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Nightmare Fuel / Kingdom Hearts III

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Don't turn around...
As with all of Kingdom Hearts media, there's an abundance of underlying and blatant Nightmare Fuel to go through thanks to the influence of both Disney and Square Enix in addition to the fun and action.

Be wary, as spoilers are unmarked on Nightmare Fuel pages.

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  • Despite the bright colors, the villains aren't playing around here: the Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed are much more active,  Maleficent and Pete are searching for some sort of powerful artifact, and the True Organization XIII is revving up for their endgame.
  • Speaking of the Heartless, after being relegated to little more than a nuisance in Kingdom Hearts II, this game manages to make the Heartless terrifying once again. From a Heartless possessing Buzz in the Toy Box, to Heartless attacking the worlds of Olympus and San Fransokyo, to a Demon Tower nearly killing Riku and Mickey (breaking Riku's Keyblade in the process), to two of the Disney villains in this game outright turning into Heartless onscreen, this game more than any before it since the first game and Birth By Sleep 0.2 reminds the fans exactly how dangerous the Heartless can be.

  • Having exhausted all his schemes for cosmic domination, Hades decides to stick to his original plan from the film: Summon the Titans and lead an all out assault against Mount Olympus. And we get to witness the effects of this plan as Thebes is under attack from the Heartless and much of the city is literally on fire, endangering many citizens.

    Twilight Town 
  • After managing to break into Ansem the Wise's network in the Old Mansion, Sora and Co find Ansem and Xemnas awaiting them. After declaring his intention to free Roxas from his heart, Ansem and Xemnas tell him to "set his heart free" and summon a group of Neoshadows and Dusks to fight him. The unsettling image of Ansem and Xemnas speaking in perfect synchronization when they say that line is truly creepy.
  • Later in the game, when Hayner, Pence, and Olette manage to rescue Ansem the Wise from Ansem SoD, Hayner tries to attack Ansem... only to be grabbed by the Guardian, who nearly throws him against the wall. Thankfully a group of Dusks (under the control of Vexen, who is a double agent working against the Organization) come to the rescue.

    Toy Box 
  • The premise of the Toy Box. Andy, his mom, and the rest of the toys have mysteriously disappeared, leaving only a select few (Woody, Buzz, the Army Men, the Little Green Men, Rex and Hamm) to fend off the Heartless constantly combing their master's room.
  • Speaking of the Toy Box, this world has a type of enemy Heartless called the Marionette which, like its name implies, looks like Pinocchio if he were turned into a Heartless. Its main ability is to possess other beings, essentially making it this game's equivalent of the Possessor Heartless from II and Days. And during battle, it will possess any toy in the area to fight you. This adds a lot of dread and Paranoia Fuel to the scenario as you'll be constantly looking over your shoulder wondering if a toy's gonna come to life and murder you. Notable moments include:
    • Rex is mysteriously kidnapped during the fight with the Gigas mech toys, and Sora and Co. go to save him. At one point, Woody sees what looks like Rex's shadow only to find no one there... and a Serious Smasher crashes through a wall of boxes. Its stiff, jerky movements feel like a toy's ratchet joints, and leave a bad feeling about what happened to Rex. Thankfully, he turns out to be unharmed.
    • There's also Angelic Amber: a doll possessed by the Heartless with bunny ears, a towering height and Glowing Eyes of Doom, that makes her entrance by peeping through a dollhouse's window while Donald's inside. She looks disturbingly human, and might be the most humanoid-looking Heartless since Ansem, Seeker of Darkness.
    • When the possessed toys are defeated, they just stop moving. They don’t even have a life of their own like all the other toys in this world, which means that they are simply puppets to be used as tools by the Heartless.
    • Young Xehanort reveals his intentions for splitting the Toy Box world: He wanted to see how the toys' hearts would handle the stress of being separated from their owner. Because Buzz was doubtful and pessimistic, it made him an easy target for the Heartless to possess him, causing him to attack his own best friend Woody. If Sora and Woody hadn’t rescued him in time, he just might’ve become a soulless puppet like all the other toys in the store.

    Kingdom of Corona 
  • When Mother Gothel discovers that Rapunzel is missing, Marluxia appears and offers to help her find her. We then see him do something to Gothel, which turns her eyes from brown to red.
  • This world introduces a new type of Nobody enemy: the Reaper, Nobodies under the command of Marluxia.  They may look beautiful, but those flowers — and the color white — are symbols of death in Japan, and their hooded cloaks basically mean that the Grim Reaper is a regular enemy in this game. One of their attacks is to transform into a plant and lash out with their vines and their introductory cutscene has them attempt to fool Sora and the gang this way. And just like all Nobody Mooks, they make unnatural, spasm-like movements at random.
  • Mother Gothel's demise. In his dying moments, Eugene cuts away Rapunzel's hair, and Gothel rapidly ages to nothing and falls out of the window. But then we see Marluxia, saying she's fallen to Darkness and thus cannot live any longer, lest she kills Rapunzel. Then he stops her now empty cloak midfall, which proceeds to become consumed by a ball of coalesced darkness. From that darkness emerges the Grim Guardianess, starting with what looks like a tail that resembles Rapunzel's hair, four huge arms, and lastly the humongous face that takes up the torso as well, with the only real identifying feature that it's Gothel's heartless being the tree branches and leaves hairstyle resembling hers.

