Murder by Cremation
[after sealing Bond in a coffin and conveying him into a crematorium's furnace]A somewhat baroque means of murder, the killer shuts their victim in a coffin (knocking them out first is optional) and feeds the coffin into a crematorium oven. This both kills the victim and disposes of the body in one fell swoop. Occasionally the killer will opt to dispense with the coffin. This trope can also be easily combined with Conveyor Belt of Doom. Note that in Real Life this wouldn't entirely work for the disposing of the body part, since cremation alone is insufficient for fully destroying the bones of the body (this being done later by placing them in a special grinding machine). Works great for the murder portion of the evening, though. Useless trivia: a crematory oven is called a "retort". A subtrope of Kill It with Fire.
Mr. Wint: Very moving.
Mr. Kidd: Heartwarming, Mr. Wint.
Mr. Wint: A glowing tribute, Mr. Kidd.
Mr. Wint: Very moving.
Mr. Kidd: Heartwarming, Mr. Wint.
Mr. Wint: A glowing tribute, Mr. Kidd.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- A side story of Telepathic Wanderers had the telepathic Nanase nursing an old woman who soon died. After the funeral, Nanase began hearing the old woman's thoughts and realized she wasn't actually dead, but moments away from cremation. Torn between saving the old woman and exposing herself as a telepath, she ends up leaving the woman to die.
- Variation: In the first chapter of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, when Tohma was discovered sneaking into the facility containing Lily and successful gaining a reaction with her, the people in charge of that facility attempts to get rid of both Tohma and Lily by activating the lab's heat sterilization function, burning the entire area at temperatures that could melt metal. Fortunately, the Viral Transformation of Tohma had already completed by then, allowing him to protect both himself and Lily and subsequently escape.
- Happens to Donkey Kong in La Belle .
- The witch in "Hansel and Gretel" was roasted to death in her own oven. That was self-defense, though.
Films — Animated
- At the end of Toy Story 3, Lotso Bear actually threatens to kill Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of Andy's toys by literally leaving them all behind to die in a garbage incinerator (which is actually the toy equivalent of a crematorium). The heroes were all saved by the Aliens with the help of a large claw overhead, but still...
- At the end of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" segment of Fantasia 2000, the evil Jack-in-the-Box is literally flung into a fire while attempting to kill the titular tin soldier. This is actually reversing the original story, where both the soldier and the ballerina died this way when a boy threw the former into the fire for no reason, while the latter was blown into said fire by a gust of wind.
Films — Live-Action
- Wint and Kidd attempt to do this to James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. It's one of the few Death Traps that he has to be rescued from.
- Cremating alive is the standard means of executing sense offenders in Equilibrium. It is so disturbing that witnessing one at close range makes The Stoic Preston suffer a Heroic BSOD, though it may have also had something to do with the fact that the burned person was his potential Love Interest. And the fact that his wife was executed in front of him the same way.
- Two of Jigsaw's Death Traps in Saw movies burned the trapped person alive; The Oven in 'Saw II and the Final Trap (a brazen bull) in Saw 3D.
- In The Haunting In Connecticut, it's revealed that the little boy who's haunting the sickly teen in the present died when the other ghosts of the house locked him into the cremation furnace and turned it on.
- In Scrooged, when the Scrooge stand-in attends his funeral during the Ghost of Christmas Future's tour, he ends up in the coffin as it goes into the retort.
- Near the end of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the title character throws Mrs. Lovett into her own oven to be burned alive after finding out that the beggar woman, whom he had recently killed, was none other than his wife Lucy, and that Mrs. Lovett had lied to him about her being dead because she wanted him for herself.
- Taken to a ridiculous extreme in a deleted scene of Johnny English, where a man who is part of Sauvage's plot to become king threatens to go to the police unless he gets more money, who is then led into Sauvage's private elevator. On the way down, the walls open to reveal several flamethrowers, and the man is burned alive on the way down. At the bottom, one of Sauvage's henchmen shows up with a dustbuster, as the body has been completely reduced to ash in a matter of seconds.
- In a self-destructive variant, a character in Return of the Living Dead did this to himself, as he'd become a zombie and had no other means of ending his agony that would be certain to work.
- Flame jets (used to kill bugs on animal carcasses) form part of Lord Blackwood's Death Trap in the slaughterhouse in Sherlock Holmes.
- Happens in The Grey Zone to a Nazi guard when the Twelth Sonderkommando group launches an uprising in Auschwitz
- If Death's killings can be classed as murder, there's the tanning bed deaths in Final Destination 3. That specific way was busted by the MythBusters, though.
- Subverted in Bordello of Blood, as the crematory oven is a secret passage to the titular bordello.
- Double-Subverted in The A-Team: Smith is knowingly put in the cremation oven still-alive, but the goal wasn't to kill him, and in fact his escaping from the oven was all part of the plan. When he emerges alive, the attendant's reaction to the following line is to faint:
- Played for laughs in The Addams Family. For his brother's wedding, Gomez orders a huge cake with a stripper inside. However, when the cake is delivered, it turns out that the unwitting butler put the girl inside before he put it into the oven. Nobody is too upset though.
- The T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Arnold's death was more "assisted suicide" than murder, but yeah.
- Suicide by cremation occurs in Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes.
- As it does in Gattaca.
- Happens to the father of one of the college kids in Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.
- The eponymous killer baboon in Shakma dies when it is tricked to jump into a crematory.
- The main characters do this to the trio of witches in Disney's Hocus Pocus. However, they are later revived by their magic book, and the kids have to come up with a different plan.
- In keeping with the original fairy tale, this is how Hansel and Gretel dispose of the first witch they encounter as children in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
- In Like Flint - in a government document-disposal complex, Flint (actually the guy he was fighting) is put into the incinerator and reduced to a pile of fine ash, riding there on a conveyor belt of doom.
- Ray Bradbury's short story Pillar of Fire. In a future society all horror literature has been burned for reasons of mental health (a la Farenheit 451) and all corpses in graveyards are being excavated and burned for hygenic reasons. A corpse reanimates and goes on a rampage to stop the burning: he's cremated at the end of the story.
- A supernaturally-strong killer in Wolf In The Fold cuts out the middleman of a coffin or a full crematorium, and simply shoves a living victim's face into the fireplace until he's dead. While this doesn't destroy the whole body, it burns the corpse's face beyond recognition, which allows the illusion-casting killer to impersonate the dead man.
- In the Doc Savage novel The Mountain Monster, gangsters attempt to feed Doc, Monk and Ham into a crematorium furnace. They fail due to Doc being Crazy-Prepared.
- Used in John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion: when the mutineers murder Captain Grimaldi. A token attempt is made to claim it was suicide, Grimaldi being a Hindu. The hero accurately points out that no starship captain would endanger his ship in that way.
- In Star Wars: Solo Command, the Wraiths are nearly killed this way by Dr. Gast. A room in the complex the were infiltrating was given a giant Trap Door for a floor and filled with fake furnishings, and when they entered it they were all dropped into the giant incinerator below, which then activated. Fortunately, they were able to trick the stormtrooper sent to relieve them of their explosives, so they were able to blast their way out in time to survive.
- The killer attempts to dispose of one victim this way in the Midsomer Murders episode "Secrets and Spies".
- One of the pranks in Scare Tactics would have a cremation worker "accidentally" (as in, he wasn't aware he was "alive") try to perform this trope. When the cremator and a few staff in on the joke turn it out, a severely burned actor would leap out, screaming bloody murder. Of course, that's where the prank usually ends.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season 1, episode 5, "Never Kill A Boy On The First Date." Buffy kills a particularly tough vampire by shoving it into the cremation oven; they were at a morgue because that's where he woke up.
- In The X-Files episode "Hell Money", a gambling ring among Chinese immigrants claims organs as collateral; if you can't pay up (or if you rat), you're disposed of in a crematorium. Alive.
- One of the cliffhangers from Batman had Bruce Wayne captured in a net and put on a conveyor belt to be run into a 10,000 degree furnace.
- In the Millennium episode "Gehenna", a cult leader disposes of troublemakers by cremating them alive in an industrial microwave.
- An episode of Hardcastle and McCormick had Mc Cormick and The Girl Of The Week about to be killed in this manner when Hardcastle and the police show up just in time to save them.
- The killer from the Criminal Minds episode "Mosley Lane" disposed of the children she abducted in her crematorium... she at least sedated them first.
- Xena: Warrior Princess, 2x18 "Blind Faith". Gabrielle is fed into a crematorium while in a coffin.
- Done by the government, first to the mortally-wounded immortals trapped in their agony, but then anyone inconvenient, in Torchwood: Miracle Day. It's impossible to know for sure that even this is really killing them, but it does at least put them out of sight.
- The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Blood Brothers" involves a scientist working in a sealed lab with a gas meant to be used to pacify riots. As a side effect, the latest batch ends up turning the lab monkey immortal. When the scientist's assistant attempts to steal the monkey's biological culture, the scientist's Corrupt Corporate Executive brother traps him in the lab. The angry assistant slams the door with his fist, which results in a bloody fist. The culture in his blood triggers the decontamination system, which "flashes" the lab, killing the guy. The brother later tries the same with the scientist and his girlfriend, who have discovered that the culture makes you temporarily invincible, only to kill you in a few days.
- Fire is particularly dangerous to vampires in Moonlight, as any physical contact with it results in the exposed body part turning to ash. In the episode "Doctor Feelgood", a newly-turned vampire goes rabid and kills a lot of random people (including his wife). Being a doctor, he goes back to his hospital, where Mick tracks him down and stakes him (which on paralyses vampires). He then feeds him to the cremation oven at the morgue downstairs. Unlike a human, there will be nothing but ashes remaining. Additionally, the Cleaners execute a vampire who has betrayed the vampire community in LA with flamethrowers in the final episode. This is telling when an old vampire shows up for whom fire is a No Sell. Additionally, Coraline is not only able to move when staked but somehow survives being locked in a room on fire. Of course, this is likely because she is the other vampire's sister and is just as old.
- Stargate SG-1: Presumably inspired by the myth below, this seems to be how Jaffa baby girls in the Goa'uld Moloc's domain are killed immediately after birth.
- In American Horror Story: Asylum, Dr. Arden climbs on top of Sister Mary Eunice's dead body and rides into the cremation oven with her, killing himself.
- Columbo in the episode "Ashes to Ashes", where mortician Eric Prince gets rid of gossip reporter Verity Chandler in this way. He bludgeons her, then puts her corpse in a coffin, switching it with a different man's body scheduled for cremation, then Chandler is cremated and her ashes are scattered by helicopter over the hills.
- An episode of Friday the 13th: The Series dealt with a lonely mortician who came into a magical embalming device which could alternately kill someone or bring them back to life. He uses it to revive a recently-deceased woman whose funeral he took care of, then uses it to kill her snooping boyfriend. He then disposes of the boyfriend's body in this manner.
- In the Supernatural episode "About A Boy" (S10, Ep12), Dean shoves the witch into the stove.
Myth and Religion
- Legend has it that Carthage used to sacrifice children in a furnace within a bronze statue of their god Moloch.
- The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Adbenago, who refused to engage in idol worship and were thrown into a fiery furnace but were saved from death by divine intervention, in The Bible.
- This◊ Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip had Grimm's Too Dumb to Live friend, Ralph the Boston Terrier, giving a testimony of the death of a possum who had apparently died, so they cremated him and placed his ashes in an urn. However, the possum's wife shows up, demanding to know where her husband is. When Ralph explains to her what happened, the female possum becomes angry, saying that her husband did not die, but was actually playing possum, like all possums are wont to do, then starts ranting that her husband is dead and questions about what she'll do now.
- In the Doctor Who audio adventure "The Three Companions", the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie are trapped on a doomed world that is scheduled for cremation.
- In The Godfather: The Game, you can toss people into large ovens at funeral homes or (ugh) bakeries for the Overcooked Execution Style.
- In Resident Evil 5; to kill the first Uroboros (without using all your then somewhat limited ammo), the player needs to lure it into a walk in furnace and have their partner power it up. The first player runs out before the doors close, leaving the Uroboros to fry.
- Later, the pair must activate a conveyor to move a box, which dumps several half-dead test subjects into the furnace at the end.
- In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy you can either use telekinesis or Mind Control to kill enemies in incinerators.
- In Hitman: Blood Money, this is how the Big Bad tries to get rid of 47 in the final chapter. It works if you do nothing during the credits, or, if you spin the joystick enough during them, 47 springs up for one last stage consisting of gunning down everyone at the funeral.
- A potential solution for one of the missions involves shoving a witness into a furnace.
- Both GLaDOS and the Companion Cube are killed this way in Portal. Both are Still Alive.
- In Dead to Rights, you defeat the Final Boss by knocking him into a furnace.
- Many Space Station 13 servers have a crematorium near the chapel, which can be used to dispose of dead (or not-so-dead) bodies in this manner. The furnace and deep-fryer can also be used, in a pinch.
- In the Whistleblower DLC of Outlast, cannibalistic Serial Killer Frank Manera tries to kill the player character Waylon like this to cook him up. Waylon has to escape by breaking a weak point of the wall down to get out.
- Sideshow Bob tries to do this to Bart in The Simpsons episode "Funeral for a Fiend". Humorously, the two speeds of the conveyor belt leading to the crematory oven were Gloating Speed and Just Kill him already!
- Batman: The Animated Series: In one of the Joker's finest moments, Mr. J decides to kill "Sid the Squid", a small-time gang lookout who believes that he accidentally killed Batman.
Joker: But those dreams were dashed by the weaselly little gunsel sitting there in our midst. The cowardly insignificant gonif who probably got lucky when Batman slipped on the slime trail this loser left behind him. This mound of DISEASED hyena filth who's not fit to lick the dirt from my spats!!... But I digress. The time for sorrow has passed. It's time to look to a future filled with smiles. And I'll be smiling again just as soon as we take that man there, and slap him in that box there, and roll it into that vat of acid there!The coffin rolls into the acid as Sid screams for mercy and bangs on the lid and Harley Quinn plays Amazing Grace on a kazoo.
- In the Veggie Tales episode Rack, Shack, and Benny, which is based on the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the protagonists are almost killed via fiery furnace as punishment for refusing to bow to a chocolate bunny and sing a song whose lyrics they take issue with.
- Viktor Suvorov claims that when he was recruited into the GRU, he was shown a film of this being done to a traitor. This is often presumed to be GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, who was discovered passing secrets to the CIA, but Suvorov doesn't specify.
- Unintentional example, but some accounts of Rasputin's death say he was only in a deep coma when he was taken to the crematorium. He allegedly sat up during the procedure, though that may have simply been an involuntary response caused by the fire destroying the ligaments in his legs.
- The Nazis primarily used crematories to dispose of the dead during the course of their genocidal campaign, but burning alive wasn't unheard of.
- Supposedly, during a prisoner revolt in Auschwitz, one of the camp guards was killed this way. See The Grey Zone under the movie entries.
- The Brazen Bull.
- This happened to Resistance member Andree Borell.
- This accidentally almost happened to an old woman in China who sat up straight while on the conveyor belt. A worker noticed and the line was stopped.