I Don't Like the Sound of That Place
"I take a look at the maps, and sure enough, this outpost is stuck out in the middle of nowhere, smack in the Smooth Points of Pride. "Boatmurdered" they call it, a name which doesn't bode well for much of fucking anything."
Some cities have cute names
. Some weird names
. And some have no name at all
And then there are these
places. They have names like 'Doomville
', 'New Evilsberg', 'Murder Plains
' or 'Hell's Bathroom, New Jersey
'. It doesn't matter if it's one of the nicest towns you've ever seen, if it's named Death City
(or alternatively Necropolis if you want to get creative), it's one of these places
Note: if the place has a bad reputation, but the name itself is not scary (like Camp Crystal Lake
), it does not count. These are places that tell you right up front: this is not a nice place
Related to Doomy Dooms of Doom
. The location counterpart to Names to Run Away From Really Fast
. The inverted version of this trope would be Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom
, except in that trope, the thing must
be actually bad.
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Anime & Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has the "Gravekeeper's Palace". Naturally, it's The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the previous generation, and the current group is currently headed there as well.
- In Makai Senki Disgaea, Episode 6:
Flonne: It's exactly like Sardia said! "Go through the Forest of Evil, crawl along the Cliffs of Despair, and cross the Bridge of the Damned."
- Death City, Nevada, in Soul Eater, so named because it is the home of... well, The Grim Reaper.
- The dub of Digimon Adventure 02 has this:
Upamon: It's the Forbidden Valley of No Return!
Kari: Why do bad guys always name things like that?
TK: It's in their job description! It's right after really stinky breath!
Cody: Even if this place was called "The Valley of Duckies and Bunnies", with a control spire there, there's trouble.
- ("Duckies and bunnies" proceeds to become a minor Running Gag in the episode.)
- One Piece has Punk Hazard.
- Higurashi's "Hinamizawa" ("Bird-Watching Town") is a fairly innocuous name in Japanese for a small town. However, it used to be known as "Onigafuchi", which translates roughly as "Demon's Abyss".
- The Forest of Death.
- The Valley of The End, or Kirigakure (aka the Village Hidden in The Mist), which, during Yagura's reign as Mizukage, came to be known (unofficially) as Chigiri no Sato (or the Village of the Bloody Mist).
- Claw's hideout Dead River from Kimba the White Lion.
- Steel Ball Run has the Devil's Palm.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Dark World. Not only are most of the natives there very unfriendly to humans, but this is where Judai's Superpowered Evil Side took hold.
- Batman: Crime Alley. Also Blüdhaven.
- Crime Alley was only given that name after all the... crime... that happened there. It was originally called the much tamer "Park Row".
- Gotham itself would count as this a bit, though at least it was founded a couple hundred years before the 'gothic' genre became a class of stylized horror story. Gotham City is actually one of the now-archaic names for part of what is now New York City. It was a pretty well-known alternate term when Batman comics were first published, but it has drifted out of common use since. Though depending on how you feel about New York it might still qualify.
- Arkham Asylum, if you know your HP Lovecraft. Even Gotham City's "normal" prison has the rather ominous name of Blackgate Penitentiary.
- One Metropolis neighborhood's name on city maps is Hob's Bay, but the locals call it something else: Suicide Slum. Given that 'Hob' is a mediaeval name for the Devil (as mentioned in Quatermass And The Pit) even the official name gives pause for thought. However, 'Hob' is also a mediaeval diminutive for 'Robert', and was reasonably commonplace right through to the 17th Century. It's where the more successful versions of Lex Luthor hail from. Other origin stories include Smallville and Overlord Jr.
- Metropolis also has Suicide Swamp on the outskirts of town. Those people do not know a thing about marketing.
- Sin City, although its actual name is Basin City.
- Daredevil and Hell's Kitchen. That said, Hell's Kitchen is a real neighborhood in New York. (It has become considerably safer and more upscale in the decades since Daredevil was first launched. But the Marvel Universe cares not.)
- Fantastic Four: Doomstadt, capital city of Latveria. Doctor Doom named several other towns in Latveria after himself as well.
- Joe McCarthy Elementary, future Alma Mater of Amelia and her friends in Amelia Rules. The school motto is: "Weeding out the wrong element since 1952".
- In Calvin and Hobbes, there are several of these. You know Calvin is awesome when you see that he has the balls to sled down a hill named Grim Reaper Gorge or Mount Maim.
- Assuming that he's not the one who named them.
- That's still his intended impression, even if only for his own benefit.
- In an early strip, Jason goes sledding at huge hill called "Kamikaze Ridge", saying that his classmates discovered it near the reservoir. (Presumably, they gave it that name.) The place is mentioned whenever it's winter and he wants to tempt fate.
- One of the Horrible Camping Trips that Roger took the family too was at a place called "Skeeter Falls". (Apparently, Roger was too dumb to realize what the name meant.
- Slaughter Swamp, birthplace of Solomon Grundy in The DCU.
- The Ms Tree story "The Devil's Punchbowl" involves the investigation of a murder at a geological feature known as 'the Devil's Punchbowl'. (There are actually several places in the real world bearing this name.)
- Apokolips. It's a place ruled by Darkseid; need we say more?
- In Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, Lt. "Doubtful" Milk's write-up notes him as the sole survivor of engagements on Hell Island, Slaughter River, Carnage Ridge, and Abandon-All-Hope-Ye-Who-Enter-Here Alley.
- Judge Dredd:
- Deadworld, but only after the omnicidal Dark Judges who destroyed it renamed it in their own image—before that it was just an Alternate Dimension of Earth. Filled with mountains of corpses of their victims, the only inhabitants left on the planet are the four undead Judges and the tormented souls of the dead.
- Death and his cohorts also briefly turned Mega City One itself into a "Necropolis" by transforming the city into a nightmarish slaughterhouse that made the Cursed Earth (an irradiated wasteland) look welcoming by comparison.
Films — Animation
- In The Rescuers, most of the action takes place in a swamp called Devil's Bayou.
- In the sequel, The Rescuers Down Under, the duo's guide Jake invokes this to mess with Bernard, as he has a crush on Bianca.
Jake: So, which way you taking? Suicide Trail, Nightmare Canyon, or the shortcut, Satan's Ridge?
Bernard: S-S-Suicide Trail?
Jake: Good choice! More snakes, but less quicksand. And once you pass Bloodworm Creek you're scot free. That is until Dead Dingo Cross.
- In another scene, McLeach demands a tied-up Cody tell him where the giant eagle he's befriended is located, wondering aloud if she's nested at places like Satan's Ridge, Nightmare Canyon, and Croc Falls. For emphasis, he's got Cody placed in front of a map, and throws a knife at every location he names.
- We actually get to see Croc Falls in the climax. And yes, the name is accurate.
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: the entire path to the T. rex nest, named by a Crazy Survivalist. At one point he's asked:
Crash: Why is it called the "Gorge of Death"?
Buck: We tried calling it "The Big Smelly Crack" but people kept giggling.
Films — Live-Action
- King Kong: Skull Island. In the Peter Jackson version, Denham lampshades this trope:
Driscoll: Why would [the crew] be spooked? What's [the island] called?
Denham: Alright, it has a local name, but I'm warning you Jack, it doesn't sound good.
(after the reveal)
Driscoll: What's wrong with this place?
Denham There's nothing officially wrong with it... Because, technically, it hasn't been discovered yet.
- In Jurassic Park, the island chain Isla Sorna is part of (Isla Nublar is not part of the same chain) is called Las Cinco Muertes, or The Five Deaths. Apparently the name comes from some local legend, and all five islands are named after a form of torture or execution. Isla Nublar, the island from the original book/film on the other hand means Cloudy Island.
- Pirates of the Caribbean—
- Isla de Muerta, (gramatically incorrect) spanish for "Island of Death".
- Also Shipwreck Island. Home to Shipwreck Cove. Inside which you find the town of Shipwreck.
"You know, for all that pirates are clever clogs, we are an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things."
- Isla Cruces - from the (medieval) Latin cruciare, meaning "to torture".
- "Cruces" is also Spanish for "crosses" (or "intersections", depending on the gender of the pronoun). It's also the second person singular form of the verb "cruzar", to cross. And naming things after Catholic objects of veneration is something of an hispanohablante linguistic hobby.
- The Star Wars novel Death Star has the Death Star in orbit around the prison planet Despayre.
- The title town from Darkness Falls. Nope, nothing bad ever happens there. Honest.
- Lampshaded in Without A Paddle when Seth Green's character asks why all the places that they have to travel to have Satanic names.
- In Batman Forever, Riddler builds his base on Claw Island. The Agony Booth's recap of the movie finds it "convenient", saying "subsequent supervillains will have to make do with building their bases on Gumdrop Island, or Fluffy Bunny Atoll."