  • Vanitas is back, and the Unversed are back with him. He's even creepier here than in Birth by Sleep. His voice is much raspier in this game and he's still obsessed with merging with Ventus, constantly calling him his "brother" and coming off like a Yandere. At one point, he tries to physically touch Sora's face before the latter slaps his hand away.
    • Vanitas actually almost succeeds in his ploy to merge back together with Ventus during this part, easily incapacitating Sora and blasting Donald and Goofy away when the two attempt to shield Sora from Vanitas. If it hadn't been for Sully's sneak attack, it's possible Vanitas would have won at that moment.
    • Vanitas reveals that he manipulated Randall into helping him and the Unversed scare and traumatize children so he can gather their scream energy and reconstruct his heart. God knows what the Unversed were doing to those poor children. Remember: the Unversed are Vanitas's negative emotions made manifest, and only seek to cause pain and misery because it's all they know.
    • The sheer level of destruction the Unversed cause on Monsters Inc. Several parts of the factory explode and catch on fire, which undoubtedly would have hurt or even killed other monsters had it been during work hours. And then you remember you're escorting Boo the entire time you're in this world, and it turns into straight-up Adult Fear.
    • The final boss of this world is the appropriately named "Lump of Horror" Unversed, a slimy Eldritch Abomination composed of all the scream energy collected by the Unversed that wouldn't look too out of place in Bendy and the Ink Machine or Epic Mickey. Your first hint of this thing's existence is a trail of black slime leading to the place you fight it. During the fight, it shapeshifts into a towering winged demon and covers the arena in dark, slimy arms.
    • While it's also somewhat funny, one can only imagine if any people were hurt by flying doors or Vanitas randomly flying into their closet.


    The Caribbean 
  • There's something a bit disturbing about the fact the Jack that's with you between being separated and repairing the Leviathan turns out to be a walking mass of crabs. When he leaves, he turns back into them and scuttles off, which can be a bit disturbing.
  • The boss fight with the Kraken. Luxord summons the Kraken as a distraction while he goes to steal the chest containing Davy Jones' heart. The Kraken grabs the Black Pearl and is prepared to destroy it along with Will, Barbossa, and Elizabeth. Now Sora must rescue the Black Pearl from the Kraken's clutches while fighting off The Flying Dutchman, which will occasionally take shots at the Pearl and Sora's ship. The music and the stormy setting come together to form a tense atmosphere.

    San Fransokyo 
  • This world more than any demonstrates just how much of a threat the Heartless are and how screwed anyone trying to fight them without a Keyblade is. We see the citizens of San Fransokyo running in terror from seemingly unstoppable monsters, with news reports of people disappearing and heart symbols floating in their general vicinity, implying that many lost their hearts and became Heartless (calling to mind that scene in Traverse Town in the first game where a man lost his heart and turned into a Heartless). Even Big Hero 6, a superhero team that has taken on villains before, is utterly powerless against them until Sora came along.
  • Dark Baymax. Dark Riku pulls the original Baymax out of the dimension he was trapped in and corrupts him with Darkubes, turning him into a far more sinister version of Baymax with purple armor, red eyes, and a large, clawed right hand made of Darkubes replacing the gauntlet he lost in the film. Dark Riku then inserts the combat chip containing all the data on negative emotions gathered from the Darkubes attacking citizens and sets it loose on the city. Watching the sweet and lovable Baymax turn into a killing machine is truly frightening. And making matters worse, that combat chip? It's the same one Hiro made in the film, the one from the infamous "Baymax, destroy!" scene. Baymax was terrifying in that scene alone, now imagine a version of him that has that chip installed all the time, further augmented by all the negative emotions Dark Riku gathered, with no healthcare chip to balance it out. Imagine what it could've done to the city if it wasn't stopped.

