Created By: HugoLuman on August 9, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on June 8, 2014

Kill The Lights

Monster/Entity darkens the room somehow to make things scarier.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
The Protagonists are afraid of Joe Mc Killer, but know that they're safe from him here in this lighted area. Suddenly, the lights begin to flicker and go out - he's here!

This is when a villain can darken a room seemingly at will. Whether they suck the power from the lights, or just plainly and inexplicably make them go out, it sure makes things scarier. Often leads to Darkness Equals Death.


Examples

Film
  • Constantine. When the horde of flying demons is approaching the title character and Angela Dodson all nearby lights (including the street lights) go out, leaving the main characters in darkness.
  • The Matrix Revolutions. As the Agent Smiths invade the Oracle's building the lights go out in the hallways.
  • Aliens. When the xenomorphs are preparing to attack they cut the building's power supply.
They cut the power.
How can they cut the power? They're animals!
  • Jaws. During the shark's night time attack on the boat the power supply goes off, leaving the crew in darkness.
Hooper: He ate the light.

Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • August 9, 2012
    Astaroth
    The Weeping Angels can drain power from lightbulbs in Doctor Who. Justified since their natural defence mechanism means they can't move when being observed, so if you can't see them...
  • August 9, 2012
    Arivne
    The lights may demonstrate Slow Electricity when they go out.

    Film
    • Constantine. When the horde of flying demons is approaching the title character and Angela Dodson all nearby lights (including the street lights) go out, leaving the main characters in darkness.
    • The Matrix Revolutions. As the Agent Smiths invade the Oracle's building the lights go out in the hallways.
    • Aliens. When the xenomorphs are preparing to attack they cut the building's power supply.
    They cut the power.
    How can they cut the power? They're animals!
    • Jaws. During the shark's night time attack on the boat the power supply goes off, leaving the crew in darkness.
    Hooper: He ate the light.
  • August 9, 2012
    Andygal
    Justified in The Dresden Files with hobs, faeries that hate light and can generate a sort off magic smokescreen that blocks it.
  • August 9, 2012
    MrRuano
    The Darkness practically lives this trope, especially in the games, where the titular entity can get weakened by any sort of light, as opposed to the comic version's sole weakness to ultraviolet light.
  • August 9, 2012
    HugoLuman
    This is not about weakness or aversion to light, it's about turning off the lights. The monster might make the lights go out because they hurt it, but being hurt by light is not this in and of itself.

    Does this game feature a mechanic to darken the lights?

    Those films are good examples ^, as are the weeping angels.
  • August 9, 2012
    Astaroth
    ^ For most of the first game (haven't played the 2nd, or read the comics), you have to shoot out light sources with guns, shatter them with the tentacle power, or summon a darkling henchmen to destroy them for you. At the end of the game, however, when the Darkness becomes superpowered by a solar eclipse, it gains the ability to shatter any lightbulbs it gets close to by sheer force of will.
  • August 9, 2012
    Astaroth
    Does the lights going out have to appear to be supernatural? There's a scene in Chronicles Of Riddick where Riddick is accosted by a group of necromongers, and he puts out two candles with the palms of his hands, plunging the room into darkness. Since Riddick can see in darkness just as easily as in light, he easily defeats the necromongers as they fumble around in the dark.
  • August 10, 2012
    HugoLuman
    Not sure. It's usually a device to raise suspense quickly. What I think I'm going for here is signaling the arrival or the beginning of the danger by the enemy making it go dark. Usually in the form of lights flickering off or the power getting cut. The Xenomporphs cutting the power in Aliens and the Weeping Angel's trick are pretty good examples.
  • August 10, 2012
    surgoshan
    • Batman whips out a new gadget in The Dark Knight Rises; the ability to turn off the lights. It works on some reporters' cameras, but utterly fails to give Bane pause.
  • August 11, 2012
    MorganWick
    "Tonight, you will be visited by three spirits! The first will... mess with the lights!" (flips a lightswitch on and off rapidly)
  • August 11, 2012
    Thunderchin
    Deadliest Warrior has this during the Spetsnaz vs. Green Berets battle: the last Spetsnaz shoots out the lights to throw off the Green Beret following him.
  • August 12, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Silence Of The Lambs. When Clarice Starling is hunting Buffalo Bill in his house, he kills the power and leaves her in darkness. He then dons his Night Vision Goggles and The Hunter Becomes The Hunted.
    • Happens twice in The Fog (1980).
      • During the attack on the weather station, the ghost fog (or the zombies) cut the building's power supply, causing the man inside to open the door and get killed.
      • Later on the ghost fog enters the town's main generator and shorts it out, cutting off power to the entire area.

    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons Ravenloft adventure Adam's Wrath. While the PCs are infiltrating the underground caves Adam will touch the luminescent fungus that provides the only light in the area. When he does this the light will immediately turn off throughout the area, leaving the PCs in darkness. Adam knows the area much better thatn the PCs and will take less of a penalty while fighting in darkness than the PCs will.
  • June 4, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • June 5, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Literature
    • In The Long Dark Tea Time Of The Soul, Thor uses his powers to completely black out Kate's entire neighborhood in order to get her attention, inadvertently terrifying her in the process.
  • June 5, 2014
    Scorpion451
    Wow, massive necro-post- this is a good one though, needs to be polished up and launched.

    Sometimes overlaps with Nothing Is Scarier when someone (or something) kills the lights as a psychological warfare tactic, leaving the hero(s) staring into the dark for a prolonged stretch wondering where the attack will come from, and what exactly it is that they're fighting.

    • In the last act of Pitch Black the more intelligent of the creatures appear to be trying to do this by attacking those holding light sources.
  • June 5, 2014
    Astaroth
    Step Into The Blinding Fight is a related trope
  • June 5, 2014
    Generality
    • In the film The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf intimidates Bilbo to convince him to leave the Ring behind, the room darkens and his voice gains a menacing reverberation. He also seems to grow, though he may simply be standing up from a slouch.
      "Bilbo Baggins, do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!"
      • A similar effect happens during the Council of Elrond when Gandalf breaks up the squabble by reciting the ring couplet in Black Speech, though as this scene is outside, the darkening is less noticeable.

    • In the Doctor Who episode "The Bells of Saint John", the bad guys, who can hack anything, plunge all of London into a blackout, except for the street that the Doctor and Clara are on. After a moment of confusion, the Doctor realises this is to provide an easy target for the oncoming plane that has also been hacked.
    • In Jekyll, the eponymous Superpowered Evil Side draws from nearby electrical sources to power his transformation. As such, when Dr. Jackman's in a room and the lights flicker and go dark, it's a sign that the psychopath is about to show himself.
  • June 5, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Might be caused by Casting A Shadow powers. Often followed by Light Flicker Teleportation.

    Also, how does this relate to Tentative Light?
  • June 5, 2014
    TheTitan99
    • Ganondorf, from The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina Of Time, drains all the light out of the room when casting his evil magic. To the viewer, this almost silhouettes Ganondorf in darkness.

    • Yami, from Okami has the ability to plunge the whole battlefield into darkness, draining the player of all of their celestial power. The same works, however, if you shine light onto the battlefield to Yami, draining it of its energy.
  • June 5, 2014
    DAN004
    • Na Ruto: the Second Hokage has a technique called Kokuangyo no Jutsu (Bringer of Darkness Technique) that shrouds the target's perception with darkness.

    Contrast Blinded By The Light.
  • June 5, 2014
    captainpat
    Please rewrite the description without the hypothetical scenario. That's an Example As A Thesis. You don't need an example in your trope description when you have an example section right below it.

  • June 6, 2014
    aradia22
    Just to clarify, the audience has to know that the villain was responsible for darkening the room, right? It can't just be that the room gets ominously darker as a choice from the director. And the room getting darker has to be noticed by the hero or at least not so subtle that it's just for the sake of setting the mood.
  • June 6, 2014
    Scorpion451
    Been thinking about this one- good way to sum up the way most seem to want the trope to go is:

    Someone or something puts out the only lights in an otherwise dark location to gain a tactical advantage or incite fear. This could be accomplished any number of ways- shooting out the bulbs, cutting the power to a building, casting a magical shroud of darkness over the area, dousing the hero's torch- the end result is the same: the targets have been plunged into darkness leaving them at a distinct disadvantage, and quite possibly terrified.

    Also, its notable that this isn't just used by villians- its a popular trick for anyone who uses unconventional tactics, including Terror Heros and Guile Heros.

  • June 6, 2014
    TheTitan99
    Considering this was bumped after being abandoned for almost 2 years, I say just edit the original post. I really doubt the old topic creator's coming back.
  • June 7, 2014
    Synchronicity
    • Happens several times in Teen Wolf, in which any supernatural entity — the alpha, the Kanima, etcetera — seems to have the ability to turn off the lights in order to freak out whichever character they're targeting at the moment.

    Also, yes, this is considered Up For Grabs.
  • June 7, 2014
    DAN004
    So who wanna grab this?
  • June 7, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Cyberdyne Systems Terminator goes hunting for Sarah Connor through the precinct station when he notices the electrical closet. The Terminator switches off the power, plunging the building into darkness, a tactic to make it harder for Sarah to escape, and easier for the Terminator to massacre the police opposition.
  • June 8, 2014
    surgoshan
    • Along with the Weeping Angels, Doctor Who also gives us the Vashta Nerada. Creatures who live in shadow and eat flesh.
  • June 8, 2014
    Tallens
    • Babylon Five: When Commander Sinclair awakens to find the station completely abandoned, save one other, he goes to find out what's going on, only to have the lights start shutting off right before he's confronted by the one responsible.
  • June 8, 2014
    Megacles
    Marble Hornets: The Operator can interfere with electronic equipment. At one point during the filming of the student film, the Operator causes a blackout at Tim's house.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=pmhcit5aop55a3s6yvlre56u