Beneath its comedic exterior, The Stanley Parable is rife with both Nightmare Fuel and Paranoia Fuel with its surprisingly excellent use of Nothing Is Scarier and Controllable Helplessness.
- The Narrator's progressively more manipulative and antagonistic behavior can get this way.
- If you wait to or don't enter the code in the boss's office, the Narrator gets impatient. What differentiates this from his other, humorous tirades is the fact that a while in, his subtitles turn red. This is one of the few times in the game this happens, and it's probably the first one you'll come across, so it really takes you off guard.
One. Nine. Five. Seven.Two. Eight. Four. Five.
- The ending where you end up trapped in a cage and slowly move towards a crusher, while the second narrator cuts in and begs you to take control away from the game by exiting it, her voice growing increasingly desperate, and then is suddenly cut off by the crusher smashing into you.
Female Narrator: But listen to me. This story is not over. You can still save these two. You can stop the program before they both fail. Push escape, and press quit. There's no other way to beat this game. As long as you move forward, you'll be walking someone else's path. Stop now, and it'll be your only true choice. Whatever you do, don't let time choose for you! Don't let timeSMASH
- The gradual realization that the Countdown ending is unwinnable, when you first play it.
Narrator: Oh, dear me, what's the matter, Stanley? Is it that you have no idea where you're going or what you're supposed to be doing right now? Or did you just assume when you saw that timer that something in this room was capable of turning it off? (...) Why would you think that, Stanley? That this video game can be beaten, won, solved? Do you have any idea what your purpose in this place is? Hahaha, heh, Stanley...you're in for quite a disappointment. But here's a spoiler for you: that timer isn't a catalyst to keep the action moving along. It's just seconds ticking away to your death. You're only still playing instead of watching a cutscene because I want to watch you for every moment that you're powerless, to see you made humble. This is not a challenge. It's a tragedy.
- The Narrator takes a sudden turn for the sadistic in that ending, with a long, taunting monologue:
- Additional playthroughs of that ending are no better, with the Narrator mocking your vain attempts in trying it again.
- The "Pawn" ending, where the Narrator restarts the story and changes it so that the monitor commanding Stanley never shuts off to give him an opportunity for escape. Thus, he is left a mindless slave as it dictates his every action, while the Narrator creepily describes how it's all hopeless and how Stanley will never escape, and then the monitor suddenly displays "Please die" and everything goes black...
- The "Sneak Peek" trailer, which starts out looking like a Let's Play until the Let's Player (Chilled Chaos) gets stuck in a dead end, at which point he seems to start losing his mind before the screen cuts to black and the Narrator starts delivering a chilling monologue. The end of his speech is just the cherry on top of it all.
Narrator: Soon, you will be the one to walk. The controls will be the ones in your hands. And we'll see if your friends turn and laugh at you as they did with him. [Laughs] Oh, I think I'm going to enjoy this. When you find out how alone you truly are, I will be laughing more than anyone. Very soon, now. The end is nearly here. Let's play, everyone. Let's. All. Play.
- In the HD Remake, when unplugging the telephone, the room you were in starts glitching up and deteriorating from "Narration Contradiction" after the Narrator forces you to watch a video about choices. When he redirects you back to the room with the two doors and instructs you to go left like normal, going through the right door leads you into a glitched dead end. After going back left, the meeting room has glitched. After going back to the room with two doors, the glitching and deteriorating further spreads until the Narrator shuts the game down and everything goes black, and then the room reappears again except dark and completely destroyed.
- Any part in either the original mod or the HD Remake that doesn't have narration.
- During the Confusion ending, the Narrator attempts to fix the breaking of the story by the use of The Stanley Parable Adventure Line™, which is supposed to lead you down the proper path, but the Line™ itself starts swerving in unexpected directions. The finale to this ending is a room with a schedule board with the description of all five false restarts so far and three additional restarts that are supposed to occur afterward, beginning with the Narrator forgetting about the previous restarts and ending with the Narrator abandoning Stanley until he dies. The Narrator objects to his memory being erased and seems to successfully abort the plotline altogether, but the game is violently restarted against his will. This is, however, a completely fresh start, but if you choose to go through the door on the right at your first choice and look through some windows in the hallway, you'll see the Adventure Line™ rambling its way around the interior of the room.
- Sometimes, instead of starting the game with his normal narration about how no one is there, he'll say you're being followed.
Narrator: Someone was following Stanley, he was sure of it. If he checked over his shoulder now, he would surely catch them, it was only a matter of time.
- The HD Remix's Crazy/Mariella ending. The new music and the Narrator's much more desperate, emotive commentary combine to form an ending far more intense than the original version.
- Sometimes in the HD Remix, on rare occasions, you can see another person walking through the hallway through a window. Using cheats, the Steam community have discovered that he uses the same model as Stanley; therefore, this is happening over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over.
- The concept of the game as a whole. Essentially, the message of the game is that not only do you have no control over anything that happens in your life, neither does the one controlling you in the first place If you don't hold the power, and the puppeteer pulling your strings doesn't hold the power, who does?
- The Games Ending. The Narrator, so fed up with Stanley, essentially abandons him in an unfinished netherspace of half-finished environments and utter darkness. Stanley plunges down and lands in the setting of the original mod- decimated, and devoid of light... and he's left alone there, presumably forever.
- The Escape Pod ending. Nothing Is Scarier than Stanley to walk alone, without the Narrator to guide him, with no sound. And when you reached the Escape Pod, all of a sudden the screen turns to black before reseting.
- When the Steam community dissected the inner workings of the ending, they found fine print in the ending's room and console errors that indicate two things: One, the Narrator needs to be present for the pod to launch (he isn't, hence the silence.) Two, the bugs that trigger the console errors are intentional and more or less boil down to the game being unable to handle the Narrator straight-up ditching Stanley. That's right - he up-and-front abandons you over the same conditions that trigger the Cold Feet ending. Many speculate that the Escape Pod ending could have been a Golden Ending, had the Narrator simply stuck with Stanley.
- The first section of the game - from Stanley's office to the two doors - is the most played section of the game, played over and over again. Thus, to avoid you getting too comfortable in this constant, the game likes to change it every now and again. This can be quite unsettling at times. To give but a few examples of possible changes:
- The floor is covered in papers.
- The ambient music is replaced with the sound of rain.
- There is no ambient music.
- The narrator's voiceover changes.
- The copier makes copying sounds.
- All of the monitors display a fullscreen version of the loading screen's "THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER..."
- The route changes - either Stanley's office opens into a blue room and corridor, or there is an extra corridor or two just before where you would normally enter the two-door room, or it will skip the majority of the office and go straight into the two-door room from your office. Additionally, usually the first turn you make through the office leads to a hallway going to the right, but sometimes that hallway instead points left, which is just enough to make you wonder if something actually did change, or if you just imagined it.
- One of the office telephones starts ringing. Finding and answering the phone will play a semi-randomly selected one-sided conversation, which sometimes has an effect on subsequent playthroughs.
- One of said messages will ask you to confirm a shipment for boxes. Should you confirm it, the office will be littered with boxes on the next playthrough.