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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. 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 
  • Claymore: Raphaela uses this 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.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • 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 (a surrogate grandfather to her and the other Oniwabanshu in Kyoto), 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.
  • Played With in One Piece by Monet. She does hug people and it does kill them, but not from crushing. Monet ate the Snow-Snow Fruit, letting her turn into snow. She can kill people by holding onto them in snow form until they die of hypothermia, making it a literal and lethal Cooldown Hug.
  • In Overlord, Ainz Ooal Gown deals with the sadistic Clementine, who was responsible for slaughtering the Swords of Darkness, in this fashion, crushing her to death specifically to make it a Cruel and Unusual Death and draws out the experience for her in revenge for how sadistically she killed them. A fountain of High-Pressure Blood escapes from Clementine's mouth as Ainz finishes with her, and in the Light Novel, it gets a lot more gruesome.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: True Demon Lord Luminous Valentine has the Skill [Embracing Drain], where she grabs her target in a bear hug and drains the energy out of them to replenish her own. This Demon Lord also has an Intrinsic Skill called [Steel Strength] and could easily rip a person apart like paper, and even if her target is tough enough to avoid that fate the technique sends pain signals directly into a target's soul to bypass physical defenses, meaning they will be screaming in agony even if they might Feel No Pain otherwise.

    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.
  • 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 — 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.

  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
    Mamoo: Sumo Squeeze!

    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.
  • 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.