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Tortured Monster

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"Monsters are tragic beings. They are born too tall, too strong, too heavy. They are not evil by choice. That is their tragedy."

Mostly, a monster is something like what we call evil, and it has a plan and wants to inflict pain. Either that, or it operates on a value system completely alien to ours, and inflicting pain is a completely unimportant by-product. Sometimes, however, it is just as unable to comprehend itself as you are, and it's filled with pain, horror, and disgust for itself. It just wants to be put out of its misery.

So, what happens when a monster must scream? When trapped or tortured with no way to fix it, they can (and do) lash out. The problem is, when you're a radioactive monstrosity the size of an apartment block, your outbursts can go beyond merely destructive and approach downright apocalyptic levels. The motives may be understandable and even sympathetic- they may be trying to get help and not understand that they're hurting people, or they're trying to provoke someone into killing them, or they just want everyone else to feel as bad as they do- but no matter how pitiable their situation may be, their sheer strength and capacity for carnage mean that as long as they remain alive they represent an existential threat to anything around them. Ironically, the reason for their pain is frequently also the reason for their strength; whether it's a mutation of some kind, a supernatural disease or curse, or anything in between, the common denominator is always that the costs far, far outweigh the benefits. Sometimes a Tortured Monster will eventually meet The Hero who fights back and releases them from their pain (if they get a happy ending — living on like this is a much worse fate). The hero may or may not realize after the thing is dead that he just did it a service.

While there is some overlap between this trope and its cousin Non-Malicious Monster, the main difference is that the Non-Malicious Monster doesn't mean to cause destruction, but does anyway as a byproduct of its monstrousness; the Tortured Monster is driven to cause destruction because of its monstrousness. Both can be equally sympathetic figures, but in general the death of a Non-Malicious Monster is tragic for all involved because it didn't need to happen, while the death of a Tortured Monster is tragic because it really did.

Prone to Cry for the Devil, Alas, Poor Villain, Apologetic Attacker, and Mercy Kill (on the receiving end). The Monster from Beyond the Veil varieties of Came Back Wrong can be this; can also be the end result of The Punishment. Often found in a Tragic Monster. This is not just a mutilated or disgusting thing that wants to die — it must be able to do damage.

Not to be confused with a monster which is being tortured by some other entity.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Titans in Attack on Titan are slowly revealed as this. It soon becomes clear that they used to be humans, and were forcibly transformed into horrific monstrosities, while remaining conscious and unable to control their actions. It's even speculated that they eat humans as a desperate and instinctive effort to cure themselves, as a Titan who eats a Titan Shifter will become human again. Following The Reveal that human society does in fact exist beyond the Walls, which are actually on an island, the Titans' situation turns out to be downright horrifying. They are actually members of the maligned Eldian race, to which Eren and the rest also belong, and have been turned into monsters by the Nazi-esque Kingdom of Marley, both as punishment and to keep the Paradis island Eldians imprisoned behind the Walls.
  • The Yoma from Claymore are initially presented as arrogant demons who possess humans, and torture them to death by eating them alive, starting from the belly outwards. This is later revealed to be how they cope with their suffering, being self-aware parasites cultured from an implantation of dragon flesh into human bodies: They become proud and sadistic because of their suffering, while something about digestive tissue makes the pain stop for a while. The Awakened Beings resultant from a Claymore undergoing a Superpower Meltdown are much similar, minus the Puppeteer Parasite abilities.
  • The akumas from D.Gray-Man are humans brought back from the dead unwillingly to serve as living weapons for exterminating humans. The human soul inside helplessly watches while a new evil personality controls their body. And the more powerful that an akuma becomes, the more torture that is inflicted on its human soul. The protagonist is cursed with a Magic Eye that allows him to see the souls inside akuma. Although this curse is useful because it lets him detect disguised akumas, it is also not a pleasant ability to have because of the horrible things that it shows him and he can't turn it off at will. The sight of an akuma being destroyed without the soul being freed causes his eye to bleed and the sight of a level 4 akuma's soul causes him to vomit.
  • Digimon Adventure has Apocalymon, a Digimon made from the leftover bits of Digimon who died failing to digivolve, the dead ends that occurred before the title Mons reached their current forms. He is filled with their combined pain and misery and wishes to wreak misery on the entire world — both of them — because... misery really does love company, apparently.
  • The Infernals in Fire Force are regular humans who, without warning or explanation, spontaneously combust into fire demons who are in constant pain of immolation. Many Infernals are driven mad by the pain, unable to control themselves as they lash out at everything around them. It is the Fire Force's job to Mercy Kill Infernals and put their human souls to rest.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Alexander/Nina Chimera acts like this, even mentioning that something feels wrong. (Un?)fortunately for it, Scar gives it a Mercy Kill when he sees it.
    • The Mannequin Soldiers. Cannibalistic undead souls in artificial bodies who can only say "I'm hungry" and "it hurts".
  • A Central Theme in Hellsing is the philosophical exploration of the differences and similarities between humanity and monstrosity, both in the respect of beings as well as character traits. Arthur Hellsing, in particular, describes to his daughter, Integra, his own view of immortal monsters like Alucard who ceaselessly seek war and battle and how, unto Arthur's own experience, they do this because, deep down inside, they are all really just frail, sobbing children, desperately looking for a hero to finally ease their misery.
  • The Witches of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, at least according what Kyubey says. Beings born of despair who lash out and induce pain and suffering among innocents if they aren't stopped. The connection becomes more clear when it's revealed that Witches are former Magical Girls who have taken on too much corruption in their Soul Gem and becomes She Who Fights Monsters. In most, if not all, cases, the Witch is drowning in the despair of their own making, their powers warping them into mockeries of what they once were.

    Comic Books 
  • In Matt Fraction's Defenders opening arc, the monster Nul is one of these.
  • A few of the Marvel Zombies are like this, particularly Spider-Man, who still feels guilty over his Horror Hunger. Most of them, however, just accept what they've become and even come to enjoy it.
  • Invoked by the evil wizard in a "Mickey Mouse in medieval fantasy" comic as part of a Xanatos Gambit based on You Kill It, You Bought It and magic transformation: The wizard employs a fierce dragon as a guardian. However, the dragon is actually a cursed knight, and if someone should be able to defeat it, it will revert to its normal form and the one who defeated it will transform in its place. The transformed dragon, apparently remaining semi-intelligent as well as becoming altruistic, will fight fiercely precisely so that no-one else will be forced to take its place.
  • Galactus is often presented this way. Despite being a Planet Eater, he has no desire to actually eat planets and regrets his actions, as he Was Once a Man in the universe that existed before the current one and only does so to survive. And if this still sounds unsympathetic and selfish, it has been shown several times that doing away with Galactus (who is something of a universal constant, almost on par with the Anthropomorphic Personifications of concepts such as Time and Space) instead of letting him be is by far the worst of the two options.
  • Dr. Banner from The Incredible Hulk, given his condition. His enemies list is full of them too, with some opponents begging him to put them out of their misery while he's fighting.
  • Anthrax in Requiem Vampire Knight is a humongous mutant who's essentially unkillable as he regenerates all wounds. However, when Requiem uses a spell on him that reveals his deepest desires, he proceeds to jump off a skyscraper.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) fanfiction, it's revealed that Ghidorah used to be this in its backstory. At first, Ghidorah only inflicted death and mass destruction because it was trying anything and everything to make the Old Noise screaming inside its heads (demanding that Ghidorah "Kill Them All") stop, after killing the ones who implanted the Old Noise in Ghidorah's heads failed to get rid of it. But over time, Ghidorah's heads grew desensitized to the violence and the destruction, then they grew to love it. Whilst the Old Noise did fade into the backs of their minds after billions of years, Ghidorah by then had long since completed Slowly Slipping Into Evil.
  • Imperfect Metamorphosis has Rin Satsuki.
  • The rusalka in The Incredibly Thrilling Investigation of Storm Kicker, which uses Mind Control to enslave ponies in order to alleviate its crushing loneliness. Deconstructed, as it's stated that even though a Tortured Monster is tortured, it's still a monster. It doesn't really matter why, exactly, the rusalka is enslaving and killing innocent people, only that it is in fact doing these things.
  • The Night Unfurls: Among Shamuhaza's legion of mutant Elite Mooks, a considerable part consists of all the people of Rad that are experimented on beforehand. As Kyril and his three apprentices are cutting them down in Chapter 16, he notes that he can catch a glimpse of who they once were in their eyes. Nevertheless, they are beyond saving, akin to the Yharnamites afflicted with the Beast Scourge, and the only thing they could do is to respond to their pleading cries of mercy.
  • The Bleach fic "Winter War" has Aizen doing this to captured Shinigami. As if merging them with their Zanpakuto wasn't bad enough, just wait until we see Hitsugaya, left as a jumble of icy wings and claws that can't even talk because of how badly he got broken, yet still all he wants is to protect an understandably horrified Momo.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • One possible interpretation of the room in 1408, if you believe the fire killed it, as several of the endings imply. Twice it flashes the phrase "burn me alive" at Mike, which eventually he does, the only inhabitant of the room to try arson.
  • The protagonist of the Canadian horror film Afflicted was terminally ill before a vampire took pity on him and turned him. It turns out to be a horrible mistake. While it does cure his disease, his particular kind of vampirism is a very nasty kind: he cannot survive on anything except human blood, and if he goes too long without feeding, he will turn into a mindless killing machine until sated. Unfortunately, he also cannot end his suffering by any conventional means.
  • Grendel from the 2007 film adaptation of Beowulf is driven to his rampage not only by his hunger, but also by an apparent case of extreme misophonia triggered by the noise of revelry at Hrothgar's mead hall. His numerous deformities also appear to leave him in almost constant pain.
  • Frankenstein's Monster, specifically in Bride of Frankenstein where he blows himself and his bride up with the comment, "we belong dead."
  • According to Word of God the Monster in Cloverfield was a terrified infant, looking for its mother.
  • In The Fly (1986), the monster — Seth Brundle post-Tele-Frag — is confronted by a shotgun - wielding Veronica Quaife, and grabs the business end of the shotgun and places it against its head.
  • Godzilla, especially in the original 1954 film. His actions throughout the film are basically him getting revenge on humanity for mutating him via nuclear bomb testing. Word of God even states that he's just as much a victim as anyone else in the film.
  • Jurassic World: The Indominus rex is an incredibly vicious monster which kills wantonly for sport, but it's also speculated to be this trope. The I. rex's psychotic behavior is due to a combination of being deliberately designed on a genetic level to be this way, and also due to being raised in a small paddock with no social contact with other animals whatsoever; Owen postulates that as a result of the latter, the I. rex has no idea where it fits in in the ecosystem once it escapes its enclosure and sees everything as a threat.
  • The Night Flier: Dwight may be a bloodthirsty monster who massacres people by the dozens, but there are hints dropped throughout the movie that he loathes what he has become, being forced to live in a maggot-infested aeroplane traveling from airport to airport in search in prey. At the end he also seems to regret killing the protagonist after previous attempts to warn him off.
  • In Nosferatu the Vampyre, Count Dracula is portrayed as a miserable, pitiful, self-loathing creature.
  • The Void: One of the monsters is seen trying to kill itself, and failing miserably at it. Powell notes that these are his "experiments", and he simply won't let them die.

  • Nyarlathotep from the Cthulhu Mythos may be an example. It is known that he despises the Outer Gods, but his very nature (being the personification of their will) would make him unable to go against their will. So it is theorised by some that his habit of spreading chaos and generally being a dick is caused by him taking out his frustration with his "job" on those weaker than him.
  • Discworld:
    • The wolf in Witches Abroad, which was once a normal wolf but was twisted by the villain's magic, making it intelligent, dangerous, and horrified by its own existence. It's generally a bad idea to grant sapience to an animal that spends most of its waking life hunting other animals.
    • The Hiver in A Hat Full of Sky is a bare awareness that is terrified of its awareness of everything around it and seeks refuge in living beings' more limited minds, in which, due to its nature, it unintentionally becomes a terrifying possessing presence. The protagonist helps it find a self of its own, which enables it to finally die.
    • Played with in Thief of Time. One of the Auditors, beings who abhor any sense of individuality, takes on a human form and gets to like it. However, they recognize how wrong this is and consider themselves insane, while still being too attached to life to give it up. For the Auditors being human is this trope.
  • The Creature in the original Frankenstein novel is a very intelligent creature that is fully aware of how hideous and repulsive he is. Anything wrong he does is borne out of bitterness from how people treat him.
  • Dark magic caused Shruikan from the Inheritance Cycle to go batshit insane and become like this.
  • The Crippled God of Malazan Book of the Fallen was used as the colony in a mystical Colony Drop. It couldn't die, but the damage done to its body is so severe that it never fully healed. After millennia, it's finally reaching into the world and is sharing its pain with the mortal races.
  • In Mio My Son by Astrid Lindgren the Big Bad has a heart of stone. He is in constant agony from how his stone heart chafes in his chest, and begs to be killed at the end.
    No-one hates Sir Kato more than Sir Kato himself!
  • When she first appears in Finn Family Moomintroll, the Groke appears as a terrifying monster and a bit of a jerk to boot, and in other appearances after that she's just a generic malicious monster. Several novels later, though, it's revealed that she is not merely a heartless monster, but desperately lonely and cold, wanting nothing more than to be warm, to make friends and to live in the light. But since she's something like an Elemental Embodiment of the cold and dark, she can't ever have any friends — they run away from her because she is so very cold that she fatally freezes everything she touches — and, for the same reason, she can never be warmed. In one of her earliest scenes, she sits down right atop a blazing fire and immediately extinguishes it. She's that cold. Since she's been shown as both actively hostile and lonely, there could be a metaphor in her literal coldness driving everyone away.
  • Haliax in The Name of the Wind is a perfect example of this trope. After his lover died, he tried bringing her back, but ended up depressed and suicidal - but unable to die. He ended up insane and now goes around killing anybody who knows his name.
  • The Sword of Truth series have the Mord-Sith, a caste of Torture Technicians created by taking the nicest girls in all the realm and breaking them over several years of torture. The most skilled of them, Denna, was told by the Big Bad of the first book that he can send her to capture the protagonist of the series, but the prophecies state there is a good chance he will kill her one day. She begged to go.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Daleks are bred and conditioned to view all other forms of life as a threat and spend their entire lives sealed in a war machine. The Twelfth Doctor's era leans further into this, showing that their machines periodically mind-wipe them to prevent them questioning orders, and their vocalisers won't even allow them to express concepts like love or friendship. Oh, and any Dalek that lives to see "old age" gets flushed into their sewers as Meat Moss. This quote from the Doctor in "Doomsday" sums it up rather well:
      "Technology using the one thing a Dalek can't do — touch. Sealed inside your casing. Not feeling anything... ever. From birth to death, locked in a cold metal cage. Completely alone. And that explains your voice! No wonder you scream."
    • One specific Dalek example is the titular creature from the New Who Series 1 episode "Dalek". It is locked underground by a billionaire Collector of the Strange and tortured into near insanity. In order to escape, it uses Rose's DNA to regenerate itself but in the process gains human emotions, which it views as a Fate Worse than Death. It also expresses severe distress after realizing that it is the Last of His Kind, since as a soldier, it needs orders from its superiors in order to function.
    • The Minotaur from "The God Complex" feeds on the faith of other creatures. Although it hates its own existence, it's also a being of instinct and cannot help pursuing its food source whenever one appears. The Doctor allows it to die by cutting off its food supply via destroying Amy's faith in him. At the end of the episode, it also explicitly compares itself to the Doctor.
    • The Cybermen went from being an implied case of this in the Classic Who seriesnote  to an explicit case in the New Who series. The "cross-dimensional" Cybermen were victims of one madman's obsession with "perfecting" humanity, and were only able to survive because of their emotion suppressors; when these are shut down, they invariably kill themselves out of horror at their transformation. The Twelfth Doctor's era amps up this attitude, with both a more tragic portrayal of the Mondasian Cybermen — victims of hideously cruel medical experiments by doctors who decided that shutting off their emotion centers was better than alleviating their hideous pain — and by retconning the Cybermen into a recurring constant throughout time and space; wherever cybernetic integration technology develops, it will be misused and give rise to a breed of Cybermen.
  • In the Toku show GARO, the Monsters of the Week are humans possessed by demonic entities called Horrors. Whenever a human is possessed by a Horror, they will feel excruciating pain. They all get the Mercy Kill.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: While it's left ambiguous as to whether or not Risley Tucker killed Adena Watson, he confesses that he had a pedophilic crush on the girl, which torments him deeply.
  • Supernatural: Demons are revealed to be this. A demon is what you get when a human soul is so severely and extensively mangled and corrupted (usually by centuries of being horrifically tortured in Hell), it becomes unrecognizable as anything human and all that's left is a vicious, vice-filled perversion of the person they were in life.

    Role-Playing Games 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons most undead hate their existence, and despite them being evil it's pretty hard not to feel bad for them. Fortunately you can usually end their torment
  • The Neverborn in Exalted really, really want to die, to end their eternal torment and insanity. Sadly, they can't. As a result, their agents work to destroy the world so that they can finally fade away.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: Theban Sorcery can animate a corpse as an intelligent zombie that continues to decay, knows that it's only a flawed imitation of the person who died, and generally wants nothing more than for its existence to end.
  • Warhammer:
    • Count Mordrek the Damned was a special character, a Champion of Chaos who was constantly mutating randomly under his armour and would always be brought back to life any time he died. His main hope was that he wouldn't be, but there's probably not much hope for the Chaos Gods to stop messing around with someone.
    • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Spectres are Barred from the Afterlife by a Curse or broken oath, and tend to go insane and/or turn evil from the strain of being trapped in a bodiless half-life.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Dark Eldar Talos is the most literal example possible. It's a mini-mecha/torture device, piloted by some poor SOB, who's being held prisoner inside the machine and submitted to unimaginable torment by it. The pain only subsides when Talos is engaged in battle, ensuring that Taloses will fight with outmost ferocity and zero regard to their safety.
    • Later editions changed the unit's look and fluff so that the poor SOB isn't the pilot of the Talos... they ARE the Talos.
    • Some of the more sadistic creations of the Chaos Marines also fall under this. The standout would be the Newborn, an agonised mess of human, stolen Space Marine gene-seed, and daemonic power, condemned to an existence of physical and mental agony that can only be briefly salved through violence.
      The Newborn: Grateful? My life is fragments. I am the broken shards of two people and I live in pain with every moment that passes. Grateful? No, Ventris cursed me to the agony of a life I didn't ask for. He made me what I am and there is not enough pain in the world for what he will suffer in return.
    • A similarly immortal character appears in Primogenitor, a novel starring Fabius Bile. Bile comments that he once dissected him down to the atomic level trying to learn the secret of his immortality. His assistant comments that it's no wonder the immortal hates Bile, and Bile corrects him: the immortal's angry because Bile isn't able to kill him.
    • Chaos Dreadnoughts. Where the Space Marine Dreadnought is the greatest honor a Chapter can bestow on one of their own too grievously wounded to return to active service (instead being interred in a mobile sarcophagus armed with huge weapons to fight ever more), being put in a Dreadnought is one of the worst fates possible to the forces of Chaos. And for a very simple reason: Loyalist Dreadnoughts are put into artificial sleep during the centuries between their activations. Chaos Dreadnoughts get their weapons and legs removed, get strapped to the wall of a starship, and wait. Practically speaking, most Chaos warbands don't have the equipment to grant stasis sleep, but they also regard being interred into a Dreadnought as particularly cruel punishment. Small wonder they have a chance of attacking their own side in battle.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Goluko, one of the Zmei (dragons in the service of the Wyrm), was bound in Russia's Taimyr Peninsula. Unfortunately, that was a primary nuclear weapon testing site during the days of the USSR. As a result, when the seal finally broke, Goluko emerged hideously radiation-burned, dying from radiation poisoning, and in constant, unimaginable pain. Even the Garou feel sorry for him.

    Video Games 
  • The Handymen in BioShock Infinite were originally injured or terminally ill Columbian citizens who were grafted into huge, primitive cyborg bodies in an attempt to save their lives. However, their new bodies render them in constant, agonizing pain and keep them from sleeping, and most of their "taunts" in battle are either loud laments about their situation or begging Booker to simply leave them alone.
  • Borderlands 2 has Krieg, once a heroic individual turned into a Psycho through brutal experimentation that destroyed his sanity. Whatever remnants of his former self is left as a simple voice in his head who attempts to steer himself towards "the deserving" and away from the innocent, even swearing to take control of his body back and commit suicide if he ever sheds innocent blood. Similarly, his primary motivation for being a Vault Hunter is because he's in love with Maya and sees her as the one who can make him sane one day.
  • In Brütal Legend, the summonable but uncontrollable Tainted Coil unit named "Bleeding Death" may be this: it is a perversion of nature (and the single strongest non-Hero Unit in the game), which is slowly dying after being stuffed into a iron maiden and launched to the battlefield, so its attacks are merely expressions of its agony.
  • Gergoth in the Castlevania series is mentioned in the in-game bestiaries as once having been gentle, but having lost its mind to insanity due to torture and imprisonment.
    • The Forgotten one is also a good example.
  • Cave Story's example is Ballos, the game's True Final Boss.
  • Played for Laughs in Destroy All Humans! 2 when Orthopox reads the mind of summer-intern-turned-Kaiju Kojira and realises it's begging to be killed. He sarcastically suggests Crypto try and get it therapy before dropping the pretense and telling him to just kill it.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Shriekers are created by draining all the Soul Power from a Sourcerer, then torturing and crucifying the resulting Empty Shell. They're Instakill Mooks and can No-Sell all conventional damage, but die on the spot if the magic sustaining their bodies is Mana Drained.
    Bahara: They were living weapons: made of flesh and reared in torture. The pain they endured was so terrible their screams turned to solid lightning.
  • Giygas of EarthBound (1994) : "...It hurts, hurts... Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness, Ness..."
  • Mantorok the "Corpse God" in Eternal Darkness was sentenced to a long and painful death by another god's champion, Pious. Despite (eventually) dying, he gets his revenge over the other Eldritch Abominations that use Pious, through a multi-dimensional centuries-spanning plot involving numerous player characters.
  • The character of Harold from the Fallout series. He's a mutated human, and one of the only characters to appear across multiple games. In his first appearance he looked similar to a ghoul with a tree growing out of his head. By Fallout 3, he's a tree with a head growing out of its trunk, and he's rooted to the dirt. Surrounded by the only patch of green vegetation left in the entire Capital Wasteland, he is worshipped by a nature-loving cult called the Treeminders. Being rooted to one spot for eternity is obviously agonizingly boring, and the worshippers are naturally not willing to bother their god-figure, thus Harold asks to be put out of his misery. The Treeminders misinterpret his pleas for release as "tests of their faith", and do everything they can to nurture him and keep him safe. The Lone Wanderer can decide his fate: grant Harold's request for a merciful death, grant the request of one Treeminder who wants the vegetation growth caused by Harold to spread throughout the entire Wasteland so that everyone can enjoy it, or grant the request of another Treeminder who wants to keep the vegetation contained to the area because they feel the cult is the only one who respects it enough to deserve it, or take the sole Evil option and give Harold an unmerciful death by burning him alive.
  • Sin from Final Fantasy X. Whoever chooses to become the Final Aeon becomes the next Sin, killing everyone it comes across and unable to stop it.
  • Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel has The Pianist, a massively-deformed monster with a woman's head who's constantly in agony. When fought as a boss she create roars that sounds like she's moaning, and when killed her grunts sounds oike sighs of relief.
  • The zombies from Half-Life are humans who have been turned into People Puppets and mutated by the parasitoid headcrabs attached to their heads. In the second game they can be heard screaming for help as they attack you (although it's implied this may be a subversion - that the headcrab is mindlessly parroting the last words its host made).
  • Ettins from Hexen are human soldiers transformed into two-headed monsters. They "retain just enough of their memory to hate what they have become, and to hate you even more for what you still are."
  • The Psy-Werewolf monsters in Hidden City are created from horrible experiments that gives the creatures psychic powers. It spends its existence being bound and muzzled while tasked to search for artifacts and is described by the game itself as "terrifying and pitiful".
  • Flame Hyenard in Mega Man X7, who complains about being in pain and delusionally believes that killing the Maverick Hunters will end his suffering.
  • Mother Russia Bleeds — one of the bosses is a huge she-bear Masha, covered in scars and crude stitches, adorned with an iron mask and pumped full of drugs (you get a glimpse of the process early in the game, it's not pretty). You can't help but feel sorry for the poor thing, even if it's in the "put her out of her misery" sense.
  • The Hecatomb in Phantasmagoria 2 turns out to be the original Curtis Craig, sacrificed to the aliens by Paul Allen Warner. He has been encased in their organic matter and mutated to the point that his organs are outside his body and he will die if his biomask is removed. In his torment he uses his psychic powers to lash out at everyone he can and tries to drive alien Curtis to madness for inadvertently stealing his life.
  • From Resident Evil:
    • In the remake of Resident Evil, Lisa Trevor is a twisted mockery of a woman who's been trapped in a constantly-mutating, undying body for thirty years, and was driven insane by her ordeal a long time ago.
    • William Birkin's plight in Resident Evil 2 (Remake) is shown to be this. It started as an Emergency Transformation, but his first boss fight as G1 has him crying out stuffs like "Heeeeelp meee...", "Kiiiillll me..." "I need...hee..". He unfortunately loses it out completely by the time his body evolves into G2.
    • The Comms Officer from the Queen Zenobia of Resident Evil: Revelations. Locked in a room and infected, he slowly mutated into a horrific Scagdead and became increasingly insane and delusional, believing the second monstrous head his mutating body had sprouted was a friend, writing in a diary, and continuing to repeat the phrase "Mayday, mayday, this is the Queen Zenobia" over the radio even long after he'd become a monster. Even when he's mindlessly attacking you he continues to cry things like "my body won't listen to me" and "stop it, I'm human" when you shoot back.
  • RuneScape:
    • Tormented Demons are demons affected by a curse that makes them far stronger than regular demons by causing them to be in constant agony. Their flesh is constantly healing and being burned away by flames.
    • One of the game's temporary Halloween events included a boss fight against a God Construct made from the energies of four gods who all hated each other and had contradicting personalities. It is in constant mental agony and all it wants to do is kill you for bringing it to life.
    • This was the sad fad of the legendary hero Arrav, who sacrificed himself to save his city from the necromancer Zemoreagal's army. Zemoreagal got back at him by enslaving Arrav as an undead creature that still had his mind intact. One of the plot threats in the Mahjarrat story arc is the player finding a way to set Arrav free.
    • The dragonkin are a race of DraconicHumanoids who were cursed by the elder god Jas to feel agonizing pain that can only be relieved through violence whenever somebody other than Jas uses the stone of Jas.
    • Dragons are the dragonkins' failed experiments in creating a new race based on themselves but without the curse. Although dragons are intelligent and aren't affected by the dragonkin's curse, most of them behave like little more than animals because they are consumed with rage all the time and act mainly on instinct. Celestial dragon have it even worse because they are granted time manipulation abilities that have driven them insane. The worst of them all may be the Black Stone Dragon, a gemstone dragon who is fused with the insanity causing black stone that comes from the Eldritch Abomination god Xau-Tak. It thanks you when it is killed.
    • The elder god Mah was half-stillborn, causing her to be reborn with no memories and severely retarded and dying very slowly and experiencing terrible nightmares that manifest in real life when she sleeps. Her daughter Seren decides to Mercy Kill her when Mah enters a coma she will never wake from and she learns that her attempts to keep Mah calm were actually making her pain worse.
  • Many Silent Hill monsters can be interpreted this way, particularly the God in Silent Hill 3. Prematurely born, cast in a grotesque image of the burned girl Alessa, all it does is writhe in agony and attempt to blindly flail at the player as though it desires to be put out of its misery.
  • Painwheel from Skullgirls, most definitely. She used to be an ordinary girl called Carol before she was kidnapped, taken to a laboratory, implanted with synthetic symbiotes, and infused with a synthetic serum in order to serve as a weapon against an Eldritch Abomination. The end result left her in constant pain, unstable, and violent, so she was placed under Mind Control. Not terribly surprisingly, her story mode concerns her attempts to break free and go home.
  • The Phase Zero Dark Troopers in the Pandemic Star Wars: Battlefront games. Background info reveals that, unlike other versions of Dark Troopers which were advanced battle droids, the Phase Zero Dark Troopers were aging veterans of the Clone Wars who forcibly transformed into cyborgs and pressed back into service to help deal with the lack of experienced Stormtroopers. As much as seventy percent of the trooper’s body would be replaced by cybernetics, and as the soldiers had no choice in the matter, suicide rates were quite high.
    • It’s worth noting that the original Battlefront games are no longer considered canon by Disney, and as such the Phase Zero Dark Trooper has yet to return to canon, but the seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which debuted on the Disney+ streaming service features Clone Trooper Echo, who was thought to have died in a shuttle explosion back in Season 3, rebuilt by the separatists as a cyborg. He was used as a Wetware CPU for half of the war until his rescue by Anakin, Rex, and the Bad Batch. Given that Order 66 and the rise of the Empire is only months, if not weeks away by this point...
  • The victims of the Many in System Shock 2. They can often be heard begging you to run or to kill them even as they attack.
  • World of Warcraft has Ordos, an ancient yaungol who is in a state of eternal agony due to his body being wreathed in fire.

  • Zimmy from Gunnerkrigg Court is a Humanoid Abomination of some sort who has what appears to be a mix of schizophrenia/hallucinations and Reality Warper powers. Her eyes are constantly covered by black muck and her teeth are razor sharp, giving her a very discomforting appearance. She also has a rather unpleasant personality. She can't control her powers, though, and even in her lucid, sane moments she has a constant "static buzzing" noise in her head that drives her up the wall. She's also abrasive toward most people in an attempt to keep them away from her for their own safety. Her only relief comes from her best friend Gamma, whose presence dampens Zimmy's powers (while she's awake, anyway), or in natural rain storms, which washes away the muck in her eyes and grants her a totally clear head. Zimmy really likes rain.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Crystal becomes this after she's brought Back from the Dead to hunt down the Order as a flesh golem suffering constant pain. Subverted later, because after getting her revenge, she'd rather go on unliving like that, killing bystanders indefinitely to ease her pain, than wish for a Mercy Kill. Well, obviously the heroes need to kill her either way.
  • In Our Little Adventure's pantheon page, Tlodnal is a god that was eternally afflicted with torture, and suicide never releases him from his pain since he is immortal. Eventually the torture he endured and the evil surrounding him warped the child into an Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent all of the infected were once normal humans or animals, hideously mutated, still conscious, driven to attack those around them. When a giant (an amalgamation of many infected creatures into one) is split apart, one component of its arm is recognizable as a shriveled, blackened head still wearing earrings, which begs for help.
  • In Unsounded the First Silver weapon is powered by a sort of hivemind of tormented ghosts, a loose amalgamation of many people's painful memories stripped of the context of their lives, that has been convinced they can end their suffering by sharing it.

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killer Monster was destined for evil, and even though he and Koden tried their best to prevent this, You Can't Fight Fate. This has left him extremely bitter and violent.
  • More than a few SCPs, especially the ones that are or were humanlike. On the more tortured end of the scale, you have ones like 191 (a little girl who was sloppily turned into a cyborg, who can no longer speak and seems to be in constant pain); on the more abominable end, you have 682, a monster that wants to kill everything because it finds life on Earth horrifying and disgusting. 682 gets its fair share of torture too. Its containment procedures include being dunked in acid on a regular basis to keep it from mounting escape attempts (which is only partially successful given how often it escapes). It's also one of the only SCPs that the Foundation wants to destroy, not merely contain. They have tried to kill it many, many times, usually with other SCPs. 682's existence in the Foundation consists of constant torture and frequent attempts on its life.

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! Thanksgiving episode "Kung Pao Turkey", when Stan is watching football, it's shown that FOX created a living turducken that's a genetic mashup of a chicken, turkey, and duck, with the announcer saying verbatim that its every step is agony.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Into Harmony's Way", the Griffins are watching a satire of Muppet Babies (1984) where Kermit and Miss Piggy are looking at Kermie Jr., a frog-pig hybrid who is visibly writhing in agony and yells "Kill me, I'm in constant pain!" Note that this disregards that the cartoon was about the Muppets as children rather than their own children.
  • Not stated outright in Generator Rex, but heavily implied; most people who've gone EVO seem to become insane, rampaging beasts, and generally seem very happy to be cured.
  • Paper Jam Dipper from the Gravity Falls episode "Double Dipper" is a shrieking, sputtering Body Horror created during a Magic Photocopier mishap. It can only say 'Nyang!' in an agonized scream and seems to welcome its death-by-melting.
    Paper Jam Dipper (translated): It's better this way for Paper Jam Dipper.
  • In the Samurai Jack episode "The Lava Monster" the eponymous monster was a Viking warrior, imprisoned in the rockbed by Aku. The only way for him to escape and ascend to Valhalla was to be slain in combat. To this end, he shaped his prison into a deadly labyrinth that only a great warrior could traverse, and began to lure passers-by into it in the hope that one of them would release him. Jack is able to accomplish this and finally allow the Viking to ascend.
  • The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XII does a parody of Harry Potter, where Bart at one point attempts to turn a frog into a prince. He bungles the spell and creates a "sin against nature" unable to do anything except vomit and claim to be in pain.
  • South Park:
    • Stan falls in with a bunch of extreme environmentalists who marry animals. The "child" of such a pair — a man and an ostrich — can only say "kill me."
    • This is also said by one of the failed Towelie clones in "Towelie".
  • The gem mutants in Steven Universe are this, considering their first appearance has one crying out in pain as silhouettes of its original forms appear before it fully forms, and it wasn't hostile, only clinging on to Garnet as if it recognized her and was begging for help.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tortured Abomination


Who Will Know (Tragedy)

(video from Jonesycat79; ending cut for time restraint)

This version of Godzilla lives in perpetual agony, yet he's tasked to carry on despite the pain; to that end, the song preceding his first use of atomic breath illustrates his tortured point of view.

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

Media sources: