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And I Must Scream: Film

Film -Animated

  • In Toy Story 3 the main villain, Lotso Huggin' Bear, gets strapped to the front of a garbage truck as an ornament, doomed to be pelted with dead bugs and the elements while being unable to move for years to come.
  • Toy Story 2: Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete having been kept in storage for who knows how long. It can be reasonably assumed that they were conscious of it at the time, based on Jessie's reaction to the prospect of going back into the storage box. Then there is the idea of them being sold to the museum and ultimately being trapped in a glass case for who knows how long.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Turbo's death is actually horrifying if you think about it. In his Cy Bug form, he has no choice but to go to the beacon to be boiled alive....while being aware the whole time.
  • Hoodwinked had this gem from "Be Prepared":
    Ohhhhh an avalanche is coming and I do not feel prepared
    It's running like a mountain lion, I must say that I'm scared
    But if not for the witch's spell you'd hear just how I scream
    But since I'm only singing I'll just yodel 'til we're creamed!"
  • Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda was locked away for twenty years, in the bottom of a Tailor-Made Prison. His arms were held tight by chains, and his back covered with a turtle-like shell that prevented him from moving anything but his tail. It's not strange he is absolutely pissed when he escapes, and he already had anger management problems.
  • In The Lego Movie, Master Builders are locked up by the Big Bad in Think Tanks, machines that suck away all of their creativity... while they're fully conscious. Yikes.
    • Anyone affected by the Kragle is completely frozen in place. The Big Bad's plan was to inflict this on the whole universe so that nobody would be able to mess up his stuff.
    • This also happens to Emmet after he fall off the edge of the universe
    • This also happens to Good Cop Bad Cop, who gets his Good Cop side erased off with nail polish after refusing his loyalty to Lord Business when he doesn't Kragle his parents, while both sides are still conscious, with a substance that doesn't bode well for LEG Os. Imagine experiencing your erasure out of existence, or actually feel your other half be ripped from you. Either way, you're helpless as it happens.
      • Despite drawing another face on, GCBC sadly isn't back to the same person he was before.

Film -Live Action

  • In Anaconda 4 the main villain, right after giving himself immortality, gets eaten by an immortal snake, and never gets out.
  • A similar fate is suffered by one of the characters in Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, only in this case, he gets bitten by a spider whose venom will paralyze him completely for two days, outside of breathing and retaining consciousness. He gets discovered but is obviously unable to communicate his situation and then gets swallowed alive by one of the snakes. The other characters then burn down the hut that the snake is in, presumably roasting it, and him, alive
  • Awakenings, based on Real Life Dr. Oliver Sachs' experiences with catatonic patients. There is one exchange that expounds the true Fridge Horror of the situation:
    Dr. Ingham: Most died during the acute stage of the illness, during a sleep so deep they couldn't be roused. A sleep that in most cases lasted several months. Those who survived, who awoke, seemed fine, as though nothing had happened. Years went by - five, ten, fifteen - before anyone suspected they were not well... they were not. I began to see them in the early 1930's - old people brought in by their children, young people brought in by their parents - all of them complaining they weren't themselves anymore. They'd grown distant, aloof, anti-social, they daydreamed at the dinner table. I referred them to psychiatrists. Before long they were being referred back to me. They could no longer dress themselves or feed themselves. They could no longer speak in most cases. Families went mad. People who were normal, were now elsewhere.
    Dr. Sayer: What must it be like to be them? What are they thinking?
    Dr. Ingham: They're not. The virus didn't spare the higher faculties.
    Dr. Sayer: We know that for a fact?
    Dr. Ingham: Yes.
    Dr. Sayer: Because?
    • Leonard Lowe actually manages to convey his being trapped by directing Dr. Sayer to the poem The Panther:
      His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
      has grown so weary that it cannot hold
      anything else. It seems to him there are
      a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
      As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
      the movement of his powerful soft strides
      is like a ritual dance around a center
      in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
      Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
      lifts, quietly—. An image enters in,
      rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
      plunges into the heart and is gone.
  • In Death Becomes Her, both of the immortal women have this. Their souls are bonded to their bodies, but their bodies do NOT repair themselves. At the end, they fall down a set of stairs and their bodies shatter. Their heads are intact, but they cannot move. So now they can bicker with each other for all eternity, or at least until their heads are damaged.
  • Imohtep in both versions of The Mummy (the 1932 original and 1999 remake). The novelization of the 1999 film explains that Imhotep's soul is locked in his body, even after it dies, and in the meantime, he's buried alive with flesh eating scarabs devouring him, and his tongue cut out so he can't scream, at least not effectively.
  • In the second Warlock film, the Warlock gets an art collector to hand over one of the gems that he is seeking by offering him "the greatest piece your gallery has ever seen". He didn't tell him that the collector himself would become that piece.
  • End fate of the slasher in Monster Man, where the survivors manage to steal his monster truck and proceed to avert Once is Not Enough with it. They plough into him, run him over, reverse over him, and then run him over, again and again for hours. As he's been rendered essentially unkillable thanks to his sister's Black Magic, he's still alive and aware even after they finally get sick of it and drive away, leaving behind a great greasy smear of meat-pulp screaming that they haven't killed him yet.
  • Awake is about a man who undergoes surgery, during which the anesthetic had worn off but the neuromuscular blocking agents holding him still had not. Sadly, there's a handful of surgeries in Real Life where this had happened.
  • In Being John Malkovich
    • John Cusack's character attempts to travel through the portal at a particularly inappropriate time, leaving his consciousness stranded in the body of a young girl that he cannot control.
    • Mr. Malkovich himself — being helplessly forced to watch somebody else control his body for the rest of his life? Eesh.
  • In The Burrowers, the monsters' venom causes near-total paralysis, save breathing and slight movement of the toes or fingers. Once their victims are paralyzed, the creatures bury their prey with nothing but the nose exposed, ensuring the captive won't suffocate and will provide fresh meat when the time comes. Unfortunately, once the monsters have been killed, the surviving humans don't realize they need to look for a still-living victim, who is left buried up to his nose without hope of rescue. This leads to some Fridge Logic when you realize the missing family may have been buried near the house.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Bootstrap Bill was tied to a cannon and sent to the bottom of the ocean by Captain Barbossa. However, because of the curse of the Aztec gold, which rendered him immortal, he was fated to spend an eternity at the bottom of the ocean and unable to free himself, until the Big Bad of the 2nd film came along.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick:
    • In Pitch Black, a bound, gagged and sedated Riddick tells (in voiceover) how the animal part of the brain never goes to sleep - which is why he is still fully aware of what's going on during the space voyage. Downplayed because Riddick, while certainly not the most well-adjusted individual, doesn't seem to be bothered that much by the sensation.
    • Antonia Chillingsworth in the animated sequel Dark Fury has a better example. She keeps criminals frozen into statues, and well... I'll let her explain it.
    Antonia:They are all very much alive. Each one sustained in a form of cryo so profound... That seconds seem weeks, and to blink an eye is a day's work. The brain, however, continues to function unimpeded. The mind continues to think and feel, swarming with whatever dark thoughts it's trapped alone with, as it will be for hundreds of years. So much more fitting a fate than dropping them off at the nearest slam.
  • At the end of the Fantastic Four movie, the villain Victor van Doom is fully transformed into living metal. His body is heated up and then rapidly cooled, resulting in a crystallisation process that leaves him unable to move, and everyone to believe he is dead. Unfortunately for him, he is still fully conscious.
  • Star Wars:
    • Return of the Jedi: In the belly of the Sarlacc, victims find a new definition of suffering as they are "slowly digested over a thousand years".
    • The Expanded Universe story "A Barve Like That", describing Boba Fett's escape from the Sarlacc is a freaking study in this trope...there's something in the Sarlacc's digestive fluids that keeps people alive and conscious, though immobile and in pain, since the thing rarely feeds. Not only that, it's telepathic, can force people to relive their, its, and each other's memories, and apparently becomes sentient through its victims - even after death, they become part of its psyche. When Fett does eventually escape, the Sarlacc appears to express some satisfaction that Fett will "release it from the long cycle". He does not, implying that its own existence is an example of this trope.
    • Also notable is that in a (canonical) diagram of the Sarlacc's digestive system, the stomach bears a striking resemblance to the nine circles of hell.
    • It's noticible that a Heroic, Republic-side mission for Star Wars: The Old Republic involves charging a Sarlacc pit with a load of explosives - not to destoy the Sarlacc (you'd probably have to nuke it from orbit), but to Mercy Kill the poor Republic grunts a Gammorean gang tossed inside. Even the darkest Jedi, mercenary Smuggler, or sociopath Trooper isn't going to go against the plan.
    • See the "Literature" section for what carbonite prisons do...
  • Victims of Cecile and Justify in The Skeleton Key tend to wind up in elderly, stroke ridden bodies, unable to take care of themselves, let alone tell anyone what had happened.
  • The climax of Audition sees the protagonist injected with a drug that paralyzes his muscles but heightens his pain sensation while his girlfriend starts torturing him with piano wire and acupuncture needles. He is trying very very hard to scream, you better believe it.
    • Though he was released from that before too long. This trope applies better to the guy stuffed in the burlap sack in her apartment.
  • The victim of the "Sloth" punishment in Se7en is kept paralysed in his own apartment for a year by the villain, occasionally given antibiotics so as not to die from his bedsores. By the time he is saved and taken to a hospital, his mind is no longer functioning.
  • Although the effect is mostly killed by the movie's cheese factor, Casper Meets Wendy has a vortex that is magically opened and used to throw victims into which drags them away. After it's closed, very few people can open it again, so a later rescue is out of the question. It's particularly horrific for the ghosts, since a human might be lucky and get bashed in the head but someone already dead wouldn't have that option.
  • The Matrix.
    • Given a twist. Since the machines are interested in the energy created by human bodies they need to keep them in a good state, which turns out to be much easier to do if their minds believe they are leading normal lives.
    • Early in the first The Matrix, Neo gets a brief, literal, experience of this type when Agent Smith erases his mouth and implants a tracking bug in him.
    Agent Smith: So tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you are unable to speak?
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors reveals that Freddy actually devours the souls of his victims, keeping them contained in his body while leeching power from them. Some of their screaming, writhing faces periodically appear on his torso. They actually rip him apart in the fourth film, though by the sixth, he probably trapped more.
    • Freddy's plan for Nancy in the remake was to trap her in this type of situation.
  • The fate of the villain in The Fly 2, when fly Marty replaces his mutated genes with the villain ones, thus trapping the villain in a bloated, deformed mutated body that can barely crawl.
  • In The Final, one of the outcasts' victims is drugged so that he can't move but can feel everything. Then, Emily sticks him in the throat with needle after needle, all while she remains completely silent and his friends beg for her to stop.
  • The ultimate fate of Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream. And to an extent, the other three protagonists during the final sequence as well.
  • Two examples in The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
    • First, the Grimhold kept Morgana and Veronica trapped for a millennium. Morgana and Veronica were trapped in the Grimhold for over a millennium, though, unlike the urn, it isn't expressly stated that the Grimhold prisoners are conscious.
    • A second, shorter version happens when Balthazar and Horvath are trapped inside an urn for ten years. They do have things to read Horvath has Dave's essay on Napoleon (and probably a few of his other papers) and Blake was hinted to have the Encantus.
  • In the German horror Splatter movie Anatomy (orig. Anatomie, 2000), a female medical student who enters a prestigious Heidelberg medical school uncovers a conspiracy by an Antihippocratic secret society operating within the university grounds who are masters of plastination of corpses but due to a lack of fresh, perfect, undamaged corpses have decided to obtain their own "study material". Certain selected victims (people that no-one will miss but also a co-student who discovered what was going on) are injected with a drug that completely paralyses the victim within a few minutes and suppresses all lifesigns so that the victims appears dead on first glance, while still semi-conscious. The drug then transforms the blood, slowly plastinating the victim from within, while the members of the conspiracy pose the body and start to dissect and flay away skin and muscles from the organs and bones. One such victim wakes up, unable to move more than his eyes, and sees his hand has been artfully dissected down to the bones, and he himself is posed naked as a plastinated "scientific show piece".
  • In Inception, it's alluded that this occurs when someone dies in a dream sedated enough that they can't simply wake up from it. Supposedly they go to a "limbo" where they can trapped for what seems like years or even decades. Cobb and Mal (before she died) have been there and by the end, so has Saito.
  • Film/Dreamkeeper shows this in the Show Within a Show. Along with Who Wants to Live Forever?, the protagonist is granted clairvoyance. And can see the 20th century.
  • John Blaylock, as well as Miriam Blaylock's other past lovers in The Hunger, deserve a mention. In short, not only do they age rapidly, they can't physically die, meaning someone else has to kill them. Instead, they are encased alive in coffins kept by Miriam.
  • In The Human Centipede, the middle victim is essentially left to starve to death after the scientist responsible for the Centipede experiment is killed, the first victim commits suicide by slashing his own throat, and the last victim dies of blood poisoning. Just the thought of being in that situation is guaranteed to be horrific. She might survive - the main villain killed two police officers, and the cops usually send in reinforcements after receiving no response from a walkie-talkie for 2 hours - but she won't be the same mentally.
  • Part of the Downer Ending in The Alphabet Killer. Detective Megan Paige, who can see the spirits of the eponymous killer's victims, also has a history of mental illness. In the end the stress of the case and her confrontation with the killer leads to a psychotic break. This results in her being hospitalized and sedated to the point where she can't move or speak, and thus is helpless to stop the murderer (whose identity remains a mystery to the rest of the police force.) The final scenes chillingly show the detective in a near catatonic where it is implied she will remain for years, her bed slowly being surrounded by the ghosts of more and more of the killer's victims.
  • This is part of the Twist Ending of Hellraiser: Inferno. Joseph is stuck in his own personal Hell for all eternity in a nightmarish, endless loop where he hunts himself and his friends are brutally murdered in front of him. When he realizes this he eats his own gun to "kill" himself but he wakes up right back at the start of the loop. The movie even ends with Joseph screaming in hopeless despair.
  • Interview with the Vampire:
    • the titular Vampire is sealed into a coffin and set into a solid cement wall. Naturally, being a vampire and thus immortal, he does not need the oxygen, food or water that this denies him - and in context, lack of blood does not kill a vampire, it simply torments him and drives him slowly insane. Or it would, if he wasn't rescued shortly after to avoid this fate.
    • This may have happened to another vampire during the time that Louis and Claudia were traveling the world in search of their kin. So for several decades, Lestat was left barely alive in the old manor, seemingly killed for a SECOND time. Instead of dying, he survives as a charcoal covered corpse that feeds on rats, all alone and afraid of the changing outside world.
  • The film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun. See the entry under Literature.
  • Spacegodzilla falls under this at the end of his only film appearance (Godzilla Vs Spacegodzilla). Being one of the few truly immortal Kaiju, he's trapped in the form of tiny particles floating through space for all of eternity.
  • Because Robert's fate is left ambiguous, this could be the case in Mystery Team.
  • Those murdered by the killer in Midnight Movie become trapped in the film world he originates from, unable to die and held in a Torture Cellar. Escape is possible, but highly unlikely.
  • The victims of the killer in the Rest Stop duology become unhinged ghosts, trapped haunting the lonely stretch of highway the killer prowls.
  • X-Men:
    • In X2: X-Men United, Stryker's mind control serum makes the victim obedient, but their real self is still in there, fully aware and incapable of controlling their own body. Look at the sheer horror on Deathstryke's face when the serum controlling her briefly wears off. Particularly when she looks at her hands and remembers the pain of being bonded with adamantium, likely because she was being controlled during that, as well. Scott similarly tells Jean he couldn't stop himself from trying to kill her.
    • Wade Wilson's fate in the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He turned from a nice looking, fast talking, somewhat funny guy to a pale, disfigured person. He has no hair and his mouth was sewn shut. He got all the powers of the mutants Weapon X captured, but he was completely under their control with no free will.
    • In X-Men: First Class, the death of Sebastian Shaw. He's held immobile while a coin is pushed slowly through his skull. Xavier, who's psychically linked to Shaw in order to hold him immobile, does the screaming instead.
  • The "precogs" of Minority Report. Daily life for them involves being forced to watch- and in some cases, relive- future murders in a drugged stupor, incapable of waking up or drifting off into too deep a sleep. Those convicted by their predictions are kept in stasis, while their minds remain active- though there's some debate as to what they experience, mentally speaking.
  • In Infernal Affairs III, Ming is left in a paralyzed and catatonic state after a botched suicide attempt. However, he is still semi-conscious and essentially trapped in an eternal nightmare where he is forced to deal with the guilt of his past crimes. In the very last scene, he is seen tapping his fingers, which is Morse code for "HELL".
  • In Clive Barker's Dread, a woman is locked into a room with the dead body of her boyfriend, the implication being that she'll be forced to eat it.
  • In Hansel and Gretel, a woman is turned into a tree.
  • Claudia attempted to do this to Lilli with the apple in Snow White: A Tale of Terror. The apple would completely paralyze her, but give her full awareness in the "prison of her mind" as she was buried alive.
  • In Livid, Anna is trapped for years as part of a twisted "music box" with her eyes stapled shut.
  • The Diving Bell And The Butterfly centres around a man having to cope with falling victim to this fate, as a stroke leaves him paralyzed everywhere except his eyes (and one of them is sewn up early on due to infection, so he can only use one eye). It's suggested that it is temporary (the doctors keep talking about how they hope to help him eventually regain the ability to move, though the epilogue reveals that he died of a heart attack before this could happen, but he still ends up like this long enough to write a book about his feelings. And it bears mentioning that this was based on a true story.
  • In Demolition Man, criminals aren't supposed to be aware of the time spent as a Human Popsicle. But John spent the time dreaming of the innocents that he didn't save, and seeing his wife pounding on the ice cube he was in. The police are appropriately horrified to learn this. When pressed, Cocteau uncomfortably states that "The side effects of the freezing process are unavoidable".
  • In one scene of the Broadway adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Cogsworth and Lumiere comment on the loss of their humanity and other servants who have completely turned into inanimate objects that reflect their personalities, such as Michelle, who became a vanity, Jean-Claude, a brick wall, and Guillaume, the doormat.
  • Wishmaster:
    • The souls the Djinn captures are placed in Hellraiser-like dimension, presumably for eternal torture.
    • In the first film, a woman gets turned into a sentient but inanimate mannequin when she wishes to be beautiful forever, and Alexandra's sister gets frozen inside a painting.
  • Cobra Commander and Destro start G.I. Joe: Retaliation immobilized in tanks and pumped full of drugs that leave them incapable of moving anything but their eyes.
  • The Wizard of Oz averted for The Tin Man, whom if Dorothy didn't come along he would have been in a sentient statue position forever.
  • RoboCop2 gives an example with Cain: his brain and eyeball are surgically removed from his skull, leaving him to stare out at his own autopsy without even eyelids to close.
  • The revenge method of the main villain of Blood Sucking Pharaohs In Pittsburgh involves using a ritual to trap a victim's soul in their decaying body forever.
  • The Japanese horror films Ju-on screams this. As each film's opening spiel explains, when a person dies in the grip of a powerful rage they may be consumed by a Hate Plague which begins in the place that their death took place, then spreads and consumes everyone that enters said location, and then may infect other people that come into contact with the infected. The Saekis become rage-filled ghosts after Kayako's infidelity leads to the deaths of her whole family, often reacting their murders. Anyone who enters their house are doomed, sooner or later Kayako, her dead son or dead husband will come for them and there is nothing they can do but be killed and consumed by the curse. Most victims disappear body and all.
    • To make matters worse, a lot of the victims can materialise as ghosts themselves, tormenting those who failed to save them. A poor school girl suffers this in the fourth film when three friends are consumed by the curse and their ghosts haunt her, watching her through holes in her papered up windows. That is until the ghosts get in and slowly stalk her through the house, then Kayako herself appears and drags the girl to her doom, with the ghost girls still trying to get her.
    • It is implied that the protagonist of the third film was haunted by Kayako and Toshio for a good few years, since the aforementioned school girl was young when introduced.
    • The spin-off films, White Ghost / Black Ghost, it is implied that another curse was responsible for the creation of another. In Black Ghost, a Fetus Terrible who absorbed by her twin sister possesses her body during an exorcism and murders her aunt's family. The house their die in is the same in White Ghost, where a man is possessed is implied to be possessed by the same ghost and murders his family before hanging himself. Several of his relatives return as ghosts, including his young niece who haunts her childhood friend for not saving her when he sexually abused her.
  • Played for laughs in The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec: Adèle undresses for a bath in front of a mummy, which, unknown to her, is being revived and can see, but not move or speak. After the mummy regains speech and movement, he thanks her for the show.
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