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Crapsack World / Live-Action Films
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"What kind of shithole planet is this?!"
Tom Servo (on seeing Metaluna in This Island Earth), Mystery Science Theater 3000

  • 12 Monkeys: The future, where a plague has killed 99% of humanity and the rest live in an underground Dystopia where prisoners are treated like animals.
  • 2019: After the Fall of New York: After a nuclear war, the vast majority of humanity is left infertile. Most of the species are now roving, anarchistic wanderers who perform death games and trade sex slaves with impunity or a fascistic government committing genocide and horrific human experiments in a desperate attempt to save humanity. the only hope is if the last remnants of decent government can get off the planet with the only fertile woman, but Earth is beyond saving.
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  • 2020 Texas Gladiators: Society has collapsed, with vigilantism being the only way to stop the roving psychopaths terrorizing the land. The only semblance of government is fascist conquerors or small settlements too weak to stop their own conquest.
  • The ABCs of Death: "V is for Vagitus (The Cry of a Newborn Baby)" is set in a dystopian future where, due to overpopulation, reproduction is only allowed by permit. Any unapproved babies are taken and killed. Meanwhile, the government has instituted a campaign of genocide and human experimentation against psychics, to the point of declaring them legally not alive.
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: The nameless European city where the film begins is exactly this, being constantly bombarded by the Turkish army. The titular hero blames science and the age of reason for the world's ills. This is confirmed later in the movie when it is revealed that the city leaders have been negotiating all along with the Turkish Sultan to keep the war going indefinitely with the winner of each battle decided beforehand, which is intended as a critique of modern thinking.
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  • And God Said to Cain...: The American West is depicted as a desert hellscape where the rich are corrupt and the poor have their lives regularly destroyed by tornadoes.
  • Android Cop: The Zone is a section of future Los Angeles that's contaminated by radiation. In response, it was quarantined under pain of death for anybody who tries to enter or leave without a special bypass. The population are mostly mutants and criminals. The rest of LA isn't much better, since poverty is rampant and the government is incredibly corrupt. Also, euthanasia and organ harvesting is legal.
  • Antichrist is a film that opens up with the unintentional suicide of an infant and just gets worse from there. Everyone in the film is horribly miserable and the film is shot in an ugly gray palette. Hell, even the acorns are miserable. And possibly vicious. Then again, this is a Lars von Trier movie, so this is to be expected.
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  • The Act of Killing portrays Indonesia as this.
  • Alita: Battle Angel is set in the post-Fall city of Iron City. It sits at the base of a damaged space elevator that supports Zalem, the only sky city to survive the Fall, an interplanetary war 300 years ago. As Hugo says, "the strong prey on the weak down here." Iron City is a corrupt though not entirely wreched hive which is governed by a crime boss working as a sock puppet for an evil scientist overlord. Law enforcement consists of robot spider tank enforcers and cyborg bounty hunters. Gangs prey on the cyborgized citizens, literally ripping off their cyborg implants.
  • American Justice: The Texas town our hero passes through on vacation is filled with nothing but the dirt poor, drug dealers and a police force so corrupt and racist that the film treats the slaughter of the entire police department as a good thing.
  • Russia and New York are essentially portrayed as this in An American Tail. It's amped up a notch in Fievel Goes West to justify the Mousekwitz family leaving New York to go west.
  • Avatar: We can tell that Earth has become this - or Gaia's Lament to be more specific - even though we never actually see it. However, an extended version of the first scene is available on the DVD, showing how crappy life on Earth is. Also, it can be inferred from conversations that the US has been involved in at least two more conflicts in different parts of the world.
  • Back to the Future Part II: Had a memorable version of this with the alternate version of 1985 Hill Valley. Biff became immensely rich and powerful with the Gray's Sports Almanac, and then turned Hill Valley into a heavily polluted city infested with trigger-happy gangs, armed militias and bikers.
  • Batman Begins, Tim Burton's Batman (1989):
    • Those two films set Gotham up quite solidly as this; it gets worse in The Dark Knight.
    • Though in Nolan's films, it's a bit better, as part of the goal of Batman is to cleanse the world using righteous methods. It's pushed to the brink in The Dark Knight where a homicidal Monster Clown can turn the city's "White Knight" into a madman, but then the civillians and prisoners onboard the ferries prove him wrong about human morality, refusing to kill each other. It's pushed yet again in The Dark Knight Rises: Bane's unveiling the truth about Harvey Dent starts to undo all of the good work Dent, Gordon and Batman did and creates chaos. In the end, however, Batman is able to pull off a (seeming) Heroic Sacrifice, saving the city and finally earning the eternal gratitude of the populace, being immortalised as a hero whose values they can look up to.
    • Even The Dark Knight pales to Batman Returns, which is set in the crappiest of Crapsack Worlds where Batman admits that he's as twisted and neurotic as the villains he goes after, a despicable Corrupt Corporate Executive gets away with multiple acts of murder and pollution and still remains well respected as the "Light of Gotham", and the citizenry in general are gullible, decadent, and unlikeable. Seriously, if Heath Ledger's Joker turned up in the world of Batman Returns and set up the Prisoner's Dilemma with the two ferries, they'd blow each other up before he finished talking.
    • While much campier and cartoonish, Joel Schumacher's Gotham is still a steamy, gaudy sensory overload of neon lights and luminous paint, where entire stretches of road can be owned by illegal street racing leagues, street gangs can run whole blocks, the local nuthouse is terribly easy to break out of, and the cops are twice as ineffective as they were in Returns against increasingly larger-scale supervillain threats.
    • In the DC Extended Universe, we haven't seen much of Gotham yet, but its reputation precedes it.
    Perry White: 'Crime wave in Gotham!' Other breaking news: 'Water, wet!'
    • If Suicide Squad (2016) is any indication, Gotham is pretty nasty in the DCEU. While the Joker was more of a rogue supervillain in the other adaptations, here he's apparently high up on the criminal food chain, if not in charge of all of it. Think about how messed up it must be with that guy running things.
    • The Gotham's incarnation in Joker (2019) is possibly the worst movie depiction of the city yet, thanks in no small part of dose of World of Jerkass. People are generally unpleasant one to another, the economic crisis is palpable, high criminality and the richer class doesn't seem to care about the lower class. Even Thomas Wayne is shown here in more negative light. Joker himself actually Lampshades it.
  • The Battleship Potemkin: Odessa, and by extension all of Tsarist Russia, is depicted as a repressive state where the military are fed rotting meat, the regular people are starving, and anybody who complains is brutally murdered.
  • Black Death: If the plague doesn't get you the bandits or the witch-burners will.
  • The Blade: The far west/south west of old China as portrayed in Tsui Hark's film is as crapsack as old China gets. Marauding bandits? Check. Abundant opium? Check. Insane bounty hunters? Check. Enslaved prostitutes? Check. Villains killing monks and trapping dogs in bear clamps for sport? Check....
  • Blade Runner:
    • Los Angeles. Homicidal Artificial Humans? Implied post-World War III Cyber Punk setting? Always raining? Blade Runner is the flagship example of a filmic Crapsack World.
    • "Always raining" is what happens in London. No, in this Crapsack World, it's always raining water mixed with radioactive particles and/or acids.
    • In the sequel Blade Runner 2049, life on Earth has gotten even worse in the 30 years since the first film. The oceans have risen and become completely toxic to the point that a giant sea wall had to be built to prevent the toxic waters from flooding Los Angeles while the climate has continued deteriorating to the point that it is snowing in southern California in July. In addition, vast sections of the city are left completely unlit, either due to the blackout or sheer degradation. Las Vegas was abandoned following a dirty bomb detonation during the chaos caused by the Black Out while San Diego has been reduced to a giant trash dump. There is no fresh food available with the populace surviving off artificial food produced by the Wallace Corporation, while the elite of society have abandoned Earth for the off-world colonies. And racial tensions between humans and Replicants are boiling to critical mass.
  • Blondie Johnson was set and made during the Depression era, so everything goes wrong for poor Blondie. She then resorts to petty crime to survive, and eventually becomes a ruthless gangster.
  • Blood Diamond: Sierra Leone is presented as a place where at any moment an army can descend on your village, rape your women, cut off your arms, force you into slavery, and turn your children into child soldiers. Unfortunately, this is very much truth in television.
  • The Book of Eli: Alcatraz is where the good people live.
  • A Boy and His Dog: The film considers a post-apocalyptic violent "above ground" as the better alternative to the Dystopian repressive underground world.
  • Brazil. This Terry Gilliam film. Imagine if Monty Python directed 1984, and you should get the general idea of how dark and twisted this movie is. Only the wealthy are happy, but they're all decadent and utterly moronic. And while the government in 1984 is so terrifying because of its extreme efficiency, in Brazil the horror comes from its utter incompetence and Kafkaesque bureaucratic insanity that can drive even the most ordinary people to insanity and terrorism, if the latter even exists.
  • Brotherhood of Blades: Ming China is portrayed as a corrupt land where bribery is mandatory to get ahead and a government-sanctioned Sex Slave operation goes unquestioned. The most herouc characters in the film are a trio of Professional Killers who gladly work for the Secret Police, their only problems with it being that there are infiltrators trying to topple their emperor.
  • Bullet in the Head: Nearly every character in the film is a criminal. Hong Kong is full of pro-Communist riots. Vietnam is in the middle of a civil war with both sides committing war crimes with impunity.
  • Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter: Medieval England is stuck right in The Dung Ages. A plague just happened, there's a civil war so horrific that soldiers regularly desert regardless of if they won or lost, and the religious fervor is so great that you can be put on the stocks fro dancing on a Sunday. Meanwhile, vampires stalk the countryside, and there are enough species with different weaknesses that you'll most likely not figure out how to kill it until it's far too late.
  • Children of Men: Massive environmental pollution, heavy-handed authoritarian police\military presence, a largely apathetic and indifferent population that knows it's the last generation of humanity. Only Britain maintains the semblance of a functioning society, and barely at that.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: This universe, as first introduced in Pitch Black and expanded on in later films and games, is... well, let's just put it this way: The eponymous Riddick is a sociopathic, amoral mass murderer, and he's the setting's premier good guy. Alien monsters, ravaging hordes, renegade mercenaries turned slavers with a heavy helping of Body Horror, prisons that almost make real-world ones look pleasant by's not a nice place.
  • Confessions: The classroom is an allegory for this.
  • Cool World: Let's just say Cool World is similar to Toontown from Who Framed Roger Rabbit if it had been created by a deranged comic book writer to pass the time while he was in jail for murdering his wife's boyfriend. The urban section of Toontown itself wasn't a very safe place to be a human. Or a car.
  • Cosmos: War of the Planets: The alien world was once a technologically-advanced utopia, until the computer gained sapience and destroyed civilization in an atomic blast. Now the world is a barren wasteland, the people are forced to live savage and brutish lives, and the computer stalks the planet, killing any living thing it sees.
