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Hiss Before Fleeing

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Jeez, no need to be so catty about it.

The heroes have fought the monster, given it some good licks, but the monster isn't done yet. It pauses for a moment to hiss or screech loudly with its fangs out, its arms outstretched and claws extended, before leaping offscreen. Perhaps it just wanted to get the last word in. Time for the heroes to pursue.

Maybe it wants to frighten the heroes away, or just wants to vent some rage at being beaten up by mere humans. Whatever the case, it's Villain: Exit, Stage Left! Mostly, it's animal monsters that do this, though vampires and aliens are also fond of hissing before fleeing. Occasionally, anything that cause a burning reaction or Glamour Failure is sure to make the creature hiss before fleeing.

The exit counterpart to Roar Before Beating. It seems like while monsters roar to say hello, they hiss to say goodbye. This is a very common trope, possibly an Undead Horse Trope. It appears to be based on the idea that all animals are cats.

Variants for more humanoid villains include scowling or shaking a fist, often while spewing "Curse you!" or some other Badbutt insult.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hellsing. Episode 7, Duel has the scene where Vatican priests tell Integra that their paladin is about to ambush their soldiers in the subway, right when Integra and Alucard were about to kill said priests in a museum. Integra doesn't actually hiss, but she does make a similar noise, give one hell of a mean glare, and promptly spins around and walks away (retreating) defiantly, followed by Alucard who does something very similar. Subversion seeing as they're the good guys.

    Comic Books 
  • A rat creature in Bone does this after an unsuccessful face-down with the Red Dragon.
  • One of the turned babysitters in Peculia and the Goon Grove Vampires tries this when a gypsy starts firing stakes at them. She get the hissing part down, the running... not so much.
  • In Victorioan Undead 2: Sherlock Holmes, when the hunters raid one of Dracula's crypts, they find a turned Lucy Westenra leading Dracula's brides ready to ambush them. However the hunters uses crosses and flares to beat them back, killing two of the brides. Lucy claims to be more "enlightened" due to being a vampire turned in modern day and that faith is needed on both sides for the crosses to be effective, granting her some resistance against them. Regardless she can't fully resist the cross's holy influence and, seeing that she's outnumbered, ultimately bargains for her life, killing the last bride for the hunters before fleeing out the roof of the building.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: When the manager of Spender's Gifts tries to capture the lost Mittens and collect the reward for her return in "The Mall," the cat hisses at him as she frantically backpedals away. Luckily, she crashes into Bolt, who scares the man off.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien, possibly the Trope Codifier.
  • Parodied by Pee Wee Herman in Pee-wee's Big Adventure: He is stalking down the street on a rainy night, slowly going insane from the theft of his bicycle. A group of gang members walk up and threaten him - and Pee-Wee frightens them off with a feral hiss.
  • Things in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) scream a lot.
  • Very common in vampire films.
    • See Underworld (2003) for a good example or two.
    • In Horror of Dracula, Lucy hisses as Helsing thrusts a cross at her before scalding her with it, leaving a nasty mark on her forehead. To which she flees back into her crypt.
    • The Brides of Dracula: The Baron does this when Helsing first confronts him and gets warded off by his cross, ultimately rushing out of his chateau and escaping via a coach. Later, after Gina is drained, turns and revives in the horse stables where Marianne unwittingly has come to pay her last respects. She hisses when Helsing arrives and interrupts her attempt to have Marianne join her to go see the Baron, fleeing when Helsing focuses on catching a fainted Marianne.
    • Count Yorga: Inverted, in the climax of the movie, Micheal is confronted by his now vamped friend, Erica, as well as a nameless red-headed bride. He manages to ward them off with the red-head running away leaving Erica still standing there at Micheal's mercy. After he can't bring himself to stake her, he heads off back upstairs with Erica hissing at him as he goes.
    • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Lucy again this time in the crypt. Once again Helsing thrusts a cross at her to force her back into her coffin. She hisses all the way, only stopping when she vomits blood at him.
  • Avatar: Appears to be an instinctive gesture of contempt used by the Na'vi - and often as not is Hiss Before Righteous Ass-Kicking instead.
  • Frank Butterman of Hot Fuzz at the end of the bar scene in the movie's climax, though that was more of a growl than a hiss. Specifically, a lion's growl.
  • Mad Max:
    • Mad Max: Toecutter, the leader of the biker gang, does this after Max shoots The Dragon dead. He then jumps on his bike and roars off, but Max soon chases after him.
    • Wez does this in The Road Warrior, just after leaping out of the oil drillers' compound.
    • Immortan Joe does this in Mad Max: Fury Road, identically to how Toecutter did his, as an Actor Allusion: both Toecutter and Immortan Joe were played by Hugh Keays-Byrne.
  • The Gremlins tend to hiss at their attackers before they flee a scene.
  • Shelob does something very like this trope after Sam cuts her a good one in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, although her "voice" is pretty much nothing but hissing in any case.
  • A non-horrific (and funnier) variant occurs at the end of Big Daddy when Vanessa realizes that Sonny and all his friends have just found she fell on hard times and had to become a scantily-clad Hooters girl...after having taunted Sonny back when they were a couple that she would go on to have a successful career and he'd always be lazy and worthless (oh, and to make the scenario even more humiliating, Sonny's a lawyer by this point, and is dressed the part). Vanessa is too proud to betray any mortification, so she just shoots Sonny a Death Glare (pretty much the nonverbal equivalent of this trope) and then runs off.
  • The 1966 Batman: The Movie has a "Hiss Instead of Fleeing" from Catwoman. Attempting to escape from the Penguin's submarine after the Penguin, the Joker, and the Riddler and their henchmen have already been captured, she is caught and hisses at Robin as Batman orders him to handcuff her.

  • When confronted by Van Helsing and company and beginning to feed on a small boy, the newly turned Lucy in Dracula throws the child to the ground, "growling over it as a dog growls over a bone." Shortly afterwards, the vampiric Lucy is driven back by Van Helsing's crucifix. She isn't described as hissing at this point, but does have a mouth grown "to an open square, as in the passion masks of the Greeks and Japanese."
  • As above, Gríma Wormtongue does this in The Lord of the Rings as he leaves Théoden's service.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Syl, of all people, actually reacts like this when Kaladin asks her if she recognizes the name Odium.
  • 'Salem's Lot: Happens a few time as the protagonists protect themselves to ward off the rising vampire threat. One of the more notable ones is the encounter with Marijorie Glick after she dies from blood loss and is taken to the morgue, with Ben and Bill waiting to see if she would revive. Sure enough, she does and nearly attacks them but the two manage to drive her back with a cross to which hisses at them before using her powers to merge into the shadows and flee.
  • Happens at the end of several battles in the Warrior Cats series, naturally.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel and Buffy both did this in their earlier episodes, though both waned shortly into their respective runs.
  • Though he's too old to flee, Gormogon's mentor on Bones hisses viciously at Brennen and Booth when they confront him at a nursing home, then "retreats" into sullen (feigned?) senility.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Vampires of Venice", if you're lucky, the vampires flee after they hiss. If not, you will.
  • Vampires in Forever Knight always hiss when they expose their fangs. More than a few times, this has been immediately before a withdrawal.
  • Game of Thrones: Ser Barristan meets Daenerys Targaryen in Astapor in Slaver's Bay and saves her from an assassination attempt by a member of the Warlocks of Qarth, preventing a venomous manticore from harming her. The Warlock, disguised as a child, hisses at them and runs away.
  • Siren (2018): Ryn does this often before she learns how to speak English. She doesn't want to deal with all the weird looks humans give her for her obviously inhuman behavior, so a good hiss gets them off her back.

    Video Games 
  • Seen early on in with a Spider Splicer in BioShock.
  • The Wraith from Evolve does this in the end of the Stalker trailer.
  • Alma does it in the second First Encounter Assault Recon game, after you fight off her rape attempts.
  • Mileena in Mortal Kombat does this when she is tagged out in a two-on-two match.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM 2 does this when you "activate" an alien pod by coming within sight range of it - a brief cinematic will play of the aliens reacting to your presence before they get a free move to duck into cover (or not, in the case of Muton Berserkers or Chryssalids). This is particularly appropriate in the case of Thin Men, which are Snake People genetically-engineered to look somewhat human, and tend to properly hiss when revealed.

    Web Comics 
  • In Champions of Far'aus, when Sanguine taunts One ear over how she tore off his ear some time ago, after she catches him trying to steal her "food", she invites him to come come closer so she can take the other ear. He cuts her off by angrily hisses before flying away.
  • Shortpacked! example: when Robin gets into a Cat Fight with Sarah Palin, the latter does this when confronted by reporters, because free press burns her. Moments later, Robin similarly flees when Amber reminds her that it's her turn to clean the toilet.
  • In Bob and George, when going through the events of the third Mega Man game, when Mega Man comes across Shadow Man, he makes his eyes bright like headlights while looking at Shadow Man, who had/is accustomed to seeing in the dark. Shadow Man hisses and throws a Shadow Blade in Mega Man's eyes, breaking his high beams and allowing him to flee.
  • Dracula: Ruler of the Night: In the climax, the hunters find out that Dracula had taken over the manor of a fellow friend of the Westernas after losing Carfax Abby and invade it for a final showdown. No sooner than they get in, said friend and initial owner of the manor, Mrs. Petri whom not surprisingly has been turned and made into one of Dracula's newest vampire bride, tries an attempted ambush and fails when the crosses they wield ward her back. She hisses at them and retreats via flipping back a few times like a gymnast before jumping to a wall and wall crawling out of sight, much to the disturbance of the hunters.
  • Total Undead Drama: A turned Sadie and Sugar try to ambush Trent and Izzy when they explore a cellar of Storm's manor. The latter two manage to ward them back and Sadie settles into into making small talk with the pair while keeping her distance from their stakes. Sugar however doesn't bother to stick around, having already died once from being fed on, and leaves.
    Sugar: (Hisses) Ah didn't become chow to the fairy tale princess note  and become a walking corpse just so ya'll can bore me with ya'lls yapping. Nor do ah want a hole stuck in me like a shish-kabob. Ah've got enough of them on mah neck, thanks! Now if ya'll don't mind, ah got this newfound monstrous hunger for blood that needs filling, so ah'm gonna get me one of the other intruders wandering around here. Didn't wanna share with the valley ditz here anyway! Hmph! (She flies out a nearby window).

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Played for laughs in South Park in the episode where Butters thought he'd turned into a vampire. He does this because he thinks it sounds menacing. It was actually hilarious, which made it even funnier when people were genuinely shocked by it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Bart Sells His Soul", Bart does this when he is caught trying to buy Ralph Wiggum's soul. For bonus points, he disappears into smoke like a supernatural being and his eyes are briefly reptillian-slitted.
    • Another Simpsons example is Hugo in one of the Halloween specials.
    • Still another example has bunch of comic convention nerds scrounging in a trash can, who look up with red eyes and hiss when a flashlight beam falls on them, causing them to run away.
  • Momo from Avatar: The Last Airbender when Aang and Sokka reach out to him. The former wants Momo as a pet and the latter wants him for lunch.
  • In the Justice League Christmas Episode 'Comfort and Joy', Martian Manhunter has been invited to the Kents' for Christmas. J'onn is given Kara's room to sleep in. (She's off skiing with her friend Barbara). While taking in the incredibly different décor, he's approached by a cat, which he attempts to greet warmly. "Kitty." The cat does this trope, clearly unused to martians.
  • Corey did this after being Frightened by Trina when they were younger (as shown in one of her Flashbacks) in the Grojband episode "In-D Road Rager".
  • Finn of all people does this in Adventure Time after Princess Bubblegum accidentally on purpose cuts his cheek when he tries to steal her crown with a pair of scissors she was using to cut the limbs off of miniature candy people.
    • In another episode, Peppermint Butler does this when he comes into the room and sees a very ill Princess Bubblegum who has actually been possessed by the Lich.

    Real Life 
  • Many species of animal (including cats, snakes, and toads) will puff up their bodies and hiss loudly to look more intimidating before simply running away.


Video Example(s):


The Hash-Slinging Slasher

In the Krusty Krab, the Slasher will repeatedly attempt to break in. Repelling him will make him hiss before retreating.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HissBeforeFleeing

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