Westley: A few more steps and we'll be safe in the Fire Swamp!In fiction, swamps are often portrayed as godforsaken places that no man enters willingly. When they aren't infested with undead horrors, they hide tribes of hideous frog-, lizard-, or fish-men (or possibly fishlizardfrogmen) who slink from their half-sunken temples to grasp the unwary with their cold hands and drag them beneath the still black water. At the very least, they are the home of poisonous snakes and strange, incurable diseases. Often, there are ancient curses that cause travelers to become lost and wander the swamps forever. A Will-o'-the-Wisp (also called corpse candles) may lead the unwary into quickbogs to die. For extra horror, people who get lost in the swamp may themselves become one of the monsters infesting it. Swamps are also a popular home for witches, voodoo ladies, families of inbred cannibals, zombies, and other unsavoury types. There is an element of Truth in Television to this: swamps were long regarded as dangerous and unsanitary. They tend to attract a lot of insects, which can spread disease; the sodden terrain can make traversing them on foot difficult; many swamps are prone to heavy fog because of all the water, which can make it easy to get lost; and some swamps are also inhabited by dangerous animals, such as alligators and piranhas. More realistic depictions will have swamps as dangerous and unpleasant rather than outright evil. Expect lots of complaining about mud, leeches, and over-sized mosquitoes, and (in summer) the godawful humidity. In real-world folklore, swamps were often regarded as cursed, haunted or full of monsters. This is, of course, the basis for many fictional portrayals. That said, swamps, marshes and other wetlands are an important part of the ecosystem, providing a habitat or breeding ground for many different species. Some are actually quite nice places to go birdwatching or fishing. Swamps are natural water level monitoring devices because in rainy times they collect rainwater as a sponge and thus prevent floods. In dry times swamps are water reservoirs. In a Video Game setting, swamps will frequently be inhabited by zombies or carnivorous plants. Expect to find a lot of Grimy Water as a gameplay mechanic. Not to be confused with Bubblegloop Swamp, though the two may overlap. Compare Don't Go in the Woods.
Buttercup: We'll never survive!
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.
Buttercup: We'll never survive!
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.
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Anime and Manga
- Onigafuchi, in Higurashi: When They Cry, is believed to be the mouth of a dormant volcano, and the villagers believe that it could leak toxic gas at any moment. Big Bad Takano uses this as an excuse to cover the true reasons for the massacre of Hinamizawa.
- The Numa Numa no Mi/Swamp Swamp Fruit Logia-class Devil's Fruit eaten by Caribou allows the user to instantly create a swamp anywhere, and to absorb things into it. However, it's more the person creating the swamps are evil.
- In Episode 22 (and 23 probably) an opponent of Alice uses some sort of mind trick or illusion of this a bit in Pumpkin Scissors.
- Swamp Thing and Man-Thing were both "born" in swamps, as was their Golden Age inspiration, the Heap.
- Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing averted this a bit, as while the swamp was mysterious and sometimes dangerous, evil tended to intrude upon the "clean earth" that was the titular character's place of power.
- Man-Thing isn't really evil either.
- DCU villain Solomon Grundy was created from a dead gangster that was tossed into a swamp.
- Played with in With Strings Attached with the Poison Swamp. The four and the Hunter have to cross Goblin Valley and enter the swamp in order to get to the next portgate. The journey is more nerve-wracking than the swamp, which is blessedly goblin-free, and the four are not at all worried about protecting themselves from the various denizens of the swamp. Too bad they didn't tell the Hunter this. After the Hunter slaughters half a pack of Poison Wolves, it's clear the only "evil" in the swamp is him. John even pegs the swamp as artificial, though he doesn't know why anyone would want a swamp there.
Films — Animated
- In the first Shrek movie, Lord Farquaad exiles all magical creatures to the swamp where the titular ogre already lives. Granted, they're not actually all that evil, but the principle is the same. On a similar principle Shrek lives in the swamp because he's an ogre, and wants to play on the perceptions to get more privacy.
- The Bayou in Disney's Princess And The Frog looks rather murky and is infested with nasty crocodiles. On the other hand, it also plays host to Louis, Ray (and his massive firefly family), and Mama Odie — all friendly. Not to mention, a number of sweet and romantic scenes take place in the Bayou (Tiana and Navine cooking for everyone, or dancing together; their wedding; and Ray appearing as a star in the sky next to Evangeline after his death). Plus, it hosts no less than four musical numbers, all positive in nature (three upbeat songs — including a rousing gospel number — and a lovely moonlit ballad).
- Devil's Bayou from The Rescuers. The presence of Madame Medusa doesn't make it any frendlier.
Films — Live-Action
- The Creature from the Black Lagoon lived in the swampy jungles of the Brazilian rainforest. The film was actually shot in Wakulla County, Florida... an area known for its mosquito-infested swampland.
- Labyrinth has the Bog of Eternal Stench, a wretched swamp that would make anyone unfortunate enough to fall in it stink forever.
- The swamp world of Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi certainly looks evil, there's at least one big, nasty swamp creature interested in eating you, and it contains a strange cave which holds an unusual presence of the Dark Side of the Force. On the other hand, it also is the home of Yoda.
- In The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Deadwood Swamp is a desolate, terrible place. Just see the name.
