It's the road less traveled for a reason...
Works where the horror lurks in the realm of rural areas where modern man doesn't belong. Expect inbreds, deranged killers and especially Cannibal Clans
Don't Go in the Woods
is the most common flavor, other locales such as a swamps
, abandoned towns
, deserted islands
, endless stretches of highway, beneath the bustling city streets
, and even snowscapes
have seen use. For works set in America there are two regional style: Deep South
, and the ever-popular Lovecraft Country
style for when the For works set in more exotic backwaters, there's the Savage South
, Darkest Africa
, and the Land Down Under
Its worth noting that those who actually live
in these areas are frequently aware to varying extents
of these depictions, and tend to view these depictions with a mix of Self-Deprecating Humor
, Cultural Cringe
, and legitimate appreciation
. On the amusing side, its not unheard of for a bored local to get a laugh out of playing the Creepy Gas Station Attendant
with lost tourists, and for anyone with the right accent a creepy Halloween costume is as easy as getting pair of muddy overalls and exaggerating.
On the creepy side, this can be Truth in Television
. Even in well developed regions like the Eastern United States one can still find the occasional isolated small town
surrounded by impassible swamp or deep in the mountains with only one or two last names among the population. While its unlikely you'll find a clan of cannibals ignorant of the outside world, generations of isolation tend to lead to a xenophobic Close-Knit Community
; even someone moving there from a nearby town might find themselves on the wrong side of a Culture Clash
. Also, many Misanthrope Supremes
and Crazy Survivalists
gravitate towards less populated areas because there are fewer people to bother them
, and similarly some serial killers choose to make their homes in rural areas because there are fewer witnesses.
The other wiki
refers to this trope as "Hixploitation
- The Punisher MAX story "Welcome to the Bayou".
- Preacher: Jody and T.C. are a pair of murderous hicks who obey the commands of Jesse's mother.
- Close to every novel and short story Edward Lee has ever written, which he calls "redneck horror".
- In The Lurking Fear by H.P. Lovecraft it turns out the "monsters" are the cannibalistic descendants of a single family, and are so heavily inbred they have become goblin-like.
- Innsmouth in Shadow over Innsmouth still looks more or less like a regular late 19th century town, but has been pretty much taken over by an evil cult of Human/Deep One-hybrids generations ago.
- "The Picture in the House" is set in "the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous."
- Most Jack Ketchum stories, the most well known of them probably being Off Season.
- The Criminal Minds episodes "Open Season" and "To Hell and Back".
- The Friday The 13th: The Series episode "The Long Road Home".
- Parodied on a Saturday Night Live sketch from Season 26, Episode 14. A man is in a car accident, and when he wakes up, asks where he is. He's told, "You're tied to a bed in a shack. We're weird hillbilly cannibals and we're gonna stick things in your butt." After he freaks out, he's told he's actually in a hospital; the hillbilly cannibal thing is "an old hospital joke".
- The Supernatural episode "The Benders".
- The Torchwood episode "Countrycide".
- The X-Files episode "Home".
- The Last Reality Show features a gang of hillbilly-marauders.
- Even though it takes place in a town in rural England, The League of Gentlemen is mostly this, especially the Local Shop Couple.
- Pathfinder features the ogres, which can really only be described as demented hillbilly rapists, at best. Comes complete with Parental Incest, Brother-Sister Incest, inbreeding-fuelled deformities, Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, a taste for human flesh, murderous sadism, a liking for making stuff out of bones & bodyparts, and a racial fondness for hooks as a preferred melee weapon. You'll need a long shower even if you ''win'' against ogres. And if you lose, well...
- Marsh Giants giants mix this with Lovecraftian cultish themes. They're rampant cannibals, prefer to eat their own young because they believe that children parasitically weaken their parents, and even their children who aren't eaten are left dead or brain-damaged by the mothers' habits of rampantly drugging themselves on toxic fungi for euphoric highs, which poisons their milk.
- Vampire: The Requiem offers two bloodlines who are twists on this, both of which (unsurprisingly enough) are Gangrel: the Oberlochs, an inbred family descended from cruel mine owners who cling to the backwoods and readily recruit; and the Mabrys, who bring the prey to them by running backroad watering holes and road houses.
- The Point Lookout DLC for Fallout3 has the player fighting mutated hillbillies who have formed a cult around a Mad Scientist Brain in a Jar.
- Killing Floor had an event like this, with a nearly identical name: "Hillbilly Horror". Every enemy in the game was reskinned into a named member of the "Wade Family", and a new map dedicated to said family was added.
- The island of Baldurans shipwreck in Baldur's Gate evokes this trope to some extend with the strange descendants of the surviving crew. To fans, it's commonly known as Werewolf Island.
- The moment you first set foot into Haven in Dragon Age: Origins, you know you've come to one of these places.
- Though Resident Evil 4 is set in rural Europe instead of the rural U.S., it definitely gives off this vibe to an extent, especially in the early parts of the game.
- The Cleveland Show episode "BFFs".
Cleveland: Thanks, Peter! How did you know we were here?
Peter: Well, I felt bad after you left Quahog, so I called your house. Your wife said you were doing a friendship thing in the woods, and I immediately thought; "Well, this is going to end in hillbilly rape". So I tracked you down, and here I am.