Two characters are about to fight. One charges towards the other, and suddenly...

The screen goes black.

After the screen is back, a few of these things might have happened:

* The charging character is on the floor, and the attacked character is standing perfectly fine. Often used in tandem with CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass or even as a form of comedy.
* Apparently nothing happens, and then one [[MutualKill or both]] characters will drop on the floor; compare BulletHolesAndRevelations.
* [[BolivianArmyEnding Exactly what you would expect happens]], and the Black Screen of Death was just a form of RelaxOVision or DiscretionShot.
* The TV show/movie ends on a {{Cliffhanger}}.

The Black Screen of Death may be used as a form of censorship, but it is usually used for other reasons. [[POVCam It may be used to represent a character closing their eyes.]] Also, black may be replaced with white, though black is more likely for quick cuts whereas whiteouts tend to fade in. In games, it might also be used to avoid wasting space and programmers' time with sprites or model movements that would only be used once. This is often accompanied by the sound effects you would expect of the battle, or in the case of bladed weapons, the sound of a sword slicing through the air. Occasionally, this will be accompanied by some slice marks across the screen reminiscent of a CleanCut.

This type of censorship might be used by some directors to ''increase'' the (implied) violence beyond [[TakeOurWordForIt what they're capable of portraying]]. Two people are fighting and the screen goes black. What's happening behind the black screen is subject to the imagination of the observer. While the director is imagining a stab to the stomach to kill the enemy, another observer might be thinking of a decapitation. Or maybe they're denying what is really happening and enjoying a nice tea break instead. It's all up to you.

Not to be confused with a [[ Blue Screen of Death]], a Mac OSX [[ kernel panic]], or a [[ black version of the BSOD]] that appears in earlier versions of Windows.

Compare RelaxOVision, SingleStrokeBattle, BolivianArmyEnding, BolivianArmyCliffhanger.

Often, but not necessarily, a form of SmashToBlack.


[[folder: Anime And Manga]]
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' does this at the end of its first season with [[spoiler:[[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] and [[WellIntentionedExtremist Suzaku]]]] shooting each other simultaneously.
* In Episode 24 of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', [[spoiler:Shinji]] is contemplating whether or not he should kill his friend [[spoiler:Kaworu, who turns out to be an Angel]]. Eventually, the screen turns black as we hear a loud squish, and then [[spoiler:Kaworu's]] head dropping into a pool of LCL.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'' has a Black *Page* of Death, moments after [[spoiler:Portia steps off the roof of her apartment building]].
* ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' issue #28 has a minotaur that has been the antagonist against the main pony characters by having his being chased down by a hydra. One panel is completely black, the following showing the ponies looking sick and aghast. Though a 2 page teaser at the end shows that the minotaur survived, if living in the stomach of a hydra is considered "surviving..."

* Used on several occasions in ''Film/{{Cthulhu}}'' (2007), such as when the protagonist kills the Ancestor.
* ''Film/{{Inception}}'': Did the top topple [[AllJustADream or not]]? [[spoiler:According to [[WordOfGod Christopher Nolan]], [[FlipFlopOfGod even he isn't sure]].]]
* Used at the very end of ''Film/{{Threads}}''.
* River Tam and the Reavers at the end of ''Film/{{Serenity}}''.
* Used on [[spoiler:Claire]] at the end of ''Film/TheInnkeepers''.
* Done awkwardly in the Freedom Warrior Productions film ''The Meaning of "Choice"'', with the black screen fading in and out repeatedly to the sound of a heartbeat as the girl is being attacked by her ex-boyfriend. Part of this was because of their desire to enter the film into the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which forbade depictions of "gratuitous" levels of blood, violence, and gore, and would have rejected the film if it depicted a realistic scene of stabbing and attempted murder of a pregnant woman. Another reason for it, besides GoryDiscretionShot [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar to get past the censors]], was due to the film's cheap budget. (Made for under $5,000.)
* Used at the end of ''Film/TheGrey'', when Ottway [[spoiler:fights the alpha]]. Part of the scene that (should have) followed is still present in the trailer, as well as in a deleted scene. However, this was done for artistic reasons, since it adds weight to the ending.
* On several occasions the movie ''Film/{{Coherence}}'' suddenly cuts to black. It's being theorized that each time this happens, the story moves to another/parallel house with different versions of the characters.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/{{Playr}}'' often fades to black for more violent scenes.
* The episode "You Are Cordially Invited" of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' ends with O'Brien and Bashir charging at Worf and Dax, attacking them to conclude their wedding ceremony. The screen cuts to black rather than show O'Brien and Bashir getting schooled by a Klingon and his hot Trill wife, and the sound of clashing weapons is briefly heard.
* The series finale of ''Series/{{Skins}}'' series 4 cuts to black in the middle of [[spoiler:Cook attacking Freddie's killer]]. Hopefully TheMovie will resolve the cliffhanger.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'':
** ''Sherlock'' did it because at the time the writers were unsure if there was going to be a second series, so that the ending either closed the show or left viewers waiting for series 2 episode 1. [[spoiler:Sherlock raises the gun, about to shoot a cluster of bombs that will kill him, James Moriarty, and John Watson... and then the screen goes black, and the credits roll.]]
** Also, at the end of the previous episode, The Blind Banker, when [[spoiler:Moriarty has General Shan killed]].
* Debatably used in ''Series/TheSopranos'', as [[spoiler:Tony Soprano may have been killed just after a quick cut to the credits. Among the suspects: a character identified in the credits as [[NominalImportance "Members Only"]], plausibly, a CallBack to the episode of the same name]].
* This was used in ''Series/TopGear'', during the [[spoiler:escape from Alabama in the]] first American Special.
* In the episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E19FolsomPrisonBlues "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19)]] of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', a black screen appears after the ghost attacks 2 prisoners.
* This happened accidentally during British TV screenings of ''Series/StarTrek''. Screened on the public-service Creator/{{BBC}} which has no commercials, the original series was minimally post-produced. At the points where a natural cliffhanger happened within the episode and at which point American TV would have gone to a commercial, British viewers would see the screen go dead and black for a second, and then the show would resume, usually with the same scene seen from an abruptly different angle. There was much headscratching as to what the hell had happened and what might have been cut out, until the penny dropped that these were insertion points for commercial channels to go to adverts. [[note]]There was also headscratching about why a show billed as lasting an hour was only on for forty-eight minutes. Of course, the original American estimation of an hour was for show plus commercials.[[/note]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe'', a member of the Black Fang is launching an attack at Nils when the screen turns black and Lyn appears.
* In a reference to ''VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe'', when Lyn appears as an Assist Trophy in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'', the screen turns black the moment before she strikes.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'':
** In ''Mega Man Battle Network 4'', two members of the Mafia attempt to beat up their [[NeverMessWithGranny old]] (in [[RetiredBadass both]] [[HeelFaceTurn uses]] of old) leader. The screen turns black, and then we see the men on the floor.
** In ''Battle Network 6'', Colonel RV has an attack in which he throws his cape at you, turns the screen black, and deletes you (or leaves you at 1 HP if you have Undershirt).
* Akuma and his Raging Demon (Shun Goku Satsu) DangerousForbiddenTechnique in ''Franchise/StreetFighter''. In this case though, it's a "white screen of death".
** It's black, nowadays. [[ See these videos to view how it has]] [[ evolved over the years.]] It has also been copied (and parodied) in a number of other fighting games... [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and]] ''{{VideoGame/MUGEN}}''.
** It happens again in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' during the DLC fight between Asura vs. Evil Ryu's epic conclusion. Except Asura Counters the Shun Gouki Satsu Evil Ryu does with his own, somehow. And it is awesome!
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' does it when the male PC kisses Bastila, to many fans' irritation. It's likely due to the limited number of animations in the game.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' does it when [[spoiler:Handmaiden is confronted by her sisters]].
* Not the same, but similar. Done in first person in the ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} 2'' [[GameMod mod]] ''Project Reality'', where being dead or critically wounded blacks out the player's vision.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' does this when Auron confronts Isaaru after the latter attacks Yuna in the Via Purifico. Isaaru comes back just fine in the sequel, though.
* In ''[[VideoGame/MortalKombat Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3]]'', this is used for Classic Sub-Zero's spine rip fatality (since the animation couldn't be used in the new engine) and Scorpion's dopplegangers-in-hell fatality.
* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' vs. Iosa, though it's done to make it obvious whether or not [[spoiler: Iji or Ansaksie does it]].
* The "Frog VS Magus" ending in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' finishes with Frog and Magus readying for battle, then the screen goes dark as swords are heard clashing in the background while the credits roll. Then the screen fades in to show the victor standing on top of the castle: [[spoiler: someone with a cape.]]
* ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'':
** In three of the endings, Shadow raises his hand up and delivers a sharp chop to [[spoiler: Eggman]]'s skull just after a cut to black, implying to have killed [[spoiler: him]].
** ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' was censored in production to get a E10+ rating instead of a Teen rating. One of the edits was Maria's death. In the final game, after the gun is shot the screen fades to white while Shadow screams "Maria!" Footage exists of the original intro where Maria is seen falling (though no blood is shown) instead of the screen being white. One of the trailers for the game also had the scene, though only in a quick shot where you see it in Shadow's eyes.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'':
** During a scene when Lucas and his dog Boney meet [[spoiler:Ionia, one of the Magypsies]], in the Hot Springs, Ionia wants to teach Lucas how to use PSI by giving him a "test of endurance". Scene then fades to black before Ionia's words appear off-screen, telling Lucas not to struggle or scream (these words may imply rape or child sexual abuse). When the scene finally fades back in, Lucas is submerged and gets his head out of the water. When he does, he learns a few PK spells, including PK Love! (And all the while [[spoiler:Ionia's]] clothes are lying near the ladder to the Hot Springs!)
** It also happens during the final battle. After [[spoiler:Claus]] is mortally wounded, the screen turns black. Only words appear off-screen, describing what happens in the scene. For when the screen returns to normal, the boy is quietly in the arms of [[spoiler:his brother]]. Dead.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft: Brood War'' has one of these in the ending cinematic; [[spoiler:[[DesignatedVillain General Gerard DuGalle]], after reading out a letter to his wife and accepting that he will either return home in complete disgrace or be soon annihilated by [[BigBad Kerrigan's]] forces, takes out an antique pistol and puts it against his temple before the video cuts out... granted, a gunshot is heard.]]
* ''VideoGame/LollipopChainsaw'' has two different cutscenes that appear after the credits, depending on whether you rescued all of the savable classmates or not. If you didn't, [[spoiler:you are treated to a cutscene of Juliet, her family, and Nick all coming home to celebrate her birthday, only to find that her mom is a zombie. The screen blacks out as we hear a loud *CRUNCH*, implying that she killed them.]]
* Happens in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'''s first chapter - the screen turns white as an unarmed Gordon Freeman is struck by buzz batons, and while he is stunned, Alyx Vance arrives and [[HeyYouHaymaker knocks all of the enemies in the room]]. She is the first thing you see when the screen fades from white.
* ''VideoGame/SkullGirls''
** Used as one of Valentine's attacks. She tosses her opponent up into the air, and then down behind a row of surgical curtains. The screen flashes black except for the outline of Valentine's eyes, then back to the curtains sprayed with blood, and the other character missing a large chunk of health.
** A patch released in May 2015 [[ gave Squigly a parody of Akuma's Shun Goku Satsu]] as an AscendedMeme. Squigly rushes in, grabs her opponent, and the screen fades to black. Leviathan appears, says "Arrogant fool!" and roars. The screen fades to purple, and the opponent takes massive damage.
* A lot of old-school Disney games did this, usually the platformers. If the character dies, he/she either passes out, dies outright or is otherwise abandoned to a gruesome fate. ''VideoGame/MickeyMania'', ''Tarzan'' and especially ''Maui Mallard'' are prime examples.

* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' uses the slice-marks variant to [[LazyArtist speed up animation]] in flash segments (the fact that the fight happened is generally [[LawOfConservationOfDetail more plot-important than animating fights carefully]]). Although usually it cuts to red, not black.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Used several times during ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'', the most noticeably when [[spoiler:Jay gets attacked by Masky]]. Although it's {{justified|Trope}} by Jay dropping the camera during some sequences.
* In ''WebVideo/EverymanHYBRID'', [[spoiler:this happens when [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome Evan attacks the Slender Man]]. The screen cuts to black; by the end of it, Slendy is gone and Evan is disoriented and bleeding from the mouth.]]
* [[ This]] [[MemeticMutation memtic take]] on the mysterious muted lines uttered by Gendo Ikari in ''[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion The End of Evangelion]]'' cuts to black after each version.
-->'''Gendo''': Ritsuko Akagi, the truth is [insert line]\\
'''Ritsuko''': Huh, you liar. *BANG*
* As part of the fake CCG cards meme, a fake ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' card exists called RuleThirtyFour. It costs [[FourIsDeath four black mana]], has no art, and says "Everybody loses. No one wins." with flavor text along the lines of "All art submitted for this card was rejected."

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' uses the cliffhanger variant in the episode "Appa's Lost Days" partway through the fight between the Kyoshi Warriors and Azula's team.
* ''WesternAnimation/EmilyAndTheBabaYaga'': When Emily charges the Baba Yaga.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' ends with Black Canary and the Huntress about to land flying kicks on each other when CUT TO BLACK End Credits!
* Nearly all the time in ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'' whenever the girls get captured.