- Dr. Seuss draws all his faces very similar with a distinctive and unique style, which is fine for some, but if you combine it with the fact that many of his characters seem ambiguously human, they can plunge deep into the uncanny valley for others.
- In a somewhat similar way, while the buildings and architecture he creates usually seem whimsical and fun, but they definitely don't follow the laws of physics most of the time, and would be very dangerous and bizarre in a more realistic setting. Sometimes they can breach into full-on eldritch location territory.
- And, add to all that that a not-insignificant amount of What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?...
- The Vug Under the Rug from There's a Wocket in my Pocket is considered by many to be his most frightening creature. Reason? We don't even know what it actually looks like.
- The Jertain in the curtain, another case of Nothing Is Scarier since all we see is the creature's feet.
- The Zall that runs up and down the hall is yet another.
- And the Quimney that runs up the chimney as well.
- The empty pants.
- Because while those empty pants are actually friendly and not only that but quite sensitive, there's a bit of Nothing Is Scarier in action because you never find out how they work. They levitate along, walking above ground, have feelings, can see and hear without eyes and ears, and on the last page, they talk.
- The vicious birds in Scrambled Eggs Super.
- The Beasts from Oh Say Can You Say
- as well as the Grox in the Grox Box if you spend your whole life seeing its hands as its bottom jaw... Try it.◊
- and the SHNACK IN THE SACK!!!
- Hop on Pop has
- The silhouettes in The Shape of Me and Other Stuff.
- The Once-ler in the book of The Lorax, though all we see are his hands (and occasionally, his eyes).
- From the same book, there's the fact that the forest creatures have to be sent away and are all negatively affected (the hummingfish can't hum, the swommee swans can't sing and the barbaloots are sick). Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
- Dr. Seuss's ABC has two examples:
- It's a simple, imaginative book about the alphabet... up until we get to the letter X. Then we get this.◊ That fox's unsettling expression, that large ax... and the picture of the girl, but the girl not anywhere to be seen, makes it worse.
- Also, some people find the Zizzerzazzerzuzz at the end scary, although it is a friendly creature.
- Hunches in Bunches has the Four-Way Hunch, alongside the yellow super hunch.
- "Oh The Thinks You Can Think":
What would you do if you met a Jibboo?
- The Rink-Rinker-Fink.◊ A bizarre structure that looks like a combination of a rock formation and a dinosaur skeleton. The illustration depicts a boy standing on an incredibly precarious ledge, trying to lasso one of its teeth. There are also similar creatures nearby, meaning either that there's more than one of these things, or they're all one gigantic entity.
- The Jibboo, who is depicted as a shadowy, bird-like figure walking toward a small boy in the street in the middle of the night. The caption somehow makes it worse. For the brave... here.◊
- In fact the Jibboo makes an appearance in the Paraphernalia Wagon cllip.
- A significantly "high-octane nightmare fuel" version of the Jibboo no less. Compare.◊ Makes me think Dr. Seuss knew the effect that that creature had on people.
- Trophy heads of Dr. Seuss creatures.
- The Wickersham Brothers, especially when accompanied by a villain song. It gets worse when their uncles and cousins are introduced.
- The "Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo" from The Butter Battle Book. The book ends with the fear that one of them will drop it, which is exactly the point.
- The entire sequence that we see in the animated adaption has a Mad Scientist feel to it. It starts with red goo that comes to life and moves some controls around, and even features split-second glimpses of ghosts and snakes. The Chief Yookeroo's gravelly voice singing the accompanying song is also unsettling when combined with these eerie visuals.
- Foo-Foo the Snoo, a goat/satyr-like creature in a gimp suit with eyes glaring at the reader. Click if you dare ◊
- In One Fish Two Fish, the two children find a large aquatic creature with bright yellow eyes and curved teeth in a big glass jar in the park in the dark. They decide to take him home and name him Clark. Clark will live with them. Clark will grow and grow. Will their mother like this? They don't know.
- Technosagery's "Out of the Dark" offers a take on what happened after Clark started growing.
- The Oobleck that kept everyone in Didd rooted in one place and would have buried them alive if the king hadn't made his apology.
- At the end of Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, the scene where Thidwick's unwanted guests◊ ended up being stuffed and mounted when Thidwick threw his horns away is a bit disturbing.
- In The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins Bartholomew sentenced to have his head chopped off. He walks down to the dungeon and meets an executioner with an enormous ax. The magicians were pretty spooky too.
- The ending (or rather lack thereof) of The Butter Battle Book, with two sides of an utterly pointless war standing face-to-face, ready to drop their respective world-destroying bombs. What makes this especially horrifying is that it's a metaphor for the Cold War.
- The fact that the Zax never moved for years just because they were so stubborn. Imagine standing in one place without moving for years. Sleeping could be dealt with if they lay down but you'd have to wonder how they'd eat, go to the bathroom or entertain themselves.
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
So many examples from this book:
- It depicts streets you don't want to go down,◊ riddled with holes that reveal huge lizard-like monsters. Good thing the protagonist walked the other way...
- One of the first signs that things might not be all smooth sailing for you in life is when the protagonist crashes his balloon, and the others leave without him. Coming down from the lurch, he ends up in a "a Slump" which is apparently a dark place filled with big, shapeless ...things.
- He then comes upon a mysterious town,◊ where there are few lights, no street markings, and no sign of any life. We never do find out what the deal with this place is, either.
- Confused and scared, he starts to run at "break-necking speed" through "weirdish wild space"◊ (a phrase Lovecraft might be proud of), which leads him to...
- The waiting place. Imagine just waiting for something. Forever. Forever. Forever. Forever.
- Imagine playing on this building. Heck, imagine doing anything on that building. Adult fear at its finest.
- It talks about times when you will feel alone and scared, and demonstrates this by showing our hero being menaced by dark creatures with evil eyes.◊
- ...followed by a spooky boat ride, surrounded by things called Hakken-Kraks,◊ giant sea monster-like creatures that howl. Sure, it might not seem like the scariest thing in the book, but imagine what it would be like, from the boy's POV, in real life. Just think about it...
- Similarly, the following illustration◊, of the protagonist getting "mixed up with many strange birds" doesn't seem too scary at first glance, but again, imagine doing it in real life. It's even worse than that building...
- Not to mention the green and black-striped creature that fills up two pages, even though the boy didn't seem very scared of it.
Adaptations and Other Media
- The Paraphernalia Wagon from Grinch Night. Care to see?
- The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, a film written by Dr. Seuss. The whole movie has a nightmarish feel, but a few moments stand out:
- The elevator operator, and those eyes! It doesn't help that the elevator itself is swinging like a flag in the wind.
- An antropomorphic bust of Terwilliker's head gives Bart this advice: Bartholmeow Collins, the years you spend with Dr. Terwilliker will be the happiest years of your life! But if you get homesick, don't try to escape. The barbed wire around the Terwilliker institute, is ELECTRIFIED! ELECTRIFIED! ELECTRIFIED
- Bart's expression was pretty scared....
- The lyrics to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" are a little disturbing if you think about them too hard, evoking some rather unpleasant imagery like "termites in your smile".