Bullock: Why would you think that?
Smith: Because he fell in a volcano!
Bullock: As long as you fall the right way, a volcano can never hurt you. Everyone knows that.
Any situation where the bad guy has been dealt a seemingly mortal blow which they could not possibly have survived, and it looks as though The Hero has won — but a couple of scenes later comes the twist: they're Not Quite Dead. On the contrary, they're back, ready for more, and madder than hell.
Maybe they were rescued from certain death by their right-hand man. Maybe their armor or a lucky coincidence of having a metal item in a pocket slowed the bullet down. Maybe they were spared by a healing spell — or in more drastic cases, upgraded to One-Winged Angel status by way of Emergency Transformation, or a case of We Can Rebuild Him. Maybe they're just that hard to kill. They may be slowed down from the wound or unable to use one arm. In any case, the fight isn't over yet.
Compare Only Mostly Dead and Almost Dead Guy. Often happens after not finding the body or a Mistaken Death Confirmation. There may or may not be some overlap with Staying Alive. It can be shown by having their eyes open, hand poking out of rubble, or fingers twitch. Not to be confused with The Undead or Back from the Dead. If a villain does this a lot, it's probably because they have Joker Immunity. This can also be a character who's Made of Iron because they're just that strong. Often results in Who Needs Their Whole Body? Because of this trope, any Genre Savvy character will Make Sure He's Dead. Characters who cause Hydra Problems tend to also do this at least once before it's made clear that almost killing them helps them.
- Various characters with healing factors, e.g. Wolverine, Deadpool, Sabretooth. Most notably, Wolverine is blown up leaving nothing but a skeleton behind, and regenerates his entire body from part of his brain which survived inside his skull.
- Alix: Arbaces seems to die at least one in almost every album he appears in. Even when we're shown the body floating up in water (like in the end of L'Île maudite).
- In Death of the Family, it looked like Deadshot had been killed off. However, he wakes up in a hospital bed. The bullet barely missed his heart.
- Batman: Endgame: Implied to be the case in the epilogue to the final issue. While Bruce Wayne's Batman and the Joker are presumed dead, there is a man on crutches with many bandages including one over an eye (the same eye that was seriously wounded by a razor sharp card on Bruce) with a young child with an R on his shirt with him, and the garbage man who throws out the trash behind the theater looks suspiciously similar to the Joker's disguise in this storyline as Eric Border. The implication appears to be that while their physical bodies are probably not dead, their identities as Batman and the Joker are, for the time being, gone. Subsequent issues reveal that Bruce Wayne and the Joker were physically restored to life by the substance in the pit close to where they were fighting, but the resurrection restructured their brains so that they lost all memories of their personal lives; Bruce has to undergo a traumatic experience to have his memories downloaded back onto his brain.
- Pre-Crisis Batwoman was supposedly killed off by the League of Assassins. However, the final issue of Batman Incorporated reveals that Kathy is not only alive, but she's the leader of a major spy organization which was leading a sting operation against Talia al Ghul for years, which Kathy concludes by killing her.
- Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars!: In the cartoon, Bruce gets zapped by the photon accelerator and everyone thinks he's dead (or rather, had "attained oneness with the universe") as a result. He actually got teleported across the Aniverse. In the comic, however, Bruce was working on the engines when a plasma cannon shot caused severe feedback in the engine circuits... he was instantly reduced to a pile of ash.
- A sequel comic based on Disney's The Great Mouse Detective was actually about Fidget the bat being revealed to have survived the fall from Ratigan's blimp at the end of his film, and immediately choosing to be on the side of good.
- In the second Missile Mouse book, "Rescue On Tankium3", Security Robot #44 comes back on inside the tube he's placed in at the end.
- Pierre Tombal: A comic strip about a gravedigger at a cemetery who treats the people who are buried there as residents. How? Well, all of them are in fact not quite dead, but living skeletons who spent eternity on the cemetery, while he takes care of them and occasionally tells them frankly to obey the rules.
- Jarringly played in Plutona: after the kids make plans for what to do with the body, she wakes up and flies off.
- In the adaptation of the Scooby-Doo episode "Go Away Ghost Ship" (as "The Ghost Of Redbeard," Gold Key #6), the gang are aboard Redbeard's ship when a loud bang erupts. Velma thinks she's been shot and plays out a death scene, only to be told the door behind them slammed shut.
Velma: (faint, weak) G-goodbye, old gang of mine. T-t-tell my parents...
Fred: Undo the last act, Velma. That was just the door slamming shut. (pulls knob; the door doesn't budge) Hey! We're locked in!
Velma: Now I really do feel like dying!
- In The Secret History, Dyo always seems to just cling onto life one way or another. It remains to be seen if this applies to Aker and William de Lecce.
- Played for drama and then for laughs in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Dying for Pie". The moment the sunset ends (when the supposedly explosive pie SpongeBob ate dropped into his lower intestine meaning it's the time he explodes), there is an explosion behind the brick wall near Squidward, causing him to break down in tears and believe SpongeBob is finally gone for good... but then a second explosion occurs, which makes the brick wall fall and reveal SpongeBob, still alive and well, and blowing bomb bubbles.
- The Death of Superman: After fighting a brutal battle, both Superman and Doomsday drop dead, seemingly for good... then it turns out that the many years he's been living under a yellow sun has given Superman a strong enough Healing Factor that the battering Doomsday gave him only put him into an absurdly deep coma that took almost a year-ful of treatment with Kryptonian medicinal technology to get him out of; and it turns out that Doomsday's alien physiology is able to bring him back to life.
- Who is Superwoman?: As fighting Supergirl, Superwoman's powered Magitek suit suffers a malfunction which causes it and its bearer to explode. Everyone believes Lucy is dead, but several chapters later she shows up alive again. It turns that the spells woven into her suit, combined with the DNA alien grafted into her cells, allowed Superwoman to regenerate her entire body.
- Kon-El supposedly died when he went back in time to Krypton one week before its destruction and got stuck there in Krypton Returns. Kara saw him die, which is because she is so shocked when her team happens upon him in Crucible. It was not explained how he survived.
Kara: "Kon?! That can't be. I saw him die!"
- Superman (Brian Michael Bendis): Amanda Waller abandons General Lane to a creature sent by Leviathan so she can escape. At first, it appears Lane died but Action Comics #1009 reveals he survived and was sent to the hospital. He later dies during Event Leviathan.
- While the '03 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cartoon was based on the Mirage comic Baxter Stockman became a cyborg by choice and was killed outright thus averting the fate of his later cartoon incarnations. Granted he also had more chances to die with the plots that existed outside of the comic in the '03 cartoon and was stranded more than killed in the '87 cartoon..
- Hammerhead in the Ultimate Marvel and regular continuities make heavy use of this trope.
- In Wild's End an alien machine is blasted with a shotgun and presumed 'dead.' It soon reactivates and kills again.
- Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. And all their numerous variants. Especially creepy in Neil Gaiman's adaptation of the former, "Snow, Glass, Apples", in which the huntsman really does remove Snow White's heart and give it to the queen. It just doesn't stop beating until Snow White goes into her coma — and when she wakes up, it starts again...
- In "The Golden Bird", the hero's envious brothers shove him down a well to kill him, and succeed in trapping him there.
- In "The Story of Bensurdatu", the hero is trapped at the bottom of the river — to perish.
- In "The Brown Bear of the Green Glen", John's brothers set on him, to kill him, but he recovers.
- A couple examples in Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
- Ghidorah's left head ripped off by Godzilla remains partly alive and it retains San's mind. Luckily, San welds himself to Vivienne's mutated body inside the head, and joining himself to her after being cut off from Ghidorah's other two heads' malignance begins his Heel–Face Turn.
- It's also revealed in Chapter 5 that the rest of Ghidorah can regenerate From a Single Cell –- or a single head -– if some part of it remains, meaning San's brothers will return in the future. Ichi, Ni, and San's Evil Doppelgänger do regenerate from San's old severed head, which still exists after San shifted his brain to Vivienne.
- Then there's the Theta Team attempting to wipe out the Many with explosives. The report after the incident calls the operation a success, but the reader knows better.
- In The Bagges Take Ostania, Katz and Cajun Fox are revealed to have survived the events of "Ball of Revenge" and are working with Westalian terrorists.
- Charles Manson Vs The Teletubbies:
Charles Manson was in a very good mood right now. He had successfully faked his own death in prison, and managed to escape to the outside world.Things were looking up and he couldn’t wait to get back to his crusade.Suddenly a green portal opened up and a hand reached out and grabbed Charles by his shirt.“Hey, let go of me” exclaimed Charles, but the hand didn’t listen because it was a hand and it pulled him into the portal.…Charles fell on his ass and looked around to see where he was. He wasn’t on earth anymore, he was in a new world called Teletubby land.
- In the first chapter of DIGIMON 2: RETURN OF DIGIMON, Digimon manages to blow up his enemy, the aptly named Evil Digimon, with the laser cannon of his mech suit. However, an authors note soon reveals that Evil Digimon is not dead, but only pretending to be. Evil Digimon then appears in the next chapter, ambushing Digimon by hiding in his fridge.
- Enemy of My Enemy: At the climax, Ferikus combines this with *Click* Hello. "You should have finished what you started." He is then promptly killed by also Not Quite Dead Murphy, who scolds him for not firing first.
- Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls:
- Applejack's parents. Though they died in the human world, Applejack's mother is now a member of Soul Society as a Captain, and her father is still "alive" as the Fourth Espada.
- Adagio, who is also still "alive" as a hollow.
- Human Sunset Shimmer, who's not only still alive in Hueco Mundo, but has somehow gotten a Fullbring!
- The Ghost Map: It's revealed that Professor Moriarty somehow survived his duel with Sherlock Holmes. In-universe, this is merely suspected by Holmes and confirmed by Colonel Moran, who isn't the most trustworthy fellow. However, Word of God confirmed that Moriarty is indeed alive — now the author simply needs to explain how.
- In the Pony POV Series Dark World, Rarity kills Fluttercruel during the first fight in Discord's castle. However, it later turns out that her spirit escaped being Dragged Off to Hell and Body Surfed into Sparkler's body, possessing her.
- Queen of All Oni: During the flashbacks, it's shown that Tarakudo killed the Oni Elders when he seized control of the Shadowkhan. But in the present it's revealed that their spirits have clung to a semblance of life in the ruins of their Shadow Realm city, waiting for a chance to reclaim their full existence. They try to do this by luring Jade in and draining her chi, only for her to render them Deader than Dead for their troubles.
- SAPR: Yang is assumed dead after going missing during the Battle of Vale, but in reality was kidnapped by Raven.
- Soul Eater: Troubled Souls follows the anime in that Medusa supposedly died after Maka used Majin Hunter to get her out of Rachel Boyd's body. She somehow survived and has trapped Maka, Soul, and their friends on Cobra Island.
- Steven Universe: Gone Wrong opens with Steven getting killed by Spinel during their initial confrontation. However, his gem half regenerates as Pink Steven and takes her down. The comic then explores the implications of this, along with the fallout.
- In Webwork, the Old Queen dies of old age shortly before Jade's time in the Emptiness ends. Quite some time later, her spirit is revealed to still be lingering on and begins to manipulate events via cutting a deal with Tarantula.
- While A Hero's Wrath is set long after the events of Asura's Wrath, the mantra's remanifestation on Earth, the wielding of such recreating the demigod race through humanity and Izuku's dream of encountering the Golden Spider implies that either Chakravartin was never killed or was killed and brought back to life by some means. Whether or not any of this has anything to do with the manifestation of quirks is still a mystery though.
- Near the end of Barbie & The Diamond Castle, one of Lydia's spells backfires on her and she disappears. The main characters finally reach the Diamond Castle and are about to undo all of Lydia's spells when guess who comes flying in the window?
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: After Joker attacks Bruce at Wayne Manor, Terry comes in to find the house a wreck and Bruce slumped over the Batcomputer with the telltale rictus grin of Joker venom. As Terry checks his pulse and heartbeat, Bruce springs back to life long enough to tell Terry about the antitoxin, which ultimately saves his life.
- From The Emperor's New Groove:
Yzma: Kuzco is dead, right? Tell me "Kuzco's dead". I need to hear these words.
Kronk: [nervously] Uh, do you need to hear all those words exactly?
Yzma: [angry] He's STILL ALIVE?!
Kronk: Well, he's not as dead as we would've hoped.
Yzma: [face turning red] Kronk!
Kronk: Just thought I'd give you a heads-up, in case Kuzco ever came back.
Yzma: He can't come back!
Kronk: Yeah, that would be kinda awkward. Especially after that lovely eulogy.
Yzma: YOU THINK?! You and I are going out to find him! If he talks, we are through! Now, let's MOVE!!
- In The Land Before Time, Cera stumbles across the body of Sharptooth, apparently dead after the Great Earthshake. She engages in a bit of Desecrating the Dead — until Sharptooth opens his eyes. Cue Oh, Crap! moment as Cera high-tails it.
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Mr. Peabody apparently didn't survive after falling off a cliff with a Trojan horse. However, being Mr. Peabody, he was able to find a way to return to the present after Sherman and Penny returned on their own.
- Some of the Huns in Mulan survive being buried under an avalanche orchestrated by Mulan, including their leader Shan Yu. They proceed to infiltrate the capital and kidnap and extort the Chinese Emperor.
- King Candy/Turbo in Wreck-It Ralph gets devoured by a Cy-Bug before the climax. During the climax, however, he reappears having fused with the Cy-Bug and has become even more powerful.
- Naturally, a lot of slasher films tend to do this. Michael Myers (Halloween) and Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) routinely get their fair of stab wounds from the Final Girl before it's all over. Jason was eventually Killed Off for Real in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, but since then he came back from the dead in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and is even more unstoppable.note
- Used to full effect to justify the creation of Halloween: Resurrection: it turns out that Laurie had killed a paramedic instead of Michael at the end of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later; Michael had attacked the paramedic, crushed his larynx, and switched places with him before "Michael's" body was carted out to the ambulance.
- Chucky does this in the first two Child's Play films.
- Even Freddy gets this in Freddy vs. Jason, when both he and Jason are set on fire and thrown into Crystal Lake. Freddy returns and attempts to kill Lori and Will, before Jason stabs him and Lori decapitates him. Even then, he seems to wink as Jason carries his head away (meaning the "winner" of the battle is indecisive).
- In Army of Darkness, a possessed woman pretends to be dead, but Ash knows better.
"It's a trick. Get an axe."
- In The A-Team, it turns out that General Morrison survived the explosion that apparently killed him.
- Austin Powers plays with this numerous times. Usually by dragging it too far.
- "Why aren't you dead yet!?"
- Also Dr Evil's henchman Mustafa, after being shot in the neck with a dart and falling down a cliff.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Superman suffers greatly from Doomsday, so much so that he is declared dead. They hold two funerals, one in Metropolis and one in Smallville, the Smallville coffin being the only one occupied. After Lois Lane drops a handful of dirt on the coffin, it starts levitating like when he learned to fly.
- In the movie Ben 10: Race Against Time, the Tennyson trio stumble across the seemingly mummified corpse of Constantine...right before he sits up and declares "I'm not dead!", scaring both Ben and Gwen. Grandpa Max is not surprised, as usual.
- Big Ass Spider!: Of course the spider was only wounded by the missile-strike.
- In Body, Holly thinks she has killed Arthur after causing him to suffer a Staircase Tumble. Cali concocts a scheme to claim that they killed him in self-defence, but then they discover that he is alive but paralyzed and things get a lot more complicated.
- The Borrower: Every time the cops think the alien is dead (well, it didn't have a pulse), it just gets up to continue its murdering rampage.
- The Cell: Carl Stargher's first onscreen victim hasn't completely expired from Carl's trademark Drowning Pit trap once he returns to his torture lair. She's still at first, but upon closer inspection briefly spasms and thrashes about before finally passing away for good. Even Carl himself is startled by this.
- The Corpse of Anna Fritz: Anna just won't stay dead. She springs back to life after being pronounced dead in a bathroom and in the third act after apparently getting smothered to death.
- Jason Statham in Crank. He falls out of an airplane, lands on a car, bounces off, hits the pavement, and then blinks. Crank: High Voltage shows us that he's definitely still alive.
- Crime Doctor: Morgan is Left for Dead on the side of the road by his gang. A group of college kids find him and discover he is still alive, but only just.
- Deadly Detention: Over the course of the film, the principal and the students are seemingly picked off one-by-one by a mysterious killer, until only one student is left. Then the principal shows up at the end to help out the final student, and reveals that she, as well as all the other students the killer allegedly murdered, are all still alive.
- Karl, Hans Gruber's second-in-command, in Die Hard.
- At the end of Firestorm (1998), Jesse throws his axe into the murderous Shaye's chest, knocking him off the boat into the lake. Jesse flipped the boat so he and Jennifer can use it as an air pocket to survive the coming firestorm. Suddenly, gunshots start coming from underneath them and a couple of bullets make a hole in the boat. Shaye has survived his injury, and rises from the depths looking to kill Jesse and Jennifer.
- The comedy Freaked parodies this trope to death.
- In Galaxy Quest, Sarris's ship is blown up with mines. However, out of nowhere, he appears on the Protector, having teleported away from his ship at the last second. He is beaten down by Mathasar with a cane, but returns once again before an audience during the final scene, before Jason finally destroys him.
- The Gamers: "It's Hunk, the mercenary you left for dead!
- Averted in the 1997 version of George of the Jungle. After a character falls from a bridge, the narrator reminds everyone that "Nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos."
- In Get Out (2017), Chris seemingly kills Jeremy Armitage with a bocce ball. Just as he's about to escape, however, Jeremy ambushes Chris with a headlock.
- In the backstory to Ghostbusters II, Vigo the Carpathian had been poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered. Before his head died he uttered this prophetic warning: "Death is but a door, time is but a window. I'll be back."
- In G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow is seen clearly alive after a Disney Villain Death in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, although he now has a scar along his stomach. The scene where he slows his heart-rate may also count.
- Twice in Godzilla (2014). The female Muto was discovered dormant and thought to be dead after being dissected by the military, and the male Muto was electrocuted after Dr. Serizawa deemed its EMP-pulses making it be too dangerous to be kept alive. However, neither of them are dead either time.
- A heroic version happens in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). Godzilla is struck by the Oxygen Destroyer and thought to be dead, while Monster Zero a.k.a. King Ghidorah is free to control the other Kaiju and destroy the world as he pleases without Godzilla around to stop him. But then it's revealed Godzilla is actually still alive and slowly regenerating inside Hollow Earth, so Monarch set out to revive him.
- A nameless character apparently killed in the first scene of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly comes back for revenge about two hours later, only to be shot more decisively.
- Subverted in Graduation Day. The Final Girl thinks that the killer has come back and is now in her bedroom, but it is actually just her drunk stepfather. Her scared mind had only imagined him being there.
- In the supernatural thriller Hellbound, a demon named Prosatanos is stabbed by an old Rabbi with one of the sacred knives that were originally used to bind the demon inside a coffin. The demon appears to die, only to reveal that he can't be killed even by those weapons and murdering the poor old man in response.
- Naturally, "The Stranger" — played by Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, fares better upon coming back from the dead (although at the very end, it seems that the character may actually have been a ghost playing a cruel game on both his killers, and the people who allowed it).
- An example of the scenario which this page is actually about appears at the climax of Iron Man.
- Inverted in Johnny Mnemonic. The Priest is blasted with EMP, frying most of his cybernetics, and is then electrocuted to a crisp. At the very end of the movie, he starts to rise from the floor, and a frightened gasp comes from Jane... only to reveal that his body is actually just being hauled up on a pulley. "Just garbage. Get rid of it."
- Joy Ride 3: Roadkill Heralds the return of Rusty Nail a trucker that will leave you be and let you go on your merry way... unless you wrong him. In that case it's perfectly normal for him to get entirely even with you. I mean you deserve it right?. This time around, the Hero turns the tables and crushes Rusty Nail with a crane, destroying both the truck and apparently the man himself. Everybody's happy and completely unaware that Rusty Nail is fine. He escaped without a single scratch and allowed what was left of the Dwindling Party to live. Hope you all learned your lesson.
- The Lord of the Rings
- In The Two Towers, Aragorn plunges off a cliff during the warg battle. To the surprise of no one, he comes back relatively unscathed.
- Ironically, in the extended DVD of The Two Towers the actor almost drowned when shooting the scene of him floating in the water.
- Grishnakh, who is more or less a mook, is stabbed by a Rider of Rohan in The Two Towers, yet he is still able to chase Merry and Pippin into the forest before Treebeard kills him.
- Gollum is thrown over a cliff by Frodo in The Return of the King, and returns at Mount Doom.
- In The Two Towers, Aragorn plunges off a cliff during the warg battle. To the surprise of no one, he comes back relatively unscathed.
- Men in Black loves this. Kay shoots the giant cockroach from the inside and splits him in half. However, his top half lives and attacks them for a split second before he is finally killed by Laurel. And Poor Jeebs having his head blown off time and again.
- Men in Black II: Serleena is shot by Jay and blown to bits, however it is shown she survived, in worm form. Later, she chases after them in her ship, but is tricked and eaten by Jeff, the giant worm. However, she once again returns, this time in a more powerful form, until she is finally destroyed.
- Miller's Crossing plays it straight with Bernie's "murder", then lampshades it with Caspar's policy:
Tic-Tac: You gotta remember to put one in his brain. Your first shot puts him down, then you put one in his brain. Then he's dead. Then we go home.
- In Monster Party, Elliot takes a bullet the through the head and plunges into the swimming pool. However, just when everything seems to be over, he emerges from the water in a berserker rage only to be stabbed by Alexis.
- The Trope Namer is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which has it as a kind of running gag, often combined with I Got Better.
- Specifically the scene wherein Prince Herbert fires off an arrow with a plea for his release tied to it. The arrow flies straight and true...into the chest of Sir Lancelot's trusty squire Concorde, leading to the conversation in the page recap.
- This happens again when Prince Herbert falls out of the window to his death, only to appear later at his own cancelled wedding to start singing. Then when the song begins, all of the people slaughtered by Lancelot gradually get up and join in.
- And again with the bride's father, until Herbert's father has him Killed Off for Real.
- Not-Yet-Dead Fred does not count
- In Next of Kin (1982), one of the elderly residents of the Montclare retirement home, Lance, tells Linda that her unstable aunt Rita did not die as initially believed but is in fact still alive. Later, while going through the family's financial records, she notices dubious payments made to Dr. Barton by Rita, further suggesting that her supposedly dead aunt is still alive. However, both Barton and the house caretaker Connie insist that she did die and tell Linda not to go digging into the past.
- In Pagan Warrior, King Rollo is ambushed by the Vikings and Left for Dead in the woods. His body is discovered by a pair of witches who determine that the king yet clings to life and nurse him back to health and help him take his revenge on the vikings.
- Westley in the beginning of the The Princess Bride. Supposedly, he goes to seek his fortune and is lost at sea within the first five minutes of the movie. Yeah, right.
Miracle Max: It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.Inigo: What's that?Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
- There's also the bit where he's tortured to death! Well, mostly death:
- Red Dragon features this during the final confrontation between Detective Graham and the titular villain, when they shoot each other through a flimsy bedroom door. Later averted when Graham's wife puts a bullet in the killer's head. Several times.
- RoboCop has a scene Robo fires at Emil and he crashes his motorcycle and looks like he's dying, but he shows up later alive (though he still has a gash on his face).
- Lampshaded in Scream (1996):
(Gale, Sid and Randy are looking at Billy's body)
Randy: Careful. This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life, for one last scare.
(Billy starts to rise)
Sidney: (puts one through Billy's skull) Not in my movie.
- Lampshaded in all the sequels, too, but to the best effect in Scream 4:
Dewey: (as the supposedly dead Jill rises behind the survivors) She was right behind me...
Sidney: They always are. [beat] (grabs Dewey's discarded gun and shoots Jill, poised to attack, in the chest)
- Lampshaded in all the sequels, too, but to the best effect in Scream 4:
- Amusingly played with in Scream 2, Sidney and Gale point their guns at Mrs. Loomis fully expecting this trope. Then the other killer Mickey jumps up screaming and they gun him down. Sidney then turns around and shoots (the probably already dead) Mrs. Loomis in the head, just to be sure.
- In Sin City, Bruce Willis' character knows that even when a death looks impossible to survive, one must always "confirm the kill."
- "Why do they call him Boris the Bullet Dodger?" "Because he dodges bullets!"
- The same can be said about Bullet Tooth Tony who survived a clip being unloaded into him in a flashback.
- The titular character of The Spirit.
- Played straight and oddly parodied in StageFright -Aquarius-. The straight examples come when the killer survives a fall and then being set on fire. The odd part comes in after the killer has been shot between the eyes, and as he lays on the ground, suddenly turns to audience and smirks. According to the director this was added to poke fun at "the Slasher Movie convention of the killer always being alive at the end".
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The main twist of this Star Wars film is that Palpatine somehow survived his fall into the Death Star core and has reappeared. It’s never explained how he did so in the movie, but the novelization claims that, somehow, he transferred his consciousness over to a clone on the planet of Exegol.
- In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968), the mortally wounded Hyde falls into the center of the Operating Theatre. Devlin comes closer to the body, only for Hyde to spring back up and try to strangle him. Fortunately, Hyde completely succumbs to his wounds before doing any actual harm.
- Tale of Tales: You'd think the ogre would have died falling into the deep chasm, but he just shows up again after a while.
- There Was a Little Girl: Just as it seems Mary has finally been done in, she suddenly springs back to life and attempts to strangle Julia before finally dying from her wounds.
- Transcendence: It is implied at the end that Will and Evelyn's consciousnesses still exist in their garden, preserved in the only remaining sample of nanomachines.
- In Disney's TRON, Sark is injured by Tron and for a moment appears to be derezzed but the MCP gives Sark all of his functions and that results in a giant version of Sark that Tron must now battle.
- In The Tuxedo, the antagonist falls to the ground and burns his face on acid. He later gets back up to charge at the hero, who finishes him in a somewhat gruesome way.
- The Wolverine:
- Going back to the Yashida house, Logan technically dies when he removes the cause of his weakness with his bare hands. He revives shortly thereafter when hise Healing Factor kicks back in.
- The Silver Samurai armour keeps Ichirō alive, but he allows others to think he's dead.
- Charles Xavier came back alive and well in the Stinger, to Wolverine's surprise.
- An old woman dies and a funeral is held. The pallbearers pick the casket up and carry it out of the church. On their way out, the casket accidentally bumps into a wall. All of a sudden a moan is heard from inside the casket, followed by a surprised, "Oh my God!" Turns out the woman was still alive. She lives for another 10 years and then dies (again). Another funeral is held. When the pallbearers pick the casket up, the woman's husband yells out, "Watch out for the wall!"
- In the extended version of Rob Cantor's "Shia LaBeouf", you stab Shia LaBeouf in the kidney with his knife. As you limp away from his cottage thinking you've won, it turns out he's still alive.
Wait! He isn't dead!
There's a gun to your head
And death in his eyes!
- Happens in the The Iliad, making this trope at least Older Than Feudalism. While he's walking back to the Greek lines after winning a duel with Paris, Menelaus gets shot by a Trojan archer, but Athena deflects the arrow* and it only hits above his hip after passing through several overlapping pieces of armor. Agememnon, Menelaus' brother, doesn't realize this at first and goes into a long monologue about how pointless the entire war* would be if he lost his brother. Menelaus eventually cuts him off by pointing out that he's fine and that he's going to alarm the troops.
- The Not Quite Dead theory is used by some people to try to explain away the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth in The Bible. They argue that Jesus was only unconscious and after his disciples stole his "body" from the tomb, they nursed him back to health then invented the resurrection story as a deliberate lie to enhance Jesus' reputation. This argument is just plain silly when you know that not only did Pilate have the Roman guards double-check that Jesus was indeed dead before releasing his body for burial, but also that if the resurrection was a lie then Jesus' disciples must have known this and yet they refused under the most terrible tortures, and in the face of imminent death, to recant their testimony. People will only die for a lie if they believe it to be the truth. Whether or not Jesus was resurrected may still be debatable, but the "not quite dead" theory is obvious nonsense.
- In WHO dunnit (1995), Tex survived his car crash after his brakes were sabotaged. He gets plastic surgery, adopts a new identity of "Bruno", and is out for revenge against his ex-wife Victoria.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The "Regeneration" ability prevents a monster from ever being lethally wounded except through a specific Kryptonite Factor. Any other form of Hit Point damage can, at most, leave them unconscious until their Healing Factor kicks in, even if they have to Pull Themselves Together.
- Forgotten Realms: The "Dead Three" were Gods Of Evil who were slain by their fellow gods and a mortal mage. However, in fourth edition they managed to come back as demigods with greatly reduced (but still formidable) power and terrorize Baldur's Gate while still being called the "Dead Three".
- In Nomine: During the Purity Crusade, Uriel cleaved Jormungandr's head from its body and threw both parts into the ocean. The serpent has been assumed dead in the centuries since, but unknown to most it cannot actually be killed as long as its head is intact. As a result, it has gradually been regrowing its body while protected by the secrecy of the ocean and the fact that nobody thought to go looking for it, and is sufficiently restored to become a very serious problem once he's stirred back to wakefulness. Notably, as The Final Trumpet points out, the Aesir are perfectly aware of this detail and could have told Uriel, if he hadn't been so busy trying to kill them.
- Shadowrun: The 4th Edition handbook advocates gamemasters using this trope in order to preserve a desired narrative — if villain being killed off too early would derail a game, then the gamemaster can use doubt, rumors, and obfuscation to cast doubt on whether they actually died and make a potential return easier to accept.
"In general, if you as the gamemaster aren't ready for a [villain] to die yet, you should exploit any opportunity to cast doubt on the certainty of doom. ... As the old movie trope goes, if the heroes can't find the body, then the villain isn't necessarily dead."
- Vampire: The Masquerade has clan Cappadocian, who were supposedly annihilated by the Giovanni, a bloodline of theirs, over two hundred years before the Final Nights begin. It didn't work. And those who survived, in some cases, have quite literally ''escaped the underworld'' to destroy the Giovanni.
- According to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Terminal storyline, the whole clan thought Souza was killed in the Worm War. He's not.
- The very end of Be More Chill reveals that the Squip isn't quite gone, and can still talk to Jeremy — but it's also weakened to the point that Jeremy can handle it from now on. This makes more sense when you remember that the Squip, besides being an evil supercomputer, is also a metaphor for mental illness, addiction, and/or the desire to fit in. None of those things ever completely go away, but you can win the battle and get them under control, so they won't consume your whole life. So even though the Squip isn't truly "dead," Jeremy ends the show strong enough to fight back.
- In Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, the traitor Roberto is stabbed by his compatriot because he knows too much, and might reveal their connection. Cesare figures it out fairly quickly, and while he's interrogating the latter, the first traitor, who had been dismissed as dead, gets up and attempts to stab Cesare.
- The second act of Into the Woods reveals of The Mysterious Man, "I thought you were dead." "Not completely. Are we ever?" What he means by this is left ambiguous.
- In Ken Ludwig's Lend Me a Tenor, Italian tenor Tito Merelli appears to have died of a phenobarbital overdose in his hotel room. However, he's just sleeping really, really deeply and wakes up, puts on his costume, and runs out the door at the end of Act One. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Martin Guerre, Martin is shot on stage saving Arnaud's life, and tells him to return to his hometown to tell his wife he's sorry. One dead person impersonator Becoming the Mask later, Martin returns to Artigat, alive and well, and demanding his name.
- Spamalot references this Trope with the song "He Is Not Dead Yet".
Oh we're not yet dead, to Camelot we go
To enlist instead to try and earn some dough
And so although we should have stayed in bed
We're going off to war because we're not yet dead!
- The end of Sweeney Todd reveals that Mrs. Lovett has not been quite honest about the fate of Lucy Barker. She said that Lucy had drank poison, but never revealed that she'd survived the suicide attempt. Throughout the show, Sweeney has been operating under the assumption that his wife is dead. In reality, she lived but went insane and became the mysterious beggar woman. She did, however, lose a lot of her functioning and basically "go crazy."
- At the end of Wicked Elphaba is revealed to be, in fact, quite water-insoluble.
- A popular story among hunters is the tale of a man who shot a magnificent buck. He then set up a camera on the tripod, propped his rifle on the deer's antlers, set the timer on the camera and posed proudly in front of the body. The deer is still alive however, and when the camera goes off, the picture is of the hunter running after the deer as it gallops into the forest...with his eight hundred dollar hunting rifle still in its antlers.
- A big example in Cause of Death in Special Agent Shawn Mallory. After becoming the vigilante Big Bad The Hand of Justice throughout Season 5, he is shot atop the roof of Alcatraz prison, and appears to drown in the murky waters below. And he does. But as revealed in the final episode of Season 8, he was resuscitated by Genevieve and the Salazars and had a complete Villainous Breakdown and becomes the Big Bad of Season 8. Emphasised by his unnaturally aged appearance from that point on.
- Played with in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. With the return of Monokuma and the High School Life of Mutual Killing, one would think that Junko Enoshima, the mastermind of the original game had somehow survived her execution. However, it's eventually revealed that while the Big Bad of the second game is Junko, it's merely an AI simulation of her, while the real Junko is still long dead. It's also implied at the end of the game (and confirmed in Danganronpa 3) that everyone who died is still alive (they all died in a VR simulation after all) but probably in some kind of comatose state, since Hinata and the survivors are trying to find a way to revive them.
- In Time Hollow, Irving pulls this after falling from a cliff.
- War: 13th Day has this trope where you might not expect it. Wildfire can join King Barium's harem and stab him in the heart. However, she will find that he's still alive and now very, very angry.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has Frans Rayner come back for a second round. And now he has "the best laser eye and robot leg".
- Silver's (adoptive) dad in Ball and Chain, much to her dismay.
- In Blue Milk Special Biggs's X-Wing is exploded during the Death Star run just like canon. So everyone's shocked when he shows up at the medal ceremony expecting a medal. Word of God says he is indeed dead, Biggs just refuses to accept that, or accept that he's not the hero of this story. Unless he can use being dead to get Wedge into trouble.
- The page quote is parodied in this Bob and George strip as well.
- Happens in Dominic Deegan quite often. Klo comes back from oblivion for no reason, as did Celesto who on top of a similar oblivion, escaped an alternate dimension that is normally unescapable. The Infernomancer also escaped this dimension after being banished there. The return of both Celesto and the Infernomancer is explained: when the souls of the Chosen were detonated by Karnak, it breached the planes, allowing them to return.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: Captain Ginyu from Universe 8.
- Chocolate Explosion in Dragon Mango. As soon as Cupcake recognizes her, she urges silence -- she's supposed to be dead.
- In Endstone, Jon's reappearance is greeted with this. Then, it was fifteen years.
- A Fairytale for the Demon Lord: Balder is run through earlier on, and dealt with easily. He reappears at the end of the comic, healed, and burying all the soldiers the protagonist killed, before leaving to avenge them.
- Initially, Mark, then Luke in FreakAngels. Both look worse for the wear though (especially the latter, what with being shot in the head and all)
- Blake from Gold Coin Comics is a childhood rival that somehow survived his entire hometown being wiped out.
- In a set of events that occurred before the main storyline in Gosu, the Heavenly Destroyer was believed to have perished at the hands of his disciples and subordinates, the Four Heavenly Kings. However he survived and finished his life by raising a fifth and final disciple to wreak revenge on the the four disciples that betrayed him.
- Also, the Four Heavenly Kings themselves after they were believed to have killed each other due to in-fighting. This sparked Gang Ryong into leaving his job as a delivery boy to go out in search of one of them.
- Kill Six Billion Demons: One of the first things that happens in the comic is Zoss being decapitated by the Thorn Knights. This does nothing to stop him from appearing semi-regularly to Allison in times of need to give her advice. It's indicated that — being the most powerful of all Demiurges and master of the Wheel — death is simply not much of an issue to him anymore, that he now exists outside the natural life cycle of the universe and is not bound by it's laws.
- Lucid Spring: The girl who Viktor(?) shoots by mistake.
- In Nip and Tuck, the Show Within a Show Rebel Cry features the hero surviving an exploding ship by trickery.
- No Rest for the Wicked: The Boy finds Prince Ricardo right after the "fall off the cliff" part. Not too startled when he surges to attack — then he is The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was
- WOW! You're the third-liveliest dead man I've ever met!
- Lampshaded in The Order of the Stick by (who else?) Elan after Sabine kidnaps him and brings him to Nale, who had a No One Could Survive That! moment some time ago. Elan's bardic intuition told him it would happen, but he also knew that he was supposed to think Nale was dead and oh no Nale's gone crosseyed...
- First blood: ELAN!
- This is one theory among many as to how Oasis keeps returning from the dead over and over again in Sluggy Freelance.
- On her arrival in Something*Positive, Kestrel (from Queen of Wands) is hit by a car and left a bloody mess in the street, with no one noticing. A few months later, she returns with head injuries, medical bills, and another not-so-secretly infatuated female best friend.
- In Trevor (2020), Trevor at first appears to have died of mysterious causes. This turns out to be false in the most horrifying way possible.
- In Dreamscape, the Possessor Ghost comes back after Melissa supposedly banishes him.
- This might be the case with The Master of the Dammed. In "A Curse or a Blessing", when Drake looks at the Spirit Rune he has of The Unworld, he notes that it gives off very powerful dark energy, which shouldn't be possible if The Unworld was destroyed. This seems to leave The Master of the Dammed as the only possible source of that dark energy.
- In DSBT InsaniT, it happens in 'Beach Brawl' when Bill 2 destroys Cell's brain, only for him to regenerate later on, and in 'The Camping Webisode' when Dave crushes Killer Monster with a large stone slab, only for him to melt it with lava soon after.
- The miniseries The Gamers mocks this trope when the players' characters meet up with an angry mercenary the left for dead in the "castle of almost certain death."
- The entirety of Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction is spent trying to kill the Meta. Recreation revealed that this failed, though apparently he suffered damage of some sort, forcing the Meta and Agent Washington to capture Doc to fix him.
- Church himself is a heroic example. He was killed in the very first season, but it didn't take long for him to come back as a ghost.
- Really, Red vs. Blue loves this trope; Sarge died for an episode only to be brought back via CPR, Tex died at the end of Season 1 and came back next season, Captain Flowers died in his first appearance, but was brought back in the next season before dying again. Donut can be added to this list, as he was confirmed dead by Doc at the start of Revelation, but gets brought back to life in a sponsors-only ending of Chapter 13 and was confirmed as being alive by Word of God. He finally returns to the show proper in Season 10.
- Church himself is a heroic example. He was killed in the very first season, but it didn't take long for him to come back as a ghost.
- Believe it or not, Survival of the Fittest has this in Andrea Vanlandingham and Denise Dupius. There are also hints that more supposedly-dead characters may show up, at least the ones whose deaths haven't been shown.
- It's been revealed that most of the students whose deaths weren't shown ended up being involved in an escape plot and had their collars removed. However, around half of those have now been Killed Off for Real by the terrorists.
- In V4, Clio Gabriella knocks Garry Villette off a cliff and watches him plunge into the water below. She doesn't bother to check to see if he surfaces again and believes him to be dead. He isn't.
- In Tales of MU, the main character's mother is believed by everyone to be dead, but side stories reveal that she may be alive and living under an assumed name, for reasons not completely clear yet.
- Big City Greens: At the end of "The Long Goodbye", it's revealed that Chip Whistler had disappeared and been presumed dead after being banished from Big City for trying to destroy the Green family. As an old gravedigger tells his dog about the jerk whose name is on the headstone, a hooded figure with an eerily familiar smile is listening in.
Gravedigger: Was always pickin' on this one family. Gave 'em nothin' but trouble. What were their names again? The Groats? The Grubbs? (walks away)Chip: The Greens... It was the Greens. And their troubles are just beginning.
- Stinkmeaner in The Boondocks dies in "Grandad's Fight", but in "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back" he beats the Devil's Martial Arts Gauntlet and gets sent back to Earth.
- Another example of this trope occurs during episode 5 "A Date with the Health Inspector". Ed Wuncler III and his friend Gin rob a store ran by people of Middle Eastern descent. A police officer happens to be there who in a parody of the Iraq War and the status of whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or not is asked by Ed if he sees any weapons on the Middle Eastern man. The police officer refuses at first but then agrees not wanting to get on Ed's bad side, as it turns out the Middle Eastern man did have a gun and he and some other Middle Eastern men open fire on Ed and his friend Gin with the police officer getting caught in the crossfire. Then the police officer is laying down on the ground and Ed's friend Gin has a brief exchange with the man, whose name turns out is Freddie, that is word for word with Monty Python. Freddie then gets up and gets shot again. At the end of the episode backup is called and the Middle Eastern men are arrested and Ed and Gin are viewed as heroes who stopped "terrorists" and Freddie makes a full recovery.
- The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Hare Trigger" has Yosemite Sam go into death throes after he thinks the red ink Bugs pours on his head is blood. When Sam finds out he was duped:
Sam: (demurely) Why did you pour ink on my head?
- Gandy Goose does this as well to a western outlaw with a bottle of ketchup.
- Bugs' debut cartoon "A Wild Hare" is probably the Ur Example, where he allows Elmer to take a shot at him and plays out the mother of all faux death scenes.
- In Family Guy's famous chicken fights the chicken is killed three times yet he always returns for more. Within a single fight (the first) he is seemingly beaten to death, only to attack Peter again seconds later.
- In the finale to G.I. Joe: Renegades, Duke knocks Cobra Commander into an Acid Pool and escapes his mansion as it implodes, but The Stinger reveals a badly scarred Cobra Commander emerging from the ruins of his mansion and declaring war on the Joes.
- In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Phil Ken Sebben gets hit by a bus in Season 3. Then at the series finale: "Ha! Ha! Final Episode stunt casting!"
- Shendu from Jackie Chan Adventures is killed off at the Season 1 finale, and is assumed dead. The act of "killing" him off allows him to become a spirit and he returns in the body of Valmont. The rest of the series sees him being banished to the demon underworld, reborn, turned back into stone again, released, and finally reimprisoned in the underworld for good. He is never actually killed.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In part 1 of the final season opener "The Beginning of the End", King Sombra takes over the Crystal Empire and the Mane Six use the Elements of Harmony to seemingly defeat him. But as it turns out, Sombra only faked his defeat to fool them; once all is done, he follows them back to the Tree of Harmony and destroys all sources of their power.
- In Ninjago, Pythor is implied to be killed when he's eaten by the Great Devourer in Season 1. He reappears in Episode 30, but with his purple scales now bleached white by stomach acid and his voice now sounding like he can keel over any second, though he gets over the latter.
- At the end of Season 3, Zane looks like he's been destroyed in the process of permanently defeating the Golden Master, but at the end of the episode uploads his consciousness into a new body based on P.I.X.A.L.'s specs. We don't get to see what his new body looks like until the following season.
- The Owl House: At the end of "King's Tide", the Collector throws Belos into a wall so hard that he splatters, and is instantly reduced to a smear of necrotic goop dripping to the floor. While making their escape to the human realm, the kids have to run through Belos's remains, and some of the goop splashes onto Hunter's shoulder, before slithering away and hiding in his clothes. At the very end of the credits, we see that little glob of Belos-goop fall from the ceiling, land on the doorknob to the abandoned house, and pull the door shut, implying that that piece of Belos is still alive and sentient, albeit in a very diminished state.
- Samurai Jack: In the first episode of Season 5, Jack fights and destroys the robot assassin Scaramouche. Five episodes later, it's revealed that he's actually still alive, albeit reduced to just a head. Come the penultimate episode, Aku makes certain that Scaramouche is dead for good after he finds out that Scaramouche’s information on the status of Jack’s sword was outdated.
- Parodied on The Simpsons in their Bible Trilogy. A story called David and Goliath 2, an Affectionate Parody of silly actioners, has Ralph Wiggum's character die at one point pretty finally. Later in the story, he suddenly reappears anyway. Bart says "I thought you were dead!" All Ralph says is "Nope!" Absolutely no explanation is given for this.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
- Darth Maul was revealed to have survived his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi, making his debut in "Revenge". He is then (seemingly) killed off by Darth Sidious later in the series, only to return again in Star Wars Rebels, where he is finally killed by Obi-Wan, for real this time (probably).
- In Season 7's Bad Batch arc, Rex and the titular squad discover that ARC trooper Echo, who apparently died in an explosion in "Counterattack", is alive and a prisoner of the Separatists, prompting a rescue mission.
- Steven Universe: Pink Diamond was revealed in "Back to the Moon" to have been shattered by Rose Quartz. However, in "The Trial", Defense Zircon suspects that it could have been one of the Diamonds who did it instead, and in "Your Mother and Mine", Steven suspects Pink Diamond may be alive as well. In "A Single Pale Rose", we get our answer: Pink Diamond faked her death with the help of her Pearl (our Pearl). Subverted, however, since Pink Diamond, who is Rose Quartz, eventually gave up her physical form to give birth to Steven.
- In the final episode of Superfriends (under its rebranded title The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians), "The Death of Superman", Firestorm finds Superman motionless and a sickly green when he saves him from a batch of Kryptonite a little too late. The team assumes Superman has died, only to learn that how he was found was actually a method to stave off Kryptonite Poisoning.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: During the Season 2 finale, Mandarin gets swallowed whole by the Dark One Worm. An entire season later, he's revealed to still be quite alive inside, but has suffered both physically and mentally from the ordeal.
- Occurred quite often in SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, especially in the Season 1 finale "Katastrophe", where four of the major recurring villains are caught in a massive warehouse explosion. They all get better by unknown means.
- Earlier, this occurred to Dr. Viper in the episode "Destructive Nature", where he falls off a 300-story building only to reappear in "Katastrophe" unscathed. Viper was one of several SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron villains whose Origin Story involved coming Back from the Dead, so this might explain it.
- In Teenage Mutant NinjaTurtles, this occurs to the Shredder a grand total of four times — three if you count the occasion that was retconned into Back from the Dead.
- No Baxter Stockman? Its been lampshaded lots of times and he has practically died at least 5 times.
- Swindle in Transformers: Animated was, at the end of "S.U.V", paralyzed and trapped in vehicle mode, which the Autobots allowed the Detroit Police to tow away with the stated goal of either selling him or stripping him down for parts, not even mentioning that the "SUV" was a Decepticon. In "Five Servos of Doom", he turns up alive and unharmed, though still stuck, Sentinel Prime having bought him from the impound lot (considering his parts couldn't move, they probably weren't worth much).
- The Transformers:
- Starscream himself. In nearly all versions, the guy just won't die, or at least stay dead. In both Animated and G1, he's literally immortal. He doesn't survive the former, however, thanks to the MacGuffin that was empowering him getting yanked out of his forehead. Animated takes this to its logical conclusion.
- Never mind all the times that Megatron almost died and then turns out he didn't. At least 3 times in Season 1: Part 3 of More Than Meets the Eye; Transport to Oblivion, Heavy Metal War, and the end of part 3 of The Ultimate Doom. The last one was the most believable time that he had perished, after all his starship blew up with him in it. All the Decepticons believe he is dead right up until he walks through the door in Countdown to Extinction.
Rumble: But, Megatron! We thought you were, you know, Kkkkkkcct! [the sound a person makes when motioning a finger across the throat like a knife; i.e. "You're dead"]
- Winx Club:
- Valtor, the Big Bad of Season 3, is revealed to be alive and well by the Season 8 premiere, meaning he wasn't really destroyed when Bloom extinguished his fire.
- In The Stinger of The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, turns out The Ancestral Witches weren't really destroyed when Bloom and Sky destroyed the Obsidian Circle; she instead inadvertently freed their spirits and use their descendants, the Trix, as new hosts, leading into the events of Magical Adventure.
- In the Season 1 finale of X-Men: The Animated Series, the massive robotic Master Mold pulls a Chernabog and bursts out of a mountain, insisting it can never be destroyed, after seemingly being destroyed with the rest of the Sentinels by a massive explosion. This is the cue for Professor Xavier to fly in with the TNT-loaded Blackbird jet, fly at Master Mold full speed, and eject.
- No, this is not Master Mold's final appearance, if you're wondering.
You thought I was done, didn't you!? Think Again!
- (Possibly) Real life example: Rasputin the Mad Monk was poisoned, shot, beaten, shot a couple more times, and had his body dumped in a river — and he only died from hypothermia.
- He must have survived drowning then to die of hypothermia, that's how — at the post-mortem — they knew he was alive when they put 'his body' in the river: there was water in his lungs!
- He also had his belly sliced wide open in a previous assassination attempt, eliciting a cry of "I have killed the Antichrist!" from his would-be murderer.
- But Wait, There's More!! It turns out that when they cremated his body, they forgot to cut the appropriate tendons in his body, thus, the heat caused them to contract, causing him to sit up.
- Ironically enough, Rasputin did not actually suffer a Rasputinian Death. Autopsy reports conducted in 1916 and released after the Cold War reveal that Rasputin died of a single gunshot to the forehead, after having suffered some cuts and bruises as well as a couple non-fatal gunshots beforehand. Interestingly, though, the fatal shot came from a British revolver, adding a different layer of intrigue to the murder.
- Much of the confusion over Rasputin's death comes from the fact that his killers didn't exactly know what they were doing. He had been invited to Prince Yusupov's mansion where the conspirators first tried to poison him with laced vodka, however they had no way to judge what was a fatal dose. They then beat and stabbed at him, but a bunch of aristocrats were up against a monk from an order that practiced self-mutilation, so that was ineffective. He was then shot (which depending on the wound, isn't always fatal), rolled into a carpet and dumped in the Neva river. He could have easily lived through all of that only to drown at the very end.
- It should be noted that most of the above claims of Rasputin's death came from the autobiography of Felix Yusupov himself, so there's certainly a possibility that he's telling tall tales to make Rasputin look monstrous or himself more heroic.
- Rapper 50 Cent laughs at your Instant Death Bullets.
- Simo Häyhä. Finnish sniper in WWII had over seven hundred confirmed kills of Soviets, 505 with his sniper rifle and two hundred or so by submachine gun. They tried everything up to Artillery strikes to kill him. He finally took a bullet to the jaw and it exited the left side of his face taking most of it. His buddies commented half his head was blown off. He woke up a few weeks later and lived to the ripe old age of 96, dying in April of 2002.
- The Attack Of The Dead Men. During the siege of Osowiec Fortress in WW1, German occupiers were having trouble getting into the fortress with just artillery. However, they elected to use gas, knowing about the Russian's lack of masks. The gas drifted into the fortress, and the Russian troops stationed there were devastated. When a battalion of 7000 Germans moved to occupy the fortress some time later, from 60 to 100 Russian soldiers counter-charged them. The Germans, believing that the Russian troops had risen from the dead, turned tail and ran all the way back to their command posts. The surviving Russians demolished most of the fortress and withdrew from the area some time later.
- A famous case in Belleville, Illinois. A teenager was attacked by the teacher she was friends with (and may have been having a relationship with) who broke her neck and then strangled her with a belt before dumping her body in the woods. Thirty hours later, in a driving rainstorm, the police found her body. Only she had somehow survived (her attacker pleaded guilty and went to jail for 20 years).
- Mark Linkous, leader of the band Sparklehorse, fell into a coma after mixing anti-depressants and sleeping pills in a London hotel room in 1995. He was found clinically dead with his legs pinned under him, and was lucky not only to be revived, but also to be able to walk again after six months of rehab. Linkous, who continued to struggle with depression and substance abuse, killed himself more decisively in 2010 by shooting himself in the chest with a rifle in an alley near a friend's house while intoxicated.
- In one British legal case, the defendants tried to use this defence. Because a crime must have both an action coupled with an intention (or recklessness/negligence etc), two individuals tried to argue that, because the man they had decided to beat to death was not quite dead when they threw his "body" off a cliff to dispose of it, the Crown did not have the necessary convergence of action and intention (they did not intend to kill him when they threw him off a cliff, believing that he was already dead). The judge told them, essentially, to bugger off.
- A fifteen-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, spoke out against the Taliban, who shot her in the head for her trouble. She survived, came out of a coma, and went right back to her campaign.
- A woman who decided to commit suicide in Soldier Township, Kansas shot herself in the head, survived, had second thoughts, and called 911. By the time firefighters arrived she had passed out and they assumed she was dead, so they went outside to protect the area as a crime scene. She then regained consciousness and called 911 again.
- A video filmed by a hunter in Minnesota shows him filming himself after just having shot a deer, which he mentions he shot through the neck. He follows a trail of blood and eventually comes upon the deer, seemingly dead in the field. As he laments not taking a kill shot, he kicks the deer's front leg and its eyes snap open. It suddenly leaps up and runs off as the hunter reels back in fright.
- When Boleskine House burnt down in 2016, ghost hunters detected smoke rising from the house, when no smoke could have been possible, speculating that the demonic forces that Aleister Crowley had unleashed were returning.
- British Airways flight 5390 had a cockpit window blow out at altitude, and the pilot was sucked mostly out of the plane. Cabin crew held on to his legs to keep him from going the rest of the way, but with the combination of trauma, hypoxia and hypothermia, they assumed he was dead, and holding on to him was just to prevent possible further damage by his corpse impacting parts of the plane. He survived.