Nightmare Fuel / Touhou

"Our village of honest men originally consisted of only eight people.
We all picked up and moved to a mountain in the east. Two years of honestly boring daily life passed us by.
One day, one of us found a little hole in a peach tree.
Yes, that was the day we were lost in this paradise.
And right away, I stopped being human."
Dolls In Pseudo Paradise opening words.

Gensokyo is host to over a hundred assorted Cute Monster Girls who can potentially toss as many bullets at you. However, even though being surrounded by such a massive amount of girls might seem like something fun at first, that doesn't mean Gensokyo is a hospitable place of marzipan and kittens. The aforementioned amounts of bullets thrown at you, the possibility of death, the potential of some of these monster girls, and the very real possibility that Yukari just might pop in one day and spirit you away are just some of the many horrors that await you in the rural world that is Gensokyo...

Unmarked spoilers below.
    open/close all folders 

  • While ZUN tries to keep a predominately lighthearted nature to the in-game tone of the story, a good deal of the incidents that the protagonists intervene with do present very real threats that, if left alone, would have had cataclysmic to apocalyptic ramifications. For example, if Yuyuko had not been stopped, the Saigyou Ayakashi would have kept on consuming the "spring" out of the land until nothing remained. If Utsuho Reiuji had not been fought back to calm in her god-induced bout of madness, she may well have reduced everything on the surface to molten, irradiated slag. And of course, had the protagonist not acted upon the Lunarian Invasion, the migrating superpowered immortal bigots would have seen the Earth "purified"... meaning all preexisting life would have to go.
  • The Dolls in Pseudo Paradise story. In resume, these are short stories about eight innocent people that are spirited away to Gensokyo and they start dying Cruel And Unusual Deaths. The first (the most curious), the third (the youngest), and the eighth (the earliest to rise) are Off with His Head!, the second (the most beautiful) is Killed Offscreen, the fifth (the wisest) is Back Stabbed, the sixth (the most mature) is poisoned, the seventh (the wariest) is nailed to a tree. And it is implied that one of them is the youkai responsible without even realizing it until the end (revealed to be the fourth, the most cowardly and the only girl of the group), who then ends up accepting her fate and is Driven to Suicide by hanging herself twice (the first attempt failing, the second attempt being successful).
  • Pretty much everything about Highly Responsive to Prayers was highly unsettling. Especially Sariel and Konngara. Looking carefully at Konngara, what appears to be blood is dripping from the base of her "horn". It's likely a spike driven through her head. While Sariel looks like a beautiful angel, she's actually an angel of death. The background goes through changes throughout the battle of her first form, and in one of them you can see a bunch of hands rising out of the ground. You can't even clearly make out her second form. You can see the outline of her body, but the rest is a giant void. To further drive the point home, there is no dialogue, and there just is ''something'' about the dark atmosphere in the entire game.
  • Opening up Story of Eastern Wonderland's "OP.EXE" file in an emulator and turning on the MIDI option in the title screen with a MIDI output set up will greet you with a disturbing cacophony straight from Hell.
  • Yuuka Kazami. It gets worse when you realize that the description "youkai moe~" is a pun on Yuuka being a flower youkai ("moe~" means "budding")... her real personality is evident from her route in Phantasmagoria Of Flower View, and though she smiles very pleasantly, her conversations often carry some unsettling subtext.
    • One of Yuuka's lines in her scenario in Mystic Square is "Genocide is just another game." Whether she is actually serious or merely trolling is up to debate and even if she's only joking, it still says something about her warped sense of humor.
    • In Lotus Land Story, Yuuka also states to Reimu that "In a few hours, you'll become a mist of atoms. ♥"; she does admit she won't, but does it by saying "I thought it'd be neat if that actually happened. ♥". We repeat; Yuuka thinks someone being reduced to atoms is 'neat'.
    • In her profile in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, Yuuka's "Threat Level" is given as "Extremely High" and her "Human Friendship Level" is simply described as "Worst"... To put those ratings into perspective, she shares Flandre Scarlet's "Threat Level" and is the only youkai in the compendium in the "Worst" category of the "Human Friendship Levels"... the genocidally insane doll Medicine Melancholy a little further down this page? Yeah, her "Human Friendship Level" is "Poor"... Never interact with Yuuka Kazami. Ever.
  • The very being of the Saigyou Ayakashi.
  • The inside of Yukari's gaps contain countless unblinking eyes and arms trying to claw their way out.
  • Yuyuko's powers. She can invoke death, which is freaky enough, but then there's the fact that she was Driven to Suicide because of those same powers. That's why she's a ghost in-game; she killed herself with (and also because of) her own powers.
  • There's actually a bit of Fridge Horror regarding Remilia and Flandre Scarlet. If you read through Remilia's profile, it states that Remilia can't create more vampires because she doesn't have the appetite to drain all of a person's blood, confirming that (at least in this canon) vampires need to feed on a victim to turn them. Combine this with the fact that Remilia is stated to appear as a child, and Flandre is a whole five years younger than her. Some vampire out there nommed on two little girls who were probably somewhere around 5-10 years old!
  • It's said that the reason Reisen's eyes appear red is because the mind of the person observing them is receding, fast.
  • Medicine Melancholy. Sure, she's just a sentient doll, but her genocidal ramblings, her thoughts of pure hatred against humans, and how she has no qualms with testing the effects of her dangerous poison on them or killing whoever steps into her territory drive her straight into this category.
  • The Scarlet Devil Mansion. According to game manuals, it's much Bigger on the Inside, monochrome, and very dark. It would be very easy for someone to get lost. Also, if you fell down a hole (which exist in there, according to manuals), no one would hear you, and you would most likely be stuck there until you died of starvation or thirst. Or until Flandre found you, which is probably worse.
  • Yukari herself. She's so otherworldly that almost every other character finds her mere presence unsettling.
  • Kisume has been revealed to chop off heads and hide them in her bucket, and the head you see might not be her own. But the real creepy part is that she seems completely unaware of her actions.
  • In chapter 14 of Wild and Horned Hermit we get an introduction closeup shot of a Hobgoblin. While it isn't creepy on its own, it will certainly catch many readers off-guard.
    • Another example from the same chapter. Yukari is a youkai, but one that is dedicated to maintaining the balance between humans and youkai in Gensokyo. Since humans are vastly outmatched and outnumbered, she's more likely to side with us, right? Wrong. Yukari admits to Kasen that she only keeps an eye on humans and manipulates events in the their favour because it makes them easier to corral and hunt. And this chapter deals specifically with Yukari sending her youkai spies to the Outside world for a short while...
    Yukari: "Gensokyo's getting enough food to fill the stomachs of all its youkai from somewhere."
  • Enenra from Forbidden Scrollery. A kind of Super Smoke youkai with huge Glowing Eyes of Doom that haunts various houses, and if it isn't noticed by the house residents, then the house will really burn down. And if it fails to burn down a house, it then jumps on to the next closest victim, making it hard to corner. Just the way the thing is presented make it even creepier.
  • We get to see what Remilia's new pet is in Chapter Seven of Forbidden Scrollery. It is beautiful.
    • In case anyone is wondering, it's a Chupacabra. Yeah...
  • In chapter 25 of Forbidden Scrollery, we see firsthand that, despite being friendly with a number of them, Reimu is not above murdering Youkai. A resident of the human village sets up an elaborate plan in order to posthumously turn into a Youkai. The man-turned-youkai explains to Reimu that he's going to leave the village and live a peaceful life far away, so Reimu doesn't have to needlessly kill him... And then Reimu states that she "doesn't particularily mind needless killing", whereupon she cleaves his skull in two. He tries to call Reimu out on harboring Youkai at her shrine, but she casually brushes it off and simply states that a human villager becoming a Youkai is "the greatest sin there is." Even without taking the questionable morality of Reimu's justification into account, the chapter ends with an ominous note that preventing villagers from turning into Youkai, and killing them if they do, is the reason why Reimu keeps a close eye on certain humans... like Kosuzu, who, it's been repeatedly stated, is in the danger zone of becoming a Youkai herself.
    • The circumstances behind the villager's youkai transformation are pretty unnerving in and of itself. He killed himself and used Kosuzu's fascination with his annotations to pull his spirit from the Netherworld, which would then be turned into a youkai. Peaceful intentions or no, there's no denying that this villager defied the very natural order of Gensokyo.
    • In Chapter 49, Mamizou accepts freely that she's a youkai in a flashback. Then she kindly asks to borrow the Night Parade scroll. A visibly sweating Kosuzu mentions that it's actually hers, not the library's, and that she doesn't like to lend out her youma books. Mamizou breaks out of the "kindly" persona and shows just a teensy bit of just how ruthless and inhuman she truly is, before leaving without the scroll. Later (earlier in the manga), Kosuzu, already rattled by this, meets someone by the road, who graciously offers to talk to her about the event and give some explanations. It's Yukari.
    • Chapter 50, something has happened to Kosuzu again; however, this time, the cause of it is the Night Parade scroll itself, which makes her believe that Reimu and Marisa themselves are villains out to suppress humanity for the sake of gaining more power and control for themselves. It gets so bad that at the end of the chapter, she uses the Night Parade scroll herself to potentially summon an extremely powerful Youkai, with the final page being Marisa futilely trying to stop her as a spiral of darkness surrounds them.
    • Chapter 51, we finally learn the species of the Youkai sealed in the Night Parade scroll. It is an Oni. Specifically, one that feeds on lesser Youkai. And Yukari manipulated events so that Kosuzu would summon it. This makes Reimu exclaim to Yukari that she is going to exterminate her.
  • The fate of Maribel Hearn between Trojan Green Asteroid and Neo-traditionalism of Japan. What could have happened to her that resulted in her being consigned to a mental asylum? Randolph Carter would love to have an extra-strong drink or two with her.
  • Rumia. One of the few youkai that are actually known to eat humans. And since she doesn't have any ability that allows swift and painless kills, her prey are most likely eaten alive, or butchered in a horrible and bloody way.
  • Part of the plot of Double Dealing Character is that the protagonists' signature weapons (Reimu's gohei, Marisa's Mini-Hakkero, Sakuya's knives) have gone corrupted. If you choose to keep your character's weapon, she gradually becomes a twisted, Ax-Crazy version of herself.
    Kagerou: I'm scared... Humans are scary!
    Sakuya: Hmm...
    Sakuya: What am I trying to accomplish by bullying around youkai like this?
    • Even though she feels her weapon's corruption, Sakuya is still compelled by it to cut things up, including her master and other youkai. Not that Remilia is particularly bothered by it; in fact, she's happy to see that her maid has gotten "bolder."
    • Marisa is also very disturbed by realizing her newfound fascination with her Hakkero, and ponders burning Kagerou:
    Marisa: I don't have to go that far...
    • Surprisingly enough, Reimu is the only one who remains largely unaffected by her weapon; she knows that it's different than usual, but aside from a few changes to dialogue, she isn't any more bloodthirsty than usual.
  • Urban Legend in Limbo provides a little with the introduction of the new character. First everything is quiet, and then all of a sudden, a huge ball of darkness starts forming and eventually showing her. However, she is covered in shadows and it is impossible to make out anything other than her silhouette. All while radiating an aura of darkness plus a hellish static noise one would never expect to hear in a Touhou game.
    • At the end of the first demo, we can see Reimu attack the new character. At the end of the second demo, we can see... um... a little problem...
    • The new Last Words, which are based on the occult and the outside world, are, for the most part, pretty awesome; however, there are a couple of unsettling ones. Koishi's looks like something straight out of a horror movie, with her creepily walking towards the opponent before slashing them with a knife. Kokoro's feature her being a bit creative with her masks. Mokou's features her completely burning up her body to fill the arena in fire. But the worst is arguably the new Final Boss, Sumireko, which features what looks like the people of the outside world's souls rising to the sky. Recently, Reisen's Last Word; a narrowed view, Reisen at a moderate distance with her back turned, before turning to reveal a rather manic smile and a glowing eye, then a sudden extreme close-up of said eye.
    • One spoiled screenshot of the Hakurei Shrine shows a very unnerving detail. Namely a giant crack in the Hakurei Border revealing the outside world! It's also heavily implied that it is the work of Kasen who did this. What could be so threatening to cause one to need to create a crack in the Hakurei Barrier?
    • As it turns out, the crack is due to the occult balls Sumireko has been seeding Gesokyo with, in a deliberate attempt to break a hole in the barrier so she can enter, not knowing how much of a huge problem this would create. In addition to this, the main characters' plan to get Sumireko to stop beating her up until she's too scared of Gensokyo to think of returning backfires horribly. Sumireko is so sure that she's going to actually die in Gensokyo that she decides to suicide bomb the place, sacrificing herself to activate the balls fully and completely destroy the Barrier, which would kill everyone involved. Gensokyo is not a toy.
    • It gets worse in Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, we meet the true culprit behind the Occult Balls: Sagume Kishin. Her motive? She and the rest of the Lunarian society got chased out of their own home by Junko and her impurity-spreading fairies, and forced to take shelter in the Dream World. In order to remedy this, she decided to use her powers to create an Occult Ball that would materialize the Lunar Capital inside Gensokyo once its inhabitants spread the "Apollo Project Coverup Theory" urban legend and purify life and death from Gensokyo, so the Lunarians could live in Gensokyo instead. By preventing Sumireko from activating it, Reimu actually barely saved Gensokyo (and possibly, the entire Earth) from obliteration. Granted, Sagume didn't want to use it until she had no other choice, but it's still shudder-worthy. And she doesn't even get called out on it - instead, the heroines help her retake the Lunar Capital.
    Sagume's profile: The "Lunar Capital Transfer Plan" was to purify Gensokyo and build a new capital there. To 'purify' is to eliminate life and death. That is to say, they were going to annihilate all the living things on the Earth's surface.
    • And according to ZUN, if the Lunarians had been serious about migrating to Gensokyo, then everyone would have just vanished before they even realized what was happening. Gensokyo wouldn't go out with a bang or even a whisper. It would just be... gone.
    • And the reason why all this was triggered? All from a plan of Junko and Hectatia to get revenge on a Lunarian who is already sealed in a prison for a crime. And the whole thing is really a huge example Revenge by Proxy, since the Lunarian's late husband was the one who wronged them, not her. Talk about a vicious example of Evil Is Petty, and shows just how the mysterious Junko has become a being of pure hatred and resentment. And considering that the protagonists foiled her plans... Let's just hope that her resentment doesn't end up turning against Gensokyo.
      • Fortunately, Junko and Hecatia aren't sufficiently interested in the heroines, and Gensokyo by extension, to turn their revenge against them, but they are still plotting their vengeance against Chang'e.
      • There is a small bit of Fridge Horror in the mix involved in this incident caused by the actions of these two characters: The Watatsuki sisters were not involved in this incident. Considering everything, the sisters would go all-out to prevent this incident, yet somehow they lost against Junko and Hecatia purifying the Lunar Capital. Or the manga is an Alternate Continuity and the two sisters simply don't exist in the games.
      • And then if you think about who Hecatia is based on, you realize just how badly things could go for the Lunarians if she'd really wanted to wreck their day: Hecate's other two aspects include Selene, a moon goddess, and Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, who died at Houyi's hands. Hecatia's grudge runs just as deep as Junko's, and the Fridge Horror really kicks in when you realize that just sicking a bunch of purified hell fairies upon the Lunar Capital was essentially her playing with kid gloves - as the hell-goddess of magic and a goddess of the moon, she could've done far worse.
  • The later half of chapter 42 of Wild and Horned Hermit features Okina drinking with Reimu. While Reimu having a drink with the Final Boss of a game isn't anything new, the mood quickly turns ominous when Okina reveals that the creation of Aunn from one of the statues was because of Okina's powers, and that she can create entirely new Youkai and even muses a couple of times to Reimu herself that she could remake Gensokyo if she wanted to. While Okina half shoots down the idea, the whole meeting ends up being sobering, both literally and figuratively, to Reimu herself.
  • In Antinomy of Common Flowers, we have Yukari's Last Word, which involves trapping the opponent and cleaving them in half with a Portal Cut, punctuated by even the music cutting short for a second.

  • A good amount of fanworks tend to portray Gensokyo as a nightmarish place, despite the fact that all the demons and monsters are cute girls more interested in games and parties than anything else. The "Test in Touhou" videos are prime examples of this.
  • It is somewhat common for fans to depict Yuuka and Flandre as destructive, maniacal monsters. While others go in the opposite direction with "youkai moe~" and Cheerful Child depictions respectively, it says something about their status when any image of them giving a hug on Danbooru is met with many comments along the lines of "OH GOD NO!!".
  • Beware of traversing The Dark Side of Nico Nico Douga. They have Seinen depictions of Touhou itself, most of which contain the R-18 tag. The tag name for Touhou, appropriately enough, on Google Translate roughly means "Gensokyo is a scary place." Interestingly, YouTube also tends to import such depictions from Nico Nico Douga itself.
    • The fan-made music PV "Josei no Qualia ~ Subterranean Rose," created by Innocent Key (censored or uncensored, take your pick), is a classic example of such a Seinen depiction. Sure, we love Koishi's alternate outfit that she wears on there with the detached sleeves and stuff, but the fact that she chains Marisa to a cross, rips off her clothes through Clothing Damage, and sometimes gets a downright insane look on her face when she attacks Alice and Patchy, not to mention giving off a Slasher Smile, is pretty freaky. Not only that, she also cuts a stuffed teddy bear open in the beginning of the PV, and at the end, while Satori comforts an unconscious Koishi after she has been knocked out by Marisa's MASTER SPAAAARRRRKKKKK!, we see Koishi eerily opening her eyes in a creepy way just as the PV ends.
      • Even worse, look at the background around 42 seconds in during the establishing shot of Marisa on the cross. Apparently Satori watched the whole thing and did nothing to stop it!
    • Border of Extacy. One can just imagine the horrors of being. It's so terrifying it comes in three flavors: Censored 18+, Uncensored 18+, and Short (which is heavily censored but still TOO DAMN CREEPY).
  • The nature and common treatment of the Yukkuris. Have you ever experienced witnessing something so abhorrent that you're completely mesmerized by the sight and you can't stop looking at it? That is the very experience of witnessing Yukkuri abuse. Additionally, how the normally cheerful and friendly Akyuu becomes an Ax-Crazy monster when around them.
  • Koto Inari's works of art, which are dark and grim interpretations of the characters, often them taking the appearance of the creatures they are based off of. Can range from Creepy Awesome to pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • As stated above, a rather wide array of Doujins is quite dark. A good example might be the works of Shimadoriru/Sima Drill, which are sometimes cruel by being just slightly more realistic.
  • Don't make the last mistake of your life: to intrude in the SDM.
  • A fan interpretation of the cover of Lotus Land Story is that Marisa died and Reimu is holding her corpse. Grimdark shit right there.
  • If computer viruses can be considered fan work, "Rensenware" would count: if it finds its way onto your computer, it will encrypt your data and hold it hostage unless you can get 0.2 billion points on Lunatic difficulty in Unidentified Fantastic Object. Browse carefully!
  • This trilogy of videos shows us just what sort of potential horror lies under the exterior of our favorite Moon Rabbits. You may not be able to look at Reisen and Rei'sen the same way after watching them tear apart entire buildings full of mooks, especially the sheer amount of damage Rei'sen survives in the second video, and Reisen's sadistic cunning in the third.

"There are eight less people in this paradise, "Gensokyo", and seven corpses were carried off by youkai. Gensokyo has lost these honest men forever. It's just a change in the population count.
Not important news in the least."
Dolls In Pseudo Paradise ending words.