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I'm Your Worst Nightmare

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In this case, he's a literal nightmare.

Guard: Who are you?
Lucy: I'm your worst nightmare!
Guard: [confused] You're me, when I'm late to school and forgot my homework and my pants are made of pudding?
Lucy: No, I don't—[punches the guard]

A common way for a character to announce him/herself in an intimidating manner. It doesn't matter whether he's a good guy or a bad guy, as long as the character is badass enough to live up to this claim. That is, unless people are spoofing this line (often by the second character describing his actual worst nightmare).

It can also be used as a Characterization Trope. In that the person using this stockphrase is a Geek of sorts, based on the fact that he uses Cliches to present himself.

Compare Prepare to Die.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples of this quote. On its way to becoming a Discredited Trope because how often it is used to point that many people don't find it terrifying anymore.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Dragon Ball Z dub seemed to enjoy characters using this trope. And having its "victims" point out how unintimidating they sounded.
    • The Tree of Might Ocean Group TV Edit Dub
      Piccolo: I think you'd better let the boy go.
      Turles: Oh? Is that right? And just who are you?
      Piccolo: I'm your worst nightmare.
      Turles: I'm trembling in my boots.
    • Goku vs Burter and Jeice
      Burter: Hi! I'm your worst nightmare! Burter!
      Goku: I'm not afraid of dreams.
    • The final sentence of Goku's I AM speech after he became a Super Sayian to Frieza in the Funimation Dub has this gem.
      Goku: Ally to good, nightmare to you!
  • Transformers: Cybertron:
    Undermine: Identify yourselves!
    Megatron: I am Megatron.
    Starscream: And I'm your worst nightmare!
  • In episode 14a of Tamagotchi, as he is about to deal with a gang of thieves, Mametchinosuke the samurai introduces himself with "I'm your worst nightmare - Mametchinosuke, the master swordsman of Gotchi Castle".

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 
  • Examples from The Calvinverse:
  • The Ultimate Evil: After Shendu is freed from his imprisonment as per the first season's plot and he kidnaps Valerie Payne, he introduces himself to her this way.
    Shendu: There are more things in this world then you can ever imagine. Monsters lurking in the dark, shadows waiting to be unleashed; all the fairy tales you humans now tell yourselves to be myth, were once very real. They wait, lurking in the unseen corners, waiting until you turn your back and then — [smashes a stone next to Valerie] — They'll strike. But of all the dangers, I am the most powerful, none dare resist the will of the great and powerful Shendu!
  • Parodied in How the Tantabus Parses Sleep when Dream Weaver Moondog jokingly introduces itself to Stygian with this phrase, only to give a Long List of times when this isn't the case, which quickly amounts to it never being his worst nightmare.
    "I'm your worst nightmare. Except during the day, when you're not asleep. And when Mom's looking over my shoulder. And when being your worst nightmare would be a jerk move. And when I don't feel like it to begin with, which is most of the time. And... Hmm. I guess I'm never your worst nightmare." (Beat) "Rar."

    Films — Animated 
  • This is said in the finale of Mulan by Mushu to the fireworks operators so he can use fireworks to beat Shan Yu. Depending on who you ask, this is either a Batman reference, a Rambo III reference, or it refers to 48 Hours, where Eddie Murphy actually says the quote, making it a self-reference.
  • In The Lorax (2012), O'Hare warns Ted that if the boy doesn't stop trying to find out about trees, he'll become his worst nightmare. Which, in his view, is Frankenstein's head on a spider's body.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played straight in Rambo III.
  • UHF spoofs the Rambo films, including this line.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1:
    Mr. Jigsaw: I'm your worst nightmare.
    Jack Colt: No, waking up without my penis is my worst nightmare.
    Mr. Jigsaw: Okay, alright, so I'm not actually your worst nightmare. But I am right up there.
  • Cop and a Half: "I'm your worst nightmare. An eight year old with a badge."
  • 48 Hrs.:
    Eddie Murphy, in a redneck bar: "I'm your worst nightmare... a nigger with a badge."
  • Spoofed in Canadian Bacon: The main characters use the line on a Mountie (played by Stephen Wright), who then describes, in excruciating deadpan, a nightmare about being chased by rabid wolves through the Yukon.
  • Look Who's Talking Too:
    Mikey: Who are you?
    Julie: I'm your worst nightmare!
  • The Santa Clause:
    E.L.F.S. Leader: We're your worst nightmare. Elves with attitude.
  • In Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Kimberly does this for the Rangers.
    Kimberly: Power Rangers, this is Divatox. Divatox, this is your worst nightmare.
  • Raising Arizona: Glenn turns up after getting punched out by H.I, sporting a black eye and a neck brace, and proceeds to blackmail him. He triumphantly states that he's H.I.'s worst nightmare, apparently ignorant of how ridiculous he looks, then ungracefully spits on the sidewalk.
  • Hilariously used by Gary Busey in the 80's cheeseball flick Bulletproof:
    Bad Guy: What the fuck is this?!
    McBain: Your worst nightmare, butthorn!
  • Used by Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street:
    Jenko: I'm your best ni... I'm your worst nightmare!
  • Pixels: Ludlow tries to be Mr. Big Bad Drill Sergeant and screams this at a group of Navy SEALS just before their first video gaming training session.
  • In the documentary Revolution OS, open-source software advocate Eric S. Raymond recounts using this line on a Microsoft executive.

  • When the Boogeyman goes to bed at night, he looks under his bed to see if Chuck Norris is under it.
    • When the Chuck Norris goes to bed at night, he looks under his bed to see if Christopher Walken is under it.

  • Discworld:
    • Guards! Guards! has: "Someone out there was going to find out that their worst nightmare was a maddened Librarian. With a badge."
    • Spoofed in Hogfather. Teatime uses this line on a guard, but his would-be victim wants to know which nightmare that would be. When it's clarified that he means, "The one where the man appears out of nowhere and kills you stone dead", the guard relaxes and points out that that nightmare isn't particularly scary. Then Teatime kills him stone dead.
    • In Snuff, Vimes makes Stinky the goblin a Special Constable, and Stinky responds to Vimes' quip that someone's worst nightmare is "a goblin with a badge" with "Stinky don't need no badges, fellow po-leess-maan! Stinky worst nightmare all by himself!"
  • Sidorio from Vampirates describes himself as the sort of thing your worst nightmares "wake up screaming about."
  • In Dean Koontz's Watchers, one of the characters is Vince, an insane hitman who believes he absorbs the souls of the people he kills. Near the end of the book he meets Travis, a Shell-Shocked Veteran of Delta Force:
    Vince: I'm your worst nightmare!
    Travis: Not even close.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Burn Notice: Simon is called a "walking nightmare" by several characters as well as the on-screen character designation captions.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Girl in the Fireplace", the Doctor isn't saying this to the monster, but well within its earshot, while fighting it:
      The Doctor: Even monsters from under the bed have nightmares.
      Reinette: What do monsters have nightmares about?
      The Doctor: Me!
    • Spoofed in "Mummy on the Orient Express". The Doctor needs to investigate the Monster of the Week, so walks up to The Captain brandishing his psychic paper, an all-purpose ID which makes him appear to be someone important to whomever it's shown to.
      The Doctor: I'm not a passenger. I'm your worst nightmare.
      Captain Quell: [looks at psychic paper, looks disgusted] A mystery shopper. Oh, great!
      The Doctor: Really? That's your worst... Okay, I'm a mystery shopper.
    • "The Witch's Familiar" has a variant when Doctor steals the chair of Davros, creator of the Daleks, and then rolls up to the Daleks in it.
      The Doctor: Admit it! You've all had this exact nightmare.
  • Family Matters: When Steve's pen-pal in France reveals herself to be evil, her boyfriend introduces himself as Steve's worst nightmare. Steve replies that his worst nightmare is having a ton of cheese and no mouth to eat it.
  • Used for comical effect in an episode of Herman's Head where Louise (Yeardley Smith, better known as the voice of Lisa Simpson) says it to a tyrannical boss two heads taller than her.
  • In the 90s miniseries based on Stephen King's IT, Pennywise says to the Losers' Club, "I'm every nightmare you've ever had! I'm your worst dream come true! I'm everything you ever were afraid of!"
  • In the L.A. Law episode "Spanky and the Art Gang", Gwen Taylor finally meets the woman who's been stalking her:
    Gwen: Who are you?
    Woman: Bad dream. Your worst nightmare.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • In the episode "Teenage Caveman" the bots have a squirrel say this to the title character when he has rather more trouble catching than he should.
    • During the invention exchange for "The Giant Gila Monster", Dr. Forrester shows off a line of Renaissance Fair punching bags, which prompts TV's Frank to invoke this trope.
      Forrester: I am Harlequin.
      Frank: I am your worst nightmare!
    • From the "Circus On Ice" short that accompanied "Monster A-Go-Go":
      Tom Servo(singing): These to girls, they make quite a pair,
      They both come from your worst nightmare..."
  • Power Rangers:
    • The Titanium Ranger's introduction in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue
    • In the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode "White Light: Part 2", Kimberly delivers a variation to tiny!Rita as the Rangers re-seal her.
      Rita: Oh no, not you again!
      Tommy: Afraid so, Rita.
      Kimberly: We're like, you're worst nightmare.
  • Uttered verbatim by Riker while showing off his poker skills in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    Geordi: I do not BELIEVE it!
    Riker: I'm your worst nightmare.
  • Tales from the Crypt: One story has a woman tangling with three CIA agents. She has killed two of them (not bad for a housewife) and faces the last agent, woman to woman. The housewife tells the agent, "I'm your worst nightmare. I'm a woman with balls!" The agents acts dismissive about it. The housewife ends up revealing that s/he's the male rogue CIA agent they're looking for. S/he easily kills off the agent! She clearly wasn't kidding when she said that!
  • In a promo for ABC's upcoming revival of Press Your Luck, a Whammy appears and calls himself the game shows' worst nightmare.
  • Broad City: Abbi says this to a man in "Coat Check" after she has to threaten him to get him to give her Kelly Ripa's coat.

  • Emilie Autumn's "Gothic Lolita":
    "I am your sugar, I am your cream, I am your anti-American dream
    "I am your sugar, I am your cream, I am your worst nightmare, now scream!"
  • Fall Out Boy's "Novocaine": "Singing I am your worst, I am your worst nightmare"

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • One of Anders' battle cries in Dragon Age II.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, this boast is repeatedly made by the Nightmare. It's Not Hyperbole; he is literally a demon of fear, and does indeed take the form of what scares you most (spiders, in the Inquisitor's case). This is in addition to verbally taunting you with your greatest fears, doubts, and guilts.
  • Cyan from Final Fantasy VI says this to the captain of the troops attacking his castle, and then defeats him in about two/three turns. "I am Cyan, retainer to the king of Doma. I am your worst nightmare..."
  • Lo Wang in Shadow Warrior (1997), is everybody's worst nightmare, at least according to himself.
  • "Welcome to the castle of nightmares! I'm your greatest nightmare!" So says the Tsukiko Johjima, Final Boss of Castle of Shikigami 3.
  • Soul Series: "I will show you the greatest nightmare!"
  • Bruce Irvin's only opening pose in Tekken.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 8, We have Li Dian, who is the most awkward member of Wei. He makes impromptu Freudian Slip Love Confessions (regardless of the Player Character's sex) as his praise quote if he's an allied officer and the player is performing well. and introduces himself with "I am Li Dian, your worst nightmare!" if you encounter him as an enemy (and you are not playing as Yue Jin).
  • Downplayed in Undertale. The final boss of the neutral route, Photoshop Flowey, is accompanied by a track entitled "Your Best Nightmare". Considering exactly what Photoshop Flowey looks like, it's justified. It also ties in with Flowey's normal theme, "Your Best Friend".
  • In Mortal Kombat 11, Rambo introduces himself in his introduction trailer with the line back in Rambo III, against water-manipulator Rain and man-eating Mileena.
    Mileena: Who're you?
    Rambo: I'm your worst nightmare.
  • Sven T. Uncommon says this upon confronting the titular heroine of Popful Mail.


    Web Original 
  • Parodied on SF Debris where the evil Mirror Universe Star Fleet captains are arguing. Kirk says this line, leading Picard to shock him by asking if he's going to be raped by a giant spider. Picard is then severely underwhelmed by Kirk's actual intention of shooting him, pointing out that he has to worry about that all the time, and that you might as well say slipping in the shower is his worst nightmare.
    Picard: Oh no, it's Jim! And he's slightly miffed.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck: Weaker but constant example has Darkwing Duck introduces himself Once per Episode in his Badass Creed as the "Terror that flaps in the night", essentially naming himself as his foe's nightmares.
  • DC Animated Universe:
  • This results in Jackie Chan Adventures when Jade meets Shendu for the first time.
    Jade: Woah! What are you?!
    Shendu: Everything you will grow to fear.
  • Used to comedic effect on King of the Hill. Conspiracy nut Dale Gribble, who has a virtually encyclopedic knowledge of the ins and outs of government bureaucracy, intimidates a worker at the Department of Motor Vehicles into providing better service by naming all of the worker's superiors in ascending order, then threatening to call them, using this exact line:
    Dale: I am your worst nightmare! I have a three-line phone and absolutely nothing at all to do with my time!
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "Can't Touch This":
    Randy: Is somebody there?
    Skipper: Yes, somebody's here. Your worst nightmare!
    Randy: A flying coyote with laser beam eyes?!
    Skipper: Huh? No! Four angry penguins.
    Randy: Phew! 'Cause if coyotes ever develop flight and eye laser technology, it's game over, you know?
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Said by Cad Bane to C-3PO in "Evil Plans".
  • The Transformers in the episode "War Dawn" when Optimus Prime is built from the wrecked body of Orion Pax, he steps onto the battlefield and quotes "You've caused enough destruction for one day, Megatron!" Megatron retorts with "I haven't even started!" then takes aim and blasts Prime - only for it to glance off. He then says in a panic "You! Who are you?!" Optimus responds with "Your worst nightmare!" and promptly inflicts a Curb-Stomp Battle on Megatron's drones.

Alternative Title(s): I Am Your Worst Nightmare