Acid Pool

"You swim in that, you'll be the soup in no time flat! Boneless, too!"
Yomi, Terranigma

The pool filled with Hollywood Acid is the go-to Death Trap for any Mad Scientist that doesn't have access to a Lava Pit - usually bubbling a sickly green color, it will melt the flesh off your bones and leave nothing but a bleached skeleton, if that. Can be used both for moats near precarious bridges and lowering heroes into. Acid pools are generally treated as green variants of the Lava Pit and used in a similar manner as obstacles or execution methods.

Highly impractical in Real Life due to the nature of acid, particularly if bubbling. Acid is often produced when highly caustic negative ions are dissolved in water, and they are quite capable of escaping, particularly if in high enough concentrations as to remove flesh from the bone. These remain caustic and are quite likely to damage anyone nearby (almost like a chemical variant of Convection Schmonvection).

Strong acid is also extremely poisonous to breathe, so the air would be fatal long before its first victim could fall into it, unless it was from a substantial height; and even then it would have a substantial stench even from a great distance, which would drive anyone away if they had a choice.

The counterpart on the opposite end of the pH scale is the pool of lye, which shows up typically in industrial vat form.

May overlap in video games with Grimy Water. See also Shark Pool.


Card Games

Comic Books
  • One of the many Booby Traps Scrooge McDuck has to protect his money bin is an acid pool.
  • In Death Of The Family, Joker tries to drop Harley Quinn in one. She escapes, and Joker almost falls into it himself!
  • The futuristic version of Lexcorp Tower following the Y2K storyline in Superman comics has one, as described in Action Comics #765. The chairs in the conference room all have Trap Doors leading to it.

Fan Fic
  • In And If That Dont Work, Matarael (the acid dripping, a-joke-in-canon Angel) actually got to the pilot's entry plug and turned it into an acid bath.

  • In the Vincent Price movie House on Haunted Hill (1959), the house had an acid pit in the basement. (But it was OK because there was a lid on it.)
  • That weird black goo at the end of the second Tomb Raider movie.
  • Shows up in the inside of Unicron in Transformers: The Movie. A few unlucky Transformers are even thrown in!
  • Paul Kersey's final kill in Death Wish V: The Face of Death (and his final kill of the series in general) has him shoving mob boss Tommy O'Shea into a vat of acid.

  • Nomads of Gor had a pool that was alive, and digested its victims.
  • One of the Drizzt novels includes an acid pool just sitting around in the Underdark. Because the Underdark is just nasty that way.
  • Subverted in the sci-fi story Acid Bath by Vaseleos Garson. Hostile alien robots capture our hero and force him to drink corrosive substances; as they're made of metal, this turns out to be water.
  • When Able Team are first briefed on Neo-Nazi Corrupt Corporate Executive Unomondo (the closest thing that series had to a reoccurring Big Bad) they're told how one of his accountants who turned state's evidence got a big set of pictures — his wife and children being lowered one inch at a time, one picture at a time, into tubs of acid. The man killed himself the next day.
  • Babylon Babies. Russian mobster Gorsky captures a laboratory and uses the threat of this to force a scientist to work for them. His colleagues end up in the bath anyway once he's done the required work, though by that stage the scientist is not inclined to disobey.
  • Jedi Apprentice: One book features natural pools that have been polluted to the extent that they can dissolve an adult human in moments. Naturally, nobody has any problems breathing around them, and only discover the danger after a piece of cloth accidentally falls in when one character leans directly over.

Live-Action TV
  • Showed up in the "Look at the Princess" Trilogy in Farscape.
  • Subverted in an episode of Kung Fu, where young Kwai-Chang is ordered by Master Po to cross a plank over an acid-pit full of human skeletons, and blind Master Po demonstrates by walking across it himself. Kwai-Chang obeys and walks across the plank, but falls into the pit halfway across — only to find that it's only full of warm water, and the skeletons were made of paper; the "test" was simply a lesson to teach him that "fear is like a magnet" that pulls a man in its direction.
  • In The Vampire Diaries a vampire-specific one is created by simply scattering vervain into the water. Any vampire that entered it would have their powers drained, then their skin burn.
  • The Wild Wild West actually had a pool of lye in an episode.
  • Used in Irathient funerals in Defiance, Sukar gets back up after his "corpse" is lowered into one.
  • In CSI: Miami, a guy falls into a pool filled with sodium hydroxide. Technically a base, rather than an acid, but for dramatic purposes the effect is the same.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventures have had a lot of these over the years. For example, WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure had an Acid Pool so concentrated that anyone jumping in would be instantly killed.
    • Also, D&D third edition averts the "harmless fumes" - if you approach a large vat of acid, you can suffer constitution damage from inhaling the toxic mist.
  • Tyranids of Warhammer 40,000 use "digestion pools" to absorb the biomass of planets, and their no longer needed forces.

  • BIONICLE had a villain (a Makuta named Gorast) who had the title "Queen of the Acid Falls," so apparently there was an entire river of acid running through her domain.
    • Energized protodermis could be considered this as well; coming into contact with it means either you mutate in a random (and not necessarily helpful) fashion or you swiftly disintegrate in a painful manner.

Video Games
  • Generate randomly underground on planet Xeno in JunkJack. A favorite of many multiplayer users for making death traps to kill other players.
  • Appears instead of lava pools in some particularly nasty places in Severance: Blade of Darkness.
  • The liquid pits in several areas in Portal.
  • Several of the areas in Metroid (for example, Brinstar in the original game) have acid pools which only damage Samus should she fall in. Perhaps justified because of her Powered Armor.
  • All over the place in Doom and Quake, in addition to lava.
  • The Dead Pool in the Mortal Kombat series, which you can knock your opponent into at the end of a match, or to end a round by Ring Out in Deception.
  • The fourth Commander Keen game, Secret of the Oracle, has two vats of this in the first level, and they show up sporadically throughout. Glowing green goo variety.
  • The cave in Space Quest 1 has a pool of acid with a few stupid actions you can take that result in Roger's death. Fortunately, messing around with this pool is entirely optional.
    • In Space Quest II, there's a death trap in Vohaul's Space Base where the door locks and the floor slowly retracts to drop you into an acid pit.
  • Snake's Revenge for the MSX had acid pools that could be neutralized with chocolate.
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush and Wally are unwillingly suspended above a pool of acid while caught in LeChuck's Death Trap.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has one just before the goal in the Sith academy exam.
  • Heavy Rain - Norman Jayden can investigate one and find a skeleton floating in it.
  • Acid pools appear in World 2 fortress in Purple.
  • The Sorceress from Spyro: Year of the Dragon is killed when she falls into a pit of purple acid.
  • At the beginning of the Giant Statue stage in Brain Dead 13, this acid pool will form under the ground tiles Lance is standing on, and if you wait too long, they will wobble and collapse under his weight and cause him to fall in and drown!
    • There is also another acid pool in the fountain, and he will fall in if he can't find something to grab onto, like a gargoyle statue. He will also fall into the same pool in other death scenes.
  • In Gyossait, these appear as purple pools that will even kill enemies if they fall in (though they have to be completely onscreen in order to die).
  • In Heroes Rise, this is how the Meek finally manage to kill Miss Artillery.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The Joker lowers Sid the Squid into one in Batman: The Animated Series.
    • In another episode Batgirl and Catwoman are captured by a mob boss and taken near acid vats. One of them asks if they'll suspend them above the acid so the vapors will kill them, but he replies he'll just shoot them and get rid of their bodies in the vats.
  • The episode "Cop Out" of The Powerpuff Girls involves a corrupt cop who has the girls getting dunked into one after the good cops aren't quite able to rescue them. Fortunately, they turn out to be acid-proof.
  • In The X's special "Truman X: Super Villain" Truman accurately predicts that Glowface will slowly lower the family into a vat of acid filled with robot sharks.
  • In the final episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades, titled Revelations, Part 2, Duke knocks Cobra Commander into a pool of acid and escapes with his team before the entire mansion explodes. The Stinger reveals that Cobra Commander had survived, however, and he vows revenge on the Joes.

Real Life
  • John George Haigh, the "Acid Bath Killer", disposed of his victims' bodies by dumping them into acid. He also makes an appearance in Clock Tower 3.
  • Large scale livestock farms often have large bodies of liquid known as waste lagoons, which are used to store animal excrement. These lagoons are extremely toxic, and falling in one is pretty much instant death.