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A Smash Cut cut occurs without warning in the middle of a scene and transitions abruptly to another, and is often intended to startle the audience. Very often, it goes something like this:


 Bob: I am so not going to --

[[[Smash Cut]] to Bob doing whatever he was about to say he wouldn't do]

Bob: ...Dagnabbit.


Can also be combined with Gilligan Cut, or Ironic Echo, though a Smash Cut is defined by the lack of warning that it is coming and the fact that it usually cuts someone off mid-sentence. This is also a popular technique for going to credits, or for when someone wakes up from a Nightmare, so it often overlaps with Catapult Nightmare.

Not to be confused with the upcoming Canadian movie Smash Cut, though it's entirely possible that the movie will employ smash cuts in production...

Examples of Smash Cut include:

Anime and Manga


  • Employed in many horror movies, especially in Screamer Trailers.
  • The movie War had these just about every second to the point where you say "This is ridiculous!" ten minutes into the movie.
  • A Serious Man: When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies...
  • The ending to Inception: Cobb's totem starts to wobble as the scene smash cuts to black and the credits begin to roll
  • Used any time Jason puts together a costume in Mystery Team.
  • Used comically in John Carter.

Live-Action TV

  • An Angel episode had Wesley happily declare "We're winning!" during a battle. Smash Cut to the aftermath of the battle and the group tied up.
    • In fact, something like this happens in almost every episode of Angel.
    • Joss Whedon does another one in Serenity, when we cut from River being told to "lie down" to her having a needle shoved into her forehead in a lab. Joss admits on the commentary track that much of the camera work in the first few minutes, which includes several Smash Cuts and Hard Cuts, are designed to show River's fractured mental state, and by contrast when we first see the titular ship it's done in a Oner to establish a sense of safety.
    • Yeah, Joss Whedon loves these. A particularly heart wrenching example is in the Buffy episode "Selfless" which goes from Anya singing an upbeat song (during the Musical Episode) about how much she loves Xander to her with a sword through her chest after Buffy impaled her, she gets better quickly but the audience doesn't for a while
      • Several more appear in "The Body", cutting from imagined scenes of Joyce's recovery to her dead body.
      • A more light-hearted version from the Musical Episode is cutting from the midst of Tara's highly-suggestive love song ("You make me--" (complete)) to Xander hinting Tara and Willow have slipped away for some nookie.
  • The Lost episode "The Constant" uses Smash Cuts to show Desmond's jarring transitions between 1996 and 2004.
  • A Stargate Universe episode had body-swapping communications devices "blink" as a result of the spaceship carrying them going in and out of FTL. This resulted in people who were temporarily borrowing other people's bodies thousands of light-years away, getting jerked back into their own for a few seconds with no warning at all.

 Destiny drops out of FTL.

Eli (in the control room): All right, this is ridiculous. Jumping back and forth without any warning is completely--

Eli (back in his hotel on Earth): --unacceptable! [looks around] Seriously?

  • Lampshaded in 30 Rock episode "Smash cut to".
  • Happens at the end of the Doctor Who serial Revelation of the Daleks when the Doctor is telling Peri where he'll take her for some peace and tranquility. "I'll take you to-" (closing credits).
  • In an episode of The George Lopez Show, Benny vows do something horrible to George for rigging a productivity contest. George thinks she's bluffing. Cut to George crying over his broken golf clubs.



Video Games


 Dangeresque: I solved the kidnapping case, Renaldo! She was kidnapped by a monster with a broken heart.

Renaldo: That's the dumbest— {Jump cut} Dangeresque, you're a genius!


Web Animation

  • Happens fairly often in the Homestar Runner series, notably the Strong Bad Emails.

Web Original


 [Nick sitting at a computer.]

Coach: Aaaaaaaggghhh!!

[Coach blasts a hole through the wall with flames shooting from his groin, frying Nick into a charred husk.]

Nick: do that again, and I will bury you alive.

Coach: AAH--!

[Coach is barely holding it in.]

Nick: Coach...!

Coach: Eeyaaaaagghh--!!

[The entire building explodes, and we smash cut to Coach's hand sticking out of the ground, giving the middle finger.]


Western Animation

  • Every episode of The Venture Brothers ends with a smash cut into the ending credits.
  • In Futurama, we have the producer's favorite smash cut ever from the episode "Put Your Head on My Shoulders":

 Bender: Wait. You mean people will pay good money for romance? Hmm. I think I have a scheme so deviously clever that I--

[Smash Cut to courtroom and judge banging his gavel]

Judge: $500 and time served.

Bender: Stupid anti-pimping laws!

    • Another example happens right at the end of "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", when Zoidberg starts to sing his song and it smash cuts to the credits. We then hear Zoidberg sigh.
    • Most of "Time Keeps On Slipping" is held together entirely by Smash Cuts, with the twist that the characters don't remember what happened in between.
    • From Bender's Big Score

 Nudar: Tough times earth chumps. We're repossessing your TV. Seems you can't afford it now that you're unemployed!

Zoidberg: We're not unemplo-

(Cut to the crew being kicked out of the office).

    • In "Proposition Infinity", Amy and Bender have a torrid and illegal romance. They spearhead a campaign to make robot/human relationsihps legal, and actually win. Amy says now they can openly have a serious, monogomous relationship.

 Bender: That's righ-- monogamous?

(Cut to Bender on a beach somewhere with two fembots.)


 Helga: "There is no way I am taking the subway!"

[Cut to Helga and the gang in the subway station.]

Helga: "...I can't believe I am taking the subway."