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Evil Is Not a Toy

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WARNING: Keep Tomes of Eldritch Lore out of reach of children. We are not liable for damages.note 

"Powerful fools seek to control it, play with it. But it too is powerful. Too powerful for anyone to control."
Magda, Quest for Glory IV

Not all manufacturers of Sealed Evil in a Can use child-resistant caps.

Sometimes the Sealed Evil in a Can doesn't escape by itself, nor is it released by an Unwitting Pawn, but is deliberately set free by a villain (or hero). Let's call him Bob. Bob usually thinks he can control the sealed evil, or bargain with it, expecting to trade on a certain level of gratitude on its part since he was the one who freed it (or in extreme cases, resurrected it).

This never works.

The Sealed Evil in a Can will inevitably turn on the one who freed it — sometimes sooner, sometimes later. After all, once Bob has freed the evil, he's already done the one thing it needed him for. In many cases, it turns out to have no understanding of loyalty or gratitude at all. Bob may end up being killed on the spot, or he may be enslaved by the sealed evil — bonus points if the one who freed it sought to enslave the evil themselves. The sealed evil may make a bargain that it has no intention of honoring (or it may promise Bob he will be rewarded "as he deserves"... guess what he deserves?). Or it may simply refuse to obey him. If he's very lucky, Bob may merely be forced to become the newly-unsealed evil's minion on pain of death. In any case, if Bob was the Big Bad before, he was really just a Disc-One Final Boss; the formerly-sealed evil is the true Big Bad. In the event that Bob survives, this is a leading cause of Enemy Mine twists, since Bob now must seek any allies he can find to deal with the evil that he unleashed.

In some cases, the sealed evil has further need of Bob; perhaps it is in some way at his mercy, or it needs him to perform a task that will free it fully, or it is just feeling sadistic. No matter what, it will always manipulate Bob into doing its bidding, stringing him along with promises of power and/or wealth, before finally pulling a Did You Actually Believe...? on Bob the moment it no longer needs him. After all, you certainly don't get rewarded just for doing what you're expected to do, especially after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Other times, the evil being may ask Bob what exactly he expected after releasing an evil being.

This goes triple for anyone attempting to activate a hero's Superpowered Evil Side. Unless you are The Emperor and would already be stronger than them, just remember: once they're evil, they no longer have any qualms about killing you.

If you're a villain, take note: Sealed evil should not be released unless you expect it to betray you. Also, it should be kept away from children under 3 as they have small parts and it may not choke on them.

All too often the character will die horribly within seconds of uttering "Now its power is MINE!"

This goes both ways, as sometimes Bob is the Sealed Evil in a Can and the villain he's trying to dupe into releasing him is the one who's not a toy, and as such will brutally subjugate Bob the moment he underestimates the releaser.

This trope often overlaps with Deal with the Devil, as bargaining with a force of evil always screws over the client in the long run. Regardless of any immediate benefits.

Eat the Summoner is a Sub-Trope. See also This Is Your Brain on Evil. If Bob created the evil in the first place, it's a case of Turned Against Their Masters. When the evil actually is a toy, it may coincide with My Little Panzer, Killer Rabbit, or Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear. If the Evil in question is a Greater-Scope Villain, expect the lesson to be particularly painful. Contrast Holy Is Not Safe, where concentrated goodness is similarly threatening, Hijacking Cthulhu, where the "lesser" evil really does make a toy of the "greater" one, and With My Dying Breath, I Summon You, where the summoner dies before the evil does anything to him.


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    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
    • Judge Dredd: During the Day of Chaos, a Sov sleeper agent releases the three remaining Dark Judges (the fourth, Judge Death, is trapped in Hell at that point) to add to the escalating clusterfuck in Mega City One. The two spies who give the undead monsters new bodies are the first to die.
    • Tales of Telguuth: A man is blackmailed by a demoness to free her demon husband by finding the tomb where he was locked up by a powerful wizard (which she is barred from entering herself) and removing an enchanted ring from his hand. He tries to remove the ring by cutting off the sleeping demon's finger, finding out that he can control the demon as long as the Ring of Power binding him stays attached to the finger. He forces the demon to kill his own wife because she had planned for the man to be eaten by her husband, then uses him to take over the nearby kingdom. This backfires when the demon refuses any further commands because the ring has slipped off the by now shrunken finger, and tears apart his would-be master.
  • The villains of both Alien/Batman crossovers believe they can manipulate the Xenomorphs for their own ends. It ends exactly as well as you think for them. Special mention should be made of the one who hybridized Batman's Rogues Gallery and Xenomorphs, counting on their human instincts to protect her. Then she made a Killer Croc hybrid...
  • Arawn: Anyone who thinks that they can somehow control the Cauldron of Blood is a misguided fool. It may offer its current owner great power, but it's always on the look-out for a new Master and its only real goal is to acquire as many souls as possible for itself to feast on.
  • Astro City: Dr. Aegyptus tried summoning the Oubor in exchange for eternal life. He didn't get what he was after.
  • In Athena Voltaire and the Immortal Power, Major Klimt and Herr Faust (a Meaningful Name, that) really don't know what they're doing, and Athena thinks the smart response would be to just sit back and watch the fireworks.
    Athena: Let Me Get This Straight... Ada wanted you to perform a ritual that no one understands, and, if it works, no one has any idea what it does? On top of that, even if you don't perform the ritual, she's prepared your understudy to give it a try — even though he knows even less about it than you do. Call me crazy, but I say we just let 'em try.
  • The Phoenix Force is the big topic of Avengers vs. X-Men. The Avengers are on this side of the trope thanks to Wolverine, while Cyclops believes that the Force will bring back mutantkind, which has been largely depowered. When five mutants gain control of the Phoenix Force, the Avengers grab hold of the Idiot Ball as they continue to espouse this trope.
  • Batman:
    • In Batman RIP, when the Black Glove attempts to use the Joker to finish off Batman. Joker himself tells them that they haven't come nearly as close to beating Batman as they think and that they can't control the Joker himself. Later, after the dust has settled, Batman's won, and the Black Glove members have gone home to hide behind their money, Joker murders them all.
    • In the Fear State storyline, Batman tells Simon Saint this as the Scarecrow has now taken his Police State plan Off the Rails and plans to drive Gotham into a frenzy of fear.
  • In the Daredevil (Chip Zdarsky) storyline Devil's Reign, we find out that the ones that got Wilson Fisk into power as New York's mayor are Uma and Quinn Stromwynd. In the final issue, Fisk's other son Butch takes the disgraced mayor to the Stromwynds to clear his name of killing Matt Murdock (but not really him) and set him up to run for President. Fisk's response: break them to prove a point.
  • Doctor Strange used the power of the demonic entity Zom to bolster his magics on at least two occasions. Both times the power used him far more than he used it, and after the second time he renounced both it and the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. He didn't get his title back until years later, once he'd demonstrated that he could use dark magic without letting it get out of his control and without hurting anyone else.
  • In Hack/Slash, a company named Ceutotech captures various Slashers and tries studying them, with the intent to replicate their Healing Factor and adapt it for cosmetic purposes. Predictably, the Slashers end up escaping, wreaking havoc in the facility and Ceutotech's head Emily Christie gets turned into a Slasher herself for her trouble.
  • Hellblazer: John Constantine's first rule of magic: Never summon up something you can't put back down. He learned this the hard way in Newcastle in '77.
  • A lot of Hellboy's enemies seem to think that they can use the Right Hand of Doom and Ogdru Jahad for their own ends (even Hell), while it is implied that they would merely destroy all of reality. It's a recurring theme among others who don't try to use the Ogdru Jahad. Sorcerers and witches who traffic with demons die painful deaths and are sucked down to Hell. The Fair Folk and witches revive a mad Nimue to wage war on humanity. The results are far more horrifying than anyone expected.
  • Immortal Hulk:
    • General Fortean thinks it's a good idea to dig up Rick Jones's corpse and merge it with the remains of Abomination to create a mindless Hulk-killing creature. Later on, he goes so nuts he thinks putting himself in there is a good idea as well. It turns out that it's enough to drag his soul down to Hell.
    • Corrupt Corporate Executive Darrio Agger not only decides to pick a fight with the Hulk, he hires Xemnu to brainwash everyone into forgetting him. Xemnu can only do this by being fed a steady diet of people. So what happens when Agger inevitably runs out of people? Xemnu eats him.
    • The Leader thinks he can work with The One Below All for his own ends. For all the Leader got Super-Intelligence from his gamma mutation, he sure can be a blithering idiot sometimes. The One Below All possesses him once he manages to open a portal to the Below-Place.
  • Justice League of America: One storyline has Mordu, an enemy of the Legion of Superheroes, summon the Justice League and Justice Society to the 30th century so they can recover three artifacts a set of demons were sealed in, previously held on the Justice League's satellite base until it was destroyed (which hasn't happened for the JLA yet). They do so, and he summons the demons... who immediately tell Mordu to piss off and blast him, leaving the JLA, JSA, and Legion to deal with three insanely powerful demons.
  • In JLA: A League of One, a bunch of goblins, who have become peaceful and complacent, find the sealed tomb of their mistress, the colossal dragon Drakul Karfang, and wake her up in a bid to regain their importance. First thing she does upon waking up is to taint them into mindless monsters and send them off to assault the towns above.
  • In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Max Lord obtains the Heart of Darkness, takes possession of the powered members of the Justice League, then proceeds to take over the United States. When he brings in Amanda Waller to show her the fruits of his labor, he boasts that he has everything under control, even using a tattoo to protect him from the gem's owner. However, when Waller shows Max that he's sent the world into chaos, Max is horrified. Then Eclipso takes over his body.
  • Robin (1993): The General teams up with Toyman in order to pull off a heist, not realizing that Toyman hates kids, is plotting to kill him, and that his own obnoxious behavior isn't helping things any.
  • Runaways loves this trope:
    • In the original series, Alex's secret plan is to bring about the end of the world in the mistaken belief that the Gibborim will reward his family more lavishly if he sabotages the rest of the Pride. This theory turns out to be false, and the Gibborim straight up kill him.
    • In the second series, the New Pride tries to renew the original Pride's efforts in order to resurrect Alex. They fail, thankfully, but not before killing Gert. And then Chase tries to make his own deal with the Gibborim, offering his own life to sustain them in exchange for Gert's resurrection. His plan is so poorly conceived that the Gibborim nearly kill the entire team.
    • Another arc sees an old man accidentally summoning a monster in an attempt to bring back his dead wife.
  • The Sandman (1989) opens with Dream being torn out of his realm and imprisoned by a group of magisters who thought they could summon Death as a neat trick.
  • Satan's Hollow revolves around a Satanic cult trying to open a portal to hell through Human Sacrifice. In the backstory, their previous leader messed up the ritual when his last victim escaped, and was turned into a Living Shadow by the Devil as punishment for his failure. The epilogue shows that the same fate has befallen his partner-in-crime.
  • In Siege, Norman Osborn and Loki realize just how badly they underestimated The Sentry/Void's power and evil.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide: While held captive, Dr. Light reminds both Eggman and Wily of the numerous times the two have toyed with forces they thought they could control, only for it to blow up in their faces and result in Sonic and Mega Man having to save them from their own stupidity, stating that their plans to rewrite reality with the Genesis Wave will undoubtedly end the same way:
    Dr. Light: Albert... You thought you had complete control of Ra Moon, Gamma, King, The Stardroids, Roboenza, and Bass? You've toyed with things you cannot handle for years, and Mega Man had to save you from yourself. And from what I've heard, you're no different, Doctor Eggman. Chaos, The Ark, Emerl, The Time Eater? If not for Sonic, you wouldn't have a world to conquer.
  • A group of devil worshippers happened to be present when Spawn comes back from hell. They stupidly ask him if the devil sent him, and he ignores them. Later, Spawn's foe Violator seems to have eaten them all.
  • In New Suicide Squad #1, Amanda Waller loses full control of the team of supervillains and has to share it with Victor Sage. Unlike Waller, however, Sage treats the Squad (sorry, Task Force X) like his personal fantasy league, introducing stupid changes like renaming the team Task Force XL, hiring the extremely mercenary Deathstroke without the requisite Explosive Leash and putting together Harley Quinn (who recently gave up on the Joker for good) and Loony Fan Duela Dent (the self-proclaimed "Joker's Daughter"), in a bid to draw the Joker out of hiding so that they can put him on the team. Deathstroke betrays the team five minutes in, Harley brutally beats up Duela, and due to Sage's incompetence, Deadshot's aim is crippled. Waller chews him out for his colossal ego and absolute lack of foresight.
  • Superman:
    • In the Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl, Bizarro Lex Luthor sent a signal into the core of the planet, hoping to find someone to come out and help him kill Bizarro, but the signal went in the opposite direction and attracted a planet-eating monster.
      Supergirl: What happened to Bizarro World, Lex? And what is the Godship?
      Bizarro Lex: Godship am Big Bad. And it came because of me. Me was trying to find worstest way to hurt Bizarro #1, my worstest enemy, so me sent signal into core of the planet, hoping to find someone to come out and help. But signal went opposite direction into space and it attracted—
    • Invoked in Kryptonite Nevermore. In order to cure Superman's illness, Wonder Woman's mentor I-Ching performs a dark magic ritual. He is aware of the risks and the foolishness of playing with black magic, but he thinks there is no other way to help the Man of Steel.
    • Issue 58 of The Superman Adventures has a sorcerer named Sandor Trimegestus use a grimoire called the Liber Arcanorum to summon an Eldritch Abomination named Psilan in hopes that Psilan will reward him with great power in exchange for freeing him. Instead, Psilan devours Trimegestus.
    • In the Superman/Supergirl story War World, alien overlord Mongul appropriates a star-sized weapon-satellite built by a race of warmongers who passed away right after building it. It never occurs to Mongul that both events could be linked and that Warworld might bring death to its owner.
    • In Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Luthor seeks Brainiac's remains in order to study its alien robotics. It turns out that Brainiac is Not Quite Dead and immediately possesses Luthor's body while leaving him fully conscious.
  • In Tex Willer, Mefisto is careful not to ask too much from his demonic allies lest they demand too great a price or straight out kill him and won't make an explicit Deal with the Devil because he fears the consequences of failing to hold his side of the deal (implicit ones for small things, on the other hand, are fair game). He warns his son Yama against making an explicit deal, but Yama doesn't listen... And while the first time he has the sense to do his part before demanding a new power, the second time he offers the soul of one of his followers in exchange for his temple becoming hell on Earth and fails to deliver, immediately proving his father had been correct and gets his soul ripped off and driven to insanity.
    • Mefisto eventually did two explicit deals only because he couldn't do otherwise... And still made sure to deliver his part. The first time was by consecrating his soul to the devil who held Yama's soul hostage in exchange for his son's soul and sanity to be restored, as he knew that upon death he'd go to hell anyway but at least this way he got something out of it. The second time Tex was almost in shooting distance and his powers were on the fritz due to Narbas, the guy whose body he had stolen to come back to life, being close to his location, so he called upon that devil and offered him the souls of everyone else in the cave (all enemies) in exchange for a horde of demons being unleashed in the cave to kill everyone else in the cave, allowing the devil to claim the reward as he rendered the service, and the only reason that failed was that he hadn't noticed Narbas reclaiming his body and reducing him to a ghost while he was calling upon the devil, so he only got an illusion of the deal being done.
  • In one Tomb Raider/Witchblade crossover comic, a haughty socialite goes to great lengths to summon the goddess Bastet, without ever considering whether she could actually control a divine being. When she wishes to be kept out of prison, the goddess remarks that this is easily arranged, and sics a pet lion on her.
  • Transformers: Twilight's Last Gleaming: Ratchet uses a surviving Allspark fragment to resurrect Jazz, despite knowing the Allspark was likely corrupted from Megatron's usage before it was destroyed; something which Optimus chastises him for. It turns out Jazz has indeed come back corrupted.
  • Ultimate Vision: Everybody, from the Vision to his fellow scientists, tells Tarleton that toying with the Gah lak Tus unit is a massively bad idea. He refuses to listen and the module nearly destroys the world.
  • Pretty much Once per Episode in Vampirella, someone will make a Deal with the Devil, only to realize too late that they got more than they bargained for.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Thomas Randolph keeps finding more and more questionable ways to increase his magical power, which eventually warps him into an inhuman monster and kills him while he kills Artemis.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Ares even warns Alkyone that those who call him up to make deals never get what they want out of it. She doesn't listen and greedily accepts Ares' "gift" of a daughter; Genocide. This does not work out well for her.
  • X-Men:
  • X-Men Red (2022): As the series begins, Abigail Brand decides to use Vulcan as a part of her plans. However, Vulcan's Mask of Sanity is starting to slip so badly that even a scrub of a telepath like Mentallo can see it. He tries warning her, but it's not clear if Brand's actually listening.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Alexander Afanasyev's "Little Master Misery": The rich brother believes he can ruin his brother Ivan by freeing the embodiment of Misery from his entrapment and goading him into latching onto Ivan again until he is left penniless. Nonetheless, Misery latches onto the rich brother, mistaking him for Ivan, and drinks his fortune up until the rich brother is left penniless.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Alan Jonah evidently hasn't learned anything from the events of the Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) movie. His experiments on Ghidorah's DNA from San's original severed head end up semi-unintentionally creating the Many, to say nothing of how spending months in the same building as the Ghidorah head ends up inducing Not Himself and ultimately reduces Jonah and half his troops to nothing more than Ghidorah's puppets, with Word of God noting that Jonah's overconfidence he was in control likely helped to seal his fate.
  • A Crooked Man: Sublime, Cornelius, Risman, and Colcord got their hands on the Fury and have it fused with Master Mold technology to be use against Johann. Unbeknownst to them, the Fury was made to be loyal to Mad Jim Jaspers and therefore cannot be reprogrammed to obey Sublime and his unwitting pawns. Furthermore, as Jim Jaspers was dead for years, the Fury has no reins at all. Lastly, thanks to Master Mold's programs, the Fury is made to hate everything. After the Fury was activated, it start killing Sublime and the rest.
  • Face The Truth, a Recursive Fanfiction to Two Letters, revolves around the Retroactive Idiot Ball caused by this. In the latter fic, Marinette Dupain-Cheng quits being Ladybug because of all the Ungrateful Townsfolk (and her own increasing madness) and schemes to ruin Paris by handing the Ladybug Miraculous to Lila Rossi, a hard-core sociopath and Manipulative Bitch and thus "the hero Paris deserves". Marinette forgot about the itsy-bitsy detail that Lila is one of her most insidious bullies and there was no way that she would not try to find the method and moment to exploit the power and fame Marinette just handed to her on a silver platter to destroy her, no matter what Marinette had devised to try to keep her in line. And so she does, by forcing Marinette to reveal her scheme, her hatred for the people of Paris and the fact she used to be Ladybug through truth-revealing Akuma magic and hijacking all of the televisions in Paris.
  • Mischief (MHA): Much like Hank Pym before him, David Shield attempted to use Ultron as a means to preserve the world's peace once All Might is gone. As soon as the scientist activates it to save him and his friends from the Brotherhood mercenaries attacking I-Expo, the malevolent A.I. immediately betrays his resurrector and sets in motion his plan for the extinction of humankind.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Whispers implies that Princess Luna transformed into Nightmare Moon by intentionally tapping into evil magic out of bitter jealousy, apparently overestimating her ability to handle it.
  • Child of the Storm has the Darkhold, an incredibly powerful book of black magic, which can grant the user all sorts of powers. There's just one small problem: using it opens the reader up to possession by the book's author, the Elder God of Chaos and Black Magic Chthon, since it's basically his Soul Jar. Oh, and it's sentient, and returning its master is its sole goal.
    • Dark magic in general works like this; even if used with the very best of intentions and in total ignorance, it will drive you insane and turn you into a twisted monster, unless you either have an artefact that blocks the side-effects, or - in very, very rare instances - you've mastered the ability to use it without being corrupted. It is explicitly described as the last test of an Apprentice Sorcerer Supreme, and one that many Apprentices have failed, leading to some of the worst and most powerful Dark Lords and Ladies in history.
    • While not evil, more incredibly volatile, using Phoenix Fire is usually a very, very bad idea. Unless you have absolute mental discipline and can keep your emotions in check, it will corrupt you and turn you into a Humanoid Abomination bent on destroying everything (one previous example destroyed a galaxy and was only getting warmed up). As a result, hosts for that power are chosen extremely carefully.
  • Played for Laughs during Theory of Chaos:
    Chaos: How is it that I'm supposed to do your schoolwork? I'm CHAOS!! Not some sort of encyclopeadia!
  • In the Danny Phantom fanfic Facing the Future Series, Clockwork lampshades Vlad's many attempts to gain power beyond his control in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him. Vlad is currently trying to steal Clockwork's power over time. Subverted in this instance because Clockwork beats him instantly before Vlad can do any damage.
    Clockwork: "Vortex…the Infi-Map…Pariah Dark. Time and again, you've tried to seize control of powers beyond your meager understanding and time and again, you've met with failure. And now you come into my domain with all the forethought of a teenager looking to steal a car for a joyride and brazenly declare that you will take MY power from ME?"
  • In Tails of the Old Republic, Tails thinks back on the occasions Eggman fell into this trap
  • In Yognapped, Peva frees Herobrine from beneath the bedrock layer, planning to partner up with him and destroy Minecraftia. Herobrine briefly considers this, before scorching Peva's hand, completely obliterating his gathered troops, and going off to fulfill his own agenda.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Fairy Tale has a very bad habit of trying to take control of powerful beings and artifacts for their own purposes. While they may have no problem controlling them at first, more often than not, it blows up in their faces in the end.
    • In Act II, they manage to get their hands on Apoch and Astreal's original summoning spell and use it to create their own personal Clone Army of slaves. By chapter 51, the clones have snapped under the constant abuse and turn on them, helping Tsukune and co. put an end to Fairy Tale's Ashton City branch.
    • In Act III, Kiria hopes to harness Tsukune's inner ghoul, planning to infect it with Blackheart and sent back in time to the Battle of Kahdaln to rewrite history in favor of the monsters. In chapter 52, when Tsukune deliberately unleashes it, the ghoul promptly pounces on Kiria and both dismembers and disembowels him with his bare hands while Kiria tries in vain to reason with it. In a double-dose of this trope, it's more-or-less general knowledge that ghouls are nothing but animals who are only concerned with killing everything they see, and Tsukune's ghoul, despite having its own personality and conscious mind, is no exception.
    • In Act VI, Gyokuro makes a clone of Luna, enhanced with a quadruple overdose of improved Blackheart, named Discord, intending for it to be a new Alucard under her control. According to the Act VII preview chapter published at the very end of Act VI, when Discord is completed, it will rage out of control and destroy the entire universe.
  • In Prison Island Break, Shadow the Hedgehog doesn't like being told what to do. His insanity results in what Knuckles jokingly refers to as 'Shadow Logic' (a combination of Insane Troll Logic and Poe's Law), under which he would start a forest fire to light a cigarette. On top of that, he uses poorly conceived gambits that succeed, but with horrible knock-on effects.
  • In Harry Potter and the Ten Years Later, after the villains mostly succeed in transforming Harry into Voldemort, the first thing Harry/Voldemort does is kill one of them. It turns out that he wasn't actually killed, since you have to "mean" Unforgivable curses and Harry didn't.
  • This Gravity Falls/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover comic involves Starlight Glimmer making a deal with none other than Bill Cipher. It's pretty easy to guess what happens afterwards.
  • Zigzagged in the The Legend of Zelda fic Wisdom and Courage. Veran finds Majora's Mask and successfully gains its power under her control, but it turns out that Majora only allowed her to do so of its own free will, admitting to Link during their Battle in the Center of the Mind during the final showdown that it had planned to betray Veran and seize control of Hyrule for itself all along.
    • Veran actually pulls this off twice. During the final battle, she genuinely believes she can take control of Fierce Deity Link, only to be proven wrong when Link breaks free of her control and defeats her. Doubly so, since Veran had actually fought the Fierce Deity previously and knew that it could potentially defeat her.
  • Inverted in Kingdom Hearts fanfic Stygian Solace. Due Riku's unavailability as a host, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness gets the next best person Kairi. However, this results in the creation of Yami as Ansem's heartless is slowly purified by Kairi's pure heart.
  • Time Lords and Terror: Hydia spends the entire story trying to free the S'Muz from its can so that she can use it to destroy her enemies. Naturally, she ends up being the first thing it kills.
  • A Storm of Chaos: A Doctor Whooves Adventure: Borusa, the true Big Bad, steals Discord's statue and frees him, just so that he can experiment on him for the secrets of immortality. When the Doctor frees Discord during the climax, he proceeds to torture Borusa before turning him to stone.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters:
    • Lothar willingly takes on the Ninja Khan mask to destroy the Guardians and avenge Raythor. This backfires horribly, as the Oni inside the mask, Uta, ends up possessing him.
    • Hak Foo keeps Ikki's mask on for so long that it starts devouring his chi. When it's removed, he's left virtually catatonic.
    • Aldarn is convinced he's of strong enough will to control Ikazuki's mask. He's wrong, and Ikazuki quickly possesses him.
  • A Possible Encounter for a Phantom: Vlad brought a powerful prehistoric monster called a "Terakon" to life and plans to use the beast to take over the world. Even when it's freed from him and goes on a rampage, Kim calls out how he refuses to see how far this has gone out of his control. To make matters worse for him, the Terakon seems smarter than anyone realizes.
  • Code Prime: Mao thinks he can play around with the Decepticons by waving vital information in front of their faces so he can get a nice, cozy home for himself and C.C. When Lelouch literally shuts him up in Chapter 23, forcing him to return to the Nemesis empty-handed, Megatron tells him he has a place at the table: Shockwave's dissection table, to be exact.
  • In Ido's Kancolle manga, the antagonistic admiral from the later strips thinks he can control his Kirishima when she transforms into a Battleship Water Oni. He can't, and she eats him on the spot. Somehow he survives this, but he's disgraced and missing a hand.
  • Fate DxD AU: Rizevim Livan Lucifer resurrects Goetia, thinking the demon god would assist him in his plans. Goetia tortures and kills him while calling him a disgrace to demonkind.
  • In Extremis: The leader of Humantown Malloy planned to activate a field that would destroy the consciousness of all sentient beings in the land of Ooo. To do so he believed that using the The Lich as a power source would succeed. This predictably backfires when the Lich escapes and brutally kills him off.
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: In Chapter 8, Tak agrees to ally with Lex so that she can use his resources to more quickly rebuild her base and have a better chance of defeating Zim. However, by Chapter 15 she's come to realize that those same resources have allowed him to effectively take control of her base away from her, and that he's perfectly willing to get rid of her if he ever decides he doesn't need her anymore.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Almost all of the Alien franchise is perpetuated by Weyland-Yutani's misguided belief that they can contain a Xenomorph and sell it as a weapon. They never do, and lots of people always die as a result. On the other hand, they never really get the chance to capture and study/sell the Xenomorphs, the (expendable) people directly fighting the Xenomorphs (presumably aware of this trope) always decide to kill them before the company ever actually gets their hands on them. Though from what we've seen, the company would be completely unable to contain them. In Alien: Resurrection the military tries to weaponize the Xenomorphs too, and the personnel on the same ship as the aliens pay for it with their lives. In the Alien vs. Predator films, the Predators deliberately seeded worlds with Xenomorphs to provide them with sport. In both films, this backfires on the Predators when the Xenomorphs start hunting them. Of course given the Predators' beliefs, they'd probably consider this a sign they have in fact found worthy prey.
  • The Atticus Institute sees the US government trying to weaponize a demon-possessed woman in the Cold War, using her powers to remotely gather information and kill from afar. The demon, however, was pretty much just playing with them, and ends up killing everyone and taking a new host when they try to control it into moving to a soldier as a host.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Batman Begins: Falcone works with Crane and Ra's al Ghul for the drugs they smuggle, unbeknownst that the latter two are actually aiming toward higher, more destructive goals. In addition, Crane thinks Ra's is holding the city ransom, not planning to destroy it without prompting as the case really is.
    • The Dark Knight: The mob finally turns to The Joker to take down their ever-growing nemesis Batman. However, they don't fully understand what drives the Joker.... He ends up burning all of the mob's money and (directly or indirectly) leading to the deaths of the most powerful mob bosses in Gotham. His machinations cripple the mob in a way Batman could have never dreamed of.
    • The Dark Knight Rises: Bane is hired by Daggett to commit a robbery on the Stock Exchange and bankrupt Bruce Wayne. As it turns out, Bane was using Daggett all along, with Bane ultimately betraying and killing him.
      Daggett: No, you stay here. I'm in charge.
      (Bane places a heavy hand on Daggett's shoulder)
      Bane: Do you feel in charge?
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Lex Luthor turns Zod's corpse into a mutated, unstoppable "deformity" (Doomsday) as his trump card against Superman. As soon as Doomsday is released, the first person he attacks is, naturally, Luthor himself — had Superman not got in the way of the punch, Luthor would have been paste on the wall.
    • In Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller thinks she can control Enchantress (an immortal sorceress from another dimension) indefinitely. It backfires, as Enchantress finds a way to escape containment and free her demonic brother, and ends up a world threat. She's actually the first problem Task Force X (the Suicide Squad) is sent to handle.
  • Death Warrant: The prison officials, on the orders of their mastermind, bring the Ax-Crazy killer the Sandman to their prison to kill the undercover cop Burke. The Sandman uses the opportunity to release all the prisoners and start a riot for his own amusement.
  • Dr. Cocteau in Demolition Man brings convicted criminal Simon Phoenix out of cryogenic imprisonment and gives him all sorts of weapons and combat training so he will kill rebel leader Edgar Friendly. Since Phoenix is already an Ax-Crazy terrorist and mass murderer, this ends badly for Dr. Cocteau.
  • In Dracula II: Ascension, a group of idiots (to call them scientists would be charitable, at best) steal Dracula's coffin, hoping to replicate his immortality. Dracula is weak, but very much alive. It's demonstrated, for all to see, that his immortality is magic (holy water burns an infected tissue sample). One character deliberately infects himself, another infects someone else to save him (she, at least, was already infected and had yet to turn).
  • Delacourt from Elysium thinks she can keep Agent Kruger on a leash. When he screws up, she starts chastising him for his recklessness. This bites her in the ass. Big time.
  • Jerry Lundergard in Fargo thinks that he can hire a couple of out-of-town hoodlums to kidnap his wife, extort the ransom from his father-in-law, and have her returned safe and sound. He is tragically wrong.
  • In Fido, the kid takes his pet zombie to the park to play catch. When the collar controlling its zombie nature malfunctions, it eats an old lady and nearly starts a new Zombie Apocalypse. The adults of the movie barely punish him for this.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy provokes Jason into rising up and attacking the teens of Springwood, in order to stir up a fresh generation's fear and give himself the power that'll let Krueger escape from Hell and continue killing himself. The plan works, but Freddy failed to anticipate that Jason wouldn't stop killing, stealing Freddy's potential victims in the process.
  • Happens more than once in the Godzilla franchise. Creating monsters almost never works in the creator's favor, and neither does blindly trusting genocidal aliens. For example, Mad Scientist Doctor Mafune's mad scheme to aid the Black Hole Aliens and control Titanosaurus in Terror of Mechagodzilla ended badly. The aliens betray him in the clima, one of them using him as a Human Shield before he dies.
    • In Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, the terrorist organization Red Bamboo used the titular shrimp as a guard dog. Any slave that tried to escape their island by boat was eaten by the monster. But the slaves sabotage the repellant the Red Bamboo use to protect their own ships, leading to Ebirah rebelling against its masters and killing them all.
    • In Destroy All Monsters, the alien Kilaaks attempt to mind control all of Earth's monsters and use them to take over the Earth. Not only does this NOT work, Godzilla goes out of his way to kill them all once he's set free from them.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Emma Russell and Alan Jonah release King Ghidorah as part of their gambit to heal the Earth by releasing the Titans. Unfortunately for them, it turns out Ghidorah has his own plans and nigh-instantly takes over as the film's Big Bad. Played with for Jonah, who as a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist is perfectly fine with the destruction of the planet.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: The villainous Apex Cybernetics have both the hubris and the truly-unprecedented stupidity to incorporate Ghidorah's remains including its decapitated head into Mechagodzilla to act as the mech's brain through which Ren can pilot and control Mechagodzilla's actions. When the mech is under-powered, nothing goes wrong, but as soon as Mechagodzilla is infused with Hollow Earth energy as a lasting power source, whatever's left of Ghidorah's consciousness in its remains seizes control of the Mecha for itself and succeeds in killing Ren and Simmons and destroying Apex's base, before it begins to Kill All Humans on sight, doing exactly what Simmons claimed the Titans would do without Mechagodzilla to attack them first.
  • Occurs more than once throughout the Halloween franchise, but given special emphasis in Halloween (2018). Whether it's a cult trying to use him for their own shadowy goals, people attempting to exploit his legend for a reality show or podcast, or people that wish to allow him to roam free to "better understand" him, no attempt at manipulating, exploiting or studying Michael Myers ever ends well.
  • The Hellraiser series shows that demonic torturers are never to be trifled with by ambitious summoners:
    • In Hellraiser, Frank Cotton releases four demons with the magical cube, which looks quite like some toy. They don't exactly reward him, although it's technically neither a reward nor a punishment. The Cenobites' job is to bring the summoner to the heights of "pain and pleasure", at least in the first film. The summoners never really understand what they're getting into.
    • Probably even more true for Hellbound: Hellraiser II where Dr. Channard's obsession with the Lament Configuration ultimately leads to him becoming horrifically tortured and turned into a Cenobite himself. He's horrified at first but in the end...And to think, I hesitated.
    • In Hellraiser: Bloodline, The Duc de l'Isle and Jacques summon a demon princess to suit their whims. She ends up killing both of them, the Duc by seducing Jacques to betray him and disposing of Jacques when he decides to stand in her way centuries later.
  • In Judge Dredd, Justice Griffin tries to use Rico to instill chaos and thereby reopen the Janus project, intending to clone an army of Judges to enforce order in the city. He doesn't seem to realize until too late (despite the mountain of evidence) that he has literally no way to control Rico, and gets himself ripped apart by a robot for his trouble.
  • Kull the Conqueror: General Taligaro and the dead king's cousin decide to revive an ancient demon witch queen to remove Kull from the throne of Valusia. This of course ends up backfiring when she demotes them both to mere minions and takes over herself.
  • The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice: A group of former KGB agents, wishing to restore the Soviet Union, try to resurrect Vlad Dracula in order to create an army of invincible undead soldiers. They hope to control the infamous vampire by using the Judas Chalice, but it's revealed that the handicapped vampire-obsessed professor they brought with them was in fact a disguised Dracula, who proceeds to feast on the men and turn them into his vampiric minions.
  • Dr. Flemming in The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra becomes the titular skeleton's bitch after resurrecting him.
  • This is one of his main reasons as to why Ethan Hunt wants to destroy the Entity in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. He believes it has become too powerful and dangerous for humanity to control, and therefore, it must be destroyed at all costs.
  • In The Mummy Returns, a museum curator, Hafez, deliberately digs up and raises Imhotep, thinking that Imhotep would defeat the Scorpion King. The fact that this would lead to an evil undead ruling the whole world apparently didn't cross the curator's mind. That or it did and Hafez figured Imhotep would let him help rule the world. When things go pear-shaped and the Scorpion King is preparing to kill him, Hafez begs Imhotep to save him; Imhotep not only refuses but seems genuinely (and hilariously) bewildered as to why Hafez would expect him to do such a thing.
  • In the Super Team parody film Mystery Men, Captain Amazing is so amazing at his job that all the supervillains who threatened Champion City are either dead or in prison, and that's bad for him because the corporate sponsors who make all his cool gadgets are pulling their support. So he decides to free his old archnemesis Casanova Frankenstein from the nuthouse to give himself an opponent and a justification to stay around. Naturally, Frankenstein gets the better of him and now the city is in danger and the only people standing in his way are the not-really-kinda-eponymous team of superzeroes. Heaven help us!
  • Orphan: First Kill: Tricia and Gunnar wanted to use Leena's con to try and conceal the fact that the real Esther was killed by Gunnar; Tricia specifically wanted to use "Esther's return" as a means of fixing Allen's depression over his daughter's disappearance so he would become a happy and successful artist once more. All the while knowing that Leena was an unstable Depraved Dwarf Con Artist and Serial Killer. On top of that, they feel the need to insult her over her class, nationality and condition while also thinking they can control and bully her into compliance. It goes about as well for them as Leena/Esther's own attempts at seducing her adoptive fathers.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, both Barbossa and Beckett are convinced they have what it takes to keep evil on a leash and working for them. First, there's Calypso, a vicious pagan goddess bound in human form by pirate lords, who Barbossa — a pirate lord himself — disrespectfully throws in the brig, with the intention of unleashing her on Beckett. Several other pirate lords comment on this, certain she'll immediately smite them in revenge if she gets her powers back. As she reveals to Davy Jones, they're right. The only reason she doesn't is that Will tells her that Davy Jones (her former lover) was the one that taught the pirate lords how to bind her. Instead of smiting anyone, she creates a maelstrom to put two sides she hates at a Mutual Disadvantage. Then, there's Davy Jones, Calypso's ex-lover turned heartless Reaper, who Beckett has enslaved and intends to have take on the entire Brethren Court for him. The moment Jones has the chance, he horribly murders Beckett's Dragon. The only reason he doesn't kill Beckett too is that he then loses the fight against the Brethren Court. Had he won, Beckett surely would have been next on his list.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Ivan Ooze is freed from his prison by Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa, who hope to get him to join them. Given Ooze utterly hates Zordon, he's perfectly happy to ransack the Command Centre and leave Zordon for dead. However, when Zedd tries to continue treating him like a minion, Ivan traps them in a snow globe and usurps their base and minions for his own purposes.
    • In Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, the villainess Divatox wants to resurrect the demon Maligore and marry him to gain untold power. When she does, he starts attacking everyone and is ultimately destroyed by the Rangers.
  • Quantum of Solace: The main villains, a criminal conspiracy known only as "Quantum", turn out to have the backing of the CIA. Felix Leiter is apparently the only agent in the loop about this who realises that this is a terrible idea, and sure enough, the Company proves to be completely incapable of keeping their deniable pawns from going off-script.
  • RoboCop 2: Do you think it would be a bad idea to take a notoriously violent and sociopathic Junkie Prophet and transform him into a massive, combat robot with Nigh-Invulnerability that is armed to the teeth and in perpetual agony from drug withdrawal? Then congratulations, you're smarter than the employees of OCP who did exactly that with Cain and tried to use him as a replacement for RoboCop. Just to repeat that, OCP thought they could use a barely-controlled walking tank constantly on the verge of roid rage as a police officer. Even funnier/crazier is that he does have a Restraining Bolt... which he casually snatches out of his creator's hands and smashes before going on a killing spree.
  • Sharkenstein: Klaus was a former Nazi scientist who planned to create an army of patchwork sharks. The prototype, the titular Sharkenstein, was to have the brain and heart of Frankenstein's Monster placed into it to utilize the monster's power. However, after the transplant, Sharkenstein became a LOT more unstable. Klaus tried to bring it under control by shocking it, and got eaten for his troubles.
  • The plot of Star Trek Into Darkness is kicked off by the fact that Admiral Marcus tried to use a man named John Harrison to make weapons for Starfleet. So, what's the problem here? John Harrison is just a pseudonym; he's really the revived Khan Noonien Singh. This ends just as well as you'd expect.
  • The ritual in Talk to Me involves using an embalmed hand to conjure spirits. This is treated as another party game, with videos of demonic possessions being uploaded onto social media. The teens in the group end up allowing the conjured spirit to stay too long and suffer the consequences.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction reveals that humans have been using parts of Decepticons (including Megatron) to build their own Transformers. Guess what happens. No go on, guess.
  • In the film version of The Wave (1981), a teacher starts a youth movement to make his lessons about autocracies more immersive. While the students initially play along just to humor him, the Wave soon spreads beyond his control. Realizing that he also got into his leader role a bit too much, he summons the class together to call the whole thing off and show what they have become. The class outcast refuses to believe it and whips out a loaded gun.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine and Professor X free Magneto from his metal-free prison to get him to stop Mystique. Of course, he develops his own agenda...

  • Priest uses this in the climax of its several-volume-long flashback; a corrupt order of priests have succeeded in opening the Domas Porada, the "can" (and it does rather resemble one) containing the fallen angel Temozerela, believing him to be their savior. Unfortunately, Temozerela isn't too fond of humans... he kills almost the entire order with a single breath (he breathes at them and their heads explode), mocks the leader a bit, and then kills him by making demon faces sprout out all over the leader's body and bite him to death.

  • The song "A Dangerous Meeting" from Mercyful Fate's second album "Don't Break The Oath", contains this gem, delivered as only King Diamond can do: OOOOooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, NOT TO PLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAY, WITH THE POWERS OF HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEELL!
  • Regret Game is a rather nasty deconstruction of games about Lovecraftian summoning of monsters and demons Gone Horribly Wrong.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Ars Goetia includes instructions for making sure that conjured demons don't show up in Eldritch Abomination form, but as something more comprehensible...but given the angels described in the book of Ezekiel, this would apply whether or not they had/have a low opinion of humanity. However, there are four exceptions, besides the pomp-and-sycophantry-loving kings (Beleth, Belial, etc.), who get special instructions.
    • Phenex: Don't listen to his song; in fact, interrupt it as soon as possible (the text doesn't say why, but there's an implication that the conjuror risks becoming Phenex's errand best).
    • Valefor: Beware of his temptations to become a robber; he's trying to get you caught and executed.
    • Malphas: Yes, he accepts sacrifices happily, but that opens the gate for him to start deceiving you.
    • Andras: Follow the binding procedures to the letter, and ignore every temptation he sends at you to do otherwise. Otherwise? He becomes free to KILL you and every single one of your associates. (No surprise that Andras's powers are causing murder and sowing discord.)
  • In The Bible Jesus said that anyone with sufficient faith in Him could cast out demons in the same manner, but He did caution against attempting this unless you were devout enough to earn the authority to do so. In the Acts of the Apostles the sons of a rabbi try to corner a possessed man and exorcise him in the name of Jesus and Saint Paul. The demon then gives the Pre-Asskicking One-Liner "Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?" before beating them bloody and somehow naked.
  • It is a customary rule in all magic-using religions that you do not conjure up something that is more powerful than you are. If you don't have the power to send it away again, things can get ugly very quickly. Another rule is that magic is held by the rules of karma — the more evil the curse is, the more likely the spell will backfire. This led religions to discourage the use of evil spells in the first place.

  • Big Finish Doctor Who has this happened to the Meddling Monk. He forms an alliance with the Daleks, thinking they're partners and he can loot the worlds they conquer of their art and become the richest man in creation. He realises his mistake after his companion Tamsin is killed by the Daleks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The sourcebook "Elder Evils" features several evils sealed in cans. One of these, Pandorym, is so alien it might as well add another axis to the alignment diagrams. Plus it's angry. Good luck controlling that.
    • The Inevitable trying to release Pandorym isn't doing so for its own benefit, though. It just thinks Pandorym got cheated on a contract and is trying to redress that "wrong." The mages who summoned and sealed it in its can get bonus stupid points when you learn why they did so: to blackmail the gods into letting them keep their worshipers enslaved without interfering lest they unseal the can. Guess how the gods responded to that.
    • For that matter, trying to summon any being from the Lower Planes without casting spells to protect yourself and/or contain the creature in question is guaranteed to end badly. A reckless demon summoning will result in both the enemies and the party being killed, if not worse.
  • Pathfinder has a similar system for summoning fiends and other Lower Planes beings, and carries the same risk. The fear-feeding sahkil are particularly adept at this, as they count as less powerful than they really are for the purposes of determining how hard they are to summon, but more powerful for determining how hard they are to contain and control.
  • In any RPG based on the Cthulhu Mythos, one of the villains will be trying to unleash an Elder God not to end the world, but to harness its power. To date, not one of them has ever succeeded.
    • ...Except perhaps the Ashcroft Foundation from CthulhuTech, but given the inspiration for that particular plot point, we probably just don't know how badly that went yet.
    • GURPS Cthulhupunk specifically states that those who wish to use the powers of the Mythos for some specific, human-scale goal - getting rich, unseating a government, etc. - are, to put it bluntly, the stupidest kind of cultist: "The powers of the Mythos cannot be controlled with anywhere near this kind of precision."
  • The backstory for Warlord villain Avinaar Esmerek looks like one of these, with the heroes finding an ancient temple, obviously recently disturbed, full of prophesies about the awful things that will happen if the being entombed there ever awakens. However, in the final room, he is found Killed Off for Real, with a message from the mysterious Avinaar explaining that he unsealed this evil just to have a worthy foe — and it was too weak, anyway. Cue panic.
  • More than a few denizens of Warhammer 40,000 have made the stunningly catastrophic mistake of treating Chaos or something devised by the Necrons like this.
    • Many a Necron tomb world has been awoken thanks to the following easy-to-follow plan: Adeptus Mechanicus lands on a planet, attempts to worship the dormant Necrons as befitting creations of the Machine God, gets painfully annihilated to the last man. Congratulations, yet another Tomb World is active and looking to purge the galaxy of all life.
    • One of the main divides in the Imperial Inquisition are the Puritans and Radicals. Puritans stick to the tried-and-true methods of daemonhunting, like faith in the Emperor and lots of fire, while Radicals believe that Chaos can be used against itself and as such are willing to use daemonhosts and chaos-tainted weaponry. This of course leaves them open to daemonic possession and corruption themselves, not to mention less-radical Inquisitors hunting them down to put them out of everybody's misery. Although Inquisitors are usually well-informed about the dangers of Chaos, Radicals are often older Inquisitors, who grow ever more desperate to see results in their unwinnable war against Chaos.
    • A notable exception is Ax'Senaea the Thrice-Possessed, who was duped into casting a ritual where she would summon a Keeper of Secrets inside her body and then keep it imprisoned by sheer force of will. Bear in mind that Keepers of Secrets are Greater Daemons of the Chaos god(dess) Slaanesh powerful enough to lead world-wrecking armies and specializing in illusions and sweet-talking, so this is a plan stupid even by 40K standards. She went through with it and... actually worked. Not content with leeching a Greater Daemon dry, she did it again. Twice. On the fourth attempt, Slaanesh herself showed up and ascended her to immortality as a daemon princess, both as a reward and as a giant middle finger to hir defeated daemons.
  • A website referenced a Vampire: The Masquerade game where evil cultists wanted to revive and enslave Caine, the first vampire, while the PCs were to behold the impending doom, their hands carefully tied. Due to a PC heroically tossing his shoe to one of the cultists, the ritual was screwed up: Caine was revived but not enslaved, and the rest of the world was safe(ish).
    • This is how one Gehenna scenario ends for the Followers of Set. The clan as a whole descends from an insanely powerful vampire they believe to be the god Set from Egyptian mythology, and worship him by tempting others into wickedness. Well, when he finally wakes from his millennia-long slumber, he can't believe his childer would stoop so low as to worship him and starts eating them like popcorn. In a different scenario, Set awakens, but can't get out of the Underworld, so he telepathically demands that his loyal followers join him there; by the next night, only a tiny handful of Setites are left.
    • The Baali are a bloodline traditionally in service to various cosmic horrors and demons, calling on them for power. The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra introduces a Baali faction out to stop the rest of their bloodline, along with any other infernalists they come across, before they do something idiotic in dealing with these forces and break the world.
    • This is also why the Tremere don't summon demons; they have the common sense to realize that any demon powerful enough to be worth the trouble is a demon too powerful to be controlled.
  • In GURPS, summoning a demon is temptingly easy to do, even for an inexperienced mage. The probable reason is that demons want to be summoned — by people who can't control them.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, demon-type creatures tend to be powerful for their cost but occasionally have drawbacks that can screw over their controller unless steps are taken to deal with them. Certain demons like the classic Lord of the Pit and Archdemon of Greed demand regular sacrifices from their summoners and attack them if they are denied. Bloodgift Demon and Griselbrand both have abilities that allow their summoners to trade life for knowledge, and players can easily render themselves vulnerable to an opponent's surprise attack. Abyssal Persecutor will decimate your opponent's forces but it also keeps him/her from losing and you from winning just to keep the slaughter going for a little longer. Rakdos the Defiler is so hard to control that he is just as dangerous to his summoner as he is to the opponent.
  • The Dark Eye has the story of mage-emperor Fran-Horas who, in order to put down a particularly troublesome revolt against his rule, summoned the Archdemons themselves and unleashed them onto the battlefield. They proceeded to wipe out the rebels...then turned on Fran's own forces, plunging the realm into chaos. Fran-Horas himself ended up dragged to hell a few years later, having first had to witness the fall of his empire. And a couple of generations down the line his descendant, the empress Hela-Horas tried to do the same thing. Another century or two of the Dark Ages was only averted because the gods themselves decided that enough was enough and made a personal appearance to stop the summoning.
  • As a core part of Mummy: The Curse, the Arisen pretty much invariably gather cults around themselves, even whilst lying dormant. More than once, a cult has tried to use its patron as a tool, aided by the fact that rising from the grave in an amnesiac state and being bound to fulfill whatever purpose they were called back for is an inherent part of the Curse. However, what these cultists fail to take into account is that the Arisen are amnesiac, not mindless, and they do not simply fall down dead again once their purpose is fulfilled; they get to stick around and do whatever they want for a good while first. And their cultists are quite expendable...
  • In Leviathan: The Tempest, it is mentioned that it's possible for a cult to cast rituals drawing on a Leviathan's power against the Leviathan's will, and there are even rituals that can be used to actually control the Leviathan to a limited degree. However, quite aside from the fact that anyone participating in one of these rituals is pretty much guaranteed to come out the other end crazy (assuming they weren't crazy already), if the ritual is a failure the Leviathan knows exactly who tried to hijack its power and where to find them, and will usually head over to eat the impertinent mortals. For this reason, those cultists whose madness is not of the sort that prevents planning ahead will usually stick to Leviathans who are trapped in the Rift and cannot make their displeasure known in person.
  • A lower-key example, but it still counts: in Sentinels of the Multiverse, RevoCorp acquired the recently-captured Plague Rat and tried to use him as a bloodhound to capture Setback. This worked about as well as you would expect trying to use a giant, berserker rat-human hybrid as a hunting hound would go - his deck is focused around causing as much damage as possible to everything in play other than himself, he'll automatically attack one of his handlers every turn if at all possible, and his Incapacitated side shows his handlers floating dead in the sewers, with his Restraining Bolt torn off next to a torn-open grate.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage tries to control unstoppable forces of evil whenever possible, usually causing a double-subversion or whatever might be hilarious. He takes control of an accidentally summoned Eldritch Abomination—pretty successfully since it's almost as sociopathic as he is—until one of his "friends" accidentally kills it. He tries to become the ruler of Hell, and he does, but then someone brings him back to life. Played with most destructively in the end: Sarda absorbs Black Mage's super-evilness, which seems to work fine until he explodes and turns into Chaos. And Black Mage immediately tries to control him.
  • Angel Moxie, Tristan helps release Vashi on the promise that when Vashi's boss Yzin takes over the world Tris can rule France. Vashi lied. Tris got mad and punched Vashi so hard she landed in China, before joining the good guys.
  • Girl Genius. Zola releases and tries to help The Other. One Gilligan Cut later and she's hog-tied and an unwilling test subject for another fine display of Mad Science.
  • A Modest Destiny: The villain Gilbert raises Deo-Deo from the dead, in exchange for immortality. However...
  • Vaarsuvius in The Order of the Stick makes a Deal with the Devil and temporarily gains huge amounts of power. They do manage to get in a couple hits against evil but in their arrogance quickly loses all of that power, with the whole incident leaving the villains merely delayed instead of defeated like they wanted. Upon being DePowered back to their usual self, Vaarsuvius berates themself for acting so recklessly, knowing that they now have to deal with putting their soul in debt, jeopardizing their alignment, and making several powerful entities really, really angry. Plus coming back to bite the party in new and interesting ways with the death of the Draketooth clan as well as gods alone know how many other innocents across the Western Continent. Oops.
    • And on top of it all, their mate filed for divorce.
    • Xykon also believes (and this is the whole plan) that he will be able to control the Snarl. Instead, he'll just unleash a god-destroying monstrosity that has no idea of control at all. Redcloak knows this full well, and has other plans of his own.
    • To say nothing of Redcloak recruiting Xykon to help with his plan to give the Dark One control of a gate and then turning Xykon into a lich when the plan went awry, making Xykon far more powerful and far more evil than before, to the point that he overshadowed Redcloak.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, more than a few Too Dumb to Live people have tried to profit by summoning the Destroyer Deity, K'Z'K.
    • In the "K'Z'K" arc, Gwynn summons K'Z'K to wreak vengeance on Riff for cheating on her. Unfortunately for Gwynn, K'Z'K goes about this by possessing her, stealing her soul, and warping her body into some sort of monster. Oh, and it turns out that, once K'Z'K fulfills his contract, he's free to destroy the world.
    • A corrupt god summoned K'Z'K, willing to destroy the current world in order to overthrow Khronus, the King of the Gods. K'Z'K cared nothing for his plans and put him through a Humiliation Conga instead.
    • There is an entire Apocalypse Cult dedicated to K'Z'K, filled with Too Dumb to Live mortals willing to destroy the world in return for power. Needless to say, they rarely benefit from it, usually ending up as Cannon Fodder for their leaders' plans, and it is unlikely the whimsical, treacherous, and sadistic K'Z'K would spare them from his extinction event either. Their leader, a Godhood Seeker, ends up suffering a Karmic Death when K'Z'K beats her to a bloody pulp.
  • In Cucumber Quest, the summoned Nightmare Knight reminds Cordelia that he's not her servant.
  • Sonic the Comic – Online!: In issue 266, Dexter Bagstille captures Sonic, planning to harness Super Sonic to end the war with Robotnik once and for all, using a special Chaos Containment Collar to keep him under control. It initially seems to work... but when the Omni-Viewer and Team Chaotix arrive on the scene, Super immediately attacks Omni and drains his power before going on a rampage, all while mocking Dexter for thinking his plan would work. Once Super is dealt with two issues later, Dexter is put on trial and convicted for his stupidity. Sonic even lampshades how stupid Dexter is to think his plan will work, pointing out that everyone who has tried to control Super Sonic has failed.
  • Klonoa: Dream Crusaders: Downplayed. Tenebrae Hue steals the power of Noctis Sol to summon nightmare creatures. Noctis Sol attempts to warn Hue that stealing Sol's power will unleash a far greater evil, Claire the Ancient, but Hue doesn't listen and goes through with the process anyway, only to be easily overpowered by Claire. It's less a case of "villain summons a threat he knows to be dangerous and is then surprised when said threat betrays him" and more "villain summons threats and gets a much bigger threat that he didn't ask for."

    Web Original 
  • In Hitherby Dragons:
    "This is the work of the Fisher-Price Ultimate line," says the talking learn-the-alphabet game.
    The sky swirls and there is an impression of death and sorrow.
    "In their laboratories, they built a child’s toy prototype for ultimate evil—a toddler’s first ultimate evil, as it were. The final product would have had safeties, seals, restrictions."
    Susan sees the direction of this speech.
    "But not," she says, "the prototype?"
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, a greedy mage uses an ancient spell in the Second Age to release the imprisoned demon lord Yurius in order to use him for his bid for power over the kingdom. Yurius immediately kills him for his troubles.
  • SCP Foundation: Incident 668-682, where a disgruntled agent (subsequently referred to as "the Victim") tries to smuggle a weapon to Omnicidal Maniac SCP-682.
  • In Prolecto, it's subverted big time. Sonya, knowing Azazel was not a toy, took appropriate precautions, and through the majority of the book controls Azazel perfectly.
  • In Twig, Reverend Mauer attempts to provoke his enemies into overreacting by creating primordial life (life which can rapidly modify itself) and then publicizing the resulting atrocities. Unfortunately, the reason people react overwhelmingly to primordials is that they grow and mutate uncontrollably, and even as it dies the primordial recreates itself as a new lifeform that takes over the plot of the series.
  • Defied by OP in the Elfslayer Chronicles. The DM tosses the Eye of Blight, a sentient magical artifact, in his way, and he promptly buries it and has nothing more to do with it for the rest of the campaign. He's smart enough to know that a sentient evil artifact called the Eye of Blight is something that cannot be good news for anyone, especially the wielder.
  • In Ruby Quest, the Metal Glen tries to use a mysterious substance found (along with multiple creepy artifacts like a dummy that rotates on its own so it's always staring at you) in a room buried under the ocean as a cure-all. It did not turn out well. The substance (heavily implied to be the flesh of an Eldritch Abomination) corrupted all who took it, twisting it into the horrific place that it is at the beginning of the quest.
  • In the very first Acquisitions Incorporated podcast, Jerry comments the goblin trying to summon Orcus will likely be the first to die.
  • RWBY:
    • In an attempt to cut the costs of hiring Huntsmen to protect his farm, Bartleby tried to lock two Apathy in the sewers so their will-suppressing power would force everyone to stay calm and avoid the bad feelings that attract Grimm. He doesn't realise that, when he seals up the underground waterways he's trapped the Apathy in, the rest of the pack has already followed their missing members. Instead of two manageable Grimm, he locks the farmstead up with hordes of them, dooming the lives of everyone who lives there.
    • A long time ago, Salem felt forced into manipulating the Brother Gods; she almost succeeds in fooling the God of Darkness until caught by the God of Light. Her punishment is unending life until she learns the value of life and death. When Ozma dies and the God of Light refuses to resurrect him, she manipulates the God of Darkness by playing on his desire for humans to worship him as they do his brother. Thrilled, Dark instantly restores her lover to life, but rescinds that life when Light tells him what Salem did. Salem is barred from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife, thus beginning her long slide into evil.

    Web Video 
  • Part of the shared backstory of Tribe Twelve, Dark Harvest, and Everyman HYBRID is that the Nazis, and later American scientists working with ex-Nazi scientists, attempted to recreate the ancient rite of Gorr'Rylaehotep (a.k.a., Slenderman).
  • In No Evil Charles can largely control the Black Tezcatlipoca, as it's somehow chosen him as its' wielder, but he can't awaken those it puts into comas. Amaroq uses this to his advantage by sitting on him, and pointing out he's not strong enough to lift him off, in one episode. And then in "Black, White, and Red All Over" he breaks open the mirror piece of the Black Tezcatlipoca, which was sealing the far more aggressive Red Tezcatlipoca, oops.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots has Uli spend over three seasons trying to summon an Ancient Evil known as the Bloodwolf. Said Bloodwolf wonders why he should be grateful to Uli for any of this.
  • Aladdin: The Series: In the bulk of his appearances, Abis Mal is shown tracking down various magical beings and artifacts, hoping to use them to conquer Agrabah. Inevitably, the being/artifact in question will turn on him, forcing Aladdin and co. to step in and save the day, but Abis never learns.
  • Non-evil version in Avatar: The Last Airbender when an Earth Kingdom general is trying to find a way for Aang to trigger his Avatar State to fight the Fire Nation. He does so by threatening the lives of Sokka and Katara. Aang's Avatar State is activated... and is looking for the one threatening his friends.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In the episode "Birds of a Feather", Veronica Vreeland brings The Penguin into her social circle as a publicity stunt. He eventually finds out he's being used and in his true flamboyantly villainous fashion, kidnaps and attempts to murder her. An especially depressing case as Penguin genuinely had performed a Heel–Face Turn and truly was being a good man now... until he learned the truth about Veronica and his heart was so thoroughly broken he dove head-first back into villainy.
    • There's also the episode "Joker's Wild," in which a casino owner opens a Joker-themed resort, thinking the supervillain will destroy the place out of spite and bring the owner a hefty insurance check. Once the Joker is wise to the con, though, he instead sets his sights on making sure the owner is part of the total loss.
    • And then there's "Mad Love," in which Harley springs the Joker from Arkham, desperately infatuated with him and convinced they'll live out a Bonnie-and-Clyde-esque romance. The feelings aren't exactly mutual, and their relationship quickly turns into a nasty cycle of abuse and betrayal on Joker's end.
    • In some cases this proves two-way short-sighted since Joker unhinging Harley into his personal sycophant has ugly repercussions whenever he decides he's done with the facade (case in point the revenge beating he suffered for ditching her in "Joker's Billions"). For all the abuse she takes, Harley is quite forceful that she's Joker's commitment, whether he still wants her or not.
    • "Over the Edge" has Commissioner Gordon enlisting Bane to help him bring down Batman. Of course, it ends as well as you'd expect a deal with a supervillain to go.
      Gordon: We had a deal!
      Bane: Thought about it. Didn't work for me.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Evil Under the Sea!" has Aquaman's enemies Black Manta and Orm team up against him. Teaming up with Black Manta proves a huge mistake on Orm's part as his goal wasn't to conquer Atlantis as Orm believed, but to destroy it and loot the ruins.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Vilgax messes with Dagon's seal in an attempt to claim the demon's power and is promptly mutated and enslaved by it. The "Evil" eventually turns out to be Vilgax.
  • One episode of Captain N: The Game Master centers around Mother Brain's quest to free Ganon (the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda (1989)), so he could help her conquer Videoland. Unfortunately for her, she seriously underestimated his douchebaggery. As Ganon puts it, the only being Ganon serves is Ganon.
  • In the five-part Centurions episode "Man or Machine", Mad Scientist Doc Terror recreates an alien Master Computer on Earth because they share the same goal — ridding the world of organic lifeforms. Terror assumes that as a Cyborg, he'll be spared. He's wrong.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In "Operation: Z.E.R.O.," Father acquires the Recommissioning Module and uses it to reawaken Grandfather, the "world's most ultimate evil" in his words, and his actual father. Almost immediately upon being reawakened, Grandfather thanks Father for doing so... and then harshly dismisses him, pointing out that the only reason he needed to be brought back is that Father and the other villains weren't able to stop the Kids Next Door themselves.
  • In Danny Phantom: Vlad Plasmius attempts to gain enormous power by stealing the Crown of Fire (having already obtained the Ring of Rage). He opens the sarcophagus of Pariah Dark, waking him up. Within minutes, Vlad is beaten and is forced to team up with Danny to stop him. He falls into the same trap with Vortex after his Restraining Bolt is accidentally destroyed.
  • Darkwing Duck:
  • Dexter's Laboratory: A rare subversion occurred in one episode, "Jeepers, Creepers, Where is Peepers?", where GOOD is not a toy. An evil alien warlord kidnaps DeeDee's first imaginary friend, Peepers, a cute yet obnoxious furry critter who rules over her imaginary world of Koosland, to use as a potential energy source for his secret weapon. After being battered around by Dexter and DeeDee's other imaginary friend, Koosy, the villain's taunting is cut short as he realizes in an Oh, Crap! moment that he is about to be smushed into a pancake by Peepers, who has mutated (not transformed, but mutated) himself into a flesh-coloured, evil-looking dragon (who also makes his own evil-sounding laugh afterward).
  • DuckTales (2017)
    • In "McMystery At McDuck McManor!", it looks like this has happened when Black Arts Beagle summons what he believes to be a demon, only for him to disappear literally shouting, "I'm not as good as I thought I was!" As it turns out, he's summoned the ghost of Scrooge's old butler, who was sort of behind everything anyway and later admits he has a flair for the dramatic.
    • A straight example occurs in the Grand Finale. Magica, Ma Beagle, and Glomgold are not happy that Bradford captured them, had Steelbeak use them as puppets, and intended to erase them for his plan for absolute order. Not one character complains when Magica turns him into an actual non-sapient buzzard as punishment.
  • In "Computron Lives", an episode of The Galaxy Trio, a group of would-be terrorists find the deactivated Computron, the first villain of the series, and decide to wake him up so they can use his power to conquer the world. They survive the experience, but really ought to have known better, given that his defining qualities had been his self-determination and contempt for organic life.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Played straight in "Dreamscaperers" where Gideon, trying once more to get a hold of the Mystery Shack, summons a certain triangle-shaped Dream Demon to help steal the deed to the Shack. Bill Cipher goes on to become the Big Bad of the series, eventually coercing Gideon into being Demoted to Dragon when Bill finally breaks the barriers between his world and reality.
    • Averted by Dipper in "Northwest Mansion Mystery". While he is angry at the Northwests for taking advantage of his willingness to get rid of the ghost and sympathizes with the ghost's desire for revenge, he recognizes that the ghost is unstable and doesn't want to risk letting him out of the mirror he sealed him in while his sister is at the party. Unfortunately, the ghost averts Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and appeals to Dipper's better nature by asking him to hold the mirror up so he can see the trees one last time before he is exorcised. When Dipper agrees, the ghost heats the mirror up, causing Dipper to drop and break it.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)
    • An episode had an evil sorcerer freeing an evil dragon and said dragon sticking the sorcerer into his old prison.
    • In "To Save Skeletor", Skeletor decides to summon an elder god. You can guess from the episode title how that worked out.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has the main antagonist, Shendu the Fire Demon, constantly betraying any allies he works with, especially if they're human villains attempting to free him from whatever fate he's trapped in.
    • In Season 1, Shendu, who was turned into a statue for almost a millennium, promises to reward the Dark Hand (Valmont and his Enforcers) with vast ancient treasures if they acquire all the magical Talismans needed to release him. Upon Shendu returning to his true form, he completely reneges on their deal and refuses to pay up.
    • In the Season 3 finale, Shendu (now a spirit) pulls this on Daolon Wong, who offers to resurrect him in exchange for giving Wong the Dragon Talisman power that Shendu's body will attract.note  To the surprise of absolutely no one (except for Wong of course), Shendu takes both the Dragon power and the other two Talisman powers (Pig and Rooster) that Wong had acquired earlier.
    • One case unrelated to Shendu: In the Season 4 premiere, Daolon Wong prepares a potion to allow him to recreate the seal of the Shadowkhan, with the intent of summoning them so that they can break him and the Enforcers out of Section 13's prison. However, he actually ends up freeing the Shadowkhan's true master Tarakudo, who breaks out the Enforcers and leaves him there.
  • Justice League:
    • Felix Faust releasing Hades. He learned from his experiences and was able to live out the more fun side of the trope by possessing Tala later on.
    • And with Dr. Milo releasing Doomsday.
      Milo: And you'll solve both our problems?
      Doomsday: Yes. Release me.
      Milo (deactivating the restraints): ...Wait! What are you doing?
      Doomsday (seizing Milo by the head): Your problem's solved.
    • A bunch of teenagers tried to do some cult-like ritual hoping it would grant them powers; it goes awry and instead summons Solomon Grundy back from the dead. His first victim was one of the teens.
    • Invoked in the penultimate episode of the show: Lex Luthor attempts to revive Brainiac from his last known gravesite so he can team up with him again. To do this, he uses the Evil Sorceress Tala as a conduit to revive him, a process which will kill her. Unfortunately for Lex, said area was also the gravesite of Physical God and Galactic Conqueror Darkseid, and you get no points for guessing which one of the two Tala ends up reviving as a final 'gift' to the man who killed her.
  • Averted in The Legend of Korra. Despite being the personification of chaos and darkness and having a great hatred for humans, Vaatu's arrangement with Unalaq is entirely on the level. He could've betrayed Unalaq during their Fusion Dance and still achieve the result he wanted, but presumably, their mutually beneficial goals kept them on the same page.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare", Bugs Bunny creates a robotic Frankenstein's Monster-esque creature to protect him from the Tasmanian Devil. The monster beats up Taz, then beats up Bugs right after.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Hawk Moth's habit of corrupting people into supervillains has occasionally left him biting off more than he can chew.
    • Cat Blanc, torn between listening to Hawk Moth (who he had just learned is his father) and listening to his Lady, accidentally triggers an Angst Nuke that wipes out all of Paris, killing everyone in it but himself, including Hawk Moth (and Ladybug). Time travel was required to fix this one.
    • Robustus turns on him and hacks into his security systems, making them fire upon him. He survives, but is too busy dodging missiles to revoke Robustus's powers, which was likely the point.
    • YanLuoShi, pretty much the instant Hawk Moth tries to boss him around, declares that nobody tells him what to do and blasts him with his Eye Beams, vaporizing him. He gets brought back by Ladybug's World-Healing Wave.
      • Worth noting that both supervillains deliberately turning on Hawk Moth were the result of akumatizing non-humans (Robustus originally being Markov, a robot, and YanLuoShi originally being Mei Shi, a supernatural creature). Presumably they can resist his control better than humans can.
  • In the Season 1 finale of Ninjago, Big Bad Pythor P. Chumsworth awakes an ancient, giant beast known as the Great Devourer thinking he could control her, the first thing she does after awakening is devouring Pythor and Wu alive, both survive after the Devourer's destruction by Lord Garmadon, but Pythor's skin and voice become affected by the Devourer's venom, and he seeks revenge against the Ninja for this un later seasons.
  • The Mummy: The Animated Series: In the pilot episode, Colin Weasler uses the Book of the Dead to resurrect Imhotep, believing that he could use the book to control the mummy. Unsurprisingly, Imhotep promptly takes the book back, forcing Weasler to become his Evil Minion in exchange for his life.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Celestia decided to release Discord, a Laughably Evil Mad God, so she could put his Reality Warper powers to productive use. Even her most faithful student thinks she's crazy for seriously considering this and even more so for thinking he could be redeemed beforehand. Fluttershy succeeds by befriending him.
    • Discord himself has to learn this lesson in the Season 4 finale. Celestia has asked him to stop Tirek's rampage; instead the latter manages to appeal to his vanity and convince him that he is now his new special friend and they should rule Equestria together. As soon as Tirek has grown strong enough absorbing the magic of enough ponies, he promptly turns around and steals Discord's powers as well.
    • Trixie tracks down the Alicorn Amulet after the Ursa Incident ruined her life to get revenge...except the Amulet is actually an Artifact of Doom that corrupts its user and drives them insane.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo episode "Ship of Ghouls", the ghost captain of the Queen Myrtle plans to free the ghosts imprisoned from the Chest of Demons once his ship has passed the Bermuda Triangle. His attempts to get the released gestalt form of the ghosts to join him, however, result in the gestalt being turning on him and consuming him alongside the other ghosts aboard the ship.
    • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Professor Pericles spent the entire series and a good chunk of his backstory trying to free the entity in the sarcophagus that drove most of the plot hoping to claim its power. In the end, he finally does, only for said entity to use Pericles as a physical vessel, killing him in the process.
  • The Simpsons: The "Treehouse Of Horror III" segment "Dial 'Z' for Zombies" features Bart using a magic book to resurrect the family cat Snowball. It worked... except it didn't revive the cat, but rather actual zombies that terrorize Springfield. Bart himself lampshades on the situation he inadvertently started:
    Bart: I thought dabbling in the dark arts would be good for a chuckle. How wrong I was.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom", Plankton's soul escapes from his cage and tries to convince the Flying Dutchman to partner with him to take over the world, ruling it 70-30. The Dutchman uses his powers to transform Plankton into his minion.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Moon Butterfly and the Magic High Commission secretly back Mina Loveberry's conspiracy to overthrow Eclipsa but the utterly insane Mina and her army of Solarian Warriors quickly go out of control, and neither Moon nor the Commission can do anything to stop them from ravaging Mewni.
  • In Teen Titans, Slade cuts a deal with the demonic Trigon to come Back from the Dead in return for Slade helping the demon take over the world. After Slade fulfills his role, Trigon turns on him. Slade knew this was going to happen and took precautions. He ends up orchestrating Trigon's downfall and getting his mortal life back and is still at large at the end of the series while Trigon was either destroyed or re-sealed in Hell. Technically, they were sealed in the same can — Trigon was in Hell because he was a demon, and Slade was there because he was evil and dead. However, Trigon seems to have drawn Slade's soul to him, and he was the one who instigated the deal. Slade took it because it was the only chance he had.
  • Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) series has problems with this. In the pilot, he teams up with the brain from Dimension X Krang but refuses to create a new body for him because of this trope, but caves in later on. Once the bad guys and the Technodrome end up in Dimension X, Krang takes charge. This pops up later on in Turtles Forever, when Shredder rescues his counterpart from the 2003 series from imprisonment on an asteroid for the purpose of a Villain Team-Up. Unfortunately, the Darker and Edgier Shredder not only takes control of the Technodrome and Krang's technology but also decides to wipe out creation himself.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the Season 5 premiere, Tiger Claw summons the Demodragon Kavaxas, intending to use his power to resurrect the Shredder, who Leo killed in the Season 4 finale, using the Seal of the Ancients, a magical talisman that forces Kavaxas to obey whoever possesses it without question, to keep him in line. Three episodes later, in "End Times," Shredder is successfully resurrected, but he Came Back Wrong as Kavaxas' zombie slave and destroys the Seal of the Ancients, after which it's revealed that Kavaxas was just using Tiger Claw to complete the three tasks he needed to accomplish on Earth in order to bring about The End of the World as We Know It; to slay a strong warrior (Tatsu), to resurrect an evil warrior (Shredder), and to destroy the Seal of the Ancients.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Megatron tries to revive Unicron so he can rule by his side. When Unicron wakes up he tells him he was wrong about two things: 1) Unicron woke up himself without Megatron's help, and 2) Unicron wants to destroy the universe and everything in it, including the Decepticons.
    • This bites Megatron in the ass again in the series finale. Megatron spent the entire series feeding himself with Dark Energon to make himself stronger and create better weapons. Dark Energon comes from Unicron, and when Megatron dies, he ends up being used as Unicron's possessed slave. Unicron makes it abundantly clear Megatron controls nothing and is simply his new puppet and chew toy.
  • In The Venture Bros., Torrid performs a ritual to summon Cthulhu from hell, despite the fact that "it never ends well". He's the first to die, but thankfully the Outrider's there to re-seal the monster and bring Torrid back to life.
  • Xiaolin Showdown.
    • The spirit of a nigh-omnipotent sorceress who was freed from her puzzle-box prison by Jack in the pilot, and promised him the world if he helped her. Although Jack never quite succeeded and eventually became her adversary, when Raimundo restores her powers with his Face–Heel Turn, she repays him by... granting his every wish and grooming him to rule the world alongside her. It seems she was a villainess of her word after all.
    • A straighter example is Hannibal Bean corrupting Chase Young. He gives him the Lao Mang Long Soup to turn the monk evil. Once he does, Chase Young betrays him and locks him away in Ying Yang World.
    • Another straight example occurred in the episode "The Demon Seed." Vlad meets with Jack and suggests releasing an evil called the Heylin Seed. This proves a very stupid idea as the Botanical Abomination released from the seed is quick to turn the two and decides he will rule the world himself.

"I've come to learn that employing Achievement Hunter's help in something is equivalent to when the mob hired the Joker in Dark Knight. No one really knows how much chaos they're unleashing until it's too late."


Video Example(s):


Malladus Devours Cole

After losing Zelda's body and killing Bryne, Chancellor Cole orders the Demon King to take down Link and Zelda. Malladus's spirit decides to eat up Cole and use his body as his new vessel, much to his right hand man's objections.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DevourTheDragon

Media sources: