Something really bad, such as horribly off-tune singing or bad poetry, being almost weaponized, or at least being traumatizing. The horribleness of it can range from giving nightmares, to blowing up cities.
Can take the form of a Brown Note, but there can be other effects than that trope. Sometimes this can be invoked with using the horrible thing as Cool and Unusual Punishment.
In Real Life, it's fairly common to at least describe a very bad movie as being "painful to watch", or to say that it "hurts to read" a bad book. The concept of an "eyesore" isn't limited to English either; Japanese has migurushii (見苦しい), literally "painful to look at".
Can overlap with Anything But That!, Faux Horrific, Comical Overreacting, Dreadful Musician, Even Evil Has Standards (if a villain decides a work would be too horrible to inflict).
Compare/Contrast Awesomeness Is Volatile.
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A 1980s advert for Castela Classic cigars featured comedian Russ Abbot going fishing in a rather unusual way. He put on a record of Des O'Connor's Greatest Hits and lowered a speaker into the water, then sat back with his cigar. As he watched, the horrified fish leapt out of the water and into his net.
Anime and Manga
Blink and you'll miss it, but in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshki-sensei's suicide kit, filled with poisons, pills and all manner of lethalities, also contains an Enya CD (though it might also just be relaxing suicide mood-music).
In CLANNAD Kotomi Ichinose specializes in this trope with her violin of doom.
And her weapon is the violin it only takes 0.2 before sound waves come out from the moment she takes position. The number of people she's felled is countless.
—Tomoya to students, after interrupting Kotomi's introduction.
Chapter 25 of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun has Sakura and Nozaki reacting badly to Kashima's tone-deaf singing, to the point that they're crawling on the ground in agony.
Pictured above: in Astérix, Cacofonix's music is so bad, it's the only thing that can teach the meaning of fear to the Normans. In fact short exposure to it mentally scars them. It also summons thunderstorms and drives the wildlife away.
Ren and Stimpy's "U.S.Ohhhhhh Noooooo!": The army has Ren and Stimpy drag a horrible comedian on a platform with speakers through a battlefield, causing their enemies to run in fear while one of them clutches his ears and shouts "Oh the Humanity!"
Crappy music and films are used as a method of torture. The title characters are tortured by their boss with an LP of Spanish blockbuster songs (apparently repeated ad infinitum). They are driven mad, and other characters talk about the cruelty.
Jenna: Also as a side note, I NEVER physically hurt ANYONE with this story. I got one reviewer that said. “Oh God please stop writing, your hurting everyone.” Now I want to know where I physically touched that person. I want to know how I’m twisting anyone’s arms to read this. I have never done anything of the sort in any way, shape or form and I DO NOT appreciate being accused of that!
The song "Puberty Love" in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is so bad, it defeats the tomatoes. Not that they were weak against music, but that this song was so awful, that even the sheet music had this effect.
A similar trick involving Slim Whitman works on the invading Martians of Mars Attacks!.
In the movie Top Secret!, after the Nazis have been psychologically and physically torturing Nick Rivers only for it not to break him...
"Do you want me to break out the LeRoy Neiman paintings?"
"No. We cannot risk violating the Geneva Convention."
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Vogon poetry, which is used in-universe as a torture device, and the poetry of the Azgoths of Kria, which has literally killed several listeners.
Similarly, the Discworld's Nac Mac Feegle have Gonnagles, bards whose poetry is so bad that it's used on the battlefield. They are presumably named for the legendarily-bad Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall.
And they've come close a few times. Monster A-Go Go is generally agreed to be one of, if not the worst movie ever featured on the show. "Manos" The Hands of Fate was so god-awful that Dr. Forrester and Frank were actually apologizing to Joel for making him watch it. And Invasion of the Neptune Men was such an ordeal that Mike and the 'bots had to take turns stepping out of the theater for a few moments, and were only cheered up afterward by a surprise visit from Krankor.
Once Pearl took over, she used Hobgoblins as a punishment - mentioning "the movie" made Bobo scream, she kept it in the Ark of the Covenant, the 'Bots took turns trying to flee during the opening credits, and eventually they put up cardboard cutouts and tried to sneak away.
Also used for particularly dull, monotonous sequences in the movies, such as the "rock climbing" segment of Lost Continent and the sandstorm section of Hercules Against The Moon Men, the latter of which was presaged by the mads saying, "DEEP HURTING. DEEEEEEP HUUUUURRRRRTING!"
This is the constant reaction to Sophie's Bad Bad Acting in Leverage. Eliot once called one of her performances the "worst night of [his] life," a statement that was juxtaposed with a flashback to him being forced to play Russian Roulette alone by some unsavory-looking brutes. As Parker once said, quoting a reviewer:
Sasha: Say something hideous and horrible jumps out at you, something so disgusting that it simply must die. [He pushes a button; a tiffany lamp appears.] Sasha: Ach! So... tacky... can't... look... directly at it...
Inga Wagner's singing in No One Lives Forever. Mooks are relieved when she "punishes" them by forcing them to miss her singing performances.
In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix' "Team Blast" involves Espio and Charmy playing musical instruments while Vector sings extremely badly. Like all other Team Blasts, this destroys all the enemies in the surrounding area, purely from the awfulness (and possibly the volume) of Vector's singing.
When The Nostalgia Critic reviewed Junior, he saw the baby dream with the greenscreen face of Arnold on the baby, and it made him scream like a girl, and then vomit all over the place.
Really, this is kind of the Nostalgia Critic's whole schtick, except when he's reviewing something that's actually good or doing a top-eleven countdown.
A lot of the reviewers on his site, actually. For example Linkara in Atop the Fourth Wall, driven mad by a bad comic: "ANTI-LIFE JUSTIFIES MY HATE! Anti-life justifies my haaaaaattteee... [breaks down sobbing]"
"Break Up" by Mario feat. Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett makes his hair fall out in clumps and his nose bleed. Later he claims he's lucky it didn't give him cancer.
Parodied in his review of Rihanna's "S&M", saying he doesn't get BDSM and likes the song even though he thinks it's a very flawed song without any virtues, only to realize he likes the song because he's a masochist.
Spoony has a few videos listed under the title of "Experience BIJ", Bij being Klingon for "punishment"note The term and the opening credits come from the Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Klingon Challenge VCR board game; the videos themselves largely consist of whatever Spoony has seen on the internet which is horribly annoying, and the goal is to see how long you can watch the videos without pausing, going to another window, or muting it. Few can make it.
The Cinema Snob experienced this in the aftermath of watching Video Violence—about three years later, as he was reviewing its sequel, he had just recovered from the debilitating effects.
Gross Out manages not to set him off with its Vulgar Humor antics... but the lead actress's horrible performance makes him vomit.
Of the Freelance Astronauts, Ferr is usually the one making painful puns (pipes!: [[Superman64 "Solve my maze!"]] Ferr: Well, it's on fire, so maybe you should salve it first. Evek: I'm in physical pain!), but occasionally, Maxwell gets in on it. Witness the final boss fight of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest, where he tells the others that Ganondorf "really puts the 'try' in 'Triforce'."
Evek:That was fucking painful!
During his first attempt to review Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde for the NES, The Angry Video Game Nerd spoke about it being so bad that it traumatized him, and had a hard time bringing himself to playing it. Later, he would go to review Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and said this about the ending:
"What's the best way to end a shitty movie? With a shitty ending. One so bad that it leaves me scarred for life."
SCP-504 enforces this. A tomato that will fly at high speed toward the source of bad humor. The worse the pun, the harder it hits.
Item: Three mature SCP-504 tomatoes, one for each test subject. Subject: After the introduction to the following news item, Bomb blows hole in Lenin statue, the three following jokes were made. Test Subject 1: Ooh, that's gonna leave a Marx. Result: Tomato number one 'twitched', but did not displace from its original location.
Test Subject 2: BBC is just Stalin the good news. Result: Tomato clocked at 152 mph. Chipped tooth and hairline jaw fracture.
Test Subject 3: That blows. Result: Tomato clocked at [REDACTED]. Subject is hospitalized with a massive skull fracture.
Pat The NES Punk's review of action 52 starts this trope and expanded on it more and more as the review went on. He started out self-confident, trying to find a decent game in the compilation. As the review went on, he started praying to find a decent game. At the very end of the review you can see him literally faint.
The antagonist in Pat The NES Punk's M82 madness hoped that Pat would achieve the same effect when he would review "awful" games on his M82. Sadly, most of those so called "awful" games turned out not to be as awful as the antagonist thought they were, with Pat even saying that those games weren't even bad, which only made the antagonist more angry.
"I Should Have Never Gone Ziplining": The boys go on a camping trip that is apparently so painfully dull that it killed Kenny (though Word of God says this one doesn't count).
On The Critic,Roger Ebert was interviewing a potential new partner and showed him the kind of bad movies he'd have to watch. A version of Mrs. Doubtfire with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role fully skeletonized him.
A cutaway gag for Family Guy. Peter and a young girl stand in the living room, and she hands him a tape but warns him that if he watches it, he will die. Peter plays it on the VCR. The tape in question turns out to be Mannequin; in the next scene Peter dies with a contorted appearance, similar to victims of The Ring.
At one point in Futurama, Bender auditions for a part on the Show Within a Show when a role opens up. His lousy "Spanish accent" prompts this response from Calculon:
Calculon: That was so terrible, I think you gave me cancer!
In "Maud Pie", Pinkie's sister Maud comes to visit, and the rest of Pinkie's friend find her stoic, anti-social, and only interested in rocks. At one point, Twilight asks Maud about her poetry and Maud provides a sample. Twilight's reaction shows how bad this poetry is, and it's only the tip of the iceberg.