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Primal Stance

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Remember how your mom always said to stand up straight? This is why...

A stock pose used to show how feral a character is. They are hunched over, and walk slightly like a gorilla. Used to show the character has regressed to a primal, wild state.

This is not that easy to do. Too many times, the "primal" part is left out, and the actors just end up sneering, hissing, and hopping about like a kid trying to be a kangaroo.

If done right, this can strike fear into our hearts either by the character doing the stance looking intimidating or by falling into the Uncanny Valley. This may be due to suffering a nervous breakdown and showing an animalistic side. However, this often this falls short and strikes Narm into our hearts.

Compare Limp and Livid, Three-Point Landing, and Running on All Fours. Has nothing to do with Primal Scene.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Jack Kirby loved this pose. Usually with more "primal" characters, like Kalibak or The Incredible Hulk.
  • Wolverine often uses this as his "pre-asskicking pose". Coupled with his extended claws, naturally.
  • X-Men mutant The Beast, as well.
  • Spider-Man does this from time to time, usually symbolizing that the villain isn't dealing with their Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man anymore.
    • Or otherwise doing a nimble variation of this trope to show he's ready to spring to action at any moment.
  • Radgoll, a member of the Secret Six is usually depicted like this due to his extreme flexibility, but on the rare occasion he elects to stand up straight everyone pays attention.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Cat Bountry's Team Fortress 2 fanfic Surrogate, Medic ends up so overwhelmed by the disgusting and horrible things he's just witnessed that he can't stand up and has to crawl on all fours.

    Films — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast at first stands and walks like this, but gradually begins to stand and walk upright as the film progresses to show the fact that he is gradually becoming more civilized; and Gaston, who stands and walks upright, until near the end of the film, he reveals his evil self and starts to stand and walk like this. The curse is also at fault here, because it turned him both in spirit and mind, more and more into an animal.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • In Kung Fu Panda 2, Lord Shen's wolf soldiers are always in a primal stance. Even when they're not on all-fours, they're constantly hunched over.
    • Big Bad Kai from Kung Fu Panda 3 is also hunched and may charge on all fours.
  • In Tarzan, the title character often uses his knuckles as front limbs, walking on all fours like the gorillas that raised him. This is mostly to show his savage upbringing, since otherwise he's a pretty Nice Guy without any ferocity.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Hulk in The Avengers (2012) assumes a hunched, almost gorilla-stance. He even slams both fists into the ground and grunts at one point.
  • Jack Nicholson in the first film of The Shining as he's going mad.
  • The Dark Knight has the Joker doing a subtle version of this.
  • Coolio as The Dragon in Dracula 3000.
  • The two evil sons taunting Lavinia after they mutilate her in the 1999 film Titus.
  • In the Planet of the Apes franchise the apes walk like this, supposedly to make them more, well, apelike. It was more pronounced in the sequels, especially Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, where they were supposed to be more primitive.
  • The Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings films:
    • Played straight with the Moria orcs and goblins and averted in the design of the Uruk-Hai and Mordor orcs. According to the behind-the-scenes features, quite a bit of time went into training the stunt actors portraying orcs to not walk like monkeys due to the possibility of making them more narm-inducing than fearsome.
    • Gollum, who is permenently hunched over and often lopes on all fours when running. One orc describes him as "rather like a spider himself, or perhaps like a starved frog."
    • Trolls walk in a hunched stance, and fittingly, they are more savage and primitive than orcs (most of them are unable to talk). Word of God says they were supposed to move like a bipedal rhinoceros. In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a few trolls go even further: they carry catapults on their back, and stand on all fours like a gorilla to stabilize themselves when the catapult is launched.
  • Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace uses a very subtle version of this, betraying his sinister nature over his high society, charitable facade. After his Villainous Breakdown, it becomes far more obvious when he screams like a demonic monkey while attacking Bond with an axe.
  • Interview with the Vampire: Vampires usually turn inhuman—demonic and beastly—when they are about to feed. You rarely see one stroll across the ceiling; usually they go on all fours when they're skirting across the ceiling. Lestat and Louis, repeatedly.
  • Devastator from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen actually stands and walks like this.
  • The skeletons in Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts stand at attention when they first emerge, but when Aeetes exerts them to "KILL KILL KILL THEM ALL!", they all hunch over. In unison.
  • Kayako Saeki from The Grudge and Sadako Yamamura from Ringu do this when crawling down the stairs and out of a TV, respectively.
  • Seth Brundle develops a very noticeable version of this at later stages of his transformation in The Fly (1986). Justified as not only is he mentally regressing (and becoming increasingly egotistical), but his skeletal structure has actually shifted.
  • One of the villainous fighters in Bangkok Knockout consistently stands in a hunched position, and fights on all-fours in an animalistic fashion.


    Live Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Randy Orton will occasionally do this when he's about to hit someone with an RKO...although he normally Averts this, considering the fact that he goes into a psycho state before he does the move, which involves him getting on his knees and slamming the ground repeatedly with his fists, or just dropping down completely and punching the ground slowly. Although this is used to evoke the feeling of a viper.
  • A lot of hardcore wrestlers adopt a stance similar to this, whether willingly adopted (like Al Snow when he was in full J.O.B Squad swing with "Head") or as a result of taking too many bumps over the length of a career (like Mick Foley, although it could be argued that most of the gimmicks he had benefited from a more deranged looking stance and gait).
  • Funnily enough, completely averted by both Gorilla Monsoon and King Kong Bundy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Venusians in Rocket Age all walk like this, understandable given they are essentially intelligent gorillas. Theirs is also a culture of tribal warfare and the hunt.

  • BIONICLE has the Hordika doing this, though you wouldn't have known if you hadn't seen the movie or read the books.
    • The Toys do have to do this to fire their Disk launchers at something though.

    Video Games 
  • Adult Alma.
  • The Orcs in Final Fantasy XI are exactly like this.
  • Wolf from Star Fox assumes one in Super Smash Bros..
    • Also Donkey Kong, which isn't surprising considering he's an ape.
    • Bowser has a monstrous, hunched-over stance in Melee and Brawl. His stance becomes much more humanlike starting with the fourth installment, which reflects a change in his moveset from primal, reptilian movements to a surprisingly agile wrestler-type fighter.
    • Ridley is hunched over in a gargoyle-like position similar to his depiction in Metroid: Other M and Super Metroid in his playable debut in Ultimate. Even when hunched over, Ridley is still the biggest fighter in the game, even bigger than Bowser who stands fully upright.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Riot of the Bood Iori and Leona. Also combined with blood-red hair, pure white eyes, unearthly howling, double the normal amount of speed, and gouts of smoke/steam from the mouth. Fun stuff.
    • King of Dinosaurs (Tizoc in a Paper-Thin Disguise) in KOF XIV, as fitting for his new status as a Heel. Also with a more brutal fighting style and, of course, a dinosaur themed costume in place of his old Griffon costume.
  • With the exception of the Blood Elves and tauren, all the male models for the Horde races in World of Warcraft exhibit this.
    • And on the Alliance side, Worgen.
  • Guilty Gear X2's Robo-Ky had this stance before he was completely overhauled into a Lethal Joke Character in the later versions of the game. He crawls on the ground as his walking animation. This, combined with his distorted theme song, made him seem a little more threatening than his later incarnation...
  • Devil Jin of Tekken has been known to do this.
  • As do the Yakuza depicted in Way of the Samurai.
  • Halo's aptly-named Brutes, described by Bungie as bear-gorillas, will go berserk if you break their shields or kill their allies, with the ones in Halo 2 taking up this stance.
  • Lizardman in the Soul Calibur series, for obvious reasons. Also any Soul Calibur IV created character with his style, which just looks stupid on a human.
  • Kratos has this pose when he gets his blades out.
    • The Tank is even more hunched over, walking with its huge arms.
  • [PROTOTYPE]'s Alex Mercer has exceedingly bad posture, and that's before he shifts his biomass into his arms, making them heavy enough to smash tanks. Among other things.
  • Blanka from Street Fighter.
  • Spider-Man is always bent over in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, which seems a little more fitting than the heroic poses he usually strikes in the comics.
    • Lampshaded by Ryu.
      Ryu: Your stance is weak!
  • Raziel starts out walking relatively upright in Soul Reaver 1, but by the time Defiance rolls around, he's adopted a noticeably more hunched posture.
  • Most enemy vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. A Gangrel PC can do it too by using Protean to give themselves claws, which are then used with this stance.
  • The newly-designed hurlocks of Dragon Age II utilize this trope. They tend to shamble rather than walk or run.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the new genlocks, who are constantly hunched over and prone to Running on All Fours.
      • Fenris is a mild example, but there's still a noticeable difference between his posture and that of the other companions. Get him to stand near, say, Merill or Sebastian and you can clearly see a difference, as Fenris stands with his shoulders hunched forward, like he's constantly ready to pounce into action in an instant.
  • In the Mass Effect series, the Krogan have shades of this, due to the large hump on a typical Krogan's back, along with their general temperment. The Elcor even moreso, naturally walking on all fours, although in their case they are some of the calmest beings in the galaxy. The Yahg, meanwhile, adopt this stance even more than the Krogan do, and are much more aggressive. And then there are the Brutes. After Saren dies and Sovereign takes over his cybernetics, he starts moving like this, which makes sense, given that Sovereign-Saren is a substantially harder fight than regular Saren - it's actually entirely possible to skip the fight with Saren by talking him into killing himself.
  • Monkey in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. He even runs in this position sometimes - and manages to make it look cool.
  • Cipher Admin Gorigan of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness adopts a pose similar to an ape's pose at all times (as seen above). He also bangs his fists against his chest when angered.
  • Keats in Folklore takes on this stance in combat, especially while in his Transcended form.
  • Adachi of Persona 4 enters this stance during his boss fight.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath does this in his Wrath Form on occasion, especially when he's in greater pain. Also does Limp and Livid as well.
  • Cole in inFAMOUS usually has this posture, even while sprinting or dodging. He even keeps his head hunched forward while climbing.
  • Bonkers as a helper was portrayed as moving like a gorilla in Kirby Super Star, unusual since Bonkers usually inverts it (he's a gorilla who walks like a human). Not even the remake portrays Bonkers as a helper that way. It's not until Kirbys Return To Dreamland where he's not only again portrayed as moving like an actual gorilla, but also stands like one.
  • Ridley's default posture is this in Metroid: Other M, which makes him seem gorilla-like. This, along with his sudden change in bulk in comparison to his earlier incarnations in the series, has led to fans giving him the nickname "Roidley".
  • In Disgaea 5, Usalia is normally depicted riding her obese yellow Prinny. However, if she ever enters this stance, then she's gone without curry for too long or she uttered a Murmur of Rage. Either way, the advice is the same: RUN.
  • The Goliath in Evolve stands with a hunched posture. This emphasizes its bestial nature while still giving it a semblance of intelligence, as well as creating a body structure that justifies its ease of movement when it walks on all fours.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is a trait of Scamps, the weakest and smallest known form of lesser Daedra. While they stop short of walking on all fours, Scamps have very hunched over postures. They're also among the less intelligent of the sentient Daedra.
  • Though they're intelligent enough to wield MP-5s and follow verbal commands, your first clue that there's something seriously wrong and monstrous about the Undertakers you face in Resident Evil Survivor is their hunched gorilla-like postures. If that wasn't enough of a clue that they're not human, but bio-weapons, the way they hoot like monkeys, hop around, and melt into goo when defeated will drive that point home.

    Web Comics 
  • When she first debuted in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Galatea would sometimes run hunched over with her hands curled back in a "bestial" pose, emphasizing that she'd been raised as an animal. Subverted later, as now she tries to act very sophisticated at all times.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with by Bumi of Avatar: The Last Airbender who is always hunched over: most of the time it just makes him look more feeble and decrepit, but this trope comes into play when he takes his shirt off to start fighting as when combined with all that muscle is quite intimidating.
  • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra uses this for Evil Korra. This carries over in motion as well: bending usually uses elegant martial arts movements to work, but Evil Korra uses wild swings and Flash Steps to manipulate the elements.
  • Nightcrawler in X-Men: Evolution is often seen sitting or standing hunched over, but usually only when he's not wearing his holographic human disguise. This is because, like in the comics, he walks on his toes rather than the soles of his feet which changes his posture.
  • Timber Wolf in Legion Of Superheroes sometimes adopts this stance when in combat, fittingly seeing he's the Legion's feral member.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has a variation in the first season finale: while fighting the Shredder and taking off the gloves, Splinter runs around on all fours and claws at the Shredder like an actual rat in between more disciplined martial arts.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man Carnage tends to have this posture. Also add in the fact that Carnage screeches rather than talk, he comes off as rather feral.
  • The animated Kratt Brothers sometimes pose like this on Wild Kratts when they're taking on or shutting down their creature powers, although they smile cheerfully while doing it so it's clear that they're heroically feral. Chris even crouches like this at the end of the opening theme song of every episode.
  • This is basically the natural pose of Sticks of Sonic Boom.
  • The boy in Feral, who was a wild child living in the forest in the company of wolves. When he's brought back to civilization, he starts to walk upright. When he rejects human civilization and goes back to the forest, he starts going on all fours again.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Grogar walks with a quadrupedal variant of this (i.e. with his back hunched and head lowered), contrasting all the other quadrupedal creatures (such as all ponies) who walk upright (i.e. with their neck and head held up) and in a very civilized way, to make him look more unsettling and threatening.

    Real Life 
  • "Gorilla Posture" is a real problem for bodybuilders who neglect proper form and don't equally work their chest and back muscles to keep them in balance, resulting in a posture with the shoulders constantly turned inwards towards the chest.
    • Can happen to members of the military, too, due to all those punishment pushups without corresponding upper back workouts.
  • Compare old depictions of the Tyrannosaurus rex to newer ones. The old ones are all in kangaroo-esque positions, tails dragging along the ground, while the newer ones have the entire body more or less parallel to the ground.
  • Some people hunch over when livid. They start seething and hissing.
  • Rock music has always though it was cool to have your guitar slung low. Naturally Heavy Metal musicians tend to take to its natural evolution by assuming this stance whenever possible.
  • The US Marines claim their nickname of "Devil Dogs" to be a result of this during the Battle of Belleau Wood. So the story goes, the Germans were dug in on the highground, and the terrain was so steep that the assaulting Marines had to crawl on all fours to make their way to the German positions. Due to the risk of chemical attack, the Marines were wearing gas masks, and the heat and exertion caused the masks to be frothing at the edges with spit and sweat. Thus, the Germans were faced with a seeming pack of attacking Teufelshunde, or Devil Dogs. (Never mind that there is no corresponding German version of this story...)


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