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Remember how your mom always said to stand up straight? This is why...

A stock pose used to show how feral a character is. They are hunched over, and walk slightly like a gorilla. Used to show the character has regressed to a primal, wild state.

This is not that easy to do. Too many times, the "primal" part is left out, and the actors just end up sneering, hissing, and hopping about like a kid trying to be a kangaroo.

So while if done right, this can strike fear into our hearts, too often this falls short and strikes Narm into our hearts.

Compare Limp and Livid, Three-Point Landing, Running on All Fours.

Examples of Primal Stance include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Jack Kirby loved this pose. Usually with more "primal" characters, like Kalibak or The Incredible Hulk.
  • Wolverine often uses this as his "pre-asskicking pose". Coupled with his extended claws, naturally.
  • The Beast, as well.
  • Nightcrawler too, sometimes.
  • Spider-Man does this from time to time, usually symbolizing that the villain isn't dealing with their Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man anymore.

Fan Fiction

  • In Cat Bountry's Team Fortress 2 fanfic "Surrogate", Medic ends up so overwhelmed by the disgusting and horrible things he's just witnessed that he can't stand up and has to crawl on all fours.


  • The Hulk in The Avengers assumes a hunched, almost gorilla-stance. He even slams both fists into the ground and grunts at one point.
  • Jack Nicholson in the first film of The Shining is one of the few successful uses of this.
  • The Dark Knight has the Joker doing a subtle version of this.
  • Coolio as The Dragon in Dracula 3000.
  • The two evil sons taunting Lavinia after they mutilate her in the 1999 film Titus.
  • Planet of the Apes, and the sequels and weak remake thereof, had the apes walk like this, supposedly to make them more, well, apelike.
  • Averted in the Disney version of Tarzan; he actually moves like an ape, complete with knuckle-walking despite the fact that the human body isn't designed for it and in reality he'd be suffering from horrible joint and back problems if he did that since childhood. But it looked cool.
  • The Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings films both played this straight, with the Moria orcs and goblins, and averted it in the design of the Uruk-Hai and Mordor orcs. According to the behind-the-scenes features, quite a bit of time went into training the stunt actors portraying orcs to not walk like monkeys due to the possibility of making them more Narm-inducing than fearsome.
    • Gollum, who is permenently hunched over and often lopes on all fours when running. One orc describes him as "rather like a spider himself, or perhaps like a starved frog."
  • The Affably Evil Rattigan from 'The Great Mouse Detective, after having a severe Villainous Breakdown, begins running on all fours to get to the protagonist and beat the living crap out of him.
  • Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace uses a very subtle version of this, betraying his sinister nature over his high society, charitable facade. After his Villainous Breakdown, it becomes far more obvious when he screams like a demonic monkey while attacking Bond with an axe.
  • Interview with the Vampire: Vampires usually turn inhuman--demonic and beastly--when they are about to feed. You rarely see one stroll across the ceiling; usually they go on all fours when they're skirting across the ceiling. Lestat and Louis, repeatedly.
  • Devastator from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen actually stands and walks like this.
  • Inverted in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast at first stands and walks like this, but gradually begins to stand and walk upright as the film progresses to show the fact that he is gradually becoming more civilized. Played straight with Gaston, however, where he actually does the complete opposite (first, he stands and walks upright, but near the end of the film, he reveals his evil self and starts to stand and walk like this).
  • The skeletons in Ray Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts stand at attention when they first emerge, but when Aeetes exerts them to "KILL KILL KILL THEM ALL!", they all hunch over. In unison.
  • Tai Lung normally assumes a two-legged stance during most of the film, like all of the other animals, but in most of his fight scenes he will actually revert to a four-legged stance just like an actual snow leopard would.
  • Kayako Saeki from The Grudge and Sadako Yamamura from Ringu do this when crawling down the stairs and out of a TV, respectively.

Literature (Now with a 50% lower chance of Narm)

Live Action TV


  • Bionicle has the Hordika doing this, though you wouldn't have known if you hadn't seen the movie or read the books.

Professional Wrestling

  • Randy Orton will occasionally do this when he's about to hit someone with an RKO...although he normally Averts this, considering the fact that he goes into a psycho state before he does the move, which involves him getting on his knees and slamming the ground repeatedly with his fists, or just dropping down completely and punching the ground slowly. Although this is used to evoke the feeling of a viper.
  • A lot of hardcore wrestlers adopt a stance similar to this, whether willingly adopted (like Al Snow when he was in full J.O.B Squad swing with "Head") or as a result of taking too many bumps over the length of a career (like Mick Foley, although it could be argued that most of the gimmicks he had benefited from a more deranged looking stance and gait).
  • Funnily enough, completely averted by both Gorilla Monsoon and King Kong Bundy.

