Created By: witchdoctor on February 5, 2010
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Death By Rube Goldberg

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Just about everyone can name a movie where someone dies, is murdered or otherwise shuffles off from this mortal coil.

However every once in a while there's a murderer who decides that he/she wants to take that extra step. Why just murder someone with a kitchen knife or a revolver? If you're going to kill someone, they figure, you might as well do it in a way that someone almost has to stand in awe of the ingenuity of the killer to think of this particular fashion of offing someone.

This is a Death Trope so expect spoilers. If it fails you can expect someone to ask Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him? and they often do.

Often attempted by any variety of Evil Genius but it can vary whether or not they are successful.

Not to be confused with No Kill Like Overkill.

Examples:

Anime/Manga

Film
  • Law Abiding Citizen: This entire movie is a love note to this trope. The way Clyde kills people makes Mcgyver look like he was creating science projects for the elementary school science fair.
  • The Saw movies have this trope as the entire point to the extent that one could argue that the plot exists only to allow the use of this trope.
  • The Final Destination movies use this trope so extensively that it is truly a wonder to behold.
  • The Cell
  • The Omen films and here there's no chance of the elaborate schemes failing because they're planned by, you know, the Devil.
  • One of the murders in Hot Fuzz...how the heck do they arrange the death of a guy by house explosion to be an accident?

Live-Action TV
  • Dead Like Me: The use of this trope is actually lampshaded believe it or not. All of the deaths in the show are of this variety and it is explained early on that the gravelings exist solely to make sure the circumstances leading to the deaths occur.
  • The featured freak-of-the-week on the X Files episode "The Goldberg Variations" had a luck-altering presence, resulting in this type of death for his enemies.
  • The title of this trope is actually used word for word in a The Facts of Life episode revolving around a killer taking down the group.

Video Games
  • Evil Genius: You can create traps to foil agents of justice trying to crash the party. You get extra points for clever, sadistic traps.
  • In Hitman Blood Money, you are rewarded for making your hits look like accidents. In all of the games in the series, you can come up with very indirect or ingenious ways of offing your targets.
  • MadWorld awards higher points per kill the more elaborate the kill is.
  • Some members of the Dwarf Fortress community love to invoke this trope when it comes to nobles and certain other pests.

Western Animation
  • The Great Mouse Detective has an example of one of these in the form of a death trap. It doesn't actually work but points for trying.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • January 31, 2010
    callsignecho
  • January 31, 2010
    GeneralGoose
    • In the videogame Evil Genius, you can create traps to foil agents of justice trying to crash the party. You get extra points for clever, sadistic traps.
    • In Hitman Blood Money, you are rewarded for making your hits look like accidents. In all of the games in the series, you can come up with very indirect or ingenious ways of offing your targets.
  • January 31, 2010
    random surfer
    If it fails expect someone to say Why Dont Ya Just Shoot Him?
  • January 31, 2010
    MatthewTheRaven
    The featured freak-of-the-week on the X-Files episode "The Goldberg Variations" had a luck-altering presence, resulting in this type of death for his enemies.
  • January 31, 2010
    arromdee
    Detective Conan is full of it. Actually, almost any crime-based show will end up being full of it.
  • January 31, 2010
    witchdoctor
    I'm thinking of renaming the trope to one of three options.

    1)Goldberg Is A Killer 2)Rube Goldberg Kills 3)Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts (Bonus points for the similarity to Adam Smith Hates Your Guts)
  • February 1, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Well, don't forget the death trap in The Great Mouse Detective, or is this a subset of most of the extended execution sequences most Bond villains love to engage in?
  • February 1, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    The Cell

  • February 1, 2010
    Shellsh0cker
    I realize that it's a different trope, but the title seems like it could be easily confused with Necro Non Sequitur.
  • February 1, 2010
    witchdoctor
    @UT 137: This trope is just whenever a person dies in a deliberately elaborate manner.

    @Shellsh0cker: Unfortunately, Rube Goldberg is the best way to describe this method of killing someone. That said, if you have an alternative I'm open to suggestions.
  • February 1, 2010
    TBTabby
    MadWorld awards higher points per kill the more elaborate the kill is.

    Also, how is this different than No Kill Like Overkill?
  • February 1, 2010
    witchdoctor
    No Kill Like Overkill uses excessive force to make sure that someone is good and dead. This uses a complicated and elaborate manner to kill someone.
  • February 1, 2010
    LeeM
    The Omen films probably count, but there's no chance of the elaborate schemes failing because they're planned by, you know, the Devil.
  • February 1, 2010
    witchdoctor
    I'm thinking we have enough examples to launch this bitch but I think it needs a snapper title. The four options are:
  • February 1, 2010
    dotchan
    Voting that we keep "Rube Goldberg" in the full title, otherwise there's a certain other Goldberg (or is that Goldburg?) that the trope title may be confused with.
  • February 1, 2010
    witchdoctor
    Agreed, though that doesn't help with the title, much.
  • February 2, 2010
    Assistant
    ...didn't we use to have a trope called Rube Goldberg Death Machine?
  • February 2, 2010
    witchdoctor
    might have but the title seems a bit clunky to me. anyone agree?
  • February 4, 2010
    TripleElation
    I actually like the original proposed title.
  • February 4, 2010
    onyhow
    One of the murders in Hot Fuzz...how the heck they arrange the death of a guy by house explosion to be as an accident?
  • February 4, 2010
    Clevomon
    A few of Battler's theories to solve the murders of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni come down to this. Small bombs, anybody?
  • February 4, 2010
    Leaper
    The title of this trope is actually used word for word in a The Facts Of Life episode revolving around a killer taking down the group. (In a dream - within a dream within a dream - of course.)
  • February 5, 2010
    Roupe
    Is the trope the general murderous use of a "Robinson Goldberg Contraption" or just when its causes Awe for using it?

  • February 5, 2010
    witchdoctor
    @Roupe: General murderous use of a Rube Goldberg device. Basically any kill that is more elaborate than is strictly necessary.
  • February 5, 2010
    GeneralGoose
    Another video games example: I've seen some members of the Dwarf Fortress community love to invoke this trope when it comes to nobles and certain other pests.
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