[[quoteright:350:[[Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/descended_ceiling_indiana_jones.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Willie! We are going to die!]]
-> ''"That was too close. You were almost a Jill sandwich!"''
-->-- '''Barry''' after saving Jill, ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil1'' (original [=PS1=] version)

Deceptively simple-looking {{Deathtrap}} intended to turn tall, dark and handsome heroes into short, red and gruesome meat patties. Usually doesn't work because the villain [[BondVillainStupidity stupidly]] leaves (or allows a hero to retain) some object capable of holding back the ceiling long enough for an exit to be made, for the motor powering the ceiling to burn out or simply able to turn the damn thing off. Or he may forget the FiveManBand has a LoadBearingHero with them. Sometimes may be (part of) a LivingStructureMonster.

Deluxe versions include [[SpikesOfDoom sharp, pointy spikes]] that grow out of the moving surface.

Occasionally some factories have a Descending Ceiling built in, possibly part of or at the end of a ConveyorBeltODoom. These places clearly have [[NoOSHACompliance lost their OSHA compliance]].

The impending danger is usually emphasized by multiple shots of the ceiling descending.

Often subject to MagicCountdown - the ceiling moves back with each shot. The inverse is LiftOfDoom. When the walls threaten to crush a character, rather than the ceiling, that's TheWallsAreClosingIn. Whatever they do it's always JustInTime. This may also be a form of AdvancingWallOfDoom. Video game levels based on this may be {{Escape Sequence}}s.

See also CollapsingCeilingBoss.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' had a variation on this, where the Descending Ceiling was precisely calibrated so that it took all the strength of Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei to hold it up and keep it from crushing them; it was set up to let the most traitorous member in, with the first one to let go being able to escape in time while the other three were crushed.
* Happens during the House of Sagittarius episodes of ''Anime/SaintSeiya''. The cavern beneath the Gold Saint's House, already filled with traps, was rigged to ''collapse'' and crush the one escape corridor underneath. Dragon Saint Shiryu [[HeroicSacrifice stays behind, as is his wont]], to prop up the collapsing ceiling with his bare hands. When the pressure forces him down to his knees, he has a flash of inspiration and punches the ceiling into rubble. Considering he prides himself on reversing the flow of waterfalls with his punches, and all Saints can reduce cliffs to pebbles with their Cosmo, letting the drama trick him into a HeroicSacrifice was a bit of an IdiotHero moment for him.
* In ''Anime/AngelBeats'' this is one of the traps set up to protect the Guild against Angel. Unfortunately, it works for the SSS as well, meaning TK has to sacrifice himself. Luckily for him, DeathIsCheap.
* In ''Manga/GhostHunt'' there is a ghost who makes the ceiling collapse in a school.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}}'' was placed in one of these, except that the ceiling was a giant teddy bear. It was constructed by a villain with a very ''Franchise/{{Saw}}''-like mentality (though he predates the films). The rate at which the bear descended was linked to the victim's speech. All he had to do to survive was shut up. Being Deadpool, he instead dislocated his limbs to get out, talking all the while.
* ''Cherry Comics'': Cherry and AdventurerArchaeologist Oklahoma Smith have sex while one is descending on them in "Oklahoma Smith and the Lost Temple of Doomed Raiders".

* In ''WesternAnimation/SherlockGnomes'', Moriarty plans to crush the kidnapped gnomes beneath the base of the Tower Bridge drawbridge, which descends as the bridge opens.

[[folder:Films--Live Action]]
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom''. Descending Ceiling. Also involves spikes that spring out of the ground carrying mysterious impaled skulls that weren't there before.
* Parodied (like so much else) in NeilSimon's ''Film/MurderByDeath''.
* ''Film/{{DEBS}}'' (the feature) has a sequence where our heroines get trapped in a safe with descending SpikesOfDoom. [[spoiler:Amy manages to persuade Lucy to deactivate the trap.]]
* A variant in the remake of ''Film/TheHaunting1999'' has the heroine's ''entire bedroom'' turned into this trope by a hostile supernatural force. Pretty alarming, as the walls, ceiling, and spikey ornamentation writhes and contorts like a living thing rather than closing in mechanically.
* From the silent film ''Film/TheGolem'': When the Rabbi's magic show at the Imperial court is interrupted by the frivolous courtiers, the magic backfires and causes the ceiling of the palace begins to descend. Luckily, [[LoadBearingHero the Golem saves the day before the worst happens]].
* ''Film/HighlanderIITheQuickening'' had one of these with a rotating blade attachment, it shredded Ramirez.

* This trope may have originated with the Literature/SherlockHolmes story ''The Engineer's Thumb'', in which the titular engineer almost gets turned into a hamburger.
* A famous variation can also be found in Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's ''The Pit and the Pendulum''.
* The gruesome short story ''The Iron Shroud'' by William Mudford, published in 1830, has this trope as its entire plot.
* In "A Terribly Strange Bed", a short story by Creator/WilkieCollins, some innkeepers murder (in order to rob) their guests by giving them a canopied bed where the canopy can be silently lowered to smother the sleeper.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' #32 had a variant where the purpose was psychological torture, rather than death. (Except the trapped character wasn't the open-space-loving alien the BigBad thought she was.) In fact, the trick to stopping it proved to be threatening to pull a TakingYouWithMe.
* In ''{{Literature/Doom}}: Knee-Deep in the Dead'', Arlene has to retrieve a key card from a platform with a descending ceiling.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' includes at least one episode with two chambers with Descending Ceilings.
* ''Series/JonathanCreek'' does this, in one of the episodes, a legendary escape artist attempts to escape from an ancient well, which was believed to be a "doorway to hell". [[spoiler: The escape artist isn't there when they check later. And he is later found dead in a river. Jonathan deduces that the well actually had a massive false DescendingCeiling that descended upon people in the room. The rest is too spoiler-y.]]
* In the ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'' episode, ''Hercules Versus The Moon Men'', a hokey spike trap, inspires Joel and the Bots to recreate a classic "booby" trap trick. HilarityEnsues.
* This was actually used on a GameShow: One of the games on the Japanese game show ''Series/DasshutsuGameDERO'' places a team of players in a room where they have to solve a series of puzzles via LinkedListClueMethodology while the ceiling slowly descends. (Unlike most examples of this trope, the ceiling actually seems to pause if it's about to render the game {{Unwinnable}} by blocking access to any items needed for an unsolved puzzle, but will speed up afterward to compensate.) The puzzles eventually lead to a way to open up a duct at the bottom of one wall, after which one member of the team must crawl in to reach the button that raises the ceiling back up and wins them money, but it's not easy, as the only thing that separates between the one contestant crawling and the button is the plexiglass, which is lubed with oil to make it slippery, also hidden are spider webs designed to slow them down. If time runs out and the ceiling reaches 3 meters below its initial height (this seems to be the height at which it would start to block the duct if it went any lower), the team fails and leaves empty-handed.
* This was used as a torture device in ''Series/AlloAllo'' by the Gestapo to get information and once Rene and the German officers told Herr Flick (who was playing an organ at the time) the truth he refused to believe them and went to kill them. They took the cyanide pills their friends had given them [[spoiler:by they didn't work and the General came just in time to free them]]. This was all PlayedForLaughs.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Barbara is almost killed by one (the deluxe spiked version) in "The Keys of Marinus".

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* There was an episode of ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'' where Col. White and Captain Blue were trapped in a hunting lodge with a Descending Ceiling.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' module ''TabletopGame/TombOfHorrors'', one of the false entrances to the the tomb traps the characters in and then hits them with a DescendingCeiling trap.
* The lurker above, from older editions of D&D, is a Descending Ceiling ''Monster''. Apparently, enough stupid adventurers wander into this trope for a species of predators to make a living emulating it.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' has [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Needle_Ceiling Needle Ceiling]].

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Featured in the queue line of ''Ride/IndianaJonesAdventure'' at the Ride/DisneyThemeParks. It's being kept from coming down by several bamboo poles propped in place.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'': Inside the Zone Eater, there is an area with a ceiling that slams onto the ground every few seconds. There are holes in the ceiling that you can hide in, but if you slip up and get crushed, the screen slowly fades out to a GameOver. Fortunately there is a SavePoint in the preceding room.
* ''VideoGame/DistortedTravesty 3'' gives us a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9QCSApwslo segmented ceiling lined with instant death spikes]] to harass the player.
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series:
** The infamous [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil "Jill Sandwich"]] moment. Notable in that it really was inescapable from within the room once it triggered. Either you had to replace the shotgun (whose absence on a wall rack triggered the trap) with a rusted one... or hope you were playing Jill for a [[BigDamnHeroes conveniently timely rescue by Barry]].
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' contains two rooms with a spiked ceiling, with four sensors that need to be shot out -- this apparently tricks the ceiling into thinking it's hit the bottom, causing it to retract.
** ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'''s "Lost in Nightmares" add-on, which was heavily influenced by the trap in the first game.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVI'' had a Descending Ceiling halfway through a labyrinth with an exposed gear mechanism ''inside the room''. It'd be laughably easy except the only way to jam it is a brick found mere inches from a instant-death trap three islands over and several hours back. Oh, and you can't exit the labyrinth once you enter it. Better hope you've got a save before that! (Or you [[GuideDangIt bought the guide]].)
** Extra-cruelly, if you try to jam it with the convenient object-to-hand, [[http://tmd.alienharmony.com/pa/kq6/2/k.htm it]] ''[[http://tmd.alienharmony.com/pa/kq6/2/k.htm almost]]'' [[http://tmd.alienharmony.com/pa/kq6/2/k.htm works]].
* ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'' had a large maze in the ShiftingSandLand area. The maze had a time limit, and the ceiling fell and crushed you when time ran out. To add to the tension, there were some really good items hidden in the corners, and the [[SongsInTheKeyOfPanic music that plays over the area]] gets faster and higher in pitch the closer the timer gets to running out.
* A popular variant seen in both ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}} Infinity'' and ''ShadowWarrior'' is one where there is a InsurmountableWaistHeightFence that you can't fit through but ''can'' shoot through, and a tiny, non-notable-looking switch in the distance you have to hit with a high explosive weapon to get the barrier out of the way before you're flattened.
* ''VisualNovel/RadicalDreamers'', the Japan-only semi-sequel to ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' that was made obsolete by ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', had a room trapped with a Descending Ceiling. Amusingly, the game used the same animation clip each time the player looked up to see it, giving the impression that the ceiling was falling almost onto them then teleporting back to the top when nobody was looking at it.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' uses many areas with crushing ceilings to inflict critical damage on any poor soul unfortunate enough to get caught under one. In fact, in Level 6 of ''Doom 2'', if the player is playing above "Hey, Not Too Rough" difficulty, he is pitted against a Spider Mastermind that one would normally be ill-prepared to fight at this point in the game. Fortunately for the player, a switch near the elevator you get off lowers down a crushing ceiling to kill the Spider Mastermind for you. Thus, the level is appropriately named "The Crusher".
* The trailer for the video game ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' shows a crushing ceiling (with spikes no less!) coming down to crush the character (while there are ''flames'' coming out of the pit next to you). In the video, the player simply fires a portal across the room, and one into the wall, and walks through it. [[NeverTrustATrailer The interesting thing about it]] is that there are no fires anywhere in the game except near the end, and there are no crushing ceilings -- and none with spikes -- anywhere in ''Portal''.\\
Someone developed an add-on room for Portal that includes the crushing ceiling ('''with spikes''') and a fire pit next to it. The add-on can be downloaded into the maps subdirectory for Portal and run from the Bonus menu. The map is called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYz8jDSk8_Q Hetzchase Nailway]]. Although the video doesn't quite match ''all'' of the map, the crushing ceiling is present.
* ''Franchise/SilentHill'' series:
** Used during the latter half of ''VideoGame/SilentHill3''. During the Borley Haunted Mansion segment, the spiked-ceiling can fall and kill Heather -- if the player avoids being killed by walking forward in a combat stance (she will be crouching slightly, just out of reach), the narrator of the mansion's tour promptly apologizes and assures the player that the contraption was ''not'' supposed to stop there.
** ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'' includes such a ceiling (a ''very'' fast one, to boot!) in one of the rooms on the upper floor of the hospital. These rooms are also randomized, so you never know which one is going to have the descending ceiling until you get there. [[spoiler: Fortunately, it can't hurt you: a grating prevents it from going down the whole way, and the descending ceiling is mainly there to give you a quick scare.]]
* Several levels in ''[[VideoGame/SeriousSam Serious Sam: The Second Encounter]]'' have crushing ceiling traps both of the "pillar" and "entire ceiling minus a few safe holes" variety. One of them, upon completion, treats the player to a round of applause.
* Occurs in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' in the Forest Temple. Not only is the ceiling falling, spiders hide above the safe squares to doom you. There are also spiked weights in Shadow Temple that you need to prop up, or else you will get squished.
* ''VideoGame/YoshisIsland'' has a level with this and ascending ground.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' series:
** In ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', has a room like this in Hooktail's Castle, with one twist: the door remains easily opened, but a spiky maze prevents a straight run to it.
** ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' has a similar trap in Merlee's Mansion. You escape by jumping ''on top'' of the descending ceiling. And then again in the final level, after a battle with O'Chunks. This time, he and Bowser stay behind to hold it up while the rest of the heroes continue on.
* A few levels in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' such as [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX2umKtcuvk&feature=PlayList&p=782D142D502CE2F9&index=38 Ludwig's Castle]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aDMs-19b3A&feature=PlayList&p=782D142D502CE2F9&index=84 Valley of Bowser 2]], and corridor #5 in Bowser's Castle (with SpikesOfDoom and Thwomps).
* ''VideoGame/TombRaiderIII''. Along with the traditional descending SpikesOfDoom in several areas, there's also the "[[ThisIsADrill drill of doom]]" in the Aldwych level.
* A few are found in the ''Franchise/MegaMan'' franchise. including:
** ''VideoGame/MegaManX3'' has a ceiling trap, and you have to get past a miniboss before you can escape. One reason to be careful with Zero during the game is that he'll [[LoadBearingHero hold up the ceiling]] here if you haven't broken him.
** Lan has to escape one of these traps in the castle in ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 2''.
** Uranus could do this in ''VideoGame/MegaManV (GB)''/''Rockman World V'' for a OneHitKill attack.
** In a {{homage}} to Uranus, Drill Man in ''VideoGame/Rockman4MinusInfinity'' could do the same thing.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManZero 1'' has this in a boss fight, but it's an interesting variation - Zero and Aztec Falcon are fighting ''on top'' of the ceiling, and Zero's trying to prevent it from crushing a Reploid beneath it.
* One of these may spawn in ''VideoGame/{{Spelunky}}'' to punish the greedy, unprepared player in the later areas of the game. Hope you saved some bombs to blast free.
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' had an interesting subversion of this trope. One of the villains tries to crush Vyse and his crew beneath a spiked ceiling... but the mechanism to start the ceiling doesn't work.
* ''[[VideoGame/BubbleBobble Puzzle Bobble]]'' (''Bust-A-Move'') and ''PB2'' (''[=BaM2=]'') have a variant that pushes the stacked bubbles closer to the line at the bottom and threatens the player's character(s).
* In ''VideoGame/LaMulana'', one room in the Chamber of Birth has a switch that causes a spiked ceiling to descend. You need to activate a hidden switch to open a wall that suddenly appears to trap you in, and then use the spikeless other side of the ceiling as a platform.
* ''VideoGame/Uncharted2AmongThieves'' features one that is defeated by shooting the teeth of the gears on a nearby wall, causing it to go in reverse.
* ''VideoGame/{{Contra}} 4'' has something like this in the final level.
* ''[[VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards Kirby 64]]: The Crystal Shards'' has this on Shiver Star Stage 4, which makes it probably the toughest level in the game.
* ''VideoGame/KirbysReturnToDreamLand'' has a stage in the Egg Engines area where several of the area features the ceiling constantly falling and lifting; each time, the placement of the safe areas was different, and some even had the [[MacGuffin Energy Spheres]] tucked in these safe spots that had to be collected before the ceiling lifted up.
* In the ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' map "Egypt", there are antechambers between some defender respawn rooms and the map at large. Should players get trapped in there when the first point is lost, the ceiling will descend and crush them, prompting them to respawn in the fallback room.
* The ceiling presses down (or the level rises up into the ceiling, it's a bit vague) in Marble Garden's second act in ''VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles'', as well as the second act of Planet Wisp in the DS version of ''VideoGame/SonicColors''. The latter of which occurs while Sonic is underground as a drill, in a bizarre twist.
* In ''VideoGame/FableIII'', during the quest "Gone, But Not Forgotten" the ghost of Max (one of the two brothers from ''Fable II'' who kept getting involved in supernatural trouble), having gone mad with power after getting his spectral hands on [[TomeOfEldritchLore the Normanomicon]] again, traps your hero in a room with one of these. His brother Sam shows up to save you, but ends up going on a tangent that results in him not stopping the descending, spiky ceiling until the very last second.
* In ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'', Kratos must hold one up and slowly inch his way to the exit while being attacked by dogs. Hilariously, if you stick around after escaping, you'll see the dogs get crushed.
* In ''VideoGame/LittleNemoTheDreamMaster'', the [[AutoScrollingLevel auto-scrolling]] House of Toys level has a part in which a ceiling covered with SpikesOfDoom repeatedly tries to strike Nemo from above. There's a similar but more drawn-out example of this in [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Nightmare Land]].
* In ''VideoGame/AlexKidd in Miracle World'', several rooms in the final castle level would try to trap Alex Kidd in an enclosed space and drop either a curtain of water or SpikesOfDoom on him.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFight 3'''s GameOver screen, your character (either [[{{Ambadassador}} Haggar]], [[{{Ninja}} Guy]], [[ActionGirl Lucia]] or [[TheLancer Dean]]) is bound to a table as a deluxe spiked ceiling descends on them. [[GuiltBasedGaming If you don't slip in a quarter and continue, it's safe to assume]] [[CruelAndUnusualDeath they were pierced AND crushed to death.]]
* At the end of Stage 8 in ''VideoGame/ArdyLightfoot'', the hallway's ceiling starts to fall, and as hope seems lost for Ardy, the ceiling suddenly stalls; Don Jacoby is using all of his strength to hold up the ceiling to give Ardy enough time to escape. Ardy does, but [[spoiler:the ceiling completely falls as soon as he reaches safely, implying that Don was crushed to death. However, Don shows up--alive and well--to assist Ardy in the final battle]].
* Some dungeons in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' contain an interesting [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] (As well as an [[IncrediblyLamePun inversion]]); instead of the ceiling coming ''down'', the floor rockets ''upwards''. Towards a spiky ceiling.
* In the Illithidae realm from ''VideoGame/BallRevamped IV: Amplitude'', a descenting wall gradually reduces the amount of safe space.
* ''VideoGame/RickDangerous'' features a descending ceiling trap in two passageways of the Egpytian level.
* Projector Games, a series of massive local multiplayer [[MiniGame minigames]] often found at Dutch anime cons, contains the game ''Pitfall'' ([[{{VideoGame/Pitfall}} no relation]]) where every player runs down a series of platforms attempting to outrun several buzzsaws at the top.
* In ''VideoGame/NinjaSpirit'', the area of the fourth stage leading to the BossRoom is a long corridor with a slowly descending ceiling, with {{Mooks}} to hinder you along the way. You have to reach the end before the ceiling touches your head.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The trap-filled Castle Heterodyne in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' naturally have these. One squashes [[spoiler:Dr. Silas Merlot and his mech]] after the portion of the castle he's in gets activated.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'': Seen in "Dime Enough For Luck". One of Magica's death traps involves a descending ceiling, threatening to crush Scrooge and the [[NotMyLuckyDay temporarily-unlucky Gladstone Gander]].
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'': This is a staple of Sector 5 in Lyoko (along with rising floors and crushing walls). Poor Odd got squashed at least twice.
-->'''Odd:''' ''(groans)'' Ever been flattened by a steamroller?
* ''WesternAnimation/WordGirl'''s villain Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy toys with a new evil lair, which includes one of these that almost leads to Wordgirl's demise.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'' plays this deadly straight with a pair of scientists off-screen.
* Done in the ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' cartoon, complete with spikes. Unlike most examples, Mega was bound to the floor, unable to move as the ceiling descended. Luckily, the handcuffs weren't of the strongest material, which was made sillier by the fact that ''Wily left Mega Man in his base unattended''.
* Inverted ''and'' double subverted on ''Literature/TheMagicSchoolBus'', when the class shrinks down and explores the bus's internal workings. Inside a piston chamber, they're afraid they'll be crushed when it moves upward, only to have it stop shy and move down again. They weren't in any danger from the piston ... but the bus itself is placed inside a ''car crusher'' in the very next scene.
** Subverted in an episode with the floor rising. The class goes inside an undersea volcano and get stuck between the rising magma and a boulder blocking the exit. Their solution, get out and attempt to lift the boulder off.
* The gang in ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'' run into one of these on Wabbit Island.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Horrifyingly happened [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versailles_wedding_hall_disaster in a wedding hall in Jerusalem]] back in 2001, when poor construction led to the floor collapsing during a wedding, killing 23 and injuring 380.
* This is usually how people die in earthquakes: the roof falls down and crushes them.