These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Although Dr. Marek is excessively creepy, he did succesfully save Curtis from having his mind taken over by the Hecatomb at the asylum. Then again, he was responsible for sending all the test subjects that Paul Warner got killed. Even if he didn't know what happened to them, he'd have to cover up the disappearances
Bob Arnold, according to Don Berg, the actor who played him. While he appears to be a know-it-all jerk, he's actually incredibly insecure and jealous of Curtis's seemingly perfect life, and may even harbor latent homosexual feelings for Curtis, which he hides by being a dick.
Curtis's mom. There is the possibility that the Hecatomb committed Mind Rape on Curtis' mother - the same way it did to Curtis, and that the Hecatomb was acting through her and eventually had her kill herself to traumatize Curtis.
The line dancing gangstas passing by when Curtis first visits the S&M club.
Trevor's story about his aunt, the rabbit and the potato.
Let's be honest. A lot of email jokes in real life can be qualified as this trope.
Complete Monster: Paul Allen Warner is the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the pharmaceutical company WynTech. His crimes include sacrificing numerous mental patients from Doctor Marek's asylum to interdimensional aliens, murdering Curtis's father because he objected to the direction the experiment went in, treating alien Curtis like a guinea pig and not a human being, throwing child Curtis through the dimensional portal just because he can't find another subject in time, using the dimension to create illegal drugs through his pharmaceutical company to get the entire populace hopelessly addicted and in his thrall, and bragging to Curtis about what he has done with smug satisfaction and not a flicker of remorse.
Trevor Barnes - Wiseass, computer hacker, born potato-related story-teller: What's not to love? Compared to the other characters including Curtis who are varying shades of incompetent Jerkasses, Trevor is a great guy with a working brain, and on top of that, a good friend. In fact, when Something Awful did an LP on the game, the goons actually contacted the actor himself for an interview.
One character in one of Curtis' flashbacks is pretty popular; a fidgety asylum inmate fidding with another inmate's hair that, when clicked on, convulses and blurts out nonsensical word salad phrases like "DISCO DANCE DISCO DANCE" or "THAT'S MAH BARBIE DOLL!" in a Bobcat Goldthwait-esque voice.
Fair for Its Day: Even compared to today's stories, Trevor is a positive, well-done, realistic gay character, who isn't solely defined by his sexuality.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: If you think you're going crazy, the last thing you should do is to go to a mental hospital! It could also be a Space Whale Aesop, because if you go to a mental hospital, a human-turned-monster will try to drive you insane and take over your mind and body! Also, if you conduct experiments with a portal between dimensions, a guinea pig will develop psychic powers and tear apart everyone it can get at!
I heard that, Curtis! Explanation At one point Curtis badmouths Warner right in front of his office. It soon became a Running Gag for Spoony to say that every time Curtis does it again, no matter where he is.
Yelling "PHANTASMAGORIA!" in a dramatic voice during the game's more mundane and boring sections.
DISCO DANCE DISCO DANCE Explanation Yelled by a nonsense-spewing asylum inmate in one of Curtis' hallucinations.
My ass! Explanation Said twice by Detective Powell to dismiss one of Curtis' claims. Spoony turns it into her Catch Phrase.
Maybe it's just the way emails are written in excessively excited punctuation, but the supposedly disturbing emails Curtis receives come off as kind of overblown and ridiculous. One of them tells Curtis that with practice, he could be the next Ed Gein or Jack the Ripper, "who knows, maybe even a Hitler or a Stalin!"
After Bob dies, it's possible to call his cubicle. If you do, Curtis will hear his voice calling him a murderer and hang up...and then the phone starts ringing. If you pick it up, it's Bob again telling Curtis "Don't hang up on me!" It's meant to be creepy but sounds more like a joke than anything, and it's made funnier by the fact that music playing over the phone is a tinny 1992-quality midi version of what COULD be scary, but really really isn't.
Detective Powell comes off this way, hilariously overreacting to Curtis being a little out-of-sorts when being questioned while Bob's blood and guts are splattered all over the wall in plain view of Curtis, and harassing him to the point of stalking just to yell at him.
Nightmare Retardant: Many of the scenes that were intended to be scary or disturbing just come off as incredibly goofy.
There's a scene where Curtis finds himself trapped in an insane asylum, tied up in a straitjacket...and it would be really creepy if not for the mental patient right next to Curtis, muttering lines like 'Disco dance! Disco dance!' and 'Everybody in the pool!'.
The same thing happens with the reoccurring monster hands popping out - They could be scary, but they look like cheap dollar store versions of Goosebumps props.
There's a lot of this in the office scenes, with characters regurgitating similar info over and over. If you shaved down all the pointless scenes, the game could probably fit on 3 discs instead of 5.
There's also the odd moment of having pointless FMVs; for example: when you click on Curtis' bedside cabinet, you get a really quick FMV of him opening it. Like every other FMV, they're completely skippable with a simple click, so it's not too annoying though.
Paranoia Fuel: Okay, imagine this. Someone or something existing in a dimension that is connected to ours. Few people even know that the other dimension exists, but even they do not know about the someone or something existing in the other dimension. This someone or something has telepathic and telekinetic powers. It can cause Mind Rape on people, it can manipulate objects and people, it can make projections of itself, and it can kill people. People who live in our dimension. It can kill people anytime and anywhere. That is what the Hecatomb can do. Serial killers do not have the abilities the Hecatomb has, but some forms of these abilities can be applied to them. Have fun falling asleep tonight!
Player Punch: The death of Trevor, one of the few actually sympathetic people in the entire game and Curtis' minor crush. It's also the only murder which the player witnesses completely, instead of being hidden by blurry camera shots, adding to the punch.
Rooting for the Empire: Okay, let's be frank here. The Hecatomb is an evil, psychic, demented, mass murdering monster who's trying to hijack Curtis's mind by driving him to insanity. But let's take a look at our other characters: Curtis is incompetent to the point of absurdity and a Jerkass to boot. Paul Allen Warner is remarkably unsubtle and his evil plan is not even remotely thought through. None of Curtis's cubemates are even remotely important until they're already getting killed. The psychiatrist has no idea how to do her job. The cop is completely terrible about doing actual police work. It comes to a point where you realize that the Big Bad is the only one here who knows what the hell he's doing. At least the scenes where he's around are marginally interesting!
The Scrappy: Even among the parade of unlikable and/or uninteresting characters that is Phantasmagoria 2, Detective Powell stands out. Some of the stuff she does when it comes to Curtis Craig is so stupid that it would make any real cop vomit. Spoony was quite disappointed upon realizing that she's one of the very few characters who survives.
That One Puzzle: The final puzzle of the game which is a confusing-as-hell◊ alien panel to activate the portal back home, especially considering what passed for a "puzzle" up until that point.
Too Cool to Live: Of all the characters that could get killed, why did Trevor, the single most likeable character in the game have to be one of them?
What an Idiot: A large number of characters in this game fall under this category, and some of them go into Too Dumb to Live territory. Curtis Craig is the worst offender. He tries to act like a private investigator, but he clearly has no concept of how to be one. He never tries to record or make notes of the various things he witnesses. He finds evidence, but he fails to show it to the police or the media. His idea of investigating boils down to wandering into areas blindly. He makes all the wrong moves with the police and other individuals. He is very lucky to even be alive by the end of the game. If only the horror genre would feature characters who behave intelligently and have some common sense.