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Kill 'Em All
aka: Kill Them All

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"A slaughterhouse, eight corpses all told"- The Player
"Deaths for all ages and occasions. Deaths of kings and princes...and nobodies."
"The bad end unhappily, the good, unluckily."

When Anyone Can Die becomes "Everyone Will Die".

Many series are noteworthy for the extremely high body count among the main cast that they rack up in their last few episodes. In some cases, all of the heroes make a Heroic Sacrifice, or otherwise find themselves wearing the Red Shirt. Occasionally, the protagonists simply fail to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, resulting in a Downer Ending. (Possibly Dying Alone to cap it all.)

Compare Everybody's Dead, Dave, where everybody except the main characters are dead. If just one person survives, it's Sole Survivor or Final Girl. Compare the Climactic Battle Resurrection. Also compare the Bolivian Army Ending, only we actually see the attack of the Bolivian Army. Also see Dwindling Party, where the cast is killed off one by one from the start. When a Sudden Downer Ending is planned from the start, it usually happens this way.


Usually, however, either they accomplish something in death, such as killing the Big Bad and thus preventing The Bad Guy Wins, or it becomes clear that likeable as they may be, the world is better off without them, or their deaths are clearly an escape from a Fate Worse than Death. If none of these happens, and they prove completely ineffectual in both life and death, it's a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending.

In a Prequel, they may be Doomed by Canon: all characters who do not appear in the sequel and can not be disposed of otherwise will have to die.

In Tabletop Games, this is called a Total Party Kill. Game Masters who are really annoyed with their group (or just sadistic) may invoke Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.

In Videogames, this trope can take the form of a Self-Imposed Challenge; The "Genocide" Run, which is where you kill everyone and everything in your path without stopping for questions. This, of course, only works where NPC's do not respawn.


A short historical digression: the words "Caedite eos, novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" (Latin: "Kill them all, for God knows which are his," popularly rendered as "Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out.") are attributed to Abbot Arnold Amaury before the massacre of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusadealbeit not in any of the numerous contemporary accounts of it. This was only attributed to him twenty years later as something he "reportedly" said.

The Trope Namer is Yoshiyuki Tomino, the Gundam creator who was given the nickname "Kill 'Em All Tomino" because of his reputation for producing anime where he kills off a large number of characters, often due to bouts of depression in his own life.

The funny thing about this particular trope, however, is that knowing that everyone dies is somehow much less spoiler-ish than knowing that, say, only your favorite one does. The wonders of some guy once allegedly said, "The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic."

See also Suicide Mission, Gotta Kill Em All, Final Solution, and Omnicidal Maniac (for whom "killing 'em all" is his goal). For Real Life examples, please see Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide" instead. Contrast Everybody Lives.

Not to be confused with the 2012 martial-arts movie Kill 'Em All or Metallica's debut album.

Note: This is a Spoilered Rotten trope, that means that EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE on this list is a spoiler by default and will be unmarked. This is your last warning, only proceed if you really believe you can handle this list.


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  • An unwritten rule in British PSA films of the 1970s through the early 1990s was that at least someone must die, no matter how trivial the situation is. And in the creepiest way possible to avoid Narm. Just like the kid who collapsed and died at The Finishing Line.

    Comic Books 
  • The final issue of 100 Bullets. The only guaranteed survivors are Loop, Victor, and Will with Lono having a case of Never Found the Body, and Graves and Dizzy at the mercy of a Bolivian Army Ending.
  • ''Batman:
    • The Elseworlds graphic novel Batman: Crimson Mist'' ends with every named character in the Batman world, except Dr. Jeremiah Arkham and, apparently, a female expert in the supernatural, killed off.
    • In The Return of Bruce Wayne, Superman says that this is what would happen if Batman came back to the 21st century by himself.
  • Coheed and Cambria: The Amory Wars — The Second Stage Turbine Blade. Not only do Coheed and Cambria get tricked into brutally murdering their own children, they also die mostly because Cambria destroys a spaceship's engine in a fit of rage. Secondary characters also die in a failed coup, by the truckload. And that's just one of the chapters in the story!
    • To make matters worse, Claudio (the protagonist for much of the storyline followed SSTB) is supposed to destroy the entire solar system, and release the souls of the Keywork!!! (The Keywork is the fictitious Solar System thing). Because Destiny Says So.
  • In the final two issues of Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen, almost all the members of the Dozen are killed when a mission goes disastrously wrong, with the only survivors being Kelly and Laurie (and Laurie is permanently crippled).note 
  • Doom Patrol pre-dated most of this by pulling a Total Party Kill in the Sixties. All four of the actual members (The Chief, Rita Farr, Cliff Steele, Larry Trainor) were nuked saving a small fishing village.
  • Gotlib drew a Hamlet parody. The source material being what it is, it ends with all named characters death. The doctor who diagnoses all deaths as viper beat (yes, even Ophelia's) dies beaten by a viper. The gravedigger has an heart attack seeing all these corpses. Then the narrator shoots himself.
  • The Great Lakes Avengers have a nasty habit of losing members, including Mr. Immortal's love interest in issue 1.
    • Probably the only safe characters are Mr. Immortal (whose power is Exactly What It Says on the Tin; he absolutely cannot be killed by any means, not even by completely obliterating his body) and Squirrel Girl (who's too popular to kill).
    • Actually, they honestly haven't gotten it nearly as bad as one might think from the way their first Dan Slott mini parodied the kill-happy nature of major comics crossovers. The only long-term member who has died and stayed dead is Dinah Soar; Doorman died but came back as an angel of death, and Big Bertha and Flatman are still alive and kicking. Aside from that, you've just got characters who were essentially created by Dan Slott to die.
  • The Infinity Gauntlet featured Thanos using the title object to wipe out over half of the universe's population in order to impress Death, which includes several major and notable supporting characters from various Marvel books, like the Fantastic Four, the original X-Men members (then known as X-Factor) save Cyclops, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, and Rick Jones. Then halfway into the storyline when the surviving heroes band together to form one last stand against the power-mad titan, it doesn't end well. In the end a Reset Button winds up restoring everything back to normal.
  • Innocence Lost, the Origin Story for X-23, has a cast of about a dozen named characters. By the end, all but four of them are dead. And of the four survivors, three had very little panel time. This doesn't even count the dozens more nameless Mooks and other victims we see X kill either in her final rampage to escape the Facility, or over the course of her missions.
  • The last issue of Jack of Fables kills off everyone but the baby and the black guy.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes storyline "End of an Era", which rebooted the Legion, ended up by killing off everyone from the old history before restarting history.
  • The Marvel Mangaverse "Rings of Fate" arc (which also was the Series Finale of that set of comics) wound up killing a good chuck of it heroes and some villains leaving only a handful left standing.
  • Marvel Zombies (as one would expect from the title) killed off a good 90% of its characters.
  • The Secret Wars (2015) tie-in Mrs Deadpool And The Howling Commandos ends with not just the main cast, but literally everyone in Monster Metropolis dying. First the majority of the main cast bites the dust in the final battle against Dracula, then the Thors come in and kill literally everyone still left standing.
  • Pride of Baghdad ends with all four protagonists being gunned down by American soldiers without even achieving the freedom that they'd been dreaming of. It should probably be mentioned that the protagonists are lions.
  • The final issue of The Protectors and the rest of the Genesis universe from Malibu comics before Ultraverse has everyone including its universe killed off with a bang - literally.
  • The Punisher
    • The Alternate Continuity story The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Also The Punisher: The End from the MAX imprint, where after a nuclear apocalypse, the Punisher and his sidekick venture out of a bomb shelter when the radiation has gone down enough for him to make it to the people responsible. He kills them, then his sidekick (who was actually a murderer), and then dies.
      Punisher: My first instinct was to kill everyone there. So that's pretty much what I went with.
    • The main MAX series kills off characters frequently, and by the final arc, "Homeless," most of the major characters in the series are dead, including Frank himself. The final issue then kills off the two remaining notable characters still alive, with Nick Fury being the only supporting character still breathing.
  • Rising Stars is about 113 people with superpowers, called the Specials. At the end, they're all dead. The two most important non-Special characters also die.
  • Strikeforce: Morituri is literally this trope. To combat an alien invasion Earth develops a process for giving humans superpowers. The process is uniformly fatal within a year to all who undergo it. If they aren't killed in combat at some point they will just one day die. Horribly.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures spinoff "Mighty Mutanimals" ended with the entire team, including animated mainstays such as Leatherhead, Slash and Metalhead, assassinated.
  • The original Transformers Marvel comics run featured vast numbers of deaths. In fact, something like 1/5 of all the characters introduced in the comic series had died by the end (in the case of Optimus Prime, twice over, but everyone else was for real). In fact, sometimes characters who had been the focus for multiple storylines with them evading death multiple times would suddenly be killed with no warning in a very off-hand manner several years later, most notably Blaster, who had something like two years' worth of storylines based around him during which time he was repeatedly shot, infected with a horrific robotic illness, at one point completely disassembled and then tortured non-stop for months on end by Grimlock before finally getting some semblance of a normal life, only to be killed a year later by Starscream without a second's thought. This trope then went insane in the Transformers: Generation 2 sequel series in which the corpses mounted up at an alarming rate.
    • The later Universe comic introduced a gigantic number of characters in the first issues. This was way more than could be properly handled, so they massacred most of them until it was at a better size.
    • Furman would be brought in to write the series finale for Beast Wars. His first question to the staff? "Who can I kill?" The answer? Tigerhawk, Depth Charge, and every Predacon except Megatron and Waspinator.
    • It's probably not much of a stretch to say that Simon Furman is the white Yoshiyuki Tomino.
      • Every character that he kills off that gets a death scene of their own concludes it with the line "Oh well. Never did want to live forever!"
      • Ironically, The Underbase Saga, in which a Cosmically-Powered Starscream killed most of the cast from the comics, Autobots and Decepticons alike, was written by Bob Budiansky as his final story arc before he left.
    • By the end of Regeneration One, every last Transformer save Rodimus Prime dies off over the eons, and the series ends with him dying of old age.
  • Ultimate Marvel had this reputation as a whole, as it frequently used the Superhero Movie Villains Die trope, and Disney Death was usually avoided. The work with the highest body count was Ultimatum, which killed most of the Ultimate X-Men cast (including sacred cows like Xavier, Magneto, Cyclops, and Wolverine), Ant-Man, the Wasp and Thor from The Ultimates, Dr. Doom and Dr. Storm from Ultimate Fantastic Four, and even heroes without their own comic books, like Daredevil and Dr. Strange. Ultimate Spider-Man was also meant to die, but Brian Michael Bendis saved him with Executive Meddling.
  • Usagi Yojimbo author Stan Sakai wrote a Kill 'Em All Final Battle as an experiment, but decided it was "too depressing".
  • At the end of the prison arc in The Walking Dead, every single character present during the attack from the Governor, including a baby, is brutally murdered, save for Rick and Carl.
  • What If? is often known for doing this in several of its issues, usually ones that show what the downer outcomes to major events within the Marvel Universe could have been like.
  • X-Force/X-Statix
    • The comic kills off team members intermittently throughout the series, before slaughtering the survivors en masse in the final issue. Still managed to have a sequel series, by showing some of the characters' fates in the afterlife.
    • Despite being violently killed along with his teammates, Doop turned up alive in Nation X and is currently a supporting cast member of the Wolverine and the X-Men comic.
  • X-Men featured at least one story arc which took place in an alternate future in which Sentinels had killed most of Earth's heroes and enslaved the rest. By the end of it, the adult Shadowcat is the only X-Man alive. Though Rachel Summers managed to also survive via Time Travel, and now lives in the main Marvel Universe.
    • There's also the Age of Apocalypse, an alternate timeline where Professor Xavier was killed years before he would've formed the X-Men, and Apocalypse takes over half the world and has already killed off most of the population. It goes downhill from there.


    Film — Animation 
  • 9. First, humanity is, apparently, completely wiped out. Then, the only two explicitly named human characters die, one before the movie even begins. Then, all of the stitchpunks, except 3, 4, 7, and 9, die along the course of the film. Granted, the ending itself isn't all that bleak, but that doesn't mitigate the loss of life.
  • The Brave Little Toaster. During the musical piece, "Worthless," ALL of the cars singing the main parts die. Granted, this is because they're singing AS they're being carried to their deaths.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a prized one. Only two characters survive at the end: Aki Ross (the main character) and Dr. Sid. All the other characters are killed by phantoms except Major Elliot (who gets shot) and General Hein, the antagonist, who is blown up inside his ship.
  • Transformers: The Movie killed off most of the first generation of Transformers, Autobot and Decepticon alike, in order to facilitate the introduction of the new toy line.
    • The later season of the cartoon series casts doubt on this, as many of the Transformers killed in the movie are seen up and walking around again, although some of these occasions are believed to have been animation gaffes. The impact of this is lessened since the highest-profile fatality, Optimus Prime, returned in the cartoon series. In the comics set after the movie, impressively, he stayed dead permanently.
    • Oddly, although Jazz and Cliffjumper survived in the movie, Casey Kasem (Cliffjumper's voice actor) quit and all of his characters disappeared, and Scatman Crothers (Jazz's voice actor) died, so Jazz disappeared too.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Alien franchise in general seems to enjoy outright slaughtering its characters. Alien³ picks off 2 of the survivors from the previous movie in the first 5 minutes, kills another survivor partway through, and kills Ripley at the end. Out of all the other characters present throughout the movie, only 2 survive, one presumed dead throughout the film and is only even given a small cameo in the film itself.
  • Those who do not die onscreen in the cult French Resistance movie Army of Shadows are killed off in the epilogue screen titles.
  • Zigzagged in Avengers: Infinity War, where many of the main characters and half of everyone in the whole universe dies as Thanos wins. Even with some recognizable survivors, it's still very depressing.
  • Nukes from a Soviet sub wipe out the cast of The Bedford Incident in retaliation for the Bedford firing their nukes at the Soviet sub first.
  • Beneath the Planet of the Apes ends with the cast getting shot. And then Charlton Heston's dying act is to trigger a gigantic nuke that destroys the entire planet. They still managed three more films, though (with only two main characters, who escaped through Time Travel).
    • These two survivors die in a later movie. Every character from the first two films ends up dead.
    • Oh the irony...Heston actually re-wrote the ending to the script (in which Taylor destroys the entire planet) because he didn't want it to become a Franchise Zombie, and would rather just end it then.
    • Proving that the modern films are not above this trope either, while the unnamed rest of their tribe of apes survives, War for the Planet of the Apes ends with Caesar and his entire family dead except for his youngest son, Cornelius. Rocket, Maurice, Bad Ape and Caesar's daughter-in-law Lake survive, but every other named character (and every human character period) dies except for Nova, with the rest of humanity succumbing to a disease that reduces them to a primal state (as we know they all inevitably will.)
  • The Blair Witch Project. Considering that the whole concept of the movie is "Hey, we found this video camera out in the woods..." why would you expect anything else?
  • By the end of Bodyguards and Assassins, there are a grand total of two bodyguards and zero assassins still living. 90% of the surviving cast are people who fit in neither group, and as such didn't spend the last hour of the movie killing each other.
  • All the main characters and even side characters are killed off in the ending of Brute Force.
  • The Cabin in the Woods has everyone dying at the hands of the Ancient Ones, not just the cast, but every living being on the planet and the planet itself.
  • In the ending of Cannibal Holocaust when Monroe meets with the TV Executives one last time, he meets again with the three executives and tells them that he has viewed the final reel and says that it is "offensive, dishonest, and inhuman". He leads the executives into a screening room to view the final reel of the recovered film.
  • In Casino Royale (1967), the villain is tricked into eating an explosive pill, which blows up the casino at the end with every main character in it. However, all the good guys are seen in heaven, strumming harps. Even the villain, until "Six of them went to a Heavenly spot, the seventh one is going to a place where it's terribly hot."
  • Cloverfield. Possibly Averted — Lily's survival seems likely, which would make her the Sole Survivor.
  • The two Count Yorga movies ends with all the characters either dead or turned into vampires (most of the female cast for the latter).
  • Fitting with the Cube series' deep cynicism and the utter lethality of the eponymous mazes, nearly all characters usually die, either by the cubes or by their own hands. The survival rate in the series' entries is, successively, 1:0:2.
  • Dario Argento's films seem to be rather fond of this, killing most of the main cast and rarely ever having a survival count higher than 2.
    • Suspiria (1977) is actually a narrow aversion once the main heroine, Suzy, kills the head witch (Mater Suspiriorum, the Mother of Sighs), the building starts to collapse, and the moment she leaves, it bursts into flames, supposedly killing every single person within the building except for her. Every single person that had a name and wanted her head that is— it's blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but it's mentioned that one of the teachers took the entire student body aside from her out to the theater, so there was no-one in the building aside from Suzy and the witches.
  • In the John Carpenter film Dark Star two out of four crew members are obliterated in a nuclear blast by a malfunctioning bomb that decides there is no point to existence. Ironically, this stems from a crew member trying to convince the bomb not to explode. Now floating around helplessly in space without a ship, one of the two remaining ones is sucked in by a group of asteroids to slowly drift off and die, while the other decides to surf into the nearby planet's atmosphere on a piece of debris to burn up.
  • Dead Man. Interestingly, the only death that isn't really seen is that of William, presumably the eponymous "dead man."
  • In Dead Snow, the cast is slaughtered one by one during an exceptionally bloody standoff against the Nazi Colonel Herzog and his stiff soldiers. The toughest one survives after figuring out that the Nazis are after a box of stolen gold and presenting it to them. Though when he finally gets back to the car, he discovers he has accidentally brought a gold coin with him. The Colonel appears and offs him shortly afterwards.
  • The last few scenes of The Departed ends up with every main character but one getting shot by each other — then the very last scene has that final main character getting shot by the other main character's boss.
  • All eight characters who got a speaking part in The Descent died. At least in the original version, the US got a different ending.
    • In the sequel, featuring the two main characters, everyone dies in an Ass Pull of epic proportions.
  • The Dirty Dozen. Eleven of the eponymous group die, and the last is badly injured. The two officers with them both survive, though.
  • In the movie Dogville, Nicole Kidman's character takes the name of this trope literally and indeed sends her goons to kill the entire village, except the dog.
  • Dragon Blade: The number of surviving major characters can be counted on half a hand. The Hero, and the Action Girl (who surprisingly subverted Vasquez Always Dies). Every other major character, good or evil, is killed off- including The Lancer, the comic relief guys, the child and the main character's girlfriend.
  • Employee of the Month (2004): All the conspirators, Dave, Jack, Wendy, Sara, and Eric are killed off before the end credits. Dave kills Jack after revealing he actually hates him, Wendy kills Dave because she's secretly lovers with his fiance Sara, Eric is killed by Sara because he outlived his usefulness, and Wendy and Sara are both killed in a random car accident.
  • In The Fall, Roy almost ends his story this way, much to Alexandria's horror. Only her confession of love convinces him to allow their avatars to live.
  • The Final Destination series. The survivor of the first movie gets killed in the second, and while the survivors of the second one all survive the finale (a Red Shirt bites the dust instead), they are said to be dead at the end of the third one. The third movie decides to not waste time and kills everyone in a somewhat ambiguous ending. The fourth film is even less ambiguous, showing the main characters getting killed by a runaway truck plowing into a cafe, complete with X-ray shots of their bones breaking. The fifth and final installment goes the extra mile with the added twist of having the entire film be a Stealth Prequel, culminating in the surviving characters dying in the airplane disaster that opened the first film!
  • Applied In-Universe in the film Formula of Love, where one of Caliostro's servants sing a song with nonsense words, and when asked by some woman what the song means (she presumes it's in Italian), he tells her a tragic story ending with "So in summation, everybody died."
  • Found Footage 3D, a mockumentary parody of found-footage horror films, refers to this as the first rule of found footage, chiefly as the justification for the "found" part — nobody was left alive to bring it back, and it was only recovered later by the search party. The film that the main characters are shooting, Spectre of Death 3D, plays this straight; the fact that Derek is trying to rewrite the script so that his character lives in the end is a sign of his growing diva behavior. True to form, the film itself plays this straight, too, with Amy lampshading the "first rule" just as her Demonic Possession kicks back in and she kills Mark.
  • Subverted in Galaxy Quest, where a Kill 'em All ending is Ret-Gone.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation the original cast is reduced to just Duke and Snake Eyes (plus President Zartan and Storm Shadow in the Cobra side) by killing them in The Purge. And even then, Duke's one of the casualties.
  • The Grey is about a small group of Alaskan oil workers who get caught in a plane crash on the way to Anchorage, and have to both survive the wilderness and fend off attacks by wolves. Eventually, they all die, except for the protagonist who may or may not survive.
  • Zombie's Halloween II (2009) has everyone die...including Dr. Loomis, Michael Myers, and Laurie!
  • The Head Hunter (2019) ends with only one character surviving, The Head the main character spent so much time trying to kill.
  • In Hell in the Pacific, the American soldier and the Japanese soldier seem to be about to turn on each other- and then a bomb kills them.
  • The 2009 French zombie movie The Horde ends with only 1 survivor left standing, possibly 0 as you can hear the zombies approaching before the credits roll.
  • Everybody dies at the end of Hot Spur. All of O'Hare's men have been killed by Carlo. Carlo is killed by O'Hare. O'Hare gets stabbed to death by his wife Susan in a case of mistaken identity. Susan then kills herself.
  • The Iron Mask kills off almost all the characters by the end — all three of The Three Musketeers, their boon companion D'Artagnan, D'Artagnan's girlfriend Constance, Cardinal Richielieu, main bad guy Count de Rochefort, and associate bad girl Milady de Winter. Practically the only main characters left alive at the end are King Louis XIV and his Evil Twin usurper brother Phillipe.
  • The Lighthouse has two characters, and both of them are either dead, or on the verge of death, by the film's end.
  • Logan kills off every adult of significance, including the title character. The only ones who survive are Laura and the rest of the X-23 kids.
  • In Merrick Ill Spew On Your Grave, there is nobody who manages to survive the movie, including the ten-year-old kid.
  • At the end of Mile 22, all of the team is dead except for Silva and Bishop. Alice's fate is unknown.
  • By the end of Miracle At St Anna, with the exception of Hector and Angelo, every single villager and Allied soldier in St. Anna is killed during a battle with German soldiers.
    • Which makes sense, because the real massacre of Sant'Anna di Stazzema [1] resulted in 560 people being killed, even though the intrusion of american soldiers is completely fictional and there was no battle. It was, quite simply (and sadly), a huge massacre of innocent civilians. The place now is pretty much a ghost town.
  • The Mission might well be one of the most depressing cases of this, as it ends with every single one of the protagonists getting massacred by the Portuguese soldiers, and out of a tribe they'd been trying to help, only a handful of women and children make it out alive. Worse still, the men responsible for the massacre get away with it.
  • By the end of Morgan, the only named character that's still alive is Lee Weathers, mainly because she's an Artificial Human.
  • During the movie "Glory" the soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts are charging the Confederate held position called Fort Wagner. They overrun the outer defenses...And then the Confederates fire cannons directly into the renaming protagonists, killing them all and a good chuck of the rest of the regiment.
  • In the Spanish movie Nicotina every single person that is plot pertinent dies. Actually, even that ones that aren't important ended up dying, since the whole building explodes.
  • The only survivor in Night of the Living Dead (1968) is mistaken for a zombie and shot in the head.
  • The Scottish film Outpost has a squad of mercenaries and their scientist/corporate employer wiped out by undead Nazi super-soldiers. The end of the movie leads the viewer to believe that a second team was wiped out the same way.
  • The Perfect Storm: Nobody survives that fateful boating trip.
  • By the end of Play Dirty, there is only one member of the unit who is not confirmed to be dead. And since he's lying helpless in a truck that nobody living knows the location of with a serious gut wound, the best one can say of that man is that at the end of the movie he might not be dead yet.
  • Quarantine. There's a few Hope Spots, in particular one close to the end when the landlord says there's a way to get out through the basement, but really. What really sells it is that most characters who die pop back up as (let's just say) zombies, and near the end there's a sequence where the two leads have to fight through what's left of the rest of the cast.
  • Quentin Tarantino seems to be a fan of doing this.
    • Reservoir Dogs ends with just about the entire crew dead except for Mr. Pink, who either gets caught by the cops during the ending credits or is shot to death.
    • Kill Bill: Before killing the titular Bill, the Bride mows her way through over one hundred enemies. Anyone related to her past is given the same treatment, either by her or by other hands.
    • The first half of Death Proof does this right by killing the 5 women we got to know for the first 30 minutes. It's then subverted in the second half.
    • In Inglourious Basterds, every character except Col. Landa and two Basterds are killed off, including an entire movie theatre full of Nazis.
    • No one except for Django and his wife ever make it to the end of Django Unchained.
    • By the end of The Hateful Eight, all but two characters are dead, and the two who survive are bleeding out on a bed, implied to die there since they're in the midst of a blizzard and no one knows they're there.
  • The Akira Kurosawa film Ran — not surprising since the plot closely resembles that of King Lear, with a bonus Cycle of Revenge element thrown in for good measure.
  • In a similar vein, Miklos Jancso's The Red and the White (1967), set during the Russian Civil War. It doesn't have too many real characters, but pretty much every recognizable person — Bolshevik, White, Hungarian, Russian, man or woman — is killed at some point. Especially the Downer Ending, where an entire Bolshevik company dies in a suicidal bayonet charge.
  • The Return of the Living Dead, where everyone who hadn't already been killed by the undead were nuked by the U.S. Army. The film's only survivors are a couple of voices at the other end of a phone call because they're the ones who called in the nuclear strike.
  • Rocketship X-M features a bunch of people going to the moon, but ending up on Mars. They are able to find about people that are horribly mutated from a war and on the way back, and only have enough time tell the people of Earth about this, before a leak makes them run out of gas on the way home and they are unable to land. As Crow put it on Mystery Science Theater 3000, "There's nothing more depressing then being stuck in a spaceship, watching people die in a spaceship."
  • In the Saw franchise, no one (up to and including the eponymous serial killer himself) survived all seven movies except one. Jigsaw nursed that one back to health after he survived, then he trained him as his apprentice, and by the time all this is revealed at the end of Saw 3D he's proven to be the one confirmed good egg out of Jigsaw's apprentices. The last scene has him leave a rogue apprentice, Hoffman, in a room he'd remember from the game in the first film.
  • Scarface (1983) ends with Tony Montana and crew dead and the drug lord who ordered the film-ending attack still alive. Fortunately or not, you don't get to see his presumable satisfaction with this. The video game depicting an alternative take on the film picks up after Tony's 'death' and has the player control him as he attempts to rebuild his drug empire. This can be viewed as an alternate continuity.
  • By the end of the first Scary Movie, everyone except for Cindy's father, Sherriff Gale, and Doofy (who's the bad guy) are killed. Many of said characters inexplicably come Back from the Dead in the sequels.
  • In Season of the Witch, everyone (except for an altar boy/Knight Wannabe and a girl that was possessed by a demon) dies rather horrible deaths.
  • Shrooms: Tara is the only main character to survive. Ernie also survives, but, unfortunately for him, he is falsely arrested for the murders.
  • The Sidehackers was a brutal, gritty biker film in which almost every character (including the hero's extremely likable love interest, whose death Mystery Science Theater 3000 had to cut out of the aired version and have Crow explain) was gang raped and killed. The hero himself was gunned down by the fatally wounded villain whilst walking away from a Mexican Standoff. The three that lived (the black guy, the guy who told bad jokes, and the hero's friend) all ran off when the battle was in progress. Sidehackers incidentally, was the movie which prompted Best Brains to institute their policy of watching a movie all the way through before selecting it for their show.
  • In Silent Running, the protagonist murders his crew mates in order to save the last forest from being destroyed, then eventually commits suicide to prevent a rescue mission from discovering the truth. Only a single robot (of the original three) is left "alive" to care for the plants.
  • Star Wars
    • In Revenge of the Sith almost every named character that wan't present in the original trilogy winds up dead by the end of the movie. Thanks to their Doomed by Canon status Count Dooku, General Grievous, Mace Windu, Nute Gunray, and Padmé all die along with the Separatist Leadership and nearly all of the Jedi Order.
    • In Rogue One, all the newly introduced characters, with the possible exception of General Draven, who is never seen leaving Yavin to participate in the climactic battle, are killed getting the Death Star plans to the Rebel fleet. In fact, the only character on the poster who survives is Darth Vader.
  • Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning ends with everybody dying in the massive P-Fleet vs Babel 13 space battle. A few survive, though, and Earth is freed from Emperor Pirk's tyranny.
  • The entire crew of the Icarus II dies in the sci-fi movie Sunshine (2007), but they do manage to save the world in the process. It is hinted that Kappa might not die, but is frozen in time right before his death, stuck admiring a wall of fire. In all probability, he died.
  • By the end of Sushi Girl, a grand total of one plot-pertinent character is left standing. The eponymous one, to be specific.
  • The credits of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance start rolling when all characters are dead except one, who is fatally wounded. As the screen fades to black, you continue to hear his mumbling and moaning as he slowly bleeds out due to having his gut sliced to ribbons. At the end of the credits, he is still not dead.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt movie Demon Knight only Jeryline the hotel manager's niece survives the Collector and his minion's attack.
    • Likewise in its sequel Bordello of Blood, the only two surviving people are Rafe and Catherine Then Catherine reveals she was bitten and turned by Lilith before going for Rafe's neck.
  • The Thing (1982) ends with all but, at most, two human characters still alive, and they're doomed to freeze to death if indeed they are human. All the other men and all the dogs are killed; as for the Thing itself, there's really no way at all to be sure if it's dead for good, or if anyone else will be stupid enough to defrost it again if it's not.
  • Over the course of the last half hour of 13 Assassins, eleven of the thirteen assassins die (with no real explanation for how one of them survived his wounds), taking their target and his two hundred man security detail with him. Apart from the two surviving assassins, the only major character left alive is the official who commissioned the assassination in the first place, whose survival stemmed from not being an active participant in the plot after setting it in motion, and thus not being in danger.
  • In Uwe Boll's Tunnel Rats, only two soldiers survive the Viet Cong massacre of their camp...only to be killed when the Air Force levels the place. A third soldier that had nearly escaped the VC's labyrinth of tunnels was buried alive and slowly suffocated.
  • Valkyrie ends with the deaths of virtually all of the major conspirators who organized the botched July 20th assassination attempt on Hitler. It's not like the screenwriter had a choice.
  • Village of the Damned:
    • In John Carpenter's Village of the Damned (1995) with Christopher Reeve, only the teacher girl and her kid (the only alien child who had more or less normal emotions) survive. Everyone else in town is dead.
    • A subversion of the original story (The Midwich Cuckoos and the original Village of the Damned movie) in which none of the kids had human emotions. They all died along with the teacher responsible for their deaths, but almost everybody else they hadn't "influenced" survived.
  • By the end of The Wages of Fear, Luigi, Bimba, Jo, and Mario himself were killed in the job, and Bernado has committed suicide.
  • The Wild Bunch. Anti-heroes. Anti-villains. Villains. Bystanders. Livestock. Only two named characters are still breathing as the closing credits roll.
  • German World War II movies often end with most if not all of the characters dying to emphasize the horrors of the war:
    • In Das Boot, just as the eponymous submarine returns home and the crew is greeted by the cheering people the air raid siren sounds and Allied aircraft attack the harbour, sinking the sub and killing all aboard but three people (Werner and the Chief both manage to survive the air raid, and there was that one guy who got rushed to the hospital just before it happened). This is actually an anti-war subversion, the U96 and all her crew returned safely home (U96 was considered a lucky boat in that none of her crew was killed). Her captain Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock went on to captain Germany`s first and only nuclear powered freighter. So although the book/film (based on the real crew) had a downer ending, Real Life did not.
    • In Stalingrad (1993), only 3 characters are alive near the end, and then a Russian sniper kills one of them, and the last two take cover and slowly freeze to death in the snow. As the two stop moving and are slowly covered by the falling snow, the credits roll. If one pays attention to how the movie focuses on smaller and smaller groups of soldiers (from full regiments to single characters) it can be said that this trope is exactly what this movie is about. Only one of the soldiers, Rollo, doesn't die onscreen, but after he witnesses the remaining German soldiers surrender, it's ambiguous whether or not he joined them. If he did, his chances would be slim anyway.
    • In the 1959 film Die Brücke (The Bridge), set near the end of the war, a group of seven fanaticized teenagers try to defend a (strategically unimportant) local bridge from the approaching Americans. They succeed, but all die in the fight, except one.
  • Russian war movies about WW2, while being somewhat more upbeat, also include this:
    • A Russian war movie The Crossing (not to mix with the USA film) depicts a Soviet anti-tank platoon, which is retreating toward the eponymous crossing, where the Soviet troops are regrouping. They travel one whole day towards the crossing, then on the dawn of the next day they are attacked by a German armored troop, and are wiped out, without managing to inflict any (serious) damage to the enemy. A tragic and pointless end.
    • Similarly, the Based on a True Story film The Brest Fortress. The whole garrison is ultimately killed, with exception of a few captured soldiers. However, the casualties they inflicted on the enemy were horrendous.
    • I am a Russian Soldier, also being based on the Brest Fortress siege, understandably has a similar ending.
    • The Commander's Daughter, also being based on the Brest Fortress siege, also pulls this off. All the protagonists die except for the eponymous heroine; her survival, however, is of the I Died variety, as we see the enemy killing everyone. This is Truth in Television, however, as both her prototypes survived the war.
    • In the Russian film Zvezda (The Star), the eponymous scout unit is eventually cornered, shot, and flamethrowered to death by SS and Wehrmacht troopers. The captain who sent their team out narrates the result of their sacrifice, then mentions that he also died later in the war.
    • In a similar vein, Norwegian war movie We Leave for England(and also the book preceding it), has every male character (Norwegians, not Germans), executed off-screen at the end of the film.
  • These Final Hours depicts an ensuing firestorm approaching Australia after a meteor struck the Earth in the North Atlantic, and unlike other films where the meteor impact obliterates all life in an instant, it takes 12 hours just for the firestorm to approach Australia. That being said, all the characters (and the extent life on Earth) are incinerated when the 12 hours were up.
  • King of New York: Every notable character ends up dying, including Frank's entire gang, the police detectives trying to catch him, and even Frank himself.

  • In The Protomen's Act I, Dr. Wily orders the robot army to kill the crowd. In live performances, he sometimes says the line verbatim.
  • Iron Maiden's concept album "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". A town is wiped out due to an disaster, and Lucifer plans on canceling mankind.
  • It's The End of the World as We Know It...
  • Played for laughs in not one, not two, but three songs by Tom Lehrer. "The Irish Ballad" is about a woman who murders every one of her relatives (and is then arrested), while "We Will All Go Together When We Go" and "So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)" are both about nuclear war.
  • Metallica provides the Trope Namer: Kill 'Em All is the name of their first album (a Stealth Insult towards music executives: as their Intentionally Awkward Title Metal Up Your Ass received an Executive Veto, bassist Cliff Burton reacted with "Those record company fuckers...kill 'em all!").
  • When I'm a god, everyone dies!
    • An alternative explanation is that this didn't mean that everyone would be killed, but rather that instead of eternal paradise or damnation (noted as lies in the previous line), people Take a Third Option and just...end.
  • The Legendary Pink Dots' recurring character Lisa bakes cyanide-laced mince pies for her guests in "Lisa's Party", which they all eat with fatal results. She cheekily suggests to them beforehand that she added almonds to improve their flavor.
  • Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Not only is it in the collective's name, but at the end of the song "Window", Tyler, The Creator kills the main members of the group, minus Earl Sweatshirt.
  • Porcupine Tree's "Strip The Soul," from the 2002 album In Absentia: "Strip the soul, kill them all.."
  • This is how the "Legend of Archery" music video by Driftless Pony Club ends, though it's not as extreme as other examples here, where ninja! Sam Grant (the bassist) kills the other three members. Subverted shortly after, though, as three babies are left behind.
  • Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," about the real-life sinking of the titular ship on Lake Superior, killing all twenty-nine crew members, in 1975.
  • The main goal of the band GWAR.
  • Weird Al's bizarre Christmas song, "The Night Santa Went Crazy," is about a night at the North Pole in which Santa Claus loses his mind and goes on a killing spree. More than half the elves and all but two of the reindeer die. In the "Extra Gory Version", even Santa himself dies (whereas in the regular version he survives, but is given a prison sentence so long that he won't be eligible for parole for 700 years).
    Santa: Merry Christmas to you're all gonna die!
  • Awolnation's song "Kill Your Heroes" mentions the fact that "don't you worry, but everybody will die."
  • Anaal Nathrakh has a song entitled "Sanction Extremis (Kill Them All)" and while we can't be sure of all the details due to Anaal Nathrakh's unwillingness to release lyrics and the large amounts of Indecipherable Lyrics, just look at the title...
  • 'O'Malley's Bar' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has a man walk into the aforementioned bar, order a drink and then graphically slaughter all the staff and patrons.
  • Lemon Demon's The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny culminates with everyone dead except for Mr. Rogers, who then proceeds to kill himself via Seppuku.
  • The Mechanisms' Rock Operas tend to end with everyone dying, and their farewell performance outlined how all the characters of The Mechanisms die as well.

    Music Videos 

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The final battle of Ragnarok involves almost every living being in existence and, at the end of the battles, Surtr, the King of the Fire-Giants, will set the whole world on fire, effectively killing almost all life, including himself. Ultimately, the only survivors are Baldr and Hodr,(who return to life after the battle), Vidar, the sun's daughter, the sons of Thor Magni and Modi, and a few humans who hid in the World Tree. Also, given the extremely robust roster of Norse Mythology, the list of named characters who kick the bucket goes well beyond just the Aesir.
  • The Indian Mahabharata has very detailed lists of the two massive armies fighting in the Battle of Kurukshetra: 393,660 chariots, 393,660 war elephants, 1,180,980 horse riders, and 1,968,300 footmen, for a grand total of 4,330,260 soldiers, fighting over 18 days. Survivors: 10.
  • Arthurian Legend
    • The Arthurian Cycle ends with King Arthur facing his traitorous son Mordred at the Battle of Camlann. The only survivors are Arthur, two of his knights, and Mordred. Not satisfied, Arthur rushes the destroyer of his kingdom, leading to a Mutual Kill. One of the two knights dies of his wounds soon after.
    • Other versions leave a whopping five characters living: Lancelot and Guinevere (who join the Church and die anyway), Bediverenote , Morgan, and Arthur, who was carried off to Avalon with a mortal wound, to wait and sleep there until England needs him again. To put this into perspective, there are traditionally fifty Knights of the Round Table, and even more secondary characters.

  • Cool Kids Table
    • Laid out as a definite possibility at the start of the game Creepy Town, since the character deaths are decided by dumb luck rather than any planning and therefore it's easy for every single character to die. And that's exactly what happens.
    • In Star War, after Kip's stunt using an ion cannon to destroy a single foe, the Force abandons the Jedi and they all fall to their deaths as the castle crumbles around them. Even the cute sloths, which they tried to save, hurtle to their deaths as well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The basic premise of Exalted is that if things continue as they are, all that ends up happening is everyone keeps losing by inches, until one of three things happens: the Wyld dissolves the world, everything falls into the Abyss, or the Yozis take control of a blasted hellscape. Prior to release, it was a prequel to Old World of Darkness, so this ending was set in stone. Now, as with most things in Exalted, it exists mainly for the player characters to kick it in the nards and set it on fire.
  • F.A.T.A.L. has this as the eponymous spell, which destroys the universe. The spell can be cast as a random effect of a spell miscast. Given the kind of game it is, this is arguably a mercy.
  • The "Wrath of God" card from Magic: The Gathering. There are other cards with similar effects, including (but by no means limited to) Damnation (which is essentially the same as Wrath of God but uses black mana instead of white), Day of Judgement (which leaves out the "They can't be regenerated" part and is currently usable in the Standard tournament format, unlike Wrath of God itself), Akroma's Vengeance (which costs more than any of the so-far named cards but also destroys artifacts and enchantments), Chain Reaction (which is red, and although it doesn't explicitly have that kind of effect, it deals damage to each creature equal to the number of creatures in play, allowing it to do the same under the right circumstances), and Novablast Wurm (which is a creature that kills all other creatures when it attacks).
    • The biggest is are either Decree of Annihilation, which does about what you'd expect in such a way that not even indestructible creatures can survive it, or Apocalypse, which wipes out everything currently in play no matter what the card's type is and no matter what abilities it has.
  • Paranoia does this all the time. Repeatedly. If the PCs don't kill each other or themselves, the GM will. This is why they're each given a set of "backup" clones.
    • It's not uncommon for a PC to die during the mission briefing. And not unheard of for a PC to die before they even make it to the mission briefing.
    • The mission debriefing offers one last chance for the PCs to hand each other a death sentence, by bringing up all the evidence of treason they collected earlier and hadn't already presented. It also encourages them to kill each other during the mission to set up a Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit.
    • The "Tips for Traitors" section, when discussing how to manipulate the marching order for tactical advantage, includes a warning to not let the guy with the area-of-effect weapon take far left or right flank — the temptation to turn and wipe out all his teammates at once is way too high.
  • The finale of the Living Force campaign for Star Wars d20, set during Revenge of the Sith and the Jedi purge, was designed to be nigh-impossible to survive, especially for Force-sensitive characters. Any such characters who did survive were forced to go into hiding from the Empire.
  • Warhammer 40,000 lives for this. The Forever War nature of the setting means that horrific levels of death are the norm, and while there are a handful with Contractual Immortality for the vast, vast majority of characters a swift end could be around the next corner.
  • Oh boy did Warhammer Fantasy do this in their End Times story arc. After having the story stuck in the same place for years, the entire setting was turned on its head, with characters getting killed off left and right like it was going out of style.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse promised this end from the word go, and to its credit, most of the end-game scenarios defaulted to it.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade promised nothing of the kind, but in a couple of the end-game scenarios the best you can really do is "life will someday evolve again."

  • William Shakespeare was famously a fan of this, at least with his tragedies:
    • By the end of Hamlet, the only major character left alive is Horatio. Hamlet's Dad is dead before the curtain goes up in the first place, Polonius is murdered by Hamlet in a case of mistaken identity (though Hamlet's not too unhappy about that), which causes his daughter Ophelia to commit suicide. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are executed offstage. The final scene then ends with a bloodbath that kills off Hamlet's mother, his uncle, Ophelia's brother Laertes and finally Hamlet himself.
      • Ingmar Bergman went one better on this in a famous 1990s staging of the play. Fortinbras and his army are portrayed as fascists playing heavy metal from boom boxes. When they break in at the end through the back wall, instead of listening to Horatio's explanation, Fortinbras has two of his men take Horatio offstage and shoot him, then finishes the play himself as a press conference.
    • King Lear is scarcely less bloody, featuring seven (eight if a given production kills off the Fool) deaths, and it's all but explicitly stated that the Earl of Kent exits at the end of the play to commit suicide, which leaves only Edgar and Albany alive.
    • Titus Andronicus, where the only major characters left alive when the play ends are Lucius, Marcus and Card-Carrying Villain Aaron. And Aaron's being taken off to his execution. Excluding him, the body count is at least thirteen (Titus and four of his children, Tamora and her three sons, Saturninus and Bassianus, a nurse and a clown) with nine of them being killed onstage.
    • Romeo and Juliet, anyone? Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, Paris, Lady Montague...It's almost a trope in itself for a character not to realize this and say something like: "Oh, what a beautiful, heartwarming love story, just like Romeo and Juliet!"
    • Just about the only two members of the main cast who survive Othello are the bad guy (Iago), who probably will be executed soon, and one now-crippled good guy (Cassio), but everyone else (Othello, Desdemona, Rodrigo, and Emilia) is deader than a doornail.
    • Even the history plays are not immune to rapidly climbing death tolls. Henry V kills Sir John Falstaff (who never appears on stage, but did appear in the prequel), The Earl of Cambridge, Lord Scrope of Masham, Sir Thomas Grey, Bardolph, Nim, The Duke of York, the Boy, Mistress Quickly, The High Constable of France, Lord Rambures, The Dauphin, and Lord Grandpre. That's just named cast and not one of them dies on stage.
  • Götterdämmerung, the final play in Richard Wagner's operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, culminates with Siegfried's death prompting Brünnhilde to make a Heroic Sacrifice that burns down Valhalla with all the gods inside.
    • If all the gods from Rheingold are considered to be in Valhalla then the Ring cycle manages to kill 29 out of 33 named characters. The only surviving characters at the end of Götterdämmerung are the three Rheinmaidens, and Alberich. Given that the whole 14 hours started off with these four characters (in the same location), this is rather appropriate.
  • Wagner started on the path of Everyone Dies early. His boyhood tragedy Leubald featured 24 deaths and by the last act he was having to bring characters back as ghosts.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, every single character except Toby, Anthony, and Johanna winds up dead. The original Broadway musical and Stephen Sondheim himself indicate that Anthony and Johanna do, in fact, survive, having burst onto the scene with the constable in tow (Sondheim has said that they are the only two characters to have a "happy" ending, relatively speaking). Toby, however, has gone completely and incurably insane.
  • In the Disney musical Aida, Aida and Radames are buried alive, Mereb is stabbed, Nehebka is presumably beaten to death, and the Pharaoh is poisoned. This leaves only three characters (Amneris, Aida's father, and Zoser) alive, with Zoser presumably executed soon after the musical's end.
  • Explicitly referred to in the Toxic Avenger musical, in which the eponymous monster considers doing this in the appropriately named song, "Everybody Dies." Averted when he changes his mind after one murder.
  • 'Tis Pity She's a Whore ends with most of the main characters dead. Shakespeare was downright tame next to some of the major Jacobean playwrights.
  • Greek tragedies often killed off all or nearly all the main characters, leaving only one or two minor characters to carry on. Example: Antigone. Other times it was Everybody's Dead, Dave. And if they don't die? Well, the wounds they carry aren't usually just of the psychological variety. Case in point, Oedipus the King (or Rex, depending on the translator), who, after his mother/wife hangs herself, uses her cloak-pin to gouge out both of his eyes. When you get up and leave the theatre at the end of a Greek Tragedy? Expect to feel phenomenally relieved that it didn't happen to you.
  • Little Shop of Horrors, which is essentially a Greek tragedy in mid-20th-century B-Movie form, ends with all of the main characters dead. It gets cranked Up to Eleven in the finale, in which the audience is told that the events that led to their deaths repeated themselves all over the country — people bought the evil alien plant's progeny for their own homes "and got sweet-talked into feeding [them] blood." That's right, the plants eventually wiped all of humanity from the face of the earth. Why? Because humanity allowed them to. And it's all Played for Laughs!
    • Averted in the movie adaptation. Seymour and Audrey are Spared by the Adaptation. The original ending was filmed, but was replaced by the happy ending in which Seymour and Audrey get hitched and move to "somewhere that's green" after test audiences reacted negatively to the original ending. Not averted in the original 1960 film, though the plant doesn't take over the world.
  • All the characters of Le Père Noël est une ordure (Santa Claus is an asshole) die: one is shot half-way through the play, the others die at the end when the depressive upstairs neighbor who's been trying to get help all night finally gives up and blows up the whole building. The ending was changed for the big screen adaptation, which makes for funny conversation when someone who's only seen the play talks to someone who's only seen the movie.
  • P.D.Q. Bach's "half-act opera" The Stoned Guest kills off its four principal characters (in a production whose cast consists of four people and a dog) in a minute and a half: Donna Ribalda strangles Carmen Ghia to death. In revenge, Don Octave tries to stab Donna Ribalda, but she dodges and he is Hoist by His Own Petard. Il Commandatoreador draws a pistol and fells Donna Ribalda in one shot, but he then succumbs to an overdose of alcohol. Then, due to Executive Meddling, all four have an Unexplained Recovery so they can sing the happy finale.
  • Urinetown ends with the rebels, led by the villain's daughter avenging the death of the Protagonist and throwing the Big Bad off a building. Unfortunately, it turns out the "evil" measures the villain had taken to ensure water conservation really were the only sensible choice. Everyone, save for the secretary Mr. McQueen who moves to the Amazon, dies slowly of dehydration whilst singing a gospel of how the only water they need is inside them.
  • Les Misérables lives out this trope. Fantine, the character set to be the main female protagonist, dies after appearing in a grand total of 5 songs (out of over 40). The death stops for a bit, then Eponine dies at the barricade in Marius's arms. Then, to prove that really Anyone Can Die out of all characters Gavroche dies. Then there are the barricade boys which include: Enjolras, Grantaire, Combeferre, Feuilly, Courfeyfac, Joly, Jean Prouvaire and Lesgles, and you probably didn't know most of their names. Shortly after that bloodbath, Inspector Javert takes the plunge. Finally Jean Valjean dies too. In the end, you're left with: Cosette, Marius and The Thenardiers.
  • 25 Saints: Mrs. Duffy is implied to have executed Tuck and Sasha, although there's no confirmation of their deaths, we only hear a few gunshots offstage. Sammy turns Duffy's gun on her, then threatens the Sheriff, only for him to shoot her through the heart first. Charlie strangles the Sheriff with his own necktie, then commits Self-Immolation to be Together in Death with Sammy.
  • Henrik Ibsen ends the play Brand with a Cataclysm Climax, i.e. an avalanche. This avalanche is described as "filling the entire valley" — effectively killing off the entire cast. Ibsen played this horribly straight!
  • In The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!, the Twist Ending of "A Little Complex" has Jitter embracing the Sweeney inside him and murdering his tenants as revenge for destroying his artworks.
  • At the end of the cabaret musical Twister Beach, as foreshadowed by the song "No Survivors", the cast, after deciding to continue the talent show in spite of the approaching hurricane, are all swept out to sea by the storm and either drowned or eaten by the sharks, in revenge for mankind's despoilment of the the Earth.
  • Hamburg University Theatre has a play (official description hints Lord of the Flies meets Lost) that discusses the trope in the title: "Dark Sides — Everyone Dies".
  • Finale is a musical about how people react to the sudden revelation that the world is ending in a week.
  • Being a musical set 150+ years ago, Hamilton kills off most of its characters in the final two songs. Aside from the characters who died within the timespan of the show (Laurens in "Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us", Philip in "Stay Alive (Reprise)", and Washington some time after "One Last Time"), the titular character is killed in the climactic duel in "The World Was Wide Enough", his sister-in-law Angelica dies sometime later in "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story", and the song ends with Hamilton's wife Eliza dying and meeting Hamilton again in heaven — except Elizabeth Hamilton died in 1854, meaning she outlived Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, Marquis de Lafayette, John Madison, and John Adams. Even if they didn't die on stage, they were certainly all dead by the end of the show.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Analogue: A Hate Story, you are sent to investigate a derelict Generation Ship, the entire population of which perished about 600 years ago for mysterious reasons. Long story short, a Human Popsicle from a far more democratic period of the ship's life was made to go through heavy abuse from the ship's noble families and snapped so hard that, as she describes in a diary entry aptly titled "I'll kill them all!", she cut off the ship's life support system, killing everyone including herself onboard.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has this as the Junko AI's final plan. She intends to kill all (or at least as many as possible) of the students on the Neo World Program in order to upload her consciousness into their bodies. This was more clearly stated in chapter 4, in which Monokuma locks them in the Funhouse without food attempting to starve them to death, only stopped because Gundam killed Nekomaru.
  • Subverted in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. The only way to put a stop to the killing games is to have all the remaining students, including the mastermind, refuse to vote in the final trial, resulting in them being executed for not voting and a disappointing ending. Everyone abstains from voting, at which point Keebo self-destructs, destroying the school and crushing the mastermind under a pile of rubble. The three remaining students survive, though.
  • Most of the routes for Dies Irae ends with much of the main cast dead to various extents. Kei's route feature the highest survival rate while the others have somewhat similar mortality rates to each-other depending on how you count. Kasumi's route leaves most of the main cast dead or dying while the Big Bad's plan only hits a speed-bump. Marie's leave even more dead but allows for her to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, leaving only Ren, Kasumi and Mercurius alive, the last of which is only able to exist as a sort of ghost. And finally Rea's route kill even more, but ends with a huge Reset Button allowing everyone to live but with no memories of the events that transpired.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!
    • The normal ending sees Monika deleting the game and everyone in it because she observes that everyone is just doomed to a cycle of suffering.
    • The secret ending seems to be happy, or at any rate Bittersweet Ending, since everyone but Monika survives and gets a good start at living happily from there onwards. Except when the Fridge Logic kicks in — since the plot has taken a turn from highschool romance to being about inexplicably sentient and sapient characters in a video game, what's going to happen to them when the game ends? It's not discussed at all (Sayori only says something encouraging but totally ambiguous about what happens next), but logically, it might end up with everyone effectively stopping to exist anyway in the video game equivalent of a Dream Apocalypse.
  • Defied in Double Homework when the protagonist leads his sisters and friends on an escape from the avalanche. Dr. Mosely/Zeta tried to kill them due to how much they’d discovered about her and her experiments, but, impressed by their escape, she lets them live.
    Dr. Mosely/Zeta: You are a liability. You are all liabilities.
  • In Fate/Zero, the protagonist Kiritsugu survives, but is terminally diseased, and everyone else in the main cast except for Kotomine and Waver Velvet dies.
  • Muv-Luv Alternative ends with one final, Suicide Mission for Takeru and his squadmates: Operation Cherry Blossom. One by one, you see each of the girls — characters developed over the course of three games and friends who Takeru (and the player) has come to care for very deeply — perform a Heroic Sacrifice to let Takeru go on, and get killed in ways so brutal and graphic that an outcry from the fans resulted over the Gorn, culminating in Takeru being forced to to blow up Meiya (the girl he cared for the deepest aside from his girlfriend Sumika) to kill the Big Bad. Only three make it out of the Original Hive alive: Takeru, Sumika and Kasumi, and of them Takeru ceases to exist and Sumika dies due to No Ontological Inertia. Of the unit Takeru and his squadmates joined, all (except the three who spent the operation hospitalized) are dead (including the commanding officers), and the three may follow suit if the sidestories released by the makers are any indication.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors:
    • The "Submarine" ending plays it perfectly straight, with every other Nonary Game participant dead and covered in blood, before you get knifed In the Back. That's every character killed. Ace feigned death, and the Snake that was dead in Door 3 was not the actual Snake that you met. Snake would probably still die, though.
    • The "Axe" ending, quite likely. Clover killed Seven, Santa, June and Junpei, and Ace likely killed Lotus to get into door 9. Clover would have killed Ace: she was covered in blood, he had Lotus' bracelet. Word of God states she was unable to work out the kyuu/Q (9/q) puzzle, and burned in the incinerator.
  • Virtue's Last Reward has over twenty endings, a number of which imply a total castpocalypse. Special mention goes to Clover's ending, however, which involves the player character walking in on a room filled with the corpses of six of the cast and promptly deciding to join them. The remaining two characters' fates are left ambiguous; Quark is presumably left trapped in the Cryo chamber, whereas K appears to have picked up the deadly virus Radical-6.
    • Several other endings also end with the entire area being blown in a giant anti matter explosion. The true ending also reveals that all the other endings that seemed to end relatively bloodlessly actually ended in disaster once the camera stopped rolling; they are also canon despite being alternate endings. The backstory also has a kill em all for almost the entire planet! Luna's ending is also noteworthy, while not as big a blood bath as Clover's, it still manages to kill as many people over a longer, but still relatively short, amount of time. One character even manages to die twice.
  • When They Cry:
    • The entire town of Hinamizawa is wiped out in one of the continuities in Higurashi: When They Cry (several, actually), and most of the main characters die — generally in horrible and bloody ways — in the other continuities as well.
    • One of the arcs is actually named Minagoroshi, Mina = everybody, goroshi = to kill. The kill 'em all arc, the official English title is "The Massacre Chapter."
    • Subverted in Matsuribayashi-hen. It says a lot about the series that not killing everyone could be considered a subversion rather than just an aversion.
    • Umineko: When They Cry follows suit and underlines it by giving you the body count at the end of each arc, which is most frequently read, "When the seagulls cry, there are no survivors."
  • Zero Time Dilemma has this in several of its endings, and in fact, invoking this is necessary to get the game's true ending. In the final segment before the true ending, the group reunites and accidentally start off a bomb that will detonate the entire facility with them inside. Akane figures out that the group needs to SHIFT to a timeline when they are all alive and never even entered the facility in order to escape...but because of the way SHIFTing works, their alternate selves from that reality die in the explosion instead without ever knowing why.
    • D-END: 1 is the timeline that leads to the apocalyptic future of Virtue's Last Reward, so naturally this happens there too. C-Team dies in the early game vote. Phi accidentally gets Q-Team killed, and Mira injects her with Radical-6 as revenge. Diana refuses to leave her behind and forcibly drags her and Sigma to the surface, and Phi becomes Patient Zero for the plague that wipes out humanity. The only glimmer of hope comes from Junpei and Akane transferring in from another timeline, and Akane starting the AB Project that will eventually lead to the events of VLR.
    • D-END: 2 ends with Akane escaping the facility alone and leaving Diana and Sigma stuck inside. They ration out their food long enough for Diana to give birth to twins, but shortly after they're born they run out of food entirely, leaving them all to starve. What makes it worse is that a different plot path later reveals that there was a pantry full of food that they could have utilized had they known it was accessible to them.
    • At one point during a D-Team segment, Diana is given the option to press a very conspicuous button; doing so blows up the facility.

    Web Animation 
  • In The Demented Cartoon Movie, the ending credits point out that only one character survived the movie. Everyone else died in explosions, head explosions, car accidents, explosions, crushing, and explosions.
    • The credits were clearly referring to the stick figure who ran off the left side of the screen after watching a car hit a wall and explode. However, since another car came out from that part of the screen, it's possible that he was promptly run over. And if not, he would've been killed in the Earth-Shattering Kaboom thirty seconds later. Perhaps Mr. Weight would be a more likely example.
  • This is the premise of Happy Tree Friends usually only one character survives an episode.
  • In Klay World's movie, 95% of the cast dies at the end. Almost all of the Klaymen, Marv, Mr. Black, Smiling Gary, Vince, all the Aliens, Rick, the armless guy, a news anchor, one of the cavemen at the beginning, Dr. Brown, the ax guy, and the long arms guy, leaving Chip, Pick, and Dr. Bob as the only survivors. Most of the klaymen are "rebuilt" by the survivors in the end.
  • Played for laughs in one of the alternate endings of the original Red vs. Blue series. "Son of a bitch!"
  • Madness Combat:
    • Episodes 3 and 4 are straight Kill Em All episodes.
    • Through the series as a whole, every character except Sanford and the Hot Dog Vendor dies at least once, with some characters dying multiple times an episode. If you live in Nevada, you WILL die.
  • In the final episode of Llamas with Hats,everyone on earth, including the two main characters, end dead.

  • College Roomies from Hell!!! seemed to be heading in this direction, with Mike murdered by April and Marsha gunned down by Mike's mother to keep her from killing April...before she could do it herself. They all recovered. For a given value of "recovered", that is, considering that this is CRFH.
  • Homestuck is the embodiment of this. Whilst the death of a character is usually a spoiler, it is safe to say that at some point, a character will die. This does not always matter, however, as Death Is Cheap. Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 3 is pretty much this incarnate. SEVEN main characters are confirmed dead by the end of the act, and the ones that could revive died in a manner that nullifies their resurrection. The best part is that the entire act is about 5 minutes long!
    • Before Homestuck, Jailbreak was able to kill its entire cast in under 109 pages, with the very last one being a Last Survivor Suicide. The reset, on the other hand, kept everyone alive.
  • The Last Days of FOXHOUND has its reasons to kill of most of the main cast.
  • In Nobody Scores!, the main characters have a low chance of surviving any single comic. As the author puts it, each scenario is a "more or less intricate machin[e], the end result of which is always failure".
  • Paonia Pawns has a villain literally nuke the entire cast, including all of his fellow "Players". Only five characters out of dozens survive. It eventually is undone, or at least everyone gets saved.
  • In the circus arc of Schlock Mercenary, Schlock is getting a little twitchy about his undercover janitor job, and comes up with a simple solution:
    Schlock: I say we burn the place down until the smells go away, then interrogate the survivors.
    Chelle: Would there be any survivors in that scenario?
    Schlock: Probably not. What a time saver!
  • Word of God is that Ugly Hill was originally going to end with one of these, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood, while it ultimately has an Earn Your Happy Ending, has a massive body count for a children's cartoon. Only eight of the twenty-nine characters introduced in season one make it to the end, and that's not counting the casualties among later introductions.
  • Arthur: In one "A Word from Us Kids" segment, a class makes a movie loosely based on Three Billy Goats Gruff. In this version, the troll bites the heads off all three goats before getting hit by a car.
  • Beast Wars and its sequel series, Beast Machines, killed off every Transformer except Cheetor, Rattrap, Blackarachnia, Silverbolt, Nightscream, Botanica, and Waspinator.
  • By the time Frisky Dingo wrapped up, only 6 characters of importance — Killface, Xander, Simon, Stan, Wendell, and Valerie — were left standing.
  • Subverted with G.I. Joe: Resolute, which promised a high body count and by all means delivered on that promise...with Cobra. While a pretty good amount of known named Cobra characters were killed (some more gruesomely than others) the G.I. Joe team was for the most part pretty much intact. The only named G.I. Joe character who was killed is Bazooka, who died offscreen and his corpse is perfectly clean and intact (while some of the Cobras can't quite say the same thing about their fatalities).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Though not a show to kill any non-villains the traditional way (other than Applejack's parents, who are only shown in flashbacks), the G5 film My Little Pony: A New Generation is set in a time many years later when all of the Mane 6, including the supposedly-immortal Twilight Sparkle, and presumably all other characters we knew in the series (possible exception of dragons, changelings, Discord, and those turned to stone) are no longer around (presumably by old age).
    • None of the above appeared in the film (except Twilight, who only appears in representations of the past). It is unclear whether the dragons kept their immortality when magic disappeared or whether Torch's immortality was only due to being Dragon Lord, or whether dragons even still exist (given the ponies never mention them, nor are paranoid of them); Discord may have given up his immortality for Fluttershy; it is unclear whether changelings are immortal or also still exist; and Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow, not seen even as a statue, were likely either demolished by the pegasi out of fear or covering up evidence of ponies working together, or else released either before the divide or by the end of magic and died of old age or in an attempt at taking over Equestria. This may or may not be addressed in the TV series the following year. The only G4 character who can be confirmed to still be alive is the Shadow that Stygian merged with to become the Pony of Shadows, who is eternally trapped in limbo.
  • Scooby-Doo:
  • In the Young Justice (2010) episode "Failsafe", by the end the entire Justice League and Team is dead, as is good portions of the world's military, with the exception of Miss Martian and the Martian Manhunter, who later punches through M'gann's chest. Thankfully, it was just an Unwinnable Training Simulation Gone Horribly Wrong, but still.
  • While Death Is Cheap in Aqua Teen Hunger Force thanks to Negative Continuity, normally episodes end with only one or two of the main four characters dying. Both "Sea-Creature" and "Knapsack!" are the only episodes to kill off all four.
    • Both "The Last One" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (the last episode of the series) engage in mass executions of old villains from the show. The former kills off Oog, Travis of the Cosmos, the Dumbassahedratron, DP and Skeeter, Randy the Astonishing, the sentient trees, Flargon and Merle, the Brownie Monsters, MC Pee Pants, Happy Time Harry and Ol' Drippy, and none of the deceased characters ever return (with the exception of MC Pee Pants, who's entire schtick is dying and reincarnating between episodes anyway.) Meanwhile, the latter kills off the Mooninites, the Plutonians, Markula, Handbanana, the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From The Future, Romulox, Mothmonsterman and Zucotti Manicotti. Only Rabbot appears in and survives both episodes.
  • The Drawn Together Movie ends in the deaths of every single character, even the ones introduced for the movie. Most of them die in the last 10 seconds of the movie when Spanky accidentally steps on an eraser bomb.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kill Them All


The Visitor

After the alien has already killed the entire family, there is one ending where if you use the Electrified Bathtub strategy on the alien, it gets fried, but then uses its tongue to decapitate the remaining survivor as a Last Breath Bullet before dying.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / KillEmAll

Media sources: