Created By: Andrusi on February 24, 2008
Nuked

And I Must Scream

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Trope
Character finds himself immobilized, unable to communicate with anyone, and unlikely to be removed from this situation--not even by death--anytime soon.

Usually, when this arises, it is eternal (unless someone finds them and reverses it, which is common if this is happening at the beginning or middle of the story instead of the end), but non-infinite cases are possible (for instance, a robot with a 100-year battery life, buried underground).

The worst case scenario for tropes such as Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere, Involuntary Shapeshifting, and Who Wants to Live Forever?, and a rich well of Nightmare Fuel.

As implied by the working title (which isn't very good--need a better one), I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream ends with someone being put into this situation via Involuntary Shapeshifting. And since this is me starting the YKTTW, you know there must be a Pretty Cure example; in this case, Michiru and Kaoru spend nearly half of Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star paralyzed at the bottom of a lake, and at the start of Yes! Precure 5, Nuts was trapped inside the then-unopenable Dream Collet.
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • February 24, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Angel The Series had a baddy ending up like this, he sent other people to Hell in his place when he died, so they locked him up in a "cell" that was basically a locked closet forever.

    Also, I'm not sure, but I think this is what Queen Beryl does to Jedite in Sailor Moon.
  • February 24, 2008
    Yuri2356
    The Doctor did this in a different way to each member of the Family of Blood.
  • February 24, 2008
    Prfnoff
    Sylvester And The Magic Pebble, as mentioned on Transformation Trauma.
  • February 24, 2008
    Andrusi
    Thank you! I wanted to include Sylvester And The Magic Pebble in the YKTTW but couldn't remember the title (specifically, I got "Magic Pebble" but wasn't sure of the character's name).
  • February 24, 2008
    {{Meta4}}
    Would waking up paralyzed on the operating table or in the morgue count? The former is Truth In Television (but very rare), and the latter occurred in Louis Pollock's short story "Breakdown" and Stephen King's "Autopsy Room Four".
  • February 24, 2008
    foxley
    In the Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors", anyone who claims Rassilon's Gift is granted true immortality, as an unmoving (but still aware) stone carving on Rassilon's tomb.
  • February 24, 2008
    StarBright
    Heroes: Kensei's power makes him more or less immortal, so Hiro buries him alive in a coffin to put him out of action.
  • February 25, 2008
    adam850
  • February 25, 2008
    Maureen MacDonald
    The people turned into ornaments or statues in Return to Oz.

    The book "Stuck in Neutral" is about a boy with cerebral palsy so bad he has no way of communicating with the outside world.
  • February 25, 2008
    LadyShadowflame
    What about what Shikamaru did to Hidan in Naruto? Hidan gets blown into pieces, and buried in a hole...but he's immortal, and his severed head continues to curse Shikamaru right until he's covered over. Now think about this. Hidan is still capable of feeling pain. He's had his head cut off before, and it hurt. So you have an immortal, in pieces, buried alive, unable to move or heal since the pieces aren't joined...and fully capable of feeling pain, pretty much forever. *shudder*
  • February 25, 2008
    BlackDragon
    Episode two of Vampire Princess Miyu - "At The Next Station". This is the fate of the women who fall prey to the temptation of the Shinma Rho-Ah, and take him up on his offer of enhanced beauty... only to end up frozen in time, like beautiful mannequins dressed in expensive clothes, never to age or decay... at the end, you can see that even the one who got decapitated during the battle between Rho-Ah and Miyu, is still alive, just like the rest of them - whimpering and sobbing quietly through paralyzed lips.
  • February 25, 2008
    Arivne
    The Larry Niven short story "Wait It Out". Astronauts stranded on Pluto take off their helmets to freeze themselves until help arrives: they discover that the low temperature turns their brains into superconductors. story text
  • February 25, 2008
    Andrusi
    Meta4: The operating room one, maybe, but I don't think the morgue would count... if a normal person is paralyzed and buried, they're not going to live long. The main point of the trope is that, barring a miraculous rescue of some sort, you're going to be stuck here for a very, very long time.
  • February 25, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    The woman lawyer at the end of the Kill Bill movie. Nightmare Fuel indeed.
  • February 25, 2008
    JustinCognito
    Ninja Scroll: The immortal, regenerating bad guy gets cast in gold and sunk to the bottom of a lake.
  • February 26, 2008
    Iphigenia
    Three characters from the Myst series ended up this way, at least before the Trap Books were ret-conned into Prison Ages. It can also happen to the player in some of the 'bad' endings.
  • February 26, 2008
    LexiDizzle
    It happened to Harry twice in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; first on the train when Draco Malfoy puts a Full-Body Bind on him, stomps on his face, then covers him with his Invisibility Cloak. And then at the end of the book when Dumbledore does pretty much the same, just without the stomping.
  • February 27, 2008
    JustinCognito
    Buffy, "The Witch." Amy's body-swapping witchy mom has one of her spells turned back on her, and seemingly vanishes. At the end of the episode, it turns out she's been trapped in one of her old cheerleading trophies.
  • February 27, 2008
    Masami Phoenix
    Which is later referenced when Oz is looking at the trophy case. "This may sound wierd, but no matter where I move, this trophy's eyes seem to follow me."
  • February 28, 2008
    Andrusi
    If we can get a more descriptive title, then I think we've got ourselves a launchable trope.
  • February 28, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    A subtrope of A Fate Worse Than Death.

