Falling Chandelier of Doom

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For some reason Agnes's practical eye was drawn to the huge chandelier that hung over the auditorium like a fantastic sea monster. Its thick rope disappeared into the darkness near the ceiling....

"That looks like an accident waiting to happen if ever I saw one", she mumbled.

When in high-class surroundings, the standard way to create chaos or kill people is inevitably to drop the enormous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. This is usually intentional on the part of the character (and strongly indicative of Badassitude), but occasionally it happens by accident. A frequent comedic subversion is for the hero to accidentally drop the chandelier on his own allies.

This is most common in film and theater, since it exists mostly as a way to create a visually spectacular effect.

Generally it's a subtrope of Death by Looking Up. Might overlap with Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.

Examples of Falling Chandelier of Doom include:


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Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Noir does this straight, with Kirika machine-gunning a chandelier to down some mooks.
  • Played with in Digimon V-Tamer, where Taichi has his partner Zeromaru make a chandelier fall not for death and destruction, but so that the noise of it breaking breaks through a sonic attack in action.
  • Happens to Ash and Pikachu in the Pokémon episode "The Tower of Terror". They die... sort of.
    • Well, since their souls were literally pulled out by a Haunter, it was probably a case of Only Mostly Dead.
  • Happens to one of the Zahlen Scwhestern in the final episode of Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom.
  • In Haikara-san ga Tooru, local Ill Girl Larissa dies as she pulls a Diving Save to rescue Shinobu from one and gets hit instead.


Film -- Animated[edit | hide]

Kronk: Strange... that usually works.
Yzma: And so does this! (drops Kronk down a Trap Door)

  • In the first Futurama movie, Bender's Big Score, Hermes' time clone body is destroyed by a falling chandelier. This leads Lars (actually an aged time clone Fry) to realize that he is just as doomed as Hermes' body.
  • Anastasia: Rasputin sends a chandelier crashing to the ballroom floor in the party scene at the beginning of the movie, but everyone steps out of the way.
  • Cinderella: "Yaahh-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!!!"
    • Subverted, as the "victims" in question are sitting astride the chandelier before it falls. Both survive, though it is implied that it hurt. A lot.


Film -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • The Phantom of the Opera might or might not be the Trope Maker. (The page-quote is from a book which is largely a parody of Phantom of the Opera)
  • In Die Another Day, James Bond casually shoots down a chandelier made of ice which lands on The Dragon after a long battle trough a melting ice palace in cars, armed with stinger missiles and mounted machine guns. The water turns red almost immediately.
  • In Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Hamlet, Hamlet (Branagh) drops a chandelier on Claudius (Derek Jacobi) during the final battle, in addition to poisoning and stabbing him. Uh... Yeah
  • Clue has an accidentally-dropped chandelier—the maid accidentally shoots the rope holding it up while trying to shoot the lock on a door. One of the three endings drops the other chandelier in the hall in a similar, but even funnier, manner.
  • In The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Scarecrow drops one onto the Wicked Witch of the West's Winkie soldiers.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Robin tries to drop a chandelier on the Sheriff's men, cuts the wrong rope, and drops a different chandelier on himself instead.
  • In the movie of Stardust, Tristran goes through several different chandeliers before finding the one that will knock Zombie-Septimus out the window; he then uses the momentum from the cut rope as a way to quickly get up the stairs and knock down the witch Lamia.
  • The Scorpion King features a dropped chandelier which its target slips through, but then Mathayus uses the rope to dispose of a new opponent, which raises the chandelier again, catching the first guy astride. Ouch.
  • In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Elizabeth is able to escape temporarily from the crew of the Pearl by taking advantage of a falling chandelier in her father's mansion.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in the Disney film A Kid in King Arthur's Court. The title character cuts the rope attached to a chandelier, but it doesn't fall, causing him to comment that "this always works in the movies". How the chandelier isn't falling even though its support is cut is never explained.
  • Subverted in The War of the Roses: Barbara (Kathleen Turner) prepares to drop a chandelier onto her husband, Oliver, but he moves out of the way before she can drop it. It ends up killing them both when, during a later fight, they both get on top of it and the supporting cables snap. This may not count, since they're both on top of the chandelier at the time.
  • In Godzilla (1998) the heroes clear a path through a host of baby Godzillas by shooting down a succession of chandeliers.
  • Cruelly parodied in Mars Attacks!!, as this is how the First Lady of USA (Glenn Close) dies:

Marsha: The Nancy Reagan chandelier! Woooooooh! * crash*

  • The International (2009). The museum shootout is brought to an end by dropping a chandelier-like construction that suspends several projection screens on a couple of mooks.
  • Non-fatal version in Demolition Man. Phoenix is hiding behind an information terminal with a very large, cone shaped ceiling light overhead and a glass floor beneath (it was an underground exhibit). Spartan shoots the line holding the fixture up, causing it to land near Phoenix and drop him into the exhibit.
  • From Dusk till Dawn: when the lead hooker vampire gets the upper hand on George Clooney's character, Seth, and gloats turning him into her personal lap-dog, Seth's response? "No thanks, I already had a wife.", and shoots the rope holding the wooden chandelier, which impales her.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher - The curse brought on the House of Usher in the form of tremors for the family's devil worship practices ends up in the death of the main character's sister by a falling chandelier.
  • In Killers, Spencer shoots the rope for an antler decoration, causing it to swing and impale the hitwoman strangling him.
  • Done in The Three Musketeers 1993, with Porthos riding the chandelier down:

[after dropping a group of the Cardinal's guards with a chandelier]
Porthos: Did I miss anyone?
Aramis: Congratulations, Porthos. You brought down the house.
Porthos: Oh, drat. I was trying to hit Rochefort.

  • As in the book, Dobby drops a chandelier on Bellatrix (or tries to) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Being a house-elf, he doesn't mean to kill Bellatrix, only to maim...or seriously injure.
  • In What a Girl Wants, the chandelier at Peach and Pear's coming out party crashes down from the thumping of the rock music and dancing after Daphne livens up the party.
    • Made a little funnier when, earlier, Henry tells Daphne not to mention the chandelier within earshot of Peach & Pear's father, as he could tell you the whole story revolving around it. It seems to be a priceless artifact.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Phantom of the Opera contains what is probably the most famous example of this trope.
    • Gaston Leroux reportedly based this scene on an actual incident where one of the counterweights of the Palais Garnier's chandelier (not the chandelier itself) fell into the auditorium and killed a woman.
    • In a Saturday Night Live parody of Broadway, the Phantom loses patience with his fellow Broadway characters, and uses his light fixture collapsing power on them. However since they are in a diner, the results are unimpressive.
  • Discworld:
    • Despite the above quote (and the fact that it's parodying The Phantom of the Opera), Maskerade subverts this—everyone keeps talking about how dangerous the Opera House chandelier is, and the villain plans on dropping it, but it never actually falls.
    • In The Fifth Elephant, a chandelier is sent falling onto the Low-King-to-be. Detritus catches it.
    • In Reaper Man, the extra life force caused by Death's downsizing results in the giant chandelier in Unseen University's Great Hall unscrewing itself. Luckily, it does so one screw at a time, giving the wizards ample warning to get away.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has Dobby dropping the Malfoy's chandelier over them and Bellatrix.
    • And in book 5, Peeves is trying to drop one at Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall quietly gives him some advice when he's not getting it:

McGonagall: It unscrews the other way.

  • One gets pulled down intentionally during the Legacy of the Force novels (Exiles by Aaron Allston, page 285). Of course, nobody dies, since there are two telekinetics in the room, but it was a good diversion.
  • Much of the Dean Koontz novel Forever Odd takes place in the ruins of the Panamint Resort and Spa, which was severely damaged by an earthquake. Several people were killed in the ballroom when a massive chandelier fell on them during the quake; although this was an accident, it happened because the builders cut corners and suspended the chandelier from a wooden beam rather than a steel beam.
  • The second World of Tiers book ends with the villain accidentally cutting down a giant chandelier and being crushed with it. She, however, is still alive and manages to struggle free and attack the protagonists who's trying to help her, only to be finished with her own weapon.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Only Fools and Horses has a funny, non-combat-related version here.
    • This was based on a real dropped chandelier. The episode was written backwards to get there.
  • In one episode of The Avengers, "Death's Door", a potentially world-changing conference is put on hold when a key delegate pulls out, having had a bizarre recurring dream in which a chandelier falls on his head. He interprets this (with good reason) as a warning not to attend the conference, lest he meet his demise in this manner.
  • This is how the Victim of the Week Gustav Hoffer is killed in the Pushing Daisies episode "Robbing Hood".
  • In The Two Ronnies serial The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town, the Prime Minister and the leaders of the Commonwealth are meeting to discuss the threat of the Phantom. Who drops in uninvited, and blows a raspberry at them that's powerful enough to make the Queen's portrait blush and bring the chandelier down.
  • An epsisode of The Dingo Principle featured a parody of The Phantom of the Opera where someone was killing members of the Liberal Party by dropping chandeliers on them, regardless of where they were at the time.
  • Harper's Island, although it's not the chandelier per se, but a headspade concealed in it.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Puppet Show", Buffy gets a chandelier dropped on her by Sid the living ventriloquist dummy, temporarily pinning her down as he attacks.
    • Averted in "Smashed". Spike weakens a chandelier while swinging from it to kick Buffy in the face, including a closeup showing how it's been pulled out of the ceiling. By the time it falls however neither of them notice, because they're too busy having passionate sex up against the wall.
  • In the MacGyver episode "The Coltons", Jesse Colton takes out a gunman who has taken cover behind a table by shooting out the chandelier above him so that it falls on him.


Music[edit | hide]

  • One of Peter Schickele's P. D. Q. Bach performances was supposedly in a (fictitious) castle in an advanced state of disrepair.

"Unfortunately, due to the lack of funds for maintenance, there aren't as many chandeliers now as there used to be." CRASH!

  • A scene in the Meat Loaf video "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" has a chandelier fall on the cops searching the castle. The Literal Video version has Teen Girl Squad type commentary "CHANDELIER'D!" "Ow! My only scene!"


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Hitman: Blood Money, setting a bomb on the rope of a chandelier is one of the ways you can make a 'hit' look like an accident. Several missions practically invite you to drop chandeliers on people like this. In one mission, you actually got the chance to murder both a father and his son, by two separate chandeliers.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, when the mansion is first entered, walking straight ahead (directly under the chandelier) results in it falling. However, the game gives you time to move, and only happens once.
  • In Indiana Jones and The Emperor's Tomb, Indy sees below him Nazis discussing on a table, with an enormous chandelier above them. No need to describe what happens (Bond One-Liner included).
  • In James Bond: James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, you must drop a whole lighting rig on some bad guys during the second half of "The Kiss Kiss Club" level.
  • In the fine Sierra tradition of Everything Trying to Kill You, Laura Bow in The Colonel's Bequest can be killed by a falling chandelier if she steps on the wrong part of the hallway.
  • Braid requires the player to kill the game's Bosses by creatively manipulating such chandeliers. And drop a single chandelier on a boss several times.
  • Final Fight's last stage featured falling chandeliers. Which contained.. Turkeys, radios and two by fours..?
  • In House of the Dead: Overkill you can create one on a bunch of mutants as they break into Papa's house of Pain.
  • You Have to Burn The Rope. Doing that will means a One-Hit Kill on the boss.
  • Castlevania: Appears multiple times as an obstacle in richly-adorned environments. Tries to fall on you if you walk past them. In Castlevania Adventure: Rebirth some of the chandeliers can be used to kill enemies.
  • Super Mario RPG inverts it with the first fight against Bowser: You fight him on the chandeliers. You win by severing the chain on his.
    • In the following cutscene, Bowser cuts down Mario's chandelier, and they fall together long enough for Bowser to rant at you before Mario shows off his incredible jumping skills yet again.
  • In Paper Mario, opening a particular treasure chest in the Boo's Mansion will cause a chandelier to fall down on Mario, but stop just before crushing him. The opened chest resets itself upon leaving the room, allowing the player to revisit the near-death experience at their leisure.
  • These randomly appear in Sweet Home as a hazard of walking through certain halls/rooms.
  • Medal of Honor (particularly the manor house in Frontline)
  • The third Nancy Drew game is actually won by dropping a chandelier on the villain. If you drop it at any other time than when he's directly below it, you get a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, the falling chandelier doesn't kill anyone, but it does lead to the rickety old mansion collapsing.
  • During the course of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, the player encounters one of these in the Ocean House Hotel quest, though it can be pretty easily avoided. And when compared to the elevator...

Why is that doing that? I do not like when that does that! Okay, I'm choosing to believe that this whole house is like that house from Beauty and the Beast and all furniture is going to start singing at me. Here, watch this - Be our guest, be our guest - (CRASH) - Oh my god, Lumiere tried to kill me!

  • Splatterhouse had this happen at the end of one Boss Battle, with said chandelier killing you instantly if you're under it when it drops.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman can drop a chandelier at one point, although there it's a means to smash the glass floor of the room and save two hostages from Joker.
  • Mickey Mousecapade has these in the Fun House. They can take out enemies as well as you.
  • In Out of This World, you have drop a chandelier on a guard at one point, and shoot down another chandelier to allow Buddy to proceed forward.
  • In Maniac Mansion, you do this by playing the recording of the Tentacle's high-pitched screech, to obtain the Rusty Key.
  • In the Arbiter's Grounds stage of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, you can drop a chandelier on yourself at one stage, if you're not careful. Later, you must actually drop a chandelier on yourself (standing in a gap in the middle so as not to be reduced to a 2-dimensional object) in order to progress.
  • Persona 4: Yukiko's Shadow can attack with this.
  • Subverted in Ghost Trick. If you drop the chandelier on the pink-haired lady, she will dodge it or get stuck if your timing is right.
  • In Syphon Filter, you have to drop an exploding chandelier on a pair of guards in Rhoemer's stronghold.
  • During the first visit to Beast's Castle in Kingdom Hearts II, both the Shadow Stalker and Dark Thorn Heartless use the chandelier in the ballroom as a part of their attacks. Sora too can use it during the Dark Thorn fight in order to make him visible. Unlike most other chandeliers associated with this trope, this one has an extendable chain and returns to the ceiling once the attack is complete.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "The Treacherous Movie Lot Plot", the Bully Brothers cut the chandelier rope with a saw, hoping to drop it on Penelope.
  • The climax of The Simpsons episode "Homer of Seville" takes place in an opera house with, as they say in France, freaking huuuuuuuge chandeliers and an assassin on the loose. To lessen the possibility for danger, the police decide to "pre-crash" them. However, they miss one and the assassin does get slightly smashed ultimately.
  • Not quite a chandelier, but in an episode of South Park, Butters ends up accidentally killing about 16 people by kicking down a fixture of stage lights.
  • Kim Possible's brothers try to drop the chandelier on the escaping villain, only to have the wrong chandelier drop on the stolen Wave Motion Gun. They get it right the second time.
  • The castle in Count Duckula come equipped with one. Too bad Igor relies on Nanny to trigger it.
  • Batman and Mister Freeze Sub Zero: Mr. Freeze uses his... uh, Freeze Ray on a chandelier to cover his escape.
  • Happens to Mr. Botsford in the Word Girl episode where Nocan the Contrarian makes his first appearance.
  • A chandelier falls on a Mook in The New Batman Adventures in the episode Joker's Millions
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold: Batwoman attempts to use one to stop the Riddler in "The Criss-Cross Conspiracy!". She misses.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • At the Theatre-Lyrique in Paris (an opera house), some portions of the glass chandelier fell on the audience, but no one was killed. (Novello, 'The Musical World'). Then in October 1888, according to 'The Times', one of the chandeliers fell and did kill a man.
  • From http://www.musicandhistory.com/pdf/m/february.pdf: On February 2, 1795, Haydn was giving a concert at the King's Theatre, London. At one point, several patrons left their seats to get a better view of Haydn. Not long thereafter, a chandelier crashed to the floor where they had just been sitting. Very cinematic!
  • Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe is supposed to have tried to kill his parents this way when he was 8 years old.