[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/img_0392.PNG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:It's a ZombieApocalypse...with rainbows!]]

->''"YOUR MOTHER ATE MY DOG!"'' [[note]]Not ''all'' of it.[[/note]]
-->-- '''Paquita''', ''Film/{{Braindead}}''

Lightmare Fuel is when NightmareFuel is PlayedForLaughs or your genuine laughter is coming from the scariest of places. In short, it is the perfect combination of the truly scary with the truly funny. This often happens in comedy works, typically BlackComedy, but can just as often occur in horror stories.

A work of this nature will sit around the center of the SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror.

A SubTrope of MoodDissonance. Compare FauxHorrific, BloodyHilarious and {{Bathos}}, which similarly involves a juxtaposition of the serious and the silly but with less emphasis on horror.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/TheKurosagiCorpseDeliveryService''. Most of the series features a lot of this trope. In the first book, one of their stories features a corpse [[spoiler: made from parts of seven different girls]] who gets vengeance on her killer by telling him a joke. It drives him insane.
* ''Manga/FrankenFran'', down to its core. It runs on gore and giving characters terrifying AndIMustScream scenarios, but it pretty much plays it all for [[BlackComedy dark laughs]] and caustic satire. It helps that those who get it the worst ''usually'' [[AssholeVictim deserve it.]]

