Created By: LuxExterior on October 21, 2011 Last Edited By: LuxExterior on January 18, 2013

Head Meets Screen

A character is thrust head-first into a television or similar item.

Name Space:
Page Type:
One especially interesting way to dispatch a character (or otherwise really mess them up) is to have them smash head-first or face-first into a television. It makes a nice smashing noise, often emits some sparks and smoke, and may leave the unfortunate character jiggling uncontrollably as the electricity fries their insides. Often the unfortunate victim of such a move will end up with his or her head sunk entirely within the electronic box, as though it is hollow. The recent predominance of flatscreens over the old tube televisions doesn't seem to have made this trope vanish, possibly because it's a really cool way to kill off a character or end a fight.

The reason the term "screen" is used for this trope instead of "television" is that it could refer to a situation in which someone's head is thrust into any similar device, such as a computer monitor or a microwave oven. An older variation of this involves a jukebox display, although the general disappearance of the jukebox from the public consciousness has made this a fairly rare, if not extinct, variation of this trope.

This is about as close to Truth in Television as Soft Glass, of which this is a sub-trope. The screen on an old-fashioned tube television is the front of an enormous vacuum tube, which has to be made out of extra-thick glass to withstand the pressure. Flat-panel TVs don't have that problem, but their screens are still made at least as strong as a window of the same size. Skulls are tough too, so we're not sure what would end up worse off if you did this in Real Life, but we're betting the screen would be cracked at worst.

This could be the unfortunate result of someone believing too much in a Television Portal.


Anime and Manga
  • In the FLCL episode "Brittle Bullet", Naota and his grandfather are watching TV when Naota's father flies through a wall and ends up headfirst in the TV set. It turns out Haruko had punched him with an extendable boxing glove.

  • During the first movie in the Scream horror series, one of this killers has a big-screen television dropped on his face, shooting sparks and electrocuting him to death.
  • One of Freddy Krueger's victims in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is killed when her head is smashed into a wall-mounted television set--by the television itself (as possessed by Freddy himself, of course).
  • During a Bar Brawl in the blaxploitation film Foxy Brown, one of the fight participants gets thrown head-first into a jukebox.
  • One of the victims in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer meets his fate when Henry and Otis crash a TV screen on his head.
  • One of the main antagonists in Mother's Day (1980) is killed with a similar method.
  • This is how Grocer is dispatched in Grosse Pointe Blank.

Live-Action TV
  • Lorena, one of the nastier vampires of True Blood, was bashed over the head with a flatscreen television in one episode, allowing Bill, her vampire captive, to escape. As she's a vampire, this doesn't kill her, but it does really piss her off.

Web Comics

Western Animation

Rolling Updates, as I can find the time. It also Needs More Examples, obviously.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • October 21, 2011
    Despite the victim often ending up horribly injured or dead, this is a subtrope of Soft Glass! The "tube" in an CRT television is a vacuum tube, which means it has to be made of thick, tough glass (and the bigger it is, the tougher it has to be). I wouldn't be surprised if doing this in Real Life did more damage to the victim's head than the TV. (Wonder if the Mythbusters have ever tried it.)
  • October 23, 2011
    ^ Good point, and I've tried to incorporate this into the description which, admittedly, still needs some tweaking. If you think you know more about these now-vanishing television sets than I do (and I'm guessing you do), please feel free to make some adjustments to that final paragraph.
  • October 23, 2011
    I recently read a book called Dark Entries. It's a graphic novel about John Constantine (main character of the Hellblazer comic books), where Constantine is tricked into joining a reality TV show, supposedly to investigate strange goings-on. In the end it turns out that the game show is in hell, with the contestants (apart from Constantine) being dead people whose souls have been stolen from Limbo, then mind-wiped so they think they're still alive. The contestants are told that a special prize is hidden somewhere in the house. The prize turns out to be a portal out of Limbo for one person only (though they find a way around that). The form it takes? A television set. One of the characters, a man called Jude sticks his head in the set to to see what's on the other side, making it an example of this trope.
  • October 25, 2011
    ^^ Done. I don't know enough about 'em to really say what would happen, but I hope my explanation is clearer now.
  • October 26, 2011
    ^ Thanks, mang. I think your explanation is plenty clear.

    Now all we need are some more examples.
  • October 28, 2011
    • One of the victims in Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer meets his fate when Henry and Otis crash a TV-screen on his head.
    • One of the main antagonist's in Mother's Day (1980) is killed with a similar method.
  • November 9, 2011
  • November 9, 2011
    ...Weirdly, I thought this was going to be the exact inverse - The face hitting the screen the viewer is watching on. If we have that already, I'd suggest putting a Not To Be Confused With/I Thought It Meant/See Also whatever to the write up.

    (As for it happening in real life, apparently one person put his hand through a television set following a heart attack. The electric shock, apparently, restarted his heart. Goodness knows how much truth there is to that)
  • November 9, 2011
    ^ It is related, in some ways, to Television Portal, but that's about the closest I could find to what I'm trying to trope here. Oh, and Soft Glass. Both are accounted for, so hopefully that's clear.

    As for the Real Life example, hey, if you can find a source. Sounds like an Urban Legend to me, though.
  • November 13, 2011
    Anime and Manga
    • FLCL episode "Brittle Bullet". Naota and his grandfather are watching TV when Naota's father flies through a wall and ends up headfirst in the TV set. It turns out Haruko had punched him with an extendable boxing glove.
  • November 13, 2011
    technically the human skull is pretty hard... i've kicked a screen in on a tv with non-steel toed boots, so i buy that this could happen, although Rule Of Cool applies for stuff like the grosse pointe blank example :-)
  • November 15, 2011
  • November 15, 2011
    The first strip of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has Kratos working in a computer store and giving a customer an up-close look of a computer screen's resolution... by repeatedly slamming the customer's head into it. The Quick Time Event reads "Press Circle to show off the better features of this product".
  • November 28, 2011
  • December 11, 2011
    One mook in Raw Deal's Bar Brawl is hit on the head with a side of television set. His head doesn't go through it, so does that example count?
  • January 18, 2013
    Bump with threat to launch.