<Opius>So i stroke and stroke and stroke, and it does nothing
<Opius>then all of a sudden it goes nuts and puts white shit all over my work
<p4>i wont ask
qdb.us#33726 (abridged) Opius is talking about the stroke tool in Photoshop.
Sometimes, when you walk in at the climax of something, it appears disturbingly violent and brutal (or creepy). And then, when you watch it in the proper order, it actually seems less disturbing, if possibly still brutal (or creepy).
What's going on here?
Answer: The violence is built up to; the Villain is shown to be Ax Crazy, and the hero is shown to be acting relatively sanely, and the point you walked in was the Despair Spot.
In other words, it's Less Disturbing In Context.
Note: If the film/show you're watching contains only one such scene, then your parents/grandparents/significant other/etc. will, with 100% certainty, walk in on you just when it happens to be on.
Subtrope of It Makes Sense in Context. Contrast Fridge Horror. Bonus internet points if "It's Not What It Looks Like" is uttered.
In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Rika's suicide is quite disturbing taken out of context, but in the context of the series, it becomes a Crowning Moment of Awesome. A disturbing Crowning Moment of Awesome, but at least a less disturbing one. This is deliberately invoked, because the infamous scene appears at the beginning of the fifth episode, before the opening sequence, with absolutely no context, and it's not until the second half of the season that we see the events leading up to that scene.
Inverted in the first episode with a Cold Opening that may be shocking, but isn't quite disturbing until seen in the context of the arc. And then becomes more disturbing the more context is revealed after the arc.
The fact that you will laugh at it is probably the most disturbing thing about it all, you seriously disturbed person, you.
Young man mutating into a monster and ripping a little girl's head off with his teeth? Even those who had read/watched Dance in the Vampire Bund up to that point probably flinched a little over that scene (while cheering the backfiring of a rather sadistic Shape Shifter Guilt Trip, admittedly) , seeing it out of context....
The key thing that makes this less disturbing in context is that this is one of the main characters doing it and he's done this kind of thing before (albeit usually to those who look like they could put up a fight).
In the Once Upon a Time in China series, Wong Fei-Hung has a romantic relationship with his own aunt... who is not a blood relative, only a relative through marriage.
There are one or two scenes in Love Actually that look like porn. In actuality the characters are lighting doubles and the director needs to make sure "everything" will be visible (while the characters just sit there and chat about the weather and politics). When watching the movie alone, it is practically guaranteed that someone else will enter the room during that scene.
This trope is played with in Grosse Pointe Blank. The trained assassin, Blank, kills someone because this person is trying to assassinate him. However, Blank's girlfriend, who witnesses this, treats it like he's a serial killer and would kill anyone for no reason. Luckily, It Got Better.
I Love You Phillip Morris: About twenty minutes in, the movie suddenly cuts to Stephen having sex with a mustached man, complete with a barely covered, sweaty Jim Carrey (read: it's so graphic, it had a very limited release in American theaters). Granted, it's about a closeted Straight Gay conman and the scene is completely unprecedented, but failing to have any knowledge on the premise can give the impression that softcore gay pornography is being viewed.
If you watched Timecop in the VHS days, you might have thought someone had taped over it halfway through when it suddenly switched to porn. If you get into an awkward situation, just explain to your grandma that the movie is actually about an agency that polices time travel and the scene in question is a virtual reality sex simulation that has no bearing on the plot.
A major plot point of the His Dark Materials trilogy involves the two main characters killing the Christian God. People hearing this without context probably imagine this as quite different from how it was actually portrayed. Technically, he dies of old age, and the two of them just happened to be there when it happens, and while they may have had a role in it they didn't do it intentionally, in essence making it a Mercy Kill. And under one interpretation, God is really The Dust, while the antagonist is an impostor.
Piers Anthony's Firefly has several stories-within-a-story told by a character of dubious sanity with a lot of hangups about sex, at least two of which would be pretty freaky if they were simply described to someone who hadn't read them. One's about two (prepubescent!) children discovering sex and an older woman who overhears their failure at their first try—she leaves a bottle of lubricant where they can find it, which in the context of the narration sounds charming rather than creepy. The other's about a man on trial for statutory rape who turns out to have been talked into the act by the (again, prepubescent!) girl—even in context that one's a little off, but not quite as off given that the man was reluctant every step of the way and clearly cares about the girl. Then again, the latter gets more disturbing given some context that's given later: that particular story, alone amongst them, wasn't made up by the storytelling character. She was the girl, and her angst and self-hatred come from blaming herself for the death of the man, who was knifed in prison by an inmate who hated child molesters.
Nobody ever said everything on this page had to be a lot less disturbing in context.
There's a Babysitters Club book that does this in-universe: Jessi goes to visit Stacey in NYC and overhears two guys discussing their plan to commit a robbery. She and her pseudo-boyfriend then spend the whole book following them around trying to get more concrete evidence, before overhearing hearing a repeat of the same scene, except this time with the two men bursting into laughter partway through and one exclaiming "Check your script!"
In Seven Men Of Gascony the sixteen year old Camp Follower Nicheolette took turns marrying several members of The Squad until they died in combat or otherwise. Not brutal but kind of squicky. It is less disturbing when it is understood that this was to announce to other soldiers that she had the squad's protection in a camp full of young men who were accustomed to violence and seldom saw a woman.
“Niles was getting on my nerves, so I had to go in and steal his ovaries.”
"I tell ya, I'd be happy if Niles traded in a couple of teeth for his cojones!" Bonus These are both from the same episode.
Friends: When Phoebe goes to the hospital in labor, she tells the receptionist that "The father is my brother." She's acting as a surrogate for her brother and his wife, but the receptionist doesn't know that, and gives her a very strange look.
Rachel: I am so going to miss watching you freak people out like that!
Scrubs: The following conversation between Dr. Kelso and Carla:
Kelso:...And yet, for some reason I'm not wearing a party hat sitting bare-ass on the hospital's copier machine. You know why? It's not because I have "Johnny" tattooed on my butt. He was an old navy buddy and if you went through what we did you'd understand... It's because your little theory is way off.
Everything Larry David does in Curb Your Enthusiasm, due to the other characters misinterpreting what Larry has done. An example being the episode in which Larry puts a water bottle down his pants to sneak it into a theatre, and a little girl hugs him. She feels the water bottle, then runs into the lobby screaming, "MOMMY! MOMMY! That bald man's in the bathroom and there's something hard in his pants!" Larry has no choice but to escape through the window.
A common trope is to introduce a character who initially seems friendly, then have them do something shocking that appears to be an out of character moment. Then their back story starts getting revealed and it becomes clear why these things have been done. An example being Gus in Breaking Bad who seems friendly considering his position as a drug dealer. But then we see him brutally murder Victor for the sole reason of scaring Walt and Jesse. Soon we see a flashback where Gus's friend Max is killed in a similar manner.
Not violent, but there are some scenes in Mother 3 that are... questionable. When Lucas gains PSI powers, it involves another character (that just so happens to look like a transvestite) holding his head under the water of a hot spring. Out of context, it could easily be mistaken for some kind of weird rape scene.
It's rather amazing how many people will quote one line from Silent Hill 3: "Monsters? They looked like monsters to you?" Check this wiki's Fridge Horror page for the usual reaction. What they leave out is the follow-up: "...kidding! Just kidding." In the context of the series, the monsters of Silent Hill really are monsters.
In Devil May Cry 4, Nero's special Devil Bringer move against Sanctus: brutally pummeling an old man in the gut with his giant demonic arm, repeatedly. If you know what that old man was up to it's a bit less unheroic to be doing that, but it's still hard to watch.
Due to foreign MM Os sometimes having been through "Blind Idiot" Translation, we get some weird terms that most bystanders would be freaked out by. Namely in RF Online, you could get someone saying something like "I'm killing hobos for money!". Hobo is actually a type of enemy that is good farming material for lower levels.
The way Evokers (handgun-shaped devices needed for summoning Personas) are used - by putting it to your head and pulling the trigger - can be disturbing even to those who know that they don't shoot bullets. This is especially jarring during the opening cutscene (when you aren't supposed to know about it yet), where one of the characters seemingly tries to kill herself. Strangely enough, a lot of people find Evokers one of the coolest things in the franchise.
Not only is Super Paper Mario about an Omnicidal Maniac trying to destroy the the multi-verse, an entire chapter of the story is dedicated to the heroes' murder and their descent into the underworld. It's actually presented in a humorous tone, and the characters actually make it to heaven before continuing on with their quest.
In the Mass Effect 2 DLC Overlord, a Paragon Shepard has the option to pistol whip Dr. Archer for what he did to his autistic younger brother, essentially turning him into a living computer, the titular Overlord. In any other context this might come off as a Jumping Off the Slippery Slope moment since Shepard, who's fully armored and makes a habit of taking out species destroying monsters is attacking an unarmed man, and as a Paragon isn't supposed to do stuff like that, but in context you'll probably be cheering instead.
ThisSluggy Freelance strip. It's amazing how quickly you become desensitized to kittens slaughtering half-naked people.
More 'Less Poignant In Context', but this minusstrip. It becomes less hopeful and more reasonable with the knowledge that the girl with the baseball bat is basically God.
A straight example is the last arc. The title character kills every human being on Earth — accidentally. The reason it isn't a full-on Downer Ending is because everyone chooses to live on in the spirit world instead, and "life" there is essentially just like life on Earth. It's still pretty gloomy, though.
In terms of Squick rather than brutal violence: in the epilogue to Act 4 of Homestuck, Jade's grandfather stuffs and preserves the corpse of her dead dream self.
Also, later on this part, showing an an angry glowing vampire chainsawing a clearly terrified guy in half. If you read the events leading up to that point, you would be cheering on the vampire with the chainsaw. (click the ==> button a few times)
Also, the semi-frequent Kissing of Corpses is a lot less disturbing (although still somewhat squicky) when you understand It's a way of resurrecting someone who's recently died.
This short story from rec.humor.funny has this happening to two people playing multiplayer Doom on a plane.
Just try talking about Survival of the Fittest without people giving you strange looks. Just... try. This includes talking about the premise of teenagers being kidnapped by terrorists and forced to fight to the death. And specific scenes can fall into this as well; to most people a scene where a teenager pins another teenager to a tree with a sword and carves words into his chest would be disturbing, for example, but once you know the context it's a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
A number of supposedly true short stories about Soviet borderguard sergeant "Allur" have been circulating Russian websites since late 1990s. In one story an inspecting major enters a weapon storeroom, then a gunshot is heard. The sergeant and a private rush in and see the major and another private covered head to toes in white goo and holding a Playboy issuenote porn was illegal in the USSR, but merely possessing it was usually punished with confiscation, especially by 1990, when the story is set. As it turned out, the major was checking if all rifles were properly unloaded, one rifle shot, the bullet flew through a can of wallpaper glue atop the weapon locker, splattering the glue all over the room, then the falling can knocked somebody's porn stash off the locker. In the end all blame was assigned to the last private who used the gun.
Also AMV of the Halloween Episode would count as well. The episode is actually much more lighthearted.
The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Lesson Zero" has Twilight come across what appears to be Fluttershy beating a bear severely and then breaking its neck. She was actually performing chiropractic therapy on it
That same episode has a driven-to-insanity Twilight approach three VERY young girls and saying "Hi, Girls..." slowly and with a really creepy face. Anyone who saw this without realizing what it was would just scream "RUN, CHILDREN! RUN!"
"The Return Of Harmony, Part 2" features a scene where Discorded Rainbow Dash is tied up and pleading "Lemme go! I don't need you guys! Leave me alone!" as Twilight Sparkle walks up to her. Twilight is, in fact, trying to save her from being Brainwashed and Crazy.
Another isHomer Simpson's "Oh great, now my testicle's got ants on it!". (To top that, it was the Spanish/Spain dub, which makes it slightly worse, as the phrasing comes off more as "ants in it"). It was the chapter where Homer gets sent to an island as a missionary, and he drops the ox testicle he was drinking from. The setting is still somewhat disturbing, but that lines's nowhere near as close.
Some computer scientist lecturers have to consciously remember to shut the doors and windows to the classroom before starting a lecture about UNIX Processes. Topics like "Forking children and then killing them," "Killing the parents so the children become orphans" or "What to do to prevent dead children from becoming zombies" tend to raise eyebrows of passersby that aren't familiar with the jargon. If you're curious about what kind of computer jargon would involve infanticide, it's more innocuous than it sounds.
It's even worse if you're talking about it in a language which lacks neutral pronouns, "just kill him if he misbehaves" comes out pretty disturbing out of context, even if the unwary listeners assume you're talking about animals (squid, tomcat, gnu ... ).
Truth in Television for many kinds of gamers: talking about what happened in role-playing game of any kind that is Darker and Edgier enough in public can get you anything from strange looks to arrested...
Just be careful never to related what your character did in the first person...
In Norway, a role-player had lost a note he'd written in first-person during a Modern Day game on the bus in Trondheim, and was pulled out of class in Olso by policemen who wanted to know why and how the hell he was going to do with a list of explosives, weapons and a plan to blow up an oil platform, and who he was working with, and who he was working for...
Try walking down the street and holding a conversation about a game with buckets of Video Game Cruelty Potential and watch the weird looks from passers-by.
Anthony Trollope overheard some people discussing the latest installment of his novel which was being published a chapter at a time in a magazine. One reader said, "I wish he'd kill off that horrible old woman!" Trollope interrupted to say, "That's an excellent idea. I'll kill her this afternoon!" (The same story is told about Charles Dickens and some other popular authors of the day.)
Richmal Crompton used this as the plot of one of the Just William stories: William eavesdrops on a man telling his friend that he's planning to kill a woman, but he turns out to be a writer talking about one of his characters.
More than one geologist has received an evil eye (or worse) when someone overhears part of a conversation that may include words such as "dike", "thrust", "bedding" and "cleavage".
An advice columnist once advised a victim of frequent eavesdropping to have a little fun with the situation by loudly debating where to hide the drugs, what girl to send on the next call, or the like. A policeman wrote in to ask the column to print a correction, as he foresaw wasting time investigating calls from frightened gossips!
Due to the sense of humor many scientists have, scientific jargon or slang can be very misleading. For example if a phonecall by an immunologist's wife comes in, the truthful answer can be "he can't come to the phone now, he's doing ELIZA. He's been doing ELIZA all day". ELIZA naturally being enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays...
Anyone who's been in a particularly fringe fandom for long enough has heard (or uttered) the phrase "We're/you're scaring the normals again". Doubly true if the fandom likes to ironically act as if they're really in that reality (i.e. calling out the name of a fictional deity in a serious manner) as a parody of folks that DO get so lost, without giving the context necessary to let everyone else realize you're not that crazy.
Some of the brutality of the pre-modern justice system is more paletable when one realizes that there was seldom efficient methods of investigation, criminal records, or resources to spend on prisons, and that anyway even enlightened moderns haven't figured out how to make law enforcement nice and cuddly. It is still shocking of course, but one can realize the mitigating circumstances.