Follow TV Tropes


Hillbilly Horrors

Go To

"Of course it follows the well-understood Hollywood moral of 'don't fuck with hillbillies'."

Works where the horror lurks in isolated, rural areas. May include a deeply inbred family, a Serial Killer or Serial Rapist (or both, seeing how Murderers Are Rapists) or maybe even a Cannibal Clan. The native environment of the Sackhead Slasher.

The default seems to be that the hillbillies themselves are the monsters, but this is not necessarily the case: some works will sympathize with the rural folk, but have them menaced by some monster or killer lurking in the wilderness, just outside the bounds of their community.

Usually the result of someone not heeding the warning: Don't Go in the Woods. Depending on where the characters are, "woods" may be substituted for swamps, deserts, abandoned towns, Deserted Islands, endless stretches of highway, beneath the bustling city streets, and even desolate snowscapes.

For works set in North America, there are several familiar settings as well:

For works set in backwaters around the world, there are a few specific locales:

  • The Überwald is possibly the oldest example of this trope. When the innkeeper crosses himself and begs you not to go near ze castle, you should probably listen.
  • Sinister rural locations in Nordic Noir stories tend to be found in the far north of Scandinavia, or else in little seaside or forest communities.
  • Campbell Country tends to be set in rural Britain (except when it focuses on decrepit and/or gothic urban locales instead).
  • Darkest Africa, Tropical Island Adventure, and other places with a population of Hollywood Natives. In modern times, though, this has to be written about carefully to avoid sounding a little Victorian.
  • The Land Down Under, which, like Mexico, has unfathomably large areas that are totally devoid of people.

It is well known that many misanthropes and crazy survivalists gravitate towards less populated areas because there are fewer people to bother them, although this is more of a Western trope than Eastern. Similarly, some famous serial killers have chosen to make their homes in rural areas because there are fewer witnesses.

Also note that although the term "hillbilly" originally referred to the people of small-town Appalachia (hence the "hill" prefix), this trope can apply more broadly to any rural folk.

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes common in the genre 

The other wiki refers to this trope as "Hixploitation".


    Comic Books 
  • The premise of Billy Majestic's Humpty Dumpty is that a bunch of aliens get stranded on Earth and run into a pair of redneck brothers named Petus and Pervis Brakk. The Brakk brothers murder all of the male aliens, with the sole female being imprisoned and raped by Pervis. The female alien ends up becoming pregnant by Pervis and gives birth to an egg-shaped monster that then decides to attack the Brakk brothers to avenge his mother and the other aliens that were killed.
  • Averted in Detective Comics #410, which features a group of carnival freaks living out in the swamp. Normally this would be a setup for Hillbilly Horror, but the villain in the story is actually the former circus strong man, the most normal of the group.
  • The Goon also dabbles in this trope occasionally as part of its Fantasy Kitchen Sink, even though the default setting is a kind of City Noir. The best representative of this trope is Houstus Graves, a cursed former gravedigger, and his two sons. They drive around in a pickup truck, robbing graves for recruits in The Zombie Priest's army. The evil of Houstus' deeds corrupted his wife's pregnancy, killing her and causing their sons to be born deformed, forced to wear burlap sacks on their heads.
    • A later story also pits the Goon himself against a family of evil hillbilly moonshiners, though their weirdness isn't played so much for horror, and they're presented mostly as just a rival gang trying to cut in on his business. The feud is ultimately resolved - how else? - with a hot rod race.
  • Hack/Slash featured a number of stories like this. Subverted in "Wallow In Death", in which it turns out that the undead hillbilly serial killer was driven to it by the cruelty of some arrogant student holidaymakers, and that all his victims deserved it.
  • Hellblazer plays with this when John Constantine is looking for two old acquaintances in the middle of nowhere, and ends up right in the middle of what seems like a Deliverance-reenactment in a Dying Town. His old "friends" seem to be running a sexual slavery business, and even drug John and film him being molested by a dog. The whole town is full of corrupt hicks who seem to be in on it. Its then subverted when its revealed that, aside from the dog incident which only involved one guy with a grudge against John, the entire operation is actually consensual. The people of the town have been taking turns being the "victim" in the films, which are sold online as a way for the town to make a living after the local plant closed. The people are creepy and repulsive, but nothing evil is going on. He later runs into a bunch of neo-Nazis led by a homophobic colonel. The neo-Nazis are killed by a golem while the colonel is disowned by his daughter for sucking off the Greater-Scope Villain in his daughter's stead.
  • Hellboy: Emerald Hell subverts this as most of the people of Enigma, Georgia and the swamps around it are hospitable and welcoming to Hellboy (who some mistake for the Devil). The swamp children, despite their odd appearances from toxic waste, are just that: sweet children. The brothers Duffy and Deeter however are as evil as they are beautiful and Brother Jester is corrupted by some foul power and his own vengeance.
  • Hillbilly is, unsurprisingly, based around this trope: a Dark Fantasy take on rural Appalachia, crawling with hideous monsters and evil witches. Most of the people themselves, though, are okay, and the hillbilly of the title is the comic's hero, Rondel.
  • Judge Dredd has the infamous Angel Clan, originally consisting of Pa, Junior, Link and the youngest, the insane homicidal cyborg Mean Machine. They were killed off in the "Judge Child" arc, but Mean Machine was brought back due to his popularity, and eventually reunited with his brother Fink Angel, an Angel clan member who was such a freakshow he was an outcast even compared to them. The Angels were a family of sadistic, homicidal rednecks living out in the Cursed Earth, the irradiated desert that was once the American countryside, and made a living of robbing and murdering travelers, as well as terrorizing their neighbors. Ironically, Mean Machine was originally kind and sweet-natured, but Pa wouldn't stand for that kind of personality in his family and kidnapped a doctor who he forced to turn Mean into a cyborg, driving him violently insane in the process.
  • Moonshine is a comic series set during Prohibition, about a feud between the big-city Mafia and a family of ruthless Appalachian hillbilly moonshiners who also happen to be werewolves.
  • Preacher: Jody and T.C. are a pair of murderous hicks who obey the commands of Jesse's grandmother. Herr Starr also loses a leg after being found by a trio of inbred cannibals.
  • Alan Moore's Providence, being a Deconstruction of H. P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Country, tackles this trope:
    • The fish-people of Salem resent how the townsfolk and in general tourists see them as hicks because they are mixed-race, with the narrative comparing their prejudice to be similar to anti-semitism.
    • Garland Wheatley and his family also resent how the people of Athol and the Stella Saps (as he and Boggs call the Order) are treated as low-down hicks. So, what does Garland Wheatley do to prove that he and his family are not low-down hicks who are unworthy of the knowledge of cosmic force? He proceeds to summon Yog-Sothoth and impregnate his daughter with abominations for twins:
  • The Punisher MAX story "Welcome to the Bayou", in which Frank takes out a Cannibal Clan of gator-raising racist hillbillies.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien Abduction (2014) looks like it will have elements of this as the Morris family gets lost in the forest on Brown Mountain, but the sole local they meet, Sean, is ultimately helpful as they try to escape the aliens pursuing them, despite his initially greeting them with a shotgun.
  • And Soon the Darkness: Two young women are biking through the French countryside (Argentina in the remake) and run straight into a rapist-murderer who preys on travelers.
  • American Gothic (1988) is about a group of friends encountering a hillbilly family with psychopatic tendencies.
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches: Giant leeches attacking a southern swamp town. The movie plays up the tension between the big-city hero and the locals, many of whom are poachers he is trying to catch.
  • Ax 'Em follows a group of teenagers on a weekend retreat at a remote cabin in the woods who become the targets of a crazed killer.
  • Blood Tracks is a Scandinavian take on the trope, an obscure Swedish film about an 80s rock/metal band out to shoot a video in an abandoned facility up in the mountains, only to fall afoul of the family of murderous, deformed hicks who live there.
  • Bloodsuckers from Outer Space concerns an alien force turning farmers into zombies in a small Texas town.
  • Bone Tomahawk is a Weird Western twist on the traditional "heavily inbred Cannibal Clan" trope.
  • Cabin Fever involves a group being infected with a horrific flesh-eating virus whilst out camping in a woodland cabin. While the locals aren't evil, they're not of any help either.
  • The Cabin in the Woods has the Buckners, a pain-worshiping redneck zombie family who are a cross between this trope and Evil Dead. Of course, the Buckners are merely pawns, who are summoned to the cabin by random chance. It could have been any number of horror clichés. The film even makes a point of noting just how cliché the Buckners are, with Hadley disappointed to see that, once again, the kids being sacrificed at the cabin didn't wind up summoning a more creative monster even if the Buckners do get the job done reliably.
  • Calibre is a British take on the hillbilly horror film in which two men on a hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands end up being hunted themselves by vengeful locals after they inadvertently kill a young boy and his father.
  • Carver is a hybrid of Hillbilly Horrors and Torture Porn.
  • Charlie's Farm: The Wilsons were farmers in the Australian bush. They were brutish, murderous cannibals, and were killed by their neighbors. However, one child (Charlie) survived... and grew up into an even worse horror.
  • Children of the Corn: The small Nebraska town of Gatlin, which is home to a child cult that worships the corn surrounding the town and a demonic entity known as He Who Walks Behind the Rows. It was originally a normal small town, but the children were influenced by a child preacher named Isaac who led them to massacre the adults, with the motivation that the "corrupt adults" were the reason for an extended drought affecting the corn harvest.
  • Children of the Night: A vampire terrorizing a small country town.
  • Chernobyl Diaries is a Found Footage film wherein a bunch of tourists explore Pripyat (the abandoned city next to Chernobyl) and are picked off by the mutated descendants of the people who stayed there despite the radiation leak.
  • In Cold Prey, a group of snowboarders are forced to take shelter in an abandoned hotel when one of him breaks his leg and their car is too far away for them to reach within nightfall. They quickly discover that the hotel was closed in the seventies due to the disappearance of the managers' son. Unknown to them, someone is still living in the hotel, and getting home, or even surviving the stay, isn't as easy as they believe.
  • Deliverance. While the wilderness itself is portrayed as a far greater threat, the film's human villains, a pair of hillbillies who hunt the protagonists and rape one of them, quickly became one of the most iconic elements of the film. Banjo music has never been the same.
  • Don't Go in the Woods film follows four campers who are confronted by a murderous woodsman slaying hikers on a wooded mountainside.
  • Duel revolves around a milquetoast businessman being chased and harassed by an insane redneck in a trailer truck through the California desert.
  • Dying Breed is an Australian take on the topic, where a bunch of zoologists looking for the rumored surviving specimens of the Tasmanian Tiger instead stumble across a town full of inbred, cannibalistic bogans descended from Alexander Pierce, a famous convict and Serial Killer who turned cannibal after escaping into the bush.
  • Eaten Alive! (1976) revolves around a hotel in the Deep South being run by a crazed war-veteran who keeps feeding people to his pet gator.
  • Even Lambs Have Teeth features a Pacific-Northwest version. Two girls going to spend a month working on an organic farm are kidnapped by a gang of rednecks running a sexual slavery ring.
  • The Evil Dead (1981) is set up almost perfectly for this, with a small band of people trapped in an isolated woodland cabin in Tennessee, and being picked off by demonic spirits that possess the corpses of their kills. The movie derives a lot of horror from the isolated environment itself (especially the trees, although actual hillbillies don't show up until Evil Dead 2, where they're not presented as anything more than just slightly odd people.
  • The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow involves the investigation of a Mystery Cult in the woods of northern Ontario, and a camping trip that may have gone very, very wrong.
  • Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is an Evil Versus Evil case of this, where a band of female murderers plans to rob an old man with two dim-witted sons living alone on a rural farm, only to find the menfolk to be more than a match for the women in terms of malignancy.
  • The Final Terror follows a group of campers in the Northern California wilderness who are forced to fight for their lives against a backwoods, feral killer hunting them as prey.
  • Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th films often has elements of this trope (especially in the earlier ones when he was a Sackhead Slasher), though later films turned him into a straight-up zombie in the more iconic hockey mask.
  • Frontier(s) follows a group of young criminals from Paris who lodge at a countryside inn run by neo-Nazis in the aftermath of riots spurred by a controversial presidential election.
  • Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo: A Wendigo butchering redneck hunters.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: Parodied/Subverted. Harold and Kumar's car breaks down in the middle of the woods and they are picked up by a creepy, hideous, decrepit truck driver called Freakshow. The scenes play out like a slasher film with Harold and Kumar expecting Freakshow to murder them at any point. It turns out he's actually a well-meaning if loony guy with a surprisingly attractive wife. It gets even weirder when his wife invites them to have a threeway with her, but when Freakshow insists on joining in, Harold and Kumar hightail it out of there.
    • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the sequel, takes place mostly in the Deep South. However, it mostly subverts the trope:
      • Harold and Kumar crash their car in a poor neighborhood, calling the attention of a crowd of black guys, who ominously close in on them, one with a tire iron in hand. Harold and Kumar bail, but the men just wanted to help fix their car.
      • They do run into the KKK at one point (not good news since they're both minorities), but the whole sequence is played for laughs (the Klansmen in the film are very clumsy and dumb).
      • The big one has to be when they are found a kooky yet friendly hillbilly hunter that invites them into his (surprisingly modern and cozy) home. Then, he and his surprisingly hot wife who also happens to be his sister feed them, lend them clothes, and a place to sleep in their basement. They do invoke the trope by joking about having an inbred mutant son living there. Actually, no, they were not kidding, there actually is an inbred, cyclopean kid in there that scares the crap out of the guys. He turns out to be harmless, subverting the trope once again.
      • Indeed, the film portrays pretty much all southerners (even George W. Bush!!) as friendly to Harold and Kumar. The true antagonist, from the beginning, is Homeland Security. The two exceptions are the Klan (predictably) and Colton, who pretends to help them and then hands them over to HS.
  • Hatchet: A swamp is haunted by an undead murderer who was killed by a mob from the local town.
  • In Headless Horseman, a van full of teenagers stumble into Wormwood Ridge: a Town with a Dark Secret south of the Mason-Dixon line that is not marked on the maps. The town is populated entirely by the descendants of a child-murdering Satan worshiper, and has suffered from considerable inbreeding. Every seven years they lure in sacrifices for the Headless Horseman to keep the bargain with Hell intact.
  • The Hills Have Eyes: A family on vacation runs afoul of a clan of degenerate cannibals in the Nevada desert, who have become hideous mutants, apparently because of leftover radiation from the old A-bomb tests.
  • The Hills Run Red: A film student is obsessed with a legendary lost film named The Hills Run Red, and sets out to discover the truth behind it, which leads him right into something that deliberately plays up the idea of hillbilly horror. The original movie's director created his own hillbilly horror setting for the sole purpose of making the "perfect" horror movie. He killed the original actor who played the murderer, and the man in the film is the director's disfigured son that he had with his own underage daughter for the sole purpose of filling this trope.
  • Hoboken Hollow is about a ranch in south Texas that abducts transients, puts them to work as slaves, then tortures and murders them before turning their flesh into jerky.
  • The Firefly family in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and its sequels, The Devil's Rejects and 3 from Hell. In the first film, they hunt, torture, and kill a group of young people going through their neck of the woods, while in the sequels, they become the Villain Protagonists on the run from the law.
  • House of Wax (2005) has the mad wax museum curator operating a small facility in the middle of nowhere.
  • I Drink Your Blood inverts this, in that the hillbillies are actually decent people and it's the Satanic, murderous hippies who are evil. Unfortunately for the hillbillies, their plan to get back at said hippies by giving them meat pies contaminated with rabies backfires.
  • I Spit on Your Grave inverts this, in that it's about a woman who, having been raped and abused by hillbillies, returns to brutally torture and butcher them in revenge.
  • Jeepers Creepers is set in the rural parts of America and revolves around a Humanoid Abomination that cannibalizes people to perpetuate its immortality.
  • Joy Ride
  • Jug Face features a backwoods community who worship an Eldritch Abomination living in a pit.
  • Just Before Dawn: Youths go on a camping trip in Oregon and are hunted down by a psychopathic murderous hillbilly pair of twins.
  • In The Locals, Grant and Paul take a short cut that results in them becoming stranded in backwoods New Zealand. Here they witness a farmer murder his wife and find themselves being stalked by him and several of his redneck cronies. However, they eventually discover that all of the locals, including the homicidal farmer, have been Dead All Along.
  • Madman revolves around an isolated, rural town being tormented by the local psycho-hillbilly zombie killer, Madman Marz.
  • Man-Thing is set in the deep swamps of Louisiana, where a bunch of people end up being offed by the titular humanoid plant monster.
  • Midnight Movie has the Show Within a Show "The Dark Beneath", the origin of the Slasher Movie villain, being this sort of generic slasher film.
  • In Midsommar a bunch of college students and tourists are lured to a remote Swedish commune of suspiciously pleasant villagers to witness their summer solstice festival. All of them (save the protagonist) end up brutally killed and incinerated in a ritual sacrifice.
  • Misery has an author "rescued" by a murderous Loony Fan of his and imprisoned in her isolated homestead, where she tortures him into writing her a novel exclusively for her.
  • Monster Man has a Satanically empowered, hideously deformed monster truck-driving hillbilly running down victims with the aid of his Black Magic-practicing sister in order to use the mutilated victims to provide Human Sacrifice-fueled limb-transplants for their brother, who's only kept alive by constant grafts after Monster Man accidentally ran him over.
  • Motel Hell features an insane sibling pair who run a motel and family farm, supplementing their income by abducting victims both from the motel and from engineered car-crashes, imprisoning them by burying them up to their necks (with their vocal cords cut so they can't call for help) and force-feeding them until they're ready to process them into meat for their famous meat pastries.
  • Mother's Day: Some travelers in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey encounter a murderous madwoman and her insanely devoted offspring.
  • Motor Home Massacre is set up this way, with the killing taking place in a campground and a creepy redneck pair who show up for a couple of scenes, but it's ultimate averted: the killers are the psychotic Nicole and Sabrina's ex-boyfriend Tom, both city-dwellers.
  • The Nail Gun Massacre is a rare redneck-on-redneck slaughterfest, with a bunch of rural Texan construction workers being brutally butchered by the brother of the woman they gang-raped, who has the "hillbilly" name of Bubba.
  • Nite Tales: The Movie: In "Karma", the bank robbers find themselves trapped in a remote farmhouse by a Cannibal Clan of farmers who don't like outsiders who steal from and murder locals.
  • Pig Hunt: Aside from the 3000 lb wild boar and the murderous hippie cult, the protagonists also have to contend with a homicidal clan of redneck hunters stalking them through the woods after Ben shoots one of them.
  • Pulp Fiction: Butch and Marcellus Wallace get kidnapped by two Southern pawnshop owners. Marcellus gets raped by them.
  • Pumpkinhead: Revolves around a monstrous apparition named Pumpkinhead that haunts the backwoods of the Midwest and will kill anyone who it's summoned to destroy. In a twist, the real protagonist of the movie is the hillbilly who summons the demon, and not its city-slicker victims.
  • Ravenous (1999), kind of. The movie is set in a Bleak Border Base in the Sierra Nevada mountains circa 1848, just as America's westward expansion is beginning to take off, so the hillbillies are all recent arrivals, with a wagon train getting snowed in and, naturally, resorting to cannibalism to survive, and the fort's garrison mounting a doomed rescue mission that goes about as well as you'd think. However, the film absolutely basks in the atmosphere of sinister, rural isolation that comes with this trope.
  • Redneck Zombies: A bunch of rednecks get turned into zombies as a result of drinking moonshine made from a barrel of radioactive waste.
  • Rovdyr features the Scandinavian equivalent. Four friends heading for a hiking trip in the deep woods of Norway are abducted by a trio of backwoodsmen who enjoy Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
  • Rust Creek: A Kentucky college student tries to take a detour off the main highway and runs afoul of a pair of rural psychos.
  • Severance (2006) tells a story of group of co-workers who go to a remote mountain forest in Hungary, where they become victims of murderous attacks.
  • In Shark Night, the titular sharks are the "pets" of some redneck Snuff Film makers.
  • Sick Girl
  • In Slashers, Chainsaw Charlie's persona is that of an inbred redneck wielding a chainsaw. Rick points out that his redneck accent disappears when he thinks he is in actual danger.
  • Southern Comfort: A group of Louisiana national guardsmen are hunted and gradually murdered one by one by Cajun hunters in a swamp. However, only the hunters fall under this trope, as the inhabitants of a Cajun village are perfectly friendly.
  • Squirm is a movie about a nebbishy New Yorker visiting his girlfriend in rural Georgia. Although the main focus (and the thing everyone remembers) is The Swarm of killer earthworms, the movie really gets into the culture shock between its scrawny Yankee hero and the dilapidated southern town of Fly Creek, with its Dirty Cop sheriff and the girlfriend's childhood friend-turned-Stalker with a Crush and her needy, fragile mother (who is clearly suffering from some undiagnosed mental illness).
  • Straw Dogs (1971) transplants Dustin Hoffman into the rural north of England, where the local toughs torment him and his wife. Increasingly, though, it becomes clear that he can be just as big of a monster as they are. It received a remake, decades later, set in the southern United States.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series has Leatherface and his family, the Sawyers, who became the Trope Codifiers for this. They're from rural Texas, they're cannibals, and they check off nearly every box on the list of hillbilly stereotypes.
  • Timber Falls: A weekend of camping in the mountains becomes an excursion into hell for a young couple, who become pawns in a grotesque plot hatched by deranged locals to force them to bear a healthy child for them.
  • The famously-terrible movie Troll 2 has a family from an unnamed city doing a house exchange with a family from the rural farming town of Nilbog, though peculiarly, the redneck townsfolk also turn out to be new age-y hippie vegetarians. Oh, and they're also murderous goblins in disguise.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a Deconstructive Parody of the genre. A group of college students are vacationing in a cabin, but run afoul of two creepy hillbillies who kidnap their friends. Or so they think. In reality, the true protagonists of the movie, Tucker and Dale are a pair of Good Ol' Boy guys who are on vacation to fish and fix up Tucker's newly-acquired lakeside cabin (that was used by the straight version of this trope). The misunderstanding is due to Dale's social awkwardness and the college students being firm believers in this trope. Ultimately played straight as it turns out the true villain of the movie is the result of a hillbilly horror event years before.
  • Two Thousand Maniacs! is a series of films combining this trope with Ghost Story, where unfortunate travelers encounter a town full of Confederate-aligned ghosts who "celebrate" the day their town was destroyed and they were killed by Union soldiers by brutally murdering any Yankees who fall into their clutches.
  • It is debatable whether the title monster in Wendigo actually exists, but murderous local Otis is all too real a threat, whose homicidal impulses may be caused by the wendigo or just the result of pre-existing psychological problems.
  • The Wicker Man (1973). Slightly less monstrous than its U.S. equivalent. A pagan cult on a remote island off the Scottish coast believes that the only way to ensure that its next apple harvest succeeds is through a human sacrifice. However, a big part of the film's shock value comes from how normal the cultists all are.
  • Without a Paddle: Comedic example, the hapless protagonists are not only completely incompetent at surviving in nature, they also run afoul of some angry hillbillies who begin to hunt them after they accidentally burn down their secret marijuana farm.
  • Wolf Creek is a version of this set in Australia, where hitchhikers/backpackers encounter a serial killer roaming the backroads of the country.
  • The Woman: An unusual variation, as the film is centered on a feral cannibal woman who's the victim of an abusive "civilized" man and his sadistic son who victimize not just her but their own family as well.
  • The Wrong Turn series. A group of deformed cannibal siblings live in the backwoods of the northeastern U.S, and prey on anyone who ventures near their territory. The gas station attendant who sends travelers that way is the cannibals' father.


