- "Part Time Friends". Arnold and Gerald work together at a flower shop with Gerald being the boss since the owner injured her leg and appointed him as the temporary manager. After Arnold gets into a fight with Gerald and says that he doesn't want to be friends with him any more, he returns home and his Grandpa tells him over a game of checkers about a similar incident that happened to him when he was Arnold's age, as well as the dangers of holding grudges. Arnold then falls asleep mid-game and has a dream where he and Gerald are old and still fighting, and they can't even remember what they were fighting about in the first place. The dream takes a turn for the disturbing when Arnold's grandpa speaks up, now immensely old, withering and almost zombie-like. He says "Well, what did I tell ya, Shortman?" with a layering effect to his voice while ominous strings music plays. He then laughs hysterically, only for his jaw to crack and fall off his skull, leaving the top of his head floating in midair.
- While Curly's character can come off more as Affably Evil at times, He really goes off the deep end at times and has cemented himself in the eyes of many viewers as a seriously disturbed, troubled, and possibly insane individual. Remember the episode where he snapped simply because Mr. Simmons made an honest mistake in not picking him as the ball monitor and he locked himself in Principal Wartz's office while throwing balls at people? Hmm, doesn't that instance come off as a little too close to a school shooter?
- There was also the episode "Principal Simmons", where Mr. Simmons becomes principal of the school but fails at it because he refuses to punish students and every student in the school save Arnold disregards authority and totally trashes the school. Mr Simmons enters his office to find Curly strapped to a fire extinguisher which he promptly ignites and goes flying out the window as if it were a jetpack. How the hell did he survive a flight out a five story window at that velocity without any injury?!
- Curly casually mentions in one episode to Rhonda that he hadn't changed his underwear in five weeks. He promptly then asks her for a kiss.....yeah, nothing strange about that at all.
- And of course in the episode where everyone, but Arnold is invited to Rhonda's "cool kids" party and they decide what to do to get even with Rhonda. Curly's response? Paint themselves with tiger stripes and go free all the animals at the zoo. His peers....react to this as any sane person would. Funny thing is at the end of the episode, Curly is seen painted in tiger stripes and riding a giraffe with a legion of animals on streets....
- Despite much of the sympathy in the episode Curly's Girl being directed at Curly himself, he still blackmailed Rhonda into being his girlfriend for a week. Add that to the disturbing infatuation he has about her and one has to wonder what it would have like had they been just a little older.
- Considering that leaking nudes, whether it be carelessly sharing them after gaining someone's trust without really knowing the consequences or purposeful sextortion, is a hot topic nowadays, this will probably hit a nerve with some people who have been blackmailed with "pictures" in order to do more for someone (and in Curly's case, it's definitely a metaphor for sextortion).
- The town and the school flooding in "The Flood". Worse still, all the kids are trapped in the school.
- Arnie and his horrific post-nasal drip. And that parallel of Arnold's pig was horrific... everything about the Cousin Arnie episode was absolutely horrific, actually.
- Arnie's town, as shown in Arnold's Nightmare in Arnold Visits Arnie, essentially a Bizarro Universe counterpart to Arnold's town, has an immensely eerie tone to it...and then we have the very end where Arnie thinks Arnold is trying to steal his girlfriend Lulu (and it's Lulu's fault to begin with) and absolutely flips.
- Even the music that plays in Arnie's episodes is creepy. It's like the show itself is trying to tell you that Arnie is someone you should be afraid of.
- The episode "Das Subway" could also count. Not only are everyone stuck in a subway inside the tunnel during the night, there is also the sight of black rats with red eyes crawling outside of the train.
- "Phoebe Cheats". The Emily Dickinson statue is creepy all around, especially when it taunts Phoebe into admitting she plagiarized her contest-winning poem, "CHEEEATERRRR... CHEEEATERRRRR...... Cheater!"
- This is somewhat downplayed when Phoebe takes the statue out and it asks if it'll need a sweater.
- The episode where Helga believes she is dying from "Monkeynucleosis". While Helga's situation is Played for Laughs, for the most part, the same can't be said for Helga's Nightmare Sequence about turning into a monkey midway through the episode.
- The scene in the nightmare when Helga turned into a monkey, the creepy music the organ grinder was playing while she was dancing was a bit unsettling.
- "Longest Monday" can hit a little too close to home for those who have grown up experiencing the rituals of hazing, especially of the "bullying for the sake of tradition" variety commonly directed towards freshmen in high schools.
- And who could forget the Snee-Oosh logo and theme song at the end of the Nick split-screen credits?
- In the spelling bee episode, one kid gets caught cheating. He is hoisted off the stage by a huge bodyguard in a surprisingly intense scene.
- The monitor lizard eating the parrot at the end of "Helga's Parrot" can be a little unsettling to younger viewers. Hell, even some older viewers find it unsettling.
- Even worse, Helga was preparing herself to kill the parrot with a chainsaw in the beginning. The only reason she didn't was because it escaped. Later on, she seems prepared to beat the bird to death in front of her whole class if that's what it takes to keep her secret.
- There is a brief one in "Helga and the Nanny," in Helga's guilt-laden dream where she meets the recently fired nanny in the park. Towards the end, Inge is reduced to fighting for scraps with pigeons because she can't find a job.
- Helga's crush on Arnold falls into this at times like when we see the lengths she is willing to go to in order to keep people away from moving in on Arnold and how she pulls out all the stops to keep her crush a secret and when she threatened to strangle Lila if she ever revealed to anyone she has a crush on Arnold.
- Her stalker shrines of Arnold and way of obsessing over him are extremely creepy. There's even one she made from his chewed bubblegum. And let's not forget the one from The Movie that is mostly made out of a taxidermy bear.
- That bear gets even more disturbing when you remember Helga implied to do animal sacrifices for Arnold...
- This is more of a Nausea Fuel than Nightmare Fuel, but since her dreamy sighs sound a lot like The Modest Orgasm and her poem in "Helga's Parrot" could pretty much be titled "Arnold Makes Me Horny", it makes you wonder just how innocent Helga's intentions are, especially disturbing since she's only nine.
- In the episode "Chocolate Boy", there was a scene when Arnold showed Chocolate Boy what would happen if he doesn't give up his addiction to chocolate, it was a slide show of people vomiting, having rashes, anyway it was really disturbing. Not that the Boy is really fazed by it.
- In the episode "Sid and Germs", Sid's nightmare can really be disturbing for people who have a fear of bacteria, and the nasty bugs crawling all over Sid's bedroom was a bit creepy and disturbing also.
- In the episode "Mugged", Arnold was robbed by a local hoodlum in the opening of the episode. There was nothing cartoony about the scene, it was a terrifyingly accurate portrayal of a person being put in that situation. Also counts as Realism-Induced Horror, as this could happen to anyone like it did Arnold.
- Sid's mugging in "Monkeyman!" is genuinely frightening since his attackers (the same ones that tried mugging Arnold in the beginning of the episode before being thwarted by the titular hero) are all at least a head taller than he is and clearly stronger given how quickly he's brought down and dragged into the bushes right outside an opera house, and not only does Monkeyman not come to his rescue (despite Sid seeing him in a nearby window in said opera house, he was out enjoying high-society life a bit too much and failed to see or hear the same crooks he chased off earlier attacking Sid), but apparently, no one comes to help despite the fact that he's screaming loudly and in clear panic. The breakdown he suffers after the attack over his Beatle boots being stolen doesn't help either.
- As the episode "Principal Simmons" reaches its climax, P.S. 118 has straight up turned into Scenery Gorn: The plaque declaring the name of the school has been vandalized with graffiti, and the inside of the school is in complete anarchy, with students taking the "no rules and no boundaries" principle that Mr. Simmons preached and interpreting it in the worst way possible by trashing the hallways, destroying school property, and bullying classmates without repercussion. Mr. Simmons has resorted to cowering under his desk, because he doesn't want to punish any of the kids, which is exactly how the school fell into this horrifying mess.
- Arnold starting a RIOT in the middle of a heat wave! That's right, cool as a cucumber Arnold, aggravated by heat and unable to get ice cream starts chanting "No ice cream! No peace!" things escalate until an angry mob has the Jolly Olly Man's ice cream truck surrounded and one of them screams to flip it! The fact that this is a reference to Do the Right Thing doesn't help matters much.
- "Grandpa's Birthday" is an interesting case, as the episode gets scarier the older the viewer is. Children wouldn't find it scary at all Phil's reaction is clearly over-the-top and the viewers own eventual deaths are too far in the future to really be thought about. But the older the viewer gets, the closer their inevitable deaths are, and so the whole thing becomes more uncomfortable. It is likely that senior citizens would consider the whole thing to be utterly terrifying, as they are in the same position now.
- In "Arnold's Halloween", the kids dress like aliens...and end up being mistaken for actual aliens, leading to an angry mob chasing them. They try to remove the alien makeup to quell the mob, but the makeup won't come off. When the mob accidentally succeeds in removing their makeup (by destroying a water tower believed to be an alien saucer and raining water down on the "aliens"; turns out the makeup is water-soluble), Bob, who tried to crush Helga's head, is horrified that he nearly killed his own daughter.
Supernatural TerrorsHey Arnold
was mostly a Slice of Life
affair, but episodes focusing on Hillswood's Urban Legends
and ghost stories were their own kind of creepy. Especially because whilst two of these episodes ended with the story being debunked, others weren't quite so straight-forward...
- "Pigeon Man": As Gerald tells the legend of how Pigeon Man may have hatched from an egg left by aliens, we hear spine-chilling "sci-fi" music as an enormous egg hatches, revealing a twisted man-bird thing that is, mercifully, only seen in shadow. It then flashes to a barren, desolate-looking park as the shadowy figure digs up a worm... though Mood Whiplash promptly kicks in as it is stolen by a pigeon and the scene immediately cuts to a well-lit shot of a man in a tatty-feathered bird costume as Gerald, in a far more playful voice, discusses the alternate theory that Pigeon Man is just a kooky old man in a giant pigeon suit.
- "Stoop Kid": The story of how Stoop Kid came to be abandoned on his stoop is kind of creepy, but it's the final shot of the legend, with Stoop Kid as a red-eyed, fang-toothed, slavering abomination hunkered over on all fours and glowering at the camera, combined with the music, that truly sends a shiver down the viewer's spine.
- "Wheezin' Ed": Again, the creepy animation sells the legend as truly scary — especially the gods-awful wet crunch that is played when Gerald discusses the titular gangster's fondness for wringing (and potentially breaking) peoples' necks with his bare hands, and the wheezy noise he made during the wringing, from which he was given his name. The legend sequence ends with a blood-curdling image of a man's shadow as he points and screams in terror, zooming out to reveal his shadow is being cast with the light from three candles mounted on human skulls on sticks. Oh, and then there's the episode's ending, in which we see a shot of the cave and hear asthmatic breathing and a wheezy laugh as our last shot of the episode, implying that Wheezin' Ed's ghost may have been Real After All.
- "Four-Eyed Jack": In this episode, after Arnold and Gerald find an old set of Nerd Glasses, which Grandpa reveals belonged to Four-Eyed Jack, an eccentric scientist who lived in the boarding house's cellar and accidentally killed himself in an accident involving refried beans in a pressure cooker, and who haunts the house on stormy nights looking for the glasses. The episode resolves itself with the apparent "haunting" turning out to be Grandpa suffering from really bad digestive problems in a hidden cellar bathroom... right up until the final minutes, when it turns out that Four-Eyed Jack's ghost? He's Real After All! Though he doesn't appear to be too malicious, beyond playfully scaring Gerald for kicks, he still looks extremely creepy.◊ That Gerald encounters him hovering over his bedside doesn't help matters.
- "Haunted Train": This one's a real three-fer in terms of creepy stuff:
- The legend itself is sure to stick with you. It involves an engineer just going screaming off the deep end in the middle of a trip one day for no apparent reason, deliberately derailing the train. Whilst Grandpa's voice-over says that nobody ever saw the engineer or the train again, on-screen, we get to hear an awful "meat-slicing" sound, before the engineer's severed hand, fingers still clenched tight in a death-grip on the throttle lever, comes tumbling into view and lays there on the embankment. Ever since that day, on the anniversary of its derailment, Engine #25 returns to its station at midnight, where it hypnotizes anyone unwise enough there into boarding it. Once they're aboard, it drives them off into Hell, where Satan himself clambers aboard to drag them off into eternal damnation!
- Then, there's the chills of the episode as Arnold, Gerald and Helga set off to investigate the story, where everything Grandpa said seems to be coming true. Particularly shocking is the moment when, after they board the train, which later turns out to be a train for a local steel mill's relief workers, Brainy shows up out of nowhere, scaring the other kids to death, only being able to shrug and say he "doesn't know" why he's there with them.
- The true icing on the cake is the ending; after Grandpa admits he basically told the three kids the story of the Haunted Train to stop them from being bored, he gets a sly look and adds he's not saying that the story about the crazy engineer didn't happen. Cue a cut to the train-tracks beside them where the train comes roaring around... and the ghost of the mad engineer is sitting on the front of it! His appearance is awful enough, with greenish-gray pallor to his skin and a distorted face that is uncomfortably reminiscent of Leatherface, plus his right sleeve has visibly been stitched shut over the stump of his right hand. In a deep, rumbling voice, he starts singing his own little ditty about the haunting... during which the train comes off of the rails! And then the final shot of the episode is his face, close-up and seemingly melting like wax, before everything is cut off by the screen being engulfed in flames. Sweet dreams, kiddies!
- The lyrics he sings aren't exactly wine and roses material, either.
- The fact that they were close to meeting up with the real ghost train. That means if they weren't lucky, they would have gone to Hell.
- "Sid The Vampire Slayer": Sid accuses Stinky of being a vampire after being rattled by a vampire movie. Arnold insists Stinky couldn't possibly be a vampire and goes to Stinky's house with Sid to prove it once and for all. Sid is more than willing to 'eliminate' Stinky, but after seeing his reflection in a mirror, decides he couldn't be a vampire after all. However, after Arnold and Sid leave, Stinky is seen talking to a bat about how two guys came by accusing him of being a vampire. Immediately after this, Stinky is seen growing huge fangs, with no cutaway, and laughing maniacally. This never comes up in the show again, and happens in the final season.
- "Ghost Bride": Nobody who ever saw this episode has ever forgotten it. This episode was insanely creepy and scary, and it actually ended with the implication that a secondary character was killed by the ghost.note . How this episode was left in, one can only wonder.
- Plus, Arnold reassured everybody else that Curly would be just fine, despite him and the gang leaving him locked in a crypt after tying him up.
- The Jungle Movie's sneak peek gives some Nightmare Retardant, though—Curly's just fine. He seems pretty miffed at Arnold though, presumably because of that incident.
- Also, the whole Ghost Bride's origin story. Her fiancee abandoned her on their wedding day, and he married her sister; this made the abandoned bride to literally go axe crazy and murder them both right in the middle of their honeymoon, and next morning, when the cops arrived, she was still there, throwing rice and humming the Wedding March next to the murdered couple, before committing suicide by jumping out of the window. All this was shown as graphically as censorship allowed it in a kids' network.
- "Headless Cabbie": The titular legend involves a cabbie driver picking up a woman who wants to go to the park because she wants to take her mind off of her dog that what went missing (she even gives the cabbie a scarf since it's late at night and he won't be cold). As the cabbie drives through the park, he hears a dog barking, and the lady recognizes it as her dog. The cabbie keeps driving, the barking continues, he doesn't see the little dog, but the lady keeps imploring him to go faster and faster, sounding and becoming more demonic. The story reaches its climax when, after being scared off the road by a hideously deformed man with a hook for a hand, the scarf gets caught on a tree branch, and since the cabbie is going so fast, the scarf winds tighter and tighter... until it finally cuts his head clean off. Not surprisingly, Harold is traumatized by the story.
- As with most of these episodes, this one truly hits the creep-o-meter through the roof with implications in the ending. The crew decides to take a shortcut to the ice cream parlor that same night through the park, and all the while Harold worries that they'll see the ghost of the decapitated cabbie. As they follow the route the cabbie took, more and more elements of the story starts to show up. They see a hook-handed man past a bridge, find a little terrier dog, and - in the big scare climax - hear a cabbie riding up to them, with a woman cackling evilly in the carriage. The kids then learn that everything had a rational explanation. The hook-handed man was actually seen in shadow holding a watch display and the cabbie driver was just Ernie, taking a job for extra money, and the creepy woman laughing was just Mr. Hyunh... laughing creepily for the heck of it. As they leave though, a woman approaches Ernie explaining that her dog has gone missing and she wants to know if he can give her a ride to find it. Ernie agrees and also accepts the scarf she offers him...