The Croc Is Ticking
A predator picks up something that makes noise, which then foreshadows its appearance


(permanent link) added: 2011-11-21 08:31:08 sponsor: SharleeD (last reply: 2011-12-02 19:08:15)

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Where most stories rely on a suspenseful soundtrack to foreshadow the monster's attack, some go a step further, giving it its own ominous theme in-universe. Either because it's been tagged with or entangled by a telltale noisemaker, or because it's eaten an audible mechanism -- often along with the person who'd been carrying it -- such a creature usually won't be much good at sneaking up on the heroes, as it'll be accompanied by a distinctive sound of its own.

The Trope Namer is the crocodile from Peter Pan, which had swallowed a clock and was always accompanied by a 'tick-tock' thereafter. Fridge Logic issues such as why the clock (radio, phone, etc) can be heard through a large creature's belly wall, or why it doesn't run down and/or get expelled in time, are often ignored.

Examples:

  • Captain Hook's crocodile nemesis is the Trope Namer.
  • In Sewer, Gas & Electric, a sewer-dwelling mutant shark eats a tunnel worker whose new digital watch plays Bolero. Its next appearance is heralded by the sound.
  • In Jurassic Park III, the Spinosaurus eats a man who's carrying a satellite phone. The phone is later heard ringing just before it attacks, and again from a gigantic pile of dinosaur poop.
  • In Tremors 2, one of the Graboids eats a radio that's blaring music, which is then heard from underground before it reappears.
  • The Beast Fable called The Bell and the Cat or The Mice in Council discusses a plan to put a bell on a cat so the mice will hear it coming. Averted because none of the mice is brave enough to actually install the bell.
  • Parodied/blended with Why Am I Ticking? in Futurama, in the following Show Within a Show excerpt from a film billed to have "a vampire AND an explosion":
    Woman 1: "Don't open that coffin! It's ticking"
    Woman 2 (with stake and hammer, over coffin): "I have to! This coffin isn't going to open itself!"
    Dracula (flinging open coffin and emerging): "BLUUUUAAAH!"
    (explosion, as advertised)
  • In Persona 3, if you stay on one level of Tartarus for too long, you will face having the Reaper spawn. You're able to tell he's close by the sound of chains coming from his direction.
  • Played with on Get Smart, "Ship of Spies": A KAOS informer is killed just before giving Max some important information. The only clue: the killer made an unusual "clip-clop" sound. They investigate and end up on the eponymous ship where it turns out just about everyone makes that clip-clop sound - a woman with castanets, a man with a peg leg, etc.
  • Common in tales of ghosts that are Chained by Fashion.
  • Real Life: Cowbells, although mainly used for easy location of stray livestock, could also give a clanging warning when a ticked-off bull or ram was charging an unsuspecting target.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Killer Croc alludes to the Trope Namer, making ticking noises.
  • Zaraki Kenpaichi in Bleach, arguably a predator, deliberately put bells on his hair to invoke this trope.
  • The Clockpunk monsters of Doctor Who's "The Girl in the Fireplace" make ticking noises as they move, and break the mechanical clocks around them so people won't notice that it's them ticking rather than a nearby timepiece.
  • In Hex And The City, the Reality Warper Madman is preceded around the city by his own personal soundtrack, which is helpful to people who want to stay the hell away from him.

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