Created By: Pichu-kun on September 1, 2017 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on September 13, 2017

Automobiles Are Monstrous

Cars, trucks, and other automobiles are presented as alien and nightmarish

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Page Type:
trope
Most humans can interact with and use cars without issue. However, to animals aliens, and other non-humans cars are another story. To them, cars are not simple contraptions meant to transport people. They're huge, hulking masses of metal with eerily glowing lights that are constantly running by at high speeds. In xenofiction, cars are distinctly "other" and are amongst the biggest threats to characters.

Automobiles as hazardous also appear in human-centric works, even if the car itself is not alive. It depends on who is driving the car, the size of the person, the size of the car, and whether the person has experience with automobiles.

Compare to Humans Are Cthulhu.

Examples:

Films -- Animation
  • The first time that Chrysta the fairy from Ferngully The Last Rainforest set eyes on the Leveler, she termed it a "monster." Considering that this machine has two chainsaw pincers at the ends of two robotic arms, and also houses a complete lumber mill on caterpillar treads, the Leveler is definitely one monster vehicle. Further, the fairies of Ferngully have never before seen a machine of any kind, and even consider humans to be extinct.
  • While most motor vehicles in Disney's Oliver & Company are routine traffic, and while Fagan's scooter cum shopping cart is laughable, The Villain's matte black sedan is portrayed as ominous, like a V-8 version of Darth Vader. When this villain pursues his fleeing quarry into the subway tunnels with this car, it heightens this effect.

Light Novels
  • In the first light novel of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Satanic Coupler creates a locomotive and updates it by reading the memory of its passengers. Because of the Team Pet Iggy believing that trains are monstrous things, it adopts a wild monster-machine look with stag beetle's jaws and thorns.

Literature
  • Varjak Paw: Being a sheltered inside cat, Varjak has never seen a car. When he must go outdoors and look for a dog, who he hears are large and frightening, he mistakes a car for a dog. He believes them to be monstrous creatures who won't listen to him, no matter what he does, and who want nothing more than to kill him. It isn't until his friend Ginger explains cars to him that he realizes they're relatively harmless and non-living.
  • Cats in Warrior Cats refer to cars as "monsters". Cats try to stay away from highways, or "Thunderpaths" as they call them, however they must use them to pass through territories or go to the High Stone rocks. Quite a few characters end up hit by cars and either killed or disabled. Not only are the cars frightening, but the general atmosphere of the highway is unnerving to cats due to its disgusting smell and unnatural texture.
  • Bears in Seeker Bears call cars "firebeasts". They realize that flatfaces are swallowed inside them and that they "sleep" near flatface dens, however much else evades them. Firebeasts are simply terrifying adversaries that are known to seriously injure or kill bears. Blackpaths (highways) are also unpleasant smelling and scary to cross.
  • Subverted in Survivor Dogs. Many of the characters were pet dogs and thus realize there's nothing scary about "loudcages".
  • Motor vehicles in Richard Adams' xenofiction Watership Down are called "hrududu," by rabbits, an onomatopoeia of their engine noise. Though most of the nomad rabbits are fearful of these things, and debate whether or not they're living creatures, Bigwig dares to sit on the centerline of a road while a passenger car passes by. "See? It's not interested," he remarks.
  • "The Motor Bus" is a parodic Edwardian poem in mixed English and Latin that describes busses as terrifying and horrible monsters invading Oxford and ends with a prayer to God to deliver the citizens from motor busses.
  • Princess Katerina from Enchantment is teleported into the modern day from 9th century Ukraine. When she encounters an automobile for the first time she is absolutely terrified of it, being convinced that it's a monster sent by Baba Yaga.
  • Automobiles get treated this way in Pollyanna especially after one cripples the title character right before the third act.

Live-Action TV
  • In one episode of Angel, the entire cast mentally reverts to their teenage selves. In most cases, this undoes some character development and makes them a lot dumber. In Angel's case, as a centuries-old vampire, it reverts him to his pre-vampire self. When he ventures outside, he sees cars and is convinced that the world is populated by howling demons moving impossibly fast.

Web Comics
  • Dinosaur Comics: This strip makes the argument that cars are monstrous to humans, as well.
    T. rex: "Driving" is a cool game to play because it requires you to focus on it LITERALLY EVERY SECOND YOU'RE PLAYING, and even though a tiny mistake can kill you instantly, the game is so incredibly boring it can ACTUALLY LULL YOU INTO SLEEP. [...]
    Velociraptor: I don't want to play your game. It sounds monstrous.
    T. rex: TOO LATE WE ALREADY DESIGNED MODERN CITIES AROUND IT

Web Original

Western Animation
  • To a Woodland Creature, highway crossing is a big deal. Several animals in The Animals of Farthing Wood are killed by cars, including one couple who give up crossing partway due to their fear.
  • Transformers are usually seen as this in most of the media, first Autobots when they meet humans and before humanity adopt them as allies, and seen straight with Decepticons, not just becoming enemies of Autobots and in general mankind, some of the robots had taken cars and other vehicles as their alternate form.
  • The Goofy short ''Motor Mania' has Goofy (as Mr. Walker) being targeted by predatory drivers while crossing the intersection. One scene even has Goofy being chased up a streetlamp by cars that bark like dogs.

Real Life
  • A phobia of driving cars is called "vehohobia".
  • Exploited by coyotes in North America: they've discovered that motor vehicles can't move laterally very well. When coyote hunters pursue them, coyotes run onto a roadway and play Roger-Dodge-'Em with the traffic. Hunters are too smart to risk being squished by bad drivers, and their pursuit dogs no longer regard vehicles as dangerous. And worse: zoologists have found coyotes teach their pups this anti-pursuit trick.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • September 1, 2017
    hszmv1
    This is a You Know That Show moment for me, but I recall reading a short story about an alien that comes to Earth and determines that cars are some sort of bizarre life form that only follow certain paths that they have worn so much they are rocks and that emergency vehicles must be some kind of leadership figure because all the car respect them and let them pass with a cerimony of pulling to the edge of the worn paths, which the alien concludes must be their form of bowing. The alien also thinks that they are absolutely disgusting because they have transparent mid-sections. Baffling the alien the most is the nature of the thing inside the transparent part of the mid-section. He cannot figure out if it's the guts or the brains of the creature.
  • September 1, 2017
    Basara-kun
    • Transformers are usually seen as this in most of the media, first Autobots when they meet humans and before humanity adopt them as allies, and seen straight with Decepticons, not just becoming enemies of Autobots and in general mankind, some of the robots had taken cars and other vehicles as their alternate form
  • September 1, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    ^^ I can't add it as an example unless I know the name.
  • September 1, 2017
    Koveras
  • September 1, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Literature
    • Motor vehicles in Richard Adams' xenofiction Watership Down are called "hrududu," by rabbits, an onomatopoeia of their engine noise. Though most of the nomad rabbits are fearful of these things, and debate whether or not they're living creatures, Bigwig dares to sit on the centerline of a road while a passenger car passes by. "See? It's not interested," he remarks.

    Film Animated
    • The first time that Chrysta the fairy from Ferngully The Last Rainforest set eyes on the Leveler, she termed it a "monster." Considering that this machine has two chainsaw pincers at the ends of two robotic arms, and also houses a complete lumber mill on caterpillar treads, the Leveler is definitely one monster vehicle. Further, the fairies of Ferngully have never before seen a machine of any kind, and even consider humans to be extinct.
  • September 1, 2017
    MetaFour
    • Dinosaur Comics: This strip makes the argument that cars are monstrous to humans, as well.
      T. rex: "Driving" is a cool game to play because it requires you to focus on it LITERALLY EVERY SECOND YOU'RE PLAYING, and even though a tiny mistake can kill you instantly, the game is so incredibly boring it can ACTUALLY LULL YOU INTO SLEEP. [...]
      Velociraptor: I don't want to play your game. It sounds monstrous.
      T. rex: TOO LATE WE ALREADY DESIGNED MODERN CITIES AROUND IT
  • September 1, 2017
    KaiYves
    "The Motor Bus" is a parodic Edwardian poem in mixed English and Latin that describes busses as terrifying and horrible monsters invading Oxford and ends with a prayer to God to deliver the citizens from motor busses.
  • September 2, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • While most motor vehicles in Disney's Oliver And Company are routine traffic, and while Fagan's scooter cum shopping cart is laughable, The Villain's matte black sedan is portrayed as ominous, like a V-8 version of Darth Vader. When this villain pursues his fleeing quarry into the subway tunnels with this car, it heightens this effect.
  • September 2, 2017
    KTera
    • Princess Katerina from Enchantment is teleported into the modern day from 9th century Ukraine. When she encounters an automobile for the first time she is absolutely terrified of it, being convinced that it's a monster sent by Baba Yaga.
  • September 5, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Real Life
    • Exploited by coyotes in North America: they've discovered that motor vehicles can't move laterally very well. When coyote hunters pursue them, coyotes run onto a roadway and play Roger-Dodge-'Em with the traffic. Hunters are too smart to risk being squished by bad drivers, and their pursuit dogs no longer regard vehicles as dangerous. And worse: zoologists have found coyotes teach their pups this anti-pursuit trick.
  • September 5, 2017
    ryanasaurus0077
    Automobiles get treated this way in Pollyanna especially after one cripples the title character right before the third act.
  • September 11, 2017
    Momochi
    Cars only?
    • In the first light novel of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, Satanic Coupler creates a locomotive and updates it by reading the memory of its passengers. Because of the Team Pet Iggy believing that trains are monstrous things, it adopts a wild monster-machine look with stag beetle's jaws and thorns.
  • September 11, 2017
    Larkmarn
    • In one episode of Angel, the entire cast mentally reverts to their teenage selves. In most cases, this undoes some character development and makes them a lot dumber. In Angel's case, as a centuries-old vampire, it reverts him to his pre-vampire self. When he ventures outside, he sees cars and is convinced that the world is populated by howling demons moving impossibly fast.
  • September 11, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • The Goofy short ''Motor Mania' has Goofy (as Mr. Walker) being targeted by predatory drivers while crossing the intersection. One scene even has Goofy being chased up a streetlamp by cars that bark like dogs.
  • September 13, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • The young furlings of Once Upon A Forest are warned about "yellow dragons" by some friendly birds. These yellow dragons have ravaged the birds' home ground, and felled their trees, creating cursed ground over which they refuse to fly. The furlings must cross this terrain, and are nearly killed by the yellow dragons, which are construction vehicles clearing the ground for a new structure.
  • September 13, 2017
    Az0riusG4m3r
    Minor typo: "to animals" requires a comma afterwards, so in other words, "to animals, aliens..."
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