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Electric Torture

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Real torture techniques are messy, uncomfortable to watch, and difficult to simulate for TV. Such graphic violence would risk an undesirably restrictive MPAA rating or rejection by a network's standards. More of an immediate problem, a key character with broken limbs or open wounds would simply not be able to physically continue in the plot without a considerable healing period, of which there may be no room for on the timeline. Including a physically broken character in the plot would simply be an ongoing downer, defusing any joy the writer intended to create.

Instead, most torture sessions in TV, movies and video games takes the form of an electroshock treatment, some form of direct neural stimulation, or the ever popular Agony Beam. In any case, the point is to have the actor shake around as if in terrible pain without actually causing any physical damage. If the producers are particularly interested in realism, a pair of burns will be left where the electrodes were attached. Depending on medium and genre, this may include visible electric arcs. Sometimes parodied, but far more often played straight.

It's almost guaranteed that a variation on this conversation will take place:

The hero never dies or experience serious physical injury/mutilation, and in most cases will not even show any marks, though usually requires a shoulder to help walk for another scene or so, as he is too weak to walk on his own. The hero will soon regain his strength entirely. A villain given a taste of his own medicine might die or become horribly mutilated, though.

This trope appears to be weakening in recent years after "torture horror" films such as the Hostel series breaking into the mainstream, though this genre began back in the 1970s with films like Mark of the Devil and Salo Or The 120 Days Of Sodom.

Sometimes an example of Truth in Television - certain members of the scientific and medical communities believe that nonfatal electrical current through your brain is the most painful thing a human can survive, and certain military groups around the world have began to utilize this. When applied properly, this method also has the added bonus of not leaving any physical evidence of torture on the bodies of the "guests".

A favorite of the Psycho Electro; a variant of Agony Beam. See Magical Defibrillator for the flip side of electroshocking humans, and Harmless Voltage. May be part of a Robotic Torture Device.

Examples of Electric Torture include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: A Mephisto-like character introduces Kaiser to a method of playing Duel Monsters that involves Electric Torture, which Kaiser inflicts on his own brother post his Freak-Out. Later, it's revealed that he's used this method so much, it's screwed with his heart and substantially shortened his lifespan.
  • In the manga version of the original series, Jonouchi is tortured by gang members (the leader of which just happens to be a former friend) with stun guns. Later on, Yugi defeats the entire gang using a knocked-out member (holding a stun gun), the weather, and a couple of well-placed threats.
  • Yusei is the undisputed king of this trope when regarding Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: While in prison he's subjected to this twice (one of them stripped down to nothing but his boxers), three if you count the excruciating experience of being literally branded a criminal, and again when he gets his D-wheel back from security in the form of hundreds and hundreds of cattle prods. The Arcadia Movement might also have routinely done this to children in their attempts to raise a psychic army (it's how Misty's brother died, anyway).
  • During Goku's fight against Jackie Chung in Dragon Ball, Jackie Chung uses a finishing move that shocks the opponent with 20,000 volts of electricity (according to Yamcha). Goku eventually became willing to give in, but then he saw the full moon...
  • Parodied in the third episode of Excel Saga; a group of soldiers subject Excel to being shocked with electrodes, only to find it arouses her. In confusion, they shock another soldier, who displays the standard cartoon reaction.
  • Ayeka subjects Ryoko to some form of Electric Torture in the second episode of the Tenchi Muyo! OVA after she is captured while being hung upside down, but it only tickles her and seems to have no effect. This changes when Ayeka jabs her with the hilt of Tenchi's sword and causes a much more painful electric reaction (although it can be assumed that it is much more than electricity doing the damage) due to Ryoko being unable to touch the sword.
    • Note: In the actual Japanese dialog for this, Ryouko shouts "I'm coming!" to irk Ayeka, but the subtitles in later releases of the OVA do not reflect this, cleaning it up to "That tickles!"
  • Ginji of GetBackers has been known to interrogate random Mooks by slowing raising the charge ("750, 1000, 1500...").
  • A particular Yu Yu Hakusho villain specifically blends electricity with his personal power and then uses it to slowly torture Yusuke, with the eventual intended effect of killing him, but not before he has to watch Keiko die first.
  • Slaves in the Magical World of Mahou Sensei Negima are equipped with collars that allow their owners to perform electric torture on them with but a few words, though these are supposed to only be used when the slave attempts to escape.
  • Samurai Gun. The forces of the Shogonate develop an electric chair for interrogations.
  • In the special Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns, Giovanni does this to Mewtwo to try and get it to submit to his ownership. Eventually it frees itself rather...disturbingly.
    • In the Pokémon Special manga, there is one scene when Red is held down by several Magneton so that Lt. Surge's Electabuzz could use Thunder on him several times before his body is dumped into the ocean.
      • That may be a hint as to how Pokemon were used in wars in their world...
    • Used by Grings Kodai in Pokémon Zoroark Master of Illusions on Zorua to get his mother to obey him. Added points for doing it to a baby.
      • Of note is that Harmless Electrocution is completely subverted in this case. Not only is the pain from the shock agonizing, everyone its used on takes awhile to recover (thankfully they're all Pokemon, who seem to heal much quicker than humans anyway) and he even manages to kill Zoroark with it, though she's revived by Celebi.
    • In the main Pokémon anime, for his battle for his eighth Indigo League badge, Ash finds himself facing off against Team Rocket, since the real gym leader (the same Giovanni from above) was away on "business", and assigned the trio as his substitutes. Team Rocket traps Ash in a platform that electrocutes him whenever his Pokémon take damage during the battle. Meowth rigs the platform to send electric surges even when Ash was winning.
  • In Shugo Chara, Chairman Hoshina acts this way towards Ikuto, telling the scientists to push him further even though the X energy in Ikuto's violin is causing him harm.
  • Killua of Hunter X Hunter had been subjected to this so many times in his youth that he developed an affinity to electricity, which he used when creating his Hatsu techniques.
  • In Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt, the Demon sisters try this on Panty and Stocking. However, because they're angels, it doesn't work, and Stocking even finds it pleasurable.
  • In Freezing, after objecting to (and launching an investigation into) unethical experimentation by the world government Chevalier, Elizabeth Mably is arrested, stripped to her underwear, and has electrodes attached to her head and breasts, with the sessions of electrocution lasting for over 20 minutes at a time (the downside of Super Strength; the Chevalier know this won't kill her) It's played straight as an arrow, complete with the minion/Big Bad conversation ("But Sir, if we do any more than this, she might receive permanent brain damage..." "I don't care"), but manages to be genuinely horrifying courtesy of showing things like Elizabeth drooling and losing bladder control, and her eyes rolling up into her head.


Comic Books Edit

  • Happens (in an unexpected and fairly graphic sequence) to Lightfoot in G.I. Joe Special Missions #13.
  • In All Fall Down, Siphon endures a form of this while on a deathtrap power-nullifying platform.


Fanfic Edit


Film Edit

  • The Incredibles -- Mr Incredible is tortured with electricity by Syndrome.
  • Poor Bumblebee. He's shocked in the first live action Transformers movie, for no apparent reason, and in a comicbook story arc connected with said movie...
  • In Lethal Weapon, Riggs is tortured by a Torture Technician played by Al Leong.
  • John Rambo in Rambo Fist Blood Part II is such a badass that he took enough electricity to make the lightbulbs of an entire Viet Cong camp flicker and still kick commie ass soon afterwards.
  • Memorably applied by Bryan (played by Liam Neeson) in Taken on a worthless brute that addicts helpless little girls to drugs before selling them to be raped by dirty old men. He slams two long-blunt-and-rusty nails into the evil bastard's deserving thighs, connects the nails to a fuse box, and turns on the light, coolly telling him that unlike third world countries (which they used to outsource this kind of thing to), the power in Paris "will stay on till they turn it off from lack of payment on the bill." When the bastard gives up information on the person he sold Bryan's daughter to, Bryan leaves the room, with the power on.
  • The torture device in The Princess Bride isn't technically electric -- although it may qualify as "some form of direct neural stimulation" -- but the sequence checks all the boxes, including electrode-analogues, actor thrashing around in pain, and "increase the intensity" moment. And then Westley dies. Well, mostly dies.
  • Sith Lords love to do this to their victims in the Star Wars universe. Expanded Universe information on how the Force works turns this into a subversion; it's not actual electricity, per se, more like a visual manifestation that symbolizes using the dark side to inflict terrible pain on someone you feel extreme hate for.
  • Three Kings does electric torture when one character is held and tortured by the Iraq Republican Guard. Done in a somewhat more gritty way as, among other things, you can hear his teeth cracking as he clenches them in pain when the current is passing through.
    • Similarly, the soldiers rescue a man who has been tortured this way-He is tied to a wire bed frame and electric clamps are connected to it.
  • The botched execution by electric chair of Eduard Delacroix in The Green Mile certainly counts. A sadistic guard deliberately refused to wet the sponge on his head which, instead of killing him quickly, instead slowly cooked him from the inside while he was still alive.
  • Parodied in Hot Shots!: Part Deux, where the electrical torture causes a Big Blackout and causes popcorn to come out of the tortured.
  • Jamal is hooked to a car battery to "loosen his tongue" in Slumdog Millionaire. The treatment knocks him out instantly.
  • Used in Saw; Jigsaw shocks Lawrence and Adam a few times in I.
  • Used quite effectively (and somewhat humorously) in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, as the electricity is applied to a very sensitive area and another character uses the opportunity to goad the torturer on the homo-erotic subtext.
  • The So Bad It's Good Showdown in Little Tokyo.
  • The Evil That Men Do (1984). Charles Bronson is hired to murder Dr Clement Molloch, a doctor who advises South American dictatorships on how to torture people. The movie opens with the Mad Doctor demonstrating (to a group of army officers) the use of electric torture on a dissident journalist. Although the film cuts away, a later scene lists the extensive injuries inflicted by such torture, including teeth shattered from being clenched so hard.
  • Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance: Yeong-mi, the main character's girlfriend, has electrodes clamped on her earlobes and gets electroshocked to death.
  • Used on the hero in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension:

 Lord John Whorfin: More power to him.

  • Used on James Bond in the book The Spy Who Loved Me, on his favorite bodily organ.
  • In the film Braddock: Missing in Action III, a sadistic Viet Cong does this to Col. James Braddock (Chuck Norris) while Braddock's son watches. But, this being Chuck Norris...
  • In Tango and Cash, the prison inmates dip the two undercover-cop protagonists in an electrified water trough.
    • In a similar vein, Tango kills a Mooks by kicking him into an exposed electrical transformer during a rainstorm.
  • In the Serbian film Underground, Nazis try to use electric torture on Blacky, who's an electrician by trade and so completely immune to electric shocks. After maxing out the juice to no effect, a Nazi finally touches an electrode to see if it's working and blows himself across the room. This movie is a surreal Black Comedy.
  • Employed in Black Momma White Momma by a Banana Republic dictator to a presumed rebel. As is typical for the movie, the girl is rendered topless first.
  • Tron: Subverted. The MCP tortures Sark by 'depriving him of cycles'. In this case, he RUNS on electricity, so this requires the opposite action to get the desired effect.
    • Also played straight, when the MCP captures Clu 1.0, threatens him with total de-resolution if he fails to tell the MCP who his User is, then brutally tortures the Program to death.
    • Dumont the I/O Tower Guardian is also given this treatment when he was captured by Sark and brought on board his Carrier.
  • Toward the end of The President's Analyst, Dr. Schaefer is captured by the phone company, who intend to extract information about the President for their ends. They have him trapped in a phone booth and subject him to some kind of high-tech pain-inflicting technology.
  • Played with in The Artist, as the movie begins with an audience watching George Valentin's newest movie, where Valentin's character is being subjected to some sort of electric torture.


Literature Edit

  • A brain-electrodes variant shows up in Duumvirate that can also cause pleasure.
  • In Ken Follett's thriller Jackdaws, the Nazi interrogator (who is not in any way comical) tortures one of the women by sticking an electric probe up her vagina. She gets her comeuppance, however, by doing the same thing to him, simply in a different location.
  • John Galt goes through this at the end of Atlas Shrugged. Not only does he stoically endure the torture, but he's able to professionally troubleshoot the torture device, while still tied down, when it breaks after being turned up too high.
  • Heinz, one of the interrogators in Stephen King's short story In the Deathroom, has custom-built a device that draws power from a car battery and transfers it to a large steel stylus; he claims to the story's protagonist that he has used it to deliver shocks to prisoners' hands, feet, and other more delicate places. Evidence in the story indicates that he killed a friend of the protagonist by jabbing him in the temple with the stylus -- the shock triggered a lethal epileptic fit.
  • The book 1984 had such a device used on the protagonist, though it was not even close to the worst torture he was subjected to.
  • In On A Pale Horse, the hero's girlfriend is tortured by being stripped to her waist, and her nipples being touched by active electrodes. Author Appeal and Fetish Fuel ahoy.
  • The Machine, Count Rugen's creation in The Princess Bride, features suction cup electrodes attached to almost every inch of the victim's skin, even on the tongue and inside the ears. Its result is rather singular; the Machine quite literally sucks away years of the victim's life. Prince Humperdinck, true to villain form, turns the machine up to the highest setting in order to kill Westley, but he turns out to be Only Mostly Dead.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has the use of Electric Judgment by the Jedi. The only difference it seems to have from Force Lightning is that it is often not intended to be lethal.
  • Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal sees the French Action Service resort to electric torture on Viktor Kowalski, with the ex-Foreign Legionnaire dying after he breaks and finishes confessing. One set of electrodes is attached to the penis.
  • Daniel Keys Moran's The Last Dancer has a standard part of the plot being wireheads who have a circuit installed in the pleasure center of their brain, which is apparently highly addictive, but which requires an electrical connection to work. Sedon tortures D'van (aka William Devane) by installing the same thing into the pain center of his brain. The really nasty thing is that Sedon uses a battery pack to power it, and when Denice escapes with D'van and Sedon, for several hours Sedon doesn't mention to Denice that the battery pack is still supplying agony to D'van...
  • In The Regeneration Trilogy, soldiers with PTSD symptoms are subject to electroshock therapy. Although it's called psychotherapy, it's described as no less cruel than torture, since Yealland essentially shocks them until he gets the reaction he wants--going as far as shocking a man's face to make him stop smiling.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Inverted in the Doctor Who episode "Dalek", where The Doctor is the torturer and the evil Dalek is the victim.
    • Effective as it's the first time in the new series you see the Doctor acting actively "cruel" to another creature, showing just how seriously he takes the situation.
    • Played straight and abundantly through the whole series since the Doctor, being a Time Lord, lasts better under electricity than normal people. Great for the writers, not so good for the poor Doctor.
  • Twenty Four employs several variations on the trope, including a fictional drug that gives the subject the sensation of being on fire, sensory deprivation, and, in a pinch, sticking the subject's feet in a bucket of water and shocking him with a defibrillator. In one case Jack Bauer is actually rendered clinically dead, and his torturers ironically have to restart his heart.
  • Number Three's torture of Baltar in the third season of Battlestar Galactica, made even more uncomfortable for the viewer by the perverse sexual overtones. This may or may not be Truth in Television; some people like that kind of thing...
  • The sadistic Adelai Niska from Firefly is fond of this torture.
  • Stargate SG-1 has done this repeatedly. Daniel was tortured in this way in "Evolution" after recovering an Ancient healing device. The whole team besides Teal'c was tortured this way via metal cages in "New Ground". Pain induction is one of the stated powers of the Goa'uld hand device, used in more episodes than would be reasonable to note here. Daniel alone gets zapped by it enough times that in later seasons he jokes he's starting to get used to it.
    • Also the Zat guns did this with one shot (second shot kills.) In their first season of use, that is. Later this was quietly shifted to a much-less-interesting phasers-on-stun effect.
    • Also used in Stargate Universe when Kiva tortures Rush by tasering him until he reveals his identity.
  • Star Trek TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror": "agonizer" devices.
    • This can also be assumed to be what is happening in "the booth" in that same episode.
    • The episode "Dagger of the Mind" features the neural neutralizer. Admittedly, it wasn't made for torture, and, being based on direct neutral stimulation, it didn't need any electrode-like things to be attached to the subject. Dr. Tristan Adams nevertheless figured out a way to make it into a very painful brainwashing device.
  • Star Trek the Next Generation, the two-part episode "Chain of Command", where it was combined with sophisticated psychological torture methods. The episode was openly praised by Amnesty International for its realistic depiction of torture.
    • And the methods are a Homage to 1984, above. Right down to the How Many Fingers? torture trigger (with Picard's memorable "THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!" at the end).
  • Babylon 5 had the Centauri Emperor torture G'Kar with an "electric whip" that delivered an increased charge each time, with a guaranteed fatal shock on the 40th blow, simply because he wanted to hear G'Kar scream. He does, on the 39th lash.
    • 39 blows? Which is one stoke short of lethal? What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic!
    • Several episodes also feature Narn "Paingivers" which directly stimulate pain centers, producing much the same on-screen effect as standard electric torture.
    • "Comes the Inquisitor" featured electrified bracelets which could be (and were...a lot) activated at the press of a button on the titular inquisitor's cane.
  • The midpoint of Alias's second season featured Jack Bristow being specifically tortured with electricity. He didn't break, but it was implied that he would have died had the Big Bad been allowed to jolt him one more time.
    • In the first season, his daughter was interrogated with good old-fashioned electro-shock therapy equipment when she'd gone undercover in a Bedlam House in Ruritania.
    • Syd also gets shocked when the NSA arrest her and take her to a secret prison facility in the third season.
    • Julien Sark had his way with Vaughn in season 3 as they volleyed insults back and forth.
  • Farscape's Aurora Chair, which Scorpius uses to view memories of his victims while simultaneously putting them in agonizing pain. The Sci-Fi channel website summary of it describes it as a "mental search engine", explaining the pain as, due to the way that memories are organized, requiring the activation of "every last neural pathway, one by one" - ouch. This also leads to an awesome subversion of Save the Villain and a Bond One-Liner from Aeryn Sun, after strapping Crais into the chair:

 Aeryn: "I will give you your life."

beat

Aeryn: "I will make you watch your life."

    • Fortunately, despite the pain, giving Crais a chance to review his life, where he came from, the decisions he made, and their consequences started his Heel Face Turn.
    • Also, Nebari jailers give their prisoners restraint collars that can be used as torture devices: by pressing a button (usually attached to the interrogator's forehead) the collar inflicts crippling pain on it's wearer. There are two distinct types of collars: one, as seen in "Durka Returns" is a very basic Electric Torture device with no obvious method. The other, seen in "A Clockwork Nebari", injects acid onto the skin and into the veins- making it potentially lethal. However, both make a loud and extremely annoying beeping when activated.
  • Elle Bishop of Heroes - does this to pretty much everyone she meets, even those she likes, particularly Sandra Bennett and then Sylar - though, he literally asked for it.
    • Noah turns the tides on her in season 2, when he straps her into a chair in a small pool of water and drenches her, so that anytime she tries to shock him, she ends up zapping herself instead.

 Noah: Stings like a bitch, doesn't it?

  • Electroshock collars were used in one of the universes jumped to in Sliders to prevent people from lying.
  • The behavior-modification chips implanted in Spike (and presumably other demons) by the Initiative in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Saturday Night Live alluded to this in an early 2009 commercial parody. One of the items offered at Guantanamo Bay's going-out-of-business sale was C-C-C-CAR BATTERIES!!!
  • This happens to Sayid in the first season of Lost, at the hands of Danielle Rousseau, who believes him to be one of the evil "others". Sayid manages to escape after convincing Rousseau that he is not one of them.
  • Legend of the Seeker has the Mord-Sith, whose Agiels cause intense pain and flashing light when they touch someone. Using it enough can kill them, but it doesn't leave any sort of mark when they're done.
  • The "Blinking Electrocution" game on Distraction. The contestants have to answer questions while strapped to electric chairs, and are shocked every time they blink.
  • This was the specialty of the killer in the Criminal Minds episode "Limelight".
  • In Married With Children, Peg and Al are competing with Steve and Marcie on a TV game show which gives prizes to the couple who torture each other worse. One of the tortures is electrocution.
  • In an episode of The Flash, Barry Allen is transported ten years into the future where his brother's killer Nicolas Pike runs Central City. He uses an electric chair in the old STAR Labs to give whoever opposes him an electric lobotomy. However, when Nicolas had Barry strapped up to the chair and given a full measure of the chair's powers, it briefly restores Barry's superspeed allowing him to escape.


Truth in Television Edit

  • Used widely in South America during the 60s-80s.
    • The parrilla was an infamous interrogation tool routinely used by the Chilean secret police during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990). It was a metal frame prisoners were strapped onto naked, while the questioners applied electrodes to whatever body part they thought appropriate.
    • The picana was an electric cattle prod that Argentine torturers used on their victims during the Dirty War (1976-1983). Oftentimes, people were raped with the picana.
    • The "Cadeira do Dragão" (Dragon's Chair) was an electric chair used as a torture device and part of the plethora of torture devices used by the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 60s-70s.
  • Used by Syria after the Yom Kippur war on captured Israelis, though it hardly ever earned them any good intelligence.
  • Doing this to the genitals is a favored technique of the torturers working in Middle Eastern Secret Police forces in general, more as a punishment/warning for opposition to the regime than any actual attempt to get information. This is part of the reason for the recent revolutions in the region.
    • This is herited from French police and army, who used this generously on Muslim people during the Algerian independance war. It was called "Gégène". The leader of the French far-right party is (in)famous for having used this with enthusiasm.


Video Games Edit

  • In American McGee's Alice, Alice will enter a lab where the March Hare and the Dormouse are undergoing medical torture. The March Hare is being alternately electrocuted and Dunked in a dunk tank, while the Dormouse has a constant electrc current running through him as he is operated on. There's not a damn thing you can do for them.
  • Happens in Metal Gear Solid: It is possible to be killed in this scene; to survive, the player must repeatedly press a button to keep Snake's health bar up. Similar in the second game. The third game, Snake Eater, also has the hero tortured with electricity, but meanwhile the Big Bad is also (literally) beating the piss out of him. Cunningham also (very briefly) does this to Big Boss by whipping him with a stun baton (twice), as well as placing his artificial leg directly into Big Boss's groin between the two shocks in the very beginning of Portable Ops. Peace Walker also has this happening to Big Boss.
  • In the backstory for Star Control II, thousands of years ago, many of the Ur-Quan voluntarily wore "Excruciators" for months or years to prevent them from being mind-controlled by the Dnyarri (as the one doing the mind control also feels the pain and has to break the link). The experience left most quite insane.
  • Squall is subjected to electric torture in early Disc 2 of Final Fantasy VIII. More so, if you refuse to feign cooperation.
  • Used on Pikachu of all people in the story mode of Super Smash Bros Brawl.
    • Well, actually it's possible to use electric Pokémon like Pikachu as power sources, so they were actually sucking electricity from it's body. But it still qualifies as torture.
  • Occurs in the first two Shadow Hearts games, just to fulfill a villain's perverse fantasies (much more blatantly in the second). In the first one, it's done to Alice, and giving the proper responses (the first one every time) opens a Sidequest (and saves her from being shocked). In the second one, you choose who gets the torture, and the responses you give determines the contents of a later treasure chest.
  • Double H in Beyond Good and Evil is trapped in an Electric Torture machine when you first meet him. Even the heroine Jade is visibly squicked about his situation.
  • In Mother 3, Fassad's method of choice for punishing Salsa for disobeying him... or whatever excuse he had. He really enjoyed shocking the monkey.
    • It does have the side effect of healing whatever status anomalies he might have at the time when he uses it during battle though. Fassad probably knows this, as he seems to be about fifty times more likely to shock the monkey when he's inflicted with one of these statuses.
  • Done to Bruce Morgenholt in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Sam arrives too late to do anything, and finds him suspended above a bathtub having endured a very long torture. Players will hear his screams before they get to him.
  • This was used to more realistic effect in Bioshock in an audio diary of one of Fontaine's smuggler mooks. He said it couldn't be any worse than what Fontaine would do to him.
    • You can also find this person's now-charred corpse strapped into a Steampunk Electric Torture device.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri when you seized the last base of another faction there would be a brief video showing a writhing figure screaming in agony as he was electrocuted. Given you had already beaten them was the torture really necessary? Yes, Mwa ha ha ha.
    • It should be noted that faction leaders are never killed, just kept alive for interrogation. If you defeat an enemy faction early in the game, they will be kept in your stronghold for several hundred years.
  • All of the torture featured in Knights of the Old Republic employs electroshock. Many of them involve the Sith and their Force Lightning, but there's a prominent scene in which it's delivered by Muggles via more conventional "force cages".
  • Similarly, in The Old Republic, Sith Inquisitors carry out torture with Force Lightning. Only this time, players can do it too.
  • The white chamber has the protagonist watch a tape... Of herself, strapped to a table, and electrically tortured (with nobody around, mind you). This is where it gets weird. Seconds after the tape starts playing, in a flash, she finds herself on that same table, the same happening to her. You CAN die here, but the time limit is so incredibly generous and the puzzle rather simple, the only real way to die is to let the time limit run out.
  • In Return to Castle Wolfenstein Agent Zero is being shocked to extract information by an SS scientist in the titular castle.
  • In Hitman: Contracts, 47 finds one of his targets in the aftermath of one of these. The proper way to assassinate him is to let the machine run until it finally kills him.
  • In Wet, Rubi is captured due to some subterfuge. She is suspended with her feet in a tub of water connected to a car battery charger, but the interrogator loses interest and orders her killed after about 30 seconds. Naturally, she quickly makes her escape and turns the tables on the torturer. She's badass like that.
  • Tales of Destiny has portable versions of this forced onto the party when they are made to cooperate with Leon. However, the heroes are mostly good subordinates and so Leon resorts to punishing snarks directed at him (or, Rutee).
  • Implied in Modern Warfare 2. Soap locks himself and Ghost in a garage with their target's assistant, while Ghost is seen doing... something involving a car battery and jump leads.
    • Also seen in Black Ops, where you are being tortured, especially at the start of the game.
  • Done at the start of Scaler. To a twelve year old boy. Unfortunately, this backfires on the villains, in the form of causing Bobby to turn into a lizard before becoming Trapped in Another World.
  • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for Mass Effect 2, Feron, Liara's friend and partner who was one of the people who got Shepard's body back from the Shadow Broker, is strapped to a specially-built torture chair that basically amounts to this. The only way to get him out of there without cooking his brain is to shut down the power at central processing, which means taking the Shadow Broker down.
  • Done by very-evolved psychic Rose, of all people, in Street Fighter IV. One of her ultra-specials, Illusion Spark, traps the opponent's arm in her scarf. She then proceeds to shock said opponent, apparently stopping only when she feels like it. To be sure, this is a more benign version - at least in that it's a fight rather than a torture session and she intends to knock the opponent out, not to extract information from them. Still, this move basically gives us a mini-session of Electric Torture mid-fight...


Web Comics Edit


Web Original Edit


Western Animation Edit

  • In the finale to Justice League Unlimited, Darkseid launches an electrical attack on Superman called "The Agony Matrix" that uses electricity to activate all the pain receptors in every nerve cell in his body, literally putting him in as much pain as physically possible.
  • In the same show, the Question was captured after attempting to assassinate Lex Luthor and put through electroshock torture.
  • In the series' precursor, Justice League, the Martian Manhunter is also tortured by a Nazi interrogator (after going back in time) with such methods, although all that's seen is a shot out of the outside of the building as he begins to scream while the lights flicker.
  • And let's not forget, from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Robin's torture at the hands of The Joker.
  • The Iraqis in South Park torture Santa Claus with two electrodes on the testicles.
  • Danny Phantom: Valerie uses a nasty looking taser weapon on Danny after she finally captures him. Meanwhile, Vlad has Danielle Strapped to An Operating Table...
  • In the episode "Deep Cover for Batman" from Batman the Brave And The Bold, Red Hood, the good counterpart to the Joker, is strapped to a chair and shocked to try to reveal his plan. His response?

  "It tickles."

  • Duncan from Little Elvis Jones and The Truckstoppers has a shock watch, which inflicts a brief version of this on him in order for his boss to let off some steam. Yes, his boss is a colossal dick, how did you guess?
  • In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Emperor Zurg tries to do this to XR. It doesn't work out to well, seeing as how XR regards the voltage flowing through him as the eqivalant of a pleasant massage.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode Cargo of Doom, a Jedi is subjected to this trope. The "more power" conversation occurs, and the Jedi dies.
  • In Metalocalypse, Dr. Rockso the Rock & Roll Clown is put into the same device Han Solo is in on the above illustration.
  • In The Simpsons, Mayor Quimby gets this by accident when making an announcement on live television. He was demonstrating what would be done to criminals, pretending to be executed with an electric chair, not realizing that it was actually on until he was strapped in and Police Chief Wiggum flipped the switch.

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