Why do babies cry so often? Mostly because they can't talk just yet. But with so much beyond their comprehension, some things we might take for granted (or would just mildly disturb us) make perfect Nightmare Fuel for infants.
The climax of that episode, where Tommy is in the bathroom and he keeps almost falling... It isn't scary as a kid, but to an adult, that whole scene is terrifying; what with the Adult Fear of walking into the bathroom to find your baby dead on the floor, his skull cracked open. Oh- also, baby's skulls are very soft.
The episode Special Delivery has Tommy exploring the post office, and goes through the chute to the dead letter office, on a conveyor belt leading to what is best described as the junk-mail pit of death, complete with the skeleton of a postal worker who had apparently fallen in years before.
Worse, it has some Fridge Horror to it. Think about it: Tommy goes through an obstacle course of mail sorting machines, getting weighed, sliding down chutes, trapped on conveyor belts, marked as junk mail and almost ends up stuck in the dead letter office if he didn't pull the right switch. It's no wonder Tommy says "You'll like it at home. It's a lot nicer than here!"
In "Chuckie vs. The Potty", Chuckie has a nightmare where his potty-training is like death row, complete with screams of "Not the chair! NOT THE CHAIR!" Just to make it even creepier, the sequence features all of the babies—Phil and Lil appear as the prison guards that march Chuckie to the chair, and Tommy is an eerily calm monk who tries to console him. The bit ends with Angelica as the executioner, who pulls off her mask to reveal one of the creepiest Slasher Smile / Evil Laugh combinations EVER, and flushes Chuckie down a giant toilet.
Then there's the episode where Stu's latest invention is Mr. Friend, an unintentionally creepy-lookingrobotic toy clown. Given the toy's erratic and disturbing behavior, the babies' malapropism "Mr. Fiend" may be a more accurate description. It gets worse when Tommy and friends have to fight off a small army of malfunctioning Mr. Friend dolls.
"RISE AND SHINE YOU SLEEPY HEAD, IT'S NO FUN TO STAY IN BED, IN BED, IN BED, IN BED, IN BE-E-E-E-E-E-".
"I WILL SING A SONG FOR YOU! LAAA LALA LA LA LA LAAAA-LA LA LAAA-LA LA LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!"
Here's some Fridge Horror for you. When Stu and Didi leave the basement after Stu has deactivated all the Mr. Friend dolls, one Mr. Friend doll comes out from behind the boiler and activates them again. Now, why did that one Mr. Friend wait until Stu and Didi leave, and how did it manage to stay quiet for that long?
More to the point, how could Stu and Didi not see how terrifying the doll was? I mean...babies cry when around it and hide when its there. Oh wait...we're talking about the two most inattentive parents ever.
It might be just the idea that Mr. Friend isn't meant for infants. Angelica, who is a toddler, gets her own Mr. Friend and loves him, and is completely baffled by the sheer horror the babies feel around him.
Another episode was played out like a sci-fi movie with the parents as aliens. It turns out to be a dream... and it ends with Angelica stranded on a desert planet trying to dig for food, after Tommy wakes up.
Chuckie's nightmare sequence in Spike's doghouse at the beginning of "In The Dreamtime" where he approached Tommy (who was facing away from the camera) and tapped him on the shoulder, only to have Tommy's head rotate to reveal a Nightmare Fuel-rific clown face and declare in the most disturbing voice ever, "I'm not Tommy!" before laughing insanely.
The end of the episode had Charles walk out of Chuckie's room after tucking him in and noticing Stu turned away from him. He says, "Stu, I didn't know you were coming over..." only to be confronted with Stu having a similar clown face that dream-Tommy had and saying, "I'm not Stu..." before also laughing creepily.
In "Stu-Maker's Elves", Tommy and Chuckie had to go down to the basement to get a fly-away frisbee. The basement was creepy, but the real nightmare fuel was a creepy first-person view of Chuckie's memory of being spanked by the doctors. We see Chuckie being held upside-down with his freakishly malformed and tube-like arms dangling beneath him, flying around franticly, and the loud "SMACK SMACK SMACK!" coupled with Chuckie crying. It's probably the most terrifying thing to ever happen in the series.* & then you see "Angelica's Worst Nightmare"...
The episode "Under Chuckie's Bed" where Chuckie gets a new bed to replace his crib and thinks there is a monster under there and imagines that its talking to him. When Chuckie dares to peek under his bed for the monster he actually saw a dark, demonic-looking humanoid WITH AN ARM REACHING TOWARDS HIM.
Angelica's story that she tells halfway through the episode about a boy who got "eaten by a monster under his bed" is also quite disturbing too. It begins with the boy just laying on his bed and reading comic books, when he hears the monster talking to him. The monster tells the kid that he has cake and ice cream under the bed, and the boy, buying the monster's lie hook-line-and-sinker, drops down to the foot of his bed, only for the monster to eat him alive in a scene that looks like it came from a A Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Ending with a horrible belching noise to top it all off as well.
Angelica: "And they never saw little Barnaby Jones again....So remember there's only one place you can hide: Under the covers. And sometimes, the monsters can even find you there. * flicks Chuckie's teeth and runs around singing* "Chuckie's gonna get eaten, eaten, eaten! Chuckie's gonna get eaten by the monster under his bed!"
Chuckie's germ nightmare in the episode "Mr. Clean".
Chaz's psychotic dependency on puppets in that same episode.
"Pickles Vs. Pickles": In Drew's nightmare, Angelica sues him and he almost gets thrown in jail. The scenery suddenly darkens as the judge orders him locked up and then the guards take him away from the court, with him kicking and repeatedly screaming "NO! I'm a good father!" while everyone in the audience/jury laughs and cheers for Angelica. He wakes up immediately after this, but it's still a disturbing scene.
The bull dog in the episode "Barbecue Story", specifically the part where Tommy and Chuckie are in the bull dog's yard searching for Tommy's ball and the dog growls at them, yanking so hard at its chain that it pulls against the dog house and pulls the dog house out from the ground nail by nail with the dog getting closer and closer to Tommy and Chuckie. Thankfully Spike comes along in a creepy voodoo mask of some sort and saves them.
Is it me, or is Angelica's temporary Face-Heel Turn in "Angelica for a Day" creepy? The smile on her face seems so forced and unnatural.
Worst of all is Angelica's would-bebaby brother from the episode, "Angelica's Worst Nightmare". It begins with Angelica hearing a baby crying. She finds her parents fawning over the new baby, saying how "precious" and "adorable" it is while not knowing who Angelica is. After the mom and dad leave, Angelica talks to the baby, and, much in the same matter as Tommy and the gang, Angelica's new baby brother can talk. However, he's more like Family Guy's Stewie minus the evil humor and with a horrifyingly deep and raspy voice, and tells Angelica that this house isn't big enough for the both of them, and says that Angelica (the "old baby") should be gone permanently. Angelica tries to flee from him, but the baby keeps finding her, and growing every time there's an encounter between them. The dream enters its horrifying climax as Angelica's now Godzilla-sized baby brother catches Angelica in her getaway car, wondering "what a toy car would taste like". It all ends with Angelica screaming, "No! You can't eat me, I'm your sister!" with the baby replying, "WELL NOW YOU'RE NUM-NUMS!" and putting Angelica (car and all) in his dark cave-like mouth.
The episode where they camp out in the backyard with Grandpa and he tells them about the Satchmonote Sasquatch is damn terrifying. The atmosphere of that episode was just so ominous.
On the episode "Dust Bunnies", Chuckie becomes scared of dust bunnies. So scared that he has a nightmare where a giant, evil, slobbering rabbit drags him into the basement with its slimy ears, while he screams the whole time.
Apparently it was aired as part of a 3D promotion block called 'Nogglevision', using 'Chroma-Depth' technology. The 3D is still in the episode, as Chroma-Depth requires specific colours, but all the '3D on/off' cues are removed. Still, imagine watching this episode when it aired as part of the 3D line-up, in 3D.
In "What The Big People Do", Tommy and Chuckie have a dream about being grown up and going to work. All is well and good, until they are called into The Boss's office. They have to first walk down a hallway with giant pictures of past bosses and are thrown into the the boss's room by the carpet in the hallway. The doors slam shut, creepy organ music plays, and the entire room is enshrouded in shadows save for the boss' chair. The Boss is the adult version of Angelica, who threatens to have them "FIREEEED!", and then flames shoot at Tommy and Chuckie from these two statues she has in her office. They flee while the the past bosses climb out of their portraits to stop them. Angelica calls in the Creepiest Robot Minions Ever, and all the time insanely creepy music is playing while the angry-faced robots close in on them. Had to be one of the creepiest things in Rugrats ever.
The ending lulls you into a false sense of security with Tommy reassuring Chuckie that being a grown up won't be that bad, and then, for no real reason at all other than scaring the crap out of every kid watching the episode, Angelica appears and says the following in such a creepy and horrifying fashion: "Oh booooyyyyys~... Time to play HOUSE!" Cue her face morphing back into the adult version, complete with a huge Slasher Smile, her Evil Laugh, Tommy and Chuckie screaming in terror and a hard cut to black.
Angelica explaining to Tommy that parents swap each others children at family reunions, ending with "And you'll never see your mom or your dad or your dumb old dog ever again!" Two Eat The Camera takes with Angelica reiterating that line make this even more uncomfortable, with the second reminding her of her own possible fate.
In the aptly named episode "The Shot," Chuckie describes getting a shot to Tommy (who was going to get one that day), with images of a friendly-looking doctor morphing into a Mr. Hyde-like monster and thrusting a hypodermic harpoon at Chuckie.
The doctor introduces himself by saying "Don't you remember me? I'm your friend, Dr. Lector!" Can't fault Chuckie for being scared. No sir-ee.
The first Halloween episode had some pretty creepy background music, as well as views through the eyes of what the babies thought was a monster in the garage. Turned out it was actually just a mouse, but it's still Nightmare Fuel.
The episode where Chuckie wants to run away from home because the babies destroyed his dad's CD shows a parody of the famous Christmas story It's a Wonderful Life, where he sees what life would be like if he never existed. What was both terrifying and depressing was when his guardian angel showed him Tommy's dark, grey house, with a beaten, dirty and sad Tommy playing in the trash cans. The dialogue is as follows:
Chuckie: Why is he outside, why isn't he inside playing with his toys?
Angel: Angelica took his toys.
Chuckie: What about his house?
Angel: Angelica took his house.
Chuckie: What about his parents? ... You can't mean...
And if that wasn't enough, it then shows a starved Tommy beside a Jabba the Hutt-esque Angelica, with his parents rushing around baking her cakes, completely ignoring Tommy, who begs for food, and is rejected!
Also in this episode, Chuckie finds that his father's sanity has been shattered by loneliness, and he lives in a trash-filled dump where rotting food becomes furniture, and his best friend is his schizophrenic outlet: a sock puppet.
Also in this episode, Phil and Lil destroying breakables in their house as their parents sob over their ruined home.
There was one episode where Angelica steals Chuckie's glasses. Without them, his imagination runs wild and he begins seeing ordinary objects as creepy clowns and the like.
In "The First Cut" Tommy gets cut on a rose bush. He later dreams that when he gets cut, endless amounts of stuffing starts pouring out of the wound, as if he's a stuffed doll (This was inspired by a damaged teddy bear earlier in the episode).
"The Last Babysitter": With only Susie's older sister in charge, the power goes out, and Tommy and Susie think that there's a monster in the dark house. At one point, they sneak upstairs to read Susie's book of monsters, one of which "eats bones."
Tommy: Like a dog?
Susie: No, Tommy. Not like a dog.
A subtler one happens early on: Buster goes into the basement, then runs out, saying that something was down there. We briefly get a POV from something coming after him, just before the door is closed. While it's later revealed that the so-called monster was actually Buster's friend, it's pointed out that a monster couldn't get out of the basement without being noticed. If that's so, then what was in the basement chasing Buster in the first place?
The Fantastic Voyage episode where Angelica had Chuckie convinced that, because he swallowed a seed, his stomach would be ripped open from the inside by a rapidly growing watermelon. The others had to go in there to get the watermelon seed out before it took root, but they were too late and it started going out of control. The environment inside was dark and claustrophobic and kinda gross. Tommy, Phil and Lil hardly got out in time, and only then was it revealed that it was All Just a Dream.
Phil also nearly drowned when he fell into the bloodstream and had to be saved. What kid would want to go swimming after watching that?
"Party Animals", in which the babies walk in on a costume party and become convinced that the world has changed. Throughout the episode, a man dressed as a baby is chasing the babies and yelling at them to pull his finger. Worse, he continues to do this, even when it is plainly obvious that the babies are dead terrified. Eventually the babies manage to trap him and lock him in the bathroom. A while after the party has ended, Angelica wakes up and has to go to the bathroom, but Tommy and the gang try and stop her, thinking that the world is still "topsy-turvy". Angelica leads them near the stairs and shows them that the world is completely normal (the adults are just vacuuming and relaxing) and that it was probably all in their heads. She then goes to where the bathroom is, opens the door... and Giant Man-Baby jumps right out, shouting at her, "HEY KID, PULL MY FINGER!"
Tommy's fever dream sequence in "Slumber Party". Surreal doesn't cover it.
In "Down the Drain" Angelica tells Tommy a story (In a similar vein to the 'monster under the bed' story mentioned above) about a nice boy who was swallowed up by his own bathtub.
The episode about the mole people in the basement was horrifying. Especially the ending, which features the basement door opening...and two glowing green eyes, belonging to a mole person, appearing in the pitch darkness. Eep.
The Rugrats Movie brings the series' inherent Fridge Horror to light: this show is a long line of incidents in which helpless and naive infants are neglected to wander off on their own. The only thing saving them from being crushed, burned, exposed to the elements, stolen, starved or permanently traumatized was dumb luck.
A good example of how scary Angelica can be? The episode "Tooth or Dare". Specifically when she gets the idea to pull out Chuckie's teeth when she learns about the Tooth Fairy from Susie.
"I'M GONNA GET THOSE TEETH IF IT'S THE LAST THING I EVER DO!!!!!"
In "Spike Runs Away", Tommy's parents briefly adopt a pair of gerbils. Soon there are hundreds of gerbils, covering the entire floor. It's strangely disturbing.
Also the tarantula in the same episode. Extreme closeups of spiders' faces are scary enough, but you don't have to be a hobbyist to see the Dude, Not Funny! aspect of a joke about SMASHING TO DEATH an animal people keep as pets.
The "big, big slide" that Chuckie described in "The Slide."
The arts and crafts counselor in "Cool Hand Angelica." After taking Cynthia away from Angelica, she tricks her with a hand made out of Popsicle sticks! Naturally, Angelica screams and gets the hell away but the baffled counselor claims the kids at camp love the joke. I guess the campers have a sick sense of humor.
Something is very unsettling about it whenever Stu or another adult screamed, for some reason, like in the episode "Angelica Breaks A Leg".
Some of those chocolate pudding Stu videos while hilarious are also quite scary.Like the one where Stu contemplates suicide.
And then there's when Stu finds out what Didi is really like.
Seeing the image of Angelica's entire skeleton and Bob the ex-ray technician as he takes pictures of her insides was quite creepy.
"Regarding Stuie", in which Stu falls off the roof and hits his head. He becomes like a baby and plays around with Tommy and the others. Towards the end, Tommy realizes his daddy is never coming back, because "Stuie" is his daddy, and starts crying for him...
"Mega Diaper Babies" ends with the babies rescuing their favorite superheroes from a giant robotic Angelica, then waving goodbye as the heroes go retrieve some stolen oxygen...then Angelica looms over Tommy's house and laughs evilly. The end credits music for that episode sounds kind of creepy as well.
The episode "Baseball", where the baseball catcher saves Tommy by catching him in his glove. Consider the height that Tommy fell from and remove Not the Fall That Kills You from the picture for some Fridge Horror...
"New Kid in Town," where Tommy and his friends join up with this fat boy named Josh, who decides to play a game called "Pillow". He swings to the highest point he can and then tells the babies he's not trying to jump over them...but he's going to jump on top of them. This kid looked heavier than all four babies combined, and he was going at least as high at the swing bar. Had it not been for Angelica intervening when she did, imagine what could have happened...
From the PS1 game Rugrats: Search for Reptar. There was a level called "Let There Be Light" in which there's a powercut, and you need to control Tommy to find the light (i.e., the fridge). Little Tommy is only armed with a flashlight and there's freaking ghosts around the entire house. Strangely, he isn't afraid of the ghosts.
In the mini golf level, there is a hidden entrance in the pyramid on the eighth hole. Inside the pyramid there is a maze of seemingly empty corridors...until you see the army of mummified Mr. Friends coming towards you, by which time, you're running out of there (luckily they don't follow you out of there). The pyramid is dimly lit, just like one in a horror game would be. This should not have been in a kids game.
With the Mr Fiend/Friend, if you can handle the creepiness and move slowly enough, he will follow you out of the pyramid. Then he reaches sunlight and breaks apart. It can take up to 3 minutes to get him outside (if you don't get lost), which is a long time in that place...
The Toy Palace level is full on creepy in its dark, closed store feel and with monsters chasing after you, though the original episode was as well.
The level in which you play as Angelica and you have to fly, slowly, in an anti-gravity space area is very creepy, the music doesn't help.
From the movie, Tommy snaps and almost pours mashed bananas on Dil, knowing the monkeys will be attracted to it. It's thundering and raining the whole time, and Tommy just starts acting more and more crazy as he starts ranting about how much Dil has ruined his life. Horrifying.
When Spike runs away, Stu goes to the pet store for a replacement. It's full of a few Freeze Frame Bonuses such as an elephant stuffed in a cage, as well as a praying mantis the size of the adults! Borders on Fridge Horror as well.
In the episode where they act as The Mega Diaper babies, the robot Angelica's face exploding.
There was an episode where Tommy wished the worst thing ever would happen to Angelica. Angelica goes home, but Tommy finds a statue of her and is racked with guilt, thinking his wish had turned her to stone.
The episode where Chuckie and Tommy think Stu is a robot, especially the scene where a sleep-walking Stu chases them and the ending exchange:
Tommy: I'm glad my dad's not a robot, Chuckie.
Chuckie: Yeah. (beat) Wait, what about my dad?! (scary music)
One episode where the kids tell scary stories features the monsters from Ahh Real Monsters appearing to eat the babies. note Even though it is stated that the monsters from Ahh! Real Monsters do not eat humans, this is a different show so different rules apply.
Tommy's dentist Dr. Homer is also pretty creepy as well.
One early episode had an actual working time machine and a life-size toy robot got inside after hijinks ensued. It was transported back to the Revolutionary War in the middle of an ongoing battle with no way to return. Tommy and Chuckie, an infant and toddler, could've ended up lost in the past forever in the middle of a bloody battle! Just imagine the trauma that would wreak on their innocent minds...
Worse... with a robot toy from the future in that era, there might be an impact on the future. It showed up in plain sight during the war. Maybe it causedalien paranoia...?
What about the fact that it never said that there was any way of getting back to the present?
Chuckie unzipping himself to reveal that he's an alien in "The Alien". Granted it was just a fake story Angelica made up, but STILL.
"The Santa Experience" has some pretty nightmarish moments but the scariest has to be the nightmare Angelica has. The way Santa's so threatening towards her is unsettling, but the scariest has to be when Santa BURIES HER ALIVE IN COAL while she screams and Santa just laughs evily! Imagine the thousands of toddlers and children that saw this and it was just their first time meeting Santa.
The whole show can be considered Nightmare Fuel if you think about it, it's young children being place in situations where they could be killed or kidnapped on a regular basis.
The episode where Tommy is freakin' kidnapped, and the adults have absolutely no idea he's gone until hours later, when the crooks can't handle it and decide to return him.