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Grave Clouds

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"Edward Morgan Blake. Born 1924. Forty-five years as a comedian, died 1985, buried in the rain."
Rorschach, Watchmen

In fictional depictions of graveyards, burial grounds, or areas that serve a similar function, the weather is almost always bleak and grey at the least, pitch-black and raining at the worst.

Even if it's a sunny day, somehow, magically, the sunlight will seem shaky and bleak, washed out and faded. This is the weather of choice for a quietly dramatic funeral.

1000% more likely if this particular graveyard is a haven for The Undead.

A Sub-Trope of Empathic Environment and Gloomy Gray. See also It Always Rains at Funerals and Gray Rain of Depression. Contrast with It's Always Sunny at Funerals. See also Always Night, where spooky and general horror-themed areas (and the odd Haunted House in a perfectly normal street) will be in permanent night with thunder and lightning optional. When the weather is actively hostile to our heroes, see Cue the Rain. Compare Ominous Clouds, a sign of danger.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A subversion: In Fullmetal Alchemist, at Maes Hughes' funeral, Roy Mustang asserts that it's going to rain, even though there's not a cloud in the sky.
    Riza Hawkeye: I don't think so, sir...
    Roy Mustang: Yes it is. (a tear rolls down his cheek)
  • The graveyard of Thriller Bark in One Piece is surrounded by dark sky and fog. Though this is justified by the Thriller Bark deliberately sailing through an area of Ominous Fog.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Going to visit Hanajima, the members of the Yuki fan club convince themselves that she lives in a spooky house with gravestones in the yard and Grave Clouds.
    • Averted when Tohru and co. go to visit her mother's grave — the weather is bright and sunny.
  • In Full Moon when Mitsuki visits Eichi's grave it's snowing. The snow is especially touching because she lies down in the snow hoping to die in the cold so she can join him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Comedian in Watchmen is buried on a rainy day. The opening shot of the comic's second chapter shows a statue in the graveyard dripping with water, making it look as if it were crying.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Molly (1999): When Buck takes Molly to see their parents' grave, the sky is covered in heavy clouds.

  • Stephen King's Pet Sematary.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: During the funeral of Valentine's grandparents, the weather is noted to be "overcast, and so quite appropriate for the dismal ceremony". At the novel's second funeral, the weather is dull and stormy.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • During a scene in Guards! Guards!, when the Night Watch men buried one of their own, the copper Herbert Gaskin, one of the rapidly shrinking number of policemen in Ankh-Morpork, in the Cemetery of Small Gods, it was a grey, rainy day, with the raindrops drumming on the coffin as it was lowered into the sodden ground. Of course, that was the old Watch, full of washed-out losers... before the coming of Carrot Ironfoundersson. When we see the Cemetery of Small Gods in later novels, it's a peaceful (if somewhat overgrown) place full of blooming lilac that not many people come to visit.
    • The graveyards in Überwald, a region noted for its Empathic Environment, are almost certainly shrouded in eternal twilight, full of mist and fog clinging to lopsided tombstones and black leafless branches of dead trees, with the lonely cries of ravens echoing across the landscape.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm of Iron, Castellan Vauban is buried on a cloudy day. Leonid explicitly thinks that sun would have been inappropriate.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Encarmine, Rafel and the other Blood Angels searching for enemies in a graveyard do so under a gray sky.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An unusual example (kind of) is from the first-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode with the Nightmares. As Sunnydale sinks deeper into the waking nightmares of all its inhabitants, the heroes suddenly notice that the graveyard has been moved to opposite the school and is swathed in perpetual night.
  • Subverted (quote fittingly) in Dead Like Me. The times we're actually shown a graveyard, it's always a sunny and nice, peaceful place. Because funerals are really not among the worst things that happen in that series. Once you get to the bit with the graveyard and coffins, the worst has already happened to someone.
  • Averted in Pushing Daisies in that the double-funeral of Ned's mother and Chuck's father is as vibrant and colorful as the rest of the show, with nary a cloud in the sky.
    • Played straight at the end of "Oh Oh Oh... It's Magic", though.
  • Averted in the "heart transplant" episode of Eerie, Indiana, where the graveyard was sunny and comforting but apparently stalked by the Grim Reaper.
  • At the funeral at the end of Firefly episode "The Message", it snows. Very appropriate mood, as it was the day the actors had heard the show was canceled.
  • Done a lot in The X-Files, though this is more likely due to the fact that the first five seasons were filmed in Vancouver, which tends to be a bit dark and dreary anyway.
    • During Mulder's funeral, however, in season eight, there are clouds and snow on the ground.
  • Midnight Caller: When Rusty's son Ethan visits his grave, the sky is bleak and overcast.

