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Carpet-Rolled Corpse

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"I shall fetch a rug!"
Woodhouse, Archer

A classic method for murderers, kidnappers or smugglers to covertly transport a human body, dead or alive, is to lay it out on a carpet and roll it up inside. It's quick, tidy, and comparatively innocuous; unlike blankets, a rolled carpet does not sag or fold out of shape, and it's unlikely to seep fluids like normal cloth or tear as plastic bags can.

If used with a dead body, this trope allows a killer to carry off any evidence on the rug along with the corpse. With a living kidnap victim, they're restrained by the thick material and their cries are muffled; while suffocation is a risk, it can be made less likely if the carpet's ends are left uncovered (although pressure on the chest still poses a breathing hazard). Either way, a rolled-up carpet remains one of the few heavy cylindrical objects that can be hauled around in public without attracting much attention.

Out-of-character, this trope was first popularized in the theater, where it let an actor be discreetly carried off-stage after their death scene, rather than hauled off in full view and at risk of Corpsing.

Subtrope of Disposing of a Body, and one standard technique for a Cleanup Crew. Sister trope to Bag of Kidnapping if the body in transit is a living captive. Rarely, a person might arrange to have this trope applied to themselves, possibly as a Trojan Horse. If someone decides to use a carpet rolled corpse as a weapon, this is Grievous Harm with a Body.

Often a Death Trope, so unmarked spoilers may follow.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Parodied in Crayon Shin-chan in an episode where Shin-Chan, Himawari and Misae went on a picnic outing at a nearby park. Misae decides to take a short nap, but being Misae, she ends up sleeping longer than expected. When Shin-Chan tried waking Misae up (because his favourite anime's about to start) unsuccessfully, he instead leaves with Himawari, but not before rolling Misae into a bundle using the picnic rug (quoth Shin-Chan, "Don't let mom catch a cold"). Cue plenty of horrified passerbys looking at the rolled-up Misae, and someone calls the police that "there's a dead body rolled-up in the public park"...
  • Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan: In the second episode, Naoko was forced to hide her lover's corpse in a rolled-up carpet to hide it from her father, who was mere moments away from seeing the body.

  • Downplayed by Bill Burr, who left murder off the table, but once seriously contemplated rolling his then-girlfriend up in her yoga mat and leaving it behind a sofa "til' she started to get thirsty" when she pulled an especially shitty move while arguing (slapping him in the head repeatedly to get him riled up and then saying "We will discuss this once you calm down!").
  • In a Chris Rock bit in which he claims "if you haven't contemplated murder, you ain't been in love", then cites the various preparations that one might make for said murder, including, "if you haven't bought a rug to roll their ass up in."

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • In Batman #271: "The Corpse Came C.O.D.", Alfred receives a carpet with a corpse rolled up in it and brings it to the attention of his master Bruce Wayne as well as to the police, leading to Batman investigating the matter.
    • Batman #132: "Crime Does Not Pay": In the story "A Fat Tip for Murder", the murderer rolls his second victim in a carpet to transport her to the hospital where they both work to disguise her as an anatomy class specimen.
  • In one of the Sin City short stories, Schlubb and Klump are sent to dispose of what they think is a body rolled up in a carpet (it has a pair of boots sticking out of one end), and are told not to look inside. It actually turns out to be a test of whether they can follow orders, and the carpet blows up when they try to steal the boots.
  • Supergirl:
    • Supergirl (1972): In the sixth issue, Supergirl needs to stop a gang war, so she picks two huge rolls of insulation, and lays them out, knocking the gangers over and rolling them up inside. Once they are paralyzed, they have no option but listening to her.
    • After her death at the hands of the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman uses this method to transport his cousin's body to Rokyn where her natural parents live.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: While they're obviously alive Diana uses the roll 'em up in a carpet method to restrain and transport a villain.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dick Tracy: Little Face's henchmen do this with their (still-living) boss when they attempt to smuggle him out of the apartment where he had been secreted.

    Film — Animation 
  • Occurs early in The Simpsons Movie when Fat Tony and his thugs arrive at Lake Springfield with a rolled-up carpet. Police Chief Wiggum deters them, stating that no further waste dumping will occur at the lake. Though his fellow officers are suspicious, Chief Wiggum points out that Fat Tony mentioned "yard trimmings," so there couldn't be a corpse in the carpet roll.

