Follow TV Tropes


Came Back Wrong

Go To
"Why, yes, Dr. Venture, I can see people just lining up for your resurrections!"

"Sometimes, dead is better."

Sometimes, death is not a cheap event that's easily undone, but a dramatic, soul-scouring event. Even if Magic and Powers exist, most would say cheating it is flat-out impossible. However, if you really love someone, nothing's impossible, right? By technology or magic, by the power of the Gods or the grace of the Old Ones, surely there is a way...

...Well, yeah, it is possible, but you won't like the result. Seriously. It's not a pretty picture.

Basically, an attempt to resurrect someone from the dead — usually a Love Interest, sometimes a family member, a close friend or even one's selfwill end badly. This can be due to unfortunate circumstances, external tampering, or the setting itself being constrained by an Equivalent Exchange or Fantastic Aesop that makes all such attempts Go Horribly Wrong. There are several ways this could go badly:

  • Soulless Shell: The loved one's body comes back fine, but their soul remains gone for good.
  • Damaged Soul: Both the body and the soul come back, but the soul suffered some damage along the way, often leading to madness, depression or sociopathy.
  • Monster from Beyond the Veil: Something goes really wrong, and the loved one comes back as an undead, demonic or Eldritch Abomination that now wants to kill/eat their resurrector.
  • Inhuman Human: The person's soul comes back just fine. The body, on the other hand, is a complete mess, with bad results for both the person and the resurrector.
  • Destination Host Unreachable: The body comes back, and the soul comes back, but the person can never see the resurrector again due to being shunted off somewhere/when else.

Often falls under Equivalent Exchange explaining why it doesn't work. Other times a Fantastic Aesop behind why those who've had Death by Origin Story can't come back. If Only Mostly Dead has also been used or the setting includes powerful White Magic, it can seem like Sour Grapes.

Sometimes this can happen even in a universe where coming Back from the Dead can be done without incident, if the resurrection's not performed competently, done without important supplies, or intentionally sabotaged.

Compare Creating Life and the opposite, Came Back Strong. (Although, on some occasions the two Tropes are not mutually exclusive.) See also Harmful Healing, Unwanted Revival, and Resurrection Sickness.

Sometimes a Zombie Apocalypse can be a Came Back Wrong on a massive scale.

Most examples fall into one of the above-listed subtypes. Only examples that don't fit one of those should be included specifically on this page.

Not to be confused with That Came Out Wrong.

As a Death Trope (or a partial nullification of it), many if not all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. You Have Been Warned.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is Takako Sugiura's justification for attacking Mei Misaki (and convincing most of her classmates to do the same) in the anime version of Another. She believes that the Mei everyone knows died at some point and was brought Back from the Dead by the curse... but in reality, the girl she met was Mei's twin sister Misaki, who is dead due to the same curse.
  • Vetto and Fana in Black Clover suffer from radically different personalities to the one they had while they were alive, with Vetto becoming a mad brute obsessed with sinking his enemies into the most absolute despair and Fana being consumed by a deep hatred against those who oppose Licht. Rhya as well to a lesser extent because of the side-effects of the Forbidden Magic. They get better once Rhya restores them in their artificial bodies, though they still harbor some of the hate against humans they had while being reincarnated.
  • In Blame!, Seu, an enhanced human who acts as muscle for an AI control system, is repeatedly healed using a Matter Replicator, but each time his mind degrades more and more.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, the #2 Level 5 Teitoku Kakine is able to recover from being reduced to a Brain in a Jar from his battle with Accelerator by using his Dark Matter power to forge a new body, complete with functional organs, for himself. The body, however, looks like a white-and-black version of his old look with evil red eyes, and no matter what Accelerator and Mugino do to him in the rematch, he can just fix the damage no matter how severe and make as many of himself as he wants. Dying also just made him even more determined to kill Accelerator and anyone who gets in his way. Thankfully, one of his Dark Matter creations with a more benevolent mindset manages to take over Kakine when he spreads his consciousness too thin and becomes too distracted, resulting in a far kinder Teitoku Kakine coming into existence.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection: Going off of the compilation movies' alternate continuity, C.C. attempted to use C's World to ressurect Lelouch after he sacrificed his life as part of the Zero Requiem. It doesn't quite work: while she is able to restore his body, his soul doesn't quite come back intact, leaving him mute, amnesiac, and completely afraid of everything around him. It takes a second trip into C's World to make Lelouch's soul whole and bring him back completely.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, this happens to Falin when Marcille's resurrection magic inadvertently mixes up the Red Dragon's soul with hers. The resurrection succeeded, and she even Came Back Strong due to absorbing the dragon's natural magic, but being part monster gave the Mad Sorcerer control over her will and flesh.
  • Digimon:
    • Inverted with the titular creatures. When they "die" their data is merely recycled and they eventually come back. More than a few times in the series a villain or evil mon has died, only to ultimately come back as a neutral or even benevolent character.
    • Played horrifyingly straight with ZeedMillenniummon. After Millenniummon was destroyed, the natural reincarnation process should have happened. Instead, his data failed to reconfigure back into an egg and ended up becoming an unholy beast that wanted nothing more than to eradicate everything in the multiverse.
      • In Episode 61 of Digimon Ghost Game, a Moon=Millenniumon (ZeedMillenniumon's dormant form) murders a woman by crash-landing on her as soon as it manifested from a Digital Gate and reanimated her corpse through taking control of it. Because the woman's fiance was grief-ridden especially because she died days prior to their wedding, he brought her dead body home and toyed with it, though the reanimated body looks and acts completely wrong, and her presence attracts a huge flock of Evilmon and Tsumemon to haunt the house. By the time the protagonists got involved, Moon=Millenniumon was already feeding on its victim for 10 days and their intervention merely allowed it to officially resurrect as ZeedMillenniumon much quicker.
  • At the start of Dorohedoro, Kaiman brutally kills a Magic User named Ebisu in a fight. Another Magic User, Fujita, manages to bring her back from the dead with his powers, but the experience of gruesomely dying and being revived is so traumatic that Ebisu comes back as a Cloudcuckoolander with no memory of her past. The fact that all of this is Played for Laughs lets you know what to expect from this manga.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball: Lampshaded in the "King Piccolo Arc" whenh Goku's friends discuss how to wish Krillin back to life, and Oolong is worried about Krillin potentially becoming a walking skeleton.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Subverted with Majin Buu's resurrection. When the newly resurrected Buu starts acting like a child, Gohan assumes that something went wrong in the resurrection process... only for Kai to tell him that no, Buu has always been like that, and he's no less dangerous for that. Although we eventually learn Majin Buu was originally a being of pure chaos and destruction. He absorbed the pure-hearted Grand Supreme Kai, which turned him into a being who had the innocence of a child, but was still dangerously powerful. Bibidi and Babidi cajoled him into doing evil, but Mr. Satan taught him to be good. That is, until Mr. Satan was shot, angering Buu to the point that his inner evil was unleashed.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F': Freeza's minions wish him back to life. Shenlong warns them that he'll be brought back in the state he was in when he died due to it having been too long since he died; in other words, cubed meat courtesy of Future Trunks. The minions go ahead with the wish anyway: Frieza's race are extraordinarily survivable and even in chunks Frieza is still alive and conscious, even attempting to pull his pieces back together. Additionally, the Frieza Force's Healing Vat technology has advanced enough in the years since his death that it's able to reconstitute those chunks into Freeza, even restoring the parts that had to be replaced with cybernetics after his fight with Goku on Namek, ultimately subverting the trope.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Attempts at reviving dead people with alchemy creates a badly-constructed human body made from chemical elements. This body, which has no soul or consciousness and only the most rudimentary of biological functions, usually expires within moments of its 'birth'. One alchemist in a bonus chapter managed to create a body that was capable of maintaining biological functions... but all it could do was sit there, with brain functions barely above a vegetative state. And while the characters believed there was a soul in the body, there's no way of telling whether it was the soul of the dead person the alchemist was trying to revive, or just some other random soul.
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), however, attempts at reviving dead people with alchemy create homunculi. Homunculi are beings with the same chemical makeup and appearance as the human that was supposed to be resurrected, but they have no souls or conscience. As a result of having no soul they cannot perform alchemy, but instead have a single alchemy-related super power. Many of the homunculi are Beta Test Baddies who have thrown their lot in with the Big Bad for the promise of a soul.
    • The manga ultimately subverts the trope, in that the "revived" people are entirely different beings. (Trisha's hair was brown, the body the Elrics created had black hair, etc.) This revelation leads Ed to conclude reviving the dead is impossible and relieves Alphonse and Izumi Curtis, who had been suffering immense grief over killing their loved ones again with failed transmutations.
  • Yuno of Future Diary realizes this during the first time loop. She and Yukiteru, who are in a relationship, decide on a Suicide Pact. However, Yuno doesn't swallow her pills purposefully, so that she can become God and resurrect Yuki. However, when she does, Deus tells her that it is impossible to resurrect a soul.
  • Spoofed in Haruhi-chan. Ryoko Asakura restores her being... but ends up as the incredibly cute and tiny Achakura. Nagato takes her home.
  • The priestess Kikyo from Inuyasha is brought back in a clay body, but the body itself is soulless. Kagome's soul, being a reincarnation, was needed to complete the ritual, but it was interrupted so the only thing Kikyo was able to gain was the anger and hatred for Inuyasha. She then needs to feed on the souls of the dead in order to stay "alive."
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Polnareff encounters a genie who offers to grant him three wishes. After using the first on treasure, he realizes how selfish he's being and asks the genie to bring his sister Sherry and the recently-killed Avdol back to life; unfortunately, they come back as ravenous zombies who attack Polnareff. Ultimately subverted when the real Avdol (who was only Faking the Dead) returns in style and reveals that the zombies (and the treasure) are just simulacra made of dirt, and the "genie" is the Stand of one of DIO's assassins.
  • Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: When Precia Testarossa attempted to bring back her daughter Alicia after her accidental death, Fate was the result. Fate looked like Alicia and had all of her memories, but she was different. She had different preferences, a different attitude, and she was right-handed instead of left. Precia did not take this well at all.
  • Naruto: Summoning: Impure World Resurrectionnote  brings a person's soul from the afterlife, but has a lot of deficiencies. First, you need that person's cells, no matter what. Second, it requires a sacrifice, because the departed soul can only inhabit a living body. Third, the resurrected person has Complete Immortality, yet, with two notable exceptions, they are completely subservient to the person who brought them back. You're basically committing graverobbing, murder, and slavery in one go. Oh, and the immortality part means it sucks if the caster wants to live with the resurrected. Plus, an IWR-resurrected person has very conspicuous physical defects, including necrotic veins and black eyes. Tellingly, the creator of the technique, Tobirama Senju, effectively disowned it a long time ago.note  Not that it stops Orochimaru or Kabuto.
    • IWR is actually unusual in that, barring the physical defects (which are not really that bad) and immortality, the person brought back is exactly what they were when in life, because their soul is there. Yet virtually everyone, including some villains, think that it is a disgusting and dishonorable act to do.
    • Madara Uchiha is not happy that he is brought back this way, but not because he think it is disgusting. IWR-resurrected people cannot become vessel to the Ten Tails, which means they cannot cast the Infinite Tsukuyomi. Madara is very keen to perform the Outer Path's resurrection technique, because it genuinely brings a person back to life.
  • The contact experiments of Neon Genesis Evangelion tend to lead to this:
    • Yui Ikari is absorbed into Evangelion Unit 01. As an Evangelion, she frequently goes bezerk, most notably eating Zeruel alive. In the manga, it looks like she's raping it.
    • Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu is not killed by her contact experiment like Yui, but goes insane, believing that a doll is the true Asuka and that Asuka is an impostor. She eventually hangs herself and the doll.
    • Rei I was killed by Naoko Akagi, and part of her soul was absorbed into Evangelion Unit 00. Future Reis are much more antisocial and detached than Rei I, who seems mostly normal. Unit 00 also has a habit of attacking Ritsuko Akagi, thinking she's Naoko.
  • The Big Bad of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS revives Ririka's crush/ fallen mentor Kanon as his lackey. Physically, he appears to be exactly as he was before he died, except that now he is an evil Smug Snake. He is a very difficult foe for Ririka to deal with not just because of the emotional pain from keeping his death a secret, but also because he is just as popular as he was before he suddenly disappeared.
  • In Occult Academy, Kozue is killed and reanimated as part of a Flatline Plotline, but she comes back as a boring rationalist. On the flip side, she no longer needs glasses.
  • Brook from One Piece ate a Devil Fruit that allowed his soul to return to his body after he had died... too bad it got lost at sea and only found his body after the corpse had decayed into a skeleton, causing his current Dem Bones appearance.
  • In Pokémon: Jirachi: Wish Maker, the Villain of the Week tried to clone the legendary Groudon from one of its fossilized spikes, but instead created an Eldritch Abomination that tried to destroy the world with its Vampiric Draining power.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Hoo boy. The Magical Girl transformation process basically kills them and brings them back as Liches. Not only do their bodies start decaying if they're removed from their Soul Gem for too long, their removed souls also decay into "Witches", the Big Bads they have to spend eternity fighting. Think of Death Becomes Her with the Black Comedy replaced by just plain blackness.
    • The big twist in Puella Magi Kazumi Magica is that the titular Kazumi is actually the thirteenth clone of the original Michiru Kazusa, created from the remains of her human and witch selves and powered by the magic of her teammates the Pleiades Saints (who idolized Michiru as their leader). Whenever a clone started to fail or lose herself to turn into a Witch, they'd just redo the process again.
  • The infamous Sailor Moon hentai series, "Ami's Secret": Ami discovers that, after their resurrection at the end of the first series, every time she gets sexually aroused, her vagina transforms into a penis and won't revert until she achieves orgasm.
  • Sankarea: Rea came back alright... for now. It can be said that she is sliding towards this trope. However she is a unique case in and of herself (as noted by zombie researcher Darin) because she took the reviving drug before she died.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Death is medium priced. One spell is capable of reviving a mostly-intact corpse with their soul returned twice. Unfortunately, the mental decay from the first resurrection causes the being in question to become high-strung and obediently loyal to the caster. The second resurrection leaves the being a tormented thrall, having lost most of their skill power and free will. Any further resurrections will result in a classic zombie, with some ingrained skills.
  • A more humorous one happened in Tenchi Muyo!. Z kills Ryo-Ohki by slicing her ship form in half, reverting one of her crystals into an egg. When the egg finally hatches, there ends up being two Ryo-Ohkis. Ryoko will have none of that, closes the egg up, shakes it, and fuses the two Ryo-Ohkis.
  • While he was Not Quite Dead, Seidou Takizawa pretty much embodies this trope in Tokyo Ghoul :Re. Mortally wounded at the conclusion of the previous series and assumed dead, he is revealed to have survived... because Aogiri captured him and turned him into a Half-Human Hybrid. Two years and plenty of Fridge Horror later, the series' former Plucky Comic Relief has become a powerful but completely insane Ghoul reintroduced going on a brutal killing spree for his new masters. For bonus zombie parallels, he turns out to have a fondness for Brain Food.
  • Tokyo Ravens: Suzuka´s brother's body was possessed by a wandering spirit following resurrection. Then Natsume as a lich following a botched Sacrificial Revival Spell.
  • In Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest, a blood transfusion from Inugami to Chiba (after Haguro brutally murders him just for talking with Inugami) turns him into a human/werewolf hybrid.
  • In Zegapain, coming back from the dead is possible, but there's a very good chance of losing body integrity and/or missing memories , turning people into different persons. Bad thing when your loved ones don't remember you, have become emotionless or have half their head turned into a hollow blackness.

    Audio Dramas 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who story Legion of the Lost, the Time Lords, desperate for troops to fight the Time War, have allied with a group of demon-worshipping Technomancers to bring their soldiers back to life. The Doctor asks the Time Lord Co-Ordinator what the Technomancers are getting out of it and is told that each resurrection includes a tiny fragment of the Horned Ones, who can't normally exist in our dimension. And if this makes them more aggressive and ruthless, that's good in soldiers, right? The Doctor is horrified, as is one of the resurrected soldiers who overhears.
    Co-ordinator Jarad: You don't ... regret it, do you, Collis? We brought you back. We brought you back to life! Surely that's a good thing?
    Collis: It is. And the old Collis would probably be grateful. But that's the flaw in your plan, you see. As you say, I'm more aggressive now. I feel the anger burning in me. The need ... for violence! (Snarls and attacks Jared)

    Comic Books 
  • The premise of the Archie Comics spinoff Afterlife with Archie is that Sabrina the Teenage Witch tries to resurrect Jughead's dog Hot Dog, who died in a car accident caused by Reggie. Hot Dog ends up returning undead, and he and Jughead proceed to usher in a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • In Athena Voltaire and the Isle of the Dead, this is what happens when people who are already dead are exposed to the waters of the Fountain of Life; the crew of Fontenda's ship were killed in a pirate attack, but then brought back as zombies when barrels of Fountain water which were on board burst.
  • People injected with Compound V in The Boys have a small chance of turning back to life... as brain-dead zombies prone to soil themselves.
  • In the original comic book The Crow the titular character is arguably somewhere between Types 1, 2 and 4. He's not a monster, and appears to have returned from the dead relatively human, but virtually the only memories left in his head are of his and his fiance's deaths, the people who caused them, and an unstoppable desire for revenge. During the story arc, he experiences moments of Empty Shell, rage and near-superhuman physical abilities, and very human moments. The movie version didn't bring this across quite as clearly, possibly because further scenes of his resurrection had yet to be filmed when Brandon Lee died on-set.
  • The DCU:
    • In Animal Man (2011), Animal Man's young daughter Maxine has the power to reanimate dead animals. This does not, however, heal them or regenerate their missing bits, so what you're left with is a whole lot of zombie animals trying to walk with missing limbs, or trying to eat with missing jaws or holes in their stomachs.
    • Batman:
      • Most Lazarus Pit stories have this as a temporary effect. Coming back drives you around the bend. Some recover. Not all do. The wife of Mr. Freeze was put into a Lazarus Pit and revived in the last arc of the Batgirl (2000) series. It wasn't pretty. Mostly since she was in pieces at the time, and Freeze didn't wait to get everything aligned properly. The good news is, she's alive. The bad news is, she's nuts and has superpowers. Oh, and the really bad news is that the powers are heat-based. Think on it for a sec.
      • Red Hood: The Lost Days: Jason was catatonic after his resurrection, he only started talking and doing things of his own volition again after a dip in a Lazarus Pit and he's much more violent and anger-driven than he was before his death.
      • Nora Fries again (albeit one hard and one soft reboot later) in the Detective Comics crossover with DC Year of the Villain: Victor was given some kind of nanotech by Lex Luthor (as Batman says, "That was your first mistake"), which restores her to life, but makes her a far more vindictive villain than her husband, and feels that his expectation she'd be the same person she used to be is a trap she needs to escape. Freeze later realises the "cure" was based on the B-Zero formula that produced Bizarro.
      • In Dark Nights: Metal, the Dawnbreaker, a villainous version of Batman who was given a Green Lantern ring after his parents' death, ended up doing this to his parents when he tried to use the ring to revive them.
    • The heroes and villains resurrected for the Brightest Day miniseries. Most of them came back with powers tainted by being former Black Lanterns (for example, Aquaman's ability to control marine life sees him summoning undead sharks), and they had to earn a permanent stay among the living by completing tasks assigned to them by the Life Entity.
    • The Flash:
      • Played with when the real Barry finally comes back to life. He feels off, like he shouldn't be alive. Turns out Professor Zoom brought him back with a corrupted Speed Force. Unlike most examples of this trope, they get it fixed.
      • The time Thawne impersonated him aside, but when Barry really came Back from the Dead, he felt off, and was briefly turned into the Black Flash. He thought it was Thawne poisoning the Speed Force with his Negative Speed Force, but it turns out its way worse: in-between his death and return, Eobard went back in time and killed Barry's mother, leaving Barry split between memories of a happy childhood with a loving relationship with his mother well into adulthood, and traumatic memories of her brutal murder in his childhood as well as his father being framed. The result is Barry is a broken man that ends up doing increasingly messy things.
    • This was the case for Green Arrow. Hal Jordan, before his Heroic Sacrifice in reigniting the sun, recreated Ollie's body after his own Heroic Sacrifice. However, he was initially persuaded to leave Oliver's soul in Heaven, instead agreeing to bring Oliver's body back to life as a soulless person with all of Oliver's memories only up to a certain point. It took Hal as The Spectre and an appeal from body to soul to fix that little problem some time later, the body asking the soul to rejoin together to stop the body being possessed by a warlock who sought a means of immortality.
    • Robin (1993): Darla Aquista wasn't the greatest before her death with her entitled behavior and interest in getting involved with her dad's mob work but after her return she tries to blame her murderous actions on her resurrection to gain sympathy points from Tim. She is certainly quick to violence after her return, and now has enough powers to easily hurt Superboy which makes her incredibly dangerous.
    • Superman:
      • Discussed in 2008 storyline Way of the World. Supergirl is trying to save a young cancer victim named Thomas. Unfortunately, Thomas dies, but she thinks a blood transfusion of another superhero's nanite-laced blood may revive Thomas. Superman tries to dissuade her, stating that "the transfusion might bring Thomas back as something inhuman... a blazing skull, a monster, or worse."
      • In Supergirl (Rebirth) Cyborg Superman turns the people of Argo into Cyborgs to bring them back from the dead. However, they are only soulless zombie robots.
      • The Death of Superman: Following his resurrection, Superman's powers were initially drained due to his body's solar energy reserves being depleted to restore him to life, his powers only coming back properly when the Eradicator made a Heroic Sacrifice, placing his artificial body between Superman and a large chunk of Kryptonite so that the energies hitting the Eradicator were essentially filtered into a harmless form that benefited Superman. However, the energies kept augmenting themselves, bulking Superman's incredible power and his frame to the point where he was scared to even try and touch Lois. He gets this fixed by luring in the Parasite, letting him absorb his massive powers, but transforming the villain into the more well-known monster form. The Eradicator himself is this trope as well as he attempted to take over Superman's body, but failed, instead creating the artificial body out of parts of the concrete slab holding the casket. However, his eyes were unable to adjust to the light and he's forced to use his iconic shades.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Wonder Woman (1987): Kris Lazarus seems incapable of understanding the consequences of his actions nor empathizing with the bystander victims of his "game" after his father "brings him back". This is because, despite his father's insistence otherwise, Kris is still dead and the version of Kris his grief stricken father is trying to protect is just an AI designed to act like what his father remembers of Kris.
      • Wonder Woman (2006) Genocide is Diana's own corpse resurrected into genocide incarnate.
  • Malibu Comics's hero Gravestone had the power to come back from being killed seemingly with ease... in truth, his soul had to fight his way out of the underworld each and every time. One story had a girl's soul tag along (without his permission) so she revived too... except an ancient evil also tagged along in her, causing her to turn into a monster who kills her family.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The ancient clan of ninjas known as the Hand, when they aren't serving as disposable cannon fodder in stories featuring Wolverine, Daredevil, and/or Elektra, can bring recently-slain people back from the dead; dozens of the ninjas give up their lives voluntarily, reanimating the dead person by donating their life force. Upon resurrection, the person in question typically does a 180-degree alignment flip, and often acquires a near-total devotion to the Hand and its goals. This can often be undone through extensive deprogramming.
    • Subverted magnificently in an Avengers story: the supervillain Grim Reaper (who has come back wrong a few times himself) turned several dead Avengers into undead beings hoping to use them against the current team... but he underestimated the power of their Heroic Willpower and they turned on him. Reaper's brother, the hero Wonder Man, even remarked to his face how stupid his plan had been.
    • Happened briefly to Jack of Hearts in the Avengers Disassembled storyline, although it's a toss-up whether it was actually him.
    • After Blade uses the Darkhold and becomes Switchblade, he kills a bunch of his allies. Most are brought back to life without lasting damage, but Morbius is revived as an undead being, and without his soul to boot.
    • In Dark Reign, Wolverine's Anti-Villain son Daken kills The Punisher on orders from the Green Goblin, carves his body into pieces, and discards it. The Punisher then revived as a Frankenstein's Monster by Morbius, with the whole thing being Played for Laughs until Franken-Castle's returned to normal by Elsa Bloodstone, her Bloodstone granting Castle a Healing Factor that restored him to life. Castle ultimately discarded the Bloodstone when it was made clear to him that if he kept the Stone, he risked it compromising his morality by making him more willing to harm even innocents, crossing the one line that truly separated the Punisher from his enemies as he would lose the ability to distinguish the genuinely guilty from the at least technically innocent.
    • A Fantastic Four story had an ancient artifact called the Resurrection Stone which had to be retrieved for contrived reasons. It was in two parts, one would animate the body (but leave it a soulless husk) and the other would replace the soul (in an inanimate body). The people who used the two pieces are also driven completely insane by using them.
    • After Requiem killed Thanos early in Infinity Wars, it was discovered in Guardians of the Galaxy (2019) that Thanos had planned to revive himself by pulling a Grand Theft Me on someone, who ended up being his own brother, Eros. Thanos proceeds to make an attempt to bring his consciousness back into his original body, but the process is disrupted by Gamora killing his host, leaving the revived Thanos mentally impaired.
    • Man-Thing was once Dr. Ted Sallis before a scientific accident (plus a little magic) turned him into a hulking, mindless mound of empathic sludge.
    • Spider-Man:
      • Kraven the Hunter committed suicide in Kraven's Last Hunt, but was later brought back to life by his family in the story Grim Hunt. However, due to the resurrection ritual being sabotaged by Spider-Man's clone Kaine dying in place of the true Spider-Man, Kraven has been 'cursed with un-life' and only Peter or another connected to the Web of Life can kill him. Mentally, he's all there, just angry about it - Madame Web even mocks his wife for assuming he's changed. He's exactly the same, she just prefers not to remember him that way (and even the Chameleon pointed out that bringing him back to life may not have been what Kraven wanted, considering that the man did kill himself).
      • The 2009 version of The Clone Saga sees Harry Osborn believe this to be the case for the Norman clone he had created as the clone ended up being a Morally Superior Copy who was horrified by what the original Norman turned Harry into and did everything he could to stop him, including dying to save Peter.
    • This is the powerset for adult Layla Miller, aka Butterfly from X-Factor (2006). She can resurrect the dead, but the soul doesn't get reattached to the revived body.
    • In Strange (2022), Thunderstrike is resurrected as a shambling mess of bone and rotting flesh. While he's still able to command his former powers, he has no will of his own, merely shouting his name while being controlled by the thousands of gestalt souls used to puppet his body. However, Clea mused that some part of Thunderstrike must have still been in that state, as he was clearly holding back from using his full power against her even in that state.
    • X-Men:
      • Villain Trevor Fitzroy (a time traveler who hails from one of the Marvel Universe's many possible Bad Futures) eventually had this retconned into his origin story. He was once a heroic freedom fighter in his own time, but when he was killed and his specific powers were needed, Layla Miller used her own powers to bring him back to life. But Layla can only revive bodies, not souls. So the Fitzroy that caused so much carnage in his other appearances turns out to have been evil because he was literally soulless.
      • During the events of Necrosha, Selene resurrects the entire mutant population of Genosha, along with a number of other mutants. This includes former X-Men like Thunderbird, Cypher, and Banshee. They return completely bound to her will. Only a handful, like Destiny, retain their free will, although Thunderbird and Cypher are able to be broken from her control by The Power of Love (John for his brother, Warpath, and Doug by Warlock and the rest of the New Mutants). Additionally, they're driven by Selene's magic, so once she is slain almost all of them die again a short while later once her power fades, with only a few exceptions.
      • Showing that people don't learn, the Scarlet Witch attempted to resurrect that very same mutant population prior to Empyre. On the plus side, two million of those resurrected were vegetarians, so they had an army to deal with the plant race known as the Cotati, who was attempting to eradicate humanity on Earth.
  • Dozens of dead people are resurrected in the opening pages of Revival. They look normal but have a Healing Factor for all wounds and complete emotional disconnection. They also manifest increased strength and a tendency to self-harm, though that may just be reduced emotional reaction to pain.
  • Mordath in Sojourn. He was a megalomaniacal tyrant already before his death. Now he is an Undead Dark Lord with the very same goals and a worse attitude.
  • Knuckles had this happen in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). When he's killed trying to save Dimitri from Mammoth Mogul, Knuckles ends up passing through the Chaos Force and meets his ancestors. However, he decides he's better off in the living world and returns. However, when he does so, his powers don't follow him. He spends a year powerless and it isn't until Sonic returns that Knuckles is able to get repowered.
  • The Ten-Seconders: After Malloy is made into a God by the Fathers, he tries to repair the damage to Earth by bringing everyone who has already died back from the dead. It only revives their bodies, as the people become drooling vegetables without any autonomy.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Brothers Grimm's "The Three Snake Leaves" the hero uses the titular leaves to bring his wife back from the dead. At first it seems fine, but after being resurrected her love for him has turned into hate and she tries to murder him on a sea voyage. He is rescued by a faithful servant and she is executed.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • This temporarily happened to Thor before the story began; he had been incarnated as James Potter, as a first run at the humility thing. Unfortunately, being violently murdered before being yanked back into his original body did not do his sanity any favours, driving him insane. As a result, only Odin could barely restrain him, and he had to have the relevant memories removed — his getting them back, after a decade or so, triggers the events of the story.
    • This is also an ever-present risk in the sequel with Harry, who as a Phoenix host has a get out of death free card, with the Dark Phoenix as an unfortunate potential side-effect. Even when he gets a handle on that, the process risks burning a hole in reality.
      • It's repeatedly hinted that some people, including Ron, think that something like this happened after Harry was killed by Daken near the end of the first book. He came back very quickly, but after that, he was never quite the same... (the truth is that his personality changes have a lot more to do with the Trauma Conga Line that this merely started, rather than the process itself).
  • Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante (Kamen Rider & Re:CREATORS): Defied by Altair when Magane offers to revive Setsuna, since knowing Magane, she'd pull off this trope.
  • In Dark Arts Revised Draco resurrects Harry two years after Voldemort killed him, in the hope of escaping his impossible mission from Voldemort. What he gets is a clingy, possessive Harry who regularly has rough sex with him and violently kills Crabbe when he tries to kill Draco. Blaise states that a similar thing happened with one of his mother's husbands when she brought him back after he died without making a will in her favor.
  • Demon's Game (Angel & The Hunger Games): Features a comparatively lesser example of this for Buffy, who was sacrificed as part of a ritual by the Senior Partners to destroy the Slayer line and subsequently brought back to life by Wesley some decades later. The spell Wesley uses was able to bring Buffy back from the death dimension she'd been banished to after the initial sacrifice, but since she was restored using tissue samples almost a century old and incompatible blood from Peeta, her body starts to decay after a few weeks, and Willow (who survived this long due to her magic) estimates that Buffy will only have another couple of weeks before the genetic issues result in the Slayer either suffering a brain haemorrhage or basically drowning in her own blood after the capillaries in her lungs collapse.
  • The Arrowverse fic “Happy Accident” features a relatively positive version of this. After Black Siren is killed by a lucky punch from Felicity, Oliver contacts John Constantine for help finding a Lazarus Pit to bring her back to life, but since Black Siren was from an alternate Earth, her soul was apparently ‘lost’ after her death on this world. However, Oliver is able to help the Laurel of his Earth come back to life in Black Siren’s body, and Constantine confirms that the soul and body are so compatible that there should be no long-term problems beyond Laurel being surprised to find that she has tattoos and scars she didn’t have before. As a result, the resurrection didn’t bring back the ‘right’ Laurel, but nobody involved is complaining as they like the Laurel who was brought back to life better than the one who was killed.
  • How the Light Gets In (Arrow & Supernatural): A complex case. Laurel actually comes back right for the most part, but the spell that did so is slowly failing which will cause her to die (again). It's eventually revealed that she was supposed to be resurrected as a Soulless Shell, her soul came back as an accident, and the spell can't handle her body and soul being alive. Essentially, she was supposed to come back wrong, came back right, which is actually wrong. Laurel eventually namedrops it, though Dean fervently denies it.
  • Songs of the Spheres: This has something like a 50% chance of happening, especially prevalent when those who aren't Void denizens have are revived with Arise. It's always best to have a loaded gun handy before you try and bring someone back.
  • White Devil of the Moon (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha & Sailor Moon): This is the basis. Queen Serenity accidentally botches the resurrection spell and placing the soul of Princess Serenity not in Usagi Tsukino, but Nanoha Takamachi. This has serious consequences as not only are the Sailor Senshi, without Usagi's guidance, not the incredible True Companions that they are in canon, but when Nanoha learns of her past, she's utterly disgusted with it and renounces everything, preferring how she is now. Luna doesn't take this well at all.

Fusion Fic

Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Purple Days: In the Final Loop, Joff masterminds an assassination against Daenerys, who despite the killers' best efforts escapes, albeit heavily wounded, into the Red Wastes, and later resurfaces with two dragons and obsessed with burning all life. It turns out the assassination was ultimately successful - Quaithe found Daenerys' corpse and sacrificed herself to bring the young Targaryen back. Unfortunately, by then she'd already seen the truth of the White Walkers and the force behind them, leading her to the completely honest belief it is better to kill all life in Westeros herself via dragonfire rather than allow the Walkers to succeed.
  • In There and Back Again,
    • This trope is zig-zagged with a number of characters whose souls come back to their younger bodies, with full memory of what happened up to their deaths. Most of the intentional examples come back okay, but then there's Daenerys Targaryen, who is implied to be a wayward soul who latched on when the rest were sent back. Technically, her body is fine (outside of losing her immunity to heat and fire since Bloodraven can't siphon Jon's innate magic to her]). Mentally, she's gained a vengeful streak a mile wide after Jon killed her in the last season.
    • According to The Stranger, Jon Snow suffered this when he was resurrected by the Lord of Light. In fairness, this happens to anybody resurrected by the Lord of Light, but Jon had it worse because the resident Evil Sorcerer Bloodraven sabotaged the ritual by tampering with his Blood Magic. This is also an in-universe reason why Jon Took a Level in Dumbass in the last three seasons of the show.

Godzilla / King Kong / MonsterVerse

  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
    • Vivienne is an Inhuman Human case when she's revived and transformed into part of Monster X's defective first form; although her memories, personality and other mental faculties are intact.
    • Sergeant Travis and Krupin when their corpses are infused with Ghidorah's DNA by Alan Jonah and his closest goons in Chapter 11, essentially turning them into monstrous mutant Artificial Zombies with only fragments of their original selves.

Mega Man

  • Mega Man Reawakened: Robert is this due to returning from the dead.
  • Mega Man Recut: Snake Man comes back wrong after bodyswapping with Mega Man, s his mind begins to outstrip his original body's programming.

My Little Pony

  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • It's implied that any resurrection not performed without Mortis' actual assistance will inevitably end this way, but it's not been touched upon heavily. The implication seems to be that doing so doesn't actually resurrect their body, so much as tether their soul to it, which could lead to some horrifying implications.
    • A Shadow of Existence (half of the soul of a being who's been erased from existence representing their now no longer existing life) can revive in a sense by fusing with a mortal and becoming a merger of their combined traits (if it's with the person who now possesses their Light of Existence, the other half of their soul, and they reform their original soul, it becomes Came Back Strong). However it's implied for this to actually work, the Shadow and the pony must be compatible. If they're not, it will be this trope due to the Shadow overwhelming the light. this is especially true when it comes to the Shadows of deities, which require a one hundred percent compatibility or they'll become something very bad that's considered a Fate Worse than Death. D___t attempted this on Bright Eyes, but she was able to fend him off and destroy him.
    • During the Final Battle, Destruction manages to resurrect himself when Discord uses his Detachments and accidentally put his brother's essence inside it. Like D___t, Destruction is very much not himself and is convinced he's still in the middle of the Alicorn/Draconequi War and nearly kills all life on Equus before Twilight (with some help from Discord) manages to take him down and let Discord reabsorb him.


  • Pokémon Strangled Red: Miki comes back from the dead with the name "M@*#." And when she is shown at the end of the game, she is described as "horribly glitched."

The Powerpuff Girls

  • The premise of Immortality Syndrome. Mojo Jojo kills Blossom. She is revived but suffers amnesia. When she recovers her memories, however, due to seeing The Nothing After Death and remembering the pain of her death she becomes traumatized. Blossom ends up turning into an Omnicidal Maniac nihilist.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

  • Resonance Days is set in an afterlife specific to Puella Magi and Witches. While Puella Magi, or magical girls, who were killed in combat arrive in the afterlife with full recollection of their past lives and looking exactly like they did in life, even retaining their magic powers, those who were killed after reaching the Despair Event Horizon and becoming Witches do not. Witches in the afterlife only retain vague recollections of their lives as witches, and nothing from being Magical Girls. They only answer to their witch name, calling them by any other name can in fact drive them insane, and, while they physically resemble their original human forms, they have at least one physical feature from their witch forms that carry over. Kyoko Sakura in particular is very unsettled at how a girl she cared deeply about when they were alive now goes by the name Oktavia, can't remember her at all, hums a creepy melody all the time, and has a fish tail instead of legs. The Witch Charlotte subverts this trope by suggesting that this setup is probably for the best; Since becoming a witch requires crossing the Despair Event Horizon, it's better for them that they don't remember the trauma they suffered. It's also notable that Puella Magi seem a lot more prone to mental instability than Witches.

Star Wars

  • I, Warrior: The big reveal at the climax is that the Master is a Yuuzhan Vong-created clone of Anakin Solo that was accidentally fused with a Sith spirit before properly maturing. The resulting being is not quite Anakin or the Sith, but has the power of both, making him extremely dangerous.


  • In the Beast Wars fic "Eternal Life", Rattrap saves Dinobot's life after his fight to save the human race by merging the core of Rampage's spark, which was dropped by Megatron, to give Dinobot Rampage's healing abilities. Unfortunately, this results in Dinobot being corrupted by Rampage's insanity, which leads to Dinobot joining Rampage in killing various Maximals and Predacons before the survivors (Optimus, Cheetor, Rattrap, Tarantulas and Waspinator) join forces and help Dinobot regain control of himself enough to kill Rampage in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Ty-Chou/Ghost of the Dawn's series. After Crystal dies in Ghost In The Machine, she's brought back... as a Transformer. She immediately punches out Prowl, the one responsible, yelling "I'm your friend! You're supposed to let me die with a little dignity!" There are currently four such fictions on Small Problems, Ghost in the Machine, The Autobot Files, and the newest, The Secret Lives of Decepticons.


  • Goddess Reborn Chronicle has Cambions and Guardians, whose transformations are horrifying.
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades has Gentaro resurrected, but not by Kengo and the Cosmic Switch. He was revived by an evil serpent known as Ophiuchus who twisted his mind to focus on how his friends left him to die when Ryusei killed him. As shown in future chapters, people who have died just like Gentaro also are resurrected badly. This includes Shun, Shotaro and Haruto.
    • In Quick to the Trigger, David Trueheart—Tommy Oliver's old brother from his Zeo days—was revived this way by Hayato. So far, he's shown as a quiet, mindless zombie which really doesn't bode well with Dr. Oliver.
  • In the Left Behind collaborative fics under the Left Beyond umbrella, metabolic extension controllers work like this - the soul is in Hell, but can still steer the body, and the brain has been made to be unable to understand pain through a careful (or not-so-careful) lobotomy so as to not go insane from the pain of Hell. Depending on how quickly the metabolic extender was installed, and what Technology Levels the controller is, the result can be a docile zombie, a throwaway undead soldier, a depressed or manic version of the living character, or - towards the end - a nearly full reconstruction, with the character only losing or dampening their special talent. By the end of the series, reconstruction happens routinely enough that there's an entire small economy built around the devices.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel fic "Home Before Dark", Giles discovers a record of a man who witnessed a vampire fighting a Mohra demon and the vampire being restored to humanity after some of the Mohra's blood got into its mouth. The diary also mentions that the resurrected vampire committed suicide a few months later, with the priest of the village where he had settled revealing that the ex-vampire had confessed to a sense of emptiness and an inability to connect with other people. The diary concludes with the speculation that the Mohra blood only restored the vampire to life without restoring his soul at the same time; Angel was only restored to complete humanity during his own encounter with a Mohra because he already had his soul.
  • The Halloween episode of Life Ore Death is based on "Wake the Dead" and deals with Solomon Grundy being improperly reanimated (by Chaos magic) and Ferris teams up with Captain Marvel to try putting him down while he rampages around Fawcett City.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has Dark Man, who was given a new memory core after death, and became, essentially, a zombie. The author stated that this was like putting a new soul in the same body.
  • This brilliant Sherlock fanfiction, which has the exact prompt.
  • In "Sweetie's Mansion" all of the mane cast that has been brought back to life from being paintings -thanks to Sweetie Belle using the Amplifier Artifact given to her by Madame Fleur, has no cutie marks and not only that- their cutie marks and their talents are really transferred into Sweetie Belle each time she catches each of their ghost form. There's another problem in that the mane cast may not have come completely back to life from the paintings. Sweetie ran into their lifeless bodies with grayed out cutie marks that were being controlled by other ghosts (ghost dogs) when Sweetie was hunting Ghost!Pinkie. It was established in that same chapter that when a pony is dead, their cutie mark is grayed out.
  • In War Without End though Light would never admit it, after his resurrection he is seeking comfort in Misa— something that would have been Out of Character for him to do before.
  • In the Edge Of Time Road To The King and Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante crossover Kamen Rider Cross Generations, Jaime Lannister was murdered by a powered up Joffrey and was given the Showa Another Watch, causing his transformation into the Showa Darkling. During this transformation, he unknowingly tapped into Showa's ability to rewind time to before a monster attack happened, but because he was dead when using the power, it made him more akin to a thrall.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Folklore and Mythology: Twi'lek legend tells about a magical song that can restore life to the dead. However, if the singer should falter or miss a note, the deceased will come back as a Receased, a skinless zombie with eyes hanging from its sockets, which feasts on the lekku (head-tendrils) of the living and will go on a murderous rampage until it can catch and devour its resurrector.

    Films — Animation 
  • Genie in Aladdin gives Aladdin a list of three things he can't do and one of those things was raising the dead. From Genie's choice of words, it's implied that he is in a way capable of raising the dead, but no one will like the results (as he tells Aladdin that he can't bring the dead back to life, he gets all slimy and icky and creepy, as if he's showing what would happen instead of a fully resurrected person being back to normal). The person would be back, but the after-effects of death on the body would not be reversed.
    It's not a pretty picture. I don't like doing it!
  • Jason Todd in Batman: Under the Red Hood. Put into a Lazarus Pit by Ra's Al-Ghul. Comes back screaming, murders the first people he sees and flees off into the night. Later played with.
    Jason: Does it make it easier for you to think my little dip in his fountain of youth turned me rabid? Or is this just the real me?
  • Frankenweenie:
    • Averted in the original short film, in which the resurrected Sparky, apart from the bolts and stitches in his neck, is the same sweet dog he was before he died.
    • The remake has the lightning affecting deceased animals differently; for example, transforming a turtle into a Gamera expy thanks to a strange plant growth substance that was near when the peculiar lightning event took place.
  • Nightwing in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. In the flashbacks to the Apokoliptian invasion of Earth, Dick is impaled by a paradoom, and Damian Wayne in the present reveals that he revived him via Lazarus Pit, costing him his sanity. He's in a straitjacket for the rest of the movie, and is last seen being cradled in Starfire's lap.
  • EVE successfully revives the titular character of WALL•E, but he doesn't remember her, or the life he lived for 700 years before his death. There's nothing left of him apart from his original directive: to compress all the trash that he can find. What makes this worse is that before it happened, WALL•E was the movie's unwitting Blithe Spirit. Him simply meeting someone was usually all that it took for them to search for more in life than what they were told to do. Now, the one who lit up a spark in everyone he met has no spark left. The movie might have ended there, too, if it weren't from Disney. A True Love's Kiss from EVE brings WALL•E, the real WALL•E, back.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Zig-zagged in The 6th Day. Many clones made in the movie come back essentially the same, due to a combination of full-grown templates and memory extraction. One clone, however, develops cumulative post-traumatic stress from his many deaths (getting run over, neck broken, etc.). It's at least strongly implied that each revival has some copying decay — not much at once, but it adds up if you're in a violent business — independent of whether the recording was taken before or after the death trauma.
  • Ripley in Alien: Resurrection. Ripley 8 is the most successful clone, though she's meaner than the original and has a disturbing affinity with xenomorphs. Ripley 1 through 7, on the other hand...
  • Subverted in Black Death. Osmund's lover Averill was injured, but still alive, and drugged into a death-like state so that when the drugs wore off she would be "resurrected" and the woman who drugged her would be worshiped as a miracle-worker. Unfortunately, when Osmund finds her the drugs have yet to wear off completely, turning her into The Ophelia and making it seem like a case of Came back wrong. He learns the truth only after he Mercy Kills her to set her free and send her to heaven.
  • Boy Eats Girl: Nathan was resurrected by a magic ritual his mother performed. Unfortunately, she botched it, so he's a zombie.
  • In The Butchers, artistic liberties were taken with how a few of the real-life killers were portrayed, most notably Ed Gein, who is depicted as being a hulking and gleefully homicidal maniac who wants to make a shirt out of a man seemingly just for the fun of it, when in actuality he was a diminutive and meek man who killed and made clothing out of only women due to suffering from a particularly deranged form of gender dysphoria. This is implied to be the result of some kind of side-effect or flaw in the resurrection ritual, as Daisy, after examining JB's occult paraphernalia, mutters, "If they really are back from the dead, then they're not the serial killers that we knew of."
  • Chiller: A man named Miles Creighton is revived from cryonic preservation 10 years after being frozen due to having an incurable disease. With technology now advanced enough to resurrect people preserved this way, Miles is brought back to life, but has undergone an unpleasant change of personality, becoming cruel and sadistic, with the implication that he has lost his soul.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Discussed in Justice League (2017) when Bruce suggests using a Mother Box to revive Superman; Barry even makes a reference to Pet Sematary (1989). It's ultimately averted: Supes was confused and grumpy when he first woke up, but after he had a bit of time to get his marbles together, he proved to be the same True-Blue hero we all know and love.
    • The discussion is absent from Zack Snyder's Justice League, and as is the Pet Sematary reference (which was a Joss Whedon addition). Superman's revival plays mostly the same as above otherwise.
    • However, according to Word of God, the planned sequels would have played this straight. Superman would ultimately have become an example of Light Is Not Good, becoming unnervingly optimistic as a result of losing his humanity and viewing "Clark Kent" as a disguise, with Lois Lane as his Morality Chain and her death triggering the Bad Future.
  • In The Dead Center, John Doe is introduced as a suicide victim whose corpse somehow came back to life. He's left a weak, wheezing, catatonic wreck. It's eventually revealed that his name is Michael Clark, and he and his wife were supposed to die in a house fire. But a demon went into him and brought him back to life. Once he figured out what happened, he tried killing himself via draining all of the blood from his body to stop the demon, but it revived him again.
  • The plot of Dead Heat revolves around a Mad Scientist selling resurrection to elite millionaires. The villain commits suicide to elude capture, is resurrected in his own machine, then is resurrected again while alive and explodes.
  • In an allegory for Shell-Shocked Veterans returning from their service in The Vietnam War, Deathdream sees soldier Andy Brooks returning to family and friends in his hometown as a withdrawn vampiric ghoul when his mother goes into denial that her son has died upon receiving unfortunate news of his status as a wartime casualty. Andy's body rapidly deteriorates if he does not sustain himself on the blood of others at regular intervals, with tragic results.
  • In Death Ship, Capt. Ashland drowns in the initial sinking of his cruise ship, and then gets possessed by ghost of the titular vessel's former commanding officer.
  • The plot of Ed And His Dead Mother. Ed pays $1,000 to have his dead mom resurrected. She seems fine at first, but then... quirks start appearing and soon it gets worse.
  • Happens to the protagonist in Enter the Void after his death. At least that is how his sister imagines it in a nightmare she is having.
  • Event Horizon: Hoo boy, where to start... the ship's trip through hyperspace screws up both the crew and the environment. At a certain point, the creator of the Hyperdrive sees his dead wife.
  • In the 1966 B-Movie The Frozen Dead, a Nazi scientist attempts (twenty years after WWII ended) to resurrect German soldiers who volunteered to be frozen back when it looked like Germany was going to lose the war. Unfortunately, the soldiers brought back have brain damage, reliving a single moment from their lives over and over again.
  • In Jennifer's Body, this is how the eponymous Alpha Bitch character becomes a demonic Literal Maneater. The members of the rock band Low Shoulder kill her as a Virgin Sacrifice in a Deal with the Devil for music sales. Trouble is, she's decidedly not a virgin. Her friend told them that to protect Jennifer's reputation ("and you're right, she is a virgin, and that beats sleeping with creeps like you!"), and Jennifer herself claimed to be a virgin under the assumption that her captors intended to rape her and that her supposed lack of experience would make her less appealing to them. The sacrifice does earn the band success, but Jennifer comes back wrong — specifically, possessed by a carnivorous succubus.
  • Kamen Rider W FOREVER: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate:
    • The Necro-Overs (NEVER for short). Katsumi was previously a very good person and not all that evil, in fact he loved his mother dearly. Then she used the Necro-Over project to bring him back after his accidental death. However, when he was brought back, instead of the kind, caring son she once had, he wants everyone to be turned into 'monsters' like he is. When he's finally destroyed, he laughs at how it feels to die. It's unknown why, but he may have just been glad to be dead again.
    • Retcon'd in his spin-off movie. Apparently, he was still normal when he was revived, as were the others. However, during a mission involving Foundation X, a girl he only knew for a day died along with a bunch of other psychics, and this apparently drove Daido to insanity and thus lead into the events of the above movie.
  • The Lazarus Effect is based around this. The premise is that a team of scientists are trying to create a serum that can bring the dead back to life, first testing it on a dead dog. When one of their team dies in an accident during the trial, the head of the team (her fiance) desperately tries the process on her. She comes back, but she's gone crazy due to the trauma and claims that she went to hell, making her a Damaged Soul case of this.
  • One of the stories in Necronomicon is about a man who tries to use the book to bring his wife and daughter back. The ritual seems to work at first — however, the souls of his family have become demons and quickly try to consume him.
  • The premise of Pet Sematary (1989). Main character uses the local supernatural burial ground to bring back his cat, then later his son, and finally his wife, all of whom could have their mindset translated by The Ramones' Theme Song for the movie:
    I don't wanna be buried in a pet sematary/I don't want to live my life again.
  • In Pet Sematary (2019), it's Ellie, the daughter, who winds up being buried. Being older than Gage, she's a bit more self-aware upon reanimation (even realizing the nature of her predicament) but no less murderous, and in fact personally buries the rest of her family so they can join in her fate.
  • One of the plot points in Practical Magic. The resurrection spell in the witches' book will bring back the revived in a dark and unnatural state.
    Gillian: That's okay! Jimmy was already dark and unnatural!
  • In Prometheus, Fifield, unlike Milburn, manages to walk away from his encounter with the alien snakes. However, the crew quickly finds themselves wishing that he hadn't, considering the ultra-violent rampage that his infected corpse proceeds to wreak upon them.
  • Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings: Pumpkinhead was originally a mentally retarded boy who was killed by a group of teenagers in the 1950s. His distraught mother researched witchcraft to find a way to bring him back, but opted against it because it would revive him as an unstoppable demonic killing machine. Of course, our stupid main characters decide to do just that.
  • Replicas: The soldier who William revives at the start of the movie cannot seem to remember who he is, then starts panicking and ripping his new, robotic body apart and bashing his own head in. Subverted, though, for his family and the robot he later places a copy of his own mind into, after he makes it think it's in an organic body, along with Jones at the end.
  • In Return of the Living Dead 3, a teenager "resurrects" his dead girlfriend using a gas called Trioxin... as a zombie. She's far from mindless after coming back, but Horror Hunger and struggles to retain her humanity quickly ensue.
  • The Rise of Skywalker: Downplayed. The effort of resurrecting Palpatine was not precise, resulting in him having milky white eyes and a need for life support. Outside of that, he is still an expert manipulator and sorcerer (though less subtle than before — possibly he has grown more unhinged from his resurrection).
  • Savaged: Grey Wolf attempts to bring Zoe back from the dead. The ritual succeeds, but she comes back sharing her body with an angry Apache spirit who sends her on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Played with in the original Star Trek movies. After Spock's Heroic Sacrifice, it's discovered in The Search for Spock that he left an imprint of his consciousness on Dr. McCoy, and the fallout from the Genesis Device has restored his body to a blank slate. An archaic Vulcan ritual is able to rejoin the two, but it takes effort for him to recognize his old friends. The next movie shows that the Vulcans have put him through mental exercises to restore his intellect, but he still has to relearn the elements of human nature he'd previously become accustomed to.
  • Tamara: Tamara comes back from the dead as a cruel, manipulative and ruthless young woman bent on revenge, in stark contrast with her meek, kind previous self.
  • Terrified: Alicia's son is run over by a bus, but after the funeral his corpse returns to the house, although it seems that something other than him is inhabiting his body. Albreck and Jano are also (apparently) killed and return as twisted or evil abominations.
  • In Transcendence, Joseph and Max and eventually Evelyn are convinced that the transcended Will is a cold, logical machine. RIFT is convinced he is something else. They may all be wrong.
  • The second segment of Trilogy of Terror II features a mother who brings back her son from the dead with black magic, only to have him turn against her. It is then revealed at the end that her son never came back, he's actually a demon who was sent to punish her.
  • Jean in X-Men: The Last Stand, of course. She comes back without power barriers — or moral ones, particularly after being reminded of the past restraints.

  • In the Icelandic folk tale Djákninn á Myrká (The Deacon of Dark River), a man drowns after promising to take his girlfriend to a Christmas party, and manages to rise from the dead on Christmas Eve. But then he brings her to the cemetary and attempts to drag her into his grave. She escapes, ripping her coat off in the process, and calls an exorcist to lay him to rest.
  • In Romania, the strigoi is a person who had previously died whose body is possessed by a demon or spirit. It is said to look and sometimes even act like the person did in life, but now drinks the blood of the living to sustain itself.
  • In the Jewish tale "The Homunculus of Maimonides", the wise old philosopher Maimonides carries out an experiment to see if he can bring his assistant back from the dead. The process takes nine months like a pregnancy, during which time Maimonides observes the body grow strong and obviously evil, as an exaggeration of the assistant's duplicitous nature. With the permission of a council of rabbis, Maimonides destroys the body before it can revive.