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Seek you the Bridge of Death!"
- Where, if you get a question wrong, "you are cast into the Gorge of Eternal Peril."
- The Castle of Aaaarrrggh may or may not be an example.
- Castle Anthrax.
- The first Spy Kids film had a city called San Diablo (literally, "Saint Devil").
- Averted in Dr. No, where the diabolical doctor's base from which he aims to upset the balance of terror between the USA and the USSR through missile toppling is called... Crab Key.
- Cutthroat Island.
- In Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Scooby are unwilling to visit Spooky Island. In fact, they have a whole list of "forbidden" place names - including "scary", "haunted", "forbidden" or "hydroclonic"
- The Princess Bride has the Cliffs of Insanity, the Fire Swamp, the Pit of Despair, and the Zoo of Death.
- In one of The Three Stooges shorts, Gents Without Cents (1944) the boys are acting out a skit for dockworkers. Curly is given a suicide mission to deliver a message. His directions are, "Now, you go through Skeleton Pass, over Murder Meadow, to Massacre Junction. Then you follow the trail to Poison Creek, around Funeral Mountain, and head directly for Dead Man's Gulch."
- Played with in the prequel Tremors movie, in which Perfection, Nevada is still known by its older name of Rejection. Locals kick themselves over that, because nobody seems to want to move there.
- The Scorpion King. There's a reason they call it "The Valley of the Dead".
- Shadow Woods Apartments from Blood Rage.
- A sign seen in Terror at Tenkiller mentions a town named Gore.
- Hell Township in Santa's Slay.
- Bitter Lake. A place where everyone talks interminably with badly puppeteered mouths, up until they get their sorry carcass assassinated.
- Cape Fear. Which is a real place, by the way.
- Alien franchise:
- Aliens: LV-426 is cheerily named Acheron. When you name places after rivers in Hell, they can't be good.
- Alienł: The hellish prison planet is called "Fury 161".
- Sufferton from Seed.
- Stalker has a dark and scary tunnel nicknamed The Meat Grinder. We're never told how it got this nickname, which makes the sequence where Writer creeps through it quite terrifying.
- Subverted - at least at first - with the Bog of Eternal Stench in Labyrinth Sarah at first doubts it's as bad as Hoggle claims asking if all it does is smell, although he tells her, "Believe me, that's enough!" (Of course, that's not all it does. Not only does it have an unearthly stench, it curses whoever touches its waters with the same stench, which never goes away. And while the viewers do have to take his word for it, poor Sarah finds out just how vile it smells for herself when she sees the place firsthand.)
- In The Wizard Corey tells his brother they are in Goblin Valley. "Great. I mean, I mean, I mean... it couldn't be Happy Valley or Wonderful Valley. Goblin Valley. Why not, Axe Murderer's Valley?"
- In the Hudson Brothers' comedy Hysterical, author Frederic Lansing goes on a retreat to the charming seaside village of Hellview, Oregon.
- Pick a Lone Wolf book. Any Lone Wolf book. On the off chance that the trope doesn't appear in the title (The Chasm of Doom, The Kingdoms of Terror, Castle Death, The Jungle of Horrors and more), then it'll still most likely be present in the book somewhere.
- Ditto for the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Just a few examples: the Desert of Skulls, Blood River, Plain of Bones, Mountains of Grief, Port Blacksand, Nightshriek Jungle.
- Lampshaded in 'The Grapple' of Timeline-191, where the Adolf Eichmann expy, Jefferson Pinkard, convinces Ferdinand Koenig that for the purposes of carrying out their Holocaust expy on black people, a camp named "Camp Devastation" or "Camp Destruction" would actually be counter-productive towards their efforts.
- The Lord of the Rings: Mount Doom.
- Mordor itself, as it's suggestive of the Latin "mors", which means death, and is a bit too close to the related word "murder" for comfort. In-story, the name still qualifies: it means "Black Country", in reference to its wasted state and perpetual shadow. Most of the foregoing also applies to Moria (the Black Chasm), which the Dwarves call by a different name (Khazad-Dűm, "the Dwarf-delving").
- It's more literal than that. Tolkien's academic specialty was Old English, and he had a fondness for just lifting parts of its vocabulary for his legendarium - 'Ent' means giant, for instance, and 'Orthanc' is Old English for 'craft'. 'Mordor' quite literally means Murder.
- Played straight in the Irregular Webcomic! parody of said name, "Khazad-Doomy Dooms of Doom".
- Other places with ominous Quenya or Sindarin names include Dol Guldur (the hill of dark magic) and Minas Morgul (the tower of black magic).
- The Dead Marshes.
- Mordor gains a bit of Narm after reading one parody in which, when Sam and Frodo are worried about getting through the main gate, Gollum explains that there are "more doors." The heroes find it easy to enter, as there are too many doors to keep them all guarded. Now just try to avoid thinking about that next time you hear it.
- Also Cirith Ungol and assorted places. Frodo and Sam may be excused, because many location names are only told to the reader and not the protagonists. But it still adds some amusement to the chapter when you translate the elvish location names - and realize that they are trying to reach the Pass Of The Huge Evil Monster Spider, climb the Stairs To The Pass Of The Huge Evil Monster Spider and finally enter the Cave Of The Huge Evil Monster Spider - and then slowly begin to wonder if that pass is really as unguarded as they thought...
- Especially since it is established that Frodo, at least, speaks reasonably good Elvish.
- As The New Yorker noted in its review of The Movie of The Two Towers, such a name definitely makes things easier when asking for directions.
- Inverted in children's Lord of the Rings parody Muddle Earth, with 'Harmless Hill'
(after watching a harmless stiltmouse getting eaten by a flower)
Joe: I thought you said the hill was harmless!
Veronica: Oh, the hill's harmless enough, it's the killer daisies you've got to watch out for...
- The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien also has a variety of locations which can be translated variously as the Grinding Ice, the Gasping Dust, the Hill of Slain, the Mountains of Horror, and the Valley of Dreadful Death. Yes, pretty much par for the course when the author is a dedicated philologist.
- The eponymous location of Shadowmarch by Tad Williams.
- Played with in the Discworld book Carpe Jugulum, which has in Überwald a very lovely tourist spot called Dontgonearthe Castle, which also has various other signs like "Last Chance Not to Go Near the Castle".
- This is, however, a brilliant bit of reverse-psychology marketing by the castle's owner (a vampire), who named it knowing full well that any adventurer worth their salt would of course investigate the castle to find out why he shouldn't go near it.
- Nanny Ogg has a set of rules about places like Dontgonearthe Castle, which are basically a series of instructions that go "having ignored the previous instruction, don't perform the next step in your inevitable demise," up until you've met your inevitable demise, when it's "having been bitten by the vampire, don't come crying to me."
- The Blasted Heath from the The Colour Out of Space by HP Lovecraft.
- In Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, the eponymous island's name is Skeleton Island.
- Not exactly Canon, but in The Pyrates, George Macdonald Frazer suggests that the Dead Man's Chest on which fifteen men were once marooned was in fact a sand bar that resembled the torso of a floating corpse poking out of the water.
- Small mining town Desperation in the eponymous Stephen King novel. Good for one's health, original sculptures, charming residents - fun for the whole family!
- The Honor Harrington series gives us Camp Charon, on the planet Hades, which is in the Cerberus System, which just shows that the People's Republic of Haven is really subtle about naming its prisons.
- Deltora Quest has loads. The Forests of Silence, the Lake of Tears, the City of Rats, the Shifting Sands, Dread Mountain, the Maze of the Beast, the Valley of the Lost, the Shadowlands… no wonder Lief freaked out upon seeing where his quest would lead him. The sequel series add more, including Dragon's Nest, Shadowgate, and the Isle Of The Dead.
- Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett, is set in the industrial town of Personville, which is almost always called Poisonville by its inhabitants.
- The eponymous "Schlachthof-fünf" from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, the address of a Dresden POW Camp during World War II. It's somewhat subverted by the fact that the prison camp is, through a clerical error, remarkably well supplied, and is one of the few safe places when the Allies bomb the city.
- In the Shannara series, the Warlock Lord live in Skull Mountain, in the centre of Skull Kingdom.
- The Three Investigators seem to keep ending up at places like this: Terror Castle, Skeleton Island, Phantom Lake, Monster Mountain, Death Trap Mine, Shark Reef, Wrecker's Rock...
- House Bolton in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, reluctant bannermen to House Stark, have their primary seat at a lovely little place called The Dreadfort. As their banner is that of a flayed man, one can imagine the sorts of things that historically took place there - and still do.
- Other ominous names in Westeros and Essos: The Haunted Forest, Hellholt, Shipbreaker Bay, The Gulf of Grief, Slavers Bay, The Smoking Sea.
- In Essos, a ruined city used as the equivalent of a leper colony is called The Sorrows, and a particularly dangerous stretch of land is known as the Demon Road.
- Sometimes this is played with: the grim sounding Winterfell is the home of some of the story's most heroic characters. It is somewhat fitting, however, in that region it's located in is, well, extremely wintry.
- The Doom of Valyria which is a volcanic wasteland where the old Valyrian Freehold once stood, and the waters around it is called the Smoking Sea, which are filled with volcanoes.
Live Action TV
- Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton. Like a lot of Coulton's stuff, the song itself is relaxing and folksy.
- Nox Arcana gives us three examples. Blackthorn Asylum and Darklore Manor, however the most obvious example is Castle Of Nightmares.
- Dead Man's Curve by Jan and Dean.
- "Bridge of Death" and "House of Death" by Manowar.
- mothy's series the Evillious Chronicles, has country names based on the names of demons- Levianta, Elphegort, Lucifenia, and so on... and when some of them decide to create a single state, they name it... United States of Evillious.
- Most of the Hazards in White Water count, such as Insanity Falls and Disaster Drop.
- Paragon has the "Valley of Demons" and the "Beast's Lair."
- The "Arkham Asylum" playfield of Necronomicon includes Hangman Hill and Salem's Road.
- Golden Logres has the Castle Perilous, where the three Evil Knights reside.
- The Shadowfell, a plane in Dungeons & Dragons, is filled with these. Just a few are Gloomwrought, the City of Midnight, Moil, the City That Waits, and The Shadowdark (Underdark of the Shadowfell).
- The ludicrousness of these names was parodied by a certain Penny Arcade strip which posited that beneath the Shadowdark is the "Darkbad" — and past that, one encounters "Shadow Shadow Bo Badow," "Double Hell," and finally "Scarytown". Which isn't so bad, depending on when you go.
- Many place-names in Ravenloft are this trope as well, albeit sometimes camoflauged via Bilingual Bonus.
- The entire setting is officially referred to as the "Demiplane of Dread". Doesn't get a whole lot more blatant then that.
- Elder Evils give Atropus, The World Born Dead; an entire planet that is actually a stillborn, undead deity.
- Eberron has Cyre, or: The Mournland. It's every bit as nasty as it sounds, and then some.
- Almost all of the layers of the "Infinite Layers of the Abyss" are named according to this trope, like "That Hellhole," "Skin-Shredder," "Death's Reward," "Soulfreeze," "The Sixth Pyre," often referring to the most noticeable of unpleasant features, such as how the primary inhabitants of "Slugbed" are demonic slugs and snails. Those layers with names that aren't immediately fearsome-sounding will still refer to some hazard, like how the name "The Forgotten Land" refers to how every sentient being, demons included, develops incurable magical amnesia. And those layers that have pleasant-sounding names are invariably extremely deadly.
- In the Planescape campaign, the Outlands has sixteen towns situated around the rim called Gate Towns, each one with a gate to one of the other Outer Planes. Each one has a Meaningful Name that has something to do with the place their gate leads to, and as you might expect, the towns with gates leading to the Lower Planes have rather unpleasant names, like Torch, Plague-Mort, and Hopeless (as you might expect, these towns are not nice places to live).
- Of course, plenty of actual dungeons qualify. One well-known example is the Temple of Elemental Evil, a horrible place with a notorious reputation both in-universe and out.
- Most names cribbed from Inferno probably count (they're used in Planescape a lot). Dis, Malebolge, etc. Carceri and The Abyss probably counts as well, and the lovely town of Ribcage?
- Dungeons & Dragons' infamous Chasm of DEATHDEATHDEATH.
- Warhammer Fantasy has Death Mountain, Troll Country, Blackfire Pass, the Forest of Shadows, the Blighted Isle, the Badlands, the Spiteful Peaks and many more. None of which are good places to be. Some regions, such as Naggaroth, land of the dark elves, are full of places like this.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- A planet named "Armageddon". Even without being part of a war-game named Warhammer, it sounds like a bad idea. It was mentioned that the name has become a byword for destruction, so its name might translate to Armageddon in later times, not actually being that. Also, the planet got that name after three major wars there (named the First, Second and Third Battles for Armageddon), implying it was fairly peaceful for the many millennia humans had lived there up to that.
- Another planet was named "Murder". As expected, the environment and wildlife devastated the expedition forces.
- And another planet is named "Krieg" - which is German for "War".
- The current Imperial Guard codex tells of a nightmarish world known as Birmingham. (*shudder*)
- And of course, the interstellar Mordor known as the Eye of Terror.
- Subverted by The Fang; a hollowed out mountain revered by the citzens of the Imperium as, despite its name, it is home of one of the original Astartes Legions who are now known as the heroic Space Wolves Chapter of Space Marines.
- Infernum is set in a place called "The Pit". Because it's a giant (2400 miles deep) crater. It's divided into Circles of Hell called Emptiness, Tempest, Tears, Toil, Slaughter, Industry, Delight, Malebolge and Pandemonium. Obviously, none of these places are good to visit. Individual locations include the likes of Mayhem (center of the arms trade on Slaughter) and the Cathedral of Cracked Bones (where wounded demons are kept suspended in a state of eternal pain until either they convert to the Church of the Morningstar or are bought by somebody).
- Exalted has shadowlands, already a foreboding sounding name, which are places where Creation and the Underworld touch. These invariably have frightening sounding names. Given Exalted's tendency for long, flowery titles, you wind up with places like the Isle of Shadows, the Font of Mourning, the Bayou of Endless Regret, and the Fields of Woe, among others.
- Jo, a sometime narrator from Deadlands:, Hell On Earth, lampshades this trope, wondering why no-one caught on to the fact that places with nasties always have names like “Hell’s Canyon” or “the Devil’s Backbone” or the “Forest of Death”, and comments that "If you get to name something, call it the “Happy Place.” Or the “Peaceful Forest Where There Are No Freakin’ Monsters!”"
- A Touch Of Evil, which can be roughly described as Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow: The Board Game is set in a colonial New England town called Shadowbrook.
- Pokémon Colosseum has Pyrite Town. Pyrite as in "Fool's Gold", for all the riches you will part with if you don't watch your back for hoods. One of the few good things to come out of that city happens to be ONBS.
- Citadark Isle from Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness.
- Pokemon Diamond And Pearl has Turnback Cave and Sendoff Spring that appropriately lead you into a dark, heavily fogged labyrinth. Its even Lampshaded in the guidebook.
- There's also the dark, sinister dimension where Giratina lives, which Cynthia names the Torn World, or Distortion World in the American version.
- Half-Life: Ravenholm, though not nearly as foreboding as most examples.
- San Heironymo Peninsula, from Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. It means "Peninsula of the Dead", according to Campbell. This is either a nickname or an in-character made a mistake — "San Heironymo" is simply Spanish for "Saint Jerome".
- Mordavia from Quest for Glory IV. Guess what sorts of inhabitants you might meet there.
- Super Mario Bros. Several stages qualify.
- Lethal Lava Land, Deep Dark Galaxy,
Hell Prominence Melty Molten Galaxy, Big Boo's Haunt, Dreadnaught Galaxy... Dark Land in Super Mario Bros. 3 says it fairly clearly, even without you knowing it's hell incarnate. Or maybe Bowser in the Dark World/Fire Sea.
- Mario Party. Bowser's levels have some mighty dangerous sounding names: Bowser's Warped Orbit, Infernal Tower, Bowser Nightmare, Bowser's Enchanted Inferno…
- Monstro Town from Super Mario RPG is actually a pretty nice place.
- Rogueport in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a straight example though. As it's Paper Mario, this gets lampshaded relatively quickly. Twilight Town isn't so bad most of the time, but the Creepy Steeple in the woods outside it is a straight example.
- RuneScape has quite a few of these.
- Daemonheim, or "Demon halls". The fact that it is a massive cursed dungeon with Occult floors and Warped floors doesn't help.
- The Wilderness in general. Packed with places like Graveyard of Shadows, Demonic Ruins, plus a couple of Chaos Temples.
- Skull Island and Blood Island from The Curse of Monkey Island. Of course, Skull Island looks like something distinctly different from a skull.
- The PC Adventure Game Shadow of the Comet takes place in
Innsmouth Illsmouth, just a small New England town that is absolutely not a reference to HP Lovecraft's stories, why ever would you think such a thing?
- Silent Hill, which is just about the creepiest name for a sleepy little tourist town ever. Not to mention The Devil's Pit in Silent Hill: Downpour.
- The Legend of Zelda: Death Mountain, the Shadow Temple, the Lost Woods, Forsaken Fortress... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
- Legend Of Grimrock: Mount Grimrock, it and it's deep dungeon, with it's skeleton soldiers and it's giant spiders etc.
