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Living Structure Monster

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Forget LEGO — these are the real building blocks.

"It's like these people have never had a ceiling come to life and try to smother them before!"
Belkar Bitterleaf, The Order of the Stick

Sometimes Malevolent Architecture is taken literally, with monsters that are actually part of it. They take form of a wall, or a floor, or any part of the building you're in.

How would a wall, floor etc be such a menace? Maybe it is capable of movement, and would try to crush you by its own "bodies"; see Descending Ceiling, The Walls Are Closing In, Advancing Wall of Doom and Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom. When they aren't mobile, they may still be harmful by another means, such as shooting things at people or sprouting Spikes of Doom if someone's nearby. They may or may not have eyes.

If all those monsters are actually of one awareness, it overlaps with Genius Loci. This may also be one of the explanations behind a Mobile Maze.

Compare also Chest Monster, Womb Level and Our Gargoyles Rock (since a gargoyle is basically an animated rainspout). A Nurikabe is a particularly common example in Japanese fiction. Contrast Smart House. Subtrope of Animate Inanimate Object.

If the Living Structure Monster is a boss, an overlap might occur with Background Boss and Stationary Boss, or alternately Advancing Boss of Doom.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, it is revealed at the ending of the anime/midpoint of the manga that the walls surrounding their City in a Bottle are actually living creatures. As in, the walls are made of Colossal Titans' hardened Instant Armor... with the aforementioned titans inside the walls as foundations. Said Titans turned out to be commanded by King Karl Fritz, an Eldian king of long ago, who set up the walls to protect the last surviving Eldians during the Great Titan War — and the Titans within as a weapon against the rest of the world should they attack them again, which are ultimately unleashed by Eren in an event called the Rumbling.
  • In Harem in the Labyrinth of Another World, labyrinths are living beings that remain docile as long as adventurers dive in to fight monsters (and obtain treasure), feeding on anyone who dies within. If no one goes in for a certain period of time, the labyrinth will start sending monsters outside to attack people.
  • In Now I'm a Demon Lord! Happily Ever After with Monster Girls in My Dungeon, we have a rare protagonist example. Yuki is a human from Earth reincarnated into a Demon Lord and bound to a dungeon. The dungeon is a living being and both it and he are dependent on each other to live.
  • In an episode of the anime adaptation of Kaiketsu Zorori, a Nurikabe note  is recruited by Zorori to be a part of a soccer team, as a goalie. Being a literal wall that is as wide as the goal itself, the youkai provides an unfair advantage for Zorori in the corresponding soccer match.
  • In One Piece, one of Gekko Moriah's zombies is a wall zombie, a literal wall with a human face stretched out and stitched on. It doesn't do much except appear and block an entrance some of the Straw Hats were going to use to escape from other zombies.

    Comic Books 
  • In Marvel Comics, the Chrysler Building is a sentient being who came to life on at least one occasion in an issue of Damage Control due to some of the effects from World War Hulk. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • The "House of Shadows", one of Doctor Strange's more obscure foes, started out as this before making a Heel–Face Turn. The House comes to Earth from another dimension and takes the shape of a house or other single-family dwelling. Its true form and name have never been revealed. Strange has had to banish it several times because it was capturing and imprisoning innocent people. In an interesting twist, in its most recent appearance Moon Knight found the House was not malevolent but just wanted to be lived in, so he made it his headquarters.
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 2: The stairs leading to the underworld on the far side of Doom's Doorway turn out to be the spine of Cottus, who lets Diana get halfway down before twisting to attack her.

  • In A Monumental Disaster, the Eiffel Tower gets akumatized because of everything that's happened to it in canon, going on a violent rampage across the city. At the end of the fic, it's planning to do the same to Stonehenge.
  • In I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?, Taylor is reincarnated as the core of a dungeon: she gains mana from adventurers fighting or outside creatures dying within her, which she uses to create monsters to fight adventurers and creating treasure to attract the adventurers.

    Films — Animation 
  • The title creature of Monster House is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a monstrous, animate house, specifically because it's haunted by the spirit of an extremely bitter woman. Mostly it manifests as Malevolent Architecture, but in the climax, the house shows its ire with the protagonists by uprooting itself and chasing after them.
  • The twelve-headed dragon from Son of the White Horse is a living, shape-shifting city who wears smog as clothing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the horror film 1408, the entire hotel room itself, not just any specific piece of it, is evil. The rest of the hotel is fine though.
  • In The Great Yokai War, one of the Youkai featured is a talking, limbed wall. Just picture an extremely wide SpongeBob SquarePants with a disproportionately huge body. Guy's just a literal Living Prop though, and does nothing much in the story other than being literally part of the background.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has a Hedge Maze that acts like this in the third task.
  • The movie Labyrinth features a number of creatures that are basically part of the architecture of the eponymous maze. These include the talking door knockers, and the talking walls which give false alarms to passersby.

  • In the Discworld, Unseen University is explicitly described as a building complex that throughout its thousand year history has absorbed so much ambient magic that it is practically a living thing with emotions and a degree of sentience. Equal Rites has the witch Granny Weatherwax reaching out her mind and effectively borrowing it — i.e., a sort of benign possession which a witch may only do with the mind of a living thing. She reads its mind and discovers it is frightened and fearful. Much the same happens in Sourcery, when the University dimly senses big trouble ahead, and doesn't like it.
  • In Myth-ing Persons, the vampire city of Blut uses the mouth of an animated dragon-head statue at the top of a tower as a prison cell. Should a vampire confined within attempt to break out, it swallows them; if they try turning to mist to escape, it inhales them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A demon who's also a wall, which inspires worshippers to fight over it, shows up in a second-season episode of Angel.
  • In Choujin Sentai Jetman, the first use of Jet Icarus is against an apartment building turned into a monster by Radiguet.
  • In one episode of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Rita accidentally brings a brick wall to life. Brick Bully is literally a brick wall with an upside down face, limbs, and various graffiti all over him. He can turn others into bricks and when he eats more bricks, he assumes a slightly more humanoid and mobile form. The Monster in question was adapted from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, whose monsters were designed as "Bronx Youkai". In this case, it was a modern incarnation of a Nurikabe.
  • The New Avengers episode "Complex" is set in a secure building complex controlled by a rogue A.I. The A.I. controls all of the building's systems, allowing them to be used as deadly weapons. Examples include elevators plunging down the shaft just as people go to step into them, the cleaning systems forcing people into the incinerator, and sealing the doors and sucking all of the air out of a room via the ventilation system.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) uses this trope in "If These Walls Could Talk", when what at first appears to be a Haunted House turns out to have been brought to life by a former owner's tinkering with enzymes from space. At least, he'd been tinkering until the house got hungry.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Japanese Mythology:
    • A rather well renowned youkai from Japanese folklore called a Nurikabe is an animated wall that impedes travelers. It is the basis for many characters such as the Whomps from Super Mario Bros. and the Monol monsters from Monster Rancher. Interesting enough, its common depiction of being an animated wall is somewhat of a modern representation. Originally during the Edo period, one of its early depictions was that of a three-eyed grotesque vaguely dog-like creature. Over time, its depiction changed to a literal wall with limbs and very vague features.
    • Another youkai is the Mokumoku-ren which is a monster created from shoji, the paper sliding doors and windows found in Japan houses. When shoji are not taken care of, they can become riddled with holes. If not repaired for a long time, these can become infested with eyes. The Mokumoku-ren is generally creepy but relatively harmless. It is however usually a sign of a greater infestation of youkai in a household.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The house itself in Betrayal at House on the Hill can be one of these in one of the end-game "Haunt" scenarios, with different rooms representing organs, such as the Kitchen being the digestive system, and the Conservatory acting as the lungs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had many structure-based monsters in its history, especially in the earlier editions where Everything Trying to Kill You and Killer Game Master were in full effect:
    • The Living Wall, which gains power by assimilating nearby corpses, was a downplayed example, the material specifically stating that it was limited to a single section of wall.
    • First Edition had the "Lurker Above" (just called the Lurker in Advanced D&D), which resembled the ceiling.
    • Its counterpart, the Lurker (renamed the Trapper when the LA had the "above" dropped) disguised itself as the floor.
    • Combine those three with the Gelatinous Cube, which is transparent enough to pose as the empty space, and you can construct literally the entire room from disguised monsters.
    • Second edition had the "Greater Mimic", a larger version of the game's resident Chest Monster which could impersonate rooms or other structures.
    • An even-stronger unique individual of the aforementioned Greater Mimic returned in the 4th-edition supplement “Threats to the Nentir Vale”, known as the Wandering Tower, which can not only disguise itself as any two-story structure, but is also aided in its hunts by a group of devious Mirror-Mimics who can imitate anyone they bite and a flock of vicious Blood Ravens which feed on the Mimics’ leftovers but are not above killing prey for themselves. The Wandering Tower’s preferred way to obtain a meal is to have its Mirror Mimic minions invite unsuspecting travelers inside, and then, once they’ve been lured into a false sense of security, expose its central core to devour them alive, preferably in their sleep. If the prey fights back, the walls themselves transform into hellish masses of claws, tentacles, and fanged mouths to try to hold them in place. The Tower and its minions are intelligent enough to take advantage of adventurers’ Greed by offering up the possessions of its past meals as incentive to enter its waiting maw.
    • The Dread Gazebo is an accidental version of this which came about when a player assumed a "gazebo" the Dungeon Master described was some sort of monster. Fed up with his insistence on attacking it, the DM decided it pounced and killed his character. Read the original story here.
  • The House of Lament in Ravenloft. This is a small Domain, but it is a case where the Domain and the Lord are the same. It is a Haunted House that is possessed by the restless spirit of a girl who was tortured and murdered there, who can now control the place completely, and prevent anyone entering from escaping, usually refusing to do so until one member of a group dies. (Legends say the spirit can be laid to rest forever if a selfless hero volunteers himself, but thus far, no-one has been willing.)

  • BIONICLE: One Rahi the Toa Metru faced was the Archives Beast, which shapeshifted into the form of an empty room to capture prey.

    Video Games 
  • The old Former Building in Albion. The floors have mouths and try to eat you. The reason is that one of the building's former Iskai inhabitants has fused with into a Genius Loci. This might make more sense knowing that the Formers are wizards who specialise in living plant architecture, and that the Iskai can transfer their minds into an infant's body through a semi-telepathic organ on their foreheads. Well, a little more sense.
  • One of the new demons introduced in Bayonetta 3 is Umbran Clock Tower, a literal, immobile clock tower outfitted to the brim with various weaponry, ranging from mundane guns to magical bells to Mini-Mecha. Its bio states that the tower used to be a mundane, if sacred, landmark guarded by Umbra Witches until it was destroyed during a great war with the angels of Paradiso, and the souls of witches who died within its walls later fused with it and transformed it into the demonic building it is today.
  • The exit from Cave Story's Noob Cave is blocked by a cyclopean door that hurts on contact, but is easily dealt with.
  • Cuphead has Funhouse Frazzle, in which you encounter a large wall mini-boss with two mouths and one eye twice.
  • Nest type enemy fused to a variety of walls/bulkheads throughout all three Dead Space games. They spawn nasty babies with missile shooting tails. They cannot be rerouted around and the babies will kill you if they manage to shoot you enough times.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In the first three games, the sealed doors would attack your playable character if you got too close, but otherwise left you alone until you got rid of them by solving a puzzle and/or killing some enemies.
    • The second game has Nefasturris, the "Tower of Sin", an enormous demon which is summoned into the human world using an entire skyscraper as a conduit.
  • Icon of Sin, a wall with a picture of a demon on it, the Final Boss in Doom II, attacks you by summoning his various demonic flunkies to fight you. His weakpoint is on a point on his "head". When he returns in Doom Eternal as the final boss, he’s changed into a giant demon.
  • Epic Mickey has the Clocktower, who went insane after listening to "It's a Small World" for far too long. His face, once a bubbly, happy smile has since melted away, leaving a hideous scowl. He attempts to crush Mickey with his massive, metallic fists while a nightmarish version of the well-known song plays hauntingly in the background. If the player chooses to kill the Clocktower, its arms horribly twist and fall off, and his face falls into the lake of Thinner below, lamenting, "Oh dear, my time has come. I don't feel too good..."
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Demon Wall is a recurring enemy in the series. The Final Fantasy series also has Alexander, a recurring summon/boss which usually takes the form of a gigantic living castle.
    • Final Fantasy IV also has, in the same dungeon with Demon Wall, a Trap Doors. They look like regular doors until you try to interact with them, when they just attack.
    • Final Fantasy VII has Hell House, a fairly dangerous random encounter that first appears as an ordinary house, before revealing mechanical limbs, head, and weapons. The remake changes it into a scripted Mini-Boss encounter instead.
    • Armstrong from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a literal haunted house possessed by the lingering grief of its former occupants as they succumbed to the miasma that overtook Tida.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the antepenultimate boss of the Pandaemonium raid series is Pandaemonium itself—a fortress that acts as a prison for unspeakably dangerous monsters, now brought to life as a monster of gooey flesh and living stone.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, there is the Heartless boss Thresholder. It is the possessed dungeon doors which impede Sora and company in Beast's castle.
  • In King's Quest VI, the gate leading to the Lord of the Dead’s throne room is alive and has an appetite for human flesh. Fortunately, Alexander is able to negotiate with it and it allows him to pass after answering a riddle.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Several games contain enemies called Flying Tiles. From a distance they're just ordinary floor tiles, but as you approach they levitate up, start spinning, then hurl themselves at you. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has living fake doors that attack Link if he approaches them. As some of them are in front of the actual doors, it's a good thing a bomb can deal with the issue.
    • Facade, a boss in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Oracle of Seasons, is a giant face who appears in the floor and is killed with bombs.
  • Rangda Bangda from the Mega Man X series, which comes up twice: once in the first game, and once in the fifth game as its powered up form.
  • In Monster Rancher, the Monol breed is a 2001: A Space Odyssey Monolith-esque Shapeshifting monster, meaning it looks like a rectangle wall, or rather, a door. It's capable of Size Shifting and Partial Transformation of its surface to produce a humanoid face and spikes.
  • Blockhead of Ōkami is a youkai based on Nurikabe from Japanese folklore. They appear in several places during the game, always blocking the player's path with their wall-like body. To get past a Blockhead the player must headbutt him to make him reveal his weak points, memorize them, and attack them with his Celestial Brush, after which the Blockhead disappears in a puff of smoke.
    Ga-ha! I am Blockhead! I guard this place so that all shall pass! Er, wait... I mean, none shall pass!
  • Perish have it's last boss, Aiakos the Wandering Belfry, who initially appears to be a church wall. As soon as you enter the boss arena, said wall grows arms and legs and detaches itself, with the belfry acting as it's "head".
  • Pokémon:
    • The Ultra Beast Stakataka from Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon takes on the appearance of a castle tower. Each of the individual "stones" is actually a separate life form with an inward-facing eye, hence its code name, "UB Assembly".
    • Stonjourner from Pokémon Sword and Shield is a Pokémon resembling a Stonehenge formation. Its Shield Pokédex entry says that once a year at a certain time, multiple Stonjourner gather out of nowhere and form in a circle. Also from Sword and Shield is Duraludon, whose Gigantamax form is a dead ringer for The Shard, the tallest building in the UK.
  • RosenkreuzStilette: The Cross Wall is one of the bosses in the "fortress" stages. It attacks by summoning Living Crosses that home in on you and fires energy shots from its "eye". It also chases after you.
  • Death Wall, which probably is the "cousin" of the above-mentioned Demon Wall, hailing from the Rune Factory series.
  • Secret of Mana has two different Wall Face bosses, both of which function similarly. They have a central third eye weak point that has to be defeated to win, and try to crush the player if both of their normal eyes are killed first.
  • Grimwall from Shining in the Darkness.
  • In some games of the Shin Megami Tensei series (for example, Shin Megami Tensei IV and Strange Journey, the demon Orcus appears as a brick gateway to Hell (If you look closely, a plaque reading "GO TO HELL" is attached to it) with part of a horned head visible at the top.
  • Skyblazer has a Demon Wall boss that attacks by spinning and attempting to crush Sky against the edges of the screen.
  • In StarCraft, all Zerg structures are actually sessile Zerg organisms, based on the instinctive nests of each creature assimilated by their ecosystem and grown from their Worker Unit.
  • From the Super Mario Bros., there are the Whomps which are based on the Nurikabe from Japanese folklore. Super Mario Odyssey has a variant called the Stairface Ogre, which has a more Oni-like face and attacks with a big mallet.
  • The doors to a boss room in Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion are covered by giant eyes called Gadoras that shoot eyebeams at the player and must be destroyed before you can enter the room. Metroid: Samus Returns introduced three-eyed variants called Gigadoras that can only be defeated with the Spazer Beam.
  • In Terraria, the Wall of Flesh is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a massive, moving wall with eyes and a mouth.
  • Zehnoa, one of the bosses in Trials of Mana, is a demonic fireplace/furnace that attacks by spitting enemies out of its fire and activating various traps in the arena it faces the heroes in.
  • In Ultima III, just before you reach the Big Bad's lair, the floor of its antechamber attacks you, with a high potential for a Total Party Kill. In gameplay terms, it just means a battle against multiple completely invisible enemies named "Floor".
  • Wall enemies show up in one level of Wario World. They can't attack, their only purpose is to keel over and provide a bridge once punched sufficiently.
  • The Final Boss of The Wonderful 101 happens to be fully linked to the planet-shaped fortress he resides in. Thus, when his physical form is destroyed, he turns the whole fortress into a Humongous Mecha for one last battle.
  • Yo-kai Watch has Noway/Murikabe who inspirits people to make them say "no way" (or "impossible" in the original Japanese version) when asked to do anything. The way to make them do anything is to ask them to do the opposite of what you want, like "Don't stop that Roughraff from attacking that kid" or "Let Jibanyan eat all of those doughnuts".
  • Great Rampo from Yooka-Laylee is a sentient stone wall at the top of a ramp, and the boss of the first level Tribalstack Tropics.

    Web Comics 
  • Awful Hospital has the Flesh Door, which is not just a door but an entire room.
  • In Girl Genius, Heterodyne Castle is alive, and is one giant death trap for anyone who is not The Heterodyne. Before Agatha arrives to repair it, convict work crews are sent in to attempt repairs, or die trying. Usually the latter.

    Web Original 
  • One of the more memorable creatures described in the Gearworld is an entity that has somehow evolved a hunting mechanism by which it dangles from a ceiling, disguised as a spiral staircase. Utterly convincing until a hapless explorer tries that first step.
  • There are several Creepy Pastas about creatures that masquerade as Old Dark Houses and eat the people who come inside for whatever reason.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "Tree Trunks", one of the monsters Finn and Jake encounter on the way to the Crystal Apple is a living wall of flesh. Tree Trunks tries (and fails) to mollify it with some stickers, much to Finn's frustration.
    • In "All Your Fault", the Lemongrabs have produced their own children, one of which, Lemonjon, is so big he takes up much of the castle, and his body is intertwined with the building.
  • In Dofus: Kerub's Bazaar, Louis is a Shushu possessing a whole house, and is able of manipulating rooms, floors, corridors, doors and furniture inside as he wish. He can also sprout spider legs to move around. He serves as Kerubim's shop for the time being.
  • The Fairly OddParents! has Mike, the Evil Living Building, as one of the Crimson Chin's enemies.
  • The Steven Universe episode "Horror Club" has a Corrupted Gem that is merged with the lighthouse above the temple, and manifests a giant maw in the wall.


Video Example(s):


Umbran Clock Tower

A clock tower and symbol of the Umbra that once stood proudly on the cliffs on the edge of Vigrid, quietly keeping time as the world turned. During the Great War between the Umbra Witches and the Lumen Sages 500 years ago, the tower was knocked over and into a pit by attacking angels, with the Umbran Elder and several other witches who were defending the tower still inside. The witches and the tower all plunged into Inferno, and the souls of the witches merged with the wreckage of the tower, which was ultimately reborn as a cursed fortress. The structure is full of countless weapons, seemingly manifestations of the witches' lingering resentment, and any being that approaches is instantly greeted and decimated by them. Because it is a building, it can not move from the location where it appears, but its nigh-impenetrable walls offer the most solid defense in Inferno.

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