  • Agatha H. and the Airship City:
    • Given the setting, this happens so often that it's been termed PRT or Post-Revivification Trauma.
    • This is speculated to be what's wrong with Von Pinn, given that most of the Wulfenbach students think she's Lucrezia Mongfish. They're wrong, though she was forced into her current body by Lucrezia.
  • The Book of the Dun Cow: In a disturbing scene in The Book of Sorrows, Lord Russel the fox, who recently died of an infection, returns as an undead creature due to Wyrm's evil power.
  • This tragically happens to Grianne Ohmsford after she had transformed into a different, happier existence for over a hundred years in The Dark Legacy of Shannara. The plot revolves around Tael Riverine from the (chronologically) most recent trilogy, who is still fixated on making her his bride. She's been gone, but the protagonists try to retrieve her from her new existence in the belief that she can help stop Riverine. The ancient being that allowed her to ascend grants her return to humanity, but not quite as the protagonists wanted... Tragic especially because she had wanted to be free from the doubt and pain of human life, only to be dragged back again to finish her unfinished business.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, necromancy is possible with both patryn and sartan runes... but for every soul brought back untimely, another dies untimely. It is implied that the sartan almost drove themselves to extinction because on one of the worlds they were bringing back everyone who died, so their brothers and sisters on the other worlds were dying in their sleep. Also, both patryn and sartan languages transfer more than just the words to each other, so the sartan who did not live on that world felt "lighter" when they spoke, and the ones who practiced necromancy made the listener feel "wrong", heavy, and sometimes cold.
  • Descent Into The Depths Of The Earth has a climactic battle sequence in which the sidekick Polk the Teamster is brutally killed. Following the trial scene (it's a rather involved story) he gets brought a Faerie priest, who doesn't have access to Raise Dead, having to use Reincarnate (this is an AD&D Novel, firmly rooted in 2nd Edition although 3rd was already long out). He comes back as a badger. Which has the ability to function normally after drinking approximately his own body weight in alcohol, which the severely alcoholic Polk thoroughly enjoys.
  • The Igors of Discworld can bring back a fresh or properly preserved person with the right equipment and a bolt of lightning, but even they admit the result isn't quite right (and they even routinely do this for each other). Fortunately, the main drawback is giving the resurrectee "The Love of Iron" (a.k.a. they become magnetized).
  • The Dresden Files has Butters fearing this in Skin Game in regards to Harry, who was revived after being shot in the freaking heart. In one of the most tearjerking scenes in the book, he details exactly why he thinks this, because after Harry died the world became horrifyingly dark. The ones left behind had to damage themselves greatly just to try filling his shoes. Then he came back, and it was like the sun rising up. Except Harry didn't help. He just became distant and cryptic, asking them to put insane amounts of trust in him without giving explanation as to what he was doing, and actually admitting to working with the bad guys to boot. No wonder he cited Pet Sematary.
  • In K.J. Taylor's The Fallen Moon, Arenadd is brought back by the Night God to be her avatar and prophet. Unfortunately, she is the goddess of death not life, so this is without a heartbeat. Later resurrections cause him to lose/give up increasingly more of his weaker, human, qualities, including his memories.
  • The 1988 pulp horror Fiend by Guy N. Smith had the KGB get an occultist to resurrect the Soviet Premier for political reasons. The mild-mannered Premier comes back evil and tries to start World War Three.
  • A milder example in Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead. Inject a rotting corpse with the reanimation serum, get a rotting clumsy zombie. Fresher corpses produce more useful zombies. The freshest ones - like, say, someone an inquiring scientist has just murdered - come back with some of their old ability to speak and remember, but still obedient. Zak Arranda, finding his new friend Kairn turned into a zombie in such a fresh way, thinks he's changed - he's more morbid, can't seem to follow a conversation very well, and oh yes he helps the scientist capture Zak. Said scientist injects himself while still alive. When he's killed, he comes back right, the only negative effect that seen being a periodic uncontrollable spasming. Kairn didn't come back right, exactly, but enough of him remains that when Zak appeals to him for help, he's able to struggle against the scientist's control and help his friend.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Subverted in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Voldemort's resurrection. His revived body is distorted and disfigured, and his soul is damaged, but these are due to a separate bit of dark magic and it is later seen in a flashback that he was gradually deformed long before the physical reincarnation. Later it is also revealed that he was never really dead: his soul stayed alive because he had anchored it in Horcruxes, even though his body died when his own curse was reflected. Therefore, he only needed a new body.
    • In a fairy tale from the Potterverse, "The Tale of the Three Brothers," one brother gets a magic stone that can bring his loved ones back from the dead. He brings back his girlfriend, but she's sad and cold, and doesn't seem like she belongs. Eventually, the guy commits suicide so he can truly join her. Harry actually uses the stone, but with much better results, since he never intended it to be permanent but merely to conjure the souls of his loved ones to stay with him as he marches to his death.
  • In Herbert West–Reanimator, the title character becomes convinced that life is strictly chemical, and repeatedly attempts to bring the dead back to life. His first revived human attempts to claw its way back into its filled-in grave, and the others exhibit similar signs of madness when revived. Finally, the abominations that West hauled back from the great beyond find him, and silently tear him to pieces in front of the narrator, before leaving without a trace with West's remains. The last one of West's experiments does appear to be quite sentient: a pilot decapitated in an accident, whose head and body live separate from each other but act as one entity. He is not only able to understand what West did to him (having helped with a few experiments himself) and desire revenge, but also bend the other research subjects to his will, as well.
  • There is a short story by Edmond Hamilton about the last man on Earth (an immortal) who tries to bring humanity back. He tries to resurrect the dead, and they, while alive (and sentient) are devoid of any human emotion, even the children they bear. Then he tries to bring people from the past - and the travel makes them raving mad.
  • InCryptid: After Artie Harrington's mind is accidentally wiped and he becomes an Empty Shell, Sarah tries to reconstruct his mind from everyone else's memories of him, but not having his own original memories makes him a
  • Discussed in the Inheritance Cycle. At the end of the last book Inheritance, Eragon wants to use the Eldunarí to resurrect his mentor (and father) Brom, but they warn him that they will probably never be able to restore his mind. He decides that it's not meant to be and just carves a new epitaph for him. They also make the very good point that they aren't neurologists and would probably fry his brain in the process.
  • Subverted in Ixia and Sitia wherein it turns out there are perfectly valid psychological reasons why the experience of dying might affect your emotional state. Who knew?
  • In Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Lady Pole is resurrected by a magician who made a deal with a faerie to let her half her life back, provided the faerie can have the other half. However, she is languid, appears ill and exhausted and does not demonstrate any pleasure in life or happiness that she is alive again. She also often speaks nonsense due to a spell that prevents her from telling anyone the truth about her condition and the implications of the deal, which mean she is taken into Faerie every night and forced to attend balls and dance all night long.
  • This is the central premise of Leonid N. Andreyev's short story "Lazarus", which tells the story of the titular character following his resurrection by Christ.
  • Nicolae Carpathia's "resurrection" in the Left Behind book The Indwelling turns out to be Satan indwelling Nicolae's body, imbuing him with supernatural abilities.
  • Necromancy and Resurrection in The Legend of Sun Knight is a tricky business.
    • It is extremely difficult to create an undead that retains its sense of self. Roland is the only undead in the series to retain his personality; all other Death Knights are powerful but mindless. It turns out there's a deliberate reason for this.
    • Roland himself created Illu by killing a Dark Knight and reviving the corpse as an undead. Illu is sentient, but he's clearly not the same person who died; he insists that his master didn't kill him, but created him.
    • The Resurrection spell can bring someone back from the dead, but there's a high chance of failure, and a nonzero chance of something going wrong. The one time it was used 'normally', Sun lost half his holy magic.
  • The protagonists of "The Monkey's Paw" get Three Wishes with the title artifact, only to find out you have to Be Careful What You Wish For. The first wish is for a pile of money, which they get as compensation for the horrific death of their son. The second wish, made in a rash moment of extreme grief, is for their son to come back. The father quickly realizes this trope will be in effect given the way the first wish came about (the son was said to have been brutally mangled in the machinery of the plant he was working at, and the second wish never specified for him to come back unmaimed). The audience/reader never actually sees what comes back, because just as the mother is about to open the door and let their "son" in, her husband uses the third and final wish to undo the second one and she finds nothing and no one there.
  • Our Wives Under the Sea: While the book doesn't elaborate on what exactly caused Leah to be this way, she comes back from an undersea expedition with her body and mindset changed. In particular, her skin gets a more fluid and silvery texture. She spends much of her time sitting in the bathtub at home, is very quiet and mostly talks about the ocean, and is essentially an Empty Shell with little of what Miri loved about her in the first place.
  • The basic premise of Pet Sematary is that what you bring back is not what first died. To disastrous degrees. Specifically, while they stop decaying and can pass for alive if cleaned up, what comes back is a moving corpse that cannot heal, saddled with whatever injuries may have killed it. To further worsen the deal, while the corpse has all the memories and echoes of their personality, what "comes back" is not the soul of the deceased but some form of Demon or Monster from Beyond the Veil bent on making the one who resurrected it suffer through killing those they hold dear, and then them.
  • The main character of President's Vampire believes himself to fit this, as, after being resurrected as a vampire, he killed his best friend in a burst of Horror Hunger. Much better examples, though, are Unmanschensoldaten, who are built from dead people resurrected with barely any awareness of what's going on, and intent on killing everything that stands in the path between them and what their creator deemed their targets.
  • Discussed and subverted in The Radix. John Brynstone's baby daughter dies, and he brings her back with the power of the Radix. Cori Cassidy fears that this could happen to the kid. Later she finds out that baby has Came Back Strong, getting a Healing Factor.
  • Roadside Picnic tells how the protagonist's father, who had died and been buried years before, is inadvertently resurrected by whatever the alien artifacts are emitting. He's not quite himself, rather behaving like a machine.
  • Gabriel from Ro.Te.O should have been an angel coming back from resurrection but ends up as a demon instead.
  • In the Dean Koontz novel Shadow Fires, Eric, a wealthy man with an extreme fear of death, subjects himself to an experimental regeneration formula, then is killed by a truck. However, he is brought back to life by his regeneration. That's the good news (in his opinion). The bad news? His death causes his Healing Factor to go out of control and starts mutating out of control in several horrible ways.
  • Used in A Song of Ice and Fire with the red priests.
    • Thoros of Myr is able to bring people back from the dead, and in A Storm of Swords, he does this to one person repeatedly, who continually loses more and more of his original self in the process.
    • The finest example of all, though, is Catelyn Stark. Dead for days before she was revived and murdered under circumstances that simply scream a need for vengeance, the loving mother that dies is brought back as a merciless, half-decayed killer.
    • Downplayed with Ser Robert Strong, who is almost certainly Ser Gregor Clegane, re-animated by Qyburn's "experiments" and possibly magic. Downplayed in that he's 100% obedient to the throne, and never speaks, and is thus a far less despicable person than the complete psychopath Gregor Clegane was. On the other hand, however, it's very heavily implied that he doesn't have a head, sooo yeah...
  • Bubba from The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries was a rock star who died of a drug overdose. One of the morgue attendants on duty was a fan of his who happened to be a vampire. He tried to turn Bubba, but the drugs already in his system interfered with the process, turning him a partially-amnesiac, feeble-minded Gentle Giant, with who tends to go berserk when confronted with memories of his former life. Even saying who he looks like is enough to trigger a rage episode. Bubba's real name is only mentioned a couple of times, other than his origin: Elvis Presley.
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy: Area X creates doppelgängers of the people who die in it, but they tend to be... off, with only superficial memories of the original and all with the same docile personality. But Ghost Bird is off even compared to the other clones. Normally, they are indistinguishable from each other in what they know and how they act. Ghost Bird retains significantly more of the biologist's personality and memories of Area X.
  • Duke Roger, the Big Bad of Song of the Lioness, is killed in the second book and brought back in the forth. He was actually Not Quite Dead, but being trapped and immobile in a coffin for over a year drove him around the bend and his plans changed from "usurp the throne" to "DESTROY EVERYTHING."
  • Star Trek: Immortal Coil further explores the case of Roger Korby (see Live-Action TV). In the novel, it's explained that, probably because the machine that transferred Korby's consciousness to an android body was designed for a different species and/or due to the state his body was in at the time (he was gravely injured and near death), the transfer was imperfect, and this is the reason the android Korby wasn't quite the same person as the human.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Being killed and reborn over and over again wears away at the Fused's minds. Many have gone catatonic, while others are merely mentally or emotionally unstable.
    • Shardblades, or at least the dead ones. Surgebinders can hear them screaming in agony when they touch them, because they are stuck at the moment when they were "killed" to keep themselves solid. They have to be revived every time they are summoned, which is why they need ten heartbeats.
  • The Sun Eater:
    • Downplayed after the protagonist Hadrian Marlowe is killed by a Cielcin Prince. In the fight, he gets his right arm and head cut off, but the enigmatic aliens, the Quiet, capture Hadrian's consciousness and yank a Hadrian from another timestream to house the consciousness. This Hadrian only has his left arm cut off and he stabs the prince in the back. Later Hadrian is disturbed when he finds his amputated right arm in a lake and he disposes of it, otherwise there's nothing wrong with Hadrian. Many did witness Hadrian killed the first time and they give him the epithet "Halfmortal", forming a cult around him.
    • Also downplayed with the death and resurrection of Kharn Sagara. Sagara is murdered and his consciousness is supposed to be uploaded to his young clone Ren. However, Sagara had been killed by a Phase Disruptor electric bolt to the head, this weakened the signal and so the uploading also had to go to his female clone Suzuha. Sagara took his split consciousness in stride and noted that the tech he has will eventually fix him, so that he's only in Ren.
  • Third Time Lucky: And Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World: Magdelene raises Warlord Herrick when the villagers insist, but leaves him with the mind of a toddler so he's no longer a threat. This is a special case, since raising people otherwise doesn't appear to affect them negatively, as she does Juan too, who's fine.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Xhea once witnessed an attempted resurrection gone horribly wrong. An attempt to bind a ghost back into its reanimated body left the spirit in unbearable agony and forced Xhea to Mercy Kill it.
  • In the Philip K. Dick story "Upon the Dull Earth", Silvia sacrifices herself to some angel-like creatures to be among them. When her boyfriend Rick gets them to bring her back, they do so by transforming another living human (her sister) into Silvia. She seems to come back completely unchanged from the experience. Then it turns out that this upset the natural balance, and as a result everyone in the world is slowly turning into Silvia, both mentally and physically.
  • Vampire Academy: In Spirit Bound, after Dimitri's recovery from being a Strigoi, he is convinced this is the case, as he feels unable to feel proper emotions. He is wrong.
  • In Velveteen vs., the alternate universe Velveteen, Marionette, is animating herself based on the life of those about her. Most Marionettes are evil. One is supported willingly by a friend until she defeats the Patriots. This one helps Jackie to deal with how Velveteen brought Tag back — wrong in that it's slowly killing her.
  • The Returned in Warbreaker. Returned lose their memories, and must consume one human soul a week to stay on this plane of existence.
  • Way Home:
    • Roshag the Log dragon died (messily) after an intended human victim messed up his Human Sacrifice ritual. Roshag's soul was enslaved by the Sleepers, omnicidal powers from beyond the world. Their power forced Roshag back into his decomposed remains, to return as their Harbringer, a blighted abomination. Roshag is now driven by revenge unto that human, and doesn't mind becoming an undead monstrosity as much as becoming enslaved.
    • The necromancer Lord Markus of Tlantos intended to take over the body of his subordinate necromancer Chismar - in the case that his own body was killed - through the Soul Bridge spell placed on said subordinate. As Chismar was killed before Markus, the Soul Bridge forced Markus' soul into the corpse, creating a lich. Note that in this setting a lich is an omnicidal manifestation of supercharged necromancy and becoming one is a disgrace.
    • An unnamed Ancient died and was buried in the ancient dwarven capital, Heart of the Mountains. The dwarves built a Crystal Gate in the city to tap into abyssal energy. As the Crystal Gate went haywire, the abyssal energy flooded the city, causing said Ancient to rise as a powerful undead creature.
  • Wild Cards feature two examples:
    • Demise. After drawing the Black Queen, Demise was treated with the experimental Trump cure. It seemed to work, as he survived, retaining his human shape, sanity, memory and personality, thus not fitting any of the 5 subtropes above. Demise also gained absolute regeneration, thus becoming an Ace. The only problem was apparently being conscious during death and aware of the entire process, requiring massive therapy afterwards. Now Demise can, upon locking eyes, telepathically project memories of death, which can shock, stun or kill the recipient depending on the dose.
    • Crypt Kicker. His Wild Card kicked in as he went postal, at the moment he shot himself. Crypt Kicker has kept the human shape, (debatable) sanity, personality and memory, thus not fitting any of the subtropes above, and gained the Ace ability to excrete unspecified caustics and toxins from his palms. While technically immortal, he has no regenerative abilities, gradually losing parts through the books, until someone releases him from the mortal coil.
    • After killing a man, Fortunato uses his Tantric Magic-style powers to bring the man back to life. The man gets back up, a haunted expression on his face as if he had seen Something Man Was Not Meant To Know, utters one word, "Tiamat", and immediately tears out his own throat.
  • This is the entire plot of The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. A person can be resurrected for a week by performing a ritual in a specific place, but they won't come back in a good state. It's never explicitly described what's wrong with them, but they have physical problems (a bad smell, muteness) as well as animalistic Ax-Crazy tendencies and a craving for human blood. It's also unclear if they still have a soul, though it seems implied that they do, just a badly damaged one.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: The Medina twins, both student necromancers, mention that their resurrection skills aren't quite perfect yet.
    Julia Medina: When I was eight, I used my necromancy to kill a tiger.
    Alejandra Medina: And I brought it back. [Beat] Mostly.
  • In The Witchlands, Kullen dies via the Cleaving. One book later, he comes back with Casting a Shadow added to his powerset, a desire to bring ruin to his homeland and newfound allegiance to the Big Bad. Oh, and he's nigh unkillable now. Most of that can be explained by the fact that he was brough back to life by The Dragon.
  • Worlds of Shadow: Fetches and revenants. There is a "spark" both lack. Fetches can't speak well, while both are entirely apathetic and will follow orders blindly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • In a running plotline Coulson learns he was killed by Loki and brought back from the dead, his Fake Memories of a near fatal injury and recovery in Tahiti used to make him forget the horrors of the process during which he begged to be allowed to die. He's bothered that people who knew him before comment he seems different now, and he becomes much more worried (to the point of having a Heroic BSoD) when he finds out biological material from an alien was used to heal his injuries, and isn't sure what it's done to him. "Nothing Personal" ultimately reveals that the original head of the project was Coulson himself, via a recording where he explains that the procedure had been attempted on other people, all of whom suffered from mental breakdowns of some variety, and the only thing they found that might counter the effects was removing all of the patient's memories of the procedure. Whether Coulson came back wrong or not remains to be seen as of the end of Season 1. At the end of the finale, Coulson is seen up in the middle of night scribbling in a weird script on a plastic wall.
    • Jiaying, the Big Bad of the second half of Season 2. By all accounts, she once truly was the caring and compassionate leader she pretends to be. Then Daniel Whitehall kidnapped, vivisected, and murdered her in an attempt to take her longevity powers for himself. Her remains were eventually recovered by her husband, who used a combination of her Healing Factor and his own medical knowledge to resuscitate her. But her mind couldn't handle the trauma of what happened to her, and she became a cold, ruthless, and paranoid woman who cares for nothing but her own preservation and revenge.
  • Aliens in the Family: Snizzy brings a dead frog back to life, but it becomes a gigantic monster that eats people.
  • Arrow features the infamous Lazarus Pit which has miraculous healing powers and even the ability to revive dead people, mostly fallen assassins. It has a catch nonetheless, that whosoever is healed by it becomes bloodthirsty until the revived one avenges him/herself. Just ask Thea Queen and Sara Lance. And if they are actually dead, as opposed to being nearly dead like the former, they truly come back wrong, soulless and animalistic. It takes John Constantine's help to fix the latter issue.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) has the Cylons routinely resurrect after death in new bodies, with few to no physical or mental ill effects other than the implied trauma and disorientation. One Cylon, Number 3, even found it "rejuvenating". However, a Number 1 described the process as a white hot poker being driven into his skull. Another 1 mentions that the process is more unpleasant each time he does it, although it is apparently less unpleasant than healing up normally after severe injury. Interestingly, the only "downside" to resurrection was that it made Cylons under-appreciate life, as well as allow for some severe post traumatic effects depending on the cause of death.
    • Caprica, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica (2003) both uses and subverts this trope. It seems the qualifying factor here is that Zoe's technology does not cheat death, but creates life. Granted, life heavily based on existing people, but the mental and emotional health of the A.I.s seems directly proportional to how much they are treated as separate individuals to their originals. And whether they are aware they are separate individuals.
    • After some trauma after the death of her creator, virtual Zoe becomes generally well-adjusted and fine with being an AI clone of the real Zoe and trapped in Cyber Space with the emotional support of Lacy. Zoe-A knows that she is a virtual avatar of Zoe Graystone.
    • Tamara's virtual copy does not fare so well, she panics at waking up in a black void and not having a heartbeat. Tamara-A thinks she is actually Tamara Adama.
  • Referenced verbatim and Played for Laughs in Better Off Ted, when Phil and Lem are talking to Ted about their attempt to "rebuild" their decommissioned shop-vac, Chumley.
    Lem: We found Chumley and reassembled him, but something's different.
    Phil: He came back wrong.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Trope Namer; the line was coined by Spike when he noticed his anti-violence brain chip stopped working on Buffy, who was brought back from the dead after her Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Season 5.
    • It becomes a major plot point in Season 6. When Buffy behaves erratically and out of character after her resurrection, Spike attempts to convince her that she's lost something in her return to Earth, aided by the fact that his inhibitor chip doesn't work on her, enabling him to injure Buffy in a fight — and during their increasingly violent sexual encounters. When Tara reassures Buffy that, while she's molecularly a bit different ("same Buffy, with a deep tropical cellular tan"), she didn't come back wrong, it actually makes things worse, as Buffy had been hoping there was an external reason for her recent odd and self-destructive behavior rather than her own severe depression since returning.
      • Buffy herself was depressed because she had been torn out of Heaven, and initially didn't bring this up with the others when they brought her back; as far as they knew, they'd brought her back from some deep part of Hell she didn't want to talk about. This makes it all the more heart-wrenching when a musical demon forces them all to tell their truth in song, and Buffy tells them all where she had actually been and what she thought of her resurrection.
    • Earlier in Season 5, this trope also appears in "Forever", when Buffy and Dawn's mother dies, Dawn makes her first venture into witchcraft, invoking a spell to bring their mother back. Buffy is furious at Dawn; witchcraft can produce horrific results, especially when done by amateurs. Dawn is obstinate, accusing Buffy of not even understanding how much she misses their mom—until their mother's silhouette appears outside their window and there's a knock at the door à la The Monkey's Paw. Suddenly Buffy, who has been trying to be strong for her sister this whole time, breaks down and rushes to the door, yearning to see her mother again. At the same moment, Dawn realizes how much Buffy has also been suffering and that she isn't as alone in her grief and loss as she thought. Dawn revokes the spell, and whatever was on the other side of the door disappears before Buffy can open it. We never learn whether or not Joyce Summers came back wrong. Considering Dawn got the spell from a demon later revealed to be an ally (possibly The Dragon) of Glory, odds are it was probably designed to make the person it was used on come back wrong.
    • In "Lie to Me", Buffy tries to dissuade her old friend Billy Fordham from seeking to become a vampire before he dies of cancer.
      Buffy: Well, I've got a news flash for you, brain trust. That's not how it works. You die, and a demon sets up shop in your old house, and it walks, and it talks, and it remembers your life, but it's not you.
    • In "Lies My Parents Told Me", a flashback shows Spike trying to save his dying mother by turning her into a vampire. To his horror, the vampire version of his mother taunts him cruelly and makes incestuous advances toward him. He immediately stakes her.
    • Considering later examples it's interesting that when Buffy dies for the first time in "Prophecy Girl" (she was Only Mostly Dead) there aren't any major ramifications. Well, aside from the aforementioned disruption in the cycle leading to there being two Slayers from then on. Justified in that it wasn't a magical resurrection but CPR that started her heart beating again before brain death due to lack of oxygen could set in.
    • In Season 9, Eyghon, the demon summoned by Giles and Ethan in their youth, returned and possessed Ethan's body to literally snatch Giles' corpse at his funeral. Eyghon now possesses Giles and has resurrected a recently deceased Slayer as well as other people, though not with their own souls as the bodies are possessed by the demon.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina plays with this; Zelda is able to bring Hilda back from death repeatedly without any ill-effects by burying her in a patch of special earth, though it is said that eventually this will stop working, and Hilda could be left permanently dead. This trope is played straight, however, when Sabrina attempts to bring her boyfriend Harvey's dead brother back to life after he is murdered by other witches; he returns as a mute, semi-conscious shell with only the most basic reflexes and instincts, and he is on the path to murderous cannibalism when he is given a Mercy Kill. Interestingly, this only happened because Sabrina attempted to cheat; the ritual she used required her to kill someone to bring him back, but she then buried the sacrifice (Agatha) in the special earth to bring back both. We don't know what would have happened if she had performed the ritual properly, but it is implied that this trope would have been averted.
  • Dead Like Me (also created by Bryan Fuller) does the same thing with freshly reaped souls. If they haven't been reaped before death they keep the damage, and can feel it all. Being found and touched beforehand ensures a painless death. George found out that she couldn't run away from her job when the man she was supposed to reap remained conscious during his autopsy.
  • Defiance plays with this in a single episode of Season 1 and pretty much all of Season 2. Anyone resurrected by Votan nanotechnology tends to become a dangerous religious fanatic under the control of insane AI.
  • Doctor Who:
    • While they don't really die in the process, Time Lords have the ability to regenerate, whereby they lose their former personality and looks, but get a new lifespan and heal any wounds, poisonings, etc. It is, strictly speaking, not coming back, but being reborn. Except that they don't really come back "wrong", they just come back different. Although the Doctor usually experiences a period of confusion right after regenerating.
      • They can also come back desperately ill, as happened with the regeneration from the 4th to the 5th Doctor. He needed to spend at least a few days in a "Zero Room", a special chamber shielded from all outside stimuli, to recover. With the regeneration from the 9th to the 10th Doctor, he fell into a coma after having some seizures.
      • Sometimes, they come back crazy, as with the 5th Doctor's regeneration into the 6th Doctor. He becomes psychotic and nearly kills his companion in a paranoia-induced rage, believing that she's actually a spy.
      • And then there's the 14th Doctor, who somehow resembles the 10th.
    • Captain Jack Harkness. After he gets exterminated by the Daleks in the Series 1 finale, Rose uses her temporary god-powers to resurrect him, but she overdoes it, bringing him back permanently. While automatic resurrection doesn't sound like the worst side effect ever, he's effectively doomed to a lifespan of thousands of years (at least), knowing for a fact that he will outlive every human that becomes his friend or lover as well as any child he has, and at one point gets buried alive and spends the next couple thousand years or so repeatedly suffocating and reviving. It's later revealed that he's the Face of Boe, making him billions of years old when he dies for real.
    • In "Silence in the Library", Miss Evangelista is saved, in the computer sense, by Doctor Moon and CAL. Unluckily, the saving was corrupted and her face became horribly distorted yet her mind became astoundingly intelligent. By the end of "Forest of the Dead", she got better... still dead, but better.
    • In "The End of Time", Lucy sabotages the Master's resurrection, leaving him bleeding energy and eating anything he can get his hands on, including people. On the upside, he gets quite a few superpowers, even if they're part of the bleeding life-force deal.
    • As if Rory's death wasn't bad enough, he returns as an Auton constructed from memories. While the Rory persona eventually wins out in the ensuing mental battle, it's not before he fatally shoots Amy.
    • Played for Laughs in "The Snowmen"; Strax is said to have been revived under unknown circumstances from the Battle of Demon's Run by an unnamed friend of the Doctor. However, the Doctor speculates that something went wrong in the process, as Strax is much more of a ditz than before. Turns out? Strax didn't even die in the first place. So, serious subversion.
    • In "The Girl Who Died", Ashildr's situation is comparable to Captain Jack's. A sweet Viking girl, her imagination is used by the Doctor to defeat the alien Mire, but the process of using their technology against them drains her energy and leaves her dead. The brokenhearted Doctor decides Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! and defies his usual reluctance to disturb the web of time by reviving her with a modified Mire medkit. The problem — and he suspected it from the start — is that it also turns her into a functional immortal. As her brain still has only a normal human amount of storage space, her less recent memories fade over the centuries, leading her to keep a library's worth of diaries. By the time the Doctor meets her again, she just calls herself "Me" (as in Lady Me, and later Mayor Me) instead of "Ashildr".
    • In "Hell Bent", Clara Oswald, after being brought back from the moment of death by the Time Lords, finds out that while she is technically "alive" and functioning, she no longer has a pulse, and will no longer age.
  • In First Kill, Ashley is brought back as a zombie in episode 5. Her memories are all scrambled, she doesn't realize she died or what she's becoming, and she's filled with violent bloodthirst.
  • In the Fringe episode "Marionette", after trying to bring a girl back to life, the villain realizes that what came back "wasn't her anymore". It's ambiguous whether it was a matter of severe brain decay or something spiritual.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Daenerys Targaryen asks a witch to give her husband Drogo "life" when she says that he is going to die of his rotting, infected wounds, and the witch says there will be a price to pay. The next day Dany finds that her unborn son has died during childbirth and Drogo is a catatonic Empty Shell. When she asks the witch what she has done she says: "You asked for life". It could be argued that this is not an example of 'Came Back Wrong' because Drogo is not shown to have fully died beforehand, but he was very close to death, and it is implied that some form of dark necromancy was used.
    • Strongly implied to be the case with Gregor Clegane. His duel with Oberyn Martell left him technically victorious but mortally wounded and doomed to die a slow and agonizing death via poisoning. Qyburn suggests that he may be able to save him using "unorthodox" means, but warns that the process will "change" him. When Gregor next appears, he seems to have regained his old strength, but he's lost the ability to speak and what little of his face is visible is covered in veins and tinted blue.
    • Beric Dondarrion mentions that every time he's resurrected, he feels that he loses a bit of himself. May be an Informed Attribute, as until he is finally killed in The Long Night he seems like a decent and not particularly angsty man.
    • Jon Snow. Seemingly averted, for the most part. Despite his resurrection coming from circumstances similar to Beric Dondarrion's, the only marked change in him is a (more) melancholic demeanor and a new hairdo. His willingness to interpret the preceding events as an out from the Night's Watch may also count.
    • Narrowly averted with Jojen Reed, who is showing signs of becoming a wight when he is incinerated.
    • Poor Benjen stays in a limbo, neither wight nor human, close to an Empty Shell but full of infinite sadness.
  • In Gotham, the main project Professor Hugo Strange is working on in Arkham is finding a method to revive the dead. He finally manages it through a variation of Mr. Freeze's life-preserving ice invention, but the process of a mind returning to its corpse turns out to be so traumatic that the subject is driven insane with very little of their original personality intact. Strange is forced to use stories to help the subjects build new personalities and even then the new personality tends to be badly unhinged; when Theo Galavan is brought back, Strange uses old religious knight legends and in the process turns Galavan into the insane Knight Templar Azrael. This all makes it rather frightening when the process is performed on Fish Mooney and she not only comes back with her mind intact, but also with her latent metahuman powers activated. Strange was already at a loss to explain the resurrection process and this ends up throwing him for an even bigger loop.
  • Iron Fist (2017): When he was dying from cancer, Harold Meachum struck a deal with The Hand for resurrection in exchange for them getting to use Rand Enterprises resources. In the seventh episode, his son/mouthpiece Ward has enough of him and stabs him repeatedly, supposedly killing him. However, two episodes later, Harold comes back to life. He was unstable and short tempered the first time he was brought back from the dead, and it gets even worse after the second time he resurrects. The moment he discovers Harold's second resurrection, Ward meets with the head of the Triads that are in conflict with The Hand and asks for help. The Triad boss recounts a tale from his great-grandfather's village, about a farmer who cut a deal with The Hand, who kept resurrecting him each time he died on the battlefield. But each time he came back, he got more and more deranged until he roasted his own children.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has one of its antagonists make use of the Survival Horror game Dangerous Zombie to grant himself immortality, reviving within seconds of taking fatal damage and stopping the Power Degeneration caused by his previous abilities. While at first all seems well, over the course of the next ten episodes he gradually becomes more and more of a Large Ham and slips into ever-greater depths of insanity, until by the time of his final death he's barely coherent in his ranting. However, the audience was given a glimpse of similar behavior from him much earlier in the show, and his biggest act of petty spite was over a decade ago, so it's unclear how much of this can actually be attributed to Dangerous Zombie versus how much is just Kuroto revealing what he was all along.
  • Legend of the Seeker: All the banelings. They have to kill people each day in return for living again.
  • In Season 6 of Lost, Sayid is drowned in the sacred waters of the Temple. He miraculously lives, but he gradually becomes a Soulless Shell who doesn't care whose side he's on — until he heroically sacrifices his life at the end.
  • Merlin (2008) has had a few resurrections, all of which went wrong. Tristan du Bois: undead wraith, Lancelot: Soulless Shell, Uther: Took a Level in Jerkass, which is quite impressive considering he was a genocidal tyrant in the first place.
  • In Misfits, people (and animals) revived by the resurrection power act normally at first, but soon become flesh-eating, plague-bearing zombies. Not quite played straight, because they maintain their intelligence, personality, and a sense of remorse. At one point they make it seem as simple as a change in diet, although it's implied at the end that eventually the hunger takes over and makes them evil.
  • In an episode of My Babysitter's a Vampire, Benny tries to resurrect his crush's dead dog to impress her. However, the dog and other deceased animals that accidentally been affected by Benny's potion (including Ethan's late turtle) come back as undead zombie that raid across town. Thankfully, they can brought back to the dead by a blast of holy water.
    Benny's Grandma: You brought back the bodies, but the souls are gone. And a soulless body is a devil's playground.
  • Night Visions: In "Afterlife", a middle-aged man comes back from the dead during his funeral. He becomes convinced that he visited Heaven and that life on Earth is just a transitory prison of rotting human flesh. He eventually tries to force his beloved daughter into a suicide pact so they can be Together in Death. Too bad for him the idyllic afterlife he remembers was just about the stained glass window above his coffin in the funeral parlor, which would have been the very first thing his traumatized, fogged mind would see when he revived.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): This is the main driver in "New Lease". A scientist invents a regeneration device. When he uses it on a patient, the patient comes back but dies horribly shortly afterwards. When he is shot, he uses the device on himself, and believing he will die soon, murders the robber. He finds out the device worked properly on him — because unlike the test subjects, his body was never frozen — and he will now go to prison for the rest of his life.
  • In Pushing Daisies the dead people who Ned brings touches come back just as they are - even if they've been, for example, rolled over by a cement mixer. The fruit that he touches seems to come back as it was freshly picked, so perhaps what matter still exists is returned, in freshness at least, to how it was as a living organism.
  • Reno 911! eventually explained that this is what happened to Weigel. She died during a drug raid gone wrong and Dangle revived her. Turns out she had been dead for 14 minutes, causing permanent brain damage. The doctor flat out told him he should've let her die.
  • The River has an episode where Lincoln is dead and is brought back to life by a local ritual - but he's been possessed by the spirit of the Boiuna as a result.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", it's revealed that Chapel's fiance, Roger Korby, is actually an android that the real Korby transferred his consciousness into before dying. As the episode goes on, it's increasingly made clear that the android Korby is not the same person the human Korby was.
  • Season 4 of Star Trek: Voyager has the unusually dark and introspective episode "Mortal Coil", which takes the rare avenue of following the situation from the point of view of the revived person. Neelix is killed and then resurrected a while later courtesy of Borg technology. He remembers nothing of his time spent dead and spirals into depression, becoming convinced at one point that the real Neelix died and he is all that's left of him.
  • Any dead thing brought back (or not completely dead/outliving its normal life/becoming immortal) in the Supernatural universe: ghosts, demons, zombies...
    • In "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things", a college student-turned-necromancer brings back a woman on whom he had a crush. She is, of course, a vengeful bloodthirsty zombie. Dean even outright says "What's dead should stay dead", and he obviously thinks this applies to himself as well as the zombie because of the deal his father made three episodes earlier so Dean wouldn't die.
    • Dean even lampshades it when Bobby's wife returns from the dead apparently normal. Dean, not clouded by emotions, proves to be right.
    • Also pointed out by Yellow Eyes after Dean makes a deal to bring Sam back to life — he asks Dean if he thinks that maybe the deal sounded too good to be true and if Sam's possibly been brought back... different.
      • Notably subverted this one time when Sam came back: although he did seem to act darker at first after being revived, it turned out that he was actually attempting to toughen himself up to carry on as a hunter after Dean died in a year from the deal to bring Sam back.
    • The second (well, technically third, but the second big one) time Sam came back, however, he was definitely wrong. This mainly happened because his soul was unreachable (trapped in Lucifer's Cage), but it probably didn't help that Cas was too distracted with the angelic civil war to double-check his work.
    • A recurring theme in Seasons 6 and 7 was that while death might be cheap in the Supernatural universe, everything comes back wrong, including Sam, Dean, and Castiel. Even if your soul is fully intact, you'll end up causing destruction and cursing the people around you. Dean's resurrection (after he began torturing souls in Hell) broke the first seal, Sam's (both of them in different ways) eventually resulted in Armageddon, and poor Cas accidentally wiped out his entire (or almost entire) species by turning them into Leviathan chow. Even the Littlest Cancer Patient accidentally killed a nurse because her soul wasn't reaped in time.
    • Both Cain and Dean were resurrected after death by the power of the Mark of Cain, but as a demon, specifically a Knight of Hell.
  • This trope is the impetus for Torchwood: after being killed by Daleks in Doctor Who, Jack Came Back Wrong and subsequently took charge of Torchwood 3 (Cardiff). Also happens more than once to other characters, thanks to the resurrection gauntlet. Both Suzie Costello and Owen Harper are brought back from the dead with some interesting, but different, side effects: Suzie drains Gwen to become permanently alive and Owen comes back with Death, but he gets better... kinda.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", a man comes back from the dead, but the townsfolk notice some things are off about him and decide that he's possessed by a demon. He manages to shame them away... and then lights his pipe without a match or lighter.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Je Souhaite", with an honest-to-goodness Three Wishes genie, the first master wishes to be invisible and gets killed by a car when trying to cross the street. When his brother wishes for him to come back alive, he appears as a shivering necrotic corpse, unable to speak. His brother wishes for him to be able to talk in spite of the genie's warning, and he screams for minutes straight. After he's all screamed out, he attempts to light the stove to warm himself, complaining that he can't feel his blood. He fumbles the matches with the gas on full blast for many minutes, and when he finally does light one the trailer explodes, killing both brothers (we hope) permanently and ejecting the genie. Be Careful What You Wish For.

  • Avenged Sevenfold's "A Little Piece of Heaven".
  • Ancient Bards' "Soulless Child".
  • In Blue Öyster Cult's concept album Imaginos, the titular character is already a Humanoid Abomination, but when he dies he is resurrected without his humanity and dedicates his existence to serving his alien masters and corrupting human society.
  • "Eulogy for a Ghost" by Clutch.
    Waiting for a dead man's shoes
    Have you heard the latest news?
    Lazarus is back from the dead, looking as one would expect
    Dripping with the waters of Sheol
    Babbling about body and soul
  • In Reina del Cid's "The Cooling" the protagonist seems to be unable to divorce their own soul from their dead and decaying body, so they keep on living masquerading as a regular human. Shockingly, nobody seems to notice anything strange with them, but the protagonist is all but relieved at the perspective of being essentially an immortal corpse, with no chance of experiencing real death.
  • The Megas portray Proto Man this way.
  • The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing: "Victoria's Secret" is that she used occult forces to bring back Prince Albert as a Flesh-Eating Zombie. She keeps him in the palace basement, sating his hunger with the brains of the lower class.
  • Vocaloid: Miku In "HYPER LATION".
  • Nine Inch Nails' "Came Back Haunted."
  • Super Ghostbusters: The track "Ghestbest" involves a ghost named Ghost Johnson who can play drums so good that he can bring back the dead. He tries it on another person's grandma. It works, but she's brought back without any skin.
    Ghost Johnson: No refunds!
  • "The World Ender" by Lord Huron is about a man who seems to have been murdered coming back for revenge upon not just his killer(s) but "the fair and the brave and the good".

    Myths & Religion 
  • Osiris from the Ancient Egyptian pantheon died repeatedly only to return a short while later, suffering several indignities such as being resurrected without a penis, which was eaten by fish before it could be found and reattached. He averts the Trope in that he never came back in some monstrously horrific form, but true to it in that afterwards he was usually worse off than he was previously. And green.
  • Discussed and averted in the Gospel of John of The Bible, chapter 11. When Jesus proceeds to resurrect Lazarus, his sister Martha tells Jesus in verse 39 that she is worried that it has been four days since he died, meaning that at this point of time, his body would stink and begin to rot. Jesus then responds by reminding those at Lazarus' tomb that he is the Resurrection and the Life, before calling to his Father to raise Lazarus from the dead. Fortunately, Lazarus then emerges from the tomb alive and well, apparently no worse for the wear after his grave clothes were unwrapped.
  • A possible interpretation of the story of Admetis and Alkestis - when Herakles descends into the underworld and brings her back to life, she has lost the power of speech until the correct sacrifices are performed. It's possible that whatever Herakles brought back wasn't actually Alkestis at all...
  • A downplayed case in Norse Mythology: The thunder god Thor had two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, who not only pulled his chariot but also served as regular food for him. However, as long as their bones are intact, Thor can use his magic hammer Mjolnir to revive them none the worse for wear. One day, Thor shared the goats with some humans, and one of them broke a bone to eat the marrow, thus when the goats were resurrected, one of them ended up with a limp.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All of the players in Anathema. You have almost no memory of your life, you have to murder massive amounts of men, women, and children to survive, and you don't look anything like yourself. No one would recognize you and, if they did, they would likely be horrified.
  • In Ars Magica, a game where one of the hard and fast rules of Hermetic Magic is that it can't bring back the dead, there is a spell that can bring back the dead... sort of. But you have to roll on a table to see what goes wrong (not if something goes wrong — something always goes wrong.) The results can include almost any of the things named above, except that the original soul can never return — the 'best' possibility is a facsimile with the memories and personality of the original person, but without the ability to learn anything new. You're far more likely to get an emotionless automaton or a possessed body, though.
  • Bleak World has the Witches and Experiments. Witches may have been spared from death, but they all are now in service to either demons, corpses, nature itself, the first flame, or the Moon. Experiments meanwhile are either Frankenstein's Monster, a soul jar of dozens of demons and ghosts, a vicious cyborg, a Nuclear Mutant, or a Super Soldier with no free will.
  • Deadlands has lots of ways to come back, almost all of them fulfilling this trope. ANY player character who dies may come back as a walking corpse with a demon using their head as a time-share. Players came to expect this trope so much that when the Collectible Card Game offered the resurrection of a dead character as a tournament prize, the writers made it clear that it would avert this trope and be an honest-to-God divine intervention - which in Deadlands is the ONLY way to come back "right."
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The 3.5 edition spell Reincarnation has a good chance of bringing the reincarnated character back as something other than what they were before. The consequences of bringing an elf back as a dwarf (or vice versa) would be quite silly, though. This has also been used to create horror, such as when the elf is reincarnated as an orc or a bugbear or something else which is simply terrifying to them.
    • Earlier editions had a fair number of animals on the list. The elf might come back as a badger. The old Planescape setting actually has a group whose special abilities include having Reincarnation guaranteed to at least give you a player character race.
    • Pathfinder has the same spell, though a more player-friendly version of it. This is unsurprising.
    • Ravenloft exploits Came Back Wrong on every resurrection spell, with the recipient of the spell having a very good chance of being possessed by something suitably blasphemous.
    • Eberron, due to the orbital movements of the planes, sets the reliability of any spell that brings back the dead by the proximity of the plane of death. When Dolurrh is furthest from Eberron those spells don't work at all, at its closest point the resurrectee has a chance of being brought back with someone else's soul or possessed by a demon, or accompanied by a horde of ghosts.
    • 3.5 book Heroes of Horror recommended this as an optional rule to inject some extra horror into the world, while also making the players less likely to rush through the afterlife's revolving door.
    • Some planes in Planescape risk this if you try to resurrect someone while on them. Particularly in the Abyss, you were likely to end up with a demonic spirit inhabiting the body instead.
  • In Exalted, coming Back from the Dead is impossible (save via Reincarnation). The Liminal Exalted, introduced in Third Edition, are what occurs when someone tries (in spite of that rule) to either bring back the dead or breathe new life into dead flesh, and attracts the attention of an entity in The Underworld, which creates the Liminal. Though the being produced may have some of the memories of the person(s) whose body they were created from, they are secondhand experiences, like scenes from a movie, and the original person's soul is not what guides the Liminal.
  • While many cards have handled this theme in Magic: The Gathering, mostly Black and mostly involving selfish necromancers raising the dead as mindless servants, this is the defining attribute of The Returned, the chief Black society in the Theros expansion. Returning from the underworld is no small feat, and those doing so for themselves are forced to give up their personalities and identities as toll. Those who Return are not human; They bear only brief flickers of their old memories and cannot form new ones. They have dark bluish-grey skin and no face, wearing a golden mask to hide this. (gold being the most abundant metal in the Underworld due to all the coins entombed with the newly dead as a funeral rite) And just to add insult to injury, the face on a Returned's mask isn't even theirs, because they willfully gave up every aspect of their old identity when they returned, and even if they die again they can never reclaim who they once were.
  • In Shadowrun, when people get stuffed with too many artificial implants, they die. This can be averted by having a magician go on a journey to what may or may not be the afterlife in order to bind your soul and force it back into what's left of your body when you cross that threshold of having too much good stuff in your body. On the plus side, you get to avoid the normal limitations on having useful cybernetics, and you become a semi-magical creature to boot. Too bad that you constantly find yourself detaching from the world around you as your soul keeps on thinking that your body is dead and tries to leave. You constantly pollute the astral space around you with the sheer wrongness that you exude, and that you quickly grow more and more depressed, insane, and tumor-ridden, leading up to your eventual death.
    • Some versions of Shadowrun have a character become violently insane before they get to the point of dying from too much cybernetics, due to the Cybernetics Eat Your Soul feature built in to the game mechanics.
  • In a mix of 4 and 5, the Black Savants of Talislanta were once living necromancers in Khazad, before the Great Disaster. Their people chose to die temporarily to avoid the predicted catastrophe, expecting they'd be returned to life once things had calmed down. But the spells to resurrect them failed, and the majority of Khazad's souls were lost in extraplanar realms of demons and ghosts. The few who did revive, did so in mute, undead bodies. Now, these Black Savants work endlessly to locate the lost souls of their people and bring Khazad back from the dead. Oh, and creep out other Talislantans.
  • In The World of Darkness, particularly in the New World of Darkness game-lines, there are a number of different ways to bring a recently deceased person back from the dead. None of them result in a mentally- or spiritually-sound being. Here's a quick run: you can make a Revenant out of them, but that gives you a zombie with a supercharged case of OCD. You can try Embracing them, but now they're a vampire and, since you Embraced them after death, their reflection/shadow has come loose and become a separate being that hates them. Making a Promethean out of them opens the door to a laundry list of problems.note  A Geist can haul someone back if they were the right sort and enough wiggle room exists, but it's never for free. Some Deviants have healing powers strong enough to raise the dead, but there's a non-zero chance the resurrected will end up as another Deviant. On the lighter end, there's a Benediction that resurrects the very-recently-slain but leaves them with a permanent mental illness, and an Exploit that is perfectly capable of raising the dead... but is highly likely to leave them stigmatic.
    • This is also actually the default for Demon: The Fallen, since every player character is literally a biblical Demon from Hell that took possession of some weakened or recently deceased human body, though it depends on the player how strongly the possessed acts more like its host or the Demon. The host's soul, though, is gone. Additionally, there's a chance for playing this trope straight or any other way by combining the powers of some of the fallen. You can have a Devourer build a body, a Scourge animate it if necessary and a Slayer drag a soul from the afterlife or hell or wherever and have it take over that body, then use the lore of humanity to make it a loyal servant. It's not playing god, if you actually know what you're doing!
    • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse from the Old World of Darkness, The Gurahl (werebears) have at least one method that will return the deceased, no matter how long they were dead, with no side effects. The catch? The ritual to do so requires fighting the avatar of the literal God of Death. Guess what happens if you lose.
    • Another option was to have a soul-shard happen across the recently deceased and make a deal. This one got them brought back better than before, as one of the Amenti, the Reborn. No matter how often they died again, they could resurrect without a hitch (well, barring the waiting period). The OWOD was a bit kinder on this front than the NWOD.
    • One of the ironies of the Mage splat in Mage: The Ascension is that it actually is possible to bring people back just fine with no ill effect, it doesn't even require archmastery. The reason it usually goes bad is because the kinds of people that play Mage often can't risk trying to bring you back ... 'better'. And that's sort of handing the GM a free pass to mess with things in a game full of paradox and Id demons.
    • The nWOD fangame Genius: The Transgression has this as a serious possibility for Geniuses trying to resurrect the dead. A Zombie Apocalypse is quite possible, and frankly it's one of the more manageable things that could result. The good news is, you're fine if you're resurrecting someone from a point where modern medicine could revive them. Beyond that... good luck and have fun with that Obligation transgression.
  • Warhammer: The Tomb Kings are former rulers of Nehekhara who, as their lives neared their ends, had themselves put through a ritual that would eventually (after centuries) resurrect them in immaculate, undying bodies of living gold. Then Nagash showed up and ruined everything. Thanks to his interference, the Tomb Kings were woken up centuries ahead of schedule, trapped in their withered corpses.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Urien Rakarth, the Dark Eldar Master Haemonculus, discovered the secret of resurrecting himself so long ago, and has done it so many times, that things have started to go inexplicably wrong with the process. He now tends to come back with a small physical reminder of each previous resurrection, usually additional vestigial limbs growing from his spinal sump. Being an utterly insane genius surgeon, body modifier, peerless torturer, and obsessive experimenter, Urien regards this condition as little more than a fascinating quirk and certainly nothing to get all angsty about. Indeed, Urien is so jaded that he practically collects deaths and looks forward to seeing what new and unusual ways he will come back wrong in next.
    • Later Dark Eldar lore revealed that all Dark Eldar raiders make deals with a Haemonculus to resurrect them if they fall in battle. All that's required is a piece of their body, say a finger. Andy Chambers's Dark Eldar novels center on an attempt to resurrect El'Uriaq, an ancient Eldar Archon (who predated Vect) whose remains and soul have been stewing in Chaos for ages, and it does not go well.
    • Necron "resurrection protocols" teleport a damaged unit back to its tomb for repair. Necron platforms are over sixty-five million years old, their tech hasn't always weathered the aeons, they get bashed up a lot, and the lords skimped on the quality of their foot soldiers, so Necrons pick up aberrations as they get refurbished: the foot soldiers are barely sentient anymore and describing some lords as "deranged" would be putting it mildly.
    • Even the initial "reawakening" protocols and interment were flawed, causing many of the Necrons to become quirky and insane before all this "resurrection" nonsense. Nemesor Zahndrekh is the most notable example, as he still thinks he's a creature of flesh and blood fighting against the other Necrontyr Dynasties rather than waging inter-galactic war against aliens. The Destroyer Cults are ones who were so thoroughly broken by their bio-transference that now they want to utterly annihilate everything (this madness extends to the aptly named Destroyer Lords, and the fluff indicates that this is also responsible for the entire earlier canon fluff; the first of the lords and warriors to awaken had their memories damaged so much that they thought they were still slaves to the C'tan, slavishly carrying out the wills of long-dead gods.
    • According to a microstory in the Inquisitor rulebook, two of the Inquisition's founders opposed the idea of the Emperor being revived in the wake of the Horus Heresy, because they were afraid that what they brought back wouldn't be the man they once knew. For better or worse, they got their way — he's still stuck on the Golden Throne ten thousand years later.
    • Mad Dok Grotsnik was once an Ork Painboy who found himself on the receiving end of a one-sided whooping when the Nobs in his tribe found out about the bombs he planted in their new bionik skulls. Grotsnik was battered beyond recognition and his Gretchin orderlies did what they could to save him, though this did mean that one of them nearly lost his lunch while up to his elbows in Grotsnik's exposed braincase, another's pet spider crawled in and found someplace warm and wet and wasn't retrieved, and Grotsnik himself died several times in the night and it was only through inventive use of a Grot-prod that he made it at all. Grotsnik managed against all odds to survive his ordeal, though now he's a complete mess of mutilated flesh and cyborknetics who really is one scalpel short of a medpack.
    • When Chaos Dreadnoughts come to and realize they're trapped in a weaponized sarcophagus (and unlike their Loyalist counterparts, they aren't put in slumber when not in battle, just chained up and have their weapons deactivated), their sanity doesn't survive, and become Trigger-Happy Death Seekers as a result... which suits their commanders just fine, and becoming a Dreadnought is a very persuasive threat among Chaos forces.
    • In the spin-off RPG Dark Heresy, player characters are slowly corrupted when they see or handle heretical artefacts or phenomena, culminating in "mutations". One of them is that the character is no longer allowed to die: They will always come back, suffering additional corruption each time, until they fall to Chaos.
  • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, the Stormcast Eternals lose a bit of their personalities with each reforging after the first one. Notably, this is not a flaw in the process itself, but caused by the death god Nagash (the same one mentioned under the Warhammer section) who greedily refuses to give up any of the dead.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: When players destroy or Tribute monsters, they either go to the Graveyard or are Banished. As such, many card effects rely on bringing back said monsters from either location. Monster Reborn and Call of the Haunted were pretty straightforward, but later cards ended up playing every aspect of this trope. The most common types are Empty Shell and Damaged Soul, where a monster's ability to act is limited, or else becomes "dangerous" to the player. Some cards even resurrect your monsters on the opponent's side.

    Video Games 
  • In Age of Wonders, the elven king Inioch, thanks to his son's fumbling with black magic he didn't understand. Instead of getting revenge on the humans and rebuilding the elven empire, Inioch tries to end all life.
  • In Alan Wake, Thomas Zane tried to bring back his love Barbara through the Rewriting Reality powers the Dark Presence in Cauldron Lake gave writers. Unfortunately, he left a Plot Hole by not giving a reason for how she came back, leaving the Dark Presence to create its own reason... Even if he did have a reason, it would have to be a reason internally consistent with the narrative — e.g. the Care Bears couldn't appear out of a cloud of butterflies and revive her with The Power of Friendship — or else the Dark Presence could come in through that Plot Hole instead. This is why Alan has to resort to a Heroic Sacrifice to save Alice and the town — a straight Happily Ever After wouldn't be consistent with the darkly-toned horror story that led up to it.
  • Batman: Arkham Series: By the time of Arkham Knight's Season of Infamy DLC, Ra's al Ghul, after yet another resurrection in the Lazarus Pit, is now hooked up to life support, and his mind is so fractured that he can barely talk. According to his daughter Nyssa, every time Ra's was revived, he came back worse; by this point, she considers him nothing more than a zombie who should have died permanently long ago. Ra's himself was aware of this possibility in Arkham City, which played a big part in his desperation to find a successor:
    Ra's: I have used the Lazarus Pit too many times. My mind and body cannot take much more. Every time I enter the Pit... I am frightened of what will come out.
  • The plot of the first Bayonetta game centered around Father Balder wanting to resurrect the Creator-God of Paradiso, Jubileus, by using the combined powers of the Eyes of the Overseer himself and his daughter, Bayonetta, held domain over. Things were going well, too, until Jeanne yanked Bayonetta, and thus her Overseer power, out of Jubileus's body right before the Dea reformed, thus leading to Jubileus being brought into being at only 50% power and basically completely insane, screeching at the top of her lungs and attempting to bring about Armageddon.
  • Zig-zagged in Breath of Fire: The first time you reach Romero you find that the citizens who have died have been revived by one of the villains yet, despite being referred to as "zombies" and avoiding the sun, they aren't any different than regular people and their family members are glad to have them back. Unfortunately when you return later, you find the citizens locked in their homes and the now rotting zombies lurching about mindlessly and aggressively.
  • Clive Barker's Undying: Those brought back by the undying curse are twisted shadows of their former selves.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, if V fails to send Jackie's body back to his family, Arasaka uses him as a test subject for their Virtual Ghost program and during "The Devil" ending path V is able to speak to him from Mikoshi. Unfortunately, since he was already dead when he was copied he can only answer using a few set lines he said before and has no sentience whatsoever, remaining endlessly optimistic despite the situation they're in.
  • A random event in Darkest Dungeon offers you a chance to bring back one of your slain party members (chosen from a group of 3, all 3 of which are chosen randomly), but while they maintain the level they had before death, they also come back afflicted, and with no equipment upgrades or combat/camping skills to their name.
  • The curse of the Darksign makes this inevitable in Dark Souls. The Darksign prevents its bearers from permanently dying, but each resurrection robs them of a little humanity. Eventually they become mindless Hollows- which can also happen immediately if they lose their will to go on. The transformation can be delayed by gathering Humanity, but it's still just a matter of time. The player character doesn't have to worry about this though. Turns out there's a reason for that beyond gameplay mechanics.
  • The first Deception tasks you with keeping your fiancee, Princess Fiana, alive and safe after she leaves her kingdom to be with you. If she gets taken out, Astarte offers to restore her to life for you. What Astarte doesn't mention is that Fiana will be revived as a demoness, available at your beck and call with Summon Magic (and she's quite powerful, at that).
  • Destiny plays around with this, as resurrection plays a huge role in the setting. Generally speaking, whether your revival works or turns out well seems to depend largely on which method is used:
    • Guardians are dead humans, exos, awoken, or, formerly, eliksni who have been deemed worthy of resurrection by the inert Traveler, based on their past lives and compatibility with a Ghost. They are revived and imbued with Light magic, giving them the powers needed to fight evil, as well as a degree of Resurrective Immortality; they cease aging and, as long as their Ghost is not destroyed or their Light drained, revive when "killed". They have absolutely no memory of their past lives, and have an unsettling tendency to be questionably sane. Whether they are an aversion or played straight is a matter of debate, in-universe and out; most see them as The Chosen Many, but there's a not-insignificant number who see them as undead Humanoid Abominations that would kill anything or anyone just because they think the Traveler wants them to.
    • The Scorn play this very straight, as their resurrections are based around Dark magic. Similar to the Guardians, they are dead eliksni given life through Darkness-blessed rituals performed by the Scorned Barons... but unlike the Guardians, most Scorn are turned into violent maniacs with no free will or sense of self-preservation. With each revival, less and less of their souls/minds come back with their bodies, until the bodies finally come back as soulless, feral animals dubbed "screebs". They also rack up more and more physical deformities, as their bodies are warped and mutated by the Dark-tainted ether the Barons use to revive them. They can be fairly easily killed permanently by Lightbearers, though coming in huge swarms means they're still very dangerous.
    • SIVA-based resurrections zig-zag this, as it's debatable if they even really qualify as resurrections. Whatever is brought back, there is no semblance of the original being left at all; the body is effectively just a Meat Puppet animated by SIVA to carry out tasks.
  • In The Dig, Brink is resurrected with an alien crystal, but slowly turns into an obsessed shadow of his former self. Maggie, seeing this, asks Boston not to use a life crystal on her if something were to happen. If you ignore her wishes and revive her with a crystal, she will yell at you and then throw herself off a building. Luckily, after you save the aliens, they bring both of them back in their original condition. Depending on whether you honored her wishes or not, you either get a hug or a slap.
  • In all Doom games, there are "former humans", which are slain humans brought back to life by demonic rituals, serving as basic demon footsoldiers. They have a healthy shade of skin, lack any visible rot, and are still capable of moving in a human fashion and operating their firearms... but their red eyes, monstrous growls, and pained breathing when active indicate that there is something very wrong with them (also counting the rather obvious fact that they are shooting at you).
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: After you kill Baramos, he is brought back to life by Zoma, split into two components: his soul and his bones. When you fight his reanimated bones near the end of the game, they have no special abilities whatsoever and do nothing but attack repeatedly. His soul, on the other hand, is much closer in both appearance and behavior to when you first encounter him as a mortal.
    • Dragon Quest IX: The various members of the Gittish Empire received their monstrous forms as a function of being brought back to life.
  • Drakengard: in the final moments of the Ending B route, Inuart places Furiae's deceased body into a Seed of Destruction in the hopes of reviving her. The end result comes back so horrifyingly wrong that it presages The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In Dungeon Siege III, Jeyne revives archons who come back as twisted, cold monsters. Then she revives a god. That doesn't work out so well either.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: In Chapter 3, Rosie's comatose body is used to sync with Virgo, a hybrid demon/angel. However, Virgo is the one in full control of the fusion, though they inherited Rosie's memories and sympathize with her plight. If the player maxes out Rosie/Virgo's sync, Rosie will avert this trope by making a complete mental recovery.
  • Elden Ring: Renalla has created a method of 'rebirth' (mechanically, it's a respec) that can permanently alter one's appearance and abilities... but if you don't have the Great Rune of the Unborn (reward from her boss fight), the process strips you of your mind and makes you likely to die within a day. The students that she's practiced the ritual on have devolved into a completely feral state and can't even walk, and die so quickly that death and subsequent rebirth is like sleep to them.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has seemingly every type of magic except for true resurrection, leading to All Deaths Final. (There is Necromancy, but that's not quite the same thing...) In the few in-universe cases where someone has had some success with true resurrection, the person that is resurrected is typically either deranged in some way or suffers from some other issue.
  • Mild example in Fallen London with the Tomb Colonists. Death Is Cheap in the Neath, and aside from certain nasty methods you're certain to get back up from death. However, when you come back your corpse might not be in such a good state, depending on how messy it was. After a certain point people just wrap themselves up in bandages and leave for the Tomb Colonies, where people are much more open towards such insignificant things as looking like a zombie leper.
  • Defied in Final Fantasy X. Dead people can remain as "unsent", essentially revenants that age normally (but can't die from old age), eat, sleep and in all other ways appear exactly as a living person. As far as is shown in the game, they don't appear to behave differently than they did in life. Good people are still good, and bad people are still bad but don't actually appear to go "worse". It is still considered desirable for souls to move on, as many of the unsent characters do just that once their business in the world of the living is done.
  • Various things in Final Fantasy XIV:
    • As revealed in the Heavensward expansion, Primals are not creatures that are created through numerous crystals and the prayers of others, their figures warped and their negative traits ramped up. This can happen even if someone knew the being created, as the dragon Tiamat tried to bring back Bahamut and what she got was a demonic creature who would cause trouble for Eorzea centuries later. As the story progresses, we learn that the summoning method is a corrupted version created by the Ascians to sow discord and help push Calamities. In Endwalker, everyone is taught the "right" way to summon, which creates much more benign and heroic Primals.
    • At the end of A Realm Reborn, Y'Shtola and Thancred escape the attacking Brass Braves and Crystal Braves through a Dangerous Forbidden Technique teleportation spell called "Flow", sending them spiraling into the aether. When they are pulled out, Y'Shtola is rendered blind and Thancred has lost his ability to use magic.
    • In Stormblood, it's revealed the Qaiyana Tribe of Ananta snake women had this problem. The Ala Mhigan soldier for the Garleans, Fordola, had kidnapped the daughter of their queen, hoping to draw out a person known as the Butcher. Their attempt to save her ended badly when Fordola accidentally killed her, leading to the grieving queen to summon the Primal version of their goddess Lakshmi to resurrect her. She did, but without her soul, leaving her a husk of her former self.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Big Bad Nergal brings back several major bosses as mindless Morphs to oppose you in the final chapter. He also did this to Renault's close friend in his backstory; this friend is possibly implied to be Kishuna.
    • Used twice in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • Orson's wife Monica is resurrected by Lyon as a 'reward' for his Face–Heel Turn. The results are so horrifying, Seth and Ephraim kill her out of mercy, without the others seeing. What makes things worse is Orson's utter devotion to whatever is left of his wife.
      • The same happened to Emperor Vigarde, who is incapable of doing anything except fighting, and crumbles to dust when defeated.
      • Lyon is later revealed to have gained the power to resurrect the corpses of Vigarde and Monica from The Demon King Fomortiis, who was using the puppet corpses resurrected through his host as part of his grand scheme to destroy the remaining Sacred Stones that sealed the Demon King's body away.
    • This is a sort-of "trademark" of Anankos from Fire Emblem Fates:
      • In the story proper he pulled it on his once-lover Mikoto, Mikoto's Second Love and the King of Hoshido Sumeragi, and Mikoto's sister Queen Arete (adding Laser-Guided Amnesia in Arete's case, plus altering Mikoto and Sumeragi's personalities) so he can have them as his brainwashed servants. Additionally, when King Garon died he replaced Garon's spirit with that of a monster servant with access to Garon's memories, and who Anankos can control as he pleases.
      • In the Heirs of Fate DLC, he does this not only on the former four, but on the dead parents of the second generation kids whose worlds he destroyed.
      • In the Conquest route, he does this to Takumi, while in the Revelation route he does this to Scarlet; in both cases, all you can do for them is put them out of their misery.
    • Heavily implied to have happened to Nemesis and the Ten Elites during the Final Battle of the Verdant Wind route of Fire Emblem: Three Houses courtesy of "those who slither in the dark" aka their original benefactors the Agarthans. The former is intelligent enough to speak and use battle strategies, but he's far more concerned with Revenge for his initial death than anything else and has noticeable Black Eyes of Evil that he didn't have in life, and the latter are just silent super-strong minions following his orders that he's also using to empower himself with boosted stats for each one alive.
    • In Fire Emblem Engage, this is played straight with most resurrected Corrupted, especially King Morion, who is brought back as a mindless beast with purple skin and red eyes, but averting this is Veyle's specialty: the Corrupted they create retain their looks and can speak coherently... but are still subservient to Sombron, making this fate even more horrifying. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun once Veyle is freed from her brainwashing, as she's able to revive Alear as a sentient Corrupted after they take a fatal blow for her, a desperate plan that helps them re-awaken the Emblems. The party is genre-savvy enough to make SURE this trope isn't at play before trusting them.
  • Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden: Irene states that trying to bring a dead creature back to life with a magic organ won't restore its soul, instead replacing it with the organ's. She knows this from experience.
  • Humorously alluded to in the Game Over screen for Gabriel Knight 20th Anniversary Edition: It's a sign for a resurrection spell that reads: "No refunds if your loved one attempts to eat you."
  • At the end of Gotham Knights (2022), we find out that Talia al Ghul had stolen Bruce Wayne's body and continuously dunked him in the Lazarus Pit hidden under the ruins of Wayne Manor and the Batcave, turning him into her supposedly perfect soldier. The heroes are able to free him from the hold but it really doesn't take.
  • Halo:
    • This happens to an entire species. After the Forerunners all but wiped out the Precursors, the few remaining Precursors who weren't taken prisoner by the Forerunners devolved themselves into a dust that was designed to reform them when the time was right. It went badly, with the dust mutating into a disease. The increasingly angry and insane Precursor hive mind turned this disease into a weapon and the once galaxy-spanning intelligence of the Precursors became the Flood. A virus so hideous and unstoppable that the Forerunner decided it would be safer to destroy all sentient life in the galaxy than let it carry on.
    • The Composer is a Forerunner device originally designed to transfer a biological being's "essence" into a new, often digitally-based, body; however, the essences tended to come back as abominations. They later tried to use it to cure Flood infectees, and they also came back as abominations. One of the Forerunners' leaders, the Ur-Didact, decided to abuse this feature by turning an ancient civilization of humans into Promethean Knights; these end up being some of the main enemies you fight from Halo 4 onward.
    • Cortana was strictly speaking only dying, but since Master Chief assumed she had died in Halo 4, her going mad with power after being "cured" and becoming immortal in Halo 5: Guardians has a similar effect on him.
  • Resurrection doesn't ever look pretty in the Legacy of Kain series. And the few vampires who did come back pretty (namely Kain and Raziel) either evolved into something monstrous or were mutilated beyond recognition (namely Kain and Raziel.) Kain's situation is further complicated since some of his physical deformities in his later years are also due to the corruption of his soul (which happened even before he was born) and becoming more and more like the original Vampires.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: When Oogie Boogie is brought back to life by Maleficent, he has difficulty remembering things from before his death. It eventually devolves into a very severe case of short-term memory loss, as he fails to recognize Santa Claus despite having personally kidnapped him shortly before.
  • In King of the Castle, the "Saint or Sinner?" story event revolves around one of the Grandees of the South insisting that they are descended from St. Umber, and as the bodies of saints do not decay after death, they ask for permission to exhume the body. However, if the body has decayed, the later event "An Abomination" sees the mortified Grandee admitting that they paid a witch to summon their ancestor's spirit into their bones in search of answers, only for the re-animated skeleton to kill the witch and flee. The Council can vote to burn the Grandee for practising dark magic, while the skeleton can become the founder of its own cult, denouncing the Grandees as evil necromancers.
  • In the Kirby series, this is what happens to the Soul Bosses. While they return stronger than ever, they've also lost their minds, have given in to hatred, or are just Empty Shells.
  • If a corpse in Part III of Lakeview Cabin Collection is thrown into the water, they'll come back as a zombie which you must put down.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: In the linked game, Twinrova attempts to sacrifice Zelda to resurrect Ganon. When Link defeats her, they sacrifice themselves. Since they are impure, Ganon becomes a mindless, Ax-Crazy beast rather than his usual self.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Calamity Ganon initially manifests as a swirling, boar-shaped cloud of Malice flying around Hyrule Castle, where it is being trapped by Zelda's magic. As Link goes on his quest to prepare for battle against the beast, Ganon attempts to reconstitute into a proper physical form with help from pilfered Sheikah Magitek. But Link ultimately comes to fight before the process is complete, forcing Ganon to prematurely emerge from its "cocoon" as a gruesome Mechanical Abomination.
  • Lusternia: This is the fate of those resurrected by the Soulless elixir. Pioneered by Fain and his followers during the Elder Wars, it was intended to turn the strength of the Soulless Gods against them — namely, by eating their essence, just as they ate the Elder Gods essence. Only Orlachmar and Thax were brought back from the dead with it: Orlachmar as a death-seeking Blood Knight, Thax just plain Ax-Crazy.
  • Mari and the Black Tower: The miasma is not only deadly to living beings, it can also be used to revive and control its victims. Morgoth uses it to bring back Vera, the nymph leader, as The Dragon, who in turn uses miasma to control the king of Halonia. This also ends up happening to Harold, Therese, Lucius, and Marsha, making them the bosses of the HELLGATE floor.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes: The Secret Character known as Shadow Lady is Chun-Li from an Alternate Universe who was forcibly turned into a brainwashed cyborg for Shadaloo. In retaliation for foiling their operations, Shadaloo kidnapped and robotized Chun-Li for the sake of transforming her into M. Bison's top assassin. Unlike Shadow—a brainwashed Charlie Nash, who escaped shortly after being transformed—Shadaloo added a Restraining Bolt to Shadow Lady's programming so she would remain fully loyal to them. As Shadow Lady, her formerly cheerful personality was obliterated, transforming her into a emotionless minion. In her ending however, Shadow Lady overcomes Shadaloo's brainwashing, regain her original memories as Chun-Li, and join forces with Shadow in taking down Shadaloo.
  • Mass Effect:
    • A player can use this in Mass Effect 2 to explain why the biotic Commander Shepard in the first game suddenly is a non-biotic soldier in the second, or why the jerkass Renegade is now a compassionate Paragon. There's also conversations in the second game and third game, in story, where the issue is brought up, and Shepard himself sometimes wonders if they really are the same person who were killed.
    • On of the Cerberus Daily News story threads follows the circumstances of North American President Huerta, who is assassinated and then "brought back" via a sophisticated VI programmed with Huerta's memories and personality. Much is made of whether this is (practically or legally) the "same" Huerta, or just a robot that thinks it's Huerta — especially when the former Vice President brings the case to the Supreme Court at least in part because she doesn't want to give up the big chair. In the third game, the hospital Shepard's comrades keep getting sent to is Huerta Memorial, and there's a significant (if background) controversy over that choice of name, which Shepard can weigh in on.
  • Mega Man:
    • Sigma from the Mega Man X series usually has no problem coming Back from the Dead. But after the events of Mega Man X5, he had taken such a beating (and had already stretched himself thin by spreading the Sigma Virus over the entire planet) that when he's resurrected by Gate in the next game, he still hasn't fully recovered, resulting in an unstable zombie who can barely speak coherently (though he can still fight and take the role of Final Boss as usual, even speaking in a few completely comprehensible sentences before killing Gate). In fact, even when his mind seems to have recovered in X7 (as far as Sigma is concerned, anyway), the extreme state of disrepair he's shown in post-defeat suggest he still might not have been at 100%, and by the time of X8 he's little more than heaps of scrap metal barely held together by the Sigma Virus (which has even less potency while on the Moon, hence Sigma's Joker Immunity actually being revoked when he's destroyed this time around). There are hints this may have started as far back as Mega Man X3, which was the first death actually meant to stick, and it was from there on his Motive Decay really hit home.
    • In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X (a remake of the original Mega Man X), when X faces his first opponent in the Boss Rush, this is X's first guess as to what happened to them, due to them sounding weird, distorted, or half-dead.
    • Mega Man Zero 3 sees Dr. Weil use his rather Necromancer-esque knowledge of Reploid DNA to revive several bosses who died in the first game, but where this trope really comes into play is Copy X, who experiences some very strange speech patterns indicating he's not quite intact: strange syllable emphasis in Japanese and a pronounced stutter in English. One common explanation is that Copy X Mk. II isn't so much the "original" brought back to life as he is a copy of a copy, meaning his data could have very well degraded beyond the childish Knight Templar seen in Z1.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Metal Max series has a few cases of that, such as a woman who was reconstructed as a robot in her likeness but craves for material proof of love because she can't understand love, Bias Vlad who tried to cheat death by uploading his consciousness to a super computer which ended up going completely insane and somehow manages to continue existing for a brief moment as a cloud of pure energy because he didn't want to die, Dr Minchi in Metal Dogs who had most of his body turned into machine by some sort of mechanical virus and tries to fix himself back by using organic matter to recreate what he has lost only to realize his body can barely hold itself together...
  • A Running Gag in the Monkey Island series, where the villain is constantly coming back wrong. When LeChuck does finally come back as a normal human (thanks to Guybrush messing up the voodoo spell), this is a big shock to everyone. Unfortunately, all of LeChuck's supernatural evil starts to infect every pirate in the Caribbean. Also, LeChuck himself has no intention of staying human, trying to re-absorb all the evil to become a pirate god.
  • Necromancy in Monster Girl Quest! tends to have this effect:
    • Chrome raises a large number of zombies, most of whom are dumb and retain little memory of their previous lives. Her masterpiece, Frederika, is a massive zombie created from the body parts of multiple people and at one point begs Luka to end her existence. Later on, though, the ghost of Frederika (the woman who was used as the core of the zombie) actually asks Chrome to raise her again as a zombie, since there's trouble coming and she wants the strength to fight it.
    • Chrome's older sister La Croix raises several famous monsters who retain much more of their intelligence, even being able to speak normally, but are her loyal slaves. One of them, Alice XV, regains her true self after being defeated, and tells her daughter she's proud of her before dying once more. And as it turns out, La Croix is herself a zombie: in the past, she suffered mortal wounds protecting Chrome from an explosion, so she had to use her skills on herself. She fears that this trope is applying to her as well, as she's now doing atrocities that would be unthinkable for her living self. Ultimately, she lets herself die at Chrome's hand.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • In the original timeline, Raiden is a less extreme example than most, but according to Fujin, he should have been resurrected as a blank slate after his Heroic Sacrifice seen in the opening to Mortal Kombat: Deception. Instead, he comes back Darker and Edgier. To make things worse, he brings back the late hero Liu Kang from the dead but as berserker zombie.
    • A few examples in the rebooted timeline:
      • Many of the fallen heroes are revived as revenants, brainwashed to serve the fallen Elder God Shinnok and his arch-sorcerer Quan Chi following the end of Mortal Kombat 9. Though Raiden manages to restore a few of them back to the side of good in Mortal Kombat X, the rest are doomed to stay as revenants because Scorpion unwittingly kills off Quan Chi, thereby dashing any hopes of reviving them.
      • After Shinnok is defeated at the end of MKX, Raiden manages to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice by purifying the Jinsei of Shinnok's taint, but the process has corrupted him, thereby reverting him back to the ruthless persona he was in Deception.
  • A minor but no less unsettling case of this pops up in Mother 3 during Duster's chapter. When he heads through the graveyard a trio of zombies erupt from the ground and, apparently being people who knew him as a child, pleasantly comment on how much he's grown. Then on how hungry they are before attacking. All in all it's your first clue that this game that began as bright, cheerful, and pleasant is going to take you to very bad places before it's done with you.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners: During the climax, your attempt to escape the ruins is hampered by any of the other tourists who died during the expedition coming back as undead monsters, forcing you to fight your way through. It's suggested that this may have been caused by Kyosuke unwittingly inheriting control of the pyramid's powers — he expected this to happen because it's so common in horror movies, and his mind made it real.
  • In Planescape: Torment this is the big problem of the Nameless One. Each time he died before the events of the game, he completely lost his memory and essentially became a new person upon reviving. As is eventually revealed by Morte, some of those incarnations were insane; he specifically mentions one that became convinced Morte was his own skull and chased Morte through Sigil, trying to smash and eat him, before he was fatally hit by a cart. One of the three most important incarnations that the player encounters during the game suffered from such severe paranoia that he became a compulsive killer. In the final stretch of the game, the Big Bad reveals that the Nameless One's soul is being torn thinner and thinner with each resurrection, and eventually, there will be nothing left by a mindless husk of a man. To say nothing of the fact that each resurrection is fuelled by making him a Life Drinker of someone else in The Multiverse.
  • Usually when you do Fossil Revival in the Pokémon series, you get more or less what the creature would have looked like in ancient times. Not so much with Galar's fossil quartet, which in a nod to the old days of paleontology are very clearly made of different Pokémon parts. No one in Galar thinks there's anything wrong with them, and the Pokédex still qualifies them as official Pokémon.
  • Rimworld has a technological version in trying to use Resurrector Mech Serum on a body that's been decaying (or, if you're unlucky, just having the nanites glitch out on a fresh body). People start out fine, if afflicted by the usual Resurrection Sickness, but then the Resurrection Psychosis kicks in and their consciousness starts degrading, along with mental breaks getting increasingly frequent until they're just constantly having psychotic breaks all day long and then just collapse into unconsciousness and never wake up. More mildly they can end up being ressurected blind, neccitating sourcing bionic eyes to replace the ruined ones.
  • Some versions of Rogue allow you to resurrect as an undead character, only faintly able to derive sustenance from normal food and chowing down on dead enemies instead.
  • RuneScape quest "The Death of Chivalry" does this to Sir Owen Sonde... twice, first deliberately killed and transformed into a zombie by a villain, forcing the player to put him down in self defense, and the second time when his own patron god botches resurrecting him, resulting in an undead arm and The Corruption slowly eating away at his sanity.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: In the episode "What's New Beelzebub?", the duo's 1960 DeSoto Adventurer convertible dies and goes to hell. After they free its soul back to the mortal realm, the obsolete computers working at the Pimp Le Car garage refuse to work on it. Kurt explicitly says that it "came back... processing... wrong." He's right, since it revs and bounces at the curb, and in the driving minigame it steers itself for maximum carnage.
  • Happens all over the place in The Secret World:
    • It's possible for infusions of the Filth to restore the dead to life. Unfortunately, the side-effects invariably render them violently insane, dangerously strong and extremely contagious.
    • Elsewhere, the Cult of the Aten created a very specific kind of mummification that bound the souls of the departed to their mortal remains, allowing them to serve as soldiers following their deaths. Unfortunately, the process often left the victims deranged, either because of the process used to operate on their souls, or because they remained conscious in their tombs; the resulting mummies are barely-sentient killers.
    • Outside of the Atenist cult, the future members of the Kingdom invested vast sums of money in occult rituals and spells for their tombs, hoping to attain immortality. They were resurrected as preserved, walking, talking corpses. Subverted in that they actually enjoy their immortality, revelling in luxury and politics despite having the consistency of beef jerky.
  • This is a common plot point in the Shadow Hearts series. The Emigre Manuscript allows one to resurrect the dead through vile alchemy, but it brings them back as a monster (due to Malice that is used to create their new bodies).
    • In the first game Elaine is brought back to life as a monster, and is the final boss.
    • In the second game, the owner of an orphanage decides to resurrect his mother this way, only for her to become a boss for the players to defeat.
    • The third game makes this a plot point, as both Roger Bacon and Sgt. Kato use it in a fundamentally different way and don't make monsters: Roger tries to revive Alice, Yuri's lover, but her soul simply doesn't return and the body crumbles, while Kato merely makes a clone of Lt. Col. Kawashima in Ouka.
    • In the fourth game Grace is revived through the Emigre Manuscript and given the power of Will, so that she actually does return as she should, but when she notices her brother Johnny isn't returning, she gives up her Will so that he can, turning her into the monstrous Lady.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Alice is a recurrent character. The problem is, how did she die in the first place? And exactly how deep is the damage? There's this fella in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, and he provides a very comprehensive answer to why a character once known for deep love for all things came back as an unrepentant, undead sorcerous sadist... and it ain't pretty.
    • Also in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Commander Gore is killed shortly into the mission, but restored as an "Ubergestalt" by the "Mothers" of the Schwarzwelt. It seems like it's this trope all over, what with his mindless gaze, otherworldly presence, and obvious manipulation by the goddesses... until you break him loose from the mind control and not only does he regain his humanity, but he gains supernatural brilliance over the Schwarzwelt and mankind's future.
    • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse:
      • In the Chaos ending, your body is restored to normal rather than being the technical zombie that Dagda made you into. However, you now have a demonic soul.
      • In the Massacre path, Flynn dies, but is subsequently restored by Dagda. The catch? Flynn has lost his former self and he now sees himself as merely a god-slaying servant to you, an Omnicidal Neutral god-in-training (whereas the old Flynn was dedicated to liberating humanity rather than trying to kill it like he and you are on this route). Shortly afterwards, you can choose one of your partners (all of which are dead at this point) to bring back; while they do have some sense of their old personalities, they are like Flynn in that they too are brainwashed and dedicate their entire existence (as a reborn goddess) to serving you and your goals, having thrown their own aspirations and selves away.
  • The Sims series features multiple examples. The Sims 1, 2, and 3 all feature Zombies, although Sims 3's zombies are a strange variety that doesn't actually involve death, or coming back, so they don't count:
    • The Sims introduced Zombies. Sims can play rock paper scissors with the grim reaper to save another from death, but if the reaper is in a bad mood, he only brings them back half way. Zombies are tinted green and lose ALL of their personality points, making them all dirty, mean, lazy slobs who don't like to play or talk.
    • The Sims 2 lets players dial up the reaper to ask for an already-dead sim to be resurrected. Offering too small of a bribe results in a Zombie, who has a set personality, and loses most or all of their skill points, essentially making them a different person. Their skin is blue, their facial expression is sagging and in pain, and they shamble instead of walking.
  • Spooky in Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion became a sociopathic poltergeist after one of her parents' failed attempt to resurrect her.
  • In the Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion Shadow of Revan, Darth Revan's return is the result of this. After becoming Brainwashed and Crazy at the hands of the Sith Emperor and put down by Imperial players, his soul becomes fractured with the Light Side half leaving his body and becoming a Spirit Advisor while the Dark Side half remained, keeping his body alive and becoming completely unhinged.
  • In the backstory of Stray, there was a human scientist who underwent Brain Uploading to save themself from dying to a plague killing off their kind. However, during the process something went wrong and they became trapped in the virtual network. As the centuries passed they started to lose their memories and sense of self. Were it not for the efforts of the cat protagonist providing them a drone body labeled "B-12", they would most likely have faded completely into the system, and even by then they had begun to believe they were the robotic creation of a different scientist.
  • Street Fighter V features the return of Charlie, Guile's old friend and mentor, who was implied to be severely crippled or killed at the end of Alpha 3. As it turns out, the truth isn't much better. Now, the entire right half of his body is composed of ashen grey skin with huge stitches holding it together. This includes his face, by the way, which also has some sort of gem embedded in the forehead. Even worse, he appears to have trouble keeping this skin rigid, resulting in zombie-like posture and an odd sort of limp. Worse still, his personality has become far darker than before as he is stated to be out for revenge against all who wronged him. His battle intro has him threatening to outright kill his opponent, a far cry from the patriotic soldier we know and love. As an upside, he seems to have gained impressive new abilities such as teleportation and the ability to perform aerial Flash Kicks.
  • Happens to Solo in Strider (2014). He's brought back from near death as "Solo ZN-2" by Meio's subordinates stronger than ever, but the forceful resurrection process, plus his inability to cope with having been dealt his very first defeat ever, took their toll on his sanity and turned the confident and arrogant Bounty Hunter into a deranged madman hell-bent on taking revenge.
  • Shin Super Robot Wars: After the final scenario, Kouji is disgusted that the Devil Gundam would revive the dead as zombies, and the psychological effect of doing so is plainly visible on Eiji's face as he remembers Gale.
  • Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Destiny, Leon Magnus is brought back as a zombie to fight the party. He begs for death, and is granted it. Later subverted when he's resurrected with no apparent side effects in the sequel.
    • In Tales of Symphonia, the Big Bad plans to revive his dead older sister by turning people into empty shells while they're still alive, so that he can download her soul into them. There's also Tabatha, a living doll who's a mechanical body that looks and sounds just like his sister, but who apparently wasn't actually able to house her soul. By the end of the game, it's shown that Tabatha is capable of it after all, suggesting that Martel simply refused to enter her body the first time. In the one case where the soul transfer does work with a living body, she is shown to be horrified by her brother's efforts, and gives the body back to its original owner shortly after.
    • For another Tales example, in Tales of the Abyss, Jade's first attempt at testing out the cloning techniques he invented on a living subject was trying to resurrect his teacher after she was mortally wounded in a fire he accidentally started. He was successful at creating a replica of her, but the replica had none of the original's memories and was extremely unstable. May apply to Ion's replicas as well, since all of them are substantially weaker in some way than the original, deceased Ion- for example, Ion has the original's strong magical abilities but not his strong constitution, while Sync has his strong constitution but not his strong magical abilities. Also applies later in the game, when nearly all of the replicas the party encounters were created from people who had died, and they all have stiff, robotic movements and are unable to speak in anything other than Creepy Monotone.
  • At the end of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Travis and Badman succeed in getting their wish from the Death Balls to resurrect Badman's daughter, Bad Girl. Unfortunately, since one of the Death Balls was an incomplete beta, Bad Girl was resurrected as a small dog. In one of the DLCs, however, they manage to get the last complete Death Ball and bring her back as a human, but even then, her mind has regressed to that of a hyperactive, murder-obsessed child. This largely sticks for No More Heroes III, which makes her devasted reaction to the death of her father that much worse.
  • Twisted Metal:
    • In Black, after taxi driver Charlie Kane dies after being shot in the head by a random passenger, his son figures out a way to bring him back. What results is a remote-controlled corpse controlled by the son that can only qualify as being alive because it moves.
    • Miranda Watts, driver of Twister in Head-On, requests as her wish to Calypso to restore her twin sister Amanda, who participated in Twisted Metal 2 and disappeared ever since. What she got was a horrible zombified sister, as Amanda had died millions of years ago due to her wish to break the speed of light sent her back in time to prehistory.
  • In Ultima VI, resurrecting a party member at a Healer will leave the party member in a non-interactive, zombie-like state. This can be corrected with a third-party program.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man (2005), Deadpool was a serious, mutant-hating mercenary who hunted mutants on live TV, and dies at the end of his story arc. He comes Back from the Dead in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions as a crazy, fourth wall-breaking mercenary who trades his hatred of mutants for a sense of humor. For fans who disliked Serious!Deadpool, this was Came Back Right.
  • Undertale:
    • In a Pacifist Run, you'll go through the True Lab, where Alphys performed experiments with Determination in an attempt to harvest the SOULs of critical-condition monsters, which could then be used as a key to free monsterkind from their mountain prison. Instead of watching them die, the Determination gave the monsters the sheer will to shrug off their lethal wounds and incurable diseases... but unfortunately, overusing Determination causes monster bodies to melt, and what was left on the floor merged into terrifying Amalgamates. Subverted, though — this didn't change their temperament one bit, and both they and their families were glad to be reunited in the Golden Ending.
    • The big reveal of the True Lab is even worse — Alphys's other experiment was to try infusing Determination into something that didn't have a SOUL. The golden flower that sprouted where Asriel died. This resulted in Asriel being essentially reincarnated as a SOULless creature incapable of feeling love — Flowey. He makes it very clear later in the Pacifist and Genocide routes that this sucks.
  • People brought back by the Necris process in the Unreal series have, up until Unreal Tournament III, are bodies consisting of nearly no colors at all, and just as happy (if not more so) to indulge in the sanctioned massacres as the next man.
  • In Vagrant Story, Grissom is killed by Ashley. Because zombies in this game are random dead souls who get trapped in random dead bodies, he could have become just another monster... but he gets trapped into his own dead body by accident, making him fully conscious and horribly disturbed at his own undeath.
  • Necromancy in World of Warcraft almost always results in someone coming back wrong:
    • Death Knights are intentionally designed to be damaged in some way so they can be better killing machines for the Lich King.
    • Cataclysm gives us the Rotbrain, which are the new villains of Deathknell. One priest sadly notes that they seem human outside, but are sick within. They eventually rally and plan to take over the town, and must be killed.
      Marshal Redpath: I'm a monster, don't look at me!
    • An alternate interpretation of the "Rotbrain" is that they've come back wrong in a different way: without the blind devotion to the Forsaken that undead player characters possess.
    • According to Word of God, this is the case for the Forsaken. The state of undeath is an imperfect "chain" of dark magic holding the soul of a person to their rotting corpse, and these chains cause malevolent tendencies and negative emotions to become more apparent. Forsaken can still feel positive emotion, though, so they're not monsters, they can rise above it and become Anti Heroes.
    • Sylvanas's short story revealed there is another underlying issue with the Forsaken. Being torn from the afterlife damaged their souls, which could play a part in their darker tendencies. Worse this seems to have condemned them to a hellish afterlife.
    • The Legion expansion actually managed to invert the trope in one instance. High Inquisitor Sally Whitemane was a zealous murderer and completely insane in life. When chosen to be risen by the Knights of the Ebon Blade into a Death Knight, she's focused and stable again. Death has a way of quelling the madness of the mind.
  • Similarly to the Monica example above, Kylier of Yggdra Union is purposely resurrected horribly by the Big Bad, enforcing her comrades to mercy kill her.

    Visual Novels 
  • Case 03: True Cannibal Boy: This is Sally's fate, due to the Cannibal Boy of Mt. Candyhouse eating her body and Marty using the goddess extract to revive her as a zombie head. As a result, she develops a taste for blood and is slowly going through Sanity Slippage.
  • Corpse Party: Book of Shadows has Naomi and Ayumi try to resurrect Mayu. It goes badly.

  • White Mage's attempt to revive Black Belt in 8-Bit Theater. And how.
  • spades. For one he develops a lust for blood that wasn't there before.
  • Downplayed in El Goonish Shive: the unnamed "French Immortals" suffer Easy Amnesia as a result of not dying properly before being reborn.
    • Immortals in general use an intentional form of this. Immortals have to "reset" every few centuries in order to avoid going insane, but the new Immortal is functionally a new person, who only remembers their past self's life "as though reading about it from a book". They can make some things stick (such as Jerry ensuring that the debt he owed Susan would be carried over and not dismissed), but for most part shedding the excess baggage is seen as a good thing. Pandora has postponed her own reset for several centuries, and it's definitely caused her problems.
  • In Endstone, fear of this trope kept Pablo from reviving his wife, but now the power revived him.
  • Ian from Errant Story can restore physical life to the dead, even repairing extensive burns and decomposition, but can't restore the subject's intelligence. Since all he gets are Soulless Shell-types anyway, he's stopped putting much effort into making them look lifelike and actually calls them zombies. They work fine as cannon fodder.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Science can resurrect someone if their head (brain) is intact, but there are many possible side effects, like memory loss, insanity, and some sort of "cascade effect that normally sets the lab on fire." Later on, it's revealed that, if the one operating is an expert, one can be brought back from death even without an intact brain. However, the end result is just a body without a true mind, essentially, a Soulless Shell.
    • Because of a combination of this trope and the fact that spark resurrection (especially self-resurrection) that works perfectly is still often a case of Gone Horribly Right, one of the only actual explicit universal laws that the Fifty Families agree on is that a ruler that dies loses his crown permanently, no matter how immortal/invincible/etc she later becomes and whether her mind is intact or not. Gil gives a slightly more cynical explanation; nobles don't want someone ahead of them in the line of succession to just pop back to life and disrupt their claim, so they made the rule that you're out if you die. It's not uncommon for nobles to get resurrected and then try to hide it, which Gil and his father think makes for wonderful blackmail material.
    • A variation occurs with Tarvek's sister Anevka, given a mechanical new body plugged into life support with what remained of her own. However, Anevka still died, albeit slower than she would have normally, but, as she weakened, the machine itself took on her personality. By the time she was dead, the machine thought she was Anevka and had no idea that anything (such as the death of the real Anekva) had happened, and everyone believed the same, except Tarvek, who knew the truth. The mechanical Anevka eventually became conniving and self-serving, culminating in killing her father after his attempts to restore the Other "almost" killed her. No word yet on whether this cold-hearted behaviour was a result of being a clank or being an accurate copy of a member of the Sturmvoraus family.
  • Gamzee from Homestuck brings Vriska and Tavros back to life by prototyping Jane's sprite with both of their corpses. At the same time. It didn't last long, because Tavrisprite blew themselves up, sending both of them back to the afterlife (separately, fortunately).
  • The Order of the Stick, as a comic based on Dungeons & Dragons, has several ways of bringing back someone to life. Usually anything other than Raise Dead / Resurrection results in this trope. Especially golems, which are mindless monsters remote-controlled by their owners.
    • Celia, desperately wanting to resurrect Roy, brings his skeleton to Grubwiggler (a Frankenstein expy), who promises he won't turn Roy into an undead. He turns him into a bone golem instead. Of course since she doesn't want to pay for it, the party later has to take him by force.
    • After Haley kills Crystal, Bozzok brings her to Grubwiggler to turn her into a golem. He pays extra money to turn her into a semi-conscious one so she would channel her hate to more effectively kill Haley. Eventually, though, his plan has Gone Horribly Right, because now Crystal is just intelligent enough for Haley to point out she should be more mad at Bozzok.
    • In The Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness, a boy cries over his dead dog and wishes it would come back to life. His sorcerer powers manifest for the first time, and the dog becomes reanimated... as a zombie. Subverted: the boy, being the future Big Bad of the series, thinks this is awesome.
  • In Plume, the side effect of Aricon's Black Magic is that his and Corrick's older brother comes back to life... as an undead humanoid creature gleefully causing and enjoying destruction.
  • Similar to Halo above, in Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, it's possible to upload a sapient mind into a computer, but they come back buckin' fonkers due to sensory deprivation. It's possible to download them into a clone body, and this is considered murder because the digital copy overwrites the clone, psychologically murdering them. One story arc involved a grieving widower who got it right-hooking the computer his wife was in up to electronic sensors to keep her sane while her clone grew to maturity, then downloading her ASAP. She considers him to be a murderer and runs for it.
  • In Ruby Quest, anyone who dies while taking the Cure can be resurrected — but simply taking the cure at all means they're corrupted by Cjopaze. Of course, it's also rather inverted, as The Corruption gets worse the longer you live and get injured (the Cure heals you, but also causes mutations), and dying means you come back relatively intact and sane, with your memories gone and your body ready to repeat the cycle of injury and mutation yet again.
  • The Scarecrows from The Sanity Circus are ageless Eldritch Abominations who can resurrect after death as many times as needed. However, Posey later says that this time it had been so long that some had trouble coming back. Sammy Talbot's eyes, for instance, have two pupils and a doubled iris in each. Some of them have even forgotten what they are.
  • Rusty and Co. managed to invert this (White Knight looked better as a wight).
  • In Sinfest, the young Baby Blue tried to raise a dove right. Satan intervened to bring it back as a diabolic thing.

    Web Original 
  • From AJCO: Egg thought it would be a good idea to summon the ghost of Cameo while investigating their murder. As Cameo hadn't technically died, only been trapped between worlds, they came back as a horrible shambling grey monster. It was probably a good thing the Void claimed them for good when A_J set off the Needle, sending everyone falling through the Void into the next world along.
  • The Atop the Fourth Wall Clone Saga reveals that the Linkara "clone" really isn't one, but a resurrected and now-human Mechakara—who, given he hate organics and was actually an evil Pollo from an alternate universe wearing his universe's Linkara's skin, didn't take too kindly upon what happened when he remembers his true self.
  • Used verbatim in the Charlie the Unicorn Playlist LIVE video to describe the resurrected Jenna Marbles.
  • The Undead dragons from Dragon Cave. Reviving dragons has a very small chance of creating these (the other two possibilities are being revived normally and permanent death). They are zombies which are incapable of breeding, and are described as being extremely dangerous and the result of a failed magic spell. They are only visible from 12 AM to 6 AM, and at all other times they appear as gravestones.
  • The basis for Emesis Blue is that The Respawn Machine brings back the mercenaries, but they physically and mentally degrade each time. Some develop mundane schizophrenic-like symptoms, others outright become Humanoid Abominations.
  • In Entirely Presenting You, Alexis takes a bullet through the head. Her healing factor saves her, but her personality and memories get affected, and she no longer feels connected to her old personality. Eventually she abandons her old life to be someone else.
  • In The Gungan Council, Phylis Alince, though in a more benign fashion as she has no memory after being 18.
  • In Mortasheen this is a bit weird. For, you see, zombies here can regenerate from any injury with few lethal effects, given that they have a ridiculously powerful Healing Factor and a consciousness distributed all over their body. But, sometimes as they're regenerating, they may accidentally get the organic tissue of some other lifeform stuck in theirs, like say that of a snail or a tree. And then things go a bit awry...
  • Red vs. Blue: Not a physical resurrection, but the Director of Project Freelancer kept trying to bring back his dead love Allison in the form of an AI. He never quite grasps that he needs to just let her go—but Epsilon finally does.
  • In the Channel Awesome universe Mara Wilson did this, coming back with glowing eyes, unholy strength, and a thirst for REVENGE against...something. General revengy things.
  • Velma Meets the Original Velma: After killing the members of Mystery Inc., Scooby always takes a bit of their essence and recreates them alongside the entire world. However, each time he does, he captures less and less essence, meaning they end up as more flawed than the original. He's done this so much that the Velma cast are his most flawed recreations yet.

    Western Animation 
  • In the first episode of Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum creates a serum that revives the dead, but gets it wrong on the first try and turns a cemetery full of departed Candy Kingdom residents into sugar-crazed zombies. She later corrects the formula and restores them to health.
  • After the events of "The Void" in The Amazing World of Gumball, Rob ends up returning from the Void, but ends up horribly disfigured upon his arrival back on Earth.
  • An episode of American Dad! has Stan get attached to a puppy that the family adopts until it gets maimed in a freak accident. Stan refuses to let the puppy die since he doesn't want to relive the horrible experience he had as a child when his first dog had to be put down, so he takes the puppy to a shady veterinarian who puts the animal back together again in the most horrifying way possible; eyes for testicles, legs that don't match, a softball mitt grafted to his head and has to use a device powered by a car battery just to crawl around. Stan eventually accepts the fact that the puppy was long gone and puts it out of its misery by making it explode with dynamite.
  • Parodied as the premise of Count Duckula: The last time his butler Igor tried to resurrect him after being slain, there was a mixup in the ritual that substituted blood with tomato ketchup, resulting with the reincarnated count being a pacifistic Vegetarian Vampire. Much to Igor's horror.
  • Clone High: Severe radiation poisoning caused the clone of Marie Curie to come back horribly disfigured.
  • Gargoyles: Coldstone. Of course, he was not the product of any ordinary resurrection; he was bits and pieces of 3 different gargoyles stitched together with some robotics and black magic. With a recipe like that, something is bound to go horribly wrong.
  • Van Kleiss from Generator Rex is able to come Back from the Dead as long as he's in contact with the nanite-rich soil of Abysus. After he's seemingly Killed Off for Real, the nanites of Abysus go berserk, and when Rex is brought in to solve the problem, he's coerced into activating a machine designed to resurrect Van Kleiss. This time, however, the resurrected Van Kleiss' Evo condition is curable, and Rex is able to strip him of his powers.
  • Solomon Grundy is brought back to life by a couple of amateur sorcerers in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Wake the Dead". However, thanks to one of them messing up the summoning circle, he comes back soulless, an empty vessel of pure rage. After fighting for almost the entire episode, his friend Shayera finally puts him out of his misery off screen. Grundy was already a case of this trope, having originally been a prohibition-era gangster from Gotham City that was murdered and dumped into a swamp, only to emerge decades later as a super-strong zombie.
  • In the first episode of Metalocalypse, the band's chef Jean-Pierre is torn apart by helicopter blades, but is (somehow) kept alive by hooking his parts up to various machines. After Hilarity Ensues as the band tries (and fails miserably) to shop and cook for themselves for the first time in their lives, they realize they can't handle it and that they need their chef back, so they decide to sew him back together. Toki remarks that they suck so bad at everything but playing music that they'd probably sew him back together wrong, which Nathan thinks is a cool song idea. "SEWN! Back together WRONG! Back together. SEWN!" For what it's worth, Jean-Pierre doesn't seem very bothered by being sewn back together wrong, and it doesn't seem to have any effect on his ability to cook either (though his disfigured appearance does seem to have an effect on the band's ability to eat).
  • This may be the case for King Sombra in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In Season 3 he is basically pony Sauron: serious, menacing, rarely speaks, and extremely intelligent, nearly winning by planning ahead and not being one to mess around. Six seasons after his death he is resurrected, in which he acts more pompous and arrogant, often in an exaggerated way, and, despite an intelligent plan to destroy the Elements of Harmony, also displays Bond Villain Stupidity when he has the Mane 6 trapped, which ultimately results in his second and final death.
  • In Season 8 of Ninjago, the Sons of Garmadon, led by a Loony Fan of his, plan to use the Oni Masks to revive him. The twist is that they want to bring him back without any of his redeeming qualities such as his love for his son Lloyd since they believe these traits hold him back from unleashing his true potential. By the end of the season, they succeed. The revived Lord Garmadon demonstrates that he's no longer the father Lloyd knew and loved when he nearly beats Lloyd to death in a fight — he would never try to hurt Lloyd even when he was Lord Garmadon in the past — while declaring I Have No Son!. Unfortunately, the Sons of Garmadon turned out to be right about this unlocking his true potential, making him Came Back Strong as well. However, over time Garmadon regains his kinder qualities due to learning empathy from the people of Ninjago and confronting his repressed guilt over his past sins and eventually redeems himself while seeking to make amends for all the harm he caused making his resurrection an eventually-subverted example.
  • Subverted in a Robot Chicken sketch where Garfield is run over by a car and Jon's neighbor warns him not to bury him in the Pet Sematary. Jon does and Garfield returns, killing the neighbor and then Nermal. It turns out his fat protected him from the car and he was Buried Alive. He killed the neighbor due to lasagna withdrawal and Nermal because he's just a twat. Played straight in another sketch where a guy dies by being run over by a car. He goes to Heaven and is brought back as a mangled corpse and immediately killed again for being a zombie.
  • South Park parodies this idea in "Marjorine" when Butters fakes his death and his parents want to bring him back (using a method parodying Pet Sematary. When he arrives home, revealing that he is not really dead, they mistakenly believe that he is a soulless demon trapped in his body and kill a woman so he can "feed."
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, this appears to happen to Glossaryck after his return - he acts more like a dog than a person, and can only say "Globgor". It eventually turns out to be subverted, however. His behavior was Obfuscating Stupidity, and he had been referring to someone named Globgor.
  • In Steven Universe, the Homeworld Gems experimented on combining the splintered shards of deceased Crystal Gems into disfigured mutants that are in constant agony, the largest of which is made of millions of shards and threatens to destroy the planet from the inside out.
    • Later on in Steven Universe: Future one of the Diamond Authority's new duties in the newly-reformed Gem society is to undo those experiments via Yellow Diamond separating the gem shards from each other and piecing together the alike shards. While the result isn't always perfect due to not being able to find all the shards, Yellow Diamond is able to use her power to modify any defects in their physical form to make them more comfortable.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: A dying John Corben is subjected to treatment that transforms him into Metallo by transferring his brain to a robotic body. He wakes up keeping his consciousness intact, but is constantly disturbed at how he can't really feel anything through taste and smell, nor can he draw any excitement from a woman's kiss, which slowly drives him insane.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In Season 5, Tiger Claw summons the demodragon Kavaxas to Earth in order to resurrect the Shredder, who was killed by Leonardo at the end of Season 4. By the fourth episode of the season, Kavaxas succeeds in doing so... but the revived Shredder is little more than a shambling corpse. Tiger Claw himself suspects that Shredder has not been truly revived, and Kavaxas is simply using him as a puppet; he's proven right.
    • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: In the Season 1 finale, the Foot Clan manage to reassemble the Shredder's Animated Armor and bring him back to life... but thanks to a flaw in the armor they didn't know about (the helmet was chipped years ago and that chip was never put back), the resurrection goes wrong and Shredder comes back as a crazed, gibbering animal that mindlessly attacks everything around him, including the Foot themselves.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In the "Night of the Living Pets" segment from the "Toons From the Crypt" episode, Elmyra wishes to see all of her dead pets one more time, which does happen except they come back as zombies. Fortunately, it was only a nightmare.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • "Powerless in the Face of Death": Dr. Orpheus believes that his attempted resurrection of Hank and Dean resulted in the creation of soulless zombies. He didn't. They're clones that were just released from their tubes too early. Apparently they feel like Stretch Armstrongs.
    • "¡Viva los Muertos!": Venture's more unusual experiments to resurrect the dead, Venturestein. Rusty was apparently more interested in doing it just to see if he could, as he put it, "laugh in God's face," but soon finds the only possible application for this particular form of resurrection is selling his zombies to the military for willing suicide bombers.
  • Unicorn: Warriors Eternal: The trio of heroes has been reincarnated many times throughout history, though each time Copernicus finds them as adults to awaken their souls and restore their memories, along with full mastery of their powers. This time, however, in Steampunk London, they were accidentally activated younger than they should have been. Emma/Melinda doesn't understand what's going on at all and only has vague blurred instincts of her past lives, conflicting with her life as "Emma". Alfie/Seng is just a kid, and it's outright stated that the awareness of the astral plane that comes with being a cosmic monk is utterly overwhelming to a child's mind (to the point he's half-insane in a dream-like stupor). Dmitri/Edred fared the best out of the three, but while he has most of his memories and mastery of his powers, even he notes that some key memories are blurry to him, and he notes things aren’t quite right.

    Real Life 
  • Sometimes a person who "dies", as in no breath or pulse, can be brought back to life via CPR or other medical care. However, current medical tech cannot get around the fact that most people can only go without oxygen for about 4 minutes before brain damage sets in, 6 minutes tops. The greater the delay, the worse it gets. It can get to the point where the person isn't there anymore and all you have is a body that (with help) breathes and has a pulse. Among other possible results, less hopeless but still not nice by any standards, are people who forget how to read, walk or use the toilet. Less disastrously, they can forget things that aren't required for basic day-to-day functioning but are still of some significance, such as major life events. They may also behave differently — anger issues in particular are common among people who suffer from this sort of brain damage.
    • CPR has another issue: since you're having a lot of oxygen pumped into your lungs, your ribs will crack and potentially break from the air expanding your lungs, and having your chest beaten (if done) will also cause damage on its own. This will cause pretty severe damage, so while from others' point of view you came back fine (if severely injured), you may very well have this view yourself. Some doctors even refuse to be resuscitated for this reason.
    • If a person dies while under extreme hypothermia, revivability can be extended much longer due to their lowered metabolism.
      • There's a saying in emergency medicine: "You aren't dead 'til you're warm and dead".
      • You may still suffer damage to your brain, limbs, etc. so that you may not be able to do things as well as before your revival.
  • Phineas Gage, a rail worker with a kind disposition, lost a good chunk of his brain in an accident and survived. After the accident, he became angry very easily and took greater risks, and his friends would describe him as "no longer Gage." It's worth noting that the bulk of the damage was in the left frontal lobe, which is also the section of the brain targeted during the now-obsolete practice of lobotomy. Gage's case was the confluence of several factors, including: post-injury infection caused by the town doctor rooting around with his fingers inside Gage's braincase, damage to the frontal white matter of his brain (which is a critical regulatory structure in addition to other important functions), and the fact that he explosively lobotomized himself with a meter long, six-kilo iron bar. However, it's equally important to note that the majority of the symptoms ascribed to Gage's injury have, over the years, been both exaggerated from the truth as well as just outright fabricated. Much of the blame for this belongs to doctor John Harlow, who was responsible for Gage's initial treatment. Rather than acquiring a reliable patient history, Harlow encouraged the belief that Gage's blast to the brain turned him into a sociopath, likely in a bid for personal fame.
  • Rosemary Kennedy (sister of John F. Kennedy) potentially has this happen twice. First, during her birth, Rosemary was deprived of oxygen (due to some pretty horrific decision-making by nurses attending the birth), which is generally believed to have changed her from the person she would have been otherwise, leaving her with developmental disabilities and difficulty regulating her emotions. Then, when those emotional difficulties she had as a result of the first incident became unmanageable, doctors convinced her father that a lobotomy would calm her difficult behavior. Instead, the procedure destroyed Rosemary's mental capabilities, leaving her unable to walk, talk, or regulate her basic body functions. (She regained some limited abilities over the years, but was never able to return to anything remotely resembling her previous level of function.)
  • In general, traumatic head injuries can cause significant changes in survivors. It doesn't exactly create new personality traits, but it can lead to things like increased irritability and problems with impulse control, which can make a person seem very different to an outside observer. Severe brain injuries can also impair a person's physical and mental capabilities.

Alternative Title(s): Come Back Wrong


Zombie Experiments

Rick tries several Expeerments on Bringing back the Dead at a Cemetery.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForScience

Media sources: