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Nightmare Fuel / Hannibal

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Unmarked spoilers for the series and movie below!

The Series

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     Season 1 

  • "Amuse-Bouche": The killer of the episode buried diabetics alive and grew mushrooms out of their bodies. Oh, and that first body we saw, the one that had duct-tape over its mouth which was subsequently ripped off, along with his lips? Still alive. Enjoy.
  • The Mystery of the Week in the pulled episode "Oeuf" is this mixed with a healthy dose of parental fear. Just imagine someone's son going missing and all the trauma that entails, then one day, completely out of the blue, he arrives back at his family's house alive and unharmed while they're about to have lunch. Suddenly a load of other boys appear and hold the entire family hostage before executing them with the mother going last and being killed by her own son. Not to mention the fact that throughout the entire episode we never even learn the woman's name who abducted and brainwashed the boys nor do we fully learn her motives for doing so.
  • "Coquilles": Angels whose "wings" are made from flesh stripped from their backs. It is specifically mentioned that the victims were still alive while this was being done to them.
    • Also, the killer proceeded to castrate himself and do the exact same process to himself that he did to others. And all this because he was afraid of death due to his incurable cancer.
    • And at the end of the episode Will sees the Angel Maker get down from his suspended position and begin talking to him. Will then closes his eyes, and when he opens them again, the Angel Maker was back, suspended from the barn. Dammit, Will's empathy hallucinations. You did it again.
  • The victim in "Entrée" is incredibly high octane nightmare fuel. Not only is she missing her eyes, not only is she impaled with eight IV stands, but Will's reenactment involves jamming his thumbs into the victim's eyes and her crawling around in a desperate blind scramble for help, and it ends up so traumatic that it takes Will a while to recover.
  • "Sorbet": The killer was a part-time paramedic who wanted to be a doctor. That's why the organ removal was so badly done; he was actually trying to save his "patients" but lost control of the situation. He even cut a guy open so he could manually stimulate the heart in an effort to save him. Imagine dying while your organ-harvester is desperately trying to save your life.
  • In "Trou Normand", Hannibal is comforting Abigail and telling her Will and he are going to protect her... right before he cocks his head and stares into the camera.
  • Considering the subject matter, that this show would include Nightmare Fuel in nearly every episode is a given, but let's specifically mention the entire freakin' episode "Buffet Froid" on here just for outdoing the entire first season thus far in sheer pants-craptitude. We've got creepy dead-eyed girls hiding under beds, girls whose skin rips off their arms as easily as a glove, encephalitis, unethical doctors hiding supremely important health information from their patients, extreme Glasgow-smile butchery, the most confusing flashbacks ever, the most confusing time-loss flash forwards ever, and now WILL AND THOSE CLOCKS. And fish are not supposed to bleed that much.
    • Georgia walking in on Hannibal as he's essentially ripping Dr. Sutcliffe's skull in two. He turns around to see her; since she can't recognise faces, she doesn't see his — only an blank expanse with hints of the skull underneath. Sleep well!
    • The encephalitis and Hannibal's total abuse and manipulation of Will was the darkest moment up to this point in the series. This is the moment you know that Hannibal Lecter in this series cannot care for anyone, and is pure evil. If the show gets revived, following the books would jump the shark, as all positive actions and emotions are rooted in evil for this incarnation. Everything up to this point had implied that he might have cared on some level for Will, but this shows that whatever he claims, he does not. It's realistic nightmare fuel. The idea of doctors lying to you For Science! is terrifying on a very real level.
  • "Rôti":
    • Will has a seizure that causes his eyes to roll up into his head. Good luck sleeping tonight.
    • Gideon operates on Chilton while he's awake — admittedly with local anesthetic — and removes at least some of his organs, as well as showing them to him. After Gideon flees the scene, law enforcement officers find Chilton with his abdomen still open and his intestines bulging out.
  • The death of Georgia, burned alive after picking the world's worst place to comb her hair. The slow-motion flames added to the horror. Her charred remains, so blackened as to be unrecognizable, are also nightmarish.
  • The end of "Relevés". Hannibal tips his hand and Abigail finally realizes his true nature when they're alone in her house miles from Will, Jack, or anyone who can intervene. When she says Will told her that the man who called her father was a serial killer, Hannibal tells her that he called her father to warn him they were coming and did so out of curiosity for the outcome (which resulted in Abigail's mother being killed). He tells her that he killed her best friend for the same reason, and that he hoped she would kill Nick Boyle to see how much she was like her father. He says it was a good thing she murdered Nick because it changed her. He takes her hand and tells her he has killed many more than her father did. On the verge of tears, she asks him if he'll kill her. He caresses her face and apologizes for not being able to protect her. Episode over. The situation is scary enough, but Hannibal instantly switching gears from comforting friend to ice cold killer is very unnerving.
  • In "Savoureux", we finally see the Ravenstag/Wendigo in its full glory. And find out that it's been Hannibal all along.
    • The sound that plays during that scene.
    • Will waking up from a nightmare and immediately vomiting up Abigail's ear into his sink.
    • When Will and Hannibal enter the Hobbs' kitchen for the final time, and we see where Abigail died. There is so much blood, it looks more like Abigail was liquefied.

     Season 2 

  • The trailers for Season 2.
  • Will regaining his memory of Hannibal force-feeding him Abigail's ear.
    • The opening fight scene in "Kaiseki". Crawford and Hannibal are beating the shit out of each other, until Hannibal fakes going unconscious when Crawford puts him in a chokehold. Hannibal suddenly stabs him in the neck with a shard of glass and, when the wounded Crawford stumbles into the wine cellar, Lecter grabs two knives and starts animalistically shouldering the door down.
  • Two more examples of notes from "Kaiseki": the first is when Alana tries to bring back Will's memories, and he sees an entire banquet of Food Porn gone horribly wrong, at the head of which is the Wendigo. The second is even worse, with the newest victim of the Season 2 criminal waking up in a silo of human bodies, all neatly stitched together and arranged in a spiral. It's his screams that really sell it, though.
  • "Sakizuke":
    • Thought the ending of "Kaiseki" was freaky? Well, this one begins right where it left off, with the victim tearing chunks of his own flesh off in order to escape the human mural, whimpering and screaming with every motion, before being chased through a cornfield by the killer and forced to jump off of a cliff to escape, busting his head open on some rocks on the way down. Hope you weren't planning on sleeping any time soon...
    • On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, the scene where Dr. Du Maurier comes to Hannibal's house to tell him she won't be his therapist anymore. The body language and chemistry between the actors is almost unbearably tense, and you have no idea what's going to happen. With every step Hannibal takes, Du Maurier takes one back, her fear clearly showing through her feigned stoicism. He visibly notices the first time this happens, and then keeps doing it anyway. Plus, he openly smirks when she discusses how their backstory would be just as incriminating for her.
    • Will discovers the fate he faces: the state executes him for Hannibal's crimes, while Hannibal murders freely under no suspicion.
  • In "Hassun", Hannibal's yandere aspect emerges. The episode implies that his machinations and killings are depraved attempts to understand and show love for Will.
  • In "Hassun", an unknown killer murders a court bailiff and a judge, demonstrating that even authority figures are not beyond the murderous grasp of serial killers. The fact that he murdered the judge in his own office also show that the killer can penetrate and undermine places of authority.
    • Given the circumstances, it appears that someone other than Hannibal committed those crimes, and Hannibal is merely taking advantage of them in order to keep Will from the death penalty. Of course, the idea of there being another killer out there who has already displayed similar planning, forethought, and meticulousness is no less terrifying.
  • "Takiawase". We find out Hannibal was inducing seizures in Will with drugs and epileptic strobe light therapy.
    • Will hallucinates a psychiatric session with Hannibal, in which Dr. Lecter's face becomes distorted similarly to the clock drawings.
    • Incidentally, the episode's killer also utilizes an Eye Scream methodology similar to that employed by Doctor Gideon — plunge a metal skewer through the eye and scramble the brain behind it. But these victims are still alive. One was found wandering in a park covered in bee stings and without eyes. The other had a hive grown in his head and torso.
    • When Beverly is discovered in Hannibal's basement by the good doctor. He waits like a predator, silent and calm until he's seen. And then he moves so fast, to turn out the lights and plunge his foe into darkness, she fires off five shots. The last goes through the ceiling...
    • Katherine Primm's quietly proud monologue where she reveals why, precisely, she was killing people and putting beehives in their skulls, is creepy.
  • The observatory's third grisly occurrence: Beverly Katz filleted like a Damien Hirst exhibit, and placed between glass panes for Jack to find, while Hannibal makes a pie from her kidneys.
  • Matthew Brown's attempt on Hannibal's life: simultaneously crucifying and hanging him while his victim is half-naked.
    • Even worse when you consider it from Hannibal's point of view. He never expected this from Will, and he's completely helpless until Jack arrives on the scene. While he is usually calm and collected, maintaining full control of the situation, this is the first time we see him genuinely frightened for his life. Or frightened at all, for that matter.
  • Hannibal feeding Dr Gideon his own amputated leg as a last meal. Worse, next season reveals it's not his last meal; but the first in a multi-course feast lasting several days, in which Hannibal not only severs, prepares and feeds Gideon his own body a piece at a time, but forces him to eat specific foods in an attempt to fine-tune the way his flesh tastes.
    • ' The way in which Gideon was behaving under Hannibal's influence, the way he eats it, nonchalant, savors the meat for a moment before turning back to Hannibal and saying:
    Dr. Gideon: My compliments to the chef.
  • Miriam Lass having probably spent the better part of two years locked away by Lecter in an underground chamber.
  • "Yakimono" is terrifying. From Miriam's brief recollections of her time in captivity to Hannibal framing Chilton in the most horrific way possible.
  • There's something deeply unsettling about any scene with Hannibal and Alana in bed. It probably has something to do with the fact that it's romanticized the same way other sex scenes are on television, despite the fact that it's Hannibal that Alana is having sex with.
  • Horses. With people in them. One of the 'victims' being left to crawl out of the horses gut while alive. Just. There is murder,and then there is literally stuffing people inside of dead animals. Watching the man crawl out past intestines and other organs is deeply disturbing. (Not that he didn't deserve it...)
  • The Early-Bird Cameo of Mason Verger in "Su-zakana". In just a few seconds, he casually breaks the arm of his sister Margot and wipes away and collects her tears for sadistic reasoning: putting them in a martini glass and drinking it. The more chilling is the sole piece of dialogue.
    Mason: You should have taken the chocolate, Margot.
  • "Shiizakana" is an episode that feels more like a classic horror. Randall Tier, the Killer of the Week, is a madman who believes that he is an animal born in a man's body. So he builds a beast suit using bones of extinct cave bears and pneumatic engineering, and then hunts people in the dark with it. Seeing that suit stalk people in the dark, chase them across the snow and then tear them into pieces is terrifying. Especially when it's Will Graham's turn.
  • Mason Verger's introduction in "Naka-Choko" is appropriately terrifying. He not only demonstrates the man-eating pigs he's cultivated, he does so by using a meat dummy made to look like Margot. In front of Margot, while saying how she would have nothing without him.
  • The speech Mason gives to Margot in "Ko No Mono", about the next generation of Vergers; how his son would be her heir as well and a child bringing them closer together. It could've been just Incest Subtext if only Mason didn't throw in how he had viable sperm. If you know the Vergers' backstory from the novels, it becomes all the more unsettling.
  • Mason forcibly sterilizing his sister.
    • Even worse, it's clear that he does so by having *all* her reproductive organs removed, rather than simply tying her tubes or something less invasive and destructive. He gleefully admits he wanted her to have a huge, unforgettable wound afterwards.
  • Mason's fate in "Tome-wan": being convinced, under the influence of drugs, to skin his own face off, eating parts of it himself and feeding the rest to Will's dogs. Then being left quadriplegic, and under the care of the sister he's tortured all his life. Utterly deserved and deeply satisfying, but still, horrifying.
  • Hannibal finally letting his appearance of humanity and civility drop in the Season 2 finale, hissing "He's in the pantry" to describe Jack to Alana.
    • Hannibal stalking a defenseless Alana through the house while he's carrying a pair of kitchen knives. Then, if that wasn't enough to turn your blood to ice, he lays them down, curls his fists...and continues stalking her.
      • Just prior to this, her look of horror when she tries to shoot Hannibal and finds out her gun is empty. Hannibal coolly tells her he took her bullets when he drugged her and slowly advances towards her. She immediately runs and Hannibal doesn't seem to be slightly bothered as he simply walks towards her, somehow knowing she isn't going to escape unharmed.
    • Alana lying outside Hannibal's house alone in the rain.
    • Right after discovering that Abigail is alive, Will is forced to watch as Hannibal ruthlessly slices open the girl's throat, too grievously injured to protect her in any way. And this is the second time such a thing has happened to Will, although this time around he's bleeding out on the kitchen floor with Abigail — a young girl who has become like a daughter to him — desperately attempting to slow the blood flow from her lacerated throat while on the front porch an innocent woman dies/is dying: before Abigail's mother, this time Alana. And there's absolutely nothing Will can do to stop it.
    • Abigail's entire fate, as revealed by the end of Season 2, is pretty nightmarish. As if she hadn't already been through enough, she ends up entirely brainwashed by Hannibal, after spending seven months in his care. Left little more than an empty shell that operates solely on his command alone, and then brutally killed by the very same person who held her captive, simply because her role had been extinguished. It's pretty clear that things were never going to turn out any shade of good for her.
    • Jack wheezing with a slashed neck as his terminally ill wife attempts to call him.

     Season 3 

  • Hannibal forcing Gideon to eat his own body was already bad enough, but "Antipasto" features detailed flashbacks to it, down to the food he forces Gideon to eat to improve his flavor. During this process, he keeps Gideon alive for what implied to be several days, removing each limb one at a time and possibly organs to feed to Gideon. The most grisly preparation method seen is feeding his arm to carnivorous snails, which Hannibal proceeds to make into escargots. And now he's having Bedelia eat the same foods to improve her flavor...
  • "Primavera" has one moment of pure Nightmare Fuel: After Will recreates the crime scene, Dimmond's mutilated corpse starts beating like a heart. Then it unfurls and moves around jerkily, bends over backwards and erupts with hooves and antlers where the feet, hands and head used to be. Even Will is freaked out.
  • "Secondo":
    • Hannibal stabs his colleague through the side of the head. The colleague's face then twitches, while he begins to spasm and chuckle, half-panicking as he can't see.
    • Hannibal's revenge on Mischa's killer: to be stuck in a dungeon with only snails for company, and to be neglected of any human contact. The prisoner began to make dolls out of chicken bones due to his loneliness.
      • Of course, there's the heavy implication that Hannibal was the one who killed his sister, and an innocent man has been imprisoned for something he didn't do. Which is eerily similar to how Hannibal set up both Will and Chilton in seasons one and two respectively.
      • Word Of God actually says that the man DID kill Mischa without any prodding from Hannibal. Hannibal just ate her corpse.
    • Hannibal's guests lip-smacking when they savour the meat dishes.
  • Even though Chilton survived his gunshot wound, his face is very disfigured. Not only does he have a bullet hole in his cheek, but he's also blind in one eye and had the plate in his face removed.
  • "Contorno":
    • Just like in the movie, Hannibal brutally kills Inspector Pazzi by disemboweling him and hanging his guts out over a balcony. What's really chilling about it is just how nonchalant he really is about all of this. Since Season 2, Hannibal has really stepped into the role of the monster.
  • "Dolce":
    • How about the reversal of the fight in "Contorno", where Hannibal gets the better of Jack by hiding under the table? Or, you know, when he starts cutting open Will's head with a saw? It's Jack's unanswered pleas to stop, followed by his screaming that really turn this into a nightmare fuel scenario.
      • It doesn't help that Will doesn't even react to Hannibal cutting open his head. He doesn't even flinch.
    • The final shot of the episode, showing Hannibal and Will somehow going right from the table to being in Mason Verger's custody.
  • "Digestivo":
  • "The Great Red Dragon":
    • We finally meet Francis Dolarhyde aka The Tooth Fairy aka The Great Red Dragon.
    • The projector scene where Dolarhyde imagines the film wrapping around his face.
    • Will examining a crime scene for the first time in three years. He has to re-enact The Red Dragon's cold-blooded, macabre killing of the Leeds family. Watching him wound and bleed the parents and shooting the kids in their beds is both unsettling and saddening, especially after we've seen that he had finally moved on with a loving wife and stepson.
      • The murders are even more grisly than most, a majority of the kills in the show are presented as very stylized and artistic, not here. It's straight, brutal, cold-blooded murder.
  • "And the Woman Clothed in Sun":
    • Hannibal and Dolarhyde's phone chat, presented as a therapy session, of course. The highlights include Dolarhyde stating his intention to meet Hannibal and to watch him "meld with the strength of the dragon", and the real Dolarhyde circling the imaginary therapy session until he is standing directly behind Hannibal where he then envisions the two of them as a real life version of Blake's "The Number of the Beast is 666" painting.
    • Will and Dolarhyde finally meet face-to-face, with Will catching the latter trying to escape a secure room in an art museum after having just hastily eaten a priceless copy of Blake's most famous "Great Red Dragon" painting. As soon as there is recognition, Dolarhyde grabs Will like he's a ragdoll, yanks him into the elevator and smashes him into a wall before hurling him back out. Before Will can even react or get his bearings, his suspect has already escaped.
  • "... And The Beast From the Sea":
    • "Save yourself. Kill them all."
    • This scene.
    • Dolarhyde invading Will's home to kill his family, and Molly and Walter having to sneak around in the dark with a Serial Killer in the house.
    • When Molly distracts Dolarhyde by activating her car alarm, Dolarhyde, without a second's pause, unloads his silenced pistol all over the vehicle.
    • Dolarhyde's Skyward Scream after killing a random motorist and letting Molly and Walter escape.
  • "The Number of the Beast is 666":
    • Dolarhyde psychologically torturing Chilton, before biting off his lips, then setting him on fire and pushing him into a fountain. The last we see of his victim, he is a red and black burnt piece of meat with bared teeth, barely able to talk in the hospital. Of all three different versions of this scene, it might be the most terrifying and certainly one of the most terrifying scenes in the show.
      • The way he crawls over the couch to get to Chilton is so animal-like, it's pretty much inhuman. Not to mention Chilton's screams of pain are utterly chilling.
    • Hannibal slurping down one of Chilton's lips.
    • Dolarhyde kidnapping Reba and mercilessly prodding her until she understands just what he is. Proclaiming once again, "I. Am. The Dragon!" before he steps away from her and see the unfolding wings behind his back. End episode.
  • "The Wrath of the Lamb":
    • Dolarhyde gives Reba the key to front door and orders her to lock it, warning her not run or he'll kill her. Reba puts the key in the lock then quickly opens to door to escape... only to find Dolarhyde right outside, waiting for her.
    • Dolarhyde confessing to Reba that he's going to commit a murder-suicide in order to protect them both from The Great Red Dragon, warning her of what the dragon is capable of.
    Dolarhyde: He will bite you!
    • Reba frantically feeling for the door key after she thinks Dolarhyde had blown his own head off with a shotgun. She puts her hand right into the pile of Ludicrous Gibs that used to be his head. Or so we think...
    • Hannibal stating very clearly to Alana that she's been living on borrowed time ever since she decided to be brave in his kitchen at the end of Season 2 (four years ago), that everything she has — her job, Margot, their son — belongs to him, and that if he ever gets free he is definitely going to hunt her down and kill her some day.
    • The almost effortless ease with which Dolarhyde ambushes and dispatches Hannibal's armed police escort.
    • Will gets brutally stabbed in the face by Dolarhyde, lifting his body with the blade in his cheek until his feet are dangling off the floor.
    • Hannibal and Will working together to brutally kill Dolarhyde, sharing the death blows with Hannibal leaping on his back and tearing out his throat with his teeth and Will gutting him with a knife. The imagery of this scene combined with the song "Love Crime" is as raw and chilling as it is awesome.
    • A possible interpretation of the last scene is that Bedelia cooked her own leg, waiting with a creepily orgasmic expression on her face and setting the table for three, implying that she believes Will and Hannibal will be joining her.
      • But a more likely interpretation is that the ending is actually a flashforward to the future, revealing that Hannibal — and possibly Will — survived and has finally gotten around to making good on his intention of eating Bedelia. Bedelia hiding the fork as a weapon, the similarity to Hannibal's capture of Gideon, and the difficulty of Bedelia cutting off her own leg, cooking it and then preparing the meal without a visible crutch or wheelchair makes this more plausible, but only marginally less disturbing.
      • The second interpretation has been confirmed to be the right one by Word Of God. Hannibal and Will are indeed both alive, and ready to eat Bedelia together.

The Book & The Film
  • The sequence in where Mason Verger is shown gleefully (thanks to the drugs Lecter gave him) cutting his own face off with a piece of broken mirror. Bonus points for showing Lecter feeding it to the dog. The flashback itself is filmed with a very surreal and disturbing style and features Mason wearing a bizarre sex mask and swinging like a corpse on a fake noose. Creepy.
  • Mason Verger himself. His Nightmare Face is something short of it. A child-molesting sadist who brutally raped his own sister. Once karma catches up with him in the form of Hannibal Lecter, the crippled Verger resorts to verbally and emotionally abusing children. Then he drinks martinis made from their tears.
  • Lecter's attack on Krendler. He drugs him, removes his skull cap, cuts off a piece of his brain, cooks it, and feeds it to the drugged out Krendler. And Clarice has to witness this Autocannibalism happening.
    • Even worse in the book; Clarice has gone through a Humiliation Conga at Krendler's hands, so all it takes is some designer drugs and a little hypnosis for her to join Hannibal in feasting on her Bad Boss. On top of that, in the book Krendler is not drugged - as the brain has no pain receptors or major arteries, Hannibal is not only able to saw open Krendler's skull without killing him, but Krendler at first thinks that he just had a Tap on the Head, only for Hannibal to nonchalantly lift the top of his skull off and start slicing away like a deranged Japanese steakhouse chef. Krendler's slow deterioration into random babble as Hannibal and Clarice feast on every last morsel of his brain is perhaps the most Cruel and Unusual Death in the history of the written word!
      • It's even more horrifying than that. The drugs and light hypnosis are part of Hannibal's psychiatric treatment of Clarice. He's not actually brainwashing her, he's putting her through therapy. It works, too; he helps her resolve her core issues regarding the early death of her beloved father. The result? Clarice, as a person now free of her psychological burdens, becomes a hyper-intelligent monster like Hannibal!