    Dark World 
  • In their first trip to the Realm of Darkness, Riku and Mickey are attacked by a Demon Tower and it swallows Riku, breaking his Keyblade in the process. Thankfully it spits him out unharmed, but it's a frightening demonstration how, as Mickey puts it, even the least threatening Heartless are stronger in this realm.
  • After months of speculation, we finally see exactly how Aqua fell to the darkness and it isn't pretty. Xehanort's Heartless shows up looking for Ansem the Wise (who is with Aqua), intent on dragging him back to "help" whether he likes it or not. Aqua attempts to protect Ansem, but without her Keyblade, she fails miserably, culminating in Xehanort's Heartless blasting her into the Dark Ocean with a blast of darkness right to the heart. As she sinks into the black abyss, you can see it rapidly spreading out and engulfing her like corrosive poison. When Riku and Mickey return to the Realm of Darkness, they encounter Aqua, now sporting white hair, golden eyes, and a corrupted version of her outfit that unerringly resembles Vanitas' dark suit.
    • Aqua laying out a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Mickey for abandoning her. Despite her emotionless tone, every word drips with hate and resentment. Also doubles as a Tearjerker as Mickey doesn't even attempt to defend herself and only offers a feeble apology in response.
      Aqua: Mickey... You're too late.
      Mickey: What happened.
      Aqua: You abandoned me, that's what. Left me in this shadow prison for more than a decade, knowing what it would do to me. I reached this shore after endless wandering. Waited forever for help to arrive. But no one ever came. I lost my Keyblade. Had no means of fighting my way back through the Heartless. You should have known I was stranded. Do you know how lonely it is here? How frightening it is to have no one? All that's left in my heart is misery and despair... and now we can share it!
    • The ensuing boss fight with her can be unnerving as it is basically a repeat of the Phantom Aqua boss battles from 0.2, especially when she creates multiple copies of herself and they all begin spouting off all the things Aqua had to endure.

    Land of Departure 
  • Aqua's fight with Vanitas. At first, she's holding her own, but Vanitas decides to play dirty and attack the comatose Ventus, forcing Aqua to take the hit. He then prepares to kill Aqua in a scene eerily resembling the scene from Birth By Sleep where he had her at his mercy in the Keyblade Graveyard. Had Sora not obtained the Power of Waking and finally awoke Ventus' heart, Vanitas would've won.

    Keyblade Graveyard, The Final World, & Scala ad Caelum 
As the final showdown between the True Organization XIII and the Seven Guardians of Light, there will naturally be plenty of this.
  • Remember the Battle of 1000 Heartless from II? This game has managed to top that by having Master Xehanort, Ansem, Xemnas, Young Xehanort, and Vanitas summon a massive horde of Heartless, Nobodies, and Unversed. And you have to fight them all. The only comfort is that this time you have Donald and Goofy to back you up.
  • After the battle, the Seven Guardians encounter Terra... who quickly reveals himself to be Terra-Xehanort and quickly curb-stomps them all in a frightening display of speed and power, taking three of them out of the fight in mere seconds. It took Donald channeling all the magic he had into one powerful attack to bring him down.
    • The moment is made worse for Ventus, who was the first one attacked. Imagine what was going through his head at that moment. You wake up after a 12 year coma and finally reunite with one of your long-lost friends...only to discover that he's been possessed by the same madman you're attempting to thwart. And before you can even process this, your possessed friend attacks you, knocking the wind clean out of your lungs and knocking you out.
    • After that horrifying scene, things couldn't possibly get much worse for our heroes right? Wrong! A Demon Tide appears and consumes the Seven Guardians in one fell swoop. Riku tries to fight it off in a vain attempt to protect Sora, but both he and Sora are swept up as well. And as if to drive home the finality of it all, the game has this line:
      And so, as foretold, darkness prevails and light expires.
    • Speaking of Sora, his Heroic BSoD is a mix of this and a Tear Jerker. Throughout the series, Sora has always served as the paragon of hope and optimism, never giving up even when the odds were stacked against him, so to watch our hero finally give into despair like this is horrifying.
  • The Final World may be a sight to behold, but it does little to change the fact that our hero is dead. And the only reason it doesn't stick is because Kairi is using her power to keep him anchored to this world.
    • After regaining the pieces of himself scattered across the world, Sora sets out to restore his friends, coming face-to-face with the Lich, a Heartless that is essentially the KH universe's equivalent of The Grim Reaper. In each world, it attempts to steal the heart of one of Seven Guardians only for Sora to drive it away. That bears repeating: Our heroes were mere inches away from death and only lived because Sora was there to save them, and that was only possible because Kairi was using her power to keep him alive.
  • After the boss fight with Terra-Xehanort, Terra attempts to wrestle free from Xehanort's control, only for Xehanort to take back control and ensnare Ven, Aqua, and Sora with chains. He then proceeds to torture them a bit before deciding to kill them by dropping them from a great height. Thankfully The Guardian, who is revealed to be Terra's Heartless, saves them and with Sora's help, takes his body back for good.
    • While Terra taking back his body is a definite moment of celebration, The Reveal that the Guardian was holding Terra's heart this whole time brings a whole new cavalcade of Nightmare Fuel, especially if one imagines it from Terra's perspective. You're quite literally inseparable from the man who stole your body, destroyed your home, and left your friends to terrible fates, and are sentient in spite of now being a literal monster. You're forced to silently serve said man, who commits atrocity after atrocity, who forces you to attack for him and take all damage he otherwise would've received as a meat shield who, sadly, is impervious to damage and thus cannot be killed to end your misery. You'd be forced to fight against your potential saviors, and even then, they cannot actually save you. They can only kill the man, in which you perish alongside him. Surely the peace of death should free you, right? Wrong, because it turns out this man had several plans in motion to make his ambitions come true which also include his resurrection (which as mentioned before, includes you thanks to him pulling a Grand Theft Me), and you're stuck along for the ride with absolutely no say in the matter. And I Must Scream does not even begin to cover this!
    • Special mention goes to The Guardian ripping off the bindings over his mouth, which looks to be physically apart or at least melded on to the face.
  • Master Xehanort killing Kairi and the complete Lack of Empathy as he fully summons Kingdom Hearts. And what does he finally do with the embodiment of all hearts and light? He uses the X-blade to corrupt it. Witnessing the beautiful (but still ominous) Kingdom Hearts turn from golden white to dark purple as it shoots down darkness from its opening into the Keyblade Graveyard gives the feeling that all hope is loss and that Xehanort really has won.
  • The final boss battle with Master Xehanort, naturally, is full of it.
    • Manifestations of the True Organization XIII wearing black and red robes with horned masks, wielding the weapons of the Organization, as they fight Sora all at once. For their Desperation Attack, the thirteen rise into the sky and, in a scene straight out Evangelion, they pool their energy to create a gigantic bright red crest of light that rains down beams of energy on Sora while the sky turns pitch black. And throughout the fight, the thirteen say not a word, not even a grunt, and you don't even know what they are -- are they Heartless? Darklings? Illusions? Manifestations of the Keyblades Xehanort forged or the pieces of his heart? We don't know. They don't even show up in Jiminy's Journal.
    • Master Xehanort himself then tops it by absorbing them and donning a new suit of Keyblade armor, giving him a goat's head helmet with large horns and a long neck, clawed gauntlets, and elaborate red and black robes that only vaguely resemble his usual attire. Then during the battle, he shifts gravity and folds the town in on itself with a wave of his hand, rips the town apart fighting you, tries to incinerate Sora with various fire attacks, and will teleport in front of him, perform a Neck Lift and throw him to the stone ground. At this point, his Satanic symbolism reaches its peak and he, for all intents and purposes, turns into a Keyblade-wielding demon.
      • As an added bonus for those who go frame by frame, or just happen to notice at the right time, Xehanort's face is still visible through the grates of his helmet, his glowing golden eyes peeking through and even more unsettling than ever before.
      • When the battle moves underwater, Xehanort descends to face Sora with what looks like the ruins of Daybreak Town's clock tower behind him. Just what happened to Daybreak Town?
    • The fight after that is only relatively lighter, but still brings the scares. Master Xehanort eventually uses the X-blade to rip the light from Sora's body, forcing him into a permanent Rage Form, and then weaponizes that light against you until you beat him up enough that he relinquishes it and you return to normal. Immediately after this, thirteen black thrones rise over the arena, shadowed forms of Master Xehanort sitting in them, and they bum rush you with keyblades and magic, while the crest of energy you're fighting on turns from light to darkness and the center glows with Xehanort's goat-head sigil. And when his health is depleted, Sora tries to finish Xehanort with a beam from his Keyblade only for Xehanort to No-Sell it and kill Sora with a beam of darkness from the X-blade. Thankfully Sora gets his Heroic Second Wind and, with Donald and Goofy's help, finishes Xehanort off once and for all.

    Epilogue & Secret Ending 
  • The entirety of the epilogue becomes this when taken in terms of the rest of the series. Xehanort, the Big Bad of the series whose machinations have formed the entire backbone of the plot since the very beginning of the story nearly two decades ago? Turns out that, all that time, he was being manipulated into starting a new Keyblade War as part of a plan to bring back the Foretellers; and even though Xehanort has been foiled, that plan has gone off without a hitch. And the mastermind of this entire plan? Luxu- or, as we know him, Xigbar. What the hell else does he have planned...?
    • Even worse, Maleficent and Pete watch Braig/Xigbar/Luxu's meeting with the Foretellers from afar, knowing they found the Black Box they were looking for.
  • The fact that the Foretellers come back raises a lot of troubling questions. Namely, why are they set up to be the villains of the next story arc? And if they were going to be brought back did they and Luxu know that the first Keyblade War would be ultimately pointless and cost so many people their lives?


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