Dead Hand Shot
This is a stock type of camera shot that is also popular for posters and cover art. The story typically has death or murder as a central element, but featuring a corpse front and center, especially a very maimed one, prominently on the box art is usually not considered a good way to sell. So a compromise is used, an artfully limp and bloody hand is shown, perhaps holding (or dropping) an important object. Of course, the hand may be separate from the body, or itself badly damaged.
Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]
- Happens to a schoolgirl that Vampire Princess Miyu bit for blood and accidentally killed by fully draining her in the fourth OVA. First there's a Scream Discretion Shot to the school building and a bunch of students as another girl finds her, then a while later we see the girl's body from a long distance, and last but not least we're shown her hand and some strands of her long hair. Happens around 0:36
- Happens in Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conquer of Shamballa, mixed with an Empathy Doll Shot. We hear a scream, see a gust of wind, then cue a hand underneath a pile of debris right next to a teddy bear.
- In Dragon Ball Z, as Vegeta draws his final breath on Namek, his tear-blurred vision fades from his point of view, and we next see a close-up of his gloved hand falling onto the ground, followed by a shot of his body shivering with his eyes closed before becoming still and lifeless, followed by a gust of wind blowing on his body.
- In the School Days HQ-exclusive bad ending (seen here), Kotonoha is pushed by Sekai onto train tracks and is killed by the arriving train. Right after the train hits, the scene cuts to Makoto holding her torn-off hand
- Happens to Nono Motoe in Blood C. Or better said, we see her legs after she and her twin sister Nene are horribly eaten alive in front of their friend Saya Kisaragi. And then it's subverted: it was all an act. They do get killed off again... and it's much worse.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- The cover to Captain America (comics) #25 features Cap's gloved hand laying dead on the cover, amidst newspaper scraps. This was the issue that he (supposedly) died.
- The image comes from the Mexican film Bajo la Sal (Under the Salt). The movie itself also uses this shot several times to depict the murdered women found this way.
- Brick uses this on the poster and in the film for the protagonist's dead ex-girlfriend in the beginning.
- Citizen Kane starts off with a shot of Kane's hand holding a snowglobe, then dropping it when he dies.
- The George Romero Dawn of the Dead movie has a zombie hand too, and those are the living dead. The hand doesn't have the courtesy to lie there prettily though. It grasps.
- The poster for the first Saw movie had this.
- The horror movie House, starring William Katt.
- The ending of the 1930 film version of All Quiet on the Western Front.
- Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, complete with dropped apple. Of course, it's only "sleeping death".
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, a dying pirate captain's hand drops an apple.
- William Wallace after his execution at the end of Braveheart.
- After Neil kills himself in Dead Poets Society ... though the drama is ruined somewhat by the subsequent slo-mo shot.
- Seen with Wilson's suicide by gunshot in The Great Gatsby.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- The box art for Dead Space.
- Left 4 Dead's cover art is of a dead hand—it's in the opening movie as such.
- One of the very few images of Courier 6 from Fallout: New Vegas is of a very sad-looking hand, poking up out of a shallow grave.
- It even carries over to his/her Caravan card in the special edition. A gloved hand bursting out of the ground.
- The original Fallout had it in the Shady Sands ending if you took too long and the town got destroyed by the mutants.
- During a flashback in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Claire's hand is the only part of her body that's exposed amidst the rubble following the catastrophic explosion that killed her and several other people.
- This is how the intro for Warcraft 3 ends.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 cartoon loved this trope. Standouts include Splinter (who in reality wasn't seriously hurt, although that didn't stop producers from using the shot to suggest it in the episode's promo), Tang Shen (who did).
- Near the end of the Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures episode "Undersea Urgency", Jonny and other survivors of a doomed Underwater Base (overrun by C.H.U.D.-like creatures awakened by a a seaquake), one of surviving scientists tries to go back for one of the dead creatures (For Science!!). Turns out the creature (and it's inhuman maw full of razor-sharp teeth) is Not Quite Dead. Cue Dead Hand Shot.