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Tiny-Headed Behemoth

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Sheesh, the dude in his hand has a bigger head than him!
"...and the hero is old hand Chris Redfield, whose tiny, dorky head on absurdly muscled body looks like someone left a Chia Pet on top of a fridge."

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, when a huge creature is shown to have a small head not proportionate to its body. If this creature is on the side of good, it will indicate that this creature is a Dumb Muscle or The Big Guy, but if it's on the side of evil, it will serve as The Dragon or The Brute to the Big Bad.

This is often used with large scary characters, because it makes them look that much bigger and intimidating (muscle-building works anywhere but the head, so they'll look even bigger by comparison). Another possible reason for this is that baby humans' heads are massively larger in proportion to their body than an adult's is, so our brains may be wired to percieve individuals with proportionately smaller heads as a tougher opponent.

Compare Top-Heavy Guy (big upper body, small from the waist down) and Gonk. The exact opposite is Waddling Head and Big Head Mode. Not to be confused with Shrunken Head.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • The Brazilian painting Abaporu by Tarsila do Amaral is notorious for the central being's oversized feet and hands and its very small head.
  • One theory about The Sphinx is that it originally had a well-proportioned head, but the face eroded away, so a new, smaller head was carved out of the existing one. Specifically, that head was most likely a lion head. If put in a computer simulation and turning time backwards, the Sphinx would have looked into the constellation "Lion" — 8000 years ago.
  • A basic principle in art is that human heads are all about the same size, and that height is best communicated by the size of the head compared to total height (about 6.5 heads for an average man), and in the pre-photography days, it was common for portraits to exaggerate the stature of the men who commissioned them by manipulating head size. George Washington was a particular abuser of this, and some of his portraits depict him as over 7 feet tall.

    Comic Books 
  • Comics in general: During The Dark Age of Comic Books this was a very common art style. Some characters were designed during this period, thus it's part of their character design, others used to have normal proportions, but Depending on the Artist got drawn this way.
  • The Asterix volume Asterix and the Roman Agent features Magnumopus, a hulking Roman legionary whose pointed head required a tiny helmet. Convulvulus, the titular agent, uses him as part of his plan to sow discord among the Gauls. He has Magnumopus sneak behind Geriatrix, knock him out with his club, and leave the helmet behind, leaving Geriatrix to believe he was felled by a tiny Roman, confirming the other Gauls' belief that the Romans have the magic potion.
  • Inverted in The Boys: The Highland Laddie miniseries shows in issue 4 the various horrible ways superpowers can backfire without Required Secondary Powers (holding your own eyes that just melted out of your head, for example), one guy is shown with a wizened, shrunken body and an enormous, angular, greenish head.
  • M.O.D.O.K. in Force Works 2020 hijacks Ultimo's body by replacing his head to become UltiM.O.D.O.K. The titular team then lampshade that he went from a giant head with a tiny body to a giant body with a tiny head.
  • Stumbo the Giant wasn't initially like this, having a proportionate, plump, big-nosed head. As time went on, though, and the character evolved — becoming a less clumsy, more clever giant who acted as a guardian to Tinytown, and growing even larger — artist Warren Kremer altered his appearance as well, giving him a smaller, baby-faced head on a very thick, long neck that emphasized his size and friendliness. Before long, Stumbo looked so little like his old character indica that it had to be changed.
  • Strong Guy of the 90s incarnation of X-Factor actually looks like this rather than a style choice of the artist. This is because his Blessed with Suck mutation causes him to add muscle mass whenever he absorbs kinetic energy, but with the side effect of putting him in incredibly pain all the time and leaving him at the point where any further absorption would kill him and indeed he suffers a fatal heart attack fighting the Hulk, when the Hulk's punches caused him to absorb energy faster than he could burn it off.

    Comic Strips 
  • Alice the Goon (and all other Goons) from Popeye. Their heads are about the same size as their shoulders (which admittedly are larger than average).
  • Thrud the Barbarian has this, fitting, since the point of the comic is to parody the Barbarian Hero genre.

