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Faux Horrific
This is the cast of the Wing Commander movie? The horror! The horror!

Spoony: Can't we come up with something new and original for an evil computer to do than launch nukes and crash the stock market? Something legitimately scary? Guys, please, I'm begging ya'.
Professor Roswell: He could make... Gary Coleman president.
Spoony: AHHHHHH! OH MY GOD! RUN! PANIC! EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! GOOOOOO!

A comedy trope where something is played up to be terrifying, and it clearly is not. It's not even something that sets off a common phobia. Sometimes the scene is shot like a horror film. Bonus points if the Psycho Strings are playing.

Advertisements can do this, to show how either not using the product or using a rival product can be horrific. Do you have any Grey Poupon? No? Then EAT LEAD.

Often a Caustic Critic will do this with finding out he has to review some works he really hates, as a way to show that Suckiness Is Painful. Sometimes, even just holding the work in hand is enough to cause emotional scars.

A Super Trope to Place Worse Than Death.

Compare Felony Misdemeanor, Lightmare Fuel, Screaming At Squick, Nightmare Retardant, Mundane Ghost Story, Comical Overreacting.

Contrast Fridge Horror (portrayed as not scary, but ends up being so).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 

  • In episode 2 of Season 2 of K-On!!, after cleaning out the closet of the music room, Mio and Asuza find out that Yui left a lot of things still and get mad at her. Yui pouts and claims that Ui would get mad and make a scary face if the latter brought more stuff home. Cue cutscene showing a "scary" Ui giving a thumbs up to Yui, after the latter had dropped other stuff she took home earlier and apologized profusely. Both Mio and Asuza wonder if Ui isn't the older, more responsible sister after all.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Tamaki has a nightmare about the squalor Haruhi might be living in.
  • An episode of Sailor Moon does this with going to the dentist.
  • Angel Densetsu does this all the time, since its premise is that its good-hearted, gentle main character is scary to everyone around him.

    Film 
  • The squirrel scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, where everyone reacts to the tiny rodent as if it were a knife-wielding lunatic.
  • The story of getting a perm in Troop Beverly Hills.
  • High Anxiety, naturally, being a spoof of Alfred Hitchcock films, especially the shower scene.
  • The Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie has two examples within about five minutes. First, the newly-regenerated Doctor is set up to be kind of scary, with the whole Finger Twitching Revival, Barrier-Busting Blow thing when he wakes up at the morgue, and then he's shown wide-eyed, shivering, and clutching a shroud around himself. Also, he's rather short, skinny, and cute. Nonetheless, the morgue attendant does a Girly Man Faint when he sees him. Then, when the Doctor goes to remedy his no-clothing situation, he finds a Nixon Mask in someone's locker. He flinches and there's a Scare Chord.
  • Monsters, Inc.: A subversion, "There is nothing more toxic or deadly than a human child!" Seeing as monsters use children's screams as a power source, their fear is somewhat understandable. How would you feel if a rod of active plutonium started following you around and calling you "Kitty"?

    Fan Works 
  • Harveste Addams And The Prisoner Of Azkaban: Harveste reacts this way when his boggart turns into a scene involving fresh air, happy music, flowers, and kittens. It takes one and a half bottles of Vodka to calm him down.
    "Harveste-"
    He stepped forward, curious to see what it would change into. What was an Addams afraid of, after all?
    The Boggart flickered, and disappeared into a pool of sunshine. Peppy music seemed to bloom through the air on the wings of a pine-scented breeze, lightening the shadows, inducing a spate of foot-tapping with its catchy riffs. There was a yellow, sunflower-patterned boot. It had three wriggly kittens, one green eyed, one blue and one silver. They mewled ingratiatingly and one tumbled out in a furry little heap.
    There was a pot of flowers in full bloom.
    Harry took a step back with speed. "Loki's womb…" He breathed with horrified despair. "It's awful."
    Draco and Blaise watched Harry stumble into the common room, closely followed by an anxious Hermione.
    "What on earth happened?" She asked them, her eyes on their friend. He was in the closet, throwing out skirt after skirt, blouse after blouse. "He's shaking."
    "Boggart." They both said together.
    "Oh no. What did it turn into? Some huge, slavering, scaly, blood-soaked beast?"
    "Don't tease me so, darling." Harry moaned, desperately burying his hands into black lace and chiffon to try and forget. "It was the most horribly disgusting thing I've ever seen. The fresh air…the music…the flowers…"
    It took a bottle and a half of strongest vodka before Harry could control himself, but he twitched every time someone even mentioned cats.
  • Chapter 59 of You Got HaruhiRolled! is called "The Scaries Chapter Yet". It's only scary if you think the Cut and Paste Translation of 4Kids Entertainment are frightening instead of silly. Further cementing this trope is that the chapter was written as the Grand Finale of a special week of horror-story chapters in the lead-up to Halloween.
  • The Chosen Four: The ghosts in the tunnel scare our heroes and the Runaway Five with ADVANCED CALCULUS and a COPY OF SUPERMAN 64! "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"
  • Taya in Diaries Of A Madman seems to view getting dressed up as this. After being forced to do so for the Gala, you'd almost thing the girl went through a war zone.
  • This video, in which the narrator has the same reaction to the first three episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as someone did to Boku No Piko, complete with the speaker being so traumatized he believes himself to be The Soulless.

    Literature 
  • In My Godawful Life, a parody of Misery Lit, all characters react with extreme horror at the mention of Northumberland (a county in the north of England.) Being forced to live there is described as far and away the most horrific event in the main character's life, even though he has suffered every misfortune and indignity imaginable. The author has said in interviews that this is a Take That at the "Wife in the North" blog, written by a woman who had moved from London to Northumberland with her family.
  • In the Discworld books, the males of the Nac Mac Feegle (who outnumber the females about 100 to 1) live in fear of such feminine wiles as "the foldin' o' the arms", "the pursin' o' the lips", and "the tappin' o' the feet". Tiffany uses these tricks in Wintersmith when confronting them about stealing food from an elderly witch's "going-away party", and can't help but burst out laughing at the frenzy of guilt the Feegles work themselves into.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Married... with Children, Peg redecorates the bathroom, and Al finds all the pink terrifying. He looks at some photos, and instead sees the Grim Reaper.
    • At one point in the episode is a POV shot of Al inspecting the bathroom, in a manner similar to the shower scene in Psycho. It ends with him fainting at the sight of knitted cozies on the toilet seat.
  • Basically anything that ever happened in Garth Marenghis Darkplace, like in the episode "Scotch Mist".
  • An episode of My Family has Ben react this way when Susan plays the cello after Janey moves out. The music causes him to back into a corner, making the cross sign with his fingers.
  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, the gang visit a hippie-run resort, and when they find out there's no meat or alcohol available, their reactions come complete with a Scare Chord.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode It Lives by Night begins with Mike showing the bots paint samples as they prepare to redecorate the satellite a bit. The bots have humorously weird reactions to the first colors, including one supposedly the color of dried blood that is said to make the viewer mad. (Tom: "I think it would be perfect for the can!") Both are frightened to the point of hiding, however, by the eggshell sample.
    • The opening skit for The Rebel Set has the bots pestering Joel to tell them a really scary story - Joel perhaps goes too far, reading excerpts from "Life's Little Instruction Book", leaving the two whimpering in terror.
      • Dr. Forrester added his two cents worth;
        That's nothing, Joel. Stephen King said, "I have seen the future of horror and it's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten!:
    • MST 3 K in general runs on this trope, with a lot of the humor coming from Joel/Mike and the bots' over-the-top horrified reactions to the bad movies they watch. Even the Mads get in on the Faux Horrific action, such as with their reactions to "Manos" The Hands of Fate, The Beast of Yucca Flats, and Hobgoblins. To be fair, those are some legendarily awful movies.
  • The "Avocado Bathroom Suite" sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look
  • X-Play did a review of a Disney Princess game as though it was the most horrifying game ever. They even interpreted Belle saying an outfit could melt Beast's heart as meaning it was so horrible, it would liquefy your internal organs.
  • In the remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Jeff and Jeannie are shown various sinister experiments in the laboratories of the PAIN corporation, before they are shown soemtihng we don't initially see. Creepy music is played until their guide nonchalantly introduces the room as "...the gym".
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Cardinal Fang! Fetch...THE COMFY CHAIR!"

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Back when Apple released the first iMac, Jason of FoxTrot dressed up as one for Halloween. Peter didn't understand how it was supposed to be scary, to which Jason replied "I have no floppy drive!" which quickly reduces Peter to a quivering wreck.
    • Don't forget this line: "...and when she opened the closet door, all the clothes were polyester!"
    • One Halloween, Jason obtains massive amounts of candy by dressing up as a Blue Screen of Death
    Jason: A fatal exception 0e has occurred.
    Man: (screams)
    Jason: The current application will be terminated.
    Man: (screams)
    Jason: Press any key to continue.
    Man: Here! Take it all! Just go away! Please!
    • Jason then says that he "should send Microsoft some of this [candy]".
    • One of Jason's nightmares has him taking an extremely easy math test.
  • Garfield brings us couple of examples:
    • There's this:
    Jon: {reading a book labeled "Scary Stories"} Then the zombie crept closer and closer!
    Garfield: Lame.
    Jon: Then he broke down the door and walked into the house!
    Garfield: Ooohh, I'm so scared.
    Jon: And he ate the last of the roast turkey.
    Garfield: OH NO!
    • And this gem:
    Garfield: Welcome to Garfield's Horror Theater.
    Garfield (cont.): WE'RE OUT OF COOKIES!
    Garfield (cont. again): You've been watching Garfield's Horror Theater.

    Radio 
  • An episode of soccer-based BBC comedy Lenin of the Rovers features an Apocalypse Now parody in which the Colonel Kurtz character is driven insane not by the horrors of Vietnam, but by witnessing the (real-life) occasion when English soccer player Jeff Astle missed an open goal against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup on the TV in a G.I. bar.
    Ricky Lenin: The horror! The horror!
    Colonel Harris: I relive that miss every day, Mister Lenin.
    Ricky: As does Jeff Astle, I should imagine. On his way to work with his ladder, his bucket of soapy water and his shammy leather.

    Video Games 
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island Guybrush is so afraid of porcelain. He says “When will this nightmare end!”
  • In The Binding of Isaac, most things that happen to Isaac are actually horrific. However, one of his traumatizing memories is of a moment in which he was going to the bathroom and noticed there was no toilet paper left. His horrified reaction is the same as when he is actually being tortured.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • As in the picture, The Spoony Experiment does this all the time.
  • The Nostalgia Critic does this a few times, like the reveal that Good Burger would be his next review.
    • "Wanna know what's really scary? Stephen King is writing Drama again!" *SKREEM!!*
    • In the review of IT, the Critic was terrorized to death by a silly-looking red balloon with eyes.
    • He and Phelous were once attacked by an evil toaster. (Well, they did ask what other common household objects could turn against you...) Naturally they pretended to be frightened before starting to laugh.
  • Like Spoony and Critic mentioned above, Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation constantly employs this trope as part of his general Accentuate the Negative tactics, often explaining in detail the excessive and disgusting bout of self-mutilation brought on by the latest game. Though unlike those two, he tends to do so in a deadpan tone of voice.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has been known to scream or recoil in terror by what she has to review. Such as the time a frog in tits and heels came on the screen in Thumbelina.
  • Jon Tron spoofed Final Fantasy XIII and its linearity in this video.
    "The game's playing itself, Jon. The game's playing itself, Jon!"
  • Uncyclopedia parodies an infamous shock video, describing something involving two girls getting off on a "horrific, shocking perversion of mathematical law."
  • In Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, Raquelle fails to enjoy getting dragged to Barbie's camping trip after mistaking butterflies, daisies, and Blissa the housecat for killer bees, poison ivy, and a bear, respectively. Though, when Raquelle finds an actual bear in the jacuzzi, she decides not to freak out about it.
  • The "2spooky" internet meme consists of people taking various pictures of skeletons and acting like they are the most horrifying thing in the world.
  • Perhaps fittingly seeing above, the TGWTG txt account boasts tales of terror from said fandom but instead of sexism or anything else the producers complain about, it just has mundane quotes from women thinking the conventionally attractive men are attractive and fanfic quotes that the site has often encouraged.
  • In the Ultra Fast Pony episode "Derp and Destruction", the cast remains "on the verge of panic!" due to a visit by a creepy postman... with a letter for them!

