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 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.
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.
A common parody is to raise the question of where people are getting this equipment on 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.
In one ghost's dream in Bizenghast, Vincent is accused of witchcraft and nearly hung by an angry mob wielding these.
In the Black JackSealed 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.
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.
Rally the Peasants:"If you must go out at night, bring a mob." —Master of the Elgaud Cathars
Ludevic's Abomination:"After several frustrating experiments, the visionary Ludevic realized he needed to create a monster that fed on torch-wielding mobs."
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.
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".
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 aparrently a regular occurence for citizens to ask for signatures on their pitchforks.
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:
Dr. Cox from Scrubs: Alright, you! Back of the Mob!
The Mexican film Canoa shows a very disturbing and accurate portrayal of a lynching, based on a real event.
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.
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...)
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.
Edward Scissorhands has a mob of suburbanites lighting their flashlights and roaming the neighborhood with sports equipment and gardening tools.
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 "comicalvampire" 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 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.
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 MST3K 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, à 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.
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?!
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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 Crowning Moment of Funny, 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.
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.
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 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!
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:
Mayor Quimby: Are these morons getting dumber, or just louder?
Mayor's Aide': Dumber, sir.
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 their 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?
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 that 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 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 Spongey 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...
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.
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).
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.
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.
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 Frankensteins 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.