Created By: KageNara on September 5, 2012 Last Edited By: PaulA on March 23, 2016

Coffin Savior OR Reaper Rescue

A dead person saves the life of, or provides needed aid to, another, while actually being dead.

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You may have noticed two different YKTTW drafts involving a coffin saving a life, this one and Saved By The Coffin. Since I can be perceived of having a bias, I would like my fellow Tropers look and see if these two are the same, or are different and require different Tropes. Also if they are the same, state which one is more Tropeworthy.

Here is a link to the other YKKTW Draft.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=385uthvpz7uhzkcdmffp3wot


A dead person saves the life of, or provides much needed aid to, another after death, while still being dead.


This can happen in several different ways, the most common are listed below.


See also Dead ex Machina for when a character thought to be dead or undead is the savior.

As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


Examples

Comicbooks

  • Tales of the Black Freighter - a comic-within-the-comic from Watchmen. The protagonist's ship is sunk by the Black Freighter, leaving him the only survivor. The would-be hero of the story uses the corpses of his dead crewmates to create a raft and sails back to his Doomed Hometown, intending to warn them of the pending arrival of the Black Freighter.

Film

  • Bad Boys 2 - Marcus hides under the sheet covering a cadaver when some evil minions show up during the pair's investigation.

  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Harry is saved from falling off an overpass into traffic by catching the dead girls arm that is hanging out of the coffin.

  • Panic Room - The previous owner of the house had a panic room built for himself, this panic room ends up saving the next tenants when a group of thieves invade the home. However, the owner also hid the object the thieves were after in the same room.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Jack Sparrow uses the coffin of a dead inmate to escape a prison at sea by hiding in said coffin, later uses the corpse's leg bone as a paddle.

  • The Incredibles - Mr. Incredible eludes Syndrome's drone by hiding behind the skeleton of one of Syndrome's previous victims.

  • Titanic - Rose's voice is hoarse and nearly inaudible as she tries to shout her location to the life-boat that has returned looking for survivors, so she slips into the water and swims to a nearby dead Titanic crewmember and uses his whistle to get the living saviors attention.

Literature

  • The Count of Monte Cristo - Dantes escapes the Chateau D'if by quickly removing the body of his dead friend the Padre Faria from its wrappings, hiding the body in the previously dug tunnel, and taking its place in the wrapping.

  • Harry Potter - In The Goblet Of Fire Voldemort uses his father's bone to resurrect himself.

  • Moby-Dick - After the ship sank and Ishmael was treading water knowing he was going to die, Queequeg's coffin which had been made for Queequeg before his death, though never actually used, shoots out of the water and provide's Ishmael with what is essentially a narrow raft.

Televison

  • Saturday Night Live - A skit made recently after the release of Titanic when two black passengers of the infamous ship survive by building an elaborate ship out of the frozen corpses of the white passengers.

Real Life

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • September 6, 2012
    JonnyB
    Captain Jack Sparrow hides with a dead man in a coffin to escape from prison at the beginning of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest. And then uses his leg bone as an oar.
  • September 6, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Does donating organs count as this?
  • September 6, 2012
    TonyG
    On The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible eludes Syndrome's drone by hiding behind the skeleton of one of Syndrome's previous victims.
  • September 6, 2012
    KageNara
    I don't think organ donating counts as the person was alive and specifically agreed to organ donating to save the life of others if he/she dies.

    I think Organ donation should be a separate trope from this as in organ donating the saving is intentional and in most of these it is not.
  • September 6, 2012
    mythbuster
    What about the supernatural version, where a ghost renders assistance from beyond the grave?
  • September 6, 2012
    KageNara
    That would be an example of Dead Ex Machina
  • September 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Subverted in the "Tales Of The Black Freighter" comic-within-the-comic from Watchmen. The protagonist's ship is sunk by the Black Freighter, leaving him the only survivor. Like the SNL example above, the would-be hero of the story uses the corpses of his dead crewmates to create a raft. He heads back to his Doomed Hometown to warn them of the pending arrival of the Black Freighter, but sees that they're already there, so he starts killing the evil pirates. Then he discovers that they hadn't been there - in his deluded state he was killing perfectly innocent townsfolk. The Black Freighter finally arrives and he swims out to become another crewman on the ship, dooming himself to an eternal hell for his actions.
  • September 7, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Im Gonna Git You Sucka. When Mr. Big's henchmen open fire on Jack Spade and John Slade, a male bystander is shot dead. John Slade picks up the dead man's body and uses it as a shield against the incoming fire.
  • September 8, 2012
    NightNymph
    One of the soldiers in Platoon uses the body of another dead soldier to hide underneath in order to stay alive.

    For me, I think the tropes are different, mostly because a coffin doesn't necessarily have to have had a person in it in order for someone to use it to save themselves. If for example, someone hid in a coffin in a funeral home's showcase room, that wouldn't then fit this trope, but would fit the other.
  • February 22, 2013
    KageNara
    .
  • March 13, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump?
  • March 13, 2016
    Chabal2
    Berserk: As a tide of evil spirits engulfs a refugee camp, bishop Mozgus undergoes partial Apostle transformation and is defeated by Guts. His burning corpse falls to the ground below, where it provides enough light to keep half a dozen survivors safe from the fire-fearing spirits. Lampshaded by Serpico who notes that he's doing more to protect the people dead than during his heretic-hunting career.

  • March 13, 2016
    PaulA
    edited the Watchmen example:

    • removed "Like the SNL example above, ", because there isn't one
    • removed a massive spoiler that is irrelevant to the trope
  • March 13, 2016
    DAN004
    Saved By The Coffin has collected enough examples to qualify as this draft's subtrope.
  • March 13, 2016
    DAN004
    • One Piece: Law only escaped the war that slaughtered his entire country by hiding beneath the corpses of his country's people.

    May overlap with Heroic Sacrifice if the dead intends to do this.
  • March 23, 2016
    Petricareless
    • Ghost Trick : Literally the entire game. The protagonist, Sissel, has the ghost ability to go back 4 minutes before someone's death in order to change fate and prevent it.
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