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Head in a Vise

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Nothing like crushing one's head like an egg to relieve a pain in your neck.

Harold: Hey, Billy-boy. How was school?
Billy: Not good. I feel like I spent the whole day with a clamp on my head. I need a nap.
Gladys: Should we tell him that he does have a clamp on his head?
Harold: Now where's the FUN IN THAT?!

When someone proclaims that they feel like their head is in a vise (or vise-grip), they are usually being hyperbolic, using the term as creative language to describe the anguish their migraine is putting them through. Sometimes fiction likes to take this figurative phrase and make it literal, putting a person's bare head into a vise or a screw press as a form of torture.

Half the time the trope is Played for Laughs, the victim Too Kinky to Torture and finding strange pleasure in getting his skull crushed.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Marik's "Viser Des" is a Machine-type card that takes the form of a head vise. When summoned, it attaches itself to one of the opponent's monsters and drills through its head. For extra sadism, Yami Marik would often put a spell that binds the player's soul with the monsters they summoned, causing the player to experience the same pain as the monster.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Addams Family (2019): At one point in the first trailer, Morticia is shown putting a vise over Gomez's head. It's not clear why they're doing this, but certainly not to torture him, based on his reaction:
    Gomez: Is that really as tight as you can make it?
  • Invoked on Ratatouille. When Skinner catches Linguini messing with the soup, he threatens to, among other things, put him on the duck press "to squeeze the fat from his head!"
  • In The Rescuers Down Under, Wilbur wakes up from sedation at the doctor mouse's office and mutters that he feels as though his head is in a vise. Then he looks up to see his head really is in a vise. Presumably the doctor thought this was helpful to their practice, but he never explains how.
  • In the first Toy Story movie, when Woody and Buzz first arrive at Sid's house, they witness Sid taking Hannah's Janie doll and putting her head through a vise, so that he can replace it with the head of a plastic pterodactyl. Considering that toys are living beings in this universe, it still counts.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Nicky Santoro from Casino puts the head of a guy named Anthony in a vise in a nasty torture sequence.
    Nicky: Listen to me Anthony. I got your head in a fuckin' vise. I'll squash your head like a grapefruit if you don't give me a name. Don't make me have to do this, please. Don't make me be a bad guy, come on.
  • In Evil Dead 2, Ash puts the severed head of his possessed girlfriend Linda in a vise to stop her gnawing on his fingers. She taunts him while her body busts through the door with a chainsaw. Thirty years later, in Ash vs. Evil Dead, her skull remains in the vise when Ash revisits the cabin.
  • In The Three Stooges short film Disorder in the Court, Moe was demonstrating a reenactment of the crime scene using Curly as the victim and put Curly's Head in the vice.
    Moe: I'm gonna squeeze the cider out of your Adam's apple.
    • Done again in Brideless Groom to Shemp by a would-be suitress was trying to convince him to marry her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Uncle Fester in The Addams Family puts his head through a head-press as a cure for his headaches.
  • Mashin Sentai Kiramager: A vise-themed Jamenshi of the Week appeared early in the show's run. He could trap people in vises and torture them by twisting the crank on his mask, tightening the vises on his victims. After his destruction, the energy collected was used to summon the similarly themed Vise Shellga.
  • Mentioned by a female devil as one of the tortures awaiting a woman who's just arrived in Hell in a short scene from The Young Ones.

  • The Megadeth song "Head Crusher" describes a victim's torture and execution via this method.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Spidermandy", tired Billy arrives home from school, complaining to his parents that he felt like he "spent the whole day with a clamp on his head". His mom observes that he does have a clamp on his head and wonders if they should tell him. His dad declares that there's no fun in that.


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Alternative Title(s): Head In A Vice


The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy

Billy comes home from school with a clamp on his head in "Spidermandy".

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