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Fold-Spindle Mutilation

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You've heard of pipe dreams, right? 'Cause this is more like a pipe nightmare.
That's how we lost Torres. Something grabbed him, pulled him through. The hole wasn't big enough for his head, but he still went through, eventually.

When a square peg is forced into a round hole, the peg gets crushed out of shape. When a person is forced through an opening too small to accommodate them, that person's body suffers the same fate, but it's a lot messier.

Whether yanked into a narrow gap by a powerful predator, sucked through a ruptured bulkhead in space, or crammed into a tiny compartment when their killer is Disposing of a Body, the human form can only withstand so much force before its bones start breaking, its joints dislocate, and it folds up on itself. Scenes where this happens on-camera virtually always employ fake feet on wooden spindles, which swing around to lie beside the victim's head in a way even a contortionist couldn't manage.

Compare Ground by Gears. Can overlap with Dead Man's Chest, when the body in question is lucky enough to not still be alive at the time it's squeezed into a small space. If Cartoon Physics apply, you have Forcibly Formed Physique. The Contortionist often undergoes this sort of treatment without actually dying. Is often one possible method of inflicting a Cruel and Unusual Death.

A No Recent Examples rule applies to Real Life examples of this trope. Real life examples shouldn't be added until 150 years after the death.

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


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  • One commercial plays this for laughs when a bikini model is posing on a hood of a car. When the car revs up it eats her, sucking her into the exposed engine butt-first. Afterwards the car's exhaust burps out the model's bikini top.
  • In one Duracell battery ad, a woman keeps insisting that the game controller she's wielding gets "more life" from its batteries, even as her rear end is sinking deeper into the gaps between her couch cushions. By the end of the ad, her head, hands (still playing her video game) and sneakers are all that remain visible.
  • In the work safety video "Think About This," a cotton gin worker falls into a chute and ends up run through the machinery and pressed into a cotton bale.
  • In "Will You Be Here Tomorrow?" also by ERI Safety Videos, a worker suffers this fate via a cardboard compactor.
  • Another work safety PSA, "Dangerous Machine," has a guy get his sleeve caught in a Conveyor Belt o' Doom, leading him to be pulled into a gap and mangled.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, a man was heading home from a late-night soak, but then ran into Gyokko's vase in which Gyokko sucked the poor soul in to.
  • This is how the Big Bad was disposed of in Fullmetal Alchemist in the physical world; Ed punched a hole in his chest, which then sprouted black tendrils which grabbed and pulled him into said hole.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
  • Junji Ito
    • In The Enigma of Amigara Fault, an earthquake reveals a set of human-shaped holes in the middle of a mountain. By some unknown compulsion, people are drawn into these holes and cannot come out, forced to keep moving forward. Months later, another fault is found on the other side of the mountain, with another set of holes, but while these too have five projections from a central hole, the spindly cracks corresponding to arms, legs, and neck are too narrow and twisted for normal human body parts. And then researchers see something coming out of one of them...
      Scientist: It's slowly coming this way!
      Former Person: DRR... DRR... DRR...
    • The Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection story "The Groaning Drain" has this happen to at least one of the characters when something pulls her into a drainpipe over the course of several hours. In this case, the aftermath is never seen, but she is apparently still alive for some given meaning of the word.
    • Yet another example can be found in Uzumaki, which starts off with the father of the male protagonist becoming obsessed with spirals. His obsession drives him to turn his entire body into a spiral, which he does by forcing himself into a circular basin and contorting himself into an anatomically impossible spiral shape. It's probably fair to say at this point that Junji Ito loves this trope.
  • In Kinnikuman, Sunshine uses the Cursed Roller in his body to crush his foes. Prince Kamehame was one of those victims.
  • A variant occurs in Trigun, where Legato uses his powers to force several dozen police officers into the back of a small personnel carrier. He even has a line about how the human body can fit into surprising amounts of space when given the proper motivation. Meanwhile, the truck is so full that blood is gushing out the bottom as the officers smash themselves into hamburger.
  • The YuYu Hakusho anime has a Gory Discretion Shot of this as an example of the atrocities humans inflicted on demons in Sensui's Flashback.

    Comic Books 
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: Sam intentionally invokes this trope when his and Max's flight home from the Philippines is hijacked by a terrorist. While the terrorist is distracted, Sam throws a spoon at a nearby window, causing the terrorist to panic and shoot the window. His body then gets sucked out of the plane through the resulting bullet hole, head first.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Abominable, Tracy is seized by the Yeti through a small bathroom window at about chest height. She's pulled through stomach-first, snapping in half backwards so the monster can drag her outside.
  • Referenced in Airport, when one of the engineers explains how Explosive Decompression can suck anything not tied down out of a plane. Apparently, this happened on an aircraft he'd serviced during WWII when a crewman got sucked out a broken window "like hamburger".
  • Alien:
    • In Alien: Resurrection, the half-human newborn alien gets sucked out a very small hole in the bulkhead and into the vacuum of space. Its body isn't so much folded as pureed by the suction.
    • The original script from which Alien was adapted, The Star Beast, featured a human dying in a similar manner when the beast's acidic blood eats a tiny hole in the spaceship's hull.
  • This is the implied fate of Darren Cross at the end of Ant-Man, when the Yellowjacket suit destabilizes and begins shrinking different parts of his body at different rates. It doesn't kill him outright, and he survives, in a sense, in the Quantum Realm.
  • The Blob (1988):
    • The deputy town sheriff is killed by the Blob pulling him in between two shelves of a bookstand, breaking him in half.
    • Another man is sucked down the drain of a sink in homage to the original 1958 The Blob. This death is mercifully quick as he is pulled in headfirst and his head appears to be mostly dissolved before it's squeezed down the drain, presumably destroying his brain.
  • One of the gang members in Class of 1999 is yanked through a wall by the android history teacher, arms and legs flung out as he's pulled into the gap which the android's fists make in the drywall.
  • Happens to one of the trapped teens in "The Raft" segment of Creepshow 2, when the Blob Monster reaches through a gap between planks to entangle his foot and yank him down through the titular raft's platform. The short story has him slowly and messily eaten through the gap in the planks without breaking any of them, which is even worse.
  • The villain in Crossworlds, invulnerable to normal blows due to selective intangibility, is defeated when the protagonist opens a portal to nowhere in the man's belly that sucks the rest of him into it, bit by bit.
  • In Deep Rising, the Argonautica's captain is grabbed by one of the sea monsters through a gap in a metal catwalk. It pulls him down by one leg, breaking his pelvis so his other foot juts up next to his face as he's dragged to his death. Also the fate of the woman who hides in the restroom; she gets pulled down through the toilet, resulting in a very big splash of blood and gore. The monster, some sort of giant octopus, is very agile; at one point Trillian notices one of the tentacles (which can swallow a person whole) slithering through a pipe barely two feet wide.
  • At the climax of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Kim is pulled into the cellar grating by the homunculi, and her leg snaps at the hip to stick up past her head as she's forced through the opening.
  • One of the special-ops soldiers in Doom gets grabbed by the ankles by one of the mutated scientists, which is lurking under the floor grate he's standing on. He's yanked down through a gap between the bars of the grating, which bend out a little, but still don't offer more than a few inches of space.
  • In The Final Destination, the fourth movie in the series, Hunt Wynorski's death is technically this. While diving for his lost lucky coin at the bottom of a pool, he's pulled onto the drain. He isn't sucked through it himself, but the pressure continuously builds until his organs are violently sucked through his anus and spewed out through the pump, along with his coin.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason's first teen victim gets bent in half backwards, feet jutting out beside his head when the Crystal Lake killer folds him up inside a collapsible bed.
  • Jason does something similar to Sheriff Garris in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
  • The Jerkass mayor from the Sci-Fi Channel movie Ghost Shark gets pulled down into the toilet butt-first by the spectral shark. When his body is found, all four of his obviously-broken limbs are sticking up from the toilet alongside his head.
  • At the end of Goldfinger, the titular Big Bad is sucked through a shot-out window of his plane, albeit bloodlessly.
  • In Goosebumps (2015) the gigantic praying mantis gets compressed as it's sucked down into a normal-sized book abdomen-first. Less gruesome than might otherwise be expected, as the part of it that's in contact with the book dissolves into black ink as it's crushed to fit.
  • One of the many brutal deaths in Hardcore Henry occurs when the protagonist grabs one of his attackers through the bars of a metal framework, and yanks his enemy's waist towards himself. As Henry is freshly charged up with Super-Strength and the framework's bars are arranged in two-foot squares, this audibly snaps the opponent's spine in two places simultaneously.
  • In Hellboy, Rasputin is sucked gut-first into the portal at the beginning, his torso folding backwards at the waist.
  • Another Jason example in Jason X, this time on a spaceship. Jason punches a hole in the hull of the ship, causing one of the characters to die this way. We don't see anything beyond some scraps of flesh on a vent, but the line is the standout of the scene.
    Janessa: Aw, this sucks on so many levels!
  • Also referenced in Leviathan, this time regarding how a character's deep-diving co-worker got crushed into his own helmet when his suit developed a leak in the toe.
  • The Socialite in The Mortuary Collection’s first segment is grabbed by a tentacle and pulled into an opening the size of a bathroom cabinet - waist first.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: During the attack by the Kraken, one unlucky sailor is dragged through a gun port that is about half his size. We only see his legs, but the sound of his body slowly snapping is very clear.
  • A similar fate befalls two unlucky extras in Razortooth, another low-budget monster flick. First, a fat redneck unwisely visits the port-a-potty when a giant killer eel is hiding in the receptacle tank. Shortly after, a showering woman is yanked down the drain in the stall floor, one leg sticking up into her face as she's hauled into it.
  • In Tales from the Hood, a boy uses a drawing of his abusive father like a "voodoo doll" to halt the man's rampage, by folding and crumpling up the paper it's drawn on. The enraged man collapses in on himself piece by piece.
  • In Thir13en Ghosts, in the movie's prologue, the Juggernaut ghost kills a man by pulling him through the empty engine compartment of a car on a junkyard. The man's spine gets snapped because he was standing with his front to the car's hood when the ghost grabbed him.
  • Two Champions of Shaolin: In the film's climax, the main villain, Gao Jin-zhong, dies from having his body folded backwards by the hero and The Lancer. Complete with popping sound effects (that sounds more like bamboo sticks being crunched instead of a human body).
  • Happens to a few unlucky characters in Underwater when their hard-shell diving suits fail. One character's helmet buckles, causing their suit to rupture and send fragments of macerated tissue scattering everywhere; another one's helmet abruptly fills with gore when his suit's boot is detached by a monster.
  • Violent Night has the Badass Santa capable of travelling through fireplaces and chimneys. So in a climactic fight, he uses this power while grabbing his adversary because he can harmlessly go through the chimney, but the other guy doesn't, and thus Santa arrives in the ceiling holding a mangled body that has been sliced of the parts that didn't fit.
  • In Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies the evil djinn goads a prison inmate into wishing to make him go through the bars of his cell. The djinn obliges... by squeezing the poor sod through the bars.

  • 1632; In 1634: The Baltic War, King Christian IV of Denmark is looking for recreated Uptimer technology to balance the power gap between him and the Swedes, and one of the inventions he happens upon is an old-timey diving suit. When they test the prototype, though, his "science advisor" (read: political hostage) Eddie Cantrell asks if anyone put in some safety valves to relieve pressure once the suit hits crush depth. They didn't, and the condemned prisoner they were using as a test subject ends up crushed into his helmet. Rather than abandon the project, Christian is delighted and declares this will be his new form of execution for traitors and other capital crimes.
  • The main characters in Eden Green are infected with a needle symbiote that can resurrect them from any death, including having their head destroyed. Having one's brain reconstructed is described (in part) as being steadily pressed down into a hole just large enough for one's constituent atoms.
  • C. S. Lewis, "Epigrams and Epitaphs":
    All things (e.g. a camel's journey through
    A needle's eye) are possible, it's true.
    But picture how the camel feels, squeezed out
    In one long bloody thread, from tail to snout.
  • In the short story "Familiar" by China Miéville, a young magical servitor rejected by its creator engages in a territorial battle with a much larger, older familiar. Although grossly over-matched by its opponent, which has had longer to assimilate garbage and bits of wildlife into itself, the smaller one outsmarts its foe by incorporating a length of underground pipe into itself, tilting the pipe into the elder familiar's belly, and suctioning its rival's substance into itself through this improvised 'esophagus'. A few gulps is all it takes to suck the horse-sized elder's entire bulk down the pipe, bit by bit.
  • In Brian Lumley's The House Of Doors, an evil alien in a Mobile-Suit Human grabs a policeman and yanks him through the bars of a jail cell. Bars, which just happen to run both vertically and horizontally, so chunks of the unfortunate cop get dragged through the grid's openings.
  • In Journey to the River Sea the governess Miss Minton tells the protagonist that she broke her umbrella on the back of a boy. When asked why, she explains that the boy tried to push a puppy through a wire fence. Maia asks whether the puppy is okay, and Miss Minton tells her that it survived, but lost an eye.
  • In Nightworld, Alan holds off the besieging Otherness vermin by lying in front of the gap they've created at the base of the mansion's doors and staying put as they try to chew their way through him to get inside. One of his legs is yanked through and ripped off, breaking his pelvis in the process, but it only gets his body jammed more firmly in the opening so the creatures still can't enter.
  • In the third book of The Reckoners Trilogy, a character with the power to make things shrink and grow is exposed to her Kryptonite Factor after having shrunk herself down to a tiny size and climbed into a narrow crevice in a wall. She reverts to her standard human size while still inside the crevice and is crushed to death.
  • X-Wing Series. In X-Wing: The Krytos Trap the Rogues launch an attack on a space station in the Yag'Dhul system. The station manager's office suffers a hull breach during the battle and the manager gets sucked out into space through a hole smaller than he was. Given the subtext of the conversation, it's implied that the official cause of death might not be the actual cause of death; the hole was described as the size of "a blaster bolt", and the Givin, the keepers of the station, can survive in a vacuum, while the station manager, a Twi'lek, could not.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One victim on Castle was found crammed into a wall safe, and one so small that it's obvious the corpse's limbs had to be broken to stuff it inside. The position of the hands and feet strongly imply that it was shoved butt-first into the safe.
  • A living man is discovered crammed into a piece of luggage in this manner in the Creepshow segment "The Man In The Suitcase".
  • Doctor Who:
    • Referenced by Missy in "The Magician's Apprentice", when she's about to open a space-station airlock that she suspects is really just a disguised door onto a planetary surface. Activating the mechanism to crack it open, she tells Clara "Let's make jam!"
    • In "Empress of Mars", the Ice Warriors' arm-mounted weapons induce this effect without a hole, causing targets' bodies to collapse into suitcase-sized bundles of flesh and clothing. Presumably, some sort of compressive force field is involved.
  • One of victims of the count in Dracula (2020) is folded up and stuffed in a mini-fridge. Because he was fed on by a vampire before this occurred, he becomes one of the undead, and thus is still aware and in pain while folded up. To add insult to injury, Dracula nonchalantly slices off his fingers when he tries to wiggle them outside the fridge door to signal for help.
  • Referenced in the Firefly episode "Ariel". Mal leaves Jayne in Serenity's cargo airlock with the door ajar as they're taking off, threatening him with death by spacing for blowing the caper to the feds to get River and Simon arrested.
    Mal: The minute we break atmo, you'll be a lot thinner once you get sucked out that hole.
  • Hey You! What If...: In "You Fell Into a Black Hole?", Zigi gets subjected to 'spaghettification' as he falls towards the black hole.
  • This is pretty much what happened when the MythBusters tested whether a diver in an old-time diving suit would be crushed into his own helmet if the suit's internal pressure suddenly failed. Result: messily Confirmed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "spiralburst bottle" (3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons) is a nasty magic item from the Book of Vile Darkness. When it's un-stoppered or shattered, it opens a half-inch portal to the Ethereal Plane that sucks in a single creature or object. Unless the target is a Blob Monster, it ends up a spiral swirl of liquefied flesh and blood, lost in the Ether.
  • The Blackfoot Gigaferret, a subterranean predator described in Veins Of The Earth, forcibly drags its prey into narrow tunnels waist-first to consume it. Should its prey be humanoid, the victim's companions are likely to discover their fate only by finding their bunched-together head and feet protruding from a too-small cave opening.
  • Tau railguns in Warhammer 40,000 fire a hypervelocity projectile at such insane speeds that they're capable of going straight through an Imperial tank and out the other side without overly damaging the tank as such, but instantly converting the crew into a 30-foot long streak of red sprayed out of the exit hole (similar to the story listed below in Real Life).

    Video Games 
  • In F.E.A.R.'s Chapter 4.2, an Armacham security guard is pulled into a narrow vent opening by a Replica Assassin.
  • A dead security guard from Half-Life: Echoes can be found at the bottom of an elevator shaft, crammed butt-first into a hole in the torn metal floor.
  • In the last level before the epilogue of Killer7, Garcian discovers Harman's body folded in half and shoved into a safe. It's implied that this is why the Harman we know is in a wheelchair.
  • Metroid Prime: Samus's Morph Ball allows her to transform her Powered Armor (and somehow her body within) into a spherical shape to roll through small spaces, without injury. A data log written by the Space Pirates describes their ill-fated attempt to reverse-engineer the Morph Ball, which resulted in four test subjects being "horribly broken and twisted" when they activated the prototypes. The Science Team wisely decided to move on to other projects.
  • In Prince of Persia 2's fifth level, if the Prince attempts to take off on the Magic Carpet before opening the skylight grate, he gets pressed through the grate in a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Outlast: This would be the ultimate fate of Chris Walker who in the climax of the game gets forcefully shoved into an air vent courtesy of the Walrider and turned into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • RATUZ: Late into the story, Prisoner Three will come across Prisoner Four and push a large iron box up against him, forcing him toward a portcullis-like gate. If Five fails to solve the associated puzzle in time, Prisoner Four ends up being forced through the gate's openings in a way that reduces him to a pile of shredded meat on the floor.
  • In Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter, three examples among the many ways to die include Roger getting pulled into a cliff-side hole and having his bones spat out after looking in it, being crushed into a basketball by Orat, and being pulled through a grate by a tentacle monster.

  • Unsounded: Keon puts an end to a fight with another wright by forcing him into the shape of a nearby urn. The unfortunate deceased had just enough time to realize he was in for a messy death before his body was crushed and mangled into the correct contours.

    Web Original 
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Class Act", Cuddles suffers from this thanks to the combination of his Christmas Tree costume's hole and the crowd forcefully pushing him (since his costume was blocking the way) in an effort to escape the fire in the school theater.
    • This happens to Sniffles in "Suck It Up" when his entire body gets forced through his vacuum device.
  • SCP Foundation: A poor D-class is sucked into a glass of water by SCP-1128.
    • Another gets consumed by a micro-black hole in thisac sequence about SCP-001 candidate "The Prototype".

    Western Animation 
  • In one of the last episodes of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, a suction-based magical trap is triggered that pulls two of the villains' robot minions into a small opening in a gateway, crushing them into scrap as they're pulled through. Daphne nearly meets the same fate, but Fred uses the Fourth Key to cover the hole and negate the suction just before she and he both slam into the gate.

    Real Life 
  • "Spaghettification", in which a person could theoretically be stretched out into one long thread as they're sucked into a black hole. One wouldn't need to worry about pain, though: your body would be completely destroyed before you'd be able to perceive what's happened.
  • Drastic underwater pressure differences can squeeze divers into a hole, as described in detail in this video. One crab had the misfortune to walk over a cut in an underwater pipe while a camera was rolling. Those childhood fears of being sucked into a drain aren't as irrational as you might think.
  • A grisly death could await early divers in old diving suits; while the helmets themselves were reinforced to resist the immense underwater pressure, the rest of the suit was made of flexible cloth, kept in shape only by the air pressure inside the suit. Thus, if the air supply was cut off, the suit would collapse, subjecting the person wearing it to the full weight of the water around them. Since the only part of the suit that didn't collapse would be the helmet, this would become the area of lowest pressure within the suit, and the laws of physics would dictate that the area of high pressure (the fabric part) would try to rush into the area of low pressure (the helmet) and take the poor soul inside with it—and, as you can imagine, trying to force a whole human being into an area only slightly larger than their head does not end well for the human being. This was horrifically confirmed on Mythbusters. They wound up ruining the old diving helmet in the process as it crumpled into itself like a soda can while "meat man" burst into a flood of artificial gore.