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Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant

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"Well, thank you so much for turning my vague, formless paranoia into a concrete and palpable psychosis!"

A character, often a Cloudcuckoolander, whose innocent attempt to make something (typically a drawing) comes across as Nightmare Fuel to the other characters. Unlike with normal Nightmare Fuel, other characters in the show will notice how horrifying the drawing/poem/song/story is, but the innocent NFSA sees nothing wrong with their tale of baby-eating zombies or the drawing of a "miniature poodle" that looks more like the ungodly offspring of a hellhound and a C.H.U.D.

More generally, this kind of character will be simply a casual observer to some frightening or grotesque phenomenon who either doesn't bat an eye or responds with some kind of snarky comment (and no, they're never meant to be a Stepford Snarker). It will often be a child or a "simple" person who doesn't comprehend the danger, or else a Jerkass or Misanthrope Supreme who genuinely doesn't give a damn what happens. Either way, you can expect that saner characters will be almost as creeped out by this character's reaction as by the actual threat.

Frequent features of the works of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant are:

Frequently combined with Room Full of Crazy, Creepy Child, or Dissonant Serenity tropes when the writers need to give their characters that extra little bit of creepy. Sometimes, this trope is subverted, turning this trope into Nightmare Retardant Station Attendant.

Compare Nightmare Fetishist, Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book. The very existence of the Unintentional Uncanny Valley proves this trope is Truth in Television. Not to Be Confused with Creepy Gas-Station Attendant (not that those can't be this).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Seiichirou Kitano, the protagonist of Angel Densetsu, is a nice take on this trope: to the readers he's funny, but to the other characters in the manga, he's a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant just by being around. (Yes, he's that scary.)
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Shadow Mei is an outright villain, but can be disturbing even when she's trying to relax. For karaoke, she picks the famously creepy children's song "Kagome, Kagome" and fills the room full of gloom.
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Osaka demonstrates unsettling creepiness numerous times:
      • The second year school festival garnered a rather disturbing suggestion from Osaka regarding how to combine a haunted house, a café, and a stuffed animal display.
        Osaka: It's a café filled with adorable animals... and they're all dead.
      • Once, Osaka attempted to draw a panda which ended up looking more like a man-eating monster.
      • Also, at the Iriomote cat display at a museum, talking about Mayaa the cat:
        Osaka: [points to stuffed cat] That's what he'll look like when he grows up.
        Sakaki and Chiyo are impressed.
        Osaka: [points to skeleton] And then he'll look like that...nice and bony.
      • The current page image is her idea for waking Yukari up: banging a wooden spoon against a frying pan. Except she grabs a knife instead, giving Yukari the delightful image of a bleary-eyed, knife-wielding Osaka looming over, who then expresses disappointment that she's already awake. When she leaves the room, Chiyo-chan understandably screams out what in the world she was doing with a knife. Osaka swore she had a frying pan just a minute ago... and proceeds to rummage around for the frying pan with the knife still in her hand, swinging it around and accidentally throwing it, presumably at Chiyo! And in AMV Hell 3, they managed to make it even creepier.
      • In the first "summer break" episode, where Osaka randomly imagined everyone getting killed off, like in a murder mystery. "And then it turns out... I'm the killer!" The message is delivered after that. When Osaka says she's the killer, no one takes her seriously, then she slowly turns her head towards the camera and gives a Psychotic Smirk.
      • Osaka also worries about Chiyo-chan getting kidnapped when she goes to America. But she'll be safe because she has her Big Friendly Dog Mr. Tadakichi there to protect her, right? Nope. Osaka points an imaginary gun at him and says "Bang!". Mr. Tadakichi is dead. Sakaki reassures Chiyo that her father will come to her rescue. Nope. Osaka: "Bang!". Chiyo's reaction is priceless. Subverted when we see Sakaki's imagination: the bullets bounce off Chiyo-Dad. Osaka is left off-footed when Sakaki describes this.
    • Kagura is a minor form of this on occasion. She tends to not notice how her boredom-induced doodles of animals shot by arrows and with scars and eye patches act as Nightmare Fuel to Sakaki.
    • Sakaki loves all cute and cuddly animals, including bears. So Yomi brings her canned soup with bear meat in it as a souvenir from her vacation.
  • Kiriyama of Battle Royale may not be a Cloudcuckoolander, but, since he lost all his emotions, he sees nothing wrong with killing his classmates. The way he manages to be merciless is constantly lampshaded by a good deal of his classmates.
  • Sakura, an extremely ill girl from Betterman who has very sensitive extrasensory perception and precognition. A tragic figure overall, having ultimately low prospects for survival, the fact that her whispery voice narrates every On the Next preview, in which she always foretells a grisly future (like how worms will eat your flesh. While you're still alive), takes her into this territory.
  • Bleach:
  • Invoked with Maika Sakuranomiya from Blend-S. Her favorite thing to do is to smile, but it unfortunately gives Maika a sadistic facial expression as a result. Dino sees this, and decides to capitalize on it by having Maika take on the role as the sadistic waitress of Cafe Stile despite being a very nice girl otherwise.
  • Parodied in Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan with Dokuro's casual drawing of a beautiful and calm lake, which in her view is filled with dead bodies and blood, greatly disturbing her drawing mate Sakura.
  • Maple in Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. has an increasingly Lovecraftian-themed spell list as she gains experience in the game. Naturally, she's oblivious to the fact that the creative ways she uses them to combat enemies that she can't kill outright are terrifying to others.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Zen'O, the Top God of the Multiverse, who has Ambiguous Innocence and several sociopathic tendencies.
  • Guu from Haré+Guu. When everyone is trying to draw the creature that took Haré's mom based on the descriptions, Guu draws a picture that causes crying, fainting and several people to run away in terror. The audience is never shown the picture, though.
  • Pluto in Heaven's Design Team has very different ideas of what counts as "cute" from her coworkers. This naturally leads to her designing most of the "creepy" animals. This designturns outto bea koala.
  • Little Kikuri from Hell Girl likes to draw mutilated stick-figure bodies. Granted, she is an attendant of hell... Her drawings are just about the least disturbing thing about her — how about the time when she threw flowers over a teenager dying from a traffic accident, after telling him that Hell is real, and then running away giggling.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Stepford Smiler Russia thinks nothing of his heart dropping onto the table in the middle of an Allied Powers meeting. According to him, it just "falls out occasionally". The others are grossed out and tell him "put it back on! eeeew!"
    • Finland, of all people, might be an example of this trope, considering some of the things he does.
      Finland: [on the name of his new dog] I like Bloody Flower Egg!
      Sweden (his partner and self-declared husband): ... Le's think 'bout tha''r...
    • Hungary is also shown and revealed to be this, whether it's her penchant for scary things (in her Chapter 5 profile), Krampus escapades or managing to freak out Prussia like a deranged stalker.
  • Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke. In-universe, with those forced smiles.
  • Mutsumi from Love Hina ends up one of these whenever she recounts an episode of her favorite TV show from when she was a kid, Liddo-kun's Big Adventure, similar to a scenario she and her friends are facing... except she always recalls her example from Liddo-kun ending in some horrific disaster, leaving Naru and Keitaro (who also used to watch Liddo-kun) skeptical that it actually happened that way.
  • The title character of Mato-chan is fascinated by bugs and frequently voices conclusions about her grade-school life that are informed by the anatomy and life cycles of insects (such as the tendency of female Praying Mantises to eat their mates).
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Konoka Konoe has one:
      Konoka: If you get hurt, I'll heal you right up.
      Setsuna: And I will protect Ojou-sama even at the cost of my own life.
      Konoka: But I can't heal you if your head gets crushed into a splatter, so be careful, okay? (Like a Tomato!)
      Setsuna: O-Ojou-sama...
      Negi: H-haa.. okay...?
      Chamo: Konoka-neesan, that's too grim! Too grim!
    • Haruna, peeved that her close friends wouldn't inform a Muggle such as herself about the existence of magic, threatens to thoroughly torture each one of them, while drawing pictures for them of how she'll do it (thankfully, that's as far as she goes). In general, lots of characters comment on how scary Haruna is.
    • Chizuru acts like this for both Kotaro and Natsumi, despite apparently being completely powerless. However, she does seemingly summon large onion stalks (to be used as suppositories) at will (and she's extremely ready to apply them as per the previous parenthetical statement), and she's already been seen slapping a high-level demon without thinking twice about it. So while it hasn't been shown why yet, she might be inspiring fear for very good reason. Later, Chizuru gets her artifact from a pactio with Negi. It's a magical onion stalk that cures all ailments and forces the target to do as she wishes for a while. And yes, she uses it on Negi. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the Skypiea arc of One Piece, Nico Robin assures Nami and Chopper that Zoro is alright after saving Chopper from sky sharks, because "the clouds haven't turned red yet." Other examples include Robin telling Nami that she's 50 meters up and she'll die if she falls, suggesting that their new boat should be named "Being of Darkness", and finding a Cerberus cute while it was attacking her. And this is her when she's joking; considering her powers, if you make her mad, you'll never stop having nightmares... that is, if you survive...
  • Mytho from Princess Tutu becomes one of these in the second season when his heart is tainted with Raven's blood. He performs a ballet dance to "Night On Bald Mountain" (which those who have seen Fantasia will remember as the sequence with Chernabog summoning demons) with gestures that make his hands seem clawed and an intense, angered and almost pained look on his face. It sends a group of female dance students screaming when they watch it. He also later tells a character that he wants them to take out his heart, then "kiss it and dye your lips crimson with my blood." It's hard to tell if he's trying to scare her or if he actually thinks it's romantic.
  • Kafuka Fuura from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Much of her work comes across this way, but in particular, when she gives a scratchy recording of the Traumerei lyrics about "soup made by a lady in a catskin", "a neighbourhood where all the old ladies have disappeared" and "a hole as deep as a young man's height", inadvertently producing a song that can drive any who listen to it paranoid, depressed and insane, yet dancing to it as though it were an upbeat piece of pop music. On one occasion, Kafuka was assigned by Itoshiki-sensei to brainstorm ways that aliens could make contact with Earth. Kafuka immediately proceeds to describe a method that the aliens could use to take over the world without anyone noticing, before concluding that humanity will likely remain completely unaware, even as it is converted into a livestock race. At no point does it dawn on her that this might be in any way disturbing. A common fan theory, well supported in the anime, is that she is in fact a (literal) demon and doing it deliberately.
  • SPY×FAMILY: Reading Yor's mind often scares the life out of Anya, as her thoughts frequently default to dead bodies and harming and killing people, which she takes entirely for granted, only clamping down on it when she drifts into Murder Is the Best Solution. Her Nightmare Face also terrifies Anya to no end.
  • Kaoru Yamazaki of Welcome to the NHK. As he has no experience of women beyond anime, he fails to see the problem with drawing a Moe character who is a sickly, injured, ghost robot schoolgirl maid — indeed, he thinks the character would be an appropriate, attractive heroine for an H-Game. The most disturbing thing is that he is the most well-balanced character in the series and apparently gets happily married at the end. And indeed, while his issues may be disturbing, he doesn't let them become an obstacle to his life, unlike every other character.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! R, pretty much all the Card Professors are eccentric, but Tilla Mook seems to fit this Trope; she not only uses monsters based on vampires, she seems to believe she is one, hanging out in a room resembling a cemetery and referring to her ace card, Vampire's Curse, as her "master". This is further emphasized by the way the Solid Vision Hologram system of the Duel Disks interpret Vampire Curse's effect; when summoned from the Graveyard this way, Tilla offers it her neck and it drinks her blood, at which points her Life Points decrease by 1,000 (the cost for using the effect), and the monster gains 500 Attack Points via the card effect.
  • In YuruYuri, Chinatsu is this. While she appears to be an extremely innocent moe-machine at first glance, her aggressive approach to winning Yui-senpai's heart occasionally traumatizes Akari and her drawings... oh God her drawings! The other girls are horrified by them.


    Comic Books 
  • In Violine, Kombo likes to regale people with stories of headhunters (even though these only live in the Amazon), and of the hunting and feeding habits of crocodiles at the worst possible moments.
  • Gahan Wilson did a one-panel comic of a man painting a picture of horrific nightmare beings, cheerfully telling an anxious onlooker "I paint what I see!" - and this was the title of one of his cartoon collection books.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac:
    • The titular character is mostly aware of how creepy he can be - but when interacting with his beloved six-year-old neighbor, he apparently forgets. There's a reason the comic's first chapter is called "Traumatize Thy Neighbor".
      Johnny: Do you know where the disinfectant is? Some of this blood is mine.
    • The biggest moment of this was probably the time Johnny thwarted a man's attempt to kidnap the neighbor boy. That's perfectly heroic (terrified as little Todd may have been). Johnny, however, then proceeded to show Todd that the kidnapper was nothing to be afraid of - by ripping the guy's brain out of his skull. He then announces that it's Tuesday, "UFO day!" and runs off into the night.
    • In Todd's Spin-Off comic Squee, Todd's Weirdness Magnet is exaggerated and he manages to inexplicably evoke the friendship of The Antichrist. Yep. The literal son of Satan. Again, his new friend (Pepito) seems to have no idea how utterly terrified little Todd is of him.
      Todd: Umm, outside I saw a lot of smoke coming from your fireplace.
      Pepito: It is not from the fireplace... That smoke was from the roasting souls of the damned. Father likes to take his work home with him.
      Satan: ...Shall we dine?
      Todd: No! Nooo!! I don't want to eat the toasty souls of the damned!
      Pepito: I thought we were having Stove Top?
  • Loki's God(dess) of Stories incarnation is dreadfully prone to do incredibly creepy things completely obliviously to their own scariness and out of the best intentions. Like just so turning their best friend's soul into magical jewellery, and when she understandably freaked out reacting basically as: What?! The world is ending, and you're much more portable this way!
  • Nightmare, the sinister Lord of the Dreams Dimension and one of Doctor Strange's biggest foes. The literal personification of fear and bad dreams.

    Comic Strips 
  • The snowmen built by Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes? His father at one point was wondering about taking him to a shrink...
  • The Far Side had one comic of a boy taking a severed head in a jar to show and tell. Although Larson deliberately made the head look more goofy-looking than gruesome, his editor still rejected it, but you can find it in The Prehistory of the Far Side.

  • A Different Medius has Bebo Cole, the only friendly Specter that Buwaro and co. have encountered thus far. Looks like a strangled corpse with a broken neck (which he is), whose mouth is forever bleeding? Check! Casually talks about the fact that Specters are dead demons and angels, among other disturbing topics, like it was nothing? Check!
  • In the Daria fandom is a group known as The Angst Lords. Their stories specialize in Fridge Horror and My God, What Have I Done? moments guaranteed to leave you with the desire to hug someone tightly to reassure yourself that the story is over and, indeed, fictional.
  • Rose, from Eyes Without a Face, and by extension the story's author. The way she calmly comments on all the horrible things that happen throughout the story can be VERY UNSETTLING.
  • While Robin is this in canon and Kakashi doesn't shy away from it, they talk about various nightmarish scenarios in Fly Free. This is followed by similar conversations between Robin and Gaara. Then come the chunin exams, along with an Original Character, Ketsueki Daiya, who is apparently an insane, Ax-Crazy nine-year-old that will giggle about ripping out other genin's hearts.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Starlight Over Detrot, Slip Stitch falls right into this. He's a cheerful, happy, perky coroner who runs a morgue 'n' ice cream shoppe. (Two guesses where he keeps the ice cream.) And after Hardy gets himself killed, he wakes up in that morgue, and gets to read a lovely little description of what Slip Stitch wanted to do to his corpse. In happy, chirpy, perky notes. No guesses what character he's following in the hoofsteps of.
  • The vocaloid fanfic Rotting Camellias has many characters that could be classified as this. Special mention goes to Mayu, who is all cheer and smiles while throwing knives at her stuffed rabbit and threatening to kill Miku for not singing, but this trope could easily apply to many of the other characters, like Teto and Rin.
  • In The Roboutian Heresy, Corax and his Raven Guard. Not only they create various monstrosities, they also knew that humans are inseparable from the Chaos and work to further the agenda of Ruinous Powers, worshipping them as parts of the Chaos Undivided.
  • Izuku in Death Need Not Apply manages to unsettle his classmates far more than Bakugou or Todoroki despite being less brutally violent than them. Within "The Zone" (which includes U.A.), no one can die and will heal from any injury, including dismemberment and destroyed organs. Since "The Zone" has existed for over a decade, people living within it think nothing of resorting to murderous violence over petty arguments. In class, Bakugou and Todoroki will murder classmates with violent rage and cold precision respectively. Izuku will gouge out eyes, snap necks, and impale his classmates while offering friendly advice on how to avoid such injuries. Izuku's Cheerful Child demeanor combined with his brutal tactics result in several students being outright terrified of him.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Anyone from Halloween Town. Although who can really blame them for decorating Christmas with spiders, bats, coffins, jack o lanterns, and Shrunken Heads? To them, it's all very merry.
  • In Pixar's A Bug's Life, the schoolchildren enthusiastically present a painting they made, depicting the battle between the "Warriors" and the grasshoppers, with various scenes of horrible carnage. The highlight of this is the kindly and lovable caterpillar, Heimlich, shown as cut neatly in half, on their teacher's recommendation that the scene needed drama. When poor Heimlich saw it, he went from green to white in an instant.
  • Satan himself (or rather, his nephew, who is supposed to be a non-fallen angel) gets this role in a segment of the animated film The Adventures of Mark Twain, based on his story "The Mysterious Stranger" (YouTube link). As if the unnerving animation wasn't enough, he builds an adorable little claymation village for the children to play with - and then kills all the residents brutally while talking about how silly and petty humanity is. Popular rumor to the contrary, this scene is on the DVD release of the movie, in all its glory, although it has been known to be cut out of TV airings.

    What's worse is in that in the original story, the Angel has such a force of personality that the characters still loved him greatly, even while they're horrified by his very detached view of humanity. At one point he causes a friend of theirs to drown instead of allowing him to live to an old age where he'll be bed-ridden for '30 years', viewing it as being more merciful. It's implied he's such a horrifying bastard because like other angels, he has no knowledge of good and evil, having never eaten the Forbidden Fruit.
  • Frankenweenie: Weird Girl is a superstitious parody of an Oracular Urchin who rambles all the time about her cat's prophetic powers. Needless to say, she doesn’t fit in well with the other kids in New Holland, especially when she delivers her ominous pronouncements in a monotone voice with an unnerving stare, about them.
  • Alpha and Omega has Eve, a caring Stepford Smiler Mama Bear who, because she's an Ax-Crazy Cloudcuckoolander, would make various death threats against anyone who would harm her loved ones, including ripping out wolf anatomy's and shoving them down their throats or grasp at another wolf until they stop moving. However, some of the other wolves, such as Winston and Kate, would be easily intimidated and shocked. Despite this, she believes that her threats would make a point.
  • Darla Dimple from Cats Don't Dance. She's evil, but we don't know that at first... thus making her introductory number, about the Ark, really creepy:
    Darla: Now, the people they were so bad
    That the Lord made the rain come down!
    And He washed away their bad cities,
    And He washed away their bad towns—
    And all of the people drowned! (Chorus: wails)

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Tommy De Vito from GoodFellas, as expected from an Ax-Crazy maniac with a genuinely animalistic temper. If it isn't obvious, he's definitely not a man you would ever want to cross paths with, or even attempt to piss off. It says a lot that he is considered the cruelest, most brutal character of the whole film. And for bonus, he's this even when he's casually speaking.
    Tommy: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
    Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story, what?
    Tommy: No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!
    Henry: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
    Tommy: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.
  • Poltergeist II: The Other Side: Reverend Kane, especially when crooning his Ironic Nursery Tune. The fact that his actor, Julian Beck, was dying of cancer shows in his character, too.
  • Sheriff Merrill from The Tommyknockers. She collects foreign dolls, most of which look completely terrifying. Predictably, on a school field trip, one the children is frightened. All these fears eventually come to motion when they come alive and break her skull.
  • Patrick Bateman's frequent morbid sketches throughout the book/film American Psycho certainly qualify, assuming you believe the Alternate Character Interpretation that is Patrick imagining all of the horrible things he is said to have done in the novel/movie.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie 3, with Cody's bizarre drawing of Samara parody Tabitha.
  • Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders not only has plenty of Nightmare Fuel, but an unwitting NFSA in the form of Grandpa Ernest Borgnine, whose whimsical, heartwarming bedtime stories are filled with terrifying monsters and cute animal death (ironically, this is instead of letting him watch a horror movie). This unfortunate problem results from a very, very simple incredibly bad idea; the movie was made from two failed horror movies (including one that blatantly plagiarized Stephen King)... but they couldn't get them picked up like that, so they retooled them as a single family film, using exactly the same stories. The very fact that someone thought it was a good idea to greenlight this script as a family film may make this Truth in Television, to a degree.
    Child: The monkey killed the dog?
    Borgnine: I told you, it's a bad toy.
    Child: What happens next? Does it kill Michael?
    Borgnine: Well, now you're getting ahead of me.
  • In a variant of this, Sharon from the Silent Hill movie gained a habit of unconsciously drawing creepy pictures that even she herself would be afraid of when she'd come to her senses.
  • In Beetlejuice, Lydia takes the creepy Goth thing a little too far, wearing outfits better suited for funerals at family dinners (and given the reaction - or rather lack of it - from her parents, she clearly does it all the time). Lydia herself believes this is why she can see the Maitlands and ghosts in general, being "strange and unusual" as they are.
  • The Ring:
    • Aidan, after watching the cursed tape, started drawing pictures of Samara, buried people, and huge circles that look a bit too much like the Ring.
    • Samara was quite the Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant, too, what with her "insomnia" and her chilling Ironic Nursery Rhyme. It's no wonder she was drawn to the other Creepy Child in the movie.
  • In Donnie Darko, Donnie draws disturbing images of "Frank", a humanoid rabbit with a monstrous face. Being the Mind Screw that it is, though, It turns out that Frank is actually real, and Donnie is simply drawing an accurate depiction of his Hallowe'en costume. The movie, especially the director's cut, suggests that Frank is Elizabeth's boyfriend.
  • Superbad features a humorous variant of this, in that it is not that the images young Seth draws are scary, but they all involve penises in vaguely disturbing contexts (signing the Declaration of Independence, bursting out of a man's chest à la Alien, Riding the Bomb from Dr. Strangelove, etc). They still result in him being sent to a psychiatrist though. Seth himself was, however, fully aware that what he was doing was utterly bizarre and quite disturbing but was unable to stop himself, describing it as a sort of compulsion.
  • The Butterfly Effect: Near the start of the movie, the kindergarten teacher shows the mother a picture which Aston Kutcher's (then 5-years-old) character has drawn: and it's him standing over two mangled corpses with a bloody knife in his hand. Subverted, because at first it appears that 5-year-old Evan had innocently drawn it, then it's revealed to have been his adult self, with a motive in mind.
  • In the film version of Battle Royale, Instructor Kitano paints a crude, childish scene which portrays all of the students killing each other in various gruesome ways, but with Noriko standing unscathed, and with a saintly halo, in the midst of it all. Whether this means that Kitano is a creepy old man, or that he merely sees Noriko as a surrogate daughter (to make up for his negligent fatherhood) is up for debate, but Shuya and Noriko's reaction to the painting was everything but favorable.
  • The minstrels following Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Although their song starts upbeat, their description of his bravery soon turns quite gruesome:
    He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp
    Or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken
    To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away
    And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin...
    His head smashed in and his heart cut out
    And his liver removed and his bowels unplugged
    And his nostrils raped and his bottom burned off
    And his penis...
  • The cheerful rhyme game the children are playing at the beginning of M. This is actually Truth in Television - both cases M was (allegedly) based on (Peter Kuerten and Fritz Haarmann) inspired rhymes such as these in the populace. Less scary in the original German, where they included lines such as "he'll turn your ass into ham".
    Just you wait a little while,
    Soon the man in black will come
    And with his little chopper
    He will chop you up!
    You're out!
  • In The Night of the Hunter, right after the children's father has been hanged, and the other kids in town mock them by singing the song "Hing, Hang, Hung". This in itself is pretty creepy, but it doesn't get better when the little girl, too young to fully understand what has happened, cheerfully hums it to herself afterwards.
    Hing, Hang, Hung,
    See what the hangman done,
    Hung, Hang, Hing
    See the robber swing,
    Hing, Hang, Hing, Hang,
    Hing, Hang, Hing, Hang,
    Now my song is done
  • In at least one ending of Hide and Seek, Emily draws pictures that give away her own split personality.
  • A mild moment in Some Kind of Wonderful: Eric Stoltz and Elias Koteas are in detention, and Koteas shows Stoltz a drawing he's just painstakingly completed, saying, "This is what my girlfriend would look like without skin."
  • House of 1000 Corpses has Captain Spaulding, a NFSA mixed with a Monster Clown running a literal nightmare fuel station: a gas station with a spooky ride attraction based on local legends built onto the side (free fried chicken with each ticket!).
  • In Strangers on a Train, we get two NFSA's for the price of one! Bruno and his mother (neither the picture of perfect sanity) are talking at home; she shows him her latest painting. He starts cackling delightedly and claims she captured his father to a "t" - the picture is a feverish nightmare portrait of wild glaring eyes and claws. Mom looks a bit confused and says it's supposed to be Saint Francis.
  • The kid in Twilight Zone: The Movie (based on the original Twilight Zone episode) creates a no-way-out nightmare world for the others, but considers it all just good fun himself.
  • Nina, from Black Swan. Her dancing as the Black Swan, rather than being sensual, is instead terrifying.
  • Wanda Maximoff of Marvel Cinematic Universe. For most of Avengers: Age of Ultron, she is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with Glowing Eyes of Doom, she sneaks up on the heroes a lot, and induces terrible visions. Later, in Avengers: Endgame, she lays a Curb-Stomp Battle on Thanos himself in all her nightmarish glory.

  • The award-winning novel Knowledge Of Angels by Jill Paton Walsh features a young girl that was brought up by wolves being taken to a church for the first time. Imagine the reaction of a child that does not even know OF the Bible, let alone the details of the stories within it, coming face-to-face with a full sized Crucifix statue for the first time. By and large, quite a lot of religious iconography - particularly relics and images of martyrs - must be horrifying to young children who have no idea what they are meant to represent.
  • The Spitting Image Book, by the producers of the satirical 1980s TV show, included a parody of the Noddy children's books by Enid Blyton, in which Big Ears advises an unhappy Noddy to cheer himself up by singing happy songs. Noddy then proceeds to dance and sing a happy tune that quickly turns into a horrific, Wilfred Owen-like lyric about World War I. ("Oh what does it matter / If things aren't so merry / And death-shrouded corpses / Lie ready to bury"). The parody ends with Big Ears saying, "I don't see what you're so happy about. You've spoiled my whole bloody evening!" and an illustration (in the style of the originals) of him about to hang himself.
  • In the Discworld novel Hogfather, Mr Teatime himself qualifies as this; even the Assassins are horrified by him because even they have standards, and he is just too uncanny and unspeakable to be condoned. Lord Downey, head Assassin, privately decides that he will meet with a little "accident". Add this impression to his childlike behavior and outlook on life, and he genuinely horrifies people.
  • In Mathemagics of the Chicks in Chainmail anthologies, Riva's daughter draws a picture of her home planet for class, which leads to an angry meeting between the teacher and Riva.
  • In World War Z, feral girl Sharon describes the circumstances that left her that way with all the comprehension of a four-year-old, and that innocence arguably makes her descriptions (and impersonations) of the attacking zombies and the parents murdering their own children to keep the zombies from getting them that much more terrifying and saddening.
    Sharon: Mrs. Randolph... was Ashley's mommy. Ashley was my friend. I asked her where was Ashley. She started to cry... Mrs. Randolph was dirty, she had red and brown on her dress.
  • In the Dresden Files book Changes, Toot-Toot the fairy comes out with this (spoileriffic) gem: "Harry's the new Winter Knight! Which is fantastic! The old Winter Knight mostly just sat around getting tortured. He never went on adventures or anything. Unless you count going crazy, I guess." Hilarious, but jeez.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
    • Fregley is both a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant and a Nausea Fuel Station Attendant, since he's so blissfully unaware of how his bizarre and disgusting behavior frightens and repulses others.
    • At one point in the series, little Manny accidentally watches one of Rodrick's horror movies instead of his kiddy cartoons. Greg stumbled upon a couple of Manny's drawings after that, and was pretty creeped out.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Rubeus Hagrid, in his role of Professor of Care of Magical Creatures, teaches the students at Hogwarts all about "interesting critters". Unfortunately, what Hagrid calls "interesting", his students call "dangerous and frightening". Then again, it's a matter of perspective. Hagrid is half-Giant and has been around such creatures all his life, and he's a good teacher in that he teaches the most important rule about them: Treat them with respect.
    • There's also Luna Lovegood, who spouts creepy conspiracy theories, whose bedroom wall has a painting of her friends from Hogwarts surrounded by chains forming the word "friends," and whose general oddness is off-putting to the other characters.
  • Bod, the central character of The Graveyard Book, seems slightly creepy at the best of times, mostly due to being raised by ghosts in a graveyard but also because of his tendency to remain unusually calm in situations where most people wouldn't be. However he becomes this trope in Nobody Owens' School days when he uses a few ghostly tricks (such as fear manipulation, manipulating someone's dream, and what appears to be some sort of illusion projection) to scare a couple of bullies into changing their behaviour. Then there's how he ends up dealing with the Jacks...
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy: Name a particularly disturbing scene in Authority or Acceptance, any scene. Chances are, Whitby figures into it somehow. It starts with Control discovering Whitby's nightmarish wall paintings of Area X, with Whitby chilling out on a storage rack among them, and goes to Whitby fighting his own clone at the lighthouse.
  • Rosalie Hale from Twilight is quite casual, matter-of-fact, almost flippant when she tells Bella the tale of how she tortured to death her rapists and almost murderers, back in the Thirties.
    Rosalie: I'm sorry. I'm frightening you, aren't I? I got carried away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Elvira often did this intentionally in her routines. (Which was the whole point, and played for laughs.)

By Series:

  • Simmons from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to reassure other characters that her beloved poisonous insects, deadly viruses and other biohazards are actually nothing to be scared of and, in some cases, actually adorable, tends to have the opposite effect of making them more nervous.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Fear Her" features a young girl whose already creepy drawings (her father appears as a horrific demon with dripping fangs and burning eyes) are taken to a whole new level by some Imported Alien Phlebotinum: they move, scream, wail and even threaten to kill anyone who looks upon them — not to mention that anyone she draws becomes a faceless, screaming scribble for all eternity.
    • "Silence in the Library": As if killer shadows and animated Stripped to the Bone corpses endlessly repeating their last words in confusion from not realizing they're dead aren't creepy enough, there's the little girl's psychologist (or that's who he seems to be at first). He reassures the girl — who already looks creeped out — that her world isn't as real as the monsters in the shadows, and then cryptically tells her that only she can save the cast. She doesn't look comforted. At all.
  • Firefly:
    • This is River's hat. When she's not completely insane or killing people, she's saying reaaally creepy things in a perfectly conversational tone, with absolutely no idea how scary she sounds. "Safe" has her mentioning, kind of off-handedly, a method of draining blood from the human body without leaving a mess, prompting Mal to call her "morbid and creepifying". In "Out of Gas", River tries to comfort Shepherd Book like so: "You think we're going to run out of air. That we're going to die gasping. But we're not." Silent beat, while Book smiles hesitantly at her. "We'll freeze to death first."
    • In "War Stories", Simon is given Mal's severed ear. He's being tortured.
      Simon: It's a clean cut. [When they get Mal back] I should be able to reattach it. [Beat] Assuming there's a head.
  • In Friends, Phoebe. She gives Monica "Gladys" - a hideously drawn, semi-3D portrait of a lady who looks like a witch, scary enough to stop even Joey from sleeping. There's also her psychic reading of the pencil. "I don't know who this is, but it's not Debbie." Cue everyone looking freaked. And there's the children's song: "Oh, Grandma is a person that everyone likes, / She bought you a toy train and a bright shiny bike, / But lately she hasn't been coming to dinner, / The last time you saw her she looked a lot thinner. Now your parents told you she moved to Peru, / but the truth is she died and someday you will too." Poor, poor little children. When Phoebe is asked to tone down her children's songs and maybe write about farm animals and things like that. She comes out with, "Oh, the cow in the meadow goes, 'Moo'/Oh, the cow in the meadow goes, 'Moo'/Then the farmer hits him on the head and grinds them up/And that's how we get hamburgers/Now chicken!" Played With in that the kids eventually love her for telling the truth.
  • Lily's father from How I Met Your Mother invents children's board games for a living, including titles like "Diseases!" and "There's a Clown Demon Under the Bed." They're about as successful as you might think.
  • Inazuman's second Big Bad, Führer Geisel is exceptionally terrifying even for a 70s Toku villain. He looks like a cross between an SS commandant and Dracula, is cold and no-nonsense in contrast to the usual hamminess Toku villains have, regularly has his forces massacre people, and makes his introduction after pulling a merciless Eviler than Thou on the previous Big Bad (who was already pretty bad by himself). In fact, he's pretty much singlehandedly responsible for making Flash a Darker and Edgier show to the original Inazuman series.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie sings a song entitled "Nightman", which is heavily laced with Freudian sexuality. He has no idea why this song is so disturbing to his friends.
    Charlie: It's about the Nightman coming in and I become him. I become the spirit of the Nightman.
    Mac: It sounds like a song where a guy breaks into your house and rapes you.
    Charlie: What? No, listen: 'It's just two men sharing the night, it might feel wrong but it's just right.'
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: Alain had a pleasant, nostalgic conversation with Kanon while keeping her brother as a toy after enslaving his soul because that's his idea of friendship. He actually had that conversation with her because she was worried about her brother's sudden disappearance and didn't tell her it's his fault because that might worry her more when there wasn't even anything wrong going on. He genuinely thinks that Ganma are justified in their invasion on Earth, because it is for the sake of spreading their perfect, conflictless society where no one suffers. It completely escapes him that the utopia is a thin veneer painted on a poisonous, decaying world where no one can even exist as anything else than a Human Popsicle remotely controlling artificial body.
  • Kamen Rider Build: Misora Isurugi, the baby of Nascita family, can be creepily cheerful if she gets enough sleep and threatens people with grievous bodily harm if woken up. Notably, she poked an unconscious man with her plush toy and happily proclaimed him dead when he didn't stir. Tied him up with chains, too, so getting excited over a cow anatomy puzzle is just a cherry on the top for her.
  • The episode of The King of Queens, "Present Tense". Deacon and Kelly give Doug and Carrie a painting of one of their pictures together for an anniversary present. Unfortunately, in the painting, Carrie's right arm is grossly enlarged and Doug has nasty-looking buckteeth. Carrie even admits that she has nightmares about it and feels like the eyes of the painting figures are following her; not to mention that she and Doug sometimes imagine each other with the deformities. It turns out that Deacon and Kelly gave them the painting to get back at them for a bad anniversary gift the Heffernans gave them: a set of statuettes of stereotypical-looking black jazz musicians. It would seem a more appropriate title for the episode would have been "Revenge is a Dish Best Served with an Anniversary Present".
  • In Little Howard's Big Question, one episode has Big Howard attempting to coax Little Howard into sleep using a lullaby his father used to sing to him. In it, he sings the giant mutant bed-bugs won't bite so long as Little Howard stays very, very still, and that the monsters under the bed did once kill a child for going downstairs in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, but that Little Howard should be okay since there's still a quarter of the kid left, and that while Little Howard is sleeping he'll be 'downstairs with a Ouija board, communing with the dead'. Little Howard complains that this is the scariest song he's ever heard, but it's subverted when he falls peacefully asleep anyway.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Radar enrolling in a creative-writing course by mail and soliciting the other characters for amusing anecdotes. When it's Frank Burns' turn, he shares a story from his youth that "always breaks me up"... about a disabled neighbor kid who lost control of his wheelchair, rolled down the stairs and across the lawn, and crashed into Frank's dad's car.
    B.J. [horrified] That must have been awful!
    Frank: Nah, he just scratched the paint a little.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
  • In an episode of Night Court, Bull enters a story filled with Nightmare Fuel into a children's book contest. He is so horrified to learn that his story actually frightens children that he breaks both his hands in a fit of rage.
  • Outnumbered:
    • Ben. It's true all the time but his family are more or less used to it, so it only really becomes noticeable during his class camping trip. His campfire scary stories and general pranks induce panic attacks, asthma attacks and warning symptoms of mental breakdown (such as whimpering and rocking) in the other children, while his teacher starts smoking again after having to deal with all of this.
    • Karen too, especially in the earlier seasons when she was younger. Her pictures are a prime example:
      Sue: Lovely, that's a lovely picture of [Beat] what is it of?
      Karen: A cow... killing some people because it doesn't want to be made into food. He's ripping their heads off and their arms off and shooting them and that one is of people getting hurt because the cow's killing them and the cow doesn't want to be made into food. Because I don't like burgers.
  • Mary Lightly, a consulting expert on serial killers who shows up on Psych whenever Yin and Yang are in town. Everything about the way he looks, dresses, speaks, walks, and behaves is just strange enough to be simultaneously incredibly creepy and somewhat baffling, but just mundane enough to never be overtly threatening or malicious and to make it clear he isn't doing it on purpose. He has No Social Skills, unnecessary awkward and creepy choices of words, more unsettling Character Tics than you can count, an almost-but-not-quite-incriminatingly detailed understanding of the way Yin and Yang think, and a borderline fetishistic obsession with his work. Both times he appears, he's immediately (and understandably) suspected of being the serial killer. But no... he's just really really creepy.
  • Six Feet Under: Claire can't understand why her cartoon about a girl who can make people's heads explode by looking at them was pulled from the school paper.

  • A few of the songs by Tom Lehrer, such as "Who's Next" and "We Will All Go Together When We Go" could make the man come across as a NFSA. He also wrote a lovely lullaby that would fit the trope. On a lighter note (although that's not exactly difficult with two songs about nuclear annihilation), he has a cheerful ditty about the delightful spring pastime of "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"
  • Vocaloid:
    • Machigerita-P, who is responsible for such lovely songs as "Dark Woods Circus", "On the Bottom of The Red Swamp", "Guard and Scythe", "Madness; Because of Her Knowledge", and "Test Tube Princess".
    • mothy is another example for the songs within the Evillious Chronicles. To give you an idea, on subset of the Chronicles is the Seven Deadly Sins series, and it features gems like mass rape, cannibalism (and Auto Cannibalism), and a synthetic plague that kills an entire town.
    • And the there's Hachi; any works he makes that aren't scary are usually at least confusing.
    • One more: Kikuo has several cheerful, upbeat-sounding songs, sometimes featuring voices and lyrics that are almost childish. Then you look at the lyrics and realize that several of the songs are about child abuse in some form, as well as possibly abortion or miscarriage, double-suicide, and one that could either be taken as sexual abuse by someone the singer calls "Daddy" or—if you read the lyrics more literally—cannibalism. And almost all of them sang to cheerful, upbeat tunes that get stuck in your head.
    • Though it should surprise absolutely no one who's familiar with his work, Deino's creation Calne Ca combines Miku's design with elaborate cybernetics and gratuitous insect imagery, though he maintains that she isn't an evil character.
  • Tom Waits has had entire albums that qualify, fitting neatly into the snarling, horrific sideshow aesthetic of his music.
    • In the Colosseum gives us these lyrics.
      The dogs are having someone who is screaming in the mud
      It's always much more sporting when there's families in the pit
      And the madness of the crowd is an epileptic fit
  • Scissor Sisters gave us "I Can't Decide", the most upbeat, cheerful, lively and happy song you'll ever hear about casually plotting someone's cold-blooded murder.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Swedish Chef of The Muppet Show has a really jolly, somewhat Manchild personality which he maintains especially when trying to kill animals in horrible ways. Notably trying to cut off Robin's legs before Kermit and Scooter realize what's going on (granted the Chef was forced on stage earlier then he was supposed to). Disproportionate Retribution much? It doesn't help that the Swedish Chef is the only Muppet with actual human hands. (He even seems to have what looks like a wedding ring in one recent appearance, but Lord only knows who his wife is.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Whoever the hell drew the illustrations in the New World of Darkness sourcebook Innocents. Okay, they're supposed to be scary, but this book specifically deals with child characters and the horrors faced there. The images haven't gotten any less disturbing. For a more direct example, the children writing notes found as flavor text throughout the book.
  • In the same vein as Innocents, the indie RPG Little Fears is about children fighting allegorical monsters for fun topics like child abuse, kidnapping, and molestation.
  • The My Imaginary Friend game books are filled with childish journal entries talking about their lovable imaginary monster and how they disemboweled their evil teachers and such.
  • Every single follower of the Chaos God Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Bloated, rotting, contagion-spewing shambling corpses, they just want to give you a biiiig hug so that you too can know the joy of being blessed by the Lord of Decay. Papa Nurgle loves you~
  • A lot of folks in the Planescape setting are like this. It would take too long to give a complete list, but one example: There's a taxidermist in the Lower Ward of Sigil who's a member of the Dustmen who really loves her work, and if a customer is an attractive type, she might ask for his or her corpse after his death. (And she is deadly serious about it. What makes this especially creepy is the fact that at least three customers apparently accepted this offer - they are displayed in her shop.) Of course, the Dustmen as a whole are a rather creepy bunch, who tend to hang around undead and worship death more often than not, even the ones who aren't evil.

    Video Games 
  • Bebedora in Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits. She's a horribly creepy demonic young girl marionette who apparently has no eyes, can 'see' emotions as color and casually talks about Ending The World. Oh, and she can possess people and make them do whatever she feels like doing, whether they want to or not. This page should give you a vague idea of what kind of, uh, person-doll-demon-thing she is.
  • Assassin's Creed: Why hello there, Subject 16! Why don't you regale us with some more of your insane ramblings, pieced together from the broken psyche that used to be your mind? Oh, and you've embedded coded chunks of your uploaded mind all through a system that is already independently capable of destroying a person's sanity? Thanks. The Animus wasn't scary enough on its own.
    Subject 16: She sees me raise the knife...
  • The Little Sisters in the BioShock games exhibit traits of the NFSA, referring to the dead bodies they harvest ADAM from as "angels". In the second game, if you have a Little Sister with you when you use an electricity plasmid on a Splicer, she might cry, "Look, Mr. B! She's dancing!" She will also exclaim in glee about marshmallows when you set them on fire. All Little Sisters have been tampered with in the perception department, to the point that all of decaying Rapture looks like wonderful, golden, shiny places, and for all we know, that's what they actually LOOK like to them: Electrified people burst into merry dance, flaming people are holding marshmallows...
  • Dead Space: In the Alternate Reality Game No Known Survivors, there's a guy on a research ship receiving mail from his daughter, crude drawings with the repeated singing "Three Happy Spacemen, Three Happy Spacemen". The subject? Her father brutally killing his coworkers, which he does. And in mission 2 of the game proper, there's a nice young woman (unfortunately visually impaired) cradling and talking to her friend, McCoy. She gives you the kinesis module that McCoy had her save for you. Oh, and by the way, McCoy, is a headless, limbless corpse at the time.
  • The primary subject in Discover My Body. He's consistently very upbeat about the deformations his body has accumulated, perfectly happy to detail every bit of the experience from his end — as much as he can manage, anyway. We know he's happy because he thinks the Death of Personality that comes with the mutations and joining the mycotic Hive Mind that's growing into him will finally help his crippling loneliness, which makes things worse still.
  • Fable II has the ever pleasant and friendly Chesty, a living treasure chest who just wants to be your very best friend and play games with you. After pulling you into a nightmare and transforming you back into a kid... well... ''Yeah...'' Even better is when you can get back into the dream afterwards and open the door that was locked before. There you find what happens to those who stayed his Very Best Friends.... Of course it is still not as pleasant as when you get the invitation to his party. You end up a little late to the party, and VERY glad for it. There are also the banshees who say such wonderful things as 'how do you know if they're really even your family?' if you decided to revive your murdered family at the end of the game.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach has an almost literal instance of this trope in the Daycare Attendant. A note found in the Superstar Daycare has a parent complain that her child, who had no previous sleep issues, had begun refusing to sleep with the lights off and wetting the bed after being left in its care. It's not hard to see why: said animatronic is a lean clown-like robot with a permanently affixed Slasher Smile and overly fluid motion, who also switches between a 'Sun' and 'Moon' variant depending on whether the lights are on. The Sun sees no issue with dragging Gregory around while shouting in his face about all the activities it has planned. The Moon is worse, as upon its Nighttime Transformation it decides to 'punish' Gregory for being up past his bedtime while muttering in a raspy voice about 'naughty children.' Needless to say, this thing is Hated by All, precisely because it's too terrifying for a bot intended to look after toddler-age children.
  • Fran Bow: Fran Bow's one since she's a Creepy Child, and the game's both about and told from her perspective. Her response to the game's less dangerous horrors is predominantly curiosity and childlike wonder. This can be jarring, when she responds this way to carrion worms, headless anthropomorphic deer, and dead babies in a well (one of whom, she remarks, was very smart to bring its placenta; the placenta is a jetpack of blood and nutrients).
  • From Game & Wario, we have 5-Volt, the mother of 9-Volt who checks to make sure her son isn't up all night playing video games in "Gamer". She shows Glowing Eyes of Doom when angry, her presence is accompanied by a creepy ambient tone, she creep into your room through your TV like the dead girl from The Ring, and can (most likely will break your window and climb into your room.
  • Granblue Fantasy has a somewhat subdued example in Joel. He is normally as nice and sweet of a guy as can be imagined, constantly looking out for his friends... but he also comments that the Crimson Horizon "looks like blood right before it's dried", and that one can "stare giant marine skeletons in the eye sockets" in a museum.
  • 343 Guilty Spark from Halo is far too chipper about the Flood and how the only way to combat them is by killing everything.
  • Layers of Fear has the artist and protagonist. Not only does he take his house crumbling into Wonderland-esce madness quite well, he also saw nothing wrong with submitting a very, very violent and gory version of Little Red Riding Hood as illustrations for a childrens book. In general does his art get really disturbing over time, but he sees nothing wrong with that, to the shock and horror of those that initially loved his work.
Fado from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. (Uh, this kid. Her name's All There in the Manual. Apparently, no connection to the two later Fados.) When you meet her in the Lost Woods after the Time Skip, she's taken a turn for the creepy. "That guy isn't here anymore. Anybody who comes into the forest will be lost. Everybody will become a Stalfos. Everybody, Stalfos. So, he's not here anymore. Only his saw is left. Hee hee." ... "Heh heh heh. Are you going to be...too? Heh heh!"
  • Agitha from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess loves bugs. She just LOVES THEM SO MUCH.
  • Max Payne 2: The crayon drawings seen in Part 1's Prologue, which depict part of the first game's story (Max's wife and baby are killed), are definitely the work of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant, even if we don't know how anyone else reacts to them.
  • Persona 4 has Izanami, who gives the Protagonist his powers and is a literal Station Attendant. She could technically be considered one by trope definition as well, because she thought that she was merely giving the humans what they wanted.
    • In the anime especially, Shadow Naoto. Said Shadow is seemingly quite playful, and breaks down into tears at rejection, and is generally quite lovable with its oversized lab coat. Until Naoto pushes too many buttons, at which point the Shadow stops being so cute and childish and proceeds to psychologically tear Naoto apart.
  • Planescape: Torment featured Marta, a cheerful old lady whose job it is to remove the teeth and organs of corpses. Your character, an immortal with a powerful Healing Factor, can have her remove your internal organs and crack open your skull in search for items hidden by yourself before you were struck with amnesia. Oh, and hey — there's no anaesthesia.
  • Sam And Max Save The World/Season One demonstrates this in Hugh Bliss. Max is enough of an example himself, but if anything, Hugh Bliss is just as bad with his constant cheeriness, his unnatural powers, the fact that he's a colony of germs, and when you use the bug on him in Abe Lincoln Must Die!, guess what? He knew you were listening. People say that him being the villain was unexpected? His cameo in season two in hell, complete with The Exorcist-style head turn, certainly doesn't help things.
  • The Secret World has Emma and her disturbing drawings (They Mostly Come At Night), the "day care center" in the Amity House (Virgula Divina), and probably a few more that I'm forgetting.
  • Say howdy to Oichi from Sengoku Basara. Basically designed to give you the creeps. If the demonic shadow hands she fights with aren't bad enough, her dissonant voice and creepy lullaby singing when she's smashing your face in might just give you a good scare.
  • Shadow Hearts gives us the Big Bad, Albert Simon. He is an Affably Evil Sorcerer set on kick-starting Judgment Day. Because he sees his end goal as basicly being able to undo all the damage he does along the way and then some, he remains polite, friendly and jovial the whole time. He steps over bodies, donates tomes-of-eldrich lore to madmen, and practices necromantic rites with a pleasant pasted on smile and kind tone as is usually reserved for the average tea-party.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has the recurring demon Alice. She's an adorable little blonde girl... who was raised by two powerful demons, granted massive magical powers, was driven insane by them, and wants you to be her friend. Her cuteness and childlike attitude just make the sadism (torturing the Hare of Inaba in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, for example) that much creepier. Plus her Signature Move "Die For Me!" is the most powerful dark-elemental instant death spell in any game she appears in and involves summoning an army of undead.
    • Even better (or worse), the original appearance of Alice in Shin Megami Tensei 1 is that of the ghost of a little girl raised by those demons, whose only friends are the ghosts of everyone in Roppongi in Tokyo, killed by the demons to force them to stay there as her friends forever. Her Signature Move shouldn't even be rendered as a command, but instead a question — she desperately wants you to stay and asks, "Would you die for me please?" out of loneliness, not anger or spite.
  • From Team Fortress 2:
  • The nurse in Xenogears is constantly telling you that she hopes you come back with terrible, life-threatening injuries so she'll have something to do.
  • Madotsuki from Yume Nikki; almost all of her time is spent sleeping and concocting nightmares that wouldn't be out of place in a Cosmic Horror Story.

    Web Animation 

  • In An Epic Comic, Bowser has the ability to change his dimensional appearance from events before the comic. Putting that into thought and seeing a glimpse of what he can do, how far can he go before it reaches a limit?
  • Brawl in the Family.Sometimes Waluigi thinks. He thinks about the most important things in life. WAAAAAA!
  • Feferi Peixes from Homestuck is could be the poster child for this trope. A cute, bubbly girl who beyond traits that are usual for her species also has fins on her face and a grin comparable to a shark. She's often full of optimism even when the situation doesn't call for it, which is likely because she constantly gets prophetic hints from Eldritch Abomination, one of whom acted as her surrogate mother. And that doesn't even get into her ghostly affairs. Or the fact that she's absolutely terrifying when she's angry.
    CC: Because, stupid.
    CC: I'M D------EAD!
    • Incidentally, she's not actually angry there. She's at most mildly exasperated.
    • Feferi is one of two characters in the entire series not to be scared to death of the Noble Circle of Horrorterrors— she was raised by one, after all, so her reaction to them is basically that of a Genki Girl visiting her relatives. She even wants to introduce her friends to them, and doesn't understand why nobody else wants to sleep after the death of their dreamselves.
    • After going from an emotionless ghost to an angry robot, God Tier Aradia is just so excited and so happy, even when talking about throwing a "corpse party" for all the dead trolls. One notable scene well into Act 6 has her not even saying anything. Just standing off to the side in the middle of a conversation with a huge, creepy grin on her face.
  • Lovely Lovecraft: Howard to some degree, as he is a child version of horror master H. P. Lovecraft. He is relatively unfazed by Phil and Pickman, remaining calm enough to identify them as a Night Gaunt and a ghoul respectively.
  • From the summer of 2010, Diedrich of Gaia Online gleefully shares a few facts about the grisly fate of airship crews, then just as gleefully offers to captain one for you in Frontier Skies.
  • Hannelore in this Questionable Content.
    Hannelore: Do you get the recurring dream where the rapping penis tells you to kill your friends too?
  • In this Dinosaur Comics, T-Rex attempts to write a book for children which combines a cute story with Anvilicious Aesops. The result, however, is a book which reads "Happy Dog loves to play fetch with a boy named Timmy! Timmy is Happy Dog's best friend. Timmy is made of meat. Your whole family is made out of meat".
    • He sold an accompanying T-Shirt with a stick-figure-ish family of Dad, Mom, Son and Daughter with frowns on their faces with the caption "My Whole Family Is Made Of Meat". When I wear mine around, I get looks ranging from bemusement to outright horror.
  • The unfocused powers of the eponymous 8-year-old Reality Warper of minus make her practically this trope personified. Among her more disturbing actions are a magic show which features a literal Cut The Lady In Half act, swapping the heads of everyone, and inducing rictus grins in the townsfolk.
  • Shortpacked!: This unique take on Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion smiling has Shinji quite disturbed.

    Web Original 
  • The Homestar Runner Hallowe'en cartoon "Homestarloween Party" features the characters telling a light-hearted campfire story - until Strong Sad's turn, when he suddenly packs the story with all kinds of depressing and disturbing twists:
    Strong Sad: And the robot's human brain remembered his children and his stolen life, and he was moved to tears. But the tears shorted out his circuits, and fried his brain, and the robot toppled over, and he crushed his children, and the Goblin, too. And none of them lived.
    • Similarly, in A Folky Tale, Strong Sad's folk hero alter-ego Saddy Dumpington will reveal some horrifying fact ("I just saw a baby chick choke on a worm. They both died!") in a cheery voice, and then add "Isn't that great?", apparently unaware that most people find that sort of thing "miserable and depressing". Saddy ironically becomes Nightmare Retardant when he tries to purposefully depress the local townsfolk by dressing as a "weird snake".
      • But then Strong Sad tells that the townsfolk laughed so hard they fell into a coma for the rest of their lives.
    • There's also Senor Cardgage who was once heard singing a creepy rhyme in a "daycare" with a Chalk Outline outside and even creeped out Strong Bad by walking in place with disembodied traffic noises echoing around him.
  • Salad Fingers falls quite nicely into this trope, with his childish, almost playful voice, his fetish for rusty objects, his finger puppet "friends", who he routinely talks and sings to, and his tendencies for self-mutilation.
  • Welcome to Night Vale has Cecil, the narrator and community radio host who cheerfully reports happenings such as glow clouds that rain dead animals, ritualistically slaughtered pterodactyls, and people being killed en masse by mysterious mute children.
  • Mega64: Sean. For example, his room contains nothing but a broken alarm clock, a table, two chairs, and an incredibly creepy painting of two clowns.
  • In Survival of the Fittest- v1, in Cillian Crowe's backstory, as a child he would draw very unpleasant pictures of his imaginary friend Haddy apparently causing a massacre. At another point, his class was working on a play, and on the day of the performance the background ended up covered in stage blood with "I will KILL you" written all over. Needless to say, his adoptive parents were freaked out, enough to abandon him. This did not end well for them.
  • Doug Walker's persona from Ask That Guy with the Glasses.
    • However bad Ask That Guy may be, Bennett the Sage (especially as depicted in the special holiday episode) is tenfold worse. And here's something to consider: in Real Life, Bennett was only twenty years old when the segment was filmed—and there's every indication that he wrote all his own dialogue. Think about that for a moment.
  • The late edarem, a YouTube user, seen in this video (probably his most popular video) lip syncing Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman, was an old man in his 70's who went to jail in the 80's for a sex offender conviction, but was released and seemed to have turned his life around. His videos include his daily life, tips with household chores (including cutting a bagel, brushing a dog, etc), tips with daily life, general oddities, and song lip syncing, among others. He didn't seem like a mean old man, but rather, a very gentle, entertaining and helpful person. However, this didn't not stop him from coming off very creepy. Tragically, he died back in prison again, after it turned out that simply putting up these videos on YouTube was considered a violation of his parole.
  • Hall Monitor from Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers. Particularly the minute he senses any sort of illegal activity, as he switches into Rabid Cop mode and punishes the offender with extreme prejudice.
  • Team Four Star's version of Mr. Popo in Dragonball Z Abridged easily qualifies, with heaping helpings of Black Comedy to even it out. One clip even has Popo creeping the hell out of the guy editing the video.
  • Jessica from Fat, French and Fabulous.
    Jessica (In a high, childlike voice): "Murder! Murder! Murder!"

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time gives us Peppermint Butler who innocently declares that, in exchange for a favor he did for Finn and Jake, he will take their flesh as payment. The heroes giggle a bit at what they think is a joke before he says he'll take it from them in their sleep. His eyes glow black when he does, and Finn and Jake are more than a little unnerved. There have since been more than a few hints that Pepperment Butler is secretly evil. In the above mentioned episode, he was revealed to be personal friends with Death. In "Return to the Nightosphere" there's a photograph in the background showing him caddying a game of golf for Marceline's Dad (aka the demonic Lord of All Evil and basically Adventure Time's version of Satan). In "Too Young" he got nervous when Finn asked to see his aura with a machine Princess Bubblegum invented. The hints seem to have been confirmed in "The Suitor", in which he is caught several times summoning a demon, making it possess Cinnamon Bun's body and trying to interrogate him for the location of some equally evil object. The bubblegum guardians keep pulling him away from this to make him do one of his royal duties and try and find Princess Bubblegum a suitor. Eventually resulting on the best suitor making a deal with the demon.
  • A Halloween episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force features a level-headed and soft-spoken onion-spider-creature named "Willie Nelson" who lives in the attic. When the main characters try to make Willie Nelson scary, they fail miserably. It's not until the last part of the episode where you find out that Willie Nelson has been keeping hundreds of dead and mangled bodies in the attic on meat hooks to feed on. Needless to say, all the characters are horrified, but Willie Nelson doesn't understand why they're so freaked out. It's just "juice" for him.
  • Cheryl, the secretary from Archer:
    Cheryl: You seriously don't think that's hot?
    Pam: I seriously think you're scary.
    Cheryl: No, nononono. Like, a big sweaty fireman carries you out of a burning building, lays you on the sidewalk and you think "OK, he's gonna give me mouth to mouth", but instead, he just starts choking the shit out of you, and the last sensation you feel before you die is that he's squeezing your throat so hard that a big glob of drool slips right off his teeth and — *blurp* — lands right on your popped out eyeball.
    Pam: Jesus Christ!
    Cheryl: I know, right?
    Lana: What the hell?!
    Cheryl: I'm wet just thinking about it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Princess Azula trying to act like a normal teenager.
  • Darkwing Duck: Bushroot, being the sympathetic but kind of unstable scientist that he is, often causes much unintended horror with his experiments like trying to marry a giant mutated vampire-potato and never realising the whole monster thing, creating again and again quite a few monsters in his effort to make friends and leaving creepy husks of his body behind. And all this, while being whiny, affable and wimpy.
  • Nug of The Dreamstone is an in-universe supplier of Fridge Horror, often inadvertantly terrifying Frizz with his unnerving assumptions of the outcomes of some of their schemes.
    Frizz: I'm gonna fall!!!
    Nug: If you did, you'd probably break every bone in your body...probably.
  • Ed from Ed, Edd n Eddy, whose grip on reality has been severely weakened by a near-constant diet of horror comics and B-movies. His idea for a scam in "It Came From Outer Ed" involves dressing his friends as skeletons and astronauts, making them pass each other pancakes, shouting "Evil Tim has beckoned you all, for you all will pay with your brains!", and then ripping up a stuffed bunny with his teeth. Yet he still considers this a piece of light-hearted fun, even when the curse kicks in and he and his friends are mobbed by angry crows.
    • When regaling his side of the story in "Once Upon An Ed", Ed comes up with an alternately ridiculous and terrifying tale of the Kanker Sisters (the three trailer trash Stalkers With Crushes) hideously mutated by eating radioactive mashed potatoes, who torment Ed and his friends by throwing enormous, sloppy kisses and shooting rays from chickens on their armpits that turn houses into giant hygiene products ("Evil soap! Deodorant!"). And then they can merge their heads together to shoot a giant kiss.
      Eddy: Ed, your story's gettin' weird!
      Edd: My Ed, what an enchanted world you live in.
    • At the beginning of "Is There an Ed in the House?", he draws a portrait of Rolf... with a monster looming behind him. Ed gleefully explains "Rolf's head is about to be crunched by a four-legged mutant bus driver!"
    • When he dressed up as a space monster in "The Day The Ed Stood Still" (though considering what the title alludes to, what would you expect?) and got a little too into character... "I am a monster!" The whole thing eventually degenerates into a pastiche of the Alien movies.
    • The Halloween Episode. Ed takes in even more B-movies than usual, which causes him to occasionally see the world as one. This turns a simple trek to a mythical neighborhood that gives out tons of candy into a battle against monsters summoned by witches.
  • Futurama: A variant of this trope occurs when Fry first tries to play the holophoner without the assistance of his internal parasites; while he earnestly tries to portray his feelings, the result is a hellish, poorly-played song about a Frankenstein-esque monster. His rationale for this performance was that he "got nervous and started thinking about neck bolts".
    • This happens to Fry quite a lot. At a holophoner recital, Fry tries to play a tune called "The Grumpy Snail". Things go alright for a while... until the snail spouts fangs and starts foaming at the mouth.
      "It's TOO grumpy!"
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy has no sense of reality due to always reading comics, playing violent video games, and watching horror movies. His art is (in-universe) regarded as absolutely terrifying, and in one episode he finds chalk drawings inside a cave depicting a group of friends partying on a cruise ship and changes the picture so a giant meteorite falls on them.
  • Finding any single character in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack to represent this trope is a hard task, as that show basically ran on this trope. That said, if one had to choose, it would definitely be Doctor Barber, the resident 19th century doctor and barber of Stormalong Harbor. Expect plenty of Black Humor revolving around the surprisingly graphic descriptions of his offscreen Meatgrinder Surgeries and grotesque patients whenever he's around.
  • The members of Dethklok from Metalocalypse, given their morbid lyrics and subject matter and the fact that every single one of their concerts results in a bloodbath.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Luna has rather scary tastes. Example? On the pony equivalent of Halloween, she travels to Ponyville in a demonic chariot pulled by menacing, bat-winged pegasi, donned in a hooded cloak made of bats and accompanied by Dramatic Thunder and the sky spontaneously darkening. She seems to think this is a perfectly normal way for one to arrive to address her subjects, and that turning fake spiders into real (harmless, granted, but still terrifying) ones is a fun thing to do. Her dark gothic figure and echoing bellow of a voice don't help whatsoever. This comes in handy when she realizes that sometimes her subjects like being frightened, which lets her win them over with some lighthearted scares.
    • Pinkie Pie, a Cloudcuckoolander if there ever was onenote , sets a precedent of being too mentally unstable to even feel fear no later than the show's second episode. One of the most obvious instances of this was the Season 2 premiere, where she's so enamored by Discord's twisted sense of humor and ability to make the clouds rain chocolate milk that she initially makes the argument that said Anthropomorphic Personification of chaos should be allowed to unleash his demented reign of terror on Equestria. She does occasionally demonstrate fear responses, but "Luna Eclipsed" implies that even these are all put-ons meant for her own entertainment (which explains why they're just as often about completely irrational things — like mistaking Twilight's gala tickets for "bats on [her] face" or believing Spike to be a ghost — as rational ones).
  • Occasionally, on Rugrats, Stu Pickles' toy inventions have a tendency to unintentionally creep out the kids of the show. The best example is "Mr. Friend", a creepy-looking robotic clown toy whose flawed design (complete with stuttering, twitching, and occasional sparking) made him seem dangerously out of control. The scene where Tommy and friends decide to fight back against an accidentally activated army of them is perhaps the greatest moment of the show.
    • Similarly, an old Reptar toy (a green dinosaur) was forgotten about in All Grown Up! It freaked the tweens out a lot, considering that it was implied the Reptar was coming back from the dead to torture them for forgetting about it. Uh... they were toddlers? Jeez!
    • The two episodes called "Interview with a Campfire" have strong Friday the 13th themes (taking place in the woods, near a lake, people going missing, etc.) and most of it is shot using a camera, like The Blair Witch Project.
  • Samurai Jack features the Dominator from "XCVI", the ruthless man who kidnapped the children. The fact that he's a mere human with a intense air of cruelty and malice willing to commit atrocities for pure enjoyment makes him pretty scary and chilling. That, and his creepy fixation in Ashi's beauty.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer makes a young Bart a misshapen clown-shaped bed... which is so horrifying that Bart stays awake constantly, muttering "Can't sleep, clown will eat me".
    • During the episode in which Bart has his first day of school, he makes a drawing to commemorate the occasion, complete with a stick figure of himself being stabbed with knives and plenty of crayon blood. Homer's reaction?
      Homer: [not paying attention] Oh, it's beautiful! Oh, oh, let's put Bart's beautiful drawing up on the fridge!
      Marge: Homer, stop. Will you please look at the drawing?
      Homer: Oh, all right. What... [looks at drawing] ...AAAH! Burn it! Send it to Hell!
    • Then, of course, there's Bart's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior when the school shuts down.
      Marge: There's just something about a boy flying a kite at night that's so... unwholesome! [Bart looks over his shoulder at his parent's window]
      Bart: Hello, mother dear...
    • Then there's the appropriately-named episode "Cape Feare", where the Simpsons go into the Witness Relocation Program and move into a houseboat to protect Bart from Sideshow Bob. When Bart — having been receiving death threats from Sideshow Bob, and understandably a little on-edge and fearful to begin with — tries to go to sleep, Homer bursts in at the most inappropriate time brandishing a knife, yelling "BARTDOYOUWANTSOMEBROWNIESBEFOREYOUGOTOBED?!". Seconds later he comes back in screaming "BARTYOUWANNASEEMYNEWCHAINSAWANDHOCKEYMASK?!"
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Something Smells", Patrick tells the story of "The Ugly Barnacle" to SpongeBob to try to cheer him up:
    Patrick: Once, there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died! The end.
    SpongeBob: ...That didn't help at all.
  • In Steven Universe: Future, Little Larimar is a sweet, soft-spoken un-corrupted gem... whose favorite sound is human screaming. Granted, it's specifically screams of excitement (she panics at screams of fear, and later comes to find that laughter is an acceptable substitute), but it does make her a lot creepier than her kindly attitude suggests.
    Larimar: Human screams are my favorite of the Earth's delights! I want to hear the human screams forever.
    Steven: Okay, that's kinda troubling, but your heart's in the right place!
    Larimar: One day, I'll make you scream, Steven.
  • On SuperMansion Jewbot falls into this in episode 12, where he horrifies American Ranger when he makes a suit designed to emulate the appearance of human skin in an attempt to make Ranger feel more comfortable.
  • Teen Titans (2003): In an episode in which Raven travels with very young kids — an awkward prospect for all of them, as she's potential Nightmare Fuel herself — the oldest of the kids has the power to bring her imaginary friend to life. Invisible at first, "Bobby" is finally revealed to be a giant teddy bear... which sprouts six-inch claws and jagged-line fangs when its maker sics it on the bad guys.
  • Somewhat subverted in Tiny Toon Adventures, where Plucky spends the night over at Buster's house, spending the whole time watching gory horror movies on videotape (one of them a Shout-Out to A Nightmare on Elm Street) and laughing like he was watching comedies. He then has nightmares when Buster convinces him to go to sleep. However, this is double-subverted at the end when he wakes up and wants to watch the movies again (at which point Buster finally kicks him out).

    Real Life 
  • In YouTube, there's a lot of unusually bizarre, frightening and disturbing videos. Of course, these videos are definitely the work of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
  • L. Frank Baum wrote the Oz books as a less scary alternative to what he perceived as the too-creepy fairy tales of the day. Well, then, if that was your purpose, then you failed miserably, Mr. Baum. because the series is known for its Surprisingly Creepy Moments, with a fair amount of Family-Unfriendly Violence and Nightmare Fuel for a little kid's series. Many readers have also noticed some oddities about how Oz is presented (often due to Values Dissonance), such as how no one but the two regents are allowed to use magic or how the former Wizard of Oz is treated as a "good man" despite all his previous misdeeds. It's essentially a dictatorship, but it's a ''benevolent'' one, so few citizens are unsatisfied. Still, these Unfortunate Implications are enough to make writers brainstorm. So the Oz books are reinterpreted as more political than intended. As a result, Oz and its characters routinely get referenced in dark, political manners and many adaptations politicize the setting. Glinda the Good Witch and the Wizard of Oz are especially prone to getting reinterpreted as more amoral than intended. The Emerald City will also be turned into a Stepford Suburbia that looks pretty and shiny but hides darker secrets underneath. To resume, L. Frank Baum unintendedly created a whole literary genre, that is a Sub-trope to Fractured Fairytale called Dystopian Oz.
    • On a similar note, Struwwelpeter was originally written to be a Christmas present to the children of the author's neighbors and family. One imagines he didn't much like these children, as beyond the horrifying content, it's a book entirely about what children shouldn't do if they don't want a Space Whale Aesop to befall them.
  • Eduard Khil, he of the viral "Trololo" video in which he perpetually wears The Un-Smile.
  • Nursery Rhymes. "Rock A'bye Baby" is probably the worst.
    Rock a'bye baby
    On the tree top
    When the wind blows
    The cradle will rock
    When the bough breaks
    The cradle will fall
    And down will come baby
    Cradle and all...
    • Shel Silverstein addressed the scariness of "Rock A'bye Baby" in this poem.
    • In fact, in the very first appearance of The Simpsons on The Tracey Ullman Show, Marge used this nursery rhyme to put Maggie to sleep, only to scare the hell out of her.
    • Seven of Nine also lampshades the disturbing factor on Star Trek: Voyager when the Doctor (no, not that one) sings a 24th-century version of the rhyme.
      "Are you trying to soothe the infant or traumatize it?"
    • And of course, "It's Raining, It's Pouring", featuring an old man who bumped his head and didn't get up in the morning.
      • Three Blind Mice: The farmer's wife cut off their tails and they're running around in circles.
      • During the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 (which killed 10 times as many as WWI) children would skip rope to "I had a little bird/Its name was Enza/I opened the window/And in-flu-enza".
      • Even creepier for the fact that that strain of flu probably originated from a bird flu.
    • Ring around the rosie is not about bubonic plague, as anyone who has had the disease can testify, as the symptoms listed sound more like Spanish Flu or Pneumonia, not that that wouldn't be scary in itself. Still, once it gains a sinister meaning it will remain chilling no matter how innocent.
    • Humpty Dumpty is another horrifying example. People often think of Humpty Dumpty as an egg, but there's absolutely nothing in the rhyme that indicates this. That makes the idea that after his fall, "all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again" all the more sinister.
      • Not necessarily, as it's believed that Humpty Dumpty is about a large cannon, which was mounted on top of a wall in Colchester during the English Civil War. The wall was blown to bits, and the cannon came crashing to the ground. Neither the king's cavalry nor his infantry could put it back together.
      • Some scholars of literature believe that Humpty Dumpty was originally intended to be a riddle, and the answer was "an egg". Once the answer became well known, the character in the rhyme was depicted as a living egg.
    • It has been suggested that "Jack and Jill" is about the beheading of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the second verse was an attempt to make it safe for children. However, the earliest printed versions predate those events.
    • "Goosey Goosey Gander" is said to be about about a R.C. priest sheltered by an aristocratic family in England when Catholic worship was illegal. The priest-hole (a secret room where the priest could hide) was in the Family's private quarters, where only the most senior (and thus most trusted) servants were allowed.
    • One interpretation of Mary Mary Quite Contrary is that it refers to the torture devices that were used by Mary I (Bloody Mary). "Silver bells" are thumbscrews, "cockleshells" a genital torture device, and the "pretty maids" are the Maiden, also known as the guillotine. However, there's no confirmed evidence of the rhyme dating from Mary's reign, and although there was a guillotine-like device that went by that name- the Scottish Maiden- it wasn't even built when she was alive. The other contender, the little-used Halifax Gibbet, didn't go by the name 'Maiden'. Besides, most of Mary's executions were by burning.
  • A Scary Thing Happened. A coloring book to help children cope with disasters.
  • People who have jobs that others may find disturbing generally fall into the category. Mercenaries can be some of the scarier ones, because the person in question can be one of the nicest, most grounded people you know, but have no problems gunning others down for a paycheck.
  • Children with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whether from abuse, war, natural disasters, etc, very often re-enact the trauma in pretend play. A little girl trying to convince a boy her age to let her tie him up and french-kiss him is pretty creepy.
  • Neil Gaiman: A very sweet looking, humble and fanboy-ish writer who has written stories that have included, among other things, vaginas eating people and people eating babies. Oh, and he's responsible for an onset of Koumpounophobia through an entire generation.
  • It could be said that medical doctors either are this from the start, or get to this point. Most of us are at least a little bit squicked by the thought of cutting people open and pulling out their entrails, or seeing the results of a terrible accident or disease, but for them it's just an average day at the office, or a fascinating puzzle.
    • If medicine is your interest, whether you practise it or are simply interested in the subject, you could be this, if subjects like pathology, toxicology and haematology are particularly interesting to you.
    • Double that for coroners, forensic scientists, funeral home staff... really pretty much anybody who works with death on a regular basis, especially the horrible and gruesome variety.
    • Dr. G (of Discovery's Dr. G: Medical Examiner) has got to be one of the absolute best for this. She's one of Florida's leading coroners, and she absolutely loves her job. "Oh wow, look at all that pus!"
  • Andrew W.K. wrote a song about a girl he had a crush on when he was 17. It was supposed to be romantic, but it came off... creepy. He actually got a juvenile restraining order for this.
  • Arguably, criminal prosecutors and other law enforcement, especially when dealing with violent crime. They have had to look at many grisly and gruesome crime scene photos, not to mention hear some truly horrifying stories of abuse/violence from victims (including children). One of the key lessons to learn is "don't let it get to you."
  • Erik Danielsson of Watain. Watch or read any interview of his. The "wtf?" creeps in when you realize he's not kidding about anything he says.
    • Many Black Metal artists can be this, actually, especially of the one-man, DSBM (Depressive-Suicidal Black Metal) variety.
  • A picture of a standing woman smiling. She's surrounded by sitting, depressed people... In a Nazi Death Camp.
  • Contrary to the trope Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films, there are some children who, for whatever reason, have seen so many horror movies (or scenes from such) that they're used to it. It can be pretty disconcerting to be sitting on the couch watching a horror film and then having a young resident of the house who you thought was in bed walk in, sit on the couch, and calmly comment on the action on the screen.
  • Drawings by Yuu Kobayashi. All her drawings that we are exposed to are horrifying.
  • The "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and similar hymns about the Second Coming come off as this to non-Christians. If you aren't prepared for it, an upbeat song about the end of the world is rather disturbing Lyrical Dissonance.
    • It's disturbing to plenty of Christians as well, since the song was written by a member of an extremely heterodox sect that believed Jesus had his Second Coming in the form of the Union Army during the American Civil War. This seriously raises the octane level in the nightmare fuel when one considers that the song shows up in mainstream hymnals.
  • Henry Darger was a deeply god-fearing hospital custodian who spent his nights writing and illustrating a 15,145-page book about little girls rebelling against an evil empire that horribly tortures and murders them. Many of the illustrations depict the girls naked, and with penises. Since the massive book was only discovered after Darger's death, nobody knows entirely what was going through his head as he wrote it, but judging by his detailed autobiography and diary notes, he'd been badly abused as a kid and the book was his way of working through his experiences.
  • Let's see: gas mask zombies, robots who kill humans for organs, statues that move when you don't look, shadows that eat you alive when they touch you, cracks that can erase things out of existence, aliens that you forget about when you look away, duplicates made of flesh, puppets that remain inactive and cause people to forget they died, living snow, Wi-Fi that abducts your mind, the monster under the bed, a hive mind with the minds of dead people that get inserted into robotic bodies, being killed and resurrected over and over again for 4.5 billion years while trapped in a castle that always changes, and just about everything from Sherlock. Yup, Steven Moffat has long achieved this status.
  • A childish outlook on mature issues, such as a stick figure drawing of a bloody massacre? Dig through some of the footage at the Invisible Children project dealing with ex-Child Soldiers from Northern Uganda sometime.
    • The folk song The Children Draw Guns was written after the author saw a display of art by Guatemalan-exile children who had been assigned by their innocent teacher to draw a picture of home.
  • The children that were taken out of the Branch Davidian Compound before the horrifying end to the stand-off at Waco were these sort of kids, having been taught "Playground Songs" about bloody revolts and the death of non-believers while dancing in a Ring-around-the-rosie fashion.
    • In the documentary that shows it, the children were seen drawing disturbing scenes, including one child depicting the compound up in flames three days before the actual event. Chilling.
      • What they were singing were actually Old-Time Gospel standards. The one about "holding up the bloodstained banner" is the beloved old classic "We Are Soldiers", published in 1880.
      • Similar songs are taught to the children of extremists in some countries, including charming little ditties about how they want to grow up to become suicide bombers. Sung in their sweet little childish voices.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Nightmare Dispenser


Hazbin Trust Fall Exercise

Vaggie has everyone do the trust fall to get everyone to trust each other, but it's not exactly working out.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrustBuildingBlunder

Media sources: