main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Nightmare Fuel: Michael Jackson

His songs

  • The lines "She showed a photo/My baby cried/His eyes were like mine" in "Billie Jean".
  • The images described in his song "Thriller" and then Vincent Price's haunting Evil Laugh at the end!
  • "Morphine." It describes a patient being lured into an addiction to demerol by his doctor. Sounds familiar?
  • Taken on its own, "Smooth Criminal" is a fairly chilling song about a woman being attacked during a home-invasion. The chorus repeats, "Annie, are you okay? Won't you tell us that you're okay?" and the line, "it was her/your doom," repeats throughout the song as well, suggesting that she was either killed or left for dead by the intruder.

His music videos

  • The famous "Thriller" video, an homage to 1950's horror films, which features him transforming into both a were-cat and a zombie (the former on-screen and quite detailed, what with the video being directed by John Landis), and ends with Jackson turning to face the camera with yellow cat eyes and a Slasher Smile in the final scene. And if those examples don't creep you out, then Vincent Price's cackling at the very end certainly will!
  • His music video to "Leave Me Alone" is so surreal that it can be frightening for very young children who don't know what's going on.
  • The music video to "Ghosts" had some scary moments as well.
  • The "panther dance" epilogue of "Black or White". Emotionally powerful and set in a dreary, frightening back alley at night, it's inspired claims that it contains messages pertaining to the Illuminati via secretive, discreet symbolic and expressive body language. An alternate interpretation is that he's expressing solidarity with the Black Panthers, given that the sequence is bookended with him in the form of an actual black panther. Even if neither is true, there is something about the video that screams that there is something evil amongst the backdrop as Michael Jackson dances and stirs up commotion in his location.
    • It doesn't help that it's aimlessly violent and sexual, with copious amounts of crotch-grabbing. After it initially aired and complaints rolled in from families, Jackson allowed the segment to be dropped — not hard to do, since the actual song was over by that point. (Indeed, another theory about the segment is that he knew there was No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and decided to deliberately court controversy.) A reedit of the full-length version has random racist graffiti added, via CGI, to the items he smashes up.

The man himself

  • As a child entertainer, Michael was exposed to a lot of adult stuff he wasn't prepared for. One can imagine how scary sexuality and growing into an adult must've felt to him. Plus: his father regularly beat him. Watch Michael's angry way of dancing again and bear in mind what kind of emotional abuse and mental confusion he must have gone through...Suddenly this makes his dancing look disturbing, instead of cool.
    • There have also been (unproven) allegations that Jackson might have been sexually abused as a child. Some even suggest by his own father. According to Randy Taraborrelli's biography about the pop star Jackson once told him, in a sad mood, that "everybody has secrets, dark, dark secrets", but he never explained what he meant with that.
  • His plastic surgery, which became creepier and more grotesque every year.
    • Just imagine how he most have felt after a while. All his efforts to try and fix his appearance just made him uglier and uglier. And there was nothing wrong with it in the first place!!
      • And most people didn't even take him seriously anymore by that point. Yes, his eccentric behaviour and often mind boggling opinions didn't help much, but in the end this man was in serious need of psychological and medical attention and all the world did was laugh at him and/or be disgusted by him...
    • Never mind what the large number of oxygen tanks found in his apartment after his death might've been used for.
  • Many people were and are still disturbed by Jackson, an adult man who lived alone in a large mansion, inviting children (including prepubescent boys) to stay with him and even sleep in the same bed as him.
  • This highly plausible theory about why he ended up how he did: one of the experimental medications given to him by his Stage Dad to stop him from getting acne actually prevented him from going through puberty.
  • Jackson' fall of grace in general. He went from being a handsome black young man who destroyed racial barriers and put the world's best selling album on his name to a hideously deformed, ghost-like white, androgynous man who seemed mentally unstable and was accused of child molestation. It's quite astounding how low he had fallen at a certain point. Disturbing even.
    • You really wonder what was going on in his mind after a while. Especially after he moved off to his Neverland Ranch he seemed in complete self-denial about his career, personal appearance and lifestyle and lived off in fantasies, far removed from the real world. And NOW remember that this seemingly "insane" man invited countless young children to his home and even raised a few ones of his own...
  • That infamous moment in 2002 when Jackson dangled his infant son above a balcony for a few frightening moments.
  • Bubbles, the chimpansee that Jackson almost treated as a personal friend. Brrr...

MetallicaNightmareFuel/MusicThe Mountain Goats

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