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Stewed Alive

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Neelix: And the next thing I knew I was being boiled alive in a pot of my own leola root stew.
Torres: Talk about a nightmare!
Neelix: It was perfectly seasoned.


Bob and Alice are lost in the woods, when suddenly, a wolf that talks and walks on two legs invites them to his cave for dinner. Bob and Alice accept the invitation, only to wind up in a big black stewpot while the wolf chops carrots and other ingredients into the broth.

Other likely culprits are a Cannibal Tribe preparing a cannibal stew (despite not actually having the technology to make a metal cauldron), a Big Red Devil boiling sinners in Hell while prodding them with a pitchfork, or a Wicked Witch looking to use up those leftover German kids she has lying around.

Was very common in The Golden Age of Animation as well as comic strips from the first half of the 20th century, usually along with a gag about the person being stewed wanting to know what smells so good, or why his "bath" water seems like it's getting hotter and hotter.


Like Meat-O-Vision, this trope is often Played for Laughs as a form of Black Comedy Cannibalism, though getting boiled alive for real ranks as one of the less pleasant ways to die. On the other hand, Eaten Alive is more likely to be played for horror.

This can be a death trope. Watch out for unmarked spoilers!


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  • In a Dutch commercial for the candy Haribo, famous television presenter Peter Jan Rens stumbles upon a tribe of cannibals and soon finds himself in a large cauldron. Fortunately for him, the cannibals turn out to be more interested in the candy he brought with him.
  • A Wilkins Coffee commercial had Wilkins and Wontkins being boiled by cannibals in a giant coffee cup.
    Wilkins: Hey, the cannibals are boiling us in Wilkins Coffee!
    Wontkins: Yeah, so what?
    Wilkins: I was beginning to think you'd never join me in a cup of Wilkins.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ranma ½, Ryoga was captured by Genma and the tour guide while in pig form. For some reason, they decide the best way to cook him is to throw him into a pot of boiling water — while still alive. Fortunately for Ryoga, hot water turns him back into a human. "Oh, it is poor person! Now we cannot eat!"
    • Cologne also once tried to cook Ryoga, with similar results.
  • Invoked in a chapter cover from Yaiba, where the titular hero is trying to boil Villain of the Week Ishikawa Goemon in an iron kettle, as a parody of the real "Goemonburo" (Goemon's Hot Bath).
  • One Piece:
    • In the first mini-arc "Buggy's Crew: After the Battle", this happened to the remaining members of Buggy's Pirates after they were Captured by Cannibals. Luckily, Buggy and his officers were able to save them before any real damage was done.
    • Implied and Invoked by Kozuki Oden, Daimyo of Wano. It's not openly said how he died, but a flashback conversation has him goading his captors into boiling him alive. After all, Oden is also a type of boiling hot soup. A further flashback shows that this was not Played for Laughs at all, and Oden endured being boiled for an hour in order to save the lives of his vassals. Orochi wasn't impressed and tried to simply have Oden's vassals shot, but Kaido was.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 7 episode 22 of Happy Heroes, the fish monster assisting by Big M. is captured by Ambassador Miao and his cat guards and boiled alive in a big pot for them to eat.
  • Motu Patlu: In "Time Machine", the wild tribe puts Motu and Patlu in a boiling cauldron to cook them.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolffy often tries to eat the goats by tying them up and putting them in a boiling pot.

    Comic Books 
  • Nero: This was a very common scenario whenever the protagonists stranded in the jungle or some exotic island anywhere. The local tribesmen would often put them into a boiling cauldron to eat them.
  • Jommeke: Also a typical scenario whenever the characters visited Africa.
  • Suske en Wiske: Also a recurring plot in the old stories. An interesting subversion is "De Gramme Huurling", where the tribesmen tell Suske en Wiske they don't put people in cauldrons anymore, because they are modernized: "Instead we put them in pressure cookers."
  • Happens at the end of the third De cape et de crocs to Armand and Don Lope, allowing for two pages of Lope's backstory By the Lights of Their Eyes and a Lampshade Hanging on the gaps between books.
  • Asterix: Almost happened to a Roman soldier in The Big Fight: the cauldron had landed on his head and he refused to leave it and be sent back on patrol. His squadmates start a fire and put him over it, and he leaves once things get too hot for him.
  • Rocky: In a sequence, Rocky has arrived in New York to pay a social call to a friend, who lives in a rather murky neighborhood. When Rocky calls on him, two sinister black guys hang around close by. During the time it takes for the friend to answer the bell, the two get closer and closer, until Rocky imagines himself in a cauldron while the two men suddenly dance around him with spears and full cannibal outfit. To compete this, Rocky even wears a classical British Empire helmet.
    Rocky (screaming in panic): Open the door for pity`s sake!
  • The Smurfs: Gargamel finds himself in a big cauldron being stewed alive by the Devil when a Smurf uses the magic wishing bird to send him to Hell in "The Smurfs And The Magic Bird".

    Fan Works 
  • One Inuyasha fanfic subverts this. In it, Kagome is actually a Saber Marionette. When in protective shutdown (meaning she's active, but only at normal human levels), she's captured by a monster who boils maidens to render them down for hair oil, and initially struggles. Then she thinks "Wait. Why am I fighting this guy? I'm heat resistant to 2000 Kelvins and I've been wanting a hot bath since I got here."
  • In In the Wild cannibals do this to Harry and Luna. They manage to escape when Luna summons a rather angry Snorkack which knocks the pot over and attacks the tribesmen.

    Film — Animated 
  • Seen in Surf's Up, where the oblivious Chicken Joe thinks the native Pen Guans are giving him a hot tub bath.
  • Used in Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword, the gang comes upon a tribe of cannibals and get put in a pot. But only the guys.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the orgy scene from Conan the Barbarian (1982), a large black cauldron is carried in, containing what appears to be pea soup. It actually contains a soup made from human corpses (the cultists are cannibals).
  • A character in Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings is tied up by the cannibals, and slowly dies watching them hack off chunks of his flesh, which they dip (along with lots of veggies) in a big pot of boiling oil, for a "fucked up fondue".
  • The 1985 movie of King Solomon's Mines has The Hero and The Chick being thrown into an enormous cooking pot. They escape by swimming back and forth until the pot turns over and they roll away downhill.

  • In "Ball-Carrier and the Bad One" the Bad One orders his servant Lung-Woman to boil Ball-Carrier in a giant kettle, then leaves to invite guests. Ball-Carrier (who's protected by the spirits) shouts that Lung-Woman should come and taste the soup, then kicks the kettle over, takes what he came for and escapes while she's being scalded to death.
  • Supposedly, a frog won't notice that it's being boiled as long as the water starts out at a more comfortable temperature and then heats up slowly. Although this has been debunked as Science Marches On, it's still a popular analogy for problems that develop gradually enough for people not to notice until it's too late.
  • Classical Mythology has a non-culinary variant when Daedalus kills King Minos by rigging his bath to fill with boiling water.

  • Two explorers are captured by cannibals, stripped naked, and thrown in a cauldron of water. The water starts to get hot and the explorers begin to panic. Suddenly, one of them starts snickering. "What's so funny?" "I just pissed in their soup."
    • In a variant, the cook gets mad and starts banging one of the explorers with his ladle. The chief tells him to knock it off, the cook says "But chief, he's eating all the rice!".
    • In yet another, the village women start dancing provocatively in front of the cauldron. The explorer complains about this extra sadism, the cook tells him it's so there's more to eat.
  • A Finnish joke has an explorer thrown in the cauldron and the lid closed. A little later, the cannibals open the lid briefly to see how well the man is boiling, only to see him quite alive and quite angry: "Jumalauta, can't a man take a sauna in peace here?"

  • When trolls capture The Hobbit's party and are arguing about how to cook them, this is one option they consider.
  • In The Road To Oz Dorothy and company encounter the Scoodlers who capture them for soup. Although they escape without ever actually going in to the cauldron, they do see the Scoodlers preparing the cauldron and discussing what vegetables to use.
  • In the H. Rider Haggard novel She, a tribe of cannibals follow a ritual where they heat a large pot red hot, pick it up with handles and then throw it over the victim.
  • In some versions of Three Little Pigs where the big bad wolf attempts to get into the third pig's house via the chimney (after failing to blow it down). What he doesn't know is that the third pig has a boiling pot over the fire, and the wolf gets cooked in it.
  • In the children's book Wombat Stew, a dingo has one of these ready to cook the wombat in. Since this is a book for young children, the wombat gets rescued before he's put into the pot.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Black Tie Affair, a short-lived TV series from 1993, one of the major characters is a clothing designer, and they're shooting photos for his upcoming catalog. The shoot in this instance is of a (white, female) explorer trussed up in a pot surrounded by natives. The black male models playing the natives complain that it's racist, so they are dressed as lawyers instead - but they still have the girl trussed up in a big pot.
  • The Lost Tribe of the Orinoco attempt to cook Tim and Bill in a pot in an episode of The Goodies. They escape by fooling the tribe into making "human clear soup", which involves removing the meat before serving.
  • In the Dinosaurs episode "Monster Under the Bed" the eponymous monster plans to cook Robbie, Charlene and Baby in a big cauldron, but doesn't get around to putting them in before he's stopped. We do see him preparing the vegetables that go in the pot along with them.
  • One episode of Tales from the Darkside has a cannibalistic but otherwise ordinary elderly couple stew a young hitchhiker in their hot tub.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Sabrina and the Beanstalk", Harvey and Sabrina end up in the house of a wicked witch who attempts to cook them in a cauldron.
  • The Benny Hill Show in the sketch "The Video Machine", Benny Hill visits an island populated by beautiful women, who soon reveal themselves to be cannibals and already have a large cauldron standing by to stew him.
  • 1000 Ways to Die in the death referred to as "Reef Stew" a meat loving Fijian tribe has to reluctantly go vegetarian during typhoon season yet that didn't stop them from having a boiling cauldron on the beach. They grow desperate for meat and even contemplate throwing some of their village's women into the pot, but their plight is short lived. Two shipwrecked drug smugglers wash up on the beach and they beg the Chief for food, instead he knocks them out and the wake up being boiled alive in the cauldron. After five hours their bodies become edible and the tribe hosted a "Finger Licking' Good" luau with the smuggler's severed heads as the centerpiece.

  • The Cadets' "Stranded in the Jungle":
    The boys in the jungle had me on the run
    When something heavy hit me like an atomic bomb
    When I woke up and my head started to clear
    I had a strange feeling I was with cooking gear
    I smelled something cooking and I looked to see
    That's when I found out they was-a cooking me!

    Great goo-ga-moo-ga! Lemme outta here!
  • Happens in the live version of "Mein Teil" by Rammstein, in which lead singer Till dresses up as a bloodied Evil Chef and proceeds to cook keyboardist Flake (who's stood in a giant cooking pot for the majority of the song) with a flamethrower.

    Music Videos 

  • Peer Gynt: The trolls are actually set on cooking and then eating the main character before the Mountain King hushes them down. The prospect of "stewing him in a kettle" is brought up.

    Video Games 
  • In Bookworm Adventures Lex rescues Mother Goose from this fate.
  • This fate befalls Korekiyo Shinguji, the Ultimate Anthropologist in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, when he is found guilty of murdering Angie Yonaga and Tenko Chabashira.
  • In Darkest Dungeon, one of the bosses is the Hag, a cannibal witch. She has a giant cooking pot, and will grab one of your party members and throw them in if it isn't already occupied. This is NOT Played for Laughs; the boiling stew does insane damage to the person trapped inside, and just being near the Hag takes a heavy toll on your party's Sanity Meter.
  • The Adventurer Story of Pipple from Dragalia Lost has the living vegetable trying its damnedest to get eaten. After much deliberation and excessive concern from the party, Pipple forces itself into a pot and seals the lid around itself. The bad news is that Pipple is fit to serve in a vegetable dish despite the protagonists' best efforts. The good news is that he left a seed with the same kids he's fed to... and that seed sprouts a bumper crop of Pipples!
  • In Grandia, the hero and the heroine search for the lost Token Mini-Moe in the valley. When they found her Non-Human Sidekick flying madly around her bag and a cauldron full of stew, the hero got enraged and the heroine fainted. Subverted, of course. video here
  • The final scene of Jungle Hunt for the Atari involves rescuing a lady being slowly lowered into a cauldron by a cannibal tribe.
  • In some Kirby games, Kirby can get the chef hat, a single-use ability that sucks all the enemies on-screen into a pot of stew and cooks them into recovery items. In Super Smash Brothers Brawl, this is Kirby's Final Smash attack. As Kirby gotten a new Final Smash, this becomes Chef Kawasaki's primary attack when he's added as an Assist Trophy.
  • In Ōkamiden, Chibiterasu and Manpuku fall into a giant pot of soup. The imp cooking it decides to cook them with the soup, but Manpuku saves himself and Chibi from being boiled to death... by drinking the entire thing.
    • There is another example of this trope not so long afterward; Charity is tricked by Umami into approaching a large pot after refusing to cook for Orochi. Umami then pushes her in, but Chibiterasu saves her.
  • In RuneScape, in the "Wolf Whistle" quest, the druid Bowlotrix is captured by Trolls who try to cook him in a cauldron. Another quest has a flashback in which an adventurer is similarly captured by another troll, while several expensive pieces of armour are seen discarded around. The player manages to save Bowlotrix in the course of the quest, the other adventurer isn't that lucky.
  • In Secret of Mana, the hero gets captured by goblins who put him in a cooking pot, and stays there until the heroine rescues him.
  • Thy Dungeonman: In the third game, The Fat, Fat Friar will put you in a cauldron with the intent to cook and eat you after you take his stein. That is exactly what will happen if you take too long to escape or go back into his monastery after escaping.
  • In the old PC quest game Toonstruck, there was a B.B. Wolf who tried to do this to the protagonist.
  • Warcraft III: One of the doodads is a large pot with three human heads bubbling to the surface, on of them already a skull.
  • One of the bosses in Wuppo is a friendly character at first... Until he picks you up and tosses you into his big pot of soup. The majority of the fight is a DPS Race to prevent yourself from being boiled.
  • Minister Kinugawa does this to the winners of a tournament in Way of the Samurai 4. In one the possible endings, this includes the Player Character.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt comes across a cave on Skellige where three rock trolls have just shoved an unlucky hunter into their huge kettle and sealed the lid. Geralt can either kill them to save the poor slob from being boiled alive, or he can accept the trolls' challenge to a game of riddles with the hunter's life as the prize. Both work equally well (the trolls are too dumb to come up with riddles an average human can't solve in a flash), although the hunter reacts with a hilariously incredulous Big "WHAT?!" when the riddles are chosen - it is getting pretty hot in there after all. When you finally get him out of the kettle, his skin is seriously reddened like he just finished a very extended sauna session, but he's alive and grateful for the rescue no matter how unorthodox it might've been.
  • Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure: If the goblins spot Zack in "Flute of the Growlin' Goblins", they toss him into a pot and stew him.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, one of SonSon's command throws sucks the target up into a stoppered bottle that is then cooked over a fire.

  • In Homestuck, the crocodiles who live on the Land of Heat and Clockwork greet Dave Strider—the hero of their land—by sticking him in a cauldron of hot water and pelting him with onion slices. Dave just climbs out, and the crocodiles don't bother him again. Whether they actually wanted to eat Dave, or the entire thing was just a weird greeting (as Terezi claimed) is never clarified.
  • The webcomic Banished! depicts a scene where the (alien) protagonist is captured by Amazons and thrown in a cauldron. he pees in the water, telling them "That's what you get for not killing your food before you cook it."
  • Played with in Ozy and Millie, where Llewellyn follows the recipe for "Dragon soup", which essentially results in Llewellyn cooking himself in the giant stewpot. The recipe has the dragon be removed at the very end (after all, what's a little heat to a fire-breathing dragon?), and Llewellyn can only remark that the soup "tastes of bathwater".
  • In Weesh, after a wish to live in caveman times, Nate and Weesh are stewed by a sabertooth tiger.
  • Subverted in The Legend of Maxx: Maxx and Cyril are captured by a tribe of jungle-dwelling pygmies who throw them into a giant cauldron filled with hot water. Cyril immediately assumes they are being cooked alive in a 'stereotypical heathen ritual'. Maxx, however, correctly guesses that the pygmies just wanted to draw them a bath.
    "Maybe they just wanted to make us a nice hot bath. Like, for cleaning. I hear that's a thing people do."
  • Subverted in Carry On when Kathy and Sandy get captured by a tribe of warthogs and tossed into a cauldron... then realize the water smells like lavender.

    Web Original 
  • Thy Dungeonman 3: The Fat, Fat Friar clonks Thy Dungeonman over the head with a mutton chop and throws him in a stew pot to cook.
  • Deadpool's sidekick Bob is freaked out at being cooked by natives in Bad Days- Deadpool. Stan Lee is also getting cooked, but really doesn't care.
    Stan: (tastes the soup) Needs more salt.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens to Bugs Bunny countless times:
    • Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt. A joke version of the Native American mythological character tries to capture Bugs and cook him in a pot.
    • Which is Witch?. While Bugs is exploring Darkest Africa, a witch doctor tries to cook him in a pot - not to eat him, but to use him as an ingredient in a potion.
    • Rabbitson Crusoe. While they're trapped on a desert island, Yosemite Sam tries to cook Bugs by throwing him in a stewing pot.
    • Bill of Hare. Bugs is trying to cook a meal in a kettle. The Tasmanian Devil comes along and throws Bugs into his own pot.
    • Wackiki Wabbit. A couple of castaways try to cook Bugs in a pot.
    • 8 Ball Bunny. While Bugs is taking a penguin back to the South Pole, both of them are captured by South American natives and put in a huge stew pot to cook.
    • Rabbit's Feat. Wile E. Coyote tries to cook him this way.
    • Hare Tonic is a more modern variation, where Elmer takes Bugs home to stew him. Having already set Elmer up for failure, Bugs helpfully puts himself in the pot.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The cajun fox tries to do this to Muriel to make Cajun Granny Stew.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: during the Season 3 finale, Rainbow Dash is trussed up and put in a pot by Fluttershy's (mostly herbivorous) animals. They even get out the fancy wall-shadows and dance around the pot!
    • Also mentioned in this song with regards to a character who is an allegedly evil witch.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Rocky & Bullwinkle got caught and tossed in a cauldron. Executives complained because it was portraying cannibalism. Writers responded by Lampshading the fact that, since Rocky was a squirrel & Bullwinkle a moose, and the savages were human, by definition it wasn't cannibalism.
  • In the Tex Avery MGM Cartoon "What's Buzzin', Buzzard?", a vulture cooks another in a pot. The vulture in the pot smells something cooking and asks for a taste, and it's only when he bites into his own leg that he realizes what's going on.
  • Tom and Jerry:
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "But should your chores be never done, your feeble arms too weak to toil,Yeshmiyek will surely come… and throw you in the pot to boil!"
  • A tribe of pygmies try to do this to Rebecca Cunningham in the Talespin episode "The Bigger They Are, The Louder They Oink." She doesn't like it.
  • On an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick, who is starving in the wild, tries to cook Spongebob in a soup, complete with him chopping carrot bits into it.
  • Brattus falls victim to this in the first act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Nightmare On Bogus Street", thanks to Werewolf Bogus.
  • Cecil gets tricked into this situation by a witch doctor in an episode of Time For Beany, as seen here.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko and Heffer visit the O-Town Home Show, and pass by many varieties of hottubs. A chicken is soaking in one of them, and Heffer mentions a sudden craving for chicken soup. The chicken is horrified to find out that his/her lower half now resembles a roast chicken.
  • In the Dr. Dimensionpants episode “Goody Gobbles”, a group of other dimensional giant turkeys does this to pretty much all the inhabitants of Kyle’s hometown, using a colossal stewpot.
  • In the 1963 Noveltoons short The Sheepish Wolf, a wolf posing as a sheepdog tries to prepare a stewing pot to cook a lamb in. When the shepherd appears and asks what he's doing, the wolf claims that he's fixing himself a bath, saying that the chopped carrots are for adding vitamins to the water. The shepherd buys it...but then decides warm up the bath for him.
  • Family Guy parodies the classic Looney Tunes gag when Elmer Fudd and Sylvester the Cat appear on Top Chef.
    Judge: Okay chef Fudd, I'm disappointed in your entry this week, your dish was just a live rabbit who thought he was taking a bath!
    Elmer: But I used cawwots and celewy!
    Judge: Yes, I saw that he was scrubbing his back with a large stalk of celery.

    Real Life 
  • Some crabs are cooked this way, dipped alive in court-bouillon (though it's already hot when it happens), and likewise with lobsters (in court-bouillon as well as a variety of other dishes). Hence the infamously incoherent quote by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of Jersey Shore fame: "That's why I don't eat friggin' lobster or anything like that — because they're alive when you kill it."
  • Some Japanese hotpots involve cooking loaches (a bottom dwelling freshwater fish) alive. Apparently, as the water heats up, they dig into the tofu that they are being cooked with.

Alternative Title(s): Cannibal Cauldron


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