    Lump or split?
  • February 29, 2008
    Andrusi
    Andrusi: Obviously I'm biased since this is my YKTTW, but I think it's distinctive enough to be splittable. Fate Worse Than Death covers a lot of ground--there's room for subtropes.
  • March 1, 2008
    Tyris
    Torchwood: In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Captain John paralyses Gwen and leaves her in a shipping crate. One of the non-infinite cases, as death will result in only 1 hour.
  • March 1, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    There's Tic-toc from Oz, who has separate winding keys for his mind, body, and ability to walk. If the body winds down, he's stuck motionless, but still able to think until his mind winds down. Especially bad when he wants to help a teammate but can only watch them suffer/get captured/etc.

    Oh, and not sure on the spelling of the name, and it might be a different name entirely. Been a while.
  • March 1, 2008
    Seanette
    UT 71, you have the right character, usually spelled Tik Tok. :-)
  • March 2, 2008
    Snake712
    Music example: "One" by Metallica.
  • March 2, 2008
    YoAdrian
    In David Eddings' Belgariad, Belgarath encases Zedar in rock. Made worse by the fact that A) they were brothers before Zedar's Face Heel Turn, and B) Zedar is stated in the prequels to be very afraid of the dark.
  • March 3, 2008
    Kilyle
    Yes, Belgareth's actions there made him irredeemable in my eyes. Especially as, once everyone was worked out and no one was dead, he didn't undo it or even show any remorse. No mortal, however long-lived or well connected to gods, has the right to hand out a sentence like that.
  • March 15, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Splitting this from A Fate Worse Than Death might lighten the load on Nightmare Fuel. I've been linked to a short manga story showing a particular brand of dragons that use a kidnapped human as their heart, convulsing once every couple of seconds for millenia on end. I don't have a link because I don't ever want to read that story again.
  • March 15, 2008
    ShayGuy
    Here's an example from Remnants which is mentioned somewhere - Billy Weir on the Mayflower. I remember the official website's description: "When Billy sleeps, his brain doesn't shut down. He's about to sleep for 500 years."
  • March 22, 2008
    LadyShadowflame
    ...Regarding Belgarath...he actually frequently showed remorse, indicating he viewed it as necessary, but wasn't going to forgive himself. Besides, a lot of people saying it was terrible tend to ignore little things like the amount of bad things Zedar did...oh, convincing the Nyissan queen to murder (almost) the entire Rivan royal family, then leaving her to take the fall for it?
  • March 22, 2008
    Otempora
  • March 22, 2008
    Andrusi
    I like Waking Death.
  • March 22, 2008
    Zaratustra
    How could we forget Prometheus' fate to be chained to a rock and have his liver serve as a buffet for an eagle?
  • March 23, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Possibly subverted in Real Life as it's been claimed patients with locked-in paralysis may be no more prone to depression or mental illness than the rest of us. Even being trapped as a statue might be bearable if you're in a place where you can see and hear interesting stuff. This story speculates on that idea.
  • March 23, 2008
    Medinoc
    Seconding Lady Shadowflame about Belgarath. People are a little too quick to forget that...
  • March 23, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    @Zaratustra: Was he rendered mute? I think we shouldn't stretch this to just any Fate Worse Than Death.
  • March 25, 2008
    Andrusi
    I don't believe Prometheus was made mute. I can't remember if he was somewhere where people knew he was there, though. If he could shout all he wanted and nobody could hear him, then that's just inside the border of the trope. But if people were coming up to him and watching him get pecked at and laughing at him because they're just dicks, then that doesn't count.
  • March 26, 2008
    Clerval
    In Aeschylus' tragedy, Prometheus Bound, lots of people come past his rock - not to point and laugh but sympathise and chat - a chorus of Oceanids, Io, etc. That's probably just one take on the myth, but still. And ultimately he was rescued by Heracles, who obviously had to know where he was.
  • March 26, 2008
    Andyzero
    There was someone doing this to people in CSI: Miami. Or So I Heard. They called it "Locked In Syndrome."
  • March 26, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    From the abyssal depths, arise! (or "bump" but that lacks drama.)

    Bumping for comparison with Petrificus Totalus.
  • March 26, 2008
    Indigo
    • Tin Man: The titular lawman was trapped in an iron maiden and forced to watch a hologram of his family being tortured and killed until DG and Glitch let him out.

    Happens pretty regularly in comics.
    • Spider-Man has an enemy called Carnage. The Silver Surfer turned Carnage into a statue that still lives and thinks but cannot move in order to arrest the rapid encroachment of stomach cancer into his body without the symbiote
    • In Uncanny X-Men, Dr. Doom once turned Storm into an organic chrome statue. She could not move but could still think. This turned into a case of Unstoppable Rage because she is severely claustrophobic, and being turned into a statue triggered that. And her mutant powers were still working, so the claustrophobia manifested as a deadly storm over Latveria.
  • March 26, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Crossposting examples from my Petrificus Totalus suggestion:

    • Hans Christian Andersen's The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf, in which the title character is punished for her vanity by becoming a statue in Hell. She's able to hear everything being said about her by the living.
    • In the Divine Comedy, the worst sinners in Hell-- those who betrayed their superiors and benefactors-- are completely entombed in ice.
    • In the book The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander, some soldiers get turned into stone, but find that they can move with great effort.
    • A similar variation/subversion occurs in Jackie Chan Adventures, although Jackie is turned to stone(by a magical injection) bit by bit, and can fight pretty well with his stone arms and legs.
    • Happens to Team Rocket(temporarily, thanks to a between-episodes Reset Button) in an early episode of Pokemon.
    • Real Life example: Sleep paralysis, which can be quite disturbing, especially when it's accompanied by Nightmare Dreams and strange sensations-- some of which have inspired legends of Horny Devils, but that's another story...
  • March 26, 2008
    Silk_Sk
    Definitely the most extreme case I've ever seen is in Bleach where...(sorry, don't know how to do spoilers yet. I'll figure it out.)
  • March 26, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    Add spoilers with "[[ spoiler:" (no quotes or space) then your text, then close the brackets. Like so.
  • March 27, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    We have null-code-tags now, we can show code normally. [[spoiler:Like this.]]
  • March 27, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    Oh, [[cool]]. We're all learning something here.

    Now I just need to learn to post without having to edit my typos a moment later...
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Kevin O'Donnell's 1978 Analog story "Gift of Prometheus" uses a variation on the Prometheus story in which a time traveller is shot while trying to use his time bracelet. The bullet ricochets off the bracelet into his stomach, and the malfunctioning bracelet strands him in limbo, surrounded by nothing, incapable of being found or rescued, and frozen in time so the pain will never end. He can only escape temporarily into his own memories, even though they will always lead him back to the pain.
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Also from Analog, April 1999 issue had a "Probability Zero" short called "Going Home" by By H.G. Stratmann, which was about the first manned flight of a Faster Than Light spaceship. On the outward journey everything seemed fine, but the instant the crew returned home they found themselves incaable of making the slightest sound or movement. Relativity says that information can't travel faster than light, so the universe immobilized them to prevent them from telling anyone what they'd seen...
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    The short-lived Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine had a story by Victor Milan called "The Casque of Lamont T. Yado". Yeah, lousy pun... anyway, in a twist on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", the "Montresor" character helps the "Fortunato" character to steal a time helmet which will let him move so quickly it will seem as if Time Stands Still. The twist is that "Montresor" has sabotaged the controls, so "Fortunato" actually finds himself moving slower and slower until he can't make any visible movement, while his consciousness remains in normal time.
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Then there's Maragaret St. Clair's 1953 story "Thirsty God": a man who has raped an alien girl takes refuge in what seems to be a shrine but is actually a biological converter designed for another alien species. Once the machines have done their bit he wakes up paralyzed and thirsty. He is soon visited by the first of many waterlogged amphibian creatures who worship him as a god because his body can now absorb their bodies' excessive moisture. To him it's a horrible physical and psychological torment, and he can never move or escape.

    (However, this site has several stories that turn the same plot into Fetish Fuel by replacing pain with ecstasy.)
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    One of several examples by Michael Moorcock is found in The Queen of the Swords, later collected in the first Corum omnibus. There's a scene in which our heroes encounter a huge army of foot soldiers cursed by the goddess Xiombarg to stand like statues, which they've been doing for a hundred years.
  • March 27, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    A subversion occurs in Borges' story The Secret Miracle in which Time Stands Still for a writer who's been placed before a firing squad. He can't move or speak, but it doesn't bother him because he's got a year to finish writing his masterpiece, for himself(and maybe God) alone.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=k4c8439m&trope=AndIMustScream