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  • In Anaconda 4 the main villain, right after giving himself immortality, gets eaten by an immortal snake, and never gets out.
  • Awakenings, based on Real Life Dr. Oliver Sachs' experiences with catatonic patients. There is one exchange that expounds the true Fridge Horror of the situation:
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 Dr. Ingham: Most died during the acute stage of the illness, during a sleep so deep they couldn't be roused. A sleep that in most cases lasted several months. Those who survived, who awoke, seemed fine, as though nothing had happened. Years went by - five, ten, fifteen - before anyone suspected they were not well... they were not. I began to see them in the early 1930's - old people brought in by their children, young people brought in by their parents - all of them complaining they weren't themselves anymore. They'd grown distant, aloof, anti-social, they daydreamed at the dinner table. I referred them to psychiatrists. Before long they were being referred back to me. They could no longer dress themselves or feed themselves. They could no longer speak in most cases. Families went mad. People who were normal, were now elsewhere.

Dr. Sayer: What must it be like to be them? What are they thinking?

Dr. Ingham: They're not. The virus didn't spare the higher faculties.

Dr. Sayer: We know what for a fact?

Dr. Ingham: Yes.

Dr. Sayer: Because?

Dr. Ingham: Because the alternative would be unthinkable.

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    • Leonard Lowe actually manages to convey his being trapped by directing Dr. Sayer to the poem The Panther:
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 His vision, from the constantly passing bars,

has grown so weary that it cannot hold

anything else. It seems to him there are

a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.



As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,

the movement of his powerful soft strides

is like a ritual dance around a center

in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.



Only at times, the curtain of the pupils

lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,

rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,

plunges into the heart and is gone.

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  • The Doctor Strange movie is solved by applying a time loop version of this. Strange goes after Dormammu in the Dark Dimension, where our universe's definition of time doesn't apply. He arrives, Dormammu kills him. He appears again, Dormammu kills him. It keeps repeating over and over... and then Dormammu catches on. Strange explains he used time magic to effectively trap Dormammu in a short moment for all eternity. Dormammu is unfazed and continues to kill Strange. And many, many deaths later Dormammu decides he had enough of this metaphysical prison and accepts Strange's request to give up on Earth.
  • Imohtep in both versions of The Mummy (the 1932 original and 1999 remake). The novelization of the 1999 film explains that Imhotep's soul is locked in his body, even after it dies, and in the meantime, he's buried alive with flesh eating scarabs devouring him, and his tongue cut out so he can't scream, at least not effectively.
  • End fate of the slasher in Monster Man, where the survivors manage to steal his monster truck and proceed to avert Once Is Not Enough with it. They plough into him, run him over, reverse over him, and then run him over, again and again for hours. As he's been rendered essentially unkillable thanks to his sister's Black Magic, he's still alive and aware even after they finally get sick of it and drive away, leaving behind a great greasy smear of meat-pulp screaming that they haven't killed him yet.
  • Awake is about a man who undergoes surgery, during which the anesthetic had worn off but the neuromuscular blocking agents holding him still had not. Sadly, there's a handful of surgeries in Real Life where this had happened.
  • In Being John Malkovich, John Cusack's character attempts to travel through the portal at a particularly inappropriate time, leaving his consciousness stranded in the body of a young girl that he cannot control.
    • Mr. Malkovich himself -- being helplessly forced to watch somebody else control his body for the rest of his life? Eesh.
  • In The Burrowers, the monsters' venom causes near-total paralysis, save breathing and slight movement of the toes or fingers. Once their victims are paralyzed, the creatures bury their prey with nothing but the nose exposed, ensuring the captive won't suffocate and will provide fresh meat when the time comes. Unfortunately, once the monsters have been killed, the surviving humans don't realize they need to look for a still-living victim, who is left buried up to his nose without hope of rescue. This leads to some Fridge Logic when you realize the missing family may have been buried near the house.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Bootstrap Bill was tied to a cannon and sent to the bottom of the ocean by Captain Barbossa. However, because of the curse of the Aztec gold, which rendered him immortal, he was fated to spend an eternity at the bottom of the ocean and unable to free himself, until the Big Bad of the 2nd film came along.
  • In Pitch Black, a bound, gagged and sedated Riddick tells (in voiceover) how the animal part of the brain never goes to sleep - which is why he is still fully aware of what's going on during the space voyage. Downplayed because Riddick, while certainly not the most well-adjusted individual, doesn't seem to be bothered that much by the sensation.
    • Antonia Chillingsworth in the animated sequel Dark Fury has a better example. She keeps criminals frozen into statues, and well... I'll let her explain it.
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 Antonia:They are all very much alive. Each one sustained in a form of cryo so profound... That seconds seem weeks, and to blink an eye is a day's work. The brain, however, continues to function unimpeded. The mind continues to think and feel, swarming with whatever dark thoughts it's trapped alone with, as it will be for hundreds of years. So much more fitting a fate than dropping them off at the nearest slam.

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  • At the end of the Fantastic Four movie, the villain Victor van Doom is fully transformed into living metal. His body is heated up and then rapidly cooled, resulting in a crystallisation process that leaves him unable to move, and everyone to believe he is dead. Unfortunately for him, he is still fully conscious.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: In the belly of the Sarlacc, victims find a new definition of suffering as they are "slowly digested over a thousand years".
    • The Expanded Universe story "A Barve Like That", describing Boba Fett's escape from the Sarlacc is a freaking study in this trope...there's something in the Sarlacc's digestive fluids that keeps people alive and conscious, though immobile and in pain, since the thing rarely feeds. Not only that, it's telepathic, can force people to relive their, its, and each other's memories, and apparently becomes sentient through its victims - even after death, they become part of its psyche.
      • When Fett does eventually escape, the Sarlacc appears to express some satisfaction that Fett will "release it from the long cycle". He does not, implying that its own existence is an example of this trope.
      • See the "Literature" section for what carbonite prisons do...
  • Victims of Cecile and Justify in The Skeleton Key tend to wind up in elderly, stroke ridden bodies, unable to take care of themselves, let alone tell anyone what had happened.
  • The climax of Audition sees the protagonist injected with a drug that paralyzes his muscles but heightens his pain sensation while his girlfriend starts torturing him with piano wire and acupuncture needles. He is trying very very hard to scream, you better believe it.
    • Though he was released from that before too long. This trope applies better to the guy stuffed in the burlap sack in her apartment.
  • The victim of the "Sloth" punishment in Se7en is kept paralysed in his own apartment for a year by the villain, occasionally given antibiotics so as not to die from his bedsores. By the time he is saved and taken to a hospital, his mind is no longer functioning.
  • Although the effect is mostly killed by the movie's cheese factor, Casper Meets Wendy has a vortex that is magically opened and used to throw victims into which drags them away. After it's closed, very few people can open it again, so a later rescue is out of the question. It's particularly horrific for the ghosts, since a human might be lucky and get bashed in the head but someone already dead wouldn't have that option.
  • Given a twist in The Matrix. Since the machines are interested in the energy created by human bodies they need to keep them in a good state, which turns out to be much easier to do if their minds believe they are still leading normal lives.
  • The 3rd Nightmare on Elm Street revealed Freddy actually devours the souls of his victims, keeping them contained in his body while leeching power from them. Some of their screaming, writhing faces periodically appear on his torso. They actually rip him apart in the fourth film, though by the sixth, he probably trapped more.
    • Freddy's plan for Nancy in the remake was to trap her in this type of situation.
  • The fate of the villain in The Fly 2, when fly Marty replaces his mutated genes with the villain ones, thus trapping the villain in a bloated, deformed mutated body that can barely crawl.
  • RoboCain from RoboCop 2 can only create an image of his face but is unable to speak. He truly has an AIMS moment when his brain is smashed on pavement. The CG face appears, clearly in agony, but he can only make mechanical sounds to complain which aren't intelligible.
    • This is also a problem with a RoboCop 2 prototype who we see in agony but can only use pre-generated police phrases. He succeeds in killing himself, however.
  • Depending on how the ending of The Snow Queen's Revenge is interpreted, the final fate of the main antagonist might apply. At the end, the Snow Queen falls into the lava. Her body is shown intact, but turned to stone. Her eyes glow blue before the credits roll, which makes it possible that she survived, but remained trapped in the lava. In the event that it was just a reflection or that it was some effect of her staff (as she is still holding the staff, also turned to stone), then this would be a Disney Death, given the falling factor. Alas, we'll never know the truth; no sequels have been made in 14 years, but that at least says that, whether dead or trapped, she won't return to menace the characters again.
  • In The Final, one of the outcasts' victims is drugged so that he can't move but can feel everything. Then, Emily sticks him in the throat with needle after needle, all while she remains completely silent and his friends beg for her to stop.
  • The ultimate fate of Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream. And to an extent, the other three protagonists during the final sequence as well.
  • In Toy Story 3 the main villain, Lotso Huggin' Bear, gets strapped to the front of a garbage truck as an ornament, doomed to be pelted with dead bugs and the elements while being unable to move for years to come.
    • Jessie, Bullseye, and Stinky Pete having been kept in storage for who knows how long. It can be reasonably assumed that they were conscious of it at the time, based on Jessie's reaction to the prospect of going back into the storage box. Then there is the idea of them being sold to the museum and ultimately being trapped in a glass case for who knows how long.
  • Two examples in The Sorcerers Apprentice. First, the Grimhold kept Morgana and Veronica trapped for a millennium. A second, shorter version happens when Balthazar and Horvath are trapped inside an urn for ten years.
  • In the German horror Splatter movie Anatomy (orig. Anatomie, 2000), a female medical student who enters a prestigious Heidelberg medical school uncovers a conspiracy by an Antihippocratic secret society operating within the university grounds who are masters of plastination of corpses but due to a lack of fresh, perfect, undamaged corpses have decided to obtain their own "study material". Certain selected victims (people that no-one will miss but also a co-student who discovered what was going on) are injected with a drug that completely paralyses the victim within a few minutes and suppresses all lifesigns so that the victims appears dead on first glance, while still semi-conscious. The drug then transforms the blood, slowly plastinating the victim from within, while the members of the conspiracy pose the body and start to dissect and flay away skin and muscles from the organs and bones. One such victim wakes up, unable to move more than his eyes, and sees his hand has been artfully dissected down to the bones, and he himself is posed naked as a plastinated "scientific show piece".
  • In Inception, it's alluded that this occurs when someone dies in a dream sedated enough that they can't simply wake up from it. Supposedly they go to a "limbo" where they can trapped for what seems like years or even decades. Cobb and Mal (before she died) have been there and by the end, so has Saito.
  • Dreamkeeper shows this in the Show Within a Show. Along with Who Wants to Live Forever?, the protagonist is granted clairvoyance. And can see the 20th century.
  • John Blaylock, as well as Miriam Blaylock's other past lovers in The Hunger, deserve a mention. In short, not only do they age rapidly, they can't physically die, meaning someone else has to kill them. Instead, they are incased alive in coffins kept by Miriam.
  • In The Human Centipede, the middle victim is essentially left to starve to death after the scientist responsible for the Centipede experiment is killed, the first victim commits suicide by slashing his own throat, and the last victim dies of blood poisoning. Just the thought of being in that situation is guaranteed Nightmare Fuel.
    • This might be a bit of a subversion, seeing as how the main villain killed two police officers and the cops usually wait 2 hours after receiving no response from a walkie-talkie to send in reinforcements. She might survive, but she won't be the same mentally.
  • Part of the Downer Ending in The Alphabet Killer. Detective Megan Paige, who can see the spirits of the eponymous killer's victims, also has a history of mental illness. In the end the stress of the case and her confrontation with the killer leads to a psychotic break. This results in her being hospitalized and sedated to the point where she can't move or speak, and thus is helpless to stop the murderer (whose identity remains a mystery to the rest of the police force.) The final scenes chillingly show the detective in a near catatonic where it is implied she will remain for years, her bed slowly being surrounded by the ghosts of more and more of the killer's victims.
  • In Interview With a Vampire, the titular Vampire is sealed into a coffin and set into a solid cement wall. Naturally, being a vampire and thus immortal, he does not need the oxygen, food or water that this denies him - and in context, lack of blood does not kill a vampire, it simply torments him and drives him slowly insane. Or it would, if he wasn't rescued shortly after to avoid this fate.
    • This may have happened to another vampire during the time that Louis and Claudia were traveling the world in search of their kin. So for several decades, Lestat was left barely alive in the old manor, seemingly killed for a SECOND time. Instead of dying, he survives as a charcoal covered corpse that feeds on rats, all alone and afraid of the the changing outside world.
  • The film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun. See the entry under Literature.
  • Spacegodzilla falls under this at the end of his only film appearance (Godzilla VS Spacegodzilla). Being one of the few truly immortal Kaiju, he's trapped in the form of tiny particles floating through space for all of eternity.
  • Because Robert's fate is left ambiguous, this could be the case in Mystery Team.
  • Those murdered by the killer in Midnight Movie become trapped in the film world he originates from, unable to die and held in a Torture Cellar. Escape is possible, but highly unlikely.
  • The victims of the killer in the Rest Stop duology become unhinged ghosts, trapped haunting the lonely stretch of highway the killer prowls.
  • Wade Wilson's fate in the end of X Men Origins Wolverine. He turned from a nice looking, fast talking, somewhat funny guy to a pale, disfigured person. He has no hair and his mouth was sewn shut. He got all the powers of the mutants Weapon X captured, but he was completely under their control with no free will.
  • The "precogs" of Minority Report. Daily life for them involves being forced to watch murders in a drugged stupor.
  • In Infernal Affairs III, Ming is left in a paralyzed and catatonic state after a botched suicide attempt. However, he is still semi-conscious and essentially trapped in an eternal nightmare where he is forced to deal with the guilt of his past crimes. In the very last scene, he is seen tapping his fingers, which is Morse code for "HELL".
  • This is what happens to the alien in Alien and by extension the alien queen in Aliens both of which are pushed out of airlocks into deep space. Fridge Horror (Or not considering they're presumably evil critters) sets in when you realize they can survive in the vacuum of space. Pick a direction in space, any direction and imagine shooting a straight line out of it. The chances that line will may as well be 0. The aliens in both movies will float in the endless vacuum of space until they die of starvation, however long that will take.
  • In Clive Barker's Dread, a woman is locked into a room with the dead body of her boyfriend, the implication being that she'll be forced to eat it.
  • In Hansel and Gretel, a woman is turned into a tree.
  • Claudia attempted to do this to Lilli with the apple in Snow White a Tale of Terror. The apple would completely paralyze her, but give her full awareness in the "prison of her mind" as she was buried alive.