People Puppets

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Linguini can get... awkward... if given a scalp massage.

Ron Stoppable: Hey, stop hitting yourself!

Professor Dementor: I cannot!
Kim Possible, Ill-Suited

Not Mind Control - body control!

Some guys just feel the need to be in control... of everything. Including you. No, not with possession, not through manipulation; we mean literally controlling your body, forcing you to move as he wishes, and turning you into his personal People Puppets.

Such a character, usually a villain, can control his victims' limbs as if they were marionettes on a set of strings. Sometimes he'll actually have a puppet-theme, and many a Demonic Dummy has powers like this to play on the irony of a person being puppet-ed by the puppets; but other times a character just happens to have this ability along with related Psychic Powers. In either case, those controlled will often move in Marionette Motion.

Either way, he can manipulate others' bodies while they're still in 'em, much to his victims' dismay... as said victims are usually conscious, confused, and complaining (sometimes loudly, to inform allies—and the audience—that "I ...can't... control my... body!") Or maybe they Can Only Move the Eyes. Most times, they haven't been Brainwashed or anything, as they're protesting mightily -- it's just that there's not much they can do about it. For some reason, many character's mouths seem to be immune to this, as they will often protest whatever it is that they're being made to do. This may be related to Voices Are Mental.

Often shown by having the bad guy says "Kneel" to the person. The person says "I will never kneel before you". They duly get made to kneel.

Occasionally corpses can be animated and used as People Puppets, but if a corpse's every motion is not explicitly controlled by its animator, then there's a good chance it's just an average zombie.

The ability to turn people into People Puppets is often a very specific form of Mind Over Matter.

Don't let this happen to you! Take a quick course in Heroic Willpower to build up resistance!

And, yes, there are erotic examples of this. Just use your imagination.

Subtrope of Body Snatcher. Not to be confused with Puppet Permutation, in which a character is transformed into a literal puppet. Also not to be confused with Meat Puppet which is a type of manipulated Host. See also Living Doll Collector and Dead Guy Puppet.

Examples of People Puppets include:


Anime and Manga

  • In the series JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Enya Geil's Stand, Justice, allows her to control anyone who enters its radius, provided they have been wounded first.
    • Hierophant Green can do the same thing if it gets inside a person. Kakyoin even held a set of puppet strings when he was shown doing this, but it is unknown if he actually has to do this.
  • Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima is another puppet master and once used her 'invisible wires' in a fight against Setsuna to make her move as she wanted. Including coming close to breaking her back.
  • One spider-like enemy in Chrono Crusade can control people with tiny spiders on cobweb strings.
  • Legato in Trigun is powerful enough that he can do this to groups of people at once.
  • Genzou and Koshiro from Genzo are the Kings of this trope. They can do marvels with their puppets, ranging from decoys to sleeping gases to exploding dolls to Puppets made of flesh. Genzo is also frequently shown while making said puppets in disturbing detail...
  • Inuyasha featured an episode with a villain (Yura of the Hair) who took unconscious victims and controlled them all with an elaborate rigging of fine, invisible hairs.
    • There's also Kagura, who can temporarily use the bodies of the dead, even making them talk by manipulating wind.
  • Princess Tutu has several examples with The Chessmaster Drosselmeyer: When he captures Princess Tutu and brings her to his dimension, he forces her to dance and actually attempts to turn her into a puppet, so that he will be in complete control. Near the end of the series, he uses his abilities to try to force Fakir, the only other person who can control the story, to write Ahiru's death -- Fakir is able to stop him by stabbing himself in the hand.
  • The Wedding Peach episode "Puppet of Love" features a demon puppet who controls people once he gets a lock of their hair. Pota gets a lock of Yo's hair in order to force him to accept her gifts and eat her cooking; amusingly, the puppet stops Yo from explaining himself to the others by making him cover his mouth with his own hand. That's inconspicuous...
  • Puppetmon from Digimon Adventure did this trope to the letter: invisible strings and all.
  • There's an episode of Cardcaptor Sakura in which Eriol does this to Syaoran with invisible threads.
  • Naruto has several puppeteers, but living people have only been used as puppets twice; once by the heroes (Chiyo to Sakura, though as an aid instead of taking over) and once by the villain (Sasori) in the same battle.
    • A handful of ninjas have demonstrated a combination of this power and shadow manipulation, if their shadow (which they can warp) touches the target's, the target has no choice but to mimic their exact motions. Specifically, Shikamaru does this to Kin Tsuchi in the Chuunin exams.
    • Nagato/Pain could do this with chakra alone and and move corpses, that is provided they have chakra receivers pierced in their bodies. It's implied at walking proximity to him, his chakra was such that he could control a living person without any issue. However, the first person we saw him try it on happened to be Naruto, who has well you know, the demon fox's chakra as well as his own Sage chakra allowing him to resist control by him.
    • An Edo Tensei-revived Sasori later does this with several members of Anko's team, who were alive, but apparently too weak to resist. This was necessary due to his loss of all his battle-ready puppets.
    • In The Lost Tower, the heroine nearly strangled herself with assistance from the villain.
  • Donquixote Doflamingo in One Piece, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, is shown to have this power.
    • Luffy himself used an attack where he "controlled" an opponent by wrapping his limbs around theirs, both controlling their movements and doubling as a human shield. Played for laughs this time.
  • The Laughing Man in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex never shows his face to anyone. If he has to talk with someone, he usually hijacks a persons brain by hacking into its neural implants.
    • In Solid State Society a hacker who's actually called The Puppeteer takes control over Togusa, forces him to kidnap his own daughter, and then gives him back control of his right arm, giving him the option of suicide. Togusa picks that option, only to be interupted. The Puppeteer's entire MO was to force people in situations where they kill themselves of their free will, since they consider the alternative worse.
    • There's also several cases of the Major possessing people - including surprisingly often her own teammates - throughout the series (not to mention the comics), including a case where she forces Batou to hit himself, and Togusa to give a very different speech from what he intended at a trial.
  • Played with in Kinnikuman's tag-team Tournament Arc, in which two members of last arc's Quirky Miniboss Squad use cursed dolls that can be arranged in ways in which people who are normally best friends become mortal enemies, at which point it will be More Than Mind Control, with justifications as to why said friends are now enemies. Needless to say, having knowledge of the dolls enables the heroes to attempt to resist the force, eventually causing two said dolls to fuse together to represent their now-unbreakable friendship.
  • Vivio during the final battle of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Nanoha managed to take out Quattro and her mind control over her daughter, but unfortunately, the Saint's Cradle was still controlling her body through the Relic implanted in her to defend itself.
  • Neferpitou from Hunter X Hunter can create puppets out of corpses.
  • Shiki from Black Cat manages to do this to Rinslet by stinging her with one of his puppet bees, which inject people's body with a poison that allows him to control their movements.
  • One of the Geass-using children in Turn 14 of Code Geass can do this, as the Black Knight who opens his Knightmare's cockpit unfortunately discovers.
  • Sherrill Kamelot from D.Gray-man has the power to telekinetically move the bodies of others like this, including stopping them from talking.
  • Happens in the anime version of Black Butler, to Elizabeth.
  • Mukuro Rokudo from Katekyo Hitman Reborn displays such an ability through use of a special bullet; once he shoots himself in the head with the bullet, anyone whom he has scratched with his trident will be vulnerable to possession.
    • Daemon Spade is shown to have a similar power when he reveals himself to be possessing Julie Katou's body and takes over Chrome Dokuro's mind, sans bullet.
  • Bleach:
    • The Hollow known as Numb Chandelier shoots seeds at her victims. The seeds' roots grow throughout the bodies of people, taking control and forcing them to attack each other.
    • Uryu turns himself into a puppet when he's been paralyzed by a toxin, using strings of spirit energy to move his body like a marionette.
    • Anything struck by Zommari's Amor attack would be subject to his will. This could be limited to limbs if it only struck there, but a mark on the head would grant him complete body control.
  • Gilbert Nightray of Pandora Hearts gets this treatment when he, Oz, and Alice go to the mansion where the coming-of-age ceremonies are held. Zwei uses her chain Doldum to bind his limbs with puppet strings and force him to kill Oz. He ends up breaking free before he does, of course. Suffice to say, his mind was also being controlled.
  • Dietrich von Lohengrin of Trinity Blood uses nerve-controlling monofilament wire to do this to people as his main method of attack—his Rosenkreuz Orden codename is "Puppeteer".

Comic Books

  • Aesthetic Note: There are literally dozens of comic book covers featuring giant-sized supervillains looming over the main characters, manipulating their bodies with marionette strings. This is usually more symbolic than anything (ranking right up there with "Supervillains playing chess with the heroes" covers) but expect anyone so depicted to be a Manipulative Bastard, if not a mind-or-body controller.
  • The Puppet Master, of the Fantastic Four, is like this.
  • This is in fact the power of Jericho from the Teen Titans comics and series. Despite his parentage he is in fact a Good Guy... usually.
    • His power appears to be something more like possession.
  • Karma of the New Mutants can also control other people. Unlike Jericho she can take over several at once, though it apparently takes a lot of focus.
  • So can Professor X, though it is rather harder for him and he only uses it as an absolute last resort (except in the Ultimate Universe, where he's a bit freer with his mojo).
  • Some of the villains in Sleepwalker did this, including the demonic minions of Sleepwalker's archnemesis Cobweb, either through trying to force their victim's conscious mind to do what they said, or simply by suppressing the victim's will and taking over their bodies. Sleepwalker was able to break the villains' control and expel them from their victims' minds by zapping the human hosts with his warp beams. Unlike a normal situation, when being zapped with Sleepy's warp beams subjects a living entity to severe Body Horror and a nasty mental trauma, the humans possessed by Cobweb's demons didn't seem to suffer any ill effects, possibly because the demons had completely suppressed their minds and took the brunt of the blast.
  • Worm, of the Savage Land Mutates (great name for a band) can control the body of anyone he coats with slime that he secretes from the suckers on his hands. Let the fanfic begin!
  • Copycat of Dv8 and Gen13. As her name suggests, her powers usually involved forcing people to copy her motions.
  • The Skull of Earth X takes this to the extreme: he's so good at this that can control millions of people at the same time. A few of the members of his (unwilling) army note that they can't even go to the bathroom or see to personal hygiene unless he remembers to let them.
  • The final arc of the Spider Girl comics centers around Peter Parker being mentally enslaved by the Green Goblin, and Spider-Girl's trip into her dad's subconscious in an attempt to free him from the Goblin's possession.
  • Doctor Doom had an arc in Super-Villain Teamup / Champions where a mindcontrolling gas turns the entire world into his puppety slaves, and none the wiser.
  • An arc of the post-Zero hour Legion of Super-Heroes revealed that Saturn Girl had been accidentally doing this to Cosmic Boy's comatose body for the past ten-or-so issues. Whether this was Nightmare Fuel or Fetish Fuel depended on the reader, but Cosmic Boy was surprisingly non-freaked out about it when he woke up.
  • Empowered has Mindf**k, who along with her brother uses the "hijack motor control and leave them conscious" version. Mindf**k was forced by her brother to remove her eyes and tongue when she was younger, and used it herself to force Emp out of a single use portal when they were both trapped on a space station undergoing reentry.
  • Slade during Batman and Robin uses Damian's body by means of an implant inserted in Damian's spine to attack Dick and try to get revenge on him.


  • At the end of Stardust, the witch Lamia controls Septimus' corpse. The ghosts of the other brothers look at his ghost in confusion; he just shrugs. Particularly notable since Lamia makes no attempt to provide realistic motion, rather more or less moving the sword and letting the body dangle behind it.
  • In Ratatouille, Remy is able to control Linguini like a marionette by pulling on the hairs on his head.
  • In the third A Nightmare on Elm Street film, the villain once does this literally to poor Philip—first animating one of his own carved puppets, then graphically stringing him along by his bloody tendons until he forces him to leap from a high tower.
  • Two movies use this in different ways: Gamer is basically a First-Person Shooter where you are the person and a death row inmate is the shooter - and one shooter wants out (no, this isn't a sequel to Death Race... as far as I know). Less related is Surrogates, which is basically Second Life in real life, only the "avatars" are slightly overdone Uncanny Valley robots. Someone has found a way to kill the "users" when they kill the robots, which was previously impossible (there is a grizzled detective, but he's a long-time Surrogate user and probably not as technophobic as, say, Will Smith's character in I Robot).
  • Iron Man 2 has Ivan Vanko controlling the War Machine suit with Rhodey unable to do anything to stop him.
  • The Beetlejuice movie plays this for laughs with the Maitlands controlling the Deetzes and their guests, making them sing Harry Belafonte's Banana Boat Song.
    • "Learn to throw your voice! Fool your friends! Fun at parties!"
  • Killer Klowns From Outer Space - one of the Klowns kills police sergeant John Vernon and turns him into a ventriloquist dummy.


  • In Tad Williams' book Stone of Farewell, the main character comes across Skodi, a child-like young woman tending to a group of orphans. She turns out to be a witch, and she uses her powers to take control of Simon's body. (And no, not for the reasons you're thinking of; Simon thankfully dodges that bullet although she does plan to hand him over to the Big Bad in order to gain great power.) Her accidental death during an unholy ritual breaks her hold over Simon.
  • Senator Gregg Hartmann from Wild Cards had this ability, though he attributed it to his Split Personality, Puppetman.
  • Morjin in Ea Cycle likes to turn his enemies into telepathically controlled puppets called ghuls. In addition, he does the same to clones of himself that he grew just for that purpose.
  • One psychic in the Fingerprints series has this as his power. There's another who can achieve the same effect through general Mind Control.
  • To a lesser degree, in Vorkosigan Saga, Miles once realizes that the mooks in power suits are working with the default settings and are therefore vulnerable to factory override codes. He only performs small changes like slowly raising the temperature thermostat on one suit, reversing the catheter flow on another, and causing some of their weapons to misfire, knowing that if they realize what he's doing, they'll just cut out their comms.
  • In Ravenor novels, Ravenor does this on a regular basis—usually to friends who are aware of it. His crippling injuries require it in order for him to do many things.
  • In The Jungle Book, Kaa does this to the Banderlog. Even Baloo and Bagheera are affected until Mowgli touches them.
  • Kandra in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series can consume a corpse, stripping it clean down to the bones, then reform their own bodies into the flesh they just absorbed. The end result is that kandra can take someone's corpse and imitate their appearance exactly. It also helps that they, as a species, have extremely good acting skills-it has been shown that a kandra impersonator can trick people who knew the person pre-digestion.
    • In a more traditional example of this trope, Kandra (and their cousins, the Koloss) can be controlled remotely and against their will by any sufficiently powerful Mistborn.
  • The final part of the Star Trek Expanded Universe duology The Brave and the Bold concerns the final of the four Malkus Artifacts...a mind-control device which the spirit of Malkus himself resides. That spirit controls everyone on Narendra III and, through the events of the previous parts, Spock, McCoy, Kira, and Robert DeSoto. It is so complete that its victims can't even do autonomic functions by themselves. Spock defeats the control through a mind-meld with Worf, and Kira defeats it through sheer willpower.
  • Caine does this in Gone (novel). Lampshaded when a character says that he's never before heard of a telekinetic who can use his power on people, instead of just objects.
  • In The Black Swan, Mercedes Lackey's retelling of Swan Lake, Odile is a sympathetic character who is completely under her father's magical control when she dances with Siegfried. She turns on him shortly thereafter.
  • Lourdes of the Star Shards Chronicles gains this ability as her superpowers develop.
  • Elminster in Myth Drannor had the protagonist revived by a wizard who implanted some control into his new body, to the point of being able to force spellcasting. Of course, Mystra had her own idea of who's the boss to Elminster, so she simply slipped him a thought-only activated sex change spell along with an instructive vision. Not the same body—no controls.

Live Action TV

  • In Angel's "Smile Time", the showrunner of a kids puppet tv show is turned by demon puppets into a a living people puppet. Complete with the hole in the back. When not controlled by one of the demons, he's barely capable of speaking.

"Make him swallow his tongue again!"

    • In an earlier episode, a necromancer is able to do this to Angel and Spike both because they're both dead.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Plato's Stepchildren", when the Platonians used telekinesis to control the Enterprise landing party's bodies (but not their minds). Their control was so great that they could make them speak. And in Spock's case, laugh or cry.
    • They were also very keen on the Rule 34 aspect of this particular trick.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Skin of Evil," Armus uses what is apparently telekinesis to control Data's body. Since he's an android, Data is much calmer about it than most victims of this trope.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The episode "Cathexis" has an alien moving from person to person on Voyager forcing them to do things—those concerned have no memory of the event afterwards. Inverts the usual trope in that the puppeteer is actually the good guy, a member of the crew who's been forced from his body and is now roaming the ship as an Energy Being, trying to stop them from going into an alien trap.
  • Happens to Lister in the Red Dwarf episode "Demons & Angels". He still has the power of speech, resulting in memorable lines such as: "Look out - I'm gonna kill ya!"
    • It's also happened to Rimmer. Since he's a hologram generated by the ship's computer, the computer is capable of taking control of his "body". In the episode "Queeg," the backup computer takes control of him in order to force him to exercise (why a hologram would need to exercise is not really explained).
  • Power Rangers: The tactic of a Monster of the Week or two. The Ninja Storm seasons had two major villains who could do it, though the usage of it was different (Choobo used it to control the Rangers, Vexacus used it to smash 'em into each other a lot and then drop 'em.)
  • Stargate Atlantis. Wraith queens. One word: Kneel.
  • Heroes just got into the game with a particular creepy example in Eric Doyle who also happens to be an actual puppeteer.
    • Then Sylar does it to Claire using telekinesis, and shows us all how it's really done.
      • I had assumed that Sylar had stolen Doyle's ability in the same way he stole the shapeshifter's ability, because the sound effects were similar to when Doyle uses his "puppet master" thing. This turns out not to be the case, as the puppeteer shows up hale and whole, about midway (heh) through season 4.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code", The Carrionites use a puppet to control Shakespeare.
    • In the episode "The Five Doctors" the Coronet of Rassilon is used to turn others into people puppets.
    • In the episode "Midnight" an alien entity takes control of the Doctor's body, paralyzing him and forcing him to repeat.
  • In an episode of LazyTown, Robbie gets his hands on a remote control that can control anyone. He then proceeds to have some fun with Sportacus. No, not like that!
  • Warehouse 13: Cecil B. Demille's riding crop grants the user total control of another person's body.
  • Done to the heroes by a warlock in an episode of The Legend of Dick and Dom, by means of VoodooDolls; they beat themselves up and nearly walk over a cliff.
  • Vex, a Dark Fae from Lost Girl, is from a dangerous species of Fae called Mezmers. As such, he can manipulate people like puppets, and even have them kill themselves while controlling them. Even Dyson is wary of crossing him.


  • Done in the cover-art of Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast, which shows the Devil controlling someone like a marionette and is in turn controlled by the band's mascot Eddie in a similar fashion.

Tabletop Games

  • In Mortasheen, this is the power of the monster Cackle. Who was originally designed to watch over children. And yes, they do play that for all the creepy it's worth. And it is inverted with the creature Victrossus, which is essentially a body that puppeteers the brains of others.
  • Powerful psykers in Warhammer 40,000 are known to do this on occasion.
  • A major aspect of the antagonists in Mage: The Awakening, the Seers of the Throne, is the fact that they possess artifacts known as "Profane Urim" which allow them to do this. Its probably a major factor in their ability to effectively rule the world.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade had the Dominate clan ability, which at its highest levels let you physically possess another person. It also had the Presence ability, which covered Charm Person. The Ventrue had both, which went a long way to explaining why they were the de facto leaders of the Camarilla faction.
    • Geist: The Sin Eaters features the Marionette Manifestation which, depending on the Keys invoked, allows a Sin-Eater to control machinery (Industrial), zombies (Stillness), animals (Primeval), or ghosts (Stigmata). There isn't really a control for normal people, though; the Passion Marionette is more about mindfuckery than bodily manipulation.
  • Older editions of Dungeons & Dragons make this possible with the Dominate Person or Dominate Monster spells. In spell compendium there is a spell called puppeteer that does this
  • In Shadowrun there's a spell called "Contral Actions" which does exactly that

Video Games

  • Headcrab zombies from Half Life may be an example of this, since there are signs that the host is still alive and conscious, but in horrible pain and unable to control its own body. This can't be tested because removing the headcrab from a host is fatal.
    • The Penny Arcade strip about headcrabs would support this theory.
    • Also, playing on that theory, one of the zombie sounds played backwards is a man screaming out "God, help me!".
  • Breath of Fire 2 has a village where all the villagers have been taken over by facehuggers (looks just like those from Alien), that control people. They can be removed so that you can save the villager behind, however.
    • Or, you can be a rat-bastard and kill the villager. He/she will have less HP.
  • Master Hand from the Subspace Emissary mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is being controlled like this--literally, with glowing yellow 'strings' and all--by Tabuu.
  • Screaming Mantis from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots manipulates the Nanomachines in peoples bodies to control them like puppets (literally - you can see faint strings coming from the victims).
    • Screaming Mantis is herself controlled by the ghost of Psycho Mantis, who himself often made puppeteer like hand motions when controlling Meryl in Metal Gear Solid.
  • In Psi Ops the Mindgate Conspiracy, the psychic operatives Jov Leonov and Nicholas Wrightson both specialise in mind control, with various persons acting as eyes for the blinded Leonov and vessels for Wrightson's wandering consciousness. However, Leonov is the better of the two, able to control entire armies with his powers, even creating suicide bombers via his soldier's explosive collars. For added creepiness, he calls the mind-controlled soldiers "Meat Puppets."
  • Ghost Trick: Yomiel is a 'manipulator' who can control other people's bodies against their will. As well as his own corpse, or those of animals.
  • Those Half-Life headcrabs may well be based on the Brainsuckers from X-COM: Apocalypse, which had similar effects and even look a lot like them. Brainsuckers were sometimes launched as weapons by the aliens and could be shot off an affected agent with a little lot of luck.
  • One of the characters from Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was the demon puppeteer Bebedora, who appeared to be a cute but Creepy Child but was really an ancient monster who could manipulate other creatures with magical puppet strings. When she joined your party she could control up to 2 enemies from the opposing team at a time, even replacing them when they died, making her extraordinarily powerful.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Link learns the 'Song of Command' which allows the player to control someone else. However, it's mainly used to control statues, and on willing partners like Medli and Makar, so it may not be actual control.
    • Also, in the first step of the final boss fight in Spirit Tracks, Chancellor Cole can take control of Zelda's armor, complete with puppet strings.
  • In Second Sight, this is one of John Vattic's psychic powers in the form of an upgraded version of Psychic Projection.
  • The Animate Dead necromancy spell in Romancing SaGa plays this to a T, complete with strings. It sucks even more because multiple people can be controlled this way. Yeah, the final boss likes to spam this a lot...
  • Sir Zeliek in World of Warcraft. Unlike most Scourge, the Lich King let Zeliek keep his mind and soul - he just doesn't control his (now undead) body. The poor man was a paladin of very strong faith, so strong that the Light still serves him, even though he's undead. Unfortunately, the actual control of the Light apparently falls in with control of his body, so he begs players to flee or kill him even as he's smiting them with all the power of Holiness. He even apologizes and begs for forgiveness when he kills a player.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, powerful Blood Mages can do this to enemies by controlling their blood.
  • in Lego Batman, the Riddler and the Mad Hatter can mind-control other characters; doing this to control some characters is required to clear some levels...and is kinda disturbing.
  • In Psycho Waluigi, One of the game's main gimmicks is that Waluigi can use his new psychic powers to carry around enemies with natural abilities, like ice breath or fireballs, and use them as weapons to defeat other enemies.
  • In Crash of the Titans, you use Aku Aku to "jack" the powerful titans and use them as People Puppets (while riding on them) to beat or jack even more powerful titans. You spend the entire game Body Surfing.
  • The Puppet Master of Newerth (from Heroes of Newerth) has one of skills do this; Puppet Show. He makes the target automatically attack a new target, friend or foe. Suffice to say, several of his in-game quotes reflect his line of work.
    • The novel, Mass Effect: Retribution, goes into even greater terrifying detail about this. Not only do the Reapers assume direct control over you, but they don't particularly care about the harm/damage done to you outside of what suits their purposes. If they need your body to overtax itself in order to perform a task, they'll do it. Even when they're forced to release control and recharge themselves, they can still force it to release hormones and endorphins into your brain in order to control your mood and prevent you from killing yourself or put you to sleep until they've recovered. And even if you're aware of this entire process, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
  • The final final final boss of Skies of Arcadia pulls this out at times, puppet strings and all.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, the Jockey has the ability to ride Survivors, forcing them to run in any direction he guides them. The Survivor can resist a little, but is too panicked to throw the Jockey or drop to the ground.
  • Ghost Master has the power 'dance macabre' which forces victims to dance around.
  • In The Last Remnant, when your union becomes Enthralled, they fall into the enemy's control, complete with puppet strings.
  • The Guru of Sly 3 is capable of mind-controlling Mooks by hopping onto their backs. He uses this primarily to make them ram into obstacles.

Web Animation

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Sailor Nothing: Dark General Argon turns the Alpha Bitch, Ami, into an actual marionette. She survives, but her sanity doesn't.
  • A somewhat disturbing example comes from Deviant ART, in the animation Puppet.
  • In The finale of There Will Be Brawl, Ness and Lucas do this to Princess Peach's days dead corpse. Holy crap.
    • Wait, what?!?
      • It's a reference to the concept of "Trophies" in the Smashverse. It gets worse: Bloodily Worse.
  • The mutant codenamed Skinwalker in the Whateley Universe can do this to one person. He takes over the person's body, and that person watches helplessly as Skinwalker does whatever he wants.

Western Animation

  • Kim Possible, episode "Ill Suited". Professor Dementor uses a remote control device to seize control of Kim's superpowered battlesuit. Unfortunately, Ron had stolen it from her closet to make himself a football hero. This leads directly into Kim and Ron's first fight, a room-destroying brawl that Ron is helpless to stop. Later Dementor gets a taste of his own medicine, leading to the quote above.
  • Combined with Of Corpse He's Alive in one episode of The Simpsons in which Homer and Mr. Smithers believe Mr. Burns to be dead and use him as a puppet to fool a shareholders meeting. Luckily, the scheme has the inadvertent effect of restarting Mr. Burns' heart.
  • In Batman Beyond, a one-off Ghost in the Machine villain downloaded itself into Terry's Batsuit, causing a variation of this.
  • And in Teen Titans, the battle suit Slade gave Terra was designed to do just this. It never occurred to her that he might take total control should she ever realize he was a Bad Boss. She manages to override it and finish him off (for the moment) - apparently, Heroic Willpower applies to the more sympathetic of two villains.
  • In Shrek Forever After, the Pied Piper can force many different creatures to dance by playing his magical flute.
  • Denoted as "Bloodbending", Waterbenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender are able to control the water in people's bodies under a full moon.
    • This is considered taboo, if not completely wrong and unnatural, and not even thought of by most waterbenders.
    • It's back in The Legend of Korra. Terrifyingly enough Tarrlok can do it without there even being a full moon.
      • The villain Yakone has also been seen bloodbending. Apparently even more powerful than Tarrlok, he can bloodbend an entire courtroom without even moving his hands.
  • The Headmaster units in Transformers Animated do this to robots (including Transformers), but it has to cut the head off first.
    • Whereas Dirt Boss, the Decepticon made by the Allspark out of the Headmaster unit and a forklift, can take control by shooting a drill bit out of his forehead and into someone else's. He only has one though, so he has to retrieve it each time it's used.
  • In his first appearance, Plankton goes into SpongeBob SquarePants's head and installs controls directly into his brain, so that he can literally drive him into stealing a Krabby Patty.
  • In Danny Phantom, good guy Tucker does this with baddie Skulker, using his computer skills to hack into his robotic suit and basically make an ass out of himself.
  • Aladdin's Big Bad Jafar plays with this trope. "If you won't bow before a sultan, then you will cower before a sorcerer!" And, well, they do. Of course, Jafar had always seen the sultan as a "puppet king," so he just took the chance to make that literal and ran with it. Including giving him actual marionette strings.
  • This occurs literally in The Venture Brothers, when The Monarch attaches strings to Dr. Venture's arms and legs and controls him with a giant robotic hand extending from his flying cocoon.
  • ReBoot has this happen when Mouse literally hacked Enzo's brain and gave control of the body to Megabyte. Another episode has Megabyte infect a Humongous Mecha Dot was using with similar results.
  • Futurama gives us a variation of this: One of the professors judging Amy Wong's thesis defense is actually not a person at all, but a marionette being controlled by an evil extraterrestrial cat.
  • In one episode of Invader Zim, Zim shrinks himself and flies around inside of Dib's body, where Zim makes use of the arm control nerve in Dib's belly.

Dib: But humans don't have arm control nerves!
Zim: Do not question me! I control your arms!

  1. They didn't fall for it.