A (if not the
) classic method for murderers, kidnappers, or smugglers to covertly transport a human body, dead or alive, is to lay it out on a carpet and roll it up inside. It's quick, tidy, and comparatively innocuous; unlike blankets, a rolled carpet does not sag or fold out of shape, and it's unlikely to seep fluids like normal cloth or tear like plastic bags can.
If used with a dead body, this trope allows a killer to carry off any evidence on the rug along with the corpse. With a living kidnap victim, they're restrained by the thick material and their cries are muffled; while suffocation is a risk, it can be made less likely if the carpet's ends are left uncovered (although pressure on the chest still poses a breathing hazard). Either way, a rolled-up carpet remains one of the few heavy cylindrical objects that can be hauled around in public without attracting much attention.
Out-of-character, this trope was first popularized in the theater, where it let an actor be discreetly carried off-stage after their death scene, rather than hauled off in full view and at risk of Corpsing
Subtrope of Disposing of a Body
, and one standard technique for a Cleanup Crew
. Sister trope to Bag of Kidnapping
if the body in transit is a living captive. Rarely, a person might arrange to have this trope applied to themselves, possibly as a Trojan Horse
Often a Death Trope
, so unmarked spoilers
- Crime Does Not Pay #132: In the story "A Fat Tip for Murder", the murderer rolls his second victim in a carpet to transport her to the hospital where they both work to disguise her as an anatomy class specimen. Like all the stories in the series, loosely based on a Real Life event.
- In one of the Sin City short stories, Schlubb and Klump are sent to dispose of what they think is a body rolled up in a carpet (it has a pair of boots sticking out of one end), and are told not to look inside. It actually turns out to be a test of whether they can follow orders, and the carpet blows up when they try to steal the boots.
- Inextricably associated with gangster movies, originally because it (like the Chalk Outline) allowed directors working under the strictures of Moral Guardians to imply the presence of a dead body without actually showing one on-screen.
- In The Punisher (2004), the Big Bad Howard Saint has the body of his associate Quentin wrapped in a carpet when he confronts his wife Livia over her supposed infidelity.
- In The Machinist, Reznik kills the monstrous Ivan after he finds that he killed a little boy in his bathtub. He wraps Ivan's body in his carpet and drives it out to sea to dump it. When the carpet rolls open by accident Reznik finds that the body is missing, the answer only being revealed later on.
- In the live-action film of Hogfather, a young woman with a part-time job as a tooth fairy is abducted by villains who roll her up in a carpet.
- In "Film/Act of Valor" when Lisa Morales is kidnapped while playing Scrabble with Walter Ross. The gangsters knock her out, cut a square into the carpet she is on and roll her up in it.
- In Pyramids, Ptraci is inspired by an old palace story to have herself wrapped in a carpet to be unrolled as a "gift" to Pteppic. Between the lint and the dizziness of being unrolled, it turns out less romantic than she'd expected it to.
- Done in Everworld with the twist that the body was a living friend, but his friends were trying to smuggle him.
- Mathias Sandorf by Jules Verne: Pescade had managed to reach the abducted Sava, when two of the abductors are about to enter the room. Pescade rolls himself into a carpet, then keeps rolling into the darkest corner of the room to hide.
- In the young adult novel The Undertaker's Gone Bananas by Paul Zendel, the teenage protagonists find that their neighbor has his wife's body and his girlfriend's head rolled up in a carpet. They end up stealing his car, with the carpet attached to the roof, and taking in on a high-speed chase in order to get the cops to believe their story.
- In Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, it is described how Cleopatra smuggles herself into Julius Caesar's apartment in either a bedsack or the coverlet of a bed (depending on translation), carried by Apollodorus, the Sicilian.
- On the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Cadaver", a college prank convinces a student that he'd murdered the dead body (actually an anatomy class specimen) left in his dormitory bed while drunk. He wraps it up in a rug and drives away to bury it in secret.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena, posing as Cleopatra, has herself delivered to Gaius Julius Caesar wrapped in a carpet.
- Briefly discussed in an episode of Bones where a skeleton is found bowed backwards with its feet touching the hands. Speculating how it got that way, Booth suggests that maybe someone put a dead body in a carpet which rotted away along with the flesh. Brennan starts laughing, saying that that would have taken thousands of years.
- On an episode of Major Crimes the murderer wraps a body in a carpet and drags it to the street hoping it will be collected with the trash. Unfortunately it is a nice carpet, so a couple of college kids take it back to their dorm without realizing it contains a body until they unroll it.
- Played straight in American Horror Story: Coven. Fiona murders Madison in cold blood and is promptly rolled up in a carpet by the butler/secret-keeper Spalding and taken away. The carpet is obviously missing afterward, which baffles the others in the house.
- Dying Earth RPG adventure "The Exasperating Cadaver" on the Dying Earth website. The PCs are hired to deliver a "package", which turns out to be a body wrapped up in a carpet. They later discover that the body is actually still alive but drugged.
- Done in Archer to dispose of a dead hooker. Referenced many more times when other people seemingly die, though it rarely actually happens.
- Played with in one Mister Magoo cartoon, when Magoo wanders into a house used as a hideout by criminals and finds a rolled up rug in a closet, thinking it's a corpse, while he passes a man tied up on the floor and thinks it's a rolled up rug.
- The Simpsons: In a Treehouse of Horror segment there's a Bottomless Pit in the woods near Springfield where people dump stuff they don't want anybody to ever find. We see the Springfield Mafia dump a carpet (presumably with body enclosed) down the pit.
- Occurs early in The Simpsons Movie when Fat Tony and his thugs arrive at Lake Springfield with a rolled-up carpet. Police Chief Wiggum deters them, stating that no further waste dumping will occur at the lake. Though his fellow officers are suspicious, Chief Wiggum points out that Fat Tony mentioned "yard waste," so there couldn't be a corpse in the carpet roll.
- Many murder victims have been found wrapped up in carpets at body-dump sites.