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"I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over... and the insect is awake."
Seth Brundle, The Fly (1986)
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Monsters are pretty damn scary. Horrible, bug-eyed, slobbering, and in no way ever human. Therefore, it's all the more unsettling when it's revealed that a monstrous creature was once human, but became a monster through some sort of infection, curse, sheer personal evil or transformation and there's no means of changing them back.

Related to Body Horror and Face–Monster Turn, but distinct in that while Body Horror deals with the fact of the monstrosity itself and usually follows it from beginning to end, Was Once a Man is where a creature is monstrous when first introduced, but is either implied heavily or later revealed to have once been human.

Sometimes the mind is not affected; only the body is. If the mind is affected it might be a Pre-Insanity Reveal. Sometimes the original mind can be reached. This does not undermine the horror of it. Indeed, in certain ways, it makes the horror even worse.

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In some cases, the person may actually like being transformed, and doesn't care about becoming human again. Instead, they are a Fully-Embraced Fiend.

See also: Body Horror, And Then John Was a Zombie, Viral Transformation, The Virus, Tragic Monster, Stages of Monster Grief and Reforged into a Minion. Compare and contrast Uncanny Valley. Also contrast with Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, for a non-monstrous transformation.

Super-Trope to: Angelic Transformation, Deity of Human Origin, Demon of Human Origin, and Tragic Monster.

This trope has nothing to do with Gender Bender. Not to be confused with Animorphism, Transflormation, or Baleful Polymorph, in which the thing that used to be a human is not a monster, although it can still be a Brown Note Being. And definitely not to be confused with being Male-to-Female Transsexual, even as a joke.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Ahiru No Oujisama, Mister was once a prince, but is now an ugly dog. He turns back...after being a short ugly weirdo for a bit he gets back to being a bishonen.

  • In Attack on Titan, the Titans are all human. More specifically, they are all members of the Eldian people descended from the original Titan, Ymir Fritz. When exposed to a special serum made from spinal fluid, they are transformed into a mindless Titan and trapped in this state until killed or lucky enough to consume one of the Nine Titans. The Nine Titans (such as Eren) are the only Titans capable of regaining their human form and controlling their powers, while all others remain in a state once described as an "endless nightmare". Little surprise the oppressive Marleyan regime uses it as a form of execution for Eldians.

  • Berserk: Every Apostle was once human. Humans become Apostles when a creepy little egg-like item called a Behelit comes into their possession and they hit an emotional nadir where they will do anything to get out of their current situation. At this point, the Behelit rearranges the features scattered upon its surface into a human face and screams, which summons the three (later four) dark gods of the God Hand, who proceed to offer him or her the chance to become a Apostle in exchange for the sacrifice of those closest to them. It also turns out that every member of the God Hand was also human, and they were created with the use of Behelits as well. While Apostles do sometimes retain the personalities they had when they were human, all too often they commit Transhuman Treachery, with many of them preferring to dine on their former species. When Apostles die, they typically revert to their former human forms after their spirits are Dragged Off to Hell.

  • Bleach. Every Hollow started out as a lost human soul. Eventually, it lost its heart, whether through time or the attacks of another Hollow, and became a monster, feeling nothing but the desire to murder and a hunger for souls. If they survive long enough, Hollows can "get over it" on their own (or if someone else removes their mask or uses the Hogyoku on them) and become Arrancar, who are intelligent creatures and apparently don't need to eat souls anymore (considering that they have copious amounts of regular food in Las Noches and only three or so Arrancar are ever shown any desire to eat anyone... and of those, one is a Mad Scientist who's turned his minions into edible medicine and another has the ability to gain the powers of anyone he eats, so they're not just eating for the sake of eating.)

  • Chrono Crusade has an unusual example revealed towards the end: Pandaemonium was once a human woman pregnant with twins. The demons kidnapped her and transformed her into the monstrous, Mind Rape-using queen she is — and transformed her human children, Chrono and Aion, into demons as well.

  • Claymore: Each and every Awakened Being and, perhaps more shockingly, the Abyss Eaters. Even more shockingly, the Youma.

  • Delicious in Dungeon: The zombies, walking skeletons and ghouls are the re-animated corpses and ghosts of adventurers who couldn't be revived for various reasons.

  • The Demon Prince of Momochi House: Aoi happened to wander into the titular house as a child, only for the house to choose him as "Omamori-sama." Meaning, he becomes a Nue. Luckily, he can shapeshift between his human and Nue forms.

  • D.Gray-Man: Akumas. Their hunters know, at least in abstract, that they contain the souls of innocent people forever tortured until the Akuma are destroyed and they're released, but only Allen has to confront the vision of them on a daily basis. As with Hollows (though in Bleach it's a different story), leveling up obscures more and more the original souls, until even Allen can't see them anymore. It also makes new souls in the process.

  • Elfen Lied: Anna, when first introduced, is an adorable and happy, if dimwitted, young girl who loves to run. Her father is disappointed with her lack of intelligence, and transforms her into an enormous, horribly mutated creature with super-intelligence and precognitive ability. She cannot support the weight of her gigantic head, and so must remain virtually immobile in a pool. Remember how she loved to run? Yeah. She gets better and is overjoyed when she realizes she can't do simple math.

  • Fairy Tail: The dragon Acnologia and Spriggan 12 member Irene Belserion were originally human Dragon Slayers. However, their magic eventually ran out of control and morphed their bodies into that of dragons though Acnologia figured out how to retake his human form at will while Irene regained her physical human appearance thanks to Zeref, though biologically she's still a dragon. Turns out this is something that happens to all Dragon Slayers eventually, unless they have certain antibodies to prevent it. The present-day Dragon Slayers' Dragon parents sealed themselves in their children for seven years to create those antibodies.

  • Franken Fran: This happens a lot to people who go under Fran Madaraki's scalpel, or that of her creator.

  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Shou Tucker, the Sewing Life alchemist, fuses his daughter Nina with her dog, Alexander. He also fused his wife with another beast a few years back, in order to gain his certification. Both chimeras are able to talk, and they both make it known they're not happy with their new existence. The one made from his wife asks to be killed and when, it isn't obliged, starves itself. The one made from Nina and Alexander is killed by Scar.
    • This happens to Tucker himself, too, but only in the 2003 anime adaptation — in all other versions he's executed for his crimes. He's made into a chimera and officially listed as having been executed by the state so that he can continue his experiments for the government in secret.
    • There are a number of other cases in the series. Perhaps most notable are the chimeras working for Greed and Kimblee, who were soldiers fused with animals — though most of them retained their human forms, they're none too happy about their situation and the latter join the heroes so that they can eventually become fully human again—and the former serial killers used as guards at Laboratory 5, who were officially executed but actually had their souls bonded to suits of armor just like Alphonse. Slicer and his brother lament their situation and, in the 2003 version, the latter actually ends up committing suicide, but the other guard, Barry, is perfectly fine with it.

  • InuYasha: Naraku was once an ordinary bandit. He has made a pact with a lot of lower youkai, and thus he has become who he is.

  • King of Thorn has the "mother monster", which is eventually revealed to have been a human (Shizuku) who succumbed to The Virus.

  • Made In Abyss has creatures that are known to show up occasionally in the depths, called Narehate, that are known to be the living remains of those who traveled to the Capital of the Unreturned and...well, returned. The ones encountered in the Sea of Corpses and layers above generally look completely inhuman and have no shred of sanity or capability for rational thought left. The only apparent exception is the rabbit girl Nanache. Later, more human-like Narehate are discovered in the Capital of the Unreturned, although they appear to have become Narehate through a different mechanism.

  • In Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, all the Djinns were revealed to be once members of the sentient species that were freed and later allied with Solomon.

  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: It's implied that Fafnir was not born as a dragon but instead transformed into one, much like his mythological counterpart.

  • Naruto:
    • The thousands of Zetsu clones were victims of the first Infinite Tsukiyomi rather than clones of Hashirama. The end goal of Kaguya is to create an army using the same technique.
    • The Juubi was created when Kaguya merged herself into the God-Tree.

  • One Piece has the island of Dressrosa. Their humans and living toys live together. Except unlike other fantastic beings in One Piece, these "toys" were once humans but turned into toy creatures by a Devil Fruit user.

  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it turns out that every single Witch that the magical girls fight (those that aren't ex-familiars, anyway) was once a magical girl herself, and to make things even worse, every magical girl is ultimately doomed to become one of the very monsters she's been fighting, unless she dies first.

  • Rosario + Vampire: Hokuto Kaneshiro is revealed to be this, having been human like Tsukune before being injected with Kiria's blood. His new true form is infinitely more horrifying.

  • Assassination Classroom: Koro-sensei was once a human assassin, before he was captured and gradually transformed into a tentacled monster.

  • Sailor Moon: Many of the monsters were originally human. Some of the Youma in the first season and the Phage of the last season. Sailor Moon's power to restore the Phage to normal actually shocks the Starlights, as they had to simply destroy them because they lacked the power to do so without their princess. A single human-based Daimon also appeared in a flashback which was closer to their manga version. The lemures were also either human or human-like aliens before their queen stole their dreams. Then they got weird. And the Witches Five were, essentially, humans possessed by Daimon Seeds. Also inverted, where a few enemies like the Great Youma were monsters born into human form.

  • Seraph of the End: Vampires were once humans themselves.

  • World Embryo: The enemy virus, Kanshu, were once humans who lost their memories and transformed into hideous beings upon listening to the infected radio signals in their cell phones.

  • In Xam'd: Lost Memories, it becomes clear fairly early on that both human form weapons and Hiruko are former humans.

  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • During the Virtual World arc, Kaiba's former board members, the Big Five, had uploaded their minds into a virtual reality game to defeat him; their own defeat led to their minds being trapped in cyberspace. Later, Noah discovered them and brought them to his separate virtual world, where they assumed the forms of various creatures from the Duel Monsters game in order to challenge Kaiba and his allies. They later managed to assume a human form again by taking over the virtual avatar of Tristan Taylor; Tristan himself became trapped in the form of a robotic monkey after losing a duel with one of the Big Five but was restored to normal upon exiting the world and returning to his physical body. Kaiba's stepfather Gozaburo also demonstrated the ability to assume a monstrous form in the virtual world.
    • Yubel, the Big Bad of season three of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. They willingly gave up their humanity and was turned into a demon in order to become a spiritual guardian for their ward (who would become Judai in later life).
    • All of the villains originating from the Bad Future of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, including Z-one, Aporia, and Paradox. The first is a cyborg with god-like powers, while the other two are android incarnations of their previous selves.
    • The Seven Barian Emperors, the antagonists of the second season of Yu Gi Oh Zexal, were all once human, and they can assume human forms that resemble - for the most part - their original forms.

    Comic Books 
  • B.P.R.D.: It's revealed that Abe Sapien was once a human named Langdon Everett Caul, and has been alive since the 19th century. Of course, there are several other examples in both BPRD and Hellboy, such as the frog monsters, or the Too Dumb to Live wannabe satanist aristocrat couple who fell afoul of minor demon Ualac in Box Full of Evil.
  • Camelot 3000: Morgan la Fay keeps an ape-like animal on a leash as a Right-Hand Attack Dog. At one point, she informs an underling that it was once a man, until he got on her nerves.
  • DC Comics:
    • Batman: Solomon Grundy was once Cyrus Gold, a merchant in 18th century Gotham City, who was murdered and whose body was dumped in the infamous Murder Swamps, where he rose once again as the unkillable Grundy, who would walk the Earth forevermore.
    • Swamp Thing:
      • Swamp Thing was once Alec Holland, who was murdered in the Florida swamps and rose again as a mass of vegetable matter in the shape of a hulking humanoid. Or so he thought. Alec Holland died out there in the swamps, and the being that rose from the mud was a plant elemental with the absorbed memories and personality of Alec.
      • Played straight after Alec's resurrection in Brightest Day. In the New 52 Swamp Thing series, Alec discovers that he was supposed to be Swamp Thing, but died before he could be transformed, resulting in the creation of his mental copy... and with his return, he's back on the candidate list. After much struggle, Alec accepts his fate, deciding to become Swamp Thing for real.
  • Wonder Woman: In the Golden Age of Comics Queen Atomia's identical adoring subjects and mindless robotic seeming slaves are revealed to be created by forcing humans through transformation chambers. Not even Amazonian medical science can do anything to help them.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: On one mission to a Dyson sphere, the team runs into a horrific Blob Monster that dissolves everything it comes into contact with. After a few minutes running away very fast, Adam Warlock comes to the horrific realization that the Negative Space Wedgie they came to seal has already opened... inside the people who lived there, and the blob monster? Is the result.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2020): The reborn Olympian gods have automaton servants working for them. In issue 2, Peter Quill finds out they were the people of the planets the Olympians have been raiding, surgically mutilated and stuck into metal shells. It's learning this that convinces Quill the gods need to be blown to Hell.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • The Mutant, a hideous multi-limbed...thing from an alternate future timeline where he tortured and killed Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson, as well as destroyed Mega City One, ruling over the ruins along with the now corrupted and mutated judges. He is actually Owen Crysler from The Judge Child storyline
    • Another comic revolves around a man who is secretly given a serum based on dinosaur DNA by his upstairs neighbor, a Mad Scientist who slips it into his food. He ends up slowly devolving into a hideous reptile man, and eats and kills his wife and the scientist before Dredd is forced to kill him.
    • Judge Death started out as human before he met the Sisters of Death, who transformed him into the undead monster we know him as now. When his fellow Dark Judges see the results, they ask for the same to be done to them.
    • There's a rare genetic mutation which will slowly turn the afflicted person into a human-sized spider. Played for Drama in one comic when a woman with the condition is abandoned by her husband, Played for Laughs in another one when the test results of two patients are accidentally mixed.
    • After the massive jailbreak on the Titan prison, the survivors eventually come back as some sort of ice mutants. They can morph back to their human forms, but whatever they were turned into by the subterranean moon spiders, it's no longer human.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Fafnir (the chronologically first version) used to be a human. Due to a long string events involving (a) Loki murdering his son and a pile of cursed gold, he turned into a dragon.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Galactus of the Marvel Universe was once a man of the previous universe named Galan. As his universe died to pave way for the new, current one, Galan journeyed into the center of the Big Bang refusing to give in to destruction. The powers that be were impressed and transformed him into Galactus.
    • Man-Thing was a scientist who, upon his death in a Florida swamp, was merged with an attempted recreation of the Super Soldier serum that created Captain America that he had been working on, and became a hideous half man, half plant creature with only the most basic remnants of sentience left.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: Played with. The surviving Xerbians initially consider Xadhoom an alien monster (albeit an allied one), and are quite unsettled when they find out she was once their leader. Them expressing the wish to make her return to normality also caused them to receive a "The Reason You Suck" Speech (with A God Am I thrown in to hammer down she has no reason to return normal) before Xadhoom went for her Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Strikeforce: Morituri: Invoked with the "mutants", four humans who were accidentally turned into super-powered monstrosities when they underwent the Morituri Process without proper supervision.

    Fan Works 
  • Actually, I'm Dead begins with an alternate ending to "Magic Duel", where Trixie dies and is brought back to life as an undead creature, but with her mind still stuck in her decaying body. It gets worse, when she dies yet again and is brought back by the amulet as.. something else.
  • Ask a Pony: In Ask Crapplejack, it's explained that in Equestria's prehistory Discord was actually one of a race of "Draconequusi". These were not twisted and ugly like him, but were beautiful and actually looked like dragons with horse features. Discord's transformation began when a war broke out between the Draconequus race and the race of Alicorns, who lived alongside them, and hoping for a way to sway the tide he unleashed a powerful god of madness named Genuvial which corrupted his mind and body until he lost sight of the war and decided to turn the world to chaos instead.
  • In The Bridge, King Caesar and Monster X were both men who volunteered to be transformed into Kaiju in order to protect and serve their people. Monster X has Trauma-Induced Amnesia and does not remember this.
  • Date A Re:Live follows the example from its below-mentioned source material, Except that Tohka Yatogami plays it straight where she was born human prior to becoming a spirit several months before she turned 16 biologically.
  • Diamond in the Rough (Aladdin): The Reveal is that the Carpet, Iago, and the Tiger's Head at the Cave of Wonders were once humans, transformed during a duel for the lamp.
  • The Equestria Chronicles: In Legends of Equestria, Discord reveals that he was once a unicorn in ancient times. However, he was transformed by the corrupting power of dark magic after accepting it in an attempt to restore order to his life after his family is killed.
  • Experiment: The inhabitants of Sezaria were all human once excluding the "original one" - Ladrafiefr/Kaito. Said inhabitants are now freaky aliens with tentacles coming from their backs.
  • Cissnei's Path: Several of the summonings like Odin and Ramuh are revealed to have formerly been human.
  • For Love of Magic: Theorized after Harry nearly becomes a Dementor; he wonders if Dementors are wizards who tampered with magic they didn't understand.
  • Imperfect Metamorphosis: While never a man per se (on the counts of being neither male nor technically human), the Blob Monster (ie. Rin Satsuki) definitely fits.
  • The Nuptialverse: Chrysalis used to be a normal pegasus who made a deal with Discord for power (she thought he was going to make her an alicorn; he thought that was too boring). Likewise, the other changelings were once flutterponies until Discord needed to give Chrysalis an army.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, the first monster Barty Crouch Jr. tries to use against the heroes is none other than Karkaroff, whose mysterious disappearance they'd investigated several chapters earlier. As an Inferius.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: A sidestory reveals that Elite Four member Agatha had a younger brother named Tony, who was killed by an evil Gengar in Johto's Drowning Woods, and had his soul ripped out of his body and turned into a Gastly. He would eventually grow to become her Gengar as seen in canon.
  • Ponies Of Olympus:
    • Chrysalis and her subjects used to be normal ponies (they're implied to have been flutterponies, in fact), before Erebos transformed them.
    • Discord used to be a pony named Endymion and was Luna's lover before an unspecified event led to him trying to take Chaos' powers and being consumed by it.
  • Blue Sky: This is revealed to be true of Wheatley, though he isn't pleased to realize it. He eventually makes it back to his real body.
  • Shadows Awakening: The Phantom, as well as the other wizards who created the Shadowkhan, were once human, but the resulting magic of creating the lower, mindless Shadowkhan, caused them to transform (but since they kept their minds and became The Ageless, they didn't care). Daolon Wong later repeats the process as a Mid-Season Upgrade.
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: Some of the supernatural villains were originally humans. They are also Fully Embraced Fiends who like being transformed into various monstrosities, and revel in the horror they can cause their innocent victims.
  • Ripples: It's established that the Changelings were originally created when Queen Escannor experimented on people taken from Earth (specifically, political enemies and prisoners that Augustus wanted rid of), giving them the ability to take monstrous forms and serve as her Elite Army, which was passed down to their descendants.

     Films — Animated 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the eponymous Beast was a human prince with a cold heart who was turned into a monster by a sorceress posing as an old woman seeking shelter. The only way for him to break the curse placed upon him was to learn to love another.
  • In Brave, an old witch with a strange penchant for bears has at least twice given people "solutions" to their problems that involve turning people into bears. One such transformation resulted in Mor'du, the demon bruin, who having asked for the strength of ten men seems to have taken heartily to his new identity as a complete monster.
  • G.I. Joe: The Movie: After Cobra Commander gets hit with altered fungus and starts turning into a snake, all he can hiss is "I was once a man!" until the transformation is complete. Definitely the Trope Namer and what Sealab referenced in the above quote, despite not being "human" in the first place in this continuity. He gets somewhat better in the series immediately following the movie with some assist, which was justified in story by the Power Armor he wore.
  • In Rise of the Guardians, while all the Guardians are more supernatural beings than monsters, Tooth implies that they were all mortal before becoming who they are now. Jack was a human who had drowned before the Moon transformed him into an immortal being.
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, a follow-up of sorts to The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, the backstory of Asmodeus, the titular 13th ghost, is that he was originally an ancestor of Vincent Van Ghoul named Asamad Van Ghoul who ended up transformed into a demon after he became evil.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: Rise of an Empire: According to Queen Gorgo, Xerxes literally discarded every human part of him to become a God-King by making a deal with evil forces in a desert cave.
  • Aquaman (2018): The Trench creatures were once Atlantians or at least, far more sapient than they currently are before Atlantis sank. Hundreds of years of adapting to the darkest parts of the oceans took its toll on their minds and they devolved into monsters.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Vlad Tepes, apparently forsaking God turned him into a bloodsucking beast with power to turn others into vampires just like him.
  • The Cave: One of the monsters bears the same tattoo on its hand as one of the cavers previously seen entombed within the cave system at the beginning of the movie, which bodes poorly for parasite-infected expedition leader Jack.
  • Doom: The mutants were condemned criminals who were injected with an extra pair of chromosomes, but due to their DNA having "genetic markers for evil", horrifically mutated. And they can sense who else has the same evil genes, so they attack them as well.
  • Dracula Untold shows how Vlad III was before he was a vampire and his transition into the legendary Count Dracula.
  • The Fly (1986) is about a scientist who has built two devices through which one can teleport objects and later also living beings. Unfortunately when he first goes through the teleporter as a Professor Guinea Pig, a fly is in there as well, so he slowly mutates into a Half-Human Hybrid afterward. Near the film's end, he sadly laments that he's become an example of this trope in mind as well as body (the above page quote comes from this speech), in hopes of convincing his faithful lover to leave him before he hurts her.
  • Friday the 13th: Jason Voorhees was once a normal child, birth defects not withstanding. Then he drowned in a lake while camp counselors neglected their duties so they chould have sex in the woods. Now, he's an undead killing machine, slaughtering anyone unlucky enough to come to Camp Crystal Lake.
  • Hellraiser: The Cenobites all used to be human, including the ones that are no longer even humanoid. When a Cenobite is killed, his or her body turns back into human form, suggesting that killing one of them may be a Mercy Kill in some cases.
  • Lost in Space: This fate happens to Doc Smith in the future timeline, when he is infested/mutated by spiders.
  • In The Mummy Trilogy both the high priest Imhotep and the The Scorpion King were mortal men once, but they were both cursed to come back as immortal and powerful monsters.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger was once a human serial killer, but turned into something resembling a nightmare ghost/demon after his death.
  • In Phantasm, inventor Jebediah Morningside steps through his newly created dimensional gate. The Tall Man is what comes back through.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Davy Jones and his crew all used to be humans, before being cursed into their current monstrous, piscine forms. Lampshaded by Calypso, who describes Jones in this manner (and is responsible for the curse that transformed him; she briefly reverts him to his human form as well when they meet again).
  • The Relic: The lizard-monster is revealed at the end to be a human explorer who ate a concoction of some particularly funky herbs in South America.
  • Serenity: The Reavers. Actually, it was BECAUSE their minds were warped that their bodies are so messed up (self-mutilation).
  • Species II: Patrick Ross was an astronaut, which was infected with alien DNA, and has turned then into an alien-human hybrid.
  • Sssssss: The mad scientist Dr. Carl Stoner (Strother Martin) turns his lab assistants into king cobras.
  • Star Wars:
  • Toho Studios, famed for their Godzilla movies, released a trilogy of standalone "Transforming Human" films, the first of which was The H-Man (1958) and featured a set of shapeshifting blob-like monsters that melted other living beings on contact, transformed by exposure to radiation. While not a part of the trilogy, the 1963 film Matango had a similar theme and featured humanoid mushroom-like creatures, formerly humans who'd consumed the mushrooms after getting shipwrecked on a desert island and were transformed by them.
  • Xtro: Sam Philips returns home three years after his mysterious disappearance. What his ex-wife and son don't realize is that after being taken by the mysterious aliens, they changed him so that he can adapt to their homeworld's atmosphere. Unfortunately, it also turns him into a dangerous mutant operating on Blue and Orange Morality who won't hesitate to exploit or murder those around him. Except his own son, who eventually becomes an alien like his father and returns with him to the alien homeworld.

    Literature 
  • Angel: Used in Image, which has a guy who once was human but became more and more demon (and grotesque) in order to stay alive for hundreds of years.
  • Conan the Barbarian:
    • "Red Nails": Tolkemec lived apart from humanity for so long that he ceased to be human.
    • "Rogues in the House": Thak is an ambiguous example. It's unclear whether he degenerated from humanity into his apelike form or whether he ascended from apedom into something resembling humanity.
  • The Cosmere: All of the Shardholders were once mortal men and women who took up the Shards, godlike power that slowly warped them into little more than extensions of the power; in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy Ruin, especially, was once a kind and generous man who became nothing but raw destruction and the desire for the same. In The Stormlight Archive, Cosmere-aware individual claims that Odium is basically a force of nature at this point, but Hoid disagrees.
  • The Dark Elf Trilogy: Pech technically was never human, but he was a harmless creature turned into a monstrous hook horror by a wizard.
  • Date A Live: Some of the Spirits, namely Kotori and Miku, were once human. They became Spirits because of a mysterious entity known as Phantom. It's eventually revealed that almost all of them were originally human. The only ones who weren't are Mio (the first Spirit, of whom Phantom is one part) and Tohka. Mio-as-Phantom gave her power in the form of Sephira crystals to humans, but one of these developed its own ego and became Tohka.
  • Diamond Sword, Wooden Sword: The Rainmaster, a unique, acid rain-spawning undead horror, is a former human wizard from the order of Arc, cursed by the Black Sword of Humankind. The same curse also afflicts his daughter Sylvia in later novels.
  • Discworld:
    • Unseen Academicals marks the first appearance of orcs in the series. During the course of the book it is revealed that they are a manufactured species made from goblins. Only as it turns out, that's a misconception. As Vetinari puts it, "Goblins wouldn't have been nearly as ferocious." Discworld orcs were made from men.
    • The Librarian was turned from a regular human wizard into a sapient orangutan due to a massive magical event. He's perfectly happy being an orangutan for the rest of his life; just don't call him a monkey.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Virgil introduces himself to Dante not as a man, but as a shadow of one. This intro makes it clear early on the the damned who will be encountered in Inferno are mutilated souls rather than whole humans.
  • Dr. Franklin's Island, inspired in part by the above entry, has a couple of teenaged girls transformed into mutant animals. They grow used to their new forms before too long, but are always aware of what they look like to others. One of the scientists, face to face with one for the first time since she woke up like this, is struck with horror and hopes out loud that she doesn't have the same mind.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • There are also the three types of vampires: those of the Black and Red Courts are created in a typical way (humans turned through blood-drinking/exchange), while the White Court are born as humans (from other White Court) then turn into vampires sometime during their late teens/early adulthood.
    • In Death Masks, Harry gets a nice shock to the system when he looks into the eyes of the latest monstrosity to cross his path and sees the human soul it has.
    • In Cold Days at the end, Queen Mab tells Harry that she was mortal once. And Molly fills this as she becomes a Fae Queen as well.
  • Everlost: The monster called the McGill is revealed to have been Mary's brother, who sank down to the center of the earth and clawed his way back up. When he returned, he was a monster.
  • Felix Castor: All the monsters having once been human is a major theme and source of conflict in the novels.
  • ''God-Emperor of Dune': Leto II (mostly internally or to those close to him) laments his loss of humanity after becoming a giant sandworm, but he knows this is necessary for the survival of the human race.
  • Gotrek & Felix: In the first novel, the pair are hired to rescue a village's children from a mad scientist. After fighting their way through his mutant minions, they confront the scientist, only to find no trace of the kids. Felix suddenly realizes that those mutants were suspiciously smaller than usual right before their foe confirms his fears.
  • Halo: Primordium is narrated by the prehistoric human Chakas, now an AI more than 100,000 years old, and on his deathbed. At the end of Primordium, the AI's name is revealed: 343 Guilty Spark, the Monitor of Installation 04.
  • H. P. Lovecraft stories:
    • In "The Beast in the Cave", a man lost in a cave finds that there is some monstrous other creature in there with him, which turns out to be another man who also got lost in the cave long ago and has reverted to an animalistic state.
    • "The Rats in the Walls".
    • "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and his Family".
    • In "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", people descended from the Innsmouth bloodline start out human and gradually transform into hideous Fish People.
  • Immortals After Dark: The ghouls and wendigos both turn people into more of them with a bite or scratch.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau: Subverted. The narrator thinks that Moreau's creations are transformed humans, but they are actually animals that Moreau has turned into Beast Men.
  • Journey to Chaos: There are all manner of creepy, dangerous, and/or scary monsters roaming Tariatla, and a good many of them used to be sapient. Perfectly civil and friendly, until they were mana mutated. During Looming Shadow, Kallen encounters a monster and is about to kill it, when she realizes that it hasn't finished transforming yet, and that its threatening roars were actually screaming of pain.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Jihadain can transform humans and other beings into monsters and one bite transforms their victim into the same kind of monster.
  • Mistborn:
    • The Steel Inquisitors are humans who have been transformed into nigh-immortal killing machines via the dark art of Hemalurgy. The Koloss from the same series were originally humans as well, created by a similar process.
    • The First Generation of kandra were also former human Feruchemists who were friends of the Lord Ruler before his ascension; the others are descended from mistwraiths that were also Feruchemists, who weren't friends of the Lord Ruler and so didn't get to be sapient after he was done with them. Kandra are made from mistwraiths using the same Black Magic that makes Inquisitors and koloss.
      • Unusually for these tropes, it's not all that horrifying or morally dark. Kandra are intelligent and have no memories of being human, except for those of the first generation, so it's not traumatic for them. The Black Magic that turns mistwraiths into kandra is "black" because it is Blood Magic, sort of, and turns them into The Mole, but that part doesn't come up until the end of the last book of the trilogy.
  • The Mortal Instruments has Astriola, a venereal disease transmitted by demons that infects only shadowhunters. Some time after the infection, the shadowhunter also turns into a demon. There is only one known case in the books, but it is mentioned that there have been many more such cases in the past.
  • Star Wars:
    • In New Jedi Order, the mindless Bioweapon Beasts known as the Vagh Rodiek were once Rodians who were twisted into their current forms when the planet fell to the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • Rakghouls, vicious monsters who live to kill and feed, are always created when the Rakghoul plague infects a human and twists them into a mindless beast.
    • Abeloth. She was once a mortal woman (species unclear) who served The Father, The Son, and The Daughter. She was eventually promoted to The Mother and loved her new family. As she aged, she grew paranoid that her ageless family would abandon her, so she drank of the Font of Power and bathed in the Pool of Knowledge. While this granted her immortality and advanced Force powers, this also mutated her into an Eldritch Abomination. Sadly, this event caused her family to abandon her.
  • Old Kingdom: Most of the various types of Dead were originally human in body and/or spirit (though some of the weaker ones, like the gorecrows, were once animals). Hedge starts out as a human necromancer, but becomes progressively inhuman as the Destroyer's power over him increases (thankfully, we never learn what exactly he was turning into, though it doesn't seem to have been Dead).
  • The Powder Mage Trilogy features Wardens. Wardens are inhuman creatures created by the Kez Royal Cabal using dark magic. They are twisted creations designed to be unshakeably loyal and specifically designed to defeat the titular powder mages. In the second book, the mad god Kresimir begins building "Black Wardens" out of powder mages themselves, which are even worse. There is a subplot about a viewpoint character growing increasingly certain that his missing son has been transformed into a Black Warden.
  • In The Relic, the museum beast is revealed to be a scientist mutated by an ancient retrovirus.
  • Resident Evil 3: Mentioned in The Resident Evil: Nemesis Novelization by Jill when she has the titular Nemesis on the ropes. She acknowledges that it was probably once a man and she almost pities it... before putting the damned thing down once and for all with a high-calibre revolver.
  • Secret City:
    • Moryanas are the race of cute slender girls who can shapeshift into musclebound, regenerating killing machines. While they reproduce sexually (they can interbreed with most of the races but give birth only to Moryanas, no matter who the father was), the first of them were artificially created from two human women each.
    • Hiperboreans, or Kadath, draw their power from Golden Root, a drug that grants or boosts magical abilities, but is extremely addictive, and prolonged use causes mutations. Most of Hyerarchs of Kadath, the elite, do not even resemble men by now. However, several most powerful look completely human save for their Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy:
    • There's something strangely human-like about the eyes of certain creatures in Area X. Many of them are implied to have once been expedition members before being transformed into their current states, and the Crawler is what remains of the lighthouse keeper.
    • More explicitly horrific examples would be the eleventh expedition's psychologist, who became the moaning thing in the reeds, and the twelfth expedition's biologist herself, who becomes a Kaiju-sized glowing leviathan covered in eyes (many of which are still human, others... not so much).
  • In Starlight and Shadows, Shakti encounters a Yochlol, one of the hideous slime demons which serve as the Handmaidens of Lolth, which dimly recalls its former identity as a drow priestess.
    Yochlol: Before you stands the glorious form to which a priestess of power and prestige might aspire!
    Shakti: You are not long dead. You still remember your life and your name.
    Yochlol: In time, all this will fade. The priestess will be forgotten. Only Lolth will remain.
  • Sword of Truth: The mriswith and sliph were once human, turned into this by ancient wizards to use in war.
  • There and Back Again: Rattler, the cyborg Gollum-equivalent, was human until the Resurrectionists started experimenting on her.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: In Tolkien's concept, evil and the various Big Bads cannot create, only pervert: therefore, almost every evil creature is a corruption or mockery of a pre-existing being.
    • As individuals, there are the Nazgûl, who were once human rulers who were turned into bodiless shades bound to Sauron's will by the Nine Rings, and Gollum, who was once just an ordinary proto-hobbit before ages spent in the dark with only the One Ring for company took their toll.
    • The orcs are descendants of elves twisted by Sauron's master and predecessor, Morgoth. If you really want a squicky thought, it's rumoured that the Uruk-hai were partly men in some fashion. Trolls are a mockery of ents. Subverted in the case of the undead barrow-wights, who only possessed the dead bodies of those buried. However, the orcs-from-elves theory is only one possible explanation — Tolkien kept revising that one. Some dislike the idea that orcs were literally corrupted elves as that would imply the orcs have genuine sapient and intelligence, which Tolkien implies on a few occasions is not the case, so some suggest the orcs are corruptions of various non-sapient animals.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Blood Angels: In Red Fury, the Bloodfiends have fragmentary memories of the Blood Angels whose blood they have drunk; Rafen, fighting one, is reminded of his dead mentor Koris, and when he kills it, its last breath might have been a word: Brother.
    • Gaunt's Ghosts: In His Last Command, the stalkers are Guardsmen and ogryns captured by Chaos and reshaped into beasts.
    • The Path Of The Warrior reveals that Eldar Exarchs were once Eldar, but lost themselves in the struggle to control their rage and became part of a gestalt consciousness dominated by the first Exarch to lead their shrine, trapped and unable to die, subsumed into the whole, and speaking only in stream-of-consciousness. This has actually been part of the background fluff for Eldar since the beginning. The Path Of The Warrior simply gives us a very up close and personal exposure to what it's like inside the head of an Exarch.
    • Space Wolf:
      • Ragnor is most horrified about the nightgangers that they find in a Chaos-tainted cave because they, or their ancestors, had been human once.
      • In Sons of Fenris, when the Space Wolves and Dark Angels go up against Cadmus's elite forces, the tattered remnants of their uniforms is the only evidence they had once been human; some still wield weapons, but only those merged with their flesh.
    • Ultramarines: Dead Sky Black Sun, Uriel realizes the Unfleshed — monstrous, gigantic (next to him, a Space Marine), and flesh-eating — were once not only human but children. When they are willing to speak with him, having smelled that he came from the same place they were made, he finds that they are still good and will help him in his quest. One sadly confesses to him that they loathe themselves because of their forms. In The Killing Ground, Uriel must Mercy Kill the last survivor and is left deeply melancholy thereafter.
  • ' The Word and the Void: Demons are former humans who gave up their souls for power.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Vampires are humans who have been turned into soul-less demons. Some of them, like Angel and later Spike, are able to regain their soul, but others are quite better off dusted.
  • In Chrysalis, the Terran is aware from their "birth" that they were once human, complete with memories as a human, and they seek to preserve their humanity through many methods even as they build themself a spaceship body in their quest for revenge, chief of which being their refusal to make restorable backups of their consciousness.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Daleks:
      • The original Daleks started off as the Kaleds of Skaro, who looked like humans (on the outside, at least), but started mutating into tentacle blob things due to a generations-long nuclear war. Then the chief Kaled scientist Davros realized this, and decided to speed up the process, removing a few little details like "empathy" or "pity" while he was at it.
      • Another Dalek faction, the Imperials, were made from Human Popsicles. "Not pure enough in their blobbiness" indeed.
      • One iteration of the Daleks were produced by "filleting, sifting, and pulping" living humans to render a handful of cells judged strong enough to be shaped into Dalek form and welded into a travel machine.
      • "Asylum of the Daleks": Oswin Oswald. The Daleks turned her into one of them, and she was unable to deal with it, instead dreaming that she was still human.
    • Cybermen:
      • The Cybermen, more than any of the others. It's arguably the whole conception behind the way they were originally written in the 1960s.
      • "The Age of Steel": In the new series, Cybermen all look identical and have the same voice, so it's particularly jarring when Pete Tyler is confronted by a Cyberman that used to be his wife.
    • Many stories involving The Virus: e.g., "Mission to the Unknown", "Inferno", and "The Seeds of Doom".
    • Poor little Jamie from "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances".
    • "Tooth and Claw": The werewolf's host was a boy who lived near the monastery. The monks abducted him as a child, and the wolf "ate his soul and sat in his heart". And yet there's still a little of the human host left...
    • "Utopia"/"The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords": The Toclafane are Axe-Crazy flying metal spheres that are able to deploy knives and laserguns. Turns out that they once were humans living at the time of the universe's end. They turned themselves into metal spheres in hopes of surviving the end of the universe.
    • The Face of Boe may have once been Jack Harkness, or maybe Jack was just messing with the Doctor and Martha when he said that.
  • Pretty much the whole cast of Doom Patrol but particularly former race car driver Cliff Steele who, after an accident, the only thing they were able to save was his brain and lives out his days as a robot.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The "Oathkeeper" episode reveals that a good number of the White Walkers were originally Craster's sacrificed sons whom the Night's King transformed with a touch.
    • The White Walkers attempted to turn Benjen Stark into a wight, but he was saved by the Children, who restored his mind. However, his appearance and the way their magic works makes it clear he isn't strictly human anymore either way.
    • The Night's King was a man before the Children of the Forest turned him into the first White Walker.
  • Heat Vision and Jack: The Cool Bike Heat Vision used to be Jack's friend Owen, before he got hit with an experimental ray gun that caused him to merge with his motorcycle.
  • Lost: The Man in Black claims to have once been a human before becoming a sentient cloud of smoke. He's now human again, only able to switch between his monster form and John Locke. A flashback episode shows that this is true.
  • In Power Rangers Time Force, Frax, the robot who worked for Ransik but would eventually go solo, was once a human named Dr. Fericks who saved Ransik's life in the past, but was rewarded with the destruction of his lab and body. After using his own technology to rebuild himself, Frax vowed revenge on Ransik, and infiltrated his organization to bring him down from within.
    • Master Org in Power Rangers Wild Force was a Doctor before taking on the powers and identity of the original Master Org. His minions weren't happy when they found out, but he proved to be too much for them when they tried to rebel.
    • Zeltrax was transformed into a cyborg after a lab explosion. He is not happy about the loss of his body, and has decided that it is (in a roundabout manner) Tommy's fault. Mesogog was once a human scientist too.
    • In Power Rangers Samurai, Deker and Dayu were once human. Dayu sold her soul to save the life of the then-human Deker, but Deker has lost his memory and is now a Blood Knight who fights to satisfy his bloodlust, either by defeating a Worthy Opponent or by being put out of his misery. Last time he fought the Red Ranger, it looks as if the latter has finally happened. However, the season's only half over...
  • Primeval: Several people are infected by mutant mushrooms from the future, and two of them turn into mushroom monsters.
  • Star Trek: All Borg started as other species, usually humanoid. Seven of Nine, in particular, is an actual human from the Federation.
  • Supernatural: Several of the monsters are transformed humans, the most important being the demons, which are made by torturing souls in the bowels of Hell.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: The Quiz Broadcast sketches have Them, deep-voiced, red-eyed zombie-like things who want to get inside (they really want to get inside), and are implied to know more about what caused the mysterious "Event" than anyone else. But they were once human, something that breaks the game-show host's Stepford Smiler routine briefly.
    Host: Why do They look like us?
    Peter: Because they used to be us, didn't they?
    Host: Yes, that's right. They used to be... us.
  • Ultraman:
    • In Episode 23 of the original series, the Monster of the Week is Jamila — an astronaut who was stranded on an alien planet without any water, only to be abandoned by his people back home. Mutated by the environment, the astronaut evolved into a monster and eventually rebuilt his rocket to travel back to Earth, which he sought to attack in revenge for its people leaving him out in the cosmos to die. Serious Tear Jerker ensues as our heroes are extremely reluctant to kill the mutant human, but are forced by their superiors to treat him as just another mindless kaiju.
    • Jamila is later homaged by Ultraman Gaia with a monster named Tsuchikera. He was originally Kondo, a biological warfare researcher during World War II whom the Imperial Army mutated with a serum he developed to create super-soldiers when he refused to use it for the war. He fled to the swamps driven half-mad by his transformation but his friend Hirano remained by his side to help keep him sane. Unfortunately, radioactive leakage from underground nuclear testing begins to scramble Tsuchikera's brain and turns him into a giant monster. The results are an even bigger Tear Jerker than Jamila's episode.

    Music 
  • Black Sabbath: The eponymous character in "Iron Man" was a well-intentioned human given metallic form by a "great magnetic field" while traveling time to save the future of humanity. He went on to go cuckoo and decimate the human race because after he saves them, they won't help him or accept him.
  • Tarot: Implied in "Things That Crawl At Night", with the narrator saying "I have become one of the things that crawl at night."

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Though it is not supported by The Bible or any major religion except Mormonism, popular tradition has people become angels when they die. A more theologically sound example from Christianity would be demons, who are said to be angels that rebelled against God and fell from His grace.
  • Most undead creatures, such as zombies and vampires, are traditionally thought to have been living humans at some point or another. Werewolves are similarly held to start out as regular people who get turned into monsters.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • In the more famous version of her myth, Medusa was a priestess who was transformed as punishment for letting Poseidon into Athena's temple and having sex with him, right in front of the altar willfully forgoing her vow of celibacy and profaning Athena's sacred place. Her sisters shared in her punishment because they helped Poseidon sneak in the back and kept watch as the two did the deed. However, this is version is much Newer Than They Think — it first appeared in The Metamorphoses, a set of poems written by Ovid in the first decade AD; in Greek myths, Medusa and her sisters were conceived as having always been monsters and having been born to other monsters.
    • Quite a lot of animals in Greek myth were actually humans who ticked off the gods and were transformed into beasts, Arachne (once a human, then a spider) and King Lykans (once a human, then a wolf) being the two most prominent.
    • Scylla and Charybdis also fall into this category, as several myths hold them to be former nymphs who were transformed into hideous monsters.
    • Oddly subverted in the case of Heracles though. Born a man, his heroism leads him to be elevated to a god. Admittedly, one of his parents was a god, but there are plenty of other heroes in Greek mythology who have one divine parent, and Heracles is the only one who manages to become a god himself (though there are several humans who upon their deaths are made into constellations, trees, islands, stars, etc. so that they will never 'die').
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Fafnir, aka the dragon from Wagner's Ring cycle, aka the inspiration for Smaug in The Hobbit, Was Once a Man! In fact, he got the gold hoard first, and it cursed him into his monstrous form for his greed.
    • The sun and moon were once a normal girl and boy respectively, that Odin made into divine beings, always chased by wolves until their eventual death.

    Podcasts 
  • Cool Kids Table: All of the teens in The Chimera Program arc were once normal humans until the experiments.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE:
    • The Bohrok were once Av-Matoran. Nuparu made the Boxor machines out of Bohrok parts, so the Boxors are made out of dead Av-Matoran... and are piloted by Matoran who use them to fight still functioning Bohrok. While he didn't pilot Boxors, one of the topmost fighters in the war against the Bohrok was Takua, himself an Av-Matoran! They're people. Boxors are people! Sorry, it had to be done.
    • The Bohrok are the least of it. A whole ton of characters have or have had this as a plot, including Nidhiki, who was once a Toa before his mutation into spider-monster, The Barraki, who were once warlords described as "perfect physical specimens" before they became half-man-half-sea-monsters although they get better save Carparar, who died before that could happen, the Rahaga, who were also once Toa although they get better, and the Toa Metru, who temporarily became half-beast monsters called Toa Hordika.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bleak World: Every member of the Experiment Gone Horribly Wrong race are this, and desperately want to go back. Some have it worse than others though: Legion, Super Soldiers and Androids are all more capable of blending in and regaining humanity than their Patchwork and Radio Zombie brethren.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: A large number of monsters start out their lives as regular humanoids, before something happens to make them not be regular humanoids anymore.
    • Vargouilles are monsters resembling flying heads with batlike wings instead of ears. They "breed" by kissing humanoids, which causes their victim's ears to grow into wings themselves before their head detaches from their neck and flies off as a new vargouille.
    • illithids are a borderline case, as their larvae eat humanoids' brain and uses their body as the foundation for their own.
    • Skum are a species of Fish People who used to be human, long ago, before being taken by the Aboleths and turned into monstrous servants.
    • All humanoid undead, of course, used to be living people art some point.
    • The kaorti originated when humans or elves who went to the Far Realm and were changed by what they found. They reproduce through assimilation.
    • A number of prestige classes, such as the alienist and fleshwarper, eventually become something inhuman as well (and not in a good way, like a monk's ascension to outsider status), although without necessarily being evil.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In all games, Chaos Spawn are the result of the Chaos Gods rewarding their champions with many gifts, including physical mutations. Champions rewarded with too many ill-considered gifts will eventually lose their sanity and become little more than beasts, herded into battle by their former followers.
    • Scylla Anfinngrim, a champion of Khorne from Warhammer and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar devolved into a giant, hairy, shambling clawed horror. Unlike most spawn, he's proven nearly impossible to kill, and his tribe keeps him fed and worship him as the mighty warrior he was in exchange for getting to take a pure killing machine to war with them.
    • Warhammer: Tamurkhan from the supplement Tamurkhan Throne of Chaos was turned into a child-sized maggot-like creature with multiple eyes who can borrow into people's bodies and take them over to be his own while they're still alive.
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar some Tzaangor were originally humans who have gone through dark rituals to be turned into the avian beast-kin. This transformation is often voluntary with members of the Cult of the Transient Form in particular seeing being turned into a Tzaangor as a great honour.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Fabius Bile is shown pulling this on a large number of Space Marines in the Horus Heresy novels. Only one or two retain some fragments of sanity after the mad Apothecary finishes tinkering; the rest are little more than rabid killing machines.
      • The Necrontyr were once a sentient organic species, but long ago had their consciousnesses uploaded into robotic bodies, becoming the Necrons. Among other things, this cost them their souls, which were devoured by their gods. Some Necrons have further afflictions: the relatively simplistic method that was used to transfer most of the civilians into their bodies left them as little more than automatons, while the Flayed Ones have been driven mad by the loss of their mortal bodies, and seek to recapture the sensations of life by garbing themselves in the flesh of the living.
      • The Haemonculi fleshcrafters turn some of their prisoners into Grotesques, massive hypertrophied things with iron plates fused over their faces and weapons grafted into their limbs. They are treated as Cannon Fodder in battle, and frequently used against their own species. Given how the Dark Eldar feed on physical and emotional anguish, it is quite likely that Grotesques retain their original minds but are trapped in bodies no longer under their control.
      • The Wracks, Dark Eldar who willingly let a Haemonculus turn them into lesser Grotesques. Some of them treat this as an apprenticeship, hoping to become Haemonculi themselves, but many are just bored with their decadent lives and want to spend decades as horrific abominations.
  • Pathfinder: Almost all outsiders begin their lives as mortal souls sent to the Outer Panes, who over time transform into shapes embodying their personalities and their deeds in life. While very, very few remember their past lives, every single one of the demons, devils and worse that infest the darker parts of the cosmos used to be a regular mortal, long ago.
  • In Rifts, the island of Manhattan (called "Madhaven" in the setting) is filled with some of the most squicky creatures in the series. Stuff like this guy. And the freakiest part? They're all mutated humans.
  • Shadowrun:
    • HMHVV, the Human-Metahuman Vampiric Virus, is a supernatural infection that transforms higher primates — meaning metahumans (humans, elves, dwarves, orks and trolls) and sasquatches — into monstrous forms that need to feed on the flesh and blood of uninfected people.
      • HMHVV I, the original strain, causes its victims to undergo constant spiritual decay that can only be offset by parasitically feeding on other people's souls; this is where vampires (former humans) come from, alongside banshees (elves), goblins (dwarves), wendigos (orks) and dzoo-noo-quas (trolls turned into hulking creatures deformed by constant growth of dermal bone). The exact level of sapience varies — vampires retain full mental faculties, goblins are just about smart enough to work out how to use spears and dzoo-noo-quas are basically animals.
      • HMHVV Ia turns all infectees into ghouls, who retain their minds but become unable to digest anything other than metahuman flesh.
      • HMHVV II causes increased aggression, lowered mental faculties, and extreme muscle and hair growth. Infected humans become loup-garous, the local werewolves, while sasquatches gain magical invisibility and become ferocious predators called bandersnatches. Loup-garous are implied to retain some degree of awareness, but to have very little control of themselves before their minds are submerged again by their rabid impulses.
    • Subverted with Orks and Trolls: When millions of people began 'goblinizing' into Orks and Trolls in the 2030s, they were initially treated as unthinking monsters and sometimes attacked on sight. Once the initial panic had died down, the two metatypes found themselves begrudgingly accepted into the global community and by the 2050s both metatypes are firmly integrated in most societies, albeit with a fair bit of Fantastic Racism not suffered by the earlier Elves and Dwarves.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Changeling: The Lost: Your player characters qualify as this. Each and every changeling was once a human man or woman, until the day that The Gentry stole him or her away to Arcadia. There, they slowly lost most of their humanity and became bizarre faerie creatures themselves. The ones who managed to trick, sneak or fight their way back to Earth are the lucky ones; they still have something of a human mind left. Others remain in Arcadia until there's nothing human left — there's only the faerie. Even those lucky escapees aren't really human, physically, they're just wearing an illusionary cloak of being human called the Mask. And their mind is still rooted in Arcadia's madness, so they're slowly becoming less and less human mentally, anyway.
    • In Geist: The Sin-Eaters, the titular Geists are alien and horrifically inhuman monsters. Except, really, they're actually very old human ghosts who have fused with an Anthropomorphic Personification of death.
    • Mage: The Ascension:
      • A mage's avatar can be eaten away by the bane in exchange for body-horror-fueled powers (that seriously weren't worth the loss in Arete, but that's how the Bane Spirits get'cha). Mages with insight into Prime can actually see a Mage's Avatar writhe in pain as the Bane spirit consumes it from within.
      • People who spend too much time in the Spirit World irreversibly metamorphose into spirits themselves. They are warped caricatures of their former selves, physically and mentally distorted into something utterly inhuman. This is the origin of Threat Null; the Technocrats who were stranded by the Avatar Storm became something alien and monstrous, and the Void Engineers are the only thing preventing them from returning to Earth.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Fomorii were humans whose souls had been tainted by bane spirits. Once the spirit itself had eaten through the human soul, it was destroyed and the remaning bane-possessed human had the memories and personality of the original host but a Cronenberg-inspired body capable of spitting acid, housing vermin in its cavities, or other gross antics. There was even a splatbook with rules on creating a Fomorii character.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: All vampires technically qualify, but the older and more powerful a vampire gets, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the illusion. Very old vampires give up the pretense and morph into... something else. Of the oldest vampires depicted, one takes the form of a featureless child with skin so black it looks like a hole in existence, one is a Meat Moss growing in a metropolitan sewer system, one merged itself with the earth in a certain piece of forest, and one exists only as a disembodied consciousness.

    Video Games 
  • 11eyes: The Black Knights underwent an Emergency Transformation courtesy of Misao. As Misao is the only one of them technically alive, she's also the only one that can change back. It doesn't help that they're wearing the monsters of the Red Night as a sort of living armor.
  • Action 52 Owns: The remake of Non-Human. The titular creatures are horribly-mutated monstrosities, created when Dr. Murdon flooded a nearby village with mutagen.
  • In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, this is what led to the creation of Blitztank. It begins as your typical mecha robot, but after they fight Akatsuki they start to slowly form words and trains of thoughts...
  • Ao Oni: Version 6 has three of the four main characters converted into one of the monsters when they were killed.
  • Arc Rise Fantasia: The Feldragons are heavily implied to all have been people of the Divine Race exposed to hozone without a dragon gem to protect them. Those that aren't Divine Race turned dragons are implied to be the results of Ignacy's experiments on Common Race people, including orphans.
  • In Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman name-drops this trope when referring to Man-Bat (formerly Kirk Langstrom).
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: This seems to be the case with many, if not all, of the ink creatures.
    • Sammy Lawrence for sure. By the time Henry arrives in the music department in Chapter 2, his old coworker is trapped in an "inky... dark... abyss [he] call[s] a body." He also has four digits on each hand, like a cartoon character, rather than the typical five digits of a human.
    • Chapter 4 has another definite example: in Bendy Land, there's an amusement park ride which is what's become of Bertrum Piedmont. This powerful new body of his makes for a boss fight, in which Henry can only disable him rather than kill him. There would be no telling that this monstrosity was ever human if not for the "recording" that really not and the Nightmare Face head where the motor belongs.
  • Baten Kaitos: The ultimate villain, Wiseman, is implied to have been a human sorcerer who desired power so much that he abandoned his own humanity to obtain more.
  • Blood Omen: Dark Eden features several such monsters, who were twisted by dark magic into "things half insect and half mammal — human torsos grafted onto abominations of the flesh".
  • Borderlands 2: The Rats are spindly bandits with cannibalistic tendencies. Their origin is shown in a series of side-missions in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!; the first Rats (referred to as Boils by the unaffected, though an ECHO message refers to one as a Rat) were Hyperion personnel infected with parasites made by a worker named Lazlo under orders from Colonel Zarpedon.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • Not truly a monster, but Frog used to be a human knight until being cursed with his current form. He doesn't let it get to him anymore.
    • In Chrono Cross, it's revealed very late in the game that the antagonist Lynx is actually Serge's father, Wazuki, warped beyond recognition physically and mentally by evil supercomputer FATE.
  • City of Heroes has several, notably the Devoured, the Hamidon, the Rikti and, as you find out in one story arc, Malta's Titan robots.
    • The Hamidon is definitely the worst case, being an amoeba the size of a city block, created through some terrible fusion of genetic engineering and dark magic, with maybe some divine empowerment thrown in. Eldritch Abomination comes to mind.
    • The Dark Astoria arcs feature the Sentinel of Mot, who was once Marcus Valerius.
  • In Cultist Simulator, several of the Hours, the eldritch gods from the setting, once were mere humans that entered to the Mansus through various means and ascended. For example, the Witch-and-Sister and the Sister-and-Witch entered the Mansus after drowning themselves out of despair, while the Colonel ascended to Hourhood by killing the Seven-Coils, another Hour. There are also many lower-ranked Mansus dwellers, like some Longs or Names, that are ascended humans (this is, as one can guess, the goal of the protagonist).
  • Darkest Dungeon: Several of the bosses (and implicitly the Pig Man Mooks) were once people who the Ancestor directly or indirectly turned them into an undead abomination, were twisted into form by magic or monsters, or some combination thereof. This is particularly true in the DLC expansions; the Crimson Court introduces aristocrats turned into horrible half-insect vampires, while the Color of Madness features humans turned into semi-silicate creatures by a Magic Meteor stuffed with eldritch corruption (as basically anything more sinister than a hamburger is in the world of Darkest Dungeon).
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade invokes this with Macabee, an archaeologist who awoke things best left undisturbed and was turned into a Necron Pariah. When another race assaults the Necron stronghold, Macabee notes "I was like you, once, clinging to life and blind to the truth... deep in these catacombs, I was remade..."
  • Dead Space. Every single enemy you fight was once a human; even the significantly larger bosses are made of dozens or even hundreds of human corpses joined together into one big mass. The Lurkers are encountered just one room after a datapad with a list of the month's births, confirming that yes, these were somebody's babies before they were murdered and transformed, just like the grown-ups. The sequel introduces the Pack, a form of zombie made from prepubescent children who hunt in groups.
  • Diablo: Humans can be possessed and altered to fit their shape by the Prime Evils, through Demonic Possession. Diablo's body turns back into that of Prince Albrecht in the first game when he's killed, and in Diablo II, all the Three Evils are in the bodies of possessed humans, which turn more and more monstrous in irregular stages.
  • Don't Starve:
    • Webber used to be a regular boy until a Giant Spider tried to eat him. The two essentially merged into a single being, the humanoid arachnid that Webber is now.
    • We're told that the monster that is the reason Darkness = Death used to be a woman named Charlie.
  • Dota 2: There was once a herbalist named Lesale who got stung by a very venomous reptile and in desperation, concocted an antitoxin that puts him to deep slumber. When he woke up, he's already mutated into an extremely venomous snake-ish creature. Now he's known as Lesale Deathbringer, the Venomancer.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The werewolves are humans suffering under a nasty curse, more progressive ghouls are humans, elves, or dwarves in advanced stages of the Taint infection, Broodmothers (who were, rather, once women), and Golems (who were living dwarves forged into stone soldiers by pouring molten lyrium through their eyes and mouth before hammering and chiseling them into the proper shape).
    • If the Chantry's teachings are true, the first Darkspawn were this. The Dragon Age II DLC Legacy confirms them. The final boss of Legacy, the Awakened Darkspawn Emissary Corypheus, was one of the original Tevinter Magisters who tried to claim the power of the Golden City. David Gaidar has also heavily implied that the Architect from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is also one of these Magisters.
  • In Dragon Quest IX, the entire Gittish empire.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Falmer were Snow Elves who, after losing a war against the Nords, sought refuge with the Dwemer, a technologically-advanced race of underground elves. As part of the contract the Falmer agreed to eat a fungus which caused the loss of their eyesight and became enslaved by their kin. Not only did the Snow Elves physically degenerate into something resembling Morlocks, but what the Falmer went through fundamentally changed their very souls. The no longer possess the "black" souls of sapient species. Instead, they possess "white" souls like those of animals.
    • The Dreugh, a race of aquatic humanoid octopi, were once far more intelligent. While sources conflict regarding the exact details, the Dreugh were said to have once ruled the world in a time long, long ago. Like the Falmer, the Dreugh de-evolution from an intelligent, sapient race with their own civilization has included their souls becoming white, like those of animals.
    • The series' vampires can play this on two levels. All Vampires were once mortals who have been infected with a disease that caused their transformation into a blood-sucking creature of the night, or it was a "gift" received directly from Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption who created the first vampire. On a different level, while most vampires maintain a sense of humanity, if they go too long without feeding, they are known to go irrevocably insane and feral. These feral Vampires are referred to as "Bloodfiends."
    • Liches are another such example. Once mortal wizards (often necromancers), they have undergone a process that sacrifices their humanity and very lives to become powerful undead sorcerers. Some are able to maintain a facade of humanity using powerful illusion magic, but switch to their undead forms for combat.
    • The Ideal Masters are immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers during the Merethic Era. After finding their mortal forms to be too weak and limiting, they entered Oblivion as beings of pure energy and settled an area of "chaotic creatia", forming the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters, who seem to possess a Horror Hunger for adding more. The Ideal Masters do not usually manifest physically within the Soul Cairn, but have been known to take the form of giant soul gems through which individuals can communicate with them, and through which they can drain the souls of approaching mortals.
    • Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs, was once the Aedric spirit Trinimac, beloved by the Aldmer. Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots "ate" Trinimac in order to manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs).
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has the ash and corprus creatures. The former have been twisted by the magic of Dagoth Ur into humanoid abominations and the latter are infected with the corprus disease, slowly turning them into leprous zombies.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has Hagravens, a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women. They performed a ritual in which they traded their humanity for access to powerful magic. This ritual twists their appearance into more a more bird-like form, complete with feathers, a beak-like nose, and literal talons for their fingers and toes.
  • Fable and its sequels are heavy on this trope.
  • Fallen London: Many of the creatures you encounter were once men. Then, in many cases, they made deals with the Masters of the Bazaar...
    • Balverines are humans that got bitten, hobbes are children whose souls were devoured by dark nymphs, and undead/hollow men are, well, zombies.
    • Fable The Lost Chapters implies that this is how Jack of Blades operates, as he possesses people through use of his mask until he finds another host body. His dragon form is his true form, however.
  • Fallout:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV: In the Game Boy Advance and PSP versions, Cecil's trial in the Bonus Dungeon includes a potential encounter with a Goblin who insists that he used to be human, and that the curse on him will wear off shortly. Indeed, if you don't attack him, the battle automatically ends and a man is standing where the Goblin was (killing the Goblin causes Cecil to fail that part of the trial, of course.)
    • Final Fantasy X does this a lot.
      • All the Aeons were human, and an optional superboss is a monk named Omega whose hatred of Yevon turned him into a gigantic, four-legged monster with the power to create novae.
      • Anima, who not only looked monstrous (a chained, gap-mouth giant corpse rising out a shell) but is Seymour's human mother, who basically had turned herself into one to give him the ability to return to his father's people. Now she rages at how evil he became.
      • The fiends you fight in random encounters were once human souls. In fact, in the cutscene where the party reunites with Yuna in Home, you can see fiends forming from the souls of recently killed Innocent Bystanders in the background. And, of course, to top it all off, there's Sin, aka Jecht.
      • Yevon himself is just a giant blue, glowy tick by the time you meet him. He was definitely human at one point considering his daughter, Yunalesca, is still human. It's discussed near the end of the game that all of the summoning he did eventually broke his mind and devolved him into a mindless Eldritch Abomination that no longer had the capacity to speak or even think, only destroy.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: All of the main characters are normal humans who were turned into l'Cie (servants of fal'Cie, the providers for Cocoon/Gran Pulse), which grants them strength and magical powers, as well as resulting in them being ostracised by the people of Cocoon. Also, it is revealed early on that any l'Cie who fail their task are turned into Cie'th, deformed crystal-covered monsters who wonder the world until they eventually lose their will and turn to stone. And even then they are still alive, and awake and suffering.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2:
      • In one mission, a requester asks for help as he and his friends are trapped in a mine and is afraid he will become the ghosts that haunt the place. When you get there, you encounter a gang of ghosts and its leader weakly begs for help.
      • In another mission, a requester asks for a Potion and Hi-Potion to treat some wounds/fatigue. When you meet the person, it's actually a zombie, but has retained enough sense and control to talk to Luso normally. When the zombie uses the Potion on itself, it winds up hurting itself and Luso has to stop it from drinking the Hi-Potion. That's when the zombie realizes it is dead and was wondering why clans were attacking and people at inns throwing rocks. Later on, you discover that the zombie is actually Frimelda, a former Blademaster. She fought battles with a Paladin and over time, he grew jealous of her success as a fighter while he failed to follow in her footsteps, so he drugged her and she became a zombie. You can heal her eventually and she will join your clan.
      • One of the gifted somehow turned into a dragon, originally being a hume.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: This is implied to be the case with the animatronics, with hidden news posters implying that murdered children were stuffed into the animatronics' suits, and that their ghosts now possess the animatronics. Five Nights at Freddy's 2 makes the theory even more sound, with the Puppet (itself implied to be a murdered child) placing masks of the first game's animatronics over the corpses of children, while the third game outright confirms that the dead children were possessing them, while also applying the trope to the one who killed them in the first place.
  • FromSoftware loves this trope:
    • Bloodborne: The central premise of the game is that people are turning into horrible werewolf monsters as a result of the local religion treating blood transfusions from Cthulhu as an important rite. The Beasts aren't the only ones, though. The "Garden of Eyes" enemy was a human test subject in eye-growing experiments, Brainsuckers are humans that are playing host to a parasite, the impostor Iosefka turns people into jellyfish-headed Celestial Emissaries, and Slime Scholars are students at Byrgenwerth who were mutated by the Nightmare.
    • Dark Souls I: People who suffer the Undead Curse eventually lose themselves and become mad zombie-like Hollows if they lose their sense of purpose. This includes the player character. More specific examples of this trope:
      • The Witch of Izalith and several of her daughters were transformed by the Witch's ill-fated attempt to recreate the First Flame with her Lord Soul of Life and Chaos. The Witch herself and two of her daughters became the Bed of Chaos, an abomination made of roots and flames that spawned Chaos Demons. Two of her daughters escaped but became fused with Chaos Spiders. The other three avoided these fates but didn't fare much better: the eldest went mad and stays in Lost Izalith to ward off intruders, another died at some point, and the last one, Quelana, is stuck living with the guilt of abandoning her family.
      • Ceaseless Discharge the only son of the Witch of Izalith was born with sores that dripped lava. He was given a ring that eased the pain of his affliction, but ended up losing it. He eventually became a gigantic lava monster who spends his time watching over the tomb of one of his sisters.
      • The residents of New Londo and Oolacile are cautionary tales about taking the power of Dark too lightly. New Londo is infested with both the Darkwraiths, humans whose abuse of Lifedrain (the dark art of draining Humanity from other humans) has turned them into monstrous knights and the ghosts of the New Londo's citizens who drowned when New Londo was flooded to seal the Darkwraiths away. Oolacile's citizenry have all become either mad Bloatheads or phantasmal sprites of raw Humanity after trying to claim the power of Manus a primeval man.
      • Knight Artorias was once one of the greatest of the demigod knights of Gwyn. Being defeated by Manus and corrupted by the Abyss has reduced him to a shrieking broken thing who attacks like a savage beast.
      • Former God-Emperor Gwyn has become a Hollow after spending ages burning away after he cast himself into the First Flame.
    • Dark Souls II is rife with this:
      • Perhaps of special note is the case of Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin, who, in an attempt to escape the cycle of death, rebirth and mental degradation, transformed himself in a monstrous construct of tree roots and fire, not unlike the Bed of Chaos from the first game, though unlike that he retained his mind and sanity. He is, in the entire trilogy, the only enemy who drops neither regular Souls nor his own boss soul upon being "slain", even continuing to talk afterwards. While one may debate upon whether he is satisfied with the results, one cannot argue that he failed to escape the cycle.
      • The Covetous Demon in Dark Souls II used to be an ordinary man, but fell into gluttony due to unrequited love for Queen Mytha. As he ate, he became larger and more grotesque and eventually became a massive slug-like monster.
      • Mytha herself also counts due to her unrequited love for her betrothed (implied to be the Old Iron King) who loved another. In her mad quest to attain more beauty, she became a naga-like poisonous monster with a disembodied head.
      • The Old Iron King is also an example. When he got incinerated by the Smelter Demon and his kingdom sank into the lava, whatever was left of him encountered something deep beneath the surface and was reborn as a demonic looking lava monster known as Ichorous Earth.
      • This is on top of the usual Undead becoming mad Hollows. The most extreme example in the game is King Vendrick himself. The once mighty godlike king is nothing but a shambling naked giant Hollow (who nonetheless is still quite dangerous).
    • In Dark Souls III, a few of the bosses were originally humans (or Undead) before becoming...something else:
      • When you first encounter Champion Gundyr, he's long since succumbed to the Abyss and become infected with the Pus of Man, a writhing gigantic snake-like mass of darkness.
      • Vordt and the Dancer of the Boreal Valley and the other Boreal Knights were all turned into bestial horrors by the bewitched rings Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed upon them. This was deliberate on his part — all of them were people he deemed politically inconvenient. It's implied that the monstrous Sulyvahn Beasts encountered as minibosses are the final stage of the transformation.
      • One of the Lords of Cinder, Aldrich, used to be a human priest. But then he had dreams of the Deep and bloated like a pig as he consumed more and more people. He is now a mass of filthy black sludge known as the Saint of the Deep.
      • Oceiros was once the king of Lothric. His obsession with the knowledge of dragonkind specifically that of the Paledrake Seath the Scaleless eventually caused him to mutate into a grotesque Draconic Humanoid bearing an eerie resemblance to Seath.
      • One of the covenants in this game, Rosaria's Fingers, allows for stat reallocation. However, you are only able to use this a few times in each game cycle. The in-universe explanation is that going through "rebirth" too many times leads to unpleasant results. Unless you like the idea of becoming a gross mix of human and grub.
    • In Demon's Souls most of the Demons are humans or other beings (alive or dead) transformed by the Colorless Fog:
      • Most of the Knights of the Round Table of Boletaria were turned into Demons — Biorr of the Twin Fangs is the only one who is still human. Longbow Oolan the archer was turned into Phalanx, a giant helpless blob still guarded by the spear -wielding hoplites who served her as a human (also turned into blobs albeit ones who still wield their shields and spears). Alfred was turned into the Tower Knight, a giant who still wields a massive shield. Metas was turned into the Penetrator, a demon knight who still wields a sword as long as a lance.
      • King Allant himself became a powerful Demon, and unlike the others this was something he chose. Though when you meet him in the end of the game, the loss of the Archdemons you slew and the lack of souls they sent to him and the Old One has reduced him to a pathetic crawling slug.
      • Even the dead aren't spared these transformations. The Old Hero was a disgraced warrior whose remains turned into a Demonic gigantic version of who he was in life thanks to the Colorless Fog.
    • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice continues this trend. It is seen repeatedly that the pursuit of immortality has led to many people forsaking their metaphorical and literal humanity. Then there are the Shura, people who give into their hatred and bloodlust, becoming demonic horrors in the process. The Sculptor eventually becomes the Demon of Hatred, and Wolf himself can become a Shura in one ending.
  • Golden Sun: The people of Bilibin wanted to build a castle out of wood for their queen. The tree that they put their axes into turned out to be sapient, and cursed all of the villagers of Bilibin and Kolima to turn into trees. Fortunately, this gets undone after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Guilty Gear: The titular Gears are created by applying a number of gene sequences from various animals into a base organism, with magic thrown in to empower it further. Although some animal-based Gears can evolve into human levels of intelligence, most sentient Gears are human-derived, and human-derived Gears are the only ones who can maintain any semblance of humanity at all as far as physiology is concerned. The main character, Sol Badguy, is one of these human-derived Gears. He thinks he's a monster. He's not.
  • Half-Life 2:
    • Stalkers are humans taken prisoner by Combine forces for acts of rebellion or "simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time", according to Alyx. Their organs and genitalia are removed and their blood replaced with a saline solution, a metal plate welded over their "face" and a strong implication that they are rewarded for good behaviour with artifical limbs so that they can walk.
    • The Combine soldiers are humans who have underwent memory replacement and had most of their organs replaced with cybernetic implants. The soldiers rise in rank by giving up more and more of their humanity. It's implied that all of the Combine's bio-weapons have similar origins.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Combat Evolved: Captain Keyes, when you eventually find him. He's been absorbed into a massive Flood organism, retaining enough sentience to contact you on your commlink through sheer force of will. Not to mention the fact that the Master Chief needs his neural thingywhatsit, requiring him to punch through what was left of his face into his brain. Hell, any human (or Covenant, if you consider alien races) that the Flood infects could be considered an example of this.
    • In Halo 4, we find out that most of the Promethean Knights used to be human, who were harvested by the Didact to be made into weapons.
    • As noted in "Literature", Alpha Halo's Monitor 343 Guilty Spark used to be human.
  • In Video Game/inFAMOUS2, the swamp monsters were once humans, transformed by Bertrand. Bertrand himself can also change into a gigantic monstrous form.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The Heartless and the Nobodies are composed of different parts of souls of people. While most are mindless, some retain enough sentience and knowledge of their past lives to lament their fate.
  • In King's Quest VI the Lord of the Dead was a man long ago, chained to the throne of the Underworld and enslaved as its ruler. The throne and his witnessing of unending tragedies slowly drained away the man's humanity and transformed him into something beyond comprehension.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Rakghouls all used to be human before being bitten and infected. The player gets to meet some Outcasts and a terrified Republic soldier before they transform. Other parts of the EU use the rakghouls again, only this time there's a deranged Dark Jedi with a talisman that instantly transforms non Force-Sensitives into them. An old clone trooper holds out longer than most, but doesn't quite manage to kill her.
    • Invoked to describe the unusual nature of Darth Nihilus. Although he's been implied to be a Negative Space Wedgie, or even the hero's Enemy Without. All depends on who you listen to.
  • League of Legends has Orianna, The Lady of Clockwork. Originally just the normal daughter of an eccentric inventor with a case of Chronic Hero Syndrome, her venture into Zaun fatally poisoned her body, and her body parts were slowly replaced with machinery until she became entirely of clockwork to save her life. This tragically had the consequence of removing chunks of her humanity and identity, and the sorrow of her transformation isn't lost on her.
    Orianna: When a moth emerges from its chrysalis, does it remember its life as a caterpillar?
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: In the manual, it's stated that Ganon was once a man called Ganondorf, the leader of a tribe of thieves before gaining the Triforce and becoming a giant Pig Man. We get to see his Gerudo form in Ocarina of Time, and Ganon generally serves as Ganondorf's One-Winged Angel form in later games. This is later taken Up to Eleven in Breath of the Wild, where Ganon has become so powerful that he's now an ancient, bestial mass of dark energy, said to be malice incarnate.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time mentions that Hylians eventually transform into Stalfos when lost in The Lost Woods without a fairy to guide them. You actually meet a lost man in the woods who appears oddly gaunt and skeletal (although he looked like that before he went into the woods), and when you return from his fetch quest with what he wants, he's gone and a Kokiri informs you he has become a Stalfos and seems positively joyed to claim eventually everyone lost in the forest will someday turn. In addition, children who are lost in the woods are said to turn into Skull Kids. They're usually shown as more tragic enemies, considering that you're able to talk with them as a child.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: All the NPCs in the Dark World, as the Dark World has the effect of transforming anyone who enters it into a form that matches his personality. Link, due to his innocent nature, is transformed into a pink bunny rabbit without any means of protecting himself.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Twilight turns normal humans into spirits, Link into a wolf, and does not seem to affect magic-users. Spirits (and Twili) will eventually transform into the inconsistently named "Twilit Messengers" (better known as Shadow Beasts or "those screaming things that guard portals").
  • In Little Samson, Kikira the Dragon Lord, Gamm the Rock Lord and K.O. the mouse were all human once, but were transformed for various reasons. This is All There in the Manual and is nowhere brought up in the game.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : At the end of The Gears of Destiny, the Unbreakable Darkness, the Eldritch Abomination that the cast had been fighting against for the entire game, is revealed to have once been a human named Yuri Evelvine.
  • Mass Effect: A major part of the Reapers' modus operandi. It begins with their Husk grunt troopers in the first game, which are augmented by variations and husks made from alien species in the others. There's the revelation in the climax of the Suicide Mission that Reapers are made by pasting up sapient species and implanting them in metallic superstructures — and their next target is humanity.
    • The Collectors in Mass Effect 2 were originally Protheans the Reapers transformed into slaves.
    • In Mass Effect 3 basically every major sentient race (save the quarians) gets their own monster version that they can be turned into. Add a couple of cross breeds for the charm.
    • From Mass Effect: Andromeda, there's the kett, who take captives they find "worthy" and exalt them, turning them into more kett. Several angara, on learning about this, are horrified at the thought they have spent the last several decades inadvertently killing their kind. And after all the horrific alterations done to their bodies, there's nothing of the original being's DNA left beside a few minor strands.
  • Miitopia: The Dark Curse once was a regular Mii that was ignored by the others because of its dull face. In rage and envy, it shed its face away, and soon after lost its body to become a blue soul-like thing that steals other Miis' faces as revenge.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Scorpion was once Hanzo Hasashi, the leader of the Shirai-Ryu clan of ninjas. When their rivals, the Lin Kuei, slaughtered them, and their leader Sub-Zero killed him, he returned as a wraith fueled by a burning desire for revenge.
    • After exacting his revenge on him, the elder Sub-Zero goes through something similar, becoming the wraith Noob Saibot. The oni Drahmin also plays this trope straight.
    • There's an interesting subversion with Quan-Chi, who is a demon that gradually became more and more humanoid.
  • Neopets: Some characters, like Edna the witch (now a green Zafara) and the Island Mystic (now a yellow Kyrii).
  • Nexus War: Pretty much everybody. Demons, angels, undead, and several others. All were once human and have become utterly inhuman. Just about the only characters that don't fit this trope are Eternal Soldiers.
  • Parasite Eve 2 is a more nightmare fueled version than usual: every single one of the monsters in the game were people who worked on the "Second Neoteny" project, which was a project intended to transform large numbers of humans into monsters. Humans who VOLUNTEERED for the project. This makes the monsters even more horrifying, since once your attention has been called to it, you can easily see how they were altered from their original human form. Made even worse when it is revealed they used the Heroine's DNA to make start the process to begin with. So even the monster-part came from a human as well.
  • Patapon: Scorpiton is Makoton, who sold his soul to a devil to avenge Aiton, a Zigoton you killed during the first half of the game.
  • Persona 5: Despite having no memories before waking up in the Palace, Funny Animal Team Pet Morgana believes he must have been a human who was twisted into the form of a cat by the collective unconscious, and wants to search the Palace to find a way to restore himself to his true form. In the end, he was never a human at all, but an Animalistic Abomination the Big Good created from the collective positive desires of humanity to stop the Big Bad.
  • Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle Of Flesh reveals that the Hecatomb was a human beingnote  that transformed into a monster - one that retains only vaguely human-like characteristics.
  • Pokémon
    • According to the Pokedex in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, a boy with Psychic Powers woke up one day transformed into a Kadabra. This can be presumed to extend to the rest of its evolutionary line.
    • Pokémon Black and White has the Ghost Pokémon Yamask (and, by extension, Cofagrigus), whose mask is its face from when it was human. Its Pokedex entry states that 'it sometimes looks at its mask and cries'.
    • In a similar manner to the Legend of Zelda examples above, Pokémon X and Y gives us Phantump, who, according to the Pokédex, is formed when the spirit of a child who died after getting lost in a forest possesses a tree stump.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon adds first generation Ghost-type, Gengar, to this list, stating in its Moon dex entry that Gengar was once a human who has become so lonely, that it kills other humans and steals their souls in order to make itself a travelling companion.
  • In Portal 2, it's revealed that GLaDOS is less of an artificial intelligence and more of a human one; having been the product of Brain Uploading the consciousness of Cave Johnson's secretary, Caroline. Cave originally intended to upload himself, since he was dying, but told his staff that if he died before they finished figuring out how to do it, they should do it to Caroline instead, whether she was willing or not, so that she could run Aperture Science in his place.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones: The trope's name was used word-for-word by the Prince to describe the giant, jawless boss he has to fight. And just like said boss, most of your enemies from the first and third game from the series are this.
  • Quake: In Quake II and Quake IV, the majority of the enemies you face are people who have been captured and forcibly turned into cyborgs. Some aren't even turned into troops, they just get their limbs hacked off and used as scenery (but they still twitch and bleed when shot). In Quake IV, this happens to the player character, and you get to see it happen, from his point of view. Curious?
  • Ratchet & Clank: Dr. Nefarious; despite the fact that he was once human, he hates humans with a passion, calling them "squishies" and other derogatory names.
  • Resident Evil: Virtually all monsters (with the exception of a few based on animals) are humans infected with various viruses or parasites. The Tyrant series are a special case in that they're human-based, but are in fact clones of Ozwell Spencer's Dragon Sergei Vladimir that were experimented on via surgery and viral infection.
    • Resident Evil 6: The Ustanak deserves special mention for being one of the few people who willingly became a monster if it meant curing his unusually frail body, and for still being conscious enough to be quite pleased with the thing he turned into.
    • Lisa Trevor was Umbrella's first "successful" human experiment, leading to their development of the T-Virus in the first place. Her story is easily the most depressing and disturbing in the entire Resident Evil franchise, as you find notes she left that steadily get less coherent until she's nothing but an insane rambling monster, and there's enough hints of there still being a little bit of the young girl she once was inside her as she still manages to do things like live in an old shack, play with homemade dolls, and even light a fire. Tears will be shed if, rather than fight her, you pacify her by letting her claim her mother's remains.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Digital Devil Saga: The victims of the Demon Virus all used to be humans. After infection, they gain a demonic side capable of manifesting through their bodies, spanning the whole range from a lowly slime to a gigantic dragon; either way, it hungers for the flesh and blood of man. It's necessary to keep the demon well fed and content, or it will slowly start eating at the infected person's mind, devouring the human identity and leaving the starved, crazed demon permanently in charge.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: Crewman Norris begins hearing voices as you begin exploring Sector Bootes, and then he reaches for the sector's central tower, the Palace of Pleasure. Next time you see him, he's being experimented upon, and the transformation ain't pretty. Worst part is, you can see how he slowly loses his mind as you traverse the sector.
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: The Hito-Shura. Ordinary High-School Student one moment. Godslaying badass Humanoid Abomination the next. Despite relatively few physical changes (only a horn in the back of the head and glowing full-body tattoos) Word of God is his entire body has become a demon's — the horn is actually a primitive brain or sensory organ allowing him to truly interact with demons, and the tattoos are actually subdermal streams of demonic lymph.
  • Silent Hill 3, possibly. "They look like monsters to you?"
  • Sonic Unleashed: Although not originally human, Sonic's were-hog form is an example of the original mind/new body version.
  • SoulCalibur: Necrid, Tira, Nightmare/Siegfried, Calcos/Lizardman, Algol, Charade, and the SCII Berserkers are all people corrupted by Soul Edge.
    Talim: What are you? ...you're human, aren't you?
    • Siegfried manages to become human again in the third game, and his armor lives on as the new Nightmare.
    • Raphael becomes infected with Soul Edge's evil and becomes some sort of vampire-like entity.
    • Cervantes as a one time wielder of Soul Edge has been twisted into a ghost/zombie pirate. He becomes human once more in SCV .
  • Spore: When using the Fanatical Frenzy unique ability of the Zealot stereotype, all inhabitants in the world targeted turn into members of your species no matter what they used to be before.
  • StarCraft: It's fairly common for the Zerg to turn people into members of their Swarm.
    • Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, used to be a fairly normal human woman before becoming the Zerg's Hive Queen.
    • Infested Terrans are former humans who were taken by the Zerg and turned into horrific abomination suicide bombers. In StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, an even more mutated form called "Aberrations" appears in a few missions. These get upgraded to a controllable unit in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.
    • The unique Zergform Izsha, who serves as Kerrigan's equivalent of an adjutant and who can be charitably described as a "chitin-plated naga with claw-tentacles for hair", is eventually revealed to have been a Terran woman, a medic named Amanda Haley, who was mutated into this new form by the Queen of Blades when she sensed the woman's psionic potential.
  • Sundered: Hysteria was once a human soldier named Emmett Nelson, who was captured by the Eschaton cult and transformed into a giant undead cyborg Spider Tank as punishment for slaughtering the cult’s women and children.
  • In Super Robo Wars Z 2: Hakai-hen, the Dimesional Beasts are people who were fused with their mecha by Gaiou. The Reveal comes in 49.
  • System Shock 2: The Many. It's really unnerving to having your enemy viciously assault you while screaming for you to run away or put them out of their misery.
  • Undertale:
    • We have Flowey The Flower, who was once Asriel Dreemurr, the child of Toriel and Asgore. He basically Came Back Wrong without a soul, and went mental as a result of being unable to feel emotions and from Medium Awareness. To make matters worse you can't save him: He gets a brief respite in the Golden Ending of the game where he gets to briefly be Asriel, but is doomed to fade away.
    • There are also the Amalgamates, which at some point were SEVERAL different monsters. The monsters had all died and were the subject of Dr. Alphys' experiments to harness the power of Determination within monster souls. Instead of allowing the souls to persist after death however, it brought the monsters back to life. However, because monsters are mostly magical and can't handle high concentrations of determination, the monsters injected with determination started melting together into gnarled, melty masses of monster parts while still maintaining at least some awareness of their situation.
    • The First Child who fell into the underground was originally a human that really hated humanity. Their attempt to take revenge on them turns them into an Ambiguously Human Omnicidal Maniac and is now an extension of the player on a No Mercy run, an avatar for the player's desire for power. It should be noted that a human cannot absorb a human's soul, yet in order to play the game after a Genocide Run, you need to sell your soul to the First Child.
  • Utawarerumono: Almost all the characters have animal ears and tails, aside from the protagonists Hakuoro and Haku. However, those animal-eared creatures are not humans. Instead, the real humans are semi-lequid red blobs/jellies. A long time ago, once-human Hakuoro fused with an ancient God right before the former's death, and he entered a slumber for centuries, until he was found and awakened by scientists. After he learned that they dissected his wife and child for experiments to achieve immortality, his rage and despair activated the God within him, who turned all of humanity into red immortal blobs.
  • Warcraft: This is fairly common.
    • Notable is the Demon Hunter Illidan Stormrage, who, after using a demonic artifact to gain power, was transformed into a demon.
    • Illidan's got nothing on, well, every race on Azeroth AND beyond. Firstly, those that play it straight:
      • Naga used to be Night Elf Highborn who were transformed by their queen, Azshara, when their city was sunk into the sea during the Sundering.
      • The Broken, the Lost Ones, and the Eredar are all degenerated versions of the Draenei who were mutated by over-exposure to fel energy. The funny thing about Eredar is that they're physically not all that transformed; they look demonic because their ancestors already looked about like that, as do the good guy Draenei now.
      • The Forsaken were the humans who were stricken with a plague of undeath.
      • The Fal'dorei are demonic Spider People who were originally elven Shal'dorei. The fountain of arcane energy they drew upon exploded, twisting them into their current forms.
    • World of Warcraft also inverts this when we discover that the Curse of Flesh caused mutation in many, if not all, of the Titan's creations. Earthen became dwarves, mechagnomes became regular gnomes, and Vrykul became Humans. These are all inversions since the transformations go from "monster" to man.
    • There is a theory that Night Elves (from which all other elves are descended) descended themselves from Trolls who were exposed to the arcane energies of the Well of Eternity, once more inverting the trope. This is confirmed in the new Chronicles book.
    • All but a small few of the demonic races were once regular beings that became so tainted by fel energy they eventually became full demons, usually caused by direct interference by the Burning Legion as an assimilation plot. Many night elves became full demons in the form of satyrs and many other races became part-way demonic such as chaos orcs and the felblood elves through similar corruption. The eredar are an odd case because the majority of the species became demons after siding with the Legion while a minority fled and became draenei, which is different because the previous cases had mainly the minority of their race become demonic. Only a few races like the Nathrezim are confirmed to be originally demonic.
  • Wario Land: In Wario Land 3, all the monsters in the game were humans transformed by the Hidden Figure.
  • Xenoblade:
    • The Face Mechon are eventually revealed to be Humongous Mecha piloted by Homs put through Unwilling Roboticization. It's implied subtly early on by minor antagonist Xord, but it doesn't really hit until the party cuts one open... only to find Fiora, the protagonist's supposedly-dead childhood sweetheart inside. It also explains why the Monado can't hurt them: the Monado can't hurt Homs, and Faces are Homs.
    • After beating the final boss (and if the area preceding the final boss wasn't a clue of it already), Alvis reveals to Shulk that Zanza was once a human scientist (human as in you and me, not Homs) who wanted to become a god. Meyneth was also a scientist working with Zanza.
    • Inverted with the High Entia, who were once Telethia created by Zanza and given intelligence and human-like bodies by him. Upon the moment of Zanza's return, he releases large amounts of ether, turning the High Entia (except for half-Homs High Entia) back into Telethia.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: With the revelation that the world was Earth All Along comes the realization that the monstrous Guldos, along with Klaus, are the sole surviving humans.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown strongly implies that most of the alien enemies you face are genetically-engineered Battle Thralls bred from races the Etherials previously conquered and enslaved, and they intend to do the same to humanity if they win. In the Bad Future of XCOM 2, the first enemies you fight in the tutorial levels are the result of them following through on it.
  • X-COM: Terror from the Deep has the Bio-Drones, whose UFOpedia entry reveals that they're actually made from living human brains that had been tortured to submission.
  • Zork Nemesis: The player can eventually uncover that the titular demonic antagonist used to be Lucien Kaine — the Thief from the first game, before he was afflicted by the alchemists' curse.

    Webcomics 
  • In Agents of the Realm, the bleeds are Agents who fell victim to The Corruption.
  • Bogleech: I was two men!
  • Daniel: The titular character used to be a very shy but kind man. Not so much later though as he catches a bad case of vampiric death that leaves him a twisted version of his former self.
  • Dominic Deegan: Demons Were Once Men; we get to see some of the transitions. Most notable, of course, is Siegfried, whom we knew rather well before his death. ( In fact, he was the second recurring character to be introduced.) From this to this to this.
    • Karnak is revealed to have been human near the end of the Ecstasy & Evil storyline, very casually by a former friend who has apparently given up even being sad about losing him. His back story is fleshed out as the comic progressed, and so far the only really bad thing he ever did in his life he repented halfway through and ran away to sacrifice himself heroically. May be the only being in hell not rightfully damned there.
      • Demon!Karnak, however, is both evil and a total Jerkass, although he has been having some character development. Had a Rorschach Moment in December 2010 and appointed himself Warden of Hell and informed the damned that they were all trapped in there with him.
      • Without becoming much less despicable, Karnak in the last couple years has scaled the heights of Crazy Awesome. His Siggy-flail was choice, as was his "The Reason You Suck" Speech at his Kangaroo Court trial. And then there's the simple things:
      Karnak: [dramatic slaughter montage, final panel thought bubble] I hate this place.
    • A more typical progression of this is probably provided by Lady Loxo, who used to be soulbound to the Demon of Treachery back before Karnak exploded Hell into submission, and who becomes all serpentine and scaly after beginning to consume souls out of the 'feeding pits.' Bulgak Adrak is much more conflicted and his transformation doesn't progress nearly so smoothly, even once he gives in. Then he has an epiphany and his soul explodes.
    • Then there's TIM, the eyeless, nameless infernomancer who provided the first evil in the comic and kept coming back with new levels in Body Horror.
    • This trope is not applied to benevolent synthetic entities like Quilt and Acibek who were made out of unwilling human victims. Political Correctness Gone Mad, possibly, but while the Acibek thing was tragic and the Quilt thing creepy, the focus is intentionally on who they themselves are, not their antecedents.
    • Jacob Deegan, in his extremely long 'quest to become The Zombie Alive' phase, is explicitly trying for this effect as hard as he possibly can. The universal Squick is a perk.
  • Drowtales: Zhor was once a Dark Elf, but was turned into a Giant Spider to save him from life-threatening injuries. He's been like this for centuries. As of Chapter 44, the local Mad Scientist clan restored his original body. Zhor is confined to a wheelchair and has trouble speaking since he's not used to being a Dark Elf again after spending hundreds of years as a spider.
  • El Goonish Shive has Aberrations. We've only met one on-screen, but he no longer looks human. At all.
  • The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon: Addressed; as a combined punishment-and-strategy, Frankie is turned into a monster, shaped roughly like his old human self, but bigger, stronger, and uglier, with glowing red eyes. Gavin remarks that the eyes were a mistake; they made him too monstrous, making him easier for Jack and his family to deal with. Gavin restores his original human eyes so that the next time they make him fight someone, his opponents will be thrown off balance.
  • Heart Core: The Overfiends were once humans and other mortal creatures before they commited certain acts of evil, turning them into powerful demons that were taken under Royce's wings.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: The human artist Richard Pickman has somehow become a ghoul, just as he did in Lovecraft's stories.

    Web Originals 
  • Bee and Puppycat: The ending of the second part might hint that Puppycat was the cursed human in the fairy tale he told.
  • The Cry of Mann: Gergiev was just a regular man who fell through the void and experienced incomphrehensible horrors, turning him into a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Homestar Runner: According to his song, Trogdor was originally a man, or possibly a dragon man... or maybe just a dragon. The singer doesn't seem too sure about it.
  • Lore of Terra (a set of musical albums and stories created by Yoomah) reveals that Joker, Jester and Arlequin were once normal girls that were sacrificed to the moon goddess Hekit and reborn as her mindless servants. Eventually Jester and Arlequin regained their free will, but it’s obvious the damage to their minds is already done. And let's not get into poor Joker, who wasn't able to overcome her programming and is torn between two personas, her original’s personality and Hekit’s mindless servant...
  • Worm:
    • Mannequin, once a meek Gadgeteer Genius striving to avert the Reed Richards Is Useless trope, now a member of the villain group called the Slaughterhouse Nine, encased in a special protective suit of armor that features retracting blades, unnatural ranges of movement, and detached limbs that he can swing, throw or fire from his suit using chains. Topping it off, he may only be a brain and a few organs that fit in the armored torso. And he did it all to himself.
    • Crawler, a fellow member of the Nine, is also this. His power allows him to regenerate from pretty much anything and then form a permanent defensive adaptation against that attack. The result is that he went from a normal-looking guy to an elephant-sized, six-limbed monstrosity covered in armor and eyes.
    • Echidna is still human from the waist up, but below that is a bloated monster that is constantly growing. If angered the monster will go on a rampage and has killed dozens in the past. A chapter from Noelle's point of view shows that her mind is slowly being backseated by the monster's mind.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "Holly Jolly Secrets", it's revealed that the Ice King was a normal human man named Simon Petrikov until he bought an old crown and tried it on. He was driven insane by the visions the crown produced, heard voices telling him the secrets of ice and snow, and was physically changed into the frigid, blue-skinned Ice King. The final moments of the video depicting his descent show his desperate plea to stop him from hurting anyone while he tries to overcome his growing insanity.
    • In "Finn the Human", it's revealed that the Lich was apparently a normal human who was mutated by the Mushroom Bomb's fallout into the undead Omnicidal Maniac we all know and fear. In "Jake the Dog", the alternate universe Jake is transformed into the Lich instead.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: During an anti-videogame rally, the crowd is asked to examine Ocho, an 8-bit spider, for evidence of what happens from playing too many video games. When it's pointed out that Ocho looks fine, they then reveal a photo of what he looked like before playing video games: a normal human child. It's entirely possible they were exaggerating as Moral Guardians tend to do, but in a show like this you never know...
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: The creepiest part of the series is the revelation that the DNAliens were all once humans who had brain slugs put on their heads. It's never really addressed after "Max Out", which was the most serious and darkest episode of the entire series, except for one where an amnesiac man who can only recall being taken by the aliens turns out to be a disguised DNAlien and is restored to being a human again at the end of the episode.
  • Conan the Adventurer:
    • Windfang, Wrath-Amon's literal Dragon, was once a famed general who was taken prisoner during a battle in Stygia and transformed by Wrath-Amon. His wife-to-be ran from him in horror, leaving Windfang with nothing but 200+ years of servitude to the evil wizard. Wrath-Amon's second lieutenant Skulkar also was a human before a double whammy of sorcerous empowerment and necromantic curse turned him into an undead horror; unlike Windfang, though Skulkar definitely prefers being a monster (the episode with his backstory is also the one where he gets temporarily remade human, which horrifies him).
    • On the heroic side, Greywolf's brother and sister also were cursed into wolflike monsters under a villain's control (although fortunately by the end of the episode their curse was mitigated into them being intelligent free-willed wolves for most of the rest of the series). Also, in one episode where Conan gets sent to a Bad Future, we see what happens when Jezmine's serpentman heritage is brought to the fore; she later turns into a giant snake in a Heroic Sacrifice to hold back Set so Conan can escape him — and then Fridge Horror hits you as to exactly why she would have that ability when she screams at Set as she "scales up" that she'd never let him touch her again...
  • Futurama: In "Leela's Homeworld", Leela encounters an octopus-like creature in the sewers that claims (in a deep, growly voice) that it "used to be a little blonde girl named Virginia".
  • Generator Rex: After the Nanite event, every living thing was infected by nanites. Many EVOs were human at one point. And any one can go EVO at any time. And the only one who can cure them is a teenaged boy, and sometimes not even then.
  • Hotel Transylvania: The Series: In "Fangceañera", Mavis Dracula mentions in passing that her Aunt Lydia's pet chicken Diane used to be human.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Said by Walter Lankoswski (aka Sasquatch) after choosing to exile himself from humanity after he's permanently transformed and injures a child while fighting the Hulk.
  • Invader Zim:
    • In "Game Slave 2", the rat people in the labyrinthine parking complex Dib gets lost in claim this happened to them, but Dib is unconvinced. A female one actually says "I was once a man". causing Dib to respond, bewildered, "but... you're a woman."
    • In "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot", Chickenfoot claims that he "was once a man, like you!" He's just some guy in a chicken suit with a stuck zipper, however.
  • Looney Tunes: Played for Laughs in "Mutiny on the Bunny". A horrid-looking and clearly insane man runs down the gangplank from Yosemite "Shanghai" Sam's ship and has just enough time to turn to the audience and declare "I was a human being once!" before running off screaming into the night.
  • Samurai Jack: The titular creature from "Jack and the Lava Monster" was once the king of a prosperous land until Aku attacked. Amused by the king's attempts to fight back, Aku imprisoned him in a stone for eternity. The king found a way to form the rock around him into a giant body (thus becoming the Lava Monster), and can only be freed and allowed to pass on to Valhalla if he is defeated in honorable combat by a mighty warrior.
  • Sealab 2021: Parodied when a talking tree cobra claims "I was once... a man!" before saying "Just kidding, I've always been a snake."
  • Silver Surfer: In one episode, the Surfer and a group of researchers come across an enormous green blob monster on a universal library planet built by Precursors. It's the precursors (and the crew of a pirate ship) themselves after they devolved into this form and linked up with each other in a hive mind of knowledge.
  • In Steven Universe, it's eventually revealed that the gem monsters the main characters fight are actually corrupted Gems.
  • Street Sharks: About half of the mutants, with the other half being sea creatures-turned-mutants. The good news is that the resident Mad Scientist keeps forgetting to include a brainwashing function when he transforms his test subjects, and the few he did brainwash during the change broke free after a while.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go: Skeleton King was once a kind-hearted man called the Alchemist, who in fact was the one who created the monkey team to combat the monster he became. What makes his case really sad was that his transformation wasn't by choice.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the Turtles find an underground community of monsters who were once human, victims of the Foot Clan who were transformed into these creatures to mine valuable minerals. They get lucky, however; it takes many episodes, but Donatello is eventually able to find a permanent cure. Of course, since mutants are one of its main concepts, the trope appears in some way, shape or form in pretty much every iteration of the franchise.

Alternative Title(s): Was Once A Person, Was Once Human, Was Human Once

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