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"Knucklehead" can't get any more literal than this.

The head is one of the most important parts of the body. It contains the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; all vital organs for perception and aid in various sensory functions such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste, respectively. Now imagine if in its place is a different body part... yet it retains some or all the features and functions of a regular head. That would be this trope.

Cephalization or development of heads in animals is an evolutionary trend to concentrate the nervous system, sense organs, and feeding structures at a front end, but the evolutionary process for the creatures with this trope either didn't see it fit to do so or just took an effort to be as weird as possible.

Animate Body Parts have a chance of becoming this if they gain a completely separate body but they may also go for being a Cephalothorax (so you can have another body part functioning as a head that is also a chest). Specifically, a creature with an eye as its entire "head-chest" is also an Oculothorax and those examples should go there.

For the trope to be played straight, the replacement organ must still serve its intended purpose in addition to being a head. A head that merely looks like another body part (like in the cases of some Eldritch Abominations, Starfish Aliens, and Gonks) is a subversion.

With or without actual facial features, this may lead to Nightmare Face if the body part in place of the head just feels wrong. It may overlap with Multiple Head Case, if other body parts are also functioning as heads by their own right, and other Spare Body Parts tropes, if a part replacing the head creates a surplus.

This is a sub-trope of Non-Human Head. Compare/contrast Skull for a Head, which is just a regular head but without the fleshy bits, and Brain Monster, when it doesn't have the bony bits (sometimes).

Not to Be Confused with Piano Drop, which is about a keyboard instrument similar to that other organ (not this one) falling overhead.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Film - Live Action 
  • The infamous ending of Society features the Shunt, a Lovecraftian, cannibalistic orgy which involves the rich twisting themselves into grotesque shapes. When the protagonist, Bill Whitney, attempts to escape being "shunted", his former therapist Dr. Cleveland turns his head into a gigantic hand in order to scare him. Even Bill's adopted family gets in on this - after fleeing Cleveland, he finds his father turned into, well...
    Jim Whitney: "Well, son, I guess you're right. I am a butthead!"
  • Spy Kids: The "Thumb-Thumbs" made by Floop are humanoid robots with their arms, legs, and head all giant thumbs.

  • The Nikolai Gogol story "The Nose" has a detached nose that was able to pass itself off as a human being with its own body and surpass the rank of its owner.
  • Zigzagged in Ringworld, where Pierson's Puppeteers have their brains in their thoracic cavities. Their two heads, resembling hands with Extra Digits, play no role in thinking, instead being used mainly for eating and manipulating objects.
  • The Bum Trilogy: The first book has people's butts planning to invoke this by taking over the world with a huge, worldwide fart by building up a massive quantity of methane gas in the "Bumcano." When the Bumcano blows, all humans will be rendered unconscious, then the bums will seize their chance and switch places with their heads.
  • Kraken: The Tattoo's Faceless Goons all wear motorcycle leathers and helmets to conceal the fact that they've had their heads magically replaced with fists. The word "knucklehead" gets thrown around as a result. Apparently there are benefits, but we're not told what. When Billy asks Dane how they're able to see, etc., Dane chides him for thinking that sort of question matters. As a side effect, the process replaces their genitals with hands, too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Saturday Night Live (hosted by Jon Stewart) had a sketch where he plays the founder of several boy bands and presents his latest such group, which he genetically engineered himself. It's also revealed that he contaminated one batch and the resulting members came out wrong. One of these members, Ass-Face, has... well, look at his name and guess.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon: Binacle, introduced in Gen VI, looks like a pair of arms with faces on them stuck on a rock. Its evolution, Barbaracle, have those two Binacle multiply into seven and rearranged into a humanoid form (one in the middle as the head and thorax, four as limbs, and two as Vertical Mecha Fins). All of them have a mind of their own, but they usually follow the one in the middle. These designs are also invoked by the Japanese word for barnacle, kamenote, which means "turtle's hand."
  • Yo Kai Watch:
    • Cuttincheez/Hekokijin and Cheeksqueek/Onarazumono have butts for heads and they can fart with it. Yup.
    • The Bananose/Nagabanana line, and others with similar name and appearance, may be Yōkai with exaggerated Gag Noses or their heads are giant noses with facial features. Or they're anthropomorphic bananas.
  • Undertale: One of the receptionists in MTT Resort has a giant hand for a head.
  • In Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Stone-Head, Paper-Head, and Scissors-Head have hands making their respective Rock–Paper–Scissors gestures for heads.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Prepare the Brain Bleach.
    • Though Atlus wouldn't admit that it's intended, it has several phallic examples in Mara, Ym, and, Mishaguji (who is depicted to be either snake-like or humanoid depending on the specific installment). DO NOT spare a thought if these function as intended but the designs are justified for these demons/deities associated with either temptation, fertility, or both in their original myths. Ym is also a deity of agriculture so his head must be meant to represent root crops (yam, geddit?)... but who are we kidding?
    • Catherine: Zigzagged with the Immoral Beast. It's a creature that crawls on its four weirdly angled limbs like a crab and has its conjoined buttocks as its head. It has an eye on each cheek, while the rest of its deformed facial features are on its "upper back," and a "mouth" with an Overly-Long Tongue sticking out. It is a manifestation of Vincent's guilt from having an affair.
  • Dark Souls III has the Monstrosity of Sin, which has a massive hand-like head and its palm has a gaping hole lined with teeth.
  • Psychonauts 2 has the Five Senses, a group of mental entities who not only represent, well, the five senses, but the Mote of Light's former friends and teammates, the Psychic Six. The band consists of Vision Quest (who has an eyeball for a head), Dr. Touch (a hand), Audie O. (an ear), Sniffles (a nose) and Tasty (a mouth).


    Western Animation 
  • Wander over Yonder: While Lord Hater leads the Army of Watchdogs, who have eyeballs as their entire headsnote , Emperor Awesome has the Fist Fighters, who are humanoids with fists for heads. The Knucklehead variant works as a Bouncer for his parties. The time travel episode shows that a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a man named Admiral Admirable has literal foot soldiers in humanoids with feet for heads. Another episode had Wander and Sylvia meeting up with beings heavily implied to have butts for heads.
  • Gravity Falls
    • The Shape Shifter from "Into the Bunker" transformed into a creature with a fist for a head, with one eye and mouth in its "palms."
    • Mabel summoned a centaur-taur in "Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons." It is a horse whose head... is an entire horse's body. It's basically the result of putting two headless horses together.
    • "Teeth," from Bill Cipher's invasion posse, is a gummed set of teeth with limbs who wouldn't look out of place as a mascot in oral hygiene commercials.
  • In Pickle and Peanut, Pickle dates a girl with a foot face.
  • The Earclops/Earclopes/Earclopses in Adventure Time are large, humanoid beings with ears as heads. Due to their giant ears, they are very sensitive to loud noises.
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho!, loosely based on The Bum Trilogy and named after the first book, has butts with lives and humanoid bodies separate from the people they're supposed to be attached to.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Gumball and Hotdog Guy have a run-in with a mall security guard that has a hand for a head.
    • A professional fighter in “The Cage” is a giant with a fist for a head.
  • Cupcake & Dino: General Services: In the episode "Retrieval Boys," one of the people they suspected to be the book thief is Mr. Palm who has a Four Fingered Hand with two eyes in its palm for a head.
  • Bunnicula: Harold's tail becomes sentient in the episode "Wag the Dog" when the Static Electricity charged from rubbing his paws on objects passed through a magical Tesla Coil. The tail plans to switch with the head by exposing Harold and the Tesla Coil to lightning and succeeds for a while, but a thrown tennis ball interrupts the process before it becomes permanent and the tail's consciousness transfers to it instead.
  • DuckTales (2017): The episode "The Lost Cargo of Kit Cloudkicker!" has two air pirates that are combined by the Stone of What Was into one with none of their heads but with one arm on the left side of the body, two arms on the right, and a hand in place of the head. The fused pirate can still somehow scream without a visible mouth or perhaps it's just displaced somewhere else in the body, like the hand-head, that can't be seen.