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Nightmare Retardant

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"I am Ro-Man of the Gorilla Divers Association!"

"I think this video's supposed to be like, freaking us out, but like, I'm unfreaked. In fact, this video is making me feel totally normal."
Beavis and Butt-Head regarding Silverchair's "Tomorrow" music video

The polar opposite of Nightmare Fuel: Something meant to be truly terrifying (or at least somewhat frightening or disturbing) which instead comes off as stupid, laughable, cute, or all of them. As with Nightmare Fuel, examples will often be subjective; what one may consider this, another may still find terrifying as heck. Often caused by Special Effects Failure or Stock Sound Effects; sometimes, for older titles with now-outdated special effects, it can simply be an example of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. Also often unintentionally invoked when a character looks or sounds like a less frightening character from another work. Of course, when used intentionally, it could be an Intended Audience Reaction.

May be caused by, or be the cause of, Villain Decay.

Many B-movie creature features, especially those featured on MST3K, were chock full of this since most of them had very low budgets and had to rely on puppets and guys wearing carpets over their heads for their creature effects.


On the other hand, this effect can be deliberately invoked by the artists. For instance, there can be scenes of horror and of menacing evil, but it can be countered with reassuring images and music as powerful heroes learn of the menace or are otherwise called into action to stop it. Or the work is child friendly and any potentially frightening elements are Bowdlerized to avoid scaring the kids watching.

Compare Faux Horrific, which involves horrified reactions to mundane objects and occurrences played for comedic effect. Contrast Nothing Is Scarier, which is a possible way to avert this trope by not showing the monster at all and letting the characters — and audience — scare themselves with the fantasy of what it might be.

See also Narm. Compare Fetish Retardant for the Fetish equivalent, and contrast Lightmare Fuel where the horror aspect is made fun of but still manages to be scary.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • One advertisement for Traveler's Insurance has a rattlesnake surprising a hare...except that its rattle was a baby rattle. Cue the hare falling over with laughter and other hares coming out and laughing as well. The snake is understandably mortified.note 
  • "K-fee", a German brand of coffee, had a TV advertising campaign with several adverts featuring several peaceful and tranquil locations... until the peace is broken at the last second when a zombie or gargoyle suddenly pops up from nowhere and lets out a loud, monstrous scream.note  In the following year, however, parodies of three of the adverts were made to promote the new "K-fee Lite", which had men in silly costumes popping up at the end instead of the more realistic zombie or gargoyle screaming. The car parody had a man in a girly outfit slowly rising up and saying "Boo" in a casual voice. The sunset beach parody featured a man in a teddy bear costume also saying "Boo", and the golf parody features a man in a sort of demon costume making a silly roaring noise, with the top part of his head and antennas visible throughout the advert before he actually pops up.
  • This Public Service Announcement made by Greenpeace, despite being called "frightening" in the description of the upload, is far more likely to cause the viewer to laugh. It shows a badly edited-in plane crashing into a nuclear power plant for no reason at all, cutting off to imply that it caused a nuclear accident, but the power stations are built with thick walls to prevent such accidents from happening.

  • Attack on Titan: As terrifying as the titular Titans can be, the appearances, expressions, and actions they can get up to will often make taking them seriously almost impossible if they're not currently trying to eat someone. Like the titan who poses like he's channeling DIO, or the one who runs making finger gun motions.
  • Digimon:
    • Belial Vamdemon from Digimon Adventure 02 (MaloMyotismon in the dub). In addition to looking completely stupid, he just stands there and gets pummelled like a moron before literally being killed by the power of children's dreams.
    • And his Venom Vamdemon form in the first season wasn't much better, acting mainly like a fairly bland and stupid kaijuu wannabe with a supernatural backstory... up until the "crotch monster" came out. Then it divided everyone between freakish dismay and immature giggling.
    • Apocalymon. His quips in the dub make him the most pathetic Big Bad in the series until Belial Vamdemon. To be fair, he is probably just utterly insane and Laughably Evil. Still, some of his lines are pure fourth-wall-breaking awesome.
  • As creepy or scary as some of the dungeon monsters in Delicious in Dungeon are, it's hard to stay intimidated after you see them cooked into delicious Food Porn.
  • Hellsing Ultimate, while awesome in many ways, would probably have been a lot more frightening if it weren't for all the Gratuitous English. The upbeat drums during the Nazis butchering Londoners while the Major er...ate lunch...epically? rather killed the scariness you'd expect of Nazi vampires killing random Londoners and reviving them as cannibal zombies. This display of callous brutality and the deaths of thousands of noncombatants at the hands of vampires was accompanied by a cheerful drum beat and a chorus of "AKUMA STALKING, DO DO DO DO!" Soundtrack Dissonance much?
  • Random Security Guard Guy being squished with Mortal Kombat blood-spray in Patlabor Wasted XIII. It actually won an award in a magazine for being the most hilarious death of the year.
  • Gantz is not scary or horrifying at all, in spite of the egregious amounts of gore. This is mainly due to the fact that, first off, the English dub borders on Gag Dub territory, and second off the series is already slightly Black Comedy to begin with. The manga, on the other hand, is A LOT less campy and a lot more disturbing.
  • Mazinger Z: Count Brocken's appearance—a man whose head and body are split apart, and the former constantly hovers around the later, talking, laughing and screaming—was meant be frightening (in the manga he got Kouji reaaally scared when he showed up for the first time; and in the anime Baron Ashura initially thought it a bodyless ghost). Buuuut in the manga Boss managed to grab his head when he got distracted, and Kouji and his friends played fetch and Brocken Ball with it (think of it like soccer, but replacing the ball with Brocken's head. And the only rule is everyone wins. Except the ball). It was a tad hard taking him seriously after that. That scene did not happen in the anime, but on the other hand you had Brocken's head and body arguing with themselves—and the body punching the head—or Ashura grabbing his head and instead of bringing it back with the body, slapping him around. The "Brocken Ball" scene finally took place in Shin Mazinger. It REALLY didn't help Brocken's reputation.
  • In Naruto:
    • Pain is very hard to take seriously ever since his true form has been revealed: an emaciated guy in a wheelchair with bright red hair that would make Carrot Top proud. Others can see his appearance as arguably even more scary and disturbing with the Fridge Horror attached. There's his Motive Rants, which combined with excessive body piercings makes him sound like an Emo Teen. The terrible, terrible animation quality during the Pain arc did not help, of course.
    • Manga chapter 427, where he gets knocked across the room by twelve-year-old comic relief character Konohamaru.... Of course, he later recovers from the hit and doesn't even need to repair that body.
    • Orochimaru is introduced as a thoroughly creepy character: eating people's faces off and taking on the role of an already creepy woman (?) and first making himself known by picking up a kunai knife with his tongue and talking about bloodlust because he lost some hair... which all comes into perspective after the Internet "outed" him as gay. His otherwise creepy Body Transfer Technique loses its scary appeal entirely when inside it. That tongue. His expression.
  • The balloon monster from Corpse Princess. Sure, its bizarre marker-drawn face and creepy voice does slightly help it. What doesn't is its theme. Having an invisible balloon lightly wrap its string around its victim's neck to turn their happiness into a marshmallow monster doesn't exactly scream scary.
  • Bleach:
    • There is a creature known as Ayon, who is actually genuine Nightmare Fuel for the first few moments of its introduction. That is, until its ridiculous face is revealed (what we had thought was its face was more like a nose, and its eyes and mouth are hidden), and all fear is promptly forgotten, even as it starts tearing through Soul Reapers like butter and almost eats one of them.
    • Aizen has been going through some One-Winged Angel phases as of late. Unfortunately for him, these have only gotten sillier and sillier. The first one has garnered Fan Nicknames along the line of "Tube Sock Ninja" and "Condomman" and led to jokes about how Tite Kubo finally let his background artists design a character. The next was essentially him with a mullet, and as long as you focused on his eyes, only mildly Narmful. But then he went and morphed into a six-winged seraph with butterfly wings, and his next comment was drowned out by the chorus of laughter from everyone reading. Made even funnier by the fact that his earlier comments about evolving into a superior being had earned him the Fan Nickname Butterflyzen, which was suddenly perfectly appropriate. Thankfully, his final transformation while fighting Ichigo went back to appropriately horrifying when his face split open to reveal a Hollow-like monstrosity and his wings turned into part tentacle horror with eyeless mouths on the ends.
    • When Tousen revealed he'd hollowfied, much of the dramatic impact was lost when his transformed version looked like a big ol' sperm.
  • In the manga of Fullmetal Alchemist, Barry the Chopper fails to look disturbing or scary twice. Once with Alphonse Elric, the other with Riza Hawkeye. He later succeeds with some prison guards.
    Barry: [upon revealing himself as an empty suit of armor] Even if you don't know who I am, shouldn't you be at least a little scared? Shouldn't you be going "AAAH!" or "What happened to your body!?"
    [Al removes his helmet to reveal that he's also an empty suit of armor]
    Barry: AAAAH! What happened to your body, freak!?
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, one of the lines the Lieze twins says during said scene can be translated close to "you have no chance to survive make your time." Cue viewer going "Ha Ha Ha".
  • Maria's faces in the Anime adaptation of Umineko: When They Cry. The original visual novel succeeded in making Maria creepy through subtle expressions and description. That's not mentioning her head on a plate, that instead of creeping most fans out, inevitably reminded them of Tako Luka, and thus ended up being morbidly cute. The Anime decided to take a different route... (Warning: Link is not an example of this trope.)
  • In the translated version of The Enigma of Amigara Fault, the sound effect DRR DRR DRR doesn't quite read in many people's minds the way the translator intended.
  • The monsters in Mermaid Saga would have been a little ridiculous no matter what, given their ridiculously oversize eyes. The capital mistake, though, was to have the first one in the manga be a still-sentient Woobie with a speech impediment. It's hard to take the later Smash Mooks seriously at all. (To be fair, the primary fear here isn't being killed by one of these freaks, but turning into one of them.)
  • Mimi no Kaidan, illustrated by horror master Junji Ito, features some prime nightmare retardant. Works best on a small screen and out of context.
  • Sailor Moon:
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry much of the horror comes from not knowing what is causing all these horrible occurrences to happen and why. As the second season explains more and more, much of the original horror is lost. Perhaps most notably in finding out that the sinister deity Oyashiro-sama is in fact Hanyuu, a Cute Ghost Girl who just wanted to help all along. On a similar note, in both seasons, there are moments where the "crazy faces" kill the horror.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Charlotte's One-Winged Angel form in is a large worm made out of candy with a face that looks like a grinning clown (and not a Slasher Smile at that). It's thus hard to take seriously until it devours Mami unless you are afraid of clowns. Though one could argue that its cute appearance made biting Mami's head off a million times worse. The manga version is slightly less nightmare retardant.
    • The Witches and their labyrinths can turn into this. While the imagery is supposed to give off a feeling of other-worldliness, it's hard to take seriously when it most of the designs look they were lifted from Monty Python's Flying Circus, or at least that they were all made on drugs.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • There's an example almost certainly done on purpose. Mysterious old man Onji, who had just effortlessly beaten Kuwabara, rips off his face like a mask...and then, in a puff of cartoonish pink smoke, reveals himself as "The Beautiful Demon Fighter" Suzuki. The horror of both the characters and the audience is instantly replaced with hilarious incredulity.
    • Done again the first time we see Puu. We find out that the egg that Yusuke got when he was dead is about to hatch. Koenma goes on to warn him how even he doesn't know what will come out, or what it will do. Yusuke stands to face whatever is about to appear. The egg hatches, he looks around. The spirit 'beast' is an adorable blue penguin with Yusuke's hairstyle. It is perched on his head.
  • Mentioned in The Garden of Sinners by Aozaki in Paradox Spiral on how not to make it a monster a Nightmare Retardant, one of those rules being that the monster has to be something that is unknowable.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokemon4ever, when Celebi is turned evil, it creates a giant dragon-esque monster made of forest debris. Any chance of it being frightening is destroyed by the extremely dated CGI and the odd, awkward bellowing sound it makes.
    • Guzzlord is one of the most horrifying looking Pokémon and the two-part episode it first appeared in is arguably one of the darkest episodes in the Sun & Moon anime. What it sounds in the Japanese version however painfully tries to be terrifying but instead the screams it makes are downright laughable and unfitting. Even worse is that people widely compared it to Tom's screams of all things, making the fear factor die out even more.
  • The climax of Tamagotchi: The Movie involves Mametchi and Tanpopo very nearly being sucked into a black hole in space; the black hole is itself a Tamagotchi, so everyone on Tamagotchi Planet shouts "Please wake up, Blackholetchi!" to save them. Blackholetchi, when he finally does wake up and realizes what's going on, resembles a giant space squid and has an equally goofy voice on top of being as friendly as most other Tamagotchis.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Ambush Bug featured Quantis, the koala that walks like a man who is really Dr Quentin Quantis turned into a giant koala thanks to a serum containing the essence of cuteness. This giant marsupial even has the authorities going "Aaaaaw!" rather than trying to destroy it. It sounds really funny doesn't it? Then there's the fact that it goes "Niknak!".
  • As awesome as the Superman: Brainiac arc in Action Comics was (which actually contained fairly competent, if mild, nightmare fuel) it also contained spaceships shaped like skulls.
  • The Red Skull had the same problem in the Silver Age, with his skull-shaped space-station (red, of course). It wasn't as scary as he likely wanted it to be, probably the reason he got rid of such stuff in more modern times.
  • Your view on Christabella from Silent Hill: Dying Inside will probably range somewhere between "scary" and "creepy". But the moment she starts swearing like a sailor, you will most likely zero in on "ridiculous".
  • In a word, M.O.D.O.K., a villain first fought by Iron Man. When A.I.M. first created this guy, a mutated, ugly head with small arms and legs on a high-tech chair with the brain of an Evil Genius, he was pretty intimidating. Unfortunately, Villain Decay made him more and more ridiculous, even more so when they introduced a Distaff Counterpart called "M.O.D.A.M.". M.O.D.O.K. has since become an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, whose Crowning Moment of Stupidity was likely challenging Thor to a fight - only to be smashed in one hit.
  • In-universe in Ultra Comics #1, Intellectron is considered to be this. Ultra utilizes comments laughing at his appearance and calling him "an evil egg" with "evil batwings" in their battle.
  • The Siren's issue of My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic can be this for them, since My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks implied they were a much bigger threat than they're actually presented as here.
  • Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: Invoked In-Universe. Doctor Octopus thinks his Flying Octopus looks menacing. Spider-Man thinks it looks dumb. And goofy. But mostly dumb.
  • A comic book adaption of Who Goes There? (the same story that The Thing (1982) was based on) showed what the monster's original form looked like. It looked a goofy fuzzy green humanoid with stringy white hair and three bulging red eyes. A character in the comic said "It looks like pure evil!". Linkara in his review of the comic burst out laughing when he saw this and said it look like a rejected Muppet or a little green man from Toy Story wearing a wig. In later episodes an adorable plushy based on it can be seen on the shelf behind Linkara.
  • The Thing from Another World and its miniseries thrive on killing whatever horror you felt for the movie, ranging from Child's thing going full Rambo to Eternal Vows bizarre musings on fish.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Trolls: Although Chef is already despicable-looking by herself, the movie makes some bland attempts to always make her appear scary whenever she shows up, especially it comes to the stereotypical storm and Evil Laugh, both of which happen when she speaks to the kidnapped Snack Pack members about her intention to overthrow Gristle.
  • Frozen: Marshmallow's two lines "Go away!" and "Don't come baaack!" makes him sound more like a disgruntled teenager than an intimidating bodyguard.
  • The Pagemaster: The original Hound of the Baskervilles was a glowing, eerie sight that could terrorize a man into running himself to death due to luminous paint, but it's just a normal dog (albeit big and snappy) in this film.
  • Quest for Camelot:
    • The creation of the Ruber's metal henchmen could have been fairly unnerving in both concept and execution, but their transformations are accompanied by ridiculous cartoonish sound effects and a goofy chicken getting turned into an axe, which really sucks a lot of the terror out of the scene.
    • Similarly, the following chase scene could have been scary, as Kayley is fleeing for her life... except that it features Ruber's goofy minions following her on hilariously small mounts while rather unfitting music plays in the background.
  • Max's nightmare in the beginning of A Goofy Movie. His embarrassment about his father and worries about being too much like him cause him to dream about literally turning into Goofy in front of Roxanne, in a parody of a classic werewolf transformation with Goofy's trademark laugh in place of the traditional howl. On the other hand, some may find the transformation scary due to the sheer Body Horror it features.
  • Don Bluth was regarded as an expert at straight Nightmare Fuel in his peak year films, but as he was forced to tone down the content of his films, the scares usually went away with them:
    • The Grand Duke of Owls Rock-A-Doodle is supposed to be a scary villain, but he's just so goofy in characterization and concept (he uses his magical powers by puking lucky charm clouds) that it's impossible to take him seriously.
    • A Troll in Central Park; the villain Gnorga has mildly frightening elements (namely her ability to imprison people helplessly in stone), but she has such a one-dimensional personality that she comes off as a petty bully instead of a truly fearsome villain. One scene that especially falls flat is when she and her husband chase after Rosie and Gus. It's very hard for them to look threatening when they chase after them on tiny tricycles.
    • Anastasia has some of this with the film's Villain Song, "In the Dark of the Night". The song is considered by fans to be very solid, and Rasputin himself is scary being a rotting corpse bent on getting his revenge on the title character. However, there's nothing else scary going on in the song itself, with the visuals mostly consisting of singing and dancing bugs and Bartok being tormented by them.
    • Ludmilla's transformation into a dragon in Bartok the Magnificent. The preceding scene, where she gradually transforms from a lean, graceful physique into a humongous monster and is blissfully unaware of it, is very grotesque and unsettling—but the final result, a fat pink dragon with pajama button like bumps on her belly, is downright laughable.
  • Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings suffers this during the scene where Gandalf and his companions are in the mines of Moria being attacked by goblins. Suddenly a fearsome roar is heard, the frightened goblins cease their attack, and the crowd parts to reveal the Balrog, a fiery demon that...looks like a bipedal Chow Chow with butterfly wings, who looks like he is wearing fluffy slippers. No, seriously. This is especially interesting to consider in light of the fact that this film's depiction of the Balrog turned one of Tolkien's most fearsome creations into a total joke, for the Orcs it did the exact opposite: turning Sauron's mooks into a hellish red vision of faceless, rotoscoped shadow people, accompanied by demonic chanting and a frantic, discordant trumpet blare.
  • In-universe in Monsters University. Mike is the top student in scaring class. He knows the material inside and out, he knows what techniques to use to scare what kids, etc. By rights, he should have gone on to become a record-breaking scarer. Unfortunately, he's a bright green ball with arms and legs sticking out of it and barely larger than a toddler. When he finally gets into the human world to prove himself, no one finds him scary.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The creature from Roger Corman's Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961) is one of the goofiest looking monsters in the history of cinema— though considering the movie's supposed to be a comedy this may be intentional.
  • More or less the entirety of Exorcist II: The Heretic - quite infamously, given that it's the sequel to what's often considered the scariest movie ever. Highlights include a goofy "mind synchronizer" device, Reagan suffering an attack during a jazzy tapdancing performance, reams of nonsensical pseudo-metaphysical exposition, and James Earl Jones dressed up as a giant locust, spitting a leopard from his mouth.
  • The dancing ghost boy in Insidious.
  • The scene in Drag Me to Hell wherein the goat is possessed by the malevolent spirit and the lamia dances. Although, being directed by Sam Raimi, this was probably the goal.
  • All five of the Scary Movie films, along with Stan Helsing, are based entirely on this trope. Best exemplified in the 2nd Scary Movie, when Brenda points out how stupid it is to run away from Dem Bones, comparing it to running away from Calista Flockhart.
  • Narrowly avoided during shooting of the original Predator. The original costume had a bulky space suit with a snake-like head sticking out that bounced around like crazy. It was everything the directors did not want and they demanded a new design after one day.
  • Eight Legged Freaks, though played for Black Humor, had a potentially very scary premise: realistic-looking giant spiders are pretty horrifying by themselves, but the decision to give the spiders all sorts of "wacky" jabbering noises as they run amok utterly wrecks the terror for the most part. There are some scenes that aren't played for laughs that manage to be genuinely frightening, but they are rare. There is a memorable scene where a spider jumps on the stuffed head of a moose, only to take a bite and look visibly annoyed at the taste. Though the shot of a truly gigantic tarantula moseying through a parking lot to a sinister, minor-key riff of "The Incey Wincey Spider" can be rather effective.
  • The 1931 version of Dracula contains two misguided attempts at symbolism: a close-up shot of a Jerusalem cricket (which looks a lot like a giant bee) crawling out of a coffin and a "giant rat," played by an opossum. In the Spanish version of the film, the "giant rat" falls off of the ledge it is walking on during the shot. And then there are the armadillos and the "terrifying" rubber bats on strings in that and so many other early Dracula films.
  • The Thing from Another World builds up suspense very competently, but the reveal is let down a lot by the very unscary alien, who basically just looks like a big bald guy with a swollen forehead, a far cry from the shapeshifting assimilator of the original novella and the 1982 remake.
  • The Fly (1986) was kind of scary; the older movie it was a remake of, not so much. One of the biggest problems while filming the movie was having to cut the scenes short because Vincent Price couldn't help but laugh at co-star David Hedison's costume in the middle of filming. Many viewers had a similar problem.
  • Nosferatu: in the opening scenes, the villagers claim a werewolf roams through the forest at night. The atmosphere is really creepy and the audience wonders what this creature will look like. When the protagonist goes to sleep the camera shows a wolf-like creature walking in the forest, but it's clearly not a werewolf, left alone a wolf, but a striped hyena! And it's strange to downright ridiculous that this animal is walking around in Transylvania, Romania. This is one that was Fair for Its Day, as a hyena would have a been a much more obscure animal than it is now to European viewers, and appeared almost wolf-like but not quite, befitting the appearance of a werewolf.
  • The "bat suit" in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Apparently, it was added because Gary Oldman didn't feel he could be scary enough for that scene. Ironic, since he was a lot scarier without the dippy rubber suit.
  • The title character from Robot Monster (pictured above) was a guy in a gorilla suit. And a diver's helmet.
  • The MST3K commentary for The Incredibly Strange Creatures —which definitely definitely fits here— was one of the earliest uses of the term "Nightmare Fuel". The earliest was Santa Claus — which actually was pretty scary, but not in the intended scenes.
  • In Attack of the Prehistoric Women, the women at one point need to defend themselves from a ferocious dinosaur, played by a superimposed iguana.
  • Night of the Lepus is about giant rampaging killer rabbits... which are played either by cute little bunnies on a scale-model set, or people wearing garish rabbit suits. Yes, it's as hilariously awful as it sounds. Here. The saddest part is that the portions of the movie where the rabbits aren't on screen are actually pretty decent, and the miniature work is, for the most part, very good. It's just that, well, you've seen the clip. One instance of miniature work that isn't good is the down-the-empty street shot... with the 'giant killer stagehand' stepping off to the side.
  • Beginning of the End featured giant mutant grasshoppers played by regular-sized grasshoppers crawling across pictures of the Chicago skyline.
  • Teenagers from Outer Space used the shadow of a lobster for its giant monster.
  • Werewolf had a monster that changed its look throughout the film. One of which being the producer's own pet dog. Yuri's hair was scarier than the Werewolves.
  • Any character played by Tor Johnson. "Time for go to bed!" As parodied in Tim Burton's Ed Wood. Although the above line was from The Unearthly, which wasn't a Wood movie.
  • A lot of Sy Fy Channel Original Movies suffer from this. Hard. Considering that the movies are made almost exclusively by the infamously Z-quality Asylum Studios, this is hardly surprising. Every now and then, Syfy actually comes up with ideas that sound promising and might be a little scary. Then the monster appears.
  • In a scene near the end of the film version of The Day of the Triffids, the characters shelter at the top of a lighthouse while a Triffid's tendril crawls up the stairs towards them. Unfortunately, it's quite obvious that the tendril is a sock puppet. Also, the Triffids themselves were basically giant sunflowers. SUNFLOWERS.
  • Friday the 13th:
    • While the first movie in the series is pretty good, all of the other films of the franchise fit this trope to a T. There is something strangely comedic about seeing a guy in a hockey mask wander around the woods like he's lost, machete or no machete.
    • The bits where Mrs. Voorhees assumes the character of Jason and starts saying things like "Kill her, Mommy!"
    • The production team and writers seemed to invoke this trope willingly for Jason X when he's presented with a hologram of 2 busty, naked co-eds saying that they love partying and having unprotected sex. Hilarity Ensues. After a cut-back to the crew of the ship.
  • The original King Kong (1933) was released as a very frightening horror movie and was effective as such for many years. There were people fainting in the audience when it was first shown. Advanced effects have made us jaded. The version from 1976 has aged even worse, mostly because it doesn't even try to have Kong move like anything but a guy shuffling around in a gorilla suit.
  • Spider-Man 3: Venom is pretty much living horror, so it's a little disconcerting to hear Topher Grace's voice coming out of his mouth. And whenever he talks he pulls back the face so Topher Grace's face can be seen; that also doesn't help. As lampshaded by How It Should Have Ended, what was even the point of having the scary Venom face, if he just pulls it back when he talks?
  • Venom (2018) is not much better, with the titular symbiote developing a taste for tater tots and admitting that he is a loser on his homeworld, which is used to justify his Heel–Face Turn.
  • There is one part of the video-game-to-film adaptation of Silent Hill in which the Creepy Child bursts into flame and says "Look...I'm burning." Owing to how subjective this trope is, you either were creeped out by it or laughed your head off.
  • Troll 2. The first one was no masterpiece, but this not-really-a-sequel about goblins who turn people into spinach or something is just So Bad, It's Good. "Oh my GAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWSH!"
  • A lot of other horror/comedy movies just aren't scary because, no matter how much blood, gore, and death the sadistically evil villain leaves in his wake, he's so absurdly funny that you're laughing too much to take him seriously. For example, there's Leprechaun (leprechauns aren't scary, no matter how ugly they are, especially when they're afraid of four-leaf clovers), Santa's Slay (a Bad Santa is funny, not scary), Jack Frost (1997) (you can have this guy rape a woman in the shower if you want, but the fact that he's a snowman still makes it hard to take him seriously), and The Gingerdead Man. (This guy is a living gingerbread cookie! How is anyone supposed to be scared of that?)
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys don't pack the terrifying punch they used to, though they still scare some younger kids.
  • The 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera appeared to have passed the test of time when it comes to this. Although reactions may not be as extreme today, the unmasking scene will still make many people jump in surprise. It even has the ever creepy uplighting technique. Unfortunately, when the Phantom jumps up and points directly at Christine after the unmasking, things that were once considered scary turn hilarious... at least if you're a fan of Family Guy, in which the Phantom's iconic scene was adapted for the Evil Monkey. Otherwise, the Phantom is still pretty damn petrifying.
  • On the other hand, the Phantom in the 2004 movie musical version gets his mask pulled off to reveal... Gerard Butler with a nasty sunburn.
  • Listen to the noise the parasites in Cloverfield make. It sounds like Donald Duck, for God's sake. Or maybe Yoshi. Fortunately, Clover's roar more than made up for the silly parasite chittering.
  • In The Creeping Terror, the eponymous creeping terror was an alien who ate things to study their biology (or something like that), and it was clearly supposed to strike fear in the viewers, but only made them giggle. It resembled a large carpet slug that shuffled along slowly, and its victims, instead of running away like most sensible people would have done, stood there and screamed while the creature ate them. The costume was such that the victims actually had to crawl into the hole in the front that was supposed to be its mouth.
  • Wes Craven's Cursed was a good example of this trope, where the scenes meant to be scary were downright funny, and the scenes meant to be funny were downright cheesy. From the predictable plot to the bad acting, to the cheesy dialogue, this movie has it all. Strange how a film intended to reinvent the werewolf genre ends up falling back on every single Hollywood werewolf convention. There's the scene where a werewolf appears above the balcony after Christina Ricci's character taunts its fashion sense, flipping the bird and roaring "fuck you!", before dying in a hail of bullets. To be fair though, the movie turned out this way in part due to Executive Meddling.
  • Another example from Wes Craven that ended up this way due to Executive Meddling is Deadly Friend, in large part because it wasn't even originally intended to be a horror film, but the studio wouldn't allow Craven to film it any other way. Most infamously, the scene where Samantha obliterates an old woman's head with a basketball is played for horror value, but it's so ridiculously filmed and looks so unconvincing that it's impossible to find it horrifying in the slightest. Even worse in this regard is the Gainax Ending where Samantha transforms into a robot and strangles Paul to death.
  • The Scare Chords in the otherwise creepy The Descent.
  • The 1989 horror movie Gnaw: Food of the Gods II has a scene in which giant rats attack a swimming competition. The cheesy special effects, however, kills any shred of horror from the scene. The intercutting shots of panicked people in a normal sized competition pool with shots of ordinary-sized rats walking around and splashing in an obvious miniature pool had no credibility whatsoever.
  • The original The Food of the Gods featured similar "giant" rat scenes and was just as unscary.
  • Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze was supposed to be scary, but all anyone remembers is that he yelled, pounded a boardwalk above it, got crushed by the damn boardwalk while yelling some more, then died. Doesn't help that Super Shredder was played by Kevin "argh my quad!" Nash either.
  • The '80s horror film House has Sandywitch, a disgusting, nightmarish monster that attacks and tries to kill main hero Roger Cobb. But any pretenses of it being scary quickly fade when it speaks, as it talks in a high-pitched chipmunk voice.
  • The undead Sammi Curr in Trick or Treat is an electric ghost, whose weakness is water. Fine enough, but when your movie's villain is shown being hurt by having his foot stuck in a toilet, he loses all credibility as a threat.
  • Mary Poppins has a nightmarish sequence when the Banks children flee their father's bank after accidentally throwing it into chaos. In their panic, they wander into the East End slums, dodging various frightening people until it climaxes with them colliding with a dark man seeming about to abduct them. However, when that dark man turns out to be their dear trusted friend, Bert, the whole mood instantly lightens with the audience knowing the children are in safe hands now.
  • The movie Link from 1986 is about a chimpanzee called Link who goes on a rampage killing people. While that does sound like a pretty neat concept for a horror film, it is ruined by several things, the first problem being he's dressed up in a butler's outfit, making him look rather silly and not very threatening, and the second biggest problem is that he's played by an Orangutan, something that the filmmakers tried (and failed) to hide by shaving the Orangutan's fur shorter, then dying it black, even though anyone with a brain can easily tell that Orangutans and Chimps physically look nothing alike, making the character look even more ridiculous and hard to take seriously, especially considering that Orangutans aren't particularly scary. To make things more jarring, they already had actual chimps used in the movie, leaving one to wonder why they couldn't just use a chimp to play Link instead of a Orangutan poorly disguised as one. The end result is unintentional comedy from start to finish.
  • The Happening could, at one point, have been a suspenseful horror with a strong mystery element. Poor acting and the ridiculousness of the premise scuttle any chances of that, however. It's a tough ask to find walking around open, grassy fields in sunshine scary. It's a bigger ask to buy that some people nevertheless manage to get run over by harvesters.
  • Most of shark attack scenes in Jaws are terrifying since you don't actually see the shark. Then when the shark does appear in the end, it looks so fake that it becomes laughable. Even when the film was being made, Steven Spielberg felt the shark looked too phony, resulting in the Nothing Is Scarier approach. Spoofed by Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II when the future's 3D Jaws sequel: "Eh, Shark still looks fake."
  • Invoked in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Freddy loses a lot of his menace when Nancy essentially wishes him out of existence. The last scare at the end attempts to revert this, but to a lot of viewers, it just came off as weird.
  • Ultron's moveable humanoid face throughout Avengers: Age of Ultron. For some, it's just not as scary compared to the other images that closely resemble the twisted metal abomination he's based on. Also, the fact that Ultron appears to have teeth despite being a robot with no seeming need for human food. Ultron's penchant for snappy one-liners utterly ruins his scary factor. Compare to his first appearance, where he can barely talk.
  • Ghostbusters has this trope as the whole premise of the franchise: there are horrific and powerful forces lurking in the shadows ready to do their evil at any time. However, they can be studied scientifically by learned experts, who in turn can develop effective and easy to use weapons and countermeasures those eldritch menaces will never see coming. In short, if you have the knowledge, the tools and the courage to face these supernatural entities of your darkest nightmares, they will have real reasons to fear you!
  • The Bye Bye Man:
  • The Invasion suffers many moments like this. For one, Nicole Kidman's character searches for the term my son is not my son on Google with no quotation marks. In another scene, many people are avoiding showing emotion to avoid the body snatchers. They tell the protagonist not to show emotion, then one of them snaps. The entire group, minus the protagonist, then fails to escape, even though nothing was stopping them beyond fear of a railway line (the alternative being captured by monsters and, for all they know, killed). In early scenes, the sense of paranoia is ruined when groups of people who very blatantly have something wrong with them are roaming around, long before anything being wrong with them is introduced as a concept.
    • This movie avoids calling itself a horror movie (a trait which, in horror stories, is associated with being made by people thinking their movies are "too good" for the horror genre). It's the only adaptation of the source story to replace the pod aliens with drink-infecting chemicals. Yep, it almost screams "never mind the shoddy writing, we've got rape imagery! Everyone's going to take us seriously now!"
  • Muppet Treasure Island makes no attempt to soften the numerous deaths and murders from its source material... and gets away with that by adding generous amounts of this. The fearsome Captain Flint, for example, is shown at the beginning murdering fifteen of his own crew to keep his treasure a secret. Later, Long John Silver laughs over Flint's chosen signpost of two dead bodies on the path to the treasure. And finally... we find out that Flint once dated Benjamina Gunn...who is played by Miss Piggy. Who complains that he was co-dependent.
  • The Final Destination series usually thrives on Paranoia Fuel, taking ordinary situations and turning them deadly in rather unexpected, but at least plausible manners. However, the more implausible deaths tend to have the opposite effect, and either has you rolling your eyes or laughing hysterically. This was especially bad in the third and fourth films, where both of them include the overuse of illogical domino effects.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park had the velociraptors suffer badly from this trope. Honest Trailers noted it, and dubbed Yakkity Sax over the scene where a raptor chases Malcom around an abandoned laboratory to highly how far the predators had fallen as it continually fails to catch a middle-aged mathmatician due to repeated pratfalls. And then a teenage girl manages to kill a velociraptor with gymnastics.
  • One scene in Jurassic Park 3 features Alan Grant falling asleep on a plane to Isla Sorna. When he wakes up, the plane is abandoned and still flying through the sky. Then Grant hears a low growl to his left, and turns to see a Velociraptor sitting right next to him! It's surreal and unnerving...until the Raptor suddenly blurts out "Alan!", its lips matching the words perfectly and his arms resting peacefully on the seat in front of him. Alan then immediately wakes up, finding the plane back with its original passengers. It's such a bizarre and out of left-field scene that most people end up laughing at it.
  • The Monster of Piedras Blancas initially just shows glimpses of its title monster, and when its face is finally shown, it is inexplicably vomiting water at the same time.
  • Aladdin (2019): Jafar's genie form looked outright diabolical in the animated version. In live action? He just gets bigger. Audiences actually seemed more freaked out by Will Smith's Uncanny Valley genie.
  • "Mrs Kersh" from It: Chapter Two was fairly creepy when she was assuming the form of an old lady. Then she goes on the attack and transforms into...this.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Ares looks pretty sinister, so long as he's got his helmet on. When Diana knocks it off, all audiences can see is Remus Lupin's head on Sauron's body. However, even when wearing the helmet, Ares lacks the shadowed face and red eyes of his more well-known counterparts, meaning Sir Patrick's 1910s style mustache is distractingly visible under the helmet.
  • The second segment of XX, The Birthday Party, revolves around a woman trying to hide the fact her husband has died during their daughter's birthday party, but it's difficult to find scary at all due to the absence of any real threats, the lack of a spooky atmosphere (outside of a handful of cheap Jump Scares) and the sheer ridiculousness of the story (the woman could resolve the issue quite easily by calling the police, but chooses to try and hide the corpse in increasingly complicated and outlandish ways). It works a lot better as a straight-up Black Comedy than as a horror story, even though it's part of a horror anthology film.
  • Despite its potentially creepy premise,note  many viewers felt Black Christmas (2019) rarely managed to pull off genuine horror and was even unintentionally funny at times. Most of the "scary" moments come in the form of cheap Jump Scares you can see coming from a mile off and the more violent scenes are heavily (and awkwardly) edited, which undercuts much of the tension. The big twist that the killers are being mind-controlled and given preternatural strength/endurance by magic black goo was also widely found too silly and outlandish, given the movie's attempt at a serious tone.
  • Blood Freak: The idea of a vampire (or vampire wannabe) feeding on the blood of drug addicts could make for a genuinely good horror story, but the visibly low budget, said vampire's ridiculous appearance as a man in a cheap turkey mask, and the awkwardly shoehorned-in religious message make it impossible to take any of it seriously.

  • An in-story example comes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Prof. Lupin is describing a boggart, a creature that turns into whatever the person in front of it is most afraid of. A boggart's weakness, however, is trying to scare more than one person at a time. Lupin recounts a time when he saw a boggart try to turn into both a headless corpse and a flesh-eating slug at once: "Turned himself into half a slug. Not remotely frightening." Emphasized in the primary narrative when Neville admits that the thing he is most afraid of is Professor Snape, closely followed by his grandmother. But Professor Snape dressed in grandmother's clothes... not remotely frightening.
  • Many, many Goosebumps stories, usually due to either a ridiculous/nonfrightening subject matter or shoddy writing, or both. Given that they're written by a large ensemble of ghost writers, the level of quality varies like you wouldn't believe, with many stories landing this trope pitifully easily, and others ending up being...genuinely terrifying. Sometimes in ways that the author didn't intend.
  • In-universe example: during The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy is separated from the party and forced to break into a magician's study to find a spell. She climbs up the stairs and goes down the long hallway on her own, during which everything is dead silent and creepy masks watch her from the wall — she even gets a minor Jump Scare when she catches a glimpse of her reflection in a "bearded mirror" (a mirror that makes her look as though she has a beard). However, once she gets the spell, Aslan himself shows up and the magician, Coriakin, turns out to be a Cool Old Guy,
    and Lucy noticed how different the whole top floor looked now that she was no longer afraid of it. The mysterious signs on the doors were still mysterious but now looked as if they had kind and cheerful meanings, and even the bearded mirror now seemed funny rather than frightening.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7, coming out at the same time as classic Who and sharing its lack of special effects budget and some of the same production team, had its own howlers:
    • Brian the Spider is the most famous. "The Harvest of Kairos" called for a terrible alien lifeform that makes Kairos uninhabitable for most of the year. The special-effects department delivered a giant orange snail with legs, which wobbled oh-so-slowly towards our heroes as the otherwise scarily competent Dayna forgot how to use her own legs.
    • A wobbly Tin-Can Robot with a flamethrower that drops out of its groin, causing it to be dubbed "The Flasher". Instead of becoming the next Dalek, the Security Robot was used for two episodes and then quietly dropped.
    • "Animals" features Half-Human Hybrid Super Soldiers who have huge yak horns for no apparent reason. Their fur-covered bodies and mournful expressions make you wonder why people don't just give them a hug instead of shooting them.
    • In "Time Squad", Jenna is attacked by a genetically-created homicidal maniac... in a Porn Stache.
    • In "Moloch", the titular villain, supposedly an extrapolation of the ultimate lifeform, turns out to be a hook-nosed, one-eyed Little Green Man in a Can who looked like a fried chicken! Apparently, the cast kept laughing so hard they eventually had to film heroes and villain separately.
    • Shivan from "Voice from the Past", ostensibly a once-famous Rebel Leader who's been so tortured and disfigured by the evil Federation that he's barely able to move or see or speak. Instead we get a shuffling Bandage Mummy in a green cape whose dialogue is totally incomprehensible. The Reveal that he's The Dragon in disguise doesn't help matters either.
    • In "Ultraworld", aliens try to take over the crew with Mind Control. This terrifying fate is represented by the victim seeing a hallucination of a disco glitter ball.
    • In "Assassin", The Reveal that the Damsel in Distress is the assassin is let down not only by bad acting (and not of the Evil Is Hammy kind either) but also a silly towering hairdo she's wearing for her Evil Costume Switch.
  • Doctor Who, being a show that has relied heavily on monsters since the very first season while simultaneously not typically having a very large budget with which to realise them, has many examples.
    • "The Web Planet", depending on who you ask, is either the kind of Surreal Horror that nightmares are made of, or six episodes of people in pathetically unconvincing rubber suits doing silly voices on a set the size of a shoebox.
    • The Daleks were virtually unique in their success. Several attempts were made to create "new Daleks" by copying the Dalek template (killer Little Green Man in a Can with a shouty catchphrase), especially after they got Exiled from Continuity in the Troughton era. Every attempt ended in failure:
      • The Mechanoids in "The Chase" were a potential Dalek rival and were lavishly budgeted and merchandised. Looking like a D20 the size of a garden shed, and being about as maneuverable as one, did very little to make them conceivable threats. There's a whole Easter Egg on the DVD in which various Talking Heads all make fun of how rubbish they are.
      • The Chumblies in "Galaxy 4". They make strange thoughtful noises and look like metal walnut whips. They're also rather cute. And can you imagine hiding behind the sofa from a monster called a "Chumblie"? However, the Chumblies are robots made by the Rills, who turn out to be peaceful. So they aren't really villains.
      • The War Machines. In addition to being a ridiculous concept, the evil computer looks like it has a goofy face on it.
      • The Quarks in "The Dominators". They were supposed to be Psychopathic Manchild robots that act like delighted, giggling children while murdering and killing (and were actually played by children as adults couldn't fit into the suits). Their creators intended them to be the new Daleks (and even fell out over the IP rights to them). Between poor design, stupid squeaky voices and the extremely bad writing quality of the serial, there was no possibility of this happening. New series fans might want to look at the Toclafane for the Quark concept done better.
      • The Krotons are actually a lot scarier than most of these (Robert Holmes deserves some credit here), and there's somewhat more creativity to their concept (being made of living crystal). Unfortunately, the costumes were too short and so they were given skirts to hide the actors' legs. The top half is a Tin-Can Robot and the bottom half is a ballgown. Doesn't help that "Krotons" sounds like "croutons" and they have inexplicable and unidentifiable accents (Brummie-East End-South African?). Very strongly averted in the Eighth Doctor Adventures book Alien Bodies, which exploits all of the Narm associated with them to make it both hilarious and shocking when the twist reveals they've been slaughtering Daleks by the ton and trying to steal the Doctor's corpse.
    • "The Underwater Menace" has "scary" Cyborg fish-people that look like harlequins in white onesies and don't actually do anything scary in the whole story, being Creepy Good. (The cliffhanger at the end of episode 1 where Polly is Strapped to an Operating Table, screaming and about to be surgically transformed into one is decently disturbing, though.)
    • "The Tomb of the Cybermen" (while scary) features Cybermats — tiny robot bugs — that the script acts as if are terrifying. Viewers mostly reported finding them cute, which the BBC went along with, at one point even running a promotion where viewers could write in and get sent vacuum-formed Cybermat parts to assemble into a toy. The next story to feature the Cybermats, "The Wheel in Space", lampshaded this by having the Wheel staff react to the Cybermats as if they were cute while not making them any more harmless — one victim takes a Cybermat as a pet, and another even begs them to come closer before they kill him. They were redesigned for their appearance in "Revenge of the Cybermen" to try and make them look like metal silverfish or snakes, but they were still pretty rubbish. They returned to the new series in "Closing Time", somewhat improved by the addition of vicious, jagged, organic piranhalike teeth.
    • "The Ark in Space" has the leader of a Sleeper Starship containing the last remnants of humanity getting infected by The Virus. He realises this in a famous Cliffhanger where, sweating with terror, he slowly takes his hand out of his pocket and sees that it is covered in green bubble wrap. The same story has everyone get menaced by a sort of larva represented by an actor crawling around on the floor in the same green bubble wrap. The story itself is well-written and very spooky, though.
    • "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" has a subplot about a giant rat in the sewers of nineteenth-century London. The effect was achieved by filming an ordinary rat in a scale model of the sewer and intercutting it with reaction shots of the actors in the life-sized sewer set. We're already into Narm and Special Effects Failure territory, but there's more. To complete the illusion, a nearly immobile life-sized giant rat was built. It looks jarringly different from the real rat and is the exact opposite of threatening. This trope is in fullest effect in the cliffhanger where the camera dramatically zooms in to the cute rat plushie while the tense music reaches a crescendo. Tom Baker famously referred to this episode with, "The BBC is very good at period dramas but very poor at giant rats."
    • "The Invisible Enemy":
      • It has some surprisingly horrible bits in the first episode where the Doctor has been infected by a parasite that has taken over his body. We have seen the Doctor get Mind Raped before this, but he always maintained his willpower (and the one time he did get broken in "Pyramids of Mars" the villain was interrupted before he could go very far with it), so it is the first time we see the Doctor fully possessed and about to hurt people. Unfortunately, the budget was really suffering by this point and the story is also a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot with lazy Toilet Humour, which quickly destroys any horror.
      • The Swarm, a pathetic-looking iridescent space shrimp with adorable little kicky legs that giggles about taking over the universe. Even the Doctor seems to find it a real disappointment, complaining that it's a "pathetic crustacean" and rolling his eyes.
    • "Underworld" has characters facing a "dragon" which turns out to be an electrified door. This isn't a case where this is a surprise for the characters — they know that it is an electrified door and just refer to it as a "dragon".
    • "The Stones of Blood" has vampiric standing stone aliens. The writer intended for them to be realised onscreen as rocks that, when they move around, transform into rocklike humanoids. The director instead decided to go with Styrofoam Rocks that move by sliding about and glowing an ugly shade of yellow.
    • The Mandrels in "Nightmare of Eden" are rather cute and fluffy. They even have built-in bell-bottoms!
    • "Meglos" has a power-crazy, sadomasochistic shapeshifting villain from a race that has a good enough understanding of technology to intimidate even the Time Lords... that is also a non-anthropomorphic, non-animal, sessile cactus alien. It even has a little plant pot.
    • The Myrka from "Warriors of the Deep" is an infamous example, from its design to it being a Pantomime Animal, to it being slow even for a classic Doctor Who monster, to the fact that it couldn't do much.
    • "Dragonfire" has a scene in which Kane's face is melting. However, it's obvious that a wax figurine was used.
    • "Survival" has a similar situation to "The Stones of Blood" — the writer pictured the cheetah-women as normal, beautiful women with yellow eyes and fangs, but the director decided to go with full fursuits. The writer was outraged by this — although more because it obscured the lesbian subtext than because it looked silly.
    • The Abzorbaloff from "Love & Monsters". Imagine a slimy green sumo wrestler... with human faces sprouting from random places on its body. Probably justified as it was conceived by an 8-year-old viewer for a contest (although the original Abzorbaloff in the boy's mind was the size of a double-decker bus). It might have intentionally been played this way by the writers, given that it was the Monster of the Week from possibly the biggest Bizarro Episode in the show's history.
    • "The End of Time" involves an Assimilation Plot where just about every human being on Earth is suddenly and forcefully transformed into the Master. Of course, this includes the women too, and the clothes aren't transformed. Pair that with the Master's Crazy Is Cool Large Ham tendencies, and it goes from Nightmare Fuel straight into comedy.
    • "Nightmare In Silver" has the Doctor forcibly converted into a Cyberplanner about a third of the way through the episode. Said Cyberplanner is solid nightmare fuel for its first minute or so onscreen... and then immediately names itself "Mr. Clever" without any prompting, and spends the rest of the scene spinning around the room and making random gestures, making what is supposed to be a very serious episode quickly dissolve into feeling fairly ridiculous.
  • On the third season of The Handmaid's Tale, it's shown that the women in Washington D.C. have their mouths sealed shut with metal rings through the lips. While it's a striking visual, viewers and reviews were quick to point out how it makes little sense. How do they eat and drink with their mouths this way? It can also hamper their breathing and the wounds would be open to infection. It would make more sense to just cut out their tongues than go to such major lengths.

  • An in-universe example occurs in the Voltaire song, The Beast of Pirate's Bay. The song mentions the infamous Blackbeard encountering the beast, and now nobody's scared of him because upon seeing it, his beard turned white and he looks like Santa Claus.
  • The first time you hear them, Death Metal vocals may seem very scary. However, it's often pointed out that they sound a lot like Cookie Monster's voice. Good luck being scared now...

  • Plenty of the rooms in the haunted house from the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town aren't actually that scary, such as the Dracula room with a bored vampire in a casket and a "Max Schreck-looing motherfucker" in half-assed Nosferatu makeup being the only scares. The victims spend the lead up to Halloween trying to make them look better.

    Video Games 
  • Portal 2 has Wheatley tell a ghost story as you follow him over a conveyor belt full of mangled and crushed robot parts. Of course, Wheatley being Wheatley, it doesn't have quite the impact he intended it to have. There is a grain of truth in his story though. There is a room in Aperture, completely filled with screaming robots. GLaDOS built it for shits and giggles. She contemplates sending Wheatley there for ten years after he's taken over her facility and stuffed her in a potato.
    Wheatley: They say the old caretaker of this place went absolutely crazy. Chopped up his entire staff... of robots. All of them robots. They say at night you can still hear the screams... of their replicas. All of them functionally indistinguishable from the originals. No memory of the incident. Nobody knows what they're screaming about. Absolutely terrifying. Though obviously not paranormal in any meaningful way.
  • Silent Hill:
    • In Silent Hill: 0rigins, you are able to control the transition from the fog world to the nightmarish otherworld by touching a mirror. It significantly lessens the power of being transported to a nightmarish industrial Hell if you do it willfully and deliberately (or worse, go back and forth between worlds trying to figure out what to do next).
    • Mind you, that at least feels congruous with the story there. It's not as bad as the Patients from Silent Hill 4: The Room. They could have been scary, but due to the noise, they make when hit, well... Nothing like a monster that BELCHES when hit to derail the scary, folks!
  • The Arise flash games. Just try to actually get scared from the randomly appearing Halloween masks and stock horror music. (That or just watch the Retsupuraes.)
  • Clock Tower 3 establishes several of its villains by re-enacting some of their most brutal murders (one of which was done to a 12-year-old girl) in front of the player in a grotesque, stone-serious manner. Yet, many of the means to repel these killers consist of cartoonish and silly pratfalls, complete with wacky reaction shots. The fact that the creators tried to shoehorn humor into a game that otherwise is not presented as tongue-in-cheek spoils the horror they were hoping to foster, and the slapstick bits are made shockingly unfunny and inappropriate by the horrific violence that precedes them.
  • Azrael from BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is so frighteningly badass that even Hakumen hauls ass in any opposite direction. However, he loses points for seeing a battle with Bang Shishigami as a friendly match as well as be captured twice by Kokonoe, once in the start of his story, the second at the end of his story.
  • Horror, another laughably terrible Newgrounds game that has been retsupuraed.
  • In Killer Instinct, there's Fulgore. He's a badass killer robot with long, sharp claws, glowing red eyes, and some of the goriest Finishing Moves in the game. He also makes elephant noises when you hit him.
  • Half-Life 2 introduced the "fast zombies," truly terrifying monstrosities that looked like flayed, emaciated corpses, moved like wild baboons on speed and howled loudly in blood-curdling screams as they attacked you. Except one of the stock sound clips was taken from the title sequence of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. The horrific screaming the headcrab zombies when they're set on fire is also hard to take as seriously when you look at one of many comments/videos on the internet about how it sounds like they're screaming "YABBA! MY ICING!" And it turns right back into Nightmare Fuel when someone else comments that they're screaming "OH GOD HELP ME" backwards. However, DasBoSchitt turns this Nightmare Fuel right back again into this on the third and sixth episodes of The Gmod Idiot Box.
  • Nightmare Doors is a satirical example of horror filled with this.
  • The "Mansion Basement" theme from the soundtrack for the DualShock version of the first game tries to sound ominous, but instead sounds like someone playing a trombone while drunk.
  • Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water had several critics note that they were incapable of feeling tense while playing this survival horror game because they kept focusing more on the voluptuous, wet female ghosts. The game's water-theme led to many clothes clinging to ghosts and player characters alike, including loose kimono giving several insights.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The stalchildren from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are skeletons that appear from the ground at Hyrule Field when the sun goes down, and immediately start going after Link. Scary, huh? Not very, actually. The stalchildren are ridiculously easy enemies that don't deal much damage, and they are very slow, too. If you take a look at them, they even look ridiculously cute. The fact that they are defeated in just two hits and even may lose their heads in a comical way makes them even more un-frightening.
    • Phantom Ganon in Ocarina of Time has a second phase where you're basically playing tennis with him. You can make the retardant factor even stronger by using a bottle instead of a sword.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: In the 3DS remake and Hyrule Warriors, the moon's face's features were greatly exaggerated.[1] The intention was probably making it look more unsettling, but it ended up looking far too grotesque and over the top, to the point of looking more derpy and cartoony than scary.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons, the entrance to the final dungeon is a volcano with a mouth for an entrance (complete with teeth) and eyes that actually follow Link as he moves around the screen. Cool and intimidating - right up until you go to enter the dungeon and the volcano goes cross-eyed.
    • The Imprisoned is a large, menacing monster that haunts Link's nightmares throughout the first part of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. But when you finally face the thing in battle, it may be hard not to crack up at its almost cutesy-looking feet with flabby "toes", and the fact that it looks like a giant man-eating pinecone.
    • Also in Skyward Sword, the boss of the Sandship is Tentalus, a particularly ridiculous-looking Kraken/Medusa/Cyclops mishmash.
  • The indie horror game Forest, being similar to Slender, does have a generally creepy atmosphere but if you get caught by the ghost girl, you see she has the face of the Overly Attached Girlfriend.
  • While the Nightmare Face in the Japanese Slender-style horror game Death Forest is genuinely terrifying on its own, the fact that it's just a 2D floating head using billboarding to constantly face the player sort of ruins the impact.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, on the Amusement Park of Doom, there are zombie clowns. Punch them in their faces, and their noses give off a hilarious little honk.
  • Deadly Premonition has Shadows as its main enemies. They are supposed to be creepy and scary, being a mixture of hallucinations and zombies in the Other World. Unfortunately, they are mostly gray models that walk a little doo-hickey funny and their garbled speech is not as frightening as was likely intended. The only thing about them that could be terrifying is the wide, black mouth of theirs, which isn't visible up close enough to honestly leave an impact.
  • An intentional example - The video game Night Trap was an FMV Game in the 90s where the filmers tried to invoke this trope. In fact, one of them even admitted that in one of the times you see the characters die, the augers take out a device that's so unrealistic and over the top that there's no way kids would ever try to replicate it. One of the directors even said that there were people laughing on the stage.
  • In Game & Wario's "Gamer" stage, 9-Volt's mom goes all horror movie on her son, doing stuff like punching his windows open, emerging through his TV, and flailing on his bedroom floor to scare him. Much of the mood is caused by the eerily quiet atmosphere until she suddenly bursts in. However, you are also simultaneously playing loud and silly-looking games on the Wii U GamePad involving stuff like flattening dough or picking noses.
  • In Chapter 4 of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, there's a whole bunch of hype leading up to the chapter's villain. When you first arrive, you learn that he had cursed the bell to turn Twilight Town's residents into pigs whenever it tolls. Even the mayor falls victim to the curse! When you venture into the forest to get to this monster, you come upon a very creepy church-like steeple. You fight through it to eventually reach the top... Only to find that the "monster" that was causing all this trouble is a Bedsheet Ghost wearing a party hat and bowtie... Yeah, people laughed. However, he IS a real threat in that chapter and even becomes a recurring villain, as he somehow switches bodies with Mario and steals his identity, trapping Mario inside the solid purple body, unable to say his name.
  • How do you apply this to a Nightmare Sequence setpiece where you're locked inside an asylum/prison cell, while the ceiling and the walls move to make the space smaller and smaller, forcing you to stay close to the door, where the Big Bad known for an In-Universe instant liquefaction touch is watching you? As F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point shows us, wait for the collision physics to wonk up and glitch you through one of said moving walls.
  • Monster Hunter 4:
    • The Frenzy virus caused by the dreaded Gore Magala, which is stated to be a very major cause for concern for humans...but at best, it eventually grants buffs that increase Critical Hits if the infected overcomes it by attacking monsters enough, and at worst it stops their natural health regeneration for a few minutes and causes Frenzy pools to slowly sap their health, and even then it doesn't stop the afflicted hunter from just using instant-healing items like usual.
    • The Zamtrios is this. It's a great white shark in every sense of the word, but with developed limbs and the ability to crawl out of the sea in the frozen tundra. It can also swim through the ice and snow if it so pleases and can freeze you. If that isn't terrifying enough, it'll eventually generate ice that makes it more powerful and much more terrifying, making it a very intimidating boss. Fight him enough and he powers up again... by inflating like a balloon and bouncing and rolling around like one. One of the coolest, most badass and terrifying looking monsters to the most hilarious thing you've ever seen. Especially when you inflict enough damage for it to leave that phase, at which point it helplessly deflates like a cartoon character.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the Bad Futures are exactly that: Eggman has taken over, and everything has either become mechanical, is in some state of decay, or both. Each Bad Future also looks appropriately bleak and depressing, with muted grays, browns, and olive-greens. However, nearly every enemy in a Bad Future is equally worn down, oftentimes comically so. For instance, a Tentou will normally chug along to the right, dropping explosive mines. A Tentou in a Bad Future will move a little bit slower, cannot drop mines, and looks tired out. A Sasori rolls around and will shoot at Sonic from its stinger tail, but in a Bad Future, Sasori will just sit in front of Sonic and wiggle up and down.
  • Alf-Layla-Wa-Layla from Sonic and the Secret Rings may look scary (his transformation isn't particularly pleasant to watch either), but the voice work for him just kills the scare factor. It tries to make him sound booming and powerful, but it just sounds like he inhaled a tank of helium, which has the unintended effect of making him sound like a petulant man child. Just try to listen to him say "The stories of this world are MINE!" without laughing.
  • Until Dawn: The Wendigo are meant to be absolutely terrifying, but can easily fall into this. The Wendigo is a creature that occurs when a human commits cannibalism; eating human flesh transforms them into a giant, creepy thing that has no lips or toes and the skin is pulled away from the teeth. Sounds utterly dreadful, but the Wendigo in this game don't come across like that. Mostly because they stumble and squirm around by walking on all fours and looking like clumsy spiders. There's also the case of Wendigo Hannah still walking around with underwear on.
  • Parasite Eve 2: A relatively early cutscene shows a young woman transforming into a monster, which Aya must fight. However, many people agree that the creature's roar at the end sounds so much like a horse's neighing that it ruins the scariness of the scene.
  • Spooky's House of Jump Scares plays with this extensively. The villain's main motivation for collecting horrors is that she wanted to (innocently) scare people, but was too cute to do so. While several of the monsters that appear in the game are scary, the overall setting is deliberately not, and the ending likewise balances the two against each other.
  • The introduction of the Gekko in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is done like a horror movie, where they are heard in the distance by soldiers before showing up and effortlessly (and gorily) slaughtering the entire squad. Because the Gekko moo like cows, however, the scene fails to be even the least bit frightening or tense.
  • Arthur's Nightmare suffers from this, though it's hard to tell whether or not it was intentional.note  To start with, every enemy in the game uses a flat picture of themselves (most obvious with DW, who is prominent in every single room from the third level on). While Arthur and DW are altered enough from their original appearance to at least possibly be unnerving, their parents use barely-edited pictures of themselves with Tears of Blood poorly added (particularly non-scary since said trope is heavily frowned upon in creepypasta communities). Not helping is that their Jump Scares' audio, while certainly loud enough to be startling, is either a "HEY!" from the show's theme song or either parent yelling "ARTHUR!", neither of which is particularly frightening - it's along the lines of a YouTube Poop.
  • A lot of Pokémon can come off as creepy or at least something you would not want to mess with (most legendary Pokemon fitting the bill). This is doubly so in Pokémon Sun and Moon where the Ultra Beasts are nightmarish looking Pokemon that are stated to be extremely dangerous. The scare factors completely go out the window when you realize that you can pet them and feed them like any other Pokemon and they'll grow happier and more fond of you as well.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent: Alexander's face when you look at his portrait with the Sanity Meter below 50% is a legitimately horrifying sight... until you see how similar it looks to a Creeper's face.
  • The ClueFinders Reading Adventures Ages 9–12: Mystery of the Missing Amulet has one section in which you have to feed the stone head (speaking in a very slow, low pitched, and raspy voice) reading comprehension answers. Sure enough, if you give it the wrong answer, it'll sound like it's choking or throwing up, making it humorous.
  • In Armory & Machine, all the Body Horror monsters in the Bio Swamp (Weeping Hunchback, Irradiated Sore, Vomiting Behemoth, Mound of Despair and the boss Writhing Mass) are intended to be frightening with horrifying attacks such as self-evisceration, sloughing their flesh off or writhing in agony. However, the lack of any images plus the frequency of the monsters using self-harm moves and doing absolutely nothing with their other movesnote  takes away most of the horror and makes them seem like comically inept buffoons instead.
  • Magrunner: Dark Pulse is a Portal-esque puzzle game where the protagonist Dax auditions for the Gruckezber Corporation using their latest scientific invention, when suddenly monsters from the Cthulhu Mythos invade the facility. The one who summoned them there turns out to be Xander, a scrawny, stereotypical nerd responsible for designing the facility. And even after turning into a corrupted Humanoid Abomination hellbent on sacrificing Dax to unleash Cthulhu on the world, he's still a scrawny, stereotypical nerd and hardly intimidating at all. The fact that the Final Boss battle against him amounts to the two of you chucking boxes at each other doesn't help matters, either.
  • Mother 3 has The Pigmask attacking Saturn Valley and intimidating Mr. Saturns with a Frightbot, which tells scary stories such as Pants-wettingly scary story. Bloodcurdling story. A story so scary you want to cover your ears. A story so scary you'll never go to the bathroom at night again. A bone-chillingly scary story. A story so incredibly scary that your teeth won't stop chattering. A spine-tingling story A story so scary you couldn't help but laugh. A scary story with some deep, touching moments mixed in, and also might tell an accidentally tell a cute, funny story. Not only they did nothing on your characters, the Frightbot itself looks goofy.
  • The first Kingdom Hearts game features a boss fight with giant Ursula. The setting is appropriately intimidating, being trapped underwater in a dark, swirling abyss with an enemy a great many times larger than you, but the fear factor is diminished somewhat by Ursula herself. Her eyes follow Sora as he swims around the arena, which is a good effect when it works, but she'll often go cross-eyed or look in two different directions at once when Sora gets close enough to attack. Some players like to take her repeated taunts of "This won't be pretty!" as a warning of incoming derp faces.

    Web Original 
  • Up and sleepless at 3 AM because you watched Marble Hornets? No worries.
    • In the similar Marble Bumblebee, Slendy comes off as clumsy, petty, or an attention whore.
    • No wifin in da club, Gimme 20 dollas...
    • When you've seen a few other Alternate Reality Games have the wind taken out of them by people making jokes (such as Slendy just wanting to get buff) or saying "this is all fak y u guys takng so srsly", it becomes clear that this is why MH disabled comments on their videos.
    • Also, on the Marble Hornets DVD; watch the entries with the DVD commentary on. It's hard to take entry #1 seriously ever again while Troy Wagner (i.e. Jay) explains how Joseph DeLage (i.e. Alex) made a promise to go streaking if the video ever reached a million hits on Youtube. And they absolutely RUIN the Totheark videoes in terms of scariness. The boys realize they're too short for proper commentary, so they just put stupid jokes over the top of them. More or less the commentary removes all the scary and replaces it with pure, unadulterated funny.
    • Also, if you're unfamiliar with The Slender Man Mythos, you might mistake Slendy for Jack Skellington. In fact, in Seeking Truth, Zeke even refers to the drawings made by the first victim as "...what looked like Jack Skellington with about six extra arms and no eye holes, or any facial features, for that matter."
    • In the radio interview with the two creators, they mention how any attempt to make the Operator's head snap towards the camera in Entry 6 resulted in a A Night at the Roxbury head bop on the Operator. Cue Haddaway!
    • The whole mood is also a bit lost when you realize that, with Slendy spending most of his times watching hidden in the background, most entries on the mythos can be seen as Where's Waldo?'s spooky cousin...
    • For the realization of a similar concept, see this video, courtesy of Retsupurae.
    • There's also "Trenderman", a character created on Tumblr after someone noted that the faceless, featureless clothing store mannequins resemble Slenderman. He generally shows up just to give fashion advice.
    • Any of the shorts on troyhasacamera, and the simple knowledge that these are the same people behind Marble Hornets, is enough to put one's mind at ease just a bit.
    • There's also the fact that the first appearance of Slender Man online was on Something Awful, during one of their regular Photoshop competitions.
  • The Arise Flash Series, especially if the viewer is viewing Retsupurae's Retsuflash of the games.
  • Suicide Mouse is a purported lost animation by Walt Disney that supposedly causes insanity and suicide to whoever watches it. That's why kitty0706 was kind enough to provide you with The GMod Suicide Mouse Survival Guide!
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica has a page on creepypasta. However, they also have that page for "Retarded Creepypasta", which were either attempts at creepypastas that fell flat, or silly parodies of creepypastas. (Some of the most infamous being "THEN A SKELETON POPPED OUT" and "THEN WHO WAS PHONE?")
    • Speaking of creepypastas, give Soviet Creepypastas a try if American ones freak you out.
    • "TEH DAY OF ALL THE BLOD" was created by Bogleech as an intentionally So Bad, It's Good creepypasta in all caps about a man who starts bleeding everywhere until everyone gets sick of it and sends him to outer space. And the final twist is that he was YOU (or he was a lady if you are a lady) and you forgot this ever happened.
    • It's been pointed out that the fact that Jeff the Killer burnt off his eyelids makes him a crappy villain; if he comes for you, even if he's able to see you despite never being able to blink or sleep, just put your fingers in his eyes and pull out his eyeballs. Also, did you notice that he looks like a bastard child of The Joker and Barney the Dinosaur?
    • In general, for every good creepypasta there are at least 10 written by people who have no idea what they are doing. You can often recognize them before even reading them. They tend to be of the "haunted video game" variety and usually involve lots of "hyper-realistic blood".
    • A lot of characters who may have once been terrifying have been turned to jokes due to overexposure and a fandom developing around them. The aforementioned Jeff the Killer was a mediocre story in the first place, but good luck ever taking him seriously again after finding out there's a Jane the Killer, and countless others, each one more OP than the last.
    • For those unfamiliar with the origin of the name (or even some who are)note  the name "creepypasta" is a nightmare retardant itself. If you were trying to explain it to someone not versed in internet culture, there would probably be a moment they would think you are terrified of Italian cooking. It's kind of like if we called horror movies spookysalads.
  • VooDooWop pokes fun at paranormal investigating shows in their skit called Haunted Homes.
  • Joke SCPs are a deliberate use of this trope.
    • As for accidental examples, SCPs tend to be much less terrifying if you recognize the decidedly non-anomalous source of the page image. For example, there's one of a large, strange mass of random aircraft parts which is instantly recognizable to anyone who's visited (or even walked past) the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, on account of being a perfectly ordinary (as ordinary as modern art gets, anyway) sculpture on permanent display, smack dab in the middle of the main courtyard out front. The mundane images are meant to be placeholders of things that are merely similar or put you in mind of the actual object. The real photos are too high clearance for you to see.
    • Invoked in-universe with SCP-2006, a shapeshifter that wishes to instill pure fear in people. Thankfully, the SCP Foundation has managed to convince it that terrible B Movies are the pinnacle of horror. Also subverted. The Foundation has to remind employees that 2006 is an extremely powerful entity with no known limits and that a single slip-up is all that it would take to have it wreak untold havoc on the world. A short story by the author of SCP-2006 also implies that it's actually perfectly aware of the Foundation's very real fears.
    • The community has a trend to use most horrific SCPs to crack up jokes and/or make humorous explanations in the forums\chat. An example lampshading the trope right in the post title is "THE DAY 110 MONTAUK STOPPED BEING SCARY TO ANYBODY EVER".
  • Exmortis 3 - the third installment of a series of flash games - is considerably less scary than the previous two. Things become a lot less scary when your character becomes a superhuman that has telekinesis and can cause people / evil beings to explode. With his mind. This is especially pronounced when you come to a horror-filled room with a cannibalistic survivor that wants to eat you. Until you immediately pwn him and hold him up in the air with your mind. He practically pisses himself in fear, and the horrific feeling kind of...goes away.
  • This is a natural hazard for horror-themed Play By Post Games, given that they usually have a very crude art style in order to update in a timely manner. Even the better ones only become scary once you've been reading long enough to get sucked in—it's difficult to adequately convey the scariness of a particular section to someone who hasn't been read previous sections.
  • H(a)unting is a blog about three people and their encounters with Slender Man, who is one of the most genuinely creepy mythos creatures out there, particularly considering his origin - with the Rake and a second Slender-creature known as //IT// showing up later - and the Rake is essentially the main character's dog, Slenderman gives her candy for winning a Pokemon tournament and brings her a flashlight during a storm, and can not only be beaten up by her but by her pet chicken too. Oh, and she's conveniently immune to Slendy and the Rake's powers and is special in almost every way. In any case, you simply cannot be afraid of a Slenderman who is afraid of a silkie chicken, brings frightened girls flashlights, and gives people Reeses candy for winning a video game tournament.
  • In Hyperbole and a Half, the main character tried to give her younger sister nightmares with a ghost story about blood, closets, killers, blood, ghosts, and more blood. It didn't work.
  • Anytime Slenderman appears in the works from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. He is usually calling out "Hey Guys!" in a friendly tone (with demonic distortion), almost always has a smile on his face compared to his usual faceless appearances, and seems like he actually wants to be part of whatever Marik and Bakura are doing at the time, whether it be filming a movie or making appearances in their Let's Plays.
  • The Vaguely Recalling JoJo series turns the horrifying moments of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure into unintentional moments of hilarity.
    • The scene where Steely Dan mostly kills Enya with Dio's buds is ruined by the Biohazard parody.
    • The nightmarish Page is replaced with the gonk Pesci
    • The scene where Telence shows off his doll collection is ruined by the cameos within that collection.
    • Scary Monsters, or to put it in Jurassic Park terms:
      Holy fucking shit, It's a Dinosaur! Jesus Christ- What the fuck?! Oh my fucking God, Fucking Dinosaurs! Holy shit- what the fuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkkkk!
  • Invoked with the Screamer Prank at the beginning of 20 Haunting Halloween Facts by Matt Santoro. This is immediately lampshaded afterwards.
    Matt: Did I get you? No? Alright.
  • If a Creepypasta fails in scaring Mutahar of SomeOrdinaryGamers, he will not be afraid of chewing it out, often adding hilarious images to it. This is turned Up to Eleven with the "Shit-Pastas" series, where even his reading becomes more half-assed and often broken up by laughter.
  • Chilling Tales For Dark Nights' reading of the r/nosleep story "I'm at Your Bedroom Window" would have been much more terrifying had Alicia Pavlis's voice for the thing in the story not sounded like Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls.
  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour does this in-universe in the "Beyond Belief" segments. Frank and Sadie are generally too jaded and/or drunk to be appropriately frightened by whatever supernatural evil is menacing them. Most evident with Nightmares the Clown because although Frank was initially frightened, Sadie finds all clowns hilarious, and it's very hard to generate the fear he feeds upon when someone is constantly giggling and asking him to do clown routines and honking his nose.
    Frank: Sadie please, do not taunt the nightmare clown monster.
    Sadie: Oh, or what, he’ll get in small car with all his other clown friends and drive away? Oh, they can use the high-occupancy vehicle lane!
  • At the end of Volume 4 of RWBY, Team RNJR deal with the monstrous Grimm known as the Nuckelavee, which ravaged Ren and Nora's hometown and killed Ren's parents. Despite its monstrous appearance of being a demonic creature riding a demonic horse, it's main attack is to strike with its long stretchable arms. While frightening, some fans found it hilarious, comparing it to one of those inflatable men used to attract customers. It gets worse when it gets compared to a Family Guy Cutaway Gag.
  • YouTuber easportsbig899 collates examples of Public Service Announcements, which in British culture are rather revered for the sheer unbridled Nightmare Fuel they consist of and which this account is necessarily loaded with. easportsbig counteracts this by adding his own personal opinions on the PIFs to both the video titles and the descriptions. One, which he describes as the most terrifying he's ever seen, is named "I Just Shit Me Pants". Another extremely creepy one is given the following gem of a description:
    I'm sure that, if I were the person looking through this warehouse, then I would shit my pants until my head exploded - and I'm not even sure if that's possible.
  • Let's Player Super Great Friend discussed this at the end of his playthrough of Doki Doki Literature Club!. He felt the first half was genuinely good Creepypasta horror, praising it for managing to be subtle, taking its time to build things up, and being a creative deconstruction of typical gamey scenarios where the player character is able to solve the problems of everyone around them. However, the second half went too far into over the top, stereotypical scares that he found more funny than anything.
  • During Oney Plays run of Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped, Ding Dong Julien takes a jab at the various video game Creepypastas like Ben Drowned with his own "scary" story:
    I have a scary story to tell about Crash Bandicoot! One time I tried to turn the game off, but it didn't turn off!!! Instead I shocked my finger on it kind of. And I went 'Yikes! Wowie zowie, my finger kablowey!' Mother and Father did not believe me. They squeezed my orange juice really badly that day to punish me for it...

    Western Animation 
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • An In-Universe example, the pilot episode had the Grim Reaper confused and annoyed that the two children weren't afraid of him, which, along with Mandy's rather sarcastic response that he was "a truly terrifying and horrific creature", set the tone for the entire series to come.
    • Another in-universe example: the Boogeyman. He tries. Really.
  • An episode of The Backyardigans was based around this entire trope. The episode was titled "Scared Of You" and featured Tasha as a mad scientist with Austin playing her assistant, she gives Austin some secret notes and tells him it's a secret (a birthday invite because it's Austin's birthday in this episode) and tells him to find three monsters: A mummy king (Tyrone), a rather cute werewolf (Uniqua) and a vampire (Pablo). When he meets the mummy king at first, the mummy king is terrified of him at first but then says..."You're not scary", the same happens when he meets the werewolf and the vampire, he then points out that none of them are scary. Then at the end they reach the spooky castle where his master lives, the monsters all go and hide while he looks around, then everyone yells out "Surprise!", and a big monster dance party starts.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A non Treehouse of Horror example is the Screamatorium, a very low budget and pathetic ghost ride that features cheap ghosts stuck to the walls, a coffin containing nothing but a spring, and an old woman telling people about the "ravages of age." It then becomes hilarious when there's a skeleton that goes hee-haw like a donkey!
    • There is a Treehouse of Horror episode where Flanders attempts to make a "Hell House", a religious alternative to Halloween haunted houses with the intent to scare people, in this case, children, into being a good Christian. It starts off as Nightmare Retardant, with a crappy sketch where Skinner gets hit by a cardboard bus after looking at a smutty magazine, punished for thinking the human body is beautiful. The children think it's stupid, and thus fails in converting them, so Flanders prays to God to give him the ability to scare the kids into religion. This trope is subverted: God answers, and Flanders turns into a Satan-looking monster and forces them to sit in a hellish realm and watch several scenes featuring the consequences of the seven deadly sins. By the end, the children promise to be good Christians.
    • Inverted and played for laughs with The Grumple, a character from an ice-show that looks like a man in a Dr. Suess-ian suit. Later in the episode, Homer knocks it out in a bar fight, and we see it has green blood.
      Homer: What the hell is this thing?
  • South Park
    • One episode has live-action footage of "giant" guinea pigs terrorizing the town and its citizens.
      It's a Guinea Bear!
      No, it's a guinea mouse, stupid!
    • The episode "Cow Days" had another deliberate example of this too, with a haunted house that was decidedly un-scary.
      "So, the Chamber of Farts has another victim, eh? Don't worry; there are no ghouls here. Only... farts!"
    • "Woodland Critter Christmas" has the newly-born Anti-Christ, who looks like a hairless rat with horns and makes high-pitched gibberish sounds. It's killed when Santa Claus whacks it with a hammer.
    Stan: What the hell is that?!
  • Invader Zim spoofed this trope a couple of times. Remember the disgusting, horrifying and unspeakably grotesque ROOM WITH A MOOSE?? Ultra Peepi to a lesser extent. His unbearable cuteness sweeps away all the horror he fairly causes among people at first, which makes it a whole lot easier for him to destroy the city (even the military refuses to attack the cute giant hamster). But the point is that Ultra Peepi wasn't actually intended to be horrifying at all. He was supposed to be a genuine Nightmare Retardant, so that people wouldn't pay much attention to the havoc the hamster's creating, therefore letting themselves be gradually killed off.
  • Justice League Unlimited: parodied, how does The Flash (who switched bodies with Lex Luthor) convince the other villains he's evil? He doesn't wash his hands.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, villain Trumbipulor attempts to invoke Nightmare Fuel by designing his Mecha-Mooks to look like the most horrible, menacing and scary creatures he can think of. The problem is, being an elephant, he is scared of mice. Needless to say, the heroes aren't really impressed seeing robot mice attacking them.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Scaredy Pants" SpongeBob tries to frighten trick-or-treaters by putting a sheet over his head and pretending to be a ghost, but the kids just laugh at him and call him "The Haunted Mattress." When he has Patrick shave his body to make him appear round, they comment that he must've been demoted to a Haunted Sleeping Bag.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) reimagines Krang as an entire species akin to the Utroms called "The Kraang", who get around using disguises that, even compared to the stylized designs of the show, look very, very fake. They seem like they'd be borderline Paranoia Fuel... But then they start speaking in nothing but redundant, corrupted metaphors or literal-minded phrases, pretty much destroying the fear factor.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force:
    • An in-universe example with Willie Nelson, a monster who lives in the Aqua Teens' attic, but isn't very good at being scary even when Master Shake tries to teach him how to. And then they find out what the attic looks like...
    • There's also the episode with a sinister ventriloquist doll who marks his entrance going "Kill...KILL...KILL!" with a dramatic close-up and ominous music. He quickly turns out to be completely harmless, and more annoying than anything else. Then they find out Carl got a similar doll who says "Die!" instead of "Kill!" and the two hook up.
    • And then the episode where Frylock kills Shake, Meatwad, and Carl, who come back as zombies to torment him into a nervous breakdown as his house burns down around him. Then they start getting into a repetitive, overly-long argument and it turns funny again.
  • Phineas and Ferb has quite a bit of this. While there are some scary moments, they are often offset by funny moments or the Lampshade Hanging of their absurdity.
  • Pingu; despite being the highlight for the infamy surrounding Pingu's Dream, the walrus' laughter/chuckle isn't that hard to remind of Dr. Hibbert.
  • The Kim Possible finale "Graduation" starts with Kim and Ron confronting Drakken, who had just consumed a formula that would turn him into a plant monster...but only caused him to sprout petals around his head.
    Ron: He's a pansy!
    Kim: I'd say marigold.
  • Batman: The Animated Series
    • Brilliantly subverted in the episode "House and Garden." The episode's monsters are shadowed whenever they're shown to make them creepy; when their appearance is revealed (think a giant cactus man) they're predictably silly looking. Then it's shown how they're created, and they become absolutely terrifying.
    • The production team admitted that they struggled to make the Scarecrow look scary. Many of his intial looks failed largely because of how cartoonishly skinny Crane was, making him look out of place when compared to the other more realistically proportioned characters. They would tinker with his design throughout the show's run until they suceeded in The New Batman Adventures by giving him an undead preacher look and recast the part with Jeffrey Combs.
  • Spoofed on an episode of Garfield and Friends. In the episode "Close Encounters Of The Garfield Kind", Jon, Garfield and Odie are watching a cheesy made-for-TV sci fi movie. One of the scenes shows what's supposed to be a creepy looking alien saying, "Greetings people of Earth. We come in peace. Take us to your leader." However, the fact that he's wearing kitchen mittens, and his space ship is clearly a cardboard prop negates any sense of fear Garfield, Jon and Odie have.
  • The Mighty Heroes episode, "The Monsterizer" has the reassuring version that follows a beginning that is genuinely frightening for kids of a villain forcibly transforming innocent people into mindless creatures in a dark house. That sequence is immediately followed by the series' title sequence which has blazing bright colours set to a rousing march as powerful superheroes are called to action to stop this horror.
  • The Doug episode "Doug's Nightmare on Jumbo Street" has our hero suffering from nightmares after watching a horror movie called The Abnormal and not being able to work up the nerve to see The Reveal of the monster's true form at the end. When he finally does, it becomes an in-universe version of this trope when "The Abnormal" turns out to be a guy in a lumpy, loudly-colored costume with an obvious zipper in the back. He then has one last dream where he and his dog Porkchop encounter the Abnormal, spot its zipper, and get some good laughs when they see that the monster was being played by a tower of little dogs inside the suit.
  • In Dragon Tales, this happens In-Universe in one episode where Ord is unable to sleep after having recurring nightmares about being chased by a terrifying monster. His friends try to get him to confront his fear by dressing up as the monster, and their costume ends up looking so goofy that Ord bursts out laughing at the sight of it and completely loses his fear of the monster.
  • Done on purpose in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "28 Pranks Later", where what would be genuinely scary imagery is completely neutered by the rainbow frosting on the muzzles of the ponies who were zombified by cookies. It's pretty much the only way a show in this genre and time slot could do a Zombie Apocalypse episode, managing to get away with the frosting on their faces dripping like fresh gore, and even including the all-important scene where the survivor approaches a couple of characters hunched over something and discovers they're zombies feasting on a fresh kill (in this case, of course, a box of cookies).

  • Explored in this article '10 Scenes of Brutal Violence Guaranteed to Make You Laugh'.
  • The Desert Rain Frog's defensive "war cry"... is a squeaking noise that sounds like a dog toy. It's supposed to intimidate its foes into submissions, but most humans will find it adorable instead.
  • For many, The End of the World as We Know It falls into this due to people at least annually announcing the end is near. There are even sites dedicated to mocking this phenomenon.
  • Done intentionally in this youtube video. It starts out showing a fairly horrifying soundtrack and then doing so backwards. Then, it plays Gordon Freeman's soundtrack backwards. Followed by the sound made when a certain enemy dies. When played backwards, you get the song Bananaphone.
  • The entire Monster Clown genre. For those who, as children, never found clowns even slightly scary, it's hard to take such characters seriously, let alone be scared of them. Wonderfully lampshaded in The Tick: "People laugh at Proto-Clown, so Proto-Clown smash!"
  • "Fairies Wear Boots" is this in itself, but it gets worse if you picture said fairies as this.
  • Feathered dinosaurs, especially those that sank into public consciousness as scaly, reptilian monsters (such as raptors) might be viewed as such by people who are oblivious to the more "fearsome" birds of our time, or simply because some illustrations tend to depict them still acting like monsters but looking like brightly colored, overgrown turkeys (akin to a prehistoric Monster Clown), or as harmless-looking, cute feather-balls.
  • Stories of interstellar and interplanetary disasters (rogue asteroids and comets, gamma-ray bursts, runaway stars, etc.) become a little less scary when you realize how small the Earth is compared to the absolutely vast size of the rest of the Milky Way. Odds are the vast majority will miss us, as they have for billions of years. And even if they come close, if it's gravity related Jupiter is probably going to catch it instead anyways, like it's been doing for millions of years.
  • Angry small dogs. A snarling wolf, pit bull, or St. Bernard can be terrifying under the right circumstances. An angry Maltese or Chihuahua? Not so much.
  • Disney Sing-Along Songs: The "Grim Grinning Ghosts" number from Disneyland Fun has Donald Duck dressed up as a Bedsheet Ghost during random intervals, softening the mood of the song.

Alternative Title(s): Nightmare Fail, Nightmare Repellent, Nightmare Retardent


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