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Pummeling the Corpse

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"She pulls the hatchet out of Creon's chest, letting the gore drip onto her boots...She gives a shriek and the hatchet buries itself in his knee. Then the other. Then his throat. Then his groin. Then his chest, again and again."

A character has just killed someone, usually through a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. They keep pummeling the body long after it's clear that the victim is already dead, either in a fit of Extreme Mle Revenge that hasn't cooled down, due to having far too much fun (marking the killer as Ax-Crazy), or simply due to a need to make sure the victim stays dead. Sometimes the fists or blunt implement is replaced with either bullets or a very sharp implement such as a knife or an axe.

Optional but common: an onlooker or friend pulls the killer back, repeats some variation of 'you can stop, he's dead', 'that's enough', or 'I think he's dead already' and may administer a Cooldown Hug. Although if you are dealing with dead bodies who won't stay down, such as The Undead or a Zombie Apocalypse, it could be reasonable to ensure they are truly dead.

Subtrope of Desecrating the Dead and There Is No Kill Like Overkill. Related in spirit to Beating A Dead Player and Kick Them While They Are Down.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • At one point in Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail, Roberta fatally shoots a man with a hidden gun, then proceeds to punch his head into a gory mess when he uses his dying words to taunt her. She only stops when a horrified Garcia Lovelace, watching from the shadows, screams for her to stop.
  • Rebecca of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, after being denied her chance at vengeance against the cyberpsycho that killed her brother Pilar, vents her rage by blowing his severed head apart with multiple blasts from a shotgun after the psycho is killed by David and Maine.
  • Renton, of all people, has one of these moments in Eureka Seven. (In the anime, at least.) Then he notices the severed arm sticking to his mecha...
  • Hellsing Ultimate: The Major lists this as one of the many, many things that he loves about war. "It moves me deep within my heart to watch a fresh recruit stabbing over and over into the bloated chest of a long-dead enemy."
  • In Hunter Hunter the main character, Gon, seeks revenge on Pitou after learning they killed his friend and lied about being able to bring him back. He keeps punching Pitou in the head even their head is completely obliterated.
  • Isshinsai Ogata, aka Kensei from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, is shown in a flashback beating an opponent to death in a martial arts tournament, and refusing to stop beating the corpse even after he's disqualified.
  • Possibly the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica episode seven, where Sayaka repeatedly pummels the Witch Elsa Maria with a sword after decapititating her, but it's hard to tell given the nature of Witches. Nonetheless, this is pretty shocking behavior for the others who are around her.
  • Takeo Tsurumaru from Shadow Star caves in the face of a thug with his fists. Said thug was the one who raped and murdered his friend Norio.
  • In the manga version of Ark by Sound Horizon, Soror does this to the man who is implied to have been molesting her, with her brother doing the "it's okay, you can stop now" thing.
  • Yami Yugi ends up doing the card game equivalent of this to Weevil/Haga in Season 4 of Yu-Gi-Oh!. His lifepoints are already at 0 and his soul is being sucked away, but Yami just keeps attacking directly with his Berserker Soul because he's angry (justifiably so). It takes Anzu rushing in and doing a Cooldown Hug to get him to stop.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Death of Superman, Lex Luthor does this to Doomsday's corpse when he's given a chance to examine it. Everyone thinks he's furious that the monster killed Superman, and he is, but only because he thinks he'll never have a chance to do it himself.
  • From Sin City the death of the completely deserving title character of the story "That Yellow Bastard" at the hands of a pissed-off Hartigan. So brutal was Hartigan's beatdown that Junior didn't even have a head left when Hartigan was through.
    Hartigan: After a while, all I'm doing is punching wet chips of bone into the floorboards. So I stop.
  • From Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) Imposter Syndrome 2# Surge makes sure to stomp on a Eggbreaker even after she quickly finishes it off thanks to Kit weaking it and taunts it while doing so; justified as she was hurt by its mace fist and got healed thanks to the Metal Virus she was injected with during her creation process for a nice Healing Factor
    Surge: That's What you get! See what happens when you mess with the best?! Huh?! Huh?!

  • Sullivan's Sluggers: The surviving members of Casey's team spend at least fifteen minutes pummeling the corpse of George Malice to make sure it's dead.

  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act I: Upon being freed from Ghaldin's mind control after Moka kills him, Dark is so furious over being controlled that he promptly makes his way over to Ghaldin's corpse and literally stomps his skull into a bloody stain.
  • Pony POV Series: After Mimic knocked out one of Discord's teeth, he was so enraged that he killed her by turning her bones to glass and then slamming her into the ground. Then he picked up her corpse and slammed it into the ground again and again until it was pulp. Finally, he incinerated the remains.
  • My Huntsman Academia: Nora continues to pound an Ursa Major's corpse, whose torso she had already liquefied, until she had torn a hole straight to the ground while on a Power High from her Semblance.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: From Surprise Guest, after the Avatar found out that the Mukrezar he killed was just basically a body double, from the perspective of the goblin, Fiz:
    An incoherent howl of absolute rage drew his attention back to the Avatar looming above him, sword raised high in the air. The goblin's ears drooped.
    The weapon came down on the corpse with a tearing sound, cutting deep into the wooden floor again and again as the Avatar vented his anger.
    [...] was throwing a tantrum bad enough to make him hack apart a fallen opponent
  • The Meaning of One: Like canon, Ron knocks out the troll by levitating its club and hitting it in the head. Unlike canon, his sister is present, and he doesn't stop hitting it until it's long dead. He doesn't realise what he did, though, since the teachers quietly dispose of the body and tell the students it was relocated overseas.
  • The Power of the Equinox: In the 29th chapter, Rainbow Dash becomes so desperate to find Scootaloo that she resorts to attacking Scootaloo's abusive adoptive father Brutus Meadows who has already died from the injuries Dimmed Star caused him. Applejack and Big Macintosh need to pull her off and pin her to the ground before she accepts that the corpse won't wake up and tell her where Scootaloo is.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: A Khornate berserker is seen beating an Ironborn's head into the deck. The Wolf keeps yelling at him to knock it off as he's trying to talk to Euron, eventually throwing a ballista bolt at the man to snap him out of it, breaking his arm in the process. During the siege of King's Landing, the marauder keeps driving Jon's head into the ground before being finally put down.
  • In with the Old, Out with the New has Sonya execute Kano (as he kidnapped, tortured and raped Cassie) by blowing his brains out, then after emptying the clip into his skull, pistol whips Kano's corpse.

  • The Big Boss ends with Cheng, after killing the Big Bad, continuing punching his opponent's face for a whole minute, even though his opponent is clearly dead at this point, to satisfy Cheng's raging desire for revenge for his friends who died in the film.
  • In The Boondock Saints, Rocco beats the sick hitman that he and the others were targeting to death with a cue ball until the brothers pull him off and force him to cool down.
  • In the prologue to The Butchers, young Simon whacks his abusive father over the head with a golf club. He then keeps waling on the body way past the point where he must be dead.
  • Curse of the Golden Flower: After the Emperor's youngest son has killed his oldest brother, the Emperor takes off his huge golden belt and starts beating him with it. Several scenes later, we cut back to the Emperor, who's still going at it, though a lot slower, and giggling too.
  • Fierce Creatures: When Vince McCain finally wakes up to the fact that his hated father Rod is gone for good:
    Vince: [joyfully] You're dead, you're dead, YOU'RE DEAD! YOU... [punch] BIG... [punch] FAT... [punch] BASTARD!
  • God of Gamblers Returns have Ko Chun discovering his servants and pregnant wife being killed by the main villain, Chau Siu-Chee the "Devil of Gamblers", and for good measure Chau deliberately ripped the foetus out of the wife's belly and left it in a jar to taunt Ko Chun before leaving a number of mooks to ambush him. After Ko Chun and his partner, Lung Wu, killed off all the mooks, Ko Chun furiously punches the last dying mook several times (shot by Lung Wu in a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind moment) in his rage.
  • The climax of Inglorious Basterds has the very cathartic example of the Basterds continuing to unload their weapons into Hitler's corpse until the flesh starts to disintegrate.
  • Michael Bolton in the printer scene in Office Space.
  • In Pacific Rim, after downing the Kaiju Leatherback, Raleigh "checks for a pulse" by unloading several rounds into the corpse to the point where its chest cracks open and starts disintegrating.
  • The Patriot (2000): In the tomahawk fight scene, Martin continues hacking at a British soldier in rage after it is clear that the soldier is already long dead. This is right after the commander of the dragoons shot his second oldest son and tried to have his oldest son hanged as a spy.
  • After shooting Gary in the head in Psycho Cop Returns, Officer Vickers begins "arresting" his body, but when it proves "un-cooperative", Vickers starts kicking and stomping it.
  • Star Trek: First Contact: Picard rears back to bludgeon a Borg he's just emptied a Thompson submachine gun into (while howling with rage), but Lilly pulls him back before he does so. "I think you got him!"
  • In Starship Troopers, Sugar Watkins curses continually while repeatedly shooting a dead bug. Even after Dizzy pushes him off he fires a few more rounds into the bug.
  • Strippers Vs. Werewolves: Franklyn has been tasked with destroying a werewolf's dead body so it can't be identified. He eventually manages to work himself up to wailing on it.
  • In Taxi Driver, Travis shoots a man attempting to rob a convenience store, so the store clerk does this to cover for Travis.
  • Zero Dark Thirty: An unnamed SEAL kills Osama bin Laden with a single shot in the climax. Afterwards, two other SEALs fire into his corpse a few more times.

  • In The Silmarillion, the Balrogs pummel Fingon's corpse into the mud even after they kill him.
  • In Protector of the Small, Kel's refugees help to fight off their captors, and they leave no survivors. She finds a young woman named Peliwin hacking at one corpse over and over and gently intercedes — it's implied that he had raped Peliwin during the refugees' captivity.
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer has a fairly serious example in the fourth book, The Devil's Only Friend. John loses control while on a mission and starts screaming and stabbing the corpse of an enemy. Not only does it disturb him after the fact, one of his teammates witnessed it and threatens to put him down like a rabid dog.
  • In the Xandri Corelel novel Failure to Communicate, the diplomat Marco Antilles beats a would-be assassin to death with his gun and keeps pummeling the man's face even after he's already smashed it to a pulp.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: In the episode Between the Darkness and the Light Garibaldi, Franklin, and Lyta get into a fight with the cell guards holding Sheridan prisoner after they take him out of his cell and try to escort him to safety. During the fight someone drops a PPG, which Sheridan picks up. Sheridan then proceeds to completely empty the weapon into one of the cell guards.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode, 100, Aaron Hotchner keeps pummelling the body of George Foyet, the Boston Reaper, long after it's clear Foyet is dead; Hotch has to be pulled off by Morgan (though it's entirely justified, given Foyet murdered Hotch's wife, previously tried to murder him and was bragging about his plans to murder Hotch's son just before Hotch turned the tables on him).
  • CSI:
    • The murderer of the week in the episode "Bad to the Bone" provokes and beats a man several times his size to death.
    • The gang of kids in the episode "Fannysmakin'" also hand out such beatings to random tourists, although only one of their victims actually dies (who, ironically, wasn't a tourist).
  • In the fourth episode of Season 2 of The Last Kingdom, after finally defeating his father's murderer Kjartan in a Duel to the Death, torturing him and stealing Kjartan's sword to deny him entrance to Valhalla, Ragnar the Younger hacks Kjartan into pieces with his sword...and keeps doing so long after Kjartan is clearly dead, to the point the initially cheering crowd are horrified and Uhtred has to pull Ragnar off Kjartan's body and hold his adoptive brother until he calms down.
  • In Supernatural, during season 9 after Dean kills Abadon with the First Blade and Mark of Cain, Dean then straddles Abadon's "meatsuit" and starts pummeling it with his fist wrapped around the blade's handle until Sam manages to yell at him enough to shock him out of it.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "A Private Little War", the previously violence-averse Tyree snaps when he sees his wife stabbed to death. In the ensuing climactic battle, Tyree rushes and quickly overpowers the man who stabbed his wife, and staves in his head with a large rock. Tyree's mind, clouded with berserker fury, does not register that his opponent is dead, so he spends the rest of the battle bashing the corpse's shattered head. Even after the battle ends, Tyree continues to bash the unresisting corpse until Kirk stops him.

    Video Games 
  • Many games in the Marvel vs. Capcom series allowed a player to continue attacking a defeated enemy at the end of the match if they pressed the Start button during their victory animation. The game would even give bonus points if the screen was paused on the right animations.
  • You are encouraged to do so in Dead Space, the only way to ensure a Necromorph is dead is to dismember every single limb of them, not only can you get items by stomping corpses, it prevents the Infectors from resurrecting the corpses with its needle injection, so it's definitely reasonable to ensure the things on your path are all truly dead.
  • Similarly, in Halo 3, Flood Combat Forms can be revived after you kill them if an Infection Form enters the body. Meleeing a dead Combat Form can destroy the body, preventing this.
  • The end of God of War III... well, it's really up to the player how long you wanna keep pounding the living crap out of Zeus, but considering how all the blood is obstructing your vision, you're probably gonna keep going for a bit... just to be ABSOLUTELY sure that he's REALLY, REALLY dead.
  • Max Payne delivers the ballistic variant of this on Jack Lupino when he finally takes him down (Lupino has the most health in the game), wanting to make very sure that he stays that way because Lupino was hopped up on Valkyr, revealed to be a failed Super Serum prototype that works as a Psycho Serum and greatly increases pain tolerance. He only stops when Mona Sax shows up and tells him "I think he's dead already."
  • In the Soviet victory ending of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Nadia empties a pistol in Stalin after poisoning him.
  • In one of the skill books in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, the author reminisces about her first close-combat kill. In a fit of panic she spent the whole night stabbing her enemy, long after her was dead and unrecognizably butchered.
  • Once you've cleared Kiljoy's asylum in The Suffering, any Slayers you kill will start reviving. You can prevent this by decapitating them - either in combat or while they're down.
  • Similar to the Dead Space example above, the Ghost People of the Sierra Madre need to be dismembered when they die, otherwise they'll just get right back up and continue attacking. While trying to cripple an arm or a leg in V.A.T.S. will do the trick (and instantly kill them in the process), early on it'll be easier to just get them on the ground and wail on the nearest limb with a melee weapon until it comes off.
  • Iji: Kicking dead enemies earns you extra Nano.
  • Rean Schwarzer does this towards the Final Boss after the Nameless One kills Millium in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III.
  • Some games in the Monster Hunter series will continue to register hits onto a monster even after it's been killed, allowing you to spend the 60 seconds of free time after fulfilling the main objective continuing to wail on the monster, which can be cathartic if it's That One Boss. Others, however, will just have your weapon go through with no effect.
  • Happens in The Last of Us when Ellie kills David with his own machete and keeps hitting him with it. Joel has to pull her off to get her to stop and manages to calm her down.
  • In The Walking Dead Molly does this to Logan after she kills him in his walker form because of the fact he would only give her sister medicine if she had sex with him and ended up breaking the deal. Lee has the option of telling her that she "Really went to town on the guy.".
  • In Saints Row, Johnny Gat has spent who knows how long imprisoned in the house of Anthony "Big Tony" Green, who shot him in the knee before tying him to a chair. After the Player Character shows up and kills Green, he frees Johnny and assists him to his feet. Johnny then fires all the bullets in his gun into Green's corpse, then throws the empty gun at it for good measure. Given how Johnny had expressed an interest in taking Tony apart before getting captured by him, he was most likely trying to vent his anger.
  • Zombies in Cataclysm will get up again after being killed unless you take the time to destroy the body. Smashing the corpse to a pulp with a melee weapon, cutting it apart with a butchering tool, or burning it will do the job.
  • In Silent Hill 3, Heather Mason kicks the Order's god repeatedly in the face even after it falls dead.
  • In the Deal ending route of Grand Theft Auto IV, Niko ends up getting into a gun struggle with an assassin sent to kill him, which ends with the latter dying to a headshot. When Niko realizes a stray shot fired during the struggle hit and killed his cousin Roman, he takes the assassin's gun, fires it into his corpse, then resorts to kicking him once the magazine is emptied out.
  • In the second act of Baldur's Gate III, if the Nightsong was freed by the party, she would eventually join them in the battle against Ketheric Thorm, one of the leaders of the Cult of the Absolute who was responsible for her imprisonment with the intent of leeching off her immortality. Once Ketheric has been killed, the Nightsong would proceed to stomp on his skull numerous times in a fit of pent-up rage for good measure.

    Web Comics 
  • Happens in Goblins when Kin kills Dellyn Goblinslayer, and then keeps on stabbing. He deserved every one of those, by the way.
  • When Aradia from Homestuck finally gets her hands on Manipulative Bitch Vriska, the result isn't pretty. However, we later find this trope was subverted when it turns out Vriska was not dead.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Crystal easily kills Bozzok by punching clean through his chest, but continues to beat his dead body in retaliation for the torture he put her through.
  • Unsounded: Jivi slices up the bodies of some Aldish soldiers crying and enraged at them for their part in killing his friends.

    Web Original 
  • In Saving The Rainforest, during a curb-stomp game, The Odd One wondered when are his opponents going to surrender, only to find out it was only 14 minutes into the game, too early to even initiate a /ff vote.
    TheOddone: This war ain't over, until they're all dead.
  • In Critical Role when the party finds the missing Lady Kima (a halfling paladin) in the Underdark, she's been brutally tortured by dark dwarves for several days. When they free her, she asks to borrow Pike's mace... and uses it to vent her anger by absolutely mulching the already-dead torturer.
  • In The New Ichika Whatever Himari does this to the unnamed redhead girl Who sexually assaulted Ichika, She stops when she realizesthat shes only punching bits of muscle to the ground

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Family Guy, where a Surfin' Bird record is broken and pummeled just because Peter was annoying everyone with it so much.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In a flashback we see why Moe was kicked out of The Little Rascals. (He played Stinky, the kid who always got a face full of exhaust from an exhaust pipe.)
      Moe thinks back to an episode where the Little Rascals are playing marbles. He flicks one away; it bounces into an exhaust pipe
      Moe: Oh, no! My favorite aggie!
      Alfalfa runs off, looks in the exhaust pipe. The car starts and blows soot in his face
      Moe: (smashing Alfalfa's head into the ground) You stole my bit! That's my bit...ooh! Ooh! You stole my bit!
      Director: Cut! Oh my God! He's killed the original Alfalfa.
      Moe: (in the present) Yeah. Luckily, Alfalfa was an orphan owned by the studio.
    • Homer's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the Krustyburglar while playing Krusty the Clown in one episode prompts a horrified child to shout, "Stop! STOP! HE'S ALREADY DEAD!" (though it wasn't actually fatal).
    • One of Bart's nightmares in the episode "Bart the General" is that Nelson won't just apply Bully Brutality on him until he dies, but that he will beat up his corpse at the funeral parlor.
  • In Teen Titans (2003), "Apprentice: Part 1", Robin delivers one to an already mangled Slade-bot out of anger after discovering that the warehouse they went to contained neither Slade nor the Chronoton Detonator.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pummelling The Corpse


MK 2011 - A Leg to Stand On

OK, Quan Chi, I think he's dead, you can stop hitting him.

...I said, you can stop now.


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Main / PummelingTheCorpse

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