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"As the Russian lunged with a final deadly thrust, his face passed momentarily into my crosshairs and I fired. The Germany infantryman stared, almost incomprehensibly, at the burst head of the Russian, destroyed by the explosive round. Bone fragments and strips of cerebellum had sprayed the German's face and uniform. The combination of fear and relief at his unexpected salvation seized the man."
—Sniper on the Eastern Front describes a sniper with explosive ammo rescuing a German POW from execution
Stuff Blowing Up is cool enough, but it somehow becomes even cooler when that stuff is human heads. Asploding heads may not be particularly realistic in some cases, but they sure look impressive. If people's heads start blowing up, it's usually a bad sign.
The title is deliberate Engrish from the Strong Bad Email "video games" and subsequent game "StrongBadZone" on Homestar Runner, wherein the head of the person playing the game is presumed not to have actually asploded, although there have been no studies done on the matter so far as we are aware.
Head asplosions are typically the result of an Explosive Leash, being shot in the head (resulting in Pink Mist), or absorbing too much knowledge. Often, just before it happens, the unfortunate character clutches their skull.
There's also the metaphorical (and occasionally literal for Mechanical Lifeforms) asploding that is said to occur when one's brain has been assaulted by a Logic Bomb or requires sufficient Brain Bleach.
Anime and Manga
- Fist of the North Star: Pretty much the fate of any bad guy who messes with Kenshiro. They are already dead. Also, Mr. Heart's finisher. "HIDEBU!!!"
- In the Dragonball Z Majin Buu saga, Babidi made the head of any Muggles that annoyed him explode without warning. It wasn't too gory, though. Ironically, he dies when Buu punches his head off. Of course, this was edited for the televised dub.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, this is Scar's modus operandi for killing people, though he destroys their brain instead of their entire head.
- Done literally in an out-take of episode 28. The actual scene depicts Scar grabbing Father's face, growling as he unsuccessfully tries to blow it up. However in the outtake, Scar's growling is removed and replaced by a battle cry of "YOUR FACE ASPLODE!"
- Later in the series, Ed destroys Pride's body by crushing his head. Yes, this is the same Pride that's an incorporeal mass of toothed shadows attached to a Creepy Child.
- Kimblee in the 2003 anime version, even though he tends to make a person's whole body explode.
- Atlas is killed in this fashion in The Sacred Star of Milos by Colonel Herschel aka Ashleigh Crichton.
- Ghost in the Shell: The opening scene involved Major Kusanagi taking out a diplomat who was trying to get a programmer out of the country by shooting him in the head with some delayed-fuse high-explosive rounds which make his head go boom several moments after hitting. The phrase "explosively anatomically accurate" seems apt. The animation crew seems to have a somewhat disturbing liking for these—there's a head-a-splode scene in some form or fashion at the beginning of each movie and the first/last episodes of both anime seasons.
- In Coyote Ragtime Show, the only way to kill the SISTERs is to blow up their heads.
- Basilisk: Never has there been a head gone ka-goosh with more satisfaction than that of Tenzen Yakushiji.
- Death Note: Performed with a interesting visual metaphor. In the episode when Mello kills off most of the SPK, one guy kills himself by blowing his own brains out. Instead of showing his head asplode, they show an explosion of dice instead.
- Elfen Lied uses this one, but most of the time it's a simple decapitation that sends the head flying on a jet of high-pressure blood.
- Happens at times in Akira. The most iconic example is Yamagata, who gets offed like this by Tetsuo. More like Ludicrous Gibs considering what happened to his body.
- The main characters of Cyber City Oedo 808 are fitted with explosive collars, with gory results if they try to remove it or fail to accomplish their mission in time.
- In the anime Kite, the protagonist Sawa takes a page from Ghost In The Shell by using bullets that explode five seconds after impact, typically causing the head to explode in bloody gore.
- Gantz: Done fairly frequently, thanks to special guns which cause whatever they target to explode and special bombs implanted in each Gantz player's head, which go off if they break one of the game's rules.
- Hellsing, with its over-the-top violence and gore, is slowly reaching the point of self-parody.
- Char delivers quite the coup de grace to Princess Kycilia. With a rocket lancher.
- Combined with the Face Palm in G Gundam as Domon Kasshu's primary means to achieving victory in pretty much every episode of Season 1.
- Justified Trope. By the rules of the Gundam Fight, destroying the head of the opponent's Gundam eliminates that fighter from the tournament.
- This happens to Sakura several times in Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan after getting hit by Dokuro's Excalibolg.
- In D.Gray-man, new character Wisely seems to have the power to do this to people.
- In Until Death Do Us Part, terrorists had explosives implanted in their molars that were activated by biting down on it. Unfortunately for everyone else, they could also be remotely activated...
- In part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Dio Brando is killed in this manner when he faces Jotaro Kujo head on. Debatable since it was really more his whole BODY that exploded, but it appears to start from the head and work it's way back down. The fact that originates from a punch to his LEG of all places makes this incident particularly note worthy.
- Araki is rather fond of that particularly exceptional variant: it happens to Santana in part 2 and Jotaro himself in part 6, though both of them are still alive afterwards in some fashion.
- In Steel Ball Run, Mike O. decides it would be a good idea to keep using his Tubular Bells Stand even after Hot Pants made it so if he even tried to inflate anything, he would die. Predictably, he tries to make another metal balloon, and his neck and the top of his head explode violently, revealing his spinal cord where his esophagus used to be.
- In Baldr Force EXE Resolution, this tends to happen to those who meet a certain Virtual Ghost.
- In a DVD-exclusive episode of Zero Zero Nine One, Mylene/Agent 009-1 is told by a guy she just slept with that he knows she's a spy and that he has placed a bomb inside her body. But it turns out that he actually put the bomb in his own head, which explodes and splatters when he triggers the detonator. Mylene mourns him anyway since she *did* like him.
- Not that DVD-exclusive, it was shown in Latin America. Explosion scene included.
- In Akumetsu, the titular character does this when he dies.
- In Naruto (post time-skip), Deidara sends spiders made of explosive clay to attach themselves to the faces of three Sand Village guards. Boom.
- This is the fact of LeBlanc from Divergence Eve after he downloads all of the information of the entire universe into his brain (so he can learn how to become immortal) and due to My Skull Runneth Over his head explodes.
- In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, this is implied to have happened to some of the test subjects who were infected with the Eclipse and failed to become a suitor for Lily. How else would you explain the brain things lying on the floor with the rest of the corpses?
- On the same season, this also seems to be the way Veyron finished off another Eclipse infected he was fighting on chapter 19. He grabbed his head with his "Claw Grab" and then BOOM!
- Berserk: Extremely common in manga. In fact, clean decapitations are almost nonexistent; most of the time, when Guts hits above the shoulders, the victim's head shatters.
- The 1980's Golgo 13 animated film The Professional features tycoon Leonard Dawson deciding to commit suicide by throwing himself from the window of a very tall skyscraper. Lands on the concrete below so hard that when his head hits, it get pulverized. Golgo 13, always one to get the "last word" in, manages to put a bullet through his forehead before impact.
- Gunnm has this quite often, with guns, fists, melee weapons blunt objects or whatever strikes your fancy as the cause. "Sklorsht" [dead link], indeed. Some 15 pages later in the same chapter the next head is turned to mush. The sequel series even does it to its own Big Bad.
