Nightmare Fuel / Sherlock

    open/close all folders 

Series One

    A Study in Pink 
  • Sherlock is introduced vigorously beating a corpse with a riding crop. Molly then remarks thatshe knew the deceased personally, and that they were "nice". The show wastes no time pointing out Sherlock's lack of empathy.
  • The cabbie. There's something that's simply... off about him. His body language is utterly creepy and he even sneaks into the flat with a police group and Sherlock still in there. And just because his passengers took his cab, they're going to be forced to kill themselves.

    The Great Game 
  • All those poor people in The Great Game. The palpable fear. The sobbing breaths. The things they were forced to say. The laser sight trained on them. That little boy.
    • In particular: "Hello, sexy." The dissonance between those words and the woman's sobbing is horrifying. Also "this stupid bitch is reading it out."
    • This: "I can stop John Watson too..." It's the only time John has any difficulty calmly relaying what he's being told to say. The other hostages knew they were in danger and made much more obscure references to the consequences of Sherlock not solving the puzzle, things like "I'm going to be so naughty" or "I can soon stop that"—but Moriarty forces John to relay the threat using his own name.
  • Sherlock and John's first encounter with the Golem. The guy is freakishly large and all you see of him is his shadow, lurking behind a corner in an underground tunnel; then there's a vague shot of him running to his car in the creepiest way possible, magnified by that freaking shadow.
  • The moment at the end of The Great Game when Moriarty gives the first real flash of what he really is — with just a single word at the end of a four-word sentence. Give the actor a gold star.
    Sherlock: "People have died."
    Jim: "That's what people 'DO!'"

Series Two

    A Scandal in Belgravia 
Jim: "SAY THAT AGAIN!! Say that again, and know that if you're lying to me, I will find you, and I will ssssskiiiinnnnn you..."
  • Mycroft threatens to have Irene tortured for the password to the phone: "You have a pass-code to open this. I deeply regret to say that we have people who can extract it from you."
    • Even more horrifying, Sherlock's objection is not that torturing people is horrible and wrong, but that to torture Irene would simply prove ineffectual as there are likely two pass-codes, with the secondary code being an emergency code that will melt down the phone, programmed explicitly for such a situation. The Holmes brothers have a lack of empathy that is often Played for Laughs or otherwise causes offence to those around them with no real harm done, but here they're discussing whether or not they're going to torture Irene and decide not to for practical reasons only.

    The Hounds of Baskerville 
  • The flood lights in front of Henry's house. Nothing Is Scarier, indeed.
  • The information found on the H.O.U.N.D hallucinogen using the Major's password. We never get details, but the photographs and snatches of headlines like "blood-brain", "severe frontal lobe damage", "gross cranial trauma", and "multiple homicide" projected across Sherlock's face are incredibly creepy.
  • Henry tries to shoot the hound as it's chasing him across the moor. As soon as he fires the gun, a sudden cut reveals that it was just a hallucination. He was still at his house and almost shot his theropist.
  • After Sherlock leads everyone to believe there isn't an actual hound it turns up anyway with no warning.
    • Especially chilling when you take into account that Sherlock, John, Henry and Lestrade are all seeing something a little different. They're all presumably seeing an enormous black dog with huge teeth and red eyes, but the details are totally subjective. They're all seeing whatever scares the hell out of each of them individually.
  • Sherlock's hallucination of Moriarty when unmasking Frankland.
  • The death of Henry Knight's father. His traumatised memories of the event are bad enough, as we hear his father screaming as he's mauled, but the reality is actually even worse: An ordinary man wearing a creepy gas mask with red lenses and Vader Breath brutally battering Mr Knight to death, then slowly turning and staring at young Henry.
  • At the end of the episode, we get a look at Jim's Room Full of Crazy. Sherlock's name, scratched into the walls, over and over and over again.

    The Reichenbach Fall 
  • Moriarty smirkingly asks a young female police officer to fish into his pocket for a mint and put it on his tongue at his trial. The way he does it takes his character into the new and terrifying implications of his also potentially being a sex offender.
  • When Moriarty's team offers no defence at his trial, he looks up at John in the gallery and smirks. John is visibly upset by this. Sherlock described his standoff with Moriarty as "five minutes." But for John, the ordeal went for hours. He was knocked unconscious, unarmed, totally unable to defend himself, and he was the one actually wearing the bomb. He has impressive nerves, and considerable loyalty to Sherlock, to bring himself to be in court at all.
  • Kidnapped children are nightmarish by definition, but Moriarty's not content with that. He locks the terrified brother and sister alone in a dark factory, where they will starve to death unless they eat the chocolates he has left for them. For added creulty, the wrappers are painted with mercury, poisoning the chocolate.
    • Sherlock's chilling re-enactment of the kidnapping of the children. "Help us" glowing eerily on the wall. Sherlock's silhouette at the door, hand held like a gun. The details of the boy on tip-toe with a gun to his head. The little girl being grabbed around the neck...
  • Moriarty pretending to be Richard Brook, a scared actor who was hired by Sherlock to be Moriarty in an attempt to take Sherlock down. He's so convincing that he can make anyone believe that Sherlock is the bad guy.
    • The idea of Moriarty having his own kid's show. The guy has strapped bombs to children. He has poisoned children with mercury. Not to mention the crap he pulls on adults. He's the storyteller on TV. Small children trust him.
  • Moriarty's telling of the "tale of Sir Boast-a-Lot." The bad, gritty, home video-like visuals, Moriarty's creepy grin throughout, that fact that such a horrifying metaphor is being disguised as a children's program... Sherlock is visibly unnerved as he watches the recording on a cab's TV. And then the cabbie turns out to be Moriarty.
    "No charge."
  • Moriarty threatening not just John, but everyone Sherlock has ever cared about, in order to convince the detective to leap off a building to his death. If Moriarty's words alone don't do it for you, the sick, ferocious glee with which he says them probably will:
    Moriarty: "Ok. Let me give you a little extra incentive... your friends will die if you don't."
    Sherlock: "...John?"
    Moriarty: "Oh, not just John. Everyone."
    Sherlock: "Mrs. Hudson?"
    Moriarty: "EVERYONE."
    Sherlock: "Lestrade?"
    Moriarty: "Three bullets. Three gunmen. Three victims. There's no stopping them now."
  • Moriarty suddenly pulling a gun on himself, and the psychotic grin on his face as he lay in a puddle of his own blood. And, if you look closely, [[spoiler:you can see pieces of Jim's brain floating on the edge of the blood.
    • There's also something absolutely chilling about his words to Sherlock when he arrives on the roof about "staying alive" and "All my life I've been looking for a distraction." Because he freaking means it. He's not thrilled that he thinks he's beaten Sherlock Holmes. He's suicidal because he thinks he's beaten his one true diffculty. Jim's realisation that he could commit suicide to solve the problem of "staying alive" and scupper Sherlock's chances of beating him makes perfect, albiet horrible, sense.
  • John in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. Sherlock's suicide saved his life by mere minutes.
  • Faked or not, John witnessed his best friend fall from a building and saw his head smashed in on the ground, blood pooling everywhere, felt his non-existent pulse and saw the lifeless eyes on Sherlock's face. It doesn't matter how many dead bodies John has seen in his life, which no doubt is a lot, this was someone he cared passionately about.

Series Three

     The Empty Hearse 
  • In the Serbian prison, Sherlock's captor is whipping him with a heavy chain. He then picks up a thick, heavy metal pipe and swings it hard in the direction of his face and neck, stopping only because he wants to hear what Sherlock is whispering about him. Meanwhile, Mycroft is sitting in the corner with his feet up casually watching, and even at this point, he doesn't even flinch.
  • John's kidnapping and prepared execution. And there's even a close up of the syringe entering John's neck to drug him.
    • All those close ups of John struggling under debris and trying to yell for help, only to have his voice come out so quiet and muffled from not being able to get enough air to properly yell. And then the gasoline was added and John started to realize what he was under was about to be a bonfire.
    • And when it happened, about thirty people realised a man was trapped in the bonfire and, whether because of Bystander Effect or because of self preservation instincts, Sherlock, and Mary to less extent, is the only one to try and help.
  • Watching Anderson have a psychotic breakdown after encountering Sherlock for the first time in two years and hearing how he faked his death, especially considering how guilty he already felt.

     The Sign of Three 
  • The Mayfly Man. Even Sherlock can't figure out how he did it at first, and he does it with a lethal and single-minded precision.
  • Sherlock casually admits that he has mentally planned out how he would murder each of his closest friends. For fun. Then he starts describing how he would do it. While still giving his speech. It's chilling to imagine what he'd be like if he weren't on the side of the angels.

     His Last Vow 
  • Charles Augustus Magnussen. Everything he does, from licking Lady Smallwood's face to flicking John's face. In a deleted scene Magnussen comes into Sherlock's hospital room and touches him while Sherlock is half-unconscious and still under the effects of heavy medication, very similar to the scene where Mary comes in a threatens him while he's medicated.
  • The drug den. It's the filthiest, dankest, darkest, most depressing place imaginable, and full of young kids who are slumped over grubby mattresses like ragdolls and slowly killing themselves. Worse when you consider that some of them, like Isaac Whitney, come from normal, loving households and have parents who love them and can't help them.
  • When Sherlock goes in his Mind Palace during his Dying Dream after being shot by Mary Watson. He goes down to eventually lock himself inside a padded room in which a straight-jacketted Moriarty is staying. This mental Moriarty then tries to incite Sherlock to stop struggling to remain alive.
    • Hell, just the fact that Moriarty occupies the darkest place of all in Sherlock's Mind Palace. The man is dead, but there's a little part of Sherlock who can't forget him and possibly even wonders if he's still out there somewhere. Both Sherlock and Moriarty's eyes look... dead as Jim sings. Not only is Moriarty in Sherlock's mind palace, but Sherlock has to keep him in a straitjacket, chained to the wall of a padded cell.
  • Mary herself borders on this. Just the fact that she's able to put up such a kind and funny personality to hide from everyone, including Sherlock Holmes of all people, that she was once a ruthless assassin. Not only that, but she's prepared to shoot and mortally wound her closest friends in order to keep her secret.
    • There's something especially chilling about the scene where Sherlock is waking up from life-threatening surgery, drugged and weak, to find Mary hovering over him, threatening him not to tell John. She doesn't even show concern or remorse for what she's done to him.
    • It's also heavily implied that she did some very, very bad stuff in the past. Enough to have her convinced that a soldier like John wouldn't love her anymore if he found out the truth. Considering what John lets slide with Sherlock, as well as the lives he's taken himself, one has to wonder just what she could have done to think he wouldn't be able to accept her for her past actions. John proves her wrong.
  • This line, all by itself. Doubles as Adult Fear.
    Mrs Holmes: Someone has put a bullet in my boy and if I ever find out who I shall turn absolutely monstrous. Oh, this was for Mary.
  • The Stinger. "Did you miss me?". Added with the Mass "Oh, Crap!" reaction from the rest of the characters.

2016 New Year's Special

    The Abominable Bride 
  • The bride herself happily haunting/murdering people with rear half of her head missing. The camera does nothing to hide this.
  • A mere thought of Moriarty, back from the dead prompted Sherlock to inject himself with dangerous amount of Cocaine, resulting in the entire 1895 delusion you see in just a short span of time on the airplane he was exiled on.
    "Too deep, Sherlock. Way too deep."
    • Mycroft confirms that Sherlock was high before he got on the plane as he wouldn't have been able to take as many drugs in five minutes. He then reveals that between shooting Magnussen and getting on the plane, Sherlock had spent a week in a prison cell with nothing but his own company.
    "Solitary confinement meant locking you up with your own worst enemy."
  • Apparently Jim has been to Baker Street a total of 6 times. We know of at least two instances, and a possible third when he planted the trainers there in "The Great Game". That leaves the remaining three up to the imagination.
  • Victorian!Moriarty manages to be as creepy as his real self and then some when he talks to Victorian!Holmes in Baker Street. He indicates that he's sneaked into the place more than once and follows this up by stating that Victorian!Holmes' bed is "surprisingly comfortable". He then wipes a finger over the dusting mantlepiece, commenting that dust is largely made up of dead human skin. At which point he licks his finger.

Series Four

    The Six Thatchers 
  • Sherlock's paranoia about Moriarty gets to the point where he thinks any challenging cases was orchestrated by Moriarty when it fact, it isn't.

    The Lying Detective 
  • Literally everything about Culverton Smith is enough to send chills down the spine of every viewer. His near inhuman way of moving and speaking, the rotting teeth and how he choses his vocabulary to make his inner monster sound like an act.
    • Sherlock realizes that the word that changed Faith's life wasn't a name; it was "anyone." Meaning Culverton didn't care who he killed, so long as he killed someone.
  • It's pretty damn horrifying when Wiggins of all people had to be the one taking Sherlock back to his flat. The world's greatest detective is so damn high on his meds he can't tell reality and imagination apart...
  • The Reveal that the Big Bad of season 4 is Eurus Holmes, the Holmes' brothers' sister so unstable that Mycroft apparently has her watched to make sure she is "secure," whom Sherlock doesn't seem to know exists.
    • Not to mention how she managed to elude recognition from absolutely everyone (including the audience) for weeks!
    • Then there's this line about what happened to the real therapist.
    Eurus: "Oh hang on. It's fine. She's in the sack in the airing cupboard."

     The Final Problem 
Eurus: You were my favorite.
Sherlock: Why was I your favorite?
Eurus: Because I could make you laugh. I loved it when you laughed. Once I made you laugh all night, I thought you were going to burst. Then Mummy and Daddy had to stop me, of course.
Sherlock: Why?
Eurus: Well, turns out I got it wrong. It turns out that you were screaming.
  • Despite turning out to be a scenario playing out in Eurus's imagination, the plight of the little girl on the airplane. Imagine being less than twelve years old and being the only one conscious on an airplane with no one piloting it, with no knowledge of how to land it and the only person there to try to help you being a complete stranger on the phone who keeps getting cut off from you.
  • Mycroft being menaced in a darkened room with a ghostly disembodied female voice, followed by an armed Monster Clown.
  • Moriarty's series of pre-recorded messages. The red tint that colours Moriarty's features during every recording adds to the jarring effect of his appearances.
  • Eurus. She is shown to have the odd, almost hypnotic ability to bend people to her every will and has brought most of the management at the asylum she is being kept at to its knees. It's mentioned in passing that she successfully willed a worker there into shooting his own family. After which the man also killed himself.
    • One of the downright creepiest things about Eurus is her body language. Or rather, her lack of it. Everyone in Sherlock tends to move when they talk. Sherlock does some other task without looking at people, John looks people in the eye, Mycroft has a patronizing little nod he does, even Moriarty shifts from side to side every now and then. With Eurus... Nothing. She barely blinks, barely shifts an inch, she just stands there and talks.
    • In flashbacks, we see that she was even creepy as a kid. In one flashback to the Holmes siblings' childhood, we see Eurus being confronted by her parents and doctors over why she was slicing her skin open with a knife. She "wanted to see how [her] muscles worked". And then when she was asked whether she felt pain, her response was "Which one's pain?"
      • Not to mention how Mycroft's first flashback to young Eurus is shown in the typical way for this series, with the adult standing in the memory as an observer. So far, so normal... until the young girl Eurus looks straight at the adult Mycroft remembering her and says "You look funny grown up." Present day Mycroft is visibly unsettled.
  • All of the Mind Rape and emotional breaking Eurus inflicts on the Sherlock, Mycroft, and John, from forcing the head of the asylum to kill himself to save his wife only for Eurus to kill said wife, killing two people when Sherlock and Mycroft pinpoint the murderer, and then killing the murderer anyway, and let's not even get to the fact Eurus forces Sherlock into emotional torment on Molly Hooper by forcing the two to "confess" their love for each other.
  • The Reveal where we find out just why Sherlock never remembered he had a sister: Throughout the story, it is a plot point that Sherlock's saddest childhood memory was losing his beloved pet dog Redbeard. However, it turns out that Sherlock's memory of losing his Redbeard was actually something he convinced himself had happened all these years. Redbeard was actually the nickname given to Sherlock's best friend Victor whenever they played pirates. When Eurus saw that Sherlock was always playing pirates with Victor instead of her, Eurus drowned Victor in a well. Young Sherlock was so traumatized by this that he blocked it all out and instead convinced himself that it was a family pet who had drowned for years afterward.
    • The worst part? As this is happening, John is trapped in the very same well that Victor drowned in. John's confused by the presence of unidentified bones in the well with him...until both he and Sherlock realize who these bones belonged to. John picks up the young boy's skull in horror.
    • At one point, we hear Sherlock say that he dug and dug for days trying to find Redbeard. This is already horrifying enough in and of itself, but with The Reveal of Redbeard's true identity, this becomes even worse. Just imagine a young Sherlock, terrified and desperate, digging up all of the fake graves in search of the friend he knows is somewhere out there, dying. Young Sherlock wasn't just traumatized because Redbeard was killed, he was traumatized because he wasn't smart or fast enough to save him!

Expanded Universe

     Expanded Universe 
  • Moriarty breaking into 221B while Sherlock and John are out during The Hounds of Baskerville and recording his whispered observations on a shaky video camera, then posting the whole thing to John's blog? Very creepy. The fact that he did it while Mrs. Hudson was home?
    "Where is Mrs. Hudson? Helloooooo...?"
    • And maybe worse, when Moriarty finds the skull on the mantelpiece.
    "Oh, the skull... I wonder how your skull would look on my wall..."
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/Sherlock