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Driving Up a Wall

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The vehicular equivalent of Wall Crawl.

Generally speaking, most cars and other land vehicles are designed to be driven across horizontal surfaces. But when this trope is in play, they will happily drive up walls, and even across ceilings.

There are several possible explanations for this. It could be an inherent property of the vehicle, a power of the driver or passenger, or just good ol' Toon Physics at work.

This may overlap with Achievements in Ignorance and Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress. Not to be confused with "driving someone up the wall" in the sense of making them extremely irritated.


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  • A short-lived luxury car commercial in the '00s showed a car being pursued into a dead end by a bunch of sinister black cars. The driver shifted gears, which somehow caused his car to stick to the building in front of him while the Spider-Man (1967) theme played in the background.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin and Jigen are in a high-speed chase trying to rescue a woman being pursued by a group of thugs along a winding mountain road. Narrowly avoiding grenades, Lupin drives along the rock face to pull ahead of the gang so Jigen can shoot out their tires.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, one of the enemy Stand users is the "Wheel of Fortune", which manifests as a monstrous car that can shapeshift and attack at the user's will. At the bottom of a canyon, the Wheel of Fortune suddenly sprouts long spikes along its tires to climb the vertical wall and continue to attack the heroes.
  • in Speed Racer, the Mach 5 has the B button which deploys belt tires. This can let him drive on walls or near vertical mountain walls.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In Detective Comics #340, the Outsider uses his Reality Warper powers to seize control of the Batmobile and use it in an attempt to kill Batman. One of his stunts is to cause it to drive straight up the wall of a skyscraper.
  • Blade: In some incarnations, Blade's motorcycle was equipped to scale walls.
  • Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) had his mystically transformed motorcycle riding up a wall to escape police pursuit. The movie scene mentioned below, featuring the Johnny Blaze version of the character, is a Mythology Gag to this one.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In the intro for "Fórmula Uno", a narration mentions that some off-road vehicles can run up "impressive slopes", accompanied by an image of one of them going right up the wall of a building, with the driver even taking a moment to wave at a bewildered bystander who is watching it from a balcony of the same building.
  • Silverblade: In issue #6, Miss Hothgard is chauffeuring Vermillion around the studio on an electric scooter. Sick of his hectoring, and now possessed by the Executioner, she uses the Executioner's powers to drive up the wall of the sound stage. Near the top she jumps off, leaving Vermillion and the scooter to plunge to the floor.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spidey briefly possessed a Thememobile called the Spider-Mobile: a Spider-Man-themed dune buggy. Amongst its abilities was the ability to cling to, and drive along, walls. Exactly how it did this was never really explained, but it seems to have been something the Human Torch installed, so possibly it was Reed Richards's technology. Although the Spider-Mobile was short-lived, various writers have brought it back from time to time. It eventually wound up in the hands of Deadpool.
    • Spider-Man foe-turned-ally Rocket Racer uses a jet-powered skateboard with gyroscopic stabilizers and magnetic boots that keep him attached to the board. The skateboard also adheres to vertical and inverted surfaces.
  • Teen Titans: In issue #3, Ding Dong Daddy tries to kill Robin with a tricked-out motorcycle that first handcuffs the Boy Wonder's wrists to the bike, then literally drives a wall where it explodes.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Aristocats, farm dogs Napoleon and Lafeyette scare Edgar so badly while he's dumping the cats that he leads them on a motorcycle chase up the underside of a bridge, twice.
  • Done at the climax of The Simpsons Movie. Springfield has been sealed in a glass dome and is about to get blown up by a powerful bomb the size of a briefcase. To get rid of the bomb, Homer motorcycles up the inside of the dome so Bart can throw it through the dome's only opening at the top, in a grand callback to Homer motorcycling around a small spherical cage earlier in the movie. Because the route he takes goes around the dome instead of going straight up it, this means Homer had to have been cycling up a vertical-gradually-curving-to-upside-down surface for several miles.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Forever: Batman manages to evade one of Two-Face's attacks by firing a grappling hook from the Batmobile at the top of a tall building, allowing him to drive up the building's side.
  • Day Watch. The girlfriend of the Big Bad isn't happy when told he's too busy to talk to her, so does a Ramp-rovisation jump in her sports car onto the curved side of a Moscow apartment building, using her magic to drive along its side and through a window, whereupon she ramraids into his apartment. He barely takes notice.
  • In Ghost Rider (2007), Johnny Blaze's infernal alter-ego escapes police pursuit by riding his motorcycle up the side of a skyscraper, leaving a trail of hellfire and molten glass.
  • During the "rescue Harry from Privet Drive" sequence at the start of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as Hagrid and Harry are being pursued by Death Eaters, Hagrid briefly drives his motorcycle onto the roof of a tunnel.
  • At the climax of Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie makes it to Monte Carlo and catches up with the leading race driver Bruno von Stickle. After a few failed attempts to pass him, he manages to get into first place by driving upside-down along the roof of a tunnel.
  • In I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, when being chased by the police, the demon-possessed motorbike drives straight up a vertical wall and down the other side.
  • The hoverbike chase in Judge Dredd sees two of the bikes involved drive up the wall of a building. As the bikes involved are of The Alleged Car variety, a third fails to turn upwards and crashes into a storefront.
  • Agent K takes the MIB Ford LTD Crown Victoria (enhanced by alien technology) for a short upside-down blast along the ceiling of the Queens-Midtown tunnel in Men in Black — they were on a short time limit to stop an alien bug from escaping Earth via a spaceship in Corona Park and the Tunnel was bumper-to-bumper as usual.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Bells of St. John", the Doctor rides his motorbike up the surface of the Shard. According to him he drove the bike in question at the Anti-Grav Olympics. He came in last but still.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: The Batmobile has a power winch used to drive up and down certain walls in various story missions and Riddler puzzles. Some Riddler puzzles are out-and-out timed races and the Batmobile is sometimes required to reach and maintain speeds such that it can genuinely drive sideways or upside-down to complete the challenge.
  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing: Since the game cannot simulate gravity, the player can easily drive up vertical cliffs.
  • The Blaster Master games offer upgrades for SOPHIA III to drive up walls and onto ceilings.
  • Carmageddon and its sequels have featured a variety of physics-modifying power-ups that allow driving at all sorts of bizarre angles, including up sheer walls and even upside down. Certain types of cars can even do so without any power-ups, whether due to abnormally high downforce, extreme acceleration, supernatural tire grip or some other unusual physical property. This is made even more common by the tendency of cars to get involved in powerful collisions and get punted upwards onto walls and ceilings.
  • The fully upgraded Agency SUV in Crackdown can do this as an Ascended Glitch from playtesting.
  • Crash Nitro Kart: The game's main distinguishing feature was the ability to drive on vertical and even upside-down sections of track. Those sections of the tracks were all removed when the tracks were remade for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, however.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Dante drives a motorcycle up the side of Temen-ni-gru. On the way up he's attacked by a swarm of flying demons, so he fights them off in midair using said motorcycle as a club.
  • Distance has cars that can do this on any vertical and upside-down sections of the road that they come across.
  • Elite Beat Agents has a taxi climb a skyscraper on an early level.
  • Freedom Planet: Carol can drive up walls with her motorcycle.
  • In Grand Theft Auto Online, Formula One cars can be driven upside-down along the roofs of tunnels. This is based on Real Life speculation that the aerodynamic design of Formula One vehicles generates enough downforce that you can, theoretically, drive one upside-down, although no one (that we are aware of) has ever tried to test this theory.
  • Mario Kart 8: For the first time in the series, tracks included vertical and upside-down sections of track that karts could drive on. During these sections, brushing up against opponents and certain obstacles would provide a speed boost.
  • Both Nitronic Rush and its sequel/Spiritual Successor, Distance, have cars that can do this on any vertical and upside-down sections of the road that they come across.
  • Sonic Generations: During the last leg of the GUN Truck chase in City Escape, the supped-up GUN Truck sprouts rocket boosters and continues to chase Sonic on the walls of buildings he runs on, before eventually destroying itself by crashing into another building as Sonic escapes through a narrow alleyway.
  • The beginning of Bayonetta 2 has Rodin drive Enzo's car up the side of a building just to fetch Bayonetta her signature guns for this game, Love is Blue.
  • The later WipEout games (from Pure onwards) allow the hoverer racing vehicles to do this with the aid of special magnetic track sections. Pervious games also included the occasional loop or 90-degree banked turn, but these relied on physics to sling the craft around them - stopping would make the craft drift "sideways" toward ground level.

    Web Video 
  • In the ICTON video of Half-Life: Full Life Consequences, John Freeman's motorcycle randomly drives up a cliff face at one point after a passage is finished being read, purely for Rule of Funny.
  • Kittisaurus: One Kittisaurus video has Claire amuse her cats with some remote control cars. Once the cats get bored of watching the cars drive on counter-tops and the floor, she reveals these cars are capable of driving on the walls- to both the cats' and the audience's amazement.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: During the "Mobius 5000" race, one of the racers sprouts suction cups from his wheels and drives up one of the buildings in Casino Night Zone. Sonic and friends cheat the cheater with a convenient Special Stage post.
  • Animaniacs: In the Animaniacs stew segment "Mindy and The Brain", Brain finds himself chased by a lawnmower and attempts to escape it by climbing up a tree. The lawnmower ends up following him up to his surprise.
    Brain: This is most unexpected.
  • In Beetlejuice, a gag in one episode had Beetlejuice guilt-ridden from blowing up Monsters Across the Street's house, to the point where he ends up in a tiny car driving vertically and shouting "He's driving me up the wall!! I'm gonna hit the ceiling!!"
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: The Rangers field test a vehicle built by Gadget that's a monocycle with suction cups on its outer surface in "The Case of the Cola Cult." This vehicle can roll up walls, and even traverse a ceiling joist.
  • Taken to silly extremes in an animated segment on The Electric Company (1971), where a woman tells her lazy husband "you drive me up the wall!"... and he takes it literally.
  • The Flintstones: One episode has Barney building a racecar and Fred deciding to drive it in the Indianrockolis 500 for prize money. At one point, Fred gets ahead of the other racers by driving across the track's outer wall.
  • James Bond Jr.: James drives a car specially equipped with spiked tires from Britain to France through the Chunnel. He drives on the tunnel ceiling, ignoring the electrified catenary that powers the trains.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "Return of Warlock", The Warlock enchants Lois' car so that it drives up a skyscraper.
  • On The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Chugga-Boom has been driven up not only buildings but also cliffs and other vertical surfaces.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Upon seeing a commercial for an "all-terrain" vehicle that markets it on its ability to drive on the road and in the mud, Phineas quips that road and mud are hardly "all-terrain" and set off to make a vehicle that can actually drive on any terrain. One of the "terrains" they demonstrate on is the side of buildings.
    • In "It's a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World", Candace starts to drive her monster truck up an incline. Said incline becomes so steep that it goes up at a 90-degree angle, and then Phineas tells Candance that it gets steeper. After Candance reaches the top of the incline, the camera zooms out to show that the 90-degree incline features a loop-de-loop.
  • PJ Masks: Gekko's vehicle, the Gekko Mobile, has this ability. Fitting, since Gekko himself has Wall Crawl as one of his powers.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Rock Bottom", SpongeBob and Patrick wind up in the eponymous city due to taking the wrong bus. The road from Bikini Bottom to Rock Bottom is a 90-degree slope on a stone wall which the buses have no problem going up and down. Unfortunately, SpongeBob has no such luck when he chases after a bus leading back to Bikini Bottom that Patrick boards.
    "I guess Grandpa SquarePants was right; Never run for a bus." (Imitating Grandpa SquarePants) "Especially one that's going up at a 90-degree angle."
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Obi-Wan drives a speeder bike up a steep vertical building by riding across the surface. Justified in that a speeder is a repulsor craft that can hover over a given surface.
  • Teen Titans (2003) has the T-Car pull this in a clear homage to the Lupin example.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) has the Spider-Cycle which can drive up or along walls just like Spider-Man.

    Real Life 
  • A very limited version of this is the wall of death (a.k.a. motordrome, silodrome, or well of death): a carnival sideshow featuring a silo- or barrel-shaped wooden cylinder, typically ranging from 20 to 36 feet (6.1 to 11.0 m) in diameter and made of wooden planks, inside which motorcyclists, or the drivers of miniature automobiles, travel along the vertical wall and perform stunts, held in place by friction and centripetal force. Needless to say, this stunt does not allow changes of direction, sudden braking, or any of the other things seen in fiction.
  • There are toys that achieve these feats, using a small vacuum system (propeller enclosed in duct) to adhere to the wall.
  • A common bit of trivia is Formula 1 vehicles are theoretically capable of this, as they generate a large amount of aerodynamic downforce to grip the road by design. Above about 60MPH, they'd stick to any surface no matter what gravity says. Needless to say no racing team or sponsor has ever actually volunteered their multimillion dollar machine to test this live.