See, I told you. She really helps the feng shui when she's dangling there.
A Bound and Gagged
prisoner is suspended by (usually) a rope from the ceiling
This is not intended for torturing the prisoner
, but in reality, this could cause undue pressure on the body, and bad blood flow. Perhaps even dislocate something — there's a reason
why BDSM models engaging in suspension art tend towards the light-weight and extremely flexible end. In fiction, the prisoner does not appear to suffer any particular physical discomfort. (If the viewer thinks too much
about this, it results in Disbelief of Unwilling Suspension
Hanging by the wrists
, a common variation, would in Real Life
quickly cause permanent damage to the hands and within a few hours cause death by suffocation/"Suspension Trauma
", not quite unlike a crucifixion. Many a Tailor-Made Prison
has a prior inhabitant hanging by his wrists in skeletal form.
Reasons for doing this include:
- It provides for more effective immobilization of the prisoner. Tie somebody to a chair and they will be able to maneuver the chair toward a Conveniently-Placed Sharp Thing nine times out of ten. Hang them from the ceiling and they have nothing to get traction against. Also, enough rope to hold someone's weight will also be enough rope that it's hard to get out of, especially if the Real Life consequences kick in.
- The victim can be suspended above a chasm, piranha pond, Spikes Of Doom, or other Death Trap, as a disincentive from struggling loose.
- Because the Rule of Cool says so.
- Author Appeal, along with Fetish Fuel.
- In rare cases, the villain will actually be doing this to deliberately hurt the prisoner.
Favorite victims seem to be The Hero
(es) or the Distressed Damsel
(especially a princess
and The President's Daughter
Compare Chained to a Rock
Not to be confused with being suspended from the police force
, or taking fantastical elements of a story or setting in stride
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Pictured above: In Voltron/Go Lion, Lotor ties up Princess Romelle/Amue this way.
- In Now and Then, Here and There, the Decoy Protagonist is suspended outside the massive death-ship for three continuous days... during which time they fire something we swear wasn't a nuke.
- The Digimon Emperor did this to the Digidestined aside from Davis in an episode of Digimon Adventure 02, telling him that he could only save one. Luckily, it turned out not to be the real Digidestined at all.
- In Digimon Savers, the Digidestined are ambushed by a bunch of (spider-like) Dokugumon, which net the Digimon together while suspending the teens like this.
- Keroro Gunsou
- At the end of the "Wet King" episode, Sergeant Keroro ends up tied up like this outside the Hinata household, with bruises.
- Also in the series premiere, after Keroro is first discovered by Fuyuki and Natsumi. Attempting to escape by slipping out of the ropes only makes it worse as the ropes stop short at his oversized head and tighten around his neck.
- We see a variant in one brief flashback — as punishment for wetting the bed, young Fuyuki had a bamboo threaded through his pyjamas to hang him up to dry alongside his bedding.
- Mikura Suzuki of the Mezzo DSA series ends up in one episode tied up and suppended in the air.
- In Full Metal Panic!, Sōsuke threatens a local gang leader who has kidnapped Kaname by holding the leader's younger brother and suspending him from a series of ropes that he then detonates in turn; once the opposition has surrendered, Sōsuke reveals the whole thing was a setup and the boy was safe the whole time; the kid was in on it.
- And in Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU, Kaname and the other students do the same to Sōsuke after he turns their art class into a battleground. They then use him as an abstract art piece.
- In a more light-hearted version of this trope, Episode 5 of Minami-ke has Kana roll up Chiaki in a sheet and suspend her from a clothes line to make a rain charm.
- Natsuki in Mai-HiME is knocked unconscious by a Robot Girl and wakes up like this.
- Commonly used in Ranma ½.
- When Principal Kunō tries to force Ranma into obedience by knocking Akane out, then dangling her from the ceiling. Doesn't work — she breaks free immediately when she wakes up and gives him a piece of her mind (and a footprint on his face).
- In the same story arc, Ranma later gets tied up and hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately for Principal Kunō, he omits to secure Ranma's legs, and the martial artist is very adept at fighting with them, even holding a bamboo staff between his toes.
- Done to Ranma again to use him as bait for a mirror duplicate of his female side. Then they went off to have dinner. Hey, at least they left his meal out in a tray for him... just out of reach.
- Happōsai, more than once, as punishment for his indiscretions and just to keep him out of the way.
- Nemu Kurotsuchi◊ got once tied up like this, courtesy of Szayel Apollo Gantz. With tentacles She got better in the end. Sorta.
- Also, Yumichika, Ikkaku, and Matsumoto when they fought Luppi.
- Love Hina
- In some of the final chapters, Tsundere female lead Naru Narusegawa is captured by one of her dorm mates Kaolla Su and left tied and suspended. Averted in that the bindings are tied in a way that they act as an impromptu support harness (no, it's not a crotch rope), making this example a bit more plausible than others.
- Motoko is tied up and suspended in an earlier chapter as well.
- In a season 1 episode of Sailor Moon, an impostor Sailor Moon is "captured" in a scheme to lure out Tuxedo Kamen. She is suspended by her wrists and dangled from a crane.
- Both Griffith and Guts are subject to this trope, in fact this is how the reader is introduced to Guts on the first page of the manga... mmmmm.
- Schierke also does this to Isidro as punishment for trying to peak at Farneze and Casca taking a bath.
- The Three Musketeers adaptation San Jushi. Milady invites a captured Constance to hang around.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
- Fate is typically suspended from the ceiling in chains while Precia whips her for failing or not succeeding well enough.
- Later on in Vivid, this is played more comically when Otto and Deed catch Chantez holding a sparring match with Vivio without their supervision, and Otto punishes Chantez by restraining her using a tortoise shell bondage bind, after which Deed uses ropes tied to her wrists and ankles to suspend her from a tree, all while calmly explaining to Vivio that what she did was wrong.
- The wrists variation is used on Death the Kid in Soul Eater, and played for all the unpleasant Fetish Fuel it's worth in between Mood Whiplash moments. Kid's lack of reaction is arguably justified but it still looks far more painful than it apparently is. Gopher beating him while he's tied up is especially horrible.
- Has happened to Mokuba in Yu-Gi-Oh! on one of the many occasions in which he's taken hostage.
- In the manga Torikago Gakyuu during the twin arc, woobie protagonist Mikage is kidnapped by the Ax-Crazy Yuikai and held in the school's clock tower. Yuikai proceeds to tie him up and beat him in order to encourage him into willingly giving up his freedom and becoming Yuikai's slave and consequently having his ears cut off so that the last words he'll ever hear are from his master... or dying. When Mikage refuses, Yuikai drops him out the window where Yukan, Yuikai's elder twin sister grabs the rope on his foot. Consequently, this leaves Mikage dangling upside down by one foot with his hands tied behind his back and an enormous drop below him. He remains that way for an uncomfortably long time, ultimately to his advantage thanks to his Split Personality, but it must have been painful nonetheless.
- Happens to Kyo's girlfriend Yuki in the manga version of The King of Fighters KYO, when a masked Badass Biker kidnaps her to force the recently depowered Kyo to a duel. Subverted: the stranger is Saisyu, who's subjecting a borderline Brainwashed and Crazy Kyo to a Secret Test of Character. When Kyo "passes", wakes up from his state and recovers his flames, Saisyu is satisfied so he cuts the rope and Yuki falls down... and into Kyo's arms.
- Happens to Fujiko in Lupin III: The Secret of Twilight Gemini. Even worse, she's also naked.
- In Sakura Gari, at some point Masataka finds a photograph in which he sees a girl subjected to this. She is a former maid from the Saiki household, and Sakurako is the one who tied her up like that... to then subject her to Cold-Blooded Torture for doubling as The Mistress to Souma.
- Makie and Renzaburou from Wicked City are seen like this after the last fight with the Spider Woman. For worse, they're hanging upside down and their bounds are made of the spider web that said Spider Woman shot from he Vagina Dentata. Augh.
- Happens to Anna Stephanie and several others during a particularly nasty Hostage Situation in Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Eiji saves them.
- Manta Oyamada from Shaman King was kidnapped and placed inside a gibbet cage by the X-Laws, who then used him as a hostage to force Yoh and Co. meet with them. Considering how the X-Laws had LOTS of Christian imaginery associated with them and the gibbet cage was used as a torture method by the Christian Inquisition among others, it's fitting. Manta managed to break through with the help of Mosuke, then Ryu and Tokagero caught him mid-air safely. Then, a fight started. Then, Hao stepped in...
- In The Wizard of Id, those who offend the king frequently end up hanging from the wall by their wrist chains.
- In Hägar the Horrible, tax cheats and other offenders frequently end up hanging from the wall by their wrist chains.
Films — Animation
- Near the end of Bolt, Penny gets "tied up" and suspended from the ceiling of the set (she's safe because a pulley harness is attached beneath the cocoon of ropes).
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Roger and Jessica are tied together and suspended from a rope, and are menaced by an out-of-control jet of Dip.
Films — Live-Action
- This is done to the inflatable "Citizen" in the Save the Citizen game in Sky High, to simulate villains doing this to their captives. Will Stronghold mentions at the end how after they replaced the citizens with the actual villains no-one saved the Citizen anymore, but we're to assume that's a joke because he said as much.
- The Badass Biker gang hung one of the Wild Hogs from a tree this way. They tried to rescue him by driving their bikes under him and yanking as they went by. It didn't work.
- Ben Wade in the 3:10 to Yuma remake is suspended from his hands at one point in the movie, to prevent his escape.
- The women in the movie 9 to 5 do this to their boss.
- From Sherlock Holmes, this happens to Irene Alder when she tried to follow Holmes and got tied up to a conveyor belt by her wrists by Blackwood. To compensate for the pressure, Watson had to put her up on his shoulders to lessen it.
- Happens to Velma in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie. She falls off a scaffold and gets her foot caught in the scaffold's chain. When the chain goes taut, Velma is seen hanging upside down.
- Happens to Django - upside down and naked - before he is sold to the mining company in Django Unchained.
- Snow White & the Huntsman are captured by the dwarves, who hang them upside down by their ankles (fortunately they don't pass out before convincing the dwarves to let them go).
Huntsman: Come on Beith, is this how you treat a friend?
Beith: Oh no-no-no, ya puttock. This is how I treat a friend. (whacks him with a pick handle)
- The famous meat locker scene in The Long Good Friday. London Gangster Harold Shand sends his men out to grab local hoods and haul them in for interrogation to find out who is bombing his businesses. They're pulled out of a truck and trundled along the pulley system hanging upside down. The actors had to keep being supported between takes to prevent them passing out.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Grounds, the Grey Knights suspend Ventris by his manacles when he's their prisoner; his survival may be Justified by his being an inhuman supersoldier.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Slithering Shadow", Thalis does to Natala before flogging her.
- In the Villain Opening Scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort uses magic to suspend his prisoner in the air before eventually killing her.
- The Dresden Files
- In the second book, Magnificent Bastard Gentleman Johnny Marcone gets hogtied (which generally means the ankles and wrists are tied together behind the back) and suspended over a pit trap as werewolf bait. Even Dresden, who despises the man, acknowledges that it must be excruciatingly painful and sympathises.
- In a later book, Dresden himself is tied up with his wrists above his head for hours, but the only ill effects he suffers besides lots of wrist pain equating to carpal tunnel syndrome is a loss of his magic due to running water being poured over his head.
- Oddly enough, in that same book, Dresden's vampire-infected ex-girlfriend Susan is tied up hanging from a magical rope by Dresden for a short time, to keep her from attacking and killing him in a blood-lust-driven fury. They then engage in a very ill-advised consensual sexual encounter with her in that state. This being the DF and Butcher, consequences from this bad judgement do eventually ensue.
- In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Dragonfly Falling, Salma is suspended like this before questioning.
- In the Law of Nines, in keeping with its total deconstruction of any ideas anyone had that anything BDSM-like is good, goes into great detail about those dangers of being suspended by one's wrists at the top of the page.
- In the first story of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf suspends Sunny in a cage.
- In The Silmarillion, Morgoth takes Maedhros hostage and suspends him by his right wrist over a precipice of Thangorodrim. The rescue of Maedhros involves amputation.
- In the video for Pet Shop Boys's "It's a sin", Neil Tennant (playing the role of a man who's imprisoned by the Inquisition) is briefly seen inside what seems to be a gibbet, a suspended cage used for Cold-Blooded Torture. See below in "Real Life"
- The "Monkey Mayhem" table of Extreme Pinball shows the protagonist hanging by a rope tied around her wrists over a pit of monkeys.
Religion and mythology
- This is one of the tortures of Hell described in the Qu'ran.
- Tails in Sonic Advance 2; prior to the beginning of the game, he is kidnapped by Eggman. When you fight the boss of Music Plant, he's swinging from a pole on the machine.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Peach is tied up like this at the opening of Super Mario RPG.
- As well as in Paper Mario preceding the first phase of the final boss. Also in the commercial, she's dangled above a paper shredder.
- Also, in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Popple and Rookie are shown like this right before the Chuckolator fight, but are (violently) released by their captor before it spins over to the Bros.
- Justin in the original Grandia
- April O'Neil in the story mode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters for the SNES.
- All the captive maidens in Wizards And Warriors.
- In the first Golden Axe, when you end up rescuing the king and the princess of the land, they're lowered this way. Except the king is upside down.
- Ada is tied up like this near the end of Resident Evil 4.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush and Wally are suspended by their wrists over a pit of boiling acid.
- Marian in most versions of the original Double Dragon. There's actually a close-up of her tied up this way before the final battle in the iPhone version.
- The torture sequence in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had Snake hanging from a hook on a track, and the momentum of his swing was used to increase the force of the blows he was receiving.
- On occasion, prisoners are tied up like this in Metal Slug. When you cut one down, he flaps his arms as he drops.
- Rena and Master Genryusai at the end of Final Fight 2.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Countless times, you can do this to terrified mooks. Before dropping them on their head as their teammates patrol underneath.
- This happens to Commissioner Gordon in the final level, bats thinking he'd already left the island.
- Reprised in the sequel, where Two-Face does this to Catwoman at the beginning of the game, and Batman then does this to Two-Face afterwards.
- The final level of Jungle Hunt, where the Damsel in Distress is suspended over a cauldron.
- Some of the kidnapped "cavebabes" from Joe And Mac (specifically the raven-haired ones) are tied up this way.
- In the indie adventure game The Marionette, the protagonist, at the end, is tied up by his arms from ropes suspended from the ceiling in a way that evokes the game's title.
- Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.
- In Vigilante, Madonna can be seen before the final level and during the final battle hanging like this from a construction hook.
- Happens to Ada Wong of all people in Resident Evil 4. Leon shows up and cuts her down before the Final Boss.
- In BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, if Tsubaki Yayoi is hit by Relius's Astral Heat, she's shown in this position and with her back turned as well as her butt at the viewer.
- GLADOS from Video Game/Portal strongly resembles a bound woman, as shown in this picture. It makes sense once you know her history.
- In the "Treehouse of Horror X" episode of The Simpsons, Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl (a.k.a. Bart and Lisa) are tied up (using Stretch Dude's own arms, because they are stretchy) and dangled over a vat of lucite, which the Collector (Comic Book Guy) uses to turn real celebrities into life-size maquette figures.
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Robin is chained up this way above a rising pit of water after being kidnapped by the title character in the episode "Bane". For best effect, they added an equivalent of Cement Shoes to his feet.
- The final episode of the same series has Raven and Lark (the Penguin's female bodyguards) hanging bound and gagged from the ceiling after being subdued by the Judge.
- Transformers Generation 1
- Optimus Prime got this after his failed attempt to save Elita One.
- So did Blurr in "The Face of the Nijika".
- This happened at least once on The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.
- The Batman/Superman animated series cross over, World's Finest, has Lois Lane tied up like this.
- Happens in Totally Spies! We could cite a specific example, but we're sure that's unneccesary.
- Shaak Ti gets bound up by electric wires by General Grievous in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
- The ¡Three Amigos! of Jimmy Two-Shoes get strung up this way by Lucius.
- Happened to Jean early in the X-Men series, but she quickly freed herself.
- In Dan Vs. "The Wolf-Man", Dan catches what he thinks is the wolf-man (actually a kid in a costume) and hangs him upside down from his ceiling.
- In Codename: Kids Next Door, the villains have a fondness for tying up the heroes and dangling them upside-down, usually by their feet.
- The beginning of two Mighty Mouse cartoons — "The Perils of Pearl Pureheart" (1949) and "Sunny Italy" (1951) — has Pearl Pureheart dangling upside down by one foot.
- Happens to Max in Goof Troop.