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Swamps Are Evil

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Doesn't look like the most friendly place, does it?

Westley: A few more steps and we'll be safe in the Fire Swamp!
Buttercup: We'll never survive!
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

In fiction, swamps are often portrayed as foul, evil godforsaken places that no man enters willingly. When these ill-smelling, foggy mud pits aren't infested with undead, flesh-hungry horrors, they hide tribes of hideous frog-, lizard-, or fish-men (or possibly fishlizardfrogmen) who slink from their half-sunken temples to grasp the unwary with their cold hands and drag them beneath the still black water.

The swamp itself is often as much of a danger and a warning as whatever may be living in it. Channels of muddy, stagnant, stinking water wind about without rhyme or reason, hiding sunken logs to tear at passing boats and carrying strange, incurable diseases. The emerged areas are islands of slimy muck and half-liquid mud that drags at your feet; often, seemingly solid ground will turn out to be treacherous quicksand or mats of algae that will send you plunging into the water. Twisted, gnarled trees loom over everything, draped in curtains of moss and slime and trailing long branches to snag into your clothing.

In addition to the environmental hazards, the swamp is the home of venomous snakes, swarms of biting insects, and horrifying parasites. Often, there are ancient curses that cause travelers to become lost and wander the swamps forever. A Will-o'-the-Wisp (also called corpse candles) may lead the unwary into quickbogs to die. Sometimes you'll run into a more humanoid creature that may be a regressed swamp dweller or made from the swamp vegetation itself. More monstrous creatures are also likely to be at home here — crocodiles, giant serpents, and hydras may all lurk in the soggy depths, sliding between the fetid pools to ambush travelers. For extra horror, people who get lost in the swamp may themselves become one of the monsters infesting it. Swamps are also a popular home for witches, voodoo ladies, families of inbred cannibals, zombies, and other unsavoury types.

There is an element of Truth in Television to this: swamps were long regarded as dangerous and unsanitary. They tend to attract a lot of insects, which can spread disease; the sodden terrain can make traversing them on foot difficult; many swamps are prone to heavy fog because of all the water, which can make it easy to get lost; and some swamps are also inhabited by dangerous animals, such as alligators, crocodiles, venomous snakes, and piranhas. More realistic depictions will have swamps as dangerous and unpleasant rather than outright evil. Expect lots of complaining about mud, leeches, and over-sized mosquitoes, and (in summer) the godawful humidity.

In real-world folklore, swamps were often regarded as cursed, haunted, or full of Swamp Monsters. This is, of course, the basis for many fictional portrayals. That said, swamps, marshes, and other wetlands are an important part of the ecosystem, providing a habitat or breeding ground for many different species. Some are actually quite nice places to go birdwatching or fishing. Swamps are natural water level monitoring devices because in rainy times they collect rainwater like a sponge and thus prevent floods. In dry times swamps are water reservoirs.

In a Video Game setting, swamps will be inhabited by dangerous wildlife and frequently by zombies or carnivorous plants. Expect to find a lot of Grimy Water as a gameplay mechanic.

Compare Don't Go in the Woods and Hungry Jungle. For the more naturalistic and less (overtly) evil version of a swamp, see Bubblegloop Swamp.


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     Anime & Manga 
  • The Bush Baby: Jackie falls into a ravine at one point and is mobbed by crocodiles and alligators. Luckily, Tembo rescues her.
  • Onigafuchi, in Higurashi: When They Cry, is believed to be the mouth of a dormant volcano, and the villagers believe that it could leak toxic gas at any moment. Big Bad Takano uses this as an excuse to cover the true reasons for the massacre of Hinamizawa.
  • Kinnikuman: Satan Cross (or rather his Samson Teacher half) can use his miracle sheet to turn the entire ring into the "Demon World Swamp": a massive dark pool of muddy water and dead trees ready to absorb anyone unfortunate enough to wade into it.
  • In One Piece, the Numa Numa no Mi/Swamp Swamp Fruit Logia-class Devil Fruit eaten by Caribou allows the user to instantly create a swamp anywhere, and to absorb things into it. However, it's more likely that the person creating the swamps is evil.
  • In Pumpkin Scissors, an opponent of Alice uses some sort of mind trick or illusion of this a bit.

     Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Swamp cards produce black Mana and, while the designers insist that Magic: The Gathering does not have an evil color, Black does represent death, greed, and amorality (though also ambition, pragmatism and self-reliance). For quite a lot of the game's early life, Black also had all the classically evil creatures, including nearly every undead monster you can name, demons, cosmic horrors, etc., and has a strong association with plague and disease — and as swamps are where Black mana comes from, they're almost invariably home to teeming populations of undead horrors, evil cults, and swarms of rats, bloodsucking insects and similar creatures.
    • Evil Presence can turn any land card into a swamp. Not happy with your neighbour's depressingly wholesome Tropical Island getting sunlight all over your yard? Slap an evil curse on it. Instant swamp!
    • At the end of the Kamigawa saga, however, the main hero settles nicely in a marsh. So, Swamps Are Not Always Bad. The Kamigawa block in general is an intentional aversion of this trope, as the main villain uses White mana (meaning Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good are both in effect)
    • Magic's single nastiest example of this trope is Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, a swampy island so contaminated by the corpse of Big Bad Yawgmoth that it's still tainted three hundred years after he perished, and even before then had been a hostile quagmire inhabited by the former minions of the lich that used to rule it. Throughout Dominaria's history after Yawgmoth's invasion, it's been home to a succession of evil cults, assorted undead, a voracious frog-spirit, mushroom people and much weirder things, all barely held in check by a group of panther warriors (who by the present day have been almost wiped out by the swamp's denizens anyway) and the natives of a fragment of the Yavimaya forest that was magically transplanted there to fight Yawgmoth (and even then, the forest and its avatar were turned into something much more dangerous and hostile than usual by the swamp's influence). Urborg's land card has the side effect of turning every other land into a swamp just for being in play.
    • On Ravnica, the Absurdly Spacious Sewers inhabited by the Golgari Swarm, a Guild based on Black and Green Mana, zigzag this trope. On the one hand, the Golgari are necromancers who cultivate giant fungi and Big Creepy-Crawlies using corpses harvested from elsewhere, and in turn use Festering Fungus to defend their holdings, complete with infested zombies, giant bugs and Mushroom Man minions. On the other hand, there's no real place to bury the dead in Ravnica, so the Golgari are filling a vital role by disposing of bodies, and the fungi & vermin they cultivate are one of Ravnica's primary sources of food and even pharmaceuticals.
    • In the India-inspired Kaladesh swamps are represented by rice fields (which admittedly are essentially domesticated wetlands. Still, both Tarkir (inspired by various Asian cultures) and Kamigawa (Japan analogue) depict rice fields as plains instead of more classical ominous swamps, so this is a unique moment in swamps not being bad.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! field spell Venom Swamp is a lovely place to visit, especially when you consider the native inhabitants. And don't forget to pay a visit to the royals!

     Comic Books 
  • Swamp Thing and Man-Thing were both "born" in swamps, as was their Golden Age inspiration, The Heap. None of them were evil, per se, but they all definitely lean into the frightening elements of the swamp. Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing averted this a bit, as while the swamp was mysterious and sometimes dangerous, evil tended to intrude upon the "clean earth" that was the titular character's place of power.
  • DCU villain Solomon Grundy was created from a dead gangster that was tossed into a swamp, commonly called Slaughter Swamp.
  • The pre-Code horror comic This Magazine is Haunted featured a story called "The Slithering Horror of Skontong Swamp", where a prison escapee must pass through a swamp haunted by mysterious and horrific monsters. Even after he gets out of the swamp and falls in with a few of his old partners in crime, he can't shake the feeling that the things are still hunting him. He eventually surrenders to the law to escape the monsters, only to learn that the things are the undead remnants of everyone given the chair at the prison — and now he's one of them.
  • In modern The Mighty Thor books, Svartalfheim, the home of the Dark Elves, is depicted as filled with perpetually gloomy swamps, befitting how it's not a nice place to live in.

     Fan Works 
  • With Strings Attached: Played with with the Poison Swamp. The four and the Hunter have to cross Goblin Valley and enter the swamp in order to get to the next portgate. The journey is more nerve-wracking than the swamp, which is blessedly goblin-free, and the four are not at all worried about protecting themselves from the various denizens of the swamp. Too bad they didn't tell the Hunter this. After the Hunter slaughters half a pack of Poison Wolves, it's clear the only "evil" in the swamp is him. John even pegs the swamp as artificial, though he doesn't know why anyone would want a swamp there.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld tale Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the action kicks off with a school nature ramble meant to introduce the pupils to Nature. Except that it's the Assassins' Guild School and the place is the Netherglade Swamps (see Literature below). And this is not an ideal place for two of the teachers accompanying the party to realise that they're pregnant.
  • The Night Unfurls: To further elaborate on the horrid environment of Garan, Chapter 8 of the remastered version has Kyril and the escapees from the Black Fortress trek through the Dead Marshes. The wet, humid terrain there gives them a lot of trouble, often involving the mud, the odour, and the fog. Moreover, they are attacked by wraiths along the way, which would have been a problem if it weren't for Kyril's might and Olga's magic.
  • In OSMU: Fanfiction Friction, Opal gets lost on the island of Hy-Brasil and comes across a wet marsh occupied by a Mean Boss, a Workaholic meerkat named Elon Muskrat.
  • In Prehistoric Park Reimagined, the swamps of the Carboniferous period are portrayed as being a reasonably dangerous and unnerving environment, an impression very strongly supported by the presence of viciously hungry carnivorous amphibians, multiple incredibly unnerving Big Creepy-Crawlies, and an incredibly high oxygen level in the atmosphere that makes it frighteningly easy for the environment to get set on fire over the course of lightning storms.

     Films — Animation 
  • In the first Shrek, Lord Farquaad exiles all magical creatures to the swamp where the titular ogre already lives. Granted, they're not actually all that evil, but the principle is the same. On a similar principle, Shrek lives in the swamp because he's an ogre, and wants to play on the perceptions to get more privacy.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Princess and the Frog: The Bayou looks rather murky and is infested with nasty alligators. On the other hand, it also plays host to Louis, Ray (and his massive firefly family), and Mama Odie — all friendly. Not to mention, a number of sweet and romantic scenes take place in the Bayou (Tiana and Navine cooking for everyone, or dancing together; their wedding; and Ray appearing as a star in the sky next to Evangeline after his death). Plus, it hosts no less than four musical numbers, all positive in nature (three upbeat songs — including a rousing gospel number — and a lovely moonlit ballad).
    • The Rescuers: Zigzagged with the Devil's Bayou. It looks scary enough, being a gator-infested and remote piece of coastal swampland, and the presence of Madame Medusa doesn't make it any friendlier, but the local sapient animals are helpful folks to the heroes and find it cozy enough. The really evil locale is a sunken pirate's cave called "The Black Hole", which floods at every high tide and is only accessible via a small hole, just large enough for a child. Medusa kidnaps Penny to make her risk her life by descending into the dark, dank depths to find the Devil's Eye Diamond.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon: The titular Fish Person lived in the swampy jungles of the Brazilian rainforest. The film was actually shot in Wakulla County, Florida, an area known for its mosquito-infested swampland.
  • Labyrinth has the Bog of Eternal Stench, a wretched swamp that would make anyone unfortunate enough to fall in it stink forever.
  • The titular location of Dragon Swamp, a marsh filled with giant river monsters and constantly covered by a Mysterious Mist. It's also a place of Self-Imposed Exile for outcasts and disgraced warriors of the martial world, and the heroine must seek her mother who was banished to said swamp when she was a child.
  • Star Wars: The swamp world of Dagobah is where Yoda lives in seclusion. It contains a big, nasty man-eating swamp creature, a swamp that eats ships whole, and a strange cave that holds an unusual presence of the Dark Side of the Force. Being a Jedi master, he has no difficulty living there and likely chose it because it's so dangerous to other people that he's sure to be left alone. It also comes in handy when testing Jedi apprentices. Star Wars Legends texts confirm that the entire planet is a swampy Death World infested with monsters: The Illustrated Star Wars Universe features surveyors of the planet being poisoned by swamp plants that should have been safe to eat, and so many disasters and deaths ensues that the team leader speculates that Dagobah itself resents their presence.
  • In The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Deadwood Swamp is a desolate, terrible place. Just see the name.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: While the actual swampland is never seen, the King of the Swamp Castle is suspiciously eager to get the hell out of there. So much so that he's willing to marry his son to a hideous princess in order to get his hand on her huge... tracts of land, and later try to adopt her by killing both his son and her father. It is kind of played with. The King tried building the castle atop the swamp just to show his friends that he could make a castle strong enough. It sank into the swamp. He built a second one. It sank into the swamp. Then he built a third one. That one burnt down, fell over, and sank into the swamp. Then he built a fourth one. That one stayed up. Unsurprisingly, he is kinda proud of the fourth castle's toughness, although it's entirely possible that the only reason the fourth castle didn't sink into the swamp is because it's sitting on top of the sunken ruins of the previous three.
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches: The titular monsters dwell in the swamps of Florida.
  • Sauna is mostly set in a nameless village in the middle of a large swamp. It's not a nice place.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles: Some movie versions amplify the already present horror of the Grimpen Mire. The 2002 version starts with it as a careless policeman chasing after Selden the Serial Killer is engulfed by it on screen; in the end. Holmes barely escapes dying there thanks to Watson's Big Damn Heroes, while the Big Bad is shot in the head by Watson as he's being swallowed.
  • The Neverending Story: Atreyu journeys through the Swamps of Sadness, which consume vulnerable travelers with despair and suck them into a muddy grave. Atreyu's horse Atrax succumbs.
  • In Captain Clegg, the mysterious Romney Marshes outside of town are supposedly haunted, a legend the local smugglers exploit to cover the tracks of their operations. It's established that the Marshes are very easy to get lost in, but they don't seem to actually be especially dangerous, making this ultimately a downplayed trope.
  • The Alligator People is a mix of standard '50s Scifi Horror and Southern Gothic, with a crumbling mansion in the swamps of Louisiana housing some morally-questionable scientific experiments. The marshland around the house is presented as a place of dread and fear, and the Crusty Caretaker (Lon Chaney Jr.) has a truly intense fear of the local gators.

  • Scorpion Swamp has the character explore a deadly and maze-like swamp filled with monsters and dangers. It's also the home of a series of animal-themed masters, most of them good or neutral with the exception of the evil Master of Spiders. Since the player owns a magic ring that always shows him the north, he can safely explore the swamp and navigate its many meadows.
  • The titular location of Deathmoor is the lair of the Evil Sorceror, Arachnos, and is haunted by its resident Swamp Ghosts who attack travelers on sight as well as being infested by assorted monsters, including a Tentacled Terror in a pit filled with bones.

  • Laskmeer in ''The Kingdom's Disdain'' is said to be a cursed continent and is haunted by monsters, primarily giant bugs. Much of the dangerous terrain where these monsters are encountered is swampland.
  • In A Memoir by Lady Trent, Mouleen is a cross between this and Hungry Jungle. It's a low-lying area between two higher plateaus that three major rivers pour into, which has turned it into a vast, swampy morass filled with a trackless tangle of jungle life. The swamplands are swarming with insects and leeches, most of which carry diseases, and are home to large populations of venomous snakes, aggressive pygmy hippos, schools of flesh-eating fish, and crocodile-like dragons. Its native people love it dearly and know how to live there successfully, but to outsiders, it is justifiably known as the "Green Hell".
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, the Dead Marshes feature the usual treacherous footing, constant fog, and corpse candles. There are also horrible, pallid faces floating just beneath the water's surface. Looking at the faces too closely would cause you to become entranced and fall into the water.
    • There was also the insect-infested Midgewater Marshes in Fellowship of the Ring.
      "What do they live on when they can't get Hobbit?"
    • In The Silmarillion, one manifestation of Melkor's dark influence spreading over Arda is that "fens were made, rank and poisonous, the breeding place of flies."
    • Part of the problem with swamps and marshes is that they are unhealthy impediments to travel. Consequently, though, the Nindalf or Wetwang, where the Entwash flows into Anduin, does not have an evil reputation per se. Its name is dreaded because it makes passage by land down the west bank of Anduin impossible for many miles.
    • While we're on Tolkien, his poem "The Mewlips" doesn't explicitly say they live in a swamp, but it's certainly a dank, wet, slimy place, and the Mewlips themselves are rather nasty.
  • In Rowan of Rin, one of the challenges Rowan's party faces is a swamp. It's covered in fog, every step needs to be probed with a pole lest you fall into the sludge and drown, and the images and voices of their loved ones appear to lure the heroes from the safe path.
  • The Princess Bride has the Fire Swamp. The three primary dangers of the swamp are random spouts of fire (easily avoided by identifying a popping noise right before one erupts), the lightning sand (though once you've fallen into that one, it's easy to look out for), and the ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size. I don't think they exist...)
  • The Neverending Story: The Swamps of Sadness, in which Atreyu's horse Artax dies of despair.
  • The Belgariad:
    • The swamps of Nyissa both use and avert this. When the main cast goes through them, they're hopelessly depressing, sinister, astonishingly dangerous, and full of a variety of narcotic compounds and poisonous plants. Later, they pick up a Nyissan ally, the eunuch Sadi, who is perfectly fond of his homeland and disheartened when they come across a cursed swamp. When asked why, he explains that a swamp is green and verdant with life, but that this particular swamp is nothing but death and decay.
    • Further north from Nyissa there's the Fens in Drasnia (and part of Algaria). Their bad reputation comes from the countless midges and the fact that navigation is problematic at best. Much of what looks like solid land are, in fact, free-floating mounds of vegetation that float around in the sluggish current. There are also fenlings, intelligent, otter-like creatures that have a reputation for changing channels around. They'd do it too, more out of a sense of mischief than maliciousness though.
    • The evil god Torak's fortress city Cthol Mishrak is situated in a bleak, marshy basin that's overrun with parasitic plants and shrouded in The Night That Never Ends. If Torak's malign presence wasn't bad enough, it's also garrisoned by Evil Sorcerers, some of whom were transformed into Animalistic Abominations.
  • Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp of course features the titular werewolf as the main antagonist. However, the swamp itself is presented as a far greater threat.
  • Witches Abroad features a swamp inhabited by a benign practitioner of Hollywood Voodoo. The swamp itself is said to be a source of great power, and when one undead character is imbued with it he becomes virtually unstoppable.
    • While Mrs. Gogol is on the side of the protagonists, she's not completely morally white, having been the lover and supporter of the rather tyrannical Baron, until he was deposed by the even more tyrannical Lady Lilith.
    • In Raising Steam and later in The Compleat Discworld Atlas, the Netherglades Swamps are introduced. This is an extremely inhospitable region nearby to Quirm and is described in terms that make the reader think of Central or South America. As well as posing real problems for those who would drive a railway through them, the Netherglades are also the last abode on Disc for the other sort of zombie — which inevitably raises the reflection of a former French colonial possession, Haiti. Quirm's "Haiti" is a lot closer to home for them.
  • The Art of War (Sun Tzu): Sun Tzu advises the reader never to lead his army through a swamp because that's the best place for the enemy to lay an ambush.
  • Conan the Barbarian: "The Scarlet Citadel", Tsotha got his Eye of Newt from a swamp.
    "It is steeped in the juice of the purple lotus which grows in the ghost-haunted swamps of southern Stygia," said the magician. "Its touch produces temporary paralysis.
  • Chime: The town of Swampsea is next to — what else? — a giant, terrifying swamp infested with witches, dead hands, and talking flowers, among others.
  • Septimus Heap: The Marram Marshes may not be evil per se, but they are infested with ghosts, wraiths, an enormous serpent, and all manner of evil stuff.
  • Shannara: The Mist Marsh is haunted by a Kraken-esque Wraith. The Matted Brakes are a hellhole populated by The Things, which you will not see until they are on you. And the In Ju... the In Ju's on Morrowindl, a one-island Crapsack World, and still manages to be one of the worst places you could ever go.
  • Freckles: Freckles's original impression of the Limberlost. He gets over it and finds it a place of wonder and natural beauty. Then, Black Jack dies from a poisonous snakebite in it, making people wonder that he tried to cross a section in the dark.
  • Galaxy of Fear features a trip to Dagobah. A group of surveyors had gotten stranded there, died of predators and sickness, and left behind some malnourished, uneducated kids who did not know what stars were, who grew up to call themselves the Children. Who are cannibals thanks to No Party Like the Donner Party. There's also Yoda, who did nothing to prevent those events.
  • Codex Alera: Book 4 has a fairly realistic version; the swamps of Kalare are muddy, insect-ridden, and hard to navigate, but the only real exceptional danger is the giant lizards that travel in packs. It's worth noting that said swamps are in the region controlled by the major human antagonist of the series.
  • The Call of Cthulhu: A cult is sacrificing people in a horrible area of Louisiana swampland.
  • The Pit from Guy N. Smith's The Sucking Pit is a bottomless bog full of rotting corpses that sucks people in, whereupon the rotting corpses have sex with them.
  • Spellsinger: The Muddletop Moors are similar to the Swamp of Sadness from The Never Ending Story. The entire place is filled with sentient mushrooms which, being immobile, are bored to the point of suicidal depression. The aura of depression and boredom is so strong that anyone who enters just stops and lies around until they starve to death... nourishing the mushrooms, naturally. The only thing that saves Jon-Tom's party is his offworlder's knowledge of basic psychoanalysis.
  • Pet Sematary has Little God Swamp, which is inhabited by numerous spirits and other, much worse things. Oh, and it can apparently control the actions of people who aren't even in it at the time.
  • The Woman in Black: Eel Marsh was a relatively normal wetland up until seventy years ago when a horse and carriage blundered into a quicksand one night and became haunted by not only the people who drowned on the marsh, but the thoroughly insane noblewoman who lived in the nearby mansion (her son and his nurse were the ones who died; she watched from the upstairs window, and died of grief a few years later.) The marsh is visited by the hirse and carriage on foggy nights; the nearby town is randomly visited by the Nob's ghost who forces children to kill themselves.
  • Redwall: The Toadlands are a swampy area that has to be crossed on three separate occasions to get from Redwall abbey to Salamandastron. Without fail, it's home to tribes of vicious, trident-wielding toad barbarians.
  • In The Phantom Tollbooth, the swampy Doldrums broadcast a Lotus-Eater Machine effect that saps the intruder of all drive and motivation. If you don't have a neighborhood Watchdog to wake you back up, you're basically doomed.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles has the Grimpen Mire, easily one of the most unpleasant and horrifying places in the whole Sherlock Holmes series. One false step onto what's believed to be solid ground, and the victim's to his or her waist in a slimy bog that sucks him or her under like quicksand. It's rather karmic that the Big Bad ends up swallowed into it.
  • In The Divine Comedy, the fifth circle of Hell is described as a foul swamp where the wrathful tear each other apart and the sullen lay gurgling beneath the surface, making this trope Older Than Print.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Jones distinguishes two kinds of unpleasant wetlands that regularly show up in unoriginal fantasy fiction: Bogs, which are essentially patches of deep mud put in your way to slow you down when being chased by Evil in order to provide quick dramatic tension; and Marshes, which show up later and involve more of the traditional swampland dangers — swarms of insects, filthy water, mazelike channels, hostile swamp tribes, and so on.
  • Joseph Payne Brennan was quite fond of this trope, employing it in many of his short stories, such as in "Slime" (where a Blob Monster takes up residence in a swamp) and "The Corpse of Charlie Rull" (in which the title character becomes a zombie when he falls into a swamp polluted by radioactive chemicals), and "Long Hollow Swamp" (where giant slugs living in the titular swamp threaten the protagonist and his friend Mayne Cordiss).
  • Kane Series: In Bloodstone there is the Kranor-Rill, which is dangerous, full of razor-sharp or tangling vines, poisonous snakes and spiders, deadly quicksand, as well as simply unpleasant, with scum-covered ponds, noxious quagmires and bloodthirsty mosquitos and leeches. And then there are the Rylliti, descendants of an elder race, degenerate but hard to kill.
  • The Adventures of Strong Vanya: The only swamp featured in the story is home to the evil and cruel witch Baba Yaga.
  • In Island's End, the western side of the island contains a crocodile-infested swamp that everyone avoids. A few years ago, Uido's father and three of his hunters went exploring there. Two of the hunters were killed. Uido's final test to become the tribe's spiritual leader involves traveling alone through the swamp to find a carnivorous pitcher plant.
  • In the Amber Spyglass, Baruch has to cross a toxic swamp to go to Lord Asriel's citadel, and suffer deadly injuries ultimately leading to his death.
  • Salazar Slytherin of Harry Potter has been described by the Sorting Hat to live in swamps.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The X-Files: Played with in "Bad Blood". While looking for a vampire's hideout, Mulder asks the local sheriff of a small town if they have any swamps. His reply:
    "We used to, but the EPA made us take to calling them wetlands."
  • Survivorman: In an episode where Les Stroud has to survive in the Louisiana swamps he remarks that while it can be rather pleasant during the day, the swamp is very spooky at night.
  • Ik Mik Loreland: Huiverhuizen ("Chillinghouse"), one of the lands visited by Mik, is a creepy swamp.
  • MacGyver (1985): MacGyver must rescue Pete and his family from a Louisiana swamp in "Family Matter".
  • Logan's Run: In one episode, evil aliens dump Logan and Jessica along with an old man into a spooky, misty swamp (here called a "fen") infested with snakes, lizards, and bloodthirsty mutants. Logan, however, manages to find a way out for himself and his friends just in time to thwart the bad guys.
  • In Swamp Thing (2019), the swamp outside of Marais, Louisiana, is a battlefield between the Green — a dangerous but ultimately benign force of Gaia's Vengeance — and the Rot — a pure evil force of decay, pollution, and despoilment. As in the comics, Swamp Thing himself is a Horrifying Hero serving the Green.

  • In Rhapsody of Fire's Emerald Sword saga and Dark Secret Saga, the Darklands where Akron rules supreme are surrounded by the swamps of Halgor, a dark, gloomy place with waters infested by ferocious sea serpents. Is also subverted in the Dark Secret saga, when our heroes hide in the swamp to hide from the living dead chasing them.
  • Charlie Daniels Band's "Legend of Wooley Swamp" talks of the titular swamp as a place where travelers are advised not to go at night, as there are "things that crawl, things that fly, and things that creep around on the ground", and can "make a strong man die from fright".
  • Averted in Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born On The Bayou", where the narrator reminisces fondly about his youth in rural Louisiana.
    Wish I were back on the bayou
    Rollin' with some Cajun Queen
    Wish that I were a fast freight train
    Just a-choogling on down to New Orleans
  • Likewise averted in Link Wray's "Black River Swamp", which paints a nostalgic and pleasant picture of the eponymous location.
    I can hear them bullfrogs croaking
    In the blackness of the night
    Calling me back to my childhood
    Down here in Black River Swamp
  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Swamp Gas" plays this trope straighter, albeit with a dash of Hungry Jungle.
    The ground starts to move
    Fingers stickin' out
    Sometimes I really wonder
    If I've got the nerve to shout
    I get to howlin'
    Figuring out, real bad
    Somethin' will grab me
    Probably drive me mad
    Swamp Gas!
    • Also from Screamin' Jay, "Alligator Wine" also establishes an eerie, swampy atmosphere, mixing in wetlands ambient sound effects and recounting Hollywood Voodoo potion recipes in the lyrics.
  • Dr John has a few songs — and pretty much his entire first album — that lean heavily into the mysterious vibes of the swamps outside The Big Easy. A lot of his lyrics are informed by actual Voudoun practices.
  • Inverted in "Romping Through the Swamp" by The Fugs and Holy Modal Rounders, who sing of its joys:
    Wading through the slimy ooze / You can drive away your blues
  • "Fonz Pond" by Insane Clown Posse is about a marsh pond that is haunted by evil spirits, dragging down and drowning any who dare step into the water.

     Myths, Folklore, and & Religion 

     Tabletop Games 
  • Banestorm: The Acid Swamps of Solfor first appeared in an earlier treatment of Yrth, this book's setting. They lie in the southern Orclands and are, as the name hints, dangerously acidic; they are also infested with acid-resistant monsters called "caustiguses". In other words, they are a bad place to visit.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Swamps are the traditional home of black dragons, generally regarded as the most sinister and malicious of all dragon breeds. Other inhabitants include the evil frog-like bullywugs and the more neutral (but still very territorial) Lizard Folk.
    • In 5th Edition, swamps where black dragons make their lairs become tainted by the dragon's evil so that the water becomes undrinkable, the plants grow thick and twisted, and Ominous Fog fills the air.
    • Forgotten Realms: The Vast Swamp of Cormyr has a dark reputation as a dangerous place tainted by dark magic. Its plants are sickly and twisted and its animals unnaturally aggressive and often carriers of disease, and it is also home to several types of dangerous monsters. Its sapient inhabitants are not much friendlier and chiefly consist of a number of tribes of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls, and lizard men that war constantly with each other and often raid outside lands, in addition to two black dragons.
    • Greyhawk has a notable inversion with the Lone Heath, a large, healthy wetland that historically served as a refuge for goodly humans and demihumans fleeing the tyranny of the Great Kingdom. Having plenty of friendly druids and rangers keeping the place clean likely helps.
    • Nentir Vale: The setting is home to a swamp known as the Bogtangle, a marshland that stretches 1,000 miles in diameter — that's ten times larger than the Pantanal, the 100-mile swamp in Southern Brazil considered Earth's largest swamp. It's inhabited by a tribe of humans called the Hastaani, descendants of escaped slaves from the Yuan-ti who once ruled the Bogtangle, and even now must contend with vicious tribes of cannibal Frog Men, giant predatory animals, swarms of bloodsucking insects, and other D&D swamp-dwelling horrors.
  • Exalted:
    • The Yozi Metagaos. His entire body is a swamp, and he's fond of snacking on anything that enters him. And when we say anything, we mean anything — he eats mortals, demons, time, space, identity, himself... if you manage to survive a trip through him, you'll probably wish you hadn't, because you'll be infected with numerous diseases that will turn you into an outgrowth of Metagaos.
    • Mother Bog is a behemoth in the shape of an immense, mobile swamp dedicated to growing, whether in knowledge, power, or sheer area. She moves throughout the riverlands of the East, demanding sacrifices as she goes, and is greatly feared.
    • Three of Creation's major shadowlands — areas where the Underworld overlaps onto mundane existence — are based around swamps, the largest of them (and one of the biggest in the world) being the Bayou of Endless Regret, a tremendous stretch of mangrove swamps, stagnant pools and quicksand infested with starving alligators and seemingly endless swarms of biting insects and haunted by wandering ghosts. It's also home to plants that produce some of the most potent toxins in existence, which can kill even ghosts, and the river Cocytus empties into it and keeps it choked with silt. It used to be a much nicer place during the First Age, when it was a prime example of a fertile, flourishing wetland and filled with flowers, medicinal herbs and swampland villages, but the Great Contagion killed everything that lived there and left it into its current state.
  • Magic: The Gathering provides the page picture. While Dark Is Not Evil necessarily as all five colors produce both heroic and villainous characters, black mana is the color most associated with wicked creatures like demons and the undead, and its basic land is the Swamp. (White is Plains, green is Forests, blue is Islands, and red is Mountains.)
  • Numenera: Most of eastern Sor Rumnar — a twisted, blasted land nobody in their right mind goes to — is taken up by the Endless Mire, a fetid swamp filled with twisted plants, stinging insects, deadly mud pools, ferocious predators and tribes of abhuman barbarians.
  • Pathfinder: Swamps are reliably some of the most unpleasant places to find oneself in in Golarion. Besides the difficult terrain and utter lack of roads, towns or any sort of reliable infrastructure, they're also home to a large variety of dangerous monsters and evil creatures. Typical swamp denizens include giant leeches, mosquitos the size of dogs, hydras, giant crocodiles, xenophobic frog-like boggards, depraved and cannibalistic marsh giants and the cruel and sadistic black dragons. About the friendliest things you'll find in Golarion's swamps are the Lizard Folk and the Grippli Frog Men, fiercely territorial isolationists who'll only fill you with arrows if they think you're a threat or an invader, rather than just because.
    • Of particular note are the Mushfens, the largest swampland in the main setting and thickly populated with blood-sucking flies, swamp barracudas, marsh giants, boggards, goblins, and the undead.
    • When the demon Treerazer invaded the Enchanted Forest of Kyonin, the elven nation, he successfully corrupted a large portion of the area's idyllic forests before being contained. The area he's overtaken is easy to tell from the uncorrupted forest, as his presence and demonic influence swiftly turned the primordial woodland into a stinking, corrupted swamp full of demons, giant vermin and fungi both parasitic and carnivorous.
    • Black dragons are notable for inverting the basic assumption of this trope — rather than their presence being part of the swamp's inherent hostility, a black dragon taking up residence is what makes the swamp a terrible place to begin with. Black dragons are far and away the most cruel, violent and sadistic of the chromatic dragons, and their casual torment of both the landscape and its inhabitants swiftly turns their home wetlands into barren morasses scarred by acid and stripped of vegetation, while their vicious attacks on anyone who can't fight back swiftly drive out or kill everything but the dragon and its servants.
    • The largest example in the Inner Sea region is the Sodden Lands, created when the seemingly eternal hurricane called the Eye of Abendego formed around a century before the game's present and utterly obliterated two nations on Garund's (Fantasy Counterpart Culture Africa) western coast. The area was quickly transformed into a trackless, rain-lashed morass dotted with the ruins of drowned civilizations, and swiftly colonized by marsh giants, demon-worshipping boggards, ferocious bunyips and other swamp-dwelling terrors, as well as warlike Lizard Folk, human cultists of the god of murder and the barbaric descendants of people trapped there when the swamps formed.
    • The swamps and backwaters of the Lower Planes achieve depths of foulness well beyond any mortal wetland. A sterling example of this is Bzuulzeel, a festering backwater of the River Styx where Ghlaunder, the mosquito god of parasites, disease and pollution, makes his home. Besides Ghlaunder's own vast form, Bzuulzeel is home to swarming clouds of pestilence-carrying insects, demons of filth, mud and pollution, fiendish vermin and animated masses of swampy, tainted water, all eager to feed on or infect any living thing they meet.
  • 7th Sea has Eisen, the post-Thirty Years' War Germany Expy, which has several swamps where all sort of evil creatures live in.
  • Warhammer: Generally, the Old World's swamps are almost invariably rotting, unwholesome places full of disease, hydras, trolls and similarly pleasant company. They are also home to the Fimir, a race of evil, one-eyed Lizard Folk that worship Chaos.
    • The otherwise benign kingdom (by the standards of the setting) of Bretonnia has the Dukedom of Mousillon, a swamp ruled by vampires and full of inbred criminals, mutants, Chaos-worshippers, necromancers and undead, and for added fun also home to a certain aquatic plant that grows in long, straight floating patches over the water that mimic footpaths quite convincingly... until someone actually steps on them, the plants given way and the hapless traveler is sent plunging into the mire. It says a lot that even the Always Chaotic Evil Beastmen avoid this place.
    • The Blighted Marsh, in the northwest of Tilea, is a fetid maze of sluggish channels and pools of unclean water dotted with stands of twisted black reeds, all of it festering with disease and shrouded in reeking fog. At its center sits Skavenblight, the crowded, filthy, and half-sunken capital of the Skaven Rat Men, one of the vilest races in the Old World.

     Theme Parks 
  • Monster Mansion at Six Flags in Atlanta, where you meet all kinds of friendly, silly monsters until you make a wrong turn. "Stay out of the marsh", indeed.
  • The Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean opens in an eerie swamp at night, presumably to justify placing the ride in the New Orleans Square section of the park.

  • Transformers: The Toxic Sludge Swamps of Cybertron, generally a hostile and unpleasant part of it by default. In his backstory, Snaptrap of the Seacons got his name by killing an entire regiment of Autobots there, and in another continuity, it's home to a Mad Scientist who's been doing his part to, ah... "improve" local biodiversity by unleashing his experiments on it.

     Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Swamps are a type of watery terrain (depicted either as a bunch of reeds or as mud) that slows down most units and makes them vulnerable, with the exceptions of certain stealthy units, Saurians, and water-based units such as Naga and Merfolk. Swamplands are also frequently found near the Undead faction, while one White Mage in the Eastern Invasion campaign openly states that the Undead find themselves perfectly at home in swamps and marshlands, as Necromancers often try to turn any available terrain into a putrid marsh for their minion's benefit.
  • Bug Fables has the Wild Swamplands. Described by Kabbu as a dreadful place, it has a gloomy and oppressive atmosphere and is full of aggressive leafbug tribes and fearsome, monstrous predators, with the most dangerous one being The Beast, a giant centipede that devoured many travelers, including Kabbu's old team.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: One of the first areas visited by Gabriel on his way to the first Lord of Shadows is a creepy and sinister swamp, with hostile water spirits hiding beneath the water surface, ready to latch on any unfortunate soul wading the mire to drown them. The dry part of the swamp also has a dilapidated church where the first upgrade for the Combat Cross can be obtained... followed by a boss battle with a Troll.
  • In the Digimon games, Hydramon is a colossal and aggressive Hydra plant that terraforms its territory as a poisonous swamp.
  • The Krem Quay world in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is a swampy Derelict Graveyard where ghostly enemies like Kloak make their first appearances.
  • Dynasty Warriors has a poison swamp that quickly drains your health as one of the obstacles during the campaign in Nan Zhong.
  • In ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal, there's a swamp village called "Dunmore" and there's also "The Misty Swamp".
  • In Quest for Glory IV, the evil influence of the Dark One has caused the surrounding valley of Mordavia to mutate into a swamp, complete with undead monsters and deadly green goo. Needless to say, Baba Yaga thinks it's a lovely place to make her new home. It gets worse: This particular swamp is also home to Error 52, the most infamous Game-Breaking Bug of the series.
  • In both Dragon Quest and Ultima, swamps deplete Hit Points and sometimes inflict the "Poison" Status Effect.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IX: The Qu's Marshes subvert this. True, they're inhabited by monsters, but so are most places. They're quite comfortable places for the Qu that make their homes in them, and the abundant frogs are a delicacy for Qu.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: The swamp's native enemies are almost always undead or flying (or both), and thus aren't affected by the highly poisonous water. You are, though.
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Conall Curach is another good example, being filled with poisonous miasma and full of fish-like creatures, giant toads, and ghosts. Not to mention its boss is a huge undead dragon.
  • Minecraft: Averted until the introduction of witches, which live exclusively on swamps, and slimes, which now spawn in swamps as well as underground.
  • The Legend of Zelda: This is the way it is in almost every single game that features a swamp.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The Swamp of Evil is where you find the sixth Dark World dungeon, Misery Mire. There is also the Plains of Ruin, which are the Dark World counterpart of the Great Swamp in Hyrule; they contain its second dungeon, the Swamp Palace.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Southern Swamp region of Termina. The water there is poisoned and most of the vegetation appears to be either dead or dying. Situated within its central mountain is Woodfall, a twisted bog that contains one of the game's four dungeons, Woodfall Temple, which is itself a waterlogged ruin, overgrown with vegetation and Grimy Water.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures: The Swamp serves as the second stage of the fourth level, although it wasn't always the poisonous mire you trek through: it used to be a place of natural beauty before Vaati's power corrupted it, and it is seen back to normal in the ending.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • The Bottomless Swamp is an area of quicksand-like bogs that will suck down anything that walks into them, interspersed with giant stone skulls half-buried in the mire and dry areas covered by either stands of dead trees or large pools of Malice, the physical manifestation of Ganon's hatred in the form of seething sludge that will quickly eat away at Link's health on contact. The only living things there are a collection of enemies living in the largest stone skull and a giant flock of crows constantly wheeling overhead.
      • There are many other swamp and wetlands regions throughout the game, however, that aren't especially dangerous or sinister, though a few of them — such as Dragon Bone Mire and the Rabella Wetlands — have ominous giant bones scattered around. They're still dangerous places to go, but no more so than the rest of Hyrule.
  • Exile and its remake, Avernum, poison you when you walk through swampy terrain.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Bubblegloop Swamp features vicious piranhas and a generally gloomy atmosphere.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Black Marsh (aka Argonia) isn't necessarily "evil" per se, but is full of diseases, poisonous life forms, sentient trees, and the only native humanoid inhabitants are the disease-resistant, fiercely territorial Lizard Folk Argonians who can breathe underwater and operate under a borderline Blue-and-Orange Morality, at least from the perspective of the other races. Even Tiber Septim didn't bother conquering Black Marsh completely, just capturing a few border towns (where the human races could actually live) and calling it a win.
    • In Morrowind, the Bitter Coast is a sparsely populated swampy quagmire dotted with smuggler dens, bandit caves, and worse.
    • The Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion, realm of Sheogorath the Mad God, is split in two to represent the dual nature of madness. Dementia, the southern half of the isles represents the darker aspects of madness and consists mostly of swampland.
    • In Skyrim, the hold of Hjaalmarch consists mainly of cold marshes containing aggressive Slaughterfish, venom-spitting giant spiders, the occasional Chaurus, Draugr-infested tombs, and is a favored hideout for necromancers and vampires. On the bright side, this all keeps the bandit population down, and the place is loaded to the gills with good poison ingredients for the crafty alchemist.
  • Fallout:
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity had a subversion. The Swamp was actually a fairly decent place to live and had a couple of huts and benevolent beings. Unfortunately, a great cataclysm takes place in the opening scene, turning human beings to stone and causing the Swamp Witch to take over, bringing a host of nasty monsters with her.
    • King's Quest II: Romancing the Stones has a straight example, complete with poisonous water and an Ominous Castle inside.
  • Secret of Evermore had the Bugmuck, a swamp home to a gigantic (like the size of a small village!) bug carcass and bone dragons.
  • The last segment of Shade: Wrath of Angels is set inside the Shadowland, a massive swamp infested with giant insects and floating Brain monsters. It's also shrouded in a Mysterious Mist 24/7.
  • EarthBound (1994) features the Deep Darkness, a tropical swamp where wading in the deeper water actively saps your health. And by "deeper water," we mean "muck deep enough that our Child Heroes are totally submerged by it." So they're probably losing HP from having to hold their breath...
  • Eastern Exorcist has a stage set within a haunted swamp, filled with ghosts and water demons. It culminates with you fighting the Miasma Toad - a huge frog demon.
  • Elemental Master has a stage set in a swamp filled with monsters and a powerful Water Serpent as its boss.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has the campaign "Swamp Fever" set in a zombie-infested swamp.
  • Slender Fortress contains a large marshland entitled "Swamp" housing a very angry Shrek.
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft: Orcs and Humans: The Black Morass is not evil per se, but it is where the orcs first came to Azeroth.
    • World of Warcraft:
      • The Swamp of Sorrows and Dustwallow Marsh are infested by dragons, giant and scary spiders, crocodiles...
      • Zangarmarsh, on the other hand, subverts this trope. It has plenty of creatures trying to kill you, but the zone's main threat is the Naga draining the marsh.
      • Nazmir on the island of Zandalar seems to play the trope straight, as for the most part, the zone is a dismal, depressing place where Real Is Brown is in full effect; it's also home to hundreds of blood trolls bent on killing you, as well as the loa of Death himself, Bwonsamdi, though the latter is actually on your side, sort of. The trope is subverted in the area around the frog loa Krag'wa the Huge's burrow (and Krag'wa is very much one of the good guys), which is a lot more green and alive, implying that the evil magic of the blood trolls may be partly responsible for what the rest of the zone looks like.
  • Might and Magic VI:
    • The Mire of the Damned is, well, you get the idea.
    • Part III on the other hand gives us an entire island of swamp, including such wonderful places as the Minotaur Marsh, Shadowmire and Deathbog. It's also home to Swamp Town, a ghoul-infested pit. The best part of the island: There are a few squares of quicksand. Every turn you stay on them, two party members die. No HP loss, no status conditions, just death. And differently from M&M IV and V, III interprets turning around as the start of another turn...
  • Fable II: Wraithmarsh is a particularly good example — a desolate swamp that separates the town of Bloodstone from the rest of Albion. Wraithmarsh was once the site of Oakvale, the Hero's hometown from the original game; it was destroyed as part of Reaver's bargain with the Shadow Council. Run-down buildings, skeletal statues and graves can be found throughout Wraithmarsh, which is haunted by Hollow Men, Wraiths and the occassional Balverine and Troll. It is also the home of the Demon Door to Terry Cotter's Army, easily one of the freakiest areas in all of Albion. A trek through Wraithmarsh is accompanied by a haunting soundtrack; even after the Hero gets strong enough to overcome anything Wraithmarsh has to throw at him, it can still give you the heebie-jeebies.
  • RuneScape both averts this and plays it straight: there's a swamp just south of the starting town that's populated by goblins and giant rats, but they won't attack you; in fact, several quests involve locations in this swamp itself, including one of the beginner quests in the starting town itself. Once you progress farther, though, you encounter the land of Morytania, which is arguably one big swamp full of werewolves, the Vyrewatch, and other restless dead, all out to kill you. Special mention goes to the Mort Myre area, though, which is full not only of spooky pools and acid-spitting snails, but also Ghasts, which are intangible and sneak up behind you to spoil the food you're carrying. If, by chance, you don't have any food or a particular plot item, they'll instead spoil your own flesh (i.e., your Hit Points).
  • Summoner: The two swamps are both pretty evil places, though in different ways. One was actually a lovely forest kingdom before the reigning monarch decided to halt Human Sacrifices to the local river god, at which point every single person was turned to stone and the entire place allowed to degenerate into swampy monster-infested ruins. The other is filled with a malign fog which inflicts a nasty Status Effect on the entire party, and is the home of The Fair Folk; even so, it's perhaps not quite entirely evil, because it provides protection of sorts for a sacred shrine.
  • The Korcari Wilds in Dragon Age: Origins may or may not qualify — it is a fairly unpleasant place filled with wolves and darkspawn, but as for evil, it is nothing compared to many other places such as the Deep Roads.
    • The Blackmarsh, in the expansion, plays this trope entirely straight. Once ruled over by an Orlesian blood mage called the Baroness, the Blackmarsh became a Ghost Town when she pulled the entire population into the Fade. It is now a haunted place populated with blighted werewolves, and that's before the Baroness comes back.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition adds the Fallow Mire to the list of evil swamps in the setting. The Fallow Mire is filled to the brim with walking corpses that attack anyone who ventures into the water. It was a somewhat livable place, however, before a waterborne plague swept through the local village. After that, a clan of Avvar barbarians showed up to push out the remaining survivors.
  • FromSoftware loves this trope, much to the horror of their fans.
    • The second and third stage of the Valley of Defilement from Demon's Souls. Lots of Goddamned Bats in the shape of gigantic insects, freaky mutants with disease literally pouring from their flesh, gigantic trolls that deal massive damage per hit and aborted fetuses. Did we mention that staying too long in the swamp poisons you? And that you are reduced to a crawl when you are in it? And that enemies, especially the aforementioned powerful ones, are not hindered by such a thing? Have fun.
    • Blighttown in Dark Souls is the Valley of Defilement reborn. The game throws you a bone at least in the form of artifacts like the Rusted Iron Ring and the Poisonbite Ring that makes trudging through the swamp much easier. If you know where to find them. Also averted in the lore. According to item descriptions, Pyromancers are mostly found in a location titled "The Great Swamp", but pyromancy is treated as just another type of magic, no morally worse than Miracles or Sorcery. Not that Pyromancers get much respect, though.
    • Bloodborne has the Nightmare Frontier which is filled with Demonic Spiders and another poison swamp.
    • Dark Souls III triples down on this with its three killer swamps Farron Keep, the Profaned Capital, and the Ringed City swamp.
    • In an interview prior to the release of Elden Ring, Hidetaka Miyazaki admitted to putting multiple in the game once again because he simply can't help himself. Two of the larger swamps in the game, the Swamp of Aeonia and the Lake of Rot, apply Scarlet Rot instead of the basic poison effect, which drains more health much quicker and lasts much longer.
  • BrĂ¼tal Legend: Dooms Mire. There's a grove of hanging-trees about midway through, so if people become lost, they can commit suicide instead of drown or rot. Or get eaten by laser-shooting panthers.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved: The area where you first encounter the Flood is located in a swamp.
  • Neopets: The Darkest Faerie: The village of Bogshot is located in a swamp that houses the Plague Serpent Kastraliss, a minion of the titular Darkest Faerie. Everyone in the village comes down with disease when the swamp is turned by the Darkest Faerie's magic.
  • Bug: Splot. Oh dear god, Splot. The water instantly killed Bug — never mind Mercy Invincibility, you still die. There were many unforgiving sections (bubble jumping comes to mind). Enemies were either annoying (farting stink bugs, swamp flies, mozzies) or dangerous (frogs, literal lightning bugs, machine-gunner snails Made of Iron). And the boss? A swamp worm, who you were forced to fight while standing on a small platform (and an even smaller one later) surrounded by water. Getting hit would knock your character back into the water for instant death. That One Boss, indeed.
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest featured swamp levels. The Scrappy Mechanic is that when in the water, you have to jump out to move.
  • Fire Emblem Gaiden: The Final Boss is fought in a swamp. Units standing on the swamp tiles take some damage when their army's phase start. The Final Boss in question is an "Dark God" named Doma.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic I and II have the Warlocks, who seem to be vaguely on the side of evil, prefer hanging out in swamps. III, on the other hand, has the swamp be home to the Fortress, which is neither good nor evil. In IV, swamps are again associated with a vaguely evil faction (Chaos).
  • Conquests of the Longbow plays with the trope in the Monastery in the Fens. While the Fens were not inherently evil — at least not in any obvious way — the black-robed monks that lived there almost definitely were.
  • Monster Bash: Episode 3 has two nightmarishly difficult swamp levels which result in many a player resorting to the extra lives cheat.
  • Chrono Cross: The Hydra Marshes are hazardous. Just stepping into the water without proper gear will hurt you.
  • The Witcher:
    • The first game has the swamp near Vizima in chapters two and three that runneth over with drowners and all sorts of other monsters. Ironically, with a single notable exception (the Order and the Scoia'tel clash), the quests you get in the swamps are usually much less morally ambiguous and dark as in the Hub City of Vizima itself — because the swamp is so evil, you don't have to question your every move, and just kill everything that moves.
    • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: The Crookback Bog in Velen. The swamp itself is not that bad, but its notable inhabitants are easily the most terrifying in the whole series.
  • Sands of Destruction: Fallenmire. Upon arriving at the place, Kyrie discovers, to much to his horror, that there are skeletons floating around the wetlands. Taupi explains that the ferals forced their human slaves to work to their graves on a nearby mine without caring about the dangers of mining in such a hazardous area.
  • Tales of Innocence: Lemures Marsh. As soon as Ruca and Co. step into the area, they're ambushed by zombies. The party deduce those are the corpses of the soldiers fighting in the Northen Battlefield that were brought here thanks to the rains. Then we have the boss of the marsh, the Mud Undead, who is revealed to be the souls of people that couldn't reincarnate and became trapped inside that monstrosity.
  • Dungeon Siege: There are swamps in both default maps as well as the expansion map. III features a return to the swamp from the original single-player map, although several things have changed in the centuries since. All of these swamps are dark, misty places filled with all kinds of slimy, rotting creatures. The swamp revisited in III is also home to the Ur-Shamesh, or First People, a race of seemingly primitive magic-users who are generally hostile to anyone who enters the swamp.
  • The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Nibelhenne Swamp, a Bubblegloop Swamp so deadly that the stench alone can incapacitate or even kill and those covered in it's muck can melt a person instantly. Very few can enter the swamp perfectly fine with no protection, one of which is its owner and main character, the Swamp Witch Metallia. Unfortunately, she wants to expand the swamp beyond it's borders and gains the means to do it. It's later revealed that the swamp is the remains of an Eldritch Abomination and the muck contains dense mana, meaning those who die from it are actually experiencing Phlebotinum Overload. Metallia can survive in it because she was born from the swamp, which also allows her to use the mana in the swamp muck to its full potential.
  • Dragon Tavern has the aptly named Dreadmarsh, which is home to various undead monsters, mud, dangerous insects, fearsome giants, mud, deadly traps, lizard people and mud. The only reason people even visit the place is to loot the many treasure-filled ruins.
  • Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus: Mz. Ruby's level is a swamp in Haiti, complete with undead, swamp monsters, and dark Voodoo magic.
  • Diablo III: The Blood Marsh near Westmarch in Reaper of Souls is like this as a result of the evil Blood Magic employed by Adria corrupting the place. Apart from the unusually aggressive fauna (Boggits, Bogans, giant shrieker bats, and the occasional Maggot Brood), there are also the pools themselves, which are quite poisonous and can kill a traveler quite easily.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: The Mere of Dead Men is exactly as pleasant as its name implies, and that's before the Big Bad starts raising an undead army there. (And after that, in Storm of Zehir.)
  • Guild Wars: The Krytan swamps are heavily populated by Orrian undead.
  • Gems of War: The Mist of Scales region is a swamp, and it's full of venomous Snake People and Man-Eating Plants. Travel is hampered not just by the swampy ground but by the fact that it's often shrouded in mist; getting lost is very easy.
  • Shantae
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Marshes and swamps fit this trope to a T when they generate as an evil biome. Aside from the syndrome-causing clouds and rains present in all evil biomes, harpies and packs of vicious beak dogs infest evil marshes, while grimelings, humanoid clumps of weeds and muck, are found in any evil wetland alongside demon rats and swarms of blood gnats.
    • Depending on how you look at it, savage-aligned wetlands, home to slug-like animal people and giant panthers, may also count. Savage evil wetlands absolutely count.
  • Spyro: A Hero's Tail has Crocovile Swamp, a level which is more dangerous than the Big Bad's lair. Invincible spear traps that impale anyone who walks over them, natural flytraps that bend over to catch you, infinitely respawning giant spiders, insta-kill mud patches everywhere...
  • Armello: It's not just the -1 health a character takes when entering a swamp square that makes swamps this. It's the fact that a number of nasty perils, including the rot-inducing Plague Bearers and the Plague itself, are found here.
  • The Secret World: Areas infested with the Filth take on the form of a quiet, eerie, black bog with deep pools of murky waters, stalking monsters of Filth-infected wildlife and humans, and writhing black tentacles. Even the player characters, who are normally immune to Filth infection (unlike normal humans) will still take steady damage if they tread into the pools or get touched by the vines and tentacles.
  • Grim Dawn: Gloomwald and the Ugdenbog in the fifth act. Both areas are populated with acid-flinging Man Eating Plants, cannibal bandits, Wendigos, and hostile undead. The least awful monsters are the giant crabs and Leafmanes.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Hollow Marshes are tainted by poison and infested with The Undead. The area used to be green and beautiful, but an ancient Sorcerous Overlord devoured the Soul Power of its inhabitants and ravaged the landscape, making the Marshes what they are.
  • Doom Eternal: In the first DLC expansion, you have to go through the rather pleasant sounding Blood Swamps to reach the Life Sphere of The Father. Being part of Hell, it is an immensely hostile location by default, being full of flora that releases toxic spores, equally toxic waters that require a rad suit to even safely swim through, thick fog that can either merely make you blind or be outright toxic enough that it can kill you in seconds if you don't stay close to the path you need to take. All of this is on top of the fact that the Legions of Hell want you dead already and so they're waiting for you there.
  • Everything or Nothing: A significant part of the action takes place in the swamps of the Louisiana bayou because its unique fungal spores form part of an Applied Phlebotinum with which Diavolo is upgrading his nanotechnology. The swamps themselves are perfectly neutral here — they're simply being put to evil uses.
  • Red Dead Redemption:
    • The first game has Thieves Landing, an early Not New Orleans, where there was no law enforcement, therefore acting like an outlaw wouldn't incur a bounty, and a low Honor John Marston could buy things for half off and receive double the money for selling things.
    • Red Dead Redemption 2: Much of the State of Lemoyne consists of swamps and bayous which can get very spooky at night, and are haunted by a primitive, mysterious Cannibal Clan called the Night Folk (sometimes spelled "Nite Folk"), as well as the Lemoyne Raiders, who are somewhere between a regular band of outlaws and a terrorist faction who refuse to accept that they lost the Civil War. There's also a strong Southern Gothic thread during the parts of the story set in Lemoyne, with the legacy of slavery being impossible to avoid.
  • Drakensang 2: The River of Time: The Elven colony is located next to a sinister marshland forest: the lower part however is safer, aside from a few enemies and the presence of a gang of pirates whose captain can be reasoned with (it's even possible to negotiate a deal so that the Elves gives him what he wants and he leaves without causing any trouble). The upper, drier part contains ancient ruins infested with dark magic, evil undeads, and a massive altar where a Zanth Demoness is sealed.
  • Valheim: Played agonizingly straight by the Swamp biome, a dreary, permanently-raining mire where everything conspires to kill player characters.
    • As mentioned, it's always raining, so even if you try to plan out your route to stop falling in water (because of the giant leeches) you still get the Wet debuff. Enemies include skeletons and the draugr, zombie Vikings who hit quite hard (and some are archers), surtlings (fire elementals who also hit hard and are hard to hit), ooze (who like to jump on you), the Abominations (undead tree-things even bigger and tougher than trolls).
      Unlike other biomes, you can't chop down trees to increase visibility or create obstacles: the huge trees are just part of the terrain and can at best be built on. Swamps are also the only reliable source of scrap iron, contained in Sunken Crypts: half-submerged mausoleums crawling with draugr and ooze.
    • And then the swamp at night introduces a fun new enemy: Specters! Ghosts who appear out of nowhere, fly towards you, and will not go away until day breaks.
  • Vermintide II: The main war camp of the Rotbloods, a cruel barbarian horde that worships the Plague God Nurgle, is built in a fetid swamp. They deliberately live in filth to be closer to their god and make the place even worse with heaps of rotting corpses.

