Nightmare Fuel: The Dark Knight Trilogy

aka: The Dark Knight Saga
Let's put a smile on that face!

There is nothing to fear, but fear itself! I'm here to help!
Johnathan "Scarecrow" Crane, Batman Begins

Batman Begins

  • Batman Begins asks the question: "Would you like to see Dr. Crane's mask?" He uses it in his experiments. Now he's probably not frightening to a guy like you, but his crazies, they can't stand it.
    • It doesn't help that he's using a chemical that could be called literal Nightmare Fuel.
    "They scream and they cry, much as you're doing now."
    • Batman's whole shtick is to be Nightmare Fuel to his enemies.
    • I don't know, I found The Scarecrow to be a heaping helping of Nightmare Fuel... right up to the point where he gets defeated by a taser to the face. Though YMMV considering it looks like his burlap head fell right off his shoulders when Rachel gave him the taser treatment.
    • The end sequence where the Narrows are just teeming with Fear Toxin, and all the escaped convicts see Batman flying above. Their collective hallucination paints Batman as a huge black shadow with GLOWING RED EYES! It then distorts his voice to an even more horrible growl... Though it is quite the subversion in that it's the HERO that's terrifying.
    • Also, Crane's vision of Batman while on the toxin. It'd be more apt to call the hallucination a Bat-Demon, complete with black ooze frothing out of the mouth while he speaks.
    • And Batman's vision of Crane when he got sprayed with the toxin.
    • BUF Special Effects (the team who created the Scarecrow effects for the film) released an FX reel after the film came out that highlighted several sequences from the film. One of them is a deleted shot featuring Rachel's perspective of Crane when the elevator doors open in Arkham. In the theatrical cut, Crane immediately grabs her when the doors open. In the FX reel, Crane stands there staring straight into the screen with a passive look while maggots fall off of his face.
    • How about that poor guy that used drugs that Crane tampered with in The Dark Knight, who rolls around pleading "Get them off!" while clawing at himself?
    • When the Narrows and almost everyone in it, is driven insane by Scarecrow's toxin. Oh so many things are freaky in this scene. The riots, the images of Batman from the points of view of the insane citizens, Zsasz walking towards Rachel Dawes with a knife, the crowds of people attacking Batman, the monorail once built to help Gotham being used to drive the city insane and more.
    • Another freaky thing in The Narrows, is when an Arkham Asylum inmate starts eating another person's head during the above scene. They are only on the camera briefly, and that's probably a good thing due to the squick in that moment and everything else in the scene.
  • Almost all of songs from the soundtrack fall into this category. What's even better is that the creepiest songs are Batman songs; they really get across fear that Batman strikes into the hearts of his enemies. Artibeus especially, as the song that plays during Batman's first appearance.

The Dark Knight
  • The Joker himself is a potent combination of Nightmare Fuel and premium Paranoia Fuel. If he's after you then he will get to you somehow, no matter how impossible it should be, and carve a smile onto your face with a knife.
    • In most incarnations the Joker is somewhere on the scale between comedic violence (Nicholson) and violent comedy (Romero and Hamill). What made Nolan/Ledger's Joker so scary is that Nolan removed the comedic aspect, but Ledger still played him as if he was doing everything because it amused him. It goes beyond psychopathy and borders on Blue and Orange Morality.
    • If the Joker ever asks if you want to see a magic trick, the correct answer is and always will be no. He'll do it anyway, but at least you saw it coming.
      • (Rim shot.)
      • But how would the guy see the magic trick with that pencil...oh.
      • Ever notice that the Joker actually stabbed the sharp end into the table? That means he forced the dull, rubber end through the guy's skull.
    • One of the most terrifying Joker-related scenes comes from when Batman interrogates him and the Joker reveals he's kidnapped Rachel in addition to Harvey, and they both have mere minutes to live. Batman goes berserk and starts trying to beat their location out of the Joker, up to bashing his head against a reinforced glass window so hard the window actually cracks. All Batman's severe beating does to Joker? It only makes him laugh HARDER!
      • It only gets worse when you think about the Joker's line, "You have nothing, nothing to threaten me with-nothing, with all of your strength!" Just think about what must have happened to the Joker for that to be true.
      • YMMV on this, but this troper considers it an even more scary prospect if nothing happened to the Joker. If he just woke up one morning and decided to do these things for the evulz.
    • Right at the very end, when Batman throws the Joker off the rooftop. Joker's reaction? Laughing maniacally every inch of the way... and being disappointed when Batman saves him.
    • A really horrifying scene is where the Joker tells Rachel the second scar story. Something about the whole scene reeks of sexual predation, and to make it even more horrible, there's the fact she knees him in the nuts, which is usually the best defense a woman has against a male attacker, and he actually LIKES it!
    • One of the most Nightmare Fuel-filled moments was surprisingly one of the most low-key; when the Joker is videotaping/shooting his nightmare-porn of Brian the Batman Impersonator and orders Brian to "Look at me! Look! At! Me!"
      • That was the scene that, aside from the Magic Trick, made everyone in the theater sit up and take notice of Ledger's performance.
      • That scene gets worse when Brian is done delivering the Joker's message and is of no more use to him. The camera cuts out just as Joker descends on the panicked hostage.
      • The distorted sounds that are heard just before the tape ends, especially since we can't make out anything happening in the last bit of footage...
      • "Batman must take off his mask and turn himself in. Oh, and every day he doesn't, people will die. Starting tonight. I'm a man of my word." *laughs*
      • When the newscaster says, "Sensitive viewers, be aware. The image is disturbing," he's not kidding.
      • The really scary part is it's the only time Joker loses his cool and stops acting like "The Joker."
    • The Joker's little Would You Like to Hear How They Died? speech.
    "Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick, you can't savor all the.....little emotions. You see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I knew your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"
    • The defining moment for the Joker was standing in the street as the Batpod race towards him muttering "Come on, come on, I want you to do it, I want you to do it." He is utterly prepared to actually die just to corrupt the Batman. After that, you realize that there was really no stopping him.
      • And when Batman avoids him and is knocked unconscious as he crashes? The Joker turns around, looks bored for a minute, then flicks a switchblade out from his pocket and starts towards him. Thank god Gordon intervened because let's not think about what the Joker had in mind if he hadn't been stopped.
    • As seen in the page picture, the Batman wannabe being hung from the building. It only gets noticed when it swings down from off-screen and slams into the window.
  • The Joker pales in comparison to Two-Face's scar-ified half of his face. What is keeping his EYEBALL in the SOCKET!?
    • The first iterations of Two-face were more realistic, with less extensive damage; test audiences actually found the more subdued, realistic damage to be so unsettling, to the point of unintentional Nausea Fuel, that the Two-Face we currently see was used instead.
    • The optic nerve and the eye muscles, which apparently did not receive any damage from the fire, since he can move his left eye just as well as the right one.
    • The worst part about Two-Face was when he kidnapped Gordon's family, and Commissioner Gordon, whom many tropers strongly identify as a father figure, cried and begged helplessly for their lives. The thought of a father (whose job is being a policeman, no less) being unable to protect his children is just pure Nightmare Fuel, let alone Adult Fear at it's finest.
    Two-Face: Go ahead. Tell him it'll be alright. Lie.
    • It says a lot that, in a movie featuring the most terrifying version of the Joker ever, the scariest scene is one that he's not even in.
    • How about where Batman drops the guy off the balcony and (presumably) shatters the guy's legs?
  • Alfred's speech on being in Burma, just because of how true it felt.
    Alfred: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
    Bruce: Then why steal them?
    Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
    • When Alfred later finishes the story with how they caught the bandit, he flatly states, "We burned the forest down." Who watched the world burn? Alfred did. He was once a man so cold and unrelenting that he would burn everything around him to get at his objective.
  • Some premature Fridge Horror here, if that makes sense: as of the end of The Dark Knight, Gotham blames Batman just as much as the Joker for the events of the film, so much so that they are willing to throw Batman to the dogs on the off-chance that the Joker will keep his word and leave Gotham. And now, as of the Rises trailer, the police department is now willing to forgive Batman of the murders he took credit for if he stops Bane. Not only is this a neat little parallel of the situation before, but more terrifyingly, consider the implications of them wanting to bring back Batman: there is someone more terrifying and destructive than the Joker.
    • Actually, Batman told Gordon to keep persecuting him and blaming Batman for the death of Harvey, so that the public won't be vulnerable to the corruption that would ensue.
  • A fat lunatic complains of stomach pains and rants that the Joker told him that a light would come from his stomach in this high, childish tone. It comes out of his stomach all the form of a bomb the Joker implanted inside of him.
  • Three words: "Why so serious?"
  • Harvey Dent screaming in silent agony in the hospital after realizing that Rachel died. From there his Sanity Slippage is evident, especially following The Joker's disturbing Hannibal Lecture on him.
    • The Joker handing Harvey Dent a gun and telling him to unleash chaos on the city, even holding the gun to his head in a further attempt to corrupt Dent.
  • The Joker aims to destroy Gotham City from the inside out, and part of his "plan" involves corrupting the city's heroes Batman and Harvey Dent by making their lives hell until they snap. Thankfully, he doesn't succeed with Batman. Harvey Dent, however...
  • The songs A Little Push and Watch the World Burn, which play when Harvey interrogates Thomas Schiff and when he's threatening Gordon's son. The first sounds like something right out of Batman Begins.

The Dark Knight Rises

  • The weird monk chanting and riot videos from The Dark Knight Rises' Alternate Reality Game, where, in the latter, we see how far down Gotham is gone in becoming chaos.
  • The chanting in both trailers.
    • "Deshi basara" means "rise" ("come quickly") in Moroccan Arabic.
  • The first confrontation between Bane and Batman, which ends with him breaking Batman's spine over one knee.
  • The scene where Bane is shown lurking nearby during a football game and presses the button on what is presumably a detonator. Next, we see a football player running to make a touchdown, not noticing that the entire frigging field is collapsing behind him. And for added affect, we get to watch the opposing team fall into the massive pit this creates.
    • And then he turns around. The way he drops the ball conveys the shock.
    • "That's a lovely, lovely voice."
    • After watching that scene, you'll never listen to a little boy singing the national anthem the same way again (Yes. It's the same little boy from the movie!).
    • The entire scene for the audience's perspective, especially for the children, starting from the aforementioned football field collapsing, Bane's doomsday plans for Gotham, which concluds with Bane himself snapping the neck of the only person able to deactivate the bomb for the entire audience to see. It doesn't help matters that what appeared to be most of Gotham's ordinary citizens turned out for the event, hoping to see a fun football game and instead becoming witnesses/victims of a terrorist plot that had just began to unfold.
  • After the Curb-Stomp Battle, Bane has a wounded and beaten Bruce Wayne at his mercy. The scene is made chilling by this exchange:
    Bruce: Why don't you just kill me?
  • The implied fate of Talia's mother. She forgot to lock her cell door. And we actually see more inmates running across to join in...
    • There's also some implications in Talia's escape. Bane received his injuries fighting off the prisoners who were trying to stop the only female in the prison escape. It's no wonder Ra's Al Ghul sent the League of Shadows in to kill all the prisoners aside from Bane. They're not only implied to have raped/killed his wife, but that they were going to do the same thing to his daughter. His pre-teen daughter.
    • Young Talia's short hair develops a certain Fridge Horror when you take the above into consideration. She had to not only hide her gender, but any trace of physical softness, and she probably didn't have much longer before puberty made it impossible to hide.
  • The 'exile' option. Sure you can leave Gotham! ... If you can make it across the frozen river without it cracking and drowning you in the freezing water. And hey, just in case you like your chances, here's a crane shot showing several dozen bodies under the ice. Hilariously lampshaded when the Scarecrow sentences Jim Gordon and his associates to "Death... by exile."
    • The Kangaroo Court in general is downright disturbing, given that neither option will result in you living, the people around are seconds away from trying to rip the defendants to shreds, and the idea of a place where even Bane has no authority is just chilling.
  • Whatever happened to Bane to make the mask necessary. We don't know what's underneath it, and from all the implications, we should be grateful.
    • Judging from the scarring, there's nothing wrong with his face. His spine is horribly injured, giving him constant, paralyzing pain, so he must keep breathing anesthetics in his mask all the time.
  • The part where Bane's minions kill three Special Forces soldiers and he has them hung from the Gotham Bridge for the whole world to see... to say that was disturbing would be an understatement. At this point, you know Bane isn't messing around.
  • Seeing ordinary people being torn to shreds by an angry mob. Imagine you are walking home one day, minding your own business... when a howling mob appears seemingly out of nowhere looking for blood. Oh, and don't think that going in-doors is going to protect you. The mob won't be stopped by a measly door; they'll destroy your home and possessions, attack your family, and either kill you or commit something worse than murder on you and your loved ones. Safety no longer exists in Gotham.
    • If you pay attention in the one scene of carnage, you see a man dragging a woman in a fur coat into the streets. She's kicking and screaming all the while, and the implications are chilling.
      • Even worse here is that, judging from his attire, the man seems to be the doorman. It's a little unnerving to add those implications in when the perp is the person who, in normal circumstances, would've been her first line of defense against that sort of thing.
    • This scene is disturbingly similar to how the Nazis hunted the Jews....
  • Bane manipulating people into embracing their worst aspects and attacking those they feel have taken control of the city from them. Just the fact that Bane is skilled enough to manipulate people into doing this is disturbing, when even The Joker with his Humans Are Bastards belief couldn't do this. Showing the aftermath of Bane's manipulations makes it worse and the fact Bane and Talia are going to nuke the city regardless makes it scarier. To top that off, sure in the end Gotham is "saved"...but after almost everyone in the city snapping and creating anarchy, it probably won't ever be the same.
  • When Bane and his men attack the Stock Exchange, when Bane is overpowering the security guards at the checkpoint. He weaponizes his motorcycle helmet, but what's cringe-inducing is when he strikes the last guard over the head. You can hear bones crunching and see the body sort of drop like a ragdoll. And later, when Bane slams a trader's head against a table and uses his security card to run trades, you hear a crunch and there are a few hostages who flinch.
  • Bane and all his teammates are completely unafraid to die. In the beginning, Bane orders a "prisoner" to stay behind on the crashing plane, and he accepts with a smile on his face. When Gordon stumbles onto Bane's lair by accident and is presumed dead (due to henchmen firing on him as he is escaping, hitting him a few times), Bane orders one of the guys who delivered Gordon to search him and promises to kill him when he's done. The henchman eagerly begins searching and Bane keeps his promise, by shooting the man with Gordon's pistol.
  • The scene in the tunnel where the machine gun wielding thug starts blindly firing into the darkness and with every flash you see Bats getting closer and closer like some kind of horror movie monster.
  • On the deluxe version of the movie's soundtrack there's a song called The End. Overall the song isn't scary , but if you listen closely throughout most of the song you can hear something that sounds a lot like Bane breathing through his mask. It really stands out because there's nothing like this any of the other songs. It's very reminiscent the background noise in Batman Begins soundtrack.
    • The way it's used in the movie is even creepier. The breathing at the end is done as Bane drops Batman's shattered cowl and then casually walks away as if this is just part of his regular schedule.
    • The entire movie becomes a little more chilling after the Aurora shooting. The anarchistic tones are just a shade darker...

Alternative Title(s):

The Dark Knight Saga