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Dangerous Windows

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Marshal Martin: Get away from the window. How many times I got to tell you? Tubby!
Tubby: [turning away from window] My name... is Lawrence!
Marshal Martin: All right. Lawrence... Larry... please, for the love of God! GET AWAY FROM THE GODDAMN WINDOW!
[Tubby gets shot through the window]

In the horror genre, windows are not the safest thing. They're mostly thin breakable glass, often big enough to let monsters and crazed madmen use it as an improvised entrance and make for a nice spot to grab unsuspecting victims to their doom. Soft Glass seems to be in effect as such monsters or madmen are rarely harmed by breaking them with their bare hands. Barricading windows can be hard work if there are too many of them and more often than not whatever is trying to get through, will.

There is some Truth in Television to this, during severe storms, such as hurricanes and especially Tornadoes, it is a bad idea to even be in the same room as a window, since they are giant weak spots that allow pieces of debris to blast in and impale an unfortunate sap on the other side. And if the piece of debris doesn’t do you in, the flying glass shards probably will.

Compare Super Window Jump and Destination Defenestration, in which windows are used for improvised entrances, deliveries and exits, rather than monsters using them. See also Helpless Window Death, when a character witnesses a murder occurring on the other side of the glass. May overlap with Backing into Danger.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Rail Tracer from Baccano! kills several mooks by pulling them out the windows of the train.

    Comic Books 
  • In Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls, two of the members of the Sanders-Hardiman expedition fall victim to crystal balls hurled through their windows. Professor Cantonneau is attacked this way just as Tintin tries to warn him not to go near the window. Dr. Midge is then placed under police guard, but The Guards Must Be Crazy and turn away from the window just long enough for another glass-shattering attack to happen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Abominable, Tracy is yanked through the bathroom window by the Yeti after she's gotten done taking a shower. It's too small for her, so she bends in half backwards and snaps in two, becoming Half the Woman She Used to Be.
  • The final act in Alien³ has a bait-and-chase plan to lure the xenomorph into a lead mould by having it chase the inmates, who then close doors behind them to corral it where they need it... until the xeno takes advantage of the glass windows set into the doors to smash through and pick off the unlucky prisoner. The next inmate to try this is understandably rather nervous.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, a zombie pulls Marty through a window out of the cabin.
  • In The Descent, Sarah gets impaled in the head by a steel beam crashing through the window. But don't worry, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Dreamscape. While Alex and the boy Buddy are in the house, the snake man breaks in through a window and attacks Buddy.
  • In Fiend Without a Face, after Sergeant Kasper is killed by one of the "fiends" breaking in through the patio windows during The Siege, the other survivors hurriedly board the windows up. This holds them off for a while, allowing the armed Air Force officers to shoot at them through the gaps in the boards, but eventually the fiends just use their prehensile spinal cord "tails" to pry enough of the boards loose so they can get in.
  • The Fog. Zombies break through stained glass windows in a church to attack the protagonists.
  • Friday the 13th:
    • The very last scare of Friday the 13th Part 2 was Jason busting through the window in slow motion in a hallucination the Final Girl had.
    • It also happens twice in The Final Chapter when Jason tries it on Tommy. Trish decides to bludgeon him as a result.
    • Jason tries to grab Rennie in Jason Takes Manhattan through a cabin window, but she manages to deter him by stabbing him in the eye with an ink pen.
  • Invoked in The Game in a dramatic cut when Nicholas Van Orton confronts Christine at her "apartment" about her involvement with CRS, before several CRS goons who had been monitoring the situation exit a nearby van and unload a few clips of SMG rounds into the apartment.
  • Subverted in Independence Day: the monster smashes into the window but it doesn't break. And then promptly Inverted when Grey comes up with an idea to get rid of the threat.
    General William Grey: Is that glass bullet-proof?
    Major Mitchell: No, sir!
  • Dirty Coward Halsey backs up against a window during The Siege in Island of Terror, allowing some of the Silicates to smash through the glass with their Combat Tentacles and grab him.
  • In In the Mouth of Madness, a lunatic crashes through a café window with an axe in an attempt to kill Sam Neill's character.
  • Lampshaded in The Mist; everyone is inside a supermarket, and once they realize that there actually is something God-awfully horrible out there, someone points out that the entire front side of the building is a row of windows. The next few minutes consist of the hold-outs piling up everything they can to block the windows off, with only a relatively small bit of the tops exposed.
  • In the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, the last scare of the movie has Freddy snag the heroine's mother through the front door window.
  • In the original Night of the Living Dead, the hero is trying desperately to board them up while zombies reach through the broken glass for him. Great tension and suspense builder.
  • Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead ends with Tim being dragged through a shattered window by one of the Tall Man's minions.
  • Shaun of the Dead. Most notably when David foolishly stands with his back right against a window, and (predictably, considering his recent actions) the zombies break through and pull him out to eat him.
  • A non-horror example: in The Man Who Knew Too Little, the hitman Spencer breaks a window and reaches through to grab Lori. But Wallace scares him off with a gun before Lori gets hurt.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the episode where they throw a coming-home party for Buffy, they end up getting attacked by various monsters (of course), many of whom attack through the windows.
    • After Xander acquires carpentry skills, he lampshades the frequency of this occurrence, saying he wonders why he even bothers fixing the frames.

    Video Games 
  • In the Action 52 game City of Doom, touching windows kills you instantly.
  • This is the method used by the various enemies to enter in the Nazi Zombies mode of Call of Duty: World at War. Barricading them (and their inevitable being broken down again shortly after) is an important game mechanic.
  • The most common death in Die2Nite has zombies break into your house through a poorly barricaded window and eat you alive.
  • In Dino Crisis, the Tyrannosaurus smashes his head in through a big window in the administrator's office, eats the dead body of the man Regina just got done talking to, and then tries to do the same to her. Cue Boss Fight!
  • In Ib, there are many rooms with windows, and one of them will break to allow an enemy to keep chasing you.
  • In one level of Metro 2033, there is an incredibly tense sequence where you are walking through a ruined library on the surface and are ambushed and trapped within a small room by one of the strongest monsters in the game, the Librarian. When you try and break down a rotting door to get out, the thing attacks.
  • Resident Evil, and Capcom horror games in general have things breaking in from windows.
    • In Resident Evil (the original), zombie dogs crash through certain windows in the mansion's hallways the player walks past. In the remake, a Neptune bangs against the viewing window of the Aqua Ring's control room, forcing the player to close the shutter for it before the glass breaks and lets the shark in.
    • In Resident Evil 2, zombies and zombified crows will smash through windows. You have the option to seal the windows by using a cable to hotwire the switchbox... but it doesn't last long. A Licker also does a Super Window Jump through a one-way mirror in the interrogation room. The remake also allows you to use loose boards to block off certain windows.
    • Subverted in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis when zombies attempt to break through the windows, but are stopped by the boards put up by previous survivors: they can grab at Jill but, while it scares the bejesus out of you, it doesn't actually do any harm. Played straight when Nemesis smashes right through a window to chase after you, and now he has a rocket launcher (ho ho ho).
  • Until Dawn has one of its monsters punch through the window, grab Jessica, and pull her back out through the window. If she survives, she is scratched up, but not nearly as much as you'd expect given the situation, and it's ambiguous if it came from the window or from the monster.

    Web Comics 
  • An early Penny Arcade strip features the line "'Survival Horror' is a fancy way of saying 'Monsters will come through windows'."

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "The Deserter", while his house is under attack by damaged commando droids, Cut Lawquane makes the mistake of backing up to a window, and of course one of the droids smashes through and grabs at him. So he headbutts the droid to make it release him.
  • SWAT Kats:
    • In "The Giant Bacteria", Dr. Zyme boasts that the huge windows in Megakat Biochemical Labs are "practically indestructible." Cue one of the bacteria monsters to smash the glass and reach inside...
    • In "Enter the Madkat", Madkat, in the form of a giant octopus, uses his Combat Tentacles to smash through the window of Commander Feral's office and grab "the queen" (Callie).
    • In "The Deadly Pyramid", one of the giant mummies climbs up the side of City Hall and reaches in through the window to try and grab Mayor Manx, who does his best to hold it back with a golf club.