  • Apeshit features protagonists straying into an area in the backwoods where nothing can properly die, which has resulted in local hillbillies turning into horrific monsters. However, the protagonists end up turning into even worse monsters than the hillbillies!
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Monsters II: George Pinkerton and the Bloodsucking Fiend of Brokentree Swamp features the titular librarian battling a mutated leech in a swamp in Brokentree, Tennessee.
  • Subverted in The Dogs and its companion Short Story collection, What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse. If anything, the so-called rednecks and hillbillies are portrayed as far nicer and more honest than their city-folk counterparts.
  • In "Genre Savvy", Edgar and Charlotte briefly discuss the subject. Edgar believes in being Genre Savvy and recognizing the Hillbilly Horrors are a threat when you see them and going home instead of sticking around to be their victim. It's on his mind when taking the scenic route and he finds an injured, barefoot girl screaming for help in the middle of nowhere; he slows down to help her, pictures being killed by Leatherface or other cannibal hillbillies in the process, and says Screw This, I'm Outta Here and leaves her on the side of the road.
  • Despite having Britain in the setting, Marvolo Gaunt and his son, Morfin, are Rowling's presentation of this trope, as shown in a Pensieve Flashback in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where they make their only appearance in the series, since they're long gone by the time the series take place. They are backwaters wizards who keep themselves isolated in their own filthy little shack, removed from most others and with a strong distrust for outsiders (more so if said outsiders happen to be Muggles or Muggle-born -- in fact, the Gaunt family has had a long tradition of marrying their own cousins in the hope of avoiding to consort with Muggles due to their pure-blood supremacy belief). They also make the life of Merope, Marvolo's daughter and Morfin's sister, Hell for all of her life, culminating in her eventually running away from them once they're incarcerated.
  • Close to every novel and short story Edward Lee has ever written, which he calls "redneck horror." The Dunwich Romance in particular was based on the Lovecraft story discussed below and pretty much takes this trope to its most grotesque limit.
  • H. P. Lovecraft was probably the Trope Codifier. (See also: Lovecraft Country)
    • In "The Lurking Fear", it turns out that the "monsters" are the cannibalistic descendants of a single family so heavily inbred they have all but turned into goblins.
    • The Shadow Over Innsmouth is about an isolated fishing village whose inhabitants — characterized as "white trash" by a local from a nearby town — are slowly mutating into Fish People. Unlike most instances of this trope, the Innsmouth people aren't inbred; they actually have more genetic diversity than most people.
    • "The Picture in the House" is set in "the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness, and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous." It involves an old man who is a cannibal.
    • "The Dunwich Horror" is a pretty classic example of this trope. Dunwich is a decayed hamlet in the backwoods of Massachusetts. Its denizens are described as follows:
      They have come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding. The average of their intelligence is woefully low, whilst their annals reek of overt viciousness and of half-hidden murders, incests, and deeds of almost unnameable violence and perversity.
    • In a bit of a twist, though, most of the people of Dunwich are portrayed as harmless, frightened townsfolk over the course of the story itself, and team up with the heroic Miskatonic U professors to try to get rid of the actual Horror of the title.
  • Most Jack Ketchum stories, the most well-known of them probably being Off Season.
  • Inverted in The Troop, set in rural Newfoundland. The horror happens to them, rather than being perpetrated by them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke: The deeply inbred Polk family routinely takes part in cannibalism, they use and sell drugs, are incredibly racist, and sacrifice any outsiders unfortunate enough to come across them to appease the Butcher and the old gods in exchange for being left alone.
  • Numerous Criminal Minds episodes, the most obvious being "Blood Relations", featuring the deformed Mountain Man/Killer Woodsman.
  • The Friday The 13th: The Series episode "The Long Road Home".
  • The Last Reality Show features a gang of hillbilly marauders.
  • Even though it takes place in a town in rural Northern England, The League of Gentlemen has a lot of fun playing with this trope and its subtropes, especially the scenes with the Local Shop couple.
    This is a local shop for local people! There's nothing for you here!
  • Parodied on a Saturday Night Live sketch from Season 26, Episode 14. A man is in a car accident, and when he wakes up, asks where he is. He's told: "You're tied to a bed in a shack. We're weird hillbilly cannibals and we're gonna stick things in your butt." After he freaks out, he's told he's actually in a hospital; the hillbilly cannibal thing is "an old hospital joke".
  • In the Supernatural episode "The Benders", Sam and Dean investigate a "phantom abductor" causing people to vanish from a rural town. It turns out that the monsters responsible for the disappearances are "just people" who like to hunt other people for sport. The episode is based on the true story of The Bloody Benders, a Kansas family of serial killers who absolutely qualify for this trope.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Countrycide", the team investigates strange disappearances in a rural area. The perpetrators turn out to be completely human cannibals rather than the alien activity more typical for Torchwood.
  • The X-Files: The episode "Home" revolves around the Peacocks, three brothers who are descended from a family that has been reproducing through inbreeding since the American Civil War, resulting in the brothers being physically deformed. A deformed infant is found dead in the woods, and Mulder and Scully are called in, and discover that the infant is related to the Peacocks, despite there being no women in the Peacock family, leading them to suspect they've kidnapped a woman and have been raping her. The baby is the offspring of one of the brothers and their quadruple amputee mother, believed to be dead since a car accident that killed their father and kept hidden in the house ever since. She's willingly been participating in their incestuous relationship, and escapes with her oldest son at the end of the episode.

  • Old Gods of Appalachia combines Lovecraftian horror with just enough of the Appalachian region's real-world history, to make its stories all the more unsettling. For example, the details of the Old Number Seven mine disaster are based on historical events like the Monongah or Banner Mine explosions, right down to the victims coming disproportionately from marginalized ethnic groups.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Wyatt Family are portrayed as a backwoods cult with supernatural powers. They have been compared to the hillbillies from Deliverance.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Call of Cthulhu supplemental books Blood Brothers and Blood Brothers 2 offer one-off horror adventures unrelated to the Cthulhu Mythos-derived setting of the main game, and usually with a strong comedic bent. A few of them edge into this territory.
    • The first book has an adventure called "Honeymoon in Hell", where a cruise through the Everglades runs afoul of a Mad Scientist, his insane cronies, and some mutant alligators.
    • "Dead on Arrival" has a Zombie Apocalypse in a hayseed rural community.
    • "The Swarming" goes the Town with a Dark Secret route with its remote setting of Gittings, Michigan - a town where everyone is a werewolf!
    • "Trick or Treat" combines this trope with the Media Scaremongering Satanic Panic of the 1980s, giving us spooky occult happenings and Scary Scarecrows at a farm outside of town on Halloween Night.
    • From the second book, "The Evil Gun" is a horror western, with a frontier town in The Wild West held in a grip of terror by an undead gunslinger.
    • "Simply Red", the final adventure in the second book, is the purest take on this trope, with a suburban family's camping trip ruined by a pair of murderous inbred twins and their man-eating sow. This adventure is also - in keeping with the splatter film roots of the trope - intended to be the most violent one in the book, with the written goal for the Keeper to kill all but one of the player characters, and in as graphic detail as possible.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Ogres can really only be described as demented giant-kin hillbilly rapists, at best. Comes complete with Parental Incest, Brother–Sister Incest, inbreeding-fueled deformities, some very nasty takes on Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, a taste for human flesh, murderous sadism, a liking for making stuff out of bones and body parts, and a racial fondness for hooks as a preferred melee weapon. You'll need a long shower even if you win against ogres. And if you lose, well...
      • Ogrekin are humanoids with ogre blood, and are basically a slightly subtler, lower-difficulty version of their forebears. The horror elements of both ogres and ogrekin are played up in the adventure module The Hook Mountain Massacre, part of the Rise of the Runelords adventure path.
    • Marsh Giants mix this with Lovecraftian cultish themes, being dedicated servitors of either Dagon (a Lovecraftian member of the Demon Lords And Arch Devils) or actual Great Old Ones like Cthulhu. They're rampant cannibals, prefer to eat their own young because they believe that children parasitically weaken their parents, and even their children who aren't eaten are left dead or brain-damaged by the mothers' habits of rampantly drugging themselves on toxic fungi for euphoric highs, which poisons their milk.
    • Pathfinder also has a character class specialization called the Bloody Jake, described in the Horror Adventures sourcebook as "cruel backwoods folk who prey upon their country cousins while terrorizing civilized people who venture into their rural range". Bloody jakes get access to abilities with names like "Distant Voices", "Something's Not Right", "Lose Your Way", and best of all, "The Woods Have Eyes". It's an archetype that was clearly intended more for Non-Player Characters, and would be mechanically ill-suited towards most types of campaigns.
    • The book Classic Horrors Revisited - which provides additional information on especially scary monsters like werewolves and vampires, dabbles in this with some of its sample hags, the Stroud Sisters, who serve as a matriarchal triumvirate over an incestuous clan of ogres.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • Vampire: The Requiem offers two bloodlines who are twists on this, both of which (unsurprisingly enough) are Gangrel: the Oberlochs, an inbred family descended from cruel mine owners who cling to the backwoods and readily recruit; and the Mabrys, who bring the prey to them by running back-road watering holes and roadhouses.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken: Hunters In Darkness have shades of this, being werewolves who live in rural areas and fond of killing enemies in a Mook Horror Show. However, being members of the Forsaken means that Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Hunter: The Vigil supplement Slasher offers rules to play as a Slasher Movie villain or any archetype you wish, including this one. The Hillbilly Horror variety of Slashers are primarily represented by the Freak and Mutant Undertakings, which are mentioned to frequently stick together as Cannibal Clans, be very territorial, use trap and live in secluded areas where they hunt people.
  • In Ravenloft, the Quevari exist to enact this trope. 90% of the time, Quevari are peaceful, pacifistic humans who live in remote communities and survive through subsistence farming and hunter-gathering. But, on the nights of the full moon, they go insane and become psychotic murderous cannibals who seek to catch, murder and eat any non-Quevari within range of their community.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The more isolated provinces of Bretonnia and the Empire tend to have this problem due to the liberal use of The Dung Ages. Even worse in Sylvania, where frequent famines make cannibalism a disliked but socially accepted practice, and that's before the fact that it's run by vampires...
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse features several groups that fit this trope.
    • The Genetic Irregulars are a group of ronin Garou and Black Spiral Dancers who live in rural areas and indulge in cannibalism and Garou-Garou mating.
    • Rage Across Appalachia features a rural clan of fomori called the Bledsons. The Bledsons are a squalid family living near a polluted pond that is infested with banes. All Bledson males are compelled to enter the pond as a rite of passage, infecting them with banes.
    • Rage Across Appalachia also features the Pigeon River Howlers, a bluegrass band composed of Black Spiral Dancers who use music to spread Wyrm taint.

    Video Games 
  • The island of Baldurans shipwreck in Baldur's Gate evokes this trope to some extent with the strange descendants of the surviving crew. To fans, it's commonly known as Werewolf Island.
  • The moment you first set foot into Haven in Dragon Age: Origins, you know you've come to one of these places.
  • The base game of Dead by Daylight has the Hillbilly, who hunts down the Survivors with a large cattle hammer and a chainsaw that can incapacitate a Survivor at full health. A DLC later introduced Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, referred to in-game as the Cannibal. He uses a sledge and his iconic chainsaw as weapons, and can enter a crazed state where he wildly swings his chainsaw around in large sweeps, instantly downing any Survivor he hits. The Hillbilly was stated to have been based directly on Leatherface, hence the similarities between the two.
  • This is essentially Episode 1 of DUSK, where you fight off masked cannibal hillbillies with chainsaws and magic spells (along with undead cows and mice) through a series of realistic-ish houses and farms. Averted halfway through Episode 1 when the truth behind the town of Dusk is revealed and the rest of the enemy roster starts showing up.
  • The Point Lookout DLC for Fallout 3 has the player fighting mutated hillbillies who have formed acult around a Mad Scientist Brain in a Jar.
    • The main game has the small settlement of Andale, which plays with this trope. It's only inhabited by two families, who obsessively cling to the values and fashions of the pre-War world for humorous effect but in reality, they're an inbred clan of cannibals who prey on hapless travellers. The basement and sheds in the family homes are full of human corpses, and the settlement has such a nasty reputation even the Raiders avoid it. They're descended from an original group of four families that survived the nuclear apocalypse and took to inbreeding and cannibalism to survive.
  • Grand Theft Auto V gives us the Altruist Cult, one of the most horrific examples of this trope. They fit the archetype as rural, technophobic woodland dwellers who are crazy, cannibalistic murderers, though they add a generation gap twist in that they're aging Baby Boomers who think that they can recapture their youth by consuming the flesh and blood of young people. ("The greatest good! For the greatest generation! We shall boom again!") Trevor Philips, an unhinged, unwashed psychopath who serves as one of the three playable characters, calls them his "friends in the mountains" and can deliver some of the people you meet in random events (from random hitchhikers and stranded motorists all the way to an actress trying to escape the paparazzi) to them as sacrifices in exchange for $1,000 in cash, until they eventually turn on him after the fourth "delivery" and he has to fight his way out of their compound. After that, if you ever return, their compound is empty, their disappearance attributed in the news to a mass suicide.
  • Killing Floor had an event like this, with a nearly identical name: "Hillbilly Horror". Every enemy in the game was reskinned into a named member of the "Wade Family", and a new map dedicated to said family was added.
  • Part IV of Lakeview Cabin Collection takes place in this setting, in a Homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Complete with a cannibalistic family living in a decaying farmhouse full of blood, corpses, and slaughterhouse equipment. The house can actually be seen across the lake in Part III.
  • Jedidiah in ObsCure II is a mad, mentally damaged man who lives in an empty, decaying mansion in the woods, occasionally venturing out to kidnap and murder people with a chainsaw. Given that the game is a Genre Throwback to the teen horror movies of the '80s and '90s, the homage to Leatherface is obvious. He is Leonard Friedman's son, and serves to care for his father and spread the mortifilia plant around the Fallcreek campus. You kill both him and his father in the penultimate boss fight.
  • Outlast II is set in a rural Arizona town called Temple Gate, which is populated almost entirely by murderous hillbilly cultists led by a self-proclaimed prophet of God. The scariest thing, however, is how organized they are compared to many other examples as well as the Variants of the previous game; they cooperate and thoroughly search the farm for the player character using flashlights and seem to have a sacrificial system.
  • Though not as much as its sequel, (see below) Red Dead Redemption has some shades of the trope, particularly with the sidequest "American Appetites". Marston is asked to investigate missing persons reports in New Austin and repeatedly finds blood spatters and a few body parts, the culmination being that a backwoods cannibal has been abducting people and eating them; the cannibal himself bears a resemblance of some of the characters from The Hills Have Eyes. You can randomly encounter more such cannibals while riding around the game world.
  • Red Dead Redemption II has elements of this; although it would be a stretch to call it a horror game, there are some pretty grisly things lurking on the fringes.
    • One optional encounter has the player character invited in for dinner by an oddly-insistent pig farmer and his wife, where you gradually realize that your hosts are incestuous siblings who are planning to murder and rob you. You may also run into a fellow traveler who will invite you to share his campfire, and then tell you about a couple - implied to be the above Aberdeen siblings - who invited him in for dinner, but his Gut Feeling told him to keep away.
    • Of the many outlaw gangs that will hassle you on your journeys, no less than three - the silent, primitive Night Folk of the Lemoyne swamps, the hideous, inbred Murfree Brood of the more Appalachia-esque Roanoke Ridge, and the ruthless mountain men of the Skinner Brothers Gang of the western conifer forests - are deranged bands of serial killers and possibly cannibals.
    • Early in the game, you'll likely run into a dismembered corpse hanging from a tree with a sign reading "Look on my works". This leads to an (optional) quest to track down a Serial Killer who is stalking the Old West.
    • In the forested frontier of Big Valley, you can find evidence of a grotesque Human Sacrifice, with a gutted human torso propped up on a post, surrounded by occult markings and wearing a mask made out of a cow skull. Worst of all: you never find out for sure who did it. Some of the markings resemble those made by the above Night Folk, but Big Valley is far from their bayou territory. It may also have been the work of the above Shelley-quoting killer, but finding it isn't part of his quest.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard takes place on a decaying, decrepit plantation manor in a Louisiana bayou, inhabited by the Bakers — a small but superhumanly tough and strong Cannibal Clan of murderous kidnappers who keep horrific fungus-people monsters locked up in their basement. Though it should be noted that the Bakers aren't ignorant or stupid; they're just crazy. In a twist on the trope, it's also eventually revealed they weren't even like this originally: they used to be perfectly normal and nice people (except for Lucas) and were transformed into these super-powered sociopaths after they rescued and took in a little girl, who unfortunately turned out to be a Humanoid Abomination Super Soldier Gone Horribly Wrong and promptly Mind Raped them into this state.
      • In End of Zoe DLC, you take control of a hillbilly hermit by the name of Joe. He's pretty much what you'd expect of hillbilly but exaggerated to an extreme degree to the point of being badass.
    • The first sequence of Resident Evil 4 puts you in a rural village somewhere in Spain, where the local villagers - infected by puppeteer parasites - come at you with Torches and Pitchforks. There are also recurring chainsaw-wielding Sackhead Slasher type guys who appear as Elite Mooks. As the game continues, however, it gradually moves away from this setting.
  • Cousin Eddy from Twisted Metal Head-On is a parody, whilst Billy Ray, driver of Junkyard Dog, is a subversion, he is a deformed murderer, but is sympathetic once the player finds out why.
  • Wasteland 3 has the Dorseys, who are an interesting take on this. They wear animal skins and bones, dance with the intestines of those they've killed, and talk with thick hillbilly accents while using names like Jarrett and Erastus. What makes them interesting is that they used to be rich city folk, but got thrown out after the Patriarch turned on them for wanting democracy restored. They had to become the worst monsters in the Wastes to survive, and it shows; Liberty Buchanan uses them as her personal guard.

  • Lackadaisy: The first antagonists are a bunch of Hillbilly Moonshiners who are also pig farmers. They decide to entertain themselves by nailing Rocky to a railroad to watch the carnage when a train hits him after he annoys them by buying booze from the same supplier as they do and regularly let the Marigold Gang dispose of bodies by dumping them in their pig pen.
  • You wouldn't know it by the high-tech gadgets they tend to use, but Will Legal's poacher gang in the roleplays of White Dark Life are hillbillies and rednecks. And while they're ostensibly poachers, they're actually worse than that since they have a knack for hunting Funny Animals. Their crowning achievement, Wildlife Downar, is a rocket-propelled, barrel-shaped Cool Airship armed to the teeth with harpoons, nets, guns, and other hunting equipment.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball subverts this in the episode "The Vacation", where the Watterson family breaks down in the middle of nowhere and are picked up by a toothless (his one tooth fell out) old hillbilly who lives in an abandoned gas station with his mother. They're friendly, outgoing folks, but the Wattersons believe this trope enough they end up running through the desert hurting themselves trying to escape. They realize the truth after falling into the "graves" he dug for them (actually toilets, one for each of them for privacy), and apologize for their reactions. He waves it off until they mention his mother, which is the only thing they do that upsets him.
  • Downplayed in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Swamp", where the swamp is possibly sentient and provides hallucinations to our heroes but the hillbillies are relatively friendly (even if they did try to eat Appa). Even less so in the sequel series, where Toph has taken up residence there, spending her time terrorizing the aforementioned hillbillies and generally being herself.
  • The Cleveland Show episode "BFFs".
    Cleveland: Thanks, Peter! How did you know we were here?
    Peter: Well, I felt bad after you left Quahog, so I called your house. Your wife said you were doing a friendship thing in the woods, and I immediately thought; "Well, this is going to end in hillbilly rape." So I tracked you down, and here I am.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, the Kanker sisters are portrayed as lower-class hicks living in an isolated trailer park, complete with rough speech patterns and even rougher behavioral problems. In line with this trope, they’re not exactly rapists, but they’re about as sexually aggressive as middle school girls could theoretically get on a children’s show.

    Real Life 
  • The so-called Bloody Benders, a family of fortune-tellers and serial killers who preyed on travelers through rural Kansas in the early 1870s, operating an Inn of No Return where they are believed to have killed at least twenty people. There were also rumours of Brother–Sister Incest going on within the family, to top it all off. Many of the above examples - including those from Supernatural and Red Dead Redemption II - seem to be modeled on this story.
  • Horrifyingly, it is Truth in Television that some isolated, rural families can indeed fall into generationally-compounded inbreeding, which - combined with generational poverty - results in squalid, dysfunctional conditions, birth defects, and near-constant sexual abuse until local authorities eventually intervene. Two high-profile cases have been the Colt clan of Australia (not their real name), and the Canadian Goler clan.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Backwoods Brutality


The Hillbilly

In another place and time, he would have been called Max Thompson, Jr. Unfortunately, Max Sr. and his wife, Evelyn, were so ashamed at their deformed child that, rather than name him, they bricked him up in a room and fed him through a hole in the wall. Needless to say, their son did not appreciate this and made that quite clear when he finally escaped. The bodies of Max and Evelyn Thompson were never found, but the disemboweled carcasses of just about everything else that made Coldwind Farm its home were.

The farmland was eventually resettled, split up, and sold. All of it except for the farmhouse, where one could hear the sounds of a chainsaw throughout the nights...

As a Killer, the Hillbilly charges Survivors at high speed with his chainsaw which drops them into the Dying State if it connects. His teachable perks Enduring, Lightborn, and Tinkerer allow the Hillbilly to weather attacks that would stop other Killers in their tracks and sneak up on Survivors when they're on the verge of repairing a generator.

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HillbillyHorrors

Media sources: