WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

The Pivotal Wakeup is a classic move in the repertoire of most old school vamps. Once the sun dips below the horizon, the vampire's eyes will open, the coffin lid will fly open on its own, and the occupant will levitate into a standing position while pivoting on their feet, as if they were a fulcrum.

Needless to say, this move is so old school it may be a Dead Horse Trope. However, it still occasionally sees use even outside the vampire community. Comedies seem to like to use it to demonstrate just how strange or freaky some characters are by, say, rising this way on the mention of their favorite food or after being punched in the face.

Compare Catapult Nightmare, the Muggles equivalent.

Examples of Pivotal Wakeup include:

Anime and Manga

  • Dragon Ball - during the "warm-up" phase of Goku and Cell's fight, Goku knocks Cell over the edge of the arena. For a second, the audience hopes for a ring-out, only for Cell to remind them all that he can fly by freezing and performing this trope in midair.

Comic Books

  • Galactus rose like this during the events of Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars. Doctor Doom was impressed.


Live-Action TV

  • Only Fools and Horses: Inverted by that time Del Boy fell through the bar.
  • In a Shout-Out to Nosferatu, Dracula rises like this in Young Dracula.
  • Angelus pulled this trick on Angel. Seeing as it's a spinoff of Buffy, which debuted six years earlier, it's remarkable that they resisted this trope for as long as they did.
  • Doctor Who, "Image of the Fendahl": After Thea Ransome is possessed by the Fendahl, her body rises to its feet like this.
  • An episode of Young Indiana Jones has a vampire knocked down during a fight, then instantly do this and pop right back up again.
  • In Power Rangers, the first time Tommy returned, he used his temporary powers to get back the other Rangers' Power Coins (their power source) and was near death from the strain on his body (and having the tar beaten out of him while only at partial power.) Later, Power Coin energy surrounds him as he rises into the air and pivots to a standing position, and only once standing does he awaken. Turns out he'd absorbed enough power from the force field around the coins to rejoin the team for good (with plenty of scares that the temporary powers may yet give out.)

Music Videos

  • The dancing interns of the Avicii song Levels

Professional Wrestling

  • The way WWE's The Undertaker sits bolt-upright after recovering from a knock down is similar to this trope.


  • The trope illustration is a Burger King tie-in toy with Universal Studios; curiously, the Wolf Man toy did the same thing (emerging from a kind of crate or cellar with pivoting doors instead of a coffin with a pop-off lid).

Video Games

Western Animation

  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: In a non-vampire example, Sheen is laid out by the martial arts bad guy until Libby calls herself his girlfriend. This gives him the will to fight, and he suddenly just becomes vertical again and beats his opponent with The Power of Dance.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.