    Film — Live-Action  
  • Inextricably associated with gangster movies, originally because it (like the Chalk Outline) allowed directors working under the strictures of Moral Guardians to imply the presence of a dead body without actually showing one on-screen.
  • In Act of Valor when Lisa Morales is kidnapped while playing Scrabble with Walter Ross. The gangsters knock her out, cut a square into the carpet she is on and roll her up in it.
  • Used by Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He even stops to chat with neighbors, who are clueless he is doing anything other than replacing a soiled carpet.
  • In The Boondock Saints, the Sick Mob Man (or as Rocco calls him, the "sick fuck") does this with the family that he kills on a mob hit, rolling them up in a piece of the carpet of their home, before dumping the bodies in a dumpster and burning them. The casual way in which he does all of this unnerves and angers Rocco, to the point of calling it the "worst night of his life".
  • In El Camino, Jesse and Todd dispose of Todd's maid this way and bury her in a desert.
  • In Cleopatra the eponymous heroine meets Caesar this way when introduced to him for the first time, having herself smuggled into his palace, as in the Plutarch's description of the events.
  • In the original film (different from the book) The Day of the Jackal, Kowalski is kidnapped by the French Action Service and wrapped up in a rug for easy transport back to France.
  • In Deathtrap, Sidney is pretty pleased by the neatness after noticing that Cliff, whom Sidney just strangled to death, fell on a rug. Sidney and his wife Myra wrap Cliff up in the rug and take him outside to be buried.
  • Draw!: Not dead, but Wally smuggles Starret into Bell City rolled up inside a tarpaulin to hide hide the fact that the once great lawman is now a hopeless drunk.
  • The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu. When the Queen is kidnapped and rolled up in a carpet by his minions, Fu Manchu quips about a "royal egg roll".
  • In the live-action film of Hogfather, a young woman with a part-time job as a tooth fairy is abducted by villains who roll her up in a carpet.
  • Implied in Jack Reacher. A witness has supposedly 'left town', but Reacher comments that you don't normally pack your shower curtain when you do.
  • In The Machinist, Reznik kills the monstrous Ivan after he finds that he killed a little boy in his bathtub. He wraps Ivan's body in his carpet and drives it out to sea to dump it. When the carpet rolls open by accident Reznik finds that the body is missing, the answer only being revealed later on.
  • At the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, two Spanish fishermen pull an Almost Dead Guy out of the ocean and deliver him to King Ferdinand wrapped in a sail.
  • In The Punisher (2004), the Big Bad Howard Saint has the body of his associate Quentin wrapped in a carpet when he confronts his wife Livia over her supposed infidelity.
    John Saint: Where's Quentin?
    Howard Saint: He's wrapped up in something.
  • Ted Bundy does this with one of his victims, carrying the body out nonchalantly as random strangers pass by.
  • In Unfaithful, the cuckolded husband does this to his wife's lover after accidentally killing him.

  • In the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. novel Hair Raising by Kevin J. Anderson, the detective protagonist visits a human organ dealership in the Unnatural Quarter, and glimpses a couple of men carrying a lumpy rolled-up carpet into a side entrance marked "Deliveries".
  • Done in Everworld with the twist that the body was a living friend, but his friends were trying to smuggle him.
  • In Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, it is described how Cleopatra smuggles herself into Julius Caesar's apartment in either a bedsack or the coverlet of a bed (depending on the translation), carried by Apollodorus, the Sicilian.
  • Mathias Sandorf by Jules Verne: Pescade had managed to reach the abducted Sava when two of the abductors are about to enter the room. Pescade rolls himself into a carpet, then keeps rolling into the darkest corner of the room to hide.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: Imriel has to smuggle Sidonie out of the Carthaginian palace. They choose this method, which proves even more complicated than expected when Sidonie has been drugged into unconsciousness when Imriel comes to collect her. He has no choice but to proceed but worries desperately that she's suffocating the entire time he's moving her.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel The Night of Morningstar, an abduction takes place in which the unconscious victim is carried out of the building wrapped in a carpet, by two men dressed as tradesmen.
  • In Pyramids, Ptraci is inspired by an old palace story to have herself wrapped in a carpet to be unrolled as a "gift" to Pteppic. Between the lint and the dizziness of being unrolled, it turns out less romantic than she'd expected it to.
  • Repairman Jack:
    • In All The Rage, Doug vanishes from his apartment after hacking into the files of the drug company he works for. His fiancee notes that his living room's rug is missing, which immediately brings this trope to mind.
    • Inverted in By The Sword, in which a killer leaves the body where it lies and wraps the murder weapon in a rug, for inconspicuous transport.
  • Invoked in Room. This is part of Ma's Bodybag Trick to help her and her son Jack escape captivity. Jack is wrapped up in a rug by Ma, who claims to Old Nick (her captor and rapist) that he died of a fever. The ploy works when Jack unwraps himself from the rug, jumps out of Old Nick's truck and is found by a passer-by. A smart police officer coaxes GPS Evidence out of Jack, and the cops use the information to locate and free Ma.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. When Sandor Clegane kidnaps Arya Stark she proves to be a troublesome hostage, always trying to sneak off or kill him while he's asleep. Eventually, he just ties her up in a horse blanket at night so she can't move.
  • Super Mario Bros.: A "Choose-Your-Adventure" book combined this and Bag of Kidnapping: Luigi finds himself rolled up in a magical carpet and spirited off to Bowser's castle.
  • In the first Sweet Valley High Super Thriller Double Jeopardy, Jessica walks through a parking lot. A man approaches her, struggling with a rolled-up carpet. She thinks nothing of it...until a woman's arm slips out.
  • In the young adult novel The Undertaker's Gone Bananas by Paul Zindel, the teenage protagonists find that their neighbor has his wife's body and his girlfriend's head rolled up in a carpet. They end up stealing his car, with the carpet attached to the roof and taking in on a high-speed chase in order to get the cops to believe their story.
  • In Jude Deveraux's historical romance Velvet Angel, a kidnapped Elizabeth Chatworth is stripped naked, rolled in a carpet and delivered to family rival Miles Montgomery, in hopes that the playboy will do the obvious and ruin her forever. This backfires when Miles realizes how terrified she is of men and treats her with kindness instead.
  • This happens to the protagonist of Who Stole Kathy Young?, a children's mystery by Margaret Goff Clark. Kidnap victim Kathy Young is rolled up in a carpet while being taken from one hideout to another.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Cadaver", a college prank convinces a student that he'd murdered the dead body (actually an anatomy class specimen) left in his dormitory bed while drunk. He wraps it up in a rug and drives away to bury it in secret.
  • Played straight in American Horror Story: Coven. Fiona murders Madison in cold blood and is promptly rolled up in a carpet by the butler/secret-keeper Spalding and taken away. The carpet is obviously missing afterward, which baffles the others in the house.
  • Played for Laughs on Angel, when Harmony runs into awkward obstacles in moving a corpse even as far as the dumpster outside her apartment.
  • Briefly discussed in an episode of Bones where a skeleton is found bowed backwards with its feet touching the hands. Speculating how it got that way, Booth suggests that maybe someone put a dead body in a carpet which rotted away along with the flesh. Brennan starts laughing, saying that that would have taken thousands of years.
  • Happened at least one on Castle. A city councilman is found this way... after the carpet had been rolled out by people who took the carpet to their apartment, thinking it was left out for those who needed it (turns out that this is a thing in New York). They immediately realize that the corpse was moved to hide where the victim was murdered, but the carpet actually helps link them to a hotel manager who hated the victim and help discover the victim's affair. Naturally, Castle had to lampshade it.
    Castle: What turned you off? The fact he was wearing a rug?
  • Colonel March of Scotland Yard: In "The New Invisible Man", a crook knocks March out and rolls him up in a carpet preparatory to dumping him in the Thames.
  • CSI:
    • In "CSI Unplugged," the Body of the Week is rolled up in a rug and carried out of the house before being dumped in the garden with a note pinned to it with a knife.
    • The guy who accidentally killed his wife and neighbor tried to dispose of his wife's body while it was rolled up into a carpet. The CSIs find her unrolled (he dropped the carpet) and him buried waist-high in cement. It's one of those episodes.
    • A sideshow performer's corpse was found rolled up in a sheet of heavy tent canvas in "Freaks & Geeks."
  • In CSI: NY''s "Jamalot," the corpse of an up-and-coming writer was found rolled up in an expensive rug inside a dumpster.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Used to move the Body of the Week in "The Price of Love". Lucien and Charlie stumble on to the crime when they find the blood-soaked rug in the boot of a stolen car.
  • In the Gotham episode "Blood Rush", a mob "cleaner" transports the dismembered parts of a corpse to the place where he's planning to destroy them with acid in this fashion.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self": After Louis de Pointe du Lac is done feeding on the tractor salesman, Lestat de Lioncourt rolls up the dead man inside a red carpet rug that he'll later discard as he ponders on a replacement.
      Lestat: For our next carpet, I'm thinking Persian. Arabesque maybe. Certainly need a more efficient way of ridding the waste.
    • "The Thing Lay Still": Lampshaded by Louis when Daniel Molloy inquires as to how he and Claudia disposed of Lestat's body.
      Daniel: So what did you do with it?
      Louis: We wrapped him in a carpet. We threw him in a trunk, and left him out with the garbage.
  • Played for Laughs in a Jackass stunt where Johnny Knoxville gets wrapped up in a red carpet and rolled down for Wee Man (dressed as a king) to use. They do it twice, first down a set of concrete stairs, then down a hilly street.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Three-In-One", the kidnapper cum killer is a painter who carries the bodies of his victims out of buildings wrapped in a drop cloth.
  • On an episode of Major Crimes the murderer wraps a body in a carpet and drags it to the street hoping it will be collected with the trash. Unfortunately, it is a nice carpet, so a couple of college kids take it back to their dorm without realizing it contains a body until they unroll it.
  • Married... with Children: among the people interested in buying Al's Dodge were a pair of mobsters with a corpse in a rolled up carpet in tow, asking if the car had any leaks.
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized," Sally Larkin fakes her own kidnapping, making it seem like her husband is responsible. After starving herself in a remote cabin for a few days, she breaks into her own house and kills him, then rolls his body up in a rug from the cabin and drives the body back there. Unfortunately, she incriminates herself when Monk finds that while she was rolling the body, she stepped on a piece of homemade gum that Stottlemeyer had spit out while they were questioning Sally's husband that got stuck to her shoe.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Dog," the victim is found rolled up in a rug that's dumped in the hills.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The Victim of the Week in "Elementary, My Dear Murdoch" is carried out of the Toronto Paranormal Society rolled up in a rug. An immigration officer's body is found inside a rolled-up carpet in "Murdoch Without Borders".
  • On the "Fright Night" Halloween Episode of Mythbusters, rolling a (simulated) body up in a carpet was one step in the obstacle course used to test Hollywood corpse-disposal myths.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Misconduct Game", Susie Chang is murdered as part of a complex plan to frame the forensics department for poor handling of a recent case. However, the homicide team discovers that her body was transported to her apartment wrapped in a painter's tarp. This proves the crime scene was staged and clears Susie's name. The evidence recovered from the tarp helps them to identify the culprit and the real motive behind the murder.
  • And of course Rome depicts Cleopatra's delivery to Caesar this way, which was Truth in Television.
  • After a woman dies of an overdose at a Barskdale gang part in The Wire Wee Bay rolls the body in a carpet and disposes of it in a dumpster. The woman was friends with waitress Shardene at the gang's front business, and after witnessing the autopsy, Shardene agrees to help the police to bring the gang down.
  • Used for a Bait-and-Switch in a flashback episode of Wiseguy, which starts with two Mafiosi throwing a carpet-wrapped corpse into the back of the van owned by Vinnie's father and telling him to drive like hell. A necklace sticking out from the end of the carpet implies it's a girl he was sweet on. It's later revealed that it's actually the local Mafia boss inside the rug; he snatched the necklace off the girl during an argument and was whacked a short time later while it was still in his possession.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena, posing as Cleopatra, has herself delivered to Julius Caesar wrapped in a carpet.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • ''Supercop" Dick Justice accidentally shot a security guard during a match with his finger gun. His tag partner, opponents and the referee helped roll the body up in a carpet, carried it outside and threw it behind a dumpster. They all returned to the ring while the crowd chanted "We Saw Nothing!" and continued with the match as normal.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dying Earth RPG adventure "The Exasperating Cadaver" on the Dying Earth website. The PCs are hired to deliver a "package", which turns out to be a body wrapped up in a carpet. They later discover that the body is actually still alive but drugged.

  • Fangirls: When the girls decide to dump Harry's unconscious for in 'the woods', Catherine tells them to wrap him up in the rug.

    Video Games 
  • This happens in Assassin's Creed Origins as Bayek and Aya roll Cleopatra up into a rug to sneak her past Ptolemy’s guards so she can meet with Julius Caesar.
  • In the short point-and-click game Serena, the protagonist briefly considers rolling up a dead body in a rug, but never gets the chance.
  • Sherlock Holmes The Mystery Of The Persian Carpet: The victim is found disposed of in a Persian carpet.

    Web Original 
  • Often referenced in Bastard Operator from Hell as a method of dealing with annoying users and bosses, including this threat to a pestering boss
    "That was just a bit of voltage," I say. "This is just a roll of old carpet. This is just a spade and those are just bags of lime. This is just a map of abandoned forest trails with vehicle access. Ordinarily, I would treat this like every stupid and uninformed request and just ignore it - BUT IF YOU WANT - I can make an exception in this case. Is that what you'd like?

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in the Adventure Time episode "Root Beer Guy": Finn and Jake roll Princess Bubblegum in a carpet and dump her in a lake. She turns out to have been alive the whole time, and the whole thing was a ruse to test the capability of the Banana Guard.
  • Archer:
    • In "Training Day", Cyril accidentally kills a hooker, Trinette (not call girl; "When they're dead, they're just hookers"), so Woodhouse rolls her in a rug and puts her in the trunk of Archer's car. Archer is more upset about losing the rug. It turns out Cyril's pen was a tranquillizer, not poison, and Trinette is fine, but pissed. She takes his watch, wallet and car.
      Archer: You know, I bet there's a lesson to be learned from all this, but I... aw shit! My rug!
    • Suggested by Woodhouse in "Killing Utne" when Torvald Utne dies, but quickly refused by Mallory (who devises a "hooker-Murder-Suicide" instead).
      Woodhouse: I shall fetch a rug!
      Mallory: You most certainly will not! That was a gift from the Azeri Khan himself!
  • In the first episode of Captain N: The Game Master King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard kidnap Princess Lana by rolling her into a rug.
  • In the third episode of Galtar and the Golden Lance the dwarves Rak and Tuk roll a rug over Mursa the witch after first tying a sack over her upper body while she's in the form of their intended target Princess Goleeta.
  • In the Gummi Bears episode "A Gummi By Any Other Name" Duke Igthorn presents Sunni Gummi (who is wearing a magic hat that makes her look like Princess Calla) to his ogres by rolling her out of a rug, despite having caught her in a sack earlier.
  • Played with in one Mr. Magoo cartoon, when Magoo wanders into a house used as a hideout by criminals and finds a rolled up rug in a closet, thinking it's a corpse, while he passes a man tied up on the floor and thinks it's a rolled-up rug.
  • The Simpsons, in addition to The Simpsons Movie:
    • In a "Treehouse of Horror" segment there's a Bottomless Pit in the woods near Springfield where people dump stuff they don't want anybody to ever find. We see the Springfield Mafia dump a carpet (presumably with body enclosed) down the pit.
    • In "Homer Goes to College", Homer has the idea to "prank" the Dean by rolling him up in a carpet and throwing him off a bridge. Bart then comes up with a better idea, kidnapping their pig mascot "Sir-Oinks-A-Lot". Homer excitedly adds "roll it up in a carpet and throw it off a bridge!"

    Real Life 
  • Cleopatra had herself rolled up into a carpet in order to be smuggled past her brother Ptolemy's guards and meet Julius Caesar.
  • Many real-world murder victims have been found wrapped up in carpets at body-dump sites.
  • The body of Georgia teenager Kendrick Johnson was discovered rolled up inside a wrestling mat at his high school gym, although whether it got there by homicide or misadventure is in dispute.
  • Al-Mustasim, the last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, was rolled up in a rug and trampled to death by the Mongol cavalry. This was because royal blood was too special to be spilled on the ground.
  • In June 2007, pregnant woman Jessie Davis disappeared. Her mother stopped by her house and found signs of a struggle and her toddler son abandoned and only able to say, "Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in the rug". Several weeks later, her boyfriend — a detective himself — led the cops to her body.
  • Although her body was never found, police suspect this was Anne Marie Fahey's fate when they noted that her ex-lover Thomas Capano had purchased a new carpet shortly after she disappeared. For what it's worth, Capano's brother confessed to stuffing her in an ice box and dropping it overboard at sea.
  • In this story from, the OP was mistaken for one after being found rolled up in a blanket, apparently unresponsive, in the back of a truck their friends were driving.


Video Example(s):


King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard

The real question is how did Kevin not see them?

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CarpetRolledCorpse

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