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Flesh Golem

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"Okay, so, just to be clear, this... this big fleshy spider thing that hurt El, it's some kind of gigantic... weapon? But instead of, like, screws and metal, the Mind Flayer made its weapon... with melted people."
Steve Harrington, Stranger Things, "The Battle of Starcourt"

A trope pretty heavily influenced by Frankenstein's Monster but nonetheless quite distinct from the former in that, whereas Frankenstein's Monster usually has a humanoid appearance (barring the Uncanny Valley and various body parts belonging to different people), a flesh golemnote  need not look normal in the slightest.

If this creature is even vaguely humanoid, it may look like a nightmare version of Conjoined Twins, or it is a hulking abomination made of various parts of human flesh, sometimes skinless, often possessing extra limbs, organs and heads where they really shouldn't belong. Unlike Frankie Expies, which tend to be of human-level intelligence or slightly below average, flesh golems don't usually have any intelligence to speak of — despite being made of human beings, they are essentially robots only capable of obeying simple commands.

And that's if it's even capable of moving on its own. It may be a mass of human bodies fused together without any specific shape or form — and every single member of it tends to be alive and conscious. This version, possibly inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's paintings, is a recurring theme in depictions of the Circles of Hell: the lustful are fused together, resembling some kind of a twisted orgy.

A popular type of Golem, it can also be a Hybrid Monster if its parts belong to living beings of different species. See also The Worm That Walks for creatures made of live insects. See also Mix-and-Match Critters, Mix-and-Match Man, and Bio Punk. For a Science Fiction equivalent (involving some form of Artificial Intelligence, rather than spirits and/or animating magic operating such a being) see Meat-Sack Robot.

Sub-Trope of Body of Bodies. See also Undead Abomination and Walking Ossuary.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Franken Fran mostly features plain Frankenstein's monsters (including the main characters) and Mix-and-Match Critters, but various flavours of flesh golems appear as well.
  • Envy's true form in Fullmetal Alchemist is all of the bodies of the people whose souls were used to make it, fused together.
  • The Nurarihyon arc of the Gantz manga features a flesh golem made from naked women. One of the rival team members tries to have sex with it and ends up losing several body parts for his trouble.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • The game's version of Frankenstein's Monster is virtually this, since the concept behind the card is that the creature is being stitched together from any number of various creatures from your graveyard, not necessarily humans.
    • The Stitcher Creatures from Innistrad and Sutured Zombie are all classic Flesh Golems, taking a few pages from Frankenstein's Monster. There's also the Horror Token generated by Phyrexian Rebirth. The card itself is a field wipe that destroys all creatures, and it then generates a token based on how many creatures were destroyed, implying the Glistening Oil fused them all into one horrific mass, then gave it sentience.
    • Innistrad's skaaberen are blue-aligned Mad Scientists who consider the creation of Flesh Golems (here called skaabs) to be an art form. The most prominent of the lot is Geralf, who finds himself at odds with his twin sister Gisa, a Necromancer who merely revels in raising lots and lots of ghouls without much care to what happens to them. Not that he's a good guy; not by any stretch of the imagination. He merely deplores her heedlessness, while she considers him a wet blanket.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Harvest, a monstrous amalgamation of the bodies of past experiments of Poison Ivy that comes after Ivy, sending her begging to the Dark Knight for protection.
  • Adner Cadaver, a villain of The Savage Dragon, is an ancient sorcerer who sewed various cadaver parts together in order to have a body. One such incident saw him sewing dead superhumans together (along with the title character's severed arm), creating a massively powerful body.
  • Simon Dark's body is a patchwork of the parts of the twenty-four teenagers whose bodies were used as the raw materials for his.
  • The Spider-Man baddie Digger is a zombie comprised of thirteen different bodies fused and reanimated by gamma bombs.
  • The X-Men once fought a Morlock named MeMe who had the power to physically absorb people he touched, and thus looked like an amalgamation of bodies.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Basket Case 2 ends with Duane sewing Belial to his side to make the Conjoined Twins once more.
  • In Bride of Re-Animator, Herbert West experiments with creating these as test-subjects whilst he builds up to the titular creature; a female Frankenstein's Monster being built as a replacement lover for his partner, Dan Cain. Two of his simpler "experiments" are an animated eyeball with a bunch of severed fingers sewn to it to make a bug-like creature, and an arm and a leg joined together at their respective stumps and brought to life (resulting in it kicking him in the head and then trying to throttle him).
  • The title monster from The Human Centipede plays this for full Body Horror. A Mad Doctor sews up three people mouth-to-anus in order to create a single creature with one digestive tract, all while his victims are fully aware of their condition and able to see, hear, feel — and taste — everything.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, some of the members of the Flying Dutchman's crew don't fuse to each other as much as they all fuse into the ship, but the concept is similar.
  • The first victims of the titular monster in The Thing (1982) are the sled dogs at Outpost 31, which it is in the process of merging into one of these when the protagonists catch it. At the abandoned Norwegian base, they also discover the charred corpse of a Thing created by imperfectly merging two people together. During the climax, the Blair-Thing kills Garry by shoving his hand in Garry's mouth and merging it with Garry's head, dragging him around by such.

