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Ceiling Corpse

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A character goes into a spooky house. Walking around he feels compelled to look up. He is shocked to find a body stuck to the ceiling.

This trope is when a person's body is, through supernatural means or otherwise, stuck to the ceiling. Since no one has peripheral vision, it is almost always set up for a shocking reveal. Is usually revealed by dripping blood.

In some examples, the person might not actually be dead, or there might not be enough of a body left to be a recognizable person.

Subtrope of Peek-a-Boo Corpse. Often a subtrope of Body in a Breadbox. See also Ceiling Cling.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: In Punk Hazard's frozen laboratory, half of the Straw Hats and the giant kids are running out of the facility when they see frozen corpses sticking off the ceiling. The Straw Hats have to cheer the kids up by singing.

    Comic Strips 
  • Non-deadly example: Garfield once duct-tapes his neighbor's little dog to the ceiling above her phone, and when she calls Jon about the missing dog, indicates that he should tell her to look up.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Men in Black, when J and K return to the morgue, Agent K finds the body of the rude morgue attendant (David Cross) where the Bug stuck it to the ceiling.
    • Subverted however in the second film where the same guy appears as the owner of a video store. Confirmed by the director in the audio commentary to be the same person.
  • In Jeepers Creepers, Darry freaks out when he realizes that the roof of the tunnel he's fallen into is covered in preserved human corpses.
  • In The Blob (1988), a man walks into a projection room and a yo-yo falls down from above. He looks up, and sees the projectionist is stuck to the ceiling, half dissolved by the blob.
  • Early on in Aguirre, the Wrath of God, a troop of Spaniards are exploring the jungle when the last of them catches his foot in a sling and is silently drawn up into a tree. Moments later, another Spaniard turns around to look for his comrade. Looking around confusedly, he suddenly sees blood dripping from above on nearby leaves. He looks up, is terrified and runs off screaming "Indians! Indians!" We never see what happened to the man up on the tree, but it is clear he is dead.
  • Predators are fond of leaving flayed human corpses dangling gruesomely from treetops and ceilings.
  • There's a moment during the final scene of Rogue One when Darth Vader is slaughtering all the poor Rebel mooks; a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot shows that Vader pins one of the men to the ceiling and proceeds to slice him in half with his lightsaber.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Dr. McCoy's making his way through the Regula I station when he bumps into a Rat Scare. Relieved after the initial shock, he turns around - slap-bang into a corpse, hung upside down.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural:
    • This was what becomes of Sam's girlfriend in the pilot episode, and her body is revealed when it drips blood on his face. It's a repeat of what happened with his mother, as pictured above.
    • Rowena's debut in season 10 has her casually pinning two bodies to the ceiling, and the camera pans upward to reveal the corpses when a drop of blood falls on her arm.
  • In the miniseries remake of of Rosemary's Baby, the priest feels blood on his face and looks up to find himself hanging from the ceiling.
  • In Heroes, this is how Mohinder is revealed to Peter Petrelli.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this is how Skye discovers Eric Koenig's body and realizes that Ward is a traitor.
  • Firefly: The episode "Bushwacked" ups the ante with (nearly) the whole crew of a derelict cargo vessel strung upside down on the ceiling awaiting discovery by River long after the others had entered and explored the rest of the ship looking for them.
  • In one episode of Criminal Minds, the UnSub kills three people in a fit of rage and lies down to go to sleep; when he feels a blood drop in his face and opens his eyes again he sees the bodies of his victims stuck above him on the ceiling, blood pool and all.Context 
  • An early episode of Star Trek: Enterprise has an away team board an unresponsive alien vessel. The place is already quite spooky when Hoshi spots its crew strung up from the ceiling, having their blood mechanically harvested.
  • Not bodies (because they aren't dead), but in Star Trek: Voyager's "Cold Fire", Janeway looks up to see B'Lanna and Tuvok pinned to the ceiling.

    Theme Parks 
  • At the haunted house ride in the British theme park Drayton Manor, the entrance to the actual ride was set up (though it might have changed by now) as if the participants are volunteer paranormal investigators, and at one point the park employee/lead "investigator" makes a reference to all the previous investigators still being missing. Later in the ride intro/experience, a painting comes alive, warns people to get out, then tells them to look up. Those floating bodies slowly tumbling about on the ceiling were very convincing...

    Video Games 
  • A couple of these appear in Dead Space, probably just to show how bad the incident on the Ishimura was.
  • Doom:
    • Doom II: The second secret level ends with four Keen corpses hanging from the ceiling.
    • Doom³: The cinematic introducing the first Maggot sees the marine walk into a room and find an eviscerated zombie stuck to the ceiling by spikes through its limbs, with its torso peeled open from its neck down to its hips, still "alive" and screaming.
  • In Fatal Frame, renowned novelist Junsei Takamine died investigating Himuro Manor when vengeful specter Kirie dragged him up to the ceiling of a shrine and crucified him there. Miku Hinasaki later sees his ghost pinned in the same fashion by the grasping hands of the Malice, right before it falls down and proceeds to attack her in a blind rage; the body itself had long since been spirited away.
  • Fear the Dark Unknown: One room in the Beresford Mansion has a room with the ceiling practically covered in corpses.
  • In Mark of the Ninja, you can hang guards from grappling hook points with the chain of your hook, either after you've killed them or, if you've taken the Hangman's Hymn perk, in the process of doing so. Any guards who spot the corpse will be immediately terrified.
  • Not a corpse, but in Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove the Master Detective finds one of the students frozen to the farmhouse ceiling.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: A professor is found in a cocoon on the ceiling. He did it to himself to appear innocent.
  • The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Veterinarian" has a subplot where Marge becomes a crime scene cleaner for the police department. Her first job involves one of these (the police warn her about the scene, she looks around the apparently corpse-free room, and then body parts start falling from the ceiling).

    Real Life 
  • The infamous SL-1 nuclear accident in 1961 which resulted in the United States Army getting out of the nuclear power business. An operator took a control rod that was supposed to be withdrawn 10 cm and, likely by accident, withdrew it 66 cm. A prompt critical reaction occurred, followed by the explosion of the reactor vessel. Rescue workers who were making necessarily brief visits into the highly radioactive room found one dead operator and a second operator who died minutes after being taken out. The first responders initially could not find the third man in the three-man crew and were unable to account for his whereabouts. They finally found him hanging 13 feet over the reactor vessel, pinned to the ceiling by a piece of debris.


Video Example(s):


South takes out guards

Two guards are taken out by South in the style of a horror movie monster. One is yanked up off-screen by the neck while the other isn't looking. The other is lured in with a voice changer before encountering the first guard's dead body.

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