Nightmare Fuel: Big Finish Doctor Who
"Zagreus sits inside your head / Zagreus lives among the dead / Zagreus sees you in your bed / And eats you when you're sleeping..."
—The Eighth Doctor, "Zagreus"
- The Shadow Of The Scourge. A race of eight dimensional monsters who are the source of all human despair and failure. That is bad enough but then remember that, if they order a humanoid to do something, then it is physically impossible for the human nervous system to disobey. Then they start issuing orders such as:
Place your hands against your windpipe and press with all your strength.Find the weakest among you and turn on them; now, tear the limbs from their torso (*made all the worse because we hear all the screams and tearing flesh that that entails*)
- Quite possibly the most horrific command, though, is:
- Zagreus, who provides the page quote. A Monster from Gallifreyan nursery rhymes who comes into being at the end of "Neverland" by taking over the Eighth Doctor.
Matrix AIs: I... can't remember... I can't remember! I CAN'T REMEMBER!! *shudder*
- The fun kicks off at the very beginning of the audio play "Neverland", where you hear the thousands of voices in the Time Lords' Matrix desperately trying to keep history on track... and failing.
- The Zagreus rhyme and Eight going bonkers was bad enough, but the worst part is where the evil TARDIS, in the form of the Brig, is hunting Romana, Leela, and Charley. Talk about Mind Screws.
- Evil!Brig!TARDIS is just scary in general, especially when you realize that its reasons for revenge against the Doctor (other than being possessed) are actually pretty valid. The Doctor obviously cares about the TARDIS but he does tend to abuse it, albeit unthinkingly. What happens if one day it snaps?
- And then you realize that something similar to what happened in Zagreus happened in The End of Time, when Ten's regeneration blew up the console room. That must have hurt.
- Goldilocks is the single scariest Doctor Who villain ever. Mechanical puppet voiced by Bonnie Langford? Hilarious. Mechanical puppet voiced by Bonnie Langford who will brainwash you with fairy dust and is working for the Divergents? Really scary.
- Mmm. Way before the Time Lords went the way of the Daleks and tried their hand at friggin' Davros' plan to utterly annihilate all of reality in order to remain as incorporeal gods, good old Rassilon was already quite the monstrous leader. The things created in the Foundry by him in Zagreus prove that the Time Lords had to be completely desperate or utterly nuts to release him from the Divergent universe to lead them against the Daleks. And how he broke the Doctor and reshaped him into the monstrosity Zagreus was quite horrific itself. What's worse, the Dogma Virus and Romana's escape into the Axis with Narvin and Braxiatel as seen in the Gallifrey audios goes a long way in explaining how the Time Lords would get as desperate and nuts to release him.
- Scherzo, which follows Zagreus, is drive-you-crazy horrifying in its simplicity— it's a "two hander" with no special effects, but they make completely disturbing use of it. The Doctor and Charley are trapped in a long white hallway, completely silent, and start to slowly lose all feeling and sense of time (which for the Doctor especially is like having a limb ripped off). Then they start coming across bodies, which eventually look like Charley, which they eat, as they have no other sustenance. And that is all before they discover there's something in there with them that's stealing their voices...
- I'm listening to Scherzo right now and it is such a Mind Screw. The way there are suddenly bursts of noise, like at the end of part 3. Then there is Paul McGann as Charley's "daughter" and the sudden burst of noise when Charley refuses to let "her" have the brooch. And the squelching when the Doctor and Charley become one. The sound drives you insane, my head feels so strange, the sound is a wave eroding the cliffs of sanity...
- The Holy Terror starts off as a light-hearted satire of Medieval Morons and ends up Mood Whiplashing you into a gruesome Kill 'em All Downer Ending orchestrated by the Enfant Terrible to end all Enfant Terribles.
- The Natural History of Fear. The fact that it's one colossal Mind Screw / Tomato Surprise is bad enough, but you don't truly know scary Who until you've listened to Paul McGann's silky smooth voice spouting Orwellian propaganda as he lobotomies a woman who's awake for the whole time.
- "You may think the worst thing I can do to you is hurt you..."
- Normally, evil Eight is on the hammy side, but in this one he's... not. Not even remotely. And it is straight-up goddamn terrifying. The Editor isn't some monstrous creature like Zagreus; he's a normal person who's a little too good at his job, and who seems to take a little too much quiet satisfaction in his work. Well, seems to. Things get weird. Paul McGann is one of a very few people who can be sexy and utterly scary at the same time... using just his voice. It must be heard to be believed.
- Terror Firma: Davros manages to Mind Rape the Doctor and his companions to within an inch of the Despair Event Horizon, and the centre of the new Dalek Empire is... Earth. Revenge by Proxy on a massive scale, indeed.
- Son of the Dragon, featuring Special Guest Star Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula. The fun kicks off with the Fifth Doctor and friends landing in a village which has been turned into a massive graveyard of slaughter involving a forest of impaled villagers on spikes.
- Night Thoughts: The Doctor and his companions trapped on an island mansion during a storm with no electricity, a ghostly spectre of a woman drowning in the lake and a hooded creature that likes to whistle while removing people's eyes? Don't listen to this baby at night.
- Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly...
- Things you'll never ever ever want to see again after this story: Taxidermied bears, stuffed toy rabbits, bear traps. What's worse is that ending... oh god the ending. Where the Major gets his eyes gouged out by the zombie child/evil toy rabbit and not only do you hear him scream, not only does the monster whistle that jaunty tune, but you also get to hear the actual sounds of his face being cut into and his eyes being removed.
- Likewise, Horror of Glam Rock is a pretty humorous installment... except for the bit where you hear the people in the parking lot get torn to bits. With lots of squishy, meaty sounds and screaming. Yeeesh.
- The Chimes of Midnight: Sweet Jesus, Chimes is freaky. Nothing is freakier than a place that's abandoned and shouldn't be. A reality that endlessly replays itself, trying to trap you inside? That takes "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and makes it creepy?
- For best effect, listen to it late at night in an empty street, close to the witching hour. BONG... BONG... BONG...
- ...ish. Words cannot describe how creepy it is when people get taken over and just start mass chanting "ish, ish, ish" over and over again.
- Or Book's mental breakdowns concerning the definitions of the word ish note or maybe Prof. Osefa and Book's discussions on the "birthcries of the universe" backed up by some truly freaky electronic music.
- Master. As you may have guessed from the title, it prominently features you-know-who, and it's not the suave, here-come-the-drums, Magnificent Bastard Master, either. It's the skeleton-looking, Ax-Crazy merciless Master. Basically, it's And Then There Were None meets Jack the Ripper as a homicidal Time Lord, but it's WAY freakier (and more tragic) than that. One last thing: you know how one of the Doctor's names is "Time's Champion"? The Master is Death's Champion. You will never look at For the Evulz the same way again.
They say he sits inside your head,
- The worst part of Master was the whispers. Gods, the raspy, cackling whispers, just in the background. "All who hear my voice will die." Coming very nearly in second was Jade's Wham Line while washing dishes:
they say he lives among the dead,
they say he eats you when you're—What an odd verse.
They say he sits inside your head...
- Axis Of Insanity is not bad either. "The lunatics... have taken over the asylum!" Good grief, but that line is creepy. And then you find out that reality is melting around the Doctor.
- Spare Parts. It's a story about the creation of the Cybermen, so it's inevitably pretty creepy. One standout moment is when a person you've met previously is cyberconverted, but only partially. They return to their family confused and the father, who thinks that she's just in the "workcrew outfit" tries to pull her cloth mask off and she screams in the horrible cyberman voice. The ending has you thinking that the Doctor has prevented the Cybermen turning evil and stopped further cyber-conversion, but then the Cybercommander suddenly turns out to be alive. "We will begin again"
- Red. Ax-Crazy as The Virus. And Friend Computer in charge decides the best way of stopping the spread is to burn out your brain. Red. Red. Red. Red. Red...
- Caerdroia. "I'm the nasty one." And "Of course I will!"
- Mission of the Viyrans. Starts with Peri chatting with the Doctor after a fun night on a party planet. He seems distracted. Then he starts vacantly repeating everything she says. Then he painfully, graphically transforms into a clone of her. Thus begins the most Mind Screw Big Finish has ever packed into 30 minutes. Happy listening!
- Bedtime Story, one of the shorts from 100, is incredibly dark. The Doctor meets a man named Jacob, whose family is under a curse in which parents always die as soon as they become grandparents. Then it turns out they're not really dead, they're frozen in time but still aware, so countless generations have been buried alive, completely conscious until their minds broke. Then there's the ending which reveals the narrator, who we assumed was Jacob telling a story to his grandchild after the Doctor broke the curse, is actually the psychotic shapeshifting alien creature who was behind the curse to begin with...
- Return of the Krotons. Former harmless villains the Krotons return, now developing a horrific form of crystal-based Body Horror.
- The Blue Tooth from the Companion Chronicles series is flat-out terrifying, made more so by playing off an incredibly common fear. Think you dreaded going to the dentist before? Now imagine said dentist wants to infect you with living metal that slowly, painfully turns you into a Cyberman. Also, Cybermats CRAWLING AROUND UNDER YOUR SKIN.
- The Reaping has one of the most beautifully understated threats you've ever heard, courtesy of the Cyber-Leader:
We have your companions, Doctor. You will assist us, or their deaths will be... emotional.
- In The Genocide Machine, the robot duplicate of Ace grabs Cataloguer Prink by the neck.
Robot Ace: "You humans are so fragile. All I have to do is twist..." *crack* "... and you die."
- The Apocalypse Element. It managed to portray the Daleks as a credible threat without use of Conservation of Ninjutsu to help them. In the story, the Daleks take a planetoid out of time and space, kidnap Lady President Romana and hold her prisoner for twenty years, trap a delegation of ambassadors on a planet and steer the aforementioned planetoid towards it. The plan actually succeeds, killing millions in the process. Then they bypass the transduction barrier and invade Gallifrey, ripping the eyes out of citizens to bypass retinal scanners and killing guards in a Curb-Stomp Battle. Then they detonate a volatile element mined from the planetoid, which destroys a whole galaxy and almost the entire universe, killing billions. In short, do not mess with the Daleks.
- Jubilee, being the original inspiration for the Series 1 episode "Dalek", has one of the most scary, if not scariest, uses of EX-TER-MI-NATE in Doctor Who. It occurs at the Dalek's execution, but it is not said by the Dalek. It is instead the chants of the human crowd as they prepare to kill the creature who has been tortured for a century. It reinforces the Humans Are the Real Monsters message of the audio and shows, without a doubt, that the human race has become no better than the Daleks. Just think about that. The Doctor sums it up rather well.
The Doctor: The Daleks were genetically bred to kill. What excuse do you have?
- The cover of the Companion Chronicles story "Solitaire" features a ventriloquist's dummy of the Eighth Doctor◊ (which they actually had custom-made to take a photo of it for the cover). It's rather terrifying, maybe because of the Uncanny Valley effect, or maybe because of the subtle look of desperation around the eyes...
- In the behind the scenes interview India Fisher claims that the puppet looks "wrong".
- What happens to Charley in "Patient Zero". She is infected by Mila meaning she gradually fades away while Mila takes her appearance. She is left invisible, inaudible and unable to tell the Doctor what is happening.
- Lucie Miller/To the Death was clearly this. The Earth being invaded after a terrible plague, the Doctor showing up years late, and the ending to Lucie Miller where the Doctor is on a Dalek Saucer which is being torpedoed, Susan and Lucie realising too late... And even though he survives he is left in a coma.
- The Dalek Time Controller's plan is absolutely horrific. It plans to pilot Earth through time to infect it with the Amethyst viruses, then pilot it around the Universe, infecting any world that comes under its influence. And with Cruel Mercy it wants to leave the Doctor on Earth, he will survive long enough to watch humanity die from the plagues.
- The Dalek Time Controller itself is pure Nightmare Fuel. Just its creepy sing-song voice, not to mention how it seems far more evil than any other of its kind. Just be thankful Steven Moffat hasn't been able to bring it into the Tv Series.
- The Eminence are becoming this, a threat so terrible the Doctor is willing to work with his Arch-Enemy the Dalek Time Controller to stop them. They are a Super Smoke from the end of time that turn people into zombies. And to demonstrate there is an image on the cover of Times Horizon. Here it is◊.
- "The Fourth Wall" has a fictional character being brought into reality, and realising that in the world of his TV show (Laser, starring Jerk Ass hero Jack Laser), he's the villain:
Krarn: Itís called... ĎLaserí.Scullop: The show, yes.Krarn: Why?Scullop: Because heís the lead, heís the hero.Krarn: I see.Scullop: Is something the matter?Krarn: (with horror) Iím the bad guy.Scullop: Yes.Krarn: He destroys my happiness, kills my wife. And yet I am the bad guy.
- The Light at the End. The Doctor looks into a doll house, and finds the Master's been a-calling...
The Doctor (breathless with horror): Mr Dovie - I wonder, would you mind describing your wife and children to me?
- Not only are the described events of Live 34 horrifying— but the fact that Ace, who is usually completely cool in the face of danger, is completely and utterly broken, so much that she can barely speak by the end. Just the thought of what she might have gone through to get to that point is... well... eek.