* Creator/EmoPhillips: "They say public speaking is the number-one fear in the country. I would've thought the number-one fear would be being BuriedAlive... with a severed head. And just before your flashlight's battery dies, the eyes open. [''{{Beat}}''] But no, apparently it's the public speaking thing."
* Creator/SusieEssman once recounted how, after watching a scary movie, she searched her entire house for any conceivable place the villain could possibly he hiding (including her doll house) before finally turning off the lights, climbing into bed, and pulling the covers up to her chin, still too terrified to sleep because she keeps hearing this soft, rhythmic chirping noise that she can't identify... until she realizes that her nose is whistling.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Ghostbusters|1984}}''. The Librarian scene. In the DVD commentary, Creator/HaroldRamis and Ivan Reitman stated that they achieved the perfect balance in that moment, with people in the audience during the first screening both laughing and screaming at the same time.
* ''Film/AnAmericanWerewolfInLondon'' is seemingly made of this in some parts. Griffin Dunne and David Naughton are laughing it up, joking about the superstitious villagers as they walk along the moonlit road one second, and in the next second Dunne's throat is ripped out on-camera and Naughton is slowly bleeding out from a werewolf bite. Later, Dunne reappears as an increasingly-rotten corpse to confront Naughton, yet the duo can't help but revert to the same snarky buddy-buddy humor.
* "[=MacGoogles=] the Scottish Frog" in ''Film/MaxKeeblesBigMove''. He ''is'' genuinely creepy-looking... and yet you won't be able to stop laughing.
* In the "musical comedy" version of ''Film/LittleShopOfHorrors'', we go from laughing to cringing, especially once Seymour starts feeding Audrey II whole human beings.
* ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead:'' Once they finally get refuge in the local pub, they are quickly besieged by zombies. As Shaun and the others try to keep the zombies at bay with a rifle, Shaun's mother admits to Liz (Shaun's ex, although his mother isn't aware of the breakup) that she was bitten by a zombie earlier in the movie, dooming her to death and resurrection. She dies in Shaun's arms as he begs her not to leave him. This is followed by a genuinely tense Mexican standoff over what to do with Shaun's mother - David reckons they have to shoot her, Shaun and Ed are hysterically protective, Liz reluctantly sides with David (calling him a "twat" in the process) - which is punctuated with some of the movie's funniest dialogue.
* The final segment of ''Film/CatsEye'' is something of a Creator/StephenKing primer for kids, combining King's penchant for horror elements from out of left field (the villain is a vicious little troll trying to suffocate a young girl in her sleep) and some amusing slapstick woven into an otherwise tense final confrontation with the heroic feline protagonist (who defeats the troll with a record playing [[Music/ThePolice The Police's]] [[SuspiciouslyAproposMusic "Every Breath You Take"]] at 78 RPM).
* In ''Film/{{Jaws}}'', the scene where Brody is complaining about having to dump chum (chopped up fish and fish blood) into the ocean begins with the line "Slow ahead. I can go slow ahead. Come on down here and chum some of this shit," and ends with the line "We're gonna need a bigger boat", having gone from funny to scary in a nanosecond when the shark abruptly appears.
* In ''Film/{{Sleuth}}'', the story jumps from funny to horrifying within a second. Some scenes you might alternate between smiling and being afraid for the characters' lives several times within one moment. You could even find yourself grinning while thinking "I think something horrible is going to happen any minute".
* The 1989 comedy ''Film/TheBurbs'' on the surface seems to be a wacky "mistaken identity" comedy about three childish protagonists who suspect that their next-door neighbors are a family of serial killers. The protagonists' wives, of course, think they're just being stupid. [[HilarityEnsues Wacky hijinks fill the rest of the movie]], until the protagonists discover that the the trunk of the next-door neighbors' car is filled with decomposed human remains. Because the neighbors really are a family of serial killers.
* There are more than a few moments of this in ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''.
* ''Film/{{Gremlins}}''. The little monsters are hilarious... until they start killing people in messy, messy ways...and sometimes still are then.
* ''Film/{{Zombieland}}''. The explanation of Rules #1 ("Cardio") and #2 ("DoubleTap") are accompanied by a visual of people being graphically attacked and killed by zombies. They are hilarious and tragic and scary all at the same time.
** The various "zombie kills" (especially the "Zombie Kill of the Week").
* ''Film/AbbottAndCostelloMeetFrankenstein'', equal parts MonsterMash horror and screwball comedy. The Franchise/UniversalHorror monsters (including Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Wolf Man, and a brain-swapping mad scientist) are real and played quite straight, but they're balanced out by Creator/AbbottAndCostello's wisecracking antics.
* ''Film/BrainDead'' is a textbook example of this, since the amount of gore and horror is so ludicrous mixed with dumb humor that it's pretty damn funny. A notable example is Lionel finding his mother ate Paquita's dog:
-->'''Paquita:''' ''[[LargeHam YOUR MOTHER ATE MY DOG!]]''\\
'''Lionel:''' Not ''all'' of it.\\
''[[[BlackComedy pan to show blood and bits of dog on the bed]]]''
* Creator/SamRaimi films drift back and forth along the SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror, and sometimes [[TheHorseshoeEffect folds the scale in half, mashing both ends together]]. ''Film/TheEvilDead1981'' started with doses of Lightmare, ''Film/EvilDead2'' increased both Horror and Comedy, ''Film/ArmyOfDarkness'' slid to slapstick extreme, the ''Film/DragMeToHell'' snapped to the other extreme but added a few tension-breakers.
** The scene where Ash's room [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_xJUQxE9tY starts laughing at him]] is probably one of the best examples of this trope in cinema. It's disturbing to watch this demonic force tormenting a likable protagonist, and to watch his sanity [[SanitySlippage fraying at the seams]] as he starts [[LaughingMad laughing along with everyone else]], and yet, at the same time, it's hard not to laugh ''with'' him thanks not only to the [[CrossesTheLineTwice ludicrously over-the-top carnage]] he's had to deal with over the past 24 hours, but also the hilariously cartoonish voices (especially that Porky Pig-sounding lamp) and the goofy special effects. Then it swings ''[[UpToEleven back]]'' to disturbing when Campbell's genuinely infectious laughter gives way to believably agonized howls of fear and exhaustion, and when he frantically blasts at something on the other side of the wall, not knowing [[NothingIsScarier what's waiting for him]] on the other side, that it's genuinely terrifying again. [[MoodWhiplash Sweet]] ''[[MoodWhiplash lord.]]''

* Any ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel involving the Things From The Dungeon Dimensions, or similar LovecraftLite monstrosities, will make it clear they're a serious and disturbing threat and, at the same time, completely ridiculous, often making the point that a creature seemingly made of the bits left over once everything else was created is probably going to fall over a lot.
* ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' enters this territory when Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river, gets sucked up a pipe, and is subsequently faced with the threat of being turned into fudge. From then on, what started as just another light ComicFantasy for kids is in BlackComedy territory as the other HateSink brats receive similarly wacky-creepy comeuppances. While the sequel ''Literature/CharlieAndTheGreatGlassElevator'' plays its threats more seriously, with potential victims given a bit more sympathy, it still has a lot of this trope: for example, Willy Wonka taunting a carnivorous alien who tried and failed to deliver the elevator a LiteralAssKicking with a song about its now-swollen rump.
* Creator/HPLovecraft's short story "The Statement of Randolph Carter" reads as a fairly typical example of the author's CosmicHorror oeuvre, right up until the last line, when instead of his friend Warren, Carter hears a hideous unearthly voice speaking on other end of their radio line from the depths of a foul and monstrous pit: "[[spoiler:{{You fool}}, Warren is DEAD]]!"

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has been doing this for longer than most series could dream of. Granted, it ''also'' dishes out plenty of outright {{Comedy}} (all flavours), HamAndCheese and high octane NightmareFuel, as well. Being able to do all of this at once, though? It's an art, which individual writers occasionally get horribly wrong. But, when it goes right, it goes ''very'' right indeed. Creator/DouglasAdams's run is still held up as ''the'' benchmark for getting Lightmare Fuel right, for all it was going on ''before'' he pitched up and has continued since. For just cause, however.
* ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'' ([[Series/BeingHumanUS both versions]]) constantly whips between wacky sitcom hijinks and extremely gory supernatural horror, which can be more than a little jarring.
* ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' has a moment of this. In one episode, [[PsychoExGirlfriend Hayden]], Ben's former mistress and student, discovers where he lives and threatens to reveal to Ben's pregnant wife that she is [[TheBabyTrap pregnant with her and Ben's love child from the affair]]. When Ben agrees to go someplace with her to discuss the pregnancy, [[PsychoSidekick Harvey]] comes out of the blue and ''[[ShovelStrike hits her dead in the face with a shovel]]''. Upon realizing that she's ''not'' dead, [[DoubleTap he hits her again]].
%% Frequently, ''{{Series/Supernatural}}'' dips into this.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'' wouldn't be what it is without its capacity to make you both laugh and shudder. Often at the same time: the Polymorph, anybody? MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily... masquerading as a pair of increasingly tight boxers. And, that's just ''one'' instance. If the EndingTheme doesn't convince you after that, nothing will.

* Music/{{Eminem}} is notorious for this. ''Music/TheMarshallMathersLP'', for instance, ''opens'' with a song about killing and raping his own mother that's played completely for laughs.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The universe of ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' is a cruel and unforgiving one, with madmen given power to burn everything they see as heretical, daemons invading worlds through the nightmares of the psychic, where merely surviving to adulthood is an accomplishment... Unless you're the Orks, in which case the universe is a permanent excuse to fight, get drunk, shoot impossibly cool guns and drive really fast without caring where you're going. Where other armybooks get lurid descriptions of the slaughter caused by daemonic incursions or waking up tomb worlds, Orks get things like defeating daemon princes with a defiant gesture involving a power claw and the daemon's groin, or a Waaagh travelling back in time and (possibly) defeating itself. Orks have it ''made''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Between {{Shout Out}}s to several horror franchises, the ([[DeadpanSnarker rather unique]]) player character's [[BloodKnight attitude]], the game [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential mechanics]] and [[BloodyHilarious mood]], ''VideoGame/{{Blood}}'' has ''plenty'' of this to go around.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'': This comes packed with hilarious, top-quality character interplay... that just happens to have a threat or two skulking quietly undercover if you [[FridgeHorror pause to think]]. We know for certain the [[SceneryPorn utterly gorgeous scenery]] ''definitely'' has oodles of [[BodyHorror horror]] just waiting to pounce, even while we're up to our eyeballs in such wonderful things as kitties and [[CoolTrain sawblade-trains]], too. And, when you do see the NightmareFuel and its frenetic action and/or creeping dread either played for drama or, you guessed it, comedy (often at the same time), it's timed to knock your socks off with a barrage of complicated feels before ducking back under the cover of character-based comedy. Yup: if this work doesn't count, nothing does.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' has Marshie and Senor Cardgage, characters who radiate nightmare fuel played entirely for laughs.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Quite a few articles from the Wiki/SCPFoundation are simultaneously somewhat scary and ''hilarious''.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-426 SCP-426:]] I am a toaster that can only be spoken of in the first person. My entire article is consequently written in this manner, which leads to a great deal of amusement. However, prolonged exposure to me also has some... ''[[PsychologicalHorror unpleasant]]'' side-effects, leading my previous owners to, be respectively, electrocuted attempting to eat an electrical socket, eating so much bread their stomach exploded, dying of blood loss after attempting [REDACTED] with me, and finally, to suffer from malnutrition after inserting two slices of bread and waiting for them to pop.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-914 SCP-914]]'s experiment log, in between straight-up funny.
--->Input: 1 lb. raw ground beef\\
Setting: Very Fine\\
Output: [DATA EXPUNGED]. Appeared to be [DATA EXPUNGED] ██████████ started mooing ██████████ bitten subject [DATA EXPUNGED] ██████████ escaped into ██████████ screaming ██████████ [DATA EXPUNGED] hungry for [DATA EXPUNGED]. Subject immediately terminated.
** Similarly, [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-447 447.]] It's perfectly safe as long as it doesn't come into contact with dead bodies. It's a good lubricant, salad dressing and improves gasoline efficiency as long as doesn't come into contact with dead bodies. It seems to be entirely benevolent but ''[[NoodleIncident must never come into contact with dead bodies]]''.
** [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-1839 SCP-1839,]] a book about fish that causes readers to begin to think they are fish as long as they read it and either hold their breaths while in air, or try to breathe underwater, causing them to drown. Note that this will not happen to you as you are a fish.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1545 SCP-1545,]] a two-person llama suit that causes the wearers to continue playing their characters until their deaths. If the back dies, the front continues to walk around and play the act. If the front dies, the back will keep dancing.
* This trope is partly the reason why ''WebVideo/BuzzfeedUnsolved'' is so popular. Disturbing murders and haunted places are interspersed with a lot of comedy, often at the genuinely scary situation's expense.
* Website/{{Cracked}} [[http://www.cracked.com/funny-1934-spiders/ would like you to know]] that SpidersAreScary.
* The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GukmQE-WIlM Mr. Bucket]] episode of ''BoardJames''. A genuinely creepy story, played completely straight, about a man being stalked through his own home by a deranged rapist... and said rapist just happens to be a candy-colored children's board game, cheerfully singing in a SimpletonVoice. You won't know whether to laugh or scream!

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' dips into this frequently. The best example of this is "The Joy" where a ZombieApocalypse virus is played completely straight, even though said virus makes everyone puke rainbows and act ridiculously happy.
* ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' is pretty much ''made'' of this, being a genuinely creepy cartoon played for absurdity.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack'' is prone to bouts of some seriously scary imagery that's played entirely for laughs.
%% ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' often falls into this. Given that Pendelton Ward worked on ''Flapjack'', it was probably inevitable.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' was all about this, at least up until [[Creator/JohnKricfalusi John K.]] was kicked out from it. The episodes produced by Games Animations also stepped in the territory of Nightmare Fuel frequently - however, with these, it was unintentional and more prone to be genuinely horrifying rather than just used for comedic effect.
%% ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' does this a lot, especially after TheMovie.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''' WesternAnimation/TreehouseOfHorror episodes can dip into this. Many of them manage to be genuinely creepy while still having all the hallmarks of the show's humor.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', pretty much anything that gives the audience NightmareFuel will also end up [[RuleOfFunny making them laugh]] at the same time such as [[TheyKilledKennyAgain Kenny's multiple deaths]], and [[Recap/SouthParkS5E4ScottTenormanMustDie Cartman making Scott Tenorman eat his own parents]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is known to use this trope occasionally. If the show's [[NightmareFuel/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Nightmare Fuel page]] is anything to go by, it might be overshooting.
%% Peri stalking Entree in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Spliced}}'' episode "Stuck Together" is portrayed as this.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' had traces of this in it's first season, went full force in the second. The highlight being [[BigBad Bill Cipher]], a genuinely sinister OmnicidalManiac who, [[spoiler: when he manages to take over the world]], treats it all like it's one big party.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' loves this. Highlights include Malory casually killing the ISIS cleaning lady staff in "The Rock" by sabotaging the lift to collapse, Ray [[spoiler:bloodily losing his hand]] in "Pocket Listing", and just about any scene involving Kreiger, an AffablyEvil MadScientist.