"Of course it follows the well-understood Hollywood moral of 'don't fuck with hillbillies'."Works where the horror lurks in isolated, rural areas. May include a deeply inbred family, a Serial Killer or Serial Rapist (or both, seeing how Murderers Are Rapists) or maybe even a Cannibal Clan. Usually the result of someone not heeding the warning: Don't Go in the Woods. Depending on where the characters are, "woods" may be substituted for swamps, deserts, abandoned towns, Deserted Islands, endless stretches of highway, beneath the bustling city streets, and even desolate snowscapes. For works set in North America, there are several familiar settings as well:
- In the Deep South, very often of a Southern Gothic variety.
- Out West, which sometimes includes doses of Area 51-like shenanigans.
- The Other Rainforest is an emerging place to put certain kinds of stories too.
- South of the Border, as Mexico is host to enormous stretches of deserted wilderness.
- Lovecraft Country on the East Coast, but really any quaint little town that is not at all what it seems will do.
- The Überwald is possibly the oldest example of this trope.
- Darkest Africa, although in modern times this has to be written about carefully to avoid sounding a little Victorian.
- The Land Down Under, which, like Mexico, has unfathomably large areas that are totally devoid of people.
open/close all folders
- The Punisher MAX story "Welcome to the Bayou", in which Frank taks out a Cannibal Clan of gator-raising racist hillbillies.
- 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.
- Alan Moore's Providence, being a Deconstruction of H.P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Country, tackles this trope:
- The fish-people of Salem resent how the townfolk and in general tourists see them as hicks because they are mixed-raced, with the narrative comparing their prejudice to be similar to anti-semitism.
- Garland Wheatley and his family also resent how the people of Athol and the Stella Saps (as he and Boggs call the Order) are treated as low-down hicks. So, what does Garland Wheatley do to prove that he and his family are not low-down hicks who are unworthy of the knowledge of cosmic force? He proceeds to summon Yog-Sothoth and impregnate his daughter with abominations for twins:
Robert Black: My God. You hear about how these things are forever going on among the rural poor, but I'd always assumed such tales were born of city prejudices.
- 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.
- Hellblazer plays with this when John Constantine is looking for two old acquaintances in the middle of nowhere, and ends up right in the middle of what seems like a Deliverance-reenactment in a Dying Town. His old "friends" seem to be running a sexual slavery business, and even drug John and film him being molested by a dog. The whole town is full of corrupt hicks who seem to be in on it. Its then subverted when its revealed that, aside from the dog incident which only involved one guy with a grudge against John, the entire operation is actually consensual. The people of the town have been taking turns being the "victim" in the films, which are sold online as a way for the town to make a living after the local plant closed. The people are creepy and repulsive, but nothing evil is going on. He later runs into a bunch of neo-Nazis led by a homophobic colonel. The neo-Nazis are killed by a golem while the colonel is disowned by his daughter for sucking off the Bigger Bad in his daughter's stead.
- Averted in Detective Comics #410, which features a group of carnival freaks living out in the swamp. Normally this would be a setup for Hillbilly Horror, but the villain in the story is actually the former circus strong man, the most normal of the group. This story would eventually be loosely adapted to a Batman: The Animated Series episode featuring Killer Croc instead of the comics generic criminal.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- And Soon The Darkness: Two young women are biking through the French countryside (Argentina in the remake) and run straight into a rapist murderer who preys on travellers.
- Attack of the Giant Leeches: Giant leeches attacking a swamp town.
- Bloodsuckers from Outer Space concerns an alien force turning farmers into zombies in a small Texas town.
- Cabin Fever involves a group being infected with a horrific flesh-eating virus whilst out camping in a woodland cabin.
- The Cabin in the Woods has the Buckners, a pain-worshiping redneck zombie family who are a cross between this trope and Evil Dead. Of course, The Buckners are merely pawns, who are summoned to the cabin by random chance. It could have been any number of horror clichés.
- Children of the Corn: The small Nebraska town of Gatlin, which is home to a child cult that worships the corn surrounding the town and a demonic entity known as He Who Walks Behind the Rows. it was originally a normal small town, but the children were influenced by a child preacher named Isaac who led them to massacre the adults.
- Children of the Night: A vampire terrorizing a small country town.
- Chernobyl Diaries is a Found Footage film wherein a bunch of tourists explore Pripyat (the abandoned city next to Chernobyl) and are picked off by the mutated descendants of the people who stayed there despite the radiation leak.
- 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.
- Duel revolves around a milquetoast businessman being chased and harassed by an insane redneck in a trailer truck through the California desert.
- Dying Breed is a New Zealand take on the topic, where a bunch of zoologists looking for the rumored surviving specimens of the Tasmanian Tiger instead stumble across a town full of inbred, cannibalistic bogans descended from Alexander Pierce, a famous convict and Serial Killer who turned cannibal after escaping into the bush.
- Eaten Alive revolves around a hotel in the Deep South being run by a crazed war-veteran who keeps feeding people to his pet gator.
- The Evil Dead (1981) is set up almost perfectly for this, with a small band of people trapped in an isolated woodland cabin and being picked off by demonic spirits that possess the corpses of their kills.
- 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.
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is an Evil vs. Evil case of this, where a band of female murderers plan to rob an old man with two dim-witted sons living alone on a rural farm, only to find the menfolk to be more than a match for the women in terms of malignancy.
- Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th films often has elements of this trope, though later films turned him into a straight-up zombie.
- Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo: A Wendigo butchering redneck hunters.
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: Parodied/Subverted. Harold and Kumar's car breaks down in the middle of the woods and they are picked up by a creepy, hideous, decrepit truck driver called Freakshow. The scenes play out like a slasher film with Harold and Kumar expecting Freakshow to murder them at any point. It turns out he's actually a well-meaning if loony guy with a surprisingly attractive wife. It gets even weirder when his wife invites them to have a threeway with her, but when Freakshow insists on joining, Harold and Kumar hightail it out of there.
- Hatchet: A swamp is haunted by an undead murderer who was killed by a mob from the local town.
- The Hills Have Eyes (2006): A family on vacation runs afoul of a clan of degenerate cannibals in the Nevada desert, who have become hideous mutants due to a combination of the radiation from nearby nuclear weapons tests and inbreeding.
- The Hills Run Red: A film student is obsessed with a legendary lost film named The Hills Run Red, and sets out to discover the truth behind it, which leads him right into something that deliberatly plays up the idea of hillbilly horror. The original movie's director created his own hillbilly horror setting for the sole purpose of making the "perfect" horror movie. He killed the original actor who played the murderer, andthe man in the film is the director's disfigured son that he had with his own underage daughter for the sole purpose of filling this trope.
- The Firefly family in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's 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.
- House of Wax (2005) has the mad wax museum curator operating a small facility in the middle of nowhere.
- I Drink Your Blood subverts this, in that the hillbillies are actually decent people and it's the Satanic, murderous hippies who're evil people. Unfortunately for the hillbillies, their plan to get back at said hippies by giving them contaminated meatpies that give them rabies backfires.
- I Spit on Your Grave inverts this, in it's about a woman who, having been raped and abused by hillbillies, returns to brutally torture and butcher them in revenge.
- Jeepers Creepers is set in the rural parts of America and revolves around a Humanoid Abomination that cannibalizes people to perpetuate its immortality.
- Jug Face features a backwoods community who worship an Eldritch Abomination living in a pit.
- Just Before Dawn: Youths go on a camping trip in Oregon and are hunted down by a psychopathic murderous hillbilly pair of twins.
- Madman revolves around an isolated, rural town being tormented by the local psycho-hillbilly zombie killer, Madman Marz.
- Man-Thing is set in the deep swamps of Louisiana, where a bunch of people end up being offed by the titular humanoid plant monster.
- Midnight Movie has the Show Within a Show "The Dark Beneath", the origin of the Slasher Movie villain, being this sort of generic slasher film.
- Misery has an author "rescued" by a murderous Loony Fan of his and imprisoned in her isolated homestead, where she tortures him into writing her a novel exclusively for her.
- Monster Man has a Satanically empowered, hideously deformed monster truck-driving hillbilly running down victims with the aid of his Black Magic-practicing sister in order to use the mutilated victims to provide Human Sacrifice-fueled limb-transplants for their mutual brother, who's only kept alive by constant grafts after Monster Man accidentally ran him over.
- Motel Hell features an insane sibling pair who run a motel and family farm, supplementing their income by abducting victims both from the motel and from engineered car-crashes, imprisoning them by burying them up to their necks (with their vocal chords cut so they can't call for help) and forcefeeding them until they're ready to process them into meat for their famous meat pastries.
- Mother's Day: Some travelers in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey encounter a murderous madwoman and her insanely devoted offspring.
- Motor Home Massacre is set up this way, with the killing taking place in a campground and a creepy redneck pair who show up for a couple of scenes, but it's ultimate averted: the killers are the psychotic Nicole and Sabrina's ex-boyfriend Tom, both city-dwellers.
- The Nail Gun Massacre is a rare redneck on redneck slaughterfest, with a bunch of rural Texan construction workers being brutally butchered by the brother of the woman they gang-raped, who has the "hillbilly" name of Bubba.
- Pulp Fiction: Butch and Marcellus Wallace get kidnapped by two Southern pawn shop owners. Marcellus gets raped by them.
- Pumpkinhead: Revolves around a monstrous apparition named Pumpkinhead that haunts the backwoods of the Midwest and will kill anyone who it's summoned to destroy.
- 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. A group of college students are vacationing in a cabin, but run afoul of two creepy hillbillies who kidnap their friends. Or so they think. In reality, the true protagonists of the movie, Tucker and Dale are a pair of Good Ol' Boy guys who are out on a fishing trip. The misunderstanding is due to Dale's social awkwardness and the college students being firm believers in this trope. Ultimately played straight as it turns out the true villain of the movie is the result of a hillbilly horror event years before.
- Two Thousand Maniacs! is a series of films combining this trope with Ghost Story, where unfortunate travelers encounter a town full of Confederate-aligned ghosts who "celebrate" the day their town was destroyed and they were killed by Union soldiers by brutally murdering any Yankees who fall into their clutches.
- The Wicker Man (1973) Slightly less monstrous than its U.S equivalent. A pagan cult belives that the only way to ensure that its next apple harvests succeeds is through a human sacrifice.
- Wolf Creek is a version of this set in Australia, where hitchhikers/backpackers encounter a serial killer roaming the backroads of the country.
- The Wrong Turn series. A group of deformed cannibal siblings live in the backwoods of the northeastern U.S, and prey on anyone who ventures near their territory. The gas station attendant who sends travelers that way is the cannibals' father.
- Apeshit features protagonists straying into an area in the backwoods where nothing can properly die, which has resulted in local hillbillies turning into horrific monsters. Zigzagged in that the protagonists end up turning into even worse monsters than the hillbillies!
- 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:
- "The Rats in the Walls": The main character returns to his ancestral home in England, abandoned since his great-great-grandfather murdered his family members and fled to America. The reason for the massacre is unknown, as the main character's grandfather died during the Civil War along with the secret, but the family and the ruin has a bad reputation dating back centuries, and the inhabitants of the area despises it. The family had been part of an ancient cult that secretly bred humans for sacrifice and food. The caves beneath the ruins are filled with bones, deformed and twisted through centuries of inbreeding.
- 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.
- Subverted in The Dogs and its companion Short Story collection, What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse. If anything, the so-called rednecks and hillbillies are portrayed as far nicer and more honest than their cityfolk counterparts.
- 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".
- In the Supernatural episode "The Benders," Sam and Dean investigate a "phantom abductor" causing people to vanish from a rural town. It turns out that the monsters responsible for the disappearances are just...people, hillbilly humans who like to hunt people for sport.
- In the Torchwood episode "Countrycide," the team investigates strange disappearances in a rural area. The perpetrators turn out to be completely human cannibals rather than the alien activity more typical for Torchwood.
- The X-Files episode "Home", revolving around the Peacock's, three brothers who are descended from a family that has been reproducing through inbreeding since the Civil War, resulting in the brothers being physically deformed. A deformed infant is found dead in the woods, and Mulder and Scully are called in, and discover that the infant is related to the Peacocks, despite there being no women in the Peacock family, leading them to suspect they've kidnapped a woman and have been raping her. The baby is the offspring of one of the brothers and their quadruple amputee mother, belived to be dead since a car accident that killed their father and kept hidden in the house ever since. She's willingly been participating in their incestous relationship, and escapes with her oldest son at the end of the episode.
- 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.
- Ogres can really only be described as demented giant-kin hillbilly rapists, at best. Comes complete with Parental Incest, Brother–Sister Incest, inbreeding-fueled deformities, some very nasty takes on Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, a taste for human flesh, murderous sadism, a liking for making stuff out of bones and body parts, 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, being dedicated servitors of either Dagon (a Lovecraftian member of the Demon Lords And Arch Devils) or actual Great Old Ones like Cthulhu. 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.
- New World of Darkness:
- 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.
- Hunter: The Vigil supplement Slasher offers rules to play as a Slasher Movie villain or any archetype you wish, including this one. The Hillbilly Horror variety of Slashers are primarly represented by the Freak and Mutant Undertakings, which are mentioned to frequently stick together as Cannibal Clans, be very territorial, use trap and live in secluded areas where they hunt people.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse features several groups that fit this trope.
- The Genetic Irregulars are a group of ronin Garou and Black Spiral Dancers who live in rural areas and indulge in cannibalism and Garou-Garou mating.
- Rage Across Appalachia features a rural clan of fomori called the Bledsons. The Bledsons are a squalid family living near a polluted pond that is infested with banes. All Bledson males are compelled to enter the pond as a rite of passage, infecting them with banes.
- Rage Across Appalachia also features the Pigeon River Howlers, a bluegrass band composed of Black Spiral Dancers who use music to spread Wyrm taint.
- Warhammer Fantasy: The more isolated provinces of Bretonnia and the Empire tend to have this problem due to the liberal use of The Dung Ages. Even worse in Sylvania, where frequent famines make cannibalism a disliked but socially accepted practice, and that's before the fact that it's run by vampires...
- The Point Lookout DLC for Fallout 3 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.
- Cousin Eddy from Twisted Metal Head-On is a parody, whilst Billy Ray, driver of Junkyard Dog, is a subversion, he is a deformed murderer, but is sympathetic once the player finds out why.
- Outlast II is set in a countryside that's populate by murderous hillbillies who also worship Satan. The scariest thing, however, is how organized they are compared to many other examples as well as the Variants of the previous game; they cooperate and thoroughly search the farm for the player character using flashlights and seem to have a sacrificial system.
- The Hillbilly is one of the playable Killers from Dead by Daylight. He hunts down the Survivors with a large cattle hammer and a chainsaw that can incapacitate a Survivor at full health.
- Part IV of Lakeview Cabin Collection takes place in this setting, in a Homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Complete with a cannibalistic family.
- Resident Evil 7: biohazard takes places on a decaying, decrepit plantation manor in a Louisiana bayou, inhabited by the Bakers — a small but superhumanly tough and strong Cannibal Clan of murderous kidnappers who keep horrific fungus-people monsters locked up in their basement. Though it should be noted that the Bakers aren't ignorant or stupid; they're just crazy. In a twist on the trope, it's also eventually revealed they weren't even like this originally: they used to be perfectly normal and nice people (except for Lucas, but even he was a prick at worst) and were transformed into these super-powered sociopaths after they rescued and took in a little girl, who unfortunately turned out to be a Humanoid Abomination Super Soldier Gone Horribly Wrong and promptly Mind Raped them into this state.
- 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. And while they're ostensibly poachers, they're actually worse than that since they have a knack for hunting Funny Animals. Their crowning achievement, Wildlife Downar, is a rocket-propelled, barrel-shaped Cool Airship armed to the teeth with harpoons, nets, guns, and other hunting equipment.
- 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.