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Tribesman: Quixiquoddal, the Volcano God is angry. We must appease his wrath!

Fr. Ted: Volcano God! What kind of nonsense is that? I'll ask you one more time, will you not give Catholicism a try?

Tribesman: It wouldn't catch on. We don't agree with the Pope's line on contraception. It's the '90s for God's sake!

People who live on volcanic islands are frequently living on a ticking timebomb. When that volcano blows its stack, you never know if you're going to get a gentle, easily-avoidable stream of lava, or an apocalyptic explosion. With such explosive power on their doorstep, the natives of many of these islands figure that the volcano is home to a fire god, who can be kept safely dormant through proper care and feeding.

The volcano god's favorite food? Virgins, of course. And if the hero or the Love Interest gets picked to take a half-gainer into the caldera, the Big Damn Heroes better get up there quick before things start to heat up... And if the offering is somehow unsuitable, the results can be quite explosive.

How much basis in reality this trope has is debatable. The Polynesian ancestors of the Hawaiians did practice Human Sacrifice and regarded not pissing off their volcano as serious business, but at the same time they would have never sacrificed women due to their belief that females were spiritually defiled. Either way, a volcanic caldera filled with lava is sure to be very hot, so it might be difficult to simply toss people in the top.

A subtrope of Human Sacrifice.

Examples of Appease the Volcano God include:


Comic Books

Film

Literature

  • Parodied in Craig Shaw Gardner's Slaves of the Volcano God. His Cineverse series world runs on movie tropes.
  • Inverted in Codex Alera. High Lord Kalare plays Piss Off The Volcano God and rigs it to erupt when he dies. Then the First Lord pisses it off some more to make the volcano erupt early.
  • The Roman Mysteries actually has Romans sacrifice fish as part of the Vulcanalia in The Secrets of Vesuvius.

Magazines

Music

  • Invoked by The Dead Milkmen's song "The Fez", which features a chant of "You have angered the volcano god!"

Newspaper Comics

  • Duke in Doonesbury once controlled an island that sacrificed a virgin to the volcano every month. When that year's maiden backed out at the last second, (saying, "Stop pushing, Daddy!) he ended the practice, and a host of plagues descended upon the region.
    • The maiden's brother wanted to take her place. "I can be just as chaste as any dumb girl."
  • Mocked in The Far Side with two clueless tourists being carried up a mountain by natives.

  Tourist: They just perked right up when we told them we were Virginians!

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer, the evil Chaos Dwarfs worship Hashut, a god of volcanoes among other things. Since building a temple atop a real volcano would be problematic, they drop the sacrifices into molten iron instead.
  • In Tiki Mountain, the players race to the top of the volcano for the honor of flinging themselves in and appeasing the Angry Volcano God.
  • Happens in the West of Exalted, on the basis of there being actual Volcano Gods. And they are jerks.

Video Games

  • Parodied in The Curse of Monkey Island with a lactose-intolerant volcano god tended by a tribe of vegetarian cannibals. Instead of virgins, vegetable-based offerings are substituted due to the volcano's sensitive digestive tract. ("It doesn't really taste like a human, but it has a similar texture.") Naturally, you need to play Spanner in the Works by offering cheese to the volcano god, causing a massive eruption.
  • Spelunky's temple area sometimes features a maiden and a gold offering on collapsible bricks above a Lava Pit. One of these is Schmuck Bait; the other is not.
  • In an add-on to Dragon Fable called "Archknight", one of the princesses you rescue turns out to be a virgin sacrifice.
  • The Tortage section of Age of Conan features a slight variation, where a small amount of virgin blood (rather than a sacrificed virgin) is used to keep a volcanic eruption at bay. The player character replaces this blood with blood from a prostitute at one point in the story, leading to a violent eruption.

Web Comics

  • Played for (grim) laughs in this Perry Bible Fellowship strip.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Tagon's Toughs discovered natives on a planet and leaves behind a teacher droid. Droid is sacrificed. Droid was nuclear powered...

Web Original

Western Animation

  • One episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog with Muriel as the sacrifice, natch. Interestingly, when it turned out that the volcano was only acting up due to human tampering, the chief actually acknowledged that "there no volcano god after all. We not stupid!" Naturally, immediately after he says this the actual Volcano God shows up.
  • Spoofed in Goof Troop.
  • "Fire-king" Sid, in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
    • Double-subverted in that the mini-sloths are well aware of the scientific reasons for a volcano erupting... but they still consider sacrifice to be "worth a shot".
  • In Garfield In Paradise, the volcano rejects the usual virgin (Princess Owooda, a Pacific Islander doppelganger of Jon's crush/future girlfriend Dr. Liz) (and her cat) and requests Jon's rental car instead (a vintage 1950s Cadillac).
    • Lampshaded when Jon asks the princess's father if the sacrifice appeased the volcano god or something, and her father replies, "No. It plugs up the hole."
  • On Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, King Julien suggests a sacrifice to the volcano to bring back the water to the reserve. Melman, who thinks he's got only 24 hours to live, volunteers. The shark chasing Mort gets "sacrificed" instead
    • Also referenced in the animated show The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Huffin and Puffin." One of the characters ties up the penguins and attempts to trap them in a hollow plastic volcano in the lemur exhibit so that he can cause mayhem. Maurice notices and wonders aloud what is going on. Julian replies: "Someone is sacrificing penguins to the volcano...eh, these things happen."
      • Note that Julian was the one who caused it both times.
  • In an episode of Gawayn, a group of islanders plan to do this Sir Roderick after first feeding him 26 pizzas.
  • On Futurama, back story reveals that members of the Trekkie cult were killed off years ago like this, i.e. "the manner most befitting virgins."
  • Almost happens on Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy and Beezy accidentally summon a lava monster and the tribe who had previously tried to eat them try lowering them into the volcano.
  • No sacrifice is shown, but an episode of Family Guy had a psychologist secretly videotape the Griffin family highlighting their extreme disfunctionality. In one inexplicable clip of their living room Peter angrily slaps Chris (while both wearing leaf skirts) crying "Do you want to anger the volcano?!"
  • The final challenge of Total Drama World Tour subverted this trope by using effigies.
    • And the volcano was not pleased with the "sacrifice".
  • Attempted on Johnny Bravo and it failed. As they ask the Goddess to accept their offer of a Virgin - Johnny simply went "Virgin?" then the Volcano erupted - either he wasn't a Virgin, or the Volcano Goddess just didn't want him.
  • A flashback on The Critic showed Jay Sherman and his then wife sunbathing on a tropical island on their honeymoon. He is then approached some of the island natives:

 Tribal Leader: I'm sorry Jay, but to appease the volcano we must sacrifice a virgin.

Jay (to his wife): Did you have to tell everybody?

(Next scene: Jay is tossed into the volcano, but is "rejected" via eruption.)

Jay (present day): After that, they had ten years of pestilence and plague!

  • Played with in an episode of Inspector Gadget. In this case it wasn't virgins, but pineapples. This being a MAD ploy, however, the sacrifice consisted of bombs disguised as pineapples.
  • This almost happened to Octopus in Almost Naked Animals.
  • One episode of Camp Lazlo had a talking volcano force Scout Master Lumpus to sacrifice his chicken pot pie when he didn't offer him the right food.

Real Life

  • Romans sacrificed to the volcano god Vulcan, however as they despised human sacrifice, they offered fish.
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