Follow TV Tropes


Transformation of the Possessed

Go To
On the bright side, she can declare the demon as a dependent come tax season.

"His outer battle-plate exploded outwards, revealing a new, sinuous underbody of violet flesh and black veins. His stature swelled to obscene portions until he towered over them. Arms, four of them, corded and bound with leather, unravelled in place of his own, and horns erupted, twisting, from the bones of his dissolving face. He took a first step, and instead of a heavy-tread boot, a cloven hoof cracked the deck".
Horus Heresy, Path of Heaven

Being demonically possessed rarely works out well for the host, however, every once in a while things go From Bad to Worse. Perhaps it's just that Evil Makes You Ugly, Evil Makes You Monstrous, or that your body is the plaything of the mind, but when the body your mother gave you has a new landlord there is a nasty tendency for you to be remodeled, and possibly shown off.

Sometimes justified in narration as the host becoming the new body of the guest either as an intrinsic feature or as a deliberate action on the part of the guest. In extremely unfortunate cases, the host body also suffers from Possession Burnout which will quickly destroy it.

Compare and Contrast: Glowing Eyes of Doom, Power-Upgrading Deformation, Red Eyes, Take Warning, and Viral Transformation.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Annihilators: Earthfall: Anyone possessed by the Magus gains his distinctive purple skin, red eyes, and white hair.
  • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges tend to possess people solely to asssist them in finding new corpses for their spirits to occupy after the destruction of the previous one, but Judge Mortis once possessed the Chief Judge and directly decayed his body into the cow-skulled monster that he is.
  • Iron Man villain Fin Fang Foon an alien shapeshifting dragon kaiju space navigator was killed, at least once, only to possess a convenient human to transform into his default form notably by assimilating earth reptiles.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Deimos possesses The Joker, the fear god transforms the Joker's hair into venomous snakes and his feet into the taloned things Deimos himself possesses.
    • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: When Phobos, Deimos and Eris possess humans to take form in the human world, those they are possessing are altered to look like the war gods within a minute or so, with their eyes turning into pupil-less light sources first.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Casper, Dr. Harvey, shortly after getting possessed by the Ghostly Trio, is morphed into Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson, and the Crypt Keeper. note 
  • When Carolyn is possessed by the ghost of Bathsheba in The Conjuring, her body visibly distorts to more closely resemble the witch, including a more prominently hooked nose, straightened and ruined hair, and wounds opening on the skin. Most of these, except the wounds, vanish almost instantly when she is banished.
  • Happens twice in Constantine. In the beginning, when the soldier demon inhabits the young woman her face is covered with blotches. When Angela Dodson is possessed by Mammon (Lucifer's son) near the end the change is much greater. In each case, once the possession ends the skin changes disappear.
  • In Demon Knight, this is the fate of everyone possessed by demons. The last transformation in the film of a young boy is especially grotesque.
  • This is what happens to June Moone in Suicide Squad (2016) whenever she transforms into the Enchantress. Once the Enchantress is killed off by Task Force X, June bursts out of the skin of her possessor.
  • The Devil Inside plays it straight, but in fairly plausible ways. Those possessed sport freakish flexibility, dilated eyes (a line of dialogue indicates that the human eye can dilate to 9 mm, 11 mm under the influence of some drugs, but possession can force it further), and red eyes. All could be explained by actual physical symptoms.
  • The Kandarian demons in the Evil Dead series use this in a variety of ways.
    • In the original film the only change was in the eyes (and spreading black veins in one case), but physical damage inflicted on the host quickly reached gruesome levels.
    • Evil Dead 2 had a greater degree of Body Horror, including a possession victim with an extremely long neck.
    • Army of Darkness had Sheila acquire ghostly pale, mottled skin, sunken eyes and a heavier brown when she was possessed; the rest of the Deadites (particularly Evil Ash) took on a rotted appearance (even without any injuries).
    • Finally, the 2013 remake only gives the possessed yellow eyes by default, but they then inflict gruesome injuries on themselves, apparently to match the documented appearance of whatever spirit is possessing them.
  • The Exorcist has a pretty gruesome transformation when the demon Pazuzu manifests within Regan.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): When Dana Barrett and Louis Tully become possessed by Gozer's demonic Terror Dogs, they don't just gain demonic powers such as levitation, telekinesis, and glowing red eyes. Upon completing their demonic tasks Dana and Louis transform into the monstrous hellhound forms of their possessors.
  • Legion: various angels do odd things to the bodies they inhabit.
  • The Matrix: The Agents are Machine programs who manifest inside the Matrix by taking over the bodies of people who are still plugged into the program, which alters their physical appearance to that of the agent. Obviously, it's easier for them to do since the whole thing is a simulation. If an Agent is ever killed (no small feat), their host body turns back.
  • A flashback in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always has Robo-Rita possessing Alpha 8 and instantly transforming him into her current form.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge: Every time Freddy possesses Jesse, he forcibly converts Jesse's body into his own form.
  • Happens to the Chosen One in John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Satan, in the form of an evil green fluid, enters the mouths of his victims to control them, but the Chosen One ingests the lion's share of the fluid and becomes the personal vehicle of Satan himself (This causes said Chosen One's body to appear progressively rotten and decayed as the movie goes on).
  • Scalps features transformations whenever the homicidal spirit possesses a victim.
  • In Warcraft (2016), fel magic's calling card is its mutation of everyone who comes in direct contact with it.
    • The orcs empowered by Gul'dan turn green.
    • Blackhand, when empowered by Gul'dan, regrows his hand around the claw he's been wearing on the stump of the previous one but with sickly-looking flesh, grows skin on the spines he's been using as a cape, and looks less orcish and more bestial, with more teeth among other things.
    • Gul'dan himself sprouts a crown of horns on his back from oft usage of fel.
    • When he's fully corrupted, Medivh's skin wrinkles and turns dark blue, and he starts to sprout horns from his chin.

  • Bleak Expectations: When Mr. Benevolent comes back from his second death by possessing a medium, he physically transforms her into his own form. When that goes wrong, the medium's still-possessed remains are eaten by a pigeon, and Mr. Benevolent takes over that, and uses it to try and work his way back to humanity. He does admit that there are still some pigeon atavistic urges he's unable to completely resist.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Demon: The Fallen, Demons knowledgeable in the lore of transformation can make permanent alterations to its host.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 & 4.0: Many fiends find remodeling their new body to their advantage and extensive remodeling can result in being completely replaced.
  • In Ravenloft, this is how fiends gain physical form in the Domains of Dread, in a process known as Transposition. It is a five-step process that gradually transforms the body of the fiend's victim, advancing in a manner similar to how a person can be corrupted in Ravenloft by committing acts of evil, before culminating in the final step where the fiend takes the place of the victim on the Material Plane and condemns the victim's soul to an awful fate in the Outer Planes. Because of the nature of the Domains of Dread, this is just as much of a trap for the fiend involved as any other evil being caught in the Mists.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Daemons will alter the body of their host, moulding it into one more suitable for them. The host rarely lasts for very long. They can do this to things as well as people, by the way, as even machines in this setting have souls to devour. Swords, guns, giant robots, city-sized, planet-wrecking starships, entire sodding planets...
    • Lucius the Eternal, the Champion of Slaanesh, gets his epithet because whoever kills him and feels the slightest twinge of pride over it slowly turns into him. Once the transformation is complete, the killer is just another screaming face trapped in Lucius' armor.
  • The Fomori in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. When a bane (an evil spirit of the Wyrm) possesses a human body, that person's body is hideously mutated with whatever the Storyteller picks from a grab-bag of disgusting Body Horror-based powers. Examples include multiple limbs and mouths, corrosive puss boils, and internal organs replaced by infectious fungus.
  • Likewise, the spirits in Werewolf: The Forsaken can do this to their hosts, but only at the point where they've either destroyed the host's consciousness or irreversibly taken over their soul. In any case, the body starts to take on elements of the spirit possessing it — for the Hosts, this is usually the creature the Host derives from (examples include spiders, rats, crows, worms, fungi, etc.), but for the Spirit-Claimed, the possessed takes on elements of its nature (a fire elemental will give its host bright eyes and blisters, a death spirit will make its host look gaunt, etc.).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:

    Visual Novel 
  • This is how the Kurain Spirit Channeling system works in the Ace Attorney titles. It comes in handy more than once, allowing a widow to see, hear and speak to her fallen husband one more time, allows a medium to hide from a vengeful spirit that wants them dead and allows a spirit to hide the fact that they have died from a friend of theirs, in order to keep their spirits up.

    Web Animation 


    Web Originals 
  • Noted in the Whateley Universe as one possible consequence of a low-powered Avatar-type mutant hosting a too-powerful spirit as the spirit will make changes to the Avatar's body to make itself more comfortable. And the Avatar trait is already all about being superhumanly good at this sort of thing...

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, the Ice Crown causes a physical transformation in its wearer, whom it tries to impose its own will on. As the person falls further and further under the Crown's control, they begin to develop blue skin, long white hair, and fangs (although some of these traits can vary depending on circumstance).
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker is actually Tim Drake acting under the control of an implanted chip containing Joker's personality, memories, and genetic information. When the Joker chip takes control, it transforms Tim into a clone of the Joker. "Joker" has access to all of Tim's memories in addition to his own and can even make his voice sound like Tim's (which he does to keep Tim's wife from being suspicious of her husband working late hours). "Joker" tells Terry that while he still has to revert to Tim Drake every now and then, he's getting stronger and soon will be able to maintain control full-time. Thankfully, Terry is able to destroy the chip and free Tim from the Joker's control.
  • The Boondocks: When Tom is possessed by Stinkmeaner, his Animesque eyes are changed into Black Dot Pupils and gains dark circles around them, befitting the deranged psychopath possessing him.
  • After being possessed by Zordrak in an episode of The Dreamstone, Amberley gains a pair of extremely evil looking glowing eyes.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Sock Opera", when Dipper is possessed by Bill, he gains creepy yellow eyes, and teeth that should probably not be on an animated character.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The ghost of Shendu (a dragon-demon-wizard) usually gives his host glowing red eyes when in control. While he's not capable of transforming his host's body under his own power, he once tried to do so manually with potions, and when he is in control, will dress as befits a demon sorcerer, to his host's chagrin.
  • In The Legend of Korra, when a human is possessed by a spirit, the human's body starts to change to resemble the spirit. If the spirit stays inside too long, the host will die.
  • The Owl House: When Belos possesses Hunter, his cursed slime covers large patches of Hunter's body, antlers sprout from his head, his eyes glow electric blue, and his arms become long and stretchy, able to extend to many times the length of his entire body. Hunter managed to throw him out of his body, but while he lost the antlers and the stretchy arms, he was left Covered with Scars and barely clinging to life.
  • Happened a few times in The Real Ghostbusters, most notably in the episode 'If I Were A Witch Man', where we see the ghostly-witch Kestral possess two people — one of which being Egon Spengler — and she turns their bodies into the old stereotypical witch look (or in Egon's case, an old man).
  • Wakfu: When a shushu possesses someone, they take on the physical traits of the shushu's true form, making them look like a fusion between the two in most cases.
    • An interesting case occurs when Anathar possesses Adamai. It seems like the transformation isn't solely due to his own power but also because he's exploiting and supercharging the natural shapeshifting abilities of his host. The result is a drooling grotesque mockery of a full-grown dragon with eyes all over its body that is strong enough to face Phaeris the Powerful in single combat.


Video Example(s):


Pond Scum

After hanging around with the Pond Scum for a while, he fully possesses Norbert and turns him and his appearance into something more rebellious.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformationOfThePossessed

Media sources: