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Shackle Seat Trap

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A stock Booby Trap used by Mad Scientists, Supervillains, and other mechanically-inclined bad guys to take prisoners captive, a Shackle Seat Trap resembles a normal chair, sofa, or bench, at least until someone sits down on it. Once they're seated, either the act of sitting itself or some secondary trigger causes sturdy restraints to pop out of its armrests and/or back, ensnaring the sitter and holding them in place. Miraculously, these restraints will always prove just the right size and length to bind them snugly, whatever the sitter's size and height.

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Variants using beds, car seats, operating tables, or other places a potential victim might settle into also occur, though rarely.

Often a form of Schmuck Bait, if the victim already has cause to be wary of traps in the vicinity.

Murphy's Bed is its reclining sister trope.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • In Nina Paley's Joyride, the seats of the spaceship Puddlejumper have wrist-clamps that trap Hoyt when he sits down. When Patty the hacker suggests she reprogram the ship's AI to stop it from doing things like that, it traps her wrists too.
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     Film 
  • Live and Let Die. When James Bond sits down inside Mr. Big's headquarters, steel bands in the chair's arms snap shut on his wrists, holding him prisoner.
  • In The Wolverine, the title character is tricked into extending his adamantium claws while he's sitting on a chair in Viper's lair, at which point the chair locks his hands and wrists in place, rendering him unable to retract them. Then Silver Samurai appears and uses his super-heated adamantium blade to cut Wolvie's claws.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, when Freddy attacks Sheila in the dream-classroom, hers and Alice's desks sprout extra bars to trap them both.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Dana slumps down into a chair, which sprouts grabby demonic arms. These hold her captive as the chair itself slides into a gateway to Zuul's realm.
  • In The Muppet Movie, Mel Brooks forces Kermit into the seat of a brain-scrambling device, and plastic restraints clamp shut on the frog's skinny wrists and ankles.
  • The Super Mario Bros. movie has a chair in Koopa's devolution chamber that straps people in and forces them into the machine. Mario and Luigi later use this against Koopa by knocking him into the chair, briefly de-evolving him so they can escape.
  • In Hardcore Henry, Punk-Jimmy coaxes Henry into one when he realizes that Akan is tapping into Henry's visual feed. It fails to hold Henry for long.
  • 12 Monkeys. When James Cole is brought in to meet the panel of scientists, his guards caution them about how dangerous he is. A scientist assures them that Cole isn't going to do them harm, and asks him to take a seat. Cole sits in the only chair available, whereupon metal clamps close over his wrists and the seat elevates halfway up the wall.
  • The school bus to Sky High (2005) sprouts seat belts and shoulder straps, securing the students in their seats, just before it drives off the unfinished highway and transforms into an aircraft.
  • Prince Naveen from Disney's The Princess and the Frog visits the voodoo villain Doctor Facilier, and finds himself restrained in his chair by armrests that have transformed into serpents. The serpents hold Naveen securely in place while Facilier extracts a blood sample.
  • The Haunting (1999): When Crain's ghost animates the woodwork in Nell's room, ornamental spikes above her bed extend to pierce the mattress all around her, boxing her in.
  • The reclining sled used to launch Runners into the game zone in The Running Man has automatic restraints for ankles and wrists, that pop out and bind whomever sits down in it.

     Literature 
  • In Casino Infernale, Molly sits down in an office chair while she and Eddie are searching a room for traps, and metal restraints pop out of it to hold her in place. As Molly is a very powerful witch who doesn't need her hands free to use magic, she just sends them snapping back into the chair with a Word, then glares at Eddie daring him to laugh at her for falling for the chair's Schmuck Bait.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry views Dumbledore's memories in the Pensieve, specifically of the wizarding equivalent of the Nuremberg tribunals after Voldemort's defeat. The accused is placed in a chair equipped with chains magicked to automatically bind them when they sit down. When Harry himself is tried for underage magic in Order of the Phoenix, he's relieved when the chains stay still for him.
  • The villains trap Erast Fandorin in one of these during their final confrontation in The Winter Queen. Fandorin manages to escape by pretending they've sedated him with chloroform, when they unshackle and try to move his "unconscious" body.
  • Villain-free variant: In Strata, Kin climbs onto a mechanical horse, only to find her legs trapped by metal bands that spring from its sides. She'd have been quite alarmed, except that the bands are comfortably padded, being a safety measure to ensure riders can't fall off or be crushed if the horse is knocked on its side.
  • In one of the Eric Van Lustbader novels, a KGB general is killed this way during a deadly demonstration of a virtual reality interrogation room. He's told to sit down in the sofa, which restrains him, then the subsequent images cause him to die of a heart attack. It was mentioned earlier that he had a phobia about being restrained as well.
  • In The California Voodoo Game, Captain Cypher accepts the challenge of a loa-possessed video arcade game, and sits down on its contoured seat to play. The plastic seat immediately re-molds itself to wrap around his body, leaving only his arms and head free.
  • Referenced in one of the Diogenes Club stories, in which an agent of the Club feels a brief interlude of anxiety when he sits down in an examination chair at the village doctor's office. He knows this particular doctor is no Mad Scientist, but his personal experience with ones that were is such that he can't help but suspect this trope may come into play.

     Live Action Television 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Deep Breath", the Doctor and Clara get snared by restraints that pop out of the upholstery of a restaurant booth. The whole booth then drops through the floor like an elevator, carrying its captives with it.
    • In "The Androids of Tara", Romana lies down on a bed for examination by a doctor, and metal brackets pop up and encircle her body to hold her there.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. Celesta, the embodiment of Death, comes to take King Sisyphus to the afterlife at the start of the "Death In Chains" episode. He offers her some food before she takes him. After she sits down, restraints snap around her wrists and he takes away her Eternal Flame, trapping her there.
  • In the Night Gallery episode "A Question Of Fear", Leslie Nielsen gets trapped by a bed that's rigged this way.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Where The Wild Things Are", Spike is sitting in Haunted House, smirking at all the running and screaming going on, when suddenly straps whip across his arms and mouth.
  • On The Orville, Alara gets strapped down by automatic restraints on a sick-bay examination table during a fear-testing simulation she had Isaac design for her.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Strictly Business", Murdoc rigs a Death Trap in which metal clamps spring out of a chair to hold him place, a statue of Cupid spins around automatically, and a candle burns through a string to launch a cyanide-coated dart from Cupid's bow at Mac's heart.

     Mythology 

     Music 
  • Happens without a seat in the video for Asia's "Don't Cry", when one of the ill-fated explorers leans against the wrong wall and his wrists are trapped this way.
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     Video Games 
  • Bioshock Infinite. Near the beginning, the only way for the plot to proceed is for Booker to sit in a chair in the top floor of the lighthouse. Bands snap down trapping him and a lift-off sequence begins.
  • The Evil Within: The chair that you have to sit in to upgrade your abilities does this. The first time it happens, Castellanos freaks out, but afterwards he knows it's coming and just puts up with it.

     Western Animation 
  • In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, Colonel Calloway learns too late that he sat in one of these when he visits Ms. Grimwood.
  • This happens to Mickey Mouse in the 1995 cartoon Runaway Brain, when Mickey applies for a job under Mad Scientist Doctor Frankenollie. He drops through a Trap Door into exactly this kind of chair, and remarks "Talk about your ironclad contract..."
  • In one of the Wallace & Gromit Cracking Contraptions shorts, Wallace's device for clearing the table includes shackles on the chairs so that he and Gromit don't get sucked in by the vacuum that removes the dirty plates. Unfortunately, the power goes out before they can be freed.
  • Parodied in "Treehouse Of Horror XVIII" episode of The Simpsons, where Bart, Lisa, Milhouse and Nelson are whisked away into Hell and are put in chairs with demon arms that bind them. Nelson pulls his hands upward before he can get bound, but another set of arms pops out.
    • In the episode Burns' Heir, Mr. Burns hits the wrong button and the chair Bart is sitting in suddenly sprouts shackles.
  • Just about any time Perry the Platypus sits down, it's in one of these.
  • Spongebob falls victim to this after being crowned the King of Karate in the episode "Karate Island". He is shackled to his own throne.
  • Wild Kratts: In "Octopus Windkratticus", Martin sits down in one of the Octo-pod's seats and is wrapped by eight flexible appendages that hold him down. He initially assumes they're automatic seat belts, but they're the arms of a giant Pacific octopus that's clinging to the back of the chair.
  • Ruby-Spears' Mega Man cartoon had Roll thrown into a makeup chair in episode 2, which restrained her.
  • Used on Zach and Ivy in an episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?. Ivy, however, was able to stand up in the heavy steel chair, and nearly burst her restraints, when a rogue judge pushed her Berserk Button by threatening to jail Carmen Sandiego without a fair trial.
  • Teen Titans Go!: When Robin finds Terra hacking the Titans' computer in "Terra-rized", he sics the T-Tower's defenses on her. Among the resulting auto-defenses is a set of restraints that pop out of the couch cushions and entrap her arms and torso.

     Real Life 
  • According to Russian legend, Catherine the Great employed a torturer named Sheshkovsky, whose main implement was such a chair. Sheshkovsky invited his victim to sit in a chair, then the mechanism locked the occupant in place, and the chair lowered midway to the floor below to expose the occupant's rear end to the two burly men with whips who were waiting downstairs and whipped the victim hard. One intended victim of the device, one Count Razumovsky, allegedly forced the torture master to sit in his own chair. The mechanism worked, and the burly men with whips unknowingly whipped their boss instead of their proper victim.
    • In reality, Sheshkovsky existed but no proof of the existence of his "invention" was found.
  • A harmless joke version can be seen on display in Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen; it grabs a sitter with levers hidden in the armrests, then soaks them with water from a container hidden in the back.

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