First of all, I realize that not only is this a fictional scene in a movie, but a movie (series) particularly infamous for its ridiculous, over-the-top death scenes.

Yet, I have heard of basically this exact thing from other and very serious sources over the years: something about CRT TVs and CRT computer monitors spontaneously just cracking/exploding and shooting very lethal shards of glass all over, especially straight ahead, cutting through your skin and eyes and at best crippling you for life.

The relevant part of the scene:

Ms. Lewton pours ice-cold vodka into a previously hot mug, causing it to crack. She carries the mug across to the computer, as it leaves a trail of vodka on the floor, and when she leans over the computer, some drips into the the (CRT) monitor. She realizes that the monitor is smoking and goes to check it, only for it to explode, sending a shard of glass into her throat.

Source (very poor video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZWCbJcw5ms

Of course, I would never lean over any of my CRTs with any kind of liquid, for any reason, so it should not be possible to happen like in the described scene. Still, who knows what could happen? An opened water bottle accidentally flying across the room while the TV is on, etc. Or even no water/liquid at all; it might just explode "spontaneously" for all I know.

Is this entirely nonsensical, and in reality, it would never explode in the sense that we imagine, unless perhaps you directly smash it with a huge sledgehammer?

In particular, water entering the TV seems like it should at most cause it to die, or possibly catch fire, but why would it explode?

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    $\begingroup$ Cathode ray tubes are vacuum tubes which can implode. But why water would cause one o implode I don't know. I suppose you would need to short something out in just tthe right way to explode a cap and other components in just the right way to hit the CRT in just the right way to cause it to implode. Pretty sure CRTs are sturdier than that though. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ The base of the tube, where the electron gun is, gets hot, so if you dropped cold liquid there, it might crack the glass by differential contraction. But breaks near the base generally just let the air into the tube without a lot of excitement, because there isn't much total force from air pressure in that area. The areas of greatest stress from air pressure are the face and the "bell" of the tube, but these can generally only be broken by high impact, such as from a bullet. So no, the movie is not very realistic. $\endgroup$
    – Dave Tweed
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 23:36

1 Answer 1


Many, many decades ago, a frequent public service announcement on Canadian TV was a warning against throwing rocks at or otherwise smashing discarded television sets, showing a spectacular implosion very similar to this. Even in the 1950s, regulations were in place "to restrict the throw of glass in the event of a spontaneous implosion." and there was lots of testing. One Underwriters Laboratories test showed that if a television tube was overheated and had scratches on its front face, pouring a little ice water on it would "In most cases … induce an implosion". (You can also find modern YouTube videos showing CRT tubes exploding after being sprayed with cold denatured alcohol or water.) One film shown at the 1956 conference of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers was "guaranteed to instill … a healthy respect for the dangers of mishandling picture tubes". Clearly the risk of injury or death was a major concern in the era.

CRTs became harder to implode later in the 1960s as manufacturers added bonded plastic faceplates to the fronts of TVs and worked to develop "implosion proof" TVs, and also because of the switch to colour TVs that had stronger thicker faceplates. (Of course, this switch meant that a lot of old black & white TVs were being discarded to be found by curious and destructive children and teenagers.) Final Destination is a 2000 film, so the computer monitor should be of a safer design, but an implosion is still possible.

The key point is that in the 1960s it was demonstrated that TV tubes with minor damage, if they are overheated, can implode if cold liquid is poured on them. This seems close enough to the scenario in the film to make it plausible, albeit very unlikely for a more modern CRT computer monitor.

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    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 22:49

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