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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.

Nastier variants include simply tear the jaw off altogether, or push it into the creature/person's head.

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 and Facial Horror.

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 that they enjoy.


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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 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): There are a good few examples of jaw damage over the story when it comes to Ghidorah and its relatives, including Monster X and the Many. It's probably partly helped by the fact their alien Healing Factor makes this kind of damage only temporary. Two major examples include Ni/Elder Brother (Ghidorah's right head) ripping his jawbone in half escaping Methuselah's horn, and MaNi getting his upper-skull violently ripped away from the rest of him.
  • 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.
  • The Heart Trilogy: At one point during their Behemoth Battle, Durin's Bane tries to kill Smaug by forcing the dragon's jaws apart until Smaug forces the Balrog back with a blast of fire in the head.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • In Chapter 30 of the original, Soren breaks a mook's jaw with the hand guard of his sword while pursuing Mandeville.
    • In Chapter 10 of the remastered version, after Kyril grants Brandon Irons the choice to either kneel or stand, Irons does the former. Kyril responds by kicking him in the jaw, which breaks it and causes some broken teeth to fly out.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act II: During his combination No-Holds-Barred Beatdown/Extreme Mle Revenge against Miyabi for raping Mizore, Dark punches him in the face with such force that Miyabi's jawbone snaps clean off.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Derek kills a man in a disturbing scene in American History X with a curb stomp.
  • At the beginning of Army of the Dead, Zeus the Alpha Zombie escapes containment on a road near Las Vegas and massacres the soldiers who were guarding the convoy transporting him. He kills one of them by pulling his jaw out, then revives them all as zombies (including the now jawless one).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chucky whacks Ian's mandible off with an axe in Curse of Chucky.
  • At the climax of The Fly (1986), Seth Brundle's estranged lover accidentally tears off his lower jaw, triggering his final, grotesque transformation into "Brundlefly".
  • After Mechagodzilla (in disguise) subjects Anguirus to a Curb-Stomp Battle, the cyborg sends Anguirus packing by grabbing hold of his jaw and pulling on it until his mouth bleeds profusely, then slams him against the ground for good measure! Fortunately, Anguirus survives his encounter with Mechagodzilla, and opts to make a quick escape to heal from his injuries.
  • 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.
  • Yoko in The Grudge suffers this, as does Kanna in Ju-on. The third The Grudge film shows that Gretchen also suffers this fate.
  • 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.
  • Hellboy tries this on the first Sammael he fights. Sammy responds by effortlessly snapping its jaw back in place.
  • The 2014 version of Hercules has the eponymous character kill the Nemean Lion in a flashback and then a wolf this way.
  • 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.
  • There's a jaw ripping with a claw hammer in Killing Spree.
  • 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.
  • One of the most horrifying deaths in Mirrors involves a poor woman getting her jaw ripped out by her own possessed reflection.
  • 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.
  • A character is killed by having his jaw yanked out with a pickaxe in My Bloody Valentine 3D.
  • One of the poachers in Primal Rage has this done to him by the Oh-Mah. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome 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.
  • 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 movie, he gets his revenge using the original model, which we finally see in full action. Game over.
  • The now zombified main character in Sella Turcica kills his brother by ripping his lower jaw out. Quite nasty.
  • 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.


  • 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 TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In the climax of the Season 1 finale, Louis de Pointe du Lac tears off the lower jaw of a man and drops it to the ground before consuming his victim's blood.
  • 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.
  • Ultraman Ace: 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.
  • When Michonne from The Walking Dead (2010) 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.


    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 Resident Evil 2 (Remake), Leon finds a police officer's corpse with 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 he was 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 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: At the tail end of Omni-Man vs. Homelander, Omni-Man makes good on his promise to feed Homelander his own heart by first grabbing Homelander's jaw and tearing it from its hinges, before grabbing Homelander's heart from his chest and then stuffing it into Homelander's now-distended jaw.
  • MeatCanyon turns the protagonists of Ed, Edd n Eddy, who are canonically obsessed with jawbreaker candies, into perpetrators of this. And that's not to say of what they do to the jaws themselves, except that it's not pretty

  • 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 its 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.

    Web Videos 
  • The Birch: How Don Bouchard dies: his daughter Lanie uses her Birch powers and controls vines to start tearing him at the mouth. We literally get to see his jaw on the floor.
  • Critical Role: Barbarian Grog from the first campaign once kills a bulette by tearing its jaw off.
    • He also kills a duergar torturer by ripping his jaw off and beating him to death with his own jawbone.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Inversion in the case of crocodiles & alligators: While the muscles that close their jaws are quite strong, the muscles that open them are weak enough that an ordinary person could keep them closed with just one hand. Animal handlers frequently bind alligators' or crocodiles' snouts with rope or rubber bands whenever they need to get up close with them for more than a few minutes. In theory, if the creature wasn't resisting or trying to bite you, this trope would be possible.
  • Here's a tip, don't try this on people, you will definitely get your fingers bitten off. The human jaw muscles are the strongest muscles in the body, and then there are all of those pesky pointy teeth to deal with. Unless you're using equipment to help, it's easier to break the jaw rather than rip it off.


Video Example(s):


Doragory Kills Muruchi II

When a well-timed dodge by Ace causes Muruchi II to accidentally run into the Terrible-Monster Doragory, the brief villainous partnership between the two monsters (as well as Doragory's master, Alien Metron Jr., by extension) comes to a gruesome halt. Just what does Muruchi II - who came out of nowhere to assist Metron Jr. and his monster - get for this minor mistake?

Doragory abruptly rips off Muruchi II's jaw and one of his legs, in a shocking display of how much stronger Yapool's creations are compared to the kaiju of Earth. As Muruchi II is still making sounds when Doragory tears off his leg, it is likely his death was both relatively slow and absolutely agonising...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FamilyUnfriendlyDeath

Media sources: