Sometimes, when someone is locked in a closet or Bound and Gagged, it's not for ransom or use as a hostage or some other practical concern, but instead merely as a mean "prank", or to get someone out of the way. The poor victim is left behind and... what's going to happen to them? Are they being left behind to die, or are they left out in a public place where they'll clearly be rescued? Are they knowingly being left where no-one will rescue them, or did the captor take that into account? For that matter, did the captor just leave them somewhere and then forget about them?
This trope is sometimes the result of bullying. It's often Played for Laughs when it's done by the heroes or to an annoying or intentionally dislikeable character. Other times, it's Played for Drama, with tragic consequences. And sometimes it's done for dark humor.
Often crosses over with Something We Forgot, in which the victim is left somewhere intentionally but for longer than their captor intended. Also compare Anti-Interference Lock Up, which is far more temporary.
Anime & Manga
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, after Jotaro beats the stuffing out of one-shot villain ZZ and neutralizes his Stand, the heroes tie ZZ's unconscious body to a boulder and put up a sign saying he's a meditating monk who is not to be disturbed.
- Happens fairly regularly in Empowered, whose lead character gets absolutely no respect from her peers. One time, she even manages to single-handedly rescue the entire team by driving an SUV into the baddie while all tied up, and the team still wanders off, leaving her trapped behind the wheel.
Film - Animated
- In A Bug's Life, there's a scene where the boss of the bug circus is seen wrapped up in a cocoon and hanging from the ceiling, begging to be let out, "I promise to start thinking about paying you!"
Film - Live-Action
- In Casper: A Spirited Beginning, a kid who's often picked on by bullies is left locked in the closet of a building that's condemned and about to be blown up.
- MouseHunt plays this for dark humor. It's stated early in the movie that the previous owner of the house with a mouse in it was found dead, locked in a trunk in the attic. Later, an exterminator is hired, and he is later rescued by people who heard his screams and called 911. It's stated he was found locked in a trunk in the attic.
- In the Saw movies, any trap that doesn't kill you outright will do this to you instead.
- A Running Gag in Rookie of the Year has doors close of their own accord behind Brickma. This has resulted in him being trapped between the two doors connecting his hotel room to Henry's, and later in his clubhouse locker for the final league championship game.
- At the end of Trading Places, as Randolph Duke is being wheeled past Winthorpe and Valentine, he yells, "Where in hell is Beeks?" "Beeks!" Valentine muses "Yeah, I forgot all about that guy!" Cut to a cage being loaded onto a ship bound for Africa, containing the amorous gorilla and Beeks, who's still in the ape costume Winthorpe and Valentine put him in when they locked him in the cage.
- At the end of The Pit and the Pendulum, Nicholas' wife Elizabeth is left locked in an iron maiden. The only person who knew she was there is dead and everyone else thinks she is dead, so the survivors turn out the lights and seal up the dungeon forever. The last thing we see before the Fade to Black is a close-up of her terrified eyes peering through the tiny slot in the face of her prison. It's OK, though, because she deserved it after deliberately driving her husband insane. Just try not to think about the fact that she's going to die slowly from starvation and/or dehydration...
- In The Silmarillion, Maedhros is Chained to a Rock by his right wrist. He is just left there for many years by Morgoth. When his cousin shows up he begs for death, but is freed when his cousin cuts off his hand. Referenced in the Blind Guardian song "Blood Tears".
- In Reaper's Gale, book seven of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Rhulad Sengar (who, it should be noted, is being driven insane by his Artifact of Doom sword) orders his parents chained up in the dungeons after they dared speak against him in open court. When he remembers later to let them out, he's told that they drowned when the dungeons flooded, days earlier.
- In "All Summer In A Day", the other children lock Margot into a closet before the sun comes out on their constantly-raining planet and only remember her after the rain has come back for another seven years.
- In Room, "Old Nick" threatens Ma and Jack with this and will often go away for several days in order to force her into compliance. Ultimately, they don't die and Ma and Jack succeed in escaping when Ma reveals this is about to be their real fate.
- In Sophie, this is revealed to be what Matthew did to his sister Sophie and has continued to do for many women throughout the years in order to re-enact it, manipulating them with a fake key. Ultimately, it's possible that he kills them or just leaves them there.
- In The Stand, the entire administration of the Arizona prison where Lloyd Henried is being kept either skips town or dies off, leaving all the prisoners locked in their cells. By the time Randall Flagg stops by, Lloyd is the only survivor and is perhaps days or even hours from dying of starvation, a situation Flagg takes full advantage of to coerce an oath of loyalty out of Lloyd before letting him out.
- In one episode of Burn Notice, a group of hostage-takers planned to do this to the hostages they had taken once they stole the money they were after. Specifically, they were planned to lock the hostages in the vault and let them suffocate.
- In Castle Rock, Warden Lacey did this to the Kid because he had enough doubt about whether or not he was actually evil to not be able to kill him. He does, however, suspect that the Kid will survive because the prison is being privatized and therefore checked through again.
- An episode of Cold Case featured a villain who would abduct women and imprison them in a windowless cell for months in order to break their spirit. Once this was achieved, he would leave them there to starve to death.
- One episode of CSI: NY, "Get Me Out of Here," had a fraternity initiation prank gone horribly wrong. One of the pledges was locked in a coffin in a crypt and the others had to find him. However, the pledge master who runs the initiation was murdered and he was the only one who knew where the crypt was.
- One episode of the original CSI featured a former Jerk Jock, who turned out to have been killed by another student he once left duct-taped up in a locker (the result being that he was left with scars from removing the duct tape and ended up in hospital for so long he had to drop out of high school, essentially ruining his life).
- Doctor Who: In "Partners in Crime," reporter Penny Carter is captured and tied to a chair by the villains twice, the second time after being freed and ignoring the Doctor's advice to Get Out! She turns up at the end carrying the chair, which she's still tied to, and rather peeved about the whole thing.
- The Dukes of Hazzard had an episode where Bo and Luke escaped from the Hazzard Jail by handcuffing Enos' hands to a chair (arms crossed) and gagged, then hung the chair on a coat rack mounted to the wall. Several times during the episode, Roscoe or Boss Hogg is just outside the room he's trapped in, wondering where he is. At the end of the episode, Bo and Luke remember they left him there, by which time he has fallen asleep.
- In an episode of The Mentalist the victim was tricked into letting himself be tied up and locked up in a locker in an abandoned factory. He thought it was just a game he and a co-worker were playing but the co-worker just left him there to die.
- For most of Scrubs episode "His Story III," JD is locked up by the Janitor in a water tower.
- The Janitor enlists Ted and Todd to duct tape JD to the cafeteria ceiling.
- The Janitor has the rest of the custodial staff duct tape Dr. Cox in the morgue drawer after he lightly pushes The Janitor.
Duct-taped two hours in a morgue drawer; don't piss off the Janitor; end of story.
- The third-season The X-Files episode "Apocrypha" ends with villainous double (triple?) agent Alex Krycek locked in a missile silo eight stories underground, pounding on the door and screaming to be let out.
- Played for mean-spirited humor in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Tetra and her band of pirates rob a rude bomb store owner and steal all his bombs, leaving him Bound and Gagged, which you the player witness before the pirates leave. He struggles infinitely as long as the player is still there, and it's impossible for the player to free him. However, when you eventually visit him again, not only is he free, but he is much more well-mannered and his prices become reasonable.
- Before a drinking game in Roommates, the character Dominic is tied to a chair so he can't interfere with the partying. After getting horribly drunk, the other characters stumble upstairs and leave him there for the whole night. Understandably, they are horrified when they walk downstairs the next morning and find him still there. Luckily, Rakesh loses the rock-paper-scissors game and has to untie him.
- When Bruno considers a kidnap-and-ransom scheme in Bruno the Bandit he remembers the last time he tried it. Several years ago. And forgot about the kidnap victim.
- In Sunstone, during one of Ally and Alan's early sessions, a bad burrito on Alan's part and a blown-out fuse conspired to leave Ally alone and tied up for forty minutes that were utterly agonizing for both her and Alan. It was the incident that convinced both of them that they needed to buckle down and change the game.
- Worm begins this way, with Taylor Hebert becoming victim of a prank by the local Alpha Bitch duo that traps her inside of her locker (that the bullies had filled with garbage and biological waste beforehand--it even ends with her getting infected cuts) and left inside for what is implied to be several class periods. The trauma of this event triggers superpowers within her.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph escapes from a metal box by spontaneously metalbending, then traps her captors inside. There is no indication that the captors are ever found or rescued, and they are never seen again for the rest of the series. Fridge Horror is however thankfully averted when the sequel comic The Rift reveals that they got out somehow, but gave up their hunt for Toph after that incident.
- In an episode of Family Guy Stewie falls for his teenage babysitter and gets rid of her boyfriend by tying him up and locking him in Brian's car boot. At the end credits, he realises mid-sentence that he forgot to let him out.
Stewie: Oh damn! Jeremy is still in the trunk! How long has it been, erm two weeks? Yeah, he's dead. — Definitely dead.
- The Simpsons, "Whacking Day": Bart and a few other low-achieving Springfield Elementary students are locked in a basement utility room to keep them out of the way during a "surprise" visit from Superintendent Chalmers. Bart escapes and causes havoc. At the end of the episode—several days (if not weeks) later—Principal Skinner realizes the others are still locked up down there. They all survived because they were locked up with boxes of food, but Skinner was ready to Run for the Border in case they hadn't.
- In the King of the Hill episode "Soldier Of Misfortune", Hank, Bill, and Boomhauer have been captured by Dale's rival Mad Dog and he leaves them tied up in a back room. After Dale convinces Mad Dog that he hired some mercenaries to kill him (actually flower delivery men), he unties them, but Mad Dog rigged the building to explode. They then realize that they forgot that Bill is still tied up inside the building. Bill manages to escape but he falls into a trap he had fallen into earlier.
- Archer, "Honeypot": two Cuban agents tie up Archer's elderly butler Woodhouse, and at the end of the episode Archer suddenly remembers it, and that he'd probably been tied up for hours...and finds it hilarious.
- One scene of the Doctor Who serial "The Mark of the Rani" required the Doctor (Colin Baker) to be tied to a large pole in order to pull off a Tribal Carry. Because Baker wore a difficult support harness to take the strain off his wrists, it was impossible to untie him in-between takes, so they just laid him on the ground when the cameras weren't rolling. However, due to rapidly fluctuating weather, the team had to quickly move every time it started raining to film a different scene set in the rain. During one such move, Baker noticed the team packing up, but didn't realize they'd forgotten to bring him along until they were already out of earshot. It took half an hour for someone to realize he'd been left behind and to come get him.
- Baker told this story in the DVD commentary of "The Mark of the Rani". He also said that, because the filming took place in a public forest, he was found after ten minutes by a couple and their dog. But because the couple had never heard of Doctor Who and didn't recognize him, the absurdity of the situation led them to just leave him there.
- Two of Belgian pedophile Marc Dutroux's victims had died because he was incarcerated for car theft, and they starved to death while being kept captive on one of his properties. The worst part: a detective went to search the property and was alerted to the sound of screaming children by a colleague, but he mistook it as children playing in the street and unwittingly left them there.