The snails that lived in nice shoes went for a crawl over this salty-looking road.
Hectan: You've KIIIILLLLEEEEEDD MEEEEEEE
) Zelda: Good!
Maybe you ran out of time to fix the killer poison. Maybe you're made of paint or something. Maybe someone froze you and then heated you up really fast. Or, maybe you opened the Ark of the Covenant. Maybe you fell into lava
or acid or something else that makes people melt. Point is, you're about to learn how a snowman feels in the spring.
is when a character or other life form, for one reason or another, has a literal meltdown. In most illustrated fiction, this can be shown in five basic ways:
- Type A: Collapsing into lumpy goo:. Probably one of the best and nastiest looking meltdowns one can find, it basically occurs when the subject slowly turns to goo all over, flesh falling and dripping from their body onto the floor. It doesn't usually leave a viscous puddle either, so much as a pile of soggy dough.
- Type B: From the ground up. The most classic example, in which only the part of the subject that touches the ground actually turns to liquid. Of course, this means that, sequentially, every part of the body will touch the ground, often giving the illusion of sinking into a shallow puddle (conversely, the easiest way to stage this effect in live-action settings is to do exactly that, lowering the actor on a hidden trap door. See The Wizard of Oz or any of several Star Trek episodes.) Oddly, the victim will never be considered dead until their head has melted, which will be alive and speaking until the end despite their heart and lungs melting beforehand.
- Type C: Soda pop. This one was quite popular with Disney cartoons in the mid/early 90's. In short, this one is very similar to From the ground up, except with the added effect of being very, VERY fizzy. Bubbles tend to actually rise off of the subject and pop in mid-air. Imagine an alka-seltzer sitting in a puddle of water, and you've got the idea here. Sometimes this will leave a nice clean puddle, but other times, the subject may completely dissolve into a shrinking pile of fizz.
- Type D: Bones. One of the rarest types of meltdown, this is when everything but the skeleton is reduced to a puddle of Pepto-Bismol. Truth in Television, since bones, especially human bones, are very difficult to completely destroy. Cremated remains are mainly bits of bone — everything else evaporates.
- Type E: Vaporization. This is regarded as melting, but looks like it didn't just stop with turning the victim to a liquid. In fact, often, the liquid isn't even seen. It's as if they skipped a step, steaming and sublimating from the ground up.
This is a common fate of enemies weak to water
, salt, certain poisons/acids, and of course, deconstructive nanobots
Note that this can be a subtrope of No Body Left Behind
and Everything Fades
, although it can lead to Empty Piles of Clothing
in works where Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing
. It can also be played for comedic effect, with the victim restored to normal in the next scene. A subtrope of this is Lustful Melt
Due to the fact in fiction people often say this when they are melting, this could be considered an example of Captain Obvious
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- Several football players begin to suffer a Type B meltdown thanks to the heat, until Boomer Esasion passes them all bottles of Pepsi. As they chug, the melting is not just stopped, but reversed. Hm... Does that mean that Pepsi really does bring your ancestors back from the dead?
- The same principle was used in a Sierra Mist commercial with a man whose legs fuse to the ground as he walks toward a vending machine, getting shorter and shorter as he leaves a denim-textured trail of goo behind him. He gets his drink in time to chug himself back to normal only moments before he would have been unable to reach the machine, then he just has to pour out a single drop to restore his poor puddle of a dog.
Anime & Manga
- In Detective Conan, due to the action of APTX (discussed in depth in Art Major Biology), victims eventually melt — even for our survivors (to them APTX became a Fountain of Youth), they did feel their bones melting, and smoke came out from their bodies.
- Elfen Lied has a particularly gruesome case of Type A in the last chapter. Lucys psychic powers slowly damage her body on a molecular level and during the finale she uses them to such a great extent that parts of her slowly start to liquefy. In her moment of redemption, she uses all the power she has to save Kouta and his friends which literally causes her skin and flesh to melt. First the arms and legs fall off and during the death scene she is only a melting skull and torso and asks to be covered by a jacket so the others (and the readers) don't have to see her like that during her final minutes.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- End of Evangelion has everyone getting hugged by a hallucination of their most loved person and then promptly collapsing into primordial soup. Anti-AT field: quick, painless and 100% effective.
- Episode 20 has a similar thing happening to Shinji: he immersed into his berserking Eva so much his body melted into LCL and they had to figure out how to rebuild it and bind his soul in it. Same thing happened to his mother while he was watching, by the way.
- Happens twice in Guyver: the first time to Lisker when Guyver II's damaged control medal was smashed, and again later in the series when Sho as Guyver I has his control medal torn out by Enzyme. Temporarily subverted in that the second occurrence didn't immediately result in melting, but Guyot psychically causing Enzyme's body to burst apart when the berserking Guyver I tackled him behind reduced both Enzyme and Sho to a rapidly-disintegrating mound of bioflesh and bones.
- Amayo Jingorou from Basilisk can turn his body into semi-liquid ooze by covering himself with salt. This is why he's absolutely terrified of the sea, since the salt water dissolves his body completely. This is exactly how he meets his end.
- It would appear that this was the ultimate fate of Dr. Light. Although he was first turned into a candle by The Spectre.
- Would you believe that wholesome Archie Comics published not one, but two stories featuring this trope (both Type D)?
- The original Life With Archie series (1958-1991) featured longer, more "adventure" oriented stories than the typical Archie titles, including one with a mysterious Satanic box that melts people's faces off.
- From 1972 to 1974, Archie published a Sabrina the Teenage Witch spinoff, Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as Told By Sabrina. It had the odd combination of straight-up horror stories with art in the familiar Archie house style and Sabrina acting as Horror Host. One story in particular stands out, featuring a boy who teases a stutterer at school. The kindly teacher happens to be a witch, and gives him an enchanted book that melts his face off, and possibly kills him!
Films — Animation
- Late in the animated movie Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Freddy, Daphne, and Velma are tied up, as wax voodoo dolls of themselves are tossed dangerously close to a fire (Oh, and btw, the supernatural stuff is for real this time.) The actual character's faces visually start to melt before Scooby runs in and pulls the voodoo dolls away from the fire.
- In the sequel to the above, Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost Shaggy runs into a real witch, or the ghost of her, and tries this. She just glared at Shaggy.
- In a scene near the end of Transformers: The Movie, a number of anonymous Cybertronian robots are shown dissolving in a pit of molten metal inside Unicron's "belly", in order to set up a Big Damn Heroes moment when Daniel and the Autobots come to rescue the ones we actually care about. Their demise is accompanied by the usual splashing, struggling, then turning cherry red and sinking out of sight.
- He was already basically made of acid, but Meltdown from Transformers Animated collapses into a puddle when exposed to a malfunctioning 'genetic modifier'. The episode's last shot was of his face appearing in the liquid, but nothing came of it.
- The Type-D version happened to Rasputin in Don Bluth's Anastasia when the heroine smashed the artifact he gained his power from. It's been foreshadowed several times that he's technically a zombie, and the relic is the only thing keeping him alive, so it was pretty obvious this would happen.
Films — Live-Action
- The album Death Valley High by Zombina And The Skeletones is a concept album that tells the story of a troubled young girl who slaughters her classmates in the song "Janie's Got a Dissolvo Ray".
- The Christmas song "Frosty the Snowman" mentions having fun before he melts away. In the animation based on the song, he melts in the greenhouse where he takes a little girl to keep her warm. Tear Jerker.
- In The Goon Show episode "The Childe Harold Rewarde," Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty reduce Seagoon to liquid in a steam-bath and trap him in a bottle. They then threaten to drink him as part of an extortion scheme. Because this is The Goon Show, Seagoon begged the audience for help from within his bottle.
- In Mortasheen, the creature Waxwork can do this to your skin and then absorb the melted flesh into itself.
- Dungeons & Dragons: The spell "infaillible servant" from the book Exemplar of Evil can turn a creature into a foul sludge if it is slain or captured, making impossible to interrogate or resurrect it. Note that this spell is cast solely on a willing subject.
- In BIONICLE, it is implied that Zaktan may have done something like this to a Toa of Plasma, since the only sign of him left was an orange puddle, although it's still ambiguous as to what actually happened in that room. Tahu also partly melts Nektann using his heat powers in self-defense, but manages to avoid killing him.
- Characters in the Army Men games who are attacked with a flamethrower will flatten out into a puddle and fade away. Justified because all the characters are plastic toy soldiers, which will melt in high temperatures.
- The Legend of Zelda
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Like-likes will slowly melt into a puddle before burning away.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past features an enemy made of ice completely resistant to everything but fire magic, which reduces it to a shrinking puddle.
- In some older 2.5 betas of Zelda Classic, there is some unused sprites of Wizzrobes, depicting them as melting into a pile of clothes, and reappearing elsewhere. Since there is no way to place these sprites in a Wizzrobe's animation (they just flicker with their normal sprites), this never took off.
- A Type C in Zelda: Wand of Gamelon, quoted above.
- Super Mario Sunshine has several enemies and even allies that appear to be made of paint. Water, which is your main weapon in the game, will cause these paint beings to melt into a puddle of paint.
- Shoot tinbots with the plasma beam in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and they will sink into bright puddles.
- Type D with Crocomire in Super Metroid, can fall into a pit of lava/acid/coca-cola, which will cause its flesh to graphically melt off, until only a skeleton remains.
- In Crusader: No Remorse and its sequel, Crusader: No Regret, shooting a human target with the most powerful weapon in the game, the PL-4 Plasma Rifle, causes their flesh to melt off most of their flesh before the obviously still slightly meaty skeleton crumples. Anyone attempting to use a teleport pad with an Inhibitor nearby suffers the same fate.
- In the Fallout games, plasma weapons have a special effects death where the victim dissolves into a puddle of green slime. In Fallout 3, this is accompanied by a wet, slurpy sort of sound — lasers, which burn the target to ashes, have a crisp, crackling, burning sort of noise. The Fallout 3 versions are considerably different from Fallout and Fallout 2, though plasma still reduces its victim to goo. Or rather, it melts the flesh off the bones, which promptly collapse into the resultant puddle for a stereotypical 'Bones' version. Lasers just cut victims in half (or thirds depending). Fallout 3's lasers actually act more like Fallout 2's pulse rifles in that regard, incidentally. This also happens to the player character upon activating Project Purity at the end of the game, unless the Broken Steel expansion pack is installed.
- Since there are too many of them to leave intact corpses without excessive performance drag, the Marked Men in the final battle of Lonesome Road all undergo plasma melting after death.
- Space Quest
- In Sierra's Space Quest being hit by a drop of acid has it "sear its way to your feet" (through your head), but the VGA remake dissolves Roger the protagonist top-down, into a puddle of goo and a really stupid-looking head in a protective helmet.
- In Space Quest II, Roger can fall into a death trap of green acid. Contrary to type, it kills him gradually, complete with descriptive text!
- In Space Quest III (and an easter egg in Space Quest IV), going unprotected on a volcanic world causes Roger to melt into a puddle. Roger can also (rather easily) fall into the lava, and the Have a Nice Death picture was accompanied with a half-melted, mostly skeletal Roger trying to get out of the goo.
- In Space Quest IV, being caught by a slime monster causes Roger to fall straight into it, with a suitable shot of his half-skeletal form trying to claw his way back out.
- Nobody melts in Space Quest V. We thought we'd mention that for the novelty value. The Pukoids seem half-melted, though.
- In Space Quest VI, Roger can fall into a pool of acid, with a suitable scene of flailing around and bobbing to the surface with his flesh melted off before a ground-up sizzling into oblivion.
- In Mass Effect 2, this is the final fate of those captured by the collectors, and not rescued in time; or a random colonist if you save everyone...well, everyone else, that is.
- In Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, enemies you kill melt into puddles of blood regardless of the method used to kill them.
- In FunOrb's Miner Distubance, the trope name can be your epitaph in case of death by lava.
- In Mortal Kombat, one of Shang Tsung's Fatalties inflicts Type A, while Reptile's acid and knocking an opponent into the Deadpool are Type C.
- The Particle Beam in First Encounter Assault Recon does a Type D to enemies. Alma also does it to several FEAR and Delta soldiers.
- Memorably, hilariously/disturbingly, and unintentionally occurred in the early releases of Dwarf Fortress v.2010. Due to a mistake in the materials files, if a dwarf got wet in hot weather, all of their body fat would melt off and they'd bleed to death.
- There exist a couple of Pokémon (especially blobby or water-based ones) that can learn a move called Acid Armor, which is sort of invoking this trope. Contrary to the trope's outcome, though, it doesn't kill the Pokémon, it just raises its defense a lot.
- This could be either a Type A or Type D in Brain Dead 13, but in one death scene in the cocoon chamber, a spray of acid hits Lance's face, resulting in his entire face and head melting (except for the eyeballs) along with his entire body, which melts away into nothingness at all.
- In Tales of Monkey Island, when Demon Bride Elaine sprays Ghost Pirate Guybrush with root beer, he dissolves into a skeleton, which is a definite Type D, before he thankfully rematerializes back into the Crossroads Center.
- Enemies in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 melt Type C-style after death. The Novistador's acid attacks inflict Type D on Leon's face.
- Being made of goo, this is how Gruntz die when killed via regular damage. One of their death quotes is even "I'm Melting!".
- Gastropods. Small, harmless creatures (on land anyways), some with shells. Most of their body is held together with water, so when a little salt is applied.... With many common breeds of snail, especially when poisoned by predators, this elevates into the extremes of Type-C.
- What happens to snowmen in the spring, obviously.
- Jellyfish on beach. They are 98% of water...
What a world, what a world...