Spoilers for several films below.
Films with their own page:
- The Castle of Cagliostro has several very frightening scenes. For anyone afraid of corpses, it's a bad movie. The protagonists end up in a dungeon filled with centuries worth of unwanted guests and they even take a nap there. Bonus points for later featuring a scene in which some characters swim through the canal inside the dungeon. Obviously, the floor of the canal is also made out of dead people.
- Special mention goes out to the villain's death. The guy gets crushed between clock hands with a sickening snap kind of sound.
- My Neighbor Totoro:
- The possibility that Mei might have drowned in the lake.
- The Catbus. That smile and the glowing eyes...its hollow body. Good lord, how is that thing not terrifying?!
- It could also be worse. It's a nekomata; those are usually evil, but at least this one's reformed. Probably.
- Howl's Moving Castle:
- The Witch of the Waste, her blob things, and what happens to her in the room of lights.
- Forget the room of lights, what's even worse is when Howl makes his contract with Calcifer in the flashback, which puts into perspective exactly what those lights are, expands the ideas of what they can do almost infinitely, and worse, tells you that they are out there somewhere and not created or under the control of any magic user. Complete with unintelligible Ironic Nursery Rhyme.
- Howl's gradual transformation into a bird-monster, with it being harder, slower, and more painful to change back every time.
- The dream Sophie had where she discovered Howl in said form and he says, "Go away." Enough to send chills up anyone's spines, especially if you recognize Christian Bale's Batman voice during the dream.
- That moment when Sophie thinks that Howl is dead and the ring helps her to find him. Miyazaki always has great visual representations for magic, but liquid darkness is probably the most awesome (and one of the scarier) things that happen in anime.
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea:
- The scene where Ponyo tells her father she wants to go back to Sousuke. When you think about it later, you realize that Fujimoto is basically forcibly sedating his daughter to the point of knocking her out. Her sisters look a bit freaked out themselves.
- Fujimoto's minions. They're very unsettling with the distorted mumbling and the freaky eyes. And fact that they rush and submerge a five-year-old?
- Ponyo's chicken leg transformation.
- Anyone watching this who has experiences with little kids capturing wild animals will be consumed with anxious certainty that Sousuke is going to kill that fish. Seeing him yanking her stomach around, hammering a rock over her head, carrying her suffocated body away from water in his bare hands, then sticking her in the bushes is not a good way to build the audience's trust in a stupid little kid, Miyazaki!
- There's something unsettling about the scene where Sousuke finds his mom's abandoned car. While the rest of the film was very fantastic and whimsical, (just moments before you had a five-year-old and his best-fish-friend sailing an enlarged, candle-powered toy boat) but all of a sudden Sousuke seems genuinely frightened and vulnerable, just like a real kid. The suddenness and realism of this scene, with Sousuke tearfully crying for his mom, is oddly disturbing, tapping into the fear of a kid being alone and a parent knowing their kid is alone. It's made worse moments later when Ponyo starts to change back into a fish.
- The very end. Oh, sure, it's supposed to be cute: Sosuke and Ponyo the fish kiss, and Ponyo turns into a human girl, presumably permanently. But she's over the edge of a cliff when the movie ends. Think about that.
- It's unlikely that her wizard father or her sea-goddess mother would let her fall into the sea.