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[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/{{Terminator}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/terminator_in_flames_8645.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From [[Creator/JamesCameron the director's]] [[BasedOnADream nightmares]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=We0oPCPHm9E to yours!]]]]

->''"What do you fear?"''
-->-- '''Music/FearFactory''', "Fear Campaign"


This is the stuff so horrifying that it can give people the creeps for years. This scares the pants off of just about anyone to the author/creator's delight. This makes you shrink in the back of your chair, look over your shoulder, and remind yourself that what's going on is (usually) only fictional.

For many {{horror}} films, achieving this effect is the whole point (and many in-universe examples arise because KidsShouldntWatchHorrorFilms). For [[HollywoodPsych some reason]], many of us like to be scared on purpose. There may be a euphoria generated by surviving something that seems scary, or maybe we know that fiction can't hurt us (not physically, anyway) and the idea of choosing to be scared without the danger is fun. Some think it's cathartic or therapeutic in some way to explore our fears from a position of relative safety. In any case, this is normal for the genre. Others are [[NightmareFetishist fascinated by the very things that most people avoid]]. Occasionally, it overlaps with {{Squick}}.

Similarly, some {{Public Service Announcement}}s choose to employ terrifying imagery in order to [[ScareEmStraight keep people away from doing dangerous things]]. These can be sources of FridgeHorror as well, as those from different cultures or eras past can demonstrate some intensely creepy {{Family Unfriendly Aesop}}s.

On the other hand, Nightmare Fuel doesn't exist just in the horror genre and is not always the main focus of the films and shows in which it is present. In the case of such movies and shows where Nightmare Fuel or anything related to horror is far from the norm, it can be unsettling when it does occur due to the [[MoodWhiplash stark contrast]], especially if the genre of the film or show is far from horror, such as comedy or animation, [[NightmareFuel/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic or when in a show]] [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids with a very specific target demographic]].

Experiences may vary from person to person. Some people, for example, may find the invasion of monstrosities which are treated as benign to be a far more terrifying prospect than things which we need to explicitly fear. Think the difference between the monster who lives under your bed when you're grown up versus the monster who lives under your bed and [[VillainOverForDinner fist-bumps your parents]] when you were a young child.

This is an AudienceReaction, so leave it on YMMV and Nightmare Fuel tabs and don't get too worked up about what specifically goes into it -- what's NightmareRetardant for one person may well be Nightmare Fuel for another.

'''Some examples of things that are generally Nightmare Fuel include -- but are not limited to -- the following:'''

* [[SurrealHorror Surreal sequences]], usually [[DerangedAnimation animated]]. Surreal due to the UncannyValley.
* The [[CompleteMonster most evil character with no redeeming values whatsoever]].
* [[{{Gorn}} Extreme violence]] and [[CruelAndUnusualDeath deaths]].
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown. Seeing the poor victim get ''savaged'' in gory detail can have one cringing in fear.
* The [[{{Squick}} disgusting]] [[BrainBleach images]] associated with NauseaFuel.
* [[BodyHorror Unsettling body structures, human or not]].
* NightmareSequence, disturbing dream sequences and hallucinations straight out of a nightmare.
* [[NightmareFace Horrifically mutated, distorted, injured, or... unreal faces.]]
* ParanoiaFuel -- when things that should be harmless, or on your side, turn nasty.
* {{Primal Fear}}s: possibly the most universally frightening of the mix; stuff that generally everyone gets the creeps from. Includes but is not limited to:
** [[CosmicHorrorStory The]] [[NothingIsScarier unknown]].
** Swarms of fear-inducing animals such as [[SwarmOfRats rats]], [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent snakes]], spiders, or [[TheSwarm insects]].
** Being [[BuriedAlive buried alive]]... or [[EatenAlive eaten alive]].
** Being [[RapeAsDrama raped]] - [[MarsNeedsWomen especially by something that isn't human]].
** [[KillItWithFire People being set on fire]], or fire endangering the lives of people while they struggle to escape.
** Being drowned, particularly if it's done very slowly...
** Being trapped without escape with a violent and/or unpredictable human/animal/thing that wants to harm you.
* {{Adult Fear}}s. Those things children seldom worry about: economic failure, romantic failure, watching helplessly as your children die, or possibly even TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* {{Transformation Sequence}}s with plenty of BodyHorror, including {{Chest Burster}}s.
* Rotting corpses, [[ZombieApocalypse possibly reanimated]].
* [[TheVirus Diseases]]. [[ObliviouslyEvil They have no intelligence to bear anyone ill will]], but once an infection/outbreak occurs, the attack will never stop until they are completely annihilated... or their victims are.
* Mutilation of specific body parts, such as [[EyeScream the eyes]], [[FacialHorror face]], [[{{Fingore}} fingers]], [[TheToothHurts teeth]], [[GroinAttack genitalia]], [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe or]] [[OffWithHisHead even]] [[ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice worse]] [[BeatStillMyHeart than]] [[StrippedToTheBone those]] [[FlayingAlive injuries]].
* [[FateWorseThanDeath Fates so horrific one can only wish for death]]. [[TakenForGranite Being turned into stone]], [[SealedRoomInTheMiddleOfNowhere being trapped in another dimension]], [[AndIMustScream being encased in a tomb for eternity]], or [[UnwillingRoboticisation being forcefully made into a machine without consent]]
* A sexual or romantic obsession with someone [[StalkerWithACrush that]] [[{{Yandere}} goes]] [[IfICantHaveYou too]] [[MurderTheHypotenuse far]].
* [[CrapsackWorld The]] [[SadistTeacher incredible]] [[WretchedHive depravity]] [[CorruptCorporateExecutive and monstrosity]] [[AbusiveParents of]] [[HumansAreBastards human beings]] [[KidsAreCruel at]] [[TeensAreMonsters their absolute worst]].
* [[AxCrazy Psychotic behavior]] presented in a [[CuteAndPsycho disturbingly]] [[PsychopathicManchild childish]], [[StepfordSmiler calm]], or [[DissonantSerenity serene]] manner, [[FridgeHorror alluding to the potential inhumane]] [[EmptyShell nature]] of the individual.
* [[FaceHeelTurn Former heroes]] [[RogueProtagonist committing]] [[MoralEventHorizon completely reprehensible acts both]] [[ObliviouslyEvil willingly]] [[MindControlEyes or]] [[GrandTheftMe worse]] [[BrainwashedAndCrazy unwillingly.]]
* [[SurrealHorror Surreal]] [[OurMonstersAreWeird monsters]] and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that have [[BodyHorror horrific appearances]].
* {{Soundtrack Dissonance}}, when used correctly, can make a scene extremely horrifying.
* Being [[FetusTerrible pregnant]] with an EldritchAbomination or other evil entity, or your [[EnfantTerrible child]] becoming one of these things.
* [[DespairEventHorizon Losing all reason or]] [[DrivenToSuicide willpower to continue living]].
* [[BigBrotherIsWatching A totalitarian authority]] [[TheCaligula of any kind]] [[AndIMustScream so harsh that one wishes to die or escape from it]].
* A CrapsackWorld so vast and immutable that revolution, change, or even escape is a laughable impossibility.
* Death and destruction.
* [[WombLevel Being inside a living creature]].
* [[ImAHumanitarian Consumption of people]] [[ToServeMan as food]]. [[ExtremeOmnivore Wanna take that many steps even further?]]
* [[MindRape Having your mind played with]], be it wiping your memory out, Mind Control, [[BrainwashedAndCrazy brainwashing]], re-enacting past horrific events, [[MindProbe invasion of your thoughts]], or whatever else [[IncrediblyLamePun comes to mind]].
* [[SuperPersistentPredator Being hunted]] '''[[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame AND]]''' [[ImplacableMan chased endlessly.]]
* [[HellIsThatNoise Disturbing]] [[BrownNote noises]]. And by extension, [[VoiceOfTheLegion disturbing]] [[CreepyMonotone voices]].
* Think you're safe behind the FourthWall because it is Fiction? '''[[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou THINK AGAIN!]]'''
* [[GameBreakingBug Game (and general software) bugs]] that result in horrifying effects such as [[OffModel contorted character mdoels]], screeching sound effects, completely scrambled visuals, and [[JumpScare sudden]] [[NothingIsScarier blank screens]].
* Oh, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking taxes]].

Tropes used to invoke this feeling are HorrorTropes. Tropes ''about'' fear are FearTropes. If it is ''unintentionally'' scary, it's AccidentalNightmareFuel. If it is meant to scare but fails to deliver, and [[{{Narm}} becomes hilarious instead]], it devolves into NightmareRetardant. Characters that are this InUniverse are TheDreaded.

!!Examples, by Medium

[[index]]
* NightmareFuel/{{Advertising}}
* NightmareFuel/{{Anime}}
* NightmareFuel/ComicBooks
* NightmareFuel/{{Fanfiction}}
* NightmareFuel/{{Film}}
* NightmareFuel/{{Literature}}
* NightmareFuel/LiveActionTV
* NightmareFuel/{{Manga}}
* NightmareFuel/{{Manhwa}}
* NightmareFuel/{{Music}}
* NightmareFuel/MusicVideos
* NightmareFuel/MythologyAndFolklore
* NightmareFuel/PlayByPostGames
* NightmareFuel/ProfessionalWrestling
* NightmareFuel/TabletopGames
* NightmareFuel/ThemeParks
* NightmareFuel/VanityPlate
* NightmareFuel/VideoGames
* NightmareFuel/WebAnimation
* NightmareFuel/{{Webcomics}}
* NightmareFuel/WebOriginal
* NightmareFuel/WesternAnimation
** NightmareFuel/WesternAnimationTV
** NightmareFuel/WesternAnimationFilm
* NightmareFuel/{{Other}}
[[/index]]

And in case you're planning on sleeping tonight... [[SugarWiki/SweetDreamsFuel here y'go]].

''This item is also now available in our '''TropeCo''' catalog.''
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