  • Crazed: Harbor City is a crime-filled Wretched Hive where the most honest cop moonlights as a vigilante and human traffickers run the streets.
  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America: This independent film depicts a world where the South won the American Civil War. Slavery is still legal and has grown to include Asians. The Confederacy conquered the Union shortly after the Civil War, and then conquered most of Latin America. Having even one drop of non-Caucasian blood means you are automatically put into slavery - unless you're Latino, in which case you live under an apartheid system. Women have not been liberated and sexism still rules. They enter World War II as allies of the Axis and launch a war against Japan, rather than the other way around. One line suggests they've conquered parts of the Middle East as well. All religions not based in Christianity are banned, with the exception of Judaism, and even they have been ghettoized onto Long Island. Many of the people responsible for America's cultural advancement, such as Mark Twain and Elvis Presley, flee to Canada, resulting in that country becoming the entertainment powerhouse. Plus, the two countries are in a Cold War with one another because the country accepts runaway slaves. Being gay also results in blacklisting or some other penalty, it isn't made clear which. In short, not the place you'd want to live.
  • The city Dark Angel: The Ascent takes place in is corrupt from the top down. Families are kicked onto the streets while the police brutalize minorities and let white people get away with rape and murder.
  • Dark City: Where it's always night, everyone remembers a sunny beach but no one knows how to get there, and telekinetic aliens are experimenting with everyone's minds.
  • Daybreakers: Pictures a bleak future for mankind where Vampires have taken over and hunt humans.
  • Death Becomes Her: This is set in a bleak world where appearances are everything and becoming undead is preferable to aging and these are just the social standards. A world where people can be trapped in their own bodies no matter how badly they break down, get mangled or just rot, without any hope of ever finding the sweet release of death, is not a world whose supernatural principles can bring to people any safety or comfort. On the other hand, it is implied that Ernest achieved recognition and popularity in his new life because of his charitable nature, leading him to metaphorically "live forever" in a good way.
  • Death Wish: These are New York City and Los Angeles as depicted in these movies.
  • Detroit: This Real Life city gets this treatment a lot in film, usually as a crime and gang-ridden hellhole.
    • RoboCop's Detroit of the future. The general crappiness isn't limited to Detroit, either. In the first film, an orbiting defense satellite misfires and causes thousands of acres of forest to burn in California, killing several when it also sweeps through some homes, as well as two former US Presidents. In the second film, ED-209s are deployed in five major cities despite its continuing malfunctions; a nuclear power plant in the Amazon goes critical, irradiating the entire rainforest; additionally, there's an ongoing war in the Amazon to boot; it seems that skin cancer due to the lack of ozone layer is a pretty common problem and the most powerful sunscreen is also highly carcinogenic; and it's also perfectly legal to purchase the MagnaVolt - when a car thief breaks into your car, the moment he sits down, shackles spring up around his arms and legs, turning the seat into an electric chair. The third movie sees OCP bought out by the Kanemitsu Corporation who uses an android ninja for its dirty work, and the aforementioned Amazon War is still going strong with the Rehabs being composed of vets of it, too.
    • The Crow's Detroit.
    • Airplane!!'s Detroit.
      "It was filled with every lowlife from Bombay to Calcutta... it was worse than Detroit."
    • David Bowie's Detroit.
      "A trickle of strangers were all that were left alive ... Panic in Detroit!"
    • Eminem's Detroit
    • Gran Torino's Detroit, which is a hell-hole of a big ghetto at the mercy of gangs who don't have any.
    • Up in the Air's Detroit:
    Ryan Bingham, Career Transition Counselor whose job takes him to Detroit with "clients" whose careers he "transitions" into unemployment: Now listen, these Detroit guys can be tough. They've been getting hammered. So you don't get distracted. Stick with the simple stuff. Get these packets in their hands and get them out the door, OK?
  • The Elite Squad: Seems to suggest that, caught between out of control criminals and a vapid, selfish middle class the only options open to the police are corruption or fascism.
  • In Elysium Earth is devastated and overpopulated and the people who still live on it are destitute. The very wealthy live on the titular Elysium, a space station similar in appearance to a Stanford torus, and will stop at nothing to maintain the distinct separation between the two classes of people and prevent immigration. To show how bad things are on Earth, the slum city Max lives in is Los Angeles.
  • Escape 2000: The Bronx is an anarchic hellhole in a constant state of gang war where a Mega Corp. can commit genocide while covering it up with relative ease.
  • Escape from New York takes place in a Dystopian America where New York's Manhattan Island has been turned into a maximum-security penitentiary in response to all the crime going down, and quintessential Anti-Hero Snake Plissken is given the job of breaking into the place in order to rescue the President. Its sequel, Escape from L.A., turns America itself into a fascist Crapsack World following the Big One, with anyone not following the new President's new "Moral America" laws being given a "choice" between being shipped off to Los Angeles Island, which is every bit as hellish as New York, or being executed via the electric chair. Snake gets shipped there for obvious reasons, but the President is willing to drop all charges for Snake's crimes in exchange for retrieving a superweapon that could knock out all power to the world which Snake ultimately uses in the end as a final "fuck you" to the President and the system. There's also a unified Latin American communist army preparing to invade the United States and nobody's preparing for it.
    • The novelization also provides some additional insight on how crappy this world is. World War III, which began in the Middle East, was a chemical war instead of a nuclear one. Huge amounts of nerve gas were used in cities like New York and Leningrad, also polluting the atmosphere. The gas now seeps down in rain and slowly drives people crazy before killing them. The western U.S. is a no-man's land where the war is still being fought.
  • The Exterminators of the Year 3000: Nuclear war has destroyed most of the water on Earth, and society has collapsed with it. Most of humanity are rogues who at their most moral will steal water and leave others to die of thirst for their own survival, because doing so is necessary. The worst are marauding barbarians who will brutally murder children For the Evulz.
  • Falling Down provides a Deconstruction. What happens if an ordinary white-collar man living in a Crapsack World just... Snaps? It's also a Deconstruction of escapist fantasies where ordinary people go out and get their own back on all the world's assholes.
  • France is depicted as this in Frontier(s). In urban areas, an extreme rightist Prime Minister winning an election is sparking citywide riots, while the country has cannibalistic Nazis roaming the woods.
  • In the world of Final Destination, Death is a sentient, malevolent, sadistic, and unstoppable entity. For anyone who manages to escape from its intended design, a Cruel and Unusual Death is waiting for them, often as a result of mostly ordinary accidents or mundane circumstances. No matter what you do or how far you go to escape it, Death will now be hunting you down, and won't stop until it finally claims you.
  • Post-WWII Berlin in A Foreign Affair. It's played straight at times, since some of the residents were happy when the Americans turned on the gas... so they could kill themselves, but it also shows the resilient Germans who are trying to repair their destroy homes, lives, and beliefs.
  • Future Force: America has a crime problem so bad it's viewed as a countrywide war zone, and the government's response is to hand law enforcement over to private enterprises. These companies are incredibly corrupt, and believe in "guilty until proven innocent," so due process is dead and they can imprison anybody they want.
  • Gabriel: In this Australian horror movie, Lucifer's forces have taken control of the movie's version of Purgatory. As a result, it takes the form of a filthy, corrupt and impoverished city that is locked in perpetual night. Even archangels despair after spending too much time there.
  • George Romero: The world in his Living Dead Series is a gradual display of this. Of course, this is the series that defined the Zombie Apocalypse, so it's expected. They take place in a world where even in the face of the human race crumbling into an ever-growing horde of cannibalistic zombies, the survival of the many comes second to the power and ego of the few. All of society's worst values are clung to while good will and cooperativeness rot along with the undead army, and the lawlessness of the apocalypse is something to be exploited for greed and sadism instead of remedied.
    • In Night of the Living Dead (1968), the emergency is just starting so it's not too bad, and there's a chance of recovery. Unfortunately, the end of the movie gives the audience a feeling of "We're fucked."
    • In Dawn of the Dead (1978), it's worse and the emergency services meant to solve the crisis are quickly overwhelmed by the growing zombie population. This one ends with a feeling that societal collapse is inevitable.
    • In Day of the Dead (1985), the collapse has happened and a group of military scientists are basically spinning their wheels because the people they were supposed to report are likely dead and all their solutions are no longer workable.
    • In Land of the Dead, life really sucks in the Fiddler's Green human refuge because the only good people are being squashed by folks that make it look like humanity deserved to get crushed.
  • God's Gun: The Old West is a desolate desert where one can go days without food or water just trying to pass through town, gangs of outlaws roam the streets, and the law is enforced by morons.
  • Godzilla: When you look past all the camp, Toho's universe almost reads like a Cosmic Horror Story. Not only do Kaiju attacks happen on a regular basis, but most people seem to either be complete jerkasses or Too Dumb to Live, the government keeps dumping countless billions into military projects that are ultimately doomed to fail, the universe is filled with aliens hellbent on conquering Earth, there's a race of supposedly Perfect Pacifist People living Beneath the Earth who worship one Kaiju as a god and send him to destroy humanity in the wake of nuclear tests, well-intentioned extremists from the 23rd century attempt to change history and make things worse, and no matter how many times the Kaiju are destroyed, they always come back.
  • Gory Gory Hallelujah: Jackville is a fundamentalist Christian cult town where the cops explicitly don't believe in human rights and the local preacher wants to destroy the world. Also, books are illegal.
  • The Grey: More like Crapsack Wilderness, but this film is about as dark of a movie as you can find. A harrowing survival film that ends with a heartbreaking Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • Hardware: This Horror/sci-fi film is set in a post-apocalyptic world full of weirdos, perverts and psychopaths with seemingly nothing on TV but news footage of war atrocities and GWAR videos. Overpopulation problems in the remaining radiation-filled cities are leading to the government introducing large-scale sterilisation, and there's a self-repairing android killing machine on the loose. Oh, and Lemmy is in it. Lampshaded by Iggy Pop as the never seen radio dj at the end of a very downbeat new report; "And now for the good news. There's No Fucking Good News!".
  • Hardwired: The world is in a global recession/depression, and various private companies have bankrolled the last two wars the USA has been in. The corporations see, and presumably control or guide, everything.
  • Hell of the Living Dead: New Guinea is a third world country in the first place, and the organization providing foreign aid is actually wanting to unleash a zombie gas to stop overpopulation. Then the gas leaks, and the country goes full Zombie Apocalypse. The ending shows that the zombie plague is spreading to the rest of the world.
  • Heroes for Sale is about a Shell-Shocked Veteran during The Great Depression who can't catch a break in life even if he was a war hero.
  • Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers: Los Angeles is a Wretched Hive where crime, including incestuous rape, is epidemic and a chainsaw cult is running around killing people for their dark gods.
  • The Human Condition: set in Manchuria nearing the close of WWII - a situation which was a Real Life living hell for soldiers and civilians.
  • Hobo with a Shotgun: "Hope Town" makes most Wretched Hive cities look like Mayberry in comparison. Not only are the local crime lord and his two sons the epitome of evil, and not only are the cops on the take from these guys and viciously corrupt to boot, the Gorn levels and general depravity by the rest of the population is through the roof. And there's only ONE good person in the film who isn't a vigilante or a victim of some kind (a police officer), and he's only on screen for a couple of seconds.
  • I Am Legend: This is set in a post apocalyptic world where a cynical Robert Neville is one of the last survivors of a deadly viral outbreak. Only 1% were immune to this virus, 90% were killed immediately and the other 9% were turned into ravenous vampires trying to infect the remaining survivors. For the first half of the movie, Neville is the only survivor you see, and his dog. Neville searches for other survivors every day to no avail. In flashbacks it's shown that Neville's wife and daughter were killed in an attempt to evacuate the city. Half way through the movie, Neville's dog gets infected and he is forced to kill her, leaving him all alone. He grows even more cynical and even suicidal. For the record, this was in fact the third adaptation of the original novel, I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. The first adaptation was The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price, the second was The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston.
  • Idiocracy: In the future, stupid people manage to outbreed intelligent people and so society caters to the lowest common denominator. By 2505, America is a horrifically dirty and overcrowded wasteland filled with people who are very crude, very dumb, and very hostile. In addition, starvation is rampant and dustbowls are common because crops are being irrigated by a sports energy drink, which is just salting the earth, and the economy and government are in a terrible state - the Secretary of Energy is a 13-year-old boy who drinks heavily and says he got the job by winning an unspecified contest. He's at least as competent as any other Cabinet member.
  • I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore: The central premise is that Ruth starts perceiving the world this way: everyone around her seems to be a rude, inconsiderate jerk. This causes her to start fighting back.
  • The three Infernal Affairs films as a whole demonstrate that Hong Kong is a horrible place for both cops (since arresting individual gangsters doesn't do a thing to solve the city's massive corruption, the job eats your life, and you'll probably get murdered) and gangsters (since you'll end up a friendless, hollow wreck of a human being tormented by guilt, and probably get murdered). Also, the title and the epigraphs that open the films suggest that all the characters are literally in a terrestrial Hell being punished for the bad karma of their past lives.
  • Interstellar: Sometime in the future, Earth is stricken with a super-blight that has destroyed many of the world's crops, leading to massive worldwide famine. At the start of the film, the only sustainable crop left for agriculture is corn, and it too will soon succumb to the blight, which is also taking in nitrogen and making the atmosphere virtually unbreatheable thanks to massive dust storms. Meanwhile, the need for farmers to help sustain what is left of humanity has caused civilization to regress to an agrarian, anti-intellectual society where MRI's and other machines taken for granted are no longer being made, and school curriculum tells students that the Apollo landings were faked. The expedition that the protagonists are undertaking is literally humanity's last resort to ensure that even a fraction of it can survive on a new homeworld.
  • It! The Terror from Beyond Space: Mars is portrayed as a desolate hellscape where what little life exists is in a constant, barbaric struggle for survival and must kill to live. It's so bad that our heroes speculate that it's post-apocalyptic.
  • It's a Wonderful Life:
    • Pottersville.
    • Ah, but what if — unlike the goody-goody filmmaker Frank Capra — you enjoy jazz holes, gambling dens, and girlie joints? Then — in Capra's view, at least — you would be a Nightmare Fetishist.
    • It's a Wonderful Life: The tropes of Strawman Has a Point and Inferred Holocaust overlap.
      • Pottersville has more excitement and a superior economic infrastructure. Bedford Falls only has a moderate manufacturing economy and no obvious places to find excitement. Once the factory closes down Bedford Falls will suffer depression and unemployment. Pottersville has backup industries, such as the nightclubs, that can encourage outside investment.
      • Pottersville's only viable option for housing if you're not as rich as Mr. Potter are broken down shacks or really cheaply built houses that will probably collapse on you and yours in a matter of years, and its all run by a man who has no sympathy for his fellow man, and will readily screw anyone over if it means he can make a quick buck. Even if you like the jazz clubs and everything, you'd be a fool to want to live there.
      • George makes it clear that he wants to leave Bedford Falls, go to college, and travel the world. All of his dreams are destroyed and he must commit suicide to regain hope. Potter is correct that George’s life has not resulted in personal happiness. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]
      • Except George has many friends and Potter has no one. And the point of the movie was friends have more value than any amount of money.
  • In Derek Jarman's Jubilee, England has become a hellhole where girl gangs roam free and the everything from the BBC to the Church of England is owned by a blind lunatic.
  • Jug Face is set in a small town dominated by a Human Sacrifice cult worshipping an Eldritch Abomination, where the ghosts of any sacrifices the being rejects wander the woods as tormented beings for all eternity. The residents are so brainwashed into this cult that they'll kill their children for it.
  • Juice: The film's setting being in Harlem, NY.
  • Jungleground: Jungleground is a section of the city so full of criminals that the police refuse to go there for fear of their lives. It's in such a constant and extreme Mob War that there is no neutral ground.
  • Lawn Dogs: In this movie, the whole town of Camelot Gardens is full of upper middle class cretins who are distrustful of outsiders, and obsessed with moving up the social ladder. Trent, one of the movie's two heroes, is suspected for crimes he didn't commit, and even physically attacked, twice, for things he didn't do. Devon, a kid, has parents who try to use her only to promote their own image within the town and help their own social status. One can hardly blame Trent and Devon for becoming Rebellious Spirits. They are practically the only sympathetic people in the whole film!
