It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
"I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction."
As most people will tell you, night is the time of the day in which a setting in fiction will generally be creepier, and the only time various monsters who are Weakened by the Light
, such as Vampires
, can be outside. So the solution to Horror movies
, Survival Horror
games and Big Boo's Haunt
settings, where the undead are a necessary part of the setting and creepy, quiet atmosphere of night is needed constantly? Simple, it's Always Night
, and if the sun ever rises, it'll appear just when all the danger is gone and the evil has been destroyed
. See Grave Clouds
for the variant where the weather is simply miserable at graveyards and other creepy areas, and which is possibly a sister trope to this. See also Evil Is Not Well Lit
. And The Night That Never Ends
, when the Big Bad
tries to make it so it's really
Possibly has Dramatic Thunder
in some cases, possibly a Weird Moon
in full phase constantly in the sky. Settings most likely to have this are Big Boo's Haunt
, Hell Hotel
, the standard Haunted Castle
, the Haunted House
and Bedlam House
. A subtrope of Empathic Environment
. The reasons why non-night-only monsters like zombies, mummies or ghosts actually need this is often never addressed. If they do come out during the day, they're examples of Daylight Horror
open/close all folders
- Tegami Bachi The Earth's natural sun has long since expired, and so a small man-made sun was created. The capital "Akatsuki" enjoys simulated daylight. The middle-class region, "Yuusari", is in a state of perpetual twilight. In the impoverished region "Yodaka", the artificial sun is no brighter than a full moon.
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence happens almost entirely at nighttime, save for one brief outside scene before an attack to Yakuza office, and a couple of sunrise/sunset scenes near the end.
- Shin Mazinger, over it's entire series, only had a fight happen in the daytime two, maybe three times.
- In its full three series, Gregory Horror Show plays this straight. In the video game, you could go outside at 3:00 PM and it would look the same as night, and in the sub-series The Bloody Karte, which featured some periods of twilight.
- Ergo Proxy the Post-Apocalyptic wasteland outside the dome cities is constantly covered by a thick layer of clouds.
- In Invincible, the Batman Expy Darkwing operates in "Midnight City" which takes the dark look of Gotham to the extreme - due to a spell, it's always midnight in that particular city.
- The dialogue during it's introduction also provides a rather effective deconstruction of it.
- Invoked at the end of Forever Evil issue 1 when Ultraman creates a solar eclipse over where he is to counter his weakness to sunlight.
- In Legion of Super-Heroes, Kathoon is a planet whose sun is perpetually eclipsed. Kathoon resident Lydda Jath was given superhuman strength by her scientist father, only to learn once she left her homeworld that her strength fades when exposed to light.
- Alan Moore's Green Lantern story "In Blackest Night" was set largely in the Obsidian Deeps, a region of space with absolutely no light at all; the intelligent species that evolved there had no visual organs, nor any words in their language to describe the concepts of "light" and "color". Which made choosing Rot Lop Fan to become a Green Lantern problematic.
Films — Animated
- In the movie adaptation of Coraline, the Otherworld is affected by this.
- Some of Walt Disney's early animated films take almost entirely place in the dark: Pinocchio, Fantasia'',...
- The Great Mouse Detective doesn't have even one scene that takes place during daylight. It's rather unclear just how much time supposedly passes between the beginning of the movie and the climax.
- It takes place in London in the late nineteenth century (judging by Sherlock Holmes's brief cameo), so it may well have been during the day.
- The Human world in both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University seem to be affected by this trope.
Films — Live-Action
- Blade Runner. Almost every scene save the ending is at night and raining. The others are at sunset.
- In the first Terminator movie, it seems to be night all the time.
- In Dark City, where every single scene until late in the film takes place during the dead of night. It is eventually revealed that this isn't just our perspective: It actually is always night in the city, yet nobody had noticed! Except for John Murdoch. That is why he's so dangerous to the Strangers.
- If it's ever daytime in Sin City, there certainly isn't any indication of it. The comic series had a few scenes during the day. Oddly enough, a few of those scenes involved people waiting for night time.
- Cloverfield did this trope really well. Most of the "current" scenes take place over the course of one night. By contrast, the "leaked" scenes from the previous recording all happen in bright daylight.
- The Crow is all about darkness. And rain. But mostly darkness...
- There actually are a few daytime scenes in the film: the movie takes place over the course of two nights.
- The Abyss looks like night because it's underwater — the above-water scenes are daylit.
- In Aliens, the planet where the bulk of the action takes place, has little to no sunlight.
- Even the scenes of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that are ostensibly daytime are, at least, very cloudy.
- The Covenant suffers from both an inordinate proportion of nighttime hours and a corresponding lack of light bulbs. Women even shower in the dark.
- In both TRON films it is always night inside the computer world. There is no such thing as "day."
- In both cases, save for the very last scene, the real world scenes all take place at nightnote .
- 30 Days of Night, obviously.
- The Warriors takes place entirely over the course of one night, ending just after sunrise. In a deleted scene which is sometimes added to broadcast versions, however, the movie begins during the daytime as well.
- Pitch Black plays with this. Due to the triple sun, it is always daytime on the planet - except once every 22 years, when there is a triple eclipse, during which time it is Always Night.
- In Grave Encounters this is played seriously, as the entire time it is always night, however the hospital the crew is stuck in seems to be doing this to them on purpose.
- In The Purge the titular event (where all crime is temporarily legalized) takes place between the hours of 7pm and 7am.
- Invincible: Every scene in Vince Papale's neighborhood. All the other scenes, like the NFL ones, are done in daylight.
- Much of the 1942 movie Cat People is set at night, even the work scenes at the office.
- William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land. In the far future, the Sun has gone out and the only light is from residual vulcanism. The Last Redoubt of humanity is surrounded by terrible monsters waiting for its protective power source to fail.
- In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, the world does not turn on its axis and is divided into a fantasy Nightside and a high-tech Dayside; this ends when Jack breaks the compact and the machine at the heart of the Nightside world, causing morning to come and releasing Lucifer.
- Simon R Green's Nightside series takes place in a (presumably) fictional part of London where it's always night (hence the name) and everything in it definitely goes bump.
- Almost all of the first two books in the Great Alta Saga takes place at night because many of the characters can only appear by the light of the moon or in the shadows cast by candles.
- Isaac Asimov's short story (and later novel) Nightfall averts this. The whole premise of the story is a planet that has 6 suns, so nobody on the planet has ever seen total darkness. That is until the suns are eclipsed by a large dark body, throwing the entire planet into darkness and causing mass riots, leading to civilization's destruction..
- Played with in Cormac Mc Carthy's The Road. Though not so much Always Night as Never Day; the huge amounts of ash in the air (presumably from nuclear winter) make even noonday fairly dim. Mc Carthy mentions multiple times that the boy has never actually seen the sun. This is exacerbated by the time of year the story takes place in, mentioning that the man thinks it's November toward the start of the book.
- The Warhammer 40,000 story 'Hell Night' by Nick Kyme has a planet where the titular night lasts for weeks... And it always rains. And angry ghosts rise from the mud and drag soldiers down, if they don't kill them outright.
- George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire refers ominously to "The Long Night" as a synonym for Winter (which can last years in Westeros).
- Inverted in The Resaurant At The End Of The Universe. Ursa Beta Minor, by an inexplicable and somewhat suspicious freak of topography consists almost entirely of subtropical coastline. By an equally suspicious freak of temporal relastatics, it is nearly always Saturday afternoon just before the beach bars close.
- In Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead, it's noted that even day on Necropolis isn't bright or sunny. Enough light is blocked that little of it reaches the streets, and on the walkways it "seemed like midnight at noon".
- In the Discworld book Thud!, it's established that it always night (and raining) in the city of Sam Vimes' consciousness, when the Summoning Dark attempts to make him its champion. It even has its own Watchman.
- In The Iron Tower by Dennis L. Mc Kiernan the Dimmendark blots out the sun (creating endless night and endless winter) so that all of the evil creatures banished (and destroyed) by the sun can further the Big Bad's plan to conquer the world.
- In the Left Behind books, one of God's Bowl Judgments plunges New Babylon in perpetual complete darkness that no one except for believers in Christ (and Nicolae Carpathia with his Power Glows) can see their way through. It is only lifted near the time of Jesus Christ's Second Coming, when an angel of the Lord warns believers to get out of New Babylon before it is destroyed.
Live Action TV
- The sequel to the original Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, had several episodes filmed completely at night for no apparent reason. The real reason is probably scheduling difficulties related to Executive Meddling.
- Mostly Justified (they're hunting dark critters) and often averted in Supernatural. One episode however has it so bad that night falls and leaves in less than 15 minutes of taking a stand against a curse. They seem to believe they were fighting it for an entire eight hours or more...
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Western Animation/Nightmares has a cemetery suddenly appearing near Sunnydale High. It is night there, even if it is day everywhere else.
- The original concept of Starsky & Hutch was that the title cops would only work at night; this was dropped for budget reasons.
- Many of the UnSubs on Criminal Minds do their work at night. Justified in that it's easier for a criminal to get away with a crime at night, making it Truth in Television in a sense.
- In Dont Rest Your Head, the Sun never rises on the Mad City; you can still get sunlight if you get back to the City Slumbering.
- Dungeons & Dragons module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. One of the alternate worlds accessible from Lolth's Web was the Nightworld of Vlad Tolenkov, a land of perpetual night. Its heat and plant life were sustained by ancient magic, with undead roaming the land.
- also two positive examples in D&D with Lunia, the first layer of Mount Celestia, which is a pristine beach by a freshwater sea of holy water under a sky filled with bright stars, and Karasuthra the third layer of the Beastlands, though that one is less calm.
- The plane Shadowmoor in Magic: The Gathering, while its foil Lorwyn is always noon. Granted, they're actually the same world, just on different sides of a reeeeeealllly long day-night cycle, but the change also warps the inhabitants' personalities and the environment, so they've been counted as separate areas.
- Referenced a few times in Warhammer 40,000, especially where Chaos magic is prevalent and especially on some worlds in the Eye of Terror. Out in the physical universe there is/was Nostramo, a world caught in eternal darkness. The people there evolved to not have irises, only pupils, and it was so demoralizing to the populace that the major source of population control wasn't disease, war or neglect, but SUICIDE. That is until it was subject to Exterminatus.
- According to the Warcraft RPG sourcebook (at least, the pre-World of Warcraft one), the lands of the night elves were said to be in a perpetual night.
- TERA There are 12 gods in TERA. Karas, the de facto leader and patron of the elves mourned his wife's death so much he cast the Earth into perpetual twilight. Subverted when Balder, another god, Tore out his eyes and hurled them into the sky where they became the twin suns that govern the Earth's light today.
- The area surrounding Castle Chocula in Breakfast of the Gods. It takes a lot to cause it to dissipate.
- During the start of Homestuck's act 5, featuring the Trolls, most of the story is during the night. This is because the sun on Alternia is much hotter than that of Earth, and most trolls, except Kanaya, can't stand it. Oh, and also, zombies come out during the day.
- Another example would be some of the planets of the players, most notably would be Land of Wind and Shade. To keep up with the constant night feel, there are oodles of imps and other monsters in the lands too, making the planets that play on this trope more eerie.
- Played straight and averted in Marble Hornets; in Entries #16 and #18, J goes the house during the night; he gets attacked the second time for his trouble. In Entry #23, he goes to a different house during the day to avert this. It doesn't quite work. By the time #63 rolls around, he's had his fill of it.
Jay: So we really couldn't have met during the day? We gotta meet under a streetlight, make it all dramatic?
Tim: Sorry. I just got off work.
- Ben 10: Alien Force. The majority of episodes took place at night for some unknown reason. Apparently the sun was destroyed between Ben10 and this show and they never got around to telling that story.
- One half of Eternia, in both He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and its 2002 successor, is shrouded in eternal night. Naturally, it's the half where the villains live.
- Batman: The Animated Series was drawn and colored on black paper, meaning that even the few scenes in bright daylight had a dark look to them.
- Gargoyles is about 90% set at night. Justified in that the main characters turn to stone during the day.
- With the exception of a single sunrise at the end of one episode, and the last few minutes of the final episode, Beast Machines never had even a single ray of sunlight.
- That's because the whole series takes place in Cybertron - on which it seems to always be night, in every series except for Transformers Energon.
- In Arthur, the In-Universe Dark Bunny is set "in a city "where it's, like, always nighttime" — parodying the tendency for Batman media to be set at night.
- VeggieTales' "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed" does the same: the mayor of Bumblyburg is unable to use the Larry Signal "because it's daytime. You can't see it in ze daytime." So she calls up Larry on the phone and asks him to forward the message along. (How she came to know that he has such connections is never explained.)
- Near the north and south pole in wintertime, the sun can go for days, weeks, or even months without rising due to the Earth's tilt. The 'Arctic Circle' and 'Antarctic Circle' on maps mark where this phenomenon begins to occur.
- It sure seems like this for many months of the year in Seattle, Portland, and elsewhere in The Other Rainforest. Seriously, it's like living on the set of Blade Runner or some gothic novel.
- The deep sea: so many miles below light is virtually non-existant. It's always dark deep under water.
- Caves: the more you crawl inside, the darker it gets.
- Before the invention of street lighting most of the villages, countrysides and forests were absolutely full of darkness once the evening fell.
- Outer space counts if you aren't close to a star.
- An eternal night could be the product of living in the night side of a planet tidally locked to its star.
- This could be the effect of a nuclear war. Lots of nukes, according to some sources as few as 50, could throw so much debris and dust into the atmosphere that it would block out the sun for years, thus ensuring famines all around the globe.
- For a more regional version, there's The Great Smoke of London in December 1952. The light-blocker was smoke from fireplaces and factories, with smog from cars and buses, which was not unusual. However, add cold weather, an anti-cyclone over London, and a lack of winds, and Londoners got a smoke denser than usual, with visibility only being a meter, and that was during the day. Out of all mechanized transport, only the London Underground operated anywhere near properly - buses had to have people in front holding torches. Concerts and movies had to be cancelled, because of the smog seeping indoors. Worse, it turned out to be an environmental disaster which took between 4,000 to 12,000 lives.
- Many scientists believe that if that asteroid hit and did kill the dinosaurs, this would have been why. The impact would have sent massive amounts of dust and chemicals into the air, blocking the sun, sending the world into perpetual night. No sun, no photosynthesis, no plants, even without the impact, it's the end of the world as the dinos knew it.
- A large enough volcanic eruption would also have a similar effect to the three examples above.