Created By: MrInitialMan on March 16, 2013 Last Edited By: MrInitialMan on March 5, 2015

Extra-Strength Coffin

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Trope
Burial is meant to be permanent, but sometimes those doing the burying go the extra mile to make sure what's in there stays put. This can be done for a number of reasons:

  1. To keep the corpse or the valuables in the tomb from being stolen

  2. To keep whatever killed the victim contained.

  3. To keep the BODY from escaping.

This can be either literally sealing a coffin in concrete or some other means of making sure that the grave will never be opened.

This is not (usually) intended as a means of killing someone, just a means of burial—but if it is, it's Buried Alive.


Examples

Comic Books
  • In several Legion of Super Heroes stories, the virtually omnipotent sorcerer Mordred's only weakness was a paralyzing phobia of being buried alive. The Legion was able to stop him (more than once) by entombing him in Inertron, the most indestructible substance known to 30th century science.

Film
  • True Lies does this without an actual corpse when the terrorist group Crimson Jihad pours concrete over an armed nuclear warhead to ensure it can't be disarmed.

Live-Action TV
  • On True Blood, Eric and Bill bury Russell Edgington in concrete, wrapped in silver. Salome eventually digs him up.
  • In First Wave an albino woman was found buried alive in a massive concrete art exhibit ... still alive somehow.
  • Supernatural. In the second season episode "No Exit", the Winchester brothers end up sealing a ghost of a Serial Killer by surrounding it with a ring of salt and then filling its lair with a truck full of concrete.
  • A Flashback in Monster House showed that Nebbercracker's wife died after falling off the edge of a huge hole while in the midst of building their house together, then getting covered with cement after hitting the ground.

Literature
  • Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray. A man's consciousness goes back in time and animates a dead body in a tomb. He uses a "spirit door" to escape the tomb (it was designed as a part of tombs so the person could escape if they were resurrected). Near the end of the book an enemy puts his body back in the tomb, but seals the spirit door shut so he can't escape even if he comes to life again.

Religion
  • More symbolic type than physical. The tomb of Jesus Christ had the seal of Pontius Pilate placed on the stone (as well as guards placed around it), as part of an attempt to keep his corpse in the tomb.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • In Family Guy, Mayor West has a city ordinance requiring all caskets to be sealed in concrete so zombies won't get him.

Real Life
  • Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man in medical history, was buried in a vault of solid concrete, as the family feared his body would be stolen.
  • A supposed dummy in an amusement park funhouse in 1976 was discovered to be the genuine corpse of outlaw Elmer McCurdy, shot dead in a 1911 gunfight. After examination and historical analysis (it turned out his corpse had been circulating freak shows, carnivals, and wax museums ever since his body had gone unclaimed and been set up on display by his undertaker), he was buried under two cubic yards of concrete to ensure that he would finally be able to rest in peace.
  • Some hoodlums attempted to steal the corpse of Abraham Lincoln in 1876 with the intention of holding it for ransom. Lincoln's body got moved around over the next couple of decades but when it was finally permanently interred in 1901 it was buried beneath ten feet of concrete.
  • Ur-example: Pharoahs went to great pains to make sure their tombs would be sealed.
  • Related are lead lined coffins for radiation victims
  • Various stories feature either the act or a mention of giving a defeated enemy a proper burial, with a huge rock placed atop the grave just to make sure.
Community Feedback Replies: 46
  • March 16, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    When I clicked on this, I was thinking this was about certain Mafia... disposal techniques.
  • March 16, 2013
    StarSword
    Film:
    • True Lies does this without an actual corpse when the terrorist group Crimson Jihad pours concrete over an armed nuclear warhead to ensure it can't be disarmed.
  • March 16, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Live Action Television
    • Supernatural: In the second season episode "No Exit", the Winchester brothers end up sealing a ghost of a Serial Killer by surrounding it with a ring of salt and then filling its lair with a truck full of concrete.
  • March 16, 2013
    MaxWest
    I'm inclined to agree that this trope needs some clarification.

    In The Real Ghostbusters episode "Apocalypse...What Now?", the team is unable to trap the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in their standard ghost traps. They try putting the ghost trap with the Horsemen inside within cement. That doesn't work either.
  • March 16, 2013
    CaveCat
    • A Flashback in Monster House showed that Nebbercracker's wife died after falling off the edge of a huge hole while in the midst of building their house together, then getting covered with cement after hitting the ground.
  • March 16, 2013
    SharleeD
    A title like "Sealed Under Concrete" would be more informative, and would open it up to non-corpse examples. That would make it overlap with some instances of Sealed Evil In A Can.
  • March 17, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Video Games:
  • March 17, 2013
    StarSword
  • March 17, 2013
    XFllo
    I also expected the Mafia and Serial Killer thing... Description needs help and also I think Real Life examples might be too creepy. I'd vote for a ban of real life section.

    I'd have two examples from The Cement Garden and SF Debris. I'll write them up later when I have more time.
  • March 17, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Like We Are All Kosh and X Fllo, concrete being used by the murderously-inclined also came to my mind.

    Funerary examples, such as the two that were listed, are quite fine in my book and shouldn't really break any creepiness rules. Though I would treat examples of murder cases involving concrete (the case of Junko Furuta, whose murderers encased her body in a 55-gallon steel drum filled with concrete, comes immediately to mind) with a measure of care.
  • March 17, 2013
    dvorak
    • In Family Guy, Mayor West has a city ordinance requiring all caskets to be sealed in concrete so zombies won't get him.
  • March 17, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I suggest Concrete Coffin as a title for this.
  • March 18, 2013
    Surenity
    One WWE storyline had Paul Bearer captured by the Dudley Boys, and if The Undertaker lost his match with them they were going to bury him in cement. He was trapped in a glass box, tied to a chair with a cement truck nearby. Undertaker won, but, citing Paul Bearer as a weakness, buried Paul bearer in cement himself.
  • March 18, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • One of NBC's Columbo mysteries is "Blueprint For Murder," where an architect murders an financeer who tried to back out of the building project. The murder occurs at a riding stable, where the architect hides the corpse. Lieutenant Columbo deduces the architect as the most likely suspect, but he can't produce the body. This trope is played with, as Columbo gets a writ to tear apart the project's concrete substructure to locate the missing financeer, but comes up empty. The next night, the architect returns with the financeer's corpse, intent on interring it in concrete on site, since the police have already searched there. Columbo was waiting quietly for precisely this moment.
  • March 18, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I suppose Cement Shoes are related?

    I'd like to ask if the carbonite freezing in Star Wars qualifies, since the bodies inside the carbonite aren't technically dead. They get turned into wall hangings and and/or are used to smuggle bodies past organic sensors run by Seperatist droid blockades, but it's simple to get the bodies out, either within days or years.
  • March 18, 2013
    aurora369
    Since when do we have "creepiness rules"? It's not porn, pedophilia or something, it will not get us banned from ad server or whatever.
  • March 18, 2013
    gallium
    Live Action TV
    • On True Blood, Eric and Bill bury Russell Edgington in concrete, wrapped in silver. Salome eventually digs him up.

    Real Life
    • Some hoodlums attempted to steal the corpse of Abraham Lincoln in 1876 with the intention of holding it for ransom. Lincoln's body got moved around over the next couple of decades but when it was finally permanently interred in 1901 it was buried beneath ten feet of concrete.
  • March 18, 2013
    MrInitialMan
    Dennis Dunjinman: Not really, since it's not part of a burial.
  • March 30, 2013
    XFllo
    @aurora369: Yes, there is no extreme creepiness rule. E.g. Creepy Souvenir has No Real Life Examples Please precisely because of this. Examples from fiction are ok, but real life stuff may be too disturbing.
  • March 30, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    Comic Books: In several Legion Of Super Heroes stories, the virtually omnipotent sorcerer Mordred's only weakness was a paralyzing phobia of being buried alive. The Legion was able to stop him (more than once) by entombing him in Inertron, the most indestructible substance known to 30th century science.
  • March 30, 2013
    Megaptera
    The Elmer McCurdy example needs rewording. It sounds like he had himself reburied after his body was found in an amusement park. ;) How about:

    A supposed wax dummy in an amusement park funhouse in 1976 was discovered to be the genuine corpse of outlaw Elmer McCurdy, shot dead in a 1911 gunfight. After examination and historical analysis (it turned out his corpse had been circulating freak shows, carnivals, and wax museums ever since his body had gone unclaimed and been set up on display by his undertaker), he was buried under two cubic yards of concrete to ensure that he would finally be able to rest in peace.
  • March 31, 2013
    aurora369
    ^^^ If there is such a rule, it should be documented. I did not find it while browsing administrivia.

    P.S. Oh my, TV Tropes is being bluenosingly bowdlerized. First, they removed troper tales. Then they removed fetish fuel. Now they remove nightmare fuel... What next?
  • March 31, 2013
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    • In First Wave an albino woman was found buried alive in a massive concrete art exibit ... still alive somehow.
  • April 1, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^ Nightmare Fuel still exists, it's just on YMMV where it belongs.
  • June 20, 2014
    MrInitialMan
    Any other examples of a sealed grave?
  • June 20, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Why are you asking for more examples when you haven't even added the ones already posted?
  • June 20, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 20, 2014
    Omeganian
  • June 23, 2014
    MrInitialMan
    How about Sealed In The Tomb?
  • July 4, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Blue Linked section title(s).
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
      • Added an asterisk at the beginning of example(s) to indent them.
      • Namespaced and italicized work name(s).
      • Corrected spelling (exibit).
  • July 4, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 4, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Anime
    • A reincarnated Garterbelt from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt was captured by ancient Egyptians, mummified, placed in a stone sarcophagus and sealed in a pyramid alive. Of course, by an Act Of God, Garterbelt was remade deathless, so entombing him this way was the best they could do. He remains a Scary Black Man when he's unsealed by grave robbers about a thousand years later.
  • July 5, 2014
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray. A man's consciousness goes back in time and animates a dead body in a tomb. He uses a "spirit door" to escape the tomb (it was designed as a part of tombs so the person could escape if they were resurrected). Near the end of the book an enemy puts his body back in the tomb, but seals the spirit door shut so he can't escape even if he comes to life again.
  • July 5, 2014
    TheHandle
    In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, DIO sealed himself in a sarcophagus from the inside, as the ship he as in sunk. One hundred years later, treasure hunters haul his sepulchre from the abyss, and weld it open. They would not live to see the morning, and the horror they had unleashed. The Pillar Men also sealed themselves into sculptures and reliefs, in deep, stone-like sleep, biding their time.

    Sono Chi No Sadame!
  • July 5, 2014
    TheHandle
    In Discworld, wizards tend to attempt to cheat Death by sealing themselves into tombs surrounded by their best arsenal of wards and amulets. The usual result:
    A bit cramped in here, isn't it?
  • February 26, 2015
    DAN004
    Wanna call it Extra Strength Coffin?

    Compare Iron Maiden
  • February 26, 2015
    Chabal2
    ^^ Although in that case, it wasn't intended to be a tomb, the wizard had forgotten the importance of airholes.

    See also Shoot The Builder.

    Genghis Khan's tomb was supposedly dug out by thousands of slaves who were then sealed inside so they wouldn't reveal its location, then the soldiers who executed them were also killed for the same reason.

  • February 26, 2015
    MrInitialMan
  • February 26, 2015
    SteveMB
    Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" is a classic Buried Alive version.

  • February 26, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^ 1. Crib off Extra Strength Masquerade.

    2. This is, indeed, when a coffin is reinforced for some reason, right?
  • February 27, 2015
    gallium
    Buried Alive is its own trope; I would not list it here. Make this trope be for when one has to take special precautions for burying the dead.
  • February 27, 2015
    SteveMB
    Good point. I'd leave out the Buried Alive cases (including the one I cited) and keep them in that trope. Perhaps replace that list item with "To keep some dangerous property of the corpse contained." (covering the disease/radioactivity/whatever cases).

  • February 28, 2015
    MrInitialMan
    @DAN 004: 1: Okay, that makes sense. 2: Yes.

    Steve MB: Reason #2: "To keep whatever killed the victim from escaping" but I can change that to "contained"

    The thing is—sometimes an Extra Strength Coffin is used to bury someone alive, so there is some crossover.
  • March 1, 2015
    dalek955
    • Various stories feature either the act or a mention of giving a defeated enemy a proper burial, with a huge rock placed atop the grave just to make sure.
  • March 1, 2015
    Bisected8
  • March 5, 2015
    Prfnoff
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