Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Grand Theft Auto V

Go To

Los Santos is a big, big place. With the graphic improvement, Lovecraftian places, Ax-Crazy people, brutal scenes, violent criminals, malignant cults and corrupt agencies, it's quite clear that Rockstar Games were trying to go for something Bloodier and Gorier with this one.

    open/close all folders 

    Grand Theft Auto V: Story Mode 
  • In Friend Request, Michael, at the behest of Lester, plants a device into a prototype LifeInvader phone and is told to call it when the founder, Jay Norris, demonstrates it. The kicker? The device was an explosive. He's right out in front of the public, he holds the ringing phone up to his ear, then BOOM! His head asplodes. Even Michael thought that Lester went too far.
    • Really, the idea of Lester getting mad at someone at all. While the people he targets in Assassination missions are far from undeserving, they had no idea that they had attracted the ire of a dumpy little man who is suddenly sending assassins after them. He's like if Anonymous had access to a crew of hardcore criminals to kill anyone that displeased them. This is further compounded in the multiplayer; you can call Lester in at any time to put a bounty on other players, for any reason at all at any time.
  • Speaking of bounties, they can happen out of nowhere. Just jacked a parked car and drove off? You'll get a threat from the car's owner demanding you're going to be dead 30 seconds later. Not even subduing the owner of a car will stop the text from happening.
  • Trevor during his Ax-Crazy moments in particular is a horrifying sight to behold both from the player's perspective as well as the perspective of his victims. His first mission "Mr. Philips", has him stomp the side of Johnny Klebitz (protagonist of The Lost And Damned) face in during an argument, leaving a bloody red pulp on the side of the road. After that, Trevor proceeds to mow down the rest of Klebitz's faction of the Lost MC with little to no resistance! Imagine you are one of the Lost and you just got word Johnny K along with Terry and Clay are dead thanks to that local eccentric meth dealer who's been known to throw temper tantrums out of the blue. As you prepare yourself for combat, you see said dealer whip out a shotgun and lay waste to your entire gang almost as if he's supernatural.
    • The scene also showcases how frighteningly unpredictable Trevor can be. He goes from somewhat calm and snarky to quietly propositioning Johnny, then loudly demanding he drop his pants, then comforting a heartbroken Johnny... right before choke-slamming him, smashing a bottle over his head, and stomping on his head repeatedly until he wound up getting a piece of brain stuck to his shoe.
    • One of the Gold Medal requirements for this mission is to kill every last one of them. Just imagine this again from their viewpoint: you are running away from the lunatic who, not more than a few minutes ago, just wiped out your faction, but he hasn't had his fill yet, so the guy goes after your friends, blows their heads off, and then finally goes after you.
    • When that opening cutscene is over, before getting into the truck, turn around and take a close look at Johnny's corpse with your phone camera or in first-person view. The really graphic bits of Trevor's attack were left mostly offscreen, but a close look at the corpse reveals that Trevor literally stomped Johnny's head in until his brains were showing. This also means that when Trevor taunts Terry and Clay later by speaking to a piece of Johnny's brain on his boot, that's not just a piece of gore, that really is part of his brain!
  • The mission "Dead Man Walking". Aside from waking up in a morgue with corpses, whilst you'll probably never know of its existence unless you let it happen out of curiosity or find it on YouTube, but if you let the morgue doctors who somehow can't tell that you are not dead be long enough without waking up, they will actually start an AUTOPSY on you whilst YOU ARE STILL ALIVE. It's not just any autopsy either; they CUT YOUR RIBCAGE OPEN WITH A HACKSAW whilst you see your blood squirting out and hear the bones being cut out just as it fades to the mission failed screen. As a side note, if you do continue like normal and wake up, one of the doctors will begin panicking about you 'reanimating'. Someone's definitely watched too much zombie movies.
  • The Cold-Blooded Torture scene is really disturbing, even for the standards of the game. The game give your four gruesome ways to coerce your target: hit him with a large wrench (one of them is at the private parts), waterboarding, shock therapy and pulling his tooth using a pliers.
    • Worst part? You can't skip it, so if you're queasy and uncomfortable with torture scenes, much less interactive torture scenes, you are shit out of luck if you want to beat this game. The only consolation is that instead of killing the guy, Trevor drives him to the airport and kindly advises him to get out of Los Santos forever.
      • Even this moment is horrifying, if only for the revelation that although Trevor enthusiastically participated in the brutality, he knew from the start the guy would tell them everything, and it was all totally pointless.
    • To put in light just how horrifying this part of the game is: some GTA fans, who are known to be completely unflinching towards the worst blood and gore that the series has had to offer, CRINGE at this scene. Most of it has to do with the fact that the horror of the violence is completely played straight. No form of glorification in the slightest.
    • The worst part is that the victim seems to be an innocent man, and after the mission is done, it doesn't seem like he'll see his family again. And before the poor guy was tortured by the FIB, he was being tortured by the IAA.
    • It's almost a wonder how worse this sequence would've been if Stuck in the Middle with You was playing throughout.
  • The scene where Trevor murders Debra. The actual murder isn't shown, but Trevor is covered in blood and the apartment windows are smeared with it. Whatever he did, it was messy.
    Trevor: You people are not very fucking nice.
  • Trevor's method of taking over The Vanilla Unicorn. Leon, the previous manager, literally ends up Stuffed into the Fridge
  • There's the Adult Fear of the mission Meltdown, Michael has to fight off Merryweather, who are threatening to kill his family. All because Devin Weston wrongly believes that Michael killed his lawyer.
    • The worst part may be that one of the Merryweather mercenaries gets to Tracy's room and holds her at gunpoint while using her as a Human Shield, if you take too long lining up the shot the merc executes her in front of her parents, and due to her struggling to get free another possible outcome is for Michael to accidentally kill his own daughter instead.
  • The death of Molly Schultz. While being chased by Michael at an airport, she runs in front of a jet engine's turbine and is sucked in... and what's left of her could be cleaned up with a mop. The fact that one of her hands somehow made it through intact and is just lying in the chunky red goo makes it even worse. Even Michael is clearly horrified and nauseated at what he just saw.
    • Did we mention it was completely unnecessary? The reason Michael was chasing Molly, was because she had stolen the only hard copy of the movie Michael had produced so it wouldn't be put out. Of course, being 2013, there's plenty of digital copies, but the director, the only one who knew of them at the time, didn't see fit to remind anyone.
  • Trevor discovering the corpse of Brad.
    • To go into specifics, it's not the corpse of Brad itself that is the terrifying part of this scene, it's the fact that Trevor, already unhinged at this point just discovered that Michael, one of his best friends, was responsible for the death of his other best friend, and now because of discovering this, any semblance of a deep friendship between them is destroyed.
    • Brad's corpse is pretty frightening, though. Nine years of decomposition will result in quite the Nightmare Face.
  • During "Fresh Meat", any time an enemy gets knocked into a meat grinder.
    • Or in one case, a tub of acid.
    • If the player doesn't save Michael in time or they're just a sadist, and they're switched to him, they'll be "treated," to a scene of Michael actually begging for the Triads to turn off the meat grinder about 5 seconds before being slowly ripped apart, audible screams and all. You can even hear him scream over the muted Game Over screen.
    • Worse yet? You can't avoid watching this if you let the time limit run out. When the game figures you're too late, it automatically forces you to switch to Michael just so you can watch him get ripped to pieces, and there is no way to switch back to Franklin once it happens. Jesus Christ, Rockstar.
  • During the family therapy session, Michael tells Amanda, right in front of their children and in no uncertain terms, that if she were to report him to the police, he would kill her. The look on his face and tone of his voice are as terrifying as anything Trevor's ever done.
    Amanda: I should have had you locked up years ago, you stupid shit.
    Michael: Do it! Do it. I'll put you in the fucking ground with the rest of them.
  • During Predator, bigfoot shows up as you're using thermal scopes to snipe. When you focus on him, he disappears. However, if you're not familiar with GA mythology, it just looks like a person was standing there until you looked at him, and then he disappeared when you began watching him.
  • Andreas Sanchez getting shot in the face by Steve Haines, "treating" us to a quick view of the big bloody exit wound in the back of his head. It's quick, but damn is it messy and detailed, compared to the neat little holes that usually result from headshot in-game.
  • One of the possible deaths for a Gunman is getting pinned by a crashing cop car in the Paleto Heist, and suffocating to death in his bomb suit. Goes to show how, even with the best protection money can buy, Anyone Can Die... and die horribly.
  • Ending B. It is probably one of the darkest moments in the entire GTA series, right fitting in the works of H. P. Lovecraft.
    • The fact that most of the story revolves around Michael and later ends up dead is quite jarring.
    • The whole mission is pure Nightmare Fuel. In this mission, Franklin crosses the Moral Event Horizon with Michael's murder.
    • Franklin himself during the plot of the mission. He seems so ruthless and unsympathetic, probably bordering on Out-of-Character Moment.
    • Michael's persective. He leaves no stone unturned in making you feel guilty as shit for double-crossing him after he just salvaged his family life and looked out for Franklin as if he was family, too; even if you change your mind and try to save him, he lets himself drop to his death.
    • The image of Michael a bloody, dead mess on the pavement is a pretty horrific way to end the story.
    • Worse? Devin Weston gets away with it.
  • Ending A is no better: at one point, Trevor burns to death screaming in agony.
    Strangers & Freaks 
  • Trevor's "Grass Roots" mission, especially if you're afraid of clowns. The background music doesn't help either.
    • Michael's "Grass Roots" mission as well. Just imagine that there are aliens everywhere, and they want to abduct you.
    • A minor one, but if Michael or Trevor lose heath during these sequences, they will still have some health missing when they return to reality.
    • Trevor's is especially terrifying when you remember it's heavily implied he was molested by a clown.
  • The Altruist Cult. They are a malevolent group who, according to Ron, take people Trevor brings to them and "just want them for dinner".
    • One of the characters that you can take to the cult is Packie from the fourth game.
    • And after you deliver four people to the cult, the cult decides to turn on Trevor. Big mistake for the cultists, but it's still pretty chilling to see their ritual, which was undoubtedly one of the last things all those victims you delivered saw.
    • One of the random encounters has their members trying to kidnap a young lady. Thankfully, she can be saved.
  • The way Peter Dreyfuss tortured, killed and mutilated Lenora Johnson in 1975 was utterly horrifying, even by GTA standards. The only satisfaction is that you will have the option to track down and kill Dreyfuss.
  • The Oop North characters of Nigel and Mrs. Thornhill in the "Vinewood Souvenirs" strand of missions (done by Trevor, to make matters worse), spend their holiday in Los Santos stalking celebrities, including stealing several "memorabilia" from them (including Kerry McIntosh's dog's collar, Tyler Dixon's swimming shorts, Willy of Love Fist's golden tooth and Mark Fostenburg's golf clubs). With the exception of Kerry, you are also given the option to kill the celebrities, and this is usually required to get a gold medal for the mission.
    • Their final two missions involve kidnapping Al Di Napoli after a wild goose chase. Once that's done, the British friends leave Trevor to deal with the celebrity, who is put into the trunk of their car. One possible outcome (including the one needed for the golden achievement) is by leaving the rental car left on a train track while a freight train is coming at a high speed. Even though it's optional, it's still frightening to think of, especially when the closer you get to the train tracks, Di Napoli begs you to pull over in exchange for a large sum of three thousand (or, thirty thousand) dollars.
      • Regardless of which you choose, it's still implied that Nigel and Thornhill are still in Los Santos after they cut ties with Trevor, continuing to stalk celebrities... unsettling indeed.
    Grand Theft Auto: Online 
  • GTA Online itself can be this on Free Mode. There is no one to trust and most players just shoot on sight once they see you, out of protection or pure entertainment, and they may spend hours of their time killing you and over until you run away or quit. Just imagine if there were 30 clones of Trevor scattered around San Andreas doing God-knows-what. That's exactly how scary it is.
    • Seeing a red blip on the map coming towards you at high speed can be this. Extra points if they suddenly vanish from the map because they used Lester's hide blip ability and even more extra points if the blip has the shape of a tank or a jet.
  • The GTA Online protagonists themselves are this. Arguably, they are the deadliest protagonists in the entirety of GTA history. Not only they show zero remorse for killing, they are supplied with military-tier vehicles and weapons that not even the singleplayer protagonists have access to, with the best example being the game's version of a V-22 Osprey helicopter that has explosive cannons all around it that is essentially the ultimate death machine. Worse than that? How about a cannon that floats around the orbit of Earth and can fire death beams from the sky? The list goes on and it's extensive.
    • The worst part, however? They are unstoppable. Nothing can kill them for good. They respawn not too far away from their nearest death location like nothing happened, lose nothing but a few hundred bucks and maybe some ammo. They never die for good and always return to continue their job. They are the closest thing this game has to the Terminators.
    • They're not even right personality wise! There's a good reason why most of the characters take note of their utter silence whenever they meet them in person or talk to them over earpieces. They don't talk, they just stand and stare at you, analyzing your every movement, maybe silently thinking about all the ways they'd kill you, if you weren't so useful to them. And let's not even mention that the only times they show glee on their faces is when you're talking about money or killing things.
    • Keep this in mind: The GTA Online protagonist managed to unsettle Trevor, almost exactly like how SCP-173 managed to scare SCP-682.
  • Grand Theft Auto Online features The Professionals, an immensely powerful crime network that operates in San Andreas. In contrast with the other gangs, they are a conglomerate of professional criminals with military training.
  • The Slasher game mode for GTA Online. You have only a flashlight, the whole place is dark and someone is out there, hunting you with a shotgun. You better hide alright.
    • Not only that, but it brings a new ambient score to the game that sounds like something straight out of Manhunt.
    • Slasher IV is the worst. You can't see anything and you're totally reliant on your flashlight only. See that light coming down the tunnel? Is it coming from a partner...or the slasher?
  • The whole idea behind the Gunrunning update in GTA Online. You purchase a former military bunker from Agent 14 and convert it into an arms factory that manufactures military grade weapons, then sell them off to unknown buyers. Agent 14 strongly implies they are very shady people, as one would expect buyers of illegally manufactured weapons would be. And YOU are putting arms and ammunition in their hands.
    • One of the resupply missions for your bunker is straight up this. The moment you start it, the whole session's weather gets stormy incredibly fast and you're tasked with driving all the way to Fort Zancudo to get your supplies. As you get there, you will see this enormous crashed UFO emitting the same noises as the one that keeps flying above the base in Singleplayer, surrounded by multiple dead soldiers, scientists and military vehicles, with nothing else but the the alien egg itself right among all the chaos. As the player collects it, aliens begin to spawn all around you and, while they don't attack you, they certainly scare the hell out of you and make you want to get away from that place as fast as possible, because you possibly just pissed off a whole extraterrestrial race.
    • If you have completed the resupply mission and black out at your nightclub. There is a minute chance you can find yourself up on Mt Chiliad stripped of your clothing with a tattoo of the UFO symbol found throughout Blaine County plastered on your back. As you turn around however, you find a UFO floating right behind you in broad daylight. Any attempt to approach it and it flies away at an insane speed. Seems whatever extraterrestrial race that owns the UFO's is far from finished with your character yet.
      • The song that plays as you approach the crash site is incredibly eerie as well.
  • When Avon betrays you in The Doomsday Heist and you have to deal with the fact that you just helped an insane billionaire essentially take control of the government with a sociopathic companion AI that wants to commit genocide on the human race. The sense of urgency to continue playing the Heist just to save the planet is real.
    • The presence of Juggernauts that can go invisible during the "Rescue Agent 14" setup. Yes, fucking Juggernauts that can go invisible armed with mini-guns!
    • During the finale of Act lll, Cliffford quickly starts to become a rogue AI and turns against his creator. He quickly achieves independent sentience as you storm into the Mt Chiliad bunker control room in a hurry to stop the nuke from being launched and it is rather unsettling to hear that even Avon, his creator, has become scared and submissive to him.
  • Getting hit by the Orbital Cannon. It comes out of nowhere, there is absolutely no warning to it happening to you and the only way to know if someone could be targeting you is by looking on the map and seeing if there's anyone in their facility. If they are, there is a chance they could be on their orbital cannon, picking a target and that target could be you.
  • Whenever you enter the Facility's Heist planning room, you get this really ominous drone. It is probably the sound of the Heist planning computer screen turning itself on, but you can't help but feel like what you're about to do will certainly lead to...Doomsday.
    Los Santos & Blaine County 
  • Grove Street. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it was the safest place for the player in Los Santos, being the site of your first hideout and completely free of Ballas control. In this game, it's the complete opposite. It's a dismal and grungy ghetto crawling with Gang Bangers who are not Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters. Every single one of them is armed and liable to open fire at the slightest provocation (up to and including the crime of simply not being one of them). Just like a real life ghetto, this is not a place you want to go to alone, if at all.
    • Heck anytime you have to fight the Ballas in missions is heart pounding. The two missions "The Long Stretch" and "Hood Safari" are basically escape or die missions.
    • Even FIGHTING with the Ballas (or any gang in general) can be quite terrifying. What could be just a simple fistfight with some Gang Bangers could turn into a shootout. Bonus points if you don't even have a weapon yet and all you can really do is get the hell out of there. Just goes to show how dangerous it is to go around looking for trouble in places like these.
  • If you try to go too far out into the ocean, your vehicle's engine will just stop out of nowhere and it will sink. Now you're stranded in open water, far, far away from land... and a red dot just appeared on your mini-map...
    • Same if you're in an airplane and fly too far out into the ocean. You can either (a) slowly fall into the ocean in the cockpit of a plane with dead engines, or (b) jump out and free-fall into the ocean. Either way, you'll be stranded in open waters, miles from land and have to fear Jaws...
  • With the sharks in the game, they often don't immediately attack you. Instead, they tend to stalk and circle around you before going in for the insta-kill, which leaves your character being violently shaken in the jaws of the shark and letting out a gurgling scream. As the "WASTED" screen pops up, your character remains frozen in an expression of terror, sinking into the depths in a cloud of blood.
    • What's worse is that unlike cougars which you can easily fend of with your overpowered minigun or auto shotgun the only thing you have underwater as a weapon is the knife and fighting a shark with a knife more often than not has the same result as in real life.
  • Exploring the ocean can be very unsettling, especially if you suffer from thalassophobia. The deeper you go, the less light there is, and massive underwater cliffs and spires appear practically out of nowhere constantly. The submarine has no radio (unless you're playing the Xbox One, Playstation 4 or PC versions), so you're stuck listening to either the eerie ambient music, the droning of the submersible's engines, or various strange undersea noises.
    • Then there's 'crush depth.' diving too deep with the submersible will cause it to visibly compact under the water pressure. What's worse is some of the nuclear waste pickups require you to dive dangerously close, or into that depth.
    • For added horror, try crashing a plane in the ocean with the invincibility cheat turned on. But if you get down deep enough (as in, at the point where your boat or plane stalls and sinks into the ocean), not even invincibility will save you - you will die. While it's most likely due to technical limitations, it really sells just how terrifyingly deep the ocean really is. The guy who crashed the plane with invincibility on just above? It got so dark and deep he was legitimately terrified and bailed from the plane to get back to shore.
    • On a related note... diving deep in the dark ocean is scary enough. Diving around looking for nuclear waste and stumbling on a dead body lying on the ocean floor? Ten times worse! And then, if you research enough, you learn that there are EIGHT dead bodies lying on the ocean floor, the work of the now-deceased Infinity Killer who hid the bodies in a secret place... and YOU just stumbled on that place! Nuclear waste or not, you will never want to explore the GTA ocean ever again. You could also find a sunken UFO deep underwater.
    • And the enhanced version of the game on current-gen consoles and PC allows you to experience all of this in first-person view. Go into first-person, turn off the minimap for maximum immersion, and go for a nice swim.
    • The enhanced version of the game also adds hammerhead sharks, dolphins, orcas, and rare humpback whales. They're all harmless, even the hammerheads, but can still startle you. Hammerheads like to swim in schools, and even if they won't attack you, the sight of a bunch of sharks swimming around can still be unsettling. Due to their size, dolphins can be easy to mistake for the deadly San Andreas white sharks. Orcas make loud, high-pitched calls, and between that and their speed and size, they can make you jump out of your skin. And even though the humpback whales are rare and harmless, their sheer size is quite intimidating, especially if you're not in a sub.
  • The sewers, accessible by going through the subway, are also creepy because they seem to stretch on forever with no exits. Even though there are almost no people there (save for one engineer towards the entrance), you do get the feeling something will come round the corner at any minute.
  • Remember the cougars in Red Dead Redemption? They're back, waiting for you should you choose to head into the countryside. They're not as tough to kill as the ones in Red Dead, and they'll run away from you if you're in a vehicle or if you aim your gun at them, but the sound of their yowling is still enough to send a chill down your spine. Oh, and while the Red Dead cougars would usually take two hits to kill you at full health, these cougars can do it in just one.
    • Their killing animation has also changed from a comically unrealistic looking scratch to a much more realistic pounce then bite into your torso/neck.
      • Worse is - you are virtually guaranteed to find them when playing the hunting minigame, and you can't use invincibility in missions, so if you can't run away fast enough (or climb on top of something) you will get killed. It's the inevitability of them spotting you and chasing you faster than you can run away that is particularly scary.
      • If you've taken a taxi to the hunting area, sometimes your taxi driver can be attacked by a cougar.
      • To a lesser extent, you can also get attacked by dogs. It usually happens if you attack their owner, but sometimes it's just triggered by going too close. Larger dogs, such as Rottweilers, can potentially pin you to the ground and instantly kill you like cougars can. There are sometimes police dogs too.
  • Elk can occasionally run in front of cars, which is quite a surprise if you see it happening well away from the hunting area where you'd normally find them.
    • Michael and Trevor also have have lines consisting of sarcasm (for the former) and dark humour (for the latter) when they hit an animal.
  • Go to Mount Gordo between 23:00 and 00:00 and you'll see Jolene Cranley-Evans. The catch? She's been dead since 1978.
    • It gets worse. When you approach her, she disappears and leaves a message in blood. The message? Jock. As in Jock Cranley. You know, one of the candidates in the campaign for governor? One of the websites in the game implies that Jock murdered his wife.
    • You can go to a little site down Mount Gordo with a few camping tents and possibly a van. You can see Jolene's ghost here too, and if you turn up your volume you'll hear creepy whispers, as well as echo-y voice clips of Jolene begging for mercy or screaming as she falls.
  • The IAA has a deadly neurotoxin that they plan to unleash on the population of a metropolitan area in a staged terrorist attack. Their motivation? Wanting to increase their funding. Yes, they're willing to murder huge numbers of people just to get more money from the government.
  • Go into first person and throw yourself off a building. It's strangely realistic and cringe-inducing.
  • In TV, there's an ad for a show called "Dude Eat Dog". It's... uncomfortable to watch, to say the least, even if played for Black Comedy.
  • Some of the missions with the Epsilon Program, since it involves interacting with members who sound Brainwashed and Crazy, and have a Dark Reprise of the Epsilon Program from their website.
  • While the peyote sessions are funny for the most part, some of them can take on a more sinister edge from the interior monologue. Of note is when Trevor becomes a tiger shark, going from his usual persona to darkly serene and sinister.
  • The UFO that flies over Fort Zancudo and the sounds it makes. Dear god, the sounds it makes!
    • The two other UFO's you can find have the FIB logo on them. Just think about that.
    • Maybe it's just Haines doing a publicity stunt.
  • Every once or so often, you'll see a police cruiser chasing a car with 2-4 criminals in it. Usually, they'll drive away and be gone for good, but there are also times where both sides exit their vehicles and shoot at each other. While it may be a little annoying at times, it's also quite disturbing to see just how chaotic the streets of Los Santos are.
  • The show Kung Fu Rainbow Lazer Force, an evangelical Christian parody of Power Rangers has a scene where the team encounters a teenage couple who they claim have "unnatural desires". When the team proceeds to mock the asthmatic boyfriend in the relationship, they discover the boy has pictures of Renaissance human sculptures, which the team counts as "amateur pornography", and end up killing him (with a heavy amount of Gorn too to save the girlfriend. It doesn't stop the girlfriend from having a mental breakdown and end up meeting the exact same fate as her lover. To think of it, it crosses the border of Squick and can come off as unsettling, even for the fact that the show is a parody of extreme conservative values
    • Later in the show, Louisa, Sebastian Kayden's Mexican house maid, ends up getting killed the exact same way, although this time, it is accidentally done in a fit of rage from Sebastian seeing barely-clad cheerleaders. It still can't be excused from being utterly disgusting, however.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: