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Nightmare Fuel / Dark Souls

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Dark Souls is a prime example of a Dark Fantasy video game; imagine a country past the brink of ruin with humanity cursed with an endless cycle of life and death that would eventually drive them insane. This once prosperous land is now dilapidated where horrific creatures beyond reasoning and the ordinary reside and are bloodthirsty.

Anything and everything in Lordan is out to get you, so...


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

  • Many of the NPCs are seriously creepy, speaking in the kind of tone-of-voice that you don't find natural. Yet they don't attack first. You have to guess which ones are actually harmless, and which ones will kill you the moment you turn around. The ones that don't attack you immediately probably will when they go Hollow after you exhaust their dialogue choices.
    • When Reah of Thorolund first arrives at Firelink Shrine, the Crestfallen Warrior describes her with a tone that implies that he's planning to do something to her. He eventually goes Hollow and attacks you in New Londo Ruins. And he's not even the bad guy of the bunch; it's Petrus who will kill Reah later on if you don't take him out first.
    • There's also the obsessive tone that Laurentius uses when he demands that you tell him where you found Chaos pyromancy and/or large pyromancy flame. If you do tell him where you found it, he will go Hollow and attack you the next time you enter Lower Blighttown. Perhaps it is best not to tell him anything.
  • After ringing one of the Bells of Awakening, you can hear something snoring near the pool of the Firelink Shrine, but you can't see what it is. It's Kingseeker Frampt, who awakens once you ring the second one. Of course, a Primordial Serpent like himself is ugly and horrifying, and he suddenly appears out of nowhere...
  • The Gaping Dragon, with its ribcage-turned-mouth.
  • The Mimic, a Chest Monster with finger bones for teeth and making menacing giggles at every movement. You end up trying to open it, the Mimic responds by eating you alive. The only way to uncover it is to attack it (or check which way the chain on the side is positioned, as regular chests have them coiled), and even then, you still have to stay out of melee range to avoid its Instant Kill attack, which is, of course, eating you alive.
  • There are many unnerving enemies in the game. The Bloated Undead and Crow Demons in the Painted World of Ariamis for example, as well as most things found in Blighttown and Lost Izalith.
    • Have a fear of giant bugs? Then you're gonna love lower Blighttown, especially the massive Cragspiders whose bodies have an annoying habit of getting tangled up on your character model.
  • Just Blighttown in general, really. Just when you thought "The Depths", a disgusting sewer located beneath the Lower Undead Burg is already the bottom-most region of this dying, decaying world, already immensely terrifying with giant rats, disgusting sewer dropping on you, your introduction to curses as you deform and die, you enter the room with the entrance to Blighttown. The whole screen turns a sickly green as you ponder the MASSIVE gaping hole, and then you descend an extremely long ladder to meet some of the creepiest enemies the game has to offer. Just imagining that a whole town, presumably filled with people exist down here is both horrifying and saddening.
    • Blighttown also has strong triggers for Acrophobia (fear of heights) and Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), among many, many others.
  • The fate of the Witch of Izalith and her daughters. She loses control of the copy of the First Flame she created and is transformed into the Bed of Chaos. Only one escaped unscathed; one is dead, two are mutated into giant half-spider demons, another (the eldest) has gone mad/hollow and is protecting her mutated mother, and the final two make up additional parts of the Bed of Chaos.
  • Gravelord Nito. He's literally a mountain of corpses with a magical cloak and a sword (also made of corpses) the length of a car. In one of his attacks, he stabs his sword into the ground, which comes up under you unless you dodge fast—and that's not the scary bit, although it is lovely Paranoia Fuel on its own. When he does this attack, you hear a disembodied woman's voice shriek in agony. It's quite...disconcerting.
  • After you drain New Londo and go down the lift, you'll be confronted with a vast pile of bodies; the final resting place of all the poor souls the flood claimed in order to seal off the Darkwraiths. Even more disturbingly, the Darkwraiths are still alive, you're now in their territory, and they're coming for you.
  • Don't look too closely at the walls in the Catacombs if you have a fear of insects. Failing that, the sheer amount of bones and skeletons carelessly lying around (even ones that spring to life and attack you) will do the trick.
  • Oolacile Township. It's filled with ordinary townsfolk that have been completely warped by the Abyss and have their limbs hideously lengthened and contorted well beyond what a normal human should look like. The screams in the background (which sound uncomfortably like a little girl who hasn't been corrupted... yet) don't help.
  • The Pisacas - holy maidens turned into half-serpent half-octopi. If they grab a hold of you, they suddenly sprout a massive spike out of what used to be their heads. They are made aggressive by horrendous dissonant music, played by some kind of clockpunk record player which was built solely to torment all who hear it. Even the man-serpents are afraid! They just run from the Pisacas, ignoring any attacks you do to them, until they make it to some safe high position.
    • Two of the pisacas are not hostile; they cower in fear from the player and run away if attacked. If you listen closely you can hear them crying. This, as well as their miracle item drops implies that they are holy maidens who have recently been turned in to pisacas via Seath's "experiments".
  • Knight Artorias, or rather, what's left of him when you meet him in the Downloadable Content. Once the player reaches him, the once proud knight has completely lost his sanity due to the corruption of the Abyss and howls at you like a raving beast trying to kill you. It's very disconcerting to see him act like that, after all the hype behind his lore.
  • The Abyss is a likely contender for the scariest Eldritch Location in the game. In fact, the very first time you enter, it becomes a textbook example of Nothing Is Scarier: as soon as you land in the horizonless Abyss, there's seemingly nothing happening at all at first. A couple seconds later, one of the Four Kings makes its appearance by emerging from the darkness, triggering what is unequivocally the most nerve-wrecking fight in the base game. The spectral appearance of the boss comes with the absolutely oppressive chorus, accompanied by panicking violins pressing you to hurry up before you're hopelessly overwhelmed by the respawning kings.
    • Want to know what's in the Abyss once the boss is dead? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Endless nothing spreading out in all directions forever. There's no light, no landscape, just absolute blackness. If a bonfire didn't spontaneously appear after the fight, there would be no way out. And the scariest part is, if Kaathe is correct, this nothingness is the fundamental nature of humankind. The Abyss is a reflection of, and created from, us humans.
  • Pictured above is Manus, the Father of the Abyss and the Final Boss / Big Bad of the Downloadable Content. He is a terrifying Eldritch Abomination that curbstomped and corrupted Artorias, and spread the darkness over the land of Oolacile, turning its townsfolk into little more than mindless, grotesquely-deformed monsters. The way he fights is downright brutal, capable of making even veteran players shudder in fear with his crazy, unpredictable moves. As if it wasn't enough, he's heavily implied to be what would happen should one's humanity go on an uncontrollable frenzy. The horror doesn't end here, as his legacy carries on over Dark Souls II, where the tiniest fragment of his soul dwells within Queen Nashandra, the game's true Big Bad.
    • It gets worse. Manus is implied in the lore of Dark Souls 1 to be the Furtive Pygmy, the holder of the Dark Soul (or at least, one of the Furtive Pygmies). Manus was one of the ancestors of all humanity, possibly a kind and benevolent man who decided to gift his descendants with the power he discovered, who somehow escaped the Ringed City that Gwyn tried to imprison him in and died outside it; but who was somehow resurrected, simply to be tortured by the residents of Oolacile so they could take his power, until he went mad and transformed into Manus when the primeval power of the Dark Soul that he held inside of him went mad, his body twisting and contorting into the creature we see. In the area leading up to the Chasm of the Abyss, you see the torture chambers where Manus was created.
      • Oolacile was clearly a thriving city, until they unearthed Manus and tried to take his power. When it went horribly wrong, everyone in the city was corrupted into horrifying monsters barely recognisable as human, their bodies horribly contorted, minds broken and their faces turned into bloated masses of eyes.
    • Consider the story from Manus' perspective. He was seemingly a normal (albeit powerful and ancient) human, one who likely escaped the prison of the Ringed City Gwyn put him in for no fault of his own. Upon reaching the outside world, one day he was found, and tortured by the residents of Oolacile, with only a pendant reminding him of his past life to hold onto. One day, his torturers found the pendant, and broke the only shred of hope he had left, causing him to go insane and causing the sheer power within him to burst out and go mad, transforming him into a horrifying abomination, barely recognisable as human, and then destroying everything around him. In his rage, his pendant goes missing and all he can do is lash out and destroy everything around him trying desperately and futilely to find his pendant, to no hope. And when he finally finds what has it, it's the one thing powerful enough to kill him.
  • Artorias’ fate, while tragic, is also horrifying. He was once a noble knight, a true hero of countless battles, fighting alongside his great wolf. Until one day, trying to save humanity, he encounters a creature beyond his understanding, of immense power, that he cannot hope to stand up to. Sadly, he is so noble and without dark that Manus’ power utterly consumes him. All he can do is give his shield to his beloved wolf in a feeble attempt to save her, before his arm snaps and his body gives into the Abyss. He tries to fight the power taking over his body, to fight the creatures of the Abyss but it’s too late. Cut dialogue reveals he futilely tried to avoid fighting you, but he could not resist the power of the Abyss utterly corrupting his mind and body and forcing him to lash out at whatever he sees. His only solace is that the Undead warrior he encounters from the future puts him out of his misery.
  • Black Dragon Kalameet is Maleficent's One-Winged Angel on steroids. A very dark and edgy design overall, creepy unique eye, and he's feared even by the most badass knights of Anor Londo. If this isn't enough to convince you, listen to his boss fight theme.
    • Your first encounter with him, while not a cutscene, is played for all the looming terror it implies. As you cross a bridge, Kalameet lands on it, coldly stares at you for several seconds, then flies off, leaving a powerful impression.
  • The Painted World of Ariamis is, in its entirety, extremely creepy. The entire purpose of the place is to lock away things that had no place in the world or were too dangerous, even towards Gods. Virtually every single enemy in the Painted World is a unique brand of Demonic Spider, and those that aren't are just reused but equally hellish Demonic Spiders. Some of the more dangerous ones can't even be killed without poisoning yourself, while some others are hidden in the Creepy Basement. A surprising amount of loot that, from a story standpoint, only make your journey harder can be found there. Besides all of this, the whole world just gives a sense of overpowering wrongness, like you truly shouldn't be there. The area boss in particular, while actually being one of the more tragic and kinder beings in the game, has an unsettling Dissonant Serenity about her.
  • Pinwheel. While many players berate him for being the easiest boss in the game, it's probably also the eeriest part of the game. After making it through the Catacombs, you enter a room full of bones and various weapons scattered on the floor, a number skeletons hanging from manacles, and battered, discarded books lying everywhere, that's only lit by a bunch of candles. You then see an odd robed figure standing over a desk with two lanterns hanging from its back operating on a skeleton. It then turns around, appears to have three masks, which then look at each other, and seem to agree that you need to die.
    • Then there's its boss music, which starts with an eerily dissonant melody, paired with an onslaught of whispers. Fans have speculated that the whispers are a man saying "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," a woman saying "It's all your fault," and a child saying "Help me."
    • While not specifically stated, fans believe his backstory seems to be something like this: in a tragic incident, a man's wife and child dies. He traveled to Lordran to receive the power to revive the dead from Gravelord Nito. When he tries it on his deceased family, they come back to life, but it backfires and they become grotesquely fused into a horrid being with three faces and six arms. Apparently, it has retained its consciousness, and willingly toils to research a way to bring the dead back to life. This theory is supported by concept art and some interviews with the developers.
  • The Kiln of the First Flame. After countless grueling battles against the bearers of the Lord Souls, you harvest all four of them and satiate the Lordvessel, opening the door to Gwyn's true resting place. As you descend the staircase floating in a white void, ghostly apparitions of Black Knights walk past you, making you cringe as to what happened down there. Then, after making out of the white void, you are treated to... a dark and empty desert of ash and cinder around a giant ruin. Said ruin being surrounded by stone pillars which look half-melted and half-glassed, quietly hinting at the events that must have happened there. Aside from a few Black Knights awaiting potential intruders in the wasteland, there is absolutely nothing else in the desert, emphasizing the ever-increasing despair of the scenery. And finally, after a long, tiresome march towards the very center of the furnace, you meet Gwyn, the Lord of Cinder himself; reduced to a husk of his former glory, attacking you on sight with little more reasoning than a Hollow's.
  • Maneater Shells are dangerous foes, but only start getting properly scary once you realise that their mouths aren't filled with pearls, but skulls.
  • You're walking along a mountain passage in the Valley of the Drakes and you find a presumably dead dragon hanging from a cliff side, and close to its body is some loot. Being the curious person you are, you get close to start pillaging the corpse, then as soon as you pocket the items, the dragon rises from the ground and starts trying to kill you. Congrats, you just found an undead dragon. Bring my brown leggings.
  • When you first enter the Demon Ruins and are visually assaulted with a bright ocean of lava as far as the eye can see and a horde of chanting Egg Carriers. It really does look like you just wandered into Hell.
  • Speaking of the Egg Carriers, if they get a hold of you, one of their eggs hatches and the resulting maggot burrows into your head, which starts to take a form similar to the Egg Carriers. While infected, you can't wear helmets and your head itches. You lose some of your fire resistance, and half your souls go to the maggot whenever you kill an enemy. Then, once it gains enough souls, the maggot replaces your kick attack with its own acid vomit.
  • Once you beat Pinwheel, you enter The Tomb of The Giants. And it's dark. So dark, in fact, that you're almost required to either wear a specific helmet, or replace your trusty shield with a crappy little lantern. Because of this, the player has about three ways to run into the most terrifying enemy in the tomb: giant, dog like skeletons. These skeletons, alongside being horrifying, are super fast, hit like a truck, and are nigh impossible to kill.
  • Vagrants. What the hell are Vagrants? Not surprised you don't know, because they're incredibly rare — which is why they will ALWAYS scare the piss out of you when you meet one of the evil ones. Basically, whenever someone loses a large amount of humanity by dying and failing to retrieve it, they create an Evil Vagrant in the world of someone else online. They're horribly little crawly things with bloated sacks on their backs that drop items or humanity when you kill them. The "good" ones (which spawn when a player drops an item and doesn't pick it up again) are harmless and will run away, but the evil ones are aggressive, with crab claws and the ability to shoot a hail of spines at you that can do incredible damage, often enough for a One-Hit Kill. Even people who think they know everything about the game (and you can easily have an entire playthrough without ever seeing one) will find themselves shouting "What the HELL is THAT?!" the first time one comes crawling at them.note 
  • Chaos Eaters. They look like something out of a Cronenberg film. Their numerous eyes and hoses are so unsettling and even worse is what they look like from above. During Siegmeyer's questline, you'll come across a hole in the ground filled with five Chaos Eaters, their horrid tooth-filled cyllindrical insides serving as their mouths. You can be grabbed and tossed into their awaiting gullets to be munched on before spitting you back out through their hoses. Not to mention the awful noises they make and the disturbing undulations of their cup-like bodies.
  • Ash Lake is a creepy, creepy place. It's the lowest possible point in the game that you can reach without a cutscene transition, and is accessed via The Great Hollow in Blight Town and is home to the very last Everlasting Dragon. The very first thing you see is a great, grey void and the first thing you hear is a terrifying droning music. In the distance there appear to be innumerable other Great Hollows that either lead nowhere or to similar places. There are no humans or undead in Ash Lake and the creatures that live there are a flying Hydra, Mushroom people and giant clams, implying that the ones created by Seath are merely imitations. There's also a giant demon skull that doesn't match any other living thing in the game, so whatever lives down here is probably freakier than anything we see above ground. Based on the original state of the world we can see in the opening cinematic, Ash Lake is most likely a remnant of it - and that should horrify you more than anything, to think that the world you adventure in had to be constructed on top of such a Death World. To this day, fans debate whether or not Ash Lake actually exists at all, with some fans taking the stance that the area is merely some kind of in-game metaphor.