Despite receiving a release on the family-friendly Nintendo Entertainment System, this is a series that's not for the faint of heart, and here's why.
- Finding the P.I. office and seeing the silhouette of someone inside is pretty intense, with panicky music to boot. It doesn't help that you die instantly when you step inside if you haven't first disposed of the intruder and cured your amnesia.
- In some versions, the butler looks like he has no eyes.
- The sequel has the dog. In most versions he looks feral (and again eyeless), while in the GBC one he's positively pissed.
- The NES and Game Boy Color versions go for a simple gravestone as the death screen, but the Famicom version (of the first Deja Vu) has a skull that wouldn't look out of place in Uninvited, while the non-Nintendo versions of Deja Vu II have The Grim Reaper with a gun that's pretty scary and equal to the one in Shadowgate (while the Windows 3.x version has a close-up of Ace Harding's bare feet with his nametag on the toe and a shroud wrapped on his body in the morgue). Speaking of which...
- The woman in white in the first hallway. She's the one who generally causes the first death, which means the players get to see her face and likely the red skull for the first time, even though the music when she's present from the back is sweet.
- Creatures suddenly appearing without warning (Which usually means a sudden change of music as well).
- The ruby. You just picked up a seemingly innocent ruby. And as you continued to walk further, the red skull that usually serves as the one greeting your death suddenly pops up and you continue to slowly feel more and more unwell... until after a few times, turns out the atmosphere of the house corrupts you and you suddenly became zombified. Because you just carry that seemingly innocent ruby. Or even worse in the Mac version. You enter the house, you're overwhelmed with that cursed aura right from the start. Better get moving fast. And the implication? The whole house is a house of nightmares!
- The NES version at least transitioned rather slowly. In any other version, the transition time was nonexistant, catapulting this straight into Jump Scare. And somehow the lack of music (except a loud bell sound, once) actually amps up the horror.
- The descriptions of the many, many gruesome deaths players will likely be met with. One of them involves getting trapped in a cell. You die eventually, but no-one says you get to leave the cell afterwards...
- The Gross-Up Close-Up of most monsters when they kill you.
- The accompanying 'You're dead!' music, which even in 8-bit is scary enough to send a deadly dread that you're going to meet your maker after all the suffering your killer inflicted to you, and may even accompany you, like it or not, in your sleep.
- The theme that plays when your torch starts getting low wrote the rules.
- And the Grim Reaper. The NES version with the red eyes is the most iconic, but the Macintosh one with the facial expression and lack of color is probably the most terrifying.
- The death descriptions. Made doubly worse by the number of people who first played this game as kids.
- The remake has considerably beefed-up the Warlock's introduction.
- The remake not only steps up the death's descriptions, but also adds frighteningly gruesome sound effects and foley to the mix. Special mention goes to the hidden deaths in the tower music room (where the air pressure from the soundwaves coming from the instruments becomes high enough that it slowly crushes the player to death (complete with blood being squeezed out of every orifice in their body), culminating in their head exploding), the beast in the mines (who leaps out at the player and slams them repeatedly until every bone in their body is broken), and the enchanted mirror into space (with rather graphic descriptions of the effects of decompression on their organs).