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Daylight Horror

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It's such a beautiful day, nothing could possibly— Oh crap.

"A bloody dawn broke over a scabbed and tortured world."

Evil Is Not Well-Lit. We all know this. It's human nature to believe that Darkness Equals Death. Therefore, it's been a commonly held trope for centuries that scary things have to happen in the dark, preferably A Dark And Stormy Night. This is why there are so many horror movies where The Lost Woods never see daylight, or why whoever owns the Haunted House never pays the electricity bill. Conversely, well lit, sunny areas with 100% visibility must be safe. We know that no monsters will harm us once the sun comes up. Hey, the Things That Go Bump only do it In The Night, after all. If spooky things always lurk in the darkness, then surely nothing bad can happen in daylight... Right?


The reasons for this may vary...

  • Most often, the writers want to play on the false sense of security we feel about light and turn it on its head.
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  • Sometimes, the production budget does not allow for any night shots and the filmmakers don't want to use Hollywood Darkness.
  • The sunlight illuminates the ugliness and gore in shocking detail and clarity.
  • The sunlight adds a sense of realism often found in documentaries, where mankind's brutality doesn't wait for dusk, as often seen on the news. (This is especially true for battles, which are often fought in broad daylight.)
  • It's the perfect environment for They Look Just Like Everyone Else!.
  • Contrast. The jarring emotional roller coaster ride between the dark and the light.
  • The daylight is dampened by normal clouds, creating a depressing atmosphere.
  • It's sunlight, but the sunlight is dampened for another reason, and the reason is horrifying.
  • The sunlight is used to defuse the horror in a non-horror story, especially stories aimed at children, often failing for the above-listed reasons.
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  • It's surreal and dreamlike to see a monster or horrific sight in broad daylight. Remember all those childhood dreams and nightmares with a monster attacking you under a bright blue sky?
  • Explicitly or implicitly, there's an idea that it's a greater violation of the natural order: If the forces of darkness are invading the realm of light, that's a worse state of affairs than if they just stick to hiding in the shadows and prey on those who enter those kind of places.

Whatever the reason may be, we get scenes of frightening imagery in broad daylight or well-lit rooms. The Ax-Crazy serial killer suddenly shows up at your home when all of the lights are on. The Eldritch Abomination decides to rise on a sunny day. The Zombie Apocalypse around the corner doesn't care if it's nice out and you've decided to go sunbathing. In fact the zombies are more likely to appear during the day because the purpose of their stories is often to show the crumbling of civilisation which is better showcased when the picture consists of ruined buildings and empty urban areas when they are supposed to be overpopulated. The point is: you're screwed and you have nowhere to hide. Not only are the monsters after you, the most basic of tropes has failed.

Not to be confused with Light Is Not Good (although it can invoke this), or the horror video game Daylight. See also Weakened by the Light and Scenery Dissonance. Sunshine Noir is another example of a traditionally night-based genre being set in the daytime.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Justified in Attack on Titan with the Titans, which appear to harness most of their energy from solar radiation and slow down and eventually stop moving when out of sunlight. So it is on clear, sunny days that we are able to see hordes of Titans devour humans alive. This makes the attack on Castle Utgard at night all the more shocking. Titans are pretty damn scary no matter what time of the day they happen to be eating you.
  • Blood-C has nocturnal monsters called elder bairns that feed on humans after dark. This makes it easy for the protagonist to compartmentalize, playing the part of Ordinary High-School Student by day, and slaying monsters by night. In episode 6, the creatures surprise everyone by attacking in the middle of the day, when Saya's friends are around.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the phantoms began rising from the shore and started killing unsuspecting people playing about in the beach one afternoon. They are invisible - nothing like being attacked by a monster you can't see in daylight.
  • Toward the end of From the New World, many terrible things go on during the day, particularly the first appearance of the fiend/ogre/akki a.k.a. Maria and Mamoru's child.
  • In Highschool of the Dead one of "them" attacks the school in the morning. In fact, quite a bit of the series takes place during the day. Like other zombie shows, it's the sheer amount of the creatures that makes them scary, since you may be able to fight some of them off, but you can't hold them off forever, as the characters find out repeatedly and constantly have to retreat to new areas.
  • When Kars of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency becomes the Ultimate Creation, he also becomes the first antagonist in the series to be immune to the sun's rays; his climactic battle showing his new powers takes place in broad daylight.
  • Kagerou Project: One of the manga's timelines ends with the group heading to the amusement park on a sunny day, only to be suddenly and messily killed by an assailant with a gun just before they get there.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: A lot of the Angels appear during the day, and the ensuing fights are almost always violent and highly traumatic for the Eva pilots, especially in the last few episodes and End of Evangelion.
  • Phantom Quest Corp.: Near the end of Incident File 03, Mr. Nagasuki finally gets Natsuki alone on the highway, and heads for a private destination to have his way with her. But her boyfriend's ghost isn't about to let that happen. As soon as Nagasuki starts feeling her up, Narita appears in the middle of the highway, causing Nagasuki to swerve off the road and slam into the guardrail. The impact renders Natsuki unconscious, so Narita deposits her safely along the side of the road. Then he turns his full fury on Nagasuki by making him envision being stranded in the middle of the desert, with the undead rising from the sands to claim him. It scared him so shitless that he has a full-blown panic attack 'til he finally foams at the mouth and faints.
  • In Princess Mononoke both the demon attack in the opening scene, and the final showdown take place in daylight. Though the really freaky stuff starts at sunset, it doesn't end until the sun rises above the mountains, at which point it had been daylight for quite some time.
  • Serial Experiments Lain is known for the highly contrasting light and shadows in its animation style, creating eerily bright days. There are a number of Mind Screw scenes that happen in these settings. They can be found here.
  • Uzumaki almost entirely takes place during the day. There are only a very few scenes that take place at night. Daylight doesn't help the protagonists anyway, since there are no ways out of the valley.
  • Most climatic battles in Yu-Gi-Oh! occur in a dark, frightening location, the darkness not always the natural type. However, the Final Battle with Saiou in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX zigzags it. While Judai duels Saiou indoors, the secondary plot occurs outside, on a brightly lit, pleasant spring day on the Duel Academy grounds.

    Comic Books 
  • Used in Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand. It's just a normal, bright and sunny day in New York City. And then Galactus suddenly drops out of the sky looking to devour Earth.
  • In Neil Gaiman's fantasy/horror series Sandman, many scenes take place in Hell. These scenes show horrific demons torturing souls in violent ways. The scenes are colored to look like it is perpetually dusk.
  • Lampshaded in an issue of The Walking Dead. Rick, the main character, complains that it's getting cloudy. His friend welcomes the darkness since it had previously been very sunny and the sunlight was "too much of a contradiction."

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • In a Heartbeat goes for a similar feeling to Tarzan, with standing in the light being associated with exposure and danger.
  • Extremely noticeable in Tarzan, especially the scenes involving Sabor the leopard.
  • Fiver's vision in Watership Down shows blood creeping across a meadow with a bright sun overhead.

    Film — Live-Action 

By Creator:

  • John Carpenter:
    • Prince of Darkness happens over the span of a single day in a church with obviously working electricity. It was inspired by Nigel Kneale's The Stone Tape, which features key scenes set in small (admittedly dark) room filled with scientists, scientific equipment and haunted by a non-physically-threatening supernatural entity. And it's still terrifying.
    • The Thing (1982), while still using night time for some of its scares, manages to have a few intense moments in the light of day. Then again, they're in the stormy Antarctic, so it's mostly an overcast daylight. Most of the later parts of the film take place at night (though justified by the way Antarctic winters work), the scenes that actually take place outdoors in darkness (well, partial darkness, the camp has outdoor lights) tend to be some of the less eerie moments, with most of the creepiest scenes being indoors with electric lighting. The one exception might be the scene where the guys encounter the Bennings-Thing, and they'd lit a few flares that lit things up real good.
    • One of Carpenter's most effective uses of the trope, and one of the most famous, are the scenes in Halloween (1978) when "the shape" is stalking Laurie Strode and her friends through the quiet streets of Haddonfield during the middle of the day. The idyllic, sunny small town environment is rendered uncanny and frightening by the mixture of creepy music and the fact that the audience is aware of a malevolent presence that the onscreen characters cannot seem to sense.
  • David Cronenberg did this quite a bit in his early days with movies such as Shivers and Rabid which depicted horrific scenes in well-lit buildings or even daytime. For instance, the subway is pretty bright.
  • David Lynch is a master of this...
    • Blue Velvet — The severed ear catalyst.
    • Inland Empire — The first rehearsal with Laura Dern and Justin Theroux, with Justin chasing an unseen spy. Later, the scene with Laura yelling at Justin through the window.
      • Any of the crazy visitors, such as Grace Zabriskie or Mary Steenburgen, or the circus people.
    • Lost Highway — Many scenes in the first half maintain an incredibly menacing feel in broad daylight, especially when a couple receives several videotapes from a stalker.
    • Mulholland Dr. - The infamous "Man behind Winkies" scene.
    • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me — Any daytime scene featuring Laura's father.
    • Wild at Heart — Lula lets Bobby Peru use her toilet.

By Movie:

  • 28 Days Later as well as 28 Weeks Later have the infected attack during the day. The opening of 28 Weeks Later was in broad daylight, over some nice green fields, with a horde of zombies. It seems as if the light was modified to be pale and whiter than normal. It adds to the horror; even the sunlight seems lifeless.
  • Alien: Covenant: As Daniels, Lope and Walter escape from David's citadel in the early morning, a Xenomorph chases after them — possibly the first time we've seen one of the creatures in action during the day.
  • In the second half of Anaconda, the Anaconda repeatedly attacks in broad daylight and devours still-living people whole.
  • The whole of And Soon the Darkness takes place in a sunny afternoon.
  • Most of Annihilation (2018) takes place not only in blindingly bright sunlight but in incredibly colorful and gorgeous arboreal scenery. The bear attacks do happen at nighttime, however.
  • The school shooting in April Showers naturally takes place during the daytime.
  • Arlington Road — Most of the movie is filled with lots of daylight paranoia and moments of bloated anticipation and creepiness as terrorists operate in broad daylight, undercover as you and me, but especially the tense interaction between Cheryl and Brooke at the payphone.
  • The Axiom largely takes place in a monster-haunted Eldritch Location that looks like a normal piece of the woods except that the sun never sets.
  • A great deal of The Bay takes place on a bright and sunny Fourth of July.
  • Nicholas Ray's Melodrama Bigger Than Life is a drama about a poor schoolteacher Ed Avery (James Mason) abusing his prescription medication and progressively going insane in his work and life. The finale where he decides to become Pater Familicide and kill his wife and son happens in broad daylight.
  • Most of the bird-attacks in The Birds occur during one bright day.
  • The majority of The Breed takes place during the daytime. Super-aggressive killer dogs probably don't care much whether it's night or day.
  • The Burning: The raft massacre and everything following it takes place in broad daylight.
  • The first Candyman movie had many scenes set during the day. This includes when Candy Man himself first appears in a brightly-lit garage and many of the kills/gory scenes.
  • Both Cannibal Holocaust and it's spiritual successor The Green Inferno take place in the bright sunny Amazon, which only serves to highlight the excessive amount of Gorn they feature.
  • The frightening and unexpected closing scenes of Carrie (1976) occur during the daytime.
  • While most of Cloverfield takes place during the night, the last ten minutes or so take place in the early morning on May 23rd. Somehow this doesn't make encountering the giant monstrosity that's none the worse for wear after an entire night being attacked by the U.S. military any less unsettling. Especially when it leans down to look at one of the protagonists, then bites them in half.
  • This gets mentioned in Courage Under Fire, when a soldier recalls being Trapped Behind Enemy Lines in The Gulf War, and waiting all through the night, knowing that the Iraqis were going to overwhelm them come dawn. As he puts it to another soldier interviewing him years afterward, "I don't know why people think only good things happen in the daytime".
  • The beginning of The Crazies (2010) — People gather at the local baseball field to watch the game, and everything is sunny and normal. Then a guy with a shotgun walks into the middle of the game...
  • The final scene of Creep, where the viewpoint character is axed in the head, takes place in the middle of the day in a beautiful public park.
  • The Crocodile Hunter movie mentions on DVD commentary that they had a scene of Steve handling a deadly snake at night but didn't put in the movie because a similar scene during the day looked more dangerous.
  • Cube:
  • Cujo — A mother and son are trapped in a broken-down car. They can't leave the car because of a rabid dog that stalks the car for days. One of the main elements being that the car is blistering hot because of the brilliant summer sun. The night time is when the mother and son can get some relief from the sweltering heat.
  • The Canadian slasher movie Curtains has a scene where a figure skater is attacked and ultimately decapitated by a masked killer in broad daylight.
  • Obvious examples include Day of the Dead (1985) and its remake. The same goes for Dawn of the Dead (1978). Despite its name, the very first zombie attack in Night of the Living Dead (1968) also occurs in daylight.
  • Death Proof constantly skirts the line between being an incredibly violent car chase movie and being an inordinately action-heavy slasher movie. Either way, the bulk of the movie is set in the scorching desert, in broad daylight.
  • Many of the scenes of horror in The Devil's Rejects take place during the day. One victim even dies the next morning, outside in broad daylight, after the killers have vacated the premises.
  • Duel takes place in light of day which makes the terror worse because the protagonist can see the semi that's stalking him but he nor the audience ever really see the driver and which adds to the horror because instead of being pursued by a madman, which is bad but comprehensible, he's being pursued by a thing.
  • The final scene of The Evil Dead (1981) (and subsequently, one of the first scenes of the second movie) shows that the awful night has finally ended: Ash is alive, the deadites are gone, and all is well... then we're hit with Shaky P.O.V. Cam.
  • A number of scenes in The Exorcist have been remarked upon for taking place in daylight, notably The One with... Reagan's spinning head.
  • The 1983 film Eyes Of Fire is about Native American ghosts attacking a heretic and his cult during the colonial period. Most scenes take place in daylight in wide open wooded areas but it doesn't take away from the eerie, claustrophobic feel.
  • A Field in England entirely takes place in a wide open field during a day with decent weather and even many moments of sunshine. The uneasiness never comes from the presence of monsters or anticipation of a Jump Scare. Instead, the villainous alchemist O'Neill describes it as a land that is close to other places, while the more simple minded ones believe it's the Devil itself. Or possibly a punishment from God. Or maybe they are all just tripping on mushrooms.
  • Final Destination: To drive home the point that death waits for nobody and could strike at any moment, a lot of the deaths occur during the middle of the day, when the characters are doing mundane activities. The disaster that open each movie even alternates between night and day, with those of 2, 4 and 5 (a prequel to 1, meaning it still fits the pattern) taking place during the day.
  • Friday the 13th (2009) had the typical "people take off their clothes and go out to the lake, only to be killed by Jason" scene. This time, however, it happened during the day. The final scares of both the original installment and the third movie both take place during the daytime as well.
  • Full Circle begins with a woman's young daughter choking to death on a bright, sunny morning.
  • As this Godmonster of Indian Flats trailer demonstrates, this trope doesn't always work. WARNING: Serious Narm.
  • While it has its fair share of awful things happening in the dark, the indisputably most horrific image in Hereditary comes in blindingly bright sunlight, when we get to see the mind-shredding sight of a child's rotting severed head covered in ants in broad daylight.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977): Being the sadistic bastards that they are, the mutants preferred to take down most of their victims in broad daylight rather than at night when they're most vulnerable.
  • Homebodies, from 1974, an agoraphobic, elderly woman is chased outside, where she is greeted by the dazzling sun, which momentarily blinds her, allowing her pursuer to get closer.
  • The Host invokes this trope perfectly when the monster first attacks. The director purposefully wanted an attack during a nice day in order to make the scene surreal and frightening. People are hanging out by Han River one minute, and getting eaten the next.
  • Obviously this doesn't work in the absurdly bad The House That Screamed, since the reviewer at Something Awful repeatedly keeps pointing out that "nothing is fucking scary in broad daylight".
  • In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Julie finds Max's corpse in the trunk of her car in the middle of the day while parked in a sunny suburb. The final scene, in which the killer attacks Julie in the shower just as the movie ends, also seems to take place during the day.
  • The infamous "nuke the fridge" scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull actually starts off very creepy before becoming ridiculous. Indiana Jones stumbles upon a seemingly average suburban town in the middle of a sunlit desert, populated by many Uncanny Valley mannequins posed to act as if they're engaged in various mundane activities as saccharine music plays. It turns out to be a Nevada Test Site, and a countdown starts before a nuclear bomb gets dropped to see what happens to a normal, American town.
  • Most of the attacks in Indigenous occur during daylight hours, although the chupacabra are clearly active at night as well.
  • Insidious had the scene where the demon pops up in plain sight behind the woman's shoulder at the coffee table in the middle of the day which gave audiences a good startle just because it was so unexpected. Combining this trope with Soundtrack Dissonance, the entire "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" sequence comes out of nowhere on a well-lit afternoon.
  • I Spit on Your Grave is a movie from the "rape / revenge" genre, where most or all of the rape and revenge take place during the day, depending on which version you watch.
  • While several key scenes in It Follows do take place in the dark, a big part of the movie's horror stems from the fact that the monster keeps pursuing its victims no matter the time of day, and can only be seen by those who have already contracted the curse. Some of the most terrifying shots in the film show the monster in one of its various human shapes making its way towards a victim in broad daylight, while everyone else looks on as if nothing is happening.
  • Many of the scary scenes in Jaws happen during the day, including the climax.
  • The Creeper's first on-screen kill in Jeepers Creepers 2 is in broad daylight. And it's absolutely terrifying.
  • Ju-on and The Grudge (and numerous sequels): It doesn't matter if you're in your apartment with the lights on, in a bus, at school, in America thousands of miles away from Japan, or driving a taxi down the road in a Santa outfit delivering a cake to a certain cursed household, the grudge will get you no matter where you are...
  • While more of Ju-Rei takes place at night than in the day, some of its later "chapters" are set entirely in daylight.
  • The Ken Russell film The Lair of the White Worm was, at the time, a rare movie for showing vampires stalking victims during the daytime. The movie was based on a novel by Bram Stoker. See also: Literature.
  • The Last House on the Left is a rape / revenge movie with various versions where the rape, humiliation, torture and murder takes place during the day, and by virtue is more horrific than the revenge which takes place at night, since the more normal among us cheer on the revenge more than the other stuff.
  • Last Night is set entirely at night during the Earth's final few hours of existence, and yet the sun doesn't go down. At all. In fact, it gets brighter throughout the film, as it is implied that the coming apocalypse is related to the Sun in some ways (quite possibly a supernova).
  • Living Dead Series: Zombies and horror are shown more than once in each film in broad daylight. Even in Night, the first zombie attack and first death happens in daylight.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Ring Wraiths chase Arwen and Frodo across an open field on a very clear and sunny day. The climactic Uruk-hai attack also takes place in daylight.
    • In The Two Towers, there's the scene where Frodo falls into the Dead Marshes. True, the water itself was fairly dark, but the whole scene took place during the day.
    • In The Return of the King, the soldiers' decapitated heads are catapulted over the walls of Minas Tirith in broad daylight...
  • Mama: Many of the titular ghost's appearances happen in broad daylight.
  • Midsommar is, as the title implies, set during midsummer, specifically at a Swedish pagan festival for the summer solstice. At this latitude and time of year, the sun never completely sets and most scenes take place during the bright, sunny daytime, and that includes most of the horrific acts that are committed throughout the film.
  • The Mist, though it's so foggy it's hard to tell, a thick, soupy fog that also hides various monsters.
  • MonsterVerse:
  • Moonraker. When the villain discovers that his assistant has been helping Bond, he sets his dogs on her, who proceed to chase her through a beautiful, sunlit forest.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
  • The cropduster attack in the cornfield from North By Northwest.
  • Part of what makes the Argentinian movie Olympic GarageGarage Olimpo in the original, set in the dictatorship that took place in the country in the 70s-80s — so disturbing despite not being overly graphic is the use of this trope (along with They Look Just Like Everyone Else!). Kidnappings, executions, death to avoid torture, Cold-Blooded Torture, a girl being allowed to walk semi-free from a torture chamber for a few hours and then forced to go back and dozens of people being thrown to the sea all happen in broad daylight, filmed with wide-shots on well-lit (sometimes even beautiful) environments, even in interiors. One scene has the torturers in the titular garage turning on the radio while doing their work; the scene cuts to the street while the torture goes on, where only the pleasant boleros from the radio can be heard.
  • Played for Laughs in Overboard when the Rich Bitch-turned-Servile Snarker wakes up from her dream of upper class society and faces a day of menial work. She tells her reflection in the mirror, "You're living in a nightmare that starts at the crack of dawn."
  • Near the end of Paranormal Activity, the demon begins acting in broad daylight, whereas it has only ever been active in the dead of night prior to that point. It's used to help drive home just how bad the situation has become.
  • The 80's slasher flick Pieces starts off with a flashback of the killer chopping his mother up with an axe. The movie skips ahead forty years later and the first kill is a college student getting chopped up by a chainsaw in the middle of the quad on a day that's so sunny, the glare from the sun hides the killer's face.
  • As a contrast with the undead pirates of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, who were reasonably frightening in daylight but appeared as half-decayed skeletons by moonlight, Davy Jones and his crew of Fish People from Dead Man's Chest and At World's End are scary-looking all the time. We see one of them for the first time in a dimly lit ship's hold and the rest are introduced during a night scene, but in most of their scenes after that they're in broad daylight.
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side — The sequel's introduction to Reverend Kane. Even in the first movie, although the very worst stuff happens at night, eventually the ghosts start playing havoc during the day — moving furniture around, causing the contents of a child's bedroom to float through the air to form a vortex.
  • Predator was mostly set during the course of a single day, yet the monster was still hidden due to invisibility, making those scenes more intense.
  • Though all of the scary events in Psycho take place at night, the four scariest scenes in the film — the shower scene, Arbogast's death, the reveal of Norman Bates as the killer, and the final scene where Norman has an extremely creepy interior monologue — all occur not just in well-lit rooms, but rooms with lights that are actually intense and glaring in the case of the shower and reveal scenes.
  • The aliens in A Quiet Place will kill anything that makes a sound, day or night. The sequel reveals that the alien invasion began on a sunny day.
  • All of the outdoor scenes in The Reflecting Skin were shot during the golden hour to give them the feeling of "hallucinogenic summer."
  • Resident Evil: Extinction is set almost entirely during the day.
  • The Ring: Many of the scarier scenes in the original films happen during the daytime. In the American remake, only a few scenes were set at night (though the daylight scenes were still extremely cloudy).
  • Scream:
    • Scream (1996): Sidney gets attacked by Ghostface in the school bathroom between classes. He's also shown stalking both her and Tatum during the afternoon before the party.
    • Scream 2: Randy's death happens in the middle of a bright day. On the college campus. In a wide field full of students.
  • In Serenity, every scene before the protagonists reach Miranda is brighter than the last, and Miranda itself is almost painfully brilliant (including broad panels of spotless concrete and glass), but it's still absolutely littered with corpses and where our Big Damn Heroes discover how the Pax caused everyone on the planet to either calmly allow themselves to die or become Reavers. And it's terrifying.
  • The final scenes of Session 9 are not only bathed in sunlight, but birdsong too.
  • While there are clues that the events start prior to that point, Shaun of the Dead shows the proper zombie apocalypse kicking off in the morning as Shaun wakes up with a hangover. In his half-asleep daze, he fails to notice the corpses everywhere and the zombies hunting the living as he goes to the store and returns to his apartment. Most of the action following this happens in broad daylight.
  • Shin Godzilla: Unlike the original Godzilla and The Return of Godzilla, the majority of Godzilla's attacks are during daylight hours. Only one scene is set at night, to highlight the intensity of its rays.
  • Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining rarely shows darkness. It has many scenes in the day, the hotel always has all of its lights on, and there is a white blanket of snow on the ground outside that makes everything... well, shiny.
  • The "birthday party video" scene from Signs. It's arguably scarier than any of the scenes that take place at night.
  • The opening scene of Sinister involves a family murdered in broad daylight.
  • The 2005 film Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun features many scenes of daylight horror.
  • Stand by Me — This Stephen King story features many scary moments in the daylight: The train chase, Chopper, the violent gang, "It should have been you," the leeches, and ultimately... the body.
  • The ground battles in Star Wars almost all take place during the day, making it all the easier to see the legions of enemy troopers or Imperial walkers destroying everything in their path. Rogue One takes this Up to Eleven when the bright blue sky over Scarif is suddenly filled with the Death Star.
  • Several scares (or otherwise eerie, suspenseful scenes) in the Korean horror-drama A Tale Of Two Sisters to demonstrate that the nightmares don't end even if you're awake and the sun is shining through the window.
  • Terminator:
  • A good portion of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 takes place during the daylight hours, probably due to budget reasons, but also helps employ the use of surprise (including Leatherface's first appearance which shocked a lot of people back in 1974), as well as the gruesome detail of some of the macabre set pieces (like when Pam stumbles into the room full of body parts). Later, the camera lovingly lingers on Leatherface's mask as he looks out the window into the sunlight. After a lengthy night portion, the movie has the Final Girl burst through the painted glass of the window to find that it's actually daylight outside, and that the killers are going to continue mutilating her as she runs into a public area where others gawk in horror at the mayhem.
  • Tremors takes place almost entirely during the day. A few scenes did have one of the creatures trap the protagonist trio overnight on top a cluster of boulders (which also protects them as they can't tunnel through rock). The point is that like moles, the eponymous worms, do not need light to navigate their surroundings and will attack regardless if it's day or night. There's a single nighttime death scene, but it's really less terrifying than the daytime graboid scenes because, at night, it's pretty conventional horror movie stuff.
  • U Turn - Bobby barely escapes from the town, only to fry in the desert heat.
  • V/H/S/2: The most horrific parts of the A Ride in the Park and Safe Haven segments take place in the middle of the day.
  • Most of the scenes in The Wicker Man (1973) take place in broad daylight, including the terrifying climax. This lets the audience take in the beautiful Celtic landscape, but also helps sink in the deranged surreality of Summer Isle. The things the villagers do in full view of one another wouldn't be nearly as off-putting if it happened at night.
  • The VVitch has long stretches of time in the middle of the day where nothing happens, and it's terrifying as all hell, using the "even in broad daylight, you're not safe" principle to chilling effect. An especially good example is when Samuel vanishes.
  • One of the murder scenes in Zodiac takes place on a bright and sunny day, made all the more frightening by the fact that it was base on a true story.

  • In Dean Koontz's novel Cold Fire, Jim and Holly are awakened on a sunny morning by a monstrous presence trying to force its way through the bedroom ceiling. "When something from Beyond found you in the dead hours of the night, you half expected it. But sunshine was supposed to banish all monsters."
  • Consciously invoked by H. P. Lovecraft in his short story, Cool Air:
    It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude. I found it in the glare of mid-afternoon, in the clangour of a metropolis, and in the teeming midst of a shabby and commonplace rooming-house with a prosaic landlady and two stalwart men by my side.
    • Legend has it that the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, writer of the original Necronomicon, while in broad daylight and in front of a whole crowd of people, was eaten by an invisible monster. One of August Derleth's stories revealed that he was actually kidnapped, tortured, had his eyes gouged out and his tongue removed, and was finally executed.
  • Wanting a challenge, Ramsey Campbell wrote Demons by Daylight, a book filled entirely with short stories that conform to this trope. He met the challenge in spades.
  • Famously, Bram Stoker originally had Dracula walking freely during the day. This is a staple of the Victorian vampire fiction. The idea of vampires dying in sunlight only became prevalent in the early 20th century thanks to the silent film Nosferatu. Similar examples include Lord Ruthven from The Vampyre and Carmilla.
  • Most of the confrontations with the needle monsters of Eden Green occur in broad daylight.
  • While there are a number of things that go bump in the night during The Events at Poroth Farm, a lot of the really creepy stuff happens during the daytime, including the harrowing climax.
  • The series Galaxy of Fear has a nice wide range of settings in which horror crops up, and some of them are bright sunshiny days. Notably in The Swarm, Spore, and Clones, respectively featuring a Horde of Alien Locusts, The Virus, and evil clones of the protagonists.
  • In "Genre Savvy", Edgar decides to take the Scenic Route home after a night of movie marathon Sleep Deprivation. He finds himself out in the middle of nowhere with an injured, barefoot girl screaming for help and then drives away because Good Samaritans get killed helping the victims in horror movies.
  • In The Gordian Event by Lee Deadkeys, all but two major conflicts occur during the day and are described in all their squicky glory.
  • Stephen King:
    • In the novel Cell, the hive mind zombie like people called the phoners can only remain active and hunt during the day. At night they become lethargic and cannot move until the sun rises. Most people who are still normal have quickly learned to only move at night when the phoners are inactive.
    • It invokes the trope in spades - both attacks by It itself and the "mundane", man-made horror of, for example, Beverly's father and other less savory residents of Derry occur just as often during daylight hours as during the night - arguably, some of the most revolting scenes happen in broad daylight (such as the demise of Patrick Hockstetter at the hands of Leech!It, for instance). In fact, all of the protagonists have their first encounter with It (as kids) during the day or early evening. Both showdowns with It occur during the night, though.
    • Cujo — Mother, son, car, dog, sun, just like the movie. The book version employs this trope more than the movie version in ways big and small. Whereas the movie hinted that it really sucks to slowly die of heat stroke and dehydration, the book goes into more detail about how grueling it is to not only sizzle in your car on a hot summer day, but to watch your only child fry as well. Unlike the movie version, the book is able to use more descriptive terms such as, "Like an oven." More horrifically, the book ends with the death of the 4-year-old boy due to dehydration.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, people are used to Orcs not being able to stand the light of the sun, so it is a shock when Saruman's Uruk-hai are capable of doing so.
    • Not to mention the sunlight-resistant Olog-hai, or hill trolls, that appear during the final battle. Trolls normally turn to stone in sunlight, and Aragorn had previously pulled a bit of a prank on the hobbits that relied on this fact.
  • Odd Thomas — A stranger nicknamed "Fungus Man" comes to Odd's town of Pico Mundo during the day, trying to act normal. Other than being slightly creepy and slightly homely, he succeeds. No one but Odd can see the bodachs that surround Fungus Man, bodachs being shadowy spirit creatures who appear only during times of death and disaster, and in this case act as bad omens and harbingers of doom. Seeing one means that there will be a tragedy. The more bodachs there are, the worse the tragedy will be, and there are dozens around Fungus Man, meaning that he's planning something terrible... as he strolls around town in broad daylight with all the normal people.
  • Although the scariest events in E. F. Benson's "The Room in the Tower" happen at night, the nightmares leading up to the protagonist's final experience are normally set in extremely bright light.
  • This description of Spooksville appears in the first book. "Springville was the proper name of the small oceanside town. It was only the local kids who called it by the scarier, but more accurate, title. It was only kids who knew how weird the place could get after dark. Or even during the day. That was the thing about Spooksville. Not all its monsters waited until the sun went down to appear." Daytime horrors include the No-Ones and Giant Enemy Crabs.
  • At the climax of The Sword of Shannara, the Skull Bearers join the attack on Tyrsis in broad daylight. Since, up until that point in the story, they had only been able to operate at night, daylight being anathema to them, it was a clear sign that the Warlock Lord's power was waxing, and final defeat for the heroes was at hand.
  • Invoked in-universe for The Zombie Survival Guide. Which recommends finding safe places to sleep during the night, and only "get moving" when there's daylight, implicitly putting you on even terms with the undead, who don't need to see you to find and eat you.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The second season of Buffy features a figure in a hooded robe entering the classroom where Buffy is seated. Removing the hooded robe in the sunlight from the window, the figure is revealed to be a vampire. The vampire reveals a message from the Big Bad that Buffy is not safe anywhere, while being self-immolated to ashes by the sun.
    • The sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer subverted the show's usual "Night-time horror" by having most of the scary stuff happen during daytime, culminating in the death of Tara, and Willow's attempt to destroy the world.
    • Lampshaded in the very first episode of Season 6, where Willow is conducting a magic ceremony in a beautiful sunlit forest glade. A fawn comes up to lick her hand and Willow promptly slits its throat.
    • A crossover arc the spinoff series Angel features the Gem of Amara, a ring that protects vampires from all their usual weaknesses like staking and sunlight. It allows Spike to catch Buffy off-guard at school, and, more horrifyingly, allows a pedophile vampire named Marcus who is known as a "master torturer" to go out in the daylight unharmed, and shows him at the beach, happily hunting his favorite prey: children. Angel has to find a way to stop Marcus without getting immolated by the sun.
    • Lampshaded by the episode title "The Harsh Light of Day".
  • Dexter is a show that loves to have gruesome serial killer murder scenes juxtaposed against the beautiful Miami backdrop. In his inner monologue, Dexter muses that in bright daylight, even the most gruesome killings look staged.
  • Doctor Who:
    • During the classic series, the showrunners often had to contend with lighting engineer guidelines intended for light entertainment shows which bordered it in the schedules. Invariably the engineers wanted to light everything to levels that shoot beautifully on chat shows, and the producers would want more atmospheric levels appropriate for Gothic Horror. You can generally tell how tight a leash the producer had on the team at the time by how dark or bright a horror episode is; Philip Hinchcliffe's completely controlled Season 14 contained the very dark "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" and even gave the Doctor a low-lit churchike TARDIS instead of the blindingly-lit previous model, but much of the mid-to-late 80s are illuminated to levels that could have given the actors sunburn. It's worth pointing out that Special Effects Evolution was also a factor — as video camera technology improved over the years, more atmospheric lighting effects became possible.
    • "Fury from the Deep" takes place in the daytime, enhancing its slight Stepford Suburbia feel.
    • The overwhelming majority of the Pertwee era UNIT alien invasions take place in daylight, likely for production reasons as stated above. "Spearhead from Space", "The Sea Devils" and "The Green Death" are a handful of particularly daytime episodes.
    • "The Ark in Space" is, save for some short scenes at the beginning and the end, searingly bright, because the director wanted to give the impression of sterility. Some people find it creepy and appropriate... others complain the Wirrn couldn't afford that level of attention.
    • "Warriors of the Deep" is roundly criticised for this. The sets were designed for Mood Lighting, but instead lit so fiercely you can practically see the actors' bones through their hands. This was a fumble caused by its rushed trainwreck production schedule.
    • "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" takes place in the daytime — you wouldn't go to a circus at night, would you?
    • All of "Father's Day" occurs on the day of a wedding.
    • Almost all of the action in "Blink" takes place in the daytime, much of it even in broad daylight. That doesn't make it any less terrifying, as most people who have watched it will tell you.
    • "Silence in the Library" takes place during the day. Not so much the second part, where the sun's starting to set.
    • "The Eleventh Hour" starts off at night, but the climax and most of the episode's scary moments take place during the day.
    • Part of "Amy's Choice" is set in a sleepy village during the day.
    • In "Flatline"; until they escape into the tunnel, the Boneless are walking about in daylight. Afterwards, Darkness Equals Death comes into play.
  • In Helix, Major Balleseros' discovery of a missing group of Synthetic Plague-infected lab monkeys frozen alive, outside of Arctic Biosystems, and his sharing the discovery with CDC veterinary pathologist Doreen, take place in snowy arctic daylight, the better to notice that many died in terror.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva had a horror element, but most of the killings occurred in the daylight.
  • Kingdom (2019):
    • A prime example of this occurs when Seob-il and Prince Chang learn separately that the zombies only go dormant in the daytime when the weather is sufficiently warm. In cold temperatures, they remain active all day and all night. Cue an undead horde descending upon the soldiers who had set up a blockade outside of Sangju and were just about to let down their guard.
    • Likewise, the fifth episode of Season 2 takes place mostly in the daytime, which provides plenty of scenes of the undead running rampant through the Royal Palace.
  • Many of the Smoke Monster scenes from Lost happened in broad daylight.
  • Naked and Afraid - The sun will try to bake the couple, sometimes to the point that they need a medical evacuation.
    • There's also the instance where the sun helps illuminate the painful bump on a man's skin where a fly had laid its squirming larva.
      • Plus, there's the more subtle horror of the Naked First Impression where every bodily flaw is highlighted by the bright sun — no romantic lighting here — in front of your new partner and a film crew... a very bad "Not Wearing Pants" Dream for many.
  • The first episode of The Sinner has a young woman murdering a man in broad daylight at the beach.
  • In Smallville, Bizarro's face distorts whenever he is in direct sunlight.
  • The Science Channel series Strip the Cosmos has episodes about solar flares, black holes, and the Sun itself. Or, as the commercial for "Inside the Sun" puts it, "All life... all death... comes from one place. Is the Sun our greatest threat? Or is it protecting us from something worse? The only way to know is to strip it to the core!"
  • Supernatural: This show has been some instances, such as murderous ghosts invading Bobby's junkyard in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester" and the Darkness rising in the Season 10 finale.
  • In the Torchwood episode "End of Days", Abaddon terrorizes the city and kills loads of people in broad daylight. Given that a shadow was required in order to devour people's life force this is actually logical, you need light to cast a shadow.
  • Twin Peaks has lots of really creepy scenes that take place in broad daylight. Starting right with the very first scene.
  • Used frequently and effectively in The Walking Dead, as the zombies are active in the daytime.
    • The main character, Rick Grimes, first emerges from his coma to find himself in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse during the daytime.
    • Later, Rick barely survives an encounter with a horde of zombies on the streets of Atlanta.
    • In the second season premiere, Rick's group are forced to hide from zombies marching along the highway.
  • Syfy Channel's TV show called What on Earth? features disturbing sights found on satellite imagery that could only be seen during the day, each treated like a horror movie sequence or apocalyptic conspiracy. Examples include cryptids, giant masses below the surfaces of the water, crop-circle-type patterns, giant structures and land masses that vanish without a trace, weird clouds, mysterious smokescreens, possible chemical weapons, bizarre weather patterns, American stealth technology deep inside China, and what appears to be a murderer disposing of a body.

  • Billie Holiday's song called "Strange Fruit", about African-American lynchings.
    Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
    For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
    For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
    Here is a strange and bitter crop

    Music Videos 
  • The music video for "Kids" from Oracular Spectacular by MGMT.
  • Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden. The surreal, apocalyptic music video follows grimacing suburbanites who do weird things before getting swallowed up by a black hole. Songwriter Chris Cornell has stated, "No one seems to get this, but 'Black Hole Sun' is sad... but because the melody is really pretty, everyone thinks it's almost chipper, which is ridiculous."

    Myths & Religion 
  • East O' the Sun and West O' the Moon is about a girl whose father marries her off to a Bear. She is unhappy but resigned to the prospect. However, the Bear is kind to her, and it turns out that he's only enchanted to be a bear during the day — at night he has a human form, but his wife can't see him, lest he be separated from her forever. She gets an idea...
  • In Medieval Europe the hour of Noon was seen as just as dangerous as Midnight. Noon bore the danger of heatstroke, and there were several evil spirits and demons that specifically appeared under the midday sun. One of these was the Corn Mother, a evil spirit that ran through wheat fields, abducted children and killed them by nursing them with her breasts, which either lactated poison...or made out of hot iron and smothered her victims.
  • In Ancient Greek mythology the god Pan could appear to shepherds under the heat of day and strike them (and their flocks) with sudden panic or madness.

  • I the Cool Kids Table game Bloody Mooney, most of the horror begins shortly after breakfast. In quick succession the teens find out that the adorable escaped lab specimen has eaten Keri's mother, transforms into a giant bloodthirsty beast when it sees the crescent moon, and then witness it tear the head off a government agent sent to retrieve it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Few undead in Dungeons & Dragons are more terrifying than the Sons of Kyuss, decaying, worm-ridden zombies. Unlike most undead, they don't shun the light or even care about the time of day; the 2nd edition Monster Manual says they easily hunt prey during broad daylight.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Rise of the Eldrazi set started a three-block series of horror sets focusing on the titular Eldrazi devouring the world of Zendikar. To set the Eldritch Abomination Eldrazi apart from the biomechanical Corruption of the Phyrexians, or the Gothic Horror-style plane of Innistrad, they were always drawn in bright daylight. This served to show their bright, coral-inspired colors and to make it clear even daylight could not protect you.
    • Amonkhet is a sunny, tidy and ordered, Egypt-inspired world, where the horror comes from looking at what having Nicol Bolas as self-appointed God-Emperor has done to the place. For example, Oashra Cultivator is a gardener picking healthy-looking fruit in a bright, sunny area with flowers... whle talking remarkably casually about her own coming death in a series of mandatory deadly trials.
    • Ixalan's dinosaurs are associated with the sun, so naturally most dinosaur cards are well lit. Some, like Frenzied Raptor, also happen to be utter gore-fests. In Ixalan, daylight not only doesn't prevent a Jurassic Park scene, it outright empowers the attackers.
  • Mystara is a hollow world, where the inside is not as friendly towards undead due to the permanent lighting (and associated anti-entropy concerning the light). One immortal works around that by creating a modified wraith that requires sunlight to work.

    Video Games 
  • Any Stealth-Based Game where it's crucial to stick to the shadows and avoid the light, such as...
  • This article discusses the concept of daylight levels in horror games.
  • Arizona Sunshine has you shooting zombies on bright, sunny days.
  • Bioshock Infinite starts off as this, but then gets noticeably darker as the game progresses.
  • The planet of Pandora in Borderlands is quite beautiful, with blue skies and majestic vistas visible most of the time, even more so in the sequel. This would all be nice and dandy if everything in the planet wasn't trying to kill you, and it wasn't infested with psychopathic bandits who would gladly drive a buzzaxe through your face at a moment's notice.
  • The indie horror game Brighter Day is set in a brightly-colored mental hospital on a cloudless day...and the player is all alone except for the giant eyeballs that are everywhere looking for you.
  • The Bureau: XCOM Declassified is set mostly during daytime. Earlier games in the series also had missions that would take place in daylight, depending on when your soldiers arrived at a terror site.
  • Most of Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare is, like the rest of the series, a run and gun power fantasy. That makes the encounter on the 3 Vesta mining colony all that much more jarring. Sent fatally close to the sun and given a high rotational speed by a Set Def attack, the asteroid is a molten nightmare where the civilian population has been either burned to death by solar radiation or slaughtered by worker and security drones that get to work committing mass murder every time the colony rotates back into sunlight. Nothing moves, except when it jumps to life to kill you.
  • The Chzo Mythos games have several good examples of this. Most notably, Trilby's Notes, generally agreed to be the scariest game in the series, takes place entirely during the day apart from the opening sequence (albeit primarily indoors).
  • The final battle against the Alien Cell in Contra: Hard Corps takes place in broad daylight.
  • In Dark Souls, one of the most dangerous areas in the game is Anor Londo, a bright shiny city where it is always sunny courtesy of Gwyndolin's illusion. The area is full of very dangerous enemies also courtesy of Gwyndolin's illusion. Fittingly, the place becomes much safer after breaking the illusion plunges Anor Londo into darkness. The only enemies that remain are Gwyndolin's pissed off servants.
  • In Dead Island, most of the clips and scenes take place during the daytime, which makes it scarier as it makes the player a more visible target.
  • A large chunk of Devil May Cry takes place during daylight.
  • Diablo II mostly takes place under the sunlight (when it's not Beneath the Earth), including a desert territory brimming with undead buzzards and demonic locusts (barring the need to undo a magical eclipse at one point). Diablo is always night (and the action is entirely Beneath the Earth). Much of Diablo III's demonslaying action takes place during the daylight hours, including much of Act II, the siege of Bastion's Keep in Act III, and the battle in the High Heavens in Act IV. Kormac the Templar, one of your followers who has a serious case of Black-and-White Morality, is definitely troubled by this.
  • While Doom 3 featured most of its fighting in dark rooms and corridors, DOOM (2016) returns to the Doom franchise's earlier roots by having most of the demonic encounters occur in brightly light areas at nearly all times so that you can see you foes in all of their horrific glory.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, this is Invoked by Dhaunayne Aundae (the Ancient of the Aundae clan of vampires), who (if you become a vampire of the Aundae clan) sends you to kill a vampire hunter in the city of Ald'ruhn... in broad daylight, as a message that not even the light of the sun will protect enemies of the vampires.
    • In Skyrim, it is possible to invoke this yourself if you become a werewolf through the Companions' questline. Unlike past games where becoming a werewolf was an Involuntary Transformation at night time, the particular type of lycanthropy the Companions possess allows for a voluntary transformation once per day, even in broad daylight.
  • Eternal Darkness has one of the characters wandering around a spooky mansion in the day with the sun getting ready to set and still manages to give off the uneasy feeling that monsters are watching you and can strike at any moment.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, it doesn't matter whether it's day or night - if Alma's around, it's always scary. The very end of the first game takes place just past a sunny day's sunrise, and Alma crawling into the helicopter is not made any less terrifying because of it.
  • In Fragile Dreams there are some places where the sun is setting or it's dawn, but most of the game happens at night (the game's symbol is the moon so day/night cycles are not quite respected). However there is a single setting where you get to play while the sun shines, a Hotel, and is one of the scariest parts of the game.
  • Most of the House of the Dead series takes place during the day, with only a few levels during nighttime.
  • At least half of the missions in Killer7 take place in sunny locations, like Texas, the Dominican Republic, and a well-lit Amusement Park (of Doom). But since this is a Surreal Horror we're talking about, the bright light emphasizes the bizarre, cel-shaded, technicolor palette, making the world around you only look that much more alien and hostile. Hell, one of the most horrific scenes in the game ( Ulmeyda turning into a Heaven Smile and the ensuing boss fight) takes place in the Texas desert in broad daylight.
  • While most of your encounters with Clickers take place in dark tunnels and sub-basements, a good deal of the fighting in The Last of Us takes place outside, or at least in well-lit areas. One of the more notable examples would probably be your first encounter with a Bloater, which happens in a bright, if rather run down, gymnasium.
  • Left 4 Dead 2's daytime segments don't just change the lighting, but the behavior of one of the Special Infected. Witches normally sit in one place at night; during the day they wander around. To compensate, they're considerably harder to aggravate. With most of the campaigns taking place in the daytime, the nasty details of the infected and special infected can be seen more clearly.
  • Similar to the Resident Evil 3: Nemesis example, as soon as it hits 4 AM of the final night in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask it gets quite light out, but it's also the most tense and unsettling moment of the game: the sky has a sickly pink tone to it, the land rumbles, and the bells of the clock tower echo in the distance reminding you that you have about two minutes until The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Though not outright horror, some of the levels in Mass Effect at least go for Daylight Creepy, like Feros and Ilos, and the prologue on Eden Prime to some degree. In Mass Effect 2, almost every level is like this.
    • A specific example is Horizon, a colony in the process of being abducted by the Collectors. It's a beautiful, summery day and the colony looks like any prefabricated community, a place where people live, farm, work and sleep. And then you come across humans frozen in place in the process of fleeing, falling, screaming, hiding, trying to help each other...and then you stop coming across them, and it's like they were never there at all.
    • Taken several notches up in Mass Effect 3 with Sanctuary. It's a refugee camp on Horizon that takes in human refugees from planets destroyed by the Reapers and the reception area looks a lot like an elegant and clean airport with huge skylights and indoor parks, except for some very recent damage from firefights and crashed shuttles. As you arrive the last enemy troops are on full retreat and there is nobody else there, while the PA keeps blaring out instructions to new arrivals, which sound increasingly like cult propaganda. From terminals you learn that new arrivals are confined to the reception area and have to leave behind all their possessions. If you volunteer as a receptionist, you are promised better accommodations once you are permitted inside the main compound. From which nobody has ever returned. It's actually a kind of concentration camp where refugees are turned into brainwashed cyborg soldiers and everyone who is not suitable is turned into test subjects for anti-zombie weapons.
  • Daylight will not keep the creature from hunting you in Miasmata. Not that night does. either.
  • Minecraft: Most enemies spawn in darkness and burn in direct sunlight, with the exception of five mobs:
    • The first is the giant spider, which becomes passive and stops attacking the player without provocation after the sun comes up.
    • The second exception, The Creeper, is an Action Bomb which combines several annoying traits. Its body is mottled green, so it blends in rather well with trees. It's completely silent except for a hissing sound it makes right next to you moments before detonating. Its AI is advanced enough that it can ambush the player, hiding in alcoves or around corners waiting to catch you by surprise. And most importantly for this trope, sunlight neither harms nor pacifies creepers, so when you leave your shelter in the morning, they'll be waiting for you.
    • The third is the very creepy Endermen, which just stand there... until you look at their faces...
    • The fourth is the Husk, a desert variant of the Zombie that only spawns in deserts, doesn't burn in sunlight, and will inflict a hunger status on hit.
    • The fifth is the Drowned, an Aquatic Mook variant of the zombie that can spawn at day if the light level at the seafloor is low enough, or if a normal zombie is submerged in water for a bit of time. It surfaces to attack the player, and doesn't burn in sunlight easily since the water it tends to be in puts out the flames. Drowned may also spawn with a Trident, in which case it gains a painful ranged attack.
    • Meanwhile in the Nether, while there isn't any daylight (or daytime), there's often plenty of magma to light things up. You might prefer dark, cramped tunnels after a run-in with Ghasts, which are large enough to be restricted to more open areas.
  • The entirety of NieR takes place in broad daylight, even the beginning in the middle of an Endless Winter. The Shades don't like the sun, but considering they can walk around in light overcast and armor, means some terrible stuff can still happen. It's actually a part of the backstory that the sun never sets.
    • In the sequel, NieR: Automata, some of the most gruesome stuff happens in broad daylight and in especially well-lit areas. Crimes against sanity include: crucifying your enemies and brain-jacking them to become living turrets while butt-naked and in constant pain from taking orders from an insane fashionista, fighting your way past an army of LARP fanatics to kill their king only to realize he's just a baby robot and then watch him get skewered by a rogue agent, robot shakespeare, robot cannibalism, robot zombification, mass robot suicide, etc.
  • Dryfield, the monster-infested town from Parasite Eve 2.
  • Pathologic. Though even the noon of the sunniest day in the game has a withered, autumn atmosphere and can look mildly gloomy.
  • Most of the Pikmin series takes place during the day, as the night is when enemies become more active and all of the player characters automatically retreat to their ships to avoid them. This does not prevent encountering enemies like the Smoky Progg, a creature covered in its own toxin that makes it resemble a ghost-like figure. Or giant (by the player character's standards) spiders crashing into the field. Or the final boss of the third game, a strange, shape-shifting, possibly immortal entity of "plasm" that is dead-obsessed with capturing Olimar for reasons unknown.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: Groudon's Drought ability automatically makes the weather sunny and bright... which escalates to drying up all water sources and violently expanding continents. In the remakes, the day and night cycles are included, but this ultimately makes no difference since Groudon's power disrupts the cycle and makes it look like the sky is burning.
  • The main villain of Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has no restraints on petrifying Pokemon during the day. The protagonists see this for themselves during a beautiful day at Baram Town in which they see two large rocks crashing down into a forest only to find out that Latias and Latios failed to escape.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil The final few moments of the game take place at the crack of dawn. The game seems to be over and you're waiting for the helicopter to rescue you in the happy daylight, when suddenly the Tyrant comes back for a jump scare.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis as well. Until you get out of the police station that is. The horrifying aspect being that the day and night are nearly indistinguishable since the smoke from the burning town is blotting out the sun. It's used to great effect during the finale when you can clearly see it's getting lighter out as you're fleeing the factory: the city's going to be obliterated with a nuke at dawn, so all the light does is remind you you're minutes away from death.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has one half of the game set in the Antarctic, where Capcom remembered that since it's December, and therefore Summer in the southern hemisphere, it's constantly day out. Not that you'll notice since Chris and Claire are indoors almost the entire time.
    • Downplayed in Resident Evil 4. The opening of the game takes place during the daytime, which doesn't prevent Leon from getting mobbed by Ax-Crazy villagers. However, once night falls, it turns out that you really were safer in the daytime, since Las Plagas, which are sensitive to bright light, will start emerging from their hosts once the sun has gone down.
    • Many levels in Resident Evil 5 take place during the day, out in the blinding sun. Enemies with their backs to the sun are a major annoyance.
    • All of the Terragrigia levels in Resident Evil: Revelations take place in daylight, as the city was built to take advantage of the sun. Ironically, it is vaporized and destroyed by the sunlight after a huge crowd of Hunters invade. The levels are some of the most tense in the game.
  • The vast majority of the Shining Force series takes place during the day. Even the battles against the Big Bads take place during high noon. In Gaiden, only one battle took place at night; other than that and the hidden character, it was just another standard battle.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, most of the game is perfectly lit — all the better to see the devastated, ruined wreck that once was Tokyo. Also, the "sun" is actually a giant cybernetic demon acting as representative of YHWH and ready to murder everything on earth simultaneously, because the entire world is literally built around it like a dyson sphere with weekly murder-fests from frenzied demons due to the sun's harmful mana-radioactive pulses. You may scream now.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV:
      • The game has Blasted Tokyo, which is an Alternate Timeline version of Tokyo in which the forces of Law seize the metropolis. There is a desert where Tokyo once stood, there are massive craters that mark where major Tokyo districts used to be, the poisonous atmosphere infects and eventually kills humans exposed to it, and demons roam the land killing off humans who dare to wander outside the sole human shelter. Yes, the sun shines on this Tokyo thanks to the lack of a Firmament, but that's the reason the nuclear missiles were able to blow Tokyo to pieces, leaving only a massive Death World.
      • The For the Past, For the Future DLC episode shows that the nuclear strike that leveled Tokyo and the fight to get Masakado to his senses and raise the Firmament, which is the game's ultimate Bonus Boss fight, take place during the daytime.
    • In Devil Survivor, the stranded people and demons within the Yamanote Loop go about their infighting and struggle for survival and resources during the day. At night, it all calms down and people are able to message each other on their COMPs.
  • A few of the games in the Silent Hill franchise start off in the day, granted a dark and gloomy day, before moving on to night. The first two games both alternate between daylight and nighttime at key points, but the infamous Dark World is, as you'd reckon, almost always cloaked in darkness (the mall in Silent Hill 3 being one exception, where the orange light of dusk can still be seen outside a few windows).
  • Most of the horror and tragic moments of Spec Ops: The Line take place during the day. This includes Gould's death, the White Phosphorous incident, the Radioman's sudden demise, Lugo's hanging and a good chunk of the hallucinations.
  • In one of the later areas of Spooky's House of Jump Scares, you appear to walk outside into a brightly-lit forest. Unfortunately, you are still not out of the mansion, and the deer you see will attack you if you get close enough.
  • Lake Yantar in STALKER is somehow more creepy during the day than during night. During the highly overcast day you can often see zombiefied Stalkers shuffling in the distance or Snorks crawling through the bushes while at night it's just a usual dark wilderness level.
  • There's only one chapter in Still Life 2 that takes place in daylight and it plays exactly like an earlier chapter of danger-free investigation. All of which only makes the end-of-chapter gut punch that much punchier.
  • Uncharacteristically ghastly enemies from the usually bubbly and sunny Super Mario Bros. series: The Unagis, giant, bug-eyed eels with gaping mouths filled with fangs. The Mega Unagi is a larger version of normal Unagis. The Mega Unagi cannot be killed. It eats everything in its path as it tries to kill Mario in the sunlit waters.
  • System Shock: Well there's no "daylight" because you're on a space station, but much of the game takes place in bright, well-lit and alarmingly colourful levels (and is set to fairly upbeat electronic music) as you rifle through the corpses of Citadel Station's butchered crew trying to find enough supplies to hold off the twisted mutants, cyborgs and reprogrammed robots trying to slaughter you on the commands of an insane, sadistic AI that is planning to destroy the Earth. The only exceptions are the maintenance level and the grooves, which are set to unnerving music and mostly empty environments.
  • In Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara's first encounter with the animated skeletons takes place in full daylight.
  • The Witcher has Noonwraiths, which are corpse-like spectral women that, as their name implies, only appear in daytime specially during hot and sunny days, they lure travelers and make them dance in the sunlight until they literally drop dead from the heat and exhaustion.
  • All scenes in The Witch's House that are set outdoors including the heart wrenching True Ending take place during the day, and the windows leading outside show sunlight immediately before "Viola's" final encounter with "Ellen". Time is confusing and ambiguous inside of the house, but outside, it's apparently been day throughout the entire course of the game.
  • In the World of Horror, it doesn't matter what time of day it is: you're never safe. Threats can emerge at any time, from the most mundane of sources.
  • The main premise of Yandere Simulator revolves around the player, who is controlling the titular Yandere, killing rivals during a normal school day. How they choose to kill rivals and other students is up to them, whether by drowning, stabbing, poisoning, pushed off a roof, or any other various killing methods.

    Web Comics 
  • An adamtots comic shows the sun, saying that it wants to warm you up, to burn you, to kill you.
  • The second chapter of The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost takes place in the middle of the day at a train station.
  • Justified for Homestuck's trolls, who are nocturnal and live on a world where the nastiest threats all come out under the blistering rays of the sun.
  • Lapse: Tripod has no reservations about appearing during the day.
  • The demons in Soul to Call have no lighting preferences whatsoever.

    Web Original 
  • In Antlers Colorado, main character Austin fights a huge skinwalker at dawn during the climax of Chapter One, armed with nothing but a switchblade.
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-001 (S. D. Locke's Proposal). In short, the Sun suddenly started turning all living things its light touched into assimilative flesh blobs, resulting in 6.8 billion casualties within the first 24 hours. Here, the horror is not just in the daylight, the daylight itself is the cause of the horror.

    Web Videos 
  • One of Crypt TV's short horror films "The Birch" has the titular monster being summoned during the day (albeit deep in the wood).
  • Some of Daisy Brown's most disturbing entries happen in broad daylight. Special mention goes to unexpected growth, which begins as Daisy updating the viewers on her garden, before the reveal that Alan can now speak, and im outside, which features a heavily distressed Daisy having been chased outside by Alan, only to realize she didn't grab Strawberry.
  • In Doom House, Reginald is terrorized by the Creepy Doll during the daytime on numerous occasions.
  • Left POOR Dead: Most of the outdoor scenes happen during the daytime.
  • Much of Nyx Crossing takes place during the daytime. Doesn't stop it from being eerie though.
  • The Slender Man is generally associated with fog and dark places, but there's nothing really stopping him appearing in broad daylight if he so desires, as seen in most of the web videos based on his mythos. In fact, seeing as most of the images from the originating paranormal image thread had him (relatively) clearly exposed during broad daylight, Slendy is possibly one of the newer Trope Codifiers. The TV Tropes page image for the Mythos is one such example. However there are several outstanding examples from the major series:
    • Entry 7, Entry 13, and Entry 40 from Marble Hornets
    • "Joke's Over", "Ashen Waste", and "Cops Checked, No Body" Although this lattermost one actually features the Rake, rather than Slendy himself from Everyman HYBRID.
    • Tribe Twelve has fewer of these as the majority of the series occurs indoors, but does include "Submission 4" and "Nature Trail Visit".

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The episode "House & Garden" shows one of the few times where Batman's in action in broad daylight. The reality behind Poison Ivy's new domestic life is no picture-perfect fairy tale, either... dear God, the "cabbage plant kids"...note 
  • The Gobblewonker from Gravity Falls is one of the few creatures of the show that dares to attack in the daytime (or at least not inside a dark place).
  • Director's commentary of the Justice League episode "A Better World" said that, for them, it was much more creepier when we see Alternative Universe Gotham entirely by daylight, which added to the dystopian feel that the universe's Justice League had created. In addition, the episode in question sets all events in the Justice Lord universe in the daylight and all in the Justice League at night.
  • The Mighty Max episode "Fly by Night" has a vampire who is completely immune to the traditional vampire weaknesses, which she demonstrates by basking in the sun's rays completely unharmed.
    "The sun nourishes all things...even EVIL!"
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic two-part Season 2 closer "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1" and "2" take place in the middle of a glorious day in the most beautiful city in Equestria, with everyone gathered to celebrate a fairy-tale wedding. Then the sky starts raining Changelings ...
  • In Twelve Forever, Endless Island has no night time. This alone means anything creepy or bad that happens there happens well lit under a very bright light, but also that its impossible to measure time since there is no night, which smooths the mind into insanity.

    Real Life 
  • Night is when you are safe at home with others around you. Have you ever been all alone on a quiet day and suddenly get the feeling that you're being watched? Likewise many robberies and home invasions take place during the day, when the owners are away at work, rather than at night when they're at home.
  • Giant hogweed (species H. mantegazzianum and H. sosnowskii). A tall poisonous plant that spreads like kudzu and causes dangerous blisters and burns that can enter Body Horror territory if you are not careful. Its poison only works under sunlight; it's safe by night.
  • This is the reality for a great many insects and arachnids living among humans, especially when seen through a Perspective Flip. At night, they are free to scramble around the floors, searching for food scraps in relative safety. But, when the sun comes up, and the all-powerful giant bipeds awaken, then they are hunted down, to be crushed, poisoned, swatted, or otherwise brutally killed. Speaking of insects, all ants know that night time is when humans won't use a combination of the sun and a magnifying glass to make a laser.
    • There are of course exceptions to this. Most army ant species will strike out to forage both day and night, with only a few species being completely nocturnal. They have no qualms about venturing out in broad daylight to chop up any other insect or small animal alive to cart back in pieces to their nests.
  • Heat stroke, when overexposure to hot, blazing sunlight can cause illness and death.
    • Getting lost and stranded in a desert on a hot, sunny day is Daylight Horror in its purest form. Wandering around in miles of seemingly endless sand dunes or rocky plains, having little or no food and water in sight, and the heat sapping whatever energy you have left, until possibly dying of heatstroke and/or dehydration.
    • Some notable deaths from heat strokes:
      • The "Georgia Toddler Hot Car" death involving Justin Ross Harris and his two-year-old son Cooper. Justin left Cooper to bake to death in the car, and was arrested because it may have been intentional.
      • "Number of Children Dying in Hot Cars Remains a Problem''' (Pediatrician warns of dangers and what can happen to kids)" by Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun.
      • "Army Tries to Temper Heat Risks Facing Troops" by Joe Gould, Staff writer. "Then on July 29 at Fort Bragg, Sgt. Joshua Mann was running with his unit, Company C, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, when he collapsed, apparently from a heat-related illness. The 22-year-old airborne infantry team leader from Winside, Neb. died the next day at a post hospital."
      • The news media will always warn people about the harmful effects of the sun during any heatwave, giving air conditioning tips, telling people to wear sunscreen and otherwise guard from the sun, and telling people not to leave children, animals, and the elderly anywhere, but especially a hot car.
      • In the U.S., high school football season starts in August, when the kids go back to school. That's still the tail end of summer in the southern states, and the heat and humidity can be brutal. Add the equipment and physical exertion to the mix, and it seems like every year there are a few news stories about teenagers collapsing (sometimes even dying) on the practice field. Stay hydrated, folks.
  • The Mesoamerican ballgame, from 1,400 B.C. by the pre-Columbian peoples of Ancient Mexico and Central America. This game involved a ball which symbolized the sun. The winner gets sacrificed to the sun gods, and the grisly sacrifice features ripping out a person's heart and cutting off a person's head, or some other gory spectacle for the masses.
  • Pearl Harbor. A peaceful December morning in 1941, with the Pacific on one side and lovely tropical Oahu on the other. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Japanese fighter planes and bombers attack, sinking over a dozen ships and killing 2,402 Americans. Likewise, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 1945. At 8:15 AM in Hiroshima, the first uranium bomb was dropped here; some 70,000–80,000 people, of whom 20,000 were soldiers, or around 30% of the population of Hiroshima, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 injured. At 11:01 AM, August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was similarly destroyed.
  • The Oklahoma City Bombing on the morning of April 19, 1995 that killed 168 people and remains the worst domestic homegrown terror attack in US history.
  • September 11, 2001 was an unseasonably warm and sunny Tuesday in many parts of the US. Numerous articles about the tragedy have discussed the contrast between the glorious late summer day and the carnage that unfolded. The attack itself took place between 8:46 and 10:28 AM.
  • Jonestown. While the cult massacre that occurred there did not happen until dusk, the preceding events of the day — including the assassination of Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA) — fit this trope to a T. A Jonestown survivor even unwittingly describes this trope in a documentary interview:
    Stanley Clayton: It was a bright, sunny day. But it was a dark day. It just didn't feel right.
  • A woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone. The Swiss woman in her fifties decided to follow the radical fast in 2010 after viewing an Austrian documentary about an Indian guru who claims to have lived this way for 70 years. The woman died in January 2011 in the town of Wolfhalden in eastern Switzerland. Followers of the cult of Breatharianism believe that the human body can survive on sunlight alone; this was the fourth recorded death related to the cult.
  • School shootings take place either during the morning or early afternoon, pretty much by definition; otherwise, there's rarely anyone there.
  • The culmination of Serial Killer Ted Bundy's Pacific Northwest murders was his abduction of two women from Washington's Lake Sammamish State Park on a beautiful, 90-degree day.
  • The Chernobyl reactor accident; while the initial explosion and fire took place in the middle of the night, the next day was beautifully warm and sunny, perfect for going to the park or sitting out in your garden or apartment balcony... except for the steadily growing cloud of deadly radiation rising from the shattered reactor while the plant's managers insisted that everything was under control and there was no need to evacuate the town.
  • The sun is notorious for causing cancers such as melanoma.
  • Children from Pakistan and other areas that are subjected to military drone strikes have testified that they are afraid of days when there is a clear blue sky: drones are more likely to attack when there's better visibility.
  • Just after two o'clock on a gorgeous May afternoon, a massive passenger liner slices cleanly through a sea as smooth as a billiard table, passing along the scenic south coast of Ireland at the end of a perfectly routine transatlantic crossing...and then the torpedo explodes.


Video Example(s):


Resident Evil 5

Many levels in Resident Evil 5 take place during the day, out in the blinding sun. Enemies with their backs to the sun are a major annoyance.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DaylightHorror

Media sources:

Main / DaylightHorror