Nightmare Fuel: South Park
Being a very long running series, South Park was bound to have some horrors that little children should not see (never mind that the show, in America, is rated TV-MA and makes it explicitly clear with every episode that it shouldn't be watched by anyone who's young, impressionable, or a Moral Guardian).
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- Cartman is generally frightening when he shows his psychotic and extremely sadistic behaviour.
Kyle: Dude, I think it might be best for us to never piss off Cartman again.Stan: Good call.
- In the episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Cartman ground up a kid's parents into chili and tricked the kid into eating them. And, to top it off, sang "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! I made you eat your parents!"
- "Do you like it? Do you like it, Scott? I call it: Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman chili." The look on his face seals the deal.
"Let me taste your tears Scott. Mmmm, your tears are so yummy and sweet!"
- Stan and Kyle put it best...
- This is more of a Fridge Horror, but certainly qualifies. While Cartman almost always proves somewhat immoral and sociopathic behavior, is somewhat frightening if you think how he will be when he grows up and becomes an adult. If he has made one of the most cruelest acts in a TV series ever done in "Scott Tenorman Must Die", imagine how inhumane he could be as an adult.
- In a Season 15 episode, in response to an anger management counsellor calling him "fat", he whips out his phone, seemingly nonplussed by the insults. The counsellor is then interrupted by a phone call from his wife, which is then cut off when she shoots herself due to a "fourteen year old girl" and "an official police record", brought to light by a "Mitch Connors". After this, the counsellor looks straight at Cartman, who puts down his phone, fixes him with a Death Glare and says "I'm. Not. Fat. I'm big-boned."
- Ms. Crabtree's character design and abrasive personality sometimes crossed into this territory for the first three seasons, to the point it even, in-universe, scared the living bejesus out of characters like Mr. Garrison, Chef, and even Cartman!
- The show's unsettling fixation on suicide. It really makes you wonder about the mental health of the creators.
- In the episode "Marjorine", the reaction of Butters' parents when they think he's committed suicide, especially his mother's shriek when she sees his "body" hit the ground. It is one of the few times that I've found the show to fully cross over into Dude, Not Funny! territory.
- The multiple gay suicides at the camp Butters is sent to in "Cartman Sucks" might've been darkly funny when the episode first aired in 2007, but the recent rash of real life gay suicides and homophobic hate crimes between 2010 and 2011 really give the episode a darker feel.
- Kenny McCormick's deaths. Sure, it is played as a running gag, but there are quite a few of them not for the faint of heart.
Kenny: I can't die. I've experienced death countless times. Sometimes, I see a bright light. Sometimes, I see Heaven or Hell. But eventually, no matter what, I wake up in my bed wearing my same old clothes. The worst part? No one even remembers me dying. I go to school the next day and everyone is just like "Oh, hey Kenny," even if they had seen me get decapitated with their own eyes.
- "Mysterion Rises" makes it even worse combining Nightmare Fuel with Fridge Horror, Kenny states that he is unable to die:
- Much of Shelly's over-the-top abuse of Stan, like electrocuting him with a TV, running over his face with a lawnmower, burning and dousing him (though that was a Deleted Scene), and crushing him (and Kyle) with a piano. DO NOT piss her off.
- Also, when Cartman once badmouthed her behind her back, he reacted with absolute fear when she addressed him. Oh, and not to mention she's based on Trey Parker's sister (though the worst she did to Trey was push him down some stairs, lock him out of the house, and punch him in the face. Compared to what Shelley does to Stan on the show, it's nothing).
- The Woodland Christmas Critters?
Jason: Man, I do not want to meet the kid that dreamt those things up. [jump cuts to Eric Cartman]
- The operation scene is this mixed with squick.
- Kenny's death. It even has a small Hope Spot before coming to a bloody end.
- Kenny getting sent to Hell, complete with demons fighting over him.
- Don't forget that, according to the movie, almost EVERYBODY goes to hell. Kenny even runs into Gandhi down there!
- The M.A.C. in general. It starts out as another of Sheila's Moral Guardian soapboxes, but it quickly escalates into a plan of war, mass murder and genocide. All because of a dirty movie.
- The war itself, with soldiers on both sides getting shot, stabbed, beheaded and dismembered.
- "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" where the "dream" that Cartman insists he had about aliens probing him doubles as an in-universe example.
- The Grim Reaper chasing the boys in "Death".
- Grampa Marsh's grandfather. Enough said.
- The end of "Pinkeye," when all the zombies revert back to their normal selves and we see a TON of dead bodies scattered around the field.
- Very narrowly averted with "Starvin' Marvin." The episode was originally going to end with Sally Struthers being killed and the Ethiopians feasting on the fat from her belly for Thanksgiving. However, Comedy Central would not allow the episode to end in such a way. So it ended with Struthers being tied up as the Ethiopians feasted on Dr. Mephesto's cloned turkeys.
- Wendy sending Miss Ellen into the fucking Sun! Also Wendy getting Miss Ellen kidnapped by Iraqis and sent into the sun was solely because Stan developed a crush on her?
Wendy: Bye-bye, Miss Ellen.Kyle: Wendy, you didn't...!Wendy: I warned her... Don't. Fuck. With Wendy... TESTABERGER!
- Not forgetting the Voice of the Legion while she says it.
- Stans's hellish vision of Kyle's parents in "Ike's Wee Wee".
"Let us cut off your pee-pee, Stan!"
- Seeing the remains of the people everybody was forced to kill and eat in "Cartman's Mom Is Still A Dirty Slut" could definitely give some kids nightmares.
- Another early example can be seen in "City on the Edge of Forever", in which the children are trapped on a school bus teetering off the edge of a cliff. One of the students, an actual Red Shirt, decided to take his chances outside even after Mrs. Crabtree said there was a big, black, monster outside. He seems alright at first but then the monster attacks, grabbing him and pulling him into a tree. As the students watch on to learn of his fate, WHAM! His eviscerated body hits the window. The children think they're safe until the monster rips the top off the bus and steals Kenny. Yes, it was All Just a Dream from Stan but the fact remains. That monster was something that comes from the bowels of your worst nightmares◊.
- Seeing the remains of Tom and Mary at the end of "Cow Days." Granted, they were just extras with little significance to the episode's plot. But still...
- Sharon's Sanity Slippage and the satanic pets in "Spookyfish".
- The fish itself. It doesn't swim, just stays in one spot staring at Stan with a creepy grin, sends creepy messages to Stan, and can kill people in gruesome ways.
- Veronica's transformation in The Succubus. It comes out of nowhere and causes the entire plot to turn from a "bros before hos" storyline into a quest to save Chef's very soul.
- "Trapper Keeper." On one hand, it's an awesome episode with a cool homage to AKIRA (among other sci-fi classics). On the other hand, it has an homage to Akira. And then the B-plot is about Rosie O'Donnell...
- In "Hellen Keller", Cartman's blindfolded and has headphones put over his ears in an attempt to understand how it'd feel to be Hellen Keller to get inspiration for lyrics, every time he closes his eyes, he sees horrible stuff, like a body being opened up, a rotting corpse, war, an atomic bomb going off, a rat eating a dead rat, a man on fire, a mime and other stuff. Cartman mentions that he sees that everytime he closes his eyes. What makes this scene even worse is the fact that all the aforementioned footage is shown in live-action.
- In "Fat Camp", the manatee dissection scene. They use actual photographs of various muscular structures. Then the ridiculous amount of peer pressure Kenny receives regarding the manatee spleen. First Stan and Kyle make him dissect, then the other kids get him $41 to eat manatee spleen, then an additional $19 to eat the regurgitated spleen. This leads to Kenny's rise to fame as a gross out stuntman. The whole thing is really frightening because it all started with his friends egging him on.
- People vomiting up their intestines in "It Hits the Fan".
- The ending of "Ass-Pen" is also a little... troubling, to say the least. To wit, the scene where the nerdy girl lifts up her shirt to reveal two grotesque creatures in place of her breasts.
- In "Freak Strike", when the freaks tell Butters about the time they killed a freak impostor ("Lobster-boy", who actually was just a normal lobster) by boiling him alive, and we see Butter's imagination of the lobster cooking in a scalding metal cauldron, complete with eerie piano music and the sound of the lobster crying in slow agony.
- Wendy getting breast implants in "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society." There's tons of blood and it's uncensored! (in the Comedy Central version at least; a lot of network TV syndicated versions will not air this scene due to gore, nudity, and the doctor's constant cursing).
- "The Death Camp Of Tolerance".
- How Christopher Reeve uses stemcells.
- In "'Lil Crime Stoppers", the boys continually want to solve crimes in South Park. Despite the simplistic nature of the incidents (stolen pie, lost doll) they essentially screw Occam's Razor and come up with insanely brutal motives. Some of the details include having a older gentleman beat his wife with a hammer, decapitate her and dissolve her body in acid. Another has a pedophile looking into a girl's room and cutting himself in pleasure.
- How 'bout poor Butters getting a ninja star in the freakin' eye. And his anguished screams afterward, and how they have to cover it up... Talk about the designated Woobie.
- The worst of it probably comes close to the end with him still dressed in the slap-dash dog disguise, covered in blood, urine, dirt, and his own tears finally making it to the hospital. He's so traumatized that he continues to pretend to be a dog, pitifully whimpering out "woof woof", and all the hospital staff looks horrified. Right up until they deliver the Wham Line that they would help him, but since he's a dog he needs a vet.
- That moment in "Up the Down Steroid" when Jimmy's roid-rage gets the best of him and he attacks his girlfriend. Jimmy's mother tries to stop this but Jimmy beats her as well. He then puts a dent in a wall with the same crutches he was using to hit his girlfriend before breaking down in a fit of self-loathing. The effects of drug abuse could not be made clearer.
- Passion of the Jew. Kyle has an EXTREMELY DETAILED dream where Jesus is crucified, and Kyle, in the end, is the one poking Christ with the spear. *shudder*
- The scene in "You Got F'd in the A" where a traumatized Butters is looking through the box containing his old tap-shoes. The music starts off sad and sentimental as he looks through the articles about his winning performances, then turns darker and creepier, as do the articles. Later, we get a flashback to the trauma: during his last performance, his tap shoe flew off and knocked down one of the stage lights, setting off a small-scale massacre as people were cut in half by wires, crushed by falling objects and trampling one another. Oh, and Butters gets splattered with their blood as he watches in horror. Only South Park could turn a tap-dance competition into that. And when Stan and some other kids finally convince Butters to tap dance again as part of a dance squad competing against a rival squad, he ends his performance by having his shoe fly off again, disconnecting some stage lighting and killing the opposing squad. Which makes the South Park squad the winners by default. Which results in Butters yelling out in horror as his inadvertent killing of six people is celebrated.
- The episode "The Jeffersons" (The episode about Michael Jackson). The whole episode has a creepy atmosphere, but the worst part has to be the end of the episode when parts of the face of Mister Jefferson fell off, starting for the nose.
- Special props go to the impromptu sleepover at Stan's place, complete with his nightmare about Mr. Jefferson and Cartman starting to make out.
- First we have the horrible fate of Miss Claridge the preschool teacher. Burned nearly beyond recognition, confined to an electric wheelchair, and her only method of communication is beeping once for "yes" and twice for "no."
- Then we have Trent Boyett, who was wrongly imprisoned because he was believed to be responsible for Miss Claridge's fate (in reality, the four main characters talked him into it). In his crazy drive for revenge, he hospitalizes Butters and a whole gang of older boys with a series of stereotypical bully attack moves (wedgies, Indian burns, noogies, etc.), but also a lot of nastier ones, like one which involves "tabasco sauce, a telephone, and the anus."
- The boys' complete apathy when it comes to the situation, both Miss Claridge's fate and Trent's wrongful imprisonment. They do try to tell Miss Claridge that they caused the accident, but only because Stan's older sister made them do it in exchange for protection from Trent.
- Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina. All of it, including the opening scene, Gerald as a dolphin, and Kyle breaking his legs in his tall black kid body. Said opening is about Mr. Garrison getting a sex change, cutting between Mr. Garrison with live-action footage of a real sex-change operation!
- In Ginger Kids, when the ginger kids swarmed and kidnapped all the non ginger kids, it was pretty horrific. That and Cartman came really close to succeeding in his plan to wipe out all non-gingers.
- "The Return of Chef": He was burned, battered, impaled, shot, his face (including one eyeball) was pulled off, and his limbs were torn apart by a grizzly bear and a mountain lion, and he finally defecated as he died.
- On a subtler note, there is the fact that all of Chef's dialogue is recycled from earlier in the series due to Isaac Hayes' absence. Due to taking a lot of dialogue out of context, Chef's voice tends to randomly shift tones as words from previous lines are spliced together to make complete sentence, causing jarring tonal shifts that indicate a sort of linguistic Uncanny Valley.
- Kyle's nightmare in "Cartoon Wars" in which the town is attacked by terrorists, and Ike goes missing. Kyle finds him just as a nuclear warhead goes off, complete with a very graphic depiction of IKE'S BODY MELTING WHILE SCREAMING, FOLLOWED BY KYLE. Easily the single most horrifying display of graphic violence in the series to date.
- "Tsst", Cartman is about to murder his mother when he gets into a fight with his inner demons, vomits black goo and starts flickering like a TV set into different forms.
- The ending where we see Liane spoiling Cartman and it zooms up to his face while "Ave Satani" plays.
- The climax of Stanley's Cup. When the pee-wee hockey team that Stan is coaching go on to play against the Detroit Red Wings, they are brutally, horrifically, and bloodily beaten up. What makes this scene even more horrible to watch is the fact that Nelson, a kid on their team who came down with cancer, had to see this as the last thing he saw before he died. Doubles as both Nightmare Fuel and Tear Jerker
- Almost all the lice getting wiped out in "Lice Capades."
- In "Night of the Living Homeless", a parody of the Zombie Apocalypse where the large group of homeless that overruns the town are the "zombies". Anyway, this episode is one part Wall Banger, one part Nightmare Fuel. And both are in the same few minutes. When the kids traveled to Evergreen, Colorado, the last place these "zombies" were, there's only 3 guys left in the entire town, carrying shotguns and wearing filthy, plant-covered clothing. They tell the kids of how the homeless flooded their town, moaning about "change" (as opposed to brains). Eventually though, the homeless got enough to rent apartments... soon, it was impossible to tell who was "homeless" and who was not. The Wall Banger, of course, was that if you could rent an apartment, you weren't homeless anymore. But everyone treated it like it was an actual, incurable affliction, like most zombies are. So, the "leader" of the three guys "found out" that his wife was "homeless". He was shocked at that "information" and wondered how could he have possibly missed this after 20 years of marriage! So, he had to kill her...with a flamethrower. The Nightmare Fuel comes in when the rubble behind the "survivors" starts shaking... and this gray, vaguely-human shaped thing rises from the rubble, moaning. That's his wife, still somehow alive despite having maybe about 75% of her flesh burned away. After some rather useless dialogue "You nurned ny ips ough! (You burned my lips off), she shoots all three dead, after sustaining several bullet wounds herself.
- In that same episode, a scientist tries to shoot himself to death...and fails. He then proceeds to keep shooting himself all over his body, with many shots to the head and heart and still doesn't die. When he finally does, there's a huge puddle of blood underneath him. Just think about living in all of that pain. It makes you shudder, doesn't it?
- The entire episode devoted to Britney Spears doing a graphically-animated impression of Mike the Headless Chicken. Urgh. (By the way, for more Nightmare Fuel, click that outgoing link.) Very little humor, lots of gore, and lots of biting, truly unsettling social commentary. For those too afraid to watch the episode, Britney shoots herself in the face after being tricked into thinking the South Park kids are her sons, but fails to kill herself and is left instead without most of the top of her head. She appears to be unaware of anything that's going on, but is still paraded around on stage as-is to do a concert. Being as in her current state all she's capable of doing is making a horrible gurgling sound she proceeds to get shot down by fans and media, and a frighteningly literal comparison is drawn between human sacrifice and the way society sets up celebrities, then viciously tears them down. The entire episode is both nausea fuel and nightmare fuel, but as always, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
- The scenes in "The China Probrem" with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg raping Indiana Jones. Those scenes were supposed to be played for laughs, but are nothing short of disturbing.
- Doubles as Nausea Fuel: The idea of drowning in urine in "Pee."
- "Sexual Healing". The chimp's face.
- In the episode, Insheeption, Stan, a sheep hearder and Mackey go into Mackey's therapy dream to reveal a field trip where Mackey runs from bullies, hides in a building and is molested by Woodsy Owl only to reveal Freddy Krueger piercing Woodsy Owl's chest open and Mackey waking up so Stan doesn't want his therapy and Kyle asks how he knows that wasn't his.
- In the episode "City Sushi" Dr. Janus and his multiple personalities were quite scary. Mainly the part parodying Paranormal Activity where he comes into Butters' bedroom, stares at him for 3 hours, urinates on his face, then beats him and leaves before he wakes up.
- All the "shit" imagery in "You're Getting Old". Also counts as serious Nausea Fuel.
- The end scene of 1% with Polly Prissy Pants. Cartman is more fucked up than anyone thought.
- Kyle being hunted down by Apple so they can make him part of the "HUMANCENTiPAD".
- In "The Poor Kid" the police remark on how it's supposed to feel safe. However when they show the soft room surrounded by pictures of creepy looking clowns...
- Cartman's Nightmare Sequence from "Jewpacabra", from lambs being sacrificed, to childrens' heads exploding which concludes with his own head exploding.
- Butters' Grandma. At least his parents don't beat him (not after what happened in "Jared Has Aides").
- Special mentions go to stabbing him with a fork under the table and trying to force-feed him a urinal cake.
- How Butters beats her in the end is worse, since he has no idea that what he said scared her as much as it did.
- The completely senseless death of the UPS driver in "Insecurity", mostly due to the parallels with real life situations of innocent people having their lives destroyed by ignorance.
- Randy's Sanity Slippage a la The Shining in "A Nightmare on Facetime".
- "Let Go, Let Gov". Where the NSA gets all their information from: hooking up Santa Claus to a machine.
- The Black Friday shoppers brutally killing each other in "Titties and Dragons". What makes it worse that those scenes are mixed in with actual Black Friday footage to make you realize what's happening in the cartoon is no different from real life.
- Towards the finale, when the kids go to the local gamestop to buy a console, they have to go through a mile of BLOOD to go there. The result of dozens and dozens of people being slaughtered because of human greed.
- Aaron Hagen's dead mother being wheeled out by paramedics in "Informative Murder Porn". Her face is horribly disfigured with a knife being lodged in her eye.
- "Snooki wants Smoosh-Smoosh!"
- The effects of eating gluten in "Gluten Free Ebola".