main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Human Trial Is Human Error
Let's face it. When coming up with a cure that looks like it might end a longtime biological threat to mankind, humans naturally will not handle the testing process of the miracle drug. Whether it be the result of a Corrupt Corporate Executive trying to make a quick buck, or a fledgling scientist trying to end the suffering of mankind, he will think that, just because that testing on animals went well, it will have the same results for human trials. Inevitably, it will get worse, ushering in various degrees of Apocalypse How.

See Tested On Humans.


  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes : The ALZ-112, and subsequently ALZ-113, is what gave the apes their superintellegence, and gave the plague that wiped out all of mankind during the human trials.
  • I Am Legend: In the 2007 film adaptation, it was a cure for cancer that started the zombie apocalypse. It was never made clear whether any human testing was done, but, from the outcome, it is pretty safe to say that the human trials went horribly wrong.
  • The 2003 film adaptation of Hulk is an inversion of this trope. While David Banner's self-human-testing of a drug that could genetically enhance a soldier's fighting ability didn't cause the downfall of mankind, it did pass the genetic material down to his son, Bruce. Through a stress-induced environment, that triggered a transformation into the enraged and superpowerful being known as the Hulk, which posed a threat to the local populace if not controlled.
  • In Hollow Man, the invisibility drug works in humans as well as animals, but the antidote fails to make the main character visible again, something that makes him dangerously insane in the long run.
  • In Serenity, this caused the disaster on Miranda that created the Reavers. Because apparently, the Alliance's scientists have no stages between "drawing board" and "full-scale field trial".
    • What the Alliance did to River could also count. Sure, they turned her into a Super Soldier with Psychic Powers, but they also turned her insane. The Operative's conversation with an Alliance scientist in his opening scene demonstrates just how much they had no idea what they were doing.

Human SubspeciesSpeculative Fiction TropesHuman Weapon

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy