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Dumps and junkyards are a common setting for fights, club houses, secret meetings, and the various other fantastic situations fictional characters get themselves into. There's something about dumps-- everything there is dirty, old, worn out, broken. Symbolically, it's a place of decay; pragmatically, there's lots of junk to play with, and it can be broken or blown up without having to worry about property damage.

Expect towering columns of crushed cars and neat piles of assorted garbage, perfect for hiding behind; a giant magnet or claw that can be easily operated by someone without training; a Conveyor Belt O' Doom leading into a crushing machine or incinerator; plenty of Trash Talk; and brown.

Taken to extremes, this idea can lead to an all-out Landfill Beyond the Stars. Our heroes might end up here after escaping via Trash Landing. See also Trash of the Titans. Not to be confused with Sadness Tropes.

For the Adventure Game, see Down In The Dumps.

Examples of Down in the Dumps include:


Anime & Manga


Film -- Animation

  • The climax of The Brave Little Toaster is in a dump, with a giant magnet chasing the heroes around and tossing them into the Conveyor Belt O' Doom. Particularly depressing since all the cars being discarded are sentient and singing about their glory days before their owners abandoned them as "worthless", while on a conveyor belt leading them into a machine that is going to crush and kill them. In a kids movie.
  • Toy Story 3: After trying to avoid it the whole movie, the heroes wind up in the dump, and nearly die in the Conveyor Belt O' Doom. Luckily, there's a claw machine...
  • The first half of WALL-E is set in a giant dump, aka the planet Earth.
  • One of the characters in The Iron Giant lives in a scrap metal yard; he's a modern artist who uses the trash to make sculptures. It's also a useful place to hide (and feed) the eponymous giant.
  • Earth, in the 2009 Astro Boy film, has become a sort of Landfill Beyond the Stars to the residents of Cloud City, who have since forgotten that they left quite a few people behind.


Film -- Live Action

  • Star Wars - Leia, Luke, Hans Solo, and Chewbacca drop down a garbage chute into the disposal to avoid being trapped by stormtroopers. Now they're trapped in the garbage with a monster and walls that close in on themselves.
  • In Max Keeble's Big Move, Max sets up a meeting between the Evil Ice Cream Man and a Young Entrepreneur in one. Pretty sure a giant magnet shows up to wreak havok.
  • In Goldeneye, James meets his long-lost nemesis in a sort of junkyard for statues of Soviet heroes.
  • The trash planet in Soldier.
  • Corvette Summer (1978) starts in an auto junkyard, as a group of high school kids look for a car to fix up as their auto shop project for the year.
  • Pretty much all of Richard Lester's post-apocalyptic black comedy The Bed-Sitting Room is filmed in real-life junk pile locations.
  • In A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors, Freddy Krueger's body was hidden in the trunk of an old car at the dump after the parents of Elm Street burned him alive, and to defeat Krueger his body has to be recovered from the dump and given a proper burial. The same dump appears as a setting in the fourth movie, when Freddy reawakens.


Literature

  • The Barrens in IT, the place where all the kids go to do just about anything.
  • The Three Investigators had their HQ in a junkyard.
  • The climactic confrontation in Lean Mean Thirteen takes place in a car wrecking yard and involves a compactor.
  • In Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Titan's Curse, Percy and crew fight the giant automaton Talos in the junkyard of the the gods.


Live Action TV

  • Steptoe and Son & Sanford and Son both took place in junkyards.
  • Salvage 1 mostly took place in a junkyard.
  • Junkyard Wars. Duh.
  • The Batman Cold Open of an early MacGyver episode takes place in a junk yard, complete with big magnet.
  • The very first episode of Doctor Who, "An Unearthly Child" has the TARDIS located in a junkyard. Much later and much, much farther away, the episode "The Doctor's Wife" also took place in a junk yard.


Music

  • The Gorillaz current hideout studio, Plastic Beach, is essentially a giant floating landfill.
    • It gets sort of Nightmare Fuel-y when you realize that it's based on a real location.
    • Their old home base, Kong Studios, was surrounded by a dump as well. The song "We Are Happy Landfill" is about it.


Tabletop RPG

  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Cthulhu Now, adventure "The Killer Out of Space". A auto junkyard is of prime importance: it has giant electromagnets that can be used to trap the main opponent, a Colour Out of Space.


Video Games

  • Adventure game Down in The Dumps mainly takes place, well, in the dumps.
  • Gordon Freeman gets caught in a Star Wars-esque trash compactor in Half Life, as does Adrian Shepard in Opposing Force
  • The Level "The Enemy Of My Enemy" from Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 is set in U.S. Vehicle Disposal Yard 437 Aka "The Boneyard", a dump for old military vehicles. The Special Ops mission "Snatch and Grab" and the multiplayer levels "Scrapyard" and "Trailer Park" are set in the same location while the map "Salvage" is based on a different snow-covered junk yard.
  • The game Disney Epic Mickey has Mickey Mouse traversing Mickeyjunk Mountain, which is a huge heap of old Mickey Mouse merchandise. Oh, the irony...
  • New Junk City, the first level of the first Earthworm Jim game, is a giant junk heap complete with guard dogs and a construction worker boss.
  • Breath of Fire III has Junk Town, a coastal town that collects and repairs scrap machinery parts washed ashore.
  • Effluvia the garbage planet in Adventures Of Rad Gravity.
  • Dust Man's stage in Mega Man 4, and Junk Man's stage in 7.
  • Blighttown in Dark Souls, a ramshackle, vertical collection of platforms and ladders that stretches from the Undead Burg Sewers to a poisonous swamp.
  • The Junkyard from Legend of Mana combines this with Toy Time. All the derelict toys found here are actually weapons employed in a war long time ago that were eventually discarded.
  • The fourth area, Delphinus, in Strange Journey, is modeled after a massive junkyard. It represents mankind's wasteful nature, and is ruled over by the Tyrant Asura, a Social Darwinist who is convinced that the only way mankind can survive is to abandon all civilized impulses. To that end, the instant the investigative team sets foot in Delphinus, they get hit with a Hate Plague...
  • The second stage of Vigilante takes place in a junkyard.


Webcomics

  • The kids of Project 0 frequent a 'Machine Graveyard.' Owen's home probably counts too.


Western Animation

  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have fought in one on many occasions.
  • In Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, the trio have their hang out in the dump.
  • Fat Albert and his gang hang out at the dump, and even play music using junk-based instruments.
  • Timmy arranges for Chester and A.J. to rescue him from a junkyard in The Fairly Odd Parents.
  • The Junkions of Transformers are on a whole planet that is a junkyard.
  • This is the base of The Robonic Stooges.
  • Also the base of the Swat Kats.
  • This is where the Catillac Cats live.
  • Aaahh Real Monsters takes place in an Elaborate Underground Base under a junkyard.
  • Mickey's Trailer opens with Mickey Mouse stepping out of his travel trailer, greeting a new morning in a pastoral glen - he pulls a lever and the picket fence spools in, the carpet of lush grass rolls up, and the entire backdrop accordions up like a folding fan, revealing the town dump he's camping at.
  • Chuck Jones' No Barking opens with a sunrise (music: the peaceful part of the "William Tell Overture") in what looks like a sylvan garden in silhouette with an ornate gate - which, as the light grows, turns out to be a bed frame in the city dump, where Claude Cat peacefully dozes.
  • Tina from The Amazing World of Gumball apparantly lives inside one of these.
  • The climax of The Real Ghostbusters episode "Lost and Foundry" takes place in a New Jersey junkyard.
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