Follow TV Tropes


Mutilation Conga

Go To
He'll be back... but his face won't.
A character gradually accumulates injuries over the course of a story, but rather than shrug them off looking none the worse for wear, they show the traces of each and every one of them and end up a bleeding, black-eyed Implacable Man limping toward their goal. By the end, they quite literally look like the world has chewed them up and spat them back out.

Expect a lot of Clothing Damage and an attitude of single-minded Tranquil Fury. Can be just as easily Played for Laughs or Played for Drama — the latter can work as a subversion of Just a Flesh Wound, as it shows that what doesn't kill you can still slow you down a hell of a lot.

Rasputinian Death is a subtrope where the injuries are each of the No One Could Survive That! variety, and the final fatality actually sticks.

Compare with Crush Parade when characters and objects are repeatedly run over and trampled by different things; Covered in Scars when a character bears the marks of past injuries for the rest of their life. Serial Prostheses might result from this. Contrast Death by Disfigurement, where one lasting wound will spell a death sentence in short order.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Marshal Bass: First Samson gets a horseshoe to the head. Then a tomahawk to the head. Then several punches to the head. Then a horse kicks him in the head. Finally he is shot. In the head.

    Fan Works 
  • Happens to the hero of Sleeping with the Girls over the course of his adventures, and manages to be played for both Drama and Laughs at the same time.
  • Snap goes through this in Play the Game. His determination to save Rudy and Penny is strong enough for him to keep pushing himself forward. His willingness to keep going despite the pain he is clearly in ends up freaking resident Big Bad Bardot out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off has Mr. Rooney go through this as part of his Humiliation Conga. In his crusade against Ferris, Rooney ends up with a busted nose courtesy of Jeanie and an extensive collection of bitemarks from the Ferris' Rottweiler.
  • By the end of Fargo, Showalter is not only fuming from the Plethora of Mistakes but also limping from Shep's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and bleeding heavily from a gunshot to the jaw.
  • Brendan gets repeatedly beaten up in Brick; by the end of the movie he's limping and coughing up blood.
  • The T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day: first he cuts off the outer flesh of one arm to prove he is what he claims to be to Dyson, then he gets shot up by the cops and beaten up by the T-1000. By the end, he's been impaled through his torso, his legs barely function, one of his arms is completely torn off and a large chunk of flesh is missing from his face and his chest:
    T-800: I need a vacation.
  • In Kill Bill this happens to Elle "California Mountain Snake" Driver's eyes: the first gouged out by Pai Mei as punishment for disrespect when she was studying kung fu under him (as shown in a flashback), and the second by the Bride during a duel.
  • The Millennium Trilogy: Lisbeth in The Girl Who Played with Fire, after a gunshot to the head, being Buried Alive in a shallow grave, and surviving an epic fight with her father, is so bloodied up that her badass Dumb Muscle half-brother takes one look at her and runs for his life, thinking she's a zombie.
  • Eric Idle's character from National Lampoon's European Vacation, who repeatedly runs into the Griswald family. Hilarity ensues, and Idle's character becomes progressively more injured.
  • Damon Wayans' & Kadeem Hardison's characters in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka suffer a series of injuries throughout, mostly by being repeatedly captured and thrown down flights of stairs.
  • Happens to Hardison again for his character in Vampire in Brooklyn, who becomes The Renfield, and steadily suffers from injury and rot until the end, where he finds his master's ring and gains all his power, restoring his body (and then some) in the process.
  • Both of the Implacable Man main characters in No Country for Old Men. They repeatedly manage to wing each other, escape, take cover and perform horribly squirm-inducing self-surgery on their wounds before limping back into their game of cat-and-mouse.

  • In the Dragaera series, Vlad Taltos also seems to be accumulating injuries, to the point that Steven Brust Lampshaded it with a Tim Powers pastiche as part of an extended joke at the end of Iorich.
  • It happens as a jump cut rather than extended narration, but The First Law trilogy features an inversion of this: an Eater being interrogated by the Inquisition and painlessly collecting a series of third-degree burns, deep cuts, broken limbs, and other horrific injuries as her Healing Factor starts to run down. The session yields questions instead of answers and, in the face of her defiance and apparent immunity to pain, one of the non-plussed Practicals even claims to be "half-way to breaking, myself" by the end.
  • The T'lan Imass from the Malazan Book of the Fallen, being already a race of walking skeletons, can take quite a lot of damage before they are considered damaged enough to be put to rest somewhere with a nice vista. In House of Chains, Onrack gets half his skull bitten off, chewed by a Deragoth, and loses an arm, but keeps going cheerfully.
  • Wolfgang Smith in the Young Bond novel Double or Die is initially described to be a very normal-looking man, especially next to his tall, skeletal brother Ludwig. He then starts losing bodyparts in several incidents: he loses his right ear when a spark plug flies off from a burning car, Bond knocks out several of his teeth with a piece of marble, he loses four fingers from his left hand when they are caught between two colliding barges, and lastly, his legs are sliced off when a towrope cuts off and whips across the deck of the ship he's on.
  • Appears frequently in the works of Jack Chalker, though given Chalker's other interests, the actual mechanism is frequently (but not always) a Forced Transformation. Chalker actually addressed this through an Author Avatar near the end of The Messiah Choice; heroic tales require genuine sacrifice on a heroic scale.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: "The End of Time" puts the Tenth Doctor through the wringer. By the end, he's been zapped with lightning and gotten cuts and other injuries from falling through a skylight, all before the radiation that actually makes him regenerate.
  • Game of Thrones: Lord Beric Dondarrion bears the scars of all the fatal injuries he was resurrected from, including a missing eye and the mark of a hangman's noose.
  • Barney in the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Murtaugh List" tries to live like a 21-year-old for a weekend, and this is what happens.
  • Poor Rickety Cricket in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia suffers some kind of permanent injury or deformation almost every episode he appears in, frequently because of the carelessness or maliciousness of the main characters. Over the course of the series he's had his neck slashed open, lost an eye, had his kidney stolen, had a toe bitten off by a cat, and had half his face burned off. This is on top of numerous non-anatomical degradations such as falling out of the priesthood, becoming homeless, and getting addicted to hard drugs.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE's revival of ECW had Colin Delaney, a jobber who would take brutal beatings and come out wearing more and more bandages every week.

    Video Games 
  • The health meter in Doom is a picture of Doomguy's face getting progressively bloodier and more beaten up the more damage the player takes.
  • The gun-toting mugger in Déjà Vu (1985) suffers from this. Each of his first three confrontations can and should end with a punch to the face, and he gets both eyes swollen and a bloody nose before the fourth time, when such a punch gets you shot.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Quite a handful of episodes will have at least one character (usually among the starring ones) gradually accumulate more and more injuries as they become the most unluckiest being alive. Expect that character to suffer a slow and agonizing death. Major episodes that do this are: “Eye Candy”, “The Chokes on You”, “Water Way to Go”, “Brake the Cycle”, “An Inconvenient Tooth”, “Ski Ya, Don’t Wanna Be Ya”, “Can’t Stop Coffin”, “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and all of the “Sniffles vs. The Ant Family” episodes.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • One Tom and Jerry cartoon ("Mouse Trouble", 1944) has Tom showing the cumulative effects of each bit of comic mayhem befalling him — completely atypical of the usual business.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades: In Major Bludd's first appearance, he loses an eye. In his second appearance, his arm gets ripped off by a crocodie.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "It's About Time" begins with Twilight Sparkle getting a visit from her disheveled future self (actually, she's from next Tuesday). Over the course of the episode, her efforts to prevent the "impending disaster" she believes is coming result in her gradually accumulating the injuries her future self had.
  • Joshua, a minor character from Clarence, gets injured in every episode he appears in. Unlike the other characters on the show, he keeps his scars for following appearances, including an eyepatch and a hook hand.
  • Baxter Stockman undergoes this throughout Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), until he is a Brain in a Jar by Season 3.