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Wretched Hive / Film

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  • Star Wars:
    • Mos Eisley from A New Hope, the trope namer. On a broader scope, the planet Tatooine. It's ruled by the Hutts, a race of gangsters. Every single city — not just Mos Eisley — is shown to be incredibly hostile and filled with criminals. As far as natives go, take your pick. You've got the thieving Jawas or the Always Chaotic Evil Tusken Raiders. Or The Empire. The Trope Namer is oddly inverted in The Star Wars Holiday Special, where the Cantina is more Cheers than a wretched hive of scum and villainy. It's also downplayed or even outright averted come The Mandalorian (which is set shortly after the fall of The Empire), where much of the population has seemingly emigrated from the port city and the Bounty Hunters Guild has abandoned its station on the planet.
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    • The Prequel Trilogy has the lower levels of the city planet Coruscant like this.
    • And the Expanded Universe has Nar Shaddaa, a moon of it. This is because it orbits Nal Hutta, homeworld of the Hutts. As Cad Bane describes Nal Hutta, everyone on the planet is likely a criminal.
    • The Last Jedi has a double-subversion in Canto Bight. According to Rose, it's a hellhole filled with the vilest people in the Universe. However, when Rose and Finn get there, it's a beautiful luxury resort. Finn is enamoured, but Rose points out two stark truths, the laborers' lots are as bad or worse than in the more conventional hellholes on the Outer Rim, and that the only way anyone gets these levels of rich in this day and age is from war profiteering.
  • Escape from New York can qualify as well. Technically, in this film the island of Manhattan is a prison if you observe it from the outside, but if observed from the inside, it's a Wretched Hive. The film was shot in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. and East St. Louis, Illinois, the former of which was a real life wretched hive at the time (the area has since been cleaned up and restored) and the latter still is.
  • Casablanca
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    • As a way-station for people from all over Europe who hope to escape the Nazis, it has acquired a strong criminal element, whose police force is headed by a self-described "poor corrupt official". Ferrari, the head of all illegal activities in Casablanca, is "a respected man". A pickpocket swipes a man's wallet while warning his mark to look out; "There are vultures, vultures everywhere!"
    • Rick mentions it would be a bad idea to try conquering New York for this reason. The Germans simply wouldn't stand a chance against the local population.
  • San Venganza from Ghost Rider was so corrupt that all 1,000 of its inhabitants willingly sold their souls to Mephisto.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: The Knowhere space station, a severed Celestial head located at an unspecified place just outside of the galaxy. It's a port of call and observatory for intergalactic travellers, and it also serves as a mining colony for various valuable materials that are sold on the black market.
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  • Gangs of New York: 19th century New York City is one of these (At least in the Five Points and Bowery neighborhoods, which are just about all we see).
  • Candyman: The Cabrini-Green housing projects in Chicago are the main setting, and the fear and desperation of the inhabitants give supernatural power to the title villain.
  • Streets of Fire: The unnamed city that the work is set in.
  • The Troll Market in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  • St. Petersburg in Brother. One of the songs of the movie's soundtrack has line "this city of murderers, the city of thieves and whores". Truth in Television for Ex-USSR during the Nineties.
  • Spoofed as Sogo the City of Sin in Barbarella. Since it was made in the 1960s for general release, the evil shown on the screen mostly consists of people in weird costumes looking darkly at the protagonists, plus some very mild bondage games. And women smoking from a giant hookah with a man floating in it.
  • The New York City of the real world is portrayed this way in Last Action Hero. Two people are shot dead in the middle of a public street, with bystanders visible in the background, and one of the shooters takes the time to shout to the rooftops that he did it and wants to confess. The only reaction is someone yelling at him to shut up.
  • Tortuga in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
  • Subverted in Battle Beyond the Stars when the hero lands his spaceship on the Planet Of Lawless Hats only to find the local worlds have raised an army and cleaned it out.
  • Indonesian action flick The Raid is set in a rundown apartment in the slums of Jakarta, controlled by a drug lord and populated by his soldiers.
    • The Raid 2: Berandal has a somewhat wider scope than the previous film, showing us the mansions, restaurants, and upscale clubs where the crime bosses pass their time - but even these luxurious places are filled with danger.
  • The title ghetto in City of God — a place controlled by drug gangs where little children murder each other in the streets.
  • District 9 in the film of the same name is this all over — an alien ghetto of makeshift shacks whose inhabitants are listless, unemployed and often criminal, nominally run by a corrupt multinational but infested with gangsters, and the only authority is backed up by sadistic mercenaries. To get that authentic feel, the movie was filmed in a real-life Johannesburg slum.
  • The railhead town of Hell on Wheels visited by the Lone Ranger and Tonto in The Lone Ranger.
  • Los Angeles and presumably all major cities in Elysium.
  • From Hell paints a grim picture of London around 1888 (especially Whitechapel, which, like St James was seen as The City Narrows in real life).
  • Red and the Blackwater Gang turn Edendale into one in Dead in Tombstone, even changing its name to Tombstone.
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night has "Bad City", an Iranian oil town which has rampant crime, no apparent police force at all, and a ravine that is permanantly full of freshly-dumped corpses.
  • Dodge City: A title pronounces Dodge City "the town that knew no ethics but cash and killing." A montage of gun duels and brawls and gambling houses follows. The main street is called "Hell Street". The citizens eventually look to Wade to clean up their town.
  • In The Man from Kangaroo, Braggan and his gang have declared the small town of Kalmaroo a 'no preaching' zone and driven out every churchman who has attempted to establish a church there for two years.
  • In Dust Devil, Bethany is shown to be little more than a wasteland full of human suffering, which is why it's such a perfect hunting ground for the Dust Devil, since it likes to pick off those who are ready to die.
  • Hobo with a Shotgun's setting of Hope Town, aka Fuck Town, Nova Scotia, is an impoverished hellscape overrun by dirty cops and gangsters.
    I hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you're more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop. And if you're successful, you'll make money selling junk to crackheads, and won't think twice about killing someone's wife, because you won't even know it's wrong in the first place.
  • Naked Lunch is mostly set in a fictitious North African port called Interzone, a Vice City dominated by the drug trade and the history of colonialism. It's also full of giant bugs, because it's a very weird movie.
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