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Oh, no! Your best friend has been entranced by Pazuzu! Bummer! No need to call any specialists, though; just pull up your sleeves and you can deal with this yourself. In many works of fiction, the best way to free a possessed or cursed person is to simply beat the crap out of them. You won't need to worry about hurting your friend, either; it's just the curse / demon you're punching, not them. Once you punch them into unconciousness, they should wake up perfectly fine (albeit probably with a massive headache).
This is especially common in Video Games where combat is the standard reaction to anything anyway, and can result in making a new friend or getting a new player character. This comes up a lot in stories with a villain with a Dark and Troubled Past or a Freudian Excuse—it turns out their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or somebody thought they were evil / cursed / possessed and tried to beat the evil out of them, or to prevent them from becoming evil (which is precisely what made them evil).
Compare: Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!, Dying as Yourself (If the curse dies, but so does the cursee), and "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight for when the battle is with words. Mostly unrelated to Hollywood Exorcism.
Anime & Manga
- Fushigi Yuugi. Tamahome is mind-controlled and the spell is powered by his Life Force. Thus it fails when he is beaten within inch of his life.
- In the Soul Eater anime's penultimate battle, Maka uses her scythe's Genie Hunter to reap Medusa right out of the body she's possessing without harming the little girl.
- In Ranma ½, Maomolin (the giant ghost cat also called Bakeneko) possesses Ranma's father Genma to avoid getting beat up. However, while Ranma has a paralyzing fear of cats, he has no problems whatsoever beating the crap out of his father. The ghost cat screams at him about what kind of son he is to do that to his own father and flees to possess someone else.
- Another episode has the gang up against an oni fond of possessing people and making them do evil things. The monk assisting them informs them that to excersize the oni they must strike the possessee for their own good. Again, Ranma has no problem smacking the imp out of his dad and Kouno. But then the oni possesses Kasumi and nobody can bring themselves to hit her because she's too sweet a girl. (and because Soun would kill them if they did)
- Done in the Turkish Exorcist knockoff Seytan -yeah, it's real- when Turkish Father Damien finally rids Turkish Reagan of her possession by Turkish Pazuzu simply by beating the crap out of her Turkish face.
- In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy gets mind-controlled by the Thugee, and is brought out of it when Short Round burns him with a torch.
- In The Avengers a solid blow to the head seems to reverse the mind control caused by Loki's staff, at least in the cases of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig. Black Widow, not wanting to take the risk that the trope isn't in effect, punches Hawkeye out just to be safe.
"Cognitive recalibration. I hit your head really hard."
- Averted in Fablehaven: Tanu the potion master knows that using this trope on Berrigan would cause physical harm, so he uses a potion that causes hallucinations of excruciating pain, which doesn't actually hurt Berrigan.
- In the not so acclaimed novelisation of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Irenicus turns Imoen into a monster to attack the elves. The monster's form breaks free from under her skin. It's all right, though, because all the protagonist Abdel Adrian needs to do to free her is tear the monster apart, because obviously she would be intact inside the monster that burst out from inside her.
Live Action TV
- In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (and all following series), this was typically the way to free people who had been turned into monsters by spells (and thankfully so, otherwise the Rangers would have unwittingly killed Kat). When the transformation had been done by means other than a direct spell the Rangers had to seek alternate cures.
Myths & Religion
- Many exorcism rituals involve physical abuse.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum. When Poison Ivy takes over the guards, you just beat the everloving crap out of them. Though to be honest, this is more of a "I'll beat you unconscious so you don't try to kill me while I deal with that gigantic plant over there" kind of deal.
- In RPGs, attacking one's own teammate is usually the quickest way to cure Charm or Confuse status.
- In Earthbound, most humans and animals that you fight are "turned back to normal" after you defeat them.
- Princess Zelda is possessed by Ganondorf in Twilight Princess, and needs Link to free her. With violence.
- This is a bit of an edge case, as Zelda is attacking Link with blasts of magic, and Link needs to reflect them back at her. Assuming Zelda is using light magic, it makes sense that she would be much less vulnerable to her own attacks than Ganondorf would be.
- The mid-level boss of the forest temple is the leader of the monkeys possessed by a twilit bug. Link is able to free him by spanking his bright, red ass!
- From the same game, Darbus/Fyrus and Yeta/Blizzeta.
- In Kirby 64, Kirby needs to do this to free Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and King Dedede from Dark Matter.
- In Chrono Cross, the Porre military has used a cursed fruit to bring out Orcha's evil nature. As soon as you beat him, he immediately regains normality.
- In Penny Arcade Adventures, characters can get brainwashed and attack their own team. Either you wait until they're damaged, or hit them yourself—they take far less damage and are cured instantly.
- In Disgaea 4, the repentant former Big Bad Nemo gets corrupted by the power of the Lord of Terror, which he had originally been intending to use, forcing Valvatorez and company to beat some sense into him for the final battle.
- In Donkey Kong Country Returns, when a boss character is possessed by a Tiki the only way to release it is to defeat the boss in battle.
- At the end of Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door, when Peach is possessed by the Shadow Queen's spirit, the only way to free her is to lay out a massive beatdown. It's not an easy task.
- In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga before you meet Prince Peasley you fight him as a dragon who was previously trapped in an egg that Blablanadon was incubating.
- In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, you can save people who have turned into Symbiote Zombies... by hitting them a lot. Apparently, you can knock the symbiote off of them with long enough combos. (This has the added bonus of making it easier to 'cure' people if you're playing as 'Normal' Spider-Man, since he's got longer combos - his 'Black Suit' version focuses more on huge area-effect attacks and powerful blows.)
- This has also occasionally happened in the comics - beating the symbiote off of someone, I mean - but it's somewhat rare and usually has serious complications. Mostly, they resort to their classic Kryptonite Factor of sound instead.
- In the first Metal Gear Solid, Psycho Mantis mind controls Snake's love interest to force her to commit suicide (its a Game Over if she succeeds) with her pistol. To prevent this you need to deal enough non lethal damage (with punches, tranquilizer darts (in Twin Snakes only) or stun grenades) to knock her out (complicated by the fact that she wakes up every so often).
- At the end of the recent Mythsong saga in Adventure Quest Worlds, you do this to the sixth Lord of Chaos, who turns out not to be Discordia, but Kimberly of One Eyed Doll, the special guest of the big Friday event, in order to get Drakath's mind-controlling Ear Worm out of her head.
- Interesting variation: in Super Smash Bros Brawl, the villains use "shadow bugs" mined from Mr. Game & Watch to create evil, purple-tinted versions of some of the heroes, like Peach and Diddy Kong. Most of the time, the real hero is trapped in trophy form and can't be brought back to life until the cursed version is defeated. However, it is possible for Diddy to fight his own Evil Twin, and at one point, Bowser does this to himself so he can be in two places at once.
- In Resident Evil 5, you are attacked by former partner Jill Valentine, who is under the influence of a mind control device (which is attached to the chest, naturally). Administering a beating is a bad idea, since if you do too much damage to her, you'll accidentally kill her. Instead, you have to work with your partner to hold her still while one of you tries to pry off the device.
- Variation of this trope in Yu-Gi-Oh!: Nightmare Troubadour: When Joey Wheeler gets possessed, you have to tie him in a card battle.
- This is one of the methods you can do to Adelle in Final Fantasy Tactics a 2. The other method is to keep talking until the person returns to normal.
- This is the standard method for dealing with the "Confuse" side-effect in almost any Final Fantasy game, hit the affected character with a physical attack in order to regain control of them. Can become dangerous if/when your party members are high enough level to start killing each other in one or two physical strikes.
- In Ar tonelico, how do we confine I.P.Ds? Blast them apart! This is strange when you use 100 Replekia amplification and the ultimate song magic, that's Overkill.
- World of Warcraft includes this in one of the Cataclysm 5-man dungeons: the boss begins the fight mind-controlling an NPC that was helping you earlier, and after knocking him to half health, the boss himself becomes attackable, though he may possess one of your party members during the fight.
- In Girls Love Visual Novel Aoi Shiro, the fastest way to free someone from the <<Sword>>'s influence is by beating the crap out of her --lethally, even, in case of Kaya at the end of Migiwa Route.
- In Dragon Age Origins, you do this to Bann Teagan to free him from a demon's mind control. Which is kinda startling given that going with the Darker and Edgier nature of the setting, fighting mind-controlled people usually means having to kill them.
- The Legacy expansion of Dragon Age II features the party storming the prison of ancient Darkspawn Corypheus. If your party includes "ex"-Grey Warden Anders, he starts hearing voices as Corypheus communicates through the darkspawn taint in his blood. He eventually becomes a mini-boss fight, after which he manages to resist for the rest of the DLC. Since Anders is also sharing a body with a particularly hacked-off spirit of Justice, it's kind of unclear which part of him you're fighting.
- In Sonic Adventure, both the game and the Archie Comics adaptation, Super Sonic defeats Perfect Chaos this way. The comics have him used this method again against a cursed Knuckles, even going so far as to compare it to the previous Perfect Chaos example as "beat[ing] the evil out of you."
- In The Powerpuff Girls, Him turned the entire town evil and all attempts to resolve the matter peacefully failed... until the girl beat the tar out of the Townsville citizens. Somehow, it works.
- More specifically, the girls convinced themselves the Brainwashed and Crazy Townsvillians actually were not their loved ones (Since, as the heroes of Townsville, everyone adored the girls). The curse only breaks after the girls beat the tar out of Him and force him to retreat.
- This happened once, indirectly, in Code Lyoko. XANA had possessed Aelita, but needed her alive as much as the children did. To coerce XANA into releasing her, Odd shot at her repeatedly until she was an inch away from dying, at which point he surrendered.
- Note that XANA's process of extracting what he wanted from her would kill her, so the kids had nothing to lose by threatening to kill her themselves.
- One episode of Dexters Laboratory has Dexter's family infected by alien parasites. Dexter is forced to equip his Powered Armor to beat up his family until the parasites abandon ship, after which Dexter immediately stomps them flat. Afterwards though, his family members don't feel particularly well. "This flu stuff hits you hard..."
- If Danny Phantom fires a ray of ectoplasm at a person possessed by a ghost, it pushes it out, leaving the person unhamred. if it turns out that person was Not Brainwashed, however, it does hurt.
- In the Beast wars episode "Possession" Blackarachnia manages to remove the spark of Starscream from Waspinator's body by detonating a chunk of energon next to him.
- Waspinator (after getting freed): Wazzzpinator has headache in his whole body!
- Truth in Television, at one point in history. See, elves weren't always nice creatures - actually for most of history they were downright evil. Birth defects or mentally retarded children were thought to be elf children, and the elves had taken your normal, beautiful child and replaced it with their ugly, stupid one. Beating these supposed elf children - sometimes to the point that they died - was standard practice, because this was thought to be the only way to convince the elves to give you your normal child back.