Environmental Autopsy
One or more corpses, and a bunch of clues that tell the story.


(permanent link) added: 2011-07-27 12:20:12 sponsor: ArtisticPlatypus (last reply: 2011-09-26 22:35:56)

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Do We Have This One?? It seems like it should exist, but I haven't found it.
Occasionally in fiction, corpses appear. Most times, their deaths are shown, or at least hinted at. Sometimes, the cause of death is left a mystery. Sometimes, it's up to a character in the work to tell the audience how it happened, possibly after deducing it themselves. This trope occurs when the scene of death itself tells the audience how it happened. This can manifest in several ways. The physical injuries on the body itself are a good way to start. Objects scattered around it can elaborate, though this can easily get too silly to be successfully Played for Drama. An easier route is to use an Apocalyptic Log.
This kind of death can be important to the plot, but is just as often thrown in for Black Comedy. In Video Games, it tends to appear as Easter Eggs.
Related to, and can overlap with, Room Full of Crazy and Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts. Contrast and compare Noodle Implements. As this is a Death Trope, beware of spoilers!

Examples:

Comic Books
  • In the Don Rosa story The Treasure Of The Ten Avatars, Donald and Scrooge venture through a Temple of Doom where every room contains a different Death Trap. The rooms also contain suits of armor from an ancient army that had ventured into the place, and the various ways the suits are mangled clue the heroes in on the natures of the traps in advance.

Film
  • In Se7en, the victims for Gluttony, Greed, Pride and [[hottip:Sloth:The victim for Sloth is technically not dead when found, but the scene works in the same way.]] are found like this.

Literature
  • Near the end of Metro2033, Artyom finds a ticket booth with a dead woman inside. The half-eaten food rations scattered around her, along with her diary-like scribblings on the wall inside make it clear that she took refuge there when the bombs fell, and slowly died by radiation poisoning.

Video Games
  • Fallout 3 (And presumbaly the other Fallout games, though I'd need someone to confirm this) take this to a whole new level. Practically every building or landmark contains charred skeletons lying among items or audio logs telling the story of their deaths.

Webcomics

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