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Wall Slump

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Great. Do you know how hard it is to get blood off of hardwood?

"Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die."
King Richard II, Richard II, V.v

A classic way to show someone is dying. They have been shot, stabbed, poisoned, whatever, and then, recoiling from the wound, back into a wall and sink slowly to the ground. A smear of blood trailing down the wall is customary. Hand Sliding Down the Glass could also come into play.

This isn't only used for character deaths. It can also be used for a living character to show how defeated and depressed they are, or to illustrate immense exhaustion after a long string of action or trauma. Slumping down a wall is a good visual shorthand to show the character's waning will to continue, at least temporarily, and can heighten the somberness of a scene compared to if they were standing normally.

This is commonly used in theatre, because it's a good visual cue for the audience. It's also a reasonably cool death, combining Slow-Motion Fall and Rebel Relaxation.

Also see Headdesk and Face Palm, two variations of the "extremely frustrated" version.

Unmarked Spoilers ahead, as this is commonly a Death Trope.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In V for Vendetta, after V is shot at the end, he staggers and leans against a wall, leaving a V-shaped smear of blood. He still manages to walk a fair distance afterward, though.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Wall, naturally.
  • A rather clever example in The Cheat (1915) in which the victim, who is Japanese, slumps against a wall in his apartment—but it's a Japanese-style translucent window, so the slump and the trail of blood are shown from the other side, in silhouette.
  • Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, although he rallies afterward.
  • Resident Evil (2002). After Rain Ocampo becomes a zombie, she's shot in the head, moves back and hits the wall of the subway car she's in, then slumps down.
  • Parodied in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. One of the vampire minions backs up against the wall, sinks, and then moans and groans and says "ow ow ow" for ten minutes. The Easter Egg at the end of the credits shows him still bellyaching.
  • Lee's death in The Magnificent Seven
  • The Matrix scene where Neo dies, when Agent Smith repeatedly shoots Neo after he backs up and hits the wall but before sinking to the ground.
  • Final Justice used this during the opening gunfight. As the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew helpfully pointed out, you can tell that the filmmakers recycled footage because you can see the dying guy slide down the same wall twice.
  • Ice Station Zebra features one when Ferraday shoots Anders.
  • Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs manages to hold himself half-up against a wall for a moment before slumping to the floor, having been shot multiple times by Mr. Orange.
  • Psycho: Marion Crane does this against the wall of the shower after being fatally stabbed.
  • In The Avengers, Agent Coulson immediately collapses against a nearby wall after being stabbed through the back by Loki and dies shortly after speaking to Director Fury.
  • The 1971 version of The Ωmega Man has Charlton Heston expiring this way in a municipal fountain.
  • Glazer slumps against the tree that Cropsy impales him on in The Burning.
  • Double dose in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as Spock succumbs to radiation poisoning. First Spock slumps against the transparent wall separating the irradiated compartment from the rest of Engineering. Then Kirk follows suit in shock/grief on the other side of the same wall.
  • Clue: In the final ending, Mr Boddy dies in this way after being shot by Mr Green.

  • Michael Connelly novels featuring detective Harry Bosch:
    • The Black Echo: Rourke's look of surprise when he does this after Eleanor shoots him helps Harry figure out her part in the crime.
    • Bosch himself does the non-fatal "shock" version of this trope in The Drop, after going into a serial killer's lair and seeing all the shocking things inside.

    Live Action TV 
  • During a Halloween episode of Boy Meets World, Red Shirt Kenny gets stabbed through the head with a giant pencil and slumps to his death, leaving a pencil trail on the wall behind him. Cory points at where the trail begins and tearfully tells the others, "we'll always remember he was that tall."
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler", a poisoned Doctor slumps weakly against the wall of the TARDIS while talking to a Voice Interface hologram in the shape of a young Amy. He gets better - barely.
  • In Top Gear, after the "Race to the North" challenge Clarkson slumps against the wall of the hotel bar they were racing to. Because he's been on the footplate of a steam locomotive, he leaves a trail of soot rather than blood.
  • In the final episode of Forever Knight, Tracy Vetter does this after being shot for her Mortal Wound Reveal.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: Lord Tony Dewhurst dies this way in the first episode. He's shot and badly wounded, but he manages to stand up, and he leans on a wall. Chauvelin shoots him later in the head. He just slumps down and ends up half-sitting, half-lying, this time dead for good.
  • On ER, unaware that she's been injured while diving for cover during a shoot-out, a pregnant Abby is gathering supplies when she realizes that she's bleeding. The loss of blood—from a placental abruption—rapidly becomes enough for her to slump against the wall and pass out
  • The X-Files: Agent Scully is shot and falls down, slumping down against a wall, with the obligatory smear of her blood behind her. In happened in "Tithonus" during season 6. She got better.
  • Misfits: This happens to the group's second, third and fourth probation workers as they die horrible deaths.
  • Dean Winchester slumps dying against the wall in the ninth season finale of Supernatural, after his fight with Metatron.
  • The Undeclared War: On being told her father is dead, Saara sits down with a thud against the wall looking stricken.

  • A non-death version (specifically a drunken version) from the song Only A Friendly by folk singer Chris Wood:
    she had a laugh like a bowling ball / as she slid down the gentleman's toilet wall / it wasn't exactly a fall / but that was definitely all for tonight

  • Page quote from Richard II, after the former king of England is stabbed by conspirators.

    Video Games 
  • In Mass Effect, Shepard slumps down after having his/her ship impounded and crew locked down right when they need them most. Shepard's love interest comes over and gives him/her a pep talk to keep fighting.
  • Nia Lochlain's last moments in Infinite Space shows her leaning against the wall of Eremon's ship after telling Yuri that she will make her escape soon. Whether she actually managed to fulfill her words or simply said that to assure him, we will never know.
  • Asch does this in Tales of the Abyss.
  • This is the position that Mia is found in after her murder at the start of the second case of the first Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game. It's also how Officer Meekins and Maggey Byrde were found after falling unconscious in cases 1-5 and 3-3 respectively.
    • The victim in the first case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is also found in this position surrounded by bloody handprints, providing the page image. The victim in the second case also did this although his body was placed in that position after he had been killed.
  • The first victim (Sayaka Maizono in the full game, Yasuhiro Hagakure in the demo) of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is found slumped up against a shower's wall with way too much blood covering them.
  • In the 'Missing Link' DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Netanya Keitner dies this way after Pieter Burke discovers her working with the player.
  • Dead Space 2: After Isaac has sent away love interest Ellie to protect her, he slumps down as he is alone on a station infested with necromorphs and confronted by the Marker-induced hallucination of his dead girlfriend Nicole, appearing to him against the wall beside him.
  • On rare occasions in Left 4 Dead, you can observe Common Infected leaning against a wall, slowly sliding down it, and then just falling over dead.
  • Golden Freddy does this in Five Nights at Freddy's, though it's more a symbol that YOU'RE going to die instead (or at least get booted out of the game). He returns in the sequel, though now he kills you by sending his disembodied head flying towards you. There's also Shadow Freddy, who crashes the game like Golden Freddy did.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Lotus dies like this in the Knife Ending.
  • Clover and Tenmyouji die like this in one path in Virtue's Last Reward. Also Alice.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Hair Bear Bunch does this in "Gobs of Gabaloons" when a coin expert tells them the Ptomanian treasure they found is unspendable under penalty of arrest and imprisonment.
    Square: We're not rich anymore?
    Hair: Look, even if we go to Ptomania we're broke.