You know it's coming from a mile away when you hear these fateful words: "Here's a two-way radio so we can keep in touch."
There is a significantly high chance that one of the characters will get killed while the other can do nothing but listen as their final words or screams get Lost In Transmission
by Walkie-Talkie Static
For extra points, add video to the transmission, and have it cut to snow a split second after you catch a glimpse of the horrible monsters that did the deed.
Essentially, it's an Apocalyptic Log
broadcast live in real-time. It's a convenient way to pull off a dramatic, emotional death scene while the people on the other end conveniently can't do anything about it. It's also an excellent way to add drama when Mission Control
doesn't actually know what did the killing — but now they know that whatever it is, it's obviously deadly.
This trope is often used in place of a Violence Discretion Shot
, though many times the violence on the victim's end is
! Come in! Do you read me?!
! Do you copy?! You're breaking up
! Respond, dammnit! RESPOND!
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Anime And Manga
- Subverted in Hyakujitsu No Bara, after Klaus and a young cadet accidentally get caught in the enemy line just as it advances for battle, they steal a radio to make contact with their own troops. By the time they get ahold of the Murakumo crew, Yamamoto is panicking and yelling about how the captain is hurt until suddenly there are several gunshots and Yamamoto's screams. After a prolonged static-y silence Taki (on the receiving side) begins to freak out himself before Klaus comes on the line and says everything's under control and they're heading their way.
- Subverted while the crew are in the alien ship. Kane goes exploring by himself and finds the eggs, all the time talking to the other party members on his spacesuit radio. After the egg opens and an immature Xenomorph attacks him, his radio goes dead. However, the other crew members rescue him.
Kane: The pit is completely enclosed. And it's full of leathery objects, like eggs or something. [...] It appears to be completely sealed. Wait a minute, there's movement. It seems to have life. Organic life.
- Captain Dallas goes into the air ducts to try to drive the Xenomorph into an airlock and blow it into space. He carries a radio with him to talk to the rest of the crew. They use a tracking device to let him know the alien is getting closer and closer, until it attacks and kills him.
Move, Dallas. Get out! No! Not that way! The other way! Dallas? Dallas!
- Done again in Aliens, with the Colonial Marines' video cameras. The crew left behind see and hear the last moments of several Marines before the screens turn to static.
- Subverted in Tremors. The other survivors are talking with Burt and Heather Gummer over a CB radio when a Graboid breaks into the Gummers' basement and attacks them. Burt yells "Jesus Christ!" into the radio and the other survivors look at each other sadly, believing that they're as good as dead. Then they hear gunfire coming from the Gummers' house, and we see them blow the Graboid away with high power firearms.
- The Dark Knight: Harvey and Rachel get to share this, with Harvey hearing Rachel's death. Of course, this is the whole reason they had transceivers in the first place.
- The beginning of Congo with the killer gorillas.
- In Doom, Fly and the numbskulls guarding him listen to a comrade encountering and being killed by an monster.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Obsession". Rizzo's party has encountered the vampire cloud.
Rizzo: [Activates communicator] Captain?
Kirk: Kirk here.
Rizzo: Captain, there's a strange cloud, sir. [It reaches him and he starts choking] Cloud, cloud.
Kirk: Fire into it immediately!
Rizzo: [Heard over communicator] Help me. Help! [Dies]
- Doctor Who:
- "The Poison Sky", when the Sontarans massacre the UNIT troops.
- "The Time of Angels", when the clerics are picked off one by one by the Weeping Angels.
- Except they keep talking.
- "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
- The same story was covered in Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)". Subverted on this version as the next verse implies that the Major Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence.
- Metal Gear and the ever-popular "Snake?! SNAAAAAAKE!!"
- Metroid: Other M had "Samus! What's going on? Respond! RESPOO—-"
- The introduction level of Doom 3 has the player character listening to people die over his radio every ten seconds after the hell invasion begins. There is even a console video depicting a scientist having his neck snapped by a zombie before cutting to static.
- Jonny Quest episode "The Invisible Monster". Dr. Quest receives a frantic ham radio message.
Norman: Benton! This is Isaiah Norman. I desperately need your help. You know of my experiments in attempting to harness energy and my theory of controlling it. Well, I'm afraid my efforts have resulted in the creation of something too terrible to contemplate.
Dr. Quest: But Isaiah...
Norman: No! Believe me, Benton. It is monstrous beyond imagination. [We see the monster's footsteps as it returns] And what is worse, uncontrollable. Can you come at once?
Dr. Quest: Of course, Isaiah.
Norman: Something must be done to stop this thing. [Monster's weird noise is heard] No. No! It's come back! [Monster consumes Dr. Norman]
Dr. Quest: Isaiah! Isaiah!