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, serial rapists, and especially Cannibal Clans. Don't Go in the Woods is the most common flavor, but other locales such as swamps, deserts, abandoned towns, deserted islands, endless stretches of highway, beneath the bustling city streets, and even snowscapes have seen use. For works set in North America, there are several regional recipes:
- Deep Southern Fried: your choice of Wild West, South of the Border, Southern Gothic, or original recipe sauces note
- The Other Rainforest style, which tends to involve manifestos, cults, and granola.
- Classic Lovecraft Country style, an old favorite best served in a quaint little northern fishing village.
- 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. Herr Starr also loses a leg after being found by a trio of inbred cannibals.
- Hack/Slash featured a number of stories like this. Subverted in "Wallow In Death", in which it turns out that the undead hillbilly serial killer was driven to it by the cruelty of some arrogant student holiday makers, and that all his victims deserved it.
- Alien Abduction 2014 looks like it will have elements of this as the Morris family gets lost in the forest on Brown Mountain, but the sole local they meet, Sean, is ultimately helpful as they try to escape the aliens pursuing them, despite his initially greeting them with a shotgun.
- The Cabin in the Woods has the Buckners, a pain-worshiping redneck zombie family who are a cross between this trope and Evil Dead. It gets a bit more complicated from there, though.
- Deliverance. While the wilderness itself is portrayed as a far greater threat, the film's human villains, a group of hillbillies who hunt and rape the protagonists, quickly became one of the most iconic elements of the film. Banjo music has never been the same.
- The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow involves the investigation of a Mystery Cult in the woods of northern Ontario, and a camping trip that may have gone very, very wrong.
- Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th films often has elements of this trope, though later films turned him into a straight-up zombie.
- The Firefly family in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects. In the first film, they hunt, torture, and kill a group of young people going through their neck of the woods, while in the second one, they become the Villain Protagonists on the run from the law.
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series has Leatherface and his family, the Sawyers, who became the Trope Codifiers for this. They're from rural Texas, they're cannibals, and they check off every box on the list of hillbilly stereotypes.
- Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil is a Deconstructive Parody of the genre, with the Good Ol' Boy protagonists being mistaken for this by a group of Too Dumb to Live college students.
- Close to every novel and short story Edward Lee has ever written, which he calls "redneck horror." The Dunwich Romance in particular was based on the Lovecraft story discussed below and pretty much takes this trope to its most grotesque limit.
- H.P. Lovecraft was probably the Trope Codifier. (See also: Lovecraft Country)
They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and deeds of almost unnameable violence and perversity.
- In "The Lurking Fear" it turns out the "monsters" are the cannibalistic descendants of a single family so heavily inbred they have all but turned into goblins.
- The Shadow Over Innsmouth is about an isolated fishing village whose inhabitants - characterized as "white trash" by a local from a nearby town - are slowly mutating into degenerate, Always Chaotic Evil Fish People,
- "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."
- "The Dunwich Horror" is a pretty classic example of this trope. Dunwich is a decayed hamlet in the backwoods of Massachusetts. Its denizens are described as follows:
- Most Jack Ketchum stories, the most well known of them probably being Off Season.
- Inverted in The Troop. The horror happens to them, rather than being perpetrated by them. And since it's East Coast Canada, they're Newfies.
- Numerous Criminal Minds episodes, the most obvious being "Blood Relations", featuring the deformed Mountain Man/Killer Woodsman.
- 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 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 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.
- You wouldn't know it by the high-tech gadgets they tend to use, but Will Legal's poacher gang in the roleplays of White Dark Life are hillbillies and rednecks.
- 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.
- The Amazing World of Gumball subverts this in the episode "The Vacation", where the Watterson family breaks down in the middle of nowhere and are picked up by a toothless (his one tooth fell out) old hillbilly who lives in an abandoned gas station with his mother. They're friendly, outgoing folks, but the Wattersons believe this trope enough they end up running through the desert hurting themselves trying to escape. They realize the truth after falling into the 'graves' he dug for them (actually toilets, one for each of them for privacy), and apologize for their reactions. He waves it off until they mention his mother, which is the only thing they do that upsets him.
- Downplayed in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Swamp", where the swamp is possibly sentient and provides hallucinations to our heroes but the hillbillies are relatively friendly (even if they did try to eat Appa). Even less so in the sequel series, where Toph has taken up residence there, spending her time terrorizing the aforementioned hillbillies and generally being herself.