Nightmare Fuel / Looney Tunes

"You know somethin' folks? This is the scariest part of the picture!"
— Bugs Bunny, Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers

The one time you'd wish that's all, folks! (Note: this is both a list of the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes theatrical shorts)

  • The Looney Tunes short "Now Hear This" is a No Dialogue Episode set in a surreal landscape that's apparently a minimalist version of London. It involves a British gentleman getting into all manner of at-times-creepy weirdness upon finding an apparently cursed ear trumpet. Strangely behaved shapes appear inexplicably, accompanied by discordant noises, and at one point the poor bloke is plunged into darkness while being menaced by dozens of mean, staring eyes and floating text reading "PUNK" and "WISE GUY". After abandoning the device in favor of his old one, we promptly find it was Satan's horn.
    • Worse if you look at the story as an analogy for an old man's struggle against the onset of dementia and/or senility.
  • Norman Normal, yeah it's really a great cartoon altough with a lot of Mind Screw, but then the ending the events of the cartoon are revealed to be inside the head of another, larger version of Norman, visible through a door inside his head. This version then ends the film by closing the door on his head... .
  • The Solid Tin Coyote. Watch at your own expense.
    • Rudy Larriva's Road Runner cartoons in general can be ominous and nightmarish at times (if you can get past the fact that they look like a cheap imitation of Chuck Jones' work), and not just the one above. Some good examples include "Highway Runnery," "Chaser on the Rocks" and "Shot and Bothered."
  • The Case of the Stuttering Pig, with its gloating, nasty, audience-abusing villain.
  • Satan's Waitin', in which Sylvester literally goes to hell just for doing what cats do, e.g. chasing Tweety Bird.
  • "The Big Snooze" being the most blatant. Lampshaded in three Chuck Jones-directed cartoons: "Scaredy Cat," "Claws For Alarm," and "Jumpin' Jupiter", where Porky takes Sylvester to these scary places to sleep for the night, and only Sylvester can see the scary things just about to happen to Porky...
  • "Chow Hound": "And this time, we didn't forget the gravy!"
    • For those that don't get it, a bullying dog frequently berates his cat and mouse henchmen for forgetting the gravy on his meat. But when the dog is morbidly obese from eating too much meat, the cat and mouse end up killing him by stuffing him further with the gravy.
  • Just about EVERYTHING in Life With Feathers. It is about a bird who has had a falling out with his wife, and he gets into a depression. He has many failed suicide attempts when trying to get Sylvester. Sylvester won't eat him because, he thinks the bird is poisoned. Even worse is that the bird tries to get killed again at the end. This is pretty dark for a children's cartoon.
  • "Porky in Wackyland" can be a little too bizarre for some.
  • Porky In Egypt (1938): In this scene, Porky's camel Humpty Bumpty starts to hallucinate while in the desert heat. Creepiest scene is when he imagines a caravan of camels sidestepping behind each other at the horizon while mysterious music plays.
  • Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers, while being one a modern-day favorite, never fails to give viewers the creeps. Especially the doppelgangers.
  • A scene from "Greedy for Tweety", in which Sylvester is given sleeping pills and as he opens his eyes as he goes to sleep, the bulldog is coming closer and closer wielding a baseball bat, and Sylvester not being able to move or react because he's doped up on pills. The final shot has him raising the bat and POW.
  • Charlie Dog's breakdown in "Often an Orphan".
  • The Grotesque Gallery of bad guys in "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery".
  • The cartoon "Pigs Is Pigs", where a gluttonous piglet is force fed until he explodes. Luckily, it was All Just a Dream.
  • The end of "Leghorn Swoggled", where Foghorn Leghorn is knocked unconscious (to the sound of a sputtering engine!) and dragged on a toy train into (presumably) Henery Hawk's oven. Made all the more scary when you consider that this is otherwise one of Foggy's less obnoxious cartoons.
  • The end of "Long Haired Hare", where Giovanni crawls out of the remains of the Hollywood Bowl, his tuxedo shredded, his face badly beaten, and his hair a completely different color. Bugs notices one last piece of the Bowl dangling from a support beam, cues the singer to sing that high note one last time, and then the last piece drops. Off camera, we hear a crash, and the singer goes completely silent...
    • ...followed by Bugs playing a lick (i.e. The line "and many more" from the Happy Birthday song) on his banjo. What the hell, Bugs?!
    • Giovanni Jones wasn't entirely innocent himself: being annoyed by Bugs' inadvertent ruining of his practicing with instruments, he destroys them with a Slasher Smile of rage (looking strikingly like Clint Clobber), and at several points grabs Bugs by the neck before slamming a harp shut on it or tying him to a tree branch and letting his head hit it rapidly (all of which would severely injure a normal person).
  • The obscure Porky Pig short "Fish Tales" (1936, Jack King) is pretty unsettling when you're a kid. For those who haven't seen it, it involves fisherman Porky having a dream about getting caught by a family of talking fish who try to cook him alive in an oven.
  • Things are often disturbing for no other reason than how bizarre they are. Take the early Egghead cartoon where the hunter says that there are no other hunters about, whereupon a hunter emerges from behind every bush around him.
  • The Ducksters. "You'll be sorry!" So Daffy kills whoever said it with a rifle and proceeds with the episode.
    • The entire episode is kinda like a mixture of Saw and The Running Man, especially since the rest of the audience shows no sympathy for Porky.
  • "Draftee Daffy" combines Adult Fear (Daffy Duck really doesn't want to be conscripted and face the horrors of war despite his grandstanding in the first minute) with the genuinely (but possibly unintentionally) creepy figure of "The Little Man From the Draft Board", a nameless government official with odd mannerismsnote  who will go to any lengths to conscript Daffy.
    • At the end of the cartoon, Daffy dies and goes to Hell, but is at least happy to have finally and totally dodged his draft. But then Satan himself turns out to actually be The Little Man in disguise.
  • The nightmare sequence from Fresh Airedale. "Number one dog. Number one dog. Number one dog."
  • The ending of Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare was the most disturbing for any Bugs Bunny cartoon as his Frankenstein's Monster he created to beat up the Tazmanian Devil then turns on him as Bugs wails with genuine terror, "No, no, no, not me, Frankie! Not me, Frankie! No, Frankie, No! No!" Shortly afterwards, Bugs hobbles back on camera to ask if there's a doctor in the house, which normally would've added some levity, but thanks to Bill Lava's horror movie-esque music, it only makes it worse. Compare to the ending in "Half-Fare Hare", which also ends with Bugs taking a beating (he accidentally hits his head and gets a series of head bumps), but thanks to the goofy music it's funny rather than off-putting.
  • Sylvester's insomnia and ensuing nervous breakdown in Birds Anonymous.
  • There's a couple of very Adult Fear moments in "Duck Amuck" when you realize how existential it is. The most disturbing has to be Daffy frantically trying to keep the blackness from enveloping him.
    • Even more so it's sequel, "Rabbit Rampage". Unlike Daffy, Bugs is savvy enough to want out of the cartoon the moment he knows the animator has it in for him and tries to escape, but repeatedly fails, with no arguing or pleading bringing him mercy until the very end at least.
  • Hyde And Hare has Bugs Bunny brought home by Dr. Jekyll, who periodically transforms into a nightmarish green-skinned, messy-haired, red-eyed, Ax-Crazy monster. Bugs doesn't put two and two together that the kindly doctor and insane maniac are one and the same and, thus, constantly tries to save both himself and the doctor by barricading them in a room or arming Jekyll, to disastrous results.
  • In a similar vein, Hyde and Go Tweet has Sylvester chasing Tweety in the doctor's laboratory. Tweety ends up hiding in the bottle containing the formula which causes him to transform into a giant buggy-eyed monster hellbent on payback. Sylvester's reaction to seeing his newly transformed arch-nemesis looming over him with sadistic glee causes the poor cat to literally fall into pieces.
  • The Blow Out in and of itself is one of Tex Avery's most unnerving and frightening cartoons. In it, a mad bomber who cackles like The Wicked Witch of the West has just gotten away with bombing a bank, and plots to detonate the whole city through something as inconspicuous as an alarm clock. Yes, the short does have a lot of gags that would later be used in Avery's other works like Northwest Hounded Police but the thing is, the bomber is far scarier than the wolf character from those cartoons could ever HOPE to be. Heck, he may be the scariest Looney Tunes villain ever.
  • The broken ether bottle sequence in Water, Water, Every Hare, where everything goes into slow motion. The whole effect is very disquieting.
  • Some of Bill Lava's music from the 1962-1964 period ventures into this, since he produced a far more dissonant sound than Carl Stalling or Milt Franklyn. As a result of this, some of his scores during this era create an ominous sense of dread. Some examples: The aforementioned "Bugs gets beat up by the robot" scene in "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare"; some moments in "Martian Through Georgia" when the martian is on Earth; what little music there was in "Now Hear This"; the shrill sting after Sylvester is blown up in "The Jet Cage"; the moment when Sylvester screams during the flashback in "Freudy Cat"; the title card to "Mad as a Mars Hare" (which could've easily been used for a '50s horror movie without missing a beat); and the catapult scene in "To Beep or Not to Beep" (which almost sounds like a death march).
  • The panther from Tree for Two.
  • Scaredy Cat isn't particularly scary, as most of the stuff Sylvester goes through falls into the Amusing Injuries category ("And just what were you planning to do with that anvil?"). But there were two genuinely frightening parts: the first cat being led on the death march, which - of course - Porky doesn't notice (until he's on the receiving end, that is). Especially since we never see the cat again after the first scene. Then, Sylvester gets pulled downstairs and emerges white as a sheet and visibly shaken. What the hell did the mice do to him?!
  • Bugs Bunny killing the entire Japanese army in Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips.
    "Business is booming!"
  • Yosemite Sam's descent into Hell in "Devil's Feud Cake", certainly not helped by the shrill descending music by Bill Lava.
  • The Hypo-Chondri-Cat in general, due to its subject matter (mice Hubie and Bertie convincing hypochondriac Claude Cat that he's terminal, and after Claude wakes up from "surgery", they pretend he's dead). Of particular note is the short nightmare sequence in the later part of the cartoon, where haunting music plays over a black background and abstract figures and we hear an echo-y Hubie and Bertie declaring, "We've got to operate!" (shudder)