Mainlining the Monster

Where most people see danger in monstrous creatures, some see dollar signs. When a monster is the source of a substance (often a drug) that can be sold for massive profits, or bartered for power over others, then people looking to cash in on its byproducts may prove more dangerous than the creature itself. If the source-creature is non-sentient, expect it to be kept captive as a resource, until it escapes and goes on a rampage. If it's intelligent, expect it to bind hordes of Mooks to its service with its "gifts", to say nothing of people in positions of political influence... or to be kept captive as a resource anyway. Either way, expect those who crave its byproducts to stand between it and any pesky do-gooder monster hunters who might cut off their supply.

Compare Milking the Monster, where it's the very presence of the monster that works to someone's financial or social/political advantage. Cases where the monster is self-aware and its "gifts" are plot-enabling are Sentient Phlebotinum; those in which the monster is portrayed sympathetically, suffering in its captivity, overlap with Powered by a Forsaken Child. Sometimes overlaps with The Power of Blood.


    open/close all folders 

  • Vampire blood has often been depicted as having the power to extend the natural lifespan of ordinary humans, allowing them to bribe mortals to their service with drops of blood.
  • In real life, the venom of snakes is often extracted, both because it's required to make the antidotes to the venom and because it may actually have other medicinal uses in very small quantities.

    Anime & Manga 
  • If they weren't a massively-profitable source of marketable food for humans, the B-Ms of Bio-Meat: Nectar would've surely been written off as a bad design and destroyed as soon as their appetite for people was noticed. Instead, the Corrupt Corporate Executive whose company created them writes off one catastrophic BM escape after another, and is perfectly content to slaughter innocents and his own son to protect his "product"'s public image.
  • One chapter of Silent Mobius centers on the drug "Domel," a performance enhancer that has the unfortunate side effect of mutating users into monsters and then melting down when their bodies are no longer able to withstand the changes. It's extracted from a captive Lucifer Hawk, an interdimensional demon.

    Comic Books 
  • In the French comic L'Imploseur, the miracle drink Ultra which boosts reflexes, muscles, etc. turns out to be the blood of a goat-human hybrid.
  • One of the reasons Gargamel goes after The Smurfs is because they are an ingredient in a formula for the Philosopher's Stone.
  • In the Alien Verse, aliens produce Royal Jelly which has the same role for this species as it has for real-life bees. However, it is also an extremely valuable substance in human society, used as a powerful and mind-enhancing drug for wealthy individuals. Since the only source of Royal Jelly is often deep inside an alien hive, collecting it can be very dangerous. The Hive mini-series details such an operation.
  • Mutant Growth Hormone was a popular drug in the Marvel Universe, and still resurfaces from time to time despite Daredevil's best efforts.
  • A character in Transmetropolitan injects molecularly replicated Hitler pee.

  • On Pete's Dragon, Doctor Terminus wants to get his hands on Elliot (the titular dragon) to be made into medicines.
  • In Pacific Rim, there's a lucrative black market selling body parts harvested from dead kaiju, and Hannibal Chau is its king. Aside from the kaiju brains (which have too much ammonia), every part of the kaiju is useful (or at least, Chau has convinced his customer base of this fact), even their feces and skin parasites. Thankfully the black market dealers are smart enough to wait until the kaiju are dead before moving in to make their money.
  • In Jason X, someone who got the bright idea to try to experiment on Jason to see if his unkillability can be replicated kicks off the next killing spree.

  • In Perdido Street Station, the slake-moths are a source for the highly addictive drug called dreamshit, and were being milked of this substance before their escape.
  • In All The Rage, blood from Scar-lip the rakosh is the sole source of the Psycho Serum Berzerk.
  • The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, and the TV series based on them, have vampire blood as a hot commodity. It's essentially treated like a very addictive drug.
  • Dune's sandworms are the source of the invaluable Spice, without which galactic civilization would collapse. While keeping them captive is unfeasible to say the least, the need to preserve their species runs at odds with the Fremen drive to make Arrakis more liveable for humans, making it a major political issue.
  • In "Andy Warhol's Dracula", part of Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series, the central character is a drug dealer whose product uses vampire blood as its key ingredient.
  • In Alastair Reynolds' Terminal World, the world has been divided up into differing areas of technology, where the laws of reality are literally different from one are to the next, limiting how advanced certain items can be in certain areas. For the people of this world, traveling between these areas involves suffering from the debilitating "Zone Sickness" that, in severe enough cases (or too fast of a transition between different zones) can kill. Fortunately, creatures called Carnivorgs can synthesize a medicine that alleviates the sickness...unfortunately, as their name would suggest, the Carnivorgs are vicious carnivorous cyborgs who harvest the brain matter from the people they capture.
    • Also from Reynolds: In Chasm City, an alien marooned on Yellowstone is the only source of a drug that can suppress the melding plague.
  • Inverted — or maybe not — in one of the Sonja Blue novels, in which demons use the corpses of especially-evil humans as hard drugs. One demon gets bribed with some of Hitler's teeth.
  • Animorphs: The Venber are a sentient race with unusual physical properties, chief among them that if they are brought to a temperature above freezing, they melt. The resulting liquid is apparently an excellent coolant fluid for supercomputers, and the Venber were hunted to extinction by "The Five" for it.
  • Triffids in The Day of the Triffids are initially culled because their predatory habits pose a threat to humans, but when it turns out they can be exploited as a source of a high quality oil, they are captured, have their stingers removed, and farmed instead.
  • One of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels had a spider monster that produced a spice called glitterstim, which needs to be harvested in complete darkness. The spider uses it to make its webs, while other creatures use it for some kind of mind reading.
  • Star's Tears, from "We Who Stole The Dream", a James Tiptree Jr. short story.
  • The Mercy Thompson series has vampire blood as a restorative.
  • The Red Court from The Dresden Files, whose saliva is addictive and a fairly powerful narcotic, use this to hold onto political power in Latin America.
  • At the end of The Relic, the monster-creating reovirus is used by one of the survivors to concoct a new street drug, Glaze. It turns out to have some nasty side effects in the sequel, and its derivatives are even worse.
  • The chamsfiends (essentially carnivorous lobsters the size of skyscrapers) in The Stormlight Archive have a massive Gem Heart, which is even more valuable because gems are the only way of storing the titular Mana. While hunting adult chasmfiends is quite dangerous, they have a pupal stage in their life cycle, during which they are briefly helpless.

    Live Action TV 
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, a civilization keeps a Gou'ald queen actually the dying Tok'ra queen captive in a tank so they can harvest her symbiotes to make an elixir that can cure any illness.
  • Torchwood:
    • Inverted in Children of Earth, in which the 456 want our children so that they can get high off them.
    • In an episode a small group of humans exploit a Space Whale with a Healing Factor stranded on Earth; they use it for a cheap source of meat to wholesale.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Nightmare of Eden", part of the plot involves the spread of a new addictive drug, and another part of the plot involves a pack of alien monsters roaming around after escaping while being transported by a zoologist. It turns out that the zoologist is the kingpin of the drug operation, and the drug itself is derived from the alien monsters.
  • The 10th Kingdom has rather literal fairy dust, as in the dead remnants of a fairy, which is recreationally snorted by trolls.
  • In Lexx, Kai was animated by "protoblood", a secretion from the last of the Insects. Re-animated assassins like him were part of how His Divine Shadow maintained his tyrannical grip on power.
  • On Forever Knight, a vampire doctor used injections of her own blood as a "miracle youth-restoring treatment" marketed to aging rich people.
  • Vampire dust in the short-lived Blade TV series is another example.
  • Sam on Supernatural did this a bunch of times with demon blood. Sam used it during the season 4 arc to enhance his psychic capabilities to be able to remove a demon possessing a victim without harming the host. He then becomes somewhat addicted to the substance, even keeping a victim possessed so that he can "bulk up" for the final fight.
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures first episode the Bane Mother's excretions are the main ingredient in Bubble Shock cola "It's organic!"
  • In one episode of the Monsters horror anthology, barbers made a mutually beneficial pact with vampires. Vampires have apparently evolved into giant immobile leeches and need the barbers and their customers to offer them their blood. In return, the barbers and customers are given small amounts of the vampires' blood which greatly extends their lifespans. The red swirling barber poles are symbols of the "blood for blood" pact. The narrator and his friend who initially intended to expose the barbers' connection with vampires become customers after tasting the vampires' blood. It helps that nobody is really being hurt in this arrangement.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Shadowrun supplement's shadowtalk includes posts by a sicko who'd kept an Awakened leopard with Healing Factor captive for years, periodically skinning it alive and selling the pelts. The same poster speculated about the possibility of catching a giant regenerating species of shark and selling its meat over and over again.
  • The World of Darkness game series treats vampire blood as a drug.
    • Ashwood Abbey from Hunter: The Vigil sees monsters as good fun. One of their common reactions to meeting some new supernatural creature is, "Is there any way I can get high off of the internal processes of this being?"
  • In the Ravenloft setting, vampires from the Kargat secret police dole out their blood to human minions, the Kargatane, as a means of increasing their strength and delaying their rate of aging.
  • In Age of Aquarius, vampire saliva is used to make a Laser-Guided Amnesia inducing drug. No profit on it is made, though, since the Institute, who owns the technology, is a noncommercial organization, and it needs the drug itself to enforce The Masquerade.
  • Dwarven settlements in the Forgotten Realms sometimes keep captive deepspawn as a food source, feeding them livestock so the aberrations will make numerous copies of meat animals. This can easily backfire on the deepspawn-keepers, if one of their captive monsters ever manages to sink its teeth into something more dangerous than cattle.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the Imperium hates aliens and usually deals with them by a lasgun shot to the head. However some aliens have proven themselves useful and so certain Imperial factions have corralled them for their own benefit. One example are the Jokaero, a barely sentient species of orangutan-like aliens who are somehow master engineers and technologists. The Jokaero can be used to upgrade existing equipment or produce unique pieces of technology, such as rings that pack as much firepower as their pistol equivalents.
  • Warhammer Fantasy also gets into the act with the Empire. Normally intolerant of monsters as they're seen as expressions of Chaos, they have discovered certain monstrous species like the griffin have stabilized and are fantastic for riding into battle. So the Empire either have them privately housed at a Lord's manor or they're kept in the Imperial Zoo (which even includes a dragon for the really desperate battles).

    Video Games 
  • In Chrono Trigger, the Kingdom of Zeal used Lavos as a power source once they discovered it, instead of the sun energy they had been safely using for years.
  • In the Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines sidequest "Thinned Blood", Vandal Cleaver is revealed to have captured a fledgeling vampire and kept her restrained to leech off her blood.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has The Eye of Helios, a Wave Motion Gun powered by the remains of the final boss of the first game fueled by Eridium slag. It is destroyed by Moxxi, Roland and Lilith to keep Jack from abusing its power.
  • BioShock: The little sisters, creepy shells of the children they once were, are organic factories of ADAM, the substance that powers the gene-manipulating plasmids, drug of choice for the Splicers that inhabit Rapture. Even the player has a choice to harvest them for a bigger payday instead of rescuing them.
  • Ultima VII had Silver Serpent Venom as the local super-steroid of choice; The Avatar could discover and ransack the facility where the Silver Serpents were being milked.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Undercity has an engorged Blight Worm chained up that periodically vomits out some green goop, which is collected and used by the Apothacarium in developing Blight and maybe other useful concoctions.
  • City of Heroes has the island of Cap au Diable, named for an oddly-shaped mountain which resembles a pair of horns. Local legend claims that a holy man sealed a demon under the mountain centuries ago. When the resident Mad Scientist goes to sink a geothermal tap, he discovers that the legends are true... and runs the tap right into the bound demon, producing vast quantities of cheap electricity. What could possibly go wrong?
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's 3, the managers of "Fazbear's Frights" are former Freddy Fazbear fans who decided to create a nostalgic horror museum based upon the now-dead Freddy Fazbear pizzeria. Up to and including digging up, restoring and redeploying one of the killer animatronics from the original games.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick: A head-regenerating hydra which was incapacitated by the Order has become the source of meat for an enterprising goblin's hydra-head sandwich franchise.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama the favorite soft drink is Slurm, which is secretly 100% slug juice. As in, it comes from a queen slug. She and her underlings have built a powerhouse corporation by marketing this highly-addictive beverage.