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Acid-Trip Dimension

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Would anyone else like to enter the Fly of Despair?

"Breathe the Fire;
Walk the Air;
Drink the Earth;
Warm your hands at the Water."
— A greeting in Planescape's Limbo
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For the times when you enter a space-time rift and the next dimension reminds you of the last time you dropped LSD.

When characters go to Another Dimension, it'll never resemble anything from our reality, but instead it will be... weird. Some can look like the inside of a lava lamp, some have landscapes that look like those Salvador Dali paintings, and others are not so pleasant. What's for sure is that the dimension won't resemble anything like our own, and the rules of physics are different or nonexistent. This can be Played for Laughs.

Contrast with Cloudcuckooland. What makes Cloudcuckooland weird is that the cultural norms there are very different from what we're used to. Acid Trip Dimensions may not even have inhabitants, and the dimension's physical laws themselves are wonky. And that's if the Acid Trip Dimension is even fleshed out; sometimes it's just a brief sequence to show that the character is doing some interdimensional traveling.

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This may sometimes intersect with Elemental Plane, generally in situations where a dimension embodies a concept such as Chaos or Madness or where distinct planes become mixed or collide with one another.

For a more musical experience, see Disney Acid Sequence. See also Hyperspace Is a Scary Place, Eldritch Location, Ludicrous Speed and Reality Is Out to Lunch.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Hell Girl: The first hell banishment scene in season three takes place in a trippy dimension full of numbers.

    Comic Books 
  • Jim Starlin loves this trope. Trippy, reality warping dreamscapes tend to pop up frequently in his Thanos and Adam Warlock stories.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Doctor Strange: Most other dimensions (especially Dormammu's) visited by the good doctor are usually depicted as bizarre landscapes filled with weird shapes. Steve Ditko was famous for his depictions of these, and every other artist on the book has tried his hand at it.
  • She-Hulk: During Steve Gerber's run on The Sensational She-Hulk, she teams up with Howard the Duck for an adventure visiting several dimensions, including one that consists of nothing but giant slices of baloney floating through an endless void, which are fed on by little flying gargoyle creatures who gleefully shout "Blo-neeeee!"
  • Sonic the Comic: The Special Zone is portrayed this way. Referenced when a character claimed the part where most of the action took place was the weird part. There are, however, parts of the Special Zone which are "normal". It's a Cloud Cuckoo Land to Sonic, but it's pretty average in comparison to the swirling mass of colours that make up the rest of the dimension.
  • Superman:
    • On a bad day, the Phantom Zone can get like this, most notably in the 1980s Phantom Zone miniseries by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, which revealed that the whole place is actually the physical manifestation of the mind of an Eldritch Abomination. As long as you don't probe about too deep in the Zone, it's a perfectly safe place, albeit very barren; but heaven help you if you deliberately attract the thing's attention.
    • Some depictions of the Bizarro World are like this, typically when emphasizing how everything works in the opposite way from how it does in real life — sanity is insane, Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good, people always say the opposite of what they mean, and so on.
    • Mr. Mxyzptlk's fifth dimensional realm is always like this, although how cartoony it is varies from one version to another. It's telling that in a crossover story with Bugs Bunny, the Dodo Bird of Wackyland (see Western Animation below) was basically Mxy's counterpart in the Loony Tunes universe.
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    Fan Works 
  • A.A. Pessimal: Witches who work for the Pegasus Service are "crawstepped" around the Disc by Feegle navigators, enabling them to get anywhere within minutes. Transit works by the Feegle navigating them through a strange dimension described as "Feegle Space", where the usual rules of time, space and proportion do not apply. A witch in this dimension has interesting conversations with a four-sided triangle, for instance. Apparently, Feegle Space is also the dimension which Discworld shamans enter, after smoking or ingesting the relevant herbal preparations.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: The Hypercube's interior: lots of red, blue, and yellow, a bunch of stuff floating around...

    Film — Animated 
  • Halloween Is Grinch Night: The inside of the Grinch's "paraphernalia wagon" is perceived as a series of disjointed flashes featuring bizarre landscapes, impossible architecture and empty voids filled with a panoply of strange creatures — ghosts, monsters, featureless lumps — that menace and harry Eucariah.
  • Yellow Submarine: The various seas The Beatles travel through — Time, Monsters, Holes, etc. Hell, the entire universe of the film can be considered this trope. Want to go to a 1968 Liverpool where you live in a giant mansion filled with Scooby-Dooby Doors that constantly spew out the oddest assortment of imagery ever put to film?

