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Nightmare Fuel / Nickelodeon

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Nickelodeon may be a "kids network", but that sure as heck doesn't stop them from adding plenty of frightening moments all over place, whether it be in their shows or even their own bumpers/station ID's.

Shows with their own pages


Many of the network's earlier bumpers have been remembered as quite terrifying to young viewers, who are now old enough to use TV Tropes.

  • The one most commonly cited seems to be the "Pinchface" bumper, which features a creepy face composed of disembodied eyes and dentures that yells out the network's name (voiced by Tom Kenny) over a loud Balkan brass rendition of the Nickelodeon theme, all while seemingly having a seizure and inducing one to the audience.
  • The "Box" bumper is the unholy lovechild of said "Pinchface" bumper and Klasky-Csupo's 1998 logo (despite predating the latter by a few years) with Shrek ears. The entire thing feels like it was made on LSD.
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  • The "Compilation" bumper features characters and scenes from a lot of Nickelodeon's even older bumpers. While many consider this an awesome bumper, there's so much weird noises and crap flying at you that a few children were profoundly creeped out by it.
  • To some, Face, the old Nick Jr. mascot, is somewhat unsettling. He's essentially a talking, Kirby-esque face that takes up the entire TV screen and makes weird faces and sounds. YMMV, some may find him cute.
  • The "Egg and Spoon" bumper shows an egg turning into an Uncanny Valley monster that scares a spoon, which turns into a chicken scared out of its own wits. Then, the egg monster eats up the entire screen, leaving us with a CGI Nickelodeon uvula and a creepy, Darth Vader-esque breath.
  • The "Opera" bumper, with a huge female opera singer wearing a humongous Nickelodeon-logo wig, along with a few close-ups of her face, and the creepy-looking conductor and his face at the end as his glasses break from the high note.
  • In October 2007, when the channel received a "Shocktober" theme, before and after commercial breaks they would show some rather unsettling images of Nicktoon characters done in a twisted monster movie style. Some of them looked mostly innocent, while others...fell a bit more into the creepy side of things. Examples included one image of Katara as an evil water spirit and a surprisingly graphic one of the skeletal corpse of Aang in chains.
  • Similar to the one above, Nickelodeon update the bumpers for October 2016. Some bumpers were innocent note , while some were pretty horrifying. An example is the bumper created for The Loud House, where Lincoln tells the viewer that there's nothing to be afraid of... then we see his sisters' eyes in the background, and Lincoln is still smiling.
  • This 1988 Nickelodeon bumper (also shown in the UK during closedown) is creepy in its own rights, with wolves howling on a solid white background with an eerie noise.
  • "Sleeping Boy". The boy isn't scared by the fact that the Nickelodeon logo keeps stalking him throughout the bumper.
  • This bumper starts with the loud drum beat then the shadow mannequin shakes his head as he dances toward the screen until it's right up in front of it and then it moves away then it shows the boy running away from the bomb which was orange and had the Nick logo on it. It has flashes, minimal creepy jazz music, and dancing silhouette mannequins which might creep out some kids but the ending is funny to some when the green man shouts "Nick is everyday!" while falling.
  • This bumper has a coffee dispenser drink the tea with its nose, before its hair shrinks in and its skin dissolves, revealing 3 fish. This can be elevated for those who hate early CGI animation, because this and the aforementioned egg bumper are just abysmally ugly.
  • Perhaps even worse than any of the above is "Nick is Kids". Nothing but a Heartbeat Soundtrack, unnerving sound effects, voiceovers with very long pauses, and dark images of Nick series and stars. It has been described as what would happen if David Lynch made a Nickelodeon bumper.
  • This one has very soothing music and creepy claymation kids that come straight out of the Uncanny Valley.
  • While not aired on Nickelodeon itself, an ident on Nicktoons Network in 2004 named "The Dancer" could qualify. Its Uncanny Valley dancers that are always up in your face and the loud, fast-paced wonky music probably spooked more than a few younger viewers. The fact that it would air at unexpected times during the commercials didn't help, and it can probably be considered a Jump Scare for some who don't expect it. YMMV, as some may find it nostalgic.
  • Just... this. The girl's sounds, the shape of the splatter, the "Psycho" Strings. Words simply do NOT do it justice!
  • For some, the Nickelodeon haypile logo seen at the end of several VHS tapes and DVDs can be scary. Not only because of the dark background and the (sometimes) silence, but the haypile itself looks unsettling. Nobody can really tell what is supposed to be. Special mention goes to the variant at the end of The Wild Thornberrys Adventures Down Under, where it appears directly in and out of nowhere, but then it stays on screen for a whole minute. It's enough to send chills down your spine.
  • On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, was arrested after being accused of buying something with counterfeit money. Though he did not resist arrest and was willing to walk into the police car, the officers held him down and strangled him to death by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, inspiring outrage across the United States. Nickelodeon released a Public Service Announcement supporting an end to Police Brutality, symbolically running an ad for the same amount of time that Floyd was asphyxiated for. The result is absolutely haunting, being nothing but a black screen, a countdown, text saying "I CAN'T BREATHE" and a cause to support, and the sound of breathing. It got the point across. Nickelodeon's variation only used an orange background with a line of text scrolling up the screen (possibly to avoid frightening children).

Shorts and other Non-Ident Material

  • Inside-Out Boy. YMMV, but the concept of the thing is just a little creepy.
  • Nickelodeon's Short Films by Short People showcased shorts created by kids, including one of which the kids who saw it on TV wouldn't forget: "Attack of the Giant Vulture", which revolves around a giant vulture chasing three kids around Chinatown with the intent of eating them. Those who didn't find the short silly were terrified by the eponymous vulture (as the comments in the linked video will attest to), and even the short's ending (where the kids turn the tables on the vulture and eat him instead) comes off as somewhat disturbing, too.
  • A Show of Hands. Namely the intro, where a group of disembodied black and white hands come together to form a Nightmare Face with a deadpan voice—and yes, the hands move with the words. The rest of the shorts are actually not too bad, as they show a group of hands doing comedic sketches such as painting a picture or tying a present. But to say this short introduces itself poorly is putting it lightly.
  • "Worldwide Day of Play" was a yearly event in which all Nickelodeon programming was shut off for a few hours. Each channel (Nickelodeon, Noggin, Nicktoons, and The N) had a different display to tell you to go outside, which felt more like an emergency broadcast:
    • The main Nickelodeon channel had a man repeating a message telling you to turn off your electronics and go outside. The pauses in his speech are rather unnerving.
    • Noggin's is arguably the scariest. After the mascot tells you that he's going outside to play, he walks offscreen and you're treated to hours of a school background. The ambient noises are creepy, consisting of water drops, squeaking, and kids cheering.
    • Nicktoons has a completely black screen with the Worldwide Day of Play logo. Below that is a scrolling message saying that you should go out to play because the message will keep repeating.
    • The N's screen isn't completely black like Nicktoons, but it does have some strange ambience, consisting of muffled childrens' voices, birds chirping, and occasional screams of excitement.


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