    Western Animation 
  • Wormy, the caterpillar turned butterfly in SpongeBob SquarePants, is played like this, although the closeup shots of Wormy's face were of a horsefly, not a butterfly, to try to make it look more menacing. Happens again as SpongeBob and Patrick were chased by a grasshopper with scuba gear.
    • "Oh my gosh...a FLOATING SHOPPING LIST!"
    • The episode Krab-Borg. Everybody remember what kind of show gives SpongeBob nightmares and delusion in the next day?
    • "Sing a Song of Patrick". Patrick's song is something of a Brown Note in-universe; to the viewers, it can range from "not that horrible, really" to "quite catchy".
    • In "Suds", SpongeBob reacts in horror of Patrick's description of the terrors of the doctor's office. "They make you read... OLD MAGAZINES!"
    • "Hall Monitor": Patrick is so scared of the Maniac that just seeing a police sketch of him sends him into a screaming fit. Said sketch is clearly a stick figure rendering of SpongeBob, and they didn't even drew him scary-looking.
  • In a Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror" connecting segment parodying Night Gallery, Bart directs the viewer's attention to a painting he claims is so horrific that "merely to gaze at it is to go mad." Cut to Homer looking at one of the Dogs Playing Poker paintings, freaking out and collapsing in hysterical laughter. Bart follows this by saying, "We had a story to go with this painting, but it was far too intense." So it turns out to be a lead in to an unrelated vampire story.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures did a similar gag in their Night Gallery spoof. The picture in question was Babs' third-grade school photo.
  • Freakazoid!: The scariest thing in the world would be if they gave Sinbad another show.
    • Government agencies have been established to prevent it from ever occurring again.
      • Or if you went to reach for something... but it wasn't there. Because it turned into wood!
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the ponies are terrified of the Everfree Forest, where plants grow wild, animals care for themselves, and the weather changes all on its ownnote .
    • There's also the bunny stampede from "Applebuck Season". "The horror... the horror!"
    • Rainbow Dash in "Read It and Weep" when she realizes she likes reading.
    • In "Magic Duel" Trixie uses her magic to torment various ponies via Body Horror (giving Rainbow Dash uneven wings, attaching Snips and Snails together by the horn, etc.) Then when she targets Rarity, she merely forces Rarity to wear a tacky dress. Rarity's response? Faint.
      • In general this is Rarity's response to almost anything that is tacky.
  • Family Guy
    • Stewie sees a picture of a fully nude woman, and as he's just a baby, seeing her crotch made him scream and shoot the magazine with a machine gun.
    • Quagmire tells a Ghost Story that's clearly only scary to him. The scene can seen be here.
    • Meg's very existence in later seasons.
  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth is rescued from a Lotus-Eater Machine at the Near Death Star. He describes what it's like as thus: "It was as though I were living in a facility in Florida with hundreds of other old people. All day long we'd play bingo, eat oatmeal and wait for our children to call." Cue gasps of horror from the crew.
    Leela: It's a hundred times more horrible than anything I could imagine.
  • On The Amazing World of Gumball, a robber holds up a gas station with only a spoon, which the other characters think it's a lethal weapon. When he gets caught in the end, the cop laughs it off.
  • On Tales From The Crypt Keeper, the episode "The Sleeping Beauty" ends with vain Prince Charmless Chuck getting turned into a vampire, which to his horror means he can no longer admire himself in the mirror.
  • The Garfield and Friends episode "Uncle Roy To The Rescue" opens with Wade doing a Wild Take, fleeing away, and hiding in a trashcan because he got a free sample of soap in the mail. Roy has a similar overreaction when he finds out his niece Chloe is coming for a visit.
  • In an episode of Mike, Lu & Og, Mike has a flashback to her life in Manhattan where she reveals that she's always hated going shoe shopping, describing it like a claustrophobic nightmare.
  • South Park dedicates an entire episode to this in "I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining", which takes it Up to Eleven. Not only is the boredom of ziplining enough to torture and traumatize, it can even kill you. Or at least Kenny.
  • Tuff Puppy when Larry takes over D.O.O.M. he changes his name into Murray, everyone in T.U.F.F. gasps in fear at the sound of it.
  • Daria has Quinn tell a campfire story in which Cinderella's Fairy Godmother dresses her in a Pimped-Out Dress, albeit with clunky silver and gold sequins and a skirt so large, it makes Cinderella look fat. When Helen asks, "Is this really a scary story?", Quinn answers that she has yet to describe Cinderella's shoes.
  • Subverted in the Invader Zim episode "A Room with a Moose". Zim decides to send Dib through a wormhole into a room with a moose. Initially, Dib appears to be terrified but soon realises that a moose is not particularly frightening.
    Dib: Noooo! (beat) Wait a minute, did you say moose?
    Zim: Yes, your fear is overwhelming, no?
    • And then played straight when, upon watching the moose eat some walnuts, Dib becomes inexplicably horrified and determined to escape the wormhole at all costs.
  • The Brain's attempt at a horror story.


Fat Comic ReliefComedy TropesFaux To Guide
Enemy WithoutImageSource/InternetMoment of Awesome
Faux Horror FilmHorror TropesA Fête Worse than Death

alternative title(s): Fauxriffic; What Do You Mean Its Not Horrific
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