- In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's Asakusa Arc, this happens to Tamayo's assistant Yushiro when he's hit by one of the local Dark Action Girl Susamaru's temari balls. Being a demon with a Healing Factor, he regenerates after a while.
- Older Than Radio: The British card game Illustrated Proverbs, circa 1885, has this trope on the first card for "They love too much who die for love." (Possibly also Ate His Gun.)
- In Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, the prime benefit of getting into Heaven is the ability to make other people's heads explode, and the highlight of Johnny's trip there is setting off a massive chain reaction of "head-a-splodey" violence, which is stopped only after a nun gets angry and detonates everybody's head simultaneously. People familiar with Jhonen Vasquez's work would probably not find this sort of thing out of place. Referenced in The Simpsons, as Homer explodes the head of a tour guide angel.
- Transmetropolitan: Happens—over three panels, no less—with the assassination of Dr Vita Severn.
- Planetary: Pops up in this Warren Ellis work, in The Drummer's backstory; he was one of about a dozen child prodigies tied to computers in an attempt to create a human system for secretly controlling the internet, all of whom wore bomb collars as extra security measures. He was the only one to survive escape.
- Infinite Crisis: Happens in the penultimate issue when Black Adam kills Psycho-Pirate by gouging out his eyes with his fingers then pushing his mask through his head (which asplodes). Complete with Bond One-Liner "No more silly faces."
- Done in Marvel's Ultimatum. Doctor Strange is subjected to the "squeezing until the head bursts" variety, courtesy of Dormammu's only appearance in the entire damn Ultimatesverse.
- In Requiem for a Rogue, an arc of the X Wing Series comics, the bad guy, failing to kill the Rogues, is interrupted by a new bad guy with a stronger connection to the Force. The new bad guy shoots his own hand off and telekinetically uses it to strangle the old bad guy while monologuing, then removes the hand and makes the old one's head explode. Why not just shoot him, just strangle him, or just blow up his head? Because that's not ridiculous and overly elaborate enough, apparently.
- In Marvel Zombies, the only way to make sure a zombie is dead is to destroy the head. Perhaps the most notable instance was when Invisible Woman exploded She-Hulk's head.
- Used in Fables when Snow White is shot in the head by Goldilocks. Since Fables are much stronger than normal people, she survives.
- In the alternate timeline series Future Imperfect, this is said to be the only way to reliably kill The Hulk. Unusually, it's then subverted by using Time Travel to blow the Evil Hulk to Ludicrous Gibs instead.
- In an Intercontinuity Crossover with Judge Dredd, called Die Laughing, The Joker gains the power to explode people's heads with his laugh.
- In Pitt, this is one of Timmy's primary uses for his Psychic Powers. It was especially useful against the Zombie Apocalypse in the Intercontinuity Crossover with The Darkness.
- In the Generation Lost tie-in to Brightest Day, Maxwell Lord succeeds in his mission to kill Magog. Max takes control of Magog's body and forces him to blow his own head apart with his own energy staff. What makes it even more horrifying is that Magog is completely aware of what's happening and spends his last moments begging for his life.
- Sin City has different instances in which people get their heads blown off but the one that takes the cake is actually a dream sequence. John Hartigan is handcuffed to a chair, getting beaten to a pulp. He somehow finds the urge to break the cuffs and attack his tormentor. He punches him in the face so hard... his head explodes into a mushroom cloud. Then he wakes up.
- This happens a few times to various thugs in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage miniseries "Body Count".
- Savage Dragon is rather fond of asploding heads. The dozens of separate instances and minor characters (PAFF!) that die this way aside, Dragon himself had his brainpan asploded multiple times, twice by himself.... or his Evil Twin, really. Wait, that was an Evil Twin killing another Evil Twin, before the surving Evil Twin killed Dragon and then was shot in the face afterwards. By Dragon. It Makes Sense in Context.
- In The Cries of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi asplodes Keiichi's head when she wants him to die.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic Partially Kissed Hero, Harry ends up taking his new-found Legilimency skills (acquired from Voldemort) to its logical conclusion: Snape was forced to relive all his own insecurities, the numerous Cruciatus curses inflicted upon him, and all of Harry's hatred for his muggle relatives. By the end of it, Snape clawed out his own eyes and his head exploded in front of the entire Potions class. The scene can be found in the third and final scene of chapter 9, and is hilarious, even if you like Snape.
- As seen above, David Cronenberg's Scanners famously blew up a man's head around the beginning as a particularly bitchin' Kick the Dog moment for villain Darryl Revok. Made even more awesome when you know how they did it: nothing fancy at all—just a fake head and a twelve gauge shotgun aimed at the back of its neck! So now you know exactly what happens to a human head when hit point blank by a sawn off shotgun... Here's a gif. Warning: it's messy. And here's a gif of it in reverse!
- Its sequel Scanners 2 blatantly tries to copy the head explosion from the first film by having Officer Gelson's head blow up likewise. Scanners 3 does it as well.
- District 9 has at least one guy losing his head to a snazzy special effects explosion.
- Spoofed in Hot Fuzz: in an early scene with Angel giving a presentation to some school kids, he asks for questions. The only hand raised is that of his Genre Savvy partner, who asks, "Is it true that there is a place in a man's head that, if you shoot it, it will blow up?" Our hero is not amused. DVD extra Fuzz Facts states that they were unable to find such a place on the human head.
- In Mars Attacks!, the Martians' heads explode when exposed to the song "Indian Love Call".
- Dogma: Any human who hears God's voice suffers this fate. According to Metatron, "We went through five Adams before we figured that one out," resulting in an angel getting the job of speaking to humans for God. You seem to be immune if you're already dead, though (i.e.: Rufus).
- The Brain Bug in Starship Troopers 3: Marauder manages to do this to all of the non-plot-critical characters in the room with it when the human military leaders go to examine footage of Anoke talking to it by squealing.
- Dawn of the Dead: both the original and |the remake feature memorable "shotgun blast to the head" scenes, although in very different contexts. The head splosion in the original was one of the first live-action attempts at the trope (achieved with various... organs).
- Max Headroom, as mentioned under Live Action TV, which is what causes the problem in the film as well.
- It's a well known fact that, during the singing of Thunderball, the high note at the end caused Tom Jones to faint. In the movie Spy Hard, "Weird Al" Yankovic parodies this in the title sequence, when the high note at the end causes his head to explode! In another Bond film, Licence to Kill, one guy's head actually does explode (due to Explosive Decompression).
- This also happens in Kick-Ass as a man is locked in an industrial microwave.
- In Men in Black, Agent K shoots the normal-seeming pawn shop owner Jack Jeebs in the head, causing this; turns out Jeebs is an alien, and gets better. It's implied that this is the routine for the two. It's implied in Men In Black 2 that every time he does this, the head comes back a little...off, and by that point, he looks like a troll doll fucked a chipmunk.
- In Blade II, Blade sticks an explosive device onto an uncooperative bad guy's head. While Chekhov's Gun does not go off while attached to said head, it's a big enough bomb that when it does, the person holding it (including his head), explodes. The first movie has Blade using a anticoagulant that reacts violently with vampire blood. The area hit by the syringe swells and then explodes - and he does it on the neck of an enemy, causing the head to explode.
