FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
File:Qfg mountain.jpg

So, the hero has just defeated a horde of Mooks. So many mooks, in fact, that their corpses have been piling up under the hero's feet and formed a veritable mountain of bodies. What better way to celebrate this Badass display than to perform a Victory Pose atop said pile.

Frequently (especially in Film Posters) comes with a Leg Cling by the Love Interest in a Go-Go Enslavement bikini, as the hero waves his BFS / BFG (or Cool Sword) in the air triumphantly.

If it's a villain, you can expect them to instead lounge comfortably on their corpse-couch, perhaps off-handedly stabbing any enemies that have a twitch of life still in them. Bad guys with time on their hands and an interest in arts and crafts may turn this pile-o-corpses into a skull throne, with authentic human skin leather for the lining. *shudder*

The PG-13 version of this has the baddies KO'd or too beat up to move. In which case, the hero will usually sit on top of the still moaning mooks and offhandedly thwack any that show signs of resistance. This is especially common if they're waiting to be rescued.

Potential ways to subvert this trope include using the corpse as cover, or surprise attacking anyone who goes over the corpses while you're on the other side of it.

Compare Nothing but Skulls.

Examples of Atop a Mountain of Corpses include:


Anime and Manga

  • One of the chapter title pages in Bleach depicted Nnoitra doing this.
  • One Piece:
    • Rob Lucci, who manages this while resolving a situation where a kingdom's entire army were taken hostage. When he was thirteen. With the corpses consisting of the hostages.
    • Another example from One Piece occurs when Shiki invaded Marineford single-handedly. Garp and Sengoku find him on top of a pile of Marines.
  • In Jackals, the first image depicting The Hero's mom shows her on top of a pile of corpses with the BFS she passed on to her son.
  • Done (and subsequently mocked) in, I think, Gokusen.
  • For a(n arguably) more family-friendly take, look no further than the oft-parodied pile of mecha from the G Gundam prologue.
  • Kitsuchi, the badass general from Iwagakure in Naruto literally stands on top of a pile of White Zetsu Corpses, choking out the last one. He killed them all himself. Note these things are durable enough to take a One-Body Blow from Neji Hyuga, a very strong Jonin, and start regenerating immediately. As well as survive Sakura's Super Strength-twice.
  • Amagi Miroku of Psyren, shortly after his big massacre TV debut does this after he and his sempai-slash-subordinate Grigori #01 (later known as Commander Grana) take out the Special Defense Force unit sent to hunt them down. Man always has perfect poise.
    • P.S.: It's his birthday in the scene linked to above.

Art

Comic Books

  • Another one for standing: in the Carl Barks story "Back to the Klondike," the young Scrooge McDuck defeats everyone in a bar, and uses their unconscious bodies as a makeshift staircase to reach the balcony.
  • In Star Wars Legacy, Kol Skywalker pulled this off during the the first issue.
  • Wizard Magazine once did a humorous story on the kill count of Dark Horse's popular characters depicted on top of their own body piles ranging from The Goon, Hellboy, Conan and Miyamoto Usagi having the largest pile.
    • This actually happens with some frequency in Usagi Yojimbo, though it's often due to a camera angle. Almost invariably, they will give off the Speech Bubble for death (a skull of their species).
  • The cover of Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, he even manages to get some Leg Cling in there. [1]
  • In a segment of Maus, Art imagines himself drawing the comicbook, while wearing a mouse mask, on top of a pile of anthromorphic mouse corpses, mirroring his guilt and self-doubt related to the publishing of the first half of the book.
  • One cartoon magazine series had the protagonists filming a Conan rip-off, with the hero eventually "knee-deep in the bodies of his slain enemies". A producer comments: "We wanted it to be waist deep, but we couldn't afford enough extras."
  • The cover of Superman & Batman: World's Funnest shows Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk battling each other atop a pile of Supermen & Batmen.
  • In a Spider-Man issue the villain Carnage stands on top of a pile of people he has killed while laughing maniacally.
  • In the Archie-published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, one of the initial scenes in the Dreamland arc features Raphael in this position...right before acid rain burns his skin off, leaving only a laughing skeleton.
  • Transformers: Galvatron did this during Time Wars.
  • In American Born Chinese, the Monkey King beats up the guests at a celestial party and leaves them in a battered pile. He's too pissed to take a Victory Pose, however.
  • The Joker invokes the villainous version of trope in a bizarre way in The Killing Joke by using a pile of half-broken kewpie dolls and a tilt-a-whirl cart as a throne. While not strictly a pile of dead bodies, it's pretty damn close...
  • The cover of Marvel Comics' G.I. Joe #95, the middle issue of the "Snake Eyes Trilogy", has the aforementioned mute ninja commando hunched over a pile of slain Cobra Vipers of various types.
  • Thrud The Barbarian, a comic strip published in Games Workshop's White Dwarf magazine, once had the eponymous main character creating the pile and posing himself on it (with a woman clutching his leg). So he could have his passport picture taken (erh, painted)...
  • My Brother, My Enemy has Janek "Tank" Sunber, one of Luke Skywalker's childhood friends who became an Imperial officer, has this dream about Luke. It's notable that Tank is an infantry officer, the kind who doesn't see his stormtroopers as Faceless Mooks.

Film

  • 300. Leonidas creates a massive wall to block the Persians with the dead acting as the bricks... and the mortar... and the fill. You get the idea.
    • And makes another pile of corpses later. And weaponizes it.
  • Gimli the dwarf from The Lord of the Rings sat on top of orc #43. It still moved because his ax was lodged in the orc's spine.
  • Meng Yi, one of Jackie Chan's characters in the Hong Kong film, The Myth, does the standing version of this during his You Shall Not Pass scene. Unfortunately, he goes beyond his limits before he could kill the last of the attacking rebels and he falls unconscious while standing, allowing one of the remaining rebels to climb up the mountain of corpses and cut off his head.
  • In Serenity, after River declares that the Reavers shall not pass, the rest of the crew is left believing that she is dead... until the doors slide open to show her very much alive, uneaten, unraped, and un-worn-as-clothing, and standing atop a pile of utterly massacred Reavers.
  • In Blade II, Novak stands at the top of a staircase that is littered with fallen security guards. Director Guillermo del Toro acknowledges it as an homage to Frazetta in the commentary.
  • The poster for the teen comedy The New Guy has the titular character standing atop a pile of jocks and bullies with a bunch of hot chicks (two of whom are Eliza Dushku and Zooey Deschanel) at his side.
  • WALL-E features this with robot "corpses" after the berserk spa-bot HAN-S is realased on the Steward-bots. Combined with Offhand Backhand.
  • Ghostbusters II. "On a mountain of skulls, in the castle of pain, I sat on a throne of blood."

Literature

  • Conan. At almost any point in his life. Ever.
  • In the first book of the Wind on Fire trilogy, the protagonists are fleeing back to their home city and being chased by the Zars, an endless army of beautiful boys and girls who kill anything they come across without the slightest hesitation. When they take out the only way of crossing a chasm, the Zars march off the cliff and fall without even slowing down. Since there's an endless supply of them and they seem to be some kind of Hive Mind, they can keep marching until there are so many corpses they can walk across the gap on a mountain of their own dead.
  • The Hill of Slain from The Silmarillion (Haudh-en-Ndengin) is a literal mountain of corpses.
  • In one of the Discworld books, it's noted that Death "met heroes frequently, generally surrounded by, and this was important, the dead bodies of very nearly all their enemies and saying, "Vot the hell shust happened?"
    • Its also mentioned in Interesting Times. The Silver Horde are informed that the proper means of conquering the empire is through rivers of blood or over a mountain of skulls. They discuss how in their experience skulls are quite hard to pile up, so they'll need a lot of them. When faced with 100,000-to-1 odds, they remain confident that even after they've gotten tired killing the first few thousand, that the remaining soldiers will be tired too, because by then the soldiers will have to run uphill just to get to them.
  • There's a short story by Timothy Zahn and Micheal A. Stackpole where Corran Horn works briefly with a disguised Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the subject of art comes up when Corran says the graffiti on walls they're passing isn't the work of Venthan Chassu, but it's more interesting than peeling Star Destroyer White. Pressed for his opinion, Corran mentions that he liked the early and middle works by Chassu, but the man's final work, Palpatine Triumphant, was of Palpatine on a throne of mutilated bodies, and in the narration Corran adds that the most disturbing thing about it was the Emperor's expression of homicidal joy. Thrawn dryly says that his loss was a pity, thus implying that Chassu was killed for this depiction.
  • Inheritance Cycle: A scene in the second book has Roran, characterised up to that point as a Badass Normal, standing atop a pile of 193 dead mooks. All of which he killed himself. Apparently because, for some reason, they were waiting in line to fight him one by one.
    • Well, they WERE funneled into a position where they could only fight him one-to-three at a time. So yeah...
  • Warcraft. War of the Ancients series. Broxigar pulled this one on the Burning Legion, slaughtering demons and standing on a pile of their bodies until they were to scared to continue.
  • In Blue Moon Rising, the last army of the Forest Kingdom slay so many of their demonic attackers that they're shielded, for a time, by the mounded corpses of their enemies. At one point, Rupert climbs over the pile to rush to Julia's assistance.

Live Action TV

  • The final shot of Blackadder II shows a pile of the corpses of all the major characters (Blackadder, Queen Elizabeth, Melchitt, etc.) with Prince Ludwig the Indistructible in disguise as the queen standing atop them.

 This is a disguise I'm really going to enjoy! Now, if I could just get the voice right.

  • QI made fun of this Trope in a discussion about prejudice against people over their height, and idle wonderings if short people are more likely to be power-hungry. Stephen Fry then informs the panel that historically, rulers and despots are no more likely to be short than any other figure, and that even Napoleon was of above-average height for his time.

 Sean Locke: It's probably the one thing that short people have to cling on to- one day they might be a dictator. Now we've just taken that away from them.

David Mitchell: All this not being able to reach things from shelves one day will be made up for when I kill millions of people. I will stand on their bodies to reach the jam.

Music

  • It occasionally happens on Manowar's album covers.
  • Cannibal Corpse has a song called Rotten Body Landslide about someone being crushed to death in a landslide of bodies while trying to climb a mountain of corpses.
  • Lemon Demon's "The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny" ends like this. The guy on top? Mr. Rogers.

Mythology

  • Cú Chullain is said to have killed so many men in one battle that he "built walls from their corpses".

Tabletop RPG

  • The Skull Throne of Khorne.
    • And several other, marginally less epic examples as well, in both Warhammer and Warhammer 40000. In particular, there are several iconic images of Crimson Fists Space Marines making defiant last stands from atop a mound of their own battle brothers.
    • The iconic full page illustration from the first Dark Eldar codex has a random Dark Eldar warrior standing atop a hill of skulls. The bonus? An attached poem that set the theme for the entire army:

 We are not creatures of shadow

But it serves us well

As an ally in battle and a refuge for rest.

    • in the table top game many hoard armies can end up with a rather impressive "dead pile" at the end of a game even more impressive if things go badly for them
  • The Pathfinder Sourcebook Dragons Revisited features a picture of a colossal black dragon crouched atop a pile of corpses.

Video Games

  • During the intermission in Quest for Glory II, the hero's caravan is attacked by brigands. Just when you think the game is going to make you fight them, cut to the hero standing atop a pile of brigand and saurus corpses in the victory pose (pictured above).
  • The cover of Duke Nukem 3D
  • Legault of Fire Emblem claims this is where the assassin Jaffar was found as an infant, sleeping on the corpses of everyone else in his destroyed village.
  • In the end of Meet the Medic, The Medic and Heavy are standing atop a hill of Soldier corpses.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins, if you choose to go back in time to defeat Wiseman, you find him doing this.
  • One of the promotional images for The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, with Link and Sheik still working to make the pile higher.
  • Luca Blight in Suikoden II's opening, while sporting a gigantic, psychotic smile.
  • Seen in the box art of Serious Sam - The First Encounter HD. Also seen one of the cutscenes in Serious Sam II.
  • The Flash game Body Ladder is actually based on this trope - the object of the game is to climb as high as possible on top of the dead bodies of countless enemies as they walk (and later, climb) towards you.
  • The final battle of Cave Story's best ending is fought in a room with a floor made out of hundreds of skeletons.
    • Even the ceiling is made of skeletons.
  • Sakura's ending in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter showed her future son finding a picture of Sakura standing atop the other characters.
  • The Temple of Ormagöden in Brutal Legend.
  • After the second stage of the Scott Pilgrim Vs The World game, Scott and Ramona kiss atop a mountain of corpses.
  • Seath the Scaleless roars on a pile of dragon corpses in the Dark Souls intro. Nito, first of the dead, is a pile of corpses.
  • In what is probably a Shout-Out to The Killing Joke, at the end of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Joker is seated on a throne resting on a mound of dismembered manikins.
  • The Dreaded Red Arremer is first seen sitting atop a mountain of skulls in Ghouls n Ghosts which it throws at at the player. This is the Red Arremer character's fight intro in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

Web Comics

  • In Buck Godot Zap Gun for Hire, Hyraxx de Mofiti does this in one panel, standing on top of a pile of assassins she fought to get to Buck.
    • Well, she's a tabloid reporter. People are afraid of her for good reason. ;)
  • A man sits atop a pile of defeated zombies in the third volume of The Living Dead.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf is a SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF WAR! The potential Crowning Moment of Awesome is then destroyed - because they were easy enough to kill that he made a pile of them, he gets nothing for it.
    • The trope is used practically in another moment - A death knight has his hobgoblin troops swarm Azure City's walls, until they die in such numbers that the other troops may walk over their corpses as a ramp to go over the walls.
  • Wonderella makes a pile of the bodies of other superheroes in this comic after killing them (though that wasn't actually required). Don't worry, they'll be back in a month.
  • This rather dark Brawl in the Family strip does something similar to the Wind on Fire example above.

Web Original

  • The closing shot of Spatula Madness.
  • The flash video The Ultimate Showdown ends with Mr. Rogers standing triumphantly atop a pile of corpses brandishing a sword.
  • Subverted/inverted/played with in a Flash game (I forget the name) which is basically you facing hordes of men coming at you from both sides of the screen. The bodies never fade and pile on top of each other, and it's soon revealed that it's actually quite hard to make a mountain of corpses that you stand atop of. Standing in one place you find yourself standing in a pit between two WALLS of corpses, with sword-wielding crazies coming on you from above. And if you work to make the hill, the sword-wielding crazies are too low for you to hit. You have to basically make a PLAIN of corpses to survive too long here.
  • During the fight at the gate of the Old World in the Escapist's Doraleous and Associates the Old Master Testecles manages to get quite the impressive kill count, having a literal mountain of bodies.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in an episode of Daredevil: Daredevil neutralizes a roomful of mobsters, but when the light is turned back on, the one sitting on the pile of unconscious bodies is Foggy Nelson, who really thinks he defeated them all on his own.
  • The Venture Brothers: Brock, during a stay in a Lotus Eater Machine.
  • In the TMNT: Back to the Sewer episode "Identity Crisis", one of the memories that ends up breaking Raph's brainwashing involves Raph doing this over a bunch of Foot Ninja.
  • The Powerpuff Girls, being the ultra super-powered heroines they are, play the PG-13 example of this trope straight and end up standing atop a mountain of their foes' brutally KO'd bodies at the end of the show's opening.
  • Samurai Jack often ends up standing atop a mountain of robot corpses.
  • In an episode of Kappa Mikey, when Guano is asked to draw up a plan to replace Ozu's precious bonzai tree he instead draws himself standing on Mikey's and Gonard's bodies while Mitsuki and Lily hang onto his legs.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Itchy and Scratchy Land" Homer arises on top of a pile of defunct robots he "killed" by taking flash light photographs of them.
  • In the Futurama episode where Fry/Professor/Bender go forward in time, Bender wants to stay in a Terminator-like era and build a home atop a mountain of skulls.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.