Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.Abandoned places make good settings for fiction. Normally seen in fiction that evokes types of horror, the concept of a place just being abandoned makes an unnerving feeling in the viewer. It also creates suspense and increases the surprise when it turns out that the place isn't really abandoned. The use of abandoned places as an aesthetic aid, as it normally is, often overlaps with Scenery Gorn. Depending on the state of the location, it may give a justified example of No OSHA Compliance, because, really, would you be bothered with health and safety in somewhere you've abandoned? Sub-tropes:
Kathy Nightingale: What's good about feeling sad?
Sally: It's like happy for deep people.
Kathy Nightingale: What's good about feeling sad?
Sally: It's like happy for deep people.
- Abandoned Hospital
- Abandoned Laboratory
- Abandoned Mine
- Abandoned Playground
- Abandoned Warehouse
- Cobweb of Disuse
- Ghost City
- Ghost Planet
- Ghost Ship
- Ghost Town
- Haunted Castle
- Haunted House
- Old School Building
- Sinister Subway
- Unexpectedly Abandoned
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In the Homestuck fan adventure Alabaster: The Doomed Session, there is the OBSCENE complex, an ancient troll nursery, a labyrinth filled with traps, illusions and poisonous vapors. Also home to a serial killer.
- The beginning of Not Stalking Zuko takes place in an abandoned soldiers home before going to Ember Island.
- In the course of Mother Of Invention, Applejack has found several of these on her Island of Mystery - including a cabin, a green house, a boat dock, and a construction site.
- Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th films is an abandoned summer camp. Many have tried to reopen it, but those attempts always end in tragedy.
- Heavy Metal segment "Harry Canyon". The meeting between Rudnick and the girl occurs on a bridge that has a sign: "Police Warning: Enter At [your own] Risk"
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, the Turtles stumble across a buried, abandoned Subway Station that they quickly convert into their new lair. Said station was inspired by the Real life New York City "City Hall" Subway station, which was decommissioned in 1945.
- Interiors of an abandoned factory is turned into a supernatural cornfield that eats trespassers in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.
- In Jurassic World, the original park is located deep within the Restricted Area and has mostly been reclaimed by the jungle at this point. Even the Indominus and Velociraptor enclosures are located far away from it.
- An abandoned truck stop in the desert is the site of the massacre in Evidence.
- The ominous mood of Commissar, a film set during the Russian Civil War, is set when a Red Army unit rolls into a town to find it completely abandoned. It turns out that the populace is in hiding.
- Most of the action in Don't Breathe takes place in the only inhabited house in an otherwise deserted neighborhood in Detroit. Before breaking in, the thieves establish that there are no neighbors for several blocks. This means that no on will hear any gunshots, and no one will be calling the cops or coming to help.
- Frederik Pohl's novel Gateway was about, obviously, Gateway, an abandoned alien space port.
- The abandoned mall plays a semi-significant part in John Dies at the End.
- The Robert A. Heinlein novel I Will Fear No Evil portrays the future United States as being filled with "AA's," i.e. Abandoned Areas, which are lawless no-man's lands that one doesn't travel through except in an armored vehicle.
- An abandoned construction site features prominently in Animorphs.
- In Eden Green, many areas of Eden's city have been abandoned due to a decades-long recession, giving needle monsters many dark places in which to nest.
- In Warrior Cats:
- Sites abandoned by humans - old houses, for instance - usually are a benefit, as Clan cats occasionally find shelter in them during journeys. The most prominent ones are in ThunderClan's lake territory: their camp is in a long-abandoned quarry, and the abandoned workman's house still stands with healing herbs such as catmint growing in its garden, and it was also used as a quarantine in one book when a large portion of the Clan got greencough.
- After the Clans leave the forest, their camps still stand and are considered to be fairly creepy. Graystripe travels to them upon his escape from Twolegs (not realizing that the Clans have left), and Ravenpaw and Barley also take a look around the old territories a few years later.
Live Action TV
- Wester Drumlins, an abandoned house in the Doctor Who episode "Blink". In the episode, Sally Sparrow explores the house and discovers a message from 40 years earlier warning her to duck as well as an infestation of Weeping Angels.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has these too.
- The abandoned space station Empok Nor in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Life After People is about what would happen to the Earth if people suddenly disappeared, and uses a lot of real abandoned places to illustrate how things will decay.
- The broken Ascension Point in The Fades is located in an abandoned shopping centre.
- JAG: In "Sightings", the Naval Air Station at Del Rio, which was shut down after the Cold War. Truth in Television for many military installations, which have a history of being shut down and reopened and shut down again depending on the needs of the military. Some get turned into civilian airports or put to other uses if there is any demand for the real estate, but others simply gather dust.
- A trip to Spain on Top Gear finds entire towns empty thanks to Spain's devastated economy. They spend the night in a new, unused house and turn another town into a circuit course. The boys even find an abandoned international airport at Cuidad Real, where they take advantage by racing their supercars down the now unused runway. The Scenery Gorn aspect is surprisingly non-existent, since sadly everything was left when it was more or less new or unused.
- The Professionals. CI5 used the former Wembley Palace of Engineering for training, and of course scenes take place in the usual Abandoned Warehouses, derelict dockyards, and decommissioned WW2 airfields. Parodied in "Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown" when our heroes find the Docklands are being redeveloped.
Bonehead: Where's all the wasteland and the disused factories, Foyle?
Foyle: Where's all the rusty girders?
Bonehead: Dammit, there's no puddles to run through!
- The entire playfield for The Walking Dead gives off this vibe... except for the horde of zombie walkers advancing towards the player.
This Is War The abandoned warehouse Robyn and David meet again in coincidentally
- Like Dying Things Do takes place in an abandoned shopping mall during the apocalypse
- In Dark Conspiracy, areas filled with otherplanar monsters are called "Demonground" and are avoided by humans.
- Shadowrun. You don't want to go into areas rated Z security unless you're heavily armed, armored and in numbers. You don't actually want to go into such areas then, either, it's just not instant suicide at that point.
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl has The Ruined Zoo. The Opening Cut Scene gives off a sufficiently creepy atmosphere, but then the Music that plays over the level are fast-paced Pokémon themes. but when you revisit the area in the great maze, the track that plays is a somewhat creepy version of the EarthBound theme "Snowman".
- Several of the levels of Half-Life 2 and its subsequent episodes, including one in the abandoned part of a prison and one in an Abandoned Hospital. The latter, incidentally, being modeled after Pripyat.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has two levels (a sniping mission and an escape mission) in Pripyat. They're really unnerving, especially when you see a teddy bear, and hear the echoing laughter of children.
CPT. MacMillan: Look at this place. Fifty thousand people used to live in this city. Now it's a ghost town. I've never seen anything like it.
- The Space Colony ARK in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog.
- In Fable II you travel through Wraithmarsh which was once a pleasant little village before everybody was killed so one villager could become immortal. The surrounding marsh has recovered much of the village and it's populated by all manner of foul things. It also has many other examples like the heroes guild, the temple of Light/Shadows and the forsaken fortress.
- Every single area in Zork Nemesis probably fits. Each area besides the first has only one inhabitant, all of whom have been driven insane by the solitude and the Nemesis.
- The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games are set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a Real Life abandoned location. Several structures, both military and civilian, have been re-purposed by the stalker population, but even so, there are plenty of completely empty structures left to rot and crumble, such as the Lake Yantar industrial district and Pripyat itself, whose population of demented Monolithians can hardly be considered human anymore.
- Shadow of the Colossus you're the only living being in the whole place, besides the Colossi. There are majestic but slightly creepy, abandonded churchs, castles, forests and an old, flooded fort among many other things.
- Lé Monde, in which all of Vagrant Story takes place.
- Everywhere you can visit except the tube stations in Hellgate: London. Includes warehouses and cityscapes. In the late game, a depot is set up in an aboveground courtyard, but even that's expected to be temporary.
