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Made of Plasticine

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Von Pinn demonstrates a novel disarming technique.

"There's no sense of weight to any of the gore. When a body gets mangled or hacked apart there's no sense of effort or that the flesh is resisting, or even that it hurts much. The necromorphs seem to hack off your knees by brushing past you in a narrow corridor. And do you know how hard it would be to sever a leg by stamping on it? You'd need to wear an ice skate! And even then the bone's gonna take a few whacks!"

All things considered, the human body is a pretty tough little piece of biological machinery. It's made of complex organs, protected and supported by a strong skeletal structure (four times stronger than concrete), boasts tendons and muscles capable of exerting dynamic strength upon objects it interacts with and has the ability to heal and regenerate most kinds of damage over time. Humans, especially athletic ones, can take a lot more punishment than most people think. Don't Try This at Home, but it is a fact that human beings can walk away from catastrophic accidents and savage attacks with little sign of external damage and occasionally survive wounds that should have been fatal by conventional wisdom.

Writers of violent fiction sometimes forget this.

The polar opposite of Made of Iron, this trope manifests when the human body is represented as being much flimsier and more easily dismembered than it really is, or when its internal structures are depicted as a mass of bloody, spongy goo, with no sign of supporting bones or recognizable organs. Like Made of Iron, it is a poster trope for a class on the Super Weight scale, being -1.


In Real Life, it requires considerable skill and force to, for example, cleanly sever a human limb with a bladed weapon. It does happen, and there are historically known incidents including at least one case where both legs were severed by a single blow with a large sword. In fiction, however, heads and limbs may be instantly, cleanly severed on contact with anything resembling a bladed weapon or sharp-edged object. A bleeding wound will create a spray of so much High-Pressure Blood the victim ends up Overdrawn at the Blood Bank. Accidental contact with a pointed object leads to out-the-other-side impalement. Pulling on someone's arm with any amount of serious force will yank the limb from the socket. Bones snap like twigs, flesh rips apart like wet paper, contact with fire burns a body to a charred skeleton within moments and at worst, the entire body is simply splattered by whatever force hits it like an overripe tomato.


The implied force just does not jibe with the visible effect.

Vampires and zombies in any media are great examples of this. (Some) zombies at least have the excuse of being, well, rotten, but the ease with which vampires can be staked through the heart and pristinely decapitated makes one wonder if they even have bones. Also very common with characters who have a Healing Factor so they can be shown recovering from all manner of brutal injuries on a regular basis.

On the other hand, sometimes the physical forces at work are just too much for the human body to endure, making this one, when handled correctly, a particularly gruesome Truth in Television.

Oddly enough, this always seems to be played deadly straight with Mecha-Mooks who, if anything, should avert this trope even further. It is, however, almost always averted with their bigger, deadlier counterparts: Mechanical Monsters.

Compare Bloodier and Gorier, which almost always involves this, and Made of Bologna, an Animation Trope in which a body's lack of bones and internal organs is used to avoid showing gore. Not to be confused with Claymation, a form of Stop Motion animation that commonly uses Plasticine models over a wire skeleton. Contrast Made of Iron.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Any adult-oriented, violent anime. Especially any anime involving Samurai, Eldritch Abominations, or The Legions of Hell. In fact, the physiology of anime humans sometimes seems to revel in adding made of plasticine flesh to its already gratuitous High-Pressure Blood.
    • A good example is Gantz, in which several of the gory deaths, even of main characters, involve slopping entrails that look like overly moist hamburger. In one scene, an alien kicks a character's head off without breaking the skin of his neck, instead stretching it to a good three feet longer than it should be. This ends in a grotesque boneless-giraffe effect that largely defies the laws of physics, not to mention anatomy. Maybe this trope should be titled 'Made of Rubber'.
    • Berserk: While main characters tend to be Made of Iron, especially Guts, less plot-armored characters such as Mooks, Red Shirts, and helpless victims are easily reduced to Ludicrous Gibs as if their bone or muscle didn't offer any resistance. Usually, this is done to show the sheer appalling power of Guts', Apostles', and other inhumanly strong attacks. Guts routinely hits people so hard that their eyeballs and entire intact brains pop out of their shattered skulls. Perhaps the craziest example of this is Irvine's ability to decapitate enemies by headshotting them with his arrows: The arrow pierces the skull and keeps moving so that it rips the head right off the body by pure momentum with no regard for the neck muscles or spine, leaving the neck looking as if it had been Clean Cut by an edged weapon. However, the trope is averted in the most gruesome way possible when Guts amputates his own forearm during the Eclipse, especially in the third Golden Age film where he's shown having to hack through every last strand of resisting sinew before he can free himself.
    • Any mook in Fist of the North Star is made of plasticine, and usually destined to be ripped apart by Kenshiro or one of the other Made of Iron badasses of the series.
    • This is also true of everyone in Ninja Scroll... unless your name is Jubei.
  • While it may feel like this trope is merrily used and abused in Battle Angel Alita, especially the early Scrapyard volumes, it is probably not too unrealistic a depiction of normal human physiology vs crazy enhanced cyborgs. Also justified in that the organic element most frequently targeted in cyborg combat is the remaining human brain... which is very much squishy. Especially when hitting a Motorball track at high velocity and sans the usual skull encasing Nature intended...
  • Played with in Hellsing, where military-grade firepower and superhuman vampires tear people to beautifully stylized shreds.
    • In Hellsing ultimate Integra Hellsing manages to deeply stab herself in the finger with a BUTTER KNIFE! it was so deep that she was able to feed Seras Victoria with all the blood that came from the wound.
  • School Days. Though it's slightly downplayed where Makoto's has to be stabbed over and over again in order to die, other times it shows a ridiculous 20-foot-high fountain of blood (specifically Sekai's anime death scene and the one from the game where their neck is sliced).
  • Elfen Lied fits this trope to a tee. Through the series, you can see countless people being mangled, torn apart, dismembered and ripped by the Diclonius with little effort — justified by their massively powerful psychic skills.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan employs this trope in spades.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure you'd be hard-pressed to find a fight that doesn't involve someone getting torn apart or splattered. Even the protagonists quite frequently take beyond lethal amounts of damage (but they seem to be fine a few panels later)
  • MD Geist Throughout both movies in the series people pop like balloons if either Geist or the Death Force so much as look at them the wrong way.
  • Parodied in Ranma ½. Ryouga learns the Bakusai Tenketsu (Exploding-Point Hole, or Breaking Point in the localization) which he and Ranma believe can make an opponent's body burst into Ludicrous Gibs with the mere touch of a finger. After all, it does make giant, multi-ton boulders explode violently. In the end, though, Cologne reveals it's only ever used for demolition and construction, and it doesn't work on living things.
  • The Tales of the Abyss anime is extremely guilty of this. Men, animals and just about anything biological burst open and fall apart like blood-filled water balloons the moment they're struck... Well, except for the main characters.
  • Subverted in one instance in Bleach, when the Big Bad slices Ichigo in half. However, Aizen was unable to cut through his spine with the blow, which is the only thing keeping Ichigo together at that point (well, that and Heroic Resolve).
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The scene in Dragon Ball where Goku launches himself with a Kamehameha Wave and punches straight through King Piccolo, who then proceeds to spit an egg out of his now nonexistent stomach, make a short Final Speech without his lungs, and then explodes for no apparent reason. Goku's punch not only came within a hair of tearing King Piccolo in half, but it also apparently cauterized the wound so that Goku could be clearly seen through the (blood-and-gore-less) hole.
    • Dragon Ball Z:
      • All forms of Buu. Notable in that everyone else is pretty much Made of Iron, but even normal handgun rounds can punch holes in him. Of course, he makes up for this with ridiculous regeneration powers. This gave the animators a good chance to go wild with the kind of injuries Buu would suffer, ranging from being blasted to bits to get his head smushed into his neck, and so on.
      • As well as Vegeta in the Namek saga. Krillin blew a hole right through Vegeta to give a power boost strong enough to beat Frieza who was tearing into Piccolo at the moment. You can see through the hole and view behind Vegeta and clearly see his spine is nowhere there yet he manages to walk over to Dende for healing.
      • The human characters are also subject to improbable punishment. Yamcha had a hole punched through his middle in the Cell arc by Dr. Gero, enough to sever his spine and esophagus. However, not only did he survive, but he somehow was still capable of eating and swallowing a Senzu bean. Tenshinhan lost an arm in the Saiyan arc, which should have killed him in seconds due to the blood loss coming from major blood vessels in the arm being severed; however, his death took much longer than that.
  • The titular Gundam Victory from Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. Compared to its Super Robot predecessors and even the Elite Mook variant we had from the 8thMobileSuitTeam, this series of Gundams gets more damaged and totaled in any series. A running joke seems to be 'How long will Uso go after combining to just toss a busted leg segment into the enemy?'
    • Of course, this was in part because the Victory's entire gimmick was being three-piece modular. In order to show it off, the people who made the Gundam made tons of spare parts, allowing Usso (and other pilots) to use them as giant missiles.
  • At the end of Fullmetal Alchemist Greed was reabsorbed into Father in an attempt to give him more power. However, Greed retained control of his ability to manipulate the carbon in his body and used it against Father. Ordinarily he would turn his skin into diamond, but instead, he started turning Father's body into graphite which crumbled quickly, making this a reasonable use of the trope.
  • In One Piece, Queen Otohime was known for having a weaker body than normal people, where a simple slap caused her hand to fracture. Despite this, she still clung to her convictions, and when she gets shot, the wound is portrayed somewhat realistically.
  • Either the aliens in Parasyte have monomolecular blades, or nobody in the entire manga has a backbone. Considering that the completely human Kabuto can also cut people's heads off easily, there's a good chance it's the latter. (Then again, most other injuries in the series are represented realistically . . .)
  • The Titans of Attack on Titan fall apart surprisingly easily. It's a plot point, hinting at their peculiar nature and origins, and they've got a worryingly effective Healing Factor to compensate.
  • Psycho-Pass is all too happy to use this particular trope, and anything hit by the Lethal mode of the Dominator guns tends to swell up like a balloon and detonate into a shower of gore. It's like a ranged version of Kenshiro's Hokuto Shinken.
  • Zombie Land Saga: The zombie girls have a tendency to lose their limbs and even their heads if they overexert themselves, but fortunately they can be easily reattached.
  • Magical Girl Apocalypse: The Magical Girls, as well as the people they resurrect as zombies, can crush and tear people apart quite effortlessly.

    Comic Books 
  • 300 uses this to such a degree it becomes comical. Heads fly off and bodies burst into showers of blood from the slightest contact with a spear or sword. The Persian soldiers are essentially high-pressure balloons of blood.
  • In Necronomicon Henry punches straight through the chest of a Mi-Go doppelganger of Dr. Armitage, which proceeds to disintegrate 'like hummus'.
  • Y: The Last Man tends to be pretty bad with this... unless you've been with the main cast for the past three issues. In which case you're Made of Iron.
  • Preacher: Even simple acts result in horrific blood loss and tiny spurts of blood. Jesse Custer produces a spurt of blood by breaking a man's finger, eyes will pop out from a kick to the chin, and bodies will explode with the slightest hit from a bullet. Oddly enough, the major characters gain many debilitating injuries over the course of the series (mainly Herr Starr) from similar activities, but don't die instantly. Justified with any victims of the Saint of Killers, whose guns are powered by God Himself and can kill anything with a single shot. Including, ironically, God Himself.
  • Pretty much anyone The Authority gets their hands on. To list just a few examples, Jack Hawksmoor punches a guy's head off, Midnighter has decapitated people with his Simple Staff and ripped heads and spines out with his bare hands (Mortal Kombat style), while Swift once exploded a guy by flying through him. Justified in that the characters all have enhanced physical abilities.
  • Most of Bullseye's targets. No matter how accurately it's thrown, a tooth wouldn't punch cleanly through a human skull and kill them instantly unless it was fired from a gun (and even then, it would probably shatter). Erasers, Popsicle sticks, his own feces! Bullseye has managed to kill people with all of these objects. Except, of course, for Daredevil, who can take a bullet to the shoulder and three shurikens lodged in his chest and shrug it off like it was nothing.
  • The absurdly gory David Quinn/ Tim Vigil comic Faust. Pretty much everyone is a blood bag in this one!
  • In Garth Ennis' The Boys, The Female and the Frenchman seem very adept at ripping people's faces right off their skulls, dismembering them with casual ease, jumping through their torsos to rip out their ribcages, etc. They are heavily augmented with the superpower-creating Compound V, but mostly they are fighting supers with similar powers. When the Female is let loose on ordinary human villains it's...worse.
    • Averted in a very specific case where the other Boys explain to Hughie that it's almost impossible to literally blow a person's head off with a normal firearm. "Brains out, sure, but anything more is Hollywood bullshit."
  • Sin City goes back and forth, depending on the mood of Frank Miller. Marv has splattered a man's head against a wall and Hartigan mauled the Yellow Bastard with his bare hands. Despite this, it's not uncommon for people to suffer massive injuries and continue to fight, treating it as Only a Flesh Wound.
  • DC Comics villain/anti-hero Deathstroke has a lot of this in his Flashpoint mini and post-Flashpoint ongoing title. He's particularly fond of severing the head at, or in a couple of memorable cases, just above the mouth. Not only does Slade effortlessly cut through the bones, tendons, muscles, etc, in heads, necks, and abdomens as he converts his victims into collections of parts, they're rarely in evidence when you see the cut edges, and only in a handful of cases are now loose organs shown spilling out.
    • Then again, Deathstroke has Super Strength and mostly carries indestructible swords, which could explain slicing through bodies but still doesn't explain ordinary sniper rifle bullets causing heads to explode like watermelons that were hit by a sledgehammer
  • Über is fairly realistic in its depiction of people torn apart by World War 2 ordnance. It takes it Up to Eleven once the titular superhumans are introduced, however...they bloodily rip ordinary humans apart like ragdolls made of wet tissue paper.
  • In Crossed, the psychopathic infected of the title love to redecorate major cities with severed heads, dismembered limbs, piles of steaming guts and flayed skin-coats, all casually ripped from the luckless humans they prey upon.
  • In Age of Reptiles it seems as though every dinosaur is easily torn to shreds. Raptors, in particular, have the ability to eviscerate other dinosaurs with a flying leap and a slash from their claws.
  • In the Dresden Files comic miniseries Welcome to the Jungle, a gorilla tears a hag apart like she was made out of damp tissue paper. To be fair, if an enraged gorilla wants to tear you apart, you will come apart.
  • The Invincible comics seem to run mostly on this trope.

    Fan Works 
  • Sleeping with the Girls: The protagonist and only the protagonist is this due to getting shunted from a Like Reality Unless Noted universe into several worlds that follow Made of Iron without acquiring that trait himself. Rather than assuming that it's caused by some difference in the laws of physics like most fanfics would, this chooses to treat Made of Iron as biological as part of its nature as a Deconstruction, effectively making the protagonist a different, much more fragile species than the native humans.
  • In The Many Worlds Interpretation, Discworld Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes gives a reality check to the Caltech geeks Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj. Their only previous experience of handling bladed weapons is with useless replica swords at Renfaires. Johanna provides the real thing and a target designed to simulate the resistance and solidity of a human head. Howard Wolowitz barely dents it, and manages to get the blade stuck in the target. Apparently Assassins' Guild students don't do much better at their first go either, and encountering something carefully crafted to simulate reality is yet another corrective to over-confidence.
  • Similarly to the above example, This Bites! has the protagonist, Jeremiah Cross, put into the world of One Piece, where he is very squishy compared to the Made of Iron norm. One Idiot Punch from Nami knocks him out for 10 minutes. It takes time, training, and local food and vitamins, but he eventually grows out of this trope.

  • This one is extremely prevalent in the horror genre, hence the term Splatter film. See the Final Destination series for good examples of the 'accidental' variety.
    • Day of the Dead (1985): Remember poor Captain Rhodes, for instance? Ripped apart by a mob of zombies living and screaming. And it's not like that's the only zombie film in which that kind of thing happens, either.
    • Dawn of the Dead (1978) has several scenes, particularly during the early scenes in the apartment building, where zombies bite off chunks of flesh that come off as easily as if they were made of silly putty.
      • Another memorable moment in Dawn is when one very unluckly (and very dumb) biker gets Devoured by the Horde while attached to a machine that reads a person's blood pressure, leaving one of his arms still hooked up to the device.
    • In Return of the Living Dead the zombies bite through skulls like the skin of an apple.
  • War films aiming to up the ante on Saving Private Ryan, which mostly did a very good job of accurately depicting the horrific effects of modern weaponry on the poor sods at its receiving end.
    • At one point, a 20mm anti-aircraft gun is turned on a squad of American soldiers overrunning a Tiger. After a salvo, one guy was instantly decapitated and the rest were mutilated so badly that the Germans finishing them off seemed like a Mercy Kill. Another guy trying to attach a sticky bomb to a tank is blown to Pink Mist when the improvised bomb explodes in his face.
  • While The Punisher (2004) was comparatively understated, the next film, Punisher: War Zone plays this very, very straight. Frank at one point even punches a man through the face, shattering it like a clay pot filled with raspberry jam. The violence plays out like a live-action version of Happy Tree Friends.
  • A mook is killed by the hero in Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) when he's bench pressed up into a hanging icicle, which impales his skull.
  • Laughably gratuitous Platoon B-ripoff, Deadly Prey has Mike Danton, at one point, kill an enemy mook by stabbing him through the heart with a twig.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist does a Lampshade Hanging on this concept. Near the beginning, the hero punches a foot-wide hole through a man — and the Narrator is so stunned that he can't talk about anything else:
    Narrator: I mean, CRAP MAN. Look at that! That's, like, his stomach-plug, on the ground back there, you don't see that every day!... I mean, tha- that doesn't really even seem possible if you think about it. I mean with body organs and cartilage and bones and- I mean I'm no doctor, but it was like one clean chunk!
    • The movie itself subverts this at the end: there's a confirmed fake trailer for a sequel, which features the man who had his stomach punched out spinning the stomach plug around on a chain.
  • The martial arts movie Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is infamous for indulging in this. Aside from a famous clip of a man smashing another man's head between his palms (used on The Daily Show during the Kilborn years), one scene shows a disemboweled man trying to strangle the hero with his intestines.
    • The original manga went even further with this, including such gruesome spots as the titular character uppercutting a man, causing his fist to go up through the bottom of his opponent's jaw, through his mouth, or another time when he cut open an absurdly large opponent's stomach with a slash of his hand. And those are only the tamer examples. There's a reason that each issue is called "Violence #" instead of Chapter #...
    • The man faces more obese bastards than Kenshiro can shake his fist at (one even helps him after displaying some sense). In fact, he does something kind of similar to another of these dudes, but instead of treating his arm like a needle of sorts, he horizontally chops him in two starting with the stomach... Yeesh. On the other hand, the two OVA episodes are generally seen as less violent (the first episode merely has the first guy punched in one of the pectorals).
    • The intestines scene is based on an old Japanese legend, in which a fighter, facing his nemesis in combat, suffers a mortal wound to the abdomen. Rather than let his enemy escape, he then follows one of the basic precepts of bushido, that one should have the conviction of purpose to be able to commit a final action even after being decapitated, and proceeds to strangle his nemesis to death with his own intestines, dying in the process.
  • It's somewhat alarming how easily Arthur hacks apart the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But then again, "It's Excalibur... Sort of. Well, it would have been if we had the budget."
    • Monty Python uses this trope a lot, including Mr. Creosotenote  in The Meaning of Life, the Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days sketch, and more than one instance in Flying Circus where people explode for no reason. Case in point:
      Mother: Oh, she was my best friend!
      Minister for Overseas Development: Mother, don't be so sentimental. Things explode every day.
      Mother: Yes, I suppose so.
  • Uma Thurman certainly played out her share of this in Kill Bill. Refer to her semi-satirical "your limbs belong to me" speech after completely tearing apart the Crazy 88. In addition, Yakuza boss O-Ren Ishii calmly cuts a fellow boss's head off in one stroke for insulting her Chinese-American/Japanese heritage.
  • In Shoot 'em Up, the main character kills a mook with a carrot. In one of the first scenes, he puts a carrot in a bad guy's mouth and punches it through the back of his head. Extra plasticity.
  • Averted in 30 Days of Night, where multiple messy chops are needed to sever heads. Unlike Highlander.
  • Highlander may have a viable explanation. They've been training and fighting to be able to do just that for hundreds of years, and often have very exceptional weapons that they've collected or been given.
  • In Cloverfield a woman appears to bloat up like a balloon and then explode due to some form of toxic, poisonous, or infectious bite.
  • Parodied in Top Secret!, a guard falls off a building, lands on the ground on his back, and shatters like a clay statue.
  • Any Sonny Chiba grindhouse film made in the United States. One notable example: The Bodyguard, in which Chiba's character grabs a man's hand as it busts through a door, and cleanly breaks it off in two fluid snapping motions.
  • Played straight and parodied in Shaun of the Dead. Broken records can easily penetrate zombies' faces, and pool cues are viable, reusable bludgeoning weapons. However, after the zombies spend most of the film being highly ineffectual, they completely tear apart a person with their bare hands and consume him entirely, minus a severed head that gets passed into the crowd and a leg that his friend was clinging. (She proceeds to brandish the leg as a bludgeoning weapon and charges into the horde. And, according to the DVD special features, survives by climbing up a tree and munching on the leg for sustenance.
  • Played with, subverted, and lampshaded in Hot Fuzz: No one who saw it will ever forget Tim Messenger's sendoff, although, from the weight and height of the murder device, the result is not too unrealistic. More often, strangely, the film tends to play this the other way- one might expect an old woman, having received a flying kick to the head, to suffer worse than a broken nose. And of course, lampshaded repeatedly (along with numerous other action film tropes) through the character of Danny: "Is it true there is a place in a man's head that if you shoot it, it will blow up?"
  • The World's End has a rare example of Mecha-Mooks being made of plasticine: the "Blanks" are made of a brittle plastic-like material that shatters when struck with a good punch or blunt object, and their limbs are held together with joints similar to cheap action figures that easily pop off with enough force.
  • In The Happening, a man's arms are torn off by lions as if they were attached to his body by velcro. He doesn't even get pulled off his feet.
  • Wes Craven's Deadly Friend has robot strength capable of demolishing a person's head with a basketball.
  • One memorable scene from The Machine Girl involves a man exploding after being hit with a shuriken barrage. One can only wonder what his blood pressure must have been like.
  • Final Destination 2:
    • A falling pane of glass completely liquefies one of the characters.
    • A subversion later on, where a woman is decapitated in an elevator...but it is far from a clean cut.
    • Or the flying tire which causes one of our heroes' head to disintegrate into Pink Mist. Because apparently a broken neck and/or skull fracture isn't visceral enough for The Grim Reaper.
  • Final Destination 4: There's a guy who gets strained through a metal grid fence, with one chunk falling out to show that he was apparently boneless (since it's a plug of solid flesh where his rib cage should have been.)
  • In the first Underworld (2003) movie, during the climax, Selene slices clean through Viktor's skull and brain with a sword. Viktor apparently doesn't even feel or notice it to the point that he thinks she missed. Until the top of his head slides off.
  • In Dead Man, Cole Wilson smashes a fresh corpse's head into a pancake merely by stepping on it.
  • In Hancock, Ray Embry has little trouble cleanly slicing off a man's hand using a fireman's axe. Not that the moment isn't played for laughs.
  • Pterodactyl:
    • One of the characters is snapped up by the titular reptile in a fell swoop, leaving behind his strangely-detachable legs.
    • Later on, a teenage girl is snatched by the shoulders...and tears in half at the waist. Apparently, the human body is simply too fragile to handle its own weight.
    • One of the flying reptiles decapitates a man with ITS WING. Apparently, not only are Pteranodons made of iron, they are razor sharp as well.
  • Diary of the Dead is full of this trope, having people casually impaling people several times in a row with a blunt IV stand. Also, the vertical slice through a skull with seemingly no effort on the character doing it. Not forgetting the elderly man that managed to shove a scythe through both his own head and that of a zombie with minimum effort.
  • Some have hung a lampshade on this, most notably in From Dusk Till Dawn when Tom Savini's character talks about vampire bodies being "pushier and mooshier" than humans, despite their superior strength.
  • Paul Verhoeven used to be very fond of this trope:
  • Sci-Fi channel direct-to-video feature Dead Men Walking. Zombie outbreak in prison. If zombies grab you, one of two things will happen. Your limbs will be pulled off like taffy or your chest will be torn open in the same exact way as the fifty victims before you. If your death is meant to be slow, big marshmallow chunks will be taken out of your neck.
  • The Hitcher remake. It's a fair bet that if you chained someone to two different trucks, then set off in two different directions, something bad would happen. It would not, however, look like that. Averted in the original, as we simply don't see the gruesome results.
  • In Cabin Fever, a young woman is completely torn apart by an average sized Alsatian; this happens off screen and a few seconds after the attack, when the hero reaches the scene, the largest visible intact part of the girl is her bitten off foot still in its sandal. Granted, the flesh-eating-virus premise almost justifies this trope, but not to that extreme.
  • The obscure 1981 Hong Kong cult classic Day of the Tiger and its 1989 sequel are literately made of this trope. The movie opens with a white-suited waiter exploding from being shot, once, in the chest. Over the course of the first movie, a man is thrown through another man, people are killed by fingers, decapitated by kicks to the head, a ninja explodes from being punched in the back, the protagonist bites off somebody's leg, a man is pulled through a fist-sized hole in a concrete wall and a man's chest muscles are ripped completely off, as a tiny sample. And this is the first movie; the sequel had three times the budget and featured a very obese man being sliced in half and releasing several hundred pounds of guts onto the ground.
  • Turkish Star Wars takes this trope to the extreme. The protagonist doesn't have any problem karate-chopping limbs off enemies and sometimes even karate-chopping them in half. Both horizontally and vertically.
  • UHF:
    • In the opening scene, someone pulls a gun on Weird Al, who turns around and uses a whip to knock the man's arm off, though it was the WRONG arm. Al is also completely flattened by a boulder later on, and anyone shot with a regular bullet in his Rambo dream blows to chunks.
    • And in the Conan the Librarian segment, a man is not only sliced in half lengthwise with casual ease, but his insides are also just red spongy stuff with no sign of bone or organs.
  • In Feast, a baby monster no bigger than a spaniel runs past a woman, striking her on the leg in passing, and its claws shear through her shin so cleanly that neither she nor the amputated limb fall over. Moments later, it peels the skin from a man's face in a single swipe, like pulling off a band-aid.
  • Strangely enough, it's Uwe Boll who takes this to its logical conclusion in BloodRayne - any battle scene without a main character is of mooks swinging at red sponges in clothing with plastic swords.
  • Rambo IV loves this. Rambo's machine gun shreds bodies to pieces and makes them explode into geysers of blood if there's a head shot. Kinda justified though, since he's using an M2 Browning, which has been used to take down snipers by chopping down the trees they're hiding in (albeit when chained with three others). Rambo ripping the throat out of a rapist with his bare hands, however, firmly qualifies.
  • Undead is a comedy in the mold of Braindead. Best scene is when a zombie girl punches an old lady in the face, and its fist goes clear through her head! The fist emerges through the back of the old woman's skull, holding a big chunk of brain to boot.
  • Subverted in My Blue Heaven; Steve Martin's character tells the court about a Real Life mob execution procedure, where they shoot you in that opening in your skull right behind your ear with a low-caliber gun, and the bullet bounces around inside your head, "eating up your brain like Pac-Man", with no cleanup.
  • Played straight and then lampshaded in Peter Jackson's no-budget indy gorefest Bad Taste. Two characters, when trying to silence a struggling enemy, not only rip off his head but also extract his entire spine. A member of the group notes, "Gee, they come to bits easy!"
  • Dead Snow: Very present in this Norwegian zombie film.
    • At one point a zombie plunges its fingers into a man's eye sockets and pulls outward, which results in the man's head splitting in half vertically. Apparently, human skulls come apart like clam shells.
    • The protagonist who apparently brushed against a broken branch — with enough force to tear through his jacket, shirt, and torso, and then sufficiently anchor in his intestines and drag about fifteen feet of it out when he kept running.
  • The Saw series — at least after the first two films. The human body is apparently nothing but flesh-colored play-dough filled with blood-bags and a skeleton of Styrofoam.
  • Predators - A predator defeats a man, who then lies face-down on the ground. The predator reaches into the guy's back, grabs his spine, and pulls, managing to rip the whole spine out, with the skull attached to the spine, as if pulling a spoon from dishwater.
  • A similar thing happens in Species, attributed to Sil's monstrous strength (although giving no reason why attachment between the victim's spine and the rest of their body is apparently so fragile).
  • Hellraiser:
    • The human body is often presented this way, especially the skin, which is treated like a garment, especially in Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, where Pinhead plants a hook in a girl's forehead and pulls on said hook, which yanks the girl's entire skin from her body like a sheet from a mattress.
    • Pinhead's pins. In Hellbound: Hellraiser II, these are shown to be fairly long nails that are driven into the skull. In real life, they are, basically, half-nails glued to Doug Bradley's face, and therefore move around a lot more than nails actually would if they were sticking into the bone, creating the sensation that Pinhead's head is just a big water balloon, an elastic casing filled with goo.
  • Heartbreakingly averted in King of the Ants, in which a character is hired for an assassination, despite having no business even attempting such a thing. His heart really isn't in the task, and to make it worse, his target does not die easily.
  • Practically every victim in the Halloween series is this.
    • With particular mention to the victims who are decapitated in one clean cut, and Nora from Halloween: Resurrection who loses so much blood after being stabbed, multiple characters slip on it towards the end of the film.
    • Averted in the first film, instead having (almost) Bloodless Carnage.
  • In The Thing (1982), we see the team doctor trying to resurrect an unconscious team member via defibrillation. As he attempts to strike the patient's chest with the defibrillator, the patient's stomach opens up and grabs hold of the doctor's arms with a massive set of teeth, tearing his arms off. Now sure, this would probably be legitimate, alien strength and all...if the arms hadn't torn off a few inches above the teeth grip.
  • Suicide Club does this with the opening scene, but when you're running over 54 girls with a train in a low-budget movie, you can't afford to have them turn into anything but a bloody paste.
  • Played straight and averted in Fright Night (2011), as Evil Ed's arm gets cut off by Peter Vincent's panic room door, but Charley's axe-swing fails to decapitate him.
    "Bone is a motherfucker, eh, Charley?"
  • The "Play-Doh effect" of early zombie films is probably the earliest modern example of the trope. Thanks to technological restraints, bodily dismemberment often looked fairly unrealistic, with the zombies tearing through completely healthy human bodies with ease.
  • The wuxia The Sword of Swords have the blinded Handicapped Badass hero killing mooks about to sneak up on him... by flinging dinner plates into their faces. Said plates embeds into their flesh and through the skull, for some reason.
  • At the beginning of Orson Welles' classic Touch of Evil, the murder whose investigation forms the basis for the plot is committed with a bomb. Afterwards, one character remarks of the victim, whose remains aren't shown, as he looks down into the camera: "Once he ran this town. Now you could strain him through a sieve."
  • The Hatchet series has a bizarre mix of this trope and its opposite, Made of Iron; bodies come apart like wet kleenex, but the victims endure this somehow without passing out from shock before they die, likely to heighten just how damn SADISTIC the films are.
  • Friday the 13th: This trope is in effect throughout the series with both the killers and the victims. Certain shining examples include...
    • Part 6 Jason punches through a man's chest and out his back, holding the man's heart.
    • Part 8 Jason punches a guy in the face with a fist, which acts to decapitate him cleanly at the neck as if he just encountered a guillotine.
    • Part 9 Jason punches a young woman through the torso with a dull fencepost, under the ribcage, making it this trope. The post is then pulled upward and out of her shoulder, ripping her in half when it should have simply lifted her up.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Dracula's death both averts it and plays it painfully straight. The heroes try to stab him in the heart with a bowie knife and decapitate him with a kukri (which is accurate to the book, which did not kill him with a wooden stake,) but neither penetrates cleanly, leaving him only wounded with a cut throat and a knife stuck in his chest. Mina Harker eventually strikes the deathblow by pushing the knife further into his heart (absolutely fine, he was lying down, not struggling, and she put her full weight behind it,) but then pulling the knife out of him with no apparent effort, and then cutting his head off with it with one blow. Given that she is a woman with no extreme strength or training, and the bowie knife was nowhere near the size of a meat cleaver, much less a proper sword, the decapitation looks completely ridiculous.
  • You might as well be if you're unfortunate enough to cross paths with the werewolves in The Wolfman (2010).
  • All over the place in I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, but especially in the scene where a tea lady gets crushed between her tea trolley and a wall by the demon-possessed motorcycle, and the trolley cleanly bisects her.
  • Ex Machina: The gynoid is actually designed to be more fragile than an actual human to avoid the possibility of her overpowering her creator and escaping.
    • Ava takes a blow that would break an arm for a human but completely removes hers.
    • Played for horror with Jade, banging on the door to her cell until her arms disintegrate. Though the recording is sped up, it only took a few minutes.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Magneto slowly moves a coin all the way through a man's head without even the slightest bit of resistance. It slips right in and out the back, with barely even any blood, as if the guy was a human slot machine. Considering the victim was standing in the middle of the room with nothing holding him in place but Mind Control, poking him in the forehead with a blunt object should've just pushed him back and made him fall over.
  • In Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror, a tagger trips while drinking from a large bottle of booze, lands face-first on the bottle's open spout, and it punches through his skull without cracking or tipping over. Its blunt, unbroken spout, mind you, after an ordinary stumble that shouldn't have done worse than bloodied his nose.
  • The zombies in Dance of the Dead are remarkably easy to tear apart, even with one's bare hands. Of course, that could just be due to Coach Keel being a One-Man Army.
  • In Death Spa, the haunted spa kills its patrons in various physically impossible ways. Stand-out examples include a man somehow suffering a rupture while using a butterfly press, and a woman having her head blown to pieces by an exploding mirror.

  • Discworld series by Terry Pratchett:
    • In The Fifth Elephant, Vimes' internal monologue mentions that while he had seen a move used by Inigo Skimmer - a chopping motion with the edge of the hand to the base of the neck - annoy or stun men, the idea that it could remove the head was very much a new one to him. It's revealed shortly afterward that a palm dagger was involved, although it is very sharp, as it would be - Mr. Skimmer is an assassin.
    • Sergeant Detritus's sidearm of choice, the Piecemaker, is noted to have this sort of effect on the target. As a (very large) troll he uses a converted and tuned up siege crossbow instead of a normal one. A crossbow which used to fire one large blunt arrow, intended more for general demolition and knocking down doors than anti-personnel uses. Since then it has been modified to fire about a hundred arrows bound in one sheath - with the obvious intention of firing them all at once at a target. However, it's explained that the various forces involved when firing it have caused the arrows themselves to be more or less irrelevant to the whole situation. Pulling the trigger simply results in the target being hit by an expanding cloud of flaming wooden splinters. In short, the weapon could be loaded with pretty much anything and it would still cause its targets to evaporate into fine red mist. Due to its extremely wide kill zone - it has been known to destroy things directly above Detritus even when firing forwards - it's advised the only safe place when he is around is behind him.
    • Played with in Unseen Academicals, when Mr. Nutt (practically the embodiment of Awesomeness by Analysis) pauses in his tussle with a vicious football hooligan, to discuss the precise mechanical forces and tissue-resistance involved if he were to invoke made of plasticine and yank the ruffian's head off.
  • Averted in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. In spite of having a Katana, Hiro notes that you can't just chop right through people with a single swing, like in the movies. He doesn't always use the proper form but manages to survive anyway.
    • He also does exactly that (decapitate someone with a single swing) by accident when he actually fights in the real world for the first time. It's more of a "shouldn't" than "can't", since you don't want to risk the blade getting stuck in the middle of a fight.
  • Averted in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, where skill or an Absurdly Sharp Blade is required to decapitate a man with one swing during an execution. The royal executioner Ilyn Payne is known for doing his job well, but Robb Stark bungles his first execution and has to take several swings.
  • Pretty much anything that isn't a human falls into this in the Damned series. Humans have, compared to everything else supernatural resilience, strength, bone density, etc. Massood don't trail quite as far behind as everybody else, and a Molitar can actually come near a human in one on one combat, although seeing as they are about five hundred pounds on average that's still plasticine, just lots of it.
    • The Wais in particular fall to this. Not only would they break a bone tripping, but they also throw up if they see a violent movie, except for a few.
  • In American Gods Laura kills Mister World by pushing a spear through her own stomach and into his while he's standing behind her. OK, she has detachment and determination brought on by being undead, but wouldn't that be rather tricky to pull off?
  • Discussed in Angels of Music, after Kate and Yuki attend a stage show at the Théâtre des Horreurs which features realistically gory decapitations and mutilations. Yuki says that she can tell the decapitations are fake because the heads come off too easily: "To cut off a head... it is not so easy as they make out. Even with a sharp sword. The head does not come off like a doll's, at the merest love tap." Kate reflects that there's a lot she doesn't know about Yuki's past.
  • C. S. Lewis's novel about the afterlife, The Great Divorce, shows that our world is like a shadow cast by a higher reality — in other words, by Heaven — and that unprepared souls escaping from Hell find Heaven a hostile environment, because they are so insubstantial and unreal by comparison. Walking on grass, for example, feels like walking on a bed of nails, and attempting to walk against the wind is about as effective as pushing against a reinforced concrete wall.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan did this all the time.
    The fighting-madness of his race was upon him, and with a red mist of unreasoning fury wavering before his blazing eyes, he cleft skulls, smashed breasts, severed limbs, ripped out entrails, and littered the deck like a shambles with a ghastly harvest of brains and blood. ("Queen of the Black Coast")
  • Subverted in The Dresden Files. When "making like Buffy" against a group of Black Court Vampires (basically living corpses), Harry and Inari both try to stake a Black Court Vampire a piece. They hit the ribcage and nothing happens. It takes a frozen turkey falling from the sky and some good old faith-based magic to defeat the Black Court Mooks.
  • In one of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures, a villain rips the Doctor's heart out bare-handed. It's never explained how this was managed — the Doctor certainly isn't usually made of plasticine. He got better, of course, and in a week at that, as he has a Healing Factor (not to mention having a second heart), and other factors were apparently involved.
  • Averted for vampires in Robin McKinley's Sunshine; going under the breastbone to reach the heart with a stake is specifically mentioned.
  • Lampshaded with Smash's bloodless dismemberment of opponents in the hypnogourd in the Xanth novel Ogre, Ogre.
  • Terry Goodkind's epic Sword of Truth series has a doozy, when the hero, Richard, pulls Drefan's spine out through the man's stomach, and then tears the spinal column into little bitty pieces. Crosses bizarrely with Made of Iron, since Drefan carries on fighting, at least for a while.
  • The Taxxons in Animorphs. Their many nimble claws makes them good technicians, and their sense of smell makes them excellent trackers, and they're still pretty terrifying to an unarmed human, but they're described as being about as durable as a soggy paper bag. Their insatiable hunger makes it even worse: if one of them is injured, the rest will turn on it in a feeding frenzy. Lampshaded in Visser where Visser One quips that a Taxxon could be killed by a human armed only with a can opener.
  • In Brisingr, the third novel of Inheritance Cycle, one the main characters effortlessly beheads helmeted foes with a single swing of his sword. While he’s lying on his back, they’re towering over him, and he has no leverage. Even discounting the fact that he shouldn’t even be able to reach his enemy’s neck from five feet beneath him, it’s unlikely he could exert enough force from that angle to deal a lethal blow, let alone cleanly sever skin, muscle, and spinal cord.
  • Zig-zagged and possibly justified in Geoph Essex's Lovely Assistant, where it's...
    • Averted at first, when Jenny is hit by a car (in her introduction scene) and suffers no injuries. Actually, she's killed instantly, but since The Grim Reaper didn't show up, she becomes one herself, and without a scratch on her.
    • Played straight in the first reveal, when Jenny gets her leg chopped right off. But it is a very large, heavy crate with a jagged metal edge.
    • Averted again when Jenny cuts off her finger to test her new power. It takes time, effort, and cringe-worthy sawing...with a steak knife.
    • Presumably justified in the rest of the book, since Jenny's ability to dismember herself and all that is never fully delineated.
  • The Jenkinsverse:
    • The entire 'verse is built around this trope, with humanity leaving Earth only to find that even the most feared and savage monsters in the galaxy are surprisingly flimsy. The aliens, in turn, are astounded by the human race's incredible resilience and strength.
    • Then there's the Dizi rat. As one of the few universal meat animals in a galaxy where most predators would lose a fight with a human child, they practically explode if you so much as look at them wrong.
  • Richard Laymon made an entire literary career out of over-the-top Gorn involving people who tend to come neatly apart into discrete body parts when subjected to violence. His books are full of scenes like this, with people getting shot through the head and leaving a neatly-severed ear stuck to the wall behind them, victims being decapitated with the single stroke of a blunt firewood axe, and one hilarious example of a man's ear being surgically removed in his sleep without waking him up.
  • Fighting Fantasy Series has the Demonic Servants, gaunt, almost-skeletal humanoids clad in dark robes often found serving demons and evil overlords all over the world. So gaunt, actually, that they istantly die if you manage to land as much as two consecutive blows on them. Since they usually have low SKILL scores, they tend to go down easily compared to sturdier monsters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer justifies this by saying that wood pierces the flesh of a vampire like a hot knife through butter, although it never explains why. A plastic stake goes in, even, though that might just be because Riley's a big guy who could power it through.
    • One of the best is in the episode where Willow, who at the time is barely capable of moving a pencil via telekinesis kills a vampire by flying said pencil into his back. The pencil wasn't moving with enough force to penetrate the vampire's leather jacket, let alone his flesh.
    • Another instance comes at the end of "Doppelgangland" when Vamp Willow crumbles to dust after being pushed into, not a stake, but the jagged edge of what looks like a broken 1-by-4 — something that would have to be propelled with awesome force to do anything more than give the average human a nasty scrape.
    • It's pretty clear that this is related to having a name. In one scene a random vampire is killed when a small tree branch pierces his stomach (note: not near the heart) but Spike and Angel have both survived thanks to a stake or arrow missing by centimeters.
    • The worst instance, however, occurs with a character who does have a name. Dawn is lying on the ground, holding a crossbow bolt pointing up while her vampire boyfriend slowly, and deliberately leans in towards her, and apparently, slowly pushing the bolt into his own chest until it pierces his heart.
  • In one episode of Angel, he's being held in place from behind by another vampire and there's a human present who might want to kill both of them, or might just want to kill the other vampire. She stabs Angel through the chest at such an angle that she hits the other vampire's heart, but not his. She only found out about the existence of vampires the day before, so it's not like her vast Slayer experience was helping her there.
  • Heroes:
    • Unsurprisingly exhibited by Claire in — her ability to regenerate is quite handy considering her uncanny ability to die at a moment's notice. Being knocked down causes her to break her neck where a normal person would just hit their head, a normally quite safe garbage disposal tears her hands to shreds and even stray branches pose a mortal threat. Sheer masochism is the only explanation for the number of times she intentionally hurts herself, or doesn't ever seem to bother trying not to get hurt note  but it doesn't change the fact that you can't cut a toe off with scissors, that getting bumped into tends not to result in broken necks, and if you're pushed against a metal rod, you bruise; it doesn't go through you with less resistance than a toothpick through a meatball.
    • Not to mention that Sylar manages to accidentally impale his mother with scissors a little too easily.
    • That glass shard seemed to slide through Peter's skull like butter, though Sylar was accelerating the shards with telekinesis. Given that Sylar can focus his telekinesis into an invisible scalpel-like force on its own, he has at least an excuse.
  • Smallville characters are curiously susceptible to impalement: getting knocked into - or sometimes, accidentally stepping into - any object that's longer than it is wide will result in said object being pierced straight through the body, resulting in death within seconds (just long enough for you to look down at the object and think Oh, Crap!.)
  • Played straight in Grey's Anatomy of all places. There is an episode that features a homegrown 'explosive expert' who ends up with an RPG stuck in his lung. When it finally detonates at the end of the episode, 3 people are instantly turned into pink mist.
  • Used to great comic effect by Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • Presented almost literally in the Torchwood: Miracle Day episode "Rendition" when Rex Matheson snaps the neck of an enemy agent, and she is later seen (still alive due to the plotline of the story) walking with her head spun 180 degrees on her body.
  • Rome, especially in the arena. Ever seen a man decapitated with a shield?
  • It seems most people in The Vampire Diaries are this because it doesn't take a lot of force to rip someone's heart out of their chest, though this could be justified by vampires having Super Strength.
  • Dead Like Me features a lot of death via accident that falls under this category. For instance, a man who was killed by a high heel shoe impaling him through the forehead.
  • The walkers in The Walking Dead are all made of a putty-like compound that enables people to batter them to pieces and stab through their skulls with awkward thrusts, although that may be because most walkers being in an advanced state of decay. Doesn't excuse the imminently deceased ripping apart like wet construction paper in the walkers' hands...
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand has this in spades. In fact, the only ones who don't seem to be made of plasticine are the gladiators themselves. Averted twice:
    • Season 1 had the death of Theokles, whose neck was so thick, it took Spartacus four swings to fully decapitate him.
    • The most recent season saw the decapitation of Ashur by Naevia after three hard swings. Granted, the females are not as strong as the gladiators, and Crixus offers to teach her how to "remove a man's head in one swing".
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation oddly combines this with Made of Iron in the episode Suspicions. Fighting for her life, Dr. Crusher blasts a sizable hole clean through an attacker's torso. It barely slows him down.
  • Game of Thrones is inconsistent; Ned Stark is beheaded cleanly, (justified by the executioner being very experienced and using a massive, two-handed Valyrian steel greatsword) while Ser Rodrik's decapitation requires several strikes (and eventually has to be kicked loose). However, the Battle of the Blackwater shows many examples of a Clean Cut through armour, and with no Absurdly Sharp Blade to justify it.

  • In Weird Al's music video for "You Don't Love Me Anymore," the piano player's hand gets chopped off by having the keyboard lid slammed on it. Similar out-of-proportion injuries befall the rest of the band members. Justified, of course, in that these are daydream sequences (and movie parodies). The piano player in "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is an Homage to Monty Python's Sam Peckinpah's Salad Days sketch.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000's Imperial Guardsmen qualify. The Super Soldier mascots of the series are armed with guns that fire .75 calibre explosive rounds, the resident orcs are armed with similar weapons, the resident elves are armed with guns that fire a hail of monomolecular shuriken, the resident grey aliens pack plasma weaponry that can threaten armoured transports, and the resident killer robots are armed with death rays which shred and vaporize enemies. In a setting where practically everyone is Made of Iron, wears Powered Armor, has psychic defences, or have all three, such weapons are quite necessary, but Guardsmen are just normal humans in flak jackets, so... Yeah. Guardsmen have terrible morale for good reason.
    • For an in-universe example, the Disruption Fields (They disrupt molecular bonds) of Power Weapons causes everything to behave like this - they are used to carve open tanks like they were made out of butter.
  • Many house-rules attempts to add detailed critical hits and misses to pre-3E Dungeons & Dragons resulted in tables of injuries that made characters' bodies seem roughly as fragile as their character sheets.
  • Several White Wolf games explicitly include rules for "extras", background characters that exist solely to be slaughtered in your character's battles.

    Video Games 
  • The Mortal Kombat games. The fighters are Made of Iron during matches, but the games are very fond of doing gruesome things to defeated fighters when it comes time to "FINISH HIM!" — ripping someone's head off and taking his spine with it, punching right into someone's chest and ripping out his heart, ripping someone's arms right out of their sockets, ripping someone in half, and even pulling someone's skeleton right out of his body! Some moves will cause as many as a half dozen ribcages to fly out of the victim. And that's not even going into the weird weapons and powers that many Mortal Kombat fighters employ.
  • The Doom series has this in spades — toxic barrels, rockets, the BFG and even your fists (with the berserk pack) can splatter most enemies into a pile of giblets. CHUNKY!
  • Brutal Doom is a mod that takes the gore of Doom and runs with it into a meat grinder. With new and re-worked weapons, Doomguy can now rip and tear apart every enemy in-game. Unfortunately, so can they. From blasting chunks off a Cacodemon to blasting an Imp's leg off, to the finishers of the Berserk Pack, Brutal Doom earns its name.
  • Smash TV and its Spiritual Successor Total Carnage are even more ridiculous. Most of your weapons (e.g. the triple shot) would chunkify most of the Mooks. And, despite sporting massive muscles, mere physical contact with some of these games' enemies will chunkify them.
  • Duke Nukem 3D (and probably his other appearances). Out of nine guns, three of them actually leave a corpse behind; there are four explosives that will gib enemies, a shrink ray that lets you step on them, and after freezing someone with the freeze ray you have to kick or shoot them to make their entire body shatter (and if you don't do that fast enough they will come unfrozen still intact). Not to mention explosive level elements and the fact that if someone gets crushed by a piston instead of a body they will leave a sticky, stretchy string of miscellaneous gore attached to it as it continues going up and down. To top it off, if you played on the hardest difficulty any enemy who did leave a corpse would respawn, so you were strongly encouraged to gib as many as possible.
  • Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven features the doctor character Tesshu. While other characters use bladed weapons for their stealth kills, Tesshu uses only his fists, so how is he going to kill someone quietly? Well, by either jamming both hands into their back, pushing his whole fist into the bottom of their spine, breaking both arms and then their neck while watching them stagger, or even the truly ridiculous plunging his hand into their chest and pulling out their heart, then squishing it. About the only thing he does that is even conceivable is jab a needle into their neck and hitting vital nerves.
  • Unreal Tournament. Especially Unreal Tournament 2004 with the Ballistic Weapons mod, or Unreal Tournament III... the flak cannon and impact hammer in particular. Splorch. Although, strangely enough, in 2004, the abdomen is completely indestructible. Presumably a limitation of the engine, but it's quite hilarious to see the remains of a player blown to bits with a rocket launcher: an unharmed, fully armored crotch lying in a pile of bloodied gibs.
  • In Resident Evil 4, Los Ganados and other hosts of Las Plagas alternate between this and being Made of Iron. Sure, those first three shotgun blasts in the chest were just annoying, but that last fan-kick decapitated two of them at once!
  • The so bad it's good Fist of the North Star NES game. All of it. In one punch enemies will pulse strangely and then explode into blue fragments that fly across the screen. Why blue? Nobody knows.
  • Applies in some Drakengard cutscenes. Also applies to any armor.
  • Lampshaded in Urban Chaos: Riot Response for PS2, Xbox, and PC. When you get a headshot on a gang member (which you will, as there is a bonus for doing so) the hapless target's head bursts like an overripe melon; other gang members in the area will proceed to yell out something along the lines of "HOLY SHIT, HE JUST BLEW THAT GUY'S HEAD OFF!"
  • Toribash makes dismemberment very easy, and fighters can still exert control over their own severed limbs. This opens up endless possibilities for attacks, including tossing your own arm at the opponent, making it grab onto him and bash him repeatedly - one built-in replay even has the player character tossing his own head to bowl over his opponent. Half the fun of the game is figuring out new ways to dismember the opponent (or even yourself, if you're that bored).
  • Oddly subverted in Space Siege. A main character gets pushed off a railing (Read thrown back by an alien punch) lands on a transit car eight feet down then lands on the station another seven feet down. He's not dead by he is really bad shape. The alien dies a gruesome death from the player character's rage.
  • As the title implies, Splatterhouse. Check out the image on its page for a good example.
  • The squad level strategy game Jagged Alliance 2 features special death animations for certain forms of killing an opponent. Killing an enemy with certain ammo (for example assault rifle ammo like 7.62 or 5.56), by firing at an unprotected head, will sometimes cause said head to explode. Also firing in rapid succession (burst) at an enemy's unprotected chest will sometimes cause the follow-up bullets to burst through his/her chest with the person dramatically flying backwards. Also using explosives like certain grenades or bombs will blow the bodies up with only blood remaining. Heavy explosives can also reduce enemies to ash. This is all commented by the player's characters as not very nice. Luckily the game has only pixel animation graphics.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy of course. The Kid explodes into Ludicrous Gibs when touched once by an enemy... or nearly anything else, for that matter.
  • In Fallout 3 it's possible to cause limbs and heads to come off in a shower of gore with any weapons, including your character's bare hands. Not to mention taking the "bloody mess" perk has a chance of causing anyone the player kills to explode into Ludicrous Gibs. The first 2 Fallout games have more reasonable subdued weapon effects unless you're using a powerful weapon, in which case you can do things like cutting people cleanly in half with just a short burst from your chaingun. If you take the aforementioned "bloody mess" perk, you'll be able to vaporize half a person's body with a pistol.
    • Dead bodies in this game are so ridiculously fragile, it is even well possible for one's legs to break off under its own weight!
  • Dead Space is a prime example, almost to Trope Codifier status. Bodies of humans, aliens and necromorphs alike seem to be all held together with paper glue and a prayer, being dismembered with a single arm swing or stomp after they hit Critical Existence Failure. It's so bad that someone actually created a montage of Isaac's deaths! Dead Space 2 also invokes this with the first onscreen death (NSFW); the player is given an up-close view of a man transforming into a necromorph right in Isaac's face, wherein appendages push out of his shoulders without difficulty, before most of his face easily crumbles away like pastry.
  • In Left 4 Dead, the players are assaulted by hordes of zombies, who have a tendency to gib rather spectacularly when hit at close range with, say, an auto fire shotgun.
    • The sequel takes this trope and turns it Up to Eleven, as can be seen here. Partially subverted in that the skeleton and most organs are clearly visible through the gore, which just adds to the effect.
  • In the short freeware side scroller Bert the Barbarian, your enemies are quite literally made of plasticine AND fall under this trope.
  • The arcade game Who Dunit stars Max, a character who is instantly skeletonized after being killed by anything, including dog bites, falling books, flying pimp hats, and even a beach ball.
  • MadWorld. Even if you don't use the default chainsaw, you can still dismember your opponents with your bare hands. Like Mortal Kombat, you can rip out a man's beating heart, then crush it in your fist. Or hold him up against a moving train and watch his limbs fly off from the friction. Or hit the skulls off of zombies with a golf club...
  • In the Lego video games, death causes characters to fall to pieces, and Chewbacca rips arms out easily. Justified, obviously, in that they're made of plastic.
    • Anyone who has ever struggled to separate two Lego bricks that were connected with the equivalent bonding strength of arc welding will agree that this trope is still very much played straight in the game.
  • In Starcraft, most flesh & blood units practically explode on death, even if they were killed by toxic gas (i.e. Irradiate from a Science Vessel).
  • In Dead Rising, freelance photojournalist Frank West can kill zombies in all sorts of hilarious dismembering ways, including with his bare hands. Heads can be kicked off, intestines ripped out, faces pulped, etc. If anything, the sequel ups the ante.
  • God of War tends to do this— at least in the cutscenes.
  • Team Fortress 2 was originally going to take this literally, with all of the mercenaries replaced by claymation models of themselves. It's slightly more realistic now, but still full of Ludicrous Gibs.
    • The Halloween 2011 update added a badge that, when worn, causes players to explode violently (with a flashy, loud explosion) when they die, regardless of the cause of death.
  • In Harvester, so much as getting hit on the head with a baseball bat will make a character's organs explode out of them.
  • [PROTOTYPE] justifies this trope, as Alex Mercer has the strength to easily throw a tank, while much of his arsenal consists of Absurdly Sharp Blades, meaning many of his enemies seem like this trope in comparison. Specific examples include:
    • Your claws have no trouble shredding an armored soldier in one swipe, and your extend-o-tentacle can sweep round a big circle that instantly separates the upper and lower torsos of every enemy within a certain radius.
    • And then there's the Musclemass ability, which can dissolve regular mooks with a simple punch One of the muscle mass consume animations, in which Alex simply pulls someone in half, right down the middle.
    • The trope is less justified with less supernatural weapons as ordinary assault rifles cut someone in half, a grenade liquefies them, and being hit by a car leads to their organs spread across the hood and windshield...
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Daggerfall, Townie NPCs explode in a shower of blood should you attack them. Even if it is only a measly punch.
    • Skyrim:
      • Some of the "Kill Cam" animations qualify. For instance, it may trigger and show you beheading an armored NPC enemy with a low-level ancient axe which has been sitting unused in a tomb for the past 3000 years.
      • Grelod the Kind, the nasty old orphanage headmistress in is the weakest NPC you meet in the game. She is so weak, that you can kill her with the weakest version from your first Dragon Shout, which normally inflicts no damage and only causes a slight stagger. (Though, given her nasty nature, you will be tempted to do a little more or a lot more than that...)
  • Dragon Age: Origins was pretty intense on the blood and guts, but Dragon Age II takes it to ridiculous levels; when you kill somebody, they freaking explode into body parts and gallons of blood, even if they were only a hit by a small dagger. This is most likely thanks to the Narrator's admitted embellishment of the events in the story.
  • Enemies in Baldur's Gate are blown to pieces if enough damage is done to them all at once. Since the damage can come from anything from swords to daggers to bows, this can make sense in some cases—such as when a high-powered magical attack causes this—and in some cases it's ridiculous—such as when a few arrows hit one creature at the same time and it explodes.
    • It gets really absurd when you start doing this with tiny rocks from slings or darts.
  • One thing that makes Happy Wheels so challenging (besides the chaotic levels) is the fact that the smallest wipeout from a bike, wheelchair, or Segway can cause your character to lose limbs, break their neck, or sometimes explode into a bloody mess of gibs.
  • The now shut down Arctic Combat featured soldiers losing arms, legs, and heads to even weapons firing the relatively anemic 9mm round. Half of the fun of the game was running around and watching heads disappear from other players after you thwacked them with the stock of your weapon.
  • Bryce, the protagonist of Never Dead is easily dismembered by any particularly strong hit. Good thing that he's an immortal who can pick himself up back together just by rolling over body parts or regrow them at will.
  • A lot of physics-based games have frail enemies so it wouldn't be overly difficult to crush the enemies and objects. Examples include Gish and Crush the Castle.
  • The Gears of War games have this with execution moves. While it's reasonable to have explosions or a heavy machinegun blow people apart, anyone is able to reduce an enemy's head to paste with a single stomp, even when they're wearing a helmet.
    • Unless the One Shot fires high-explosive shells, there's no reason why an oversized sniper rifle would instantly turn someone's entire upper body into a shower of red mist.
  • The cheap game OMG-Z is entirely based around this. It's a Zombie Apocalypse, and the screens are overrun with hordes of zombies. However, in this game, zombies fall apart with a light touch—some even explode outright, so the goal of the game is to clear hundreds of zombies out by starting an exploding zombie chain reaction. Note that not all zombies explode, though: some, like the soldier and policeman, just fall to the ground and their gun-arm comes off, firing the gun into the nearby crowd of zombies. Others melt into acidic goo puddles. Basically, zombies are totally weaksauce. The only reason the plague spread at all is because of the highly-infectious spray that results when one falls apart.
  • Dishonored falls victim to this. You can shoot a man in the head with your crossbow, and his head will be taken clean off and speared to the wall behind him.
  • Enemies in Paint the Town Red are simultaneously this and Made of Iron. It's remarkably easy to maim and mutilates people, to the point that you can shave the skin off people's voxel heads with nothing with a plastic comb. However, enemies can also potentially take a ton of punishment before they actually die (especially bosses,) meaning it's not unusual to remove an enemy's face, one of their arms and have several blades sticking out of them and still see them get back up to single-mindedly kick your ass.
  • Dwarf Fortress: The game is particularly weird about both this and Made of Iron, depending on the current bugs and system implementation. Pre-material overhaul, people's heads would explode into gore from thrown socks, and even now the occasional thrown pebble will cause horrible bruises. At one point, plant seeds dropped from a couple of z-levels high struck people like bullets, breaking bones and piercing brains. And more persistently, people can be killed by being bludgeoned with silk clothing or empty backpacks, and if anything knocks you back even by one tile you can skid head-first across the tile and brain yourself messily.
  • I Am Bread features no living creatures (besides, arguably, the eponymous slice), but dishes will shatter at the slightest impact or pressure.
  • In the storyline for Call of Duty: Black Ops grenades, explosives, and even some of the firearms will sever limbs with ease.
  • Shellshock Nam 67 also features mooks and even the main character being easily dismembered and/or decapitated by machine guns or sniper rifles.
  • Cooking Simulator by default has plates and bottles that break so easily that actually using them as plates and bottles represents the main obstacle in the game. You can buy kitchen upgrades to make this stop.

    Web Comics 
  • Penny Arcade. In one strip from 2003, Gabe, in a murderous rage, shoves a book in Tycho's mouth, then punches the book clean through his head, effectively decapitating him.
  • Sluggy Freelance uses this trope from time to time, most notably in the horror movie themed story arcs "KITTEN" and "KITTEN II," which can pretty much be summarized as "demonic kittens tear people apart like wet tissue paper." Such moments are usually marked by the idiosyncratic sound effect "Glitch!"
  • El Goonish Shive had a sketchbook entry taking the vampire aspect of this to its logical conclusion.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, clones made using the old process end up like this. An early clone of Benjamin Franklin died by biting down too hard on a sandwich — which severed his head at the jaw.
  • 8-Bit Theater generally averts this in favor of Made of Iron, but sometimes the mooks play this straight.
    Fighter: I tried to show the dragon my new trick, but he exploded.
    Thief: Bodies explode every day, Fighter. That's just science fact.
    Black Mage: Now run along and show your trick to the dozen dragons upstairs.
  • In the Christian Humber Reloaded webcomic, when Vash "use(s) the walls of the arena to his advantage" against his dog fighting ring opponent, which in the comic involves throwing the dog at the wall head first, the dog's head splatters into blood on impact. Most of the other fight scenes involve similar brutality.
  • Bob and George gives us Ran Cossack, an extremely fragile robot who "dies" from the slightest touch. Thankfully for Ran, he has a quick respawn.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, many grosslings are quite easy to kill, provided that they don't get the main characters first.

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner features this in its Cheat Commandos series with "civilian contractor" Reynold, about whom it's said, "You can't shoot and you can't fly, if you came with us, you'd prob'ly die!"
  • Many death scenes in Survival of the Fittest qualify. In one example in v1, a fully grown man was sliced in half at the waist by an injured and exhausted teenager (One handler was heard to remark 'What was that guy using - a lightsaber?'). Another particularly notable example comes from v4, where a girl gets a flare gun shot at her and she chars to death in an extremely graphic and over the top manner.
  • The Whateley Universe uses this whenever death is allowed, and occasionally with regenerators. The syndicate troops at Halloween are, despite high tech armor and supposedly top-notch training and physical condition, torn apart even by the students without combat superpowers. The "Voodoo-Wolves" take this a step further; despite supposedly being some of the most dangerous creatures in existence, normal attacks frequently tear apart 3+ at a time, and one was beheaded by an open-handed blow from someone equivalent to a highly trained baseline. Apparently, the first thing that happens when a were turns evil is all their bones disappearing, followed by the skin and muscle being replaced by gelatin.
    • Though in the favor of the Voodoo-Wolves, the threat is mainly from infection and numbers. Also, even the weakest members of Whateley Academy tend to be dangerous to non-supers, and the soldiers were holding back originally. When Olympic level feats and BFG's are standard, it's not too surprising.
  • Happy Tree Friends might as well be the Trope Namer: even the slightest injury will leave a character seriously wounded or dead. Some examples include when Cuddles hits a rock on his skateboard and lands on the stairs, splitting him neatly into three pieces; when a pane of glass breaks over Cuddles' head he splits into five pieces like an orange; and when Shifty is dissected and skinned by Flippy with... a Christmas tree cookie! This is justified by the simple fact that the show wouldn't be funny without it.
  • DSBT InsaniT: The Darkness counterparts break apart very easily, but that's why they function as Asteroids Monsters.

    Western Animation 
  • In Metalocalypse, most people who cross paths with Dethklok get mangled in horrifyingly unlikely ways.
  • The unfortunate inmates of Superjail! are constantly being stomped, shredded, shattered and squished in almost every way imaginable - but hey, the second season will probably cover the rest. Once per Episode, some plot-powered force causes a rampage of destruction that always results in a torrent of convict goo.
  • South Park. Most injuries end up with exploding heads, with bits of person flying everywhere.
  • The Venture Bros.: If you're on the wrong side of Brock Samson when he's in a mood to kill people, you will be made of plasticine. Notably, he decapitated somebody with a dead shark's open mouth.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch, both figuratively and literally. Special mention goes to the Alfred Hitchcock vs Steven Spielberg fight, in which Spielberg throws Hitchcock across the room by poking him lightly.
  • In Samurai Jack, even with robots, the mooks end up getting slashed open, smashed, and punched with ease, whereupon they explode. Even with seemingly mundane arrows or javelins.
  • The Mooks from Korgoth of Barbaria: one of them was skinned alive when Korgoth grabbed his ponytail and yanked on it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • While not the most realistic series, a falling silver dollar gets lodged in Lenny's forehead and causes blood to spurt out.
    • This trope gets played up somewhat in the Treehouse of Horror episodes, what with being out of canon and thereby allowing characters to get killed or otherwise disfigured left, right, and centre.
  • Futurama: during a scene that makes physicists cry, Mars is shooting right past Earth at such a short distance that Martian structures are knocking the tops off buildings, and it's possible to jump between the two worldsnote . Leela, with a broken leg, is trapped on the top of a Martian structure. Fry scales the Planet Express building to save her, takes her hand, and her arm comes off. She then grabs onto the bone at the end of the arm Fry is holding, and Fry's arm comes off too. Even given the velocities involved, if you can jump from one world to another, one does not have enough of a gravitational grip to remove limbs.
  • The Transformers: The Movie has Junkions who rather surprisingly manage to combine this trope with Implacable Man: they fall to pieces when hit, but they can simply pull themselves back together and keep fighting. Fortunately for the Autobots, they turn out to be pretty friendly and only attacked due to a misunderstanding.
  • The goblins from Trollhunters go splat with remarkable ease.
  • Soundwave in Transformers Animated is not very tough, and can usually be broken in one strong hit. Justified because Soundwave is made of Earth machines, as opposed to Cybertronian material.

    Real Life 
  • It's worth noting that although we humans are tougher than we look, any human subjected to sufficient force will certainly seem made of plasticine. Everything from heavy blunt impacts, to industrial accidents, to (of course) military weaponry can easily reduce an entire human being to bone fragments and smears... or even vapor.
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta, better known as brittle bone disease, can cause your bones to shatter at even the slightest impact.
  • When a skin abscess ruptures, it will look to bystanders like the individual was just lightly touched and then simply popped like the world's most disgusting water balloon. In areas with modern medical care, these types of wounds are more common to see on animals than humans. But when finally brought in for treatment, even a slight touch during the exam may cause the skin to slough off, releasing a tide of pus, blood, lymph, and sometimes even insect larvae. Usually, it all cascades downward rather than exploding outward, but if its a particularly large abscess, the sheer volume may result in the medical practitioner and bystanders being splattered. Depending on the size, it may also leave a very large hole behind in the underlying flesh.
  • There are congenital disorders that make the skin very rubbery and fragile. If you are unlucky enough to have something like this and osteogenesis imperfecta, you will have a hard time surviving for very long, let alone through puberty.
  • Mosquitoes. Any amount of force will turn these buggers into paste. If not for the fact that they are Explosive Breeders, they'd have gone extinct a while ago.
  • Any magic trick that posits the idea that someone can be bisected, decapitated, or generally distended with a few quick strokes of a blade. Then again, A Wizard Did It.
  • The appendages of most arthropods can be broken off at the joint fairly easily, these being weak points in their exoskeletons. In some cases this can actually be a defense mechanism, allowing bugs that get grabbed by the leg or partially ensnared in webs or similar sticky traps to get free via Life-or-Limb Decision, then grow a new leg.
  • Many lizards have a self-defence mechanism called autotomy where, if they are grabbed by the tail, some or all of the tail will simply detach and wriggle to create a distraction. The lizard may or may not be able to later regenerate the tail, depending on species.


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