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Nightmare Fuel / Night in the Woods

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"And they are speaking of God."

When the Ghost Story aspect of the story kicks in, it kicks in hard.

WARNING: Spoilers Off applies to Nightmare Fuel pages.

  • The game's beginning is rife with Adult Fear. Mae finds herself stranded at the bus station, unable to call her parents because the pay phone is broken and Possum Springs gets no cell service. The janitor fixing the door vanishes after she gets him a "free" soda. Mae thinks that she can just walk through the woods to get to town. Only the woods are filled with fallen logs, garbage, and an abandoned playground. Plus a giant fence is surrounding the town. Mae works her way up to a power line to jump, only to fall. Then a flashlight shines on her. Fortunately, it's her aunt Molly who was patrolling, but considering what was out there...
  • Mae's dad has a guilty, worried reaction when hearing that he had forgotten the day that "kitten" would come home. It gets worse when you realize how close Mae came to suffering Casey's fate.
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  • What Mae sees on Harfest after the play's actors disperse for the night: a strange figure knocking out and kidnapping a child. It takes Mae a while to realize what she saw because it's dark, and her brain needs a moment to register what happened. Realizing that no one else saw, Mae takes after the figure, but can't jump over the fence that they somehow navigated. Aunt Molly shows up, and Mae tells her what happened. Mallcop doesn't believe her and tells her to come home with her. Mae refuses, obviously, then Molly raises her voice. Cue the Fade to Black, then Mae suffering another nightmare where she can't run, only walk towards a well that has unearthly screeching noises issuing from its depths, and waking up. Later on, she doesn't recall seeing Aunt Molly that night.
  • Mae's falls in the game. She's generally very agile but it's unnerving to see them in hindsight. Namely with her suffering a severe head injury after getting chased by the cultists.
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  • The visuals of "Pumpkin Head Guy" for band practice are a bit scarier in the Weird Autumn Edition. While the song is playing in the chorus, you can see jack-o-lanterns here and there, and the words "PUMP" "KIN" "HEAD" and "GUY!!!!" appear clockwise in each corner. Towards the end of the song, Mae and her gang turn into skeletons with bright red eyes, lasting a few moments before the final "PUMP" "KIN" "HEAD" and "GUY!!!!" words slowly fill in each corner, followed by jack-o-lanterns at the very end. You have to see it to believe it.
  • Mae can make two (out of three) visits around town during her ghost hunt, and each of them is rife with scary stuff.
    • Mae's visit with Bea to the graveyard is creepy, but becomes funny once they bump into the Weird Teens. After that it's creepy again, complete with exhuming a corpse and examining its skeleton.
    • Mae's visit to the Historical Society with Gregg is fairly creepy the entire time, as the place is filled with dark lighting and horrific sounds, even though they can't seem to find anything. Eventually the two realize they're being followed throughout the building, and attempt to escape with the "ghost" right on their heels. As the two just make it out, there's a Jump Scare happens as Mae and Gregg sprint down the fire escape, the ghost appears in a window not two feet away from Mae just as she makes it to the bottom of the fire escape.
      • Not to mention that in the Weird Autumn Edition, Mae has to shine a flashlight on Gregg while he is picking the lock for the basement outside... all the while noticing that they are being watched. When Gregg finally unlocks the basement, they both pause for a few seconds... and then an owl suddenly appears and attacks him in a Jump Scare, causing her to drop the flashlight before a cut to black. Pretty frightening indeed.
    • Mae's visit to the hill with Angus is alright, if a little depressing, until right at the end, when it shifts into scary. Angus quietly points out that there's someone watching them. Mae immediately starts freaking out. When Mae and Angus call out, the figure doesn't respond, prompting Mae and Angus to run for it. At first, it seems like the figure was just going to stand there, until a few seconds after they're gone when the figure dashes across the screen after them.
  • Mae's dreams start out strange and slowly get creepier and creepier until she ends up in a desert with a large black thing that she thinks might be God, except it doesn't care about Mae or anyone else. It tells her that there is a hole at the center of everything that will eventually swallow everything up, and that nothing and nobody matters. It basically give Mae a crisis of faith and an existential crisis all in one, and if you've ever had either of those things yourself, it will not be pleasant for you to watch.
    • Not to mention how it telepathically shows her how the universe is teeming with Eldritch Abominations to whom Earth is a speck of dust. The creature shows Mae two colossal, twitching flea-like creatures as an example and says they see her and know her, but she doesn't know who they are, much like the Cultists knowing her name.
  • The musical tracks in this part are called "God?" and "Unknowable". The first is a somewhat calming track with synthesized strings and a strange echoing murmur. The second, however, features "Psycho" Strings, a piercing ring and a muffled alarm blaring, as if alarms are going off in Mae's tired, shocked, afraid mind. God is not who she or anyone else thought, not even benevolent Pastor Kate. God may have been kind once...or maybe we just hoped they were.
  • Everything about the cultists, from their killing one of their own in cold blood with no remorse while being annoyed that he keeps screaming, to their sacrificing people to some kind of underground cosmic horror, to them expecting Mae and her friends to see their point of view and eventually take up their task after they're gone. That they think the prosperity of the town is more important that people's lives, and that they threaten Mae and her friends by saying "you don't know who we are, but we know who you are..."
  • Interpersonal violence is a common, chilling theme in the lives of the four main characters.
    • Mae revealing that she beat a kid to near-death with a softball bat due to a breakdown caused by her dissociation. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
    • While drunk at at party, Mae reveals that her father was an alcoholic when she was a child. He stopped drinking because he was "endangering" Mae and Candy, but she doesn't provide details on how he was doing so. It's possible that he might have been physically abusive when drunk.
    • Angus was physically abused and neglected by his parents as a child. His mother would lock him in the cupboard for hours at a time.
    • Gregg's uncle physically abused him. After several sheep escaped on Gregg's watch, Gregg's uncle brutally beat him.
    • Bea may have been sexually assaulted by a co-worker at the Ol' Pickaxe as a teenager. Mae tries to make Bea feel better when she's at Bea's for dinner, but winds up making it sound like it's Bea's fault. Afterward Mae wonders, "How did I screw that up?" And it's not the only way she and Bea can have a falling out if going on Bea's route.
  • The ultimate fate of the cultists. While hardly sympathetic characters, Mae points out that they're still alive in the collapsed mineshaft, potentially still with air.
  • Near the end of the game, Mae falls in a ravine while fleeing from members of the Black Goat cult. When she regains consciousness, she has a concussion. The player must guide Mae out of the forest as she moves sluggishly. The action has unpredictable gaps and jumps to new scenes without warning, suggesting that Mae is either experiencing memory loss or fugue states.
    • As a followup to that, imagine what Mae's parents undergo in the climax. They find out their ill daughter and only child after a series of miscarriages turn up with a head injury. She then sneaks out of bed and walks to her friends' place without telling them. They never find out that she goes back to where she got injured, possibly intending to not return.
  • Casey died alone in the pit. If there was a Black Goat, he was eaten. If he wasn't, that was a long fall down.
  • Mae's description of her dissociation is disturbing. She describes to Bea/Gregg how she began to dissociate during adolescence, and how trees and people would transform into mere shapes and lines with no life or meaning.
  • The game is brimming with examples of Adult Fear, which provide a subtle form of nightmare fuel. All over town, people are losing their jobs, struggling to make ends meet, succumbing to depression, being scammed out of their homes, and living lives of quiet desperation. The nightmare fuel comes from the realization that such misfortunes can happen to anyone, and frequently do.
  • One of the outings you can go on with Germ leads to a Jump Scare of sorts, and a sad one at that. Germ takes Mae to the bridge leading out of town, wanting to show her a secret cave he likes to visit in the ditch beneath it. Rather than tell Mae or the player this, Germ simply asks Mae if she trusts him, bids her farewell, then jumps off the bridge. A few seconds later it's clear that the drop is non-lethal and he's fine, but for a few moments both Mae and, likely, the player believe that they've just watched Germ kill himself.
  • Right after Mae and the group have gotten out of the mine shaft and seemingly left the cultists behind them, Bea suddenly tells them all to be quiet. Then the lights flicker on and off, and the same cultist Gregg injured previously just appears in the elevator behind them, lunging for Mae in an attempt to kill her. Were it not for Angus' help in dropping the elevator (crushing the cultist's skull and severing their arm in doing so), Mae would likely have been killed right then and there.
    • Heck, Angus is terrifying through all this, since he's normally a Nice Guy. It's he who thinks to weaponize the elevator shaft against Eide to save Mae, and makes it clear he doesn't regret committing manslaughter. After they all escape and dynamite the well, Mae and Bea discuss with horror that they potentially left people — awful murderers but still people — to starve and suffocate in the dark. Mae insists that it was self-defense and they wouldn't have done it if there had been a choice. Angus then says, "I would have." This causes everyone to stop and Beatrice to go, "Uhh . . .". He snaps, "What?? They like killed people! They were trying to get us to kill people! Screw 'em! I don't even believe in hell and I hope they all go straight there!"
  • If you visit the graveyard with Bea, seeing the decomposed cat carcass of Little Joe after opening his coffin is pretty jarring. Especially since it sort of just pops out and is accompanied with a Scare Chord.
  • In a nice little dose of Fridge Horror, the gang doesn't know who's in the cult... but we can assume that after the cave-in killed all the cultists (or at least trapped them underground), they might notice that some of their neighbors have just... disappeared, all of a sudden. That's not going to be a fun process for them. After leaving the well, Mae asks Germ if he has dynamite, and he does.
  • In Mae's Demontower video game, most of the enemies that attack Palecat are spooky skeletons and bird-wizards. However, writhing balls of rats will also attack her. One of the bosses she faces is a colossal ratball that devours a nearby bird-wizard, leaving nothing but his skeleton behind.
    • Toward the end of Demontower, Palecat encounters a bleeding giant white cat with antlers on its head, weeping Tears of Blood and waiting for someone to heal it. Mae even lampshades to Angus on how disturbing the scene is if you beat Demontower before the final band practice in the Weird Autumn Edition.
    • Speaking of Demontower, its album artwork features a cat's skull...with two notches in the right ear. It's following the theme of having Mae's face on each album cover but it's still creepy considering that Mae almost died.
  • When Gregg finds out the cultists murdered his friend Casey he completely loses composure and threatens to shoot the one responsible with his crossbow. However, a few cultists are armed and aim their rifles at Gregg causing a stand-off. This scene is pretty intense since Gregg could possibly be getting himself killed. It doesn't help when he laughs and makes "bang" noises. Things definitely cool down after he reluctantly drops his crossbow.


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