- Last Window: The 4th floor of Cape West apartments was left abandoned for 13 years, left to look like a ghost hotel rather than apartments when the rest of the apartment complex was converted.
- Most of Portal 2 takes place in an abandoned research facility. This is also true of the first game.
- Nearly all of the areas you explore in Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon are Abandoned Areas, since the game takes place After the End.
- Super Mario Fusion Revival has World 4-F1: Dead Air. An abandoned, decrepit airport that has been sucked into the realm of Di Yu, the Chinese hell. Wandering souls and zombies are rampant here. A crying girl is found somewhere in the airport...or is it a girl?
- Most of Condemned: Criminal Origins and Condemned 2: Bloodshot take place in a variety of different abandoned buildings.
- Star Stable has an abandoned farm not far from the starting stables. It's not creepy or anything; it's just...kinda dull.
- One level in The Matrix: Path of Neo takes place in anbandoned church with weak stairs, scaffolding and broken windows. It gets ruined further, the windows of the bell-tower get kicked in by a SWAT team and you can take out sections of the floor by taking out the four bells.
- The start of Super Metroid features an expedition to the ruins of Tourian, the former nerve center of the enemy base. Some of the rusted remnants and shattered glass structures are call-backs to the prequel game. It was the protagonist who destroyed this command center in the first place.
- The 99 Rooms plays with this as an art project, using photographs of real abandoned sections of East Berlin's industrial sector and making bits and pieces of them interactive, with just a touch of added surrealism.
- Pokémon Sun and Moon: The site for Acerola's Trial is an abandoned supermarket. Apparently, it was once part of a town that was built on sacred grounds. The Tapu didn't like that, and the town was destroyed (they let the Pokémon Center remain standing though). The supermarket now serves as a favorite playground for Ghost-type Pokémon.
- In Project 0 Owen's lives in a hangar by the Machine Graveyard which is a super massive abandoned airfield / junkyard fusion.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, the Court is far larger than its population necessitates, leading to huge areas that seem completely abandoned. Whether these areas truly are abandoned is another question entirely.
- In Bird Boy, Bali falls into one.
- In Roza while chasing a thief.
- In The President several place of the fictional country of Riaveé are often turned in a battle field, and since abandoned place are preferred it turn out to stay abandoned once targeted.
- In Shifters there are several examples of this trope. Many sections of The Undercity (beneath the MegaCity where the comic is set , which also qualify as the subtrope Ghost Cities, as well as anywhere effected by the "Nuclear Incident" that gave rise to the MegaCities themselves.
- The Basement in The Mansion of E features numerous examples of this.
- In El Goonish Shive, "The Nest" is the facility Grace and her brothers were born. After Damien's attack, the above ground floors were destroyed leaving the basement levels abandoned but intact.
- The Chronicles Of Taras begins its second act in a ravaged, underground mall from the 1950s.
- The SCP Foundation has SCP-470, an abandoned building that connects to every indoor abandoned location, including places that aren't on Earth or even from our reality.
- http://www.deadmalls.com/ documents abandoned, dead, and dying shopping malls.
- The Sick Land is a giant example of this trope.
- The Creepypasta Abandoned by Disney documents an exploration of a fictional Disney resort known as Mowgli's Palace (inspired by the real-life abandoned Treasure Island Bahamas resort, see real life section below), with the Cruel Twist Ending of the park being haunted.
- The sequel, Room Zero documents a forbidden area of the Disneyland park that was a bomb shelter where about 1000 people were Buried Alive when someone accidentally tripped an air raid siren one day in 1943. The patrons were herded into the shelter, then a power outage caused them all to suffocate.
- Several of Walt Disney World's theme park projects were scuttled due to external factors, and instead of dismantling the sites for good, the corporation often chose to vacate without removing the original architecture. As a result, the various sites have become favored sites for urban explorers to discover and document:
- "Discovery Island", a small inlet just across the river from the Magic Kingdom, opened in 1974 and housed a wide selection of exotic animals and birds. When the animals were moved to Animal Kingdom in 1999, the island was shuttered, and sits abandoned and overgrown with various plant species. It has also been rumored that the park was closed because the water around the island was contaminated with brain-eating amoeba.
- The Pop Century Resort Hotel spent more than a decade being unused and unfinished after construction on the project was halted due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The site was eventually completed and opened as the Art of Animation Resort in 2012.
- WDW's original waterpark, "River Country". Most of the attractions centered around a beach on the shores of Bay Lake and there was only one treated swimming pool in the park. Due to competition from the much larger parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, as well as a Florida Law requiring water parks to use filtered water, the park shut down in 2001 and hasn't been touched since then, making for an unusual blight in the middle of Walt Disney World's spectacle. The shower building and ticket booth are used by the neighboring Fort Wilderness campground, and only a fence separates guests from the stagnant upstream plunge pool. As of this writing, one of the bing.com birds-eye views clearly shows a lone inner-tube floating near the barrier separating the lagoon from the virtually sanded-over Kiddie Cove area.
- "Treasure Island", built in the Bahamas and intended to be a major tourist attraction. The site was scuttled when attempts to re-dredge the site after the area around the island became shallow failed, and they simply packed up and left the site to be pillaged by vandals.
- Haikyo refer to "ruins" in Japanese, specifically, ruins and abandonments from the modern era. Some of the haikyo are a relic of the Japanese Economic Bubble, which, during the 1980s, led to an era of growth, and companies expanded and built in the hopes of capitalising on the profit, but since the bubble burst, the financial strains of these projects meant that they were no longer viable. Demolishing these facilities were also costly, so they are just left behind to be reclaimed by mother nature. There are other haikyo in Japan arising from the end of a mining era; once newer resources and mechanisms were developed, the need for older mines and factories disappeared. 'Haikyoing' is the act of exploring these old ruins, and is something of a popular hobby in Japan, although as with most urban exploration endeavors, a degree of risk is present, whether it be laws, structural stability and the like.
- A somewhat unusual example is the Tama Hills Recreation Area, a former munitions factory and arsenal used by the Japanese during World War II which was cleaned out, mostly-torn-down, and turned into a golf course and campground for the US military. While it is certainly not abandoned (it's quite popular as a weekend getaway), bits and pieces of its former life remain, in the form of overgrown smokestacks, concrete walls and bunkers, and abandoned buildings scattered around.
- High on the list of places urban explorers visit. The legality and safety of such is debatable, as abandoned buildings tend to be still privately owned and covered in pigeon poo, syringes, or both.
- Pripyat, Ukraine, a worker town for the Chernobyl Power Plant about eighty miles from Kiev, and evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster. It's more or less a perfectly preserved Soviet ghost town. You can actually visit it under supervision, but you wouldn't want to live there. The picture on this page is from the amusement park in Pripyat.
- The entire Chernobyl Exclusion zone also counts.
- Centralia, Pennsylvania, evacuated due to a massive underground coal fire, which has been described as "the real-life Silent Hill".
- In a similar vein is Picher, Oklahoma (and Treece, Kansas, just across the border).
- The Six Flags park in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was scheduled to be torn down on January 2011, but those plans have since fallen through, so it still stands today, empty and creepy as fuck. In 2012, it served as a filming location for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and parts of it were cleaned up and some of the rides were re-wired to light up and have since fallen into an even worse state.
- The "lost theme park" Splendid China, in Kissimmee, Florida, which went out of business in 2003, is now an "attraction" for local skateboarders who brave potential arrests for trespassing in order to skate in the abandoned park.
- Dead malls are a subversion of this. A dead mall is a mall in which huge majority of the store spaces are unoccupied and there are very few patrons (if any), but the mall is technically open for business. One filmmaker, Dan Bell, even has an entire series chronicling dead malls he has found throughout the country, some of which are legitimately abandoned and boarded up.
- The Ur-Example is Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois. After only a decade and a half in business, the mall closed and a year later it was used for the Mall chase scene in The Blues Brothers, and then it was left to rot for 33 years before finally being demolished in 2012. Despite a police station being built across the street, it was a very high crime area and the site of several rapes and even a murder, which sealed its fate of never being reopened. A number of residents of Harvey even tried to sue John Landis for $75,000 for failing to make good on promises of reopening the Dixie Square Mall, which he never made. The suit was thrown out of court.
- One of the most extreme versions of this is the New South China Mall. It's one of the largest malls in the entire world, with 2300 store spaces and amusement park-like attractions such as a roller coaster and a replica of Venice...yet less than 20 store spaces are in use and patronage is abysmal to the point where photos of it give the impression that the mall is closed for good.
- Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio has set abandoned for close to a decade, and numerous attempts to demolish the property have been stalled due to a lack of buyers and a complicated rights battle with a largely-defunct real estate developer. The site, which closed in 2008, is a frequent target for urban explorers, has resulted in at least one known suicide outside the mall itself, and is subject to strange weather-related events inside the mall itself (either from plants that have become overgrown or snow that has fallen inside of the mall due to the skylights being broken). After a long, drawn-out process, the city of Akron finally seized control of the property and has plans to tear it down before the end of 2017 — this hasn't stopped people from breaking in again and taking tours of the site.
- The Ambassador Hotel In Los Angeles (notorious for being the location of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination), despite enjoying a very active afterlife as a movie set for various films and TV shows, still steadily decayed for two decades to the point where spores grew through the floor and carpets. Ironically, its final role was a younger version of itself in the Day-in-the-life movie Bobby, even as it was being demolished.
- Forgotten Ohio is filled with pictures of abandoned locales within the state of Ohio that the author has paid visits to. They run the gamut from factories, warehouses, and schools to ghost towns, drive-in theaters, and weird houses. Unsurprisingly, these places usually come with ghost legends.
- Varosha, a quarter of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus. Formerly one of the top resorts in the world, it remained in Turkish hands following Turkey's 1974 invasion of the island, but a UN resolution forbids them from populating it. Only the Turkish military and UN officials are allowed in, and it is tightly guarded, so unlike most abandoned places it's relatively untouched by urban explorers and vandals.
- The Fair Company department store in the small town of Union Springs, Alabama. The owners retired in 1992 and, unable to find someone to take over the store, just closed it one summer day, leaving all the merchandise inside. More than 20 years later, it's still abandoned, with everything inside completely intact.
- Frequently, when a farmer moves off their land, their neighbors will buy them out to extend their crop yield, but do nothing with the buildings left behind.
- More than a dozen New York City subway stations have been left unused or abandoned, due to the city either being unwilling to maintain the station, concerns about lengthening or altering the track, or simply switching lines and leaving the (still-operational) station to rot.
- Similarly, there are quite a few unused and abandoned stations on the London Underground.
- Since 2014, the town of Picher, Oklahoma has been officially classified as an abandoned town. Due to a half-century's worth of devastating natural incidents (including, but not limited to, mine cave-ins, toxic contaminants that were kept in piles next to public spaces, groundwater contamination, a massive spike in negative health effects, possible permanent damage due to long-term lead inhalation and a tornado), the city underwent a forced evacuation in 2006, with most of the remaining residents fleeing after said tornado touched down in 2008. The last surviving resident (and town pharmacist), Gary Linderman, passed away in 2015, and the site has been officially earmarked for future cleanup by the Environmental Protection Association. As it currently stands, though, Picher is uninhabitable and many of its buildings are left in serious disrepair.
- Countless Drive In Theaters have been left reasonably untouched since their decline in the 1970s and 1980s, and in many cases (particularly in smaller towns), the fixtures have been largely intact. It's not unheard of to find a drive-in "graveyard" where the snack bar/projection booth or even the screen is still standing, despite having not been used for a long period of time.