Nightmare Fuel / Doom

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  • Doom... Demons everywhere, but maybe turning them into Ludicrous Gibs is even scarier.
    • From the demon's perspective? YOU. They were slaughtering everyone in seconds a moment ago, and here comes the lone survivor, a guy who punched his superior officer to death and fell asleep before you invaded.
      • Also further to note that the Doomguy is proportedly the only survivor of using the berserk packs- and uses the entire box of them. A single one of them is enough to kill someone. And he could probably punch his commanding officer to death in a single hit, and gib them much like the demons.
  • The face in the HUD also keeps getting bloodier as you take more damage. In some versions, a big hit when low on health makes the head explode.
  • The Cyberdemon. What's worse than a hulking 10-foot abomination with horns like a goat and red wires where its abdomen should be? One with a rocket launcher for an arm, and a robotic leg that makes a loud clunking noise with each step it takes. The moment you hear its blood-curdling roar in the distance, you know things are going to get serious real fast. The Cyberdemon has only one attack, but it's potent enough by itself to make this beast the deadliest enemy in the entire game - it shoots three high-velocity rockets in direct succession of each other, aimed directly at their intended target. Depending on where you're standing relative to the Cyberdemon, you might have up to three seconds to evade the ensuing blasts, which can and often will take over 100 health points in a single hit. And with a grand total of 4000 hit points and imperviousness to splash damage, the Cyberdemon is by far the toughest creature to take down in the original game.
  • You've defeated the Spider Mastermind and in the act proving yourself too tough for hell to contain, so the demons give you an easy break and open a portal to let you back to your home world. Cue a grassy field with golden skies and a bunny, Daisy, roaming around to a blissful flute-and-birds tune. The screen then scrolls and the tune becomes more off-key, distorted, and evil as a burning city comes into view and the bunny's severed head is impaled on a spike. For those who played the original versions of Doom, this was the end of the game!
    • The ZDoom and GZDoom source ports supports mouse for the menus, and it uses Daisy's severed head as the default cursor.
  • The Spider Mastermind. A creepy-ass demon with a brain that's far too big, on a mecha platform with four spider-like legs and a powerful chaingun that will tear you apart if you're too close.
    • And in Doom II, you find out that Spidey is a mommy — and her little Arachnotron babies are every bit as bad as her with their plasma guns.
  • In Doom II's map "Dead Simple", once you killed all the Mancubi, the walls would come down, surrounding you with hordes of Arachnotrons.
  • At the end of the first major episode (MAP11) of Doom II, the room containing the master control switch has walls entirely comprised of stitched together corpses.
    • In the same map, upon grabbing a key you have a first encounter with the most powerful non-boss monster in the series: the Archvile. An incredibly fast and tough skin-and-bones humanoid that towers over you and can easily resurrect the demons you used up so much lead to put down, the Archvile should be your top priority in any firefight where one is present. It also roams around with a deep, evil laugh, and lets out a high-pitched shriek upon being alerted to your presence. When it engulfs you in flames, you better hope you find cover before they flicker out...
  • In Doom II's MAP16 (The Suburbs), there is a small rectangular building with 4 doors - you can open any of them... only to see that it's completely overfilled with bones and corpses, so you can't enter.
  • The "pantry" you encounter near the end of Doom II's MAP27 (Monster Condo), which is filled wall to wall with hanging and skewered corpses. The level's eerily somber music makes it that much worse.
  • Despite their relative weakness compared to other monsters, the noise made by former humans as they wander around is quite disconcerting. If you are extremely low on health and hiding from a Chaingun Guy or a horde of Zombiemen, imagining them marching toward your hiding spot while making those horrible groans is enough to make you panic.
  • The scream the Big Bad of Doom II makes when you fire a rocket into the hole in his head that the monsters come from.
    • And that's only the half of it: as soon as the noclip cheat reveals the True Big Bad, whose head is actually residing in a small room, while its' hanging on a stick... Hey, the hint to the beast's real identity is even here, in his only spoken quote (consider reversing that):
      Oremor nhoj, em llik tsum uoy, emag eht niw ot...
  • MAP05 of TNT: Evilution qualifies as Nightmare Fuel and makes the developers into Magnificent Bastards. The level starts in a thin hallway with other, shorter ones protruding out from the sides. Walk to the end of one hallway, the wall behind you opens to reveal another hallway, this one filled with monsters. Clear them out, go down the next hallway, sequence repeats. When you go down the third hallway, you've probably caught on by now, so you go down that one backwards... and then the hallway extends and you still get ambushed from behind.
    • MAP11 from The Plutonia Experiment. Start off with the music from the ending of the original game, see a backpack and a switch in the room ahead of you. And then you look to the left and see a ton of Archviles frozen in place behind a fence — and when you hit the switch, they un-freeze and teleport out into the maze you're just about to enter. The level is quite fittingly named "Hunted".
  • It's bad enough that the red key maze in "Halls of the Damned" (E2M6) is nearly pitch dark, but it gets worse when you realize that it's dotted with Monster Closets, which open with no warning.
  • The side maze that eventually leads to the chainsaw in "Nuclear Plant" (E1M2) is very dark with fairly erratic lighting, along with the unsettling moaning of former humans as they search for you.
  • E1M3 contains one of your first tastes of the insidious tricks the game can and will pull on you. See that conspicuously-placed keycard on the dais? Grabbing it causes the lights to go out and a Monster Closet to open right behind you, forcing you to fight off a crowd of baddies in near pitch-black darkness.
  • The final level of the first episode of Doom, "Phobos Anomaly", ends with your marine stepping on a teleporter that plunges him into a black abyss where you are constantly losing health either from simply touching the floor or being assaulted by a barrage of barely-visible monsters. You stay there being ravaged by these things until you run out of health, at which point the next episode begins. It truly becomes nightmare fuel if you only have the Shareware version as this is where the game would end, leaving you to wonder what exactly happened to your hero when he stepped on that teleporter.
    • The level itself is very unsettling. It's dark, the music is creepy, there are no enemies to be found (at least on lower difficulties), and you start in an area filled with ammo and power-ups — which makes it pretty obvious that a big fight is coming up. Then you take an elevator up into a big pentagram-shaped room and are greeted by a loud, scary demonic roar as two of the biggest and scariest-looking creatures you've encountered yet appear to fight you.
  • Doom 64 remains less well-known than Doom and Doom II, but it manages to take the classic Doom gameplay and make it much scarier, with darker graphics, more muted and grim colors, and one absolutely creepy soundtrack. Gone are the heavy metal-inspired tracks, replaced by incredibly unsettling ambient music
    • And those aren't even the worst of it. You want the definition of unsettling ambiance? Here's the theme for Breakdown. Have fun sleeping tonight!
    • The Pain Elemental looks rather cute in Doom 2, but in Doom 64, they are much worse to look at. They have two mouths on either side of their body and summon two Lost Souls at a time. The souls charge at you constantly and can overwhelm by sheer numbers and kill you alarmingly fast if you're careless.
    • The PlayStation and Saturn versions of Doom are no slouches either. Like Doom 64, the rockin' music has been replaced by a dark, creepy, and unnerving soundtrack from the same composer. The PlayStation version goes the extra mile by giving these games a much darker atmosphere with its colored lighting.
  • So many of the wall textures are downright creepy. There's giant stone demon faces, red-eyed horned gargoyes (which sometimes spew blood from their mouths), scrolling walls made of distorted, anguished faces, switches that look like laughing harlequins... and that's not even getting into the Meat Moss walls.
    • In the Suburbs level of Doom II, there's a house where one of the gargoyle faces is behind a wall that covers the entire face except for the eyes. Just two glowing red eyes, eternally peeking into some guy's living room.
  • Soul Sphere contains a haunting, silently pulsing face, implied to be an actual trapped human soul.
  • Title theme from Doom II is a creepy, chaotic melody that sounds like something from classic slasher movies.
  • E1M5, Phobos Lab. The level itself really isn't that unusual compared to other levels in the episode, but as its background music, it has the aptly-named Suspense. The four (or five, if counting the secret) maps before this one had upbeat tunes fitting well with either run-and-gun shootouts or action-thriller standoffs. Then this song comes on, fully intent on scaring your pants off. The kicker? This map is the setting of the first title screen demo in every version of the original Doom. Imagine being a small child and seeing it (and the demo player's inevitable demise) as one of the very first things upon booting the game up for the first time.
  • In the first Doom, there are a few levels that have mutilated Marines hanging by chains from the ceiling...and still moving. They're somehow still alive, but there's nothing you can do to help them, and nothing they can do but struggle in vain to escape. Unless you're playing Brutal Doom, which allows you to put them out of their misery.
  • While Lost Souls are hardly the deadliest enemies in the game, the way they rush at you with their fangs bared and a horrible hiss is pretty unsettling. In Doom 64 and on Nightmare! in the original, they become a greater threat, flying at you constantly and hurting you alarmingly fast if you are careless.

  • Brutal Doom has its own page.
  • Less so with the original Doom, but the Aliens custom mod is certainly scary. When you're holding a Pulse Rifle, and there's a dark corridor lit only by a sporadically blinking light, and you hear strange sounds coming from potential corridors in that darkness, willing yourself to press the "forward" key is an exercise in futility.
  • This is a video of a grown man screaming like a little girl while playing the Doom 2 mod Ghoul's Forest 3. Ghoul's Forest 2 and 3 are quite possibly the most terrifying mods for Doom 2, for that matter. The entire concept is that you're hunted through a dark forest by giant floating super-fast monstrous heads who pop up unexpectedly and kill you in seconds.
    • The backstories of the ghouls are creepy: the Big Bad Yurei is the ghost of a pissed-off girl who was abandoned in the Forbidden Forest. The Creeper is the spirit of a baby, the Sjas was a psychotic jester who was executed by the king for a certain joke, the Jitterskull was a Giant warrior, Choke was his demented brother who killed himself. Frostbite (who only appears in the multiplayer mod Ghouls Vs Humans) died of frostbite, so now he can breathe ice and swallow people whole like the Jitterskull.
    • The Yurei is an interesting villain, in that she attacks you by making disturbing images pop up and take the entire screen, with predictable results for the player. Yes, that's right, a boss who directly assaults the player.
    • The mod is made worse with Icy's addon, which adds a clown; a skull that makes the Jitterskull look like a joke; and a Sjas-like mist cloud that is absolutely relentless. These new ghouls use the terrifying creeper scream. There's also a chance that, instead of the Yurei, the final boss will be the entire cadre of ghouls at once.
  • The Skulltag Armageddon 2 multiplayer map pack is infamous for the "By Day, By Night" level. It's a map that alternates between day and night. By day? Cheerful demon massacring, upbeat music. By night? The entire map goes dark, the music turns into a creepy Drone of Dread, and the monsters are... different. And the Eyesores appear. Eyesores are ghouls, just like the ones in The Ghoul's Forest. Imagine a demented, deformed face on spidery legs which runs around like it's on crack, makes weird "kekeke" sounds and can kill you in seconds. And there's an entire crowd of them attacking you all at once.
    • The final boss of the map: Clowny. An invisible face which flies around the entire (big and open) final area and pops up suddenly in front of a player for an instant-kill and a Jump Scare. And sometimes it somehow ends up inside the mazelike building you've been in before, forcing the players to brave its silent corridors, expecting the bastard to jump out from behind every corner...
  • The Happy Time Circus series is the very definition of horror, especially the second one. Wandering through an abandoned ghost town with lots of silence and empty moments, only to have an area completely enveloped by Monster Clowns that you may or may not be able to handle? Oh, Crap!...
    • The areas that take you through Clown Hell (which is also slowly encroaching on the town itself) are no less horrific. Bright, cheerful, flashing colors in extremely low light conditions produces a highly unsettling effect, and the heavily distorted circus music sometimes heard in these places doesn't help one little bit. And as you might have feared, Pennywise Itself makes several appearances throughout both mods, along with It being a boss-level monster in the first one and the boss in the second.
    • In the midst of all this, you'll also need to escort "Fluffy" back to Clown Hell. Fluffy is a fast-moving, unkillable severed rabbit head that can pass through walls to chew off your face, and you have to outrun him through a narrow passageway in a dense thicket where the tiniest misstep will allow Fluffy to gain on you. Good luck, and keep some extra underpants; you will most certainly need both.
  • The Equinox mod, at first, might make you do a double-take when you realize such a well-made mod is from the same guy that made the infamous "nuts.wad". Then, about map 13 or so, you infiltrate an alien space ship. It is incredibly dark, very cramped, the music is creepy, and it is filled to the brim with Arch-Viles.
  • Unloved is the mod that you always wanted to play but hoped no one would ever make: it's a high-res megawad that borrows much of its atmosphere from the Silent Hill series and it's exactly as terrifying as that description would suggest — while preserving the run n' gun gameplay of classic DOOM. If you ever wanted to prove people wrong who insist that horror games should be weaponless, this .wad is it. note  Highlights include a dank, extremely gory prison/torture cellar decorated with grotesquely mutilated bodies and bloody faces stretched over frames like canvas, a gloomy series of corridors and cageways suspended over a black void that could have come straight out of Silent Hill 3, and a stage called "The Living Room," which is precisely what it sounds like.
    • Even better (or worse), Unloved has now been spun off into its own game (by the creator of the original mod) rendered in Unreal Engine 4, with completely new and grotesque monstrosities to replace the old Doom sprite monsters and a procedural level system enduring you'll never feel safe and comfortable. Those of you who found the atmosphere and design of the original mod disturbing but just couldn't get past the dated mid-90s sprite graphics, rejoice... or despair.
  • While the first The City of the Damned map is plenty spooky and atmospheric enough, the second installment "Apocalypse" is more horrifying in every possible direction. Imagine the game Blood with all elements of Black Comedy stripped out, now add in chilling Apocalyptic Logs scattered about that tell the story of what happened to the town and several frightening scripted events like the ominous sirens that sound off now and then. The creepy soundtrack to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is also put to very good use throughout the mod. Oh, and those sirens? When you hear them, stop what you were doing and get to a shelter. FAST.
  • The (sadly unfinished) Ghostbusters Doom Game Mod for Doom, which recreates scenes from the movie, fulfills this trope with its first level - the haunted library. While the original film scene was quite amusing, its recreation in the mod is much creepier.
    • And then three levels later, you have to investigate a haunted mansion, in the rain, with creepy music, and corpses everywhere, and the corpses start standing back up. They take way too much punishment just to shoot off one of their arms — you have to deal just as much damage a second time to get one to stay dead.
  • Eternal's Epic 2 wad is a collection of egyptian themed levels, city levels and spaceship levels. One of the spaceship levels, level 13, takes place in this very eerie, dark, grey and white spaceship made of what seems to be rotting tissue. The soundtrack for this level is definitely creepy, very different from the others. The battles are exclusively with arch-viles (arguably the creepiest enemies in vanilla Doom), most of them used through teleport-traps. Health pickups? Aside from a secret soulsphere, the only health pickups are accessed through computer panels marked with a scarab, restoring 20 health each.
  • Pirate Doom has mask-wearing island natives. They're very weak enemies, but because they're small, fast, numerous, and relatively quiet, you'll often turn around and have one right in your face. They're also animated to giggle before shooting at you, so you'll also turn around to see one right behind you, just standing there giggling. It's creepy.