stop me before I hurt someone
January 6, 2011 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Books/movies with a character who pre-emptively takes steps to prevent himself from hurting the people around him?

I'm looking for stories where, for example, someone ties himself (or herself) up because he knows he will soon turn into a monster and cause damage. Or someone who otherwise takes steps to sabotage or isolate his future, destructive self. Any ideas?
posted by southern_sky to Media & Arts (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's television, but there's Oz in the second through fourth seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
posted by 256 at 5:13 PM on January 6, 2011

The Silver Chair, sort of. I mean, that's his intent, at least.
posted by baf at 5:13 PM on January 6, 2011

That's the general premise of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV show. I'm 99% sure this comes up in the comic as well.
posted by griphus at 5:13 PM on January 6, 2011

The Incredible Hulk TV show, that is.
posted by griphus at 5:13 PM on January 6, 2011

Seems like this happened in one of the werewolf movies...

What about one of the versions of Dr Jekyll vs Mr. Hyde?

In the Oddysey, Oddyseus has his men tie him up so he can listen to the siren's call without going mad.

In Aliens 4, the Ripley clone dives into a pool of molten lava to prevent the evil corporation from getting the Alien that is growing inside her.

In Dawn of the Dead, one of the characters knows he will turn into a zombie, so hestays behind while everyone else escapes via boat, so he doesn't infect them when he later turns.
posted by farmersckn at 5:15 PM on January 6, 2011

In Dexter, knowing he is a potential serial killer, the main character's foster Dad sets him up with a system to prey on only potential victims who are themselves a threat to society: murderers who otherwise escape justice through legal loopholes, etc. Dexter keeps himself to a strict code of behavior to avoid harming innocents (and also to avoid getting caught).
posted by misha at 5:16 PM on January 6, 2011

Perhaps not the best example, but Rogue in X-Men gets herself "fixed" so that she can't accidentally hurt others with her mutant power. Also not the best example, Denzel Washington's character isolates himself in the woods to attempt to kill the malevolent spirit which he knows will possess his body in "Fallen".
posted by war wrath of wraith at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2011

Oh, and Dexter is a T.V show based on a series of books (the first book is Darkly Dreaming Dexter).
posted by misha at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2011

Butterfly Effect.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:27 PM on January 6, 2011

Did Spock do something like this by causing his own death in Star Trek II?
posted by lakeroon at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2011

The BBC's Being Human has the werewolf alternately either driving out to the deep woods for the full moon or locking himself in an abandoned room in a forgotten basement section of a hospital.
posted by yeloson at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

The main character, Rand, in The Wheel of Time. Mind you... this is a behemoth of a series, so it's only at certain points in the novel that this scenario comes into play out of the whole text. Not going to be worth it unless you're interested in the whole story itself.
posted by SollosQ at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2011

In Aliens 4, the Ripley clone dives into a pool of molten lava to prevent the evil corporation from getting the Alien that is growing inside her.

I think you mean Alien^3, and she wasn't a clone.

The very entertaining TV version of Jekyll shows Dr. Jekyll using some smart tricks to keep Mr. Hyde in check (and vice versa).
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:35 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

At least the entire first season of Heroes the television show involves a character who knows he will end up detonating a huge chunk of Manhattan, and the ways he's trying to stop that future.
posted by scarykarrey at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2011

Jack Nicholson in Wolf, I believe, sequesters himself (and perhaps shackles himself to the wall) when he knows he's going to transform.
posted by Sassyfras at 5:43 PM on January 6, 2011

Wolf in The Talisman knows he will soon "run with the moon," but instead of locking himself up, he locks the protagonist Jack Sawyer in a shed for a few days, occasionally providing him with bloody meat. "Mustn't hurt the herd," Wolf says, and Jack is now his herd.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:44 PM on January 6, 2011

The entire Elric saga.
(a good warrior king cursed by having to kill one person everyday)
posted by Flood at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2011

The incredibly awesome Jekyll BBC miniseries from 2007.
posted by Etrigan at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

American Werewolf in Paris: the chick werewolf tries to isolate herself when she learns she is turning.

28 days later: when the dad character get blood in his eye, he tells his daughter to go away before he changes

Hellboy: the flame chick tells people to run for cover before she combusts
posted by milqman at 6:04 PM on January 6, 2011

Spoiler alert for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

The werewolf Remus Lupin takes a potion and goes to the Shrieking Shack when it's his time of the month.
posted by srah at 6:08 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

An American Werewolf in London
posted by kirkaracha at 6:16 PM on January 6, 2011

In Ella Enchanted, a kids' movie riffing on the Cinderella story, Ella (played by Anne Hathaway) has herself lashed to a tree so she won't kill Prince Charming at midnight, as she has been enchanted to do.
posted by eve harrington at 7:29 PM on January 6, 2011

In Greek mythology (the Odyssey), Odysseus wanted to hear what the Sirens sounded like, so he had his soldiers plug their ears with beeswax, and then tie him to the ship's mast, so he could hear their songs without being driven to dive overboard. As such, he was saved from their trap.
posted by criacow at 8:08 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are great! Thanks, everyone!
posted by southern_sky at 8:50 PM on January 6, 2011

In a slightly different vein, in Grosse Pointe Blank, John Cusack's character leaves on the night of the school prom to enlist in the military because he recognizes some extremely dark tendencies in himself. Rather than risk hurting his loved ones, he decides it is better to leave them behind and find a more structured and constructive outlet for his dark side. Eventually he ends up as a professional hitman, so he doesn't exactly embody the most noble intentions around, but he does mean well, albeit in a somewhat twisted way.
posted by Diagonalize at 10:08 PM on January 6, 2011

Depending on the way you read the film, Donnie Darko.
posted by maryrosecook at 3:57 AM on January 7, 2011

A minor character in the novel The Strain chains himself up in his backyard shed to prevent hurting his family when he eventually turns into a vampire.
posted by jblackwood at 7:41 AM on January 7, 2011

The Parasol Protectorate books - the werewolves have human assistants to help lock them up during a full moon.
posted by crepesofwrath at 9:41 AM on January 7, 2011

I am not a serial killer, sort of a juvenile Dexter (but with more supernatural elements).
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:10 AM on January 7, 2011

Perrin, in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (specifically book 4: "The Shadow Rising"), tries to make Faile leave his company so that she won't get hurt, or worse, by impending events.
posted by jjonajason at 12:52 PM on January 7, 2011

Tracy Jordan does it on it on this episode of 30 Rock. He explicitly said, "I’m werewolfing myself. You know when a dude knows he’s gonna turn into a werewolf and locks himself into a jail? Well I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve missed the birth of both of my sons."

He also did something similar in this episode.
posted by andoatnp at 8:28 PM on January 7, 2011

In Terminator II, doesn't Arnold destroy himself?
posted by SLC Mom at 10:19 PM on January 7, 2011

In season 2, episode 11 of Criminal Minds ["Sex, Birth, Death"] A pre-teen/teenager confronts one of the FBI agents because of homicidal thoughts he's having. He get's released after being interviewed. The kid repeatedly doubts his sanity, tries to get himself locked up, put in a hospital, etc. But his mother refuses. In the end of the episode, the kid hires a hooker with the intent to murder her, but instead cuts his own wrists so he doesn't do any damage to her.

Also, Nthing Buffy, where Oz the werewolf locks himself up every night.
posted by shesaysgo at 8:16 AM on January 8, 2011

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