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Hollywood Acid

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Xenomorph! That's coming out of your paycheck!
In films, on TV, and in comic books, an "acid" is any liquid that can eat away at and completely dissolve skin and muscle, leaving only bone and sometimes not even that. Even stronger "acids" will dissolve steel, glass (which doesn't react with acidsnote ), plastics (which also don't react with acids, most of the time), concrete (ditto), and ultimately everything it comes into contact with... except whatever container it is stored in. Such liquids are almost always either a bright green or sickly yellow color. They bubble and fizz on the counter or floor when you spill them, give off visible, smoky fumes (which never seem to be harmful in their own rightnote ), and they never dissipate. If a drop of acid eats through the floor, it will continue to eat through things on the next level down, and so on. There are even some video games where puddles of this stuff can move around and try to kill you.

This stuff will usually be referred to as either "acid", "toxic waste", "poison", or simply "chemicals", unless it's given some highly scientific name at its introduction, after which it will simply be called one of the names above. Don't expect to ever see bases used in the same role as acids, despite being equally dangerous in reality (perhaps they just don't sound as cool). If it's glowing rather than giving off fumes, you're probably looking at Technicolor Toxin, which will otherwise behave exactly the same. Expect it to show up at least once in any work involving a Mad Scientist. If this stuff is ever spilled on a person or other living creature, say hello to the Nightmare Fuel.

A subtrope of Hollywood Science. Compare Acid Attack, Poison Is Corrosive, and Acid Pool (when this is applied to a Death Trap). Has nothing to do with those other kinds of acid. Compare Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce, which is almost always Played for Laughs.


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  • A gout medication ad features a man walking around with a giant flask of fluid, which shrinks to illustrate how his uric acid levels fall once he tries the medicine. Uric acid is colorless in solution or yellow when crystallized, yet the flask's contents are a sickly greenish hue. If you don't pay attention it appears that he has quite a love for his homemade Mt Dew. This may also be related to Blue Liquid Absorbent in the sense that bodily fluids actually colored like bodily fluids seem to be a no-no in ads.
  • A straighter version from the Some Days are Bloodier than Others Public Service Announcement series involves a health inspector who accidentally dumps a bottle of cleaner in her face, which eats big fuckoff holes in it. While bathroom cleaner can be caustic, you've usually got a minute or so to wash up before you develop chemical burns. She forgets all her training and tries to wipe it off with Kleenex instead of washing, too, which of course exacerbates the problem (and elicits a fresh round of screeching).

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Gantz, the Thousand Arms Buddha statue carries a vial full of acid corrosive enough to completely liquefy a person in the blink of an eye, even if he's wearing the protective Gantz suit. This actually worked to the hunters' advantage, as it was the acid spilled by Sei Sakuraoka that eventually disabled the Buddha statue's regenerative ability. (Although this didn't happen until Kei Kishimoto, among others, had met their fate because of the same acid.)
  • In My Hero Academia, Mina Ashido has the ability to generate acid of this type from her body. Fortunately, she has the ability to control the corrosiveness and viscosity.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman loves this stuff; it's used to kill the villain in the very first story, Detective Comics #27, and is the source of Harvey Dent's scars as Two-Face. The most popular origin for the Joker is also that he fell in a tank of acid and came out with his skin bleached, and insane. Deconstructed in Dr. Scott's article on an issue in which Batman counteracts the Joker's acid by spraying the target with a strong base. Realistically, mixing a strong acid and a strong base together would result in a violently exothermic reaction.
  • Subverted in Diabolik: while the title character makes strong use of some unspecified acid, it simply acts like a real acid, if a powerful one. The closest it gets to Hollywood Acid is when Diabolik breaks out the more powerful acids, but even these act realistically and, like the usual ones, have encountered metal safes that are unaffected (a natural consequence of the presence of a thief who makes heavy use of acids).
  • Three Disney Ducks Comic Universe stories by Don Rosa involved a liquid called "The Universal Solvent" that compresses the atoms of anything it comes in contact with, turning all matter into a superdense powder, with one important exception: diamond. This of course means that the solvent has to be kept in a jar carved from diamond and can only be handled with tools coated in diamond dust. In real life, unless you're an alchemist, the term "Universal Solvent" usually refers to water...
  • Man-Thing is scary enough for the unwary as a shambling plant monster, but the fact that he secretes a deadly corrosive when he encounters fear scares the hell out of people who know about him too.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comic, after the tribbles are reintroduced to the future; the cast finds that the creatures produce a "universal solvent" which somehow eats through force fields. It takes about a panel for a character to ask what they could store it in.

    Fan Works 
  • Being Female manages to use water as this. At one point, various heroes are trapped in Ron Raper's lair, and are rescued by a reformed Barty Crouch Junior, who melts the bars on a window by using what is referred to as "the dangerous chemical dihydrogen monoxide".
  • In A Darker Path, Atropos (Taylor with a souped-up Path to Victory that lets her know how to end anything) kills Lung by inserting a couple of capsules containing fluoroantimonic acid (possibly the closest thing to this trope in Real Life) into his brain and chest, letting his regeneration break them open so the acid can react with his body water. [[Understatement The results aren't pretty.]]
  • For the Glory of Irk: Gniders, the giant spiders that live in Irk's wilderness, have drool that's a potent enough acid that it can eat through Irken body armor in seconds.
  • The Next Frontier briefly talks about chlorine trifluoride, which the Kerbals briefly investigated as a potential oxidiser in their rockets before giving up on it as just too damn dangerous. The description of their experiences with it was taken directly from the source of the quote in the Real Life section below.
  • In Origins, "corrosive" elemental guns carry the trope as per the game. Furthermore, an army of clones is constructed that utilize this to avoid being used by Parasite Zombies — if infected, the clone simply dissolves while leaving nothing behind.
  • In Iron Touch, Bad Sneakers secretes this from its feet. It's even strong enough to damage Out of Touch's cannons, something that no other Stand is shown to be capable of.

    Film — Animated 
  • An American Tail: The Alcoholic mouse politician Honest John is seen sloshing around a trail of alcohol from his glass as he gesticulates drunkenly. This alcohol is so strong that it burns holes in the floor where it lands, yet seems to have no lasting effect on Honest John other than moderate drunkenness.
  • The Transformers: The Movie features an Acid Pool that is so powerful that it dissolves a transformer in a few seconds.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Subverted in the 2002 TV movie A Is For Acid, based on the life of serial killer John George Haigh (played by Martin Clunes) who dissolved his victims' bodies in acid. The process of destroying the bodies is shown to take a long period of time with Haigh checking back on the acid's progress until the bodies are completely destroyed. A number of miscellaneous body parts are later discovered to have not been completely destroyed, leading to Haigh's arrest. Also, as the movie progresses and Haigh becomes more confident in what he is doing, he is shown to take further precautions such as wearing a gas mask.
  • Alien:
    • Xenomorph blood is made of a "concentrated molecular acid" (sic) that can eat through a starship's hull but not through the body of the xenomorph itself, due to their being Silicon-Based Life. In the first film, this is to explain why the crew doesn't just shoot the alien given as they are out in deep space. It seems to have less effect on human flesh when convenient. In Aliens, Private Hudson gets some splashed on his arm when Corporal Hicks shoots a xenomorph in the head at point-blank range, causing little more than painful burns. Drake isn't so lucky when Vasquez attempts to shoot a xenomorph off of him. Its potency freaks everyone out; one character makes noises about "molecular acid" in Alien, and an executive speaks of "concentrated acid" in a patronizing manner in the second — they're saying, "Umm... acid isn't supposed to do that!"
    • AVP: Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem are inconsistent with the lethality of xenomorph blood. A hunter's arm is seared off by a splash of facehugger blood, and another unfortunate human has his skull melted by a blast of xenomorph blood to the face. However, the first film also presents it as mild enough to use for body scarification. This is actually a nod to the previous Alien vs. Predator fluff, where the predators are said to have antacid blood that neutralizes the xenomorphs' acid blood. It damages their skin but stops once it reaches their blood. Also, in Requiem, the predator carries vials of a blue substance that can dissolve even xenomorph bodies, which it uses to dispose of xenomorph corpses.
    • Expanded material posits the theory that the acidic blood in a Xenomorph is similar to the acid in a battery. Essentially, the Xenomorph runs off of energy that is generated by chemical reactions within their bodies, meaning that they don't need sustenance or respiration. This could also explain why various castes of Xenomorph can remain dormant for long periods of time, such as the Ovomorph.
  • The 1957 film The Astounding She Monster has the protagonists (such as they are) use acid to burn away the alien's spacesuit, killing it instantly.
  • The 1985 B-grade horror flick Attack Of The Beast Creatures features a whole river made of acid, which coincidentally looks exactly like normal water. When one person tries to cross it, his body gets dissolved until only the skeleton remains. It's never made clear how such a large body of highly corrosive acid came to exist, nor how the tropical rainforest on the river bank manages to prosper.
  • Batman (1989): The goop that Jack Napier falls into is astroturf-green and has the consistency of a milkshake. It's later casually described as "acid". Later in the same film, the Joker's trick flower squirts acid strong enough to eat through thick metal in seconds (when he sprays it on the bolts holding up the church bell).
  • Black Mask has a bunch, including a scene where the titular protagonist causes a jeep to crash into a vat of acid causing the liquid to rain everywhere and melting a bunch of mooks, and a Booby Trap activated by some unlucky agents resulting in acid coming through sprinklers turning their skin into green ooze.
  • The Blob (1988): The Blob's body secretes digestive enzymes able to completely dissolve any organic matter in seconds, leaving no bodies behind. A drop of its slime falls on a wooden table and almost instantly eats a smoking hole through it (in reality, they did in fact use real acid for the scene, but the table was a piece of styrofoam painted to look like wood). For perspective, the nastiest acids in existence such as hydrofluoric acid or piranha solution would take at least hours to dissolve through human flesh, and even longer to get through the bone.
  • Cube has one of the characters meet his end when a trap splashes acid in his face.
  • Dante's Peak: Subverted. A lake of volcanic sulfuric acid takes several minutes to cause a metal boat to start leaking and eat away the prop. Played straight when the grandmother jumps in the water and is severely burned with a relatively short exposure to it, though that is justified as sulfuric acid really does burn flesh a lot faster than it does fiberglass.
  • The film of The Day of the Triffids treats sea water as this. Although it's only used to dissolve the triffids and win the day, the big warning sign next to a hose saying "Sea water — highly corrosive" suggests the writers really believed sea water acts this way on everything.
  • Deep Rising features giant worms with stomach acids so strong that they get their nutrition by merely engulfing and digesting their prey alive. The acting effects of this are shown in one particularly gory sequence appropriately known as "half-digested Billy".
  • The Fly (1986): Jeff Goldblum's character Seth Brundle uses his stomach acid in the Cronenberg remake, both to externally digest food and, in one stomach-turning scene, as a weapon. It's actually specified as containing digestive enzymes.
  • In The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein, Inspector Tanner throws a carboy of sulfuric acid over the reanimated Dr. Frankenstein. It is so powerful that it dissolves his hands off at the wrists.
  • In Escape Room (2017), Conrad and Tabby are killed by an acidic gas that causes their flesh to dissolve. Amazingly, they do not even notice till their flesh starts to slough off.
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, there is a bit with a beaker of acid labeled "Acid: Do Not Throw In Face". One gremlin throws it in the face of another, who then assumes a The Phantom of the Opera-esque mask and cape.
  • In Horrors of the Black Museum, Bancroft disposes of Dr. Ballan's body by lowering it into a vat of acid that strips the flesh from the bones in a matter of seconds.
  • Hospital Massacre: A janitor is killed by having his head dunked in a sink that was randomly full of acid (or some kind of corrosive chemical).
  • House on Haunted Hill (1959) in 1959 had a tank full of acid in the basement as big as a swimming pool, still caustic enough to reduce human bodies to skeletons.
  • Innerspace: Stomach acid serves as this trope in the final battle, when Tuck Pendleton drops his pod into Jack Putter's stomach with Mr. Igoe clinging to the side. The pod survives; Mr. Igoe doesn't.
  • In Mindhunters, a quantity of acid small enough to be concealed undetectably in a cigarette is sufficient to kill the FBI trainee who smokes it. While her death might be reasonable under the circumstances, her entire body emitting vapor from, at most, a few mL of acid isn't, nor is the dropped cigarette melting its way into the ground beneath it.
  • The Mummy (1999): The same fate befalls some nameless extras as well. Rick even identifies the substance as "Salt acid. Pressurized salt acid." ("Salt acid" is the period-authentic name for Hydrochloric acid.) Although, in a subversion, the acid here burns the extras rather than dissolving their skin.
  • In Murders in the Rue Morgue (1971), Marot's face was destroyed by acid in a Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon incident,and he later uses similar acid as his murder weapon.
  • Pacific Rim: Otachi can spit a corrosive blue acid that makes short work of any type of metal, which it uses to help kill the Russian jaeger.
  • Phantasm II: The Tall Man is killed when the fluid he uses to reanimate corpses is tainted with hydrochloric acid and then injected into him, melting him from the inside out. If that wasn't improbable enough to bother all of you chemists, this somehow causes his eyeballs to explode. This may be justified as the Tall Man's physiology is alien.
  • In The Return of the Living Dead, one of the zombies gets blinded by a faceful of nitric acid, which audibly sizzles on contact with dead flesh.
  • Richie Rich: The technobabble version is used when Richie and his estate's Gadgeteer Genius use a thick, foamy white experimental corrosive, "hydrochloric dioxic nucleic carbodium", disguised as a tube of toothpaste to help break Cadbury, his butler, out of jail.
  • RoboCop (1987): Boddicker's henchman Emil attempts to crush Murphy with his car, only to miss Murphy and drive straight into a tank full of corrosive toxic waste. He survives, but is severely agonizing due to his skin having eroded, and is later killed when run over by another bad guy anyway.
  • In The Rock, VX nerve gas is shown to be a corrosive acid. Crosses over with Poison Is Corrosive.
  • Averted in Runaway, in which the acid sprayed by Gene Simmons' insectoid robots causes ugly black burns on the hero's skin rather than dissolving his tissues.
  • Saw:
    • Played straight in Saw III. In the infamous "Angel Trap" scene, Kerry has one minute to grab a key (which, contrary to Jigsaw's warning, never actually dissolves) inside a beaker of highly corrosive acid and free herself from a harness before it tears open her ribcage. By the time she finally retrieves said key, her hand is horribly mangled and the acid is dark red. What makes the scene even scarier is that the key actually doesn't free her, so she still dies.
    • The acid in Saw VI, which dissolves a man from the inside out in about ten seconds. While the victim was injected with a large carboy full of hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely corrosive and can also cause cardiac arrest by interfering with calcium levels in the blood, it would not take effect nearly that quickly or be quite so dramatic.
  • In Scream and Scream Again, Dr. Browning keeps a vat of extraordinarily powerful acid in a barn on his property that he uses to dispose of samples from his experiments. Keith commits suicide by jumping into it. Later, Dr. Browning kills Konratz by pushing him into it. Fremont then kills Browning the same way.
  • In Seed of Chucky, John Waters's character dies when Glen accidentally scares him, causing him to back up into a shelf in his red room, sending photo-developing chemicals crashing down on him and melting his face. It's even more egregious in that the photo-developing process uses very weak acids, most commonly citric acid or diluted vinegar. No chemicals used in small-scale photography are corrosive (although some can be quite toxic).
  • Signs: Ordinary water acts like this to the aliens.
  • Skyfall: Silva reveals that he's missing part of his jaw and palate, the result of biting a defective hydrogen cyanide pill. Hydrogen cyanide doesn't produce that effect, but the writers may have assumed otherwise from its alternate name: prussic acid.
  • Suicide Squad (2016): Harley Quinn jumps onto a vat of goop labeled "acid". In a subversion, it only causes minor damage (most notably the skin bleach that also happened to the Joker).
  • Superman III featured "beltric acid," which became super-corrosive if it heated up far enough. It ends up as a Chekhov's Gun in the final fight against the rogue computer. There's also a completely unguarded pit filled with some kind of roiling acid present at the junkyard battle, seemingly just because.
  • In Tomie: Replay, Tomie pushes Yumi, the protagonist, out of the wheelchair she's in onto a floor covered in acid.
  • In Vlog, the killer disposes of Brandon's body by dissolving his body in hydrochloric acid in his bathtub.
  • The DIP in Who Framed Roger Rabbit acts like Hollywood Acid, though it only works on Toons. It's essentially made of the solution used to clean cels (which is to say, it's a blend of powerful paint thinners), but it still is colored green and is constantly steaming.
  • Yellowbeard: The torture chair in El Nebuloso's dungeon is surrounded by a moat of acid that instantaneously dissolves flesh and bone.

  • A chemistry student explains to his professor: I have invented a universal acid which will dissolve just anything — glass, metal, plastics, anything! The professor answers: Very well. Now where are you going to store it?
    • The same applies to the simple riddle-type puzzles, where some inventor claims to invent a universal acid, and is told to leave as the other person knows it would dissolve the container it's contained in.
    • The same problem exists with using antimatter for fuel. In the case of antimatter, you can use only positive or negative particles and keep them in one place magnetically, which wouldn't work for a "universal acid" because normal nuclear matter is pretty much neutral.
    • There actually is a solution to this riddle. The student can then say that they'd use a passivating material to store the universal acid. Sure, it means that some of the acid and container material will be lost, but the resultant compound will prevent further reactions from eating through the container. Even a "universal acid" will inevitably follow the laws of stoichiometry - its dissolving of materials will inevitably create resultant products.
    • Clever, but no, my young apprentice. Universal acid eats through everything, including the passive layer. That's the point. Whether this is actually possible in the real world... erm, no. The passivating material would work in practice, but this is a riddle meant to Zen Slap people.
    • There actually is a solution to this riddle. Several even. A) Just because the universal acid would dissolve everything, doesn't mean its components would. They could be stored separately and mixed immediately before application like you do with a two-component glue. B) Just because the liquid universal acid would dissolve everything, doesn't mean it cannot be safe while frozen or powdered. C) If the liquid acid is magnetized, it could be stored in a suspended state inside a magnetic field.
    • A) You still need to mix them in some container, which will get dissolved as soon as the acid is formed. B) Sure, but in that case, you need to thaw it when you want to use it, which takes you back to the beginning. C) This riddle is at least a thousand years old and they didn't know a lot about magnetic fields back then. Still, Zen Slap.

  • In the H. P. Lovecraft/ C.M. Eddy collaborative story "Ashes" has a professor with a bottle of clear colorless liquid that he uses to dissolve a few animals into a white ash. He claims that it reduces anything it touches (aside from glass) into a fine ash. Later in the story, the professor attempts one last test on a human, only to be dissolved in the same fashion.
  • In Kurd Laßwitz' Auf zwei Planeten, the Martian airships are protected by being encased in Nihilite, a substance that simply dissolves anything shot at them. This can also be used offensively, e. g. when a Martian ship rams the biggest British battleship. A chemical process is involved, as during the Battle of Portsmouth the Martian airships take breaks to replenish their stocks of Nihilite from supply vessels.
  • In Bulldog Drummond, the villain Lakington has invented a mixture of corrosive chemicals that can completely dissolve a human body in minutes. He is first seen using it to dispose of an inconvenient corpse and later threatens to dip the hero in it without killing him first.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Flinx novels feature Pip, a minidrag that spits an extremely powerful acid that's also an extremely potent neurotoxin. The acid eats through flesh in seconds, getting the toxin into the victim's bloodstream for a swift, painful death.
  • Ghoul: One of the murder victims is disposed of in a bathtub full of sulphuric acid, leaving only the victim's gallstones behind (for some reason). This is possibly a reference to John Haigh, a real-life killer that used acid to dispose of bodies and who was only tied to the murder of one suspect because of the few bodily parts not even the strongest acid can dissolve: teeth and gallstones.
  • In the novel of God of War, one of the Temple of Pandora's boobytraps is a tripwire that spills a substance so powerful that it turns the room into a sinkhole. The fumes also burn Kratos on contact.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Seithr oil, primarily used by the Ra'zac. Usually a harmless liquid used to preserve pearls, but with the application of Blood Magic it will eat through living or recently dead organic material. However, the most unique quality is leaving inorganic material (such as its own containers) unharmed, making it useful for assassinations. It's also highly explosive, as it was used to blow Garrow's farmhouse apart and kill several villagers when the Ra'zac attacked Carvahall in Eldest.
  • In Middlegame by Seanan McGuire, the alchemical "universal solvent" alkahest quickly dissolves effectively anything it touches, other than a specially prepared receptacle, including even abstract concepts. It melts a Super Tough Golem in seconds.
  • The Power of Five: In Raven's Gate, The Dragon is pushed into a tub of incredibly concentrated liquid boric acid at a nuclear power plant. By the end of her ordeal, there is nothing left of her.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: An inversion occurs in A Darkness at Sethanon — the Tsurani Empire's homeworld has very little metal, so they have had to find other means of torture, which consist of using caustic bases to blister the skin, not acid.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat, a character stages a prison break with an acid that dissolves precise lines through the metal ceiling of the cell like a cutting torch. He does warn the inmate not to touch the edges of the hole on the way up, though.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In New Jedi Order, the Jedi-hunting voxyn beasts can vomit acid (which is, unusually, not depicted as stereotypical acid, but rather mucus that happens to be strong enough to burn through faces), and their blood is both acidic and a neurotoxin.
    • Galaxy of Fear: The Doomsday Ship: The rogue cleaner droids can squirt acidic cleaner. No one is ever actually killed by this directly, but when The Captain is climbing and needs both hands, they attack his face, and when he tries to paw them away frantically he falls to his death.
  • Temeraire: The Longwing dragons' acidic Breath Weapon is so potent that even a single stray drop needs to be carefully neutralized, as the liquid can eat through a ship from top to bottom. The ability was created by selectively breeding venomous dragons for extra potency.
  • Comes shaped as a Cool Sword in Stuart Hopen's Warp Angel, the setting has a gladiatorial weapon known as an 'acid sword'. An acid sword is a force-field projecting hilt that shapes an extremely corrosive pool of acid into a blade. Getting hit by one tends to result in limbs getting melted off and large gouges getting burnt into flesh. The acid sword is so corrosive that, with the exception of the force field of another acid sword, the blade will dissolve through anything in the story setting including hardened far-future alloys.
  • Justified in The Zombie Knight: Moss and Stoker can both use their powers to create super-concentrated, soul-strengthened acid which will eat through almost anything. Without soul power, it would still take minutes or hours, but with it, it takes mere seconds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die: Several episodes play this trope straight with various degrees of accuracy, particularly "Deep Fried", "Fools Russian", and "Caught In A Lye".
  • Played with in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: A skeleton is found in a bathtub full of acid. The skeleton was a fake, left by the supposed victim to fake his own death. But despite only sitting about waist deep in the acid tub, the entire body is bones, which in retrospect is an early clue that it was staged.
  • The Adventures of Superman: In "The Perils of Superman", Clark Kent is lowered into an enormous vat of acid by chortling villains, who then walk out to arrange their next evil deed. Naturally, Superman then emerges, his costume soaked, but unharmed. Presumably, Kent’s glasses and clothes were dissolved.
  • The live-action Batman (1966) has an inspired variant in a Riddler story where the villain gets a special wax. It is the perfect safe-cracking tool: a powerful corrosive potent enough that a pocketful of the stuff will quickly and silently penetrate thick steel doors or concrete walls in minutes and yet is perfectly safe to handle until you expose it to direct flame. In fact, you'd almost wonder why Riddler didn't make a bundle simply auctioning the stuff to other criminals.
  • Better Off Ted: One episode features a biocomputer that leaks an "acid-like goo", or "ass-goo" for short, that burns through several floors and desks.
  • Breaking Bad: In "The Cat's in the Bag". Walter White and his partner Jesse Pinkman need to get rid of a body. Walt tells Jesse — who at this point has not yet learned to follow Walt's instructions regarding chemistry to the letter at all times — to pick up a specific type of plastic tub, because the hydrofluoric acid they're using will dissolve any other container. So what does Jesse do? Takes a shortcut and dumps it in a ceramic bathtub. The result is a very... messy hole in the ceiling (the tub being on the second floor). Since the body, at this point, is no longer recognizable as human, the result, for those who are not completely disgusted, is Bloody Hilarious.
  • The Columbo episode "Mind Over Mayhem" features a killer who disposes of certain key bits of evidence — a wallet, file folder with papers, and a metal can containing heroin — in a vat labeled "contaminated acid". It looks like water until the items drop in and starts to boil. Which may be a case of Truth in Television since many acids look exactly like water and items dropped into the acid often give off bubbles of gas as they dissolve (albeit not usually fast enough to produce a truly "boiling" effect).
  • Doctor Who:
    • The two-parter "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People" is set in a facility that mines this substance, which is simply called "acid", used for unknown (but likely military) purposes. Because it's so dangerous, the actual miners are remotely-operated Expendable Clones.
    • The Christmas Special "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" involves something called "acid rain", which is a lot less like real acid rain than it is like this.
    • Half-averted with the planet Vortis's naturally occurring Acid Pools and rivers in the 1st Doctor serial "The Web Planet". Although the acid is highly corrosive and instantly eats away at everything it touches (excluding the local terrain, for some reason), it's completely transparent and easily mistaken for water. Ian comes very close to scooping up a handful to drink when he first encounters it, which would have ended very badly had the Doctor not stopped him, noting that his tie had dissolved. That makes sense in that, for some reason, the entire planet had an imbalance of protons to electrons. This evens out among the surface matter, resulting in pooled acid in equilibrium with the surrounding substances. Everything that could be oxidized by the acid already had been, except things brought into the place.
    • The acid sea in "The Keys of Marinus." An alien called a "Voord" attempts to surmount it in a wetsuit, but his suit had a tiny tear in it.
    • Subverted in "The Seeds of Death." Sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, any kind of acid, nothing affects the Martian seed pods...but water does.
  • Eureka: One episode has the town plagued by bats that shit Super Acid — see Real Life section below, they got this right that it protonates matter. Over the course of the episode, a cow is reduced to black and white goo, a jeep is rendered into a puddle, and a bunch of wires in a wall start dripping like water.
  • In the Friday The 13th: The Series episode "Crippled Inside" a teenaged attempted rapist backs away from his apparently cured victim into a rack of various chemicals. Body Horror ensues, and one must assume that his surviving family will be getting a wrongful death settlement.
  • On Good Eats, Alton subverts a variant: namely, the idea that cooking anything acidic in an aluminum vessel (unless it's been specially treated) is harmful, both to the vessel and to anyone who might eat the food. While acid from, say, tomato will react with aluminum, it would take way longer than most normal home cooking before that took place.
  • The Spanish game show El gran juego de la oca featured a challenge wherein the contestant had to unshackle himself before "acid" poured from above by a Scary Black Man ate through the layers of Styrofoam and reached him. (The "acid" was more than likely a harmless substance such as nail polish remover — acetone readily melts Styrofoam.)
  • The Lucy Show: Averted. Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance attend a night-school chemistry class, and Lucy panics when she gets splashed with a very weak acid... until the instructor tells her that the stuff she got covered in was effectively harmless.
  • The Mandalorian: Krayt dragons can spit gouts of greenish acid that dissolve living flesh on contact. Yeah, the Krayt Dragon in the episode "The Marshal" gushes outs enough acid to fill a swimming pool, but that acid was so strong that when the Tusken Raiders got doused with it, their bodies and clothes near-instantly collapsed into mush.
  • In Moone Boy, Martin's vagabond uncle warns him to "never take Hungarian acid" (as in LSD). Martin replies he wouldn't want to since acid burns through everything.
  • A 2013 episode of MythBusters revealed that the trope had been played straight in the Breaking Bad scene in "The Cat's in the Bag". Adam and Jamie found that hydrofluoric acid wouldn't completely destroy organic tissues, so they switched to sulfuric acid with a dose of (what appeared to be) hydrogen peroxide (AKA special sauce) to boost its corrosive power (this combination is often called "piranha solution" in real life, because the aforementioned Caro's acid is formed when mixing these two chemicals, and is used for cleaning stubborn organic matter off of glassware). They put 35 pounds of pig carcass parts and 6 gallons of their acid mixture in a ceramic-coated cast iron tub; the acid destroyed most of the carcass but did not eat through the tub or the floor below it. When they used 36 gallons of acid in a fiberglass tub, the carcass was reduced to a black organic sludge in a spectacularly smoky and violent reaction — but again, neither the tub nor the floor gave way under the acid's effects.
  • NCIS: In "Detour", having been kidnapped by the bad guys of the week, Jimmy and Ducky free themselves from their bonds by using the victim's stomach acid to dissolve the chains holding them.
  • The Horta from Star Trek: The Original Series produces a chemical that easily burns both rocks and Red Shirts. Spock describes it as "an extremely corrosive acid".
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "99 & 44/100% Pure Horror", a woman murders her soap magnate husband and disposes of the body by putting it through the machine at his factory and turning it into soap. She takes the soap home with her and uses it when she takes a shower, but to her horror, the acid from his stomach starts eating away at her skin... never mind that the manufacture of soap involves adding enough lye to give the mixture a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, so the soap-making process itself should've rendered the acid harmless. (The fact that one of her husband's eyeballs was in the soap and still moving and looking at her as she died suggests that the effect is more supernatural than chemical).
  • A Walker, Texas Ranger villain gets rid of his victims this way.
  • The Wild Wild West has two examples.
  • The X-Files gets the bit about acid vapors right. The aliens have acid blood similar to the Xenomorphs, but most of their victims die from inhaling the stuff. This may have something to do with the fact it's cheaper to film than acid eating through people's bodies. The blood emits toxic vapors which cause swelling and reddening around the eyes and death by coagulation. It may be acidic, but that is incidental to its effectiveness. This effect was based on the real-life, and as yet unexplained, case of Gloria Ramirez — whose blood wasn't corrosive, but fumes which apparently came off her did cause similar and acute symptoms in the hospital staff which was treating her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Awful Green Things From Outer Space: One of the weapons available to the crew of the spaceship Znutar as they battle the titular awful green things.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has this as a damage type, as seen on a few magical items, spells such as acid arrow and acid fog, and the acid breath of the Copper and Black dragons. Notably it's one of the few ways to put down a troll for good. Whenever the stuff is illustrated, expect it to be a bright green. One fluid ounce of ultimate solution from the 1e Unearthed Arcana book can dissolve up to a cubic foot of adhesive (glue, cement, etc.); however, if it is carefully distilled to one-third of its original volume, an ounce of the resulting liquid can dissolve a cubic foot of any substance.
  • Rogue Trader has two separate chemicals available that work like this. One is a substance that will dissolve anything except pure silica glass, although the reaction causes it to quickly become inert in process. The other is a Dark Eldar poison created from a Stryxis-made "universal solvent", weaponized through a clever use of containment fields.
  • Talislanta has taken alchemy to great heights. Among the substances created, there's an alchemically-made acid called Alcahest which can dissolve almost any material and needs to be contained in bottles made from the supernaturally inert substance called Amberglass.

    Video Games 
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent has you combining aqua regia, orpiment, cuprite, and calamine to make a mysterious unnamed "acid". Note that aqua regia is a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid in the first place, yet inexplicably can't be used on its own in the game.
  • Borderlands features corrosive weapons that fire acid-filled rounds that are especially good at dissolving armor. "Caustic" is a valid prefix, even though it usually refers to corrosive bases, not acids. The sequels also feature alkaline shields that negate corrosive Damage Over Time, despite the fact that alkalis are also corrosive and only neutralize acids. Also, given some prefixes, Poison Is Corrosive in the series as well.
  • "Bricks of" series: In Bricks of Egypt 2, the Acid Eye is colored green and sheds acid tears that can destroy every block that can be found (except for the Key blocks).
  • Caves of Qud: The Deadly Gas created by the Corrosive Gas Generation mutation fits the trope to a T. These bright green clouds will eat through anything that isn't Acid-resistant, you or an item, up to and including the walls; it'll eat through solid rock and even Fulcrete in seconds.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has radiation, but the effect is very much the same. Infantry Units killed by radiation are covered in gunk and melts away after a second or two.
  • In the Flash game Crush the Castle 2, acid projectiles play the trope 100% straight. They are green and hissing, will completely dissolve almost any substance the acid touches, and will leak down, dissolving any objects beneath that the target point directly contacts. This can create a chain reaction that can bring down entire structures by itself. Oddly, although it can disintegrate solid iron, it will not eat through the much softer earth once it reaches down that far, and a few kinds of rock walls are impervious to it. Human targets are naturally dissolved.
  • Diablo 3 has the Witch Doctor skill of Acid Cloud. A spirit is conjured in the sky and it vomits a stream of acid that will quickly melt your foes regardless if they're demon, undead, or other. The Acid Cloud can be modified further with runes learnt during the Nephilim's adventures.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: The acid from Toxic Tower is bright lime green, acts exactly like rising water, and instantly kills anything it touches.
  • Evolve: Gorgon has an acid spray attack. This is one of its most damaging attacks, rapidly melting through the health of anything caught by it.
  • In Find the Cure!, the player character uses acid to burn a lock off a door.
  • Several Gauntlet games have puddles of green acid as enemies.
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, you must contend with black slime. The end result of Ivo Shandor's rituals, this nasty concoction is both The Corruption and Hollywood Acid (it's labeled "Caustic Seep" in your Paragoggles). Stepping in any amount deals damage, and falling into it on Shandor Island is instant death. Oh, and... apparently, it's the body fluids of a Juvenile Giant Sloar.
  • The bonus chapter of Hidden Expedition 8: Smithsonian Castle has you make your own sulfuric acid. It's bright lime green and takes only a few seconds to eat through the top of a wooden box it accidentally spills on.
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has a particular nightmarish level taking place in a sewer where the player finds dozens of bodies being dissolved in acid tubs. They're never brought up afterwards.
  • League of Legends: Kog'Maw attacks all involve spewing digestive fluids at his enemies which have a variety of effects. Due to him originating from the void, they might not obey the laws of physics.
  • Marble Madness features Oozies, living puddles of acid that ooze around the floor, ready to dissolve any marble immediately on contact.
  • Mega Man 11 introduces Acid Man. Although most of the acid in his stage is quite harmless, it will damage Mega Man once it takes on a sickly green glow.
  • In Metroid, Brinstar is full of some kind of acid that depletes your energy by roughly twenty points per second of contact. Considering the sort of damage the power suit can endure, that makes it about as strong as 10-12M HCl. The acid is also boiling, looking at its animation, which means that, if it is HCl, the air in Brinstar must be largely chlorine gas. The stuff is also a serious threat in the Metroid stages featured in the Super Smash Bros. games; the lava fills the pit at the bottom of the stage and constantly rises, often to the point where the only available fighting space is a tiny platform. Any character who touches it is launched skyward.
  • In the Monkey Island games, grog is so acidic that it dissolves the pewter mugs it is served in, as well as the locks on cell doors.
  • Mortal Kombat: Reptile. His fatality in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 has him vomit a gallon of "acid" on his opponent, melting their flesh clear off their skeleton. He also has acid fatalities in Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, and Mortal Kombat X. There's also the recurring stage the Dead Pool, which you can knock your opponent into to melt them down to the bone. By Mortal Kombat 11, Erron Black also carries around bottles of acid as part of his moveset. One of his fatalities in the game, aptly named "Melted", has him send his opponent face-first into a puddle of it, before stomping on the softened head and breaking it into pieces.
  • No One Lives Forever: In the first game, Kate Archer is given (among other Bond-like gadgets) small bottles of an acidic substance that dissolves a dead human body in seconds without leaving a trace. This is claimed to be because someone of Kate's size can't be expected to be able to lug around dead bodies of large men. While this helps preserving stealth in some parts of the game, Kate only has a limited amount of uses for the acid. The sequel allows Kate to carry bodies (even though her size and strength haven't changed) to hide them, although she can still get the acid. Mooks in the sequel will also have an equivalent to dispose of their dead comrades (a Russian soldier will usually say something like "Sorry, comrade, there's less paperwork this way").
  • Pikmin: In the animated shorts, White Pikmin (which are generally only depicted as poisonous in the games) are shown to be able to spit small jets of acid capable of swiftly dissolving metal.
  • Pokémon:
    • Gulpin and Swalot are Poison-types themed around digestion and gastric acids; according to Swalot's Pokémon Emerald Pokédex entry, they possess gastric acids powerful enough to dissolve anything, up to and including iron — the only thing they can't digest is their own stomach.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduces Dragalge, a Dragon/Poison-type Pokémon living underwater, which the Pokédex claims can spit acid powerful enough to dissolve the hull of a tanker. In game, Steel-types are still completely immune to its Poison-types moves.
    • Generation VII introduces Salandit, Salazzle, and their signature ability Corrosion which allows them to inflict poison status on Poison-types and Steel-types Pokémon.
  • In A Plague Tale: Innocence Amicia is taught the alchemical formula for Devorantis, described at the workbench as "a nitric acid concentrate that is particularly aggressive with metals. The toxic vapors given off by the reaction add to the target's panic." It's bright green but otherwise tamer than most fictional acids - when facing enemies wearing helmets Amicia can sling it at their heads, causing them to scream, reel, and tear their helmets off, but if they take any injury it's not enough to stop them from raising their weapons and going in search of her.
  • The Powder Toy has this. It's pink, dissolves everything, and it's flammable.
  • Prodeus features bright green acid that damages the player on touch. One level centers around raising acid levels and then lowering them again.
  • In Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter, the acid in Kerona's underground caves is so powerful that one drop of it falling on you is enough to dissolve your body.
  • The Mac game Spin Doctor had droplets of bright green acid that activate when you passed over them and chase you.
  • In StarCraft and StarCraft II, several zerg units (most notably Mutalisks) use "acid" attacks which, as shown in some cutscenes, are corrosive enough to go through depleted uranium starship armor. For some reason, it also causes protoss plasma shields to short out.
  • Styx: Master of Shadows and its sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness include vials of bright-green acid in the protagonist's toolkit. Using one near-instantly dissolves corpses into nothing, which is useful when you need to quickly dispose of a body. Shards of Darkness also has Acid Mines, essentially a landmine that instantly kills and dissolves anyone who steps on it.
  • Trine 2 has a number of puzzles that involve acid. It doesn't dissolve everything — in particular, Pontius the knight had his shield conveniently acid-proofed before the game began—but it's still a bright green colour and destroys almost anything put in it.
  • In Uninvited, the servant ghost kills you by engulfing you into his "misty form", which covers you in a thick, sticky goo that turns out to be acid that not only hurts but turns you into a "lifeless lump of flesh".
  • X: In the Xtended mod for X3: Terran Conflict, the Panos Mobile Factory mines asteroid ore through the use of acid. It scans for ore, then uses its transporter to teleport powerful acid into ore deposits, then beams the slurry back on board for processing. A GalNet news article mentions a horrific accident where a Panos with a malfunctioning communications system unknowingly began mine an occupied mining site, causing several workers to die when acid started to materialize mid-air in the chamber they were excavating before the Panos operator realized what was going on.
  • Acid in XCOM 2 is a textbook example: it's green, it bubbles and hisses ominously and it'll melt even advanced alien materials to slag in a matter of seconds.

    Visual Novels 
  • Code:Realize: Although the characters refer to it as "poison", the player character's skin and blood act more like a fictionalized super-acid in the way that she burns and melts whatever she comes into contact with. After testing it on a variety of materials up to and including a sample of titanium, Victor concludes that the reaction is something more alchemical than natural.


    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Cody can take out potion bottles filled with an unknown acidic black liquid.
    • The Evil Luddite Ashley's acid melts through anything quickly.
  • In Worm, Acidbath is a cell-block leader in the Birdcage, with the ability to turn part or all of his body into Hollywood Acid to enhance his attacks or survive enemy attacks.

    Western Animation 
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: The changewing's acid spit takes the form of globs of shockingly green liquid capable of melting its way through a tree trunk in seconds.
  • Godzilla: The Series has several of the giant monsters spit out acid that melts various materials, usually metal and plastic. How fast the acid eats away whatever it's spat on varies.
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy's "dog" Cerbee actually has acid as waste, which dissolves anything he relieves himself on.
  • The Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Prince Charming" had Mr. Cat dunk Quack Quack in a tub of this, dissolving half of his body. Fortunately, Quack Quack can't die.
  • In M.A.S.K., each of the characters wears a mask that grants them a superpower. Miles Mayhem's Viper mask allows him to shoot highly corrosive acid from an emblem on its forehead. It is even able to dissolve the metal of an alien spaceship.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Radioactive Man's actor is famous on the Internet for getting washed away by a sea of acid while (understandably) complaining that his protective eyewear is not serving its ostensible function.
    • Homer is in one episode about to quaff a beaker of acid, but it's knocked out of his hand by Frank Grimes. It splashes all over the wall, creating a hole big enough to drive a car through. Grimes is then chewed out by Mr. Burns for destroying the wall. And for wasting his priceless acid.
    • In another episode, heavy pollution covers Springfield in Hollywood Acid Rain which corrodes soft materials in seconds. The effects on human flesh (and underwear) aren't so extreme, but according to Willie, it still "stings like a Glasgow bikini wax!"
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Temporal Edict", the acid that spills in the cargo bay is a bright green liquid that completely dissolves a large section of the floor.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The acid geysers of Florrum, shown in "The Gungan General", surprisingly avert this. The acidic expulsions from the geysers are clear, and while drops of it cause corrosion to the paint on the troopers' armor it doesn't just eat right through it. The characters are still careful to avoid getting hit by it. And being inside the geyser when it went off would be terrible even for real acid. Jar Jar figures out how to predict when the geysers will go off by observing the behavior of the local wildlife, which only bother to run away from a geyser when it's about to go off, letting him and his squad of clone troopers safely navigate out of the geyser field.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: The Batman/Superman episode "World's Finest" both subverts this and plays it straight, kinda.
    • When the Joker leaves Superman and Batman trapped in one of Luthor's laboratories (with a chunk of kryptonite slowly killing Superman), Batman begins looking for ways to escape. He finds a container of hydrochloric acid. Batman notes that while it will take a week for the acid to eat through the wall of the room they're in, it will destroy the kryptonite almost immediately.
    • Superman's Anti-Kryptonite suit is supposed to be designed to resist corrosion by acid, as in acid he'll encounter while doing heroics, yet is destroyed by the Joker's squirting flower acid anyway.
  • Parodied in Rick and Morty, in the aptly-named "Vat of Acid Episode".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hydrogen Hollywoodide, Super Acid, Super Corrosive Acid, Hyper Corrosive Acid


Brain Dead 13

Dr Neurosis' gardens have lots of green acid that has the same consistency as water and will melt Lance to the bone in an instant should he fall in.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HollywoodAcid

Media sources: