Acid-Trip Dimension

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Would anyone else like to enter the Fly of Despair?

"Breathe the Fire;
Walk the Air;
Drink the Earth;
Warm your hands at the Water."
— A greeting in Planescape's Limbo

For the times when you enter a space-time rift and the next dimension reminds you of the last time you dropped LSD.

When characters go to Another Dimension, it'll never resemble anything from our reality, but instead it will be... weird. Some can look like the inside of a lava lamp, some have landscapes that look like those Salvador Dali paintings, and others are not so pleasant. What's for sure is that the dimension won't resemble anything like our own, and the rules of physics are different or nonexistent. This can be Played for Laughs.

Contrast with Cloudcuckooland. What makes Cloudcuckooland weird is that the cultural norms there are very different from what we're used to. Acid Trip Dimensions may not even have inhabitants, and the dimension's physical laws themselves are wonky. And that's if the Acid-Trip Dimension is even fleshed out; sometimes it's just a brief sequence to show that the character is doing some interdimensional traveling.

For a more musical experience, see Disney Acid Sequence. See also Hyperspace Is a Scary Place, Eldritch Location, Ludicrous Speed and Reality Is Out to Lunch.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Strange - most other dimensions (especially Dormammu's). Steve Ditko was famous for his depictions of these, and every other artist on the book has tried his hand at it.
  • Jack Kirby's early depictions of the Negative Zone in Fantastic Four would qualify as well.
  • On a bad day, the Phantom Zone from Superman can get like this, most notably in the 1980s Phantom Zone miniseries by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, which revealed that the whole place is actually the physical manifestation of the mind of an Eldritch Abomination. As long as you don't probe about too deep in the Zone, it's a perfectly safe place, albeit very barren; but heaven help you if you deliberately attract the thing's attention.
    • Some depictions of the Bizarro World are like this.
    • Mr. Mxyzptlk's fifth dimensional realm is always like this, although how cartoony it is varies from one version to another. It's telling that in a crossover story with Bugs Bunny, the Dodo Bird of Wackyland (see Western Animation below) was basically Mxy's counterpart in the Loony Tunes universe.
  • The Special Zone was portrayed this way in Sonic the Comic. Referenced when a character claimed the part where most of the action took place was the weird part.
    • There are, however, parts of the Special Zone which are "normal". It's a Cloud Cuckoo Land to Sonic, but it's pretty average in comparison to the swirling mass of colours that make up the rest of the dimension.
  • Delirium's world is like this in The Sandman...at its most coherent.
  • During Grant Morrison's run of JLA, Martian Manhunter takes them to The Joker's mind.
  • The Mindscape, home dimension to Sleepwalker, was depicted as this. Sleepwalker himself was perfectly at ease there.
  • Plasmo the Mystic's Sanctimonious Sanctum Sanctorum in Radioactive Man is this, at least on the inside. On the outside, it's an unremarkable suburban bungalow.
  • During Steve Gerber's run on The Sensational She-Hulk, she teamed up with Howard the Duck for an adventure visiting several dimensions, including one that consisted of nothing but giant slices of baloney floating through an endless void, which were fed on by little flying gargoyle creatures who would gleefully shout "Blo-neeeee!"

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • The various seas The Beatles travel through in Yellow Submarine: Time, Monsters, Holes, etc.
    • Hell, the entire universe of the film can be considered this trope! Want to go to a 1968 London where you live in a giant mansion filled with Scooby-Dooby Doors that constantly spew out the oddest assortment of imagery ever put to film?
  • What Dreams May Come is this in spades, considering that their entire vision of heaven and hell is based upon paintings from over the centuries.
  • The end of 2001: A Space Odyssey is possibly the most well-known example.
  • Wherever the hell that tunnel the boat passes through in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is might count!
  • In Ant-Man, the Quantum Realm is very much this when Scott goes subatomic.
  • In Doctor Strange, the Dark Dimension, among other parts of the Multiverse, is incredibly psychedelic. Some places have grasping hands, some pulse or move weirdly, physics seems to have been abandoned... Understandably, the first thing Strange asks is what was in the tea he just drank.

    Literature 
  • The dimension outside "angled space" (the 3-dimensional universe) in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch House fits this. It's a black space filled with portals, and living beings passing through it appear as strange shapes.
    • The "reality" seen under the effects of the machine in From Beyond also qualifies.
  • The "Unseen world" (or "wraith-world") in The Lord of the Rings which the Nazgûl inhabited, and which exists along with the Seen world; in it, things in the "Seen" world are typically perceived as dim and shadowy, but other things can seem plain which are hidden to the "Seen" world. For example, on Weathertop Frodo puts on the Ring, he vanishes from the Seen world, but can see into the Wraith world (being "half in the wraith-world" himself), and he sees the Nazgûl as they appear in the Wraith-world, i.e. as their normal human forms (which is also how the Nazgûl appear to each other, despite being invisible in the Seen world). Likewise, Frodo is drawn gradually further into the wraith-world after being stabbed by the morgul-knife. Glorfindel, meanwhile, lives in both the Seen and Unseen worlds at the same time, since he has dwelt in the Blessed Realm; but he appears as a "shining figure" in the Wraith-world. (In the movie, however, Frodo is apparently entirely in the wraith-world whenever he puts on the Ring, while the Nazgûl seem as glowing distorted figures rather than plain men; meanwhile Gildor Inglorion (or Arwen, who takes his place in the film) becomes the "shining figure" despite having never dwelled in the Blessed Realm).
  • An example in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the dimension the Heart of Gold shifts into when it's travelling. When Arthur and Ford first experience it, Arthur's arms and legs start falling off, Ford turns into a penguin, and they're accosted by various bizarre entities including a talking elderberry bush.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Disney Channel show Adventures in Wonderland, a modern-day Alice steps through her mirror into one Once per Episode on her way to Wonderland.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has one that's "a dimension of all shrimp". We never see it, but Anya mentions it.
    • So does Illyria. It's reportedly very boring.
    • Anya also mentions the Crazy Melty Land, which probably fits this trope better.
  • Doctor Who
    • The time vortex has an element of this, being a video-feedback, kaleidoscopic tunnel.
    • In the first episode of "The Mind Robber", the Doctor pulls the emergency escape switch and gets the TARDIS stuck in a dimension that doesn't really exist. There is a black void and a white void, a black TARDIS and a white TARDIS, evil white-dressed versions of Jamie and Zoe, weird random screaming sounds and the TARDIS exploding. This is apparently what happens when you try to make a Bottle Episode in the middle of the psychedelic era.
  • The Star Trek universe is constructed of a matter universe and an anti-matter universe, separated by a "neutral universe;" the anti-matter universe is identical to the matter-universe in every way, but the neutral-universe is quite bizarre.
    • The wormhole in Deep Space Nine appears to be actually a different dimension that touches normal space in two separate points. The inside looks like nothing even roughly similar, but thankfully space ships can travel through it without any trouble if equipped with the necessary technology.
  • The Twilight Zone TOS episode "Little Girl Lost."

    Pinball 
  • Silverball Mania has a relatively mild version of this, with the playfield depicting mercurial fountains spewing pinballs and glowing gradients of blue, yellow, and orange everywhere.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has different planes that act as an acid trip dimension, depending on the cosmology.
    • Eberron has several alien-like planes. Xoriat has red clouds everywhere, and space seems to be rippling. Dal Quor has buildings floating in the air.
    • Planescape features The Great Wheel cosmology:
      • The plane of Limbo is a roiling mass of chaos matter, which changes randomly or based on the will of people traveling on the plane.
      • The Far Realm exists "outside the bounds of the multiverse". Nothing there even resembles the real world, and the text which actually describes the appearance of the plane (Of which there is very little) carries the note that nothing on the Far Realm can possibly be comprehended by a human being, therefore you can't even imagine what it's like. Oh, and to top it all off: The Far Realm contains more than one dimension, and you can see all the other dimensions by looking down and, in some areas, can be in several dimensions at once.
  • JAGS Wonderland, based on Alice in Wonderland. The lower a Chessboard is, the more different it is from the real world. The lowest level ones are very odd indeed.
  • The World of Darkness, both Old and New, provide an assortment:
    • The natural laws of Arcadia in Changeling the Lost are determined by Contracts forged with the land, not anything so pedestrian as physics, biology, or common sense. Need to reach out, take hold of the moon, and hoist yourself up onto it? Make it an offer. Some featured settings are a manor set apart from time (so the first thing you see as you leave is your past self passing you on the way in) and a small house containing an infinite number of rooms that start out tame and get steadily more alien.
      • True Fae within Arcadia sometimes take the form of Realms: self-contained, sentient settings that operate according to their own narrative laws. This provides locations like an infinite lake of lava (safe to swim in, but filled with icebergs that inflict lethal frostbite) and an unending house that rearranges itself whenever it gets bored. To add to the fun, more powerful Fae can manifest in more than one form simultaneously: the sprawling castle, the King, the Crown Jewels, and his entire army could be different aspects of the same entity.
    • Astral Space can be... less than intuitive. It comprises the individual Mental Worlds of every individual, the shared dreams of humanity, and the collective unconscious of the entire planet. Sometimes this produces sane, recognizable landscapes — but then you notice that time is relative and space is negotiable.
    • The Supernal Realms in Mage the Awakening are described as "not locations ... but a near-infinite collection of platonic truths." Concepts like linear time, spatial dimensions, cause and effect, and whatnot don't apply, because the Realms are where reality as mortals understand it is generated. Consequently, only the most powerful beings can visit even temporarily: it's necessary to filter the Realms through a personalized set of metaphors and symbols, and even then, prolonged exposure will break the mind, overwhelm the soul, and delete the poor bastard from reality. It's mentioned that a sufficiently talented archmaster can make a gateway to the Supernal Realms for anyone to pass through, but they have easier ways to kill people.
    • The Abyss in Mage the Awakening is a gangrenous non-reality filled with everything that could have been but is not. Intruders from the Abyss pervert or outright ignore natural laws, because the Abyss has none. The rule book notes that a thrown rock might accelerate endlessly, hover in place and suck the heat away from the area, or ignite in a cloud of venomous worms.
      • The only places in the Abyss where there are consistent (if unrecognizable) rules are, themselves, immeasurably powerful and completely incomprehensible entities. One example given is the Blasphemous Scribe, a dark alternate history of Earth that becomes more real the more extensively its phenomena are documented in the real world. Too much, and Earth and the Scribe will switch places...
    • The Lower Depths from Mage: The Awakening (yeah, this is becoming a theme) are just as weird. For all that the above realms are weird, they at least carry a reflection of all ten Arcana, the principles that make up existing and define Awakened spellcasting. The Lower Depths? Each one lacks at least one. Which could be such things as Matter, or Life, or Space, or Time, or Mind...
    • The Shadow in Werewolf the Forsaken and Mage the Awakening is comparatively sane, being the animistic reflection of the physical world. Any particular natural feature might be alive, though. Is that particular lake the spirit of a benevolent oasis that provides life and sustenance to a region, or the incarnation of dark water and the terror of drowning? Better find out before you fill your canteen.
  • The Wyld in Exalted isn't a separate dimension, it's just the writhing Primal Chaos that exists past the borders of Creation, where The Fair Folk live. It otherwise fits this trope perfectly.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner has the world of Strong Bad's "crazy cartoon" Sweet Cuppin' Cakes. It's a flat checkered plain with distant teal mountains and a black sky, whose inhabitants include a talking wheelchair, a trapezoid-shaped fellow called Eh! Steve, and a pig-like hovering creature described by Strong Bad as "a cross between a cow and a helicopter."
  • Many Youtube Poops.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • An obvious homage to Yellow Submarine, the 3rd Futurama movie has opening titles that fit this trope, complete with a yellow Planet Express Ship.
  • A more blatant parody occurs in Robot Chicken where there's an entire skit with the yellow submarine. Complete with an Art Shift as it is noticeably different from the standard dolls they typically use.
    Ringo: I'm on acid!
  • In an episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Skeletor erases He-Man's memory and sends him to another dimension by way of a Narmy Disney Acid Sequence, to a world that looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
  • Wackyland from the Looney Tunes short "Porky in Wackyland" and its remake "Dough for the Do-Do", as well as its appearance in Tiny Toon Adventures.
  • The Merrie Melodie Tin Pan Alley Cats has this as its centerpiece.
  • In the Ren & Stimpy episode "Black Hole", Captain Hoek and Cadet Stimpy travel to one of these through the titular black hole.
    • In another episode, Stimpy crawls into his own belly button and falls into a hellish dimension, accompanied by a sixties-sounding rock song.
  • The Simpsons: Homer is sent to one of these in a hallucination after consuming a nasty chili pepper in the episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Featured as the page image, Squidward has a lot of experience with these, one of the more memorable being a spaghetti hell.
  • Teen Titans has two. While time-traveling, Starfire goes through a dimension made up of ticking clocks. In a later season, Raven meets the hero Herald in one of these.
    • Any episode involving Mad Mod.
  • The inside of the Grinch's "paraphernalia wagon" from Halloween Is Grinch Night.
  • The aptly-named Warp of Confusion in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Trail of the Missing Tails".
  • Perhaps one of the earliest appearances of an Acid Trip Dimension comes from the 1930 Fleischer short "Swing You Sinners". The short is a Mind Screw all the way through, but it completely stops making sense and loses control of itself for the last minute or so, resulting in this.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Inconveniencing" Mabel, while under the effect of too much Smile Dip, hallucinates a bizarre dimension filled with edible talking dogs, where she rides a flying dolphin with arms... which suddenly sprouts two more arms, each of which has a dolphin's face on it, and each of those faces shoot rainbow lasers out of their mouth while a car alarm sounds.
    Mabel: The future... is in the past! Onwards, Aoshima!
    • The Nightmare Realm, home of Bill Cipher and a lot of other nasties, is implied to be this but we haven't gotten a clear look yet. Bill says that it's "decaying", and he's been trapped in there for about one trillion years.
  • Keeweeland in the Taz-Mania episode "Taz in Keeweeland".
  • The Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "One + One = Ed" sees the cul-de-sac turning into one of these as the Eds start taking apart their cartoon reality.
  • Several dimensions from the Phineas and Ferb movie Across the 2nd Dimension. Some of the dimensions also appear, usually briefly, during the regular episodes.

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