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Killer Bear Hug

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Gohan really should've read the reviews for this chiropractor.
"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. A Dramatic Spine Injury can be just as likely a result as suffocation. 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".

When done with legs, it's Murderous Thighs.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: No Man's Land: During the "Bread and Circuses" arc, one of The Penguin's female minions almost crushes Batman with a bearhug.
  • Last Daughter of Krypton: During the final battle, Deimax manages to grab Supergirl and tries literally to embrace her to death by giving her a spine-crushing hug.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • In Shazam! fanfiction Here There Be Monsters, Ibac hugs Captain Marvel and crushes him into unconsciousness during a fight.
    Ibac's lip was swelled a bit, but he was still grinning. Before Captain Marvel could react, his opponent had both mighty arms wrapped around his arms and chest, and was crushing him in a grip that held more power than he had ever had before.
    More power, Cap was prepared to admit, than Marvel himself possessed.
    Neither of them needed to breathe in space, but the force of the grip was itself taking a toll on the hero. He resisted its force, trying to expand his chest and arms beyond their confines, but could not do so. Captain Marvel closed his eyes in effort, straining to liberate himself from Ibac's cruel grip, but could not.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Flight of Dragons: The attempt of Peter (in Gorbash's dragon body) to attack the Ogre of Gormley Keep fails miserably and he ends up squeezed in the ogre's arms. He's saved by Smrgol's intervention.

    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 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 (2019) 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.

  • In Eclipse (2007), 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.
  • The Sword Of Saint Ferdinand: Pero Miguel, who is big and strong enough to pull it off, has used this move to kill at least two personal enemies by pretending he wants to give them a reconciliatory hug. Early on, Pero also attempts to hug Diego de Vargas to death, but Diego points out what happens to people who are tricked into receiving his "friendly" hugs.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Calvin hugs his wife to death once he realizes that 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer: Greasus Goldtooth of the Ogre Kingdons achieved a great victory over an horde of Orcs and Goblins by squeezing their warboss to death.

    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.
  • Pat Fusty from Bloons TD 6 can perform this on MOAB-Class bloons with his skill, Big Squeeze. When using it, he destroys a blimp (or multiple blimps at max level) with a hug.
  • 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.
  • In Mortal Kombat X:
  • 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.
  • This is a high-level ability for Kazuma Kiryu in the newer Yakuza games. Although he does not use it lethally, he probably could.
  • The Frozen Wilds DLC of Horizon Zero Dawn introduces Frostclaws and Fireclaws, mechanical bears with elemental attacks, both of which are fully capable of doing this while effectively putting you in a meat grinder. Surprisingly, this is one of their less devastating attacks.
  • In the first Mega Man Star Force, after a Hopeless Boss Fight against a seemingly invincible giant Jammer, he does this to Geo, who manages to escape. He tries it again during the Libra Scales scenario, but this time Geo gets access to the game's version-specific Super Mode and is able to fight back.
  • Warriors of Fate have those muscular, bare-chested, Giant Mook enemies who fights unarmed, but if they ever get the drop on you they'll grab and squeeze your life away until you break off.

    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.
  • This is Mamoo's signature attack in Super Duper Sumos.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, Clay refused to fight Katnappe because he Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Towards the end of the episode, he proclaims a bear hug isn't fighting, and holds her in a tight hug to incapacitate her.

    Real Life 
  • Actual bears have very strong forelimbs that they use to knock over and pin down prey and rival predators, which is where the term "bear hug" came from. Unlike other examples of this trope, though, it's usually not the hug itself that kills, as the hug is meant to incapacitate victims before bears bite and scratch them.
  • 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.
  • Hockey legend Tim Horton once did this to an opposing player. After the player started feeling his ribs break, he had no choice but to bite Horton’s ear.


Video Example(s):


Big Ed

Big Ed crushes the Serbian assassin's ribcage with a hug.

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5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / KillerBearHug

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