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"'To the pain' means that the first thing you lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists, next your nose... The next thing you lose will be your left eye, followed by your right. [...] Your ears you keep, and I'll tell you why: so that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish; every babe that weeps at your approach; every woman who cries out, 'Dear God! What is that thing?' will echo in your perfect ears. That is what 'to the pain' means; it means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery, forever."
Westley, The Princess Bride

Torture. It can be slow, it can be quick, but it is always painful and, like all dastardly plans, goes so much better with a little gloating.

Don't just cut the victim; tell them about it, describe every last detail to make them squirm. You can describe things that you couldn't show on TV, and any villain who would do this you know is either irredeemably evil, totally insane, or both.

If the villain has a more clinical approach to his work, however, there is often a meta version of this trope where the audience is treated to a slow camera pan across the torture instruments, which are laid out neatly on a table. He may describe the history of his technique or the specific effects on the body. This tends to underscore how cold-blooded and Wicked Cultured he is.

Alternately, the Evil Overlord can describe to the hero just what his Death Trap does: "Every time you drop a bead of sweat on the plate below you, you will be lowered an inch towards the pit. Inside the pit is a ravenous pack of razor-toothed flying lemurs with lasers on their heads who have been trained to kill anyone with your particular blood type. You stand no chance of surviving this grisly fate, as I have just turned up the thermostat."

Expect the rule of Unspoken Plan Guarantee to apply, giving the hero an almost 100% chance of escaping the described fate.

When he doesn't, though, count on Scars are Forever.

A third variation is to have the clever assassin who has poisoned their mark describe in every small detail exactly how the poison works, while they sit calmly in their chair watching the victim squirm. Sometimes the assassin has not, in fact, poisoned the victim at all, but the description is so vivid that the victim either passes out or dies of fright. Fortunately for the victim, the assassin is often Carrying the Antidote.

The fourth and final variation is common in kung fu stories. Hitting someone in a specific way in a specific Pressure Point on his body can have any number of effects on his body, ranging from beneficial to outright fatal (though the latter is usually reserved for villains or particularly vengeful martial artists). Once the martial artist performs the technique, he will then explain, in exacting detail, what the technique does to the character in question before leaving the character to his fate. It's particularly common among Old Masters.

Historically this is Truth in Television, part of a three-step process to encourage the prisoner to be more cooperative. 'First degree' torture involved verbal threats of what you're going to do, 'second degree' was showing the prisoner the instruments of torture, while 'third degree' was actually putting said instruments and techniques to use.

See also Calling Your Attacks, Diagnosis from Dr. Badass, Just Between You and Me, Too Kinky to Torture, Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon. Very popular among characters who practice Revenge by Proxy, especially those who find Forced to Watch a bit too impractical to pull off.

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Torture Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Illness from Baccano! sums up what her prisoners are in for if they don't talk by telling them, "The boss said that I just had to do what people used to do to me!" and lifting up her dress to show them exactly what she means by that. The captives confess instantly.
  • In Black Lagoon, a neo-Nazi general tries to do this to Revy, but while all of this is going on, she just nonchalantly reloads her gun and shoots him point-blank and mid-sentence.
    Revy: Now it's my turn to talk. Here's some advice: if you can hit your target, pretty much any gun will do the trick. Now that's one to grow on. Say hi to the Fuehrer for me. [BLAM!]
  • In the Mount Natagumo arc from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Shinobu describes in detail how she plans to gouge out the Spider Demon Daughter's eyes, then cut open and disembowel her stomach.
  • Kenshiro in Fist of the North Star tends to describe the painful fates that await his opponents after hitting a fatal pressure point somewhere. He doesn't tend to drag it out too much, though. There was one reversal where his opponent performed one of Kenshiro's signature moves, Zankai Ken, on Kenshiro himself, only to fall victim to it exactly ten seconds after he finished describing it — effectively inadvertently performing this trope on himself.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Mustang vs. Envy. Mustang starts by incinerating Envy's tongue, and then his eyes.
    Mustang: Stand up, monster! Go on and regenerate yourself! You'll suffer a thousand deaths before I'm done!
  • Parodied in Full Metal Panic!, where Sousuke begins delivering a speech to Captain Harris describing how he will slowly skin him alive if any of Kaname's schoolmates are harmed. It might have had the intended effect if Kaname and Tessa weren't loudly snickering behind him and speculating that he's probably just hangry.
    Sousuke: Chidori, I'm currently attempting to intimidate the enemy. Would you please be quiet?
  • In The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Silver Mask/Hilmes tells Arslan when he corners him alone in episode 13 that he will cut off Arslan's right hand now. Then when they meet next time, he will take the left hand. And after that, if Arslan is still alive, he will take his right foot.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Haruna eventually finds out about magic during the school fighting tournament. Not only this, she finds out that her friends in the Library Research Club, Yue, Nodoka, and Konoka, have known all along and never told her (due to her incredible rumor-spreading abilities). Haruna decides to explain exactly how she thinks they should be tortured for not telling her, not just by telling them what she'll do, but by sketching said torture into manga.
  • Tsukihime loves this, as the quote wiki shows. Arc directs the quote at Shiki after he rejects her and slices her almost to death. Again. It Makes Sense in Context.

    Comic Books 
  • Chuck Dixon (who also wrote the Punisher example below) had a scene in Black Terror from Eclipse Comics. The Black Terror injects an underling with Novocaine and tells him that this will dull the chainsaw torture. In fact, the Black Terror just rubs an electric toothbrush on his back while turning on a chainsaw.
  • In Concrete: Killer Smile, our hero's assistant and friend is kidnapped and held at gunpoint by a spree killer. In the final showdown in a junkyard, Concrete reveals himself and lets the jerk know what he's up against:
    Concrete: Now listen to me carefully. This is an important moment in your life. I'm not a cop. I don't care about rules. Larry there is my best friend in the world. If you harm him, what I do to you will be far worse than dying. First I will twist off your lower legs. Just like you'd twist off a turkey drumstick. Then I'll apply tourniquets so you won't die. Then I'll remove your forearms. Two more tourniquets. Then I will scoop out your eyes with a finger. Then your tongue, and your teeth. They'll have to feed you like a baby. They'll wipe your other end if they notice your diaper is full, or you'll just sit in it. YOU WON'T EVEN BE ABLE TO KILL YOURSELF. ...I'd be out in a few years. YOU,'ll be a blind, fat doormat for another forty, fifty. Be smart. Put it down.
  • In Crossed, Emiko does this to her rapist, threatening to castrate him with a sword and then feed him his own penis. She later reveals that she had no intention of actually doing this, instead leaving him to be raped to death by the Crossed.
  • In The Invisibles, Lord Miles reads to a captured King Mob from Physical Interrogation Techniques by Richard Krousher — a genuine Real Life book — which recommends all kinds of horrible things.
    Crime Doctor: Sometimes the victim screams so much the corners of her mouth tear open. It makes a little popping noise.
  • 2011's Journey into Mystery (Gillen): Loki tells a scout from the Serpent that the scout should give Loki and Tyr the information they need because then they'll kill him quickly instead of torturing him. Loki goes into a few vague details mostly involving how "evil and cruel" his pre-reincarnation-as-a-child self was known to be, and the scout caves, gives them the info, and Tyr kills him. Tyr then angrily informs Loki that he would never have tortured the scout, since he "has no love of torture", leading to this little gem of subversion:
    Loki: And I have no knowledge of it! If he had called my bluff, I would have just hoped he was ticklish!
  • In the Russian comic book series Red Fury by Bubble Comics, The Dragon, Helga Lemke, does the Second Degree version to the heroine. Along with the phrase "With each question you answer, I'll take one instrument away" in a bad German accent.
  • Secret Six:
  • Michonne in The Walking Dead. After being captured, imprisoned, tortured, and brutally raped by the "Governor", Michonne escapes with her captured comrades. However, instead of immediately returning to their camp with the rest of the group, Michonne chooses to lag behind and exact revenge from the sociopath by, among other things, cutting his arm off and scooping his eye out with a spoon, complete with a "to the pain" speech.
    Michonne: I'm — I'm not crying for me. I'm crying for you. I think about all the things I'm going to do to you and it makes me cry. It scares me.

    Fan Works 
  • A Darker Path: Taylor silences Madison by hitting her in the diaphragm (with a plastic fork) in just the right way to inhibit her breathing without entirely stopping it, then chats to her at length about what has just happened to her and what will happen if Madison doesn't step up. Madison, meanwhile, is speechless and struggling for every breath.
    "You'll live," I told her, then ate some of the faux potatoes. "I didn't hit you hard enough to paralyse your diaphragm all the way, just partially. Though I could have, if I really wanted to. You could be sitting there, suffocating in front of everyone, with nobody the wiser. I could finish this meal, get up and walk out, and you'd die in the middle of a crowded room. The same way you shoved me into my locker in the middle of a crowded hallway. I suppose that's irony for you."
  • Deus Ex Equine Revengeance: A rare protagonist example. Rainbow Dash gets information out of a guy by describing to him in meticulous detail what she'll do if he doesn't talk.
    "First, I'll cut off the stuff you don't need. One at a time. I'll start with your ear. Then I'll pop out one of your eyes. Maybe the other eye too. Or maybe not. If that doesn't loosen your tongue, I'll cut off your balls, one at a time. Then I'll cut your dick off and force you to eat it. After that, I'll start skinning your flanks. Cut off your cutie mark. Then I'll start cutting strips of meat off your hind legs. Tiny strips. Not enough to let you bleed out, but enough to cause you a shit ton of pain. And that cyberbrain of yours? I can sync it with mine and keep your blood sugar and adrenaline levels regulated to where you can't pass out from pain. But you can avoid that. All you have to do is tell me who. Murdered. My. Family."
  • A Growing Affection: The Nine-tails describes what she would like to do to Naruto.
    "If I could, I would burn your limbs off, centimeter by centimeter. And then I would eat your organs one at a time, until you were begging for death. And once you did, I would let your body regenerate, and start the process over from scratch."
  • Hivefled: Gamzee tells Equius he will "tear your MOTHERFUCKING HORN out of your MOTHERFUCKING SKULL and SHOVE IT up your MOTHERFUCKING SEEDFLAP". Gamzee was on the receiving end of one in the prequel;
    "How many teeth do trolls have?"
    "Twenty-eight, as I recall."
    "Well, now he has twenty-seven, and I have that many more to do."
  • The Immortal Game: It's a subtle example, but Discord's threat to Titan during their confrontation qualifies:
    "I'm going to make you feel, old friend. I'm going to make you feel everything."
  • In The Meaning of Fear, Harry Potter starts his interrogation of a Death Eater (Snape) by showing wordlessly showing off a bunch of used tools and butcher knives. He goes on to state that while there more bones in the feet than the hands, he finds that for someone like Snape, the hands are a greater threat and it's easier to target a single bone at a time.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Dr. Wily likes to do this.
    • In episode 1, Wily described the reprogramming process to Rock and Roll in detail, terrifying them even more.
    • In the episode 10 epilogue, Wily describes the torturing program in excruciating detail.
  • Mistakes:
    "And I want you to know, if I ever find out you were lying to me just now, I will kill you. I won't ask if you understand me, because I know you do. I mean this. I will bring your final death, I will dye the straits between us with your blood, and I will ensure nothing ever grows or breathes upon your land again."
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: After Ramsay Bolton returns as a Slaaneshi champion, he mocks the Wolf, taunting him that there's no torture he could apply that Slaanesh hasn't already done to him. The Wolf agrees, and instead calmly tells Ramsay about the sensory deprivation he'll inflict on him. As Slaaneshi are Sense Freaks, doing that would indeed be a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Ironically, a mild-mannered doctor of all people doing this in the fic Mortality to a criminal while torturing him for information on his friend's whereabouts this boast could possibly qualify. It's also cold, passionate, and scary. Basically, if you really piss him off by messing with his friend, this gentle soul will be down-right pissed-and cold. Probably to the point of KILLING you.
    If your masters actions destroy him whom I regard as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down, to a man, everyone who played a part in his destruction.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja the mad torturer Wabisuke gives Kakashi a brief sample of his Inner Suicide Jutsu before stopping to explain how it works (it's an inverted healing technique which causes the muscles to strain against each other until they rip themselves apart). As part of his Faux Affably Evil schtick he partly seems to think Kakashi will genuinely be interested in how it works, but is more concerned with making sure Kakashi understands what Naruto will be going through in his place as Wabisuke uses it on him instead.
    Wabisuke: Let me explain it in a bit of detail; you may find this interesting.
  • In Shining Armor's side story of the Pony POV Series, Makarov goes on a long spiel about what he's going to do to Shining if he catches him alive. He ends up actually giving a summation of what he said, it's that long.
  • Miraculous Ladybug fic So you time travel to the future and your classmate gets punched... has a purely verbal variant in which Future!Chloe takes great pleasure in spelling out to her time-traveling classmates just how thoroughly they've screwed themselves over by trusting Lila over Marinette. None of them are in any position to avert or avoid their impending Laser-Guided Karma, enabling her to let them know precisely what's in store for each of them.
  • Marteau in Star Wars Episode I: The Familiar of Zero makes very clear what horrible things he's going to do to the students in general and Guiche in particular after a particularly cruel prank on Louise, stating that by the time he's through, parents will threaten their children with being sent to him if they misbehave.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic Still Alive Jen is asked to take on her (somewhat legendary) old alias, Melinda Joyce's persona to exact information from Werner Reinhardt/Daniel Whitehall. Her performance is flawless and it's left ambiguous whether she would be capable of the things she described to him. Going by her behavior towards HYDRA agents, she probably would.
  • DC in the Tamers Forever Series manages to invert this trope. When Daemon threatens to kill him, DC casually calls the monster's bluff, saying that he knows that Daemon won't kill him until he's extracted every last scream of agony, because he knows that deep down, Daemon is a slave to his own hatred. Managing to turn this trope into a Hannibal Lecture.
  • In This Bites!, before carving into Cross, mad scientist Chopper explains exactly what he's going to do.
    • Cross lists off his ideas on how he'll torture Spandam to the man. It's enough to impress the wardens of Impel Down, and leaves Sadi giddily taking notes!

    Film — Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Abis Mal, a low-level jobber against Aladdin, finds Genie Jafar. Jafar decides to use this chance to attempt to get his revenge on Aladdin and the rest of Agrabah. Abis Mal points out that he is the owner of the lamp, which makes him the master and in charge. This starts an argument, which ends in Jafar threatening Abis Mal, and Abis Mal correctly pointing out one of the main rules binding a genie: genies can't kill anyone, wish or not. Jafar then demonstrates that while he can't kill anyone, he can be as creative as he wants in fulfilling the terms of a person's wish, and the things that a person can technically live through are horrifying indeed. After enduring this (literal) song and dance, Abis Mal decides to let Jafar run the show for the rest of the movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Arsenic and Old Lace: Before the insane Serial Killer Jonathan Brewster starts doing the 'Melbourne Method' to his sane brother Mortimer, there is a long lingering shot of him opening a doctor's case full of sharp instruments and pulling one out while describing how much he's going to like doing this.
  • The Avengers (2012): As a corrupt Russian general is interrogating Natasha Romanov or so he thinks, he tells her she will have to tell her Mafia contact he won't be needed. Then, he picks up a pair of pliers and says, "You might have to write it down."
  • Near the end of Cloak & Dagger (1984), Rice calmly tells Davey (an eleven-year-old boy, mind you), that he plans to use the Uzi submachine gun he's carrying to blow Davey's kneecaps off, then shoot Davey in the stomach, then watch Davey bleed out slowly. And it's pretty obvious that Rice means every word of it. Luckily, Davey finally hits his Rage-Breaking Point and puts a bullet through Rice's heart.
  • In an odd reversal, Commando has Arnold Schwarzenegger's action hero character tell the sadistic Big Bad just how much slower and more satisfying it would be if the Big Bad didn't shoot Arnold where he stood and they settled matters with a knife fight instead...
  • The Dark Crystal: Not content to simply drain the life essence from the Podlings, skekTek the Scientist is fond of explaining the process.
  • Django Unchained. After being forced to give himself up at the end of the first shootout in Candyland, Django is told in great detail by Stephen about how he'll be sent off to the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company, worked to death "turning big rocks into little rocks", and eventually killed and "thrown down the nigger hole" once his back gives out. Throughout all of this, Stephen is blood-freezingly calm about how, for Candie's death, Django will suffer to his last breath.
  • A variation occurs in Dune (1984). Reverend Mother Mohiam has the Gom Jabarr at Paul's neck and his hand inside a box that causes excruciating pain. If he pulls his hand out of the box, the Gom Jabarr will kill him. Reverend Mother Mohiam recites the effects of the box on Paul's hand—for Exposition, surely, but also to make the torture a little worse (as Paul has a difficult time maintaining his internal "anti-fear" mantra, and Mohiam knows it):
    "You will itching. There. Now, the itching becomes....burning. Heat....upon heat....upon heat....You feel flesh....crisping. Flesh....dropping off...."
  • The Evil That Men Do opens with Dr. Clement Molloch lecturing a group of army officers on the science of torture.
  • Hard Candy. Hayley spends a ton of time leading up to the castration but she really only fakes it as a Mind Screw to make him off himself.
  • James Bond:
    • You Only Live Twice: When SPECTRE Number 11 has James Bond tied to a chair in her cabin, she pulls open a drawer to display a set of cutting utensils, including a dermatologist's dermatome. She takes out the dermatome and threatens to use it on Bond unless he talks.
    • Licence to Kill: When Franz Sanchez realizes that Bond has been manipulating him, he puts him on a conveyor belt leading to a cocaine grinder.
      Sanchez: When you're up to your ankles, you're going to beg to tell me everything. When you're up to your knees, you'll kiss my ass to kill you!
    • Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies shows off his antique chakra torture tools to Bond and Lin, with the intent of having them used on them.
      Carver: According to Eastern philosophy, the body has seven different chakra points. The Energy centers, like the heart, or genitals. The purpose of these implements is to probe those organs, inflicting the maximum amount of pain whilst keeping the victim alive for as long as possible."
    • Spectre: Franz Oberhauser aka Ernst Stavro Blofeld tortures Bond by drilling holes into various parts of his brain while explaining what effect this is having on him throughout. It doesn't actually faze Bond himself that much, because he's, well, James Bond, but it greatly disturbs Madeleine Swann, especially when he threatens to take away Bond's ability to recognize faces.
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash. Terry is being held prisoner in a basement full of storefront dummies, on which the villains demonstrate various woodworking tools, with the implication that they'll be used on her next.
  • Kill Bill has an interesting subversion: Bill tells the Bride of Pai Mei's Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique but doesn't use it himself because Pai Mei never taught him the technique. The Bride ultimately learns the technique and uses it on him at the very end of the saga.
  • Law Abiding Citizen: The death of Darby, as Clyde has built himself a complete Torture Technician setup. Perfectly true to the script, he indeed starts with the right ankle.
    Clyde: *raises a hardware store razor knife* Now this is for your penis, but we'll get to that later. *raises scalpel* The scalpel. For your eyelids, in case you insist on fucking shutting them. You see, I know what it feels like to be helpless, just like when I watched you slaughter my whole family. You can't fight fate, right, Darby? OH! And look! And I made this especially for you. *lowers a mirrored ceiling*
  • In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Timothy threatens to blind Charly Baltimore's daughter and shoot out her knees if she doesn't co-operate with his demands. It's made Harsher in Hindsight by the fact that he's her father, which is revealed later to the audience and Timothy at the same time. Not that he cares.
  • The meta version occurs in The Matrix. At the start of Morpheus' interrogation, we're given a brief pan across gleaming stainless steel surgical instruments and vials of drugs.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). When his Electric Torture device shorts out temporarily, Rudi uses the interruption to show Napoleon Solo a photo album of his victims in the Nazi concentration camps, as well as a blank page which is resolved for Solo himself. Except his photos will be in color!
  • The punishment the principal describes in Max Keeble's Big Move.
  • Played for laughs in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with the minstrels describing all the things that Sir Robin does not fear. Later in the film, it's given a hilarious inversion when Sir Galahad is told that a sister at a local abbey has wronged him. In order to make her pay, he must spank her. Then spank her sister. Then spank every nun in the entire abbey. Then the oral sex...
  • Captain Vidal's speech from Pan's Labyrinth oddly combines this trope with Take Our Word for It, as he only shows the torture implements, and gives us almost no clue what he's going to do with them. In accordance with the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, the victim does not escape. At least, the first victim doesn't.
  • In Perfume, Antoine Richis loses his beloved daughter to Serial Killer Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. When Grenouille is finally brought to justice, Richis delivers a terrifying speech about what awaits him in the way that only Alan Rickman can.
    Richis: Remember this... I'll be looking at you when you're laid on the cross and the twelve blows are crashing down on your limbs. When the crowd is finally tired of your screams and wandered home, I will climb up through your blood and sit beside you. I will look deep into your eyes... and drop by drop I will trickle my disgust into them like burning acid until... finally... you perish.
  • The Princess Bride: Along with the novel, the trope namer. When Humperdinck challenges Westley to fight "to the death", Westley instead suggests that they fight "to the pain", and explains in excruciating detail how he intends to maim Humperdinck. In this case it's a bluff as he can barely summon the strength to stand, let alone follow through with the threats.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Marsellus Wallace intends to do this to Zed for raping him at the pawnshop. That shotgun blast to his nuts is just the beginning.
    Marsellus Wallace: I'm gonna call a couple of hard, pipe-hitting niggas to go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talking, hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'ma get medieval on your ass.
  • Subverted inThe Punisher (2004). Frank Castle interrogates low-level mob gofer Mickey Duka by making a show of turning on an oxy-acetylene torch and going behind the mook to burn his back, explaining to him that "You won't feel the pain at first, you'll just feel... Cold." He pretends to start burning off his skin as he asks questions, all the while he's just pointing the torch at a raw steak and touching his victim's skin with a popsicle to simulate being burned. Mickey talks. This scene was taken verbatim from The Punisher War Zone comic storyline where Castle infiltrates the Carbone crime family. Using this Mind Screw is described in the SM-How-to book "Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns" as a safe way to simulate a branding scene.
  • Red (2010). The Badass Crew are threatening an Arms Dealer.
    Frank: [admiring blowtorch] Oh yeah. Where did you get this?
    Martin: Home Depot, ten bucks. [sorting through briefcase] You want nuts? [pliers] ...nipples? [tinsnips] ...potty trainer?
  • Mr. Blonde of Reservoir Dogs fame goes to great lengths to explain how he is going to torture the gang's hostage, who is a cop. He starts with the ear. The reason?
    Mr. Blonde: It's amusing to me, to torture a cop.
  • Jabba's description (via C3PO) of being digested by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi.
    Jabba: In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.
  • At the end of The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood, Robin threatens Lady Sallyforth with the infliction of agony from every device in her Torture Cellar unless she releases Marian.
  • The Shawshank Redemption has a very interesting variation of this trope when Andy threatens to quit working for Warden Norton after Tommy is killed.
    Warden Norton: Nothing stops. Nothing... or you will do the hardest time there is. No more protection from the guards. I'll pull you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the Sodomites. You'll think you've been fucked by a train! And the library? Gone... sealed off, brick-by-brick. We'll have us a little book barbecue in the yard. They'll see the flames for miles. We'll dance around it like wild Injuns! You understand me? Catching my drift?..... Or am I being obtuse?
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan traps our heroes in a space station cave inside a dead asteroid and disables their ability to beam out. He then gloats about how he's done far worse than kill him. "I've hurt you, and I intend to go on hurting you." It culminates in infamy.
    • Khan's describing what the Ceti Eel does to Terrel and Chekov.
  • In Taken, Liam Neeson's character stabs a baddie in the legs with a pair of heavy-duty nails and hooks him up to the frayed wires of a light switch. He then explains how in other countries, this method he's about to employ isn't always successful because of the lack of reliable current, but here that's not a problem and he could theoretically leave it on until the electricity is cut by the power station for lack of payment. Should have given the daughter back...
  • In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, an old man threatens the eponymous duo for the... eponymous pick. "I will cut out your eyes, and I will cut out your balls, and I will put your eyes in your ball sack, and I will put your balls in your eye holes!!" Too bad he can hardly move; when JB and KG realize that they could out-run him, they easily escape.
  • Troy. Achilles interrupts Hector's attempt to make an honorable pact and assure that the loser of their duel will have their body treated respectfully and all the funeral rituals performed with this:
    Achilles: You won't have eyes tonight. You won't have ears or a tongue. You will wander the underworld blind, deaf and dumb, and all the dead will know; this is Hector. The fool who thought he killed Achilles.
  • In True Lies, we're given a brief pan across gleaming stainless steel surgical instruments and vials of drugs but this serves as a Chekhov's Gun, notably the Patterson trocar Arnie uses to kill the guard while using the torturer as a Human Shield.
  • In 2 Fast 2 Furious, Carter Verone (the drug lord and film's Big Bad) lures Whitworth (a corrupt Miami PD detective) away from his party and tortures him using a rat, a metal pail and a blowtorchnote  until he agrees to give Brian O'Conner and Roman Pierce a window to deliver Verone's package for him; he then warns Whitworth that if he fails, his rat will visit his entire family as well.
  • In Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, the villain extracts information from two officers by threatening each with a superheated needle to the eye, casually describing what will happen when he does. His description alone (along with the fact that two are lovers) convinces them to tell him what he wants to know. This doesn't stop the villain from killing them anyway...
  • The meta version is shown in X-Men: First Class. Young Erik Lehnsherr meets Dr. Klaus Schmidt in his wood-paneled office filled with books and antiques, then a reverse shot reveals the opposite wall is made of glass, leading into a white-painted surgery lined with sinister instruments. Unfortunately, Erik's powers aren't controlled enough to use these as actual weapons; they all get thrown harmlessly against the glass.

  • In 1984, the villain describes to Winston in excruciating detail what the rats will do to his face. This one is noteworthy since the whole point is to completely break the victim by exposing them to their worst fear, rather than actually harming them. The threat is made credible by the great deal of Cold-Blooded Torture inflicted on Winston earlier, and because "worst fear" is Not Hyperbole; Winston is absolutely terrified of rats.
  • Arkadeil from The Acts of Caine does this to teach apprentices while demonstrating exactly what he's saying. in His matter-of-fact, scholarly manner arguably makes him far creepier than many who take sadistic joy in it.
  • In Animorphs, the majority of The Illusion is spent describing Tobias' mental, emotional, and physical torture.
  • In Carrera's Legions, newly captured prisoners that are brought to Fernandez for interrogation aboard the Legion's torture ship are given a guided tour of the various rooms, with explicit descriptions on tortures carried out in each room. Many of those brought in who say they won't talk under any circumstances don't need more than taking the tour to make them change their mind and decide to cooperate. One tour shown to the reader doesn't even finish before the previously defiant prisoner decides to spill what he knows.
  • In the Corum novels, by Michael Moorcock, Glanydeth-A-Krae describes how he's going to systematically lop off all of Corum's extremities. He does manage to get a hand and an eye before he's stopped.
  • In Deliver Us From Evil (the name being a reference to Psalm 23 and not this trope), Wicked Cultured Faux Affably Evil Big Bad Evan Waller, a.k.a. ex-KGB Ukrainian expatriate Fedir Kuchin, is very fond of telling people the details of the many ways he has of torturing his opponents or even his own subordinates, should he find they were attempting to betray or even skim him out of his profits.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • One of Harry's biggest vices is his wrath. Strike the right buttons and it results in some of Harry Dresden's darker moments, falling into this category.
      • When he went berserk after some ghouls killed Warden trainees, his torture was so gruesome that the other Wardens talked him down.
      • When Mavra threatens one of Harry's friends, he fetches the item she asks for in return for the evidence impugning said friend. He then tells her that if she ever tries it again, he's going to take up the powers of dark gods and come after her personally. She hasn't been back. To clarify: Harry was going to 1. Make a deal with Queen Mab to be her personal mindslave, 2. Allow himself to be possessed by a True Demon, 3. Perform a ritual that allows him to BECOME a dark god, 4. Make a deal with Crowley the Demon, and 5. Use the knowledge of Necromancy he memorized, against the undead Mavra. All at once.
    • Given how long Wizard and supernatural beings' lifespans are, this is actually a really credible threat when one pisses off a young wizard who comes back years later searching for vengeance.
    • Unable to kill him, Margaret LeFay Dresden mystically neutered the White King with her death curse so he couldn't restock his magical energy. When you're semi-immortal and have made a lot of enemies, that's about as bad as it gets.
    • Quintus Cassius when he captures Harry. He believes Harry has on his body a Coin carrying the soul of a Fallen Angel and wants it back. He muses how others who have these coins have hidden their Coin deep in their bodies to prevent being separated from it, so he best be thorough in his search.
    • The Naagloshi feeds off this. Literally. The semi-divine fallen messengers gain power from those who fear them. Aided by Intellectus, the power to know anything within a certain topic, the naagloshi will know what it can do to torment the person before it. It doesn't know the why the action causes so much pain and honestly doesn't care.
  • In Dan Abnett's Xenos (part of the Eisenhorn trilogy), Eisenhorn is captured and tortured by a Chaos cult. They demonstrate the techniques with their threats, including the promise he will never smile again — and the damage to his nerves is so extensive that he never will. Near the end of the same book, Cherubael threatens to, amongst other things, break every bone in Eisenhorn and Bequin’s bodies if they don’t hand over a MacGuffin.
  • In the third book of the Empire trilogy, a man is desperately seeking an antidote for his poisoned wife. So he sits down and spends an hour describing to the man who created the poison exactly what will happen if he doesn't hand over the antidote. The man breaks.
  • Fate/strange fake: Jester Karture tells Sigma he plans to render him unable to die, then slowly chop him apart and feed him to chickens.
  • In The First Law this is standard operating procedure among protagonist Inquisitor Gloka and other members of the Inquisition.
  • In the "Arrows" trilogy (the first Heralds of Valdemar books by publication order) Herald Talia is tortured by someone who loves doing this. Fortunately a kind of Narrative Profanity Filter is employed, so we don't really hear it or see what happens — nor see what kind of shape Talia is in afterward.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    "You barbarians! I'll sue the council for every penny it's got! I'll have you hung, drawn, and quartered! And whipped! And boiled...until...until...until you've had enough. And then I will do it again! And when I've finished I will take all the little bits, and I will JUMP on them! And I will carry on jumping on them until I get blisters, or I can think of anything even more unpleasant to do..."
    —Arthur Philip Dent, after his house is demolished.
  • Journey to Chaos: To convince Gruffle to surrender quietly, Fairtheora describes a scenario where he dismembers the troll and then sticks the rest into his stew "while you are still alive and bleeding".
  • The Murderbot Diaries: Murderbot does this by implication to break up an incident on a transport ship:
    "If you bother her again I will break every individual bone in your hand and arm. It will take about an hour."
  • In The Nine Lives Of Catseye Gomez, a talking cat threatens another with this trope, promising to rip away eight-and-a-half out of nine lives and leave the other blind, crippled, and dragging itself across the floor. Faced with that prospect, the other confesses to the murder it'd arranged rather than get torn to shreds.
  • [[The Oregon Files: In Skeleton Coast, this is used on a captured ecoterrorist while interrogating her. The interrogator in question, Linda Ross, calmly and coldly describes how she intends to painfully and methodically torture the terrified captive until the woman either dies or gives up the information she wants. Much like the Princess Bride, however, it was intended as a bluff, and one that works; her prisoner sings like a canary barely five seconds after Linda leaves the room. However, it should be noted that Linda took no pleasure in doing this to the woman, ecoterrorist or not, but the situation was too dire to utilize more humane methods of extracting information.
  • In Pact, one of the major antagonists is an Anthropomorphic Personification of Conquest. Not of War, which is conflict and may have rules, nor change by victory, which would be the province of an incarnation of Liberty, Conquest, meaning brutal subjugation of the defeated. And he loves to talk about what he does to his victims before he does it.
    This is the first step on a journey. At the end of these journeys, I have turned men into beasts, groveling for my favor, debasing himself for my mercy. You are fortunate, in a way, because you are an admitted novice, of limited use. I will use you up for the little knowledge you have, and then I will kill you once that knowledge is exhausted.
  • In The Princess Bride, Count Rugen doesn't merely stop at explaining the workings of his agonizing torture device to the hero but tries to draw out some scholarly conversation about its effects. "Remember, this is for posterity, so... be honest." The hero seems to pick this up, for in the "To the Pain" monologue near the end of the movie that gives the trope its name, he describes in excruciating detail how he is going to dismember the villain and make him suffer if he doesn't surrender. Although providing the Trope name, this is a subversion — the Hero was clearly bluffing the villain with this speech, as he was in no condition to actually beat the villain. He was counting on the guy being such a coward that he'd surrender rather than risk the threat he was describing, and as it turned out, he was.
  • In Sahara, Al Giordino pulls this on the villain's main henchman, after which the henchman is describing as looking "on the verge of a nervous breakdown." We don't get to read the actual exchange though, only the "mention" afterward.
    Al Giordino: I spent the time describing in vivid detail how I was going to dismember him millimetre by millimetre.
    Dirk Pitt: That's all?
    Al Giordino: He has a great imagination.
  • Discussed in the second novel of Seekers of the Sky duology. Ilmar admits that he spilled the beans before the monks even started torturing him for information, while they were still showing him their tools.
  • At the end of Shogun, Toranaga buries Ishido up to his neck and invites passersby to saw away at his neck with a bamboo saw. He lasts three days, and dies "very old."
  • Combined with I Call Her "Vera" in A Song of Ice and Fire. When Davos Seaworth is held in the Wolf's Den he's treated well, but the turnkey makes a point of showing him the Whore — an iron rod that when heated is used scorching off the testicles, and Lady Lu — a huge axe for cutting off the head and hands, hopefully in that order.
  • During the climactic confrontation with the villain in The Three Hostages, Mary Hannay describes what she's going to do to him if he doesn't release the final hostage, a young child, in detail and with such terrifying conviction that he folds completely.
  • Very Bad Deaths, by Spider Robinson, has some horrific deaths described in this manner. This is a case of the book being 'exactly what it says on the tin'. This is compounded by the rather nice first half of the story.
  • Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold:
  • In The Wheel of Time:
    • While interrogating some prisoners, the thief-catcher Juilin ghoulishly gloats that We Have Ways of Making You Talk, then calls for rope, gags, cooking oil, and salt with sinister enthusiasm. Subverted when he doesn't tell the prisoners or his squeamish companions what he plans to do with them, because he doesn't know a thing about torture, and his plan is to bluff the prisoners into talking.
    • Perrin pairs this with a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to break an Aiel who supposedly can't be tortured. Chopping off a hand for emphasis and describing how the captive will be left, limbless and helpless, in the nearest village for people to gawk at and pity if he doesn't answer every question breaks him faster than any amount of pain could do.
  • In The Witches by Roald Dahl, there is a scene where one character describes kicking another, "til his own mother doesn't recognise him."
  • Parodied in Wyrd Sisters, where Nanny Ogg is Too Kinky to Torture.
    Nanny Ogg What's that?
    Duke Ah! That is my Iron Maiden. Well may you tremble, for -
    Nanny Ogg Can I have a go in it?
    Duke Your pleas fall on deaf - Wait, what?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alias:
    • In the first episode, a Hong Kong baddie shows Sidney the tools he's going to use to pull her teeth out if she doesn't talk. Her response? "Start with the ones in the back."
    • Done by McKenas Cole (played by Quentin Tarantino) after he & his mooks have invaded SD-6 on behalf of "The Man." He talks to Arvin, trying to get him to open the vault in order to get a MacGuffin. It doesn't work.
  • Faith torturing Wesley in the Angel episode "Five by Five".
    Faith: "We've only done one of the five basic torture groups. We've done blunt, but that still leaves sharp, hot, cold, and loud."
  • In Babylon 5, Londo visits his old enemy after he is captured on Centauri Prime. He tells G'Kar the details of his coming torture-execution, basically vivisection for the entertainment of an audience. When G'Kar basically accuses him of gloating, Londo admits, reluctantly at first, that even at their worst hatred, he would not have wished this on G'Kar. Londo is rather fond of this trope. See the "Poison" section below.
    • This isn't the first time G'Kar has faced something like that. In the first season, an old enemy of his arranged for G'Kar to be assassinated painfully after his own death. The instructions were that G'Kar would "know pain and know fear and, at the appointed hour, would die." Fortunately, G'Kar, with the help of his aide, was able to turn the tables in his favor.
  • The over-the-top torture machine devised by the Hawk in the final episode of The Black Adder is explained in great detail. ("And then these feathers will tickle you under what's left of your arms, which is the amusing part.") Notable because Edmund isn't rescued until after it's activated (off-screen, obviously).
  • A variant in The Borgias, when King Charles of France invades and conquers Naples, he forces Prince Alphonso to take him on a tour of his father’s famed torture chamber and explain in detail how every implement works before subjecting him to them.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Marcie the insane invisible girl whips a sheet off a tray of surgical instruments, then describes how she intends to give Cordelia a Glasgow Grin.
  • This is the primary tactic used for interrogation scenes in Burn Notice. Michael explains that actual pain leads the subject to try and give them anything (often false information) just to get them to stop. Mind Screw-type interrogation has a higher chance of getting accurate information because the subject is so flustered they can't think up plausible fake-information. One time Mama Westen got a guy to talk by just acting like herself and offering him his "last cigarette" because of what Sam and Fiona supposedly had in store for him.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor is generally a wonderful friend and brilliant scientist. When he confronts an enemy, he tends to give them a chance to surrender peacefully. When forced into conflict, he will usually find a brilliant way to end the threat in one swift action. When an enemy comes at him through his friends he is known to display a nasty side...
    I want you to give the order to run away. Those words. "Run away." I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Run-Away. I want children laughing outside your door 'cos they've found the house of Colonel Run-Away. And when people come to you and ask you if trying to get to me through the people I love is in any way a good idea... I want you to tell them your name.
  • Firefly:
    • In "Serenity", Jayne Cobb was preparing to torture Dobson for information, telling him "I'm just gonna cut on ya, till ya tell me what they [the Alliance] know." Dobson told him they knew everything, way too quickly; Jayne determined they didn't know a damn thing and was visibly disappointed at not needing to actually torture him.
    Jayne: I was gonna get me an ear, too.
    • In "Objects in Space", Kaylee is terrified into submission by the bounty hunter Jubal Early. He simply asks her if she's ever been raped.
  • The rat method is used in Game of Thrones. The rat is placed in the pail, which is strapped to the interrogatee's chest. Then you hold the torch under the pail, which makes the rat rather ... anxious to get out. The process is carefully explained, just in case there's any misunderstanding on the prisoner's part as to what's going to happen.
  • A Master Swordsman in Get Smart tells Max exactly how he is going to cut him up, ending with "I will cut the shirt from your back... and the trousers from your skinny little legs." Unfortunately for the bad guy, Max is so offended by the insult to his legs that he kills him instantly.
  • Sue Sylvester to Scheuster on Glee.
    Sue: "Schuester! I'll need to see that set list for Sectionals after all. I want it on my desk warm from the laminator at 5:00 P.M., and if it is one minute late, I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then, on some dark, cold night I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face."
  • From Lost, in "Whatever The Case May", four episodes after Jack and Sayid have actually tortured Sawyer, Jack uses To The Pain to get Sawyer to give him the briefcase of guns:
    Jack: That's the antibiotic I've been giving you for the knife wound in your arm. You're right in the middle of the treatment cycle now, if I keep giving you the pills you're going to be right as rain. But I'm going to stop giving you the pills. And for two days you're going to think you're all good, then it's going to start to itch. The day after that the fever's going to come and you're going to start seeing red lines running up and down your arm. A day or two after that you'll beg me to take the case, just to cut off your arm.
  • In The Mighty Boosh, a psycho in prison does this to Howard: "I'm gonna cut you up. I'm gonna slice you to shreds... I'm gonna slice your nose off, and throw it at a vicar..." In a possible subversion, Howard teaches him to talk about nice things (e.g. flying a kite on a sunny day), and this terrifies the psycho's next victim even more.
  • Missing (2012): Rebecca Winstone does this to Violet to get her to tell where Rebecca's son is. The good news is that the torture will not kill her. The bad news is that the torture will make her wish it did. Rebecca got the information, feels terrible about it, and it's not stated just how far along she got in the torture before she got the information.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: In "Petra's Favorite Pen" Raelle threatens the torturer with the witch bomb, explicitly describing how it kills people in a slow, extremely painful manner, enough so he gets intimidated into releasing Scylla.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Mr Pendrick gets tortured in season 6 premiere when an American secret agent wants to find out how to control a prototype of his Aero which they have stolen. His tormentor gleefully talks about how he knows that Mr Pendrick once dislocated his shoulder and how that type of injury never quite recovers.
  • Person of Interest: John did this by telling Quinn what he usually doesn't do.
  • Basically the premise of Mystery Science Theater 3000: the Mads are attempting to find the Worst Movie Ever Made, one that is so painful to watch that it will completely shatter the will of anyone who watches it, allowing the Mads to use it to Take Over the World. It never works, of course, but there are some films that come close to breaking the crew of the Satellite of Love.
    John: You do what you say. So do I. I'm not gonna threaten to kill you. I'm going to kill you... whether you tell me or not. No bargaining. In three minutes... you're dead. I've killed many people. Never bothered me much. That's why I was good at it. I didn't like them suffering, though. Took me years to figure out how to do it quickly, painlessly. But if you don't tell me, I'm gonna forget all that, understand? And I'll make the last three minute of your life last forever.
  • In Prison Break, when Alex Mahone finally gets his revenge on Wyatt for killing his son, he describes pretty clearly just what will happen to him. Starting with a needle pierced through his finger causing unimaginable pain to the defibrillator that will give him a wake-up call when his body begins to shut down due to the pain.
  • This is done in True Blood by Violet to Jessica, Addilyn, and Wade. The actual torture doesn't get to happen though.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Old World of Darkness games loved this trope.
    • In Mage: The Ascension, members of The Syndicate call this "turkey basting." Since the people using it are mages (whether they know it or not), it actually has the effect of causing unspeakable pain to the interrogation suspect simply via power of suggestion.
    • Kindred of the East detailed a discipline called "Black Wind," which was simply a variable application speed/strength boost power that was fueled by the standard installation demon riding in the back of every Kuei-Jin's head, which meant that the discipline could only be used for violence. It didn't apply under this trope. However, since the Kuei-Jin seemed like they weren't making a comeback, one fan-made martial art background skill was created for the New World of Darkness line using the same name. Black Wind, the martial art style, is a series of blocks, strikes, and momentum redirecting counters coupled with psychological warfare designed to enrage and humiliate an opponent, with the eventual goal of reducing the opponent to a state of utter despair. The rules explicitly state that if an opponent dies from the use of the art, then the practitioner has screwed up.
    • Hunter: The Reckoning had a particularly nasty version of it; the torturer used strong local anaesthetic on his victim, broke every bone in his hand, and then explained how much it would hurt once the anaesthetic wore off.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Inquisition has a nine-step interrogation process. Step one is simply the Inquisitor walking up and saying "Hello, I am an Inquisitor." The second stage consists simply of explaining the protocol for the next seven stages. The vast majority of subjects break before stage three, and most who don't aren't even remotely sane in the first place.

    Video Games 
  • Alexander in Amnesia: The Dark Descent uses this to prolong his victim's fear. He even sets up a system of pipes to funnel one victim's screams into the cell of another.
    • He also uses the terratio verborum technique mentioned in the Real Life folder, by showing the tortured the implements he would be using, and describing precisely how it would work prior to doing so.
  • Strangely enough, the player party gets to engage in this in Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled in an optional sidequest. After Gavin set off to find Firebeard's tomb after Ravin gathered the map pieces, the party happens upon the Sea Tails' hideout. Kairu asks one of the stragglers for information; naturally, he is refused, so the other group members decide to explain their experience (or lack thereof) in interrogation. I'll cover the methods in order below, but the mere talk of what could have been done is what broke him.
    • Rogurd is a known adventurer, and has dealt with ruffians of the Sea Tails; he chooses to leave the methods in question to the poor pirate's imagination.
    • Aurora goes flat-out and states her intentions to (literally) grill him.
    • Isa explains her training in Genufan interrogation techniques.
    • Nephi brings up his history of torture as the King of the Dragons.
    • Think death will keep your intel safe? Nym (an Ashen Eye) begs to differ.
  • Deconstructed in Darkest Dungeon. Heroes with the Sadistic affliction will spout out various To The Pain lines constantly, which won't faze the enemies one bit. Their fellow heroes, however, will gain stress as they become more and more disturbed by this.
  • Jager Tharn in The Elder Scrolls: Arena, when he contacts you telepathically shortly after you receive the first piece of the Staff of Chaos. "Give it to them, and I will make your death painless, and quick. Resist, and I will see you in such suffering that you will grovel for the sweet release of death!''
  • Final Fantasy VII featured this during a not-so-subtle threat against a pervert trying to have sex with them. The team promises something like "I'll cut 'em off" "I'll break 'em off" "I'll smash them". He ends up giving them the information they want.
  • Before the third battle against him in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Demon Lord Ghirahim describes to Link just how he plans to kill him and dispose of his corpse. It's also how you defeat him.
  • Defied in Lost Judgment; Soma starts his torture of Yagami by punching him in the face, telling his underlings that you start with pain so that the victim will fear you and whatever is coming next.
  • Mass Effect 2: Renegade Shepard has a handful of gems:
    • Against a scumbag who has information regarding who he contracted Thane's son Kolyat to kill:
      "I'm done being patient. Give me a name, or I'll cut your balls off and sell them to a krogan!"
    • Against a racist batarian bartender who tried to poison Shepard to death:
      "Drink it, or I'll blind you one eye at a time."
  • LeChuck in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge provided a particularly grisly example shortly after explaining the intricate mechanics of a device designed to lower Guybrush and Wally into a pit of acid: "Do you know what happens next? I will then take your bones, still alive and in great pain, and make them into a chair. I will call it my "Screaming Chair". Every morning I will sit in it and listen to you scream."


    Web Original 
  • This chronicle on the Eve online website is as graphical as text can be (not for the faint of heart!), explaining what every tool does, everything he's going to use... then he does. The Amarr Minmatar and Caldari articles are also quite good. Showing how different varieties of torture can be.
  • This infamous example from Kakos Industries when Corin is enraged by his arch-enemy Melantha Murther interrupting his broadcast.
    Corin: If you were here right now, I would kill you with my bare hands, I would tear you piece by piece, I would dance on your entrails. I would poke out your eyes...AHHH! I WANT TO MAKE A HATE BABY WITH YOU!
  • In Worm, both Bonesaw and Gray Boy like to describe the things they can do with their powers.
  • In X-Ray & Vav, The Mad King proclaims in his first appearance that he's going to tear off the heroes' arms and use them to applaud their demise.

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "Pulling Double Booty", Hayley graphically describes to Francine what she'll do if she's dumped again. She'll kill her new boyfriend, burn down the neighborhood, and rape Roger. Francine is horrified at the third.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: In the episode "The Slayer", NOS-4-A2, the robotic, energy-draining vampire, captures XR and describes what he’s going to do to him as revenge for defeating him in his debut episode.
    NOS-4-A2: Now I will have my revenge. I'm going to drain your energy slowly, so that you feel every amp as it leaves your body. Then, as you're nearly offline, I will recharge you, and do it all over again! (Evil Laugh)
  • Darkwing Duck: Negaduck describes doing this to Darkwing's allies, and it all starts as soon as he throws... The Switch!
  • In the final episode of Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid, after trapping Superman in his Agony Matrix, explains the effects to him (while Superman is convulsing in pain)...
    Darkseid: It's called the Agony Matrix — direct neural stimulation of pain receptors. All of them. Imagine the worst pain you've ever felt in your life, times a thousand. Now imagine that pain continuing forever. Oh, that's right... you don't have to imagine.
  • The first season finale of The Legend of Vox Machina sees Percy ready to take his final revenge against Delilah Briarwood; unlike with the previous victims on his List, Percy or rather the demon Orthax that drives his bloodlust intends to savor the experience.
    Percy: Your pain will linger. I'll shatter your ankles for my sister Vesper. Your hands belong to Julius. Each de Rolo will have their pound of flesh, until I flay the skin from what's left of you.
  • One episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show saw Ren's cousin coming to visit, and he ends up being exactly like Stimpy. Unable to deal with the antics of both, Ren snaps, and with barely restrained fury, gleefully describes what he's going to do to them.
    Ren: YOUUUUU! BOTH OF YOU! Oh, what I'm gonna do to you... I'm so angry! First, I'm gonna tear your lips out. Yeah... that's what I'm gonna do. And then... I'm gonna... GOUGE your eyes out. Yeah... that's what I'm gonna do... Yeah, you scared, huh? Next... I'm gonna... TEAR your arms out of their sockets! And you wanna know what else? I'm gonna hit ya... and you're gonna faaaaallll... and I'm gonna look down and I'm gonna laugh... But first... FIRST!!!... I gotta take a whiz! Don't you go anywhere. You stay right here.
    • Oh look! It's Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking!
      • Well, it was until he discovered their "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence" board game and decided to tempt fate instead. He literally electrocuted them all to hell.
        The Devil: So, you whizzed on the electric fence, didn't ya?
  • South Park: Inverted by Mel Gibson, who goes off on long rants suggesting all the ways you could torture him and hinting strongly at how he'd like you to do it.
    Stan: Look, dude, we came a long way. We're not leaving until you give until you give us our money.
    Gibson: Oh, yeah?! Well, you're going to have to find it first. But I won't tell you where I keep my money! (takes off his shirt) You can torture me all you want, I still won't tell you!
    Stan: (taken aback) T-torture you?!
    Gibson: (takes off his pants) Ha! So you do intent to torture me! Well, go ahead! (straps himself to a strecher) Do your worst! You still won't get your ticket money back! I can take whatever you can dish out!
    Stan: ...We don't want to torture you.
    Gibson: I get it, but you "don't have a choice", is that it? Well, go ahead! I just sure hope you don't use those whips over there (gestures with his head) on the wall!
  • Shows up in Transformers: Animated after Lockdown's first defeat. Ratchet is messily working on removing Optimus's grappling hook launchers from Lockdown's arms, and answers Lockdown's screams of pain with the observation that he could have numbed the pain... too bad he hasn't gotten around to reinstalling his EMP generator after it, too, was stolen by Lockdown.
  • In The Venture Bros., Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is interrogating S-464, who has been revealed to be working with the Peril Partnership, with the intent of making him into a mole. He initially refuses, but her very detailed description of "The Tub", which he would be subjected to for his treason, is enough to change his mind.

    Real Life 
  • The Dr. Nefarious example in modern philosophy, in regard to the mind/body theory, which posits the following: You are being held as a prisoner of the evil Dr. Nefarious. He comes to you and tells you that at 1:30, he will take you into his chamber and use his new torture device on you. He then goes on to tell you that at 1:26 he will take his memory machine and erase the memory of the conversation you just had with him; at 1:27 he will erase all of your memories; at 1:28 he will replace your memories with those of Ronald Reagan. (The argument does not state whether or not Dr. Nefarious will restore your memory after that.) You will still be going to the torture chamber at 1:30, of course.
  • The Three Degrees of the Spanish Inquisition: a new prisoner would receive the First Degree, in which the Inquisition would show him the Devices and explain at length what they were, how they operated and what they were used for. After a period of time in which the new prisoner's imagination would be allowed to work, they would go back to the interrogation room for the Second Degree: witnessing the Devices being used on somebody else. Another period of time would be allowed to elapse, and then the Third Degree happened. Of course, all this could be avoided by timely confession of sin...
  • Serial killer David Parker Ray, the Toy Box Killer, had prepared a speech (and later, a recording of said speech) for his victims that seemed designed to start breaking them down even before his extracurricular activities truly started. It described in rather sickening detail how he planned to use them as sex slaves, describing their storage in a way that seemed utterly escape-proof, and how even if/when he released them he would ensure they couldn't remember anything to report to the police.

Death Trap Examples

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Dr Evil liked describing his Death Traps to Austin.
  • Spoofed in Bat-Thumb: No-Face has Bat-Thumb and Bluejay in his death trap and spends what is implied to be hours explaining not what his machine will do to them (it will simply erase their faces, which is pretty much No-Face's only method of punishment), but how the machine will go about doing it: by means of a needlessly convoluted "Rube Goldberg" cause-and-effect process.
    Bat-Thumb: Man, he sure talks a lot.
  • Pick a Bond villain, any Bond villain. ...Except, of course, for Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006), who subverts the trope by saying, "You know, I never understood all these elaborate tortures," before doing something very nasty to Bond with an old chair and a knotted rope (a carpet beater in the original book).
  • The Saw films. Such a big point that the antagonist makes a puppet to do the talking, and puts a TV in the room with the trap. However, there is a reason for this; the villain wants the person to know what they did wrong to "warrant" getting in such a bad situation and how they can escape.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first appearance of Mickey Mouse's archnemesis the Phantom Blot, the Blot did this several times, putting Mickey in increasingly crazy death traps before leaving him to his fate. (In a comedic subversion, it turned out the reason the Blot designed all these incredibly complicated mechanisms was that he was too tender-hearted to straight-up shoot someone himself. In later stories, he unfortunately got better in that regard).

  • Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. A variant in that the torturer is not present. The narrator/victim figures out for himself (and describes to the reader) how the death trap works. An example of getting the victim to assist in his own torture.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Used in the Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Nevermore". The Doctor is told that part of the Death Trap is about to pierce one of his hearts, so he uses his Bizarre Alien Biology to shut down that half of his body. This also completely cancels the To The Pain sequence... because it was told to him via a speaker in one of his ears.

    Video Games 
  • Played for laughs in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, where LeChuck devises a ridiculously elaborate Death Trap (whose only function is to lower the hero Guybrush into a pit of acid), and then describes it meticulously down to every detail. Then, he asks Guybrush if he has any questions in case he needs clarifications.

    Western Animation 
  • In one Aladdin: The Series episode, Mozenrath explains a death trap to Aladdin and Jasmine before he leaves to destroy Agrabah. Aladdin had asked for the explanation by saying "How can you destroy us and Agrabah at the same time?"
  • Naturally, the villains on Kim Possible often describe what the science-project-gone-horribly-wrong-of-the-week is intended to do, immediately before it does it to the wrong person. Or in the wrong way. Or in an escapable manner.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, The Hooded Claw would always describe the over-the-top death trap to Penelope, if she was tied up and ready to be thrown into it, or to his sidekicks the Bully Brothers if it was an actual trap — trap that Penny was to fall into without knowing.
  • The Venture Bros.: The Monarch does this regularly. Especially when his death trap contains the DREADED CANDIRU!

Poison Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Mayuri Kurotsuchi explains his super-serum quite clearly to Szayelaporro Granz. Unfortunately for Szayelaporro, the words appear so stretched out and distorted in his eyes once the serum is in full effect that he can't hear half the speech. When the serum is in full effect, one second seems like 100 years from Szayelaporro's perspective. Which is too bad, because that means he missed out on the best part of the speech- that he'll feel the pain of being stabbed through the hand and heart for about 100 years.
    Mayuri: "Enjoy the next hundred years."
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, during the Mount Natagumo arc, Zenitsu gets bitten by a spider. The "Elder Brother" demon then shows him a watch and tells him about when each stage of the poison's effects will take effect, culminating in Zenitsu turning into a spider.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, the villain Formaggio uses his Stand, Little Feet, to shrink down Narancia and trap him in a glass bottle along with a venomous spider (who appears to be a Giant Spider from his perspective). Formaggio then proceeds to describe, in detail, what the experience of being eaten by a spider would be like: first, he'd be injected with a paralyzing venom, then with digestive enzymes that would slowly liquefy his insides while keeping him conscious, until the spider is able to slurp him up. Thankfully, Narancia manages to fight off the spider (using a glass shard as an improvised shiv) and escape before getting bitten.

    Comic Books 
  • In Teen Titans, Cheshire is very proud of her homemade poisons and will brag about the horrible effects they have on you.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Disney film The Sword in the Stone, Merlin wins a wizard's duel by turning into a bacterium and inflicting a debilitating (but, since he's the good guy, not actually fatal) disease on his opponent, and his description of the disease's various colorful symptoms coincides with their appearance. Not present in the book. There, Merlin turns himself into a whole bunch of deadly diseases, doesn't get to talk while doing it, and Madame Mim dies.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Kill Bill, Elle Driver sits calmly reading out the effects of the poison that she has just subjected Budd to via the deadly Black Mamba.
    Elle: Now listen close, because this applies to you...
  • Not a villain, but in The Rock, Goodspeed tells Mason exactly what the VX gas will do to both of them if they're exposed to it in its highly-concentrated liquid form. Mason, who happens to be holding the toxin in some strings of fragile-looking glass spheres, is suddenly a lot more careful with them.

  • Partially subverted in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents: After Malicia "poisons" two rat catchers by switching their sugar for something else, Keith goes through the standard list of gruesome effects. After the rat catchers have run off for the "antidote", Malicia reveals that what they switched the sugar with was laxative and the antidote was more laxative. The effects Keith lists, however, are apparently what would have actually happened to them had they instead opted to swap the sugar with any of the innumerable poisons around the room.
  • Dune: Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen was reportedly fond of this.
  • Philomel Cottage has the heroine do this to the villain.
  • In Unto the Breach, the captured Russian microbiologist invokes this trope when explaining why he was bracing for an impact and nervously checking his watch, when riding in a car with the victim of some impromptu biological warfare agents (including botulinus, from an infected can of food from earlier). Afterwards, to his rescuer:
    Dr. Arenski: "Let me give you one piece of advice. Take it for what you will. Piss off terrorists, piss off mobsters, piss off your president if you wish. But never ever piss off a microbiologist."

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • In season six, Jack tells a man who is about to be injected with poison exactly what the agony will feel like, and how many doses it will take before his heart gives in.
    • In the first season, he also goes to great lengths to explain what's going to happen when he stuffs the towel down his victim's throat.
  • Londo Mollari from Babylon 5 delivers one of these to Lord Refa after he has poisoned him. Notably, it's the first half of a two-component toxin, so Londo's speech is mainly used to coerce the victim into going along with his plan.
  • Parodied in Blackadder The Third, in which The Scarlet Pimpernel describes the peculiar symptoms of the poison he's just taken, without noticing they're happening to him.
  • La Femme Nikita: Section One did this to just about everyone put in the White Room.

    Video Games 
  • Employed by the Fear in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. After shooting Snake in the leg with an arrow coated with venom from the Brazillian Wandering Spider, the Fear describes in detail how the poison will slowly kill Snake by paralyzing him before shutting down his lungs and heart, one at a time.

Pressure Point Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • In just about every version of Fist of the North Star, after landing one of his deadly Hokuto Shinken attacks on an enemy, Kenshiro describes which pressure point he just hit, and what effect it will have on the enemy. He then ends the speech, famously, with his Catchphrase, "Omae wa mou shindeiru." or in English, "You Are Already Dead." A few seconds later, the victim typically explodes in spectacular fashion.
    • Which was then parodied in the 3D Movie Maker movie Enriched Enlightment.
  • Milo the Scorpio Saint on Saint Seiya was famous for using an increasingly painful attack that targeted various pressure points. After striking the first few hits he'd start describing the various stages of agony, madness, and finally death that would fall on a victim should he hit the 15th Pressure Point. Subverted in that hitting a different set would cure a victim.

    Comic Books 
  • In Fantastic Four: The New Fantastic Four, the Wizard and his cronies manage to subdue the Invisible Woman and put her in a power-deactivating harness, then whoop up on Mister Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch, Storm, and the Black Panther when they come to the rescue... for a while, until Storm has the bright idea to find Sue and let her out. She promptly dispatches the crap out of those of his goons who are still standing, then get the Wizard with his back to the wall and make his skin and costume invisible enough to reveal his chest cavity. Using anatomical knowledge she later claims to have gotten from Gray's Anatomy, she points out a few of his critical arteries and has him describe the effects that would result from her blocking them with a forcefield, then talks him into believing she might actually do it... at which point he faints. (Immediate follow-up exchange: "You didn't!" "I didn't.")

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Once again, Kill Bill: Bill explains the effects of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique to Uma Thurman's character during a story about the legend of Pai Mei. Later on, Beatrix kills Bill with that exact same technique, taught to her offscreen by Pai Mei.
  • In Kiss of the Dragon, the title is completely unexplained until the end, where we find out it refers to a pressure point at the back of the neck which causes blood to collect in the victim's head until it leaks out of his nose, mouth, ears, and eyes. Liu Jian, Jet Li's character, with a serious look in his eyes and a touch of regret that it had to come to this, describes in exacting detail the villain's impending death after sticking a needle in there, mentioning that the technique in question is "very forbidden."
  • In the Scorpio, Cross (played by Burt Lancaster) catches an assassin sent to kill him, and informs him that he's giving him the "Forget the mortgage pill" and several other euphemisms for a cyanide capsule, ending with "kiss your life goodbye, you've got 30 seconds to live" before forcing it down the guy's throat, and he leaves the man, terrified, on the floor of a bus station men's room. Later we find out it was actually a cold pill, but the man had been driven insane from the terror.
  • The Operative in Serenity did a minor variation, hitting a pressure point that only immobilized a victim... while he expounded at length on how he was going to give them an honorable death. When he goes to finish off the hero, he finds out the hard way that he happens to be immune to that attack due to an old war injury and was just playing along until he could get the drop on the villain.

  • Neverwhere:
    • Mr. Vandemar gives an entire lecture (with comparative demonstrations) on why a swift kick to the temple is less painful than a carefully-placed nudge on a pressure point.
    • Also, Lord Rat-speaker says to Richard "I should slit you from gullet to gizzard and tell fortunes with your guts."
  • A key part of various Robert Rankin novels featured characters threatening others with their mastery of Dimac, 'the deadliest martial art known to man'; allegedly, the master of Dimac was capable of disfiguring and dismembering an opponent with nothing more than a fingertip, or causing so much damage to the victim that he would subsequently forever walk sideways in the manner of a crab. Subverted in that in most cases the characters making this threat don't actually know Dimac (and one character who learned it was defeated because he only knew the offensive side of Dimac rather than the defensive aspects), but there has been enough evidence to affirm that Dimac does exist in Rankin's work even if it is not explicitly demonstrated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Xena from Xena: Warrior Princess often uses a paralyzing pressure point technique that cuts off the blood flow to the victim's brain. She would quickly explain to the victim that they only have 20 seconds to live and would have to agree to help her in order for her to heal them with yet another pressure point.

Mind Rape Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto has perhaps the shortest version of this trope so far. It is provided by Itachi who simply explains to Kakashi the details of his Tsukuyomi technique, which traps Itachi and his opponent in an illusion world where Itachi controls time, space and matter, essentially making him god, followed by Itachi crucifying Kakashi and telling him that he, and his hundreds of clones, will stab Kakashi with their katanas for the following 72 hours.
    • It is made far worse in the anime adaptation which greatly expands upon the torture scene and culminates with, after what seems like several hours of Cold-Blooded Torture, Itachi divulging to poor Kakashi that 71 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds still remained. That's the deadliest thing about the technique—being under it for a few seconds is equivalent to days worth of torture, so it's hard for the mind to recover from it.
    • And Itachi's never used the technique on anyone he actually wanted to die from it...
  • Virgo Shaka from Saint Seiya is rather fond of doing this:
    • When he uses the Rikudo Rinne, he explains in great detail what the Six Hells are like before letting them fall to their perdition.
    • When he uses the Tenbu Horin and takes away his victim's senses he describes what exactly he's doing to them, even taking care to explain side effects that apparently come out of nowhere (for example, when his victim loses the sense of taste he explains that they can't talk anymore because he just fried the nerves in their tongue, while the loss of smell also affects their balance because the brain has just lost a source on where everything is).
    • If someone who picked a fight with him and refused his offer to just go away suddenly realizes what they're dealing with and tries to run he'll subject them to illusions that make it appear as if they're actually running through the whole universe before they find themselves on his palm, at which point he'll describe the futility of trying to run from him while comparing them to Sun Wukong's equally futile attempt to run from the Buddha (where he took the imagery from, as he's the reincarnation of a Buddha).


    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Glory is torturing Tara into revealing who the Key is. When she refuses to talk she threatens to Mind Rape her instead.
    Think about it. You think your hand hurts? Imagine what you'd feel with my fingers wiggling in your brain. (Tara looks very scared) It doesn't kill you. What it does ... is make you feel like you're in a noisy little dark room ... (Glory frowns and fidgets uncomfortably) naked and ashamed ... and there are things in the dark that need to hurt you because you're bad ... little pinching things that go in your ears ... (Tara begins to cry) and crawl on the inside of your skull. And you know ... that if the noise and the crawling would stop ... that you could remember how to get out. But you never, ever will.
    • Angelus terrorizes and drives Drusilla insane before turning her, capitalizing on her ability to see the future to torment with her visions of the things he's going to do to her and her family.

    Western Animation 
  • Rick and Morty: The Council of Ricks is able to judge and sentence criminals against the Citadel, one of their punishments being the Machine of Unspeakable Doom, "which swaps your conscious and unconscious minds, rendering your fantasies pointless while everything you've known becomes impossible to grasp."
    • "Also, every ten seconds it stabs your balls."

Other Examples

  • The commercial for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames features a hilarious song that is essentially a musical To The Pain speech. A full version of the song, along with a making-of for the commercial, is featured on EA's YouTube page, here.

    Anime & Manga 

    Fan Works 
  • Families: When Twilight confronts the angry mob Rabble Rouser's brought to lynch Spike, she casually comments that she knows about half of all the offensive spells ever made, and lists them. The audience doesn't hear them, but by the time the Sheriff and the Mayor show up, the entire mob willingly turns themselves in rather than fight Twilight.
  • Kage: When Miranda corners Jade and questions her motives, Jade (or possibly the Queen in another moment of temporary control), threatens to rip off her limbs, gouge out her eyes, and eat her brain.
  • In the Future Diary fanfic Mirai Nikki: The Reaper's Diary, Ryoji describes what he did to Third in an attempt to discourage the others from attacking him:
    "I know most of you will be targeting the man who killed that serial killer, Third. In case you didn't already know, that would be me. However, I have a small, tiny little story to tell you all first, just to... clarify a few things. Did you know that it isn't the voltage of electricity, but the current of it that kills? Third didn't. Fortunately, I was there and willing to give him a lesson in physics. I'm sure you all can guess the result. His eye-sockets are quite lonely now that his eyes have... vacated the premises. They now reside in his goggles. They might've stayed in there if I hadn't realized there was a chance he was still breathing and then continued to stab him with his own machete before shoving it through his skull. They might be just soaking that floor even now. Don't worry. I wasn't nearly done with him yet. I then, and this was the fun part, carved open his still-warm corpse to inscribe the message 'F*** you, you murdering bastard' along the insides of his heart, in case he didn't already take my words to heart. It was kind of hard to see with all of the blood that came exploding out of it. I had to keep starting over since I kept cutting all the way through. Simply put, stay away from me. That is, of course, if you would like to keep your internal organs inside your body. If not, then I'd be more than happy to remedy your situation." Ryoji said all of this with a rather disturbing smile. As if he actually felt some twisted joy by describing every last gory detail.
  • God Is Cruel features a slight twist on it, where its described to someone other than who it will be done to. Oliver's actions led to Laurel being in a coma and a furious Dean telling Oliver he'll kill him if she dies. Later when Dean prepares to take her off life support, he explains to Roy why he's going to make Oliver live instead and why that's worse. Roy is left genuinely terrified by it.
    "God is cruel, Roy, and so am I. You tell him he's going to live a long, healthy life. Death is too easy. Death would be wasted on him. You tell him he's going to wake up every single day with her blood on his hands. You tell him he's going to live with Tommy and Laurel and everyone else he's killed whispering in his ear every night. I'm not gonna waste a bullet on Oliver Queen, Roy. I'm gonna make sure he lives. Laurel is going to die tonight, and he's gonna have to live with himself for a long time. And trust me, that's worse than death."
  • In A Mad Glimmer, when Starlight still won't change her mind about wanting to equalize all of Equestria, Discord warns her that if she continues to seek revenge against Twilight and her friends, he'll permanently imprison her in a pocket dimension of his own making where he can have a ton of fun coming up with new ways to torture her for all of eternity (or however long he lives, considering he's either immortal or The Ageless).
    Discord: I find death distasteful. It’s the ultimate assertion of unchanging stasis over chaotic potential. No, Starlight, I’m not going to kill you. I'm not ever going to kill you. I will keep you tucked away in your own personal subdimension, where you will experience agony after agony with no hope of respite or even becoming inured to the experience. Every pain will be as fresh and shocking as the first time you ever stubbed a hoof as a filly. And you know what? (gives her a Slasher Smile) I think that with a stress doll like you, on whom I can vent my every cruel impulse, I can be a much, much better person to everypony else.
  • Quicken: Emma kills thug Yan, doing exactly what the ABB thugs were planning to do to her: cutting chunks off her face. And each time she announces what body part she’ll cut off next.
    Nose. Eye. Mouth! Ears!
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V The Abridged Series Shun does this to Sora in episode 11, though Sora is unimpressed.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Disney's adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent has a beautiful example of this. Having captured Prince Phillip and revealed to him that the "peasant girl" he fell in love with is actually the princess he was already betrothed to marry, she explains to him her plan to lock him in her dungeon for a hundred years while the princess lies trapped in ageless, enchanted sleep, awaiting True Love's Kiss to awaken her. She mockingly describes how, after that time, he will be "free to go his way" - as a ghost, the animation heavily implies. She actually was going to release him in eighty years or so. Being a prince (i.e., of sterner stuff than the regular people) he would still be alive at age ~100. Then, if he chose to awaken Princess Aurora, she would be 16 and he would be 100. If he chose not to awaken her, she and the entire kingdom would remain asleep forever. The real torture would be knowing that she was waiting for him. Fortunately, she didn't have to wait that long.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Snatch., London Gangster Brick Top gives a detailed, step-by-step set of instructions for how to dispose of a body (it involves a pig farm) to a Yardie and a duo of Stupid Crooks- the latter of which unwittingly robbed one of his businesses. The Yardie- who knows Brick Top- is clearly intimidated; the other two are too stupid to worry up until they're escorted outside and find that Brick Top's thugs are ready to attempt step 1 on the three of them while they're still alive.

  • Atar Gull:
    • Brulart explains to Benoit that he's going to free one of the slaves to find the way back to the Little Namaqua village (and kill him). There he will offer the chief a trade: Benoit and his men (the supposed murderers) in exchange for the Great Namaqua prisoners. This will allow him to bring a double load of slaves on two ships to Jamaica and eliminate the witnesses to his double-crossings.
    • Atar Gull finally confessing in great detail that he was responsible for Tom Will's downfall (murdering Will's daughter, poisoning his crops, setting fire to the slave huts...), once Tom Will is unable to do anything about it.
  • Discworld:
    • Going Postal: Moist has an internal monologue where he reflects how he's not going to harm Reacher Gilt physically, but will ruin him as only one Con Man can do to another. "I'll kill you in our own special way, the way of the weasel, the cheat and the liar."
    • Unseen Academicals: Mr. Nutt decides he's had enough of Andy Shank tormenting him and Trev Likely and puts him in a headlock, while casually discussing just how much force it would take to break Andy's neck and rip his head off, concluding that an orc like Nutt would indeed be strong enough to do so. Nutt doesn't go through with it, but the ordeal does scare Andy off getting revenge for a while.
  • In Golden Fool, Fitz is in a sword fight with Laudwine, a one-handed man (Fitz had chopped his hand off in a previous encounter). When Laudwine threatens to kill him slowly, Fitz responds by threatening to cut off his remaining hand and leave him alive. The idea horrifies him enough that his guard drops for a moment and he ends up dead.
  • In Elliot Kay’s Good Intentions, Alex, the MC, is in the early stages of being beaten up by his ex-girlfriend’s college-football-player ex-boyfriend. By taking the first few hits, Alex manages to get hold of the ex’s thumb and break it. When the ex disengages, Alex tells him he knows the ex will win, but Alex will do his damndest to do enough damage to him that he won’t be able to play again for the rest of the season and maybe ever. The ex backs off.
  • Rhythm of War: Lezian the Pursuer, an Implacable Man with Resurrective Immortality, is infamous for obsessively hunting down anyone who defeats him. In answer, Kaladin publicly describes how he'll keep killing Lezian every time, over and over, until the failure destroys every trace of his legend. Lezian breaks, flees, and becomes known as Defeated One.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Jaime Lannister tries to convince an enemy lord to surrender without a fight by describing in detail how that lord's armies and civilians will be savaged if he tries to continue The Siege. Jaime desperately wants a peaceful surrender, being oathbound not to raise arms against House Tully, and successfully plays on his family's reputation for ruthlessness to press for it.
    Jaime: You've seen our numbers, Edmure. You've seen the ladders, the towers, the trebuchets, the rams. If I give the command, my cousin will bridge your moat and break your gate. Hundreds will die, most of them your own. Your former bannermen will make up the first wave of attackers, so you'll start your day by killing the fathers and brothers of the men who died for you at the Twins. The second wave will be Freys, I have no lack of those. My westermen will follow when your archers are short of arrows and your knights so weary they can hardly lift their blades. When the castle falls, all those inside will be put to the sword. Your herds will be butchered, your godswood will be felled, your keeps and towers will burn. I'll pull the walls down, and divert the river over the ruins. By the time I'm done no man will ever know that a castle once stood here. Your wife may whelp before that. You'll want your child, I expect. I'll send him to you when he's born. With a trebuchet.
  • In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell doesn't physical violence, but he goes into detail on how thoroughly he will ruin Harry Percy if Percy doesn't stop telling people he was pre-contracted to marry Anne Boleyn. Harry Percy has an army, but Cromwell knows his creditors. He will tell them to call in all of Percy's debts at once, leaving Percy unable to pay his soldiers. Without soldiers, he can't secure the northern border, and if he can't do that, Henry will give his earldom to someone who can. That would leave Percy free to marry Anne so they can live in abject poverty, wearing homespun, eating rabbits. Also, Anne hates him now anyway. The threat works.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die thrives on this trope, in general, with each segment featuring a professional (often medical) going into gruesome detail over how the subject of that segment died, complete with a CGI representation of what goes on in the body while dying.
  • In The Borgias, a doctor has to explain the treatment of Juan Borgia's horrifically averted STD Immunity before he proceeds. The worst part? The "treatment" won't do a damn thing for him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spoofed in "The Zeppo" when a zombie spells out exactly what he'll do to Xander, only for Xander to indicate a nearby Time Bomb and ask if he's going to do all that in forty-nine seconds.
  • Desperate Housewives. When Lynette's sons misbehave, she displays the implements she intends to use to spank them, unless they repent. The items are mostly belts and paddles, not things that would draw the ire of Child Services, but it does scare the boys straight. Which is good, because Lynette has never actually spanked them and never would because her mother used to hit her and her sisters.
    • Beating a child with a belt or a paddle would not only draw the ire of Child Services, but it would also cause the children to be removed at once. Even threatening to do so, could have severe repercussions.
    • In later episodes, the boys realize that Lynette's threat is always a bluff. But when Bree babysits them, and they act up, Bree does spank them. Lynette is furious, but the two women eventually resolve their conflict. And the next time the boys misbehave, Lynette threatens to turn them over to Bree. This could also be a bluff, but it works.
  • Luther. Annoyed over something Luther has done, manipulative sociopath Alice Morgan grabs his estranged wife Zoe as she's leaving her office and holds an icepick to her ear.
    Alice: Don't-look-around. Your husband assaulted me. He touched me. Intimately. He made me do things. He hurt me because of you. And as he touched me he talked about you. He said you were dead. And you'd been very badly burned, your face was cut and your skin was gone. You'd been abducted off the street by a man. A very sick man. He kept you alive for days. He used knives. A blowtorch. He kept pieces of you for seven years. I'm worried...that someone might want to hurt you like that.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Leviticus 26:14-39 and Deuteronomy 28:15-45, God gives the Israelites a list of curses He will bring if they disobey His commandments. This is paraphrased as "If you stop obeying Me and start worshiping other gods and doing hideous things [like sacrificing children] that their worship demands, I'll make sure you suffer fire, flood, pestilence, famine and war, and there's literally no place you can hide from Me!"

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Used by The Miz on John Cena during their "I Quit" Match for the WWE Championship in 2011, with Miz first subduing Cena and then describing to him all the terrible things he's going to do right before he does them, in order to frighten Cena into quitting. It didn't work.
  • Some time during 2008-2009, when ECW alumnus Mike Knox got a big midcard push, he adopted a gimmick in which he'd grievously injure an opponent during a match and then, once the match was over, put on a pair of "intellectual" spectacles and describe, in perfect anatomical jargon, the name and position of the bone he'd just broken. Strangely enough, this was a wrestler who up until this point had been portrayed as Dumb Muscle.
  • The day after Seth Rollins turned on The Shield, Dean Ambrose went into excruciating detail about how he would rearrange Rollins' face. After twitching the entire time, he smacked the mic out of his own hand, only for Reigns to give him a smile (almost in a friendly, "How the hell am I supposed to follow that?" manner), and Ambrose to gingerly bend over and hand Reigns the mic.
    Ambrose: When I get the opportunity to rearrange your face, which I will... your nose isn't gonna be over here anymore, it's gonna be over here... [slides finger from his own nose towards his ear]... by your ear. I say "ear" because you're only gonna have one left. I'm gonna rip your dirty, stinkin' hair out by the roots, and I'm gonna stuff it in your mouth— there'll be plenty of room where your teeth used to be.
    Seth Rollins... [begins to hyperventilate and beats his own chest while smiling maniacally]... my brother... we want you to stand out here in front of the whole world, and we want them to hear Triple H's words comin' out of your mouth. We're gonna listen to every word of it, and then we're gonna beat the hell out of you. [slaps microphone out of own hands emphatically]

    Video Games 

  • The Bikini Bottom Horror has Patrick going mad and deciding to give SpongeBob a lesson in sea star feeding habits. And that's the first page.
    Patrick: Do you know how sea stars feed, SpongeBob? Let me... show you. Our stomachs extend out of our bodies... Penetrating our prey... and injecting them with enzymes. So that they be digested externally... I'm sorry, SpongeBob.
  • Goblin Hollow has one when Ben turn the tables on the Upper Class Twits trying to chase him from the neighborhood with nuisance suits (with Ben's expression getting more deranged—and the twits' leader's more terrified—with every panel)
    Ben: Allow me to explain why you're going to do things my way, sir. Because if you don't[...] I will use my back up plan. I will parcel up my land... And sell it as trailer lots.
    That's right. And I will sell each lot to the scuzziest white trash I can find. Beer bottles, deadbeats in wife-beater t-shirts, unwed mothers and cars on blocks as far as the eye can see. Stray dogs, chickens and toddlers in stale diapers will roam from my land to yours.
    The grass will wither, your shrubs and tree will die from drunk truckers peeing on them. Squad car sirens and police choppers will be your new nightly lullaby. THE VERY SKY WILL TURN BLACK FROM THE SUFFERING RISING UP FROM THE LAND. And then, when your precious property values are so low you couldn't sell off to a landfill, I will take the money I made from the sale,...
    Buy a new home... AND MOVE IN RIGHT NEXT TO YOU!
  • Elan from The Order of the Stick had a rather unconventional version, but it worked anyway.
    Elan: But me, I have a different method of persuasion. Tell us what we need to know, OR—
    Goblin teen: Do your worst!
    Elan: —I'll cry. You heard me. I'll start bawling like a toddler who dropped their ice cream on the sidewalk. In front of your friends, your teachers, any girls you like. And I'll tell them it's because YOU won't be my friend.
    Goblin teen: You wouldn't.
    Elan: I think I'm misting up already.
  • Penny Arcade: Tycho's infamous To The Pain speech in this strip.
    Tycho: Don't say another goddamn word. Up until now I've been polite. If you say anything else — word one — I will kill myself. And when my tainted spirit finds its destination, I will topple the master of that dark place. From my black throne, I will lash together a machine of bone and blood, and fueled by my hatred for you this fear engine will bore a hole between this world and that one. When it begins, you will hear the sound of children screaming — as though from a great distance. A smoking orb of nothing will grow above your bed, and from it will emerge a thousand starving crows. As I slip through the widening maw in my new form, you will catch only a glimpse of my radiance before you are incinerated. Then, as tears of bubbling pitch stream down my face, my dark work will begin. I will open one of my six mouths, and I will sing the song that ends the earth.
  • xkcd has I am rubber, you are glue.
  • HE COMES! (In the form of Zalgo. Though the actual source of this phenomenon is unknown...) hewaitsbehindthewalls


Video Example(s):


Asuna Yuuki

After hearing that Kirito managed to enter ALfheim Online to save her, and that Oberon planned on toying with him to break his spirit, Asuna threatens the Game Admin's life.

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / ViolentlyProtectiveGirlfriend

Media sources: