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[[quoteright:320:[[ClassicalMythology http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/PandorasBox.jpeg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:320:"I [[StealthPun hope]] it's not too late to return this."]]-]

->''"Old folk saying: 'You can catch the devil, but you can't hold him long.'"''
-->-- '''Creator/RodSerling''', from ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode [[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS2E41TheHowlingMan "The Howling Man"]]

->''"If an alien race possessed the technology to trap that thing and use Earth as their personal toilet, they did so for one reason... They couldn't kill it."''
-->-- '''Lex Luthor''', from ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday''.

Long ago, [[{{Precursors}} An Ancient People]] faced a terrible evil. Using various methods, they [[CapturedSuperEntity bound the evil]] into a [[TailorMadePrison prison]] from which they thought it could never escape.

It did.

Sealed Evil In A Can, as the title suggests, is a way to introduce a villain suddenly, especially one that is legendary and powerful. It also explains why the villain [[OrcusOnHisThrone hasn't done anything up to that point]]: It just now escaped.

Sometimes, the BigBad's plan is to unseal the can of some ancient GodOfEvil; hoping they'll get some of that great power as a reward. If they succeed, it almost always turns out that the Sealed Evil was manipulating them into freeing them, making the Sealed Evil the ''true'' BigBad. Sealed Evil[[TradeSnark ™]] almost ''never'' rewards those who release it. It may act like the malevolent flavor of a JackassGenie, twisting their releasers' wishes back on them, or it may simply decide that YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness. Remember: EvilIsNotAToy.

The hero occasionally [[NiceJobBreakingItHero breaks the seal himself]] due to lack of information or [[FalseInnocenceTrick active manipulation by the villain]].

The primary question is usually "Why did they just seal it, as opposed to KILL it?" Well, the answer tends to vary; but usually it's a variant of ThePunishment (for both the sealed and everyone else), and/or AsLongAsThereIsEvil. Maybe it ''[[{{Immortality}} can't]]'' die (or more commonly, the conditions weren't right to deal the final blow), so sealing is the next best thing. Another common excuse is the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil; if they'd killed the ancient evil, then a [[BiggerBad bigger, badder]] evil would've taken its place, thus sealing it away neutralizes the threat but also keeps it in the world and maintains the balance. For some reason, only on a very few occasions were the goods not strong enough at the time.

Expect the mere release of the SEIAC to cause a WorldWreckingWave, WalkingWasteland, and sundry other disasters. That said, being cooped up for centuries is likely to have weakened the SEIAC, meaning it needs some time to recover its lost strength.

Since this trope can be traced back to Greek mythology, it's OlderThanFeudalism. Notice that it is exactly the same, without the mystical magical mumbo-jumbo, as any plot where a horrible criminal escapes from or is released from prison.

This is an ''extremely'' common plot and backstory in video games because it's such a simple backstory: the BigBad, put away by some ancient hero, has escaped. You (the player) must put him back in.

!! Related Tropes
* SealedGoodInACan: The good version.
* SealedBadassInACan: A neutral version of this trope.
* GirlInABox: A neutral version specifically used for females.
* LeakingCanOfEvil: An evil being is sealed away as per this trope, but in a way that allows it to still affect the world.
* SealedInsideAPersonShapedCan: The evil is imprisoned inside a living being.
* SealedEvilInATeddybear: The person shaped can is The Team Pet.
* SealedArmyInACan: One can is used for multiple evils.
* SealedEvilInASixPack: One evil is sealed within multiple cans.
* SealedEvilInADuel: The evil is sealed away with an equally powerful good which will keep it occupied so it can't try to escape.
* TailorMadePrison: When the current generation makes its own can to ([[CardboardPrison usually temporarily]]) imprison evildoers.
* BiggerBad: A particularly powerful Sealed Evil overshadows a setting but never manages to affect the plot directly enough to be a BigBad.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!Examples:

[[index]]
* SealedEvilInACan/AnimeAndManga
* SealedEvilInACan/ComicBooks
* SealedEvilInACan/{{Literature}}
* SealedEvilInACan/LiveActionTV
* SealedEvilInACan/VideoGames
* SealedEvilInACan/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has a card called [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=121155 Dark Depths]], which, after certain conditions are met, i.e. the costly "unsealing" process of removing ten ice counters from it, creates a [[http://www.wizards.com/magic/images/mtgcom/arcana1000/1119_maritlagetoken.jpg large and damn near unkillable monster]].
** For a much older example, consider the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=1098 Bottle of Suleiman]], which upon being sacrificed has a 50/50 chance of either releasing a fairly powerful djinn that joins your forces or else simply blowing up in your face.
** And then there's the [[http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=74492 Tomb of Urami]], who nets you a big demon at the price of sacrificing all of your lands.
** Yawgmoth, the guy who makes planeswalkers look like muggles and Dominaria's version of the Devil, was sealed in a whole other plane back when he was a mortal. He wanted back in and spent thousands of years in a battle of wits with AntiHero Urza with his freedom as the stakes.
** In the ''Zendikar'' expansion a group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called the Eldrazi were got sealed away by [[DarkIsNotEvil Sorin Markov]] and two other guys, turning all of Zendikar into a prison for them. The final set in the ''Zendikar'' block, ''Rise of the Eldrazi'', sees them loosed on the Multiverse.
** A plot-relevant example can be found in the ''Innistrad'' expansion: The Helvault was created by the archangel [[BigGood Avacyn]] to seal away demons that she couldn't outright defeat. The plot of the expansion is set in motion when, by twist of fate, Avacyn herself becomes sealed inside the Helvault.
** The demon Withengar, also from the ''Innistrad'' expansion, was sealed inside [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147a.html Elbrus, the Binding Blade]]. If the Blade tastes blood, [[http://magiccards.info/dka/en/147b.html Withengar is freed.]]
** Certain cards allow players to set up Sealed Evil in a Can situations. Cards like [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=oblivion+ring&v=card&s=cname Oblivion Ring]] and [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=journey+to+nowhere&v=card&s=cname Journey to Nowhere]] let a player seal an opponent's creature in a can but any card that can remove the enchantment frees them. [[http://magiccards.info/query?q=summoner%27s+egg&v=card&s=cname Summoner's Egg]] goes the other direction, letting a player seal a creature from their hand and bringing it to the battlefield for free if the Egg gets destroyed.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh!'' has several monsters like this, the mo st memorable being Exodia (who is split up into five pieces and allows you to ''win the game'' should you have all five in your hand; in the anime, it did take a huge ritual to unseal it) and all versions of the three God Cards (Egyptian, Sacred Beasts, and "Wicked Gods", all of which need three sacrifices to bring out and have devastating power, and two of which have fusions of themselves that are even ''more'' powerful). In the anime, they are so powerful that most of them are sealed up themselves, and it's considered madness for anyone to try and duel with them in their deck.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In "The Garden" segment of ''GarfieldHis9Lives'', Garfield (who is a kitten here) and Cloey (his owner in this life) are given a magical garden by Uncle Tod when he joins the circus, under the condition that they never open the crystal box on the checkered toadstool. The trope is subverted here because, out of loyalty to Uncle Tod, they decide ''not'' to open it.
* In the comic strip ''ComicStrip/{{Wormy}}'', the title dragon owned a collection of magical orbs containing vicious demons, which a human wizard attempted to steal. This being a humor comic, Wormy used the orbs as snooker balls.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic has had at least three examples of this on the show; unsurprisingly, it shows up quite frequently in its fanfiction as well.
** ''[[Fanfic/TheWritingOnTheWall The Writing On The Wall]]'' has the eponymous writing warn anyone who comes to the structure of the dangers entombed beneath. [[WrongGenreSavvy But warnings like that are always just to scare away tomb robbers, right?]]
** ''[[Fanfic/AFutureOfFriendshipAHistoryOfHate A Future of Friendship, A History of Hate]]'': By the time the story starts, [[BigBad Ruinate]] has been trapped in the VoidBetweenTheWorlds for eons. Naturally, he breaks out within the first chapter.
** ''Fanfic/HowDoYouShootAGunWithHooves'' has Tydal [[spoiler:who turns out to be NotEvilJustMisunderstood]].
** ''FanFic/JusticeLeagueOfEquestria'':
*** ''Mare of Steel'': At the end of the story, [[spoiler: {{Brainiac}}]] is [[TakenForGranite petrified]] by the Elements of Harmony, and Rainbow Dash/Supermare puts him in storage in the Fortress of Solitude for safe keeping.
*** ''The Princess of Themyscira'': [[GodOfEvil Ares]]' master plan is to unleash the army of demons created by the Olympians' war with the Titans and then locked away in Tartarus, in order to start a ForeverWar. [[spoiler: While he briefly succeeds in releasing them, Twilight (empowered by the [[DoctorFate Helmut of Nabu]]) sends them back, and Ares himself ends up sealed with them.]]
** Titan from ''Fanfic/MyLittleUnicorn'', at least till he breaks out from his dimensional prison.
** In addition to [[BigBad Discord]] (who is imprisoned as in canon at the beginning of Reharmonized Ponies), the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' has several others. One is [[{{Satan}} Morning Star]], Celestia's [[FallenAngel Fallen Alicorn]] brother, who was imprisoned for trying to take over the universe after deciding he was better than [[TopGod the Elders]] and being as evil as Discord if not worse. He was released by Havoc to fight in the Alicorn/Draconequi War, where he was either killed (though considering Evil still exists, he wasn't killed as thoroughly as it's possible to kill a God) or imprisoned in Hell (Havoc's domain) after the war as part of the peace treaty between the two according to WordOfGod. Another recurring one is Grogar, a G1 MyLittlePony villain and (in this series) {{Darkseid}} {{Expy}} who is sealed away in another dimension. It's stated he returns every five hundred years unless stopped and has to be resealed. In his case it may be justified because, in [[BadFuture Dark World]], he's been shown to be powerful enough to go toe to toe with [[RealityWarper Discord]] and have a chance of winning, as well being extremely DangerouslyGenreSavvy. Discord shows a great deal of anger that Grogar doesn't seem all that mad about this, in direct contrast to Discord himself, who can't ''stand'' his can.
*** There's also [[spoiler: the [[HumanoidAbomination Shadow of Chernobull]], an entity created by Pandora and then locked in her Box, until a [[DirtyCommunist Hooviet]] experiment accidentally freed it, leading it to feeding on the Hooviets' existence and desires for a SuperSoldier, becoming General-Admiral Makarov (BigBad of Shining Armor's side-story).]]
*** Clover's story in the ''7 Dreams/Nightmares'' collection reveals the existence of a group of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s who fled into the POV reality when their own ended and tried to absorb all things into their HiveMind in order to torment them for eternity. This offended both sets of [[TopGod the Elders]] (for different reasons), leading to them and their respective children [[EnemyMine working together]] to defeat these beings and seal them beyond the Gates of Tartarus. Notably, unlike most sealed evils, being sealed is having a negative effect on them; according to Rota Fortuna, unless they get loose and begin absorbing beings again, they'll devolve into little more than shadows of themselves (Luna states that this fate has actually already befallen many of them).
*** At the end of the Wedding Arc, [[spoiler: this is the final punishment that Cadence -- now Queen of the Changelings after [[ChallengingTheChief defeating Chrysalis]] -- delivers on Kabuto, Chrysalis' MadScientist, for his [[TheSociopath many, many crimes]]. Since Cadence is a believer in ThouShallNotKill, she doesn't execute him, instead [[AndIMustScream sealing him beneath the surface of the sun, completely aware, for a time equivalent to the sum total of all the years of life he's stolen from his victims.]] He'll be there for ''several generations'', at least.]]
** ''FanFic/ThePowersOfHarmony'' has [[spoiler: Nightmare Moon's corrupted army, which was sealed in Tartarus. Keeping them sealed, and then preventing [[BigBad Cetus]] from releasing them, is a driving part of the plot.]]
*** Discord is also mentioned several times. [[spoiler: Turns out, [[SealedGoodInACan Harmony]] is trying to arrange his release simultaneously to her own, in order to purify them both and restore their [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil balance]].]]
* In the AhMyGoddess fic ''Fanfic/AhArchfall'', Jago's alter ego Papa Jupiter is one of these [[spoiler:to the point of him taking over and killing Lind and their son being the one thing he fears the most.]] Unfortunately, he is also Jago's OneWingedAngel and so he doesn't stay quite as sealed as Jago would like. It is also implied that Gandamak was one of these [[spoiler:before he was released by a traitor]] and it is also implied that the mysterious Titans are or were examples of this.
* [[spoiler: Herobrine]] is this in [[http://kleinerkiller.deviantart.com/gallery/41037509 Yognapped]]. Eons ago, [[PhysicalGod Notch]] sealed him away beneath the bedrock, where he waited until [[spoiler: Peva]] set him free. He then goes on a rampage to destroy [[spoiler: his brother's]] land. [[spoiler: It's revealed just before his defeat that he isn't really evil, and that Notch is a manipulative {{Jerkass}}]].
* ''FanFic/DemonOfWind'': This gets discussed in the story between characters as to why so many great evils are locked away instead of outrightly destroyed. It is also played with in the case of Rai who, though being locked away for being part of the bad guys, was at worst a PunchClockVillain, albiet an alarmingly effective one.
* In ''Fanfic/FuckTheJesusBeam'', [=BaROCK=] Dominatus Caesar Inferno Vespucci Giovanni Goku Super Sexy Awesome Absolute GOD O.B.A.M.A., officially known as the greatest evil the world has ever known, is a Kenyan terrorist who was president for 14,657 consecutive terms and started 95 world wars who has been sealed away for 100 million years. Niamy releases him to deal with the Bombignats and Fetii, only for him to take control of them.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' fanfiction ''FanFic/ImperfectMetamorphosis'' has both [[spoiler:Rin Satsuki]] and [[spoiler:the Shadow Youkai]], who were sealed in the different ways and for different reasons, although while they're both thought of as evil only one of them actually is. The characters involved in the sealings also spend a lot of time justifying them, which ultimately boils down to the two being too damn tough to kill and requiring a different method.
* In ''Fanfic/RetroChill'', Retro and Bob end up stuck in a box after [[Fanfic/TroubleIsland his last bout]], and they are accidentally freed by Rupert Chill and Earl.
* ''FanFic/QueenOfAllOni'': Since [[ForWantOfANail Daolon Wong's spell turned Jade evil instead of releasing Tarakudo]], the latter is still trapped in the shadow realm, observing and mildly influencing events while building up his strength to escape.
** Drago was once sealed inside a sword by Lo Pei, until some point in the future when he was released and enslaved by [[EvilSorcerer Monsieur Verde]].
** There's also the various evils sealed in the [[EldritchLocation Vault of Endless Night]] under Mexico City and watched over by [[AncientKeeper Nameless]]. We see a large number of BigCreepyCrawlies, DemonicSpiders, and zombies, but it's implied that there are even ''worse'' things sealed away deeper down.
* [[spoiler: Daemon]] from the ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries'', Subverted in that he breaks ''himself'' out.
* ''FanFic/TimeLordsAndTerror'': The plot is [[TheHeavy driven]] by [[WickedWitch Hydia]]'s attempts to unleash [[EldritchAbomination the S'muz]], in her misguided belief that it will aid her in her plans. [[spoiler: She manages to free it, but after it kills her, the Mane Six proceed to use the Elements of Harmony to destroy it.]]
** In the sequel ''FanFic/MinesOfDragonMountain'', it turns out that the reason the Grundels are attacking the Diamond Dogs is because they fear that their [[DugTooDeep mining operations will unleash]] [[spoiler: [[GodOfEvil Tirac]]]] from his imprisonment in the mountain. [[spoiler: Tirac himself, meanwhile, is undergoing his own GambitRoulette to release himself.]]
* ''FanFic/ShadowsAwakening'':
** [[EnemyWithin The Queen]] is trapped in Jade's mind, with [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower the Tiger Talisman's]] power taking the form of two tigers that keep her from making any direct moves to control Jade's body. [[spoiler: Eventually, her [[TheCorruption corruption]] reaches the point that the talisman [[EnemyWithout separates them]], freeing her from Jade. However, after she's defeated in the FinalBattle, she's reabsorbed by Jade and trapped again.]]
** During the FinalBattle, [[spoiler: [[TheDragon Kyosuke]] ends up sucked inside the Urn of Wei Cheing by Uncle and Tohru.]]
* ''FanFic/{{Eugenesis}}'' has Unicron still [[ComicBook/TheTransformers sealed inside the Matrix]], which proves to have been a bad decision all round. Not only does it weaken Rodimus just to hold the Matrix, it means he can't even use it for fear of letting Unicron lose. As the follow-up stories show, Unicron's mere presence proves corruptive, subverting the mind of an Autobot who came too close to an invalid Rodimus, and turning the Matrix Flame [[PaintItBlack black]].
* In ''[[Fanfic/ANewChanceSeries A New Chance For Adventure]]'' the attack on the Oldale Ruins by Team Magma releases an evil spirit [[spoiler: that was responsible for the imprisonment of the Father Latios in the Soul Dew. And from Skailyn's anger, he was responsible for a lot more evil in the ancient past.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Jafar becomes one at the end of Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' after he wishes to become a Genie and he gets trapped in a dark lamp. He gets freed in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' by a thief, and goes back to Agrabah to get his revenge on the heroes.
* Mandrake near the end of ''WesternAnimation/{{Epic}}''. And in a tree, technically.
* The villain Hexxus in ''WesternAnimation/FernGullyTheLastRainforest'', who for ages was sealed into a tree, and was released when the tree was cut down.
* The Titans in Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' film. Zeus imprisons them all beneath the ocean with lightning bolts, but when the planets align, Hades is able to release them. [[spoiler: Hercules uses the Tornado Titan to suck the other Titans in, then throws them all into space where they explode.]]
* The Nightmare King in ''Anime/LittleNemoAdventuresInSlumberland''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Uwe Boll's ''Film/AloneInTheDark2005'' has this, though watching the movie it can be hard to tell exactly what it is. The movie talks about a dark world that mirrors our light world, but at other times, it suggests that the Abcane tribe that discovered them ARE the evil in the can. But then, it's Uwe Boll, so...
* The title monster of ''Film/TheBeastFromTwentyThousandFathoms'', while more predatory and aggressive than actually evil, is certainly an example of this. The rhedosaurus was frozen in Arctic ice since the early Cretaceous, and is thawed out by nuclear testing. Somehow, it is still alive.
* ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''. The title ghostly con artist is trapped in the afterlife. He can be temporarily brought back to the real world (and returned) by saying his name three times, but can only be truly free if he marries a human female.
* ''Film/TheBlob''
** The original has the heroes create a sealed evil in a can out of the title menace by freezing the monster and transporting it to the north pole. And now we have Global Warming...
** The sequel ''Beware the Blob'': a oil worker brings home a frozen chunk of the Blob, sealed in a thermos. But not sealed too tightly or else [[TooDumbToLive we wouldn't have a movie]].
** The 1988 remake ends with [[spoiler:the apocalyptic town preacher who was scarred by the bigger Blob and apparently driven quite insane in the interim revealing that he has kept a small part of the Blob in a glass container, and will unleash it when God will tell him it's time.]]
* Josiah starts directly causing trouble in ''Film/ChildrenOfTheCornIVTheGathering'' when his physical body is mistakenly released from an old well by a thirsty drunk.
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'' Phoenix was thawed out of cryo-prison to take out people who dont like Cocteau. But he has his own agenda and plans to release every other criminals in the prison to create his own army.
* ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}''
** In the first movie, the Ghostbusters seal all of their captured ghosts in a large containment unit that can only stay locked through the help of a power grid. When they capture an individual ghost, they suck it into a smaller container. [[spoiler: And it then gets unlocked.]]
** The BigBad of [[Film/GhostBustersII the sequel]] is a 16th-century despot whose spirit inhabits his portrait.
* In ''Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch'', Billy traps the Electric Gremlin in the Clamp Corp. phone system, where the villain suffers the torture of being on-hold.
* The comic books as well as the movie adaption of ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' feature several such sealed-away monstrosities. In the movie, one demon was sealed in a consecrated urn, and the Ogdru Jahad, the [[CosmicHorror Lovecraftian chaos gods]] of the ''Hellboy'' universe, lie imprisoned and waiting in the Void beyond the stars.
* In Creator/CliveBarker's ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'', the Cenobites will not come after you unless you solve the puzzle of the Lament Configuration.
* In ''Film/HighlanderIIITheSorcerer'', the villain Kane and the other two evil immortals are trapped in a cave for centuries, only being released in the present to attack Connor once again.
* Another candidate for Most {{Egregious}} Example of All Time is the movie ''Film/{{Hobgoblins}}'', where a group of mischievous, killer, evil, mind-controlling, rapidly-nodding hobgoblin puppets are "sealed" inside a large, vault door, behind a barred gate, neither of which are, you know... locked. Worse yet, the man who's spent thirty years "guarding" these "sealed" horrors is a demolitions expert and always was. [[spoiler:He ends up blowing them up.]] [[FridgeLogic Too bad that didn't occur to him, you know... sometime during the last thirty years?]]
* In ''Film/{{Jumanji}}'', the eponymous board game is buried underground for decades until it is unearthed by a construction team and found by Alan. "What if someone digs it up?" "Then may God have mercy on his soul."
* ''Film/TheKeep'': An ancient monster has been trapped in a castle for centuries, until some Nazis awaken it.
* Played with and subverted in ''Film/KungFuHustle''. The Beast is locked up in an insane asylum -- but only because he was bored from the lack of worthy opponents to duel and so checked himself in. When Sing is snuck in by the Axe Gang to break out the Beast for recruitment and picks his cell door open, the audience sees the Beast as a bald old man with a pair of spectacles in wifebeaters and boxers sitting on the john reading a newspaper. Which makes the Beast Sealed Evil '''On''' the Can.
* ''Film/TheLastLovecraftRelicOfCthulhu'' has the titular Cthulhu himself sealed (by choice) somewhere under the sea. The last remaining Lovecraft must guard the relic of Cthulhu to prevent it's awakening.
* ''Film/LivingHell'', a recent horror movie has sublevel 4, vault 12, on a military base, which the protagonist doesn't want disturbed. The military had completely missed the hidden door in the vault 'til the protagonist waltzed in and told them there was something there... and we all know what to do with hidden doors, right? So, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero nice job there, hero]].
* In ''Series/TheMightyBoosh Live'', the Hitcher and his minions are introduced into the show when a box is opened. The Hitcher was apparently sealed in the box for 200 years, for crimes against humanity. Including, but limited to raping a dolphin and driving contaminated swans to fights.
* In the ''Film/MotherOfTears'', Mater Lachrymarum's powers are restored by the unearthing of a lost talisman, making it more a case of "Sealed Evil Artifact In A Can." Lachrymarum herself was apparently in some sort of self-imposed hibernation prior to this.
* ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy''
** In the 1999 version of ''Film/{{The Mummy|1999}}'', it is the very act of Sealing Imhotep in a Can that ''bestows'' the apocalyptic abilities that he displays in the movie. Moral: [[ThePunishment Never Punish Your Enemy in a Way That Will Grant Him More Power.]]
** 2001's sequel, ''Film/TheMummyReturns'', opens up another can of evil in the form of [[DwayneJohnson The Rock's]] CGI-animated appearance as The Scorpion King -- which in turn opened the door for one of those prequels mentioned in the main text.
** Averted in ''Film/TheMummyTombOfTheDragonEmperor'', when the already incredibly powerful Chinese Emperor didn't gain anything from the curse that transformed him into a crumbling clay figure. In fact, if it wasn't even the curse that revived him, but some miracle water. As a side effect, though, he has the [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway ability to throw his face at people]]. [[CombatPragmatist He used it]].
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers''
** In ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie'', the shapeshifting Ivan Ooze had been trapped underground for 6,000 years until his containment chamber was accidentally unearthed by a construction crew and later opened by Lord Zedd.
** In ''Film/TurboAPowerRangersMovie'', Maligore is freed from a volcano on an island that is sealed in another dimension.
* John Carpenter's ''Film/PrinceOfDarkness'' had sealed evil in a can -- The Anti-Christ, in fact, sealed in liquid form inside a giant glass and metal container in the basement of a church. In one of the sillier examples of this trope, the canister is designed in such a way that it can only be opened from the inside and the sole reason the son of Satan doesn't try to escape before the events of the film is that ''he was asleep''.
** And then there's ''Film/TheThing1982'', sealed in a block of ice until some ill-advised Norwegians dig it out.
* In ''Film/{{Prometheus}}'', the jars inside the structure, which can cause mutation or destruction to anything and everything that comes in contact with it. Later on, the expedition team discovers that the Engineer ship has a cargo hold full of these jars, along with a dormant Engineer who put himself in hypersleep, and intends to use the craft to destroy Earth via releasing the jars.
* ''Film/QuatermassAndThePit'' has an ancient alien evil buried under London for millions of years, finally unearthed by building works.
* ''Film/QueenOfTheDamned'': Akasha's bloodthirsty rule over humanity was stopped when she and her husband [[TakenForGranite turned into statues]] and slept for centuries. Lestat briefly awakens her shortly after being turned and again draws her attention when he starts to live in the limelight as a rock star.
* ''Film/RareExportsAChristmasTale'': In prehistoric times the Sami-folk of Lapland, tired of the tyranny of [[BadSanta Santa Claus]], lured him on weak ice, and he sank to the bottom of the lake, which subsequently froze through. He was cut out and covered with tons of sawdust to keep him from melting, and then layers upon layers of dirt and stones over the centuries, until the Korvatunturi mountain on the border of modern Finland and Russia was formed. And this Christmas an obsessed American millionaire decides to dig him out. He is not happy.
* In ''The Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDead'' and [[Film/ReturnOfTheLivingDeadPartII its first sequel]], a brain-eating zombie and corpse-animating 245-Trioxin gas are accidentally released from a sealed metal canister.
* In the movie ''Film/TheRuins'', as well as in the book, the protagonists are attacked by [[spoiler:a sentient, carnivorous, and parasitic vine living on an ancient pyramid (or in a mine shaft, in the book). The vine is kept on the pyramid by a ring of deforested and salted land carved out of the jungle around it, and is effectively sealed up by a very stringent quarantine set up by the villagers living nearby]]. In the end of TheMovie, [[spoiler:one woman manages to escape, but it is hinted that the vine is living inside of her]], and in one alternate ending, [[spoiler: it is directly shown that she has taken the vine with her back to civilization, unsealing the evil and letting it go free.]]
* The Syfy Channel Original Movie ''Scarecrow'' has the title creature, who was BuriedAlive underneath a farm until accidentally being released. Justified, as the creature is ''literally'' impossible to kill and will simply regenerate from anything done to it, including being shredded to bits, so sealing it away is the only way to stop it. [[spoiler:At the end, the main character traps it in a boat and sinks it, imprisoning it at the bottom of a river.]]
* Played with in the film adaptation of ''Film/TheShadow''. A museum receives a silver sarcophagus from a mysterious source, with an inscription on it saying it's the coffin of Genghis Khan. When the security guard is left alone with it the coffin starts to shake around and eventually opens up to reveal a man in the dress of a Mongol warrior, who telepathically forces the security guard to shoot himself. However, it turns out it's not actually Genghis Khan, but a modern-day descendant.
* Maxim Horvath in ''Film/TheSorcerersApprentice''. Twice. First, Balthazar traps him in the Grimhold. He escapes. Later, they were both sealed in a Chinese vase. They both escape ten years later. And the other Morganites; Sun Lok, Abigail, and Morgana Le Fay herself.
* Khan Noonien Singh and his cryogenically frozen followers in ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKahn'', when they're abandoned on Ceti Alpha V (which the crew of the ''Reliant'' mistake for Ceti Alpha VI after a natural disaster alters its orbit and destroys its environment).
* [[spoiler:"God"]] in ''Film/{{Star Trek V|The Final Frontier}}''. He claimed to have been imprisoned [[spoiler:on the planet in the center of the galaxy]] and wanted to [[spoiler:"join" with the ''Enterprise'']] so he could escape.
* In ''Film/StarTrekNemesis'', the ''Enterprise'' crew find B4 dissassembled and put him back together. It turns out he's part of an elaborate evil scheme by Shinzon.
* ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'': [[spoiler:Khan; a former EvilOverlord accused of war crimes, and his crew of [[{{transhuman}}s Augments]] were cryogenically frozen for centuries in a derelict ship... until Starfleet Intelligence found him. He ends the film this way, too]].
* ''Film/{{Superman}}'' and ''Film/SupermanII'' both feature the Phantom Zone, but make it out to be a one-time prison for a specific set of three villains.
* ''Film/TheThiefOfBagdad'', directed by Alexander Korda, provides a classic example, lifted from the old Literature/ArabianNights tale, "The Fisherman and the Bottle"; Abu the thief, stranded on an island by Jaffar, finds an old glass bottle and uncorks it, releasing a huge genie, who had vowed long ago to kill whoever released him from the bottle. Abu tricks the genie back into the bottle, prompting the genie to offer the prerequisite three wishes. He turns out to be a bit of a LiteralGenie.
* ''Film/TimeBandits'': "Don't touch it -- it's ''concentrated evil!''" Also, Evil himself is unable to leave his fortress.
* ''TransformersFilmSeries''
** In ''Film/{{Transformers}}'', [[spoiler:Megatron is kept on ice inside the Hoover Dam, and is pretty angry upon thawing out.]]
** [[AllThereInTheManual Prequel comics]] for ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon'' reveal Shockwave to be this; he was found by the USSR decades ago and had been sealed under Chernobyl for years. When he gets out, he's ''ticked off''. And there's [[spoiler:Sentinel Prime]], who's [[spoiler:been locked in stasis on board the Ark, which crashed on the moon]].
* The ''Film/VanHelsing'' movie has {{Dracula}} sealed inside his own part of the world, but circumventing it by developing wings, which he passed on to his other kin.
* ''Film/{{Wishmaster}}'' is this trope. A powerful djinn sealed inside a fire opal since medieval times is awakened by [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the heroine who accidentally broke it]]. The monster will wreak havoc on earth as soon as the girl ask her proverbial 3 wishes. But she wont, 'cause that would be wrong. And so on.
* In ''Film/TheBrassTeapot'' Dr. Ling knows he can’t destroy the Teapot, so he intends to seal it in such a way that no one can ever find it again. [[spoiler: At the end of the movie he casts the Teapot into the bottom of the ocean]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gamebooks]]
* A ridiculous number of these show up as non-Darklord threats to harass poor ''Literature/LoneWolf''.
** In a slight subversion, one of these sealed evils, [[spoiler:namely Darklord Vashna, the most powerful Darklord of them all, who even tried to play TheStarscream to BigBad Naar in the BackStory,]] is already dead. Not sealed alive in a prison somewhere, but ''dead''. The goal of two of the books in the series [[spoiler:(''The Chasm of Doom'' and ''The Legacy of Vashna'')]] is to prevent him from [[BackFromTheDead coming back]].
** Lord Zahda in ''Castle Death'' is another interesting example: he's definitely a powerful evil who had been sealed away, but not so much in a can as in a castle on an island which he ruled over, where he had subjects of his own. So a much larger, more comfortable can, at least.
** At the end of book 3, ''The Caverns of Kalte'', you are the one doing the sealing, when you exile Vonotar the Traitor to the Daziarn Plane by pushing him through a shadow gate. The Daziarn is a whole dimension of its own, not really a can, and you would eventually see Vonotar again.
** ''The Deathlord of Ixia'' was a more conventional example, since the title villain really was sealed in the proverbial can, and then escaped.
** Agarash the Damned, Naar's most powerful champion of evil, was sealed in another dimension by the Elder Magi millenia ago. In the ''Grey Star'' books he is the BiggerBad goading the BigBad Shasarak into freeing him. Grey Star has to prevent this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Every Bal Sagoth song starts with "[[OhCrap Oh shit]], we just woke up Cthulhu." This is all the more impressive considering that (actually) awakening an elder god would crush the mind of anyone near it, then plunge the Earth into a never ending night.
* "Bark at the Moon" by Music/OzzyOsbourne is about a beast that once terrorized a town, but was eventually buried in a nameless grave. And then he ends up returning to cause some more destruction.
* In "Gatekeeper" by WithinTemptation sort of [[XMeetsY meets]] TakingYouWithMe.
* Just saw this in the opening of an article about the third ''GuitarHero'' game:
-->"''As is the case with all ancient evils, 80's rock music was never sealed away in a very permanent fashion.''"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* ClassicalMythology
** This trope [[OlderThanFeudalism hearkens back]] to the GreekMythology of Pandora's Box. The box iself is an unusual case, as it was created and given to her for no other reason than Zeus felt like being a dick. After seeing all the atrocities emanating from the box, Pandora quickly shut it, leaving only one thing inside -- Hope. As aforementioned, all according to [[MagnificentBastard Zeus']] plan. This is also an example of SadlyMythtaken. The "box" was actually a jar.
** The Titans were locked inside Tartarus, a dank, gloomy prison "as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the Earth", where they were guarded by their siblings the Hecatonchires.
** Typhon was trapped beneath a mountain by Zeus.
* According to Islam, Dhu'l-Qarnayn, or "He of the Two Horns" (a lesser prophet who appeared long before Muhammad) encountered a race of monsters (split into two tribes, the ''Yahjuj'' and ''Mahjuj'', or Gog and Magog of Biblical fame) that were harassing the people, so he built a giant wall to keep them enclosed. They won't be able to escape until Allah says so, which will be during the lead-up to ''Yawm al-Qiyāmah'' ([[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Day of Judgment]]).
* NorseMythology
** Unbreakable magic chains kept Fenrir (a gigantic wolf so massive that it must crouch down to avoid scraping against the dome of the sky) bound, until he eventually breaks them. Ironically, it is implied that binding him is what made him so pissed off at the gods in the first place. Well, that's the trouble with prophecies... and he is a child of Loki, God of betrayal, mischief, and "evil".
** That kind of thing happens a lot in Norse mythology. The gods were so afraid that Loki and his monstrous children might turn against them that they imprisoned them all in various unpleasant ways... [[NiceJobBreakingItHero thus ensuring their pissed off-ness and guaranteeing Ragnarök when they eventually get out]].
** Ragnarök could be best be described as every Can in NorseMythology opening at once. ''Everything'' broke free. Jormungandr, Fenrir, Loki, the forces of Hel, Garm, etc.
* According to Scientology's OT III, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenu Xenu is apparently still locked up in a mountain somewhere.]]
* The legends of genies often fall under this trope. Not all genies are good, ya see, and the good ones will interpret wishes [[LiteralGenie literally]]. Moreover, the UrExample for many of the bad jinn/wicked ifrit stories is the tale that Solomon/Sulayman used his ring to seal (yes, seal, with molten lead and a magic seal ring) a number of bad jinn into brazen urns (which is a fancy name for brass cans) and cast them into the ocean, only to have them later dredged up as in stories like "The Fisherman and the Genie." Since this has an evil spirit sealed in an actual can, this makes this trope 'OlderThanFeudalism.'
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''{{Champions}}'' adventure ''The Blood and Dr. [=McQuark=]''. Azor (an agent of some {{Eldritch Abomination}}s) was imprisoned by the Council of Nine but escapes during the course of the adventure.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'', a group of Native Americans sealed off "The Hunting Grounds"]] (affecting [[TheMagicGoesAway all magic, good or ill]], but ill vastly outnumbered good). Centuries later, another group unsealed it, looking for revenge on the white man for killing off their tribes.
* ''[[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons Dungeons & Dragons]]''
** In 4th Edition, the ''entire plane'' of Baator is like this, being created by a divine curse to imprison the MagnificentBastard Asmodeus and the [[TheLegionsOfHell devils]]. Unfortunately, said can is rather ''flimsy'', and while it does a good job of holding Asmodeus, any infernalist worth his salt can create a temporary portal to it, allowing the devils to stream through and wreak havoc and [[DealWithTheDevil contracts]].
*** The seal wasn't made to save mortals from Asmodeus and his devils -- but to save the other gods from him. Hence why mortals are free to poke holes at the seal and let devils come and do Faustian pacts. If you are dumb enough to do it, you deserve what's coming to you.
*** ''[[color:Red:You have grasped the entire concept wonderfully. Asmodeus will be pleased.]]''
** ''D&D'' 3.5e
*** One example is the homebrewed [[http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188148 Harrowed]] class. Anyone with this class is this for their own unique destructive being that they call 'the monster within' which is constantly raging to get free from its host. Ironically if the beast were to be released it would be promptly obliterated by about seven different gods at once, this won't ever happen though because plenty of greater deities have been left scratching their heads after failing to remove the beasts. This class cannot even use any of their abilities without provoking the beast and needing to make a will save or let it gain control for a few rounds of combat.
*** If you think that the Harrowed are justified in wanting to die, they aren't. They are stuck in a constant cycle of reincarnation after they die and they always come back as another Harrowed with exactly the same homicidal beast sealed inside them. They are such a tight can that not even death or the gods can crack them open.
** ''ScarredLands'' setting
*** In the BackStory the current gods sealed the evil gods that ruled before them, each in a different way befitting them and tailored so that their powers couldn't get them out. For instance, Thulkas, the Iron Lord, was so strong that he couldn't be moved, so he was ''hammered into an arrow and shot into the sun''.
*** The Scarred Lands also has the Slarecians, psionic beings who challenged both the gods and the titans. The twist is that they sealed ''themselves'' into the can so they wouldn't be destroyed.
** In the published version of ''B3: Palace of the Silver Princess'', a huge ruby called My Lady's Heart turns out to be a Canopener for an evil Immortal, Arik. Even the ''leakage'' of Arik's power which the gem emits is enough to petrify a royal court, trap its best defenders in a dimensional prison, and attract monsters and fanatical dark priests from hundreds of miles around.
** An important part of {{Eberron}} is that there are multiple Sealed Evils in various Cans, with sealants as strong as the plot demands of them. There are three big ones, as well as a number of more localized ones:
*** The Overlords of the Age of Demons, aka the Rakshasa Rajahs, are the closest thing to actual {{Physical God}}s confirmed to exist in the setting. They were big-time AbusivePrecursors and were eventually defeated after a war with the dragons and locked in prisons in [[BeneathTheEarth Khyber]], where they are kept in (mostly) suspended animation. Releasing them would be a ''massive'' undertaking requiring very fine manipulation of specific prophesied events (different for each Overlord) to pop their can, as attested by the fact that they've had minions working on the problem for millennia and only managed to spring ''one'' (and that one was re-sealed in a year).
*** The quori, malevolent nightmare spirits, are trapped in their [[DreamLand own dimension]] because it's been knocked off its metaphysical axis, preventing travel to and from other planes[[note]]Initially, this was a case of Sealed ''Good'' in a Can, but then the Age turned- essentially resetting the entire plane and its inhabitants- replacing the relatively benevolent quori who got sealed with the current crop of borderline-Eldritch Abominations[[/note]]. The quori mostly get around this by projecting themselves into mortal dreams and [[DemonicPossession possessing people]], since while their bodies can't leave Dal Quor, their ''minds'' can...
*** The Daelkyr were {{Humanoid Abomination}}s and the generals of an army of creatures from the Realm of Madness that invaded the mortal world several millennia ago (before the modern nations, but well after the dragon-demon war went down). They lost and got sealed with most of their minions in Khyber, though unlike the Overlords they're still awake and can move around, so long as they don't come to the surface or try to go home, both of which they're prevented from doing by special druidic seals. They do still have a disturbing amount of leeway for Sealed Evils, though.
** The massive TabletopGame/{{Ptolus}} setting by Monte Cook is set on the world of Praemal, which exists as a giant can in which to seal evil. The city of Ptolus itself is built on top of a can or ten and has a giant, impossibly high spire in it where a cleric once, long ago, tried to seal all the evils of the world in a can. Then he became evil, and eventually his fortress atop the spire was itself sealed with the remains of his work (and his remains) within it. It's a pretty can-heavy setting.
** Another notable example in the PointsOfLight setting is Torog, god of torture and imprisonment. The kicker? The earth is his can. He's trapped in the underdark, actively crawling around down there, and occasionally reaches up from below the earth to pull whole cities down into his can with him.
** In the {{Greyhawk}} setting: Zuggtmoy (in the Temple of Elemental Evil), Iuz and Fraz-Urb-Iuu (in Castle Greyhawk) and Tharizdun (in his Forgotten Temple).
** In the {{Midnight}} setting there is the evil god Izrador, who was sealed (along with some other beings) in the world of Aryth. The bad part? Your characters live on Aryth and they're also sealed there. Not only is the evil in the can but you're in the can with it. CrapsackWorld indeed.
** In the ForgottenRealms setting: one of the oldest cans would be the Sharn Wall, erected by the creatures which gave it its name so as to keep the [[EldritchAbomination phaerimms]] sealed away from Faerûn. Weakened severely over the millennia, it is later brought down by the return of the Shadovar, who then must [[EnemyMine team up with]] the Sharn and the peoples of Toril to drive the phaerimm back. Other examples include: the djinn Calim and the efreet Memnon, [[SealedEvilInADuel locked in eternal struggle forever]], their battle creating the Calimshan Desert; Sarya Dlardrageth and the rest of her fallen house of demon-interbred Elves, trapped in the Nameless Dungeon beneath Hellgate Keep, who are [[NiceJobBreakingItHero inadvertently freed]] when the Mistmaster and his Harper allies destroy Ascalhorn's mythal with the Gatekeeper's crystal; Iyachtu Xvim, son (and receptacle) of Bane, imprisoned beneath Zhentil Keep until he breaks free in the wake of Fzoul Chembryl's reading of ''The True Life of Cyric''; an illithid and a rakshasa that became [[AndIMustScream trapped in stasis]] beneath Beorunna's Well after seeking revenge on Runlatha for [[NiceJobBreakingItHero their previous imprisonment and torture]] and who are even now (by using an image of the rakshasa to [[GodGuise pretend to be the totem spirit of the Red Tiger Clan]]) trying to obtain the cooperation of the Uthgardt barbarians in securing their freedom; and the three nycaloths [[NiceJobBreakingItHero accidentally freed]] from their dimensional pocket by the flight of "a [[AlwaysChaoticEvil red dragon]] [[PropheticFallacy that never held malice or greed in its heart]] over the coronal's throne"--which leads directly to the Weeping War and the fall of Myth Drannor.
** The artifact known as the Acorn of Wo Mai holds an evil demigod called the Copper Tyrant of Tros that will try to trick anyone possessing the Acorn into letting it loose.
** Most of the [[EldritchAbomination titular monsters]] in the 3.5e sourcebook ''Elder Evils'' qualify, with the exceptions being [[OmnicidalManiac Atropus]] and [[BodyHorror Ragnorra]], both of which are completely free to roam the universe, killing or corrupting (respectively) everything they encounter. Fathe Llymic is a Far Realm entity that's sealed in a glacier, the Hulks of Zoretha are slumbering alien superweapons, the Leviathan is the chaos left over from creating the world given physical form and put to sleep at the bottom of the ocean, Pandorym is a phenomenally powerful entity whose mind and body have been separated and sealed away, Sertrous is a dead obyrith whose spirit is trapped in his skull, Kyuss is a would-be god who is sealed in an obelisk on an isolated island, and Zargon is the previous ruler of Baator, who was imprisoned by Asmodeus in a giant rock under a desert.
** ''TabletopGame/DarkSun'' setting. After the Champions of Rajaat realize that Rajaat's Cleansing Wars are actually attempted genocide, they seal him in a prison dimension.
* In the prehistory of ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', the defeated Primordials were stitched into the twisted body of their god-king Malfeas and confined to another realm... mainly because the Exalted looked upon the Primordials who ''had'' been killed, seen that they'd brought the Underworld into existence, and said, "Yeah, that ain't supposed to happen."
** There are also the Neverborn, the aforementioned Primordials that ''had'' been killed. Being too big to die properly, they instead wrapped themselves up in giant sarcophagi spanning infinite distances as they resisted the pull of [[DeaderThanDead Oblivion]]. Then the Solars decided to pop a [[NiceJobBreakingItHero few blocks open to learn Necromancy]]...
** From the perspective of the Bronze Faction, this was the case for the Solar Exaltations locked in the Jade Prison for ~2000 years.
* In the ''TabletopGame/InNomine'' universe, one of the prophecies for [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Armageddon]] is "An ancient evil breaks its bonds." One of the possibilities for fulfilling this is Magog, Demon Prince of Cruelty, who was sealed in an ancient Egyptian tomb exactly one day after falling from Heaven.
* In ''IronKingdoms'' the Skorne have Ancestral Guardians, which are statues empowered by the souls of fallen Skorne warriors.
* In the game {{Neuroshima}} there are a number of items scattered around the world, which adventurers refer to as Pandora's boxes. Each is a large metal canister that contains something nasty (from a biological weapon to a very compact assassin droid). Everyone knows what they are but humans being humans, every once in a while someone opens one, either because of the SchmuckBait involved or in some desperate gambit against his enemies.
* TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} gives us Rovagug, the "Rough Beast" and god of destruction. He resembles a giant arthropod and seeks nothing more than to undo the works of the other gods and destroy creation itself. Faced with this foe, [[EnemyMine good and evil deities]] alike joined forces to destroy him, and many lost their lives. In the end it was [[IncorruptiblePurePureness Sarenrae]] and [[{{Satan}} Asmodeus]] who managed to take him down, with Sarenrae battling him for long enough that Asmodeus was able to seal him within the world of Golarion with a special key. Rovagug is still there within the world, where his struggles are blamed for volcanoes and earthquakes. The Pit of Gormuz (a 20 mile wide chasm) is a weak spot in his prison, and while Rovagug himself can't get out, he ''can'' periodically release some new Spawn on the world to continue his work (the most famous of which is the [[{{kaiju}} Tarrasque]]).
** A common trope in Pathfinder, Golerion has ''many'' hidden cans of evil, some of which now breaking free due to the recent death of humanity's patron deity. Runelords, ancient tyrannical wizard-kings, sealed themselves away to escape an ancient catastrophe. The elves trapped the plant-corrupting demon Treerazer in their nation. The Whispering Tyrant, the world's most infamous necromancer, lies imprisoned by an entire nation of paladins. Many published modules and adventure paths involve the player characters stopping some sealed evil from being unleashed -- "Realm of the Fellnight Queen," "Pact Stone Pyramid," and "From Shore to Sea" just to name a few.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'', by [[Creator/WhiteWolf the same company]] as ''Exalted'', uses the same logic surrounding the Titans. At the end of the Titanomachy, the gods bound them away in the Underworld -- this was because the Titans were incarnations of things such as Light, Fire, Darkness, Life, and Water, and their death would screw with reality big time. This was proven when Ymir was killed... causing the Great Flood, as the Ice Age ended right then and there.
* Many examples from ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** Daemon weapons contain bound daemons within them, giving them incredible power and just as incredible malevolence. However, the greatest threat isn't them escaping, but rather [[TheCorruption corrupting]] the weapon's wielder and [[MoreThanMindControl twisting them to its will]].
** More powerful daemons, who couldn't at the time be banished back to [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace the Warp]], are often sealed in the Materium in some way that prevents them from killing everything at the moment, perhaps in the hope that they can be banished later. [[CrapsackWorld This being WH40K]], not only does the sealing frequently make things worse, but most of the time those doing the sealing ''never tell anyone about it''.
** Both literal and metaphorical in the case of the Necrons and their [[PhysicalGod C'tan masters]] (later retconned to have actually been shattered by the Necrons and chained), who sealed ''themselves'' deep beneath the surface of numerous worlds approximately '''sixty million years ago'''.
*** The new Necron superheavy unit, the Tesseract Vault, is essentially an attempt at weaponising this trope by taking a C'tan trapped in a high-tech device to keep it caged, and then having that device float around the battlefield dropping meteors on people. In an emergency, the Nemesors can [[GodzillaThreshold disable the seals]] and let the C'tan loose.
** The GodEmperor is either a Sealed Evil, a [[SealedGoodInACan Sealed Good]] or a [[SealedBadassInACan Sealed Badass]], depending on one's perspective.
** During the Great Crusade, the Emperor sought to gain access to the Webway. In a top-secret chamber deep beneath his palace on Terra, he constructed a massive machine that allowed him to breach it. He had to put some heavy-duty psychic wards around the place to keep daemons from using the gate to enter Terra. Unfortunately, Magnus the Red broke those wards to tell him of Horus's betrayal. Since then, the Emperor has sat on the Golden Throne, using his psychic might (and the might of thousands of daily psyker sacrifices) to keep that gate closed.
* ''TabletopGame/ChuubosMarvelousWishGrantingEngine'': the Titov family, [[DysfunctionJunction messed up though it may be]], exists to keep ''something'' chained beneath its shrine. [[spoiler:It may or may not be [[TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}} Iolithae Septimian]], a HumanoidAbomination RealityWarper.]]
* The Uktena from ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' make a trade of this; one of their camps, the Bane Tenders, possesses secretive rites that allow them to seal away Banes too powerful to kill, so that they can't get out and wreak havoc on the world.
** This is also the grand view of [[EldritchAbomination the Wyrm]], whose evil was not the cause of his sealing, but vice versa; the Weaver, [[GoMadFromTheRevelation herself a bit batshit at the time]], decided to trap the Wyrm within her webs, driving it mad and shifting its purpose from "a blessed end to all things" to "reality cancer, forever and ever." Some of its most devout cultists seek to undo the Weaver's webs so that the Wyrm can be set free. Unfortunately, since those webs make up a good chunk of reality...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* ''{{Bionicle}}'': Makuta Teridax encased in a Toa Seal by the Toa Metru by their ElementalPowers, but much later they unintentionally released him with the same powers when they attacked Roodaka holding a piece of the Toa Seal.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfShanShan'', [[http://shanshan.upperrealms.com/view.php?pageid=025&chapterid=1 Julius is worried because the sealed evils have managed to touch the physical dimension.]]
* ''CharbyTheVampirate'' had a big old [[http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/568/comic_archive]], slightly subverted since it had originally been sealed by an amaturish effort to defeat it, only to [[http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/903/comic reseal it with a tighter lid]] later after it got loose. We didn't learn that evil came in cans until after the fact.
* An extremely literal example in Webcomic/CthulhuSlippers with [[http://cthulhuslippers.com/comic/customer-services-double-update/ 'Can O' Shoggoth']] a product that is 100% fatal 100% of the time.
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/archive/page-191/ the Nightmare Knight.]] At that, [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/archive/page-192/ every 5000 years, someone manages to unseal it.]] [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/archive/page-193/ Cucumber finds this a bit depressing, but with Nautilus's help, he concludes that he can try to work out how to really end it.]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', the Other is a being of such extreme evil that it wants to enslave the world... and doesn't really care who dies in the process. It was eventually defeated, but nobody knows HOW... except maybe the parents and uncle of the protagonist. [[spoiler:It left a machine behind with a copy of itself, which it then imprinted on the protagonist (unsealing it), who is the daughter of the Other, or rather, taking into account certain implications and statements that lend themselves towards it having been an actually ancient evil, it simply possessed the protagonists mother, and hundreds of other people through time, before finally taking possession of the protagonist, temporarily.]]
* The Axe of Prissan in ''{{Goblins}}'' acts as a prison for an immensely powerful demon lord, whose very existence threatened the mortal plane. The enchantments binding the prison will gradually break down if the axe is not used for good, or even faster if used for evil. As such, it has enchantments layered on it to ensure it will aid any paladin who encounters it and refresh the prison.
* In ''TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'', space villain Fructose Riboflavin gets turned into PureEnergy and stuffed into a ''battery''. He doesn't stay there for long, though.
** More recently, there's the ancient Japanese treasure monster.
* Mr Goh has rather a... [[http://www.wanderingpandacomics.com/mrgoh/comic.php?comic=37 literal...]] approach to this trope.
* On sale in the[[http://nekothekitty.smackjeeves.com/comics/1361561/909-steamy/ Gift Shop of Death]] in Neko the Kitty
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' features The Snarl, a monster formed from tangles in the fabric of reality, and sealed within the world itself.
* Umbria/Zaedalkaah from ''OurLittleAdventure'', who was [[NiceJobBreakingItHero blindly released by the heroine.]]
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', it looks like [[spoiler: Oisri]] is a massive prison for the [[spoiler: dark matter entities like the ones which destroyed the galaxy in the alternate timeline.]] Petey thinks it's something far worse.
* Inverted in ''TheWayOfTheMetagamer'': the evil is sealed within the Book, and does not escape... but the heroes are forced to follow it into the Book.
* Subverted in ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater''. Red Mage places the fire demon Kary in a Bag of Holding and freezes it with a powerful Ice spell, with the idea that she will remain sealed until they are powerful enough to defeat her. White Mage simply smashes the frozen bag [[spoiler: in revenge for the death of Black Belt]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* BEN of WebVideo/BenDrowned is within a Majora's Mask Nintendo 64 cateridge, though how he originally got inside is relatively unknown.
* Dagon, a world-threatening evil sorcerer from the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' started out as an [[EldritchAbomination primordial god]] trapped in a mystic prison until accidentally released by a human gangster. One [[BodyHorror body-warping soul-merge later]] and the gangster's mind is gone and Dagon is loose on the Earth to fulfill prophecy by destroying the planet.
* ''{{Neopets}}'' now has its very own Sealed Evil In A Can, as of the end of the Return of Dr. Sloth plot event that happened January 29 - March 15, 2008. The comic is [[http://www.neopets.com/space/ros/comic.phtml?chapter=1 here]], and spoilers are here: [[spoiler:Dr. Frank Sloth is the sealed evil. The can is the Space Faerie's token. Roll your mouse over the very last panel of the last chapter, and you'll see the token, which was not destroyed in the explosion of the ship, floating through space. When it gets most of the way across the panel, a pair of red eyes glow from within...]]
* ''{{Phantasia}}'' has more than one of these, of varying degrees of world-destroying power.
* The BigBad of the second year in ''TheQuestportChronicles'' starts out as Sealed Evil in a Mirror.
* Many, many things contained by the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation''. One, [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-076 SCP-076-2]], had the particularity of coming with his own (leaky) can, [=SCP-076-1=], and the SCP (after many [[PyrrhicVictory Pyrrhic Victories]] keeping it ''in'' the can) eventually decided to try and work with him; predictably, it didn't end well.
** [[http://scp-wiki.net/scp-231 SCP-231-7]] ''is'' the can for...whatever EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt entity it is that she carries. And the Foundation has to do some horrible stuff to keep it in there. Trust us, YouDoNOTWantToKnow.
* [[http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Fourth_Wall This Uncyclopedia article]] lapses into this trope in the last two sections, in a hilariously [[BreakingTheFourthWall meta]] way.
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