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 an episode of The Fresh Princeof 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).
- 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.
- 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 Veggie Tales 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.
- 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.