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Nightmare Fuel / Back to the Future Part III

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WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.

  • The scene where Buford Tannen tries to hang Marty for calling him "Mad Dog" and upsetting a spittoon onto him. Not only is this the only time in the trilogy where Marty is too weak to fight back (after the poor guy has already been dragged through the streets by a horse), but Buford comes extremely close to killing him. The camera shows Marty struggling to breathe, choking, and desperately clinging onto the noose in a vain attempt to be strangled less. If Doc hadn't been there, he most certainly would have been dead in minutes.
    • Made even scarier when you find out that Michael J. Fox almost died while filming this scene. The safety line keeping the pressure off his neck failed and he was actually hanged. Fortunately, the trilogy's stunt coordinator, Walter Scott, realized what had happened and he got resuscitated.
    • What's worse is it was mentioned that the newspapers had stopped keeping track of Buford's kills at this point, so if Marty died, nobody would know about it.
    • And prior to that, right after the spittoon's contents land on him, Buford tries to shoot Marty at point-blank range. If it wasn't by sheer luck that Buford was out of ammo, Marty's life probably would have ended right there.
  • The scene where Marty discovers 1985 Doc's tombstone in 1955. Both he and 1955 Doc are rightfully horrified at this discovery, with 1955 Doc looking like he's on the verge of having a heart attack. He becomes so unnerved that he urges Marty not to stand on the hollowed earth, and Marty immediately steps away.
    1955 Doc: What kind of a future do you call that?!
    • The fact that 1985 Doc's murder had taken place a mere week after he wrote his letter to Marty urging him not to travel to 1885 means that Doc was not able to live the quieter, simpler life he had found as a blacksmith in that era. This prompts Marty to go back to ensure this horrible turn of events can never occur.
    • It gets even worse later when Marty, under his guise as "Clint Eastwood," becomes embroiled in 1985 Doc's feud with Buford and accepts the challenge to duel him over a few petty insults. Doc's name vanishes from the tombstone, but Marty's starts to appear as they realize that he may very well get himself killed in Doc's place. It takes some lucky improvisation on Marty's part to avert this fate.
  • The Mood Whiplash that happens when Marty tells Doc they're out of fuel. He honestly believed the whole car was powered by Mr. Fusion, only for Doc to explain that only the time circuits are, with a horrified look that Marty slowly shares. Before, Marty was worried about Doc stuck in the past, but now, he realizes they are both trapped there.
  • There's a rather intense moment in the novelization when Buford confronts Doc at the dance. Doc slowly realizes to his horror that just because he dies on Monday, that doesn't mean he will get shot on Monday. And it dawns on him that, in a day before modern medicine, he could possibly die a slow, painful death.
  • Seamus' story about his deceased brother, also named Martin, that is eerily similar in many respects to Marty. Like Marty, he was easily provoked lest people think him a coward, and ended up getting stabbed in the stomach during a bar fight.
    Marty: Wait a minute. You have a brother named Martin McFly?
    Seamus: Had a brother.
  • Clara slipping while walking along the speeding locomotive after the boiler exploded and dangling upside down by the hem of her dress, her head just a few feet from the ground and throbbing pistons. Doc was not in a better position himself.
  • Marty's return to 1985. Just as the train is about to smash into the DeLorean, Marty has a massive Oh, Crap! moment and frantically tries to open the car door. He escapes a millisecond before the car is absolutely demolished. It's almost as if the DeLorean knew it was about to be destroyed and didn't want to die alone.
    • Truth in Television: The solenoids on the DeLorean's locking mechanism were infamous for engaging and trapping occupants inside.