"Another secret society meeting in a warehouse. Do you think the owners charge them rent?"
Some settings speak louder than others. An Abandoned Warehouse screams "let's rumble" at about the same volume that a grand but derelict house on a hill
shouts "supernatural and creepy". If any given cordial enemy says "let's meet in an abandoned warehouse", you can pretty much drop the "cordial" part right then and there, and if nobody fires a gun during the warehouse scene, it's only because it's a children's show. And even then, it'll still involve whatever nerfed magical battle powers
the show entails.
For extra trope points, the warehouse should feature a large and complex series of catwalks running among the rafters. This allows the villain to position additional Mooks
there for the hero to shoot down
, and means that he may retreat onto them for the traditional Climbing Climax
. There will also be lots and lots
of chains hanging from the ceiling for unexplained purposes
, as well as lots of water dripping from the roof to give off some nice and eerie clanking and dripping noises for the cat and mouse chase.
An abandoned pier is a common variation. See also Abandoned Hospital
. Sometimes overlaps with Darkened Building Shootout
Common iterations: pre-appointed confrontations, busting up a bunch of Mooks
in a video game, and ambushes for the Too Dumb to Live
sorts in the cast. In Super Hero
settings, there will generally be large amounts of property damage, since "abandoned warehouse" is shorthand for "building we can completely destroy without feeling guilty."
Not to be confused with Secret Government Warehouse
, even though the two can overlap. Nor the Abandoned Warehouse District
, which exists to be totaled during an even bigger fight.
Warehouses are great locations for film for a few real reasons, though - they're big, open spaces and require little set dressing. Production companies usually already know a lot of local warehouse managers as warehouses make great temporary studio sets when they studio is pressed for space. An empty warehouse (or a half full one) is usually happy to make a few extra bucks by hosting a film, and requires little more than making sure a maintenance guy is on hand to help with power, etc.
In Real Life
, abandoning warehouses is rather common which makes this trope Truth in Television
. Also see Never Recycle a Building
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Anime and Manga
- The final confrontation of Death Note is deliberately arranged to take place in an abandoned warehouse with no windows and a single entrance.
- The end of the "Animation USA" episode of Excel Saga was in an abandoned pier, where Excel espoused the virtues of Western and Eastern animation while beating up gangsters.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has a warehouse in the two yoyo gang stories and the Mokuba Kaiba capmon game. The Toei Yu-Gi-Oh! series gave a warehouse to the Killer Yo-Yo yoyo gang, the Capumon guy and the guy who plays with 'digital pets'
- Visoreds in Bleach occupy one in Karakura town. They protect it with forcefields that would turn any random passerbys away and have a giant well-lit cavern underneath to train in.
- A key part of Spider-Man's origin takes place in an abandoned warehouse.
- In the Don Rosa story "The Black Knight Glorps Again", Gyro Gearloose hid the Black Knight armor- coated in a universal solvent that dissolves everything but diamonds- in a giant cube of concrete in one such location. While checking to see if it had been stolen, Gyro comments on the ease of finding an abandoned warehouse.
- The climax of With Strings Attached takes place in an abandoned warehouse that's being used to house the Vasyn.
- It is possible that The Bunker is an abandon warehouse.
- John Woo's Hard Boiled has a big two-part shootout in one of these things. The first part has the bad guys led by Johnny Wong shooting up the place because they're taking over the gunrunning operation being run within from Uncle Hoi. The second part has Tequila rappelling in and blowing away the bad guys as only Chow Yun-Fat can.
- The primary location in Unknown (2006) is an Abandoned Warehouse in the middle of nowhere, where the protagonist are trapped and try to find a away out.
- Quite a few Hong Kong action movies have shootouts or kung fu battles in warehouses.
- The final shootout in Hard Target, also directed by John Woo, takes place in a derelict warehouse.
- Subverted in the 2007 Transformers movie. It looks as though an action scene will take place in one, then the characters move on to somewhere else.
- The gangs in Death Wish II and The Exterminator 2 used abandoned warehouses.
- The Saw franchise is set almost entirely in abandoned warehouses.
- It looked like Sam Flynn had made his home out of an abandoned warehouse in TRON: Legacy.
- Dick Tracy had an abandoned warehouse where Lips Manlis meets his own death by having cement poured on him by the Big Bad.
- Parodied in Zoolander, where the walk-off is held in "the old Members Only warehouse."
- The final battle between Connor MacLeod and the Kurgan in Highlander takes place in an abandoned warehouse - which is soon seriously short of window glass.
- Attack of the Clones ends with Count Dooku reporting to his master in a vacant factory complex.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: The kids lave their La Résistance meeting in Carl's Warehouse.
- A Hostage for MacGuffin trade takes place in 1986 crime drama 8 Million Ways to Die. The villain is unaware that there are SWAT officers hiding in the rafters of the apparently empty warehouse.
- Law Abiding Citizen. The Vigilante Man antagonist liquidates his assets and buys a large number of abandoned factories so he can carry out his plans undisturbed.
- Filipino action films almost always use this trope. Occasionally they'll feature The Cartel's fancy villa instead.
- Rob Zombie's 31 takes place in an abandoned warehouse.
- In Sailor Nothing, Dark General Radon demands to meet Himei in an abandoned warehouse after kidnapping her cat.
- John Connolly: Every Dead Thing has a particularly horrible one of these where Parker discovers the bodies of dozens of murdered children.
- The Dresden Files: The White Council uses an abandoned warehouse in Chicago for trying and executing violators of the Laws of Magic.
- Such places turn up numerous times in the series. When used by practioners of black magic, the abandonment is justified in-universe by the fact that even regular people sense something is not right and leave the areas alone.
- The Port in Septimus Heap is filled with these, mostly for goods impounded by the super-strict Port Customs Office. One of them becomes critical in Physik as the place where the Glass is.
Live Action Television
- Every episode of the 1960s Batman TV series had the villain's hideout located in an abandoned warehouse.
- In Series/Arrow Oliver Queen's HQ is underneath one of these-but not for long, he quickly turns it into a nightclub.
- Parodied in the Boy Meets World episode "The Thrilla in Phila." When discussing where their grudge match should take place, Joey the Rat and Cory have the following exchange:
Joey: "Tonight. Midnight. The abandoned warehouse on seventh."
Cory: "No. Four o'clock. Feeny's backyard."
Joey: "No! Eight o'clock! The abandoned shipyard by the pier."
Cory: "No! Dinnertime! My kitchen!"
Joey: "Is it abandoned?"
- Plenty of these in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lampshaded by a deleted line in "Crush" which had Buffy learning of some vampires hanging out in an abandoned warehouse and commenting, "Is there any other kind in Sunnydale?" Another example would be Spike and Drusilla using one as their lair in Season 2.
- Dingy abandoned warehouses are fairly common battlegrounds for Tokusatsu shows, but they're everywhere in Super Sentai / Power Rangers, giving the Zords and giant monsters an endless supply of empty buildings to crush. The second season even occasionally referred to the "abandoned warehouse district" of the city.
- In the Torchwood episode "Combat" there is a gang of men who hold death cage matches with Weevils (the vicious stock alien of Torchwood) in empty warehouses.
- The second episode of Flash Forward had the main characters' investigation of the blackouts lead them to a creepy abandoned warehouse full of dolls hanging from the ceiling.
- The MythBusters occasionally make use of real abandoned warehouses, usually at NAS Alameda, an abandoned United States Navy base, for testing some of their myths.
- In Angel, Gunn's gang, as well as some street-level demons, use abandoned warehouses as their living and working area. Cordelia also gives birth to Jasmine inside an abandoned meatpacking plant, which is given a sinister air thanks to its rows of hanging meathooks.
- Subverted in the Saved by the Bell episode "The Rave". Plans to host a rave at one of these are derailed when it turns out that the warehouse is being turned into a Walmart. "Stupid economic recovery." The episode aired two years before The Simpsons did it.
- Highlander Immortals seem to favor this trope as sites for their battles to the death or simple sparring practice.
- The Criminal Minds episode "Ashes and Dust" has an arsonist who likes to watch his victims burn to death and a man dying of leukemia who's disgusted and angered that the arsonist is using the group he founded to target victims. The arsonist gets lured by the man to an abandoned building filled with highly flammable material. When the arsonist asks how the man plans to escape, he says, "I don't," and lights the building up, killing them both. Doubles as a Thanatos Gambit and a Dying Moment of Awesome.
- Supernatural: Crowley is fond of using abandoned warehouses, factories, and hospitals as his bases.
- On Teen Wolf, despite supposedly being an out-of-the-way town in a non-coastal part of California, Beacon Hills has a seemingly endless number of these, with vast, cavernous interiors.
- In Teen Wolf, this is the current headquarters of Derek and his pack, with a couple of subway cars thrown in for good measure.
- Lindsey Stirling's "Spontaneous Me", along with a couple other pieces, include her dancing in empty parking lots or on abandoned and run-down buildings.
- This trope is the setting for about half of Metal music videos.
- Subversion: The Renegades in Elf Blood appear to live in an abandoned warehouse to prying eyes, thanks to judicious application of Pixie Glamour. Inside however, it's reasonably homely and they live there quite comfortably. It's still a warehouse, though.
- Subverted in Project 0. Owen actually lives in one
- The first lonelygirl15 Season Finale had the characters chased into one of these, although they hid and avoided an actual fight.
- Abandoned warehouses appear in versions one, three, and four of Survival of the Fittest. In V1 A number of fights break out inside of it over the time the act is running, and towards the end, the warehouse is blown up altogether at the culmination in one of the most action packed scenes of the entire first game. The v3 one, on the other hand, is an abandoned military storehouse and (by implication) a rec center where the soldiers played cards. Version 4 has one that apparently used to contain logging supplies, but unfortunately the boxes remain padlocked.
- Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer and Larry Burns are being chased by the police (since they faked a kidnapping) and Homer suggests they hide in a nearby abandoned warehouse. They open the door only to find that it's full of people at work.
Homer: "D'OH! Stupid economic recovery!"
- In another episode, Bart buys one for a buck.
- The future Detroit of Transformers Animated has a surprisingly large number of these, possible due to the "robot revolution" which made many human jobs redundant. The Autobots live in an abandoned warehouse/car factory, the Headmaster has his base in one, Lockdown was able to disguise his ship as one without anyone noticing, and Megatron found yet another one to meet Lockdown and collect Starscream from him. This is a bit justified because abandoned warehouses are one of the few places big enough to house giant robots comfortably.
- A common locale in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. In one episode, Michaelangelo asked why villains always chose to meet in abandoned warehouses. Raphael told him it was "because there aren't any old, abandoned luxury penthouses!"
- Later, The Shredder subverts the trope by setting his hiding place in a hotel room, and expecting the Turtles to look for him in abandoned warehouses.
- In the Ben 10: Ultimate Alien episode "Double or Nothing", Albedo works on his "bomb" in an abandoned warehouse. Kevin lampshades it.
- Happens often in Darkwing Duck. It was even lampshaded.
It always comes down to this Launchpad: You, me, a supervillain
craving my destruction and an abandoned warehouse.
Launchpad: Yeah, I wish for once it could be a roller rink or something.
- In Sheep in the Big City, Sheep tries to lose General Specific in the "Spotlight, Dry Ice & Ominous Music Warehouse."
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Clock King". Not abandoned since Fugate owns it, but it plays the same role.
- Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X": Justified by Colonel Flag, when Lawton (AKA Deadshot) observes that the Justice League Spy Satellites could hear them when they celebrate the Suicide Squad reunion on this trope, Flag answers that the guy who abandoned this warehouse had a very good security installation on it.