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Creepy Cemetery

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"Mist... cemetery... Halloween. Should end well."

Cemeteries have long held an air of creepiness about them. They are, after all, the places where we bury the dead, and our deceased loved ones in particular. Places that consequently remind us of unpleasant things. Places that can sometimes manage to creep us out simply because of the way they look.

Little wonder, then, that so many Fantasy and Horror works like this setting. In one of these graveyards, it is Always Night, or occasionally twilight. Most often the moon is full, for extra supernatural points. Clouds may also be present, or fog, or snow. And, most importantly... it often turns out that the dead people there aren't really dead.

This is the usual birthplace and/or home of The Undead, and in a Zombie Apocalypse you can expect every grave to be a Clown-Car Grave. If you're lucky, the local vampire coven didn't get the memo about this not being the best place to sleep, so you'll just need to find their Ancient Tomb and hope there isn't a night guard (and that they're heavy sleepers).


Big Boo's Haunt overlaps when it takes place in a cemetery. See also Indian Burial Ground and Elephant Graveyard.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In episode 79 of Yu-Gi-Oh! Bakura and Bonz duel in a graveyard and bring the creepy crawlies to match.
  • An episode of Ojamajo Doremi takes place in a local cementery handled by the family of a boy in Doremi and Co's class, where the kids perform their Kimodameshi. It's not that creepy at first sight, but Hazuki (who really hates the supernatural) begs to disagree and her terror is Played for Laughs. It turns out to have a ghost... who happens to be that of the late local Buddhisst priest and the grandfather of the girls' classmate; his grandson wasn't there when he passed away and he wants to see the kid one last time...

    Comic Books 
  • Magic Trixie: In "Magic Trixie Sleeps Over", when Trixiee goes to the vampire twins' sleepover, she's dropped off at a cemetery that is devoid of colour.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): When Maxie Zeus makes a pact with Eris, Deimos, and Phobos to recreate the Areopagus at a Gothic Chapel in Gotham he and some blank eyes cultists manage to sneak up on and attack Artemis and Huntress in the eerie dark cemetery.

    Films — Animation 
  • The rabbits in Watership Down cross through one, mostly for the sake of atmosphere.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The opening scene (and first zombie attack) in Night of the Living Dead takes place in one of these. Subverted somewhat in that a.) it all happens in broad daylight and b.) we never actually see said zombie emerge from a grave.note 
  • The punks in The Return of the Living Dead use a cemetery as their stomping ground. This is a bad idea.
  • Hocus Pocus has a graveyard, but relies on elements from the rest of the movie to add the creepiness factor. In fact, the film establishes that the cemetery is the safest place to be as being hallowed ground, witches can't set foot on it lest they be turned to stone.
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives starts with Tommy Jarvis (with a friend) going to one to symbolically kill Jason Voorhees. The opposite happens.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, this is where Lori ends up in her first nightmare and finds the spectres of Freddy's child victims playing and singing his warning rhyme.
  • Attempted in Plan 9 from Outer Space, although it's actually a laughably bad set.
  • Dr. Tesla's initial hiding place in Return Of The Vampire is a decrepit, fog-covered graveyard outside of London. When he is revived, he moves to an abandoned church.
  • The cast of Death Screams decide to head for a cemetery for the best atmosphere to tell scary stories to each other.
  • Nothing frightening happens in the pet cemetery that is the focus of documentary Gates of Heaven. But it's still vaguely unsettling to see shot after shot of pet headstones, as well as statuary of fake deer and swans and the like, as well as an abandoned outdoor chapel.
  • The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill: There's a decrepit cemetery near the church, which contains a few graves where someone named Sophia was buried, making it hard to determine which one was the body desecrated in the 1963 black mass.
  • Return Of The Scarecrow: The intro credits of the movie are played over a POV shot of someone being chased through a cemetery by the scarecrow before it catches and kills them.

