|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
"I think nighttime is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction."
—Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes
As most people will tell you, night is the time of the day in which a setting in fiction will generally be creepier, and the only time various monsters who are Weakened by the Light, such as Vampires and Werewolves, can be outside. So the solution to Horror movies, Survival Horror games and Big Boo's Haunt settings, where the undead are a necessary part of the setting and creepy, quiet atmosphere of night is needed constantly? Simple, it's Always Night, and if the sun ever rises, it'll appear just when all the danger is gone and the evil has been destroyed. See Grave Clouds for the variant where the weather is simply miserable at graveyards and other creepy areas, and which is possibly a sister trope to this. See also Evil Is Not Well Lit.
Possibly has Dramatic Thunder in some cases, possibly a Weird Moon in full phase constantly in the sky. Settings most likely to have this are Big Boo's Haunt, Mordor, Hell Hotel, the standard Haunted Castle, the Haunted House, Halloweentown and Bedlam House. A subtrope of Empathic Environment. The reasons why non night only monsters like zombies, mummies or ghosts actually need this is often never addressed. If they do come out during the day, they're examples of Daylight Horror.
- Tegami Bachi The Earth's natural sun has long since expired, and so a small man-made sun was created. The capital "Akatsuki" enjoys simulated daylight. The middle-class region, "Yuusari", is in a state of perpetual twilight. In the impoverished region "Yodaka", the artificial sun is no brighter than a full moon.
- Ghost in the Shell: Innocence happens almost entirely at nighttime, save for one brief outside scene before an attack to Yakuza office, and a couple of sunrise/sunset scenes near the end.
- Shin Mazinger, over it's entire series, only had a fight happen in the daytime two, maybe three times.
- In its full three series, Gregory Horror Show plays this straight. In the video game, you could go outside at 3:00 PM and it would look the same as night, and in the sub-series The Bloody Karte, which featured some periods of twilight.
- In Invincible, the Batman Expy Darkwing operates in "Midnight City" which takes the dark look of Gotham to the extreme - due to a spell, it's always midnight in that particular city.
- The dialogue during it's introduction also provides a rather effective deconstruction of it.
Films — Animated
- In the movie adaptation of Coraline, the Otherworld is affected by this.
Films — Live-Action
- Blade Runner. Almost every scene save the ending is at night and raining. The others are at sunset.
- In the first Terminator movie, it seems to be night all the time.
- In Dark City, where every single scene until late in the film takes place during the dead of night. It is eventually revealed that this isn't just our perspective: it actually is always night in the city yet nobody had noticed!
- Except for John Murdoch. That is why he's so dangerous to the Strangers.
- If it's ever daytime in Sin City, there certainly isn't any indication of it.
- Cloverfield did this trope really well. Most of the "current" scenes take place over the course of one night. By contrast, the "leaked" scenes from the previous recording all happen in bright daylight.
- The Crow is all about darkness. And rain. But mostly darkness...
- There actually are a few daytime scenes in the film: the movie takes place over the course of two nights.
- Besides, it can't rain all the time...
- There actually are a few daytime scenes in the film: the movie takes place over the course of two nights.
- The Abyss looks like night because it's underwater—the above-water scenes are daylit.
- Even the scenes of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that are ostensibly daytime are, at least, very cloudy.
- The Covenant suffers from both an inordinate proportion of nighttime hours and a corresponding lack of lightbulbs. Women even shower in the dark.
- In both Tron films it is always night inside the computer world. There is no such thing as "day."
- In both cases, save for the very last scene, the real world scenes all take place at night.
- Thirty Days of Night, obviously.
- The Warriors takes place entirely over the course of one night, ending just after sunrise. In a deleted scene which is sometimes added to broadcast versions, however, the movie begins during the daytime as well.
- Pitch Black plays with this. Due to the triple sun, it is always daytime on the planet - except once every 22 years, when there is a triple eclipse, during which time it is Always Night.
- In Grave Encounters this is played seriously, as the entire time it is always night, however the hospital the crew is stuck in seems to be doing this to them on purpose.
- "Film/Invincible": Every scene in Vince Papale's neighborhood. Everywhere else, like all the NFL scenes are done in daylight.
