Torches and Pitchforks
"Ah, there's no justice like angry mob justice."The standard equipment for any angry mob on a Witch Hunt. The mob may be going after a witch, an evil wizard, a vampire, a Mad Scientist, a "perverted" person, or any other unpopular local figure. If the mob is after the villain, he most probably ends up being shamed by the mob. If they're coming after the good guys for one reason or another (like if our heroes are hiding a Reluctant Monster), their best defense is Shaming the Mob or an obstacle that will force them to go one by one, raising the question of Who Will Bell the Cat? Related to the less focused, but more destructive, Powder Keg Crowd. Malicious Slander may have stirred them up; good luck finding out who, if anyone, is responsible for the rumors (though there may be a Rabble Rouser involved). A common parody is to ask the mob where they got their equipment on such short notice (often revealing it as something ridiculous), or for angry mobs to be judged by the quality of such equipment. Featured and parodied so many times, it's a definite Undead Horse Trope. See also Kill It with Fire and Burn the Witch! for its inspiration. Internet Backdraft is what happens when you take the sentiment behind this and apply it on the Internet. When you've got pitchforks but not torches, see Prongs of Poseidon. If torches and pitchforks are featured in a musical, then an Angry Mob Song is pretty much guaranteed.
— Seymour Skinner, The Simpsons, "Bart After Dark"
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Anime & Manga
- In Mai-Otome, about a thousand Windbloom refugees form an angry mob to track down Queen Mashiro for allowing their kingdom to fall under control of the Big Bad. Since they are unable to find her, they settle for one of her court maids who, unfortunately for them, is willing to keep the queen's whereabouts a secret to the very end.
- In one ghost's dream in Bizenghast, Vincent is accused of witchcraft and nearly hung by an angry mob wielding these.
- In the Black Jack Sealed Chapter "Witch Trial", Black Jack defends a woman from an angry mob accusing her of witchcraft, while trying to operate on her deformed infant son to give him a more normal appearance.
- Amon : Apocalypse of Devilman has this archetype of people who try to hunt down "Devil Man's girlfriend" and end up killing Miki Makimura and her underaged brother. Devil Man finds them carrying pitches, forks, and Miki's severed head. The rest is predictable.
- The angry mob trying to kill Remina in Hellstar Remina. Many pitchforks, knives, fire axes and the occasional gun.
- Guess what the mob on the Magic: The Gathering card "Angry Mob" are wielding?
Rally the Peasants: "If you must go out at night, bring a mob." —Master of the Elgaud CatharsLudevic's Abomination: "After several frustrating experiments, the visionary Ludevic realized he needed to create a monster that fed on torch-wielding mobs."
- Double bonus, the card artwork is a stylized recreation of a scene from the original Nosferatu.
- The horror-movie-based setting Innistrad not only has several cards to represent variations on the angry mob, but actually has equipment representing a torch and a pitchfork. The torch fends off vampires and can be used to set things on fire. The pitchfork is...very pointy. And a spell named Rally the Peasants that boosts your creatures' power while leaving their toughness as is shows an angry mob forming.
- And not only that, but there's a "non-collectable" card game by the name of... You guessed it, Torches and Pitchforks, by Green Ronin Publishing. The object? "Your townsfolk have suffered attacks for years but they're not going to take it anymore. Those creepy monsters have haunted the moors long enough and now it's time for you and your mob to do something about it! Arm your townsfolk, fight off the monsters, and don't let those other mobs steal any of your glory."
- Parodied in The Far Side several times; in one, the mob is storming the castle, and one man looks down at his torch, which has gone out, to regret buying it from a discount "Torches And Pitchforks Store".
- Parodied again in Sam & Max: Freelance Police, "The Tell-Tale Tail", when a group of torch-bearing Scotsmen arrive at the castle where Max is attempting to reanimate his severed tail (don't ask):
Sam: It's an irate mob of torch-bearing villagers out to destroy anything different, abnormal or misunderstood!Scot: Irate? We're not irate! We're here in town for the annual torch maker's convention!
- Then they make things worse by choosing a particularly inopportune time to try and sell their wares.
- Prickly City: Winslow, disguised as Senator Kevin the Lost Bunny of the Apocylpse, returns to Prickly City to meet with his constitents. A crowd comes to meet him, with torches and pitchforks.
- Dilbert had a series of strips has Dogbert taking over Elbonia. In the final strip, Dilbert sees the people marching on the castle with pitchforks and other tools and he and Dogbert panic and flee; the last panel has one Elbonian turning to another and asking "Did anyone remember to tell the King about the harvest festival today?"
- Happens in Steampunk Swimsuit #1 when Dr. Frankensteam's auto-tailor runs amok and starts stripping the clothes off people at the beach. Lampshaded when the Monster asks "Where did they get those torches and pitchforks!?!"
- As shown here, Nightcrawler of the X-Men has this as part of his origin story. This is also the metaphorical response many Marvel inhabitants have towards mutants in general.
- Wolfsbane of the New Mutants got another literal torch-bearing mob after her when her powers manifested, though they'd swapped out the pitchforks for shotguns.
- Bizarro strip for October 27, 2012. Frankenstein's Monster is trapped by a group of peasants wielding these implements, but they burst into derisive laughter when they saw he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts.
- In Batman '66 #19, a mob of torch and pitchfork wielding Gothamites attempt to hunt down Batman and Robin while under the effect of Professor Ffog's mind-affecting fog.
- In Astro City story "Pastoral", seeing the local superhero overwhelmed by a group of supervillains inspires this in a crowd of Heroic Bystanders who grab whatever's handy to attack. (They buy the hero the moment needed to regroup.)
Film - Animated
- In the opening scene of Shrek, the ogre is obviously used to angry mobs coming to drive him out of his hut, as he easily scares one of them off, even prompting them at one point, "This is the part where you run away." He later hangs a lampshade on it when speaking to Donkey.
Shrek: I'm an ogre! You know, 'Grab your torch and pitchfork!' Doesn't that bother you?
- Also lampshaded in the sequel, when Shrek and Fiona step out of their carriage in Far Far Away and are revealed to be ogres. Shrek sees some pitchforks in the crowd and gets nervous, commenting "Let's go before they light the torches."
- By Shrek Forever After, it is apparently a regular occurrence for citizens to ask for signatures on their pitchforks.
- Lampshaded in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, wherein a garden fete stall changes its sign from "Gardening Supplies" to "Angry Mob Supplies". The stall holder cries out:
Stall Holder: Mob Supplies! Get your Angry Mob Supplies here!
- In the Disney film Pocahontas near the end (during the song 'Savages! Savages!') the invaders pick up torches and pitchforks and decide to attack the natives.
- Laird gathers the pig peasants and convinces them the heroine, Daria, is to blame for their problems because "She's different" in The Princess and the Pea. The very gullible crowd actually believes him and try to kill her.
- In the Disney Beauty and the Beast. There was even a song called "The Mob Song"—"We do not like what we don't understand/As a matter of fact it scares us."
- The 1931 film version of Frankenstein features some of the most famous Torches And Pitchforks angry mobs. They are an Unbuilt Trope example since no one has a pitchfork and Dr. Frankenstein is himself is one of the leaders.
- Thus, this trope crops up in every affectionate homage or parody of the Frankenstein story. See Young Frankenstein, Van Helsing, this Saturday Night Live sketch...
- Transylvania 6-5000 has a particularly clever parody. A burn victim is mistaken for Frankenstein, and is about to be burned at the stake!
- In the Lon Chaney silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), the Phantom is rather brutally killed at the end by one of these.
- In the silent Metropolis you already have a Lampshade Hanging, with the angry mob of futuristic underground workers replacing pitchforks with wrenches and crowbars, and shouting "Down with the machines!" When the foreman shames the mob by asking them who is protecting their children, they switch gears and decide to "Burn the Witch!!" instead.
- Fritz Lang's 1936 film Fury has a lynch mob burning down a jailhouse and nearly killing an innocent man (Spencer Tracy) who had been falsely arrested for kidnapping a child. He survives, but decides to get revenge on the mob by staying out of the way and letting its members stand for his "murder".
- The Night of the Hunter climaxes with an angry mob forming against Harry Powell.
- Tombstone. Not pitchforks, but pickaxes. A lynch mob, including miners with pickaxes, appears after Curly Bill kills the town marshal. Wyatt disperses the mob by saying there will be a trial.
- Subverted in Cthulhu (2007). When the gay protagonist is wrongly arrested for raping and murdering a boy, he naturally assumes the shouting, torch-carrying crowd is a lynch mob and desperately holds onto the door of the cell to keep it shut. In the morning, he discovers the crowd (presumably Dagon cultists) have unlocked the cell door, and driven off the police so he can escape.
- In the movie The Elephant Man, there was a brief moment aboard a ship that the eponymous character was on... even though some bad little boys started the trouble.
- Rob Schneider's The Animal features a torches, pitchforks and shotgun-wielding mob, organized by Dr. Cox from Scrubs, starting at 1:40 here. Featuring Norm MacDonald as a guy asking stuff like "when do we get to light our torches" and other pesky questions:
Norm Macdonald: Hey, doesn't this guy get a fair trial? I mean...Dr. Cox from Scrubs: Alright, you! Back of the Mob!
- A rare heroic example in a propaganda film from North Korea, The Flower Girl. The Paes, evil capitalist landowners that oppress the villagers, go too far when they do something nefarious with Sun Hui and then kidnap poor Kotpun. The townspeople rise up, attack the Pae estate, and massacre them. The scene where the villagers are carrying torches through the darkness is one of several beautiful shots in the film.
- Subverted in The Great Race. When the Professor Fate's car arrives in Siberia, there are crowds of people holding torches lining the streets, all ominously silent. They don't respond when Fate speaks, but when Maggie DuBois greets them in Russian they throng the car, enthusiastically cheering.
- Poor Jim faced one in the 1939 film, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Rigoletto has angry townspeople storming Mr Ribaldi's mansion during the musically dissonant number "The Melody Within". (Ironically, a song about looking inside the person and not judging by exteriors...)
- Edward Scissorhands has a mob of suburbanites lighting their flashlights and roaming the neighborhood with sports equipment and gardening tools.
- The mob chanting "Imhotep" in The Mummy (1999) is carrying torches. On the DVD Commentary, director Stephen Sommers acknowledges the appeal of this trope, saying "villagers with torches, it's hard to beat."
- Matinee. In the fifties B-Movie Show Within a Show MANT! the locals turn up with these, but are understandably reluctant to take on a giant mutant ant doing something severely unpleasant to a woman offscreen.
- In Judy's revenge-fantasy Imagine Spot from 9 to 5, some of the mob of office workers that pursue Hart through the cubicles with bloodhounds are carrying torches.
- The unruly mob from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie Touch of Satan. Both times they appear, they sing "Amazing Grace" which causes Servo to sing (in the same tune)
Tom Servo: This song / is in / the public domain / That's why / we used / it twice!
- Carried by the townsfolk in Dead in Tombstone when they turn up to drive Red out of town.
- In ParaNorman, an angry mob armed with such ersatz weapons as torches, pitchforks, and bowling balls quickly assembles when the zombies start attacking. The mob is just as quick to blame Norman for the chaos and even try to lynch him!
- In the terrifying climax to Within Our Gates, a black man falsely accused of murder and his wife are hunted down and lynched by a white mob.
- Three Parts Dead: The protagonist is a necromancer. Her hometown is not so found of black magic.
- Both parodied a few times and played straight in Discworld. For example, in Carpe Jugulum, Nanny Ogg gets several of her sons to organize an angry mob to go after Count Magpyr and his family, who have moved into Lancre Castle with the intent of taking over the country. The Count is not impressed, and simply steps out to criticize their "angry mob" form (like using large, unwieldy scythes instead of sickles) before siccing his personal army on the mob. But at the climax, a mob takes on the Count — much to the approval of the witches, as you have to kill your own monsters. (They had brought their children, which would teach the children that monsters could be killed.)
- Maskerade features a brief discussion of angry mob etiquette when a mob goes after the Phantom (apparently, it's torches when chasing monsters, and lanterns when chasing smugglers).
- Igors working for mad scientists/lords/whatevers have the uncanny ability to have all of their possessions and body parts packed and be halfway out of the village before the peasants can finish distributing these essentials.
- Otto von Chriek of The Truth cites this as the reason for his "comical vampire" act—if he's weird but amusing, they're less likely to kill him. He also mentions having lost a friend to such a mob.
- An illustration in The Art of Discworld shows "The Mob"; the crowd of not-necessarily-antagonistic people who treat any interesting event in Ankh-Morpork as a form of street theatre. Two of them are, in fact, holding a torch and a pitchfork - but this being the Morporkian melting pot they are a vampire and an Igor.
- Played more or less straight in the seventh book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, with a village of puritanical fanatics whose punishment for breaking any of their village laws (which prohibit mechanical devices, books which break the rules, and harming the local crows) is burning at the stake.
- Esther Friesner's Majyk By Accident has a town that stages these regularly to get around an inconvenient law against dealing with witches. Trying to kill the witch isn't illegal, after all, and if the witch turns out to be too powerful and has to be appeased with trade goods, that's not the mob's fault. And if they find useful herbal remedies of completely unknown origin placed near her cottage, well, it must be their lucky day.
- In the first book of The Sword of Truth series, a wizard's house is surrounded by the trope mob. Well, the wizard first points out they call him a witch - which is reserved for females, while males are warlocks. Then, he asks them what do they think a warlock can do. Then, after they list increasingly preposterous strengths that they believe him to have, he says that they must be very brave if they go against someone with such powers with... well... you know. Hilarity Ensues.
- The Russian embassy in Tehran is destroyed by an angry mob in the climax of The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar. The mob was organized by Persian religious authorities when an eunuch - a slave and a part of the ruler's Sharia-guaranteed inviolable property - tries to escape to Russia thanks to a clause in a peace treaty signed by the main character. Though they don't really tell all that to the mob; the main character just so happens to be a widely-accepted scapegoat for most everything that goes bad in the country, which to be fair is not entirely divorced from truth, what with his attempts to extract sizable war reparations and all.
- In The Witch of Blackbird Pond several of the townspeople who mob together to bring Hannah Tupper to "justice" sport torches.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Scarlet Citadel", the Succession Crisis brought about a Powder Keg Crowd, but the actual man chosen brings about this. Conan's return puts the cherry on top.
- In Death: This trope is mentioned a few times. Survivor In Death has Eve encouraging Nadine to spin the story of the Swisher family's murders so that the murderers will look like the kind of monsters people chase with "torches and pitchforks". Considering that the murderers killed men, women, and children without a qualm, that assessment is not too far off. New York To Dallas has Commander Whitney tell the prison director to hand over files or he will have a media conference where he will give graphic details of Isaac McQueen's murdering, torturing and raping, and that the prison staff will be lucky if people don't go after them with "torches and pitchforks". Isaac escaped this prison, and the prison staff actually tried to cover it up and withhold this information, so they would deserve this sort of treatment.
- Moiraine in the Wheel of Time talks down one of these mobs, after she saved their village from trollocs, healed their wounded. It helps that the mayor is on her side and has a lot of authority in the town.
- Whitecloaks like to incite these against Aes Sedai.
- A town later on sees one of these rampaging through the streets. Up until they meet the heroes coming the other way, who mow a path.
- Whitecloaks like to incite these against Aes Sedai.
- In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots, the amassed crayfish have the mood; all they need is tiny pitchforks and torches to fit the trope exactly.
Live Action TV
- Parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000, when Pearl is at first ecstatic about the torch-bearing mob gathered beneath her castle and readies the hot pitch and firebombs, only to learn that they're part of a welcoming party. A disappointed Pearl releases the pitch and firebombs anyway.
- Somewhat implied on The Addams Family, since they do this to nearly everyone that comes to their doorway.
- Twisted: In an episode of Being Human, Mitchell and George are thought to be pedophiles and an angry mob throws them rotten fruit and breaks their windows. During this, they are shown to be watching an old movie with a classic torches and pitchforks scene.
- Doctor Who- The sisterhood of Karn in "The Brain of Morbius" They chase the Morbius creature off a cliff, ā la Frankenstein.
- The later serial "State of Decay" has an amusing scene where the Doctor persuades the peasants to attack the castle of their tyrannical rulers (actually a spaceship embedded in the ground) with a rousing speech that's paraphrased from the St. Crispin's Day speech in Henry V. A mob scene with torches and pitchforks ensue.
- Stephen Colbert keeps a pitchfork in the Hammerspace under his desk at The Colbert Report, and since he already refers to the Studio Audience as "the mob", it was only a matter of time.
- An angry peasant mob drove the Draculas out of Transylvania in Young Dracula. The Count still has nightmares and flasbacks about it.
- The X-Files. In "Syzygy" Scully sees what appears to be a torch-bearing mob in the distance, though when they get close it's revealed their torches are of the battery-powered kind and their 'pitchfork' is a single shotgun.
- Played straight in "The Post-modern Prometheus". The townsfolk are stupid enough to burn down the Monster of the Week's barn.
- On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the host introduces his nightly "Worst Persons in the World" as of 2010 with the phrase "Get out your 'Pitchforks and Torches,'" of which that will be the title of his upcoming book, which will be a compilation of special comments, worst persons, and "Tea Time" segments.
- The space heroes rally a mob in Romania to attack Castle Drakul in the Lexx episode "Walpurgis Night." They're unsucessful until they tell the peasants about the pies they can steal from the castle. What follows is a typical torches-and-pitchforks scene (except that Stan is brandishing a mop, because all the torches were taken).
- Parodied in the first part of a two part episode in Married... with Children. During a heat wave, the family force Al to buy them a new air conditioner. He buys a clunky Russian one which blows out the power over the neighborhood when turned on high. While the family observes the blackout, Al comments that at least no one knows they're responsible. Right on cue, the neighborhood instantly accuse the Bundys and come storming at their door.
Kelly: Where'd they get those torches and pitchforks so fast?!
- Kamen Rider Gaim: The Zawame city population goes into the mob mode against Beat Riders pretty quickly after the Inves Plague appears. They would lynch Kouta and Mai, who came into hospital to get medical check-up if a doctor didnīt stop them.
- The song "Stakes and Torches (The Uprising of the Peasants)" by artist Voltaire is through the point of a "torches and pitchforks" mob ("Stakes and torches, scimitars and bayonets, scythes, pitchforks a sickle with a sharpened edge... ")
- A torch-wielding mob comes after a wounded angel in the Music Video of Amaranth by Nightwish.
- Another torch-wielding mob comes after Michael Jackson's hero in his short film Ghosts because he was secretly telling children ghost stories at his creepy mansion, and just because he's different from everybody else.
- Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe".
- Rush's "Witch Hunt".
- "they came with torches and pitchforks..." from the Titus Andronicus song "No Future part II: The Day After No Future"
- This effect is incorporated into Promethean: The Created, which is "Frankenstein's Monster: The RPG." Humans recognize, on some visceral level, that Prometheans shouldn't be, and suffer "Disquiet" in their presence that eventually turns to violence.
- Some Clockstoppers in Genius The Transgression are able to manipulate people into forming angry mobs against hapless Geniuses.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The AD&D 2nd Edition Ravenloft-setting book Van Richten's Guide to the Created has rules for how and why a torch-and-pitchfork angry mob can kill "the created," mostly Frankenstein's monster-esque flesh golems, when they're normally immune to damage from non-magical weapons. Part of it's damage from fire, and part of it's from the potent symbolic darkness in an act of mob mentality, which appeals to the Dark Powers of Ravenloft, empowering the mob as a result.
- 1st Edition adventure I6 Ravenloft. One random encounter inside Strahd's castle was with a group of angry villagers brandishing torches and pitchforks.
- 1st Edition adventure I10 Ravenloft 2: The House on Gryphon Hill. At some point a group of concerned citizens from Mordentshire will gather together and start hunting the PCs. Strahd's transposed creatures have tricked them into thinking that the PCs are behind the evil events afflicting the town.
- 2E Acute Paranoia supplement adventure "Outland-ISH". After the inhabitants of ISH sector get tired of the nosy Troubleshooters investigating them, they will come after the Troubleshooters with pitchforks.
- XP supplement The Traitor Manual. Part of the ceremonial garb worn by Frankenstein Destroyers when they hunt and destroy a luckless bot.
- Call of Cthulhu. Worlds of Cthulhu magazine #3, adventure "Malevolence". After a boy disappears, the force of villagers sent to find him has both torches and pitchforks.
- These occasionally show up in Warhammer 40K, mostly in the hive cities. Often led by the completely insane Redemptionist priests (whose unofficial credo is "Burn them all and let the Emperor sort them out"), when they're not being riled up by the local sorcerer of Tzeentch to distract the authorities from the daemon being summoned three levels lower or the genestealer infestation provoking unrest so as to pave the way for the Hive Fleet. Or all three at once.
- Cubicle 7's Victoriana game supplement Faces in the Smoke Volume One - The Secret Masters. In the Back Story of the Hexenjagers it's noted that "a single witch hunter might rouse an entire village to hunt down a rogue witch with torches and pitchforks".
- In The Music Man, after Charlie shouts to the citizens of River City that they've been conned by Harold Hill, torch-wielding mobs run around the town hunting for him. They ultimately succeed in arresting him, but the talk of Tar and Feathers prove to be just talk—and it all turns out well in the end.
- Wicked has an entire song (albeit it the second shortest in the show) about this: "March of the Witch Hunters."
- In ''Don Giovanni a mob chases the title character after he attempts to kidnap Zerlina from her wedding. They catch his servant Leporello instead and almost kill him before he convinces them of who he is.
- There is a company in America called "Accountrements" (famous for products like Devil Ducky, Nunzilla, and historical action figures) who sell an "Angry Mob Playset," complete with little plastic figures of angry villagers armed with torches, pitchforks, guns, and whatever else an angry villager could find. And this is practically a kids' toy...
- In Resident Evil 4, Leon finds himself facing Torches And Pitchforks as wielded by "Los Ganados", the infected townsfolk.
- Mildly subverted in ToeJam & Earl, as one of the grouped earthling enemies is a horde of irate geeks (or "Nerd Herd").
- In Legacy of Kain, when Kain teleports into the future after killing the William the Just, he is confronted by angry mobsters with torches and pitchforks, led by Moebius, who are bent on killing all vampires.
- In The Simpsons Game, Marge's superpower is a megaphone that lets her incite non-police civilians into an angry mob, and the sic them on everything from the police, to busting down walls. Depending on the person you convert, you get torches, pitchforks, clubs, pipes and other things.
- In Command & Conquer: Generals, the GLA can summon angry mobs. This being the War On Terror, the mobs are armed with Molotov Cocktails and guns rather than torches and pitchforks. They can later get AK-47s.
- In the third installment of the Anno Domini series, the population can go nuts for three reasons;
- either when being roused by a revolutionary,
- when the taxes get too high,
- or when your tiny island(s) run out of vital resources, such as clothing, basic nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, or chocolates.
- Then they will get out their torches, pitchforks and placards (with nothing written on them) and rampage through your towns, to lapidate statues of yourself, and to burn down all buildings they encounter, including vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses. While the Fire Brigade never intervenes. After the crisis is settled, they start revolting, because vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses(!) are amiss all of a sudden. The higher your population is in the public order, the more they are prone to revolt. While Citizens, Merchants and Aristocrats are the most aggressive, the Pioneers and Settlers are almost always content.
- Parodied in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, when Hemlock McGee and the angry mob approach Guybrush and De Singe with torches and pitchforks to summon Guybrush to court. And he has thought there would be ice cream cake, too.
- In The Battle For Wesnoth, peasants (with only pitchforks, no torches) are the cheapest human unit and thus useful for a Zerg Rush. If they survive enough fights, they can be promoted to soldier units — I guess It Gets Easier.
- In Liberal Crime Squad, this is what you fight against if you decide to raid the radio/cable news station.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you get to lead an angry torch-wielding mob to a vampire's lair in the sidequest "Laid to Rest"... then the mob (of about five people) chickens out and asks you to go in first. With the exception of Thonnir, who had lost his wife to the vampire and is eager to has his vengeance on the monster.
- In the adventure game Waxworks, when you take on the London level. Theres a manhunt out for Jack the Ripper who happens to be your twin brother in this decade. You have to transverse the streets dodging an angry mob wielding torches and pitchforks. If they catch you, its instant death and game over.
- In Team Fortress 2, apparently this is still common behavior in Rottenburg, Germany (nearby Stuttgart). For generations, they've been chasing out witches, mad scientists, and the resident family of mad doctors, the Humboldts. Unfortunately for them, the most recent in the Humboldt lineage, The Medic, is a mad scientist and doctor with a knowledge of black magic...and he has a nasty horde of robots on the tail of himself and his team.
- Heroes of Might and Magic II has a mission in the Archibald (the... not-so-good brother) campaign where you are tasked to put down a peasant rebellion against King Archibald roused by agents of Roland (his brother). The accompanying video is, of course, peasants waving torches and pitchforks while burning an effigy of Archibald.
- At the beginning of Haunted Legends 5: The Stone Guest an angry mob of torch-wielding citizens who blame the local scientist Don Leporello for the disappearance of several orphans burn a straw dummy with a photo of his face attached, deliberately encouraging the fire to spread to the outside of his home.
- This is what happens in Darklands when you expose a Satanic cult. Armed villagers will run to the Voigt's house and try keep you silent... as a grave.
- In Mystery Trackers 8: Nightsville Horror a torches-and-pitchforks mob of Willowsville citizens march in a Nightsville resident they believe to be the accomplice of local bogeyman the Owl Man.
- Dragon Age: One of the usual arguments in favour of the Circle and Templar system is that it exists to protect mages (particularly young ones) from being attacked by mobs. There is plenty of debate on this in-universe and out, the common counterargument being that keeping mages at arm's length from the population just perpetuates this attitude.
- In Bloodborne, these haunt the streets of Yharnam, on the prowl for the elusive "Beast" that's attacking the city. Of course, they're actually a mob of Zombie Infectees too far gone to realize they're the very beasts they're after. And unlike most examples of this trope, rather than an unstoppable force you can only flee, you instead slaughter them with your mix of Transforming Weapons and firearms.
- Behold Ubersoft. First they get them then they make the boss proud.
- Sam Starfall of Freefall considers it a badge of pride to be chased by a mob such as this. Sadly, the sci-fi setting makes actual Torches And Pitchforks hard to come by, so he mostly has to make due with an ordinary 'Angry Mob'.
- In a funny moment, Sam loses his angry mob and starts looking for it. He winds up chasing the mob, unwittingly convincing it that it's a panicked mob running away from him, then passing it because he thinks they're fleeing something scarier than him.
- It's the usual result of Sam and Helix, visiting a restaurant.
- Somewhat later, a RidiculouslyHumanRobot, contemplating the formation of a robot justice-system, remarks that it would certainly be better than a mob of angry robots... wielding lightsticks and logic-probes.
- Even Florence does not like the outcome of THIS situation, and lampshades it!
- Averted in Kevin & Kell after hearing about Fenton's mother being◊ a vampire bat.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when the normally Apathetic Citizens of Generictown suddenly get the notion that Molly the Peanut Butter Monster is dangerous (when it was actually Galatea to blame), they quickly form an angry mob consisting of four people, with pitchforks and tiki-torches, kindly provided by Herb's Garden Supply.
- Herb even shows the newest collapsible pitchforks and torches!
- The Whiteboard: Bruno has this exchange with Red just after Doc Nickle had blew up his own fridge earlier...
- Sluggy Freelance: The protagonists are facing an angry mob like this in their own house.
Zoë: By the way, we need to stop stockpiling pitchforks and torches!
- In this Penny Arcade strip, PS3 fanboys show up at Tycho and Gabe's place with the aforementioned implements.
- Precocious: Homeowners' association at it again Though surprisingly that specific one is directed at Bud's parents rather than the kids.
- In Endstone, coming after Kyri, blaming her for everything. Things went downhill... for the Powder Keg Crowd, that is.
- In Sinfest,
- In Nodwick, causing economic distress makes this a danger.
- In Schlock Mercenary, do not reveal that the teen idols are holograms. It annoys the audience.
- In El Goonish Shive, in explaining the story behind the Star Wars special editions, the fan reaction is portrayed as this.
- In Rhapsodies Brian uses this as part of a forced metaphor.
- Seen in Irregular Webcomic!, wielded by several angry mobs in the Fantasy theme, usually after the heroes have (more or less) accidentally burnt down their village. First seen here, also here, and here.
- A mob convenes swiftly in Bethnal Green to pursue a werewolf in The Glass Scientists. A yet-unnamed observer from a rooftop asks why poor folk living smack in the middle of Victorian London have a pitchfork, of all things. He also notices that someone brought a set of knitting needles, as an innovative weapon.
- In Crossed Claws, the inhabitants of the Hollow quickly organize into a mob after local Doomsayer Jered turns up dead, finally taking his warnings about cats in the fields seriously.
- The Cracked article "5 Signs the Townspeople Are About to Turn on You" naturally includes this in the list.
Pitchforking is almost always a daylight activity, in the same way that torching is not. Any gathering or event where both pitchforks and torches are present should get the hair on your toes standing on end.
- Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men speculates that "anachronistic vaguely-European torch-wielding peasant mob" is a service you can order from Latveria, which is why they keep showing up in the origins of various X-Men.
- In the The Fairly Oddparents episode "Mother Nature", every time the local weather reporter makes an incorrect forecast, they get run out of town by an angry mob, who come complete with Torches And Pitchforks. note
- In the episode "The Secret Origins of Denzel Crocker", townspeople out to celebrate young Crocker's birthday get their memories of all the great things he had done for them erased. When they wonder why they're there, they see Crocker on stage and reason that they can't be celebrating anything, so they must be an angry mob out to get him, and out come the Torches And Pitchforks, which they all happened to have tucked away somewhere.
- In "Which Witch is Which?", Timmy goes back in time to Dimmsdale's founding and finds the town in a perpetual Witch Hunt thanks to phony witch-hunter Alden Bitterroot ( who is actually a witch himself). Pitchforks are pulled out of nowhere with startling regularity.
- In one episode, Timmy has to jump through several books in pursuit of Tom Sawyer, who's stolen Cosmo's wand. At one point he and Tom end up in Frankenstein right at the "angry mob" scene, and sure enough there's a mob with torches and pitchforks who head straight for Timmy. To stop them, he alters the book's wording from "the villagers attack" to "the ill attack", and the mob's pitchforks are promptly replaced with IV drips.
- "Gentlemen, start your pitchforks!"
- Alternately parodied and featured several times on The Simpsons, like the mob that comes after Bart near the end of "The Telltale Head", and the one that goes after Homer after he got them trapped inside a giant glass dome in The Simpsons Movie.
- The "Angry Mob" approach is also how they do politics. In "Much Apu About Nothing", the town is angry about the "Bear Crisis", so they march on town hall:
Mayor's Aide: Sir, an unruly mob is here to see you.Mayor Quimby: Does it have an appointment?Mayor's Aide: (Checks his clipboard) Yes.Principal Skinner: (Pops his head in) I phoned ahead!
Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber, or just louder?Mayor's Aide': Dumber, sir.
- Later that same episode, they march again against high taxes, which were the result of having to fund the "Bear Patrol" that they were campaigning to get during the first march. Quimby is not entirely without the audience's sympathy when he remarks:
- The Simpsons uses this trope often. They even have a store selling angry mob supplies during a riot! On another occasion Quimby yells out Homer is a monster (Long story - involving a lot of plastic surgery) and tells the crowd to get out their pitchforks. Lo and behold, everyone had the foresight to bring theirs along to the ceremony honoring Marge's successful new gym. It seems they always come prepared for some mob mayhem.
- In the commentary for one episode (I can't remember which), one of the directors recalls the following line in a script: "The town riots, more than usual."
Mayor Quimby: Can't this town go more than one day without a riot?
- The "Angry Mob" approach is also how they do politics. In "Much Apu About Nothing", the town is angry about the "Bear Crisis", so they march on town hall:
- Parodied in an episode of Dilbert, in which an angry mob becomes confused and wields ice cream scoopers and toilet plungers.
- Another comic has Dilbert and Dogbert fleeing in terror of villagers armed with pitchforks and scythes; as they escape, one villager says "Did anyone remember to tell them about the Harvest Festival?"
- In the TV show's intro, Ratbert and Catbert are running with a torch and a pitchfork, respectively, for no explicable reason.
- In the Garfield and Friends episode, "The Worst Pizza In the History of Mankind", an angry mob (no pitchforks, but all carry torches) attempts to destroy the pizzeria owned by one of John's ancestors. The crowd gets routed by the owner's god-awful singing, but his place of business still gets destroyed by a burning pizza in the oven.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Collect Her", Lenny Baxter, a geek who has kidnapped the Powerpuffs to add them to his collection of Powerpuff merchandise, finds his apartment building surrounded by an angry mob (some wielding torches) demanding the release of the Powerpuff Girls, and remarks, "Well, paint me green and call me Frankenstein... they're on to me!"
- In another episode, Buttercup, having stunk up Townsville after refusing to bathe, is run out of town by a mob (led by the Mayor, no less). The scene parodies the usual setting, with a dark forest, Buttercup glancing back anxiously before tripping and cutting herself on a bramble - then she comes to her senses and just flies away.
- Used a couple times on Spongebob Squarepants. On the episode "Sing a Song of Patrick", an angry mob went after SpongeBob and Patrick, and passed a torches stand [yes, they burn, and yes, they're still underwater], a pitchforks stand, and a... cotton candy stand. After all, as the man said, "You can't go riot without cotton candy!" On another episode, Spongebob and Sandy were at the movies, and Spongebob's wig blocked the screen. Spongebob made the mistake of saying there was no need to start a riot, and so they did...
- There were also two instances of the trope in the episode "Giant Squidward" after the resident curmudgeon is sprayed with plant fertilizer. The second time the mob chased Squidward, it was because he didn't say "bless you" to someone that sneezed!
- Parodied in an episode of Father of the Pride, in which an angry mob is formed by characters who were on their way to a luau-style harvest festival. And despite the fact they already have torches and pitchforks, they decide the symbol of mob justice is ... rocks.
- An angry mob, complete with torches and pitchforks (and rolling pins, hoes, and a chair) features in the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Monster of Phineas-n-Ferbenstein."
- Also done during the Halloween special, "That's the Spirit", with the townsfolk pulling torches and pitchforks out of nowhere to chase down the Werecow. This gets played to the hanging of the lampshade:
Man: Forget that! (pulls out flaming torch) I say we get him!Lady: Yeah! (pulls out a pitchfork) Wait, you brought a torch on our date?Man: Hello, pitchfork!
- In the episode paired with it, "The Curse of Candace", Doof's invention hits a group of marathoners, turning them into an angry mob that ends up chasing Candace (who has become convinced she's now a vampire).
- Also done during the Halloween special, "That's the Spirit", with the townsfolk pulling torches and pitchforks out of nowhere to chase down the Werecow. This gets played to the hanging of the lampshade:
- Parodied and unsuccessfully defied in the South Park episode "Butt Out". Kyle wants to tell the grown-ups the truth to avoid a torches-and-pitchforks confrontation, which ends up happening anyway.
- Used in the Disney 1950's documentary, The Great Cat Family where angry villagers carry torches and pitchforks.
- Parodied in the Darkwing Duck episode "Monsters R Us". The usual mob of villagers attacks Morgana's family castle, and Darkwing (Actually Darkwolf at this point) scoffs at the idea of "a bunch of yahoos with pitchforks" coming after them. Problem is, this particular mob had tanks, laser rifles and fighter planes at their disposal. Cue Oh Crap! moment from DW.
- Spoofed in an episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot called "Raggedy Android", Jenny the Android is wearing an exosuit that makes her appear like a freakish Raggedy-Ann-like monster, and some of the locals, thinking it was one of Dr. Wakeman's experiments that had killed her (the good doctor was exhausted after trying to find Jenny!). General panic and chaos ensues, and an angry mob starts chasing her with makeshift pitchforks and torches, which were actually one pitchfork and cotton candy. Ironically, they get exhausted... after running just a few feet from the carnival.
- And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 was no exception to the rule.
- It was lampshaded in the debut episode in Hamato Yoshi/Master Splinter's autobiograpical story.
- In "Turtles On Trial", even though they had neither torches or pitchforks, an angry mob chased the Turtles off after the green quartet had caught a couple of jewel thieves.
- And in the episode, "Splinter No More", after Donatello's creation of a batch of retro-mutagen returns Master Splinter back into Hamato Yoshi began to revert him back to his previous rat form, Splinter is pursued by a frightened mob after his failed attempt to escape down a manhole and into a sewer.
- Two such incidents happened in Chowder. One was when the catering gang were caught outside in their underpants after their party costumes were accidentally destroyed. Another was a Noodle Incident that resulted from the last time Mung Daal cooked "Tooty Booty Beans".
- Used (almost to the point of becoming a Running Gag) in the My Gym Partner's A Monkey episode "The Citronella Solution". Lampshaded when Principal Pixiefrog outlines his plan to disarm the angry mob and Mrs Warthog protests, "But torches and pitchforks are a cartoon riot tradition!"
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police both lampshaded and subverted the cliche. Sam immediately identifies a crowd of scotsmen wielding torches as "An irate mob of torch-bearing villagers out to destroy anything different, unusual or misunderstood!" But then they quickly explain that they're simply in town for the annual torch-maker's convention and got lost on the way. They still inadvertently frighten away Max's reanimated severed tail, though.
- In The Secret Saturdays episode "The Kur Guardian", a flashback showing how Fisk joined the Saturdays shows him being hunted by a mob wielding the aforementioned items in their pursuit.
- Forming an angry mob armed with torches and pitchforks to storm the castle is practically the official pastime of the villagers in Frankenstein's Cat.
- Jimmy Neutron attracts one of these after he creates the tastiest candy ever, and then refuses to make more when he realizes how addictive it is. He flees to a candy shop for safety, only to learn that the now customerless owner called the mob.
"Rhythmic chanting...that's a bad sign, yeah!"
- And it happened later in the Halloween Episode when Sheen, Carl, Cindy, Libby, and Hugh were turned into monsters.
- Standard riot supplies in Spliced. They even keep a flaming torch in a 'break glass in case of emergency' style glass case.
- Dogstar: Carried by the angry mob when they storm the television studio in an attempt to lynch Ramon Ridley. Especially odd as it is set in a futuristic mega-city and they have no reason to have either flaming torches or pitchforks.
- Grojband: In "Myme Disease", when the citizens of Peaceville discover that their favourite statue performer is actually a statue, they riot and are shown carrying torches and pitchforks.
- The season 5 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic ends with the restored townsfolk chasing down Starlight Glimmer and retrieving the Mane 6's cutie marks as the group has still been drained by her spell and can't even keep up the chase.
- The episode Appleloosa's Most Wanted has Sheriff Silverstar warning against this; two ponies canst away their torch and pitchfork dejectedly... Only to pick them right backup again in the climax.