Follow TV Tropes


Door of Doom

Go To

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
— Dante's Inferno

There's a door ahead. Based on its appearance or its context — usually standing there with no actual wall around it — you just know something amazing and dangerous lies on the other side. This isn't just a physical trope of a door being there, but a narrative device. Because the door is so obviously doomful, the characters recognize that going through is a big decision.

Compare Cool Gate, The Lonely Door, Portal Door. Not to be confused with Doom Doors. Often a Point of No Return in video games.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: Showing up in Hickman's Run is Eldrac the Door, an invoked and exaggerated version of this, his Super-Empowering twisted him into gigantic furniture. Whoever walks through his mouth goes to where they 'need to do.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table has the gang descend to a portal clearly marked "Portal of Death". Despite BA's pointing out every clue he can, Brian insists they go through on the premise that it might grant wishes or lead to fabulous wealth, and the evidence is planted to deter the "wuss-of-heart". One by one the Knights enter, followed by BA calling them into another room with a d20, and bringing them back with a paper bag over their head to restrict clues which could be conveyed to the other players by facial expressions. Eventually Sara gives up and goes back to town, convinced that her party are dead. The D20 was, in fact, to determine how many hundreds of little bits the daemonic forces on the other side tore their mortal forms into. Dave rolled a nat-20.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Doom's Doorway is a large imposing door which is quite obviously an opening to someplace unpleasant and otherworldly which is protected by an armed and armored Amazon guard, which faces the door to defend against anything trying to escape, not anyone mad enough to want to go the other way.

    Fan Works 
  • In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, Rikku's attempts to enter the Chambers of the Fayth turn them into this trope.
  • In Robb Returns, the Hightowers have a giant dark gate hidden beneath the Hightower that they have been guarding ever since the age of the First Men, that afflicts anyone who gets near with immense fear, and has started pounding ever since magic returned. It is theorized that there is some Eldritch Abomination behind it that must be locked away - and later interactions theorize it to be the Drowned God.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Jurassic Park (1993): John Hammond deliberately invokes this by having the guided tour of the island begin by entering a large, impressive door, but it's more for show than anything.
    Ian Malcolm: What do they keep back there, King Kong?
  • King Kong (1933): The huge door in the wall surrounding the interior of the island.
  • The door to the maze in Labyrinth.
  • In Spiral (2007), a frequent recurring motif is a glowing door in the background of Mason's apartment that has something to do with his imaginary murders.
  • We get about five minutes worth of this in Stalker (1979), in which the main characters stare at an ominous door, contemplating whether or not they should go in.
  • The entrance to Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia has a number of these, including one near the end of Prince Caspian. Played with in The Last Battle - the 'door of doom' is just the door of a stable....
  • The three Doors in The Drawing of the Three, the second book of Stephen King's The Dark Tower epic. As in the trope description, the doors themselves appear quite normal; it's the fact that they're standing in the middle of a beach with no walls attached or any visible means of support, and that they appear to vanish when one walks around to view them from the back, that marks them out as magical.
  • In Therin Knite's Echoes, Adem is walking down a hallway full of closed doors he needs to open in order to find the antagonist Brennian. He belatedly realizes that since he's in a dream, anything could be hiding behind the doors.
  • When the miners of Galaxy of Fear: Spore Dug Too Deep into an asteroid, they found a monstrously thick door with a terrified-looking statue outside of it. There had been more nuanced warnings there too, but those had been scraped away.
  • The archway in the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The result of going through is implied to be Cessation of Existence.
  • In House of Leaves, the door that appears in Navidson's house after the family comes back from vacation, which wasn't there before.
  • The door in Dante's Inferno, with its famous (and much referenced and parodied) inscription "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
    • Parodied in Eric, where the inscription has been crossed out in favor of "You Don't Have To Be Damned To Work Here, But It Helps!!!"
  • The Doors of Durin (west gate of Moria) in The Lord of the Rings.
    • As is the Dimholdt on the Paths of the Dead, especially in the film version.
      "The way is shut. It was made by those who are Dead, and the Dead keep it. The way is shut."
  • Subverted in The Princess Bride (the book), where the actual danger lies on the door itself.
  • Carl Sandburg Rootabaga Stories has a chapter "Four Stories about the Deep Doom of Dark Doorways" but being a children book, no Doom whatsoever can be found. Probably just the Doomy Dooms of Doom syndrome at work.
  • The entrance to the Temple of Doom in Temple was the Incan version: a giant rock blocking a passageway, with very detailed pictures of people dying all around it.
  • Wayward Children: The doors of doom here are smaller, more numerous and variable then common examples but passing through them is equally momentous. The children who go through have them to become heroes, gods and monsters on the other side. Those who come back through these doors are the focus of the series and they have all been changed by their experiences.

    Live Action TV 
  • The IT Crowd treated a rather unimpressive door this way. It led into a chamber where a Goth nobody could stand monitored the data communications arrays with not a single clue what they even did, so Jen was told never to open it. When the character is driven back into his chamber by allowing too much natural sunlight into the IT office, the problem is solved - so long as no-one opens the other forbidden door, with an appearance which fits this trope more effectively.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Hajime's muddled memories of coming to Hope's Peak Academy include a memory of a mysterious door floating in a green void. It actually represents him entering the Neo World Program, a Lotus-Eater Machine designed to cure him of being brainwashed and erase his negative memories of being a member of Ultimate Despair.
  • Diablo has this in spades. Lets you go to hell with horrors at the other end.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has Oblivion Gates to the eponymous realm. They are big burning arches that scorch the area around them, turn the sky above them red and ominous, and cause plants from Oblivion also grow around them too. Essentially, what is on the other side leaks over. Which is a barren wasteland of blackened islands in a sea of lava.
  • Fable: The Bronze Gate is a massive locked door at the far edge of the Grim Up North, said to herald the end of the world when it opens. In fact, The Hero has to unlock it himself to reach the Final Battle against Jack of Blades' new dragon body amid a volcanic wasteland.
  • The door to Ultimecia's throne room at the end of Final Fantasy VIII is a red double-door with skull figurines above it and an all around creepy feel to it. Plus there's a Save Point in front of it. Touching this door gives you the chance to back off or open it, the latter of which starts the four-stage Final Boss fight of the game.
  • God of War has three main flavours of door: large, very very large, and "yeah, definitely a boss here" large. (Or, from a god's point of view, miniature, small, and medium).
  • The map just before the Final Boss of Half-Life has an unsettling alien teleporter in an area that's completely black. The portal glows red instead of the usual green teleporters, and it somehow replays voices from the beginning of the game. Freeman's Mind paints it as resembling the cover to a metal album.
  • Both played straight and subverted in the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • Mass Effect 2 has the Omega-4 Relay, which is coloured red as opposed to the usual blue of the Mass Relays, almost like a warning, which is suitable, because ships that enter it never return.
  • In Minecraft both the Nether and End Portals. They don't look great like many other things on the list, but considering how the rest of the game looks, they're pretty hellish. Some people have even made their portal rooms the definition of this trope. Just look here.
  • The door leading to the Fugue plane in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer.
  • Paper Chase: In the Inform version, the college entrance is described as a great dark gateway, inscribed above with the words, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."
  • The door that leads to the first boss in Silent Hill 3.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario World, Haunted Houses, Castles, and Boss Rooms all have some sort of doomy door. The Boss Rooms are colored red (except the one in Chocolate Fortress, which is colored brown). The red boss door returns in the Fortress and Castle levels of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (the one in the final level is even bigger, namely twice the size for the Final Boss).
    • The New Super Mario Bros. series usually have these to signal boss fights. Bowser's fights are usually preceded by an even more menacing door.
    • Mario Party 4: The minigame Doors of Doom. Pick one of two doors and hope Bowser doesn't come out of it; you play until you choose incorrectly and Bowser appears to end the game by chasing the player offscreen.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has the eponymous door. The earth all around it cracks when it opens!
  • The final door leading to Tabuu in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, being a gigantic glowing door leading to the final boss that requires you to defeat every opponent you've ever faced to pass through it.
  • The Dimensional Gateways in the WarCraft setting are these. The prime example is the Dark Portal that leads to Outland, a world that had so many of these gates opened that they tore the world apart and sent what was left into the Twisting Nether.
  • The door that leads to the Dead God's Pad in The World Ends with You. Shiki lampshades this trope by saying "This door just screams 'endgame.'"
    • The player goes through a door very much like the one in Dante's Inferno as the entrance to Hell, complete with the ominous text written on it.
    • There are big stone walls that indicate which levels were completed perfectly. Getting a perfect score in every level of an act lets the player go through the door and face a Superboss.

    Web Animation 
  • The third Charlie the Unicorn flash has one of these. Er...sort of. It turns out that the door is not as fantastic and mysterious as advertised.

    Web Original 
  • The sequel to the NES Godzilla Creepypasta has a large gate that appears between stages, with seven empty slots that are gradually filled each time Carl defeats a boss. Presumably, it will open when all seven have been beaten.

    Western Animation 

  • The painting That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (also called The Door) is one of these. Subverted in that it represents a wasted life - not going through it was the wrong choice.