles down Ayumu's throat in a reference to taking the Japanese Pinky Swear rhyme seriously. Manami outright attempts to get Ayumu and Miki murdered outside of school.
  • Ayana's bullies in Fukushuu Kyoushutsu have repeatedly raped her, and even thrown her under a car... And expressed disappointment when she survived. The car was what made her snap and decide to psychologically or physically destroy her classmates for being bullies or not trying to help her.
  • Holyland has multiple examples:
    • Back in junior high, Yuu was regularly beaten and robbed until he stopped coming at school, tried killing himself, and, after backing out at the last moment, started training himself in basic boxing so that when (not if, when) bullies came back after him he'd be able to fight back. And sure enough, not only in high school he's attacked by delinquents from other schools just because he looks harmless (resulting in him gaining a fame as the "Thug Hunter of Shimokita" after he puts down the third), but one of his junior high tormentors tries to rob him once again.
    • When in high school, Masaki was attacked by his sempai in the boxing club and their friends for being so much better he won a spot in the interhigh tournament while still the first year, suffering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown until he begged them to stop when they threatened to break his hands with a brick. The trauma from that experience and him hunting them down one by one in revenge would be the starting point of his rise to the king of the streets.
  • My Hero Academia establishes from the get-go that Katsuki Bakugo has bullied Izuku Midoriya (The Hero) for ten years straight because Izuku is a "quirkless" individual in a world where Everyone is a Super and this somehow makes Bakugo loathe Midoriya's existence with a passion (what's worse yet, it turns out that he's Izuku's Evil Former Friend). This means that for ten years straight, Midoriya has been insulted, treated like a sub-human (by what is implied is everyone in class) and has had Bakugo's Quirk (the ability to sweat nitroglycerine and set it off at will) going off in his face on a constant basis and in the very first chapter Bakugo tells Midoriya that he should just kill himself and hope he reincarnates into someone with powers. Because of Values Dissonance, a (very) Vocal Minority in the manga's Western fanbase considered him to have gone way past the Moral Event Horizon and hates him and even the author has gone on record in calling that scene a case of Early Installment Weirdness (especially because Bakugo's character arc revolves around learning to be less of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold... mostly because he puts a rather incredible emphasis on the "jerk" part).
  • The protagonist's bullies in Mahou Shoujo Site are a violent Girl Posse who give her swirlies and try to get an upperclassman to rape her. After Aya escapes and accidentally kills one of them, her friend tries to get revenge by leaving Aya with a scarred face.
  • In Nijigahara Holograph, the bullying of Takahama by his classmates, particularly Kohta, gets more harsh after Arié is dropped down the well, culminating in Kohta pulling a knife on him. However, he's knocked out by one of the other bullies before he can actually use the knife on Takahama.
  • Rinne from ViVid Strike! was targeted by three bullies after she turned down their offer to join the school's fighting club, eventually resulting in them destroying a prized family heirloom and beating her into unconsciousness on the day her grandfather died. She ended up beating all three of them into the hospital afterwards.
  • In the fifth episode of Battery, a group of boys sneak up on Takumi after school, pull his shirt up, and start whipping him with a belt. One of them pulls out scissors and threatens to "give him a haircut", but he's stopped by his friends because the scars would be easy to see.

    Comic Books 
  • In the original volume of Omega the Unknown, a nerdy student is beaten so badly by bullies that he must be rushed into the hospital for surgery. When he returns, a bully kicks him hard enough to rupture his stitches and he dies.
  • There's a story arc in The Sandman where at a Boarding School of Horrors, dozens of students return from the dead - including a trio of bullies who attended the school back before the First World War (for reference, this story took place during the Gulf War.) It turns out that these bullies killed one of their fellow students decades earlier as part of a Satanic ritual (and this unfortunate lad is also back from the dead.) Displeased with the way that the ritual failed to gain them any special attention from Satan, and generally unhappy about being back at their old school, they decide to resume being bullies and inflict their tortures on one of the few live students left at the school. The poor kid ends up dying from the wounds they inflict upon him after several agonizing days without medical care.
  • Played with in the first issue of Muties - Jared murders longtime bully Dunk and gets away with it because Dunk turns out to be a mutant, and thus everyone is willing to believe that he posed a threat to Jared.
  • In Robin a pair of bullies at Tim's high school beat a kid to death.
  • Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra: Trey started as a mere bully, but things escalated so much that he tried to commit murder.

    Fan Works 
  • The climax of the Lucky Star fanfic The Day Everything Changed involved school bully Sakura Takahashi, using a metal pipe and a pocket knife, and hopped up on two of the world's most potent steroids, brutally beating poor Kagami half to death over irrational jealousy. She possibly could have killed her (despite earlier telling herself that she wouldn't), if Konata had not intervened.
  • In AAML: Diamond and Pearl Version, Ash and Paul's Full Battle at Lake Acuity has Paul maim both Charizard and Sceptile during the fight, and also hurt Ash's baby Riolu just for his own amusement. His brother Reggie is visibly distraught and everyone else is pissed.
  • In Mudsnake, several Gryffindor kids decide to get back at Slytherin by targeting a student. They sneak up on Hermione, stun her, beat her up, lock her in a seldom-visited broom closet, and then charm the door so no one can hear her scream. Snape deems it a near murder attempt because, if not for Ron's guilt making him tell what happened, Hermione could have been stuck in there for days. Dumbledore lets the perpetrators off easy by just giving them detention.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Biff Tannen from the first Back to the Future engages in this, by using his car to try and run a skateboarding Marty into a manure truck.
  • Henry Bowers, the lead bully in It (1990), pulled a knife on one of the child protagonists and later on he and his posse chased the protagonists into the sewer (while they were confronting IT) in order to kill them all. This is pretty much standard for Stephen King.
  • In the movie Pay It Forward, one of the bullies stabs the kid with a switchblade and he actually dies. Though unlike most cases, here, the bully is genuinely shocked and remorseful at what he did.
  • In Young Adult, Mavis befriends Matt, a nerd who was so severely bullied in high school that he's now permanently disabled.
  • In Drillbit Taylor, the titular character is hired by the protagonists to protect them from two bullies who are actively trying to kill them.
  • Discussed in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; Dodger gets bullied physically by Juice and his gang. When asked why he hasn't reported it to the police, Dodger explains that the last one who snitched on Juice got "poured" into the West Side highway.
  • In The Karate Kid, every one of the nasty karate students Daniel runs into (the Cobra Kai, Chozen) gives him sound beatings. The continuation series Cobra Kai follows up by making the first students of the resurrected titular Thug Dojo victims of modern methods such as cyber-bullying that become (by the end of the first season) brutal bullies themselves of the old-school "beat the living shit out of your target" kind.
  • In The Goonies, a high school bully drives up next to Brandon who is riding a little girl's bike (long story), grabs his hand, and attempts to drag him along before sending him over a cliff. Somehow he survives.
  • Some students from My Name Is Khan eventually torture Sameer with a soccer ball just because his stepfather is a Muslim. They end up accidentally killing Sameer.
  • This was parodied in The Toxic Avenger. Bozo and his gang bully Melvin and throw him into the vat of chemicals leading him to becoming the titular character. Before they do it, they admit that they're also serial killers. They also run over a boy on his bike For the Evulz and back into him when they see he survived.
  • In both Let the Right One In and its American remake, Let Me In, the protagonist is constantly being victimized by a trio of bullies, culminating in their attempt to drown him in a pool.
  • Nacho from the Spanish film Bullying is a particularly depraved example. He starts by forcing Jordi to drink alcohol and wet himself on camera, and than moves on to fracturing Jordi's dog's leg. Finally, he moves on to trying to rape and murder Jordi.

    Literature 
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Vincent Crabbe, one of the two of Draco Malfoy's minions, attempts to actually kill the protagonist and his friend Hermione. He dies of his own attempt, consumed by the fire he summons.
    • Tom Riddle commanded the Basilisk to target muggle-borns at Hogwarts petrifying many and eventually killing one. Dumbledore implied that Riddle and his gang were also the cause of several other shady incidents during their time as students.
    • Some of Snape's Hogwarts friends were said to use dark magic on other students.
  • Inverted in Ender's Game — a bully attacks Ender, who responds by beating him to a bloody pulp, actually (if unintentionally) killing him. He gets away with it because the military recognizes it as a sign of his potential for measured brutality.
  • The bullies in Let the Right One In were pretty vicious. At one point a bully's older brother gets into the fray and literally attempts to drown the main character. Yeesh.
  • Inverted In Ben Elton's book Past Mortem a bunch of school bullies are killed by a serial killer, years after the bullying took place, usually in an Ironic Death. While the serial killer takes it Up to Eleven, however, several of the various misdeeds perpetrated by the bullies in the past touch on this trope.
  • In The Saga of Tuck, the protagonist is beaten almost to the point of death at one point. More than one chapter focuses on his dubious chances of survival.
  • Rumer Godden's The Diddakoi, the eponymous girl is bullied repeatedly by the other girls at her school, which comes to a head when they physically assault her and leave her with a broken neck. Thankfully, she survives, but had her guardian not been there, it would have been fatal.
  • In Roald Dahl's The Swan, the bullies who torment Ernie go as far as to tie Ernie to railway tracks and later shoot him in the leg with a rifle.
  • In Powers, the third book of Annals of the Western Shore, Hoby's torment of protagonist Gavir comes to a head when he and his pack hold Gavir upside-down in a well. Not only is he nearly drowned, he's badly bruised and battered, and their owners finally send Hoby away.
  • In The Soldier Son series, there is a tradition of hazing new recruits at the military academy. The sons of the new nobles were subjected to far worse hazing than the old nobility, to the point that several of them were discharged for health reasons afterwards.
  • In Worm the protagonist gets her superpowers when her tormentors trap her in a locker filled with rotting used tampons; aside from ending up in the psych ward for a week, she could have gotten any number of blood borne pathogens from the mess.
    • Taylor kisses a boy one of the bullies, Sophia, was looking at. Sophia retaliates by attacking Taylor in a bookstore, nearly tearing her ear off in the process.
  • Brutal bullies is part of Stephen King's Signature Style:
    • In The Body, the four protagonists all receive beatings from Ace and his gang; one gets a broken nose and fingers and another one has a badly broken arm.
    • In It, Henry Bowers is shown as perfectly willing to do such things as carve his name into Ben Hanscom's belly (only managing the "H" before Ben gets away), poison Mike Hanlon's pet dog, break Eddie Kaspbrak's arm, nearly drown Bill Denbrough in a dunk tank, and white-wash Stan Uris' face in snow until he draws blood. The other members of his gang are depicted as actually being horrified that he would go so far. Needless to say, it's easy for It to use him as The Scapegoat for Its killing spree.
    • Chris Hargensen of Carrie fame. Aside from tormenting Carrie over her first period, and the pigs' blood prank, it's noted that she's committed such horrible things as stuffing firecrackers in someone's shoes and nearly blowing her toes off just because the girl had a harelip, among other mistreatments of "misfit" pupils. The principal of the school even flat-out tells Chris' father that, with all of the things she's done, they could easily have her thrown in prison.
    • The short story Sometimes, They Come Back (collected in Night Shift) has the protagonist reminiscing of a gang of Greaser teens that kept bullying him until it escalated to attempted murder (of him—they also killed his brother, who was twelve), and then died in an accident... and these greasers are the titular 'they', who resurrect through unknown means for no reason other than keep on tormenting the protagonist in order to finish the job...
  • Nut from Bravelands usually just mocks and jeers at Thorn, Mud, and Fearless. However, during Thorn and Mud's second Feat, he nearly gets them murdered by crocodiles when he throws rocks at the crocs.
  • In the first book of The Blasted Lands Series, Andover Lashk has his hands smashed to a pulp by a city guard who wrongly accuses him of flirting with a girl the guard wanted for himself. He later gets new magical hands and uses them to horribly maim the guard and his accomplice.
  • As The Mental State takes place mostly in prison, this trope is inevitable. Most of the violence is targeted at Charlie on account of the reason why he was arrested in the first place. Zack is pretty much to only inmate who actually attempts to understand and stand up for him. Upon his release, Zack even makes his successor promise to keep protecting him during his absence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 13 Reasons Why, calling Bryce Walker and Monty bullies is a gross understatement since they are both guilty of rape, with the former raping Hannah, culminating in her suicide, and the latter responsible for the incredibly controversial scene of Tyler’s assault via broomstick.
  • Inverted in a CSI episode actually called "Bully For You" - the bully, Barry Schickel, is the Asshole Victim there. It turns out the murderer is the school counselor. Long story short, she decided to go Knight Templar and try to prevent a future Columbine rip-off.
  • Freaks and Geeks used this with a bully who landed a kid in the hospital by using peanuts, which the kid was allergic to.
  • In Grange Hill, "Booga" Benson was expelled after the beating he gave Tucker landed Tucker in the hospital.
  • Little House on the Prairie: "The Bully Boys" was the most notable of several episodes where bullies try to intimidate their way through Walnut Grove and Hero Township, and the trope kicked in when Charles tried to beat up one of the brothers for attempting to rape Caroline, only for the other to sneak attack Charles and break his ribs. In the end, the town is able to stand up to the bullies (as a group) and they are escorted out of town, told never to return.
  • One Midsomer Murders episode has a kid with a Disappeared Dad want to join the local gang of bullies and dies accidentally, though it looks like a suicide, causing his mother to die soon after (he was supposed to stay on a chair in a noose and slipped off). Years later, one of the murderers thinks he's going to die and confesses to the priest... who happened to be the kid's father.
    • In another, a child is left for dead by the bullies, and is found amnesiac by a couple who'd recently lost their child. They end up keeping him in their basement for years (not out of abuse, but so that he wouldn't be taken away from them).
  • An episode of The George Lopez Show has Carmen play a prank on Max by photographing him with a teddy bear while he's sleeping. It goes horribly wrong when Max ends up getting stitches in the back of his head from the bullying that ensues.
  • On Graceland, Carlito Solano is an overgrown bully of the Psychopathic Manchild variety. In his first appearance, he shoots one of his own bodyguards in order to test an antique pistol, and the poor bastard only survives because Johnny intervenes and prevents him from bleeding out. In another, he nearly chokes his own sister to death.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger has an inversion in one episode, where one particular kid is picked on by almost all of the other students, for being smaller than they are, for wearing ratty clothing, for being "stinky", for his Hispanic accent, among other reasons. Eventually, the boy makes it to the roof of the school, and intends to jump to his death, but Walker arrives on the scene, and proceeds to try and talk him out of it; the boy appears to change his mind, only to accidentally slip and fall to his death anyway. Walker immediately starts an anti-bullying campaign, not just at the school, but in the entire community, in the wake of the boy's untimely death.
  • In Halt and Catch Fire, Joe's initial explanation for his scars was that he was chased off of a roof by bullies, however, Cameron later figures out that this is a lie.
    • In the second season, a closeted programmer at Mutiny is brutally attacked by homophobes who lured him out on the pretense of a date.
  • In the season finale of Necessary Roughness, T.K.'s career is effectively ended when Coach Wizinski enlists some of his former teammates to utterly wreck his shoulder to "punish" him for defecting from the Hawks.
  • In The Americans, Tuan, a teenage spy from Vietnam, arranges for the shy and awkward Pasha's life to be made hell as part of a plan by Phillip and Elizabeth to recruit Pasha's mother, who has a job teaching Russian to government employees.
  • Troy from Stranger Things at first starts off as a simple bully, going no worse than giving Mike a small cut on his chin. However, he makes an incredibly disrespectful comment about Will during his memorial service, which leads to Eleven making him wet his pants. As retaliation, he threatens to stab Dustin if Mike didn't jump off a cliff.

    Video Games 
  • In the Mystery Case Files game Shadow Lake, a tough-looking girl follows the boy who found the artifact up to the school's bell tower, and tries to bully him into handing it over. In the struggle, he's knocked over the railing and falls to his death.
  • In Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers, Big starts off as just a bully who steals Tiny's treasured underpants. However, said pair of underpants turn out to be a magical artifact that slowly turns Big into an Omnicidal Maniac, and by the end of the game, he's so hell-bent on outright killing Tiny that he's hurling whole brick walls at him.
  • Bully largely consists of typical schoolyard bullying and fistfights, up until one of the Greaser bosses comes at you with a massive iron sledgehammer.
  • While the Bullies in Yandere Simulator currently don't do anything worse than mean-spirited pranks and graffiti suggesting their victim kill themselves, that's mostly because of incomplete programming, and YandereDev has indicated that there will be several levels of bullying, the worst one being firmly in this trope. It's also implied that they broke a student's arm prior to the game's beginning.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Yume Miru Kusuri, Aeka Shiraki is being continuously harshly bullied to the point of breaking, and everyone turns a blind eye. The bad end of her arc is past that point and has her jump off the school roof in a suicide attempt. Good end? That one has herself and supportive-of-her protagonist quit the crapsack school after having snapped, that is having retaliated at escalative bullies once, near-strangling the instigator to death among other things.

    Web Comics 
  • In DNA Rigel begins drowning Orion in a mud puddle after Orion refuses to eat mud and insults Rigel in retaliation to Rigel's bullying, and when this happens even Rigel's fellow bully Leon recognizes that Rigel is going too far.
  • The bullying of Lidusis from Black Haze crosses from Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics to this when bully Manon and a group of upperclassmen take him and strap him to a target with his hands tied behind his back while ordering his classmates to throw stones at him, promising a perfect score to anyone who can hit "the decoration" (i.e. him). Thankfully, he only gets hit once (though in the head, when one of the bullies demonstrates how it should be done) before Rood shows up and rescues him (while utterly demolishing the upperclassmen in the process). However, had Rood not shown up (or had he been unable to do anything, which was what Manon was counting on), Lidusis could have very easily been stoned to death by his classmates.
  • In Forest Hill Kaleb has to go to the hospital and even has a Near-Death Experience as a result of Benni performing a suplex on him, which gave him serious head trauma, enough that he started to have seizures afterword.

    Western Animation 
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Shake constantly acts as such with Meatwad, doing such crazed actions as stuffing Meatwad's pets in the microwave and trying to dupe him into using a beehive as a replacement brain.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends pilot, Mac's Big Brother Bully Terrence tries to kill him and Bloo with an extreme-o-saur.
  • In one episode of Robotboy, Donnie attempted to throw Tommy in a woodchipper.
  • As revealed in the episode "Skips' Story" of Regular Show, Klorgbane the Destroyer was an excessive bully in high school whose bullying often went under the radar of Headmaster Bennett. Klorgbane crosses the Moral Event Horizon however when he causes the death of Desdemona, the love of Skips' life and reason for his constant skipping and name.
  • The Simpsons:
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: In a Whole Episode Flashback to Lance's time in a military academy, he spends the whole time being physically and verbally harassed by another student named Baron. After Lance beats Baron at a war game, he and his cronies attack Lance with live rifles and grenades. When Lance jumps into a Humongous Mecha to scare them off, Baron does the same, starting a fight that trashes much of the academy, and which Lance is arrested for along with Baron.
  • Archer: When Archer was 13, he was brutally bullied by Ivy and Whitney two of the students at the Boarding School of Horrors he was attending at the time. It's not played for laughs at all, their bullying culminated in Archer ending up in the hospital with pneumonia after being beaten bloody and nearly drowned in a toilet, and the episode shows that Archer is still traumatized by it as an adult.
  • The Mask: Ched Bozak, Stanley's high school bully, bullied him relentlessly and ended up getting expelled after nailing a bunch of wood to Stanley's head and passing him off as a doorstop for shop class. What REALLY drives this into Brutality territory however, was when Ched returns as an adult and gets his hands on one half of the Mask (it had been broken in half by Walter at the start of this episode), allowing him to transform half his body into his own Mask persona, who is even worse than him, and actually tries to kill Stanley and The Mask with a circular saw. Even Ched thinks this is going too far and ends up in a physical struggle with his own inner demon.

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