  • Sad example in Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. with the Patchwork Princess, a girl who threw herself under a train when her two suitors killed each other and reanimated. She was stitched back together, and now assists the old woman who patches Dan up every time he gets a new gaping wound. The two boys, now also zombies, go back to fighting over her...
  • The mimics from Dragons of Requiem. All of them are revolting amalgamations composed of human and/or animal body parts that have been stitched together and reanimated.
  • The Ferali from The Night Angel Trilogy fit somewhere between this and Eldritch Abomination, being magically crafted monsters comprised of the flesh of those sacrificed to create them as well as those they consume with their many feeding mouths. Those who are consumed have their personalities remain somewhere within the whole, leading to an And I Must Scream moment and arguably a Heroic Sacrifice towards the end of the series.
  • Necromancers create such creatures in The Radiant Dawn. They are massive and powerful, each one created from piles of flesh and bones fused together with magic. Unlike regular zombies, it takes more than bullets — usually Dawn's magic-draining sword that renders them inanimate, but massive caliber weapons such as cannons and railguns prove effective as well.
  • To summarize the Tin Woodman's backstory from The Tin Woodman of Oz, the Tin Woodman, then named Nick Chopper, was in love with a Munchkin maiden named Nimmie Amee, who worked for the Wicked Witch of the East. The witch was against their relationship, and enchanted Nick Chopper's axe to cut off his limbs one by one; each time after this happened, he went to a local tinsmith to get the body part replaced with a tin one, until eventually his entire body was tin, even his head. Later he rusted and was presumed dead or lost by Nimmie. She fell in love with another man named Captain Fyter, and the witch did the same exact thing again. Rather than discard all these spare body parts, the tinsmith for some reason decided to mix and match them into a new being, creating a flesh golem named Chopfyt. Nimmie eventually marries Chopfyt.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
  • In season three of Stranger Things, the Mind Flayer creates one of these using the rats and later people it has assimilated into its Hive Mind, known as the Flayed. Resembling the Mind Flayer's spider-like form, albeit a very crude approximation thereof, it grows by dissolving the flesh of the Flayed and absorbing such into itself, eventually growing to the size of a small house. Close inspection reveals that some human body parts are still visible in its mass. A smaller version is also created in the hospital out of two of the Flayed, Tom and Bruce, after Jonathan and Nancy kill them.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Blood Bowl: The Undead team has Flesh Golems as blockers. While not as strong or as enduring as a true Big Guy unit, the Flesh Golems are still superhumanly strong - being a match for Chaos Warriors, Bull Centaurs, Black Orcs, Saurus, Vampires and etc. Additionally they start off with a number of defensive skills that greatly increase their survival chances when they're in a tackle situation.
  • Whilst Frankenstein's Monster is the "classic" product of a Patchwork Scientist in Deadlands, they can also produce much more grotesque and obviously inhuman creatures, like the Patchwork Wasp; a human upper torso equipped with six arms, artificial wings of skin stretched over bone, and a "stinger" made of a sharpened cow's horn fed by several externally grafted stomachs full of noxious chemicals.
  • Various flesh golems have appeared in Dungeons & Dragons as the Trope Namer, although the most basic ones are inspired by Frankenstein's Monster.
    • The Cadaver Golem is born when the ritual for creating a normal flesh golem Goes Horribly Wrong. It's fully sentient and has the ability to swap out its body parts (including its brain) for those from other creatures to gain their abilities.
    • A particularly gruesome variant is found in the adventure module The Apocalypse Stone. Technically, they're standard flesh golems, but they're made of a mangled mixture of the player characters' loved ones.
    • Another is the Brain Golem, used by Mind Flayers and made of exactly what it sounds like.
    • There's also the Demon Flesh Golem, which as its name suggests is composed of the bodies of demons rather than humans and other humanoid creatures. Generally more intelligent than a standard Flesh Golem, and also stronger and far more durable.
    • Then there is the Dragonflesh Golem, also known as a drolem, which as can be expected is made from the bodies of various dragons. They are quite a bit stronger and depending on the game version it either has a poisonous breath attack or invokes terror on all who see it. Dragons who discover a drolem get understandably pissed off at the idea of several dragons being used to make a golem, including chromatics, and will immediately try to find and kill the wizard who dared to make such a construct.
  • In addition to the classic Flesh version, Pathfinder also has the Carrion Golem. The primary difference being the Carrion Golem's parts don't necessarily need to belong to the same species.
    • The necrocraft takes this idea to even more creative heights, and blur the line between a flesh golem and a more conventional golem. Corpses and body parts are literally blended and fused together to form completely new creatures with entirely original anatomy. A dead griffin's talons might form the toothy maw in a necrocraft, for example.
  • Malifaux has the Resurrectionist Dr McMourning, who makes flesh golem from bodies that come into the morgue, right under the Guild's noses.
  • Princess: The Hopeful features the Golaenu, spirit-lieutenants of the Queen of Storms. In order to interact with the material world, Golaenu need a Vessel, a golem-body crafted of a mixture of flesh and clay. While the only part that has to be flesh is the heart, a Goleanu made almost entirely of clay will look very clearly inhuman and that tends to attract attention. Further, certain body parts grant the Golaenu access to differing Reprisals depending on whether they were made from flesh or clay, so if this particular Golaenu likes having access to Reprisals keyed to fleshy components...
    • Moreover, Golaenu can gain skills from the "donors" of their various body parts, so a Stormwracked cell will occasionally hunt down and kill six or seven different people, selecting one body part from each, to create a particularly skilled Golaenu Vessel for some special mission.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade gives us the Vozhdt, a T. rex-sized mountain of ghouls all merged into a single, horrifying creature with the power of vissicitude. The Tzimisce use them as siege weapons against the Camarilla, and the mere sight of one is said to be able to drive its victims mad with fear.
  • War Machine has biomechanical monsters made out of battlefield salvage by the Cryx... Not just materiel, either. The simplest are slapped together by necro-techs right there on the field, which are really just walking bombs, others include walking tanks of toxic waste with a cannon to fire them out of. They just get more complex from there.
  • Warhammer has both living and undead versions, in the form of the Skaven Hell Pit Abomination (based on the body of a giant underground worm) and the Vampire Counts' Abyssal Terror (based on anything the necromancers have to hand). Some chaos spawn also end up like this.
    • The Lizardmen are a particularly unusual version of this trope. Though they have the physical appearance of Lizard Folk, they are essentially organic robots, which emerge from seething pools of mysterious alchemical compounds known simply as "spawning pools" at unpredictable intervals. Though made of flesh and blood, lizardmen have no real personalities and few biological drives; they exist to fulfil a preprogrammed role, and this is generally all they concern themselves with doing, though there have been examples who grew beyond this programming, largely limited to the smaller, smarter Skink variety.
  • Dark Eldar Grotesques and pain engines from Warhammer 40,000 are this, usually with both biological and mechanical parts.
    • The Tyranids are another example. They do act out of hunger, but they don't "eat" as much as process everything organic they encounter into biomass and then make new spawn out of it, thus making it so pretty much every single tyranid is a flesh golem.

    Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: In Under the Burning Suns, when escaping the flooding cave, the desert elves encounter a Flesh Golem unit named Kromph, a being described as a huge creature "composed of many body parts all sewn together." Fortunately, it answers to the command of whoever awaken it, which in this case is Nym.
  • The Harvesters in the Dragon Age series. Bonus points for them having been originally created in an attempt to rediscover the lost secret of making regular stone/metal golems.
  • Castlevania:
    • A recurring boss is Legion, a tentacled monster that surrounds itself with a round "shell" of zombies.
    • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow has a Flesh Golem enemy. Its soul allows Soma to eat harmful food and allow him to restore health instead of damage him.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho features two forms of flesh golems. While the "Sumerian Puppet" is almost certainly non-sentient and (as the name implies) only moves according to Enlil pulling its strings, the "Corpses Behemoth" consist of hundreds of humans merged together into one giant monstrosity with a single mind.
  • Diablo:
    • Butchers are demons created by grafting together the severed bodyparts of other demons, intended to possess the other demons' strengths with none of their limitations.
    • Diablo II has Blood Golems, created with only a bit of the Necromancer's blood and damage dealt by it would heal both the summon and the summoner. Before a patch, it also had a Shared Life-Meter with the Necromancer that created it, meaning any damage dealt to it would harm the player as well.
    • Diablo III has the Unburied, massive undeads that rise from mass graves.
  • Pudge in Dota 2 (his original model is the same as the trope image). Undying has the ultimate ability named exactly Flesh Golem, which transforms him into a buffed-up version of himself, but the form he takes on does not fall under this trope.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion:
    • The Shivering Isles expansion features the Flesh Atronach as a mid-level enemy, which is basically the classic stitched-together-corpses style of Flesh Golem in all but name. It also features an extra-large boss version known as the Gatekeeper, which guards the titular Shivering Isles against intruders and has a huge sword for an arm and the gate keys sewn into its skin. Notably, while Flesh Atronachs are implied to be a form of elemental-themed Lesser Daedra like all other Atronachs, the Gatekeeper is confirmed to have been artificially created, making it closer to the traditional depiction of Flesh Golems; in fact, after killing it to progress, you later have to track down its creator and help build a new Gatekeeper to defend against an invasion.
    • The expansion also features an unusual variation on the theme with the Shambles, a Bone Golem that appears to have been cobbled together from the skeletons of different creatures to make one big Elite Skeleton, including leg bones for arms, a head which includes three forearms strapped to a pelvis, and human skulls for knees.
  • Fall from Heaven has flesh golems as a body magic spell. Units may be sacrificed using the "graft flesh" spell to add their abilities to the flesh golem.
  • In Gems of War, the Flesh Golem is one of the troops associated with Ghulvania; three limbs, one-and-a-half heads, and surplus mouths.
  • Halo: While The Flood starts out as The Virus and Puppeteer Parasite, once the infection hits critical mass they'll begin to faze out the use of Combat and Carrier Forms and create "Pure" Forms. This is when they take the collected biomass of anything and everything they've infected and convert/mold it into sapient footsoldiers. This is usually preceded by the proper formation and emergence of a Gravemind, a towering plant/fungus horror made of the infected that unlike most flesh golems is incredibly intelligent because it houses The Flood's Hive Mind.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has Melchiah, a vampire who was resurrected using the very smallest part of his master's soul, leaving him with many of his human vulnerabilities such as bodily decay. To combat this, he would have to absorb his own underlings into him, until you eventually find him in the game as a giant undulating mass of humanoid corpses, using the hands of lesser vampires as fingers.
  • Brigade from Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is made up of parts of one hundred different blacks ops soldiers who died after being accidentally exposed to an experimental nerve agent. The platoon's leader, Rick Landau, is in control most of the time, but occasionally, one of the other soldiers' minds tries to take over, which can make Brigade spaz out mid-fight for a few seconds.
  • Mass Effect: The Elite Mooks Scions and Praetorians in Mass Effect 2 are composed of three and thirty technologically reanimated dead bodies, respectively. Mass Effect 3 gives us the Cannibals, which are composed of a batarian and a human corpse grafted together, and the Brutes, who have a turian head attached to a krogan body.
  • While it hasn't appeared in any official media, the lore of Monster Hunter references a bioweapon created by the Ancient Civilization called the "Equal Dragon Weapon", an artificial lifeform crafted from the body parts of several elder dragons, held together in a metallic carapace.
  • NetHack has these as a standard enemy. Stoning them turns them into the much more dangerous stone golems. Conversely, casting Stone to Flesh on a stone golem will turn them into one of these.
  • Neverwinter Nights: The Expansion Pack Hordes of the Underdark, being D&D-based, featured a Frankenstein-like flesh golem. Further into the Underdark, the Golem Master subquest featured an island-scale war between loyal flesh golems and rebelling metal golems. The leader of flesh golem faction is made of daemonic flesh.
  • The Pepys monster from Nightmare Creatures is a recurring Giant Mook enemy created by fusing multiple human bodies together, resulting in a towering abomination with three heads, three arms, and all kinds of unidentifiable body parts holding them together in a humanoid shape.
  • [PROTOTYPE] has something of an example in the protagonist, Alex Mercer. Despite his human appearance, he's actually just a human-shaped blob of biomass infected with an extremely powerful bio-engineered virus. Most of said biomass is from the people he consumes.
  • Silent Hill has several examples.
    • In Silent Hill 4, the Twin Victims enemy is the mangled bodies of Billy and Miriam Locane fused into one. They were so young at the time of their death they didn't have enough strength to manifest on their own, forcing them to meld together. Then again, they still were so weak they could only manifest as a regular enemy with half of their body missing and two baby heads.
    • In the same game, the Bottom enemy ups the ante by having a third head sprouting out from where their groin should be. They are also twice as aggressive as the Twin Victims.
    • Homecoming features everything from Siam (big male and small female with fused backs) to Asphyxia (the "Centipede" boss).
  • It's not explained particularly well in The Thing (2002), but some of the creatures, particularly the 150-foot-tall monstrosity, greatly exceed a human in mass, thus implying they are made of several humans processed into pure biomass and fused together.
  • Warcraft:
    • Abominations, pictured above, are behemoths created by the Scourge from the body parts of their enemies. The Forsaken (the playable race in World of Warcraft) had taken to making them as well. In the expansion, they can eat corpses to recover health. They do have some intelligence, but not much, as well as three basic emotional states: bored (when not killing anything,) happy (when on the way to kill something,) and ecstatic (when actively in the process of killing things.)
    • The actual unit called a Flesh Golem is even bigger than an Abomination, and despite only being partly armored it's tougher than the other golem enemies. Unlike "standard" golems (which are made of metal, or mud, rock, or granite), it has no spell immunity.
    • The Scourge also introduced other examples. Plague-dogs are similar to abominations, only fashioned from animal parts. Flesh beasts are an improved form of Abomination. The most disturbing example is Thaddius, a golem created from the flesh of women and children, with their souls trapped in the body. Their screams for help can be heard throughout Naxxramas until he is killed.
  • Damion from Witches X Warlocks is made out of different spare body parts, and often has to sow themself back together.

  • Quilt in Dominic Deegan is a "necromantic golem" made by Jacob from pieces of some cultists he killed. Fortunately, he turned out to have a sense of humor, if a bit dim. Notably, he's Immune to Mind Control by virtue of not having a brain.
  • Jack (David Hopkins) features the lustful mass of bodies in a way of the Valley of Lust, as well as a creature that is, essentially, a humongous spiked dickzilla made of fused furries.
  • The Order of the Stick features Flesh Golems as villains in Greysky City, especially in a deleted sequence that's in the collection Don't Split The Party. Later reoccurring villain Crystal is turned into a rare self-aware Flesh Golem and attacks the party again.

    Web Original 
  • Seasons 1 and 2 of the Qem-95 series Ark Warriors are based about a team trying to stop either an evil king or a ghostly cult from summoning one of these. Eventually, the cult is revealed to not be ghostly, rather being a thousandth of the golem they're trying to summon.
  • Twig is an Alternate History story in which Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley discovered the secrets of creating Frankenstein-like creatures called "Stitched" instead of becoming a writer, and a century later the Stitched are a common sight that has replaced a lot of unskilled labor.

    Western Animation 

    Real life 
  • The recipients of things like skin grafts and organ transplants could be considered examples, albeit much less horrific and much more helpful than a standard flesh golem. This is a borderline example, however, as the parts are grafted on in a way that minimizes things like ugly scarring. The general idea (cutting parts out of one body and placing them in another) is there, though.