Food Chain of Evil
"At the end there, when I was trying to cut a deal, the ambassador was scared... That's why he wouldn't come to our aid. That's why we're on our own. Because the demons are afraid of what we're hunting."—Mayor Rudgutter, Perdido Street Station
Humans are the dominant species. We're at the top of the food chain. That means that literally nothing in the world can successfully prey on humans (except maybe other humans). That's part of what makes a lot of monsters scary and badass; they dethrone us from our position of power.
But when you think about it, eating people is kind of old-hat. After a while, you begin to lose track of all the different types of monsters that eat humans. It just becomes a fact of life, so by the time you run into that guy who wants to devour your flesh to add to his own power, you just sort of yawn because it's exactly the same as everything you've seen anywhere ever.
So how do you make something distinctive, then? Well, if monsters that eat humans are no longer a threat... what about monsters that eat other monsters? To establish a Food Chain of Evil, all you have to do is make the last threat the preferred prey of the next one.
Anything which eats monsters that eat humans counts. Basically, this is power tiers established via fictional food chain.
Not to be confused with carnivores are evil or Villain Pedigree, although there's probably some overlap with the latter. Contrast Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors and Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors, where the food chain is circular.
- The Crusniks from Trinity Blood, who eat vampires.
- The Pillar Men in Part 2 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure eat the vampires who were the primary antagonists in Part 1.
- Alucard fom Hellsing. While technically a vampire in name, he's more of an Eldritch Abomination in vampire's clothing, and his favorite food seems to be the vampires created by the Big Bad.
- The Menos Grande from Bleach are created when the hunger of a group of Hollows becomes so great that they start feeding on each other, resulting in them merging into a near-mindless skyscraper-sized beast. If one of the constituent personalities can gain control of the others, then continuing to consume other Hollows eventually pushes them across the Bishonen Line to become the human-like and insanely powerful Vasto Lordes.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion where Unit 01 goes berserk and eats Zeruel.
- Similarly in Rebuild of Evangelion, Zeruel does this to Unit 00.
- Devilman features this often, mostly in the first OVA, as the demons will eat each other out of cannibalism.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has this when Pride eats Gluttony's philosopher's stone.
- Godannar with the fusion type mimetic beasts trying to "eat" their brethren, although somewhat subverted as it actually makes them more powerful.
- Getter Robo with New Getter Robo when the giant onis eat smaller members of their kind to gain their intelligence.
- Cell from Dragon Ball Z needed to hunt down and absorb Dr Gero's other creations to reach his final form.
- Tryks hunt down and infect the various species of vampire in the Marvel Universe. They need normal humans to reproduce though. Deacon Frost also tries to become a creature above vampires on the food chain himself but instead gets eaten by one.
- One of the non-canon Angel comic books had him deal with the returning threat of a giant tentacle monster that fed on vampires by sucking out the demon inside of them. Angel wouldn't have a problem with this, except that when the creature reaches it's maximum of 3000 demons, they'll all be expelled from it's body...in a spirit form that will let them directly possess living humans, instantly turning 3000 people into vampires in one night.
- In an interview, Hack Slash creator Tim Seeley once mentioned a scrapped storyline that would have involved a slasher who preyed solely on vampires.
- A few Venom stories featured Xenophages, monsters that feed on symbiotes.
- The Reapers in Blade II, though they were not above snacking on humans too. The only way to kill them was the sun, as they had a solid bone plate over their heart, and easily healed from a broken neck. They could probably survive decapitation as well, judging from that one former vampire to still move his eyes around when the rest of him was destroyed.
- Subverted in Godzilla 2000. In the climax of the movie, Orga attempts to swallow Godzilla whole. Godzilla uses his Nuclear Pulse on its insides and kills it.
- In Rodan, the titular giant pterosaur is first introduced as a predator that eats the Big Creepy-Crawlies called Meganulon that had previously been the threat in the movie.
- Marcus from Underworld Evolution becomes a vampire/lycan hybrid. From this point, he becomes pretty much omnivorous.
- The Valley of Gwangi: The titular allosaurus eats a styracosaurus and a gallimimus.
- Planet of the Dinosaurs: The tyrannosaurus rex eats a rhedosaurus while chasing the human characters at one point.
- Evolution: Mostly at the stage of alien evolution where the meteor crash site resembles the Carboniferous Era.
- Star Wars the Phantom Menace: The sando aqua monster eating the opee sea killer and colo crawl fish.
- The Cosmic Monsters: A giant spider (that somehow changes between a tarantula and a funnel web) catches a cockroach in it's web and fights it, eventually winning and wrapping it up.
- The Deadly Spawn: Near the end of the movie the master spawn eats one of it's tadpole spawner while trying to find one of the human characters.
- Ghoulies 2: The Ghoulie Eater, who does what exactly what his name says and eats all but the Fish Ghoulie.
- King Kong: Specifically the 2005 version where the vastatosaurus rex eats a foetodon. This is also heavily used in the game based on the film.
- Jurassic Park: The T-Rex eats a gallimimus and a velociraptor.
- Jurassic Park III also has this with the notorious scene of the spinosaurus killing the juvenile tyrannosaurus.
- Mega Piranha: The titular monsters feed on each other if one is hurt. The feeding frenzy is so crazy that it ends up causing them to kill each other at the end.
- Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus: Mega Shark proceeds to eat Crocosaurus's eggs throughout the movie.
- The main character in Hunting Humans has a Nightmare Sequence where the fellow Serial Killer who has been hassling him appears as a supernatural creature that preys on infamous murderers.
"I'm the reason Jack the Ripper was never caught, and I'm the reason you'll never be caught. You're hunting humans, and I'm hunting you!"
- In Daybreakers, vampires can mutate by drinking their own blood, turning into Subsiders, feral and incredibly dangerous bat/human hybrid monsters. They feed mostly off the blood-drinking but much more human vampires, but will eagerly take human blood too whenever they can get it.
- In Queen of the Damned, Akasha drinks the blood of vampires and humans alike.
- Giant spiders in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets fear the basilisk. But even the mighty basilisk is afraid of roosters. And roosters fear humans, which fear giant spiders, which fear basilisks, which fear roosters...
- Lovecraft's Great Race of Yith, for all their power and clear superiority, seem terrified of the half-material entities sealed beneath the earth.
- In Roger Zelazny's short story Dayblood, the titular Dayblood feed on vampires. The only Dayblood present looks (and thinks) like human and doesn't seem to be particularly evil - more like ruthlessly practical. Interesting that vampires know at least some weaknesses of the Dayblood and use appropriate protections against them.
- The main issue in Perdido Street Station by China Mieville's are slake moths, giant dream and mind eating moths that scare the living crap out of devils. In fact the slake moths are even shown to have eaten a vampire at one point in the book.
- And these slake moths are only halfway up the foodchain in their homeland. It's that kind of world.
- Inverted in the original novel of I Am Legend. The significance of the title is that, to the living, sapient vampires rebuilding civilization, Robert Neville is a terrifying monster who can hunt them during the day.
- The titular 3-foot-long man-eating crabs of J.F. Gonzalez' Clickers are only on shore in the first place because they're fleeing from 7-foot-tall Fish People.
- Big Wolf on Campus had a variation in an episode about vampires that can only eat werewolves.
- Species 8472 in Star Trek: Voyager are Borg biters. They see our entire galaxy as impure. They plan on killing everything else after they finish chowing down on the Borg.
- On Supernatural, there are creatures that gain power by consuming the blood of demons. Sam is one of them.
- The Ultraman franchise does this occasionally.
- Return of Ultraman: Gudon is Twin Tail's natural predator, this is even repeated in Ultraman Mebius.
- Ultraman Taro: The very first episode where Astromons eats Oil Drinker with the toothy flower on his torso. Also episode 17 and the beginning of episode 18 where Birdon hunts the Kemujira.
- Ultraman 80: Zakira attempts this with an infant Baru, but fails.
- Ultraman Gaia: Crabgan absorbs Anemos for the two of them to become more powerful.
- Ultraman Max: Episode 30 in which a Lagoras eats the molten core of a Grangon to become Evolved Lagoars.
- Ultraman Mebius: Bogar and the lesser members of her species, they are basically mouths with a body.
- Played straight, then inverted in Stargate Atlantis. The Wraith are a terrifying race of lifeforce vampires who hunt, herd, and generally rule over humanity as a food source. However, when Lt Ford was being fed upon, the process was interrupted and he discovered that the Wraith, in order to allow them feed longer, inject their victims with a powerful stimulant that makes the victim stronger. Cue Ford and some other Wraith survivors around the galaxy forming a group that hunts the wraith, harvesting their corpses for more sweet, sweet Psycho Serum There are also the Asurans: machines created by the Ancients to combat the Wraith. When the Asurans are activated, they become a much bigger threat than the Wraith when they decide to kill the Wraith by eliminating their food source.... humans. Until they are dealt with, of course.
- In an early episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a particularly fiercesome vampire is sent running at the sight of the She-Mantis, who wasn't even in her true form at the time.
- Vampire Diaries features Mikael, an ancient vampire who hunts other vampires because he doesn't drink the blood of the living, only other vampires.
- River Monsters is a documentory about catching the scaries fresh water fish, not just the man-eaters, but the things that eat them. Usually done on a catch and release basis, but sometimes people do end up eating them. Note: this is a documentory, so the fish that qualify are also Real Life examples.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade, any vampire of a sufficiently high generation can develop the Elder's Thirst: they can only feed on other vampires. Their capacity for holding blood can be ten times that of a neonate, so when they're running on empty it takes a lot to fill them up. Luckily vampire blood is much more filling. Being so ancient and all-powerful these guys are walking Deus Ex Machina's. Most vampires in the setting live in fear of Gehenna, when the Antediluvians will rise from torpor to devour their offspring. Humans can be empowered somewhat by feeding them vampire blood—but become enslaved to their donor. Sometimes they decide to go independent and find their own supplies. This is Vlad the Impaler's backstory. And then there are the Nagaraja, an obscure bloodline that requires a little bit of flesh with their blood.
- In Vampire: The Requiem, any vampire with Blood Potency 7 can get bit by the need to drink the blood of another camp. There are drawbacks: addiction and the risk of being mind controlled by the victim. They can also get addicted to soul-eating other vampires through diablerie. Usually, any vamp getting this high a Blood Potency either ate his way up or existed for a very long time, both of which tend to make you extremely powerful. In the case of the former, they also tend to be quite psychotic due to diablerie eating away at your Humanity. Supplements have featured both the Macellarius, who gain the ability to truly digest food and a gourmand's desire for strange flesh and the Noctuku who have a compulsion to eat the flesh of their victims as well as drink their blood, despite it providing no benefit to them—it's more a dominance thing.
- Arguably the Necrons of Warhammer 40,000, the only race in existence with a working game plan to permanently destroy Chaos—a sentient dark side that operates by The Corruption when it isn't taking matters into its own hands. Necrons are the entities that daemons are theoretically scared of: Daemon player aren't usually scared of Necron players in practice.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, Bebiliths are literally Demonic Spiders whose favorite prey is other demons.
- The What Did I Do to Deserve This My Lord series is all about creating a food chain ecology for your monsters. Slime molds roll around redistributing nutrients from the soil, the insectoid Omnoms eat the slimes to feed themselves and reproduce, Lizard Men eat Omnoms, and Lizard Men can be devoured by Dragons.
- Ratchet and Clank: Amoeboids and it is pretty much all they do.
- Ratchet and Clank Going Commando: The arctic leviathans will eat Y.E.T.I. to restore their health if they are close enough.
- Dino Crisis: Seen often especially in the second game where the tyrannosaur Scar is defeated by the giganotosaurus and eaten off-screen.
- In the first Paper Mario, Tubba Blubba eats Boos.
- If you get into a battle with both a Dung Beetle and a Sand Lizard in Mother 3, the Lizard might eat the Dung Beetle for health. In the Sand Lizard's Battle Memory entry, the game mentions that the Dung Beetles clean up the Sand Lizard's dung, and, in turn, the Sand Lizards eat them.
- The lynchpin of the plot in Metroid Fusion: by killing all the Metroids in SR388, Samus disrupted the natural balance of the ecosystem, resulting in the X Parasites reproducing unchecked. This is a bad thing.
- In Nightmare Creatures you spend most of the game facing the though and somewhat dangerous Pepys' Monsters (sort of large humanoid golems with extra limbs and heads). After a certain level you'll start meeting Giant Spider monsters, who has webbed and eaten one of said Pepys Monsters.
- In the second Splatterhouse game at the end of the first level you see three mooks progressively devoured by a larger creature beyond a door, quickly revealed to be the boss of the level.
- On the Bog Leech website, the Mortasheen series includes the Vaccuthax, an Eldritch Abomination that eats only vampires.
- The Point and Click game Monster Basement, it's revealed that the monster that kidnapped you enjoys eating other monsters. Including you. This is expanded on in Monster Basement 2, where not only do you find a cute little girl's diary entries about how her daddy fixes such tasty monster dishes, but one of the family members can be seen in the kitchen, messily chopping up another monster for dinner. if you visit the outhouse after he uses it, you can find remains of the monster there.
- In The Snorks, the main characters had to deal with a predatory species called Snork Eaters once in a while, but in one episode they introduced another character who was a Snork Eater Eater.
- An episode of Futurama dealt with a "Sub-Sewer Mutant" that the regular Sewer Mutants feared. They try to laugh it off as just a Sub-Urban Legend.
- A Robot Chicken Charlie Brown sketch has a predatory Great Pumpkin being eaten by the Kite Eating Tree
- Although physically incapable of eating humans, cobras and kraits on the Indian subcontinent do kill them with some frequency. These venomous serpents are also preyed upon by king cobras, which are specialized snake-eaters.
- The New World version might be the mussarana, a large colubrid that likes to eat rattlesnakes. Of course, it's not particularly dangerous to humans itself, though it is a rather intimidating-looking snake.
- He was never a blood thrall, but before he was Embraced himself, he fed on captured Tzimisce, and shared the blood with loyal elite troops, thereby establishing himself higher on the food chain than the clan that had been terrorizing so many similar small European kingdoms.