Fridge Horror is, simply put, when something becomes terrifying after the fact. Maybe you thought about this or that plot point a little too hard, and suddenly you realize that everyone was trapped in stasis forever, or that the lovable child will grow up in a world where everyone around her is dead. This can be either intentional or unintentional by the author.
Fridge Horror comes in two flavors:
- Frozen-By-Time: As a young one, you are too young to comprehend the Nightmare Fuel right before your eyes, but as an older person, you immediately wonder how you got through it unscarred.
- Quickthaw: The Nightmare Fuel isn't there until you take a good, long, deep thought and think about it.
If you're looking for a trope about the scary things in people's fridges, then you should go to It Came from the Fridge. Or possibly Stuffed in the Fridge. Compare Deconstruction, where the Real Life consequences of a trope reveals its flaws. Contrast Fridge Brilliance, the difference being that the realization is insightful rather than frightening (though the two can overlap). Contrast Backstory Horror, when this is overt and Word of God. Also see Oh, Crap!, the expression people will likely have after realizing such horror.
It should also be noted that authors sometimes unwittingly inflict Fridge Horror on themselves, when they realize the implications of whatever it is they wrote.
In short, this trope can be best summed up as Fridge Logic + Nightmare Fuel.
Let's Meet the Meat is a common cause for this in adverts.
When a work incorporates the Fridge Horror into canon, it's Ascended Fridge Horror. When a character in-story contemplates something that seemed innocuous and then realizes the horror, it's Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!. In certain cooking shows with literal horrors in the fridge, that would be Squick.
Compare Played for Horror (which sometimes can be a writer applying fridge horror to a trope).
Contrast Nightmare Retardant, Faux Horrific.
Not to be confused with Unfortunate Implications, which is about something that is meant to be innocent coming off as more offensive than intended.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Comic Strips
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Play-by-Post Games
- Tabletop Games (merged Card Games and Tabletop RPGs)
- Theme Parks
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Claire Lynch, which dominates discussions concerning TNA's worst angle, becomes even worse when one stops to think about it. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian accuse Dixie Carter of having an affair with her employee, AJ Styles. To put an end to the accusations Carter and Styles present a pregnant drunken crackhead, Claire Lynch, who they were secretly helping rehab. Undaunted, Daniels and Kazarian find "photographic evidence" proving Styles the father of Lynch's child, that of Styles half asleep with Lynch posing over him. Rather either A)argue it's not evidence of sex or B) get a paternity test to see, Styles challenges Daniels to a match with the stipulation he will just accept the child if he loses or take a paternity test if he wins. As illogical as that all is one little bit during the build up to the match made it all so much worse when Styles insisted he had no sexual attraction towards Lynch and could have only ended up in such a position if drugged. This basically means Styles was wagering the possibility of raising a child conceived by his rapist. TNA didn't drop the angle because anyone with authority realized or cared about these implications but because "Lynch" realized people might have found out what her day job was and didn't want to be on television anymore.