    Fan Works 
  • Tiny-headed behemoths are sattou's stock in trade.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Kingpin in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a rare human example. Due to Nonstandard Character Design, his body is like a mountain of fat and muscle with shoulders that by all rights shouldn't fit anywhere with their width, yet his head is lower than his shoulders and comparatively minuscule, and he has no neck to speak of.
  • A similar human example comes in "Big" Jack Horner of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. For the largest by far of the three main antagonists (discounting the bears), his head is remarkably small, but chubby cheeked with hanging jowls to illustrate his appreciation for pies.
  • In The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, Plankton's superhero form takes this trope to its zenith — he's seriously built, but you can barely see his head in some shots.
  • In the Finale Movie of Teacher's Pet, the song "Small but Mighty" has a part where Pretty Boy morphs into a beefy giant with a disproportionately small head.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Attack of the Clones introduces the B2 Super Battle Droids, buffed-up version of the B1 droids whose head size doesn't change much. As helpfully pointed out by Reddit.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: This is the effect given off by Bruce Banner inside the Hulkbuster when he opens the helmet part, his normal-sized head poking out of the Hulk-sized machine.
  • The aliens (robots?) who come to retrieve the four elemental keystones at the start of The Fifth Element have very large hulking bodies with massive shoulders and bellies, but their heads are much smaller than a human's.
  • The Hobbit: When the dragon Smaug is airborne with his full wings spread, we see that his head is actually quite small, at least in proportion to the rest of his body (but that's still very large in human terms, since Smaug's body is supposed to be the size of a Boeing 747).
  • Mr. Hyde in the film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Also the much larger "Super-Hyde" in the film's climax.
  • Godzilla in the MonsterVerse quite noticeably has a stockier body and a proportionally smaller head than previous incarnations of the character, though somewhat Hand Waved by the more realistic take on the design to make him more bottom-heavy.
  • Pinhead in the Puppet Master series, hence the name. Not quite a behemoth at about 20 inches tall, but he has an exaggerated Top-Heavy Guy build with roughly human-sized hands, and a teeeeny tiny pointy head about the size of his thumbs, which makes his (proportionately) huge frame look all the more eerie.
  • The Goombas in the Super Mario Bros. (1993) movie were done this way. You know, the exact opposite of how they looked in the games.
  • In Ultraman Saga, Giganto-Zetton's default form have a disproportionately small head compared to its body, which towers over skyscrapers and absolutely dwarves the Ultras.

  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Mountain Troll is described as having a head that looks like a coconut perched on a boulder.
  • L. Frank Baum's The Emerald City of Oz. The Whimsies are one of the groups that conspires with the Nome King to conquer the Emerald City. They are huge, hulking humanoids who have heads that are very small for their bodies. They wear large, garishly painted masks to cover their heads.
  • In Moving Pictures, the traditional troll concept of masculine attractiveness is said to be something along the lines of a monolith with an apple perched on top.
  • In the second Animorphs book, one of Visser Three's alien morphs is an armored monster as tall as a telephone pole but with a disproportionately tiny head.
  • Ichabod Crane in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is described as quite tall (albeit quite skinny too) with a disproportionately small head.

    Live-Action TV 
  • According to the Monty Python's Flying Circus theory about the Brontosaurus, it was thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle, and then thin again at the far end.
  • The Ultra Series kaiju Red King has a disproportionately tiny skull-like head on top of a hulking body. Appropriately, the species is almost always depicted as strong but dumb and loses to Ultras easily despite being able to tear other monsters limb from limb.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Smaller wrestlers are encouraged not to make their heads look too big, especially if they have a good build otherwise. An especially small head on a larger wrestler can be distracting however, such as that of Jerry Stubbs, who had muscles on top of muscles but still couldn't be too threatening with his balding pea head. His solution was to don a mask and become Mr. Olympia.

    Puppet Shows 
  • One episode of Mr. Meaty has Josh get turned into one by a demon known as "Wedgelor", and is far from pleased about it. Josh wished that his body was big and strong, but Wedgelor only made him so below the neck; as he puts it, "You only asked for your body to be big and strong, not your head!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Some mechs look this way due to the shape of their cockpit. Perhaps the most well-known example is the Thug, an 80 ton assault mech with huge shoulders and arms but a head that's recessed into its torso to the point that it doesn't even look like it has one. It's a rather appropriate look, given the mech's name.
    • Another example in the Ursus. No, the apparent Cephalothorax isn't the head. It's the tiny dome squished at the top, barely visible between the huge eyebrow/pectoral slabs. It's so small that it suffers from the Cramped Cockpit flaw despite the 'Mech being a medium-weight and not the light or ultralight class of 'Mechs usually saddled with tight confines.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
  • Grin, The Brute of the Hell Club from The Others (2015), wears a gimp mask on his comparatively tiny head.

  • Transformers: Generation 1:
    • The Scorponok toy of is the largest Decepticon toy of its generation, and still one of the largest toys in the entire franchise, but Lord Zarak, the Headmaster who transforms into Scorponok's head, is still the same size as the ones for smaller toys, which makes his head comparatively small. However, his visored helmet mostly makes up for the discrepancy.
    • Hasbro tried to avert the issue with the 2016/2017 Titan Masters figures, new versions of the Headmasters, by adding pop-out side fins to Voyager Class figures and having the head fit inside a helmet in Leader Class Figures (so that the Titan Master figures only formed the face of the larger robot, not the entire head).
    • "Scramble City'' style toys often had this issue as well, as the toys were intended to turn into the limbs of larger robots using their heads as pegs. This meant that all Scramble City figures had small, square heads that looked quite tiny on their bodies (even though the toys themselves were already on the small side).
  • An attempt to avert Missing Part Syndrome (where a toy would become unplayable with the loss of a crucial component, such as the Headmaster partner) led to the hilariously tiny peg-head of Transformers: Energon Omega Supreme. His proper head is a riff on the popular Headmaster concept, but if you lose the little robot that becomes his proper head, you can still pop up the peg that the head would connect to. The peg head has a very simplistic structure and barely qualifies as having a face, but you'd still have something you could call a complete robot, even if the resulting replacement head was comically puny.
  • The Tiny Headed Kingdom is a line of stuffed animals with tiny heads. In this case, it's actually used to make them cuter rather than disturbing.

    Video Games 
  • The Brute from Mass Effect 3 is a husk composed of krogans and turians that has a small turian head on a spinal cord, attached to an enormous krogan body.
  • Borderlands, the Goliaths have what appear to be shrunken heads under their massive helmets. Shoot the helmet off and their skulls will spring out and wobble around freely on its elongated, rope-like spine, making headshots even harder than the tiny target would be on its own. It also royally pisses them off.
  • This detail is mentioned in regards to the Tank in Left 4 Dead. The virus that turned everyone into zombies accelerated its muscle mass to obscene proportions, forcing it to run like a gorilla since its arms were now almost as long as the body. However, its head is still the same size, and it no longer has any neck to speak of (nor even a lower jaw) because of the muscle growth.
  • The Meat Head enemy in Yakuza: Dead Souls has a ridiculously buff, armored upper body, with his only weakness being his normal-sized head and the surrounding tissue.
  • Blunderbores from Diablo II. Alchemical enhancements increased the physical muscle mass of those warriors far beyond normal proportions. Apparently they didn't bother to make their head proportional to the rest of their body.
  • BioShock Infinite: The cybernetic Handymen enemies have normal, human-sized heads on their massive, ape-proportioned bodies.
  • The Bouncers from Brütal Legend are giants with disproportionately small heads, and disproportionally large fists.
  • Each of the Weapons from Final Fantasy VII, most visible on Diamond Weapon and Ruby Weapon's battle models.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the giant robots that appear periodically in Mann Versus Machine have disproportionately small heads in comparison to their massive size.
  • A few of the Kremlings from the Donkey Kong series, especially Klubba and Kudgel from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
  • Darksiders has main character War, whose gargantuan, terrifying-looking armor covered in demon faces is offset by his teeny-tiny head set in a red hood.
  • Two of the bosses from Dusty Revenge have oversized bodies... and ridiculously small heads. Namely Kraven the tiger (thanks to his massive armor) and Kraven's muscular wolf henchman, Lykane, whose head is smaller than his fists.
  • Skeleton Krew: The One-Winged Angel form of the Final Boss, Dr. Kadaver, is a giant crab-like monster with two equally huge human limbs large enough to take up most of the boss arena, towering over your heroes, with his human-sized cranium planted on top of the monster.
  • Starcraft II:
    • Terran marines wear powered armor that weighs several hundred pounds, adds about a foot of height, and greatly increases their bulk. The hemispherical bubble helmet of the suit is framed or even overshadowed by the oversized thorax, backpack, and Shoulders of Doom; whenever the visor is raised to reveal the marine's actual human head, it looks absolutely tiny in comparison to the suit. The armors of Marauders and Firebats are even bigger and thus skew the proportions even more.
    • The Ultralisk is a giant quadrupedal war beast used by the Zerg Swarm. Its head is dwarfed by the rest of its body, especially by the great triceratops-like frill that grows behind its head and shoulders, and by four arms that end in huge curved blades.
    • The Colossus is a Protoss robot so massive and tall that it's the only ground unit in the game which can be targeted by anti-air weapons. It consists of a bulbous body, balanced on a column-shaped midsection and four stilt-like legs. It’s easy to miss the fact that its actual head is a tiny thing near the base of the bulb, with four lit-up "eyes" and some little antennae that move around like feelers.
  • Sword Of The Necromancer has a giant centipede monster as a boss... with a regular-sized human head. It's one of the freakier-looking bosses in the game.
  • Battleborn:
    • Montana is the most notable case of this in the game. He's a mountain of a man whose shoulders, arms, and hands, basically his entire upper body, is absurdly massive. His head however is comically small. This along with his equally small legs makes him what even the game itself notes as "biologically improbable".
    • Attikus is a big fat beast with a prominently large and thick neck but his head is actually comparatively small to the rest of his body.
    • El Dragón though not to an exasperatedly comical degree like Montana, has a head that's comparatively small to the rest of his body as well.
  • Operation: Matriarchy has the Heavy Experimental Golem enemies, organic Spider Tank mooks larger than vehicles, but somehow retaining their human-sized heads and shoulders.
  • The Greater Dog of Undertale looks like a Top-Heavy Guy with gigantic arms and torso, but a tiny head and legs. Subverted, because it's really a normal-sized dog in some kind of piloted armor suit, meaning that its head is normal for the body it actually has.
  • Hammer of Fable II is a rare female example. While not as extreme as others, her head is noticeably disproportionately small for her rather large build.
  • Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel has a giant, multi-limbed monster called "The Pianist", whose head is human-sized. She's one of the creepier-looking boss enemies in the game.
  • A very common style for some of the larger enemies in Dark Souls. The most obvious examples would probably be the shield giants of Anor Londo and the Iron Golem.
  • Machai monsters from Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance are gigantic purple monsters several times larger than humans, and a long neck with a human-sized head. Which bobs around when they move.
  • Khan from Paladins is a huge, heavily armored commander with a relatively small head. His Shoulders of Doom make this even more apparent.
  • Reinhardt from Overwatch has a comically tiny-looking head when he's in his Powered Armor. Out of it, he's much more normally proportioned.
  • Zig-zagged with MEC Troopers in XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Expansion Pack Enemy Within. With the non-combat Base Augments, they're the size of a normal person; when in their Mechanized Exoskeleton Cybersuits that they slot into, their heads become disproportionally tiny. Fitting the trope's description, MEC Troopers are very large and intimidating, being among XCOM's heavy-hitters thanks to their enormous primary weapons and the best tanks in the game bar none thanks to their extremely bulky armor and defensive systems.
  • Kaiser Sigma in Mega Man X3, having Sigma's small head on the massive bulky ultimate battle body.
  • Dorgo from Raging Justice a two-headed Circus Freak with a gigantic, musclebound body and both his heads (combined!) smaller than his fists.
  • Bertram, a character from a side mission in Red Dead Redemption 2, is a very tall man with a tiny head.
  • House of the Dead 4: Temperance Type-0483 is a gargantuan, morbidly obese abomination with a tiny, almost non-descriptive head which is also its weak point. Despite this and as noticed by the main characters, shooting it in the head only stun it briefly and deals no damage. They resort to drop a giant clock face into the head of the beast to finally kill it.
  • Splatoon 3 has Mr. Grizz, who is a massive, hulking bear with a teeny-tiny head.

    Web Animation 
  • Taken to ludicrous extremes in Plague of Gripes's Huge Quest animation.

    Web Comics 
  • In Schlock Mercenary Brad, originally scrawny, is decapitated in one arc and is cloned a new body. And it turns out that his genes were meant for a bodybuilder and his growth was stunted, so he's humongous but his head still looks like his old body.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, Lung's head doesn't grow as quickly as the rest of his body when his power activates, resulting in this during prolonged fights.
  • The "Hold the Fuck Up" meme is based on these making the titular request, usually with extra-shrunken heads for comedic purposes.

    Western Animation 
  • Emperor Zurg's robot army from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command have the recurring Hornets, and Beetles, a Giant Mook variant of the Hornets at least five times larger. Their heads are still roughly the same size, however.
  • In Tex Avery's King Size Canary, as the characters get bigger from drinking Jumbo-Gro plant food, their bodies become huge and bloated while their heads and limbs remain relatively small.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Bashful Buzzard", Beaky tries to wrestle what he thinks is a small lizard out from between some rocks, behind which lie the enormous body of a dragon.
    • A similar reveal is used in the earlier "Prehistoric Porky" with Porky's pet dinosaur, its terrier-sized head peeking out of a small doghouse while the rest of the body lies behind it.
    • In "Thumb Fun", Daffy Duck confronts the driver of a tiny car. When the driver steps out, however, he's a seven-foot, 300-pound thug with a tiny head hardly visible atop his broad shoulders.
  • Planet Sheen had a minor recurring character named Bobb, who was a huge muscular giant with a comically small head.
  • One episode of Mr. Meaty, "Wedgelor", involved Josh looking to bulk up and accidentally releasing the titular wedgie demon from a jar of protein powder. The demon grants him one wish, and he asks to have a big, beefy and strong body which is granted, but with emphasis on body, leaving him ridiculously disproportionate as well as disgruntled enough to fight the demon over it. Josh eventually loses his bigger body after Parker wedgies the demon.
  • The Twisted Whiskers Show: The aptly-named Tiny Head is an orange and white tabby cat with a kitten-sized head and a high-pitched voice to go with it.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Icy Nights 2", the villain has an army of Mecha-Mooks with large, hulking bodies, but tiny smart-phones for heads.

    Real Life 
  • Paul Dillett, also known as "Freakenstein" and "Jurassic Paul", was a Canadian pro bodybuilder who frequently made the top six in IFBB contests during the 1990s. Not only was he 285 pounds onstage at a height of 6 ft 2 in, but his proportions added a lot to the effect: some say that his head was a teensy bit small in proportion to the rest of him, and that this created the illusion that he was even bigger and taller than he actually was.
  • Many eunuchs castrated before puberty looked like this, with the absence of testes since childhood increasing their height (since testosterone tells the limb bones when to stop growing, which also explains these guys' Creepy Long Fingers and Creepily Long Arms) and often their weight (since testosterone increases metabolism and energy levels, which also explains the Lazy Neutered Pet trope) but limiting the growth of their skulls.
  • Sauropod dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus can reach massive proportions, but their skulls tend to be extremely tiny in comparison, especially when put up against their greatly elongated necks. Apatosaurus, for instance, is calculated to be about 70 feet long and 20 tons with a 20 foot neck, but had a skull about only 2 feet long. Similarly, the stegosaurs, like Stegosaurus itself, Kentrosaurus and Tuojiangosaurus, tended to have tiny heads, only with much shorter necks compared to their bodies. Stegosaurus for example was 20 feet long and weighed 4 tons, but had a skull only about a foot and a half in length. These disproportionate physiques are also partly responsible for the common idea that these dinosaurs were extraordinarily stupid animals.
  • Giraffes can stand up to 20 feet tall (with nearly a third of that height being neck) and weigh over a ton, but their heads are not much bigger than a horse's.
  • Ostriches, rheas and emus, whose heads are so small that a 9-ft tall, 350-lb ostrich can be blindfolded by putting a paper lunch sack over its head. The extinct elephant birds and moas were even more extreme. Just to illustrate how tiny an ostrich's head is, know this: one of an ostrich's eyes is about the same size as its entire brain.
  • Cotylorhynchus was a synapsid (mammal-ancestor) from the early Permian period which sported a small head and short neck on an enormous, barrel-shaped body. The largest known land animal of its time, the rather odd-looking creature resembled an obese iguana able to palm its own head. It belonged to the Caesidae family, and many of its similarly large, herbivorous relatives had similar proportions to varying degrees.
  • Spider monkeys have rather small heads for their size, and large hefty males can be husky enough to approach this trope.
  • Female specimens of the genus Platerodrilus, also known as the Trilobite Beetle, retain their larval form upon reaching adulthood, but grow lots of hard armor over everything except their head, which stays tiny.
  • Stink bugs of family Tessaratomidae are generally larger than other stink bugs (which themselves tend to be large by insect standards), but their heads are disproportionately small.
  • In general, an animal's head is only as large as necessary to accommodate complex organs such as the brain, eyes, mouth etc., thus (distantly) related species of the same basic morphology but vastly different sizes (for example cats vs tigers, passerine birds vs birds of prey, jumping spiders vs tarantulas) the bigger species will have a smaller head (or cephalothorax) in proportion to the rest of their body