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Forbidden Zone

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Leela: Uh, Professor, are we even allowed in the Forbidden Zone?
Professor Farnsworth: Why, of course! It's just a name, like the Death Zone or the Zone of No Return. All the Zones have names like that in the Galaxy of Terror.

In Speculative Fiction, there is always at least one area with a foreboding name that nobody goes to. Ever. Whether it's an impassable swamp, an asteroid field, a city rumored to be haunted, a monster-infested mountain passage or simply a place the elders have declared off limits, this is the place everybody knows you only go to when you're insane. The mundane examples may simply be a Wretched Hive brimming with thugs and cut-throats. At the most extreme cases it is an outright Eldritch Location.

So, naturally, the heroes will inevitably wind up going there — whether by choice or circumstance. What good is having something that's mysteriously off limits if we can't go there and see why it's off limits? Chances are the dangers are completely exaggerated anyway, right?

It will either turn out that the Forbidden Zone is indeed incredibly dangerous, or that there's no danger at all, and the heroes were supposed to keep out because it contains forbidden knowledge. Or both. In either case, the heroes will pass through more or less unscathed, and they may even figure out a way to make the zone less forbidden.


Subtrope of Inevitably Broken Rule. Compare Forbidden Fruit, Schmuck Bait. The dangerous kind of Forbidden Zone overlaps with Death World. The Neutral Zone is a subtrope, in which the zone is forbidden because entry from either side risks starting a conflict with the inhabitants of the other side.

Not to be confused with Forbidden Zone, a Danny Elfman film.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kagewani has an area on an uninhabited island in Japan surrounded by a chain link fence with yellow caution tape. The scene where Banba examines the hole in the fence with the ripped tape suggests that explorers were ignoring the warnings not to go in there.
  • The Ruins of Old Ostia from Mahou Sensei Negima!: a former Floating Continent City that got hit by a massive Anti-Magic surge During the War. Now crashed and semi-floating pieces of the city form a massive labyrinth filled with nothing but "Mid-Boss Level" Monsters. Naturally, the bad-guys' HQ.
  • The Toxic Jungle/Sea of Corruption from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, an utterly massive Hungry Jungle filled with miasma and toxins that render it uninhabitable to humans (and any other living things from outside the jungle), who only ever visit it temporarily with hazmat equipment. The scary part is that, the place actually isn't toxic; its meant to be a huge, natural cleanup facility that filters out pollutants and creates a pure, healthy environment. Problem is, most life on the planet has evolved by now to live with the pollution, and the absence of it is now poisonous to them.
  • Lost Mountain in ∀ Gundam mixes the "extreme danger" and "forbidden knowledge" variants. The "forbidden" has a very good reason behind it: it contains nuclear weapons. Due to the Militia not listening to the Moonrace engineer at the site, five of them go off, killing Gavane Gooney and destroying the surrounding area.


  • ElfQuest has the Forbidden Grove, originally called that by the local humans because people who went in never came out. Turned out this was because the Preservers lived there and spun cocoons around any creature who went to sleep there, putting them into suspended animation.
  • The Pitt, the fifty-mile wide, fifteen-mile deep crater where Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania once was in The New Universe. Made especially notable due to the mutagen-like "Pitt Juice" and the seven mile-high "Mt. Pittsburgh" volcano.
  • In Secret Wars (2015), Battleworld has the south pole, which is comprised of Perfection, the Deadlands and New Xandar. Between an army of Ultrons, an army of super powered zombies, the Annihilation Wave, and Thanos, no one wants to be there as its certain death. God-Emperor Doctor Doom sends people there as punishment for breaking major laws. Or just annoying him. Partway through the story, Earth!616 Thanos takes over the entire area on his own.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): There was the Zone of Silence, which was that continuity's answer to the Void. However, events would turn the Zone of Silence into the Special Zone. There was also the Forbidden Zone on Angel Island.

