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Nightmare Fuel / Don't Starve

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Don't Starve is a Survival Horror game that takes you to a world full of untold horrors and forces you to figure out ways on how to sustain and protect yourself, so it's bound to have terrifying moments.

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  • "Webber", an unlockable character in Reign of Giants DLC, is a kid that got eaten by a spider. The two merged into one, the result being a Spider-looking boy. What's more, he's implied to have been like that before Maxwell brought him to the island.
  • How Wilson came into the Don't Starve world - He was a scientist who was completely lacking inspiration for experiments, which made him desperate and gullible enough to listen to the instructions of a strange man talking to him via radio. Never trust the words of strangers...
  • Maxwell is a Manipulative Bastard who was responsible for getting just about every character into the bleak Don't Starve world by giving them what they desired most, for one reason only - he had been trapped on the Nightmare Throne for possibly years, with only the company of the Shadows and a gramophone that kept playing ragtime music, and was willing to make the player character sit on the Nightmare Throne if it means a sure chance of freedom. The original game had Maxwell age rapidly and crumble to dust upon being freed until that was retconned.
    • Maxwell's Villainous Breakdown. As the player character gets further in Adventure Mode, he starts looking more haggard and unhinged, not believing that the player character manages to succeed. By the time the end is near, he starts resembling an animal than the dapper, smug man he is, with a Nightmare Face to boot.
  • Charlie was Maxwell's beloved stage assistant until Maxwell got his hands on the Codex Umbra, and his messing with forbidden magic trapped Charlie in a bleak, treacherous world and transformed her into the monstrous Grue. As the Night Monster, Charlie ended up developing a sadistic monster alter-ego due to the Shadows' influence, which shows up by beating the crap out of a trapped Wilson when her good side comes to rescue him from the Nightmare Throne. And when Charlie reconciles both sides of her personality, the result is a threateningly elegant whole that serves as a vessel for the Shadows, gathering power and toying with the player characters for her own amusement.
    • Charlie's monster form looks like a demonic woman covered in black flames, scary black eyes with white pupils and black sclera, facial markings, and an utterly monstrous right hand/arm that looks eldritch in nature. And she has an absolutely sadistic Slasher Smile when she gets in the mood. Sweet Jesus.
    • It's also implied that Charlie is absolutely (though understandably) bent on revenge for what Maxwell has done to her. This is why she attacks Maxwell at night after he becomes a player character, and why she willingly gives herself up to become a vessel for the Shadows when she ascends to the Nightmare Throne in "A New Reign", becoming a bigger threat than Maxwell had ever been during his reign. She is willing to do anything for a chance to spite Maxwell, no matter how many innocent people get pulled into the bleak world of survival thanks to her actions.

  • The Nightmare Throne. As seen in the end of Adventure Mode, whoever takes Maxwell's place becomes a prisoner for the Shadows, and is forced to live through decades of horror and madness. The only way to get out of it is to "invite" someone else into their world and have them take their place.
  • The story of the Ancients, introduced in the A New Reign expansion. They were once were a civilization of insect-like people who lived in misery and squalor until they discovered Nightmare Fuel, which made them evolve into a technologically-advanced race. But Maxwell reveals that the overuse of Nightmare Fuel eventually led to their downfall, as long-term exposure to it twisted the Ancients into... something else, as shown with the Ancient Guardian. This is why a lot of Nightmare Fuel can be found in the Ruins.
  • Them. As of so far, we have seen three separate characters, all quite powerful in their own right, mention Them with a mixture of fear, respect, and frustration at being unable to slow down Their advance. Just who, and what, are They, and what do They want?
    Battlemaster Pugna: ... They destroy all They touch. Yet They Themselves are untouchable. Unknowable.
    • Worse yet, our survivors are being told that they're making the situation even grimmer with their meddling. Is it just a psychological attack, or are our heroes actually (and unwittingly) helping Them?

  • The Sanity Meter mechanic can reach Eternal Darkness levels of horror. Your Sanity is represented by the brain icon - a huge, healthy brain indicates full Sanity. But as your Sanity lowers, your brain starts shriveling up until it's next to nothing, and your surroundings begin to warp...
  • The Hands.
    • The silly tune that plays while they retreat may become Nightmare Retardant, likely an intended effect as you are meant to chase them away (at the cost of sanity).
  • When you become insane, Bunnymen become the black, red-eyed Beardlords, and they're scary as hell. They're still helpful and they won't hurt you, but being around them drains your Sanity Meter, and when they follow you, they do it in a way that makes it look like they're about to attack you.
  • You can literally craft Nightmare fuel as an ingredient for crafting. It is also a natural byproduct of coming back from the dead, which implies the player character saw... something... while they were dead. Alternatively, it could just be leftover residue from the revival process, which uses magic.
  • While not as extreme as most examples here, Winter is horrifying on its own. "What's so scary about winter?", you may ask, but think about it from the character's viewpoint. During the other seasons, the land is full of life, insects fly around, and everything is colorful. Then winter comes. Most animals disappear, plants die, colors are replaced by whiteness and darkness is more common than light, and you realize just how alone you are. No wonder why winter affects your sanity so much.
  • The Giants. Four enormous boss monsters that can tear down your entire base in seconds. When you see them, you’d better start running.
    • Deerclops is a giant white cyclops with ice powers and probably the most unsettling of the giants, with its massive, unblinking eye and perpetual snarl.
      The Eye that Roams vignette description:
      The night seemed dead 'fore the sound broke the hush.
      There! Something doth stir in the thick underbrush.
      THOMP, THOMP, CLOMP, CLOMP, sound its footsteps together,
      Then you sight the clumped fur, the thin legs like black leather.
      Its eye trains on yours in a horrid red glow,
      ...How swift might you flee through the knee-deep snow?
  • The Ancient Gateway and the Ancient Fuelweaver boss fight. Throughout the battle, the Fuelweaver constantly talks about how messed up things are and about saving the player, all while trying to kill the player. And if you die, it'll turn off the activated Gateway. Assuming that they are sincere, and an actual survivor from the Ancients' time… what exactly are they trying to save us from that could be worse than dying?
  • There are a couple of things in the A New Reign expansion's series of updates for Don't Starve Together that just go to show how unhinged things have become after Charlie ascends to the Nightmare Throne and becomes the Shadow Queen:
    • The Shadow Pieces, which are basically the Clockwork Pieces made of the aforementioned literal Nightmare Fuel that get progressively stronger and more deranged-looking as you defeat their fellow pieces.
      • The Shadow Knight takes the cake - at level 1, it resembles a vaguely Humanoid Abomination with no arms and a slouching posture, but at level 2, it starts growing arms and its back starts getting spiky, and its face has an anguished expression with a mouth that has More Teeth than the Osmond Family. At level 3, the spikes become more pronounced, and it gains a Slasher Smile that's eerily reminiscent of Comic Book/Venom.
    • The stagehand, a fancy-looking endtable with a rose on it that seems out of place in the wilderness... Until night falls, and it gets up on shadowy legs in search of a light source... like your campfire.
    • There's also Klaus, who appears to be the King of the Krampii. If the stitched-shut mouth and eyes weren't enough, after you kill him the first time, he resurrects himself with a Life-Giving Amulet. It results in his chains unlocking and falling away to reveal an enormous and ravenous Belly Mouth. The kicker? Neither Maxwell nor Charlie created him.
  • The Hamlet DLC has the Roc, a Kaiju sized giant bird, it's so huge only its legs, tail and head are visible onscreen.
  • In the new Return of Them beta in Don't Starve Together, there's the Horror Hounds. You think you finished off that Hound wave, and are waiting for the corpses to disappear so you can have a better view of your loot. Except instead of disappearing, the Hound corpses start twitching around, and then horrific hound-shaped things burst out of them and start attacking you.
    • On the same note, Moonrock Pengulls. They're basically some bones and internal organs encased in a ice block. Oh, and unlike neutral regular Pengulls, they're hostile.

  • For Halloween, a total conversion mod, called "The Screecher", was added right to the main menu. It turns the game's into an outright Survival Horror story, and is far, far scarier than anything in the base game.
  • As if the Deerclops weren't scary enough; the Winter’s Feast 2017 event gives them a pretty terrifying reskin for - their snow-white fur is replaced by a shadowy black coat, and its cyclops eye is replaced by a pupil-less red orb, that casts an eerie red glow over the surrounding area and also shoots lasers.
  • Failing the Gorge. If your team is unable to reactivate the portal quickly enough, your character is stricken with the plague of the Gnaw. And then you get to see the horrifying results as your team is transformed into Merms.

  • The trailer for "A New Reign". Wilson is trapped in the Nightmare Throne, with the Shadows literally strapping him to the chair when sweet ol' Charlie arrives to rescue him! Then, Charlie's sadistic, monstrous side emerges, and proceeds to both magically beat the crap out of Wilson, and drop him back through a portal into the outside world.
    • Charlie's internal struggle isn't pretty either. As she tries to renovate the threadbare-looking Nightmare Throne room with her powers, her monstrous side gets into a vicious fight with her good human side, with both sides trying to take over and resulting in the room alternating between a malevolent draconic design with dragon heads on the throne, and an elegant, angelic one with cherub statues. Eventually, Charlie forces both sides of her personality to reconcile, resulting in her fully ascending to the Nightmare Throne and becoming the all-powerful, threateningly elegant Shadow Queen, sitting in a room that combines the decorations that both sides want.
    • At the very end, there is a Jump Scare where Charlie looks at the viewer(s) with a Slasher Smile and demonic eyes, while still being the Shadow Queen.
  • Willow's origin cinematic is Nightmare Fuel mixed to Tear Jerker. Sweet little Willow is sleeping in her bed in a orphanage when a Terrorbeak suddenly attacks her with the clear intent to kill, forcing her to run for her life... but the door is locked and Willow can't open it. Desperate, the little girl raises her teddy bear Bernie and finds out it has the power to keep the Shadow Creatures away, causing the Terrorbeak to fall back. When she thinks she is finally safe, the orphanage nurses arrive because of the commotion and find only Willow to blame for all of that. She gets separated from Bernie and closed inside a closet. The Terrorbeak tries to get Willow now that she is all alone and defenseless, but it can't because something happens and the room explodes with a portion of the orphanage, killing the evil nurses in the process. Willow emerges from the flames unscratched yet covered in soot, takes the now ruined Bernie with her and leaves the orphanage behind for the fire to consume. She had very good reasons for doing what she did, but jeez!
    • And the whole cinematic screams Nothing Is Scarier from every scene: why did Bernie have the power to protect Willow even back then? What happened inside that closet? Why did that Terrorbeak try to kill an innocent child and how did he manage to get out from the Constant to do that? And most importantly, did accidents like that one happen again before Willow reached the Constant? If it happened more than once then is no freaking wonder for Willow being Willow.

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