History Main / SealedEvilinaCan

8th Aug '16 9:29:23 AM Morgenthaler
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[[index]]
* SealedEvilInACan/AnimeAndManga
* SealedEvilInACan/ComicBooks
* SealedEvilInACan/{{Literature}}
* SealedEvilInACan/LiveActionTV
* SealedEvilInACan/VideoGames
* SealedEvilInACan/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* As discovered in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', [[spoiler:the Walls themselves are stuffed with dormant Colossal Type Titans. How they got there and why is still a mystery.]]
* Mag Mel[[spoiler:[=/=]Emperor Barodius]] and Razenoid[[spoiler:[=/=]Dharak]] started the fourth season of ''Anime/{{Bakugan}}'' as this. Credit must be given to [[spoiler:Code Eve]] for being ''extremely'' thorough, though. He was sealed inside armor [[MadeOfEvil crafted from his own evil]], then imprisoned in an alternate universe, ''and'' tied to his own throne with powerful webbing. The only reason he was able to free himself was simply because he had a PsychicLink to [[TheHero Dan and Drago]], allowing himself to become powerful enough to free himself, something the one who put him there wasn't aware of.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler: His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the GreaterScopeVillain Yhwach mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]
** The Quincies know of ancient folklore that speaks of a Sealed King. According to the legend, he would regain his heartbeat after 900 years, then his intellect after 90 years, followed by his power after 9 years. [[spoiler:A secret final stanza adds that he will then regain the world after 9 days. Mysteriously, he wanted Aizen on his side for this. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses.]]
* In ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'', the "evil" are people affected by the "Branch of Sin", [[spoiler:dangerous blood-manipulating powers]] who are secretly hidden deep in the "can", a maximum security prison/publicly open ''amusement park''. [[spoiler:Later [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], since it was revealed that many of them did not actually commit any crime, and were kept there solely for the study of their powers.]]
** In an example played more straight, [[spoiler:Deadman Wonderland itself was actually originally built to imprison the Wretched Egg, by keeping the majority of its powers sealed via the Mother Goose System. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], because as Makina points out, Wretched Egg's regenerative ability is so great that even the full extent of its own powers turned against it could not kill it. As such, the only way was to contain it.]]
* After "Him" in ''Anime/DemashitaPowerpuffGirlsZ'' is defeated horribly by [[MagicalGirl a bunch of girls]], he is contained in a tomb in an abandoned museum until [[ExtyYearsFromNow the present day]], at which point he sends out a mummy to find the means to release him from his prison. His main goal is to conquer the world and destroy the Powerpuff Girls for their resemblance to the Ōedo Chakichaki Musume, the first three to defeat him.
* In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'', [[BigBad Lucemon]] was sealed away in the Digital World's core. [[spoiler:Some time later, he ends up using the Royal Knights to scan the entire Digital World and its three moons, effectively vaporizing them, to break free.]]
** This is what happens to [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination the D-Reaper]]]] at the end of ''Anime/DigimonTamers''. [[spoiler:Unable to truly kill it, the Tamers, in desperation, force it to regress to its earliest, most primitive form, and lock it in some other dimension.]]
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', the original BigBad, Emperor Pilaf, uncorks Piccolo Daimao ("Piccolo, King Of The Demons"), the Sealed Evil In A Can who had previously been trapped in a Denshi Jar by Mutaito-sama centuries before the start of the series. (The Denshi Jar gets bonus points for strangeness; it is, in fact, an electric rice cooker with a holy seal glued to it.) Piccolo is revealed to be a Gnostic version of {{Satan}}, being the pure evil that the current God expelled to get "pure" enough to get his position in the first place (oh, and God is a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien). The trope is somewhat subverted, however, in that, one CloningBlues and one HeelFaceTurn later, Piccolo joins the good guys. And eventually even [[FusionDance fuses with his "good" half]] when they desperately need a power boost.
** Later, in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', the five-million-year-old sorcerer Babidi comes to Earth seeking energy to power Buu, the Sealed Evil In A Can that ate God's superiors (sort-of explaining why none of these guys ever bothered to stop Freeza).
** Toriyama acknowledges his reliance on the Sealed Evil In A Can formula in the ''Neko Majin Z'' parody comic, in which the titular "hero" keeps a powerful demon sealed in a small rock balanced on top of a boulder by the side of a road. If anyone picks up the rock, the demon is released, requiring Neko Majin to step in and re-seal the demon... for a fee.
** In the 13th movie, ''Wrath of the Dragon'', the monster Hirudegarn is split in two and sealed inside Tapion and Minosha. Hoi breaks him free and rejoins the two halves... [[spoiler:You guessed it, Hirudegarn stomps on Hoi and kills him. And Hirudegarn is eventually killed by Goku (who at that point used a technique that could have defeated him right from the start).]]
** In the 9th movie, ''Bojack Unbound'', the Galaxy Soldier, Bojack was sealed inside a star by the four Kais who would remain there. But due to North Kai's death by Goku's sacrifice with ready-to-explode Cell, Bojack was freed from imprisonment and heads towards Earth where Cell fought.
** ''Anime/DragonballSuper'' introduces an evil being sealed away on the planet Potofu. In a case that rivals the Denshi Jar for strangeness, it was kept in a pitcher inside an old fridge locked with a chain and padlock.
* Liselotte Werckmeister in ''VisualNovel/ElevenEyes'' was sealed by the Black Knights in a Crystal, as she is an immortal and intends to destroy the world. Though in the finale of the story, the seal is undone. In the anime only ending, she is sealed away once again, this time to a spacetime rift, with Kakeru and the Black Knights' combined effort. In the original game novel, Kakeru manages to finally [[KilledOffForReal kill her off for good]] by destroying the Voidstone within Liselotte using the Eye of Aeon.
* The character Isaac from ''Manga/EternalSabbath'' was sealed in a glass tank for several years before breaking free and wreaking havoc using his [[PsychicPowers charm and charisma]].
* [[spoiler:Zeref]] of ''Manga/FairyTail'' is revealed to be this right after someone wastes their life trying to raise him from the dead.
** Even worse, the guy who wasted his life was just a diversion while someone else got the keys to unseal [[spoiler:Zeref, who reveals later that he was ''never even sealed''. He also isn't really that evil in the present.]]
** The most powerful [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]] of the Dark Guild, [[LegionsOfHell Tartaros]], [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Master E.N.D.]], is trapped within his [[TomeOfEldritchLore Book of Zeref]] and can only be freed if enough "curse power" is gathered together, around which the events of the eponymous arc were all about doing, [[spoiler:or if Natsu himself opens it.]] This is because E.N.D. [[spoiler:really stands for '''E'''therious '''N'''atsu '''D'''ragneel]], though it's not made clear if the book actually contains the demon himself [[spoiler:or simply his powers and memory]].
* The ghosts of ''Anime/GhostStories'', until the construction sites destroy the places where they had been imprisoned. Satsuki then has to spend the rest of the series re-sealing them.
* ''Animation/GuardianFairyMichel'' has the evil pharaoh, Lucifer, in episode 23. Salome accidentally unseals him while hunting for treasure.
* The Phantom Empire of ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' was trapped inside the Axia Box... [[spoiler:then a young Hime opened the box.]]
* In the Gonzo version of ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', the final episode reveals that Incognito plans to [[spoiler:release the Egyptian god Set in order to]] destroy the world. [[spoiler:Alucard defeats the released Set, though it is left ambiguous if Set was really destroyed or just resealed]].
** Alucard himself used to be in a state of hibernation as a dead, rotting husk in a basement. And then ''someone'' found a way to splatter him with ''blood''...
* ''Manga/HellTeacherNube'' has a demon who tried to kill him in his childhood sealed into his left hand by his mentor Minako.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** Inuyasha is a half-demon who was sealed to a tree by the priestess Kikyo's arrow for 50 years, until Kikyo's reincarnation Kagome freed him out of necessity. [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold His apparent "evilness"]] [[HeelFaceTurn didn't last long]].
** The seal is played straight with Ryuukossei, however. The powerful youkai that killed Inuyasha's father is first mentioned only when it becomes necessary for Inuyasha to succeed in an achievement that surpasses his father so he can master his sword. Cue introduction of Ryuukossei who had never been mentioned prior to that point. Reason being that Inuyasha's father managed to seal Ryuukossei with a fang the way Kikyou had sealed Inuyasha with an arrow. Naraku frees Ryuukossei who fights Inuyasha and dies, allowing Inuyasha to surpass his father and master his sword.
** The Shikon no Tama. Unique in that it is both Sealed Evil In A Can ''and'' SealedGoodInACan. It contains the spirits of many demons that were once one entity and a powerful priestess locked in battle, making this actually a case of SealedEvilInADuel.
** An anime-only example happens when the cast actually tries to seal away something evil to create this trope. When [[EvilWeapon Toukijin's]] creator is killed as a result of the sword possessing him, the sword lands in the middle of a field. Even UltimateBlacksmith Toutousai is unable to approach its immensely powerful evil aura, leaving them at a loss what to do. In the manga, this is the moment where Sesshoumaru (who commissioned the creation of the sword) arrives, defeating and mastering the sword as soon as he touches it. In an AdaptationExpansion, the [[{{Filler}} anime]], has the blade begin to corrupt the ground around it as soon as it lands, spreading swiftly. Since none of them can approach it, they debate what to do and Miroku decides to build a small shrine around the sword, blessing it to keep Toukijin's evil from spreading. Only then does the anime allow Sesshomaru to arrive to defeat and master the sword.
** In the third movie, ''[[Anime/InuYashaTheMovieSwordsOfAnHonorableRuler Swords Of An Honorable Ruler]]'', the evil sword Sou'unga was also sealed away for a few hundred years, only to break the seal while in Kagome's time and go about trying to kill everyone.
* In the third part of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'', legendary antagonist Dio Brando is released from imprisonment in a casket at the bottom of the sea by some unwitting salvagers, where he'd spent the last 100 years since the end of part one.
* In ''KamichamaKarin'', the BigBad sealed himself inside the ring of Zeus. [[spoiler: In the anime, it's implied that [[BigGood Kujyou Kazuto]] [[SealedGoodInACan sealed himself or part of himself]] in the ring he gave Micchi, so he'd be able to help if/when Karasuma awakened.]]
* Soushu from ''LightNovel/KyoKaraMaoh'' is Sealed Evil in [[FourIsDeath four]] Boxes.
* In ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'', the Book of Darkness regenerates every ten years, sealing its programs (the Wolkenritter) inside of itself until then. Also, [[spoiler:Gil Graham plots against both the heroes and Wolkenritter to allow for the Book, Wolkenritter, and their [[TheKidWithTheRemoteControl innocent mistress]] to be sealed in the space between dimensions forever, because the Book would just keep regenerating. He is stopped and regrets ever deciding to put these lives at risk.]]
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' features two examples, one completely straight and the other a little bizarre. First, as the straight example, we have Ryomen Sukuna no Kami, a gigantic four-armed two-faced demon god sealed in the Kansai region of Japan; releasing and controlling him was the motivation for the villains of the Kyoto arc. Second, and rather more unusual, we have the ancient and legendary vampire sorceress Evangeline A.K. [=McDowell=]. While she ''was'' a wanted magical criminal, responsible for multiple heinous crimes and with a huge bounty on her head, her sealing was based less on her evil and more on her [[StalkerWithACrush obsession with the main character's father]], who made sure she would NOT get out of a certain BoardingSchool... And, once you get to know her, she's not really [[NobleDemon as evil as she liked to claim]]... to the point that when the aforementioned demon god is released, the protagonists defeat it by breaking the seal on Evangeline and letting her [[CurbStompBattle deal with it]].
** Played straight again with [[spoiler:the Lifemaker, the ultimate BigBad of the setting,]] who is sealed [[spoiler:inside the Sacred Tree of Mahora Academy.]]
* The Panthalassa and the real Michel in ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch''.
* In Anime/MonsterRancher, Moo's draconic body is sealed away in ice. Finding it is one of his major goals.
* The plot of ''Manga/MyBalls'' has been summed up as "sealed evil in a man-can." Naturally, [[CantHaveSexEver sex will let it out]], and [[ColdTurkeysAreEverywhere there are just so many temptations]]...
* Tailed Beasts in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' are generally SealedInSideAPersonShapedCan because it lets people use their power, there are a couple cases where they've been sealed inside objects: Shukaku was said to have been sealed in a teapot, the 8-tails was sealed in a giant jar (which can seal people in it as well), and [[spoiler:after removing the Ten Tails chakra, the Sage of the Six Paths sealed it in stone and put it in the sky, creating the moon.]]
** [[spoiler:After acquiring chakra material of all 9 Tailed Beasts, Tobi/Obito uses the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path as a vessel for its resurrection.]]
** The manga has subverted this recently. [[spoiler:It's been revealed that the tailed beasts aren't inherently evil, it's just that most of them hate humans due to (repeatedly) being used by them throughout history. Killer Bee, and later on Naruto, eventually get the beasts sealed in them to make a HeelFaceTurn by actually respecting them as sentient beings rather than treating them like mindless monsters.]]
** [[spoiler:It turns out the Ten-Tails wasn't evil at first either. It didn't even have a mind of its own, since it was a tree. The Sage and his brother sealed their mother Kaguya inside the God Tree since her power had driven her mad. This only partly worked, since Kaguya ''fused'' with the God Tree and transformed it into the Ten-Tails to take her sons' chakra. That's when the Sage and his brother sealed the Ten-Tails, not realizing that their mother was the one controlling it.]] This is a weird case of one sealed evil in a can turning its ''can'' evil, making it necessary to seal the can too.
* In the backstory of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', Adam was automatically sealed by the Lance of Longinus when he first landed on Earth to prevent him from endangering the children of Lilith (humanity). [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Then a bunch of curious humans removed the Lance.]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[TheAlcatraz Impel Down]], the world's most secure prison, has a level that most people don't even know exists: Level 6, the "Eternal Hell", which contains at least two ex-Warlords of the Sea [[spoiler:(former BigBad Sir Crocodile & Jinbe)]], [[spoiler:Luffy's brother & Whitebeard Division leader Ace]], & Shiliew, the insane ex-Head Jailer who was a match even for Warden Magellan. And with the exception of [[spoiler:Ace]], all of these and more are free thanks to Luffy and Blackbeard.
** [[spoiler:Caribou, sealed evil in a barrel.]] Poor mermaids.
* The anime version of ''{{Pretear}}'' starts with [[DarkMagicalGirl the villain]] breaking free after sixteen years of being sealed away. And in the manga version, she ''remains'' sealed -- but still manages to [[DemonicPossession possess others]] anyway. [[spoiler:Specially true in the case of Himeno's stepmom Natsue, her main "host".]]
* In ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', the evil raven was sealed away by a prince who broke his heart into shards; the raven gradually gains power through the series and is fully freed when the prince's heart is returned to him.
* Most of the villains in ''Anime/SailorMoon'' were sealed until recently, except for the last season. In the first season, inside the can (the Dark Kingdom/Negaverse) was ''another'' can, with another, bigger Sealed Evil (Metallia/Negaforce) inside it; the forces of the Dark Kingdom spent most of their time draining energy from people in order to charge the metaphorical can opener needed to release her.
** In the last season (in the anime at least), it is revealed that [[spoiler:at the end of the first Sailor War, Sailor Galaxia had sealed Chaos inside her own body, and sent away her own Star Seed (which would become Chibi Chibi) in hopes to not have it corrupted.]]
* Poseidon from SaintSeiya, sealed in a jar. ''Literally''. He manages to employ GrandTheftMe on a boy named Julian Solo, and through Julian, he gathers the Marine Generals in hopes of defeating Athena and her Saints so he can properly get out. [[spoiler:He not only fails, but is ''again'' sealed.]]
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'': Kiruru.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' has Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo, which was broken into seven pieces and sealed in humans (and gets out every now and then), Zanafar, and for good measure Shabranigdo's lieutenant Chaos Dragon Gaav.
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', the SealedEvilInACan is the Kishin, an insane creature who wreaked havoc upon the world until being sealed. The people working for the Shinigami do so to prevent the creation of another Kishin, which would occur if someone consumed a large number of human souls. It is not until half-way through the series that the main characters discover that the "original" Kishin is still alive, and imprisoned underneath their city.
** [[BodyHorror In a bag made out of his own skin]]. [[{{Squick}} Ew]].
*** Not only does said Evil get out, but the manga later reveals that there are [[EldritchAbomination similar]] creatures trapped elsewhere, although the Great Old One in Eibon's book has more in common with Shinigami than their estranged comrade Asura.
** At the end of the manga, the Kishin is left as [[spoiler:Sealed Evil ''[[WeirdMoon on the Moon]]'' by [[FromNobodyToNightmare Chrona.]] Hir method of doing so leaves the both of them, plus the moon, in a giant bubble of black blood.]]
* The 3 big bad Tayutai in ''VisualNovel/{{Tayutama}}'' are strong, but their method of sealing might have needed to be reinforced. They were freed by a runaway moped. On the other hand, it let [[SealedGoodInACan Mashiro]] out into the world, so it all balances out.
* Ryoko, from ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', was sealed away as a traditional demon in the {{OVA}}s; however, after calming down by dueling Tenchi for an episode, she joined the cast as a protagonist and suitor for Tenchi's hand. Washuu was in a similar situation in the TV series.
* The Decepticon army that Crosswise was jailer of in ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'', until [[TheStarscream Starscream]] freed them.
* In ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'', Sedna was sealed away in the sea and on land.
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', Beatrice; The Golden Witch, The Endless Witch, The Witch Who Has Lived For A Thousand Years; is set up as this. [[spoiler:However, the longer the story goes on, the less that seems to actually be the case]]. According to her, the can she was sealed in was originally meant to seal something else. [[spoiler:This is also most likely not the case.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'', Hakuoro finally has his CrowningMomentOfAwesome and has the BigBad Sealed In A Can. [[spoiler:Since he has to merge with his EvilTwin to do so, it counts as both SealedEvilInACan and SealedGoodInACan.]]
* In ''Anime/YuGiOh'', Pharaoh Atem took the contingency plan of sealing both the BigBad and [[SealedGoodInACan himself]] 3000 years ago, until both resurfaced roughly simultaneously when their respective containers were found by archaeologists.
** Despite his good intentions, [[KnightTemplar Atem's]] [[DemonicPossession less than polite hosting methods]] and [[DisproportionateRetribution outdated ideas of justice]] made ''him'' a close case of Sealed Evil In A Can in the early manga until Yugi got hold of [[TheKidWithTheLeash The Leash]] and convinced Atem to not do such stuff again.
** In ''Anime/YuGiOhCapsuleMonsters'', Alexander's evil half was sealed in the pyramid while his good side was left in the Capsule Monsters world.

to:

[[folder: Anime [[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=121155 Dark Depths]], which, after certain conditions are met, i.e. the costly "unsealing" process of removing ten ice counters from it, creates a [[http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/mtgcom/arcana1000/1119_maritlagetoken.jpg large
and Manga]]
* As discovered
damn near unkillable monster]].
** For a much older example, consider the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=1098 Bottle of Suleiman]], which upon being sacrificed has a 50/50 chance of either releasing a fairly powerful djinn that joins your forces or else simply blowing up
in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', [[spoiler:the Walls themselves are stuffed your face.
** And then there's the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=74492 Tomb of Urami]], who nets you a big demon at the price of sacrificing all of your lands.
** Yawgmoth, the guy who makes planeswalkers look like muggles and Dominaria's version of the Devil, was sealed in a whole other plane back when he was a mortal. He wanted back in and spent thousands of years in a battle of wits
with dormant Colossal Type Titans. How they AntiHero Urza with his freedom as the stakes.
** In the ''Zendikar'' expansion a group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called the Eldrazi were
got there sealed away by [[DarkIsNotEvil Sorin Markov]] and why two other guys, turning all of Zendikar into a prison for them. The final set in the ''Zendikar'' block, ''Rise of the Eldrazi'', sees them loosed on the Multiverse.
** A plot-relevant example can be found in the ''Innistrad'' expansion: The Helvault was created by the archangel [[BigGood Avacyn]] to seal away demons that she couldn't outright defeat. The plot of the expansion
is still a mystery.set in motion when, by twist of fate, Avacyn herself becomes sealed inside the Helvault.
** The demon Withengar, also from the ''Innistrad'' expansion, was sealed inside [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147a.html Elbrus, the Binding Blade]]. If the Blade tastes blood, [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147b.html Withengar is freed.
]]
* Mag Mel[[spoiler:[=/=]Emperor Barodius]] and Razenoid[[spoiler:[=/=]Dharak]] started the fourth season of ''Anime/{{Bakugan}}'' as this. Credit must be given to [[spoiler:Code Eve]] for being ''extremely'' thorough, though. He was sealed inside armor [[MadeOfEvil crafted from his own evil]], then imprisoned in an alternate universe, ''and'' tied to his own throne with powerful webbing. The only reason he was able to free himself was simply because he had a PsychicLink to [[TheHero Dan and Drago]], allowing himself to become powerful enough to free himself, something the one who put him there wasn't aware of.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler: His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the GreaterScopeVillain Yhwach mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]
** The Quincies know of ancient folklore that speaks of a Sealed King. According to the legend, he would regain his heartbeat after 900 years, then his intellect after 90 years, followed by his power after 9 years. [[spoiler:A secret final stanza adds that he will then regain the world after 9 days. Mysteriously, he wanted Aizen on his side for this. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses.]]
* In ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'', the "evil" are people affected by the "Branch of Sin", [[spoiler:dangerous blood-manipulating powers]] who are secretly hidden deep in the "can", a maximum security prison/publicly open ''amusement park''. [[spoiler:Later [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], since it was revealed that many of them did not actually commit any crime, and were kept there solely for the study of their powers.]]
** In an example played more straight, [[spoiler:Deadman Wonderland itself was actually originally built to imprison the Wretched Egg, by keeping the majority of its powers sealed via the Mother Goose System. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], because as Makina points out, Wretched Egg's regenerative ability is so great that even the full extent of its own powers turned against it could not kill it. As such, the only way was to contain it.]]
* After "Him" in ''Anime/DemashitaPowerpuffGirlsZ'' is defeated horribly by [[MagicalGirl a bunch of girls]], he is contained in a tomb in an abandoned museum until [[ExtyYearsFromNow the present day]], at which point he sends out a mummy to find the means to release him from his prison. His main goal is to conquer the world and destroy the Powerpuff Girls for their resemblance to the Ōedo Chakichaki Musume, the first three to defeat him.
* In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'', [[BigBad Lucemon]] was sealed away in the Digital World's core. [[spoiler:Some time later, he ends up using the Royal Knights to scan the entire Digital World and its three moons, effectively vaporizing them, to break free.]]
** This is what happens to [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination the D-Reaper]]]] at the end of ''Anime/DigimonTamers''. [[spoiler:Unable to truly kill it, the Tamers, in desperation, force it to regress to its earliest, most primitive form, and lock it in some other dimension.]]
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', the original BigBad, Emperor Pilaf, uncorks Piccolo Daimao ("Piccolo, King Of The Demons"), the Sealed Evil In A Can who had previously been trapped in a Denshi Jar by Mutaito-sama centuries before the start of the series. (The Denshi Jar gets bonus points for strangeness; it is, in fact, an electric rice cooker with a holy seal glued to it.) Piccolo is revealed to be a Gnostic version of {{Satan}}, being the pure evil that the current God expelled to get "pure" enough to get his position in the first place (oh, and God is a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien). The trope is somewhat subverted, however, in that, one CloningBlues and one HeelFaceTurn later, Piccolo joins the good guys. And eventually even [[FusionDance fuses with his "good" half]] when they desperately need a power boost.
** Later, in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', the five-million-year-old sorcerer Babidi comes to Earth seeking energy to power Buu, the Sealed Evil In A Can that ate God's superiors (sort-of explaining why none of these guys ever bothered to stop Freeza).
** Toriyama acknowledges his reliance on the Sealed Evil In A Can formula in the ''Neko Majin Z'' parody comic, in which the titular "hero" keeps a powerful demon sealed in a small rock balanced on top of a boulder by the side of a road. If anyone picks up the rock, the demon is released, requiring Neko Majin to step in and re-seal the demon... for a fee.
** In the 13th movie, ''Wrath of the Dragon'', the monster Hirudegarn is split in two and sealed inside Tapion and Minosha. Hoi breaks him free and rejoins the two halves... [[spoiler:You guessed it, Hirudegarn stomps on Hoi and kills him. And Hirudegarn is eventually killed by Goku (who at that point used a technique that could have defeated him right from the start).]]
** In the 9th movie, ''Bojack Unbound'', the Galaxy Soldier, Bojack was sealed inside a star by the four Kais who would remain there. But due to North Kai's death by Goku's sacrifice with ready-to-explode Cell, Bojack was freed from imprisonment and heads towards Earth where Cell fought.
** ''Anime/DragonballSuper'' introduces an evil being sealed away on the planet Potofu. In a case that rivals the Denshi Jar for strangeness, it was kept in a pitcher inside an old fridge locked with a chain and padlock.
* Liselotte Werckmeister in ''VisualNovel/ElevenEyes'' was sealed by the Black Knights in a Crystal, as she is an immortal and intends to destroy the world. Though in the finale of the story, the seal is undone. In the anime only ending, she is sealed away once again, this time to a spacetime rift, with Kakeru and the Black Knights' combined effort. In the original game novel, Kakeru manages to finally [[KilledOffForReal kill her off for good]] by destroying the Voidstone within Liselotte using the Eye of Aeon.
* The character Isaac from ''Manga/EternalSabbath'' was sealed in a glass tank for several years before breaking free and wreaking havoc using his [[PsychicPowers charm and charisma]].
* [[spoiler:Zeref]] of ''Manga/FairyTail'' is revealed to be this right after someone wastes their life trying to raise him from the dead.
** Even worse, the guy who wasted his life was just a diversion while someone else got the keys to unseal [[spoiler:Zeref, who reveals later that he was ''never even sealed''. He also isn't really that evil in the present.]]
** The most powerful [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]] of the Dark Guild, [[LegionsOfHell Tartaros]], [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Master E.N.D.]], is trapped within his [[TomeOfEldritchLore Book of Zeref]] and can only be freed if enough "curse power" is gathered together, around which the events of the eponymous arc were all about doing, [[spoiler:or if Natsu himself opens it.]] This is because E.N.D. [[spoiler:really stands for '''E'''therious '''N'''atsu '''D'''ragneel]], though it's not made clear if the book actually contains the demon himself [[spoiler:or simply his powers and memory]].
* The ghosts of ''Anime/GhostStories'', until the construction sites destroy the places where they had been imprisoned. Satsuki then has to spend the rest of the series re-sealing them.
* ''Animation/GuardianFairyMichel'' has the evil pharaoh, Lucifer, in episode 23. Salome accidentally unseals him while hunting for treasure.
* The Phantom Empire of ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' was trapped inside the Axia Box... [[spoiler:then a young Hime opened the box.]]
* In the Gonzo version of ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', the final episode reveals that Incognito plans to [[spoiler:release the Egyptian god Set in order to]] destroy the world. [[spoiler:Alucard defeats the released Set, though it is left ambiguous if Set was really destroyed or just resealed]].
** Alucard himself used to be in a state of hibernation as a dead, rotting husk in a basement. And then ''someone'' found a way to splatter him with ''blood''...
* ''Manga/HellTeacherNube'' has a demon who tried to kill him in his childhood sealed into his left hand by his mentor Minako.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** Inuyasha is a half-demon who was sealed to a tree by the priestess Kikyo's arrow for 50 years, until Kikyo's reincarnation Kagome freed him out of necessity. [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold His apparent "evilness"]] [[HeelFaceTurn didn't last long]].
** The seal is played straight with Ryuukossei, however. The powerful youkai that killed Inuyasha's father is first mentioned only when it becomes necessary for Inuyasha to succeed in an achievement that surpasses his father so he can master his sword. Cue introduction of Ryuukossei who had never been mentioned prior to that point. Reason being that Inuyasha's father managed to seal Ryuukossei with a fang the way Kikyou had sealed Inuyasha with an arrow. Naraku frees Ryuukossei who fights Inuyasha and dies, allowing Inuyasha to surpass his father and master his sword.
** The Shikon no Tama. Unique in that it is both Sealed Evil In A Can ''and'' SealedGoodInACan. It contains the spirits of many demons that were once one entity and a powerful priestess locked in battle, making this actually a case of SealedEvilInADuel.
** An anime-only example happens when the cast actually tries to seal away something evil to create this trope. When [[EvilWeapon Toukijin's]] creator is killed as a result of the sword possessing him, the sword lands in the middle of a field. Even UltimateBlacksmith Toutousai is unable to approach its immensely powerful evil aura, leaving them at a loss what to do. In the manga, this is the moment where Sesshoumaru (who commissioned the creation of the sword) arrives, defeating and mastering the sword as soon as he touches it. In an AdaptationExpansion, the [[{{Filler}} anime]], has the blade begin to corrupt the ground around it as soon as it lands, spreading swiftly. Since none of them can approach it, they debate what to do and Miroku decides to build a small shrine around the sword, blessing it to keep Toukijin's evil from spreading. Only then does the anime
Certain cards allow Sesshomaru players to arrive to defeat and master the sword.
** In the third movie, ''[[Anime/InuYashaTheMovieSwordsOfAnHonorableRuler Swords Of An Honorable Ruler]]'', the evil sword Sou'unga was also sealed away for a few hundred years, only to break the seal while in Kagome's time and go about trying to kill everyone.
* In the third part of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'', legendary antagonist Dio Brando is released from imprisonment in a casket at the bottom of the sea by some unwitting salvagers, where he'd spent the last 100 years since the end of part one.
* In ''KamichamaKarin'', the BigBad sealed himself inside the ring of Zeus. [[spoiler: In the anime, it's implied that [[BigGood Kujyou Kazuto]] [[SealedGoodInACan sealed himself or part of himself]] in the ring he gave Micchi, so he'd be able to help if/when Karasuma awakened.]]
* Soushu from ''LightNovel/KyoKaraMaoh'' is
set up Sealed Evil in [[FourIsDeath four]] Boxes.
* In ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'',
a Can situations. Cards like [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=oblivion+ring&v=card&s=cname Oblivion Ring]] and [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=journey+to+nowhere&v=card&s=cname Journey to Nowhere]] let a player seal an opponent's creature in a can but any card that can remove the Book of Darkness regenerates every ten years, sealing its programs (the Wolkenritter) inside of itself until then. Also, [[spoiler:Gil Graham plots against both the heroes and Wolkenritter to allow for the Book, Wolkenritter, and their [[TheKidWithTheRemoteControl innocent mistress]] to be sealed in the space between dimensions forever, because the Book would just keep regenerating. He is stopped and regrets ever deciding to put these lives at risk.]]
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' features two examples, one completely straight and
enchantment frees them. [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=summoner%27s+egg&v=card&s=cname Summoner's Egg]] goes the other a little bizarre. First, as the straight example, we have Ryomen Sukuna no Kami, a gigantic four-armed two-faced demon god sealed in the Kansai region of Japan; releasing and controlling him was the motivation for the villains of the Kyoto arc. Second, and rather more unusual, we have the ancient and legendary vampire sorceress Evangeline A.K. [=McDowell=]. While she ''was'' a wanted magical criminal, responsible for multiple heinous crimes and with a huge bounty on her head, her sealing was based less on her evil and more on her [[StalkerWithACrush obsession with the main character's father]], who made sure she would NOT get out of a certain BoardingSchool... And, once you get to know her, she's not really [[NobleDemon as evil as she liked to claim]]... to the point that when the aforementioned demon god is released, the protagonists defeat it by breaking the seal on Evangeline and direction, letting her [[CurbStompBattle deal with it]].
** Played straight again with [[spoiler:the Lifemaker,
a player seal a creature from their hand and bringing it to the ultimate BigBad battlefield for free if the Egg gets destroyed.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh!'' has several monsters like this, the mo st memorable being Exodia (who is split up into five pieces and allows you to ''win the game'' should you have all five in your hand; in the anime, it did take a huge ritual to unseal it) and all versions
of the setting,]] who is sealed [[spoiler:inside the three God Cards (Egyptian, Sacred Tree of Mahora Academy.]]
* The Panthalassa and the real Michel in ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch''.
* In Anime/MonsterRancher, Moo's draconic body is sealed away in ice. Finding it is one of his major goals.
* The plot of ''Manga/MyBalls'' has been summed up as "sealed evil in a man-can." Naturally, [[CantHaveSexEver sex will let it out]], and [[ColdTurkeysAreEverywhere there are just so many temptations]]...
* Tailed Beasts in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' are generally SealedInSideAPersonShapedCan because it lets people use their power, there are a couple cases where they've been sealed inside objects: Shukaku was said to have been sealed in a teapot, the 8-tails was sealed in a giant jar (which can seal people in it as well), and [[spoiler:after removing the Ten Tails chakra, the Sage of the Six Paths sealed it in stone and put it in the sky, creating the moon.]]
** [[spoiler:After acquiring chakra material of all 9 Tailed
Beasts, Tobi/Obito uses the Demonic Statue and "Wicked Gods", all of the Outer Path as a vessel for its resurrection.]]
** The manga has subverted this recently. [[spoiler:It's been revealed
which need three sacrifices to bring out and have devastating power, and two of which have fusions of themselves that are even ''more'' powerful). In the tailed beasts aren't inherently evil, it's just anime, they are so powerful that most of them hate humans due to (repeatedly) being used by them throughout history. Killer Bee, and later on Naruto, eventually get the beasts are sealed in up themselves, and it's considered madness for anyone to try and duel with them to make a HeelFaceTurn by actually respecting them as sentient beings rather than treating them like mindless monsters.]]
** [[spoiler:It turns out the Ten-Tails wasn't evil at first either. It didn't even have a mind of its own, since it was a tree. The Sage and his brother sealed
in their mother Kaguya inside deck.
** The [[Metaplot/YuGiOhHiddenArsenal Hidden Arsenal storyline]] has
the God Tree since her power had driven her mad. This only partly worked, since Kaguya ''fused'' with the God Tree and transformed it into the Ten-Tails to take her sons' chakra. That's when the Sage and his brother sealed the Ten-Tails, not realizing that their mother was the one controlling it.]] This is a weird case of one sealed evil in a can turning its ''can'' evil, making it necessary to seal the can too.
* In the backstory of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', Adam was automatically sealed by the Lance of Longinus when he first landed on Earth to prevent him from endangering the children of Lilith (humanity). [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Then a bunch of curious humans removed the Lance.]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[TheAlcatraz Impel Down]], the world's most secure prison, has a level that most people don't even know exists: Level 6, the "Eternal Hell", which contains at least two ex-Warlords
three dragons of the Sea [[spoiler:(former BigBad Sir Crocodile & Jinbe)]], [[spoiler:Luffy's brother & Whitebeard Division leader Ace]], & Shiliew, the insane ex-Head Jailer who was a match even for Warden Magellan. And with the exception of [[spoiler:Ace]], all of these and more are free thanks to Luffy and Blackbeard.
** [[spoiler:Caribou, sealed evil in a barrel.]] Poor mermaids.
* The anime version of ''{{Pretear}}'' starts with [[DarkMagicalGirl the villain]] breaking free after sixteen years of being sealed away. And in the manga version, she ''remains'' sealed -- but still manages to [[DemonicPossession possess others]] anyway. [[spoiler:Specially true in the case of Himeno's stepmom Natsue, her main "host".]]
* In ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', the evil raven was
Ice Barrier, sealed away long ago by a prince who broke his heart into shards; powerful sage. Unfortunately, the raven gradually gains power through the series and is fully freed when the prince's heart is returned to him.
* Most
people of the villains Ice Barrier get so desperate in ''Anime/SailorMoon'' a war they decided to unleash them. When they got to the last, Trishula, it wound up getting them all killed. The three dragons were sealed until recently, except for re-sealed, but eventually got infected by the last season. In the first season, inside the can (the Dark Kingdom/Negaverse) was ''another'' can, with another, bigger Sealed Evil (Metallia/Negaforce) inside it; the forces of the Dark Kingdom spent most of their time draining energy from people in order to charge the metaphorical can opener needed to release her.
** In the last season (in the anime at least), it is revealed that [[spoiler:at the end of the first Sailor War, Sailor Galaxia had sealed Chaos inside her own body,
Evilswarm and sent away her own Star Seed (which would become Chibi Chibi) in hopes to not have it corrupted.]]
* Poseidon from SaintSeiya, sealed in a jar. ''Literally''. He manages to employ GrandTheftMe on a boy named Julian Solo, and through Julian, he gathers the Marine Generals in hopes of defeating Athena and her Saints so he can properly get out. [[spoiler:He not only fails, but is ''again'' sealed.]]
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'': Kiruru.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' has Ruby-Eye Shabranigdo, which was broken into seven pieces and sealed in humans (and gets
let out every now and then), Zanafar, and for good measure Shabranigdo's lieutenant Chaos Dragon Gaav.
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', the SealedEvilInACan is the Kishin, an insane creature who wreaked havoc upon the world until being sealed. The people working for the Shinigami do so to prevent the creation of another Kishin, which would occur if someone consumed a large number of human souls. It is not until half-way through the series that the main characters discover that the "original" Kishin is still alive, and imprisoned underneath their city.
** [[BodyHorror In a bag made out of his own skin]]. [[{{Squick}} Ew]].
*** Not only does said Evil get out, but the manga later reveals that there are [[EldritchAbomination similar]] creatures trapped elsewhere, although the Great Old One in Eibon's book has more in common with Shinigami than their estranged comrade Asura.
** At the end of the manga, the Kishin is left as [[spoiler:Sealed Evil ''[[WeirdMoon on the Moon]]'' by [[FromNobodyToNightmare Chrona.]] Hir method of doing so leaves the both of them, plus the moon, in a giant bubble of black blood.]]
* The 3 big bad Tayutai in ''VisualNovel/{{Tayutama}}'' are strong, but their method of sealing might have needed to be reinforced. They were freed by a runaway moped. On the other hand, it let [[SealedGoodInACan Mashiro]] out into the world, so it all balances out.
* Ryoko, from ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', was sealed away as a traditional demon in the {{OVA}}s; however, after calming down by dueling Tenchi for an episode, she joined the cast as a protagonist and suitor for Tenchi's hand. Washuu was in a similar situation in the TV series.
* The Decepticon army that Crosswise was jailer of in ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'', until [[TheStarscream Starscream]] freed them.
* In ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'', Sedna was sealed away in the sea and on land.
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', Beatrice; The Golden Witch, The Endless Witch, The Witch Who Has Lived For A Thousand Years; is set up as this. [[spoiler:However, the longer the story goes on, the less that seems to actually be the case]]. According to her, the can she was sealed in was originally meant to seal something else. [[spoiler:This is also most likely not the case.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'', Hakuoro finally has his CrowningMomentOfAwesome and has the BigBad Sealed In A Can. [[spoiler:Since he has to merge with his EvilTwin to do so, it counts as both SealedEvilInACan and SealedGoodInACan.]]
* In ''Anime/YuGiOh'', Pharaoh Atem took the contingency plan of sealing both the BigBad and [[SealedGoodInACan himself]] 3000 years ago, until both resurfaced roughly simultaneously when their respective containers were found by archaeologists.
** Despite his good intentions, [[KnightTemplar Atem's]] [[DemonicPossession less than polite hosting methods]] and [[DisproportionateRetribution outdated ideas of justice]] made ''him'' a close case of Sealed Evil In A Can in the early manga until Yugi got hold of [[TheKidWithTheLeash The Leash]] and convinced Atem to not do such stuff again.
** In ''Anime/YuGiOhCapsuleMonsters'', Alexander's evil half was sealed in the pyramid while his good side was left in the Capsule Monsters world.
again.



[[folder: Comic Books]]

* In ''ComicBook/TheAstoundingWolfMan'', [[spoiler:Gorgg]] is an ancient and evil golem that was imprisoned under Stonehenge. As soon as he is released by [[spoiler:The Face]], he goes to kill the blood relatives of those who imprisoned him.
* Lampshaded in the short-lived comic ''BMG'', where the BigBad releases TheDragon from a can labeled "Instant evil. Just add water."
* The Lord of Locusts from ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}''.
* Franchise/TheDCU:
** The PhantomZone is essentially an other-dimensional prison that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone.
** The Source Wall is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall...only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place ({{Superman}}) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.
* In a [[WesternAnimation/TheDisneyAfternoon Disney Afternoon]] crossover event in ''Magazine/DisneyAdventures'', the [[ComicBook/TheLegendOfTheChaosGod Chaos God himself]], Solego, was trapped in two pieces: a crystal held his mind and a gold medallion held his powers. Uniting the pieces released him and ''that'' isn't a good thing.
* Zom, from ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange'' - a surprisingly obscure hyperdemon who was sealed in a special amphora in another dimension. ''Horrifically'' powerful. He was initially imprisoned by a coalition of cosmic beings, including Eternity and frickin' Dormammu, and when he was let out, he frightened Umar (Dormammu's even scarier sister) so much she ran home and said she'd never come out again. Considering how bad-ass he is, the "can", or amphora, must truly be the can of the gods.
** Then came ''WorldWarHulk'', when a [[GodzillaThreshold desperate Strange]] let Zom back ''out'' of the bottle -- and quickly discovered that EvilIsNotAToy.
* ''ComicBook/{{Earth 2}}'':
** Green Lantern defeats Grundy by putting him in a place where there is no life for him to corrupt. Namely, [[spoiler: the Moon]].
** The Red Lantern. If she escapes from the Earth's core, the world is doomed.
* Caged Demonwolf (Molestor of Worlds!) from ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' is an EldritchAbomination that Emp trapped into an alien-made power-draining bondage gear. ItMakesSenseInContext.
* ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}''' second BigBad came out of his can due to the effects of the heroes saving the world.
** Also, the djinn that Frau Totenkinder dealt with earlier, although that was more of a case of amoral and incredibly dangerous and destructive, especially in the hands of an evil man, but not evil in and of itself.
* In Marvel comics, ComicBook/{{Galactus}} acts as a can on a greater, multiverse-destroying evil. Most of the energy he gets from his food goes to maintaining the seal, explaining his unusual diet.
* In the ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' tie-in comic ''Godzilla Awakening'', originally, Shinomura and Godzilla (and for that matter every radiovore) fled deep beneath the earth as the radiation levels receded. It was only after the bombing of Hiroshima that lured Shinomura from its hiding place.
* ''GreenLantern: Rebirth'' revealed that the long-established "[[KryptoniteFactor yellow impurity]]" in the Central Power Battery was actually ''Parallax'', the "yellow fear entity," an [[AnthropomorphicPersonification insectile manifestation]] of that emotion, released when Hal "Greatest GL of them All" Jordan entered the Central Battery years before. Before it was in a box that was stolen from Maltus by Larfleeze and his crew. Later it was imprisoned in a Sciencell, and finally got ripped apart and stashed in four separate batteries.
* One of the main foes of ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' is the [=Ogdru Jahad=], an EldritchAbomination on par with Cthulhu and the boys.
* The Warlock Graveyard in ''ComicBook/IHuntMonsters'' is this, housing many powerful monsters in it and kept in check by an obelisk that needs to be recharged every century of so. It the protagonist's disbelief and reluctance that ends up freeing the monsters and he forced to track them down and re-seal them.
* In ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'', Johnny's constant murders are (partially) motivated by the need for fresh blood to paint on one of the walls in his house, which keeps the monster trapped behind it from physically getting out. [[spoiler:After Johnny's accidental suicide, the creature breaks free and is revealed to be a [[CosmicHorror horrible, bloodthirsty mass of tentacles and faces]]; Johnny's conversation with [[{{Satan}} Señor Diablo]] implies that it was made up of all the evil emanated by humanity, and its escape was serious enough [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt to require the universe to be rebooted]].]]
* ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'':
** The comics occasionally feature early JLA enemies the Demons Three (Abnegazar, Ghast, and Rath), evil beings who ruled the Earth a billion years ago until being imprisoned in crypts by mysterious powerful entities called the Timeless Ones. The three Demons were eventually summoned/released in the present by Felix Faust, with occasional other escapes from imprisonment since then.
** The Queen of Fables is the evil queen from the story ''Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', which actually happened in this universe, but there, Snow White defeated her by trapping her inside a story book. However, the Queen was able to use this to her advantage, becoming a DomainHolder inside the world of the book. In the modern times, she escaped to trouble the world again, and had the ability to travel back and forth from the book. She is defeated when she attempts to retreat into the book, but Franchise/TheFlash swaps it for a US tax records book at the last second. The Justice League hoped that with nothing imaginative inside that book, the Queen would be unable to do anything, but she eventually managed to escape.
* Ragamuffin, from ''ComicBook/LenoreTheCuteLittleDeadGirl'', the eternal vampire scourge who eats people alive, is [[SealedEvilInATeddyBear trapped in a rag doll]] for the most part of the comics.
* The French comic book ''ComicBook/LesLegendaires'' introduces the [[GodOfEvil Evil God]] Anathos, whose essence was trapped a long time ago by the other gods in a living prison called the Bearer. While his origin is a typical use of the trope, the way he comes back is partially subverted, as he frees himself by taking control of the Bearer and using DemonicPossession, as well as manipulating one of the protagonists rather than another villain; the original Big Bad, Darkhell, actually attempted to prevent his return rather than helping him.
* Loki's first appearance shows him imprisoned inside a tree. He would become free only if his captivity causes someone to shed a tear. No one missed Loki strongly enough to want to cry, so he forces Heimdall to shed a tear by poking him in the eye with a leaf.
** Let's just say Loki was sealed and/or [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment punished]] in one way or another so many times in the years that some incarnations (like the Comicbook/LokiAgentOfAsgard one) outright claimed to be the [[EscapeArtist bona fide expert on escaping from them]]. ''Why'' people still try to imprison Loki is a great mystery.
** Another example of this in Comicbook/TheMightyThor franchise is Mangog, the sum total of the hatred of a race that was slain by Odin. It was imprisoned with a warning on the door until released by the [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Rock Troll]] Ulik who thought it would be an ally against Asgard.
** Then there were older foes of Asgard imprisoned by Odin. Ymir the Frost Giant, Surter the Fire Demon, and Skagg the Storm Giant, the last two were released by Loki to attack Odin.
** And more recently, there's [[ComicBook/FearItself The Serpent]], God of Fear [[spoiler: and Odin's brother]], who Odin sealed in a prison at the bottom of the ocean ages ago, until freed by Sin (who had been transformed into one of his Worthy).
* Parodied in a 1983 nine-page story in ''ComicBook/LoveAndRockets'' by Jamie Hernandez called ''Maggie vs Maniakk''. Maggie plays with a "Mayamese mini transporter" and accidentally frees Maniakk, a costumed super evil trapped in limbo/the ninth dimension by Ultimax, a superhero now down on his luck.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', the seraph Meleos long ago created the Basanos, a living, extremely powerful living tarot deck as both a complement to Destiny's book (which contains nearly everything that will ever happen) and a means of recording and preserving humanity's thoughts. The latter function, however, corrupted the Basanos and turned them into beings of pure evil, so Meleos has since locked them in a box. However, [[spoiler:when Lucifer demands the use of the Basanos for divination, Meleos resolves to destroy them and opens the box, whereupon the cards overpower him and escape.]]
* [[MarvelComics Tiamut the Dreaming Celestial]] was exiled to Earth by his Celestial brethren for committing a crime against "life itself". [[spoiler:Later revealed to be a case of SealedGoodInACan. Tiamut objected when the others tried to cull the Deviants of Earth, and was punished for it. The Deviants understandably worship Tiamut as their savior.]]
* A somewhat ambiguous example in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'', where [[spoiler:Chrysalis and her Changelings are imprisoned in their own castle at the end of the first StoryArc with the animated Pinkie Pie suit to entertain them (well, entertain the soldiers, annoy Chrysalis). Twilight indicates it would take them "a while" to break out. However, recently, on page 11 of Friends Forever Issue #8, a sign under the Mount Monument observation deck reads "Sign the petition to add Queen Chrysalis to the monument" and bears Chrysalis' fresh signature, which in turn strongly suggests they have since recovered and are back to plotting and causing trouble for Equestria.]]
* The Sohrem of ''{{Manga/Nightschool}}''.
* One episode of ''Comicbook/TheSandman'' had an Arabian Nights-flavored tale with a medieval caliph (kind of like a Muslim king/pope) who wanted to talk to Dream. The caliph went into a dark secret room and took out an ancient globe full of demons, threatening to break it and release them all. Morpheus appeared, took the globe and pocketed it, and ''then'' inquired what the caliph wanted.
* ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}''. Doomsday was living Sealed Evil, but ultimately broke out of his own can. He keeps getting re-sealed in stronger cans (we hope!).
** The quote on the main page has Luthor being a bit resentful that somebody sealed Doomsday and dumped the can on Earth, but Earth did pretty much the same thing. Doomsday can only be ''temporarily'' killed, and even if you can do that you don't want him around when he wakes up again, because he mutates in such a way as to be immune to whatever killed him last time. So somebody managed it, packaged him up, and launched him into space, which eventually resulted in him landing on Earth. What does Cyborg Superman do with Doomsday's body? Strap it to an asteroid and throw it into space. [[spoiler: It later turns out that Cyborg Superman is actually villain Hank Henshaw.]]
* In the conclusion of ''ComicBook/TheThanosImperative'' event, [[spoiler:the now immortal Thanos is trapped in the Cancer Verse. Star-Lord and Nova trapped him there along with themselves to keep him from destroying their own universe in his rage at being forever denied the embrace of his beloved Death.]] Subverted when it turns out he escaped later on.
* Jurid from ComicBook/ThievesAndKings, also known as "the Dawn Swallower", is a powerful monster, but spent a thousand years or so stuck in a glass bottle, trapped by a young girl.

to:

[[folder: Comic Books]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In ''ComicBook/TheAstoundingWolfMan'', [[spoiler:Gorgg]] "The Garden" segment of ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives'', Garfield (who is an ancient a kitten here) and evil golem that was imprisoned Cloey (his owner in this life) are given a magical garden by Uncle Tod when he joins the circus, under Stonehenge. As soon as he is released by [[spoiler:The Face]], he goes to kill the blood relatives of those who imprisoned him.
* Lampshaded in the short-lived comic ''BMG'', where the BigBad releases TheDragon from a can labeled "Instant evil. Just add water."
* The Lord of Locusts from ''ComicBook/{{Bone}}''.
* Franchise/TheDCU:
** The PhantomZone is essentially an other-dimensional prison
condition that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where they never open the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone.
** The Source Wall is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall...only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place ({{Superman}}) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.
* In a [[WesternAnimation/TheDisneyAfternoon Disney Afternoon]] crossover event in ''Magazine/DisneyAdventures'', the [[ComicBook/TheLegendOfTheChaosGod Chaos God himself]], Solego, was trapped in two pieces: a
crystal held his mind and a gold medallion held his powers. Uniting box on the pieces released him and ''that'' isn't a good thing.
* Zom, from ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange'' - a surprisingly obscure hyperdemon who was sealed in a special amphora in another dimension. ''Horrifically'' powerful. He was initially imprisoned by a coalition of cosmic beings, including Eternity and frickin' Dormammu, and when he was let out, he frightened Umar (Dormammu's even scarier sister) so much she ran home and said she'd never come out again. Considering how bad-ass he is, the "can", or amphora, must truly be the can of the gods.
** Then came ''WorldWarHulk'', when a [[GodzillaThreshold desperate Strange]] let Zom back ''out'' of the bottle -- and quickly discovered that EvilIsNotAToy.
* ''ComicBook/{{Earth 2}}'':
** Green Lantern defeats Grundy by putting him in a place where there is no life for him to corrupt. Namely, [[spoiler: the Moon]].
**
checkered toadstool. The Red Lantern. If she escapes from the Earth's core, the world trope is doomed.
* Caged Demonwolf (Molestor of Worlds!) from ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' is an EldritchAbomination that Emp trapped into an alien-made power-draining bondage gear. ItMakesSenseInContext.
* ''Comicbook/{{Fables}}''' second BigBad came
subverted here because, out of his can due loyalty to the effects of the heroes saving the world.
** Also, the djinn that Frau Totenkinder dealt with earlier, although that was more of a case of amoral and incredibly dangerous and destructive, especially in the hands of an evil man, but not evil in and of itself.
* In Marvel comics, ComicBook/{{Galactus}} acts as a can on a greater, multiverse-destroying evil. Most of the energy he gets from his food goes
Uncle Tod, they decide ''not'' to maintaining the seal, explaining his unusual diet.
open it.
* In the ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' tie-in comic ''Godzilla Awakening'', originally, Shinomura and Godzilla (and for that matter every radiovore) fled deep beneath strip ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'', the earth as the radiation levels receded. It was only after the bombing title dragon owned a collection of Hiroshima that lured Shinomura from its hiding place.
* ''GreenLantern: Rebirth'' revealed that the long-established "[[KryptoniteFactor yellow impurity]]" in the Central Power Battery was actually ''Parallax'', the "yellow fear entity," an [[AnthropomorphicPersonification insectile manifestation]] of that emotion, released when Hal "Greatest GL of them All" Jordan entered the Central Battery years before. Before it was in a box that was stolen from Maltus by Larfleeze and his crew. Later it was imprisoned in a Sciencell, and finally got ripped apart and stashed in four separate batteries.
* One of the main foes of ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' is the [=Ogdru Jahad=], an EldritchAbomination on par with Cthulhu and the boys.
* The Warlock Graveyard in ''ComicBook/IHuntMonsters'' is this, housing many powerful monsters in it and kept in check by an obelisk that needs to be recharged every century of so. It the protagonist's disbelief and reluctance that ends up freeing the monsters and he forced to track them down and re-seal them.
* In ''ComicBook/JohnnyTheHomicidalManiac'', Johnny's constant murders are (partially) motivated by the need for fresh blood to paint on one of the walls in his house,
magical orbs containing vicious demons, which keeps the monster trapped behind it from physically getting out. [[spoiler:After Johnny's accidental suicide, the creature breaks free and is revealed to be a [[CosmicHorror horrible, bloodthirsty mass of tentacles and faces]]; Johnny's conversation with [[{{Satan}} Señor Diablo]] implies that it was made up of all the evil emanated by humanity, and its escape was serious enough [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt to require the universe to be rebooted]].]]
* ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'':
** The comics occasionally feature early JLA enemies the Demons Three (Abnegazar, Ghast, and Rath), evil beings who ruled the Earth a billion years ago until being imprisoned in crypts by mysterious powerful entities called the Timeless Ones. The three Demons were eventually summoned/released in the present by Felix Faust, with occasional other escapes from imprisonment since then.
** The Queen of Fables is the evil queen from the story ''Literature/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', which actually happened in this universe, but there, Snow White defeated her by trapping her inside a story book. However, the Queen was able to use this to her advantage, becoming a DomainHolder inside the world of the book. In the modern times, she escaped to trouble the world again, and had the ability to travel back and forth from the book. She is defeated when she attempts to retreat into the book, but Franchise/TheFlash swaps it for a US tax records book at the last second. The Justice League hoped that with nothing imaginative inside that book, the Queen would be unable to do anything, but she eventually managed to escape.
* Ragamuffin, from ''ComicBook/LenoreTheCuteLittleDeadGirl'', the eternal vampire scourge who eats people alive, is [[SealedEvilInATeddyBear trapped in a rag doll]] for the most part of the comics.
* The French comic book ''ComicBook/LesLegendaires'' introduces the [[GodOfEvil Evil God]] Anathos, whose essence was trapped a long time ago by the other gods in a living prison called the Bearer. While his origin is a typical use of the trope, the way he comes back is partially subverted, as he frees himself by taking control of the Bearer and using DemonicPossession, as well as manipulating one of the protagonists rather than another villain; the original Big Bad, Darkhell, actually
human wizard attempted to prevent his return rather than helping him.
* Loki's first appearance shows him imprisoned inside
steal. This being a tree. He would become free only if his captivity causes someone to shed a tear. No one missed Loki strongly enough to want to cry, so he forces Heimdall to shed a tear by poking him in humor comic, Wormy used the eye with a leaf.
** Let's just say Loki was sealed and/or [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment punished]] in one way or another so many times in the years that some incarnations (like the Comicbook/LokiAgentOfAsgard one) outright claimed to be the [[EscapeArtist bona fide expert on escaping from them]]. ''Why'' people still try to imprison Loki is a great mystery.
** Another example of this in Comicbook/TheMightyThor franchise is Mangog, the sum total of the hatred of a race that was slain by Odin. It was imprisoned with a warning on the door until released by the [[AllTrollsAreDifferent Rock Troll]] Ulik who thought it would be an ally against Asgard.
** Then there were older foes of Asgard imprisoned by Odin. Ymir the Frost Giant, Surter the Fire Demon, and Skagg the Storm Giant, the last two were released by Loki to attack Odin.
** And more recently, there's [[ComicBook/FearItself The Serpent]], God of Fear [[spoiler: and Odin's brother]], who Odin sealed in a prison at the bottom of the ocean ages ago, until freed by Sin (who had been transformed into one of his Worthy).
* Parodied in a 1983 nine-page story in ''ComicBook/LoveAndRockets'' by Jamie Hernandez called ''Maggie vs Maniakk''. Maggie plays with a "Mayamese mini transporter" and accidentally frees Maniakk, a costumed super evil trapped in limbo/the ninth dimension by Ultimax, a superhero now down on his luck.
orbs as snooker balls.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', ''ComicStrip/HsuAndChan'', the seraph Meleos long ago created the Basanos, Tanaka brothers fight off a living, extremely powerful living tarot deck as both a complement to Destiny's book (which contains nearly everything that will ever happen) and a means of recording and preserving humanity's thoughts. The latter function, however, corrupted the Basanos and turned them into beings of pure evil, so Meleos has since locked demon invasion by sealing them in a box. However, [[spoiler:when Lucifer demands the use of the Basanos for divination, Meleos resolves to destroy them various trinkets and opens the box, whereupon the cards overpower him and escape.]]
* [[MarvelComics Tiamut the Dreaming Celestial]] was exiled to Earth by his Celestial brethren for committing a crime against "life itself". [[spoiler:Later revealed to be a case of SealedGoodInACan. Tiamut objected when the others tried to cull the Deviants of Earth, and was punished for it. The Deviants understandably worship Tiamut as their savior.]]
* A somewhat ambiguous example in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'', where [[spoiler:Chrysalis and her Changelings are imprisoned in their own castle at the end of the first StoryArc with the animated Pinkie Pie suit to entertain them (well, entertain the soldiers, annoy Chrysalis). Twilight indicates it would take them "a while" to break out. However, recently, on page 11 of Friends Forever Issue #8, a sign under the Mount Monument observation deck reads "Sign the petition to add Queen Chrysalis to the monument" and bears Chrysalis' fresh signature, which in turn strongly suggests they have since recovered and are back to plotting and causing trouble for Equestria.]]
* The Sohrem of ''{{Manga/Nightschool}}''.
* One episode of ''Comicbook/TheSandman'' had an Arabian Nights-flavored tale with a medieval caliph (kind of like a Muslim king/pope) who wanted to talk to Dream. The caliph went into a dark secret room and took out an ancient globe full of demons, threatening to break it and release them all. Morpheus appeared, took the globe and pocketed it, and ''then'' inquired what the caliph wanted.
* ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}''. Doomsday was living Sealed Evil, but ultimately broke out of his own can. He keeps getting re-sealed in stronger cans (we hope!).
** The quote on the main page has Luthor being a bit resentful that somebody sealed Doomsday and dumped the can on Earth, but Earth did pretty much the same thing. Doomsday can only be ''temporarily'' killed, and even if you can do that you don't want him around when he wakes up again, because he mutates in such a way as to be immune to whatever killed him last time. So somebody managed it, packaged him up, and launched him into space, which eventually resulted in him landing on Earth. What does Cyborg Superman do with Doomsday's body? Strap it to an asteroid and throw it into space. [[spoiler: It later turns out that Cyborg Superman is actually villain Hank Henshaw.]]
* In the conclusion of ''ComicBook/TheThanosImperative'' event, [[spoiler:the now immortal Thanos is trapped in the Cancer Verse. Star-Lord and Nova trapped him there along with themselves to keep him from destroying their own universe in his rage at being forever denied the embrace of his beloved Death.]] Subverted when it turns out he escaped later on.
* Jurid from ComicBook/ThievesAndKings, also known as "the Dawn Swallower", is a powerful monster, but spent a thousand years or so stuck in a glass bottle, trapped by a young girl.
keepsakes.



[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=121155 Dark Depths]], which, after certain conditions are met, i.e. the costly "unsealing" process of removing ten ice counters from it, creates a [[http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/mtgcom/arcana1000/1119_maritlagetoken.jpg large and damn near unkillable monster]].
** For a much older example, consider the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=1098 Bottle of Suleiman]], which upon being sacrificed has a 50/50 chance of either releasing a fairly powerful djinn that joins your forces or else simply blowing up in your face.
** And then there's the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=74492 Tomb of Urami]], who nets you a big demon at the price of sacrificing all of your lands.
** Yawgmoth, the guy who makes planeswalkers look like muggles and Dominaria's version of the Devil, was sealed in a whole other plane back when he was a mortal. He wanted back in and spent thousands of years in a battle of wits with AntiHero Urza with his freedom as the stakes.
** In the ''Zendikar'' expansion a group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called the Eldrazi were got sealed away by [[DarkIsNotEvil Sorin Markov]] and two other guys, turning all of Zendikar into a prison for them. The final set in the ''Zendikar'' block, ''Rise of the Eldrazi'', sees them loosed on the Multiverse.
** A plot-relevant example can be found in the ''Innistrad'' expansion: The Helvault was created by the archangel [[BigGood Avacyn]] to seal away demons that she couldn't outright defeat. The plot of the expansion is set in motion when, by twist of fate, Avacyn herself becomes sealed inside the Helvault.
** The demon Withengar, also from the ''Innistrad'' expansion, was sealed inside [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147a.html Elbrus, the Binding Blade]]. If the Blade tastes blood, [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147b.html Withengar is freed.]]
** Certain cards allow players to set up Sealed Evil in a Can situations. Cards like [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=oblivion+ring&v=card&s=cname Oblivion Ring]] and [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=journey+to+nowhere&v=card&s=cname Journey to Nowhere]] let a player seal an opponent's creature in a can but any card that can remove the enchantment frees them. [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=summoner%27s+egg&v=card&s=cname Summoner's Egg]] goes the other direction, letting a player seal a creature from their hand and bringing it to the battlefield for free if the Egg gets destroyed.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh!'' has several monsters like this, the mo st memorable being Exodia (who is split up into five pieces and allows you to ''win the game'' should you have all five in your hand; in the anime, it did take a huge ritual to unseal it) and all versions of the three God Cards (Egyptian, Sacred Beasts, and "Wicked Gods", all of which need three sacrifices to bring out and have devastating power, and two of which have fusions of themselves that are even ''more'' powerful). In the anime, they are so powerful that most of them are sealed up themselves, and it's considered madness for anyone to try and duel with them in their deck.
** The [[Metaplot/YuGiOhHiddenArsenal Hidden Arsenal storyline]] has the three dragons of the Ice Barrier, sealed away long ago by a powerful sage. Unfortunately, the people of the Ice Barrier get so desperate in a war they decided to unleash them. When they got to the last, Trishula, it wound up getting them all killed. The three dragons were re-sealed, but eventually got infected by the Evilswarm and let out again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In "The Garden" segment of ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives'', Garfield (who is a kitten here) and Cloey (his owner in this life) are given a magical garden by Uncle Tod when he joins the circus, under the condition that they never open the crystal box on the checkered toadstool. The trope is subverted here because, out of loyalty to Uncle Tod, they decide ''not'' to open it.
* In the comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'', the title dragon owned a collection of magical orbs containing vicious demons, which a human wizard attempted to steal. This being a humor comic, Wormy used the orbs as snooker balls.
* In ''ComicStrip/HsuAndChan'', the Tanaka brothers fight off a demon invasion by sealing them in various trinkets and keepsakes.
[[/folder]]



[[folder: Literature]]

* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' starts off with a cosmic menace called the Blight being woken by insufficiently paranoid humans.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', specifically in the ''Revelation'' (''[[InsistentTerminology not]]'' Revelations) of John, {{Satan}} is going to be confined to the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he'll be released to wreak havoc upon the world one last time. Then [[CurbStompBattle God will smoke Satan's entire army]] at the FinalBattle, and then [[HumiliationConga he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to stay]].
* The ''BlackCompany'' starts out with the can already having been opened but not all of the way in a bit of evil on evil backstabbery. Their employer was sealed away by the White Rose but then released by a group of sorcerers called the Resurrectionists. As thanks the Lady, a powerful sorceress who was sealed in there, kills them and then prevents her husband from getting out so she can keep the power to herself. He is not pleased and it's implied the world is doomed if he ever does get out. [[spoiler:Once the Lady loses her powers and essentially switches sides against her former lieutenant, the Dominator is ultimately defeated and sealed in a silver spike, at which point is instantly reduced to ostensible ArtifactOfDoom and consummate MacGuffin that spawns a titular sequel chronicling the mad scramble to be the first wizard to obtain and unlock its secrets. Since the attempt to put the evil in a can inside another can that just happened to be the offspring of a PhysicalGod was foiled miserably by a band of local scum, the PhysicalGod drops it off in a SwirlyEnergyThingy with assurances that the threat is [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil vanquished forever]], just like the even older SealedEvilInACan he himself guards.]]
* The Scourge in ''Literature/TheBlackTattoo''.
* Wyrm, the enormous, snakelike EldritchAbomination that is the main villain of ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', was sealed inside the earth during the creation of the world to stop him from destroying the universe. The aim of the main characters is to prevent his escape.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', the RequisiteRoyalRegalia were keeping a Chaos force in check. When they were removed for a coronation, WeatherDissonance broke out, to be followed by more serious Chaos monstrosities, and an Inquisitor and a squad of {{space marine}}s had to return the regalia to stop it.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'', children being held hostage by [[spoiler: Greek gods]] are nevertheless not sure that their own parents are entirely in the right; they find out, in due course, that they are hostage to prevent the forces of Chaos from moving against the universe and destroying it. [[spoiler: They set up themselves to live safely and free in the universe until the gods could stand against the forces, without going home and so triggering such a war.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'', the Creator sealed his EvilCounterpart Lord Foul the Despiser in The Land in order to keep the rest of the universe safe. Unfortunately, the Creator didn't really think it through very well, as Lord Foul can now wreak havoc ''within'' The Land freely, and if the Creator tries to interfere directly, it'll let Lord Foul out and destroy the Arch of Time (the universe).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman takes a knife and lets loose an evil city.
** Thugra Khotan in "Literature/BlackColossus".
* 19th century example: The 1842 German novella ''Die schwarze Spinne'' (''The Black Spider'') by Jeremias Gotthelf: heavily steeped in Christian-conservative symbolism, the story, based on folktales, contrasts pastoral life with satanic influences. The titular black spider (a metaphor for the Black Plague) is created when a ruthless [[EvilAristocrat knight baron]] forces the peasants of a remote valley in the Alps to work themselves nearly to death. The [[{{Satan}} devil]] in the form of a wild huntsman offers the desperate peasants his help, in exchange for a yet unborn unchristened child. The only person who is willing to strike such a pact is a farmer's wife (and originally a foreigner, adding a touch of xenophobia). The devil kisses her cheek; from this kiss grows an evil tumor in the form of a black spider. Twice, when the devil comes to collect a newborn, the local priest baptizes the child in the nick of time, but as punishment, the monstrous spider, now adult, births thousands of tiny spiders that start killing livestock and people, and finally breaks free from the face of the farmer's wife (who dies) and kills the priest and baby. The spider is finally sealed away when a brave mother, to protect her own newborn, grabs it and, dying, imprisons it in a hole in a wooden beam of her house, into which she hammers a peg to seal away the spider forever. Generations later, when people have stopped believing in the tale and become "sinful", [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy a bragging servant pulls out the peg on a drunken bet and releases the devil spider]], until it can again be sealed away by a pious woman who remembers the old tales and sacrifices her life for her child.
* Not truly ''evil'', but definitely not good. In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Archchancellor Ridcully decides to unseal the door to a special bathtub invented by Bergoldt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, simply because it was barred shut. When asked why he wanted it opened, he replied, "To see why they wanted it shut, of course!" Creator/TerryPratchett added the following footnote:
-->This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilization. At least, those bits of it that are not under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
** Pratchett also explores this theme in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', where, in a time when Death is non-existent, Evil returns in the form of dinky little snow-globes that people want to love and cherish, since as you pick them up and shake them, snow appears to fall around models of city landmarks, and look, they'e even labelled ''A Present From Ankh-Morpork'', how cool is ''that''? But the globes are seeds of a potent and cruel ancestral evil that preys upon and kills cities....
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the villain finds a [[spoiler: Basilisk]] that had been turned to stone, and, of course, decides to use it, after using blood magic to set it free. [[spoiler: While it is too stupid to be actually ''evil'', it still is a dangerous big predator. The heroes eventually manage to turn it back to stone.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragoneyes}}'' the sealed evil is actually a {{Precursor}} name Ochekol'kan. She was locked up by the other precursors behind five doors (of Stone, Water, Air, Fire, and Lightning) after single-handedly killing all the elves. Because she lost a beauty contest, no less.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels, and ''D&D'' campaign setting, Takhisis was essentially a sealed evil in a can from the end of the Third Dragonwar, when Huma Dragonbane forced her to swear to leave Krynn and never return, and the Cataclysm, when she found a way to get around that oath. In an interesting variation on this trope, it was when Berem stole the emerald from the pillar of Takhisis' temple, killing his sister Jasla in the process, that Takhisis was partially resealed.
** She was actually able to get around her oath because of the Cataclysm — its precise wording was that she would never return "while the world was whole". With half the main continent blown up, the world was no longer whole so she was able to return. It's a bit of a stretch, but Takhisis ''is'' the [[GodOfEvil Queen of Darkness]].
* ''Dragontales'', a collection of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-related stories.
** In "The Wizards Are Dying", the godling lich Xanthak is released from imprisonment when a group of adventurers takes a jeweled cross called the Nga from the door that seals his cell. Another group of adventurers has to put him back in his cell and seal it again.
** "Out of the Eons", one of Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short stories. Adonair is an evil deity from another universe trapped in a brick-lined cubicle eons ago by the deities of Niall's universe. During the course of the story Niall accidentally releases him and he and the gods must find a way to destroy him.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', [[spoiler:Demonreach is the can to hundreds or possibly ''thousands'' of evils, and [[EldritchAbomination Skinwalkers]] are among the ''least'' dangerous. Unlike most examples, the creator of the prison -- the real Arthurian Merlin, incidentally -- had the forethought to build in a failsafe in case the occupants ever escaped -- one that will ''[[GodzillaThreshold vaporize most of the continent just to slow the prisoners down]]'', because that's actually the ''lesser'' of two evils.]]
** Oh, and in book 11, Harry [[spoiler: becomes its Warden, a position which among other things grants him the authority to release any of the prisoners. Which also means that if Demonreach is a giant can full of the most terrifying evils in the world, then Harry has got the can opener.]]
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/DumaKey'', the villain, Perse, is an evil doll/creature who is sealed in a keg which was dropped down a well. Unfortunately, the keg had been leaking for some time and by the time the main character finds it, it's almost empty. He eventually ends up [[spoiler:sealing Perse in a flashlight filled with water (her weakness) and eventually creates a tight, silver container to hold that it and throws it into a lake.]]
** Another king example is the short story "The Crate", later adapted as one of the segments of ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', where a crate containing a terrible monster is opened by a janitor.
* The blade Stormbringer in ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' by Creator/MichaelMoorcock straddles the border between this and EvilWeapon as it is both the form of an EldritchAbomination that it takes on the mortal plane, and is the trap it is bound into. At the end of the saga, [[spoiler: it finally breaks free as it is forced to consume a truly indestructible soul, Elric's, and is finally free to race through the universe, the last bit of Chaos left to supply growth and change in a universe of Law — supposedly this one.]]
* Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'' did this in an interesting way: the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular [[TheEmpire Empire]], was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled. [[spoiler: They were right about the first point, barely. About the second, they were wrong. Also, Ardneh tricked them into releasing Orcus so that he could destroy Orcus and the Empire [[ThanatosGambit in a single stroke]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' has several examples of these, most notably the demons of Zzyzx.
* In the late Creator/JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.
* While not a single character, the Mijaki were confined to the borders of their lands in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' because they made the '''world''' evil. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hekat]] then decides to change things.
* In ''Literature/TheGolgothaSeries'', Golgotha contains an abundance of ancient sealed evils:
** The Darkling, also known as Uktena, Chilong, or Nyarlathotep, is imprisoned beneath the silver mines in Mount Argent.
** The town cemetery contains a powerful evil sealed within one of the graves, which must be kept surrounded by a salt circle lest it break free.
** A cave in Mt. Argent contains the Skull of the First Murderer, which imprisons a powerful manitou that could cause a humanity-ending HatePlague if freed.
** The town well connects to an underground river that runs through a buried temple where Typhon, Father of Monsters, is imprisoned.
* Morhavon the Black and the place under the palace catacombs where evil spirits are sealed away from the ''GreenRider'' series.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', the titular chamber contains [[spoiler:Slytherin's monster, an enormous basilisk]].
** Also in the same volume, Tom Riddle's diary has the "memory" of the teenage Voldemort sealed inside, which Ginny unknowingly awakens through her liberal use of the diary.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', it's implied that Voldemort's [[FateWorseThanDeath final fate]] is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, [[spoiler:the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died]]) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
** All the Horcruxes are technically this, being [[spoiler: the containers of pieces of Voldemort's warped, twisted soul]]. All the Horcruxes exhibit malevolent powers, from [[spoiler: the diary, that hypnotized Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets]], to the locket, [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill Harry by drowning him in a frozen lake while he was wearing it]].
* The Damned, from ''Literature/HellsChildren'', by Andrew Boland, are sealed evil in a can, who spend the entire book trying to get out.
* In Mitchell Scalon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy'' novel ''Descent of Angels'', Lion (with Luther's help) [[NiceJobBreakingItHero unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban]]. In Mike Lee's ''Fallen Angels'', it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
* Another [[Creator/RobertAntonWilson Wilson]] co-wrote the ''Literature/{{illuminatus}}'' series of books. This includes the idea that one of the foullest and most vicious Shoggoths was in antiquity sealed in a pentagonal prison somewhere on the eastern North American plain, appeased with the blood and souls of those who died un-natural deaths. The secret of the pentagon was passed down through a series of custodians, the last of whom built a five-sided building complex around it from which the leaders of that continent's strongest power organised escalating wars, so as to appease the beast and keep it in souls. Hiding the secret in plain sight, they even called their prison building complex ''The Pentagon''.
* F. Paul Wilson's ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'' has Radu Molasar, advance man for [[CosmicHorror The Otherness]], sealed in a castle in Romania until ThoseWackyNazis accidentally let him out.
* In ''Killdozer!'' by Creator/TheodoreSturgeon the construction crew on a Pacific island accidentally releases a being that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] any metal object and only wishes to kill. The being got sealed in a [[MadeOfIndestructium neutronium sphere]] by accident and survived while its relatives and their accidental creators destroyed each other (killing all life on Earth in the process too).
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/KnownSpace World of Ptavvs]]'' has a scientific team accidentally releasing a Slaver, an ancient alien with large-scale mind control powers and an intense attitude problem, from the stasis field it has been trapped in for a billion years.
* In ''Literature/ALandFitForHeroes'', the Illwrack Changeling, Dark Lord and champion of the dwenda, had his soul imprisoned within a sword. The dwenda plan to resurrect him by recovering the sword and transferring his soul into a new body.
* Creator/DanielKeysMoran's ''The Last Dancer'' has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach BadassNormal from the ''other side'' and who has a major attitude problem (compare ''World of Ptavvs'' above). He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the ''other'' BigBad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
* [[CosmicHorror Something Bad]] is waiting in Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]''....
** And it's only the most obvious. TheLaundrySeries' world is ''full'' of various [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] sealed in cans of various shapes and colors with different opening protocols. You have the Sleeper in the Pyramid, the Infovore, the Deep One in Jennifer Morgue, the Eater of Souls, ... And the Laundry and its sister agencies' job is to make sure that everyone remains in his can.
* In James Alan Gardner's ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Hunted]]'', the [[HumanoidAliens Mandasars]] have queens who are very smart, very large, very strong, can persuade other Mandasars to do anything by emitting the right pheromones, and are physiologically hardwired so that each queen believes that ''she'' is the most competent person around and ''should'' be in charge. Having more than about four of them on the planet tends to mean endless power struggles; having that few risks having them all die. The solution implemented is to have a bunch of queens in [[HumanPopsicle cryonic storage]]. While they aren't evil per se, waking them all up at once is still [[CivilWar really, really bad]].
* It's what happens at the end of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book ''Kingdom Come'', with [[LaResistance the Other Light faction]] serving as Satan's FinalBattle army. In fact, the Other Light subsect The Only Light believes that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he could be powerful enough to defeat God (whom [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom the Only Light believes doesn't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary]]) and all those who follow Him when Satan is released. Which, unfortunately for them, didn't turn out as they expected.
* Jadis the White Witch in ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' put herself into suspended animation after destroying her world, and left [[SchmuckBait a way for any visitors to wake her up]], so that they’d take her to a new world.
* The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]] of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' are notable offenders for this. During their genocidal war against the Jaghut and, off-and-on, the Forkrul Assail, they developed a ritual for binding enemies when they lacked the strength to directly kill them. Either pinned under massive stone slabs or buried in barrows, it's not uncommon for their ancient enemies to be unearthed.
** The Azath House seals away both good and evil, trapping them until such a time as they are needed in the world or the Azath dies.
** It's not entirely clear who was doing the sealing, but there have also been cases of bound K'Chain Che'Malle who predate even the T'lan Imass.
** The heroes spend most of the series believing that [[spoiler:the Crippled God is this, but he turns out to be a subversion as he's not so much evil as simply mad. Freeing him ends up undoing his madness and he ultimately assists the heroes in preventing the extinction of the human race, making him more of a SealedGoodInACan.]]
* The ''Literature/MarlaMason'' series has the Outsider, a god-eating eldritch abomination which was long ago imprisoned beneath Death Valley. Marla accidentally releases it in ''Bride of Death'' and has to deal with it in ''Lady of Misrule''.
* In ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'', the BigBad, Ineluki, is a [[TheFairFolk Sithi]] sorcerer who [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went mad]] trying to protect his people from the [[HumansAreBastards onslaught of mankind]]. He cast a [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique forbidden spell]] in an attempt to destroy the conquering army, but killed himself instead. Even in death, however, his hatred burned so strongly that his spirit refused to leave the world, lingering instead in the realms beyond death for five hundred years, until the circumstances become right for him to be freed via a complex ritual involving DemonicPossession. It is stated outright that if he succeeds he will [[OmnicidalManiac destroy all living things]] in his longing for Unbeing.
* In ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', Ruin, the [[OmnicidalManiac primal force of chaos and destruction]] was imprisoned by his "good" counterpart Preservation after they teamed up to create life. This is a bit more complicated than most examples because Preservation split Ruin apart to make his release more difficult. Ruin's mind was put in [[spoiler: the Well of Ascension]], while the bulk of his power was bound into [[spoiler: the atium]]. The problem was, even an imprisoned Ruin still had some power, so he [[spoiler: altered the prophecies regarding a messianic figure called the Hero of Ages to say that the Hero should go to the Well of Ascension and release its power to the being trapped there. Following the prophecy, the heroine of the trilogy does this. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops]].]]
* The Tessier-Ashpools in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' repeatedly freeze themselves to maintain the dynasty. They're arguably more selfish and prideful than evil, but they do also keep a ninja on ice.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', the angel Islington is situated in the center of a labyrinth deep, deep underground. It turns out that this is for a very good reason: [[spoiler: He was trapped there as punishment for destroying Atlantis]].
* Peter F. Hamilton does this in at least two series: in ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'' Series, a wandering alien accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, and in ''Pandora's Star'' and ''Judas Unchained'', an alien menace is released by its hidden enemy (who has [[spoiler: arranged a long-term "LetsYouAndHimFight" situation between the menace and humanity]]).
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' trilogy, the latter two books lead up to the release of Orannis the Destroyer, the BigBad, from his "can".
* Initially in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Kronos' remains are just in a particularly creepy sarcophagus that gets stronger every time a demigod forsakes the Olympians and joins his side. [[spoiler: Later, Luke graduates to being his SoulJar]].
* ''Literature/ThePiloFamilyCircus'' is built on the prison for a [[spoiler: race of [[CosmicHorror gigantic reptiles — all of whom possess godlike power and all of whom are hungry for tender human flesh]].]] The circus' managers, Kurt and George Pilo, do [[spoiler: their]] bidding by causing as much havoc on Earth as possible — in the hope that whoever jailed [[spoiler: them]] will be forced to negotiate [[spoiler: their]] sentence. However, their attempts at escape are temporarily foiled when the circus is closed down and most of its staff killed at the end of the novel — though the main character's dreams suggest that it will return one day.
-->'''[[MonsterClown Gonko]]:''' You come get your chuckles whenever you're ready, 'cause if they ain't lettin' ''me'' go, they ain't lettin' ''you'' go. Best believe that. Show's down but not out, mark my words. We'll be back in town, my pretty, and I don't recall offering you a severance package.
* In Gerald Brom's ''Literature/ThePlucker'', the titular monster is sealed within a voodoo spirit doll. [[WhatKindOfLamePowerisHeartAnyway It's up to regular dolls to stop it when it is accidentally freed]].
* The initial premise of ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' is that the God of Evil was imprisoned by the other surviving gods, but is now reaching out to influence things. Later books introduce successive complications, but those drift rapidly away from this trope.
* In the ZombieApocalypse novels ''The Rising'' and ''City of the Dead'', the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent obots]] were sealed by {{God}} in another dimension, known as the Void. An experiment GoneHorriblyWrong cracked it open, and KillEmAll ensued.
* ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'': Etheldredda, the BigBad of ''Physik'' has spent 500 years trapped in a [[PhantomZonePicture painting]] before being released.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' ends with the sealing of EvilOverlord [[BigBad Morgoth]] in the void beyond the boundaries of the world. He never escapes, though it is implied that Sauron was trying to find some way to release him during the Second Age.
** Morgoth also spends 3,000 years in a can as punishment by the Valar. Eventually, because GoodCannotComprehendEvil, they let him out for good behaviour, thinking he's repented. He hasn't.
** Tolkien's ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'' mentions a battle called Dagor Dagorath (the Battle of Battles) that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt will take place at the end of time]], in which Morgoth will be set free and [[TheDogBitesBack finally be defeated by]] [[CosmicPlaything Túrin Turambar]].
** From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the [[EldritchAbomination Balrog of Moria]], which was unleashed when the Dwarves DugTooDeep.
** The [[ArtifactOfDoom One Ring]] itself is Sealed Evil In A Can, as it has [[SoulJar Sauron's ill will forged within it]].
* Creator/ColinWilson's ''Literature/TheSpaceVampires'' has a space mission to find a derelict ship drifting in the solar system. The astronauts board it and retrieve what they believe to be several [[RubberForeheadAliens human-like alien]] bodies. It turns out they're possessed by evil energy beings that live off the life energies of others. The very pulpy movie adaptation (called ''Lifeforce'') has a similar initial situation, though it diverges pretty massively after that (the aliens [[spoiler:turn their victims into zombies]]).
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Ragnor's Claw'', Botchulaz.
* Okoya, the eponymous soul-eater of ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Thief of Souls]]'', begins the book immobilized on a cliff face. In the prologue, he's unsealed by an earthquake.
* Several times in the Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse. There's the ''Dithparu'' (essentially evil spirits), who are trapped by magnetic fields in an AncientTomb, [[Literature/StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold Malkus the Mighty]], an immortal tyrant whose consciousness was sealed in a box, and The Eight, who got loose in the Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch, setting up a SequelHook.
* Subverted in [[Creator/MatthewTobinAnderson M. T. Anderson's]] book ''Literature/{{Thirsty}}'', in which a group of vampires are trying to free the Sealed Evil, the god of vampires, and one character pretends to be trying to kill the vampire god in order to protect humanity, but in reality is assisting the god in committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'': The insane clone Dark Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth more or less sealed himself, ending up on the planet that TheEmperor used as a personal museum/storehouse. C'baoth had no interest in the storehouse facility even after killing its guardian, and inhabitants of the planet had roughly feudal levels of technology. So he stayed there and ruled them, using his raw Force abilities and sort of mass mind-control to keep them cowed and obedient. Then Grand Admiral Thrawn [[EvilIsNotAToy showed up and recruited C'baoth]] with promises of new Force-sensitives to train and mold, both because C'baoth's Battle Meditation could allow great synchronization and increased efficiency in the fleet, and because he wanted the cloning technology in the facility. Thrawn's second in command ''really'' did not want to rely at all on someone so unreliable, but he was overruled. C'baoth's inevitable attempt at seizing power involved taking control of the ''entire Imperial fleet''; when Thrawn talked him down and sent him back to that planet, C'baoth's next plan started with brainwashing an officer to the point where he had no will or mind anymore and died shortly after being taken away from the insane Master.
** Another example of sorts in the same trilogy — an insane Bpfasshi Dark Jedi had been killed by Yoda on Dagobah, and his essence infused the tree where Luke had his pivotal vision during ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Another example from the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse: insane EldritchAbomination Abeloth was sealed in a massive cluster of black holes, with a gravity-generating space station acting as a lock keeping her trapped there and unable to influence things on the physical place, and the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Light Side and the DarkSide of the Force doing an EnemyMine every few thousand years to renew the lock whenever it started to break. This [[NiceJobBreakingItHero took the heroes]] over half a century to break; Anakin Skywalker killed the locksmiths, later protagonists broke the space station (they thought it was just a superweapon and didn't want it falling into the wrong hands), and then they used the black hole cluster where the ethereal monster was kept as a fortress. It still managed to keep her for about a decade.
** Four hundred years before ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Ithorians tinkered with gene splicing and created something horrible. It took the Jedi to contain it. The Ithorians' ActualPacifist beliefs make them averse to driving anything to extinction, so they isolated a sample and buried it in a tunnel in an asteroid. It was harmless sealed in a pod in the vacuum of space. Unfortunately they didn't bother with keeping a guard on it, so when someone DugTooDeep...
* Arguably, a lot of the ''Literature/TheImmortals'' of Creator/TamoraPierce's Literature/TortallUniverse series, after a bunch of mages locked them up in the Realms of the Gods. It didn't stick. Many of them are benign and decide to adapt to living with humans, but some are persistently vicious. Particularly giant human-headed spiders called spidrens, and a species of predatory flying horse called hurroks.
* In the series ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dark One is making good progress in eroding the makeshift seal on the hole in the Creator-made prison that's kept it imprisoned for thousands of years. The hole was made back during what is known by the timeline of the books as the Age of Legends, although they did manage to patch it up again as best they could. Being as it is ''the'' God of Evil, existing outside reality, sealing and resealing really ''is'' the only option. During his resealing, his 13 highest-ranking disciples were sealed (mostly) outside of time as well, they ended up being freed first to pave the way for his return.
** Stasis Boxes fit this trope when used for preserving the Gholams, not-quite-undead super assassins from the War of Power, beyond time and space.
** How about Mierin's experiment in the Age of Legends that let the Dark One out in the first place? Even better because back then, nobody knew the Dark One existed, and her experiment was intended to tap a greater source of magical power able to be used by men and women (as opposed to the separate halfs of the one power). She later became Lanfear, one of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the dark one, though judging by a bit of Aiel ancestral memory that is tapped into, she was not evil to begin with, ie at the time of her experiment (as part of a team).
** Mordeth/Mashadar is/are unable to leave Shadar Logoth after the fall of Aridhol (why is never really explained, but perhaps it was sealed intentionally). Mat Cauthon (or Padan Fain, or both) release it into the world at large after Mat removes the dagger. The can later [[spoiler:is completely obliterated while cleansing sai'din]].
* With Friends Like These... by {{Alan Dean Foster}}: Humanity was sealed under a forcefield a long time ago because we scared the aliens that badly. When aliens later release the humans in exchange for helping them against a bigger menace, one of the aliens has the sense to worry, "What happens when we run out of enemies?".
* In ''Literature/WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''Literature/TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.
* UsefulNotes/NorthKorea in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. One day, in the early stages of the Zombie War, the entire country simply disappeared -- DIA spy satellites stopped picking up any activity or indeed signs of life within the Democratic People's Republic. The best bet is that the entire population relocated to massive underground bunkers. Nothing has been heard since, which means one of two things: Either one of them was infected, or none of them were. In the former case, that means one of two things: either they controlled the outbreak, or they did not. If the didn't, then 24 million Zombies are waiting beneath the surface, trapped in the tunnel system, and Communist architecture - well, it ain't all that good. If no-one was infected and/or they managed to control the outbreak, then 24 million fanatical, nuclear armed fascists are waiting on one side of the Korean DMZ, and when they find out how weak the rest of humanity is...
* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''Literature/YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.
** Then in ''A Wizard's Holiday'', the protagonists have to, among other things, [[spoiler: open the seal and let the Lone Power out]].
* ''[[Literature/ZeusIsDead Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure]]'' uses this one quite literally. Apparently after the first Titan War, Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans ''in actual cans''.
* Creator/ChristopherMoore is a big fan of this trope, most notably in ''Literature/PracticalDemonkeeping'' (Catch, the titular demon, is actually sealed away in a jar), ''[[Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff Lamb]]'' [[spoiler: Baltazaar keeps Catch, the same demon from the earlier novel, in a magically-sealed room which he tells Biff to stay away from. (Schmuck Bait)]] and ''[[Literature/BloodsuckingFiends You Suck]]''.
* [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. Indeed, most CosmicHorror uses a can of some sort to explain why the super-powerful beings haven't ''already'' destroyed humanity. In this case, however, nobody appears to have done the actual sealing or unsealing; the elder gods are just "sleeping", and will awaken "when the stars are right".
** He almost gets out in ''[[CthulhuMythos Call of Cthulhu]]'', only to be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu run down by a steamship]] stuffed back in the can.
** However, the Great Old Ones are not evil per se (save perhaps Nyarlathotep, and he is not always classed as one, and is properly an Outer God, ) but uncaring - they are simply far too powerful for us to matter to them, rather like a human stepping on ants (or for a better example, but purely Scots, the midge) and/or simply mindless - Azathoth for example, could (and apparently will) destroy everything, but he is blind, deaf, mute and completely unintelligent,and is no more evil than a hurricane.
** Another example in Lovecraft's work is ''The Haunter of the Dark'', an avatar of the god Nyarlatotep who is sealed inside the shining trapezohedron and can be summoned by gazing into it. Unlike the Great Old Ones, summoning him doesn't result in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], but he most likely wants some human sacrifices in exchange for secret knowledge or wants to possess you in order to get mankind to blow itself up.
* Quite a few of John Connolly's short stories involve SealedEvilInACan: the Daemon buried under the church in "Mr Pettinger's Daemon"; the [[TheFairFolk Fairies]] trapped inside their fort in "The New Daughter"; the monster chained up at the bottom of the lake in "Deep Dark Green"; the nest of hibernating giant spiders in "The Wakeford Abyss"...
** Also, in his novel ''Literature/TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
* One of Creator/MRJames’s favorite tropes was having an unpleasant being imprisoned in a tomb, grave, or ruin, inevitably later disturbed. Stories in this pattern include "Count Magnus" (the count's sarcophagus has three padlocks on it), "An Episode of Cathedral History", and "The Rose Garden".
* Alex Verus encounters two of these. One is a magician who sealed himself in an artifact. The other is a magician who is trying to live forever by killing others like the long dead vampires.
* Complex example in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''. Millennia ago, [[{{Precursors}} the Inapt]] faced a mysterious enemy known only as "the Worm". Unable to destroy it, they ''were'' able to force it underground and then banish those caverns to AnotherDimension, warded away from the living world by a series of magical seals. To keep the central seal strong enough, [[MagicKnight Argastos]], who lead the Inapt army, was bound into it - and since he wasn't exactly a nice guy himself, that means it was a case of a Sealed Evil being used to shore up the prison of ''another'' Sealed Evil. However, it worked... [[spoiler: until the Wasp Empress Seda tried to bind Argastos' power for herself, and her rival Cheerwell Maker tried to stop her. The result was that the now lich-like Argastos was destroyed and the Seal of the Worm popped open. NiceJobBreakingItHero (and villain) indeed]].

to:

[[folder: Literature]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' Every Bal Sagoth song starts off with a cosmic menace called "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all the Blight being woken by insufficiently paranoid humans.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', specifically in
more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush the ''Revelation'' (''[[InsistentTerminology not]]'' Revelations) mind of John, {{Satan}} is going to be confined to anyone near it, then plunge the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he'll be released to wreak havoc upon the world one last time. Then [[CurbStompBattle God will smoke Satan's entire army]] Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark
at the FinalBattle, and then [[HumiliationConga he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to stay]].
* The ''BlackCompany'' starts out with the can already having been opened but not all of the way in a bit of evil on evil backstabbery. Their employer was sealed away
Moon" by the White Rose but then released by a group of sorcerers called the Resurrectionists. As thanks the Lady, a powerful sorceress who was sealed in there, kills them and then prevents her husband from getting out so she can keep the power to herself. He Music/OzzyOsbourne is not pleased and it's implied the world is doomed if he ever does get out. [[spoiler:Once the Lady loses her powers and essentially switches sides against her former lieutenant, the Dominator is ultimately defeated and sealed in a silver spike, at which point is instantly reduced to ostensible ArtifactOfDoom and consummate MacGuffin that spawns a titular sequel chronicling the mad scramble to be the first wizard to obtain and unlock its secrets. Since the attempt to put the evil in a can inside another can that just happened to be the offspring of a PhysicalGod was foiled miserably by a band of local scum, the PhysicalGod drops it off in a SwirlyEnergyThingy with assurances that the threat is [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil vanquished forever]], just like the even older SealedEvilInACan he himself guards.]]
* The Scourge in ''Literature/TheBlackTattoo''.
* Wyrm, the enormous, snakelike EldritchAbomination that is the main villain of ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', was sealed inside the earth during the creation of the world to stop him from destroying the universe. The aim of the main characters is to prevent his escape.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', the RequisiteRoyalRegalia were keeping a Chaos force in check. When they were removed for a coronation, WeatherDissonance broke out, to be followed by more serious Chaos monstrosities, and an Inquisitor and a squad of {{space marine}}s had to return the regalia to stop it.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'', children being held hostage by [[spoiler: Greek gods]] are nevertheless not sure that their own parents are entirely in the right; they find out, in due course, that they are hostage to prevent the forces of Chaos from moving against the universe and destroying it. [[spoiler: They set up themselves to live safely and free in the universe until the gods could stand against the forces, without going home and so triggering such a war.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'', the Creator sealed his EvilCounterpart Lord Foul the Despiser in The Land in order to keep the rest of the universe safe. Unfortunately, the Creator didn't really think it through very well, as Lord Foul can now wreak havoc ''within'' The Land freely, and if the Creator tries to interfere directly, it'll let Lord Foul out and destroy the Arch of Time (the universe).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman takes a knife and lets loose an evil city.
** Thugra Khotan in "Literature/BlackColossus".
* 19th century example: The 1842 German novella ''Die schwarze Spinne'' (''The Black Spider'') by Jeremias Gotthelf: heavily steeped in Christian-conservative symbolism, the story, based on folktales, contrasts pastoral life with satanic influences. The titular black spider (a metaphor for the Black Plague) is created when a ruthless [[EvilAristocrat knight baron]] forces the peasants of a remote valley in the Alps to work themselves nearly to death. The [[{{Satan}} devil]] in the form of a wild huntsman offers the desperate peasants his help, in exchange for a yet unborn unchristened child. The only person who is willing to strike such a pact is a farmer's wife (and originally a foreigner, adding a touch of xenophobia). The devil kisses her cheek; from this kiss grows an evil tumor in the form of a black spider. Twice, when the devil comes to collect a newborn, the local priest baptizes the child in the nick of time, but as punishment, the monstrous spider, now adult, births thousands of tiny spiders that start killing livestock and people, and finally breaks free from the face of the farmer's wife (who dies) and kills the priest and baby. The spider is finally sealed away when a brave mother, to protect her own newborn, grabs it and, dying, imprisons it in a hole in a wooden beam of her house, into which she hammers a peg to seal away the spider forever. Generations later, when people have stopped believing in the tale and become "sinful", [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy a bragging servant pulls out the peg on a drunken bet and releases the devil spider]], until it can again be sealed away by a pious woman who remembers the old tales and sacrifices her life for her child.
* Not truly ''evil'', but definitely not good. In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Archchancellor Ridcully decides to unseal the door to a special bathtub invented by Bergoldt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, simply because it was barred shut. When asked why he wanted it opened, he replied, "To see why they wanted it shut, of course!" Creator/TerryPratchett added the following footnote:
-->This exchange contains almost all you need to know
about human civilization. At least, those bits of it a beast that are not under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
** Pratchett also explores this theme in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', where, in
once terrorized a time when Death is non-existent, Evil returns in the form of dinky little snow-globes that people want to love and cherish, since as you pick them up and shake them, snow appears to fall around models of city landmarks, and look, they'e even labelled ''A Present From Ankh-Morpork'', how cool is ''that''? But the globes are seeds of a potent and cruel ancestral evil that preys upon and kills cities....
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the villain finds a [[spoiler: Basilisk]] that had been turned to stone, and, of course, decides to use it, after using blood magic to set it free. [[spoiler: While it is too stupid to be actually ''evil'', it still is a dangerous big predator. The heroes
town, but was eventually manage to turn it back to stone.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragoneyes}}'' the sealed evil is actually a {{Precursor}} name Ochekol'kan. She was locked up by the other precursors behind five doors (of Stone, Water, Air, Fire, and Lightning) after single-handedly killing all the elves. Because she lost a beauty contest, no less.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels, and ''D&D'' campaign setting, Takhisis was essentially a sealed evil
buried in a can from the end of the Third Dragonwar, when Huma Dragonbane forced her to swear to leave Krynn and never return, and the Cataclysm, when she found a way to get around that oath. In an interesting variation on this trope, it was when Berem stole the emerald from the pillar of Takhisis' temple, killing his sister Jasla in the process, that Takhisis was partially resealed.
** She was actually able to get around her oath because of the Cataclysm — its precise wording was that she would never return "while the world was whole". With half the main continent blown up, the world was no longer whole so she was able to return. It's a bit of a stretch, but Takhisis ''is'' the [[GodOfEvil Queen of Darkness]].
* ''Dragontales'', a collection of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-related stories.
** In "The Wizards Are Dying", the godling lich Xanthak is released from imprisonment when a group of adventurers takes a jeweled cross called the Nga from the door that seals his cell. Another group of adventurers has to put him back in his cell and seal it again.
** "Out of the Eons", one of Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short stories. Adonair is an evil deity from another universe trapped in a brick-lined cubicle eons ago by the deities of Niall's universe. During the course of the story Niall accidentally releases him and he and the gods must find a way to destroy him.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', [[spoiler:Demonreach is the can to hundreds or possibly ''thousands'' of evils, and [[EldritchAbomination Skinwalkers]] are among the ''least'' dangerous. Unlike most examples, the creator of the prison -- the real Arthurian Merlin, incidentally -- had the forethought to build in a failsafe in case the occupants ever escaped -- one that will ''[[GodzillaThreshold vaporize most of the continent just to slow the prisoners down]]'', because that's actually the ''lesser'' of two evils.]]
** Oh, and in book 11, Harry [[spoiler: becomes its Warden, a position which among other things grants him the authority to release any of the prisoners. Which also means that if Demonreach is a giant can full of the most terrifying evils in the world,
nameless grave. And then Harry has got the can opener.]]
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/DumaKey'', the villain, Perse, is an evil doll/creature who is sealed in a keg which was dropped down a well. Unfortunately, the keg had been leaking for some time and by the time the main character finds it, it's almost empty. He eventually
he ends up [[spoiler:sealing Perse in a flashlight filled with water (her weakness) and eventually creates a tight, silver container returning to hold that it and throws it into a lake.]]
** Another king example is the short story "The Crate", later adapted as one
cause some more destruction.
* In "Gatekeeper" by WithinTemptation sort
of the segments of ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', where a crate containing a terrible monster is opened by a janitor.
[[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* The blade Stormbringer in ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' by Creator/MichaelMoorcock straddles the border between this and EvilWeapon as it is both the form of an EldritchAbomination that it takes on the mortal plane, and is the trap it is bound into. At the end of the saga, [[spoiler: it finally breaks free as it is forced to consume a truly indestructible soul, Elric's, and is finally free to race through the universe, the last bit of Chaos left to supply growth and change in a universe of Law — supposedly this one.]]
* Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'' did
Just saw this in an interesting way: the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular [[TheEmpire Empire]], was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled. [[spoiler: They were right opening of an article about the first point, barely. About third ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is
the second, they were wrong. Also, Ardneh tricked them into releasing Orcus so that he could destroy Orcus and the Empire [[ThanatosGambit in a single stroke]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' has several examples of these, most notably the demons of Zzyzx.
* In the late Creator/JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact
case with it.
* While not a single character, the Mijaki were confined to the borders of their lands in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' because they made the '''world''' evil. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hekat]] then decides to change things.
* In ''Literature/TheGolgothaSeries'', Golgotha contains an abundance of
all ancient sealed evils:
** The Darkling, also known as Uktena, Chilong, or Nyarlathotep, is imprisoned beneath the silver mines in Mount Argent.
** The town cemetery contains a powerful evil sealed within one of the graves, which must be kept surrounded by a salt circle lest it break free.
** A cave in Mt. Argent contains the Skull of the First Murderer, which imprisons a powerful manitou that could cause a humanity-ending HatePlague if freed.
** The town well connects to an underground river that runs through a buried temple where Typhon, Father of Monsters, is imprisoned.
* Morhavon the Black and the place under the palace catacombs where evil spirits are sealed away from the ''GreenRider'' series.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', the titular chamber contains [[spoiler:Slytherin's monster, an enormous basilisk]].
** Also in the same volume, Tom Riddle's diary has the "memory" of the teenage Voldemort sealed inside, which Ginny unknowingly awakens through her liberal use of the diary.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', it's implied that Voldemort's [[FateWorseThanDeath final fate]] is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, [[spoiler:the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died]]) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
** All the Horcruxes are technically this, being [[spoiler: the containers of pieces of Voldemort's warped, twisted soul]]. All the Horcruxes exhibit malevolent powers, from [[spoiler: the diary, that hypnotized Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets]], to the locket, [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill Harry by drowning him in a frozen lake while he
evils, 80's rock music was wearing it]].
* The Damned, from ''Literature/HellsChildren'', by Andrew Boland, are sealed evil in a can, who spend the entire book trying to get out.
* In Mitchell Scalon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy'' novel ''Descent of Angels'', Lion (with Luther's help) [[NiceJobBreakingItHero unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban]]. In Mike Lee's ''Fallen Angels'', it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
* Another [[Creator/RobertAntonWilson Wilson]] co-wrote the ''Literature/{{illuminatus}}'' series of books. This includes the idea that one of the foullest and most vicious Shoggoths was in antiquity sealed in a pentagonal prison somewhere on the eastern North American plain, appeased with the blood and souls of those who died un-natural deaths. The secret of the pentagon was passed down through a series of custodians, the last of whom built a five-sided building complex around it from which the leaders of that continent's strongest power organised escalating wars, so as to appease the beast and keep it in souls. Hiding the secret in plain sight, they even called their prison building complex ''The Pentagon''.
* F. Paul Wilson's ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'' has Radu Molasar, advance man for [[CosmicHorror The Otherness]], sealed in a castle in Romania until ThoseWackyNazis accidentally let him out.
* In ''Killdozer!'' by Creator/TheodoreSturgeon the construction crew on a Pacific island accidentally releases a being that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] any metal object and only wishes to kill. The being got sealed in a [[MadeOfIndestructium neutronium sphere]] by accident and survived while its relatives and their accidental creators destroyed each other (killing all life on Earth in the process too).
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/KnownSpace World of Ptavvs]]'' has a scientific team accidentally releasing a Slaver, an ancient alien with large-scale mind control powers and an intense attitude problem, from the stasis field it has been trapped in for a billion years.
* In ''Literature/ALandFitForHeroes'', the Illwrack Changeling, Dark Lord and champion of the dwenda, had his soul imprisoned within a sword. The dwenda plan to resurrect him by recovering the sword and transferring his soul into a new body.
* Creator/DanielKeysMoran's ''The Last Dancer'' has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach BadassNormal from the ''other side'' and who has a major attitude problem (compare ''World of Ptavvs'' above). He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the ''other'' BigBad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
* [[CosmicHorror Something Bad]] is waiting in Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]''....
** And it's only the most obvious. TheLaundrySeries' world is ''full'' of various [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] sealed in cans of various shapes and colors with different opening protocols. You have the Sleeper in the Pyramid, the Infovore, the Deep One in Jennifer Morgue, the Eater of Souls, ... And the Laundry and its sister agencies' job is to make sure that everyone remains in his can.
* In James Alan Gardner's ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Hunted]]'', the [[HumanoidAliens Mandasars]] have queens who are very smart, very large, very strong, can persuade other Mandasars to do anything by emitting the right pheromones, and are physiologically hardwired so that each queen believes that ''she'' is the most competent person around and ''should'' be in charge. Having more than about four of them on the planet tends to mean endless power struggles; having that few risks having them all die. The solution implemented is to have a bunch of queens in [[HumanPopsicle cryonic storage]]. While they aren't evil per se, waking them all up at once is still [[CivilWar really, really bad]].
* It's what happens at the end of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book ''Kingdom Come'', with [[LaResistance the Other Light faction]] serving as Satan's FinalBattle army. In fact, the Other Light subsect The Only Light believes that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he could be powerful enough to defeat God (whom [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom the Only Light believes doesn't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary]]) and all those who follow Him when Satan is released. Which, unfortunately for them, didn't turn out as they expected.
* Jadis the White Witch in ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' put herself into suspended animation after destroying her world, and left [[SchmuckBait a way for any visitors to wake her up]], so that they’d take her to a new world.
* The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]] of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' are notable offenders for this. During their genocidal war against the Jaghut and, off-and-on, the Forkrul Assail, they developed a ritual for binding enemies when they lacked the strength to directly kill them. Either pinned under massive stone slabs or buried in barrows, it's not uncommon for their ancient enemies to be unearthed.
** The Azath House seals away both good and evil, trapping them until such a time as they are needed in the world or the Azath dies.
** It's not entirely clear who was doing the sealing, but there have also been cases of bound K'Chain Che'Malle who predate even the T'lan Imass.
** The heroes spend most of the series believing that [[spoiler:the Crippled God is this, but he turns out to be a subversion as he's not so much evil as simply mad. Freeing him ends up undoing his madness and he ultimately assists the heroes in preventing the extinction of the human race, making him more of a SealedGoodInACan.]]
* The ''Literature/MarlaMason'' series has the Outsider, a god-eating eldritch abomination which was long ago imprisoned beneath Death Valley. Marla accidentally releases it in ''Bride of Death'' and has to deal with it in ''Lady of Misrule''.
* In ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'', the BigBad, Ineluki, is a [[TheFairFolk Sithi]] sorcerer who [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went mad]] trying to protect his people from the [[HumansAreBastards onslaught of mankind]]. He cast a [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique forbidden spell]] in an attempt to destroy the conquering army, but killed himself instead. Even in death, however, his hatred burned so strongly that his spirit refused to leave the world, lingering instead in the realms beyond death for five hundred years, until the circumstances become right for him to be freed via a complex ritual involving DemonicPossession. It is stated outright that if he succeeds he will [[OmnicidalManiac destroy all living things]] in his longing for Unbeing.
* In ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', Ruin, the [[OmnicidalManiac primal force of chaos and destruction]] was imprisoned by his "good" counterpart Preservation after they teamed up to create life. This is a bit more complicated than most examples because Preservation split Ruin apart to make his release more difficult. Ruin's mind was put in [[spoiler: the Well of Ascension]], while the bulk of his power was bound into [[spoiler: the atium]]. The problem was, even an imprisoned Ruin still had some power, so he [[spoiler: altered the prophecies regarding a messianic figure called the Hero of Ages to say that the Hero should go to the Well of Ascension and release its power to the being trapped there. Following the prophecy, the heroine of the trilogy does this. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops]].]]
* The Tessier-Ashpools in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' repeatedly freeze themselves to maintain the dynasty. They're arguably more selfish and prideful than evil, but they do also keep a ninja on ice.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', the angel Islington is situated in the center of a labyrinth deep, deep underground. It turns out that this is for a very good reason: [[spoiler: He was trapped there as punishment for destroying Atlantis]].
* Peter F. Hamilton does this in at least two series: in ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'' Series, a wandering alien accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, and in ''Pandora's Star'' and ''Judas Unchained'', an alien menace is released by its hidden enemy (who has [[spoiler: arranged a long-term "LetsYouAndHimFight" situation between the menace and humanity]]).
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' trilogy, the latter two books lead up to the release of Orannis the Destroyer, the BigBad, from his "can".
* Initially in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Kronos' remains are just in a particularly creepy sarcophagus that gets stronger every time a demigod forsakes the Olympians and joins his side. [[spoiler: Later, Luke graduates to being his SoulJar]].
* ''Literature/ThePiloFamilyCircus'' is built on the prison for a [[spoiler: race of [[CosmicHorror gigantic reptiles — all of whom possess godlike power and all of whom are hungry for tender human flesh]].]] The circus' managers, Kurt and George Pilo, do [[spoiler: their]] bidding by causing as much havoc on Earth as possible — in the hope that whoever jailed [[spoiler: them]] will be forced to negotiate [[spoiler: their]] sentence. However, their attempts at escape are temporarily foiled when the circus is closed down and most of its staff killed at the end of the novel — though the main character's dreams suggest that it will return one day.
-->'''[[MonsterClown Gonko]]:''' You come get your chuckles whenever you're ready, 'cause if they ain't lettin' ''me'' go, they ain't lettin' ''you'' go. Best believe that. Show's down but not out, mark my words. We'll be back in town, my pretty, and I don't recall offering you a severance package.
* In Gerald Brom's ''Literature/ThePlucker'', the titular monster is sealed within a voodoo spirit doll. [[WhatKindOfLamePowerisHeartAnyway It's up to regular dolls to stop it when it is accidentally freed]].
* The initial premise of ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' is that the God of Evil was imprisoned by the other surviving gods, but is now reaching out to influence things. Later books introduce successive complications, but those drift rapidly away from this trope.
* In the ZombieApocalypse novels ''The Rising'' and ''City of the Dead'', the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent obots]] were sealed by {{God}} in another dimension, known as the Void. An experiment GoneHorriblyWrong cracked it open, and KillEmAll ensued.
* ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'': Etheldredda, the BigBad of ''Physik'' has spent 500 years trapped in a [[PhantomZonePicture painting]] before being released.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' ends with the sealing of EvilOverlord [[BigBad Morgoth]] in the void beyond the boundaries of the world. He
never escapes, though it is implied that Sauron was trying to find some way to release him during the Second Age.
** Morgoth also spends 3,000 years in a can as punishment by the Valar. Eventually, because GoodCannotComprehendEvil, they let him out for good behaviour, thinking he's repented. He hasn't.
** Tolkien's ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'' mentions a battle called Dagor Dagorath (the Battle of Battles) that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt will take place at the end of time]], in which Morgoth will be set free and [[TheDogBitesBack finally be defeated by]] [[CosmicPlaything Túrin Turambar]].
** From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the [[EldritchAbomination Balrog of Moria]], which was unleashed when the Dwarves DugTooDeep.
** The [[ArtifactOfDoom One Ring]] itself is Sealed Evil In A Can, as it has [[SoulJar Sauron's ill will forged within it]].
* Creator/ColinWilson's ''Literature/TheSpaceVampires'' has a space mission to find a derelict ship drifting in the solar system. The astronauts board it and retrieve what they believe to be several [[RubberForeheadAliens human-like alien]] bodies. It turns out they're possessed by evil energy beings that live off the life energies of others. The very pulpy movie adaptation (called ''Lifeforce'') has a similar initial situation, though it diverges pretty massively after that (the aliens [[spoiler:turn their victims into zombies]]).
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Ragnor's Claw'', Botchulaz.
* Okoya, the eponymous soul-eater of ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Thief of Souls]]'', begins the book immobilized on a cliff face. In the prologue, he's unsealed by an earthquake.
* Several times in the Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse. There's the ''Dithparu'' (essentially evil spirits), who are trapped by magnetic fields in an AncientTomb, [[Literature/StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold Malkus the Mighty]], an immortal tyrant whose consciousness was sealed in a box, and The Eight, who got loose in the Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch, setting up a SequelHook.
* Subverted in [[Creator/MatthewTobinAnderson M. T. Anderson's]] book ''Literature/{{Thirsty}}'', in which a group of vampires are trying to free the Sealed Evil, the god of vampires, and one character pretends to be trying to kill the vampire god in order to protect humanity, but in reality is assisting the god in committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'': The insane clone Dark Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth more or less sealed himself, ending up on the planet that TheEmperor used as a personal museum/storehouse. C'baoth had no interest in the storehouse facility even after killing its guardian, and inhabitants of the planet had roughly feudal levels of technology. So he stayed there and ruled them, using his raw Force abilities and sort of mass mind-control to keep them cowed and obedient. Then Grand Admiral Thrawn [[EvilIsNotAToy showed up and recruited C'baoth]] with promises of new Force-sensitives to train and mold, both because C'baoth's Battle Meditation could allow great synchronization and increased efficiency in the fleet, and because he wanted the cloning technology in the facility. Thrawn's second in command ''really'' did not want to rely at all on someone so unreliable, but he was overruled. C'baoth's inevitable attempt at seizing power involved taking control of the ''entire Imperial fleet''; when Thrawn talked him down and sent him back to that planet, C'baoth's next plan started with brainwashing an officer to the point where he had no will or mind anymore and died shortly after being taken away from the insane Master.
** Another example of sorts in the same trilogy — an insane Bpfasshi Dark Jedi had been killed by Yoda on Dagobah, and his essence infused the tree where Luke had his pivotal vision during ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Another example from the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse: insane EldritchAbomination Abeloth was sealed in a massive cluster of black holes, with a gravity-generating space station acting as a lock keeping her trapped there and unable to influence things on the physical place, and the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Light Side and the DarkSide of the Force doing an EnemyMine every few thousand years to renew the lock whenever it started to break. This [[NiceJobBreakingItHero took the heroes]] over half a century to break; Anakin Skywalker killed the locksmiths, later protagonists broke the space station (they thought it was just a superweapon and didn't want it falling into the wrong hands), and then they used the black hole cluster where the ethereal monster was kept as a fortress. It still managed to keep her for about a decade.
** Four hundred years before ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Ithorians tinkered with gene splicing and created something horrible. It took the Jedi to contain it. The Ithorians' ActualPacifist beliefs make them averse to driving anything to extinction, so they isolated a sample and buried it in a tunnel in an asteroid. It was harmless sealed in a pod in the vacuum of space. Unfortunately they didn't bother with keeping a guard on it, so when someone DugTooDeep...
* Arguably, a lot of the ''Literature/TheImmortals'' of Creator/TamoraPierce's Literature/TortallUniverse series, after a bunch of mages locked them up in the Realms of the Gods. It didn't stick. Many of them are benign and decide to adapt to living with humans, but some are persistently vicious. Particularly giant human-headed spiders called spidrens, and a species of predatory flying horse called hurroks.
* In the series ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dark One is making good progress in eroding the makeshift seal on the hole in the Creator-made prison that's kept it imprisoned for thousands of years. The hole was made back during what is known by the timeline of the books as the Age of Legends, although they did manage to patch it up again as best they could. Being as it is ''the'' God of Evil, existing outside reality, sealing and resealing really ''is'' the only option. During his resealing, his 13 highest-ranking disciples were sealed (mostly) outside of time as well, they ended up being freed first to pave the way for his return.
** Stasis Boxes fit this trope when used for preserving the Gholams, not-quite-undead super assassins from the War of Power, beyond time and space.
** How about Mierin's experiment in the Age of Legends that let the Dark One out in the first place? Even better because back then, nobody knew the Dark One existed, and her experiment was intended to tap a greater source of magical power able to be used by men and women (as opposed to the separate halfs of the one power). She later became Lanfear, one of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the dark one, though judging by a bit of Aiel ancestral memory that is tapped into, she was not evil to begin with, ie at the time of her experiment (as part of a team).
** Mordeth/Mashadar is/are unable to leave Shadar Logoth after the fall of Aridhol (why is never really explained, but perhaps it was sealed intentionally). Mat Cauthon (or Padan Fain, or both) release it into the world at large after Mat removes the dagger. The can later [[spoiler:is completely obliterated while cleansing sai'din]].
* With Friends Like These... by {{Alan Dean Foster}}: Humanity was sealed under a forcefield a long time ago because we scared the aliens that badly. When aliens later release the humans in exchange for helping them against a bigger menace, one of the aliens has the sense to worry, "What happens when we run out of enemies?".
* In ''Literature/WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''Literature/TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.
* UsefulNotes/NorthKorea in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. One day, in the early stages of the Zombie War, the entire country simply disappeared -- DIA spy satellites stopped picking up any activity or indeed signs of life within the Democratic People's Republic. The best bet is that the entire population relocated to massive underground bunkers. Nothing has been heard since, which means one of two things: Either one of them was infected, or none of them were. In the former case, that means one of two things: either they controlled the outbreak, or they did not. If the didn't, then 24 million Zombies are waiting beneath the surface, trapped in the tunnel system, and Communist architecture - well, it ain't all that good. If no-one was infected and/or they managed to control the outbreak, then 24 million fanatical, nuclear armed fascists are waiting on one side of the Korean DMZ, and when they find out how weak the rest of humanity is...
* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''Literature/YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.
** Then in ''A Wizard's Holiday'', the protagonists have to, among other things, [[spoiler: open the seal and let the Lone Power out]].
* ''[[Literature/ZeusIsDead Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure]]'' uses this one quite literally. Apparently after the first Titan War, Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans ''in actual cans''.
* Creator/ChristopherMoore is a big fan of this trope, most notably in ''Literature/PracticalDemonkeeping'' (Catch, the titular demon, is actually
sealed away in a jar), ''[[Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff Lamb]]'' [[spoiler: Baltazaar keeps Catch, the same demon from the earlier novel, in a magically-sealed room which he tells Biff to stay away from. (Schmuck Bait)]] and ''[[Literature/BloodsuckingFiends You Suck]]''.
* [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. Indeed, most CosmicHorror uses a can of some sort to explain why the super-powerful beings haven't ''already'' destroyed humanity. In this case, however, nobody appears to have done the actual sealing or unsealing; the elder gods are just "sleeping", and will awaken "when the stars are right".
** He almost gets out in ''[[CthulhuMythos Call of Cthulhu]]'', only to be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu run down by a steamship]] stuffed back in the can.
** However, the Great Old Ones are not evil per se (save perhaps Nyarlathotep, and he is not always classed as one, and is properly an Outer God, ) but uncaring - they are simply far too powerful for us to matter to them, rather like a human stepping on ants (or for a better example, but purely Scots, the midge) and/or simply mindless - Azathoth for example, could (and apparently will) destroy everything, but he is blind, deaf, mute and completely unintelligent,and is no more evil than a hurricane.
** Another example in Lovecraft's work is ''The Haunter of the Dark'', an avatar of the god Nyarlatotep who is sealed inside the shining trapezohedron and can be summoned by gazing into it. Unlike the Great Old Ones, summoning him doesn't result in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], but he most likely wants some human sacrifices in exchange for secret knowledge or wants to possess you in order to get mankind to blow itself up.
* Quite a few of John Connolly's short stories involve SealedEvilInACan: the Daemon buried under the church in "Mr Pettinger's Daemon"; the [[TheFairFolk Fairies]] trapped inside their fort in "The New Daughter"; the monster chained up at the bottom of the lake in "Deep Dark Green"; the nest of hibernating giant spiders in "The Wakeford Abyss"...
** Also, in his novel ''Literature/TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
* One of Creator/MRJames’s favorite tropes was having an unpleasant being imprisoned in a tomb, grave, or ruin, inevitably later disturbed. Stories in this pattern include "Count Magnus" (the count's sarcophagus has three padlocks on it), "An Episode of Cathedral History", and "The Rose Garden".
* Alex Verus encounters two of these. One is a magician who sealed himself in an artifact. The other is a magician who is trying to live forever by killing others like the long dead vampires.
* Complex example in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''. Millennia ago, [[{{Precursors}} the Inapt]] faced a mysterious enemy known only as "the Worm". Unable to destroy it, they ''were'' able to force it underground and then banish those caverns to AnotherDimension, warded away from the living world by a series of magical seals. To keep the central seal strong enough, [[MagicKnight Argastos]], who lead the Inapt army, was bound into it - and since he wasn't exactly a nice guy himself, that means it was a case of a Sealed Evil being used to shore up the prison of ''another'' Sealed Evil. However, it worked... [[spoiler: until the Wasp Empress Seda tried to bind Argastos' power for herself, and her rival Cheerwell Maker tried to stop her. The result was that the now lich-like Argastos was destroyed and the Seal of the Worm popped open. NiceJobBreakingItHero (and villain) indeed]].
very permanent fashion.''"



[[folder: Live Action TV]]

* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the Shadows were something like this, except that they weren't sealed by other people. They regularly hibernate and wake themselves up.
** The Thirdspace aliens are effectively sealed until their gateway is opened.
** Also The Hand. (Who are probably the Thirdspace aliens anyway.)
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' / ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Many, many examples in Buffy (the Judge, Acathla, the Seal of Danzalthar, among others) and Angel (Illyria [who is actually sealed in a coffin], Pavayne,Sahjhan). In fact, the Angel example showed us a veritable warehouse of sealed demon gods like Illyria, which (as of the end of the series) is left unguarded.
** There is also a very literal variant in the ''Buffy'' episode "Get It Done", when [[spoiler: The Shadow Men try to infuse Buffy with the essence of a demon that they kept sealed in a box.]]
* In the original and revived ''Series/DarkShadows'', vampire Barnabas Collins made his series debut when he was released from the chained-up coffin in which his father, unable to go through with staking his own son, had sealed him.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Around half a dozen cases of Evil deliberately Sealed in a Can. At least as many slumbering alien menaces that just happened to crash-land/get trapped centuries ago and go into hibernation until foolishly awoken, which don't technically fit the description but serve a very similar plot purpose.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E9TheSatanPit "The Satan Pit"]], a being known only as "the Beast" (who claims to be {{Satan}}) is so powerful it was sealed miles underground the surface of a planet precariously orbiting a black hole, meaning that any attempt to escape would send the Beast and the planet to fall into it. These Disciples of the Light guys ''really'' didn't want this thing to escape.
** The original series used this trope often. Sutekh The Destroyer in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E3PyramidsOfMars "Pyramids of Mars"]] was imprisoned in a pyramid in Egypt, Omega in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E1TheThreeDoctors "The Three Doctors"]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS20E1ArcOfInfinity "Arc of Infinity"]], the Ice Warriors, the mutagen under the Earth crust in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS7E4Inferno "Inferno"]], the Krynoid pods in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E6TheSeedsOfDoom "The Seeds of Doom"]], and many more.
** A slight variation happened in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E3TheStonesOfBlood "The Stones of Blood"]], where the Doctor releases a pair of biomechanical judges called the Megara from a ship stranded in hyperspace, [[spoiler:and the judges promptly sentence him to death for letting them free without the proper legal authorization.]]
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]] features the Genesis Ark: a Time Lord device imprisoning millions of Daleks. "Time Lord science: it's BiggerOnTheInside."
** In the new series episode [[Recap/DoctorWho2006CSTheRunawayBride "The Runaway Bride"]], it is revealed that the centre of the Earth contains hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of omnivorous intelligent alien spiders. Indeed, the vessel that holds them is the original core of the planet, nearly five ''billion'' years old.
** In the episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens"]], the Doctor investigates the eponymous Pandorica, which is advertised as containing the most feared being in the universe and is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin starting to open]]. [[spoiler:It's empty. The Pandorica was created by [[LegionOfDoom a coalition of the Doctor's enemies]] to trap him inside, because they believe he will destroy the universe, and it's opening so that they can put him in -- due to time-travel, he has arrived before the myth started.]] The Doctor is predictably fascinated; "What could be so dangerous?" he wonders. [[spoiler:You.]]
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E16TheWatersOfMars "The Waters of Mars"]], Humans accidentally released Sealed Evil in a Glacier.
** Then there is the Old God in a Pyramid in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E7TheRingsOfAkhaten "The Rings of Akhaten"]]. [[spoiler:It turns out the real Monster is the planet.]]
** ''The End of Time'' 2-parter implies that the Time Lock on the Last Great Time War could be this. With the sealed evil being the Daleks [[spoiler: and The Time Lords]] (though I guess it's more a LeakingCanOfEvil for the Daleks since they keep finding ways to get out). Makes you wonder why ''The Day of the Doctor'' makes him so happy that he [[spoiler: didn't actually destroy The Time Lords after all]], since ''The End of Time'' had them turning into violent existence destroying lunatics by the end of the war.
** Although for all we know most of the Time Lords weren't working with Rassilon and the Tenth Doctor had already stopped this plan.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E1TheTombOfTheCybermen "The Tomb of the Cybermen"]], the titular monsters sealed themselves in a can figuring whoever could unseal it had abilities that would make the Cybermen stronger.
* In ''Series/ForeverKnight'', [=LaCroix=]'s daughter was sealed inside a coffin after [=LaCroix=] staked her. The Egyptian sun disk kept her prisoner much like a Christian cross, until she was released by grave robbers and came after him and his children.
** Also pops up in the first Forever Knight novel, "A Stirring of Dust".
* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', the pieces of the First People's Machine, which has the power to [[spoiler:create or destroy universes]], were scattered all across the globe and buried hundreds of feet underground.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': [[spoiler:the immortal, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal self-regenerating]] [[KnightTemplar Adam Monroe]]]] was imprisoned for thirty years after he tried to [[KillAllHumans release a virus that would have killed most of mankind]]. Then, after being released (and having done plenty of damage in the meantime, including a second attempt at the virus thing) he was sealed in a coffin deep beneath a cemetery.
** In Season 3, [[spoiler:in a slight subversion, [[BigBad daddy Petrelli]] appeared to be far more powerful than Adam and took his power, killing him instantly.]]
** [[spoiler:Arthur Petrelli]] himself has elements of this, starting off the series on life support and only able to communicate through telepathy.
** As of Volume 4's finale [[spoiler:Sylar's brainwashing into believing himself to be Nathan Petrelli certainly qualifies.]] It didn't last.
** Volume 5 has [[spoiler:Sylar being imprisoned inside his own head and Parkman sealing his comatose body inside a brick cell.]]
* One episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' featured a Nazi Immortal who had been chained and thrown into a river by a young boy. How do you make a Nazi cross? Forty years of drowning and reviving every few minutes ought to do it...
** There is at least one story of an Immortal being on a sunken ship and having to walk back -- Kit O'Brady was on a boat to Alaska when it sank, and said it took him months to walk back.
** And then there's the example of the Immortal stranded on a deserted island for years, dying of starvation and thirst every so often, just to wake up and do it again. For some reason he held a grudge...
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series uses this in several series.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga'', the Grongi were imprisoned in a tomb by [[spoiler: the original Kuuga after he defeated them]].
** In ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'', the [[spoiler: Overlord of Darkness]] has a somewhat odd version of this, [[spoiler: he was already dead, but left his DNA around, allowing him to retake his physical form when humans uncover it]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderBlade'' has the Undead, who have been imprisoned since the beginning of time, after serving their purpose and deciding the dominate species of life on Earth. Though since not all of them are evil, some would be SealedGoodInACan and since most of them just want to fight one another, they would be SealedBadassInACan. The Roaches and Black Joker defiently fit the trope though. There's also Jashin 14 in TheMovie.
** In the newest series, ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', the Greeed have been imprisoned in a stone box for 800 years until they're released during a robbery. The stone box? [[spoiler: The original OOO]].
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', Kia is an assassin who spends most of his time frozen so he's save his protoblood for when he's needed, which is only when someone needs to be killed.
* One episode from ''Los Luchadores'' dealt with a plot to awaken a demon in a ritual involving three descendants of the people responsible for originally sealing it. In this case, the ritual is successfully interrupted just before its completion, denying the audience the spectacle of watching an ancient evil being defeated by a masked professional wrestler.
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', [[spoiler: Jacob claims that this is the role of the Island]]. It is implied that [[spoiler: the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster]] is the evil being imprisoned.
* ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'': The goblin from [[Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold '' Goblin's Gold'']], who was sealed in a box, then escaped to torment everyone in the castle, and then resealed after being trapped by Merlin and Gwen.
* A sketch on ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' has the [[BrownNote funniest joke in the world]] being buried after WorldWarII so it can never kill anyone again.
* In ''Series/MythQuest'', Gorgos was shut away inside a stone for trying to change the myths of humanity. Matt Bellows accidentally releases him in the first episode, but only into a slightly bigger can. With significant air holes.
* The Dragon Lord and the Rank from ''Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation'', who were imprisoned in an enchanted mirror until they took the opportunity to break free, menacing the Turtles and replacing the Shredder as the BigBad.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In "Abaddon", the crew of a ship in deep space discovers a hypersleep pod containing the body of a famous mass murdering warlord. He's let out and quickly begins to manipulate the people on the ship into killing each other.
* A constantly recurring trope in ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and its source material ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** The TropeNamer Rita Repulsa from the first season of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' was originally trapped in a "space dumpster" on the moon (or ''a'' moon, or something) for 10,000 years until astronauts accidentally released her. Her line from the intro sequence is rather iconic:
--->Ahh! After 10,000 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!
*** Her Japanese counterpart in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' is even called Bandora, named after the tale of Pandora's box.
*** Her boss Lord Zedd eventually returns, and displeased with [[YouHaveFailedMe her failure]] puts her back in her dumpster (or a different one) and sends her off into space again. She gets out twice. The first time the Rangers catch her and reseal her, the second time she stays out for good.
*** To a lesser extent, in the episode "Final Face-Off," Rita opens an urn which imprisoned the legendary Face Stealer. The Rangers lock him back in the urn upon his defeat at the end of the episode.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'''s villains are released from the "Tomb of Forever" by an unwitting Egyptologist. The villains then go about trying to free their still-sealed Queen. They all more or less end up that way again in the finale when they are either destroyed (sending their spirits back) or by physically being thrown back into the "Tomb of Forever", sealing them in the Shadow World.
** While not applying to the main villains of ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'', the individual monsters fit this trope, being mutant prisoners shrunk, cryogenically frozen, and sealed inside small containers. They also return that way when defeated.
** The Orgs of ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' were spirits sealed in the earth 3,000 years ago. They were freed in the present day to possess everyday objects due to pollution and the appearance of a successor to their BigBad.
** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' has the "Abyss of Evil" that acts as one. Unusually, the BigBad, Lothor, didn't bust out of there at the beginning of the season; instead it factored into his EvilPlan: [[spoiler:if his monsters couldn't defeat the Rangers, they'd be sent to the Abyss; cramming it full until it burst open and gave him an army to work with.]]
*** Double subverted, as Lothor is sealed in the Abyss at the end of the series, and then breaks out in the next season, ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'', during the team-up episode.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' most of the individual monsters and main villains fit this trope, being alien criminals. They are trapped inside special cards when defeated.
** Rita Repulsa's very ''line'' is echoed by Koragg's first line in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' (He actually says "After ''all these'' years, I'm free," but the similarity was close enough that many fans were confused into thinking the {{backstory}} was set ten thousand years previous, when it actually appears to have been more like 20).
** In ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' all four big bad factions has someone sealed inside a different can. Moltor and Flurious were sealed inside two lifeless planets, one of extreme heat and the other of extreme cold respectively, when they tried to grab the season's MacGuffin, and freed when said MacGuffin was discovered on Earth. Kamdor is initially sealed in a blue gem necklace until he is freed with a stolen device by his partner Miratrix, who incidentally later becomes sealed in same said necklace when Kamdor double crosses her. Then there is the "Prison Mirror" which contains an army of Fearcats, but was destroyed with only Benglo escaping. In another episode, Thrax, the son of Rita and Zedd, repeats the same line his mother made when released from a Space Dumpster, after what could not have been more than two or three years.
** ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'' has Dai Shi, who has been stuck in an (unlocked!) box for 10,000 years. The box was kept by a secret order, but opened when a disgruntled student barged in and attacked the order's master, knocking the box out of his hands. Unusually, however, Dai Shi is ''significantly'' weaker than he was, and has to struggle to regain his powers before the Rangers become strong enough to destroy him.
*** This season also had other sealed cans. The Crystal Eyes for the Phantom Beasts, The Overlords lifeless bodies/shells & two of the "5 Fingers of Poison" urns with broken remains (both revived by Naja's life talons), the various statue soldiers brought to life as monsters of the day, and the Spirit World (at the finale) which acted as both a sealed can of evil (for Dai Shi's fallen minions) and a sealed can of good (for the fallen Masters).
** Venjix from ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' began its existence more or less as a sealed evil. The program for the sentient, self-replicating, computer virus was initially created and contained in a single laptop. That is until Dr. K, in a attempt to escape her circumstances, decided to infect Alphabet Soup's computer network with the virus but was stopped short from installing a firewall to prevent further spread. The result was an infection of nearly every computer system connected to the internet and the destruction of nearly the entire human race.
*** It is hinted that Venjix also becomes one of these again, as opposed to being destroyed, at the end of ''RPM'' with the Venjix Palace music playing as the camera focuses in on Ranger Red's morpher with a blinking red light.
** The Sanzu River from ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' is one to the Nighloks, as nobody can last long away from the river before they dry out. Only a monster and some {{Mooks}} are able to go out at a time, trying to increase peoples' despair and sorrow in order to make the Sanzu's water level rise until it seeps into and floods the human world.\\\
Master Xandred was sealed in the river by Jayden's father. Due to the seal being done wrong (which stems from the previous Red Ranger having insufficient power at the time), it causes him headaches.
*** "The Master Returns" seems to imply that he's still trapped to some degree, as flashbacks show he could previously leave the Sanzu River without drying out, a problem he has now.
* In ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', [[spoiler:the race of supercomputers that Mr. Smith belongs to.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s fifth season, Brainiac's primary goal is to release Zod from the Phantom Zone. He eventually succeeds in the season finale and Zod's first action upon being freed is to [[SealedGoodInACan put Clark Kent into the same can that he just escaped from]].
** Clark manages to escape on his own, without help from the outside, and subsequently reimprisons Zod in the season six premiere. He then spends the rest of season six hunting down the other Phantom Zone prisoners who escaped at the same time he did one by one and either killing or preferably reimprisoning them.
* Despite the frequent use of the "Pandora's box" analogy, it was really ''Earth'' that was sealed in a can at the beginning of ''Series/StargateSG1''. On the other hand, there are several examples of villains being effectively sealed in cans, such as Osiris (who was in a canopic jar), Anubis' son (in a stasis chamber), the Wraith (hibernating), and the Ori (in a distant galaxy blissfully unaware that free humans existed).
** One of the most literal ''Series/StargateSG1'' examples would be Hathor, who had been sealed in her sarcophagus for 4,000 years, only for some unwitting archaeologist to open it.
** As well as Marduk. [[spoiler: He was ''so bad by even Goa'uld standards'' that his servants locked him in a sarcophagus with a ravenous predatory beast. As it continually ate him, the sarcophagus' nigh-magical healing powers would keep healing him and see to it that it took him centuries to die. ''Damn''. However, the Goa'uld are PuppeteerParasite, so Marduk simply pulled a body-switch and took over the predator.]] And then Our Heroes go poking around in there...
** The Replicators were sealed in a can by the Asgard, but it gets worse when the Replicators outwit the trap and crank it UpToEleven before SG-1 arrive to fix the can.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' used this a few times.
** Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers, in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]] episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]".
** In the classic series episode [[Recap/StarTrekS1E27TheAlternativeFactor "The Alternative Factor"]], if Lazarus and his insane counterpart from the antimatter dimension were ever to meet in the same universe, that universe would be destroyed. Both of them are sent into an [[PhantomZone intermediate dimension]] so that this can never happen, and where the two of them will be [[SealedEvilInADuel locked in combat for all eternity]].
** Data's evil "brother" Lore in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. He's found disassembled in Dr. Soong's lab and the ''Enterprise'' crew make the mistake of putting him back together.
** Well, in [[WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries the animated version]] episode "Beyond the Farthest Star", Kirk tricked an ancient evil entity onto a black dwarf star, where it moans about how lonely it is as the credits roll.
** This was supposedly the plot behind the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Dragon's Teeth", when Seven of Nine releases an alien race from a 900-year stasis... only for them to turn out to be your bog-standard Villains of the Week piloting obsolete spaceships. Disappointing.
** "Alice" from ''Star Trek: Voyager'' features an alien shuttlecraft that controls its pilots through its neural interface, appearing unto them as female avatars of their native species (as in the case of Abaddon and Tom Paris) and giving them brain hemorrhages to keep them in line.
** The ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Regeneration" features Borg in the ice.
** Another episode played off the RealLife example (see below) of nuclear waste- Data is injured while retrieving said material from a crashed Starfleet ship, and after the ensuing memory loss he stumbles into a local village. His radioactive-shielded briefcase doesn't stay closed for long.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has used so many variants of this it's the only kind of MythArc they've ever had, but at least it always varies. Thus far the end of every even-numbered season has involved letting some great evil out of its can. Seasons three, five, and seven have been about dealing with these evils.
** Azazel's goal in the season 2 finale was to open a Devil's Gate in Wyoming in order to [[spoiler: release Lilith and a demon army into the human world. Lilith would be needed to later break Lucifer out of his cage.]]
** In the fourth season Lucifer is imprisoned in Hell and Lilith is out trying to release him... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero guess how that turns out.]] Eventualy they [[spoiler: manage to stick him back in]], although he's [[spoiler:[[HeroicSacrifice wearing Sam's body at the time]]]].
** One of the seals used to seal [[spoiler:Lucifer]] was itself undoing the seal that kept in Samhain, a [[SadlyMythtaken demon that raises the dead and pronounced Sam-Hane]].
** In season 6, we have Purgatory, the place that creatures who don't belong in either Heaven or Hell go when they die. This seems to make it a repository of monster souls; it also contains a being known as the "Mother of All" which they call Eve, probably because they already used the names Lilith and Tiamat for other purposes, and apparently some very nasty formless things that were never alive in the normal sense. [[spoiler: Cas and Crowley]] work together to open it in order to use the monster souls as a power source, but there are side effects. The first episode of the seventh season reveals that [[spoiler: Purgatory was originally created to seal away the Leviathans, beasts that God feared would (as Death put it) "chomp the entire dish"]].
** The end of Season 10 gives us the series' crowning example, as Death reveals that before the dawn of time itself, there existed only [[UltimateEvil The Darkness]], an amoral force of destruction. God and His archangels waged war on it and eventually sealed it away (allowing them to create the universe), creating the Mark of Cain to serve as its lock and key, though this resulted in the Mark turning into TheCorruption for all who bear it. [[spoiler: Freeing Dean from the Mark releases the Darkness on the world.]]
* The first ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' season finale features [[spoiler:Abaddon, son of The Beast]] who was sealed within the Cardiff Rift.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "The Howling Man," the evil sealed in a cell was the Devil himself.
* In ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', Zin gets sealed in an underground vault during his attempt to steal the alien weapon hidden there.
* Katherine and two dozen other vampires in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' were sealed in a tomb beneath the town church. In a slight subversion of the usual formula, this was actually an attempt to SAVE Katherine from the town's vampire hunters.
** Actually it was Katherine's plot to kill the tomb vampires because they knew she was alive and eventually word will get back to Klaus and he would find and kill her for his sacrifice. So she plotted with George Lockwood in 1864 to have them take the blame for the killings George was doing. George was a werewolf and he was killing all those people. So their interest met: The tomb vampires would take the blame for George's killings and at the same time be eliminated to keep Katherine's secret from Klaus. Katherine's "payment" for this was the moonstone George had.
** The dagger dipped in white oak ash only kills the Original vampires if it stays in place. Klaus keeps all his siblings in coffins with daggers in them. He wakes up Rebekah when he needs her necklace.
** Mikael. Katherine wakes him up, but no-one except Damon and Stefan is aware of this yet.
** Esther, the Originals' mother who initially turned them all into vampires. Klaus tore her heart out and has been keeping her in a coffin, thanks to a spell that preserved her body perfectly.
** Very few things can permanently kill an Original but if that does happen then all the vampires in his/her sire line will also die. Since the Originals tend to inspire IHateYouVampireDad, there are always vampires around trying to find a way to get rid of the Originals for good without killing themselves in the process. This usually involves finding a way to immobilize an Orginal and then sealing him/her away in a location that will not be disturbed for a long time. The middle of the ocean is often suggested as the perfect storing place for an Original.
* The aliens of ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' were sealed in cans at the opening of the series.
* ''Series/WynonnaEarp'': The main plot is driven by the fact that the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent revenants]] of all the people Wyatt Earp ever killed are trapped within an area called the Ghost River Triangle, that goes from the mountains to where the North and South Ghost rivers meet. It cuts through the big city and contains thousands of square miles of forest, foothills, prairie, the Badlands and most importantly, the town of [[MeaningfulName Purgatory]]. Any revenant who sets foot beyond those limits is subject to a FateWorseThanDeath. Bobo Del Rey, the [[BigBad leader]] of the revenants, is determined to find a way to escape.
** The season 1 finale also revealed the existence of an EldritchAbomination of some kind buried just outside the Triangle, which is as incapable of getting ''in'' as the revenants are of getting ''out''. It briefly emerges when [[spoiler: [[TheMole Willa]] crosses the barrier line with Peacemaker]], but when [[spoiler: Wynonna carries the gun back]], the creature appears to be resealed.
* ''Series/SixHundredSixtySixParkAvenue'': Whatever is in the Red Box that Shaw stole from Gavin.
** It's debatable whether Peter Kramer was evil per say or just driven crazy by the Drake, but in any case, his spirit was locked inside a suitcase, which was then locked in a storage room in the basement that was bricked shut.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Every Bal Sagoth song starts with "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all the more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush the mind of anyone near it, then plunge the Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark at the Moon" by Music/OzzyOsbourne is about a beast that once terrorized a town, but was eventually buried in a nameless grave. And then he ends up returning to cause some more destruction.
* In "Gatekeeper" by WithinTemptation sort of [[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* Just saw this in the opening of an article about the third ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is the case with all ancient evils, 80's rock music was never sealed away in a very permanent fashion.''"
[[/folder]]



[[folder: Video Games]]

* ''A Mess O' Trouble'' (an excellent Mac [=WorldBuilder=] shareware AdventureGame) has two godlike creatures trapped inside time dilation bubbles in some ruins. You know from local historians (and abominations lying around in the ruins) that their civilization was practically constructed by a good creature and then fooled into nearly destroying itself by a bad creature. One is a beautiful [[EnergyBeings Energy Being]], the other a dull-looking lizard man. [[LightIsNotGood Guess which is which?]]
* The entire ''VideoGame/ArcTheLad'' series revolves around this trope with the [[BigBad Dark One]]. He starts every game being sealed, winds up being unsealed at some point, and then gets re-sealed by the end of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'', the hook and most the line of the plot involves the player character being a ChosenOne prophecied to defeat the EvilSorcerer Arronax, last known to be sealed in the Void. Later it's revealed that several other evil beings are sealed in that dimension, including a demon with insatiable hunger, the murderer who killed Arcanum's last dragon, a genocidal barbarian king. By the time you finally wormhole your way inside, [[spoiler:Arronax did a HeelFaceTurn long ago, after having been overshadowed by an EvilOverlord you must defeat instead.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' the cyclops Gargarensis is on a mission to free Kronos from Tartarus in return for godhood. [[spoiler: He fails. Kronos gets out in the expansion, but gets buried right back in by Gaia.]]
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}'' / ''VideoGame/{{Exile}}'' game, there is the Haakai Lord Grah-Hoth, who was sealed in a bottle before the game begins. Despite being unable to directly act, the game reveals him to be manipulating events, such as aiding the Slith against the humans who imprisoned him.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2''
** In the Expansion Pack, the BonusBoss is the avatar of a very powerful demon lord. You are asked to reseal him in his prison as he's about to break free. Alternatively, you can fight him in an epic battle. However, if you win and kill him, it only means he is freed back to his own plane.
** Kangaxx the demi-lich is another example. He dies very permanently after underestimating you, however.
* ''VideoGame/TheBardsTale'', being a parody of fantasy RPG tropes in general, has two of these. The first is the Nuckelavee, which our hero accidentally releases. [[spoiler: The other is the "Princess" that he's supposed to be rescuing. Turns out that she's really a powerful demon, and the world gets progressively worse as her seal weakens.]]
** The Bard seems to make a habit of unsealing evils. There's also a dragon, which the Bard had apparently set free before the events of the game. One SideQuest brings him to the town that it ransacked, and the residents are none too happy.
* The Furies in ''Videogame/BattleZone1998'' are [[PreCursors Cthonian]] war machines, whose biometal hulls are infused with the essence of ancient Greek warriors who were dying on the battlefield before being collected, giving them a certain [[CrushKillDestroy psychotic bloodlust]]. In their bid to stay ahead of the Americans in the [[AlternateHistory 1960s Biometal wars]], the Soviets start building Fury craft from blueprints and tech they've found scattered throughout the Solar System. Predictably, things go pear shaped, and [[spoiler: most of the Soviet forces are destroyed before they announce a ceasefire with the Americans and merge their forces. It's then up to Grizzly One and what's left of the American and Soviet forces to save the Solar System before the Furies blow up Earth like they blew up the Cthonian homeworld - now known as the [[EarthShatteringKaboom Asteroid Belt]].]]
* ''VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble'': The Beast was one, and the final puzzle is putting it back into a can.
* ''VideoGame/{{Blazblue}}'': The Black Beast. [[spoiler:[[TheHero Ragna]] is the can. [[DiscOneFinalBoss Nu-13]] is the can opener.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Yuuki Terumi, who couldn't be defeated by the Six Heroes, so he was instead trapped in the Boundary [[HeroicSacrifice with Hakumen]]]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}} 2: Solar Boy Django'' has a textbook example in its BigBad, Jormungandr.
** The Japan only sequel has a similar deal, except its cosmic horror, Vanargand, was sealed on the frickin' MOON.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', the Vault [[spoiler:only contains--as far as the player is concerned--a monster called The Destroyer who is "immortal in his own realm"]]. Sadly, [[spoiler:this final fight is easier than a single monster from the previous zone]]. The Vault also opens every 200 years, which raises the question of it really is a ''sealed'' can.
* A significant portion of the plot of ''VideoGame/BraveFencerMusashi'' revolves around this. The first major quest in the game involves Musashi being sent to collect Lumina, the legendary greatsword used to defeat the Wizard of Darkness; a significant portion of the rest of the game revolves around Musashi questing to recover the elemental Scrolls in order to power Lumina up enough to take out the Thirstquencher Empire. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, it turns out the voice which set Musashi on this quest in the first place, a voice originating from Lumina itself, was actually the Wizard of Darkness himself, not destroyed but sealed within the sword. Guess what the only things holding him back are? If you guessed "the five Scrolls and the Crest Guardians they're connected to," you win the kewpie doll.]]
* Dracula's castle in the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is eventually sealed this way after the Dark Lord's death. It's sealed inside the total solar eclipse of 1999. In the solar eclipse of 2035, it sucks in everyone present at the shrine where the sealing took place.
** Dracula, and Castlevania itself, were also sealed in the underworld throughout most of the series, both of them reappearing on Earth only once every hundred years. But Dracula found so many ways to circumvent that rule that it became more of a "sealed evil in a sieve".
* Lavos in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
** A subversion, Lavos was an alien that burrowed into the earth and then unleashes the apocalypse many ages later as part of its natural life cycle. Essentially, it seals itself in the final can and breaks out when it wants. The villains of the game attempt to awaken him to harvest his power, with the apocalypse being a byproduct of this.
* The ''VideoGame/CityOfVillains'' is practically filled with these: [[spoiler: Bat'Zul under Cap Au Diable, the Leviathan under Sharkhead Isle, Shiva in Bloody Bay]]... and the VideoGame/CityOfHeroes isn't lacking in them either, as [[BigBoosHaunt Dark Astoria]] apparently houses the sleeping dread god of the Banished Pantheon, and the {{Kaiju}} that may still be in battle with [[SealedGoodInACan Talos]] underneath Talos Island... Also, both sides can get involved in the escape of the Reichsman, [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi with the power of the gods]].
* The [[spoiler: Firstborn]] in ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho''.
* The Undying King from ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying''. [[spoiler:who was actually the LID on the can, opening the door to the rest of the series. Unfortunately, this well done game bombed monstrously, so the series never materialized...]]
* The Relic of Moirai in ''[[VideoGame/{{Contra}} Contra: Shattered Soldier]]'', which is revealed to be [[spoiler: the mysterious force that the alien attackers in the previous ''Contra'' video games were trying to recover the whole time, after it was taken and hidden away by the [[BiggerBad Triumvirate]], according to Lance Bean.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'', the general of an expansionist empire frees the Dark Genie from its place of captivity. At first, it seems to grant his wish by destroying every other nation on the face of the planet, but in the end, it takes over his body to progress towards its final goal -- the complete destruction of ''everything''.
* ''VideoGame/JediKnightJediAcademy'': The sealed evil takes the form of an ancient Sith Lord, whom the game's big bad is naturally trying to resurrect, thinking she will be rewarded. The Sith Lord has other ideas.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkMessiah'', the Demon lord is locked in a prison under the city of Stonehelm, however the original prison is flawed and can be broken, the player can choose to get the good ending and seal him away forever by repairing the seal or get the bad ending by releasing him.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', the original one, has an absolutely beautiful example. An ancient demon imprisoned in a stone manipulates Orks into attacking human cities on the planet. Space Marines come to the rescue and do what {{Space marine}}s do best - spill ungodly amounts of Orkish and human blood - just so at the end, the demon can reveal that [[spoiler: the entire planet had previously been converted into a blood altar for releasing him]]. Bonus points: most characters wanting to use demon or its power for their own end up badly.
** The Chaos Rising expansion to ''Dawn of War II'' also features a plot to unseal a demon trapped inside a planet that was lost in the Warp.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'', the Marker seals the infection that turns corpses into horrific alien monsters ([[spoiler:it was actually a manmade knockoff of the real marker]]). Anyways, the Marker-Worshipping [[strike: Scientologists]] ''[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Unitologists]]'' discover the Marker in the midst of mining Aegis VII and move it off its pedestal. [[CaptainObvious Bad things occur]].
** Even worse, later games indicate that [[spoiler: the Markers cause the infection that turns corpses into horrific monsters while doing a number on the sanity of those with higher education in engineering and biology compelling the affected to eventually make more Markers and worse corpse monsters respectively. The Pedestal itself was the can, with the Marker being and its signal being the Evil.]]
* The ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' series. Every. Single. Installment. ...except the fourth. That one just needed to be awakened rather than unsealed and at the end of the first one [[BigBad Mundus]] is resealed in the can..
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' series, when the Prime Evils were unleashed upon Sanctuary, the Archangel Tyrael selected a group of mortals known as the Horadrim and charged them with imprisoning their essences into the Soulstones so that they would not be reborn into the Hells upon death. But thanks to the betrayal of Tyrael's lieutenant Izual, who filled the Prime Evils in on the Soulstones and how to corrupt them, it turns out that this played directly into their hands.
* The demons in ''Videogame/{{Doom}} 3''. Sealed in a can until [[spoiler: [[BigBad Dr. Betruger]] teleports himself and the [[LostSuperWeapon Soul Cube]] into Hell]]. They were sealed back into the same can at the end, as well...
* Played with in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. [[spoiler: The Darkspawn seek out the seven ancient dragon gods buried within the earth, and when they find and awaken one it becomes the Archdemon and leads them in a massive invasion of the surface world - but the sealed gods were not necessarily evil until tainted by the darkspawn, making them more like SealedBadassInACan GoneHorriblyWrong.]]
* The draconic Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' were, according to the Chantry, banished to the depths of the earth by The Maker to slumber for all eternity. The Darkspawn are somehow able to hear the Old Gods' Call and devote centuries of effort tunneling through the earth in search of them. When they finally discover an Old God, the Darkspawn taint immediately corrupts the ancient dragon, turning it into an insane and twisted shell of its former self -- an Archdemon. The new Archdemon then commands the Darkspawn hordes in a bid to kill everything -- a Blight. By the time the game starts, the world has already suffered through four such Blights. [[spoiler: One of the biggest secrets that the higher-ups of the Grey Wardens keep from the rest of the Order is that they know where the Old Gods are buried]].
** In a DLC of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] finds an old Grey Warden fortress, which turns out to be a prison for [[spoiler:one of the original Darkspawn - a Tevinter mage who attempted to reach the Golden City and was cursed by the Maker. The magic seals have held for thousands of years, but are finally starting to give out.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' Hawke can fight several powerful demons that were sealed away in and around Kirkwall. The "Legacy" {{DLC}} revolves around the Hawke family's connection to an ancient Sealed Evil In A Can [[spoiler:Corypheus one of the original Tevinter Magisters who brought the Darkspawn Taint to Thedas]] whose subconscious efforts to free itself have brought danger to Hawke's doorstep. There's also ANOTHER uber-monster sealed right outside the prison housing him, but that one's an optional BonusBoss.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' has Bjorn the Behemoose.
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' has Rhapthorne, with ''two'' cans: the scepter of Trodain to hold his soul, and [[spoiler:the statue of the Goddess on Neos]] to hold his body.
* The Grotesqueries in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', with a [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed twist]]. Also, no one knows the Sealed Evil in a Can exists except possibly the BigBad. They're concerned about some other thing that comes out when those seals are broken.
* {{Greed}}, [[spoiler:the content of the Golden Chest]] from ''VideoGame/{{Dubloon}}''.
* In the final route of ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' instead of killing [[spoiler:Lobelia]] after she is beaten, her soul is trapped via alchemy when she tries body hopping.
* ''Videogame/DwarfFortress'' has what is popularly referred to in the community as "Hidden Fun Stuff". [[spoiler: If your dwarves [[DugTooDeep tunnel far down enough]], they may breach a secret chamber containing demons which are powerful enough to bring the fortress to its knees. It's possible to kill them, though.]]
** As of the latest update [[spoiler:there are now "Demonic Fortresses" which are a bit like the pits, but the pits have been replaced with ''[[PhysicalHell hell itself]]'', which you simply reach by digging far enough, implying ''most of the physical structure of the planet'' is a caverns made of an unmineable, indestructible, impossibly heavy {{Unobtainium}} who's exits are blocked by another {{Unobtanium}} which is very valuable, light, and hard. And every Demonic Fortress contains a hole straight to Hell, blocked by a [[SchmuckBait masterwork sword]] made of the latter type of {{Unobtainium}}. As for Hell itself, it contains so many demons that the game doesn't bother counting them.]]
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'': Giygas is first encountered in the Devil's Machine, which seals away his warped consciousness. Subverted in that Giygas can still damage Ness and his friends while sealed away, but played straight when [[RivalTurnedEvil Pokey]] unleashes Giygas' true form by turning the machine off.
* ''[[{{Earth 2150}} Earth 2160]]'' has the traditional sealed-ancient-evil-alien-race-beneath-the-surface-of-Mars for the first half of the game. Then some Dutch nerd learns to control them, and it all ends badly(-er).
* The main storyline of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' focuses around preventing Dagoth Ur, a godlike being imprisoned for 3500 years, from fully regaining his sealed powers.(though he wasn't imprisoned but passed out)
** Likewise, in its followup, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', the player must prevent Mehrunes Dagon, lord of the titular realm, from unleashing his forces upon the world. Dagon isn't really sealed IN anything so much as he is kept OUT. In this case, the world is the Can Sealed Against Evil.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the SealedEvilInACan is Alduin. And he isn't unsealed by someone playing around with something they know nothing about, but was an inevitability since his sealing involved him being cast adrift outside of time. A prophecy describes the events that must transpire before he would end up back in linear time again. There are also many other smaller evils sealed all around Skyrim, specially in Nordic ruins.
* In the Creator/{{Infocom}} text game ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'', your job is to defeat the evil enchanter Krill ''without'' disturbing the Cosmic Horror that's sealed below his castle. The tie-in novel by Robin Bailey takes the tack that your character accidentally did release the thing, and now it's up to the book's protagonist to stop it.
* Akron, the FinalBoss of ''EpicBattleFantasy'' ''3''. He notes in his BossBanter that he has been defeated and sealed away countless times through time immemorial -- but in the end, his enemies all succumbed to time while he always returns.
* Towards the end of ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'' its revealed that the STEM system that the protagonists are connected to is the can and Ruvik slowly became the evil after having his brain used as the base for the experiment. Who may or may not have been released in the games ending, though the former heavily implied.
* In ''VideoGame/EvilZone'', the inhabitants of an island dimension sealed away an incarnation of a cosmic destroyer, but couldn't finish the job themselves, so they had to hire out heroes to finish the BigBad off.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', long ago, when the EvilSorcerer was defeated with the magical scrolls, the King had him entombed within the Legendary Sword. Unfortunately, on a dark and stormy night a few months before gameplay begins, the spell on the sword was lifted.
* The entire point of most the rituals in the ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series is to make sure the sealed evil (specifically Hell itself) stays that way, though naturally they always eventually fail and plunge the area into endless suffering,[[AnthropicPrinciple we'd have no game series otherwise]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' has the [[spoiler: Holy Grail, which]] was corrupted as of the [[spoiler: third war]] by the AnthropomorphicPersonification of evil.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games feature a Sealed Evil in a can. Even ''FinalFantasyTactics'', which is grounded in realism and political intrigue, has an evil god trying to find a suitable host body.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' gives us the Cloud of Darkness, the living essence of the power of the Dark (as opposed to the Light of the heroes' world.) The game implies that Xande's machinations allowed it to take form, but it would have remained sealed away in the Dark World had it not been for him opening a portal leading straight into it. The [[spoiler: Dark Warriors imply that they fought the Cloud]] 1,000 years ago, when it was Light surrounding Darkness, and got it Canned within the Dark World. Xande was nothing but a can-opener.
** Zemus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', who, despite being sealed in [[spoiler:the Lunarian Moon]] was still able to influence events in the world in an almost successful attempt to effectively kill all humans. Notably, he is never ''released'' from his can; you raid it.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'''s previous generation of heroes, the Braves of Dawn, used the power of the Crystals to seal away Exdeath, who then surreptitiously began to drain the power of the Crystals (either personally or through manipulation.) Additionally, the player learns that, prior to Exdeath, the sorcerer Enuo was the first to harness the power of the Void, and waged war with it until he and all his [[CosmicHorror obscenely powerful demons]] were thrown into the Dimensional Rift. The [[UpdatedRerelease Advance version]] expands upon this by letting the player explore Enuo's prison and vanquish him for good.
** Also in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' there once was a tree in the Great Forest of Moore used to seal up evil spirits. Eventually, the power of those spirits gave the tree sapience, power, and a whole lot of evil. That tree became Exdeath; a prime example of sealing so much evil away that the can ''itself'' turns evil.
** The Warring Triad of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', who started the War of the Magi, sealed themselves away after realizing the destruction they had wrought upon the world, and the Espers hid them away in their own underground kingdom. Then Kefka came and released them, destroying the balance of magic and devastating the world. It also released Humbaba, Deathgaze, and the eight dragons who are released during the apocalypse.
** Jenova of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a basic example of the trope; she spends most of the plot going from tomb > water tank > freezer. In the sequel movie ''[[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Advent Children]]'', what's left of her is stored in a literal can.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', Laguna Loire tricks evil sorceress Adel into walking into a specially-prepared technological "tomb" in which he is able to seal her considerable powers. Then he launches it into space and spends the next seventeen years making regular trips to monitor the seal. Predictably enough, catastrophe eventually lets her loose again, but by that point Laguna's son is well-equipped to kill her off for good.
** Shuyin of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'' is a special case. In one sense, he is still sealed within the Den of Woe, but in another sense he is free to wander around within the body of first [[spoiler:Nooj]], then [[spoiler:Baralai]]. Also, while his goal is indeed to break free of his prison and destroy the world, this is because he's a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds, not an UltimateEvil.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', all the Espers, as well as several other bosses.
* ''Videogame/FireEmblem: Path of Radiance'' alone uses the trope straight, with the characters believing that Lehran's Medallion contained an evil god that flooded the entire world save Tellius. So at the end not only do the heroes fight Ashnard in order to liberate Crimea, but also to prevent him from unleashing a dark god. [[spoiler:However the true nature of the relic is revealed in the sequel Radiant Dawn, and the heroes are the ones who free Yune, the Goddess of Chaos, rather then letting the negative energies of war do it. As it turns out, Yune was actually SealedGoodInACan who just happened to mess up (the Great Flood); in fact, the BigBad is Ashera, the goddess everyone had been praying to throughout both games, who [[IceQueen purged her emotions]] (forming Yune) to avoid another Great Flood.]]
** Genealogy of the Holy War wins "strangest method of resurrecting", with 2 half siblings being [[AliensMadeThemDoIt brainwashed in order to breed a vessal]] for the dark god they are descended from.
* The second installment of ''VideoGame/FossilFighters'' has one of these as the BigBad. [[spoiler: Pay CLOSE attention to the foreshadowing of a certain AbsentMindedProfessor.]]
* The Dread Lords from ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations 2''. The Dread Lords had a pocket dimension which they had used as a base for their fleets. Their enemies, The Arnor, used this against them by sealing the last of their empire in the dimension. Later on, the Dregin found the lock to the Dread Lord prison. Thinking that is was an ancient weapon, they activate the device, allowing the Dread Lords to escape and wreak havoc across the galaxy. Upon seeing this, the Drengin realize their mistake and decide to [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave the others for dead]].
* Well before the start of the ''{{Geneforge}}'' series, the Shapers discovered a startling new [[PsychoSerum technology]] that could imbue ordinary humans with incredible magical powers. When they discovered some of the side effects involved (such as SuicidalOverconfidence, a violent temper, and in extreme cases, outright BodyHorror), rather than take any steps to destroy this technology, they simply abandoned the remote island outpost where it was discovered, and declared it off limits under penalty of death. Fast forward a few hundred years: A band of explorers from across the seas happens upon the abandoned outpost and all its forbidden goods. Things go downhill from there.
** In fact, the Shapers do this constantly. Their laboratories, workshops, and schools are designed to be sealed up quickly should anything [[GoneHorriblyWrong Go Horribly Wrong]].
** Not just should. It's said at one point that more often than not something ''does'' go wrong.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', Palawa Joko suffers this fate. Then there's Abaddon and everyone else locked in the Realm of Torment, including [[spoiler: the Titans from the first game]]. Ultimately, in an attempt to stop Varesh Ossa from opening a gate to the Realm of Torment, you have to let Palawa Joko out of his prison.
* In the ''Videogame/{{Halo}}'' series, the bad guys accidentally release the Flood, a race of alien parasites that were sealed in special facilities all over the galaxy at the end of a cataclysmic war between them and the Forerunners 100,000 years ago. This war ended with the extinction of all sentient life in the galaxy, so it's a wonder why the Forerunners left little pockets of Flood spores for nosey aliens to stumble across. The AI monitor of one of these facilities comments on this (while you're in the middle of fending off a large wave of rotting space-zombies), saying that specimens were kept over after the last outbreak "for study," and remarks that "this decision may have been in error." No shit...
** Done again in ''Videogame/{{Halo 4}}'' with [[spoiler:The Didact, who is most likely the last living Forerunner, being released by the [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Master Chief.]] ]]
* Coincidentally, ''VideoGame/HomeworldCataclysm'' also involves a similar scenario. Somewhere around a million years ago, the extragalactic exploration vessel ''[[MeaningfulName Naggarok]]'' picked up a deadly technoorganic entity in hyperspace. Seeing no way to defeat it, the crew scuttled the engines, trapping the entity in deep space. However, they screwed up as the ship auto-launched az empty lifepod with a transmitter (and some Beast material) onboard. In the present, the Kiith Somtaaw mining ship ''Kuun-Lan'' finds the pod and opens it. Cue to a race with time to find both the ''Naggarok'' and the new Beast mothership and blow both to smithereens before the whole galaxy suffers a fate worse than death (ship crews aren't simply killed, they're broken down into biomass to function as a makeshift neural interface between ships and the Beast - and judging by the sound of it, it's not exactly painless).
--> '''Bentusi:''' We will NOT be bound!
* Orochi, from ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters '97''.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIV'' had Pandora's Box show up. Opening it killed Rosella. There was also that infamous lamp in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV''. The FanSequel ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' hints that Pandora's Box will play a part in its plot.
* ''VideoGame/KirbySqueakSquad'' plays with this one a little. What started as a hunt for stolen strawberry shortcake leads to Dedede getting smacked down on false suspicions, Kirby chasing all over the world to get his snack back from the titular menace [[spoiler:only for the chest allegedly supposed to hold the shortcake stolen away by [[TheRival Meta Knight]], and when HE gets smacked down, the Squeaks grab the chest and let loose [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Dark Nebula]]. For such a simple protagonist the plot for these can get quite complex, especially given Meta Knight grabbed the chest away just to prevent [[BigBad Dark Nebula]] from being released.]] The best part is that through all of this, you get the feeling that Kirby is still being motivated only to retrieve the cake.
** Possibly the only case in the Kirby series where opening the can isn't a case of NiceJobBreakingItHero takes place in the Meta Knightmare Ultra mode of ''Kirby Super Star Ultra'' where Meta Knight questions NOVA, a mechanical, wish granting comet, about an extremely powerful warrior named Galacta Knight who was sealed away because his powers were too great. Immediately after this [[{{Badass}} he orders NOVA to break the seal on this incredibly powerful evil just so he can kick its ass.]]
* Seems to be the case with the [[spoiler: Kingdom of Sorrow]] in ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil.'' [[spoiler: As it turns out, it was sealed away because no one wanted to remember sorrow, and the King of Sorrow tried to undo the seal so everyone could remember sorrow.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia III: Malcolm's Revenge'' has the player ''play as'' a Sealed Evil in a Can, who is rather dismayed to discover that being unsealed ''does not'' include getting his awesome magical powers of doom back, leaving him running around with no powers in a fantasy kingdom where everyone hates his guts.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, Ganon is often a sealed evil. Link must either re-seal him or stop him from fully unsealing himself or his power. The first time he is actually sealed away takes place at the end of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''.
** So is Vaati, the baddie from the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwords'' games. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'', he starts wrecking havoc as a sorcerer and is sealed for the first time at the end of the game.
** Vaati also broke the seal on the monsters in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'' by destroying the Picori Sword at the beginning of the game.
** And there was also Bongo Bongo, the Evil Shadow Spirit from ''Ocarina of Time' that was sealed in the Bottom of the Well.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' features demon king Malladus, who tyranized the land that would one day become New-Hyrule when Tetra and Link arrived. He was sealed by the ancient Lokomo spirits underneath vast chains that eventually developed into a railway-system.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', the GodOfEvil Demise was sealed by the goddess Hylia. His servant Ghirahim [[spoiler:who is actually Demise's sword]] seeks to free him [[spoiler:and succeeds. In the end, Link seals away Demise again within the newly forged Master Sword.]]
* ''VideoGame/LightningLegendDaigoNoDaibouken'' has Dragless, a legendary and all-powerful Demon King who rampaged through the Kingdom of Japone 450 years before the story's proper, destroying everything on his way. He ultimately was defeated and sealed away in the deepest ends of Mt. Ohsore by the young hero Taikei Raioh, but by the start of the game he has finally freed himself, and it's now up to the descendant of Taikei, Daigo, to defeat him for good.
* In the LucasArts computer game ''VideoGame/{{LOOM}}'', Bishop Mandible unleashes Chaos by ripping open the fabric of the universe near a graveyard.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet 3'' literally with the Titans, who were stuffed into a tea tin.
* In ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', major ghosts that Luigi encountered were once imprisoned inside portraits, but were released by King Boo once E. Gadd captured Boolossus. Eventually they are recaptured by Luigi and put back in their portraits, including King Boo himself... although in [[VideoGame/SuperMario64DS the next game]] he has apparently been released to fight Mario. He is killed this time and next time he is fought (in this case by [[VideoGame/SuperPrincessPeach Peach]]).
* [[EldritchAbomination The Soulless Gods]] of ''{{VideoGame/Lusternia}}''. Originally a host of ''thousands'' of abominations, they're whittled down to a mere five before [[{{Precursors}} The Elder Gods]] fled to the Void. Rendered LoadBearingBoss[=es=] by devouring whole sections of reality, they're eventually sealed away by [[PrecursorHeroes the Council of the Nine]]. Unfortunately, the cans in question are ''legendarily'' insecure - one of the five breaks out [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed like clockwork]] every ''thirty years''.
* The world of ''VideoGame/TheMagicCandle'' was narrowly saved from the immortal demon lord Dreax when a few heroes managed to trap him in a candle flame. Keeping him there is the daily task of 44 mages... who have just disappeared. The seal is now critically weakened, leaving the player a set number of days to find out how to fix it.
** Somewhat unique in that the point of the game is to reactivate the seal, not simply to grind yourself to the point where you can just kill the damn thing (because doing so is impossible, at least by the terms of the game world).
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'' as Zetta seals himself in a book after he destroys his own netherworld. HilarityEnsues as he tries to get his body back.
* ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}} Infinity'' starts out with a grim message from Durandal about the W'rkcacnter getting loose from Lh'owon's sun, due to the Pfhor using [[spoiler: the trih xeem on it]]. The W'rkcacnter cannot be fought directly, and is only defeated by [[spoiler: the player jumping between different places and timelines, before the player reaches a Jjaro space station that is able to turn the sun into a black hole, thus trapping W'rk before it (them?) escapes]].
* The Dark Star from ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory''. It was imprisoned in Toad Tunnels until it is released by Fawful. [[spoiler: Its core is destroyed by the Mario Bros. and its main form is killed by Bowser.]]
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', [[spoiler: at the end it is revealed that Princess Peach seals Elder Princess Shroob, the leader of the Shroobs, inside the Cobalt Star. When the star is pieced back together, she is released, and fights the Mario Bros. She is defeated, and eventually killed when she possesses Bowser and the Mario Bros. trick him into hitting her with his fireballs while aiming for them.]]
** Antasma in VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam. About a thousand years ago he was sealed away in the Dream World by the Pi'illo people, who ended up getting turned to stone by his last act. And then, when everyone finds out Luigi can open Dream Portals by sleeping... he manages to capture Princess Peach, and then escape back to the real world just a short while later. Guess that can was ludicrously ineffective then...
* [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination The Reapers]]]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' actually seal ''themselves'' after [[spoiler:their habitual galactic genocides]] in order to conserve energy. The only hand the [[{{Precursors}} Protheans]] had in dealing with them was tampering with the Citadel's mass relay after they'd already receded so that they couldn't get back out so easily.
** The DLC "The Arrival" reveals that [[spoiler:the Reapers]] left themselves another way in. A special mass relay at the edge of the galaxy that can access any other relay anywhere.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' [[spoiler:are revealed to be more like Sealed WellIntentionedExtremist in a Can. Their true goal is to ''preserve'' organic life in the long run by "resetting" civilization to prevent the KillEmAll RobotWar that their creator the Catalyst believes is inevitable.]]
* The Antarans from ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2: Battle at Antares''. They are an ancient and powerful race who were banished to another dimension by the Orion Empire. However, they learned how to break out of their prison and were able to warp raiding parties to attack colonized worlds while preventing others from invading their prison-turned-stronghold. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice job breaking it, Orion]].
* The Shadow Demons in ''VideoGame/MediEvil'' were sealed in the heart of the Enchanted Forest under an iron dome, locked with the Shadow Artifact. In order to get through the forest and to his next destination, Sir Dan Fortesque is forced to free them; he later makes up for it by trapping them in an abandoned castle and dropping it into lava, destroying them.
* [[spoiler:Maverick Zero]] of ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', with TheVirus originally coming from him. [[spoiler:He spends the rest of his life/lives [[TheAtoner atoning for it]].]]
** The "can" in question is in itself a Sealed Evil, [[spoiler:although, ''becoming a hero'', this was obviously subverted]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'', "the ultimate power" broadcast in a telepathic message throughout the galaxy is actually [[spoiler: the sealed evil Gorea, originally a [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Giant Space Flea]] run amok and the presumed source of the message.]] This is one of the few cases where the good (the Alimbics) weren't strong enough to kill the evil, just entangle its energy with theirs in the Seal Sphere and hide it in a pocket dimension. [[spoiler: You arrive at the Seal Sphere only to see the other Hunters pounding away at it like idiots. They break it open, then stare as the core of the Seal Sphere (the Alimbics' energies) is snatched by Gorea, who proceeds to impale all of them with tentacles from the Sphere and steal their energies (weapons). You saw this coming, or at least you WOULD if you've scanned at least 25% of the Alimbic lore hanging around the place... Anyway, this leaves you to clean up the mess (kick Gorea's ass).]]
** The titular creature from the first ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' game was sealed within he impact crater. In the original version, the Space Pirates managed to free it by digging under the seal, although it later escaped from them and returned to the crater, and you have to open the seal to fight it. In the European release/Player's Choise version, it was never released.
* In the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' series, the fallen elder god Shinnok is sealed in the Netherworld. [[spoiler:The Realms themselves are actually the Can keeping the One Being sealed. Merging them would allow the One Being to return, which is why the elder gods resist any attempt at unification.]]
** Ermac gets this as well, [[spoiler:thanks to Shao Kahn's soul being part of Ermac.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'': When his mech runs out of power, [[spoiler: Pokey/Porky retreats into his Absolutely Safe Capsule -- which can't be opened from the inside or outside. Not quite SEIAC, as this capsule cannot possibly be opened, damaged or otherwise altered by any earthly or divine means]].
* Speaking of Bungie, the main plot of ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}: The Fallen Lords'' is this, and it's reanimating corpses and whatnot. After you all but lose the war, you manage to kill it.
** A more literal example is The Watcher, a powerful Lich who was imprisoned in a cave by a charm on his hand that would turn him to stone if he tried to leave. [[LifeOrLimbDecision Ultimately, he chose to cut that hand off.]] He finally met his doom when an arrow was fashioned from the bone of the hand that was left behind and turned him to stone after striking him.
** They also smashed his stone form into rubble [[DeaderThanDead just to be sure]].
* The demon of the first ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' game, and the Archfiend of ''Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword''.
* ''VideoGame/NosferatuTheWrathOfMalachi'': [[spoiler: Malachi, a Vampire Lord of great power and pure evil, was sealed inside a magic Tomb underneath the Castle centuries ago. The Count's objective is to release him.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okage}}: Shadow King'', King Stan has been (purportedly) stuck in a bottle for the last 300 years, waiting for someone wimpy enough to let them possess his shadow. Additionally, while he was stuck in the bottle, a number of monsters stole portions of his evil power and became "Fake Evil Kings". He then drags the main character around to defeat them and get his powers back so he can take over the world.
* Orochi in ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' is a definite example of this trope.
* In what is possibly the worst-sealed can ''ever'', ''VideoGame/PacMan''. He kills the ghost, sealing it in the little box in the center of the screen. Three minutes later, it escapes again, and poor Pac must kill it over again. Perhaps he'd have better luck if he gave his little ghostbox a lid.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', the plan of the antagonists is to [[spoiler: summon the Shadow Queen, who can only be summoned into a princess (read Peach). Upon release, the Queen promptly reduces the head of the antagonists to, well, a head, and plans to conquer. Unluckily for her, Mario arrived at the same time.]]
** On the other hand, [[spoiler: she recognizes Mario's strength and offers him to work for her. The player is given a Yes or No choice, while the former leads to an instant NonstandardGameOver.]]
** The Black Chests are a lesser case of this. [[spoiler:The "curses" they inflict upon Mario are actually useful abilities. Justified in that the inhabitants of the chests are the former heroes who defeated the Shadow Queen 1,000 years ago.]]
** In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', Bonechill, a fallen Nimbi, was held in the area of the Underwhere in which the dead villains suffer for eternity among the game overed. He escapes due to an earthquake (often speculated to be the work of the BigBad, Count Bleck, who is known to be a dimension traveler) and wreaks havoc in the Overthere. Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi fight him and easily destroy him.
* In ''VideoGame/PathwaysIntoDarkness'', the ''Marathon'' games predecessor, a modern-day Special Forces team must prevent a W'rkcacnter from escaping from its can.
* The Snow Queen Mask in ''Videogame/{{Persona}}'' is definitely one. It's kept in a gym storage room, in a box sealed with MAGIC TALISMANS, and after going on [[spoiler:ThatOneSidequest in which everyone warns you about the horrible past of said mask, you can just decide to open the box like nobody's business and walk off with it completely unpunished]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', the "sealed evil" is [[spoiler:Nyx, a CosmicHorror and AnthropomorphicPersonification of death]] -- while the "can" just so happens to be [[spoiler: [[BodyHorror the main character]].]]
** In ''Persona 3: FES'', we find out that [[spoiler: said main character has become [[BarrierMaiden the seal]].]] And it's in place not to seal Nyx from attacking Earth. It's for sealing ''Earth'' from [[spoiler:summoning Nyx itself]].
* The demon in ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}''.
* The Dark One of SRMTHFG has nothing on the Profound Darkness in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIV''; the Precursors sealed it with a ''solar system''.
* In ''PhantasyStar'' ''II'' and ''III'', you find the big bad end boss Dark Force/Dark Falz/Dark Phallus (depending on translation) in a literal Pandora's Box in the final dungeon.
** In ''IV'', [[spoiler:it's revealed that the Profound Darkness is one of these, and it has been creating Dark Force/Falz/Phallus for thousands of years (there's a thousand year gap between ''I'' and ''II'', and between ''II'' and ''IV''). The seal on the Profound Darkness is ''the entire Algo solar system''.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'', you learn early on that Dark Falz [[spoiler: (One of its incarnations, at least)]] was sealed beneath the surface of the planet Naberius a few decades before the game's story takes place. Unsurprisingly, it ends up being released sooner or later.
* ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'' features an example as the main antagonist, the demon Sulfur. Rather than the usual thousands of years of imprisonment though Sulfur is capable of coming back every 30 years, and during his imprisonment can extend enough influence into the world to wreak havoc.
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', [[spoiler: the literal Sealed-Evil-In-A-Box]]. Also, the Monster Jug (which you can buy at a shop and open, should you feel like it).
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' has a species of them, the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Spiritomb]]. Sure, sealing OneHundredAndEight souls into a single [[CosmicKeystone keystone]] makes economic sense, but by the time they get out, they've [[IAmLegion merged into a single, massively pissed off Pokémon]] whose Ghost-Dark typing means it has no natural weaknesses (prior to getting a Fairy-type weakness in Gen VI anyway), and is pretty powerful to boot. [[CapturedSuperEntity You can catch one]], though to unseal it so you can fight it takes a [[GuideDangIt somewhat occluded]] SideQuest, and the place you release them [[NightmareFuel is a bit intentionally creepy]].
** Spiritomb could actually be SealedArmyInACan, due to its composition being 108 individual spirits that just happened to [[FusionDance fuse together]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', [[spoiler: Elizabeth Greene, the host of the Redlight Virus]] is sealed in the Genetek building. Badly. The protagonist might also count as a Sealed Evil In A Can, although in this case it's more like [[spoiler: Sealed Evil in a ''Vial'']].
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' is fond of this one. In fact, every game following ''So You Want to Be a Hero'' centers around such a plot.
** Toward the end of ''Trial by Fire'', it is revealed that Ad Avis is trying to summon Iblis, a powerful and evil djinn.
** In ''Wages of War'', the Demon Sorcerer attempts to free the Demon Lord. (If he succeeds, the Demon Lord's first act is to cast Thermonuclear Blast on the immediate area. As it turns out, this is a legitimate spell, and can be learned in the fifth game.)
** In a minor twist, in ''Shadows of Darkness'', [[EldritchAbomination Avoozl]], the Dark One, wasn't quite sealed properly, and the surrounding countryside has suffered for it. Even as the two antagonists (one new, one old) try to release it, it is only through their actions that it can be put away for good.
** ''Dragon Fire'' has a twist of its own - there is a villain working behind the scenes and trying to unleash the Dragon of Doom, but by this point in the series, the hero (under extenuating circumstances) has become strong enough at this point to just ''kill'' the thing.
* The Tyrant in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil', which is released by Wesker near the end of the game. In the [[MultipleEndings bad ending]], it escapes from the facility.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'', an experiment with the Veronica virus on Alexander Ashford mutated him into a grotesque monster codenamed Nosferatu, who is imprisoned in Umbrella's Antarctic base until our heroes arrive. Alexia also counts somewhat.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', the parasitic Las Plagas were sealed away for eight generations before the start of the game.
* Heinrich I, in ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein''. Doubly so, given [[spoiler: what he does to Blavatsky]]. Earlier in the game, there's Olaric, who is accidentally unleashed by Helga von Bulow when she tries to take the Dagger of Warding.
* ''VideoGame/ReturnToKrondor'' presents the Dark God as this. The Dark God does not get released, but the ending makes it clear that the person trying to unseal it has not given up.
* In ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa: Minstrel Song'', the god Saruin was sealed away via the [[CosmicKeystone Fatestones]]; naturally, his minions are trying to 'correct' this. However, an even better example is [[spoiler: the Jewel Beast]]: a monster poised to destroy a whole country if awakened. Even if the player manages to delay its awakening -- no easy feat by itself, [[GuideDangIt given the precise timing and difficult sequence of events that involves]] -- they can't ''stop'' it unless they enter its lair while it's still sleeping. It's one of the harder fights in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/RuneFactory 2'', mysterious earthquakes start happening about a third of the way into the game. Eventually, the main character's child finds these are being caused by a SealedEvilInACan which is about to escape and destroy the world.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'': The devastating Zarosian creature Nex ([[BilingualBonus Latin]] for "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast violent death]]") has been sealed into a enchanted, frozen sleep by the armies of Saradomin. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Sliske]] tricked a band of peace-seeking Saradominists into performing a ritual they thought would wake [[AllPowerfulBystander Guthix]] from [[KingInTheMountain his slumber]], but instead released Nex.
* The Dragon of ''VideoGame/{{Ryzom}}'' is currently (as far as we know) asleep in the Prime Roots. It's responsible for creating [[TheCorruption The Goo]] and is only sleeping because [[ScienceHero the Karavan]] stopped its rampage (or so they say). As such, their policy with it is to put up a sign that says "DO NOT TOUCH" in bright, mile-high neon letters to deter anyone from getting too close and waking it up, something they believe will bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. The Fyros are currently ignoring that sign, if their goal of killing the beast is any indicator; and doing ''that'', while a seemingly noble goal, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero is what caused the Great Swarming of Kitin in the Backstory.]]
* Averted and parodied in ''VideoGame/SepterraCore''. The game's intro movie and backstory tell about a great battle in which Marduk (the world's CrystalDragonJesus) defeated Gemma (the local {{Satan}} equivalent). In most {{RPG}}s, at some point towards the end Gemma would be resurrected and become the final boss. The main character even speculates that this is going to happen after hearing the tale about the battle between Marduk and Gemma. In response, TheMentor remarks that such a plot twist would be rather silly, and only happens in stories. Sure enough, Gemma never comes back, and the final boss of the game is the character who's been the main villain from start to finish, the KnightTemplar EvilOverlord Lord Doskias.
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', except there are ''sixteen'' cans wandering throughout the area. Most notable with the final Colossus though. Besides having a name that literially means 'evil' in Latin, the only possible way you can reach it is to have killed all fifteen other Colossi ingame. [[spoiler:Might also apply to Dormin as well, if you're part of the group that [[WildMassGuessing thinks They really are evil.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}} and the Pirate's Curse'' has the Pirate Master, a great evil from the past who was sealed in a lonely grave on a small island after all the full genies of the world performed a HeroicSacrifice. Unfortunately, he was unexpectedly revived when a new source of Dark Magic suddenly appeared before the start of the game.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' has [[spoiler:the Kagome Tower prisoners - three of the Four Archangels. [[ButThouMust It's scripted to continue]]. And, unfortunately, soon you'll probably wish you just had left them there to rot.]]
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' has [[spoiler:the Demiurge, a monstrously powerful shard of God, imprisoned in the depths of Sector Grus. Unfortunately, said shard doesn't hold much of God's ''mind'' - it only has His AxCrazy, KnightTemplar nature. After defeating and placating the entity, it may join you (''only'' in the Law Path), [[UngratefulBastard chide you and threaten you with destruction]] for not following the same ideals, or it can be shoved back in its can even worse than before by simply switching off the visor.]]
* Seems to be somewhat of a recurring theme in the ''Franchise/ShiningSeries''. Evil guys try to unseal something worse;
** In ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'', Darksol's evil plan is to unseal Dark Dragon.
** In ''Videogame/ShiningForceII'', evil Zeon is accidentally released by the good thief Slade who steals the crystals sealing him.
** ''Videogame/ShiningForceIII'''s overall plot is about a secret cult reactivating ancient weapons to create enough chaos to allow the Vandals to return.
** ''Videogame/ShiningTheHolyArk'' is all about how a group of low powered Vandals want to release one of the most powerful Vandals ever; so he can recreate the 1000 Year Kingdom.
** ''VideoGame/ShiningSoul'' sees you seal away Dark Dragon for at least 1000 years.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shivers}}'' has the Ixupi, ancient soul-sucking {{Mayincatec}} demons who were sealed into pots with talismans. Millenia later, an itinerant archaeologist digs them up and puts them in a museum. Then two kids sneak in the museum and break them open.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' has Chaos, who was sealed inside the Master Emerald in ancient times, until Eggman shattered it to free the water monster inside as part of his latest scheme. [[spoiler:Ultimately subverted, as Chaos isn't evil, just really pissed.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' has the sun god Solaris, forcibly split into two seperate forms due to an experiment acted upon it: Iblis and Mephiles. Princess Elise served as Iblis' can, with her control over her sorrow being the lid -- if she cries, the can is opened and Iblis is unleashed upon the world once more. Somewhere else, Mephiles is sealed away in the [[AncientArtifact Scepter]] [[ArtifactOfDoom of Darkness]] until an encounter with Eggman shatters it.
** Shadow the Hedgehog made [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 his first appearance]] as this, though being canned and going evil didn't happen at the same time: [[spoiler:his creator screwed with his memories after he was placed in stasis, leading to his whole 'humanity needs to die' outlook.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' has [[CosmicHorror Dark Gaia]], who was sealed within the planet by his light counterpart [[spoiler:a.k.a. ''Chip'']] in a neverending cycle of planetary death and rebirth.
** By the end of ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'', [[spoiler:Sonic does this to contain Erazor Djinn, using his own magic lamp against him.]]
* Gig from ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' starts the game as an example of this... and in a subversion of this trope, unless you actively [[DealWithTheDevil start asking for his 'help']], he's [[TheImp rather harmless]], if a bit foul-mouthed.
* Malefor, aka The Dark Master from ''[[Franchise/SpyroTheDragon The Legend of Spyro]]'' series. [[spoiler:He was born as a purple dragon, like Spyro, some countless generations ago. He was taught how to master the elements, but kept gaining more power, resulting in the Elders banishing him to exile. He took on the title of The Dark Master, where his malice was so great that it split the Earth, creating the Mountain of Malefor, also known as the Well of Souls, where he was imprisoned. In ''A New Beginning'', he sends out Cynder to open the convexity portal to free his soul, which she succeeds in, though Spyro frees Cynder from his control, causing the portal to implode. In ''The Eternal Night'', Gaul uses the lunar eclipse of the celestial moons (that causes non-stop darkness for a short while) to seemingly resurrect Malefor. But it's revealed by Malefor in ''Dawn of the Dragon'' that this was merely all a ruse to get the real one to free him to the Well of Souls to do so, who was it? [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Poor Spyro]].]]
** Also, the Destroyer counts, as its sole purpose for existing is to destroy the world but it slept below a volcano until Malefor awakened it to destroy the world. A rare case of one Sealed Evil In A Can freeing another.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a few of these, mostly canned by the Rakata.
** The Imprisoned One on Tatooine.
** The Esh-Kha on Belsavis.
* BigBad of ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Super Robot Wars K]]'', Lu Cobol was defeated by the [[{{Precursors}} Crusian]]. They decide to hid Lu Cobol's fragments in planets across galaxy. 2,000 years has pass and now [[EnergyBeings bodiless]] Lu Cobol seek to reform itself, by [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy whatever planet]] that hold its fragments.
* Dhaos, the villain of ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', was sealed away by the protagonist's parents, but was released early on in the game by a minor villain he had been manipulating.
* Metatronius, the BiggerBad of ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' has been sealed away by the elves during their war against heaven a thousand years ago. Now it has possessed BigBad Abraxas to break the seal and continue its original mission.
* Ogre, Jinpachi, and Azazel of the ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' games.
* Every game in the main ''VideoGame/TengaiMakyou'' series.
** Ziria has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Masakado.
** Manjimaru has the Root Clan trying to revive Yomi.
** Fuun Kabuki Den has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Garp.
** Fourth Apocalpyse has the Dark Society trying to revive their Absolute God.
* In ''VideoGame/TombRaider'' and the remake, ''VideoGame/TombRaiderAnniversary'', [[spoiler:Natla was locked in limbo for thousands of years after using her powers for evil.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Tomba}}'' has the titular main character being given the task of sealing away seven Evil Pigs (eight including "The Real Evil Pig" [[ManBehindTheMan who is their leader behind the scenes]]) in color-coordinated "Evil Pig Bags".
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' game ''Perfect Cherry Blossom'' the evil [[CherryBlossoms cherry tree]], the Saigyou Ayakashi, is sealed up by the dead body of Yuyuko Saigyouji. At the same time, the tree seals ''her'', preventing her from reincarnating, so she wanders as a [[CuteGhostGirl ghost]]. In a wierd twist, Yuyuko eventually [[GhostAmnesia forgets her life as a human]], up to and including why she died or who is sealed beneath the Saigyou Ayakashi. This leads to her trying to ''undo'' the seal that she placed in the first place, because she forgot she did it.
** The player characters in ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' think that the incident is releasing one of these, however Byakuren is very much a SealedGoodInACan.
** From the perspective of the Buddhists, the Taoists in ''Ten Desires'' are this, what with that whole religious war thing. As usual for ''Touhou'' [[GoodAllAlong they aren't evil]], but neither are they particularly good.
** In the fandom, a wildly accepted EpilepticTree is that Rumia is this to herself; that the {{Ofuda}} in her hair, that she cannot touch, is actually a RestrainingBolt that holds back her SuperPoweredEvilSide, in the process turning her into a mostly harmless idiot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2'': the objective is to stop the CosmicHorror Primagen from being unsealed from his can.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Valis}} II'', Cruel King Megas had been sealed away long ago, but was released when rebels battling the forces of the fallen Lord Rogles broke the seal and opened the Forbidden Door. The result was to turn Vecanty into HellOnEarth.
* ''VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' features a memorable subversion -- the MacGuffin of the game is a sarcophagus that supposedly contains an Antediluvian (very old, ''very'' powerful vampire). Everyone is trying to make a move for the sarcophagus, partially because the presence of such a thing might be a herald of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Gehenna]] -- but also because a low-generation vampire represents a ''massive'' power grab for anyone willing to commit diablerie (the consumption of another vampire's soul). Well, the Prince has been pushing you around all game in an attempt to claim the sarcophagus, and when it's finally opened... [[spoiler: the only thing he finds is a ''lot'' of C4. And a note from the guy who set the whole thing in motion. Boom.]]
* Illidan Stormrage in ''Videogame/{{Warcraft}} III'', another Blizzard production, is imprisoned in a cage for 10,000 years for continuing to research arcane magic after the night elves had banned its use. Also a subversion in that Illidan is ''not'' evil at the time of his imprisonment, but has become [[ThePunishment obsessed with power and revenge]] by the time he is freed.
** Maybe Illidan wasn't evil, but he did kill people with a handwave who tried to stop him from corrupting a lake with the Well's water.
** In a continuation of this universe, a majority of raid bosses in VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft are sealed evils. The quests to kill them generally go something like ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who have this Big Ancient Evil imprisoned, so that you can kill him too.'' One wonders why the player doesn't just say ''But, they're doing a fine job keeping him imprisoned! What happens if I manage to kill them but the Big Ancient Evil kills me?'' A variation goes ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who are trying to unseal this Big Ancient Evil before they succeed, then kill the half-unsealed form of the Big Ancient Evil,'' which makes a little more sense.
** ''Warcraft'''s universe also has the [[CosmicHorror Old Gods]], very similar to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, sealed beneath the world and waiting to be freed. For the longest time, it was a total mystery why the god-esque Titans didn't just kill them all, considering they'd managed to off one. Recently it was revealed that the Old Gods are parasites who have bonded with the planet of Azeroth so that killing them will cause untold damage to it. And yet, the players continue killing them for loot...
** The fourth expansion to ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' (Cataclysm) involves the unleashing of Deathwing, the Earth Dragon who was slowly driven insane by the Old Gods and imprisoned in Deepholme, the elemental plane of earth. His emergence not only blows up parts of the world, but also opens up the elemental planes, which are full of Sealed Evil in a Can, including the elementals themselves (locked up because they were tearing the world apart with their wars)
** The ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion features the sha - beings of pure hatred and other negative emotions - as this. It later emerges that [[spoiler: an artifact called the Divine Bell has the ability to control the sha, and Horde Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders it stolen in an attempt to make super-soldiers with it. It misfires when the sha ends up controlling its test subjects instead of the other way round, and have to be slaughtered by adventurers]]. The sha are eventually revealed to be fragments of a slain Old God [[spoiler:whose still-living heart is removed from a Titan prison and used by Garrosh in another attempt to empower his loyal orcs]].
* ''VideoGame/WarioLand'' games have had a few cases of this, with ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3'' having Wario spend half the game trying to 'help' a mysterious figure trapped in the music box, who turns out to be [[MonsterClown Rudy the Clown]], which then tries to take over the world. ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' had him accidentally unleash the sealed evil in a can at the very beginning, aka the Black Jewel, which was taken from some kind of treasure chest by Wario and his obsession with treasure, and that then turned his entire castle into a parallel dimension of sorts and what not.
* Rudy the Clown in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3''. He was [[NiceJobBreakingItHero manipulating Wario into releasing him]] from his prison for the entire game, then turns on Wario when he's free again for the final boss battle.
** Similarly, possibly the entirety of the Golden Pyramid in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 4'', and the Black Jewel in ''Wario World''.
* [[spoiler:Terrormisu (alias Tiaramisu)]] in ''VideoGame/WarioMasterOfDisguise'', the ancient demon who [[spoiler:was sealed inside the Wishstone that Wario was trying to piece together.]]
* Daglathor in ''VideoGame/WarriorsOfMightAndMagic'' is sealed inside a dungeon in the heart of a mountain. And the mechanism to avoid his eventual escape is found... [[FridgeLogic inside his prison.]]
** VideoGame/MightAndMagic VII has a rather simplistic sealing liable to be done by the player characters: the medusa crawling around in the sub-level of an abandoned mine have developed an immunity to magic. As a class promotion quest, you get sent to sabotage the elevator to ''keep'' them down there.
* In ''VideoGame/AWitchsTale'', the Eld Witch was a wicked creature sealed away by Queen Alice. The heroine, Liddell, accidentally sets her free.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', [[spoiler:Zanza]] splits himself into two cans: [[spoiler:[[SoulJar the Monado]]]] and [[spoiler:[[SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan Shulk]]]]. Once he's built up enough power, he [[spoiler:emerges from Shulk's body and absconds with the Monado, rendering him lifeless for a short period]].
* All games in the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series use this trope, e.g. Darm in I and II (who was disguised as the Black Pearl, also an ArtifactOfDoom), Galbalan in III, the Ancient City and Arrem in IV, the lost city of Kefin and its king, Jabir, in V, and the Ark of Napishtim in VI.
* In ''Videogame/YuGiOhReshefOfDestruction'', Reshef is an ancient Egyptian sealed evil in a can. He's re-sealed in the ending.
[[/folder]]



[[folder: Western Animation]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Marceline's father, the Lord Of Evil, is sealed in the Nightosphere. Finn [[NiceJobBreakingItHero frees him, not knowing how evil he was]]. In the end, Finn manages to seal him back into the Nightosphere. Even worse is [[OmnicidalManiac the Lich]], the UltimateEvil who was imprisoned inside amber within a great tree by the legendary hero Billy. He finally broke free during the season 2 finale.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/AlfredJKwak'', Alfred encounters the Evil Spirit of Darkness, an ancient demon who caused so much torment and destruction that God locked him inside a magic bottle.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', the Warner Brothers (and their sister Dot) were Sealed Zany in a Water Tower. In this case, it was more Sealed ''Chaos'' in a Can.
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' brought us [[PsychoPrototype Protoform X a.k.a. Rampage]]. He was the result of Maximal experiments to produce an immortal super-soldier by copying Starscream's mutant spark. They got that part right in the form of [[GoneHorriblyRight an unkillable serial killer that slaughtered human and cybertronian alike]]. After eventually capturing him, the Maximal Elders sealed in up in a stasis pod then turned him over to Optimus Primal's to dump on some desolate asteroid since they could figure out how to destroy him. Several adventures later and the monster was unleashed again and recruited by the Predacons.
* Vilgax, from ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'', tends to be put in a can of whatever sort between appearances, be it a healing chamber, a block of ice, or a pocket dimension. He's slightly unusual in that we see him ''out'' of the can first.
** And in the same show, Ghostfreak[=/=]Zs'Skayr is an odd example of evil that got sealed in a can ''accidentally'', his DNA sampled for the show's ClingyMacGuffin so that the wearer can turn into him, and the personalities of his species being encoded in their genes somehow. Eventually, he gets loose and becomes Ben's EnemyWithout.
* ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' had Natron the First in the aptly named episode "Ancient Evil". After he is defeated and returned to his tomb, Mira melts the door to it. Hopefully this will keep him sealed.
** Subverted with NOS-4-A-2, as he can still drain energy whilst in his coffin and his coffin can turn into a spaceship.
* ''WesternAnimation/CampLakebottom'': In "Pandora's Jock", the counselors banished the training titan Jacques the Jock to limbo by sealing him in an old television and tossing it into the shed. Naturally, [=McGee=] lets him out.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheCareBearsMovie'' had the Evil Spirit, whose can was a locked book of magic spells a young boy, Nicholas, opened. The spirit is powerful but, since it's confined to the book, needs Nicholas to cast its spells; he becomes progressively more evil in the process. ThePowerOfFriendship helps him come to his senses and he helps close and relock the book, ending the threat.
* ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'' had a two-part episode called "The Big Blow Up", which was about Rudy Tabootie opening the door to the temple of King Mumbo Jumbo and in doing so accidentally freeing a swarm of creatures known as Inflatermaus, who were imprisoned in there for centuries because their bite infects inhabitants of [=ChalkZone=] with a fatal disease called Balloonemia, which causes victims to inflate until they burst. Upon being freed, the Inflatermaus swarm begin to infect the people of [=ChalkZone=] again, leaving it up to Rudy, Penny, and Snap to find out how to cure Balloonemia and reimprison the swarm.
* In the prequel episode of ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'', we discover that the dormant Supercomputer was sealing XANA for 10 years. It is Jérémie, by turning it back on, who unleashed the malevolent program (plus his future girlfriend) on the world.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'':
** Nicolai Technus spent a fair amount of episodes imprisoned in Level Zero of the ''Doomed'' video game, until Danny freed him by deleting the game.
** Fright Knight was sealed away inside a pumpkin, and was released first by Danny himself (accidently), and later by Pariah Dark so that he could act as TheDragon.
** Pariah Dark was sealed away to free the Ghost Zone from his tyranny.
** Vlad seems particularly fond of releasing these - he released Pariah Dark unintentionally, and then later on intentionally releases Vortex on the world and then quickly loses control of him.
** Any ghost trapped in the Fenton Thermos. Temporary, but still sealed away.
** Technically not a can, but Pandora's box definitely qualifies.
*** ''WesternAnimation/TheUltimateEnemy'': [[spoiler:Dark Danny was sealed away in a Fenton Thermos and left with Clockwork, though for how long is unknown.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/DiGataDefenders'' the plot of the first season is for the titular Defenders to reseal an obscenely powerful entity known as the Megalith that the seasons' BigBad used to take over most of the world a generation ago. However, the defenders decide on a change of tactics after finding out that not only has this thing been sealed and escaped numerous times in the past, but that it gets better at unsealing itself each time.
** The Megalith [[spoiler:happens to be keeping another evil sealed in another dimension.]]
* Norm the Genie in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents''.
** He's released multiple times by Crocker, Chester, and Timmy, and each time has a different scam towards his revenge on Timmy.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Felidae}}'''s Claudandus means "something that must be sealed".
* In WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones, it can be argued The Great Gazoo was this to his people. He invented a death machine and they stuffed him in a satellite and sent him to Earth's stone age. Turns out in this case he's not such a bad guy, but it was a dangerous machine that got him sealed in his respective can.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' episode "Invisibo" had an evil Egyptian prince with the power of invisibility who was buried alive in a sarcophagus sealed with a carving of a scarab, but ended up free to wreak havoc on the modern world when Dexter Douglas' older brother Duncan accidentally broke the scarab carving while trying to punch Dexter.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheGodzillaPowerHour,'' the Cyclops was so invulnerable that even the SufficientlyAdvanced aliens who discovered it couldn't destroy it, so they trapped it on an island behind an impenetrable force field. The sucker's so tough, even Godzilla doesn't successfully destroy it at the end, so the crew just ends up trapping it back behind its force field.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', the wax statues in "[[Recap/GravityFallsS1E3Headhunters Headhunters]]" were locked away for ten years before Soos stumbled across them and they were able to seek their revenge.
* The Red Sentients in ''WesternAnimation/HotWheelsBattleForce5''. They were sealed away in five seperate Battle Zones by [[TheStarscream Zemerick]] when he betrayed them. At the end of season 2, [[BigBad Krytus]] is freed by a traitor named Praxion (whom he promptly [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves drops off a cliff]]) and proceeds to release the rest of his team from their own prisons. The rest of the Red Sentients were all frozen by Sage before they could join Krytus in his multiversal conquest. [[spoiler:These are ultimately a subversion, as it turns out they're just as tired of the war as the Blue Sentients are when they're released and gladly make peace instead. They then ''reseal'' Krytus in a block of ice on a distant world as punishment.]]
* All of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Inhumanoids}}'' were locked away for thousands of years before the beginning of the series. Tendril was chained up 2 miles underground, D'Compose was trapped in amber, Metlar held by a being with magnetic powers, and Sslither covered with concrete. And Blackthorne Shore freed all of them, the former three in the pilot alone.
* Most seasons of ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' involved the cast attempting to reseal escaped Sealed Evil in a Can once using a jar-like object. In the series, this is {{justified|Trope}} by the fact that destroying evil will only allow a different (and probably stronger) evil to take its place. Better then to keep around the evil threat you already ''know'' how to deal with, than risk leaving the way open for something far worse to come up that you may not know how to deal with in time.
** In other words, the devil you know is better than the one you don't.
** In addition to the main villains, there was also Spring Heeled Jack, who was [[TakenForGranite turned to stone]] long ago and accidentally released and the Monkey King, who's imprisoned as a puppet.
* Hades, Greek God of the Underworld, in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. Released by Felix Faust in the hopes that Hades will grant him "ultimate knowledge" in return. Hades naturally betrays Faust by [[spoiler:causing him to instantly age to an old man since "Ultimately, pain and suffering are all humans will ever know."]]
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' had some sort of a sealed evil monkey man who petrified people in one episode. His name fit him perfectly, The Yono, and anyone who beats him gets to watch the one who released him petrified and re-sealed along with Yono.
* Chiros, the secondary antagonist of ''WesternAnimation/KongTheAnimatedSeries''. Imprisoned in a stone tablet that is implied, by Harpy cautioning the gargoyles moving it, would turn out bad for Chiros if it was broken (whether it will actually kill him or simply prevent him from being released ever again is unknown). It is also unknown why it was never destroyed the first time he was sealed inside it. At the end, [[spoiler: Chiros is released, but Lua opens up a portal and Kong spins him by the tail and throws him back in, sealing him inside the tablet again. Kong immediately smashes the tablet.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'': Vaatu, the BigBad of Book 2 is an evil spirit who is the embodiment of chaos, is sealed in a dead tree in a desert by the first Avatar, in the Spirit World; Vaatu's design is similar to [[WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack Aku's]], as is his prison (evil spirit sealed in a dead tree in a swamp), which is itself a reference to [[WesternAnimation/FerngullyTheLastRainforest Hexxus]] (toxic spirit sealed in a dead tree in a dead forest).
* ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'', "Phantoms": Due to TimeTravel, Franchise/{{Superman}} accidentally unseals an evil that, it's implied, his future self [[TimeTravelTenseTrouble sealed/will seal]] a thousand years beforehand.
* The singing, dancing frog who ruined a man's life in the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short "WesternAnimation/OneFroggyEvening" was placed into a cement slab and freed several hundred years in the future. The frog was also found by the man in question in that cement slab, so he may have been taken out of and put back into the slab many, many times by all the men whose lives he had ruined.
** This is based on the story of a real (not evil) horned lizard that was sealed in the cornerstone of a courthouse (long before they were on any endangered species list). 31 years later the stone was opened and the horned lizard was alive and lived on for almost a year afterward.
* ''WesternAnimation/MonsterAllergy'' has this when it comes to trapping monsters.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MuchaLucha: The Return of El Malefico'', El Malefico was imprisoned in the core of the Earth for 100,000 years. He used The Flea to trick Rikochet into freeing him by reading a passage from the Code of Masked Wrestling backwards. At the end, El Malefico is defeated and he is sealed back up again.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Nightmare Moon was sealed in the Moon for a thousand years as "The Mare in the Moon".
** Discord had been [[TakenForGranite imprisoned in a stone statue]] by Celestia and Luna since ancient times for the suffering his rule brought everyone in Equestria. However, his prison weakened over time, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders release him by [[NiceJobBreakingItHero creating discord (fighting) in front of him]], giving him the power to break free. The Mane Six put him back in his can at the end of the two-parter. [[spoiler:Eventually, though, they release Discord and [[HeelFaceTurn reform him]] when Celestia decides she has use for his powers]].
** [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E20ItsAboutTime "It's About Time"]] reveals that there are a bunch of evil creatures and villains sealed away in Tartarus that are guarded by Cerberus.
** King Sombra was turned into a LivingShadow and imprisoned in the northern ice by Celestia and Luna. They were at least more thorough than with Discord.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E23InspirationManifestation "Inspiration Manifestation"]], the tome was hidden away and locked behind a caged door for a reason. But Spike fails to notice any of this.
** As shown in [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E25TwilightsKingdomPart1 "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1"]], Lord Tirek was imprisoned in Tartarus and has escaped.
* ''Franchise/{{Ninjago}}'': The Serpentine and the Stone Army start off as this, [[UltimateEvil The Overlord]] becomes this in season 3 when his essence is sealed in a hard drive, and The Preeminent is this in season 5.
* The Sorcerer from ''WesternAnimation/RandyCunninghamNinthGradeNinja'', who is sealed below Randy's school and seeks to free himself by causing chaos with the people he mutates.
* ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}''
** ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' played with this trope on occasion, notably in the episode "Knock, Knock". They even played with Chthulu in one episode.
** The SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/ExtremeGhostbusters'' also used this trope a few times.
* Aku in ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack''.
** The three servants of Set.
* Done a few times in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs''.
** The mischievous spirit in "The Box Of Dirty Tricks", which is sealed inside a box in an attempt to contain it from doing anyone any harm. Not that it stops the spirit entirely from doing its dirty tricks upon whoever possesses it.
** Mystico the goblin from "Nobody Smurf", who was sealed inside a fountain and was accidentally released by Nobody and Clumsy Smurf when they knocked over a goblet near the fountain that they were not supposed to touch.
** The druids in a tree in the episode "The Smurfs' Time Capsule". Only their leader managed to escape so that he could get the Moonrock Amulet and free his brothers when the light of the full moon hits the amulet. The Smurfs stopped his attempt and sealed the druid leader back inside the tree.
** The evil wizard trapped in the Swapping Well. (Papa Smurf was the one who had trapped him there, it turned out.)
** The MadArtist Maestro, who was trapped in a painting for making art that could do that to living creatures, inadvertently released by Painter Smurf (who Maestro affectionately called his "apprentice" later; Painter later had to create the most convincing work of his life - as he said - in order to put him back.)
* ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' cartoons:
** In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'', Robotnik steals a computer of magic spells from the [[HeelFaceTurn formerly evil]] wizard Lazar, and Sonic attempts to get it back. When asked why he can't just destroy the computer, Lazar says that would release all the evil it contains.
** In the ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' episode, "Closed Door Policy", Amy sells all of Sticks' possessions at a yard sale. This includes a surfboard blocking the entrance to the underground lair of the Froglodytes, a race of frog-like warriors. When the entrance is unblocked, the Froglodytes escape, capture Sticks, and attempt to [[HumanSacrifice sacrifice her to their idol god]]. Thus, it's up to Sonic and his friends to travel to the Froglodytes' underground lair to save Sticks.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III", the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy villain Man-Ray is shown to be imprisoned in frozen tartar sauce. [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick, who were watching over Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's headquarters in the superheroes' absence, end up accidentally thawing Man-Ray out. The villain escapes to resume wreaking havoc after tricking [=SpongeBob=] and Patrick into removing the tickle belt used to restrain him and exposing them to the Orb of Confusion, but he ends up doing a HeelFaceTurn after finding that the tickle belt's made him unable to commit crimes without bursting into laughter.
* Baron Mordo in ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperHeroSquadShow'' is sealed within a ''soda'' can... that Thor opens when raiding ComicBook/DoctorStrange's refrigerator for a late-night snack.
* The Dark One from ''WesternAnimation/SuperRobotMonkeyTeamHyperforceGo'', who is so large he requires a planet for a functioning seal. Please see the first "Exaggerated" example on the trope's Playing With article for further details.
* ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'': In the first episode, the Pastmaster is Sealed Evil in a Treasure Chest. We don't learn he exists until ''after'' he gets unsealed.
** There's also the Mad Kat The Insane Jester, who was sealed in a jack in the box.
* Trigon in season four of ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', where his daughter Raven becomes his portal into the world, allowing him to turn every creature in the biosphere [[TakenForGranite into stone]] and cover the planet in lava.
** Also, the dragon Malchior in an earlier episode qualifies, sealed in one of Raven's spellbooks.
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndTimesOfJuniperLee,'' June's distant [[FallenHero ancestor]] [[EvilCounterpart Kai Yee]] got turned into a jade statue as punishment for trying to [[WellIntentionedExtremist take over the world of magic]]. Centuries later, a monster corporation frees him for their own evil purposes. It does not go well for them. [[spoiler: Happens a second time when June defeats him.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' episode, "The Looney Beginning", when Buster and Babs need to find villains for their series, they find a box known as the "Villains Box", that has signs with warnings such as '''DANGER!''' '''STAY OUT!''' and '''GO AWAY!''' written on it. Upon opening the box, it releases many of the series' villains, many of which are minor and one-shot characters, such as the Candy Bar Monster from the "Best O' Plucky Duck Day" episode segment, "Sticky Feathers Duck", The Devil from the ending to "Sawdust and Toonsil", The Metropolis Marvels from "The Acme Bowl", and Dr. Gene Splicer from "Hare Raising Night". Eventually, it gets down to Dizzy Devil, Elmyra Duff, and of course, Montana Max.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDrama Total Drama All-Stars]]'': Mal, Mike's evil personality who was incarcerated in the same juvie Duncan was in sometime prior to the series. After he was pardoned from juvie Mike was able to take control and seal him in his mind, years later Scott accidentally hit him as Manitoba Smith in the head with a shovel, partially freeing him.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' had a lot of these.
** For 4 million years, the ''Ark'' held the Decepticons and Autobots in stasis, under a volcano... until volcanic activity shook things up and woke up the evil Decepticons.
** In ''Cosmic Rust'', there's a [[GhostPlanet dead planet]] with radio beacons warning travelers to stay away or die horribly. The Decepticons plunder it, and in the process, catch the metal-eating plague called Cosmic Rust.
*** [[TheStarscream Starscream]] shows signs of TabletopRPG savvy in this episode: when confronted with [[AncientTomb a sealed crypt]] with a curse warning on it, he proclaims that "a curse on the door means treasure behind the door" and breaks in. Unfortunately, he's in a Transformers cartoon, not a [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D game]], making it a near-fatal case of WrongGenreSavvy.
** In ''Return of Optimus Prime'', the HatePlague spores were sealed ''inside a star'' after their last outbreak. Unfortunately, the star went nova.
** Starscream himself could be considered Sealed Evil in a Can in the episode ''Starscream's Ghost''; his ghost first appears after Octane tumbles into the Decepticon crypt and knocks over the ruins of Starscream's grave marker.
** Deconstructed in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime''. [[spoiler: After Unicron's defeat by Primus, his body was cast away into the depths of space. His gravitational pull attracted matter over billions of years which coallessed into the Earth itself. Unicron's physical form is the Earth's core, but he can control the mineral deposits on the surface and create golems of himself, among other things.]] Played straight [[spoiler:when Optimus traps Unicron's Anti-Spark (his soul basically) inside an indestructible reliquary in the series GrandFinale.]]
* Simon and Snarf in ''WesternAnimation/{{Trollz}}''; while the Magic of the Five was sufficient to release Snarf, Simon had to trick the girls into helping him, as he could only be freed by someone pure of heart helping him of their own free will.
* ''TheVentureBrothers'' - Dr. Orpheus, threatened in a diner by two "foulmouthed rednecks", magically traps them in a 'homeboy' figurine he'd earlier bought from a vending machine.
* Valtor from ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' may count as sealed evil in a block of ice, until the Trix released him in the beginning of season three.
* The position of [[EvilOverlord Phobos]] and several of his most powerful minions for most of the second season of ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'' [[spoiler: until he gets released by the heroines]]. [[BigBad Nerissa]] was also once a Sealed Evil In A Can, but she escaped several decades before the series begins.
* Wuya from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' was trapped in a puzzle box for 1,500 years until Jack Spicer freed her unwittingly.
** Likewise, Hannibal Roy Bean was trapped in the Yin-Yang world for nearly as long until Omi freed him unwittingly.
** And then there's Sibini, who was trapped in the Mosaic Scale until "The Evil Within".
* The 13 Ghosts from the Chest of Demons in ''WesternAnimation/The13GhostsOfScoobyDoo''.
** In an episode of The Scooby Doo Show, legend had that flying demons were sealed underground. The gang doesn't find any evidence to support there ever be real demons though.
** The Nibiru entity from ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated''
* The Dark Dragon from ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong''.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SheZow'', [=BrouHaHa=] was imprisoned in a vacuumn cleaner, that also happened to be in a box, by Anges Monroe, the previous [=SheZow=]. He was imprisoned there for 61 years, until some unwitting customer brought it off Guy Hamdon, the current [=SheZow=], in a garage sale.
[[/folder]]
7th Aug '16 5:37:58 PM nombretomado
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* In ''TheDCU'', the PhantomZone is essentially an other-dimensional prison that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone.
* The Source Wall in TheDCU is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall...only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place ({{Superman}}) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.

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* In ''TheDCU'', the Franchise/TheDCU:
** The
PhantomZone is essentially an other-dimensional prison that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone.
* ** The Source Wall in TheDCU is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall...only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place ({{Superman}}) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.
31st Jul '16 4:39:25 AM Morgenthaler
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* In the late JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.

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* In the late JamesHerbert's Creator/JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.
30th Jul '16 2:11:43 AM Morgenthaler
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* In ''WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.

to:

* In ''WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', ''Literature/WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''TheWizardOfForthStreet'' ''Literature/TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.



* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.

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* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''YoungWizards'' ''Literature/YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.



** Also, in his novel ''TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.

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** Also, in his novel ''TheBlackAngel'', ''Literature/TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
29th Jul '16 1:57:33 PM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed. Yet nobody ever seems GenreSavvy enough to know that the BigBad is about to reemerge in that time frame.

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Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed. Yet nobody ever seems GenreSavvy enough to know that the BigBad is about to reemerge in that time frame.



** In addition to [[BigBad Discord]] (who is imprisoned as in canon at the beginning of Reharmonized Ponies), the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' has several others. One is [[{{Satan}} Morning Star]], Celestia's [[FallenAngel Fallen Alicorn]] brother, who was imprisoned for trying to take over the universe after deciding he was better than [[TopGod the Elders]] and being as evil as Discord if not worse. He was released by Havoc to fight in the Alicorn/Draconequi War, where he was either killed (though considering Evil still exists, he wasn't killed as thoroughly as it's possible to kill a God) or imprisoned in Hell (Havoc's domain) after the war as part of the peace treaty between the two according to WordOfGod. Another recurring one is Grogar, a G1 MyLittlePony villain and (in this series) {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} {{Expy}} who is sealed away in another dimension. It's stated he returns every five hundred years unless stopped and has to be resealed. In his case it may be justified because, in [[BadFuture Dark World]], he's been shown to be powerful enough to go toe to toe with [[RealityWarper Discord]] and have a chance of winning, as well being extremely DangerouslyGenreSavvy. Discord shows a great deal of anger that Grogar doesn't seem all that mad about this, in direct contrast to Discord himself, who can't ''stand'' his can.

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** In addition to [[BigBad Discord]] (who is imprisoned as in canon at the beginning of Reharmonized Ponies), the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' has several others. One is [[{{Satan}} Morning Star]], Celestia's [[FallenAngel Fallen Alicorn]] brother, who was imprisoned for trying to take over the universe after deciding he was better than [[TopGod the Elders]] and being as evil as Discord if not worse. He was released by Havoc to fight in the Alicorn/Draconequi War, where he was either killed (though considering Evil still exists, he wasn't killed as thoroughly as it's possible to kill a God) or imprisoned in Hell (Havoc's domain) after the war as part of the peace treaty between the two according to WordOfGod. Another recurring one is Grogar, a G1 MyLittlePony villain and (in this series) {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} {{Expy}} who is sealed away in another dimension. It's stated he returns every five hundred years unless stopped and has to be resealed. In his case it may be justified because, in [[BadFuture Dark World]], he's been shown to be powerful enough to go toe to toe with [[RealityWarper Discord]] and have a chance of winning, as well being extremely DangerouslyGenreSavvy.winning. Discord shows a great deal of anger that Grogar doesn't seem all that mad about this, in direct contrast to Discord himself, who can't ''stand'' his can.



*** [[TheStarscream Starscream]] shows signs of TabletopRPG GenreSavvy in this episode: when confronted with [[AncientTomb a sealed crypt]] with a curse warning on it, he proclaims that "a curse on the door means treasure behind the door" and breaks in. Unfortunately, he's in a Transformers cartoon, not a [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D game]], making it a near-fatal case of WrongGenreSavvy.

to:

*** [[TheStarscream Starscream]] shows signs of TabletopRPG GenreSavvy savvy in this episode: when confronted with [[AncientTomb a sealed crypt]] with a curse warning on it, he proclaims that "a curse on the door means treasure behind the door" and breaks in. Unfortunately, he's in a Transformers cartoon, not a [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D game]], making it a near-fatal case of WrongGenreSavvy.
25th Jul '16 7:44:56 PM 64SuperNintendo
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[[folder: Literature]]

* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' starts off with a cosmic menace called the Blight being woken by insufficiently paranoid humans.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', specifically in the ''Revelation'' (''[[InsistentTerminology not]]'' Revelations) of John, {{Satan}} is going to be confined to the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he'll be released to wreak havoc upon the world one last time. Then [[CurbStompBattle God will smoke Satan's entire army]] at the FinalBattle, and then [[HumiliationConga he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to stay]].
* The ''BlackCompany'' starts out with the can already having been opened but not all of the way in a bit of evil on evil backstabbery. Their employer was sealed away by the White Rose but then released by a group of sorcerers called the Resurrectionists. As thanks the Lady, a powerful sorceress who was sealed in there, kills them and then prevents her husband from getting out so she can keep the power to herself. He is not pleased and it's implied the world is doomed if he ever does get out. [[spoiler:Once the Lady loses her powers and essentially switches sides against her former lieutenant, the Dominator is ultimately defeated and sealed in a silver spike, at which point is instantly reduced to ostensible ArtifactOfDoom and consummate MacGuffin that spawns a titular sequel chronicling the mad scramble to be the first wizard to obtain and unlock its secrets. Since the attempt to put the evil in a can inside another can that just happened to be the offspring of a PhysicalGod was foiled miserably by a band of local scum, the PhysicalGod drops it off in a SwirlyEnergyThingy with assurances that the threat is [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil vanquished forever]], just like the even older SealedEvilInACan he himself guards.]]
* The Scourge in ''Literature/TheBlackTattoo''.
* Wyrm, the enormous, snakelike EldritchAbomination that is the main villain of ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', was sealed inside the earth during the creation of the world to stop him from destroying the universe. The aim of the main characters is to prevent his escape.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', the RequisiteRoyalRegalia were keeping a Chaos force in check. When they were removed for a coronation, WeatherDissonance broke out, to be followed by more serious Chaos monstrosities, and an Inquisitor and a squad of {{space marine}}s had to return the regalia to stop it.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'', children being held hostage by [[spoiler: Greek gods]] are nevertheless not sure that their own parents are entirely in the right; they find out, in due course, that they are hostage to prevent the forces of Chaos from moving against the universe and destroying it. [[spoiler: They set up themselves to live safely and free in the universe until the gods could stand against the forces, without going home and so triggering such a war.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'', the Creator sealed his EvilCounterpart Lord Foul the Despiser in The Land in order to keep the rest of the universe safe. Unfortunately, the Creator didn't really think it through very well, as Lord Foul can now wreak havoc ''within'' The Land freely, and if the Creator tries to interfere directly, it'll let Lord Foul out and destroy the Arch of Time (the universe).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman takes a knife and lets loose an evil city.
** Thugra Khotan in "Literature/BlackColossus".
* 19th century example: The 1842 German novella ''Die schwarze Spinne'' (''The Black Spider'') by Jeremias Gotthelf: heavily steeped in Christian-conservative symbolism, the story, based on folktales, contrasts pastoral life with satanic influences. The titular black spider (a metaphor for the Black Plague) is created when a ruthless [[EvilAristocrat knight baron]] forces the peasants of a remote valley in the Alps to work themselves nearly to death. The [[{{Satan}} devil]] in the form of a wild huntsman offers the desperate peasants his help, in exchange for a yet unborn unchristened child. The only person who is willing to strike such a pact is a farmer's wife (and originally a foreigner, adding a touch of xenophobia). The devil kisses her cheek; from this kiss grows an evil tumor in the form of a black spider. Twice, when the devil comes to collect a newborn, the local priest baptizes the child in the nick of time, but as punishment, the monstrous spider, now adult, births thousands of tiny spiders that start killing livestock and people, and finally breaks free from the face of the farmer's wife (who dies) and kills the priest and baby. The spider is finally sealed away when a brave mother, to protect her own newborn, grabs it and, dying, imprisons it in a hole in a wooden beam of her house, into which she hammers a peg to seal away the spider forever. Generations later, when people have stopped believing in the tale and become "sinful", [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy a bragging servant pulls out the peg on a drunken bet and releases the devil spider]], until it can again be sealed away by a pious woman who remembers the old tales and sacrifices her life for her child.
* Not truly ''evil'', but definitely not good. In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Archchancellor Ridcully decides to unseal the door to a special bathtub invented by Bergoldt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, simply because it was barred shut. When asked why he wanted it opened, he replied, "To see why they wanted it shut, of course!" Creator/TerryPratchett added the following footnote:
-->This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilization. At least, those bits of it that are not under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
** Pratchett also explores this theme in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', where, in a time when Death is non-existent, Evil returns in the form of dinky little snow-globes that people want to love and cherish, since as you pick them up and shake them, snow appears to fall around models of city landmarks, and look, they'e even labelled ''A Present From Ankh-Morpork'', how cool is ''that''? But the globes are seeds of a potent and cruel ancestral evil that preys upon and kills cities....
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the villain finds a [[spoiler: Basilisk]] that had been turned to stone, and, of course, decides to use it, after using blood magic to set it free. [[spoiler: While it is too stupid to be actually ''evil'', it still is a dangerous big predator. The heroes eventually manage to turn it back to stone.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragoneyes}}'' the sealed evil is actually a {{Precursor}} name Ochekol'kan. She was locked up by the other precursors behind five doors (of Stone, Water, Air, Fire, and Lightning) after single-handedly killing all the elves. Because she lost a beauty contest, no less.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels, and ''D&D'' campaign setting, Takhisis was essentially a sealed evil in a can from the end of the Third Dragonwar, when Huma Dragonbane forced her to swear to leave Krynn and never return, and the Cataclysm, when she found a way to get around that oath. In an interesting variation on this trope, it was when Berem stole the emerald from the pillar of Takhisis' temple, killing his sister Jasla in the process, that Takhisis was partially resealed.
** She was actually able to get around her oath because of the Cataclysm — its precise wording was that she would never return "while the world was whole". With half the main continent blown up, the world was no longer whole so she was able to return. It's a bit of a stretch, but Takhisis ''is'' the [[GodOfEvil Queen of Darkness]].
* ''Dragontales'', a collection of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-related stories.
** In "The Wizards Are Dying", the godling lich Xanthak is released from imprisonment when a group of adventurers takes a jeweled cross called the Nga from the door that seals his cell. Another group of adventurers has to put him back in his cell and seal it again.
** "Out of the Eons", one of Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short stories. Adonair is an evil deity from another universe trapped in a brick-lined cubicle eons ago by the deities of Niall's universe. During the course of the story Niall accidentally releases him and he and the gods must find a way to destroy him.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', [[spoiler:Demonreach is the can to hundreds or possibly ''thousands'' of evils, and [[EldritchAbomination Skinwalkers]] are among the ''least'' dangerous. Unlike most examples, the creator of the prison -- the real Arthurian Merlin, incidentally -- had the forethought to build in a failsafe in case the occupants ever escaped -- one that will ''[[GodzillaThreshold vaporize most of the continent just to slow the prisoners down]]'', because that's actually the ''lesser'' of two evils.]]
** Oh, and in book 11, Harry [[spoiler: becomes its Warden, a position which among other things grants him the authority to release any of the prisoners. Which also means that if Demonreach is a giant can full of the most terrifying evils in the world, then Harry has got the can opener.]]
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/DumaKey'', the villain, Perse, is an evil doll/creature who is sealed in a keg which was dropped down a well. Unfortunately, the keg had been leaking for some time and by the time the main character finds it, it's almost empty. He eventually ends up [[spoiler:sealing Perse in a flashlight filled with water (her weakness) and eventually creates a tight, silver container to hold that it and throws it into a lake.]]
** Another king example is the short story "The Crate", later adapted as one of the segments of ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', where a crate containing a terrible monster is opened by a janitor.
* The blade Stormbringer in ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' by Creator/MichaelMoorcock straddles the border between this and EvilWeapon as it is both the form of an EldritchAbomination that it takes on the mortal plane, and is the trap it is bound into. At the end of the saga, [[spoiler: it finally breaks free as it is forced to consume a truly indestructible soul, Elric's, and is finally free to race through the universe, the last bit of Chaos left to supply growth and change in a universe of Law — supposedly this one.]]
* Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'' did this in an interesting way: the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular [[TheEmpire Empire]], was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled. [[spoiler: They were right about the first point, barely. About the second, they were wrong. Also, Ardneh tricked them into releasing Orcus so that he could destroy Orcus and the Empire [[ThanatosGambit in a single stroke]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' has several examples of these, most notably the demons of Zzyzx.
* In the late JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.
* While not a single character, the Mijaki were confined to the borders of their lands in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' because they made the '''world''' evil. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hekat]] then decides to change things.
* In ''Literature/TheGolgothaSeries'', Golgotha contains an abundance of ancient sealed evils:
** The Darkling, also known as Uktena, Chilong, or Nyarlathotep, is imprisoned beneath the silver mines in Mount Argent.
** The town cemetery contains a powerful evil sealed within one of the graves, which must be kept surrounded by a salt circle lest it break free.
** A cave in Mt. Argent contains the Skull of the First Murderer, which imprisons a powerful manitou that could cause a humanity-ending HatePlague if freed.
** The town well connects to an underground river that runs through a buried temple where Typhon, Father of Monsters, is imprisoned.
* Morhavon the Black and the place under the palace catacombs where evil spirits are sealed away from the ''GreenRider'' series.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', the titular chamber contains [[spoiler:Slytherin's monster, an enormous basilisk]].
** Also in the same volume, Tom Riddle's diary has the "memory" of the teenage Voldemort sealed inside, which Ginny unknowingly awakens through her liberal use of the diary.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', it's implied that Voldemort's [[FateWorseThanDeath final fate]] is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, [[spoiler:the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died]]) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
** All the Horcruxes are technically this, being [[spoiler: the containers of pieces of Voldemort's warped, twisted soul]]. All the Horcruxes exhibit malevolent powers, from [[spoiler: the diary, that hypnotized Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets]], to the locket, [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill Harry by drowning him in a frozen lake while he was wearing it]].
* The Damned, from ''Literature/HellsChildren'', by Andrew Boland, are sealed evil in a can, who spend the entire book trying to get out.
* In Mitchell Scalon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy'' novel ''Descent of Angels'', Lion (with Luther's help) [[NiceJobBreakingItHero unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban]]. In Mike Lee's ''Fallen Angels'', it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
* Another [[Creator/RobertAntonWilson Wilson]] co-wrote the ''Literature/{{illuminatus}}'' series of books. This includes the idea that one of the foullest and most vicious Shoggoths was in antiquity sealed in a pentagonal prison somewhere on the eastern North American plain, appeased with the blood and souls of those who died un-natural deaths. The secret of the pentagon was passed down through a series of custodians, the last of whom built a five-sided building complex around it from which the leaders of that continent's strongest power organised escalating wars, so as to appease the beast and keep it in souls. Hiding the secret in plain sight, they even called their prison building complex ''The Pentagon''.
* F. Paul Wilson's ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'' has Radu Molasar, advance man for [[CosmicHorror The Otherness]], sealed in a castle in Romania until ThoseWackyNazis accidentally let him out.
* In ''Killdozer!'' by Creator/TheodoreSturgeon the construction crew on a Pacific island accidentally releases a being that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] any metal object and only wishes to kill. The being got sealed in a [[MadeOfIndestructium neutronium sphere]] by accident and survived while its relatives and their accidental creators destroyed each other (killing all life on Earth in the process too).
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/KnownSpace World of Ptavvs]]'' has a scientific team accidentally releasing a Slaver, an ancient alien with large-scale mind control powers and an intense attitude problem, from the stasis field it has been trapped in for a billion years.
* In ''Literature/ALandFitForHeroes'', the Illwrack Changeling, Dark Lord and champion of the dwenda, had his soul imprisoned within a sword. The dwenda plan to resurrect him by recovering the sword and transferring his soul into a new body.
* Creator/DanielKeysMoran's ''The Last Dancer'' has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach BadassNormal from the ''other side'' and who has a major attitude problem (compare ''World of Ptavvs'' above). He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the ''other'' BigBad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
* [[CosmicHorror Something Bad]] is waiting in Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]''....
** And it's only the most obvious. TheLaundrySeries' world is ''full'' of various [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] sealed in cans of various shapes and colors with different opening protocols. You have the Sleeper in the Pyramid, the Infovore, the Deep One in Jennifer Morgue, the Eater of Souls, ... And the Laundry and its sister agencies' job is to make sure that everyone remains in his can.
* In James Alan Gardner's ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Hunted]]'', the [[HumanoidAliens Mandasars]] have queens who are very smart, very large, very strong, can persuade other Mandasars to do anything by emitting the right pheromones, and are physiologically hardwired so that each queen believes that ''she'' is the most competent person around and ''should'' be in charge. Having more than about four of them on the planet tends to mean endless power struggles; having that few risks having them all die. The solution implemented is to have a bunch of queens in [[HumanPopsicle cryonic storage]]. While they aren't evil per se, waking them all up at once is still [[CivilWar really, really bad]].
* It's what happens at the end of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book ''Kingdom Come'', with [[LaResistance the Other Light faction]] serving as Satan's FinalBattle army. In fact, the Other Light subsect The Only Light believes that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he could be powerful enough to defeat God (whom [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom the Only Light believes doesn't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary]]) and all those who follow Him when Satan is released. Which, unfortunately for them, didn't turn out as they expected.
* Jadis the White Witch in ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' put herself into suspended animation after destroying her world, and left [[SchmuckBait a way for any visitors to wake her up]], so that they’d take her to a new world.
* The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]] of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' are notable offenders for this. During their genocidal war against the Jaghut and, off-and-on, the Forkrul Assail, they developed a ritual for binding enemies when they lacked the strength to directly kill them. Either pinned under massive stone slabs or buried in barrows, it's not uncommon for their ancient enemies to be unearthed.
** The Azath House seals away both good and evil, trapping them until such a time as they are needed in the world or the Azath dies.
** It's not entirely clear who was doing the sealing, but there have also been cases of bound K'Chain Che'Malle who predate even the T'lan Imass.
** The heroes spend most of the series believing that [[spoiler:the Crippled God is this, but he turns out to be a subversion as he's not so much evil as simply mad. Freeing him ends up undoing his madness and he ultimately assists the heroes in preventing the extinction of the human race, making him more of a SealedGoodInACan.]]
* The ''Literature/MarlaMason'' series has the Outsider, a god-eating eldritch abomination which was long ago imprisoned beneath Death Valley. Marla accidentally releases it in ''Bride of Death'' and has to deal with it in ''Lady of Misrule''.
* In ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'', the BigBad, Ineluki, is a [[TheFairFolk Sithi]] sorcerer who [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went mad]] trying to protect his people from the [[HumansAreBastards onslaught of mankind]]. He cast a [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique forbidden spell]] in an attempt to destroy the conquering army, but killed himself instead. Even in death, however, his hatred burned so strongly that his spirit refused to leave the world, lingering instead in the realms beyond death for five hundred years, until the circumstances become right for him to be freed via a complex ritual involving DemonicPossession. It is stated outright that if he succeeds he will [[OmnicidalManiac destroy all living things]] in his longing for Unbeing.
* In ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', Ruin, the [[OmnicidalManiac primal force of chaos and destruction]] was imprisoned by his "good" counterpart Preservation after they teamed up to create life. This is a bit more complicated than most examples because Preservation split Ruin apart to make his release more difficult. Ruin's mind was put in [[spoiler: the Well of Ascension]], while the bulk of his power was bound into [[spoiler: the atium]]. The problem was, even an imprisoned Ruin still had some power, so he [[spoiler: altered the prophecies regarding a messianic figure called the Hero of Ages to say that the Hero should go to the Well of Ascension and release its power to the being trapped there. Following the prophecy, the heroine of the trilogy does this. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops]].]]
* The Tessier-Ashpools in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' repeatedly freeze themselves to maintain the dynasty. They're arguably more selfish and prideful than evil, but they do also keep a ninja on ice.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', the angel Islington is situated in the center of a labyrinth deep, deep underground. It turns out that this is for a very good reason: [[spoiler: He was trapped there as punishment for destroying Atlantis]].
* Peter F. Hamilton does this in at least two series: in ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'' Series, a wandering alien accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, and in ''Pandora's Star'' and ''Judas Unchained'', an alien menace is released by its hidden enemy (who has [[spoiler: arranged a long-term "LetsYouAndHimFight" situation between the menace and humanity]]).
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' trilogy, the latter two books lead up to the release of Orannis the Destroyer, the BigBad, from his "can".
* Initially in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Kronos' remains are just in a particularly creepy sarcophagus that gets stronger every time a demigod forsakes the Olympians and joins his side. [[spoiler: Later, Luke graduates to being his SoulJar]].
* ''Literature/ThePiloFamilyCircus'' is built on the prison for a [[spoiler: race of [[CosmicHorror gigantic reptiles — all of whom possess godlike power and all of whom are hungry for tender human flesh]].]] The circus' managers, Kurt and George Pilo, do [[spoiler: their]] bidding by causing as much havoc on Earth as possible — in the hope that whoever jailed [[spoiler: them]] will be forced to negotiate [[spoiler: their]] sentence. However, their attempts at escape are temporarily foiled when the circus is closed down and most of its staff killed at the end of the novel — though the main character's dreams suggest that it will return one day.
-->'''[[MonsterClown Gonko]]:''' You come get your chuckles whenever you're ready, 'cause if they ain't lettin' ''me'' go, they ain't lettin' ''you'' go. Best believe that. Show's down but not out, mark my words. We'll be back in town, my pretty, and I don't recall offering you a severance package.
* In Gerald Brom's ''Literature/ThePlucker'', the titular monster is sealed within a voodoo spirit doll. [[WhatKindOfLamePowerisHeartAnyway It's up to regular dolls to stop it when it is accidentally freed]].
* The initial premise of ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' is that the God of Evil was imprisoned by the other surviving gods, but is now reaching out to influence things. Later books introduce successive complications, but those drift rapidly away from this trope.
* In the ZombieApocalypse novels ''The Rising'' and ''City of the Dead'', the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent obots]] were sealed by {{God}} in another dimension, known as the Void. An experiment GoneHorriblyWrong cracked it open, and KillEmAll ensued.
* ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'': Etheldredda, the BigBad of ''Physik'' has spent 500 years trapped in a [[PhantomZonePicture painting]] before being released.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' ends with the sealing of EvilOverlord [[BigBad Morgoth]] in the void beyond the boundaries of the world. He never escapes, though it is implied that Sauron was trying to find some way to release him during the Second Age.
** Morgoth also spends 3,000 years in a can as punishment by the Valar. Eventually, because GoodCannotComprehendEvil, they let him out for good behaviour, thinking he's repented. He hasn't.
** Tolkien's ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'' mentions a battle called Dagor Dagorath (the Battle of Battles) that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt will take place at the end of time]], in which Morgoth will be set free and [[TheDogBitesBack finally be defeated by]] [[CosmicPlaything Túrin Turambar]].
** From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the [[EldritchAbomination Balrog of Moria]], which was unleashed when the Dwarves DugTooDeep.
** The [[ArtifactOfDoom One Ring]] itself is Sealed Evil In A Can, as it has [[SoulJar Sauron's ill will forged within it]].
* Creator/ColinWilson's ''Literature/TheSpaceVampires'' has a space mission to find a derelict ship drifting in the solar system. The astronauts board it and retrieve what they believe to be several [[RubberForeheadAliens human-like alien]] bodies. It turns out they're possessed by evil energy beings that live off the life energies of others. The very pulpy movie adaptation (called ''Lifeforce'') has a similar initial situation, though it diverges pretty massively after that (the aliens [[spoiler:turn their victims into zombies]]).
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Ragnor's Claw'', Botchulaz.
* Okoya, the eponymous soul-eater of ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Thief of Souls]]'', begins the book immobilized on a cliff face. In the prologue, he's unsealed by an earthquake.
* Several times in the Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse. There's the ''Dithparu'' (essentially evil spirits), who are trapped by magnetic fields in an AncientTomb, [[Literature/StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold Malkus the Mighty]], an immortal tyrant whose consciousness was sealed in a box, and The Eight, who got loose in the Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch, setting up a SequelHook.
* Subverted in [[Creator/MatthewTobinAnderson M. T. Anderson's]] book ''Literature/{{Thirsty}}'', in which a group of vampires are trying to free the Sealed Evil, the god of vampires, and one character pretends to be trying to kill the vampire god in order to protect humanity, but in reality is assisting the god in committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'': The insane clone Dark Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth more or less sealed himself, ending up on the planet that TheEmperor used as a personal museum/storehouse. C'baoth had no interest in the storehouse facility even after killing its guardian, and inhabitants of the planet had roughly feudal levels of technology. So he stayed there and ruled them, using his raw Force abilities and sort of mass mind-control to keep them cowed and obedient. Then Grand Admiral Thrawn [[EvilIsNotAToy showed up and recruited C'baoth]] with promises of new Force-sensitives to train and mold, both because C'baoth's Battle Meditation could allow great synchronization and increased efficiency in the fleet, and because he wanted the cloning technology in the facility. Thrawn's second in command ''really'' did not want to rely at all on someone so unreliable, but he was overruled. C'baoth's inevitable attempt at seizing power involved taking control of the ''entire Imperial fleet''; when Thrawn talked him down and sent him back to that planet, C'baoth's next plan started with brainwashing an officer to the point where he had no will or mind anymore and died shortly after being taken away from the insane Master.
** Another example of sorts in the same trilogy — an insane Bpfasshi Dark Jedi had been killed by Yoda on Dagobah, and his essence infused the tree where Luke had his pivotal vision during ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Another example from the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse: insane EldritchAbomination Abeloth was sealed in a massive cluster of black holes, with a gravity-generating space station acting as a lock keeping her trapped there and unable to influence things on the physical place, and the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Light Side and the DarkSide of the Force doing an EnemyMine every few thousand years to renew the lock whenever it started to break. This [[NiceJobBreakingItHero took the heroes]] over half a century to break; Anakin Skywalker killed the locksmiths, later protagonists broke the space station (they thought it was just a superweapon and didn't want it falling into the wrong hands), and then they used the black hole cluster where the ethereal monster was kept as a fortress. It still managed to keep her for about a decade.
** Four hundred years before ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Ithorians tinkered with gene splicing and created something horrible. It took the Jedi to contain it. The Ithorians' ActualPacifist beliefs make them averse to driving anything to extinction, so they isolated a sample and buried it in a tunnel in an asteroid. It was harmless sealed in a pod in the vacuum of space. Unfortunately they didn't bother with keeping a guard on it, so when someone DugTooDeep...
* Arguably, a lot of the ''Literature/TheImmortals'' of Creator/TamoraPierce's Literature/TortallUniverse series, after a bunch of mages locked them up in the Realms of the Gods. It didn't stick. Many of them are benign and decide to adapt to living with humans, but some are persistently vicious. Particularly giant human-headed spiders called spidrens, and a species of predatory flying horse called hurroks.
* In the series ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dark One is making good progress in eroding the makeshift seal on the hole in the Creator-made prison that's kept it imprisoned for thousands of years. The hole was made back during what is known by the timeline of the books as the Age of Legends, although they did manage to patch it up again as best they could. Being as it is ''the'' God of Evil, existing outside reality, sealing and resealing really ''is'' the only option. During his resealing, his 13 highest-ranking disciples were sealed (mostly) outside of time as well, they ended up being freed first to pave the way for his return.
** Stasis Boxes fit this trope when used for preserving the Gholams, not-quite-undead super assassins from the War of Power, beyond time and space.
** How about Mierin's experiment in the Age of Legends that let the Dark One out in the first place? Even better because back then, nobody knew the Dark One existed, and her experiment was intended to tap a greater source of magical power able to be used by men and women (as opposed to the separate halfs of the one power). She later became Lanfear, one of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the dark one, though judging by a bit of Aiel ancestral memory that is tapped into, she was not evil to begin with, ie at the time of her experiment (as part of a team).
** Mordeth/Mashadar is/are unable to leave Shadar Logoth after the fall of Aridhol (why is never really explained, but perhaps it was sealed intentionally). Mat Cauthon (or Padan Fain, or both) release it into the world at large after Mat removes the dagger. The can later [[spoiler:is completely obliterated while cleansing sai'din]].
* With Friends Like These... by {{Alan Dean Foster}}: Humanity was sealed under a forcefield a long time ago because we scared the aliens that badly. When aliens later release the humans in exchange for helping them against a bigger menace, one of the aliens has the sense to worry, "What happens when we run out of enemies?".
* In ''WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.
* UsefulNotes/NorthKorea in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. One day, in the early stages of the Zombie War, the entire country simply disappeared -- DIA spy satellites stopped picking up any activity or indeed signs of life within the Democratic People's Republic. The best bet is that the entire population relocated to massive underground bunkers. Nothing has been heard since, which means one of two things: Either one of them was infected, or none of them were. In the former case, that means one of two things: either they controlled the outbreak, or they did not. If the didn't, then 24 million Zombies are waiting beneath the surface, trapped in the tunnel system, and Communist architecture - well, it ain't all that good. If no-one was infected and/or they managed to control the outbreak, then 24 million fanatical, nuclear armed fascists are waiting on one side of the Korean DMZ, and when they find out how weak the rest of humanity is...
* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.
** Then in ''A Wizard's Holiday'', the protagonists have to, among other things, [[spoiler: open the seal and let the Lone Power out]].
* ''[[Literature/ZeusIsDead Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure]]'' uses this one quite literally. Apparently after the first Titan War, Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans ''in actual cans''.
* Creator/ChristopherMoore is a big fan of this trope, most notably in ''Literature/PracticalDemonkeeping'' (Catch, the titular demon, is actually sealed away in a jar), ''[[Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff Lamb]]'' [[spoiler: Baltazaar keeps Catch, the same demon from the earlier novel, in a magically-sealed room which he tells Biff to stay away from. (Schmuck Bait)]] and ''[[Literature/BloodsuckingFiends You Suck]]''.
* [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. Indeed, most CosmicHorror uses a can of some sort to explain why the super-powerful beings haven't ''already'' destroyed humanity. In this case, however, nobody appears to have done the actual sealing or unsealing; the elder gods are just "sleeping", and will awaken "when the stars are right".
** He almost gets out in ''[[CthulhuMythos Call of Cthulhu]]'', only to be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu run down by a steamship]] stuffed back in the can.
** However, the Great Old Ones are not evil per se (save perhaps Nyarlathotep, and he is not always classed as one, and is properly an Outer God, ) but uncaring - they are simply far too powerful for us to matter to them, rather like a human stepping on ants (or for a better example, but purely Scots, the midge) and/or simply mindless - Azathoth for example, could (and apparently will) destroy everything, but he is blind, deaf, mute and completely unintelligent,and is no more evil than a hurricane.
** Another example in Lovecraft's work is ''The Haunter of the Dark'', an avatar of the god Nyarlatotep who is sealed inside the shining trapezohedron and can be summoned by gazing into it. Unlike the Great Old Ones, summoning him doesn't result in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], but he most likely wants some human sacrifices in exchange for secret knowledge or wants to possess you in order to get mankind to blow itself up.
* Quite a few of John Connolly's short stories involve SealedEvilInACan: the Daemon buried under the church in "Mr Pettinger's Daemon"; the [[TheFairFolk Fairies]] trapped inside their fort in "The New Daughter"; the monster chained up at the bottom of the lake in "Deep Dark Green"; the nest of hibernating giant spiders in "The Wakeford Abyss"...
** Also, in his novel ''TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
* One of Creator/MRJames’s favorite tropes was having an unpleasant being imprisoned in a tomb, grave, or ruin, inevitably later disturbed. Stories in this pattern include "Count Magnus" (the count's sarcophagus has three padlocks on it), "An Episode of Cathedral History", and "The Rose Garden".
* Alex Verus encounters two of these. One is a magician who sealed himself in an artifact. The other is a magician who is trying to live forever by killing others like the long dead vampires.
* Complex example in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''. Millennia ago, [[{{Precursors}} the Inapt]] faced a mysterious enemy known only as "the Worm". Unable to destroy it, they ''were'' able to force it underground and then banish those caverns to AnotherDimension, warded away from the living world by a series of magical seals. To keep the central seal strong enough, [[MagicKnight Argastos]], who lead the Inapt army, was bound into it - and since he wasn't exactly a nice guy himself, that means it was a case of a Sealed Evil being used to shore up the prison of ''another'' Sealed Evil. However, it worked... [[spoiler: until the Wasp Empress Seda tried to bind Argastos' power for herself, and her rival Cheerwell Maker tried to stop her. The result was that the now lich-like Argastos was destroyed and the Seal of the Worm popped open. NiceJobBreakingItHero (and villain) indeed]].

to:

[[folder: Literature]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' starts off ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=121155 Dark Depths]], which, after certain conditions are met, i.e. the costly "unsealing" process of removing ten ice counters from it, creates a [[http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/mtgcom/arcana1000/1119_maritlagetoken.jpg large and damn near unkillable monster]].
** For a much older example, consider the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=1098 Bottle of Suleiman]], which upon being sacrificed has a 50/50 chance of either releasing a fairly powerful djinn that joins your forces or else simply blowing up in your face.
** And then there's the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=74492 Tomb of Urami]], who nets you a big demon at the price of sacrificing all of your lands.
** Yawgmoth, the guy who makes planeswalkers look like muggles and Dominaria's version of the Devil, was sealed in a whole other plane back when he was a mortal. He wanted back in and spent thousands of years in a battle of wits
with AntiHero Urza with his freedom as the stakes.
** In the ''Zendikar'' expansion
a cosmic menace group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called the Blight being woken by insufficiently paranoid humans.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', specifically in the ''Revelation'' (''[[InsistentTerminology not]]'' Revelations) of John, {{Satan}} is going to be confined to the bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he'll be released to wreak havoc upon the world one last time. Then [[CurbStompBattle God will smoke Satan's entire army]] at the FinalBattle, and then [[HumiliationConga he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to stay]].
* The ''BlackCompany'' starts out with the can already having been opened but not all of the way in a bit of evil on evil backstabbery. Their employer was
Eldrazi were got sealed away by [[DarkIsNotEvil Sorin Markov]] and two other guys, turning all of Zendikar into a prison for them. The final set in the White Rose but then released by a group ''Zendikar'' block, ''Rise of sorcerers called the Resurrectionists. As thanks Eldrazi'', sees them loosed on the Lady, a powerful sorceress who Multiverse.
** A plot-relevant example can be found in the ''Innistrad'' expansion: The Helvault was created by the archangel [[BigGood Avacyn]] to seal away demons that she couldn't outright defeat. The plot of the expansion is set in motion when, by twist of fate, Avacyn herself becomes sealed inside the Helvault.
** The demon Withengar, also from the ''Innistrad'' expansion,
was sealed in there, kills them and then prevents her husband from getting out so she can keep the power to herself. He is not pleased and it's implied the world is doomed if he ever does get out. [[spoiler:Once the Lady loses her powers and essentially switches sides against her former lieutenant, the Dominator is ultimately defeated and sealed in a silver spike, at which point is instantly reduced to ostensible ArtifactOfDoom and consummate MacGuffin that spawns a titular sequel chronicling the mad scramble to be the first wizard to obtain and unlock its secrets. Since the attempt to put the evil in a can inside another can that just happened to be [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147a.html Elbrus, the offspring of a PhysicalGod was foiled miserably by a band of local scum, Binding Blade]]. If the PhysicalGod drops it off in a SwirlyEnergyThingy with assurances that the threat Blade tastes blood, [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147b.html Withengar is [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil vanquished forever]], just like the even older SealedEvilInACan he himself guards.freed.]]
* The Scourge ** Certain cards allow players to set up Sealed Evil in ''Literature/TheBlackTattoo''.
* Wyrm, the enormous, snakelike EldritchAbomination
a Can situations. Cards like [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=oblivion+ring&v=card&s=cname Oblivion Ring]] and [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=journey+to+nowhere&v=card&s=cname Journey to Nowhere]] let a player seal an opponent's creature in a can but any card that is can remove the main villain of ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', was sealed inside enchantment frees them. [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=summoner%27s+egg&v=card&s=cname Summoner's Egg]] goes the earth during other direction, letting a player seal a creature from their hand and bringing it to the creation battlefield for free if the Egg gets destroyed.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh!'' has several monsters like this, the mo st memorable being Exodia (who is split up into five pieces and allows you to ''win the game'' should you have all five in your hand; in the anime, it did take a huge ritual to unseal it) and all versions
of the world to stop him from destroying the universe. The aim of the main characters is to prevent his escape.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', the RequisiteRoyalRegalia were keeping a Chaos force in check. When they were removed for a coronation, WeatherDissonance broke out, to be followed by more serious Chaos monstrosities,
three God Cards (Egyptian, Sacred Beasts, and an Inquisitor "Wicked Gods", all of which need three sacrifices to bring out and a squad of {{space marine}}s had to return the regalia to stop it.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'', children being held hostage by [[spoiler: Greek gods]] are nevertheless not sure that their own parents are entirely in the right; they find out, in due course, that they are hostage to prevent the forces of Chaos from moving against the universe
have devastating power, and destroying it. [[spoiler: They set up two of which have fusions of themselves to live safely and free in that are even ''more'' powerful). In the universe until the gods could stand against the forces, without going home and anime, they are so triggering such a war.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'', the Creator
powerful that most of them are sealed his EvilCounterpart Lord Foul up themselves, and it's considered madness for anyone to try and duel with them in their deck.
** The [[Metaplot/YuGiOhHiddenArsenal Hidden Arsenal storyline]] has
the Despiser in The Land in order to keep the rest three dragons of the universe safe. Ice Barrier, sealed away long ago by a powerful sage. Unfortunately, the Creator didn't really think it through very well, as Lord Foul can now wreak havoc ''within'' The Land freely, and if people of the Creator tries to interfere directly, it'll let Lord Foul out and destroy the Arch of Time (the universe).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman takes a knife and lets loose an evil city.
** Thugra Khotan in "Literature/BlackColossus".
* 19th century example: The 1842 German novella ''Die schwarze Spinne'' (''The Black Spider'') by Jeremias Gotthelf: heavily steeped in Christian-conservative symbolism, the story, based on folktales, contrasts pastoral life with satanic influences. The titular black spider (a metaphor for the Black Plague) is created when a ruthless [[EvilAristocrat knight baron]] forces the peasants of a remote valley in the Alps to work themselves nearly to death. The [[{{Satan}} devil]] in the form of a wild huntsman offers the
Ice Barrier get so desperate peasants his help, in exchange for a yet unborn unchristened child. The only person who is willing to strike such a pact is a farmer's wife (and originally a foreigner, adding a touch of xenophobia). The devil kisses her cheek; from this kiss grows an evil tumor in the form of a black spider. Twice, when the devil comes to collect a newborn, the local priest baptizes the child in the nick of time, but as punishment, the monstrous spider, now adult, births thousands of tiny spiders that start killing livestock and people, and finally breaks free from the face of the farmer's wife (who dies) and kills the priest and baby. The spider is finally sealed away when a brave mother, to protect her own newborn, grabs it and, dying, imprisons it in a hole in a wooden beam of her house, into which she hammers a peg war they decided to seal away the spider forever. Generations later, when people have stopped believing in the tale and become "sinful", [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy a bragging servant pulls out the peg on a drunken bet and releases the devil spider]], until it can again be sealed away by a pious woman who remembers the old tales and sacrifices her life for her child.
* Not truly ''evil'', but definitely not good. In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Archchancellor Ridcully decides to unseal the door to a special bathtub invented by Bergoldt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, simply because it was barred shut.
unleash them. When asked why he wanted it opened, he replied, "To see why they wanted it shut, of course!" Creator/TerryPratchett added got to the following footnote:
-->This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilization. At least, those bits of
last, Trishula, it that are not under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
** Pratchett also explores this theme in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', where, in a time when Death is non-existent, Evil returns in the form of dinky little snow-globes that people want to love and cherish, since as you pick
wound up getting them up and shake them, snow appears to fall around models of city landmarks, and look, they'e even labelled ''A Present From Ankh-Morpork'', how cool is ''that''? But the globes are seeds of a potent and cruel ancestral evil that preys upon and kills cities....
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the villain finds a [[spoiler: Basilisk]] that had been turned to stone, and, of course, decides to use it, after using blood magic to set it free. [[spoiler: While it is too stupid to be actually ''evil'', it still is a dangerous big predator.
all killed. The heroes three dragons were re-sealed, but eventually manage to turn it back to stone.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragoneyes}}'' the sealed evil is actually a {{Precursor}} name Ochekol'kan. She was locked up by the other precursors behind five doors (of Stone, Water, Air, Fire, and Lightning) after single-handedly killing all the elves. Because she lost a beauty contest, no less.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels, and ''D&D'' campaign setting, Takhisis was essentially a sealed evil in a can from the end of the Third Dragonwar, when Huma Dragonbane forced her to swear to leave Krynn and never return, and the Cataclysm, when she found a way to get around that oath. In an interesting variation on this trope, it was when Berem stole the emerald from the pillar of Takhisis' temple, killing his sister Jasla in the process, that Takhisis was partially resealed.
** She was actually able to get around her oath because of the Cataclysm — its precise wording was that she would never return "while the world was whole". With half the main continent blown up, the world was no longer whole so she was able to return. It's a bit of a stretch, but Takhisis ''is'' the [[GodOfEvil Queen of Darkness]].
* ''Dragontales'', a collection of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-related stories.
** In "The Wizards Are Dying", the godling lich Xanthak is released from imprisonment when a group of adventurers takes a jeweled cross called the Nga from the door that seals his cell. Another group of adventurers has to put him back in his cell and seal it again.
** "Out of the Eons", one of Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short stories. Adonair is an evil deity from another universe trapped in a brick-lined cubicle eons ago by the deities of Niall's universe. During the course of the story Niall accidentally releases him and he and the gods must find a way to destroy him.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', [[spoiler:Demonreach is the can to hundreds or possibly ''thousands'' of evils, and [[EldritchAbomination Skinwalkers]] are among the ''least'' dangerous. Unlike most examples, the creator of the prison -- the real Arthurian Merlin, incidentally -- had the forethought to build in a failsafe in case the occupants ever escaped -- one that will ''[[GodzillaThreshold vaporize most of the continent just to slow the prisoners down]]'', because that's actually the ''lesser'' of two evils.]]
** Oh, and in book 11, Harry [[spoiler: becomes its Warden, a position which among other things grants him the authority to release any of the prisoners. Which also means that if Demonreach is a giant can full of the most terrifying evils in the world, then Harry has
got the can opener.]]
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/DumaKey'', the villain, Perse, is an evil doll/creature who is sealed in a keg which was dropped down a well. Unfortunately, the keg had been leaking for some time and by the time the main character finds it, it's almost empty. He eventually ends up [[spoiler:sealing Perse in a flashlight filled with water (her weakness) and eventually creates a tight, silver container to hold that it and throws it into a lake.]]
** Another king example is the short story "The Crate", later adapted as one of the segments of ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', where a crate containing a terrible monster is opened by a janitor.
* The blade Stormbringer in ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' by Creator/MichaelMoorcock straddles the border between this and EvilWeapon as it is both the form of an EldritchAbomination that it takes on the mortal plane, and is the trap it is bound into. At the end of the saga, [[spoiler: it finally breaks free as it is forced to consume a truly indestructible soul, Elric's, and is finally free to race through the universe, the last bit of Chaos left to supply growth and change in a universe of Law — supposedly this one.]]
* Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'' did this in an interesting way: the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular [[TheEmpire Empire]], was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled. [[spoiler: They were right about the first point, barely. About the second, they were wrong. Also, Ardneh tricked them into releasing Orcus so that he could destroy Orcus and the Empire [[ThanatosGambit in a single stroke]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' has several examples of these, most notably the demons of Zzyzx.
* In the late JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.
* While not a single character, the Mijaki were confined to the borders of their lands in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' because they made the '''world''' evil. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hekat]] then decides to change things.
* In ''Literature/TheGolgothaSeries'', Golgotha contains an abundance of ancient sealed evils:
** The Darkling, also known as Uktena, Chilong, or Nyarlathotep, is imprisoned beneath the silver mines in Mount Argent.
** The town cemetery contains a powerful evil sealed within one of the graves, which must be kept surrounded by a salt circle lest it break free.
** A cave in Mt. Argent contains the Skull of the First Murderer, which imprisons a powerful manitou that could cause a humanity-ending HatePlague if freed.
** The town well connects to an underground river that runs through a buried temple where Typhon, Father of Monsters, is imprisoned.
* Morhavon the Black and the place under the palace catacombs where evil spirits are sealed away from the ''GreenRider'' series.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', the titular chamber contains [[spoiler:Slytherin's monster, an enormous basilisk]].
** Also in the same volume, Tom Riddle's diary has the "memory" of the teenage Voldemort sealed inside, which Ginny unknowingly awakens through her liberal use of the diary.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', it's implied that Voldemort's [[FateWorseThanDeath final fate]] is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, [[spoiler:the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died]]) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
** All the Horcruxes are technically this, being [[spoiler: the containers of pieces of Voldemort's warped, twisted soul]]. All the Horcruxes exhibit malevolent powers, from [[spoiler: the diary, that hypnotized Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets]], to the locket, [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill Harry by drowning him in a frozen lake while he was wearing it]].
* The Damned, from ''Literature/HellsChildren'', by Andrew Boland, are sealed evil in a can, who spend the entire book trying to get out.
* In Mitchell Scalon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy'' novel ''Descent of Angels'', Lion (with Luther's help) [[NiceJobBreakingItHero unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban]]. In Mike Lee's ''Fallen Angels'', it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
* Another [[Creator/RobertAntonWilson Wilson]] co-wrote the ''Literature/{{illuminatus}}'' series of books. This includes the idea that one of the foullest and most vicious Shoggoths was in antiquity sealed in a pentagonal prison somewhere on the eastern North American plain, appeased with the blood and souls of those who died un-natural deaths. The secret of the pentagon was passed down through a series of custodians, the last of whom built a five-sided building complex around it from which the leaders of that continent's strongest power organised escalating wars, so as to appease the beast and keep it in souls. Hiding the secret in plain sight, they even called their prison building complex ''The Pentagon''.
* F. Paul Wilson's ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'' has Radu Molasar, advance man for [[CosmicHorror The Otherness]], sealed in a castle in Romania until ThoseWackyNazis accidentally let him out.
* In ''Killdozer!'' by Creator/TheodoreSturgeon the construction crew on a Pacific island accidentally releases a being that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] any metal object and only wishes to kill. The being got sealed in a [[MadeOfIndestructium neutronium sphere]] by accident and survived while its relatives and their accidental creators destroyed each other (killing all life on Earth in the process too).
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/KnownSpace World of Ptavvs]]'' has a scientific team accidentally releasing a Slaver, an ancient alien with large-scale mind control powers and an intense attitude problem, from the stasis field it has been trapped in for a billion years.
* In ''Literature/ALandFitForHeroes'', the Illwrack Changeling, Dark Lord and champion of the dwenda, had his soul imprisoned within a sword. The dwenda plan to resurrect him by recovering the sword and transferring his soul into a new body.
* Creator/DanielKeysMoran's ''The Last Dancer'' has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach BadassNormal from the ''other side'' and who has a major attitude problem (compare ''World of Ptavvs'' above). He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the ''other'' BigBad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
* [[CosmicHorror Something Bad]] is waiting in Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]''....
** And it's only the most obvious. TheLaundrySeries' world is ''full'' of various [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] sealed in cans of various shapes and colors with different opening protocols. You have the Sleeper in the Pyramid, the Infovore, the Deep One in Jennifer Morgue, the Eater of Souls, ... And the Laundry and its sister agencies' job is to make sure that everyone remains in his can.
* In James Alan Gardner's ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Hunted]]'', the [[HumanoidAliens Mandasars]] have queens who are very smart, very large, very strong, can persuade other Mandasars to do anything by emitting the right pheromones, and are physiologically hardwired so that each queen believes that ''she'' is the most competent person around and ''should'' be in charge. Having more than about four of them on the planet tends to mean endless power struggles; having that few risks having them all die. The solution implemented is to have a bunch of queens in [[HumanPopsicle cryonic storage]]. While they aren't evil per se, waking them all up at once is still [[CivilWar really, really bad]].
* It's what happens at the end of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book ''Kingdom Come'', with [[LaResistance the Other Light faction]] serving as Satan's FinalBattle army. In fact, the Other Light subsect The Only Light believes that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he could be powerful enough to defeat God (whom [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom the Only Light believes doesn't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary]]) and all those who follow Him when Satan is released. Which, unfortunately for them, didn't turn out as they expected.
* Jadis the White Witch in ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' put herself into suspended animation after destroying her world, and left [[SchmuckBait a way for any visitors to wake her up]], so that they’d take her to a new world.
* The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]] of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' are notable offenders for this. During their genocidal war against the Jaghut and, off-and-on, the Forkrul Assail, they developed a ritual for binding enemies when they lacked the strength to directly kill them. Either pinned under massive stone slabs or buried in barrows, it's not uncommon for their ancient enemies to be unearthed.
** The Azath House seals away both good and evil, trapping them until such a time as they are needed in the world or the Azath dies.
** It's not entirely clear who was doing the sealing, but there have also been cases of bound K'Chain Che'Malle who predate even the T'lan Imass.
** The heroes spend most of the series believing that [[spoiler:the Crippled God is this, but he turns out to be a subversion as he's not so much evil as simply mad. Freeing him ends up undoing his madness and he ultimately assists the heroes in preventing the extinction of the human race, making him more of a SealedGoodInACan.]]
* The ''Literature/MarlaMason'' series has the Outsider, a god-eating eldritch abomination which was long ago imprisoned beneath Death Valley. Marla accidentally releases it in ''Bride of Death'' and has to deal with it in ''Lady of Misrule''.
* In ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'', the BigBad, Ineluki, is a [[TheFairFolk Sithi]] sorcerer who [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went mad]] trying to protect his people from the [[HumansAreBastards onslaught of mankind]]. He cast a [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique forbidden spell]] in an attempt to destroy the conquering army, but killed himself instead. Even in death, however, his hatred burned so strongly that his spirit refused to leave the world, lingering instead in the realms beyond death for five hundred years, until the circumstances become right for him to be freed via a complex ritual involving DemonicPossession. It is stated outright that if he succeeds he will [[OmnicidalManiac destroy all living things]] in his longing for Unbeing.
* In ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', Ruin, the [[OmnicidalManiac primal force of chaos and destruction]] was imprisoned by his "good" counterpart Preservation after they teamed up to create life. This is a bit more complicated than most examples because Preservation split Ruin apart to make his release more difficult. Ruin's mind was put in [[spoiler: the Well of Ascension]], while the bulk of his power was bound into [[spoiler: the atium]]. The problem was, even an imprisoned Ruin still had some power, so he [[spoiler: altered the prophecies regarding a messianic figure called the Hero of Ages to say that the Hero should go to the Well of Ascension and release its power to the being trapped there. Following the prophecy, the heroine of the trilogy does this. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops]].]]
* The Tessier-Ashpools in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' repeatedly freeze themselves to maintain the dynasty. They're arguably more selfish and prideful than evil, but they do also keep a ninja on ice.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', the angel Islington is situated in the center of a labyrinth deep, deep underground. It turns out that this is for a very good reason: [[spoiler: He was trapped there as punishment for destroying Atlantis]].
* Peter F. Hamilton does this in at least two series: in ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'' Series, a wandering alien accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, and in ''Pandora's Star'' and ''Judas Unchained'', an alien menace is released by its hidden enemy (who has [[spoiler: arranged a long-term "LetsYouAndHimFight" situation between the menace and humanity]]).
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' trilogy, the latter two books lead up to the release of Orannis the Destroyer, the BigBad, from his "can".
* Initially in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Kronos' remains are just in a particularly creepy sarcophagus that gets stronger every time a demigod forsakes the Olympians and joins his side. [[spoiler: Later, Luke graduates to being his SoulJar]].
* ''Literature/ThePiloFamilyCircus'' is built on the prison for a [[spoiler: race of [[CosmicHorror gigantic reptiles — all of whom possess godlike power and all of whom are hungry for tender human flesh]].]] The circus' managers, Kurt and George Pilo, do [[spoiler: their]] bidding by causing as much havoc on Earth as possible — in the hope that whoever jailed [[spoiler: them]] will be forced to negotiate [[spoiler: their]] sentence. However, their attempts at escape are temporarily foiled when the circus is closed down and most of its staff killed at the end of the novel — though the main character's dreams suggest that it will return one day.
-->'''[[MonsterClown Gonko]]:''' You come get your chuckles whenever you're ready, 'cause if they ain't lettin' ''me'' go, they ain't lettin' ''you'' go. Best believe that. Show's down but not out, mark my words. We'll be back in town, my pretty, and I don't recall offering you a severance package.
* In Gerald Brom's ''Literature/ThePlucker'', the titular monster is sealed within a voodoo spirit doll. [[WhatKindOfLamePowerisHeartAnyway It's up to regular dolls to stop it when it is accidentally freed]].
* The initial premise of ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' is that the God of Evil was imprisoned by the other surviving gods, but is now reaching out to influence things. Later books introduce successive complications, but those drift rapidly away from this trope.
* In the ZombieApocalypse novels ''The Rising'' and ''City of the Dead'', the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent obots]] were sealed by {{God}} in another dimension, known as the Void. An experiment GoneHorriblyWrong cracked it open, and KillEmAll ensued.
* ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'': Etheldredda, the BigBad of ''Physik'' has spent 500 years trapped in a [[PhantomZonePicture painting]] before being released.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' ends with the sealing of EvilOverlord [[BigBad Morgoth]] in the void beyond the boundaries of the world. He never escapes, though it is implied that Sauron was trying to find some way to release him during the Second Age.
** Morgoth also spends 3,000 years in a can as punishment by the Valar. Eventually, because GoodCannotComprehendEvil, they let him out for good behaviour, thinking he's repented. He hasn't.
** Tolkien's ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'' mentions a battle called Dagor Dagorath (the Battle of Battles) that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt will take place at the end of time]], in which Morgoth will be set free and [[TheDogBitesBack finally be defeated by]] [[CosmicPlaything Túrin Turambar]].
** From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the [[EldritchAbomination Balrog of Moria]], which was unleashed when the Dwarves DugTooDeep.
** The [[ArtifactOfDoom One Ring]] itself is Sealed Evil In A Can, as it has [[SoulJar Sauron's ill will forged within it]].
* Creator/ColinWilson's ''Literature/TheSpaceVampires'' has a space mission to find a derelict ship drifting in the solar system. The astronauts board it and retrieve what they believe to be several [[RubberForeheadAliens human-like alien]] bodies. It turns out they're possessed by evil energy beings that live off the life energies of others. The very pulpy movie adaptation (called ''Lifeforce'') has a similar initial situation, though it diverges pretty massively after that (the aliens [[spoiler:turn their victims into zombies]]).
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Ragnor's Claw'', Botchulaz.
* Okoya, the eponymous soul-eater of ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Thief of Souls]]'', begins the book immobilized on a cliff face. In the prologue, he's unsealed by an earthquake.
* Several times in the Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse. There's the ''Dithparu'' (essentially evil spirits), who are trapped by magnetic fields in an AncientTomb, [[Literature/StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold Malkus the Mighty]], an immortal tyrant whose consciousness was sealed in a box, and The Eight, who got loose in the Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch, setting up a SequelHook.
* Subverted in [[Creator/MatthewTobinAnderson M. T. Anderson's]] book ''Literature/{{Thirsty}}'', in which a group of vampires are trying to free the Sealed Evil, the god of vampires, and one character pretends to be trying to kill the vampire god in order to protect humanity, but in reality is assisting the god in committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'': The insane clone Dark Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth more or less sealed himself, ending up on the planet that TheEmperor used as a personal museum/storehouse. C'baoth had no interest in the storehouse facility even after killing its guardian, and inhabitants of the planet had roughly feudal levels of technology. So he stayed there and ruled them, using his raw Force abilities and sort of mass mind-control to keep them cowed and obedient. Then Grand Admiral Thrawn [[EvilIsNotAToy showed up and recruited C'baoth]] with promises of new Force-sensitives to train and mold, both because C'baoth's Battle Meditation could allow great synchronization and increased efficiency in the fleet, and because he wanted the cloning technology in the facility. Thrawn's second in command ''really'' did not want to rely at all on someone so unreliable, but he was overruled. C'baoth's inevitable attempt at seizing power involved taking control of the ''entire Imperial fleet''; when Thrawn talked him down and sent him back to that planet, C'baoth's next plan started with brainwashing an officer to the point where he had no will or mind anymore and died shortly after being taken away from the insane Master.
** Another example of sorts in the same trilogy — an insane Bpfasshi Dark Jedi had been killed by Yoda on Dagobah, and his essence infused the tree where Luke had his pivotal vision during ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Another example from the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse: insane EldritchAbomination Abeloth was sealed in a massive cluster of black holes, with a gravity-generating space station acting as a lock keeping her trapped there and unable to influence things on the physical place, and the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Light Side and the DarkSide of the Force doing an EnemyMine every few thousand years to renew the lock whenever it started to break. This [[NiceJobBreakingItHero took the heroes]] over half a century to break; Anakin Skywalker killed the locksmiths, later protagonists broke the space station (they thought it was just a superweapon and didn't want it falling into the wrong hands), and then they used the black hole cluster where the ethereal monster was kept as a fortress. It still managed to keep her for about a decade.
** Four hundred years before ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Ithorians tinkered with gene splicing and created something horrible. It took the Jedi to contain it. The Ithorians' ActualPacifist beliefs make them averse to driving anything to extinction, so they isolated a sample and buried it in a tunnel in an asteroid. It was harmless sealed in a pod in the vacuum of space. Unfortunately they didn't bother with keeping a guard on it, so when someone DugTooDeep...
* Arguably, a lot of the ''Literature/TheImmortals'' of Creator/TamoraPierce's Literature/TortallUniverse series, after a bunch of mages locked them up in the Realms of the Gods. It didn't stick. Many of them are benign and decide to adapt to living with humans, but some are persistently vicious. Particularly giant human-headed spiders called spidrens, and a species of predatory flying horse called hurroks.
* In the series ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dark One is making good progress in eroding the makeshift seal on the hole in the Creator-made prison that's kept it imprisoned for thousands of years. The hole was made back during what is known by the timeline of the books as the Age of Legends, although they did manage to patch it up again as best they could. Being as it is ''the'' God of Evil, existing outside reality, sealing and resealing really ''is'' the only option. During his resealing, his 13 highest-ranking disciples were sealed (mostly) outside of time as well, they ended up being freed first to pave the way for his return.
** Stasis Boxes fit this trope when used for preserving the Gholams, not-quite-undead super assassins from the War of Power, beyond time and space.
** How about Mierin's experiment in the Age of Legends that let the Dark One out in the first place? Even better because back then, nobody knew the Dark One existed, and her experiment was intended to tap a greater source of magical power able to be used by men and women (as opposed to the separate halfs of the one power). She later became Lanfear, one of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the dark one, though judging by a bit of Aiel ancestral memory that is tapped into, she was not evil to begin with, ie at the time of her experiment (as part of a team).
** Mordeth/Mashadar is/are unable to leave Shadar Logoth after the fall of Aridhol (why is never really explained, but perhaps it was sealed intentionally). Mat Cauthon (or Padan Fain, or both) release it into the world at large after Mat removes the dagger. The can later [[spoiler:is completely obliterated while cleansing sai'din]].
* With Friends Like These... by {{Alan Dean Foster}}: Humanity was sealed under a forcefield a long time ago because we scared the aliens that badly. When aliens later release the humans in exchange for helping them against a bigger menace, one of the aliens has the sense to worry, "What happens when we run out of enemies?".
* In ''WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.
* UsefulNotes/NorthKorea in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. One day, in the early stages of the Zombie War, the entire country simply disappeared -- DIA spy satellites stopped picking up any activity or indeed signs of life within the Democratic People's Republic. The best bet is that the entire population relocated to massive underground bunkers. Nothing has been heard since, which means one of two things: Either one of them was infected, or none of them were. In the former case, that means one of two things: either they controlled the outbreak, or they did not. If the didn't, then 24 million Zombies are waiting beneath the surface, trapped in the tunnel system, and Communist architecture - well, it ain't all that good. If no-one was
infected and/or they managed to control by the outbreak, then 24 million fanatical, nuclear armed fascists are waiting on one side of the Korean DMZ, and when they find out how weak the rest of humanity is...
* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.
** Then in ''A Wizard's Holiday'', the protagonists have to, among other things, [[spoiler: open the seal
Evilswarm and let the Lone Power out]].
* ''[[Literature/ZeusIsDead Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure]]'' uses this one quite literally. Apparently after the first Titan War, Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans ''in actual cans''.
* Creator/ChristopherMoore is a big fan of this trope, most notably in ''Literature/PracticalDemonkeeping'' (Catch, the titular demon, is actually sealed away in a jar), ''[[Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff Lamb]]'' [[spoiler: Baltazaar keeps Catch, the same demon from the earlier novel, in a magically-sealed room which he tells Biff to stay away from. (Schmuck Bait)]] and ''[[Literature/BloodsuckingFiends You Suck]]''.
* [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. Indeed, most CosmicHorror uses a can of some sort to explain why the super-powerful beings haven't ''already'' destroyed humanity. In this case, however, nobody appears to have done the actual sealing or unsealing; the elder gods are just "sleeping", and will awaken "when the stars are right".
** He almost gets
out in ''[[CthulhuMythos Call of Cthulhu]]'', only to be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu run down by a steamship]] stuffed back in the can.
** However, the Great Old Ones are not evil per se (save perhaps Nyarlathotep, and he is not always classed as one, and is properly an Outer God, ) but uncaring - they are simply far too powerful for us to matter to them, rather like a human stepping on ants (or for a better example, but purely Scots, the midge) and/or simply mindless - Azathoth for example, could (and apparently will) destroy everything, but he is blind, deaf, mute and completely unintelligent,and is no more evil than a hurricane.
** Another example in Lovecraft's work is ''The Haunter of the Dark'', an avatar of the god Nyarlatotep who is sealed inside the shining trapezohedron and can be summoned by gazing into it. Unlike the Great Old Ones, summoning him doesn't result in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], but he most likely wants some human sacrifices in exchange for secret knowledge or wants to possess you in order to get mankind to blow itself up.
* Quite a few of John Connolly's short stories involve SealedEvilInACan: the Daemon buried under the church in "Mr Pettinger's Daemon"; the [[TheFairFolk Fairies]] trapped inside their fort in "The New Daughter"; the monster chained up at the bottom of the lake in "Deep Dark Green"; the nest of hibernating giant spiders in "The Wakeford Abyss"...
** Also, in his novel ''TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
* One of Creator/MRJames’s favorite tropes was having an unpleasant being imprisoned in a tomb, grave, or ruin, inevitably later disturbed. Stories in this pattern include "Count Magnus" (the count's sarcophagus has three padlocks on it), "An Episode of Cathedral History", and "The Rose Garden".
* Alex Verus encounters two of these. One is a magician who sealed himself in an artifact. The other is a magician who is trying to live forever by killing others like the long dead vampires.
* Complex example in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''. Millennia ago, [[{{Precursors}} the Inapt]] faced a mysterious enemy known only as "the Worm". Unable to destroy it, they ''were'' able to force it underground and then banish those caverns to AnotherDimension, warded away from the living world by a series of magical seals. To keep the central seal strong enough, [[MagicKnight Argastos]], who lead the Inapt army, was bound into it - and since he wasn't exactly a nice guy himself, that means it was a case of a Sealed Evil being used to shore up the prison of ''another'' Sealed Evil. However, it worked... [[spoiler: until the Wasp Empress Seda tried to bind Argastos' power for herself, and her rival Cheerwell Maker tried to stop her. The result was that the now lich-like Argastos was destroyed and the Seal of the Worm popped open. NiceJobBreakingItHero (and villain) indeed]].
again.



[[folder: Live Action TV]]

* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the Shadows were something like this, except that they weren't sealed by other people. They regularly hibernate and wake themselves up.
** The Thirdspace aliens are effectively sealed until their gateway is opened.
** Also The Hand. (Who are probably the Thirdspace aliens anyway.)
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' / ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Many, many examples in Buffy (the Judge, Acathla, the Seal of Danzalthar, among others) and Angel (Illyria [who is actually sealed in a coffin], Pavayne,Sahjhan). In fact, the Angel example showed us a veritable warehouse of sealed demon gods like Illyria, which (as of the end of the series) is left unguarded.
** There is also a very literal variant in the ''Buffy'' episode "Get It Done", when [[spoiler: The Shadow Men try to infuse Buffy with the essence of a demon that they kept sealed in a box.]]
* In the original and revived ''Series/DarkShadows'', vampire Barnabas Collins made his series debut when he was released from the chained-up coffin in which his father, unable to go through with staking his own son, had sealed him.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Around half a dozen cases of Evil deliberately Sealed in a Can. At least as many slumbering alien menaces that just happened to crash-land/get trapped centuries ago and go into hibernation until foolishly awoken, which don't technically fit the description but serve a very similar plot purpose.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E9TheSatanPit "The Satan Pit"]], a being known only as "the Beast" (who claims to be {{Satan}}) is so powerful it was sealed miles underground the surface of a planet precariously orbiting a black hole, meaning that any attempt to escape would send the Beast and the planet to fall into it. These Disciples of the Light guys ''really'' didn't want this thing to escape.
** The original series used this trope often. Sutekh The Destroyer in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E3PyramidsOfMars "Pyramids of Mars"]] was imprisoned in a pyramid in Egypt, Omega in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E1TheThreeDoctors "The Three Doctors"]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS20E1ArcOfInfinity "Arc of Infinity"]], the Ice Warriors, the mutagen under the Earth crust in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS7E4Inferno "Inferno"]], the Krynoid pods in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E6TheSeedsOfDoom "The Seeds of Doom"]], and many more.
** A slight variation happened in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E3TheStonesOfBlood "The Stones of Blood"]], where the Doctor releases a pair of biomechanical judges called the Megara from a ship stranded in hyperspace, [[spoiler:and the judges promptly sentence him to death for letting them free without the proper legal authorization.]]
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]] features the Genesis Ark: a Time Lord device imprisoning millions of Daleks. "Time Lord science: it's BiggerOnTheInside."
** In the new series episode [[Recap/DoctorWho2006CSTheRunawayBride "The Runaway Bride"]], it is revealed that the centre of the Earth contains hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of omnivorous intelligent alien spiders. Indeed, the vessel that holds them is the original core of the planet, nearly five ''billion'' years old.
** In the episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens"]], the Doctor investigates the eponymous Pandorica, which is advertised as containing the most feared being in the universe and is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin starting to open]]. [[spoiler:It's empty. The Pandorica was created by [[LegionOfDoom a coalition of the Doctor's enemies]] to trap him inside, because they believe he will destroy the universe, and it's opening so that they can put him in -- due to time-travel, he has arrived before the myth started.]] The Doctor is predictably fascinated; "What could be so dangerous?" he wonders. [[spoiler:You.]]
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E16TheWatersOfMars "The Waters of Mars"]], Humans accidentally released Sealed Evil in a Glacier.
** Then there is the Old God in a Pyramid in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E7TheRingsOfAkhaten "The Rings of Akhaten"]]. [[spoiler:It turns out the real Monster is the planet.]]
** ''The End of Time'' 2-parter implies that the Time Lock on the Last Great Time War could be this. With the sealed evil being the Daleks [[spoiler: and The Time Lords]] (though I guess it's more a LeakingCanOfEvil for the Daleks since they keep finding ways to get out). Makes you wonder why ''The Day of the Doctor'' makes him so happy that he [[spoiler: didn't actually destroy The Time Lords after all]], since ''The End of Time'' had them turning into violent existence destroying lunatics by the end of the war.
** Although for all we know most of the Time Lords weren't working with Rassilon and the Tenth Doctor had already stopped this plan.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E1TheTombOfTheCybermen "The Tomb of the Cybermen"]], the titular monsters sealed themselves in a can figuring whoever could unseal it had abilities that would make the Cybermen stronger.
* In ''Series/ForeverKnight'', [=LaCroix=]'s daughter was sealed inside a coffin after [=LaCroix=] staked her. The Egyptian sun disk kept her prisoner much like a Christian cross, until she was released by grave robbers and came after him and his children.
** Also pops up in the first Forever Knight novel, "A Stirring of Dust".
* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', the pieces of the First People's Machine, which has the power to [[spoiler:create or destroy universes]], were scattered all across the globe and buried hundreds of feet underground.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': [[spoiler:the immortal, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal self-regenerating]] [[KnightTemplar Adam Monroe]]]] was imprisoned for thirty years after he tried to [[KillAllHumans release a virus that would have killed most of mankind]]. Then, after being released (and having done plenty of damage in the meantime, including a second attempt at the virus thing) he was sealed in a coffin deep beneath a cemetery.
** In Season 3, [[spoiler:in a slight subversion, [[BigBad daddy Petrelli]] appeared to be far more powerful than Adam and took his power, killing him instantly.]]
** [[spoiler:Arthur Petrelli]] himself has elements of this, starting off the series on life support and only able to communicate through telepathy.
** As of Volume 4's finale [[spoiler:Sylar's brainwashing into believing himself to be Nathan Petrelli certainly qualifies.]] It didn't last.
** Volume 5 has [[spoiler:Sylar being imprisoned inside his own head and Parkman sealing his comatose body inside a brick cell.]]
* One episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' featured a Nazi Immortal who had been chained and thrown into a river by a young boy. How do you make a Nazi cross? Forty years of drowning and reviving every few minutes ought to do it...
** There is at least one story of an Immortal being on a sunken ship and having to walk back -- Kit O'Brady was on a boat to Alaska when it sank, and said it took him months to walk back.
** And then there's the example of the Immortal stranded on a deserted island for years, dying of starvation and thirst every so often, just to wake up and do it again. For some reason he held a grudge...
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series uses this in several series.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga'', the Grongi were imprisoned in a tomb by [[spoiler: the original Kuuga after he defeated them]].
** In ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'', the [[spoiler: Overlord of Darkness]] has a somewhat odd version of this, [[spoiler: he was already dead, but left his DNA around, allowing him to retake his physical form when humans uncover it]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderBlade'' has the Undead, who have been imprisoned since the beginning of time, after serving their purpose and deciding the dominate species of life on Earth. Though since not all of them are evil, some would be SealedGoodInACan and since most of them just want to fight one another, they would be SealedBadassInACan. The Roaches and Black Joker defiently fit the trope though. There's also Jashin 14 in TheMovie.
** In the newest series, ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', the Greeed have been imprisoned in a stone box for 800 years until they're released during a robbery. The stone box? [[spoiler: The original OOO]].
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', Kia is an assassin who spends most of his time frozen so he's save his protoblood for when he's needed, which is only when someone needs to be killed.
* One episode from ''Los Luchadores'' dealt with a plot to awaken a demon in a ritual involving three descendants of the people responsible for originally sealing it. In this case, the ritual is successfully interrupted just before its completion, denying the audience the spectacle of watching an ancient evil being defeated by a masked professional wrestler.
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', [[spoiler: Jacob claims that this is the role of the Island]]. It is implied that [[spoiler: the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster]] is the evil being imprisoned.
* ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'': The goblin from [[Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold '' Goblin's Gold'']], who was sealed in a box, then escaped to torment everyone in the castle, and then resealed after being trapped by Merlin and Gwen.
* A sketch on ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' has the [[BrownNote funniest joke in the world]] being buried after WorldWarII so it can never kill anyone again.
* In ''Series/MythQuest'', Gorgos was shut away inside a stone for trying to change the myths of humanity. Matt Bellows accidentally releases him in the first episode, but only into a slightly bigger can. With significant air holes.
* The Dragon Lord and the Rank from ''Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation'', who were imprisoned in an enchanted mirror until they took the opportunity to break free, menacing the Turtles and replacing the Shredder as the BigBad.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In "Abaddon", the crew of a ship in deep space discovers a hypersleep pod containing the body of a famous mass murdering warlord. He's let out and quickly begins to manipulate the people on the ship into killing each other.
* A constantly recurring trope in ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and its source material ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** The TropeNamer Rita Repulsa from the first season of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' was originally trapped in a "space dumpster" on the moon (or ''a'' moon, or something) for 10,000 years until astronauts accidentally released her. Her line from the intro sequence is rather iconic:
--->Ahh! After 10,000 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!
*** Her Japanese counterpart in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' is even called Bandora, named after the tale of Pandora's box.
*** Her boss Lord Zedd eventually returns, and displeased with [[YouHaveFailedMe her failure]] puts her back in her dumpster (or a different one) and sends her off into space again. She gets out twice. The first time the Rangers catch her and reseal her, the second time she stays out for good.
*** To a lesser extent, in the episode "Final Face-Off," Rita opens an urn which imprisoned the legendary Face Stealer. The Rangers lock him back in the urn upon his defeat at the end of the episode.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'''s villains are released from the "Tomb of Forever" by an unwitting Egyptologist. The villains then go about trying to free their still-sealed Queen. They all more or less end up that way again in the finale when they are either destroyed (sending their spirits back) or by physically being thrown back into the "Tomb of Forever", sealing them in the Shadow World.
** While not applying to the main villains of ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'', the individual monsters fit this trope, being mutant prisoners shrunk, cryogenically frozen, and sealed inside small containers. They also return that way when defeated.
** The Orgs of ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' were spirits sealed in the earth 3,000 years ago. They were freed in the present day to possess everyday objects due to pollution and the appearance of a successor to their BigBad.
** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' has the "Abyss of Evil" that acts as one. Unusually, the BigBad, Lothor, didn't bust out of there at the beginning of the season; instead it factored into his EvilPlan: [[spoiler:if his monsters couldn't defeat the Rangers, they'd be sent to the Abyss; cramming it full until it burst open and gave him an army to work with.]]
*** Double subverted, as Lothor is sealed in the Abyss at the end of the series, and then breaks out in the next season, ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'', during the team-up episode.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' most of the individual monsters and main villains fit this trope, being alien criminals. They are trapped inside special cards when defeated.
** Rita Repulsa's very ''line'' is echoed by Koragg's first line in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' (He actually says "After ''all these'' years, I'm free," but the similarity was close enough that many fans were confused into thinking the {{backstory}} was set ten thousand years previous, when it actually appears to have been more like 20).
** In ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' all four big bad factions has someone sealed inside a different can. Moltor and Flurious were sealed inside two lifeless planets, one of extreme heat and the other of extreme cold respectively, when they tried to grab the season's MacGuffin, and freed when said MacGuffin was discovered on Earth. Kamdor is initially sealed in a blue gem necklace until he is freed with a stolen device by his partner Miratrix, who incidentally later becomes sealed in same said necklace when Kamdor double crosses her. Then there is the "Prison Mirror" which contains an army of Fearcats, but was destroyed with only Benglo escaping. In another episode, Thrax, the son of Rita and Zedd, repeats the same line his mother made when released from a Space Dumpster, after what could not have been more than two or three years.
** ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'' has Dai Shi, who has been stuck in an (unlocked!) box for 10,000 years. The box was kept by a secret order, but opened when a disgruntled student barged in and attacked the order's master, knocking the box out of his hands. Unusually, however, Dai Shi is ''significantly'' weaker than he was, and has to struggle to regain his powers before the Rangers become strong enough to destroy him.
*** This season also had other sealed cans. The Crystal Eyes for the Phantom Beasts, The Overlords lifeless bodies/shells & two of the "5 Fingers of Poison" urns with broken remains (both revived by Naja's life talons), the various statue soldiers brought to life as monsters of the day, and the Spirit World (at the finale) which acted as both a sealed can of evil (for Dai Shi's fallen minions) and a sealed can of good (for the fallen Masters).
** Venjix from ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' began its existence more or less as a sealed evil. The program for the sentient, self-replicating, computer virus was initially created and contained in a single laptop. That is until Dr. K, in a attempt to escape her circumstances, decided to infect Alphabet Soup's computer network with the virus but was stopped short from installing a firewall to prevent further spread. The result was an infection of nearly every computer system connected to the internet and the destruction of nearly the entire human race.
*** It is hinted that Venjix also becomes one of these again, as opposed to being destroyed, at the end of ''RPM'' with the Venjix Palace music playing as the camera focuses in on Ranger Red's morpher with a blinking red light.
** The Sanzu River from ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' is one to the Nighloks, as nobody can last long away from the river before they dry out. Only a monster and some {{Mooks}} are able to go out at a time, trying to increase peoples' despair and sorrow in order to make the Sanzu's water level rise until it seeps into and floods the human world.\\\
Master Xandred was sealed in the river by Jayden's father. Due to the seal being done wrong (which stems from the previous Red Ranger having insufficient power at the time), it causes him headaches.
*** "The Master Returns" seems to imply that he's still trapped to some degree, as flashbacks show he could previously leave the Sanzu River without drying out, a problem he has now.
* In ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', [[spoiler:the race of supercomputers that Mr. Smith belongs to.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s fifth season, Brainiac's primary goal is to release Zod from the Phantom Zone. He eventually succeeds in the season finale and Zod's first action upon being freed is to [[SealedGoodInACan put Clark Kent into the same can that he just escaped from]].
** Clark manages to escape on his own, without help from the outside, and subsequently reimprisons Zod in the season six premiere. He then spends the rest of season six hunting down the other Phantom Zone prisoners who escaped at the same time he did one by one and either killing or preferably reimprisoning them.
* Despite the frequent use of the "Pandora's box" analogy, it was really ''Earth'' that was sealed in a can at the beginning of ''Series/StargateSG1''. On the other hand, there are several examples of villains being effectively sealed in cans, such as Osiris (who was in a canopic jar), Anubis' son (in a stasis chamber), the Wraith (hibernating), and the Ori (in a distant galaxy blissfully unaware that free humans existed).
** One of the most literal ''Series/StargateSG1'' examples would be Hathor, who had been sealed in her sarcophagus for 4,000 years, only for some unwitting archaeologist to open it.
** As well as Marduk. [[spoiler: He was ''so bad by even Goa'uld standards'' that his servants locked him in a sarcophagus with a ravenous predatory beast. As it continually ate him, the sarcophagus' nigh-magical healing powers would keep healing him and see to it that it took him centuries to die. ''Damn''. However, the Goa'uld are PuppeteerParasite, so Marduk simply pulled a body-switch and took over the predator.]] And then Our Heroes go poking around in there...
** The Replicators were sealed in a can by the Asgard, but it gets worse when the Replicators outwit the trap and crank it UpToEleven before SG-1 arrive to fix the can.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' used this a few times.
** Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers, in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]] episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]".
** In the classic series episode [[Recap/StarTrekS1E27TheAlternativeFactor "The Alternative Factor"]], if Lazarus and his insane counterpart from the antimatter dimension were ever to meet in the same universe, that universe would be destroyed. Both of them are sent into an [[PhantomZone intermediate dimension]] so that this can never happen, and where the two of them will be [[SealedEvilInADuel locked in combat for all eternity]].
** Data's evil "brother" Lore in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. He's found disassembled in Dr. Soong's lab and the ''Enterprise'' crew make the mistake of putting him back together.
** Well, in [[WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries the animated version]] episode "Beyond the Farthest Star", Kirk tricked an ancient evil entity onto a black dwarf star, where it moans about how lonely it is as the credits roll.
** This was supposedly the plot behind the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Dragon's Teeth", when Seven of Nine releases an alien race from a 900-year stasis... only for them to turn out to be your bog-standard Villains of the Week piloting obsolete spaceships. Disappointing.
** "Alice" from ''Star Trek: Voyager'' features an alien shuttlecraft that controls its pilots through its neural interface, appearing unto them as female avatars of their native species (as in the case of Abaddon and Tom Paris) and giving them brain hemorrhages to keep them in line.
** The ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Regeneration" features Borg in the ice.
** Another episode played off the RealLife example (see below) of nuclear waste- Data is injured while retrieving said material from a crashed Starfleet ship, and after the ensuing memory loss he stumbles into a local village. His radioactive-shielded briefcase doesn't stay closed for long.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has used so many variants of this it's the only kind of MythArc they've ever had, but at least it always varies. Thus far the end of every even-numbered season has involved letting some great evil out of its can. Seasons three, five, and seven have been about dealing with these evils.
** Azazel's goal in the season 2 finale was to open a Devil's Gate in Wyoming in order to [[spoiler: release Lilith and a demon army into the human world. Lilith would be needed to later break Lucifer out of his cage.]]
** In the fourth season Lucifer is imprisoned in Hell and Lilith is out trying to release him... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero guess how that turns out.]] Eventualy they [[spoiler: manage to stick him back in]], although he's [[spoiler:[[HeroicSacrifice wearing Sam's body at the time]]]].
** One of the seals used to seal [[spoiler:Lucifer]] was itself undoing the seal that kept in Samhain, a [[SadlyMythtaken demon that raises the dead and pronounced Sam-Hane]].
** In season 6, we have Purgatory, the place that creatures who don't belong in either Heaven or Hell go when they die. This seems to make it a repository of monster souls; it also contains a being known as the "Mother of All" which they call Eve, probably because they already used the names Lilith and Tiamat for other purposes, and apparently some very nasty formless things that were never alive in the normal sense. [[spoiler: Cas and Crowley]] work together to open it in order to use the monster souls as a power source, but there are side effects. The first episode of the seventh season reveals that [[spoiler: Purgatory was originally created to seal away the Leviathans, beasts that God feared would (as Death put it) "chomp the entire dish"]].
** The end of Season 10 gives us the series' crowning example, as Death reveals that before the dawn of time itself, there existed only [[UltimateEvil The Darkness]], an amoral force of destruction. God and His archangels waged war on it and eventually sealed it away (allowing them to create the universe), creating the Mark of Cain to serve as its lock and key, though this resulted in the Mark turning into TheCorruption for all who bear it. [[spoiler: Freeing Dean from the Mark releases the Darkness on the world.]]
* The first ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' season finale features [[spoiler:Abaddon, son of The Beast]] who was sealed within the Cardiff Rift.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "The Howling Man," the evil sealed in a cell was the Devil himself.
* In ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', Zin gets sealed in an underground vault during his attempt to steal the alien weapon hidden there.
* Katherine and two dozen other vampires in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' were sealed in a tomb beneath the town church. In a slight subversion of the usual formula, this was actually an attempt to SAVE Katherine from the town's vampire hunters.
** Actually it was Katherine's plot to kill the tomb vampires because they knew she was alive and eventually word will get back to Klaus and he would find and kill her for his sacrifice. So she plotted with George Lockwood in 1864 to have them take the blame for the killings George was doing. George was a werewolf and he was killing all those people. So their interest met: The tomb vampires would take the blame for George's killings and at the same time be eliminated to keep Katherine's secret from Klaus. Katherine's "payment" for this was the moonstone George had.
** The dagger dipped in white oak ash only kills the Original vampires if it stays in place. Klaus keeps all his siblings in coffins with daggers in them. He wakes up Rebekah when he needs her necklace.
** Mikael. Katherine wakes him up, but no-one except Damon and Stefan is aware of this yet.
** Esther, the Originals' mother who initially turned them all into vampires. Klaus tore her heart out and has been keeping her in a coffin, thanks to a spell that preserved her body perfectly.
** Very few things can permanently kill an Original but if that does happen then all the vampires in his/her sire line will also die. Since the Originals tend to inspire IHateYouVampireDad, there are always vampires around trying to find a way to get rid of the Originals for good without killing themselves in the process. This usually involves finding a way to immobilize an Orginal and then sealing him/her away in a location that will not be disturbed for a long time. The middle of the ocean is often suggested as the perfect storing place for an Original.
* The aliens of ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' were sealed in cans at the opening of the series.
* ''Series/WynonnaEarp'': The main plot is driven by the fact that the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent revenants]] of all the people Wyatt Earp ever killed are trapped within an area called the Ghost River Triangle, that goes from the mountains to where the North and South Ghost rivers meet. It cuts through the big city and contains thousands of square miles of forest, foothills, prairie, the Badlands and most importantly, the town of [[MeaningfulName Purgatory]]. Any revenant who sets foot beyond those limits is subject to a FateWorseThanDeath. Bobo Del Rey, the [[BigBad leader]] of the revenants, is determined to find a way to escape.
** The season 1 finale also revealed the existence of an EldritchAbomination of some kind buried just outside the Triangle, which is as incapable of getting ''in'' as the revenants are of getting ''out''. It briefly emerges when [[spoiler: [[TheMole Willa]] crosses the barrier line with Peacemaker]], but when [[spoiler: Wynonna carries the gun back]], the creature appears to be resealed.
* ''Series/SixHundredSixtySixParkAvenue'': Whatever is in the Red Box that Shaw stole from Gavin.
** It's debatable whether Peter Kramer was evil per say or just driven crazy by the Drake, but in any case, his spirit was locked inside a suitcase, which was then locked in a storage room in the basement that was bricked shut.

to:

[[folder: Live Action TV]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', "The Garden" segment of ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives'', Garfield (who is a kitten here) and Cloey (his owner in this life) are given a magical garden by Uncle Tod when he joins the Shadows were something like this, except circus, under the condition that they weren't sealed by other people. They regularly hibernate and wake themselves up.
**
never open the crystal box on the checkered toadstool. The Thirdspace aliens are effectively sealed until their gateway trope is opened.
** Also The Hand. (Who are probably the Thirdspace aliens anyway.)
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' / ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Many, many examples in Buffy (the Judge, Acathla, the Seal
subverted here because, out of Danzalthar, among others) and Angel (Illyria [who is actually sealed in a coffin], Pavayne,Sahjhan). In fact, the Angel example showed us a veritable warehouse of sealed demon gods like Illyria, which (as of the end of the series) is left unguarded.
** There is also a very literal variant in the ''Buffy'' episode "Get It Done", when [[spoiler: The Shadow Men try
loyalty to infuse Buffy with the essence of a demon that Uncle Tod, they kept sealed in a box.]]
decide ''not'' to open it.
* In the original and revived ''Series/DarkShadows'', vampire Barnabas Collins made his series debut when he was released from comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'', the chained-up coffin in which his father, unable to go through with staking his own son, had sealed him.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Around half
title dragon owned a dozen cases collection of Evil deliberately Sealed in a Can. At least as many slumbering alien menaces that just happened to crash-land/get trapped centuries ago and go into hibernation until foolishly awoken, which don't technically fit the description but serve a very similar plot purpose.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E9TheSatanPit "The Satan Pit"]], a being known only as "the Beast" (who claims to be {{Satan}}) is so powerful it was sealed miles underground the surface of a planet precariously orbiting a black hole, meaning that any attempt to escape would send the Beast and the planet to fall into it. These Disciples of the Light guys ''really'' didn't want this thing to escape.
** The original series used this trope often. Sutekh The Destroyer in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E3PyramidsOfMars "Pyramids of Mars"]] was imprisoned in a pyramid in Egypt, Omega in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E1TheThreeDoctors "The Three Doctors"]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS20E1ArcOfInfinity "Arc of Infinity"]], the Ice Warriors, the mutagen under the Earth crust in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS7E4Inferno "Inferno"]], the Krynoid pods in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E6TheSeedsOfDoom "The Seeds of Doom"]], and many more.
** A slight variation happened in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E3TheStonesOfBlood "The Stones of Blood"]], where the Doctor releases a pair of biomechanical judges called the Megara from a ship stranded in hyperspace, [[spoiler:and the judges promptly sentence him to death for letting them free without the proper legal authorization.]]
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]] features the Genesis Ark: a Time Lord device imprisoning millions of Daleks. "Time Lord science: it's BiggerOnTheInside."
** In the new series episode [[Recap/DoctorWho2006CSTheRunawayBride "The Runaway Bride"]], it is revealed that the centre of the Earth contains hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of omnivorous intelligent alien spiders. Indeed, the vessel that holds them is the original core of the planet, nearly five ''billion'' years old.
** In the episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens"]], the Doctor investigates the eponymous Pandorica, which is advertised as
magical orbs containing the most feared vicious demons, which a human wizard attempted to steal. This being in a humor comic, Wormy used the universe and is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin starting to open]]. [[spoiler:It's empty. The Pandorica was created by [[LegionOfDoom a coalition of the Doctor's enemies]] to trap him inside, because they believe he will destroy the universe, and it's opening so that they can put him in -- due to time-travel, he has arrived before the myth started.]] The Doctor is predictably fascinated; "What could be so dangerous?" he wonders. [[spoiler:You.]]
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E16TheWatersOfMars "The Waters of Mars"]], Humans accidentally released Sealed Evil in a Glacier.
** Then there is the Old God in a Pyramid in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E7TheRingsOfAkhaten "The Rings of Akhaten"]]. [[spoiler:It turns out the real Monster is the planet.]]
** ''The End of Time'' 2-parter implies that the Time Lock on the Last Great Time War could be this. With the sealed evil being the Daleks [[spoiler: and The Time Lords]] (though I guess it's more a LeakingCanOfEvil for the Daleks since they keep finding ways to get out). Makes you wonder why ''The Day of the Doctor'' makes him so happy that he [[spoiler: didn't actually destroy The Time Lords after all]], since ''The End of Time'' had them turning into violent existence destroying lunatics by the end of the war.
** Although for all we know most of the Time Lords weren't working with Rassilon and the Tenth Doctor had already stopped this plan.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E1TheTombOfTheCybermen "The Tomb of the Cybermen"]], the titular monsters sealed themselves in a can figuring whoever could unseal it had abilities that would make the Cybermen stronger.
orbs as snooker balls.
* In ''Series/ForeverKnight'', [=LaCroix=]'s daughter was sealed inside a coffin after [=LaCroix=] staked her. The Egyptian sun disk kept her prisoner much like a Christian cross, until she was released by grave robbers and came after him and his children.
** Also pops up in
''ComicStrip/HsuAndChan'', the first Forever Knight novel, "A Stirring of Dust".
* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', the pieces of the First People's Machine, which has the power to [[spoiler:create or destroy universes]], were scattered all across the globe and buried hundreds of feet underground.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': [[spoiler:the immortal, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal self-regenerating]] [[KnightTemplar Adam Monroe]]]] was imprisoned for thirty years after he tried to [[KillAllHumans release a virus that would have killed most of mankind]]. Then, after being released (and having done plenty of damage in the meantime, including a second attempt at the virus thing) he was sealed in a coffin deep beneath a cemetery.
** In Season 3, [[spoiler:in a slight subversion, [[BigBad daddy Petrelli]] appeared to be far more powerful than Adam and took his power, killing him instantly.]]
** [[spoiler:Arthur Petrelli]] himself has elements of this, starting off the series on life support and only able to communicate through telepathy.
** As of Volume 4's finale [[spoiler:Sylar's brainwashing into believing himself to be Nathan Petrelli certainly qualifies.]] It didn't last.
** Volume 5 has [[spoiler:Sylar being imprisoned inside his own head and Parkman sealing his comatose body inside a brick cell.]]
* One episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' featured a Nazi Immortal who had been chained and thrown into a river by a young boy. How do you make a Nazi cross? Forty years of drowning and reviving every few minutes ought to do it...
** There is at least one story of an Immortal being on a sunken ship and having to walk back -- Kit O'Brady was on a boat to Alaska when it sank, and said it took him months to walk back.
** And then there's the example of the Immortal stranded on a deserted island for years, dying of starvation and thirst every so often, just to wake up and do it again. For some reason he held a grudge...
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series uses this in several series.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga'', the Grongi were imprisoned in a tomb by [[spoiler: the original Kuuga after he defeated them]].
** In ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'', the [[spoiler: Overlord of Darkness]] has a somewhat odd version of this, [[spoiler: he was already dead, but left his DNA around, allowing him to retake his physical form when humans uncover it]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderBlade'' has the Undead, who have been imprisoned since the beginning of time, after serving their purpose and deciding the dominate species of life on Earth. Though since not all of them are evil, some would be SealedGoodInACan and since most of them just want to
Tanaka brothers fight one another, they would be SealedBadassInACan. The Roaches and Black Joker defiently fit the trope though. There's also Jashin 14 in TheMovie.
** In the newest series, ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', the Greeed have been imprisoned in a stone box for 800 years until they're released during a robbery. The stone box? [[spoiler: The original OOO]].
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', Kia is an assassin who spends most of his time frozen so he's save his protoblood for when he's needed, which is only when someone needs to be killed.
* One episode from ''Los Luchadores'' dealt with a plot to awaken
off a demon in a ritual involving three descendants of the people responsible for originally sealing it. In this case, the ritual is successfully interrupted just before its completion, denying the audience the spectacle of watching an ancient evil being defeated invasion by a masked professional wrestler.
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', [[spoiler: Jacob claims that this is the role of the Island]]. It is implied that [[spoiler: the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster]] is the evil being imprisoned.
* ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'': The goblin from [[Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold '' Goblin's Gold'']], who was sealed in a box, then escaped to torment everyone in the castle, and then resealed after being trapped by Merlin and Gwen.
* A sketch on ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' has the [[BrownNote funniest joke in the world]] being buried after WorldWarII so it can never kill anyone again.
* In ''Series/MythQuest'', Gorgos was shut away inside a stone for trying to change the myths of humanity. Matt Bellows accidentally releases him in the first episode, but only into a slightly bigger can. With significant air holes.
* The Dragon Lord and the Rank from ''Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation'', who were imprisoned in an enchanted mirror until they took the opportunity to break free, menacing the Turtles and replacing the Shredder as the BigBad.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In "Abaddon", the crew of a ship in deep space discovers a hypersleep pod containing the body of a famous mass murdering warlord. He's let out and quickly begins to manipulate the people on the ship into killing each other.
* A constantly recurring trope in ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and its source material ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** The TropeNamer Rita Repulsa from the first season of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' was originally trapped in a "space dumpster" on the moon (or ''a'' moon, or something) for 10,000 years until astronauts accidentally released her. Her line from the intro sequence is rather iconic:
--->Ahh! After 10,000 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!
*** Her Japanese counterpart in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' is even called Bandora, named after the tale of Pandora's box.
*** Her boss Lord Zedd eventually returns, and displeased with [[YouHaveFailedMe her failure]] puts her back in her dumpster (or a different one) and sends her off into space again. She gets out twice. The first time the Rangers catch her and reseal her, the second time she stays out for good.
*** To a lesser extent, in the episode "Final Face-Off," Rita opens an urn which imprisoned the legendary Face Stealer. The Rangers lock him back in the urn upon his defeat at the end of the episode.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'''s villains are released from the "Tomb of Forever" by an unwitting Egyptologist. The villains then go about trying to free their still-sealed Queen. They all more or less end up that way again in the finale when they are either destroyed (sending their spirits back) or by physically being thrown back into the "Tomb of Forever",
sealing them in the Shadow World.
** While not applying to the main villains of ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'', the individual monsters fit this trope, being mutant prisoners shrunk, cryogenically frozen, and sealed inside small containers. They also return that way when defeated.
** The Orgs of ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' were spirits sealed in the earth 3,000 years ago. They were freed in the present day to possess everyday objects due to pollution and the appearance of a successor to their BigBad.
** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' has the "Abyss of Evil" that acts as one. Unusually, the BigBad, Lothor, didn't bust out of there at the beginning of the season; instead it factored into his EvilPlan: [[spoiler:if his monsters couldn't defeat the Rangers, they'd be sent to the Abyss; cramming it full until it burst open and gave him an army to work with.]]
*** Double subverted, as Lothor is sealed in the Abyss at the end of the series, and then breaks out in the next season, ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'', during the team-up episode.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' most of the individual monsters and main villains fit this trope, being alien criminals. They are trapped inside special cards when defeated.
** Rita Repulsa's very ''line'' is echoed by Koragg's first line in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' (He actually says "After ''all these'' years, I'm free," but the similarity was close enough that many fans were confused into thinking the {{backstory}} was set ten thousand years previous, when it actually appears to have been more like 20).
** In ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' all four big bad factions has someone sealed inside a different can. Moltor and Flurious were sealed inside two lifeless planets, one of extreme heat and the other of extreme cold respectively, when they tried to grab the season's MacGuffin, and freed when said MacGuffin was discovered on Earth. Kamdor is initially sealed in a blue gem necklace until he is freed with a stolen device by his partner Miratrix, who incidentally later becomes sealed in same said necklace when Kamdor double crosses her. Then there is the "Prison Mirror" which contains an army of Fearcats, but was destroyed with only Benglo escaping. In another episode, Thrax, the son of Rita and Zedd, repeats the same line his mother made when released from a Space Dumpster, after what could not have been more than two or three years.
** ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'' has Dai Shi, who has been stuck in an (unlocked!) box for 10,000 years. The box was kept by a secret order, but opened when a disgruntled student barged in and attacked the order's master, knocking the box out of his hands. Unusually, however, Dai Shi is ''significantly'' weaker than he was, and has to struggle to regain his powers before the Rangers become strong enough to destroy him.
*** This season also had other sealed cans. The Crystal Eyes for the Phantom Beasts, The Overlords lifeless bodies/shells & two of the "5 Fingers of Poison" urns with broken remains (both revived by Naja's life talons), the
various statue soldiers brought to life as monsters of the day, trinkets and the Spirit World (at the finale) which acted as both a sealed can of evil (for Dai Shi's fallen minions) and a sealed can of good (for the fallen Masters).
** Venjix from ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' began its existence more or less as a sealed evil. The program for the sentient, self-replicating, computer virus was initially created and contained in a single laptop. That is until Dr. K, in a attempt to escape her circumstances, decided to infect Alphabet Soup's computer network with the virus but was stopped short from installing a firewall to prevent further spread. The result was an infection of nearly every computer system connected to the internet and the destruction of nearly the entire human race.
*** It is hinted that Venjix also becomes one of these again, as opposed to being destroyed, at the end of ''RPM'' with the Venjix Palace music playing as the camera focuses in on Ranger Red's morpher with a blinking red light.
** The Sanzu River from ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' is one to the Nighloks, as nobody can last long away from the river before they dry out. Only a monster and some {{Mooks}} are able to go out at a time, trying to increase peoples' despair and sorrow in order to make the Sanzu's water level rise until it seeps into and floods the human world.\\\
Master Xandred was sealed in the river by Jayden's father. Due to the seal being done wrong (which stems from the previous Red Ranger having insufficient power at the time), it causes him headaches.
*** "The Master Returns" seems to imply that he's still trapped to some degree, as flashbacks show he could previously leave the Sanzu River without drying out, a problem he has now.
* In ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', [[spoiler:the race of supercomputers that Mr. Smith belongs to.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s fifth season, Brainiac's primary goal is to release Zod from the Phantom Zone. He eventually succeeds in the season finale and Zod's first action upon being freed is to [[SealedGoodInACan put Clark Kent into the same can that he just escaped from]].
** Clark manages to escape on his own, without help from the outside, and subsequently reimprisons Zod in the season six premiere. He then spends the rest of season six hunting down the other Phantom Zone prisoners who escaped at the same time he did one by one and either killing or preferably reimprisoning them.
* Despite the frequent use of the "Pandora's box" analogy, it was really ''Earth'' that was sealed in a can at the beginning of ''Series/StargateSG1''. On the other hand, there are several examples of villains being effectively sealed in cans, such as Osiris (who was in a canopic jar), Anubis' son (in a stasis chamber), the Wraith (hibernating), and the Ori (in a distant galaxy blissfully unaware that free humans existed).
** One of the most literal ''Series/StargateSG1'' examples would be Hathor, who had been sealed in her sarcophagus for 4,000 years, only for some unwitting archaeologist to open it.
** As well as Marduk. [[spoiler: He was ''so bad by even Goa'uld standards'' that his servants locked him in a sarcophagus with a ravenous predatory beast. As it continually ate him, the sarcophagus' nigh-magical healing powers would keep healing him and see to it that it took him centuries to die. ''Damn''. However, the Goa'uld are PuppeteerParasite, so Marduk simply pulled a body-switch and took over the predator.]] And then Our Heroes go poking around in there...
** The Replicators were sealed in a can by the Asgard, but it gets worse when the Replicators outwit the trap and crank it UpToEleven before SG-1 arrive to fix the can.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' used this a few times.
** Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers, in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]] episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]".
** In the classic series episode [[Recap/StarTrekS1E27TheAlternativeFactor "The Alternative Factor"]], if Lazarus and his insane counterpart from the antimatter dimension were ever to meet in the same universe, that universe would be destroyed. Both of them are sent into an [[PhantomZone intermediate dimension]] so that this can never happen, and where the two of them will be [[SealedEvilInADuel locked in combat for all eternity]].
** Data's evil "brother" Lore in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. He's found disassembled in Dr. Soong's lab and the ''Enterprise'' crew make the mistake of putting him back together.
** Well, in [[WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries the animated version]] episode "Beyond the Farthest Star", Kirk tricked an ancient evil entity onto a black dwarf star, where it moans about how lonely it is as the credits roll.
** This was supposedly the plot behind the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Dragon's Teeth", when Seven of Nine releases an alien race from a 900-year stasis... only for them to turn out to be your bog-standard Villains of the Week piloting obsolete spaceships. Disappointing.
** "Alice" from ''Star Trek: Voyager'' features an alien shuttlecraft that controls its pilots through its neural interface, appearing unto them as female avatars of their native species (as in the case of Abaddon and Tom Paris) and giving them brain hemorrhages to keep them in line.
** The ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Regeneration" features Borg in the ice.
** Another episode played off the RealLife example (see below) of nuclear waste- Data is injured while retrieving said material from a crashed Starfleet ship, and after the ensuing memory loss he stumbles into a local village. His radioactive-shielded briefcase doesn't stay closed for long.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has used so many variants of this it's the only kind of MythArc they've ever had, but at least it always varies. Thus far the end of every even-numbered season has involved letting some great evil out of its can. Seasons three, five, and seven have been about dealing with these evils.
** Azazel's goal in the season 2 finale was to open a Devil's Gate in Wyoming in order to [[spoiler: release Lilith and a demon army into the human world. Lilith would be needed to later break Lucifer out of his cage.]]
** In the fourth season Lucifer is imprisoned in Hell and Lilith is out trying to release him... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero guess how that turns out.]] Eventualy they [[spoiler: manage to stick him back in]], although he's [[spoiler:[[HeroicSacrifice wearing Sam's body at the time]]]].
** One of the seals used to seal [[spoiler:Lucifer]] was itself undoing the seal that kept in Samhain, a [[SadlyMythtaken demon that raises the dead and pronounced Sam-Hane]].
** In season 6, we have Purgatory, the place that creatures who don't belong in either Heaven or Hell go when they die. This seems to make it a repository of monster souls; it also contains a being known as the "Mother of All" which they call Eve, probably because they already used the names Lilith and Tiamat for other purposes, and apparently some very nasty formless things that were never alive in the normal sense. [[spoiler: Cas and Crowley]] work together to open it in order to use the monster souls as a power source, but there are side effects. The first episode of the seventh season reveals that [[spoiler: Purgatory was originally created to seal away the Leviathans, beasts that God feared would (as Death put it) "chomp the entire dish"]].
** The end of Season 10 gives us the series' crowning example, as Death reveals that before the dawn of time itself, there existed only [[UltimateEvil The Darkness]], an amoral force of destruction. God and His archangels waged war on it and eventually sealed it away (allowing them to create the universe), creating the Mark of Cain to serve as its lock and key, though this resulted in the Mark turning into TheCorruption for all who bear it. [[spoiler: Freeing Dean from the Mark releases the Darkness on the world.]]
* The first ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' season finale features [[spoiler:Abaddon, son of The Beast]] who was sealed within the Cardiff Rift.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "The Howling Man," the evil sealed in a cell was the Devil himself.
* In ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', Zin gets sealed in an underground vault during his attempt to steal the alien weapon hidden there.
* Katherine and two dozen other vampires in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' were sealed in a tomb beneath the town church. In a slight subversion of the usual formula, this was actually an attempt to SAVE Katherine from the town's vampire hunters.
** Actually it was Katherine's plot to kill the tomb vampires because they knew she was alive and eventually word will get back to Klaus and he would find and kill her for his sacrifice. So she plotted with George Lockwood in 1864 to have them take the blame for the killings George was doing. George was a werewolf and he was killing all those people. So their interest met: The tomb vampires would take the blame for George's killings and at the same time be eliminated to keep Katherine's secret from Klaus. Katherine's "payment" for this was the moonstone George had.
** The dagger dipped in white oak ash only kills the Original vampires if it stays in place. Klaus keeps all his siblings in coffins with daggers in them. He wakes up Rebekah when he needs her necklace.
** Mikael. Katherine wakes him up, but no-one except Damon and Stefan is aware of this yet.
** Esther, the Originals' mother who initially turned them all into vampires. Klaus tore her heart out and has been keeping her in a coffin, thanks to a spell that preserved her body perfectly.
** Very few things can permanently kill an Original but if that does happen then all the vampires in his/her sire line will also die. Since the Originals tend to inspire IHateYouVampireDad, there are always vampires around trying to find a way to get rid of the Originals for good without killing themselves in the process. This usually involves finding a way to immobilize an Orginal and then sealing him/her away in a location that will not be disturbed for a long time. The middle of the ocean is often suggested as the perfect storing place for an Original.
* The aliens of ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' were sealed in cans at the opening of the series.
* ''Series/WynonnaEarp'': The main plot is driven by the fact that the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent revenants]] of all the people Wyatt Earp ever killed are trapped within an area called the Ghost River Triangle, that goes from the mountains to where the North and South Ghost rivers meet. It cuts through the big city and contains thousands of square miles of forest, foothills, prairie, the Badlands and most importantly, the town of [[MeaningfulName Purgatory]]. Any revenant who sets foot beyond those limits is subject to a FateWorseThanDeath. Bobo Del Rey, the [[BigBad leader]] of the revenants, is determined to find a way to escape.
** The season 1 finale also revealed the existence of an EldritchAbomination of some kind buried just outside the Triangle, which is as incapable of getting ''in'' as the revenants are of getting ''out''. It briefly emerges when [[spoiler: [[TheMole Willa]] crosses the barrier line with Peacemaker]], but when [[spoiler: Wynonna carries the gun back]], the creature appears to be resealed.
* ''Series/SixHundredSixtySixParkAvenue'': Whatever is in the Red Box that Shaw stole from Gavin.
** It's debatable whether Peter Kramer was evil per say or just driven crazy by the Drake, but in any case, his spirit was locked inside a suitcase, which was then locked in a storage room in the basement that was bricked shut.
keepsakes.



[[folder: Video Games]]

* ''A Mess O' Trouble'' (an excellent Mac [=WorldBuilder=] shareware AdventureGame) has two godlike creatures trapped inside time dilation bubbles in some ruins. You know from local historians (and abominations lying around in the ruins) that their civilization was practically constructed by a good creature and then fooled into nearly destroying itself by a bad creature. One is a beautiful [[EnergyBeings Energy Being]], the other a dull-looking lizard man. [[LightIsNotGood Guess which is which?]]
* The entire ''VideoGame/ArcTheLad'' series revolves around this trope with the [[BigBad Dark One]]. He starts every game being sealed, winds up being unsealed at some point, and then gets re-sealed by the end of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'', the hook and most the line of the plot involves the player character being a ChosenOne prophecied to defeat the EvilSorcerer Arronax, last known to be sealed in the Void. Later it's revealed that several other evil beings are sealed in that dimension, including a demon with insatiable hunger, the murderer who killed Arcanum's last dragon, a genocidal barbarian king. By the time you finally wormhole your way inside, [[spoiler:Arronax did a HeelFaceTurn long ago, after having been overshadowed by an EvilOverlord you must defeat instead.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' the cyclops Gargarensis is on a mission to free Kronos from Tartarus in return for godhood. [[spoiler: He fails. Kronos gets out in the expansion, but gets buried right back in by Gaia.]]
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}'' / ''VideoGame/{{Exile}}'' game, there is the Haakai Lord Grah-Hoth, who was sealed in a bottle before the game begins. Despite being unable to directly act, the game reveals him to be manipulating events, such as aiding the Slith against the humans who imprisoned him.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2''
** In the Expansion Pack, the BonusBoss is the avatar of a very powerful demon lord. You are asked to reseal him in his prison as he's about to break free. Alternatively, you can fight him in an epic battle. However, if you win and kill him, it only means he is freed back to his own plane.
** Kangaxx the demi-lich is another example. He dies very permanently after underestimating you, however.
* ''VideoGame/TheBardsTale'', being a parody of fantasy RPG tropes in general, has two of these. The first is the Nuckelavee, which our hero accidentally releases. [[spoiler: The other is the "Princess" that he's supposed to be rescuing. Turns out that she's really a powerful demon, and the world gets progressively worse as her seal weakens.]]
** The Bard seems to make a habit of unsealing evils. There's also a dragon, which the Bard had apparently set free before the events of the game. One SideQuest brings him to the town that it ransacked, and the residents are none too happy.
* The Furies in ''Videogame/BattleZone1998'' are [[PreCursors Cthonian]] war machines, whose biometal hulls are infused with the essence of ancient Greek warriors who were dying on the battlefield before being collected, giving them a certain [[CrushKillDestroy psychotic bloodlust]]. In their bid to stay ahead of the Americans in the [[AlternateHistory 1960s Biometal wars]], the Soviets start building Fury craft from blueprints and tech they've found scattered throughout the Solar System. Predictably, things go pear shaped, and [[spoiler: most of the Soviet forces are destroyed before they announce a ceasefire with the Americans and merge their forces. It's then up to Grizzly One and what's left of the American and Soviet forces to save the Solar System before the Furies blow up Earth like they blew up the Cthonian homeworld - now known as the [[EarthShatteringKaboom Asteroid Belt]].]]
* ''VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble'': The Beast was one, and the final puzzle is putting it back into a can.
* ''VideoGame/{{Blazblue}}'': The Black Beast. [[spoiler:[[TheHero Ragna]] is the can. [[DiscOneFinalBoss Nu-13]] is the can opener.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Yuuki Terumi, who couldn't be defeated by the Six Heroes, so he was instead trapped in the Boundary [[HeroicSacrifice with Hakumen]]]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}} 2: Solar Boy Django'' has a textbook example in its BigBad, Jormungandr.
** The Japan only sequel has a similar deal, except its cosmic horror, Vanargand, was sealed on the frickin' MOON.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', the Vault [[spoiler:only contains--as far as the player is concerned--a monster called The Destroyer who is "immortal in his own realm"]]. Sadly, [[spoiler:this final fight is easier than a single monster from the previous zone]]. The Vault also opens every 200 years, which raises the question of it really is a ''sealed'' can.
* A significant portion of the plot of ''VideoGame/BraveFencerMusashi'' revolves around this. The first major quest in the game involves Musashi being sent to collect Lumina, the legendary greatsword used to defeat the Wizard of Darkness; a significant portion of the rest of the game revolves around Musashi questing to recover the elemental Scrolls in order to power Lumina up enough to take out the Thirstquencher Empire. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, it turns out the voice which set Musashi on this quest in the first place, a voice originating from Lumina itself, was actually the Wizard of Darkness himself, not destroyed but sealed within the sword. Guess what the only things holding him back are? If you guessed "the five Scrolls and the Crest Guardians they're connected to," you win the kewpie doll.]]
* Dracula's castle in the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is eventually sealed this way after the Dark Lord's death. It's sealed inside the total solar eclipse of 1999. In the solar eclipse of 2035, it sucks in everyone present at the shrine where the sealing took place.
** Dracula, and Castlevania itself, were also sealed in the underworld throughout most of the series, both of them reappearing on Earth only once every hundred years. But Dracula found so many ways to circumvent that rule that it became more of a "sealed evil in a sieve".
* Lavos in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
** A subversion, Lavos was an alien that burrowed into the earth and then unleashes the apocalypse many ages later as part of its natural life cycle. Essentially, it seals itself in the final can and breaks out when it wants. The villains of the game attempt to awaken him to harvest his power, with the apocalypse being a byproduct of this.
* The ''VideoGame/CityOfVillains'' is practically filled with these: [[spoiler: Bat'Zul under Cap Au Diable, the Leviathan under Sharkhead Isle, Shiva in Bloody Bay]]... and the VideoGame/CityOfHeroes isn't lacking in them either, as [[BigBoosHaunt Dark Astoria]] apparently houses the sleeping dread god of the Banished Pantheon, and the {{Kaiju}} that may still be in battle with [[SealedGoodInACan Talos]] underneath Talos Island... Also, both sides can get involved in the escape of the Reichsman, [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi with the power of the gods]].
* The [[spoiler: Firstborn]] in ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho''.
* The Undying King from ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying''. [[spoiler:who was actually the LID on the can, opening the door to the rest of the series. Unfortunately, this well done game bombed monstrously, so the series never materialized...]]
* The Relic of Moirai in ''[[VideoGame/{{Contra}} Contra: Shattered Soldier]]'', which is revealed to be [[spoiler: the mysterious force that the alien attackers in the previous ''Contra'' video games were trying to recover the whole time, after it was taken and hidden away by the [[BiggerBad Triumvirate]], according to Lance Bean.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'', the general of an expansionist empire frees the Dark Genie from its place of captivity. At first, it seems to grant his wish by destroying every other nation on the face of the planet, but in the end, it takes over his body to progress towards its final goal -- the complete destruction of ''everything''.
* ''VideoGame/JediKnightJediAcademy'': The sealed evil takes the form of an ancient Sith Lord, whom the game's big bad is naturally trying to resurrect, thinking she will be rewarded. The Sith Lord has other ideas.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkMessiah'', the Demon lord is locked in a prison under the city of Stonehelm, however the original prison is flawed and can be broken, the player can choose to get the good ending and seal him away forever by repairing the seal or get the bad ending by releasing him.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', the original one, has an absolutely beautiful example. An ancient demon imprisoned in a stone manipulates Orks into attacking human cities on the planet. Space Marines come to the rescue and do what {{Space marine}}s do best - spill ungodly amounts of Orkish and human blood - just so at the end, the demon can reveal that [[spoiler: the entire planet had previously been converted into a blood altar for releasing him]]. Bonus points: most characters wanting to use demon or its power for their own end up badly.
** The Chaos Rising expansion to ''Dawn of War II'' also features a plot to unseal a demon trapped inside a planet that was lost in the Warp.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'', the Marker seals the infection that turns corpses into horrific alien monsters ([[spoiler:it was actually a manmade knockoff of the real marker]]). Anyways, the Marker-Worshipping [[strike: Scientologists]] ''[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Unitologists]]'' discover the Marker in the midst of mining Aegis VII and move it off its pedestal. [[CaptainObvious Bad things occur]].
** Even worse, later games indicate that [[spoiler: the Markers cause the infection that turns corpses into horrific monsters while doing a number on the sanity of those with higher education in engineering and biology compelling the affected to eventually make more Markers and worse corpse monsters respectively. The Pedestal itself was the can, with the Marker being and its signal being the Evil.]]
* The ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' series. Every. Single. Installment. ...except the fourth. That one just needed to be awakened rather than unsealed and at the end of the first one [[BigBad Mundus]] is resealed in the can..
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' series, when the Prime Evils were unleashed upon Sanctuary, the Archangel Tyrael selected a group of mortals known as the Horadrim and charged them with imprisoning their essences into the Soulstones so that they would not be reborn into the Hells upon death. But thanks to the betrayal of Tyrael's lieutenant Izual, who filled the Prime Evils in on the Soulstones and how to corrupt them, it turns out that this played directly into their hands.
* The demons in ''Videogame/{{Doom}} 3''. Sealed in a can until [[spoiler: [[BigBad Dr. Betruger]] teleports himself and the [[LostSuperWeapon Soul Cube]] into Hell]]. They were sealed back into the same can at the end, as well...
* Played with in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. [[spoiler: The Darkspawn seek out the seven ancient dragon gods buried within the earth, and when they find and awaken one it becomes the Archdemon and leads them in a massive invasion of the surface world - but the sealed gods were not necessarily evil until tainted by the darkspawn, making them more like SealedBadassInACan GoneHorriblyWrong.]]
* The draconic Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' were, according to the Chantry, banished to the depths of the earth by The Maker to slumber for all eternity. The Darkspawn are somehow able to hear the Old Gods' Call and devote centuries of effort tunneling through the earth in search of them. When they finally discover an Old God, the Darkspawn taint immediately corrupts the ancient dragon, turning it into an insane and twisted shell of its former self -- an Archdemon. The new Archdemon then commands the Darkspawn hordes in a bid to kill everything -- a Blight. By the time the game starts, the world has already suffered through four such Blights. [[spoiler: One of the biggest secrets that the higher-ups of the Grey Wardens keep from the rest of the Order is that they know where the Old Gods are buried]].
** In a DLC of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] finds an old Grey Warden fortress, which turns out to be a prison for [[spoiler:one of the original Darkspawn - a Tevinter mage who attempted to reach the Golden City and was cursed by the Maker. The magic seals have held for thousands of years, but are finally starting to give out.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' Hawke can fight several powerful demons that were sealed away in and around Kirkwall. The "Legacy" {{DLC}} revolves around the Hawke family's connection to an ancient Sealed Evil In A Can [[spoiler:Corypheus one of the original Tevinter Magisters who brought the Darkspawn Taint to Thedas]] whose subconscious efforts to free itself have brought danger to Hawke's doorstep. There's also ANOTHER uber-monster sealed right outside the prison housing him, but that one's an optional BonusBoss.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' has Bjorn the Behemoose.
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' has Rhapthorne, with ''two'' cans: the scepter of Trodain to hold his soul, and [[spoiler:the statue of the Goddess on Neos]] to hold his body.
* The Grotesqueries in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', with a [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed twist]]. Also, no one knows the Sealed Evil in a Can exists except possibly the BigBad. They're concerned about some other thing that comes out when those seals are broken.
* {{Greed}}, [[spoiler:the content of the Golden Chest]] from ''VideoGame/{{Dubloon}}''.
* In the final route of ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' instead of killing [[spoiler:Lobelia]] after she is beaten, her soul is trapped via alchemy when she tries body hopping.
* ''Videogame/DwarfFortress'' has what is popularly referred to in the community as "Hidden Fun Stuff". [[spoiler: If your dwarves [[DugTooDeep tunnel far down enough]], they may breach a secret chamber containing demons which are powerful enough to bring the fortress to its knees. It's possible to kill them, though.]]
** As of the latest update [[spoiler:there are now "Demonic Fortresses" which are a bit like the pits, but the pits have been replaced with ''[[PhysicalHell hell itself]]'', which you simply reach by digging far enough, implying ''most of the physical structure of the planet'' is a caverns made of an unmineable, indestructible, impossibly heavy {{Unobtainium}} who's exits are blocked by another {{Unobtanium}} which is very valuable, light, and hard. And every Demonic Fortress contains a hole straight to Hell, blocked by a [[SchmuckBait masterwork sword]] made of the latter type of {{Unobtainium}}. As for Hell itself, it contains so many demons that the game doesn't bother counting them.]]
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'': Giygas is first encountered in the Devil's Machine, which seals away his warped consciousness. Subverted in that Giygas can still damage Ness and his friends while sealed away, but played straight when [[RivalTurnedEvil Pokey]] unleashes Giygas' true form by turning the machine off.
* ''[[{{Earth 2150}} Earth 2160]]'' has the traditional sealed-ancient-evil-alien-race-beneath-the-surface-of-Mars for the first half of the game. Then some Dutch nerd learns to control them, and it all ends badly(-er).
* The main storyline of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' focuses around preventing Dagoth Ur, a godlike being imprisoned for 3500 years, from fully regaining his sealed powers.(though he wasn't imprisoned but passed out)
** Likewise, in its followup, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', the player must prevent Mehrunes Dagon, lord of the titular realm, from unleashing his forces upon the world. Dagon isn't really sealed IN anything so much as he is kept OUT. In this case, the world is the Can Sealed Against Evil.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the SealedEvilInACan is Alduin. And he isn't unsealed by someone playing around with something they know nothing about, but was an inevitability since his sealing involved him being cast adrift outside of time. A prophecy describes the events that must transpire before he would end up back in linear time again. There are also many other smaller evils sealed all around Skyrim, specially in Nordic ruins.
* In the Creator/{{Infocom}} text game ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'', your job is to defeat the evil enchanter Krill ''without'' disturbing the Cosmic Horror that's sealed below his castle. The tie-in novel by Robin Bailey takes the tack that your character accidentally did release the thing, and now it's up to the book's protagonist to stop it.
* Akron, the FinalBoss of ''EpicBattleFantasy'' ''3''. He notes in his BossBanter that he has been defeated and sealed away countless times through time immemorial -- but in the end, his enemies all succumbed to time while he always returns.
* Towards the end of ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'' its revealed that the STEM system that the protagonists are connected to is the can and Ruvik slowly became the evil after having his brain used as the base for the experiment. Who may or may not have been released in the games ending, though the former heavily implied.
* In ''VideoGame/EvilZone'', the inhabitants of an island dimension sealed away an incarnation of a cosmic destroyer, but couldn't finish the job themselves, so they had to hire out heroes to finish the BigBad off.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', long ago, when the EvilSorcerer was defeated with the magical scrolls, the King had him entombed within the Legendary Sword. Unfortunately, on a dark and stormy night a few months before gameplay begins, the spell on the sword was lifted.
* The entire point of most the rituals in the ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series is to make sure the sealed evil (specifically Hell itself) stays that way, though naturally they always eventually fail and plunge the area into endless suffering,[[AnthropicPrinciple we'd have no game series otherwise]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' has the [[spoiler: Holy Grail, which]] was corrupted as of the [[spoiler: third war]] by the AnthropomorphicPersonification of evil.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games feature a Sealed Evil in a can. Even ''FinalFantasyTactics'', which is grounded in realism and political intrigue, has an evil god trying to find a suitable host body.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' gives us the Cloud of Darkness, the living essence of the power of the Dark (as opposed to the Light of the heroes' world.) The game implies that Xande's machinations allowed it to take form, but it would have remained sealed away in the Dark World had it not been for him opening a portal leading straight into it. The [[spoiler: Dark Warriors imply that they fought the Cloud]] 1,000 years ago, when it was Light surrounding Darkness, and got it Canned within the Dark World. Xande was nothing but a can-opener.
** Zemus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', who, despite being sealed in [[spoiler:the Lunarian Moon]] was still able to influence events in the world in an almost successful attempt to effectively kill all humans. Notably, he is never ''released'' from his can; you raid it.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'''s previous generation of heroes, the Braves of Dawn, used the power of the Crystals to seal away Exdeath, who then surreptitiously began to drain the power of the Crystals (either personally or through manipulation.) Additionally, the player learns that, prior to Exdeath, the sorcerer Enuo was the first to harness the power of the Void, and waged war with it until he and all his [[CosmicHorror obscenely powerful demons]] were thrown into the Dimensional Rift. The [[UpdatedRerelease Advance version]] expands upon this by letting the player explore Enuo's prison and vanquish him for good.
** Also in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' there once was a tree in the Great Forest of Moore used to seal up evil spirits. Eventually, the power of those spirits gave the tree sapience, power, and a whole lot of evil. That tree became Exdeath; a prime example of sealing so much evil away that the can ''itself'' turns evil.
** The Warring Triad of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', who started the War of the Magi, sealed themselves away after realizing the destruction they had wrought upon the world, and the Espers hid them away in their own underground kingdom. Then Kefka came and released them, destroying the balance of magic and devastating the world. It also released Humbaba, Deathgaze, and the eight dragons who are released during the apocalypse.
** Jenova of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a basic example of the trope; she spends most of the plot going from tomb > water tank > freezer. In the sequel movie ''[[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Advent Children]]'', what's left of her is stored in a literal can.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', Laguna Loire tricks evil sorceress Adel into walking into a specially-prepared technological "tomb" in which he is able to seal her considerable powers. Then he launches it into space and spends the next seventeen years making regular trips to monitor the seal. Predictably enough, catastrophe eventually lets her loose again, but by that point Laguna's son is well-equipped to kill her off for good.
** Shuyin of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'' is a special case. In one sense, he is still sealed within the Den of Woe, but in another sense he is free to wander around within the body of first [[spoiler:Nooj]], then [[spoiler:Baralai]]. Also, while his goal is indeed to break free of his prison and destroy the world, this is because he's a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds, not an UltimateEvil.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', all the Espers, as well as several other bosses.
* ''Videogame/FireEmblem: Path of Radiance'' alone uses the trope straight, with the characters believing that Lehran's Medallion contained an evil god that flooded the entire world save Tellius. So at the end not only do the heroes fight Ashnard in order to liberate Crimea, but also to prevent him from unleashing a dark god. [[spoiler:However the true nature of the relic is revealed in the sequel Radiant Dawn, and the heroes are the ones who free Yune, the Goddess of Chaos, rather then letting the negative energies of war do it. As it turns out, Yune was actually SealedGoodInACan who just happened to mess up (the Great Flood); in fact, the BigBad is Ashera, the goddess everyone had been praying to throughout both games, who [[IceQueen purged her emotions]] (forming Yune) to avoid another Great Flood.]]
** Genealogy of the Holy War wins "strangest method of resurrecting", with 2 half siblings being [[AliensMadeThemDoIt brainwashed in order to breed a vessal]] for the dark god they are descended from.
* The second installment of ''VideoGame/FossilFighters'' has one of these as the BigBad. [[spoiler: Pay CLOSE attention to the foreshadowing of a certain AbsentMindedProfessor.]]
* The Dread Lords from ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations 2''. The Dread Lords had a pocket dimension which they had used as a base for their fleets. Their enemies, The Arnor, used this against them by sealing the last of their empire in the dimension. Later on, the Dregin found the lock to the Dread Lord prison. Thinking that is was an ancient weapon, they activate the device, allowing the Dread Lords to escape and wreak havoc across the galaxy. Upon seeing this, the Drengin realize their mistake and decide to [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave the others for dead]].
* Well before the start of the ''{{Geneforge}}'' series, the Shapers discovered a startling new [[PsychoSerum technology]] that could imbue ordinary humans with incredible magical powers. When they discovered some of the side effects involved (such as SuicidalOverconfidence, a violent temper, and in extreme cases, outright BodyHorror), rather than take any steps to destroy this technology, they simply abandoned the remote island outpost where it was discovered, and declared it off limits under penalty of death. Fast forward a few hundred years: A band of explorers from across the seas happens upon the abandoned outpost and all its forbidden goods. Things go downhill from there.
** In fact, the Shapers do this constantly. Their laboratories, workshops, and schools are designed to be sealed up quickly should anything [[GoneHorriblyWrong Go Horribly Wrong]].
** Not just should. It's said at one point that more often than not something ''does'' go wrong.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', Palawa Joko suffers this fate. Then there's Abaddon and everyone else locked in the Realm of Torment, including [[spoiler: the Titans from the first game]]. Ultimately, in an attempt to stop Varesh Ossa from opening a gate to the Realm of Torment, you have to let Palawa Joko out of his prison.
* In the ''Videogame/{{Halo}}'' series, the bad guys accidentally release the Flood, a race of alien parasites that were sealed in special facilities all over the galaxy at the end of a cataclysmic war between them and the Forerunners 100,000 years ago. This war ended with the extinction of all sentient life in the galaxy, so it's a wonder why the Forerunners left little pockets of Flood spores for nosey aliens to stumble across. The AI monitor of one of these facilities comments on this (while you're in the middle of fending off a large wave of rotting space-zombies), saying that specimens were kept over after the last outbreak "for study," and remarks that "this decision may have been in error." No shit...
** Done again in ''Videogame/{{Halo 4}}'' with [[spoiler:The Didact, who is most likely the last living Forerunner, being released by the [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Master Chief.]] ]]
* Coincidentally, ''VideoGame/HomeworldCataclysm'' also involves a similar scenario. Somewhere around a million years ago, the extragalactic exploration vessel ''[[MeaningfulName Naggarok]]'' picked up a deadly technoorganic entity in hyperspace. Seeing no way to defeat it, the crew scuttled the engines, trapping the entity in deep space. However, they screwed up as the ship auto-launched az empty lifepod with a transmitter (and some Beast material) onboard. In the present, the Kiith Somtaaw mining ship ''Kuun-Lan'' finds the pod and opens it. Cue to a race with time to find both the ''Naggarok'' and the new Beast mothership and blow both to smithereens before the whole galaxy suffers a fate worse than death (ship crews aren't simply killed, they're broken down into biomass to function as a makeshift neural interface between ships and the Beast - and judging by the sound of it, it's not exactly painless).
--> '''Bentusi:''' We will NOT be bound!
* Orochi, from ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters '97''.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIV'' had Pandora's Box show up. Opening it killed Rosella. There was also that infamous lamp in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV''. The FanSequel ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' hints that Pandora's Box will play a part in its plot.
* ''VideoGame/KirbySqueakSquad'' plays with this one a little. What started as a hunt for stolen strawberry shortcake leads to Dedede getting smacked down on false suspicions, Kirby chasing all over the world to get his snack back from the titular menace [[spoiler:only for the chest allegedly supposed to hold the shortcake stolen away by [[TheRival Meta Knight]], and when HE gets smacked down, the Squeaks grab the chest and let loose [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Dark Nebula]]. For such a simple protagonist the plot for these can get quite complex, especially given Meta Knight grabbed the chest away just to prevent [[BigBad Dark Nebula]] from being released.]] The best part is that through all of this, you get the feeling that Kirby is still being motivated only to retrieve the cake.
** Possibly the only case in the Kirby series where opening the can isn't a case of NiceJobBreakingItHero takes place in the Meta Knightmare Ultra mode of ''Kirby Super Star Ultra'' where Meta Knight questions NOVA, a mechanical, wish granting comet, about an extremely powerful warrior named Galacta Knight who was sealed away because his powers were too great. Immediately after this [[{{Badass}} he orders NOVA to break the seal on this incredibly powerful evil just so he can kick its ass.]]
* Seems to be the case with the [[spoiler: Kingdom of Sorrow]] in ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil.'' [[spoiler: As it turns out, it was sealed away because no one wanted to remember sorrow, and the King of Sorrow tried to undo the seal so everyone could remember sorrow.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia III: Malcolm's Revenge'' has the player ''play as'' a Sealed Evil in a Can, who is rather dismayed to discover that being unsealed ''does not'' include getting his awesome magical powers of doom back, leaving him running around with no powers in a fantasy kingdom where everyone hates his guts.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, Ganon is often a sealed evil. Link must either re-seal him or stop him from fully unsealing himself or his power. The first time he is actually sealed away takes place at the end of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''.
** So is Vaati, the baddie from the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwords'' games. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'', he starts wrecking havoc as a sorcerer and is sealed for the first time at the end of the game.
** Vaati also broke the seal on the monsters in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'' by destroying the Picori Sword at the beginning of the game.
** And there was also Bongo Bongo, the Evil Shadow Spirit from ''Ocarina of Time' that was sealed in the Bottom of the Well.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' features demon king Malladus, who tyranized the land that would one day become New-Hyrule when Tetra and Link arrived. He was sealed by the ancient Lokomo spirits underneath vast chains that eventually developed into a railway-system.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', the GodOfEvil Demise was sealed by the goddess Hylia. His servant Ghirahim [[spoiler:who is actually Demise's sword]] seeks to free him [[spoiler:and succeeds. In the end, Link seals away Demise again within the newly forged Master Sword.]]
* ''VideoGame/LightningLegendDaigoNoDaibouken'' has Dragless, a legendary and all-powerful Demon King who rampaged through the Kingdom of Japone 450 years before the story's proper, destroying everything on his way. He ultimately was defeated and sealed away in the deepest ends of Mt. Ohsore by the young hero Taikei Raioh, but by the start of the game he has finally freed himself, and it's now up to the descendant of Taikei, Daigo, to defeat him for good.
* In the LucasArts computer game ''VideoGame/{{LOOM}}'', Bishop Mandible unleashes Chaos by ripping open the fabric of the universe near a graveyard.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet 3'' literally with the Titans, who were stuffed into a tea tin.
* In ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', major ghosts that Luigi encountered were once imprisoned inside portraits, but were released by King Boo once E. Gadd captured Boolossus. Eventually they are recaptured by Luigi and put back in their portraits, including King Boo himself... although in [[VideoGame/SuperMario64DS the next game]] he has apparently been released to fight Mario. He is killed this time and next time he is fought (in this case by [[VideoGame/SuperPrincessPeach Peach]]).
* [[EldritchAbomination The Soulless Gods]] of ''{{VideoGame/Lusternia}}''. Originally a host of ''thousands'' of abominations, they're whittled down to a mere five before [[{{Precursors}} The Elder Gods]] fled to the Void. Rendered LoadBearingBoss[=es=] by devouring whole sections of reality, they're eventually sealed away by [[PrecursorHeroes the Council of the Nine]]. Unfortunately, the cans in question are ''legendarily'' insecure - one of the five breaks out [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed like clockwork]] every ''thirty years''.
* The world of ''VideoGame/TheMagicCandle'' was narrowly saved from the immortal demon lord Dreax when a few heroes managed to trap him in a candle flame. Keeping him there is the daily task of 44 mages... who have just disappeared. The seal is now critically weakened, leaving the player a set number of days to find out how to fix it.
** Somewhat unique in that the point of the game is to reactivate the seal, not simply to grind yourself to the point where you can just kill the damn thing (because doing so is impossible, at least by the terms of the game world).
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'' as Zetta seals himself in a book after he destroys his own netherworld. HilarityEnsues as he tries to get his body back.
* ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}} Infinity'' starts out with a grim message from Durandal about the W'rkcacnter getting loose from Lh'owon's sun, due to the Pfhor using [[spoiler: the trih xeem on it]]. The W'rkcacnter cannot be fought directly, and is only defeated by [[spoiler: the player jumping between different places and timelines, before the player reaches a Jjaro space station that is able to turn the sun into a black hole, thus trapping W'rk before it (them?) escapes]].
* The Dark Star from ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory''. It was imprisoned in Toad Tunnels until it is released by Fawful. [[spoiler: Its core is destroyed by the Mario Bros. and its main form is killed by Bowser.]]
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', [[spoiler: at the end it is revealed that Princess Peach seals Elder Princess Shroob, the leader of the Shroobs, inside the Cobalt Star. When the star is pieced back together, she is released, and fights the Mario Bros. She is defeated, and eventually killed when she possesses Bowser and the Mario Bros. trick him into hitting her with his fireballs while aiming for them.]]
** Antasma in VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam. About a thousand years ago he was sealed away in the Dream World by the Pi'illo people, who ended up getting turned to stone by his last act. And then, when everyone finds out Luigi can open Dream Portals by sleeping... he manages to capture Princess Peach, and then escape back to the real world just a short while later. Guess that can was ludicrously ineffective then...
* [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination The Reapers]]]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' actually seal ''themselves'' after [[spoiler:their habitual galactic genocides]] in order to conserve energy. The only hand the [[{{Precursors}} Protheans]] had in dealing with them was tampering with the Citadel's mass relay after they'd already receded so that they couldn't get back out so easily.
** The DLC "The Arrival" reveals that [[spoiler:the Reapers]] left themselves another way in. A special mass relay at the edge of the galaxy that can access any other relay anywhere.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' [[spoiler:are revealed to be more like Sealed WellIntentionedExtremist in a Can. Their true goal is to ''preserve'' organic life in the long run by "resetting" civilization to prevent the KillEmAll RobotWar that their creator the Catalyst believes is inevitable.]]
* The Antarans from ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2: Battle at Antares''. They are an ancient and powerful race who were banished to another dimension by the Orion Empire. However, they learned how to break out of their prison and were able to warp raiding parties to attack colonized worlds while preventing others from invading their prison-turned-stronghold. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice job breaking it, Orion]].
* The Shadow Demons in ''VideoGame/MediEvil'' were sealed in the heart of the Enchanted Forest under an iron dome, locked with the Shadow Artifact. In order to get through the forest and to his next destination, Sir Dan Fortesque is forced to free them; he later makes up for it by trapping them in an abandoned castle and dropping it into lava, destroying them.
* [[spoiler:Maverick Zero]] of ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', with TheVirus originally coming from him. [[spoiler:He spends the rest of his life/lives [[TheAtoner atoning for it]].]]
** The "can" in question is in itself a Sealed Evil, [[spoiler:although, ''becoming a hero'', this was obviously subverted]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'', "the ultimate power" broadcast in a telepathic message throughout the galaxy is actually [[spoiler: the sealed evil Gorea, originally a [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Giant Space Flea]] run amok and the presumed source of the message.]] This is one of the few cases where the good (the Alimbics) weren't strong enough to kill the evil, just entangle its energy with theirs in the Seal Sphere and hide it in a pocket dimension. [[spoiler: You arrive at the Seal Sphere only to see the other Hunters pounding away at it like idiots. They break it open, then stare as the core of the Seal Sphere (the Alimbics' energies) is snatched by Gorea, who proceeds to impale all of them with tentacles from the Sphere and steal their energies (weapons). You saw this coming, or at least you WOULD if you've scanned at least 25% of the Alimbic lore hanging around the place... Anyway, this leaves you to clean up the mess (kick Gorea's ass).]]
** The titular creature from the first ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' game was sealed within he impact crater. In the original version, the Space Pirates managed to free it by digging under the seal, although it later escaped from them and returned to the crater, and you have to open the seal to fight it. In the European release/Player's Choise version, it was never released.
* In the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' series, the fallen elder god Shinnok is sealed in the Netherworld. [[spoiler:The Realms themselves are actually the Can keeping the One Being sealed. Merging them would allow the One Being to return, which is why the elder gods resist any attempt at unification.]]
** Ermac gets this as well, [[spoiler:thanks to Shao Kahn's soul being part of Ermac.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'': When his mech runs out of power, [[spoiler: Pokey/Porky retreats into his Absolutely Safe Capsule -- which can't be opened from the inside or outside. Not quite SEIAC, as this capsule cannot possibly be opened, damaged or otherwise altered by any earthly or divine means]].
* Speaking of Bungie, the main plot of ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}: The Fallen Lords'' is this, and it's reanimating corpses and whatnot. After you all but lose the war, you manage to kill it.
** A more literal example is The Watcher, a powerful Lich who was imprisoned in a cave by a charm on his hand that would turn him to stone if he tried to leave. [[LifeOrLimbDecision Ultimately, he chose to cut that hand off.]] He finally met his doom when an arrow was fashioned from the bone of the hand that was left behind and turned him to stone after striking him.
** They also smashed his stone form into rubble [[DeaderThanDead just to be sure]].
* The demon of the first ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' game, and the Archfiend of ''Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword''.
* ''VideoGame/NosferatuTheWrathOfMalachi'': [[spoiler: Malachi, a Vampire Lord of great power and pure evil, was sealed inside a magic Tomb underneath the Castle centuries ago. The Count's objective is to release him.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okage}}: Shadow King'', King Stan has been (purportedly) stuck in a bottle for the last 300 years, waiting for someone wimpy enough to let them possess his shadow. Additionally, while he was stuck in the bottle, a number of monsters stole portions of his evil power and became "Fake Evil Kings". He then drags the main character around to defeat them and get his powers back so he can take over the world.
* Orochi in ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' is a definite example of this trope.
* In what is possibly the worst-sealed can ''ever'', ''VideoGame/PacMan''. He kills the ghost, sealing it in the little box in the center of the screen. Three minutes later, it escapes again, and poor Pac must kill it over again. Perhaps he'd have better luck if he gave his little ghostbox a lid.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', the plan of the antagonists is to [[spoiler: summon the Shadow Queen, who can only be summoned into a princess (read Peach). Upon release, the Queen promptly reduces the head of the antagonists to, well, a head, and plans to conquer. Unluckily for her, Mario arrived at the same time.]]
** On the other hand, [[spoiler: she recognizes Mario's strength and offers him to work for her. The player is given a Yes or No choice, while the former leads to an instant NonstandardGameOver.]]
** The Black Chests are a lesser case of this. [[spoiler:The "curses" they inflict upon Mario are actually useful abilities. Justified in that the inhabitants of the chests are the former heroes who defeated the Shadow Queen 1,000 years ago.]]
** In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', Bonechill, a fallen Nimbi, was held in the area of the Underwhere in which the dead villains suffer for eternity among the game overed. He escapes due to an earthquake (often speculated to be the work of the BigBad, Count Bleck, who is known to be a dimension traveler) and wreaks havoc in the Overthere. Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi fight him and easily destroy him.
* In ''VideoGame/PathwaysIntoDarkness'', the ''Marathon'' games predecessor, a modern-day Special Forces team must prevent a W'rkcacnter from escaping from its can.
* The Snow Queen Mask in ''Videogame/{{Persona}}'' is definitely one. It's kept in a gym storage room, in a box sealed with MAGIC TALISMANS, and after going on [[spoiler:ThatOneSidequest in which everyone warns you about the horrible past of said mask, you can just decide to open the box like nobody's business and walk off with it completely unpunished]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', the "sealed evil" is [[spoiler:Nyx, a CosmicHorror and AnthropomorphicPersonification of death]] -- while the "can" just so happens to be [[spoiler: [[BodyHorror the main character]].]]
** In ''Persona 3: FES'', we find out that [[spoiler: said main character has become [[BarrierMaiden the seal]].]] And it's in place not to seal Nyx from attacking Earth. It's for sealing ''Earth'' from [[spoiler:summoning Nyx itself]].
* The demon in ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}''.
* The Dark One of SRMTHFG has nothing on the Profound Darkness in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIV''; the Precursors sealed it with a ''solar system''.
* In ''PhantasyStar'' ''II'' and ''III'', you find the big bad end boss Dark Force/Dark Falz/Dark Phallus (depending on translation) in a literal Pandora's Box in the final dungeon.
** In ''IV'', [[spoiler:it's revealed that the Profound Darkness is one of these, and it has been creating Dark Force/Falz/Phallus for thousands of years (there's a thousand year gap between ''I'' and ''II'', and between ''II'' and ''IV''). The seal on the Profound Darkness is ''the entire Algo solar system''.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'', you learn early on that Dark Falz [[spoiler: (One of its incarnations, at least)]] was sealed beneath the surface of the planet Naberius a few decades before the game's story takes place. Unsurprisingly, it ends up being released sooner or later.
* ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'' features an example as the main antagonist, the demon Sulfur. Rather than the usual thousands of years of imprisonment though Sulfur is capable of coming back every 30 years, and during his imprisonment can extend enough influence into the world to wreak havoc.
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', [[spoiler: the literal Sealed-Evil-In-A-Box]]. Also, the Monster Jug (which you can buy at a shop and open, should you feel like it).
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' has a species of them, the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Spiritomb]]. Sure, sealing OneHundredAndEight souls into a single [[CosmicKeystone keystone]] makes economic sense, but by the time they get out, they've [[IAmLegion merged into a single, massively pissed off Pokémon]] whose Ghost-Dark typing means it has no natural weaknesses (prior to getting a Fairy-type weakness in Gen VI anyway), and is pretty powerful to boot. [[CapturedSuperEntity You can catch one]], though to unseal it so you can fight it takes a [[GuideDangIt somewhat occluded]] SideQuest, and the place you release them [[NightmareFuel is a bit intentionally creepy]].
** Spiritomb could actually be SealedArmyInACan, due to its composition being 108 individual spirits that just happened to [[FusionDance fuse together]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', [[spoiler: Elizabeth Greene, the host of the Redlight Virus]] is sealed in the Genetek building. Badly. The protagonist might also count as a Sealed Evil In A Can, although in this case it's more like [[spoiler: Sealed Evil in a ''Vial'']].
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' is fond of this one. In fact, every game following ''So You Want to Be a Hero'' centers around such a plot.
** Toward the end of ''Trial by Fire'', it is revealed that Ad Avis is trying to summon Iblis, a powerful and evil djinn.
** In ''Wages of War'', the Demon Sorcerer attempts to free the Demon Lord. (If he succeeds, the Demon Lord's first act is to cast Thermonuclear Blast on the immediate area. As it turns out, this is a legitimate spell, and can be learned in the fifth game.)
** In a minor twist, in ''Shadows of Darkness'', [[EldritchAbomination Avoozl]], the Dark One, wasn't quite sealed properly, and the surrounding countryside has suffered for it. Even as the two antagonists (one new, one old) try to release it, it is only through their actions that it can be put away for good.
** ''Dragon Fire'' has a twist of its own - there is a villain working behind the scenes and trying to unleash the Dragon of Doom, but by this point in the series, the hero (under extenuating circumstances) has become strong enough at this point to just ''kill'' the thing.
* The Tyrant in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil', which is released by Wesker near the end of the game. In the [[MultipleEndings bad ending]], it escapes from the facility.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'', an experiment with the Veronica virus on Alexander Ashford mutated him into a grotesque monster codenamed Nosferatu, who is imprisoned in Umbrella's Antarctic base until our heroes arrive. Alexia also counts somewhat.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', the parasitic Las Plagas were sealed away for eight generations before the start of the game.
* Heinrich I, in ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein''. Doubly so, given [[spoiler: what he does to Blavatsky]]. Earlier in the game, there's Olaric, who is accidentally unleashed by Helga von Bulow when she tries to take the Dagger of Warding.
* ''VideoGame/ReturnToKrondor'' presents the Dark God as this. The Dark God does not get released, but the ending makes it clear that the person trying to unseal it has not given up.
* In ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa: Minstrel Song'', the god Saruin was sealed away via the [[CosmicKeystone Fatestones]]; naturally, his minions are trying to 'correct' this. However, an even better example is [[spoiler: the Jewel Beast]]: a monster poised to destroy a whole country if awakened. Even if the player manages to delay its awakening -- no easy feat by itself, [[GuideDangIt given the precise timing and difficult sequence of events that involves]] -- they can't ''stop'' it unless they enter its lair while it's still sleeping. It's one of the harder fights in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/RuneFactory 2'', mysterious earthquakes start happening about a third of the way into the game. Eventually, the main character's child finds these are being caused by a SealedEvilInACan which is about to escape and destroy the world.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'': The devastating Zarosian creature Nex ([[BilingualBonus Latin]] for "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast violent death]]") has been sealed into a enchanted, frozen sleep by the armies of Saradomin. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Sliske]] tricked a band of peace-seeking Saradominists into performing a ritual they thought would wake [[AllPowerfulBystander Guthix]] from [[KingInTheMountain his slumber]], but instead released Nex.
* The Dragon of ''VideoGame/{{Ryzom}}'' is currently (as far as we know) asleep in the Prime Roots. It's responsible for creating [[TheCorruption The Goo]] and is only sleeping because [[ScienceHero the Karavan]] stopped its rampage (or so they say). As such, their policy with it is to put up a sign that says "DO NOT TOUCH" in bright, mile-high neon letters to deter anyone from getting too close and waking it up, something they believe will bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. The Fyros are currently ignoring that sign, if their goal of killing the beast is any indicator; and doing ''that'', while a seemingly noble goal, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero is what caused the Great Swarming of Kitin in the Backstory.]]
* Averted and parodied in ''VideoGame/SepterraCore''. The game's intro movie and backstory tell about a great battle in which Marduk (the world's CrystalDragonJesus) defeated Gemma (the local {{Satan}} equivalent). In most {{RPG}}s, at some point towards the end Gemma would be resurrected and become the final boss. The main character even speculates that this is going to happen after hearing the tale about the battle between Marduk and Gemma. In response, TheMentor remarks that such a plot twist would be rather silly, and only happens in stories. Sure enough, Gemma never comes back, and the final boss of the game is the character who's been the main villain from start to finish, the KnightTemplar EvilOverlord Lord Doskias.
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', except there are ''sixteen'' cans wandering throughout the area. Most notable with the final Colossus though. Besides having a name that literially means 'evil' in Latin, the only possible way you can reach it is to have killed all fifteen other Colossi ingame. [[spoiler:Might also apply to Dormin as well, if you're part of the group that [[WildMassGuessing thinks They really are evil.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}} and the Pirate's Curse'' has the Pirate Master, a great evil from the past who was sealed in a lonely grave on a small island after all the full genies of the world performed a HeroicSacrifice. Unfortunately, he was unexpectedly revived when a new source of Dark Magic suddenly appeared before the start of the game.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' has [[spoiler:the Kagome Tower prisoners - three of the Four Archangels. [[ButThouMust It's scripted to continue]]. And, unfortunately, soon you'll probably wish you just had left them there to rot.]]
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' has [[spoiler:the Demiurge, a monstrously powerful shard of God, imprisoned in the depths of Sector Grus. Unfortunately, said shard doesn't hold much of God's ''mind'' - it only has His AxCrazy, KnightTemplar nature. After defeating and placating the entity, it may join you (''only'' in the Law Path), [[UngratefulBastard chide you and threaten you with destruction]] for not following the same ideals, or it can be shoved back in its can even worse than before by simply switching off the visor.]]
* Seems to be somewhat of a recurring theme in the ''Franchise/ShiningSeries''. Evil guys try to unseal something worse;
** In ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'', Darksol's evil plan is to unseal Dark Dragon.
** In ''Videogame/ShiningForceII'', evil Zeon is accidentally released by the good thief Slade who steals the crystals sealing him.
** ''Videogame/ShiningForceIII'''s overall plot is about a secret cult reactivating ancient weapons to create enough chaos to allow the Vandals to return.
** ''Videogame/ShiningTheHolyArk'' is all about how a group of low powered Vandals want to release one of the most powerful Vandals ever; so he can recreate the 1000 Year Kingdom.
** ''VideoGame/ShiningSoul'' sees you seal away Dark Dragon for at least 1000 years.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shivers}}'' has the Ixupi, ancient soul-sucking {{Mayincatec}} demons who were sealed into pots with talismans. Millenia later, an itinerant archaeologist digs them up and puts them in a museum. Then two kids sneak in the museum and break them open.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' has Chaos, who was sealed inside the Master Emerald in ancient times, until Eggman shattered it to free the water monster inside as part of his latest scheme. [[spoiler:Ultimately subverted, as Chaos isn't evil, just really pissed.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' has the sun god Solaris, forcibly split into two seperate forms due to an experiment acted upon it: Iblis and Mephiles. Princess Elise served as Iblis' can, with her control over her sorrow being the lid -- if she cries, the can is opened and Iblis is unleashed upon the world once more. Somewhere else, Mephiles is sealed away in the [[AncientArtifact Scepter]] [[ArtifactOfDoom of Darkness]] until an encounter with Eggman shatters it.
** Shadow the Hedgehog made [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 his first appearance]] as this, though being canned and going evil didn't happen at the same time: [[spoiler:his creator screwed with his memories after he was placed in stasis, leading to his whole 'humanity needs to die' outlook.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' has [[CosmicHorror Dark Gaia]], who was sealed within the planet by his light counterpart [[spoiler:a.k.a. ''Chip'']] in a neverending cycle of planetary death and rebirth.
** By the end of ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'', [[spoiler:Sonic does this to contain Erazor Djinn, using his own magic lamp against him.]]
* Gig from ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' starts the game as an example of this... and in a subversion of this trope, unless you actively [[DealWithTheDevil start asking for his 'help']], he's [[TheImp rather harmless]], if a bit foul-mouthed.
* Malefor, aka The Dark Master from ''[[Franchise/SpyroTheDragon The Legend of Spyro]]'' series. [[spoiler:He was born as a purple dragon, like Spyro, some countless generations ago. He was taught how to master the elements, but kept gaining more power, resulting in the Elders banishing him to exile. He took on the title of The Dark Master, where his malice was so great that it split the Earth, creating the Mountain of Malefor, also known as the Well of Souls, where he was imprisoned. In ''A New Beginning'', he sends out Cynder to open the convexity portal to free his soul, which she succeeds in, though Spyro frees Cynder from his control, causing the portal to implode. In ''The Eternal Night'', Gaul uses the lunar eclipse of the celestial moons (that causes non-stop darkness for a short while) to seemingly resurrect Malefor. But it's revealed by Malefor in ''Dawn of the Dragon'' that this was merely all a ruse to get the real one to free him to the Well of Souls to do so, who was it? [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Poor Spyro]].]]
** Also, the Destroyer counts, as its sole purpose for existing is to destroy the world but it slept below a volcano until Malefor awakened it to destroy the world. A rare case of one Sealed Evil In A Can freeing another.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a few of these, mostly canned by the Rakata.
** The Imprisoned One on Tatooine.
** The Esh-Kha on Belsavis.
* BigBad of ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Super Robot Wars K]]'', Lu Cobol was defeated by the [[{{Precursors}} Crusian]]. They decide to hid Lu Cobol's fragments in planets across galaxy. 2,000 years has pass and now [[EnergyBeings bodiless]] Lu Cobol seek to reform itself, by [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy whatever planet]] that hold its fragments.
* Dhaos, the villain of ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', was sealed away by the protagonist's parents, but was released early on in the game by a minor villain he had been manipulating.
* Metatronius, the BiggerBad of ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' has been sealed away by the elves during their war against heaven a thousand years ago. Now it has possessed BigBad Abraxas to break the seal and continue its original mission.
* Ogre, Jinpachi, and Azazel of the ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' games.
* Every game in the main ''VideoGame/TengaiMakyou'' series.
** Ziria has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Masakado.
** Manjimaru has the Root Clan trying to revive Yomi.
** Fuun Kabuki Den has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Garp.
** Fourth Apocalpyse has the Dark Society trying to revive their Absolute God.
* In ''VideoGame/TombRaider'' and the remake, ''VideoGame/TombRaiderAnniversary'', [[spoiler:Natla was locked in limbo for thousands of years after using her powers for evil.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Tomba}}'' has the titular main character being given the task of sealing away seven Evil Pigs (eight including "The Real Evil Pig" [[ManBehindTheMan who is their leader behind the scenes]]) in color-coordinated "Evil Pig Bags".
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' game ''Perfect Cherry Blossom'' the evil [[CherryBlossoms cherry tree]], the Saigyou Ayakashi, is sealed up by the dead body of Yuyuko Saigyouji. At the same time, the tree seals ''her'', preventing her from reincarnating, so she wanders as a [[CuteGhostGirl ghost]]. In a wierd twist, Yuyuko eventually [[GhostAmnesia forgets her life as a human]], up to and including why she died or who is sealed beneath the Saigyou Ayakashi. This leads to her trying to ''undo'' the seal that she placed in the first place, because she forgot she did it.
** The player characters in ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' think that the incident is releasing one of these, however Byakuren is very much a SealedGoodInACan.
** From the perspective of the Buddhists, the Taoists in ''Ten Desires'' are this, what with that whole religious war thing. As usual for ''Touhou'' [[GoodAllAlong they aren't evil]], but neither are they particularly good.
** In the fandom, a wildly accepted EpilepticTree is that Rumia is this to herself; that the {{Ofuda}} in her hair, that she cannot touch, is actually a RestrainingBolt that holds back her SuperPoweredEvilSide, in the process turning her into a mostly harmless idiot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2'': the objective is to stop the CosmicHorror Primagen from being unsealed from his can.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Valis}} II'', Cruel King Megas had been sealed away long ago, but was released when rebels battling the forces of the fallen Lord Rogles broke the seal and opened the Forbidden Door. The result was to turn Vecanty into HellOnEarth.
* ''VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' features a memorable subversion -- the MacGuffin of the game is a sarcophagus that supposedly contains an Antediluvian (very old, ''very'' powerful vampire). Everyone is trying to make a move for the sarcophagus, partially because the presence of such a thing might be a herald of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Gehenna]] -- but also because a low-generation vampire represents a ''massive'' power grab for anyone willing to commit diablerie (the consumption of another vampire's soul). Well, the Prince has been pushing you around all game in an attempt to claim the sarcophagus, and when it's finally opened... [[spoiler: the only thing he finds is a ''lot'' of C4. And a note from the guy who set the whole thing in motion. Boom.]]
* Illidan Stormrage in ''Videogame/{{Warcraft}} III'', another Blizzard production, is imprisoned in a cage for 10,000 years for continuing to research arcane magic after the night elves had banned its use. Also a subversion in that Illidan is ''not'' evil at the time of his imprisonment, but has become [[ThePunishment obsessed with power and revenge]] by the time he is freed.
** Maybe Illidan wasn't evil, but he did kill people with a handwave who tried to stop him from corrupting a lake with the Well's water.
** In a continuation of this universe, a majority of raid bosses in VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft are sealed evils. The quests to kill them generally go something like ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who have this Big Ancient Evil imprisoned, so that you can kill him too.'' One wonders why the player doesn't just say ''But, they're doing a fine job keeping him imprisoned! What happens if I manage to kill them but the Big Ancient Evil kills me?'' A variation goes ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who are trying to unseal this Big Ancient Evil before they succeed, then kill the half-unsealed form of the Big Ancient Evil,'' which makes a little more sense.
** ''Warcraft'''s universe also has the [[CosmicHorror Old Gods]], very similar to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, sealed beneath the world and waiting to be freed. For the longest time, it was a total mystery why the god-esque Titans didn't just kill them all, considering they'd managed to off one. Recently it was revealed that the Old Gods are parasites who have bonded with the planet of Azeroth so that killing them will cause untold damage to it. And yet, the players continue killing them for loot...
** The fourth expansion to ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' (Cataclysm) involves the unleashing of Deathwing, the Earth Dragon who was slowly driven insane by the Old Gods and imprisoned in Deepholme, the elemental plane of earth. His emergence not only blows up parts of the world, but also opens up the elemental planes, which are full of Sealed Evil in a Can, including the elementals themselves (locked up because they were tearing the world apart with their wars)
** The ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion features the sha - beings of pure hatred and other negative emotions - as this. It later emerges that [[spoiler: an artifact called the Divine Bell has the ability to control the sha, and Horde Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders it stolen in an attempt to make super-soldiers with it. It misfires when the sha ends up controlling its test subjects instead of the other way round, and have to be slaughtered by adventurers]]. The sha are eventually revealed to be fragments of a slain Old God [[spoiler:whose still-living heart is removed from a Titan prison and used by Garrosh in another attempt to empower his loyal orcs]].
* ''VideoGame/WarioLand'' games have had a few cases of this, with ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3'' having Wario spend half the game trying to 'help' a mysterious figure trapped in the music box, who turns out to be [[MonsterClown Rudy the Clown]], which then tries to take over the world. ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' had him accidentally unleash the sealed evil in a can at the very beginning, aka the Black Jewel, which was taken from some kind of treasure chest by Wario and his obsession with treasure, and that then turned his entire castle into a parallel dimension of sorts and what not.
* Rudy the Clown in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3''. He was [[NiceJobBreakingItHero manipulating Wario into releasing him]] from his prison for the entire game, then turns on Wario when he's free again for the final boss battle.
** Similarly, possibly the entirety of the Golden Pyramid in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 4'', and the Black Jewel in ''Wario World''.
* [[spoiler:Terrormisu (alias Tiaramisu)]] in ''VideoGame/WarioMasterOfDisguise'', the ancient demon who [[spoiler:was sealed inside the Wishstone that Wario was trying to piece together.]]
* Daglathor in ''VideoGame/WarriorsOfMightAndMagic'' is sealed inside a dungeon in the heart of a mountain. And the mechanism to avoid his eventual escape is found... [[FridgeLogic inside his prison.]]
** VideoGame/MightAndMagic VII has a rather simplistic sealing liable to be done by the player characters: the medusa crawling around in the sub-level of an abandoned mine have developed an immunity to magic. As a class promotion quest, you get sent to sabotage the elevator to ''keep'' them down there.
* In ''VideoGame/AWitchsTale'', the Eld Witch was a wicked creature sealed away by Queen Alice. The heroine, Liddell, accidentally sets her free.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', [[spoiler:Zanza]] splits himself into two cans: [[spoiler:[[SoulJar the Monado]]]] and [[spoiler:[[SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan Shulk]]]]. Once he's built up enough power, he [[spoiler:emerges from Shulk's body and absconds with the Monado, rendering him lifeless for a short period]].
* All games in the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series use this trope, e.g. Darm in I and II (who was disguised as the Black Pearl, also an ArtifactOfDoom), Galbalan in III, the Ancient City and Arrem in IV, the lost city of Kefin and its king, Jabir, in V, and the Ark of Napishtim in VI.
* In ''Videogame/YuGiOhReshefOfDestruction'', Reshef is an ancient Egyptian sealed evil in a can. He's re-sealed in the ending.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=121155 Dark Depths]], which, after certain conditions are met, i.e. the costly "unsealing" process of removing ten ice counters from it, creates a [[http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/mtgcom/arcana1000/1119_maritlagetoken.jpg large and damn near unkillable monster]].
** For a much older example, consider the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=1098 Bottle of Suleiman]], which upon being sacrificed has a 50/50 chance of either releasing a fairly powerful djinn that joins your forces or else simply blowing up in your face.
** And then there's the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=74492 Tomb of Urami]], who nets you a big demon at the price of sacrificing all of your lands.
** Yawgmoth, the guy who makes planeswalkers look like muggles and Dominaria's version of the Devil, was sealed in a whole other plane back when he was a mortal. He wanted back in and spent thousands of years in a battle of wits with AntiHero Urza with his freedom as the stakes.
** In the ''Zendikar'' expansion a group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called the Eldrazi were got sealed away by [[DarkIsNotEvil Sorin Markov]] and two other guys, turning all of Zendikar into a prison for them. The final set in the ''Zendikar'' block, ''Rise of the Eldrazi'', sees them loosed on the Multiverse.
** A plot-relevant example can be found in the ''Innistrad'' expansion: The Helvault was created by the archangel [[BigGood Avacyn]] to seal away demons that she couldn't outright defeat. The plot of the expansion is set in motion when, by twist of fate, Avacyn herself becomes sealed inside the Helvault.
** The demon Withengar, also from the ''Innistrad'' expansion, was sealed inside [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147a.html Elbrus, the Binding Blade]]. If the Blade tastes blood, [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147b.html Withengar is freed.]]
** Certain cards allow players to set up Sealed Evil in a Can situations. Cards like [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=oblivion+ring&v=card&s=cname Oblivion Ring]] and [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=journey+to+nowhere&v=card&s=cname Journey to Nowhere]] let a player seal an opponent's creature in a can but any card that can remove the enchantment frees them. [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=summoner%27s+egg&v=card&s=cname Summoner's Egg]] goes the other direction, letting a player seal a creature from their hand and bringing it to the battlefield for free if the Egg gets destroyed.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh!'' has several monsters like this, the mo st memorable being Exodia (who is split up into five pieces and allows you to ''win the game'' should you have all five in your hand; in the anime, it did take a huge ritual to unseal it) and all versions of the three God Cards (Egyptian, Sacred Beasts, and "Wicked Gods", all of which need three sacrifices to bring out and have devastating power, and two of which have fusions of themselves that are even ''more'' powerful). In the anime, they are so powerful that most of them are sealed up themselves, and it's considered madness for anyone to try and duel with them in their deck.
** The [[Metaplot/YuGiOhHiddenArsenal Hidden Arsenal storyline]] has the three dragons of the Ice Barrier, sealed away long ago by a powerful sage. Unfortunately, the people of the Ice Barrier get so desperate in a war they decided to unleash them. When they got to the last, Trishula, it wound up getting them all killed. The three dragons were re-sealed, but eventually got infected by the Evilswarm and let out again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In "The Garden" segment of ''ComicBook/GarfieldHis9Lives'', Garfield (who is a kitten here) and Cloey (his owner in this life) are given a magical garden by Uncle Tod when he joins the circus, under the condition that they never open the crystal box on the checkered toadstool. The trope is subverted here because, out of loyalty to Uncle Tod, they decide ''not'' to open it.
* In the comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'', the title dragon owned a collection of magical orbs containing vicious demons, which a human wizard attempted to steal. This being a humor comic, Wormy used the orbs as snooker balls.
* In ''ComicStrip/HsuAndChan'', the Tanaka brothers fight off a demon invasion by sealing them in various trinkets and keepsakes.
[[/folder]]



[[folder:Music]]
* Every Bal Sagoth song starts with "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all the more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush the mind of anyone near it, then plunge the Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark at the Moon" by Music/OzzyOsbourne is about a beast that once terrorized a town, but was eventually buried in a nameless grave. And then he ends up returning to cause some more destruction.
* In "Gatekeeper" by WithinTemptation sort of [[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* Just saw this in the opening of an article about the third ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is the case with all ancient evils, 80's rock music was never sealed away in a very permanent fashion.''"

to:

[[folder:Music]]
[[folder: Literature]]

* Every Bal Sagoth song Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/AFireUponTheDeep'' starts off with "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all a cosmic menace called the more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush Blight being woken by insufficiently paranoid humans.
* In ''Literature/TheBible'', specifically in
the mind ''Revelation'' (''[[InsistentTerminology not]]'' Revelations) of anyone near it, then plunge John, {{Satan}} is going to be confined to the Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark
bottomless pit for 1,000 years, after which he'll be released to wreak havoc upon the world one last time. Then [[CurbStompBattle God will smoke Satan's entire army]] at the Moon" FinalBattle, and then [[HumiliationConga he will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to stay]].
* The ''BlackCompany'' starts out with the can already having been opened but not all of the way in a bit of evil on evil backstabbery. Their employer was sealed away
by Music/OzzyOsbourne the White Rose but then released by a group of sorcerers called the Resurrectionists. As thanks the Lady, a powerful sorceress who was sealed in there, kills them and then prevents her husband from getting out so she can keep the power to herself. He is not pleased and it's implied the world is doomed if he ever does get out. [[spoiler:Once the Lady loses her powers and essentially switches sides against her former lieutenant, the Dominator is ultimately defeated and sealed in a silver spike, at which point is instantly reduced to ostensible ArtifactOfDoom and consummate MacGuffin that spawns a titular sequel chronicling the mad scramble to be the first wizard to obtain and unlock its secrets. Since the attempt to put the evil in a can inside another can that just happened to be the offspring of a PhysicalGod was foiled miserably by a band of local scum, the PhysicalGod drops it off in a SwirlyEnergyThingy with assurances that the threat is [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil vanquished forever]], just like the even older SealedEvilInACan he himself guards.]]
* The Scourge in ''Literature/TheBlackTattoo''.
* Wyrm, the enormous, snakelike EldritchAbomination that is the main villain of ''TheBookOfTheDunCow'', was sealed inside the earth during the creation of the world to stop him from destroying the universe. The aim of the main characters is to prevent his escape.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', the RequisiteRoyalRegalia were keeping a Chaos force in check. When they were removed for a coronation, WeatherDissonance broke out, to be followed by more serious Chaos monstrosities, and an Inquisitor and a squad of {{space marine}}s had to return the regalia to stop it.
* In JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'', children being held hostage by [[spoiler: Greek gods]] are nevertheless not sure that their own parents are entirely in the right; they find out, in due course, that they are hostage to prevent the forces of Chaos from moving against the universe and destroying it. [[spoiler: They set up themselves to live safely and free in the universe until the gods could stand against the forces, without going home and so triggering such a war.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'', the Creator sealed his EvilCounterpart Lord Foul the Despiser in The Land in order to keep the rest of the universe safe. Unfortunately, the Creator didn't really think it through very well, as Lord Foul can now wreak havoc ''within'' The Land freely, and if the Creator tries to interfere directly, it'll let Lord Foul out and destroy the Arch of Time (the universe).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' stories:
** In "Literature/TheDevilInIron", a fisherman takes a knife and lets loose an evil city.
** Thugra Khotan in "Literature/BlackColossus".
* 19th century example: The 1842 German novella ''Die schwarze Spinne'' (''The Black Spider'') by Jeremias Gotthelf: heavily steeped in Christian-conservative symbolism, the story, based on folktales, contrasts pastoral life with satanic influences. The titular black spider (a metaphor for the Black Plague) is created when a ruthless [[EvilAristocrat knight baron]] forces the peasants of a remote valley in the Alps to work themselves nearly to death. The [[{{Satan}} devil]] in the form of a wild huntsman offers the desperate peasants his help, in exchange for a yet unborn unchristened child. The only person who is willing to strike such a pact is a farmer's wife (and originally a foreigner, adding a touch of xenophobia). The devil kisses her cheek; from this kiss grows an evil tumor in the form of a black spider. Twice, when the devil comes to collect a newborn, the local priest baptizes the child in the nick of time, but as punishment, the monstrous spider, now adult, births thousands of tiny spiders that start killing livestock and people, and finally breaks free from the face of the farmer's wife (who dies) and kills the priest and baby. The spider is finally sealed away when a brave mother, to protect her own newborn, grabs it and, dying, imprisons it in a hole in a wooden beam of her house, into which she hammers a peg to seal away the spider forever. Generations later, when people have stopped believing in the tale and become "sinful", [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy a bragging servant pulls out the peg on a drunken bet and releases the devil spider]], until it can again be sealed away by a pious woman who remembers the old tales and sacrifices her life for her child.
* Not truly ''evil'', but definitely not good. In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'', Archchancellor Ridcully decides to unseal the door to a special bathtub invented by Bergoldt Stuttley "Bloody Stupid" Johnson, simply because it was barred shut. When asked why he wanted it opened, he replied, "To see why they wanted it shut, of course!" Creator/TerryPratchett added the following footnote:
-->This exchange contains almost all you need to know
about a beast human civilization. At least, those bits of it that once terrorized are not under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
** Pratchett also explores this theme in ''Discworld/ReaperMan'', where, in
a town, but was time when Death is non-existent, Evil returns in the form of dinky little snow-globes that people want to love and cherish, since as you pick them up and shake them, snow appears to fall around models of city landmarks, and look, they'e even labelled ''A Present From Ankh-Morpork'', how cool is ''that''? But the globes are seeds of a potent and cruel ancestral evil that preys upon and kills cities....
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the villain finds a [[spoiler: Basilisk]] that had been turned to stone, and, of course, decides to use it, after using blood magic to set it free. [[spoiler: While it is too stupid to be actually ''evil'', it still is a dangerous big predator. The heroes
eventually manage to turn it back to stone.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragoneyes}}'' the sealed evil is actually a {{Precursor}} name Ochekol'kan. She was locked up by the other precursors behind five doors (of Stone, Water, Air, Fire, and Lightning) after single-handedly killing all the elves. Because she lost a beauty contest, no less.
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels, and ''D&D'' campaign setting, Takhisis was essentially a sealed evil in a can from the end of the Third Dragonwar, when Huma Dragonbane forced her to swear to leave Krynn and never return, and the Cataclysm, when she found a way to get around that oath. In an interesting variation on this trope, it was when Berem stole the emerald from the pillar of Takhisis' temple, killing his sister Jasla in the process, that Takhisis was partially resealed.
** She was actually able to get around her oath because of the Cataclysm — its precise wording was that she would never return "while the world was whole". With half the main continent blown up, the world was no longer whole so she was able to return. It's a bit of a stretch, but Takhisis ''is'' the [[GodOfEvil Queen of Darkness]].
* ''Dragontales'', a collection of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''-related stories.
** In "The Wizards Are Dying", the godling lich Xanthak is released from imprisonment when a group of adventurers takes a jeweled cross called the Nga from the door that seals his cell. Another group of adventurers has to put him back in his cell and seal it again.
** "Out of the Eons", one of Gardner F. Fox's "Niall of the Far Travels" short stories. Adonair is an evil deity from another universe trapped in a brick-lined cubicle eons ago by the deities of Niall's universe. During the course of the story Niall accidentally releases him and he and the gods must find a way to destroy him.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', [[spoiler:Demonreach is the can to hundreds or possibly ''thousands'' of evils, and [[EldritchAbomination Skinwalkers]] are among the ''least'' dangerous. Unlike most examples, the creator of the prison -- the real Arthurian Merlin, incidentally -- had the forethought to build in a failsafe in case the occupants ever escaped -- one that will ''[[GodzillaThreshold vaporize most of the continent just to slow the prisoners down]]'', because that's actually the ''lesser'' of two evils.]]
** Oh, and in book 11, Harry [[spoiler: becomes its Warden, a position which among other things grants him the authority to release any of the prisoners. Which also means that if Demonreach is a giant can full of the most terrifying evils in the world, then Harry has got the can opener.]]
* In the Creator/StephenKing novel ''Literature/DumaKey'', the villain, Perse, is an evil doll/creature who is sealed in a keg which was dropped down a well. Unfortunately, the keg had been leaking for some time and by the time the main character finds it, it's almost empty. He eventually ends up [[spoiler:sealing Perse in a flashlight filled with water (her weakness) and eventually creates a tight, silver container to hold that it and throws it into a lake.]]
** Another king example is the short story "The Crate", later adapted as one of the segments of ''Film/{{Creepshow}}'', where a crate containing a terrible monster is opened by a janitor.
* The blade Stormbringer in ''Literature/TheElricSaga'' by Creator/MichaelMoorcock straddles the border between this and EvilWeapon as it is both the form of an EldritchAbomination that it takes on the mortal plane, and is the trap it is bound into. At the end of the saga, [[spoiler: it finally breaks free as it is forced to consume a truly indestructible soul, Elric's, and is finally free to race through the universe, the last bit of Chaos left to supply growth and change in a universe of Law — supposedly this one.]]
* Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'' did this in an interesting way: the Demon-Prince Orcus, who founded the titular [[TheEmpire Empire]], was imprisoned under the earth by his own lieutenants, John Ominor and Wood, in a coup. Eventually, Wood convinces Ominor that they should release Orcus, believing that only Orcus has the power to match Ardneh, and believing that they can keep Orcus controlled. [[spoiler: They were right about the first point, barely. About the second, they were wrong. Also, Ardneh tricked them into releasing Orcus so that he could destroy Orcus and the Empire [[ThanatosGambit in a single stroke]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' has several examples of these, most notably the demons of Zzyzx.
* In the late JamesHerbert's novel ''The Fog'' (unrelated to the Creator/JohnCarpenter film of the same name), an earthquake ruptures a buried canister, releasing an insubstantial, misty organism called a mycoplasm. Otherwise respectable people do decidedly hideous things when they come into contact with it.
* While not a single character, the Mijaki were confined to the borders of their lands in Karen Miller's ''Literature/GodspeakerTrilogy'' because they made the '''world''' evil. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hekat]] then decides to change things.
* In ''Literature/TheGolgothaSeries'', Golgotha contains an abundance of ancient sealed evils:
** The Darkling, also known as Uktena, Chilong, or Nyarlathotep, is imprisoned beneath the silver mines in Mount Argent.
** The town cemetery contains a powerful evil sealed within one of the graves, which must be kept surrounded by a salt circle lest it break free.
** A cave in Mt. Argent contains the Skull of the First Murderer, which imprisons a powerful manitou that could cause a humanity-ending HatePlague if freed.
** The town well connects to an underground river that runs through a buried temple where Typhon, Father of Monsters, is imprisoned.
* Morhavon the Black and the place under the palace catacombs where evil spirits are sealed away from the ''GreenRider'' series.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', the titular chamber contains [[spoiler:Slytherin's monster, an enormous basilisk]].
** Also in the same volume, Tom Riddle's diary has the "memory" of the teenage Voldemort sealed inside, which Ginny unknowingly awakens through her liberal use of the diary.
** In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', it's implied that Voldemort's [[FateWorseThanDeath final fate]] is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, [[spoiler:the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died]]) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
** All the Horcruxes are technically this, being [[spoiler: the containers of pieces of Voldemort's warped, twisted soul]]. All the Horcruxes exhibit malevolent powers, from [[spoiler: the diary, that hypnotized Ginny into opening the Chamber of Secrets]], to the locket, [[spoiler: that actually tried to kill Harry by drowning him in a frozen lake while he was wearing it]].
* The Damned, from ''Literature/HellsChildren'', by Andrew Boland, are sealed evil in a can, who spend the entire book trying to get out.
* In Mitchell Scalon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/HorusHeresy'' novel ''Descent of Angels'', Lion (with Luther's help) [[NiceJobBreakingItHero unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban]]. In Mike Lee's ''Fallen Angels'', it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
* Another [[Creator/RobertAntonWilson Wilson]] co-wrote the ''Literature/{{illuminatus}}'' series of books. This includes the idea that one of the foullest and most vicious Shoggoths was in antiquity sealed in a pentagonal prison somewhere on the eastern North American plain, appeased with the blood and souls of those who died un-natural deaths. The secret of the pentagon was passed down through a series of custodians, the last of whom built a five-sided building complex around it from which the leaders of that continent's strongest power organised escalating wars, so as to appease the beast and keep it in souls. Hiding the secret in plain sight, they even called their prison building complex ''The Pentagon''.
* F. Paul Wilson's ''[[Literature/TheAdversaryCycle The Keep]]'' has Radu Molasar, advance man for [[CosmicHorror The Otherness]], sealed in a castle in Romania until ThoseWackyNazis accidentally let him out.
* In ''Killdozer!'' by Creator/TheodoreSturgeon the construction crew on a Pacific island accidentally releases a being that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] any metal object and only wishes to kill. The being got sealed in a [[MadeOfIndestructium neutronium sphere]] by accident and survived while its relatives and their accidental creators destroyed each other (killing all life on Earth in the process too).
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''[[Literature/KnownSpace World of Ptavvs]]'' has a scientific team accidentally releasing a Slaver, an ancient alien with large-scale mind control powers and an intense attitude problem, from the stasis field it has been trapped in for a billion years.
* In ''Literature/ALandFitForHeroes'', the Illwrack Changeling, Dark Lord and champion of the dwenda, had his soul imprisoned within a sword. The dwenda plan to resurrect him by recovering the sword and transferring his soul into a new body.
* Creator/DanielKeysMoran's ''The Last Dancer'' has a scientific team releasing an ancient human, whose physical conditioning and skills approach BadassNormal from the ''other side'' and who has a major attitude problem (compare ''World of Ptavvs'' above). He proceeds to spend the rest of the book mainly kicking the ''other'' BigBad's ass, making him not so much Evil, just Sealed Badass In A Can.
* [[CosmicHorror Something Bad]] is waiting in Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]''....
** And it's only the most obvious. TheLaundrySeries' world is ''full'' of various [[EldritchAbomination eldritch abominations]] sealed in cans of various shapes and colors with different opening protocols. You have the Sleeper in the Pyramid, the Infovore, the Deep One in Jennifer Morgue, the Eater of Souls, ... And the Laundry and its sister agencies' job is to make sure that everyone remains in his can.
* In James Alan Gardner's ''[[Literature/TheLeagueOfPeoplesVerse Hunted]]'', the [[HumanoidAliens Mandasars]] have queens who are very smart, very large, very strong, can persuade other Mandasars to do anything by emitting the right pheromones, and are physiologically hardwired so that each queen believes that ''she'' is the most competent person around and ''should'' be in charge. Having more than about four of them on the planet tends to mean endless power struggles; having that few risks having them all die. The solution implemented is to have a bunch of queens in [[HumanPopsicle cryonic storage]]. While they aren't evil per se, waking them all up at once is still [[CivilWar really, really bad]].
* It's what happens at the end of the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book ''Kingdom Come'', with [[LaResistance the Other Light faction]] serving as Satan's FinalBattle army. In fact, the Other Light subsect The Only Light believes that Satan purposely sealed himself away so that he could be powerful enough to defeat God (whom [[ElephantInTheLivingRoom the Only Light believes doesn't exist despite visible evidence to the contrary]]) and all those who follow Him when Satan is released. Which, unfortunately for them, didn't turn out as they expected.
* Jadis the White Witch in ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'' put herself into suspended animation after destroying her world, and left [[SchmuckBait a way for any visitors to wake her up]], so that they’d take her to a new world.
* The [[OurZombiesAreDifferent T'lan Imass]] of the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' are notable offenders for this. During their genocidal war against the Jaghut and, off-and-on, the Forkrul Assail, they developed a ritual for binding enemies when they lacked the strength to directly kill them. Either pinned under massive stone slabs or
buried in barrows, it's not uncommon for their ancient enemies to be unearthed.
** The Azath House seals away both good and evil, trapping them until such
a nameless grave. And then time as they are needed in the world or the Azath dies.
** It's not entirely clear who was doing the sealing, but there have also been cases of bound K'Chain Che'Malle who predate even the T'lan Imass.
** The heroes spend most of the series believing that [[spoiler:the Crippled God is this, but
he turns out to be a subversion as he's not so much evil as simply mad. Freeing him ends up returning undoing his madness and he ultimately assists the heroes in preventing the extinction of the human race, making him more of a SealedGoodInACan.]]
* The ''Literature/MarlaMason'' series has the Outsider, a god-eating eldritch abomination which was long ago imprisoned beneath Death Valley. Marla accidentally releases it in ''Bride of Death'' and has
to cause deal with it in ''Lady of Misrule''.
* In ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'', the BigBad, Ineluki, is a [[TheFairFolk Sithi]] sorcerer who [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope went mad]] trying to protect his people from the [[HumansAreBastards onslaught of mankind]]. He cast a [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique forbidden spell]] in an attempt to destroy the conquering army, but killed himself instead. Even in death, however, his hatred burned so strongly that his spirit refused to leave the world, lingering instead in the realms beyond death for five hundred years, until the circumstances become right for him to be freed via a complex ritual involving DemonicPossession. It is stated outright that if he succeeds he will [[OmnicidalManiac destroy all living things]] in his longing for Unbeing.
* In ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', Ruin, the [[OmnicidalManiac primal force of chaos and destruction]] was imprisoned by his "good" counterpart Preservation after they teamed up to create life. This is a bit more complicated than most examples because Preservation split Ruin apart to make his release more difficult. Ruin's mind was put in [[spoiler: the Well of Ascension]], while the bulk of his power was bound into [[spoiler: the atium]]. The problem was, even an imprisoned Ruin still had
some power, so he [[spoiler: altered the prophecies regarding a messianic figure called the Hero of Ages to say that the Hero should go to the Well of Ascension and release its power to the being trapped there. Following the prophecy, the heroine of the trilogy does this. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops]].]]
* The Tessier-Ashpools in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' repeatedly freeze themselves to maintain the dynasty. They're arguably
more destruction.
selfish and prideful than evil, but they do also keep a ninja on ice.
* In "Gatekeeper" ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', the angel Islington is situated in the center of a labyrinth deep, deep underground. It turns out that this is for a very good reason: [[spoiler: He was trapped there as punishment for destroying Atlantis]].
* Peter F. Hamilton does this in at least two series: in ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'' Series, a wandering alien accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, and in ''Pandora's Star'' and ''Judas Unchained'', an alien menace is released
by WithinTemptation its hidden enemy (who has [[spoiler: arranged a long-term "LetsYouAndHimFight" situation between the menace and humanity]]).
* In Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/OldKingdom'' trilogy, the latter two books lead up to the release of Orannis the Destroyer, the BigBad, from his "can".
* Initially in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', Kronos' remains are just in a particularly creepy sarcophagus that gets stronger every time a demigod forsakes the Olympians and joins his side. [[spoiler: Later, Luke graduates to being his SoulJar]].
* ''Literature/ThePiloFamilyCircus'' is built on the prison for a [[spoiler: race of [[CosmicHorror gigantic reptiles — all of whom possess godlike power and all of whom are hungry for tender human flesh]].]] The circus' managers, Kurt and George Pilo, do [[spoiler: their]] bidding by causing as much havoc on Earth as possible — in the hope that whoever jailed [[spoiler: them]] will be forced to negotiate [[spoiler: their]] sentence. However, their attempts at escape are temporarily foiled when the circus is closed down and most of its staff killed at the end of the novel — though the main character's dreams suggest that it will return one day.
-->'''[[MonsterClown Gonko]]:''' You come get your chuckles whenever you're ready, 'cause if they ain't lettin' ''me'' go, they ain't lettin' ''you'' go. Best believe that. Show's down but not out, mark my words. We'll be back in town, my pretty, and I don't recall offering you a severance package.
* In Gerald Brom's ''Literature/ThePlucker'', the titular monster is sealed within a voodoo spirit doll. [[WhatKindOfLamePowerisHeartAnyway It's up to regular dolls to stop it when it is accidentally freed]].
* The initial premise of ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'' is that the God of Evil was imprisoned by the other surviving gods, but is now reaching out to influence things. Later books introduce successive complications, but those drift rapidly away from this trope.
* In the ZombieApocalypse novels ''The Rising'' and ''City of the Dead'', the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent obots]] were sealed by {{God}} in another dimension, known as the Void. An experiment GoneHorriblyWrong cracked it open, and KillEmAll ensued.
* ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'': Etheldredda, the BigBad of ''Physik'' has spent 500 years trapped in a [[PhantomZonePicture painting]] before being released.
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' ends with the sealing of EvilOverlord [[BigBad Morgoth]] in the void beyond the boundaries of the world. He never escapes, though it is implied that Sauron was trying to find some way to release him during the Second Age.
** Morgoth also spends 3,000 years in a can as punishment by the Valar. Eventually, because GoodCannotComprehendEvil, they let him out for good behaviour, thinking he's repented. He hasn't.
** Tolkien's ''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'' mentions a battle called Dagor Dagorath (the Battle of Battles) that [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt will take place at the end of time]], in which Morgoth will be set free and [[TheDogBitesBack finally be defeated by]] [[CosmicPlaything Túrin Turambar]].
** From ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the [[EldritchAbomination Balrog of Moria]], which was unleashed when the Dwarves DugTooDeep.
** The [[ArtifactOfDoom One Ring]] itself is Sealed Evil In A Can, as it has [[SoulJar Sauron's ill will forged within it]].
* Creator/ColinWilson's ''Literature/TheSpaceVampires'' has a space mission to find a derelict ship drifting in the solar system. The astronauts board it and retrieve what they believe to be several [[RubberForeheadAliens human-like alien]] bodies. It turns out they're possessed by evil energy beings that live off the life energies of others. The very pulpy movie adaptation (called ''Lifeforce'') has a similar initial situation, though it diverges pretty massively after that (the aliens [[spoiler:turn their victims into zombies]]).
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Ragnor's Claw'', Botchulaz.
* Okoya, the eponymous soul-eater of ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Thief of Souls]]'', begins the book immobilized on a cliff face. In the prologue, he's unsealed by an earthquake.
* Several times in the Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse. There's the ''Dithparu'' (essentially evil spirits), who are trapped by magnetic fields in an AncientTomb, [[Literature/StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold Malkus the Mighty]], an immortal tyrant whose consciousness was sealed in a box, and The Eight, who got loose in the Literature/StarTrekVoyagerRelaunch, setting up a SequelHook.
* Subverted in [[Creator/MatthewTobinAnderson M. T. Anderson's]] book ''Literature/{{Thirsty}}'', in which a group of vampires are trying to free the Sealed Evil, the god of vampires, and one character pretends to be trying to kill the vampire god in order to protect humanity, but in reality is assisting the god in committing suicide.
* ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'': The insane clone Dark Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth more or less sealed himself, ending up on the planet that TheEmperor used as a personal museum/storehouse. C'baoth had no interest in the storehouse facility even after killing its guardian, and inhabitants of the planet had roughly feudal levels of technology. So he stayed there and ruled them, using his raw Force abilities and
sort of [[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* Just saw this
mass mind-control to keep them cowed and obedient. Then Grand Admiral Thrawn [[EvilIsNotAToy showed up and recruited C'baoth]] with promises of new Force-sensitives to train and mold, both because C'baoth's Battle Meditation could allow great synchronization and increased efficiency in the opening fleet, and because he wanted the cloning technology in the facility. Thrawn's second in command ''really'' did not want to rely at all on someone so unreliable, but he was overruled. C'baoth's inevitable attempt at seizing power involved taking control of the ''entire Imperial fleet''; when Thrawn talked him down and sent him back to that planet, C'baoth's next plan started with brainwashing an article officer to the point where he had no will or mind anymore and died shortly after being taken away from the insane Master.
** Another example of sorts in the same trilogy — an insane Bpfasshi Dark Jedi had been killed by Yoda on Dagobah, and his essence infused the tree where Luke had his pivotal vision during ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Another example from the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse: insane EldritchAbomination Abeloth was sealed in a massive cluster of black holes, with a gravity-generating space station acting as a lock keeping her trapped there and unable to influence things on the physical place, and the AnthropomorphicPersonification of the Light Side and the DarkSide of the Force doing an EnemyMine every few thousand years to renew the lock whenever it started to break. This [[NiceJobBreakingItHero took the heroes]] over half a century to break; Anakin Skywalker killed the locksmiths, later protagonists broke the space station (they thought it was just a superweapon and didn't want it falling into the wrong hands), and then they used the black hole cluster where the ethereal monster was kept as a fortress. It still managed to keep her for
about the third ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is the case
a decade.
** Four hundred years before ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Ithorians tinkered
with all ancient evils, 80's rock music gene splicing and created something horrible. It took the Jedi to contain it. The Ithorians' ActualPacifist beliefs make them averse to driving anything to extinction, so they isolated a sample and buried it in a tunnel in an asteroid. It was harmless sealed in a pod in the vacuum of space. Unfortunately they didn't bother with keeping a guard on it, so when someone DugTooDeep...
* Arguably, a lot of the ''Literature/TheImmortals'' of Creator/TamoraPierce's Literature/TortallUniverse series, after a bunch of mages locked them up in the Realms of the Gods. It didn't stick. Many of them are benign and decide to adapt to living with humans, but some are persistently vicious. Particularly giant human-headed spiders called spidrens, and a species of predatory flying horse called hurroks.
* In the series ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', the Dark One is making good progress in eroding the makeshift seal on the hole in the Creator-made prison that's kept it imprisoned for thousands of years. The hole was made back during what is known by the timeline of the books as the Age of Legends, although they did manage to patch it up again as best they could. Being as it is ''the'' God of Evil, existing outside reality, sealing and resealing really ''is'' the only option. During his resealing, his 13 highest-ranking disciples were sealed (mostly) outside of time as well, they ended up being freed first to pave the way for his return.
** Stasis Boxes fit this trope when used for preserving the Gholams, not-quite-undead super assassins from the War of Power, beyond time and space.
** How about Mierin's experiment in the Age of Legends that let the Dark One out in the first place? Even better because back then, nobody knew the Dark One existed, and her experiment was intended to tap a greater source of magical power able to be used by men and women (as opposed to the separate halfs of the one power). She later became Lanfear, one of the Forsaken, the most powerful servants of the dark one, though judging by a bit of Aiel ancestral memory that is tapped into, she was not evil to begin with, ie at the time of her experiment (as part of a team).
** Mordeth/Mashadar is/are unable to leave Shadar Logoth after the fall of Aridhol (why is
never really explained, but perhaps it was sealed intentionally). Mat Cauthon (or Padan Fain, or both) release it into the world at large after Mat removes the dagger. The can later [[spoiler:is completely obliterated while cleansing sai'din]].
* With Friends Like These... by {{Alan Dean Foster}}: Humanity was sealed under a forcefield a long time ago because we scared the aliens that badly. When aliens later release the humans in exchange for helping them against a bigger menace, one of the aliens has the sense to worry, "What happens when we run out of enemies?".
* In ''WhoCensoredRogerRabbit'', it turns out that the titular murderer is [[spoiler:a genie imprisoned in a Persian teapot that can only be released by a bonafide toon, who is sick of taking orders from self-centered people and starts deliberately spoiling the toons' wishes, until finally he just flat-out starts murdering them.]]
* The Dark Ones in ''TheWizardOfForthStreet'' by Simon Hawke were sealed with the accumulated LifeEnergy of a massive HeroicSacrifice.
* UsefulNotes/NorthKorea in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. One day, in the early stages of the Zombie War, the entire country simply disappeared -- DIA spy satellites stopped picking up any activity or indeed signs of life within the Democratic People's Republic. The best bet is that the entire population relocated to massive underground bunkers. Nothing has been heard since, which means one of two things: Either one of them was infected, or none of them were. In the former case, that means one of two things: either they controlled the outbreak, or they did not. If the didn't, then 24 million Zombies are waiting beneath the surface, trapped in the tunnel system, and Communist architecture - well, it ain't all that good. If no-one was infected and/or they managed to control the outbreak, then 24 million fanatical, nuclear armed fascists are waiting on one side of the Korean DMZ, and when they find out how weak the rest of humanity is...
* In ''Deep Wizardry'', the second ''YoungWizards'' novel, the seal on the [[{{Satan}} Lone Power's]] can is weakening and needs to be recharged. However, what is sealed is only ''one'' aspect out of many that the [[BigBad Lone Power]] possesses, so It can be safely sealed away in one place while simultaneously being an active menace somewhere else.
** Then in ''A Wizard's Holiday'', the protagonists have to, among other things, [[spoiler: open the seal and let the Lone Power out]].
* ''[[Literature/ZeusIsDead Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure]]'' uses this one quite literally. Apparently after the first Titan War, Zeus and his siblings sealed the nine most dangerous Titans ''in actual cans''.
* Creator/ChristopherMoore is a big fan of this trope, most notably in ''Literature/PracticalDemonkeeping'' (Catch, the titular demon, is actually
sealed away in a very permanent fashion.''"jar), ''[[Literature/LambTheGospelAccordingToBiff Lamb]]'' [[spoiler: Baltazaar keeps Catch, the same demon from the earlier novel, in a magically-sealed room which he tells Biff to stay away from. (Schmuck Bait)]] and ''[[Literature/BloodsuckingFiends You Suck]]''.
* [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. Indeed, most CosmicHorror uses a can of some sort to explain why the super-powerful beings haven't ''already'' destroyed humanity. In this case, however, nobody appears to have done the actual sealing or unsealing; the elder gods are just "sleeping", and will awaken "when the stars are right".
** He almost gets out in ''[[CthulhuMythos Call of Cthulhu]]'', only to be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu run down by a steamship]] stuffed back in the can.
** However, the Great Old Ones are not evil per se (save perhaps Nyarlathotep, and he is not always classed as one, and is properly an Outer God, ) but uncaring - they are simply far too powerful for us to matter to them, rather like a human stepping on ants (or for a better example, but purely Scots, the midge) and/or simply mindless - Azathoth for example, could (and apparently will) destroy everything, but he is blind, deaf, mute and completely unintelligent,and is no more evil than a hurricane.
** Another example in Lovecraft's work is ''The Haunter of the Dark'', an avatar of the god Nyarlatotep who is sealed inside the shining trapezohedron and can be summoned by gazing into it. Unlike the Great Old Ones, summoning him doesn't result in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the world]], but he most likely wants some human sacrifices in exchange for secret knowledge or wants to possess you in order to get mankind to blow itself up.
* Quite a few of John Connolly's short stories involve SealedEvilInACan: the Daemon buried under the church in "Mr Pettinger's Daemon"; the [[TheFairFolk Fairies]] trapped inside their fort in "The New Daughter"; the monster chained up at the bottom of the lake in "Deep Dark Green"; the nest of hibernating giant spiders in "The Wakeford Abyss"...
** Also, in his novel ''TheBlackAngel'', the [[OurAngelsAreDifferent fallen angel]] Immael is plunged into a vat of molten silver during the BackStory and the resulting statue becomes the angel's prison for several centuries. Naturally, the novel itself is all about Immael's twin brother and his followers attempting to free him.
* One of Creator/MRJames’s favorite tropes was having an unpleasant being imprisoned in a tomb, grave, or ruin, inevitably later disturbed. Stories in this pattern include "Count Magnus" (the count's sarcophagus has three padlocks on it), "An Episode of Cathedral History", and "The Rose Garden".
* Alex Verus encounters two of these. One is a magician who sealed himself in an artifact. The other is a magician who is trying to live forever by killing others like the long dead vampires.
* Complex example in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''. Millennia ago, [[{{Precursors}} the Inapt]] faced a mysterious enemy known only as "the Worm". Unable to destroy it, they ''were'' able to force it underground and then banish those caverns to AnotherDimension, warded away from the living world by a series of magical seals. To keep the central seal strong enough, [[MagicKnight Argastos]], who lead the Inapt army, was bound into it - and since he wasn't exactly a nice guy himself, that means it was a case of a Sealed Evil being used to shore up the prison of ''another'' Sealed Evil. However, it worked... [[spoiler: until the Wasp Empress Seda tried to bind Argastos' power for herself, and her rival Cheerwell Maker tried to stop her. The result was that the now lich-like Argastos was destroyed and the Seal of the Worm popped open. NiceJobBreakingItHero (and villain) indeed]].


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[[folder: Live Action TV]]

* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', the Shadows were something like this, except that they weren't sealed by other people. They regularly hibernate and wake themselves up.
** The Thirdspace aliens are effectively sealed until their gateway is opened.
** Also The Hand. (Who are probably the Thirdspace aliens anyway.)
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' / ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Many, many examples in Buffy (the Judge, Acathla, the Seal of Danzalthar, among others) and Angel (Illyria [who is actually sealed in a coffin], Pavayne,Sahjhan). In fact, the Angel example showed us a veritable warehouse of sealed demon gods like Illyria, which (as of the end of the series) is left unguarded.
** There is also a very literal variant in the ''Buffy'' episode "Get It Done", when [[spoiler: The Shadow Men try to infuse Buffy with the essence of a demon that they kept sealed in a box.]]
* In the original and revived ''Series/DarkShadows'', vampire Barnabas Collins made his series debut when he was released from the chained-up coffin in which his father, unable to go through with staking his own son, had sealed him.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Around half a dozen cases of Evil deliberately Sealed in a Can. At least as many slumbering alien menaces that just happened to crash-land/get trapped centuries ago and go into hibernation until foolishly awoken, which don't technically fit the description but serve a very similar plot purpose.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E9TheSatanPit "The Satan Pit"]], a being known only as "the Beast" (who claims to be {{Satan}}) is so powerful it was sealed miles underground the surface of a planet precariously orbiting a black hole, meaning that any attempt to escape would send the Beast and the planet to fall into it. These Disciples of the Light guys ''really'' didn't want this thing to escape.
** The original series used this trope often. Sutekh The Destroyer in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E3PyramidsOfMars "Pyramids of Mars"]] was imprisoned in a pyramid in Egypt, Omega in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E1TheThreeDoctors "The Three Doctors"]] and [[Recap/DoctorWhoS20E1ArcOfInfinity "Arc of Infinity"]], the Ice Warriors, the mutagen under the Earth crust in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS7E4Inferno "Inferno"]], the Krynoid pods in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E6TheSeedsOfDoom "The Seeds of Doom"]], and many more.
** A slight variation happened in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS16E3TheStonesOfBlood "The Stones of Blood"]], where the Doctor releases a pair of biomechanical judges called the Megara from a ship stranded in hyperspace, [[spoiler:and the judges promptly sentence him to death for letting them free without the proper legal authorization.]]
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E13Doomsday "Doomsday"]] features the Genesis Ark: a Time Lord device imprisoning millions of Daleks. "Time Lord science: it's BiggerOnTheInside."
** In the new series episode [[Recap/DoctorWho2006CSTheRunawayBride "The Runaway Bride"]], it is revealed that the centre of the Earth contains hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of omnivorous intelligent alien spiders. Indeed, the vessel that holds them is the original core of the planet, nearly five ''billion'' years old.
** In the episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens"]], the Doctor investigates the eponymous Pandorica, which is advertised as containing the most feared being in the universe and is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin starting to open]]. [[spoiler:It's empty. The Pandorica was created by [[LegionOfDoom a coalition of the Doctor's enemies]] to trap him inside, because they believe he will destroy the universe, and it's opening so that they can put him in -- due to time-travel, he has arrived before the myth started.]] The Doctor is predictably fascinated; "What could be so dangerous?" he wonders. [[spoiler:You.]]
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E16TheWatersOfMars "The Waters of Mars"]], Humans accidentally released Sealed Evil in a Glacier.
** Then there is the Old God in a Pyramid in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E7TheRingsOfAkhaten "The Rings of Akhaten"]]. [[spoiler:It turns out the real Monster is the planet.]]
** ''The End of Time'' 2-parter implies that the Time Lock on the Last Great Time War could be this. With the sealed evil being the Daleks [[spoiler: and The Time Lords]] (though I guess it's more a LeakingCanOfEvil for the Daleks since they keep finding ways to get out). Makes you wonder why ''The Day of the Doctor'' makes him so happy that he [[spoiler: didn't actually destroy The Time Lords after all]], since ''The End of Time'' had them turning into violent existence destroying lunatics by the end of the war.
** Although for all we know most of the Time Lords weren't working with Rassilon and the Tenth Doctor had already stopped this plan.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E1TheTombOfTheCybermen "The Tomb of the Cybermen"]], the titular monsters sealed themselves in a can figuring whoever could unseal it had abilities that would make the Cybermen stronger.
* In ''Series/ForeverKnight'', [=LaCroix=]'s daughter was sealed inside a coffin after [=LaCroix=] staked her. The Egyptian sun disk kept her prisoner much like a Christian cross, until she was released by grave robbers and came after him and his children.
** Also pops up in the first Forever Knight novel, "A Stirring of Dust".
* In ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', the pieces of the First People's Machine, which has the power to [[spoiler:create or destroy universes]], were scattered all across the globe and buried hundreds of feet underground.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': [[spoiler:the immortal, [[GoodThingYouCanHeal self-regenerating]] [[KnightTemplar Adam Monroe]]]] was imprisoned for thirty years after he tried to [[KillAllHumans release a virus that would have killed most of mankind]]. Then, after being released (and having done plenty of damage in the meantime, including a second attempt at the virus thing) he was sealed in a coffin deep beneath a cemetery.
** In Season 3, [[spoiler:in a slight subversion, [[BigBad daddy Petrelli]] appeared to be far more powerful than Adam and took his power, killing him instantly.]]
** [[spoiler:Arthur Petrelli]] himself has elements of this, starting off the series on life support and only able to communicate through telepathy.
** As of Volume 4's finale [[spoiler:Sylar's brainwashing into believing himself to be Nathan Petrelli certainly qualifies.]] It didn't last.
** Volume 5 has [[spoiler:Sylar being imprisoned inside his own head and Parkman sealing his comatose body inside a brick cell.]]
* One episode of ''Series/{{Highlander}}: The Series'' featured a Nazi Immortal who had been chained and thrown into a river by a young boy. How do you make a Nazi cross? Forty years of drowning and reviving every few minutes ought to do it...
** There is at least one story of an Immortal being on a sunken ship and having to walk back -- Kit O'Brady was on a boat to Alaska when it sank, and said it took him months to walk back.
** And then there's the example of the Immortal stranded on a deserted island for years, dying of starvation and thirst every so often, just to wake up and do it again. For some reason he held a grudge...
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series uses this in several series.
** In ''Series/KamenRiderKuuga'', the Grongi were imprisoned in a tomb by [[spoiler: the original Kuuga after he defeated them]].
** In ''Series/KamenRiderAgito'', the [[spoiler: Overlord of Darkness]] has a somewhat odd version of this, [[spoiler: he was already dead, but left his DNA around, allowing him to retake his physical form when humans uncover it]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderBlade'' has the Undead, who have been imprisoned since the beginning of time, after serving their purpose and deciding the dominate species of life on Earth. Though since not all of them are evil, some would be SealedGoodInACan and since most of them just want to fight one another, they would be SealedBadassInACan. The Roaches and Black Joker defiently fit the trope though. There's also Jashin 14 in TheMovie.
** In the newest series, ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'', the Greeed have been imprisoned in a stone box for 800 years until they're released during a robbery. The stone box? [[spoiler: The original OOO]].
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', Kia is an assassin who spends most of his time frozen so he's save his protoblood for when he's needed, which is only when someone needs to be killed.
* One episode from ''Los Luchadores'' dealt with a plot to awaken a demon in a ritual involving three descendants of the people responsible for originally sealing it. In this case, the ritual is successfully interrupted just before its completion, denying the audience the spectacle of watching an ancient evil being defeated by a masked professional wrestler.
* In ''Series/{{Lost}}'', [[spoiler: Jacob claims that this is the role of the Island]]. It is implied that [[spoiler: the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster]] is the evil being imprisoned.
* ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'': The goblin from [[Recap/MerlinS03E03GoblinsGold '' Goblin's Gold'']], who was sealed in a box, then escaped to torment everyone in the castle, and then resealed after being trapped by Merlin and Gwen.
* A sketch on ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' has the [[BrownNote funniest joke in the world]] being buried after WorldWarII so it can never kill anyone again.
* In ''Series/MythQuest'', Gorgos was shut away inside a stone for trying to change the myths of humanity. Matt Bellows accidentally releases him in the first episode, but only into a slightly bigger can. With significant air holes.
* The Dragon Lord and the Rank from ''Series/NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation'', who were imprisoned in an enchanted mirror until they took the opportunity to break free, menacing the Turtles and replacing the Shredder as the BigBad.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In "Abaddon", the crew of a ship in deep space discovers a hypersleep pod containing the body of a famous mass murdering warlord. He's let out and quickly begins to manipulate the people on the ship into killing each other.
* A constantly recurring trope in ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and its source material ''Franchise/SuperSentai'':
** The TropeNamer Rita Repulsa from the first season of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' was originally trapped in a "space dumpster" on the moon (or ''a'' moon, or something) for 10,000 years until astronauts accidentally released her. Her line from the intro sequence is rather iconic:
--->Ahh! After 10,000 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!
*** Her Japanese counterpart in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger'' is even called Bandora, named after the tale of Pandora's box.
*** Her boss Lord Zedd eventually returns, and displeased with [[YouHaveFailedMe her failure]] puts her back in her dumpster (or a different one) and sends her off into space again. She gets out twice. The first time the Rangers catch her and reseal her, the second time she stays out for good.
*** To a lesser extent, in the episode "Final Face-Off," Rita opens an urn which imprisoned the legendary Face Stealer. The Rangers lock him back in the urn upon his defeat at the end of the episode.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'''s villains are released from the "Tomb of Forever" by an unwitting Egyptologist. The villains then go about trying to free their still-sealed Queen. They all more or less end up that way again in the finale when they are either destroyed (sending their spirits back) or by physically being thrown back into the "Tomb of Forever", sealing them in the Shadow World.
** While not applying to the main villains of ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'', the individual monsters fit this trope, being mutant prisoners shrunk, cryogenically frozen, and sealed inside small containers. They also return that way when defeated.
** The Orgs of ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'' were spirits sealed in the earth 3,000 years ago. They were freed in the present day to possess everyday objects due to pollution and the appearance of a successor to their BigBad.
** ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' has the "Abyss of Evil" that acts as one. Unusually, the BigBad, Lothor, didn't bust out of there at the beginning of the season; instead it factored into his EvilPlan: [[spoiler:if his monsters couldn't defeat the Rangers, they'd be sent to the Abyss; cramming it full until it burst open and gave him an army to work with.]]
*** Double subverted, as Lothor is sealed in the Abyss at the end of the series, and then breaks out in the next season, ''Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder'', during the team-up episode.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' most of the individual monsters and main villains fit this trope, being alien criminals. They are trapped inside special cards when defeated.
** Rita Repulsa's very ''line'' is echoed by Koragg's first line in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' (He actually says "After ''all these'' years, I'm free," but the similarity was close enough that many fans were confused into thinking the {{backstory}} was set ten thousand years previous, when it actually appears to have been more like 20).
** In ''Series/PowerRangersOperationOverdrive'' all four big bad factions has someone sealed inside a different can. Moltor and Flurious were sealed inside two lifeless planets, one of extreme heat and the other of extreme cold respectively, when they tried to grab the season's MacGuffin, and freed when said MacGuffin was discovered on Earth. Kamdor is initially sealed in a blue gem necklace until he is freed with a stolen device by his partner Miratrix, who incidentally later becomes sealed in same said necklace when Kamdor double crosses her. Then there is the "Prison Mirror" which contains an army of Fearcats, but was destroyed with only Benglo escaping. In another episode, Thrax, the son of Rita and Zedd, repeats the same line his mother made when released from a Space Dumpster, after what could not have been more than two or three years.
** ''Series/PowerRangersJungleFury'' has Dai Shi, who has been stuck in an (unlocked!) box for 10,000 years. The box was kept by a secret order, but opened when a disgruntled student barged in and attacked the order's master, knocking the box out of his hands. Unusually, however, Dai Shi is ''significantly'' weaker than he was, and has to struggle to regain his powers before the Rangers become strong enough to destroy him.
*** This season also had other sealed cans. The Crystal Eyes for the Phantom Beasts, The Overlords lifeless bodies/shells & two of the "5 Fingers of Poison" urns with broken remains (both revived by Naja's life talons), the various statue soldiers brought to life as monsters of the day, and the Spirit World (at the finale) which acted as both a sealed can of evil (for Dai Shi's fallen minions) and a sealed can of good (for the fallen Masters).
** Venjix from ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' began its existence more or less as a sealed evil. The program for the sentient, self-replicating, computer virus was initially created and contained in a single laptop. That is until Dr. K, in a attempt to escape her circumstances, decided to infect Alphabet Soup's computer network with the virus but was stopped short from installing a firewall to prevent further spread. The result was an infection of nearly every computer system connected to the internet and the destruction of nearly the entire human race.
*** It is hinted that Venjix also becomes one of these again, as opposed to being destroyed, at the end of ''RPM'' with the Venjix Palace music playing as the camera focuses in on Ranger Red's morpher with a blinking red light.
** The Sanzu River from ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'' is one to the Nighloks, as nobody can last long away from the river before they dry out. Only a monster and some {{Mooks}} are able to go out at a time, trying to increase peoples' despair and sorrow in order to make the Sanzu's water level rise until it seeps into and floods the human world.\\\
Master Xandred was sealed in the river by Jayden's father. Due to the seal being done wrong (which stems from the previous Red Ranger having insufficient power at the time), it causes him headaches.
*** "The Master Returns" seems to imply that he's still trapped to some degree, as flashbacks show he could previously leave the Sanzu River without drying out, a problem he has now.
* In ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'', [[spoiler:the race of supercomputers that Mr. Smith belongs to.]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'''s fifth season, Brainiac's primary goal is to release Zod from the Phantom Zone. He eventually succeeds in the season finale and Zod's first action upon being freed is to [[SealedGoodInACan put Clark Kent into the same can that he just escaped from]].
** Clark manages to escape on his own, without help from the outside, and subsequently reimprisons Zod in the season six premiere. He then spends the rest of season six hunting down the other Phantom Zone prisoners who escaped at the same time he did one by one and either killing or preferably reimprisoning them.
* Despite the frequent use of the "Pandora's box" analogy, it was really ''Earth'' that was sealed in a can at the beginning of ''Series/StargateSG1''. On the other hand, there are several examples of villains being effectively sealed in cans, such as Osiris (who was in a canopic jar), Anubis' son (in a stasis chamber), the Wraith (hibernating), and the Ori (in a distant galaxy blissfully unaware that free humans existed).
** One of the most literal ''Series/StargateSG1'' examples would be Hathor, who had been sealed in her sarcophagus for 4,000 years, only for some unwitting archaeologist to open it.
** As well as Marduk. [[spoiler: He was ''so bad by even Goa'uld standards'' that his servants locked him in a sarcophagus with a ravenous predatory beast. As it continually ate him, the sarcophagus' nigh-magical healing powers would keep healing him and see to it that it took him centuries to die. ''Damn''. However, the Goa'uld are PuppeteerParasite, so Marduk simply pulled a body-switch and took over the predator.]] And then Our Heroes go poking around in there...
** The Replicators were sealed in a can by the Asgard, but it gets worse when the Replicators outwit the trap and crank it UpToEleven before SG-1 arrive to fix the can.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' used this a few times.
** Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers, in the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries TOS]] episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E22SpaceSeed Space Seed]]".
** In the classic series episode [[Recap/StarTrekS1E27TheAlternativeFactor "The Alternative Factor"]], if Lazarus and his insane counterpart from the antimatter dimension were ever to meet in the same universe, that universe would be destroyed. Both of them are sent into an [[PhantomZone intermediate dimension]] so that this can never happen, and where the two of them will be [[SealedEvilInADuel locked in combat for all eternity]].
** Data's evil "brother" Lore in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. He's found disassembled in Dr. Soong's lab and the ''Enterprise'' crew make the mistake of putting him back together.
** Well, in [[WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries the animated version]] episode "Beyond the Farthest Star", Kirk tricked an ancient evil entity onto a black dwarf star, where it moans about how lonely it is as the credits roll.
** This was supposedly the plot behind the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Dragon's Teeth", when Seven of Nine releases an alien race from a 900-year stasis... only for them to turn out to be your bog-standard Villains of the Week piloting obsolete spaceships. Disappointing.
** "Alice" from ''Star Trek: Voyager'' features an alien shuttlecraft that controls its pilots through its neural interface, appearing unto them as female avatars of their native species (as in the case of Abaddon and Tom Paris) and giving them brain hemorrhages to keep them in line.
** The ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Regeneration" features Borg in the ice.
** Another episode played off the RealLife example (see below) of nuclear waste- Data is injured while retrieving said material from a crashed Starfleet ship, and after the ensuing memory loss he stumbles into a local village. His radioactive-shielded briefcase doesn't stay closed for long.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has used so many variants of this it's the only kind of MythArc they've ever had, but at least it always varies. Thus far the end of every even-numbered season has involved letting some great evil out of its can. Seasons three, five, and seven have been about dealing with these evils.
** Azazel's goal in the season 2 finale was to open a Devil's Gate in Wyoming in order to [[spoiler: release Lilith and a demon army into the human world. Lilith would be needed to later break Lucifer out of his cage.]]
** In the fourth season Lucifer is imprisoned in Hell and Lilith is out trying to release him... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero guess how that turns out.]] Eventualy they [[spoiler: manage to stick him back in]], although he's [[spoiler:[[HeroicSacrifice wearing Sam's body at the time]]]].
** One of the seals used to seal [[spoiler:Lucifer]] was itself undoing the seal that kept in Samhain, a [[SadlyMythtaken demon that raises the dead and pronounced Sam-Hane]].
** In season 6, we have Purgatory, the place that creatures who don't belong in either Heaven or Hell go when they die. This seems to make it a repository of monster souls; it also contains a being known as the "Mother of All" which they call Eve, probably because they already used the names Lilith and Tiamat for other purposes, and apparently some very nasty formless things that were never alive in the normal sense. [[spoiler: Cas and Crowley]] work together to open it in order to use the monster souls as a power source, but there are side effects. The first episode of the seventh season reveals that [[spoiler: Purgatory was originally created to seal away the Leviathans, beasts that God feared would (as Death put it) "chomp the entire dish"]].
** The end of Season 10 gives us the series' crowning example, as Death reveals that before the dawn of time itself, there existed only [[UltimateEvil The Darkness]], an amoral force of destruction. God and His archangels waged war on it and eventually sealed it away (allowing them to create the universe), creating the Mark of Cain to serve as its lock and key, though this resulted in the Mark turning into TheCorruption for all who bear it. [[spoiler: Freeing Dean from the Mark releases the Darkness on the world.]]
* The first ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' season finale features [[spoiler:Abaddon, son of The Beast]] who was sealed within the Cardiff Rift.
* In ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "The Howling Man," the evil sealed in a cell was the Devil himself.
* In ''Series/{{Tracker}}'', Zin gets sealed in an underground vault during his attempt to steal the alien weapon hidden there.
* Katherine and two dozen other vampires in ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' were sealed in a tomb beneath the town church. In a slight subversion of the usual formula, this was actually an attempt to SAVE Katherine from the town's vampire hunters.
** Actually it was Katherine's plot to kill the tomb vampires because they knew she was alive and eventually word will get back to Klaus and he would find and kill her for his sacrifice. So she plotted with George Lockwood in 1864 to have them take the blame for the killings George was doing. George was a werewolf and he was killing all those people. So their interest met: The tomb vampires would take the blame for George's killings and at the same time be eliminated to keep Katherine's secret from Klaus. Katherine's "payment" for this was the moonstone George had.
** The dagger dipped in white oak ash only kills the Original vampires if it stays in place. Klaus keeps all his siblings in coffins with daggers in them. He wakes up Rebekah when he needs her necklace.
** Mikael. Katherine wakes him up, but no-one except Damon and Stefan is aware of this yet.
** Esther, the Originals' mother who initially turned them all into vampires. Klaus tore her heart out and has been keeping her in a coffin, thanks to a spell that preserved her body perfectly.
** Very few things can permanently kill an Original but if that does happen then all the vampires in his/her sire line will also die. Since the Originals tend to inspire IHateYouVampireDad, there are always vampires around trying to find a way to get rid of the Originals for good without killing themselves in the process. This usually involves finding a way to immobilize an Orginal and then sealing him/her away in a location that will not be disturbed for a long time. The middle of the ocean is often suggested as the perfect storing place for an Original.
* The aliens of ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'' were sealed in cans at the opening of the series.
* ''Series/WynonnaEarp'': The main plot is driven by the fact that the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent revenants]] of all the people Wyatt Earp ever killed are trapped within an area called the Ghost River Triangle, that goes from the mountains to where the North and South Ghost rivers meet. It cuts through the big city and contains thousands of square miles of forest, foothills, prairie, the Badlands and most importantly, the town of [[MeaningfulName Purgatory]]. Any revenant who sets foot beyond those limits is subject to a FateWorseThanDeath. Bobo Del Rey, the [[BigBad leader]] of the revenants, is determined to find a way to escape.
** The season 1 finale also revealed the existence of an EldritchAbomination of some kind buried just outside the Triangle, which is as incapable of getting ''in'' as the revenants are of getting ''out''. It briefly emerges when [[spoiler: [[TheMole Willa]] crosses the barrier line with Peacemaker]], but when [[spoiler: Wynonna carries the gun back]], the creature appears to be resealed.
* ''Series/SixHundredSixtySixParkAvenue'': Whatever is in the Red Box that Shaw stole from Gavin.
** It's debatable whether Peter Kramer was evil per say or just driven crazy by the Drake, but in any case, his spirit was locked inside a suitcase, which was then locked in a storage room in the basement that was bricked shut.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Every Bal Sagoth song starts with "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all the more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush the mind of anyone near it, then plunge the Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark at the Moon" by Music/OzzyOsbourne is about a beast that once terrorized a town, but was eventually buried in a nameless grave. And then he ends up returning to cause some more destruction.
* In "Gatekeeper" by WithinTemptation sort of [[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* Just saw this in the opening of an article about the third ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is the case with all ancient evils, 80's rock music was never sealed away in a very permanent fashion.''"
[[/folder]]


Added DiffLines:

[[folder: Video Games]]

* ''A Mess O' Trouble'' (an excellent Mac [=WorldBuilder=] shareware AdventureGame) has two godlike creatures trapped inside time dilation bubbles in some ruins. You know from local historians (and abominations lying around in the ruins) that their civilization was practically constructed by a good creature and then fooled into nearly destroying itself by a bad creature. One is a beautiful [[EnergyBeings Energy Being]], the other a dull-looking lizard man. [[LightIsNotGood Guess which is which?]]
* The entire ''VideoGame/ArcTheLad'' series revolves around this trope with the [[BigBad Dark One]]. He starts every game being sealed, winds up being unsealed at some point, and then gets re-sealed by the end of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'', the hook and most the line of the plot involves the player character being a ChosenOne prophecied to defeat the EvilSorcerer Arronax, last known to be sealed in the Void. Later it's revealed that several other evil beings are sealed in that dimension, including a demon with insatiable hunger, the murderer who killed Arcanum's last dragon, a genocidal barbarian king. By the time you finally wormhole your way inside, [[spoiler:Arronax did a HeelFaceTurn long ago, after having been overshadowed by an EvilOverlord you must defeat instead.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' the cyclops Gargarensis is on a mission to free Kronos from Tartarus in return for godhood. [[spoiler: He fails. Kronos gets out in the expansion, but gets buried right back in by Gaia.]]
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Avernum}}'' / ''VideoGame/{{Exile}}'' game, there is the Haakai Lord Grah-Hoth, who was sealed in a bottle before the game begins. Despite being unable to directly act, the game reveals him to be manipulating events, such as aiding the Slith against the humans who imprisoned him.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2''
** In the Expansion Pack, the BonusBoss is the avatar of a very powerful demon lord. You are asked to reseal him in his prison as he's about to break free. Alternatively, you can fight him in an epic battle. However, if you win and kill him, it only means he is freed back to his own plane.
** Kangaxx the demi-lich is another example. He dies very permanently after underestimating you, however.
* ''VideoGame/TheBardsTale'', being a parody of fantasy RPG tropes in general, has two of these. The first is the Nuckelavee, which our hero accidentally releases. [[spoiler: The other is the "Princess" that he's supposed to be rescuing. Turns out that she's really a powerful demon, and the world gets progressively worse as her seal weakens.]]
** The Bard seems to make a habit of unsealing evils. There's also a dragon, which the Bard had apparently set free before the events of the game. One SideQuest brings him to the town that it ransacked, and the residents are none too happy.
* The Furies in ''Videogame/BattleZone1998'' are [[PreCursors Cthonian]] war machines, whose biometal hulls are infused with the essence of ancient Greek warriors who were dying on the battlefield before being collected, giving them a certain [[CrushKillDestroy psychotic bloodlust]]. In their bid to stay ahead of the Americans in the [[AlternateHistory 1960s Biometal wars]], the Soviets start building Fury craft from blueprints and tech they've found scattered throughout the Solar System. Predictably, things go pear shaped, and [[spoiler: most of the Soviet forces are destroyed before they announce a ceasefire with the Americans and merge their forces. It's then up to Grizzly One and what's left of the American and Soviet forces to save the Solar System before the Furies blow up Earth like they blew up the Cthonian homeworld - now known as the [[EarthShatteringKaboom Asteroid Belt]].]]
* ''VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble'': The Beast was one, and the final puzzle is putting it back into a can.
* ''VideoGame/{{Blazblue}}'': The Black Beast. [[spoiler:[[TheHero Ragna]] is the can. [[DiscOneFinalBoss Nu-13]] is the can opener.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:Yuuki Terumi, who couldn't be defeated by the Six Heroes, so he was instead trapped in the Boundary [[HeroicSacrifice with Hakumen]]]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}} 2: Solar Boy Django'' has a textbook example in its BigBad, Jormungandr.
** The Japan only sequel has a similar deal, except its cosmic horror, Vanargand, was sealed on the frickin' MOON.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'', the Vault [[spoiler:only contains--as far as the player is concerned--a monster called The Destroyer who is "immortal in his own realm"]]. Sadly, [[spoiler:this final fight is easier than a single monster from the previous zone]]. The Vault also opens every 200 years, which raises the question of it really is a ''sealed'' can.
* A significant portion of the plot of ''VideoGame/BraveFencerMusashi'' revolves around this. The first major quest in the game involves Musashi being sent to collect Lumina, the legendary greatsword used to defeat the Wizard of Darkness; a significant portion of the rest of the game revolves around Musashi questing to recover the elemental Scrolls in order to power Lumina up enough to take out the Thirstquencher Empire. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, it turns out the voice which set Musashi on this quest in the first place, a voice originating from Lumina itself, was actually the Wizard of Darkness himself, not destroyed but sealed within the sword. Guess what the only things holding him back are? If you guessed "the five Scrolls and the Crest Guardians they're connected to," you win the kewpie doll.]]
* Dracula's castle in the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series is eventually sealed this way after the Dark Lord's death. It's sealed inside the total solar eclipse of 1999. In the solar eclipse of 2035, it sucks in everyone present at the shrine where the sealing took place.
** Dracula, and Castlevania itself, were also sealed in the underworld throughout most of the series, both of them reappearing on Earth only once every hundred years. But Dracula found so many ways to circumvent that rule that it became more of a "sealed evil in a sieve".
* Lavos in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
** A subversion, Lavos was an alien that burrowed into the earth and then unleashes the apocalypse many ages later as part of its natural life cycle. Essentially, it seals itself in the final can and breaks out when it wants. The villains of the game attempt to awaken him to harvest his power, with the apocalypse being a byproduct of this.
* The ''VideoGame/CityOfVillains'' is practically filled with these: [[spoiler: Bat'Zul under Cap Au Diable, the Leviathan under Sharkhead Isle, Shiva in Bloody Bay]]... and the VideoGame/CityOfHeroes isn't lacking in them either, as [[BigBoosHaunt Dark Astoria]] apparently houses the sleeping dread god of the Banished Pantheon, and the {{Kaiju}} that may still be in battle with [[SealedGoodInACan Talos]] underneath Talos Island... Also, both sides can get involved in the escape of the Reichsman, [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazi with the power of the gods]].
* The [[spoiler: Firstborn]] in ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho''.
* The Undying King from ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying''. [[spoiler:who was actually the LID on the can, opening the door to the rest of the series. Unfortunately, this well done game bombed monstrously, so the series never materialized...]]
* The Relic of Moirai in ''[[VideoGame/{{Contra}} Contra: Shattered Soldier]]'', which is revealed to be [[spoiler: the mysterious force that the alien attackers in the previous ''Contra'' video games were trying to recover the whole time, after it was taken and hidden away by the [[BiggerBad Triumvirate]], according to Lance Bean.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DarkCloud'', the general of an expansionist empire frees the Dark Genie from its place of captivity. At first, it seems to grant his wish by destroying every other nation on the face of the planet, but in the end, it takes over his body to progress towards its final goal -- the complete destruction of ''everything''.
* ''VideoGame/JediKnightJediAcademy'': The sealed evil takes the form of an ancient Sith Lord, whom the game's big bad is naturally trying to resurrect, thinking she will be rewarded. The Sith Lord has other ideas.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkMessiah'', the Demon lord is locked in a prison under the city of Stonehelm, however the original prison is flawed and can be broken, the player can choose to get the good ending and seal him away forever by repairing the seal or get the bad ending by releasing him.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', the original one, has an absolutely beautiful example. An ancient demon imprisoned in a stone manipulates Orks into attacking human cities on the planet. Space Marines come to the rescue and do what {{Space marine}}s do best - spill ungodly amounts of Orkish and human blood - just so at the end, the demon can reveal that [[spoiler: the entire planet had previously been converted into a blood altar for releasing him]]. Bonus points: most characters wanting to use demon or its power for their own end up badly.
** The Chaos Rising expansion to ''Dawn of War II'' also features a plot to unseal a demon trapped inside a planet that was lost in the Warp.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'', the Marker seals the infection that turns corpses into horrific alien monsters ([[spoiler:it was actually a manmade knockoff of the real marker]]). Anyways, the Marker-Worshipping [[strike: Scientologists]] ''[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Unitologists]]'' discover the Marker in the midst of mining Aegis VII and move it off its pedestal. [[CaptainObvious Bad things occur]].
** Even worse, later games indicate that [[spoiler: the Markers cause the infection that turns corpses into horrific monsters while doing a number on the sanity of those with higher education in engineering and biology compelling the affected to eventually make more Markers and worse corpse monsters respectively. The Pedestal itself was the can, with the Marker being and its signal being the Evil.]]
* The ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' series. Every. Single. Installment. ...except the fourth. That one just needed to be awakened rather than unsealed and at the end of the first one [[BigBad Mundus]] is resealed in the can..
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}}'' series, when the Prime Evils were unleashed upon Sanctuary, the Archangel Tyrael selected a group of mortals known as the Horadrim and charged them with imprisoning their essences into the Soulstones so that they would not be reborn into the Hells upon death. But thanks to the betrayal of Tyrael's lieutenant Izual, who filled the Prime Evils in on the Soulstones and how to corrupt them, it turns out that this played directly into their hands.
* The demons in ''Videogame/{{Doom}} 3''. Sealed in a can until [[spoiler: [[BigBad Dr. Betruger]] teleports himself and the [[LostSuperWeapon Soul Cube]] into Hell]]. They were sealed back into the same can at the end, as well...
* Played with in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. [[spoiler: The Darkspawn seek out the seven ancient dragon gods buried within the earth, and when they find and awaken one it becomes the Archdemon and leads them in a massive invasion of the surface world - but the sealed gods were not necessarily evil until tainted by the darkspawn, making them more like SealedBadassInACan GoneHorriblyWrong.]]
* The draconic Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' were, according to the Chantry, banished to the depths of the earth by The Maker to slumber for all eternity. The Darkspawn are somehow able to hear the Old Gods' Call and devote centuries of effort tunneling through the earth in search of them. When they finally discover an Old God, the Darkspawn taint immediately corrupts the ancient dragon, turning it into an insane and twisted shell of its former self -- an Archdemon. The new Archdemon then commands the Darkspawn hordes in a bid to kill everything -- a Blight. By the time the game starts, the world has already suffered through four such Blights. [[spoiler: One of the biggest secrets that the higher-ups of the Grey Wardens keep from the rest of the Order is that they know where the Old Gods are buried]].
** In a DLC of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]] finds an old Grey Warden fortress, which turns out to be a prison for [[spoiler:one of the original Darkspawn - a Tevinter mage who attempted to reach the Golden City and was cursed by the Maker. The magic seals have held for thousands of years, but are finally starting to give out.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' Hawke can fight several powerful demons that were sealed away in and around Kirkwall. The "Legacy" {{DLC}} revolves around the Hawke family's connection to an ancient Sealed Evil In A Can [[spoiler:Corypheus one of the original Tevinter Magisters who brought the Darkspawn Taint to Thedas]] whose subconscious efforts to free itself have brought danger to Hawke's doorstep. There's also ANOTHER uber-monster sealed right outside the prison housing him, but that one's an optional BonusBoss.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' has Bjorn the Behemoose.
** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' has Rhapthorne, with ''two'' cans: the scepter of Trodain to hold his soul, and [[spoiler:the statue of the Goddess on Neos]] to hold his body.
* The Grotesqueries in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', with a [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed twist]]. Also, no one knows the Sealed Evil in a Can exists except possibly the BigBad. They're concerned about some other thing that comes out when those seals are broken.
* {{Greed}}, [[spoiler:the content of the Golden Chest]] from ''VideoGame/{{Dubloon}}''.
* In the final route of ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' instead of killing [[spoiler:Lobelia]] after she is beaten, her soul is trapped via alchemy when she tries body hopping.
* ''Videogame/DwarfFortress'' has what is popularly referred to in the community as "Hidden Fun Stuff". [[spoiler: If your dwarves [[DugTooDeep tunnel far down enough]], they may breach a secret chamber containing demons which are powerful enough to bring the fortress to its knees. It's possible to kill them, though.]]
** As of the latest update [[spoiler:there are now "Demonic Fortresses" which are a bit like the pits, but the pits have been replaced with ''[[PhysicalHell hell itself]]'', which you simply reach by digging far enough, implying ''most of the physical structure of the planet'' is a caverns made of an unmineable, indestructible, impossibly heavy {{Unobtainium}} who's exits are blocked by another {{Unobtanium}} which is very valuable, light, and hard. And every Demonic Fortress contains a hole straight to Hell, blocked by a [[SchmuckBait masterwork sword]] made of the latter type of {{Unobtainium}}. As for Hell itself, it contains so many demons that the game doesn't bother counting them.]]
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'': Giygas is first encountered in the Devil's Machine, which seals away his warped consciousness. Subverted in that Giygas can still damage Ness and his friends while sealed away, but played straight when [[RivalTurnedEvil Pokey]] unleashes Giygas' true form by turning the machine off.
* ''[[{{Earth 2150}} Earth 2160]]'' has the traditional sealed-ancient-evil-alien-race-beneath-the-surface-of-Mars for the first half of the game. Then some Dutch nerd learns to control them, and it all ends badly(-er).
* The main storyline of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' focuses around preventing Dagoth Ur, a godlike being imprisoned for 3500 years, from fully regaining his sealed powers.(though he wasn't imprisoned but passed out)
** Likewise, in its followup, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', the player must prevent Mehrunes Dagon, lord of the titular realm, from unleashing his forces upon the world. Dagon isn't really sealed IN anything so much as he is kept OUT. In this case, the world is the Can Sealed Against Evil.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the SealedEvilInACan is Alduin. And he isn't unsealed by someone playing around with something they know nothing about, but was an inevitability since his sealing involved him being cast adrift outside of time. A prophecy describes the events that must transpire before he would end up back in linear time again. There are also many other smaller evils sealed all around Skyrim, specially in Nordic ruins.
* In the Creator/{{Infocom}} text game ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'', your job is to defeat the evil enchanter Krill ''without'' disturbing the Cosmic Horror that's sealed below his castle. The tie-in novel by Robin Bailey takes the tack that your character accidentally did release the thing, and now it's up to the book's protagonist to stop it.
* Akron, the FinalBoss of ''EpicBattleFantasy'' ''3''. He notes in his BossBanter that he has been defeated and sealed away countless times through time immemorial -- but in the end, his enemies all succumbed to time while he always returns.
* Towards the end of ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'' its revealed that the STEM system that the protagonists are connected to is the can and Ruvik slowly became the evil after having his brain used as the base for the experiment. Who may or may not have been released in the games ending, though the former heavily implied.
* In ''VideoGame/EvilZone'', the inhabitants of an island dimension sealed away an incarnation of a cosmic destroyer, but couldn't finish the job themselves, so they had to hire out heroes to finish the BigBad off.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', long ago, when the EvilSorcerer was defeated with the magical scrolls, the King had him entombed within the Legendary Sword. Unfortunately, on a dark and stormy night a few months before gameplay begins, the spell on the sword was lifted.
* The entire point of most the rituals in the ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series is to make sure the sealed evil (specifically Hell itself) stays that way, though naturally they always eventually fail and plunge the area into endless suffering,[[AnthropicPrinciple we'd have no game series otherwise]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' has the [[spoiler: Holy Grail, which]] was corrupted as of the [[spoiler: third war]] by the AnthropomorphicPersonification of evil.
* Most ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games feature a Sealed Evil in a can. Even ''FinalFantasyTactics'', which is grounded in realism and political intrigue, has an evil god trying to find a suitable host body.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' gives us the Cloud of Darkness, the living essence of the power of the Dark (as opposed to the Light of the heroes' world.) The game implies that Xande's machinations allowed it to take form, but it would have remained sealed away in the Dark World had it not been for him opening a portal leading straight into it. The [[spoiler: Dark Warriors imply that they fought the Cloud]] 1,000 years ago, when it was Light surrounding Darkness, and got it Canned within the Dark World. Xande was nothing but a can-opener.
** Zemus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', who, despite being sealed in [[spoiler:the Lunarian Moon]] was still able to influence events in the world in an almost successful attempt to effectively kill all humans. Notably, he is never ''released'' from his can; you raid it.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'''s previous generation of heroes, the Braves of Dawn, used the power of the Crystals to seal away Exdeath, who then surreptitiously began to drain the power of the Crystals (either personally or through manipulation.) Additionally, the player learns that, prior to Exdeath, the sorcerer Enuo was the first to harness the power of the Void, and waged war with it until he and all his [[CosmicHorror obscenely powerful demons]] were thrown into the Dimensional Rift. The [[UpdatedRerelease Advance version]] expands upon this by letting the player explore Enuo's prison and vanquish him for good.
** Also in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' there once was a tree in the Great Forest of Moore used to seal up evil spirits. Eventually, the power of those spirits gave the tree sapience, power, and a whole lot of evil. That tree became Exdeath; a prime example of sealing so much evil away that the can ''itself'' turns evil.
** The Warring Triad of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', who started the War of the Magi, sealed themselves away after realizing the destruction they had wrought upon the world, and the Espers hid them away in their own underground kingdom. Then Kefka came and released them, destroying the balance of magic and devastating the world. It also released Humbaba, Deathgaze, and the eight dragons who are released during the apocalypse.
** Jenova of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' is a basic example of the trope; she spends most of the plot going from tomb > water tank > freezer. In the sequel movie ''[[Anime/FinalFantasyVIIAdventChildren Advent Children]]'', what's left of her is stored in a literal can.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', Laguna Loire tricks evil sorceress Adel into walking into a specially-prepared technological "tomb" in which he is able to seal her considerable powers. Then he launches it into space and spends the next seventeen years making regular trips to monitor the seal. Predictably enough, catastrophe eventually lets her loose again, but by that point Laguna's son is well-equipped to kill her off for good.
** Shuyin of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2'' is a special case. In one sense, he is still sealed within the Den of Woe, but in another sense he is free to wander around within the body of first [[spoiler:Nooj]], then [[spoiler:Baralai]]. Also, while his goal is indeed to break free of his prison and destroy the world, this is because he's a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds, not an UltimateEvil.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', all the Espers, as well as several other bosses.
* ''Videogame/FireEmblem: Path of Radiance'' alone uses the trope straight, with the characters believing that Lehran's Medallion contained an evil god that flooded the entire world save Tellius. So at the end not only do the heroes fight Ashnard in order to liberate Crimea, but also to prevent him from unleashing a dark god. [[spoiler:However the true nature of the relic is revealed in the sequel Radiant Dawn, and the heroes are the ones who free Yune, the Goddess of Chaos, rather then letting the negative energies of war do it. As it turns out, Yune was actually SealedGoodInACan who just happened to mess up (the Great Flood); in fact, the BigBad is Ashera, the goddess everyone had been praying to throughout both games, who [[IceQueen purged her emotions]] (forming Yune) to avoid another Great Flood.]]
** Genealogy of the Holy War wins "strangest method of resurrecting", with 2 half siblings being [[AliensMadeThemDoIt brainwashed in order to breed a vessal]] for the dark god they are descended from.
* The second installment of ''VideoGame/FossilFighters'' has one of these as the BigBad. [[spoiler: Pay CLOSE attention to the foreshadowing of a certain AbsentMindedProfessor.]]
* The Dread Lords from ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations 2''. The Dread Lords had a pocket dimension which they had used as a base for their fleets. Their enemies, The Arnor, used this against them by sealing the last of their empire in the dimension. Later on, the Dregin found the lock to the Dread Lord prison. Thinking that is was an ancient weapon, they activate the device, allowing the Dread Lords to escape and wreak havoc across the galaxy. Upon seeing this, the Drengin realize their mistake and decide to [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere leave the others for dead]].
* Well before the start of the ''{{Geneforge}}'' series, the Shapers discovered a startling new [[PsychoSerum technology]] that could imbue ordinary humans with incredible magical powers. When they discovered some of the side effects involved (such as SuicidalOverconfidence, a violent temper, and in extreme cases, outright BodyHorror), rather than take any steps to destroy this technology, they simply abandoned the remote island outpost where it was discovered, and declared it off limits under penalty of death. Fast forward a few hundred years: A band of explorers from across the seas happens upon the abandoned outpost and all its forbidden goods. Things go downhill from there.
** In fact, the Shapers do this constantly. Their laboratories, workshops, and schools are designed to be sealed up quickly should anything [[GoneHorriblyWrong Go Horribly Wrong]].
** Not just should. It's said at one point that more often than not something ''does'' go wrong.
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', Palawa Joko suffers this fate. Then there's Abaddon and everyone else locked in the Realm of Torment, including [[spoiler: the Titans from the first game]]. Ultimately, in an attempt to stop Varesh Ossa from opening a gate to the Realm of Torment, you have to let Palawa Joko out of his prison.
* In the ''Videogame/{{Halo}}'' series, the bad guys accidentally release the Flood, a race of alien parasites that were sealed in special facilities all over the galaxy at the end of a cataclysmic war between them and the Forerunners 100,000 years ago. This war ended with the extinction of all sentient life in the galaxy, so it's a wonder why the Forerunners left little pockets of Flood spores for nosey aliens to stumble across. The AI monitor of one of these facilities comments on this (while you're in the middle of fending off a large wave of rotting space-zombies), saying that specimens were kept over after the last outbreak "for study," and remarks that "this decision may have been in error." No shit...
** Done again in ''Videogame/{{Halo 4}}'' with [[spoiler:The Didact, who is most likely the last living Forerunner, being released by the [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Master Chief.]] ]]
* Coincidentally, ''VideoGame/HomeworldCataclysm'' also involves a similar scenario. Somewhere around a million years ago, the extragalactic exploration vessel ''[[MeaningfulName Naggarok]]'' picked up a deadly technoorganic entity in hyperspace. Seeing no way to defeat it, the crew scuttled the engines, trapping the entity in deep space. However, they screwed up as the ship auto-launched az empty lifepod with a transmitter (and some Beast material) onboard. In the present, the Kiith Somtaaw mining ship ''Kuun-Lan'' finds the pod and opens it. Cue to a race with time to find both the ''Naggarok'' and the new Beast mothership and blow both to smithereens before the whole galaxy suffers a fate worse than death (ship crews aren't simply killed, they're broken down into biomass to function as a makeshift neural interface between ships and the Beast - and judging by the sound of it, it's not exactly painless).
--> '''Bentusi:''' We will NOT be bound!
* Orochi, from ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters '97''.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestIV'' had Pandora's Box show up. Opening it killed Rosella. There was also that infamous lamp in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV''. The FanSequel ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' hints that Pandora's Box will play a part in its plot.
* ''VideoGame/KirbySqueakSquad'' plays with this one a little. What started as a hunt for stolen strawberry shortcake leads to Dedede getting smacked down on false suspicions, Kirby chasing all over the world to get his snack back from the titular menace [[spoiler:only for the chest allegedly supposed to hold the shortcake stolen away by [[TheRival Meta Knight]], and when HE gets smacked down, the Squeaks grab the chest and let loose [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Dark Nebula]]. For such a simple protagonist the plot for these can get quite complex, especially given Meta Knight grabbed the chest away just to prevent [[BigBad Dark Nebula]] from being released.]] The best part is that through all of this, you get the feeling that Kirby is still being motivated only to retrieve the cake.
** Possibly the only case in the Kirby series where opening the can isn't a case of NiceJobBreakingItHero takes place in the Meta Knightmare Ultra mode of ''Kirby Super Star Ultra'' where Meta Knight questions NOVA, a mechanical, wish granting comet, about an extremely powerful warrior named Galacta Knight who was sealed away because his powers were too great. Immediately after this [[{{Badass}} he orders NOVA to break the seal on this incredibly powerful evil just so he can kick its ass.]]
* Seems to be the case with the [[spoiler: Kingdom of Sorrow]] in ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}} 2: Lunatea's Veil.'' [[spoiler: As it turns out, it was sealed away because no one wanted to remember sorrow, and the King of Sorrow tried to undo the seal so everyone could remember sorrow.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfKyrandia III: Malcolm's Revenge'' has the player ''play as'' a Sealed Evil in a Can, who is rather dismayed to discover that being unsealed ''does not'' include getting his awesome magical powers of doom back, leaving him running around with no powers in a fantasy kingdom where everyone hates his guts.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, Ganon is often a sealed evil. Link must either re-seal him or stop him from fully unsealing himself or his power. The first time he is actually sealed away takes place at the end of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''.
** So is Vaati, the baddie from the ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwords'' games. In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'', he starts wrecking havoc as a sorcerer and is sealed for the first time at the end of the game.
** Vaati also broke the seal on the monsters in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'' by destroying the Picori Sword at the beginning of the game.
** And there was also Bongo Bongo, the Evil Shadow Spirit from ''Ocarina of Time' that was sealed in the Bottom of the Well.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' features demon king Malladus, who tyranized the land that would one day become New-Hyrule when Tetra and Link arrived. He was sealed by the ancient Lokomo spirits underneath vast chains that eventually developed into a railway-system.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', the GodOfEvil Demise was sealed by the goddess Hylia. His servant Ghirahim [[spoiler:who is actually Demise's sword]] seeks to free him [[spoiler:and succeeds. In the end, Link seals away Demise again within the newly forged Master Sword.]]
* ''VideoGame/LightningLegendDaigoNoDaibouken'' has Dragless, a legendary and all-powerful Demon King who rampaged through the Kingdom of Japone 450 years before the story's proper, destroying everything on his way. He ultimately was defeated and sealed away in the deepest ends of Mt. Ohsore by the young hero Taikei Raioh, but by the start of the game he has finally freed himself, and it's now up to the descendant of Taikei, Daigo, to defeat him for good.
* In the LucasArts computer game ''VideoGame/{{LOOM}}'', Bishop Mandible unleashes Chaos by ripping open the fabric of the universe near a graveyard.
* Happens in ''VideoGame/LittleBigPlanet 3'' literally with the Titans, who were stuffed into a tea tin.
* In ''VideoGame/LuigisMansion'', major ghosts that Luigi encountered were once imprisoned inside portraits, but were released by King Boo once E. Gadd captured Boolossus. Eventually they are recaptured by Luigi and put back in their portraits, including King Boo himself... although in [[VideoGame/SuperMario64DS the next game]] he has apparently been released to fight Mario. He is killed this time and next time he is fought (in this case by [[VideoGame/SuperPrincessPeach Peach]]).
* [[EldritchAbomination The Soulless Gods]] of ''{{VideoGame/Lusternia}}''. Originally a host of ''thousands'' of abominations, they're whittled down to a mere five before [[{{Precursors}} The Elder Gods]] fled to the Void. Rendered LoadBearingBoss[=es=] by devouring whole sections of reality, they're eventually sealed away by [[PrecursorHeroes the Council of the Nine]]. Unfortunately, the cans in question are ''legendarily'' insecure - one of the five breaks out [[TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed like clockwork]] every ''thirty years''.
* The world of ''VideoGame/TheMagicCandle'' was narrowly saved from the immortal demon lord Dreax when a few heroes managed to trap him in a candle flame. Keeping him there is the daily task of 44 mages... who have just disappeared. The seal is now critically weakened, leaving the player a set number of days to find out how to fix it.
** Somewhat unique in that the point of the game is to reactivate the seal, not simply to grind yourself to the point where you can just kill the damn thing (because doing so is impossible, at least by the terms of the game world).
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/MakaiKingdom'' as Zetta seals himself in a book after he destroys his own netherworld. HilarityEnsues as he tries to get his body back.
* ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}} Infinity'' starts out with a grim message from Durandal about the W'rkcacnter getting loose from Lh'owon's sun, due to the Pfhor using [[spoiler: the trih xeem on it]]. The W'rkcacnter cannot be fought directly, and is only defeated by [[spoiler: the player jumping between different places and timelines, before the player reaches a Jjaro space station that is able to turn the sun into a black hole, thus trapping W'rk before it (them?) escapes]].
* The Dark Star from ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory''. It was imprisoned in Toad Tunnels until it is released by Fawful. [[spoiler: Its core is destroyed by the Mario Bros. and its main form is killed by Bowser.]]
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', [[spoiler: at the end it is revealed that Princess Peach seals Elder Princess Shroob, the leader of the Shroobs, inside the Cobalt Star. When the star is pieced back together, she is released, and fights the Mario Bros. She is defeated, and eventually killed when she possesses Bowser and the Mario Bros. trick him into hitting her with his fireballs while aiming for them.]]
** Antasma in VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam. About a thousand years ago he was sealed away in the Dream World by the Pi'illo people, who ended up getting turned to stone by his last act. And then, when everyone finds out Luigi can open Dream Portals by sleeping... he manages to capture Princess Peach, and then escape back to the real world just a short while later. Guess that can was ludicrously ineffective then...
* [[spoiler:[[EldritchAbomination The Reapers]]]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' actually seal ''themselves'' after [[spoiler:their habitual galactic genocides]] in order to conserve energy. The only hand the [[{{Precursors}} Protheans]] had in dealing with them was tampering with the Citadel's mass relay after they'd already receded so that they couldn't get back out so easily.
** The DLC "The Arrival" reveals that [[spoiler:the Reapers]] left themselves another way in. A special mass relay at the edge of the galaxy that can access any other relay anywhere.
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' [[spoiler:are revealed to be more like Sealed WellIntentionedExtremist in a Can. Their true goal is to ''preserve'' organic life in the long run by "resetting" civilization to prevent the KillEmAll RobotWar that their creator the Catalyst believes is inevitable.]]
* The Antarans from ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2: Battle at Antares''. They are an ancient and powerful race who were banished to another dimension by the Orion Empire. However, they learned how to break out of their prison and were able to warp raiding parties to attack colonized worlds while preventing others from invading their prison-turned-stronghold. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Nice job breaking it, Orion]].
* The Shadow Demons in ''VideoGame/MediEvil'' were sealed in the heart of the Enchanted Forest under an iron dome, locked with the Shadow Artifact. In order to get through the forest and to his next destination, Sir Dan Fortesque is forced to free them; he later makes up for it by trapping them in an abandoned castle and dropping it into lava, destroying them.
* [[spoiler:Maverick Zero]] of ''VideoGame/MegaManX'', with TheVirus originally coming from him. [[spoiler:He spends the rest of his life/lives [[TheAtoner atoning for it]].]]
** The "can" in question is in itself a Sealed Evil, [[spoiler:although, ''becoming a hero'', this was obviously subverted]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'', "the ultimate power" broadcast in a telepathic message throughout the galaxy is actually [[spoiler: the sealed evil Gorea, originally a [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere Giant Space Flea]] run amok and the presumed source of the message.]] This is one of the few cases where the good (the Alimbics) weren't strong enough to kill the evil, just entangle its energy with theirs in the Seal Sphere and hide it in a pocket dimension. [[spoiler: You arrive at the Seal Sphere only to see the other Hunters pounding away at it like idiots. They break it open, then stare as the core of the Seal Sphere (the Alimbics' energies) is snatched by Gorea, who proceeds to impale all of them with tentacles from the Sphere and steal their energies (weapons). You saw this coming, or at least you WOULD if you've scanned at least 25% of the Alimbic lore hanging around the place... Anyway, this leaves you to clean up the mess (kick Gorea's ass).]]
** The titular creature from the first ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' game was sealed within he impact crater. In the original version, the Space Pirates managed to free it by digging under the seal, although it later escaped from them and returned to the crater, and you have to open the seal to fight it. In the European release/Player's Choise version, it was never released.
* In the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' series, the fallen elder god Shinnok is sealed in the Netherworld. [[spoiler:The Realms themselves are actually the Can keeping the One Being sealed. Merging them would allow the One Being to return, which is why the elder gods resist any attempt at unification.]]
** Ermac gets this as well, [[spoiler:thanks to Shao Kahn's soul being part of Ermac.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'': When his mech runs out of power, [[spoiler: Pokey/Porky retreats into his Absolutely Safe Capsule -- which can't be opened from the inside or outside. Not quite SEIAC, as this capsule cannot possibly be opened, damaged or otherwise altered by any earthly or divine means]].
* Speaking of Bungie, the main plot of ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}: The Fallen Lords'' is this, and it's reanimating corpses and whatnot. After you all but lose the war, you manage to kill it.
** A more literal example is The Watcher, a powerful Lich who was imprisoned in a cave by a charm on his hand that would turn him to stone if he tried to leave. [[LifeOrLimbDecision Ultimately, he chose to cut that hand off.]] He finally met his doom when an arrow was fashioned from the bone of the hand that was left behind and turned him to stone after striking him.
** They also smashed his stone form into rubble [[DeaderThanDead just to be sure]].
* The demon of the first ''VideoGame/NinjaGaiden'' game, and the Archfiend of ''Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword''.
* ''VideoGame/NosferatuTheWrathOfMalachi'': [[spoiler: Malachi, a Vampire Lord of great power and pure evil, was sealed inside a magic Tomb underneath the Castle centuries ago. The Count's objective is to release him.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okage}}: Shadow King'', King Stan has been (purportedly) stuck in a bottle for the last 300 years, waiting for someone wimpy enough to let them possess his shadow. Additionally, while he was stuck in the bottle, a number of monsters stole portions of his evil power and became "Fake Evil Kings". He then drags the main character around to defeat them and get his powers back so he can take over the world.
* Orochi in ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' is a definite example of this trope.
* In what is possibly the worst-sealed can ''ever'', ''VideoGame/PacMan''. He kills the ghost, sealing it in the little box in the center of the screen. Three minutes later, it escapes again, and poor Pac must kill it over again. Perhaps he'd have better luck if he gave his little ghostbox a lid.
* In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', the plan of the antagonists is to [[spoiler: summon the Shadow Queen, who can only be summoned into a princess (read Peach). Upon release, the Queen promptly reduces the head of the antagonists to, well, a head, and plans to conquer. Unluckily for her, Mario arrived at the same time.]]
** On the other hand, [[spoiler: she recognizes Mario's strength and offers him to work for her. The player is given a Yes or No choice, while the former leads to an instant NonstandardGameOver.]]
** The Black Chests are a lesser case of this. [[spoiler:The "curses" they inflict upon Mario are actually useful abilities. Justified in that the inhabitants of the chests are the former heroes who defeated the Shadow Queen 1,000 years ago.]]
** In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', Bonechill, a fallen Nimbi, was held in the area of the Underwhere in which the dead villains suffer for eternity among the game overed. He escapes due to an earthquake (often speculated to be the work of the BigBad, Count Bleck, who is known to be a dimension traveler) and wreaks havoc in the Overthere. Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi fight him and easily destroy him.
* In ''VideoGame/PathwaysIntoDarkness'', the ''Marathon'' games predecessor, a modern-day Special Forces team must prevent a W'rkcacnter from escaping from its can.
* The Snow Queen Mask in ''Videogame/{{Persona}}'' is definitely one. It's kept in a gym storage room, in a box sealed with MAGIC TALISMANS, and after going on [[spoiler:ThatOneSidequest in which everyone warns you about the horrible past of said mask, you can just decide to open the box like nobody's business and walk off with it completely unpunished]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'', the "sealed evil" is [[spoiler:Nyx, a CosmicHorror and AnthropomorphicPersonification of death]] -- while the "can" just so happens to be [[spoiler: [[BodyHorror the main character]].]]
** In ''Persona 3: FES'', we find out that [[spoiler: said main character has become [[BarrierMaiden the seal]].]] And it's in place not to seal Nyx from attacking Earth. It's for sealing ''Earth'' from [[spoiler:summoning Nyx itself]].
* The demon in ''VideoGame/{{Phantasmagoria}}''.
* The Dark One of SRMTHFG has nothing on the Profound Darkness in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIV''; the Precursors sealed it with a ''solar system''.
* In ''PhantasyStar'' ''II'' and ''III'', you find the big bad end boss Dark Force/Dark Falz/Dark Phallus (depending on translation) in a literal Pandora's Box in the final dungeon.
** In ''IV'', [[spoiler:it's revealed that the Profound Darkness is one of these, and it has been creating Dark Force/Falz/Phallus for thousands of years (there's a thousand year gap between ''I'' and ''II'', and between ''II'' and ''IV''). The seal on the Profound Darkness is ''the entire Algo solar system''.]]
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'', you learn early on that Dark Falz [[spoiler: (One of its incarnations, at least)]] was sealed beneath the surface of the planet Naberius a few decades before the game's story takes place. Unsurprisingly, it ends up being released sooner or later.
* ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'' features an example as the main antagonist, the demon Sulfur. Rather than the usual thousands of years of imprisonment though Sulfur is capable of coming back every 30 years, and during his imprisonment can extend enough influence into the world to wreak havoc.
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', [[spoiler: the literal Sealed-Evil-In-A-Box]]. Also, the Monster Jug (which you can buy at a shop and open, should you feel like it).
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' has a species of them, the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Spiritomb]]. Sure, sealing OneHundredAndEight souls into a single [[CosmicKeystone keystone]] makes economic sense, but by the time they get out, they've [[IAmLegion merged into a single, massively pissed off Pokémon]] whose Ghost-Dark typing means it has no natural weaknesses (prior to getting a Fairy-type weakness in Gen VI anyway), and is pretty powerful to boot. [[CapturedSuperEntity You can catch one]], though to unseal it so you can fight it takes a [[GuideDangIt somewhat occluded]] SideQuest, and the place you release them [[NightmareFuel is a bit intentionally creepy]].
** Spiritomb could actually be SealedArmyInACan, due to its composition being 108 individual spirits that just happened to [[FusionDance fuse together]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', [[spoiler: Elizabeth Greene, the host of the Redlight Virus]] is sealed in the Genetek building. Badly. The protagonist might also count as a Sealed Evil In A Can, although in this case it's more like [[spoiler: Sealed Evil in a ''Vial'']].
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' is fond of this one. In fact, every game following ''So You Want to Be a Hero'' centers around such a plot.
** Toward the end of ''Trial by Fire'', it is revealed that Ad Avis is trying to summon Iblis, a powerful and evil djinn.
** In ''Wages of War'', the Demon Sorcerer attempts to free the Demon Lord. (If he succeeds, the Demon Lord's first act is to cast Thermonuclear Blast on the immediate area. As it turns out, this is a legitimate spell, and can be learned in the fifth game.)
** In a minor twist, in ''Shadows of Darkness'', [[EldritchAbomination Avoozl]], the Dark One, wasn't quite sealed properly, and the surrounding countryside has suffered for it. Even as the two antagonists (one new, one old) try to release it, it is only through their actions that it can be put away for good.
** ''Dragon Fire'' has a twist of its own - there is a villain working behind the scenes and trying to unleash the Dragon of Doom, but by this point in the series, the hero (under extenuating circumstances) has become strong enough at this point to just ''kill'' the thing.
* The Tyrant in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil', which is released by Wesker near the end of the game. In the [[MultipleEndings bad ending]], it escapes from the facility.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica'', an experiment with the Veronica virus on Alexander Ashford mutated him into a grotesque monster codenamed Nosferatu, who is imprisoned in Umbrella's Antarctic base until our heroes arrive. Alexia also counts somewhat.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', the parasitic Las Plagas were sealed away for eight generations before the start of the game.
* Heinrich I, in ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein''. Doubly so, given [[spoiler: what he does to Blavatsky]]. Earlier in the game, there's Olaric, who is accidentally unleashed by Helga von Bulow when she tries to take the Dagger of Warding.
* ''VideoGame/ReturnToKrondor'' presents the Dark God as this. The Dark God does not get released, but the ending makes it clear that the person trying to unseal it has not given up.
* In ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa: Minstrel Song'', the god Saruin was sealed away via the [[CosmicKeystone Fatestones]]; naturally, his minions are trying to 'correct' this. However, an even better example is [[spoiler: the Jewel Beast]]: a monster poised to destroy a whole country if awakened. Even if the player manages to delay its awakening -- no easy feat by itself, [[GuideDangIt given the precise timing and difficult sequence of events that involves]] -- they can't ''stop'' it unless they enter its lair while it's still sleeping. It's one of the harder fights in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/RuneFactory 2'', mysterious earthquakes start happening about a third of the way into the game. Eventually, the main character's child finds these are being caused by a SealedEvilInACan which is about to escape and destroy the world.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'': The devastating Zarosian creature Nex ([[BilingualBonus Latin]] for "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast violent death]]") has been sealed into a enchanted, frozen sleep by the armies of Saradomin. [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Sliske]] tricked a band of peace-seeking Saradominists into performing a ritual they thought would wake [[AllPowerfulBystander Guthix]] from [[KingInTheMountain his slumber]], but instead released Nex.
* The Dragon of ''VideoGame/{{Ryzom}}'' is currently (as far as we know) asleep in the Prime Roots. It's responsible for creating [[TheCorruption The Goo]] and is only sleeping because [[ScienceHero the Karavan]] stopped its rampage (or so they say). As such, their policy with it is to put up a sign that says "DO NOT TOUCH" in bright, mile-high neon letters to deter anyone from getting too close and waking it up, something they believe will bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. The Fyros are currently ignoring that sign, if their goal of killing the beast is any indicator; and doing ''that'', while a seemingly noble goal, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero is what caused the Great Swarming of Kitin in the Backstory.]]
* Averted and parodied in ''VideoGame/SepterraCore''. The game's intro movie and backstory tell about a great battle in which Marduk (the world's CrystalDragonJesus) defeated Gemma (the local {{Satan}} equivalent). In most {{RPG}}s, at some point towards the end Gemma would be resurrected and become the final boss. The main character even speculates that this is going to happen after hearing the tale about the battle between Marduk and Gemma. In response, TheMentor remarks that such a plot twist would be rather silly, and only happens in stories. Sure enough, Gemma never comes back, and the final boss of the game is the character who's been the main villain from start to finish, the KnightTemplar EvilOverlord Lord Doskias.
* In ''VideoGame/ShadowOfTheColossus'', except there are ''sixteen'' cans wandering throughout the area. Most notable with the final Colossus though. Besides having a name that literially means 'evil' in Latin, the only possible way you can reach it is to have killed all fifteen other Colossi ingame. [[spoiler:Might also apply to Dormin as well, if you're part of the group that [[WildMassGuessing thinks They really are evil.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}} and the Pirate's Curse'' has the Pirate Master, a great evil from the past who was sealed in a lonely grave on a small island after all the full genies of the world performed a HeroicSacrifice. Unfortunately, he was unexpectedly revived when a new source of Dark Magic suddenly appeared before the start of the game.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' has [[spoiler:the Kagome Tower prisoners - three of the Four Archangels. [[ButThouMust It's scripted to continue]]. And, unfortunately, soon you'll probably wish you just had left them there to rot.]]
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'' has [[spoiler:the Demiurge, a monstrously powerful shard of God, imprisoned in the depths of Sector Grus. Unfortunately, said shard doesn't hold much of God's ''mind'' - it only has His AxCrazy, KnightTemplar nature. After defeating and placating the entity, it may join you (''only'' in the Law Path), [[UngratefulBastard chide you and threaten you with destruction]] for not following the same ideals, or it can be shoved back in its can even worse than before by simply switching off the visor.]]
* Seems to be somewhat of a recurring theme in the ''Franchise/ShiningSeries''. Evil guys try to unseal something worse;
** In ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'', Darksol's evil plan is to unseal Dark Dragon.
** In ''Videogame/ShiningForceII'', evil Zeon is accidentally released by the good thief Slade who steals the crystals sealing him.
** ''Videogame/ShiningForceIII'''s overall plot is about a secret cult reactivating ancient weapons to create enough chaos to allow the Vandals to return.
** ''Videogame/ShiningTheHolyArk'' is all about how a group of low powered Vandals want to release one of the most powerful Vandals ever; so he can recreate the 1000 Year Kingdom.
** ''VideoGame/ShiningSoul'' sees you seal away Dark Dragon for at least 1000 years.
* ''VideoGame/{{Shivers}}'' has the Ixupi, ancient soul-sucking {{Mayincatec}} demons who were sealed into pots with talismans. Millenia later, an itinerant archaeologist digs them up and puts them in a museum. Then two kids sneak in the museum and break them open.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' has Chaos, who was sealed inside the Master Emerald in ancient times, until Eggman shattered it to free the water monster inside as part of his latest scheme. [[spoiler:Ultimately subverted, as Chaos isn't evil, just really pissed.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006'' has the sun god Solaris, forcibly split into two seperate forms due to an experiment acted upon it: Iblis and Mephiles. Princess Elise served as Iblis' can, with her control over her sorrow being the lid -- if she cries, the can is opened and Iblis is unleashed upon the world once more. Somewhere else, Mephiles is sealed away in the [[AncientArtifact Scepter]] [[ArtifactOfDoom of Darkness]] until an encounter with Eggman shatters it.
** Shadow the Hedgehog made [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 his first appearance]] as this, though being canned and going evil didn't happen at the same time: [[spoiler:his creator screwed with his memories after he was placed in stasis, leading to his whole 'humanity needs to die' outlook.]]
** ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' has [[CosmicHorror Dark Gaia]], who was sealed within the planet by his light counterpart [[spoiler:a.k.a. ''Chip'']] in a neverending cycle of planetary death and rebirth.
** By the end of ''[[VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries Sonic and the Secret Rings]]'', [[spoiler:Sonic does this to contain Erazor Djinn, using his own magic lamp against him.]]
* Gig from ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' starts the game as an example of this... and in a subversion of this trope, unless you actively [[DealWithTheDevil start asking for his 'help']], he's [[TheImp rather harmless]], if a bit foul-mouthed.
* Malefor, aka The Dark Master from ''[[Franchise/SpyroTheDragon The Legend of Spyro]]'' series. [[spoiler:He was born as a purple dragon, like Spyro, some countless generations ago. He was taught how to master the elements, but kept gaining more power, resulting in the Elders banishing him to exile. He took on the title of The Dark Master, where his malice was so great that it split the Earth, creating the Mountain of Malefor, also known as the Well of Souls, where he was imprisoned. In ''A New Beginning'', he sends out Cynder to open the convexity portal to free his soul, which she succeeds in, though Spyro frees Cynder from his control, causing the portal to implode. In ''The Eternal Night'', Gaul uses the lunar eclipse of the celestial moons (that causes non-stop darkness for a short while) to seemingly resurrect Malefor. But it's revealed by Malefor in ''Dawn of the Dragon'' that this was merely all a ruse to get the real one to free him to the Well of Souls to do so, who was it? [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Poor Spyro]].]]
** Also, the Destroyer counts, as its sole purpose for existing is to destroy the world but it slept below a volcano until Malefor awakened it to destroy the world. A rare case of one Sealed Evil In A Can freeing another.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has a few of these, mostly canned by the Rakata.
** The Imprisoned One on Tatooine.
** The Esh-Kha on Belsavis.
* BigBad of ''[[VideoGame/SuperRobotWars Super Robot Wars K]]'', Lu Cobol was defeated by the [[{{Precursors}} Crusian]]. They decide to hid Lu Cobol's fragments in planets across galaxy. 2,000 years has pass and now [[EnergyBeings bodiless]] Lu Cobol seek to reform itself, by [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy whatever planet]] that hold its fragments.
* Dhaos, the villain of ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', was sealed away by the protagonist's parents, but was released early on in the game by a minor villain he had been manipulating.
* Metatronius, the BiggerBad of ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' has been sealed away by the elves during their war against heaven a thousand years ago. Now it has possessed BigBad Abraxas to break the seal and continue its original mission.
* Ogre, Jinpachi, and Azazel of the ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' games.
* Every game in the main ''VideoGame/TengaiMakyou'' series.
** Ziria has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Masakado.
** Manjimaru has the Root Clan trying to revive Yomi.
** Fuun Kabuki Den has the Daimon Cult trying to revive Garp.
** Fourth Apocalpyse has the Dark Society trying to revive their Absolute God.
* In ''VideoGame/TombRaider'' and the remake, ''VideoGame/TombRaiderAnniversary'', [[spoiler:Natla was locked in limbo for thousands of years after using her powers for evil.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Tomba}}'' has the titular main character being given the task of sealing away seven Evil Pigs (eight including "The Real Evil Pig" [[ManBehindTheMan who is their leader behind the scenes]]) in color-coordinated "Evil Pig Bags".
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' game ''Perfect Cherry Blossom'' the evil [[CherryBlossoms cherry tree]], the Saigyou Ayakashi, is sealed up by the dead body of Yuyuko Saigyouji. At the same time, the tree seals ''her'', preventing her from reincarnating, so she wanders as a [[CuteGhostGirl ghost]]. In a wierd twist, Yuyuko eventually [[GhostAmnesia forgets her life as a human]], up to and including why she died or who is sealed beneath the Saigyou Ayakashi. This leads to her trying to ''undo'' the seal that she placed in the first place, because she forgot she did it.
** The player characters in ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' think that the incident is releasing one of these, however Byakuren is very much a SealedGoodInACan.
** From the perspective of the Buddhists, the Taoists in ''Ten Desires'' are this, what with that whole religious war thing. As usual for ''Touhou'' [[GoodAllAlong they aren't evil]], but neither are they particularly good.
** In the fandom, a wildly accepted EpilepticTree is that Rumia is this to herself; that the {{Ofuda}} in her hair, that she cannot touch, is actually a RestrainingBolt that holds back her SuperPoweredEvilSide, in the process turning her into a mostly harmless idiot.
* ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2'': the objective is to stop the CosmicHorror Primagen from being unsealed from his can.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Valis}} II'', Cruel King Megas had been sealed away long ago, but was released when rebels battling the forces of the fallen Lord Rogles broke the seal and opened the Forbidden Door. The result was to turn Vecanty into HellOnEarth.
* ''VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'' features a memorable subversion -- the MacGuffin of the game is a sarcophagus that supposedly contains an Antediluvian (very old, ''very'' powerful vampire). Everyone is trying to make a move for the sarcophagus, partially because the presence of such a thing might be a herald of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Gehenna]] -- but also because a low-generation vampire represents a ''massive'' power grab for anyone willing to commit diablerie (the consumption of another vampire's soul). Well, the Prince has been pushing you around all game in an attempt to claim the sarcophagus, and when it's finally opened... [[spoiler: the only thing he finds is a ''lot'' of C4. And a note from the guy who set the whole thing in motion. Boom.]]
* Illidan Stormrage in ''Videogame/{{Warcraft}} III'', another Blizzard production, is imprisoned in a cage for 10,000 years for continuing to research arcane magic after the night elves had banned its use. Also a subversion in that Illidan is ''not'' evil at the time of his imprisonment, but has become [[ThePunishment obsessed with power and revenge]] by the time he is freed.
** Maybe Illidan wasn't evil, but he did kill people with a handwave who tried to stop him from corrupting a lake with the Well's water.
** In a continuation of this universe, a majority of raid bosses in VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft are sealed evils. The quests to kill them generally go something like ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who have this Big Ancient Evil imprisoned, so that you can kill him too.'' One wonders why the player doesn't just say ''But, they're doing a fine job keeping him imprisoned! What happens if I manage to kill them but the Big Ancient Evil kills me?'' A variation goes ''Go beat up these mildly bad dudes who are trying to unseal this Big Ancient Evil before they succeed, then kill the half-unsealed form of the Big Ancient Evil,'' which makes a little more sense.
** ''Warcraft'''s universe also has the [[CosmicHorror Old Gods]], very similar to Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, sealed beneath the world and waiting to be freed. For the longest time, it was a total mystery why the god-esque Titans didn't just kill them all, considering they'd managed to off one. Recently it was revealed that the Old Gods are parasites who have bonded with the planet of Azeroth so that killing them will cause untold damage to it. And yet, the players continue killing them for loot...
** The fourth expansion to ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' (Cataclysm) involves the unleashing of Deathwing, the Earth Dragon who was slowly driven insane by the Old Gods and imprisoned in Deepholme, the elemental plane of earth. His emergence not only blows up parts of the world, but also opens up the elemental planes, which are full of Sealed Evil in a Can, including the elementals themselves (locked up because they were tearing the world apart with their wars)
** The ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion features the sha - beings of pure hatred and other negative emotions - as this. It later emerges that [[spoiler: an artifact called the Divine Bell has the ability to control the sha, and Horde Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders it stolen in an attempt to make super-soldiers with it. It misfires when the sha ends up controlling its test subjects instead of the other way round, and have to be slaughtered by adventurers]]. The sha are eventually revealed to be fragments of a slain Old God [[spoiler:whose still-living heart is removed from a Titan prison and used by Garrosh in another attempt to empower his loyal orcs]].
* ''VideoGame/WarioLand'' games have had a few cases of this, with ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3'' having Wario spend half the game trying to 'help' a mysterious figure trapped in the music box, who turns out to be [[MonsterClown Rudy the Clown]], which then tries to take over the world. ''VideoGame/WarioWorld'' had him accidentally unleash the sealed evil in a can at the very beginning, aka the Black Jewel, which was taken from some kind of treasure chest by Wario and his obsession with treasure, and that then turned his entire castle into a parallel dimension of sorts and what not.
* Rudy the Clown in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 3''. He was [[NiceJobBreakingItHero manipulating Wario into releasing him]] from his prison for the entire game, then turns on Wario when he's free again for the final boss battle.
** Similarly, possibly the entirety of the Golden Pyramid in ''VideoGame/WarioLand 4'', and the Black Jewel in ''Wario World''.
* [[spoiler:Terrormisu (alias Tiaramisu)]] in ''VideoGame/WarioMasterOfDisguise'', the ancient demon who [[spoiler:was sealed inside the Wishstone that Wario was trying to piece together.]]
* Daglathor in ''VideoGame/WarriorsOfMightAndMagic'' is sealed inside a dungeon in the heart of a mountain. And the mechanism to avoid his eventual escape is found... [[FridgeLogic inside his prison.]]
** VideoGame/MightAndMagic VII has a rather simplistic sealing liable to be done by the player characters: the medusa crawling around in the sub-level of an abandoned mine have developed an immunity to magic. As a class promotion quest, you get sent to sabotage the elevator to ''keep'' them down there.
* In ''VideoGame/AWitchsTale'', the Eld Witch was a wicked creature sealed away by Queen Alice. The heroine, Liddell, accidentally sets her free.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', [[spoiler:Zanza]] splits himself into two cans: [[spoiler:[[SoulJar the Monado]]]] and [[spoiler:[[SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan Shulk]]]]. Once he's built up enough power, he [[spoiler:emerges from Shulk's body and absconds with the Monado, rendering him lifeless for a short period]].
* All games in the ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}'' series use this trope, e.g. Darm in I and II (who was disguised as the Black Pearl, also an ArtifactOfDoom), Galbalan in III, the Ancient City and Arrem in IV, the lost city of Kefin and its king, Jabir, in V, and the Ark of Napishtim in VI.
* In ''Videogame/YuGiOhReshefOfDestruction'', Reshef is an ancient Egyptian sealed evil in a can. He's re-sealed in the ending.
[[/folder]]
14th Jul '16 5:33:19 PM DoctorTItanX
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** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the GreaterScopeVillain [[spoiler: Yhwach]] mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. [[spoiler: He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]

to:

** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His [[spoiler: His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the GreaterScopeVillain [[spoiler: Yhwach]] Yhwach mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. [[spoiler: He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]
14th Jul '16 5:31:44 PM DoctorTItanX
Is there an issue? Send a Message


** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the BiggerBad [[Spoiler: Yhwach]] mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]

to:

** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Thousand Year Blood War, the BiggerBad [[Spoiler: GreaterScopeVillain [[spoiler: Yhwach]] mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. [[spoiler: He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]
14th Jul '16 5:23:23 PM DoctorTItanX
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** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Final Arc, the BiggerBad mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison.]]

to:

** Central 46 decide the only way to handle Aizen is to imprison him in their most secure prison. For 20,000 years. [[spoiler:His fusion with the Hougyoku cannot be undone and renders him almost unkillable. As a result, the only option is imprisonment. In the Final Arc, Thousand Year Blood War, the BiggerBad [[Spoiler: Yhwach]] mysteriously offers Aizen the opportunity to leave prison if he's willing to be recruited. Equally mysteriously, Aizen refuses, choosing to remain in prison. He was partially unsealed by Shunsui, and when Yhwach returns to Soul Society, he destroyed the chair, and Aizen is completely freed.]]



* In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'', [[BigBad Lucemon]] was sealed away in the Digital World's core. [[spoiler:Some time later, he ends up using the Royal Knights to scan the entire Digital World and its three moons, effectively vaporizing them, to break free]]

to:

* In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'', [[BigBad Lucemon]] was sealed away in the Digital World's core. [[spoiler:Some time later, he ends up using the Royal Knights to scan the entire Digital World and its three moons, effectively vaporizing them, to break free]]free.]]
14th Jul '16 11:11:55 AM Willbyr
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* In ''DeadmanWonderland'', the "evil" are people affected by the "Branch of Sin", [[spoiler:dangerous blood-manipulating powers]] who are secretly hidden deep in the "can", a maximum security prison/publicly open ''amusement park''. [[spoiler:Later [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], since it was revealed that many of them did not actually commit any crime, and were kept there solely for the study of their powers.]]

to:

* In ''DeadmanWonderland'', ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'', the "evil" are people affected by the "Branch of Sin", [[spoiler:dangerous blood-manipulating powers]] who are secretly hidden deep in the "can", a maximum security prison/publicly open ''amusement park''. [[spoiler:Later [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], since it was revealed that many of them did not actually commit any crime, and were kept there solely for the study of their powers.]]



* In ''{{Utawarerumono}}'', Hakuoro finally has his CrowningMomentOfAwesome and has the BigBad Sealed In A Can. [[spoiler:Since he has to merge with his EvilTwin to do so, it counts as both SealedEvilInACan and SealedGoodInACan.]]

to:

* In ''{{Utawarerumono}}'', ''VideoGame/{{Utawarerumono}}'', Hakuoro finally has his CrowningMomentOfAwesome and has the BigBad Sealed In A Can. [[spoiler:Since he has to merge with his EvilTwin to do so, it counts as both SealedEvilInACan and SealedGoodInACan.]]
This list shows the last 10 events of 207. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SealedEvilinaCan