- Ecco The Dolphin: Planet Vortex, Dark Water.
- Skies of Arcadia: The Dark Rift, the Maw of Tartas.
- World of Warcraft: Hellfire Peninsula, Dragonblight, Plaguelands.
- There's also Bloodmyst Isle, Duskwood, Deadwind Pass, the Swamp of Sorrows, the Blasted Lands, Shadowmoon Valley and probably a few others, and that's not even counting instances or sub-zones.
- A lot of these places were renamed to reflect what they became. The Plaguelands were simply part of Lordaeron, the Blasted Lands used to be the Black Morass (admittedly its original name is hardly friendlier) and Bloodmyst Isle used to be called Silvergale.
- Lampshaded in the second manga series: "The Blade's Edge Mountains... the Hellfire Citadel... is there no place in Outland that speaks of peace?" (The answer is "very few")
- In MySims Kingdom, when you first go to Spookane, Buddy is scared of going there, but Lyndsay is sure it's just a name... MOTHER has a town called Spookane as well.
- Romancing SaGa has the Isle of Evil, where Mad Scientist Ewei lives.
- Cap au Diable from City of Villains.
- Also, the ghost-infested Fort Hades.
- And in City of Heroes, the literal ghost town Dark Astoria.
- Guild Wars: Hell's Precipice, Dunes of Despair, and the Desolation. On top of those are the realms of a couple of gods: the Fissure of Woe (Balthazar) and the Realm of Torment (Abaddon's prison).
- Both The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and EverQuest have "The Lake of Ill-Omen".
- Basically everywhere in A Link to the Past's Dark World has a name like this: Swamp of Evil, Skeleton Forest (Skull Woods), Village of Outcasts (Thieves), Palace of Darkness, Misery Mire...
- As it does everything else, Final Fantasy loves these. They're not even reserved for final dungeons, either:
"Plants that attack people... I guess they don't call it Evil Forest for nothin'."
- Final Fantasy XI: Abyssea is a post-apocalyptic parallel universe of Vana'diel.
- Final Fantasy XII: Necrohol (city of the dead) of Nabudis, Nabreaus Deadlands, Mosphoran Highwaste... And individual sections within these regions have their own ominous names of doom. A sampling: Subterra: Abyssal (Pharos at Ridorana), The Lost Way (Tchita Uplands), and, best of all for creepiness, a hidden and unmapped area called The Fog Mutters (Nabreus Deadlands).
- Final Fantasy Tactics, set in the same world, has the Necrohol of Mullonde. In the PSX version, it was Murond Death City. The map of the final battle? Graveyard of Airships.
- Final Fantasy XIII: Hanging Edge, The Vile Peaks, Orphan's Cradle. Individual zones within also have ominous names, for example: A Silent Maelstrom and A City No Longer (Lake Bresha), Wrack And Ruin and Devastated Dreams (Vile Peaks), and Maw Of The Abyss and Deep In The Dark (Mah'habara)
- Dwarf Fortress provides many examples, thanks to its randomly generated names. Boatmurdered is the most (in)famous, and among the most grand, but such names are most commonly seen in evil lands and goblin fortresses. Sometimes they're just fine, sometimes they're not. The fortress of Battlefailed was set between the Plains of Ooze and the Blueness of Malodors.
- La-Mulana has the Chamber of Extinction, which isn't quite the formidable challenge its name implies. (The Chamber of Birth is arguably worse.)
- Kingdom Hearts I has The End of the World - both a place and an event. Chain of Memories takes place entirely within Castle Oblivion. Kingdom Hearts II ups the ante with The World That Never Was, which itself has subsections like The Hall of Empty Melodies, Brink of Despair, and the Altar of Naught. Honorable goes to Proof of Existence, which isn't ominous sounding by itself until you remember the true nature of the antagonists as undead/non-existent beings. What is Proof of Existence then, you ask? A graveyard. Sure, it works as a connecting room to each Organization member's quarters, but still.
- Inverted big time in Mother 3, with the Big Bad's giant lightning generator, the Tower of Love and Peace. But played straight with the tower's REAL name (Thunder Tower).
- Fallout 3 has the delightful Murder Pass. Just past the souvenir shop! Fallout: New Vegas has the Devil's Throat. (Which is based off a real place in the Mojave desert!)
- Diablo 2 is full of these. The very first wilderness you enter is called Blood Moor, which contains a cave called The Den of Evil. In Kurast, there's the Flayer Dungeon, the Spider Forest, and the Durance of Hate. In Hell, you have the Plains of Despair, the City of Torment, and so on.
- In Planescape: Torment, the final few levels of the game are set in the Fortress of Regrets, which is located on the Negative Material Plane. In keeping with the setting, the name is literal: the place is actually built from the regrets of all the Nameless One's past incarnations. And it is, of course, a quintessential Evil Tower of Ominousness. And that's after visiting such places as Curst, the Pillar of Skulls, and the Hive. And after discovering that the city's inhabitants usually refer to Sigil as "the Cage."
- Blue Dragon: Devour Village.
- Not quite a full blown level, but anything named after KAOS in Donkey Kong Country 3. KAOS Kore and Kastle KAOS are bad, but KAOS Karnage takes the cake for 'scary level name'.
- In the Wario Land series, possibly Hotel Horror and Horror Manor.
- Breath of Fire III has the Desert of Death.
- Tibia has the Dark Cathedral, Demona, the Pits of Inferno and the Plains of Havoc.
- One spawn point in Skate 2 is called the Murderhorn. It is one of the best places to "die", just behind the Hideki Tower spawn point.
- In Dragon Age: Origins the deepest, darkest part of the Deep Roads is called the Dead Trenches. With reason.
- In Dragon Age II, Anders references Awakening with the Blackmarsh and Varric wonders why you would ever even consider going to such a place. The two then go on to talk about better places to go to but then realize that adding 'marsh' to the end of anything really makes it seem like a place to avoid. The Flowermarsh, the Kittenmarsh...
- More explicitly discussed is "The Bone Pit." Hawke can immediately say that the mine owner's first mistake was calling it that, though he assures you that it's just what the miners call it.
- Etrian Odyssey Cyclopean Haunt. A nearly impassable labyrinth full of scary monsters and with a hell of a final boss in the end.
- The Ultima series has its share:
- Exodus lives in Castle Death, on the Isle of Fire. The very floors of Castle Death, and the grass of the lawn, try to stop you.
- The Codex of Infinite Wisdom can be found at the bottom of The Great, Stygian Abyss in Ultima IV. For that matter, six of the dungeons bear the names of the inverse of virtuous character traits: Deceit, Despise, Destard, Shame, Wrong and Covetous.
- Ultima V has the same six dungeons as the fourth installment, but closes down the Abyss in favour of the Dungeon Doom. Also has The Underworld. Oddly enough, the fortress where the three Shadowlords live is fairly innocuously named as Stonegate.
- Touhou: The Muenzuka, or The Mound of The Nameless, the final battle site of Phantasmagoria of Flower View. Even Cirno shudders!
- Scarlet Devil Mansion.
- The Hell of Blazing Flames is a former hot naraka of Buddhist hell. As of Subterranean Animism, the hell may have been completely reactivated, and part of it upgraded into a nuclear reactor that opens up to Gensokyo directly in Hisoutensoku.
- Baol Dungeon in Mabinogi could count as baol is Gaelic for "Danger". For a plus, it lives up to its name as its one of the hardest dungeons in the game.
- Episode 3 of Doom is pretty much nothing but these: "Hell Keep," "Slough of Despair," "Pandemonium," "House of Pain", "Unholy Cathedral," "Mt. Erebus"note , "Gate To Limbo", and "Dis".
- Future Cop: LAPD has the delightfully named Hell's Gate Prison. A classic maximum security prison, with the only ground routes essentially being killzones and firing lanes protected by multiple turrets with overlapping arcs of fire and elevated positions for guards, ultimately designed to make a mass-escape from within the facility absolutely suicidal.
- The Catacomb Fantasy Trilogy is full of these. The titular Catacombs of Despair contain such levels as The Garden of Tears, The Demon's Inferno, The Town of Morbidity, The Garden of Forgotten Souls, The Lost City of the Damned, Hall of the Wretched Pox, The Chamber of the Evil Eye, The Chamber of the Invisible Horror and so on. Meanwhile, the levels contain areas named The Corridors of Death, The Way to Certain Peril, The Insufferable Ways of Pain, The Chamber of Ultimate Doom...
- In the Dungeon Keeper series, the game world starts out with very nice and cheerful names, such as Eversmile, Water Dream Fall, and Flower Hat. It becomes less pretty after the Big Bad (you) are through with it, and the new names reflect this trope straight: Brana Hawk, Wither's Tread, and Fire Wall, respectively. Your assistant then praises you for all the horrible things that have taken root, such as cannibalism, anthrax, and a "healthy disrespect for life."
