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Who Needs Their Whole Body?

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"Careful! It's gonna give us a good bite in the kneecaps!"

SpongeBob: Wow, how did you get [your millionth dollar] back?
Mr. Krabs: It wasn't easy. Old Blue Lips is quite the fighter. So, eventually, we settled on a trade.
SpongeBob: What did you give him?
[Mr. Krabs hops back up on the boat, revealing himself as only having a head and an arm]
Mr. Krabs: Nothing important.

So yeah, I just killed this huge guy over here. How, you ask? By chopping him in half with my BFS! Surely, No One Could Survive That! But, wait, what? What do you mean, part of him is getting back up?! What the hell does it take to stop this guy?!

This trope is basically when a sentient being is able to function without their entire body in one piece. The portion of the being that's still functioning is often quite frightening to look at. In most cases, it takes a hit to the brain (or the Cranial Processing Unit) to actually stop it, but there have been cases where even that doesn't work. Taken to extremes, this character can live on as The Disembodied.

Frequently overlaps with Organ Autonomy. When this happens with someone's head, see Losing Your Head. When this happens in a video game, it's usually a case of Didn't Need Those Anyway!. When done deliberately, it's Detachment Combat.

Sub-Trope of Injured Self-Drag, which is otherwise a much less gory cousin. See also Pulling Themselves Together, for when they do want that part back.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Battle Angel Alita, Alita is rather notorious for this, once letting a foe slice her arm off at the shoulder so she could overcome a reach disadvantage with the resulting impromptu club.
  • Bleach:
    • Cirucci Sanderwicci does this to herself in her fight with Ishida. In a unique take on the Clipped-Wing Angel tropes, Cirucci reveals that her bird-like Resurrección actually takes a lot of spiritual power to maintain. When Ishida pushes her too far, she reveals that she can remove the armor, wings, and arms of her Resurrección in order to bypass this drain on her energy. Unfortunately for her, this change is permanent. Cirucci specifically compares it to having a limb amputated.
    • The Soul King is initially introduced as a fully intact human encased in a Crystal Prison. However, by the time Yhwach stabs the Soul King, the entity is mysteriously limbless. Adding to the mystery is the legend of Mimihagi, a pagan deity that has wandered the Rukongai for aeons. Mimihagi is actually the Soul King's missing right arm, fully mobile, and possessing its own identity and powers. The Soul King's left arm is also mobile and possessed of its own identity and powers. It has been serving Yhwach, in opposition to the Soul King, and refuses to acknowledge its former connection. It prefers being called Pernida, a member of the quincy Praetorian Guard, the Schutzstaffel.
  • In Dragon Ball and its successor series:
    • Sgt. Metallic was a robot who was able to keep fighting even after his head and hands were destroyed, only stopping when his batteries ran out. Since he was a Shout-Out to The Terminator, that's not surprising.
    • Frieza ended up getting in the way of his own attack and losing the lower half of his body and an arm (see the image links page). At first, it doesn't seem like this trope is in effect. He isn't outright killed, but he can't even move. Once he gets a little bit of a power recharge, he suddenly doesn't seem to be that worried about half of his body being gone. Later on, he gets cybernetic replacements for his missing parts.
    • His brother Cooler is a similar example; after being blasted through the sun by Goku in his first movie appearance, it turns out that a piece of his head not much bigger than his EYE survived and later fused with a sentient computer. He then makes an army of robotic versions of himself to defeat the Z-Fighters.
    • Cell's feats include his tail and arm being ripped off, but the most extreme example is after Goku surprises him with a Kamehameha at point-blank, literally exploding the top half of his body. Everyone is then shocked when his legs and lower torso leap to their feet, and his missing half starts growing back. His regenerative powers were based on, but clearly exceed, those of Piccolo, who can only regenerate if his head is still intact.
    • Majin Buu is a pro at this; due to his incredible regenerative abilities, he will often just sit there and let his opponent slice or blast him into chunks, only to laugh and reform himself. When Vegeta blows him into tiny pieces, each of those pieces turns into a tiny copy of his original body, and they merged back together with no problem. During his later encounter with Piccolo and Gotenks, the heroes blew him into tiny pieces, then went around carefully vaporizing each piece one by one, only for him to reform from the smoke.
  • In Franken Fran, people upgraded with regeneration tend to do this when bisected. In one case Fran herself cut her bottom half off when her hips didn't fit in the ventilation duct she needed to escape through. She survived through, being ambiguously undead.
  • Hisoka from Hunter ◊ Hunter lets an arm get cut off for fun one time, too. He then swings it around on invisible sticky energy string for a while, and then patches it on with camouflage energy sheets and pretends it's reattached before playing with the guy a little more and then losing interest. Then he goes away, calls a specialist to sew his arm back on with energy microfilament, and has a shower.
  • Having powerful regenerative powers due to being a vampire, Dio Brando of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood can withstand serious injuries such as losing limbs and being bisected vertically. It all comes to a point where Dio's body is struck by Hamon (sunlight-based energy fatal to vampires), forcing him to sever his own head to survive the attack. However, being reduced to a disembodied head scarcely slows him down, still managing to gatecrash Jonathan's honeymoon and kills him, taking Jonathan's headless corpse as a replacement body which grants him his new form when he re-emerges in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 100 years later.
  • In the anime adaptation of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story, Sayaka Miki loses an arm in her duel with Holy Mami. She's less concerned with the missing arm than with retrieving the sword in it.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Moro's severed head manages to jump up and bite Lady Eboshi's arm clean off.
  • Black Claw in Re: Cutie Honey is all over the place with this one. First she's decapitated, and her body gets up and keeps fighting while her head continues taunting the protagonist. When she feels her body needs the power boost form her head again, she reattaches it, only to be bisected vertically. Her two halves have a brief conversation afterward.
  • In My Hero Academia, Mirko loses a limb but continues to fight, completely unperturbed. In a later battle, she loses apparently two more limbs and still fights with gusto, using her mouth as her weapon.
  • 3◊3 Eyes: Demons tend to be extremely hardy, but Nine-Headed Dragon General D.D. especially so: by the time he's at the end of his battle against Yakumo, he's reduced to a head, shoulders, a minimum amount of torso and wings emerging from his shoulders, but he still wishes to fight tooth and nail for his master Benares.
  • When Xelloss of Slayers loses an arm and more than half his torso, he is still able to talk, move, and use his powers to teleport and heal himself.
  • Present in Ushio and Tora: Tora states that youkai cannot die unless they suffer an excessive amount of vital wounds. Seen when Tora's former pal, Hitotsuki, is reduced from his usual, massive body-made-of-snakes to a single snake. Tora himself survives being bisected and having his limbs torn off. Simultaneously.
    • Ozzel of the same series can remove her head with no problem due to being a doll.
  • The elder Toguro brother in YuYu Hakusho gets blasted down to about half of his head, first by Kuwabara owning him and then by his little brother exploding. He's weakened, but still perfectly lucid.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Batman comics, cyborg foe Gearhead has been shown crawling after Batman (or away from him) with most of his robot body destroyed.
  • Doctor Who Magazine: In "The Deep Hereafter", Half Nelson is literally Half the Man He Used to Be following a transporter accident. He is still a viable threat to the Doctor.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • Nate Slaughterhouse, an ex-Space Marine turned Cyborg after losing most of his body in an explosion, manages to escape from confinement without any limbs at all.
    • When the evil zombie-Judge Mortis is reduced to nothing but a torso and one arm during Chaos Day, he is still mobile enough to grab Judge Logan's arm and necrotise it.
  • Robin (1993): Tapeworm can leave behind the long segmented flat worm-like section of his body he has in place of legs and crawl away, and can detach it at any section allowing him to retain part of his "tail" if he wants/
  • In Stormwatch: Team Achilles, a gynoid taunted her attacker who had shot her in the head: "I don't keep my brain there, you idiot! It's in my chest surrounded by inches of diamondsteel!"
  • Transformers: Shows up frequently in IDW Publishing's comics, which establish that the only things a Transformer needs to survive are their brain module and their spark core. Megatron spends about half of Transformers: Dark Cybertron without legs. All it really does is require him to have Bumblebee carry him around.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bishop in Aliens is able to operate after he is cut in half. Even in the next movie. The alien Queen loses most of her body by weight when her egg-generating abdomen is blown apart by Ripley's grenade rounds but leaves it behind to chase her enemy.
  • Beetlejuice: As a ghost, Adam can have his head cut off, and still run through the house to lock the new homeowners out of their attic refuge.
  • Happens in Beyond Re-Animator to an unfortunate Jerkass zombie-turned prison inmate, who continues his un-life as a bloodied torso.
  • BrainDead has several instances; the disembodied organs of a biker punk crawl around for half the movie menacing people, and the top half of a zombie's head manages to threateningly roll his eyes until someone sticks him in a blender...
  • Used as a Jump Scare in Dawn of the Dead (2004), while the mall security guards are checking around the mall's garage, a legless zombie clinging to the rafters brings down one of the men.
  • Subverted in End of Days. Satan's human host is eventually reduced to a damaged torso only kept alive by Satan's influence and yells at the hero that trying to stop him is pointless since he's immortal. He needs a functioning host to sire the Antichrist, however, so he evacuates it for a better one.
  • Knights by Albert Pyun has Gabriel getting blown in two. Played with in that he just crawls over to another cyborg's corpse and chops its legs off for spare parts.
  • The Bug in Men in Black. Justified because it's apparently some interstellar relative of a cockroach, which can live without parts of their bodies.
  • In Mimic 2, the resident jock brandishes a blade torn from a paper cutter and a leg severed from a bug, suggesting they should attempt to fight their way to safety with improvised weapons, only to embarrassingly upstaged by the resident geek pointing out that, yeah, he's strong enough to chop off a bug's head — that just means it will die of thirst in about a week. Humans like themselves will be long dead as the reflex action of the bug's body will have shredded them. In the first movie, a bug takes a full clip from a semiauto pistol after being sliced in half by a sliding door and still manages to scurry out of sight after maiming the shooter. In short, the bugs can only be killed by the equivalent of being crushed to paste — like being hit by speeding subway trains or incinerated with high explosives.
  • The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail simultaneously plays this straight (he's still alive and up for a fight with injuries that would normally be fatal almost immediately) and subverts it (not very threatening anymore, what?).
  • In The Mummy Returns, Imhotep's minions go after the O'Connells through London, one not stopping just because Rick blew off his legs with a shotgun.
  • Nemesis: After the cyborg assassins blow up Julie's lower body, she still tries to crawl away and shares some last-minute banter with the bad guys before they put her down for good.
  • Never Say Never Again: James Bond's commander claims he's losing his touch in field operations, citing his being incapacitated by a land mine in a training exercise — Bond corrects him, explaining he'd merely lost two legs, but didn't die.
  • Prince of Darkness. The woman who becomes The Chosen One of Satan has her head cut off. She picks up her head and puts it back on her neck, where it re-attaches itself.
  • Used a number of times in the Return of the Living Dead series, sometimes as Nausea Fuel (like the rotted-to-nearly-skeleton upper torso and arms that they nailed to a table and interrogated in the first film), sometimes Played for Laughs (like in the first sequel with the severed hand that gave the finger to the humans that were using flamethrowers on the equally severed head).
  • At the end of Savaged, Zoe is still functioning despite having been cut in half with a chainsaw. She drags herself into an open grave and starts trying to pull the soil down on top of herself. Her fiancé Dane finally performs a Mercy Kill by setting fire to her.
  • Star Wars: In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan chops off the head of one of General Grievous' droid bodyguards, only to discover it can still fight without it.
  • Kind of a running theme for the Terminator franchise. The eponymous killer robots absolutely will not stop until they've killed their target; even if their legs are blown off, they'll drag what's left of their damaged torso across the floor and try to finish the job with their bare hands. Justified because they're robots.
    • The Terminator: The T-800 continues to pursue Sarah Connor after Kyle Reese blows its lower half off with a pipe bomb.
    • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the T-X detaches her (presumably crushed) legs after Arnold finds that the perfect parking space for his stolen helicopter is right on top of her.
    • In Terminator Salvation, a T-600's upper half attacks John Connor and doesn't stop attacking him until he completely redecorates its face using a machine gun.
  • Alita: Battle Angel: In her second fight with Grewishka, Alita's first body literally falls apart on her because it was never designed to be a combat unit, reducing her to just a torso and one arm. Grewishka proceeds to taunt her, but she still manages to continue fighting by balancing herself on one hand to catapult herself up and jab him through the eye.

  • The Limper becomes this over the course of The Black Company novels. Having always had his namesake disability, the Company manages to remove one of his arms and eventually decapitate him before moving south. But that severed head is still an incredibly powerful wizard. He uses his magic to craft a "toy body" of wicker and later, a much finer one of enchanted clay. That said, his time with the wicker body still sees him conquer a huge section of the north, and he's ultimately only defeated when the Empire and the rebels team up against him and are able to boil him down into a soup.
  • Italo Calvino's novel, the Cloven Viscount: the titular character survives against all odds to a cannonball in the chest when fighting in the Turkish wars of the seventeenth century. He apparently comes back to his lands as Half the Man He Used to Be. Things get complicated when the villagefolk realise that it's the Viscount's Evil half that came back, and even weirder when the Good half arrives later.
  • R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels, like Streams of Silver, take the troll ability to regenerate even further than the game. (It sometimes seems he didn't read the Monster Manual.) Even a severed troll hand can function independently and grow into a new troll, and eating a troll has been known to result in a grisly death for the eating animal when the eaten troll starts growing back together. Fire still prevents this, but acid doesn't in that book because it had yet to be added to the rules.
  • Harry Keogh, Brian Lumley's titular Necroscope, can call the dead out of the ground to fight for him, and does so on several occasions. When the dead are destroyed, even the blown-off arms try to crawl into the enemy positions and strangle the gunners.
  • The Ghost Brigades of Old Man's War are comprised of clones of the deceased, and thus don't have the ingrained self-preservation instinct that the rest of the soldiers do. Thus, they frequently intentionally sacrifice body parts in combat, since they can get repaired when they get back to their ship.
  • In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight comes to Camelot, taunts the knights, and issues a challenge: he will allow any knight to deal him one blow and then he will return the following year to inflict the same. Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates him. The Green Knight picks up his severed head and tells him to meet him at the Green Chapel at the appointed time. Gawain, who does not have this power, spends the rest of the adventure on the verge of browning his pants (but manfully turns up anyway). It turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character.
  • White Night: The ghouls in New Mexico remain conscious and somewhat mobile even after one loses two limbs and another, its lower body. The super-ghouls that invade the Deeps later on keep right on fighting, even when they've lost arms, legs, chunks of torso, or even heads.
  • In World War Z, a soldier explains that losing their legs can actually make zombies more dangerous, since it often makes them harder to spot in tall grass or shallow water. He also explains that this is why land mines are ineffective against zombies; traps designed to take out an enemy's foot or leg don't help much against an enemy where you have to destroy the brain.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide warns that disembodied zombie heads are still a danger, and need to be destroyed completely.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • The eponymous character once went up against a demon that kept piecing itself back together and attacking no matter how many times he chopped him in half.
      Angel: Come ON! I'm holding your head!
    • Fortunately for Lorne, in his world getting decapitated isn't that big a deal.
  • A fairly realistic version in Breaking Bad. After one of the Salamanca cousins is crushed by a car, he ends up in the hospital with both his legs amputated. But when he sees Walt he tears out his IV and heart monitor, rolls out of bed, and drags himself across the floor, death-staring Walt the whole way. Having no legs only marginally slows his quest for revenge.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In Living Color! had "The Head Detective", a series of skits about a cop that was badly injured and had to undergo amputation... of everything except his head (with little plastic feet and hands stuck on).
  • MythQuest episode 6: A mysterious knight lets Caradoc cut his head off, then picks it up, retrieves his sword, and walks out the door.
  • Red Dwarf had Kryten who displayed an ability to function in pieces. Not only was he able to remove his head but he actually kept several spare, all of which were intelligent and capable of speech (though one was suffering from droid rot). In addition, one episode had him trapped and attaching an eye to his hand which he sent off independently to find Lister. It then proceeded to climb up his leg (which was particularly unnerving due to it initially being mistaken for a spider with an eye the size of a meatball).
  • The "Bicycle Girl" half-zombie, complete with trailing entrails, in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead.

  • Pin*Bot lacks a lower torso and legs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Battlemechs can continue to function after sustaining phenomenal damage, depending on how it's built. All bipedal mechs can continue to function after losing both arms; in fact, many mechs are built with arms that contain no important equipment at all, meaning that their loss won't impact the mech at all. Mechs that have a Light or Clan XL engine can survive the loss of one side torso (which will automatically result in losing the arm associated with that side). Mechs with a Standard or Compact Engine can survive the loss of both side torsos, and if they also have laser weapons mounted in their head and center torso they can keep fighting. Finally, a mech with a Torso-Mounted Cockpit can even survive the loss of its head, though at this point it's not really capable of fighting anymore since that destroys its sensors.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Iron golems could continue to function after losing their heads, including breathing out poison gas.
    • Module I6 Ravenloft. When Strahd zombies had their limbs cut off, the limbs could continue to attack.
    • More generally, constructs (like golems) and most undead (aside from vampires) can survive decapitation, and anything with multiple heads (like hydras) can survive losing any head but the last one. Creatures with the regeneration ability (like trolls) can grow back lost body parts or even reattach them by holding the severed limb against the stump. Many oozes have the Split ability which causes certain attacks to divide them into a pair of identical oozes just as formidable as the original except with half the hit points.
  • Some pictures from Warhammer 40,000 show damaged Necrons crawling on their hands just like the T-600 in the picture above. Since their regeneration special rule was originally called "We'll be Back!", it makes perfect sense.


    Video Games 
  • Binary Domain is about Hollow Children, Ridiculously Human Robots created by the Amada Corporation. Standing in the way of said hollow children, however, is an entire squadron of disposable combat robots:
    • Shoot their firing arm off and they'll just pick up their gun with the other arm.
    • Shoot their legs and they'll still have an arm to shoot you with.
    • HOWEVER, this can work in your favor. Shoot their brains out, and your AI hacking devices will automatically hack into their now-literally-broken firewalls, causing the robots to fight amongst themselves. This only works on bipedal mooks.
    • Also, one hollow child is shown to continue functioning with half a head. He's put out of his misery soon after. Not to mention the reject pile with multiple damaged hollow children, each wearing half of the same stem-cell mask that was used on Matsuda's best friend... *shudder*
  • In Bloody Battle, having your legs cut off as a zombie barely does anything but make it harder to jump. Yes, you can jump. Without your legs.
  • Brutal Doom: It's possible to blow revenants in half. The upper half will drag itself along the floor and continue to fire rockets at you until you destroy it, while the lower half will wander around aimlessly before collapsing.
  • Cyborg units in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun will lose their legs once most of their health has been lost, but still function, albeit with reduced movement speed. They're still healed by tiberium, but it won't make them grow their legs back.
  • In the final battle of Cyberpunk 2077, Adam Smasher gradually loses more and more of his body as the battle drags on and you wear him down, only surviving because most of his body is machine. By the time he finally collapses and can't fight anymore, he's been reduced to an armless, one-legged torso that can do nothing but sit on its knees, twitch occasionally, and (just barely) speak.
  • In the opening cinematic for Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, a Necron Warrior is shown doing this before it takes a bolt round to the face. In-game, however, they're examples of Pulling Themselves Together.
  • Necromorphs from Dead Space, who can lose up to two limbs without dying. This includes their heads.
  • Destiny 2: At the climax of the Deep Stone Crypt raid, Taniks the Scarred is mutilated when the Crypt is dropped from orbit with him still inside. Since he's already replaced most of his body with cybernetics, he survives and simply rips himself in two, fusing his mostly in-tact upper half into a nearby Heavy Shank to become Taniks the Abomination.
  • Some of the zombies in Diablo III will turn into crawling torsos when damaged; some of them start off that way.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: When the Kinreikan is attacked by Mensouma and his Spy Flies, Liu Jei becomes one of many casualties, bisected in half while attempting to defend the hall. Given that the Kinreikan is a collection of martial arts exorcists and mystics, this is merely a setback for Liu Jei who is later revealed to have animated himself as a zombie. Patchy in flesh, harmed by the sun, and dragging his remaining upper body along by his arms.
  • Fallout 2's final boss, after finally being defeated, spontaneously bursts in half. Despite this, his upper body has enough strength to walk a few steps on his arms alone and to leave his Final Speech for the player.
  • Montgomery Gator in Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is subjected to this when player character Gregory forces him into a fall where a steel beam breaks him in half. Despite this, he is still able to crawl around on his hands just as dangerous as before (if slightly easier to deal with since the sunglasses protecting his eyes have fallen off), and even manages to remain a threat in this form in the Ruin DLC.
  • Killing a zombie in Half-Life 2 by launching a sawblade at the torso with the gravity gun sometimes doesn't kill it: the zombie's upper torso will keep coming after the target. Conversely, killing a zombie with anything except fire or a headshot has a pretty high chance of the headcrab detaching itself from the corpse to find a new host.
  • Mummies in Hexen II. Blast them once, they lose their arms and keep shuffling. Blast their legs off, they inchworm toward you. And then, when they get close enough, they bite. The only way to put them down is to gib them. Hope you have plenty of mana.
  • Hollow Knight: When a flukemon is killed, it's split in half at the waist. The top half reanimates before hitting the ground and attacks the knight from the air. The bottom half reanimates a few seconds later and attacks the knight on the ground.
  • Before this happened to Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, it happened to the Dark Jedi called Maw in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. In the backstory, Maw was cut in two just below the waist by the Jedi Master Rahn but lived long enough to get emergency medical treatment. When Kyle Katarn meets him, Maw has an upper body with arms and nothing else; his waist is a life-support device and he's using Force levitation to get around.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, level 11 quest boss Ed the Undying (a mummy) is... well, he's undying. (Or UNDYING!, as he puts it.) The player has to fight seven of his forms in a row, although thankfully each one is weaker than the last since the "lethal" blows he receives break his major limbs and then torso into little bits and pieces. After seven combats, he's still not dead, but his body has degraded to the point that the adventurer sweeps him up in a dustpan.
    • Naturally, in the Special Challenge Path "Actually Ed the Undying" (where the player is — guess), he is no less UNDYING! and can return to any fight the player loses, albeit for a price.
  • The True Final Boss of Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Soul of Sectonia rips off her own head in the final phase of her fight just so she can attack Kirby one last time. The pause menu mentions she's too far gone and needs to be put out of her misery.
  • Several bosses in Lollipop Chainsaw abandon severed body parts and continue attacking regardless.
    Nick: [to Vikke] Dude! Black knight! You have no legs! Stop already!
  • In Madworld's Mad Castle stage, the common Mooks are zombies. If you want to cut them up, be sure to bisect them; cutting them in half at the waist won't put them away, and eventually they'll even regrow the bottom half.
  • In Mega Man, shooting out the legs of the Crazy Razy enemies that appear in Ice Man's level will cause their upper bodies to fly at you and attack. Aiming for the upper bodies before they can do this will prevent them from becoming more dangerous.
  • Zigzagged in Metal Arms: Glitch in the System. Most enemies will continue to try to fight the player even if they've been completely delimbed... keyword being "try".
  • The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories has this as a part of its core mechanic. J.J. is made immortal early on, so no amount of mutilation can kill her, and several puzzles actually require her to lose some of her body parts (or even to be reduced to just her head!) in order to proceed. Could be considered a Deconstructed Trope, as the whole process is extremely painful for J.J., and the game pulls absolutely no punches in conveying this to the player.
  • NanoBreaker have the elite Orgamech enemies in later levels; like most onscreen mooks they can be bisected from the waistline, but the upgraded variants can continue attacking you without their lower bodies.
  • Never Dead is this trope: The Game. You are immortal in every sense of the word, and can be reduced to a rolling head, and maybe an arm or two, and still capable of moving around and fighting back.
  • Nightmare Creatures is famous for the amount of limbs and legs you can sever in-game, and most monsters will keep coming after you even after losing most of their bodies. Taken to the extreme with the Dockers - blow off their arms and remove a leg, it will try hopping after you to attack via biting.
  • CASTs in Phantasy Star Zero store most of their memories and personalities in their heads, so losing their entire body is simply an inconvenience (as demonstrated when you first meet Ogi). However, some memories and personality traits can be stored in the body as well and will be automatically uploaded when a new head is attached. When Ogi gets a new body in Paru, he occasionally slips into speaking with a stereotypical Texan accent (much to Kai's annoyance). When Ogi finds an even better body in Arca, he finds that this CAST had backed up some of its memories in its body before its head was destroyed during the war against Mother Trinity, hoping to preserve the records it had kept of the atrocities she had committed.
  • Crops up occasionally in Ratchet & Clank. Throughout the games, there are a number of robotic enemies who continue operating even once their legs, upper body, or even head have been blasted to smithereens.
  • Zombies in the Resident Evil series have been known to do this. There's a notable instance in the second game, where you blow a zombie in half with a shotgun and the top half keeps crawling towards you.
  • In Torchlight II, skeletal torsos are among the corpses that can spontaneously animate when a character walks too near. They can also swarm out of bone piles.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Filmation's Ghostbusters: Scared Stiff has this in spades. He is a ghost robot, though.
  • Futurama gives us a non-threatening example, with most robots (and people for that matter) just needing their heads to function, with bodies being more or less just a collection of handy abilities.
    Bender: Bodies are for hookers and fat people.
  • Men In Black: The Series: the clone of a Mad Doctor.
  • Taken to the extreme in an episode of Rex the Runt, where in order to pay their bills, Bad Bob offers to sell his body. He returns within seconds, having literally sold his entire body, leaving him just a floating mouth, eye and eyepatch. The realisation that the £10 he got for his body is in his pocket hits moments later.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "The Midnight Zone", Mystery, Inc is threatened by a group of partially assembled robots who crawl towards them on whatever limbs they have.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Exaggerated in the episode "Blueprints", which sees Spider-Man fighting Mysterio, who uses robots to keep him on edge; one particularly persistent robot keeps attacking Spidey while repeatedly losing limbs, until it's down to its head, leaving the webhead to quip about how little damage it can do to him now.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Toffee. Having rendered all magic useless, disposed of Star, regained his lost finger, and destroyed Butterfly Castle, he walks away listlessly. He doesn't notice Star's attack. At the end of it, he is literally reduced to a pile of bones and goo that we can only assume was his flesh once. One of his eyes is even falling out of his head. In response, he laughs and crawls towards the group of heroes, assuring them that they haven't won and that only he knows how everything turns out. It is only after Ludo pushes a column onto him that he appears dead. Even then, they aren't entirely sure.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Legacy of Terror" introduces a Geonosian hive mind so powerful that it can maintain strong connections with its warriors, living or dead. This includes the warriors that have otherwise fatal wounds to their bodies ó you can shoot it with laser guns or chop it up with a lightsaber, but it'll keep coming for you.
    • General Grievous has survived and fought on after losing the lower half of his body.
    • Darth Maul also survived his bisection at the hands of Obi-Wan, evidently sustaining himself through the Force and pure hatred. He wound up getting cybernetic legs.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Jungle Moon", Stevonnie slices an alien in half in self-defense. To their relief, the upper half just sprouts legs and walks away.
  • Beast Wars: Parodied with Waspinator who ends up destroyed Once an Episode. In some cases, his head gets detached and has to move around using its tongue or mounted on his (also detached) hand. Once, after getting blown to bits, he gives us this gem before getting reassembled:
    Waspinator: Naaawwww, Wazzzpinator has a headache in his whole body!
  • Kid Cosmic: Early in the series, Joís portal powers leave Stuck Chuck stuck in Kidís trailerís floor (hence his nickname). Later, Chuck is freed but loses the entire lower half of his body, but since his species lacks any vital organs in that area, he suffers no ill effects and remains that way for the rest of the series.

    Real Life 
  • Stone crabs continue to live after fishers declaw them for food, albeit some studies have shown that they don't exactly live happy lives afterward.
  • Many starfish can detach their own limbs for self-defense and grow them back.


Video Example(s):


Horrifying The Adversary

Despite The Adversary loving fighting and engaging in violence, she becomes disturbed by the player getting back up after she destroys their body, to the point she starts to pity you and wants to give you a mercy kill.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorrifyingTheHorror

Media sources: