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Pushed at the Monster

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The Doctor: He doesn't have to outrun the lion, only his friend. Then the lion catches up with his friend and eats him. The strong survive, the weak are killed. The law of the jungle.
Harvey: Oh, yeah. Very clever.
The Doctor: Yes, very clever, if you don't mind losing your friend. But what happens when the next lion turns up? I think you'd better get your running shoes on, gentlemen.

So you're in a monster or horror flick, surrounded by the nasties with one or more members. There's an exit in sight, but you're sure to attract the beasts or killer soon as you make a dash for it. You may have some weapons on hand, but it's likely they won't be enough. Well, the monsters or killers do just want something to slaughter, they say live bait is always effective, and you have these wonderful pawns right next to you unawares. Hint, hint.

Essentially a deadly on-the-fly version of Got Volunteered meets The Bait and the go-to move of the Dirty Coward and Jerkass in these type of situations. Their only concern is for their own safety after all, so they would have no problem sacrificing someone else to keep their own skin alive. Devoured by the Horde or Eaten Alive usually follows in a lot of these situations. Very prevalent in monster stories, especially ones that involve a Zombie Apocalypse, though a Karmic Death for the pusher will usually shortly follow. In some cases, though, the one getting pushed had shown themselves as so unsympathetic as to deserve it (and the pusher may have justifiably been trying to kill them anyway). Keep in mind, this is when someone deliberately sacrifices and pushes another in harm's way to save themselves.

Sister Trope to Offering Another in Your Stead, which involves striking a bargain like this with a thinking entity. If the person is selfless, though, they could proclaim for the monsters to Take Me Instead and perform a Heroic Sacrifice. Not related to Fed to the Beast, which is when a villain uses this to make an example of someone by feeding them to some monster they have. Compare to Bulletproof Human Shield which is using another person to take a projectile.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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  • One Red Bull commercial features two gazelle noticing a lion creeping up on them. One of them pulls out a Red Bull, which his companion states the drink won't make them faster than the lion, to which other states, "Oh, I don't have to be quicker than the lion, just faster than you."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Blood-C: Nono does this to her own sister, Nene, during the final episode when a Elder Bairn gets loose and gives chase after them. Nono elbows Nene in the face so the monster can catch up and kill her. It does little good as Nono still gets caught herself and suffers an even more gruesome death.
  • The Island of Giant Insects: A lot of the survivors do this to hapless victims just to save themselves. Long story short, if a character is disliked, their chances of survival have dramatically dropped.
  • High School Of The Dead: When the outbreak starts up at the high school, we see two girls, apparently friends, running away from some of the zombies while holding hands. One of them gets grabbed and begs for help...and her friend callously tells her to let go and forcibly pries her hand off by kicking her in the head to let the zombies take her. Unfortunately for her, she backs right into a zombie behind her a minute later and suffers a Karmic Death.
  • One Piece: Played for Laughs in Chopper's flashback, when Hiriluk and he are chased down by angry townspeople for their "medical help", Hiriluk kicks Chopper back so they can focus on him while he gets away. Chopper later gets into a fight with Hiriluk over that, but doesn't hold a grudge over it and the two laugh it off as their first argument together.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • In one early Knights of the Dinner Table story, Bob pushes Knobby Foot the torchbearer into combat to save his own neck, much to Sara's disgust.

    Fan Works 
  • In Total Undead Drama, when Courtney, Gwen, Cody, Jo, Brock, Duncan and Sugar try to go back into the woods to try and eliminate the vampires there (with the hope of likewise saving Beth who was captured in an earlier outing), they end up splitting up with Cody and Sugar together who encounter a newly vamped Ella. Sugar pushes Cody at her after he tries and fails a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight and attempts to flee. Ella, still polite despite her undead status, just helps him up and leaves him be before flying after Sugar to talk to her about "proper manners". Plus wanting to turn Sugar personally, which she succeeds in after capturing her and bringing her back to her master's manor.
  • In The Weaver Option, a Chaos fleet advancing on Macragge knows it can't win if Taylor's pursuing fleet reaches them before the orbital defenses fall. The leader of the fleet uses a stolen Necron weapon to forcibly teleport their Dark Mechanicum auxiliaries right into the middle of Taylor's fleet. Between the delay in neutralizing the enemy and the scrap code wreaking havoc, the Chaos fleet earns itself a reprieve.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of A Bug's Life, Hopper corners Flick and Ada, Filck tells her to stay hidden. Hopper grabs Flick telling he'll return the next year with a larger swarm of grasshoppers, just then a bird peeks its head out of its nest, and Hopper asks if it's another trick. When the bird "roars," Flick makes a run towards Ada's hiding spot, while Hopper, the bigger insect, gets captured and served to the bird's hungry chicks.
  • Dinosaur: While Aladar knows that staying as a full group would keep the Carnotaur from eating anybody, Kron chooses to allow there to be stragglers under the belief that they would slow down the predators. This belief comes back to bite him when the entire herd chooses to follow Aladar in standing together and face the Carnotaur, which then runs past the herd for the lone Kron.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: During the vampire raid at the prom dance, one of Buffy's friends gets grabbed by a vampire trying to pull her through a window. Another girl rushes in to save her, only for that girl to get grabbed instead and pulled through while the girl who she saved does nothing to help her.
  • Deep Rising: Hanover and Joey are fleeing from the tentacle monsters, which are gaining on them. Joey yells that they have to slow them down; Hanover shouts back that they only way to do that is to feed them. While Joey is trying to figure out what the hell to feed them, Hanover shoots him in the leg. Despite this, he manages to escape and in fact survives to the end of the movie, while Hanover gets eaten.
  • Demon Knight: Roach forces Cordelia to join him in a run for his truck when the demons surround the hotel. When one ambushes them, he INSTANTLY shoves her towards it and runs back inside to save his own skin. Luckily Wally and Brayker manage to get her back into the hotel.
  • The Force Awakens: Han Solo throws a mook into the mouth of one of the Rathars pursuing him.
  • In Lake Placid vs. Anaconda, a group of sunbathing college girls are getting picked off and eaten by some of the giant crocodiles that are loose at the lake. When trying to figure out what to do, one girl, Tiffani, exclaims "I have an idea!" and shoves the girl next to her into an crocodile's mouth and runs away as her friend gets eaten.
  • The Mummy Returns: Baltus Hafez is running away from the zombie killer monkeys with two of his last remaining mooks when he prompty turns around and tells them they will have to give their lives so that he may escape, then continues running by himself. They stare at each other, obviously not on board with this idea, but are killed off seconds later anyway.
  • Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight II: When Zosia manages to break into the camp's main cabin, Wanessa pushes Adas at her and hightails it for the ambulance to drive back to the police station.
  • Pitch Black: Johns suggests to wanted criminal Riddick that they use teenage Jack as bait to distract the man-eating alien creatures. Riddick doesn't take this suggestion well, instead wounding Johns and leaving him for the creatures while the rest escape.
  • Snakes on a Plane: When the snakes start to overwhelm the coach section of the plane, the irritable business man throws Mercedes' chihuahua at a large anaconda to buy him time to escape. Everyone else is horrified at this. He stands still justifying what he did and the anaconda starts to eat him.

  • Popular phrase on bumper stickers, T-shirts, mugs, and the like: "If there's a Zombie Apocalypse, I'm tripping you."
  • This is called "Outrunning the Bear" in common parlance. The joke basically goes: "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you." (Hence the image there).


  • In the textbook Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind by Gazzaniga, Ivry, and Mangun, theories of how emotions are formed are illustrated with diagrams that involve the scientists who made the theory seeing a bear and their physiological and cognitive reactions. The diagram for David Anderson and Ralph Adolphs' theory has the cognitive section of the diagram saying that Anderson hopes he can run faster than Adolphs, and Adolphs hopes he can run faster than Anderson.
  • One Dave Barry column on the dangers of boating mentions Giant Squid and explains these can be fended off by keeping a supply of unpopular friends and shoving one at the squid when it attacks shouting "Here! Eat Ralph!" (the friend does not have to be named Ralph, because you are dealing with a squid).
  • Devolution: Dr Reinhardt encourages Vincent to try to go for help when the Sasquatches are right outside. They rip him to pieces and slowly torture him to death while everyone, including his wife Bobbi, are forced to listen. It's left ambiguous whether Reinhardt genuinely believed the Sasquatches were nonviolent but he refuses to own up to encouraging Vincent (and perhaps even giving him false information that he wouldn't be hurt) until Bobbi says he killed Vincent.
  • In The Lost World (1995), when Sarah Harding and Dodgson are hiding under an abandoned jeep, a few yards away from a T. rex nest, Dodgson is whispering, trying to formulate an escape, Sarah, still furious that he pushed her overboard on the boat ride over, comes up with her own plan. She pushes him out of their hiding spot, the adult T. rex notices and grabs Dodgson, and drops him in the middle of the nest. While Dodgson screams while being eaten by the rex's brood, Sarah makes a break for it.
  • In the Star Wars Legends series Fate of the Jedi, Ben Skywalker's Sith girlfriend Vestara Khai pulls this on another Jedi by the name of Natua Wan. When the three are attacked by a giant mutated insect, Vestara wounds Natua and runs off with an unconscious Ben, leaving her to die in their place. It's this action that makes Vestara believe she's not cut out to be a Jedi.
  • Taken to a government policy level in World War Z through the Redeker Plan / the South African Plan / The Chang Doctrine / The Prochnow Plan across most countries. The book focuses mainly on the US but it's noted as policy in Japan, Germany, South Africa, and South Korea, too. Since it's known that zombies are attracted to high-density clusters of people, the plan dictates that "important" people are evacuated to a relatively well-barricaded safe haven while government messaging — in the USA's case, through the media — tells the general population to go elsewhere. In America, this is achieved by encouraging people to go to the Canadian wilderness, because low temperatures freeze zombies. The zombies will then be drawn to them and a large proportion of those people (if not all of them) will die, whether from exposure or from zombie attacks, but the core government will survive.
  • Young Jedi Knights: Brought up in one of Jacen's jokes:
    "Two Gamorrean guards are walking down a narrow, deserted canyon, when suddenly a rancor comes out and starts chasing them. One of the Gamorreans stops to put on his best running shoes. 'Don't waste time,' shouts the other, 'you can't outrun a rancor with those!!' 'I don't have to outrun a rancor,' says the first one as he finishes lacing his shoes, 'I just have to outrun you!'"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When Spike and another vampire try to escape from the Initiative, Spike throws the other vampire at the soldiers so he can get away. This could be seen as an inversion since its actually the monsters running from the (mostly) good guys.
  • Dead Set: Patrick Goad does this repeatedly to show that he's irredeemable. He locks his own assistant outside of the office to be eaten, abandons his staff, and pushes a man in a wheelchair to the zombies chasing him just to slow them down. Less horrifically, but still earning the disgust of everyone, he grinds up the dead housemates' bodies to use as zombie food.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: In the Halloween Episode two-parter "Someday Your Prince Will Be in Effect", Will and Carlton are competing for the attention of a girl to bring to Hillary's Halloween party due to a bet they made to be the first to get a date for it. To convince the girl to pick him, Carlton makes up a story that has Will look like total scumbag while out on a date with another girl and Will happily pushing her into a pair of mugger when one of them threatens the two. Carlton shortly after swooping in to save her.
    Mugger: Alright punk, your money or your girlfriend.
    Will: My brother, you're making this too easy. [instantly pushes the girl into the two]
  • In the first MythBusters Zombies special, Tory, Kari and Grant tried this, though since zombies aren't real they hired dozens of extras to dress up and act like zombies. When trying test ways to distract a zombie horde, Kari pushed Tory into a wheel chair, duct-taped him into it, and pushed him onto the horde. As Tory was "eaten" by the "zombies", Kari went around the large group that surrounded Tory, zig-zagged around a few stragglers attracted to the commotion, and made it to the finish line.
  • Red Dwarf: In "Polymorph", the crew lose various aspects of their personality because of an Emotion Eater shapeshifting alien stowaway. Kryten loses all empathy, and consequently mutters behind their backs that he will sacrifice his teammates when they find the polymorph.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): In "Save the Last One", Shane and another survivor, Otis, are trying to limp away from a horde of Walkers right on them. Knowing they'll be caught if they keep going, Shane shoots Otis in the leg and leaves him at the mercy of the horde while he gets away.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced D&D Player's Handbook, the druid spell Charm Person Or Mammal. The spell description gives an example of a druid casting the spell on a character and asking them to hold back an attacking red dragon for just a minute or two to protect the druid from being killed.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, this is the reason Clan Nosferatu participates in the Camarilla and Sabbat despite their interests not aligning with either organization. They believe that the Nictuku are on the way to devour them. The more Kindred the Nosferatu surround themselves with, the more chance they have to escape while the monsters chow down on their less subtle sect-mates.
  • The aptly titled Zombies!! game has a card where this can be played to trip up fellow survivors. The third rendition, "Mall Walkers" has artwork that even depicts a man running away laughing as an unfortunate survivor is mobbed by zombies.

    Video Games 
  • Played for Laughs in LEGO Jurassic World, in the opening raptor transfer level.
    Worker 1: So, do we have a plan for what to do if the raptor gets loose?
    Worker 2: Yes, Muldoon says to get up someplace high where it can't reach you.
    Worker 1: Oh, so there's an actual plan? Great! I was just gonna push you forwards to distract it and then run.
    Worker 2: Hey!... Actually, I was... I was gonna do that to you, too.
  • In Jurassic Park: The Game, Miles Chadwick pushes his companion Nima into the path of the Dilophosaurus pack in the hopes they'll eat her and let him escape. The Dilophosaurus kill him first before rounding on Nima.
  • In Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, a cutscene shows Nikolai and an ally running from some zombies. Nikolai escapes by shooting his partner in the knee and leaving him to be Devoured by the Horde.
  • Tekken 5: In the intro cinematic, Heihachi and Kazuya are attacked by an army of JACK-4 robots and temporarily put their feud aside to deal with them. During the battle, however, Kazuya suddenly grabs Heihachi and tosses him into a crowd of robots, where they quickly surround and pin him. Kazuya uses this time to escape while the robots set off their self-destruct in an attempt to kill Heihachi, who curses Kazuya's name all the while.
  • The Walking Dead (Arcade): At one point, the protagonists spot a man hanging from a walkway over some Walkers. They rush to save him, but when the woman who's trying to pull him up has trouble doing so. He instead pulls her over the ledge and into the crowd of Walkers, then drops down and runs while they're distracted feeding on her.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Up until her death in Season 6, this had basically been South Dakota's escape tactic when running from the Meta, with two of her victims being Washington and even her own twin brother, North Dakota. She eventually tried to do it to Delta too, until Wash, Church, and Caboose caught up with her while she was in the middle of transferring him to a storage unit to leave behind for the Meta while she escapes. To say Wash and Delta were not happy about South Dakota trying to use them as human shields to save her own skin is a huge understatement.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 
  • Pirates SMP: On Day 130, while trying to track down whereabouts of an old ship they used to be on, Will and Shep are faced with a group of Hooded Figures. Shep then decides to quite literally shove Will at the Hooded Figures and run for it, causing Will to get captured and killed as a Human Sacrifice. Shep even manages to be a Karma Houdini by the finale, with no one ever finding about his involvement and him deciding to leave the Faction Isles before anyone does find out, with a partially true excuse to boot.
  • Suburban Knights: While the team is being chased by the Cloaks, Film Brain trips Luke. This scene was actually risky in real life, too — one of the many things that made this special Troubled Production was the torrents of unexpected rain, which made the dirt road muddy and slippery, and thus dangerous to run down and do pratfalls on.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: In "Dude of the Living Dead", Jonesy tries sacrificing Nikki to the zombie horde in an attempt to save himself when the group is cornered.
    Jonesy: Here, take her! She's a bigger meal!
  • Hilda: At the start of "Chapter 13", when The Black Hound has Hilda, David, Frida and a group of Marra cornered, Kelly, a Marra who had befriended Frida with the intention to make her a Marra as well, finally shows what a False Friend she truly is and pushes Frida towards the Black Hound as a distraction while she and the other Marra flee the scene. It's only thanks to Hilda distracting the Black Hound with a bag of potato chips that Frida escapes.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • In a sketch involving Scooby-Doo investigating Crystal Lake, they naturally run into Jason after the split up. When he confronts Fred and Daphne, Fred pushes Daphne into Jason for him to kill while he escapes. Scooby himself does this when Jason stabs at the barrels Shaggy and he were hiding in and manages to hit Shaggy. He tries to run, but Jason grabs his tail before he can get far.
    • The season 3 premiere involved Seth Green, who was murdered in the previous season, and several regulars of the series coming back as zombies and attacking the studios. When Co-Creator Mathew Senreich and producer and (at the time) head of Adult Swim, Mike Lazzo, get stuck at an elevator with the zombies closing in on them, Mat pushes Mike into the crowd to buy himself time for the elevator to come.
    • In the Archie Comics/Final Destination sketch, when Death personally comes after Archie, Reggie, Betty and Veronica, Veronica offers Death a large sum of money as long he spares her and kills the others. Death accepts.
  • Inverted and Played for Laughs on The Simpsons "Simpsons' Spin-off Showcase" first segment of Chief Wiggum, P.I.. The antagonist, a mafia boss named Big Daddy, kidnaps Ralph and when Wiggum finally catches up to him and he gives the allusion that he'll have to jump through hoops to get the boy back, he midway through his speech simply tosses him back to his father, jumps out the window and very slowly swims away to escape.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", while running from the Alaskan Bull Worm, SpongeBob threatens to trip Sandy and leave her to be eaten unless she admits that the worm actually is too big for her to handle.
    • Played for Laughs in "Prehibernation Week", when the townspeople of Bikini Bottom all hide under Patrick's rock to escape from Sandy and her obsessive search for SpongeBob, they likewise find SpongeBob under there (trying to hide after he finds her activities before hibernation too dangerous for his liking) and instantly throw SpongeBob out into the open for her to find him. Luckily for him, she enters into hibernation just as he confesses he doesn't like the activities she made him do.
  • Total Drama: In "Hook, Line, and Screamer" when Izzy and Owen encounter the killer, Owen screams, "Owen's too young to die! Here, take Izzy!" and pushes Izzy towards the killer. It turns out to have just been Chef in a costume, so she's fine, but still mad at Owen in the next episode.


Video Example(s):


Owen's Cowardice

Total Drama Island - Ep 19 (Hook, Line, and Screamer): The campers are put in a impromptu challenge where a "killer" stalks them and they must survive. Owen and Izzy end up separated together and are found by said killer. And, like any good horror film, one of them shows their true colors in the heat of life-threatening danger.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / PushedAtTheMonster

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