[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shadow_8093_7692.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:"Let's give him all he'll EVER need!"]]

MoralGuardians really do not like kids seeing things like violence, torture, death, or creepy transformations straight up. So AnimatedSeries tend to get around that by alluding to them. A shadow thrown by the events the MoralGuardians would not want showed directly is all the viewer gets to see. Sometimes there's a witness standing in the shadow [[ReactionShot looking shocked]], horrified, disgusted, etc.

Sometimes it is a dodge for a live-action or other movie, because the imagination of the audience/viewer will do all the real work. Also, it is sometimes better to imply through shadowplay than to use an actual shot because the special effects will not be sufficient to uphold the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief ... or it is simply too difficult to render safely with real actors. In CrimeAndPunishmentSeries, it is also useful as a way to keep the murderer's identity hidden.

Least frequently, it is a cue to the viewer and characters within the work that something is off about the person whose shadow we are viewing; a LivingShadow perhaps.

Compare and contrast with GoryDiscretionShot and SoundOnlyDeath. Played for laughs or deception, you end up with BigShadowLittleCreature. See also TheShadowKnows. Not to be confused with CensorShadow (in which the scene is viewed directly with key portions hidden in shadow). Related to VomitDiscretionShot but obviously less horrifying.



* When an elderly [[Advertising/ShawDeliveryBots delivery bot]] is upgraded in one of Shaw's commercials, the shot shows the shadow of the transformation process cast upon Bit and Bud's reactions.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'':
** Used during the flashback showing Malik receiving his tattoos. (That sounds less dark than it should--said "tattoos" are actually scars carved in with a white-hot knife and he was ''ten years old at the time.'') [[{{Macekre}} The dub version]] [[{{Bowdlerise}} cut the scene entirely.]]
** A Shadow Discretion Shot of Pegasus gaining the Millennium Eye, complete with his [[EyeScream screams of agony]], however, was not cut from the dub, though the blood was removed when we looked back at his face.
** Also used in a flashback episode showing how Yuugi's grandfather found the Millenium Puzzle, when his companion betrays Yuugi's grandfather, shooting him and attempting to steal the Puzzle, the tomb's curses summon up an insect monster that dismembers and eats him, showing only the shadow of this happening (though we still get to [[{{Squick}} hear]] it just fine).
** We also get to see the shadows of everybody at Kul Elna being boiled alive in molten gold, while Bakura [[ReactionShot looks on in horror.]]
** ''Anime/YuGiOhTheMoviePyramidOfLight'' opts for a black-on-red silhouette when Kaiba launches his first attack on Yami and his monster appears behind him - and drives its dagger right through him. The only other thing that can be seen is the life energy flowing out of him afterwards.
** ''Anime/YuGiOhCapsuleMonsters'' has a red-on-black variation when Yami Yugi deals the fatal blow to Ultimately Perfect Great Moth.
* Played with (like everything else) in an episode of ''Anime/ExcelSaga'', where Excel is driven to distraction by the silhouette of a Visual Kei artist, Key, playing a guitar on the other side of a curtain. Due to the positioning of the instrument and the enthusiasm of his playing, the resulting shadow makes him look like he's stroking a very large phallus.
* Franchise/{{D|evilMayCry}}ante does this to Patty in the first episode of ''Anime/DevilMayCryTheAnimatedSeries'', using a theatre backdrop while taking on the demons trying to kill her.
* Elsa Maria's barrier in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' naturally induces this, by making everyone look like silhouettes. Were it not for the effect, the battle against her would be easily [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6V7BO-PALY the most brutal fight]] in the series. This doubles as symbolism for Sayaka's BlackAndWhiteMorality, which is [[BreakTheCutie horribly broken]] over the course of the episode.
* In ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' in a flashback scene where Colonel Mustang is about to immolate a ChildSoldier with his flame alchemy, the camera suddenly pans off to the side at the critical moment, showing the wall behind them lighting up and his shadow stretching.
* Used during the infamous "goosh goosh" scene with Buppa and an unfortunate {{Bishonen}} in ''Manga/TokyoTribe 2''.

* In the finale of ''ComicBook/TheDresdenFiles'': ''ComicBook/WelcomeToTheJungle'', we get to see the shadow of Moe the gorilla [[spoiler: as he dismembers the hag who had been hurting Will]]. And what the shadow shows is still a little graphic.
* In ''ComicBook/DetectiveComics'' June 1942 issue #64, "SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Walks the Last Mile", there is a shadow of the Joker strapped to an electric chair in the death chamber as the warden pulls the switch and shocks him to death. Not a pretty sight on page 4.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Particularly common in Franchise/{{Disney|AnimatedCanon}} films, as a way of dramatically portraying the DisneyVillainDeath.
** When the hyenas turn on Scar in ''Disney/TheLionKing'', the implied pack leaping on him to tear him apart is rendered in shadow, with a quick pan upwards and a roaring curtain of flame to hide the scene.
** ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'': When Ursula undertook her transformation to her [[OneWingedAngel Giant Monster]] form, we got a silhouette of her laughing with her head thrown back and her tentacles waving. However, with Ariel's painful transformation from mermaid to human, in which her tail is literally torn in two, they only darkened the lighting a bit. If you lighten the screen on your monitor during her transformation, you can see plenty.
** ''Disney/{{Tarzan}}'': In the final battle between Tarzan and Clayton, the latter is more interested in killing Tarzan with a machete than paying attention to the vines and their fall from the treetops, despite Tarzan's efforts to warn him. Tarzan lands safely on the ground and looks away. Then there's a [[LightningReveal lightning flash]] and the audience gets to see, rendered in shadow, that Clayton accidentally [[NooseCatch hanged himself on the vines]]. Though it just may be a blink and you'll miss it sort of deal. The shadow itself appears for only a brief second right on a tree in a dark background, and you'll more likely to be focused on Tarzan himself rather than the background where the shadow appears.
** ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'': The trope is spoofed. You hear Yzma's evil laughter, see her glowing eyes and a roiling mass of smoke, which clears to reveal [[spoiler: she's a tiny little kitten]].
** Mickey Mouse hacking the enchanted broom to bits in ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'' is done this way. As originally planned, we were to have seen this moment played out right in front of the camera. It was restaged in silhouette specifically to make it less scary.
** ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' during the fight scene.
** ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'': for the first third of the movie, the Beast is seen only in shadows, saving his [[TheReveal big reveal]] to when Belle first sees him. The scene of him taking Maurice away to the dungeon is done with his shadow over the servants.
** Shows up a few times in ''Disney/{{The Great Mouse Detective}}'', first with the opening scene of Fidget kidnapping Hiram Flaversham. The fight itself is quite intense and violent, with the inside of Hiram's toy shop left completely trashed once it's over, but all we see of Hirram and Fidget themselves are their shadows being cast over Hiram's daughter Olivia as she watches from a cabinet. A little later, when Ratigan's cat is about to eat one of his henchmen, it cuts away to the shadow of her dangling him over her mouth. Finally, when Ratigan prepares to kidnap the Queen, her guards are dragged away from their stations outside her door and the shadow of the scuffle is shown for a few seconds through the door's window.
** ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'': The ringmaster explaining the Pyramid of Pachyderms act and the clowns celebrating after the show are both shown as shadows seen from inside the tents. Also, the {{DeliveryStork}}s at the opening and the roustabouts setting up the big top in the rain.
** The final phase nightmare-inducing donkey transformation scene in ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}''.
** ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' has one as the genie-empowered Jafar turns from banishing Aladdin to advance on Jasmine and her father.
** Mushu uses the ShadowDiscretionShot in ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' to pull off the image of an intimidating fierce dragon, until we see he's just [[BigShadowLittleCreature a little guy]].
** In ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', Big Daddy is scolding young Charlotte, and it looks like she's about to get a spanking for being so spoiled -- but he inverts the trope by producing a then-puppy Stella.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfEgypt'' uses this when [[MessianicArchetype Moses]]' snake devours the two produced by [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Huy and Hotep]], cutting back just in time to see their tails vanish into its mouth.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun''. the scene where [[spoiler: Edwina is beheaded]] was originally. However, Creator/NickPark cut the shot of the axe coming down, and only the axe being raised, making it a SoundOnlyDeath.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'' has one where Littlefoot's mother is fighting the [[BigBad Sharptooth]]. The Sharptooth leaps onto her back and the camera cuts away to Littlefoot and Cera watching on with the shadow of the ongoing fight on the cliff-face behind them, showing the Sharptooth violently ripping chunks of flesh out of her. It's [[NightmareFuel pretty horrific]], especially for a kid's film.
** There was originally an uncensored version of the scene. Reportedly, Don Bluth ordered the footage to be ''[[KillItWithFire burned]]'' after seeing it. However, there is an urban legend that a handful of VHS copies include the scene.
* 'WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail 3: Treasure of Manhattan Island'' has a scene where one of main villains, NYPD chief Chief Mc Brusque, and one of his men beat a mouse that is smaller than either of them because he was protesting. To be even more brutal, the protestor had big glasses that after the beating were broken.
* ''WesternAnimation/WereBackADinosaursStory'' has a scene where Professor Screweyes turns Louie and Cecelia into apes, with their transforming shadows projected onto Rex's stomach. Play the scene of Rex transforming them back to human in reverse and it looks similar.
* Used in Tim Burton's ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'', to save the bride's lover's [[TheReveal identity]], although it's [[TheUntwist pretty obvious anyway]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/LightsOfNewYork'': The scene of the policeman being shot.
* Disney gives us a live action example in ''Film/TheThreeMusketeers1993'', when Captain Rochefort skewers a hapless thief in the Bastille's dungeons.
* Used in ''Film/{{Nosferatu}}'', for the relatively subtle scene of Orlok ascending a staircase. Still, creepy as hell. Shortly after that, there's a somewhat less famous use of it when the shadow of his hand clutches Ellen's heart, causing her to pass out.
* ''Film/IAmAFugitiveFromAChainGang'' has a scene where a jail warden makes an example of an inmate who "didn't give us a good day's work" by taking him to a side room and whipping his bare back. The whipping is shown in shadow on a wall.
** Parodied in Creator/WoodyAllen's ''Film/TakeTheMoneyAndRun'', when it's revealed that the shadow itself is what's being whipped.
* The ZombieApocalypse film ''Film/LandOfTheDead'' has a particularly grisly scene wherein a zombie tears a victim's head off with such force that the spinal cord comes out of the body with it. This is only visible in shadow, presumably because it is difficult to render such an effect believably with special effects, and the film does not otherwise shy away from extremely gory shots.
* The original ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' has one of these, when zombified Karen hacks her mother with a garden trowel in the basement.
* The transformation of Kalibos from man to monster in ''Film/{{Clash of the Titans|1981}}'' is done with only his shadow. This was in the days before morphing, so the only way to show it inexpensively was to do an animated shadow.
* Spoofed in ''Film/TankGirl''. The Rippers are known to be vicious, violent monsters. And the first time Tank and Jet lay eyes on them, the audience gets to see nothing more than their shadows. They turn out to be [[MixAndMatchCritters Kangaroo Men]], basically gentle (if horny) unless they need to be vicious in a fight, or are provoked.
* The murder scene from the 1945 horror film ''Film/TheBodySnatcher''.
* Subverted in ''{{WesternAnimation/Beowulf 2007}}''. We see Wealthow's reaction as Grendel's shadow appears to be tearing a man in half. Then we see the real thing, and yes, he's definitely tearing a man in half.
* Subverted for comic effect in ''Film/RobinHoodMenInTights''. As Robin woos Maid Marian, their shadows fall on a screen which the Merry Men are all watching. At a high point in the action, Robin's sword tilts at a suggestive angle on his belt, causing the company to break into spontaneous applause.
** Spoofed outright during the fight between Robin and Rottingham at the end of the movie: At one point all we see of the duel is their shadows cast against a wall. They both then move their swords to their off-hands and continue the fight with ''shadow puppets''.
* Possibly the first ever use in film, or at least a very early one, appears in ''Film/TheCabinetOfDrCaligari'', where Alan is stabbed to death, completely in shadow. The following plot seems to point toward [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Cesare]] being responsible, but TheReveal implies that [[TheKillerInMe Alan's friend Francis]] did the deed.
* ''Film/KungFuHustle'' features an excellent shadow discretion shot for the MusicalAssassin. We see various things getting mysteriously sliced in half in time with the music, first little things seen directly, then shadow discretion shots, leading up to a character being suddenly [[GoryDiscretionShot beheaded]].
* In ''Film/TheLastEmperor,'' a character's [[spoiler: the Empress's chauffeur]] brains were blown out in silhouette. The same thing happened to an Israeli soldier in an Israeli movie about the '80s Lebanon war (I forget the name, but it was made around 1992).
* In ''Film/FridayThe13thPartVIIIJasonTakesManhattan'', when Jason kills a construction worker by smashing a wrench over his head, this is shown in shadows but not his blood splattering all over the wall.
* Several times in ''Film/TheMummy1999'', Anck Su Bamun and Imnotep killing the Pharaoh ''starts'' with us seeing it, but then changes to this. [[spoiler: Anck Su Namun's suicide]] is done this way, so we just see the silhouette lifting the knife and striking. Likewise, the Mummy's absorption of one of the doomed Americans is done with shadows only. And the [[spoiler:destruction of Anck Su Namun's animated corpse]] is shown entirely in shadow. The ''same way'' the Pharaoh was killed in fact.
* Used in ''Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. Zaphod's second head is cut off behind a curtain, and the viewer just sees silhouettes and hears [[MadDoctor the sound of the surgical instruments]] [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable and Zaphod pleading]] [[NothingIsScarier and]]...
* Subverted in ''Film/TheSorcerersApprentice'' in the mop shoutout scene. The camera cuts back to reveal that he keeps missing, despite what you saw in the shadow.
* This is how ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' got around strict Hays Code prohibitions on pregnancy references, by staging the childbirth scene entirely in silhouettes.
* Parodied in ''Film/HotShotsPartDeux'', where President Benson and Saddam Hussein's shadows are shown fencing against each other, and then Benson and Saddam walk by in the foreground, drinking Gatorade and toweling off their foreheads.
* In the film version of ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', when Fawkes uses his claws to [[EyeScream tear out the Basilisk's eyes]], they only show the shadows. Justified because the Basilisk kills by looking people in the eye, so it's likely that that was all that Harry saw as well.
* At the conclusion of the 2003 ''Film/{{Willard}}'', a limping Ben's shadow comes into view on the shade of an upstairs window, only to be attacked by the shadow of an enraged Willard.
* Inverted in the second and third ''Film/AustinPowers'' movies where perfectly innocuous actions seen in silhouette are mistaken for something horrifyingly perverse.
* In ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'', the Lizard's first transformation back into a human is shown as a shadow, the silhouette's right arm falling off in clunks.
* Used at the end of ''Film/SwitchbladeSisters,'' with [[spoiler:the fight between Maggie and Lace]].
* In ''Film/CatPeople'', the climaxing fight between the therapist and the panther is depicted as a shadow play against a wall.
* Played with in the opening of the ''Film/TheCrazies1973''. What appears to be the shadow of a man about to murder an innocent little girl turns out to be her father, driven insane and madly hacking at the furniture with an axe.
* In ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'', the Goblin King's transformation from owl to man is rendered in shadow.
* At the end of ''Theatre/TheChildrensHour'' [[spoiler:Martha's]] suicide is depicted this way. [[spoiler:Karen]] tries to break open her bedroom door but when she does the camera lingers on her crying, only to pan away to a chair knocked over while a silhouette of [[spoiler:Martha's heels sways in the background]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Vashta]] [[LivingShadow Narada]] in ''Series/DoctorWho'' are a ''living'' version of this trope. They are an enormous swarm of microscopic aliens that when joined together take on the appearance of a shadow without a source. They mimic the shape of the their victim's shadow, and by the time their prey realizes something's going on, [[DevouredByTheHorde it's already too late.]]
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman'': In "[[Recap/TheAdventuresOfSupermanS1E19TheEvilThree The Evil Three]]", Jimmy struggling with one of the bad guys and the other knocking him out with a blow to the head is shown in the shadows thrown on the wall.
* In ''Series/RedDwarf'' the despair squid is showed only in shadow. Of course, this was almost ''certainly'' shown because they couldn't afford a squid special effect.
* In the ''Series/TwilightZone'' episode "It's a Good Life", Dan's transformation into a jack-in-the-box by Anthony is depicted with a shadow.
* In the Granada TV version of ''[[Series/SherlockHolmes The Adventure of the Naval Treaty]]'', the fight between Holmes and [[spoiler:Joseph Harrison]] (where Holmes gets knifed across the knuckles) is shown in distorted shadows.
* Used in ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'' for [[spoiler:Maki's OneWingedAngel transformation into Giru. Said shadow still shows quite a bit of BodyHorror.]]
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' the daeva are seen only as shadows attacking their victims in the episode "Shadow", and the death of the first victim is depicted using her shadow, which is covered by a spray of blood.

* In the video for the ''Music/{{Vocaloid}}'' song ''Circle You, Circle You,'' this trope comes into play when some scientists cut off a little girl's head.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' card art for [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Dark_Room_of_Nightmare Dark Room of Nightmare]] uses this to imply torture.

* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'', [[spoiler:Arthas stabbing his father]] was shown this way.
* The company logo for Darkling Room shows a bare-headed man's silhouette standing in a doorway; his shadow, cast on the floor by the light from the door, is wearing a hat. Similar hats are worn by the evil ghosts of the [[spoiler: Ager brothers]] in Darkling's game, ''The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure''.
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' (or more properly, the Japanese Playstation release) provides a rare example that can also be considered to be a GoryDiscretionShot--[[spoiler:specifically, the depiction of Fou-lu [[OffWithHisHead decapitating]] [[TheEmperor Soniel]]]]. The scene was depicted entirely via a fade to black-on-red silhouette (with normal scenes before and after; the GoryDiscretionShot bit involves [[spoiler:"shadow blood" being shown in the decapitation]].
** This scene is also notable because, despite its {{Bowdleris|e}}ation via Japanese conventions of Shadow Discretion Shot and GoryDiscretionShot, the scene ''was still {{Bowdlerise}}d in its entirely from both international releases for [=PlayStation=] and all releases for Windows'' (which were only released in Europe and Asia--yes, including Japan, whose Windows port of ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' had all of the international versions' censorship).
** The ComicBookAdaptation of ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' ended up ''completely'' [[SubvertedTrope subverting the tropes in question]] via ramping up the violence and gore UpToEleven and depicting the scene (in what was already a BloodierAndGorier adaptation) in what is easily the bloodiest scene in the entire manga--apparently as a ''very'' deliberate TakeThat to the international censorship.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' - Dhoulmagus repeatedly murders people by running them through with a long magical staff, and this trope comes into play each time this happens.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty World at War'': The opening scene shows a Japanese officer [[ColdBloodedTorture torturing]] an American POW, but if you turn on the mature content filter the camera will be fixed on their shadows, the scene actually becomes a lot more scary when you can't tell what he's doing.
* Happens several times in the horror-sci-fi AdventureGame ''VideoGame/IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream'', when a particularly awful event is happening, such as a merciless stabbing, a rape or a wolf attack.
* This happens in the cutscene before your first terror mission in ''VideoGame/XCOMEnemyUnknown''. A man is cornered by [[DemonicSpiders Chryssalids]] in an alleyway, and his brutal death is shown in silhouette.
* In ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter 2'', Stevens executes an innocent police officer, with shadows and the bright muzzle flash showing the act.
* ''VideoGame/SandsOfDestruction'' uses this in the Valley of the Dragons, when Naja [[spoiler:kills Kyrie: we see the silhouette, but Naja's claw is quite clearly going through Kyrie's chest]].
* ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal Black'' gives us Mr. Grimm's flashback to when he and his squadmate Benny were trapped in a hole in Vietnam. When Benny dies from his injuries and Grimm has been starving long enough for self-preservation to win out, his [[ImAHumanitarian consumption of Benny's corpse]] is presented this way.
* Earlier promos and previous trailers of ''VideoGame/{{Cuphead}}'' had [[{{Satan}} the Devil]] threaten to [[OffWithHisHead decapitate Cuphead and his brother Mugman]] when he set out to claim their souls after winning the game (WordOfGod even says that [[https://kotaku.com/cuphead-developers-talk-cut-bosses-and-whats-in-the-cup-1820126327 they have their immortal souls inside their cups-for-heads as their lifeblood]], which may be the reason why the Devil wants their heads so badly). The shadows on the wall show him making a cutthroat motion on their necks to drive home the point of this threat.

* Subverted in [[http://www.girlswithslingshots.com/comic/gws464 this]] ''Webcomic/GirlsWithSlingshots'' strip.
* Neilen the elemental changeling combines a couple kinds of discretion shot including the shadow in [[http://www.dominic-deegan.com/view.php?date=2007-03-21 this]] ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'' comic page.
* The Habeas Jennifer's Corpus page of ''Webcomic/HijinksEnsue'' uses one.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Blip}}'', [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]] did this until he [[TheReveal was revealed]]. Turns out that he's {{Bishonen}}. In the strip before Hester met him, Atlantes (and his snake) had discretion shots.
* In ''Webcomic/CommanderKitty'', when [[BigBad Zenith's]] [[BodyHorror Tagged]] [[{{Mooks}} goons]] abduct Nin Wah's crew, [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2009/07/05/tell-it-to-the-space-judge-lady/ all we see is a shadow of Moose screaming as a tentacle reaches for him]].
* The first character [[http://crimsonflagcomic.com/comic.php?comicID=4 death]] in ''Webcomic/CrimsonFlag'' was one. And [[http://crimsonflagcomic.com/comic.php?comicID=215 211 strips later]] (after the writer started drawing) was a shadowed-out decapitation.
* During the first nightmare animation in ''[[{{Webcomic/Morphe}} morphE]]''. Curio is chained to a wall and gets to witness the Independent woman slicing someone's throat. We see the act shadowed on his face.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts uses this trope a lot.
** In "The Cactus Kid," a relatively serious gunfight between Mickey and Pegleg Pete takes place in the dark, with flashes of light illuminating their silhouettes.
** In "The Gorilla Mystery," Beppo the Gorilla is often seen only in shadow, though here the effect makes him ''more'' menacing rather than less.
** Lampshaded in "The Mad Doctor," when Dr. XXX approaches Pluto with a scary-looking knife. Their shadows on the wall mimic the action... until Dr. XXX attacks Pluto's shadow, cutting it rather than the actual Pluto in half.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' uses this trope liberally:
** There is a sequence wherein a Mad Scientist is experimenting on/torturing Selina Kyle's cat, Isis. All we see is the shadow of the man with the needle, and the shadow of Isis attempting to escape.
** "Robin's Reckoning" part one. The deaths of Dick Grayson's parents, the Flying Graysons. The viewer sees their shadows reaching for each other, then the shot changes to the severed rope, and finally Bruce Wayne's horrified face. The original take was more graphic, but the MoralGuardians objected. The producers have since admitted this way was much more powerful.
** The page image comes from "Feat of Clay". Matt Hagen's desperate attempt to steal Roland Daggett's Renuyu (a salve that temporarily turns a person's skin into something malleable like clay) after his supply was cut ends poorly when Daggett catches him in the act. His goons attempt to ''drown'' Hagen in Renuyu. This backfires when the overdose transforms Hagen into the shapeshifting menace Clayface.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' subverts this; we get Gwen and Martha staring in horror at the shadow indicating [[spoiler: Dr. Curt Connors is turning into the Lizard]], but then they bring the camera around to show the rest of the transformation.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** An ominous shadow falls across the floor. Aang, Katara and Sokka hide, fearing that it's an enemy firebender. It turns out to be [[BigShadowLittleCreature the first appearance of Momo]] the lemur.
** They also quite literally ''invert'' the trope in "The Storm". We get a ''bright light'' discretion shot, due to Ozai's firebending move to scar Zuko at the Agni Kai. The viewer sees the firelight playing on the faces of the crowd, plus Iroh's reaction of horror and dismay between the smiles of [[EvilerThanThou Zhao]] and [[ChekhovsGunman some kid we've never seen before]]. What the viewer ''[[ScreamDiscretionShot hears]]'' is another story.
* ''WesternAnimation/ElTigre'': White Pantera and Puma Loco turn into monsters after eating fake Guacamole De Los Angeles and we only see their shadows deforming. It's a couple shots later when Manny and Frida return when we see what they've turned into.
* ''WesternAnimation/YinYangYo'': Coop the chicken transforms into Evil!Coop, and we see the shadow of the scrawny chicken falling across the titular siblings before the transformation completes.
* ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries'': In "Frenchfry", the titular creature cooks addictively tasty meals. Lilo, Stitch and Pleakley partake so much that they become literally big and round. Pleakley continues consuming, and when Lilo returns home, we get a shot of his shadow on the door they're trying to come in through. Then we see he's ballooned four or five times his normal size, as part of the {{Anvilicious}} lesson about eating right.
* The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6vdg2ytDy0 7th life]] of ''WesternAnimation/{{Garfield}}: His 9 Lives'' has this during the final shots of a PainfulTransformation (though doesn't reduce the horror considering ''[[TransformationTrauma what is shown]]'' and the overall tension of the segment).
* This is used in the ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' episode "Song of the Night 'n Dale" [[spoiler:when Dale pokes Su Lin's rear end]].
* Used in ''WesternANimation/TheLandBeforeTime'' when Sharptooth bites a chunk of flesh off of Littlefoot's mom's back.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' where in an alternate future, Danny's last image is that of his [[EvilCounterpart killer]], seen in shadows to the viewers.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'' plays it for laughs, as Principal Rotwood makes the horrifying announcement to the class that there will now be mid-midterms. He leans into the shot and onto Jake's desk at the end of it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' when he used a robotic hand to rip out his former friend Keef's eyes and replace them with robotic ones.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' - In the episode wherein Batman is dreaming a different life courtesy of the LotusEaterMachine plant, we get direct shots of Thomas Wayne kicking Joe Chill's ass. When the Mercy gets pulled loose by Wonder Woman and the fantasy gives way to reality, Bruce's mind remembers how this scene really ended, and the view changes to just shadows as Chill overtakes Thomas and fires on him, returning Batman to the agonized reality that he lost his parents as a small boy.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'', when The Joker attacks Arthur Reeves and injects him with Joker Venom with a needle, the injection is shown in shadows.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' when Rocko with an insane look on his face appears to murder Heffer with a hammer, as it turns out he's using it to hit his vacuum cleaner, and another episode when Beverly Bighead appears to murder Ed, as it turns out it was a clay sculpture.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{ReBoot}}'': Kilobyte kills a guardian, and we see her shadow fade in and out as she is drained of energy.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "Last Exit to Springfield", when Lisa sees herself in the mirror after having the orthodontic appliance put on and laughs maniacally (spoofing the Joker's scene in the 1989 ''{{Film/Batman}}'' movie), her shadow is shown on the wall.
** Also parodied at the end of "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds"; Mr. Burns makes millions off the dogs he got from Homer turning them into racing dogs. Marge come down into the basement as we see a silhouette that appears to be Homer who has hung himself. Turns out he's clinging from the rafters batting the light-on-a-string to make himself feel better.
** In "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", Marge suspects that Becky is going to kill her. When she can't get to sleep one night, she is startled by the door opening. She sees Becky's shadow holding a gun, but she's only returning Marge's hairdryer. She also returns her brush, which casts a shadow of a knife.
** In "Cape Feare" when Bart is trying to sleep in the boat house he sees a menacing shadowy figure holding a knife, it turns out to be Homer offering him a brownie while shouting.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' episode "Crash" uses one PlayedForLaughs. Gizmo refuses to help the virus-infected Cyborg until Raven pulls off her hood...the shadow implies what Gizmo sees is some sort of Lovecraftian horror. A completely terrified Gizmo agrees to help rather than be subjected to it again.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' episode "Ser-punt" when Dale and the two "exterminators" beat Joshua the snake to death is rendered in shadows.
* The ending of the Porky Pig cartoon "One Meat Brawl" has shadow figures of Porky, his dog and the groundhog they're hunting in a massive fight. Turns out, they're casting shadows with their hands so nobody actually gets hurt.
* Done in ''WesternAnimation/HotWheelsBattleForce5'' when [[spoiler:Krytus impales Zemerik.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Mad}}'' parody Pokemon Park has a shadow discretion shot of a Pikachu eating one of the hapless workers.
* In ''WesternAnimation/EdEddnEddysBigPictureShow'', Edd and Eddy fight in silhouette as Ed looks on sadly.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', we get a shadowed shot of Wolverine slicing apart some time-displaced velociraptors, while Spider-Man looks on, cringing. Doubles as a GoryDiscretionShot, as we see the shadow of some blood and guts spraying out, (though everything is clean when they show them in full).
* In ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'', there's an episode, "Heads of Beef," where Courage sees Jambon's wife bite off a man's head, but the scene is rendered in shadow. [[spoiler: It's actually just a meat sculpture, although the audience discovers it later, Courage never realizes this, and he runs out of the restaurant screaming when Jambon's wife wants to eat him - or, rather, a meat sculpture of him.]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'': Jo's naked workout. PlayedForLaughs, because of a [[VomitIndiscretionShot bird vomiting.]] This is one of the moments on the show that [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar got past the television censors]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MoralOrel'': In "Alone", when Agnes Sculptham is listening to Reverend Putty on the radio while remembering [[spoiler:when Mr. Creepler raped her.]] We see her imagining [[spoiler:Creepler climb out of the window and approach her, they hold hands and "become one,"]] but in shadows. [[NightmareFuel She ''enjoys'' this fantasy.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'''s VerySpecialEpisode "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", there is a scene of Quagmire, Peter and Joe witnessing Jeff beat Brenda in Quagmire's window, the beating being rendered in silhouette.
* At the end of the ''WesternAnimation/MerrieMelodies'' cartoon ''One Meat Brawl'' (1947), the final brawl between Porky, his pet dog, and a pesky groundhog is shown as shadows. Cut to the three characters ''watching'' the shadows fight!
-->'''Porky Pig:''' Shadowboxing! ''(laughs)'' [[{{LampshadeHanging}} This way no one gets hurt!]]
* The [[AnimatedAdaptation HBO Series]] of WesternAnimation/{{Spawn}} uses this trope frequently. One prime example comes from the very first episode, just a couple of minutes in. Spawn bends a mob enforcer's arm back at an impossible angle and makes him [[HoistByHisOwnPetard shoot himself with his own gun]]. But, perhaps the best example comes from episode 11 (Season 2, Episode 5); after [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown protecting]] [[BerserkButton Wanda]] from one of [[spoiler: Jason Wynn's]] assassins, Spawn finishes the guy off by lifting him into the air with his chains and ''snapping him in half''! While both of these deaths are shown only in shadow, Wanda witnesses the latter firsthand, and is justifiably [[StunnedSilence horrified at the sight]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'', there's a scene in the episode "The Giant Bacteria" wherein the title critter gobbles up a farmer and a cow. Both times, it's only shown in shadow (and when the farmer gets nommed, there's the added bonus of the creature's body obscuring the shadow).
* In ''{{WesternAnimation/Gargoyles}}'', Hakon beginning the [[LiterallyShatteredLives Wyvern Massacre]] is shown as a shadow cast against the [[FindingJudas Captain's]] horrified face.
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Steven Universe}}'': In "Steven the Sword Fighter", when Holo-Pearl impales Pearl, part of the scene is shown as shadow
* This is how turning into a toadstool is shown in ''{{WesternAnimation/Toad Patrol}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'': Parodied in "Little Gift Shop of Horrors". During the "Clay Day" segment, the characters watch [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome a fierce off-screen battle]] between Claymation monsters while talking about how [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall stop-motion is really expensive and time-consuming]]. All the audience sees is the traditionally-animated shadows of the fighting monsters.


[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://beanstockd.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/prince_beanstockd.jpg Prince's performance]] at Super Bowl XLI was intentionally done behind a curtain or sheet. The MoralGuardians ''still'' took umbrage over how phallic the performance appeared. This was, however, [[CaptainObvious a Prince performance]], and therefore rather watered down. In addition, the man is playing a ''guitar''. It's difficult to impossible to avoid a phallic representation in such an instance. This could be considered an inversion of the trope, because the shadow made the phallic imagery ''more'' blatant.