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Deadly Hug

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Melvin: Now, who wants a hug?
Tristan: I do!
Yami: Tristan, no! He's just going to stab you or something!
Melvin: Don't listen to him, Tristan. He just wants all the hugs to himself.

Bob and Alice meet in secret for a night of passion. Bob draws Alice close, kisses her deeply and... BLAM!

Alice slumps down dead with Bob holding up a previously hidden pistol. She's just been on the receiving end of a Deadly Hug. A sudden gunshot is the most common, but a stab is not unheard of.

When a bad guy does this, it's usually during The Reveal that they're evil. When a good guy does it, it tends to be a Mercy Kill. A horror variant has the hugger turn into a monster in mid-hug and crush the victim.

Subtrope of Died in Your Arms Tonight. If the killer had some genuine affection for the victim, this may segue into Cradling Your Kill and/or Pietà Plagiarism. May be the result of a Cooldown Hug gone wrong. Expect Mortal Wound Reveal to occur after the hug.

For a hug which is accidentally deadly, see Does Not Know His Own Strength or And Call Him "George"!.


If the hug itself is what's deadly, see Killer Bear Hug.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Scrapped Princess, this is how Prince Forsythe kills his twin sister, Pacifica, shortly after meeting her for the first time in his life. When they embrace, he draws his sword and stabs her in the back. Then kills himself, along with her, out of remorse; which sets the "End of the World" Special in motion. They get better.
  • Bleach: Hinamori hugs Aizen, who had faked his death earlier, talking about how much she missed and admired him. His response is that admiration is the furthest thing from understanding, and he stabs her through the chest and almost kills her. She physically heals well thanks to Unohana, but it takes her a LONG time to emotionally and mentally bring herself back.
  • In Claymore, this is how Rafaela kills her sister Luciela, who has become an Awakened Being, and who she has made it her life's mission to kill. The sisters embrace, and Rafaela breaks Luciela's spine. Made particularly sad by the fact that Luciela genuinely doesn't understand why Rafaela is trying to kill her.
  • In GUN×SWORD, the Claw kills a disobedient minion this way. First, he cracks some bones with the strength of the hug and then he impales the guy through his back. It's not clear whether this was deliberate or accidental.
  • In Battle Royale, Megumi Eto realises that the school bad girl, Mitsuko Souma, is just as terrified as she is of the situation they are in. Promising to look out for each other, the two embrace. Mitsuko then slashes Megumi's throat.
  • Attempted in Episode 4 of Darker Than Black. Mai's father hugged Mai in what seems to be a heartwarming moment, only to reveal that Mai's father was going to stab his daughter to stop his daughter from becoming a Contractor. Subverted when Mai's father is killed by a Contractor assassin before he can kill his daughter, which leads to his daughter sacrificing her emotions to kill the person who hired the assassin.
  • In Soul Eater this is how Tsubaki kills her (evil) brother. Although it's approaching it from the other direction; until that point she was unwilling to attack him (even though he was more than willing to kill her and eat her soul to copy her alternative forms for himself) and it's more of a hug while she's attacking him than a bluff of any sort. This shows him that she really cared about him and wasn't pitying him when they were kids (It Makes Sense in Context) and he dies, allowing her to take his soul and gain his powers.
  • In Naruto, Sasori's first puppets were replicas of his dead parents. When he's impaled by those same puppets, their posture mimics their original function: to hug him as a child.
  • In one of the last episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena Anthy appears to hug Utena from behind before stabbing her through with a sword.
  • Innocent Venus has one combined with The Reveal, though it didn't actually kill Jo.
  • How the Black King killed the Red King in the backstory of Accel World. It's also her Finishing Move.
  • In Fairy Tail Jellal tries a variant of this on Erza. He needs to kill her in a more specific way than with a sword or weapon, so he uses the hug to place a spell on her that completely restricts her movements, then he goes for the kill.
  • In Fruits Basket, Akito stabs Kureno when he attempts a Cooldown Hug. Kureno survives, but Akito goes spiraling into a Villainous Breakdown and Tohru is the one who calms her down, but through a You Are Not Alone speech.
  • Inuyasha:
  • In the Fist of the North Star anime, Kenshiro uses a technique called Hokuto Soukin Jizai Ken on two gang leaders that force them to hug each other until they crush one another to death.

