Nightmare Fuel: Final Fantasy VII
The pic on the left
shows a close-up of the very same Eldritch Abomination
that sums up the Nightmare Fuel
of the whole Final Fantasy
series so well
, it's been chosen as the image for the page made for that exact purpose
There's a REASON for that.
It's not like the sequel was any better, though
- The nightmare begins with the line "I'm going to see my mother." This seemingly innocuous line, combined with Sephiroth's now apparent insanity and "Those Chosen by the Planet" kicking in at full force lets you know without a doubt that something terrible is about to happen. For the rest of the game you'll be one step behind Sephiroth, chasing a trail of blood, fear and horribly mutilated corpses.
- The specters of the Gi tribe underneath Cosmo Canyon. See here. It's just A TORSO YOU'RE FIGHTING? The spine just dangles there...
- Also from Cosmo Canyon, Bugenhagen says that the Planet's death is not far away. Horrified, Cloud asks how he knows this. He says "I hear the cries of the Planet," and we are treated to a creepy, siren like sound, and the actual screams of pain from the Planet.
- It's a small detail, but the Jenovan Reunion scene where a giant eye unexpectedly opens in the rock wall. It's creepy in it how it quietly hints that there's an Eldritch Abomination Weapon sitting right there.
- Who Am I? . An insanely disturbing and unsettling tune that plays more than once throughout the venture and it's usually when Cloud's going bat shit insane. It haunts many a player to this day. It's also a Dark Reprise of the Main Theme
- The scene where the team 'escapes' from the cell block is still terrifying. You fall asleep in your cell, only to wake up later and find the cell door mysteriously open. You look outside and find the guard has been horribly murdered. You get your friends out of their cells and you see that everyone on that floor is dead. And the pod holding Jenovah has been burst open, leaving a huge bloody trail up the elevator. You follow it, trailing this massive blood smear up multiple levels past scores of dead employees while the creepiest music ever plays. Not to mention that there is no victory theme, when you win a battle..... All that's there is that frigging creepy music. And it ends with the Big Bad up until this point slumped over, dead, a sword in his back. Then you get introduced to the REAL Big Bad. The fact that you don't actually see Sephiroth yet & are just working off of this, coupled with Cloud's obvious mix of fear, hatred, & reverence further increases his creepiness.
- Our introduction to the secondary antagonist, Rufus Shinra, follows immediately afterwards. The sinister Shinra theme music is playing at the time, and if you speak to your allies, they build him up in a way that is just chilling. Tifa says, "I wonder what kind of a person he is." Aerith says, "I've heard no one's ever seen him bleed or cry." Barret says, "I heard that he'd been assigned somewhere else for a long time". And Red XIII simply says, "I only know his name." And then when you run outside to meet him in person, his utter coldness towards your interferance and his own father's death, plus his speech on how he intends to rule the world through fear, firmly establishes him as a warped person who's utterly detached from humanity.
- Hojo. What's wrong with him? Well...
- After the Nibelheim fire, he kidnaps its survivors, including Zack and Cloud, and subjects them to experiments for four years. Only Zack and Cloud make it out with any semblance of sanity left.
- The thirty-plus years he kept Vincent to experiment on him, turning him into an immortal shape shifter trapped in a coffin until Cloud and Co. freed him.
- For that matter, nothing says, "I love you, honey" like getting your girlfriend knocked up with an alien baby that nearly kills her and drives her insane!
- Hojo really is the king of all assholes in Final Fantasy VII. Not only does he have no ethical standards at all, he's insane to the point of self-destruction and is the father of the Big Bad who also wants to wipe out everything. At some point, he figures out the truth of what Jenova actually is (by the time he starts rambling about Reunion Theory), and he simply does not care.
- Not to mention Hojo tried to mate Aerith and Red XIII as an "attempt to save both races from extinction". It's best not to think about the details.
- There's not just what he did that's terrifying, but also what he turns into during your boss battle against him. Say hello to Helletic Hojo◊. His third form crosses the Bishonen Line, so it's not as scary, but his second form wouldn't look out of place in Resident Evil.
- The worst part about Hojo is that his evil is so visceral and personal. When all we know is that he's an eccentric Mad Scientist who delivers sass towards the other villains, he seems almost likeable. It's hearing about what he does to his test subjects, coworkers and his own family which turns him into an object of horror.
- Did he ever truly love or even care for Lucrecia, or did he just see her as an incubator for his latest project? Did Lucrecia do this willingly or did he string her along with false affection and obfuscate what the end results would be? Sadly, Lucrecia did agree to experimenting on her unborn son, but she never knew exactly how bad things would turn out to be...
- The most disturbing part is how his final scene is framed as if he's deluded enough to think he's making a Heroic Sacrifice. He could have easily escaped during all the anarchy of the Shinra HQ raid and become a Karma Houdini, but instead he throws himself to his death against the protagonists in order to send power to Sephiroth, and finally refers to him as his son. This man is so twisted and nihilistic that he's never cared about a single other human being, especially his son, and now he'll kill himself out of "love" for a world-destroying monster. Because Sephiroth is now a successful experiment, and that's all Hojo ever cares about.
- If anything, Hojo's reappearances as a purely emotionless villain in the Compilation are less terrifying than this man who's deluded himself that he knows what emotions are.
- The sheer fact that every single bad thing, the entire plot, is somehow caused by Hojo. He's practically Jenova/Sephiroth's Dragon and Bigger Bad simultaneously. Not bad for a minor character!
- The Shinra submarine, which is required to progress the story at a certain point, can cause you to run into Emerald Weapon. Emerald Weapon has a chance to appear directly outside of the Gelnika, causing you to enter battle completely unwillingly. Seriously, the Gelnika deserves a proper mention. All of the monsters are mini-cosmic horrors including a monster vaguely resembling a half-decayed dog head which attacks you with its giant, lolling TONGUE.
- The freaking Yin-Yang that you have to fight in the room where you find Vincent. Not only does it look like a zombie, but anytime it uses an attack, you have to sit there for a minute and watch it twitch in a disturbing fashion. A number of the other Shinra Mansion monsters were also freaky. In the PC version, when you go into battle at that point, BGM does not change. Now imagine battling Yin-Yang once again. At least they were decent enough to play the victory theme after that.
- Crisis Core recreates the game's famous Nibelheim disaster with better 3D. And a Spooky Painting of a girl in Zack & Cloud's room. Despite not doing anything (that we know of) walking up to it prompts you to push X to examine it. Whereupon Zack will comment on how creepy it is. No other paintings in the room are considered noteworthy enough for examination.
- Hell, Nibelheim. There's something unsettling about the place to begin with, mainly because the haunting "Anxious Heart" music is it's BGM, but there are several factors that make it a rather nightmarish place. The Mind Screw that occurs if Cloud visits his mother in the flashback, Mt. Nibel and its' interiors, the Nibel reactor, the Shinra mansion, the entire incident with Sephiroth, and the mansion basement where Hojo did all his horrible experiments AND locked Vincent away. But worst of all is when you revisit the town. It's been rebuilt from the ground up exactly as it was five years ago, with all the townspeople acting like nothing ever happened to it, so maybe Cloud was misremembering things the whole time. There's also people in black cloaks hanging around all over town, moaning about "the great Sephiroth" and "the Reunion". A report letter to Hojo found at Tifa's house is the only thing that explains what's going on here. The townsfolk are Shinra staff members assigned to act like civilians and keep what happened in Nibelheim five years ago a secret, and the cloaked "Sephiroth Clones" are the surviving townsfolk whom Hojo experimented on in order to prove his theories on the JENOVA Reunion. In the attic of one house, there are even two children who have been turned into these things! It's really hard to sleep after finding all this out.
- Cloud's random Sephiroth/Jenova induced freakouts are just unsettling.
- The piercing noise that accompanies the freakouts deserves special mention.
- A whole bunch of people die in Sector 7 (or rather, under Sector 7). Also, the Planar Shockwave in the beginning of the game... if you don't make it out of the reactor in time...
- Hell House! A house... THAT GETS UP ON ITS OWN AND DECIDES IT WANTS YOU DEAD!!! Then when you beat it up a bit, out pops a head and several limbs!◊
- Super Nova, an attack that the final boss uses against your team, which shows a meteor plowing through just about every planet in the solar system, before crashing head-long into the sun, causing a supernova, even to the point of getting around those pesky laws of physics by causing it with a star too small to become a supernova on its own. That in itself is scary, but let's look at the attack animation again. Notice something familiar about those planets being blown up? Like, say, their names? That's right, that meteor isn't just causing a supernova in any solar system; IT'S CAUSING A SUPERNOVA IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.
- The original Japanese release simply had the ending second or so where you see a wide shot to a celestial boom and the characters take damage. The western versions added the space sequences. Later in Crisis Core, you get an email from one of Sephiroth's admirers going on about his signature Super Nova attack. So it's simply something he does semi-commonly even when he was more man than monster, not a real Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- In Crisis Core, the Genesis Copies. These were SOLDIERs, regular guys, that got injected with just a bit of Genesis' cells, stuffed in Mako tanks, and get turned into mindless drones, stripped of everything that give them their individuality, even their physical appearance, in a process that is potentially very painful. Gah. Made even worse when you think that, when Genesis first deserted Shinra, the SOLDIERs he took with him came of their own free will out of loyalty to him and they were the ones that wound up as the Copies. And some fans say Genesis isn't that evil.
- The Midgar Zolom. No, not that snake in the marsh, the one you find. On your way to Junon you have to cross a marsh with a gigantic 100-foot snake living in it that will massacre your party if you try to cross it on foot. No biggie, you catch a chocobo and get across. But on the other side you get a cutscene where you see a Midgar Zolom VIOLENTLY IMPALED◊ on a massive dead tree, with blood streaming down the trunk. The sheer brutality was horrifying. It gets better when you realize who did it. The giant snake that devours your body like popcorn if you try to fight it? Sephiroth spiked it on a tree without breathing hard. And that's when it sinks in just what sort of person you're dealing with...
- Sephiroth. Every single time he showed up, something horrible happened, like the deaths of civilians, Cloud having his massive breakdown, Aerith's death, and the infamous scene of that evil smile as he burned Nibelheim to the ground. When he showed up in that game, you knew something horrible was going to happen.
- One of the worst bits has to be in the Temple of Ancients, just before he attacks Tseng. You're having some sort of vision of the past, seeing the Turks search the temple, and then Sephiroth shows up, and he looks straight at you. You're not sure if he's just able to see Cloud & co., or if he can actually see you playing the game.
- If you enter a certain room in the Honeybee Inn or whatever it's called, Cloud encounters... well... himself? What's going on in this part isn't exactly clear, but the general idea you get is that Cloud is really, seriously messed up inside - much more so than you're expecting at that point. The brief interaction they have, as well as the music playing in that room, is very creepy.
- It's "the real Cloud" that Cloud encounters, his true self inside of him that's not acting upon a combination of Zack's memories and JENOVA cells. He speaks to Cloud at other points in the game as a voice inside his head. In this particular "conversation", he's telling the outer Cloud that he can't run away from his past because "it's started moving again." "It" referring to JENOVA.
- The BGM to the very first area you play in, "Mako Reactor", deserves mention in that it welcomes you, as you begin the game, like - for lack of a better comparison - a kick to the face. It was so creepy, that the Lighter and Softer FF title "Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales" used it for the freakin' Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
- Don Corneo is the resident pervert who picks women to come visit his mansion so he can spend time alone with them. You infiltrate his mansion with transvestitism and go looking for Tifa to find he has a DUNGEON in his basement. Let's be clear - this is not your typical bondage-club "dungeon" either. It's a medieval torture dungeon. However, it's strongly implied that Corneo uses it like an S&M dungeon. Not even the hilarity of Cloud in a dress can make up for how deeply icky the whole thing is.
- It gets worse: at that point, Corneo has been looking for a bride for a while, and one of the locals mentions that he chooses a girl from a stable of three, and the other two go to his thugs... and this happens every night. So where are the brides going? Down the trapdoor in Corneo's bedroom. That leads to a sewer.
- It gets even worse: A sewer where Don Corneo's gigantic pet Rapps lives!
- Dyne. In Barret's flashback, he's the kindest, most loveable father you could meet. Now? He's a batshit insane Omnicidal Maniac. When you meet up with him in person, Barrett duels him and tries to snap Dyne out of it. Dyne does come to his senses, but he's so stricken with grief that he kills himself.
- Oh, he's not just gone insane, he starts to talk about killing Marlene to take her back to her mother. It's enough to push Barret into the fight at last, when at the start of the scene he was so unwilling to kill his best friend that he just stood there and let himself get shot.
- Vincent's backstory is both horrifying and sad. There's one flashback scene in Dirge of Cerberus in which we see Vincent locked in a test tube, just after being infused with the Chaos Gene. It does keep his body from decaying and returning to the Planet, but its overwhelming power means that Vincent can't control it on his own. Cue the transformed Vincent clawing and banging against the glass, growling and hissing as Lucrecia's panic increases. Had she not implanted him with the Proto-Materia in time...
- There's also a short scene from the original game recreated in Dirge of Vincent waking up on the operating table - and discovers his Galian Beast form. Cue bloodcurdling scream.
- After the Shinra Mansion stage in Dirge, Vincent's Proto-Materia (the one thing that keeps Vincent's will from being overtaken by Chaos) is stolen. He almost immediately starts to spasm and writhe in pain. Later on, while aboard the Shera, from Vincent's perspective, Chaos very much wants out (the screen is washed over red and blurred), but Vincent manages to muster enough strength to restrain himself. When he regains full consciousness, there are huge claw marks on the wall.
- That whole part where Cloud has his Heroic BSOD and becomes catatonic for a portion of the game, and it's up to Tifa to snap him out of it.