- While the actual swampland in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is never seen, the King of the Swamp Castle is suspiciously eager to get the hell out of there. So much that he's willing to marry his son to a hideous princess in order to get his hand on her huge... tracts of land, and to later try to adopt her by killing both his son and her father. It is kind of played with. The King tried building the castle atop the swamp just to show his friends that he could make a castle strong enough. It sank into the swamp. He built a second one. It sank into the swamp. Then he built a third one. That one burnt down, fell over and sank into the swamp. The he built a fourth one. That one stayed up. Unsurprisingly, he is kinda proud on the fourth castle's toughness, although it's entirely possible that the only reason the fourth castle didn't sink into the swamp is because it's sitting on top of the sunken ruins of the previous three.
- The monsters of Attack of the Giant Leeches dwell in the swamps of Florida.
- AJ Annila's Sauna is mostly set in a nameless village in the middle of a large swamp. It's not a nice place.
- Some of the movie versions of the below mentioned The Hound of the Baskervilles take the already present horror of the Grimpen Mire and turn it Up to 11. The 2002 version starts with it as a careless policeman chasing after Selden the Serial Killer is engulfed by it on screen; in the end Holmes barely escapes dying there thanks to Watson's Big Damn Heroes, while Stapleton aka the Big Bad is shot in the head by Watson as he's being swallowed.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- The Dead Marshes feature the usual treacherous footing, constant fog, and corpse candles. There were also horrible, pallid faces floating just beneath the water's surface. Looking at the faces too closely would cause you to become entranced and fall into the water.
- There was also the insect-infested Midgewater Marshes in Fellowship of the Ring.
"What do they live on when they can't get hobbit?"
- In Rowan of Rin, one of the challenges Rowan's party faces is a swamp. It's covered in fog, every step needs to be probed with a pole lest you fall into the sludge and drown, and the images and voices of their loved ones appear to lure the heroes from the safe path.
- The Princess Bride has the Fire Swamp. The three primary dangers of the swamp are random spouts of fire (easily avoided by identifying a popping noise right before one erupts), the lightning sand (though once you've fallen into that one, it's easy to look out for), and the ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size. I don't think they exist...)
- The Swamps of Sadness in The Neverending Story, in which Atreyu's horse Artax dies of despair.
- The Belgariad
- The swamps of Nyissa both use and avert this. When the main cast goes through them, they're hopelessly depressing, sinister, astonishingly dangerous, and full of a variety of narcotic compounds and poisonous plants. Later, they pick up a Nyissan ally, the eunuch Sadi, who is perfectly fond of his homeland and disheartened when they come across a cursed swamp. When asked why, he explains that a swamp is green and verdant with life, but that this particular swamp is nothing but death and decay.
- Further north from Nyissa there's the Fens in Drasnia (and part of Algaria). Their bad reputation comes from the countless midges and the fact that navigation is problematic at best. Much of what looks like solid land are in fact free floating mounds of vegetation that float around in the sluggish current. There are also fenlings, intelligent, otter-like creatures that have a reputation for changing channels around. They'd do it too, more out of a sense of mischief than maliciousness though.
- The Goosebumps book, and tv adaptation, of The Werewolf of Fever Swamp of course features the titular werewolf as the main antaganist. However the swamp itself is presented as a far greater Ultimate Evil.
- Witches Abroad features a swamp inhabited by a benign practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo. The swamp itself is said to be a source of great power, and when one undead character is imbued with it he becomes virtually unstoppable.
- While Mrs. Gogol is on the side of the protagonists, she's not completely morally white, having been the lover and supporter of the rather tyrannical Baron, until he was deposed by the even more tyrannical Lady Lilith.
- In The Art of War, Sun Tzu advises the reader never to lead his army through a swamp, because that's the best place for the enemy to lay an ambush.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Scarlet Citadel", Tsotha got his Eye of Newt from a swamp.
"It is steeped in the juice of the purple lotus which grows in the ghost-haunted swamps of southern Stygia," said the magician. "Its touch produces temporary paralysis.
- In Franny Billingsly's Chime, the town of Swampsea is next to — what else? — a giant, terrifying swamp infested with witches, dead hands, and talking flowers, among others.
- The Marram Marshes in Septimus Heap may not be evil per se, but they are infested with ghosts, wraiths, an enormous serpent, and all manner of evil stuff.
- Shannara: The Mist Marsh is haunted by a Kraken-esque Wraith. The Matted Brakes are a hellhole populated by The Things, which you will not see until they are on you. And the In Ju... the In Ju's on Morrowindl, a one-island Crapsack World, and still manages to be one of the worst places you could ever go.
- In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles's original impression of the Limberlost. He gets over it and finds it a place of wonder and natural beauty. Then, Black Jack dies from a poisonous snakebite in it, making people wonder that he tried to cross a section in the dark.
- Galaxy of Fear features a trip to Dagobah. A group of surveyors had gotten stranded there, died of predators and sickness, and left behind some malnourished, uneducated kids who did not know what stars were, who grew up to call themselves the Children. Who are cannibals thanks to No Party Like The Donner Party. There's also Yoda, who did nothing to prevent those events.
- Book 4 of Codex Alera has a fairly realistic version, the swamps of Kalare are muddy, insect-ridden, and hard to navigate, but the only real exceptional danger is the giant lizards that travel in packs. It's worth noting that said swamps are in the region controlled by the major human antagonist of the series.
- In H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, a cult is sacrificing people in a horrible area of Louisiana swampland.
- The Sucking Pit, in the horror novel The Sucking Pit by Guy N. Smith, is a bottomless bog full of rotting corpses that sucks people in, whereupon the rotting corpses have sex with them.
- The Muddletop Moors in Spellinger is similar to the Swamp of Sadness from The NeverEnding Story. The entire place is filled with sentient mushrooms which, being immobile, are bored to the point of suicidal depression. The aura of depression and boredom is so strong that anyone who enters just stops and lies around until they starve to death... nourishing the mushrooms, naturally. The only thing that saves Jon-Tom's party is his offworlder's knowledge of basic psychoanalysis.
- Pet Sematary has Little God Swamp, which is inhabited by numerous spirits and other, much worse things. Oh, and it can apparently control the actions of people who aren't even in it at the time.
- Eel Marsh from The Woman in Black (and it's film and play adaptations) was a relatively normal marsh up until seventy years ago when a horse and carriage blundered into a quicksand one night and became haunted by not only the people who drowned on the marsh, but the thouroughly insane noblewoman who lived in the nearby mansion (her son and his nurse were the ones who died; she watched from the upstairs window, and died of greif a few years later.) The marsh is visited by the hirse and carriage on foggy nights; the nearby town is randomly visited by the Nob's ghost who forces children to kill themselves.
- In the Redwall series, there's the Toadlands, a swampy area that has to be crossed on three separate occasions to get from Redwall abbey to Salamandastron. Without fail, it's home to tribes of vicious, trident-wielding toad barbarians.
- In The Phantom Tollbooth, the swampy Doldrums broadcast a Lotus-Eater Machine effect that saps the intruder of all drive and motivation. If you don't have a neighborhood Watchdog to wake you back up, you're basically doomed.
- The Hound of the Baskervilles has the Grimpen Mire, easily one of the most unpleasant and horrifying places in the whole Sherlock Holmes series. One false step onto what's believed to be solid ground, and the victim's to his or her waist in a slimy bog that sucks him or her under like quicksand. It's rather karmic that the Big Bad ends up swallowed into it.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: This is very much how most people see the Neck, an isthmus covered by a massive stretch of marshland filled with a maze of ever-changing stream channels, sandbars, stands of rotting trees, poisonous plants and flowers and seemingly solid stretches that will suck you down the moment you set foot on them. The inhabitants are just as hostile, the swamps teeming with lizard-lions (crocodiles or alligators), venomous snakes and the crannogmen, who fight from ambush with poisoned arrows before melting back into the swamps to their homes built on floating, moving bases. The only way through the swamps is by a raised causeway, risking attack from the crannogmen if you’re on bad terms with them. Subverted for the crannogmen themselves, for whom the swamps are home and refuge, and the northmen, for whom the Neck and their crannogman allies guarantee never being invaded from the south.
- In The Divine Comedy, the fifth circle of Hell is described as a foul swamp where the wrathful tear each other apart and the sullen lay gurgling beneath the surface, making this trope Older Than Print.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Jones distinguishes two kinds of unpleasant wetlands that regularly show up in unoriginal fantasy fiction: Bogs, which are essentially patches of deep mud put in your way to slow you down when being chased by Evil in order to provide quick dramatic tension; and Marshes, which show up later and involve more of the traditional swampland dangers — swarms of insects, filthy water, mazelike channels and so on.
- Game of Thrones: Played with, with House Reed. Played straight in that the swamps of the Neck are very dangerous to outsiders and, combined with the fact that the isthmus is a natural choke point to begin with, have served as a very effective buffer against invasion from the south for centuries. In the "Histories & Lore" videos, Jon Snow says that the Neck is nearly as effective a barrier as the Wall itself on the other side of the North. The swamps are impassable by large armies, filled with quicksand, disease-carrying insects, and "Lizard-lions" (huge crocodiles of some kind). House Reed and their Crannogmen ambush outsiders using poisoned arrows. Even the Ironborn, who managed to take Moat Cailin from its undefended northern side, as we see at the end of Season 4, are being bled very badly by attrition from the surrounding Crannogmen. The trope is inverted in that House Reed is staunchly loyal to House Stark itself, so it depends on your points of view.
- Played with in The X-Files episode Bad Blood. While looking for a vampire's hideout, Mulder asks the local sheriff of a small town if they have any swamps. His reply?
"We used to, but the EPA made us take to calling them wetlands."
- In an episode of Survivorman where Les Stroud has to survive in the Louisiana swamps he remarks that while it can be rather pleasant during the day, the swamp is very spooky at night.
- Ik Mik Loreland: Huiverhuizen ("Chillinghouse"), one of the lands visited by Mik, is a creepy swamp.
- MacGyver (1985): MacGyver must rescue Pete and his family from a Louisiana swamp in "Family Matter".
- In Rhapsody of Fire's Emerald Sword saga and Dark Secret Saga, the Darklands where Akron rules supreme are surrounded by the swamps of Halgor, a dark, gloomy place with waters infested by ferocious sea serpents. Is also subverted in the Dark Secret saga, when our heroes hide in the swamp to hide from the living dead chasing them.
- Charlie Daniels Band's "Legend of Wooley Swamp" talks of the titular swamp as a place where travelers are advised not to go at night, as there are "things that crawl, things that fly, and things that creep around on the ground", and can "make a strong man die from fright".
- "Cajun Hell" by Exodus (band) combines this with Hillbilly Horrors.
Mythology & Folklore
- The Hydra of Classical Mythology made its home in the swamps at Lerna. (As did Karkinos the crab, which, depending on the version of the myth, managed to snip off one of Hercules' toes, doing considerably more to hurt him than the Hydra did.)
- In "The Buried Moon", from Lincolnshire in eastern England, moonlight is the only way people can navigate the Carrs at night, (relatively) safe from the assorted nasties that live there. Until...
- Swamp cards in Magic: The Gathering produce black mana. There are also Bog Wraiths, Will o' the Wisps and numerous other horrible swamp creatures. The designers insist that Magic: The Gathering does not have an evil color, but black does represent death, greed, and amorality. It is also the color that (until recently) contains all the classically evil creatures, including nearly every undead monster you can name, demons, cosmic horrors, etc., and has a strong association with plague and disease — and swamps are where black mana comes from...
- Not to mention the card Evil Presence. Not happy with your neighbour's depressingly wholesome Tropical Island getting sunlight all over your yard? Slap an evil curse on it. Instant swamp!
- In the end of the Kamigawa saga, however, the main hero settled nicely in a marsh. So, Swamps Are Not Always Bad. Kamigawa block in general was an intentional aversion of this trope, as the main villain uses white mana (meaning Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good are both in effect)
- Magic's single nastiest example of this trope is probably Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, a swamp contaminated by the corpse of Big Bad Yawgmoth so much that it's still tainted three hundred years after he perished. It has the side effect of turning every other land into a swamp just for being in play.
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! field spell Venom Swamp is a lovely place to visit, especially when you consider the native inhabitants. And don't forget to pay a visit to the royals!
- The Yozi Metagaos. His entire body is a swamp, and he's fond of snacking on anything that enters him. And when we say anything, we mean anything — he eats mortals, demons, time, space, identity, himself... if you manage to survive a trip through him, you'll probably wish you hadn't, because you'll be infected with numerous diseases that will turn you into an outgrowth of Metagaos.
- Three of Creation's major shadowlands are based around swamps, the largest of them (and one of the biggest in the world) being the Bayou of Endless Regret.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Swamps are the traditional home of black dragons, generally regarded as the most sinister and malicious of all dragon breeds. Other inhabitants include the evil frog-like bullywugs and the more neutral (but still aggressive) lizardfolk.
- The Greyhawk setting has a notable inversion with the Lone Heath, a large, healthy wetland that historically served as a refuge for goodly humans and demihumans fleeing the tyranny of the Great Kingdom. Having plenty of friendly druids and rangers keeping the place clean likely helps.
- The otherwise benign kingdom of Bretonnia has the Dukedom of Mousillon, a swamp ruled by vampires and full of inbred criminals, mutants, Chaos-worshippers, necromancers and undead. It says a lot that even the Always Chaotic Evil Beastmen avoid this place.
- More generally, the Old World's swamps are almost invariably rotting, unwholesome places full of disease, hydras, trolls and similarly pleasant company. They are also home to the Fimir, a race of evil, one-eyed Lizard Folk that worship Chaos.
- The Blighted Marsh, in the northwest of Tilea, is a fetid maze of sluggish channels and pools of unclean water dotted with stands of twisted black reeds, all of it festering with disease and shrouded in reeking fog. At its center sits Skavenblight, the crowded, flithy and half-sunken capital of the Skaven Rat Men, one of the vilest races in the Old World.
- Monster Mansion at Six Flags in Atlanta, where you meet all kinds of friendly, silly monsters until you make a wrong turn. "Stay out of the marsh", indeed.
- Nan Zhong In the Dynasty Warriors series has a poison swamp somewhere which can drain you health quickly...
- In ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal, there's a swamp village called "Dunmore" and there's also "The Misty Swamp".
- In the forgotten PC game Princess Maker 2 if you set adventure to the forest you might find a few swamps in there, not really evil but it has a shortcut trap that you'll least expect...
- In Quest for Glory IV, the evil influence of the Dark One has caused the surrounding valley of Mordavia to mutate into a swamp, complete with undead monsters and deadly green goo. Needless to say, Baba Yaga thinks it's a lovely place to make her new home.
- It gets worse: This particular swamp is also home to Error 52, the most infamous Game-Breaking Bug of the series.
- In both Dragon Quest and Ultima, swamps deplete Hit Points and sometimes inflict the "Poison" Standard Status Effect.
- A swamp appears in Final Fantasy Tactics. The enemies that often appear on the map are almost always undead or flying (or both), and thus aren't effected by the highly poisonous water. You are, though.
- Conall Curach from Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is another good example, being ridden with poisonous miasma and full of fish-like creatures, giant toads and ghosts. Not to mention its boss is a huge undead dragon.
- Averted in Minecraft until the introduction of witches, which live exclusively on swamps, and slimes, which now spawn in swamps as well as underground.
- This is the way it is in almost every single The Legend of Zelda game that features a swamp.
- The Swamp of Evil in A Link to the Past, where you find the sixth Dark World dungeon: Misery Mire. Also the Plains of Ruin, which are the Dark World counterpart of the Great Swamp in Hyrule; they contain its second dungeon, the Swamp Palace.
- Goponga Swamp from Link's Awakening.
- The entire Southern Swamp region of Termina in Majora's Mask. The water is poisoned and most of the vegetation appears to be either dead or dying. Situated within its central mountain is Woodfall, a twisted bog that contains one of the game's four dungeons. Woodfall Temple itself also conforms to this sort of atmosphere.
- The Swamp from Four Swords Adventures. It serves as the second stage of the fourth level. Though it wasn't always the poisonous mire you trek through: it used to be a place of natural beauty before Vaati's power corrupted it, and it is seen back to normal in the ending.
- Castor Wilds from The Minish Cap barely qualifies due to its abundance of ropes (ie. the Zelda equivalent of snakes) and exotic theme music; is is, however, a textbook example of the Bubble Gloop Swamp trope.
- In the Exile series and the remake, Avernum, you are poisoned by walking through swampy terrain.
- Bubblegloop Swamp from Banjo-Kazooie featured vicious piranhas.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The Black Marsh (aka Argonia) isn't necessarily "evil" per se, but is full of diseases, poisonous life forms, sentient trees, and the only native humanoid inhabitants are the disease-resistant, fiercely territorial Lizard Folk Argonians who can breathe underwater and operate under a borderline Blue and Orange Morality, at least from the perspective of the other races. Even Tiber Septim didn't bother conquering Black Marsh completely, just capturing a few border towns (where the human races could actually live) and calling it a win.
- In Morrowind, the Bitter Coast is a sparsely populated swampy quagmire dotted with smuggler dens, bandit caves, and worse.
- The Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion, realm of Sheogorath the Mad God, is split in two to represent the dual nature of madness. Dementia, the southern half of the isles represents the darker aspects of madness, and consists mostly of swampland.
- In Skyrim, the hold of Hjaalmarch consists mainly of cold marshes containing aggressive Slaughterfish, venom-spitting giant spiders, the occasional Chaurus, Draugr-infested tombs, and is a favored hideout for necromancers and vampires. On the bright side, this all keeps the bandit population down.
- Fallout 3's "Point Lookout" DLC takes you to the titular coastal village in Maryland, which turns out to be Lovecraft Country. The terrain is a maze of dead trees, and is full of not only Ghouls, Mirelurks and killer Robots, but deformed, inbred Swampfolk who automatically dole out 35 points of damage regardless of what armor you're wearing. Even before the Great War, Point Lookout was a miserable place — there was a "pint-sized killer" on the loose, detainment camps for Chinese-Americans, a cult centered around a Tome of Eldritch Lore, and the natives were friendly enough to take an axe to a downed Air Force pilot stuck in a tree by his parachute. Two hundred years of nuclear runoff just put the icing on the cake.
- Fallout 4 has a large swamp in the southeast corner of the map, inhabited by a bevy of deadly mutated creatures such as Mirelurk Killclaws, Albino Mirelurk Hunters, Mirelurk Deep Kings, a Mirelurk Queen, and a Super Mutant Behemoth.
- King's Quest: Mask of Eternity had a subversion. The Swamp was actually a fairly decent place to live and had a couple of huts and benevolent beings. Unfortunately, a great cataclysm takes place in the opening scene, turning human beings to stone and causing the Swamp Witch to take over, bringing a host of nasty monsters with her.
- King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones has a straight example, complete with poisonous water and an Ominous Castle inside.
- Secret of Evermore had the Bugmuck, a swamp home to a gigantic (like the size of a small village!) bug carcass and bone dragons.
- EarthBound features the Deep Darkness, a tropical swamp where wading in the deeper water actively saps your health. And by "deeper water," we mean "muck deep enough that our Child Heroes are totally submerged by it." So they're probably losing HP from having to hold their breath...
- Left 4 Dead 2 has the campaign "Swamp Fever" set in a zombie-infested swamp.
- Slender Fortress contains a large marshland entitled "Swamp" housing a very angry Shrek.
- The Black Morass in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans is not evil per se, but it is where the orcs first came to Azeroth. The Swamp of Sorrows and Dustwallow Marsh in World of Warcraft are infested by dragons, spiders, crocodiles...
- Zangarmarsh, on the other hand, subverts this trope. It has plenty of creatures trying to kill you, but the zone's main threat is the Naga draining the marsh.
- The Mire of the Damned in Might and Magic VI is, well, you get the idea.
- Part III on the other hand gives us an entire island of swamp, including such wonderful places as the Minotaur Marsh, Shadowmire and Deathbog. It's also home to Swamp Town, a ghoul-infested pit. The best part of the island: There are a few squares of quicksand. Every turn you stay on them, two party members die. No HP loss, no status conditions, just death. And differently from M&M IV and V, III interprets turning around as the start of another turn...
- Wraithmarsh is a particularly good example — a desolate swamp that separates the town of Bloodstone from the rest of Albion in Fable II. Wraithmarsh was once the site of Oakvale, the Hero's hometown from the original game; it was destroyed as part of Reaver's bargain with the Shadow Council. Run-down buildings, skeletal statues and graves can be found throughout Wraithmarsh, which is haunted by Hollow Men, Wraiths and the occassional Balverine and Troll. It is also the home of the Demon Door to Terry Cotter's Army, easily one of the freakiest areas in all of Albion. A trek through Wraithmarsh is accompanied by a haunting soundtrack; even after the Hero gets strong enough to overcome anything Wraithmarsh has to throw at him, it can still give you the heebie-jeebies.
- RuneScape both averts this and plays it straight: there's a swamp just south of the starting town that's populated by goblins and giant rats, but they won't attack you; in fact, several quests involve locations in this swamp itself, including one of the beginner quests in the starting town itself. Once you progress farther, though, you encounter the land of Morytania, which is arguably one big swamp full of werewolves, the Vyrewatch, and other restless dead, all out to kill you. Special mention goes to the Mort Myre area, though, which is full not only of spooky pools and acid-spitting snails, but also Ghasts, which are intangible and sneak up behind you to spoil the food you're carrying. If, by chance, you don't have any food or a particular plot item, they'll instead spoil your own flesh (i.e., your Hit Points).
- The two swamps in Summoner are both pretty evil places, though in different ways. One was actually a lovely forest kingdom before the reigning monarch decided to halt Human Sacrifices to the local river god, at which point every single person was turned to stone and the entire place allowed to degenerate into swampy monster-infested ruins. The other is filled with a malign fog which inflicts a nasty Status Effect on the entire party, and is the home of The Fair Folk; even so, it's perhaps not quite entirely evil, because it provides protection of sorts for a sacred shrine.
- The Korcari Wilds in Dragon Age: Origins may or may not qualify — it is a fairly unpleasant place filled with wolves and darkspawn, but as for evil, it is nothing compared to many other places such as the Deep Roads.
- The Blackmarsh, in the expansion, plays this trope entirely straight. Once ruled over by an Orlesian blood mage called the Baroness, the Blackmarsh became a Ghost Town when she pulled the entire population into the Fade. It is now a haunted place populated with blighted werewolves, and that's before the Baroness comes back.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition adds the Fallow Mire to the list of evil swamps in the setting. The Fallow Mire is filled to the brim with walking corpses that attack anyone who ventures into the water. It was a somewhat livable place, however, before a waterborne plague swept through the local village. After that, a clan of Avvar barbarians showed up to push out the remaining survivors.
- The second and third stage of the Valley of Defilement from Demon's Souls. Lots of Goddamned Bats in the shape of gigantic insects, freaky mutants with disease literally pouring from their flesh, gigantic trolls that deal massive damage per hit and aborted fetuses. Did we mention that staying too long in the swamp poisons you? And that you are reduced to a crawl when you are in it? And that enemies, especially the aforementioned powerful ones, are not hindered by such a thing? Have fun.
- Dooms Mire from Brütal Legend. there's a grove of hanging-trees about midway through, so if people become lost they can commit suicide instead of drown or rot. Or get eaten by laser-shooting panthers.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, the area where you first encounter the Flood is located in a swamp.
- In Neopets: The Darkest Faerie, the village of Bogshot is located in a swamp that houses the Plague Serpent Kastraliss, a minion of the titular Darkest Faerie. Everyone in the village comes down with disease when the swamp is turned by the Darkest Faerie's magic.
- Splot in Bug! Oh dear god, Splot. The water instantly killed Bug- never mind Mercy Invincibility, you still die. There were many unforgiving sections (bubble jumping comes to mind). Enemies were either annoying (farting stink bugs, swamp flies, mozzies) or dangerous (frogs, literal lightning bugs, machine-gunner snails Made of Iron).
- Castlevania II featured swamp levels. The fun unit is that when in the water, you have to jump out to move.
- The Final Boss of Fire Emblem Gaiden is fought in a swamp. Units standing on the swamp tiles take some damage when their army's phase start. The Final Boss in question is an "Dark God" named Doma.
- Heroes of Might and Magic I and II have the Warlocks, who seem to be vaguely on the side of evil, prefer hanging out in swamps. III, on the other hand, have the swamp be home to the Fortress, which is neither good nor evil. In IV swamps are again associated with a vaguely-evil faction (Chaos).
- Blighttown in Dark Souls is the Valley of Defilement reborn. The game throws you a bone at least in the form of artifacts like the Rusted Iron Ring and the Poisonbite Ring that makes trudging through the swamp much easier. If you know where to find them.
- Sierra's Conquests of the Longbow Played With the trope in the Monastery in the Fens. While the Fens were not inherently evil—at least not in any obvious way — the black-robed monks that lived there almost definitely were.
- Episode 3 of Apogee's Monster Bash has two nightmarishly difficult swamp levels which result in many a player resorting to the extra lives cheat.
- The Hydra Marshes in Chrono Cross are hazardous. Just stepping into the water without proper gear will hurt you.
- The Witcher has the swamp near Vizima in chapters two and three that runneth over with undead and all sorts of monsters. Ironically, with a single notable exception (the Order and the Scoia'tel clash), the quests you get in the swamps are usually much less morally ambiguous and dark as in the Hub City of Vizima itself — because the swamp is so evil, you don't have to question your every move, and just kill everything that moves.
- The third Witcher game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt cranks this up to eleven with the Crookback Bog in Velen. The swamp itself is not that bad, but the spirits that make it their home are easily the most terrifying in the whole series.
- Fallenmire from Sands of Destruction. Upon arriving to the place, Kyrie discovers, to much to his horror, that there are skeletons floating around the wetlands. Taupi explains that the ferals forced their humans slaves to work to their graves on a nearby mine without caring about the dangers of mining in such a hazardous area.
- Lemures Marsh from Tales of Innocence. As soon as Ruca and Co. step on the area, they're ambushed by zombies. The party deduce those are the corpses of the soldiers fighting in the Northen Battlefield that were brought here thanks to the rains. Then we have the boss of the marsh, the Mud Undead who is revealed to be the souls of people that couldn't reincarnate and became trapped inside that monstrosity.
- There are swamps in both default maps in Dungeon Siege as well as the expansion map. III features a return to the swamp from the original singleplayer map, although several things have changed in the centuries since. All of these swamps are dark, misty places filled with all kinds of slimy, rotting creatures. The swamp revisited in III is also home to the Ur-Shamesh, or First People, a race of seemingly primitive magic-users who are generally hostile to anyone who enters the swamp.
- Nibelhenne Swamp from The Witch and the Hundred Knight, a Bubblegloop Swamp so deadly that the stench alone can incapacitate or even kill and those covered in it's muck can melt a person instantly. Very few can enter the swamp perfectly fine with no protection, one of which is it's owner and main character, the Swamp Witch Metallia. Unfortunately, she wants to expand the swamp beyond it's borders and gains the means to do it. It's later revealed that the swamp is the remains of an Eldritch Abomination and the muck contains dense mana, meaning those who die from it are actually experience Phlebotinum Overload. Metallia can survive in it because she was born from the swamp, which also allows her to use the mana in the swamp muck to its full potential.
- Dragon Tavern has the aptly named Dreadmarsh, which is home to various undead monsters, mud, dangerous insects, fearsome giants, mud, deadly traps, lizard people and mud. The only reason people even visit the place is to loot the many treasure-filled ruins.
- Mz. Ruby's level in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus game is a swamp in Haiti, complete with undead, swamp monsters, and dark Voodoo magic.
- The Blood Marsh near Westmarch in the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls, is like this as a result of the evil Blood Magic employed by Adria corrupting the place. Apart from the unusually aggressive fauna (Boggits, Bogans, giant shrieker bats and the occasional Maggot Brood), there's also the pools themselves, which are quite poisonous and can kill a traveler quite easily.
- The Mere of Dead Men in Neverwinter Nights 2 is exactly as pleasant as its name implies, and that's before the Big Bad starts raising an undead army there. (And after that, in Storm of Zehir.)
- In Guild Wars the Krytan swamps are heavily populated by Orrian undead.
- In Gems of War, the Mist of Scales region is a swamp, and it's full of venomous Snake People and Man-Eating Plants. Travel is hampered not just by the swampy ground but by the fact that it's often shrouded in mist; getting lost is very easy.
- Dwarf Fortress:
- Marshes and swamps fit this trope to a T when they generate as an evil biome. Aside from the syndrome-causing clouds and rains present in all evil biomes, harpies and packs of vicious beak dogs infest evil marshes, while grimelings, humanoid clumps of weeds and muck, are found in any evil wetland alongside demon rats and swarms of blood gnats.
- Depending on how you look at it, savage-aligned wetlands, home to slug-like animal people and giant panthers, may also count. Savage evil wetlands absolutely count.
- Spyro: A Hero's Tail has Crocovile Swamp, a level which is more dangerous than the Big Bad's lair. Invincible spear traps that impale anyone who walks over them, natural flytraps that bend over to catch you, infinitely respawning giant spiders, insta-kill mud patches everywhere...
- Roza thinks otherwise, and gets an explanation. The trees walk and shift at night to change the path and lead travelers to their doom, the water hides holes that can swallow men whole, and the swamp itself is haunted and full of illusions and restless spirits — and there's worse creatures in the mist.
- The Slender Man's home dimension is described by some to be a marshy Dark World.
- The Creepypasta Bog of Whispers is about a guy and his buddy out on a fishing trip who get lured out into the titular bog, which has become not only sapient but completely batshit nutso because of the horror of everything thats died there. And it loves to share visions: people eaten by the trees, a child at the bottom of a pool, a deer sinking in a quicksand, and millions more.
- The Foggy Swamp from Avatar: The Last Airbender is initially depicted not as evil but definitely as very creepy (visions of the dead, scary noises, etc.). Meanwhile, the residents of the swamp are hunting the main characters for dinner. Though once all the misunderstandings are sorted out, it's not that bad a place.
- The Magic School Bus does an episode about wetlands where the kids start by believing in this trope but eventually learn the importance of a swamp in the ecosystem.
- On Challenge of the Superfriends, the Legion of Doom is headquartered in "The Swamp." It is always referred to as "The Swamp," in such a way as to imply that there is only the one swamp in the world (in fact, at least one episode contains a minor plot hole if you assume that there are other swamps). In one episode, the Legion hassles a witch they spot in The Swamp, only to discover that she works for an entity even more evil than they are, who also dwells in the Swamp.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Swamps have shown up in multiple episodes, and they usually don't contain very pleasant things.
- Froggy Bottom Bog from isn't so bad. Just avoid the giant aggressive hydra that lives there.
- In "Somepony to Watch Over Me" there's a fire swamp, dotted by random gouts of fire and inhabited by a Chimera. There's also a much less evil swamp beyond that, where ponies have peacefully settled.
- "A Health of Information" features two swamps, an unnamed wetland at the beginning and the Hayseed Swamp where Mage Meadowbrook used to live. Both are full of trees whose pollen spreads Swamp Fever, a sickness that causes afflicted ponies to transform into trees of the same kind that grows the flowers. The Hayseed Swamp is also home to hives of flash bees, extremely aggressive and electrogenic insects.
- Invoked metaphorically in-universe in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington", in her essay "Cesspool on the Potomac", where — after witnessing the corruption in the U.S. Senate — she compares the stink of the swamp Washington D.C. was built on with the stink of corruption that fills it now.
Lisa: "The city of Washington was built on a stagnant swamp some 200 years ago and very little has changed. It stank then and it stinks now."
- As in the Literature example, above, the Doldrums in The Phantom Tollbooth reduce your motivation to zero and your mind to mush. The animated Lethargians, the inhabitants of the Doldrums, are pure Nightmare Fuel.
- It is not uncommon for swamps (or bogs or bayous or the like) to become dumping grounds after murders are committed. There's even an Investigation Discovery show dealing with murder mysteries involving swamps.
- The Great Dismal Swamp, in the eastern USA. Or the name at least. It actually isn't evil— it isn't even that ugly, and is an important wildlife refuge. Most of its reputation, however, comes from its history before the Civil War: the swamp was left undeveloped by white settlers, being unattractive and difficult land notable chiefly for its difficult terrain and for being inhabited by biting insects, poisonous snakes and bears. The swamp's resulting nature as a large stretch of trackless wilderness in the middle of the South made it an ideal refuge for escaped black slaves — a population of a few thousand of them is thought to have been living in the swamp in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries — as well as others hiding from the authorities — white fugitives and Native Americans are also known to have had a presence in the swamp. Obviously, this trope was very much averted for the swamp communities, but their presence would have added to the swamp's sinister reputation in the eyes of the slaveowners: like every other slaver society, the antebellum South lived in constant fear of a slave revolt, and a large population of escaped slaves like that hiding in the Great Dismal Swamp would have been a constant source of paranoia for them. Of course, the inhabitants of the Great Dismal Swamp would have been counting on the fact that Swamps are Evil to begin with — the fact that nobody wanted to set foot in the Great Dismal Swamp to begin with, let alone settle there, was a big part of why so many fugitives fled there.
- The Vasyugan Swamp, located in south-western Siberia. It occupies 53,000 km and is the largest swamp in the northern hemisphere. You don't want to get lost there, believe me.
- Two of the visible markings on the Moon were named "Palus Putredinis" and "Palus Epidemiarum". Although they're not really swamps, names like "Marsh of Decay" and Marsh of Epidemics" show that astronomers aren't immune to this trope.
- A notable aversion: If you were a slave in the antebellum South, the swamps of Florida were home to the Seminoles. Of course, this could also qualify as an exploitation, since nobody would venture into Seminole territory because swamps are evil. Alternately, no one ventured into Seminole territory because the Seminoles were lethally capable of defending themselves in swampy terrain terribly unsuited to major offensive operations. The U.S. government did ultimately make the attempt to dispossess them after their "success" with the Cherokee in Georgia. It is believed that the Second Seminole War led to more U.S. casualties than there were Seminole warriors arrayed against them (President Jackson estimated around 900 total and modern historians treating 1400 as a maximum possible amount, with the Americans losing 1600 soldiers and uncounted settlers). The U.S. won, but it was a Pyrrhic Victory at best when the bodies were counted and the economic costs made apparent, and in spite of everything, hundreds of Seminoles still remained in the swamps at the conclusion of hostilities, a source of significant pride to modern Florida Seminoles (who call themselves the "Unconquered People"). An aversion by any measure, as far as escaped slaves and the Seminole alike are concerned.
- If some accounts of the Battle of Ramree Island are any indication, saltwater crocodiles were responsible for killing five hundred Japanese soldiers out of a group of about nine hundred that tried to escape from British forces through a swamp.
- Heck, even major cities like Philadelphia aren't immune to this. Supposedly, the Tinicum Watershed Wildlife Preserve — a stretch of protected swampland in and around Philadelphia — is home to a monster called Ape Boy. Apparently, Ape Boy used to be a regular if extremely ugly kid during colonial times who was taunted mercilessly by the other children for his looks, eventually fleeing into the swamps to seek refuge, where he mutated into a red-furred, apelike creature. Since then, the swamps have been drained and developed, with the park being all that's left, but Ape Boy is said to be still around, waiting in the swamp.
- A Portuguese expression for things going wrong is "the cow went to the swamp" — after all, when a bovine gets bogged down, it's really hard to take it out of the mud.