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Nightmare Fuel / Holes

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  • The description of Zero's dehydrated face in the book, especially when it's compared to a jack o'lantern. Not to forget the drooping eyes and mouth bit. Yikes.
  • The Yellow Spotted Lizards. Just one bite from them ensures a slow and painful death. Some kids were so frightened by the initial description of the lizards that they put the book down and stopped reading after the first page.
    • The Film of the Book has Stanley have a close encounter with one when he discovers one crawling up the shower wall behind him. The thing hisses at him and begins chasing him, but just as it leaps toward Stanley, Mr. Sir shoots it dead. It's the only Pet the Dog moment that Mr. Sir has.
    • The way Kate Barlow dies after being bitten by one of them, oh God, the way she dies.
      Kate Barlow died laughing.
    • It's made worse in the film. She pretty much commits suicide by picking up the lizard and putting her arm to its mouth. She gives off a pitiful laugh as Trout and his new lover look in complete horror and confusion at why she did it and slowly walk away from her dying body. The final shot is literally an aerial view of her lying dead, with a gape-open expression.
  • The Warden, Mr. Sir, and Pendanski were willing to let the lizards bite Stanley and Zero. And after they realize that the lizards won't bite them, consider shooting them.
  • The scratch scar Mr. Sir gets from The Warden is quite creepy. The reason it appeared after he got scratched was because The Warden puts rattlesnake venom in her nail polish.
    • The actual scene where she scratches him is extremely creepy, too. After a beat, Mr. Sir falls to the floor and starts twitching and screaming in pain. Stanley can only watch awkwardly and is very unnerved by the whole thing, and thinks to himself that if he just ignores it, maybe he can pretend it didn't happen.
    • The next morning, Mr. Sir's face is still swollen. When another kid asks what happened, Mr. Sir loses it and proceeds to choke the boy for a few seconds.
  • Sam's lynching. It's not really elaborated on, but the implications of the time are horrific. In both the book and the film, he gets shot by Trout in his boat; in the former, Kate had convinced him to run before he could be killed, but in the latter, it seemed he was unaware that Trout wanted him dead.
    • In the film, Katherine goes to the sheriff and tries to tell him that she is just as responsible for that kiss. When the sheriff says it's not illegal for her to kiss him, just for him to kiss her, there's the horrifying realization there is nothing she can do to stop this. In the movie, Trout's mob burns Kate's farmhouse and even murder Sam's poor donkey.
    • Even more horrifying; that was Truth in Television: there was a time in America when a mob could destroy your home, your family, and even kill you and get away with it all because of the color of your skin. Still, getting shot and killed instantly is a more merciful death than a bunch of neighbors packing a picnic basket to watch you get hung and strung off a tree.
  • The sheriff ultimately deserved it, but Kate asking, "You still want that kiss?" and then shooting him in the head, before kissing him is utterly terrifying, as the prison cell inmates in the film can attest.
  • The entire premise of Camp Green Lake. You're sent there as an alternative to juvenile hall. It is in a desert that has no green and a dried-up lake. Your task is to dig a hole with a diameter as wide as the length of your shovel, every day, while being watched over by abusive staff, with water at a premium, both for drinking and for showering.
    • The fact that the place was so hellish that Barf Bag was willing to deliberately get himself bit by a rattlesnake just so he wouldn't have to put up with it anymore.
      • In the film, Barf Bag's rattlesnake gambit is actually shown rather than just described in brief after the fact; the other kids see what Barf Bag is about to do and all yell for him to stop.
      • The lack of care the adults show for the wellbeing of the kids, and Pendanski's hesitation when telling them he's still in the hospital, is a heavy implication that Barf Bag is in fact buried in one of those holes. "Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide To Camp Green Lake" claims he lived, but that's dubiously canon since in it the camp wasn't shut down.
      • The fact that Camp Green Lake remained not only open but also consistently filled to capacity edges into this (especially in the film, where it's explicitly stated that at least one member of the staff has a criminal record of his own and another had falsified credentials). At the very least, someone massively dropped the ball on making sure the camp was up to even minimum standards, and it raises the possibility that someone somewhere along the line was aware of the conditions and did nothing about it, either because they were paid off (a la "kids for cash") or because they just didn't care, or even approved of it (thinking it would teach the kids who got sent there a lesson/that they deserved it).
        Vacancies don't last long at Camp Green Lake.