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Nightmare Fuel / Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Can't even shout...Can't even cry...The gentlemen are coming by...
Doctor: Do you know where you are, Buffy?
Buffy: [confused] Sunnydale.
Doctor: No, none of that's real, none of it. You're in a mental institution. You've been with us now for six years. Do you remember?
— "Normal Again"

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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    Season 1 
  • Vampires and the fate of becoming one are pretty horrifying. It is constantly hammered in that the person you were is dead, leaving your body a soulless husk with a demon walking around in your skin, embracing the worst aspects of your personality (or twisting the good ones towards sadism and cruelty) to slaughter innocents possibly for centuries.
  • The fate of Amy's mother in "The Witch": Trapped in a trophy forever. One might argue that she had it coming.
    • This one gets even nastier in the Season 8 comics. A group of Initiative soldiers go down into the recently-collapsed Sunnydale and one of them swears that a statue is looking right at him. Far from escaping the events of Season 3 or Season 7, she survived and is still alive and trapped there.
  • "The Pack". Those kids eating Principal Flutie... it only gets worse at the end when we find out that they didn't lose their memories. Let's all take a moment to think about just how those kids are going to turn out.note 
  • Special mention must go to "Nightmares". Everyone's nightmares come to life:
    • The very first nightmare emergence of a classmate being attacked by tarantulas.
      • Emphasis on the tarantulas. It's Played With; the student's arachnophobia was actually caused by accidentally killing his pet spiders, so he sees their ghosts trying to drag him down... "I don't hate spiders, I love them..."
    • Willow's stage fright.
    • Xander doesn't like clowns and Nazis. The school gets covered in swastikas. Worse, the knife-wielding clown that chases Xander is utterly TERRIFYING!
    • Buffy is afraid being buried alive note . Not only does Buffy get buried alive in her nightmare, she comes back as a vampire. She gets a look of pure horror when she realizes it.
    • The Ugly Man himself is also terrifying. It's even worse when you find out what he is based on: The small boy Billy's fear of his abusive Kiddie League baseball coach.
  • Marcie from "Out of Mind, Out of Sight", who becomes so unstable that she fully intends to mutilate Cordelia's face, including making her smile WIDER. Of course, she doesn't succeed, but her intentions are still every bit disturbing and horrific.
    • The end of the episode, where some Men in Black lead Marcie into a seemingly empty classroom, only for the teacher to tell the class to open their books. Then all the textbooks open and the chapter under study is "Infiltration and Assassination." Which is scarier: That ignored kids turning invisible isn't limited to happening on the Hellmouth, or that it happens often enough that the government is finding them so they can train them as invisible assassins?
  • Willow and Cordelia walking downstairs to the AV Club in "Prophecy Girl" to find a room full of dead kids who were watching cartoons before the vampires attacked. The music is an eerie, shrill note of horror, and the camera focuses on the blood-stained television screen, where it shows the Three Little Pigs dancing about gleefully as that horrifying music plays. It's implied that this made Willow faint from terror when she talks to Buffy later in the evening.
    Willow: When Cordelia and I walked into that room... It wasn't our world anymore. It was theirs. And they were having fun...

    Season 2 
  • Until "Some Assembly Required", antagonists were either congenitally evil monsters or insane humans. Eric Gittleson is just an ordinary student with Serial Killer in his marrow. And according to the Sunnydale High Yearbook, he spent some time in a juvenile detention center but managed to graduate. Current whereabouts unknown.
  • Poor Shelia from "School Hard". Sure, she was a delinquent, but even she has the common sense to know she screwed up big time after she's kidnapped by Spike, bound, gagged, and wondering who the hell these people even are. By the time she's fed to Dru, she has a look of utter horror on her face as she realizes she's about to die, turning to Dru, only now seeing the face of a monster staring back at her before the fangs comes.
    • The fact that it cuts away just as Dru does the deed makes it even more frightening. It's also a good Establishing Character Moment for Drusilla just to showcase how messed up she is. That underneath that sweet girl act is still a beast, even if weakened at the time.
  • Eyghon from "The Dark Age", especially when possessing the corpses of Giles' old friends. Not to mention when Giles takes Jenny back to his apartment, not knowing that she's been possessed...
  • The first scene featuring Norman Pfister (aka "Bug Guy") from the two-parter "What's My Line?", especially that horrible, terrified scream Buffy's next-door neighbor lets out after she lets him into her home.
  • "Ted". Buffy's initial distrust of her mother's new boyfriend comes across as simple dislike at first, until it turns out that he's not the nice guy he presents himself as. Unfortunately, nobody believes Buffy and dismisses her claims. Later, when Ted is presumably (and accidentally) killed, Buffy faces criminal charges and she is guilt-ridden at having killed a human being... and then Ted returns, apparently alive and well. Not to mention intent on killing Joyce and Buffy. Oh, and he turns out to be a homicidal robot created by and based on a real human called Ted, an inventor who became distraught when his wife left him and he built the robot Ted. Things went horribly wrong when Robot!Ted kidnapped and murdered the real Ted's wife, and then went on to murder all of his following wives when they didn't live up to his idea of "the perfect family". Argh.
    • Not to mention the sight of his face after Buffy beats him up so badly that his synthetic skin is torn from one side of his face, exposing his teeth and jaws. Also, he dies/shuts down with his eyes wide open.
    • Heck, Xander explicitly lampshades this!
      Xander: So I'm Ted, the sickly loser. I'm dying and my wife dumps me. I build a better Ted. He brings her back, holds her hostage in his Bunker O' Love until she dies, and then? He keeps bringin' her back over and over. Now that's creepy on a level I hardly knew existed!
    • If you've never thought that John Ritter could be scary, think again. The way he seamlessly shifts from an easygoing nice guy to an angry and yelling lunatic is disturbing.
  • Angelus is frequently compared to The Joker, and it's appropriate. Both because Angelus is capable of being darkly hilarious when he wants to be, but also because he is capable of being absolutely horrifying.
  • "Passion". Angelus stalking Buffy, sneaking into her home at night, and watching her sleep.
    • That's nothing really compared to the drawings he leaves behind for Buffy and Willow. The fact that he's a stunning artist only makes it that much scarier.
    • And then there's Jenny Calendar's death by Neck Snap and Giles' "surprise."
      Angelus: Looks like I get to kill two birds with one stone. (looks at Jenny) And teacher makes three.
  • Der Kindestod from "Killed By Death". Incredibly creepy, and only able to be seen by sick people, and when you're very sick and weak and unable to fight back, it sucks your soul out by growing sucking tentacles out of its eyes. Brrrr. And just to add to the creepy factor, the thing enjoys what it's doing: When Buffy and Willow spot it from behind a window, it simply giggles and tips its hat before skulking off.
  • James going angry spirit on everyone in "I Only Have Eyes For You". Buffy encounters his spirit directly which goes from normal-looking to a nightmare-inducing rotting corpse, Cordelia discovers her face melting in the mirror, and the floor begins sucking Willow up, leading to her giving some particularly painful screams.
  • The entire concept of Drusilla's character. A sweet if somewhat fanatical Christian girl having her family murdered, being stalked, implied to have horrible things done to her and for years having to flee and attempt to start her life over again, knowing fully well that she won't be able to, and nobody will be able to stop her harassers- for reasons she doesn't understand except maybe For the Evulz - completely wrecking her sanity and identity. By the time she's turned into a vampire, she is so traumatized that she has completely blocked out reality. Later episodes of Angel also go on to state that Angelus turned her into a vampire so she'll have to suffer from her trauma forever and that for her, "it'll never end". Not only this, but what Drusilla is actually capable of makes her one terrifying figure.
  • Spike and his goons attacking the Sunset Club, especially the part where Chantrelle first sees Spike in his Game Face. In a single moment, their belief that vampires are misunderstood creatures of the night is shattered, and they nearly pay for that delusion with their lives.

    Season 3 
  • The hell dimension Buffy encounters in "Anne". Desperate, down-on-their-luck teenagers who are already without a home are tricked into entering a dimension where 100 years equal one human dimension day. Here, they are imprisoned, forced into grueling manual labor in a decrepit factory, have their identities beaten out of them and, after numerous decades have passed, are spit back out into the world to live on the streets until they die old and driven mad. All this and no one even has the time to look for them because they've only been missing for a day.
  • The scene in "Dead Man's Party" when the recently-deceased burn victim rises from the dead in the hospital, very shortly after the doctors have given up trying to resuscitate him. The state of the man's horribly-burned face is frightening enough, but there's also the fact that the camera fixes on the Flatline during the ensuing chaos.
  • "Lovers Walk": As silly and ineffectual as drunk!Spike appears throughout much of the episode, the scene where he forces Willow to help him by shoving a broken bottle in her face and threatening to rape her while she weeps with terror is genuinely disturbing.
  • "The Wish" features an alternate version of Sunnydale where Buffy never showed up to stop the Harvest. Vampires, including Willow and Xander, own the night, and the Master rules from the Bronze.
    • The early scenes right after Cordelia's wish becomes Harsher in Hindsight. She reunites with Harmony and her friends, and discovers that, thanks to Buffy not having come to Sunnydale, she's still as popular as she ever was. On first viewing, those scenes just seem like they're establishing that, without Buffy, Cordy would still be an Alpha Bitch, but once you know what a horrible, vampire-occupied wasteland Wishverse!Sunnydale is, the scenes of ordinary high school life (the few surviving students cramming into an algebra class, random guys asking Cordelia to a dance) take on a horrible tone of the few remaining survivors trying desperately to live normal lives despite impending violent death.
    • Some of the really horrifying things are in just how subtle the changes are, such as class being canceled for the "monthly memorial", Harmony commenting on Cordy's bright colors making her a target for vamps, and a guy asking her to the "Winter Brunch."
    • One shot outside the Bronze has a vampire shaking a girl around like a dog might. Scary in itself, but take a cloooooose look. Remind you of anyone? It's intended to be Faith, who they got before she became a Slayer. Faith, by all accounts, is the baddest of the badass; if she doesn't stand a chance, it shows how doomed the world is. Word of God says the girl's resemblance to Faith was accidental, which makes sense seeing as there would be no reason for her to be in Sunnydale if she hadn't been called as the Slayer. Buffy had not died yet in the Wishverse, so neither Faith nor Kendra would have left their hometowns.
    • An unconventional bit of Nightmare Fuel, but just look at the difference of Wishverse!Buffy and regular Buffy. This Buffy is the "ideal" Slayer; no friends and family that keep her grounded in the world. This is what Buffy could have been, what the Council wanted her to be. She is a pure soldier who is basically doing what she does because this is her purpose, what she exists for, not in the name of defending it, but because she has no other option. She doesn't care about the lives lost in the good fight; just killing vampires. This is what Buffy could have been if she hadn't come to Sunnydale, and it's so different from the Buffy we know, she might as well be a total stranger. Even Vamp!Xander and Vamp!Willow have some piece of the characters we know and love, twisted and warped as they might be, but Buffy? There's no sign of the master of quips and bad puns in her Wishverse counterpart.
    • Two words: "Bored now." The reason they're so horrifying is because of when they're used. The first is for The Reveal that Willow had become a vampire. The second is before she tortures Angel and shows that her Superpowered Evil Side is just as bad as Angelus.
    • How about the fact that Cordelia - who we're led to believe will be the episode's protagonist - is killed off halfway through. And her death comes when Giles is locked in the book deposit, unable to leave and is Forced to Watch as Xander and Willow drain her completely. There's no Gory Discretion Shot either; it's quite drawn out.
    • The Master selects one poor girl to be the guinea pig for his new project - getting stabbed with dozens of tubes and having the blood sucked out of her then and there.
    • Earlier on, the Wham Shot of Anya turning into Anyanka is very jarring.
  • "Amends": Angel's torment by the First Evil is utterly agonizing. He's reminded of his past murders and tempted to lose his soul by making love to Buffy. David Boreanaz truly sells how harrowing the situation is for Angel. It gets to the point where Angel decides to kill himself by waiting for the sun to rise. In response, the First Evil tells Angel that isn't part of the plan..."but it'll do." This thing does not give zero shits about the people it manipulates. It truly is the embodiment of evil.
  • "Gingerbread". The idea of manipulating parents into committing acts of mass murder for the sake of their children sends chills up your spine. You can imagine the potential aftermath had Buffy failed, parents waking up to find they had murdered their own children. The terrifying part was how strong the subtext was. Up until they introduced the Monster of the Week, it just seemed like a plausible tale of normal people allowing their hysteria to get the better of them. The book-burning, the locker raids—it could all happen in real life under the right circumstances.
  • "Helpless". Everything Zachary Kralik does in this episode is Nightmare Fuel. This includes taking medicine. He turns a person into a vampire, makes him feed on his assistant (which they then mutilate, with Giles unfortunate enough to find his (off-screen) remains and back out gagging), kidnaps Buffy's mother and takes pictures of her. Enough to fill a whole room with. Luckily, he only appeared in this episode.
  • "Consequences". The implication that, at the nadir of her sanity, Faith would rape Xander to death? Cree-pee. Later on, the idea that Buffy becomes just as bad, if not worse? Way to make Slayers unappealing. Buffy certainly did become a bit more morally grey at the end of Season 3 and during Season 6, but she never came close to anything that compares to the seriousness of rapenote  or any killing as cold-blooded as any of Faith's murders. She was in the wrong to try and kill Faith later, but it was done after Faith's Faceā€“Heel Turn and with the intention to cure Angel.
  • "Enemies": The idea of a Villain Team-Up between Angelus and Faith. On the one hand, we have whom everyone in both series fear, someone who's completely irredeemable. On the other, Faith is at the nadir of her sanity and lives and breathes Charles Manson's ideal of being the last one standing on a mountain of ashes. If the pair did work together, no one would last long.
  • The Sunnydale High newspaper has an obituary section. Also, despite the numerous deaths of Buffy's classmates, her grade still has Sunnydale High's lowest-ever mortality rate.

    Season 4 
  • "Fear Itself":
    • The Haunted House was pretty terrifying with all the things coming to life. Bonus points for the kid with a broken neck staring at Buffy and talking to her.
    • The dummy head with one of its eyeballs dangling out of its socket transforming into an actual decapitated head. Which also happens to be undead and starts talking to Xander.
    • A split second of terror happens during the beginning of the frat house's transformation. There's a girl in a prom dress, blood coming from her mouth, with her eyes closed. The light flashes...and she's smiling.
  • The Gentlemen. Tall, suited demons resembling humans except for their large, lidless eyes and never-ceasing smiles. They float about a foot across the ground, never breaking stride, only smiling an image that will burn into your brain. They attack in the middle of the night, knocking on your door politely, then cutting out your heart while you are still alive. And you are unable to scream, completely helpless.note 
    • Doug Jones, who played the main Gentleman, has done those eyes, teeth, and hand movements without any prosthetics in public. It's still terrifying.
    • One of the scariest parts is when the Gentlemen presented the hearts that they had collected and then gave themselves a round of applause.
    • The Gentlemen's weird "Footmen" that went around on their hands and feet, in freaking straitjackets. Just the sight of them alongside the floating gentleman are scary as hell.
    • Possibly their most spectacularly scary entrance was their silent appearance slightly in the distance behind Tara, at first blurred, but you recognize their signature movements a second before they come into focus. Brrrrr. A nice suit, floating so they appear a little taller, extremely pale face? This remind you of anybody?
    • The little Ironic Nursery Rhyme the girl in Buffy's dream does at the beginning of the episode:
    Can't even shout.
    Can't even cry.
    The Gentlemen are coming by.
    Looking in windows,
    knocking on doors...
    They need to take seven
    and they might take yours...
    Can't call to mom.
    Can't say a word.
    You're gonna die screaming
    but you won't be heard."
  • During the first of Faith's nightmares in "This Year's Girl", it starts off fairly innocent, with her and Buffy making a bed. Then Faith notices blood on the white sheets, "Damn, just when we got it clean, too." Then she realizes that the wound is coming from herself and that the knife Buffy stabbed her with at the Season 3 finale is still in her. She pleadingly says, "Aren't you ever going to take this thing out?" Nightmare!Buffy's response is to shove it in deeper, with the blankest look on her face. Thank goodness it was just a nightmare, but it is creepy as hell.
  • Just the way Adam says "I saw the inside of that boy... and it was beautiful."
  • Buffy's eyes during the enjoining spell in "Primeval".
  • In "Restless", we have the Scoobies celebrating in Buffy's living room, and then they fall asleep. Just as "Nightmares" (read above), this whole episode is also a deconstruction of dreams (supposedly, without the nightmarish part, this time around). Well, the appearance of so many weird (but somehow familiar) dream scenarios is, on its own, quite disturbing. But then there's that fleeting, barely discernible, frantical, dark figure lurking in everyone's dreams... and the absolute certainty that it wants to kill you. Also, the "cheese guy" doesn't help.

    Season 5 
  • Dawn's very EXISTENCE is this. There is an existing magic out there that can make anyone in the world be deeply rooted in everyone's memories as though they were already there, and even if you know they weren't, you still feel like they are. If we're looking at this from Buffy's perspective, maybe Xander or Willow are just people that she's believed were her friends for years. The level of paranoia is truly terrifying.
  • "Family". When Tara's brother tells her that he will beat her up if she doesn't get in the van. It's very difficult to notice, but Tara flinches, proving that none of the demons or monsters she has faced as a Scooby scare her as much as her brother does. Really hits close to home for those who have suffered physical abuse at the hands of a family member.
  • In the "Fool For Love" prologue, Buffy is having her usual taunts against a vampire. In the middle of them, the vampire grabs her arm and manages to stab Buffy with her own stake. It may not be scary enough like the the other moments but it is quite unexpected.
  • "Listening To Fear". Easily one of the most unsettling episodes of the series. The Queller. Oh, dear God, the frigging Queller.
  • Dawn holding a knife in her bloodied hands, having cut herself just to prove that she's still a human in "Blood Ties". Hell, her whole situation, finding out that she's not a human being, that until recently she hadn't even existed and that all her memories and all the memories of other people about her are fake - that's not something you'd wish your mortal enemy to experience.
  • The very end of "I Was Made To Love You". Far scarier than any of the monsters featured on that show is the very real notion that someone could come home one day and find their mother or father dead.
    • Awesome as it also is, Giles going full-on Papa Wolf on Spike is positively chilling. Seeing this otherwise mild-mannered man show his dark side is harrowing.
  • It's strange, but the death of Joyce serves as this. "The Body" is gut-wrenching and devoid of any kind of atmospheric music, as if the scariest thing of all in the show is just cold, hard reality: you can be a hero, and you can be strong, but one day your mother, father or any other loved one could die and there can be absolutely nothing you can do to stop it or change it. The lack of music, in particular, punctuates the feeling that this is not drama - it's real people dealing with a very real and common situation, and the vampire stuff is shoved to the side for the entire episode. Bonus points for Anya demanding someone explain to her how a body can just suddenly be...empty, and devoid of the person that was in it.
  • In "Forever", Dawn tries to resurrect Joyce. While she and Buffy are arguing, a silhouette of Joyce is seen slowly walking (you might say "walking like a zombie") past the window. Moments later, someone knocks at the door. The whole episode is centered on people explaining to Dawn how bringing people Back from the Dead is wrong, and furthermore how they sometimes come back wrong... but no one ever fully explains what that means. It doesn't help.
    • To add to the Nightmare Fuel, did Joyce run into anyone during her walk back to her house? If so, what did she do? Did she attack them or simply keep walking? And she doesn't simply knock on the door or even call out for her daughters; she BANGS on the door. Maybe it's a good thing Dawn had a change of heart.
  • Giles at the end with Glory / Ben in "The Gift"... the resolve it took and the knowledge he HAD that kind of resolve. What a past must Giles have beyond what we know about him. And what is he really capable of?
  • Glory can be kind of terrifying in her own way without getting into the whole eating sanity thing. She's practically an anti-Buffy, both are super strong, sexy, blondes, with odd ways of chatting as they fight, yet unlike Buffy she's ditzy and evil, the ditziness doesn't take away from how terrifying she is though since she's much stronger than Buffy and Curb-Stomped her every time they fought. And to make things worse, it isn't even as bad as other unstoppable Big Bad like Adam who were stronger than her where each time Buffy had a little bit of hope she could pull out a win somehow, Buffy and the Scoobies, save Willow, never seem to slow her down much less hurt her when she comes for them. Glory's little chat with Tara in "Tough Love" is terrifying since she's breaking her fingers in the middle of a crowded park, during a festival, in the middle of a day and there's nothing a powerful witch like Tara can do. Glory even warns Tara that if she screams or calls for help than Glory will just kill everyone around them who tries to interfere. And when she gets angry that Tara isn't the key she makes it very clear that she will devour Tara's sanity, which Tara states earlier is a fate worse than death.

    Season 6 
  • Fridge Brilliance: Being buried alive is one of the few things Buffy fears, as revealed in Nightmares. So coming back to life in her still six feet under coffin? She just relived one of her worst nightmares, courtesy of her best friends.
  • The scariest thing about Warren Mears is that he's the most true to real life Big Bad. Imagine your stereotypical toxic, misogynistic, entitled embodiment of all the worst traits of male geek culture becoming a (wannabe) supervillain.
  • The season six premiere, "Bargaining, Part 1", had Buffy brought back to life inside her own coffin, forcing her to dig herself out of her own grave. Watching it is bad enough. For Sarah Michelle Gellar, who has a morbid fear of being buried alive, filming those scenes must have been terrifying.
    • Willow's skin bubbling in the resurrection ritual. *shivers*
    • The scene where Buffy is walking through Sunnydale and sees the Buffybot being torn apart and set on fire?? It's no wonder her first words spoken are, "Is this hell?"
    • Willow knifing a baby deer to get an ingredient for the resurrection spell. Willow. Kills a baby animal.
      • This was also highly traumatizing for the actress, and for good reason.
  • "After Life". Anya slicing away at her face with a knife.
  • The worm monster in "Doublemeat Palace". Not only that but the way it kills you- it sprays a liquid at you which paralyzes you (it spreads upwards so you can "flail your arms" hopelessly). It then proceeds to slowly eat you over the course of several hours while you are unable to move or scream but can feel everything. Poor Gary.
  • An in-universe example in "Dead Things", where Buffy realizes the way she's acting (she's described elsewhere on the site as being the same as arch-nemesis Faith) has nothing to do with Spike, or being back "wrong", this is her true self. She's so scared and distraught by this that when she opens up to Tara she begs not to be forgiven.
  • Surprising one: Vision!Xander going after Vision!Anya with a frying pan in a fake vision in "Hell's Bells". Far scarier than all the monsters.
  • The last scene of "Normal Again" is truly psychologically frightening, in fact, the entire premise of the episode is just disturbing, including Buffy going psycho murderer on her friends and sister. The true horror of the very last scene in the episode is wondering if everything up to this point, and for the future of both characters and show, was all just in her head! Damn you Joss for that ending!
  • "Seeing Red": Adam Busch put it best: On a show full of monsters and demons, the scariest thing is a guy showing up with a gun in broad daylight. This, of course, leads to the two words that still pack a punch to any Buffy fan. "Your shirt..." Over two decades later, still one of the cruelest if not the cruelest kill Joss Whedon ever had.
    • And that's not even the worst part of the episode. The infamous bathroom rape scene is terrifying, uncomfortably long, and very hard to watch. It continues the trend of the scariest Buffy moments being the ones that could pretty much happen in real life. James Marsters found that scene so distressing (and this was before intimacy coordinators on sets) that he had it in his contract that he would never film rape scenes again.
    • In "Two to Go", Xander confesses to Anya that he saw the gun, but froze up. This is, sadly, how most of us would react in such a situation. And he clearly carries the guilt of feeling he got two of his friends shot.
  • "Villains": The final appearance of "bored now", as she auditions for a spinoff, Willow the Vampire Flayer. Warren had it coming, but still, sends chills down the spine every time—a Cruel and Unusual Death is a cruel and unusual death, regardless of the victim.

    Season 7 
  • Throughout the series, we see many characters who are killed in gruesome ways by the Monster of the Week; there is the boy who was shredded by the prom hound, the graffiti-artist victim of the Gnarl, the Doublemeat workers who were slowly eaten alive by a worm monster, etc. In "Lessons", we see that the spirits of people who Buffy couldn't save can manifest themselves as poltergeists and exact vengeance on her or those around her. Now just stop and think about: How many people have died horribly hoping Buffy would come and save them over the course of the show?
  • "Same Time, Same Place":
    • Willow is trapped in a cave with Gnarl, a demon that paralyzes its victims, then removes their skin to eat, one strip at a time. Oh, and it's also immune to magic, so Willow, who recently went evil and nearly destroyed the world, is completely helpless against him. Its taunting bumps up the octane rating another notch. Just before Buffy shows up to save the day, we see Willow, paralyzed, helpless, and about to undergo an excruciating death. Her expression is one of absolute terror. She can't see Buffy at all, even when she does show up to save the day.
    • The smile on Gnarl's face when he slowly scratches off a thin strip of skin and eats it is enough to make anyone Squick.
    • Thinking about it further, imagine being in Willow's position: You're paralyzed and being eaten slowly, and the only thing you can see is this atrocious thing's face. The fact that he sounds like Salad Fingers does not help matters.
    • Also, remember how Willow was upset with Giles and the Coven for not punishing her for flaying Warren alive? She probably felt like she deserved to die, alone, in agony, the way Warren did, and was psychologically tormenting herself almost as hideously as Gnarl was.
  • "Conversations With Dead People" features Dawn trapped in her house with the spirit of her dead mother who, struggling to manifest herself, ends up being about as terrifying as any monster the show features. Could double as breaking the cutie.
    • "Mother's Milk Is Red Today."
    • Dawn is sitting by the couch, which is unoccupied. The camera pans down, then back up to reveal Joyce's dead body lying on the couch. When Dawn turns around, it's gone.
    • As bad as Dawn's segment was, Willow's is just as bad, if not worse, when you think about it. The First only convinces Andrew to kill Jonathan, it terrifies Dawn, but it (in the form of Cassie) tries to get Willow to kill herself, presumably because she's probably the most powerful Scooby in the gang. But when that fails, it's not even concerned. It just delivers a speech, then grins, turning into... something that eats itself.
      Willow: From beneath you, it devours...
      The First/Cassie: Oh, not it... me.
    • Originally, The First was going to take Tara's form in front of Willow, but Amber Benson refused to come back because she knew Joss Whedon would do something horrific to both the characters and the fans. Read it for yourself.
  • "Get It Done": The Shadow Puppets are some of the most disturbing imagery in the show, ominous music building and pictures forming all around of demons eating humans and a girl being killed.
    • Buffy's vision: A horde of Turok-Han growling and snarling and clamoring beneath the Hellmouth. Forget "From beneath you, it devours"; these things are ready to get out and do some devouring.
  • Xander getting his eye caved in by Caleb in "Dirty Girls". The way the blood runs down his cheek... that is horror.
    Caleb: "So you're the one who sees everything. Let's just see what we can do about that."
  • The First Evil. It can appear anywhere. It can be anyone. And it is very, very good at getting you to do what it wants. At any time, it could show up and brainwash someone into doing something horrible. And once you outlive that frail usefulness or interfere in the plans too much? An Implacable Evil Priest is coming after you. If you are female, this is doubly bad, since said priest has some messed-up views involving women.
    • Its Bringers. Their appearance as black-robed, knife-wielding men with runes in place of eyes is bad enough. But the worst bit about them? They're silent, and they seem to appear right out of fucking nowhere. Take Rona's first scene, for example. Good thing Buffy showed up when she did.
  • Adam Busch (aka Warren) is just the creepiest dude ever. Whenever the First shows up as Warren, prepare for some truly epic creepiness. He has a stare that says, "I will devour you slowly, and not in a sexy way. In a way where I tie you to a table and fillet you one morsel at a time, keeping you alive with blood transfusions and an iron long." And then he quotes Star Wars.
  • Spike's painful laughter as he bursts into flames and crumbles to dust in "Chosen". Tear Jerker, sure, but also so, so disturbing.
  • Buffy's first fight and major loss against the Turok-Han.
  • The deaths of some of the Potentials.
    • The very first scene of the season - a girl in Istanbul running for her life in the middle of the night. She's overpowered three on one and the Bringers stab her.
    • Annabelle - who had previously appeared to be the smart, level-headed girl of the three - having an understandable panic attack and fleeing the safety of Buffy's house. In an alleyway, she runs into the Turok-Han.
    • The Reveal that Eve had been killed and the First was just pretending to be her all along. It's also unsettling that Eve made it all the way to Sunnydale on her own, only to get killed before she could reach Buffy.
    • The way Molly gets killed by Caleb. The fact that along with Kennedy, she was the longest lasting Potential just sells how powerful he is.

    Season 8 comics 
  • Twilight. Not Angel/Twilight; the sentient reality Twilight.
  • The three goddesses that get called when Buffy and the others temporarily give their powers back to the earth.
  • The evil vampire kitties.
  • Skinless Warren. Who attempts to lobotomize a paralyzed Willow out of revenge. Yikes.

    Season 9 / Angel & Faith 
  • The demon in "Daddy Issues" looked pretty scary, especially in the beginning when he went after those kids.
  • When Willow goes bad, that's cause to keep your head down. Other times, she's a vampire or hopped up on dark magic, but here Buffy's actions are the problem. She steals the Scythe in a bid to restore magic, Angel thinks she's a demon so she has the Scythe ready to stake him, and she thinks his son Connor can help by them going to Quortoth, the hell dimension where he spent most of his life. But to do that, Willow has to use Connor's blood, so she cuts him open.
  • The fates of everyone who took the Mohra Blood after the Seed of Wonder was destroyed.