- Legend of Mana has The Bone Fortress, which is constructed of bones. The Lucemia dungeon (skeletal remains of a titanic wyrm) has a section named Avenue of Deterioration.
- Parodied in the Dot Hack series with Bewildering Fool's Hiding Place. And played straight with the area keywords for the showdown with Skeith: Chosen Hopeless Nothingness.
- Heavy Weapon has its stages named after real-world counterparts of either war-torn places or areas that were controlled by Soviet Russia. Two of them are "Antagonistan" (Afghanistan) and "Killingrad" (Stalingrad).
- The land of Lordran in Dark Souls has the Undead Burg, Blighttown, Demon Ruins, Lost Izalith, The Abyss, Tomb of Giants, etc. Apparently, they're big on honesty in advertising.
- The grottoes of Dragon Quest IX have names generated more-or-less randomly, based on their general difficulty. The Clay Tunnel of Joy doesn't sound very menacing, but the Diamond Void of Ruin isn't so inviting.
- The Elder Scrolls gives us these:
- Some planes of Oblivion, such as The Deadlands.
- Subverted with The Inn of Ill Omen, which is just an ordinary inn... Which is then played straight in the basement where a man is murdered by you.
- In Morrowind, Sixth House bases often have rooms, corridors and halls with ominous names like "Soul Rattle", "Black Heart" etc.
- Done to death in Skyrim. A short sampling: Frostflow Abyss, Sightless Pit, Hag's End, Bleak Falls Barrow, Blackreach, Benkongerike (means 'Kingdom of Bones'), and Stillborn Cave.
- In Chrono Trigger, Crono and his friends visit Death's Peak, the Mountain of Woe, and the Black Omen.
- The protagonist of Peasant's Quest has a souvenir tee-shirt from Scalding Lake. This place is, apparently, a tourist destination for peasants.
- Okage has the Escapeless Abyss. Unfortunately, that's not an ironic name.
- Subverted in Pirate101 with the Isle of Doom, it's name only comes from it's discoverer Von Doom. It's actually a pleasant place, provided you avoid the carnivorous bees and plants and the frogmen with poisonous skin.
- Dishonored has the supercontinent Pandyssia. That's "pan" as in Pandaemonium and "dys" as in dystopia. The name means something like "all that is bad," which rather succinctly reflects the attitude the Empire of Isles has to the place. Not without reason, either. It's Darkest Africa taken Up to Eleven, a Death World where Everything Is Trying to Kill You from the smallest rat to the largest predator (and even the smallest rats aren't actually very small). Almost everyone who goes there dies, or goes mad and then dies.
- Team Fortress 2: Most of the maps have names appropriate for where hat-obsessed mercenaries kill one another on a constant basis (Badwater Basin, Double Cross, Offblast, etc.)
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. The administrators just had to name the prison "Butcher Bay" to make its nature abundantly clear.
- Shay's story in Broken Age sees him visiting systems like "Danger System 5", and "Prima Doom".
Shay: Danger System 5, I know of only four more dangerous places in the galaxy!
- A Super Mario Bros X Thing: Prelude to the Stupid has murder death place zone. It's aptly named, much to the chagrin of its creator.
- Wildstar has Malgrave, the Southern and Western Grimvault, and the home of the current Big Bad, Blighthaven. They are even less inviting than they sound. And they're adjacent to each other.
- If your region's Delegate and/or Founder in NationStates is sufficently annoyed with you, they can eject you to the "Rejected Realms". Subverted since Gameplay Derailment has turned it into a nicer place than most of the regions you're likely to get kicked out of.
- The town of E-ville, which appears in a book-exclusive side-story in Sluggy Freelance.
- Parodied in this Penny Arcade strip.
- The Order of the Stick has The Perilous Path of Crushing Doom.
Redcloak: Please tell me it's actually filled with cute fuzzy bunnies, and they just named it that to be ironic.
- Most of the nations on the Western Continent qualify: Dictatoria, Cruelvania, East and West Despotonia, The Empire of Blood, etc.
- Parodied in Footloose, where heroes seek out places named like this, because even though they're usually just as dangerous as the name implies, the Theory of Narrative Causality tends to favor the heroes more strongly.
- Hellmurder Island from Homestuck. That isn't its official name (it has no name) but it just isn't a nice place to live. Also The Land of Wrath and Angels.
- Nodwick: When Nodwick is stuck in a Bad Future run by the God of Evil Baphuma'al (a Name To Run Away From in his own right), he studies a map of the Big Bad's Black Citadel...involving locations such as the Grand Hall Of Pain, the Blood Of The Innocent Causeway and the Hall Of Evisceration. Promptly lampshaded in this exchange:
Nodwick: "Who named all of these places, anyway?"
Future Artax: "Who do you think? A worse question would be why."
- Competing page quote, from The Dead Girl:
Hugh Brooks: Who names a town Bloody Springs... and then lives there?
- Ichor Falls.
- Inversion in AH.com: The Series:
Redem: That would put it somewhere in the Valley of Tears, near the Waterfall of Forever, in the old tombs in the Fields of Dreams.
Evil MrP: Well, the Tears are those shed after the six million men of General Elasticus were burned as heretics by accident in the battle there due to a communications error, leading to it being lost…the Forever is the thousands of years that valley was fought over in endless bitter wars…the Dreams are those of the Lord High Insurgent Pieter von Killemall and his sadly never-realised plan to carve this entire planet into a huge truncheon to hit the Logic Gods in the face with and bless it through the mass sacrifice of its entire population…
- In the web short The House That Drips Blood On Alex, the titular character played by Tommy Wiseau should have known better than to buy a house on Blood Street.
- In Reflets d'Acide, the "quest" is an incursion into the Chaotic Lands, to various places with friendly names such as the Cave of the Flayed Herpes.
- The Sick Land
- The Simpsons:
Agent: We have places your family can hide in peace and security: Cape Fear, Terror Lake, New Horrorfield, Screamville —
Homer: (enthusiastically) Ooh, Ice Creamville!
Agent: Er, no, Screamville.
Homer: (scared) Aah!
I sentence you to a lifetime of horror on Monster Island! [GASP!]
Don't worry, it's just a name. Lisa: (being chased by monsters)
He said it was just a name! Guy:
What he meant is that Monster Island is actually a peninsula!
- And then there's the Murderhorn, the insurmountable highest peak in Springfield.
- And there's Foreboding Widow's Peak.
Carl: Hey, I heard we're goin' to Ape Island.
Lenny: Yeah, to capture a giant ape.
Carl: I wish we were going to Candy Apple Island.
Charlie: Candy Apple Island? What do they got there?
Carl: Apes. But they're not so big.
- When Marge joins the police force, Chief Wiggum informs her that, as a new officer, her beat will consist of Bumtown and Junkieville.
- Double-Subverted when Troy McClure is featured in a promotional video for the Meat Council:
Troy: Come on Jimmy, let's take a peek at the killing floor.
Troy: Don't let the name throw you, Jimmy. It's not really a floor, it's more of a steel grating that allows material to sluice through so it can be collected and exported.
- "I should have got off at Crackton..."
- When Dr. Colossus is released in "Who Shot Mr. Burns (Part 2)":
Wiggum: Okay, Colossus, you're free to go, but stay away from Death Mountain.
Colossus (Sadly) But all my stuff is there...
- A mild example is Spittle County, "Birthplace of the Loogie" and home to various unpleasant rural stereotypes.
- "The Forbidden Zone is just a name, like the Death Zone, or the Zone of No Return. All the zones have names like that in the Galaxy of Terror!" (Ironically, the trip was actually going great until it turned out the alien emperor wanted out of Fry's stomach.)
- Also the Planet Express crew had a bad experience on Cannibalon. Bender enjoyed the food, though.
- A few of Farnsworth's missions qualify, such as Sicily 8, the Mob planet (not helped by the fact that they were delivering subpoenas; one of them gave Fry the kiss of death, but Fry was suspicious about the real reason, saying later he thought the guy was gay) and Ebola 9, the Virus Planet.
- Subverted in the following exchange:
Leela: According to this, the fountain is located within the darkest, most ancient region of space, just past Teddy Bear Junction.
Prof. Farnsworth: Teddy Bear Junction. The worse scum hole in the universe.
- A Double Subversion in "Bender's Game" with the Cave of Hopelessness. It was named after its founder, Reginald Hopelessness... the first man to be eaten alive by the Tunnelling Horror.
- Camp Wannaweep in Kim Possible.
- Loonatics Unleashed: Who in their right mind would want to holiday on an island named 'Apocalypso'?
- Abysus from Generator Rex.
- South Park has the appropriately named "Hell's Pass Hospital."
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Arguably the entire Fire Nation. Within that, we have the Boiling Rock.
- The Serpent's Pass, which should give you an idea what kind of critters you should watch out for.
- Lake Laogai, named after the labor camps of communist China.
- Si Wong Desert doesn't sound too bad, until you learn that "Si Wong" means "death" or "to die" in Chinese.
- Storm Hawks gives us Terra Cyclonia, Terra Gruesomus, the Black Gorge, and the ever-popular Wastelands.
- Earthworm Jim, trying to track down Psycrow, reads the Idiot's Guide To Hideously Dangerous Places; featuring entries on The Pit Of Unimaginable Fear, The Cavern Of Flesh Ripping Weasels, and Detroit. He turns out to be at The Boulevard of Acute Discomfort.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Ghastly Gorge - home to jagged rocks, huge thorned plants and giant eel-things that try to eat anything that passes by. Also Tartarus apparently exists in Equestria. Any place that shares a name with the ancient Greek underworld can't be very nice.
- In Adventure Time, there's the Scary Dark Forest, the Sea of Sure Death, the Badlands, and the Desert of Doom.
- Who Killed Who? is set in a spooky manor on the "Gruesome Gables".
- Spliced is set on Keepaway Island.
- Rocket Power has a dangerous mountain board course called "Bruised Man's Curve."
- Lampshaded in the Animaniacs episode "Spell-Bound" (which was, incidentally, the first half-hour episode starring Pinky and the Brain extensively). While travelling through the Enchanted Forest to the Murky Mountain, the pair comes across a signpost pointing to the "Glade of Woe", the "Chasm of Despair" and the "Pit of Barbecue". (In regards to the last one, the Brain says, "Perhaps later.")
- Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and Shrieking Sixties. Not I Love the Exties, but the latitudes where the westerlies are the prevailing winds. Named after the latitudes at the Southern hemisphere, but they do exist in North as well. While they are the fastest route for circumnavigating the globe, they are also dangerous - the wind speeds can easily exceed 40 knots on fair weather.
- Psycho Path in Minnesota does not mollify its name with its looks - it's a dark, rural path, literally surrounded by an overgrown forest.
- Some feel that the very shape of Broom Rape Lane in Arizona actually manages to evoke certain vague and unpleasant connotations.
- Shades of Death Road in New Jersey seems to have a lonely remote wood cabin as the only place of human residence nearby. It's supposedly available, if you're interested.
- While the name of the small and remote Truth or Consequences in New Mexico might be interpreted in several ways (it actually came from a forgotten US TV show), the fact that for decades it had apparently been the chosen place of a particularly vicious serial killer certainly does not help the less grim interpretations.
- The exact story behind the name of Cannibal Road in California is supposedly currently unknown. While it could obviously be due to a simple case of missing records, neither does it seem to be known if anyone actually ever went there to ask for the story and returned.
- Look-wise, Bucket of Blood Street fortunately does not live up to its name.
- Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. There's a hospital on that street.
- Bad Route Road in Montana, just off Interstate 94
- There's also the Hell Gate at the beginning of the Long Island Sound. With the accompanying Hell Gate bridge, cheerfully painted red.
- In Real Life, Asians consider that place names with "dark" overtones are bad luck, and avoid using them. No Asian would have named a town Tombstone or a location Death Valley.
- On that note: Tombstone and Death Valley.
- Though some characters do share the "dark" meaning, and sometimes misunderstood by other Asians speaking different languages. One of the examples is Yam O in Hong Kong. While Yam does mean "dark" in Cantonese (and Mandarin, in that matter), it also means "North of the hill and south of water", which is the original meaning of the place name. It does not help that when Disney decided to build a Disneyland nearby, and the government decided to change part of Yam O's name to Yan Ou (a.k.a. Sunny Bay). Disneyfication taken to a new level.
- Tiu Keng Leng. It means "Hanging (neck) Ridge".
- Because Four Is Death, it's far from uncommon for Asians (especially older or more-traditional ones) to change the street number or telephone number of premises they occupy to exclude the number four, much as many Western buildings omit the 13th floor because Thirteen Is Unlucky.
- Norway has got a neighborhood of sorts named Slemdal, which means "Mean Valley", which causes children that don't live there to think that everyone living there is mean, really mean.
- Real Life / The Bible: Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.
- Or, to use the Latinized translation "Calvary", which means the same thing.
- For that matter, Gehenna. It was essentially a giant trash pit. It is also often used as a synonym for Hell. Indeed, its cognate in Arabic, Jahannam, is the Arabic word for Hell.
- Worse, the reason that Gehenna got its infernal reputation (and the reason it was used for burning garbage) is that area was used as the "sacred" site of a very short-lived cult of Moloch during a time when the Jewish population caved in to foreign invaders and began worshipping other gods. Moloch demanded the sacrifice of children, which is a massive crime in the Jewish ethic. Once the zealots had shown the cultists the door (or the sword), they figured the place was so tainted by the acts done there that the only thing that could be done was turn it into a garbage dump for Jerusalem.
- Most translations of the Bible use the term "the dark valley" or something to this effect in the well known and much quoted Psalm 23. The King James Bibles calls it "The Valley of Shadow and Death".
- The road leading to Golgotha was no slouch either - Via Dolorosa, or "Road of Suffering".
- Hell, California, Hell, Michigan, Hell, Norway, Helvete, Norway, and Hell, Grand Cayman. Also, not quite as scary, but still bad: Colon, Michigan.
- In January, 2014, the one in Michigan actually froze over.
- Hell, Norway only counts for anglophones, though. Even better was the local railway goods depot, Hell Godsexpedition
- Hells Canyon, carved by the waters of the Snake River, lying below the Seven Devils Mountains. Tell me that's not ominous.
- Similarly, Colón, Cuba, (Colón being the Spanish name of the guy known as Columbus in English) which happens to be located in the province of Matanzas, "Slaughters". However, Morón, also in Cuba, does mean the same thing as in English.
- London (England, not Ontario) has a few of these. Shoot Up Hill (in Kilburn, which itself almost qualifies) and Reaper's Close (in Camden).
- Also Crouch End, a name which Stephen King found so creepy that he wrote a Lovecraftian short story with that title.
- Cherepovets, a Russian city. Its name means "(city) of the skulls". The historical reason for such a name choice is that the city was actually built on an old pagan shrine.
- Incidentally, it's the birthplace of Vassiliy Vereshchagin, a famous Russian painter, who painted the previous picture in this article (called "The Apotheosis of War" ◊).
- South Murderkill, Delaware.
- More fully, South Murderkill Hundred, which only seems to imply the number of people who were murderkilled there.
- Pile-of-Bones, Saskatchewan. Renamed (to Regina) and made the capital of the province. Also: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo-Jump. Which is an interesting case of a creepy name that's also Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- More like "I'm Rather Suspicious About The Name Of That Place", but in Newfoundland there's Dildo, Placentia, Come-By-Chance, and so many more that there's a song about it. "Historians are still debating whether Newfoundland was discovered by Leif Ericson or Sigmund Freud."—Dave Broadfoot
- The name of Shaka Zulu's capital roughly translates to "Place of Slaughter".
- Chickamauga. Site of a bloody Civil War battle. The name is often said to translate as "River of Death," which seems rather prophetic.
- The Gettysburg battlefield features a spectacular jumble of huge ancient boulders. Locals had been calling it Devil's Den long before 1863 battle fought there.
- There are two villages in England named Upper and Lower Slaughter. They're actually ridiculously picturesque and quaint little places.
- Pee Pee Creek, in southern Ohio. Not too scary, unless you need to drink from it.
- There are Swedish cities and towns with a location at least unofficially known as Galgbacken (Gibbet Slope) or Galgberget (Gibbet Hill). Public executions ended in the mid 19th century, but the names live on.
- Uppsala, Sweden, has the officially named Rackarberget (Torturer's Hill or Hangman's Hill).
- Such places also exist in other countries, for instance there are many German towns with a Galgenberg (Gallow's Hill).
- There's also Pungpinan (literally "Scrotum Pain") in southern Stockholm. (The name actually comes from the name of an old inn, known for its high prices that punished traveller's purses... Over the years, though, the word "pung" has come to mean a different kind of pouch.)
- Kholat Syakhl means Mountain of the Dead. Nine Soviet hikers died under odd circumstances there. The Other Wiki has this to say: "the chronology ... remains unclear due to the lack of survivors."
- Devil's Tower, the Badlands, and the Black Hills in the Northwest United States.
- Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, NY.
- Cape Fear, North Carolina. Also, Kill Devil Hills, Transylvania, Boiling Springs, Black Mountain, Seven Devils and Batcave. Though the last one mostly sounds awesome.
- The two moons of Mars are named Phobos and Deimos, a.k.a. Fear and Panic. To be fair, those were the helpers of Mars, the Roman god of war.
- Inverted with the planet Venus, however. Despite being named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, the planet is actually the most hostile in our own Solar System, and the closest place we've ever found to Hell! Maybe not so inappropriate?
- In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Mount Tripyramid has a secondary peak named "The Fool Killer."
- Fresh Kills, Staten Island, New York. Home to one of the worlds largest (closed) garbage dumps, with mounds taller than the Statue of Liberty. The name is entirely incidental, though, as it's Dutch- kills means creek.
- In a bit of astronomer wit, the dwarf planet Eris and its moon Dysnomia, Goddesses of strife and discord, and lawlessness respectively. Bonus points since Eris was at first nicknamed Xena, played by Lucy Lawless.
- Teufelsberg (Devil's Hill), Berlin, Germany. An artificial hill made of WW2 debris built upon the ruins of a Nazi military college. And a nice place for hiking, kite flying and skiing.
- The "Boca del Infierno" name from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not at all implausible as a colonial name in California, which has no shortage of placenames like "Monte Del Diablo" (Devil's Mountain, or Mt. Diablo as its now called).
- There is in fact a 1,970 foot deep mine shaft in Guanajuato, Mexico called "Boca del Infierno," as well as a channel in Salinas, Puerto Rico that also shares the name.
- Mounts Erebus and Terror in Antarctica. Not sure why Erebus is a bad name? It's the ancient Greek god of darkness and shadows, the son of Chaos. Actually named after the explorer's ships, not any particularly dark or terrifying qualities the mountains may or may not have had.
- The name might be somewhat appropriate. The worst peace time disaster in New Zealand's history occurred when Air New Zealand Flight 901 plowed into Mount Erebus under white out conditions, killing all 257 people on board.
- That said, both are not places you want to stay for long. Erebus likes to throw out rocks at a nice fraction of the speed of sound.
- Erebus is one of the only places in the world you can find a real-life permanent lake of lava. The glow is visible from space.
- There's also Cape Disappointment on South Georgia. Captain Cook thought he had discovered Antarctica... until the ship rounded the cape.
- There's also a Cape Disappointment in Washington state, so named because fur trader John Meares just missed discovering the Columbia River because he turned around just north of the Cape.
- Vorkuta, Russia, is Nenets for "place is full of bears."
- Cyclone, Indiana. No doubt the weather's lovely.
- Gorge of Despair, California.
- One of the districts of Prague is called Hrdlořezy ("Cutthroats").
- Other names in the Czech Republic include Jedovary ("Poisonmakers"), Měcholupy ("Pouch-stealers"), Všetaty ("All thieves"), Mrchojedy ("Carcass-eaters") ... There's also a number of places called Peklo ("Hell").
- Similarly, Karmanitsky Alley in Moscow is one letter away from meaning "Pickpockets' Alley".
- Fucking, Austria.
- It's pronounced "Fook-ing" and the entire town is eternally pissed because everybody keeps stealing their signs!
- It doesn't stop them from making ale ("helles" in German) called Fucking Hell.
- Just because the place wasn't discussed in detail: Death Valley. The temperatures reach well over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, water is all but nonexistent except in the cacti which have prickly if not poisonous spines, there are venomous rattlesnakes that make their home there, and you can die from heat exhaustion or dehydration in minutes without the aforementioned nonexistent water. And to make the extremes worse when the sun finally goes down the temperatures take a drastic drop at that point it's safe to wander around due to the lower temps but the sudden temperature change can be shocking to visitors. Once in it's very easy to get lost.
- From Australia
- Mount Hopeless, South Australia. Yeah.
- Oh, it gets better. There's actually four Mount Hopeless's in Australia; the aforementioned one, one in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in New South Wales. Whether it makes it less creepy (due to the obvious lack of creativity in namingnote ) or not, is probably up to the individual
- Mount Buggery, Victoria.
- Mount Disappointment, also Victoria
- Lake Disappointment, Western Australia. Named by the explorer Frank Hann who expected a fresh water lake but found salt.
- Slaughter Falls in Brisbane, Australia. Named after a person, actually.
- Dismal Swamp.
- Cape Tribulation
- On the southeast coast, Mount Agony.
- Cannibal Creek in Victoria. The town later changed its name to Garfield but the actual creek still bears that name.
- Lichfield, UK. Translated to ME: Corpse field
- Or left as is to ME: Lich field
- A rather famous landmark in Nebraska was once referred to by the natives as "Elk Penis". Oregon Trailers naturally decided to be a bit more discreet about it.
- Apparently not the same explorers who named the Grand Tetons.
- Bahía Inútil (Useless Bay), Isla Desolación (Desolation Island), Golfo de Penas (Gulf of Grief), Seno de la Última Esperanza (Last Hope Fjord), Faro del Fin del Mundo (End of the World's Lighthouse) and my personal favourite, Puerto Hambre (Port Famine), are all real places of the Patagonia (both Argentinean and Chilean). And they have this names not out of fancy or tradition, they were named out of 100% pure refined Spaniard despair.
- While Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire, literally) sounds like a suitable name like, for example, Hell, it actually was named out of some mysterious fires Magallanes saw in his expedition, which were presumably made by the Shelknam people. But hey, tell that to a bunch of half crazy half starved scurvy freezing Spaniards crossing one of the most hellish and labyrinthic straits in the world, at night, seeing strange lights on the shore while one of them starts to mumble that they defied God's will and reached the End Of The World, i.e., Hell, and those fires you see are the Army of Darkness kindling the fire to make some nice and crispy Conquistador BBQ...
- Tierra del Fuego it is still called El Fin del Mundo. Because it is.
- Not that bad names are exclusive to Patagonia. Salar del Hombre Muerto (Dead Man Salt Desert), Catamarca, Argentina. Yeah, guess why they gave it that name.
- Argentina is in love with this trope: let me introduce you to Salsipuedes ("Get out if you can"), Córdoba province. Doubtful sense of humour, at best.
- And of course, La Garganta del Diablo (the devil's throat). Although that one is literally pretty awesome.
- Al ver verás ("At seeing, you will see"), Buenos Aires, is of a more subtle variety. The name is so ambiguous, it can be either a good or sinister omen, depending on your mood... and on what you actually find there. Eldritch Abominations? Neverending Happiness?. Go ahead, boy, and you will see... But there is some kind of warning there...? Hey, when just the sign of the place starts to play mind games with you, you should know this can't be any good.
- La Matanza (The Slaughter). It also has a reputation for being the most dangerous Partido in the Greater Buenos Aires.
- Spain itself has the scenic Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) and Finisterre (Land's End, or End of the Earth) in the northwestern region of Galicia. Some locations with picturesque names include the mountain pass of Despeńaperros (Throw the Dog Down the Cliff).
- Most Evil Empires even in Real Life seem to prefer fancy and nice sounding names for slave camps and torture prisons. An exception would be the Nazis, who named their Annihilation Campsnote exactly for what they were. The closest thing to Hell ever seen on earth.
- The town Reet in Belgium. In Dutch (the language spoken in the region of Reet), the town's name means arse (and more specifically, the smelly part of it).
- Malignant Cove, Nova Scotia. Even though the name was changed to Milburn in 1915, the area is still known by its previous name.
- Boring, Oregon. You have been warned.
- Isn't that more of a Name To Just Keep Driving Through?
- Malheur(Bad Luck) Lake , and the surrounding Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Malheur County, in Oregon.
- Slaughter, Washington. Biggest motel? The "Slaughter House". Town renamed to Auburn, later on.
- There's also Thrasher's Corner in Bothell.
- And Cape Disappointment.
- The province of Quebec has, or has had (and the overwhelming majority are "has"): three Devil's Bay (fr "Baie du Diable" or "Baie au Diable"), one Devil's Dam, six Devil's Cape, two Devil's Road, two Devil's Channel, ten Devil's Falls, two Devil's Height, one Devil's Creek, one Devil's Fountain (a natural gas source), five Devil's Island, twenty-five Devil's Lake, one Devil's Pond, three Devil's Mountain/Mt Devil, one Devil's Bridge, seven Devil's Rapids, one Devil's Ravine, four Devil's River, five Devil's Brook, three Devil's Hole (a rapid, a cavern and a ravine) and one Devil's valley. To these one must add two "Evil Bays" (La Malbaie and Mal-bay near Percé), one Lake Lucifer, one Lucifer's Rapid, six Hell Lake, two Hell Cape, one Hell river, two Hell Brooks, three Gates-of-Hell lakes, one Gate-of-Hell mountains, four Gates of Hell brooks (and in total 33 bridges, rapids, brooks, falls, notches and others that all found their way to having "Gates of Hell" in their name). Among others.
- If those weren't scary enough, one town retains the name of what was, for a long time, its chief export, a material now banned for being a known carcinogen. Welcome to Asbestos!
- Cut and Shoot, Texas. Cut and Shoot was named after a 1912 community confrontation that almost led to violence, the circumstances of which are debated. Whatever the circumstances were, a small boy at the scene reportedly declared "I'm going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute!" This statement was eventually adopted as the town's name.
- There's a lovely family beach on Lake Superior in Michigan. The name? Misery Bay.
- Komoka, a town in northern Ontario. Komoka translates as "Quiet place of the dead".
- Singapore's Sentosa Island was formerly known as "Pulau Blakang Mati", literally translated as "Island Behind Death". This has been interpreted as "Island Beyond Death" by some.
- And then there's "Pulau Hantu", which is quite simply "Ghost Island".
- Skullbone, Tennessee. Apparently so named because it was the meeting place of the local 19th-century Fight Club.
- The part of the East River in New York City called Hell Gate.
- Apparently around 1230 CE there was an English street named Gropecuntelane. Some sort of red-light district perhaps?
- The Hindu Kush Mountains means Hindu Killer. At one time slave caravans full of captive Hindus would traverse these mountains. A sizable portion of the captives didn't make it as was common in the trade.
- The Dead Sea Between Jordan and Israel
- Hadhramaut in Yemen. The name means "death has come". But it's not a Death World, and a lot of people of Arabic descent in South-East Asia can trace their ancestry there. On the other hand, one notable person of Hadhramauti descent is a certain Osama bin Laden…You may have heard of him...
- A subversion of the Asian rule above is Mount Osore in Japan, literally "Mount Fear". It lives up to its name: the place is far from anywhere, and it looks like Death World, volcanic activity and all.
- There was once a place in Morocco known as Tazmamart. If that sounds scary to you, it should: it was the world's worst political prison in a time when the Gulag still existed.
- The Heart Attack Grill, a restaurant in Chandler, Arizona.
- Mexico City has an avenue called Barranca del Muerto (Dead Man's Gully), the place got that name because there was a gorge there and during The Mexican Revolution, the revolutionaries dropped corpses on the spot. Folklore has it that the dead roam the area. And for the record: Its subway station symbol shows vultures swooping down.
- The Hague (Netherlands) has a district called Monster.
- In Finland, Lapin Helvetti (Hell of Lapland) in the municipality of Kolari. The place itself is an extremely beautiful deep caldera lake, but resembles the pits of Hell.
- Kolari itself has meant orignally "colliery", but in colloquial Finnish means today "car crash".
- Town of Varkaus in Finland. The word means "theft". The name is not due to criminal activity, but that a stream "steals" the water off a nearby lake.
- Municipality of Sodankylä in Finland. The name means "war village".
- Nearby river Sotajoki. The name means "war river"
- Town of Outokumpu in Finland. Literally "weird mound" - the hill glowed in the dark. It was found to be one of the richest copper ore deposits in Europe.
- Municipality of Leppävirta in Finland. Literally "alder river", but leppä can also mean "blood" in Savonian dialect: therefore "blood river".
- Any place with suffix -vaara in Finland. The name implies "steep hill" in Karelian dialect, but in standard Finnish it denotes "danger".
- Municipality of Kyyjärvi in Finland. Literally "viper lake".
- Likewise, islands Hailuoto (Shark Isle) and Raippaluoto (Scourge Isle) at Baltic.
- Islands of Kaparen (Privateer), Rövaren (Pirate) and Rövargrundet (Pirate Shoals) in Espoo archipelago, Finland. The islands look like perfect lurking places for seaborne outlaws.
- Village of Myrkky in the municipality of Karijoki in Finland. The village name is "Poison" in English, and municipality "Craggy River". Ouch.
- After the battle of Minden in 1759, the village of Tonhausen ("clay-housing"), which is situated on the battlefield, was slightly renamed to Totenhausen ("housing of the dead").
- There's a nice stretch of plain that stretches all the way up to North Dakota and stretches all the way down to Louisiana and Texas, now people live in those areas but the most common weather phenomena there are tornados, whirling vortexes of death that pick anything and everything up and then hurl them and woe to those who meet a flying piece of wood at around 300MPH. The name of this place? Tornado Alley.
- One town in South Florida was named after a natural bay found by Spanish explorers... and due to the shape of said bay, it received the rather unflattering name of Boca Raton ("mouth of a rat"). Despite its unsavory name, it's a rather high income town overall.
- Latvia brings to you, English-speakers, the town and river Ogre. It is pronounced differently, though.
- Along the same lines is a mountain in the Swiss Bernese Oberland known as the Eiger - the Ogre. Its North Wall is renowned for its deadliness.
- Sodom, Vermont. Better watch your behind.
- In Oman, there's Wadi Ghul - "Demon Canyon". For extra creepiness, it contains a village also named Ghul, part of which is ancient and abandoned.
- Iwo Jima, or in modern Japanese, Iōto. Not only because of the WWII battle, but the name itself means "Sulfur Island", and the landscape indeed is somewhere between Fire and Brimstone Hell and Mordor.
- Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in Russian it is the same word that is used for Ivan "the Terrible"'s nickname. Both English and Russian languages had changed over the time, so "Grozny" isn't usually translated as "Terrible" nowadays. It's more like "Menacing", or, more literally, "Thundering". Still fits here.
- Karmanitsky Pereulok (lit: Pickpocket Lane) in Moscow. Grokholsky Pereulok, also from Moscow, fits unintentionally because it sounds similar to the Russian slang word for murder.
- The Taklamakan Desert. There's some dispute about the meaning of the name, but none of them are pleasant. Some say it means "Abandoned place" or "Place of ruins", while others say "Point of no return" or "Go in and you won't come out". Its nickname is "The Desert of Death". All of which are accurate.
- "L'Ile du Diable" (The Devil's Island) in French Guiana. It harboured a penal colony.
- The village of Saighton (pronounced Satan) in Chester, England. Who would call a village that? Is the local church called the Church of Saighton? Does it contain Lucifer Road, Beelzebub Square? Mephistopheles Avenue? Might as well!
- A result of a misunderstanding rather than an actual name, when making a military map in Romania, one of the locals was asked by the non Romanian speaking map-makers to identify the names of every single geographic landmark in the region so he can put the names on the map. The local identified several slopes (all called Poala X - or Slope X) but failed to remember one and dropped a "pula calului" (horse cock). The expression made it on the map.
- Deliberately invoked by the "One Way Inn" in Erie, Pennsylvania. There's a sign on the building near its name that says "No Way Out".
- The Black Country, UK, which lived up to its name during the Industrial Revolution.
- The infamous Tuol Sleng former prison in Cambodia. The name translates out to "Strychnine Hill." Granted, this was originally from the trees that grew in the area that were poisonous because of naturally-occurring strychnine, but grimly apropos due to the atrocities committed within.
- Fleshmarket Close in Edinburgh. Bonus points in that it is a) a very thin, dirty, and creepy alleyway, b) the site of several real-life muggings, rapes, and even a murder, and c) not somewhere you want to have to walk down at night.
- In Vancouver, Canada, Blood Alley Square used to be the slaughterhouse district. It's now a rather quiet residential street and home to numerous small businesses.
- In Iceland several volcanic formations bear ominous names.
- In 1875 an explosion crater by the volcanic site Askja formed. The crater soonish filled with water, hot and sulphurous. This lake is called Víti, meaning Hell.
- Surtsey, the island that formed off of the south coast in the sixties, is named for the fire gigant Surtr, from the Norse Mythology. Surtr will lead the fire giants against the Gods at Ragnarök, and the fires that follow him will scorch the entire realm of men.
- There is a hamlet in England called Nasty.
- The Dark Divide, a wilderness area in Washington State that is perhaps unsurprisingly associated with Bigfoot sightings.
- Massachusetts has a Misery Island, Doleful Pond, Purgatory Chasm State Park, and Satans Kingdom Wildlife Management Area.
- Big Bear, California is home to a small street called Starvation Flats. No word on how exactly it got the name in the middle of a lush forest.
- Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine, Florida. Matanzas as mentioned previously means slaughters. So you have Fort Slaughters and in St. Augustine you have Matanzas High School otherwise known as Slaughters High School. The reason the fort is named Fort Matanzas is that in 1756 when Florida was still under Spanish control a ship of frenchmen due to a hurricane crashed where the fort now stands. They were hoping for Fort Caroline to the north of Jacksonville. Hernando Menendez de Aviles the governor of St. Augustine found the frenchmen and ordered them all killed. Thus Fort Matanzas was born.
- "The Heart Attack Café" in downtown Las Vegas