  • At least one in every Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel. Justified as Anita's occupation is to raise zombies from graves.
  • The first urban Circle Of Hell in The Divine Comedy is a cemetery filled with fiery tombs that hold arch-heretics and their followers. The tombs are destined to remain open until the Last Judgement, allowing the rare passerby to hear the "sorry cries" the heretics create for the rest of the eternal life many of them denied.
  • Dracula has Van Helsing and Dr. Seward keeping vigil at the cemetery where Lucy was entombed (and from which her body has disappeared), discovering she had become a vampire, and ultimately dispatching her with a stake through the heart after she had returned to her coffin.
  • Necropolis, in Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead. Zak makes friends with some local boys who dare him to go into the deepest part of the local cemetery. He's used to cultures where the dead are incinerated, and the idea that he's surrounded by rotting people freaks him out. Then the zombies show up...
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort did his little forbidden ritual in a graveyard. You know, the usual "bone of father, flesh of servant, blood of enemy" rebirth routine.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer Johannes Cabal may or may not have accidentally locked his brother in a particularly disturbed crypt in a possibly haunted cemetary.
  • In Shaman Blues, cemetaries are usually an inversion, as oft rituals spoken on them make them anathema to most ghosts. However, Katia and Witkacy do visit one that neatly fits the bill, complete with being a source of weird magic energy and having power-mad ghosts invading it slowly.
  • The Walker in the Cemetery is a Cthulhu Mythos story by Ian Watson set in the Staglieno necropolis in Genoa. Despite the lifelike statues the cemetery isn't very creepy until it's cut off from the outside world and an Eldritch Abomination starts hunting the tour group for its own amusement.
  • Averted in The Zombie Survival Guide, which points out that zombies (by that book's rules) can't rise from the grave, and they won't go into cemeteries because that's not where the food is. Therefore, cemeteries are usually a good place to rest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The third season of Charmed has a few cemetery scenes and it's mentioned a few times that Cole can't be tracked in a cemetery.
  • When Buffy has no other demands on her time, she stakes out the cemetery (no pun intended) because new vamps emerge from there.
  • The Twilight Zone TOS has this in two episodes.
    • "The Grave": The scary part of the episode took place in a cemetery.
    • "Mr. Garrity and the Graves": The end has resurrected townsfolk rising from their graves on Boot Hill.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hells Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), a Hell Gate is inside a crypt in a cowboy cemetery surrounded by a 100 mile Devil's Trap.
  • Many of Night and Day's pivotal scenes take place in the graveyard at St Vincent’s church. For extra shivers, there are underground catacombs too - usually reserved for violent scuffles, sexual encounters, demonic episodes and monster sightings.


  • The "Nightmare"/"Graveyard" table from Pinball Dreams takes place in one of these.
  • The Addams Family has one behind the mansion. Wednesday can be seen hanging out here.

  • The Magnus Archives: Several: the narrator of "Alone" finds herself in one after getting lost and the narrator of "Growing Dark" passes through one to reach a chapel he believes he needs to investigate. It looks as if we're going to see another one in "A Distortion" when someone asks Sasha to meet them there, but the trope is subverted when it turns out they just chose the cemetery as a convenient landmark close to the actual destination.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Call of Cthulhu adventures, anytime you find a cemetery, you can (and should) assume that there are ghouls nearby.
  • The same is true of Dungeons & Dragons, which has an even greater variety of undead.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • One serves as an arena in BearZerkers. There's a coffin on the left, and a mausoleum on the right.
  • GhostControl Inc.: Since this is a not-Ghostbusters game, you will be taking jobs in haunted cemeteries.
  • Ginger Beyond The Crystal: Pet Sematery Hill, which is accessible from Crater Peaks, is set in a cemetery full of zombie frogs and tombstones. One of the hazards is graves on the path that, when approached, have a pair of skeleton creatures rise out of it to attack Ginger, then crawl back into their shared grave.
  • Haunted Halloween 85: Naturally, given the nature of the game, one of the levels that Donny traverses is a monster-infested cemetery.
  • The cemetery in Halloween Town of Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
    • Before that, Kingdom Hearts II featured the Proof of Existence, which is basically a graveyard for Nobodies.
  • In Left 4 Dead, at the end of the third level on the "Death Toll" campaign, the path leads through a cemetery into a busted up church, where an insane and paranoid man in the safe room rings the church's bell to attract zombies, supposedly to make sure that you and the other survivors in your group are not infected. It turns out that he was infected himself, and he makes his transformation into a (random) Special Infected by the time that the Horde wave is over and you enter the safe room.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda has a graveyard on the western side of the map. Touching most of the gravestones makes an invincible Ghini spawn, which can quickly become a hassle. But if you can handle them, it becomes one of the best places to farm rupees. The first quest hides the magic sword there, and the second quest has the entrance to the 6th dungeon hidden there.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has several graveyards on the world map, including a massive one that hides the entrance to the third palace. Since Random Encounters are almost always difficult in graveyards, you'll generally want to avoid them. However, visiting the tombstone south of King's Tomb will be necessary to progress in the game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Link can drop down into some of the graves to do things like race the ghost of an Undertaker in a creepy maze and fight ReDeads. Also, it houses the entrance to the spooky shadow temple, and the well isn't too far away from the cemetery.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Ikana Graveyard, which is located within the path to the main area of Ikana Canyon. Inside the cemetery, Link can race against the remains of an army officer who died centuries ago, trick his men who dance around graves at night into thinking he [Link] is the officer, and have his men open up the graves to go on adventures underground.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games has the Yoll Graveyard, which had ghosts in it as well as the first dungeon in the game. In addition, the final dungeon in the game is located in the same location in the past, and is an ancient tomb blocked by whirlpools. The Yoll Graveyard is also one of the only two places in the entire game that prevents you from time traveling, and distorts the screen if you try.
  • Pokémon Red and Blue: Pokémon Tower in the infamous Lavender Town is a massive cemetery tower where people all over pay their respects to Pokémon who have passed on. Team Rocket infiltrates the tower, disturbing the restless spirits, one of them is a mother Marowak who was killed by Team Rocket Grunts.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has Jill going to the cemetery when she goes through the Raccoon Park. There has been one in almost every Resident Evil game since then, and a Dummied Out graveyard even got added back into the remake of Resident Evil.
  • Luigi's Mansion: The graveyard. It gets even creepier when lightning strikes the glowing blue tombstone near the end of it and Bogmire attacks Luigi in the area 2 boss battle.
  • Shantae (2002) has one just after the swamp containing the Cackle Mound, in the area right before Shantae reaches the Zombie Caravan for the first time. The place is filled with a lot of floating ghosts and Big Creepy-Crawlies climbing up and down the surrounding trees.
  • One of the last locations in Total Distortion is called the "Sonic Cemetery", with several guitar-shaped tombstones inside a gloomy monochrome landscape. A rock cover of a creepy organ theme plays when you first enter, and you can use a bell to summon a zombie Goth rocker named Edgar Death. The three songs he performs even have bizarre background effects that the player can film for their music videos.
  • Torchlight II's Act I is sprinkled with graves, but the one cemetery, Skull Hollow, covers a small plot over a much larger underground tomb. In Act III is Rivenskull Gorge, a vast gothic graveyard complete with Haunted Castle.
  • The Gamindustri Graveyard from Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. Doesn't help that it has its own creepy, all-seeing eye on top of a tower.
  • LEGO Dimensions: One level has the player characters chase a Cyber-King through one. Though the cemetery itself isn't that creepy, save for all the Cybermen bursting out of the ground, or those angelic statues that seem to move when the player isn't looking at them. Ultimately, it turns out the area isn't even a cemetery at all, just a hologramatic disguise. But the statues are very real.
  • Princess Maker 2: Baran the Gravekeeper handles one of these, and he can hire the Daughter to help him working there. He'll often tease the girl by telling her about a Skeleton Knight who supposedly haunts it. If she has good enough Fighting/Magic skills, the Skeleton Knight will challenge her and she'll have to defeat him to send him to Heaven, which will net her at least 2.000 gold.
  • Used several times in the Last Half of Darkness games. Jaja's bones in Shadows of the Servants must be dug up to acquire an item, and mausoleums (yes, plural) must be accessed to complete all the non-text games.
  • Sydney Hunter and the Shrines of Peril: Sydney travels through a cemetery to get to the titular shrine. There's even grave stones Sydney has to jump over.
  • White Noise Online: One of these is in the woods you explore.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
  • Samurai Jack once had to battle an army of skeletal warriors in a cemetery.
  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Krabs had to go into a cemetery to find a valuable hat and had to fight an army of undead fish.
    • SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs went back to the same cemetery when they thought they killed the Health Inspector.
  • In the episode of Captain N: The Game Master where the titular captain first meets Link and Princess Zelda, they venture into Hyrule's cemetery during their adventure. The Captain notes that the cemetery is much creepier in person than in the game.
  • Invader Zim had a pretty creepy cemetary (but with cool LED-screen tombstones).

    Real Life 
  • A group of British ravers invoked this when they tried to organise a rave at a cemetery for Halloween 2011. The local council was not amused.
  • Actually, most of our ideas about creepy cemeteries originate in Victorian London. The city had serious problems with overcrowding, both for living people and as a consequence for the dead as well. This resulted in dead bodies being buried in graves that were already occupied, half-buried body parts sticking out of the ground and the like. Add constant smog for special spookiness. Matters were much improved in 1839 by the founding of Highgate Cemetery and six other rural or garden cemeteries in London. Based partly on the iconic Mount Auburn which was itself inspired by Père Lachaise, these garden cemeteries — and even the word "cemetery" — were part of a movement in society to change the mindset around death. Instead of grim graveyards with constant reminders of the physical reality of death, the cemetery was a hopeful place to think about the next life.note  People were actually encouraged to go there to relax and have fun. They were the first city parks.
  • The KGB set up a meeting for Sergeant Robert Lee Johnson (whom they'd recruited as a spy) in a cemetery for exactly this reason, as no-one else was likely to come out there.


Video Example(s):



Michael and his date pass by a cemetery just as the dead begin to rise from their graves.

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