Yeah, you're doomed.
Whenever there's an earthquake or a particularly large Monster of the Week
coming, this will often be demonstrated subtly (or not so subtly) by showing a small object (like a lamp, or a small pile of coins) vibrating, then jumping around as the vibrations get stronger (or the monster gets closer). Alternatively, this can be done with ripples in a pool of water. Sometimes the camera starts shaking (and possibly the people, too)
, for added emphasis.
Made easier in console video games by the vibrating "rumble" motors built-in to most controllers.
See also Wormsign
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- A GE "ecoimagination" promo uses a non-monstrous variant, when a happy young elephant dances through a research facility and makes the growth-medium in a petri dish ripple.
Films — Animation
- In The Lion King, the stampede is signaled by a group of pebbles beginning to shake.
Films — Live-Action
- In Smallville, Bride, a large bowl of soup starts to vibrate seconds before Doomsday crashes in.
- The X-Files, "Dreamland".
- In the pilot for V (2009), a vibrating glass of water (ala Jurassic Park) presages the arrival of a huge spaceship.
- Doctor Who:
- In the 1996 TV movie, when the TARDIS is sabotaged, the Doctor's tea not only vibrates but develops its own little whirlpool.
- Played with in "The Beast Below", where it's a plot point that the liquid in a glass of water isn't vibrating.
- The Jurassic Park bit was parodied in the Rashomon episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with Uncle Phil standing in for the T-Rex.
- Became a Running Gag on Tremors: The Series, in that everyone would freeze in mid-argument and grab hold of anything breakable whenever El Blanco passed through town, making the ground vibrate. Soon as he'd passed by, conversations would resume as if nothing odd had happened. This even happened in the midst of a scene where someone was being held at gunpoint.
- Parodied in an episode of Scrubs when a very pregnant Jordan is summoned to the hospital.
- In season six finale of Supernatural, Dean and Bobby see seriously bad vibrations in a puddle. Dean even mentions Jurassic Park as a reaction to this.
- Pretty much the entirety of the Nine Inch Nails music video for "Only".
- The later end of "Prayer" by Disturbed does this in light of the coming earthquake (timed particularly well with the bass-drum and power-chords).
- One of Bill Cosby's stand-up routines is "Buck Buck", describing a game by that name where groups of kids jump on each other and try not to fall down. Bill's team is good on defense, but the kids from the "rough part of town" claim to be even better, laughing off their offense from start to finish. Until:
"And the ground's tremblin'. *rumble* Trees fallin' over. *rumble* Buildings losing pieces of brick. *rumble* Parents taking kids off the street. *rumble* "Hey, hey, hey!" And these guys underneath us saying, "What's the ground doin' shakin', man? How come the ground's shakin'?" *rumble* "That's Fat Albert
comin' for you." "Hey, hey, hey!" *rumble*
- Justified in Warhammer 40,000, where the Humongous Mecha put the emphasis on the humongous. If you don't feel the minor earthquakes these things cause with every footstep, you deserve what you get. Not to mention that in many Apocalypse games, when custom Titans are brought in, you're moving figures that are over 18" tall. Needless to say, things shake, even on the real tabletop.
- The Resident Evil series uses the controller vibration almost every time a boss approaches.
- The PlayStation port of Quake II likely cleverly used rumble when particularly large enemies were walking. Better yet, it was in stereo.
- In the Outland area of World of Warcraft, there are wandering demonic golems known as Fel Reavers. They are absolutely monstrous in scale, far larger than anything the player had encountered up to that point. Not only does your screen shake as they draw near, but you can hear their footsteps. Even more fearsome is their mechanical roar, which makes the screen shake violently, letting the player know that a massive death machine is very close. Luckily, their eyesight is terrible. Due to the way aggro works in the game, they'll only notice you if you're very close to them on the ground. You can fly a flying mount right through its face and it won't attack.
- Starcraft: Ghost's promo cinematic features an overconfident Marine captain leading a company to retake a Zerg-held refinery. Confident that the Zerg force is minimal to absent, he orders his troops forward en masse. He senses a deep rumble in the ground, pauses, and demands to know who had called for heavy armor support. When his lieutenant informs him that there are no tanks in the area, he realizes: that rumble is coming from the enemy.
- And in StarCraft II, when Raynor and Tychus show up to save General Warfield, a massive swarm of incoming Zerglings is heralded by rattling shell casings on the ground.
Tychus: "Uh, guys, I hate to interrupt but... the natives are getting restless!"
- The 2008 Turok game would hint that Mama Scarface, the Tyrannosaurus of the game, was nearby with slight tremors indicating her footsteps, as well as environmental effects; like small rocks and pebbles crumbling from around the title character, and the sounds of tree branches breaking. Occasionally, there would be the slight echo of her roaring. Would end up being Paranoia Fuel for some of the time, as she didn't appear immediately afterwards for most of these instances, just leaving the player to wander the jungle, expecting for an encounter, but for nothing to happen.
- Bungie likes to add these to the Warthog run sequences throughout Halo. Usually because something is exploding in frighteningly-close proximity to you.
- Slipspace Jumps, such as flood-controlled In Amber Clad into High Charity or Regret's Carrier over New Mombasa.
- Inverted In XCOM: Enemy Unknown; the arrival of the enormous "Temple Ship" sets off tremors around the globe.
XCOM HQ gets hit by a quake.
- On Homestar Runner, in the Strong Bad Email "unnatural", the settings at Strong Bad and The Cheat's tea party (as well as Strong Bad and The Cheat themselves) jump around as we hear ominous footsteps, and then the giant Bubs arrives.
- In the Whateley Universe story "Ayla and the Mad Scientist" the team is in a simulation and they notice the ground tremors and the sound. The first response is a "Jurassic Park" comment. It's something worse than a Tyrannosaurus.
- Showed up in the VeggieTales video "Dave and the Giant Pickle".
- In the last episodes of Code Lyoko, the Kolossus makes the Ice Replika and Ice Sector shake with each step... including the Skidbladnir, although this ship isn't even in contact with the ground. (Technically, it is tethered to the tower; physics are kind of messed up in Lyoko.)
- One Batman: The Animated Series episode has a glass of water vibrate to indicate a rampaging robot T. rex.
- An episode of Mike, Lu & Og has the natives marching to where Mike is to make her the "nose" of their First Day of Spring Festival. The next scene has Mike experiencing an Oh Crap moment when she sees her coconut drink ripple Jurassic Park-style as the natives approach her.
- Invoked as a means for defenders of medieval castles to check if sappers were trying to tunnel through. Pans and cups of water would be placed on the ground in various places, and checked for ripples and vibrations.
- Some particularly large earthquakes are preceded by smaller earthquakes known as "foreshocks". These are the opposite of aftershocks, and can happen up to a year or so before the main event (as seen with the quakes that caused the devastating tsunamis in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and Japan in 2011).