  • Roza: Roza thinks otherwise, and gets an explanation. The trees walk and shift at night to change the path and lead travelers to their doom, the water hides holes that can swallow men whole, and the swamp itself is haunted and full of illusions and restless spirits — and there are worse creatures in the mist.

     Web Original 
  • The Slender Man Mythos: The Slender Man's home dimension is described by some to be a marshy Dark World.
  • The Creepypasta Bog of Whispers is about a guy and his buddy out on a fishing trip who get lured out into the titular bog, which has become not only sapient but completely batshit nutso because of the horror of everything that's died there — and it loves to share visions: people eaten by the trees, a child at the bottom of a pool, a deer sinking in quicksand, and millions more.

     Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Foggy Swamp is initially depicted not as evil but definitely as very creepy (visions of the dead, scary noises, etc.). Meanwhile, the residents of the swamp are hunting the main characters for dinner. Though once all the misunderstandings are sorted out, it's not that bad a place.
  • I ♡ Arlo: The Louisiana bayou where Arlo was raised for fifteen whole years was a pleasant place at first, but when he left for New York, this enraged a villainous goddess known as the Bog Lady, who had been secretly protecting him all his life, and unleashes a curse which turns the swamp gloomy and dark, and is encased in roots.
  • The Magic School Bus does an episode about wetlands where the kids start by believing in this trope but eventually learn the importance of a swamp in the ecosystem.
  • Superfriends: On Challenge of the Superfriends, the Legion of Doom is headquartered in "The Swamp." It is always referred to as "The Swamp," in such a way as to imply that there is only the one swamp in the world (in fact, at least one episode contains a minor plot hole if you assume that there are other swamps). In one episode, the Legion hassles a witch they spot in The Swamp, only to discover that she works for an entity even more evil than they are, who also dwells in the Swamp.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Swamps have shown up in multiple episodes, and they usually don't contain very pleasant things.
    • Froggy Bottom Bog from isn't so bad. Just avoid the giant aggressive hydra that lives there.
    • In "Somepony to Watch Over Me" there's a fire swamp, dotted by random gouts of fire and inhabited by a Chimera. There's also a much less evil swamp beyond that, where ponies have peacefully settled.
    • "A Health of Information" features two swamps, an unnamed wetland at the beginning and the Hayseed Swamp where Mage Meadowbrook used to live. Both are full of trees whose pollen spreads Swamp Fever, a sickness that causes afflicted ponies to transform into trees of the same kind that grows the flowers. The Hayseed Swamp is also home to hives of flash bees, extremely aggressive and electrogenic insects.
  • Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville has the Ever Grey Swamp (later called Always Grey Swamp), a dull, dark, and dreary swamp where Eva and her gang made their hideout in. It is also home to Durillia, a fearsome crocodile who serves as the Evil Counterpart to Evershell, several harmful plants, and the Valley of No-One, where nobody dared to enter, hence its name. In part 2 of "In the Cove of the Cat", even Danny and Kate mention that the swamp gives them the creeps.
  • The Simpsons: Invoked metaphorically in-universe in "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington". In her essay "Cesspool on the Potomac", Lisa — after witnessing the corruption in the U.S. Senate — compares the stink of the swamp Washington, D.C. was built on with the stink of corruption that fills it now.
    Lisa: The city of Washington was built on a stagnant swamp some 200 years ago and very little has changed. It stank then and it stinks now.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth: The Doldrums, a region of marshy bogs, reduce your motivation to zero and your mind to mush. The animated Lethargians, the inhabitants of the Doldrums, are pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • Piggsburg Pigs! had a swamp on the edge of town that was literally called the Forbidden Zone. The monsters who lived there brought the series into Vile Villain, Saccharine Show territory.

     Real Life 
  • It's not uncommon for swamps (or bogs or bayous or the like) to become dumping grounds after murders are committed. There's even an Investigation Discovery show dealing with murder mysteries involving swamps.
  • The Great Dismal Swamp, in the eastern USA. Or the name at least. It actually isn't evil — it isn't even that ugly and is an important wildlife refuge. Most of its reputation, however, comes from its history before the Civil War: the swamp was left undeveloped by White settlers, being unattractive land notable chiefly for its difficult terrain and for being home to biting insects, venomous snakes, and bears. Its resulting nature as a large stretch of trackless wilderness in the middle of the South made it an ideal refuge for escaped black slaves — a population of a few thousand of them is thought to have been living in the swamp in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries — as well as others hiding from the authorities — white fugitives and Native Americans are also known to have had a presence in the swamp. Obviously, this trope was very much averted for the swamp communities, but their presence would have added to the swamp's sinister reputation in the eyes of the slaveowners: like every other slaver society, the antebellum South lived in constant fear of a slave revolt, and a large population of escaped slaves like that hiding in the Great Dismal Swamp would have been a constant source of paranoia for them. Of course, the inhabitants of the Great Dismal Swamp would have been counting on the fact that Swamps are Evil to begin with — the fact that nobody else wanted to set foot in the Great Dismal Swamp, let alone settle there, was a big part of why so many fugitives fled there.
  • The Pinsk Marshes between Belarus and Ukraine have been a natural defence of the region for centuries, and in fact much dreaded by the Wehrmacht during World War II, who of course did not know the area, while the locals used them as a safe hide for partisans. Not only that, they are located in the Pripyat River. Right in the region of the Chernobyl disaster.
  • The Vasyugan Swamp, located in south-western Siberia. It occupies 53,000 km and is the largest swamp in the northern hemisphere. You don't want to get lost there, believe me.
  • Two of the visible markings on the Moon were named "Palus Putredinis" and "Palus Epidemiarum". Although they're not really swamps, names like "Marsh of Decay" and Marsh of Epidemics" show that astronomers aren't immune to this trope.
  • A notable aversion: If you were a slave in the antebellum South, the swamps of Florida were home to the Seminoles. Of course, this could also qualify as exploitation, since nobody would venture into Seminole territory because swamps are evil. Alternately, no one ventured into Seminole territory because the Seminoles were lethally capable of defending themselves in swampy terrain terribly unsuited to major offensive operations. The U.S. government did ultimately make the attempt to dispossess them after their "success" with the Cherokee in Georgia. It is believed that the Second Seminole War led to more U.S. casualties than there were Seminole warriors arrayed against them (President Jackson estimated around 900 total and modern historians treat 1,400 as the maximum possible amount, with the Americans losing 1,600 soldiers and uncounted settlers). The U.S. won, but it was a Pyrrhic Victory at best when the bodies were counted and the economic costs made apparent, and in spite of everything, hundreds of Seminoles still remained in the swamps at the conclusion of hostilities, a source of significant pride to modern Florida Seminoles (who call themselves the "Unconquered People"). An aversion by any measure, as far as escaped slaves and the Seminole alike are concerned.
  • If some accounts of the Battle of Ramree Island are any indication, saltwater crocodiles were responsible for killing five hundred Japanese soldiers out of a group of about nine hundred that tried to escape from British forces through a swamp.
  • Many remote, heavily wooded regions have a legendary cryptid ape. But the swamp-dwelling ones have a particularly bad rep because in addition to their terrifying size and strength, they also smell really bad.
  • Heck, even major cities like Philadelphia aren't immune to this. Supposedly, the Tinicum Watershed Wildlife Preserve — a stretch of protected swampland in and around Philadelphia — is home to a monster called Ape Boy. Apparently, Ape Boy used to be a regular if extremely ugly kid during colonial times who was taunted mercilessly by the other children for his looks, eventually fleeing into the swamps to seek refuge, where he mutated into a red-furred, apelike creature. Since then, the swamps have been drained and developed, with the park being all that's left, but Ape Boy is said to be still around, waiting in the swamp.
  • A Portuguese expression for things going wrong is "the cow went to the swamp" — after all, when a bovine gets bogged down, it's really hard to take it out of the mud.


Video Example(s):


The Ever Grey Swamp

Eva and her lackeys Zull and Gort make their base at the Ever Grey Swamp, a region of the Pocket Kingdom no pet would dare to enter.

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Example of:

Main / SwampsAreEvil

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