The trunks of cars are mainly used for stashing items that take up too much space in the cab of the vehicle. In fiction, generally, the trunks will be used for storing people, alive or dead. This can be for several reasons:
- The person in the trunk is alive, trapped in the trunk, and being taken somewhere against his or her will by some villain.
- The person in the trunk is alive and is hiding in the trunk to follow the driver, who may or may not be aware of this.
- The person in the trunk is alive and is being taken somewhere willingly, riding in the trunk to hide from authorities who might stop the car.
- The person in the trunk is alive and is being taken somewhere willingly, because the car is so completely crammed with other people that it's the only place they'll fit.
- The person in the trunk is dead, and the driver may or may not have put the body in there.
Note that it's only a "trunk" in countries which use American English. The rest of the English speaking world calls it a "boot" (probably because it's at the extreme "lower end" of the car).
- Played for Laughs in a commercial for ESPN. We see a man driving to the office in a roadster with the Stanley Cup in the passenger seat. When he reaches his destination, another man climbs out of the trunk.
- In a 2002 Cartoon Network promo, two guys meet on the road to trade cartoon characters; the Eds are stuffed into one car's trunk and escape when their backs are turned.
- In the Cowboy Bebop episode, "Mushroom Samba", Edward stows away in the trunk of a bounty hunter's car so she can get into town and obtain some food. As it turns out, the police don't take well to finding an unconscious child in the trunk of a car during a routine check. Even when she's just asleep and crawls away during the ensuing ruckus.
- On Speed Racer, Spritle and Chim-Chim would often hide in the trunk of the Mach 5.
- In The Breaker, Sosul is first discovered in the trunk of a car. Shi Woon and Alex knew they were supposed to be transporting some "cargo", but they didn't expect it to be a girl.
- In the Birds of Prey series, Lady Shiva is presumed dead after being attacked by the assassin Cheshire. In reality Shiva was simply knocked out and kidnapped, and Catwoman ends up finding her bound and gagged in the trunk of Cheshire's car.
- In Superman #13, "Superman vs. The Archer", the ten-year-old Jimmy Olsen hides in Lois' trunk to follow her when she checks up on a scoop. He ends up saving her when the Archer kills her informant and tries to shoot her as well.
- In a 1998 Superman storyline where Superman is trapped in four different realities at the same time, Lois Lane in the 1970s Bronze Age reality smuggles herself in the trunk of a car used by the Prankster's henchmen in order to get herself as close to the criminal as possible to take him down, while Superman is on board the Prankster's ship trying to keep Lana Lang from dying of poison from needles placed in her corsage.
- Subverted twice in the X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills. Tracking some villains surveying the mansion, Kitty Pryde uses her phasing powers to sneak into their car's trunk. Unfortunately, the trunk has sensors that detect her presence, and they activate knockout gas. Later, they try to execute her while the trunk is still closed, only to find the trunk empty, as she only inhaled a portion of the gas and retained enough consciousness to escape.
- Miho from Sin City snuck into a mob enforcer's trunk while the car was still moving. Dwight was in the backseat along with some of the mob thugs as a Batman Gambit to get them to confess to a hit before killing them. Apparently, Miho could hear the conversation going on and killed one on command by shoving her Absurdly Sharp Blade through the trunk and into the guy's skull.
- X-23 is smuggled to Martin Sutter's house by Zander Rice in the trunk of his car when he decides to eliminate Sutter and his entire family after gaining full control of the X-23 project. It should be noted that Rice was dropping Sutter off at home at the same time.
- Tintin. Averted in "The Calculus Affair". After a long (and oft-times comic) car chase, Tintin and Haddock catch up with the car which they believe their kidnapped colleague was bundled into. The men in the vehicle indignantly deny everything and invite them to search the (empty) trunk. It's only after they drive off that Tintin realises the back seat seemed a bit large; turns out there's a compartment underneath it, in which Calculus had been hidden.
- Castlevania: Nocturne of Ruin: Mariabella Fox follows Jonathan, Charlotte, and the Lecardes to Castlevania by hiding in the trunk of their car. Charlotte even takes the time to chew her out for doing something so stupid, not just because of how dangerous Castlevania is, but because she could have suffocated in the trunk.
- John Gage is shoved into one in a junkyard after the kidnappers finish with him in the Emergency! fic "Run". By the time he's found, the hot California weather has left him near death.
- It's Roy, Gage's partner, who gets it in ''R is for Retribution".
- Quentin Tarantino seems to like this trope, along with Trunk Shot.
- In Kill Bill Volume 1, after killing O-Ren, The Bride stuffs Sofie into the trunk of her car. The Bride stops on a hill above a hospital, telling Sofie that she's only letting her live so she can tell Bill what she's done. She pulls Sofie out of the trunk and rolls her down the hill.
- In Jackie Brown, a gun smuggler (played by Samuel L. Jackson) has one of his underlings (played by Chris Tucker) hide in his trunk, under the auspices of being ready for an ambush. He drives around the corner, pops the trunk, and shoots him twice.
- In Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Blonde brings a kidnapped police officer to their hideout in the trunk of his car.
- In From Dusk Till Dawn, the bank teller that the Gecko brothers took hostage can be seen in a cutaway of their stolen car's trunk, bound and gagged.
- In Pulp Fiction, after Vincent shoots Marvin in the face in Jules's car, they eventually put his body in the trunk, clean up the blood and gore, then drive it to Monster Joe's Truck and Tow to be disappeared.
- In the first scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones and his companion are locked in the trunk of a car by their Russian kidnappers.
- Also common in James Bond films:
- The Man with the Golden Gun: While Mary Goodnight is trying to hide a homing device in the trunk of Scaramanga's car, she's shoved into the trunk and the car is driven away. She eventually gets the trunk open, only to find she's hundreds of feet in the air.
- Diamonds Are Forever: After being gassed unconscious, Bond is put into the trunk of a car by Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd and taken to a construction site to be disposed of.
- Suggested by Saunders in The Living Daylights as a means of smuggling out a defector, until Bond overrules the plan: "That's the first place they'd look." After they successfully get the defector out Bond's way, Bond and Saunders reach the border and the border guards... checking out the boot of the car. Saunders looks a bit put-out.
- Quantum of Solace: The Cold Open features Bond in a frantic car chase, after which it's revealed that he was transporting Mr. White in the trunk.
- Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace both feature dead bodies placed in trunks to frame the drivers of the respective cars. In a particular irony, the man who arranged the frame-up in Casino Royale becomes the victim in the trunk in Quantum of Solace.
- GoodFellas opens with the protagonists hearing a noise from their car, then pulling over and staring at the trunk which someone is trying to force open. They open it themselves to reveal a wounded man whom they finish off with their pistols, leading to a How We Got Here.
- The Transporter has its protagonist Frank Martin coming across a woman in his trunk (played by Shu Qi) upon breaking one of his rules (don't look in the package), which sets up the main plot of fighting a human trafficking scheme that we ultimately learn is being headed by the woman's own father.
- When two policeman find this out, Frank knocks them out and locks them in the trunk. They're later killed when a bomb blows up his car.
- Sin City:
- After Miho kills Jackie and his friends, the girls of Old Town have to dispose of the bodies and fast because Jackie was a hero cop. Dwight offers to dispose of the bodies in the nearby tar pits. The car Gail gets doesn't have a big enough trunk, so most of the bodies are chopped up to fit, and Jackie gets to ride shotgun with his head barely still attached.
- Lampshaded when Those Two Bad Guys Klump and Schlubb turn up to dispose of a body, and one points out that the sports car his partner has stolen not only attracts unnecessary attention, but also has no trunk!
- Analyze This:
- Near the beginning, the scene where the psychiatrist crashes into the mafia car, popping the trunk open.
- In the sequel, Robert De Niro's character gets a job as a used-car salesman and uses the number of bodies a given car's trunk could hold as a selling point.
- The Hangover: A pissed-off naked Asian guy pops out of the trunk when the dudes search it.
- In Mystery Date, the car in question has a leaky exhaust. This turns out to be relevant.
- In Back to the Future, Marty gets thrown and locked into a trunk by Biff's goons.
- In Help!, Ringo is kidnapped and put into the trunk by Mad Scientists Foot and Algernon.
- The Villain Protagonist Donnelly in the short film China Lake has a thing for putting his victims inside the trunks of their own cars.
- In Bad Boys II, Lowrey and Burnett forget they drive a suspect KKK member in their trunk. He starts to thrash about when the protagonists are being admonished by their captain for their last mess-up.
Captain: Running people over is not enough for you? Now you're into kidnapping?
- The Green Hornet Strikes Again!: Kato uses this at one point when he needs to get to the villain's lair du jour, and the Hornet already drove off with the Black Beauty.
- In Blues Brothers 2000, Elwood gets two Russian gangsters drunk and then stuffs them in the trunk of the Bluesmobile. Later on in the film, the Bluesmobile's trunk becomes Buster's room; we see him sleep in there.
- In Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, two of the robbers hide in the huge trunk of a 1950s automobile in order to sneak them into a Drive-In Theater. Unfortunately the trunk is shut on the Badass Longcoat worn by one of the robbers; the man selling tickets notices it sticking out of the trunk and calls the police.
- In Get Carter, the woman who seduced Carter's niece and persuaded her to star in porn movies is locked in the boot of his car by Carter, while he contemplates her fate. The car is then stolen by small-time hoods he has beaten up, who get even by pushing it into the River Tyne to spite him...
- This backfires in Year Of The Gun (1991), where a kidnap victim (apparently a willing participant due to his left wing views) is put in the trunk only to die of carbon monoxide poisoning from an exhaust leak. The Red Brigades then pretend he'd been executed as an act of terrorism.
- This also backfires in The Evil That Men Do. When they open the trunk the kidnap victim is dead, because the trunk was shot full of holes while making their getaway.
- In Out of Sight US Marshal Karen Sisco ends up locked in a trunk with escaping prisoner Jack Foley. Romance ensues.
- Used in Hot Fuzz when Danny smuggles a Faking the Dead Nicholas out of Sandford in the boot of his car, under the guise of smuggling his dead body out of the village.
- Red 2. Marvin Boggs turns up to rescue Frank from a CIA interrogation centre. As they're driving along the road exchanging exposition, they hear someone banging and screaming in the trunk. Marvin casually reveals he kidnapped and drugged a US military intelligence officer.
- White Heat may be the Trope Codifier. One guy that Cody is transporting in this way complains that he can't breathe, so Cody gives him a little air by emptying his gun into the trunk.
- Sneakers. Martin Bryce is thrown into a trunk and taken to the Big Bad's headquarters. Afterwards a blind member of his team is able to work out where he went by asking him questions about what he heard and deducing from there.
- In Triangle, the heroine kills another version of herself and stashes the corpse in the trunk of her car. Before she can dispose of the body, the car gets into an accident. Unintentionally, the corpse has become a casualty.
- A Walk Among the Tombstones. A drug dealer's wife has been kidnapped, and he's told to pay the monetary equivalent of her weight in heroin. After making the exchange, he's told she's in the trunk of an abandoned derelict car, but only finds what appears to be packets of heroin. When he cuts open one of the packets, blood spurts out as his wife has been hacked up by the killers.
- Taxi (the Luc Besson original from 1998):
- An interesting case: it seems like the Korean taxi drivers in Marseilles work 24 hours a day. It's always one car, one taxi driver's license — and two drivers, one of whom drives while the other one sleeps in the trunk. They switch places around dawn and sunset. That only works because all Koreans look the same to the French.
- After having seen this, Émilien, the lead cop in the film, tries this trick to stake out a gang of German bank robbers who come to a garage to pick up new tires for their car: He climbs into the trunk of one of the Mercedeses. Now guess where the Germans are going to stash their new tires.
- In Bang Boom Bang, Ratte hides Schlucke's corpse in the trunk of Keek's old Taunus. Andy and Keek find that out when Andy, professional-level amateur soccer player, kicks the back of the car in anger and destroys the trunk lock.
- In The Call, a girl is kidnapped and spends the majority of the film in her abductor's trunk.
- Hitman features both dead bodies and a living but unwilling person being hidden in the trunk of a car.
- In Thelma & Louise, the two girls lock the cop in his trunk with air holes provided.
- In Deadpool, Dopinder ends up kidnapping his romantic rival and stuffing him in the trunk of his cab. The plan was to murder him and drop the body off at his girlfriend's house, but getting rear-ended probably spoiled that plan.
- Jawbreaker: Courtney and her Girl Posse play a prank on Liz that involves tying her up and carrying her in the trunk of the car. This turns out to be a very bad idea.
- Theatre of Blood. A policeman tries to follow Lionheart by hiding in the trunk of his car. Lionheart just parks the car on a train track and walks off. Death by Transceiver ensues.
- Excess Baggage (1997). Emily Hope fakes her own kidnapping to get her father's attention. She handcuffs herself and puts herself in the trunk of her car, but a criminal steals the car while she's in it and the fake kidnapping turns into a real one.
- Fog Over Frisco: Arlene's corpse is eventually discovered in the trunk of her car. But the Intrepid Reporter who discovers it doesn't tell anyone right away, which leads to Arlene's stepsister Val hurriedly driving away in the car, with Arlene's body still in the trunk. And that in turn leads to a pretty amazingly ghastly scene for 1934, in which the "rumble seat" trunk is opened, causing Arlene's body to flip up and her rigor-stiffened arms to point at the sky.
- Puggy from Big Trouble is forced into the trunk of a stolen police car when the two escaped criminals don't need him. At the start of the film, he says this is why he missed some of the action.
- Red Hill: After Jimmy shoots Slim, he dumps him in the boot of Slim's car (to be used later in a Disguised Hostage Gambit). Later, Shane is knocked out in the freezer of the hotel, and wakes to find himself Bound and Gagged in the boot of a car and being driven out of town.
- Diamonds on Wheels: Jock knocks out Charlie and dumps him in the boot of Mercer's car.
- Triple 9: In Irina's Establishing Character Moment, one of her mooks summons her outside where he opens the boot of a car. Inside are a bloodied and battered man and woman, Bound and Gagged. The mook then hands Irina a plastic bag containing their teeth. It is never revealed what this pair did to displease Irina.
- Lemon Tree Passage: Oscar vanishes while standing in the centre of the road looking for the source of the light. Jordan later finds him in the boot of his car. Asphyxiated.
- In American Gods, the bodies of the children that disappear in Lakeside are hidden in the trunk of the klunker, a ruined car put on the ice of the frozen lake each year. When the ice breaks, the dead child becomes a sacrifice to help the town stay prosperous.
- In the Sookie Stackhouse book Club Dead, Sookie throws a weakened Bill in the trunk of a borrowed car to keep him out of the sun.
- In Tea With The Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy, the protagonist is abducted and driven somewhere in the trunk of a car.
- In The Fuller Memorandum, Bob gets abducted by cultists and stuffed into the trunk of a car, prompting him to give a slightly incoherent rant about how all how cars should be required to have transparent trunks.
- An Older Than Feudalism subversion exists in a legend concerning Abraham, the patriarch whose account is told in The Bible: Abraham has his wife Sarah locked in a box (a literal trunk) because he fears that she will be taken by the Egyptians on account of her beauty. This ploy does not work, as he didn't stop to think that maybe, just maybe, the box would have to pass through Customs.
- In Artemis Fowl the Fowl family limo has a specially air conditioned trunk for this purpose.
- In one of The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton a Character Of The Week proves he's not a Dirty Coward by hiding in the trunk of the villain's car to escape from the house where they are being held captive and get help.
- In the second book in Bryan Davis's Dragons in Our Midst series, Billy is Bound and Gagged and locked in the trunk.
- Burke often hides one of his friends (karate expert Max the Silent, or the Prof armed with a Sawn-Off Shotgun) in his Plymouth's large trunk when going to a meeting with potentially dangerous dudes. They wear a padded refrigerator suit for the bumps and have a latch which opens the trunk from the inside.
- In Zeroes, Scam and Mob are stuffed in the trunk of a car by Russian mobsters.
- The plot of mystery novel Trunk Music kicks off when Detective Harry Bosch is called to a murder scene. A dead guy in a fancy suit has been found stuffed in the trunk of a limo.
- Strawberry Spring, a short horror story by Stephen King. The protagonist begins to suspect that he's a serial killer after experiencing Missing Time, and has an irrational fear of opening the trunk of his car.
- In the spy thriller Running Blind, by Desmond Bagley, Alan Stewart captures Double Agent Slade, hiding him in the boot of his car and intending to exchange him for his girlfriend, captured by the KGB. Pretending to the KGB that Slade is hidden elsewhere, Stewart tells his girlfriend to drive the car to the nearest American base and hand him over the CIA agent there (advising her to use the word "trunk" or he won't know where to look). Unfortunately a KGB agent searches the car for the MacGuffin and finds a pissed-off Slade instead.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events has the Baudelaire orphans hide in Count Olaf's car as he escapes from the burning Heimlich Hospital. At the start of the ninth book, they escape and disguise themselves as carnival freaks.
- In 24's second season, when Kim Bauer and her boyfriend Miguel are taking Megan to Kim's aunt's house, using Megan's father's stolen car, she is pulled over for speeding. The cop opens the trunk, which contains the corpse of Megan's mother.
- In season 3 of Dexter, someone ambushes Dexter in the parking-garage as he's leaving work, ties him up and throws him in a trunk before driving off with him. Dexter — and the viewer — naturally assumes that it's the resident antagonist, The Skinner, taking him off to torture and murder, and Dex tensely frees himself of his constrains and readies himself to pounce the moment the trunk is opened — and so he does, squarely hitting... one of his colleagues, who'd chosen this rather melodramatic way to cart him off to a secret Bachelor-party. The rest of his colleagues are both impressed and amused by the reaction, and Dex rapidly recovers his cool.
- Touched by an Angel: The Celebrity of the Week (Jack Ritter, if memory serves correctly) gets carjacked and stuffed in the trunk; after the car gets abandoned on the side of the road, the rest of the episode is a race against time to find him before he bakes to death.
- On NYPD Blue a random car got in an accident with the car Andy & Bobby were in; they heard thumping & screaming from the trunk, which they popped to discover he had a woman in the trunk of his car.
- Shane kidnaps JD in this way in Harper's Island, wrongly assuming that JD murdered Kelly.
- Team Westen of Burn Notice often transports captured enemies this way.
- In one episode, the Creep of the Week is holding a navy officer for ransom, keeping her in the trunk of a car. This leads to a race against time to find her, as said Creep didn't know she had asthma (and therefore was in danger of suffocation before his deadline would come).
- Another episode has Gibbs hide himself in the trunk as part of a rescue mission for Director Shepard. He's still in the trunk when he shoots the kidnapper.
- In Eureka, Fargo tries to fob his AI car Tabitha off on Larry, who refuses to accept her. Tabitha is self-aware and insulted enough to pursue both of them, lock them in her trunk, and drive around for a while until they're convinced she's going to kill them. She eventually lets Fargo go so he can save the town, though.
- In Malcolm in the Middle, when Malcolm and Reese realized that Francis decided to give a concert ticket to a girl he just met instead of either of them, the two decided to sabotage his date. The final act of sabotage managed to work out after Francis's car got pulled over by a cop and the cop finding the two stuffed themselves in the trunk of the car.
- When Will works as a car salesman in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he has trouble selling a car to a group of Wiseguys until he shows them how well he fits in the trunk.
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sarah is tied up in the backseat of a car being driven by Cromartie. When she frees her feet and jumps out, he simply stops, picks her up and throws her in the trunk.
- Nick Knight from Forever Knight obtained a vintage Cadillac explicitly to invoke this trope if he is caught away from shelter at dawn. He has an Oh, Crap! moment when his partner borrows the car without permission, driving around in daylight with Nick trapped in the trunk, and the brakelines turn out to be sabotaged.
- In The Sentinel episode "Girl Next Door", Blair rescues a woman who's been trapped in her trunk by her ex. Unfortunately she turns out to be a criminal who winds up dragging Blair—at gunpoint—into an armed robbery and a drug-smuggling operation. At the end of the episode, he takes satisfaction in stashing her back in the trunk.
- In the first season finale of Life, Charlie Crews abducts the man who committed the murders for which he was wrongfully convicted and spends several hours driving around L.A. with the man in the trunk of his car. Amazingly, the abductee manages to survive with only a few cuts and scrapes when the car is T-boned so hard that it flips over and lands upside down.
- The Professionals.
- Doyle is put in a trunk by the bad guys for later disposal, only for the car to be stolen by joyriding hoodlums. He eventually gets himself free and the car gets driven off the road for no apparent reason. No-one was harmed though as there were only a couple of crash test dummies in the front seat.
- In "Servant with Two Masters", Bodie has a thug Bound and Gagged and throws him in the back of his car for safekeeping. Then Doyle comes along and finds the vehicle rocking as the thug struggles to free himself.
- Bodie also hides in the tunk in order to follow a shady politician to his meeting.
- For most of the pilot episode of The Americans the Jennings' Oldsmobile has a Soviet defector in the trunk.
- Bodies in trunks of cars occasionally surface as the Victim Of the Week in the various CSI episodes.
- Top Gear:
- How do we know the Rolls Royce Corniche that Jeremy Clarkson is driving actually belongs to James May? Easy...because May is trapped in the boot.
- One of the tests used for finding the ideal car for members of the Albanian Mafia is seeing if a body will fit into the trunk. Unfortunately, said body is decidedly large.
- Invoked when Richard Hammond is reviewing the fifth generation Mustang, noting that bad guys in movies tend to stuff people into the trunks of muscle cars. He then points out a convenient trunk release lever mounted on the inside of the trunk lid which shows a man leaping from the trunk.
- When testing out the Renault Twingo, Jeremy has Ross Kemp get into the trunk to show how much space it has. Kemp stays there for the rest of the test, even when Jeremy tries to jump it onto a ferry.
- Supernatural. In the final episode of Season 4, Sam captures a demon who lets the woman she's possessing resurface, so Sam has to listen to her pounding on the trunk lid, begging to be let out.
- In the eighth season opener, Dean reveals that he has Crowley locked in his trunk.
- A Running Gag in Person of Interest. Notable examples include:
Shaw: Next time we need to hide from an all-seeing supercomputer, we're getting separate trunks.
- In the pilot episode, Reese puts the dead body of Detective Fusco's corrupt superior in his trunk, leaving Fusco the job of disposing of it.
- In "Judgement", Reese uses this trope as an interrogation method. He'll stop driving recklessly and let the mook out of the trunk when he agrees to talk. The mook doesn't have much information, but he reveals the location of a second member of the gang who also ends up in the trunk. When this man refuses to talk, Reese cuts the bonds of the first man and says he can get out of the trunk the moment he gets the information Reese needs. Cue first mook beating up the second until he talks.
- In "Blue Code" Reese himself ends up in the trunk of a car which is then set on fire. Fortunately one of the criminals is an undercover police officer who slips a torch into Reese's pocket, enabling him to escape in time.
- In "Til Death", a married couple are planning to murder each other, so Reese abducts them one at a time (in the middle of a busy Manhattan street) and throws them both in his trunk, much to the embarrassment of Detective Fusco and Carter who are standing right there. Fusco ends up slapping the trunk loudly when the woman starts banging and shouting to be let out.
- In "Razgovor", a Russian mafia mook learns the importance of clearing out your trunk before doing this trope when Shaw smacks him in the face with a tyre iron.
- In "Proteus", Reese goes to dump a body in his trunk, only to find another body already there. Turns out the (fake) FBI agent he's working with is actually the Villain of the Week.
- In "Liberty", criminals throw the Victim of the Week in their trunk, only to have the car drive off without them as Reese has already knocked out and replaced the driver.
- In "Beta", Reese and Shaw bribe a cab driver to smuggle them in his trunk to avoid being caught on the numerous CCTV's being monitored by Samaritan.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Charlie kidnaps a restaurant critic and his neighbor and puts them in a trunk in "Paddy's Pub: Worst Bar in Philadelphia", and is later put in the trunk himself on a trip to Atlantic City because the gang think he'll be less nervous about leaving Philadelphia if he can't see the outside world.
- In the finale of Season 2 Luther has to get rid of a psychotic gangster killed in self-defense by the woman he's hiding in his flat. At the same time an ex-cop working as an enforcer is trying to find out what happened to his boss. At first Luther hides the body on the roof of his apartment complex, but has to get rid of it when the enforcer comes around, dragging it into the lift in a huge sports bag. The enforcer catches Luther locking the trunk of his car and forces him to open it at gunpoint, revealing the bag...is full of sports equipment. Later the police answer an anonymous tip-off and find the body hidden in the enforcer's car. When he realises he's been set up the enforcer flees, expressing admiration for Luther's cunning.
- In the Due South episode "Pizzas and Promises", Ray hides in the trunk of a car to figure out where the car thieves take it to get repainted (the plot revolves around a scheme to repeatedly sell and steal the same used cars, repainting them and replacing the Vehicle ID Numbers each time). The bad guys figure out he's in there and dump the car in the river, necessitating a rescue from Fraser.
- On My Name Is Earl, Joy used this tactic while attempting to cross the border to Mexico because she was afraid of going to prison for the rest of her life.
- An Invoked Trope in Wiseguy. A Mafia boss is angry because a hitman failed to kill his target. The hitman protests that he emptied an entire clip from an Uzi into the man. The Mafia boss retorts that when you want someone dead, you shoot them in the back of the head and stuff their body in a trunk. He then does exactly that to the hitman.
- Used twice in the Dutch childrens series Bassie & Adriaan. Played seriously in "de Diamant", when Bassie and Adriaan hide in the trunk of the crook's car in order to find out where they are going. Played for Laughs in "De Reis Vol Verrassingen" when the crook B100 has to ride in the trunk because the car that he and his fellows use to get to the Airport doesn't have a backseat.
- DCI Banks: "Ghosts" opens with the camera following a car as it drives through the streets of the city, passing the revelers coming out of the pubs and clubs. The car drives out into the country where it stops. The driver gets out and opens the boot, revealing a dead body. The driver then drops the body down a ravine and drives off.
- Murder, She Wrote: The solution to "The Final Flight of the Dixie Damsel" involves someone having been hidden in the trunk of a Cadillac being shipped back to the States in the Dixie Damsel.
- In the season 2 episode of The Walking Dead, "18 Miles Out", Rick and Shane transport Randall away from the farm in the trunk of their car so as to try and hide the location of the farm from him and anyone he may tell.
- Narcos. Pablo Escobar is an entirely willing version, so he can travel about covertly.
"I mean, who in the hell would think that the seventh richest man in the world would be riding around in the trunk of a piece of poop taxi?"
- Leverage: In "The Juror #6 Job", Eliot knocks out two mooks and locks them in the trunk of their own car.
- Inspector Morse. In "The Day of the Devil", a criminal escapes from prison by hiding in the trunk of his psychiatrist's car — she left the key in the lock while loading some files in the back seat. Morse later realises the psychiatrist was in on the escape, and had left the car unlocked deliberately.
- Psych had an episode where Shawn was shot and forced into the trunk of a car by the man he was tracking. Notably, he uses a tactic his father taught him about removing the taillight to see where he is.
- Veronica Mars had a rather clever use of this. After his daughter is born, Duncan Kane gets into a custody battle with the parents of the recently deceased mother. Deciding he can't win against them, he kidnaps his daughter and flees the country. Veronica tells Sheriff Lamb that he fled to Mexico and Lamb goes after him. After it turns out to be a false lead, Lamb goes home. Along the way, he discovers he inadvertently helped Duncan sneak out of the country in his own patrol car's trunk.
- Buster from Arrested Development attempts to sneak into Mexico this way in the episode "Amigos". He passes out just as the journey begins and escapes from the trunk just after he wakes up. It turns out they're only six miles away from his home and is now at Lupe's (his mother's maid) house.
- In Eminem's song "Stan" (except in the radio edit), Stan says that his girlfriend is in the trunk of his car. Worse, she's still alive, at least until Stan crashes it, and can be heard screaming, which causes Stan to yell at her to shut up.
- The music video for Kanye West's song "Flashing Lights" has himself locked up in the trunk of a model's car where she brutally murders him with a shovel.
- "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks is about a woman who (with help from her friend from high school) kills her abusive ex-husband by poisoning his food. She then disposes of his body down by the lake, and puts the body in the trunk to facilitate this.
- Taken very literally in an early AFI video, with a literal punk in the trunk who is taken someplace and stabbed to death. Yep, nice.
- The Tragically Hip song Locked In The Trunk Of A Car, which is pretty self-explanatory. It's actually a dramatization of an incident in which a group of Quebec separatist terrorists took a government official hostage and stuffed him in the trunk of a car after knocking him out. He was later killed.
- This trope makes up the chorus of "Trunk" by Spinout: "Get in the trunk, bitch, I'm gonna drive"
- In the music video for And We Danced, a group of people going to the drive-in movie theater shove a friend in the trunk of the car, to sneak him in.
- In the music video for Song Ji Eun's song "Going Crazy," the main character is seen driving along an abandoned road while periodically checking the trunk of her car. A Trunk Shot at the climax of the song reveals a kidnapped guy she has tied up in there, along with a gas can, which she douses him with before walking away and throwing a lighter behind her as the video cuts to black.
- The Unknown Hinson parody song "In The Trunk Of My Cadillac Car".
- Another music video (can't remember the title, sorry) had two hitmen taking a victim out into the woods to be executed, only to find they're stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in which the victim keeps reappearing in their trunk, no matter how many times they kill him.
- This is the fate of the narrator in "The Shadow Government" by They Might Be Giants:
Crawling out of the flophouse
I saw the mayor stealing my junk
I doth protest,
Now my body's in his trunk
- The end of Konichiwa Bitches by Robyn mentions this:
Tape you up good
Put you in the trunk
See you next Tuesday
You is a punk
- Cherry 2000's "Marlboro" includes the lyric "We've got somebody tied up in the trunk right now". It's something of a Wham Line, because up to that point the song just seems to be about taking an impulsive road trip. Since a later line is "Forgot your shovel", it's implied that they're planning on Disposing of a Body.
- In "Living Doll", Cliff Richard sings that he's going to lock said girl in a trunk so a better-looking man can't steal her away from him. Though it could be the other kind of trunk. As The Young Ones said while doing a cover, locking girls in trunks is politically unsound, and think of what it does to the elephants.
- Played for laughs in Creature from the Black Lagoon, which features a moviegoer is trapped inside the trunk of his friend's car after a botched attempt to sneak into the drive-thru.
- A story in Reader's Digest told of a man who had been kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of his own car which was then stolen by the assailants. He eventually survived, but was severely beaten in the meantime.
- A Hsu and Chan strip featured in Electronic Gaming Monthly had the duo do some research into the criminal underworld for an upcoming game. The gangster they end up working with kills the one they initially met with and sticks him in the trunk of their car. They then go to meet someone who he says will help with the corpse in the trunk. He ends up killing that guy as well.
Chan: I thought you said he'd be helping with the guy in the trunk?
Gangster: Well, he will, kind of. He'll be keeping him company.
- On WWE Raw Wrestling/Kane and Triple H were in a feud (the ever popular Katie Vick angle), and at the end of the episode Kane tossed Trip into a car's trunk and drove off - but then we saw the car trunk pop open just as they were going to black! Oops. Dealt with at the top of the next episode:
Triple H: I've got a special guest gonna come out here later - but before we come to that, I'd like to give a little personal message to Kane. Kane, this is just advice, but next time you try to accost somebody by sticking them into the trunk of a car, you should try to make sure that the trunk does not have one of those child safety latches on the roof - I mean, you can just pull it and jump OUT of the trunk before the person even drives off. Just a bit of advice.
- One time, the diva Joy Giovanni was discovered bound and gagged inside the trunk of JBL's limo, prompting an enraged The Big Show to attack him and his group. Later, Kurt Angle revealed he was the one who abducted her, as he had been feuding with both JBL and Big Show at the time.
- In Assassin's Creed II, when Desmond and Lucy are escaping from Abstergo, they make it to the parking garage. Lucy has Desmond hide in her car's trunk on the way to the safehouse.
- Ace Attorney:
- Valerie Hawthorne in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations, was stuffed in the trunk of the car after being killed.
- In the first game, after killing Bruce Goodman, Damon Gant stuffed the body in the trunk of Edgeworth's car.
- In Investigations 2, a pair of kidnappers stash their live victim in a large box thrown into the trunk of a taxi.
- In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Pal Meraktis wanted to do this with what he thought was Alita Tiala's dead body, so he could dispose of it. He couldn't get his car started (unbeknownst to him, someone had shoved a pair of panties in the exhaust pipe), so he settled for shoving her in the back of the next-door mobile noodle stand. This all bit him bad when it turned out Alita wasn't actually dead, and shot him not long after coming to.
- The aptly named "Dead Skunk In The Trunk" mission in Grand Theft Auto III has you drive a car with a dead mobster in the trunk while his "family" chases you.
- There is also the mission "Have a Heart" in Grand Theft Auto IV, in which Elizabeta kills Manny Escuela and his cameraman and you have to deliver the bodies to a back-alley surgeon with enough care that the trunk won't fly open from an unwanted crash and the police won't chase you down.
- In the same game, at the start of the "Roman's Sorrow" mission, Niko finds Roman stuck in the trunk of his own taxi. He hid there to escape the Russians, who are after him due to the events of the previous mission, "Russian Revolution".
- Continued in Grand Theft Auto V, where Devin Weston is stuffed in a trunk by the protagonists, and then the car is pushed off of a cliff, with predictable results.
- In the first mission of the Russian campaign of Empire Earth, Grigor starts out hiding from the authorities in the trunk of his friend's Pyotr car and planning to escape Voronezh. However, he is aware that the trunk is "the first place the guards check" and thus they look for a better vehicle to smuggle him out. If they try to use the original car, they are caught and laugh at how Grigor tried to escape hiding in a trunk "like in a bad spy movie".
- Haunting Starring Polterguy: One of poltergeist Polterguy's jump scares. In the garage he can make a tied up person make appear in the trunk in Vito's car.
- Reservoir Dogs has a driving mission where Mr Blonde is driving the cop he kidnapped back to the meeting point. If the player slows down for a certain amount of time the cop jumps out and flees.
- In Mafia II, one of the first things the newly-released-from-prison Vito Scaletta must do is help bury a body, which had been mistakenly left in the trunk for "a couple of days".
- Given its nature as a gangland simulator, no matter how wacky, Saints Row 2 features this in one of its missions. In the Brotherhood mission "Bank Error In Your Favor," The Boss, starting his Roaring Rampage of Revenge over the death of Carlos, finds out that Jessica, the one who ordered Carlos dragged to death, is isolated at a bank. They kidnap Jessica, stuff her in the trunk of her own car, and drive to a demolition derby where the car is parked in a line of cars for Jessica's boyfriend Maero, the Brotherhood's leader, to destroy with his monster truck. She ends up crushed to death and Maero founds out too late how and why when the Boss throws him the keys to Jessica's car.
- Subverted in L.A. Noire, in an early case you find the bloody remains of a missing man in the trunk of an abandoned car. During the investigation, you learn that he butchered a pig in there to fake his own death and run away with his mistress. Played straight later, when thugs try to jam Jack Kelso in one, only for him to escape.
- Sleeping Dogs: In addition to the numerous story missions and side-missions that use this, it's also a freeroam mechanic. Just grab the pedestrian of your choice, take them to the trunk of your choice, press the action button and you've got your very own unwilling passenger.
- Rides With Strangers: Muffled screaming and banging can be heard coming from the trunk of Father Donald's car. You can't do anything to help the poor bastard, so it can be assumed that Donald kills him offscreen after the events of the ride.
- During the Golden Ending of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Junpei and his companions escape the facility to find that Zero has left them a fully fueled jeep with the Eviler Than Thou Greater-Scope Villain Gentarou "Ace" Hongou tied up and left in the trunk.
- In Turnabout Musical, during the song "The Way Things Were", Wendy Oldbag snaps at Gumshoe "Oh what would you know, you disrespectful punk? Back in my day, you talked like that and we'd lock you in a trunk!"
- DuckTales (1987): "The Good Muddahs" features the variant where someone is stuffed in the trunk in order to effect a getaway from the authorities. Specifically, the Nephews, Bubba and Webby stuff the Beagle Babes into their own trunk, and drive away pursued by two stupid rookie cops.
Boom-Boom Beagle: Remind me never to stuff a stiff in the trunk again! It's too cruel!
- Interestingly enough, after suffering the bumpy ride, Boom-Boom Beagle refers to the variant where a dead body is stuffed in the trunk:
- Family Guy does this a few times:
- In the episode "Don't Make Me Over", in a cutaway gag, Neil Armstrong runs into someone after filming the moon landing. The man wonders why he is on Earth, because he just saw the moon landing on TV. Neil Armstrong kills the man with his astronaut's helmet and stuffs him into the trunk of his car.
- In the episode "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter", Stewie knocks out his babysitter's boyfriend, because he is jealous of him. He throws him in the trunk of Brian's car. Weeks later, he completely forgets about him, and the man dies.
- In an episode of King of the Hill, Hank, Dale, and Kahn are in Mexico, trying to cross the border to the US, in order to escape a fine that they were sentenced to pay. Dale says that if the Border Patrol sees Hank and himself, they will be fine, but Kahn will get them arrested if he is seen. Kahn hides in the car's trunk, but gets out of it after Dale freaks out at the border crossing.
- Done several times on Beavis and Butt-Head:
- The two get thrown in the trunk themselves on at least two occasions: By Todd in "Canned", and by Muddy in the film.
- In "A Great Day", the two stumble upon a man who is stuffing a dead body in his trunk, who promptly pays them to go away and not say anything about it.
- In the Adventuresin Odyssey story "A Stranger Among Us", Dylan and Eugene believe that one of the guests at Whit's End has "got [Connie] in the trunk", but she accidentally got locked in the closet.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart suddenly gets a phone call while driving,
Homer: Bart, I don't want to alarm you, but I'm inside the trunk.
[thumps come from the back of the car]
Homer: That was me. Some very uncool people put me here.
- This happens in Transformers Prime of all shows in the Season 3 episode "Plus One", in which Mrs. Darby and Agent Fowler both end up in the trunk of the Decepticon Knock Out.
- Megas XLR: In "Universal Remote", Coop and Jamie smuggle Goat into a drive-in theater in the trunk of Megas' car. Then Skalgar attacks during the movie. By the end of the episode, Goat is still inside the trunk, unaware of what has happened and wondering when the movie will finally begin. During the credits, he can be heard banging the lid to signal he wants to be let out.
- In any country with mandatory seat-belt laws, it's actually illegal for anyone to travel in this way simply because the trunk doesn't have seat belts. It doesn't help if the passenger is already dead, because then you have worse things to worry about...
- This happened so often in East Germany that GDR border guards were taught a good method to immediately find out if there was someone hiding in a car's trunk: As a person is usually heavier than normal luggage, the car will be pushed down by the springs on its rear, and this pushes the front up. So, if the car's headlights shine up at any higher angle than they are supposed to, there is someone hiding in the back.
- This was a popular method of getting people into drive-in movies without paying. Used in Thunderbolt And Light Foot and Grease.
- Parodied by those Halloween decorations that consist of a disembodied plastic hand with a hook that attaches to the inside of the trunk so it looks like someone's hand is hanging out.
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard # 401 requires glow-in-the-dark release catches inside the trunk of 2003 and newer vehicles built for the US market.
- Serial killer Joel Rifkin was stopped for driving without a license plate. Police found a dead prostitute in the trunk of his car.
- It's possible for a Punk in the Trunk to invoke a similar Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot. If the car is an older model or the interior trunk release is disabled, it may be possible to pry off the lining to get at the cords leading to one of the tail lights. Disabling one increases the chance that the car will be noticed by the police.