Melting-Film Effect

Sometimes, films can catch you off guard. And one way to do that is to make it look like the film has melted from the projector. This doesn't just happen in the films, this can happen on television, cartoons, heck, even webtoons! Just don't expect to be caught off guard if it's in a video or cartoon on the internet.


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  • The 1966 film Persona directed by Ingmar Bergman might be the Trope Maker here (or, at least, the Trope Codifier).
  • Happens during the reel changes in Planet Terror.
  • An In-Universe example is seen in The Smallest Show on Earth, a film about a couple running a broken-down old cinema in the north of England.
  • In Midnight Movie, the effect is used in universe in a chilling way. None of the scenes straight after it happens are from the film they're watching.
  • The 1971 cult film classic Two-Lane Blacktop uses this trope to bring the movie to a disjointed end. The audience is placed in the back seat of a suped-up 55 Chevy in a drag race at a track, looking forward over the shoulder of the driver (James Taylor). Just before the car accelerates down the track the sound drops out and as the car picks up speed the film slows until it starts to melt through and then the screen goes to black. The audience never sees the end of the last race.
  • Dr. Forrester accidentally does this to This Island Earth in The Movie of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • At the end of the 1968 Monkees film Head, a grand and beautiful version of the Columbia Pictures torch lady fades in. As the ending orchestral theme blasts on, the film begins to flutter increasingly on the logo, wriggles around and slides wildly until it stablizes again; to a complete jammed stop it seems as the film begins to melt away to the top-left corner upon a background of flames, and is only just a little black shrivel when the lens finally shuts. It is not known whether this was intentionally done to end the movie on a distinctive note, or it was unexpected.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happened on Mash during a film night, when they were trying to watch My Darling Clementine. They had a sing-along and impression contest while Klinger tried to fix it.

  • Ultravox's "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" video ends with the family's Happier Home Movie film melting, presumably due to nuclear radiation.
  • As part of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's live show, they have visuals projected from actual film. Later in the show, the projectionist will literally burn the film (with a lighter) while it's still being shown, producing this effect.

    Web Original 
  • The beginning of the Unskippable intro sequence, but only in the archives, as the more recent ones just have the Escapist's logo.
  • Homestar Runner: Used in a music video for "Experimental Film" by They Might Be Giants. According to the in-character commentary, it happened because Strong Sad loaded the film wrong, and he decided to Throw It In!.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation