"They're going to bury what's left of ya in a soup can!"
This is not quite Never Found the Body
—it's found, all right. More specifically, bits and pieces are found. Usually refers to a very violent death, as either only a few measly fragments of a body is found, or it's been so destroyed you need a mop to clean it up and a bucket (not a body bag) to carry it in.
The inevitable result of Turbine Blender
, frequent result of Ludicrous Gibs
, and often a consequence of the Chunky Salsa Rule
. Note that this doesn't preclude what's left of the person being buried.
As this is a death trope, beware unmarked spoilers!
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Anime and Manga
- In the Naruto anime at least one of Orochimaru's test subjects dissolved into nothing. Based on his expression at the time, Orochimaru had seen it enough for it to be a common occurrence.
- Dominators in Psycho-Pass, when in Eliminator (lethal) mode, pretty thoroughly destroys whatever they hit. A person hit in the body by one will pretty much be reduced to a puddle of blood with maybe one limb left intact. Decomposer mode, which is designed for use against machines, won't even leave blood.
- Tends to be seen a lot in war movies. In scenes showing the aftermath of some type of heavy bombardment, at least one casualty is likely to be found like this - the trope will frequently be invoked word-for-word by the person who found him. May serve as a means of avoiding a teen-unfriendly rating while still conveying War Is Hell. Sadly Truth in Television.
- The Fifth Element: all that was left of the Supreme Being after her starship crashed was her right hand. She got better.
- This is the Running Gag when it comes to Steve Buscemi roles in The Coen Brothers movies. He has died in nearly every movie he has been in (Barton Fink, Fargo, and The Big Lebowski) with fewer and fewer pieces of himself remaining each time.
- Happens at least once in Predator
Dutch: Did you find Hawkins?
Poncho: I... can't tell.
- In Jurassic Park Ellie and Muldoon arrive at the scene of a T-Rex attack:
Muldoon: I think this was Gennaro.
Ellie: (about fifteen feet away) I think this was too.
- In The Crimson Rivers, this is said of the young victim of a traffic accident. All that was left to identify her by was her index finger. Subverted in that the finger actually came from another girl. She did get a grave, though.
- In the 1966 film based on the Batman series starring Adam West, several goons are dehydrated into dust, to later be rehydrated by the Penguin inside the Batcave. They attack the Dynamic Duo, but the Penguin handled the procedure incorrectly, making them very unstable. When hit, they instantly vanish into antimatter.
- Goodspeed lies about this in The Rock to help Mason get his freedom, claiming he was "disintegrated" in an explosion.
- This was used in a movie about a widow who was suing a government contractor after her husband, an Air Force test pilot, was killed flying a Starfighter. A lawyer tries to accuse her husband of taking drugs. She says there was no trace of drugs in his system. He points out that it was impossible to determine given the 'limited material' available for testing. She demands to know what he means, and is later shown saying in fury to a friend, "I buried his hands!"
- Played for laughs in Casino Royale (1967) - Sir James Bond survives a mortar bombardment of his home but M doesn't. He visits M's widow carrying a small box containing all that's left of him.
Sir James: ...Should it be given a Christian burial? Just how personal is a toupee?
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, Gone, Lex tells Clark that there is nothing left of Chloe after the huge explosion in Covenant. Of course, he is lying.
- On NCIS three American soldiers in Afghanistan were blown up by a bomb and only pieces of their bodies were recovered. And if that wasn't enough, as they were being shipped back to the States to be officially identified, the plane that was carrying them crashed, damaging the remains to the point where most ways of identifying them would be useless. The remains turn out to be those of only two of the soldiers since the third was instead captured by terrorists and held captive.
- NYPD Blue: the Medavoy subplot of one episode involved a Hasidic Jewish girl who had been killed and butchered and partially eaten by animals, leaving not much body left. At the end of the episode after they caught the guy that did it, Medavoy gave the girl's father some crime scene dirt which had some of her blood in it; in the Hassidem(sp) circle you have to bury the whole body, and Medavoy wanted to give the father as much of the remains as there were available.
- In the first episode of Torchwood: Children of Earth, the villains blow up Jack with a bomb inside his stomach. In the next episode, they only find small pieces of his body remaining, from which he still manages to regenerate. Unfortunately, he wakes up loooooong before he's done healing. He screams. A lot. Shudder.
- Implied in ''Casualty after the death of Paramedic Jeff Collier in a car explosion. His wife, ranting at colleagues who are celebrating Jeff's life instead of mourning his death, mentions that he was blown to pieces and there was nothing to celebrate. Pan round to Jamie Collier standing behind her, asking if it's true.
Folklore, Mythology, and Religion
- In The Bible, Jezebel's body is devoured by a pack of feral dogs after she is defenestrated, leaving only her head and her two hands (as predicted by Elijah.)
- At least seven widely scattered places in Britain are claimed as the final resting place of King Arthur. In France and Denmark, similar myths exist concerning fabulous legendary heroes Roland and Holger Dansk.
- The urban legend of the JATO car. Only fragments of the driver were found.
- Code Name: Hunter has an investigator look over a cursed set of drums. The next morning, all that's left is a pile of ash.
- Discussed in-universe in this Wondermark strip.
- Subverted in It's Walky! After a hard landing in a danger zone, the SEMME team can only find Allen's ear. However, he turns up in a later arc, unharmed, with no explanation. It's eventually revealed he's a Mobile-Suit Human.
- Happy Tree Friends: Very often, and Played for Laughs.
- In Beast Wars, when Dinobot makes his stand against the Predacons and calls for Maximal backup, Rattrap half-jokes: "Dinobot versus six Preds ... there won't be enough of him left to make a toaster!" They do actually find Dinobot in one piece, though the damage he took is still fatal.
- In the pilot of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth hires the protagonists as his new delivery crew and gives them their career chips, which he pours from an envelope labeled "Contents of Space Wasp Stomach".
- A background joke continues this theme with one half of a phone conversation:
Farnsworth: Oh, how awful. Did he at least die painlessly? *beat* To shreds, you say, tsk tsk tsk. Well, how's his wife holding up? *beat* To shreds, you say...
- This was sometimes what happened to Manfredi and Johnson, Those Two Guys often mentioned on The Penguins of Madagascar (although they never die the same way twice). On one ocassion they were eaten by flying piranha and what was left was buried with a teaspoon. In another, their remains fit on a manila envelope.
- One way of disposing of a body is reducing it to this. Cremation is a widespread and (generally) more formal and respectful way of doing so.
- When someone is attacked by a predator, very often, there's not a lot left. Many predators will even eat bones for the calcium.
- Many of the Sept 11th victims were found in only small fragments. Some still haven't been ID'd.
- For that matter, most victims of high-speed airplane crashes.
- Also happens in the case of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The shuttle blew up over Texas and various body parts were found scattered on the ground there.
- When Charles Stephens went over Niagra Falls in a barrel, he strapped himself into the barrel, and strapped a anvil to his feet to stabilize himself. When the barrel finally floated to shore, the only sign anyone had been in it was a right arm. That's what went into his grave, as the rest of Mr. Stephens was never found.
- Horrifically subverted in the case of the Soyuz 1 incident, which caused the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Even though little more than a hunk of burnt flesh was all that was left of his body, he was honored with an open casket funeral.
- Happened to murdered Welsh schoolgirl April Jones. Despite an extensive search, all that has been found of her to date is a few fragments of bone found at the home of Mark Bridger, the man later jailed for her murder.
- Common for burning tanks, especially when a tank explodes. Occasionally happily subverted, when a crew member managed to escape shortly before the explosion, ended up as an unrecognised wounded in a hospital and was mistakenly reported dead. There was a Soviet WW2 tank commander who had as many as five empty graves and was still alive by mid-1990s.