->''"A prologue in a horror film! What's the worst that could happen?"''
-->-- '''WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob''', ''Film/SleepawayCamp''

A measurement of time which appears to have originated at Website/TelevisionWithoutPity of how long it takes from the start of the episode to the [[AlwaysMurder first body turning up]]. A show such as ''Series/{{CSI}}'' will have a very short Start to Corpse time, with something like ''Series/{{Poirot}}'' occasionally exceeding half an hour of a two-hour program. A similar concept is the Start-To-Cure time, made most famous by ''Series/{{House}}''; although the name is a little misleading, it's a measure of the time it takes from the start of an episode to the first specific treatment that would act as a cure if the unlucky patient indeed had the disease it was a cure to. In mystery novels, this is a page count.

If the Start to Corpse time is short, it's often in the form of a DownerBeginning. May involve JoggersFindDeath.

The name is based on the computer gaming equivalent, the [[CrateExpectations Start-To-Crate]] time. There's also another similar concept in video games known as PressStartToGameOver.

Not to be confused with an actor [[{{Corpsing}} starting to "corpse"]], or crack up when they're supposed to have a straight face.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The ''second page'' of ''Manga/TheKurosagiCorpseDeliveryService''. The first page is an establishing shot.
* Played with in ''{{LightNovel/Gosick}}''. The very first line, twelve seconds into episode 1, is a shaman's proclamation that [[TonightSomeoneDies a man is going to die]]. Thirty seconds later, we get a shot of several corpses. ''Rabbit'' corpses.
* Murders in ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' often occur by the end of the first chapter of a case. For the anime it usually depends on how long the case will be: if it's only one episode, expect a corpse to show up in 7-8 minutes. If it's two episodes or longer, you can expect one to be popping up at the end of an act break.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* This would also be true with horror movies, depending on if we're following the main lead from the start or if we get a scene with some extras getting killed at the start. It's around 20 mins in for many horror movies.
* ''Film/TheBigChill'' also managed an [=StC=] of zero with the opening credits showing the dressing of the corpse for the funeral. However, this is only clear in retrospect; it's deliberately filmed to resemble a getting-dressed-after-getting-''busy'' montage, so the ''apparent'' [=StC=] (at least for the initial audiences) is a bit longer.
* ''Film/SunsetBoulevard.'' The corpse is the ''opening shot.''
* ''Film/HenryPortraitOfASerialKiller'' has a naked female corpse in the opening shot, with no music.
* [[Film/MurderOnTheOrientExpress1974 The 1970s film]] version of ''Literature/MurderOnTheOrientExpress'' had a Start To Corpse time of less than five minutes because it started with some of the Armstrong tragedy. The TV-movies run closer to a half-hour.

* With the cover having a skeleton on it, and being called [[Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant SKULduggery Pleasant]], you'd expect a fair few deaths. A guy dies on the first page.
* The CharlieChan mystery [[spoiler:''The Black Camel'']] gave us one chapter in the POV of the murder victim [[DecoyProtagonist before she got quickly killed off.]]
* The eponymous murder in ''[[Literature/TheRiftwarCycle Murder in Lamut]]'' takes place around three-quarters of the way through the book. Just about everything in the earlier chapters is the three main characters enduring the politicking of various nobles competing for an honor that anyone familiar with the series already knows will be given to somebody who doesn't appear in this book.
* Creator/AgathaChristie wrote many novels which had a long StartToCorpse time. In response to occasionally being criticised for this, she had a character in ''Towards Zero'' deliver a lengthy speech on how a murder is the culmination of a murderer's plot rather than the instigating point, and thus should come as late in the book as possible.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', a series where AnyoneCanDie, the series' first death occurs fairly close to the start of the first book, on page 33.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Monk}}'', usually the time period is within two to three minutes from the start, and before the opening credits. Some are exceptions: for instance, in "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized," "Mr. Monk on Wheels," and "Mr. Monk and the Bully," the body doesn't show up until halfway through the episode.
* ''Series/{{Poirot}}'' occasionally exceeds half an hour of a two hour program.
* ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' averaged fifteen to twenty minutes from Start to Corpse because it took that long for the murderer to commit the murder. This applies to both one-and-a-half-hour and two-hour editions.
* ''Series/LawAndOrder'' and spinoffs average about 30 seconds, as the ColdOpening shows either someone finding a body, witnessing the murder, or it cuts to ''them'' being the victim and the cops standing over their body.
* ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has a Start-To-''Victim'' time very similar to other ''Law And Order'' shows, but averages out to a significantly longer Start-To-''Corpse'' time, as many victims are sexually assaulted or kidnapped but not (yet) murdered. Not only that, but in some episodes no one is killed at all.
* The first season of ''Series/{{Castle}}'' has a corpse in the first shot of each episode. Starting in season 2, it depends on whether it goes ''Series/LawAndOrder'' cold open, or with a Castle family moment open. Either way, the wait time isn't very long.
* Similarly to ''Castle'', ''Series/TheXFiles'' would almost always open a show with an unfortunate victim dying in some mysterious way in the first scene.
* In episodes where RedShirts die in ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', the first death usually happens within the opening five to ten minutes, sometimes a little longer.
* An awful lot of ''Series/DoctorWho'' stories open with someone being killed by the menace of the week.
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'' often has the [[AlwaysMurder corpse show up near-exactly midway through a story about a crime that is not murder]], to the point that it often feels tacked-on: corpses thrown Just Because into a story that doesn't really call for one at all and was more interesting ''before'' the standard murder investigation stuff took over.
* The first person on screen in any episode of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' is usually dead within a minute.
* In a 2-hour episode of ''Series/FoylesWar'' the murder can be as late as 45 minutes into the episode.
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' almost always has a cold open showing a random person discovering the body within the first few minutes. The show actually developed a bad habit of just opening with Booth and Brennan already on the scene discussing the recent developments of the interpersonal subplots of the cast (read: exposition). They got over it thankfully.
* Varies on ''Series/MidsomerMurders'', from 30 seconds to around 15 minutes (in rare cases up to about 30 minutes). In at least one case it took about 45 minutes (IE, half the running time).
* ''Series/PoliceSquad'' may be the only show with a ''negative'' time, as the special guest star is killed off during the ''opening'' credits.
* In ''Series/TheMentalist'', the victim is nearly always dead already at the outset, and often the episode opens at the scene of the crime. So, pretty much 0 seconds.
* It's normally between three and five minutes on ''Series/CriminalMinds''.
* It varies on ''Literature/TheConditionsOfGreatDetectives'' in some episodes (such as the first) it begins with the police being called to the crime scene. In the hot springs episode it roughly ten-fifteen minutes as Fujii befriended the victim before her death and in another episode, there was a two-five minute scene where Tenkaichi witnessed the murder (the finale had the same time amount).
* ''Series/{{Grimm}}'' in most episodes has the crime-of-the-week occurring in the teaser, so if it's a homicide, five minutes [=StC=] maximum.

* ''Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace'' gets metafictional with this trope. Mortimer has to say about a play he's reviewing, "When the curtain goes up the first thing you'll see will be a dead body." By a coincidence that causes him to do a DoubleTake, he sees one immediately after saying that.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The video game ''VideoGame/TheLastExpress'' has you encountering the corpse of your dead friend almost immediately after boarding the train. Even better, you are already wanted by the police and [[TheCorpseStopsHere you are the first person to find your friend's body]].
* Yahtzee Croshaw's adventure series ''The VideoGame/ChzoMythos'' developed a modest running gag out of this. While the first episode, 5 Days a Stranger, passed several days before the first body was discovered, subsequent installments reduced the delay ominously until [[spoiler: Trilby's Notes, which began with an exceedingly gruesome murder in the first scene.]] Amusingly, his novel, ''Literature/{{Mogworld}}'' has the protagonist die in the prologue.
* In ''VideoGame/PoliceQuest: Open Season'', the corpse of Hickman is discovered immediately at the beginning. A minute later, you find another corpse [[PeekABooCorpse in a dumpster]].
* The first episode of ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' has a start-to-corpse time of roughly four hours, taking its time to introduce [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters the 18 people on the island]] and a few pieces of the JigsawPuzzlePlot before getting down to the main murder mystery. Of course, once the corpses start coming, they start coming ''fast''.
* In ''VideoGame/Persona4'', Saki Konishi's corpse is found on a TV antenna 2-3 hours into the start of the game, which is still before gameplay starts properly. Saki herself discovered the reporter Yamano's body in the same manner before that, but it is not shown.
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower'': The game runs on the rule of SchrodingersGun, but generally your first corpse will show up within the first 5 minutes of play, unless you're specifically ''trying'' to avoid it [[MultipleEndings to unlock an alternate ending]].

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In most of the cases in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series, the corpse shows up within the first few minutes of the case. Of course, as attorneys, the main characters of the games usually aren't pulled in until a body shows up and someone gets arrested for the murder.
** Special mention goes to the first case of the first game, in which the corpse is ''the very first thing the player sees''.
** The second case of the second game is a rare exception, where Phoenix actually interacts with the victim for a bit before he gets killed. Naturally, [[AssholeVictim he's a jerk]].
** The average Start-to-Corpse time actually seems to have increased with each successive entry in the series. Some cases can have several minutes of looking around and talking to characters before the respective lawyer, and sometimes the audience, learns of a crime.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Bearmageddon}}'''s STC is fairly high. It initially seems like another 'slacker' comic until we spot the mangled police cruiser.
* By the fifth page of ''[[http://www.winglesscomic.com/ Wingless]]'' the protagonist is [[http://www.winglesscomic.com/archives/261#comic_title already dead.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* WebVideo/StuartAshen spoofed this with ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-RCHyWcfIU Quickest Game Overs ever?]]'' in which he showcases some of the games with the quickest Start-to-''Your''-Corpse time.
* So has [=GamesRadar=] in their [[https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjmfSJFT9VMRvoLvYIc-pvpsaUU3TmMh8 "How Fast Can You Die In...?"]] series.