A Gas Chamber would be any room or facility where the victim will suffocate to death or be asphyxiated. An actual equivalent to the Gas Chamber might be used, a room where noxious or poisonous gas
is being fed through the ventilation system. Or, it could be a room with a vacuum sucking all the air out, or people could just be left in a sealed room
to eventually choke on their own carbon dioxide.
Serious Nightmare Fuel
, with the extra horror of being Truth in Television
for several million people during The Holocaust.
A villain contemplating using one has usually crossed the Moral Event Horizon
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- Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs had an episode in which Sabre Rider went to the Outworld and confronted the main baddie, who proceeded to suck the oxygen out of the room, as he himself didn't need it.
- This is what happens to Hinamizawa's population under the "Disaster of Hinamizawa" natural disaster coverup in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
- In Gundam Wing, Duo and Wufei are trapped in a little cell along with Professor G. The amount of air is limited (they are in space, after all), and Professor G says something along the lines of "If anyone wants to die, they should do so, and save some oxygen for the rest of us!"
- In an early chapter of the Lupin III manga, a guard said Lupin would be heading to the Gas Chamber. Inspector Zenigata knows that the method of execution at this particular joint is the electric chair and any guard would've known that. He has just enough time to figure out the guard is actually Lupin in disguise before Lupin uses this knowledge against him and he sets off to rescue the guard Lupin sent to be electrocuted in his place. This story was adapted into the Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode 'One Chance to Breakout'.
- Tintin in America had bandits drop Tintin into one through a Trap Door, before dropping his corpse in the Michigan. In the comic, they unintentionally used the wrong gas (a soporific) instead; in the animated version, there is no mention made of the soporific being a mistake (a drowning looks more "accidental"), and Tintin is rescued from the Lake by Snowy instead.
- In The Punisher: Circle of Blood, Punisher is dropped through a Trap Door into Trust's brainwashing chamber, and sedative gas is there to greet him. However, he easily escapes since he was dropped in with his gear, and the room was built with defenseless targets for "reidentification therapy" in mind.
- In the Kim Possible fanfic An Old Foe Returns, Mastermind attempts to test his formula that would diminish humanity's mental capacities on Kim and Ron through this manner. It's only through quick thinking and creativity that they escape.
- Saw II had a gas house.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace features at the beginning the Nemoidan Trade Federation trying to gas the ambassador Jedi (or heavily-armed religious fanatics, depending on your perspective).
- I Want to Live!! Barbara is executed inside a gas chamber.
- The unseen Big Bad of Police Academy 6 pulls this on Lassard when he reaches the meeting room, and Lassard is a little surprised he'd use such an old one:
Lassard: Oh, come on! Poison gas??
Villain: Yes, melodramatic I know, but effective.
- The original Sherlock Holmes short stories:
- The "Devil's Foot" had a character place the title root—an obscure poison from Africa—into an oil lamp. The lamp was then lit, releasing the poison into the air and causing death and brain damage to the killer's victims. The murderer is later killed in the same way himself. This one nearly killed Holmes and Watson when Holmes (in a rare moment of holding the Idiot Ball) experimented with the root to see if it's the culprit.
- In "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", the baddies attempt to kill their victim with charcoal gas.
- Another murderer used the poisoned candle M.O. in Edgar Allan Poe's The Imp of the Perverse.
- The poisoned candle trick shows up again in the Discworld novel Feet of Clay.
- One of the James Bond books has a sealed room with a window air conditioner which runs backwards to suck the air out. This also appears in The Barsoom Project.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House", a glass wall falls down in a room, and the dust of the gray lotus is used, which drives them murderously insane.
- The vacuum version is used in In Hero Years, I'm Dead involving a memorabilia room that the heroes are trapped in.
- The Raymond Chandler short story "Nevada Gas" uses the well-sealed backseat of a limousine.
Live Action TV
- The Prisoner episode "The Girl Who Was Death" had a room filled with poison-releasing candles that would explode if extinguished. The Prisoner escaped - this trap, at least - by placing all of the candles against the outer door and blowing them out with bellows.
- A Sherlock Holmes mystery ("The Case of the Exhumed Client", with Ronald Howard as Holmes; one of the many mysteries specially created for one of the many TV series) involved a person who died from a candle he didn't know was poisoned. Holmes flushed out the murderer by closing everyone in a small room and lighting the candle. The murderer, preferring a blown cover to death, broke the window.
- One of the urban legends busted by Mythbusters involves a man who, after a particularly starchy dinner, falls asleep in a small unventilated room and asphyxiates on his own flatulence.
- In an episode of Angel, an angry client tries to kill Gwen and Angel with a modified elevator and poison gas. Luckily, vampires don't need to breathe.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Angel rescuing Giles, Willow and Buffy from the high school basement, where they were locked in with the gas turned on by an angry invisible girl.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Dominion," Daniel gets caught in a room that is accidentally being flooded with toxic gas. Despite trying to breathe through his clothing, he inhales the gas for several minutes before the leak is shut off, but he seems to suffer no side effects whatsoever.
- In Farscape the Scarrans use a chamber flooding with paralytic gas. On learning he's trapped in one John yells, "Staleek, this is very unoriginal!"
- One stunt on Fear Factor involved enduring a sealed chamber that filled with CS gas longer than anyone else.
- CSI NY -the taxicab killer turned his cab into a mobile one of these.
- One episode of Midnight Caller had Jack Killian interviewing a condemned man before his execution via gas chamber.
- An episode of The Pretender had Jarod as a prison guard, trying to clear a man before he can be executed via gas chamber. He gets the real killer to talk by locking him in the gas chamber during a practice run, then releasing gas (it wasn't really poisonous, but the baddie didn't know that) until the guy confessed.
- Batman had a cliffhanger were Batman and Robin were tied up in a room while the Penguin's mooks sucked all the air out using a "Giant Reversing Bellows".
- In Dino Attack RPG, the entire XERRD Fortress became a facility-wide version of this trope once the Deadly Gas defense system was activated.
- In the 1E AD&D module The Hidden Shrine of Tamoanchan, the entire dungeon is this trope, at least until the PCs manage to open up some blocked ventilation passages.
- The videogame adaptation of The Thing has a scene where the protagonist is lured into a room quickly being filled with poison gas. The message left on a computer screen in the room is a nice touch:
Breathe deep, Blake. Breathe deep and die.
- Star Fox Adventures had such a room: you had to push blocks around while a special meter started emptying. This troper has never seen whether an empty meter means your life gauge starts emptying, or whether you got a failure cutscene, or whether you lost a life, but when you succeeded, the door would open, letting good air in, and also dropping the bars holding the Queen CloudRunner captive.
- Portal ends with GLaDOS attempting to flood the final battle area with a deadly neurotoxin after Chell destroys her morality core. She's quite nasty about it too, taunting Chell about her impending death from the deadly neurotoxin (along with jabs of a more personal nature.)
- Onimusha 3 had a gas chamber trap where you had to unlock the door by completing a "simon says" minigame before you succumb to the fumes.
- Knights of the Old Republic II features the Jekk'Jekk Tarr, a bar for aliens on Nar Shaddaa where the atmosphere is toxic to humans. It also had the HK-50 unit turn the entire dormitory section of the Peragus mining facility into one of these by sabotage. Both games let you use computer terminals to release poison gas on enemies as opposed to fighting them directly.
- Metal Gear Solid does this for a few spots if you get caught and one room where it will happen as a part of a storyline. In each case, gas fills the room and you quickly lose oxygen, but having an O2 mask equipped will slow it down. In two of these cases, there is no way to escape, and in the first, you don't even have the O2 mask. There is one room where gas is already there and you're forced to go through. Said area also has electrified floors, just in case, apparently.
- The original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake also had gas-filled rooms that you had to traverse.
- Tifa of Final Fantasy VII gets tossed into a gas chamber for a public execution midway through the game, and has to pick up the conveniently dropped key to her shackles with her feet to escape. Unlike other segments in the game, there is no time limit on this sequence - no matter how long you struggle, Tifa cannot be killed.
- Metal Wolf Chaos turns the entire city of Chicago into one big Gas Chamber for our hero. He needs to destroy the antitoxin canisters and seal the generators before the toxin level reaches lethal levels.
- Doom 3: An entire level is made into one of these, and you have to find the ventilation switch.
Dr. Betruger: There's nothing left for you but a slow death as your lungs fill with toxic gases.
- In the original Perfect Dark, you must flee a room flooded with nerve gas during your escape from Area 51.
- In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, several Ayleid ruins contain an interesting variation on this: step into an empty portion of a large room, and walls will slam down, temporarily trapping you while the room is pumped with gas. There are also rooms that simply have vents that always emit toxic gas.
- The original Resident Evil had a couple of poison gas death traps that activated if you did a puzzle wrong. In Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, a gas leak blocks your progress, and you have to find a way to activate the ventilation system to clear it.
- In The Journeyman Project, the NORAD VI installation is flooded with sleeping gas, requiring you to obtain an oxygen mask before you go there.
- There are three rooms in Batman: Arkham Asylum that end up getting filled with Smilex, forcing Batman to find a way to activate the ventilation system to purge the gas.
- Parodied in Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, where at one point your party is trapped inside a cabin which is slowly filled with sugar substancenote . The trap fails.
- Prototype has it in the form of Bloodtox, a gas harmless to anyone not infected by the virus. Alex, a man made up entirely of infected material, discovered this fact when it was announced to a room full of soldiers he had infiltrated, that they had been exposed to the gas for the last ten minutes. His disguise didn't last long.
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal invokes this with an entire arena, requiring you to beat all the enemies before Ratchet succumbs. It's just sleeping gas, but it works by depleting your health bar.
- There's a whole level dedicated to this in Dead Space. Standing too close to one of the Wheezers for too long will cause Isaac to die. Also, Isaac sometimes has to go out into the vacuum of space.
- In Dino Crisis there is a scientist trapped in a room filled with gas. You need to resolve a puzzle to neutralize the gas and open the door. If you're successful, the dying scientist gives you a key you need to advance. After that, if you search at his corpse, you find an extra key that you can use to get some goods. You can kill the scientist by accident, or on purpose, flooding the room with letal gas, but doing that, you only get the first key. After getting the key, you get ambushed by a velociraptor. You must survive a button-mashing event to escape from the room, leaving the dinosaur trapped. After that, you can kill the raptor using the computer to fill the room again with gas, poisoning him.
- The Suffering takes place in a haunted Maryland prison. One of the characters is the former executioner, Hermes T. Haight. Hermes enjoyed his work, and his favorite method of execution was the gas chamber. He altered the gas to retain it's color and odor, so that he could watch the prisoner's reactions as the chamber was flooded. Eventually, he became so obsessed with the gas, that he decided he needed to experience for himself. In the game, Hermes returns as a gaseous ghost who's always breathing in his own fumes. Late in the game he becomes a boss who tries to kill you with his gas, and you need to find ways to block the sources of it before taking care of him.
- At one point in BioShock, Andrew Ryan kills Julie Langford by sealing the door to her lab and flooding the room with poison.
- One sidequest in Fallout 3's Point Lookout expansion pack leads you into a radioactive gas trap.
- Rise of the Triad has a few levels with touchplates which when triggered flood the area with poisonous green gas. Hope you either found a gas mask before you triggered it, or at least manage to find one before all your health is gone.
- One of the quit messages reads "Press Y to release the cyanide gas." and is accompanied by an appropriate sound effect.
- Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money takes place in a ghost town covered in a toxic red gas cloud. On both normal and Hardcore modes, there are concentrated clouds that drain health rapidly, while on Hardcore, you slowly lose health throughout the general outdoor area.
- In KZ Manager you must send there your inmates so thet the "lesser races" be exterminated.
- In Look to the West, gas chambers called "phlogisticateurs" are employed by the alternate French Revolutionaries to execute the more prominent enemies of the Republic, including King Louis himself. They are invented due to the work of Antoine Lavoisier, who takes his own life upon realising this. They use carbon dioxide and are not very efficient, only being used for particularly cinematic cases - most of the time the Revolutionaries use the Chirugeon, the in-timeline name for our guillotine. In a twist, the phlogisticateur technology later becomes used to create test greenhouses that allow the widespread cultivation of cinchona trees, meaning a ready supply of quinine to combat malaria in Africa. This is intended to be a similar case to the fact that in our own history, chemotherapy drugs came about as a result of research into poison gas in WW1.
- An improvised version is done in the Mastermind series. The Mastermind locks his minions in the same room as him and orders a burrito.
- In the United States, this was once a common method for executions, mostly in the West. It has since fallen out of favor, and is currently allowed as an alternate method of execution in only six states. The last person to be executed by asphyxiation was German national Walter LeGrand in Arizona in 1999. The federal courts declared this method as unconstitutional "cruel and unusual punishment", unless chosen specifically by the inmate. Today, the executions are made with lethal injection. (In 2014, when prisons were faced with a shortage of sodium thiopental due to the EU export ban, several states attempted to revive the gas chamber. As of this writing, they've not succeeded.)
- Nazi Germany used two main types of this.
- There were the well known death camp "showers" where people were sent into fake bathhouses and gassed to death. In some places, such as Auschwitz, they used Zyklon B gas, a cyanide-based pesticide. At Treblinka, where the Jews of Warsaw and other parts of Poland were annihilated, they used carbon monoxide. Less well known and not used much were trucks where the people were loaded into the back, airtight doors shut and the truck exhaust pumped in. These were not economically practical and were discontinued.
- The latter as well as the former have shown up in fiction.
- Schrodinger's Cat is a thought experiment in quantum physics, that imagines a cat is locked in a box with a flask of poison gas, and a radiation-detector that will break the flask if a radioactive atom emits a particle.
- Finnish Army uses gas chambers to train the recruits to use gas masks. The recruits are taken to a sealed airtight building, the sergeant sets off a tear gas charge, and the recruits are to put on their gas masks. Nobody is allowed to enter out until the gas has dissipated.
- Similar training had been performed in Eastern Bloc armies throughout the Cold War: a large field tent had been used for the chamber, the recruits inside were to put on their masks at the instructor's signal and at the same time the instructor would set off the tear gas charge. Things would go nasty if the filters on some masks had been previously damaged, which often happened. That's why a tent was used, to roll up the fabric sides and release quickly those unfortunate recruits to open air.
- At US military basic training recruits must go through the "Confidence Chamber", where the recruit's division goes into a room, the instructor sets off a tear gas capsule and the recruit must take off their mask and recite whatever the instructor tells them too. Oh joy.
- The US Air Force and US Army do this same thing as part of NBC training. They will only let you out of the chamber if you manage not to panic. The idea, of course, is to show you that A) Your chemical warfare gear will protect you if you are wearing it, and B) Show you why you want to make sure you wear it when needed.
- There is also the need to be sure a future sailor or airman confronted with a messy, smoky and incendiary malfunction of the ship or plane will stay calm and proceed to do the needed repairs instead of panicking.
- Mandatory prep for a trip on NASA's Vomit Comet, the KC-135 weightlessness simulator, involves being put in a room that the oxygen is lowered in, then being required to remove your oxygen mask and answer math questions to see how your brain holds up. It's to help prepare people for what could happen if the thing loses pressure at 30k feet. It was even required for the cast of the movie Apollo 13 before their trips.
- Herman Mudgett, better known as H. H. Holmes, had one of these built into his hotel in Chicago in the 1890s. Numerous people ended up killed in there, as Holmes became perhaps the first Serial Killer on American soil.
- Sadly, too many of these are still used in animal shelters, though it's hoped new laws will stop the practice.