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A character has just had something terrible happen to them. But due to some supernatural reason, they're not quite dead yet.

Oh, wait, here comes an other-worldly energy! And, it seems to be creating a bunch of things! And well, what do you know, the character is dead! That, or his body is not there! Either way, there's reason to rejoice!

A Deadly Fireworks Display occurs whenever a character dies in a slow and occasionally agonizing way that is worked out to be as flashy as possible. What will generally happen is that bright colors will appear during a death scene and that said bright colors will create a dazzling show akin to a fireworks display (hence the trope name). Circumstances can be however they are for the death of a character, but it counts as a Deadly Fireworks Display if the death is either directly accompanied or caused by a light show. The show is also there to show us that the character met a generally unpleasant end, be it a good or bad guy.

Oftentimes this trope occurs as a result of a Deal with the Devil, and the death itself is caused by the spirits of the one whom the deal was made with when they are unable to pay up. Said spirits thus make it a point to make his death as flashy as possible, with plenty of flashing lights supposedly representing Black Magic as the character is dragged to their doom.

The trope can also be used when someone is Sealing Evil in a Can, in which case it does not count as a death so much as it does a sealing. In the case that the light show occurs as a result of Tricking the Shapeshifter, it can be tied in to A God Am I, although some examples don't do this.

Yet other times, it involves the Big Bad directly if said Big Bad is a supernatural entity like a spirit or a god. In these cases, Tricking the Shapeshifter is not entirely necessary; if it dies, it will simply die in a light show.

Subtrope of Technicolor Death, the key difference being that the death is always flashier than most Technicolor deaths really are. (For example, the Wicked Witch of the West would count as a Technicolor death, but it's not flashy enough to count as a deadly fireworks display.) For the version of this trope that shows a more pleasant end, see Disappears Into Light.



Film - Animation

  • An iconic example occurs in The Princess and the Frog in which Dr. Facilier is dragged into a headstone when he cannot pay up all the souls his voodoo gods need.
  • A variation on this death occurs in Anastasia, wherein Rasputin decomposes in flashes of green light after the title character steps on his talisman.
  • Played straight in Aladdin when Jafar is tricked into turning himself into a genie and he gets pulled into the lamp with literal fireworks accompanying it.
  • Played very literally in Mulan when the villain gets destroyed by fireworks that were lit by Mushu.
  • Oliver and Company: The scene where Sykes hits the train...
  • The Wuxi Finger Hold from Kung Fu Panda can be seen as a variation of this kind of death that occurs away from the influence of demonic objects.
    • This is up for debate, however, as it's never explicitly mentioned in the movie that Tai Lung was in fact killed by the finger hold.

Film - Live-Action

  • In Drag Me to Hell, the heroine encounters this kind of death at the very end of the movie, in which she is literally dragged to hell.
  • In Ghost, the main villain is killed by a window pane. They are then dragged to hell by demons.
  • The entire climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark is a massive Deadly Fireworks Massacre.
  • Blackout from the new Transformers movie goes out in a blaze of typical Michael Bay explosions. The results of that speak for themselves...
  • The entire final scene of Inglourious Basterds.
  • Emperor Palpatine from Return of the Jedi, being tossed down a shaft while sending electricity everywhere. When he hits the core, that burst of energy is enough to show us he's gone.
  • In Platoon, there are MANY moments of fireworks, especially the end.
  • Rush Hour 2, Hu Li's time bomb.
  • On every Final Destination film has a death that is a Deadly Fireworks Display or a long and painful death scene.
    • This is very literal in the third film, where the finale takes place at a tricentennial, featuring fireworks. Said fireworks set off a horse that manages to nearly kill one character (and upon failing to do so, kill another), and at the end of the scene, the fireworks nearly hit the three main characters, only to cause the death of the film's only human antagonist.
  • Johann Schmit/Red Skull ends up suffering from this trope in Captain America: The First Avenger when his attempt to use the Tesseract/Energy cube on Captain America after the device holding it was destroyed ended up backfiring on him.
    • Though, if you've watched Thor, you'll recognize that particular bit as the Bifrost teleportation sequence. Meaning that it's most likely that Red Skull isn't finished just yet.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • By all accounts, this is what the death of the Primordials looked like (except less fireworks and more tearing gaping holes to the Void in the fabric of reality).

Video Games

  • Happens to every final boss of the Fire Emblem series except for Ashnard.
  • The Lambent Brumak from Gears of War 2.
  • Subverted at one point in Kingdom Hearts: in the version of Aladdin that is played through during the game, Jafar actually avoids this kind of death by wishing to become a genie. This subversion occurs as a result of Sora defeating him in his human form. Also consider the fact that Jafar would have been eaten by Darkness if he hadn't wished to become a Genie.
  • Star Fox 64 has a few of these, most notably the ending of Macbeth where the train crashes into the weapons base.
  • A few of the fatalities from the Mortal Kombat series are this, as well as Shao Kahn's demise from Mortal Kombat 3.
  • Every. Single. Final Fantasy game.
  • The seizure-inducing boss explosions in Iron Tank.
  • In the Mega Man Zero games all the boss enemies die this way as their power cells explode when they're defeated...but only after they've finished their dying monologue of course! More impressive when defeated by a normal saber attack as they continue talking (and notably not exploding) despite being clearly cut into two.
  • All the hunters corrupted by Dark Samus's earlier attack on them in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption suffer this fate as a result of their defeat. Similarly, Dark Samus herself, shortly after she is defeated while possessing Aurora Unit 313, also suffers this trope (It's notably different than the previous Disappearing Into Light example of her death in the previous game as she is screaming in agony shortly after surviving a fatal blow, and then blows up... taking Samus's corruption and Phaaze with her).
  • Volgin in Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater ends up defeated by Snake, and ends up being hit by lightning. He then catches on fire, and the bullet bandomeers end up being set off by the flames.

Western Animation

  • Towards the end of Barbie and the Diamond Castle, Vain Sorceress Lydia tries to cast a spell on the protagonists, but it backfires and hits her instead, surrounding her with swirling green sparkles until she disappears in a flash of light. Though she turns out to be Not Quite Dead...
    • Also in 2 of the 3 the Barbie Movies which are located in Fairytopia (respectively the first part; Fairytopia and the third part; Magic of the Rainbow), where the Big Bad of several movies gets hit by the Power of the Rainbow and (after getting swirled about in the first movie,) "explodes" in a rain of rainbow-colored sparkles.
  • Optimus Prime's (temporary) death in Transformers Armada.

Real Life