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This is when a robot, Clockwork Creature, golem, undead, mind controlled or other human-sized and -shaped entity moves as if it were a puppet on a string. In the process, it defies the laws of anatomy and gravity by bending in unnatural ways and floating... all without strings. Alternately, it might move like a broken animatronic robot, as if its insides had less articulation than a 3-inch G.I. Joe figure. As the picture shows, it's usually used for Horror stories because it is just (un)naturally creepy. To accentuate the eerie motion, camera tricks like jitters, Slow Motion and speeding up may be used.
Anime & Manga
- In the Hades chapter of Saint Seiya, the specter Minos Gryphon can turn his enemies into People Puppets. The sadist enjoys twisting them and breaking them to "put on a show", at one point turning this power on Gemini Kanon.
- In Inuyasha, the victims of Yura of the Hair.
- In Pandora Hearts, this is how Gilbert moves under the control of Zwei's chain, Doldum. It makes its point.
- In Princess Tutu, the title character moves like this while in Drosselmeyer's world. Also, one episode features the Doll's Waltz, a real ballet routine meant to look like this.
Films -- Animation
- Linguini on Ratatouille, because he is literally being moved like a marionette.
- Jan Svankmajer's films own this page!
Films -- Live-Action
- Among other tricks such as choreography, in the film adaptation of Silent Hill the eerie, jittery movements of the nurses were done by the actresses walking backward. The footage was later reversed.
- In Mirror Mask, the Uncanny Valley box mannequins have this. So very much. And to the tune of "Close to You", no less.
- When the... thing in Sliver controls bodies, this is how they move.
- The Boss Battle in Stardust features a very well-done duel with a magically animated dead swordsman who moves this way.
- The dead astronauts in Doctor Who episode "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead".
- The Humongous Mecha in older Super Sentai seasons sometimes slipped into this during wirework stunts.
- Rhianna's Disturbia music video.
- The "evil clowns" in Pink's music video for "Funhouse".
- In the Talking Heads music video "Once in a Lifetime", David Byrne's dance is about halfway between a marionette and an epileptic fit.
- This style of dancing is used by a lot of k-pop artists, but a particularly memorable example can be seen in 2PM's music video for "Heartbeat" in which the members utilize the style of broken-body dancing to show how their hearts are being controlled by a scornful girl and how they are helpless to stop it. At a few points in the dance, they are even shown as being controlled by one of their own.
- Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots: The result of Screaming Mantis using her weapon on people.
- The various nurses in the Silent Hill franchise (and quite a few monsters besides, for that matter).
- Appropriately enough, the Marionettes in Devil May Cry, who even still have strings on their limbs.
- Some of the more humanoid-shaped Nobodies in Kingdom Hearts II move this way.
- On Avatar: The Last Airbender, this affects anyone under the influence of blood bending.
- Ren does this in the Ren and Stimpy episode "Stimpy's Invention", while wearing the Happy Helmet.
- Marceline's father, from Adventure Time.