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Nightmare Fuel / Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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"He's hungry! He's found us! And HE'S COMING!"
"That son of a bitch brought the war to us, two years ago. Jesus, Alfred. Count the dead. Thousands of people. What's next? Millions? He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. And if we believe there is even a one-percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty!"
Bruce Wayne

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice not only shows the downsides of humanity, but also goes deeper into alien terrors like its predecessor. All of this adds up to a cocktail of nightmares that will haunt you in your sleep.

All spoilers on this page are left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

  • When Bruce's parents are murdered in the opening credits sequence, his mother is left twitching and staring blankly while his dying father can only look on in agony.
  • Bruce experiences In-Universe Nightmare Fuel from Man of Steel: He was in Metropolis during the final fight between Superman and Zod. In fact, he was running towards the fight and destruction, and had a ground-level view of Zod's heat vision wrecking Wayne Financial enough to cause it to collapse. He then ran into the cloud of debris and wound up finding a lone little girl still alive, along with Wallace Keefe, whose legs had been irreparably crushed.
    • A major one: You can SEE the building slashed in half via heat vision in Man of Steel. From the inside. Holy crap.
    • This whole scene serves as a perspective from a regular citizen in Metropolis. Most people are not even aware of what's happening. One moment, a huge ship appears... and it starts flattening the entire city. Bystanders can only run in abject terror. And the pulsating sound of the terraforming is ever present.note 
    • Even after the World Engine is destroyed, the chaos does not end. The clash between Superman and Zod destroys several more skyscrapers. The most terrifying shot for anyone would be their re-entry. Not only do the Flying Brick Kryptonians return to Earth, but they bring a meteor shower with them. It's no wonder so many people are afraid of Superman.
  • Lois trying to get an interview with an African terrorist is full of some very real moments of horror, as she's forced to witness people getting shot and held hostage by the leader just as Superman arrives.
    • According to Zack Snyder, one of them was Jimmy Olsen.
    • In the Ultimate Edition, the US drone officers had just given up on rescuing anyone and decided to bomb the village. The ground operatives frantically tried to warn them that they had the situation under control, but the strike happened anyway. If Superman didn't come in at the last moment and destroy the drone, Lois would be cinders.
  • The Joker once taunted Batman over the death of Robin, as shown on Robin's suit.
  • The scene where some police officers investigate a kidnapping, only to find Batman has beaten the guy up and branded him. This is followed by one of the cops spotting Batman as he does a Ceiling Cling. The cop tries to shoot him, but finds Batman is just too fast, as he seems to scurry across the ceiling ahead of the fire and then scrambles up into the roof beyond. He even moves unnaturally, like a ghost; it actually looks a lot like the iconic segment from Poltergeist III.
    • When the cops first arrive at the scene, they find the terrified victims locked in a cage and referring to Batman as a devil that saved them. When one cop opens the cage door to let the victims out, the nearest victim slams the door back closed and screams "it" is still here. These victims are so completely freaked out by what they've witnessed Batman doing to the kidnappers that they believe him to be some sort of demonic savior and feel safer staying inside the cage as long as he's still in the vicinity.
  • Batman himself is pretty scary in this film. His brutality towards criminals and downright irrational way of thinking make him practically villainous. Now, to be fair, what he's been through is enough to make anyone cynical. But still: Batman is not someone you'd want to be cynical.
    • The Comic-Con trailer gives a brief glimpse into why Batman is so feared by the criminal underworld when the police find some bloody-nosed criminal chained to a wall with the Bat symbol branded onto his chest.
    • Batman is out to kill Superman. Just imagine how scary he normally is and remove his one rule. Yeah...
    • The fact that most traits Batman has in this movie seem far more similar to the villain/anti-hero Red Hood. That's right; Batman is closer to one of his villains. Superman has pissed him off royally.
      Gotham Resident: You need to get out of here before it gets dark... There is a new kind of mean in him. He is angry, and he's hunting.
  • In one of his nightmares, Bruce visits his parents' graves and notices a strange black ooze bleeding out of Martha's headstone. Suddenly, a giant, terrifying bat monster bursts out of the stone and attacks him. Try falling asleep after having a nightmare about being attacked by a creature that was once your mother.
  • Just about everything in the Knightmare:
    • Batman's view of the horizon. We see a city burning, flames shooting up from the earth, metallic structures filling the sky, and a giant Omega symbol burned onto the plain.
      • A lovely bit of added Fridge Horror makes this shot worse: This is how Batman sees a world ruled by Superman, someone who is supposed to be a symbol of hope!!! It's hardly a wonder he feels the need to put an end to Superman's madness.
    • This is immediately followed by Batman being attacked by an army of Parademons. What's more is they're not portrayed as an outside enemy force that's preying on friend and foe alike, but as allies of Superman's army.
    • And in a subtler bit of Fridge Horror, Knightmare Batman wields guns against his opponents. Wields them casually, and as a first option rather than a last resort. Not only has this post-apocalyptic hellscape utterly put an end to his one rule, but he doesn't even hesitate anymore. Just how horrific has his world become that it pushed the man who routinely spared the Joker that far?
    • Batman being abducted by Superman's soldiers and held in an underground prison.
    • Superman's Death Glare at an unmasked Batman is pretty intimidating, since he now has Batman at his complete mercy. He also vaporizes several rebels just to intimidate Batman, then rips out his heart.
    • One aspect makes it even worse: The Flash shows up to warn Bruce that Lois is "the key," implying the Knightmare was not just a dream, but likely a vision of a Bad Future.
  • Superman's tolerance for non-powered jerks plummets after Batman's rather-destructive attempt to steal the Kryptonite from Lex.
    Superman: [to Batman] The next time they shine your light in the sky, don't go to it. The Bat is dead. Bury it. Consider this mercy.
  • How far Lex is willing to go for his plans is horrifying, from using Keefe as an Unwitting Pawn to bomb Congress (killing his loyal henchwoman, Mercy, in the processnote  to threatening to have Martha Kent burnt alive. He goes the extra mile of etching "witch" onto Martha's forehead in photos shown to Superman on account of mothering the Devil.
    • After Senator Finch is told Lex framed Superman, she openly talks about it with her aide. Then Lex shows up out of the blue, acting as chummy as he always does. The fact that someone who plans out terrorist acts can behave so cheerfully is serious Paranoia Fuel.
  • If you watch the Senate scene the second time around knowing Lex's speech about how God is tribal, then seeing a building full of Superman detractors get blasted while Superman is in the room with them makes his argument sound horrifyingly convincing. If Superman is so powerful, why couldn't he stop the bomb? If Superman is so good, why doesn't he save those who disagree with him?
  • Superman doesn't like it one bit, but he kneels before Lex because Lex has his mother hostage. Yes, Lex knows that Superman is Clark Kent.
    • Lex even gives Superman some Polaroids of his crying mother Bound and Gagged. They're very distressing to look at, even after all the violence we've seen so far.
    • Superman screaming at Lex while his eyes burn brighter than we've ever seen them. Since Lex had just tried to kill Lois, you can't blame Superman for wanting to fry him then and there.
      Superman: WHERE IS SHE?!
  • Victor Stone's cameo, given his short appearance is before he is officially turned into a cyborg. No, not while he is his regular human self, but his torn upper torso and head strung up on a board with coils attached to him, being experimented on by his father who desperately tries to save his son using a Mother Box. When he is saved by unnatural means, the pained scream he releases is horrifying.
  • The warehouse fight scene. Batman takes out all the criminals holding Martha hostage either with attacks that leave his opponents crippled or dead. The entire scene is Nightmare Fuel for the thugs, from the minute he bursts through the floor, disarming nearly all their firearms in a matter of seconds, to snapping their limbs like twigs and even stabbing a henchman with his own knife. And what he does to him next... you're better off not knowing.
    • The soundtrack "Fight Night" really amplifies the fear, especially the high-pitched screaming sound that starts [1] at 1:16.
  • Lex gains access to Zod's corpse and the remains of the Kryptonian scout-ship that crash-landed in the previous movie. He then places Zod in the birthing chamber aboard the ship and orders the computer to bring him back even stronger. The robotic tendrils surrounding Zod are extremely creepy.
    Lex: If man won't kill God, THE DEVIL WILL DO IT!
    • Then there's a scene that looks like it was ripped directly out of Frankenstein as we see the massive birthing pod getting ready to burst open.
  • Doomsday is a horrifying sight to behold. He regularly bursts with energy and rips his skin off when it takes too much damage. After getting his hand chopped off, it grows back as a bony dagger. Not to mention he kills Superman.
    • The smirking sneer Doomsday gives Superman as he impales him. Remember, Doomsday is a mutation of Zod, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he may still have Zod's mind and memories.
    • There's also the way he seemingly takes a good look at everything around him before continuing his brutal attack on Supes. If he truly remembers how Superman utterly foiled his plan of terraforming Earth into a new Krypton in his previous life as Zod, no wonder he's a lot more pissed-off.
  • When the nuke detonates, there is a massive explosion seen by everyone in Metropolis and Gotham, and probably everyone within a hundred miles. Batman sees it and can only mutter "Oh, God."
  • Superman looking similar to a corpse after being nuked, in an homage to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • While Superman regenerates in space, Doomsday is now loose on Earth. As Batman approaches in the Batwing and tries to dodge Doomsday's Eye Beams, a chilling horror film-like music plays. Nothing can stop Doomsday by this point and humanity is seemingly doomed...until Batman figures out the Kryptonite spear is his only chance.
  • When Lex is sent to prison, Batman comes out of nowhere and threatens him. Despite being traumatized by the incident, Lex starts screaming about how the worst is yet to come, going "ding-ding-ding-ding-ding" over and over. He's either cracked, or he's figured out that Darkseid is coming.
    • Remember that painting in Lex's study that depicts a war between angels and devils? That's an actual painting.
      • And remember what Lex said? That it should be upside down "because devils don't come from Hell beneath us. No. They come from the sky." And when we see that painting again, it's been turned upside down.
    • Just the way Lex describes Darkseid is full-on Cosmic Horror Story.
      Lex: The bell has already been rung... and they've heard it. Out in the dark... among the stars.
  • The Deleted Scene known as "Communion" features Lex standing knee-deep in the Kryptonian ship's fluid which, for a lovely effect, resembles blood. He's in communication with Steppenwolf, who looks far more menacing than what comic fans are used to.
  • The R rating for the Ultimate Edition is no joke, as the associated scenes can be nightmare-inducing. Probably the most jarring example is how the Nairomi witness dies: Anatoli pushes her in front of an oncoming train. We all see it coming, but the moment still makes one jump. Her scream doesn't help.
    • And unlike Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the DCEU's Superman doesn't manage to get there in time to save poor Kahina Ziri, unlike the way Earth-31 Superman could save the blind man.

    Behind the Scenes/Other 
  • From the SDCC trailer: Lex fawning over a chunk of Kryptonite.
  • Empire's cover photo of Superman looks downright intimidating, with his chalk-white skin, hunched posture and Kubrick Stare while standing in a ruined city. It's as if they're trying to validate all those negative opinions of Man of Steel.
  • The track "Must There Be a Superman" is a surreal and harrowing composition that reflects the inner fears the world has about Superman. It sounds like something written for a Silent Hill game.


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