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Nightmare Fuel / Matilda

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    Book (and all adaptations in general) 
  • The part where Harry tears up a book Matilda's reading can shock and horrify any book lover, especially when Matilda protests that he's defacing a library book. He completely destroys it to the covers in the source novel. In the movie, he gives Matilda a verbal ass-chewing while ripping the pages out.
  • The Chokey: a closet lined with spikes and broken glass with barely enough room to stand. Miss Trunchbull throws students in there for even the slightest infractions. It's even more terrifying on-screen where the nails sticking through the door are easily long enough to impale someone. Let's be real: the fact that the Trunchbull assembled a crude Iron Maiden that sees regular use is terrifying, doubly so that it's specifically for children...

     1996 Movie 
  • The entire sequence where Matilda and Miss Honey snuck into Miss Trunchbull's house and Miss Trunchbull hunts them down in order to kill them is entirely terrifying. On top of that, the score that plays during this entire sequence includes a rather threatening melody that sounds like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller!
    • The scene where Matilda has snuck into the Trunchbull's house, hiding under the table as the Trunchbull's shadow gets slowly closer.
    • The final part of the chase where Matilda and Miss Honey narrowly escape from the basement and Trunchbull as she tries to catch them is also unnerving.
  • The scene where Matilda "haunts" the Trunchbull's house. Even though the audience knows Matilda is behind all of it, you have to admit that seeing Magnus' portrait flying down the staircase and hanging itself on the mantle, then Magnus's cold eyes glaring into the Trunchbull's scared eyes for the next few seconds is enough to freeze anybody's blood, topped off by the clock striking midnight.
    • There's also the heavy implication that Ms. Trunchbull did indeed murder Magnus, as his death was not natural and rather abrupt, combined with Ms. Trunchbull's uniquely shocked reaction to Magnus' flying portrait (while the other stuff was happening, she seemed more irritated than afraid), and her gaping in terror as his "message" is written out, accusing her of killing him. It's never outright confirmed in the film, but her reactions tell quite the story on their own.
  • The scene near the end where the Trunchbull threatens Miss Honey. Sure, it subsequently leads to the Moment of Awesome that is Miss Honey finally standing up to her, but still...
    Trunchbull: I broke your arm once before, I can do it again, Jenny...
    • The fact that Trunchbull states in sinister tones that she and Miss Honey still occasionally have "little heart-to-hearts," implying that she might still be regularly abusing Miss Honey.
    • Miss Honey's reply to the Trunchbull threatening to break her arm? "I'm not seven years old anymore". Even with it being a Moment of Awesome for Miss Honey, the sheer implications of that reply are horrifying and makes one wonder what other horrors Miss Honey might have had to endure at the hands of her aunt before she was able to escape...
  • Even though the scenes are pretty exaggerated, any scene where the Trunchbull tortures the students would be pretty horrifying for any parent to see, especially since Fridge Horror sets in that the students were trying to tell their parents about the Trunchbull abusing them, but their parents wouldn't believe them, therefore igniting a fear that parents might not know when their children are being abused at school if their children will not tell them what is wrong.
  • During the pigtail-toss scene when the Trunchbull meets Matilda, she greets her by hissing "aaahh... fresh meat."
  • The whole scene where Miss Trunchbull forces Bruce to consume the huge cake in front of the entire assembly. Doubles as Nausea Fuel, the extreme close-up shots of him struggling to swallow the sickly confectionery are pretty stomach-turning.
    • Additionally from this scene is a single line: "Her sweat and blood went into this cake...!" While the horror of this line mostly depends on how much one understands the metaphor of "sweat and blood" going into something (basically, meaning putting a lot of very hard work into something), remember that this is speaking to a bunch of children who think mostly in concrete terms. Also, who else is most likely to watch this film but kids? The reaction of "Ewwww....!!" from the audience in the film is likely to mirror that of a viewer who may think the Trunchbull literally meant the cake was made with sweat and blood as additional ingredients! But then again, knowing the Trunchbull's vicious torment of others....
      • It doesn't help in the least that the cook herself looks rather filthy, so some of her "sweat and blood" going into the cake (we see her wiping her nose while the line was uttered) might not be that out of the question.
    • The above photo with Trunchbull eating chocolates and gloating "Much too good for children". It's a brief flashback that just pops up without warning in an otherwise low-key-ish scene where Ms. Honey's explaining her past and Ms. Trunchbull's policing of the chocolates. Trunchbull even eats them with the wrapper on!
    • Then there's the scene where the Trunchbull, furious at Harry for The Alleged Car he'd sold her, decides to take Revenge by Proxy on Matilda, grabbing her by the arm without warning and throwing her bodily into the Chokey before slamming the door. While thankfully Miss Honey rescues Matilda as soon as she finds out, it's probably more a stylistic choice that Matilda appears relatively unscathed, since the glass and nails would've definitely left their mark.
  • Trunchbull herself is less a snooty "Evil Headmistress" and more of a brutish, inhuman, rampaging Orc!
  • A bit more subtle in the movie than the book, but it is shown that whenever the kids attempt to get even with the Trunchbull's vicious attitude, she makes guesses as to who she believes the culprit to be, though only the book mentions how scarily accurate her guesses tend to be. Otherwise, the crime winds up pinned on another unsuspecting student and they have to bear her wrath. This is especially noticeable in the scene with the newt, as Lavender was the one who put it in her drinking water, not Matilda who gets blamed. Imagine the helplessness this implies: Not only can you not get even with this horrible person, but doing so means bringing down her wrath on either yourself or one of your close friends. In the end, someone is going to pay HORRIBLY for what you do...
  • The movie has one scene, where Wormwood nearly crosses over into physically abusive. One scene Matilda deliberately agitates her father in an attempt to better understand and control her powers which she is just learning about. Harry, already in a bad mood, starts storming towards his daughter yelling about how he's going to "pound (her) miserable hide". It can be rather unnerving. Thank goodness Matilda's power's worked to close the door before he got to her.
  • When Matilda uses her powers to impersonate Magnus's ghost and write on the school chalkboard, the children, just learning to read, are slowly reading along. The effect of a class full of children reading the message in a slow, steady monotone is impressively creepy.
    Class: Agatha. This is Magnus. Give my little bumblebee her house and her money, then get out of town. If you don't, I will get you. I will get you like you got me. That is a PROMISE.

  • From the musical, Matilda's story. Especially since it turns out to be true. It starts off bittersweet, until the acrobat's sister insists she do the most dangerous trick known to man while she's pregnant. She ends up breaking almost every bone in her body after her husband accidentally lets her slip from his hand. She manages to hang on to life until she gives birth, but died shortly after. Unfortunately, the escapologist doesn't blame her sister for the accident, and he lets that same sister help raise his daughter. She viciously abuses the little girl, to the point of leaving her locked in the basement. When the father finds out, he tries to attack the sister. Who's an Olympic athlete. She ends up killing him, and stealing everything he owned. Now learn this lady is headmistress of a school.
    • Even worse is that Matilda is the one telling the story — and the darkest parts come right when she's at her lowest point. While The Reveal makes it better, it's hard to guess it ahead of time. So the first time you see the musical it seems like Matilda is going genuinely insane.
  • The faces the longtime students make during the "School Song" number as they sing Welcome to Hell about the school can be unsettling.
  • In the original production, the lasers revealing that Trunchbull has built enough Chokeys to lock up every child in the school is heralded with pretty much THE MOST EARTH-SHAKINGLY LOUD SOUND CUE TO EVER BE HEARD IN THE THEATRE, enough to cause nightmares FOR WEEKS.
  • In the film adaptation of the musical, Matilda could definitely qualify. She doesn't simply move objects with her powers, she applies them much more violently. When her father threatens to keep her from the library, she tells the next part of her story in a rage and the next morning sees the metal trashcan in her room is completely crushed. When she learns that Miss Trunchbull is Miss Honey's aunt, she destroys the Chokey with her powers. She also has quite a few intense stares that would not be out of place in a horror movie. When Miss Honey warns her that Miss Trunchbull is dangerous, Matilda doesn't heisitate to rebuke her.
    Matilda: I'm not scared of her!
    Miss Honey: You should be. She's dangerous.
    Matilda: So am I.