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A living being made of living beings.

A trope pretty heavily influenced by Frankenstein's Monster is nonetheless quite distinct from the former in that, while Frankenstein's Monster usually has a human-like appearance, sans Uncanny Valley and various body parts belonging to different people, a Flesh Golem[1] does not look normal in the slightest.

If this creature is even vaguely human-like, it may look like a nightmare version of conjoined twins, or it is a hulking abomination made of various parts of human flesh, sometimes skinless, often possessing extra limbs, organs and heads where they really shouldn't belong. Unlike Frankie expies, which tend to be of human-like intelligence or slightly below average, Flesh Golems don't usually have any intelligence to speak of - despite being made of human beings they are essentially robots only capable of obeying simple commands.

And that's if it's even capable of moving on its own. It may be a mass of human bodies fused together without any specific shape or form - and every single member of it tends to be alive and conscious. This version, possibly inspired by Bosch's paintings, is a recurring theme in Religious Horror: the lustful are fused together, resembling a some kind of a twisted orgy.

Can also be a Hybrid Monster if its parts belong to living beings of different species. See also The Worm That Walks for creatures made of live insects. See also Biological Mashup, Mix-and-Match Man and Bio Punk.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Franken Fran mostly features plain Frankenstein's monsters (including the main characters) and Mix-and-Match Critters, but various flavours of Flesh Golems appear as well.
  • Envy's true form in Fullmetal Alchemist is all of the bodies of the people whose souls were used to make it, fused together.

Comics

  • Harvest, a monstrous amalgamation of the bodies of past experiments of Poison Ivy, that came after Ivy in the Batman comics, sending her begging to the Dark Knight for protection.

Film

Live Action TV

  • The Absorbaloff from Doctor Who is made up of the people it absorbs.

Tabletop Games

  • Various flesh golems of Dungeons and Dragons. Some of them, like a walking cemetery that goes around collecting corpses to add to itself, as well as illithid-made brain golems, were featured at the top list of stupidest D&D monsters ever for failing to convey horror. Others... don't fail to do so.
  • Tyranids of Warhammer 40000 fame do act out of hunger, but they don't "eat" as much as process everything organic they encounter into biomass and then make new spawn out of it, thus making it so pretty much every single tyranid is a flesh golem.
  • Magic: The Gathering's version of Frankenstein's Monster is virtually this, since the concept behind the card is that the creature is being stiched together from any number of various creatures from your graveyard, not necessarily humans.
    • The Stitcher Creatures from Innistrad and Sutured Zombie are all classic Flesh Golems, taking a few pages from Frankenstein's Monster. There's also the Horror Token generated by Phyrexian Rebirth. The card itself is a field wipe that destroys all creatures, and it then generates a token based on how many creatures were destroyed, implying the Glistening Oil fused them all into one horrific mass, then gave it sentience.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade gives us the Vozhdt, a T-rex sized mountain of ghouls all merged into a single, horrifying creature with the power of vissicitude. The Tzimisce use them as siege weapons against the Camarilla, and the mere sight of one is said to be able to drive its victims mad with fear.

Videogames

  • Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, being D&D-bssed, featured a Frankenstein-like flesh golem. Further into the Underdark, the Golem Master subquest featured an island-scale war between loyal flesh golems and rebelling metal golems. The leader of flesh golem faction is made of daemonic flesh.
  • Baldur's Gate I & II has Flesh Golems, particularly II.
  • Abominations in Warcraft are behemoths created by the Scourge from the body parts of their enemies. The Forsaken (the playable race in World of Warcraft) had taken to making them as well.
  • The Harvesters in the Dragon Age series. Bonus points for them having been originally created in an attempt to rediscover the lost secret of making regular stone/metal golems.
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has Melchiah, a vampire who was resurrected using the very smallest part of his master's soul, leaving him with many of his human vulnerabilities such as bodily decay. To combat this, he would have to absorb his own underlings into him, until you eventually find him in the game as a giant undulating mass of humanoid corpses, using the hands of lesser vampires as fingers.
  • Not explained particularly well in The Thing, but some of the creatures, particularly the 150-foot tall monstrosity, greatly exceed a human in mass, thus implying they are made of several humans processed into pure biomass and fused together.
  • Diablo 2 has blood golems, vaguely human-like flesh creatures created by necromancers.
  • Fall From Heaven has flesh golems as a body magic spell. Units may be sacrificed using the "graft flesh" spell to add their abilities to the flesh golem.
  • Nethack has these as a standard enemy. Stoning them turns them into the much more dangerous stone golems. Conversely, casting Stone to Flesh on a stone golem will turn them into one of these.
  • Brigade from Marvel Nemesis.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho features two forms of flesh golems. While the "Sumerian Puppet" is almost certainly non-sentient and (as the name implies) only moves according to Enlil pulling its strings, the "Corpses Behemoth" consist of hundreds of humans merged together into one giant monstrosity with a single mind.

Webcomics

Western Animation

  • In South Park there is a creature who haunts the mountain called Scuzzlebutt, which has Patrick Duffy for a leg.
  • Alpha from Men in Black somehow fused himself with a number of still-living alien monsters.

Real Life

  • Though conjoined twins are an obvious inspiration for variations of this trope, they are completely natural and therefore hardly a "golem" per se.
    • At least one Nazi experiment (that inspired The Human Centipede) involved sewing Gypsy children together to creare conjoined twins and therefore is an example.
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