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Acid Pool

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"You swim in that, you'll be the soup in no time flat! Boneless, too!"
Yomi, Terranigma

The pool filled with Hollywood Acid is the go-to Death Trap for any Mad Scientist that doesn't have access to a Lava Pit - usually bubbling a sickly green color, it will melt the flesh off your bones and leave nothing but a bleached skeleton, if that. Can be used both for moats near precarious bridges and lowering heroes into. Acid pools are generally treated as green variants of the Lava Pit and used in a similar manner as obstacles or execution methods.

Highly impractical in Real Life due to the nature of acid, particularly if bubbling. Acid is often produced when highly corrosive positive ions are dissolved in water, and they are quite capable of escaping, particularly if in high enough concentrations as to remove flesh from the bone. These remain corrosive and are quite likely to harm anyone nearby, almost like a chemical variant of Convection, Schmonvection.

Strong acid is also extremely poisonous to breathe, so the air would be fatal long before its first victim could fall into it, unless it was from a substantial height; and even then it would have a substantial stench even from a great distance, which would drive anyone away if they had a choice.

The counterpart on the opposite end of the pH scale is the pool of lye, which shows up typically in industrial vat form.

May overlap in video games with Grimy Water. See also Shark Pool. Not to be confused with the band Acid Bath.


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    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Amazeey slowly lowers Pian and Mr. Jamie, both blindfolded, tied-up, and upside-down, towards a pool of acid that replaces the gym's stage. Mechamato must get through Amazeey's Athletic Agony challenge in a minute to rescue them.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • In Death of the Family, Joker tries to drop Harley Quinn in one. She escapes, and Joker almost falls into it himself!
    • Earlier, in Batman #451 Joker II, a sadistic but rational psychopath, decides to attempt to drive himself insane by diving into the Ace Chemical vats where the original Joker went through. To Batman's horror and a quick chuckle from Joker, whatever is in there has been switched to a significantly more corrosive formula.
  • The futuristic version of Lexcorp Tower following the Y2K storyline in Superman comics has one, as described in Action Comics #765. The chairs in the conference room all have Trap Doors leading to it.
  • Uncle Scrooge: One of the many Booby Traps Scrooge McDuck has to protect his money bin is an acid pool.

  • In And If That Don't Work?, Matarael (the acid dripping, a-joke-in-canon Angel) actually got to the pilot's entry plug and turned it into an acid bath.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World has one of these in Gothmarik Citadel, at the center of which is a treasure chest on a pedestal. Paul, immune to the acid, easily fetches it, but everyone else wonders why the golem-making guy who's inhabiting the place didn't send one of his Golems to safely retrieve it. Oh, and it stinks, too, making everyone else cough and retreat from it.
  • Sonic Mania: The Novelization: In the Chemical Plant, Eggman captures Tails and Knuckles and suspends them over a tank of acidic Mega Mack, forcing Sonic to beat him in a game of Mean Bean Machine to save them.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Pacific Ocean in Alien Nation served this purpose for the aliens, and the climax, due to their Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Professor Zero's lair in the old spy film, The Brain Stealers, contains a pool of acid under a mechanized trapdoor which dissolves victims to the bones within seconds. Firstly used to dispose of a henchwoman who disobeyed his orders, and later in the final battle Zero's henchman, Peter ends up in the same pool while struggling against the heroes.
  • Christopher Lee's Frankenstein Monster dies by falling into one in The Curse of Frankenstein.
  • Paul Kersey's final kill in Death Wish V: The Face of Death (and his final kill of the series in general) has him shoving mob boss Tommy O'Shea into a vat of acid.
  • In Horrors of the Black Museum, Bancroft keeps a vat of Hollywood Acid in his laboratory for disposing of the bodies of pesky snoopers who come too close to uncovering his secrets.
  • In the Vincent Price movie House on Haunted Hill (1959), the house had an acid pit in the basement. (But it was OK because there was a lid on it.)
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life. Pandora's Box floats in a bubbling black pool of concentrated acid.
  • In the James Bond film No Time to Die, Big Bad Safin has a "farm" of the deadly bio-technological virus Heracles in his base. The liquid in said farm is acidic enough for the workers to wear hazmat suits, and the body of a mook as well as the film's resident despicable Mad Scientist get a deadly bath in it.
  • In Scream and Scream Again, Dr. Browning keeps a vat of extraordinarily powerful Hollywood Acid in a barn on his property that he uses to dispose of samples from his experiments. Keith commits suicide by jumping into it. Later, Dr. Browning kills Konratz by pushing him into it. Fremont then kills Browning the same way.
  • Shirley's death in Slaughter High. She melts to the bone in a bathtub filled with Hollywood Acid.
  • Web of Death have the lairs of the Venoms Clan, which, true to their names, are surrounded by moats of acids, their interiors accessible only through platforms from under the acid pool's surface (activated by hitting a lever, which raises them). In one lengthy fight scene, a few unfortunate mooks get knocked into the pool and dissolve into mist instantly.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toons are known for their durability, shaking off any kind of injuries. But Doom invented a concoction called 'Dip', and is the only known way to permanently kill a Toon. Makes sense when you realize it's made of turpentine, acetone, and benzene; solvents used to clean cels.

  • When Able Team are first briefed on Neo-Nazi Corrupt Corporate Executive Unomondo (the closest thing that series had to a reoccurring Big Bad) they're told how one of his accountants who turned state's evidence got a big set of pictures — his wife and children being lowered one inch at a time, one picture at a time, into tubs of acid. The man killed himself the next day.
  • Subverted in the sci-fi story Acid Bath by Vaseleos Garson. Hostile alien robots capture our hero and force him to drink corrosive substances; as they're made of metal, this turns out to be water.
  • Babylon Babies. Russian mobster Gorsky captures a laboratory and uses the threat of this to force a scientist to work for them. His colleagues end up in the bath anyway once he's done the required work, though by that stage the scientist is not inclined to disobey.
  • Bulldog Drummond: The criminal mastermind Lakington has a secret room in his house containing a large bath and a collection of corrosive substances to fill it with. He is first seen using it to dispose of an inconvenient body without leaving any identifiable traces and later threatens to dump the hero in it still living. He ends up being pushed into the acid bath himself.
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure book The Worst Day of Your Life, the protagonist/reader, while wearing handcuffs, comes across a toxic swamp that is a dumping ground for nuclear waste. If they try to use the acid to get rid of their handcuffs, the fumes make them dizzy when they get too close. They fall into the swamp and are dissolved alive.
    It's not a bad way to go. There's no pain. There's no time to scream. And seconds later, there's no you.
  • Jedi Apprentice: One book features natural pools that have been polluted to the extent that they can dissolve an adult human in moments. Naturally, nobody has any problems breathing around them and only discover the danger after a piece of cloth accidentally falls in when one character leans directly over.
  • One of the The Legend of Drizzt novels includes an acid pool just sitting around in the Underdark. Because the Underdark is just nasty that way.
  • In the first of the Gereon Rath novels, a crime boss expecting a shipment of gold smuggled out of Russian just gets three tank-wagons of hydrochloric acid and another of nitric acid. He speculates that when combined the acid was meant to dissolve the gold so it could be smuggled. Turns out the gold is lining the inside of the tank-wagons, which he only discovers after a stray bullet breaks a valve and causes a Dirty Cop to be sprayed with the contents.
  • Nomads of Gor had a pool that was alive, and digested its victims.
  • In A Study in Murder by Robert Ryan, prisoners in WW1 German POW camp are paying huge bribes to escape. Their deaths are faked, and a coffin with a hinged bottom is lowered into a grave connected to a disused gold-mining tunnel. Dr. Watson suspects the escapees are actually being murdered, and sure enough finds two members of the Escape Committee pushing a large tub of sulphuric acid (used for gold extraction) under the shaft where the escapee is supposed to drop out of his coffin.
  • Wise Phuul: The Imperial Capital, Kuolinako, uses a Death Pool of corrosive acid for executions. The fumes are such that the victims are provided with gas masks so they don't die before they hit the pool.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Breaking Bad, Walter White instructed Jesse to dispose of a body using one of these. He specifically told him to get a plastic barrel that is resistant to the type of acid they'll use, but this part is then ignored and the acid and body are simply dumped in a bathtub. However, Jesse got the material of the bathtub all wrong, and the acid ate right through the bathtub and the floor that it stood on.
    Walter White: I'm sorry, what were you asking me? Oh, yes, that stupid plastic container I asked you to buy. You see, hydrofluoric acid won't eat through plastic. It will, however, dissolve metal, rock, glass, ceramic. So there's that.
  • In CSI: Miami, a guy falls into a pool filled with sodium hydroxide. Technically a base, rather than an acid, but for dramatic purposes the effect is the same.
  • Used in Irathient funerals in Defiance, Sukar gets back up after his "corpse" is lowered into one.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Sixth Doctor story "Vengeance of Varos" gained instant notoriety for a scene in which the Doctor is fighting a pair of mooks and (accidentally, though it's hard to see the way it was filmed and cut) tips one of them into a bubbling acid pool, only to watch in horror as the mook he knocked in grabs the other mook and pulls him in too.
    • In "Boom Town", it's mentioned that the Raxacoricofallapatorians use this as an execution method: criminals are lowered into a vat of acetic acid (their Weaksauce Weakness), which is balanced specifically to be just barely strong enough to dissolve the skin while keeping the victim alive for an extended period of time.
  • Farscape. In "The Maltese Crichton", after being turned into a statue John Crichton is decapitated by a Villain of the Week, who then dumps his head into a pool of foundry acid. Fortunately, the statue was meant to survive 80 cycles of airborne corrosion—someone fishes out the head before there's any lasting damage, reassembles John, and de-petrifies him. In order to lure Crichton out the villain then kidnaps Chiana and has her Bound and Gagged above the acid pool. He suffers a lampshaded Karmic Death when he's thrown into the pool instead.
  • Kamen Rider V3: Marshall Armor tried to eliminate his rival Joji Yuki with one of these, but the scientists loyal to Yuki intervened and saved his life. Unfortunately, his right arm had already been destroyed by the acid by the time they got to him, so they ended up making him a mechanical replacement.
  • Subverted in an episode of Kung Fu (1972), where young Kwai-Chang is ordered by Master Po to cross a plank over an acid pit full of human skeletons, and blind Master Po demonstrates by walking across it himself. Kwai-Chang obeys and walks across the plank, but falls into the pit halfway across — only to find that it's only full of warm water, and the skeletons were made of paper; the "test" was simply a lesson to teach him that "fear is like a magnet" that pulls a man in its direction.
  • In The Vampire Diaries a vampire-specific one is created by simply scattering vervain into the water. Any vampire that entered it would have their powers drained, then their skin burn.
  • The Wild Wild West actually had a pool of lye in an episode.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Adventures have had a lot of these over the years. For example, WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure had an Acid Pool so concentrated that anyone jumping in would be instantly killed.
    • Third edition averts the "harmless fumes" — if you approach a large vat of acid, you can suffer constitution damage from inhaling the toxic mist.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Tyranids use "digestion pools" to absorb the biomass of planets, as well as their no longer needed forces.

    • There's a villain (a Makuta named Gorast) who has the title "Queen of the Acid Falls," so apparently there is an entire river of acid running through her domain.
    • Energized protodermis comes into contact with it means either you mutate in a random (and not necessarily helpful) fashion or you swiftly disintegrate in a painful manner.

    Video Games 
  • Plenty of acid drains show up in the later levels of Akuji the Heartless, where the titular hero must jump on floating platforms to cross. Falling into the acid will drain Akuji's life away until he finds a way out, or else he gets dissolved when his life is washed away by the acid and must respawn from the previous checkpoint.
  • Banjo-Tooie: Luminous green pools of acid are frequent in Grunty Industries. The one on the second floor merely make Banjo and Kazooie jump in pain, but the ones in the basement will bounce them back to the bank at their border (this happens to prevent either character from using damage boost to get the Jiggies that are intended to be collected with later worlds' abilities).
  • Brain Dead 13:
    • At the beginning of the Giant Statue stage, this acid pool will form under the ground tiles Lance is standing on, and if you wait too long, they will wobble and collapse under his weight and cause him to fall in and drown!
    • There is also another acid pool in the fountain, and he will fall in if he can't find something to grab onto, like a gargoyle statue. He will also fall into the same pool in other death scenes.
  • The fourth Commander Keen game, Secret of the Oracle, has two vats of this in the first level, and they show up sporadically throughout. Glowing green goo variety.
  • Deltarune: The Queen's castle in Chapter 2 has some massive pits of (battery) acid, that you thankfully cannot fall into but still need a special pedalo and bridges to cross. Part of why the Queen's doing this is because she herself drinks battery acid like it's wine and greatly enjoys it, so this has measures of Conspicuous Consumption.
  • All over the place in Doom and Quake, in addition to lava. There are lab coats that give Doomguy full protection against them, but only for a limited time.
  • In Gyossait, these appear as purple pools that will even kill enemies if they fall in (though they have to be completely onscreen in order to die).
  • Heavy Rain - Norman Jayden can investigate one and find a skeleton floating in it.
  • In Heroes Rise, this is how the Meek finally manage to kill Miss Artillery.
  • Generate randomly underground on planet Xeno in JunkJack. A favorite of many multiplayer users for making death traps to kill other players.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has one just before the goal in the Sith academy exam.
  • Several are littered throughout Acid Man's level in Mega Man 11. Certain enemies can turn the water so corrosive that Mega Man will take damage trying to swim in it.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake for the MSX had acid pools that could be neutralized with chocolate.
  • Several of the areas in Metroid (for example, Brinstar in the original game) have acid pools which only damage Samus should she fall in. Perhaps justified because of her Powered Armor.
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush and Wally are unwillingly suspended above a pool of acid while caught in LeChuck's Death Trap.
  • The Dead Pool in the Mortal Kombat series, which you can knock your opponent into at the end of a match, or to end a round by Ring Out in Deception.
  • The liquid pits in several areas in Portal.
  • Acid pools appear in World 2 fortress in Purple.
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked, Maxwell is threatened with one of these by Doppleganger and Scarecrow in the Arkham Asylum level.
  • Appears instead of lava pools in some particularly nasty places in Severance: Blade of Darkness.
  • The Simpsons Skateboarding: One of the locations in Itchy and Scratchy Land is called the "Acid Bath," a ramp suspended over a pool of green liquid representing acid.
  • Space Quest:
  • In Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin, Mary Jane is kidnapped mid-game and hung over one of these and the player has to defeat the Kingpin before she's killed. Leading to two (three in the Sega CD version) endings depending on if you saved her.
  • The Sorceress from Spyro: Year of the Dragon is killed when she falls into a pit of purple acid.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The Brinstar level in the series is set over a gigantic pool of acid that periodically rises up to singe anyone who's too slow to retreat to higher ground. However, you generally can't sink into it. Instead you'll take damage and bounce off the surface (which can be fatal at higher damage percentages, especially in 64).
    • The Master Fortress form of Master Core in Smash Bros. for the Wii U is filled with these, and they're actually one of only two things in there that can cost you a life; the other being the acid-oozing walls. Touching either at 100% or higher results in an instant KO, though getting hit even at low percentages can be deadly due to the potential for you to get bounced between the pools and walls repeatedly like a ping-pong ball.
  • The Level Editor in some installments of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series allows the player to put down pools of acid as they please. They function the same as water or lava pits, counting as an out-of-bounds/bail zone.
  • These appear in TRI: Of Friendship and Madness, and they're instant death if you fall into them. Particularly jarring as nothing else in the chapters could kill you before.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "The Man Who Killed Batman", the Joker lowers Sid the Squid into one while locked in a casket. Batman saves him by opening the drain before it melts all the way through.
    • In "Batgirl Returns", Batgirl and Catwoman are captured by Roland Daggett and taken near acid vats. One of them asks if they'll drop them in the acid, but he replies he'll just shoot them and use the vats to dispose of their bodies.
  • In the final episode of G.I. Joe: Renegades, titled "Revelations, Part 2", Duke knocks Cobra Commander into a pool of acid and escapes with his team before the entire mansion explodes. The Stinger reveals that Cobra Commander had survived, however, and he vows revenge on the Joes.
  • Kaeloo: Played for Laughs when Mr. Cat dunks Quack Quack into a tub of Hollywood Acid in the episode "Let's Play Prince Charming", which promptly dissolves half of his body.
  • In the episode OK A.U.! of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, K-0 is cleaning Lord Boxmans vat of acid when his arm gets splashed (melting it beyond use).
  • The episode "Cop Out" of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) involves a corrupt ex-cop who captures them and tries to drop them in an acid pool. The good cops show up in time but aren't quite able to rescue them because they hit the wrong button. Fortunately, the girls turn out to be acid-proof.
  • Rick and Morty: "The Vat of Acid Episode" obviously features one of these. However, the eponymous vat of acid is actually fake. It's a vat of a harmless green liquid implied to be Mountain Dew, with a breathing apparatus to make sure whoever falls in can stay in there until any witnesses are convinced of their death, and a supply of bones to help sell the illusion, as well as a laser for destroying any ladles that enter the vat to test its acidity. A member of the SWAT Team is convinced he's acid-proof near the end of the episode after being splashed by the fake acid. In The Stinger, he goes on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (which was still on the air in that dimension) with a real vat of acid, lowering himself into it with predictable results.
  • In The X's special "Truman X: Super Villain" Truman accurately predicts that Glowface will slowly lower the family into a vat of acid filled with robot sharks.

    Real Life 
  • The "piranha solution" is made of a 3:1 ratio of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide. This mixture, plus some heat, will dissolve virtually any organic material and turn it into carbon gas. Eventually the acid will even run clear as long as it's heated and mixed. Not even bones will remain after it's been dissolved for long enough. Such as this chicken leg.
  • John George Haigh, the "Acid Bath Killer", disposed of his victims' bodies by dumping them into acid. He also makes an appearance in Clock Tower 3 as Corroder, the second Subordinate you fight.
  • Large-scale livestock farms often have large bodies of liquid known as anaerobic lagoons, which are used to store animal excrement. These lagoons are extremely toxic, and falling in one is pretty much instant death.
  • The Berkeley Pit, an abandoned open-pit copper mine in Butte, Montana.
  • The water filling the crater at the summit of Kawah Ijen in Indonesia.
  • Similarly, the water in some of the hot springs in and around Yellowstone National Park is easily capable of dissolving anyone unfortunate enough to fall in. (Or dumb enough to deliberately try taking a dip).
  • The Islamic State terrorist group reportedly executed 25 accused spies by lowering them into a vat of nitric acid.


Video Example(s):


Vat of Acid

On The Tonight Show, a man claims to the audience that he is "acid-proof" with predictable results.

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Main / AcidPool

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