An iron maiden is a form of medieval torture wherein a person is stuffed into a man-shaped metal case with spikes all around the insides, causing the poor soul to get stabbed and eventually die. Often, that metal case is also a coffin. Despite taking hold in popular culture, they probably never existed in real life besides Saddam Hussein's rumored one. Not to be confused with to the heavy metal group, though they are named after the device.
- Hellboy: Rasputin sacrifices Ilsa Haupstein to become the incarnation of Hecate in an Iron Maiden.
- In Despicable Me, Edith goes into Gru's iron maiden, and what appears to be blood drips out of it, much to Margo's horror. The iron maiden then opens, only for it to be revealed that the spikes poked a hole in Edith's juice box, causing the red juice to drip out.
- In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, the Royal Ugly Dude threatens to put Bill and Ted in the Iron Maiden, which they do confuse with the heavy metal group.
- In Matilda, Miss Trunchbull stuffs kids into a closet, dubbed "the Chokey", which is full of rusty nails and broken glass, akin to an iron maiden. The idea here is that the kids must stand perfectly still until released to avoid injury.
- Raising Steam: A prisoner is kept in a (spikeless) iron maiden with several kittens. If the torturer drops by and doesn't hear contented purring, he opens it and whacks the prisoner over the head.
- The Popeye short "Can You Take It?" has Popeye enduring abuse as part of his Initiation Ceremony into the Bruiser Boys Club, ending with him encased in an iron maiden. However, the durable sailor survives and the knives in the back are bent.
- The Simpsons: The opening to "Treehouse of Horror XVII" has Moe stuffed into an iron maiden, with his blood spilling and spelling out the episode's title.
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