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Killer Bear Hug

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"Come here, little cub. Let mama bear give you one great, big last hug goodbye."
Coach Brunt, Carmen Sandiego

Our hero is in an all-out brawl against a gang of Mooks. Fists are flying and he's knocking the little guys away. Then the Giant Mook appears, wrapping his arms around the hero, lifting him off the ground and... hugging him? Then you hear a Sickening "Crunch!".

This is the Killer Bear Hug, when a sufficiently strong character wraps their arms around someone's midsection and squeezes to try and crush them to death in a dark parody of a Bear Hug. What makes this different from a painful hug caused by someone who Does Not Know His Own Strength is that the pain is intentional and just happens to look like a hug on a surface level.

Subtrope of Bear Hug. Not necessarily given by a killer bear. Compare Deadly Hug, where the hug is more of a distraction for the killing tool (like a gun or knife) while here the hug itself is the weapon. If a Killer Bear Hug is accidental, that is a case of And Call Him "George"!.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Raphaela uses this in Claymore to kill her sister, Luciela, after "failing" to keep her from turning into one of the strongest monsters to date. Luciela is so far gone she can't understand why her beloved sister is doing this when she realizes this isn't just the hugging reunion she was hoping for, and the close physical contact enabled an equally heartbroken Raphaela to Fusion Dance with her sister into a monster even worse than Luciela was on her own.
  • During the battle between Cell and Gohan in Dragon Ball Z, Cell briefly has Gohan in a crushing bear hug as he tries to goad Gohan into reaching his full fighting potential.
  • Like Cell, Bojack once tried to crush Gohan with a Killer Bear Hug in Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has a non-lethal example. When Misao reunites with Okina, the latter hugs her because he's happy she's back, only for it to turn into a painful, back-popping hug because he's mad at her for running off in the first place.

    Comic Books 
  • * During the "Bread and Circuses" arc of Batman: No Man's Land, one of The Penguin's female minions almost crushes Batman with a bearhug.
  • In Secret Six, one of Ragdoll's most common killing tactics is to wrap his freakishly-skinny arms around a victim's torso and pull his arms in tight until the victim's ribcage collapses.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In Battle Creek Brawl (a really early and obscure Jackie Chan film), one of the film's champion fighters is nicknamed "Billy the Kiss", who had a penchant of crushing his opponent's bones with a powerful bear hug and drawing them close to him as he kisses their forehead. He had killed at least one rival using this method prior to the film, and during one of the fight scenes he killed another man in this way.
  • the Beast from Split is so inhumanly strong, effortlessly crushing his victim's bones and internal organs with his arms has proven to be his favorite method of murder. His preference for doing so ends up backfiring on him in Glass, when he attempts to do it to David Dunn during their first fight, only to his disbelief it fails to even hurt him and allows David to simply drag him out of a window.

    Light Novels 
  • In Overlord (2012), Ainz Ooal Gown crushes Clementine to death with his arms specifically to make it a Cruel and Unusual Death and draws out the experience for his victim in revenge for her sadistic killing of his friends. A fountain of High-Pressure Blood escapes from his victim's mouth after he finishes the deed.

  • In The Twilight Saga, Eclipse, Jasper instructs the Cullens and the Quileutes on fighting the newborn vampire army that are coming to wipe them out. He explains that while exceptionally strong, they are vulnerable due to lack of control and technique. The most important thing is that they don't get their arms around anyone as they'll use that strength to crush their target to a pulp. Sure enough, this is exactly what happens to Jacob, the only one of the defending side to be hurt.

    Live-Action Television 
  • This trope is how Jiaying's husband kills her in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. once he realizes she's gone completely off the rails.
  • In Yonderland, Cuddly Dick invites Imperatrix's former Overlords to a meeting, planning to recruit them as he plans to conquer Yonderland. When one of them mocks his politeness and implies he doesn't believe he's up to the task, Cuddly Dick tricks him into agreeing to a farewell hug and crushes him to death right before the others. Afterward, they all fall in line.

    Video Games 
  • The Huggables' modus operandi in Battle Bears is this trope; they hug people so hard that their bones break. Bonus points for them being actual bear-like creatures.
  • This is a move often used by Hercules in God of War III, where he'll charge at Kratos to scoop him into a large hug and crush him with his Super Strength.
  • According to the Pokédex entry in Pokémon Sun and Moon, Bewear is so strong that being hugged by it is a death sentence.
  • This is a Signature Move for Canadian boxer Bear Hugger in Punch-Out!! where he will swing his arms out wide and try to bring Little Mac into a crushing grip.

    Web Videos 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Perfect Cell gets Gohan in a long crushing hug while trying to get him to "snap" and fight him at his full potential. During the squeeze, Gohan squeaks like a chew toy just like his father in a previous Running Gag.
    Perfect Cell: Listen to those bones crackling and popping... So where's the snap, kiddo?!

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Carl is accidentally killed by one of Frylock's inventions. One of Frylock's attempts to save Carl's life is to connect his severed head to a body made entirely from eyeballs (it was the only organic material he could get). Horrified and angered about his situation, Carl painfully walks over to Frylock and grabs him to try and suffocate him.
    Carl: Give me a hug, Fryman!
    Frylock: It's a little tight!
    Carl: I'm gonna hug the breath right outta you!
  • During a training exercise in Batman Beyond, Terry gets grabbed from behind by a robot duplicate of Killer Croc that tries to crush him, only for Terry to break the hold and pummel the robot bad enough to knock its head clean off.
  • In episode nine of Carmen Sandiego, Coach Brunt fights Carmen alone and at the end tries to crush Carmen to death with her Super Strength in a parody of a hug. She is only stopped by Shadow-san knocking her out.
  • The Kingpin's favorite method of using his Stout Strength in Spider-Man: The Animated Series was to wrap someone in a hug and crush them against his massive frame. Even Spider-Man has come close to dying from that embrace.

    Real Life 
  • Constriction. Animals like snakes or octopi wrap their limbs or bodies around their prey to suffocate them. Snakes are especially skilled at this as they time their squeezes to relax so their prey can breathe out, but tightens when they try to breathe in.

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