Mostly in the cartoons and in some TV series or movies sometimes the screen turned black mid-between a sudden surprise scene, which impacts great to maintaining goosebumps. The last i noticed this is in the Under the Dome. Is there a specific term or name for it?

  • It may also be that the U.S. use more frequent (but shorter) commercial breaks and thus what you are experiencing might have originally been a fade out for a commercial (at a very exciting part, to keep the audience hooked, of course) that was removed in your version.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 11, 2013 at 9:37
  • @ChristianRau it appears intentional to me and specially seen in various American cartoons and non American too but some American cartoons doesn't have this blackout at all. I might required few more example i think.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 11, 2013 at 9:39
  • 1
    I noticed that in the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles series (at least in Germany). But I always thought it should "resuce" or calm down the kids so that they are not too scared in thrilling scenes.
    – unor
    Oct 12, 2013 at 17:46
  • @AnkitSharma Is it a cut that occurred for a commercial break when it was originally broadcast (that never happens because you're watching it on Netflix or DVD)?
    – Ben Plont
    Oct 18, 2013 at 21:39
  • @BenPlont i am watching it one broadcasting channels BIG CBS network.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 19, 2013 at 7:07

2 Answers 2


Sorry to disappoint, but it's just called "cut to black" (as opposed to the more traditional "fade to black"). Sometimes things are called exactly what you'd expect.

If a screenwriter wanted to emphasize that the picture is to remain black for awhile, usually the script would describe something audio-only, e.g.:

Looking down into the grave, we see the coffin lid close over our very-much-alive hero.

                                                                                   CUT TO:

Heavy breathing. Scratching sounds. . . .

And then in editing usually the big suspenseful music cues are added.


You're probably thinking of a Smash Cut. In effect, this is a 'cut' (the same as if you were watching a film and the film goes from one scene to another), but is much more abrupt.

  • 1
    +1 for the response but from wiki description Smash Cut is like switching of scene unexpectedly but i am referring to blackout between same scene like a pause with black screen.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Oct 11, 2013 at 7:36
  • I'm not sure there is a name for that sort of thing - I think it's just something that directors or screenwriters add by themselves. I recall a film Zero Effect where the some scenes kind of faded to black/white, then back a second later as if it were a cut - which, I suppose, it technically was... Oct 11, 2013 at 11:49

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