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Conveyor Belt o' Doom

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Nell, about to have a splitting headache.

"Your fahzha is going to have an unfortunate shmelting accident!"
Goldmember, Austin Powers in Goldmember

Not to be confused with Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt, a common hazard in video games.

The main character(s) have become trapped on a conveyor belt (mining ore cart, log in a flume, or any other mechanized delivery system) responsible for shuttling them into a large blast furnace or incinerator, crusher or grinder, large rotary saw blade(s) or anything else that will give them a quick and painful end.

Sometimes this is done purposely by the villain (like tying the Damsel in Distress to railroad tracks) as part of (or in place of) a Death Trap, or as a method of interrogation (as an alternative to physical torture). Thus, often a part of Lumber Mill Mayhem. Or the heroes may wind up in such predicament by more or less coincidence but still have to find a way to escape whatever machines whose job of processing and/or assembling raw materials is invariably lethal to their soft warm bodies.

Commonly seen in large mechanized factories, mills, mines, research labs — or any place with No OSHA Compliance. This may also provide the reason why the heroes always end up trying to run against the direction of the conveyor instead of, say, trying to leap off the side — it may be 1-Dimensional Thinking on the part of the writer, or perhaps the conveyor belt is situated high up where there really is nowhere else to jump to.

If the hero wasn't deliberately tied or trapped on this conveyor by a villain, expect them to trip over something, or get an arm or leg snagged underneath whatever debris or items normally travel the belt, just to up the tension. Likewise, if there are any Mooks trapped on the conveyor with the hero, expect them to be the first ones meeting whatever doom awaits at the downstream end. Depending on the length and path of the belt, sometimes the ultimate fate of the conveyor belt is unknown at first, giving everyone a moment to look up in shock once they realize exactly what they're being drawn towards.

Playing Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" in the background during such a sequence is purely optional.

Originated as a standard Cliffhanger scenario in 19th-century melodramas and the silent matinee film serials that followed them, such as The Perils of Pauline (and echoed repeatedly on The Perils of Penelope Pitstop). Probably a Dead Horse Trope, at least in the dramatic sense. But then, it wasn't too bad in Enemy Mine.

Compare the comedy Sister Tropes Assembly Line Fast-Forward, which involves the characters working at a conveyer belt, and Packed Hero, where the machinery stuffs the hero into a container.


    open/close all folders 

  • In ERI Safety Videos' Yet Another Christmas Carol PSA "A Safety Carol", the Ghost of Safety Future shows Scrooge that he will meet his doom this way if he continues his No OSHA Compliance practices.
  • The theme of one commercial for Wilkins Coffee shows the spinning saw blade variety of this conveyor, on which Wilkins the frog, who loves Wilkins Coffee, puts Wontkins, who hates Wilkins, as punishment for not drinking the coffee.
    Wilkins: He [Wontkins] always was a cut-up!

    Anime & Manga 
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! features this trope in a more classic fashion. In Episode 61 of the anime, there is a short scene in which Kirby is forced to run on a conveyor belt to avoid being speared by a plate of rotating spikes at the end of it in a part of a crazy exercise regime.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey has one in the form of a present-wrapping machine.

    Board Games 
  • Robo Rally, a board game by Richard Garfield, has lots of these. If you aren't careful, they'll carry your robot off the board and/or into a bottomless pit.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Joker has suffered the buzz saw version of this twice — once in the newspaper comic story "The Joker and the Sparrow", and once in the first issue of his self-titled comic book series.
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe story "W.H.A.D.A.L.O.T.T.A.J.A.R.G.O.N.", Huey, Dewey, and Louie get trapped on one when they're wandering around a woodwork factory looking for the logs that used to make up the old Junior Woodchucks' fort clubhouse. Donald saves them in the nick of time by turning it off.
  • In "The Pearl" in Jonah Hex v.1, #64, Jonah and the Girl of the Week are tied up and dropped on a conveyor belt leading into a copper smelter.
  • In "Capt. Sprocket Meets His Greatest Foe Dr. Neutron" in Mad House Comics Digest #5 Dr. Neutron freezes Captain Sprocket in a block of ice and puts it on a belt leading to an ice-cube-making machine. When Super Sally and Her Terrific 3 show up Dr. Neutron turns off the machine so he can devote his attention to the more formidable heroes and Captain Sprocket escapes when the ice melts.
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #4, Bridget's extendable pole gets caught in a bottle recycling machine and she is almost dragged to her death.
  • Subverted in a Supergirl (1972) issue when the titular heroine tries to save a guy from a conveyor belt and finds the buzz saw is made from plastic. The conveyor belt wasn't supposed to cut the weak-hearted guy in half, it was meant to scare him to death.
  • A variation occurs in The Saga of Swamp Thing Vol. 1 #4 when a possessed man hangs Swamp Thing on a meat hook on a stationary conveyor belt leading to a freezer. Swamp Thing tricks the demon into possessing him instead and then starts the belt. While he can survive the cold for a short time, the demon can't.
  • Tintin in America features a cannery, where Tintin is tricked into falling into the meat grinding machine.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): Huntress is tied up and placed on a conveyor belt meant to slide her into a blazing furnace by the Undertaker.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amy Potter Is Batgirl Amy and Hermione are tied to a conveyor belt in a bookbinding factory by the Joker. He actually returns them to the start of the belt several times when Batman and Robin take longer to arrive than he expected.

    Films — Animation 
  • Near the end of The Brave Little Toaster, the characters have become stuck in a junkyard filled primarily with (anthropomorphic) cars whose fate is to be placed on the conveyor by the resident electromagnetic crane and smashed to death in the teeth of a crusher at the end of the line. Their owner, who has come looking for them, also becomes trapped on the belt, leading to a Heroic Sacrifice by the toaster to jam up the crusher's drive gears.
  • Chicken Run has the various machinery inside and leading into the Pie Machine, which is basically lots of conveyor belts all put together.
  • Played straight in the New Zealand movie Footrot Flats: A Dog's Tale - the main canine character, Dog, ends up on a conveyor belt that is moving towards a swinging circular sawblade, three very vicious, very evil dogs surrounding the sides, ensuring he doesn't escape. He does, of course.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2. Po gets caught on one made of bamboo in Lord Shen's cannon factory. Although he's not tied to it, Po can't run fast enough to avoid going over the edge into the smelter. Fortunately he's grabbed onto a fork that he can stick into the bamboo planks and get carried away underneath.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Sully thinks that Boo was trapped on one of these when it was actually just a piece of her monster costume. In a way, this allows the scene to be much more gruesome than it otherwise would be, judging by Sully's reactions as he watches the costume-piece go through one crusher and thrasher after another, assuming Boo is in there. (His terrified reactions are an homage to the Chuck Jones cartoon "Feed the Kitty" wherein bulldog Marc Antony thinks his cute little kitten pal Pussyfoot is receiving the identical treament.)
  • Robots:
    • Fender is placed on one and is able to escape before getting chopped to pieces and thrown into a furnace. However, it's a little embarrassing when he loses his original bottom half and has to do with one more suited for a female.
    • Bigweld is also put on a conveyor but is saved before getting dumped into the furnace as well.
  • Toy Story:
    • In Toy Story 2, while trying to rescue Woody from being shipped to Tokyo, the characters wind up in the airport's automated luggage processing center — a maze of conveyor belts and parcels, but (fortunately) none of it lethal.
    • A much more terrifying version: the landfill near the end of Toy Story 3. The characters are shoved into one conveyor belt leading to a shredder; they escape as a magnetic strip sorts metal out onto a second conveyor... only to subsequently realize it leads straight to an incinerator.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied in Austin Powers in Goldmember when Austin's father is strapped to a conveyor belt-esque contraption that would eventually pour liquid gold over his genitals.
  • The American International Pictures beach movie Beach Blanket Bingo leads up to a melodrama sawmill setting, and perpetual biker-shnook Eric Von Zipper gets comically sawn in half, with bloodless, cheap effects photography.
  • The Black Hole, though rather than a belt it's more a rotary device that carries the victims underneath some kind of lobotomizing laser. After discovering the crew of the USS Cygnus have been turned into robotic drones, one character is taken away to be turned into one also, with the requisite Just in Time rescue.
  • Rare heroic example in Born To Defense, where the protagonist, Jet, defeats and cripples Bailey, the villain responsible for his uncle / adoptive father's death in a factory, and leaves Bailey on a moving conveyor belt leading to a furnace. Bailey doesn't escape.
  • Also parodied in Carry On Spying, where everything, including gravity works backwards when the conveyor belt is reversed.
  • As an example where someone actually died in Child's Play 2, a factory worker is shoved in and has plastic eyes forced into his.
  • Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (under a pseudonym) directed a short called Curses, a parody of 1910s serials, in which the Damsel in Distress is strapped to the now iconic log headed for a sawblade. It's probably one of the first parodies of this type of scene.
  • John in the warehouse scene from The Delinquent ends up getting his hands bolted to a huge log on a conveyer belt, where one of the villain's henchmen, Little Cripple, then activates in an attempt to slice John into two. John barely managed to escape by using his hands to hoist the entirety of his body upwards, resulting in the sawblade passing dangerously close to his guts and only slicing up the tip of his tie.
  • Subverted in the movie version of Dudley Do-Right, where the eponymous Mountie goes "bad" to fight against Snidely Whiplash, who has taken over the town. He ties one of Snidely's minions to a conveyor belt heading for a sawblade for interrogation. Once he has gleaned the information he needs, Dudley seems to have trouble stopping the conveyor belt — then he breaks apart the sawblade to reveal that the "saw" was just a harmless cardboard prop all along.
  • The Flintstones near the end. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are kidnapped by the antagonist, Cliff Vandercave. They are tied up and placed on a conveyor belt leading to a machine that crushes rocks. They are saved by Barney at the last second.
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the eponymous demon hero does this to a villain (sort of)- he goads the enormous troll into firing his spring-loaded, retractable fist at him and ducks- while standing in front of an enormous pair of spiky wheels.
  • E.B. from Hop gets immobilized and placed on a conveyor in the Easter Bunny's candy factory. The conveyor leads to robotic circular saws that cut large hunks of milk chocolate into manageable pieces. E.B. is able to wriggle and dodge around this mechanized Death Trap so well that his outfit remains intact while his bonds were eliminated.
  • The Ice Pirates has the castration factory.
  • In Like Flint. Derek Flint falls onto a conveyor belt and is almost carried to his doom inside a document furnace. Later, a man falls from a height onto the belt and suffers that fate.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy fought a Thuggee guard on a conveyor belt that led to a rock crusher. Things were further complicated by the brainwashed prince stabbing a voodoo doll of Indy just as he gained the advantage in the fight. Indy of course escapes, the guard... doesn't.
    • The same film features a cage that is used to lower human sacrifices into a large lava pit. Indy manages to save Willie from a fiery demise in this device, but an unnamed Sacrificial Lamb is not so lucky.
  • James Bond:
    • In one of the film's most famous scenes, the eponymous villain of Goldfinger straps James Bond to a table and uses an industrial laser in place of the traditional sawblade; here, it is the peril that inexorably advances toward the hero, rather than the other way around (compare Chained to a Rock). Bonus points because of where on Bond the laser is headed.
    Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
    Goldfinger: [laughing] No, Mr. Bond! I expect you to die!
  • In the film Mannequin, the protagonist's nasty, jealous ex-girlfriend puts several mannequins on a conveyor belt, including the hero's lover, hoping to destroy them. Luckily, he is able to save her in time.
  • In Minority Report, the main character, John Anderton, finds himself on a conveyor belt on which machines are building cars and fights his enemy on it. He manages to avoid the machines for a while but in the end, finds himself trapped in a car that's being built right around him. At a certain point, we see a machine close in on him, then the camera cuts on the outside of the car, leaving the audience to think he has been squashed flat. Instead, as the car is completed we see he is right in it, and as it exits the factory he drives away from his pursuers.
  • In the Jackie Chan Movie Mr. Nice Guy, during the construction site fight, Jackie is knocked down on a piece of plywood sliding towards a circular saw, which he rolls out of the way of at the last second, then does a sideways roll over while it's still spinning. Remember, live stunts, no stuntman.
  • The Myth is another Jackie Chan movie with a conveyor belt o' doom. It's a sticky surface that gets chopped into lengths by blades at the end of the conveyor belt. Jackie and the girl get stuck on it while fighting mooks. In the end, Jackie gets himself and the girl off (with some Clothing Damage)... and then goes back and stops the belt just before the mooks get sliced into pieces.
  • Titular beast in Razorback meets its demise during the climax inside a pet food factory when the hero tricks it into a conveyor belt, leading to a giant fan that shreds it to mincemeat.
  • In Richie Rich, Professor Keenbean invents a sort of futuristic recycling machine that transforms trash into various objects. Later in the movie, the bad guys try to use the machine to dispose of Richie and his friends, who are forced into its cage-like intake hopper. Thanks to Keenbean's intervention, they barely escape being transformed into bedpans (or possibly bowling balls).
  • In Ripper: Letter from Hell, Chantel and Aaron fall on to the conveyor belt in the sawmill which drags them towards the whirling saws.
  • Farmhands somehow fail to notice that they're feeding Buster Keaton into a threshing machine in The Scarecrow.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009). Lord Blackwood has Irene Adler shackled to an assembly line which carries her between gas valves shooting gouts of flames. After Holmes and Watson are able to save her from that fate, a bandsaw blade designed to saw pig carcasses in half starts up.
  • In Showdown in Little Tokyo, Kenner and Murata are trapped in Kenner's car when the bad guys place it in a car crusher. Deciding that this isn't enough, they only crush it halfway and place them on a conveyor belt to be ground up into bits.
  • In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Padme find themselves inside the battle droid-producing foundries/factories on Geonosis and fall on a conveyor belt. Anakin battles Geonosians, and in the process has his lightsaber destroyed and his arm stamped on a metal plate. Padme falls in a giant crucible and is only saved from being incinerated by molten metal by R2D2, who deactivates the machinery just in time.
  • In Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, during the climax Chad kidnaps Allison and takes her to a sawmill where he ties her a log and when Dale comes in to save her, Chad activates the sawmill putting her in this position. Thankfully, Dale manages to cut her free in time.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit contains elements of this trope along with Chained to a Rock near the climax of the film, when Roger and Jessica Rabbit are suspended by chains while a nearby contraption spraying The Dip, Judge Doom's weapon of choice, inches ever closer. Notably comparable to Goldfinger, although this plays with the tension by having the stream swung back and forth haphazardly. The scene where Judge Doom gets his hand stuck to the steamroller and is slowly crushed contains the inescapability of the trope.

  • Alex Rider: Skeleton Key has a scene like this too, where Alex is drugged so he's unable to move except for his head, and put on a literal conveyor belt. The main purpose is to get information out of him, on the threat of being ground to a pulp starting with his feet.
  • In Animorphs, once, the kids morphed into bulls and went to a slaughterhouse to investigate Yeerks tampering with human food. Ax was very happy to get out of there.
  • Playedfor Laughs in Captain Underpantsandthe Perilous Plotof Professor Poopypants, only not with a conveyor belt. When George and Harold (aliases Fluffy and Cheeseball) are shrunk and flying around in a paper airplane, upon landing they see a steamroller thingy coming their way. One of them then shouts, "Oh, NO! We're going to get STEAMROLLER THINGIED to death!"
  • The iconic laser scene in The Film of the Book Goldfinger, in Ian Fleming's original novel, used a circular saw - and Goldfinger did expect Bond to talk.
  • Arguably the most horrific example occurs in the second book of Michael Vey; when Dr. Hatch shows off his giant rat-powered electricity generator to his electric children, he makes special note of the bowl's feeding conveyor belt. He puts Elgen guards who have failed him onto the conveyor belt to be fed to the rats. The process is horrific, as Taylor and the captured Electroclan can vouch for during Book 7; Hatch claims that the rats will jump like piranhas onto their next victim, so one doesn't even have to reach the end to die or see themselves disemboweled. And he keeps finding ways to make the process even more painful. Michael Vey is sent into the bowl during Book 2, but he survives because the electricity generated by it gives him a giant boost in power; he incinerates the rats and frees himself.
  • In a Nancy Drew book, the titular heroine is shoved down a garbage chute. Initially disoriented, she's horrified to quickly realize that she's trapped on the trash compacter's conveyor belt. Luckily, a malfunction stops the machinery in the nick of time.
  • Charles nearly gets his feet sliced into by the lumber mill's machinery in the fourth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • In the climactic action scene of the second book of the Spaceforce (2012) series, Prince Ragoth is nearly dragged into the maw of a huge industrial dust grinding machine.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Perils of Superman", along with Lois Lane being Chained to a Railway, Perry White is tied to a log at a sawmill.
  • In one of the old episodes of All That, Kenan Thompson's super alter ego, who is lactose intolerant, gets strapped into a conveyor belt which will spray milk on him, but he gets rescued all right.
  • Mrs. Peel of The Avengers (1960s) is tied up and put on a conveyor belt to a giant buzzsaw in the episode "Epic".
  • This happened at the Part 1/Part 2 break of Batman (1966) at least once, and probably more.
  • In the Blake's 7 episode "Ultraworld", an unconscious Cally is strapped onto a conveyor belt to be assimilated into the giant brain running Ultraworld. She is saved at the last minute, the other characters having to contend with zombie-like baddies, who switch the machine back on each time they switch it off — cue lots of fake fighting.....
  • Breakout Kings: In "The Bag Man", T-Bag feeds one of his victims into a rock crusher at a quarry.
  • One of the so-called "bonus rounds" on Distraction; if your prize (which they state very clearly that you have already won) makes it to the end before you answer the question correctly, it meets the wrong end of a wrecking ball.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Seeds of Doom" featured a man-eating mulching machine and plenty of gory description of what would happen to any living bodies that went through it.
    • "The Sun Makers" crossed this with Sauna of Death, when Leela is captured and sentenced to death by "steaming".
  • The entire premise of Downfall (2010). Don't answer in time, and your prizes, your money and eventually you go over the side of a 10-story building.
  • In one episode of CSI: Miami, a woman is drugged on a plane and chucked onto an airport convoy belt—where she gets a fatal head injury from a luggage arm.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang tries to film a fake a news story in which they rescue kittens. One of their attempts has them try to construct a conveyor belt that leads to Charlie chopping enthusiastically with a butcher knife. After trying it out with a stuffed animal, the gang realizes that it's too obvious that they're the ones imperiling the kittens in the first place.
  • In the Jonathan Creek, two sisters are practicing a magic trick where one of them is strapped down and moved towards a buzzsaw which drops away at the crucial moment. Except it doesn't and she gets cut in half lengthwise.
  • Knightmare had one of these in the form of the "Corridor of Blades", a conveyor-floored hallway with large rotary saws toward which the dungeoneer hurtled. It picked off many hapless dungeoneers who were poorly guided through, or into, it (including the first dungeoneer who encountered it).
  • Lost Girl involves one that Tamsin is tied to because she was naughty on Yule. Krampus took her and was going to turn her into candy, but Bo stopped it and set her free. Later Bo is strapped to it but is freed when she confesses her worries about the Wanderer.
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "The Black Corsage", MacGyver and Frank Colton are captured in a fish processing plant, tied up and placed on a conveyor belt that will feed them into a fish grinder.
  • Midsomer Murders:
    • In "The Killings of Copenhagen", the murderer trusses up one of the victims and places them on a conveyor belt leading into an industrial bakers oven.
    • In "Send in the Clowns", the third Victim of the Week is stunned and dropped on to a conveyor belt into an abattoir which carries into the gassing chamber where is asphyxiated with carbon dioxide.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The architect sketch in episode 17 features a proposed design for an apartment building from an architect who, it turns out, mostly designs slaughterhouses.
    Mr. Wiggin: Good morning, gentlemen. This is a twelve-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive in the entrance hall here and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort and past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these...
    First City Gent: Excuse me....
    Mr. Wiggin: Hm?
    First City Gent: Did you say knives?
    Mr. Wiggin: Rotating knives.
    Second City Gent: Are you proposing to slaughter our tenants?
    Mr. Wiggin: Does that not fit in with your plans?
  • In the New Tricks episode "Dark Chocolate", Gerry is almost dragged into a chopping machine when his jacket gets snagged on a conveyor belt in a chocolate factory.
  • An episode of the Game Show Truth or Consequences required a woman from the audience to stop an incredibly complex machine before its conveyor belt dropped a pie on her husband's face. There were all kinds of lights, switches, etc. on the machine which she flipped frantically, but unbeknownst to her, the only way to stop it was to pull the electrical plug out of its outlet.

  • Referenced multiple times in the song "Along Came Jones" (which is about watching Cliff Hangers on TV).
  • "And the Great Big Saw Came Nearer and Nearer", performed by Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

     Music Videos 
  • The conveyor belt featured in Cat Hairballs becomes one of these. Its actual purpose was to collect Stimpy's hwarfed up hairballs and roll them down the line for Ren to stamp for quality. However, after running out of stuff to hwarf, and becoming completely stripped clean, Stimpy tries one more time to hwarf anything up and falls onto the conveyor belt which causes Stimpy to be rolled over to Ren and stamped so hard on the butt that it leaves the words "Grade A" written across the cheeks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Goldfinger even got parodied in a Magic: The Gathering card!.
  • In one Rocket Age adventure a group of Soviets have placed their hostage in a giant metal cauldron on a conveyor belt to a furnace. The moment the heroes kick down the door, the Soviets activate the conveyor belt to ensure the hostage's information dies with him.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 

  • In The Adventures of Rad Gravity, Rad's Robot Buddy Kakos is captured and taken to the planet Effluvia, where the bad guys plan to convert him into a Killer Robot. At the end of the level, he is placed on a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom headed towards the conversion machine, and to stop it, you must shoot the overhead machinery. If Rad fails, he is faced with a Hopeless Boss Fight and must hit the Reset Button.
  • Banjo-Tooie: The fourth floor of Grunty Industries has a conveyor belt dragging everything on it toward enormous Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom which prevent access to the area behind. After the crushers are deactivated, it turns into an Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt by switching directions.
  • One particularly nasty moment of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth has Jack, the protagonist, walk to an ore grinder and suddenly have a vision of a man who is bound and carried by the conveyor and then dumped into the same grinder. A second later, the poor fellow's mutilated remains rain onto Jack. Furthermore, after getting upstairs, Jack discovers that the only way out is up the same conveyor. Naturally, the villain activates the conveyor again, and Jack survives only by jumping onto the catwalk over the grinder, which breaks and blocks the cogs. The whole episode is pretty nightmarish.
  • In Robo's sidequest in Chrono Trigger, a room in a Bad Future's factory sports a conveyor belt where live humans are transported and (with a blood-curling scream) transformed into... small, shiny stuff. The whole point of the quest is to stop everything.
    • Getting caught in one of these is also revealed to be the reason why Lucca's mother is crippled. Lucca is given a chance to go back in time and prevent it from happening, though.
  • In Creatures, the 1990 game, there were a number of 'torture stages', where Clyde has to save other critters who have been tied to Conveyor Belts O Doom by solving a complex item interaction puzzle.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, one of these is used for Naegi's, Kirigiri's, and ultimately Junko's final execution scene, where they are bound to a desk and slowly moved backwards toward a crusher.
  • Dog's Life has the cat food machine, complete with flamethrowers, smashing hallway traps of doom, and buzzsaws.
  • Electronic Popple have stages containing conveyer belts that leads to Bottomless Pits, which you need to jump off before you can fall. They move really fast by the later stages.
  • Wildly twisted in God Of War 2: You can't get to the next area because there is a large crushing wheel blocking your way that is right in front of a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom that constantly tries to make you hit the damn thing. The solution? You find a half-dead member of Jason's Argonauts, bring him to the belt, lay him on it, and then watch as he screams in horror and is carried under the wheel where his crushed bones jam it, allowing you to break it and pass through.
    • There are a couple of instances in the original game that are both straighter and infinitely more annoying.
  • Half-Life has a section where Gordon has to cross over a bunch of conveyor belts to get through a section, in which some are going one way and others are going another way. and they basically create a long obstacle course, if you stay on one of them long enough you end up back where you started. This is in addition to a conveyor belt he has to use in an entirely separate part of the game to get through a crushing piston.
  • In the finale of Heavy Rain, Norman Jayden can get into a fight on a conveyor belt of doom with the Origami Killer, who can kill him if you fail the button prompts.
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party 3: In the minigame Treadmill Grill, the four players are placed in an area made of four conveyor belts, each moving at a different rate and direction, and all surrounded by blue Hot Feet which move around them; the players have to hit each other to make them fall down into the flames. As the minigame progresses, some of the Hot Feet will turn orange and creep into the conveyor belts, and eventually the conveyor belts themselves will shrink, making things more difficult for the surviving characters. The last player remaining wins.
    • Mario Party 7: The minigame Track & Yield pits all four players in a large conveyor belt (each of them in a specific color-coded stripe: red, blue, green, yellow) that is dragging them into a dumpster pit. The player's objective is to run forward to prevent that, but they must also avoid the incoming electric fences, as touching them will stun them and potentially make them fall down before they can react. The conveyor belt also moves faster as time passes. The last player remaining is the victor, though more than one can win if they resist during 30 seconds; conversely, if the last players fall down at the same time, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame Fast Food Frenzy has three characters trying not to get dragged by a fast food shop's conveyor belt into another which will take them away from the area. The fourth player drags multiple fast food products (such as burgers, hot dogs, French fries, shake mills, dishes with waffles, and ice cream bowls) ir order to obstruct the rivals and potentially drive them away into their defeat. The solo player wins if they succeed in their objective, while the trio wins if at least one of them manages to resist during 30 seconds.
    • Mario Party: Island Tour: The minigame Hop Till You Drop has the characters hop between many boxes and objects that are being transported to the left by a gigantic conveyor belt. The characters have to keep moving to avoid staying behind, as the left side leads to a pit. And because the transported objects are big, falling onto the conveyor will make it impossible for the affected character to climb back, so they'll be doomed to get dragged into the pit. Further complicating matters is that some objects have on their tops rotating cylinders that also act as conveyors.
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel for the Game Boy had a variant on this, except it was the player who got the pain. In what is probably the otherwise great game's "That One Level", legendary badass Solid Snake must infiltrate the enemy base, by going through a color-coded box sorting system via conveyor belt. It eventually leads into a showdown with Marionette Owl, part of the Quirky Miniboss Squad.
  • A variant of this may occur naturally in Minecraft if flowing water goes into a lava pool. This is an especially frustrating way to die since it will result in all your dropped items also being washed into the lava.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9, Kung Lao's "Razor's Edge" Fatality creates a facsimile of the rotary blade version of this Trope even without an actual conveyor belt. After kicking his opponent to the ground, he throws his hat on the ground, turning it into a buzzsaw which he drags his opponent through, groin first, cutting them in half. (Ed Boon himself has admitted that this was brutal even for this game, saying that it was "probably the most painful-looking Fatality ever made." This sentiment is shared by many critics, including Cheat Code Central's Shelby Reiches, who included it among the four worst cinematic scenes in games, commenting: "Every time he does this to a male fighter, I can hardly watch. I try not to fight against Kung Lao anymore."
  • Getting caught by the Big Bad in the NES game Nightshade (1992) leads the eponymous character to end up in this situation, and it's up to the player to figure out a way to escape before the inevitable occurs.
  • Pac-Man Party has a mini-game called Crazy Conveyor, where the players are placed on a conveyor belt headed straight into a trash compactor. The players must run away from the compactor as long as they can, but the conveyor belt moves all kinds of junk toward the compactor that the players must jump over. The game ends once all but one of the players have fallen into the compactor.
  • In Portal, GLaDOS attempts to kill Chell by tricking her onto a conveyor belt that travels through a furnace. The trap would be extremely difficult to avoid had Chell not had a portal gun, which makes it very simple.
    • Parodied in Portal 2, where one of the last traps is a conveyor belt into a grinder which you escape by jumping off it onto a ledge on the thing's side—no portals necessary. It's so pathetic that the Big Bad will instead say it's more of a death option than a deathtrap and will actually be quite surprised if it kills you.
  • In Puzzle Adventure Vesemir puts a rogue gnome on a crusher belt in an abandoned factory to intimidate it into revealing the location of its boss.
  • Subverted in Quake IV, where the player gets Strapped to an Operating Table on a conveyor belt, having drugs injected and parts of his body removed and replaced by Strogg cybernetics. The Stroggification is interrupted when the People Jar your character is placed in towards the end is smashed before the control chip can be activated. It's pretty traumatic; you can watch it here! The conversion actually improves your character, including increasing your health by 25%, and giving a noticeable boost to running speed. Sure, his fellows are disturbed and distrustful of the Strogg on their side, but he never complains. And, in the end, it pays.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • They turned up a lot on the 16-bit games, where Sonic is on a conveyor belt and has to be really quick to avoid being crushed by something or cut with descending buzzsaws.
    • The boss of Gene Gadget Zone in Sonic 3D Blast takes place on one of these, with a large row of spikes at the end of the conveyor belt. The player must hit Eggman's ship, avoiding spike strips and missiles.
  • Early in Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon, Roger gets dumped onto a conveyor belt and must jump off before he lands in the garbage shredder at the end.
  • In Spirits of Mystery 9: The Moon Crystal the heroine has to escape from an overhead conveyor belt of manacled people heading toward a ravenous monster.
  • Toy Story 3: Hamm, Rex, and Slinky are trapped on one in the Junkyard level.

    Web Videos 
  • The Weather: One "Spooky Fog" skit involves a caller strapped to a wooden board with a slow-moving rotary saw. The saw continues creeping forward until they are gorily sliced in half on screen.

    Western Animation 
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: In "The Tree of Ickis", Ickis turns into a tree after he eats an acorn. Oblina and Krumm leave him in the forest while they look for a cure, and eventually find one in the form of termites. However, it's complicated when the two find that Ickis has been chopped down by a lumberjack and taken to the sawmill, where the harvested trees are turned into baseball bats. Fortunately, the termites manage to turn Ickis back to normal just mere seconds before the buzzsaw could slice him.
  • The first "and now back to" bumper for Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has Scratch and Grounder happily peering over Sonic as he's tied up on a log being split by a buzzsaw.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Black Eyes Only", Stan is tied to one by the Black Villain (yes, that's his name) and slowly fed into an incinerator. He escapes by getting Sexpun's evil clone to suck on his feet, causing her to do a Heel–Face Turn and free him.
  • Animaniacs: The accidental version happens to Mindy and Buttons in "Up the Crazy River". As always, Buttons comes off the worst for it.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Almost Got 'Im", the deathtrap is neatly subverted, as Catwoman is carried to her doom while Batman has captured Harley Quinn, who tells him that he has to choose whether to keep her or save Catwoman. As it turns out, all Batman has to do is reach for the conveniently placed power switch to turn off the conveyor belt.
  • In Ben 10's episode, "Ready to Rumble", Porcupine and Gaterboy's mother, Mrs. Fang, suffered an attempt to be fed on a buzz saw on her farm by mobsters after her children failed to win the grand prize of a wrestling competition. Fortunately, Ben was there to save her.
  • Penny ends up on one in the ChalkZone episode "Mellow Drama Falls", as part of its homage to classic silent films.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Gadget is captured and tied to a conveyor belt which is sending her to be chopped up. As she had been pretending to be Chip's moll, the villain, Rat Capone, says he's going to turn her into a "mini-moll". It's only because Monty manages to put his friend's life above his cheese addiction that Gadget is saved.
  • Averted in Codename: Kids Next Door: After being placed on one such conveyor belt, Numbuh Five calmly takes one step to the left (and off the machine), walks to the end of the belt, and switches it off.
  • Cow and Chicken:
    • In the episode "Part-time Job", the Red Guy sends Chicken on a conveyor belt to a frying machine, but Super-Cow saves him in time.
    • In "The Loneliest Cow", the Red Guy does this to himself. When a jealous Chicken calls for a tree Cow befriended to be removed, he goes to the sawmill to try to get it back to make his lonely sister feel better, but when the Red Guy intervenes, he tells him if he's trying to steal the tree, he's doing it all wrong: he has to tie himself to the tree. The Red Guy does just that, and as a result, gets turned into lumber.
  • Spoofed in Darkwing Duck, where in one episode Darkwing has to train a newbie villain how to carry off the trope properly.
  • Dinotrux has Garby's stomach, a conveyer belt full of blades and crushers meant to break apart and process the rocks he eats. Not the safest place for an accidentally eaten Reptool to find itself.
  • Parodied in Doug when the latter loses his journal. He has a fantasy of his journal, which is personified, on a moving conveyor belt at a junkyard calling for help as it is about to be crushed by a large mechanical boot.
  • Happens to an overstereotyped Foxxy Love in Drawn Together.
  • The page image comes from an episode of Dudley Do-Right. It's worth noting that between Nell having to have a postman deliver her request for help to Dudley, Dudley riding to Snidely's sawmill to get Nell to stamp the letter before riding back to base to open it, Inspector Fenwick taking an hour and a half to give Dudley coherent orders to save his daughter, and Dudley riding back to the mill to save the day, the only reason Nell didn't end up in pieces was because the sawmill was badly in need of maintenance.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! episode "The Good Ol' Days", Vicky kidnaps Timmy's grandfather and attempts to tie him to the railroad tracks, only to find it crowded so she opts for this at the sawmill. Seeing how slow the conveyor moved, she realizes why the mill was up for grabs.
  • Fillmore!, where it gets a Lampshade Hanging (Filmore is saved by an erupting model volcano clearly labelled "Mount St. Cliche").
  • In Futurama, Fry has to choose between saving Bender, who is tied to the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom (which will turn him into Slurm cans), saving Leela, who is being dunked in a slurm-filled pit (which will turn her into a Slurm Queen), or drinking from a trough of delicious concentrated Slurm. He chooses the Slurm, of course. However, he saves Leela by dragging the trough with him, who then saves Bender. Hey, he was literally addicted to the stuff.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • This happens to Orson during his "Double-Oh-Orson" fantasy in "Cornfinger". The titular villain, played by Roy the Rooster, captures him and straps him to a conveyor belt heading toward a canning machine. Orson escapes just in time and unleashes his secret weapon.
  • The eponymous heroes of Goldie Gold and Action Jack get into this.
  • In the Inspector Gadget episode "A Star Is Lost", Gadget, Rick Rocker, etc. are tied up with reel-to-reel tape and put on a conveyor belt that goes through a record pressing machine. Similarly, in "Quimby Exchange", the characters are frozen in blocks of ice and sent towards a chopping machine.
    • There was another with Penny on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom, tied up and heading for a laser that's used to cut up diamonds.
  • In Johnny Bravo, episode "Yukon Yutz", the villain ties Johnny to a conveyor belt with a buzzsaw at the end. Johnny was saved by the ultra-hard gel in his hair, which broke the buzzsaw.
  • One of these was set up by cliché devotee Señor Senior, Sr., on Kim Possible. At the end was a stolen cryogenic freezing device. As a keen observer of villain codes, he points out the power switch to them. But they can't reach it, and Rufus the naked mole rat doesn't weigh enough to push it, until he eats all the leftover corndogs in Ron's pocket.
  • Used straight in an episode of King of the Hill (and the person on it doesn't make it off safely).
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The short "The Ducksters" begins with Porky Pig tied on a conveyor belt to a buzzsaw as part of a quiz show hosted by Daffy Duck (he had to answer the question before reaching the saw). In the end, Daffy is on the receiving end of the conveyor belt after Porky buys the radio station with his prize money and turns the tables on him. Daffy apparently doesn't know the answer to his question and instead yells for a doctor.
    • "I Gopher You", the gopher twins chase down their vegetables to a food processing plant. One of them gets caught in a canning machine, and the other in a dehydrating machine, neither ending up the worse for wear. Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" was a dominant leitmotif.
  • Mega Man (Ruby-Spears):
    • The episode "Curse of the Lion Men" had a scene where Wily trapped Mega Man and Rush in a buster-proof net and let them on a conveyor towards blades for slicing fish. Mega Man uses a saw blade to cut the net open and escape.
    • In "Campus Commandos", Mega Man and Roll were tied up in a clock tower and left to be crushed by the gears inside. Mega Man takes advantage of his damaged buster and uses its sparks to sever his bindings.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Melissa Chase winds up with her shoelaces caught on a Conveyor Belt of Doom at a recycling center while trying to retrieve Milo's Doctor Note as it moves towards a series of grinders.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", one of Pinkie Pie's Imagine Spots has a Dastardly Whiplash villain dispose of the cake Pinkie was guarding with one of these. With Pinkie herself Chained to a Railway, the cake inexorably meets its gruesome end on a sawblade.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Mysterious Mr. Mist", Mr. Mist attempts to feed Perry White into a buzz saw on his farm.
  • In the Ninjago episode "The Surge", Nya, Sensei Wu and a whole mess of schoolkids find themselves on one of these. Context: they were visiting Borg Industries during a field trip to see the factory area. The Digital Overlord takes control of technology while they were on the viewing conveyer belt, causing the manufacturing machines to attack them.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Operation: Plush and Cover", the penguins are caught in a conveyor belt in a toy factory, which leads to an incinerator for rejected toys. Attempts to turn it off only activates more crushing devices.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop has done this a few times.
  • An interesting subversion in ReBoot occurs where Enzo has himself tied up and put on one of these devices on purpose. The intent was to get his quarreling friends to rescue him and reconcile with each other in the process. This fails when the two start arguing again when they meet each other in front of the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom, and Enzo has to be rescued by his dog.
  • In an episode of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the title characters are stuck running on a conveyor belt that is (at most) two or three feet off the ground.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In "Don't Fool with a Phantom", the last episode of the original Scooby-Doo series, the Wax Phantom (the Monster of the Week) left Shaggy and Scooby tied up on a conveyor belt that would dump them into a tank of melted wax, and Shaggy quipped, "That bit went out with the silent movies!" You know it's a Dead Horse Trope when it's being parodied in the early 1970s.
      • Not that this stopped the titular Snow Ghost from chaining Velma to a log and sending it towards a buzzsaw in an earlier episode...
    • In Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, the series premiere, "The Scarab Lives!" had Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy, after splitting up from the rest of the group, get trapped on a conveyor belt that would have sliced them to pieces had it not been for a last minute burst of adrenaline on Scooby's part.
    • In The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show episode "A Gem of a Case", the sawmill variant is used against the titular dogs and Shaggy as they trail the diamond thief, Fingers Malone. As Fingers escapes, Scooby manages to stop the belt in time before their log reaches the saw.
  • SheZow had Kelly Hamdon, who is being tied up to a log by a villain, and placed on a conveyor belt heading towards a rocket ship, about to plunge into the sun. If it weren't for her big brother, Kelly could have been french fried (YUM!) or sunburned (THAT REALLY DOES HURT!). As the rocket ship (containing Kelly) goes into the sun, the superhero(ine) uses a space pod which in turn is attached to the ship's hull and rescue his big sister from plunging into the sun, much to his dismay. While the rocket ship is heading towards the sun (with the space pod attached), Maz used a space shuttle (and some rope) to pull the rocket ship away from the sun and back towards earth.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied in an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. Itchy ties Scratchy to a log and sets it on a conveyor belt to a buzzsaw, but the conveyor belt is ridiculously slow. Frustrated with how long it's taking, Itchy simply gets an ax and butchers Scratchy himself.
    • Also, in a segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" in which Bart and Lisa's heads are attached to the same body, Bart tries to gain full control by having a buzzsaw cut off the Lisa head. Needless to say, it doesn't work out as he hoped.
    • Goldfinger is parodied in "You Only Move Twice" with James Bont instead of James Bond to avoid problems.
    • In "Funeral for a Fiend", Sideshow Bob traps Bart in a coffin on a belt slowly being fed to an incinerator. When the rest of the Simpsons arrive to stop him, he turns up the speed from "Gloating Speed" to "Kill Him Already".
  • Richard Adler, the workshop teacher in South Park, attempts suicide by placing himself on a conveyor belt with a circular saw at the end. He appears to have second thoughts about it, but only because he realises that he's going toward the saw balls-first, and proceeds to reorient himself.
  • In a Super Chicken episode, a melodrama villain actor snaps and thinks he's a real villain, taking his female co-star to all the usual places, including the sawmill, to persuade her to go to the Villain's Annual Picnic with him.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "My Girl", Lana Lang got caught snooping on an illicit arms deal, and ended up in a hopper that was about to be filled with molten lead. The villain pointed out that the lead fumes insured that nobody else would be on the grounds and that Superman couldn't see into the building. Fortunately for Lana, Supes could hear the villain just fine.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron had one of these that Dark Kat put the heroes on, while he and Hard Drive were stealing the Turbokat in "Night of the Dark Kat".
  • Subverted in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Starting from Scratch": Furball ends up on a conveyor, but when he realizes it ends in a rotary saw, he just turns his back toward it in the hope that it will scratch his back, where he has a flea. A workman shuts it off before it can split him in half.
  • In Transformers: Animated, the episode "Home is Where the Spark Is" has Bulkhead on a conveyor belt that brings him towards a large machine that would crush his head he wrestles with it to keep it from getting him during most of this part).
  • Underdog has been in this situation three times, and Sweet Polly was in the same mess each time:
    • In episode "Batty Man", Underdog and Polly are chained up and placed on a conveyor belt that goes to a machine that turns anything into bowling balls. Underdog is still able to access his Super Energy Pill, though.
    • In "Pain Strikes Underdog", the conveyor belt is part of a candle-making machine that the villain Riff-Raff is using to disguise stolen swords as candles; in this case, both victims are bound with the wicks and hardened wax, the wick cutter intended to be used like a guillotine. (It even looks like one.) Unfortunately for Riff-Raff, wax and normal rope can't hold Underdog for long...
    • In "The Silver Thieves", Underdog's ring has been stolen, he's already nearly powerless because of it, and he and Polly are thrown onto one that leads to a furnace designed to melt down silver. Fortunately, Polly is lucky enough to find the stolen ring there.
  • Mr. Nezzer puts the title characters of the VeggieTales episode "Rack, Shack and Benny" onto one of these in the way to the furnace. The episode takes place in a chocolate factory.
  • In the Wallace & Gromit animated short A Close Shave, Gromit fights robo-dog Preston on the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom of a dog-food machine.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Conveyor Belt Of Doom


Assembly required

Witwer and Anderton find themselves battling inside a car chassis on an automated automobile assembly line

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / ConveyorBeltODoom

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