Nightmare Fuel: The Stand
See also Nightmare Fuel/Stephen King
Spoilers abound below, so be wary during your travels.
- The Stand. In general, pure, unadulterated Paranoia Fuel... Especially:
- The Center For Disease Control hospital in Vermont — every single chapter involving it
- The aftermath of the Judge's death.
- Nick Andros (a deaf-mute) being the last person alive in an isolated small town.
- Tom Cullen (a mentally retarded man) being sent as a spy to Las Vegas.
- How the buildings in every town have dead bodies in them strewn about "like cordwood" (an uncomfortable foreshadowing of Katrina)... and a million and one other, little things many have blocked out. Ironically, the other half of the book was an optimistic tale of nature and humanity surviving the Apocalypse.note
- Even common cold and flu season. Seriously, sniffles and coughs have never sounded more terrifying.
- The Walkin' Dude himself, Randal Flagg.
- The Lincoln Tunnel; or... "Come down and eat chicken with me, beautiful. It's soooo dark!"
- The miniseries also has, just prior to that, Stu spotting an elevator trying to close while there's a gurney stuck in it. He pulls the gurney out of the way, and a dead doctor lands on him.
- The whole scenario of a bio-engineered plague wiping out most of humanity was scarier than Flagg for some readers/viewers, likely because it's not only a far more plausible scenario, but the symptoms of the cause are things everyone gets at least once a year from a cold.
- "Your blood is in my fists, Mother."
- Trash's final appearance in the miniseries; after hauling the A-bomb across the desert to Vegas, he...wasn't looking so great. The illustration of him in the uncut text isn't exactly a picnic, either.
- Nadine inadvertently communicating with Flagg in college, via ouija board. WE ARE IN THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD NADINE
- The Kid, like when he threatens to kill Trashy if he doesn't chug a flagon of beer without throwing it up. Even worse in the extended edition where he sodomizes Trashcan Man with a pistol.
- After the virus settles down, there are a series of vignettes about a secondary die-off as the survivors get themselves into trouble and no one is left to help them out of it. A man gets bitten by a rattlesnake and doesn't know how to administer an antidote, a girl falls off a bicycle and dies of a skull fracture, and so on. One of these victims is a young man who steps on a rusty nail. When his foot swells up with tetanus, he tries to hacksaw it off and dies of blood loss after he faints from the pain.
- Particularly gruesome is the death of a four year old, the only survivor of his entire town and family of six. He falls down a well, breaks his arms and legs, and dies 24 hours later. Also qualifies as Tear Jerker material.
- One of the most memorable ones involves a young woman who utterly loathed her husband and didn't care about her newborn child. After the superflu kills them, she puts their bodies inside the walk-in freezer they got with the house...and looks at their bodies three or four times a day. Then one day she forgets to use the door stopper. Her story ends as such:
- And then there's Lloyd Henreid, locked up in his jail cell with every single guard dead...
"Oh no," Lloyd said. "Someone's gonna come. Sure they are. Just as sure as shit sticks to a blanket."
But he kept remembering the rabbit. He couldn't help it... .He loved that rabbit, and he did take care of it. But the trouble was, things slipped his mind after a while. It had always been that way. And one day while he was swinging idly in the tire that hung from the sickly maple behind their scraggy little house in Marathon, Pennsylvania, he had suddenly sat bolt upright, thinking of that rabbit. He hadn't thought of his rabbit in... well, in better than two weeks. It had just completely slipped his mind.
- A brief but terribly effective description of the deserted Arnette, Texas. King can sometimes be the most terrifying when he's simply painting a mental picture.
- The bit where Larry finds a rotten dead guy in the bathroom at Yankee Stadium. It sounds silly out of context, but it's actually really, really squicky. That and Larry's observation of how horribly New York City starts to stink thanks to all the decaying flu victims.
- A dead guy lying with his face in a bowl of soup. Which is mentioned several times across the book in disturbing detail.
- Starkey's trip through the lab, prior to his suicide.
- The whole chapter or two when the reader knows Flagg has found out Dayna's identity and she still thinks she's successfully incognito. The reader wants her to catch on as soon as possible but knows that she doesn't have a hope of escaping, especially when the henchmen get into her hotel room. With the whole build up to her meeting with Flagg where she notices his hands and what happens afterwards.
- Any who have read the book have to wonder whenever they get a stuffy nose and a cough...and it only took about 3 weeks for the world to depopulate. Campion escapes the base in early-to-mid June and by July 4th Larry is doing a lonely naked bump and grind to the "Star Spangled Banner" at a rest stop off the New Jersey turnpike.
- When Nick and Tom hide inside of a storm shelter to escape a tornado. They see dead bodies down there, but they both gradually realize that they're not alone...
- Any time one of the protagonists starts getting Sanity Slippage.
- Stu's escape from The Center For Disease Control is laden with references to Watership Down, during which he compares his growing desperation and paranoia to going tharn.
- Larry's trip through the Lincoln Tunnel, which involves him slowly walking through the dank, corpse-filled darkness with only his lighter to guide him. The further he goes, the more he thinks someone - or something - is stalking him, and he starts getting jumpy at his own echoes. Then he starts bumping into dead bodies. Then he fumbles and loses the lighter.
- Larry gets another one after Rita Blakemoor dies. Not only is he incapable of burying her, but his first action is to go to the nearest town to get new clothes, just so he wouldn't have her scent on him. On the way back, he crashes his motorcycle. He tries to shrug it off with his usual machismo, but his inner monologue reveals more: He could have hit his head the right way and fractured his skull and he would have lain there in the hot sun until he died. Or strangled to death on his own puke like a certain now-deceased friend of his. He keeps riding the motorcycle...but is too afraid to push it above 20 MPH. When he shows up again, he's gone half-mad from the heat, exhaustion, self-loathing, and morbid guilt.
- Frannie briefly loses it after her father dies. Her entire inner monologue starts rhyming and going off on random tangents. It's not as bad as some other characters' breakdowns, but it was pretty creepy seeing it happen to her of all people. Then Flagg starts showing up in her dreams...
- This little gem still haunts me:
There were worse things than crucifixion. There were teeth.
- "The Zoo".
- The phrase "the dark, sweet treat".
- Then there's that "game show" Fran finds herself watching during the epidemic.
- Nadine being into raped into catatonia by Flagg.
- And his never ending streams of cold, cold semen.
- The army trying to contain everyone even though the entire country's going to shit. And by contain they mean everyone; doctors, reporters, radio announcers, university students.