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Head Turned Backwards

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"Hey, check it out! Now I can see where I've been!"

"My ass! I can see my ass!"
Madeline Ashton, Death Becomes Her

When a freak teleportation accident, head reattachment gone wrong or some other strange occurrence ends up with a character's head on or turned the wrong way. Very likely to happen after a Cranium Chase.

Could also be the result of Amusing Injuries, especially a Neck Snap. Someone with Abnormal Limb Rotation Range might be able to do this at will without thinking twice about it.

Should not be confused with Exorcist Head, which is about the head turning around abnormally on purpose, and usually in a horrific context.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: During their Tournament match, Videl manages to kick Spopovich so hard that it turned his head 180 degrees. As Spopovich falls over, everyone in the arena is horrified, including Videl, who thinks she's just killed him. He's only stunned, though, as just a few seconds later he gets up and violently jerks his head back in place.
  • In the anime of Jojos Bizarre Adventure, this is how Yoshikage Kira meets his grisly end. And the audience gets to see it happen to make sure they know he died.

    Comic Books 
  • This is the "power" of lesser Nightwing foe Torque. Due to radical surgery following a Neck Snap, he continues to live with his head turned 180 degrees.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The hero of "The Two Brothers", collected by The Brothers Grimm, is beheaded in his sleep by a wicked marshal. When the hero's train of animal companions find him, they send the hare to fetch a magic root that can restore people back to life. It works, but the not-too-bright animals have put his head on the wrong way. The hero does not immediately realize this due to being lovesick, and only when he tries to eat lunch he notices there is something amiss. The animals fess up to their mistake, and the lion mends the damage by ripping the head off, then putting it back on the right way with the magic root.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Death Becomes Her. After a fall down a flight of stairs, the now-immortal Madeline finds her neck broken and her head backward. Cue the quote above.
  • The Empire Strikes Back sees this happen to C-3PO after Chewbacca reassembles him.
  • In Spaceballs, this happens to President Skroob via Teleporter Accident:
    President Skroob: Why didn't anyone tell me my ass was so big?
  • There's a Laurel and Hardy short where they run into some big guy who threatens to "turn their heads north and south" if they don't stop annoying him. The final scene shows them with their heads on backwards. Results in Oliver telling Stan "Well, Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!" And Stan whines "But I couldn't help it! You always picked on me!"
  • In Deadpool 2, the titular character ends up having his head turned backward after a crash. Him being Deadpool, he merely comments that "something is wrong", then snaps his head back to place.
  • Kung Fu Hustle: This is the fate of Brother Sum, after he pissed off the Beast in the wrong way.
  • Army of the Dead: A horrific and fatal case happens with Maria Cruz ending up victim of a Neck Snap by an Alpha zombie. For added horror, part of her vertebral column springs out.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason Voorhees snaps the neck of a Fratbro partying at the cornfield party, twisting his head 180 degrees.

  • A biker goes on a road trip with his girlfriend, who's wearing a leather jacket back-to-front to reduce the wind. The bike crashes, sending both into the bushes. When the biker comes to, he gets up to find his still-unconscious girlfriend surrounded by helpful locals, one of which is telling the others, "On three, we twist her head back right way round! One, two, three!"

  • In the After the End proto-Solar Punk setting of Always Coming Home, the otherwise human-looking bugaboo called the "Backward-Head" is "a literalization of a metaphor" about the people who killed the world in the distant past. Backwards-Heads thrive on poison and are driven by irrational fear and malice, because it makes no sense to the inhabitants of the Valley for anyone to cause that much lasting damage under any other circumstances.
    "So these things human beings had done to the world must have been deliberate and conscious acts of evil, serving the purposes of wrong understanding, fear, and greed. The people who had done these things had done wrong mindfully. They had had their heads on wrong."
  • In the Inferno, fortune-tellers have to walk forwards with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is ahead, because of their forbidden attempts to see the future in life.
  • Deliberately invoked in Perdido Street Station, where some of Motley's moth-keepers are remade this way to allow them to safely view the moths through mirrors while the rest of their bodies are directed towards them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On True Blood, Bill ends up having hate-sex with his sire, Lorena. During the act, Bill twists her head backwards, which neither interrupts their sex nor seems to bother her that much. Easily one of the most disturbing scenes in the series.
  • At least two victims of the Neck Snap have been found this way on NCIS. This then leads to Gibbs demonstrating the technique on one of his agents.
  • Very subtly done with a dead body in The Mist where dark pants obscure what direction the legs are facing and there is a close-up of the shirt tag sticking out directly below his chin.
  • Passions has this happen to Norma and Edna Wallace after Kay tries to fix her last mishap with them.


  • A sketch show on Radio 4 had a man wake to find his head was on backwards. It turned out to have been done by medical students as a fundraising stunt — to raise money for the victims of their previous fundraising stunts.

    Video Games 
  • In the final battle of Luigi's Mansion, you fight King Boo in a mechanical Bowser suit. You blow the head off the suit so King Boo comes out and you can start sucking him up. Once you get his HP down to a certain point, though, he'll start attaching the head to the Bowser suit backwards, causing him to run and flail around for several seconds before twisting it back around.
  • The 2013 Deadpool game has Deadpool at one point getting badly wounded and ending with his head backward. He also lost an arm, and can't put back his head straight until he recovers it — unfortunately, he has to chase a dog fleeing with said arm. Also an opportunity for Interface Screw, since the controls are backwards too until the head is set straight.

    Web Comics 
  • The people being owls in Realm of Owls, heads turning backwards are a norm rather than an exception, but it still works as a comedic effect.
  • S.S.D.D.: Take a guess how Sticks reattached Tin-Head's head when he insulted him through the reassembly process.
  • Rusty and Co.: After demonstrating that having Ezra's head loped off isn't going to stop her, Cube counters this by letting it fall backwards on her neck, and her regeneration power immediately glues it in position, putting a serious damper on her combat capability. Until her brother turns said head the right way, in a move that would be a Neck Snap if they weren't undead.
    Koenig: Keep your head straight, dear sister.
    Ezra: I'm never drinking from a twist-off bottle again.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: In Bender's Big Score, Hermes gets decapitated in a limbo accident. Zoidberg reattaches it later, with his usual brand of incompetence.
    Zoidberg: I thought you were happy! Look, your tail is wagging!
  • This happens to Sheen Estevez in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Vanishing Act" when he reattaches his head after finding his body, which also heavily lampshades this trope, as well as being the page image.
  • Looney Tunes, Rabbit Fire. One of Elmer's gunshots turns Daffy's head upside down.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Neptune's Spatula", King Neptune blasts Patrick to cinders. He revives him, only with his face on his butt.
    Patrick: (To SpongeBob) Say, have you gotten taller?
  • In one episode of Popetown, it happens to the Pope after a (harmless) beheading. He has his head sewed back, but backward.
  • Happens to Mordecai in Regular Show, caused by a rap battle of all things.
  • Back-to-Front in The Raggy Dolls is named for the fact the manufacturer put his head on back-to-front.
  • Steven Universe: A crossover with Uncle Grandpa in "Say Uncle" leads to a sight gag involving characters' heads detaching from their bodies. This ends up happening briefly to Amethyst when the heads come back down to Earth. Notably, due to her outfit, it can be hard to tell her head is on backwards until she points it out.
    Amethyst: My head is on backward!
  • Hilda: In a season 2 episode, David dies from getting decapitated by a viking. Hilda and Frida manage to reattach his head to his body and resurrect him, but accidentally put it on backward. After David awakes screaming in horror, a third party abruptly decapitates him again so his friends can reattach his head properly before reviving him again.