Created By: SharleeD on October 16, 2011 Last Edited By: GreatHylianKing on July 26, 2012
Troped

Body In A Breadbox

One or more human corpses, or corpse parts, are found in a highly unlikely place

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Corpses can be found in the darnedest places, in fiction. While every Police Procedural or mystery series uses the routine body-dump sites of alleys, roadsides, dumpsters, harbor bottoms or vacant lots, writers often feel the need to spice up their selection of crime scenes and corpse-disposal methods. When the placement of the corpse becomes so bizarre that its strange location becomes an element of the mystery's plot -- not just Whodunnit, but How/Why'ddeydoitthere -- then it's Body in a Breadbox. Or duffel bag. Or refrigerator. Or whatever.

Sister trope to Dead Man's Chest, which deals with the mechanics of fitting a body into a confined space. Often overlaps with Peek-A-Boo Corpse.

Examples:

Comics

  • In the Howard Chaykin The Shadow comic book series, a body is stuffed into the bottle of a office water cooler in the first issue. How this was accomplished is never explained--or even referred to again, as the perpetrator is known, and is pursued for his master plan.
  • In an issue of The Maze Agency, a body was stuffed into a drum of liquid nitrogen.

Film

  • In Men in Black, the Big Bad of the movie somehow manages to stuff a corpse into a shelf behind a counter.
  • In Tremors, a man who'd been trapped by Graboids for days is found high up on a power pylon, dead of thirst. Another man's head turns up half-buried in the ground, face-up under a hat.
  • In the original House on Haunted Hill, Nora finds a (fake) severed head planted in her suitcase.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's black comedy The Trouble With Harry features a corpse that pops up in a series of odd places.
  • Played With in Top Secret!, with a man being crushed in a car compactor (although the man isn't dead... yet).
  • Does Eight Heads In A Duffel Bag count?
  • In The 'Burbs, Corey Feldman finds a mound of bones in the Klopecks' trunk.

Literature

  • In Donald Westlake's "The Risk Profession", a killer hides a victim by leaving it sealed inside its spacesuit, which he hangs inconspicuously in its storage closet.

Live-Action Television

  • Corpses turning up in weird places is one of the signature features of Bones, so much so that most episodes' titles refer to the body-of-the-week's location.
  • One mummified corpse on NCIS turned up stuffed inside a chimney.
  • Inversion: On Homicide, a man's corpse was found at the site of his murder ... inside the morgue.
  • In one episode of Picket Fences, a body was stuffed into a home dishwasher.
  • Bodies in the CSI franchise have been found nailed to trees, sealed up in walls, hanging from power lines, embedded in tar, posed like statues in a park, and sitting behind the wheel of a car that's parked on a rooftop.
    • Asked about the unobvious places bodies might be found, Grissom mentioned having once found a head in a bucket of paint.
  • In one episode of Monk, they find a dead man in a trash compactor. Not a household one, mind you, but an industrial-size one.
    • In another episode of Monk, they first find a body stuffed into an arcade machine. Later on they find the body has been moved; this time it was stuffed into a crate as part of a display.
  • In the BBC adaptation Sherlock, Holmes kept human eyes in the microwave and a severed head in the refrigerator.
  • In Fringe the discovery of a body stuck in a bank vault wall starts one of their cases.
  • Used in the Remington Steele episode "Vintage Steele", which pays homage to the film of Arsenic and Old Lace (see below).

Theater

  • In Arsenic and Old Lace and its film adaptation, one of the running gags is hiding the body of Mr. Spenalzo, which gets shuffled around into various places, including a window seat.

Video Games

  • In the flash horror game, Exmortis, you find a dismembered head in a microwave.
  • In the Steam bestseller Amnesia: The Dark Descent, you can find random parts all over if you look hard enough.
    • Especially in Custom Games, where people have put human torsos over keys in dresser drawers. YMMV, as some levels can be beaten by actually throwing these parts at enemies so they chase them, letting you hide.

Real Life

  • Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer kept the body parts of his victims in various places in his apartment, including, infamously, a severed head that one of the arresting officers found in his refrigerator.
  • Part of Adolf Hitler's skull was allegedly found in Russia, in a box labelled "Blue ink for pens".

Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • October 16, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In one episode of Picket Fences the body was stuffed into a home dishwasher.
  • October 16, 2011
    foxley
    Sister trope to Dead Mans Chest.
  • October 16, 2011
    KamenZero
    In the flash horror game, Exmortis, you find a dismembered head in a microwave.

    (does this one count?) In Men In Black, the Big Bad of the movie somehow manages to stuff a corpse into a shelf behind a counter.
  • October 16, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In Friday The Thirteenth Part 3 Jason keeps the head of his mother in the refrigerator. (Or so I heard, I haven't seen it.)
  • October 16, 2011
    Wntermute
    This really puts a spin on the classic 20 Questions size limiter question.. "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
  • October 17, 2011
    nman
    • In one episode of Monk, they find a dead man in a trash compactor. Not a household one, mind you, but an industrial size one.
  • October 18, 2011
    eviltwin531
    In the BBC adaptation Sherlock, Holmes kept human eyes in the microwave and a severed head in the refrigerator.
  • October 18, 2011
    nitrokitty
    deleted.
  • October 22, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer kept the body parts of his victims in various places in his apartment, including, infamously, a severed head in his refrigerator that one of the officers arresting him found.
  • February 6, 2012
    Oreochan
    Bump.
  • February 7, 2012
    SKJAM
    In the Howard Chaykin The Shadow comic book series, a body is stuffed into the bottle of a office water cooler in the first issue. How this was accomplished is never explained--or even referred to again, as the perpetrator is known, and is pursued for his master plan.
  • February 7, 2012
    LeeM
    Part of Adolf Hitler's skull was allegedly found in Russia, in a box labelled "Blue ink for pens".
  • February 7, 2012
    foxley
    In an issue of The Maze Agency, a body was stuffed into a drum of liquid nitrogen.
  • February 8, 2012
    oztrickster
    In Fringe the discovery of a body stuck in a bank vault wall starts one of their cases.
  • February 8, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • In another episode of Monk, they first find a body stuffed into an arcade machine. Later on they find the body has been moved; this time it was stuffed into a crate as part of a display.
  • February 8, 2012
    LarryD
    In Arsenic And Old Lace, one of the running gags is hiding the body of Mr. Spenalzo, which gets shuffled around into various places, including a window seat.
  • February 8, 2012
    JonnyB
    Played With in Top Secret!, with a man being crushed in a car compactor (although the man isn't dead... yet).
  • February 8, 2012
    KeithTyler
    Does Eight Heads In A Duffel Bag count? Also The Burbs when Corey Feldman sees all the bones in the Klopeck's trunk.
  • February 8, 2012
    69BookWorM69
    Similar to Arsenic And Old Lace: see Alfred Hitchcock's black comedy The Trouble With Harry, about a corspe that pops up in a series of odd places, and the Remington Steele episode "Vintage Steele" that pays homage to that film.
  • July 25, 2012
    SharleeD
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