main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Nightmare Fuel: Frank Zappa
Album cover of "Weasels Ripped My Flesh"

Most of Zappa's music can sound frightening to non-fans.
  • The album cover of "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" features a man shaving himself into a bloody mess with a gnawing weasel.
  • It's also listed on the Funny page and does have good Black Comedy value, but one has to recognize "The Torture Never Stops" can also make great Nightmare Fuel. The entire arrangement is performed at an oppressively slow tempo and stretched to nine minutes, with the music being largely minimalist riffs and drumming topped off with reverbed slide guitars, Scare Chord-like trills, and female screams of pain (or the opposite). Zappa's lyrics describing the sadistic Torture Cellar are gruesome but funny in a Refuge in Audacity way, but his vocals are close-miked to the point that you can hear the breathing and salivating, and he delivers them in the album's typical low near-growl, making him sound like "an insanely calm mad scientist" (to quote Allmusic).
  • Other examples come from Freak Out!, his first album: namely "Who Are The Brain Police?", in which it seems that the record itself questions the existence of your thoughts and the validity of relationship with art (with a midsong break of pure terror, including someone chanting I'm going to die...), and "It Can't Happen Here", a demented barbershop quartet in which 4 of the strangest men you will ever meet assure you that "it", whatever it is, can't happen here....right?
    • By "midsong break of pure terror" we aren't kidding around here. Think of an Internet Screamer Prank followed by atonal noise. Then, run for your fucking life.
  • "The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny", which closes We're Only In It For The Money. The piece is a sonic interpretation of Franz Kafka's In The Penal Colony, filled with car horns, strange hums and the evil laughter of the insane, decaying individuals running the place.
  • "Jonestown", the final track of "The Perfect Stranger", a haunting composition inspired by Jim Jones' mass suicide killings in 1978.
  • "Naval Aviation In Art"
  • "Dental Hygiene Dilemma", especially with Cal Schenkel's cartoon in the film Two Hundred Motels.
  • The opening screams of "The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet" and most of the first few minutes.
  • The tragic fate of Joe on the album Joe's Garage.
  • The Crab Grass Baby from Thing Fish. Not only is it a borderline Eldritch Abomination, concieved through intercourse between a little boy and a rubber sex doll, but the song it is introduced in is played in a shuffling, droning rhythm with ditto chanting, and the baby itself psychobabbling in a computerised voice that is terrifying.
  • Some of Bruce Bickford 's Deranged Animation in Zappa's film Baby Snakes (1979) also fits this trope.
    • Actually, just watch the video called The Amazing Mr. Bickford released by Zappa's Honker Home Videos. A LOT of it is scary as all hell.
Florence + the MachineNightmareFuel/MusicFutret

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy