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->''"You got flies."''
-->-- '''Leonard Smalls''', ''Film/RaisingArizona''

In many works, especially horror movies, the first thing that indicates something going nasty is the arrival of [[TheSwarm flies, mosquitoes, wasps, maggots, and other creepy crawlies]]. Bonus points are earned if they are seen entering or emerging from a sleeping protagonist's mouth, nose, and ears. Generally linked to demons and ghosts, but might just be a symptom of something more natural like decomposition.

This trope has its roots in Beelzebub being "Lord of the Flies", and other Satanic connotations. Alternatively, it may be linked to the Ten Plagues, or simply to decay and death.

See also TheSwarm and TheWormThatWalks, when the bugs are not only an indicator of evil, but are actually used as a monster directly, UncleanlinessIsNextToUngodliness, and EvilSmellsBad.


[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/SaintSeiyaTheLostCanvas'', the Specter Nasu Veronica is heavily associated to flies, [[PestController controlling a horde of them]] to [[BeeBeeGun attack his enemies]]. He claims that the flies that descend upon a corpse do it in order to devour its soul before it can pass on to the afterlife.


[[folder: Card Games ]]

* Though DarkIsNotEvil, and the protagonists to Kamigawa, Zendikar, [[spoiler:and Innistrad]] are black, in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', black mana is associated with death and parasitism, and one black creature type is insect, specifically carrion eaters.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* In ''Comicbook/SwampThing'' a possessed man has a halo of flies.
** This is the calling card of The Rot in general, and [[BigBad Arcane]] in particular. Despite technically being part of The Red, flies are so close to the rot that they're infamously untrustworthy.
* In the ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'', billions of Black Lantern Rings travel together through the universe. They're described by characters as sounding like swarming buzzing flies.
* When written by Scott Snyder, ComicBook/TheJoker is often associated with flies to the point of almost being an AnimalMotif. He's always got flies buzzing around him, tying into his habit of spreading disease and misery.


[[folder: Fanfiction ]]

* [[spoiler: Zippoorwhill's]] nightmares at the beginning of chapter 8 of ''Fanfic/{{Sleepless}}''.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Literature/TheRing''. One is ''plucked out of a television image''.
* In ''Film/{{Constantine}}'', Beeman has a fly crawl out from under his ''[[{{Squick}} eyelid]]'' as a sign of demonic attack upon him. He's later found dead with flies covering him and crawling out of his mouth.
* ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}''. The titular ghosts cause a steak to be suddenly covered with maggots.
* ''Film/DragMeToHell'' had a fly following the protagonist around for much of the film. It both entered ''and'' exited her mouth and nose, as well as [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou landing on the camera]].
* In ''Film/RaisingArizona'', Leonard Smalls informs Nathan Arizona he has flies, but Nathan insists this is impossible, due to his office being climate controlled. Still, Leonard catches one between his fingers. They seem to be following him around.
* Another similar [[Creator/TheCoenBrothers Coen brothers]] example: In ''Film/BartonFink'', the title character has a mosquito problem, in spite of everyone informing him this is impossible, as UsefulNotes/LosAngeles is a desert.
* In Australian horror film ''Film/{{Primal}}'', a tiny bug lands on a protagonist early on, and a swarm of them is found in a broken bottle near the campsite. The night before the real menace appears, another character gets sick and the group prepares to take her to a hospital, but it turns out more swarms have managed to eat the wheels of their minivan.
* The flies in ''Film/SeeNoEvil'' have made a nest inside the main antagonist's head and one always appears before he attacks.
* In the film ''Film/{{Grace}}'', flies are attracted to the baby. So much that the mother puts netting over the crib and hangs fly paper all over the nursery.
* Averted in the film version of ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''. There are flies ''everywhere'' in this movie, but it seems to be some kind of visual running gag, rather than to have any metaphorical meaning.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/TheAmityvilleHorror'', flies swarming around during the height of winter was a sign of paranormal activities taking place.
* ''Literature/LordOfTheFlies'', of course.
** Further a reference to Ba'alzevuv, or [[{{Satan}} Beelzebub]].
* The Man with the Scarlet Eye in ''Literature/SwanSong'' sends flies out to search for Sister and the glass ring and report back to him. They do.
* In the short story "Father Hugh and the Deadly Scythe" by Mary Monica Pulver, the eponymous priest decides which of three suspects killed a man with a scythe by observing which scythe a group of flies, described by Father Hugh as the creatures of Beelzebub, choose to settle upon. The murderer confesses in terror before he remembers that [[SubvertedTrope flies are attracted to fresh blood, which they would find on a murder weapon.]]
* Subverted in the Franchise/CthulhuMythos short story ''The Disciple'' by David Karr Kirtley. The ObviouslyEvil professor running the 'special class' has the ability to make flies buzz in formation around him, which the students regard as a sign of his formidable occult powers. When [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Cthulhu]] himself turns up, the protagonist realises that ''[[PitifulWorms they]]'' are the flies to this EldritchAbomination. The professor, it turns out, doesn't have formidable powers. The whole thing is a sting operation so that Miskatonic University can get rid of potentially dangerous people.
* In the Creator/IsaacAsimov short story "Flies", one character is always being followed by flies. Another investigates why, and discovers [[spoiler:he's a possibly-amnesiac Beelzebub in human form]].
* E.F. Benson's short story "The Sanctuary" has flies show up as a manifestation of Satanic influnces, with particularly grotesque results for Satanists who attempt to recant.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, is surrounded by flies. Justified, since flies are often vectors of disease (pestilence).
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Heaven Sent", the Doctor is stalked through a shifting castle by "the Veil" - what appears to be a walking corpse swathed in rags and surrounded by flies. It reflects one of his earliest nightmares: when he was young, he was at the funeral of an old woman. They covered her up, but couldn't keep the flies away.
* Played with in ''Series/AmericanGods2017'' with Laura Moon, who is persistently accompanied by flies due to her being a reanimated corpse. She's not evil, exactly, but she's not especially good, either.


[[folder: Music ]]

* The music video to 'I Stay Away' by ''Music/AliceInChains'', shows the gory chaos caused at a travelling carnival by a malicious boy who frees flies he has trapped in a jar.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'', ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'', and ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'', flies are associated with the Chaos God Nurgle. In fact, one of the symbols of Nurgle is actually a stylized fly. When the Plague Marines of Nurgle invade a world, the interior of their ships gets filled with [[TheSwarm millions of flies]] that are released when they land. Even when they use teleportation, enough flies are carried with them to blot out the sun.
** The Beast of Nurgle, a disgusting aberration that looks like a monstrous slug that acts like an over-excited and love-filled puppy, becomes the horrible Rot Fly when it grow disillusion, saddened, spiteful, and all around bitchy it is returned to Nurgle's Gardens and lies in the muck to mope. Nurgle's fattest flies cocoon it and it metamorphoses into the embodiment of hatred against life's unfairness. The Plaguebearers that ride them push them into greater heights of revenge.
* In the official ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' setting, one of the symbols of the Pulp-era Satanic conspiracy group the Order of the Seven is a scarlet housefly.
* In ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'', the Baali clan of demonologists had a specific sect called the Avatars of the Swarm. These are especially notable for breeding thousands of ghouled flies within them, and using [[BodyHorror living humans]] as farms. They embrace by [[BizarreAlienBiology force feeding humans handfuls of flies, bloated with their blood]]. Nasty.


[[folder: Toys ]]

* The Nui-Rama in ''Toys/{{BIONICLE}}'' are huge flies with claws and stings. The influence of Infected Kanohi turns them into deadly foes.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* A sound akin to the buzzing of a [[TheSwarm swarm of flies]] is used to represent great evil/madness in the soundtrack for ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'', if the player-character falls to the evil end of the KarmaMeter, he'll be followed by a swarm of flies, in addition to sprouting horns.
* In ''VideoGame/GodHand'', Belze transforms into a huge fly-like being with his face situated between the eyes for his boss fight.
* In ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'', flies are a very common enemy, and several other monsters ''vomit'' flies or otherwise summon them.
* Recurring ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' character [[http://images.wikia.com/megamitensei/images/7/7c/KazumaKaneko-Beelzebub.jpg Beelzebub]] is a demonic fly the size of a tank wearing a skull necklace and holding a skull scepter, just in case the evil part was too subtle.
* The text-based game ''VideoGame/{{Anchorhead}}'' opens with "a fly buzzing around here somewhere." [[spoiler: [[BookEnds this is also how it ends]], and the ending implies that it isn't really over at all.]]
* Averted by Brittle in ''VideoGame/BestFiends'', she's one of the heroes.
* Morgai Flies from ''VideoGame/MiddleEarthShadowOfMordor'' (and a tiny part of the original novels) are a strain of carrion fly [[TheCorruption tainted by Sauron's evil]]. They are horrendously voracious and have [[MarkOfTheBeast the sigil of the flaming eye]] on their backs. You use their nests as booby traps by shooting them down on Orcs/Uruks, where they go all "BeeAfraid" on them.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Although [[NonMaliciousMonster never done with malevolent intent]], some flies' tendency to burrow both in the bodies of living creatures ([[http://www.snopes.com/photos/medical/maggots.asp warning]], [[http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f149/maggots-ear-canal-30588/ massive]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_OyfUtA4Jo&feature=related amounts]] of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9wtVJJOghQ Squick]]) as well as dead ones, especially in third-world countries, as well as their ability to spread disease, makes their association with evil by human cultures {{Justified|Trope}}. Subverted by specially bred (ie, laboratory bred, thus sterile) maggots, which are often used as a last-line of defense against wounds infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, they would only eat dead flesh but leave healthy tissue alone. DoNotTryThisAtHome: this only applies to the maggots of some species; others are much less discriminate in their dining habits and will happily snack on either living or dead tissue, and there are even some that ''only'' eat living tissue.
* There is a type of cheese called [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casu_marzu ''casu marzu'']] that contains maggots ''on purpose'', made in the Sardinia region of Italy. It is produced by leaving ordinary pecorino (a type of sheep's milk cheese) outdoors once it's fully matured, in hopes of attracting a specific type of fly to lay eggs in the cheese. The larvae are then allowed to hatch, and to feast on the cheese, breaking down some of its fats and proteins. Sometimes the larvae are eaten along with the cheese, and sometimes they are removed immediately before consumption. [[note]] There ''are'' a few other types of cheese that allow cheese flies to lay their eggs in it during production, but casu marzu is the only type where the maggots are allowed to hatch and go nuts on the cheese, and certainly the only one that comes to the table crawling with maggots as a matter of course. [[/note]] Because of the dangers inherent in eating cheese so far gone that maggots are nesting in it, the cheese is ''illegal'' in most of the EU, including the region where it is produced. Some traditional cheesemakers in Sardinia are trying to get an exception made for it, on the grounds that it is a "traditional" food of the region, but thus far, they have not been successful.