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Electrified Bathtub

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"If there's one thing I know about radios and dryers, you never use them around baths or showers!"

Someone drops a mundane electric appliance (classically a toaster) into a bathtub or other pool of water lying around. A classic way to attempt murder or suicide in the movies.

Fictional depictions are much flashier than the real thing, with arcs of electricity and bright flashes many seconds long and the complete shorting-out of electrical service to the entire building. In Real Life, though, the resulting electric current is momentary and nearly invisible and likely would just trip the nearest circuit breaker or fuse — but grabbing the electric device while in the bathtub would be just as lethal in real life as the trope is in fiction. This is also a victim to Technology Marches On. It was much more common in the past when most bathtubs had copper piping; however, as more and more homes have PVC plastic plumbing, most tubs aren't grounded and electrocution is less likely (not to mention that newer building codes generally require GFCI outlets for bathroom use, which sense when this is happening and cut off power before any serious damage occurs to either you or the appliance).

This, and other forms of electrocution, is more likely to be fatal where the mains voltage is 220V — the power output for a given impedance, e.g., that of a human body, goes as the voltage squared, meaning 4 times the power at that voltage as at North America's 110V.

Just one of the many ways that a character can die in a bath.

This is a Subtrope to High-Voltage Death.

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


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Case Closed: In Dr. Araide's introductory case, the young Doctor's father is killed in the bathtub because an electric shaver fell in the tub during a blackout. The police almost ruled this out as an accident, but it turns out to be a case of Always Murder.
  • Digimon Ghost Game: In "Wall Crawlers", the heroes are surrounded by numerous reptile children under the control of Salamandamon. BetelGammamon blasts open a nearby water tank and TeslaJellymon sends an electric current through the spilled water to knock out the reptile children, allowing them to fight Salamandamon without interference.
  • The second Elf Princess Rane episode shows Mr. Yumenokata getting shocked from using an electric shaver while taking a bath.
  • In Future Diary, Fifth almost killed Yuno this way and was only prevented from doing so by Yuki cutting the electricity to the entire house.
  • The first episode of Lupin III: Part 1, ("Is Lupin Burning... ?!") has Lupin creating a large-scale version of this to take out the leaders of the Scorpion Clan, and rescue Fujiko.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, after Satoru's death, Tamura honours his Last Request by dropping his PC into a bathtub.
  • A non-lethal version happens in one of the Mini-Specials of You're Under Arrest!. A thief enters Miyuki and Natsumi's apartment to steal their underwear, but they come back and find him thanks to Miyuki's security system. When he tries to hide in the bathroom, Natsumi throws him into the bathtub, and Miyuki then uses a couple of electric tasers to punish him further.

    Board Games 
  • Soviet System has a card allowing its drawer to climb a rank thanks to "his skills in bathroom electricity."

    Comic Books 
  • In the graphic novel Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, the ghost of a gang leader is possessing the bodies of the gang members who betrayed her and forcing them to commit suicide. One of her victims takes a plunge into a swimming pool along with a number of electrical devices.
  • In Fido Dido, a character has an idea while taking a bath, causing an Idea Bulb to appear over her head. Just then a smaller version of her appears, and says, "Hey, that's dangerous!" so the bulb disappears, and is replaced with a flashlight. "That's better."
  • Hack/Slash: In Girls Gone Dead, Father Wrath tries to kill a group of 'sinners' by tossing a television into their hot tub. Vlad manages to slow him down long enough for most of them to get out.
  • DC caused an almighty backlash after staging a contest to find a new artist by getting contestants to draw Harley Quinn about to commit suicide this way. The actual context of the panel made it a bit better since it was meant to be a fourth-wall breaking Imagine Spot where the writers had misunderstood what Suicide Squad meant, but it was still seen as egregiously poor in taste and the panel was ultimately cut from the final comic.
  • In the first issue of Mort the Dead Teenager, one of the background characters seen in the afterlife is a woman in a bathtub that has a radio dropped in it.
  • In one issue of Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW), Surge the Tenrec invokes this trope while dueling the titular hero in a flooded lab. By channeling her electrokinesis through the water while holding Sonic down in it, Surge very nearly kills him before the device she is using to boost her powers overloads and breaks, incapacitating her.
  • In Wanted, a Training Montage of Wesley killing assorted victims includes a panel of him tossing an electric heater into a woman's bathtub.
  • In Young Justice, it's revealed that Secret was originally killed when her brother dropped an electrical appliance in the bathtub while she was using it.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Denki Kaminari discovered his electricity-based Metahuman power while in the bathtub, nearly killing him. Jirou laughs at him for this, which he protests for obvious reasons until he admits that it's Actually Pretty Funny.
    Kaminari: Hey, I could have died!
    Jirou: Yeah, but you didn't, and that's why it's funny.
    Kaminari: I... Yeah, you got me there.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This was how Debbie Jellinsky attempts to kill Fester in Addams Family Values. The TV series had Fester lighting a bulb in his mouth, a gag actually used here. Because of this, it doesn't work. Leads to Fridge Logic when she later tries to kill him with an electric chair. (Especially since in the TV series, Fester would strap himself in one to "recharge".)
  • Accident. The team of professional killers is hired to kill a pawnbroker and Make It Look Like an Accident. Their leader rejects a simple method like staging a car accident, and instead their plan involves draping a wet kite string over a tram cable and on to the pawnbroker's wheelchair during a rainstorm. This causes the assassination to be repeatedly set up and cancelled while they wait for it to rain when the pawnbroker is leaving his workplace.
  • In The Astronaut's Wife (Rosemary's Baby with aliens), the wife of one of the astronauts commits suicide this way after her husband dies of a stroke. When the main character confronts her alien-possessed husband, she's standing with her feet in water dripping down from the sink, preparing to commit suicide the same way... and after confirming that he's been possessed, water pours down from above, as she's left the tub and sink on the other floor on, causing him to be electrocuted instead. Unfortunately this frees up the alien to possess her.
  • Early in The Bodyguard From Beijing, the female lead is nearly killed while taking her bath, unaware that she's marked for death and her tub is booby-trapped by a hidden battery. But her cat jumps in before her.
  • Referenced in The Butterfly Effect. In one Alternate Timeline where his friends all seem better off without him, Evan Treborn fills up a bathtub with water and sets about trying to drown himself in it; his friend Tommy comes in and saves him, remarking that Evan forgot to put a toaster on the ledge.
  • Child's Play
    • Chucky does it to his girlfriend in Bride of Chucky.
    • In an earlier draft of the original Child's Play this was how the babysitter was supposed to die.
  • Madame Aurora in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's and Marc Caro's Delicatessen has a penchant for Rube Goldberg Device suicide attempts. One would drop a table lamp into her bathtub when the doorbell is pressed. Narrowly averted when her neighbor's hammering jolts the lamp's plug from the socket, viewable here.
  • Diary of the Dead. The nerdy character experiences this as a zombie tackles him and pushes him into the tub while he's using a blow drier to dry his hair. Strangely, the electricity doesn't disturb the security camera that's watching him the whole time. Also, it wasn't like the shock could hurt him anymore since he was in the middle of being mawed by a zombie anyway.
  • In Eating Raoul this technique is used on a hot tub filled with swingers.
  • The execrable Christmas horror film Elves had the protagonist's Jerkass mother (who needlessly yells at her and kills her cat) get zapped in the tub by one of the titular creatures. The elf's rubbery, dead-eyed grin only makes it funnier.
    The Neil Brothers: Headbanging to bathtub electrocution is pretty goddamn metal.
  • Featured in the teaser to Goldfinger, including Sean Connery giving the expected Bond One-Liner. "Shocking..." (long beat) "Positively shocking."
  • Bill Murray attempts suicide by tub and toaster in Groundhog Day. Like with all his other suicide attempts, he gets better.
  • Tree in Happy Death Day 2U is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop which always ends with her being killed by a masked man. While agreeing to help the local university eggheads work on how to fix the situation by being a living record of all previous failures, rather than wait around to be killed she decides to force a new loop by killing herself on her own terms. The first time around she does this is in a full bathtub and dropping a live hairdryer into it — as she does carry over damage she sustained when dying, she wakes up the next loop with very frazzled hair.
  • Subverted in House of 9, Francis attempts to kill Lea by ripping a light fixation while Lea washes her hands and drop it into the sink. Lea is shocked and knocked out but awakens later.
  • The ditzy female serial killer in Neighbor ties a girl up, puts her in a bathtub, and throws a hairdryer in, but it fails to kill the victim. When next shown, the bath is now full of random appliances and electronics (including an entire television) and the victim still isn't dead. The killer decides to just drown her.
  • At the end of It Follows, the protagonists try to do this with an entire swimming pool in order to kill "It", the implacable Eldritch Abomination that's been stalking and trying to kill Jay for the entire film. They surround the pool with electrical appliances from lamps to blow dryers to typewriters, use Jay to lure "It" into the pool, and then throw all the appliances in. Unfortunately for them, "It" doesn't fall for such an obvious trap, and instead turns the tables by throwing the appliances at Jay while she's still in the pool. The only reason she's not electrocuted is that the plan was deeply flawed to begin with: the amount of charge needed to electrify an Olympic-sized swimming pool is far greater than what the electrical grid could take before it simply shorted out.
  • In Judas Kiss, Rickles knocks a radio into a kitchen sink full of water. He then jams Dyson's hands into the sink. This doesn't kill Dyson but does badly stun and burn him.
  • Paganini Horror opens with a girl killing her mother by dropping a blow dryer into her bath. The devil in the music made her do it.
  • The Australian horror movie Patrick (1978) opens with the title character murdering his mother and her lover as they're in the bathtub together, by tossing in a hot radiator lamp that they fumble from one to the other, while screaming in agony, until they're able to toss it onto the floor. Patrick just picks it up and throws it back into the water.
  • In the German film The Princess and the Warrior (2000), the trope is played straight in a flashback when a mental ward patient throws a hairdryer into a bathtub used by Sissi's mother. Later, a fugitive hiding from the law in the same mental institution is relaxing after a botched heist in the same bathtub, and the same patient (believing Sissi has fallen for him) throws a toaster at him. He instinctively catches it, and both stare in shock at each other for a moment before the fugitive leaps up with murder in his eyes.
  • Return to Cabin by the Lake: In the climax, Allison tries to kill Stanley by knocking him into a bathtub and then throwing in a blowdryer. She ultimately relents because she doesn't want to become a killer like him and alerts the police who just arrived on the scene, but this just gives Stanley a chance to escape and disappear forever.
  • Done in The Ring.
    • Particularly noteworthy, since rather than just drop an active, mundane electronic device into a bathtub, he sets up a rather complicated metal harness connected to numerous devices, steps into the bathtub, and then switches it on. The result is also more realistic, as it causes the lighting to intermittently short out, and much convulsion and a lot of blood.
  • In The Royal Tenenbaums, Etheline is concerned about her daughter, Margot, watching TV in the bath. Margot does at least have the TV tied up so it doesn't fall in.
  • This almost happens to Eurydice in Shredder Orpheus when she accidentally knocks some equipment into a tub she's using to soak her feet; the near-miss causes her and Orpheus to take the plunge and get married right away.
  • The So Bad, It's Good horror movie Shriek Of The Mutilated has an incredibly contrived version. After a man has a psychotic break and murders a woman via Slashed Throat, he goes to wash off the blood and calm down in the bathtub... only for it to be revealed that the woman is Not Quite Dead, as she slooooowly crawls across the living room pushing a toaster in front of her, reaches the bathroom, plugs it in, and with her last strength lifts it into the bathtub, killing him.
  • One girl in Slumber Party Massacre III takes a bath after having sex, and is electrocuted when a buzzing dildo is thrown into the water.
  • A bizarre variation occurs in Snake Eater 3: Soldier (Lorenzo Lamas) electrifies a biker perp's toilet bowl, killing the biker as he relieves his bladder. Ouch!
  • In Stay Tuned, while the main characters are stuck as cartoon mice and being chased after a robotic cat, they lead it into a bathtub and throw a hair drier into it.
  • The Suicide Squad. While infiltrating a rebel camp Peacemaker and Bloodsport start competing with each other to make impressive kills, and the latter kills a man by shooting at an electric fan that falls into his bathtub.
  • In Superdome, the killer electrifies a whirlpool tub to kill McCauley before the Super Bowl, thus ensuring his team will lose. Mike foils the attempt by running into the locker room and knocking McCauley aside before he can get in.
  • In This Is Your Death, the first person to kill themselves on the show does so by dropping a stereo into her bathtub after confessing to the murder of her husband.
  • According to Word of God, this later happens to the man who spends the whole of The Truman Show watching TV in the bath.
  • In the horror film Valentine, Paige is killed when the killer throws her into her own hot tub, throws the lid closed to trap her, terrorizes her by punching through the lid with a power drill, and then, as an encore, throws the power drill inside to electrocute her.
  • In Vlog, the killer murders Brandon by rigging a light fitting to fall into his bath when he reaches for his rubber duck.
  • During the prison riot scene in Watchmen, Rorschach kills one of the inmates by breaking a toilet on him and then letting the water reach an exposed wire near the wet guy.
  • Mel Gibson's character in What Women Want is almost killed by this, but instead ends up with the power to read the minds of women.
  • The same principle is used in Wristcutters: A Love Story, except instead of throwing an appliance into liquid, Eugene throws liquid (a beer) onto an appliance (his guitar) for a rock 'n' roll suicide. Works just as well, apparently.

  • In Invaders from the Big Screen, one of the bad endings of the "Agent Z" storyline. You and your friend Laura are trapped in a laundromat filling with water, and making a bad choice will result in a television falling into the water with you. ZZZZAP

  • In Babylon Berlin, Gereon Rath goes to question a suspect only to find he's died of this trope. As electric hairdryers are new in the 1920's, Rath is surprised to find you can get killed this way, but he's more interested in why a man would use a woman's hairdryer and the suspicious timing of this 'accident'.
  • William F. Buckley Jr., at one time when he needed a murder method for his Blackford Oakes series, discussed methods with an electrical expert. I believe the letters did speculate the actual use of a bathtub. However in the end, in Stained Glass it was an electric booby-trap inside a cathedral that was undergoing a massive restoration (and thus had plenty of stray wiring to blame) that did the deed. It's been a long time since I read the letter I am referring to so I am not sure I am accurate.
  • This method is used in a futile attempt to stop the noocyte spread in Blood Music. It only succeeds in killing Vergil... for a while.
  • The Dresden Files: In Blood Rites, an actress is nearly killed when a huge industrial light falls into the puddle created after a burst of scalding water causes her to fall through and break a glass shower door. Yes, someone was trying to kill her.
  • The hazard-to-musicians variant described in the "Real Life" section appears in fictional form in Espedair Street by Iain Banks. The band Frozen Gold are performing behind an elaborate special effect rig that involves multiple streams of water circulated by a pump. This thing malfunctions and dumps a deluge of water over lead guitarist Davey, causing him to be electrocuted.
  • In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dr. Gonzo asks Raoul Duke to do this during the high point of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", believing that it will get him the ultimate high. Raoul flings a grapefruit instead (though he doesn't bounce it off his head like in the movie), unplugs the radio (leaving it to run on its harmless batteries), and then gets the hell out before Dr. Gonzo can realize what happened. When he gets up the nerve to check, Gonzo's started to come down from his trip.
  • Used as a murder attempt in Christopher Pike's The Graduation.
  • The title character in Harlan Ellison's Jeffty Is Five. The protagonist doesn't realize until it's too late that Jeffty's mother deliberately propped the radio by the tub precariously enough that it would tip into the tub as soon as Jeffty changed the channel.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: This is how SueEllen Kingsley is killed in Killer Blonde.
  • Stephen King:
    • The protagonist in the short story "A Very Tight Place" (published in Just After Sunset) uses this trope when he confronts his would-be murderer, tossing an electric hair-dryer into the man's lap while he's sitting in his jacuzzi. It turns out to be just a psychological attack, as the dryer's not plugged in.
    • A genuine bathtub electrocution takes place in King's "The Monkey".
  • This is the cause of death/murder method in Carter Dickson's Sir Henry Merrivale mystery The Reader is Warned. Sir Henry, while delivering The Summation, points out that the London County Council had banned electrical fittings in bathrooms for that reason.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Adam-12, a woman kills her husband this way. He was mentally disabled and on the level of about a two-year-old, and she got tired of taking care of him. She almost got away with it, but the officers noticed there was no water on the floor outside the tub as there would have been if the man had gotten out himself to grab the hairdryer.
  • In The Adventures of Superman (the 1950's TV show with George Reeves), a gullible rich person is told by a phony psychic (hired by the rich guy's heirs) that he would chase away the evil spirits around him if he stepped into a bathtub while holding a live electrical cable. Superman saved him (of course).
  • The cliff-hanger of one story on Batman (1966) had the Penguin and his mooks electrify a swimming pool and were going to throw Chief O'Hara (who's locked in a trunk) in.
  • Subverted in Black Books. Manny is making toast in the bath (while using a hairdryer at the same time). When he's applying the jam (which is in a soap dispenser) to the toast and attaching it to a Rube Goldberg-esque device designed to deliver it to Bernard, he accidentally knocks the hairdryer into the tub. He proceeds to take it out, comment, "That was lucky" and continue using it. There may be a radio by the bath too.
  • The Blacklist: Two suspects kill themselves by pulling a laptop into a bath.
  • The Brittas Empire: A concussed Colin once took Brittas' sarcastic statement of asking him to attach one end of a piece of rope to a lightning conductor and the other to a trouser zip and jumping off seriously and needed to be stopped as a result. In the resulting kerfluffle, the electrified bathtub he was carrying to accomplish the task winds up being thrown into the pool and electrocuting a group of Pentecostalists who were being baptized. Luckily, no-one died, although they were briefly stunned.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In "I Robot, You Jane", Buffy is set up to shut off the water in a locker room shower just as the puddle reaches a live wire. She sees the trap and jumps out just in time, with only static-frazzled hair to show for it (which concerns her quite a bit).
    • In "The I in Team", Buffy is given a malfunctioning Initiative taser in The Uriah Gambit set up by Professor Walsh, who then unleashes some demons on her. Buffy throws the taser into a pool of water in which a demon is standing.
  • Used in an episode of the 1994 revival of Burke's Law, entitled "Who Killed the Starlet?" A woman is in the bath while listening to some music, when a killer sneaks in and drops her boombox into the bathtub, killing her. It turns out that the killer and lady are merely actors on a movie set, and they're filming a murder scene. Then it turns out the boombox had been plugged into a live outlet by an unknown party, and the actress in the bathtub really is dead. The special effects man is the first suspect, and protests that the voltage was kept too low to hurt anyone, as a matter of safety, which is standard procedure for filming this sort of thing in real life. It turns out that the water was poisoned with nicotine. The special effects man did so believing that the non-lethal voltage would clear him of suspicion.
  • In the Columbo episode "Double Shock", the killer uses an electric mixer. He slices the insulation off the power cord first.
  • In Coronation Street, a variation of this death befalls Lesley Kershaw. In a haze she tries making cheese on toast (by dropping the cheese into the toaster), then decides that it was a messy thing to do, grabs the toaster (without turning it off) and promptly dumps it into a sink full of water, electrocuting herself to death.
  • In the first intro to Crank Yankers, Special Ed does this to himself when he dunks his house phone in his tub while taking a bath.
  • Happened once in CSI, with the suicide variant. Or so it appears at first glance...
    • And in CSI: Miami, as a murder. Justified in that the circuit breaker didn't work as the victim put herb salt(?) in the bathwater.
    • And in CSI: NY, where...*Glasses Pull* it's complicated. There was a murder that took place, but the bathtub electrocution wasn't the main incident.
  • Danger 5. When Tucker undergoes a Training Montage to turn him into a ninja, one of the exercises involves him sitting in an inflatable pool while the trainer throws toasters and other electrical appliances that Tucker has to fend off.
  • Death in Paradise:
    • An electrified swimming pool occurs in "Swimming in Murder". The killer arranges for a live set of studio lights to fall into the pool as the Victim of the Week is taking his daily swim.
    • In "Switcharoo", the Victim of the Week is drugged and then the killer places her in a full bathtub and drops in a hairdryer to make it look like a suicide.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Dalek", the title character kills a large number of security guards by first getting the fire sprinklers to activate, then, once a sufficient amount of water had built up on the floor, shooting the water.
    • In "Boom Town", Margaret the Slitheen apparently killed the Cardiff Heritage Committee this way to keep them from interfering with her plans. She insists that "the electrocution of that swimming pool was put down to natural wear and tear".
  • The Glades: The Victim of the Week in "Second Chance" is murdered when the killer pushes a vacuum cleaner into the pool where he is swimming.
  • Harrow: In "Ab Initio" ("From the Beginning"), the Victim of the Week is found electrocuted in his bath. It looks like the radio fell off a shelf into the tub, but Harrow notices the dust marks on the shelf indicate it had sat for for months, possibly years, and wonders why it should suddenly have fallen now.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In a flashback in "Identity Crisis", a young boy seemingly kills his abusive, schizophrenic mother by pushing an electric heater into her bath. It was actually an accident, but he took responsibility for it.
  • Double subverted on Life: When facing a hitmanwoman (sic) who kills using household materials, Charlie thinks that a bathtub was rigged to be electrified as a backup plan to murder the victim in case the murderer's Plan A failed. Bobby says that it's a myth because the circuit breaker would prevent the electrocution from taking place. Charlie then tests this claim by throwing a TV into the bathtub. The TV explodes after hitting the water, and the power for the entire building goes out. They then realize that the killer had circumvented the circuit breaker as well.
  • Luke Cage. In "Take It Personal", Luke Cage flatlines and there's no defibrillator to revive him, so Claire Temple throws a portable electric burner into the bathtub he's in to cause a short circuit. Even the Mad Scientist with her is shocked, though the Nigh-Invulnerable Cage survives.
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "A Lesson in Evil", the Hannibal Lecter-esque Dr. Zito sets a trap for Mac by restraining a hapless victim (his own therapist, who he had succeeded in convincing he was "cured") in a bathtub, attaching an electric heater on top and leaving the water running.
  • In the Mann & Machine episode "The Dating Game," all three murder victims were electrocuted in the bathtub. During the climax, the villain tries to push Eve into an electrified swimming pool.
  • The Mentalist: In "Scarlet Ribbons", a security guard is found dead in his bathtub with a hairdryer dropped into it.
  • Monk:
    • In "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever", Kathy Willowby kills her husband Martin by dropping a radio into the tub while he's bathing, then freezes the body and puts it out in the boat the next night so that it looks like Martin got struck by lightning while fishing on the lake.
    • And in "Mr. Monk and the Big Game", Julie's basketball coach Lynn Hayden is killed in an electrified shower.
  • Murder, She Wrote: Used as a murder method in three episodes; "Sticks and Stones", "Unauthorized Obituary" and "The Phantom Killer".
  • Tested by MythBusters, who confirmed it. However, they also showed that a working Ground Fault Interrupter will cut the power to an appliance in time. Appliances without GFIs, on the other hand, will kill, which is an issue because the overwhelming majority of small appliances don't have GFIs. They didn't test GFIs built into power outlets (required for new bathroom construction by several building codes), but presumably they'd work the same way - but a murderer could simply plug the appliance into an outlet in another room using a cheap extension cord.
  • Oz. Prison guard Claire Howell murders inmate Nikolai Stanislofsky this way, after first giving him some hand relief. And a rubber duckie, in an obvious Shout-Out to Hitman.
  • The Professionals. In "Hijack", Bodie and Doyle investigate a flat and find an Arab woman dead in the bathtub with an electric heater that fell off the wall. They don't know if shoddy British workmanship or a Libyan hit squad was responsible, and nothing more is said about the incident so the audience doesn't find out either.
  • The Psych episode "Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast" uses this, as indicated by the title.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Partners in Crime", the killer pushes a boombox into the hot tub of the first Body of the Week. This does not kill her but stuns her so the killer can hold her head underwater till she drowns.
  • A woman died in the teaser of the Six Feet Under episode "An Open Book" when her cat knocked her electric hot rollers into the tub.
  • Tales from the Crypt: In "The Man Who Was Death", Niles Talbot, a prison executioner, is laid off from his job when the local government abolishes the death penalty. He becomes a Vigilante Man, administering his own style of justice to acquitted murder suspects. He murders one pair of acquitted murders by wiring their hot tub and then electrifying it while they are in it.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the heroes shock Cameron into reset mode (after her brief Face–Heel Turn in the second-season opener) with a clock radio hidden in a baptismal font.
  • Smallville: The Villain of the Week in "Red" kills a college student by dropping a radio into his hot-tub while the student is still in it.
  • Taggart. In "Funeral Rites", a husband rigs the wall heater in the bathroom so it will detach from the wall and fall into the tub when his arthritic wife pulls on the cord to switch it on. However, her pull is too weak and it doesn't detach until the husband tries it after coming home and finding his wife still alive. So he has to resort to other methods.

  • In the video for A Ha's song Velvet, Morten Harket gets "killed" like this when his in-story girlfriend tosses her still-connected blowdryer in his bathtub. And he keeps singing the song, even when he's dead.
  • The Alkaline Trio song Radio recounts an ex-girlfriend with the chorus "I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you, plugged in and ready to fall"
  • Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley, in the video for "Where's the Dress" (a Boy George parody), one scene has Bandy bathing with a radio precariously sitting on the tub's lip ... and you can guess what happens next.
  • blink-182's "Adam's Song" starts with this.
    "I traced the cord back to the wall. No wonder, it was never plugged in at all."
  • The culmination of the tryst depicted in 'Digital Bath' by Deftones.
  • Mastodon's "Show Yourself" features an incompetent Grim Reaper trying to kill the band in the music video. He attempts to do in who he thinks is Bill Kelliher by shoving a toaster into the tub of someone who's taking a bubble bath, but as with his previous attempts he's got the wrong guy and ends up reaping the wrong person.
  • Metric's "Too Little Too Late" references this trope in one verse, along with other Lyrical Dissonance.
  • No Doubt's video for "It's My Life": Gwen Stefani, in the guise of a Jazz Age murderess, dispatches drummer Ade Young this way.
  • Streetlight Manifesto references this in "A Better Place, A Better Time", which is about Talking Down the Suicidal.
    "I'll draw your bath and I'll load your gun,
    But I hope so bad that you'll bathe and hunt"

  • Some of the later Radio Gradittis on True Capitalist Radio had Ghost wishing this on the Tub Guy. He specifically said that Tub Guy should use a toaster, no less.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Alone in the Dark (2008), there are some points where you have to pull electric cables out of the water so you can traverse through the area without getting zapped.
  • In BioShock, any Splicer in the same water will instantly die if you hit them with an electric shock such as Electro Bolt. Killing a Splicer in this manner unlocks an achievement called "Toaster in the Tub".
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, the Paralyze truth bullet electrifies enemies. If the enemy is standing in water, it will hit everyone else in the water (including Komaru herself if you're not careful).
  • Fallout 3 has a few skeletons found in the bathtub, as they were likely killed upon the bombs falling, this means many of them died in the tub. However, a rare few apparently died afterwards. A few can be found with a toaster in the bathtub with them. Although really, if you're going to choose between semi-instant frying by toaster assisted suicide or waiting for your flesh to fall off from radiation, fry my problems away.
  • Played with in the Old World Blues expansion for Fallout: New Vegas, where the ending explains that the toaster himself was killed by being dropped in a bath by the other inhabitants of The Sink.
  • Not a bathtub, but one of the bosses in Gamer 2 is fought in a flooded factory. Hailey has to shoot him until he crashes into the water, whereupon she must activate a lever to electrify him.
  • A few puzzles in Half-Life involve a large pool of water in contact with live wires. Gordon must shut off the power source or else suffer severe damage should he find himself swimming.
  • One of the installments of Hitman series even had this move on advertisement posters. And indeed, in one mission this is the possible, and indeed advisable for a "true", never-seen never-recognized, killer, way to assassinate one of your targets.
    • Taking into account how difficult it would be to kill yourself this way, however, doing this won't be counted as an "accident".
  • The Interactive Fiction game In The End 2 has this as one of its methods for attempting suicide. As is the theme of the game, it doesn't work; if you're not in the bath, electrifying it produces a spectacular lightshow, but if you're in the bath all you get is a muffled pop and a puff of smoke from the wall socket.
  • Using the Beam or Plasma ability while over a body of water in Kirby Star Allies will send a surge of electricity across the water's surface. Void Soul also has an attack where it raises the water level in the stage and then fires a laser into it, electrifying it.
  • One of the characters in Lucius dies when Lucius drops a hairdryer into her bathtub.
  • The water segment of Shock Man's stage in Mega Man Rock Force has a Corridor Cubbyhole Run section that features this. The electrical rods in the background will descend and will damage Mega Man if he's inside as soon as they touch the water.
  • Rum Rogers Sr. in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge dies in a bathtub thanks to his habit of bathing while eating toast. In The Curse of Monkey Island, LeChuck reveals that he killed him there, and made it look like an accident.
  • The Disney game Nightmare Ned has a whole song about this. The level it appears on requires you to leap from bathtub to bathtub and avoid getting shocked in the process.
  • Using a Lightning Gun in the water in Quake discharges all of your ammo into the surrounding area. Damage scales exponentially; one cell (out of a maximum possible of 100) will be a small hit. Ten cells will viciously maim you. Twenty or more cells will gib the player and anything nearby.
  • In Resident Evil (Remake), this is how you permanently kill Neptune - after draining the water in its area, you can finish it off by throwing a fusebox into the puddle it is impotently flopping in and throwing a switch. This fries the fusebox and drains its charge in the process, rendering the puddle safe to enter.
  • In Scribblenauts, you can use this to kill hostile creatures in bodies of water, or Maxwell if you don't make sure he's safe.
  • One puzzle in Silent Hill 3 has you drop a hairdryer in a sewer main to kill a monster guarding a bridge.
  • Utilized by the player in The Simpsons Game during the first Treehouse of Horror-themed level based on "Night of the Dolphin". To defeat King Snorky at the sea park, Lisa must use her Buddhist powers to put an electric eel in the dunk tank under him, allowing Bart to use his slingshot to knock Snorky in and kill him.
  • In Soldier of Fortune II, you kill Domingo Sanchez by blowing a fuse box while he's standing in a puddle of water.
  • Played for laughs in Tales of Vesperia. Raven is perfectly aware that he'll get electrocuted if he goes in a hot spring because of his blastia heart. When Yuri brings it up to him, he simply says that it's Worth It.
  • In Urban Chaos: Riot Response, during one of the hostage situations, a burner will use a reporter as a human shield. When you successfully shoot him, he will fall backward into a conveniently filled bathtub, and said reporter will then drop a television on top of the guy ("Fry, you bastard!") as payback.

    Web Animation 
  • The AstroLOLogy short "The Doll" has a killer doll attempting to do this to an unsuspecting Pisces while she's taking a bath, but Capricorn stops him and wrestles the toaster away. Capricorn then falls over into a puddle and gets electrocuted himself, resulting in X-Ray Sparks.
  • The SMG4 episode "Stupid Mario World" features a scene where Mario gets around fighting Wendy and her fish army by just dropping a bug zapper in the water. Cue Wendy, her shark steed, and the entire fish army floating lifelessly to the top of the water.

    Web Comics 
  • Invoked in Amazing Super Powers, though it's unclear whether they did it or poor Wade later died of something else. See also Alt Text and the hidden comic.
  • An unusually bloody example shows up at the beginning of Hell(p)'s second chapter. Serves as a Framing Device to show how people enter Hell in this universe.
  • Penny Arcade had a strip parodying the comic tie-ins for Freedom Force. Gabe gets an electric shock from an arcade machine when lightning strikes and later talks about how "he got these powers for a reason". Tycho then points out that he didn't get any superpowers; he just stood in a puddle of Pepsi and got a shock from one of the arcade games.
    Gabe: Yes, but for a reason though!

    Web Videos 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of The Last Ninja ends with Ernie from Sesame Street trying to kill the Nerd for beating his high score at the game, claiming he's already killed Bert for the same reason.note  The Nerd wins the ensuing fight, then takes Ernie to the bathtub and drops the Nintoasternote  in with him. A rather ironic death since Ernie is known to love baths.
    Ernie: You're one sick fuck, Nerd!
  • The Joker Blogs: Joker murders the best man at Harleen's wedding (who is also the groom's brother) this way, using the (still-filming!) camera as the murder weapon. He also writes a fake suicide note to leave at the scene. In Comic Sans.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • Critic drops a toaster into the bathtub when he's Driven to Suicide during his review of The Pebble and the Penguin.
    • He makes another reference to the act in his "You're a Rotten Dirty Bastard" special.
      Nostalgia Critic: Is this a pep talk? Because pep talks are supposed to make you feel peppy, not make you want to take a shower with a FUCKING TOASTER!
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser Junior's Sleepover", at the end of the first episode of Doofy the Dragon, Doofy kills himself by putting his hairdryer in his bathtub. Then a disclaimer shows up, warning the viewers not to attempt what Doofy did.

    Western Animation 
  • In the American Dad! episode "Da Flippity Flop", Klaus attempts to kill himself by dropping a hand vacuum in his fishbowl, but nothing happens, causing him to lament that the vacuum is never charged.
  • In Ben 10 (2016), Frightwig attempts to kill a pool full of people by dropping a laptop into it before Ben as Fourarms grabs it.
  • Happens to Donald Duck in the Classic Disney Short How to Have an Accident in the Home. In this case, though, the water and toaster are two separate accidents. For the bathtub, he's both using an electric razor and tuning into a radio near the tub at the same time, promptly getting zapped. As for the toaster, he's foolishly ramming a knife inside hoping that it'll fix it.
  • Family Guy:
    • On the season one episode "A Hero Sits Next Door," (the episode that introduces the Swansons) when Peter mentioned how much he hated new neighbors because they always borrow his stuff and never return it, such as his toaster. The scene cuts to a man about to commit suicide in a bath with said toaster because his wife divorced him and wanted full custody of their children. During the next scene, the lights in the Griffin household flicker.
    • In "Mom's the Word", one of Stewie's suicide attempts involves the toaster-in-the-bathtub routine, but it backfires when he becomes a toast-themed superhero as a result.
    • One cutaway gag revolves around Peter's bad job babysitting a neighbor's kid, where he left the kid unattended in a full tub and left a ton of dangerous things lying around the bath, among them a plugged-in hairdryer. He then shut off the lights and went home.
  • Hilariously attempted by Dale in King of the Hill to Hank when he heard he had an Erotic Dream about his wife after Hank fixes Nancy and Dale's hot tub. When Nancy has Hank and Peggy over for a hot tub party, Dale ran in with a toaster in hand, but forget it was still plugged, so he just tripped and fell before he could make it. Then asks Hank if he can borrow an extension cord.
    Dale: Nancy, get out of the pool. ELECTRIC TOASTER!
  • Armless waterbender Ming-hua from The Legend of Korra meets her demise when Mako zaps the pool they’re fighting in with lightning.
  • Although it only causes him to temporarily turn into a pile of ashes, Volectro from Mixels, being an Electroid, suffers through this when he takes a shower in the episode "A Quest for the Lost Mixamajig".
  • In one episode of The PJs, after being placed under house arrest for a parole violation, Thurgood tries to expose Walter as corrupt. They end up wrestling in a puddle near the curb and are both electrocuted by Thurgood's tracking brace. Their spirits ascend, Walter is allowed into Heaven and vouches for Thurgood to join him instead of being sent to Hell, but they're revived at the last minute.
  • Discussed in The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode, "Too Pooped to Puff". After being annoyed to do every single menial work for others, the girls try to explain to the very dumb citizens of Townsville that spraying water on a monster caught in telephone lines will electrocute it, so they use the trope as an example.
  • Robot Chicken:
  • Done in Rocko's Modern Life episode "Fatal Contraption" when the new jealous appliance destroys the toaster by throwing it a piece of bread to chase in which said piece of bread falls into the sink so that the toaster follows it.
  • Sealab 2021:
    • In the episode "Waking Quinn". Stormy drops a high powered hair dryer into a pool which electrocutes Quinn, causing him to experience lots of odd hallucinations. He did it not out of malice, but out of stupidity. Later, when Quinn wakes up, Stormy tries to revive him with a defibrillator (by putting it directly in the water, away from Quinn himself), then shows him his "bitchin'" homemade Tesla coil. The last one was implied to have been malicious, as Quinn asked if Stormy was that stupid before Stormy dropped it in.
    • In a later episode, Sparks kills Murphy by dropping the same Tesla coil into the jacuzzi Murphy is sitting in. However, because of the slow speed of the aforementioned visible arcs of electricity, Murphy lives long enough to take Sparks down with him.
  • In the animated short The Thing What Lurked in the Tub, Lugmeyer accidentally kills the titular monster by knocking his radio into the bathtub the creature is hiding in.

    Real Life 
  • Averting this trope is the reason that most building codes require that all electrical outlets in bathrooms be GFCI outlets. Unfortunately, this usually only applies to new construction, meaning that electrocution via bathtub is still a danger for older homes. It's also possible for this trope to happen if the device has a long enough cord, is plugged into an outlet outside the bathroom, and is carried in - the outlets in the hall may not be GCFI.
    • Also averting this trope is the fact that most counter/table-top household appliances have shorter cords, so one wouldn't be able to end their lives with a toaster, radio, etc.
  • Interestingly, pure water acts as a pretty good insulator, rather than a conductor as one would expect. Unfortunately, water is also a great solvent, all but guaranteeing there's some salts or minerals dissolved in it, which are conductive. Take a bath in pure H2O, and the salts and other contaminants on your skin will enable this trope.
    • This also explains why most electrical appliances are toast (pun very much intended) when they land in water unless you get them out of there fast and immediately expose their innards to a drying agent - as many careless people have found out from using their mobile phone, tablet or even a laptop computer next to or in the bath, all it takes is a slip from the hand and a few ounces of salty, soapy water to a critical component to spell serious damage or even outright bricking.
  • This is why any outdoor swimming pool or beach will close immediately in the event of a thunderstorm, as a lightning strike either in the water itself or to the ground nearby (where the pipes, wiring, and gas lines can carry the charge to the water) can do this on a grand scale to a large group of people. The rule of thumb for lifeguards is the 30-30 rule: if lightning is followed less than thirty seconds later by thunder (indicating that the lightning bolt was less than six miles away), then the pool is closed until thirty minutes after the last thunder or lightning.
  • Thomas Merton died this way. Conspiracy theories abound.
  • The same can be said of French singer Claude François, the most famous French victim of this. There's a good chance he will be referenced whenever the trope is used in French fiction. He also won a Darwin award for it.
  • Flavia Boricea, a teenage girl from Romania died from using Twitter on a laptop while in the bathtub.
    • Another teen died from dropping a hairdryer in the tub.
  • One method of execution by the Nazis involved lowering a group of prisoners on a metal plate into a vat of water, then running current through it. Then the apparatus was raised out of the water and electrified again to burn the corpses.
  • This murder attempt. Fortunately for the woman, she tossed out the radio in time and survived.
  • This is actually a common hazard for live performing musicians, especially when the set/venue/etcetera involves a pool or fountain or other large body of water and/or it's raining. Since vocalists (and, to a lesser degree, guitarists) might not exactly remember they are holding a highly charged electrical object when they decide to jump into the pool/run out from under the canopy/etcetera, people have almost died doing this - the only thing saving them being someone grabbing their mic or guitar or kicking it loose from power before they hit the water.
    • Preventing this is why more advanced setups for video or festival or venue performance will set up redundancy to knock out power - the cables and cords themselves visible so a roadie or another band member can respond if they see this about to happen or happening, and the soundboard/lighting tech being able to cut the breakers from their position - ruining the show, but saving the life of a forgetful singer or guitarist if they see it happening from their vantage point.
  • Also a hazard for photographers: batteries on modern camera gear can easily charge it up enough to deliver a fatal shock if the photographer falls into water. In at least one incident caught on video, a photographer at a wedding aiming for a better shot forgot to look behind him and fell into a fountain - the only thing making it not fatal was that someone grabbed his camera gear from him using a strap of his backpack.
  • There was a case in Austria in the late 1980s where a wife tried to kill her husband by throwing a running hairdryer into the bathtub he was sitting in. The residual current circuit breaker did its job and saved the man's life. The manufacturer of the circuit breaker quoted the incident in their advertising to prove the high quality of their product, which just goes to show that the ability to make quality electric parts is not always paired with good taste.
  • According to both Hunter S. Thompson and other friends of Oscar Zeta Acosta, the bathtub scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was loosely based on an actual event, though it didn't take place during either of their trips to Las Vegas.
  • In 2005, Kyle Lake, pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, died from electrocution while performing a baptism, due to grabbing an ungrounded microphone while standing in the water. This was the basis for the 1000 Ways to Die segment "Cruci-Fried".


Video Example(s):


Addams Hawaiian Honeymoon

Debbie attempts to kill her new husband in the bathtub with a Tape Deck. Unfortunately for Debbie; her husband is Fester Addams.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / ElectrifiedBathtub

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