Video Games

  • Adult Alma.
  • The Orcs in Final Fantasy XI are exactly like this.
  • Wolf from Star Fox assumes one in Super Smash Bros.
    • Also Donkeykong which isn't surprising considering he's an ape.
  • Riot of the Blood Iori and Leona in The King of Fighters. Also combined with blood-red hair, pure white eyes, unearthly howling, double the normal amount of speed, and gouts of smoke/steam from the mouth. Fun stuff.
  • With the exception of the Blood Elves and tauren, all the male models for the Horde races in World of Warcraft exhibit this.
    • And on the Alliance side, Worgen.
  • Guilty Gear X2's Robo-Ky had this stance before he was completely overhauled into a Lethal Joke Character in the later versions of the game. He crawls on the ground as his walking animation. This, combined with his distorted theme song, made him seem a little more threatening than his later incarnation...
  • Devil Jin of Tekken has been known to do this.
  • So do the Yakuza depicted in Way of the Samurai.
  • Halo's aptly-named Brutes, described by Bungie as bear-gorillas, will go berserk if you break their shields or kill their allies.
  • Lizardman in the Soul Calibur series, for obvious reasons. Also any Soul Calibur IV created character with his style, which just looks stupid on a human.
  • Kratos has this pose when he gets his blades out.
  • Prototype's Alex Mercer has exceedingly bad posture, and that's before he shifts his biomass into his arms, making them heavy enough to smash tanks. Among other things.
  • Blanka from Street Fighter.
  • Spider-Man is always bent over in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, which seems a little more fitting than the heroic poses he usually strikes in the comics.
  • Raziel starts out walking relatively upright in Soul Reaver 1, but by the time Defiance rolls around, he's adopted a noticeably more hunched posture.
  • Most enemy vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. A Gangrel PC can do it too by using Protean to give themselves claws, which are then used with this stance.
  • The newly-designed hurlocks of Dragon Age II utilize this trope. They tend to shamble rather than walk or run.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the new genlocks, who are constantly hunched over and prone to Running on All Fours.
      • Fenris is a mild example, but there's still a noticeable difference between his posture and that of the other companions. Get him to stand near, say, Merill or Sebastian and you can clearly see a difference, as Fenris stands with his shoulders hunched forward, like he's constantly ready to pounce into action in an instant. And given his circumstances, it's probably justified.
  • Monkey in Enslaved. He even runs in this position sometimes - and manages to make it look cool.
  • Cipher Admin. Gorigan of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness adopts a pose similar to an ape's pose at all times (as seen above). He also bangs his fists against his chest when angered.
  • Keats in Folklore takes on this stance in combat, especially while in his Transcended form.
  • Adachi of Persona 4 enters this stance during his boss fight.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath does this in his Wrath Form on occasion, especially when he's in greater pain. Also does Limp and Livid as well.

Western Animation

  • Played with by Bumi of Avatar: The Last Airbender who is always hunched over: most of the time it just makes him look more feeble and decrepit, but this trope comes into play when he takes his shirt off to start fighting as when combined with all that muscle is quite intimidating.
  • Nightcrawler in X-Men: Evolution is often seen sitting or standing hunched over, but usually only when he's not wearing his holographic human disguise. This is because, like in the comics, he walks on his toes rather than the soles of his feet which changes his posture.

Real Life

  • "Gorilla Posture" is a real problem for bodybuilders who neglect proper form and don't equally work their chest and back muscles to keep them in balance, resulting in a posture with the shoulders constantly turned inwards towards the chest.
    • Can happen to members of the military, too, due to all those punishment pushups without corresponding upper back workouts.
  • Compare old depictions of the Tyrannosaurus Rex to newer ones. The old ones are all in kangaroo-esque positions, tails dragging along the ground, while the newer ones have the entire body more or less parallel to the ground.
  • Some people hunch over when livid. They start seething and hissing.
  • Rock music has always though it was cool to have your guitar slung low. Naturally Heavy Metal musicians tend to take to its natural evolution by assuming this stance whenever possible.
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