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The killer goes through a door, which closes behind them. Then we hear screams and gunshots. Used with those Driven to Suicide as well.

A subtrope of Gory Discretion Shot or Battle Discretion Shot. See also Scream Discretion Shot and Shadow Discretion Shot. Goes together well with the lethal variant of Mugged for Disguise. Sometimes an example of Nothing Is Scarier or Darkness Equals Death, where the scene is more disturbing because we can't see it.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Sound-Only Death include:

Anime and Manga

  • Elfen Lied: The lone survivor of a squad of guards who had been trying to kill a naked teenage girl is trapped unarmed and alone in a room with her. She crouches down in front of him as he cowers in a corner, shitting his pants in fear...
  • Noir. The Intocabile murders the family of a Mafia boss this way, after he commits treason. This was done to get around the heavy restrictions placed on gore by the network (which is why the series uses Bloodless Carnage) and it works.
    • Debatably, also the ending of the series. But most fans don't sign to this theory, as the gun-sounds in the end belong to the protagonists' guns, which at this point were destroyed.
  • The Count's death in The Castleof Cagliostro, when he's crushed by the clock tower's hands. You hear him in pain, and then a gurgle accompanied by a nasty-sounding crunch as the hands move to the 12:00 position.


  • Done in Watchmen when Rorschach went into the prison restroom and killed Big Figure.
  • Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog has one in the milestone issue #225; Sonic and Sally infiltrate the newly-built Death Egg Mark II, where they are then immediately confronted by Silver Sonic Mark II. Sonic decides to fight. However, Sally runs down a corridor to trace Eggman's intercom signal, where she encounters a giant gun turret that pops out of the wall. Sonic, while still fighting Silver Sonic, hears 3 sickening loud blasts (Possibly made worse by the art detailing in the onomatopoeia of the blasts.) from outside the corridor. The only thing we see afterwards of Sally is her shattered goggles and a silhouette on the floor of her lifeless hand, as Mobius reboots itself.


  • Lambert's death in the first Alien movie.
  • The James Cagney movie Angels with Dirty Faces ended this way.
  • A variation in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the Death Star, two stormtroopers are lured inside the Millenium Falcon, then we hear blaster fire. We never see any bodies afterward, but Han and Luke walk out in their uniforms.
  • The massacre at the Two Pines Wedding Chapel in Kill Bill, Vol. 2.
  • A rather famous scene in The Limey is this.
  • The murder scene in The War of the Worlds remake, where Tom Cruise's character goes into a nearby room to deal with the Crazy Survivalist whose actions threaten to give away their position to the invading aliens. The door closes, and....Dakota Fanning sings with her eyes closed so she won't hear the murder sounds.
  • Ultraviolet has a scene star with a closed door, gunshots, sword sounds, screams, mayhem...and then Violet comes through the door alone.
  • Occurs in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. After Frank N Furter chases Eddie into the freezer, we see Columbia's horrified face as we hear Eddie's screams and Frank stabbing him multiple times with a pick-axe.
  • In Signs, during the attack in the basement, the only lightbulb is quickly shattered; there follows several minutes of black screen, screaming and things breaking. And, indeed, it is much more disturbing than it probably would have been if we had been able to see the attack.
  • The Black Hole. The visual aspect of Durant's murder by Maximillian is hidden by the book. We only see Durant screaming in agony.
  • Done chillingly in Paranormal Activity. Katie, appearing possessed, wanders downstairs out of view, and begins screaming bloody murder. Her boyfriend runs down after her, you hear him shout, and then they're both suddenly cut off. After many agonizing seconds of silence, his body is tossed at the camera, and it's revealed that Katie had just murdered him.
  • The suicides of Hitler and Eva Braun, Mr & Mrs Goebbels and other Nazi bigwigs in Downfall. Averted with various 'minor' characters.
  • The hibernating astronauts who are murdered by evil computer HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Our only indication that they are dying comes from their life sign monitors, which flatline in a chorus of alarming beeps.
  • In the film adaptation of Double Indemnity the protagonist Walter is shown popping up out of the backseat of a car, the shot changes to the wife of the victim driving while the victim's neck is audibly broken. In the novel, Walter sits up in the backseat of the car and grabs his victim by the neck, the author then (through the main characters voice) states "I won't tell you what I did then. But in two seconds he was curled down on the seat with a broken neck..."
  • In Sucker Punch, there's a scene where Blue talks to all of the girls about their escape plan, which Blondie told him about. When he shoots Amber and Blondie, there's just the sound of the gunshot.
  • Hanna does this a lot- Erik Heller and Marissa Weigler are killed this way.
  • Played for comedy in Dirty Work, in the fish scene.

 Now you've taken my chainsaw, and you're using it on me!

  • Jurassic Park- The goat eaten by the T-rex, the hacker eaten by the Dilophosaurus and, most notably, Anything eaten by the Velociraptors, and for good reason- they are all eaten alive.
  • In The Blair Witch Project, this is what happens to Heather because the footage is from her camera, and most likely Mike and Josh, too.
  • The Big Red One. The German protagonist is Booby Trapping a castle belonging to a countess, who reveals that she despises Hitler and offers him a sizeable bribe not to detonate the explosives. Cut to the outside of the castle and the sound of a submachine gun.
  • Miller's Crossing. A slow pan across the room accompanied by "Danny Boy" playing on the gramophone, and the sound of a man gasping and his body hitting the floor, eventually reveals a dead guard in Leo's foyer, and the murderer letting in his accomplice so they can finish off their main target.

Live Action TV

  • The murder of the entire Quorum in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined's fourth season. We see the bodies afterwards though, and the massacre itself is a deleted scene on the DVD.
  • The suicide of the protagonist in the TV adaptation of A Perfect Spy by Le Carre, involves him walking offscreen, then we hear a gunshot after a long pause, and then a gory shot of his body.
  • Played for Laughs with The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots, a radio Show Within a Show from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • Series 3 of Torchwood. When ordered to hand over his children to a Fate Worse Than Death, a civil servant requisitions a pistol, then tells his wife and two daughters to go up to their room. Once the door closes behind him, four quick shots follow.
  • Played for Laughs in the Doctor Who episode "The Sound of Drums". A minion of the Big Bad shows up in a room which the Big Bad then exits, and until he closes the sound-proof door, we hear screams and the sounds of horrible sharp instruments. Then, after a little while, the Big Bad opens the door again, and screams can still be heard from inside. He closes it again, waits a bit longer ... opens the door, and the victim is still screaming ... but the next time, the room has gone quiet.
    • Other straight examples:
    • Harriet Jones's extermination in The Stolen Earth.
    • Adelaide Brooke's suicide in The Waters of Mars
    • Also occurs in the Third Doctor story Spearhead from Space, where an elderly couple's dog is killed by an Auton. The animal is heard barking offscreen, as its mistress berates it to be quiet; this is followed by a yelp, then silence.
    • In "The Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone" the Weeping Angels move so quickly that this the only way they can snap the Red Shirts' necks.
  • Part of what makes Haley's death in the 100th episode of Criminal Minds so horrific is that her ex-husband, Hotch, is listening to the Reaper torture her and his young son over the phone. They get a few minutes to say goodbye, and then all Hotch can hear is Foyet's gun going off.
  • Jenny Sheperd's death at the end of season 5 of NCIS. Played with in that we see part of the fight in the next episode.
  • In the second season of Jericho, one episode has Bonnie fighting off a bunch of Ravenwood goons with a shotgun. We see most of the gun battle, but when Goetz walks into the house, perspective cuts to Mimi, who is in the storage closet, slowly bleeding from a gunshot wound. We here three shots- one from Goetz's gun, which we see go through the wall a strike a shelf, one from Bonnie's shotgun, and another from Goetz, which doesn't hit the wall. Cue Mimi's stunned look as she realizes that Goetz had the last shot. We don't find out that Bonnie is dead until the very end of that episode, and we never actually see her get shot.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown", we hear but don't see Winnie the Pooh get shot by a firing squad.

 Lister: That's something no one should ever have to see.

  • Highlander:The Series never shows any decapitations, instead opting for a shot of a person swinging a sword and perhaps a *thunk* as a head hits the floor.


  • The Guns of Navarone. Mallory tells the others how Andrea Stavros killed a roomful of Germans -- entering disguised as a collaborator, breaking the lightbulb, then after the shots and screams had died he comes out the door covered in blood.


  • Done in Euripides's Greek myth-inspired Medea, when the eponymous character murders her children, making this trope older than dirt.

Video Games

  • Unreal. After a couple brief sightings of a Skaarj on your crashed ship, you come to a locked door. Behind the door, you hear some of the other prisoners or guards (unsuccessfully) fighting the alien. Once the door finally opens, you see the Skaarj run off, leaving a pile of what used to be people on the floor behind him.
  • Also used twice in Fable 2. The Hero leaves the room where an artist is either painting or sculpting Reaver's likeness, followed by a comment about how the artist has made a mistake, and then a gunshot.
  • Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. Mendoza orders his thugs to kill William, then leaves and closes the door as gunshots are heard from behind it. We later learn that those gunshots were fired by The Gunslinger Ray doing his Big Damn Heroes thing.
  • Iji, sector 9.
  • In Jedi Outcast, the main villain tells his sidekick to kill the main hero's love. You can hear an activating lightsaber, and then a grunt. Later, when the said sidekick is held over the abyss by the hero, she confesses it was all a trick to make the hero mad, and the girl is still alive, so the trope is averted in this case.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The cutscene ends after Saren pulls out his gun on Nihlus, but the player can hear the gunshot when gameplay resumes.
    • In the DLC Bring Down the Sky, one of the missing engineers' bodies shows signs of "burn marks and concussive damage." You can listen to her final audio log: "They're trying to find a way in. I think they're attaching something to the door. If I don't make it, tell my family I love--"(sound of huge explosion)
    • In Mass Effect 3, if you fail to save Dr. Archer's brother David at Grissom Academy--or if you do, but decide to not tell him and let him worry--he pulls out a gun and walks away to "escape from this nightmare." Then you hear a gunshot.
  • Done in the bad ending of Wing Commander IV. Blair is taken offscreen to be executed by firing squad. "Blindfold?" "No." "Ready, aim, fire." (Gunshots, thump)
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy Tactics: Delita approaches Valmafra, sword drawn, and the "camera" pans upwards out of the scene as a scream is heard. Later on, we learn that the person in question is still alive, Delita just cut out their tongue.
  • Rule of Rose goes its way to avoid actually showing any violence against children, so all deaths involving them happen off screen, with only screams to accompany them. Even bodies don't appear afterwards, only empty clothes, though the nature of the story justifies this rather well.
  • In the first level of Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, after climbing down to the ground, if you go off the screen to the right (into the city) instead of left (towards the harbor), the view doesn't change screens, and you hear sounds of violence from offscreen while your health meter slowly decreases to zero.
  • Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories. Worst Ending. In Japanese. Adell kills and EATS Hanako and Taro. And you hear all the splurchy nightmare-inducing noises.
  • In The Reconstruction, the screen abruptly fades to black right before Dehl kills Havan, who we only hear screaming. This is rather odd, considering that there was a graphic Family-Unfriendly Death not much earlier, plus the fact that the game has no reason to pretend it's still a happy-go-lucky family-friendly adventure story at that point.
    • Although, it could be a way of showing that the extremely dark tone of chapter 6 is finally over, and that the story is now going to return to a more lighthearted state.


  • In The Order of the Stick Redcloak takes control over Tsukiko's wights and orders them to drain her to death and then eat her corpse. Then comics provides four panels of Redcloak's face and speech bubles with Tsukiko's dying screams as he watches her die.
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