- In Saw III, one of the characters spends most of the movie with a makeshift device made out of shotgun shells attached to her neck which will detonate if the evil mastermind dies. This kinda sucks since he has terminal cancer. Mercifully, she's offscreen when it eventually does go off, but the ruined stump left in place of her neck afterwards is horrifying enough.
- Battle Royale: The students on the island are each fitted with an explosive collar that goes off if they try to escape the island or try to remove it.
- Battlefield Earth: Big Bad Terl (played by John Travolta, no less) attaches an explosive collar to a man's neck and blows his head off. Thankfully, we get a Gory Discretion Shot.
- Wedlock: AKA (Deadlock) features explosive collars were used instead of fences at a futuristic prison.
- Referenced in In Bruges, when Harry is offered dum-dum bullets, "the bullets that make the head explode", and takes them like someone on a diet would accept chocolate cake: "I know I shouldn't... but I will." Even professional hitmen can't resist the awesome of Your Head A Splode, apparently. But they really should.
- In Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, a random teen dies this way, because he is wearing a hearing aid that magnifies sound so much your head explodes when you hear a normal volume sound. Robert Englund cites this as one of his favorite deaths, saying that in today's Positive Discrimination climate, it's good to know that Freddy'll even kill the Token Minority.
- Subverted in The Fury, one character is blown up with psychic powers and everything except the head explodes.
- Happens a LOT in Punisher: War Zone. And A LOT of it is so over the top, that it's more funny than gory or shocking (he just punches someone and it happens), considering they were aiming to go darker, this is somewhat amusing.
- From the 1987 movie Wanted: Dead Or Alive: "Fuck the bonus." (foul language, probably NSFW)
- Alien heads asplode quite a bit in Aliens. It's a serious plot point, because their spraying acid blood kills or injures several of the Marines.
- It's also not Ludicrous Gibs in this case, as Lt. Gorman explains that the marines' pulse rifles fire "10 millimeter explosive tip caseless. Standard light armor piercing round."
- In Bill Cosby's Leonard Part 6, the titular hero offs one of the vegetarian bad guys in such a manner - by feeding him a cold hot dog.
- In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Jack Black blows someones mind in his dream with The Power of Rock.
Jables: I did not mean!
- In Turkish Star Wars, the protagonist, during the middle of a fight, rips off a toilet paper mummy's head with his hands and throws it at other mummies, making the head go Boom!
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Belloq meets this fate (which is arguably less cool than Toht's melting face). The censors deemed the scene too gory, and it is partially censored with a pillar of flame.
- Happens again in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, where Irina Spalko has flames coming out of her eye sockets as a result of absorbing too much information from the extra-dimensional beings.
- Chopping Mall. Killer robots aplenty.
- In the 1987 movie Innerspace, there is a scene where Jack Putter, while disguised as the Cowboy (thanks to a better than Latex Perfection disguise), faces the possibility of not just any pain but Propane. This results in him freaking out which causes his head to expand and distort greatly looking like it could explode. Luckily, it didn't.
- In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Michael knifes Jerkass Dad John Strode onto a fuse box, electrocuting him to the point where he starts foaming at the mouth before his head blows up.
- Pulp Fiction: "Oh man, I Just Shot Marvin in the Face!"
- Though oddly, if freeze-framed, Marvin's (relatively intact) head can be seen in the trunk later.
- Obscure Slasher Movie The Prowler/Rosemary's Killer ends with the villain getting a point-blank shotgun blast to the face, blowing his head completely apart in an extremely messy manner. Of note, Tom Savini has referred to this movie as being one of his finest works.
- The Last House on the Left, or at least the remake, ends on this note.
- A particularly awesome head asplosion occurs in Deadly Friend when a cybernetically resurrected Kristy Swanson kills the obnoxious old lady neighbor with a thrown basketball.
- In the 2008 Rambo movie, the first death via Rambo and his new M2 Browning is the driver of the truck it's mounted on. He gets off around 25-30 shots at point blank rage into the guy's head. The next shot is of a waterfall of brains, bone and blood pouring down the gun's shield.
- A later shot has what's left of the driver's torso sliding out of the truck like a giant, bloody cigar butt. Rambo doesn't stop at mere head explosions.
- The Quick and the Dead. Keith David's head doesn't exactly asplode, but what's left can't be structurally sound.
- Subverted in Total Recall, where the exploding head is a bomb-rigged animatronic prosthesis which Quaid wears as part of a costume. His deception uncovered, he tosses the head to his pursuers, in whose hands it cracks wise and then asplodes. Also averted and played straight in the same film, since the thin Martian atmosphere causes one bad guy's head to a splode. Arnie and his gal narrowly avoid the same fate.
- in Evil Dead 2 dead by dawn Ash steps on the neck of a wounded deadite then proceeds to give it a point blank shotgun blast, considering it is evil dead, there is no need to mention the resulting copious gore.
Ash: Swallow this.
- Sin City has Dwight tossing Jackie Boy's head into a crowd of "bad guys". The head has a grenade taped inside, it asplodes.
- Daybreakers features a scene in which an individual reacts poorly to an experimental serum. After some brief Body Horror and vomiting as the Vampire Paramedics frantically try to save his life, he finally seems to settle... before his head violently explodes.
- The sharks' deaths in Jaws and Jaws 3-D fit this trope, as both animals were chewing on something that exploded in their mouths.
- In The Fly II, The Dragon's second-in-command is flung under a descending elevator, which crushes his body. The edge catches the back of his skull, causing it to rupture messily.
- Happens in Maniac when Frank attacks a couple making out in a car and shoots the male (played by Tom Savini, who was also in charge of the effects) in the face at close range.
- Sonny Chiba's "The Streetfighter" has a particularly unintentionally-hilarious example. Sonny's character sneaks onto the Big Bad's boat at night, grapples with one of his Mooks, and ends up by throwing him about all of six feet down to a lower deck. The henchman's head reacts to contacting the said deck by exploding violently in what looks like it took a full gallon of red poster paint to achieve.
- In the 2007 movie Shooter, when the assassination takes place, the target is shot with a .50 cal sniper rifle from over a mile away, and we get to watch the head a-splodin' through the crosshairs. It's a good-and-gory splatter, but even then it wasn't as bad as what would have happened in Real Life (see Other below).
- This is how the tire kills in Rubber.
- Cloverfield: In a shocking scene, Marlena, who had previously been scratched and poisoned by one of the little mini-monsters, is hastily ushered into a curtained-off quarantine area of the Army outpost seconds before she seemingly explodes.
- In the 2011 film Drive, a scene has Blanche's head being blown to bits, her brains splattering all over the bathroom.
- Three Kings: There's a flashback scene where a man's head is shown popping off. This is done for comedic effect.
- Immortals does this a lot, especially when the Gods fight the Heraklions and Titans.
- Played for laughs in the opening credits of Spy Hard. Al Yankovic, who sings the opening credits song, holds out the final note of the song until his head explodes.
- In the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, we are treated to a very graphic shotgun suicide. On the potty, no less.
- After Prof. Campell's severed head reminds Lucas how to defeat Jenke in The Horror Show, it explodes.
- Some versions of the "Pop Rocks + Soda = Death" Urban Legend describe how a victim took a swig of cola while chewing pop rocks, and died horribly from an explosion that went off in his/her mouth.
- Zeus ate his lover Metis, knowing her child would be a threat to him. Unfortunately she was already pregnant. The child grew to term inside Zeus' head, giving Zeus terrible headaches. The blacksmith to the Gods, Hephaestus, evntually had to shatter Zeus' head with his sledgehammer to allow the child to be born - Athena (goddess of wisdom) eventually was born from the temporarily shattered skull, emerging full-grown and clad in armour wielding a spear.
- Any time someone gets shot in the head in a Matthew Reilly book, their head will explode. Always.
- The magic-wielding Asha'man from the Wheel of Time series learn to do this as a standard attack. Later we see them exploding not just heads, but entire bodies, sometimes of whole ranks of soldiers at once. They are very good at their jobs. The meat-grinder carnage that results naturally makes other characters ill.
- Skulduggery Pleasant briefly mentions a colleague who 'ruptured' after receiving a Death Glare from Baron Vengeous.
- In Battle Royale, students are outfitted with bomb collars to enforce their compliance with the government's "game". One student dies when his collar goes off when he's stuck in a forbidden area.
- The first time the protagonist uses the titular blade from the Sword of Truth series, its powerful magic in the sword makes his enemy's head explode, in slow motion, no less.
- In Hyperion, Kassad makes a religious fundamentalist's head asplode on television, using careful timing and satellites with tightly focused invisible laser beams to boil their brains. He plays this up as the wrath of Allah, backed by the wrath of the galactic military police.
- In the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Human Nature one of the school children who are defending the school from a group of attacking aliens turns to say something to John Smith and gets hit in the back of the head with a dart from one of the alien's weapons. A moment passes then this trope splatters blood and brain matter all over the room, leading to a Heroic BSOD from John Smith.
- Averted in World War Z, where a military research proposal to remote-control thousands of bullet-sized cruise missiles into the skulls of zombies and detonate them never accomplished squat, except to use up a huge amount of funding and resources.
- Used metaphorically in Feet of Clay, when dreaming Vimes sees a murder victim's head burst open and spill out words.
- Then again, non-metaphorically, when the king golem's head is smashed to pieces, with countless shreds of paper containing the king golem's Words flying out.
- Used even less metaphorically in The Fifth Elephant, when a werewolf reflexively catches Vimes' high-powered flare in his teeth.
- On QI, after being shown a shape (a cylinder with two wedges cut out) that could fit snuggly through a square, triangular, or circular hole, Ross Noble suggested dropping the shape and holes off at a preschool and watching the kids' heads explode.
- In Max Headroom, a Blipvert could cause one's head to explode.
- The rest of one, too.
- And that's why TV is bad for you, kids.
- The rest of one, too.
- In the climax of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush," in which the residents of Sunnydale became mute, the Gentlemen fell prey to this when Buffy regained her voice.
- In the episode "Storyteller" the Hellmouth is making metaphors become literal truths; this includes a student whose head literally explodes from stress.
- An earlier episode has this little conversation occur after Buffy shows her mom her SAT scores:
Buffy: She saw these scores and her head spun around and exploded.
- Season 8 has Giles using a containment field spell to do this to a guy.
- Somewhat subverted in the Angel series. Cordelia's powers start to get stronger and they consequently cause her much more pain. She's told she must give them up or her head will explode. Cordy even meets someone with most of the back of her head missing. Instead she chooses to become part-demon, which gives her the strength to contain her visions in her head and tame the splitting headaches.
- Played straighter with Vail...Illyria made his head explode with one punch.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation's first season episode, "Conspiracy". The fate of the guy taken over by Puppeteer Parasite (the 'sploding was from phaser fire, not directly from the parasites). Body Horror galore.
- ...And here's a GIF! Be careful, it's a biggie (about 1.5 megabytes) and might be gory enough to be NSFW.
- Used on The Drew Carey Show. Drew daydreams about Mimi's head exploding, and, when she asks him what he's smiling about, he responds, "Just picturing you topless!"
- In a later episode that was part clip show, a police officer asked if Drew had any violent thoughts about Mimi, followed by the above clip playing again and Drew replying, "Nope. I love her to pieces."
- Caroline in The City stole the joke shortly after by having Richard's head explode in blue confetti upon receiving shocking news.
- In Scrubs, one of J.D.'s fantasies has his head exploding due to frustration over Dr. Cox.
Dr. Cox: I can't believe your head exploded. If your head explodes, then you'll never make it as a doctor.
- In the infamous Clayton Bigsby skit from Chappelle's Show, this happens to a KKK member out of sheer cognitive dissonance when he realizes that one of his fellow Klansmen is actually black.
- A Running Gag in Mystery Science Theater 3000 is that Tom's bubblehead explodes in a flash of pyrotechnics when the going gets too tough. In The Movie, it was blown up several times through poor use of an Interocitor.
- The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Gunslingers had a Shout-Out to Scanners: Dr. Forrester's contribution for that episode's invention exchange was "The Scanner Planner", a magazine filled with "life's little tidbits about how to scan people's brains for information and then make their heads explode." Its cover was a print of the Scanners poster, with the iconic image of Michael Ironside. He then attempts to use these techniques on his assistant, leading to a burned-out lightbulb (his aim was off) and the quote at the top of the page.
- In one episode of Red Dwarf, the android Kryten gets locked in an enraged feedback loop which literally explodes his main head and several spares. Just because Lister asked for ketchup to go with the lobsters Kryten just prepared. To explain this a little bit more, it's revealed that Kryten's creator modelled him after her ex-fiance so that, among other things, when he had too much repressed emotion he would literally blow his top.
- An In Living Color sketch (starring Jim Carrey) parodied Michael Bolton's overly-emotive singing style by having his head explode after one too many tensings of his face while singing "When a Man Loves a Woman."
- This occasionally happens to background characters in The Muppet Show. It's never gruesome, but it's still slightly creepy.
- Fringe: "The Cure" begins with a woman in a diner who eventually begins causing bleeding of the eyes in all around her, culminating in her head asploding.
- In "The Box", the unfortunately combination of an ultrasound weapon and and dental fillings causes a dwarf's head to explode.
- The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell" has a British colonel's head explode when an 18th century version of Frank accidentally fires a musket at his head from three feet away.
- Torchwood references this in the episode "Sleeper":
Jack: It's just a mind probe.
- The X-Files episode "Drive": Their (man and woman) ear explodes.
- Deep Space Nine. A female Trill Hot Scientist suggests this will happen to her brother if she makes out with Jadzia Daz (her former partner in a previous host).
- There is an episode of House where a patient suddenly experiences a cranial fracture and severe hemorrhage while undergoing an MRI scan. Quoth House: "Her head exploded! How cool is that?"
- Discussed in Heroes: Ando worries that Hiro's Psychic Nosebleeds will escalate to this.
- Inverted in the first episode of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, where the head is the only part of the body that doesn't asplode.
Larry: It really hurts...
- The Daily Show loves to show the clip from Scanners mentioned above in response to particularly illogical statements. ("So what do you think, guy from Scanners?" *explode*)
- When Craig Kilborn still ran The Daily Show, his "5 Questions" interview segment opened with a slow-mo head asplosion (actually, crushing) from gore-fu flick Riki-Oh. The video of the head-crush scene from the movie can be seen here; note that the "5 Questions" intro showed the head-crush in slow motion, and ran it forward and back a few times.
- Inverted in a segment about sex ed, in reference to the "news" that abstinence-only programs are ineffective at keeping teenagers from having sex—the Scanners clip was played backwards and Stewart said, "You just un-blew my mind."
- A Mad TV sketch involved a handyman getting his head precariously close to an emergency flare launcher, resulting in his head exploding. Somehow, he managed to live and had his head held together with bandages.
- This happens surprisingly often on 1000 Ways to Die, even though exploding heads are impossible with the vast majority of death scenarios shown.
- Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: Student Len Bergman acquires Hypnotic Eyes from the Book of Pure Evil. When he attempts to control Todd's mind, he finds that the main character is immune because of his attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. As a result, Len's power backfires and... well, you get the picture.
- Bones: "The Bullet in the Brain". Heather Taffet was shot by a high-powered sniper rifle. One of the squints even points out that the cause of death was "asploding head".
- Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger: Dai Satan's head explodes the second time Ultimate Daizyujuin blasts him. Dai Satan is a giant floating head, so this trope covers the entirety of his body. Lokar, his Power Rangers counterpart, was not shown to do this, likely because of Special Effect Failure: The head that explodes is blatantly foam rubber, and it detracts from the scene.
- Doctor Who: The Cybermen from the 80s did this quite spectacularly when killed. Even being shot in such irrelevant places like their arm would cause their head to explode violently. The Cybermen from the 2011 story Closing Time do this also.
- Happened to one cyberman in the story "The Age of Steel".
- A Saturday Night Live skit spoofing the Oprah Winfrey show had one of her audience member's head explode from being too excited.
- "And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."
- Saskrotch's "Exploding Head Disease" EP.
- From "The Small(er) Song" by Carla Bozulich ( The Geraldine Fibbers / Ethyl Meatplow ):
You thought you saw me in a dream
- Weird Al's "Couch Potato" gives us "Make 'em watch all of that junk 'til their heads explode just like 'Scanners'"
- Noise Rock /Shoegaze band A Place To Bury Strangers' second album is called Exploding Head.
- Invoked in an extremely gruesome fashion with the original cover of Big Black's Headache EP. Yes, those are real police photos.
- Alluded to in The Velvet Underground's "I Heard Her Call My Name":
And then my mind split open...
- The Cramps' "Blow Up Your Mind".
- Doonesbury: Duke's head has been exploding since 1985. For some reason it kept exploding when he found out Hunter S. Thompson had died.
- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes occasionally imagines his head exploding. In one strip, he sneezes so hard his head blows up. In another, a particularly bad mosquito itch makes him feel like his head caught on fire and exploded.
- Happens in Dilbert, to a random Red Shirt.
Guy: Uh-oh... suddenly this meeting and all these strange words make sense.
- Dungeons & Dragons has several ways to make someone's head explode, the psionic powers intellect bomb and cranial deluge being the most marked examples. So can some lesser powers, such as mind thrust, which has been described as causing the victim's head to explode when you kill them with it. Then there's detonate, which makes someone explode and damages people around him; even if he survives, he takes so much damage his head apparently made a decent attempt at exploding. In addition to this, if a character for any reason obtain over 3 times their maximum hit point total (most likely as a result of too much time spent on a Positive Energy plane), they will explode, either "merely" their head or their entire body.
- For earlier versions, conjure water in cranium. They get rid of it though.
- The more specific offensive psychic powers of Warhammer 40,000 vary between this and Mind Rape.
- Ork Weirdboyz also generate head exploding hilarity when their powers go haywire. The exploding isn't limited to the Weirdboy, either, which is why Cunning Orks tend to give them a wide berth.
- Another 40K example featured a psychic war between two Space Marine Librarians. Guess how it ended.
- The Imperial Guard's penal legions use explosive collars to enforce discipline among their members.
- Shadowrun has "cranial bombs", explosive devices implanted in the human skull. Depending on size, they can do anything from just making the head explode to cleaning out a room.
- One Shadowrun novel featured an acidic cranial bomb that melted a spy's entire upper body, obscuring evidence of his identity while partially subverting this trope.
- Deadlands: Hell on Earth and Lost Colony gives us sykers. Similarly to the examples above, their brain bomb special ability stuffs some waster's head so full of "psychic" power that it literally bursts. Hard. Hard enough to cause damage to anyone standing next to the poor sap. And sometimes, it even backfires. Yay!
- Hell On Earth also features the Combine (no, not that Combine), an Evil Empire whose soldiers each have a "loyalty chip" implanted at the base of their skull. It allows them to safely use Combine-issue weapons and vehicles, but if the chip determines that its owner could be about to reveal any Combine secrets, or if s/he defects from the Combine and is later discovered by a Combine officer who knows the correct passcode...well, they're not nicknamed "headbanger chips" because General Throckmorton is into heavy metal music.
- In Eclipse Phase, this is a side-effect of using the emergency backup farcaster.
- Just one of the many occupational hazards of being a mook for the Eaters of the Lotus for Feng Shui—if you do or say anything contrary to what your Evil Sorcerer master wants you to do or say, the magical ward that he put on you will make your head go kaboom. A very nice example of this is what happens to any Poison Thorns your characters interrogate (which can only be done through magical compulsion because of their fear of this) in the adventure "Baptism of Fire," which features an evil Lotus sorcerer as the main villain.
- In the Team Fortress 2 trailer "Meet the Spy", the BLU Spy gets his head blown off by the BLU Soldier after the latter mistakes the former for the RED Spy. To be fair, the BLU Spy had just warned the other people in the room that the RED Spy could disguise himself as one of them.
BLU Spy: He could be in this very room! It could be you! It could be me! It could even be- *BLAM*
- Here's a GIF. This one's messy too.
- An unused icon for the Ambassador suggests that at one point, it was supposed to do something like this when it scored a critical hit to the head and violently remove the victim's head, or pieces thereof, from the rest of them.
- While not a full fledged head explosion, the Demoman's new melee unlock the Eyelander can and will decapitate foes in a fountain of High-Pressure Blood.
- The Scotsman's Skullcutter does much the same.
- In Gear Grinder, when Jack takes his devastating ride and tries to escape, his captors reveal that they implanted a bomb in his head and threaten to set it off if he doesn't return immediately.
- Apparently, the skulls of everyone in Resident Evil 4 are made of cheap plaster. Why else would they detonate when the enemy is killed with a headshot? Maybe Las Plagas soften up your skull.
- This doesn't even require a high-powered weapon like a shotgun or a magnum—Leon can elbow, kick, or punch suplex infected humans so hard that their heads burst.
- The suplex head asplosion is one of the most gratifying ways to kill an enemy in the game.
- Since the first Resident Evil the best way to save ammos was the head-exploding shot, a single, well aimed, scarily-close-to-the-zombie shot.
- This game also features corpses that frequently melt after seconds on the ground, so it isn't just the heads that are soft. A few Ganados at the start don't fade but the point still stands.
- Ironically, when you start out, blasting them in the face causes an injury animation that makes it seem like someone punched them in the face. It takes anywhere from five to eight un-upgraded handgun shots to get them to explode.
- This doesn't even require a high-powered weapon like a shotgun or a magnum—Leon can elbow, kick, or punch suplex infected humans so hard that their heads burst.
- School Days: Happens in the 2nd Bad Ending of the Visual Novel when Kotonoha commits suicide by throwing herself off of the balcony of Makoto's apartment when he tells her he wants to be with Sekai rather than her, and landing headfirst into the pavement. This all happens in front of Makoto and Sekai, which is what eventually drove them apart. It's even worse when you realize that was her goal. Which is why she was smiling at the last second. Complete with High-Pressure Blood
- In Gears of War, headshots with a sniper rifle, or headshots when making a killing shot for pistols or shotguns do this. It's possible to purchase an action figure of a Locust Drone with his head asploding.
- Headshots of various types in Mass Effect 2 (at least against human-sized organic targets) cause rather violent sprays of red, blue, purple, or orange.
- If you get a headshot on any mech, especially a YMIR mech, it will cause a large explosion.
- Mass Effect 3 headshots can now explode the heads of organic enemies. In multiplayer, krogan and batarian characters can do the same thing with headbutts / punches.
- In the first two Soldier of Fortune games, the damage modeling was such that you could sever limbs or blow off pieces of an enemy's head, including their jaw, sometimes exposing their brain. In the third game the head always completely exploded when shot, although enemies could now temporarily continue to fight after losing a limb.
- This trope is taken Up to Eleven with Andross in Star Fox Adventures. For those who don't know Andross is basically a giant ape head with a pair of floating hands. When he is defeated the end of the game his head gets vaporized in a massive explosion comparable to when the Death Star blew up in Star Wars. Fox and Falco even have to Outrun the Fireball generated by his heads explosion with their spaceships.
- In No More Heroes, Travis defeats Holly. After losing, she tells him she has a thing for him, then takes one of her grenades, pulls the pin, and puts it in her mouth, with predictable results. Travis, desperately trying to pay respects, hugs her headless body. And buries her in a pittrap she dug.
- In The Black Heart, if you're really low on health, one of Final's grabs will do this to you.
- Bionic Commando, in the final battle against Cyborg Clone Hitler... err, Master-D. Somehow, the censors forgot to pick that one up.
- Aka, His Head Explod(from another Engrish line).
- And that single moment is the only reason why the 2008 remake, Bionic Commando Rearmed, is rated M!
- An image of this scene can be seen here.
- "Exploding Nazi Heads" seems to be a running gag in the series now. In the 2009 sequel, after defeating the Big Bad, a grenade is placed in his mouth and he is kicked over the edge of the platform. The player is then treated to a lovely gore explosion.
- After you defeat the pepper grinder-wielding Dutchess in American McGee's Alice, she has a sneezing fit, causing her head to explode.
- In Alice: Madness Returns, this happens to the White Rabbit within five minutes of starting the game. Seriously.
- In the Battle of The Amerigo cutscene in StarCraft, one of the marines' heads explodes when a Zerg claw gets put through his face. There's also the opening cutscene, when the Protoss attack that salvage ship. Their beam vaporizes the ship from one end to the other, and somehow explodes the head of the guy on the bridge before his body just for good measure.
- Spend many a happy moment explodin' the heads of Faceless Goons in Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy. A favorite over sadistic tactic was using telekinesis to pull one towards the player, and "catch" him with Mind Drain, which upon fully draining their HP popped their heads while they screamed in anguish. Very stress relieving!
- Or you can mind-control those suckers into eating the business ends of their own firearms. Strangely enough, you seem in total control of every aspect of their bodies, except their mouths. They scream like banshees right up to the skull explosion.
- In keeping with the ludicrous level of violence it displays, Condemned 2 allows players to explode enemies heads in a number of ways, including industrial presses, and eventually by shouting at them.
- The Cerebral Bore from Turok 2: Seeds of Evil makes the target's head explode after doing what its name implies: drilling into the skull and boring out their brains.
- Ditto for the explosive Tek Arrows.
- The sequel to Parasite Eve had one monster that had conjoined rolling heads! The monster would explode when its HP hit 0 or if you stepped on it.
- The Blood and Bone Suckler enemies hunt prey by diverting massive amounts of blood into their heads, creating explosive cranial pressure and turning their heads into fragmentation grenades, killing the prey item so that other Sucklers can eat it. They seem pretty volatile aside, though, since a single shot can set off a room full of them like a biological powder-keg.
- Virtually every one of Slowbeef's Lets Plays has featured head explosions. Even Sprung, which was photoshopped with the explanation "every Slowbeef thread has a head explosion."
- Eternal Darkness: You can hallucinate this happening if you cast a spell with low sanity. Also, if Xel'lotath is your enemy, Paul Luther gets a good telekinetic head-bursting instead of the boss fight both he and The Dragon were expecting.
- Part of the Fallout experience. In Fallout 3, killing headshots with a rifle will cause this if the head is crippled, or decapitate if it isn't. After Frank Horrigan's body falls apart in Fallout 2, you can talk to him to hear some useless last words before his head pops off. Satisfying!
- In Fallout 3, using the Mesmetron to collect slaves has a random chance effect of pissing them off for a few seconds before their heads pop. Likewise, anyone successfully enslaved gets a head-popping collar just to keep them in line.
- Also in Fallout 3, any Rock-It Launched junk aimed to the head could explode it (watch a teddy bear impact with critically explosive fun!). It was more common than with any other Big Gun, as the others would more often result in charred husk, complete dismemberment, or full body splatter.
- The Repellent Stick. Hit a mole rat with it, wait a few seconds, and its head will explode. As fun as this sounds, all the Mole Rats do is smoke for a bit before their heads burst in a rather underdramatic fashion. Moira's reaction is altogether more amusing.
- The Lone Wanderer's descriptions are hilarious:
"Well, at least it's non-lethal for people. For Mole Rats... not so much."
- The add-on Mothership Zeta will have your head explode if you don't put your spacesuit on before opening the room's bay doors. Explosive decompression for the win! Which leaves one to wonder why you can open the bay doors when your hand, because of your Pip-Boy, is clearly exposed.
- Fallout: New Vegas also has the exploding slave collars. As a twist, the Dead Money DLC puts the collar is on you. And thanks to interference from the Sierra Madre's sound system, straying too close to active speakers for too long leads to warning beeps that grow faster and faster until BOOM splat!
- In Left 4 Dead a headshot with any sufficiently powerful weapon (Any of the shotguns, the Assault Rifle or Hunting Rifle) will turn a normal infected's head into a brief cloud of red goo.
- In Lugaru, if you enable debug mode, you can make enemy bunny and wolf heads explode with the tap of a key.
- In at least one version of Halo, there was an obtainable Skull called 'Grunt Birthday Party' that, when picked up, made it so that when you scored a headshot on a Grunt, the whole thing blew up. Into clouds of confetti. While little children cheer. And the confetti actually causes, albeit small, damage to nearby enemies.
- Fun fact: Those cheering children is from Viva Pinata.
- This is its effect in Halo 3. The skull also appears in Halo 2, where its effect is slightly different. There is no confetti or children - the enemy just blows up exactly like a plasma grenade. Also, the effect works on any enemy with a head, not just Grunts.
- In the computer game The 7th Guest, this happens to one of the other six guests during a cutscene. There is no discernible reason why, either. Ego, the game's narrator, is heard to inquire, "...what's wrong with her head?"
- It also happens in a cutscene in the sequel, The 11th Hour.
- Featured in numerous fatalities across the Mortal Kombat franchise. The very first exploding head, in Mortal Kombat 1, was courtesy of Raiden, although in the savagely Bowdlerized SNES version it reduced the enemy to ashes instead.
- Fist of the North Star, when an enemy is punched. Apparently a faithfully adapted trait of the anime.
- Jagged Alliance 2. If you manage to shoot somebody in the head in just the right way, their head will explode and their body will fall on the ground, blood squirting out of the neck. In fact, if you're lucky, you can save your game just before such moment and replay it over and over.
- In Dead Rising, break a jar containing a Queen bug in the vicinity of zombies, and their heads asplode.
- Shadowrun: A cranial bomb is part of the plot of the game for the SNES. It gets activated ("Oops." "What do you mean, "Oops."?") during a surgical procedure, and you have a relatively short amount of time to get it deactivated. The surgeon does refund your money, though.
- Dead Space: Researcher vs. freakishly grotesque space baby, yeah... You can also do this to other Necromorphs during regular gameplay. It doesn't do anything other than pissing them off some more.
- In Devil May Cry 3, when you damage any of Cerberus's heads enough it explodes into stuff.
- And topped in glorious fashion in 4 after the final battle with Savior-Sanctus,, where Nero finishes it off by crushing its skull in his hand. Head asplosion comes complete with city-rattling shockwave.
- In Alien vs. Predator (any of the PC games or the newish console game), alien's heads tend to explode if you aim for them. Their bodies are kind of fragile and chitinous, so this is somewhat more believable.
- In the second game, headbiting a human (or, far more rare, predator) caused the victim's head to completely shatter. Made of Plasticine, indeed. (The first game merely decapitated the victim).
- Borderlands: In the grim future, all of our heads are apparently filled with nitroglycerin.
- In Lemmings, the bomber lemmings would hold their heads and quiver for a second or so before they blew up, as if trying to contain the explosive force within their skulls.
- Achron does this to anyone who tries to understand the implications of a multiplayer RTS title with timetravel. Just go to the page, maybe head over to the official site.
- An Easter Egg at the museum in Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove lets you make the head of a stuffed sheep explode.
- In Escape To Ravenhearst, a mannequin's head explodes after you beat it at cards.
- One of the attacks Stubbs the Zombie has involves pulling off his own head, rolling it like a remote-controlled bowling ball, then detonating it in an explosive blast of toxic gas. It grows back.
- A number of the fatalities in Wu Tang: Shaolin Style will cause this to happen, most notably Inspecta Deck's Finger-Poke of Doom fatality.
- In Naughty Bear, if a teddy is driven insane by naughtiness and scared one last time, he will kill himself. This trope is what happens when said teddy is unarmed.
- In Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas, heads would always neatly pop when shot with a sniper rifle.
- Gore mode allows you to blow off heads and limbs with any gun.
- In Theme Hospital, the condition "Bloaty Head" is treated by popping the patient's head with a pin, and re-inflating it to normal pressure.
- It can be done in True Crime: New York City when aiming at a person's head with a high caliber weapon.
- The result of a headshot in Gun.
- The Xbox 360 game Shadow Complex has an achievement named after this, awarded to you if you get 50 headshots.
- Some versions of Doom had this, your character portrait would show damage depending on how much health he had. In a few versions, taking a vicious shot at low health would result in not the head slumping down dead, but blowing up.
- The Demented Cartoon Movie has a parade of Blah Guys whose heads explode after they say "Blah!"
- Specifically, saying "Blah" in the The Demented Cartoon Movie will cause you to be decapitated somehow, most commonly through spontanious detonation.
- The Cheat has a number of head-a-sploding moments in Homestar Runner, though they just leave him with the cartoon-explosion look. It was, in fact, Vector Strong Bad who coined the term "Your Head A Splode," as well as a few other poorly translated phrases on the subject.
- In Agents of Cracked, The Chief has implanted a failsafe in Michael, so that Dan can keep him from getting out of control. Naturally, it does this.
- Swaim's head asplodes in the final episode thanks to the failsafe. Twice. He gets better.
- Cracked.com columnists love to use a screenshot from Scanners in their articles. It'll show up at least once a month.
- Neopets: Your Lupe A Splode. (Notice the space.)
- The Nostalgia Critic: The Critic experienced this as a result of Lady Tremaine giving him her Stare of Doom. Listening to John Moschitta, the incredibly fast-talking narrator of Micro Machines commercials, he says it's just as well the guy didn't record audiobooks. Then, of course, he illustrates that by listening to him rattling through Hamlet so fast that it makes the Critic's head explode.
- The Nostalgia Chick: The Chick also experienced this when seeing Michael Bay's robot testicles. They both got better, obviously.
- Phelous: Phelous, as part of his Running Gag where he dies at the end of every review, experiences this on several occasions.
- Mr. Welch has been specifically told that he cannot make anyone's head asplode no matter how well he does on an IQ roll.
- This happens to Lance in I'm a Marvel And I'm a DC.
- In the Valentine's Smoochie (featuring Giggles) on the Happy Tree Friends website, if you pick the option "Flowers", she would sniff it, and sneeze a few times before the final one blows her head off, complete with her brains sticking on the wall.
- In this video starring Andrew Klavan, Klavan explained to the Occupy Wall Street representative that "thou shalt not steal" and "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" is from The Bible and her head exploded.
- Robots in Vexxarr actually win arguments this way. it generally goes like this:
Drone: I will not do that/go there and you can't make me!
- In Errant Story, Ian does this to an elven guard sneaking up behind him while talking to Meji. Without turning around. With sound effect.
- In Kevin and Kell this is apparently a consequence of sudden Squick. At higher levels of Squick, it can lead to a head implosion.
- From Charby the Vampirate Charby understood why he felt he had such a mind blowing experience when he spotted a piece of his own brain stuck on a friend's suit. How fast Charby noticed it tends to be mind bl.. er, to show that he's still street smart even with a piece of brain missing. Charby also had punched Zeno with perfect accuracy on the face while still headless! What a badass!
- And way back from the earlier comics, there was Charby and Zeno's attack on Rodericke's lair. Bang.
- This happened in Haru-Sari when a rogue elf blew up Alberich's dad's head
- In Marsh Rocket. With a a double-page NSFW spread. Ouchies. Character deserved it though.
- This happened in Terinu when when Terinu's powers traumatically activated and blew off the head of his kidnapper.
- Amongst the contributors that make up the webcomic community The Middle Ground (www.mgcomics.com), the former author known as Maikeru is known in-comic for making peoples' heads explode.
- This happened in the polyamorous comic Jake the Rake episode aptly entitled "Explode Assumptions".
- Axel has the ability to make people's heads explode in Ansem Retort. So far, it's been seen used twice:
- The first time was against a cowboy that coincidentally was in the replacement cast. Lulu said it was his just desserts for dissing The Godfather.
- The second time was the entire population of Jericho, New York. Odds are, they probably deserved it.
- Freefall: Qwerty mentions that his fellow robots are concerned that this is a possible reaction to robots intentionally circumventing their safeguards, in this strip.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: "And oh my goodness you just dropped a sprocket and some guy over there said Queen Victoria was stupid." Boom.
- Hitmen for Destiny uses the legend where chickens are still alive after being decapitated. Death Rage Chickens become agressive while decapitated.
- Subverted Trope in Schlock Mercenary, when it happens to Ebbirnoth. Ebby happens to be a Unioc, whose "head" is one big eyeball. It's messy and very painful when a sniper pops it, but Ebby is still all right because all of his vital organs (including his brain) are in his torso. Doesn't stop the sniper from thinking that he's dead, though.
- When the comic protagonist Art in Sequential Art draws a picture that somehow manages to combine all known fetishes his housemate Pip's head explodes upon looking at it, here.
- Don't worry, it was Only a Flesh Wound
- When this guy gets out-geeked in Ctrl Alt Del.
- For those interested, the binary code translates to get lost, fucktard.
- According to Get Your War On, this can be caused by calling George W. Bush "brilliant".
- In one of the alternate universes in Goblins, Minmax is a powerful psion who does this to his party members.
- Bob and George: Ran's head explodes when he's hit with a technobabble overdose. In addition, using the time-freezing Flash power on Quick Man causes a loud pop and a large mess.
- In Prickly City, Winslow object that they can't go away with the election in November. Carmen points out that it's next year. Winslow's reaction is the trope—and "When do we head off? — No pun intended."
- Happens to an alien in Romantically Apocalyptic. The cause? The Captain giving them a really angry Death Glare.
- The Noob had new users' of ClicheQuest(TM) suffering ears explosion on account of a badly thought out starting package.
- South Park:
- A juror's head explodes after hearing a complement to the Chewbacca Defense in "Chef Aid".
- Tay Zonday's head explodes after the "Dramatic Chipmunk" stares him down in "Canada on Strike". Complete with dramatic music and everything. He manages to blow the critter's head off with his gun before he croaks.
- The future guns in "Go God Go". They fire a dart into the target that, after a few seconds, causes their head to explode.
- Kenny's death at the Plane'arium in "Roger Ebert Should Eat Less Fatty Foods".
- Cartman's head explodes in "Medicinal Fried Chicken" after he finds out that KFC has been banned from Colorado. (He gets better, though.)
- A THX sound test in an episode of The Simpsons made one unlucky moviegoer's head pop.
- In a Treehouse of Horror special, spoofing the Y2K furor, Homer and Bart toss themselves out of the airlock from a spaceship filled with C-list actors, comedians, and has-been celebrities (it was already headed for the Sun, but staying even one more minute was so much worse). While in the vacuum of space, their heads swell up, they sigh in their few last moments of blissful silence, and their heads go "pop!" off-screen.
- In the season eight episode "And Maggie Makes Three", when Homer is telling the story of Maggie Bart takes over and Homer's head explodes after being told he was going to have another child.
- According to the episode Lisa's Wedding, aired in 1995, by 2010 there would be robots that looked completely human with one notable flaw; when they cry, their heads spark, explode, and melt.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
- In "Kidney Car", after a particularly inane rant from Master Shake near the end of the episode, involving Carl's new car being sucked into a jet engine Shake had affixed on his car (which happened to be Carl's old car), Carl's head explodes.
Meatwad: Why'd he do that?
- In The DCAU, robot heads tend to get exploded one way or another. In Justice League, Luthor reveals he has a kill switch for AMAZO--excuse me, "the android", and uses it in this fashion... but by this point, a simple head asplosion just makes him mad.
- In the Starship Troopers CG series, human psychic Carl goes up against an alien "brain bug" and, in the battle of minds, the brain bug follows this trope quite messily, as it is essentially a large mobile brain. Carl later has the obligatory Psychic Nosebleed.
- Inverted in Transformers: The Movie. Unicron's head is the only part of him that doesn't explode.
- Family Guy: A cutaway gag shows Peter's head exploding after he eats half a fudgsicle in one bite.
- In another episode, a cutaway gag has customers' heads exploding after eating muffins that were baked by Peter. It also makes Peter a literal Lethal Chef.
- In the Robot Chicken episode "Maurice Was Caught", little orphan Annie is given Mars for her sweet sixteen party, and upon visiting it, trips and loses her space suit helmet. Cue Explosive Decompression of her head. During another episode, several math students' heads exploded after being taught that the imaginary number i was the square root of -1.
- In Teen Titans, Plasmus is pretty much a giant head on legs when Raven makes him explode, so while it's not technically bloody it's still messy, graphic and complete with gunky splatters right back in Raven's face.
- A pretty spectacularly gory one in the climax of an American Dad episode, where Roger drops his elbow onto the head of the bad guy as he falls from the ceiling of a warehouse, shown four times with increasingly gruesome close-ups. The episode ends a scene later with Roger asking Stan if that guy was okay.
- He even says what everyone watching was thinking: "That was unexpected."
- In a one-hour episode of Phineas and Ferb (Summer Belongs to You), Isabella imagines her head exploding after Phineas makes an ironic statement about Candace and Jeremy being together, the irony stemming from the fact that Isabella was trying to find ways to get Phineas to hook up with her for the entire time they were in Paris.
- Recently done in an episode of Fish Hooks, specifically it was Clamantha, after finding out that the girls knew about the party crashers. However, she is just a head so she blew herself up.
- Variation on Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius gets so angry at Beezy that his head rockets off his shoulders and flies around.
- At least in one episode of Pepper Ann, the main character's head explodes briefly into a mushroom cloud.
- In an episode of Invader Zim, the titular alien is trapped in the fast food restaurant to which he was exiled prior to the first episode, and all exits are programmed to make him swell up and explode if he tries to leave. Every time he even thought about escaping, a small child would shout, "He's gonna 'splode, momma!"
Gir: Wait... if you destroy Dib in the past, then he won't ever be your enemy. Then you wouldn't have to send the robot back to destroy him, and then he WILL be your enemy, so then you WILL have to send a robot BACK... *head explodes*
- On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Fools in April", Squidward's head explodes while trying to say sorry to SpongeBob.
- Darwin's head pops like a balloon in at least two occasions on The Amazing World of Gumball.
- In the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", Bender's head explodes after George Takei accidentally activates his Self-Destruct Mechanism.
- In his book Brain Droppings, George Carlin wondered about the possibility of a world where the only cause of death was people's heads exploding, totally without warning.
Carlin: You know what? I bet people would get used to it.
- This funny, yet disturbing picture from a Deviant ART user that shows what would happen to Mario's Yoshi if he really did eat a live Bob-omb...
- President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated. To be blunt, in general, it is very possible to make people's heads explode in real life with the proper firearms, bullets, and training.
- There's an infamous Shock Site image of an Iraqi insurgent with his head asploded by a .50 cal sniper rifle.
- The Darwin Awards cites a Truth in Television case in Konotop, Russia, in which a chemistry student who was in the habit of flavoring his chewing gum with citric acid crystals apparently dipped his gum in a similar-looking, but fatally-explosive compound.
- A similar death occurs in 1000 Ways to Die, though his jaw falls off rather than his head exploding.
- There's a persistent rumor of a Russian guy whose head literally exploded during a chess tournament. According to the legend, he had some type of electrical imbalance in his brain, which must have somehow boiled his cranial liquids, causing pressure to build up inside his skull, exploding his head "as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium". This seems unlikely but stranger stuff happens.
- Happened to a man in Malaysia. He was checking a powerful firework that he thought didn't quite go off, it did and it went right to his face. This happened right in front of his family.
- The use of explosive ammo on the Eastern Front in World War II caused examples, some of which are described in biographic Sniper on the Eastern Front. Another preferred target for this ammo was the pelvis.
- But not the anime which, despite the large amounts of blood, is fairly sanitized