Nightmare Fuel / A New Hope
"There was nothing you could have done, Luke, had you been there. You'd have been killed too."
- The sight of the charred corpses of Owen and Beru (shown right). It is very briefly shown in the movie itself; you could easily miss it; but once you actually do see it, you can never unsee it.
- The IT-O interrogator droid used to interrogate Leia. Interesting euphemism, "interrogator droid". The radio adaptation actually shows us Vader's mind probe-assisted interrogation of Leia, and it's terrifying. First, he tries to convince her he's another rebel who needs to know where the Death Star plans are, before just causing her horrible pain.
- During this moment in the NPR version, Vader attempts to invoke her loyalty to her father. If you've seen the movies and know the truth, it's rather chilling.
- Ben Kenobi slicing off a patron's hand in the Mos Eisley Cantina, mostly because of how it's one of the few scenes in the whole saga where we actually see blood, plus said patron's realistic reaction to being de-handed.
- Even more disturbing was how little time it took the patrons to go right back to what they were doing, as if what took place was entirely routine. Though then again, Obi-Wan did say Mos Eisley was "the most wretched hive of scum and villainy"...
- In the scene itself, Cornelius Evazan's appearance. An Ax-Crazy Serial Killer who brags to Luke Skywalker that his crimes have given him the death sentence in twelve systems.
- The dianoga — that is, the amorphous tentacled creature in the trash compactor. We don't know anything about it, we don't even really see it, but really, it's a shapeless lurking predator that lives in filth and is trying to drag the heroes under the rubbish to eat them alive. That's plenty scary.
- Tarkin coldly ordering the instant destruction of Alderaan by way of the Death Star's superlaser. A civilization and planet, gone, in less than five seconds. And he gives zero fucks.
- Making things worse, we actually get to see a younger Tarkin in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where he stands out for his commentary that he believes the Jedi Council simply aren't effective generals, because they aren't willing to go to what lengths he considers necessary. Well, the Death Star is the embodiment of his philosophy about "necessary lengths", This is the man who honestly believes the Death Star is "going far enough".
- "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."
- Admiral Motti starts taunting Vader about how he hasn't been able to find the lost data tapes despite his outdated religion - then Vader makes a gesture and Motti is cut off as he's choked by an invisible force. Not only is this the first sign for the audience that the Force actually, really exists, but it's also quite different from Ben's description as 'life-giving energy'. Plus Vader's simple line, calm on the surface but with real rage underneath: "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
- Perhaps more Fridge Horror than Nightmare Fuel, but stop and think about the destruction of the Death Star for a moment. A fully functional battle station the size of a moon, and with a crew of thousands, completely destroyed. Thousands of people killed and not all of them believed in Palpatine's ideals, they just didn't have any other choice in the matter. How many thousands of families have been torn about because of Luke's actions? How many children have been lead to believe that the Rebellion is the true evil in the galaxy because their mothers and fathers were taken away from them?
- One of the Expanded Universe novels brings this up and Luke has to deal with the realization that he was responsible for the deaths of one million people on board.
- Taking this idea further — now that we've watched The Clone Wars, we actually know one of the people who was on the Death Star when it blew up — Admiral Yularen (he only makes a brief, non-speaking cameo in the movie, but still). From what we see on the show, he doesn't seem like a bad person at all. If anything, he's the one who has to put up with shenanigans on a daily basis, courtesy of being under Anakin's command. It just makes it so much more horrifying because we know this guy...and he hardly seems like the sort of person who deserved to die that way. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
- Just the size of the Death Star. The Star Destroyer that completely dwarfed the Tantive IV in the intro is microscopic in comparison!
- Consider further that it's only been 20 years since Episode 3 and they built that whole Death Star in LESS than 20 years. Imagine the resources that its construction ate up, the (forced?) labor the Empire used, and where they had to mine that all from. And then consider most of it was done, if not entirely in secret, then certainly under very tight-lipped instructions...and that another even bigger one already had to have already been planned. Yikes!
- As horrifying as the murder of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru is, it's no better when Luke goes back to the destroying sand-crawler and finds Obi-Wan and Threepio burning the corpses of Jawas on a pyre. Threepio even just casually tosses one into the fire as Luke and Obi-Wan begin talking.