Down in the Dumps
It all ends here, one way or another...

Dumps and junkyards are, just like abandoned warehouses, a common setting for fights, club houses, secret meetings, and the various other fantastic situations fictional characters get themselves into. There's something about dumps— everything there is dirty, old, worn out, broken. Symbolically, it's a place of decay; pragmatically, there's lots of junk to play with, and it can be broken or blown up without having to worry about property damage.

Expect towering columns of crushed cars and neat piles of assorted garbage, perfect for hiding behind; a giant magnet or claw that can be easily operated by someone without training; a Conveyor Belt-O-Doom leading into a crushing machine or incinerator; plenty of Trash Talk; and brown.

Taken to extremes, this idea can lead to an all-out Landfill Beyond the Stars. Our heroes might end up here after escaping via Trash Landing. See also Trash of the Titans. Not to be confused with Sadness Tropes.

For the Adventure Game, see Down in the Dumps.


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     Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • The climax of The Brave Little Toaster is in a dump, with a giant magnet chasing the heroes around and tossing them into the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom. Particularly depressing since all the cars being discarded are sentient and singing about their glory days before their owners abandoned them as "worthless", while on a conveyor belt leading them into a machine that is going to crush and kill them. In a kids movie.
  • Toy Story 3: After trying to avoid it the whole movie, the heroes wind up in the dump, and nearly die in the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom. Luckily, there's a claw machine...
  • The first half of WALL•E is set in a giant dump, aka the planet Earth.
  • One of the characters in The Iron Giant lives in a scrap metal yard; he's a modern artist who uses the trash to make sculptures. It's also a useful place to hide (and feed) the eponymous giant.
  • Earth, in the 2009 Astro Boy film, has become a sort of Landfill Beyond the Stars to the residents of Cloud City, who have since forgotten that they left quite a few people behind.
  • Wreck-It Ralph lives in the dump. His game's backstory says his home in the forest was demolished for a pretty apartment building...that he isn't allowed to live in. Ralph is more depressed over the loneliness of his situation than the actual living conditions.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars - Leia, Luke, Han Solo and Chewbacca drop down a garbage chute into the disposal to avoid being trapped by stormtroopers. Now they're trapped in the garbage with a monster and walls that close in on themselves.
    • The planet Ord Mantell is shown to have a very large garbage dump/recycling facility in Shadows of the Empire.
  • In Max Keeble's Big Move, Max sets up a meeting between the Evil Ice Cream Man and a Young Entrepreneur in one. Pretty sure a giant magnet shows up to wreak havok.
  • In GoldenEye, James meets his long-lost nemesis in a sort of junkyard for statues of Soviet heroes.
  • The trash planet in Soldier.
  • Corvette Summer (1978) starts in an auto junkyard, as a group of high school kids look for a car to fix up as their auto shop project for the year.
  • Pretty much all of Richard Lester's post-apocalyptic black comedy The Bed-Sitting Room is filmed in real-life junk pile locations.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Freddy Krueger's body was hidden in the trunk of an old car at the dump after the parents of Elm Street burned him alive, and to defeat Krueger his body has to be recovered from the dump and given a proper burial. The same dump appears as a setting in the fourth movie, when Freddy reawakens.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze has the remnants of the Foot Clan reunite in a junk yard, which serves as their base for most of the movie.
  • Maniac Cop 2 opens on a junkyard section that is conveniently filled with old police cars.

  • The Barrens in IT, the place where all the kids go to do just about anything.
  • The Three Investigators had their HQ in a junkyard.
  • The climactic confrontation in Lean Mean Thirteen takes place in a car wrecking yard and involves a compactor.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse, Percy and crew fight the giant automaton Talos in the junkyard of the the gods.

    Live Action TV 
  • Steptoe and Son & Sanford and Son both took place in junkyards.
  • Salvage 1 mostly took place in a junkyard.
  • Junkyard Wars is a series where contestants attempt to build various machines to accomplish different tasks out of stuff found in a junkyard.
  • The Batman Cold Open of an early MacGyver episode takes place in a junk yard, complete with big magnet.
  • The very first episode of Doctor Who, "An Unearthly Child" has the TARDIS located in a junkyard. Much later and much, much farther away, the episode "The Doctor's Wife" also took place in a junk yard.

  • The Gorillaz' current studio, Plastic Beach, is essentially a giant floating landfill.
    • It gets sort of horrific when you realize that it's based on a real location. Though the "real" version is only noticeable through sampling; the average density is around 4 (usually microscopic) particles per square meter, so it's not like you can get out of a boat and walk around on it or anything.
    • Their old home base, Kong Studios, was surrounded by a dump as well. The song "We Are Happy Landfill" is about it.
  • The Mark Knopfler song So Far From The Clyde is about a British ship that's being decommissioned in a scrap yard in India. The titular Clyde refers to the Clyde Shipping Company's shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland, where the ship had been constructed.


    Tabletop RPG 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Now, adventure "The Killer Out of Space". A auto junkyard is of prime importance: it has giant electromagnets that can be used to trap the main opponent, a Colour Out of Space.

  • In the 2013 musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and his family live near a dump, and both he and his father frequently stop there to scrounge for potentially useful items. The setting symbolizes not only decay and waste, but also possibility for those with a creative bent.

    Video Games 
  • Adventure game Down in the Dumps mainly takes place, well, in the dumps.
  • Gordon Freeman gets caught in a Star Wars-esque trash compactor in Half-Life, as does Adrian Shepard in Opposing Force
  • The Level "The Enemy Of My Enemy" from Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 is set in U.S. Vehicle Disposal Yard 437 Aka "The Boneyard", a dump for old military vehicles. The Special Ops mission "Snatch and Grab" and the multiplayer levels "Scrapyard" and "Trailer Park" are set in the same location while the map "Salvage" is based on a different snow-covered junk yard.
  • Epic Mickey has Mickey Mouse traversing Mickeyjunk Mountain, which is a huge heap of old Mickey Mouse merchandise. Oh, the irony...
  • New Junk City, the first level of the first Earthworm Jim game, is a giant junk heap complete with guard dogs and a construction worker boss.
  • Obsidian: The Conductor shows you its dream world, which starts in a junkyard like this. But, as surreal as everything else in the game is, it also has unusual features: like a giant metal hand containing a flying machine, a radio that makes you levitate, three "moons" based on elements that the Conductor was to study in this world, and a massive "Frame in the Sky".
  • Breath of Fire III has Junk Town, a coastal town that collects and repairs scrap machinery parts washed ashore.
  • Effluvia the garbage planet in The Adventures Of Rad Gravity.
  • Dust Man's stage in Mega Man 4, and Junk Man's stage in 7.
  • Oil Desert Zone Act 3 from Sonic the Hedgehog 4.
  • Blighttown in Dark Souls, a ramshackle, vertical collection of platforms and ladders that stretches from the Undead Burg Sewers to a poisonous swamp.
  • The Junkyard from Legend of Mana combines this with Toy Time. All the derelict toys found here are actually weapons employed in a war long time ago that were eventually discarded.
  • The fourth area, Delphinus, in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, is modeled after a massive junkyard. It represents mankind's wasteful nature, and is ruled over by the Tyrant Asura, a Social Darwinist who is convinced that the only way mankind can survive is to abandon all civilized impulses. To that end, the instant the investigative team sets foot in Delphinus, they get hit with a Hate Plague...
  • The second stage of Vigilante takes place in a junkyard.
  • The Scrapyard level from Wonder Dog.
  • The Secret World has Edgar's Scrapyard in Kingsmouth, which contains hundreds of wrecked cars, aggressive junk-golems, and at least one corpse stuffed in a car's trunk.
  • In Ghost Trick, the protagonist, Sissel, wakes up in a junkyard as a ghost with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • The fifth trial in Danganronpa ends with Naegi escaping his execution thanks to Alter Ego infecting the school's computer system, where he gets thrown into the school's trash dump instead of being squashed to death by a trash compactor. Eventually, Kirigiri makes her way down disguised as a garbage bag to rescue him.
  • Taito's arena shooter Dead Connection has its second stage set in a junkyard, with heaps of junked cars and stacks of discarded tires.

  • The kids of Project 0 frequent a 'Machine Graveyard.' Owen's home probably counts too.
  • The Season 2 preview of Tower of God shows the new protagonist confidently claming to conquer the tower while lying in a dumpster.

    Web Original 
  • The setting of Outcast Corner's holographic simulation in the Whateley Universe tale "Ayla and the Great Shoulder angel Conspiracy".

    Western Animation 
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have fought in one on many occasions.
  • In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, the trio have their hang out in the dump.
  • Fat Albert and his gang hang out at the dump, and even play music using junk-based instruments.
  • Timmy arranges for Chester and A.J. to rescue him from a junkyard in The Fairly Oddparents.
  • The Junkions of Transformers are on a whole planet that is a junkyard.
  • This is the base of The Robonic Stooges.
  • Also the base of the SWAT Kats- though not by choice, they were previously Enforcers, but got shunted here after an incident- see their page for more details. But they managed to take advantage of this to build and keep hidden all their crime-fighting equipment (yes, including their fighter jet).
  • In Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling, the Junkyard Dog lives in a junkyard.
  • This is where the Catillac Cats live.
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters takes place in an Elaborate Underground Base under a junkyard.
  • Mickey's Trailer opens with Mickey Mouse stepping out of his travel trailer, greeting a new morning in a pastoral glen - he pulls a lever and the picket fence spools in, the carpet of lush grass rolls up, and the entire backdrop accordions up like a folding fan, revealing the town dump he's camping at.
  • Chuck Jones' No Barking opens with a sunrise (music: the peaceful part of the "William Tell Overture") in what looks like a sylvan garden in silhouette with an ornate gate - which, as the light grows, turns out to be a bed frame in the city dump, where Claude Cat peacefully dozes.
  • Tina from The Amazing World of Gumball apparently lives inside one of these.
  • The climax of The Real Ghostbusters episode "Lost and Foundry" takes place in a New Jersey junkyard.
  • Megas XLR, the character Goat owns a junkyard. It is there that Coop found Megas, and he and Jamie visit it frequently. Also, in the episode Junk in the trunk, they visit a junkyard in space to find new parts for Megas.
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Superman's Pal", Superman and Jimmy Olsen fight Metallo in a junkyard.
  • The go-to location for both the Mondo TV and webseries of The Trash Pack is Trash Town, a large dump. While the Mondo TV series is surprisingly organized (with robotic sorters that put waste in each respective category), the webseries version is gross and sloppy, just like the original aspect of the toyline.