Window Death YKTTW Discussion

Window Death
Someone dies behind a window while the protagonist can do nothing but watch
(permanent link) added: 2012-01-14 16:41:59 sponsor: 182crazyking edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2014-02-12 08:28:22)

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Window Death (it Needs a Better Title) is a trope that's invoked commonly in horror media. Basically, the hero is trapped behind a pane of glass and sees a Red Shirt die (often in a horrible, bloody way). Most often, a Window Death segment ends with a blood-splattered window, and perhaps the aforementioned Red Shirt's body sliding down the glass.

Whatever caused the Window Death has a habit of escaping after it kills, like it didn't even see the hero staring through the window.

Window Deaths are commonly used to show the powers, abilities, or brutality of an opponent without putting the hero in too much actual danger. It can also be used as the beginning to a mystery plot line.

Can overlap with Rear Window Witness in mystery stories. See also Trapped in Containment. Usually overlaps with Forced to Watch.


  • Happens in The Hunger Games where Katniss is forced to watch from within a glass pod as Cinna is pretty much beaten to death.

Live-Action TV
  • Subverted in the first episode of Sherlock. Watson sees Sherlock facing death from the taxi driver, who is having Sherlock consume a possibly poisoned pill. Not only is Watson looking through a window, but from a completely different building. His solution? Shoot through the window at the taxi driver.
  • The Jeffersons. During a Halloween Episode Louise sees a man dressed as a rabbit murder someone in the apartment building across the street from theirs.

  • This is the Inciting Incident of Hitchcock's film Rear Window: a photographer, laid up in his flat with a broken leg, witnesses his neighbour kill his wife through the titular window.
  • Spock's Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, with Kirk on the other side of the glass.
  • Body Double. Jake Scully is using a telescope to watch a woman through the window of her home. A man enters her house and brutally murders her while Scully is helpless to do anything to stop it.
  • Independence Day. The "release me" scene in Area 51. However, the guards realize they can do something as the glass is not bulletproof, and they shoot up the alien. Doesn't save poor, socially maladjusted Professor Okun, though.
  • A variation occurs in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, when Obi-Wan is forced to watch Qui-Gon die from behind a force field.
  • Cloverfield gets one, somewhat, where the characters see Marissa blow the hell up behind a curtain, leaving only blood splattered on it. All they see is the shadow.
  • Moonraker. James Bond is investigating a secret laboratory where two scientists are working on mysterious devices. One of the scientists accidentally breaks a vial filled with a powerful nerve gas and Bond watches the scientists die from behind a glass window.

Video Games
  • This happens a few times in Dead Space. Played straight when you first encounter the Lurker. You kind of wonder why the scientist started banging on the window instead of using the obviously unlocked door, though.
  • BioShock
    • At the start you see a Spider Splicer kill a human from behind the window in your bathysphere.
    • After your introduction to Little Sisters, you see a Big Daddy slam a splicer into a window and eviscerate him with a drill before slamming his head through the glass.
    • You get to watch as Julie Langford is gassed to death in her office.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution uses it too - one of the bosses kills a scientist in the tutorial behind a glass door, and then jumps off.
  • There is a scene in the original Max Payne (one of the Deep Six levels), where Max witnesses unlucky scientists being slaughtered by commandos behind a bulletproof glass.
  • This happens in the second U-Genix level in Timesplitters Future Perfect, where Cortez has to watch as a scientist is murdered by one of his own experiments.
  • This is how the Bandersnatch is introduced in Resident Evil: Code: Veronica.

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