"If he was a cut above the rest, he'd have picked rock."
"The Council has decided to have you hung by your entrails and your corpse paraded through the city."
— The High Prophet of Truth
, Halo 2
Some people die of old age, or gradually succumb to one of a number of illnesses. When death comes, the lucky among us will go out peacefully with dignity. Some of us might go out fighting the good fight, saving the lives of some unfortunate person whom our consciences cannot ignore and force us to help. They'll all die "good deaths" (and in some cases, heroic deaths).
This trope is not about those people.
Some deaths not only suck, they suck beyond the telling of it. The slow and painful, particularly gruesome, morbidly embarrassing deaths that leave the deceased absolutely no chance to retain any sort of dignity, forever. Deaths that transcend from being merely "bad" into the realm of being "ugly."
This trope isn't about just any unpleasant death. Sure, it's bad to get shot in the head...your blood spills all over the floor and you may void your bladder or your bowels
. But compared to... oh, being eaten alive from the inside out
, getting shot is a walk in the park. It is worth noting that for the most part, creators reserve these events for use as villainous karmic deaths
(where the level of horror involved with the death is often part of the karmic punishment) and to get rid of unpleasant people who are Hoist by Their Own Petards
... especially the embarrassing type
. If this is done to a sympathetic character, on the other hand, it is usually the point where the killer crosses the Moral Event Horizon
, if he or she is not on the other side of it already.
There isn't necessarily a correlation between the visible gruesomeness of the death and the actual nature of the character's death
, some deaths that fall under this trope happen offscreen
, and it's the very idea
of it that makes it horrific. Deaths with a high horrible factor with less visible content can just as easily fall into scary, though.
Deaths like this tend to fall into two categories: The first one is where the victim is a rather sadistic villain who deserves it
, who you really aren't going to feel sorry for (well, maybe a little...)
The second one is where the killer fits that description, and the intent is to show the viewers how sadistic he is. (More often than not, it's convincing.) Occasionally, the two situations happen in the same work of fiction, with the killer in the second type becoming a victim in the first, which is very much a Karmic Death
Warning: This page contains some serious Nightmare Fuel
and Nausea Fuel
, with a liberal dosage of Squick
. Read at your own risk.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime & Manga
- Hamatora is full of these. Its main antagonist Moral killed several people to rob them of their brains. He also places a bomb inside of one the people he wanted by his side. The same bomb explodes in season 1's finale covering everybody in the area with the victim's blood. In the sequel, Re: Hamatora, a man is given the ability of removing the blood from people's bodies.
- The Getter Robo series has numerous examples of such deaths. From people being assimilated forcibly by Invaders and then getting pulped by the Black Getter to unsuccessful Getter pilots who get crushed by failed combination attempts, there are many, many unpleasent ways to go. Even the villains aren't exempt - Invaders are subject to so much Getter radiation they spontaneously "over-evolve", develop cancer, and die, Dinosaur Empire warriors melt from exposure to Getter Radiation at various points, and various major enemies are destroyed in quite wince-worthy ways when they pick fights with the Getters.
- Illuso being liquefied by Purple Haze's extremely fast-acting virus in Jojos Bizarre Adventure.
- An anime/manga franchise well known for some gruesome ways to go is Fist of the North Star. The main character's mastery of pressure points due to being trained in the horrifying kung fu form known as Hokuto Shinken means a punch in the right place can make your blood pool in disfiguring ways, causing you to scream in agony before Your Head Asplode. Other schools of martial arts in the series can be gruesome in other ways: such as being able to freely push your fingers through people (which was how Kenshiro got the Seven Scars), or using them like Razor Floss.
- Special mentions go to Ryuga, whose martial arts style consists of scooping pieces out of people while they are still alive as though they were wet clay and making them suffer freezing cold before they die even though the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic desert, and the Colonel of Godland, who receives one of the most absurdly gruesome deaths in the manga when Kenshiro literally punches his entire skeleton out of him. All at once, still all in one piece.
- The biggest example of this in the series, though, is Rei. He's the only hero to not leave a presentable corpse, on account of being killed with Hokuto Shinken.
- Mayuri kills Szayel via this trope. Szayel accidentally ingests a performance-enhancing drug during the fight. This increases mental processes so far that a second is like century. Mayuri spends a few minutes explaining this and slowly impales Szayel, who is standing there the entire time, unable to do anything but fervently wish for death to come faster. When he finally does die, in his mind he is a shrivelled old man driven mad by the pain and begging for death.
- The Quincy King is a progenitor whose blood flows through every Quincy. Whenever he wants to make himself stronger, he performs a ritual to easily recall the power of his blood back from any Quincy, permanently de-powering and even killing them. Six years before the story begins, on the 17th June, all tainted Quincies in the world are murdered by this ritual, including Masaki (Ichigo's mother) and Kanae (Uryuu's mother). Masaki dies quickly because she's de-powered during a fight but Kanae lapses into a coma. It takes her three months to die.
- Naruto has several cases of nasty death, including...
- Being ground to a paste by Gaara's sand and being trapped inside the puppet that suddenly becomes an iron maiden.
- Hidan was blown to pieces and had his still-living head buried. Even Harsher in Hindsight, when you remember his Immortality jutsu will keep him alive until it runs out (he needs to kill others with his ritual to recharge it). This means he'll start rotting from a lack of nutrition before he dies.
- Given that the rest of Akatsuki have been revived and he was not among them, it means he's still rotting.
- And we have his partner, Kakuzu who had every cell of his body destroyed. Kakuzu himself also caused deaths like this when he ripped people's still beating hearts out.
- Baki ripped off the sick Hayate Gekkou's chest at night-time. In the morning, his dead body was serving as food for crows.
- The Nuibari and Shibuki which the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Hidden Mist use. The first is a giant needle which can pierce three people at once and then sew them together. And the second blasts a point-blank explosion right into the victim's faces.
- Deidara's C4 will blow every cell in your body to dust.
- His first partner Sasori; one cut and it will causes you to writhe in a painful paralysis for THREE DAYS before killing you.
- Edo Tensei, judging by Fuu's screams is... "unpleasant" for the sacrifice.
- While Tajiki was battling a reanimated Gari, he took a single punch from him, which turned out to be an instant bomb, blowing him up and scattering his remains in his friend's face.
- This trope is the entire basis and foundation of Violence Jack, both anime and manga.
- In End of Evangelion, Asuka and her EVA die messily at the hands of the Mass-Production EVA. At 300% synchronisation with her EVA (100% the level control and feedback one has with one's own body) she is impaled through the eye. Then all the Mass-Production EVA swoop down on Unit 02, tearing its armour off and tearing at its flesh with their hands and teeth, eating it alive and consequently rupturing her vital organs in unimaginable ways. When they're finished with her, Asuka is amazingly still alive. She reaches out to attack them with her good hand, glaring them down with her uninjured eye. Then an MP EVA throws its spear and splits Unit 02's arm... and Asuka's... and then the others throw throw their spears into Unit 02, skewering the hell out of it and finishing her off. Shinji gets a good look at the corpse when he emerges from NERV HQ in Unit 01. There's not much left... of Unit 02, Asuka, or poor Shinji's sanity by that point.
- At least she made it out of Instrumentality at the end...
- Oh, and did we mention Shinji's horrible, insane scream as he sees it? Spike Spencer's scream is bad enough, but it's worse with the Japanese dub — Megumi Ogata broke her voice doing it, I'm sure of it.
- Evangelion Unit 03 is in each continuity beaten down and ripped apart by the Dummy Plug System controlling Unit 01 whilst Shinji begs his father to stop it. In the manga, the synched-in pilot gets it too — that would be Touji. In the anime, he's merely horribly wounded - though you can only see it in one scene (he's missing a leg).
- Hellsing in general loves this trope, with most of the more horrific deaths being courtesy of Alucard himself:
- Rip Van Winkle is impaled through her breast with a fairly large-caliber smoothbore musket by Alucard and then eaten alive (plus the rather brutal rape implications).
- Turbalcain Alhambra gets a broken knee, one arm ripped in half and finally is eaten alive and burned to ashes.
- Luke Valentine is eaten alive and turned into a bloody smear by Alucard's Eldritch Abomination form after his legs are blown off.
- If that wasn't enough, Luke gets revived during the final battle between Walter and Alucard, only to be used (along with the demonic dog that ate him) as a gruesome puppet via Walter's wires- then killed again.
- Zorin Blitz, an illusionist from the Quirky Miniboss Squad, has her head grated against a wall by a vamped-out and supremely pissed off Seras until only an ear and a tiny bit of lower jaw remains.
- And Incognito gets the full Vlad the Impaler treatment from Alucard, getting impaled on a pole in vicious fashion just like the real Vlad did to his victims.
- Digimon Adventure has War Greymon and Metal Garurumon defeat Myotismon a second but ''not'' final time by tearing up the crotch, kicking the Fuji tower into it, and finally simultaneously freezing and burning up the torn area
- The first Dark Master, MetalSeadramon, gets drilled through nostril-down by War Greymon.
- Gantz has Nishi's first death. Coupled with a touch of Eye Scream and a lot of Tear Jerker.
- In the abridged series, Hbi2k had to take great pains to edit every bit of that death out, INCLUDING shots of his mutilated corpse, because he found it just too graphic to make fun of.
- On top of that, the OVA is filled to the brim with this trope, as every member dies in the most brutal of fashions, such as having your head torn off, crushed, or broken, as well as being squashed, torn in half by a powerful alien acid, lasers slicing you to bits, impaled, being eaten alive, or being blown to bits, and that's doesn't even cover half of it...
- Macross Plus: Movie Edition has Guld's Heroic Sacrifice. His organs are very graphically crushed by insane G-forces, and then his eyes pop out and he presumably just gives up and dies.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. There was a video that summed it up. And some of those are the more pleasant deaths.
- Its sequel, Umineko no Naku Koro ni, is even more sadistic. Both series actually cross into nightmarish territory, so much so that they each have their own sections.
- Four words: Happy Halloween for Maria. If you for some reason want a more detailed explanation: The first twilight of the second arc resulted in six people (Maria's uncles and aunts: Krauss, Natsuhi, Eva, Hideyoshi, Kyrie and Rudolf) locked in the chapel, arranged around a table elaborately spread with a Halloween feast. Their stomachs were ripped open and stuffed full of delicious candy, and the aforementioned note to the resident Creepy Child was scrawled on the door in blood. It was so gory the Japanese TV networks had to censor it.
- The very premise is that Beatrice plans to keep killing the same people over and over in new and interesting ways until she can make Battler surrender, but in the third round the new Beatrice gets impatient and starts reviving people as soon as she's killed them just so she can find another few dozen ways to do it again.
- The time when another witch, Eva-Beatrice, decided to join the "let's kill people gruesomely over and over" game. Her victims? Maria and her mother Rosa. It was in such bad taste that even Beatrice was all "What the...?".
- In Black Lagoon, there's what Hansel and Gretel did to Makhalov, some poor bastard from Hotel Moscow. started hammering nails into poor Makhalov's head when he was still alive, and just didn't stop when he died from it because his body still responded to it due to spinal reflex This act is so vile that even members of the local Mafia didn't like it.
- Balalaika, said poor bastard's leader (to whom he kept calling out in his last moments), went Mama Bear on the twins and dealt one of these to Hansel... by having his arm and leg blown off by one of her snipers as punishment, then having him bleed to death as she gave him a Breaking Speech. Gretel's own death (merely being shot in the head when she thought she had pulled a Karma Houdini) was fast and painless in comparison.
- Later on, in the Japan arc, Chaka meets a horrible fate, with his hands cut off by Ginji's shirasaya blade, he's shoved into a pool and held under to drown. He did have it coming...
- In Elfen Lied Lucy/Nyu/Kaede uses her powers too much, with the predicted results of her body cells starting to disintegrate. Though the effect becomes apparent when one of her hands falls off, she decides to rather go down in a final battle than to live with the consequences of all her horrible deeds. When she finally gave up, what remained of her was only held in the air by her telekinetic powers with most of her body already liquefied or fallen off. During her dying speech she's covered by a jacket, as her face had started melting some time ago.
- But seriously, which death sequence isn't cruel and unusual in Elfen Lied? Kisaragi-san (the poor clumsy secretary who's Too Dumb to Live) thinks she's going to die honorably when Lucy has her hostage... before Lucy pulls off her head and uses her as a Human Shield.
- The worst deaths in Berserk are typically reserved for those sacrificed to the Godhand. And many Apostles go on to do ugly things to people. The few human villains in this saga, such as Mozgus, are not much better.
- Quite frankly, it's easier to count those who doesn't suffer this fate. The rest have already been beaten to a pulp, epically curbstomped, hacked to bits, ripped to shreds, Eaten Alive, burned to a crisp, brutally raped, Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, and many other types of atrocious shit. The vast majority, if not ALL of them are condemned to an eternity in hell! Berserk's like that...
- Sieg Hart from Rave Master who slowly starves to death and could have avoided the situation by opting out of helping the male and female lead. He's the only character who appears in more than just flashbacks to die in any way other than instantly, and the only former villain to die who doesn't really count as Redemption Equals Death victim, since he redeems himself 19 volumes before he bites it.
- Dragon Ball: Temporary though they may be, many of the deaths in the series, especially in Dragon Ball Z, are cruel and unusual:
- When Frieza murders Krillin he captures him inside a beam and controls his movements with his fingers, ending in him causing Krillin's body to inflate then explode into tiny pieces. He then threatens to do the same to Gohan, crossing the line that sends Papa Wolf Goku into Super Saiyan.
- His own death is by no means pretty, for he was sliced in half lengthwise, sliced into itty bitty pieces and then blasted into oblivion. Justified though but sheesh.
- Cell's death consists of blowing apart every cell in his body vaporized, again justified but still.
- The assistant of the guy who shot Bee. His death is by far one of the worst deaths in the show's history. Buu turns himself into ooze and forces himself down the man's throat and expands inside him till he explodes.
- Or the poor bastard who gets sucked dry by Cell.
- Make that all the people sucked dry by Cell. Or in 17's case, swallowed whole.
- Spopovitch's death was especially gruesome. After Babidi no longer had any use for him he cast a spell on Spopovitch that caused his body to graphically swell up until he splattered apart. His distorted screams and gurgles of agony only made it worse.
- As Kemonozume can attest, turning into an Eldritch Abomination then getting eaten alive (on-screen) by the nice young woman you had helped out is not the nicest way to go.
- Narutaru has a fair few of these. Let's put it this way: getting impaled through the chest with a broken plane strut is one of the nicer ways to die in this series.
- Norio was crippled by having his tendons cut, then was raped, castrated, eviscerated, injected with drugs to make sure he don't slip away by losing consciousness and finally decapitated, all done by a thug that had no relation to the plot and killed Norio for no other reason than satisfying his sadistic urges. And to top it off Norio could defend himself from most of that if only he had recalled his Shadow Dragon back to his side, instead throughout all the agony inflicted upon him he was concentrating on making that Shadow Dragon defend the girl who was the love interest of the guy he was in love with and his last thoughts before his death were that he won't be able to tell his love interest his true feeling anymore.
- Baccano!. Claire Stanfield, angry and in need of information. Smug Snake mook. Railroad tracks. Yuck.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, the first Greed dies in a vat of molten metal. Laughing hysterically.
- Scar's trademark Facepalm Of Doom. He uses alchemy to "deconstruct" a person's body, causing wounds to open up all over the body, followed by part of the body bloodily bursting. A few of his victims are described as being "in pieces, or getting that way."
- Lust and Envy getting roasted by Mustang. Though the latter was stopped for being killed finally.
- Saint Seiya has more than one example of this trope. Auriga Capella's death is one of these... His Weapon of Choice is a pair of shields attached to his armor, which can be also thrown as projectiles and always come back to him - so far so good, huh? Well, Phoenix Ikki uses his Mind Rape powers to trick the guy into cutting off his own hands with said disks/shields (on screen, no Gory Discretion Shot here... which considering this is a TV series of The Eighties... hardcore for the day), and goes further when Capella ends up even more Hoist by His Own Petard by having said shields fatally injure him in the chest and stomach before he falls off the cliff him and Ikki fighting in. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! URGH.
- ''Shiki All of them in general. Especially the first one.
- The Legend of the Legendary Heroes is full of these, enough to make some viewers wonder if anyone dies normally in this series.
- Mami Tomoe is eaten alive by a monstered-out Witch in the third episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It's a moment that's equal parts Cruel and Unusual Death, nightmarish, and Tear Jerker. And the manga version isn't much better.
- The Puella Magi Oriko Magica manga deals several of these, like Yuma's abusive parents being melted alive by a witch, sweet Kazuko-sensei being chomped on by another witch's familiars in front of her students until only a bone remains of her, or Madoka being impaled in the chest with a HUGE shard of said another witch's body.
- In Gankutsuou, corrupt banker Dangler is left adrift in space on an empty ship he can't steer to starve to death surrounded by his precious gold. Hanging Judge Villefort is poisoned by the illegitimate son he tried to kill at birth, and left for his mind to slowly rot away in an asylum.
- In One Piece Admiral Akainu decides to punish a deserter by melting him alive with Magma. He also drives a magma-punch through Ace, burning his innards.
- Several deaths in Detective Conan are seriously unpleasant. For example, there's the Rich Bitch who was gagged and taped up inside a very deep bath tub... and left there covered with a wooden cover... as it very, VERY slowly got filled with water... therefore dying in an improvised Drowning Pit in the span of hours.
- There were two victims who were stabbed in the lungs and left to die. Just an FYI: it takes several minutes to die of asphyxiation. The first victim who died in this manner was still conscious from the attack and the weapon was a knife. The second had a pin puncture.
- The very first episode had the principle second victim have his head decapitated by a combination of piano wire and a falling roller coaster.
- A victim committed suicide by willfully launching himself into a knife wedged inside an ice block.
- How about getting slashed and then impaled on a painting by a knight in shining armor. Best part? The murderer was a freaking 80 year old museum owner. How the hell did he carry that BFS?
- At some point a fake wig was used as a means of strangulation.
- Shinichi's first case was the iconic example of the trend of impossibly unintuitive murder weapons (severed brain nerve from being stabbed by a sharpened bra wire).
- One victim was decapitated (head and other limbs) and the murderer actually had the gall to transport the severed limbs as his trick to avoid suspicion.
- Freefalling from a high story hotel room and then impaled by the lance fixture on a horse statue - thank goodness the guy was drugged asleep.
- What's worse then getting stabbed with a pen in your wrist? Falling into a sharpened picket fence.
- A pendulum made out of a sock filled with rocks.
- Instead of hanging someone normally, one murderer had to go and wrap the rope with gagging paper around the victim's mouth so that when he could not hold the bite grip anymore, his teeth got ripped open.
- A guy got smashed by a tampered truck.
- Impalement by a falling sword.
- One victim was offered a eating treat and he got a bullet through the mouth instead.
- Using an insane complicated rope system, the murderer tripped the victim and the momentum caused him to be dragged through a bunch of obstacles before being hanged high above a Buddhist pagoda.
- One guy died of a PURE heart attack - no electric shock, no induced poisons, the victim had a poor heart condition and so was literally bound and gagged. To add insult to injury, the murderer spilled his heart medicine in front of him and just waited for him to die.
- Throat slit by a box cutter blade - or an extremely sharpened fingernail.
- Potassium Cyanide - BORING!! Okay, how about we introduce it as ice cubes?
- A molotov cocktail made out of garden fertilizer - if the blast hadn't killed him, the shrapnel would have finished him off.
- Very suave to get crushed by a chandelier, or a steel beam for that matter.
- Tricking the asshole victim to shoot himself in the head from point blank range.
- Snapping a neck with a clothes hanger and later silk threads in a slingshot mechanism.
- Your everyday bike machine is attached to a string tied to a bookcase with a knife jammed inside a book at the top of said shelf.
- A poison needle embedded inside a headphone set - enjoy your last song!
- Instead of shooting someone with a bullet, attach that fired bullet inside a bed mattress and use its springs to create a giant crossbow machine - wait for victim to take a peek.
- Trapped in a locked car with carbon monoxide exhaust pouring inside.
- Wrapped in a net with a boat placed on top of you as the shore tide ebbs in to drown you.
- Such a lovely pearl necklace - too bad it's attached to a raising curtain...
- Smack'em with a frozen fish.
- A victim gets bludgeoned in the head and is cremated by a bomb in the shape of a match lighter.
- Victim was set in a time trap where a concrete pile driver would cave his face in (subverted).
- Chinese Bamboo Torture is insane: so is being hanged by one growing so quickly.
- Send a tied body down a waterfall with rope around neck for epic hanging display.
- Getting choked by fishing line in a driver's seat.
- Blood-C: Chances are if your name isn't Saya or Fumito this is your fate, Elder Bairn or not. Humans, however, often get the worst due to their inability to stand up to the Elder Bairns. Special mentions go to Saya's class, the main cast and Nene.
- There are quite a few in Kara no Kyoukai, but the worst has got to be Cornelius Alba, who is eaten alive by one of Touko's creations. He deserved it, though.
- Deadman Wonderland: In the first few pages alone HOLY SHIT!!!
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex features a fair number of these. Special mention goes to episode 10, especially when you consider the original reason behind it.
- In Gamaran Muraku Matsumoto use his flail to whip the eyes out of some mooks. There's also Saizo the ninja who paralyse and tortures to death some goons offscreen. Among various things, he turned their eyes into a pincushion.
- A Certain Magical Index: Chances are if you fight Accelerator and your name is not Touma, expect this trope. Case in point: one guy Accelerator especially hated was launched into the sky at such speeds that his body was incinerated due to air friction. He's also done fun things like shooting a person's jaw off at point-blank range and then throwing them in a hydraulic press just to be cruel, or reversing the bloodflow in his victim (read, all the blood rips itself right through the skin). In his fight against Touma, he was similarly going for a flashy death: compressing air into plasma with the intention of throwing it at Touma.
- Karasu from YuYu Hakusho inflicts one of these on another competitor in the Dark Tournament, causing localized explosions to remove his opponent's arms in an excruciatingly painful manner, before blowing his head off.
- In From the New World, whenever Fiends/Akki attack expect this trope.
- In Attack on Titan, characters are under constant threat of being messily torn apart and Eaten Alive by Titans. Worse, Titans do not digest their prey, and their bodies produce immense heat, so anyone not bitten in half is either drowned in a soup of human remains, or boils alive in said human remains. To add insult to injury, since the Titans seemingly don't have any digestive organs nor derive any actual nutritional value from eating humans, whatever's left of the remains is eventually regurgitated back up.
- What makes the Female Titan so despicable is that it's prone to doing this to its victims. Petra was very cruelly crushed under its foot, like an ant.
- Tomoe in Kamisama Kiss likes to use Baleful Polymorph to turn people into a game animal of some kind and cook them alive.
- Hell Girl is all about this. Sure some deserve it, but the actual requisite for this to happen to you is that some one has to hate you enough to make Deal with the Devil to send you to hell, no real reason needed.
- A lot of people in Hunter × Hunter die in nasty ways, but the Chimera Ant Pike's death takes the cake. Shizuku makes a bunch of small cuts on his body and uses Deme-chan to suck the blood out of his body. It's not very quick either. Zazan's death isn't much better. She gets slowly roasted alive by Feitan's "Pain Packer", a miniature sun that emits heat proportional to Feitan's pain.
- Lots of criminals from Psycho-Pass love making their victims into works of arts. The deaths are so disturbings that some of them are only fully detailed in the novelization.
- In Yuureitou Rika tied her mother to a clock tower, and she died when her back broke. Two years later someone else begins repeating her actions.
- In Ultimate X-Men, a lackey failed Magneto. He was unlucky to have an implanted pacemaker.
- And yet again Magneto: In the X-Men graphic novel God Loves Man Kills, he catches a group of thugs who have just murdered two mutant children. He tells one of the thugs that there is enough iron in an average human being's blood to make a small nail... and then he shows them.
- A feat "repeated" by Magneto in the second X-Men movie with the death of prison guard Mitchell Laurio. Magneto arranged for Mystique to load Laurio's body with extra iron so he'd have enough to escape with.
- Ch'p, a Green Lantern who looked like a humanoid squirrel, died when he stepped onto a road and was hit by a truck. Just think about that for a second and you'll realize why it qualifies for this trope.
- In the ElfQuest: Shards storyline Two-Edge builds a particularly nasty execution device for the human tyrant Grohmul Djun. It consists of two large urns in the shape of birds with upraised beaks, between which the prisoner is strapped. The urns are slowly filled with water, the weight causing them to tip outward, putting greater and greater force on the prisoner's limbs until he is eventually torn in two.
- At the beginning of the Dark Age of Comics, Moral Guardians made the mistake of forbidding the Spectre, DC's Spirit of Vengeance, from killing anyone, but failed to define "killing". Cue Body Horror, And I Must Scream, Taken for Granite, and the like, as the Spectre began inflicting "nonlethal" transformations on his prey — though any normal person would consider the results either death, or in some cases A Fate Worse Than Death.
- To punish Doctor Light, the Spectre transformed him into a candle, with his head as the wick and his body made of wax. The results were obvious after a while. At other times, he transformed a criminal into wood, and chucked him into a grinder. A paedophile was rent apart by his collection of dolls. He once judged a country guilty (it had a long history of blood feuds and ethnic cleansings). His answer? Burn it to the ground, men, women, and children included, and leave the two top politicians alive, damning them to rule over the devastated land. He even threatened to do the same to the whole of the state of New York (a convicted criminal, who turned out to be innocent, was slated to be executed; this would mean the people of the State of New York would be guilty of homicide by the Spectre's book). In the most recent Batman cartoon, he takes minor criminal Professor Achilles Milo, releases the group of rats he had mind-controlled, and turned him into cheese. Do the math.
- This was always the Spectre's speciality; some classic stories feature, in no particular order: being turned to glass and shattered, being turned into a mannequin and burned alive, melting as if made of wax, drowning in the clutches of a giant octopus; being cut in half by a giant pair of scissors (pictured above), being beheaded by a falling decorative sword, being sliced and diced by a spectral meat cleaver, aging to a pile of dust and simply being reduced to a skeleton in the blink of an eye while being center of attention on a crowded airplane.
- Lots and lots of EC Comics stories, often as Karmic Death for good measure.
- This is the modus operandi of Stardust the Super Wizard, a public domain Golden Age superhero, punishing Asshole Victims that deserve it. An example is in punishing a villain who tried to kill everyone in Washington D.C. by depriving them of oxygen, Stardust grew his head until his body was enveloped by it, flew with him very far into space, and threw him in the direction of a headless space giant that envelops heads where its neck should be.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has Griffin, the Invisible Man. He gets beaten, and then raped to death by Mr. Hyde. When he dies he becomes visible, but we only see the contents of one room (and Hyde) covered in blood. Resident Blood Knight Captain Nemo sees what Hyde has done, and is disgusted by it and wants to execute Hyde for his crime.
- The Punisher has his share of brutal kills, but the one that takes the cake is his own Rasputinian Death in "[The List", he continues trying to stab Daken after - in less than a half hour - having being shot, hit with grenades, punched around, cut across the chest by Daken, broke a leg, getting his throat slashed, lost an arm and about 3 gallons of blood.
- Frank himself was probably the most brutal in the "Slavers" arc in Punisher MAX. With the Asshole Victims smuggling women into the US to be sex slaves, including an hours-long gang rape on each slave to start out, you don't really feel for them at all when Frank, among other punishments, throws a woman into shatterproof glass enough times that finally the frame bends enough for the pane to fall out and she plummets to her death. Or when Frank gets information from a slaver by disemboweling him and hanging his intestines from a tree with them still attached. The interrogation is implied to begin at sunrise which makes things worse when Frank casually mentions in the next issue that it took him until NOON to bleed out.
- Elsewhere in Mavel, the enormously obese Miami drug lord Ulysses X. Lugman, aka the Slug, has been known to asphyxiate a man in the folds of his flesh when he wants to kill someone personally.
- Black Adam pulls off a few of these during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and later during World War Three. These include:
- Tearing a character's face off with one hand (complete with pun about trying to save face).
- Grabbing Young Frankenstein's arms and tearing them both off simultaneously (which also qualifies as Narm for some).
- Punching a hole in Terra ala Kung Pow! Enter the Fist.
- Tearing Terraman in half at the pelvis.
- And flicking the president of Bialya under the chin hard enough to send him flying into the ceiling with enough force to liquefy his head.
- Psycho-Pirate's fate in "Infinite Crisis". "No more silly faces."
- The Joker's had his fair share of dealing these types of deaths like... well, like playing cards. This may be because he has two main beliefs: 1. Do anything for the funny. 2. There Is No Kill Like Overkill.
- There were two rather cruel murders he committed in the Graphic Novel Joker. The first involved skinning a man alive because he got on the Joker's bad side by insulting his club, eyeing his girl, and then insulting the Clown Prince himself. The second? He shoots a man in the head, while said man is sitting on the toilet. It might not be the most cruel death, but it's certainly embarrassing. Stay classy, Mr. J.
- His Joker Venom could qualify for this trope, too, considering what it does. First you just start laughing, and you can't stop no matter how hard you try. Then all the muscles in your body begin to seize up, especially in your face, causing you to grin. Then you start to take on the Joker's appearance, white skin, green hair and all. Then the muscle paralysis causes you to stop breathing. THEN you die. Oh, and if you're really 'lucky', he might merely dose you with the non-lethal version, which can cause not only insanity but puts you into a coma...
- What he did to Alex Luthor. He ambushed him in a dark alley, sprayed him with acid that wound up melting half his goddamn face off, shocked him with an electric joy-buzzer, and finally shot him dead as Lex insulted him for his myopia and lack of foresight in not allowing the Joker to join the Society in the first place. Oh, and Alex? Deserved it.
- Marvel Zombies runs on this trope.
- Crossed is made of this trope. Anyone who falls afoul of the titular psychopathic monsters will die an unthinkably horrible death, usually after being raped and tortured for hours. Some of the non-Crossed characters also prove capable of murdering other survivors in brutally nasty ways.
- In Uber, the American superhuman Colossus tries to take on the German "living battleship" Sieglinde when the Nazis attack Paris. Colossus ambushes Sieglinde and at first seems to be winning against her, knocking her to the ground and strangling her...until she rips both of his arms off and uses her matter-disruption powers to twist his entire body into a gory sculpture of pulped flesh and shattered bone. By the end, he's so mutilated it's almost impossible to tell he was once human. The worst thing of all? He's still alive. His skull is so tough it takes five hours for the Allies to euthanise him with an industrial drill.
- In another scene, Hitler has another of his "battleships" – the sadistic Markus - burn off the face of a disobedient general. The man's death is depicted in loving detail. Similar deaths are suffered by thousands of ordinary soldiers who go up against the battleships.
- Deena Pilgrim in Powers gets hits with Cruel and Unusual Deaths when she goes to confront the now-totally-batshit-insane nearly-omnipotent Captain Ersatz of Superman and Captain Marvel called Supershock. First, he strips her naked and flies her into orbit, exposing her to hard vacuum. He then uses his powers to protect her from the vacuum, but kills her with a heart attack. He brings her back to life, then kills her again with another heart attack. He brings her back to life a second time, and kills her with another heart attack. He then brings her back to life a third time, and because he's a sadistic prick, keeps her alive while physically removing her heart from her chest and letting her see him hold it.
- A number of characters in Astérix are threatened with things like being roasted alive, crucifixion or (Once An Album) being flung to the lions of the circus. Justified as this is Ancient Rome we're talking about.
- The Sentry is a terrifyingly psychotic individual, as Ares found out the hard way◊ when the Sentry very literally tears him in half, reducing him to an explosion of bone, blood, and Ludicrous Gibs.
- Quite a few disturbing examples in The Lion King Adventures:
- Zazu has all the bones in his body crushed by the Writer.
- Ugaidi and Sarafina have their souls burned into nothingness.
- The Hermit of Hekima has his soul ripped clean from his body.
- The Family of Blood melt away into piles of bones.
- In "The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13", Fate attempts to defeat God of Fear Link by extending magical threads from his body into every living creature across all of reality to suck out their souls for a power boost. Link responds by removing Fate's godhood and immortality, causing each thread to snap off one by one... each taking a piece of the former god with them. Apparently the pain drove him so irrevocably insane that it actually stuck with him into the afterlife.
- Also, Link kills Rampart by sticking him to the floor with a sword and then overloading his mind and body (in a sort of inverted ExpositionBeam/CareBearStare combo) with all the rage, hate and despair he felt over seeing his son's murdered corpse, causing the poor kid to cry tears of blood while his scorched heart blasts right out of his chest and the back of his head explodes.
- Hadrian is killed when the shadow demon forces his body to melt away into sand.
- Link (again) kills a bunch of guards by driving them into a fear-induced frenzy and forcing them to eat each other.
- Yognapped: Peva's Establishing Character Moment has him murdering Sips by slowly emptying a pistol clip into his arms and legs, waiting until his vocal cords give out from the screaming, and splitting his skull in half with a sword.
- Later, Martyn is slowly and painfully drained of most blood and other fluids by scientists attempting to clone him. Teep, the resulting Humanoid Abomination, then finishes him off by crushing his skull.
- I Did Not Want To Die is an absolutely heartbreaking example of this trope. The protagonist is shot early in the story and spends the rest of it gradually bleeding to death, regretting his life and early death. If you don't shed a tear, then you are not human.
- "Rise of the Galeforces": Mr. Ludlow, after about a dozen chapters of making everyone's lives hell, runs afoul of three ravenous and extremely angry baby tyrannosaurs - and at Violet's kill command, they eat him alive without hesitation. Granted, most of the casualties aren't for the faint of heart to stomach, but this one goes the extra mile by not only occurring in front of the entire cast, but also taking up four paragraphs of exquisitely horrifying detail with absolutely NO Gory Discretion Shot at ALL!
- Crossoverpairinglover should be called Crueldeathlover. Characters he doesn't like have a tendency to die horribly; Cornelius Fudge gets 'death by dragon', he comments that the children of Artemis created by the splinter cell of the House of Life died of both rape and Holocaust style gas (by a Nazi), has Lagoon Boy eaten by the Light and has more planned.
- In "Happy Families Are All Alike" we don't know how Tsunade died, only that Orochimaru was responsible for it, that it was very messy, and that Shizune saw the whole thing and won't talk about it. It gave Kakashi nightmares just looking at the aftermath.
- Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons is chock full of these, starting with Scootle getting torn in half by ghouls a la Captain Rhodes. It gets worse from there.
- In ME2, Sidonis can be killed by a shot to his head, but in the fic "Weightless", Shepard first led him to believe that he is gonna escape safely before letting Garrus beat him to a pulp with his bare hands while reminding him how it feels to trust someone only to get betrayed. His life finally ends with a throat slash from inside out.
- Before that, Shepard kill the volus who acted as Fade for Harkin by severing his intake atmospheric pressure compressor. He imploded before the oxygen had time to poison his blood.
- Jack killed Warden Kuril (she probably had tortured him first) by ripping his body into two with her biotic.
- Ghost/Kai Leng strapped young Shepard's doctor to the chair where she had taken her treatment and let her burn him alive.
- Mierin's artery was served as her leg crushed beneath a crate. They had to amputate it then or she would burn. Melanis cauterized it with her omniblade, but the vein had already retracted up into her thigh so she lose all of her blood without spilling a drop.
- "A Growing Affection" kills Madara by slowly disintegrating him in an artificial black hole.
- In "Plasma's Folly", Colby dies after he injects himself with a faulty sample of the formula which results in his skeleton transforming at a faster rate than the rest of his body. Since the Pokémon he ended up being fused with was Lugia, the results weren't exactly pretty.
- In Pages Of Harmony, in order to extract the Elements of Harmony Twilight has killed characters through Mind Rape (eventually causing Rainbow Dash to be Driven to Suicide through Autocannibalism, skinning, Electric Torture, one certain pony being killed by their sibling through having their skull sliced in half, a spell that causes a pony's flesh to melt and fire to burn from inside their bodies, and putting Fluttershy through an alphabetical list of tortures from A to Z. And Twilight has a certain reason for performing these acts, and it is not pretty.
- Hivefled has a lot. Special mention probably goes to Dualscar, who was shot with a gun lodged somewhere very unpleasant; Vanate, who died when his body's attempts to expel the tainted water he'd drunk expelled most of his intestines with it; and Rasasi, who was drowned in a bucket of "genetic material".
- The Fragility of Time has quite a few:
- Ail is impaled upon the Doom Tree's tentacles though this death turns out to be a Disney Death.
- Mimete is executed by having dark energy spheres run through her body courtesy of Rubeus.
- Eudial is killed when Rubeus explodes the back of her Fire Buster and then uses the attack he used on Mimete.
- Rubeus himself is impaled upon a sword multiple times with no Gory Discretion Shot.
- Sailor Lead Crow, a.k.a Sailor Eiron is forced to inflict one of these upon her own son courtesy of Sailor Galaxia. Fortunately, it's undone.
- The sequel has Fish Eye and Iron Mouse have their throats torn out messily by [[Animeand Manga/Ranma1/2 Ranma as a Senshi with the mind of a cat]].
- Shadowjack Watches Sailor Moon averts this for the most part... in the anime recaps. The manga recap has been much gorier so far. However, it reached a peak with the introduction of Manga!Sailor Venus, who (as part of her Establishing Character Moment) cut Zoicite into bloody chunks (and while it may have been filtered, you could see the remains afterward).
- Poor, poor Chet Kelly in the Emergency! fic "Requiem". Pinned by a flaming beam while fighting a fire and burned over 70% of his body, a fatal thing in The Seventies without today's technology. The worst part? He's fully conscious til almost the end. He's fully feeling the agonizing pain of the areas that still have nerves to feel it with and fully aware he's about to die. He only slips into a morphine coma right near the end.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic MLP Collateral Damage, Queen Chyrsalis inflicts this upon Thermal Soar, specifically to test the loyalty of Princess Ceymi and impress upon her the Queen's absolute power over life and death within the Hive. It is so terrible that it triggers Ceymi's Heroic BSOD, in part because it coincides with Ceymi's Love Epiphany regarding Thermal Soar.
- In Episode 73 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Tsali rampages through the Blue Typhoon searching for Tails and Cosmo. When he corners them and Tails tries to stop him, Tsali throws the fox to the floor and graphically his heart and lungs from his chest. With his bare hands.
- The death of Cosmo's sister Galaxina is shown this time around in Episode 62. Tsali grabs her head and shoves it into a ruptured fuel line. The result is not for the faint of heart.
- Chris gets impaled through the chest by Beelzebub's stinger in Episode 67, which injects corrosive acid into his body with very Squick-y effects. He gets better when Beelzebub saves him with Chaos Regeneration - so Beelzebub can torture him some more.
- Episode 68 reveals what the the Demons do to runaway slaves; the women and children are nailed to crosses and the men are hanged by their ribs - and they're all lashed exposed to the outside hulls of Demon warships. It's also a case of Shown Their Work - both crucifixion and rib impalement were actually used to punish rebellious slaves in Roman times.
- Rourke and Clemont suffer these types of deaths in the Pokemon fanfic Natural Liberated. Both are essentially tortured to death by N's own blows and psychic powers. Rourke's bones are gradually broken as N mocks his lack of bravery, culminating in N psychically smashing his skull, while Clemont is broken in half at the chest.
- Mercury from Phoenix-fire casually mentions how he once promised some pirates that had captured him that if they let him go, they would each receive a necklace made of gold, and that after they did, they would want to give it back to him, but he would not let them give it back until they learned to "breathe water". Accordingly, after he was released, he gathered his troops, captured the pirates, bound their hands and feet, put a heavy golden necklace on each of them and then drowned them in shallow water.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Power Girl crossover story, Origin Story, after Bullseye almost kills Louise in an assassination attempt that is actually directed at Alex Harris, Alex punches Bullseye in the forehead so hard his adamantium skull is caved in, his eyes explode out of his skull, and his brain liquifies. Just goes to show that it doesn't pay to piss off a Kryptonian.
- The wonderfully cathartic death of Littlefinger in Sean Bean Saves Westeros. After he tries to kidnap Sansa, Sandor guts him like a pig then pisses down his throat.
- In Your Human and You, the Archmage paralyzes Dusty Withers before slowly draining the blood from her body, while she is still conscious.
- As is true to the canon of Five Nights at Freddy's, the animatronic mascots of Freddy Fazbear's pizza seek to do this to Dante, but he ends up inflicting it on all of them instead in Dante's Night at Freddy's.
- Pagan Vengeance: Juvage has one man drawn apart by horses, another placed under a tent and walked on to death, and killing the duke's son by throwing him into a cesspit with his father's body wrapped around his shoulders.
Films — Animated
- The Incredibles: Syndrome. Who honestly wants to be run through a jet turbine? Feet first!
- Even worse, the same thing happened to teenage super-heroine Stratogale.
- The Lion King:
- King Mufasa, when he is thrown off Pride Rock by his treacherous brother, Scar. If the fall didn't kill Mufasa, being tramped to death by a stampede of wildebeests did.
- Scar, after he attempts to betray the hyenas, is attacked by his former "friends" and shortly after that, a wall of fire swallows them all whole!
- Averted with Simba: He barely escapes death by dehydration and exhaustion (after fleeing for days from Pride Rock), and later Scar nearly throws the adult Simba into a pit of fire.
- Mulan: Shan Yu is hit by a huge rocket that flies towards a pile of fireworks. Impressive Pyrotechnics ensue.
Films — Live-Action
Mythology and Religion
- Although it was thought that Judas hanged himself, it's stated in Acts that he dropped dead with his body bursting open and his guts spilling out.
- Several of the apostles according to tradition. Peter was crucified upside down, Simon sawed in half, Bartholomew flayed alive...
- Jesus' death: For more information, see The Passion of the Christ.
- The death of Jezebel also deserves a special mention for sheer graphic description and squickiness: first, thrown out a window, then run over by a chariot, and then eaten by dogs; however, she deserved it.
- The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake: Like most natural disaster movies, many people die from falling debris, are crushed when tall buildings collapse and so forth, with some dying after several days of being trapped in rubble. Fitting the trope are a couple of examples:
- Office of Emergency Management executive director Chad Spaulding (Joe Spano), who while trying to escape the U.S. Geological Service safety bunker beneath city hall is trapped when the safety doors seal shut, the sprinklers go off and the wiring shorts out; he is electrocuted, after which his body is crushed beneath tons of office furniture, which come crashing down as the ceiling collapses.
- Main protagonist Claire Winslow's mother, Anita Parker (Bonnie Bartlett), who is within the grasp of being rescued from a disabled elevator car when another aftershock snaps the cables. The car goes crashing to the bottom of the shaft presumably far below, and is presumably killed. Trope-making in that Anita was within a few inches of being saved, only to plunge to her death, and likely not suffer her fatal injuries, much less lose consciousness, until crashing at the very bottom of the shaft.
- In Teen Wolf, it is a hunter policy to cut defeated werewolves in half so that they can't heal their injuries.
- In the The Vampire Diaries Anna gets tortured by a sonic ear-bleeder device, injected with poison, and is lying on the floor feebly begging for her life when she is staked and burned.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In the episode "Villains", Willow, who has snapped as a result of Tara being killed, deals with Warren Meers, the guy who killed her, by crucifying him, sewing his lips together, using magic to slowly force a bullet (one which Warren had himself used to shoot Buffy) into his chest, and finally flaying and burning him alive. The utter cruelty of it all would cement Willow's status as the season's new Big Bad.
- In the Eighth Season comics, he got better. Well, less dead.
- Until the spell collapsed and he fell apart. At least the incineration (revealed to be timely teleportation) didn't leave such a mess.
- Principal Flutie was literally eaten alive by some troublemakers.
- Fred in Angel. Illyria liquefied her organs and turned her into a shell.
- The Reavers are known to rape people to death, eat their flesh and sew their skins to their clothing. And if their victims are very, very lucky, they'll do it In That Order. Now, think about what this might mean for those who are less than lucky...
- The Hands of Blue are Those Two Bad Guys who ominously pursue the Tam siblings. What they did to the Feds who only talked to the Tams in the episode "Ariel" definitely fits the trope. They use a weird ultra-sonic weapon that causes bleeding out through every orifice in your body. This is not a pleasant way to die.
- Helen on Spooks was killed by first having her arm thrust into a deep fryer, after which her head was pushed into the hot grease. And then she was shot... an act which might qualify as a mercy killing. All of this happened on screen.
- The Tudors, the producers seems to take pleasure in showing the all myriad ways that Renaissance England had for torturing and killing people. Needless to say, extremely Truth in Television. One example will suffice, from the judge handing down a sentence of death: that the accused be "drawn on a hurdle through the city of London to Tyburn. There to be hanged, till you are half dead. After that cut down yet alive, your bowels out of your body and burned before you, your privy parts cut off, your head cut off, your body to be divided in four parts and your head and your body to be set at such places as the King shall assign."
- Many instances in the Ultra Series, however, the most horrific death in the entire franchise probably happens to Barabas from Ultraman Ace. First, he is impaled, next his eyes are gouged out, then he gets his hand severed, and finally, he gets decapitated.
- Spike TV's 1000 Ways To Die is all about this trope. It doesn't shy away from including graphic images of being wrapped in freshly-killed animal skins and left to be pecked to death by vultures, to being asphyxiated by cocoa powder, to jumping from a cliff into a lake and hitting the water at an angle that causes water to rush into the rectum, rupturing the large intestine. Really the folks who play the victims don't die for real, it's just pretend.
- Farscape occasionally utilized its immense prosthetic budget to come up with graphic depictions of these. The one that comes most readily to mind was the rather horrible fate of a childhood friend of Aeryn's, who was going to shoot her while the ship around them was being destroyed... only for a nearby pipe to burst and sear the skin off her face, after which she shambled around for a few seconds before dying. Not for the squeamish.◊
- Dead Like Me. The main character dies of being hit in the head with the toilet seat from a deorbiting space station... in the first episode.
- Stargate SG-1. The Goa'uld Marduk was so evil that his own priests conspired to kill him... by sticking him in a Sarcophagus with a nasty creature with poisonous saliva and lots of little sharp teeth. Did we mention that the Sarcophagus is capable of resurrecting the recently dead and would do its best to keep Marduk alive for a very long time (as in, centuries)?
- The majority of the deaths in Supernatural. One of the most noticeable early examples is in the episode "Nightmare", where a man is decapitated by a window slamming shut.
- A few other episodes with notably gross and unsettling deaths include "Malleus Maleficarum" (teeth fall out, chokes on blood), "Red Sky At Morning" (brutal bathtub drowning), "Bugs" (beetles burrow into brain), "The Magnificent Seven", and "Crossroad Blues," "Time Is On My Side," and "No Rest For The Wicked," all three for hellhounds ripping people apart, though "Time Is On My Side " also features a gross old man surgically removing the heart from his still-breathing victim. Classy. And then Season 5 happened, with two lovers eating each other to death in "My Bloody Valentine".
- Just go to IMDB and pick a random episode. Chances are high that there's gonna be at least one ridiculously gory death. More recent ones are a man with the edge of a convertible's windshield jammed six inches into his face; another one where a ghost fired a nail gun at a victim and hung him up there like his eye sockets were coat hooks; a character who ate himself, a girl who literally scratched her brains out, etc etc etc. The list goes on and on.
- Argentinian miniseries Epitafios is filled with these.
- Happens to Captain Jack of Doctor Who and Torchwood a lot since Immortal Life Is Cheap. A few examples include being buried alive by his brother to suffocate and come back to life repeatedly for 2000 years, being blown up and very painfully regenerating from the few remaining bits, and being encased alive in concrete. Good Thing You Can Heal, indeed.
- The third season has the world governments incinerating people. The problem? Everyone is immortal and, as far as anyone knows, can still feel pain even as a charred corpse.
- Anyone who is shot by a Dalek's Death Ray. They don't just kill you, oh no, that would be far too nice. Their weapons are intentionally designed to almost instantly kill any target, but inflict the maximum amount of agony possible. Why? Because as as far as Daleks are concerned, anyone who isn't a Dalek deserves to die in agony for the crime of not being a Dalek.
- Early Star Trek: The Next Generation had phasers that could set people on fire, some indeterminate energy weapons that stripped away the skin and flesh before disintegrating the skeleton while the faces of those who were so killed stood frozen with horrified expressions, and a two-episode character's head exploding with a good deal of gore and an alien puppet thing where his chest internals ought to have been once his ribcage is opened up.
- In the episode "The Most Toys" Data's kidnapper owns a Varon-T disruptor, a weapon banned in Federation space because it tears the body apart from the inside out, resulting in a slow and excruciating death.
- The first episode of Frasier has Roz tell the story of Lupe Velez, who wanted a lavish suicide and instead as she was trying to overdose she stumbled into the bathroom and goes head first into the toilet.
- In "Death Watch" (third season), Commander Holbarth, the murderer of Harm's academy classmate in "Skeleton Crew", fell into the water and was crushed to death between the hull of a destroyer and the dock.
- In "Enemy Below" (seventh season), the Russian crew aboard the diesel submarine Al-Qaeda bought from Iran succumbs to radiation poisoning because the dirty nuke is unshielded.
- Also from Doctor Who, the Daleks' energy weapons. Word of God says that they set it at one notch just below what's required to kill their targets, so that instead of instantly dying, their victims nervous systems are burned out... which they can feel before they die.
- Although it's never shown, the fate of a human who comes into contact with the blood of a Horror in GARO is one of these: 100 days after exposure, your muscles break down inside your body, your body emits a foul odor, and you suffer excruciating pain from which there is no respite. Also, anyone who is exposed to the blood of a Horror will be seen as a particularly delicious target by other Horrors, which can be a bit of a problem for anyone who doesn't happen to be associated with any Makai Knights.
- Another Star Trek example, this time Star Trek: Enterprise: Although it is never shown onscreen and is simply mentioned, what happened to the crew of a Klingon ship entering the Delphic Expanse could qualify. Although not necessarily involving death at first, it is stated by Ambassador Soval that that particular Klingon crew was "anatomically inverted, their organs splayed open, and they were still alive, but they no doubt died shortly after, and it almost certainly was very unpleasant.
- In Series/CSI in Las Vegas, there was a rapist who joined a cooking show with a friend of his (another rapist). The show's producer was the rape victim's vengeful sister, who proceeded to stab the man multiple times with his own knife, before dismembering parts of the man and using those parts as cooking materials for a "mystery meat" challenge. His friend was murdered by the producer as well, albeit in a less violent manner - death by asphyxiation from an allergy to almonds.
- In the episode "Where There's Smoke" of CSI NY, the killer trapped his former foster mother in an elevator and started a fire right next to it, essentially cooking her to death.
- Many a Monster of the Week could cause such a death on The X-Files:
- Eugene Victor Tooms is a genetic mutant who kills people by ripping off their livers by bare hands while they're conscious. Even hard-boiled policemen and tough FBI agents are freaked out by these murders.
- "Darkness Falls": People get killed by swarming bugs who web them up and suck all the liquids in human body while the victims are still conscious.
- "The Walk": Subverted, One victim tried to commit a horrible suicide — he tried to drown himself in a boiling water, but he survived it despite all odds. The asshole of the week wouldn't let him die because he wants him to suffer.
- "2Shy": Incanto needed human fat to sustain his biological needs. Lauren and about fifty other women thought they were going to kiss with a potential love interest. Instead, Virgil Incanto filled their mouth with a yellow jelly-like substance which dissolved the fat that he sucked. The victims' body then turned into slime-like substance and after that melted into liquid. One Detective who investigated the case died this way as well.
- In "Sanguinarium", people get killed in gruesome ways. One lady is killed while they perform a liposuction on her and fat being sucked through a tube turns into blood. Other lady got inserted hundreds of straight pins into her stomach; she threw them up and died of blood loss. The last was saved at the last moment, but the demonic doctor got surgical instruments inside of her!
- In "Kitsunegari", a man died from ingesting blue paint. He was forced to do it against his will by a Psychic-Assisted Suicide. Said Psychic was his vengeful and manipulative wife.
- Laura Moser of Dexter was killed with an electric chain-saw in front of her two little children. Poor woman.
- Grimm: How spinnetods kill their victims. See "spiders" in the Real Life folder.
- Game of Thrones has many of the examples from the book series, but adds in its own ones.
- Ser Rodrik ends up beings beheaded by Theon, but Theon botches it so it takes three swings and a kick to get his head off.
- Ros gets hung from her wrists to the end of a bed and used as target practice by Joffrey, who shoots her in the breasts and crotch, killing her.
- Talisa gets stabbed repeatedly in the vagina, while pregnant.
- The book's death for Oberyn Martell is bad enough—having thought he won the fight against Gregor Clegane, he gets caught off guard and has his face punched in and his brains, teeth, and eyes bashed out. The show actually manages to make this infinitely worse by actually showing Oberyn having his eyes slowly gouged out while his head is being crushed by Clegane's bare hands. He literally dies screaming in slow, horrific agony before it's interrupted by a sudden jerk from Clegane, a simultaneous eruption of blood from between his hands, and Ellaria shrieking at the sight.
- Kahl Drogo pulls this off more than once, all of them for slights against his wife. The most memorable one is when he rips a man's tongue out through his neck.
- Many of the victims in Criminal Minds suffer this:
- Frank Breitkopf would inject his victims with Ketamine, leaving them paralysed but conscious, before he dissected them. His trailer had a mirror on the ceiling, so they could see what was happening.
- In the episode "52 Pickup" the unsub disembowled young women, then forced them to clean up the mess with their intestines hanging out, before slitting their throats.
- Community - in "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps", Annie ends her Halloween story having her defeating vampire Jeff revealing herself to be a werewolf. Her narrative is only made creepier by her perky, button-down demeanor:
And she ripped into his torso, like a gerbil shredding a Quaker Oats box, sending chunks of viscera and an aerosol mist of blood all over the skanky concubine. Then, she flossed her teeth with his tendons. And, because he was a vampire, he lived through all of it. He had to watch her swallow his last eyeball. She kept it attached to the optic nerve, so he could see down her throat, to his own partially digested flesh in her stomach.
- Death Metal is flooded with this trope. Done by the most evil people on innocents, though the token Asshole Victim shows up from time to time.
- The traditional Irish song "The Two Sisters" (covered by several musicians over the years, including Tom Waits, CLANNAD, and Bob Dylan) recounts the tale of a girl who is drowned by her own sister out of jealousy over a man both girls fancy. The song ends with a line that notes that the murderess is punished by being boiled in lead.
- While not the official video,Child's Play has the lyric imply this, as the person killing her cut out her eyes, cut off her lip, and that cut of her foot, in addition to cutting her hair out of jealousy because the man she was infatuated with loved the victim. The official vid vaguely states what had happened but it is not explicably shown and the relationship between the two girls is unclear but it is safe to assume that they are sisters like "The Two Sisters" example or that they are very close friends.
- Killer Game Masters of Dungeons & Dragons are quite fond of devising some pretty nasty ways to go, usually in the form of Death Traps.
- The players can get pretty creative, too. The expansion book Stormwrack has sample rules for holding your enemies underwater until they drown, for instance.
- GURPS: Ultratech has a weapon that releases nanites into your blood. After a few minutes your blood explodes.
- A Blood Magic spell in a Rifts supplemental is called Carnivorous Blood. Your imagination can handle the rest...
- Half the stuff that can kill you in Warhammer 40,000 counts as this. From flesh-eating worms to bio-acids that melt the skin off your bones, to razor-sharp shards of psychically charged material which will not only tear you to pieces but make you feel unimaginable pain, to guns that flay you apart molecule by molecule, or open a portal to what is essentially hell and suck you in.
- The Orks' Shokk Attack Gun teleports a tiny goblin though hell, driving it psychotically insane, and causing it to reappear inside you, at which point it rips you apart from within.
- The Dark Eldar civilisation revolves around inflicting this on people, and they are terrifyingly good at it. One passage in a Dark Eldar codex describes a poor man in a Haemonculi's lair being reduced to a collection of mutilated organs and skin pieces hanging from meat hooks on the ceiling... and this guy was still alive.
- To put it this way: the basic Dark Eldar ranged weapon is a gun that fires poisoned projectiles designed to kill the victim as painfully as possible (or incapacitate them as painfully as possible so they may be taken alive and subjected to even worse torture). Their more exotic wargear tends to be even worse, such as weapons that spray flesh-eating acid, burn out the victim's nervous system, turn them into glass statues or instantly drain all moisture from their bodies, leaving behind a mummified corpse that disintegrates to dust. Now consider that despite all the horrible ways Dark Eldar weapons can kill you, the most famous quote associated with them is "pray that they don't take you alive"...
- Speaking of the Dark Eldar, there's this from the 5th edition codex:
- Warhammer Fantasy, isn't short of them either. The Chaos Dwarfs sacrifice their victims to their god Hashut, by herding them into a massive brazen bull, and are burned alive in it.
- Dark Heresy and its spinoffs has the critical hit table, which consists entirely of cruel and unusual injuries and deaths. Examples include having your head blown off by an energy weapon and your headless corpse catching on fire and running around (possibly igniting anything flammable, like other characters, in the vicinity), your body split open and everybody within D10 meters having to take an agility test or slip on all the blood gushing everywhere, and having every bone in your body pulverised by the force of the impact you took. The psychic phenomena table has some rather unusual ways die, with having your soul devoured by Daemons being the worst.
- New World of Darkness has several extremely horrifying deaths for the very unfortunate humans that run foul of its supernatural denizens. Certain vampires can restrain a human while eating his flesh, then wear it as a cloak to protect from sunlight. Abyssal entities can do all sorts of unpleasant things to people. The grand prize, however, has to go to the Shartha, or the hosts, who can possess humans by getting into their bodies and slowly eating their hearts or brains.
- Paranoia: Many traitors are simply lasered to death in the heat of battle, but the really unlucky ones get to serve Alpha Complex one last time by getting assigned to nuclear reactor shielding duty. No, they don't get to repair the shielding, they get to be the shielding.
- Planescape. If the Lady is displeased with you and wants to publicly voice said displeasure she lets her shadow fall over you. The victims die from having the skin and flesh flayed from their bones while still alive and capable of feeling every last moment of it, with the end result being little more than a ragged pile of leaky meat.
- While not nearly as bad as some of the ones above, in BattleTech, if you're an infantryman, you can look forward to the following attractive deaths: being stomped to death by a 50+ ton mech, having your limbs blown off by a gauss rifle, vaporizing in the middle of a huge person-wide laser beam, being sliced in half by a smaller beam, kicked so hard by a giant mech that if you aren't killed by the blow, you will be when you hit a wall flying 80 KM/H. A pilot in a BattleMech can look forward to having his limbs torn off by jagged pieces of metal as he ejects, being sliced open by jagged pieces of metal as he ejects, accidentally auto-ejecting into the vacuum of space, without a space suit, and those are when you eject. Inside the mech a pilot risks becoming brain-dead following their neurohelmet zapping their brain with so much biofeedback, that the worst Black ICE in Shadowrun would be jealous.
- The worst fate would be being on a jumpship that improperly jumps. Let's just say that some of your molecules jump with the ship, while others don't.
- Exalted: There are a lot of means to kill someone in cool and fascinating way, but the Abyssals make an art out of it with Illustrative Overkill Technique: you kill someone in such a gruesome and nauseating way that anyone watching it will start running away from you, most likely while vomiting their bowels out.
- The Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic magic and spell supplement for Mongoose Publishing's fantasy roleplaying game Legend deals with the topic of using physical pain and blood sacrifice - including human sacrifice - to power spells and placate cruel gods. The dangerous spell casting methods include self-harming, exsanguination, cannibalism and soul consumption to activate and fuel spells, enchant items and summon demonic entities. The themes of the book's spell list include pain, suffering, sacrifice and death. Several of the listed spells can inflict cruel and unusual deaths such as Boil Blood, which is self-explanatory; Haemoptysis, which causes the victim to begin coughing up blood; Heart Seizure, which induces heart failure; and the Sorcery spells Extract Heart, which causes the victim's heart to literally leap out of his chest, and Transmute Blood, which turns the blood in the victim's veins into some other substance such as potent acid, ruby or molten iron.
- In Grisaia No Kajitsu during Amane's flashback we see the results of a bunch of middle school girls trying to survive a bus crash. It doesn't go well: One girl dies wallowing in her own filth because she was too embarrassed to say anything and couldn't get out because her legs were broken. One girls lacerated stomach became infected and began leaking pus and other various fluids. The flashback cuts out when the narrator ran from the group, but we get the second half of the story in Grisaia No Rakuen with deaths every bit as gruesome, including two stabbing based deaths and one girl's broken nose beginning to leak not just blood but intercranial fluid. However, these deaths all still contained more dignity than those in the first flashback, perhaps because the girls had largely given up their hopes of escaping alive.
- The deaths in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors can get exceedingly gruesome, but the worst is what happens to the Ninth Man. The nine main characters have been forced to swallow an explosive that has already passed into their intestines, and the Ninth Man is used by the game to demonstrate that this is no idle threat. The bomb goes off in his gut while he is crying and screaming about his impending death, and the game goes into a disturbing amount of detail as to just what his shattered and twisted remains look like.
- The sequel, Virtue's Last Reward also has its share of nasty deaths, but he worst may be what happens to Dio in one route. He is locked in a medical pod as a way of holding him on suspicion of murder. The characters later return to find that his oxygen supply was cut off, and he suffocated within the pod, clutching his throat in his final moments. He likely also saw his murderer as it happened, unable to do anything about it. Couldn't have happened to a less nastier guy.
- Each of the "executions" in Dangan Ronpa is specifically tailored to the guilty party. For example, the guilty party of the first case, Leon Kuwata, is a baseball player who is chained to a post and bludgeoned to death by baseballs.
- The sequel isn't much better. Super High School Level Chef Teruteru Hanamura, is covered in egg and breadcrumbs and fried alive in a volcano. Mikan Tsumiki, a nurse, is sent into space on a rocket shaped like a giant arm; gamer Chiaki Nanami is crushed to death by a Tetris block; animal breeder Gundam Tanaka is trampled to death by wild animals; and swordswoman Peko Pekoyama is forced to fight her way through a horde of samurai robots. Some of the murders also count. Pity poor Ibuki, who gets strangled to death and then hung, not to mention what happens to Komaeda.
- Pick a dead end in any Nasuverse Visual Novel. Almost any dead end will do. Some of them are so implausibly over-the-top that they cross the line into Narm territory... And it only gets better when the Tiger Dojo or Teach Me, Ciel-sensei segments come next.
- Just from Fate/stay night.
- Death from blood loss because your feet were pulverized when you used them to crush evil magic bugs.
- Soul trapped in doll for eternity.
- Dissolved by manifestation of all evils in this world.
- Stomach punched out with Kung Fu.
- Melted to death, despite already being fatally wounded by swords spontaneously stabbing out of your own body... due to falling from a third floor window.
- Murder/suicide by best friend.
- Phantasmagoria. Carno's murder of his wives ranges from Narm (how can someone's head be twisted 360 degrees before the neck snaps?) to absolutely horrifying (ever wonder what death by force-feeding looks like?)
- The sequel isn't much better. We've got a guy getting the shit beaten out of him, crucified with exacto knives, his mouth stabled shut, and finally being cut open with a box cutter, another guy getting his head beaten in with a sledgehammer, another character beaten stabbed, and electrified using her own blood, a woman getting melted down into a human pizza, and finally the main character's best friend is strangled with wires. (which is, oddly enough, the tamest death)
- In Corpse Party, poor Mayu Suzumoto ends up being levitated by three malevolent ghost children, who then launch her into a wall at supersonic speed, leaving nothing more than a stain on the wall and a pile of meat and organs. Kensuke Kurosaki probably gets the second worst death. After surviving being stabbed and kicked into a hole downstairs, his "best friend" Yuuya Kizami finishes him off. We don't actually see him do it, but we see the results. It's not quite as bad as Mayu's, as we can still tell it's him, but it's still rather messy.
- A lot of the Wrong Ends, while nowhere near as gruesome, still count. As does Seiko's death. And then there's what happened to the aforementioned ghost children, whose deaths (long before the events of the game) easily qualify as horrific.
- Hatoful Boyfriend has some pretty impressive bad endings, and some equally nasty offscreen fates for the other characters. Anghel and Yuuya presumably get experimented on and dissected by Dr. Shuu unless you go on their routes and rescue them. On the "Bad Boys Love" route, the heroine's death by suffocation is revisited in a flashback, as is Nageki's suicide by setting himself on fire.
- Every death during the "KITTEN" arcs from Sluggy Freelance.
- 8-Bit Theater: Black Mage kills people in ways that are virtually indescribable.
- Dead Of Summer has a lot of deaths, being a Zombie Apocalypse story. One among them stands out, though. Getting your eyes torn out, then having a huge electrical wire jammed into your mouth.
- The Asperpedia Four in Sonichu. After a deeply biased trial, Alec, Evan, Mao and Sean are sentenced to death. Alec is strapped to an electric chair, as each of the main characters tell him to go to hell as he is reduced to ash without a sponge to direct the currents to his brain. Sean is killed by firing squad and his entire body is riddled with bullet holes. Mao is torn apart by Chris's psychic powers, and worst of all, Evan is chained up and brutally tortured to death, by an eight year old girl, nonetheless. [[Hypocrite And this is after Chris criticised Asperchu for its excessive violence.]]
- LOL - Comics! has the "Cereal KILLA◊".
- Goblins has quite a few of this. Examples (all contain spoilers) include this, this, and this.
- Homestuck has had quite a few unpleasant deaths during Act 5 Act 2, but Neophyte Redglare's takes the cake. She either a.) didn't know about or b.) severely underestimated Mindfang's mind control abilities. As a result, Mindfang manipulates the angry mob at her trial into lynching Redglare and hanging her with one of her own nooses. Given that the story is written from Mindfang's point of view, it is highly unlikely Redglare survived the encounter.
- Looking for Group's very own Heroic Sociopath, Richard, revels in this trope. This appears to be mainly because Richard, being an ageless, undead warlock, as well as a sadist without equal, needed something to keep him going throught the centuries, but also due to his inability to distinguish "going too far", and "going much, MUCH further than merely 'too far'".
Guard: General! Our scouts have returned.
Guard: The invaders march upon the city faster than anticipated. On foot and wings. Word has also reached us of a disaster that has befallen Bertu. Every last citizen; slain. At times, in very peculiar and imaginative fashions.
Richard: You like my work?
- In the world of Zombie Ranch, someone dying from the zombie bite itself is considered one of the worst, most painful ways to go, and a horrible act of cruelty to let occur. At least one outlaw gang is known to use this as a ritual punishment.
- From The Order of the Stick, one word: Implosion. (Warning: spoilers!)
- What Redcloak does to Tsukiko just a few strips later is even worse.
- Xykon kills Dorukan in similiar way in Start of Darkness and considering how his body looked at the end of lethal series of Energy Drains makes you glad what Redcloak did happened mostly off-panel.
- Nale brutally kills Malack by taking advantage of his vampire weakness to sunlight, causing him to be reduced to ash.
- And Our Little Adventure also used an Implosion spell. Unlike OotS's version, OLA's Implosion crushes the unfortunate victim into a gruesome, bloody cube. What makes this worse is that Angelo immediately cast Soul Bind to trap Eva's soul into a jewel, never allowing her to get to the heaven she said she would go to.
- The Zombie Hunters has three variants of zombies that are especially notable in this respect.
- Spitter zombies spit acid at people instead of biting them. Unlike with a zombie bite, their acid zombifies somebody instantly.
- Berserker zombies are almost as intelligent as the living, are insanely strong, and insanely sadistic. They are known for torturing their victims.
- Basilisk zombies have a glowing red eye effect that paralyzes anyone who sees it. Anyone affected by it will be forced to lay there, fully conscious, while it slowly eats them.
- The whole point of Madness Combat. Happens more in later episodes
- Three Words: "Happy Tree Friends".
- King Womp's death in the Klay World movie, where he gets an axe in the back, falls on top of a communication structure, is electrocuted, and explodes.
- Dumb Ways To Die is nothing but this trope.
- Death Battle:
- Boba Fett getting his head blown off By Samus Aran.
- Every ninja turtle that wasn't Leonardo.
- Felicia getting split in half by Taokaka.
- Doomguy getting reduced to giblets by Master Chief.
- Zelda's head getting obliterated by Peach's kick.
- Raiden getting smashed in half by Thor before being hurled into the sun.
- Batman having his torso slingshotted off by Spidey.
- Blanka eating Pikachu.
- Shao Khan ripping M. Bison in half and consuming his soul.
- Ivy Valentine getting turned into a frog by Black Orchid, then being squashed flat.
- Luigi being punched directly through the chest... BY AN EXTENDO-GLOVE!
- Venusaur getting its plant violently torn right off, then burned alive while writhing in agony, clearly terrified, and Charizard getting its wings torn off and then having water sprayed down its throat to the point where it explodes like a balloon.
- It seems to be a point of pride among Protectors of the Plot Continuum to do the most unpleasant and appropriate things to their victims, though the oldies have recently been insisting that the point of the business is more "have fun writing" than "try to outdo everyone" (and they're right). The Sues still suffer an impressive range of nasty deaths, from being eaten by Flesh-Eating Slugs to being given to the Discworld elves.
- Being a site based around the concept of Anyone Can Die, Survival of the Fittest occasionally falls into this trope when the Ax-Crazy characters get "creative". At times the scenes can turn into Narm either because it isn't possible in real life or just because it wasn't written well. Other times, though, it works. An example from v4 would be the majority of Sarah Atwell's kills, one of which involves rigging up a death trap where if the poor victim even moves, he gets shot in the head, which he decides not to take part.
- The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon has the inevitable death of Jack Cucchiaio be this. He'll die at the hand of the Ginosangi... eventually, after years of being beaten with a spoon with the only pauses being when he's trying to convince someone of the Ginosangi's existence. Even when he tries to kill himself to get it over with, the Ginosangi won't let him.
- In The Graystone Saga, Lady Gray wields an ornamental dagger called Silverblood, alleged to be forged from moonlight, and she cautions the narrator that it can never be touched by anyone but herself. The proof of this comes shortly afterward, when a thief tries to take it from her by force. After a scant few seconds of handling the blade, the thief's entire body begins to combust and disintegrate from the inside out - while he's still alive.
- In the Creepy Pasta "Blueberries", the protagonist's punishment is effectively a drawn out self-inflicted execution. He has to eat an entire varnished oak desk (to add insult to injury, he claims he didn't even commit the crime for which he received this punishment). He is given a hammer to smash the desk into smaller pieces, and tries to endure the ordeal by imagining that each wooden chip is a blueberry. The pasta goes into loving detail about the damage he is inflicting on himself with each chip he swallows. Then the guard takes away his hammer so he has no way to make the bigger pieces of wood bite-sized. After nearly mutilating his throat trying to swallow a big piece of wood, he notices that he had only split the desk in half with his first blow. The hammer was basically a cruel Hope Spot.
- The protagonist of Worm inflicts a particularly nasty one on Alexandria, by using her bug-control powers to cram insects down her throat and into her lungs so that she suffocates, as it was the only way she could bypass Alexandria's Nigh-Invulnerability.
- The Sluaghterhouse Nine love to do this to people. Bonesaw's poisons are designed for cruelty rather than efficiency, and she sometimes vivisects people until they die. Siberian has a nasty habit of eating people alive by holding them down and taking bites out of them (she is human-shaped, so this presumably takes a while). One victim, killed by an unknown member, had his arms and legs cut off at the knee and reattached by lengths of chain, and was then hung up inside an empty building and left to bleed to death.
- The titular vigilante in The Flying Man is easily strong enough to just snap criminals' necks, but seems to prefer dropping them from a great height. He also throws one under an oncoming train at one point.
- In Pyrrhic Tina is killed by drinking from a water bottle that contains chloroform, while her sister drinks her blood, thinking herself to be a vampire. Sonny is killed by Helmut in self-defense with a revolver, but his body is slowly eaten by army ants.
- In Ten Little Roosters, the Gavins are killed by being chewed apart by mousetraps.
- Family Guy: A large number of deaths happen in ways that are virtually indescribable.
- Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: Too many to count, particularly for Wile E. Coyote and Sylvester the Cat:
- Perhaps Wile E.'s most famous death making this trope came in the final segment of the extended (infamous) catapult gag in "To Beep or Not to Beep." After trying in vain to unjam a stuck, loaded catapult (this after he already had been crushed five times by the boulder), which he hopes to use against his longtime nemesis the Road Runner, Wile E. finally does get it freed only not realizing it until he sees himself fast approaching a large rock formation. After doing an Oh, Crap, Wile E. and the boulder smash through the formation, crushing the still presumably conscious Coyote; the boulder eventually hits a network of high-voltage power lines and, while he somehow avoids electrocution, Wile E. and the rock is slung all the way back on top of the catapult's arm, which then plops him to the ground, and the boulder finally crushes the Coyote to death.
- The death that most fits this trope for that bad ol' puddy tat, Sylvester, is probably "Satan's Waitin''," where a satanic version of Hector the Bulldog exploiting the notion that "cats have nine lives" goads the cat into chasing Tweety into the most violent of situations. He falls from a tall building, is crushed beneath a steamroller, scared to death in a fun house, shot multiple times in a shooting gallery and slams into a low-clearance entrance of a roller-coaster tunnel. With just one life left, Sylvester decides that chasing Tweety isn't worth it and initially avoids the trope-fulfilling death. Unfortunately, he decides to move into a double-enforced bank safe on the day two crooks use nitroglycerin to blow open the safe and rob it of its contents. After the explosion, Sylvester and the crooks are headed down below. Once of the crooks tells his partner that he used too much nitro. "Now he tells him!" mutters a battered but disgusted Sylvester.
- Other cartoons have depicted Sylvester being beaten to death by an army of bulldogs and mauled to death by lions.
- The fate that Bugs Bunny humorously faces if he fails his mission in "Knighty Knight Bugs."
- Other characters - both the regular Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies gang, and one-off characters have also suffered cruel deaths. One example of the one-time character suffering this fate was the villain taking a (presumed) Karmic Death in the 1951 short "Chow Hound." Here, a cruel, merciless bulldog uses two unwilling patsies a cat and a mouse in a scheme to obtain dinner from various masters. After holding the cat and mouse hostage for weeks to elicit large rewards for their return to various "masters," the dog purchases a butcher shop and proceeds to eat everything in sight until he is severely bloated and unable to move. At a veterinarian clinic, after two doctors diagnose the case as "a distinct case of overeating," the cat and mouse march in to begin enact the trope. The cat speaking for the only time in the film menacingly says, "This time, we didn't forget the gravy" (referring to all the times the cat was forced to obtain dinner but it never included gravy); the mouse places a large funnel into the dog's mouth and smiles as the cat begins to pour the contents of an institutional-sized canister of gravy into the funnel. The nervously perspiring dog mutters "no" several times but is helpless to stop them as the picture irises out over the sound of the dog gurgling. It is presumed that sometime after the iris out, the dog slowly suffocates to death.
- About 95 percent of all Kenny's deaths in South Park.
- Oh, you want a truly horrific death in South Park? Chef's death, from the episode "The Return of Chef" is solid terror and fits firmly to this trope: first burned by the fire, then falls to a rock, then a bear and a leopard will begin to dismember the face and body in general. Worse, in an attempt to want to save, the Super Adventure Club members shoot accidentally. Plus Chef craps himself.
- The Itchy & Scratchy Show: Scratchy suffers one Once per Episode.
- The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: The Doom Dancer Music Box forces whoever hears it to dance until the day they die and they can do nothing but dance until they are dead.
- Blurr's death in Transformers Animated. He was crushed into a cube for crying out loud! And that was after he found out that his "boss" so-to-speak, was a double agent.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Spy Roach gets hit by an energy drill, causing him to expand until he explodes.
- Though there were quite a few different deaths in the One-Episode Wonder Korgoth of Barbaria, nothing matches the death of a Giant Mook named Scrotus, who gets interrupted in the middle of a wonderful To the Pain/Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon speech. After the title character is unimpressed by the overly long speech, he proceeds to dish out a brutal murdering by ripping half of the mook's skin off from the ponytail straight down, tossing a full glass of alcohol into the godawful wound, then setting the alcohol on fire.
- Many instances occur in Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Carl and Master Shake, especially Carl.
- Some of Carl's deaths include getting his arms sawed off, his skin ripped off, shot by lasers, and mauled alive by vampire bats.
- Superjail is all about this trope. Just watch any episode for really horrible, cruel and unexpected deaths.
- The Legend of Korra; Season 3 has Zaheer murder the Earth Queen by pulling the air out of her lungs, essentially suffocating her. Viewers are even given the lovely imagery of the Queen's eyes bulging and going bloodshot from lack of oxygen while she gasps for breath.
- P'li's death is not pleasant either. While Lin distracts her, Su metalbends a piece of armor around her head, just as P'li's about to use her combustionbending. Effectively, Your Head Asplode, but unlike the Earth Queen P'li is given a Gory Discretion Shot.
- Many of the deaths on Celebrity Deathmatch count as such. Having your entire skeleton pulled out through your mouth, being sliced to pieces by a giant bladed rotary fan, being burst open like a pinata, being cut up into paper dolls, having your nipples ripped off before having your internal organs squeezed out through the holes that were once occupied by them, having your eye stabbed out by someone's erect penis... the list goes on.
- The Other Wiki's List of unusual deaths. Warning: The level of horror is off the charts.
- A famous if possibly apocrypha story holds that in 1218, Inalchuq, governor of the Central Asian city of Otrar for the Khwarezmian Empire, arrested a trade caravan from some upstart nomad empire to Khwarezm's east. Unfortunately for Inalchuq and Khwarezm, this caravan came from the Mongols; the leader of the empire was a fellow calling himself Genghis Khan, and he did not take kindly to breaches of Sacred Hospitality. The Mongols, of course, proceeded to conquer Khwarezm (and much else), and as for Inalchuq? He had molten silver poured down his ears and throat.
- Manius Aquillius of Rome was killed by having molten gold poured down his throat. (Counts as a Karmic Death since the Romans had systematically destroyed and milked Pontus and the surrounding area in their pursuit of money.)
- Some stories claim the Aztecs poured molten gold down Spanish throats after Montezuma was killed. Doesn't help that Cortez told the Aztecs they wanted the gold because they had a disease that only gold could cure.
- The Roman emperor Valerian I was captured at the Battle of Edessa by the Persian King Shapur I. At first, Shapur merely used Valerian as a human footstool. However, when Shapur grew tired of this game, he had Valerian flayed alive, then stuffed his skin with dung and straw and had it put on display in one of the larger temples in his capital.
- King Edward II of England was assassinated by way of first being crushed between two heavy mattresses and then having a red-hot branding iron shoved as far up the King's rectal passage as it could be pushed. The person who arranged this murder? Edward's wife, Isabella. It's generally seen as a particularly cruel Take That since Edward was notorious for his passion for a male courtier. The courtier in question, Hugh Despenser the Younger, was eventually drawn and quartered (for which see below).
- George, Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward IV of England, was (according to legend) drowned in a large barrel of malmsey (a sweet wine) in 1478. This may have been made-up, though, as the Duke was a noted lover of wine and was almost certainly drunk when he was killed (however that happened).
- Sir Arthur Aston, a supporter of King Charles I during the English Civil War, was captured by Oliver Cromwell and beaten to death with his own wooden leg.
- Often used in games of "Would You Rather..." where you have to answer hypothetical questions such as "Would you rather be eaten by rats or drown in urine?" usually with a debate of the contrasting options and why one would be preferable to the other. The game doesn't exclusively use horrible ways to die but it's a common one, along with unappealing but non-deadly fates, disgusting things to eat/do and unattractive people to have sex with.
- Famed astronomer Tycho Brahe supposedly died after becoming unable to urinate.
- Vlad the Impaler caused a lot of these, as his name would indicate. His favorite punishment for any and all crimes in his kingdom was impalement. If done "correctly" it can take an impaled victim up to three days to die of a superinfection due to the stake tearing the intestinal wall and letting all the bacteria into the rest of the body. There's a reason he's considered the inspiration for Dracula.
- Not all crimes. Women who had pre-marital sex (a rather serious crime in those days) were flayed alive, publically, according to some stories about him. And there were numerous other stories about other incredibly cruel - yet creative - ways he tortured people to death. (There was one famous story about how he was insulted by Turkish ambassadors who refused to remove their turbans in his presence. When they claimed it was tradition for them never to do so, he responded by having a servant nail the turbans to their heads. The story doesn't say whether or not they survived.)
- And the method he used to impale people was pretty gruesome. He'd use a pole with a ball on one end and a spike on the other, and stick it through people's... well, let's just say it's pretty gross.
- The medieval and early modern English punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering was, more or less, this. Reserved for commoner men who had committed high treason (female commoner traitors were simply burned at the stake for reasons of public decency and noble traitors of both sexes were beheaded), hanging, drawing, and quartering was more or less Exactly What It Says on the Tin...with a few additions.
- The condemned was tied to a board and dragged through the streets to the place of execution.
- He was then hanged until almost dead.
- He was then emasculated and disemboweled (drawing). He might at this point be shown his now-missing bits (this happened with William Wallace).
- He was then beheaded.
- He was then dismembered (quartering).
- Finally, the bits were publicly displayed across the country.
- France had the following punishment reserved for regicides (i.e. people who had killed/tried to kill the king):
- The condemned was tortured with red-hot pincers.
- His dominant hand, possibly holding the weapon used in the crime, was then burned with sulfur.
- The wounds generated by these tortures were then filled with molten wax, then lead, and then boiling oil.*
- The condemned's arms and legs were then harnessed to several horses, which would proceed to pull in opposite directions. The objective here was to literally have his limbs ripped off by the horses, although if it was taking too long—and it could take hours—the executioner might help the horses along with an ax.
- Finally, the condemned's torso would be burned at the stake. Note that the last person to receive this punishment (Robert-François Damiens, who had attempted to kill Louis XV in 1757) was still alive when the burning started. (His last words, by the way? After waking up and before the pincers he said, "La journée sera rude"—"The day will be hard". Will it ever...)
- No wonder that when Revolution came, the new government abolished all the forms of execution from the Ancien Régime and replaced them with the guillotine.
- Ancient Romans frowned on patricide. After a good scourging, they would tie the accused in a burlap sack with a dog, a rooster, a monkey and a snake, then throw the whole sack into a river.
- A Colombian necktie is a form of gangland execution used by mobsters and drug lords when they want to scare someone the victim is associated with. (As the name suggests, the first known use of it was in Colombia, the victim being civil war leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán Ayala in 1948). The victim's throat is cut vertically, and then the killer pulls his tongue out through the wound, leaving him to bleed to death. (It's pretty gruesome, and as you might expect, leaves an unsubtle message to whoever finds the body.)
- Ancient Greece had three timelessly great dramatists, all of whom died in memorable ways. Euripides was torn to pieces by a pack of dogs; Sophocles choked on a grape, and Aeschylus was killed by a tortoise. (Specifically, by a tortoise that was dropped on his head by an eagle who, apparently, mistook his bald spot for a rock.)
- This was the whole purpose of crucifixion. Not only did the Romans have to invent a whole new word to describe the pain of having nails driven through one's medial nerves ("excruciating" comes from ex crucia, "out of the cross"), but the victims were put up on display for everyone naked while they suffocated to death, probably crying in agony and pleading for their lives. On top of everything else, the victims were viciously scourged with studded whips just beforehand. The Romans themselves considered crucifixion so terrible that it was illegal for citizens to be crucified.
- Interestingly, crucifixion is still today theoretically available in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan. However, of these countries, only Saudi Arabia is recorded to have ever actually applied the punishment, and usually as a method of displaying the dead body of the criminal (e.g. an armed robber put up on a cross after being beheaded). The others prefer hanging for most executions; Saudi Arabia for its part usually prefers beheading with a sharp sword.
- While death by hanging may be bad enough, there was a time when it was much worse. Hanging someone by the gallows in history (see: Haman from The Bible) involved chopping down a tree and shaving (most) of the branches off so it resembled a huge spike. They then sharpened the end of the top and ran the condemned through. To top it off, they then hoisted the entire tree on it's end so that the victim was all the way at the top where he eventually slid down the tree. Sorta like this at 1:50. With a tree trunk.
- In ancient China during dynastic times, one of the most cruel and unusual ways to die was "Death By A Thousand Cuts", or lingchi. There are variations, but one familiar example is the victim would be immobilized and the executioner would start cutting his skin off, bit by bit, making sure the victim is conscious and, more importantly, alive during this whole time (so no cheating by cutting the arteries and letting him bleed out). Skill is rewarded for keeping the victim alive as long as possible. The longest execution in this way on record was on an evil eunuch, while allegedly took 3 days and 3,357 cuts.
- That said, for the most part, the families of people sentenced to this punishment tended to pay of the executioner to end it quick, with much of the slicing done postmortem.
- The Assyrians used them as a tool of war and diplomacy. The reliefs of the palace of Assurnasirpal II about the fate of rebels (decapitations, flaying, mutilations and all that kind of cute stuff) were probably made to scare enemy ambassadors.
- The Vikings may have performed the "Blood Eagle" or "Butterfly Cut" - cracking the victim's ribs from the back and pulling out his lungs, and spreading them out like wings behind him. There is some question as to whether or not the procedure was ever actually performed, or is even possible.
- When the Mongol leader Hulegu conquered Baghdad in the 14th century, he had the last of the Abassid Caliphs loaded into a sack and trampled to death with horses. The irony is that the Mongols would have actually considered this to be an extremely dignified death. Furthermore, it was immoral to spill the blood of a holy man. Unfortunately for the caliph, that taboo wasn't figurative.
- This was also the punishment of choice for Mongol princes who rebelled against the Great Khan (and lost), such as Ariq Boke, since the blood kin of Genghis Khan were considered holy.
- There is a likely apocryphal tale of an assassin who attempted to kill a Dutch royal in the 1700s. He was stuffed into a barrel along with hundreds of rusty nails, then repeatedly rolled down the steepest hill to be found. Not a pleasant way to go.
- Pierre Mulele. Mobutu (dictator of Zaire at the time) tricked him into returning to Zaire and had him tortured to death: his eyes gouged, genitals ripped off and his limbs cut off one at a time all while he was alive.
- The Cheka in the early days of Soviet Russia:
Victims were reportedly skinned alive, scalped, "crowned" with barbed wire, impaled, crucified, hanged, stoned to death, tied to planks and pushed slowly into furnaces or tanks of boiling water, and rolled around naked in internally nail-studded barrels. Chekists reportedly poured water on naked prisoners in the winter-bound streets until they became living ice statues. Others reportedly beheaded their victims by twisting their necks until their heads could be torn off. The Chinese Cheka detachments stationed in Kiev reportedly would attach an iron tube to the torso of a bound victim and insert a rat into the other end which was then closed off with wire netting. The tube was then held over a flame until the rat began gnawing through the victim's guts in an effort to escape. Anton Denikin's investigation discovered corpses whose lungs, throats, and mouths had been packed with earth.
- The Whites (and other sides, like Anarchists or simply local bandits who proliferated in the lawless atmosphere of the times) were hardly better. The reports of both sides atrocities read like a record of some sort of a cruelty contest. One has to take into an account that both were heavily Unreliable Narrators with a lot of incentive to demonize the other side...
- Elizabeth Bathory was punished for her crimes by being sealed in her room, with only a small window in the wall that used to be her doorway from which a guard would give her her meals. She actually lived like this for a few years before finally dying.
- Cruel and unusual? Really?! Pretty mundane compared to some of the things she allegedly did to her victims: Cooking them alive, biting their throats out, locking them in spike-filled cages which were then swung about on pulley systems...To name a few of the TAME ones.
- Because Elizabeth had many important relatives, her execution (which was originally suggested by King Matthias of Hungary) would generate too much negative effects amongst the nobility. So, she was, at first placed under house arrest. When the king finally visited her, and saw the extent of her evil, he had her sealed in that room for four years. As for living in a room for four years being mundane a demise compared to, say, being poked to death with red hot pokers... Well, think about it: imagine, having no human contact for four years, other than whomever it is who brings your food through a slot... No one to talk to, no one to compliment your wondrous beauty that cost you so many lives and so much of your own sanity to preserve... That is, no one to talk to other than the furniture or the piles of your own excrement.
- Considering that this was a woman who was accused of bathing in the virgins' blood to preserve her youth (such that she was nicknamed the Blood Countess) and was possibly even an cannibal (well before the term and practice caught onto European society), one would think that the isolation from human contact was not only a fitting if cruel punishment, but also a necessity toward protecting any more potential victims.
- Once King Olaf of Norway became a Christian in the late 10th Century, he was very enthusiastic about spreading the Gospel of the loving and merciful Prince of Peace:
One famed Viking lord, Raud, had an adder shoved down his throat when he refused to accept Christ; another, Eyvind Kinrifa, was tortured to death with a pan of glowing coals upon his belly.
- Legend has it that when Caupolicán, toqui (war leader) of the Mapuche of southern Chile, was captured by the Spanish in 1558, he was executed by being forced to sit on a pointed stake, which his body weight caused to slowly skewer him. Given the sadistic methods of death common in Spain at the time, this seems quite plausible.
- The Mongols are said to have forced an Arab prince, al-Kamil, to eat his own flesh, slice by slice, until death relieved him of the task. Saddam Hussein's regime is also said to have done this to a Kuwaiti woman during the Gulf War.
- Chemical weapons such as blister agents are rather ineffective at killing yet have been used in WW1 and the Iran-Iraq war. Mustard gas causes exposed skin to blister and peel off, while inhaled gas does the same to your lungs. However, despite the horrific injuries, it often took victims days to die, sometimes from drowning in the bile that gathered in their lungs.
- Northern Australians like to come up with an incredibly creative range of methods of killing cane toads; being pests on the level of rabbits in Australia, this makes sense. Running them over in a car, cricket bats, golf clubs, broom handles with nails in them, air pumps, paracetamol, firecrackers, freezing, antiseptic spray, cans of deodorant with cigarette lighters, tubs of salt, gumboots, bricks, other toads... Considering how durable the things are and just how overpopulated the species is, they've certainly got plenty on which to practice.
- Johnny Cash's brother apparently died several days after a particularly nasty industrial accident involving a table saw.
- There was once a torture device known as a Judas Cradle, which comprised of a small pyramid on legs. You would be tied over it with your legs spread and lowered downward as the Cradle went... places.
- Necklacing. Someone fills a rubber tire with a flammable liquid like petroleum, forces it around your chest and arms, then lights it on fire. It may take up to twenty minutes before the person dies. Popular in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s and in Haiti from 1986-1990, during the transition to democracy.
- The Breaking Wheel, variations of which have been used since ancient times. The victim was strapped to a wooden or metal wheel. Then the executioner broke their limbs with a large iron club until the death blow—a hard hit to the chest—was given. Most died before the death blow was given. If that wasn't bad enough, the victim was tortured beforehand or even tortured while on the wheel. Methods of torture included having your penis or nipples ripped off with a hot clamp. Variations of the breaking wheel include Saint Catherine's Wheel (being rolled over spikes), being tied to the rim and rolled down a hill or around the city square, and being roasted over a fire. Definitely unpleasant.
- The Finnish version of this, called teilaus was to first break all the bones and then revolve the wheel around so that the broken bone heads would cause internal hemorrhage, the victim slowly bleeding to death. In today's colloquial Finnish, teilaus means a particularly nasty rejection, critique or review.
- Spiders inflict this on their prey. Spiders don't just suck the liquids out. They inject the prey with acid, which dissolves the bug's insides. They then suck out the resulting goop.
- Lobsters get boiled alive... but this is a merciful death compared to how you broil lobsters; tie their claws down, slit them open with a knife and then put them into the oven while they're still alive.
- This is actually a misconception. Lobsters don't feel pain from heat as we do. That "screeching" that people hear from boiling lobsters is actually steam escaping from their shells. The sensations they feel during the act are more akin to what humans feel during heatstroke.
- If you're still about to swear off lobster forever, a simple Mercy Kill is to put them in the freezer for five to ten minutes.
- One of the methods used to hunt the now extinct Passenger Pigeon was to capture one and use it as a decoy. The method of turning the captured pigeon into a decoy was to sew its eyes shut and set it free near a pigeon nesting area. Being blind, the pigeon would flap about, drawing the attention of the nesting birds. Hunters would then capture the rest of the birds with nets, and kill them by crushing their skulls using their own hands.
- In an example from the natural world, a six-foot long alligator ended up running into an invasive thirteen-foot reticulated python in the Florida Everglades. The python ended up winning the ensuing battle and swallowed the alligator whole. Sometime later, either due to swallowing a prey item that was too large, or the alligator being still alive and clawing at the python's insides in an attempt to escape, the python's abdomen burst. Both reptiles were found dead, half of the alligator still protruding out of half of the burst-open python.
- Gruffydd ap Llewlyn, one of the last native Princes of Wales, was taken prisoner by the English and attempted to escape by climbing down a rope ladder made from tying bedsheets together. He fell, and was found dead in the courtyard the next day with his head essentially crammed down into his neck cavity from the impact. He was succeeded as Prince by his elder son, Llewlyn ap Gruffydd, who was betrayed to the English by his younger half-brother Dafydd ap Gruffydd. Dafydd's reward for his crimes was to be the first person in recorded history to be hung, drawn, and quartered; Llewlyn at least died in battle and didn't suffer.
- Josef Stalin had people brainwashed to the point that they signed a document saying that they deserved their death sentence and then were shot.
- The Brazen Bull, an ancient Greek device. The victim was placed inside a giant hollow metal bull and a fire was lit underneath it. The result was a lot like a modern oven. The device was designed to amplify the victim's screams into something like a bull's sound.
- Scaphism was a particularly cruel method of execution practiced by the ancient Persians. The victim was stripped naked and placed between two hollowed-out boats or tree trunks like a casket with only his or her head, hands and feet sticking out; then force-fed enough milk and honey to result in diarrhea, as well as having honey smeared on the exposed face, hands and feet to attract insects to them before being left floating in a stagnant pond or out in the sun. The person's filth would accumulate within the container and attract more bugs to eat and breed in his or her flesh, which would become increasingly gangrenous. Death in this fashion, which often came about in a matter of days to weeks and was lingering and horrible, usually came about as a result of dehydration, starvation and septic shock.
- Considering that the Persians were, generally speaking, one of the nicer empires to be ruled by (they let every community run its own business as long as they didn't rebel and paid their taxes on time, and even then, the punishment for rebellion was beheading for the rebel leaders and the punishment for tax evasion was higher taxes), one had to really piss them off to get such a punishment.
- On July 16, 1936, in Romania, Mihai Stelescu was shot by the Decemviri, an Iron Guard death squad, in his hospital bed between 38 and about 200 times before being cut him into pieces with axes by his muirderers, who then danced around his body. His crime: having left the Iron Guard and starting another nationalist organization.
- As a rule of thumb, most animals don't give a damn about how they kill their prey, which can result in some deaths being quite cruel indeed (like hawks, who prefer to drop prey from a height to splatter them). Scavengers are even worse: One of the reasons Medieval weapons were built with spiked ends were to Mercy Kill enemy soldiers, because scavengers didn't care if their prey was dead as long as it was unable to fight back, resulting in the fallen being eaten alive.
- Sonderabteilung Lola, a particularly nasty branch of Les Collaborateurs in Nazi-occupied Norway, reputedly executed resistance fighters by throwing them into an empty room covered with motor oil (or some other lubricant) and broken glass.
- In World War 2, the Japanese military had a research unit called Unit 731 that was notorious for inflicting horrible deaths on the Chinese civilian population. These deaths often included vivisection while still alive, weapons testing with conventional weapons, biological and chemical weapons testing, and burned to death with flame throwers.
- Because of reptiles' slow metabolisms, decapitation can take hours or days to kill them, though they feel every bit of it the whole time.
- When you try to kill a bug, but it barely survives and you don't notice. That poor fly is lying on the pavement, unable to fly or do anything other than wiggle its legs, until either someone kills it properly or it dies on its own of starvation. Luckily for bugs, they have very simple nervous systems and don't feel pain the way humans do — but try telling that to your imagination.
- Rabies; Upon being infected without being pre-emptively vaccinated, you have less than a day before you can get the vaccine and even then it's not a guarantee. Rabies attacks the brain functions and makes the victim violently expel any water they try to drink, and choke on any food they try to eat, this includes their own saliva which they let congeal in their mouth to spit out. After ten days of this, the body starts seizing violently and you start to change mentally. After the thirteenth or so day, the victim is babbling nonsensically and spewing and heaving so much rejected saliva it's all over their mouth (which is where the classic "foaming mouth" comes from), by the fifteenth or so day, the victim slips into a coma and it's just a matter of the doctors ending life support, which at this point is a Mercy Kill. Perhaps the scariest part is that the mental decay associated with the late stages isn't well-documented, which means it's entirely possible you're aware of the entire process but can't get your body to act how you want it to.
- It might not cause as much suffering as that. Jeanna Giese, a 15 year old girl who became a rare survivor of rabies after undergoing the Milwaukee Protocol, mentioned blacking out as the disease was setting in and then not waking up until after she came out of her drug-induced coma. Aside from some lingering neurological issues, she's mostly recovered.
- There are a number of parasites that take control of insects or small animals and then force them, sometimes against their will, to allow themselves to be eaten by predators. For example, the Dicrocoelium infects an ant and then forces the ant to crawl to the tip of a blade of grass where it can easily be eaten by a bird, thus allowing the parasite to continue its cycle inside a bird. Even worse, the Spinochordodes larvae enter grasshoppers that drink the water they reside in and then after growing inside the grasshopper, they take control and force the grasshopper to jump into a body of water and drown itself. Imagine being unable to stop your body from drowning itself.
Need something to take the edge off now?