  • The Ledge: Joe argues that the world is a Crapsack world. However, his argument is quite egocentric. It's all about him having made bad choices in his life and lived a shitty life until he found Christ.
  • The Little Shop of Horrors: Skid Row. The musical version has a number entitled "Downtown" that explains the story of Skid Row, such as its condition and Seymour's backstory.
  • Los Olvidados: Luis Buñuel's depressing look at Mexico in The '50s. Kids Are Cruel: The Movie.
  • The Lost Boys: Santa Carla, a California town so packed with undead that it's the murder capital of the world.
  • Mad Max: This is set in a post-apocalyptic Australia where vicious biker gangs run wild, engaging in robbery, rape and murder whenever they can. The world of the sequels, The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and Mad Max: Fury Road, isn't much better.
  • The Magdalene Sisters: The world of this film. 1960s Ireland where women who are deemed "corrupt" by the Church are sent to Magdalene Laundries where they are put to work and abused by the cruel nuns while their families disown them and society looks down on them as sinners. They are punished cruelly for many things. Bear in mind that the women the Church called corrupt in this film were a) raped by a cousin that appears to get off scot-free, b) had a baby out of wedlock (and was forced to put the baby up for adoption) and c) simply was too flirty with the local boys (said girl was still a virgin too). What makes this worse? That was how Ireland actually was back then. The last of the laundries closed in 1998. One Magdalene inmate spoke up saying that the reality was much worse than the film depicted.
  • Manborg: The Legions of Hell have taken over the Earth, and enslaved humanity. Most of the human race live in abject poverty, and human experimentation and death games are a common occurrence. Also, there's no Heaven.
  • The Matrix: This is a really extreme example. During a Robot War, humanity arranged for a self-replicating cloud of nanomachines to be released into the atmosphere in order to deprive the Machines of solar energy. However, the humans were using that too so when the Machines found a new power source, the humans were quickly defeated. With their defeat and the total destruction of any and all infrastructure, the technology to dissipate the Darkstorm shroud was lost forever. That was over six hundred years ago which means a clean class 5 as the constant nighttime killed off the biosphere. Aside from the humans enslaved by the Machines and the humans in Zion who live off of protein supplements and geothermal energy, the Earth is dead. There are no known survivors of the war aside from these two groups (actually one because the Machines created Zion and are running a masquerade aimed at periodically debugging the Matrix by expelling rebel elements who will eventually harbor the next One who in turn will be bluffed into restarting the Matrix then taking a bunch of people out to repopulate a destroyed Zion and telling them they're the first ones out of the Matrix).
  • Meatball Machine: Tokyo is an industrial hellhole full of perverts. There's also a race of monstrous parasites that attack random people and trap them in an And I Must Scream situation as Living Weapons in their tournament of death, with the only respite being their own destruction in the battle.
  • Menace II Society: The film's version of Watts, Los Angeles is a hellish world of drugs and gang violence shaped by a history of institutional racism, with the boys who are born there growing up to be gangsters who perpetuate the vicious cycle—often with no way to escape their fate. It functions as a response and companion to the portrayal of Crenshaw, Los Angeles in Boyz n the Hood, where drugs and gang violence are also commonplace but the young protagonist has a fair chance of making it out, unlike in Menace.
  • Network: Paddy Chayefsky's film, in which the only character that doesn't end up utterly corrupted is the lunatic, and he pays for it with his life.
  • Onibaba: The war-ravaged Fourteenth Century Japan in which the peasants must try to survive, where armies destroy or eat all their crops, rape their daughters, conscript their sons, and leave them almost nothing on which to live.
  • Pacific Rim: In addition to the giant monster attacks that are happening with alarming regularity, there are clues that society has slowly broken down. Simple things like bread are seen as a luxury, people are working dangerous jobs for food rations, and there is an implied social divide between the wealthy and the rest of society with the rich getting special treatment in wake of the monster attacks.
  • Payback: There are literally zero characters who aren't involved in some sort of unsavory business, and the director tried to make the atmosphere as dreary and depressing as possible. The closest this film has to heroes are Porter, a guy who in any other film would be an Anti-Villain at best, and his ex-hooker love interest. The film's tagline was 'Get ready to root for the bad guy' which pretty much sums it up.
  • Perrier's Bounty plays this for laughs: every 'friend' the heroes turn to tries to turn them in to the pursuing gangsters. At one point merely sheltering from the rain in a barn causes the owner to call the cops after first accusing them of rape.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The whole film series presents a very dangerous and inhospitable universe where human life has little to no value for both human societies and the supernatural entities of nautical folklore that inhabit it.
    • While Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl doesn't bring the franchise to its full potential in dark story-telling it still features marauding pirates who take advantage of the lawlessness of the New World seas to terrorise seafarers who dare to venture unprotected in the West Indies and arcane curses enforced by Aztec Gods that can bring any being into a state of undeath and suffering, making it also unstoppable to all mortals.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest plays more a like a Horror Comedy for the better part of its duration. The writers themselves have stated that they wished to show that a character like Jack could not be safe anywhere, at land or at sea and so spends most of his screentime running for his life, from the sociopathic, serial killing, psychopomp Davy Jones who wants his soul and sics the horrific Kraken after him, to a tribe of cannibals who make a meal out of any travellers unlucky enough to encounter them. The other characters especially Will and Elisabeth don't fare any better as they have to deal with all that in addition to the East Indian Trading Company whose leader Lord Beckett has taken over and imposes death penalties on them to use them.
    • In fact Davy Jones himself believes in the cruelty of their world and invokes it in his dealings with Jack, which he got in the first place by getting almost killed by Beckett for releasing one hundred slaves. In this world rescuing one-hundred souls will be your doom and damning one-hundred souls will be your salvation.
  • Planet of the Apes: "IT'S A MADHOUSE, A MADHOUSE!!!"
  • Priest: The world in this movie is a world where humans and vampires are at war for as long as they can both remember. Despite humanity's superior technology, the vampires continued to hold the advantage except for the fact that sunlight kills them. In the end, the humans won the war but the planet is still devastated and most of humanity is still confined to one single city where the pollution is so thick that the city has a perpetual night. The humans either lived in the city which is ruled by a Corrupt Church whose rule is reminiscent of Oceania or in the middle of the desert where they're at the mercy of being attacked by vampires. The Church won't do anything and instead covers it up because... actually, no one really knows why the church indirectly helps its worst enemy.
  • The Red Spectacles: Not only is the movie the usual Mamoru Oshii tripfest, but Japan has banned stand-and-eat soba. And it only gets worse from there.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera: Has an epidemic of organ failures, a country ruled by a corporation that had murder sanctioned by law, and legions of people addicted to painkillers and/or surgery. It's small wonder Nathan locked his daughter in her bedroom.
  • The Road: It's a post-apocalyptic world where a cataclysm has killed off almost ALL plant and animal life, all civilization is long gone, everything is ashen and filthy and cold, and the few survivors left are cannibals, thieves, starving scavengers, or some combination thereof. The hero's only goal is the keep himself and his son alive long enough to reach the coast, and even he doesn't know if it'll be any warmer or easier to find food there. It isn't.
  • Road to Perdition: Being a Film Noir setting, has this kind of world.
  • Robot Monster: There are only two life-bearing planets in the Universe. One is Earth, the other is a mechanical dystopia. The dystopic planet attacked Earth, and has won. There are only eight people left at the start of the film, relentlessly pursued by a robotic fiend.
  • In the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R., everyone takes it for granted that the future (30 to 40 years out) will be a hellish dystopia where killer robots will be the last hope of humanity.
  • Samson and Delilah: The 1949 film depicts the Land of Dan as this, as the Philistines oppress the Jewish people with a military dictatorship that abolishes most of their culture and makes them serve their conquerors hand and foot.
  • Se7en: The depiction of the world is pretty half empty, but the last lines of the film say it best:
    Somerset: Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.
  • The Sergio Leone western films seem to show that they are set in a Crapsack World. In For a Few Dollars More, the title card sets the stage by declaring, "Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared."
  • The Seventh Seal: This film is pretty Crapsack. It involves the Plague, Witch Burnings, a horrific scene of self-flagellation, and lots of death. The protagonist's squire saves a young woman from a rapist (who is also a priest) and then says he would rape her himself, but he doesn't feel like it. There is mention of strange events, such as when "two horses ate each other," which leads to almost every character fearing it is the End Times. The protagonist also playing Chess with Death throughout, and when he tells a Priest in confessional that he is on the verge of winning (by playing "a combination of Bishop and Knight") the priest is revealed to be Death in disguise. Knowing his strategy, Death is able to win, and the film ends with all but three 'good' characters dying.
  • Silent Night: Turns out the small town is one, even lampshaded by Sheriff Cooper when he expresses since when the town has gotten so sleazy.
  • Sorority Row: This is a Slasher Movie and therefore not a pleasant scenario anyway, but even aside from this nearly every 'normal' character is a supremely horrible Jerkass from the therapist who buys sex from his clients in exchange for drugs to the corrupt senator who threatens his potential daughter-in-law to the sadistic backstabbing sorority sisters themselves. When one of the more sympathetic characters in the film is a date rapist you know you are in Crapsack World.
  • South Bronx Heroes: The South Bronx is portrayed as a broken city where crime runs rampant, half the buildings are decaying and populated by the homeless, the foster care system is full of paedophiles, and the Police are Useless.
  • Soylent Green: Though it apparently varies person to person.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: The uninhabited province of Qo'noS in which the Enterprise crew track down Harrison appears hellish for humans, and even Klingons don't regularly stop by.
  • Star Wars:
    • Tatooine in this universe. On top of being populated by monsters, mob bosses, wanted criminals, violent tribesmen, and con artists, it's on its own one big desert.
    • Nar Shaddaa too, seen how it's basically the criminal capital of the whole galaxy (pre-release material for Jedi Outcast actually singles out one Rodian as "the only legitimate businessman" on the entire planet, and even his business is a front for criminal activity). The scenery is somewhat like a ruined, decaying Coruscant, crime is the order of the day and the value of life approaches zero. It's also the moon of Nal Hutta, which is home to the Hutts, some of the most inherently evil creatures in the SW universe.
  • Strike Commando: Vietnam is depicted as a third world nation caught in a civil war by the bickering of the world's superpowers.
  • Super Fly: Harlem's socioeconomic state is so bad that drug dealing is considered the only realistic way to make money. Also, the cops are controlling the drug trade.
  • Tank Girl. A comet impact destroys civilization and somehow destroys most of the Earth's water. Most of the survivors are either evil employees of Water & Power or hopelessly decadent. However, there are many wacky elements as well.
  • Taxi Driver: Showed New York City through the eyes of a young, disturbed man absolutely sickened by the prostitutes, junkies and pimps. Therefore, it comes out looking like a Hell.
  • The Thinning is set in a post-apocalyptic future where, in order to conserve dwindling nature resources, the United Nations has mandated that every member country must reduce their population sizes by 5% every year. America has chosen to do this by issuing an annual aptitude test for grades 1-12. Those who do poorly on the test are eliminated. Or rather, they're shipped off to a factory to be used as forced labor, likely for the rest of their lives.
  • The Third Man: What's really depressing is that it was shot on location in a bombed-out, post WWII-era Vienna. That's our Crapsack World.
  • Trancers: The future is a post-apocalyptic hellscape where climate change has led to such cities as Los Angeles being completely underwater, Society is slowly rebuilding with the help of a council of three, but a megalomaniac with the ability to brainwash people into his zombie slaves is trying to destroy that. And he's figured out time travel...
  • Traxx: Hadleyville, Texas is an over-the-top parody of the urban hellhole that was so common in '80's action movies. The streets are literally always full of crime, the cops brazenly refuse to do anything, the ones that do condone vigilante action and the apartments just randomly explode.
  • Turbo Kid: After the nuclear Robot War, the world is made barren to the point where the water is acidic. The last remnants of human- and robotkind spend their days scavenging for resources, and the only semblance of civilization is a fascistic Evil Overlord.
  • The Usual Suspects: This is set in the dark underworld of New York and Los Angeles. The police are either horribly corrupt or completely ignorant about civil rights. The main characters are a bunch of violent hijackers and corrupt business men and "it" never stops. The most sympathetic character in the movie is the crippled con-man Verbal. Who is also the Big Bad, Keyser Soze.
  • V for Vendetta depicts a future where a nuclear war wiped out the Middle East, America has collapsed into pestilence, poverty and civil war, and Britain is controlled by a fascist regime. Britain's only hope is an insane superhuman terrorist who wants to destroy the government and replace it with... Erm, nothing.
  • Van Helsing: Europe is full of monsters that kill with impunity and without detection. There is a holy order to protect them, but due to the fact that most monsters turn human upon death, almost all of them are wanted criminals.
  • The Wages of Fear: All heroes are poor, unemployed and stuck in a hellhole town with no chance of escaping.
  • Warriors of the Wasteland: 2019 Earth has been destroyed by the nuclear war. All scavenge for food in small settlements, stuck in a state of malnourishment to no starve to death. The most powerful faction is a bunch of omnicidal maniacs.
  • Watchmen: The world depicted is very depraved and viewers get to see the downfall of modern society. Excerpt from Rorschach's Journal: "The streets are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of blood. And when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up around their waists... Now the whole world stands on the brink... staring down into bloody hell." Even though he could be exaggerating a bit what we do get to see supports his claims, apparently the fear of an impending nuclear holocaust has turned New York at the very least (and most likely the rest of the country) into a crime-infested chaotic hell-hole where there is very little authority and the system is in fact so corrupt that authorities are more concerned over some retired superheroes breaking the law and coming out of retirement to save children from a burning building than over violent murders that daily take place.
  • Waterworld: Four hundred years after the Earth is completely flooded, the last remnants of humanity are small ramshackle communities on the verge of genetic extinction, traders, slavers, pirates, and marauders. Things like dirt and paper are seen as valuable commodities. There's also a deep-seated hatred against mutants, people who have developed gills. Any of them who are found are sentenced to death...for some reason.
  • Welcome to the Dollhouse: The films of Todd Solondz, particularly this film, seem to revel in this.
  • Witchfinder General: England is portrayed as a country gripped in civil war, where the general chaos has led to the people becoming superstitious. Many con men have cropped up in this time of trouble, torturing and killing with impunity under the guise of finding witches.
  • Winter's Bone: Rural Missouri is filled with meth labs, poverty, violence, secrets, inbreeding and the subordination of women. Even the terrain is cold, rugged and inhospitable. Bonus points for being shot entirely on location, with many of the smaller roles filled with people who actually lived there (much like The Third Man).
  • The World of Kanako: This film is about ex-cop Akikazu who looks for his disappeared daughter but soon learns about a Dark Secret. The film leaves no survivors. Everyone in this world is either violent, brutal, corrupt, egoistic, manipulative or has a dark past and the few people who are good are ruthlessly bullied, manipulated, corrupted or forced into isolation. Whoever tries to find a way out of this is completely screwed.
  • Wristcutters: A Love Story: Makes the afterlife (at least for those who commit suicide) into this. For instance, it is physically impossible to smile.
  • The future in X-Men: Days of Future Past. A war-torn hellhole where major cities have been reduced to ruins, and anybody with mutant DNA is either killed or imprisoned in concentration camps.
  • Wyrmwood: Something in the air is making everybody with any blood type but A- turn into flesh-crazed zombies. It's also rendered all flammable liquids inert, so gasoline cars are useless in escaping. The only semblance of civilization left is a military operation bent on experimenting on the survivors.
  • Zombie Strippers!; The United States has become a dystopia where George W. Bush is entering an unconstitutional fourth term and has just dissolved Congress to become a dictator. In this society, public nudity is outlawed, the US is in seven wars, including one against Alaska, and corporations can do human experimentation at will.
  • Zombie Wars: After a radiation storm hits Earth, most of humanity has been consumed by the Zombie Apocalypse. The only survivors are nomadic camps of warriors and corrupt dictatorships that train zombies to manage slave camps of the former.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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