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Daylight Horror

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It's such a beautiful day, nothing could possiblyOh, 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 forest never sees 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. Evil is more powerful, and therefore more terrifying and dramatic, when it happens to people or in places or times that are supposed to be safe.
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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 Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil, and violating that suggests that something has gone wrong with the audience’s understanding of the natural order.

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.
  • Many scenes in The Sandman (1989) take place in Hell. These scenes show horrific demons torturing souls in violent ways, and 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 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.
  • Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe discusses this trope in her influential 1826 essay "On the Supernatural in Poetry", making it Older Than Radio. One of the characters (the essay takes the form of a dialogue between two gentlemen) asks why "objects of terror sometimes strike us very forcibly, when introduced into scenes of gaiety and splendour," to which the other responds that "They strike, then, chiefly by the force of contrast". However, the essay concludes that this effect is ultimately "transient . . . the thrill of horror and surprise", and that frightening scenes are still most effective when they happen "under more accordant circumstances". (Radcliffe herself tended to set her scary scenes at night.)
  • 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:
  • Squid Game: The show is focused on Deadly Game iterations of children's games, and for that many take place in areas that are built to resemble brightly colored open fields, playgrounds and neighborhoods lit in warm late afternoon sunlight, which horribly contrast the bloody and violent events taking place as the contestants play for their lives. An excellent example is Episode 1's first game of "Red Light, Green Light", with the contestants having to run towards an Uncanny Valley little girl-looking giant robot doll and stay still when it turns its head a full 180 degrees. Anyone failing to stay still gets shot dead.
  • 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."
  • ''UH OH!'' by Sub Urban features a Reality Warping Missionary terrorizing a suburban family on a bright sunny afternoon.

    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.

    Web Animation 
  • In a Heartbeat goes for a similar feeling to Tarzan, with standing in the light being associated with exposure and danger.
  • RWBY:
    • The Grimm are born from inky pools of darkness, and were created by the God of Darkness. However, they can function at any time of day or night, fair weather or foul. The world itself celebrates colour, encourages people to express their personalities in the way they dress and even name their children after colour concepts. The Grimm contrast this by being pitch-black creatures off-set by stark white bones and burning red eyes. Many of the daytime fights highlight just how dark these creatures are compared to the colourful life that they're trying to destroy.
    • During the Volume 6 flashback that reveals the history of Ozpin and Salem's Secret War, the God of Darkness is contrasted heavily against light. Salem leads humanity in an uprising against the gods, marching them to the Domain of Light, a sunlit mountain pool surrounded by lush golden grass. There humanity tries to attack the God of Light and his brother; incensed, the God of Darkness lashes out with his power, destroy the whole of humanity right across the world. The world is show bathed in the warmth of the late afternoon sun when an wave of darkness sweeps across the world, leaving only ashes where humanity once stood.
    • During Volume 8, Atlas Academy, which dominates the skyline from high ground, regularly shines with the light, ranging from blues to soft pinks depending on the mood. The beginning of the battle between the Atlesian military and Salem's Grimm army takes place on farming land. The light shines off the Academy, walls and predominantly white military units in soft evening pinks while the sky glows brightly. The Grimm pour from an enormous creature that spews black pools across the fields, constantly generating Grimm as the battle rages. The contrast of light and dark is therefore heavily highlighted as the battle rages, and creates a sense of utter horror on an otherwise beautiful day.

  • An adamtots comic shows the sun, saying that it wants to warm you up, to burn you, to kill you.
  • The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost: The second chapter takes place in the middle of the day at a train station.
  • Homestuck: Justified for the trolls, who are nocturnal and live on a world where the nastiest threats all — such as the walking dead and the vampiric rainbow drinkers — come out under the blistering rays of the sun.
  • Lapse: Tripod has no reservations about appearing during the day.
  • Soul to Call: The demons 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. Also, due to intentional continuity errors, it's daytime half the time even when it's nighttime, so practically everything happens in daylight.
  • 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.
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "A Sunny Day in the Void", Republic officer Meebur Gascon and several astro-droids have crash-landed on Abafar, a planet that's essentially a flat, featureless desert that has a brightly-lit sky but no visible sun. It is very creepy, and Gascon ends up on the verge of going insane.

    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 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DaylightHorror

Media sources: