Follow TV Tropes


Unwilling Suspension

Go To

"Sorry to leave you hanging."
Anarky, Arrow, "The Candidate"

A Bound and Gagged prisoner is suspended from the ceiling, usually by a rope.

This is not usually intended for torturing the prisoner, but in reality, this could cause undue pressure on the body, and bad blood flow. Perhaps even dislocate something — there's a reason why BDSM models engaging in suspension art tend towards the light-weight and extremely flexible end. In most fiction, the prisoner does not appear to suffer any particular physical discomfort (If the viewer thinks too much about this, it results in Disbelief of Unwilling Suspension).

Hanging by the wrists, a common variation, would in Real Life quickly cause permanent damage to the hands and within a few hours cause death by suffocation/"Suspension Trauma", not quite unlike a crucifixion. Many a dungeon has a prior inhabitant still hanging by his wrists in skeletal form.


Reasons for doing this include:

  • It provides for more effective immobilization of the prisoner. Tie somebody to a chair and they will be able to maneuver the chair toward a Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing nine times out of ten. Hang them from the ceiling and they have nothing to get traction against. Also, enough rope to hold someone's weight will also be enough rope that it's hard to get out of, especially if the Real Life consequences kick in.
  • The victim can be suspended above a chasm, piranha pond, Spikes of Doom, or other Death Trap, as a disincentive from struggling loose.
  • Author Appeal and/or Fanservice.
  • Simple Rule of Cool.
  • In rare cases, the villain may actually be doing this to deliberately hurt the prisoner.

Favorite victims seem to be The Hero(es) or the Damsel in Distress (especially a princess and/or the President's daughter).


Compare Chained to a Rock.

Not to be confused with being suspended from the police force, or taking fantastical elements of a story or setting in stride.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • Both Griffith and Guts are subject to this trope, in fact this is how the reader is introduced to Guts on the first page of the manga...
    • Schierke also does this to Isidro as punishment for trying to peak at Farneze and Casca taking a bath.
    • In a very fan disservicey example, it happens during the Eclipse to an unconscious and forcibly stripped naked Casca, a few moments before Femto (Griffith reborn as a God Hand) violently rapes her.
  • Bleach:
    • Nemu Kurotsuchi got once tied up like this, courtesy of Szayelaporro Granz. With tentacles She survived his Gabriel ability, and the drugs Mayuri placed in her system were key to Szayel's defeat and death..
    • Also, Yumichika, Ikkaku, and Matsumoto when they fought Luppi.
  • Happens to Anna Stephanie, David Rutherford and several others during a particularly nasty soon-to-be public execution in Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Fortunately, Eiji Asuka steps in and saves them.
  • In Brave10, Isanami gets to hang over a precipice courtesy of Kamanosuke before he joins the Braves, and Anastasia gets hung up upside down while she's a prisoner of Date.
  • Digimon:
    • The Digimon Emperor does this to the Digidestined aside from Daisuke in an episode of Digimon Adventure 02, telling him that he can only save one. Daisuke replies by offering himself to be killed, but luckily, it turns out not to be the real Digidestined at all.
    • In Digimon Savers, the Digidestined are ambushed by a bunch of (spider-like) Dokugumon, which net the Digimon together while suspending the teens like this.
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • Sōsuke threatens a local gang leader who has kidnapped Kaname by holding the leader's younger brother and suspending him from a series of ropes that he then detonates in turn; once the opposition has surrendered, Sōsuke reveals the whole thing was a setup and the boy was safe the whole time; the kid was in on it.
    • In Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Kaname and the other students do the same to Sōsuke after he turns their art class into a battleground. They then use him as an abstract art piece.
  • Happens to Kyo's girlfriend Yuki in the manga version of The King of Fighters KYO, when a masked Badass Biker kidnaps her to force the recently depowered Kyo to a duel. Subverted: the stranger is Saisyu, who's subjecting a borderline Brainwashed and Crazy Kyo to a Secret Test of Character. When Kyo "passes", wakes up from his state and recovers his flames, Saisyu is satisfied so he cuts the rope and Yuki falls down... and into Kyo's arms.
  • In Kouryuu no Mimi, this happens to Natsume's forbidden Love Interest Kanako. Even more, she's tied up and hung in the middle of a construction site. Subverted since it's soon revealed that it isn't actually her, but one of the villains Noriko in disguise, and Natsume ain't fooled for one second, though the real Kanako shows up after the battle is over to give Natsume a hug though
  • Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland has King Morpheus appear tied up in this fashion. The whole thing turns out to be an illusion the Nightmare King projected to lure Nemo out of hiding because apparently the Nightmare King can't see very well in the dark despite having Glowing red eyes.
  • Love Hina:
    • In some of the final chapters, Tsundere female lead Naru Narusegawa is captured by one of her dorm mates Kaolla Su and left tied and suspended. Averted in that the bindings are tied in a way that they act as an impromptu support harness (no, it's not a crotch rope), making this example a bit more plausible than others.
    • Motoko is tied up and suspended in an earlier chapter as well.
  • Happens to Fujiko in Lupin III: The Secret of Twilight Gemini. Even worse, she's also naked.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
    • Fate is typically suspended from the ceiling in chains while Precia whips her for failing or not succeeding well enough.
    • Later on in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, this is played more comically when Otto and Deed catch Chantez holding a sparring match with Vivio without their supervision, and Otto punishes Chantez by restraining her using a tortoise shell bondage bind, after which Deed uses ropes tied to her wrists and ankles to suspend her from a tree, all while calmly explaining to Vivio that what she did was wrong.
  • In a more light-hearted version of this trope, Episode 5 of Minami-ke has Kana roll up Chiaki in a sheet and suspend her from a clothes line to make a rain charm.
  • Mikura Suzuki of the Mezzo DSA series ends up in one episode tied up and suspended in the air.
  • Natsuki in My-HiME is knocked unconscious by a Robot Girl and wakes up like this.
  • In Now and Then, Here and There, the Decoy Protagonist is suspended outside the massive death-ship for three continuous days... during which time they fire something we swear wasn't a nuke.
  • Commonly used in Ranma ½.
    • When Principal Kunō tries to force Ranma into obedience by knocking Akane out, then dangling her from the ceiling. Doesn't work — she breaks free immediately when she wakes up and gives him a piece of her mind (and a footprint on his face).
    • In the same story arc, Ranma later gets tied up and hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately for Principal Kunō, he omits to secure Ranma's legs, and the martial artist is very adept at fighting with them, even holding a bamboo staff between his toes.
    • Done to Ranma again to use him as bait for a mirror duplicate of his female side. Then they went off to have dinner. Hey, at least they left his meal out in a tray for him... just out of reach.
    • Happōsai, more than once, as punishment for his indiscretions and just to keep him out of the way.
    • Akane is surprised to find herself tied up in a tree as the "prize" for Ranma's second major fight with Ryōga.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In a season 1 episode, an impostor Sailor Moon is "captured" in a scheme to lure out Tuxedo Kamen. She is suspended by her wrists and dangled from a crane.
    • In season 4, we see Helios's human body like this, naked as well as bound by what seems to be spider webs. And upside down, even.
  • In Sakura Gari, at some point Masataka finds a photograph in which he sees a girl subjected to this. She is a former maid from the Saiki household, and Sakurako is the one who tied her up like that... to then subject her to Cold-Blooded Torture for doubling as The Mistress to Souma.
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • At the end of the "Wet King" episode, Sergeant Keroro ends up tied up like this outside the Hinata household, with bruises.
    • Also in the series premiere, after Keroro is first discovered by Fuyuki and Natsumi. Attempting to escape by slipping out of the ropes only makes it worse as the ropes stop short at his oversized head and tighten around his neck.
    • We see a variant in one brief flashback — as punishment for wetting the bed, young Fuyuki had a bamboo threaded through his pajamas to hang him up to dry alongside his bedding.
  • The X-Laws from Shaman King used the iron gibbet cage, a torture/execution method that includes this trope, on their enemies:
    • First, a bunch of Ancient Egypt-themed Shamans attacked the Laws in public. One of them had an eagle Animal Theme and attacked the X-Law leader Jeanne from mid-air... then he suddenly found himself in a gibbet. He was still inside it as Jeanne used her Spirit companion to execute him and his partners.
    • The X-Laws later captured Manta, put him inside another gibbet, then used him as a hostage to force Yoh and Co. meet with them. Manta managed to break through with the help of Mosuke, then Ryu and Tokagero caught him mid-air safely. Then, a fight started. Then, Hao stepped in...
  • The wrists variation is used on Death the Kid in Soul Eater, and played for all the Fan Disservice it's worth in between Mood Whiplash moments. Kid's lack of reaction is arguably justified but it still looks far more painful than it apparently is. Gopher beating him while he's tied up is especially horrible.
  • The Three Musketeers 1987 anime adaptation — Milady invites a captured Constance to hang around.
  • In the manga Torikago Gakyuu during the twin arc, woobie protagonist Mikage is kidnapped by the Ax-Crazy Yuikai and held in the school's clock tower. Yuikai proceeds to tie him up and beat him in order to encourage him into willingly giving up his freedom and becoming Yuikai's slave and consequently having his ears cut off so that the last words he'll ever hear are from his master... or dying. When Mikage refuses, Yuikai drops him out the window where Yukan, Yuikai's elder twin sister grabs the rope on his foot. Consequently, this leaves Mikage dangling upside down by one foot with his hands tied behind his back and an enormous drop below him. He remains that way for an uncomfortably long time, ultimately to his advantage thanks to his Split Personality, but it must have been painful nonetheless.
  • In Voltron/GoLion, Prince Lotor/Sincline ties up Princess Romelle/Amue this way.
  • Makie and Renzaburou from Wicked City are seen like this after the last fight with the Spider Woman. For worse, they're hanging upside down and their bounds are made of the spider web that said Spider Woman shot from her Vagina Dentata. Augh.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Mokuba was once seen in this position and being hung off from a helicopter to force Yugi and Kaiba into a duel with two of Dark Malik's henchmen.

    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix, Cacofonix the bard (whose singing could curdle fresh milk) is almost always Bound and Gagged during the ending feast. Often, he's suspended as well.
  • In one of the stories within the The Legend of Zelda comics done by Valiant, Link is suspended by his wrists when captured by Ganon's minions.
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #5, Kelly and Janocz are tied back to back and hung from the ceiling of the witch's cottage.
  • In the comic series Storm by Don Lawrence, Ember is a victim of Unwilling Suspension a few times. In "The Living Planet" she is suspended above a sea of lava, while in "The Mutineers of Anchor" she is suspended by her wrists above an abyss. A variation can be seen in "The Hounds of Marduk", but this time an unconscious Ember is tied to a crane and her legs are lowered into a healing vapour.
  • In The Warlord #131, Morgan is suspended by his ankles above a vat of boiling oil by his Rival Turned Evil Maddox. Maddox places a burning candle beneath the hope suspending Morgan, so that when the candle burns through the rope, Morgan will plunge headfirst into the oil.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): Circe strings up Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, and Wonder Girl above a boiling cauldron in preperation for stealing their powers.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Hägar the Horrible, tax cheats and other offenders frequently end up hanging from the wall by their wrist chains.
  • In The Wizard of Id, those who offend the king frequently end up hanging from the wall by their wrist chains.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Near the end of Bolt, Penny gets "tied up" and suspended from the ceiling of the set (she's safe because a pulley harness is attached beneath the cocoon of ropes).
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Roger and Jessica are tied together and suspended from a rope, and are menaced by an out-of-control jet of Dip.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The women in the movie 9 to 5 do this to their boss.
  • The Turkish film series Battal Gazi have this happening in the second and fourth movies. Battal Gazi and his father in the second (hung from the top of a tower), Gazi's son and several members of a captured La Résistance unit in the fourth (over a spiked pit).
  • The Action Girl, Kat from Black Mask gets caught in a rather uncomfortable position being hung in midair, with another passing character telling her to "Hang on!"
  • In Birds of Prey (2020), Roman Sionis has Mr. Keo and his family suspended by their ankles while Victor Zsasz cuts their faces off.
  • In Blooded, a member of the RLA binds Liv's ankles and wrists, and then hoists her up on the same hook Been and Charlie had hung the stag on when draining its blood. He then threatens to gralloch her like the deer.
  • The victims in Blood Harvest are strung up by their ankles before their throats are slit.
  • After JB captures Candi in The Butchers, he suspends her from her wrists in an old shed.
  • The 2015 Lifetime Movie of the Week Cleveland Abduction, based on the real-life Ariel Castro case, notably opens with Taryn Manning in a suspended hogtie, then shows the entire scene about fifteen minutes in as she is hogtied with extension cords and suspended-for real, no tricks-for a few minutes.
    • Suspended hogties, it should be noted, are astoundingly rare in actual porn, let alone normal films, and major props to the actress for managing to do the scene.
  • In Cry Blood, Apache, Vittorio hangs Benjy upside down above a creek so he has to struggle to keep his head out of the water. As he tires, he will eventually drown.
  • In Death Bell, the killer hoists Myung-Hyo off the floor by one ankle and leaves her hanging there. And then drops her to her death.
  • Desolation (2017): Abby finds her friend Jen hanging upside-down in the woods after the killer abducts her. She also finds a huge chunk of flesh cut out of her back.
  • Happens to Django - upside down and naked - before he is sold to the mining company in Django Unchained.
  • In Dressed to Kill (1946), Holmes suspended by his wrists from a hook in the ceiling of a garage, and then left there to asphyxiate.
  • In Hardcase, Major Tozar has Jack strung up by his wrists from an arch in an attempt to force him to talk.
  • The climax of In the Line of Duty 4: Witness, when Donnie, Rachel and Luk have to rescue Luk's mother, who was captured alive and suspended from a tall balcony.
  • Julia X: When The Stranger brings Julia back to his garage, he binds her wrists together, slips the bindings over a hook, and hoists her off the ground.
  • The famous meat locker scene in The Long Good Friday. London Gangster Harold Shand sends his men out to grab local hoods and haul them in for interrogation to find out who is bombing his businesses. They're pulled out of a truck and trundled along the pulley system hanging upside down. The actors had to keep being supported between takes to prevent them passing out.
  • New Police Story: In the film's Downer Beginning, this is the fate of Jackie's entire police team, sans Jackie himself, by a group of sadistic Cop Killer criminals. They end up being dropped to their deaths, one at a time.
  • No Retreat, No Surrender 2: The climax have the hero's love interest and the resident Action Girl being dangled by their wrists over a pit of crocodiles.
  • Princess Madam has a unique example, where Action Girl Mona gets tied up ten meters above ground level... by both her arms and legs, which are pulled out into an "X" shape.
  • In Robin Hood (2018), Clayton is grabbed by the Moors and left dangling by his ankles over the town square as bait in a trap for the other crusaders.
  • The hostage standoff in Royal Warriors, where the sidekick Michael gets hung byb his wrists on the top floor of a high-rise building. Michael ultimately decides to Better to Die than Be Killed and cuts the rope, allowing himself to fall to death.
  • Happens to Velma in the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie. She falls off a scaffold and gets her foot caught in the scaffold's chain. When the chain goes taut, Velma is seen hanging upside down.
  • From Sherlock Holmes (2009), this happens to Irene Alder when she tried to follow Holmes and got tied up to a Conveyor Belt o' Doom by her wrists by Blackwood. To compensate for the pressure, Watson had to put her up on his shoulders to lessen it.
  • This is done to the inflatable "Citizen" in the Save the Citizen game in Sky High (2005), to simulate villains doing this to their captives. Will Stronghold mentions at the end how after they replaced the citizens with the inflatables no-one saved the Citizen anymore, but we're to assume that's a joke because he said as much.
  • In Sleepy Hollow High, Z and Bobbi hang Justin from the rafters of an old barn for informing on their drug dealing.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman are captured by the dwarves, who hang them upside down by their ankles (fortunately they don't pass out before convincing the dwarves to let them go).
    Huntsman: Come on Beith, is this how you treat a friend?
    Beith: Oh no-no-no, ya puttock. This is how I treat a friend. (whacks him with a pick handle)
  • The first Taken film had Bryan Mills being hung from his wrists on a set of ventilation pipes. Being played by top badass Liam Neeson, Bryan quickly escapes his predicament and overpowers all his captors soon enough.
  • Ten Deadmen: After capturing Ryan, Bruiser and Stone hang him from the rafters. Bruiser uses him as a human punching bag until Stone knocks him out with a baseball bat when it is time to transport him to the rest of the gang.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: At the start of the movie, Thor is chained and held in a suspended cage in Muspelheim. Then the cage open and he falls down until the chain brutally stops him (a shock that would certainly have killed a human, but he's Asgardian). Hence Thor is left dangling before the realm's master, Surtur. The ensuing conversation is a bit impaired by the chain slowly spinning Thor away from facing Surtur, forcing the villain to stop monologuing until Thor turns around again.
  • In Timber Falls, Clyde and Ida like to hang their male captives by their wrists while they torture them.
  • Train: After being stabbed through the chest, Todd wakes up to find himself hanging from his wrists in on of the train cars.
  • The Badass Biker gang hung one of the Wild Hogs from a tree this way. They tried to rescue him by driving their bikes under him and yanking as they went by. It didn't work.
  • The 1925 Silent film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz has an odd variation, in which Dorothy is tied only by her waist, so her arms are still free and flailing.
  • Yellowbeard: Following The Mutiny lead by Mr. Moon, Captain Hughes has a rope wrapped around his legs and is hoist into the rigging.
  • Joy is hung by her wrists over a two story drop in Bangkok Knockout to lure the heroes in. When Joy is rescued, she basically rubs her wrists and is fine. The behind-the-scenes footage shows that the actress was in a harness, but the drop was real.
  • In the 1987 Hong Kong movie City on Fire, undercover cop Chow is arrested and tortured by other police officers (who are unaware he's a cop), including being handcuffed from a bar in a locker room. Unlike most examples of this trope he's shown to be in visible pain both during and afterwards.

  • City of Bones by Martha Wells: When Khat is arrested by the Trade Inspectors, he's left overnight with his hands chained over his head. Unusually for the trope, it is intended as a method of torture, and he's much worse for wear afterwards.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Slithering Shadow", Thalis does to Natala before flogging her.
  • In Adrian Tchaikovsky's Dragonfly Falling, Salma is suspended like this before questioning.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In the second book, Magnificent Bastard Gentleman Johnny Marcone gets hogtied (which generally means the ankles and wrists are tied together behind the back) and suspended over a pit trap as werewolf bait. Even Dresden, who despises the man, acknowledges that it must be excruciatingly painful and sympathises.
    • In a later book, Dresden himself is tied up with his wrists above his head for hours, but the only ill effects he suffers besides lots of wrist pain equating to carpal tunnel syndrome is a loss of his magic due to running water being poured over his head.
    • Oddly enough, in that same book, Dresden's vampire-infected ex-girlfriend Susan is tied up hanging from a magical rope by Dresden for a short time, to keep her from attacking and killing him in a blood-lust-driven fury. They then engage in a very ill-advised consensual sexual encounter with her in that state. This being the DF and Butcher, consequences from this bad judgement do eventually ensue.
  • In Everlost, there's a monster known for "chiming" his captives—that is, hanging them upside down from the ceiling. Since the characters in Everlost are all ghosts, this doesn't cause them pain or put them at risk of death, but it does get very, very boring after a few centuries.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District, Nikita's kept prisoner like this, with her hands chained to the ceiling and her toes just barely touching the ground so that she'd be unable to stand properly. It proves less than effective when she hulks out and becomes over a foot taller.
  • In the Villain Opening Scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort uses magic to suspend his prisoner in the air before eventually killing her.
  • After Kappa manages to kick James Bond unconscious during their fight at a train tunnel in The Man with the Red Tattoo, he ties him up and leaves him dangling from the ceiling, leaving him to die from the impact of the next locomotive on the tracks.
  • Nibelungenlied: After King Gunther won Queen Brunhild's Engagement Challenge by cheating, he tried to consumate their marriage. She was displeased when she realized he wasn't actually strong, beat him up, and hung him from the ceiling to humiliate him.
  • In Relativity, August Moon holds Melody hostage in this way as bait to lure-in her husband. At one point he threatens to release the chain and let her drop.
  • In the Second Apocalypse, the Messianic Archetype character suffers the Circumfixion, in which he is lashed to a ring and hung upside down from a tree. Like Christianity's crucifix, the circumfix subsequently becomes a religious symbol.
  • In the first story of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf suspends Sunny in a cage, and blackmails the other Baudelaire children into playing along him by constantly reminding them that he can make the cage fall on walkie-talkie command.
  • In The Silmarillion, Morgoth takes Maedhros hostage and suspends him by his right wrist over a precipice of Thangorodrim. The rescue of Maedhros involves amputation.
  • Sword of Truth: In the Law of Nines, in keeping with its total deconstruction of any ideas anyone had that anything BDSM-like is good, goes into great detail about those dangers of being suspended by one's wrists at the top of the page.
  • The Tribe: In the second book, "Camp Cannibal", Spencer finds the Camp New Leaf counselors tied up in their sleeping bags, which are hung from a tree.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Grounds, the Grey Knights suspend Ventris by his manacles when he's their prisoner; his survival may be Justified by his being an inhuman supersoldier.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens to a car thief in 1000 Ways to Die ("Car Jacked"). When he tried to steal a rich man's car and got into his garage via descending from the ceiling, his leg got tangled in a rope and he ended up hanging upside down for several hours, which killed him in the end.
  • In 24: Live Another Day, Kate Morgan gets hung in strappado and subjected to electric torture by Rask's men in Episode 6 "4:00pm-5:pm". Actually done for real, with a safety harness for the actual suspension as seen in this promo photo.
  • Arrow. Oliver Queen is often shown shooting a criminal with a bolo arrow, forcing a confession, then leaving them strung up for the police to find. In the Season One finale he's captured by Malcolm Merlyn, who has him hanging in an Abandoned Warehouse with his arms attached to chains. Once Malcolm leaves the room, Oliver shows that a season of doing shirtless pull-ups was not just for Workout Fanservice when he climbs the chains until he can free himself, then uses them as weapons to take out the guards.
  • In Bones, Brennan is kidnapped by a crazy ex-agent, tied up and hung by her wrists, unable to move and leaving her at the mercy of her kidnapper. Fortunately, Booth came in just in time to stop him, leading to a moment between him and a crying Brennan.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "First Date", Xander is suspended above the Hellmouth by a demon. Really, Xander, you shouldn't have suggested that use for the rope yourself....
  • Doctor Who:
  • A science fiction variation in The Expanse where a suspected terrorist is just draped on a couple of arm hooks, but having grown up in a weak gravity environment it's a lot more torturous for him than it would be for someone with the muscle development to withstand Earth's gravity.
  • In pilot episode of Gotham Gordon ends up suspended from the ceiling of the slaughterhouse after angering Fish Mooney. When his partner comes to negotiate freeing him, he joins him soon and only intervention of Fish's boss saves them.
  • Hustle: "Picasso Finger Painting" opens with Ash hanging upside down by his ankles in a deserted warehouse. He proceeds to explain how he ended up in this predicament.
  • Justified: In "Bloody Harlan", Dickie hangs Raylan up by one ankle and proceeds to wale on him with a baseball bat.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Richard, Denna and Cara were all hanged by their wrists and tortured (in the pure fetish fashion) when in possession of Mord-Sith under command of Darken Rahl. And all of them were successfully punished and broken into submission, if only for a short time.
  • Happens to Frank and Jesse Colton when they are captured by Chinese gangsters in the MacGyver (1985) episode "The Coltons".
  • The Magician: In "Illusion in Terror', Blake is suspended by his ankles and left to die in a burning barn.
  • In the Miami Vice episode "Bad Timing," robbers string Crockett up by his wrists and take potshots at him.
  • The villains of the Midnight Caller episode "With Malice Towards One" handcuff Jack to a pipe on the ceiling while they beat and taser him.
  • Happens to Barnaby in the Midsomer Murders episode "Death in the Slow Lane" after he is knocked out by the murderer. The killer plans to drop Barnaby on to a sharp set of ploughs at the end of their conversation.
  • Invoked in the Robin Hood episode "Lardner's Ring". Marian pretends to be Robin's hostage in order to convince Guy to stop attacking Robin.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "Bloodbath", cultists kidnap Starsky and hang him up by his wrists so they can sacrifice him.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Played for Laughs when Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brian get talked into joining Worf's pre-marriage ritual, assuming the rowdy Klingons will indulge in the usual drinking and feasting. It turns out to be several days of starvation and self-inflicted torture. Cue our heroes chained to a pole, hanging over hot coals.
    Bashir: It's working... I'm having a vision... I can see the future... I can see it so clearly. I'm going to kill Worf!
  • Supernatural
    • In "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), the djinn strings up its victims by the wrists while it drains their blood.
    • In "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters", a camper wakes up to find himself hanging upside down from a tree while still in his sleeping bag. After he gets eaten, tabloid headlines refer to him as the "human burrito".
  • Super Sentai shows that this trope isn't VERY effective when used in a room with fire NOT below the victim (and if the hands are not placed behind, usually).
    • In Dai Sentai Goggle Five, Miki gets trapped into an evil picture diary and gets suspended with a spread-eagle position, then the picture diary gets burned, which in turn, surrounds her in flames. Instead, she makes a flip, then uses the fire to burn the ropes.
    • In Dengeki Sentai Changeman, Mai gets taken hostage and suspended with hands above her head, inside a room. Then, Buuba blasts her room, putting fire inside it. Again, she flips around, burnt the ropes using the fire created.
    • In Hikari Sentai Maskman, both Momoko and Haruka are tied up this way in the episode where they are supposedly brainwashed by the Thief Knight Kyros to become bank robbers. This is more effective since Kiros did not use fire in any form, and instead uses spikes of doom, and both girls are only able to escape due to the boys' timely Big Damn Heroes.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie: the Gokaigers are going to be executed by firing squad by the Space Police, and are held in place this way.
  • One of the sets in You Can't Do That on Television is a dungeon in which kids were chained up by the wrists. The facts that they were standing on a stepstool and the shackles were wide enough that they could easily slip out of them were quite obvious.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for Pet Shop Boys's "It's a sin", Neil Tennant (playing the role of a man who's imprisoned by the Inquisition) is briefly seen inside what seems to be a gibbet, a suspended cage used for Cold-Blooded Torture. See below in "Real Life"

    Myths & Religion 
  • This is one of the tortures of Hell described in the Qu'ran.
  • The mediaeval torture described in Real Life, below, is probably the origin of the Tarot card called the Hanged man, in which a bound man swings from a gibbet by one foot.

  • The "Monkey Mayhem" table of Extreme Pinball shows the protagonist hanging by a rope tied around her wrists over a pit of monkeys.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • In the fight against the Screaming Author, Akira and his companion end up wrapped in its wires and are dangled from the ceiling. They have to find a way to fight against the spirit despite being upside-down and only with a limb or two available.
    • A more gruesome take happens in one of the Screaming Author Bad Ends - Rosé is grabbed by wire from various directions, which hoists them into the air and pulls with such force that it bends their joints in unnatural directions, eventually killing them.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, the villains have a fondness for tying up the heroes and dangling them upside-down, usually by their feet.
  • In Dan Vs. "The Wolf-Man", Dan catches what he thinks is the wolf-man (actually a kid in a costume) and hangs him upside down from his ceiling.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series:
      • Robin is chained up this way above a rising pit of water after being kidnapped by the title character in the episode "Bane". For best effect, they added an equivalent of Cement Shoes to his feet.
      • The final episode of the same series has Raven and Lark (the Penguin's female bodyguards) hanging bound and gagged from the ceiling after being subdued by the Judge.
    • The Batman/Superman animated series cross over, World's Finest, has Lois Lane tied up like this.
  • The beginning of two Mighty Mouse cartoons — "The Perils of Pearl Pureheart" (1949) and "Sunny Italy" (1951) — has Pearl Pureheart dangling upside down by one foot.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Ghost of Kilbane Castle", Lois and Jimmy are left suspended above razor sharp blades.
  • In the "Treehouse of Horror X" episode of The Simpsons, Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl (a.k.a. Bart and Lisa) are tied up (using Stretch Dude's own arms, because they are stretchy) and dangled over a vat of lucite, which the Collector (Comic Book Guy) uses to turn real celebrities into life-size maquette figures.
  • Shaak Ti gets bound up by electric wires by General Grievous in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Zero Hour", after being outed as The Mole and captured, Kallus gets suspended from a ceiling beam in Ezra's tower by his handcuffs while Thrawn explains to him how he's deduced the location of the rebel base.
  • Koopa does this to Oogtar in an episode of Super Mario World, dangling him over a hungry dinosaur.
  • Happens in Totally Spies! We could cite a specific example, but we're sure that's unnecessary.
  • Transformers: Generation 1
    • Optimus Prime got this after his failed attempt to save Elita One.
    • So did Blurr in "The Face of the Nijika".
  • Happens to Jean early in the X-Men series, but she quickly frees herself.

    Real Life 
  • The Cold-Blooded Torture method known as either gibbet or "the gallows and the pit" involves suspending the victim upside down over hot coals, a fire, etc., often via either further injuring the victim or placing him/her inside a sort-of cage, the titular "gibbet". It's also named horca y hoya in Spanish and tsurushi ("reverse hanging") in Japanese. It was frequently used against Japanese Christians (kirishitan) and their allies in the isolation times, like in the cases of Saint Magdalene of Nagasaki (full-blooded kirishitan), Saint Lorenzo Ruiz (Chinese-Filipino, associated with Jesuit missionaries and kirishitan), Saint Jacobo Kyousei Tomonaga (kirishitan), Blessed Petrus Kibe Kasui (kirishitan Jesuit priest), and Saint Giordano Ansaloni (Sicilian missionary stationed in Japan). In fact, the tsurushi is often seen in religious arts that feature Lorenzo Ruiz, like these. This is probably the origin of the Tarot Card, the Hanged Man, depicting a bound person swinging from a gibbet by one foot.
  • Back in the day, orthotists used to mold back braces by hanging people from the ceiling and relying on gravity to help them get the basis of a reliable plaster mold, wrapping clients in plaster while they hung. By the mid-2000's, however, they switched to taking measurements while clients are on solid ground note  and using a 3D printer.

Alternative Title(s): Tied Up And Hanging


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: