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Nightmare Fuel / American McGee's Alice

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Well, if we weren't before, we sure as hell are now.

American McGee's Alice, being an insanity-based game inspired by a creepy children's classic, is naturally full of horrors.

For Alice: Madness Returns Nightmare Fuel, go here.

Spoilers Ahead.

  • The Army Ants can be unnerving. They wear 18th century military uniforms and carry around bayonet-equipped muskets, but on the other hand they're massive ants with huge mandibles. Talk about creepy.
  • There are plenty of childhood-destroying freak-beasts, and at the top of the pile is the Red Queen's true form: A giant fleshy monster with tentacles reaching across Wonderland who has the Mad Hatter's head in her mouth, with Alice's head in his mouth. Most other enemies, and a fair few allies, achieve the same effect.
  • It gets worse when you read the manual and find out that the whole thing is taking place in Alice's head, whilst she is trapped in her own mind in an asylum, undergoing the brutal "treatments" of that era.
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  • The "Quit" screen (seen above) was truly horrifying. It's an extreme Gross-Up Close-Up of the Mad Hatter, and instead of "Quit", the yes/no question is "RUNNING AWAY, ARE WE?".
  • The Nightmare Spiders (particularly for arachnophobes, and the faces on the backs are just creepy) and the kids in the school and asylum levels. Talk about DISTURBING.
  • "Time to wreak some havoc. The dogs of war are loose". Cue Alice transforming into a horrifying devil-like creature.
  • The Jabberwock. Not only is he terrifying enough in the original books, but in this game he is the embodiment of Alice's survivor guilt. You first encounter him in a replica of her own house, perched in the middle of a boiling magma land. Then he mocks Alice, saying that she smelt the smoke and she felt the flames, but was too busy having tea with her friends to bother to save her parents as they burned alive screaming upstairs. And just to nail it right home, you fight him in the burning remains of Alice's house.
  • Oh God, the poor Dormouse and the Hare. Since the Mad Hatter has gone truly insane, he's turned them both into twisted half-steampunk cyborgs, with sewn skin and pinned lips held by clasps and experiments on them by dunking them in acid or burning them with lasers. And you're not sure what's worse: that Hare is 100% lucid and bemoans that they have no tea, or that poor Dormouse is so far gone that he doesn't even notice what's happening.
    • And there's NOTHING you can do for them - although it's a great way to encourage you to kick Mad Hatter's ass as fast as possible to free them. Although you can't.
  • The Insane Children. They're harmless to Alice, but having a close look shows that their heads are enclosed in a horrible apparatus that hold their eyelids open or lips apart. And then you see that the clockwork automatons are created by fusing these poor kids inside — and you learn this after you've killed some. The final part is that after you see a child turned into a machine, you see the bloody words "You're Next".
    • A nasty bit of Fridge Brilliance here too - the whole thing takes place in Alice's mind, which in this level is vaguely registering the Asylum she is in, which also holds children. The little children are being put through the Asylum, and it's turning them into mindless robots.
    • If you pay close attention in the asylum when you're smashing the clocks in the kids' rooms, you realize that doing so stops the flow of mysterious white vapor into the room. When you do, the kids will switch from silently flapping their hands to the more active manifestations of insanity you see them exhibit in the school. The implication would seem to be that the steam is some kind of sedative/antipsychotic gas, which is really dark as all hell when you think about it.
    • The insane children are back in Madness Returns, and rather more mutilated- some have exposed brains. They also represent the kids abused by Dr. Bumby, in the Dollhouse level, which is a whole different type of creepy.
      • This wiki page shows just how mutilated they are.
  • The soundtrack was composed by a member of Nine Inch Nails. It's as twisted and disturbing as you could imagine.
  • The Chesire Cat. He looks like a methed out Malaysian god with a soothing, deep voice that could talk you into sawing your own arm off, dripping with barely restrained contempt and ill intent. Freakiest part of an already very dark and warped game.
  • The ending of the trailer. After we see the backstory (the fire in Alice's house that killed her parents) we see Alice sitting in a bed, her eyes wide open and unblinking with a rabbit tucked into bed beside her. Then the rabbit turns to her and says "Save us, Alice!" in a really creepy, low-toned and distorted voice.
    • It's not distorted. It's her father's voice.
  • The freakin' Duchess. She's a terrifying hag of a woman that eats people, and plans on eating Alice herself. Just imagine seeing this lady charging at you with the intent of turning you into a "light snack". Thankfully, she's a much more bearable character in the sequel (visually and character-wise).
  • Alice herself is no saint either. She usually makes no attempt to end the suffering of others, she just waltzes past them. A village full of enslaved gnomes? Who cares, I just want to follow the rabbit! Insane children in asylum rooms? Not only will I leave them mad and gibbering, I'll cut off their sedative and drive them more insane! That's right, even the game's heroine is cold-hearted to a degree.
    • To be fair, she is saving them in a way, since defeating the Queen is liberating Wonderland. Doesn't make up for the fact that she hardly bats an eyelid.
    • Come the sequel, that's the entire point. She's been suppressing her guilt over her inaction towards the horrors being inflicted on those around her.
    • Not to mention when she goes Hysterical...
  • The entire soundtrack. Except for the final song, where everything is okay of course. Have a listen to the "Dementia" track here.
  • The whole game is a journey through Alice's mind to recover from the traumatic events of the fire. Since this is Alice's imagination, this journey could have taken any form at all, so why does Alice's subconscious choose to gorily slash and hack her problems to bits with a knife? Likely her own mind is in such a chaotic state the mental world of Wonderland itself has become hostile to her.