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Wood Chipper of Doom

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"So, that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper."
Marge Gunderson, Fargo

Any time you see someone using a wood chipper for its intended purpose, you probably cringe in fear, because in movie and TV land, wood chippers are big ol' murder machines that'll turn your body into an unidentifiable pulp if you're unlucky enough to fall in. Alternatively, a wood chipper is also depicted as an excellent way of Disposing of a Body, albeit with a lot of gore and possible jamming of the mechanisms in the process.

This fear of wood chippers is very much Truth in Television — people have gotten gravely injured and even killed by falling into wood chippers. Hell, some yahoos have even pulled a Houdini with a body Fargo-style (with various results).

This is a Death Trope, so beware of some unmarked spoilers. Compare and contrast with Ground by Gears.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Button Man manages to combine this trope with Fed to Pigs; Exton's main corpse disposal early in the series involves a man who owns a wood chipper and a large brood of chickens. The mutual acquaintance that introduces them to each other warns Exton that if he is offered eggs he should accept as they are very good, but stay away from the chicken stew.

    Fan Works 
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: This appears to be the preferred method of execution in Panem, or at least the Capitol. Any Gamemaker who fails at their duties is thrown into a woodchipper that President Orion owns. Snow reuses it for his Gamemakers after he becomes president, and Paylor also makes use of it to execute Snow's ministers and any remaining Gamemakers once she's made interim president following the Second Rebellion.
  • The Pokémon fanfic The Many Deaths of Nemona Alegria has this as the first death — Nemona is tripped up by a Smoliv and falls into a running wood chipper.
  • Total Drama: Pomewin Island (original draft) is a competition fic in which contestants are murdered upon their elimination. For the first boot, this entailed being thrown into a wood chipper by Chef.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bullet Train: Flashbacks show Lemon and Tangerine completing a brutal hit in Bolivia that involved putting guerilla fighters through a woodchipper.
  • In Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Harliss hears a noise in his barn. He is investigating up in the loft when a wood chipper below starts of its own accord. Startled, he topples over into the machine and is killed. Since the wood chipper had not run out of gasoline after Harliss had been killed but had been switched off, Otis, Philby and Skeeter suspect that Harliss' death was not accidental.
  • In Deadpool 2, the Merc with a Mouth assembles his own superhero team to stop Cable from murdering a young pyrokinetic mutant named Russell. The group dramatically parachutes out of a plane to intercept a prison convoy transporting Russell, only to fly into various hazards due to strong winds, one of them being a wood chipper. This ends up not killing not only the guy that got sucked in (Zeitgeist) but also Peter, when the former accidentally upchucks on Peter with his acidic vomit.
  • Downtown: Joe Pantoliano's character is flung off the windscreen of a car into a wood chipper and turned into a bloody puree.
  • Perhaps the most infamous usage of this trope is in the movie Fargo, where psychopathic criminal Gaear Grimsrud murders Carl Showalter with an ax, chops the body up into little pieces, then shoves the pieces into a ridiculously small wood chipper, which has jammed by the time Marge Gunderson arrives at the scene, horrified by how sociopathic Grimsrud is. With all the noise the chipper is making, it takes him a moment to realise she's there pointing a gun and shouting, "POLICE!" at him.
  • Final Destination 3: The alternate ending from the DVD reveals that the Final Destination 2 survivors, Kimberly Corman and Thomas Burke, were both killed from a woodchipper accident in a newspaper. The canonicity of their death is questionable (even the director says that you could take it as canon), but since the survivors in the series died despite escaping Death's plans, it is possible that they might not live long.
  • Teased but averted in Friday the 13th (2009): In the final showdown, Clay wraps a chain around Jason's neck and throws it into a woodchipper's blades, strangling him; however, Jason's freakish strength keeps him from being pulled into the chipper too. Whitney then kills him with his own machete. She thinks.
  • Self-Invoked and Played for Laughs in Happy Death Day 2U, where the main character Tree is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and is being chased by someone who wants to murder her — her deaths are what restart the loop. Rather than wait to be killed, Tree decides to commit suicide in order to force the loop to restart on her own terms. As the movie is a comedy, the ways she decides to do so are pretty silly all things considered — one of them is her running full-speed into a woodchipper while wearing an 80's style running outfit. (For bonus points, the woodchipper is owned by a company called Biff's Tree Removal.)
  • The Irishman shows a dead body being disposed of using a wood chipper in Florida.
  • Rumble in the Bronx has a scene where one of the gang members gets forced into a woodchipper by the diamond-smuggling bad (well, badder) guys. And have his buddy bring the remains back in a garbage bag as a warning.
  • In Scarecrow Slayer, scarecrow Karl is destroyed when scarecrow Dave forces him into a threshing machine.
  • A good-guy version occurs in The Silence (2019). When Hugh's family is attacked while crawling through a drainage tunnel, he creates a distraction for the vesps (sightless flying monsters who are drawn by sound) by turning on a nearby woodchipper, causing The Swarm to fly right into it and get chopped up.
  • Silent Night (2012): When one of the actresses escapes from the porn set, the Bad Santa chases her into a nearby Christmas tree farm, where he cuts her leg off and feeds her into a woodchipper.
  • In Slaxx, it was a thresher rather than a wood chipper, but the same principle applies. The villain is the ghost of an Indian farm laborer who died in a workplace accident when her scarf got caught in a cotton thresher, pulling her in.
  • Stepfather III: At the end of the movie, the titular stepfather dies by being pushed into a wood chipper.
  • Superhero Movie: Rick tries to save an old lady and her dog from being hit by a truck by throwing them across the street to safety... only to realize he accidentally threw them into a nearby woodchipper.
  • In The Tooth Fairy (2006), the witch forces one victim feet first into a wood chipper.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: The titular duo are mistaken by a bunch of college students for insane backwoods killers who kidnapped their friend (who in reality, was saved from drowning by the guys while they were on a late-night fishing trip). The kids launch a rescue mission which goes horribly wrong when one of them impales himself on his own stake and another accidentally jumps into a wood chipper Tucker was using while trying to stab him with a pocket knife. Tucker then tries to save the guy by grabbing onto his legs, which looks to the other kids who arrive at the scene like he's pushing the kid into the machine.
  • Woodchipper Massacre: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Three siblings begin to kill people with a woodchipper while their father is away.

    Literature 
  • In the fourth Captain Underpants book, George and Harold have been shrunk by Villain of the Week Professor Poopypants and try to escape the school using a paper airplane and almost get sucked into a woodchipper. Fortunately, Captain Underpants happens to be guiding them and pushes their glider out of harm's way (they can't see him since he's been shrunk even smaller than them).
  • In the Carl Hiaasen novel Skin Tight, Dr. Rudy Graveline, the Big Bad, is a corrupt, and inept, plastic surgeon who accidentally killed a patient while trying to give them a nose job. To dispose of the body, the doctor contacts his brother George, a tree trimmer, who sends her body into his wood chipper. When Mick Stranahan, a retired police detective who had originally investigated the case of the missing woman, starts asking George too many questions, George hits him on the head with a two-by-four and tries to push him into the wood chipper. Only the efforts of Al Garcia, a current police detective and a former colleague of Mick's, saves Mick from being killed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1000 Ways to Die: One story features two workers tasked with clearing brush away from a vacant lot using a wood chipper. When the chipper gets jammed, one worker decides to unclog it using his feet, which winds up getting him sucked into the chipper and ground up into a bloody mess.
  • An early episode of Bones has the team realize they only found a piece of bone from the victim because the perp fed the remains into a wood chipper and aimed the spray into a fast-flowing river nearby.
  • One stunt on Criss Angel Mindfreak had Criss appear to fail an escape from a coffin being fed into a wood chipper, only to reappear in one piece afterwards.
  • CSI-verse: No less than three episodes throughout the franchise ("What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" and "A Family Affair" in CSI and "Chip/Tuck" in CSI: Miami) had a wood chipper used to try to dispose of a body and leaving behind a humongous spray of blood and bite-sized human flesh crumbs spread all over, which had to be dug through to try to find evidence — and none of them worked effectively.note 
  • Played with in the Christmas Episode of Drake & Josh; Nobody (dead or alive) is ground up with a wood chipper, however, the titular step-brothers accidentally turn a wood chipper into a dangerous weapon when they put ice through it in an attempt to create snow for some orphans they were taking care of. Instead of snow, the wood chipper starts spitting out pieces of ice at high speeds, destroying the cul-de-sac and endangering the kids, forcing Drake and Josh to stop the malfunctioning machine, getting knocked out in the process. In the end, Crazy Steve is able to create snow by throwing in smelly but much safer cheese wheels into the chipper.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Season 4's "Dear Diary" saw Rosco's diary — a surprisingly-detailed accounting of Boss Hogg's criminal activities through the years — bite the dust in a wood chipper, thrown in there by the Duke Boys during a game of "keep away" from two of Boss' ex-associates (who learn of the diary and plan to extort money in exchange for not bringing the book to the FBI).
  • The Friday the 13th: The Series episode "Root of All Evil" features a cursed wood chipper used by a gardener to kill those who have wronged him. The curse also turns the remains of the "chipped" into money. In the end, the gardener himself gets sucked in when he tries to retrieve the money thrown into it. Unlike his victims, he's reduced to blood instead of money.
  • Played for laughs in the one episode of the recurring MADtv (1995) sketch Paul Timberman's Workshop. Paul Timberman's grandfather, Grandpa Timberman, had an untimely fall into a woodchipper.
  • Subverted in the pilot of Smallville. During an argument with his father, Clark shoves his arm into a woodchipper to make a point. Jonathan is appropriately horrified and runs over to him, only to see that Clark is completely unharmed. This seems to be the moment Jonathan and Martha realize that Clark isn't just superhumanly strong and fast, but completely indestructible, which leads them to finally tell him the full truth of his origins.
  • Supernatural: The Okami can only be killed by a specially blessed bamboo dagger... or, as Bobby learns in a pinch, by throwing it into a wood chipper. Unfortunately, a lady friend of his is standing in the splatter zone.
    Rufus: Oh, okeydokey. Wood chipper, that... that pretty much trumps everything.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • On an episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Norman Smiley stole Chavo Guerrero Jr.'s hobbyhorse, Pepe (It's a Long Story), and threw Pepe into a wood chipper in the parking lot.

    Video Games 
  • Alien Hominid has one sitting around near the end of the fourth level, capable of shredding up FBI agents (and yourself if you're not careful). Once you reclaim your UFO, you can use its tractor beam to pick up agents and dump them into the chipper. Much Gorn ensues.
  • In the Bloons Tower Defense series, one of the towers in the fifth game is the Bloonchipper, a mechanical device that sucks in Bloons, shreds them, and spits the remainders, which then can be sucked in again. Its upgrades allow it to suck in more Bloons or shred them faster, and the final upgrade allows it to suck in MOAB class Bloons, stalling and delaying their movement.
  • In Cel Damage, Sinder has this as his signature weapon, allowing him to suck up nearby opponents and spit them out the back. Given that it's in a more cartoony world than the rest of the examples here, it's much less gory and more on the Amusing Injuries side of things.
  • In Friday the 13th: The Game, one of the single-player scenarios has this as a challenge. Turn the chipper on, hide, wait for a counselor to come out and inspect it and then sneak from the shadows...
  • In Hitman: Absolution and the World of Assassination Trilogy, 47 can put either unconscious or dead bodies in a wood shredder and grind them up. Unfortunately for the Silent Assassin players, hiding the body without killing them is not an option. In 2016's "World of Tomorrow" level; a challenge called "Weeding the Garden" involves killing Silvio Caruso, one of your targets, then putting his body through the shredder.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon has the Lumber Mill arena, where a wood chipper on a corner serves as an instant death trap.
  • In The Punisher (THQ), the Central Zoo level starts with you having the option to interrogate a Gnucci thug by threatening to shove him into a wood chipper. Should you fail the interrogation or refuse the thug's help, Frank Castle will proceed to stuff the thug into the wood chipper legs first.
  • In Saints Row 2 during the Crowd Control diversion, one of the random locations has a wood chipper you can toss deranged fans into for extra points.
  • An ice chipper, not a wood chipper, but in Sleeping Dogs (2012), you can make use of one of these for a particularly brutal finisher. It's how Wei finishes off Big Smile Lee.
  • In Viscera Cleanup Detail, the horror movie-themed level has you dispose of garbage and bodies with one of these instead of the usual incinerator. Lore-wise (not really in gameplay), it has the advantage of being able to fully destroy the seriously (really, insanely) cursed junk everywhere. It's also really good at making a mess shredding anything partially liquid or violently deflecting and hurling anything solid — and it's located outside at night in grass where it's hard to spot the details of this. And yes, you could end up in it if you're really, really careless going up the outside of the house or hedges.

    Webcomics 
  • In Undead Ed, Ed talks with some zombies brought back to life via an experimental project. They explain to him they have different scars due to the doctors replacing what was defective in their corpses related to how they died. One mentions his death was caused by a heart attack, but Ed notes he looks more banged up than the others, to which the zombie adds he was standing above a wood chipper when it happened.

    Web Videos 

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Happens to Cuddles on two separate occasions. Lumpy also narrowly avoids this fate in a game cutscene.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: In “Hop ‘Til you Drop”, Sprig’s insatiable curiosity nearly leads him into feeding his hand into one of these until Anne saves him at the last moment.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: This almost indirectly happens to Timmy in "You-Doo" where a voodoo doll of him lands on a branch being ground up in a nearby wood chipper. He barely gets out of it with only a Close-Call Haircut after wishing the doll away.
  • In Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "The Dabba Don", Phil at one point tells Harvey not to question their client too much or he'll get them all whacked.
    Phil: Ha ha, body in a wood chipper.
  • King of the Hill: One episode had Dale destroy a puppet that Bobby had via a woodchipper since he's afraid of how it looks.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind", one of the twenty-seven murdered Ricks was shown to be killed using a wood chipper with a nearby wall completely splattered with his blood.
  • The Simpsons: One "Treehouse of Horror" segment has Homer accidentally killing Krusty by making him fall into a nearby wood chipper, where Krusty gets ground up in a rather graphic fashion.

    Real Life 
  • In 1986, Richard Crafts murdered his wife Helle, ran her body through a woodchipper and threw the remains into a nearby riverbank. Searchers uncovered 59 bits of bone, part of a finger, five droplets of blood, five tooth caps, 2,660 strands of hair, three ounces of human tissue and two fingernails, all of which were matched to her via forensic testing. Her death led to Connecticut's first murder conviction without the victim's body.
  • In 2015, 19-year-old Mason Cox was killed when he got accidentally pulled into a woodchipper on his first day of working for a local business.
  • Uday and Qusay, the sons of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, were widely believed to have used a woodchipper or a plastic shredder to dispose of their victims.

 
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Woodchipper Accident

The main trope image. One of the kids attempts to tackle Tucker, mistaking him for a crazy serial killer, and ends up falling headfirst into a woodchipper much to the hillbilly's horror.

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