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Your Head A-Splode

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Looks like Homer got a-head of himself.

Hans: A head can't really explode just because it's shot, right?
Marty: It can. If it's filled with explosives.

Stuff Blowing Up is cool enough, but it somehow becomes even cooler when that stuff is human heads. Asploding heads may not be particularly realistic in some cases, but they sure look impressive. If people's heads start blowing up, it's usually a bad sign.

The name originated from the Intentional Engrish for Funny used in the Strong Bad Email episode "video games" and subsequent game StrongBadZone on Homestar Runner, wherein the head of the person playing the game is presumed not to have actually asploded, although there have been no studies done on the matter so far as we are aware.

Head asplosions are typically the result of an Explosive Leash, being shot in the head with high-powered ammunition (resulting in Pink Mist), interacting with a Brown Note, or absorbing too much knowledge. Often, just before it happens, the unfortunate character clutches their skull.


There's also the metaphorical (and occasionally literal for Mechanical Lifeforms) asploding that is said to occur when one's brain has gone mad from the revelation, or assaulted by a Mind Rape or Logic Bomb, or requires sufficient Brain Bleach.

For less explosive loss of heads, see Off with His Head! For head impacts that aren't as violent, see Cranial Eruption.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • The Epyx 500XJ Joystick is apparently so efficient in its purpose that it causes one for the gamer in this 1986 ad. ...But then undoes itself right after.
  • A series of humorous ads for Norton Antivirus 2011 involved celebrities (representing cyber criminals) wanting to do bad things to critters/inanimate objects/etc (representing the viewer's PC/identity/etc.). The viewer had the choice to deny or allow this to happen. One of these was Dolph Lundgren and a magical unicorn. The "deny" option results in the unicorn making Dolph Lundgren's head explode. Viewable here

    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens at times in AKIRA thanks to psychic powers. The most iconic example is Yamagata, who gets offed like this by Tetsuo. More like Ludicrous Gibs considering what happened to his body.
  • In Akumetsu, this happens to the title character whenever he dies.
  • In Baldr Force EXE Resolution, this tends to happen to those who meet a certain Virtual Ghost.
  • Basilisk: Never has there been a head gone ka-goosh with more satisfaction than that of Tenzen Yakushiji, which happens when Oboro regains the use of her Magical Eyes and turns their power upon him as he's reviving himself after he is killed by Gennosuke, rendering the evil ninja dead for good.
  • Battle Angel Alita has this quite often, with guns, fists, melee weapons blunt objects or whatever strikes your fancy as the cause. The sequel series even does it to its own Big Bad.
  • Berserk: Extremely common in manga.note  In fact, clean decapitations are almost nonexistent; most of the time, when Guts hits above the shoulders, the victim's head shatters.
    • During the Eclipse, this is the fate of Gaston, the last member of the Band of the Hawk to die during the Eclipse, by way of a parasitic demon.
  • Bleach: The leader of the Vandenreich does this to an Arrancar who didn't give his exact message to Soul Society. Reminiscent of how Yamamoto and Aizen could incapacitate people by focusing on them, he looks at the Arrancar until its head pops like a water balloon. Shunsui's Bankai does this to Lille Barro during their fight.
  • In Coyote Ragtime Show, the only way to kill the SISTERs is to blow up their heads.
  • The main characters of Cyber City Oedo 808 are fitted with explosive collars, with gory results if they try to remove it or fail to accomplish their mission in time.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba shows a rare example of someone surviving this: after she blows his and Tamayo's cover, Yushiro gets his head blown up when Susamaru sends a Temari ball flying in his direction. However, being a demon, he survives the deadly attack and heals. (Averted in the video game adaptation.)
  • In Dirty Pair Flight 005 Conspiracy, when Kei is drowning her sorrows at a bar believing Yuri was killed on an explosion, she asks the bartender, who unbeknownst to her is an assassin, to make her another drink, he spikes it with an unknown poison and hands it to her, her new partner Danny tells her that she's had enough and drinks it instead, he then convulses in pain and his head explodes, splattering his brain and skull fragments in her face.
  • In the Dragon Ball Z Majin Buu saga, Babidi made the head of any Muggle that annoyed him explode without warning. It wasn't too gory, though. Ironically, he dies when Buu punches his head off. Of course, this was edited for the televised dub.
  • In episode 95 of Dragon Ball Super Frieza has become so powerful in his golden form that he can make his opponents' heads explode with a single poke to the forehead, which he demonstrates on four Assassins from Universe 9
  • Death Note: Performed with an interesting visual metaphor. In the episode when Mello kills off most of the SPK, one guy kills himself by blowing his own brains out. Instead of showing his head asplode, they show an explosion of dice instead.
  • In D.Gray-Man, new character Wisely seems to have the power to do this to people.
  • This is the fate of LeBlanc from Divergence Eve after he downloads all of the information of the entire universe into his brain (so he can learn how to become immortal), which is too much for him to handle, with explosive results.
  • Elfen Lied uses this one, but most of the time it's a simple decapitation that sends the head flying on a jet of high-pressure blood.
  • Fist of the North Star: Pretty much the fate of any bad guy who messes with Kenshiro. They are already dead. Also, Mr. Heart's finisher. "HIDEBU!!!"
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, this is Scar's modus operandi for killing people, though he destroys their brain instead of their entire head.
    • Done literally in an out-take of episode 28. The actual scene depicts Scar grabbing Father's face, growling as he unsuccessfully tries to blow it up. However, in the outtake, Scar's growling is removed and replaced by a battle cry of "YOUR FACE ASPLODE!"
    • Later in the series, Ed destroys Pride's body by crushing his head. Yes, this is the same Pride that's an incorporeal mass of toothed shadows attached to a Creepy Child.
    • Kimblee in the 2003 anime version, even though he tends to make a person's whole body explode.
    • Atlas is killed in this fashion in The Sacred Star of Milos by Colonel Herschel aka Ashleigh Crichton.
  • Gantz: Done fairly frequently, thanks to special guns which cause whatever they target to explode and special bombs implanted in each Gantz player's head, which go off if they break one of the game's rules.
  • The opening scene of Ghost in the Shell (1995) involves Major Kusanagi taking out a diplomat who is trying to get a programmer out of the country by shooting him in the head with some delayed-fuse high-explosive rounds which make his head go boom several moments after hitting. The phrase "explosively anatomically accurate" seems apt. The animation crew seems to have a somewhat disturbing liking for these — there's a head-a-splode scene in some form or fashion at the beginning of each movie and the first/last episodes of both anime seasons.
    • The scene in question comes from the first scene in the manga, which plays out much the same way, with the biggest difference being that the Major doesn't get naked in order to use her thermoptics.
  • The 1980s Golgo 13 animated film The Professional features tycoon Leonard Dawson deciding to commit suicide by throwing himself from the window of a very tall skyscraper. Lands on the concrete below so hard that when his head hits, it gets pulverized. Golgo 13, always one to get the "last word" in, manages to put a bullet through his forehead before impact.
  • Gundam:
    • Char delivers quite the coup de grace to Princess Kycilia. With a rocket launcher. He also took off the Gundam's head with the Zeong.
    • Combined with the Face Palm in G Gundam as Domon Kasshu's primary means to achieving victory in pretty much every episode of Season 1.
      • Justified Trope. By the rules of the Gundam Fight, destroying the head of the opponent's Gundam eliminates that fighter from the tournament. Whereas wrecking the entire Gundam but leaving the head intact would make it perfectly legal for the fight to have his Gundam repaired and continue competing.
      • When he upgrades halfway through the series from the Shining Gundam to the God Gundam, Domon also upgrades his Finishing Move. This version becomes more like Your Whole Body Asplode. At least sometimes.
  • Heavy Object: Nexa's head was said to be "blown to pieces".
  • Hellsing, with its over-the-top violence and gore, is slowly reaching the point of self-parody.
  • Ikki Tousen Dragon Destiny has Koshaji. Her top gets destroyed and exposes her boobs, which is par for the course with the source material, but she then gets picked up by her head and gets slammed into a wall. Her head basically gets crushed like a grape and explodes in a bloody mess.
  • Ochazuke Nori's story "Infection on Flight 999" involves a disease that makes adult's heads explode — children just experience a high fever, pain, and blueness in the face.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Stardust Crusaders, Dio Brando is killed in this manner when he faces Jotaro Kujo head on. Questionable since it was really more his whole body that exploded, but it appears to start from the head and work its way back down. The fact that originates from a punch to his leg of all places makes this incident particularly noteworthy.
    • Araki is rather fond of that particularly exceptional variant: it happens to Santana in Battle Tendency and Jotaro himself in Stone Ocean, though both of them are still alive afterwards in some fashion.
    • In Steel Ball Run, Mike O. decides it would be a good idea to keep using his Tubular Bells Stand even after Hot Pants made it so if he even tried to inflate anything, he would die. Predictably, he tries to make another metal balloon, and his neck and the top of his head explode violently, revealing his spinal cord where his esophagus used to be.
  • In the anime Kite, the protagonist, taking a page from Ghost In The Shell, uses bullets that explode five seconds after impact, typically causing the head to explode in bloody gore.
  • This happens to Sakura several times in Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan after getting hit by Dokuro's Excalibolg.
  • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, this is implied to have happened to some of the test subjects who were infected with the Eclipse and failed to become a suitor for Lily. How else would you explain the brain things lying on the floor with the rest of the corpses?
    • On the same season, this also seems to be the way Veyron finished off another Eclipse infected he was fighting on chapter 19. He grabbed his head with his "Claw Grab" and then BOOM!
  • In Naruto (post-time-skip), Deidara sends spiders made of explosive clay to attach themselves to the faces of three Sand Village guards. Boom.
  • The beginning of Psycho Diver has a diver whose head explodes graphically. As it turned out the girl he was trying to help, Yuki, had a demon inside her soul and his head exploding was a result of the demon attacking him when he connected to her psychically.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, the invading Mi-Go are defeated when Nyarko's iPhone starts ringing and playing the pop song she had set as her ringtone. This is an explicit Shout-Out to Mars Attacks!, as earlier in the episode Nyarko discussed aliens having unusual weaknesses, including music (said as a silhouette of the Martians appears).
  • At the end of Episode 5 of Pacific Rim: The Black, Joel picks up Mei's radio and in retaliation for Mei escaping from Bogan, Shane detonates a bomb inside the radio which causes his head to explode.
  • In Psycho-Pass, Joushuu Kasei shoots Choe Gu-Sung in the face with a dominator, causing his head to explode.
  • In the third Rebuild of Evangelion movie, this happens to Kaworu when his Explosive Leash detonates.
  • Rebuild World: There's Akira using an anti-tank rifle on the heads of cyborgs Yajima and Zelmo in flashy manuvers. And then Akira dodging Toralt's BFS strike before drop-kicking his head using the full strength of his Powered Armor.
  • In Toriko, Setsuno can make her enemies' heads explode by increasing the air pressure around them to basically act as a pressure cooker.
  • In Until Death Do Us Part, terrorists had explosives implanted in their molars that were activated by biting down on it. Unfortunately for everyone else, they could also be remotely activated...
  • In a DVD-exclusive episodenote  of 009-1, Mylene/Agent 009-1 is told by a guy she just slept with that he knows she's a spy and that he has placed a bomb inside her body. But it turns out that he actually put the bomb in his own head, which explodes and splatters when he triggers the detonator. Mylene mourns him anyway since she did like him.
  • Vampire Hunter D: Count Magnus Lee makes his henchman Rei's head explode after he betrays him and attempts to kill him for not making him an immortal.

  • The ending of the Cheech and Chong comedy sketch "Up His Nose" from the Los Cochinos album. When the doctor looks in on a patient who constantly shoves things up his nose, including bullets, he tries to use pliers to remove the bullets, but eventually settles for just using a hammer, which causes the bullets to explode, presumably taking the boy's face with it. All the father could do at that point is rejoice and tell the doctor to "keep the change."

    Comic Books 
  • In Beasts of Burden, one of Lundy's spells is capable of making a brain burst out of its skull.
  • A common fate for minor villains in The Boys. Considering how brutal some of the deaths in that series are, an exploding skull is quite merciful.
  • In Contest of Champions (2015), Madame Hydra's head blows up after she loses her telepathic duel with the Maestro.
  • Monty loves doing this in Death Sentence.
  • El Toxico: After cracking a giant ant's head open with a hammer, El Toxico fires a shot into the wound, causing its head to explode.
  • Used in Fables when Snow White is shot in the head by Goldilocks. Since Fables are much stronger than normal people, she survives.
  • Fantastic Four: The Invisible Woman claims she could do this to somebody if she had to by creating a force bubble in the center of the victim's brain and making it expand; she once threatening to do so to Doctor Doom when she was very angry (and it may have been the first time in his career anyone had truly frightened him). To date, she has never been angry enough to do this in mainstream Marvel, but she has in the elseworlds series Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe.
  • In the alternate timeline series Future Imperfect, this is said to be the only way to reliably kill The Hulk. Unusually, it's then subverted by using Time Travel to blow the Evil Hulk to Ludicrous Gibs instead.
  • At the end of I Am Not Okay With This, Sydney uses her telekinetic powers to blow up Brad's head after he rapes her best friend Dina, then does the same to herself out of a belief that she's a bad person who brings nothing but pain to the world.
  • Infinite Crisis: Happens in the penultimate issue when Black Adam kills Psycho-Pirate by gouging out his eyes with his fingers then pushing his mask through his head (which asplodes). Complete with Bond One-Liner "No more silly faces."
  • In Justice League: Generation Lost, Maxwell Lord succeeds in his mission to kill Magog. Max takes control of Magog's body and forces him to blow his own head apart with his own energy staff. What makes it even more horrifying is that Magog is completely aware of what's happening and spends his last moments begging for his life.
  • In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, the prime benefit of getting into Heaven is the ability to make other people's heads explode, and the highlight of Johnny's trip there is setting off a massive chain reaction of "head-a-splodey" violence, which is stopped only after a nun gets angry and detonates everybody's head simultaneously. People familiar with Jhonen Vasquez's work would probably not find this sort of thing out of place. Referenced in The Simpsons, as Homer explodes the head of a tour guide angel.
  • In an Intercontinuity Crossover with Judge Dredd, called Die Laughing, The Joker gains the power to explode people's heads with his laugh.
  • In Marvel Zombies, the only way to make sure a zombie is dead is to destroy the head. Perhaps the most notable instance was when Invisible Woman exploded She-Hulk's head.
  • In Pitt, this is one of Timmy's primary uses for his Psychic Powers. It was especially useful against the Zombie Apocalypse in the Intercontinuity Crossover with The Darkness.
  • Planetary: Pops up in The Drummer's backstory; he was one of about a dozen child prodigies tied to computers in an attempt to create a human system for secretly controlling the internet, all of whom wore bomb collars as extra security measures. He was the only one to survive escape.
  • In Reyn, Seph sticks her staff into Brother M'Thall's mouth and zaps him with a magical spell. While we don't fully see what happens, it's clear that his head was blown to pieces.
  • Savage Dragon is rather fond of asploding heads. The dozens of separate instances and minor characters that die this way aside, Dragon himself had his brainpan asploded multiple times, twice by himself.... or his Evil Twin, really. Wait, that was an Evil Twin killing another Evil Twin before the surviving Evil Twin killed Dragon and then was shot in the face afterward. By Dragon. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Sin City has different instances in which people get their heads blown off but the one that takes the cake is actually a dream sequence. John Hartigan is handcuffed to a chair, getting beaten to a pulp. He somehow finds the urge to break the cuffs and attack his tormentor. He punches him in the face so hard... his head explodes into a mushroom cloud. Then he wakes up.
  • This is a regular threat for the Suicide Squad, as Amanda Waller won't hesitate to set off the bombs in their heads if they get out of line.
  • Superman:
    • Invoked in Red Daughter of Krypton when Supergirl thinks she has to talk the newest Red Lantern down quickly before she blows more heads up.
      Supergirl: I have to make this quick before she finds more heads to explode.
    • In Crucible storyline, Comet crushes villain Vax's head telekinetically until it bursts out.
    • Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom: Darkseid's soldier Cyberpak dies when the titular villainess shoves one grenade into his mouth.
    • In the final part of Time and Time Again, one of the reporters on the Earth's moon reporting Dev-Em's rampage is killed by a piece of debris flung at him at bullet-speed by Dev-Em that rips through his spacesuit helmet and also through his head, causing this to happen.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage): This happens a few times to various thugs in the miniseries "Body Count".
  • Trakk: Monster Hunter: In chapter 3, Trakk kills a monster by suqeezing its head until it bursts in his hand.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise:
    • The Deceptions all have inhibitor/deterrence chips in their heads to prevent them from using their powers and transforming. If they get out of line, their heads will explode. When Horri-bull almost beats a neutral to death, Bumblebee detonates his chip. Ultimately subverted with the Constructicons in Issue #4: They show up alive and well later, despite Prowl detonating their chips, but it turns out they were Faking the Dead with a little help from Prowl himself.
    • Wheeljack barely survives this in Issue 14.
    • Shockwave shoots an already badly wounded Metrotitan in the face, blowing up his head.
  • Transmetropolitan: Happens — over three panels, no less — with the assassination of Dr Vita Severn.
  • In Über, the titular superhumans can suffer a gory cranial explosion if their Eye Beams are used for too long without rest.
  • Done in Marvel's Ultimatum. Doctor Strange is subjected to the "squeezing until the head bursts" variety, courtesy of Dormammu's only appearance in the entire damn Ultimatesverse.
  • In Watchmen #4 Dr. Manhattan is seen in a flashback using his powers to blow up the head of a gunman who opened fire in a nightclub.
  • In The Wicked + The Divine, Lucifer snaps her fingers and saves Laura by doing this to would-be assassins. She's also framed (maybe) for doing it to a judge, and it's later explained that any god with domain over fire could also pull that trick. It's also how Ananke punishes Luci.
  • In Requiem for a Rogue, an arc of the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comics, the bad guy, failing to kill the Rogues, is interrupted by a new bad guy with a stronger connection to the Force. The new bad guy shoots his own hand off and telekinetically uses it to strangle the old bad guy while monologuing, then removes the hand and makes the old one's head explode. Why not just shoot him, just strangle him, or just blow up his head? Because that's not ridiculous and overly elaborate enough, apparently.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, the strip when Opus lights up his first cigarette shows his head exploding, but Narrative Backpedaling ensues in the final panel:
    Opus: That actually didn't happen... but it is reminiscent of the taste.
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes occasionally imagines his head exploding. In one strip, he sneezes so hard his head blows up. In another, a particularly bad mosquito itch makes him feel like his head caught on fire and exploded.
  • Happens in Dilbert, to a random Red Shirt.
    Guy: Uh-oh... suddenly this meeting and all these strange words make sense.
    Guy's head explodes.
    Wally (to Dilbert): It's your turn to buy the card.
    • Has also happened before, when Dogbert rescued Dilbert from the bowels of Accounting by presenting the accounting trolls with something their brains -couldn't comprehend: wearing a cap backward on his head.
      Dilbert: What was that popping sound?
      Dogbert: A paradigm shifting without a clutch.
    • Scott Adams loves this trope, especially pairing this with the Cleanup in Aisle Three gag.
  • Doonesbury: Duke's head has been exploding since 1985. For some reason, it kept exploding when he found out Hunter S. Thompson had died.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ages of Shadow, this is how Jade/Yade Khan kills Maximus Domino after she's done toying with him.
  • Happens a lot to psykers in Age of Strife. Also how Mirande killed The Archduke.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has this fate imposed on Socrates if his transmitter chip isn't removed in time. He makes it.
  • In Another Day in the Life of exploding heads are implied to be the result of a blood seal rebound.
  • In The Cries of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi asplodes Keiichi's head when she wants him to die.
  • Fallout: Equestria - Empty Quiver features this as the destruction of a robotic dragon, courtesy of a 40mm grenade with the explosive yield of a mini-nuke. Your Head A Splode indeed.
  • From Bajor to the Black, Part II has Eleya take out a Borg drone who's adapted to her phaser rifle by ramming said rifle through its Deflector Shield and into its mouth and then pulling the trigger.
  • Frostbite has a couple of instances of Frickin' Laser Beams making Breen mooks' heads explode. One such line:
    "The disruptor bucked in [Tess's] hand as she fired and her target’s head exploded in a shower of sparks, bone, brains, and blood."
  • Happens to the pirate captain in the Golden Age series. He likely didn't know that the empire planted a tooth bomb in him to keep the United Galaxies from discovering their trap.
  • In Harry Potter and the Champion's Champion Ron makes Fleur angry enough to change into her avian form right before the First Task and she throws so many fireballs at the dragon she's supposed to be facing that its head explodes.
  • It happens in Hellsister Trilogy when Doctor Fate fights Superman's enemy Lord Satanis. Let's say that Fate's Order magic doesn't mix well with Satanis' Chaos-powered headgear.
    Fate put his hands to his helmet, lifted it off, and, swooping low, jammed it over the red helmet of his enemy. The power of Order, imbued within the golden helm, had an immediate reaction with the powers within Satanis's headgear.
    There was an explosion everyone could hear, and what happened to Lord Satanis was not at all pretty to look upon.
    Kent Nelson, standing in his blue and gold uniform, hesitated a second. Then he reached out, separated his own helmet from Satanis's, and replaced it on his head. Thankfully, it contained no baleful energies. He then took Satanis’s helmet. It came away from his body, with what was left of his head inside.
  • The Immortal Game: This, via a blast of energy, is how Titan kills Exakktus when the latter pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Twilight (having recently become an alicorn herself) returns the favor during their subsequent duel. By punching him in the face. Being a Physical God, this barely slows him down.
  • The Discworld story The Importance of Index Cards thrusts Watch adjutant A.E. pessimal into the most difficult task of his administrative career. Who would have known indexing and filing could be a life-or-death matter in a place where heads are known to spontaneously explode... refer to 'Moving Pictures below, for a hint of the primal evil Pessimal encounters.
  • The Infinite Loops' MLP loops have some examples of this being Played for Laughs, including Twilight's head exploding twice after Pinkie "explains" how the Pinkie Sense works, and the Doctor's head exploding numerous times after the Mane Six loops into the Whoinverse as Daleks and decide to screw the whole extermination thing and be benevolent. The Doctor just couldn't process the concept of benevolent Daleks.
  • In KOTOR The Prodigy Of Revan, Brejik gets this treatment from Knight in Chapter VII, via shoving the barrel of his pistol into Brejik's mouth and squeezing the trigger.
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. fanfic Ripples, this is the end result of Phobos' Beam-O-War with Allora, with him blowing her head totally off.
  • In the Robotech fanfic Marque and Reprisal, this happens to Gabe.
  • In Mass Foundations: Redemption in the Stars, The Courier finishes off the Harbinger-possessed Collector by discharging the entire clip of his M-6 Carnifex into his head, with predictable results.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic Partially Kissed Hero, Harry, having recently acquired Legilimency abilities from Voldemort's memories, Mind Rapes Snape so hard, Snape's head explodes.
  • Pokémon: Attack of Mewtwo's first chapter has Mewtwo, or rather, Mewthree, tell Sarah to shut up, or he'll do this to her. Sarah continues to defy him, and so he uses 'sichic' to do so. Sarah somehow survives this.
  • In Poké Wars, this is the fate of Misty's Psyduck when he's undampened (aka, having his Power Limiters removed), the extreme overload of psychic power being too much for him.
  • In Soul Scars a troll's head explodes after Harry casts Reducto into its open mouth.
  • In Unnatural Disaster, Taylor turns all the water in Kaiser's head into steam, causing this to happen.
  • In Harry Potter & Death's Ultimatum Crabbe senior's head explodes when Harry casts Reducto at it.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 30 Days of Night: When Eben punches out Marlow. One vampire's head gets blown off by a shotgun blast and (apparently) killed earlier too.
  • Alien heads asplode quite a bit in Aliens. It's a serious plot point because their spraying acid blood kills or injures several of the Marines. It's also not Ludicrous Gibs in this case, as Lt. Gorman explains that the Marines' pulse rifles fire "10-millimeter explosive tip caseless. Standard light armor piercing round."
    • Meanwhile, the prequel Prometheus has the already-severed head of a dead Engineer suddenly spasm madly before exploding into a gooey mess when the scientists restart its biological processes (said explosion occurs as a result of the bioweapon it had been infected with prior to death).
  • Battlefield Earth: Big Bad Terl (played by John Travolta, no less) attaches an explosive collar to a man's neck and blows his head off. Thankfully, we get a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Battle Royale: The students on the island are each fitted with an explosive collar that goes off if they try to escape the island or try to remove it.
  • The final battle of The Battle Wizard, where the hero, Tuan-Yu, managed to overload his chi into The Dragon... causing his entire cranium to blow apart.
  • During the climactic scenes in Bite, Jared stomps on the mutated Casey's head, which explodes into green goo.
  • Blade Trilogy:
    • The first movie has Blade using an anticoagulant that reacts violently with vampire blood. The area hit by the syringe swells and then explodes — and he does it on the neck of an enemy, causing the head to explode.
    • In Blade II, Blade sticks an explosive device onto an uncooperative bad guy's head. While the Chekhov's Gun does not go off while attached to said head, it's a big enough bomb that when it does, the person holding it (including his head), explodes.
  • This is how Chucky meets his end in Child's Play 2 after getting covered in melted plastic Kyle sticks an air hose in his mouth causing his head to inflate and explode.
  • Chopping Mall: Leslie goes out this way courtesy of a Killer Robot's Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • While not actually seen a-sploding, one must imagine this happened to Cyrus at the end of Con Air when a conveyor belt takes him underneath a rock crusher.
  • Both Dawn of the Dead (1978) and its remake feature memorable "shotgun blast to the head" scenes, although in very different contexts. The head splosion in the original was one of the first live-action attempts at the trope (achieved with various... organs).note 
  • Dawning of the Dead: In one scene, someone shoots a zombie in the head, causing it to explode.
  • Daybreakers features a scene in which an individual reacts poorly to an experimental serum. After some brief Body Horror and vomiting as the Vampire Paramedics frantically try to save his life, he finally seems to settle... before his head violently explodes.
  • Early on in Dead Birds, one of the bankers is shot in the head, causing his head to vanish down to the lower jaw.
  • A particularly awesome head asplosion occurs in Deadly Friend when a cybernetically resurrected Kristy Swanson kills the obnoxious old lady neighbor with a thrown basketball.
  • In Death Spa, vengeful ghost Catherine causes Amoral Attorney Tom's head to explode while he is in the sauna.
  • District 9 has at least one guy losing his head to a snazzy special effects explosion.
  • In Dobermann, the Abbot shoves a grenade inside the crash helmet of the police officer who killed Pitbull's dog. He and then Leo then shove the unfortunate officer out of the car, where he struggles in vain to remove the helmet before his head explodes.
  • Dogma: Any human who hears God's voice suffers this fate. According to Metatron, "We went through five Adams before we figured that one out," resulting in an angel getting the job of speaking to humans for God. The Metatron later notes a human is immune if the human is already dead.
  • In the 2011 film Drive (2011), a scene has Blanche's head being blown to bits, her brains splattering all over the bathroom.
  • Dust Devil: How Wendy kills the Dust Devil’s host.
  • Eastern Condors: During one of the fight scenes, a Vietnamese soldier has a live grenade shoved into his mouth and the pin pulled: with predictable results.
  • Happens to Trantor the troll in Ernest Scared Stupid after Ernest shows him the love and innocence of a child.
  • In Evil Dead 2, Ash steps on the neck of a wounded Deadite then proceeds to give it a point blank shotgun blast. Considering that it's a Deadite, there is no need to mention the resulting copious gore.
    Deadite: I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!
    Ash: Swallow this.
  • In The Fly II, The Dragon's second-in-command is flung under a descending elevator, which crushes his body. The edge catches the back of his skull, causing it to rupture messily.
  • In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, a random teen dies this way, because he is wearing a hearing aid that magnifies sound so much your head explodes when you hear a normal volume sound. Robert Englund cites this as one of his favorite deaths, saying that in today's Positive Discrimination climate, it's good to know that Freddy'll even kill the Token Minority.
  • In the uncut version of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason kills Vicki by squeezing her head between her palms until he literally pops it like a zit.
  • In Fury (2014) one unfortunate soldier is killed when he peeks out of his tank and he is shot in the head with a shell from another tank causing his head to explode.
  • Inverted in The Fury, one character is blown up with psychic powers and everything but the head explodes.
  • In Full Metal Jacket Private Pyle becomes deranged after the abuse he endured from his fellow privates and murders his own sergeant with a loaded rifle. Realizing what now awaits him for his crime, he takes his rifle and shoots himself in the mouth, spraying blood and brains all over the washroom walls.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Along with Eye Scream, this is one of the best ways to dispatch Viper Commandos or Neo-Vipers. Scarlett's exploding arrow went through a Viper Commando's eye before blowing his head up, and Heavy Duty jams a grenade in a Neo-Viper's neck guard to do away with his head. OWCH. During the Paris chase, Scarlett targets an unarmored Neo-Viper in the head too, suggesting this is her preferred M.O.
  • In Glory, this happens to a Union Army Red Shirt at the Battle of Antietam, who takes a direct hit from artillery.
  • In the first Gremlins it happens to a gremlin when Lynn stuffs it into the microwave and turns it on.
  • In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Michael knifes jerkass dad John Strode onto a fuse box, electrocuting him to the point where he starts foaming at the mouth before his head blows up.
  • In The Hills Have Eyes (2006), we are treated to a very graphic shotgun suicide. On the potty, no less.
  • Halloween (2018): When Michael's doctor goes insane in his attempt to pin down what makes him tick, Michael catches up to him and stomps his head into a pile of goo.
  • After Prof. Campell's severed head reminds Lucas how to defeat Jenke in The Horror Show, it explodes.
  • Spoofed in Hot Fuzz: in an early scene with Angel giving a presentation to some school kids, he asks for questions. The only hand raised is that of his partner, who asks, "Is it true that there is a place in a man's head that, if you shoot it, it will blow up?" Our hero is not amused. DVD extra Fuzz Facts states that they were unable to find such a place on the human head.
  • Immortals does this a lot, especially when the Gods fight the Heraklions and Titans.
  • Referenced in In Bruges, when Harry is offered dum-dum bullets, "the bullets that make the head explode", and takes them like someone on a diet would accept chocolate cake: "I know I shouldn't... but I will." Even professional hitmen can't resist the awesome of Your Head A Splode, apparently. But they really should.
  • Indiana Jones:
  • In the 1987 movie Innerspace, there is a scene where Jack Putter, while disguised as the Cowboy (thanks to a Magic Plastic Surgery disguise), faces the possibility of not just any pain but Propane. This results in him freaking out, which causes his head to expand and distort greatly looking like it could explode. Luckily, it didn't, but his cover is blown wide open when this reverts his face back to normal.
  • The sharks' deaths in Jaws and Jaws 3D fit this trope, as both animals were chewing on something that exploded in their mouths.
  • This happens in Kick-Ass as a man is locked in an industrial microwave.
  • Done with Professor Arnold early on in Kingsman: The Secret Service, and then later with all of Valentine's soldiers, party guests, and most of the heads of government due to the chips in their necks overheating and exploding after Merlin hacks them.
  • The Last House on the Left, or at least the remake, ends on this note.
  • In Bill Cosby's Leonard Part 6, the titular hero offs one of the vegetarian bad guys in such a manner — by feeding him a cold hot dog.
  • In a Bond film Licence to Kill, one guy's head actually does explode (due to Explosive Decompression).
  • Little Dead Rotting Hood: During a shoot-out in the middle of the movie, we're treated to a shot of a wolf's head bursting into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • In the original The Lost Boys the vampire gang member Dwayne is killed when he's shot in the head with a holy water-tipped arrow by Michael, it causes him to go flying into an amplifier which electrocutes him and causes his head to explode.
  • In the most infamous scene from the film Maniac! (1980), psycho killer Frank attacks a couple making out in a car and shoots the male (played by Tom Savini, who was also in charge of the effects) in the face at close range with a double-barrel shotgun, blowing his brains all over the car and his poor date.
  • In The Man Who Saves the World, the protagonist, during the middle of a fight, rips off a toilet paper mummy's head with his hands and throws it at other mummies, making the head go Boom!
  • The Georges Méliès film The Man with the Rubber Head provides a classically oddball example: Méliès makes a living clone of his own head by means that remain unexplained and blows it up to ginormous dimensions, only to see it literally blow up. Did we mention this was made in 1901?
  • In Mars Attacks!, the Martians' heads explode when exposed to the song "Indian Love Call".
  • Max Headroom, as mentioned under Live Action TV, which is what causes the problem in the film as well.
  • In Men in Black, Agent K shoots the normal-seeming pawn shop owner Jack Jeebs in the head, causing this; turns out Jeebs is an alien, and gets better. It's implied that this is the routine for the two. It's implied in Men In Black 2 that every time he does this, the head comes back a
  • Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight II: In Adas' Dream Sequence at the start of the movie, Adas shoots the first killer ballroom dancer in the head, causing it to explode.
  • Happens in The Patriot set during The American Revolution by means of a cannonball to the face.
  • Obscure Slasher Movie The Prowler / Rosemary's Killer ends with the villain getting a point-blank shotgun blast to the face, blowing his head completely apart in an extremely messy manner. Of note, Tom Savini has referred to this movie as being one of his finest works.
  • When being burned at the stake in The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Esmeralda's head explodes because she is holding a mouthful of gunpowder.
  • Pulp Fiction: "Oh man, I Just Shot Marvin in the Face!" Though oddly, if freeze-framed, Marvin's (relatively intact) head can be seen in the trunk later.
  • Happens a LOT in Punisher: War Zone. And A LOT of it is so over the top, that it's more funny than gory or shocking (he just punches someone and it happens), considering they were aiming to go darker, this is somewhat amusing.
  • The Quick and the Dead. Keith David's head doesn't exactly a splode, but what's left can't be structurally sound.
  • In Rambo IV movie, the first death via Rambo and his new M2 Browning is the driver of the truck it's mounted on. He gets off around 25-30 shots at point-blank range into the guy's head. The next shot is of a waterfall of brains, bone, and blood pouring down the gun's shield. A later shot has what's left of the driver's torso sliding out of the truck like a giant, bloody cigar butt. Rambo doesn't stop at mere head explosions.
  • Return to Cabin by the Lake: Subverted. Villain Protagonist Stanley sticks a firecracker into someone's ear as an Ironic Echo to a comment the guy made earlier about "lighting a firecracker under your ass". He puts it out just before it goes off, but he buries the man alive instead while lighting fireworks on top of his casket.
  • Jen suffers this at least twice in Revenge (2017), courtesy of point-blank shotgun blasts to the face. Fortunately for her, it was All Just A Bad Peyote Trip.
  • This is how the sentient telekinetic car tire kills people in Rubber.
  • Schwarzenegger's The Running Man. Prisoners wear neck collars which, when activated by a sensor perimeter, explode. It happens to Chico when he mistakenly thinks the perimeter's been shut down.
  • In Saw III, one of the characters spends most of the movie with a makeshift device made out of shotgun shells attached to her neck which will detonate if the evil mastermind dies. This kinda sucks since he has terminal cancer. Mercifully, she's offscreen when it eventually does go off, but the ruined stump left in place of her neck afterward is horrifying enough.
  • David Cronenberg's Scanners famously blew up a man's head around the beginning as a particularly bitchin' Kick the Dog moment for villain Darryl Revok. Made even more awesome when you know how they did it: nothing fancy at all — just a fake head filled with various substances (including dog food and rabbit livers) and a twelve gauge shotgun aimed at the back of its neck! So now you know exactly what happens to a human head when hit point blank by a shotgun...
  • In Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Augie's doorknob-launching air cannon inflicts this trope upon a row of three zombies in one shot, seriously impressing his fellow Scouts. Also to a bunch more individual undead, at least until it runs out of ammo.
  • In Billy's proposed ending, this happens to Charlie in Seven Psychopaths (see page quote).
  • In the 2007 movie Shooter, when the assassination takes place, the target is shot with a .50 cal sniper rifle from over a mile away, and we get to watch the head a-splodin' through the crosshairs. It's a good-and-gory splatter, but even then it wasn't as bad as what would have happened in Real Life (see Other below).
  • Sin City has Dwight tossing Jackie Boy's head into a crowd of "bad guys". The head has a grenade taped inside. It asplodes.
  • Spy Hard: It's a well-known fact that during the singing of Thunderball, the high note at the end caused Tom Jones to faint. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodies this in the title sequence when the high note at the end causes his head to explode!
  • The Brain Bug in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder manages to do this to all of the non-plot-critical characters in the room with it when the human military leaders go to examine footage of Anoke talking to it by squealing.
  • In Star Trek Into Darkness, Harrison likes to crush his enemies' skulls. With his bare hands.
  • Sonny Chiba's The Street Fighter has a particularly unintentionally-hilarious example. Sonny's character sneaks onto the Big Bad's boat at night, grapples with one of his mooks, and ends up by throwing him about all of six feet down to a lower deck. The henchman's head reacts to contacting the said deck by exploding violently in what looks like it took a full gallon of red poster paint to achieve.
  • In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Jack Black blows someone's mind in his dream with The Power of Rock.
    Jables: I did not mean!
    Kage: He did not mean...
    Jables: To blow your mind!
    Kage: To blow your mind!
    Jables: But that shit happens to me all the tiiiiime!
  • They Call Me Bruce (1982). The Mafia asks a Nightmare Fetishist hitman how he plans to kill Bruce. After demonstrating various methods on a store dummy, the silenced pistol with explosive bullets that blows up its head gets their unanimous approval.
  • Three Kings: There's a flashback scene where a man's head is shown popping off. This is done for comedic effect.
  • In the original Total Recall (1990), the exploding head is a bomb-rigged animatronic prosthesis which Quaid wears as part of a costume. His deception uncovered, he tosses the head to his pursuers, in whose hands it cracks wise and then asplodes. Later, the thin Martian atmosphere causes one bad guy's head to asplode. Arnie and his gal narrowly avoid the same fate.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this is how Starscream meets his end. From Sam of all people.
  • Trench 11: The German who takes a point blank shotgun blast to the head.
  • Turkey Shoot: In the 2014 film, the Libyan dictator's head is absolutely destroyed by the rifle bullet which hits him.
  • In the 1987 movie Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bounty Hunter Nick Randall, played by Rutger Hauer, brings Malak Al-Rahim, a Middle Eastern Terrorist who killed his best friend and his girlfriend, back to his employers with a grenade jammed in his mouth. He's being paid a bonus to bring the guy in alive, but ultimately decides "Fuck the bonus," just before pulling the pin and leaving him to die an explosive death.
  • Wedlock: AKA (Deadlock) features explosive collars used instead of fences at a futuristic prison.
  • In Willow, Madmartigan puts his sword into one head of a two-headed dragon. It splodes.

  • Some versions of the "Pop Rocks + Soda = Death" Urban Legend describe how a victim took a swig of cola while chewing pop rocks, and died horribly from an explosion that went off in his/her mouth.
  • There's a persistent rumor of a Russian guy whose head literally exploded during a chess tournament. According to the legend, he had some type of electrical imbalance in his brain, which must have somehow boiled his cranial liquids, causing pressure to build up inside his skull, exploding his head "as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium". (In terms of "head exploding like a watermelon with a firecracker in it," that would be impossible. There is no electrical configuration possible in a brain to be able to generate enough force to rupture the skull. Aneurysms, weak areas in your brain's circulation, can rupture under increased blood pressure, which is entirely possible in a stressful situation, and this can be instantly or near instantly fatal, but nothing in your brain can blow your head up.) The story actually originates from a spoof article in the Weekly World News.

  • Any time someone gets shot in the head in a Matthew Reilly book, their head will explode. Always.
  • The big concert scene in Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard features Spinal Tap, who were all on Drac during their set, trying out the shape-shifting capabilities conferred by the drug; the drummer tried to generate horns on his head, but only succeeded in blowing his head apart. The stage manager laments that there is nothing but a big mess to clean up, while if he'd done it onstage it would have made a brilliant ending to their performance.
  • In Battle Royale, students are outfitted with explosive collars to enforce their compliance with the government's "game". One student dies when his collar goes off when he's stuck in a forbidden area.
  • In his book Brain Droppings, George Carlin wondered about the possibility of a world where the only cause of death was people's heads exploding, totally without warning.
    Carlin: You know what? I bet people would get used to it.
  • In Human Nature, one of the school children who is defending the school from a group of attacking aliens turns to say something to John Smith and gets hit in the back of the head with a dart from one of the alien's weapons. A moment passes then this trope splatters blood and brain matter all over the room, leading to a Heroic BSoD from John Smith.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos
    • Kassad makes a religious fundamentalist's head asplode on television, using careful timing and satellites with tightly focused invisible laser beams to boil their brains. He plays this up as the wrath of Allah, backed by the wrath of the galactic military police.
    • The A.I.s make a human hacker's head asplode when he tries to penetrate their systems.
  • Discworld
    • In Moving Pictures, we learn of the existence of Tshlup-Ashlapeth, the Infernal Star goat with a Million young, whose preferred and only way of slaughtering a victim is to hold them down and show it pictures of its children until they can take no more and their brain explodes.
    • Used metaphorically in Feet of Clay, when a dreaming Vimes sees a murder victim's head burst open and spill out words. Then again, non-metaphorically, when the Golem King's head is smashed to pieces, with countless shreds of paper containing the king golem's Words flying out.
    • Used even less metaphorically in The Fifth Elephant, when a werewolf reflexively catches Vimes' high-powered flare in his teeth.
    • According to Snuff, an overdose of the troll drug Crystal Slam can cause the victim's head to explode.
  • In Fengshen Yanyi, many Immortals during the course of the novel are often killed by head blows powerful enough to smash their heads to pieces, such as Lady Bixiao (head smashed by Yuanshi Tianzun's curved scepter), Sacred Mother Jinguang (head splattered by Guangchengzi's Heaven Turning Seal) and Luo Xuan (Li Jing drops an entire golden pagoda on his cranium).
  • In Hammerjack, pretty much everyone has communications implants in their brains. One of the deadliest hammerjack techniques involves hacking someone's implant and causing it to overload, making the victim's head explode. This is done by both Vortex and Heretic to dispatch enemy soldiers.
  • A self-inflicted version in Infinite Jest where James O. Incandenza drills a hole into a microwave, puts his head into it and well, the aftermath makes the Boston PD pathologist faint.
  • In Nightflyers, Thale's head explodes when Agatha injects him with esperon in an attempt to boost his psychic abilities.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, after Daylen finds out what Jena and the other Dawnists are planning, he hits her straight in the head with every ounce of his considerable Super Strength. The results are ... messy, to say the least.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant briefly mentions a colleague who 'ruptured' after receiving a Death Glare from Baron Vengeous.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • A heartwarming Defusing The Tykebomb situation in Galaxy of Fear is interrupted by this; the Big Bad anticipated that it might happen, so installed a tiny bomb in his weapon's skull.
    • Attempted in The Approaching Storm. Soergg the Hutt controls a pair of Ansionians by planting explosive charges in their necks. Barriss Offee manages to disarm and remove them, and the Ansionians pull a Mook–Face Turn and become native guides to Offee and three other Jedi.
  • The first time the protagonist uses the eponymous blade from the Sword of Truth series, the powerful magic in the sword makes his enemy's head explode — in slow motion, no less.
  • Virtually any headshot scored in Warhammer 40,000 novels results in this, given that the primary weapon of three different factions is a fully automatic miniature RPG. Invoked in Space Wolf: Grey Hunter when the Wolves specifically go for headshots against a sanctuary of Chaos cultists because the cultists have runes painted on their heads that Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marines are using to possess them and resurrect themselves.
  • The magic-wielding Asha'man from The Wheel of Time series learn to do this as a standard attack. Later we see them exploding not just heads, but entire bodies, sometimes of whole ranks of soldiers at once. They are very good at their jobs. The meat-grinder carnage that results naturally makes other characters ill.
  • Averted in World War Z, where a military research proposal to remote-control thousands of bullet-sized cruise missiles into the skulls of zombies and detonate them never accomplished squat, except to use up a huge amount of funding and resources.

  • The Cramps' "Blow Up Your Mind".
  • Weird Al's "Couch Potato" gives us "Make 'em watch all of that junk 'til their heads explode just like 'Scanners'"
  • "And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."
  • Noise Rock /Shoegaze band A Place To Bury Strangers' second album is called Exploding Head.
  • Saskrotch's "Exploding Head Disease" EP.
  • Alluded to in The Velvet Underground's "I Heard Her Call My Name":
    And then my mind split open...
  • From "The Small(er) Song" by Carla Bozulich ( The Geraldine Fibbers / Ethyl Meatplow ):
    You thought you saw me in a dream
    Inside a junkyard contraption with rocket parts.
    I was zooming away at an alarming rate
    In a bunch and nuts and bolts that looks like a toaster.
    You called out to me but I could not hear you.
    I covered my eyes from the blinding light.
    As I disappeared behind the clouds,
    You thought you saw my head explode...
    You're not dreaming.
  • Invoked in extremely' gruesome fashion with the original cover of Big Black's Headache EP. Yes, those are real police photos.
  • In the video for the Vengaboys' Rocket To Uranus, Pete Burns's character suffers from this after too much happy music.
  • The Jam, Going Underground:
    We talk and we talk until my head explodes...
  • Song by People In Planes, "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)".
  • Albeit an allegorical application of the trope, Metalcore band Trivium explores it in A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation. You can deduce what will ensue.
  • Insane Clown Posse:
    • From "Guts On The Ceiling":
      "Oh, you'll never guess what's up
      My muckin' head blew up"
    • From "Hokus Pokus" on The Great Milenko:
      "Four cards down, and two more still to drop
      When they do, I get in my car and hit the road
      Cause I don't wanna see your head explode"
  • Cypress Hill's "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That":
    "I'll huff and puff and blow your head off"

  • The "Traffic Jam" Supergame mode in the Judge Dredd pinball ends with one driver throwing an axe at the other, causing the victim's brains to splatter.

  • A variation happens in Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, where Zia hits a lizard monster with a telepathic blast so strong that its brain explodes inside of its cranium. The resultant gunge shoots out of its eyes and covers Ciro, leaving everyone on the scene rather queasy.
  • Survival of the Fittest is directly inspired by Battle Royale, and the explosive collars do make an appearance here as well. Generally, they are set off if tampered with, if a character stays in a danger zone too long, or as a warning to other characters/groups. When they do, you get this trope.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands: Hell on Earth and Lost Colony gives us sykers. Similarly to the examples above, their brain bomb special ability stuffs some waster's head so full of "psychic" power that it literally bursts. Hard. Hard enough to cause damage to anyone standing next to the poor sap. And sometimes, it even backfires. Yay!
    • Hell On Earth also features the Combine (no, not that Combine), an Evil Empire whose soldiers each have a "loyalty chip" implanted at the base of their skull. It allows them to safely use Combine-issue weapons and vehicles, but if the chip determines that its owner could be about to reveal any Combine secrets, or if s/he defects from the Combine and is later discovered by a Combine officer who knows the correct passcode...well, they're not nicknamed "headbanger chips" because General Throckmorton is into heavy metal music.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several ways to make someone's head explode, the psionic powers intellect bomb and cranial deluge being the most marked examples. So can some lesser powers, such as mind thrust, which has been described as causing the victim's head to explode when you kill them with it. Then there's detonate, which makes someone explode and damages people around him; even if he survives, he takes so much damage his head apparently made a decent attempt at exploding. In addition to this, if a character for any reason obtains over three times their maximum hit point total (most likely as a result of too much time spent on a Positive Energy plane), they will explode, either "merely" their head or their entire body.
    • For earlier versions, conjure water in the cranium. They get rid of it, though.
    • The 5th edition spell Psychic Scream does this to killed enemies. Interestingly, the spell has no effect on enemies with an Intelligence of 2 or lower — a character Polymorphed into a low-intellect beast would escape damage, but a Druid using Wild Shape to morph into that same animal would not.
  • In Eclipse Phase, this is a side effect of using the emergency backup farcaster. Since it's powered by antimatter.
  • Just one of the many occupational hazards of being a mook for the Eaters of the Lotus for Feng Shui — if you do or say anything contrary to what your Evil Sorcerer master wants you to do or say, the magical ward that he put on you will make your head go kaboom. A very nice example of this is what happens to any Poison Thorns your characters interrogate (which can only be done through magical compulsion because of their fear of this) in the adventure "Baptism of Fire," which features an evil Lotus sorcerer as the main villain.
  • "Freaks" in the 1980s action movie-inspired game The Hard Way can do this to people with their minds, Scanners-style.
  • Older Than Radio: The second edition of the British card game Illustrated Proverbs, circa 1885, has this trope on the first card for "They love too much who die for love." (Possibly also Ate His Gun.)
  • Pathfinder introduces a spell in Occult Adventures called Explode Head, which does Exactly What It Says On T He Tin. It also damages anyone standing nearby due to what is politely referred to as "debris".
  • Shadowrun has "cranial bombs", explosive devices implanted in the human skull. Depending on size, they can do anything from just making the head explode to cleaning out a room.
    • One Shadowrun novel featured an acidic cranial bomb that melted a spy's entire upper body, obscuring evidence of his identity while partially subverting this trope.
  • The more specific offensive psychic powers of Warhammer 40,000 vary between this and Mind Rape.
    • Ork Weirdboyz also generate head exploding hilarity when their powers go haywire. The exploding isn't limited to the Weirdboy, either, which is why Cunning Orks tend to give them a wide berth.
    • Another 40K example featured a psychic war between two Space Marine Librarians. Guess how it ended.
    • The Imperial Guard's penal legions use explosive collars to enforce discipline among their members.
    • "Mad Dok" Grotsnik did this to a few nobz that had come to him for a "Ghazgkhull Special" (basically a metal skull filled with gubbins that made Ghazgkhull into a genius); rather than the increased intelligence he promised, Grotsnik stashed away a plethora of explosives in the other orks' skulls, which he could explode at his leisure. After he Came Back Wrong following an assassination attempt by the angry nobz, Grotsnik decided to celebrate by detonating all the explosives he had left.

  • The Zombie Roamer from The Walking Dead Comic Book Series 1 toyline has "Head Splitting Action".

    Video Games 
  • AI: The Somnium Files: How Saito meets his end in the Really Final Chapter. Here's the breakdown: Having by this point switched himself and Date back into their original bodies with the Psync machine, Saito has taken Hitomi hostage in the control room of the abandoned factory in the restricted area. With Moma's shotgun tossed away per the order but Aiba (still in the eye socket of his previous body) there on Ota's phone, Date engages her self-destruct sequence per the codes they agreed on during a ride earlier on in the route. The result is a real eye-popper for Saito.
  • In the Source Engine conversion game Age Of Chivalry, it's possible for Heavy Knights to cause this with their warhammers.
  • In Alien vs. Predator (any of the PC games or the newish console game), alien's heads tend to explode if you aim for them. Their bodies are kind of fragile and chitinous, so this is somewhat more believable.
    • In the second game, headbiting a human (or, far more rare, predator) caused the victim's head to completely shatter. Made of Plasticine, indeed. (The first game merely decapitated the victim).
  • After you defeat the pepper grinder-wielding Duchess in American McGee's Alice, she has a sneezing fit, causing her head to explode.
    • This happens to Alice herself if she is killed by an enemy with a firearm. In fact, there's a cheat code you can implement that will show you the death scene, but then allow you to continue playing the game — with Alice having no head.
    • In Alice: Madness Returns, this happens to the White Rabbit within five minutes of starting the game. Seriously.
  • Bionic Commando, in the final battle against Cyborg Clone Hitler... err, Master-D. Somehow, the censors forgot to pick that one up. An image of this scene can be seen here. This single moment is the only reason why the 2008 remake, Bionic Commando Rearmed, is rated M!
    • "Exploding Nazi Heads" seems to be a running gag in the series. In the 2009 sequel, after defeating the Big Bad, a grenade is placed in his mouth and he is kicked over the edge of the platform. Boom!
  • Comes in several different varieties in BioShock Infinite. The shotgun, sniper rifle, and Hand Cannon can all blow enemies' heads off with a clean headshot, one of the possible Sky-Hook executions has Booker grind the victim's head into paste with its blades, and most spectacularly, shooting an enemy to death while they're being electrocuted by Shock Jockey causes their heads to burst into flames before their bodies burn up.
  • Bishi Bashi Special, prefiguring the Trope Namer, had a Pong-like minigame called "Puck Attack" with round head icons which would go up in a fiery explosion if the puck went into the goal.
  • In The Black Heart, if you're really low on health, one of Final's grabs will do this to you.
  • Fatal headshots in Blacklight Retribution will not only cause the head to explode but will sometimes cause a sharp exploding sound to be heard across the map if the headshot deals enough damage.
  • Borderlands: In the grim future, all of our heads are apparently filled with nitroglycerin.
    • In Borderlands 2, one particular boss fight ends with its head exploding after you retrieve a software upgrade from its collar. The boss, in question, had all five of the game's elemental damage abilities, which are fire, electricity, corrosion, slag, and explosive, and after Handsome Jack unveils it to you, he forgets its explosive capability right up until then.
    • Score any kill on humans with electricity and see their heads go "pop" like a lightbulb.
  • Brutal Doom and Project Brutality let the Doomguy blow the heads off of most foes with the vast arsenal he has ranging from a pistol to a rifle to a Gatling gun to a Revenant's rocket launcher's Railgun secondary fire. If their heads aren't blown clean off, it's turned into meat chunks plastered across the wall.
  • This is possible in Call of Duty: World At War with a high caliber firearm headshot.
  • In Charlie Murder, the default Coup de Grâce is a literal curb-stomp. The enemy's head will explode violently underfoot, but strangely their brain will remain intact and can be used as a projectile.
  • In keeping with the ludicrous level of violence it displays, Condemned 2: Bloodshot allows players to explode enemies' heads in a number of ways, including industrial presses, and eventually by shouting at them.
  • Dark Seed II had a particularly Narmful one involving the protagonist's mother that seemed more like a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment than anything else.
  • In Dead Rising, break a jar containing a Queen bug in the vicinity of zombies, and their heads asplode.
  • Dead Space: Researcher vs. freakishly grotesque space baby, yeah... You can also do this to other Necromorphs during regular gameplay. It doesn't do anything other than pissing them off some more.
    • In the third game, any headshot to Unitologist soldiers, even ones with weapons that would normally cause their heads to fall off will make it explode. This applies to explosive weapons, though it's unclear how instantly severing their body parts with one single explosion would cause their head to disappear other than a logical headshot with an explosive.
  • The Anal Probe in Destroy All Humans! kills by making the victim's head explode, and in the process extracts more Furon DNA (glowing brains) than killing by other methods. Try wrapping your brain around that, getting anally probed is so violating that your head explodes.
  • Devil May Cry
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, when you damage any of Cerberus's heads enough it explodes into stuff.
    • And topped in glorious fashion in Devil May Cry 4 after the final battle with Savior-Sanctus, where Nero finishes it off by crushing its skull in his hand. Head asplosion comes complete with city-rattling shockwave.
      This hand was made for sending guys like you back to Hell! And NOW...YOU...DIE!!!! *** CRUNCH***
  • Happens in Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerburus when you defeat a witch. (One of her eyes survives, and it can be used as an ingredient for a spell.)
  • Some versions of Doom had this, your character portrait would show damage depending on how much health he had. In a few versions, taking a vicious shot at low health would result in not the head slumping down dead, but blowing up.
  • DOOM (2016)'s Big Bad, Olivia Pierce, gets this treatment at the end of your final battle with her, with the Doom Slayer sticking the BFG into the maw of the Spider Mastermind that she has become, just before cutting loose and blowing her brains out.
  • DOOM Eternal has the Slayer executing the final Hell Priest Deag Grav in this fashion, by way of Boom, Headshot! with the Super Shotgun.
  • Eternal Darkness: You can hallucinate this happening if you cast a spell with low sanity. Also, if Xel'lotath is your enemy, Paul Luther gets a good telekinetic head-bursting instead of the boss fight both he and The Dragon were expecting.
  • Part of the Fallout experience. In Fallout 3, killing headshots with a rifle will cause this if the head is crippled, or decapitate if it isn't. After Frank Horrigan's body falls apart in Fallout 2, you can talk to him to hear some useless last words before his head pops off. Satisfying!
    • In Fallout 3, using the Mesmetron to collect slaves has a random chance effect of pissing them off for a few seconds before their heads pop. Likewise, anyone successfully enslaved gets an Explosive Leash just to keep them in line.
    • Also in Fallout 3, any Rock-It Launched junk aimed to the head could explode it (watch a teddy bear impact with critically explosive fun!). It was more common than with any other Big Gun, as the others would more often result in charred husk, complete dismemberment, or full body splatter.
    • The Repellent Stick. Hit a mole rat with it, wait a few seconds, and its head will explode. As fun as this sounds, all the Mole Rats do is smoke for a bit before their heads burst in a rather underdramatic fashion. Moira's reaction is altogether more amusing.
      • The Lone Wanderer's descriptions are hilarious:
        "Well, at least it's non-lethal for people. For Mole Rats... not so much."
        "It repelled their limbs from their body. Can you make one that works on people?"
        "It appears that Mole Rats have a most fatal allergy to it. Explosively so."
        "It's like explosive whack-a-Mole Rat. Can I get it in bullet form? For people?"
        "It gives them quite a kick, like too much Jet or something."
    • The add-on Mothership Zeta will have your head explode if you don't put your spacesuit on before opening the room's bay doors. Explosive decompression for the win! Though that leaves one to wonder why you can open the bay doors when your hand, because of your Pip-Boy, is clearly exposed.
    • Fallout: New Vegas also has the exploding slave collars. As a twist, the Dead Money DLC puts the collar on you. And thanks to interference from the Sierra Madre's sound system, straying too close to active speakers or ham radios for too long leads to warning beeps that grow faster and faster until BOOM splat!
      • The More Perks Mod for Fallout: New Vegas adds the perk Superior Mind that allows the Courier, if they have an Intelligence score of 9 or the max 10, to make an opponent's head explode with a dialogue option. If it's used on an opponent whose Intelligence score is higher, however, then crippling damage is applied to the user's own head.
  • Final Fantasy XIV gets this at the end of the Sorrow of Werlyt storyline after the player finally defeats Diamond Weapon. The Diamond Weapon, fueled by Alphonse, Gaius Belsar's adopted son, grabs the mastermind of the Weapon Project and the VIIth Legatus, Valens van Varro, and even with Gory Discretion Shot in effect, crushes him so hard his head is heard popping. The funny part is it sounds more like a balloon popping followed by water pouring down a sink.
  • Various Fist of the North Star games, when an enemy is punched. Apparently a faithfully adapted trait of the anime. Heads comically bloating before they pop optional.
  • Rion, main character from Galerians, often does this to all mooks around when his Psychic Powers spin out of control.
  • In Gear Grinder, when Jack takes his devastating ride and tries to escape, his captors reveal that they implanted a bomb in his head and threaten to set it off if he doesn't return immediately.
  • In Gears of War, headshots with a sniper rifle, or headshots when making a killing shot for pistols or shotguns do this. It's possible to purchase an action figure of a Locust Drone with his head asploding.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas, heads would always neatly pop when shot with a sniper rifle.
  • The result of a headshot in Gun.
  • In almost every Halo game, there is an obtainable Skull called "Grunt Birthday Party" that, when picked up, made it so that when you scored a headshot on a Grunt, its head blew up. Into clouds of confetti. While little children cheer. And in Halo 3 the confetti actually causes, albeit small, damage to nearby enemies.
    • Fun fact: Those cheering children are from Viva Piñata.
    • The original version of this Skull appeared in Halo 2, where its effect is slightly different. There is no confetti or children — the enemy just blows up exactly like a plasma grenade. Also, the effect works on any enemy with a head, not just Grunts.
  • In Infernal Runner, stepping into a certain wave field would cause your head to start bulging and after a few seconds explode messily.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy hilariously subverts this. Instead of "Your Head Asplode," "Everything BUT Your Head Asplode." It doesn't matter what you touch, whether it be barely grazing a spike, getting hit by fruit falling up, or getting hit by Dracula's wineglass. Your body explodes violently in a shower of red pixels while your head just remains untouched.
  • Jagged Alliance 2. If you manage to shoot somebody in the head in just the right way, their head will explode and their body will fall on the ground, blood squirting out of the neck. In fact, if you're lucky, you can save your game just before such a moment and replay it over and over.
  • Scoring a headshot with a strong enough weapon in The Last of Us will result in this trope. Even better, instead of leaving a neck stump with a clean white bone sticking out like a blob of mozzarella on an incredibly poorly made margherita, the lower half of the victim's head will be left behind, which is Truth in Television for those killed by extremely high powered bullets to the head.
  • In The Last Stand, zombie heads occasionally explode when shot.
  • In Left 4 Dead a headshot with any sufficiently powerful weapon (Any of the shotguns, the Assault Rifle or Hunting Rifle) will turn a normal infected's head into a brief cloud of red goo.
  • In Lemmings, the bomber lemmings would hold their heads and quiver for a second or so before they blew up as if trying to contain the explosive force within their skulls.
  • Let It Die: woe be to the young fighter who makes a snack of a Boomshroom. Eating one guarantees the player a one-way trip to death (and their head, a one-way trip to the ceiling).
  • In Lugaru, if you enable debug mode, you can make enemy bunny and wolf heads explode with the tap of a key.
  • In Manhunt, the trope was limited to a few executions and heavy firearms. Manhunt 2, on the other hand, has Mook head explosions in every other execution. Their heads will pop like a watermelon from weapons such as a sledgehammer, a baseball bat, a shovel, or even a flashlight!
  • Headshots of various types in Mass Effect 2 (at least against human-sized organic targets) cause rather violent sprays of red, blue, purple, or orange.
    • If you get a headshot on any mech, especially a YMIR mech, it will cause a large explosion.
    • Mass Effect 3 headshots can now explode the heads of organic enemies. In multiplayer, krogan and batarian characters can do the same thing with headbutts/punches... as can any character equipped with a Batarian Gauntlet. This includes volus, which is a little strange given that volus characters are about three feet tall, meaning that a volus heavy melee attack with an omni-fist involves punching people in the crotch so hard their heads explode.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda continues it with some organic enemies (but not all - krogan heads won't explode). Kett heads tend to explode in a gooey green mess (which the Codex kindly justifies). And sometimes, possibly due to a bug or just 'cuz, it happens if you use a melee weapon, giving the impression Ryder has hit someone hard to enough to make their head explode.
  • Celebrimbor the Wraith in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is especially fond of doing this to Uruks once you advance his skill tree. There are also weapon runes you can apply that utilize or improve your head-sploding powers. The Uruks find Talion's new talent kind of disturbing, judging by their banter.
  • Featured in numerous fatalities across the Mortal Kombat franchise.
    • The very first exploding head, in Mortal Kombat, was courtesy of Raiden, although in the savagely Bowdlerized SNES version it reduced the enemy to ashes instead.
    • Mortal Kombat X punishes rage quitters by making their character's head pop like an ugly zit.
  • Moshi Monsters has a whole species of creatures called Baby Boomers, whose heads explode randomly and they always grow back. Their eyes are also immune to this exploding.
  • An Easter Egg at the museum in Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove lets you make the head of a stuffed sheep explode.
    • In Escape To Ravenhearst, a mannequin's head explodes after you beat it at cards.
  • In Naughty Bear, if a teddy is driven insane by naughtiness and scared one last time, he will kill himself. This trope is what happens when said teddy is unarmed.
  • In the freeware platformer Ninja Senki, this happens when you finally kill the dragon at the end of Scene 8, followed by its entire neck gradually exploding.
  • In No More Heroes, Travis defeats Holly. After losing, she tells him she has a thing for him, then takes one of her grenades, pulls the pin, and puts it in her mouth, with predictable results. Travis, desperately trying to pay respects, hugs her headless body. And buries her in a pit-trap she dug.
  • DJ Subatomic Supernova inverts this during the transition from his third phase to his final phase in No Straight Roads. Rather than exploding, the narcissic disc jockey's head implodes. This creates a black hole whose suction Mayday and Zuke must outrun for the rest of the fight.
  • Parasite Eve 2 had one monster that had conjoined rolling heads! The monster would explode when its HP hit 0 or if you stepped on it.
    • The Blood and Bone Suckler enemies hunt prey by diverting massive amounts of blood into their heads, creating explosive cranial pressure and turning their heads into fragmentation grenades, killing the prey item so that other Sucklers can eat it. They seem pretty volatile aside, though, since a single shot can set off a room full of them like a biological powder-keg.
  • In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the Ultra Beast Blacephalon's Secret Art is Mind Blown, wherein it takes off its own head and blows it up to damage the target, at the cost of half of its own health. Because of its Bizarre Alien Biology, the loss of its head isn't terribly inconvenient and it simply grows another one.
  • In Portal 2's Perpetual Testing Initiative, one of the worlds you visit is a world where Aperture Science made psychic beings; they turn out to be assholes who just like to make people's heads explode.
  • Spend many a happy moment explodin' the heads of Faceless Goons in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. A favorite over sadistic tactic was using telekinesis to pull one towards the player, and "catch" him with Mind Drain, which upon fully draining their HP popped their heads while they screamed in anguish. Very stress relieving!
    • Or you can mind-control those suckers into eating the business ends of their own firearms. Strangely enough, you seem in total control of every aspect of their bodies, except their mouths. They scream like banshees right up to the skull explosion.
  • Psychonauts: Minor character Dogen Boole has the ability to make people's heads explode with his uncontrollable psychic powers. He wears a tinfoil skullcap to prevent any more accidents from happening further.
  • Rage (2011) rewards shooting a bullet into an enemy's exposed brain with the whole head exploding. Doubles as Ludicrous Gibs, since a head explosion temporarily leaves behind the victim's brain, cranium, and jawbone in distinct, identifiable pieces.
  • Apparently, the skulls of everyone in Resident Evil 4 are made of cheap plaster. Why else would they detonate when the enemy is killed with a headshot? Maybe Las Plagas soften up your skull.
    • This doesn't even require a high-powered weapon like a shotgun or a magnum — Leon can elbow, kick, or punch suplex infected humans so hard that their heads burst.
      • The suplex head asplosion is one of the most gratifying ways to kill an enemy in the game.
    • Since the first Resident Evil the best way to save ammo was the head-exploding shot, a single, well aimed, scarily-close-to-the-zombie shot.
    • This game also features corpses that frequently melt after seconds on the ground, so it isn't just the heads that are soft. A few Ganados at the start don't fade but the point still stands.
    • Ironically, when you start out, blasting them in the face causes an injury animation that makes it seem like someone punched them in the face. It takes anywhere from five to eight un-upgraded handgun shots to get them to explode.
  • In the computer game The 7th Guest, this happens to one of the other six guests during a cutscene. There is no discernible reason why, either. Ego, the game's narrator, is heard to inquire, "...what's wrong with her head?"
    • It also happens in a cutscene in the sequel The 11th Hour.
  • Shadow Complex has an achievement named after this, awarded to you if you get 50 headshots.
  • In Shadow of the Wool Ball, this is what happens to the Big Bad once you as much as lay a finger on him. In the sequel, it turns out his underlings somehow managed to piece his head back together and he's alive, although with a disfigured face.
  • Shadowrun: A cranial bomb is part of the plot of the game for the SNES. It gets activated ("Oops." "What do you mean, "Oops."?") during a surgical procedure, and you have a relatively short amount of time to get it deactivated. The surgeon does refund your money, though.
  • In the original The Sims, one of the prank calls your sims can receive at night is "Your psychic adviser's head has just exploded, be forewarned."
  • In his Mummy form, Skul from Skul: The Hero Slayer can combine this with Ballistic Bone.
  • Virtually every one of Slowbeef's Lets Plays has featured head explosions. Even Sprung, which was photoshopped with the explanation "every Slowbeef thread has a head explosion."
  • In the first two Soldier of Fortune games, the damage modeling was such that you could sever limbs or blow off pieces of an enemy's head, including their jaw, sometimes exposing their brain. In the third game, the head always completely exploded when shot, although enemies could now temporarily continue to fight after losing a limb.
  • In SOMA, every member of personnel in Omicron Station mysteriously died of simultaneous head-explosions. At first, it appears that Dr. Ross is responsible, however, he eventually reveals that the WAU killed everyone there, in order to prevent them from utilizing a supply of poisoned structure-gel.
  • This is how Dmitri dies in Space Ape.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, headshots usually cause Pink Mist but using a sufficiently powerful weapon such as a shotgun or the Desert Eagle will result in this trope.
  • Spookys Jumpscare Mansion: This is how some "enemies" die in The Mall of the Spook.
  • In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, there are wizards made of fire in Skelos Badlands who can be defeated by charging into them. This will cause their head to fall off and explode about a second after hitting the ground, potentially damaging Spyro if he's close enough.
  • In the Battle of The Amerigo cutscene in StarCraft, one of the marines' heads explodes when a Zerg claw gets put through his face. There's also the opening cutscene when the Protoss attack that salvage ship. Their beam vaporizes the ship from one end to the other, and somehow explodes the head of the guy on the bridge before his body just for good measure.
  • Exaggerated with Krazoa God Andross in Star Fox Adventures. For those who don't know, Andross is basically a giant ape head with a pair of floating hands. When he's dispatched at the end of the game, his head goes out in a massive explosion comparable to when the Death Star blew up in Return of the Jedi. Fox and Falco even have to Outrun the Fireball generated by his head's explosion with their spaceships.
  • Not as prominent as above, but the original Star Fox and Star Fox 64 end with Andross or his robot double getting blown up. 64 has you outrun the explosion through a narrow maze.
  • This is what happens whenever Troy dies in Struggling. You can also invoke this to respawn at the nearest checkpoint.
  • The Suffering: Ties That Bind has this as a Finishing Move of the Triggerman monster. They will simply hold Torque's body with one limb, then fire all five of their guns at his head point-blank, with predictably gory results.
  • One of the attacks Stubbs the Zombie has involves pulling off his own head, rolling it like a remote-controlled bowling ball, then detonating it in an explosive blast of toxic gas. It grows back.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the Bombed enemy's one form of attack is throwing its explosive head at you, then running away as it regenerates so it can throw it again.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 trailer "Meet the Spy", the BLU Spy gets his head blown off by the BLU Soldier after the latter mistakes the former for the RED Spy. To be fair, the BLU Spy had just warned the other people in the room that the RED Spy could disguise himself as one of them.
    BLU Spy: He could be in this very room! It could be you! It could be me! It could even be- *BLAM*
    • Here's a GIF. This one's messy too.
    • An unused icon for the Ambassador suggests that at one point, it was supposed to do something like this when it scored a critical hit to the head and violently remove the victim's head, or pieces thereof, from the rest of them.
    • While not a full-fledged head explosion, the Demoman's melee unlocks the Eyelander can and will decapitate foes in a fountain of High-Pressure Blood. The Scotsman's Skullcutter and the Sniper's Hitman's Heatmaker do much the same.
    • In the Mann vs. Machine game mode, one of the upgrades for the Sniper's weapons makes the head of the enemies explode if he scores a headshot.
    • Strongly implied by the Hollowhead cosmetic item for Pyro, featuring a blown-out mask with no head underneath, not even a hint of what was there. This is part of an ongoing Running Gag to keep them The Faceless.
  • In Theme Hospital, the condition "Bloaty Head" is treated by popping the patient's head with a pin, and re-inflating it to normal pressure.
  • Touhou Kenbun Roku: Dummied Out in the final version of the game; during the final chapter, when Marco is killed by gunfire from several planes, his head was intended to implode; in the final, he just blinks, and disappears, supposedly drowning after taking a fatal wound, from the massive array of gunfire. The graphics for the explosion are still in the ROM.
  • Transformers: War for Cybertron: Achieving a headshot on a mook causes their head to explode, complete with a loud "clang" sound effect.
  • It can be done in True Crime: New York City when aiming at a person's head with a high caliber weapon.
  • The Turok games started doing with Seeds of Evil, the second in the series.
    • The series' Cerebral Bore, which debuted in Seeds of Evil, makes the target's head explode after doing what its name implies: drilling into the skull and boring out their brains.
    • Ditto for the explosive Tek Arrows.
    • In fact, Seeds of Evil is enamored with exploding heads. Even a well-placed round from a mere 9mm pistol can leave baddies with a blood-spewing crater where its head used to be.
  • In the intro of Vanquish, this happens to several victims of the microwave Kill Sat attack on San Francisco.
  • Justified in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, considering that most of your ranged weapons are bolter variants. For those unfamiliar, picture a rocket-propelled grenade. Now picture a repeating RPG small enough to be fired one-handed, and you've got a basic bolt pistol.
  • A number of the fatalities in Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style will cause this to happen, most notably Inspecta Deck's Finger Poke of Doom fatality.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia: The Noble Phantasm of the Assassin summoned in the Third Holy Grail War turns the target's brain into gunpower with a touch to the head, which explodes with enough force to obliterate the upper body.
  • School Days: Happens in the 2nd Bad Ending of the Visual Novel when Kotonoha commits suicide by throwing herself off of the balcony of Makoto's apartment when he tells her he wants to be with Sekai rather than her, and landing headfirst into the pavement. This all happens in front of Makoto and Sekai, which is what eventually drove them apart. It's even worse when you realize that was her goal. Which is why she was smiling at the last second. Complete with High-Pressure Blood
  • In Togainu no Chi, Keisuke's first act with his newly enhanced strength is to hunt down Takeru - a fighter who mugged him earlier - and crush his skull with his bare hands.
  • In Zero Time Dilemma, the team that loses the first vote is executed via exploding neck collars. Unseen, but in some timelines their headless bodies are found by the other players or in one case themselves.

    Web Animation 
  • One of the listed side effects of competing in Brawl of the Objects was a possible implosion of the brain. Shelly suffers from one in the finale.
    • In "Zelda vs Peach", this is the ultimate fate of Princess Zelda, via Princess Peach kicking her in the head so hard like a soccer ball it is reduced to chunky salsa. Ouch.
    • In "Android 18 vs Captain Marvel", a similar fate befalls Captain Marvel, who gets the back of her head caved in by 18's boot as the coup de grace after getting her arms broken and punted into a crater.
    • Inverted in "Metal Sonic vs Zero" as Metal's head is the only thing that survives the explosion that tears him apart.
    • In "Thor vs Vegeta" Vegeta dies in a unique application of the trope. After being grabbed by the face by Thor, the God of Thunder proceeds to drag the Prince towards the ground while calling Mjolnir back to him, causing Vegeta's skull to be crushed like a watermelon between Thor's hand and Mjolnir's head.
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie has a parade of Blah Guys whose heads explode after they say "Blah!"
    • Specifically, saying "Blah" in the The Demented Cartoon Movie will cause you to be killed somehow, most commonly through spontaneous detonation and decapitation. There's one who has his head kicked off and several who are crushed by Mr. Weight. And a few are apparently able to say the word without consequences.
  • Dumb Ways to Die recycles the old myth that you explode if exposed to space. Not that being exposed to space is a pleasant experience, but no, you don't explode.
  • In the Valentine's Smoochie (featuring Giggles) on the Happy Tree Friends website, if you pick the option "Flowers", she would sniff it, and sneeze a few times before the final one blows her head off, complete with her brains sticking on the wall.
  • FreedomToons: Seamus is able to counter NPC zombies by shouting information that contradicts with their pre-programmed opinion at them with a megaphone, which causes their heads to pop.
  • The Cheat has a number of head-a-sploding moments in Homestar Runner, though they just leave him with the cartoon-explosion look. It was, in fact, Vector Strong Bad who coined the term "Your Head A Splode," as well as a few other poorly translated phrases on the subject.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, one Funny Background Event has one Stormtrooper's head exploding after witnessing too much of the Warp.
  • Object Terror: After Cactus is released from prison in "P to the Fourth" he goes over to Coffee Cup to show him his muscles. He doesn't find them impressive, but then he starts growing muscles on muscles. What does this lead to? The poor teacup getting so confused that his face explodes.
  • This happens to Ness and Lucas in Smash Kingdom Melee after sampling Captain Falcon's new energy drink.
    Captain Falcon: That's right, it's got enough vitamin C and antioxidants to blow your goddamn head off! FALCON PUNCH!
  • Suicide Lover is about a man who has a bomb in his head. If he doesn't fall in love by midnight, it will blow up. He has a Meet Cute with a woman and tries to fall in love with her. Her head explodes.
  • You Wanna See My Pecker?: Twelve dick jokes and a Unishark (Basically an excuse to give bloodthirsty sharks legs and lungs) later:
    Bird: Hey, you wanna see mah pecker again?
    Man: NO!
    Bird: You wanna see mah pecker?
    Man: (louder) NO!
    Bird: Aw, come on, it'll keep your head from explodin'!
    Man: Wha... (scared) Are you serious?!
    Bird: Yew wanna see ma peckuh?
    (everything above the man's jaw explodes)
    Bird: Upp! Too late! Hahahahaha! Oh boy, cartoons and the internet are WEIRD!

  • Axel has the ability to make people's heads explode in Ansem Retort. So far, it's been seen used twice:
    • The first time was against a cowboy that coincidentally was in the replacement cast. Lulu said it was his just desserts for dissing The Godfather.
    • The second time was the entire population of Jericho, New York. Odds are, they probably deserved it.
  • Bob and George: Ran's head explodes when he's hit with a technobabble overdose. In addition, using the time-freezing Flash power on Quick Man causes a loud pop and a large mess.
  • From Charby the Vampirate Charby understood why he felt he had such a mind-blowing experience when he spotted a piece of his own brain stuck on a friend's suit. How fast Charby noticed it tends to be mind bl.. er, to show that he's still street smart even with a piece of brain missing. Charby also had punched Zeno with perfect accuracy on the face while still headless! What a badass!
    • And way back from the earlier comics, there was Charby and Zeno's attack on Rodericke's lair. Bang.
  • The Oculots of Enemy Quest cause this when they use their telepathy on non-Oculots. They pay for it by getting feedback from the victim in the form of last thoughts, chunks of memories, and the sensation of death. Understandably, they don't like doing it.
  • In Errant Story, Ian does this to an elven guard sneaking up behind him while talking to Meji. Without turning around. With sound effect.
  • Freefall: Qwerty mentions that his fellow robots are concerned that this is a possible reaction to robots intentionally circumventing their safeguards, in this strip.
  • This will happen to Frankie in Frankie and Stein if Stein takes her time-travelling, at least according to Shelly.
  • According to Get Your War On, this can be caused by calling George W. Bush "brilliant".
  • In one of the alternate universes in Goblins, Minmax is a powerful psion who does this to his party members.
  • Hitmen for Destiny uses the legend where chickens are still alive after being decapitated. Death Rage Chickens become aggressive while decapitated.
  • This happens in Haru-Sari when a rogue elf blows up Alberich's dad's head.
  • This happened in the polyamorous comic Jake the Rake episode aptly entitled "Explode Assumptions".
  • In Kevin & Kell this is apparently a consequence of sudden Squick. At higher levels of Squick, it can lead to a head implosion.
  • Last Res0rt: Say hello to Sedja!
  • In Marsh Rocket. With a double-page NSFW spread. Ouchies. The character deserved it though.
  • Amongst the contributors that make up the webcomic community The Middle Ground (, the former author known as Maikeru is known in-comic for making peoples' heads explode.
  • In one Nodwick story, this sort of curse is inflicted upon the title character twice. The first one will cause his head to explode if he reveals the secret that the Mooks tell him, while the second (inflicted by different Mooks) will turn his brain into spinach artichoke dip if he does so. After both curses are accidentally both triggered at the same time, the Big Bad remarks, "This is why I have to keep firing the help..." (Fortunately for Nodwick, Piffany is close by.)
  • Wonderella did it to herself in this The Non-Adventures of Wonderella when she realized that, technically speaking, Jesus can be considered transgender.
  • In Prickly City, Winslow object that they can't go away with the election in November. Carmen points out that it's next year. Winslow's reaction is the trope — and "When do we head off? — No pun intended."
  • Happens to an alien in Romantically Apocalyptic. The cause? The Captain giving them a really angry Death Glare.
  • When the comic protagonist Art in Sequential Art draws a picture that somehow manages to combine all known fetishes, his housemate Pip's head explodes upon looking at it. Don't worry, though — it was Only a Flesh Wound.
  • Subverted in Schlock Mercenary, when it happens to Ebbirnoth. Ebby happens to be a Unioc, whose "head" is one big eyeball. It's messy and very painful when a sniper pops it, but Ebby is still all right because all of his vital organs (including his brain) are in his torso. Doesn't stop the sniper from thinking that he's dead, though.
  • Sarilho: Jacinto gets headshot twice. Combined with Psychic Strangle in the case of Márcia.
  • Sleepless Domain: When Cassidy attempts to violently interrogate Undine during their sparring match, Bud soon arrives and attempts to break up the fight via a laser blast through the head of one of Cassidy's clones, destroying it instantly.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "GOFOTRON Champion of the Cosmos", the invincible Lodoze faced off against the just badass Bun-bun. The fight ended quickly after Bun-bun shoved his gun entirely up Lodoze's nose and then hit him in the face with a bar stool, blowing up the back of his head. That slowed him down for a bit.
  • This happened in Terinu when when Terinu's powers traumatically activated and blew off the head of his kidnapper.
  • TREVOR: Private Young‘s grey matter goes flying from the sheer force of Trevor biting into his skull.
  • Robots in Vexxarr actually win arguments this way. it generally goes like this:
    Drone: I will not do that/go there and you can't make me!
    Vexxarr: Oh, can't I??
    Drone: BAM!! Vexxarr: Okay, you win.
  • In the Unsounded side story Vienne of Seferpine, Vienne has a magic weapon that can do this, kept for self-defense in case the government comes for her. It's more of a "your head disintegrates" than "your head explodes", though. She uses it later in the story, obviously.
    And then the stranger’s head was gone. The stump of his cleanly-truncated neck gouted poppy-red blood. Vienne flinched away. The rest of him spasmed like the chicken she’d strangled for Mathis’ uneaten dinner two nights earlier. Then the body slumped to the mud and Vienne remembered to breathe again.
  • Mela in We Are The Wyrecats manages to simply shrug off her head being blown off in a fight. As it turns out, she saved her brain in a black box just in case of emergency and has been living in a man-made body for some time.

    Web Original 
  • Agents of Cracked:
    • The Chief has implanted a failsafe in Michael so that Dan can keep him from getting out of control. Naturally, it does this.
    • Swaim's head asplodes in the final episode thanks to the failsafe. Twice. He gets better.
    • Cracked columnists love to use a screenshot from Scanners in their articles. It'll show up at least once a month.
  • In this video starring Andrew Klavan, Klavan explained to the Occupy Wall Street representative that "thou shalt not steal" and "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" is from The Bible and her head exploded.
  • In Bart Baker's parody of "Sugar", Adam Levine's voice is so high pitched, it causes heads to explode in the third wedding he and Maroon 5 crash.
  • Caddicarus does to co-host Scarfhulu via psychic powers in their review of Broken Sword 2. It's one of the few times that Caddy hasn't shot one of his crossover hosts.
  • Dice Funk: Rinaldo pops the head of a mind-controlled miner using a morningstar during the campaign's first fight.
  • The Red Guy of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared experiences this in a most peculiar way. In the fourth video, his head is destroyed after a director calls action on the set of something quite like the first Don't Hug Me I'm Scared video.
  • TomSka's video Juice That Make Your Head Explode is about a... "young" child, giving away the titular beverage, insisting that it's just a name and it totally doesn't make your head explode. Turns out, he's telling the truth.
  • There is a series of videos on Youtube called Exploding Actresses which consists of movie clips edited to have the actresses' heads randomly explode. (Occasionally their bodies as well.) It's absurd and absurdly hilarious.
  • The Trope Namer, of course, comes from Homestar Runner, in a Strong Bad Email segment revolving around a video game in which when you die, the message comes up on screen saying this.
  • This happens to Lance in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC.
  • The 11/19/1979 episode of Lasagna Cat has this happening to Jon Arbuckle.
  • Neopets: Your Lupe A Splode. (Notice the space.)
  • The Nostalgia Chick: The Chick experienced this when seeing Michael Bay's robot testicles. They both got better, obviously.
  • The Nostalgia Critic: The Critic also experienced this as a result of Lady Tremaine giving him her Stare of Doom. Listening to John Moschitta, the incredibly fast-talking narrator of Micro Machines commercials, he says it's just as well the guy didn't record audiobooks. Then, of course, he illustrates that by listening to him rattling through Hamlet so fast that it makes the Critic's head explode.
  • Phelous: Phelous, as part of his Running Gag where he dies at the end of every review, experiences this on several occasions.
  • Happens to Jack Packard in episode 12 of Previously Recorded, though his skull remains intact.
  • An early post in the The Slender Man Mythos on Something Awful featured an investigation of a strange death associated with a photo of the Slender Man himself photographed with a tentacle ready to be wrapped around the victim's neck. A witness was quoted as describing the sound of "a watermelon *unable to understand subject*".
  • SuperMarioLogan:
  • Sword Art Online Abridged uses the Scanners footage to depict what would happen to players who died in the game as a means of locking them in. It re-uses said footage again at the end of the Aincrad arc, but what makes it particularly disturbing is that it retcons how Recon got his; he bought it at a marked-up price from a pair of grieving parents whose kid was one of the SAO casualties, and even after cleaning the brains out he still suffers occasional fear attacks from the faulty device.
  • Mr. Welch has been specifically told that he cannot make anyone's head asplode no matter how well he does on an IQ roll.
  • Topless Robot uses the same Scanners screenshot during Fan Fiction Friday when something particularly insane happens — which is often.
  • Sima Shi's cause of death in Farce of the Three Kingdoms.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius:
    • In the episode "Sheen's Brain", Jimmy gives Sheen a brain gain helmet in order to boost his IQ. It backfires when it not only causes his brain to keep growing until it would eventually explode, he also develops psychic powers and a god complex.
    • In the special "Win, Lose, and Kaboom!", in which Jimmy and his friends were taken into an intergalactic game show, the gang faced against the Needleheads in the Fear Factor style game, "Can You Eat This?". For the Needleheads' turn, one was challenged to eat a banana cream pie, which caused his head to explode.
  • Darwin's head pops like a balloon on three occasions on The Amazing World of Gumball.
  • American Dad!:
    • In "Dope & Faith", Stan makes a new friend only to be told that he's an Atheist, which heavily conflicts with Stan's ultra-Christian worldview (at the time). He calls the CIA to ask if the machine they were working on that projects an image of the Christian God into a person's brain was ready yet; clearly, it wasn't as the last test subject was shown to be sans head.
    • A pretty spectacularly gory one in the climax of "Cops & Roger", where Roger drops his elbow onto the head of the bad guy as he falls from the ceiling of a warehouse, shown four times with increasingly gruesome close-ups. The episode ends a scene later with Roger asking Stan if that guy was okay. He even says what everyone watching was thinking: "That was unexpected."
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • In "Kidney Car", after a particularly inane rant from Master Shake near the end of the episode, involving Carl's new car being sucked into a jet engine Shake had affixed on his car (which happened to be Carl's old car), Carl's head explodes.
      Meatwad: Why'd he do that?
      Master Shake: Why wouldn't he?
    • In "Gee Whiz", Carl is hit with a flaming arrow fired by Ted Nugent. After the Nooge tells him "Don't move!", Carl's head explodes. Then a rainbow comes out.
  • In the Avatarverse, having one's chi blocked at the wrong moment appears to be an (explosive) Achilles' Heel for combustionbenders.
  • A Running Gag in Big Mouth involves characters' heads exploding whenever they hear a surprising fact. Of course, this being a cartoon, their heads are back to normal in the next shot.
  • This happens from time to time on Celebrity Deathmatch. They include Jim Carrey, George W. Bush, Liam and Noel Gallagher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, and Paul Reiser.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Garbage Ballet", because of her disastrous kiss with Brendan, Molly drew in her comic Fista-Puffs kissing Kite Boy and his face melting. She rewinds time to wipe her lips and kiss him again, only for his face to melt again, then she rewinds time again to blow him a kiss, only for his head to explode as she screams in terror.
  • In the DCAU, robot heads tend to get exploded one way or another. In Justice League, Luthor reveals he has a kill switch for AMAZO—excuse me, "the android", and uses it in this fashion... but by this point, a simple head asplosion just makes him mad.
  • Tex Avery often used exploding heads—always resulting in Bloodless Carnage as a form of Laser-Guided Karma—as a common gag in his MGM shorts. Some examples:
    • Spike's head explodes twice in the Droopy shorts Wags to Riches and Millionaire Droopy—the same two scenes in each.
      • Spike's head first explodes after masquerading as a press photographer. After rigging a camera with a mortar shell in place of film, he points it in Droopy's direction. The camera immediately swivels around in Spike's direction, then gets fired straight into his melon. After the photo is taken, Spike leaves with a blanket hovering over an empty space where his head used to be.
      • The second time comes up when Spike sets up a shotgun to fire when a bathroom door opens. Droopy enters and immediately leaves the bathroom, but nothing happens each time. When Spike opens it... yeah. The carnage is initially hidden by the bathroom wall, then is further obfuscated by a card conveniently located on an easily accessible table.
    • In The Chump Champ, Gorgeous Gorillawitz attempts to rig a potato-sack race by depositing a Cartoon Bomb into Droopy's sack. The bomb promptly defuses before Droopy enters the scene. After the race ends, which Droopy wins easily, the bomb detonates as soon as Gorillawitz peeks into the sack, and we see nothing but air as he looks toward the audience.
  • Family Guy: A cutaway gag shows Peter's head exploding after he eats half a fudgsicle in one bite.
    • In another episode, a cutaway gag has customers' heads exploding after eating cupcakes that were baked by Peter. It also makes Peter a literal Lethal Chef.
    • In "Chap Stewie" Stewie puts a box containing Peter's Porn Stash out on the curb to be picked up by Goodwill. Chris opens it, then screams in joy and his head explodes. He's perfectly fine later, where he announces that it took him three years to look at all of it.
  • Done in an episode of Fish Hooks, specifically it was Clamantha, after finding out that the girls knew about the party crashers. However, she is just a head so she blew herself up.
  • In the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", Bender's head explodes after George Takei accidentally activates his Self-Destruct Mechanism.
    • "Put Your Head On My Shoulder" introduces Malfunctioning Eddie, a neurotic robot used-car salesman whose head would explode when startled or excited. He shows up later in "Insane in the Mainframe" as a robot asylum inmate, where his condition is brought under control with medication (he only experiences a tiny explosion on his shoulder).
    • Leela manages to make Robot Santa's head explode via Logic Bomb but another one pops right up and he claims he was built with "paradox-absorbing crumple zones".
  • Variation on Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius gets so angry at Beezy that his head rockets off his shoulders and flies around.
  • Invader Zim is once trapped in the fast food restaurant to which he was exiled prior to the first episode, and all exits are programmed to make him swell up and explode if he tries to leave. Every time he even thought about escaping, a small child would shout, "He's gonna 'splode, momma!"
    • Also happens to Gir in "Bad, Bad, Rubber Piggy", after spotting a flaw in Zim's plot to assassinate Dib via Time Travel.
      Gir: Wait... if you destroy Dib in the past, then he won't ever be your enemy. Then you wouldn't have to send the robot back to destroy him, and then he WILL be your enemy, so then you WILL have to send a robot BACK... *head explodes*
  • In the Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Spies", Bad Kaeloo gives a Bear Hug to Stumpy, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat. She squeezes too hard and their heads explode, which is somehow fixed by bandages.
    • In another episode, Mr. Cat has an allergic reaction, and as a result, his head swells up and explodes offscreen.
  • At least in one episode of Pepper Ann, the main character's head explodes briefly into a mushroom cloud.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Summer Belongs to You", Isabella tries to get Phineas to notice her for most of the time they're in Paris. After he makes a statement about Candace and Jeremy being together, Isabella's head explodes in frustration (which turns out to be a Daydream Surprise).
  • In the Regular Show episode "The Last LaserDisc Player", when the LaserDisc guardian reveals its true form, it creates a high-decibel noise that causes one of the members of the VHS society to have his head explode while he's entranced by LaserDisc's 44.1 kilohertz sample rate.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Ren's Brain" ends with every single person's head exploding, blowing up Earth in the process. "And thus endeth the Republican Party as we know it," says the narrator.
  • Robot Chicken:
    • In the episode "Maurice Was Caught", little orphan Annie is given Mars for her sweet sixteen party, and upon visiting it, trips and loses her spacesuit helmet. Cue Explosive Decompression of her head.
    • During another episode, several math students' heads exploded after being taught that the imaginary number i was the square root of -1.
      "I don't get it! ... Oh, now I—(boom)"
    • In one sketch, Batman sentences The Joker to death row and he's executed via electric chair. When his face has been burnt away and he appears to be dead, his body suddenly spasms and his head explodes.
    • In a Harry Potter sketch, Ron Weasley mixes a potion wrongly and drinks it. After a brief Oh, Crap!, his teeth quadruple in size and shoot out like bullets and his head explodes.
  • One early episode of Rocko's Modern Life involves Rocko buying groceries at a very deep discount. The only shopping cart available for him is missing some wheels. The grinding sound it makes is so annoying, one shopper pulls his ears so hard in frustration that his head pops like a balloon.
  • In Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, human psychic Carl goes up against an alien "brain bug" and, in the battle of minds, the brain bug follows this trope quite messily, as it is essentially a large mobile brain. Carl later has the obligatory Psychic Nosebleed.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A THX sound test in one episode made one unlucky moviegoer's head pop.
    • In "Treehouse of Horror X", spoofing the Y2K furor, Homer and Bart toss themselves out of the airlock from a spaceship filled with C-list actors, comedians, and has-been celebrities (it was already headed for the Sun, but staying even one more minute was so much worse). While in the vacuum of space, their heads swell up, they sigh in their few last moments of blissful silence, and their heads go "pop!" off-screen.
    • In the season six episode "And Maggie Makes Three", when Homer is telling the story of Maggie Bart takes over and Homer's head explodes after being told he was going to have another child.
    • According to the episode "Lisa's Wedding", aired in 1995, by 2010 there would be robots that looked completely human with one notable flaw; when they cry, their heads spark, explode and melt.
  • Samurai Jack: The robot Scaramouche ended up having his head blown off by Aku, after Aku was misinformed by Scaramouche with an outdated piece of information that Jack had lost his sword.
  • Towards the end of the Sonic Boom episode "Let's Play Musical Friends", when Orbot and Cubot confront Nominatus, the episode's Big Bad, they play a game of Rock, Donut, Thursday to determine who gets to fight him. Nominatus is baffled at the stupidity of the game, and further observation confuses him to the point where his head explodes from logical errors.
  • South Park:
    • A juror's head explodes after hearing a complement to the Chewbacca Defense in "Chef Aid".
    • Tay Zonday's head explodes after the "Dramatic Chipmunk" stares him down in "Canada on Strike". Complete with dramatic music and everything. He manages to blow the critter's head off with his gun before he croaks.
    • The future guns in "Go God Go". They fire a dart into the target that, after a few seconds, causes their head to explode.
    • Kenny's death at the Plane'arium in "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods".
    • Happens to Glenn in "Night of the Living Homeless" thanks to Randy's animosity towards destitute people.
    • Cartman's head explodes in "Medicinal Fried Chicken" after he finds out that KFC has been banned from Colorado. (He gets better, though.)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Fools in April", Squidward's head explodes while trying to say sorry to SpongeBob.
    • A variant in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II": when the Atomic Flounder is offended by SpongeBob suggesting that he could go back to villainy at any time, he unintentionally breathes radiation on Barnacle Boy's face. Barnacle Boy's head glows red before exploding into a miniature mushroom cloud, leaving it a burnt husk.
    • In "Pranks a Lot", Patrick falls victim to the exploding gum prank. Of course, only Patrick could fall for a prank while knowing he just entered a store that sells prank items.
    • In "Sing a Song of Patrick", a guy's head explodes from listening to Patrick's horrible song being played off the radio station's antenna. Another guy nearby who didn't suffer the same fate calls him lucky.
  • In Teen Titans, Plasmus is pretty much a giant head on legs when Raven makes him explode, so while it's not technically bloody it's still messy, graphic and complete with gunky splatters right back in Raven's face.
  • In one Tom and Jerry Jerry sticks an air hose in Tom's mouth and it swells to massive size, then the duckling Little Quacker pops his head with a pin. Tom recovers.
  • In one episode of Unikitty!, Dr. Fox uses a shuttle to train Unikitty and Puppycorn for space travel, during which Unikitty and Puppycorn's heads inflate and explode.
  • At the end of the Wander over Yonder episode "The Good Bad Guy", Hater's head explodes when Major Threat makes a remark heavily implying that Tumbleweed, the guy who inspired his Heel–Face Turn, really is the same person as Wander.


    Real Life 
  • President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated. To be blunt, in general, it is very possible to make people's heads explode in real life with the proper firearms, bullets, and training.
    • There's an infamous image of an Iraqi insurgent with his head asploded by a .50 cal sniper rifle.
  • The infamous suicide video of R. Budd Dwyer (Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who got caught with his hand in the till, holds a press conference to presumably announce he is resigning his job. He does, by shooting himself in the head on live TV) shows what really happens when one fires a bullet into one's mouth. Do not go looking for it unless you want to have that image stick with you forever...
    • It should be noted though that this is not always the result of "eating a gun". For example, the infamous "Bjork Stalker", according to the FBI, had intended to cover a sign situated behind his head with blood and gore by shooting himself in the mouth. But the cartridge he used was too low powered and didn't exit his head (as a result, the suicide video - and yes, it is online if you really want to see it - is actually bloodless, though he still audibly bled out off-camera).
  • The Darwin Awards cites a Truth in Television case in Konotop, Ukraine, in which a chemistry student who had a habit of chewing gum until the flavour ran out, then continuing to flavour it by dipping the gum in citric acid powder apparently dipped his gum in a similar-looking, but explosive compound in powdered form.
    • A similar death occurs in 1000 Ways to Die, though his jaw falls off rather than his head exploding.
  • Happened to a man in Malaysia. He was checking a powerful home-made cannon (the manufacture of such cannons is illegal, but the law is seldom enforced) that he thought didn't quite go off; it did, and it went right to his face. This happened right in front of his family.
    • Sadly, this is common occurrence around the Eid Al Fitr celebrations in Malaysia. The firing of such home-made "bamboo cannons" during the holiday is a tradition, even if it’s illegal. Some daredevil bloke in some random hamlet will try to make one and set it off anyway. Usually, there's at least one report of some unfortunate bloke getting some random body part blown off every year, and probably set a random house on fire while at it.
  • The fate of Osama bin Laden. The Navy SEALS shot him in or just above the eye with a high-powered gun at close range, and the resulting images were not fit to show the public.
  • Subverted by the real-life ailment Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS), as it's a type of auditory hallucination that only sounds like one's head is exploding.
    • Although sometimes, it doesn't even go that far. EHS covers any kind of one-off auditory hallucination, whether it's a loud bang or the sound of a kitten meowing. One of the most common forms is hearing your name being called when nobody's actually doing so.
  • Rumors going around the Internet that a chess player's head asploded due to too much thinking (and a made up medicinal condition "Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis") are, not surprising, pure fake.
  • Explosive ammo used by the Germans and Russians during World War 2. A German sniper reported this effect, twice, from headshots and judging by these guys' tests the reported effect is disturbingly authentic.
  • In a moment of extreme kvltness Mayhem's vocalist Per Yngwe Ohlin aka Dead, lived up (or rather the opposite) to his stage name by administering self-head asplosion via a shotgun.
  • One traditional, albeit uncommon means of prepping an actual human skull for anatomical display is the "exploded skull", aka Beauchêne skull. The individual bones of the face and cranium are separated from one another, then mounted on rods and wires in a configuration that mimics their relationships in life, but spaced slightly apart for easy viewing. The impression is that of a time-lapse image of a skull that's just begun to undergo this trope.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Exploding Heads


Death By Basketball

Anyone else love how she just stands there screaming and doesn't even try to run away, even though she had at least a 2-3 second head start? (No pun intended on the "head" start.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / YourHeadASplode

Media sources: