Follow TV Tropes


Kill It with Ice

Go To
"I will freeze you from within... until all that remains is an ICY HUSK!"
The Lich King, World of Warcraft

While fire is the traditional means of destroying evil, sometimes cold works just as well. This can range from liquid nitrogen to just luring your opponent into a very cold place. Attacking people in this way almost always results in an instant kill through immediate cessation of bodily function, although in real life it would still take time to induce hypothermia or stop the heart.

Likely to be used by An Ice Person. May involve a Freeze Ray, Literally Shattered Lives, Ice Breaker, Depleted Phlebotinum Shells, or being Locked in a Freezer. See also Kill It with Water and Kill It with Fire. Not always related to Impossibly Cool Weapon. For the non-lethal version of this trope, see Harmless Freezing. Anyone wearing An Ice Suit is likely to try to Kill It With Ice.

Likely to appear in video games that use Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Anime and Manga 
  • In Aldnoah.Zero, Yacoym pilots the Frozen Elysium, a Martian Kataphrakt that literally saps the heat within 1 full kilometer around it. Anything that ventures into the area of effect will literally freeze, whether Kataphrakts or ordnance.
  • Bleach:
    • Captain Hitsugaya possesses the strongest ice/snow type zanpakutou in Soul Society. As long as there is moisture around, he can create ice attacks. His powers range from creating ice clones of himself to distract enemies to transforming the weather for miles around into an ice-making weapon that kills anything that touches the falling snow.
    • Rukia possesses an ice/snow type zanpakutou that lowers the temperature of her own body. Anything that comes into contact with her body or sword is immediately reduced to the same temperature, transforming to ice. She is capable of reaching Absolute Zero and bringing her enemies down to that temperature as well. Her special techniques and especially her Bankai serve to increase the power's range, allowing her to "touch" and thereby freeze enemies without having to get close enough to make physical contact.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura incapacitates the Watery card by tricking her into entering a walk-in freezer, then locking the door, waiting a bit, and capturing her became a simple matter.
  • Cross Ange: While smaller, less powerful DRAGONs are easily killed by the normal weapons of the Paramails (and sole Ragnamail, Villkiss), higher-level DRAGONs must be dispatched via "Freezing Bullets", which are close-range blasts that snap-freeze the reptilian monsters from within and cause sharp crystals of ice to burst out of them.
  • Darker than Black has November 11, an interesting case: he can freeze virtually any liquid, but there has to be a readily available source of said liquid first, like a pool of water, and can't simply summon ice out of nowhere. He also has to make contact with said liquid, and can't use his powers from range.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku manages to beat a rubbery monster named Buyon by causing the cold air outside to freeze him, and he broke him afterwards.
  • The most powerful Ice Magic in Fairy Tail, Iced Shell, can trap its target in an (mostly) unbreakable block of ice that will eventually kill it since freezing is not harmless. The downside is that the caster's own body becomes the ice. Silver, the Ice Devil Slayer and one of the Nine Gates of Tartaros, wields an extremely powerful form of Ice magic that is especially effective against his fellow demons. And when Gray, his son, gets that very same magic, he shows off said effectiveness by curbstomping a demon that gave Natsu a hard time and taking down the Dragon-in-Chief of Tartaros.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, it turns out a Briggs winter is even capable of incapacitating a homunculus. From Brotherhood, there's Isaac the Freezer. He's actually capable of killing people with water in any number of ways, including flash-frying them with steam and creating blades of high-pressure water, but ice is apparently his favorite and it's what he uses for his ultimate technique.
  • As a yuki-onna, Yukime from Hell Teacher Nube can use her powers to do this. In fact she attempts to do that to Nube in her first intervention — but then she commits the mistake of targetting his students when they tried to stop her, making Nube go Badass Teacher on her. She sees the error of her ways and releases them. For massive and cruel irony, Yukime ends up in the receiving end thanks to Ippon Datana. When she refuses to follow his orders, he freezes her in place and stabs her all over with icicles, which finally kills her. (She's Back from the Dead later, but not before again trying to kill Nube with ice only to be stopped with The Powerof Love.)
  • In Hoshin Engi, Chou Komei unleashes his One-Winged Angel form: a colossal, ever-expanding lily flower. While the heroes try to burn him, he counters by pointing out that he can spread his seeds and regenerate at a faster rate, so Taikoubou decides to take advantage of his Logical Weakness as a plant and blasts him with a hurricane of icy air from the mesosphere, freezing Chou Komei to death. Later, one of the Juttenkun tries to kill Taikoubou, Supuu and Fugen with his ice-manipulating Paopei, to no avail.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Dio Brando had the vampiric ability to lower his own body temperature to the point where any flesh he touches freezes solid. He used this ability to protect himself from his weakness to the Hamon technique by freezing his enemies when they made contact with him to stop the Hamon from traveling. He demonstrated this quite effectively by mangling Will A. Zeppeli's arm and effectively taking him out of the fight. Later he showed even more powerful applications...such as freezing Dire's entire body before shattering him like glass.
    • Pet Shop is a hawk with the Stand Horus, allowing him to create cold and ice. The first time he uses this ability on screen, he kills a man by dropping an icicle the size of a car on him. During his Super-Persistent Predator chase of Iggy, he is also seen rapidly creating icicles and firing them like makeshift missiles.
    • The appropriately named Ghiaccio (Gratuitous Italian for "ice") has the Stand White Album, which takes form of a bodysuit with ice skates and allows Ghiaccio to rapidly lower the temperatute of the air around him. Harmless Freezing is very much not in effect. When pushed into a corner, he reveals a sub ability, White Album Gently Weeps, which according to him, lowers the temperature of the air around him to near-absolute zero temperatures, creating ice crystals that float in the air around him and are able to deflect bullets.
  • Done several times by Todoroki from Class 1-A's My Hero Academia, but no one (hopefully) has died from them.
    • The first time was Class 1-A's first Battle Training. He froze the whole building, constraining Hagakure's and Ojiro's feet. This is quickly averted with Todoroki reheating the place with his fire.
    • The second time around was portrayed differently. Unlike the aforementioned situation where he just simply immobilized his classmates, he was freezing some actual thugs of the League of Villains. He quickly froze them though, not releasing them and until they told him their schemes.
    • The Sports Festival preliminary fight between Todoroki and Sero ended in a matter of seconds after Todoroki froze Sero with his Heaven Piercing Ice Wall.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Evangeline A.K. McDowell, when she can actually use her magic, specializes in dark and ice spells. Her most powerful spell shown, Kosmike Katastrophe (translates roughly as End of the World), freezes a massive demon, then shatters it with a snap of her fingers. The spell breaks the second law of thermodynamics to freeze a 150 square foot area in absolute zero temperatures. She also has a smaller-scale ice spell that's supposed to freeze the target for a few years, but Asuna manages to break out of it quickly enough due to her magic nullification ability.
    • Evangeline's latest spell, Endless White Nine Heavens, is an original ice-lightning spell made specifically to combat constructs, and locks-on to an enemy and continually freezes them and their surroundings solid while leaving them conscious, so they can suffer for all eternity.
    • In the magic system of Negima, ice spells are considered higher-level than fire spells of roughly equivalent power, because ice spells violate more of the laws of physics.
  • Being An Ice Person, Admiral Aokiji in One Piece can freeze someone solid, then kill them by shattering their frozen body. Even barring that, they can still die if thawed improperly.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, this is how Black wins his Gym Battle against Drayden despite not having any Ice-types on his team. Black has his Braviary destroy the doors to the building where the battle is taking place, letting the blizzard outside seep in and slow down Drayden's Druddigon, which gives Braviary the upper hand.
  • Powerpuff Girls Z: Him is weakened by cold because, as a demon, he's all about hellfire and brimstone.
  • In Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury eventually learns ice-based attacks.
  • Saint Seiya has Cygnus Hyoga, his master the Crystal Saint (only appears in the anime), the latter's master Aquarius Camus (Hyoga's direct master in the manga), and Hyoga's Rival Turned Evil Kracken Isaac. All of their attacks are ice-themed.
  • Slayers:
    • There are a variety of ice-based magic spells, ranging from the "weak enough to use on yourself as air conditioning" to the "instant kill if used on a human". The strongest such attack is Dynast Breath, which freezes the target within ice. The ice then shatters, and the victim with it.
    • The fourth movie has Lina defeat a dragon with a shield capable of stopping a Dragon Slave by casting minor ice spells. Straight up. Resulting in the clouds freezing and dropping on his head. When he moves his shield upwards to block the giant hailstones, she blasts him with a Dragon Slave from the side.

    Comic Books 
  • In an Alien graphic novel by William Gibson (his unused script for the third Alien movie), a character realizes that he's been infected by the Xenomorph pathogen and is able to get to a freezer and lock himself inside. They find his frozen corpse later, morphed halfway into an alien form.
  • Batman:
    • The standard method employed by Mr. Freeze (sometimes non-lethally but often with deadly effect).
    • Downplayed in the Batgirl story arc The Attack of the Annihilator: the titular villain is defeated and depowered when he is encased in solid ice by Supergirl's freezing breath.
  • Firestorm (DC Comics): While it doesn't actually kill her, this is one method for defeating Killer Frost. Unlike most ice characters, she freezes things by absorbing the heat from them instead of the usual inexplicable 'cold ray,' and she must do so to stay warm. Encasing her in ice cuts off her power supply, and should rightfully be more dangerous to her than to a civilian. Of course, it's often not even dangerous to civilians.
  • The Flash: Captain Cold has an ice gun capable of creating fields of absolute zero. Like the Kosmike Katastrophe spell by Evangeline from Negima! Magister Negi Magi this works by violating the second law of thermodynamics.
  • JLA (1997): One issue shows freezing as one of the few effective ways of hurting Plastic Man. Since he is apparently immortal, actually killing him is out of the question.
  • Sonic the Comic: Robotnik uses this to destroy Brutus spraying him with liquid nitrogen.
  • Spider-Man: A common tactic for defeating the Lizard involves luring him into a freezing area such as a fridge car. Being coldblooded, he will slow down and eventually lose consciousness.
  • In the Supergirl storyline The Untold Story of Argo City, Supergirl stops an alien invasion by freezing their liquid bodies solid.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "The Frost, the Sun, and the Wind": The Frost threatens to turn the traveler into an ice block in retaliation for his slight, but the Wind points out the Frost cannot freeze anybody if he doesn't blow.
  • In "Morozko", Father Frost freezes the old woman's daughter to death when she makes the mistake to insult him repeatedly.

    Fan Works 
  • Bad Press: Starscream gets startled by Megatron yelling at him and accidentally drops the human he was experimenting on into a vat of liquid nitrogen, flash-freezing the test subject.
  • Examples from the Calvinverse:
  • The glufferflork's cause of death in Divided Rainbow.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Megas's flaming sword can be turned into an ice sword when Coop turns on the air conditioner. Fittingly, it's powered by a Mega Slush.
  • In A Minor Variation, weather captain "Hurricane" Fluttershy incapacitates Gilda the griffon by luring her high enough that her wingfeathers freeze up. She even quotes Iron Man: "How'd you solve the icing problem?"
  • In the Pony POV Series, ice is one of the only things Draconequi like Discord cannot affect with their powers. Ice is created by taking away heat and their magic doesn't work on something born from the absence of something.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Cold is the only strategy that seems to work against the Downingtown Blob, although it only paralyses the blob, rather than killing it.
  • Mercury does this very thoroughly when she faces Zoicite in White Devil of the Moon. First she locks him inside a large razor-edged fractal ice sculpture, then while he's trying to get out, she drops a car-sized hailstone on his head. The narration devotes an entire paragraph describing exactly how deadly ice can be.
    Ice wasn't a very visually impressive weapon. It didn't have the obviously destructive power of fire or lightning. But that didn't make it harmless. Regular patterns of freezing and thawing could eventually tear apart even the finest construction. A broken piece of ice could cut like a knife. And the destruction caused by a hailstorm could be just as devastating as a wildfire in its own way, damaging buildings and vehicles, ruining crops in some cases even knocking down trees. If the stones were large enough or coming down heavily enough, they could even kill.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Snow Queen (2012), the Snow Queen kills her victims this way.
  • Mister Big in Zootopia uses a pool of ice water to execute those that have displeased him; either they die of hypothermia and exposure, or they drown. He never kills anyone onscreen, but almost "iced" Nick and Judy when they were caught breaking into his property.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien:
    • Alien³: Ripley and the others lure the alien into a lead smelting plant, first super-heating it (with lead) then suddenly cooling it with water sprays. This causes the creature to shatter like glass would under such conditions (but unfortunately not lead).
    • Alien: Resurrection: Liquid nitrogen sprays are set up to control the aliens in their cells. Unfortunately, one alien is clever enough to deduce the connection between the sprays and the Big Red Button, which serves to bite the ass of a security mook.
  • Alien Cargo: The Hate Plague is successfully counteracted by exposure to subzero temperatures.
  • Arctic Blast postulates that a solar eclipse could cause a hole in the ozone layer that would then allow the cold of outer space to leak into the Earth's atmosphere, creating a creeping "ice fog" that winds up flash-freezing most of Australia. Any number of iced Aussies are shown during the film.
  • In Bats, the plan for destroying the bats involves using an industrial coolant to drop the temperature in the mine till they start to hibernate and then freeze to death.
  • The Blob (1958) ends with the eponymous alien monster being parachuted into the Arctic, as cold is the only way to stop it from spreading. Earlier, it had been immobilized with carbon dioxide fire extinguishers.
  • In The Blob (1988), the blob is shown to be completely immune to bullets, explosives, and even fire, but is strongly repelled by the cold, and is defeated when it is flash-frozen in an explosion of liquid nitrogen.
  • Demolition Man: Simon Phoenix suffers this fate at the end of the movie, before having his head kicked off.
  • The Devil's Messenger: In "The Girl in the Glacier", Dr. Seastrom knocks Dr. Olsen to floor and possibly kills him during an argument in the cold room. He then makes sure of the job by open a pipe and dousing Olsen in freezing liquid.
  • Fantastic Four (2005). Von Doom tries to immobilize Reed with supercold temperatures while saying something along the lines of: "Remember Chem 101? What happens when rubber freezes?"
  • The Fifth Element: Zorg's demonstration of his latest BFG includes "the grand finale: the all-new Ice Cube System" as one of its options, though it only gets used on a test dummy.
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: At the end of the movie, Destoroyah is killed by being frozen alive, causing him to crash to the ground and shatter into a billion tiny pieces.
  • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla: Kiryu (read: Mechagodzilla) is armed with a powerful chest-mounted Freeze Ray called the Absolute Zero cannon as its ultimate weapon. When it finally manages to hit Godzilla however, it fails to kill him, although it does leave a huge scar and sends him packing.
  • Goldeneye: A vat of liquid nitrogen is how Boris Grishenko meets his end. So much for being invincible.
  • Harbinger Down: Lacking any flamethrowers to take on The Thing-like creature, the crew of the crabbing trawler Harbinger have to hunt the creature with the liquid nitrogen they use to freeze their catch. The movie ends with the Final Girl ramming the Harbinger into a nearby iceberg, burying the monster under an avalanche of ice.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux: The T2 scene was spoofed in a scene where Saddam Hussein and his pet dog are frozen by a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher and then shattered, reforming into a hybrid dog-dictator.
  • Jason X: Villains too can use this trope, as seen when Jason sticks Adrienne's face in liquid nitrogen and then smashes it on the counter. Jason had years earlier been immobilized (but, of course, not killed) by being lured into a cryogenic chamber.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man: Tony Stark uses his suit's greater resistance to icing up at high altitudes to immobilize Iron Monger.
      "How'd you solve the icing problem?"
    • The Frost Giants in Thor use a combination of this and blades shaped out of ice to kill their enemies. This is also how Loki immobilizes Heimdall towards the end of the film, although he breaks himself out of it shortly thereafter and rejoins the fight.
  • Mindhunters (2004): In the first trap set by the Serial Killer, Christian Slater's feet get blasted with liquid nitrogen; his ankles then shatter and he falls to the ground and crumbles.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: During the Final Battle, pyrokinetic Olive is frozen to death by a hollowgast. Thanks to Enoch's ability to raise the dead though, it doesn't stick.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie: Liu Kang kills Sub-Zero (who is known for his ice powers) this way in the movie. He uses a bucket of water that goes through Sub-Zero's ice shield and becomes an ice spike that impales him with extreme prejudice, pins him to a wall, and then freezes him solid. Then, in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, when Sub-Zero's heroic younger brother shows up, he freezes Smoke and saves Liu Kang. To cement that Smoke dies, the robot then explodes.
  • Phantasm II shows that cold is one of the few forces known to have any effect against the Tall Man.
  • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, Scooby takes down the Tar Monster by freezing him with... a fire extinguisher... then propelling the canister to smash it to pieces.
  • The Shining: Jack gets lost in the hedge maze and freezes.
  • The Silence (2019): The movie's monsters, the vesps, can't bear the cold — people above the Arctic Circle or high in the mountains are spared from their ravages due to this, as the intense cold kills any vesp swarms heading too far north or too high up.
  • Sinister 2: The family in the "Christmas Morning" reel are bound and gagged, then are buried up to their necks in snow to die of hypothermia. With one last chilling shot of the mother who looks at the camera and breathes out her last before it ends.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
    • The shapeshifting T-1000 is apparently destroyed when a truckload of liquid nitrogen ruptures, restricting its ability to shapeshift or even move. Arnie then shatters the T-1000 to pieces with a bullet. Unfortunately this occurs in a smelting plant whose heat melts the T-1000 so it can reassemble again.
    • The novelization of the movie says that while the freezing of the T-1000 did not harm it, it mucked up its artificial intelligence (due to superconductivity) making it possible to defeat it in the end. This is also implied in the director's cut of the movie, which shows the T-1000 lurching around the plant exhibiting difficulty in controlling its shapeshifting — for instance, when it touches a railing, its hand takes on the appearance of the railing, apparently without it meaning to do so.
  • The Thing (1982): Regarded as a (literal?) Fridge Logic moment for the otherwise classic ending. If either of the two survivors is the shapeshifting alien, what good would it do to freeze to death, as the alien had already shown it could survive millennia this way.
  • Timecop: One of the mooks gets blasted with liquid nitro, whereupon Jean Claude Van Damme kicks and shatters his arm, and he falls off a ledge to his death.
  • Titanic (1997): In both the film and Real Life, this is how most of the 1,500+ deaths of the RMS Titanic occurred. They died in -3°C seawater after the ship sank (sometimes the water flooded them inside the ship before it completely sank), which Jack Dawson equates to being hit with a thousand knives over your body. This claims Jack's life as well, along with Chief Officer Henry Wilde, whose whistle Rose uses to escape their fate.
  • Transformers: While not necessarily killed by the ice, in the live-action movie Megatron was frozen for decades after crashing into the North Pole. He was kept frozen while hidden in the Hoover Dam. When Bumblebee was captured, they kept him immobilized with blasts of carbon dioxide.
  • In Universal Soldier: The Return, Van Damme freezes the Big Bad with liquid nitrogen, then shatters his body with one kick.

  • In one old ghost story, a ghost that dripped water all over its victims and made them miserable was defeated by being lured into an ice house. The cold froze the ghost's water and turned it into an icy statue.

  • Variation in Cat's Cradle with the isotope ice-9, which raises the freezing point of water to the point where it will instantly freeze any amount of water (or any living being containing water) regardless of temperature. Then a flake of it gets dropped into the ocean...
  • In Companions Codex the white dragon Aurbangras attacks Afafrenfere with his ice breath-weapon, but misses and hits Tos'un instead, instantly killing him by freezing him in place on the slope of a mountain.
  • They're already dead, but in Dante's Inferno (part of The Divine Comedy), the lowest circle of hell has traitors distorted and frozen in ice for all eternity. This is the same level that Brutus, Cassius, and Judas reside on, but with the added bonus of having their feet chewed on by Satan.
  • The Dresden Files: The more powerful Winter Fae can do this. Wizards can do it too; Harry first used ice by using his fire spell to draw heat from a puddle, freezing it and causing his pursuer to slip. Later he becomes the Winter Knight, and can use more traditional ice attacks, like freezing someone solid.
  • Fengshen Yanyi (The Investiture of the Gods), at one point wise Duke Ji Chang is ask to divine the future of King Zhou's duo of corrupted chancellors and, much to his own surprise, predict that they'll perish in ice, a notion which they both mock as no one in the empire has ever suffered such a death. It proves real several years later (In-Universe), where they both freeze to death when Jiang Ziya summons a heavenly blizzard to trap the invading army in ice and snow. Much later in the story, one of the Ten Heavenly Kings showcases the Frozen Ice Formation, a magic trap which uses ice to freeze whoever enters the area and then smash them to a pulp using giant masses of ice as cudgels.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • The result of getting hit by Hyperborean breath. Percy uses this to his advantage.
    • Khione, the goddess of snow, is fond of doing this.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: In Icerigger, set on a sub-zero Ice World, some native religious fanatics invert the Burn the Witch! trope by attempting to execute some captives with ice. They tie them up and set them into empty vats, then pour water over them a few gallons at a time. The water freezes in the frigid ambient temperature, encasing its victims layer by layer in ice.
  • In George R. R. Martin's short novel The Ice Dragon, the titular ice dragon has icy breath that will freeze anyone and anything in its path, and it can freeze anything it touches. By the end of the story, the ice dragon faces off against three fire dragons. The ice dragon kills all three of them.
  • Liquid Nitrogen Grenades make an appearance in Matthew Reilly's Ice Station, but don't cause the instant freezing usually seen with this trope. Instead, people exposed to them freeze from the outside in.
  • The Left Behind series has a somewhat different version of this trope: Enigma Babylon One World Faith leader Peter Mathews was killed by sharp feathers made from an ice sculpture of him.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Jaghut way to get rid of enemies, back when they still cared to, was to call down an ice age to starve them. Or to simply freeze them and walk away.
  • In The Moomins, the Lady of the Cold, introduced in Moominland Midwinter, is said to be able to instantly kill anyone with a single gaze, which leaves the victim frozen solid. She is shown doing this to a squirrel. However, the ending turns this into an Ambiguous Situation, as once spring rolls around, Moomintroll encounters a similar-looking squirrel and is left wondering if it might be the same squirrel, who somehow survived being frozen and was revived once he thawed out. The 90's anime series dials this down by making it explicit that it's Harmless Freezing.
  • The first deathtrap in Ripper is a loaded crossbow aimed at someone in the dining room, its stock propped on top of an ice cube. As the ice melts, its stock settles onto the shelf and depresses the firing lever by its own weight.
  • In The Shadow of Kyoshi, Kyoshi kills Yun by freezing his lungs and heart with Waterbending while he's delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    Catelyn Stark: Ice can kill as dead as fire.
  • Jack London's classic short story "To Build a Fire" tells of a rather foolish and unsympathetic gold miner in Yukon Territory who goes off on a journey alone and winds up freezing to death after he falls into water and is unable to build a fire to warm himself.
  • Cold-gas weapons (both spray projectors and rocket warheads) are used in The War Against the Chtorr, though the hero doesn't find them as reliable as flamethrowers.
  • In The Bio of a Space Tyrant series by Piers Anthony, there's an assassination attempt on the eponymous Tyrant. As no weapons are allowed in his pretense, the conspirators break off icicles that have formed on the windows and use them as improvised daggers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One demon in the Angel episode "Expecting" is taken down with liquid nitrogen.
  • CSI: NY:
    • A bitchy hotel maven falls onto the bent stem of a liquid nitrogen tank, which injects her chest with the frigid fluid and literally freezes her heart solid.
    • Another victim gets stabbed to death with an icicle.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Planet of the Daleks", the centre of the planet Spiridon is filled with ice instead of lava; thus an "ice-flow" is used to destroy the Dalek army.
    • "42": Captain McDonnell kills the sun-possessed Ashton by shoving him in the stasis pod and setting it to -273°C, otherwise known as absolute zero, the coldest temperature it's possible to physically reach. The Doctor later attempts to do this to himself when he gets possessed, but another possessed individual shuts off the pod's power before it gets cold enough.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": The antagonist is a member of the Stenza species, whose body temperature is naturally so cold they can kill humans via lethal freezer burns merely on skin contact.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Leonard Snart/Captain Cold wields the Cold Gun. Much like his comics counterpart it can fire blasts of absolute zero.
    • Killer Frost, introduced in Season 2 as the Earth-2 counterpart of Caitlin Snow, is a metahuman with the power to freeze things. Later in Season 3, due to a Cosmic Retcon, the main Caitlin Snow also turns into Killer Frost and gains ice based powers, explained by her absorbing the heat of whatever she is targeting.
  • Heroes: Tracy. Later adds Making a Splash (drowning people in enclosed spaces) to her arsenal.
  • A victim of the week on NCIS is killed by liquid nitrogen.
  • The fourth and final season of The Outpost has Talon and her allies fighting the Masters, god-like beings who are nearly impossible to kill. In the series finale, Talon is able to send the Masters into another dimension, a place so bitterly cold that they turn into ice statues within moments.
  • Primeval has a fungus monster that can only be killed by subzero temperatures. Connor nearly dies after trapping himself in a freezer with it. The same goes for Jenny too.
  • Stargate SG-1 has an episode in its 8th season where Anubis, a half-Energy Being, is possessing people. He can't be killed but can't act without possessing a body. What choice is left for the SGC? "Let him escape", but redirect the stargate to an ice planet and freeze the body he's currently possessing. Unfortunately, he does later manage to get off that planet somehow and start taking new hosts.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", Q immobilizes a Red Shirt by freezing him after he draws a phaser; he doesn't die, but it's implied that he might have without immediate medical attention. Also, Security Chief/first season regular Tasha Yar, but Q agrees to restore her when Picard protests.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In the episode "Displaced", when Voyager's crew is trapped in a prison with different environments for different species, Tom and B'Elanna dispose of two Nyrian mooks (from a very warm planet) by luring them into a subzero habitat. Later Captain Janeway beams the rest of the Nyrians there, and threatens to keep them there until her ship is returned.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", Mirror Phlox tortures a Tholian by reducing the temperature in its cell. When it drops low enough, the poor Tholian shatters. Unusual in that Tholians normally live in a superheated environment, and the cell was still well above normal for most folks.
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: As a result of battles between Enterprise and the Gorn, Starfleet develops new weapons designed to kill reptiloids, including liquid nitrogen grenades.
  • An aquatic Monster of the Week on Tremors: The Series was killed by dumping dry ice into the aquaduct it was submerged in. Unusual in that the heroes could have shot it or blown it up quite easily, but needed to keep its carcass intact to avoid contaminating the area with the mixmaster in its tissues.
  • The X-Files: It's revealed that the alien virus can be rendered harmless by lowering the temperature of its environment.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • In the Book of Exodus, one of God's ten plagues that He releases on Egypt is a plague of hail. The Egyptians who were wise to heed Moses' warnings brought their servants and livestock in for safety, while those who ignored the warning left their servants and livestock outside and suffered having to lose them in the pounding hail.
    • In the Book of Revelation, 100-pound hailstones are dropped from the sky on the people during the seventh Bowl Judgment.


  • The Jade Regent Campaign from RPGMP3 features a character called Skygni, who's a magically Awakened frost-breathing Winter Wolf. He swore a Blood Oath (under duress) to not eat people. Not the ones travelling with the heroes' caravan, anyway.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In many editions Dungeons & Dragons, as well as spinoff Pathfinder, fire-associated creatures (like fire elementals, fire giants, or red dragons) tend to be especially vulnerable to cold damage. This can't be relied on all the time, though, as many of these creatures are smart enough to be aware of their weakness, and will use their resources to acquire some method of resisting cold damage.
  • Forgotten Realms' god of rot Moander has a penchant for controlling slaves via parasitic vines. Since they were of tropical variety any area spell cold enough to harm a victim was overkill for them. Later Moander itself got a piece of paraelemental ice delivered and force-fed.
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse, cold is a damage type.
    • Absolute Zero, an Expy of Mister Freeze (except he's on the side of good) specializes in both this and Kill It with Fire. He also has a way to give himself Elemental Absorption to Cold damage.
    • Expatriette can load Liquid Nitrogen Rounds in any of her many guns. Guns loaded with such rounds deal Cold damage instead of Projectile damage, and inflict a damage debuff to any enemy hit by said rounds.
  • In the Traveller Double Adventure "The Chamax Plague/Horde", the title alien monsters are defeated by luring them into an icy snowfield and with a cold-generation field, respectively.


    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, Dr. Mosely/Zeta attempts to kill the protagonist and his friends with an artificially caused avalanche, since they know too much about her and her experiments.
  • In Saya no Uta the titular character is killed by spilling liquid nitrogen on her and then having a huge part of her frozen body blown off with a shotgun.
    "That's minus 197 degrees, you fucking monster! How's it feel? Cold? Hot? Not so tough now are you!?"

  • Red Mage of 8-Bit Theater has a tendency to throw around ice spells. His most epic is easily using Ice-9 to freeze the Fiend of Fire into a Bag of Holding.
  • Champions of Far'aus: Flamel's main magic attacks are shards of ice shot from his wand.
  • Stonewater the orc in Dominic Deegan can conjure ice to use as a weapon; it is just as effective as holy magic against demons (which is to say, very) because the orcs believe ice to be sacred.
  • In Drowtales, Sil'lice is one of the most skilled Ice Sorcerers, let alone sorcerers in general, in the setting. As she fights, the battleground is coated and covered in layers of frost and her opponents begin to suffer first frostbite, then begin to freeze solid. This is used for some disturbing Fingore when one of her opponents blocks her sword blow, only to have her fingers snap off from the impact.
  • Girl Genius: When Colette kills all of Beausoleil's bodies for his betrayal and murder of her father she ends one with freezing.
  • Sleepless Domain: A series of flashbacks show that Kokoro's mother Mitsuki and her family were all killed in a breach by a monster that used dangerously low temperatures as its mode of attack. Mitsuki's father was fully encased in ice and frozen solid; her mother was frozen from the waste down and impaled through the chest with a chunk of ice; and Mitsuki herself was partially frozen and suffered fatal contact wounds while staying behind to protect the infant Kokoro. Mitsuki's childhood friend Mingxing was the first to respond to the breach, and in the fight that ensued, her right arm was frozen and broken clean off before she managed to take the monster down.
  • Slightly Damned: The demon Lazuli uses ice magic to summon sharp, pointy icicles. They are very fatal, and rather messy.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, a bonus pop up noted Katara only covers the face of firebenders when she freezes people. This is presumably because others can't survive.
  • Terry apprehended the otherwise mostly untouchable Inque (mostly; being diluted with water is also bad for her.) this way in Batman Beyond; when she invaded the Batcave, he used Mr. Freeze's gun, which Bruce had confiscated years ago.) Freezing her also was a useful Tailor-Made Prison for a while. It might have held her for good if the guy in charge of watching her didn't develop a weird crush. However, after repeated exposure, she figured out that compressing herself in a ball would keep most of her body active while only freezing the outside layer.
  • Nonlethal variety: Batman was able to subdue Clayface this way in one episode of Batman: The Animated Series. (However, the villain got the jump on him when he tried it a second time later in the episode.
  • Tigatron of Beast Wars fame used a gun that was seen to instantly freeze other Transformers. And while he used it in only one battle, Megatron's Transmetal 2 dragon form was capable of it as well.
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • Used to immobilise a super-villain made of liquid. It was ultimately only a temporary solution.
    • In "In Like Blunt", two SHUSH agents are discovered to have been murdered by being frozen in yogurt.
  • Trader Johann, after his Face–Heel Turn in Dragons: Race for the King of Dragons episode "King of Dragons, Part 2", after being frozen by the icy breath of the female Bewilderbeast. In a disturbing inversion of Harmless Freezing, he is killed instantly upon contact, his murderous grin forever frozen on his face.
  • Johnny Test in the episode "Johnny vs Brainfreezer" has the Brainfreezer a disgruntled barista/university student who made a freeze ray from his coffee maker and Susan and Mary's blaster.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Brain Invaders", Ahsoka has to deal with a squad of clone troopers who were infected with Geonosian brain worms. It transpires that the worms, being from a hot desert planet, have the Logical Weakness of cold temperatures, so she ruptures her frigate's coolant system to incapacitate the troopers.

    Real Life 
  • The Swedish Empire in 1700, Napoleon in 1812, and Hitler during WWII all tried to invade Russia, and Russia kicked them all out the same way; by letting the really nasty Russian winters (sometimes called General Winter) drain their forces, then defeating them.
    • Finland took advantage of this against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940. The brutal winter that year caused great problems for the Soviet advance, helping the Finnish to resist effectively, despite being ridiculously outnumbered. They had to give up and surrender some territory in the spring though.
    • Partial subversion; many historians now say that winter is not the worst time to campaign in the arctic. Indeed apparently the Finns were praying for spring to bring them lots of good old fashioned mud.
    • Only a partial subversion. When the first freezes of winter come in the far north it actually helps an army on the move when the mud freezes over; Hitler's Wehrmacht made better progress when the hard freeze came. However, when the temperature dropped to thirty below and the blizzards came, they suffered terribly.
    • In the case of Napoleon's men, another reason they ended up dead of hypothermia might have been tin disease, the transformation of white tin (Sn's main form at room temperature) to brittle grey tin (which eventually crumbles into powder) beginning at temperatures of 13.2 degrees Celsius. This transformation is slow at first, but drop the temperature to -30 degrees Celsius and below and the reaction should kick-start. Napoleon's men used tin buttons. The temperatures could have been that low in Russia. Go figure.
  • David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed said that the Puritans unwittingly chose a very good spot to place their colony. While a New England winter is hard on humans, it actually does kill germs.
  • Like its liquid counterpart, ice will tear up the landscape given time. No matter how hard the rock, even a little crack will doom it in the right climate. The extreme example of this are ice ages. Just for perspective, parts of northern Europe are still experiencing post-glacial rebound - as in, the land literally bouncing back up - from being weighed down by the last ice age, which ended 12,000 years ago.
  • In many types of extermination in the real world, cold temperatures, or freezing, is used to kill pests. It can be ineffective, or take a long time. Kill It with Fire, and cold temperatures, are used to kill bed bugs and other pests in some cases, other than poison, in which the house's temperature is lowered, or raised, substantially. This can take multiple attempts, such as the process being done every other day or so for a year. And if the problem persists, once again, another year. Putting anything that can't be treated with heat in the freezer is a tried and true method of getting rid of the leftovers of a head lice infestation too.
  • As shown on Mythbusters, one of the most effective ways to disarm a bomb is not to cut the wires, but to freeze it with liquid nitrogen. This stops the electrical components from functioning and is quite effective. Mythbusters showed that if the bomb squad in Lethal Weapon 2 had used liquid nitrogen to freeze the bomb in Murtaugh's bathroom, the dive into the bathtub would have been unnecessary. They simply could have stood up and walked away.
  • Cryosurgery. It can kill cancer cells in a considerably cleaner way. The extremely cool name is a bonus.
  • Brinicles are descending columns of super-cold ice that sometimes extend downward from the pack ice in shallow polar waters. If they extend far enough to touch the sea bed, any invertebrates unlucky enough to be at or near the point of contact get frozen solid.
  • Inverted note  with snow scorpionflies (also known as snow fleas), insects specifically adapted to live in winter conditions... to the point that holding one in your hand will instantly kill it from the tiny increase in warmth. They eat mosses and bacteria adapted to live in the same low-temperature environments, and pupate during warm weather instead of over the fall and winter.


Video Example(s):


Star Allies / Vs. Twin Kracko

Once Kracko splits in two and becomes Twin Kracko in Kirby Star Allies, it's entirely possible to freeze one or both of them solid if enough ice attacks are used on the downpour of water at the start of the fight. This also works with Parallel Twin Kracko in Heroes in Another Dimension.

How well does it match the trope?

4.64 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / KillItWithIce

Media sources: