Follow TV Tropes


Hungry Menace

Go To
He's no picky eater!

Wraith Queen: Your will is strong. This one begged for his life.
Colonel Sumner: Is that the kind of treatment I can expect for myself and my people?
Wraith Queen: As I have said, all living things must eat.

They commit acts of evil. They kill and torture. Why? Not for fun, not for profit, not because they hold any grudge against their victims. Nope, it's because their very existence and survival depend on it. Maybe they actually need to eat some specific food like vampires, maybe they feed on your pain, maybe they feed on your brain, maybe some supernatural curse demands human sacrifices from them in exchange for sparing their life.

This, similar to introducing Always Chaotic Evil people, is an easy way to create conflict that can be resolved only with violence, as you clearly can't negotiate with someone or something that needs to kill you to survive. A Hungry Menace can be depicted in several different ways — from the horrible abomination that must be slain for the good of everyone to a Non-Malicious Monster or even a natural part of the universe that is not evil at all.

If such a being kills and tortures to extend its life beyond its natural span, it's Immortality Immorality; the tropes have a similar, but different, dynamic, as Immortality Immorality presents not doing amoral things and dying as the natural and only good solution for this problem, while the Hungry Menace is more ambiguous. See also; Horror Hunger, One-Track-Minded Hunger, Face–Monster Turn and Phlebotinum Muncher. For a typical hero response, see Guilt-Free Extermination War.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach has Hollows, the hate-filled souls that survive by either eating other souls or, should they be advanced enough, cannibalizing other Hollows. It's only passed this trope if the Hollows keep personalities (take Shrieker, who used a boy's soul to hunt those he was owned by. Long story). So far, the Arrancars' diets are unknown, but all the ones with their past revealed when they were hollows ate others. It could be inferred that Ulquiorra survived off absorbing the spirit-filled particles in the air since he didn't have a mouth, but hey.
  • Toriko:
    • In the backstory, the greatest threat the world faced was herbivores known as Death Gore. Their ravenous hunger for trees nearly reduced the entire planet to a desert before they were hunted down and wiped out by the Battle Wolf.
    • GOD's true nature is that of a colossal, frog-like apex predator who can easily devour the 90% of wildlife on the planet in a few swings of his Overly-Long Tongue. The fact that he's so impossibly delicious that hordes of animals gather around him spontaneously doesn't help.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe:
    • While he might not hold any malice towards his victims and supposedly serves a few "necessary functions" within the universe, none of that changes the fact that Galactus, Devourer of Worlds has a nigh-countless number of genocides to his name. Unsurprisingly, the survivors of his feedings care little about the alleged balance of the universe, and has even tried to put Reed Richards on trial for sparing Galactus when he had the opportunity to destroy him.
    • The undead Fantastic Four that originated from Marvel Zombies claim that they need flesh to survive, but since they're just walking corpses, it's really just a psychological impulse that's almost impossible to ignore. Only one person is known to have resisted the hunger: Doctor Doom.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The eponymous monster of The Blob (1958). It oozes around to feed itself, and as it grows, so does its hunger.
  • The aliens in The Deadly Spawn are driven by hunger, and hunger alone.
  • The main antagonists of The Flesh Eaters are ravenous microbes that consume all flesh they can get.
  • The cannibal killer in The Forest (1982) is a crazy hermit who refuses to leave the cave he lives in, and hunts everything he can to feed himself.
  • Gamera films:
    • The Gyaos survive by feeding on human flesh.
    • This is subverted with Irys. We discover early-on in the film that it has a horrific way of feeding (i.e., using the claws on its arms to impale and then drain the life-force of other creatures), but, its main goal is really to merge with Ayana so it can kill Gamera allowing the Gyaos to devour all of humanity.
  • The Tao Tie from The Great Wall: indeed, "taotie" is a symbol in Chinese mythology representing gluttony and greed. The swarm razes the capital of China every sixty years, devouring any meat living or dead, to bring back to their queen.
  • The flesh-eating zombies of the Living Dead Series and its many imitators.
  • Jean Jacket from Nope. It's an enormous flying saucer that has come to Earth to abduct people and animals because, as it's eventually revealed, it's not a spaceship: it's the alien itself, and its actions are motivated purely by hunger like an airborne version of Jaws.
  • Return of the Living Dead has an unusual example: they're driven to eat the brains of living humans because it's the only thing that dulls the pain of being a living corpse, in the Ur-Example of zombies craving brains rather than just flesh.

  • The Hiver in A Hat Full of Sky is an immortal disembodied spirit that has to live by serially possessing, and burning out, a succession of human hosts. It isn't evil; it can only live this way. It drives the host to seek power and dominance, believing that only this way can it feel safe, thus spreading misery to all around it. The character and the setting may be a Shout-Out to Alan Garner, who uses a very similar nightmare creature, the Brollochan, in The Moon of Gomrath. In both books, a possessed young Witch has to break free of the creature that has taken over her mind.
  • It feeds off the fear and pain of the victims it devours and likes to target children because their fear is more "pure" and thus more potent. Without feeding, It will starve during its period of hibernation.
  • The villain in the short story "The Mindworm" by Cyril M. Kornbluth is an Emotion Eater, and feeding on strong human emotions drains his victims to death.
  • Maw-mouths in The Scholomance are Nigh Invulnerable Blob Monsters whose hunger can never, ever be satisfied. They are the one variety of maleficaria that no sane wizard will even try to fight.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, this is what happens to Orcs under the effect of an Orc Lord's Unique Skill [Starvation]. They become perpetually hungry for anything they can get their hands on and tear apart with their teeth, along with the chance to gain the traits and abilities of what they eat. Interestingly, despite the hunger they can't actually die from starvation as long as the Orc Lord himself eats. Surprisingly for this trope, the current Orc Lord only became one and accepted this skill because otherwise the orc tribes would have perished to the last in a great famine, and the orcs once freed of its effects via the Orc Lord's death and absorption by Rimuru's hands after he chooses to Face Death with Dignity upon receiving Rimuru's promise to help his people are appropriately horrified by what they did to survive.
  • In World War Z, zombies eat any flesh, as long as it's living or almost fresh. Of course, zombies don't actually need to feed, being walking corpses — it's because the hunger response is the only thing their brains are still capable of processing.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chronicles of Darkness has several examples.
    • Beast: The Primordial: A Beast's human soul has been replaced by an incarnation of primeval fear known as the Horror, which they must keep fed by inflicting suffering on a sapient being. Fail to inflict adequate torment to keep your Horror sated, and it will devour your flesh in a manner analogous to more mundane starvation.
    • Promethean: The Created: Pandorans need a constant influx of new Pyros to keep themselves active, which they can only get by eating Prometheans. Without fresh Pyros, they drop into a torpor-like state from which they only revive when they detect the Azothic radiance of a Promethean.
    • Vampire: The Requiem: Vampires must drink blood to survive, and blood taken from a living human is the most nourishing. "Cold" blood taken from a corpse (or preserved in blood banks) requires that the vampire drink vast quantities to gain any nourishment, and animal blood is little better even fresh.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Possibly the Tarrasque. While it is possibly the most feared and lethal beasts in the entire setting, it seems pretty much mindless and is driven by hunger... probably. Fortunately, it spends most of its time sleeping, only waking up every five to six months or so, devouring everything in sight for a week when it does. Spelljammer suggested that in their default environment, tarrasque are far less destructive, being relatively docile lithovores, but unfortunately, most atmospheres has something they react adversely to (or lacks something vital to stop the reaction), hence mindless hunger as opposed to mere animalistic hunger.
    • Illithids must consume brains or the equivalent to survive, and reproduce via parasitic transformation of captured humanoids. Individual mind flayers can survive on animals, but the smarter, stronger-willed the mind of the consumed brain was, the more nourishing it is, so an illithid that has consumed an average human brain can go for a while without feeding again, while someone that goes for a rabbit will soon be hungry again.
    • Dalmosh of the Infinite Maws is a unique fiend, a 50-foot humanoid with lumpen facial features over a massive mouth, and a body covered in "scars" that are actually additional mouths he grows in response to attacks. He is perpetually hungry, and usually spends his days gnawing on the Flesh Mountains of the Abyss, though some evil spellcasters will summon Dalmosh to act like a living weapon of mass destruction. Dalmosh exists only to destroy and consume, and can eat constantly without becoming full since anything he devours is deposited in a fleshy Pocket Dimension, Dalmosh's Gullet. Enough intelligent creatures have been consumed this way for ramshackle settlements to spring up in said Gullet, surviving off the random items and bits of food that occasionally rain down from above.
    • Hill giants have no sense when it comes to what they eat, but are usually tough enough to digest even rotten food and diseased carrion, so when a hill giant does get food poisoning, their tribe takes notice. The sick giant is kept in isolation, and priests of their patron deity Grolantor study the wretch's vomit for divine portents. Should the giant fail to recover, it is declared a "Mouth of Grolantor," kept in chains, and intentionally starved until it's insane with its god's endless hunger. During raids or in defense of the tribe, the Mouth of Grolantor is unleashed to go into an uncontrollable feeding frenzy, only to be recaptured once it's gorged itself on its enemies to the point of passing out.
  • Shadowrun and Earthdawn:
    • Insect Spirits. Acting in accordance to their nature, insect spirits know only how to consume and parasite. Unlike most spirits, they crave the souls of living beings and manifest by eating people's souls and taking over their bodies. Unlike with most other types of spirit (animal or elemental), they cannot be bargained away from harming people, and as such insect spirits are a shoot-on-sight enemy and any shaman deprived enough to take an insect mentor is unsuitable as anything but a villain.
    • The Horrors ... Possibly. As they are an Unseen Evil they appear only sparsely in Earthdawn and have yet to fully manifest in Shadowrun, but what is known is they are Eldritch Abominations from a different plane of existence. They are Emotion Eaters that subside on the pain and fear of the people they torment, and can only begin invading once the amount of mana in the environment reaches a certain threshold. However, it is unknown just how intelligent they are and to which degree they need to torture mortals to death to survive, which means they're possibly this trope or possibly just plain sadistic bastards.
  • Warhammer: The Ogres' lives are defined by hunger instilled in them by the Great Maw, the ever-hungry god they worship. They need immense, constant supplies of red meat to keep themselves going, and are constantly at war with each other and other nations to obtain food — both through hunting rights and wealth with which to buy more food and through much more direct methods.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Dark Eldar inflict pain, misery, and destruction and literally get younger to achieve a degree of eternal life and stave off Slaneesh's attempts to eat their souls. Haemonculi need to do this in a twisted, creative fashion on a daily basis or they'd wither away. Wyches perform gladiatorial fights on captured prey that the Dark Eldar attend, their faces and skin noticeably younger and healthier when they leave than when they entered.
    • The Tyranid Hive Fleets eat entire planets down to the bedrock. Why? Because they're hungry animals with very thorough digestive processes, and need biomass to create troops to defend themselves and secure more food with.

  • Ruddigore: Centuries ago, the first Baronet of Ruddigore persecuted witches. As she was burnt at the stake, one of his victims cursed all future Baronets of Ruddigore to commit a crime every day, or die in agony. Every Baronet of Ruddigore since then has died when he couldn't bring himself to continue a life of crime. Luckily the current Baronet discovers a Curse Escape Clause.

    Video Games 
  • In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a large part of the reason the main setting is packed with mutilated corpses is because protagonist Daniel sacrificed people regularly to ward off a formless horror fixated entirely upon killing him, and antagonist Baron Alexander needed a substance derived from the agonising torture of human beings to return to his home. They pooled their efforts.
  • Destiny: The Hive have spent the past several billion years crusading across the galaxy exterminating every advanced civilization they encounter, partly for ideological reasons (they're social darwinists cranked up to Omnicidal Maniac levels), but also because they're all infected with spiritual parasites that feed on violence. They get Reality Warper powers out of the deal, but if they fail to cause enough bloodshed to satisfy their worms, their worms will start eating them instead. The worms only grow hungrier as their hosts grow stronger, compelling them to perform ever-greater massacres to stay on top.
  • Everyone in the Junkyard in Digital Devil Saga is infected with a virus that turns them into demons. Demons need a substance called Magnetite to live, which is commonly found in humans or other demons. If anyone infected with the virus abstains from eating other people, they go berserk.
  • Played with in God Eater Burst. God Eaters who come off like this, including the Player Character, making comments during Devour attacks that suggest they feel their symbiotic weapon's desire to keep ripping chunks out of Aragami. While a bit creepy, the God Eaters do have complete control of the ability, downplaying the trope somewhat.
  • Darth Nihilus, the Sith Lord of Hunger from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. He's described as a black hole in the Force, feeding off the life force of others. He's the Sith responsible for the destruction of Katarr and the near extinction of the Jedi Order.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) introduces the the Deviljho, a monster that is ruthlessly overpowered, and is known for wiping out all of the local fauna because it is constantly HUNGRY! Other large monsters run from this menace, for fear of being eaten. If it runs into the corpse of a monster you killed, it will eat it to regain stamina. 3 Ultimate introduces the Savage Deviljho, a specimen that's gotten so hungry it's undergone apoptosis because of it, and the resulting pain has sent its body into overdrive, spurring into a hunger-driven frenzy until it dies.
    • Monster Hunter Generations has the Nakarkos, a cuttlefish-like Elder Dragon that drags prey to its lair from far and wide, leaving the areas closest to its nest for last so they have the most food. Though it does use bones and carapaces from some of its prey to armor itself, it's a different case than the above Deviljho. It doesn't eat because it's hungry or has a juiced-up metabolism; it eats because it wants to.
    • On a lesser level, many quests also come from farmers, traders, or the lake asking you to hunt a monster that's making their livelihoods difficult. Not out of malice, but because it thinks their pack animals or possessions make good eating. None of the monsters are evil, just eking out their own existence.
  • In Mortal Kombat 11, Skarlet was saved from a life of crushing starvation on the streets when Shao Khan saw her potential, took her under his wing, and taught her Blood Magic. She now needs to drink blood to survive, which she gets from killing her opponents, and tells other combatants that she's constantly hungry.
  • The Devouring Swarm Hive Mind archetype from Stellaris is incapable of ordinary diplomacy, and exists only to take and devour worlds. Even pacifists can freely declare war on the Swarm to stop it from growing and slaughtering.

    Web Original 
  • The Noedolekcin Archives: Gabore, the Warden of Gluttony, appears in the broadcast hijackings and devours any Nickelodeon character unfortunate enough to meet him, regardless of species.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers:
    • The Insecticons in The Transformers. Their primary motivation is feeding and they have little interest in the Decepticon cause beyond whatever Megatron is offering to eat and will quickly turn on him when food runs out or they find a way to get what they want without him.
    • Scraplets, as seen in Transformers: Prime, are wildlife from Cybertron that swarm and devour anything metal they can sink their teeth into. The sight of one can elicit panic from even the most hardened Cybertronian warriors.

    Real Life 
  • Carnivores need to eat meat. Some carnivores are scavengers who primarily feed on the dead, but others are predators who have to kill other animals in order to survive.


Video Example(s):



The moopsy is an adorable ball of cuteness that purrs... and sucks your bones out!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / KillerRabbit

Media sources: