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Cooked to Death

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"Your goose is cooked, witch!" cried Gretel. "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!" The witch deserved that burn. Twenty minutes later, she was well-done for.

"As the witch stuck her head into the oven, Gretel gave her a shove and pushed her in. Then she closed the iron door and secured it with a bar. The old woman began to howl frightfully, but Gretel ran away, and the godless witch burned up miserably."

You're in the kitchen and need to kill someone? Open up the oven and shove them in!

It does not have to be a typical kitchen oven. Depending on the setting, a less modern (say, a cauldron over a fire) or more modern alternative (say, a microwave oven) are equally feasible. Push them into a fryer or lock them up in a smoker — if the device that kills is properly used for cooking food, it is this trope.

This is often an improvised method, possibly used in self-defense against an attacker or captor, or alternatively by a creative hitman. Other times it may be employed consciously by a sadistic villain, such as a particularly ruthless mob boss. Sometimes it may happen by accident.

There is often some degree of Black Comedy involved in this; partly because the trope is best known as the manner of death of certain notorious fairy tale villains, such as the gingerbread witch from "Hansel and Gretel" and the Big Bad Wolf from "The Three Little Pigs"

This trope is distinct from Cooking the Live Meal, the habit of cartoon cannibals to prepare their meal while it is still alive: Cooked to Death is first and foremost about killing someone and does not imply any intention to eat the victim on the killer's part; whereas in Cooking the Live Meal, the cannibals only really want to eat and have no personal reason to want the victim dead.

Sub-Trope of Cruel and Unusual Death. In fairy tales, one of the more common Family Unfriendly Deaths. If the cook himself is the victim, it doubles as Death by Irony. If the victim was a cannibal, it is a Karmic Death. If pets die in ovens, it's Microwave the Dog, not this. Compare and contrast also Sauna of Death and Murder by Cremation. Contrast Locked in a Freezer. Has nothing to do with Lethal Chef.

No Real Life Examples, Please!

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


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in one issue of Deadpool. Deadpool tortured a mafia goon for information by shoving him into an oven in an Italian restaurant and turning it on, but let the guy out before it got hot enough to kill him. Desperate to escape Deadpool, the guy ran out of the restaurant and was immediately run over by a car.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The tale of "Hansel and Gretel", where a brother and sister lost in the forest turn the tables on the witch who plans to eat them by forcing her into her own oven and burning her alive.
  • In many versions of the "The Three Little Pigs", the third pig finally disposes of the wolf by placing a pot of boiling water in the fireplace while the wolf decides to make a chimney entrance, thus boiling the wolf to death. There are several versions in which the pig then spontaneously eats the wolf.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Amazing Maurice, the Pied Piper uses his Magic Music to force Keith and Malicia to walk into his oven, but is distracted long enough for them to grab his flute and escape. It almost happens to him, but he escapes with just a Rump Roast, which he extinguishes by jumping down a well.
  • Chicken Run: Trapped in a machine meant to turn them into chicken pies, Ginger and Rocky evade the meat grinder meant to kill them, but nevertheless end up stuck in a pie in an industrial baking oven, and escape only at the last moment before the hatch closes.
  • Subverted in Ratatouille when Remy the rat gets accidentally put in the oven but he escapes in time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Addams Family Values: played for pitch-Black Comedy. At Fester's bachelor party, Gomez surprises him with a huge cake and shouts "Ta-da!", clearly expecting a stripper to pop out of it. When nothing happens, Gomez opens the top of the cake and smoke wafts out, revealing Lurch had baked the cake with her inside. Being the Addamses, they all have a hearty laugh about it.
    Gomez: That poor girl. Lurch, was she in there before you baked?
  • Attempted in Bride of Chucky; Jade tries to kill Tiffany by burning her in an RV oven, but she survives at the cost coming out charred.
  • Attempted in Deep Blue Sea; the cook takes refuge in an oven and the shark bumps the knob, turning it on. He appreciates the irony, but he manages to break free and use the gas to blow up the shark.
  • Escape Room (2019): The first room, made to appear like a waiting room, is in fact an oven-like death trap. If the players turn a temperature dial on the door to 451 (which isn't even necessary to beat the room), giant fans start blowing hot air and the ceiling and walls will slowly turn into massive oven coils and the chandelier into a top-down gas stove.
  • Gremlins (1984): Billy's mom is attacked in the kitchen by the initial batch of title monsters. She tosses one into a mixer and backs another one into a microwave, which she then activates.
  • In Kick-Ass, the Scar-faced villain uses a giant log microwave to blow up a Russian mobster. They chopped off a finger and then axe-murdered the other guy. There are no cliches in that film at all.
  • Morozko: Baba Yaga wants to roast hero Ivan and eat him, but Ivan tricks her and shoves her into the oven instead. But he needs her magic which he hopes will help him to find his lost love Nastenka, so he saves her at the last minute.
  • From the Hong Kong film Stars And Roses, during the big escape from the Vietnamese base at the end Lau the protagonist (an Intrepid Reporter arrested by the Vietnamese insurgents) managed to kill the Vietnamese lieutenant by shoving him into a boiler meant for torturing prisoners and using his bare hands to force the boiler doors shut. He does get blisters all over his palm for his troubles, however.
  • At the end of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney kills Mrs. Lovett by pushing her into her own industrial-sized oven (she burns to death more than she cooks in it).
  • Scotland, PA: Lt. McDuff confronts Joe about him killing Norm, who died from having his head shoved into a deep fryer in a fast-food joint.
    Joe: Norm was an accident.
    McDuff: Accidentally got tied up and fell in the fryilator?!?
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie. A Wicked Witch captures a paperboy so she can roast and eat him. He pulls a Scheherezade Gambit by telling her three stories to delay his death, and finally executes a Hoist by His Own Petard by pushing her into her own oven.
  • Thanksgiving (2023); the Carver kills Kathleen by shoving her into an oven and roasting her alive. Later, he wheels out her corpse to his remaining victims as a twisted parody of Thanksgiving dinner.
  • In Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, Louis (whose specialty is pigeon baked in crust) is found dead in a 450-degree oven.

  • Per one simile in The Divine Comedy, the demons of the Malebranche mix, batter, and burn the damned in tar like a cook stirring ingredients in a soup.
  • Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse: As the nursery rhyme characters are murdered, Humpty Dumpty is found dead in his own pool. Jack and Eddy try to figure out how the murder was committed, only to discover, nearly too late, that one of the window panes sitting above the pool has been replaced with a powerful magnifying glass. When the sun hit the pane while Dumpty was swimming, the water was instantly heated up, flash boiling the poor man alive. Later in the story, Jack Spratt is fried to death in a deep fat fryer in a fast food restaurant.
  • In Infinite Jest, disturbed genius filmmaker James Incadenza kills himself by rigging a microwave so he can stick his head in while it's running. The results are compared to sticking an unsliced potato in.
  • Ivanhoe (threatened): Having captured the wealthy moneylender Isaac of York, the villainous Norman baron Front-de-Boeuf has Isaac thrown into a dungeon and threatens to have him tied to a gridiron placed over glowing coals unless Isaac is willing to pay a thousand pounds of silver for his freedom. When Isaac refuses all negotiations, Front-de-Boeuf orders his slaves to strip Isaac and reaffirms that he is ready to kill him by roasting him alive (the slaves even brought a bottle of oil to baste Isaac). The preparations are stopped at the last moment by the sound of a bugle announcing the presence of a hostile army before the castle.
  • Serge Storms: In The Stingray Shuffle, a pair of frat boys who like to beat up bums suffer perhaps the most horrifying deaths in the series when Serge ties them across ultareflective sun blankets on top of a roof during the middle of a sunny summer and then sprinkles salt over them. Their bodies have shriveled down to seventy pounds apiece by the time the cops find them, with the medical examiner describing them as having been turned into human pieces of jerky.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples, this is the fate of the narrator, the Queen from Snow White. She is being roasted alive in an oven, explaining to the reader How We Got Here in the final moments of her life, and stubbornly trying not to scream. It's a nasty Call-Back to earlier in the story, when she had told a young Snow White about the winter tradition of cooking a goose in the same manner.
  • Sten: the Emperor's personal chefs—the fluffy, snarky, alien, and very gay Milchen cooks—defend Sten by turning a sonic oven on one of the Praetorians and roasting him alive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens from time to time on 1000 Ways to Die:
    • "Who Fart-Dead?" has a group of college co-eds competing to see how long they could last in a sauna. One of them tries farting her way to victory, driving the other students out. She wins, but the price she pays is her life.
    • "Gang Banged" had a mobster's son during the Prohibition Era seeking revenge on rival mobsters who murdered him. When he corners them in the steam room, he slips and his gun misfires, puncturing the steam pipe and cooking his face to death.
    • "Batter Upped" has a sleazy carnival concession stand owner accidentally fall headfirst into his own deep fryer as a result of being dazed by running into a pole while chasing after a woman he had attempted to sexually assault. When the woman realizes she forgot her keys and goes back to retrieve them, she finds he's already dead.
  • Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction: The segment titled "The Cake" has a mobster named Marty Jr. orders Dom, a local baker, make a cake for a celebration he's going to attend, but Dom refuses the job when he sees an eerie face screaming in pain inside the oven, and Marty Jr. decides to bake the cake himself after he kicks Dom out of the shop. When Dom gets a call that there's smoke coming out of the kitchen of the shop, he rushes over and discovers Marty Jr.'s corpse baked into the cake, and the closing narration implies that he was baked alive by the ghost of Jake, a rival mafioso, whom Marty Jr. killed.
  • Bones: In "The Passenger In the Oven", the victim is baked alive in the oven of an airplane.
  • Castle: Referenced in the episode "Slice of Death". A body is found in a pizza oven at a pizzeria. The investigators naturally ask if he was alive when he went in, but Lanie, the M.E., says that, thankfully, he was dead before he was immolated.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: In "Deep Fried and Minty Fresh", a fast-food employee down on his luck and homeless is killed when he catches the manager trying to sexually assault a female employee in the country illegally. The intervening employee is shoved face first into the deep fat fryer.
  • CSI: NY:
    • In "Officer Blue", a Victim of the Week is killed by having his head slammed in the door of a pizza oven. The oven is going at the time, so his face ends up burned.
    • Another woman gets trapped in an elevator that’s been rigged to kill her this way.
  • Implied and played for laughs in British comedy sketch show Hale And Pace (1988). One episode closes with a sketch about bad taste on television, leading up to a joke about microwaving a cat. After the credits, The Stinger shows the duo standing next to the same microwave, smiling, but this time holding a baby...
  • Life's Too Short: Warwick's accountant muses that, because Warwick is so short, he could just turn his oven on and get inside if he ever wanted to commit suicide.
  • Midsomer Murders: In "The Killings of Copenhagen'', the murderer attempts to kill their final victim by feeding them into the industrial oven in a bakery.
  • Scream Queens (2015):
    • Miss Bean is killed when Chanel pushes her face into a deep-fryer, which she didn't realize was on. The boiling oil burned her face off, killing her quickly.
    • In season 2, the Green Meanies try and kill Chanel with a bath of boiling fry oil, as revenge for what she did to Miss Bean. This plan fails, but someone does end up getting fried to death- Wes, who gets forced into the tub when his allies turn on him.
  • The Supernatural episode "Clap Your Hands If You Believe" has Dean fighting off a fairy and he ends up trapping her in a microwave where she explodes.

    Legends and Folklore 
  • According to the Catholic legends of saints, Saint Lawrence was a deacon executed by being roasted to death on a griddle for showing widows, orphans, and beggars to Emperor Valerian as "The Church's Treasures". Before his death, he supposedly cracked jokes by telling the executioner "I am well-done on this side. You can turn me over!" Because of this, his patronage includes, among other domains, cooks and comedians.
  • Medieval legends about changelings sometimes recommend to torture the changeling by putting it into an oven, so the creature will reveal itself and bring back the true child.
  • According to tradition, legendary Japanese bandit and folk hero Ishikawa Goemon was executed by being cooked in boiling oil for attempting to assassinate Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
  • There is an urban legend about a hippie babysitter who, while stoned, cooks the baby she is supposed to be sitting because she thinks it is a turkey.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons module WG7 Castle Greyhawk, adventure "Too Many Cooks". Mentu the Mind-Fileter traps the Player Characters in a room with a giant griddle for a floor and tries to bake them to death.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • In the GoAnimate video "Good Parenting", a cooking class teacher (who is actually Boris in disguise) tricks his students into going into a torture chamber where they are killed by various cooking instruments. Maria falls into a toaster and is burned alive, Courtney walks into a giant oven and also burns to death, Haley falls into a blender and is torn to pieces, and Harold falls into a barbecue, only to die in the flames.
  • Spooky Month: In "Deadly Smiles", Lila, Skid and Pump dispose of the Happy Fella doll possessed by Dexter by trapping it in the oven and cooking it until it melts. They then have to do it again, as Jaune comes by with another doll that Dexter subsequently possesses.
  • When the titular Queer Duck reveals to his parents that he's gay at a dinner party, his mother excuses herself and heads to the kitchen, presumably to cry. Moments later, everyone smells roast duck in the air. Mother is found with her head in the running oven, cooked to death.

  • Neopets: One of the deaths during "Ski Lodge Murder Mystery" was Mr. Plaid, who was found with his face cooking on the stove.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Action League NOW! episode, "Turkey of Terror", the Mayor traps the Action League (save for Stinky Diver, who doesn't believe he's gone good, and Justice, who has witnessed the event and brings Stinky his badge) in his turkey and attempts to cook it with them inside it. When Stinky finds out about this from Justice, he comes to the Mayor's mansion to battle the Mayor and save the rest of the League.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Operation: Rabbit", Wile E. Coyote's tries to cook Bugs Bunny in his own home by installing a pressure cooker on the entrance of his burrow. Fortunately Bugs comes out by the backdoor, tricks Wile E. into looking inside, and closes the cooker on top of him. Instead of letting him get cooked, however, Bugs grabs a club and conks him in the head.
    • In "Rabbit Every Monday", Yosemite Sam forces Bugs inside his stove to cook him. Bugs then acts like there's a party inside the stove and tricks Sam into going inside. Once he does, Bugs closes the door and adds a few more logs to the fire to "warm the party up a little", but then feels like the gag has gone on long enough and lets him out. Then, it turns out there really is a party inside the stove, and Bugs goes back inside to have some fun.
    • In "French Rarebit", Bugs is being chased by two French chefs trying to cook him. Bugs instead teaches them how to make Louisiana Back-bay Bayou Bunny Bordelaise a la Antoine, using the two chefs as the rabbits. He puts them in a pot, adds the ingredients — including a dynamite stick inside a carrot — and puts them in the oven. Instead of cooking them, Bugs lights the dynamite and the oven explodes, leaving the chefs dazed and charred.
  • In this Robot Chicken skit, it’s how Smokey the Bear ended up becoming the mascot of fire safety. Apparently putting a baby in the oven is worth seven million hours of community service.
  • The Simpsons: Segment "Scary Tales Can Come True" of "Treehouse of Horror XI" ends with the witch who wanted to eat Bart getting roasted alive in her own oven.
  • The villains attempt to eliminate Rebecca in the Talespin episode "The Balooest of the Bluebloods" this way by tying her to a spit above an absurdly deep fire pit. She gets rescued after becoming no worse than uncomfortably warm.


Video Example(s):


The Pied Piper

The Pied Piper uses his magic flute to control Keith and Malicia and force them into his oven. Fortunately, Mr. Clicky distracts him long enough to break his control.

How well does it match the trope?

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