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Nightmarish Factory
And you think your Mondays suck...

"In the Rainbow Factory, where your fears and horrors come true. In the Rainbow Factory, where not a single soul gets through..."
WoodenToaster, song that inspired Rainbow Factory

Factories made to look like one of the circles of Hell. This goes beyond the typical sweatshop aspects of long hours, slave wages, and No OSHA Compliance. Those things may happen through negligence, but this factory cranks all those aspects Up to Eleven on purpose, until the place is an enclosed Crapsack World.

People are walking zombies there, and may die at any moment, while the cold, lifeless (or are they) machines don't stop moving. For some people, death may be a release. Those at the top either live fat off their profits, or are suffering from the effects of the environment as well, likely going insane slowly. And expect various amounts of smog, smoke, and toxic waste being spewed outside.

This trope started when mainstream factories didn't have anything in the way of child labor laws or occupational safety standards, and then people were horrified by the meat factory descriptions given in the book The Jungle, and infamous Real Life incidents like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

Compare Dystopia, Industrial Ghetto, Polluted Wasteland, Industrialized Evil.

Not to be confused with the band Fear Factory.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Fan Fiction

Films — Animated
  • An entire city (at least) is like this in the Bad Future of Meet the Robinsons.
  • The Chop Shop in Robots is this, both in appearance and in how it's seen in-world. The fact that the owner looks like a female robot Satan doesn't help one bit.

Films — Live-Action
  • The lower classes in Metropolis worked in a place like this.
  • The Petpak pet food factory in the Razorback certainly qualifies as one.
  • Swedish animated movie Resan Till Melonia has orphans forced to work in a Nightmarish Factory that covers an entire island. Kid Hero Ferdinand has escaped from there.
  • Through its use of cinematography and lighting, The Machinist makes an ordinary machine shop seem this way.
  • In a short segment in Head, The Monkees are being walked through a factory - as the guide extols the good life it brings, Davy keeps seeing unsettling scenes - an employee drinks blood from a spigot, a desk worker's head drops off - but the others impatiently tell him to keep up.
  • The setting of the slasher film Hazmat.
  • The factory in which Max works in the film Elysium (2013)

Literature
  • The phrase "dark satanic mills" was coined by poet William Blake in his poem Jerusalem (1808) to describe the factories of the industrial revolution.
  • The meat packing industry in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle can be considered as the Trope Namer.
    • That's more of a modern interpretation, which is, ironically, is what the author intended. Sinclair, who was a committed socialist, originally wanted to showcase the flagrant abuse of workers, dangerous working conditions and owners' complete disregard of everything except their profits. Society of the day, however, latched on the (quite colorful, true) description of the industry's products, and unsanitary conditions in which they were made. The resulting outcry basically led to establishment of the Food and Drug Administration. As Sinclair himself said:
      I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.
    • You don't want to know what really goes on in the slaughterhouse in Matthew Stokoe's Cows
  • The West German Steel Mill in GŁnther Wallraff's Ganz Unten (The Lowest of the Low) was described to be a true hell factory for the workers. Just wondering how it may have been in East Germany...
  • 19th century Swedish writer Viktor Rydberg wrote the poem "Den nya grottesŚngen" ("The New Grotti Song"; the title is a reference to a magical mill in Norse Mythology that could mill gold out of nothing) to draw attention to the horrors of the industry of his era. Even little children are forced to work at the Grotti Mill, and the workers don't get food or water but are simply worked until they drop dead.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Certain hive-cities and Forge Worlds in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Their Chaotic counterparts, Hell Forges, even more so.
  • The entirety of Autochthonia, Realm of Brass and Shadow, in Exalted. It's the interior of a machine-god, and it's large enough to be a self-contained world.
  • The Quiet Furnace from Magic: The Gathering is an interesting case. While the factory is run by the Phyrexians, and its purpose is to burn the dead and reforge their metallic bodies into more Phyrexians, its leader Urabrask allows Mirran Resistance to take refuge there.
    • Classical Phyrexia was a much straighter example, since it lacked the benevolent traits infused by the inclusion of significant non-black mana, especially red.

Video Games
  • Every Glukkon factory in Oddworld.
  • The entirety of the Pitt in the Fallout 3 DLC of the same name.
  • The infamous factory level in Kirby 64.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, the Hatter's Domain is this after being taken over by the March Hare and Dormy.
  • The penultimate stage in Half-Life 2, The Factory, is an alien version of this.
    • There's also the antiquated waste processing area in the original Half-Life, which has pounding crusher pistons and glowing tanks of acid.
  • Stage 5 of Hard Corps: Uprising can be this. After sneaking in through what appears to be an ordinary (and poorly lit) base, the heroes are attacked by mechanical monsters that are constantly being dumped out onto conveyor belts. When defeated, they fall backwards and explode into pieces that can damage a character. The boss is a flying alien-looking fetus thing inside a case with mechanical arms and weapons attached to it. Bahamut experiences the real 'Nightmare' part of this trope. Playing as Krystal (and reading her storyline loading screen after this stage) reveals that those mechanical monsters used to be people, and that she could see Bahamut was visibly disturbed about gunning down what may have been be his ex-comrades.
    • The second half of Stage 3 of Contra: Shattered Soldier also fits this. After you have destroyed the small Helicopter Blender, you enter the factory, facing the grinding machine and the chubby alien thing that produces inanimate molds. Defeat it and it gets into grinding machine along with the molds, getting grinded into the grinding machine. Next, you will see an alien snake (looks like Devil Dragon Emperor Java) that spits the hazardous bubbles as well as poisonous acids. Beat the alien snake, and two rolling turrets following it, and you will face a giant robot that breaks the wall and chases you.
  • The pipe factory in Beneath a Steel Sky, where the Corrupt Corporate Executive in charge doesn't even bother to provide a radiation suit for the employee working with the nuclear reactor. Unsurprisingly, the employee in question is later found dead from radiation poisoning.
  • Grunty Industries of Banjo-Tooie.
  • The Processing Plant in Quake II, where you get to watch your comrades get turned into Strogg chow.
  • Smithy's Weapons Factory from Super Mario RPG is a cross between this and Ominous Floating Castle.
  • The titular machine in Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Not only is it a filthy, bloody, kilometric slaughterhouse with a raving lunatic of a controller, but it's alive, it intends to pull a Mercy Kill on the entirety of humanity, crafts Manpigs out of still-living humans and intends to become a god by way of industrialized human sacrifice.
  • The insane-looking toy factory at the penultimate level of 102Dalmatians: Puppies To The Rescue. One of the rooms is a giant chamber filled with hovering cubes and giant electromagnets, described as "Professor Farsboom's Electromagnetic Experiment Chamber". And let's not forget that giant "super-gloop" cannon that Cruella uses on you in the level after that.
  • Obsidian has a powerless factory holding a massive robotic spider, a level that IS a character's nightmare, which you get to experience firsthand thanks to nanobots who built it. One of four elemental mini-worlds also uses this trope with a factory that builds the nanobots.

Web Original

Western Animation


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