Follow TV Tropes


Sinister Geometry

Go To

"The silver sphere is about twice the size of a billiard ball. It has a couple of very sharp hooks built into it. It flies through the air, attaches itself to your forehead, and digs in. Then a drill comes out and pierces your skull right above the bridge of your nose, while blood spurts out the other end. I hate it when that happens."
Roger Ebert summarizes Phantasm II

Large geometric artifacts are unnerving. They are unfamiliar and inhumanly perfect. Visual artists use these common reactions to convey a sense of the unknown and the sinister.

While humans could theoretically build perfectly spherical or other large mathematically perfect geometrically objects and devices, it remains a thing we have never actually done historically,note  and even with modern technology it still would be a ridiculously difficult undertaking. Even with modern technology such devices seem more than foreign: they seem not of this world.

The lack of visual cues is another source of fear. A giant cube in space does not look like a spaceship; it could be anything. It could be a massive bomb, or a toy, or a probe. Consider The Monolithnote  from 2001: A Space Odyssey: it is the ultimate unknown.

This feeds into the reputation for evil that accompanies aliens that have geometric bodies, large or small.

There are exceptions. Very large Ringworld style objects are geometric for merely physical reasons. The same is generally true of recognisable space stations and large regular spaces such as hollowed asteroids.

Summary: if your aliens are cute as Care Bears, omens be fair. note  Picometer perfect polyhedra? Beware.

Sister trope to Ominous Cube. Compare Big Dumb Object, and Alien Geometries. See also Futuristic Pyramid.

No relation to Companion Cube... usually.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Ramiel, the fifth Angel, is a translucent octahedron, and its sinister nature is infinitely greater in Rebuild of Evangelion. Leliel is a mobile, circular hole with a spherical "shadow" hovering above it. Leliel is also infinitely thin. And it leads into higher-dimensional space. Or something. Another example would be Armisael, a double helix in a perfect circle.
      • In the Rebuild of Evangelion film remakes, Ramiel can now change into all kinds of new alien shapes and does so in ways that, while renderable on a computer, are utterly impossible in reality, while other Angels are best described as complicated pieces of geometry with off-putting human or animal traits somewhere along the line.
    • For the second half of the anime SEELE appear as sinister monoliths composed of static.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! R have two prominent examples, Olympus Mons cards used by main villains. The first is Winged Dragon of Ra, which first appears as a sealed golden sphere when summoned, that will spell the opponent's doom through one of its many effects. The second is the Wicked Avatar, an Evil Knockoff of Ra that appears originally as a giant Pitch-Black sphere, that shapeshifts into the 2nd strongest monster on the field, but packs more power.
  • Digimon Adventure's final Big Bad, Apocalymon, consisted mostly of a giant gold dodecahedron from which claws and a demonic body emerged.
  • In Heroman, the Skrugg are big fans, what with their saucer-shaped mothership, conical landing craft, and gigantic, spherical weapons of mass destruction. For bonus points, as with Ramiel above, CGI is liberally applied to emphasise their otherworldliness.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's third arc features enemies that look vaguely like tripods with halos. When destroyed, they break into small, multicoloured spheres, cubes and pyramids (which explode on contact with any solid matter).
    • Bonus points for excellent use of CG: the Mugann are completely computer-animated, unlike most of the rest of the show, which is more traditional. This just serves to emphasize their "alienness".
  • Fist of the North Star has an obelisk holding the power of Hokuto Soukei, the secret weapon needed to defeat Majin Kaioh's Hokuto Ryuuken. It seems to produce a painfully annoying HF sound.
  • Gantz has, well, Gantz, an initially featureless black ball about 5 feet in diameter. Gantz is pretty sinister at first, but then it turns out that Gantz doesn't have much more free will in what's going on than the Hunters do. (The anime doesn't ever really get to this point, though.)
  • In Fate/Zero, Archer's ultimate weapon is a drill-like sword named Ea with the ability to kill targets by twisting and warping physical laws. He summons it by conjuring a strange key made of disjointed rectangular prisms, which opens a gate made of circuitry-like lines of energy. Another character, Kayneth, fights using a familiar that takes the form of a perfect sphere of mercury.
  • The Yggdrasil in Gundam: Reconguista in G is a huge pyramid with a single "eye" that emits strange, branching beams as its weapon. It's shown to be one of the most frightening and dangerous mobile armors in the show, and even when it's destroyed, collateral damage from its explosion kills an important character.
  • The giant black sphere (an egg that contains a monster), cube (a magical prison), and spike (attached to a sea monster) in Fairy Tail: Ice Trail.
  • In the last chapter of Uzumaki, an enormous Spiral City is discovered underneath Kurozu-cho. Especially at this point in the story, such a large structure made from that geometrical pattern just seems deeply unwholesome on some level, even without all the corpses surrounding it.
  • In Slayers, Xellos usually appears in his human disguise, but his true form on the Astral Plane is a large, spinning purple-black cone.
  • The titular extradimensional object from Kado: The Right Answer is a cube two kilometers a side. A being from beyond the universe traveled to our dimension in it.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Authority, the Eldritch Abomination that created the solar system is a pyramid the size of the moon.
  • The spaceship used by Galactus is a similarly massive sphere, though the effect is somewhat mitigated by its Kirby-esque mechanical complexity.
  • According to some versions of Marvel canon, the 2001 Monoliths are tools used by the Celestials. This is because Machine Man first appeared in Jack Kirby's 2001 tie-in comic, and later stories retconned the Monolith in that story to have been a Celestial gizmo. Whether this makes all the Monoliths' other appearances in the 2001 comic part of official Marvel canon (which would mean the Celestials are the never-seen 2001 aliens) is up for fan speculation.
  • Sort of averted in Lucifer in that cherubim take the forms of oscillating golden spheres because spheres are "perfect Platonic solids". They're actually rather pretty. Cherubs that took Lucifer's side have become diminutive ugly humanoids, for some reason.
  • In Amazing Adult Fantasy a giant mysterious sphere appears from a visible orbit around Earth during a time of Cold War-like political tension. Impervious to damage it inspires paranoia in leaders across the globe to point that an eerily confident man claiming responsibility for it can demand anything of them. After fulfilling his request of dismantling their nuclear weaponry, the sphere disassembles, revealing itself to be hollow. The whole scheme was a Paranoia Gambit for world peace.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), Ganon's Castle is a spiky massive stone sphere which appears to defy the law of gravity.

  • Texas. A wavy landscape which spits out purple blocky spheres.
  • Untraceable. Fractals everywhere with an appropriate background music.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In Allegro non Troppo the Bolero segment ends on a dark note with civilization taking over, represented as monolithic skyscrapers erupting from the ground. The following segment Valse Triste follows through by setting up its story in a desolate abandoned apartment that is soon going to be demolished to make way for the expansion of a vast, eerie city composed entirely of identical, white, windowless buildings.
  • The Animatrix: The segment The Second Renaissance features massive octahedral warbots, floating over the shattered battlefield.
  • The Omnidroid series from The Incredibles. Versions 8 through 10 are both black spheres with retractable Combat Tentacles.
  • In Home (2015), the Gorg mothership and its drones resemble a bunch of giant spiky pyramids stuck together, while the Boov colony ship is basically a giant sphere.
  • In Shrek, the director's commentary points out that Lord Farquaad's palace, dungeon and castle are very ordered and geometric, unlike Shrek's home which is much more organic in appearance.
  • In the end of Time Masters, the planet shown by the mysterious aliens known as the Masters of Time is made of two perfect half-spheres and a large glowing cube.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Brazil, Sam's dreams take a dark turn when the bright, idyllic landscape he flies over is suddenly torn by huge, monolithic dark pillars that erupt from the ground and grow rapidly tall separating him from his dream girl. The pillars then overtake everything forming a vast and moody dreamscape that resembles the corridors of the Information Retrieval building he works at.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Death Star, the brutal wedge-shaped Star Destroyers, and the hexagonal/spherical TIE fighters are classic examples. As part of the same trope the Rebels are more varied: the X-wing is closer to a fighter jet and the Rebellion battleships built by the Mon Calamari have curved, organic lines.
    • While the Prequel Era shows both the Republic and the Separatists using ships of various designs, The Phantom Menace adheres to the Sinister Geometry-coded villains with the Trade Federation's droid army squaring off against the organic Gungans and the elegant, shapely yellow/silver Naboo starfighters. Darth Maul's Scimitar also looks like a fusion between a TIE Advanced x1 and a Star Destroyer, in contrast to the heroes' Royal Starship.
    • Kaminoan architecture: circular platforms and hemispherical buildings connected by perfectly linear causeways.
  • The Rubik Snake built by the malevolent AI in Demon Seed.
  • The cylindrical alien probe from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • The ships of the Vogon Fleet from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) are giant rectilinear monoliths (it reflects the Vogon's utter lack of imagination as oppressive bureaucrats) that demolish the Earth in an eerily quick and efficient fashion. When they're stationed on the surface of the Vogon home planet, the ships fittingly resemble the nightmare skyscraper-sized pillars from the aforementioned Brazil.
  • The MCP from TRON
  • The monolith(s) from 2001: A Space Odyssey: sinister in appearance, and utterly unknown. And exactly 1:4:9 ad infinitum. The Stargate sequence includes the Mindbender shot, depicting seven octahedral shapes made of light which float above an infinite moving plane.
  • THE CUBE (the capitals indicate you speak with reverence while reading it) from Transformers (2007).
  • The Zevo Toy Factory in Toys is made of platonic solids, painted in flat colors. It is filled with them; it is also clearly the home of the protagonists from the beginning. But there's a very definite strangeness to the place, and that's played up for all it's worth in the movie.
  • The Cube film series:
    • The 1997 psychological horror film Cube. The protagonists are trapped in a grid of cubic rooms filled with deathtraps.
    • In the sequel Cube 2: Hypercube, the hypercube is the deathtrap. And has this weird tesselation thing at one point that does strange things to reality... as well as dice up one of the characters.
      • Hypercube actually combines both of the popular interpretations of the 4th dimension: Time as the 4th "dimension" and an actual, fourth spatial dimension (plus time as a bi-directional dimension), along with some religious references. It's unadulterated Nightmare Fuel even (or especially) for those understanding the science behind it.
  • The 1969 Jim Henson film The Cube. A protagonist is trapped in a mysterious cube and experiences a series of puzzling and frustrating encounters with people who enter. Especially if you take into account that when the protagonist wounds himself, he bleeds, of all things, strawberry jam, implying that even suicide isn't an option in the Cube.
  • The titular building from AJ Annila's Surreal Horror indie-film Sauna is a small, white rectangular building with a black rectangular doorway. Through creative use of atmosphere it's given an incredibly sinister aura - many reviewers have been reminded of 2001's Monolith, while it also resembles an eyeless face with a gaping mouth.
  • The spaceship used by the Egyptian Pantheon in Enki Bilal's Immortal is naturally a flying pyramid.
  • Hellbound: Hellraiser II, introduces us to Leviathan, the Satan-alike ruler of the Hell dimension. It is portrayed as a giant geometric shape resembling a three-dimensional lozenge that sits at the center of the hell-labyrinth, rotating and emitting a lighthouse beam of pain and evil visions.
  • The alien spacecraft at the end of Starman was a perfectly reflective sphere. Not malevolent, but incomprehensible and spooky.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Since Harry never visits Azkaban, sees a depiction nor hears it described beyond being horrible and inescapable, the books leave it up to the reader's imagination. The fifth movie, however, gives us a brief look at the building from the outside when expanding a line from the book informing of a mass breakout of Death Eaters: a jet black, triangular prism-shaped building with a similar triangular hole in the center rising from the ocean with no visible doors or docks. And it's terrifying...
  • The ominous orbiting tetrahedral space station in Oblivion is creatively called The Tet. It's actually an alien intelligence that cloned and brainwashed the protagonist. And destroyed the world.
  • The aliens in Pixels certainly evoke this trope. Strictly physically speaking, they're essentially sentient masses of luminescent cubes that completely defy the laws of classical physics. Most of them also convert any matter they come in contact with into other luminescent cubes, causing havoc.
  • The Void: The symbol of the cult is a simple black triangle, which also serves as a gateway to an alien dimension. It turns out that this is because there's an Eldritch Abomination on the other side that looks like a giant floating pyramid.
  • The short film Curve by Tim Egan features a woman who finds herself trapped on an unnaturally smooth, curved ledge overseeing a black abyss, the arc of which makes it visibly difficult for her to not fall off. It's not very often you see a horror short where the antagonist is a slope.

  • Pulp age killer robots were often just a box for a head and body, and sometimes feet. Bars for arms and legs.
  • The Tangle Box uses this as one of the three coinciding plotlines, in which the characters inside are stripped of their memories and magical powers.
  • The titular sphere from Sphere.
  • The shining trapezohedron from H. P. Lovecraft's story "The Haunter of the Dark". Gazing into this alien artefact will grant you visions from beyond our world, but also summons the titular monster, an avatar of the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep, to kill or possess you. note 
  • The Sphere in Flatland probably counts as this, being of perfect geometry even when viewed in 2d space. And the 4-sphere in Flatterland. Indeed, any Flatland or its knockoffs counts.
  • The Phages in Charles Sheffield's Heritage Universe series of novels, found swarming around hundreds of Big Dumb Objects left behind all over the galaxy by a mysterious and long-vanished race known only as the Builders. Phages resemble dull grey dodecahedrons 48 metres to a side and can open a maw on any of their faces to consume anything (or anyone) that gets in their way. It is eventually revealed during the course of the novels that the Phages may be the degenerate remnants of the Builders themselves.
  • The Inhibitors of Revelation Space are a race of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that manifest as conglomerations of black cubes that operate on unknown principles. They've also been exterminating sentient life for millions of years.
  • The Excession in Iain M. Banks' The Culture novel Excession: a perfect black body sphere impervious to anything, connected to the hyperspace energy grids "above" and "below" the plane of the universe, and enough of an "Outside Context Problem" to freak out even the Deus Est Machina Minds.
  • The Eyes of Stephen Baxter/Arthur C. Clarke's Time Odyssey novels (Time's Eye and Sunstorm) are perfect (and perfectly reflecting) spheres of varying sizes that just hang there without budging. But like the name given to them implies, you feel as though they are watching.
  • The Pyramid of Charles Stross' The Fuller Memorandum still gives its protagonist nightmares a year after the events of the novel (because it and the god sleeping within are still there...)
  • Cryptics in The Stormlight Archive have geometric designs for heads. And Words of Radiance shows that they manifest in the Physical Realm as just the pattern, with no body at all.
  • In the book version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Vogon ships are described as looking like "large office blocks, which float in the exact way office blocks don't", as well as being covered in ugly hemispherical "boils". Basically, large rectangular prisms with the occasional half sphere sticking out. As mentioned above, the movie wasn't far off from this intent.
  • The Lith in Eisenhorn: Malleus is a sentient geode shaped like a perfect decahedron. It enslaves the population of a mining colony with its psychic powers, mutating many of them into hideous monsters, and seeks to spread its influence across the stars.
  • In Ravenor Returned, the Brass Thief daemon is bound to a small pyramid made of gold and silver. When the daemon is summoned, the pyramid unfolds and reshapes itself into an armoured body for it.
  • All Tomorrows: The Qu deliberately planted kilometer-high pyramids to mark their subject worlds, which persisted for many millions of years after their departure. Later on, the Ruin Haunters evolve into the Gravital, who resemble ominous floating spheres; their starships are nothing more than enormous rectangular slabs.
  • The Dark Forest gives us the Trisolaran probe, the first physical evidence of an alien civilization. It's an immaculate, colorless chrome teardrop that many humans take to be a peace offering. Turns out it's made of hyperdense material and is blindingly fast, able to destroy humanity's entire space fleet in under an hour. By throwing itself through them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Pepperpot jokes aside, consider the Daleks' travel machines: cone-shaped, no visible head or normal extremities.
    • Sontaran spaceships are shaped like geodesic spheres, giving the impression that a fleet of menacing EPCOT balls are attacking you.
    • The Void ship in "Army of Ghosts" is not only a scary perfect sphere, it also has no detectable mass or radiation, which instinctively upsets anyone who looks at it. And it's full of Daleks.
    • "The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords": The Toclafane are floating spheres armed with disintegrator guns and razor blades.
  • In ABC Family's made-for-TV miniseries version of Fallen, hell includes an endless staircase. The simplest M.C. Escher staircase illusion.
  • The season requisite Big Bad Eldritch Abominations of GARO: The One Who Shines in the Darkness and its sequel Goldstorm are Zedom, who uses weapons made of cubes, and Ladan, whose sealed form is a bunch of triangles, respectively.
  • The Peripheral (2022): Several of the floating nanotech exhibits in the Jackpot Museum, are these, with each one memorialising a specific aspect of the Depopulation Bomb which wiped out most of humanity. Most notably is the one which represents a terrorist attack on a nuclear weapons silo, which resembles a murderous star-shaped Christmas tree decoration.
  • Star Trek:
    • The iconic Borg cubes, first appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation. However Gene Roddenberry originally intended for the Borg to use spheres, since the Borg were supposed to be the most efficient species and it can be mathematically proven that a sphere is the most efficient shape (in the sense that no other shape with the same surface area will have as great an interior volume). However, spheres were too hard for the special effects people to produce so he was forced to use cubes instead. They do launch a sphere in Star Trek: First Contact.note  Star Trek: Voyager would introduce Borg probes, similar to a rectangular prism, and the Borg Queen's personal vessel which was diamond (octahedron) shaped.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: The enormous First Federation ship, which is a sphere made of spheres each larger than the Enterprise.
    • The Delphic Expanse spheres from Star Trek: Enterprise season three. They were built by a race of extra-dimensional beings to make the Expanse habitable for themselves, while killing all native life.

  • The murderous dividing sphere from tool's video for their song Parabol/Parabola.
  • Gary Numan is awfully distrustful of the glowing pyramid on the cover of The Pleasure Principle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • She Who Lives in Her Name from Exalted is a solid example. Manifested as 100 998 (originally 100 101 - one sphere, surrounded by a hundred, themselves surrounded by a hundred thousand) perfect spheres of fire-containing crystal, she is an utterly brilliant, alien being of unbelievable magical might who despises free will and wants to strip it from everyone.
  • Magic: The Gathering gives us the hedrons of Zendikar. They actually keep the Eldrazi in Zendikar and make it so the Eldrazi can't escape and then eat the plane. The Eldrazi themselves are a case of Alien Geometries.
  • The Monoliths and the general architectures of Necrons from Warhammer 40,000. All stern geometric forms in black and glowing green shades. And they are immortal and implacable omnicidal androids, by the way.
  • One of the more memorable ooze creatures in Dungeons & Dragons is the Gelatinous Cube. A 10 foot cube shaped slime oozing through dark corridors for organic matters to digest.
  • Sinister Hovering Orb from Penguin King Games is a tongue-in-cheek RPG dedicated to playing, as the name implies, a sinister hovering orb.

  • In BIONICLE, Pohatu is bothered by the fact that some of the underground tunnels on Mata Nui are smooth and geometrically perfect, and therefore could not have been dug by Matoran. This was an early piece of foreshadowing on how the the entire island was an artificial construct.

    Video Games 
  • Cassette Beasts: The Archangel Heckahedron is an otherworldly abomination that takes the form of a constantly-shifting cube.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The inside of Reapers are said to be this. They are composed of sharp, geometric and compressed shapes, giving the people who enter them a sense of claustrophobia and paranoia. They act as a type of visual layer on top of the Reapers' already insidious power of indoctrination. They seem to press in on a person, making them feel trapped, disoriented, and powerless, so they more easily lose hope in their willingness to fight the indoctrination.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has the Remnant Vaults, an Elaborate Underground Base that's a Brutalist playground of geometrically precise sharp angled pillars and pyramids and robots that try to kill you. Played with since they are mysterious, sinister-looking and incredibly dangerous, but they were left behind by Benevolent Precursors to help terraform planets into livable worlds.
  • X-COM Enforcer features one, as does XCOM Apocalypse with its eerie dimensional portals that are shaped like pyramids.
    • Also in the franchise, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified has the more unusual alien lifeforms that were held over from earlier passes on the game's design, particularly the Titan. Normally a smooth black pillar, the Titans transform into a strange disk-and-ring formation in order to attack.
  • A recurring enemy in the Final Fantasy series called Mover is just a sphere with some of the most powerful attacks.
  • The structures on the Aparoid homeworld from Star Fox: Assault were symmetrical. The Aparoids are bent on assimilation.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards' Final Boss, Miracle Matter, is a giant white icosahedron (each side graced with a red eye) that serves as a mastermind of Dark Matter in 02's stead. Also, the boss of that game's second world is a trio of octahedra called 'Pix.'
  • The entire point of Geometry Wars. While the player-controlled ships are strangely shaped, many of the enemies are perfect circles or regular polygons.
  • Silent Hill's Pyramid Head.
  • Halo: The giant, circular structure beneath New Mombasa. At first, its roundness isn't too bad… until you read supplemental materials and learn that it's perfectly circular to the subatomic level. Games from Halo 4 onward run full-bore with Forerunner weapons and artifacts.
  • Fable II has the Shards, magical war machines, which are just black, metal, floating, upended pyramids that spit lightning. They have strange markings, but are otherwise eerie in their simplicity - especially when they change their forms and mass with casual disregard for physics.
  • The boss of level 10 in Space Harrier II, Bins Been, is an animated icosahedron. Also the original Binzbeans from Space Harrier, prevalent in levels 4, 9, 14 (Ceiciel, Revi and Asute - the ones with the ceilings) and sporadically appearing in 17 (Nark).
  • The hollow, cylindrical Rama, from Rama.
  • The Stone-Like, from Radiant Silvergun. It's a giant octahedron that destroys all life on Earth. And then things get worse.
  • The final boss, Yami in Ōkami has several "big scary sphere" forms.
  • In Myst III: Exile, the Amateria Age is an island consisting of an extensive Giant's Causeway-like basalt column formation... combined with its iridescent mineral springs and glowing crystals it has a very unique otherworldly flavour even for a Myst level.
  • Intelligent Qube pits you against an endless stream of giant, stomping, unstoppable, perfect cubes, and only cubes.
  • The artifact of the white chamber is an imposing black shape, best described as a triangle on a trapezoid. Scarier than it sounds.
  • The Fighting Polygon Team from Super Smash Bros.: They're not regular shapes, but they are polyhedra, and true polyhedra are generally unnatural.
  • Spore. Chances are your exploration across the galaxy will have you stumbling across planets where much of their geography consists of terrain resembling chocolate bars, gears, crystals, or the skin of a pineapple; but nothing is more unsettling than discovering a cube planet, which vaguely resembles a Portal weighted storage cube.
  • The aliens from The Dig, are shown to have a lot of reverence to the five Platonic solids. In fact, the probe that takes the astronauts to their planet looks like a crystal dodecahedron in space.
  • The octahedral Power Crystals in the Raiden series, a representative of the series Big Bad, the Crystals, which power the final bosses of most of the games. The Loop 1 Final Boss of IV is an icosadodecahedron.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, after the apocalypse, there's suddenly a number of bizarre structures sprouting out of the ground everywhere. They don't seem to be built by human hands at all; there's no furniture in them, they're too smooth and blocky, and have Tron Lines prominently throughout them.
  • In Devil Survivor 2, while the first seven Septentriones are quite unorthodox when it comes to shape, the final Septentrione takes the form of a hypercube encased in a wire frame.
  • Drakengard has the Seeds of Destruction, perfectly spherical bone-white orbs that appear when the seals keeping the world safe are destroyed. They are used to breed Eldritch Abominations that will destroy the world.
  • The Shivering Isles expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion featured a weird, crowded world full of giant multi-coloured mushrooms, bizarre plants, dizzyingly bright skies, strange beings and similar people. Every now and then, you also come across silver obelisks coming up from the ground. They have no markings, make no sound, and cause (as far as you can tell) no harm - but their stark, steely simplicity within the garish realm of madness is both jarring and sinister. They're an effect of the Graymarch, the encroachment of Jyggalag's Order on the Shivering Isles.
  • God of War III featured prominently Pandora's Box, a giant puzzle prison made of cubic rooms interlocking into a shifting giant cubic puzzle. Reassembling this puzzle into a coherent whole is a major plot point of the game.
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP: The Trigon Trifecta, a triplet of upside-down triangles which must be fought and tamed. Almost everything else in the game is done in a retro pixellated style, but the trigons are perfect triangles, which adds to the sense of their otherworldliness.
  • Most of EarthBound (1994)'s late-game alien enemies are rendered on the overworld as floating grey octahedrons. Unlike most enemies, their actual forms in battles look nothing like these overworld sprites; an octahedron could be anything from an alien bounty hunter to a mysterious robot, and you won't know until you're in battle with it. You run into enemies with the same appearance in the final dungeon of Mother 3. However, this time they actually are killer octahedrons, rocks called Minerali.
  • Crystaleyes from Grid Warrior. It's a hexagon with an eye, surrounded by six hexagons (with an eye) that orbit it, each of which are surrounded by six hexagons that orbit them.
  • Gunstar Heroes and its sequels. The four moons and four gems are perfect shapes and holds mysterious powers connected to the big bad. And what's even worse than that? They can think and communicate! By the way, each comes from a different Earth, to which they were sent at first to help mankind and they kind of failed.
  • X-Universe: Where Space Fighters used by the other factions look airplane-like, Khaak fighters are sets of tetrahedrons in various combinations. (Fighter, interceptor, scout.) Their space stations are clusters of dodecahedrons on sticks, and their capital ships have spider-like arms around a spherical core. Then there's their stationary defense platforms.
  • Most of the residents of the castle are trapped in these in Brave Fencer Musashi.
  • One of the dream worlds in Obsidian is a giant cube-shaped office building, in which you can literally walk on the walls and ceiling, with the camera always remaining upright. Everything there is perfectly straight and geometric, so much that the resident "Vidbots" who run the place with an iron fist fear spheres and circles due to a rebel alliance that knows how to change gravity without following their rules, which you is what you will inevitably do.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon has Dark Matter, the abomination that can turn Pokemon into stone, shaped like a sphere in its second form.
  • All Combine architecture in Half-Life 2 is made up of monolithic, angular slabs of blue/black metal haphazardly slapped together, starkly contrasting the natural features or human buildings it's affixed to.
  • Stellaris:
    • The Infinity Sphere in the Leviathans DLC: a jet-black sphere etched with sigils, found in orbit around a black hole. It is one of the eponymous Leviathans, and not to be underestimated.
    • The Contingency, one of the end-game crises, utilizes ships in the shape of complex three-dimensional solids, ranging from stellated polyhedrons to what can be described as Sierpinski octahedrons.
    • Star-Eaters from the Nemesis DLC are gigantic cubes which split into smaller cubes orbiting a sphere during the process of destroying a star.
  • Fallout 3 has the Dunwich Building which in its virulent underchambers stands an obelisk, worshiped by feral ghouls. It was built by Richard Dunwich, the brother of Constance Blackhall, who worshiped Ug-Qualtoth. The last surviving Blackhall wants the Krivbeknih but the Lone Wanderer can destroy it, pressing the book against the obelisk and killing those of unclean blood of a fiery death.
  • The Gaia Engines of The Secret World. Each one is a gigantic, perfectly-even cube of some mysterious star-studded substance, and for added creepiness points, they are most often encountered in the perpetual night of the Dreaming Prison. It's eventually revealed that they're actually serving as a means of containing the Dreamers, preventing them from awaking from their slumber and keeping their bodies contained... and because of this, they leak Filth when damaged.
  • Throughout the Disgaea series, one of the items that units can equip is a Trapezohedron, which is the highest tier of all the "boost all stats" items.
  • The Epic Battle Fantasy series has the Cosmic Monolith, a black slab of alien rock covered in glowing-red Tron Lines, and is a right Demonic Spider in more ways than one. The main characters (namely Matt in 4, and Anna in 5) see them as The Dreaded, and for good reason.
  • Control has a bunch, all of which play with the "sinister" part of the trope - while unsettling and bizarre, and sometimes cruel, they are ultimately either benevolent or neutral, while the far more natural-looking Hiss is out to kill you.
    • The Board, which picks the new Director and apparently controls the Oldest House, is shaped like a downward-facing pyramid and communicates in radio noise that somehow becomes meaningful in Jesse's head. It grants Jesse the use of the Service Weapon, although it's shown that failing its test kills whoever attempts it.
    • The entity Jesse talks to, Polaris, manifests as a spiral pattern, and has the ability to repel the Hiss, whether through protecting Jesse directly or using her as a conduit to banish it. Polaris seemingly originated from a living polyhedron object, nicknamed the Hedron.
    • The Oldest House itself has a Brutalist design, meaning lots of block shapes and uncomfortably straight lines. It houses the Federal Bureau of Control, dedicated to securing dangerous paranormal phenomena.
  • Destiny has this in the Pyramids, gigantic, jagged, jet-black tetrahedron-shaped interstellar ships that either serve or are The Darkness. Diametrically opposed to the Darkness is The Traveler, which manifests as a giant white moon-like sphere, as a case of Benevolent Geometry.
    • There is also Vex architecture, which appears wherever they've assimilated parts of worlds, comprised of various giant geometric shapes.
    • In Shadowkeep, more sinister geometry turns up. The Nightmares manifesting on the Moon are being caused by a Pyramid ship that's been buried beneath the Moon's surface since before the Collapse. The moment when the Guardian first sees it triggers an Oh, Crap! moment. Later on, when the Guardian goes inside it, it hijacks your Ghost and tries to convince you turn to its side.
  • In Anti-Idle: The Game, Triangles make up some of the deadliest enemies in the Battle Arena action RPG minigame.
  • Genshin Impact has the Hypostasis, a pure elemental entity that transcended its former self. It looks like a cube made of smaller cubes with octahedral core between them. It is capable of weaponizing parts of itself and creating elemental constructs, and in-universe researchers deem it too dangerous to study.
  • The Eternal Cylinder has the titular object, an unfathomably massive cylinder that is flattening the Trebhum's world. The game implies that the Cylinder is actually sentient, and the lore has confirmed that the Cylinder has destroyed countless other worlds before this one.
  • Wizardry 8 has, in its Bonus Dungeons, an enemy type called Kube (written just like that). They're not even regular cubes, just their outline in 4x4 grid, and are really out of place considering the rest of enemies is your standard Science Fantasy fare.


    Web Original 
  • Considered a Discredited Trope at the SCP Foundation, to the point that one joke SCP includes a granite cube which has been sequestered simply for looking "dangerously Platonic".
    • To be more precise, it is considered a cliche of bad writing because making an object a geometric shape for no reason is lazy. There are a few straight examples of sinister geometry but they all are well written and original enough to not be cliched.
    • One notable inversion is SCP-055, an object about which nothing is known because people aren't capable of remembering it. After some Loophole Abuse, the Foundation has decisively determined that the object is not spherical.
  • The dwarves of Bravemule consider rectangles to be the most wholesome shape. One dwarf architect invents the octagon, which gives other dwarves nightmares because it is such a completely alien shape to them.

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Archer, the crew finds a mysterious black cube floating in space. A decent into madness ensues that's mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Bill Cipher is a one eyed, triangle shaped Eldritch Abomination and probably the most dangerous creature on the show.
    • In Weirdmagedon, some of Bill Cipher's friends from the Nightmare Realm would fall under this trope as well. Those being Hectorgon, a red hexagon with a mustache and bowler hat, Kryptos, a one eyed diamond shaped creature designed after the Illuminati Compass, and Amorphous Shape, who is a creature made up of many colorful squares.
  • In one episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, the team visits Easter Island and uncover a circular pod. They are amazed by how perfect its dimensions are. This leads to them finding the information the pod's former owners had on genetic engineering, which causes Surd to hack in, which leads to stuff going very badly for Dr. Quest and Race. Very badly.
  • Shadow Raiders the Beast Planet, a ginormous black sphere that travels across space to devour other planets.
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Overlords", the planet Mortis appears in realspace as a massive octahedron. Image here.
  • One of the villains from Wander over Yonder is THE BLACK CUBE OF DARKNESS. Its villainy is somewhat hampered by its lack of hands, however, and it later undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.

    Real Life 
  • The U.S. government commissioned an academic study to recommend architectural designs for nuclear waste storage sites that could be seen as unambiguously dangerous and menacing. The message needed to be universal, so that humans thousands of years in the future would be discouraged from disturbing the radioactive sludge buried there even if language had evolved or if there had been a severe loss of scientific knowledge. Suggested site designs included a grid of huge, closely-spaced black cubes and a field of massive angular metal "thorns" jutting out of the desert floor. Worth noting that the recommendations included that perfect regular structures (which might be regarded as admirable) should be avoided. The actual designs feature jagged lines and irregular geometry.
  • The F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers. The edgy triangular black Nighthawk covered with triangular facets, and the large black flying-wing B-2 have been often mistaken as UFO's. More modern stealth aircraft, like the F-22 Raptor, are rather less sinister.
  • Appropriately enough, Those Wacky Nazis had the most sinister-looking tanks of World War II. Their early-war machines like the Panzer IV and Tiger were basically just mountainous, forbidding piles of boxes, while their late-war designs like the Panther, King Tiger, and Maus were eerily plain, regular metal ingots. Both were as influential in their own way as Hugo Boss's iconic SS uniforms, inspiring villainous mechanical designs across the decades to come. The Empire's vehicles in Star Wars in particular owe a lot to Nazi German tank aesthetics.


Video Example(s):


Screams Geometrically

Ramiel takes the form of an octahedron that can unfold itself in physically impossible ways to fire an incredibly powerful blast.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / SinisterGeometry

Media sources: