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By Wall That Is Holey

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Safety windows don't all have glass.

"I genuinely hope that was an idea Shaq brought to the set. “Guys, I’d really like my performance to be inspired by Harold Lloyd.”
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Steel

A piece of masonry, architecture, Giant Foot of Stomping, or another very large object falls onto a character. Fortunately, they survive because they're standing exactly where the window or some other opening will be located when the building front drops.

Compare with Illogical Safe, and contrast Impact Silhouette.


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  • There is an anti-drug commercial that seems to be the same as the Brain Wall example below. "Where do you fit in?" is the theme, and it shows the kid playing sports, etc., then the last one is taking a joint from someone, and he decides not to fit in there.
  • In a ad, a musician plays drums at the beach beside a lifeguard tower; when the tower is knocked down by a stumbling surfer, it topples all around the drummer without striking him.
  • A Jimmy John's ad features a family pretending they live in a house so that Jimmy John's will deliver to them, because Jimmy John's only delivers to places within five minutes' travel from their stores for maximum freshness. As the delivery woman walks away, the heavy wood facade of a house's front falls down around her and the paper window breaks over her head.
  • One of Syfy's bumps has this happen to two different characters from Warehouse 13 simultaneously. Artie is standing directly in front of the door, which doesn't fall with the house, and Claudia is lined up with the window.
  • In the Japanese commercial for Dynamite Headdy, Marumama tries to destroy Headdy as retribution for upstaging him. He does this by knocking down the standee between them, but Headdy ends up unharmed because he stands where the window falls.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Battle Angel Alita after a ruined skyscraper falls on tuned Alita and company:
  • In Change 123, there is a scene where a bad guys pushes a loosened emergency staircase towards the Non-Action Guy Kosukegawa and his (sort of) Action Girlfriend Fujiko. Kosukegawa, who is always willing to be a hero despite him not being an athletic type, instinctively tries to grab Fujiko and run away. However Fujiko, being a good strategist, knows that they don't have enough time for this, so she forcibly holds Kousukegawa near her and then manipulates both of them to the spot where she calculates that a hollow part of the staircase will fall down.
  • A variant occurs in Claymore, when the giant Dauf tries to bring down his hands on Galatea, but fortunately for her and unfortunately for him she's standing right where his hands are cupped. It's explained she used her yoki bending powers to open his fingers, but the expression on Dauf's face is still pretty priceless.
  • Dandadan: When the "gators" are trying to assault Ayase at the hot springs, the building walls fall down on them, with Ayase conveniently in the doorway.
  • An early chapter of Gunsmith Cats serves up this trope with some Car Fu seasoning: when the crook she's chasing manages a sudden, unexpected turn, Rally tries to do the same, but only ends up sending her car skidding sideways... through a back alley playground, with a young girl caught right in their path. So her partner opens the passenger side door, yanks the girl inside and passes her across the front seat to Rally, who deposits her out the other end, right where she was standing before.
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When Kuroe Akaishi turns into Harugon at the Ultra Bakuon Fest, a news reporter narrowly manages to avoid being crushed under the monster's foot by being lucky enough to be standing where a gap between her toes is.
  • A running gag in Lupin III: Operation: Return the Treasure has this happen to Zenigata every time Lupin was locked up and subsequently freed by blowing up the prison cell. Subverted in that the final time this happens, the wall does hit Zenigata. (But misses Lupin)
  • The G8 Arc in One Piece has the door of a giant safe come off and nearly crush Usopp and Luffy (who finds the whole thing to be hilarious).
  • Shadows House: When Emilico, Kate, Shaun, and John accidentally cause the collapse of one of the walls of the Research Team's building, it falls in such a away that they're all standing where the window was - except for John, who breaks through it unharmed.

  • An exhibition in the Centre Pompidou consists of a series of films of this happening from lots of different camera angles, many of which evoke classic scene transitions.

    Comic Books 
  • A variation in Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk: The big green guy picks up a car and throws it sideways at Batman. Having no space to dodge to the side, Batman dives towards the car in mid-air, into the open driver-side window, and out the passenger side.
  • Blue Beetle uses the second Jurassic Park version: To rescue a firefighter from a burning building, Blue Beetle hovers his flying "bug" over a hole in the building's roof, and lowers himself down on the cable. He grabs the fireman and starts to retract back up, but the building starts to crumble, so they hold tight to the cable. The building collapses but they're fine because they were under the hole in the roof.
  • The Catwoman villain Film Freak once set this up to happen, in a deliberate homage to the trope, carefully positioning himself to be standing in the window. The policemen who were trying to arrest him at the time were not so lucky.
  • A variant happens in The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #32. A Classy Cat-Burglar cuts loose a huge Mayan calendar stone that is hanging from the museum ceiling so it falls on Indy. Indy avoids being crushed by standing still so he passes through the hole in the centre of the stone.

    Comic Strips 
  • A storyline in Funky Winkerbean featured characters reminiscing about a silent movie comedian called Butter Brickle, whose gimmick was that he didn't stand where the window was, because he thought it was funnier that way.

    Fan Works 
  • It Got Worse employs a bizarre variant of this trope, only with a large number of anvils instead of a literal wall. Coil does not take it well.
  • The Reaping of Hatsune Miku cruelly subverts this with Kaito's death. The 'wall' is a shipping crate for frozen goods; he doesn't get crushed by its flat sides, but is trapped within and freezes to death.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: After the eponymous hero is banished to a frozen wasteland (courtesy of Jafar), his attempts to dig up Carpet causes the cylindrical palace tower (which Jafar had sent with him) to begin rolling toward him. Aladdin thinks quickly enough to see the tower's tiny window, and slides right to the exact point where it would make contact with the ground. As Abu's reaction makes quite clear, this is a very close shave!
  • Occurs in Antz (except with a flyswatter... and one of the characters isn't so lucky). Justified Trope in this case. Ever try to kill an itty bitty ant with a flyswatter? It's not easy.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs manages to pull this off several times, keeping it fresh with very different causes — in the same scene, a wave of water with an airspace misses the one guy who's in a raincoat in the one-seat "splash zone" no less, and a rolling giant goldfish bowl misses the protagonist due to the huge space below the lip of the bowl. And that's just from one scene.
  • Played straight in the opening scene of Dinosaur. The Carnotaurus stomps on a nest of Iguanodon eggs as it pursues the fleeing herbivores. Aladar's egg survives by being between its toes, but the other eggs aren't so lucky.
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, this trope ends up subverting Falling Chandelier of Doom when Kronk drops the chandelier on (the extremely skinny) Yzma. Once the dust clears, it is revealed that Yzma is unscathed, in the middle of the fixture, with a candle in her mouth.
    Kronk: Strange. That usually works.
    Yzma: And so does THIS!
    (She pulls a lever and a trap door opens under Kronk)
    Kronk: Oh, I shoulda seen that one coming. WHOOOOA!
  • In the feature film Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, a ladder falls towards a group of cops, who then line up so that each one fits neatly through the rungs.
  • In Home (2015), Oh appears to be crushed by the Gorg mothership, but is spared because that particular portion was hollow.
  • Seen in one of the bloopers for The LEGO Movie, when a section of scenery falls over and narrowly misses several characters. A LEGO version of Phil Lord isn't so lucky and gets squashed.
  • Occurs at the beginning of Shrek the Third, to Prince Charming with a cardboard wall. Subverted in the ending, however, where Charming isn't as lucky.
  • In Surf's Up, the main character, Cody, accidentally knocks over a cardboard cutout. It lands on a young penguin who happens to be standing where its face was before it was cut out. The penguin appears not to notice and continues walking.
  • In the third Swan Princess movie, the back wall of the festival stage falls over, nearly landing on Rogers, who escapes unscathed because of a window in the wall. He even remarks afterwards, "Well-placed window!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Reversed in The Dirty Dozen in a shot when the inmates, while building a barracks cabin, raise a wall around Major Reisman.
  • In Garfield, Garfield knocks down everything in Jon's office. The last thing that falls is a large shelf but it misses Garfield when he winds up going through one of the holes.
  • The 1998 American version of Godzilla includes a scene where a cameraman films as the eponymous monster charges in his direction... and the immense toes come down on either side of him. Unlike many other examples, said cameraman is suitably shaken up by the event.
  • Subverted with Hook. The giant stuffed crocodile falls on Captain Hook, and the clock had fallen out of it mouth allowing its jaws to fall perfectly to either side of him. It somehow eats him anyway.
  • Done at the end of Jackass Number Two. After the wall falls, though, he gets hit by a wrecking ball. Also attempted during the outtakes in the credits. Someone yelled "cut" at a bad moment, so Knoxville thought the scene was over and moved...
  • Jurassic Park:
    • Jurassic Park: A car is falling upside-down onto Dr. Grant and Tim, but luckily, they are only covered by the cabin portion of the vehicle, the top of which had previously been removed by a T. rex.
      Tim Murphy: Well. We are back. In the car again.
      Dr. Alan Grant: At least we're out of the tree.
    • The Lost World: Jurassic Park does this in reverse, with the protagonists hanging onto a rope that keeps them suspended while the section-bus they're in plunges into the sea around them.
  • The Animated Credits Opening for The Pink Panther Strikes Again features a straight homage of Keaton's Steamboat Bill Jr. gag.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Turned up to eleven in Project A Part II by Jackie Chan, where he started on top of a multi-storey wall and ran all the way down the side of it as it toppled over, with someone else on the ground standing where the window is located. Chan is a big fan of Buster Keaton and silent comedy in general, and it's just one of several classic stunts that he's worked into his films.
  • Trope Codifier: Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr. Keaton's stunt was noted for being done without any trickery (and for being botched by the crew at one point — they measured it wrong, and missed flattening Keaton's skull by inches). It's reported that both the cameraman and the director were too scared to watch when the stunt was performed. Also, Keaton decided a prop wall would not look realistic enough, so the wall used is a real wall built to code, and would have easily crushed him had the stunt gone wrong. An earlier example can be found in Keaton's short One Week, in which the wall first pivots around a horizontal beam, thereby acting as a vertical Bookcase Passage.

  • In Inheritance, a fortress wall falls over with Roran standing right under it. He survives by standing under a door. The other soldiers are not so lucky.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There is a Japanese game show (named Brain Wall, but colloquially called Human Tetris and called Hole In The Wall in other countries) based on this trope, in which contestants must make themselves into the shape of a hole in an approaching wall. Failure to do so results in the wall pushing the contestant into a pool of freezing cold water (or plastic colored balls in some versions). A celebrity version of the show was made for The BBC and the show was also brought to the US; both of these versions were called Hole in the Wall.
    • The regulars on Brain Wall are all professional comedians; in many cases where the hole is patently impossible to get through, they usually choose to fail in the most humorous way possible.
  • Done in The Goodies episode "The Movies" in a homage to the silent movies, except with three people and one window. Graeme Garden has said it was the most dangerous stunt they ever performed and probably wouldn't be passed by Health and Safety nowadays, as the prop wall had to be very heavy in order to guarantee it falling straight. In case the reference wasn't obvious enough, after they leave Buster Keaton arrives (he also takes out a notebook and writes something down).
  • Done on purpose in MacGyver, when Mac and the old movie guy he was with use a prop wall to take out some armed assailants, in conjunction with a fake surrender.
  • On an episode of The Middle, Axl is helping out at a Habitat for Humanity house. When asked if he needs help with the bracing, he scoffs and says he knows what he's doing, only to have the wall fall while he stands in the doorway.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Happens to Murdoch when trying to catch a murderer in a vaudeville troupe in "Murdoch and the Tramp". A very young Buster Keaton sees it, and comments "Now, that's something."
  • Invoked in Power Rangers Jungle Fury. When a sign is about to fall on Fran, Dominic saves her by carving a hole in it with his Rhino Spirit power.
  • Happens in Psych to Gus and Shawn at a Wild West theme park. They invoke it by squeezing as close together as possible. This later became part of the opening credits.
  • While still in transition between comedy and full-fledged news report show, Salvados had an intro where this happened to host Jordi Évole.

    Music Videos 

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Ur-Example is the Creation Myth of the Akimel Oʼotham people (known by non-Natives as the Pima). In it, Juhwertamahkai twice destroys the world he created because he's displeased that the people in it have become wicked cannibals. He does so by letting the sky fall to crush everyone, but breaks a hole with his staff for himself to stand in and survive.

  • When the entire set collapses in The Play That Goes Wrong, the back flat falls around Annie, leaving her standing in the window.

    Theme Parks 
  • The "Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Spectacular" stunt show at Universal Studios (both Hollywood and Orlando) ended the show with the bumbling protagonist sitting on a Plunger Detonator and causing a building façade behind him to explode and fall forward, with him sitting right in the front window. When the stunt show was changed to "Fear Factor Live" at both parks, the trick was retained with the final stunt involving the winning contestant detonating explosives that drop the very same façade over the host, who has been patiently sitting on a stool.

    Video Games 
  • The maze in the stomach of the Zone Eater in Final Fantasy VI.
  • The Temple of Doom from Final Fantasy VII has a related case with U-shaped rolling boulders. This one is only a minor example, as it's really a timing puzzle. If you mess up the timing and get squished by the boulders, you just get sent back to the beginning of the trap, without even any loss of health.
  • This happens in a cutscene of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Ron is nearly crushed by a falling tower.
  • A suitable subversion occurs in I Wanna Be the Guy. At the descending spiked ceiling trap with a conveniently placed hole, the spike extends to kill you anyway if you try to hide there.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards: The robot factory in Shiver Star features a conveyor belt and crushers.
    • Kirby: Triple Deluxe features this for some of its hazards considering the game's gimmick of background hazards, particularly on Lollipop Land and the mine levels of Endless Explosions.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land has the tail end of "Burning Churning Power Plant", where large metallic walls with conveniently shaped holes advance forward and threaten to push Kirby into the molten metal behind. Kirby has to use the correct Mouthful Mode shapes to pass through.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the checkerboard room in the Forest Temple. Inconveniently, giant Skulltulas guard most of these safe spots note .
    • A checkerboard ceiling trap is used in Ikana Castle in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, with the added difficulty that it's boiling hot and also hides a switch that opens the door up ahead.
  • Metal Shark Player's stage in Mega Man X6—the ground is a conveyor belt, there are instant-death spikes in addition to the crushing danger, and various Nightmare effects can add super-slippery or nigh-invulnerable crates or metal blocks that are in the way.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Featured in several of the castle stages in Super Mario World, and at least one level (Valley of Bowser 2) where the ground is constantly rising and falling.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2: The final planet encountered in the "Clockwork Ruins Galaxy" has giant stone cog wheels crashing down at either Mario or Luigi. However, you can duck under the teeth holes when the cogs roll toward you.
    • Super Mario 3D World: This is actually the basis for an entire Mook type. You have to maneuver into its safe zone and then Attack Its Weak Point by Goomba Stomping its exposed back.
    • Mario Party 4: The minigame "Booksquirm" is where you are standing on a giant book and must continually run for the shape cutouts in the next page to avoid being squashed. The holes get smaller, fewer, and the pages turn faster as the game progresses, until only the winner remains. The designers clearly thought this was so much fun they even included a challenge mode of this mini-game that lasts until all are crushed and keeps a high score on the pages.
    • Mario Party 8: The minigame Wing And A Scare has two dueling characters drive airplaces to fly across a floating city in the skies. Along the way, they have to go through walls that have uniquely-shaped holes, which can only be tackled when the airplanes are tilted accordingly (some walls are fully closed at first, but will open shortly afterwards and the characters have to react quick enough by tilting their vehicles). Near the end is a tunnel across a wall that will begin to rotate once a characters enters it, requiring a smooth tilting to avoid clashing against the walls. If a clash happens, the character's airplane will rebound and make them waste time. Whoever reaches the goal first wins; however, if both get there at the same time or neither does so after five minutes, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • One section of the Earth Vellumental Temple in Paper Mario: The Origami King requires you to navigate under a spinning wheel that shoots fire out of spaced out holes. Once you get past, the wheel falls onto the sloped path and starts rolling toward you; the only way to survive is to position yourself under one of said holes.
  • This is the gameplay of the WiiWare game ThruSpace The player must orient a piece called a Keydron so it will fit through gaps in approaching walls. The sequel to the game Ketzal's Corridors adds a story with an Aztec art style to the same gameplay.
  • In TimeSplitters Future Perfect, Captain Ash is nearly crushed by a collapsing wall after a stray artillery shell strikes it. "I say!"
  • One room in Xenogears has a spiked ceiling trap, but the trick is that the player-shaped hole is exactly above the platform where the party is standing anyway, and the top of the "ceiling" is in fact a perfectly safe elevator. The spikes only look threatening because you're seeing them from a third-person perspective.
  • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there is a scene in which Wolverine pushes a stone wall onto a group of baddies. One survives because he's standing right where a hole in the wall is. As he begins to rejoice in his good fortune, Wolverine leaps down and kills him.

    Web Animation 
  • This almost saves Cuddles in an episode of Happy Tree Friends. The show being what it is, he winds up getting killed through a subversion of this trope, as while he was standing in the path of a window, it still had glass inside the frame, which sliced him neatly into segments. However, Mime manages to survive the same incident.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in a fantasy sequence on an episode of Arthur where Binky imagines that he gets so strong he makes the entire school collapse by slamming a door. After the whole building falls only the door he slammed, minus the glass in a small window at the top, remains standing, and it promptly falls onto him with him going right through the window hole.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Earth Kingdom is known for hurling massive rock projectiles shaped like Chinese coins, with square holes in the middle so they can be lifted up while standing above. Guess how Aang manages to dodge one of them.
  • In one episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, a sitcom set is erected for a bout between the three actresses from Friends. The set eventually collapses on all the combatants but not the referee Mills Lane, who survives because of this trope.
  • Chop Socky Chooks: Happens to Chucky and Joe when they are trapped in Wasabi's Dream World and the giant mechanical duck Mr. Quackers knocks a building over on top of them.
  • Jackie Chan survives this way in one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures where the Monkey King rolls a gigantic store donut at him, but he survives by the fact that the donut has a fake "bite" in it.
  • A variation on Jimmy Two-Shoes, with a tree with a hole in the middle.
  • Coop knocks over a bookshelf that lands around Jamie during a flashback in Megas XLR.
  • Men in Black: The Series has the intentional version as well: Agent Jay tries to outrun the falling wall, but Agent Kay grabs him and keeps him in the right spot.
    Jay: Wow, dumb luck?
    Kay: Luck had nothing to do with it.
  • In The Mr. Men Show episode "Arts and Crafts", when the ceiling breaks apart, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Messy, and Mr. Strong are spared by three holes that form. Mr. Fussy's macaroni sculpture is not so lucky.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", the Pinkie Pie clones cause a barn to collapse; they all scatter, except for one who continues dancing obliviously as the wall crashes down around her.
    • In "Non-Compete Clause", when the front wall of an apple shed under construction collapses, Sandbar ends up standing in the outline of a door that hasn't been installed yet.
  • A particularly suspenseful example appears in the Classic Disney Short "The Old Mill". A bird has her nest in one of the spokeholes of the millstone of the decrepit mill when a storm hits. The rope holding the cogwheel in place breaks and the millstone starts to move. The bird, in a desperate attempt to save her eggs, covers them with her body as the nest approaches the cog. She is saved when it turns out the spoke that goes in that particular hole is missing.
  • This is done in an episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, with a wall the Bully Brothers push toward Penelope. The Hooded Claw's reaction: "Blast! They would forget to close the window!"
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Spa Day", Candace and Stacy are helping build homes for the homeless. Candace lets go of the wall they are holding in position so she can ogle Jeremy. She passes harmlessly through the hole for the window. Stacy is not so lucky.
  • One of the Pixar Shorts, Lifted, does this with a flying saucer that accidentally slams down and crushes the house of a man it'd failed to abduct due to the pilot's clumsiness. The man and his bed survive, as the saucer had an opening in the center of its underside.
  • In the Popeye short "For Better or Nurse", Bluto knocks out a wood plank holding up a dilapidated wall with intent to get crushed so he'll be admitted to the hospital where Olive is a nurse. He's actually disappointed when the trope occurs.
  • Happens once in The Real Ghostbusters with a whole building section thrown at them by haunted girders.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Ricksy Business", as Beth and Jerry leave for a Titanic-themed romantic cruise, the synthetic laser eels that Rick tried to warn Beth about (while she was lecturing him about his responsibility) leave through a hole that they oxidized into the garage door, which then falls off, leaving Rick, Morty and Summer in the middle of the hole.
  • In Robinson Sucroe episode 1, a bookshelf falls over and Robinson just happens to be in the empty crack.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Happens to Mystery Inc. in "Battle of the Humongonauts" when the Humungonauts demolish the boatyard.
  • It happens as a Shout-Out to old films such as Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. on an episode of Sheep in the Big City. However, after the wall fell on Sheep like pictured above, it is followed by a train running over him.
  • This is a Couch Gag in The Simpsons episode "American History X-Cellent".
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this is how snippy Padawan Ahsoka Tano saves Anakin Skywalker from a bunch of droids that look like giant walking beer kegs with guns.
  • In Tales From The Cryptkeeper two girls who are old movie buffs are investigating a possible vampire. On their way up a ladder, they break a rung. While running from the vampire, they knock the ladder loose and it falls toward them. They freeze and end up standing exactly where the missing rung would have been. They look at each other and squeal, "Buster Keaton!"
  • In Teen Titans a giant illuminated "A" perched atop a Wayne Industries building falls over amid much dust and explosions. When the dust clears, Cyborg is standing in the middle of the space made by the cross-stroke.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Champions House in Shambles

When a wall of the destroyed mansion collapses over Harry Kane and a strangely unfazed Delle Alli, they come out of it unscathed thanks to the open window they were standing in front of.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ByWallThatIsHoley

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