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Milking the Monster

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A foul beast from the depths of the abyss terrorizes a small peasant village. It devours their livestock, it kidnaps their children, and the less said about what it does to their women, the better. A band of purehearted heroes hears of their plight and sets off to slay the monster. The town mayor meets them at the gates to greet them... and insist that they leave immediately.

"Kill the beast?" he laughs. "Why would we ever want to do that? Ever since he showed up, the king has paid us more in aid money than we'd ever get through farming! Now turn around and head home, before I have to send the mob after you with Torches and Pitchforks!"

Sometimes it happens: the monster makes money, and its purported "victims" — or a single shrewd (and often heartless) member of the public — will put up with it, or even harness it for the sake of the benefits it brings, despite the harm it causes.


Compare Monster Protection Racket, in which the profiteer has a more active role in the matter, and Mainlining the Monster, when the profit doesn't come from the monster's mere presence but from a substance generated from the monster.


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     Comic Books  
  • "The Pepper Lake Monster", an Eerie short by horror maestro Berni Wrightson, has an aspiring (crypto)zoologist hunting for the titular Stock Ness Monster and ultimately succeeding... only for the locals to immediately kill him and set the tourist-attracting beast free. It's implied he's far from the first one to suffer this fate.note 


  • In the finale of Ernest Scared Stupid, Chuck and Bobby take photos of the rampaging trolls in the hope of making a fortune off the merchandise. Then a troll grabs the camera and eats the film.
  • In Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Mayor Bubba tries to stop the sheriff from killing Pumpkinhead because he thinks having an unstoppable demon rampaging around the town would be good for tourism.


  • Inverted in American Gods with Hinzelmann: he's the monster (a kobold) who has to arrange for the death of a child every year (as a sacrifice to himself to tay alive, but it still makes him a Serial Killer) in order to prevent Lakeside from becoming a Dying Town like so many Midwestern places. He's not exactly overjoyed at the situation, given that he tries and succeeds to commit Suicide by Cop.
  • In the novel Star Surgeon by James White, the Monitor Corps goes to help a planet where disease runs rampant. Dr. Conway figures out that the reason the planet has so much disfiguring disease is that the Empire that controls it is using it to get aid donations from other planets and is pocketing the donations. The Empire is also introducing new disease to keep the cash coming in.
  • In The Icewind Dale Trilogy, Drizzt goes to steal a magical mask from the lair of a banshee and is surprised when the local townsfolk ask him not to kill her. They explain that her presence provides some protection from orcs and other monsters, is good for tourism, and she mostly just wants to be left alone, only attacking people who invade her lair.
  • One long-ago Choose Your Own Adventure book, The Dragon's Ransom, features young heroes' quest for treasure to offer as tribute to the local dragon. Nobody in their village is sure what would happen if they didn't present it with tribute - the arrangement has stood for so long that nobody remembers how it started, and the creature doesn't speak to the people who drop off its annual payoff - but they'd rather have the dragon there to scare off potential enemy armies and other monsters than risk snubbing it.
  • The titular character of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is a frequent perpetrator of this. His philosophy as a detective is that everything is interconnected, therefore literally any expense can be written off as related to his current investigation. Not that the people who hire him ever pay him, but it doesn't stop him from taking vacations to the Caribbean and charging them to his office. (Unfortunately for him, he's actually accurate about this idea and ends up unwillingly solving many actual problems when he only wanted Vacation, Dear Boy.)

     Live Action TV  

  • Married... with Children: In the season 2 opener, the Bundys vacation to a Florida town with only two tourist attractions: a man who once met Andy Griffith, and an axe-murdering serial killer. Naturally, they're the same man, so the townsfolk are completely unwilling to let him be arrested - they could withstand losing one, but not both.

     Video Games  

  • In Baldur's Gate, you are admonished to not kill more than five ankhegs in the area south of Baldur's Gate by a local, the reason being that ankheg tunnels areate the soil and improve crop yields by about 5%.

     Western Animation  


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