Created By: Katsuhagi on February 11, 2017 Last Edited By: Katsuhagi on February 17, 2017
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Buried In A Pile of Corpses

A character is hidden or ends up buried by the bodies of their companions.

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A Sub-Trope of Playing Possum where a character is either in or puts themselves in a pile of dead bodies, either on purpose to avoid being found or as a result of the carnage around them. If the person this happens to is a child it definitely falls under Harmful to Minors and can be a Freudian Excuse for a mentally ill character, since it's pretty much by definition a traumatizing experience.

If a character uses this tactic on purpose to conceal themselves so they can attack expect them to be a Combat Pragmatist at best and a Dirty Coward at worst, and if other characters see them doing this they may react with disgust since it falls under both Desecrating the Dead and Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty.

Compare Atop a Mountain of Corpses, which is usually more triumphant but may begin with a character being buried within it. Waking Up at the Morgue is thematically related. Not to be confused with Pretend We're Dead, where a living character pretends to be undead.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • This happens in Dragonball Z prequel movie Bardock the Father of Goku. When Frieza first begins The Purge of the Saiyans, he sends Dodoria to kill off Bardock and Bardock's squad. When Dodoria launches a final Ki Attack on Bardock, the force of it sweeps up the dead bodies of Bardock's squad and he winds up badly injured and buried beneath them. This actually saves Bardock's life, since Dodoria assumes Bardock is dead and flies off.
  • In One Piece, Trafalgar Law resorted to this by hiding in a cart of dead bodies leaving his hometown after they were attacked and entirely wiped out.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the young Kenshin, then known as Shinta, was briefly in one when the girls he was being held by slavers with protected him with their bodies when a group of bandits ambushed them and started killing them. This left him with a Thousand-Yard Stare that his eventual master Hiko Seijurou took note of and made Hiko decide to take him in, since he was never going to be able to return to a normal life after experiencing that.

Comic Books
  • The Punisher: One cannibal King of the Homeless villain lived in a pile of corpses brought by his followers. He started down that path in childhood when his morbidly obese mother collapsed on him and he had to eat his way out.
  • In Ravages Of Time, Xiahou Dun once rescued Liu Bei from one.
  • In The Golden Age, Hawkman struggles out from under one during the final battle.

Film - Live Action
  • In Ravenous, Boyd is a coward who plays dead at a battle with Mexico, and is loaded into a wagon full of corpses. When the wagon arrives at the Mexican HQ, he has a mysterious rush of strength and aggression (due to accidentally swallowing the blood of the others) and destroys the HQ.
  • In Taken Bryan Mills does this at one point after massacring all the bad guys in the kitchen. When their comrades run in to see the cause of the commotion Mills starts firing at them from under a corpse.

Literature
  • In Ciaphas Cain, during a stealth mission, the team's Cold Sniper uses someone's corpse to support his rifle and hide himself, to Ciaphas' distaste.
  • In The Dark Elf Trilogy, House Do'Urden lost favor with their goddess after Drizzt pulled off a similar trick with an elf child during a surface raid.
  • In Kushiel's Legacy, the Markaghir had his Start of Darkness as a boy when his family was massacred: he was dug out from under their stacked corpses with Identity Amnesia, Black Eyes of Evil, and a madness that extinguished any capacity for love or kindness.
  • This is part of Mistle's backstory in The Witcher: she was kidnapped from her hometown along with several other women by bandits, who raped, murdered, and buried all of them in a ditch. Mistle survived only because the bandits thought she had already died and threw her in with the other corpses, which is where her future True Companions found her.

Live-Action Television
  • Jon Snow is nearly trampled to death and buried beneath the fallen during a battle in the sixth season of Game of Thrones. He memorably has to desperately fight to avoid being crushed and suffocated while the battle continues to rage.

Tabletop Games

Video Games
  • One of the events in Diablo III is a fight with a pack of Hell Hounds in a cellar full of rotting bodies. After the hounds are defeated, a civilian will crawl out from under one of the body heaps and thank you for saving him. From the same game, Myriam hides from the Reapers in a pile of mummified corpses, knowing thanks to her psychic abilities that the player character will come along in time to save her.
  • Jason in Far Cry 3 survives being shot by Vaas at one point thanks to a lighter in his pocket. He awakens at the bottom of a mass grave and is forced to dig his way out. It's rather understandable that he starts undergoing Sanity Slippage after such an experience.
  • Homefront: The player and companions must do this to themselves at one point in order to escape notice by a North Korean patrol.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the player wakes up inside a pile of dead bodies when they come back to life at the beginning of the game.
  • In Tales of the Abyss Guy Cecil was buried under a pile of dead women for days after his family was murdered, resulting in his present day phobia of being touched by women.

Visual Novels
  • It was only a single body, but the backstory of Hanako in Katawa Shoujo had this happen to her when her mother shielded her with her own body when their house burned down. This incident left Hanako with heavy emotional and physical scarring that have left her a Fragile Flower in the present day.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • A Scotsman in Egypt: After the battle against the Timurids, King Domnall is found under the corpses of his men, who stood in the way of an elephant's charge to protect him. He survives the battle, but his injuries kill him not too long after.

Western Animation
  • Flippy from Happy Tree Friends had to hide inside the corpse of his dead friend and fellow soldier as the Tiger General's forces walk by. This causes him to snap and develop an Ax-Crazy Split Personality that emerges to try and murder everyone around him when something reminds Flippy of the war.
  • Mentioned on King of the Hill when Cotton is accused of setting a fire on the church bathroom, which he blames on "the man with the terrible smell" (actually Bobby, who got sick from eating too much lutefisk). He talks about how he spent two weeks buried under a pile of corpses at Iwo Jima, and says that what he smelled at the church bathroom was much worse.

Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • February 12, 2017
    Arivne
    • Added punctuation (periods at the ends of sentences).
    • Blue Linked (subtrope).
    • Capitalized (Atop Amountain Of Corpses).
    • Examples section
      • Added media section titles.
      • Added a space between a comma and the following word.
  • February 12, 2017
    Chabal2
    • The Punisher: One cannibal King Of The Homeless villain lived in a pile of corpses brought by his followers. He started down that path in childhood when his morbidly obese mother collapsed on him and he had to eat his way out.
    • A Scotsman In Egypt: After the battle against the Timurids, King Domnall is found under the corpses of his men, who stood in the way of an elephant's charge to protect him. He survives the battle, but his injuries kill him not too long after.

  • February 12, 2017
    Koveras
    • This is part of Mistle's backstory in The Witcher: she was kidnapped from her hometown along with several other women by bandits, who raped, murdered, and buried all of them in a ditch. Mistle survived only because the bandits thought she already died and threw her in with the other corpses, which is where her future True Companions found her.
  • February 12, 2017
    LondonKdS
    In Ravenous, Boyd is a coward who plays dead at a battle with Mexico, and is loaded into a wagon full of corpses. When the wagon arrives at the Mexican HQ, he has a mysterious rush of strength and aggression (due to accidentally swallowing the blood of the others, and destroys the HQ.
  • February 12, 2017
    TomWalpertac2
    • Homefront: The player and companions must do this to themselves at one point in order to escape notice by a North Korean patrol.
  • February 13, 2017
    Omeganian
    • In The Dark Elf Trilogy, House Do'Urden lost favor with their goddess after Drizzt pulled off a similar trick with an elf child during a surface raid.
  • February 13, 2017
    Chabal2
    Ciaphas Cain: During a stealth mission, the team's Cold Sniper uses someone's corpse to support his rifle and hide himself, to Ciaphas' distaste.
  • February 13, 2017
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning, the player wakes up inside a pile of dead bodies when they come back to life at the beginning of the game.
  • February 13, 2017
    TonyG
    • Mentioned on King Of The Hill when Cotton is accused of setting a fire on the church bathroom, which he blames on "the man with the terrible smell" (actually Bobby, who got sick from eating too much lutefisk). He talks about how he spent two weeks buried under a pile of corpses at Iwo Jima, and says that what he smelled at the church bathroom was much worse.
    • Played for laughs in Finding Dory when Dory falls on a pail full of dead fish used as food for Destiny the whale shark. She thinks they're just playing dead and goes along, not realizing they're not playing until she gets dumped into Destiny's tank.
  • February 13, 2017
    Orbiting
    • Flippy from Happy Tree Friends had to hide inside the corpse of his dead friend and fellow soldier as the Tiger General's forces walk by. This causes him to snap and develop an Ax Crazy Split Personality that emerges to try and murder everyone around him when something reminds Flippy of the war.
  • February 13, 2017
    Astaroth
    • Jason in Far Cry 3 survives being shot through the head by Vaas at one point. He awakens at the bottom of a mass grave and is forced to dig his way out.

    • One of the events in Diablo III is a fight with a pack of Hell Hounds in a cellar full of rotting bodies. After the hounds are defeated, a civilian will crawl out from under one of the body heaps and thank you for saving him.
  • February 13, 2017
    Generality
    Also in Diablo III, Myriam hides from the Reapers in a pile of mummified corpses, knowing thanks to her psychic abilities that the player character will come along in time to save her.
  • February 13, 2017
    KZN02
    Not to be confused with Pretend Were Dead, which is more to do with the Living Dead?
  • February 13, 2017
    intastiel
  • February 14, 2017
    TheWanderer
    • This happens in Dragonball Z prequel movie Bardock the Father of Goku. When Frieza first begins The Purge of the Saiyans, he sends Dodoria to kill off Bardock and Bardock's squad. When Dodoria launches a final Ki Attack on Bardock, the force of it sweeps up the dead bodies of Bardock's squad and he winds up badly injured and buried beneath them. This actually saves Bardock's life, since Dodoria assumes Bardock is dead and flies off.
    • Jon Snow is nearly trampled to death and buried beneath the fallen during a battle in the sixth season of Game Of Thrones. He memorably has to desperately fight to avoid being crushed and suffocated while the battle continues to rage.
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