The Seven Most Ridiculous Fatalities in Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat 1 is imminent. With that, I’ve got Fatalities on my mind. While Fatalities may seem like celebrations of blood and guts, there’s more going on than just violent death. The best Fatalities have an undercurrent of ridiculousness to them. Ripping a guy’s head and spine out is a bit silly, isn’t it? Same with punching three heads off of someone. I’d argue that the absurdity of a Fatality is what makes it enjoyable more than the gruesomeness. And sometimes Mortal Kombat has leaned pretty hard into silliness in Fatalities for that reason.
To that end, I’ve combed through the main line games (but not the currently-unreleased Mortal Kombat 1) and found the seven best examples of when the developers really leaned into the absurdity of the Fatality.
Quan Chi – Neck Stretch – Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
I can’t help but start this list with a Fatality that left me scratching my head and laughing the first time I saw it. In this, Quan Chi hops on the loser’s shoulders and just pulls their head. Once the opponent’s neck is really long, they just stumble away and fall over. After years of seeing heads ripped off, seeing that super long neck left me in stunned silence for a minute. No blood. No gore. You just have a long neck now.
In a sea of blood and body parts, it felt like an even more absurd way to die purely out of contrast. I used to despise it, but now it’s almost refreshing to die in such an absurd way.
Kabal – Head Inflation – Mortal Kombat 3
In this Fatality, Kabal sticks an air pump into the opponent. They quickly starting pumping air into them, which causes their head to inflate like a balloon. Then, your foe floats into the air, popping once they’re off-screen.
Kabal was an interesting addition in Mortal Kombat 3, and his mask really stood out. That the developers used it in both of his Fatalities (Freaky Face involved him removing his mask and scaring his foe to death) was an interesting way of focusing on something that made the character compelling. Also, while the series has experimented with blowing folks up and popping them, nothing looked anywhere near as funny as the swelled, stretched face on the balloon-faced victim of this Fatality.
Sheeva – Lend a Hand – Mortal Kombat (2011)
Tearing off arms is pretty standard business in Mortal Kombat. You enter these tournaments, you’re definitely losing a limb. Most of the time, those body parts are just discarded onto the ground. In other instances, you’ll get beaten or stabbed with those severed body parts. This Fatality is one of those times, as Sheeva rips her enemy’s arms off and proceeds to slap them around with them.
It’s nothing too unusual for this series, expect Sheeva has four limbs, and two of them don’t seem to have anything to do while she’s smacking her foe. So, she just kind of puts her hands behind her head, making her look pretty relaxed for someone who’s beating someone to death. As if that wasn’t funny enough, she then makes the torn arms clap for her victory. Something about involving your opponent’s body parts in your victory celebration makes this infinitely sillier and adds a bit of absurd fun to a bloody death.
Darrius – Rearrange – Mortal Kombat: Deception
This Fatality bears similarities to Sheeva’s because it involves doing something goofy with all of those body parts that are lying around. Instead of using them for further pain, though, Darrius just seems to want to make something inspired with your limbs. Bringing a bit of art to the Fatality in Mortal Kombat, Darrius shuffles your legs and arms around to turn the opponent into an odd display.
You could argue that he’s just messing up his opponent by violently ripping their limbs off and moving them around their body, but there’s a moment when he stops to admire and consider his work. He steps back and examines what he’s done like an artist trying to get a different perspective. It’s just so absurd to see him stop to consider if the severed limbs are placed just right, or if he really likes what he’s done. It’s that moment of consideration that cracks me up every time.
Cassie Cage – Selfie – Mortal Kombat X
Smashing someone’s chin off with a pipe is a gross way to die, for sure. However, Cassie Cage brings a bit of social media fun to this Fatality. While her opponent’s chin is still hanging from a bit of ripped flesh, she leans in and takes a selfie to post online. Once the image of her and the dying opponent hits the web, you get a glance at her Friendship feed.
While it’s a stomach-churning picture, it’s pretty funny to find out that she’s friends with Goro and Quan Chi, her dad is starring in a movie called Ninja Mime (which I think I need to see a trailer for), and her chat feed is filled with a combination of horrified and thirsty followers. Also, some people have a very different idea of cute than I do. This creates a silly twist on a sickening way to die. AND it makes me a bit concerned about what sort of stuff Cassie puts in her social media.
Liu Kang – Soul Invasion – Mortal Kombat: Deception
Liu Kang turns himself into a green energy and enters his defeated opponent. This surrounds them with a bright light, they wriggle for a few moments, and then they tear their head off. One-handed. I get the impression that people in the world of Mortal Kombat aren’t attached very well. However, once they take their head off, you see that Liu Kang’s head is sitting in its place. It looks like one of the world’s more violent magic tricks.
It’s goofy enough to have someone tear their own head off. Something about seeing Liu Kang’s face sitting atop the body of the other characters can get pretty silly. Wearing your old foe as a suit is just an absurd way to kill someone, and this Fatality definitely feels like it leans more into a delightful silliness and fun instead of bloody death. It HAS to be a horrible way to die. Even so, I still laugh every time Liu Kang pulls that head off like a magician taking off his top hat.
Johnny Cage – Mr. Cage’s Neighborhood – Mortal Kombat 11
I never knew that Johnny Cage had any ability as a ventriloquist. He’s not great, but the results are hilarious.
In this Fatality, Cage rips his foe’s upper torso off. The first time I saw this, I thought I was in for a basic bloody Fatality. But then, the spotlight turned on. The opponent perks up, despite being dead and in pieces. Then, Johnny proceeds to go through an absurd ventriloquist routine with the corpse. This was funny and surprising enough on its own, but then an unseen audience starts throwing tomatoes at Cage and the dead opponent. Something about the corpse getting hit in the face with a tomato was just so perfect that I was roaring with laughter the first time I saw it.
It’s the perfect encapsulation of the ridiculous nature of the Fatality. It’s deadly, bloody, but with a touch of silliness that keeps it from getting too gross. It’s everything I love about Mortal Kombat in a single absurd, lethal moment.