    Comic Books 
  • Pictured above, the end of Bruce Timm's story "Two of a Kind" from the first volume of Batman: Black and White.
  • Sin City does this a couple of times. Dwight does it to villain Ava at the end of A Dame to Kill For and in the short story "The Customer is Always Right", the Salesman, a nameless hitman, does it to a woman who apparently put the hit out on herself.
  • In Marvel Comics, the Soviet Super Soldier Ursa Major is a man who transforms into a bear - his bearhug can be deadly.
  • In X-Men Annual #6, Wolverine does this to Rachel Van Helsing after she has been bitten and turned into a vampire by Dracula: embracing her and staking her as a Mercy Kill as the sun comes up so she can see one last sunrise.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blade stakes his vampire mother this way.
  • There are several variations on this trope involving vampires (or other monsters): the 1979 television adaptation of 'Salem's Lot uses at least one near the end, as Ben leans down to kiss his former girlfriend, Susan, but then stakes her through the heart before she can bite him.
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978) features a zombie version of the trope, in which a woman runs to embrace her undead husband and he (in a graphic-for-the-time close-up) hungrily tears a chunk of flesh from her neck with his teeth.
  • A beautifully filmed example in Hitchcock's Topaz: after finding out that the woman he loves is a double agent, Rico Parra (John Vernon) takes her in his arms and shoots her in order to spare her from torture/interrogation.
  • A variation occurs in Gladiator, when Commodus hugs his father Marcus Aurelius, and then a few seconds later, it's revealed that Commodus is suffocating his father to take his throne. Shockingly, he later does a twofer by fatally stabbing Maximus while hugging him.
  • This is also how Freddy kills Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, while impersonating her deceased father. She tearfully embraces him and says her goodbyes... only to have him gut her, much to the horror of her friends and the audience who felt certain she'd survive since she was the main character!
  • In Big Bullet, the Big Bad, a terrorist mastermind kills a police Inspector trying to track him down in the crowded streets of Hong Kong using this fashion, suddenly grabbing the Inspector and shoving a knife into said Inspector's gut, leaving him to bleed out in the streets.
  • Neff kills Phyllis like this in Double Indemnity.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand:
    • How Wolverine finished off Phoenix.
    • Kid Omega kills Dr. Rao by hugging her and then extending his spikes.
  • In the mostly forgotten David Cronenberg film Rabid, the girl has a spike that allows her to feed on her victim's blood in her armpit. She, therefore, kills by hugging them.
  • In All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Mandy and Chloe reunite so they can flee to safety together and Chloe is in hysterics. They embrace; Mandy soothes her and thrusts a hunting knife into her.
  • Action Jackson. The wife of Corrupt Corporate Executive Dellaplane realises his wife has inadvertently stumbled on his plot, and so shoots her while embracing her. Unlike other examples of this trope, it's foreshadowed because the audience sees the gun he's hiding from her.
    Dellaplane: I love you. *gunshot* More than life itself...
  • Ella almost does this in Ella Enchanted, on account of the corrupt regent ordered her to kill the prince and her curse won't let her say no. So as they embrace, she pulls out a stiletto, and... The Power of Love allows her to refrain from stabbing him and also breaks the curse, but she still gets thrown in jail for attempted assassination.
  • Total Recall (2012). Quaid's wife Lori comforts him with a hug after he comes home with wild stories of having killed ten people after his visit to Rekall. She then tightens the grip to smother him until Quaid is able to break free. That's only the beginning of her attempts to kill him!
  • Beautifully exercised in the opening scene of Sin City, which is taken from "The Customer is Always Right" from above.