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Doctor Strange (2016), the Dark Dimension, among other parts of the Multiverse, is incredibly psychedelic. Some places have grasping hands, some pulse or move weirdly, physics seems to have been abandoned... Understandably, the first thing Strange asks is what was in the tea he just drank.
  • What Dreams May Come is this in spades, considering that their entire vision of heaven and hell is based upon paintings from over the centuries.

    Literature 
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: When the Heart of Gold is travelling, the side effects of its improbability drive cause increasingly unlikely events to spontaneously happen, turning its interior into this. When Arthur and Ford first experience it, Arthur's arms and legs start falling off, Ford turns into a penguin, and they're accosted by various bizarre entities including a talking elderberry bush.
  • H. P. Lovecraft:
    • "The Dreams in the Witch House": The dimension outside "angled space" (the 3-dimensional universe) is a black space filled with portals, and living beings passing through it appear as strange shapes.
    • The "reality" seen under the effects of the machine in "From Beyond".
  • Illuminatus!: We have Fission Chips being sent on a rollercoaster through space and time at the behest of a Lovecraftian Dark God; on his trip, among other things he encounters a disgruntled novelist (who in our world disappeared mysteriously) who complains to him that he only walked around the bleeding horses, and look where he ended up.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The "Unseen world" (or "wraith-world"), which the Nazgûl inhabit and which exists along with the Seen world; in it, things in the "Seen" world are typically perceived as dim and shadowy, but other things can seem plain which are hidden to the "Seen" world. For example, on Weathertop Frodo puts on the Ring, he vanishes from the Seen world, but can see into the Wraith world (being "half in the wraith-world" himself), and he sees the Nazgûl as they appear in the Wraith-world, i.e. as their normal human forms (which is also how the Nazgûl appear to each other, despite being invisible in the Seen world). Likewise, Frodo is drawn gradually further into the wraith-world after being stabbed by the morgul-knife. Glorfindel, meanwhile, lives in both the Seen and Unseen worlds at the same time, since he has dwelt in the Blessed Realm; but he appears as a "shining figure" in the Wraith-world. (In the movie, however, Frodo is apparently entirely in the wraith-world whenever he puts on the Ring, while the Nazgûl seem as glowing distorted figures rather than plain men; meanwhile Gildor Inglorion (or Arwen, who takes his place in the film) becomes the "shining figure" despite having never dwelled in the Blessed Realm).
  • The Universe Between: For those capable of staying there long enough without panicking, the Other Side can offer a wide variety of sensory distortions and crossovers, such as tasting the brightness of light, seeing music, feeling colors, and hearing touch sensations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • There's "a dimension of all shrimp". We never see it, but Anya mentions it. So does Illyria. It's reportedly very boring.
    • Anya also mentions a "Crazy Melty Land", which probably fits this trope better.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The time vortex has an element of this, being a video-feedback, kaleidoscopic tunnel.
    • In the first episode of "The Mind Robber", the Doctor pulls the emergency escape switch and gets the TARDIS stuck in a dimension that doesn't really exist. There is a black void and a white void, a black TARDIS and a white TARDIS, evil white-dressed versions of Jamie and Zoe, weird random screaming sounds and the TARDIS exploding. This is apparently what happens when you try to make a Bottle Episode in the middle of the psychedelic era.
  • The Good Place features the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes. Swirling colors, flying pancake-shaped portals, and neon green, inexplicably deadly slugs abound. Plus, there's something called the Time Knife that momentarily breaks poor Chidi's mortal brain.
  • Star Trek:
    • The universe is composed of a matter universe and an anti-matter universe, separated by a "neutral universe"; the anti-matter universe is identical to the matter-universe in every way, but the neutral universe is quite bizarre.
    • The wormhole in Deep Space Nine appears to be actually a different dimension that touches normal space in two separate points. The inside looks like nothing even roughly similar, but thankfully space ships can travel through it without any trouble if equipped with the necessary technology.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Little Girl Lost."

    Pinball 
  • Silverball Mania has a relatively mild version of this, with the playfield depicting mercurial fountains spewing pinballs and glowing gradients of blue, yellow, and orange everywhere.

    Tabletop Games 
  • City of 7 Seraphs: In the Broken Realms, cosmic laws break down, and the singular commonality between them is the consistent differences of their realities from the cosmology of the multiverse.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has different planes that act as an acid trip dimension, depending on the cosmology.
    • Eberron has several alien planes. Xoriat, the realm of madness, has red clouds everywhere, and space seems to be rippling. Dal Quor has buildings floating in the air.
    • Planescape features The Great Wheel cosmology:
      • The plane of Limbo is a roiling mass of chaos matter, which changes randomly or based on the will of people traveling on the plane.
      • The Far Realm exists "outside the bounds of the multiverse". Nothing there even resembles the real world, and the text which actually describes the appearance of the plane (Of which there is very little) carries the note that nothing on the Far Realm can possibly be comprehended by a human being, therefore you can't even imagine what it's like. Oh, and to top it all off: The Far Realm contains more than one dimension, and you can see all the other dimensions by looking down and, in some areas, can be in several dimensions at once.
    • 4th Edition takes the Elemental Planes and mixes them, alongside the Chaotic Evil Abyss and the Chaotic Neutral Limbo, into one plane, the Elemental Chaos. The 5th Edition reinstates the separate Elemental Planes, with the Elemental Chaos occurring where they break down and mix together as one heads "away" from the mortal world and towards the Outer Planes. In either case, the Chaos is a raw, primal mass of elements constantly mixing and separating in any possible combination, where the ground, the air and the storm are all potentially alive.
      Here, flame speaks and lightning dreams, iron hates and seas hunger. Islands of earth, ash, mud, salt, or semisolid smoke and flame, some as vast as continents, float amid an endless sky. Rivers of water, lava, or liquid air flow from oceans bounded by nothing solid, cross landscapes of broken crystal, and spill over cliff faces made of tangible lightning. Winds of heavy vapor are guided by currents of chaos, whipping into enormous storms of burning hail and sharp-edged thunder.
  • Exalted: The Wyld isn't a separate dimension, it's just the writhing Primal Chaos that exists past the borders of Creation, where The Fair Folk live and reality, causality and physics break down; while the shifting landscapes and bizarre creatures are peculiar enough, the fact that cause and effect are loose suggestions and little to no Ontological Inertia exists are what makes this place truly bizarre.
  • JAGS Wonderland, based on Alice in Wonderland. The lower a Chessboard is, the more different it is from the real world. The lowest level ones are very odd indeed.
  • Pathfinder: The Maelstrom, the Outer Plane representing Chaos untainted by any other philosophy, concept or morality, takes the form of an eternally roiling sea of possibility constantly shaping, eroding and reforming itself. In its borderlands, forests of crystalline trees can grow in minutes before melting into shallow seas that then dry into luminous deserts, while in its heart even the illusion of solid ground is left behind and scattered drifts of Floating Continents, rubble and ruins drawn in from other planes and divine realms drift like rafts in an eternal storm.
  • The World of Darkness, both Old and New, provides an assortment:
    • Astral Space can be... less than intuitive. It comprises the individual Mental Worlds of every individual, the shared dreams of humanity, and the collective unconscious of the entire planet. Sometimes this produces sane, recognizable landscapes — but then you notice that time is relative and space is negotiable.
    • Changeling: The Lost:
      • The natural laws of Arcadia are determined by Contracts forged with the land, not anything so pedestrian as physics, biology, or common sense. Need to reach out, take hold of the moon, and hoist yourself up onto it? Make it an offer. Some featured settings are a manor set apart from time (so the first thing you see as you leave is your past self passing you on the way in) and a small house containing an infinite number of rooms that start out tame and get steadily more alien.
      • True Fae within Arcadia sometimes take the form of Realms: self-contained, sentient settings that operate according to their own narrative laws. This provides locations like an infinite lake of lava (safe to swim in, but filled with icebergs that inflict lethal frostbite) and an unending house that rearranges itself whenever it gets bored. To add to the fun, more powerful Fae can manifest in more than one form simultaneously: the sprawling castle, the King, the Crown Jewels, and his entire army could be different aspects of the same entity.
    • Mage: The Awakening: As the game's premise is that reality exists by consensus and is consequently highly malleable and negotiable, realms of this sort are quite common.
      • The Supernal Realms are "not locations ... but a near-infinite collection of platonic truths". Concepts like linear time, spatial dimensions, cause and effect, and whatnot don't apply, because the Realms are where reality as mortals understand it is generated. Consequently, only the most powerful beings can visit even temporarily: it's necessary to filter the Realms through a personalized set of metaphors and symbols, and even then, prolonged exposure will break the mind, overwhelm the soul, and delete the poor bastard from reality. It's mentioned that a sufficiently talented archmaster can make a gateway to the Supernal Realms for anyone to pass through, but they have easier ways to kill people.
      • The Abyss is a gangrenous non-reality filled with everything that could have been but is not. Intruders from the Abyss pervert or outright ignore natural laws, because the Abyss has none. The rule book notes that a thrown rock might accelerate endlessly, hover in place and suck the heat away from the area, or ignite in a cloud of venomous worms. The only places in the Abyss where there are consistent (if unrecognizable) rules are, themselves, immeasurably powerful and completely incomprehensible entities. One example given is the Blasphemous Scribe, a dark alternate history of Earth that becomes more real the more extensively its phenomena are documented in the real world. Too much, and Earth and the Scribe will switch places...
      • The Lower Depths are just as weird. For all that the above realms are weird, they at least carry a reflection of all ten Arcana, the principles that make up existing and define Awakened spellcasting. The Lower Depths? Each one lacks at least one. Which could be such things as Matter, or Life, or Space, or Time, or Mind...
    • The Shadow — present in both Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening — is comparatively sane, being the animistic reflection of the physical world. Any particular natural feature might be alive, though. Is that particular lake the spirit of a benevolent oasis that provides life and sustenance to a region, or the incarnation of dark water and the terror of drowning? Better find out before you fill your canteen.

    Video Games 
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm:
    • Alwaysland. It's a series of isolated crystal paths floating in a swirling, pastel rainbow void, and it's filled to the brim with surreal encounters said to be inspired by various inside jokes and memes from Catie Wayne's fan forum.
    • There's also the Astral Error secret area, which is like an Acid Trip Dimension mixed with a Minus World.
  • In Celeste, the Chapter 9: Farewell DLC takes place in an increasingly trippy astral plane. Justified in that it's All Just a Dream.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online: The plane of Xoriat, the realm of madness, that you can visit during the quests Delirium and Acute Delirium. Highlights include that for chasing a beholder, you need... An Airship! Made of 12 beds and 6 bookshelves.
  • EarthBound: Moonside, where you fight some of the more absurd enemies like Dali's Clock, gas pumps, fire hydrants, and paintings. The denizens aren't much saner; one of them seems to believe that you're walking parking meters.
  • Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong-Nou was made by the same guy who made LSD: Dream Emulator. Nothing more needs to be said about this one. The sequel, Chu-Teng, is even stranger and was only released in Japan!
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion features at least two:
    • The quest A Brush With Death features you entering a painting to fight painted trolls who killed their painter
    • The daedra quest for Vaermina features you entering a dream dimension where up becomes down over time.
  • In Everything, ascending above the galaxy level or below the atomic level results in the same quantum hyperspace of abstract shapes and kaliedescope camera effects. You can move to a higher universe's atoms or a lower universe's galaxies from there. There's also the Golden Gate, a psychedellic hellscape of anxious thoughts, misplaced technology, glitches and paradoxes. Its two planes contain each other all the way down, so the only way to leave is to literally clear your mind by erasing every line of dialogue you've collected.,
  • In Grim Fandango the world of the living is represented by a weird collage. Manny mentions that the living creep him out.
  • Gobliins 2: There are two single-screen "dream" levels like this. Not that the rest of the game makes much sense, mind you — this series is a Weird Thing from France — but these two locations are deliberately bright and bizarre. Oh, and the way to get to them? Eating mushrooms. Both times. You can't get a more literal example of this.
  • Jet Set Radio: The final boss level of Jet Set Radio Future is a nightmarish vortex of swirling colors with out-of-place platforms that seem to defy the laws of physics. Oh, and the final boss himself is the Big Bad corrupt mayor of Tokyo who gives a glitched-out villain speech before transforming into an enormous cyborg monster.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has several areas that are only accessible while your character is under the influence of hallucinogens, where you fight things like Interesting Wallpaper, or The Feeling You're Being Watched. Drinking too much virtual booze has predictable effects.

    Web Animation 
  • Cyriak Harris' works give off this aesthetic — if the man's inspiration does not come from there, then it's at least a regular holidaymaker.
  • Homestar Runner has the world of Strong Bad's "crazy cartoon" Sweet Cuppin' Cakes. It's a flat checkered plain with distant teal mountains and a black sky, whose inhabitants include a talking wheelchair, a trapezoid-shaped fellow called Eh! Steve, and a pig-like hovering creature described by Strong Bad as "a cross between a cow and a helicopter."
  • Many Youtube Poops, usually in the form of "acid trips/sequences" which are scenes depicting random characters, objects, and/or shapes moving, contorting, transforming, etc. in psychedelic environments.

    Webcomics 
  • Unsounded has the Khert, the fractal, fractured remains of the memories of every soul that ever perished, perishes, or will perish in the setting's native continent of Kasslyne.
  • In Vexxarr, the titular protagonist's ship eventually obtains the capacity to shift between alternate universes at a whim. Hyperspace is scary enough, but all bets are off when it comes to the dreaded twee space.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "One + One = Ed" sees the cul-de-sac turning into one of these as the Eds start taking apart their cartoon reality.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "The Inconveniencing", Mabel, while under the effect of too much Smile Dip, hallucinates a bizarre dimension filled with edible talking dogs, where she rides a flying dolphin with arms... which suddenly sprouts two more arms, each of which has a dolphin's face on it, and each of those faces shoot rainbow lasers out of their mouth while a car alarm sounds.
      Mabel: The future... is in the past! Onwards, Aoshima!
    • The Nightmare Realm, home of Bill Cipher and a lot of other nasties, is implied to be this but we haven't gotten a clear look yet. Bill says that it's "decaying", and he's been trapped in there for about one trillion years.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In one episode, Skeletor erases He-Man's memory and sends him to another dimension by way of a Narmy Disney Acid Sequence, to a world that looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Discord's dimension, shown in "Make New Friends but Keep Discord" and "Discordant Harmony", is a black and purple void filled with floating islands topped by colorful trees and ground patterned with stars and dots, washed by pools and waterfalls of a liquid in a red-yellow-green gradient, and home to bizarre monsters. A bottomless pit is also mentioned. In Discord's home are stairs that go nowhere and an upside-down volcano on the ceiling, he unwashes dishes in his kitchen sink... and if he loses his identity there, he fades away to nothing.
    • The dimension Discord threatens to send Tree Hugger to in "Make New Friends but Keep Discord" consists of a background of crudely drawn refrigerator art and is inhabited by living sock puppets.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • In "Black Hole", Captain Hoek and Cadet Stimpy travel to one of these through the titular black hole.
    • In "Jerry the Bellybutton Elf", Stimpy crawls into his own belly button and falls into a hellish dimension, accompanied by a sixties-sounding rock song.
  • Robot Chicken: One episode has an entire skit with the yellow submarine, complete with an Art Shift as it is noticeably different from the standard dolls they typically use.
    Ringo: I'm on acid!
  • The Simpsons: Homer is sent to one of these in a hallucination after consuming a nasty chili pepper in the episode "(The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Featured as the page image, Squidward has a lot of experience with these, one of the more memorable being a spaghetti hell. The Season 12 episode "SpongeBob in RandomLand" revolves around an Acid Trip Dimension: the titular Random Land, where SpongeBob and Squidward are sent to deliver an order.
  • Swing, You Sinners! is perhaps one of the earliest appearances of a Disney Acid Sequence. The short is a Mind Screw all the way through, but it completely stops making sense and loses control of itself for the last minute or so, when the protagonist becomes trapped in the spirits' barn and then falls into their cave, where any pretense of sense is given up as freakish entities race across a black void filled with flashing colors.
  • Teen Titans: While time-traveling, Starfire goes through a dimension made up of ticking clocks.
  • Tangled: The Series has the Lost Realm, a bizarre dimension where strange and impossible creatures reside, and any human who spends too long there begins to develop absurd features as well, such as becoming entirely made of eyes or turning into a balloon with a face.
  • Trolls: In Trolls Holiday, the trolls go through a wormhole when their bus gets swallowed by a giant worm. In it, they see themselves turn into vintage troll dolls.

 
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