  • In the video for "Two Black Cadillacs" by Carrie Underwood, the funeral for the man that his wife and mistress teamed up to murder is being held on a cloudy day. In the actual song, thunder can be heard.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons examples:
    • Module I6, Ravenloft. Evil Overlord Strahd's castle is under a cloud (literally) and after the Player Characters get inside, it starts to rain.
    • Module I10, Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill. As the villains get closer to victory, the weather gets worse and worse, culminating in a thunderstorm.

    Theme Parks 
  • In Shrek 4D at Universal Studios, the sky immediately becomes dark and stormy the minute Shrek and Donkey enter a graveyard.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Kazooie's Mad Monster Mansion and its related section in Grunty's Lair are perpetually encased by a dark, cloudy night.
  • In Dark Souls, it's at least overcast almost everywhere.
  • Don't Look Back begins with the protagonist standing next to a grave in the rain.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money, the Sierra Madre Villa is covered in toxic red clouds that mutated the town's hazmat workers into Ghost People. The Divide in Lonesome Road is torn by sandstorms thanks to a meteorological experiment by Big MT's mad scientists; this coupled with the nuclear disaster triggered by the Courier turned the NCR and Legion troops in the area into the Marked Men.
  • The second mission in Hitman 3, "Death in the Family" takes place in Dartmoor, England on the sprawling estate of Alexa Carlisle, the final remaining Partner of Providence where you must assassinate her and steal the case file that details the whereabouts of the Constant, Arthur Edwards. Your target's countryside manor includes a Hedge Maze and a private graveyard, where her faked funeral is planned to occur shortly. Opportunities abound for assassinations both dramatic and subtle under the pale gray sky, including a Mission Story where you can lure Carlisle herself out to the grave site to conduct the hit.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's always cloudy and dark in the Kakariko Village graveyard.
  • Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 3. The graveyard just looks like a normal graveyard and is sunny in contrast to the sadness of the scene.
  • Strangely averted in Mitsumete Knight, a game which thrives on Empathic Environment: the graveyard is located on a beautiful greenery cliff, and when visiting it, it's always sunny, with a cloudless blue sky. It was maybe done like this for symbolism as this is where the Asian will fight Salishuan the Spy of the Eight Generals of Valpha-Valaharian, aka Raizze Haimer, in a Raizze Run, meaning there's still hope to save the girl from the death she's throwing herself into — and that's the case if you have a 5-Heart Love Gauge with her and beat her in a duel.
  • The Movies actually has a specific, cloudy backdrop called "Cemetary".
  • While the first quarter or so of the Aetha in Primal focus around a bleakly windy rainy graveyard, it's somewhat justified because the entire world is like this.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, the Sealed Lands are covered by clouds. Most of the landscape is brightly illuminated, yet the sun is nowhere to be seen. Only the beams of light over the remains of slain colossi pierce the cloud cover.
  • In Terraria, Graveyards are "mini-biomes" created when enough tombstones, which drop whenever the player or NPCs die, are placed or accumulate in a given area. As more grave markers are added, the game's colors become more washed-out, fog accumulates on the ground, and the weather gets bleaker, until the area becomes completely monochrome and subject to a perpetual thunderstorm, allowing zombies and other monsters that normally spawn at night to walk about even in daylight.
  • Valheim: The Swamp biome is the home of the draugr, skeleton, and a literal Undead Abomination (a tree-monster that's been dead for so long it animated again) along with containing the draugrs' sunken crypts, and is permanently overcast and raining, meaning the player always has the Wet debuff active.

  • In Dream Keepers Prelude, Namah's mood.
  • In Homestuck, each of the lands of the B2 session, with the exception of LOPAN, have some variation of this. LOCAH, in lacking any colors or visible atmospheric features other than the other planets, Skaia, and its own strange balloons, produces this effect in conjunction with its numerous eponymous Crypts. LOMAX's sky is mostly similar, its blackness only interrupted by wisps of violet-glowing Xenon that rises out of its two massive canyons. LOTAK, though, combines the dark clouds traditional to this trope with massive, violent lightning storms and toxic air. All of these make sense, considering they're in a void session that serves as a massive graveyard for the game that could have been.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons. Springfield's cemetery is always dark and cloudy. In one episode, the city actually moved the entire cemetery next door to the Simpson residence. The weather around the house immediately changed from normal to gloomy.