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Nightmare Fuel / An American Tail

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Even without Parental Abandonment, the storm at sea, the Giant Mouse in action, and those freaking terrifying mean cats. Dear God, won't someone Think of the Children!?

  • The nightmarish scenario of Sapient Eat Sapient in the world of American Tail where Mice of all cultures and backgrounds are preyed upon by Cats of all cultures and backgrounds. Many of which are high ranking businessmen and figures who regularly attack and prey on the lower classes of mice with impunity. The Mice in turn fear for their lives and mourn the loss of their loved ones, including children, when they are killed by Cats.
  • The Cossack cats in the beginning of the movie chasing after Fievel and the fact they were like monsters (in Fievel's point of view.) They sound like monsters rather than cats, too (the same as Dragon from The Secret of NIMH, actually). And the cats in New York aren't much better.
    • The humans at the beginning, who the cats were accompanying. The movie started out with a pogrom. And unlike the gleeful sadism seen in the cats, the cossacks are scowling, making it clear that this was an act of pure hatred.
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  • During the sea storm, the rogue waves morph into a giant demonic entity made of sea foam and water - Father Neptune on acid.
  • The whole scene where Warren Rat takes off his disguise and shows that he's a cat. Especially the close-ups of his teeth.
  • The Giant Mouse of Minsk is unsettling by design — it was made to scare off the cats, after all — and even though it's our heroes' weapon to win the day, it's terrifying. The head and other parts of the Mouse are rotoscoped (traced over live footage: the producers made and filmed an actual Mouse) giving its movements an eerie realism and making it seem unworldly.
    • The Giant Mouse of Minsk was the closest thing that the immigrants could come up with to a tank - from the cats' perspective, it's a huge, armored juggernaut spitting missiles (well, fireworks) at them! It's little wonder they ran for the hills!
  • There's a whole lot of Adult Fear too if you put yourself in Papa's position. He's doing whatever he can to get his family a better life, but no matter where he goes the dangers he flees end up being everpresent. Then he spends much of the film thinking his only son had died before even reaching America.
    • And for Papa himself, too. In "There Are No Cats In America," Papa starts off the song by mentioning that he and his family were just walking to Minsk one day when he was young, then they saw evidence of a cat in the area, Papa faints, and he wakes up to find his entire family had been killed and eaten. That's a terrifying prospect for any parent, one that transcends their own death: now, their child is all alone in a world where they're at the bottom of the food chain...
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  • The aspect of America vs. Europe as not so different with regards to the cats' oppression of the mice (representing the oppressed, disenfranchised lower classes of the world). Not only is it made abundantly clear that, yes, there really are cats in America, the scene demonstrating this is quite horrific. It starts with Fievel very nearly being eaten, whole and alive, by a cat and only surviving thanks to Cartoon Physics. Some other mice in the scene aren't so lucky: a few are grabbed by other cats with the clear implication that they're about to be Eaten Alive even though it cuts away to other shots of the cats terrorizing the mice. To hammer home that the mice are no safer in America than they were in Europe, the scene reuses animation cels from the Cossack raid on the Russia village earlier in the movie.
  • If you were even remotely afraid of insects the swarm of roaches in the sewer were pretty creepy...
  • After Tony knocks off Warren's disguise and Gussie Mausheimer swears he will never get another cent from the mice, he gleefully sets the abandoned museum on fire to kill them all. If Fievel hadn't used some of the fire to burn the ropes holding the Giant Mouse of Minsk back, all the mice would have been trapped and died in the fire. Even after the cats are driven off the pier, the fire ignites a pile of leaking kerosene cans and sets the whole pier on fire.
    • Of course, as the pier burns down, the smoke alerts the human residents of NYC and the FDNY arrives to battle the blaze, unaware of any of the fleeing mice that could be caught in high-pressure streams of water coming from their hoses.

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