  • At the end of Howling V: The Rebirth, Peter and The Count tell Marylou to shoot the other, the Count being convinced that Peter is the werewolf killing everyone and Peter believing the Count is a crazy murderer. Marylou fires once...and Peter rushes to hug her telling her everything is okay now. Then the full moon shines down on the pair as Marylou grins savagely.
  • In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Julia lures Kyle into her embrace and devours him with a kiss.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has a third party doing it; Storm Shadow stabs The Baroness' husband while she's kissing him.
  • In The Thief of Bagdad (1940), the sultan of Basra gets a Robot Girl as a gift from Jaffar; she stabs him when he goes to embrace her.
  • Voltan's son Drogo stabs an informer while hugging him in Hawk the Slayer.
  • At the end of The Face of Another, Okajima hugs Dr. Hira, the guy who gave him a Latex Perfection mask after Okajima's face was blasted off in an accident. Unfortunately, the mask has pretty much driven Okajima mad, as Dr. Hira discovers to his regret after Okajima plunges a knife into his back.
  • Species II: Patrick kills his Senator father by hugging him, during which his body inadvertently sprouts alien tentacles that pierce the other person's flesh.
  • Screamers: The Hunting. The rescue team don't believe the survivors wild stories of Screamers who look human, so when they find several prisoners apparently imprisoned for use as food they free them. One grateful woman embraces her rescuer, gets Black Eyes of Evil and rams her fist through his chest.
  • The title character of the 2005 Columbian film Rosario Tijeras is a beautiful female assassin who kills several people after kissing them first.
  • Implied in The Talented Mr. Ripley by the audio we hear of Peter's death.
    Peter: "'re crushing me...crushing..."
  • Hanna. The title character, a teenage girl trained as an assassin, breaks down sobbing in her interrogator's arms so the guards are sent in with a sedative. The moment Hanna hears the door unlock she coldly Neck Snaps the interrogator and proceeds to kill the guards and escape.
  • Brightburn. Brandon's mother tries to kill him this way using a shard broken from the spacepod he arrived in. Brandon catches her knife hand as it descends on his back. He then flies her up above the cloud layer and lets her go, viewing this 'betrayal' as removing his last moral constraints.
  • In I Saw What You Did, Steve fixes Amy—who is blackmailing him—a drink and then pulls her into an embrace to kiss her. As he does so, he stabs her.
  • Cube 2: Hypercube. Simon Gardy, a private investigator, goes insane and starts killing other people trapped in the Cube for food. Then he encounters Becky Young, the missing woman whom he was hired to find. There's a Hope Spot where she hugs him and he appears to have returned to sanity, only for Simon to stab her as well.
  • At the end of Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt, Barbara visits Romasanta in his cell. Thinking that she still loves him, he hugs her. She hugs him back and then stabs him with a silver dagger. She then turns and leaves as he stares down at the dagger sticking out of his ribs and sinks slowly to the floor.
  • Stag: In a bizarre act of bravado, Pete presses himself up against the gun Serena is holding, puts his arm around her waist, and leans in to kiss her. She shoots him.
  • In the 1980 war film The Sea Wolves, there's a beautiful German spy who goes around stabbing people with a flick knife hidden in her purse. She tries to stab Roger Moore's character (playing a British spy, but not James Bond) during a kiss, but he's ready for her, grabbing her hand mid-thrust and sending the blade into her instead.
  • In The Shadow of Chikara, Drusilla pulls Cutter into an intimate embrace and then fatally stabs him.
  • In Split and Glass, the Beast's signature move is to hug someone so violently they die.
  • In The Silencers, Barbara (Nancy Kovack) tries to stab Matt Helm (Dean Martin) while they're kissing, but Tina (Daliah Lavi) shoots her before she can do it.

  • In Mickey Spillane's debut novel I the Jury, Mike Hammer fatally gut shoots the murderous Charlotte Manning just as she embraces him. Supposedly a Justified Trope because she was reaching for a hidden gun to kill him as she hugged him, so we're supposed to think it was self-defense. But since Hammer was already pointing a gun at Manning and openly saying he was going to kill her anyway, it was arguably she, not he, who was acting in self-defense.
  • In one very strange short story, a man has rescued his little daughter from the cult her seemingly crazy mother had taken her to. The mother calls him that night, begging him to bring her back, he doesn't know what she is, and they're the only ones who can contain her. The man scoffs at this, but then takes a closer look at the ball his daughter's been playing with. Just as he realizes it's a puppy's head, his daughter hugs him from behind. Tighter... and tighter.
  • King Imre stabs Cathan Macrorie in the back in Camber Of Culdi. Imre promises reconciliation after their disagreements (including over the fifty human hostages), and the embrace to seal the deal is the moment Imre chooses to act.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward has to kill Oreg, his immortal slave, whom he inherited, and whose life is bound to castle Hurog, in order to make the castle collapse and stop the villains. Oreg has wanted to die for a long time, so it is a mixture of Mercy Kill and Heroic Sacrifice. Ward holds him as he drives a dagger into his brain, a method that he supposes "is painless. At least for Oreg."
  • In Emergence, Candy pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to get an opponent off guard so she can use this trope on him. She's eleven, her opponent is an adult with significant combat training. She's also a black belt and a member of a superhuman Human Subspecies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Angel, Gunn does this to his vampirized sister in "War Zone".
  • Arrow. An Invoked Trope in "Heir to the Demon". Nyssa al-Ghul asks her ex-lover Sara Lance to return to the League of Assassins but Sara refuses, hugging Nyssa and telling her to "Do what you have to." Nyssa reaches for her dagger...and then shoves her away, having decided on another action to force her back.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003).
    • After finding out their daughter is alive on a Cylon basestar, Helo does this to his Cylon wife Sharon, shooting her after she pleads that her death and resurrection is the only way to get on board the vessel. The shock effect is because the audience comes in in the middle of the conversation, so we don't realise what it's about until the gunshot.
    • Saul Tigh, leader of La Résistance on New Caprica, feels compelled to do this to his wife when it's revealed that she aided the Cylons holding them captive, resulting in the deaths of several Resistance fighters. In a rare bloodless example of this trope, Saul hugs his wife after she drinks a cup of coffee that he poisoned, holding her until well after she dies. It's a moving scene, and it marks a major Despair Event Horizon for his character. (Though considering her "charming" personality, one wonders if Saul hadn't appreciated the irony of that particular method of execution...)
  • Blake's 7. In "Traitor", a member of Security tries to blackmail Servalan by threatening to expose her identity (she's in hiding after being deposed in a coup). Femme Fatale that she is, Servalan snogs him, produces some kind of crystaline injector from her sleeve, and stabs him in the neck.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy does this to Angel in "Becoming Part 2", although she has to let go of him first since she does it with a sword.
    • In "The Wish", Vampire Willow and Vampire Xander envelop Cordelia in a deadly Group Hug as they drain her blood.
    • In Season 5, Riley Finn lets a vampire girl take him into an alley for a Kiss of the Vampire, only to stake her during the act.
