Dumps and junkyards are 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
The Season 2 preview of Tower of God shows the new protagonist confidently claming to conquer the tower while lying in a dumpster.
Duo works in a junkyard, eventually taking ownership of it with his then-girlfriend Hilde.
Film — 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.
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.
Film — 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breath of Fire III has Junk Town, a coastal town that collects and repairs scrap machinery parts washed ashore.
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 kids of Project 0 frequent a 'Machine Graveyard.' Owen's home probably counts too.
The setting of Outcast Corner's holographic simulation in the Whateley Universe tale "Ayla and the Great Shoulder angel Conspiracy".
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.
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.