Nightmare Fuel in Batman Beyond.
WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.
The Animated Series
- Everything Inque does. The first time she actually attacks Batman, she does so by blackening the screen save for the corner where he is. Talk about Nightmare Fuel for claustrophobics. And then there are multiples instance of her going full-on Eldritch Abomination.
- Not just the sheer number of Family Unfriendly Deaths, but the nature of said deaths. Good cripes.
- The Jokerz. Gangs various clown-garbed punks that roam the streets of 2040's Gotham who emulate The Joker of all people as a symbol of reverence. Though a minor nuisance, they can be a nightmare for normal civilians who normally have to run or pay money to avoid a lethal beating and there's a whole city's worth of them. Think Class of 1984 Up to Eleven.
- All the news reports in the show are delivered by the virtual news anchors Kim and Tom, who are really cool and fit in well with the show's Art Deco / Cyberpunk / Retro Futuristic aesthetic, but they look...unsettling, to say the least, with permanent smiles and lips that never close even while speaking, and their faces are permanently in chiaroscuro lighting, leaving the right side of the face in shadow, which adds to the strangely uncanny effect.Take a look for yourself.
- Derek Powers nicely sets the Nightmare Fuel tone for the series right from the early going.
- What his nerve gas does. Probably due to censors, we don't actually SEE what happens to a human or an animal, but that arguably makes it worse, given what we see it does to plants. Powers' comment, depending on whether or not you think he was being literal, implies humans exposed to it turn to dust if not treated. Even the man he's selling the gas to is squicked out when he sees the effects on humans. It's not at all helped by Powers' casual demeanor when showing the gas' effects.
- And there's his transformation into Blight. After getting exposed to the gas himself, he receives radiation therapy to save his life. The combined effects of the gas and radiation mutate him into a glowing green skeleton with deadly radiation powers. His new appearance matches his black soul.
- The episode closes with him laughing maniacally as he turns right to the camera, revealing his skull.
1x03 — Black Out
- Inque's first serious attempt at killing Batman: She crams herself down his throat! Sure, a disguised Bruce and his fire hose come to the rescue, but that's got to be a pretty unsettling way to go...
1x04 — Golem
- Willie Watt's life is horrific because of how mundane it is when it comes to the abuse heaped on him by Nelson and his father, as well as how few sympathetic people are in his corner like Terry and his friends. While Nelson is bad enough, Willie's father is the only parental figure in his and his mother is most likely deceased given his statements in his second appearance, meaning his only role model is a asshole that endorses the toxic masculinity that Nelson personifies. The giant robot is just Willie's means of acting out; the true cause of Willie's descent into villainy is a very realistic take on what the Right Makes Might attitude would result in a lonely kid that has little to no positive emotional connections: a budding psycopath that decides killing people is a plausible answer to his problems.
1x05 — Meltdown
- The part where Freeze murders Dr. Lake, his traitorous scientist girlfriend who almost got him killed on Derek Powers' orders.
- Before that, the part where Lake locks Victor, who's started to revert to being Mr. Freeze, in his exam room and cranks the heat up to knock him out or kill him from heatstroke so she can harvest his organs.
1x06 — Heroes
- The deaths of the Terrific Trio are pretty gruesome.
- 2-D Man gets sucked into a ventilation shaft by his torso and shredded by the fan blades.
- Freon gets dissipated by the fans and radiation of the nearby nuclear device, leaving her remains to be sucked into the air ducts.
- And, finally, Magma gets cooled down by being sprayed with a high-pressure fire hose, brutally beaten, and kicked into some equipment before his flames go out for good, leaving a lifeless hunk of rock.
1x07 — Shriek
- Bruce being tormented and nearly Driven to Suicide by the voices coming from Shriek's hidden transmitter. Worst of all the way he grabs his head and just screams.
1x09 — The Winning Edge
- Bane's ultimate fate. After decades of using Venom, he's been reduced to a shriveled and comatose wreck who needs a steady supply of Venom to survive. His handler, Jackson Chapell, tells Terry that, at the end, Bane needed help just to make the Venom; his body had decayed so badly that he couldn't do it by himself anymore.
- Chapell OD'ing on Venom while fighting Batman at the end when he falls into a crate of the Venom patches he had been selling as a street drug.
- With his handler gone, Bane no longer has a source for the Venom he needs (though given his condition, death might be a mercy).
1x10 — Spellbound
- Spellbinder in general, who is a school counselor whom the kids should be able to trust, but instead he uses them to steal valuables because of his ego being slighted.
- Mrs. Tate's massive insect world hallucination.
- What's especially nasty is that not only does the poor woman see everyone around her as giant insects, but her own jewelry has become monstrous worms and bugs as well. Even people who AREN'T afraid of insects generally don't want to be surrounded by them or have them crawl on them.
- Spellbinder causing Batman to hallucinate being attacked by zombies during their final battle. And worse, Batman can't even see Spellbinder and needs Bruce to point him out to him via comm-link.
1x11 — Disappearing Inque
- What Inque does to Aaron Herbst, the poor guy who helps her get her human form back. She gives him half the mutagen, leaving him a wretched half-human, half-blob thing that ends up in the same facility that was studying Inque.
1x12 — A Touch of Curare
- Just the thought that there is a society of cold-blooded killers out in the world can send shivers to your spine. Even worse, if you actually work for them and you fail them, you'll be hunted for the rest of your life. If you weren't dead already.
- Also, though it was never shown in the series head on, during their second encounter, Batman knocks Curare over and in the process, drops her veil. We only see that she's bald from the back and Terry reacting in disgust and terror at seeing her without her face covering. From production art, here is Curare's true face
1x13 — Ascension
- This exchange cements just how evil Blight really is and how many innocent people he's possibly killed in his life without even a care:Batman: You killed my father.
- Terry's mutagenic transformation into a monstrous Man-Bat-esque creature, which is eerily reminiscent of what happened to Kirk and Francine Langstrom in Batman: The Animated Series.Terry: Bruce... Help me!
- Terry arriving back at the Batcave with only enough time to toss his mask at Bruce's feet and reveal himself to be almost fully transformed, as he says the above-mentioned line before going full-bat and attacking Bruce.
- Particularly chilling how, after injecting Terry with the splicing serum, Dr. Cuvier calmly tells him, "You're welcome to your opinions, while you're still human enough to have them."
- Cuvier's final transformation. He starts off injecting various animal DNA into himself to become a literal chimera. Batman then starts pumping random serums into him, causing him to turn into a hideously misshapen mass of sinew and bile. See for yourself◊.
2x02 — Earth Mover
- Earthmover. Essentially a motionless, decaying corpse half-melted into the surrounding earth...except for the glowing green eyes. Seriously creepy even for this series, especially since his character model is more detailed than anyone else's.
- His VOICE! He sounds like a horrible mix of something demonic and a dying man who can barely even draw enough breath to speak.Earthmover: [to Bill Wallace] YOU... LEFT. ME. BURIED!
- It's never made clear what happened to the mind of Tony Maychek upon his transformation into Earthmover. Is he, as suggested in the episode, just an endlessly resounding echo of rage? A last gasp of identity no more conscious than a computer program? Or is he fully conscious, but driven so insane by his situation that no longer cares about anything but vengeance? Or, most chilling of all, is he fully conscious, but no longer able to remember anything of his life but its final, horrifying moments, endlessly repeated forever in his mind?
- What's worse in terms of Harsher in Hindsight is that he was voiced by Stephen Collins. Seeing that Earthmover wants to kidnap his own teenage daughter brings in shudders for viewers in light of Collins' real-life repeated statutory rape crimes.
- The idea of meeting a long-lost family member who is completely unhinged. And the pre-conceived notion that they'll be whoever you created in your head, being completely shattered. Must be a truly terrifying situation to be in.
- His VOICE! He sounds like a horrible mix of something demonic and a dying man who can barely even draw enough breath to speak.
2x04 — Lost Soul
- Just the way Robert Vance looks on the computer screen, with dead eyes and a ghostly pallor, is Nightmare Fuel by itself. The events of the episode just mix in kerosene with the Nightmare Fuel, and the end where, as he's being deleted, we hear his memories regressing to childhood, ending with the heartbreaking sound of Vance asking for his parents just dumps the container on and turns it into Nightmare Fuel. There may not be a single episode that can rival how creepy the villain was and how disturbing that end scene was.Vance: Five hundred megs! A thousand kilobytes! Pi r squared! [voice reverts to that of an adolescent] Two plus two equals four! [voice then reverts to that of a child, and then becomes baby talk] Me first! I wanna play! One potato... Two potato... Mama! Papa! ... Mama!
- Vance manages to get into the Batsuit. He/it realizes that Terry is nothing more than a hindrance, so he/it decides to get rid of him... by drowning him. The way that Terry fights his own suit as it walks into the ocean is incredibly agonizing to watch. Sure, Bruce realizes what's going on and activates the Batsuit's fail-safe, but that only happens once Terry is neck-deep in the water. He's stuck there, trying to stay upright and alive as he gets hit by wave after wave until Bruce finally comes to get him.
- The horror that Vance was going to subject Bobby, his own grandson, to: Download his consciousness into Bobby's body, thus "erasing" Bobbynote .
- Bobby's question "Where will I be?" is answered with a deadpan "Wherever deleted programs go." Vance views his grandson as a program to be erased and replaced with himself.
2x05 — Hidden Agenda
- Terminal. There's this eerie feel to him, especially that his facial makeup looks like a skull and he's completely detached and ruthless, even nonchalantly throwing one of his gang members off a roof in the opening scene. And all of this happens because his mother is an emotionally abusive bitch.
2x06 — Blood Sport
- The flashback to Stalker's back surgery. It's made very clear that, for whatever reason, the surgeons didn't want to put him under anesthesia when replacing his spinal chord.
- Terry gets the upper hand when he plunges Stalker's spear into one of his own traps, electrocuting him. We're treated to the sight of Stalker's metal spine glowing and smoking as the electrical current superheats it.
- Stalker is supposedly killed by being run over by a train. Why didn't he leap out of the way? He hallucinated and thought it was a panther. In fact, the panther that mauled him in the first place.
2x07 — Once Burned...
- It's bad enough for Melanie that she had to steal from crime lords to save her loved ones, but it gets even worse when she discovers that it was actually her own family that set her up. Their apathetic response about their daughter's plight can be viewed as unsettling.
2x08 — Hooked Up
- The episode is a frighteningly realistic look at drug addiction, though making one upin the form of VR, put together by Spellbinder. Lonely, neglected or desperate teens come to him, living out their dream lives where they are stars, get their dream guy or, in the case of Max, are just considered important to her family, then are forced to commit crimes by him to get another dose of that joy. Donny, one of Terry's classmates, even is shown sweating and scratching himself from withdrawal after time away from the VR Machine.
- It gets worse, as, the longer a person remains in the machine, their brains produce serotonin to dangerous levels. Jessie, who gets to live out her dream of her manager asking her out and then marrying her ends up in the hospital in a serotonin induced coma. And, from Bruce's own study, it is not the first time.
- This is made even creepier as, after Jessie "OD's", Spellbinder casually tells the other kids to dispose of her across town, simply throwing her away like she's trash, as she's of no further use to him.
- After Max gets addicted to the VR machine, we're treated to a view of her eyes with no pupils as she hovers in the VR machine, smiling, lost in her blissful dream.
2x09 — Rats!
- Dana is kidnapped by Patrick/Ratboy, a delusional stalker with giant rats as pets. At first, he seems like a sympathetic character talking about how society rejected him for his looks, but by the end of the episode, it's revealed that he's a Serial Killer who feeds teenagers to his rats! If Batman hadn't showed up, Dana would have definitely been killed.Ratboy: [genuinely concerned] You're not eating.
Dana: Guess I'm not hungry.
Ratboy: Are you upset?
Dana: What, just because I'm trapped in the sewers with a headcase whose idea of a good time is hanging out with rodents!? Why would I be upset?!
Ratboy: [narrows his eyes at her] You're just like all the others.
Ratboy: I thought you'd understand, but you're no different.
Dana: You mean you've done this before?
Ratboy: [as his rats start closing in] With other kids the world didn't want. I can see them all from down here. I took them away from all that and gave them a home.
Dana: What happened to them?
Ratboy: [takes out a whistle, smiling evilly] They don't make fun of me anymore. [blows the whistle and sics his rats on her]
2x10 — Mind Games
- Tamara, the creepy psychic girl who looks eerily similar to Ace from Justice League, uses her powers to permanently blind the Invulnerable Man. Watching him go insane from losing his sight is pretty chilling, especially when she could have just made him unconscious. It's made even more disturbing when it was thought to be payback for his abusive behavior.
- Tamara at least turns out to be alright. But the Brain Trust? They find kids with psychic powers, then approach their parents, claiming to be from an exclusive school which their kid has been picked for, and as soon as mom and dad have signed them up, they take off with the kid to use them for God knows what. They even have a fake school set up just to sell the lie. And Tamara's parents found out when they tried to get in contact with them and found absolutely nothing.
- And the fear just keeps a'coming, when Bruce and Terry are trying to identify Tamara from a computer database for missing children. They go through a lot of pictures.
- Batman's encounter with Edgar Mandragora, Steven Mandragora's son from Justice League Unlimited who has become a terrifying old psychic who likes to Mind Rape people and beat them with objects or stab them with the blade in his cane. He eerily looks like some psychotic ghost.
2x11 — Revenant
- "Revenant" continues where the last episode ended off with Willie Watt from "Golem." He now has telekinetic abilities which he uses to torment his former oppressors.
- When Terry visits him in juvenile hall, he (and the audience) learns that no one ever visits the boy, not even his father. Given Willie's current MO, Mr. Watt might no longer exist.
2x12 — Babel
- Ace going berserk and attacking Bruce and Terry, thanks to Shriek.
- Shriek subjecting the city to his deadly frequency. Batman and Bruce's screams of absolute pain are disturbing. It's probably a good thing we the audience were spared seeing how everyone else in Gotham was reacting.
2x13 — Terry's Friend Dates a Robot
- Cynthia nearly murdering Nelson via dropping several gym lockers onto him, even if he did deserve it.
- The reason she did this? Nelson was going to attack her boyfriend Howard who, being an ordinary nerd, would've been unable to put up any kind of defense, just because he felt Cynthia was too good-looking for him.
- Cynthia in general is downright horrifying. Howard programmed her to be "totally devoted" to him, and boy did he get his wish. She's super possessive of him, to the point where her response to anyone trying to get between her and Howard is to murder them. And when Howard tries to end things, she ends up turning on him. She has superhuman strength and is so skilled in combat that not even Batman can match her. When Howard drops the "Let's Just Be Friends" cliché, Cynthia explodes.
2x15 — Final Cut
- Curare is back, and she's finishing off her former employers one by one and it's not pretty.
2x16 — The Last Resort
- The subjugation that the kids go through at the Ranch. Children are brainwashed Big Brother-style, denied food, sleep, bathroom breaks, or even contact with the outside world until they break. Those that step out of line are put into ISO, which amounts to sensory deprivation. Bruce mentions that such tactics are used in cults and on some prisoners of war, so seeing them used on kids...
- And what makes things even worse is that there are real-life "therapeutic" institutions that do all this and worse to kids, and plenty of sadistic people just like Dr. Wheeler who run them.
2x18 — Sneak Peek
- Ian Peek's final fate is one of the most horrific ends to any villain in either series. After abusing the intangibility belt (which he stole), Peek winds up becoming intangible without it, and unable to be selective about what he's intangible to. In the climactic confrontation, right as he's got a gun on Batman and Bruce, the gun suddenly falls out of his hand, because his body has finally phased out completely and he can no longer stand on solid ground as there is only one thing that still has an effect on him: gravity. This causes him to fall from the top story of a huge building through floor after floor, while Batman's constantly trying to swoop to grab him as Ian's screaming for help. In the basement, Batman finally manages to grab him, and encourages Ian to focus on staying solid, and for a second, it looks like it works, until he seems to just lose all spirit and slowly sink into the basement floor, laughing for a moment, then screaming/crying until his voice becomes muffled by the floor. Thus, Ian Peek helplessly begins his descent into the center of the earth, never to be seen again. This guy was a greedy scumbag who committed murder, but that is still a horrible way to go.
- Something that makes it just a little worse is the final exchange between Batman and Bruce. A shaken Terry asks what's gonna happen, and Bruce (who has No Sympathy for Peek after his deplorable behavior) can only guess what will happen to Ian Peek from here. Will he die once he hits the Earth's core, or just float forever in a Fate Worse than Death? Will he even make it down there, or will his rapidly deteriorating body just lose its substance completely until he ceases to exist? It's that uncertainty that makes this ending even more haunting than it already was.
2x22 — April Moon
- The ending, where the unsuspecting Bullwhip is about to be killed. With a drill that is slowly closing in towards the camera. If you ever have a fear of the dentist, that's bound to set it off.
- This line, as the drill slowly approaches the POV of the viewer:Corso: I understand. No holding back.
- "Killed?" Bullwhip kidnapped Corso's wife for free augmentation for himself and his gang, then came back to him for repairs after the poor doctor found out his wife was in on it and was cheating on him with Bullwhip. Bullwhip was Strapped to an Operating Table to be worked on by a trained surgeon who hated his guts and no longer had any reason to fear him or anything to live for besides revenge. IF he died, it probably came as a blessing.
- The episode also never shows us what happened to April, especially since Corso now knows of her betrayal...
- This line, as the drill slowly approaches the POV of the viewer:
- You almost feel sorry for Kneejerk. His upgrades failing mostly look like painful shocks, but he's left a limbless torso, staring at what's left of his arms and legs.
2x26 — Ace in the Hole
- The cerestone dog created by Ronny Boxer. It's large enough to swallow a grown man whole!
3x03 — Inqueling
- Aside from Powers, Inque is the only one of Terry's rogues that he legitimately takes seriously. Terry's description to Max sums up their deadly history together:Terry: She was in the Batcave once. It was my fault. Wayne had to capture her. When she escaped, I went after her, and Wayne had to rescue me again. Almost got himself killed. That's not gonna happen this time. I'll take care of Inque myself.
- As much an Asshole Victim she is, Inque's supposed death is terrifying and yet at the same time, heart-breaking. She thought she had a good relationship with her daughter until she engineered this plot that would result in her seeming death. Before she fades, Inque isn't angry at all towards her; she's just hurt.
- The ending. Deanna is relaxing on her new property when Batman visits her and informs her that samples of Inque's body disappeared from police custody. Deanna maintains that Inque is dead, to which Batman points out "She's been dead before" before flying off. Deanna then senses something watching her and curls up, looking scared. Before the episode ends, a large shadow nearby grows an eye.
3x05 — Out of the Past
- The final fate of Talia al Ghul. She's reunited with Bruce after decades apart, having finally taken over in her father's stead after he died for good. She's still young thanks to the Lazarus Pits and wants Bruce to join her in eternal youth. Except that it turns out that Talia is already dead, and its RA'S AL GHUL occupying her body, having taken his daughter's body over and erased her mind completely when his own was damaged beyond even the Lazarus Pits' ability to heal, and now wants to take Bruce's body so he can continue his legacy.
3x07/08 — The Call, Part 1 & 2
- Superman under mind control by Starro is frightening enough, as not only is it frightening to be mind-controlled by something you were only trying to help, there's also the fact that he flies in an upright position instead of leaning forward like he does without mind control, which would be creepy enough without taking into account the fact that that's how wasps fly, keeping their legs out as opposed to bees, who hide their legs when they fly.
- That last part is even creepier with Brightburn, as Brandon (a Corrupted Character Copy of Superman) has the very same animal motif of a wasp.
- Even creepier is that Starro had control of Superman for years. Who knows how horrifying it must have been for Superman to realize he'd been a prisoner in his own body during all that time?! Especially considering how he's been brainwashed before in this continuity.
3x13 — Unmasked
- The regional Kobra leader committing suicide rather than letting Batman catch him by jumping into a pit of snakes.
The Comic Book Series
- The Joker King. He's actually Dana's sociopathic brother who's idolized the original Joker since childhood, and has just gotten worse and worse despite his parents trying to find some way to cure his behavior. As an adult, he organizes a massive army of Jokerz from all over the country and leads them in a huge riot all over Gotham that kills thousands. He's an even bigger Straw Nihilist than Joker ever was, believing that because the solar system and the galaxy and the universe itself will eventually end, life is inherently meaningless as nothing you can possibly do will matter in the end. Unlike Joker, he doesn't want a grand fight to the finish with Batman; he wants to kill his own family just to spite them, then die himself. He ends up killing himself while fighting Terry.
- From issue 5 from the rebirth reboot: THE JOKER IS ALIVE.
- According to Paul Dini, Killer Croc was ultimately stuffed and mounted; by the time of this series, he is an exhibit in the reptile wing of the American Museum of Natural History.