Follow TV Tropes


Improvised Cross

Go To
Yes, we realize the irony of a demon-looking Mutant saying he believes in God while holding up an improvised cross against a vampire.

A combination of Holy Burns Evil and Improvised Weapon. A character is being cornered by a vampire. Desperate, she grabs two sticks from the ground and puts them together in the form of a cross in front of her. The vampire instantly starts hissing and covering its face with its cape, as if the thing was just plied from the church wall.

Can be applied to various objects, from pictures on the wall to (if the character is truly desperate) putting two fingers together. If the vampires are adverse to perpendicular lines in general and not crosses specifically, it raises the question of how they survived the invention of architecture.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

  • One of Eddie Izzard's early stand-up routines has her discussing whether or not a finger-cross would ward off a vampire, which would essentially make Dracula more of an annoyance that a terrifying monster. Also, if your crucifix has been broken and looks more like a T-sign, can you still use it to ward a vampire by holding it with your thumb stuck above it?

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Dracula Lives!, a character prevents Dracula from restoring his freshly staked brides by arranging their corpses on the floor to form a cross.
  • Uncanny X-Men
    • In one eighties issue, Nightcrawler and Wolverine are fighting Dracula. Wolverine crosses his claws to make a cross and Dracula tells him that in order for that to work on him you have to believe. Nightcrawler, a devout Catholic, holds up two pieces of wood in a cross-shape and Dracula recoils. Look at it here.
    • In Uncanny X-Men Annual #6, which is a continuation to the events above, Rachel Van Helsing keeps Dracula at bay with two candlesticks forming a cross. Since she has been recently turned into a vampire, it burns her as well.
  • The cover of Cartoon Cartoons #4 shows Courage the Cowardly Dog trying to ward off a feline vampire with a cross-shaped tire iron, though, in the actual story, Courage never uses any such thing to vanquish the beast.
    • Issue #38 of Cartoon Network Block Party with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy in "Count Gerbil" has a vampire gerbil sucking juices out of various produce items. Mandy forms a cross with two carrots to stave it off.
  • Two ninjas in Dungeon: The Early Years form a cross with their katanas and gloatingly ask the vampire if he can see it. He says he can't, as he lost his glasses, and quickly defeats them.
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: Hans uses two pieces of wood to make a makeshift cross to prevent the vampires from killing a Russian soldier.

    Comic Strips 
  • Get Fuzzy: In a story arc from 2002, Bucky crawls into the air conditioning vent and can't get himself out, so he starts demanding Satchel to help him out; at first, Satchel assumes the voice he's hearing is God, since it came from above, but when Bucky says it's not God, Satchel then assumes it's Satan, then tries to rebuke him by holding two pencils in the shape of a cross.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Asterix film Operation Getafix, there is a scene where the Soothsayer goes into a house where the Gauls are gathered. Not knowing who he is, Unhygenix the fishmonger makes a cross using two fish (which is a rather anachronistic joke given that the film takes place in 50 BC).
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, during the were-rabbit's first rampage, he takes vegetables from the vicar's garden. The vicar tries to fend it off by forming a cross with two cucumbers, but the were-rabbit just eats them. Amusingly, the vicar is shown accidentally reaching past an actual cross and grabbing the cucumbers instead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hammer Horror films:
  • From Dusk Till Dawn:
    • In the first From Dusk Till Dawn film, Jacob fights vampires with a pump-action shotgun that he cocks with a baseball bat on its loop-grip, forming a cross. Other characters carve crosses into the tips of their bullets. The wide usage of this Trope on Hammer Horror films ("Peter Cushing did it all the time!") gets a Lampshade Hanging on a previous scene, setting up the Chekhov's Gun.
    • In From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, a vampire displays an aversion to the perpendicular lines of a vault door's hand wheel and later on a vampire attack is halted by closing the backdoors of an ambulance, which have the standard hospital red cross on them.
  • The Fearless Vampire Killers: At one point of the film, the titular vampire hunters fend off a whole room of vampires by crossing a pair of long swords to improvise a huge cross.
  • In one scene of Swedish vampire flick Frostbite, a character puts two sticks together to repel a vampire. This is subverted when the vampire is unimpressed and points out that the sticks actually form an "X." This is double subverted when the character rectifies their mistake and the vampire immediately recoils.
  • In Modern Problems (1981), Max starts using his telekinetic powers at the beach house dinner table. The voodoo-practicing maid, Dorita, enters the dining room at this point with a dish of corn. When she becomes aware of what's happening, she quickly fashions a cross out of two ears of corn and gets out of there.
  • Dr. Terror's House of Horrors: When Dr. Blake throws his arms up to shield his face from the bat, they form the sign of the cross and drive the vampire away the "Vampire" segment.
  • Vampire Circus: During their final battle, Anton the uses the cross-shaped metal reinforcing plate on the base of the crossbow to hold Count Mitterhaus at bay.

  • There is a Greek folk story about an old man who was being chased by a vrykolakas, and, seeing that the fiend was about to catch him, said "Fine, I give up. Take a break, I'll wait for you by that bush." The man knew that bush was at crossroads, and as soon as the vrykolakas stepped on it, he went pop.

  • Exaggerated, justified, and deconstructed in Blindsight. Vampires have the vertical and horizontal crosswired in their visual cortex, which causes them to suffer fatal seizures upon seeing perpendicular lines. As would be expected, they went extinct when humans invented architecture.
  • Actually invoked in Carpe Jugulum, where the vampires have built up an immunity to all the traditional vampire repellents including garlic and holy symbols (crosses are not mentioned, but there are so many religions on the Disc there's probably one or two). This backfires spectacularly when Granny gets in their heads and makes their acquired immunities fail. As it happens, the Magpyr castle is deliberately full of thin metal ornaments that can be easily twisted into the holy symbol of the victim's choice, because the old count knew that letting someone defeat him every once in a while would satisfy them to not seek a more permanent form of death. So the Magpyr family suddenly find themselves surrounded by images that make them recoil in horror. It gets worse: it's made clear that vampires only get affected by a holy symbol if they recognise it, and the exposure method the Magpyrs used to build up immunity means they recognise many, many more holy symbols than most vampires...
  • Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not: In "The Final Prologue", Sherlock Holmes snaps off a section of handrail and its crossbar from the railway carriage, and uses it to repel his vampiric counterpart.
  • The Heirs of Alexandria: This is the reason the Teutonic Knights use old-fashioned cross-hilted swords rather than more modern complex hilts. When you fight demons and evil sorcerers on the regular, being able to turn your primary weapon into a field-expedient religious symbol is more valuable than a little bit of extra hand protection.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Vampires of Venice", Rory attempts this with two candlesticks. However, these vampires aren't affected by holy symbols, so the vampire just smacks them aside.
  • Forever Knight:
    • In the season two premiere, Vampire Detective Nick Knight puts two planks of wood together to ward off his former master LaCroix. His hands are smouldering from holding the cross, but LaCroix breaks and flees before he does.
    • In "For I Have Sinned", just the sight of a corpse laid out in a crucifix position is disturbing to Nick and he shouts for it to be covered up.
    • Played for laughs in "Hunters" when Schanke does the "cross my heart" gesture to female vampire Janette.
      Janette: Please...don't do that in front of me.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Bad Blood", Mulder tries to arrest Ronnie, a teenage vampire who tries to resist and fights quite hard. There is also a whole community of vampires coming to help Ronnie. Mulder spots some garlic bread sticks, grabs two of them and shapes them into a cross. It doesn't work, so he throws them at the people. That doesn't work either.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): During Laszlo's bar fight with Jim the Vampire in "On the Run", they both snap pool cues in half and make these at the same time, causing both to start sizzling.

  • Spoofed in one Old Master Q short, when the titular character runs into a ghost in a dark alley. Remembering his friend, Chin, once scared away a ghost using two sticks he found on the floor (via this trope), Master Q then grabs the two closest things he can reach... a sickle and a broomstick. Cue the confused ghost asking, "What?"

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During a WWECW house show close after both of their debuts, CM Punk held Kevin Thorne at bay during their match with his two index fingers held in the shape of a cross. Thorne had to beg the referee to get Punk to stop it.

  • A variation in Hernani. The conspirators look for a cross to swear secrecy on. One of them pulls out his sword, holds it up by the point, and says "Let us swear on this cross!".
  • In Tanz Der Vampire, after Alfred fails to scare off Count von Krolock with a huge candlestick, Abronsius quickly grabs a second one to form a cross with the first. It effectively scares off the vampires to the point that one of them is usually fainting.

    Video Games 
  • In the intro of Brütal Legend, Kabbage Boy's drummer attempts to ward off Ormagöden by crossing his drum sticks in front of him. Needless to say, it doesn't work, and the Fire Beast promptly crushes him with its fist.