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"Yeah, bite me. Bite my arm. I just ripped your jaw muscles from your skull. Bite me. I severed your spinal cord too. Bite me. Uh huh. Yeah."

Monster trying to get its teeth into you? Here's an unusual solution; force the creature's jaws apart until they break.

Oddly, this is almost always portrayed as causing instantaneous death (in which case it's usually taken to be a "cooler" version of a Neck Snap), when it should leave them alive but in crotch-stompingly horrible pain.

For some reason, reptilian monsters are especially prone to this.

A nastier variant is to simply tear the jaw off altogether.

For a less-brutal way of stopping a creature from biting chunks out of you, see Palate Propping.

A Sub-Trope of Attack the Mouth

This has nothing to do with that giant hard ball of candy, which is sometimes called a gobstopper, though the bigger varieties might break your jaw, not unlike those kids from a certain cul-de-sac.



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    Comic Books 
  • In 52, after Sobek's true colors are revealed, Black Adam finishes him off this way.
  • Pictured to the right: in an issue of The Walking Dead, upon being tackled by a zombie, Cesar Martinez sticks his hand in its mouth and breaks its jaw before it can bite his fingers. Okay he had gloves on to protect him from getting scratched by the teeth, but still.
  • In Secret Six, Jeanette breaks King Shark's jaw this way. This doesn't kill him, but it obviously leaves him in excruciating pain.
  • Thragg does this to Dinosaurus in an issue of Invincible, but he lives.
  • Superior Spider-Man mangled Scorpion's jaw, though it was later repaired by Alistair Smythe.
  • Jason seemingly rips a police officer's jawbone out in Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
  • The protagonist of Big Man Plans ties a man to a chair, then wrenches out the upper part of his jaw with a wrench.
  • In the "Wylie Runs the Voodoo Down" arc of 100 Bullets, Gabe/Martin gets his jaw ripped off by a Bear Trap. He silently requests and receives a Mercy Kill, so distraught as he is over no longer being able to play the trumpet.

    Fan Works 
  • In an in-continuity special for The Bridge taking place back on Terra in the 1990s, "Godzilla Meets King Kong! and we see King Kong use this. A growing Godzilla Junior, who'd been following and learning from Kong, uses it to finish off Gaw. The 'instant death' part is justified, as both of them finish the job by pushing the now broken jaw down and crushing the skull. Junior later uses it in the story proper on Grand King Ghidorah. While it doesn't kill him and he regenerates, it definitely hurts.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act II: During his combination No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Extreme Mêlée Revenge against Miyabi for raping Mizore, Dark punches him in the face with such force that Miyabi's jawbone snaps clean off.

  • King Kong's Signature Move. He does it to dinosaurs and giant snakes in the 30s version, the 70s version, the 00s version and the video game based on it.
    • Kong also does this to Gorosaurus in King Kong Escapes.
    • Subverted in Kong: Skull Island, where Kong attempts this against the Alpha Skullcrawler, Ramarak, but he's not strong enough to actually break his jaw and gives up.
    • Subverted again in Godzilla vs. Kong, where he tries it on Godzilla but is forced away after Godzilla's atomic breath burns his fingers.
  • Mecha-Godzilla does this to Anguirus in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. He lives, though.
  • Derek kills a man in a disturbing scene in American History X with a curb stomp.
  • One of the most horrifying deaths in Mirrors involves a poor woman getting her jaw ripped out by her own possessed reflection.
  • Yoko in The Grudge suffers this, as does Kanna in Ju-on. The third The Grudge film shows that Gretchen also suffers this fate.
  • The "reverse beartrap" in Saw, one of the series' mainstay traps. Unusually for Saw, everyone put in it manages to escape until the sixth movie, and even then Hoffman manages to jam it and escape with half a Glasgow Grin. In the next (and final) movie, he gets his revenge using the original model, which we finally see in full action. Game over.
  • The Leprechaun rips a woman's upper jaw out (to get the tooth she made out of his gold) in Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.
  • The now zombified main character in Sella Turcica kills his brother by ripping his lower jaw out. Quite nasty.
  • A character is killed by having his jaw yanked out with a pickaxe in My Bloody Valentine 3D.
  • The Taiwanese wuxia film, My Blade My Life, has the heroine slicing off a guy's lower jaw via sword as her first onscreen kill.
  • There's a jaw ripping with a claw hammer in Killing Spree.
  • Hellboy tries this on the first Sammael he fights. Sammy responds by effortlessly snapping its jaw back in place.
  • Chucky whacks Ian's mandible off with an axe in Curse of Chucky.
  • Like the above, there's an axe to the jaw in Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet, though in that case the mandible isn't completely removed.
  • The 2014 version of Hercules has the eponymous character kill the Nemean Lion in a flashback and then a wolf this way.
  • Happens to several lycans throughout the Underworld (2003) series, including one getting his torn off by Michael after being thrown into a car.
  • Wishmaster: The Djinn uses his powers to make a petty criminal go on a batshit crazy killing spree in a police station, which includes ripping out one cop's lower jaw with his bare hands.
  • Michael Myers does this offscreen to a gas station clerk in Halloween (2018), with viewers only seeing the bloody aftermath. He did this in order to retrieve the man's teeth, which he used as a prop to terrorize his next victim.
  • One of the poachers in Primal Rage has this done to him by the Oh-Mah. Reality Ensues in that he survives this injury for a few minutes, albeit in horrendous pain, until the Oh-Mah finds him again and stomps his skull to mush.
  • Joey the diner cook in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday dies when Robert, possessed by Jason Voorhees, elbows her jaw right into her skull.
  • The duel between Iorek Byrnison and Ragnar Sturlusson in The Golden Compass seemingly ends when Ragnar cripples Iorek's left frontpaw, and starts taunting him. Iorek ends the fight by knocking off Ragnar's jaw with his remaining frontpaw.
  • In Brightburn, Noah gets his lower jaw torn off from slamming the steering wheel on his truck. He is alive for a few seconds, trying to reattach it despite sheer blood loss and shock, then ultimately dies, his lower jaw falling out of place.

  • In His Dark Materials, Iorek tears his rival's jaw off. Symbolic, because the other was a liar.
  • Samson does this to a lion in The Bible.
  • Friday The 13th Hate-Kill-Repeat has Jason impale a man with a flagpole, then finish him off by ripping his lower jaw out.
  • Happens to the family patriarch in The Beast Of Nightfall Lodge. Unusually for this trope, the man lives, albeit as a disfigured recluse with a wooden prosthesis for a mandible.

    Live Action Television 
  • In 1000 Ways To Die, Jimmy Millican, once a promising research chemist, has spent five years making drugs. His only form of nutrition was a six-day old piece of gum, which was dipped in citric acid in order to keep it fresh. However, next to the acid was a bowl of red phosphorus. He accidentally dipped his gum in the wrong bowl, and when he bit down on the gum, he created enough force to ignite the phosphorus. His jaw was blown off of its hinges, and his cerebral cortex suffered from a hemorrhage.
  • In the Spartacus: Gods of the Arena episode "The Bitter End", Gannicus rams a spear into Caburus' mouth, and then pulls until his lower jaw comes off.
  • Happens to the Nazi commander in the "Bad Wolf Down" segment of Creepshow, when one of the werewolf G.I.s snags his mandible with a clawed hand.
  • When Michonne from The Walking Dead first appears in the series, she's accompanied by two "tame" zombies that have had their arms and lower jaws amputated to make them harmless.
  • Ultraman Ace had an Up to Eleven example. When the monster Muruchi II accidentally bumped into the Terrible Monster Doragory, Doragory grabbed Muruchi II's jaw and pulled so hard, he literally tore off the front of the monster's body.


    Video Games 
  • All of Jessica's possible deaths in Until Dawn involve her jaw being torn right off of her face. This isn't the main cause of death, though: in the first case, she's dropped down a mine shaft after her jaw's been ripped off; in the second case, the killer rams a handful of razor-sharp fingernails down her throat until she ceases breathing, then rips her jaw off.
  • This is one possible execution animation for Ork Nobz in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine; pin their foot with your Power Axe and then break that jaw for the Emperor.
    • And Titus does it with so much force that it makes the Nob'z head explode.
  • God of War:
    • Kratos finishes Cerberus this way in God of War II, in order to steal the artifact held within its mouth.
    • During the first boss battle in God of War III, Kratos rips the jaw off of one of Poseidon's water horses with the Blades of Chaos.
    • Exaggerated in God of War (PS4) as Kratos' Finishing Move on the werewolf enemies. Kratos rips the werewolf's jaw off, then keeps ripping through its skin until he's torn off flesh down to the creature's stomach.
  • In Halo, the aliens known as Elites have 4 mandibles in place of a bottom jaw. One Elite named Rtas 'Vadum, introduced in Halo 2, is missing his right mandibles, leading to the nickname "Half-Jaw" before his real name was revealed. In The Halo Graphic Novel, it's revealed the mandibles were cut off in a Laser Blade duel with a Flood-infected subordinate soldier. Rtas refused to have a cybernetic replacement, as the injury reminded him how strong the Flood truly were.
  • Darth Malak of Knights of the Old Republic suffered this at some point. Only it wasn't just broken...
  • This is one of the many ways you can Glory Kill a zombie or demon in DOOM (2016).
  • One of Jason's kill animations in Friday the 13th: The Game has him rip a counselor's jaws apart with his bare hands. With an axe, he can also do so with the sharp point.
  • The ghost of a sex slave encountered near the end of Paranormal has a missing jaw, suggesting this trope was how her captor murdered her.
  • In the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2, Leon finds a police officer's corpse where the right side of his throat and cheek carved open, so only a few strings of meat are keeping the jaw attached at all. The unusual shape of the wounds implies they were killed by a licker.
  • One of Nightwolf's Fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11 has him drive his tomahawk between the opponent's jaws and rip the lower one off along with the entire front of upper body before tossing the axe into their heart.
  • The Last of Us: If a Bloater gets ahold of Joel, it will do this to him for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King: Mario snaps the dog-like Stapler in half when finishing it off with the 1000-Fold Arms.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon: During the boss fight with the Golem, Spyro and Cynder have to stun it by attacking its paw and then aim for the crystals on the sides of its head, causing its lower jaw to break in half and then fall off entirely.

    Web Animation 
  • MeatCanyon turns the protagonists of Ed, Edd n Eddy, who are canonically obsessed with jawbreaker candies, into perpetrators of this.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Doc does it to a zombie. Since it was undead, it doesn't really kill the thing, but it does prevent it from biting him.
    • He doesn't stop with just removing the jaw, though. He proceeds to punch through it's spinal column, which is the part that kills it.
  • Part 4 of The Sacrifice has one of Bill's surgeons turn just as he's getting anesthetics. The ensuing struggle between her and the doctor has him tear her jaw off before she kills him and moves on to Bill.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Stapler death

Mario finishes off the Stapler by ripping apart the equivalent of the jaw.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / Jawbreaker

Media sources:

Main / Jawbreaker