    Films — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast. He sure didn't want Belle going anywhere near the West Wing of his castle!
  • Basically anything that isn't the Great Valley in The Land Before Time series, following the original (since that was spent getting to the Great Valley). Most of the outside area that isn't a natural hazard zone is populated by carnivorous dinosaurs.
  • In The Lion King (1994), it is strictly forbidden for Simba and Nala to visit the Elephant Graveyard, as that is where the hyenas live.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, the village of Bajrangpur has a Forbidden Zone behind a large wall. Rumors say that there are demons in there, though it's actually an infamous gang's HQ.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Automata humanity is bound to a small number of walled cities, surrounded by slums where trespassers are shot on sight, and surrounded by radiation induced desertification.
  • In Doomsday, after an outbreak of a deadly killer virus in Glasgow, Scotland as a whole is walled off and the general population left to rot.
  • And then there's the Sixth Dimension in the movie Forbidden Zone. It's special.
  • The Intrusion Zone in Enki Bilal's Immortal, formerly known as the Central Park, New York. Apart from causing its surroundings to experience perpetual winter, it instantly kills anything mortal attempting to breach its perimeter. The laws of time and space bend at its core, and it's implied to be the origin of the various nonhumans inhabiting the future New York; at least Jill and John arrived the planet through it.
  • In Jurassic World, the Restricted Area is firmly separated from the rest of the park by a massive electric fence and heavy security. It's located along the northern reaches of Isla Nublar and houses the crumbling remains of the original park as well as dinosaurs that are considered too dangerous to be shown to the public, like the Indominus rex and Owen's Velociraptors.
  • Oblivion (2013). While repairing the Attack Drones, Jack Harper is repeatedly warned against flying his Future Copter into high radiation areas left over from the nuclear war. It's not clear if nukes were used, but the real reason is to prevent him finding there are other clone Jack and Victoria's doing the same job in those zones; they in turn are forbidden from going into his area.
  • The island of the Peligostos in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. They make the most delicious long pork. Their ride dumps Will overboard to get there.
  • Planet of the Apes:
    • Planet of the Apes (1968) prominently features a Forbidden Zone, which contains the important information that they were really on Earth the whole time. The area is actually called "The Forbidden Zone" and is also an inhospitable desert, so there's some practical reason beyond the withholding of scientific information.
    • In the Tim Burton remake, the Forbidden Zone is the crash site of the spaceship that originally brought the apes and humans to that planet ages ago, as well as the proof that the humans were their original masters.
  • The Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride.
  • Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. (In 3-D!)
  • The Zone in Stalker.

  • Battle Royale. At the beginning of the Program, the students are warned that their starting point will become a forbidden zone twenty minutes after the last of them has left, with more forbidden zones added at regular intervals. If any students enter an active forbidden zone, or stay in a zone after the point where it becomes forbidden, the collars around their necks will explode, killing them.
  • Codex Alera has two:
    • The Wax Forest, which is completely overrun by croach until Tavi awakens its sleeping guardian and nearly destroys the world, although the Marat use it for trials and recover a potent medicinal mushroom from it, generally at a rate of one person retrieving it a year.
      Tavi: Why don't you send more people?
      Doroga: We do.
    • The Feverthorn Jungle is a much more mysterious forbidden zone. All that's really known is that it used to be the stronghold of the first sentient species obliterated by Alerans, and also it kills people. Whatever is in there apparently kills Vord too, since despite being ideal for growing croach it's never overrun.
  • In Dragoncharm, Tallow tells Fortune about how he used to be part of a group of four bachelor dragons, until two entered one of the Charmed's Forbidden Zones, just for a dare. They didn't come out.
  • Robert Westall's Futuretrack Five has a Forbidden Zone which covers most of the Scottish Highlands. Ostensibly there to protect endangered wildlife, it's really to conceal the activities of the mysterious Scott-Astbury.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Traitor General, the Untill is a swamp which only certain natives can live in. The Ghosts are of course forced to go there to avoid chaos forces.
  • Harry Potter: The Forbidden Forest outside of Hogwarts has giant carnivorous spiders, centaurs that, on the whole, don't want humans to bother them, and the occasional ghoul drinking unicorn blood. Students are forbidden to go there for any reason, so naturally, Hagrid spends a lot of time keeping students out.
  • The Tower of Regrets in Nemesis, although it doubles as a Call Receival Area.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Any area of land deemed a Chaotic Zone is offlimits to civilians because it is a Place of Power and a spawning ground for monsters. Mercenaries aren't civilians so Eric can still go there.
    • The Necrohol of Siduban is the most dangerous place in the world and was the site of the worst tragedy in modern history.
  • In The Last Book in the Universe, the Forbidden Zone (called simply "The Zone" by those who live in Eden) is a minefield which separates the latches (where the normals live) from Eden (where the proovs live). Naturally, the Forbidden Zone is forbidden to normals, but the Zone is not forbidden to proovs.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Caradhras and Moria. The Fellowship attempts to cross the Pass of Caradhras but is forced to turn back and go through Moria instead.
    • Other Forbidden Zones include the Old Forest, the Barrow-downs, Fangorn, the Dead Marshes and the pass of Cirith Ungol.
  • In Paradise Lost Satan has to pass through the realm of Chaos after leaving the gates of Hell in order to reach Eden. None of the other demons dare to follow, until he comes back triumphant.
  • The Hall Of Kings in Terry Brook's Shannara series.
  • The Silmarillion has the Valley of Dreadful Death, located in the Mountains of Terror. Only One Man, Beren, has ever passed that way alive... and he doesn't like to talk about it.
  • In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire there was an ancient empire known as the Valyrian Freehold based off the country of Valyria. Once the most powerful empire in the world thanks to their mastery of magic and dragons, something happened one day that literally destroyed the country, known offhandedly as the Doom of Valyria. Now sailors and explorers fear to even come close to the country's waters as they are storm-wrecked, choking with dangers and the land itself is an inhospitable waste reduced by volcanic eruptions, leading to the proverb that the Doom still rules Valyria. Events in Fire & Blood suggest there's something alive there. Something alive, unfriendly, and capable of hurting dragons. Which is why King Jaehaerys forbid anyone from setting foot there.
  • In C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, the entire planet Earth qualifies as a Forbidden Zone to the rest of the Solar System, being known as Thulcandra, The Silent Planet.
    • Perelandra (in the second book) has the 'fixed lands' as forbidden to the inhabitants, but it seems to be more to see if they would obey such an injunction with no reason given.
  • Terminal World has the Bane, a zone in which the Enforced Technology Levels is so low that no living thing is capable of surviving. Sure enough, the heroes end up having to cross it.
  • In The Turner Diaries, after The Organization conquers both North America and Europe, China launches an invasion of the USSR, conquering everything east of the Urals and attempting to invade European Russia. The Organization's response is to spend four years carpet bombing the entire Asian continent with every nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological weapon at their disposal, creating a 16 million square mile dead zone called the Great Eastern Waste. Over a century later and the only things left alive in the Waste are roving bands of mutants.
  • The Wheel of Time features two Forbidden Zones, the Blight and Shadar Logoth, each saturated with evil. Both are entered in the first book, and the latter is revisited repeatedly. Neither is a pleasant place to be. It's a safe bet that anything in the Blight that lives (though "lives" is stretched in some cases) is a deadly threat, and Shadar Logoth is home to the physical manifestation of hate itself. Also, the Ways. You do not want to run into Machin Shin.
  • James Rouch's The Zone is a World War III series. The eponymous zone is a broad strip of Western Europe used as a battleground by NATO and Warsaw Pact forces, heavily contaminated by chemical and nuclear weapons. It's not a place they stop you from going into; it's a place that no-one in their right mind would go into if they had any choice in the matter.
  • Isaac Asimov's Pebble in the Sky: In Earth's future, it is covered with uninhabitable nuclear wastelands, and the Society of Ancients, religious fanatics ruling the planet, have decreed that nobody enters the radioactive areas. Bel Arvardan's archeological project would require him to investigate one of these wastelands for ancient human artifacts, so they naturally refuse permission.
    "Do you know what it means to enter the radioactive areas? They're Forbidden. It's one of the strongest Customs these Earthmen have. No one can enter the Forbidden Areas, and all radioactive areas are Forbidden." — Procurator Ennius, to his wife

    Live Action TV 
  • Blake's 7
    • Referred to by that exact name in episode "Pressure Point". Protected by automated defenses, the Forbidden Zone defends the Federation Master Computer called Central Control. The crew get through by using their energy weapons as wire cutters and running very fast. Only to discover that Control was moved years ago and the Zone is only maintained as Schmuck Bait for the enemies of the Federation.
    • In "Breakdown", the Liberator has to make a short-cut through a prohibited space zone which turns out to contain a Swirly Energy Thingy destroying any ship that enters it.
  • Farscape has "Tormented Space" which most species stay away from due to dangerous electrostatic anomalies and the barbarism of the natives. Of course, the heroes have to go there to escape the various bad guys. Once they arrive they buy equipment to compensate for the anomalies from the locals and otherwise have no more problem than they do in every other region.
  • In Firefly, you'd have to be insane to even consider going into Reaver-occupied space. The Movie, of course, sees our protagonists forced to do just that.
  • According to In Search of..., the fugitive Nazi war criminal Doctor Mengele had taken refuge from Nazi Hunters in a large military zone in the center of Paraguay; "It is a place so secure, that even the Paraguayan police cannot enter it." Unfortunately this became Dated History; Mengele died shortly after the episode aired, and hadn't lived in Paraguay for years.
  • Lost has the Dark Territory, which seems to be where the Temple is and where the smoke monster hangs out.
    Danielle: Dynamite, by the Black Rock, in the Dark Territory.
    Hurley: Well, that's three reasons to go right there.
  • On Stargate SG-1, Teal'c tells Daniel of a world whose address is know to all Jaffa and Go'auld as a place to be avoided at all costs. SG-1 sets out for the place at once. The planet is under Asgard protection and has a device that teleports any Jaffa or Go'auld to a maze that the symbiote cannot escape from.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, even landing on Talos IV is the only death sentence left on the books. It's due to the mind-controlling aliens. Other examples include the Neutral Zones with the Klingons and Romulans, the Cardassian DMZ, and the xenophobic Tzenkethi and Tholians attacking any ship that comes too close to their homeworlds.
  • In Supernatural God has sealed monsters, including the Leviathans who can easily kill Angels, in Purgatory.

  • National Lampoon: A later issue had a bizarre story (written by Charlie Kaufman) of a reporter's unraveling the account of hayseed comic Junior Samples' attempt to join Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack". A lead sends him to the defunct "Hee Haw Land" amusement park, which is divided into three zones — Hee Sector, Haw Sector, and the Forbidden Zone.

  • In the backstory of Mad Daedalus, King Minos erects a shrine to the "goddess" Ariadne Shrine, then forbade his subjects from visiting, lest they discover that she is really an AI from a crashed alien spaceship.

    Tabletop Games 
  • From the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting: for the love of the gods, stay away from "The Plaguelands". The Mournland over in Eberron isn't all that pleasant either.
  • Mutant UA has areas called forbidden zones ("förbjudna zoner" in the original Swedish), which are areas where the remnants of the apocalypse are particularly dangerous. It also has an unnamed zone in the middle of the primary empire of the setting, which fulfills every criteria except being called a forbidden zone, as the empire finds the idea of having one deep inside their borders embarrassing and takes every excuse to claim it isn't one, no matter how nonsensical (one of their standbys is citing its shape).
  • Nobilis gives us the Dead Zone of Libya, a region which has had all hope, life, and meaning scoured from it by the Excrucian Textrix the Deacon. While you can break a man by leaving him there for a day or two, no dictatorship takes advantage of this, because the trait that makes things memorable is a trait the Dead Zone doesn't have any more.
  • Tormenta, a Brazilian RPG setting, has its namesake, the "Torment Areas". Easily recognizable by being covered in blood-red clouds at all times, these are regions that were taken over by a very Lovecraftian interdimensional species, making the places absurdly dangerous to anything that finds itself inside.
  • Any Red Zone-classified planet in Traveller is one for any number of reasons, from "The Imperium says so", all the way up to "If you go there, you will die and it will hurt immensely every second you are dying."
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Eye Of Terror, a Negative Space Wedgie caused by a large chunk of the galaxy permanently overlapping with the setting's equivalent of hell. Not recommended as a holiday destination. Now made even worse as it has expanded into a ginormous rift that stretches across the galaxy, affecting a great many planets.
    • The area of space between the Tau Empire and the Farsight Enclaves is actually known to the Tau as the Forbidden Zone. Ever since commander Farsight broke off from the Tau Empire, travel to the area has been forbidden by the Ethereals, while the Enclaves have fortified their side with automated defence stations that shoot down non-friendly ships and probes.

    Video Games 
  • In Arx Fatalis, the entire surface world is a Forbidden Zone, thanks to the planet being plunged into The Night That Never Ends and consequently becoming a frozen wasteland. You can try to go out onto the surface, but all that happens is that you instantly freeze and die.
  • In Borderlands, approaching a restricted area (i.e. the edge of the map) will result in a warning that you will be terminated if you proceed. They're not kidding.
  • In Bulletstorm, Trishka informs Grayson and Ishi that the area they're walking into was classified under "Forbidden Zone" due to it being especially dangerous. Since they have to walk through it, she tells them that they should be quiet. And then Grayson, completely unintentionally, destroys half a building not ten seconds later.
  • By the time of the Third Tiberium War in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars in 2047, the Earth is divided into zones that are classified as Blue, Yellow, or Red depending on how bad the area's ecology has been changed by tiberium. The Red Zones are the worst, utterly incapable of supporting human habitation without protection.
  • The flash game 'The Day': No one leaves the plantation, ever. Other characters keep warning to "Not go in the trees, or the guards will kill you". Naturally, the player is able to ignore the intended gameplay and leave the plantation if they want, and get an alternate ending: after a winding, fenced off area you enter an abandoned building and find the shriveled carcass of your uncle, who attempted escape many years ago. When you leave out the front of this building, the camera pans out to reveal all of the land besides the plantation is a cratered wasteland.
  • Daymare Town 2 has a district that was "closed due to infection." Naturally, once you get the city keys, you can enter it.
  • Over the course of the story missions, Destiny has you pass through the Exclusion Zone on Mars, occupied by the relentlessly militaristic Cabal who "exclude" all intruders into their territory with lots and lots of high explosives.
    • The Moon also used to be a no-go zone by order of the Vanguard, following the Great Disaster in which they deployed a force of thousands of Guardians to retake it from the Hive and ended up on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • In the Fallout: New Vegas expansion pack Old World Blues, Dr. Mobius harasses and threatens the Think Tank from his dome-shaped area in the Forbidden Zone. It used to be the X-42 robo-warfare facility, from which Mobius creates and unleashes his deadly, intellect-draining robo-scorpions.
    • The whole of the Big Empty may count, as do the Sierra Madre Villa and The Divide.
  • Geneforge: Two hundred years ago, something went horribly wrong on Sucia Island. Access is punishable by death. Naturally, you're stranded there, and naturally, you're about to find out why it was abandoned.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has Area 69, a military and research compound that instantly gives you a 5 star warrant level if you approach it and you'll be shot down by missiles or the military's fighter jets if you approach the area by air. There's one mission where you do get the chance to sneak into the facility and see why the area is so heavily guarded; using alien technology, the military created a jet pack that allows the wearer to fly. You get to keep it as well once you complete the mission.
  • In Half-Life 2, Gordon Freeman arrives at Black Mesa East and is taken on a quick tour, including a boarded-up mine shaft that leads to the city of Ravenholm. "We don't go there anymore," Alyx says. Unsurprisingly, the only other path is soon blocked. Gordon soon discovers that the reason why we don't go to Ravenholm is that it's completely overrun with zombies.
  • A 500 light-second exclusion zone surrounds the remains of Installation 04 in Halo after its destruction and is patrolled by UNSC and allied Swords of Sanghelios forces. Landing on the remains of the ring is also forbidden due to the dangers present.
  • In Immortal Defense the player character actually ends up becoming the cause of a forbidden zone because of his tendency to destroy any ship that approaches his old home.
  • Misty Island in Jak and Daxter, which is where the entire plot for the game is introduced. The Wasteland and anywhere located outside the walls of Haven City also qualify in Jak 3: Wastelander and Jak II: Renegade, respectively.

  • The entire northern hemisphere of Twinsun in the first Little Big Adventure is a Forbidden Zone, although some of it is still inhabited.
  • Mass Effect: The Krogan DMZ, established after the Krogan Rebellions. Doesn't seem to be all that forbidden, as the Normandy can come and go as it pleases, just no-one wants to go to Tuchanka if they can help it. However, weapons smuggling is forbidden. The punishment is spacing.
  • Metroid Fusion has the Restricted Labs, located in the NOC sector. "WARNING! NO ENTRY WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION!" indeed.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge plays with this. When on your ship, try to go anywhere that isn't a plot-relevant location and your helmsman will inform you, "We can't go there, mon. That is the Forbidden Triangle." Or Hexagon, or Dodecagon, or Reuleaux Triangle, or Lemniscate...

  • Most horror survival games, such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill are set entirely within a Forbidden Zone.
  • Near the end of Scratches, Michael states that a hidden area below the fireplace that he discovered is a "forbidden zone, a place that had been, and was supposed to remain, forgotten in time."
  • Sewer Shark's Sector 19. Your boss, Stenchler, explicitly has it off-limits to sewer jockeys, and your copilot Ghost gets irked when Falco shows off video she shot in the tube sections nearby. In a variation on this trope, Sector 19 is only off-limits to keep all the jockeys from making their way to Solar City, since Stenchler is really the villain.
  • Shadow of the Colossus occurs entirely inside one of these. In fact, it's so forbidden that the player is the only one around for most of the game, if you don't count the small woodland animals and the horse.
  • The game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. takes place entirely in a fictional version of the forbidden zone that surrounds the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
  • Sectors X, Y, and Z in Star Fox 64. Although many battles take place at these locations, the game's background information reveals that, prior to the war, civilian craft were restricted from going to them, due to the prevalence of pirates and strange radiation that interfered with spaceship functionality.
  • Inista Marsh in Tales of the Abyss, a massive wetland covering most of the land between the cities of Baticul and Belkend. It's traversed easily and there are bridges throughout the marsh, but everyone stays away from it because it's trapping a particularly aggressive and dangerous monster that the party can return later to exterminate once and for all.
  • Thief: The Dark Project: The Sealed Section of the Old Quarter. The information Garrett has on it is sketchy (he knows that there was some sort of disaster involving zombies and raging fires 50 years prior to his time, but he doesn't know precisely what happened or why). Having been hired to retrieve an artifact from the quarter's cathedral, he's about to find out.
  • Warframe: Eris was once a reasonably prosperous mining colony, but by the time of the game it is the only planet completely overtaken by the Infestation, orbited by dead ships still sending out warnings to all who approach.
    Konzu: One voice repeating the same message, over and over, "We are death. Leave us, and do not look back." My uncle's voice. Fail here, Tenno, and that will be the fate of Cetus. To be warning for the living. From a place where none may tread.
  • The Forbidden Lands in Zork Nemesis. Their quarantine was a result of their takeover by the titular malevolent being.

    Web Comics 
  • In Beyond the Canopy, the Forest's Navel is a place where nearly all are terrified to go (even the resident Nightmare Fetishist), believing that it's cursed or just a deadly, impassible labyrinth of thorns. The one person who does go there regularly is widely believed to be cursed himself.
  • The Greening Wars has the Glow, an intensely radioactive area full of monsters produced by the nuking of southern Europe.
  • In Nebula, space outside the edges of the Solar System is declared forbidden for the planets to venture into: Sun says that it's too dangerous for them, and that there's nothing there for them but a cold void anyway. The one character who is from beyond the Solar System doesn't exactly disprove his claim that it's dangerous, though it does mean there's more to it than just an empty void.
  • Inverted in the first Sluggy Freelance parody of Harry Potter [1], where one of the characters says he's referred to as "Homnigrits, the man who goes where few fear to tread". (The mall, mostly. Not many people fear to go there.)
  • Most of Earth is this in Stand Still, Stay Silent. It's called Silent World, and is full of Rash Illness Victims: trolls, beasts and giants. With Everything Trying to Kill You it's considered a suicide to dwell further than few kilometers from the Known World, which means that in Year 90, nobody really knows what's there. Of course, that's what our heroes are hired to find out...

    Web Original 
  • Ash & Cinders takes place in a world called The Ever-Changing Land. In this world, humans live in settlements where the land has been Stilled thanks to Wizards. Few ever leave their settlements because of the risk of an outside world that changes its own geography on a whim.
  • In Piecing Together the Ashes: Reconstructing the Old World Order, Cheyenne Mountain has become this. Following the Deluge, the remnants of the Beast's government and a civilian population took refuge in the NORAD complex there, which over the next several generations developed into a Cult Colony built on the backs of slave labor by the civilians. Eventually, they rebelled and escaped, sealing the complex behind them and becoming a tribe which inhabits the area and keeps trespassers away from the mountain, which they've come to believe is the resting place of an Eldritch Abomination called "the Norad" which helped the Beast destroy the world.
  • The Sick Land kinda speaks for itself.
  • The City Council of Night Vale would like to remind you that dogs are not allowed in the Dog Park. People are not allowed in the Dog Park. You are not supposed to know about the Dog Park.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Serpent's Pass is a quick route to Ba Sing Se, the only land passage across the large inland sea that separates the sections of the Earth Kingdom, and for those without tickets or passports for the hidden ferry it is the only way to reach the safety of Ba Sing Se. Of course, considering the entrance signpost actually says "Abandon Hope," and only the most desperate of travelers dare to take this deadly route, maybe you should think twice before crossing this isthmus. Hint: there's a giant mother-flipping serpent swimming around.
    • The destroyed Fire Nation warship near the Southern Water Tribe village in the first episode straddles the line between Forbidden Zone and Call Receival Area. It was probably forbidden because it had been rent through with ice and was unstable, not because the elders knew of any boobytraps, but the flare Aang and Katara set off summons Zuko to provide a reason to get out of dodge.
  • Null Void in Ben 10. Kevin was scared and horrified of going there (or threatening to go there), Ben claimed it's worse than prison, Argit hesitating to go there and even Vilgax had an eye twitch by just mentioning it, calling it accursed.
  • The Dreamstone has an area of Viltheed called "the Dark Side", an area of the Sleeping World that is unexplored and rampant with deadly creatures. Curiously concept art for the show also lists a similar area titled this trope (likely what the Dark Side evolved into for the finalized show).
  • Obviously Futurama (as seen in the page quote).
    • Parodied with the planet Trisol, which actually turns out to be perfectly nice (provided you're not the emperor). It really is just a name.
    • Also in the episode "A Bicyclops Built for Two", there was the Forbidden Valley (right next to the Permitted and Required Valleys). As it turns out however, the Forbidden Valley actually separates and stops Alcazar's brides from seeing the other four identical castles, where the other brides live.
    • The Forbidden World of Omega-3, dumping ground of all records of Star Trek: The Original Series (and the first six movies). Trying to approach it causes the Planet Express ship to crash. However, the greatest danger lies on the planet: One really annoying Star Trek fan.
  • The short-lived Ruby-Spears animated series known as Piggsburg Pigs! featured an area right outside of their city that was literally known as the Forbidden Zone, and for good was populated by all manner of demonic creatures, from swamp monsters, to vampires, to aliens. Though for some reason, these creatures were more humanoid in appearance, whereas the Piggsburg populous were all anthropormorphic pigs that wore clothes. So whichever one was truly more frightening is left up to you.
  • In the Silly Symphonies short "Lullaby Land", a tunnel is explicitly marked as forbidden for the baby to enter, but the baby crawls in anyway.
  • In one of the flash forward episodes of The Simpsons, a teenage Bart works as a delivery boy for Apu, who tells him he has to deliver groceries to an elderly shut in (Mr Burns) in the "Forbidden Zone". Not the one with the smallpox, or radioactivity, or eternal midnight, but the one with the Uniclams.
  • The cartoon Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) had a Forbidden Zone where a once-evil wizard lived.

    Real Life 
  • For a time in the 1980s the Libyan government declared the Gulf of Sidra off-limits to international shipping, calling their boundary the "Line of Death". Yet, oddly, a pair of U.S. aircraft carrier battlegroups encountered no trouble at all when they entered it. The Libyans did send aircraft after them on two occasions — in each case, the Libyans were blown out of the sky by F-14s.
  • Centralia, Pennsylvania. An underground coal fire expected to rage for hundreds of years means it's strictly off-limits. This town served as inspiration for Nothing but Trouble and Silent Hill. To this day, there are still people who refuse to leave, although their numbers are dwindling.
  • Gorge of Despair, in Kings Canyon.
  • Death Valley, California has the distinction of being the hottest place in the Western Hemisphere, and, arguably, all of Earth. There actually is a town within the valley, Furnace Creek, though it is not very large, with a permanent population of about 30 people.
  • The Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl in Ukraine, including parts of Belarus. These days, you can actually go there, but not for long. Note that hundreds of people work there daily, and their numbers are likely to increase as the new radiation shield needs to be built around the reactor soon. Still, the area is large enough that a casual visitor is unlikely to see anybody else during a brief visit.
  • Similar to Chernobyl, an exclusion zone about 20 km in radius around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant is in place. The order means over 100,000 residents can't return to their homes.
  • The southern half of Montserrat, a British territory in the Lesser Antilles, has been an Exclusion Zone ever since volcanic activity rendered the region uninhabitable in the mid-90s.
  • During World War I, the space between the enemy trenches on the front lines was called the No Man's Land. It was aptly named- -anyone foolhardy enough to step foot on it would probably be shot by the enemy, up to thousands of times per second, if they didn't step on the landmines scattered between and around the barbed wire.
  • Area 51. In hindsight it was probably a bad idea to burn radioactive waste in their backyard without any safety measures.
  • From World War I, there's the Zone Rouge (trans: red zone) in France. Areas that were utterly destroyed in the fighting and remain contaminated with extreme levels of heavy metals and unexploded ordnance, even a century later. Tremendous digging and cleaning efforts of the French military over 5 generations shrunk the red bands on the map from 2000 sq km (772 sq miles) to a bit over 168 sq km in the present day. It's estimated it will take at least 700 years to render the areas fit for human habitation again.
  • The DMZ betwixt the Koreas, full of landmines and devoid of human activity. Even when visiting the Joint Security Area, the only place along the DMZ where personnel from both North and South can get close to each other, you're only allowed to visit as part of an organized tour and you have to sign a waiver acknowledging that "the visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action."
  • This is what the area around the Yucca nuclear waste repository may look like to future humans, depending on the exact method that the government employs to discourage passersby from wandering inside to see what's there. The difficulty, of course, is averting the "naturally, the heroes will inevitably wind up going there" part of the trope. One proposed method is to build a large field of concrete thorns around it.
  • No Fly Zones, where aircraft are forbidden to fly on pain of being shot down. This is a common response to regional instability, to prevent combatants with aircraft from launching bombing strikes against civilians.
  • There is an island off the coast of Brazil called Ilha da Queimada Grande. You can only travel there with special permission from the government. Why? Because the island's nickname is "Snake Island", as in Golden Lancehead Vipers, one of the absolute deadliest snakes in the world! The entire island is infested with them to the point that some parts of the island have one snake per square meter. Local legend even has it at five per square meter! There is one story of the former lighthouse keeper and his family attempting to flee the island during the night because the snakes were literally overrunning their home.
  • The Andaman Islands of India include a couple where approximately 1,000 indigenous Andamanese people still live who actively refuse contact with the outside world. North Sentinel Island, in particular, has been barred from visitation by the Indian government because of repeated instances of the native Sentinelese tribe violently refusing contact; including a 2006 incident where they killed fishermen whose boat had drifted too close, and then fired arrows at the Indian coast guard helicopter sent to retrieve the bodies; and again in November 2018, when an American Christian missionary named John Allen Chau was killed by the Sentinelese for trespassing on their island in a vain attempt to convert them.
  • Wittenoom, Western Australia. Population: Three. Once a bustling mining town, Wittenoom was destroyed by the very resource that was mined there: Asbestos. Specifically, Crocidolite, also known as "Blue asbestos", which is the most dangerous of the six varieties of asbestos minerals.
  • Gruinard Island just off the coast of Scotland was one from 1942-1990 due to biological warfare tests involving anthrax.


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