"Like new parents, spies take preventative measures to ensure a safe environment. Only instead of baby-proofing cabinets and electrical sockets, they use more extreme methods."
A version of the Death Trap
, except instead of the good guys being put into it, they have to somehow get past it to achieve their objective. Such devices will usually gruesomely kill the first Red Shirt
sent into it before the hero correctly figures out how to get past.
Otherwise, most such traps act in exactly the same way as Death Traps
. Explosives are a particular favorite, as they will also destroy the installation involved. Expect a retreating character to trick a pursuer into it.
Naturally a feature of the Death Course
and Temple of Doom
If you're looking for that other
kind of Booby Trap, see the Marshmallow Hell
Also, please note that while some good guys
and definitely the audience knows when and where the booby trap is, most characters just don't have these privileges
. Unless they feel compelled to do things the "right" way
Obviously, Truth in Television
. Keep in mind, however, that in most countries booby traps are illegal and if they kill someone you'll likely face jail time. This includes incidences of home invasion by a thief.
Compare and contrast Trick Bomb
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- Hunter heroes in Shadow Era can cast some trap cards, such as "Spike Trap" that either harm or kill any monster summoned after it is cast.
- Y: The Last Man has a rat soaked in kerosene, set into a hole in wall of the bad guy's HQ and then set on fire.
- During the ElfQuest Shards storyline, the elves follow Two-Edge's secret tunnels under the Citadel. Two-Edge (being the half-crazy engineer he is) has booby traps to supplement the obvious barriers he's planted.
- The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are alarmed to hear the police can break into homes without knocking, so they booby trap the apartment with falling bowling balls, high-voltage wires - then they have Fat Freddy go to the store, telling him "Don't forget to be careful coming back in". He walks along repeating the mantra...then forgets what he was going to get. He rushes back in and, well...
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Blowing up the Enterprise with the Klingons on board.
- Blazing Saddles. The citizens of the town of Rock Ridge create a fake Rock Ridge filled with explosives as a giant trap for Hedy Lamaar's army.
- The Goonies: Several, including a couple examples of the Rube Goldberg Device. Data, in his broken English, calls them "Booty Traps".
- The Beast Of War (1988). The Soviet tank crew leaves one of their own comrades tied to a rock with a grenade under his head. ("If you want anything, just nod.")
- In Treasure Planet, the entire titular planet is booby trapped.
- Blown Away centers on an bombmaker hounding a bomb disposal officer by rigging booby trapped bombs. The devices are cruelly ingenious in foreseeing how the bomb squad will work. At several points the camera passes through the scene and into the workings of the bomb in what appears to be a continuous take, striking shots which highlight, almost fetishistically, the workings of the device.
- Indiana Jones deals with these on any given day.
- A rare heroic example - Marv sets up a few of these for Kevin in Sin City.
- In The Road Warrior, Max's gas tank is set to explode if anyone tries to steal from it.
- Part of the appeal of the Home Alone series is during the final segments of the movies, watching Kevin set up some ingeniously nasty traps for Harry and Marv to stumble into. A good number of these traps, particularly in the second movie, would probably kill those who stumbled into them, but Harry and Marv are Iron Butt Monkeys, so apart from getting banged up, neither of them get fatally hurt.
- In Red Dawn (1984), the Wolverines leave the dying Toni Mason's body behind for the Russians to collect, with a live grenade wedged beneath her body.
- Laird set up one long ago in the castle dungeon in The Princess and the Pea. He tried to lead Rollo into it until Fearless set it off.
- Brannigan (1975). John Wayne is targeted by a hit-man who rigs up a Sawn Off Shotgun behind his hotel room door. In case this fails, the hit-man plants a bomb in the toilet as well, knowing that a near-death experience would lead to a Bring My Brown Pants reaction. Fortunately the Duke is smart enough to dodge both traps.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Brothers of the Snake, a squad of Space Marines finds one portion of Dark Eldar defense particularly fierce. Breaking in, they find that the eldar had left explosives in the phosphorus mines; they lug them off before they can explode.
- The English Patient is set in areas of World War II Italy that have been thoroughly boobytrapped by the retreating Axis. One of the main characters, Kip, is a sapper with the British army; the presence of unexploded bombs and mines is what brings him to the villa where the other protagonists live.
- Rogue Squadron, when the world they were hiding on was discovered, left a lot of explosive traps for the Imperials. Said Imperials did work their way through all of them, but exactly what they were trying to achieve is up in the air. They didn't need anything that had been left on that world and they knew the Rogues had already left.
- In Kiss Me, Deadly The Mafia leaves a brand new Ford for Private Detective Mike Hammer as a bribe, with several sticks of dynamite attached to the ignition. Figuring he's smart enough to figure that out, they have a second bomb hidden underneath wired to the odometer. Fortunately Mike has a mechanic check out the car thoroughly. Later when two hitmen take him for a ride, Hammer lets them think he's missed the second bomb; the hitman driving instinctively slams on the brakes, giving Hammer a chance to overpower them both.
- A smuggler's encampment in A Brother's Price is surrounded by such traps.
- Adventure Hunters: Lisa and Artorius have a running bet whenever they go treasure hunting: "What do you think? Giant boulder or rushing water?"
- In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Salvation's Reach, the Ghosts attack a heavily fortified Chaos facility on an asteroid. While one group stages a frontal assault as a diversion, the rest of the regiment are trying to infiltrate from the others side through sections of the facility that have been abandoned. However, the Chaos forces booby trapped all the unused rooms and teams of sappers and specially trained snipers have to go ahead of the main force and painstakingly disarm all the traps. As they get deeper into the facility, the traps get more elaborate and the soldiers get tired and start making mistakes. The success of the mission hinges on whether the Ghosts can reach their target before they run out of sappers.
- One of Bill Mauldin's World War II cartoons showed a couple of Germans rigging a disabled tank ... unaware that American troops were already close enough that they could have reached out and touched them. The caption is an American saying, "Dang clever booby trap! I kinda hate to disturb 'em..."
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Original Series. Naturally only Captain Kirk can get away with a fake booby trap to win the day.
- At least one episode of Foyle's War had a murder committed using the booby trap techniques which were being taught to the Home Guard in case of invasion.
- Admiral Chegwidden's girlfriend is killed by a booby trap, set up by an old rival, in front of him on his own porch in the JAG episode "Ghosts".
- On Strikeback during a mission Stonebridge Failed a Spot Check and almost got the team killed when he missed a basic grenade-with-a-wire booby-trap in a room he was securing. Stonebridge is suffering from PTSD and such a rookie mistake means that he is way off his game and should not be in the field.
- Supernatural: A Genre Savvy Gordon makes, not one but two traps for Sam, so that the first one would act as a Red Herring and Sam wouldn't expect the second one, which triggered an explosion.
- The Mexican drug cartel in Breaking Bad sets one for the DEA in the form of a large tortoise with "Hola DEA" painted on the side ... and the severed head of "El Tortuga", a cartel member turned DEA informant, riding atop it. When one of the agents picks up the head, it sets off the explosives concealed beneath it.
- On True Detective, Marty and Rust discover a meth lab booby trapped with grenades. One of the cookers runs and gets blown to bits by them.
- In one episode of Babylon 5, Sinclair and Ivanova are exploring the planet the titular space station is orbiting. At one point the pair come across a long-dead body; Sinclair, being Genre Savvy, realizes the next hallway is likely trapped and throws a stone down that hall to check. Sure enough, a lot of death lasers light up that hallway.
: Well, that'll cut down on tourism.
- A staple during pretty much any old-school Dungeon Crawling in Dungeons & Dragons. Particularly fiendish Game Masters love filling their dungeons with these.
- Taken Up to Eleven with the Combat Trapsmith in 3.5. They specialize in being able to set up simple traps in the middle of a fight and are capable of trapping a small area within seconds.
- In Hunter: The Vigil, more Security dots in Safehouse merit means that your hiding place is rigged with those kind of mechanism. The illustration is a triggered shotgun.
- Partly this trope and partly Taking You with Me, BattleTech features Booby Trapped units, which have explosives placed in them. This can be anything from innocuous transports to expensive experimental Battlemechs. Using it often involve baiting enemies into approaching the unit either to capture or defeat it, only to find themselves at the center of a cloud of explosions and shrapnel. Notably, primitive booby traps built to resemble fully functioning Battlemechs (even featuring basic weapons that could fire and deal damage) successfully lured in Clans Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat at the Battle of Luthien, tricking them into charging into what they thought were the defending lines to start making kills, only to get much of their force annihilated once the whole field of Mech-shaped bombs went off.
- Here's one for the literal Booby Trappers-In the Woody Woodpecker short Drooler's Delight, a crossdressing Woody allows Buzz Buzzard to reach into the top of the dress... only to have a bear trap clamp down on his hand.
- As Beast Wars' Megatron once said:
"When expecting booby traps, always send the boob in first."
- Similarly, in the original Transformers series episode "Prime Target," when Astrotrain and Blitzwing blunder into a booby trap that Optimus Prime has just avoided, Prime says,
- Several of the Private Snafu cartoons were made to educate soldiers to the dangers of booby traps.
- In an episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit gets so upset with the others wrecking his garden that he turns it into a fortress surrounded by booby traps. Leads to this line:
- Done regularly in every incarnation of Scooby-Doo that features Fred Jones.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- "Castle Mane-ia" shows that Celestia and Luna's old castle has these. They were installed so the Princesses can play around with each other.
- "The Crystal Empire - Part 2" shows King Sombra hid the Crystal Heart behind a lot of these.
- Itís definitely easier to list the Looney Tunes cartoons that donít use this trope Ė especially if a certain coyote is using them Ė than those that do.
- In Bully for Bugs, Bugs says this word for word when describing a shotgun he's hiding behind the cape.
- Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.
- Rigging boobytraps is the bread and butter for Military Engineer troops.
- It is common in some older areas of Britain to see walls with pieces of broken glass embedded in the cement tops, a common and surprisingly effective variant of this trope. Pretty too, because one can use a mix of clear, blue, and green glass to make the wall top. Illegal now, though you may keep the glass in place if it was already there when you bought the property, provided warning signs are displayed.