  • Parodied in one episode of El Chapulín Colorado where he retells his own version of the story of Samson and Delilah. A female slave makes a wig with the hair they cut off so he can put it on and regain his Super Strength. The slave declares she's "Loyal to him until her death". Samson promptly hugs her, and she drops dead. He says "Effectively, loyal until her death".
  • In Chernobyl Lyudmila hugs her husband Vasily who’d been one of the fire fighters at the explosion even though the doctors told her not to touch him. He was feeling fine at that point but by that evening he took a turn for the worse and it became obvious he was going to die. She also lied to the nurse about being pregnant when asked. She survived the exposure but the baby died a few hours after birth from radiation poisoning.
  • The Devil Judge: Sun-ah hugs Chairman Seo, then stabs him to death.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Done in "The Pandorica Opens" by an unwilling Manchurian Agent replicant of Rory to Amy, who refuses to flee despite his increasingly desperate warnings.
    • In "The Doctor Falls", Missy does this to her predecessor, the Harold Saxon version of the Master. She pulls him into a hug, telling him how much she enjoyed being him, and she'll always cherish those memories. Then they pull away, and attention is drawn to the fresh wound in his back and the knife hidden in her sleeve. To his credit, Saxon compliments her on the move.
  • Victor does this to Sierra, then collapses and is shot by rioters so they can escape the attic in the Dollhouse episode "The Attic".
  • Forever Knight
  • Game of Thrones:
  • In the 2020 miniseries The Head, Maggie's boyfriend Aki comes across her sabotaging a Snowcat during her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the people who covered up her mother's murder. He's entirely innocent of this crime, but she stabs him to death during a Deadly Hug while sobbing, "I'm sorry!" At the end a hallucination of Aki asks Maggie if she really is sorry. She doesn't answer.
  • Iron Fist (2017). In "The City's Not For Burning", Davos embraces a Triad boss after he's decided to back out of their deal, while giving him a Touch of Death that causes him to keel over from a stroke the moment Davos has left the room.
  • Oz. When prison guard-turned murderer Clayton Hughes takes over the solitary wing and declares himself "President of Huru", Warden Glynn (who regards Hughes as a surrogate son) goes in alone to try and talk him down. Hughes promises to give himself up if Glenn hugs him "like you did when I was a child". Glenn does so and nearly gets stabbed in the back by Hughes, his life only being saved by an inmate seeking the Warden's favour. Clayton, however, gets fatally stabbed by his own blade during the struggle.
  • An unusual heroic example occurs in the Psych season 5 finale when Yang embraces Yin, while both attempted this, Yang reacted first and impaled Yin with a syringe.
    • Note: Yin was Yang's father.
  • Played with in Rome. After Caesar's assassination, Quintus Pompey tries to murder Marc Antony on the steps of the Senate. Antony barely escapes with his life, but surprises everyone by forming an alliance with Brutus instead of fleeing the city. The two embrace in public to show they're now friends, then a smiling Antony walks over to a puzzled Quintus as if he's going to embrace him as well...and slashes his throat.
  • In the Grand Finale of Smallville, Lex stabs Tess this way.
  • A slight variant occurs in Season 4 of Sons of Anarchy. Clay Morrow confronts a traitorous former colleague at the top of a building. In a quite powerful scene, the biker gives up running, then Clay embraces him, kisses him on the cheek and shoves him to his death.
  • Star Trek:
  • The X-Files ("Leonard Betts"). The eponymous character gives a Cool Down Hug to his partner after she starts freaking out on finding he's still alive (hardly surprising, as the last time she saw Betts his head had been ripped off). While hugging he injects her with a lethal dose of potassium chloride to keep his secret.

    Myth & Legend 
  • In Beowulf, Beowulf crushed the ribs and heart of Dæghrefen, a Frisian commander by hugging him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons book Greyhawk Adventures, a non-player character is described as the last she smiled was when she enticed a man into a hug and stabbed him in the back in order to rob him.
  • Call of Cthulhu campaign Masks of Nyarlathotep. The Cthulhu Mythos leader M'Weru likes to embrace her victim and cast the Hands of Colubra spell. When the spell changes her hands into the heads of poisonous snakes, she uses them to bite her victim and poison them.

    TV Tropes 
  • The picture for the trope Mercy Kill features a very emotional version of a deadly hug.

    Video Games 
  • In Battle Chess this occurs when a King or Queen captures the opposing piece. In the case of a checkmate delivered by the Queen, she stabs him in the back with a concealed dagger. In the case of a King capturing the Queen, she tries the same stab but is knocked down by the King with his scepter before she can pull it off.
    • A checkmate by Queen in 4000 has her give a back-breaking one to the King while getting kissed under his spell. She just laughs it off when she comes to.
  • Mass Effect 2 shows dying assassin Thane killing Nassana Dantius this way, hugging her right after dispatching her bodyguards and shooting her in the stomach, cradling her gently as she expired a few seconds later and laying her down on her desk.
  • Dragon Age II - Anders delivers the Mercy Kill to his old friend / lover Karl this way. Huon, an elf mage who went mad in the Circle, kills his own wife to fuel blood magic after escaping. Finally, "Marethari" gives a non-fatal one to Merrill if you fall for the Pride Demon's trick, restarting the battle.
  • Undertale - heavily implied during the battle with Sans, at the end of the genocide run. Halfway through the fight, Sans will fake you out with a touching speech about your lost friendship and offer you a hug. If you accept, there is a brief delay, a black screen, a "hurt" sound effect, and then Sans ruthlessly mocks you over the top of the game over screen.
  • Pokémon
    • The electric attack Nuzzle—-it's not one of the strongest attacks, but it always causes paralysis.
    • Bewear has this in its Pokédex entry. It’s said to be so strong that its hugs snap trainers’ spines.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, one of Kotal Kahn's fatalities has him grabbing the opponent in a hug so hard their head bursts and a shower of blood and guts come out of it, like a used toothpaste container.
  • Wolverine: Adamanium Rage: If Wolverine takes too long finishing a level, the android Elsie-Dee catches up to him, hugs him, and explodes for a Non Standard Game Over.

    Visual Novels 
  • This is how Haruka dies in her ending of Divi-Dead, complete with hug graphic that slowly pans down to show the stabbing.
  • The protagonist can do this in one of the endings of Fatal Hearts - walking into the embrace of someone who believes her to be his long-lost-love reborn, and then ripping his heart out
    • Actually, several endings can be seen as this, as well as the woman Sebastien killed in the past. Romancing a vampire is apparently the best way to get close enough to kill them.
  • Kagari and Kotarou at the end of the Terra route in Rewrite
  • In The Letter, Luke Wright does this to his wife, Hannah if their Relationship Values are low enough.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry:
    • This is done to Keiichi in the Watanagashi-hen and Meakashi-hen arcs by Shion-pretending-to-be-Mion. Both times, Keiichi survives the stabbing.
    • Thi is done in the ending of the Onisarashi-hen manga arc by Natsumi to Akira. Akira doesn't die, though.
    • Rena attempted a Cool Down Hug in Onikakushi-hen, but Keiichi was too far-gone in his Sanity Slippage for it to work. He thought Rena and Mion were trying to kill him, so he killed them first in what he thought was self-defense.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: Sideshow Bob brainwashes Bart into killing Krusty by hugging him, which will complete a circuit and make them both blow up.
  • Archer:
    • This is how Conway Stern betrays Archer, stabbing him in the back during a manly hug.
    • The titular assassin in "Dingo, Baby, et cetera", a.k.a. Archer's old flame Reiko, attempts this on Archer, luring him in with a kiss before stabbing him in the side. Fortunately, Archer was prepared for her, and shoots the Dingo with the gun hidden in his cane.
  • In the Justice League episode "Only a Dream", Superman does this to Jimmy Olsen, complete with a Sickening "Crunch!", in his nightmare where he loses control of his powers.

    Real Life 
  • Boa constrictors and pythons. They coil around their prey and crush them to death.
    • And bears.
  • The Brazilian expression abraço de tamanduá (anteater's hug, which means to betray someone's trust), refers to the very strong arms and sharp claws of anteaters. Their hug is deadly to anything that tries to attack them.
  • Inverted with Najih Al-Baldawi, who hugged a suicide bomber to contain the blast.