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Analysis: Stiffening … of limbs. Difficulty … in movement. Assessment: Onset … of rigor mortis … in host body … imminent. … No! Get … up! Get up … Luthor! I … will not be betrayed … by your … human weakness …”

A form of Shoot the Dog where the characters deal with a Body Snatcher in the simplest and most brutal way they can: by killing the host. While this obviously negates the need for a lengthy and complicated Banishing Ritual or surgical procedure, it shows a particular disregard for the life of whatever hapless fool's body was taken over, so this is usually only performed by Pragmatic Heroes. Sometimes, it doesn't even work as intended, causing the possessing force to "float freely" and go on its merry way to finding another body to hijack, perhaps even the people who killed the previous host.

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One common twist to Beat the Curse Out of Him is that "he" dies alongside the curse, i.e this trope. Sometimes, if the host is lucid enough to say something with their own mind, he/she might ask to be killed so that the thing possessing them would also die. The people targeting the inhabitant may also try to trick them into taking a body they're more willing to kill. If there were better alternatives available at the time, it overlaps with Murder Is the Best Solution. May overlap with Driven to Suicide if the host body and the individual doing the killing are one and the same.

See also Shoot the Hostage.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach anime, episode #49 "Rukia's Nightmare". Rukia Kuchiki's lieutenant Kaien Shiba is possessed by a Hollow. When Captain Ukitake realizes that he can't save Kaien, he decides to kill his body. However, he starts spitting up blood and can't carry out his decision. The possessed Kaien attacks Rukia and she stabs him through the chest with her zanpakuto, killing him.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellblazer:
    • One arc had a demon summoned inside a corpse and sent to attack a crimelord's house, dragging the corpse behind it. While the demon itself was Immune to Bullets, one of the mooks quickly figured out that shooting the corpse damaged the demon.
    • One story has John exorcize a little girl by threatening to kill her (specifically, by setting fire to a strand of her hair which would consume her body via Sympathetic Magic). The demon leaves and John is punched for his methods, before revealing it was a bluff- he'd gotten the hair from a wig, as even he wouldn't knowingly sacrifice a little girl.
  • Judge Dredd: In the "Necropolis" story, the Sisters of Death are manifesting in Mega City One from another dimension through a psychic host. Judge Dredd severs this connection by blowing up the building where the possessed body is being kept.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Inazuma dies after Jei is exorcised from her body, giving her a brief moment to die as herself.
  • What Ever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow: Brainiac takes over Lex Luthor's body, but Lex is still able to ask a super-empowered Lana Lang to kill him. After Lana reluctantly complies, Braniac is able to survive temporarily until rigor mortis sets in. Once Luthor’s body is unusable, Brainiac dies almost immediately afterwards.

    Fanfiction 
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    Film 
  • End of Days:
    • Jericho tries to kill the Devil by throwing him in front of a subway train. This proves fatal for the guy he's possessing, but the Devil leaves the body so he can possess Jericho's instead.
    Satan: Fool! You are but a man, and I AM FOREVER!
    • Jericho does it again when he regains enough control from Satan to throw himself onto a statue of Michael's sword, denying the Devil a host before the deadline to conceive the Antichrist passes.
  • The Exorcist: At the end, Father Karras performs a Heroic Sacrifice by inviting the demon Pazuzu into his own body to save the young Regan, before killing himself by jumping out of a window.
  • Fallen: Hobbes' final, desperate plan to stop the demon Azazel is to lure his current host out to a remote location, then killing Azazel's body and then himself to deny him a new body, since Azazel can't survive for long without one. However, it turns out that he can possess animals as well and escapes in a nearby cat.
  • In The Matrix, Agent Smith overwrites the body of a bum on a subway platform to fight Neo. After an extended fight where Neo holds his own against him, Neo manages to throw Smith into the path of a on-coming train. The victory serves to be short since Smith possesses one of the train passengers and emerges re-vitalized, full clips of bullets and all. Neo, still hurting and with no ammo, beats feet out of the station.

    Literature 
  • The Animorphs doesn't seem to have any qualm with killing their opponents, even when most of them had been enslaved by the Yeerks to serve as their hosts.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion series, this plays out in a number of different ways:
    • It is the standard method used by the Roknari. They either ritually bind the demon to the sorcerer-host and then burn the sorcerer, or else toss the sorcerer-host overboard at sea with a leaking cushion and sail away to let the sorcerer eventually drown. One problem is that these methods don't always work.
    • In Paladin of Souls, a demon in a ferret is dispatched by killing the ferret in the presence of a dying divine. The demon jumps to the divine, and the divine takes the demon with her when she then dies.
    • The animal spirits bound to spirit warriors and shamans cannot be removed at all except by the host's death. A further complication is that the soul of the dead host is Barred from the Afterlife unless another shaman releases the animal spirit from the ghost.
    • A purely villainous example in Penric's Fox, when the sorceress Learned Magal is murdered. Her killer wanted vengeance against her demon for actions taken by its previous host, the now-dead Learned Svedra.
  • Inverted in The Chronicles Of Wormwood, where the evil Pope Jacko possesses Paul Carnovitz (Wormwood's worst enemy), who ends up catatonic. Death would allow Jacko to return to Hell, but Paul is in a clinic where he's guaranteed to be kept alive for a long time.
  • In the cancelled BIONICLE book Invasion (the events of which eventually made their way into the released BIONICLE Encyclopedia Updated), Matoro's body becomes possessed by Makuta Teridax while the former is using the Kanohi Iden. The other Toa Inika force Makuta out by threatening to destroy Matoro's body, showing what lengths they would be willing to go.
  • Stephen King's short story I Am The Doorway ends with the suicidal version of this trope. The protagonist, an astronaut possessed by an alien Eldritch Abomination during a trip to space, plans to kill himself to prevent the entity from controlling him.
  • In Dead Beat the Corpsetaker switches bodies with Captain Luccio, upon realizing that Harry Dresden puts a bullet in her head before she can figure out he's on to her. Which leads to a minute of Morgan trying to kill Harry for his "treachery" before the other Wardens discover that Luccio is in the Corpsetaker's previous body.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5 finale, Giles finishes off Glory by smothering her human host to death.
  • In Constantine, this is the only means of defeating a powerful hunger demon. A human vessel must be chosen for the hunger demon to be held captive in, before the hunger demon consumes the host and ends up killing them as well as the demon along with it. After Gary mistakenly exorcises the vessel of the demon, John has Gary take the vessel's place where the demon consumes him over several days.
  • In Crusade, the crew encounters an energy being that can possess living beings by touch and can divide itself to possess multiple people. Since it needs a host to survive, they trick it into consolidating itself to survive and possessing a crew member who had been rendered a vegetable in a accident, leaving the entity trapped in a paralyzed body. Then they toss the body into space and blow it up.
  • Doctor Who episode "The Twin Dilemma": another Time Lord working for the Big Bad is possessed by it. Helpless, the Time Lord dies because he was out of regenerations, killing himself and the Big Bad.
  • Grimm: Captain Renard is brought back from the dead by his mother. However the spirit of Jack the Ripper comes back with him and starts to take over his body. Nick and Hank find out that Jack can only leave the body willingly. They use tetrodotoxin to poison Renard and then shoot him when that doesn't work. Jack leaves Renard so he won't die with him. Subverted when the poison was a non-lethal dose and they were using rubber bullets to trick Jack.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In "Return to Tomorrow", Kirk resorts to injecting Spock's body with lethal poison to destroy Henoch. Subverted when it turns out that Sargon arranged for them to think that the hypo was deadly so that Henoch would flee and render himself vulnerable, and that Spock's consciousness was hidden within Nurse Chapel.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Man of the People," Dr. Crusher injects Deanna with a compound that stops her heart in order to stop Alkar from possessing her, as she can revive her within thirty minutes.
  • Supernatural: At first the Winchesters, on the rare occasion that they encountered a demon possessing someone, would go through a lengthy ritual to force the demon out of the body and banish it back to hell. Eventually this was dropped when they acquired a demon-killing gun, and later, a demon-killing blade. They never address the sheer number of innocent people they've killed by killing demons in this fashion, showing that they've become more callous to collateral damage the longer they've been fighting the forces of evil.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger: A later episode had Ban's nervous system being hijacked by a jellyfish Alienizer, so Tetsu resorted to electrocution to force the Alienizer out, stopping Ban's heart. However, Tetsu then used the same technique to revive Ban.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dark Heresy, if someone manages to kill the possessing daemon component of a daemonhost without killing the host body, the possessed individual can survive, albeit highly traumatized. Given that Daemons are Made of Iron and tend to possess Squishy Wizard Psykers, this is incredibly unlikely. A daemon can briefly survive the death of the host body, but will eventually have to abandon a dead host.
  • Warhammer 40,000: One of the commissar's duties (other than shooting heretics, cowards and the insufficiently-motivated) is to keep an eye on the psykers as they call on the powers of the Warp, as they are particularly susceptible to being possessed at that moment, and shoot them in the head before they are fully possessed and/or erupt into a portal that will spit out more daemons. Psykers carry "mercy blades" for this exact purpose, but this depends on their still being sane enough to kill themselves.
  • In Werewolf: The Forsaken Uratha often don't bother trying to exorcise a spirit from a Claimed who has been possessed longer than a month or two, because the longer one is possessed the more likely it is that the exorcism will kill them anyway. Hosts on the other hand, always kill the humans they possess and drive around their corpses.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum: The Whytechurch Murderer is an elf wizard who tried to banish a demon and ended up sharing his body with it, and is now forced to kill for the demon's amusement. The only way to end his killing spree safely is to find a specific dagger and kill him with it, banishing both him and the demon to hell, and doing so will cause a What the Hell, Hero? moment from any good party members who see you kill him, since despite his actions, the wizard is still treated as a "good" character by the game's alignment system.
  • Discussed in BlazBlue. Ragna's sister, Saya, has the "Goddess of Death" Izanami occupying her body. As Izanami is "death" itself, she can't be really killed, and thus it is suggested that Ragna should kill Saya instead to deny Izanami a body. Later, however, as the heroes learn the true nature of Izanami - i.e the "other half" of Noel (long story) - the heroes go with a plan of absorbing Izanami into Noel's body to "neutralize" her. This act doesn't kill Izanami, but instead completes Noel into "Saya" with her inheriting Izanami's memories.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: Subverted. Satan, having his plans foiled by Dracula/Gabriel and his son Alucard, decides to possess the latter to defeat his old enemy. However, Drac is able to overcome the Prince of Darkness, and is goaded into stabbing Alucard with the Combat Cross to eradicate Satan once and for all. In a twist, Gabriel does attempt to stab his son with the Combat Cross to finish him once and for all; the mere thought of dying forces Satan out of Alucard's body milliseconds before it reaches him (so that Gabriel would stab Alucard instead), but Gabriel's quick enough to take advantage of his cowardice and run the real Satan through.
  • Final Fantasy VI has the boss Wrexsoul; at the start of battle, it randomly possesses one of your characters, and the only way to force it out and actually defeat it is to kill one of your characters. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you have access to Phoenix Downs and the Raise spell, or you can cast X-Zone/Banish to end the fight instantly.
  • Attempted in Final Fantasy X-2. Nooj intends on forcing the game's Big Bad out of its current body, getting it to possess him, then blow himself up in a Heroic Sacrifice. Yuna, tired of everyone picking the sacrifice option, shoots the idea down.
  • Geist: Any living being you possess can be killed by somebody or something else. If the host killed is important to a task you need to accomplish, or is the last available host in the area, it's Game Over.
  • Grim Dawn opening cutscene has the player character narrowly escaping this fate: the Aetherial (one of the antagonist faction who invaded the world, made of incorporeal beings with possession powers) possessing them leaves the body just before the character is executed by hanging by The Resistance. Fortunately, the Aetherial leaves the player character's body right before they die, and the execution is stopped.
  • Overwatch: Okoro, who is an omnic, is nearly hijacked by Anubis, a God Program, but performs a Heroic Sacrifice of shooting himself to prevent Anubis from using him to harm his teammates.

    Webcomics 
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja the McNinjas are hired to assassinate a Ghost Wizard, which includes killing the guy it's possessing so they can fight the exposed spirit with holy weapons. It re-possesses Sean, Dan and Mitzi are fully prepared to kill their own son, but Gordito stops them and shoves a blessed bullet down his throat before it fully takes hold of him instead.
  • Darken: The Archdevil Baal possesses Gort's brother to enact his endgame. When his plan is foiled, he tries to force Gort to kill his host, both for the pain it would cause Gort and to dispatch himself back to Hell to continue his schemes. Defied when Gort and his allies exorcise Baal and trap him in a gem instead, inflicting a much worse fate on him and saving the brother's life.

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