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Nightmare Fuel / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Even in Muggle territory, you are never safe from the wrath of the Dementors.
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WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.


  • Montague's experience after Fred and George stuffed him into a Vanishing Cabinet. He spent weeks in a pitch-black limbo, hearing snatches of conversation from either end, taunting him. Eventually, he managed to apparate himself out, an experience which almost caused his death.
    • Made worse by the fact that it turns out that the aforementioned Vanishing Cabinet is the same one used the following year by Malfoy to create a passageway into Hogwarts for some of Voldemort's top Death Eaters.
    • Not to mention how casual everyone is about it. Sure, Montague must be a grade-A douche to join the Inquisitorial Squad, but trapping him in limbo for weeks just for trying to dock you some house points? That's kind of messed up.

  • Dolores Umbridge herself. If there's anything scarier than Nightmare Fuel, she would be it. "The Dementors are only afraid of one thing: Her." Here's a couple of things she's responsible for:
    • Harry being forced to carve his own hand open with Umbridge's blood quill. In the film, at least, we have this line that summarizes just how monstrous and horrible Umbridge really is.
      Umbridge: That's right. Because you know, deep down, that you deserve to be punished. Don't you, Mr. Potter?
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    • The scene where Umbridge attempts to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry. This is the Wizarding version of Cold-Blooded Torture at its worst, only previously described as having been used by Death Eaters and Barty Crouch Sr.'s team of interrogators, and she's about to use it on a fifteen-year-old boy. The Cruciatus Curse is capable of causing insanity and considered so horrible that its use is punishable by a life sentence in Azkaban. And when Hermione tries to make her stop since it's illegal, Dolores has this to say:
      Umbridge: What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him.
    • In the way the scene is described, she's excited, almost aroused at the prospect of using it, and keeps pointing her wand at different parts of Harry's body "trying to decide where it would hurt the most." One can only imagine some of the body parts she cycled through... especially if you're male.
      • The top of it? It was she who sent Dementors after Harry. Worse still, this was only possible because of the Ministry hiring and weaponizing Dementors in the first place. Umbridge's actions reflect badly on her, but they're a more damning indictment of the entire wizarding government at the time.
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    • Stephen King, famed writer of such horror stories as The Shining and creator of such memorable and terrifying villains as Annie Wilkes, called Umbridge "the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter."
  • The Marauders bullying Snape is pretty unsettling. He's frozen in place, choked with soap, and hung upside down in front of the entire school. Although we don't know if it actually happened, James threatens to remove his underwear and expose him. It's heavily implied that this sort of thing was a regular occurrence for him, and that he's so unpopular that nobody, other than Lily, comes to defend him, with many cheering James' bullying on. The fact that the scene ends with Snape lashing out at the one person who came to his defense and she in response then uses the same insult of "Snivellus" against him only adds to the sense of how this was his "worst memory" and it chimes with a lot of school shooter narratives and cliches.
  • The Department of Mysteries has a few moments:
    • The vat full of brains, and the Time Room. Made even worse by the fact that the heroes saw it in the middle of the night, when it was unoccupied.
    • The room with the dais. An enormous rectangular room with a sunken pit twenty feet below in the center, with stone steps leading down to it and an old, crumbling archway in the middle. The fact that the veil of this dais is fluttering with no one being there to move it is frightening enough; when you learn that it is actually the gateway to death and that the veil's fluttering is caused by souls of the dead who are waiting on the other side.
    • Especially creepy considering it's an amphitheater. Which was probably used for public executions in the distant past!
    • The Death Eater whose head—just his head—is regressed to infancy.
    • The Love Room. Out of all the many horrors, the contents of this room is the one that they feel they need to keep behind a permanently locked door.
    • Hell, the Department of Mysteries itself. A top-secret government agency that only those with the highest security clearance are allowed in, inside which all of the creepiest and most dangerous magic is studied. Where have we seen this before?
  • When the Death Eaters emerge from the darkness in the Hall of Prophecy. You know it's coming, but something about seeing/reading about six teens in a darkened room surrounded by eerily glowing white crystal balls (which they must NOT touch, unless they wish to go insane), and then seeing the glistening masks of the Death Eaters emerging on all sides... sends shivers.
    • Bellatrix Lestrange, in particular, is creepy. She shows up with a mad cackle and an almost jovial air to her maddened self. Then Harry says Voldemort's name and her mood abruptly shifts, her eyes bugging out, and she bellows, "You filthy half-blood!"
    • A few seconds later, as they run to escape, Dolohov apparates next to Harry and his smoky face hovers right next to Harry's own face as Harry tries to escape, keeping pace with him...
  • The Battle of the Department of Mysteries speaks volumes, considering how it involves a group of four 15-year-olds and two 14-year-olds fighting for their lives against the Death Eaters, and the various injuries they get are horrific by itself, but the most horror has to be what Hermione experiences. She is struck by a mysterious purple spell conjured by Dolohov, which causes her to faint and immediately crumple, showing all signs of someone being killed. Harry is actually very, very scared in his narration that she is really going to die, although it fortunately does not happen. After the battle, it is noted that Hermione has to experience a lengthy recuperation process that involves drinking a lot of potions for several weeks. Oh, didn't we mention that Dolohov is muted at that time? Nonverbal spells are not as powerful as verbal, which brings up a Fridge Horror of what would happen if he was not muted at that time. It is quite possible that a verbal version of this spell is what Dolohov uses to kill Lupin in Deathly Hallows. Rowling never elaborates the nature of this spell, unlike other high-end curses like the Unforgivable Curses or Sectumsempra or even Fiendfyre. What we know is that it can be negated but not deflected completely and that it inflicts some sort of internal damage as from the outside the people hit by this spell is peaceful-looking. It sounds an awful lot like a Theme Park Version of the Killing Curse, which is not much better.
    • Even worse, Harry himself is also struck by this unknown spell, though in his case, it's weakened by his Shield Charm. Harry describes the experience as "a streak across his face with a blunt knife". And even in his case, it is enough to knock Harry off his feet. Dolohov also tries to attack Sirius with this spell, but he is taken out by Harry before he can do so.
  • The brains in the Department of Mysteries do... something to Ron, at first he's so disoriented that he doesn't seem to mind, but even in that state he quickly notes that it is not pleasant. Whatever it is that happened to him, he needed potions to forget it all, and he still carries physical (and probably psychological) scars. He and Hermione are the only ones after the battle who needed a prolonged stay in the infirmary.
  • Boggarts, generally all bark and no bite except for Parvati's mutant jack-in-the-box (a significantly less terrifying mummy in the book), are given a Wham Moment when Mrs. Weasley, trying to get rid of one, is forced to see the dead bodies of her family (and Harry, in a darkly heartwarming moment). Adult Fears can't be helped with the Ridikkulus spell.
  • The possession scene at the end of the film. Daniel Radcliffe completely sells the idea that poor Harry is being ruthlessly mind raped by Voldemort. Not to mention Harry's snake-like writhing just screams out that something thoroughly inhuman is trying to possess his mind and body.
    Harry/Voldemort: You've lost, old man.
    • There's something about Harry's blank-eyed stare as he lies still and slightly twitching that's horribly unnerving too.
  • One of Harry's hallucinations during the possession is of him looking into the Mirror of Erised and seeing Voldemort's face in his reflection.
    "Look at me."
  • Hagrid attacking the Aurors after they gang up on Fang and McGonagall. Sure it's Beware the Nice Ones, but this scene also shows just how dangerous someone who is 11'6" and weighs probably around 1000 pounds can be when you piss them off. Add in that because of his giant blood, he is immune to the Stunning Spell.
  • The photograph of the original Order of the Phoenix. As Harry lampshades, so many in that photo are doomed and are unaware of their fates.
    • And just think about how some of those old Order members died. Some were murdered along with their entire families, some (like Ron's uncles) were outnumbered, and others were blown to bits.
  • Harry's dream where he sees Arthur being attacked by Nagini, with the description of his ribs shattering beneath the attack. If Harry hadn't been quick, it may have been hours before Arthur was found. On a meta level, this scene was likely where Arthur was going to die had Rowling not changed her mind. While most of the other deaths have been quick or off-screen, Rowling had obviously been prepared to not just sacrifice Arthur, but do so in an unforgettable, dramatic, gory way, with Harry watching it all in first person, which certainly wouldn't have been good for his already shaky mental health.
    • This scene is especially disturbing because the narration makes it sound like Harry himself is the snake with an uncontrollable urge to bite the man. It's also disorienting because it comes right after Harry was having an already-odd dream about Cho, and it's not immediately clear what's going on.
  • In the video game adaptation, for the levels set in Sirius' house, if you pass by the curtain-hidden portrait of Sirius' mother, she will suddenly shriek at the top of her painted lungs "FREAKS!", "TRAI-TOOORS!", and the like. The first time (or few times) you pass by her, you will jump.
  • The scene near the beginning of the film, where Dementors suddenly appear and choke Harry can be unnerving to some.
  • When Harry and the Weasleys are visiting Mr. Weasley at St. Mungo's Hospital, they come across the long-term ward for patients suffering from permanent spell damage. One of the patients is a woman whose entire head is covered in fur; she can only communicate by barking. It's implied that her condition is either the result of a failed attempt to become an Animagus or a botched batch of Polyjuice Potion. Neville's parents also live there, still alive but tortured into insanity by Death Eaters, suffering from brain damage so severe that they can't recognize their own son.
  • A defiance by the director/studio actually turns into another case of this: The scream Daniel Radcliffe lets out during Sirius' death scene is muted in the film. It looks like an extremely convincing job of miming but research on the making of the scene reveals that Dan did do a real scream in the take, but the filmmakers deemed it too agonizing and made the decision to cut the audio. This was a PG-13 movie in a series that had already dipped into some disturbing material (the entire ending of Goblet of Fire, anyone?). What must that scream have sounded like? Brrrr.

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