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Tick Tock Terror

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Creepy and/or haunted manors have an ominous clock chime / tick / both as part of their sound background or soundtrack.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Jubileus57 on Mar 20th 2018 at 9:15:20 AM
Last Edited By:
Jubileus57 on Apr 14th 2018 at 2:34:37 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A common sound effect heard in a lot of haunted manors is an ominous grandfather clock bonging unexpectedly. It can add to the old-fashioned and creepy atmosphere of the place. The timber is quite often very deep, making it sound even more menacing, and their loud, rythmic ticking is perfect to convey a sense of oppressiveness and fatality. Sometimes, the clock chime can be replaced by a creepy cuckoo clock, with the same purposes.

Compare with Tick Tock Tune, in which various clock sounds are used as a prominent part of a music fitting in Clockworks Areas instead of creating a menacing Haunted House atmosphere. Not to be confused with Terrible Ticking.


Examples:

Films - Live-Action

  • The trailer for The House With a Clock in Its Walls , adapted from the book of the same name features extremely menacing clock chimes throughout, and the haunting question "Do you hear that ticking?" is heard several times. Fitting, as the Clock from the aforementioned book is actually a monstrous Doomsday Device.
  • The whole "creepy clock in an old house" trope is parodied in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during the intro for the song "The Time Warp." As the large, coffin-shaped clock in the Frankenstein Place's foyer begins to chime the hour, the ghoulish servant Riff-Raff opens the cover to reveal a dusty human skeleton inside. Brad and Janet recoil in horror as Riff-Raff sings that "time is fleeting..."

Literature

  • The Edgar Allan Poe novel The Masque of the Red Death mixes this trope with For Doom the Bell Tolls. In the seventh, pitch black party room lit with crimson lighting, which is actively feared by the guests, looms an ominous black clock. Its bong is so peculiar and intimidating that each time it chimes, the orchestra stops playing and the partygoers stop dancing. When the clock strikes midnight, the Red Death arrives and kills off everyone, and the clock stops ticking when the very last person alive dies, as if it was inextricably linked to the tragedy.

Video Games

  • When entering the Manor Macabre in Miitopia for the first time, deep clock chimes are heard over the regular "new area" theme. These bongs are also heard when on the main menu if the Miis current location is Manor Macabre.
  • Several rooms in the gruesome Ravenhearst manor from the epoymous Mystery Case Files game have deep, old-fashioned clock bongs as part of their ambiant soundtrack, even if there is no clock seen in the room.
  • The haunted Dark Bloo Inn in Paper Mario: Color Splash has a grandfather clock installed in its lobby, and can be heard eerily ringing from time to time from anywhere within the hotel. In fact, its bong signals the passing of time in the inn: the level is a stealth "Groundhog Day" Loop, meaning the more it has chimed, the closest to the end of the loop the player is.
  • The Wii Play: Motion minigame "Spooky Search'', which involves the Miis capturing ghosts in an haunted manor has a deep clock chime signalling the start of each level.

Web Comics

  • The the eerie "tk tok" echoing through Tibenoch's house in Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. The "tk tok" is displayed over several strips, until 12:21, when the clock stopped... what happened then is implied to be dangerous but is anyone's guess.

Western Animation

Feedback: 12 replies

Mar 20th 2018 at 2:03:51 PM

The whole "creepy clock in an old house" trope is parodied in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during the intro for the song "The Time Warp." As the large, coffin-shaped clock in the Frankenstein Place's foyer begins to chime the hour, the ghoulish servant Riff-Raff opens the cover to reveal a dusty human skeleton inside. Brad and Janet recoil in horror as Riff-Raff sings that "time is fleeting..."

Mar 20th 2018 at 4:10:19 PM

^^ I had seen that trope but I'm not sure they completely overlap... I don't se bells and clock chime overlapping

Mar 20th 2018 at 4:40:36 PM

^I think most people would say they sound similar enough to be the same trope.

Listening to this, I do hear some differences between a grandfather clock's chime and a church bell, but I'm not sure how to describe it. Maybe if you did a little research on how clock chimes work?

Mar 20th 2018 at 4:51:32 PM

Mar 22nd 2018 at 1:36:11 AM

I'd say clock chimes and church or town bells have different connotations so I see no reason to attempt folding this into For Doom The Bell Tolls though they are related. Cuckoo clocks have the possibility of adding a visual element to scares caused by a chiming clock. I can see expanding this to include other clock noises since the sound of a clock ticking in an otherwise silent area can be used to provide an isolated unsettling atmosphere.

(Example only applicable if trope description is expanded)

Web Comics

  • The the eerie "tk tok" echoing through Tibenoch's house in Hanna Is Not A Boys Name. The "tk tok" is displayed over several strips, until 12:21, when the clock stopped... what happened then is implied to be dangerous but is anyone's guess.

Mar 26th 2018 at 9:26:17 AM

^^ I think that is a fair enough point although it would need another name. Tick Tock Terror maybe?

Mar 27th 2018 at 3:25:54 PM

Haunting Ground made very good use of this sound for atmosphere. Also Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, to add urgency to the time-travel segment.

Mar 29th 2018 at 1:59:32 PM

^ I envision this trope to deal with the creepiness clock sounds can bring to a place/scene, not really the sense of urgency. I think this would be an entirely different trope

Apr 13th 2018 at 5:26:31 AM

The new film The House With A Clock In Its Walls could count, as it does indeed have one. Ticking down to something bad, but no-one will know what until the movie comes out.

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