When things that should be harmless, or on the viewer's side, turn nasty, stripping away all sense of safety. THEY CAN SEE YOU. THEY KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!
How can a viewer sleep easy in their bed, when they've seen how toys can come alive when all is dark and wreak unspeakable vengeance? What trust can they have that anyone will protect them, when they've just seen some cheerful kid's program where a kid just like them was bloodily slaughtered by his own possessed mother as she sang a sweet lullaby?
This is perhaps the main reason why the Monster Clown
, and especially Bad Santa
, are Tropes unto themselves. He sees you when you're sleeping...
To clarify, paranoia, by definition, requires a level of suspicion and distrust. A monster chasing after you in broad daylight is probably not Paranoia Fuel, but a shape shifting murderer targeting you who may
be hiding among your friends or family or the clothes in your closet
most likely is. A good rule of thumb is if a show or commercial makes you double check the people or objects around you (or triple check, or quadruple check, or...) then it fits here.
One of the most psychologically devastating forms of Nightmare Fuel
, because of its mental persistence and perception of inescapable omnipresence
Other paranoia-inducing concepts include:
- Invasion of privacy (from Big Brother Is Watching to literal Telepathy): One of the most pervasive forms of Paranoia Fuel, since we basically know they can use our secrets against us (Black Mail, Room 101, etc).
- Hypochondria Fuel: playing on fear of diseases, parasites, medical Body Horror and the fragility of human biology in general. Do you know how easy it is to infect you on the microscopic level without you yourself noticing? Or how easy it is for one genetic disorder that can make you go And I Must Scream to suddenly go horribly wrong inside you?
- Slipping a Mickey/Tampering with Food and Drink: Do you know how easy it is to poison you? Goes hand in hand with Hypochondria Fuel above.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever/Everything Trying to Kill You/May Contain Evil: betrayal by everyday items.
- Malevolent Toys: a subtrope of the above, specifically for toys.
- Chest Monster: That chest could contain (or even be) a malevolent creature ready to kill you.
- Artifact of Death: That beautiful ring you just found? Has a part of a radioactive source as its stone. That big metal thing your shovel hit while digging up your backyard? Is a World War II-era land mine or other explosive device.
- Gaslighting is when someone tries to deliberately provoke a feeling of this upon you by altering your everyday environment without your knowledge, often with the intent of sending you crazy.
- Fate Worse than Death or And I Must Scream: You can suffer one of them anytime, anywhere.
- Good Luck Sleeping: things that attack specifically while you're sleeping.
- They Could Be Anyone: Anybody could be out to get you, even your friends and/or family
- Invisible Jerkass: They're everywhere.
- Sinister Conspiracy: there is a... well, sinister conspiracy at work in the world, and they have it in for you. Sometimes goes hand-in-hand with "They Could Be Anyone" above: Anyone, even some you trust, could conceivably be part of this conspiracy.
- Mind Manipulation: Especially if they control your loved ones, or worse, controlled you, made you do humiliating things and then subjected you to Laser-Guided Amnesia.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Sure that sound could have just been the neighbor's cat, but then again...
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The very nature of the story is that you can't be entirely sure of what the truth is...
- Justified Paranoia: Then again, once you've had absolute proof that something's out to get you, you have every valid reason to seek security.
Fear of the dark is related, but falls under Primal Fears
Not directly related to the game Paranoia
. Or, at least, that's what they want you to think.
... Sleep tight.