Ground By Gears

A particularly Cruel and Unusual Death where a character ends up trapped in a mesh of large machinery, which crushes and grinds them into a pulp. Oftentimes, given the purpose of the devices, it features someone being wedged between two of them at once. If this happens in a cartoon, chances are the character involved will simply be Squashed Flat.

Often goes hand in hand with a Conveyor Belt of Doom. Places where this can happen are often guilty of No OSHA Compliance. Surprisingly has nothing to do with Gears of War. Often involves a Gory Discretion Shot. Not to be confused with what grinds your gears. Compare with Deadly Rotary Fan.

This is often a Death Trope, so all spoilers are unmarked.


Examples include

Film- Animated
  • In Disney's The Great Mouse Detective, Basil flips The Villain's cape into some bevel gears while the two were fighting inside Big Ben. Basil then rushes to rescue the Heartwarming Orphan, who is poised to be crushed by much larger gears meshing, leaving The Villain to tear off his cape to free himself.
  • Cars 2: Around the climax of the movie, Finn and Holly are tied to the giant clock gears of the Big Ben by the bad guys, with them edging closer to being crushed by another gear each minute. Holly manages to save themselves by making the clock run in reverse.
  • The Brave Little Toaster: Toaster commits a Heroic Sacrifice by jumping into the gears of a trash compactor to stop it from killing the Master. Fortunately, the Master is able to repair his good as new.

Film- Live Action
  • In The Climax of 2012, Gordon ends up caught in the gears of the Ark's door mechanism and is brutally (though not explicitly) crushed to death. A minor Chinese character also ends up getting a leg caught in the machinery.
  • The Final Destination: After barely escaping an explosion in the mall, Lori is pulled into the exposed machinery of a broken escalator and is torn to shreds as Nick looks on. Of course, this turned out to be another premonition and he is able to prevent it. In an alternate scene, he ends up getting pulled in as well.
  • Subverted in Modern Times. Charlie gets caught inside the machinery, but the gears only move him around without harming him.
  • Happens to a mook in Snowpiercer, when he gets pushed over a railing during a fight scene and is then eaten by the train engine's gears, thanks to No OSHA Compliance.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. At the end of Indiana's fight with a Giant Mook, the villain is dragged into a giant rock crusher by his scarf and squashed to death.
  • Licence to Kill: The Dragon Dario attempts to drop Bond into an industrial pulverizer that is being used to crush cocaine. After a tough fight, Bond manages to yank Dario so he falls into the pulverizer and is turned into a fine pink mist.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode "Death by Miss Adventure", the Body of the Week is a factory worker mangled by the machinery. The investigation reveals that the safety equipment was added after the death, that the factory owner was running illegal nighttime shifts under a second set of accounts, and, ultimately, that the victim was pushed into the gears by her spurned lover, who decided that If I Can't Have You.......
  • CSI: In "Hero to Zero", the second Victim of the Week is crushed to death in the winching mechanism of his truck in an attempt to Make It Look Like an Accident.

Literature
  • In Going Postal, Mr. Gryle is quite thoroughly done in by an experimental mail-sorting engine, thanks to a central flywheel so poorly designed that it rotates through its own space-time frame. Alien Geometries plus an off-balanced banshee equals a [Gloop] and a sticky smear.

Video Games
  • BlazBlue
    • Carl Clover's updated Astral Heat in Chronophantasma has him trapping his foe in a pocket dimension where they are grinded to dust by giant gears.
    • One of Relius Clover's Distortion Drives, Req Vinum, has him trapping the foe in an energy field and chipped away by large gears and cogs.
  • Crash Tag Team Racing: In one of the "Die-o-rama" cutscenes, Crash is killed by being crushed by giant gears.
  • Pokmon: the move Gear Grind, learned by the Klink evolution line, uses gears to crush targets.
  • There are two obstacles in Duke Nukem 3D that are composed of two enormous gears meshing, with one gear missing a tooth. Duke can travel between these gears if he occupies the missing tooth's space. Or he can mistime it, and get squished, giving himself a Bond One-Liner.
  • This can happen to Norman Jayden in Heavy Rain during the junkyard fight, if the player doesn't guide him out of the car thrown into the grinder fast enough.
  • In God Of War 3, Kratos uses Poseidon's princess to keep a gate mechanism open, but her strength eventually gives out and she's crushed by the gears, her mangled body keeping the gate from closing completely.

Western Animation
  • Narrowly averted in the Silly Symphonies short "The Old Mill''. A bird has made her nest on one of the spoke holes of a grindstone of the abandoned mill. That night a storm starts moving the gears and the rope holding the main gear breaks. The bird and her eggs are only saved by the fact that the corresponding spoke is missing.
  • The second Roger Rabbit short cartoon is Roller Coaster Rabbit, which sees a desperate Roger attempt to save Baby Herman from harm at a carnival. When Baby Herman clambers aboard a Ferris wheel, Roger tries to snag him from the car, but his feet become enmeshed in the wheel's many exposed drive gears. Toon Physics make this mightily painful for Roger, but neither injurous nor fatal; even his outfit emerges intact.
  • The Villain from Hanna-Barbera's cartoon series Josie and the Pussycats episode "Never Mind A Mastermind" seeks to eliminate the meddlesome Alexander, Melody and Alexandra by letting a cogged rack act as a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom, taking the three toward the point where it meshes with a large drive gear. The Team Pet saves them from being meshed to mush, however.
  • The Pixar short cartoon Mikes New Car from 2002 has Mike Wazowsky from Monsters, Inc. show off his new car to his best friend James Sullivan. At one point, Mike ends up in the car's engine bay with the hood shutting above him. The engine compartment seems composed of solely of large gears meshing precisely to create this hazard. Mike survives due to Plot Armor and the Rule of Funny.
  • The Batman has a Mle Trois between Batman, Catwoman, and Ragdoll take place inside the Gotham clock tower over two legendary jewels supposedly hidden inside it
    • Batman is about to be dragged into one of these deaths by way of a Cape Snag from Ragdoll, prompting a Sadistic Choice between losing his hooded cape (and thus making a Dramatic Unmask) or this trope. He is narrowly saved by Catwoman on the grounds that she doesn't want his mysterious allure ruined.
    • Just after Batman is saved by Catwoman the enormous bells of the clock tower strike, and the vibrations sends Ragdoll tumbling into the gearwork, prompting a bloodcurdling scream from Ragdoll as the gears swallow and grind him with both Batman and Catwoman looking on in horror as the scream dies... and gives way to a relieved sigh with Ragdoll emerging on the other side no worse for wear, prompting Stunned Silence from both Batman and Catwoman. The real kicker? While he was undergoing what, to him, was essentially thorough impromptu massage therapy he somehow managed to spot and grab the two jewels while inside the gearworks.
      Ragdoll: Really irons out the kinks... oh! And lookie what I found! [holds up the jewels with a shit-eating grin on his face]
    • Batman later abuses Ragdoll's immunity to this trope to get around his Thou Shalt Not Kill rule - by kicking him into the gears (much to Ragdoll's enjoyment) only to jam the gears with a batarang, causing Ragdoll to get helplessly stuck and taking him out of the Mle Trois.
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