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Pivotal Wake-up

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Dracula knows how to "Rise from your grave!" in style.
The Pivotal Wake-up is a classic move in the repertoire of old-school vampires and mummies. Once the sun dips below the horizon, the vampire's eyes will open, the coffin lid will fly open on its own, and the occupant will levitate into a standing position while pivoting on their feet, as if they were a fulcrum.

Needless to say, this move is so old school it may be a Dead Horse Trope. However, it still occasionally sees use even outside the vampire community. Comedies seem to like to use it to demonstrate just how strange or freaky some characters are by, say, rising this way on the mention of their favorite food or after being punched in the face.

Usually requires that Vampires Sleep in Coffins, though it may be Played for Laughs by having a vampire rise up out of bed in a similar manner.

Compare Catapult Nightmare, the Muggle equivalent.


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  • A commercial for Nutri-grain Bars focused on a family of vampires talking about how weird it is to be able to walk about in morning time. At one point, we're shown a clip of the daughter rising from her coffin like this.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z - during the "warm-up" phase of Goku and Cell's fight, Goku knocks Cell over the edge of the arena. The (in-series) audience hopes for a ring-out, only for Cell to remind them all that he can fly by freezing and performing this trope in midair.
  • One Piece: Don Kreig does this in the anime when he briefly recovers after Luffy defeats him, going on a tirade about how he can't be beaten before Gin knocks him out with a gut punch.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington emerges from a coffin like this while dressed as Santa Claus. (Of note, he does it while facing down, which is unusual.)

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • Only Fools and Horses: Inverted by that time Del Boy fell through the bar.
  • In a Shout-Out to Nosferatu, Dracula rises like this in Young Dracula.
  • Angelus pulled this trick on Angel. Seeing as it's a spinoff of Buffy, which debuted six years earlier, it's remarkable that they resisted this trope for as long as they did. (The weirdness of this trope is actually invoked to remind the viewer that this is a weird, dream-walky place, right before Faith and Angelus start interacting with the memory-dream-projection-Angel.)
  • Doctor Who, "Image of the Fendahl": After Thea Ransome is possessed by the Fendahl, her body rises to its feet like this.
  • An episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles has a vampire knocked down during a fight, then instantly do this and pop right back up again.
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the first time Tommy returned, he used his temporary powers to get back the other Rangers' Power Coins (their power source) and was near death from the strain on his body (and having the tar beaten out of him while only at partial power.) Later, Power Coin energy surrounds him as he rises into the air and pivots to a standing position, and only once standing does he awaken. Turns out he'd absorbed enough power from the force field around the coins to rejoin the team for good (with plenty of scares that the temporary powers may yet give out.)
  • Supernatural. In "Monster Movie" a shapeshifting demon with a liking for monster movies does this when rising from a coffin as a Mummy.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: In the season 3 episode "Return of the Mack", when Damien Darhk is revived by his cult, he rises from his coffin in this manner.
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2019): In the pilot episode, Nandor wakes up in the manner in his first scene, after Guillermo finally manages to open the coffin.
  • WandaVision: At the beginning of "The Series Finale", after being blasted by Wanda, Agatha Harkness rises up straight to her feet behind the twins. Not unexpected, as she can fly.

    Music Videos 
  • The dancing interns of the Avicii song Levels.

  • Happens with Drac himself in Monster Bash. As the leader of a band on tour, this is how he makes his entrance when they're about to perform.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The way WWE's The Undertaker sits bolt-upright after recovering from a knock down is similar to this trope.
  • The Undertaker's Brother Kane also performs a similar bolt-upright sit up, but his is more of a zombie-like sit up.
  • And now, with the debut of Aleister Black, the WWE finally has the literal tilting-to-upright-by-their-feet (albeit with the aid of lying on a platform) proviso of this trope covered.

  • The trope illustration is a Burger King tie-in toy with Universal Studios; curiously, the Wolf Man toy did the same thing (emerging from a kind of crate or cellar with pivoting doors instead of a coffin with a pop-off lid).

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Vincent Valentine does this when you wake him up in Final Fantasy VII.
  • How vampires awaken in The Sims 2.
  • In Darkstalkers, Morrigan gets up this way. Although she cheats. Her wings turn into bats that push her up.
  • A zombie example: a similar animation is played in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim when a reanimate zombie spell is cast on someone's corpse. The body doesn't act rigid and realistically bends, but otherwise the effect is the same.
  • Rare heroic, non-vampiric example: when a party member is revived with a Zing or Kazing spell in Dragon Quest VIII, they levitate to a standing position in this manner, head and limbs hanging limp until they are almost completely upright, before opening their eyes and assuming their normal battle posture.
  • Legend (1998) have sorceror enemies that when knocked off their feet but not yet killed, will get back upright vertically in an instant.
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: After the first boss encounter, Mia, the Player Character's wife, is knocked out following your first encounter with them, they do this as they comes up off the floor and throw you through the wall, leading into the next stage of the fight.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In a non-vampire example, Sheen is laid out by the martial arts bad guy until Libby calls herself his girlfriend. This gives him the will to fight, and he suddenly just becomes vertical again and beats his opponent with The Power of Dance.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Argost does this in "The Thousand Eyes of Ahuizotl".
  • Steven Universe, "Chille Tid": Inverted when Garnet — a Silicon-Based Lifeform currently manifesting a humanoid form — tries to show Steven how to relax:
    Garnet: I'll show you how it's done. [Cracks knuckles and collapses face-first onto the sleeping bag]
    Pearl: ...Garnet?
    Garnet: [Snores]
  • Count Duckula locates his ancestors' diary and reads from it. The transition goes back to when Duckula was an evil incarnate as he snaps up rapidly from his coffin.
    Duckula: Good evening, Igor.
    Igor: Good evening, sir. And a most horrible night if I may make so bold.
    Duckula: Yes. The sort of night that makes one feel good to be dead.

    Real Life 
  • With sufficient lower body and abdominal strength, one can stand up from a lying on the back position in a way similar to a pivotal wake-up.