Live Action TV
- The sequel to the original Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, had several episodes filmed completely at night for no apparent reason. The real reason is probably scheduling difficulties related to Executive Meddling.
- Mostly justified (they're hunting dark critters) and often averted in Supernatural. One episode however has it so bad that night falls and leaves in less than 15 minutes of taking a stand against a curse. They seem to believe they were fighting it for an entire eight hours or more...
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Nightmares has a cemetery suddenly appearing near Sunnydale High. It is night there, even if it is day everywhere else.
- The original concept of Starsky and Hutch was that the title cops would only work at night; this was dropped for budget reasons.
- William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land. In the far future, the Sun has gone out and the only light is from residual vulcanism. The Last Redoubt of humanity is surrounded by terrible monsters waiting for its protective power source to fail.
- In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, the world does not turn on its axis and is divided into a fantasy Nightside and a high-tech Dayside; this ends when Jack breaks the compact and the machine at the heart of the Nightside world, causing morning to come and releasing Lucifer.
- Simon R Green's Nightside series takes place in a (presumably) fictional part of London where it's always night (hence the name) and everything in it definitely goes bump.
- Almost all of the first two books in the Great Alta Saga takes place at night because many of the characters can only appear by the light of the moon or in the shadows cast by candles.
- Isaac Asimov's short story (and later novel) Nightfall averts this. The whole premise of the story is a planet that has 7 suns, so nobody on the planet has ever seen total darkness. That is until the suns are eclipsed by a large dark body, throwing the entire planet into darkness and causing mass riots, leading to civilization's destruction..
- Played with in Cormac Mc Carthy's The Road. Though not so much Always Night as Never Day; the huge amounts of ash in the air (presumably from nuclear winter) make even noonday fairly dim. Mc Carthy mentions multiple times that the boy has never actually seen the sun. This is exacerbated by the time of year the story takes place in, mentioning that the man thinks it's November toward the start of the book.
- The Warhammer 40000 story 'Hell Night' by Nick Kyme has a planet where the titular night lasts for weeks... And it always rains. And angry ghosts rise from the mud and drag soldiers down, if they don't kill them outright.
- George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire refers ominously to "The Long Night" as a synonym for Winter (which can last years in Westeros).
- Inverted in The Resaurant At The End Of The Universe. Ursa Beta Minor, by an inexplicable and somewhat suspicious freak of topography consists almost entirely of subtropical coastline. By an equally suspicious freak of temporal relastatics, it is nearly always Saturday afternoon just before the beach bars close.
- Justified in Don't Rest Your Head where the Sun never rises on the Mad City. Though you can get sunlight if you get back to the City Slumbering.
- Dungeons and Dragons module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. One of the alternate worlds accessible from Lolth's Web was the Nightworld of Vlad Tolenkov, a land of perpetual night. Its heat and plant life were sustained by ancient magic, with undead roaming the land.
- The plane Shadowmoor in Magic: The Gathering, while its foil Lorwyn is always noon. Granted, they're actually the same world, just on different sides of a reeeeeealllly long day-night cycle, but the change also warps the inhabitants' personalities and the environment, so they've been counted as separate areas.
- Referenced a few times in Warhammer 40000, especially where Chaos magic is prevalent and especially on some worlds in the Eye of Terror. Out in the physical universe there is/was Nostramo, a world caught in eternal darkness. The people there evolved to not have irises, only pupils, and it was so demoralizing to the populace that the major source of population control wasn't disease, war or neglect, but SUICIDE. That is until it was subject to Exterminatus.
- According to the Warcraft RPG sourcebook (at least, the pre-WoW one), the lands of the night elves were said to be in a perpetual night.
- Pokémon Stadium Courtyard Colossuem takes place at night.
- TERA There are 12 gods in TERA. Karas, the de facto leader and patron of the elves mourned his wife's death so much he cast the Earth into perpetual twilight. Subverted when Balder, another god, Tore out his eyes and hurled them into the sky where they became the twin suns that govern the Earth's light today.
- 90% of all ZX Spectrum games, for obvious reasons.
- Big Boo's Haunt in all variations:
- Luigis Mansion
- Super Mario World's ghost houses, Ghostly Galaxy, Big Boo's Haunt itself, Pumpkin Zone, Forever Forest, Creepy Steeple, Sirena Beach and Hotel Delfino... etc. in Super Mario Bros./Paper Mario/Super Mario Land.
- Creepy Castle and Frantic Factory in Donkey Kong 64.
- Mad Monster Mansion in Banjo-Kazooie.
- Bad Manor/Boogie Mansion/Crescent Moon Village/Arabian Night/Uncanny Mansion in the Wario Land series. As well as the Shakedown Schooner oddly enough, which is the Shake King's pirate ship.
- Horror Manor from Wario World and Blowhole Castle from Wario Master of Disguise.
- The Spooky chapter in Conkers Bad Fur Day, justified as the events in the game are supposed to happen within a day, being the Spooky chapter in the night. However, because of the game having a specific time to each chapter, the night could be eternal if the player never manage to pass to the next part of the story.
- Hang Castle/Mystic Mansion in Sonic Heroes. Not to mention Casino Night in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and similar stages throughout the series. Justified in Sonic Adventure, in which an Exposition Fairy will inform you that the casino isn't open during the day.
- Mario Kart has this in spades. Luigi's Mansion...twice in said game as a track. Banshee Boardwalk. Boo Lake/Broken Pier, Ghost Valley 1-3 (which just have a void for the background, pure blackness), Twilight House, etc.
- Mario Party with Horror Land, Boo's Haunted Bash and King Boo's Haunted Hideaway in 2, 4 and 8 respectively.
- The ghost house levels in both New Super Mario Bros and New Super Mario Bros Wii feature this. Even if you only get to see that it's night for about five seconds in the outdoors parts at the very end of the levels.
- Most Survival Horror type games:
- Likely every Resident Evil location in the series, at least in the first few games.
- The last two games in the series play with it. In both cases, you start during the daytime, and the sun goes down just in time for the really big monsters to show up.
- The third game averts this in that about the first 2/3 of the game takes place during daylight, but the sky is so darkened smoke resulting from the contant chaos in the city, sunlight can barely be seen.
- The Call of Duty Nazi Zombies arenas.
- Except Shi no Numa.
- Shangri-La also takes place during the day.
- House of the Dead Overkill.
- Until the final boss anyway.
- The first two Fatal Frame games. Notably, not Fatal Frame 3, the hours not spent in the mansion took place in the daytime. Don't know about the fourth game since Nintendo didn't see fit to export it.
- Justified in the second game, seeing as the village has been cursed to relive the night of its destruction over and over.
- It's Always Night in Fatal Frame 4 too.
- Likely every Resident Evil location in the series, at least in the first few games.
- Besides the aforementioned Spooky, the War and Heist chapters in Conkers Bad Fur Day.
- The zombie-infested Ravenholm section of Half-Life 2 is at night. Though this lets you see a literal light at the end of the tunnel when you escape from Ravenholm's mines the next morning.
- Tirisfal Glades in World of Warcraft fits this perfectly.
- So does Duskwood, and a couple of the Northrend zones; the sun never seems to rise in Icecrown or the Storm Peaks
- Inversion: the sun USED to never set on Stormwind...which somehow was even creepier. This was changed in the last two patches, though.
- Midgar from Final Fantasy VII, on two levels. No one in the slums can see the sun because the plate blocks the entire sky, and the same is true for Midgar proper, as apparently the pollution from the Mako reactors is so bad it's created a permanent night.
- Ultimecia's Castle in the Time Compression world at the end of Final Fantasy VIII is in the midst of an eternal night. As is Delling City, apparently.
- Treno in Final Fantasy IX. It's lampshaded before you travel there for the first time:
"Nightfall comes early around these parts."
- Every Silent Hill game either has such thick fog that the sun is invisible, it's thickly foggy at night, or it's the Otherside, which is always night and full of vicious monsters.
- Minor exception is Silent Hill 3, the game opens with a deep red and horizontal shadow casting sunset. Perhaps the only time the sun is ever seen in the game outside of scattered flashback cutscenes.
- The Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has the setting be always at night. You play a vampire, what do you expect?
- There is one example of a daylight scene, when one of the ghosts at the haunted hotel creates an illusion of a luxury suite in daylight.
- Melee, Scabb and Blood islands in the Monkey Island series. Scabb interestingly always remains night even though you can travel to 2 islands near it and come back as many times as you want, the other 2 are always day time. Lampshaded by Guybrush while in Melee island, when he notes that the clock is always at 10 pm.
- This is really the case in all those old adventure games; it's always day in certain places and always night in others. It's probably its own mini-trope.
- Partial example: Okami - Regardless of what time of day it is, you're forced into Night and can't force it to go into the next day during the festival where Orochi reawakens and picks Kushina to be his next victim. Also, by late game, the sky will always show the impending total eclipse regardless of what time of day it is.
- Super Mario Bros. has a few examples of this in certain Bowser's Castle levels, and the airships from Super Mario Bros 3. Super Mario Bros 3's final world was the aptly-named "Dark Land", where every level was apparently nocturnal. (Some of the airship levels in earlier worlds were in daylight, however.)
- Worlds 3 and 6 from the original Super Mario Bros game.
- World 5 in Super Mario Bros 2.
- Most of the levels of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (even more so in the former, most levels in the latter take place during the day), due to the game taking place in outer space.
- Althrough not a supernatural horror, all the action in Deus Ex takes place at night. There's a few points where the sun gets dangerously close to poking over the horizon, though.
- Deus Ex's Always Night setting actually fits in with the game's themes. The story's Crapsack World is metaphorically referred to as the "long night" at least once. It's interesting that the protagonist JC Denton actually always manages to keep ahead of the daytime - even when making trips to China and France. His oceanic flights always happen to take long enough that he arrives on the scene when ever it's night. It's starting to dawn during the final missions, signaling the fact that JC is about the change the world for the better, one way or another.
- Upper Heng Sha in Deus Ex Human Revolution is in pepetual twilight. Although knowing the story, it might as well be more of a Light Is Not Good situation. Panchea as well, though ironically this is when the storyline takes a sharp turn towards Survival Horror.
- System Shock and Bioshock justified the Always Night ambiance by being set in deep space and deep underwater respectively.
- Due to the paraSOL, Lunar Knights starts out like this. Daybreak starts to spread from the Hunting Mansion and Acuna once Lucian purifies Margrave Rymer.
- Left 4 Dead invokes this deliberately, though the sequel breaks it.
- Kingdom Hearts features Halloweentown and the World That Never Was.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum takes place in the timespan of a single night, as does its sequel, Arkham City.
- The Shutokou Battle series of Driving Games always takes place at night, since (illegal) street racing is done mostly at night to avoid heavy traffic and to reduce chances of police encounters. What makes this a little odd is that the games have in-game clocks that typically correspond to your system's internal clock and is used in requirements for two Wanderers, so the in-game clock could read 2 PM, yet the streets look like it's 2 AM.
- Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.
- In Backyard Baseball, the playoffs and All-Star Game are always at night.
- A lot of the missions in Hitman: Contracts occur at night. Those that occur during the day are usually overcast or stormy.
- Bleak in Breath of Fire I, at least until you get take the DkKey from the L & D Tower.
- In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, it suddenly automatically becomes night every time you get near the Forsaken Fortress until somewhere halfway through the game when the Big Bad ceases to use it as a base of operations.
- In the same game, Ganondorf places the world under a curse of perpetual night from the time you arive on Greatfish Ilse until you find Nayru's Pearl. In this instance, it works out in your favor; the pirates are also seeking the pearl, but they've stopped at Windfall Island for the night and claim they'll set off on their adventure when morning comes.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the first time you enter the Arbiter's Grounds compound, the key action will always take place at night, even if you enter during the datime, in which the day will pass much faster than usual until it is night.
- Very, very common in 1990s first person shooters, since dark backgrounds ran more smoothly on the video cards of the day.
- In Tales of Phantasia, the continent where the town of Arlee is located is always dark due to the effects of Dhaos' castle being nearby.
- Seiken Densetsu 3: The Moonreading Tower keeps the beast kingdom in perpetual night, so that all of the beastmen are locked into werewolf mode.
- In X-COM: UFO Dafense, there is a Self-Imposed Challenge requiring players to only do missions at night.
- In Dark Souls, this befalls Anor Londo if you attack Gwynevere. It actually becomes a bit safer.
- Inexplicably, all of the outdoor stages in the entire Guitar Hero series take place at night. Maybe guitars are hard to render in the daylight or something?
- Need for Speed: Carbon.
- In Arx Fatalis the sun has apparently collapsed and the world is plunged into freezing darkness, to survive the inhabitants had to all move underground.
- Justified in Skies of Arcadia, whose hubristic imperial nation Valua lives under the Yellow Moon, giving it the properties of lightning. On the downside, Valua is constantly dark and stormy.
- The NES game Nightshade takes place in a hard-boiled setting where it's always night.
- Most missions in the Thief series take place at night (obviously required to give Garrett darkness in which to work best). There are a few missions taking place in daylight, but they are fairly scarce.
- The area surrounding Castle Chocula in Breakfast of the Gods. It takes a lot to cause it to dissipate.
- During the start of Homestuck's act 5, featuring the Trolls, most of the story is during the night. This is because the sun on Alternia is much hotter than that of Earth, and most trolls, except Kanaya, can't stand it. Oh, and also, zombies come out during the day.
- Another example would be some of the planets of the players, most notably would be Land of Wind and Shade. To keep up with the constant night feel, there are oodles of imps and other monsters in the lands too, making the planets that play on this trope more eerie.
- Played straight and averted in Marble Hornets; in Entries #16 and #18, J goes the house during the night; he gets attacked the second time for his trouble. In Entry #23, he goes to a different house during the day to avert this. It doesn't quite work.
- Ben 10 Alien Force. The majority of episodes took place at night for some unknown reason. Apparently the sun was destroyed between Ben10 and this show and they never got around to telling that story.
- Well, it's cooler at night, and the Highbreed prefer the cold, so they probably hang back in the AC during the day and come out when it's night. Also, now that it's no longer summer, Ben is in a Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World situation.
- One half of Eternia, in both the '80s and the '00s versions of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, is shrouded in eternal night. Naturally, it's the half where the villains live.
- Batman the Animated Series was drawn and colored on black paper, meaning that even the few scenes in bright daylight had a dark look to them..
- Gargoyles is about 90% set at night. Justified in that the main characters turn to stone during the day.
- With the exception of a single sunrise at the end of one episode, and the last few minutes of the final episode, Beast Machines never had even a single ray of sunlight.
- That's because the whole series takes place in Cybertron - on which it seems to always be night, in every series except for Transformers Energon.
- The Great Mouse Detective doesn't have even one scene that takes place during daylight. It's rather unclear just how much time supposedly passes between the beginning of the movie and the climax.
- It takes place in London in the late nineteenth century (judging by Sherlock Holmes's brief cameo), so it may well have been during the day.
- In Arthur, the In-Universe Dark Bunny is set "in a city "where it's, like, always nighttime"—parodying the tendency for Batman media to be set at night.
- Veggie Tales' "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed" does the same: the mayor of Bumblyburg is unable to use the Larry Signal "because it's daytime. You can't see it in ze daytime." So she calls up Larry on the phone and asks him to forward the message along. (How she came to know that he has such connections is never explained.)
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: As long as Nightmare Moon is creeping around undefeated the sun won't go up. Justified as her goal was to bring The Night That Never Ends.
- Near the north and south pole in wintertime, the sun can go for days, weeks, or even months without rising due to the Earth's tilt. The 'Arctic circle' and 'Antarctic Circle' on maps mark where this phenomenon begins to occur.
- It's always dark deep under water and in many cave environments.
- Outer space counts if you aren't close to a star.
- An eternal night could be the product of living in the night side of a planet tidally locked to its star.
- This could be the effect of a nuclear war. Lots of nukes, according to some sources as few as 50, could throw so much debris and dust into the atmosphere that it would block out the sun for years, thus ensuring famines all around the globe.
- Many scientists believe that if that asteroid hit and did kill the dinosaurs, this would have been why. The impact would have sent massive amounts of dust and chemicals into the air, blocking the sun, sending the world in perpetual night. No sun, no photosynthesis, no plants...you can see how It Got Worse.
- Otherwise, we couldn't see the ENCOM helicopter's Tron Lines in the first movie