Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Nightmares & Dreamscapes

Go To

  • Rainy Season, where it begins raining frogs that devour a couple who've moved into a nice new house out in the country. It's not the idea of frogs with sharp teeth or the fact that the nice old couple down the road warn them... no, it's that its implied that this is a regular thing and that they routinely sacrifice people like this.
    • The epilogue reveals that the rains come every seven years, June 27th on the dot, and that an out of town couple always shows up the same day. The townspeople dont know why it happens, or how it started, but it's implied that the sacrifice is some sort of ritual that helps keep the town prosperous. Most of them hate it, and half-heartedly try to warn off the couples as they arrive but it never works because there's just no way to make "toad rain" sound belivable. On top of that, they're afraid that if the couple would leave, or if one just doesnt show up some year, the toads might not melt away when the sun comes up like they always do. Just one more bizarre local nightmare in the backroads of Stephen Kings America.
  • In You Know They Got a Hell of a Band, a young couple finds an idyllic little Norman Rockwell town in Oregon, and it just happens to be populated by every dead rock-n-roll star! Cass Elliot, Janis Joplin, Elvis, Buddy Holly, John Lennon... you name 'em, they're there! And they even put on an incredible show every single night, a show that keeps building and never seems to end! Everyone who visits gets to live there, forever young! It seems like every rocker's fantasy... except it's really Nightmare Fuel: The rock-n-roll icons are all rotten, indestructible corpses who prevent anyone from leaving. All living people are given menial jobs around town, and are required to attend the concert every night. If you try to help a newcomer escape, you get a finger amputated. Everyone eventually turns into a blank, hopeless shell that can never escape the town, not even through death.
    • This exchange is what seals the deal:
    Mary: "How long have you been here, Sissy?"
    Sissy: "I don't know. It's easy to lose track of time. Six years at least. Or maybe it's eight. Or nine."
    Mary: "How old were you when you came?"
    Sissy: "Twenty-three."
    Mary: "And how old are you now?"
    • There's also the equally haunting response to the classic "Rock n' Roll will never die!" mantra that makes up the last line of the story.
    That's what I'm afraid of. That's exactly what I'm afraid of.
  • The Moving Finger: Howard Mitla goes to the sink and sees a finger sticking out of the plughole. Just tapping around. Then it grows until it has about ten knuckles and starts attacking him. He pours drain cleaner down the plughole in an attempt to destroy it and then chops it to bits with some hedge-clippers, which only makes the situation worse. Eventually someone calls the cops on the guy, and the story ends with the guy gibbering about the finger. Then the toilet seat moves. And the last line is about one of the cops lifting the lid.
  • Suffer the Little Children is extremely creepy and disturbing. It involves an elderly schoolteacher's students changing into something 'different' and start acting malevolently and speaking bizarrely. The teacher ends up killing many of the children one by one because she is convinced they have been taken over by something alien. We do not know whether the teacher was insane or whether something was going on.
  • Crouch End, one of King's occasional homages to the works of Lovecraft. It's set around the small London hamlet called Crouch End, and the police force stationed there, most notably the veteran cop Vetter and the rookie Farnham. One stuffy summer night, a hysterical American woman named Doris stumbles into the station, looking like she's been through hell, and babbling about how her husband has disappeared. Eventually, she calms down enough to tell what happened; she and her husband Lonnie had been looking for the home of one of Lonnie's business associates, but when they stopped to make a call from a phone box, the cab they had been using has suddenly disappeared, and the neighborhood seems to have...changed... As Vetter explains to Farnham when talking about the woman's story, there's something wrong with Crouch End, every now and then, people will just vanish from the area, and on the off chance that they ever come back, they've become unhinged from the experience. As Doris's story reveals, they find themselves in a subtly "off" and deserted version of Crouch End, that becomes increasingly warped and nightmarish the more the unlucky visitor tries to find their way out, and that's not even touching on the few things that do live there... Vetter himself believes that Crouch End might be one of the places where our reality borders on another, nightmarish dimension, a place where the fabric of time and space is "thinner", and the other dimension can leak into ours. Farnham dismisses the story as pure fantasy, but starts to wonder why Vetter has been gone to the cigarette kiosk so long. He goes outside, and finds the neighborhood strangely deserted. He notices that the streetlights at the top of the street have gone out. He goes to investigate, turns the corner... and is never seen again. Vetter returns a few minutes later, but Farnham is nowhere to be found. He retires soon after, and dies of a heart attack six months later. Doris returns to America, where she attempts suicide, before spending time in a mental hospital and tries to put the memory of Crouch End behind her. In Crouch End, people still lose their way from time to time. Some lose their way forever...
    • Before things start happening, Doris notices a strange headline on a newspaper saying "SIXTY LOST IN UNDERGROUND HORROR." It's presumably about an accident in the subway, but the unsettling wording sticks with her.
    • Lonnie goes insane after he encounters some unseen entity beyond a garden hedge, yelling at Doris to run, and when they stop several minutes later, he refuses to explain exactly what he saw beyond the hedge. A little while later, when Doris mentions it again, Lonnie cant remember what she's talking about; whatever he saw was so horrible his mind had already blocked it out.
    • The two creepy children, and the biker that Doris glimpses as having a rat face for a second.
    • Vetter talking to Farnham about the other world that neighbors Crouch End, and compares it to a spot on a rubber ball where the rubber has worn away to almost nothing.
    Vetter: And sometimes I think... wouldnt it be a day, if one day the last of the rubber just... ''wears off'? Wouldnt it be a day, Farnham?
    • Doris mentions that one of the road signs she saw in the Other Crouch End said "Slaughter Towen". Vetter brings this up to one of the other cops on duty, and he reveals that a "towen" is the ceremonial area where the druids once practiced human sacrifice.
  • Dolan's death in "Dolan's Cadillac". Yes, he was a ruthless, murderous crime lord, but being buried alive is a bad way for anyone to go. There's an especially disturbing part where the main character returns to the stretch of road where Dolan and his car are buried, and hears that Dolan is STILL ALIVE beneath the dirt. He covers the spot with asphalt, and leaves him there to slowly suffocate in the darkness.
    • There's something undeniably creepy about how the protagonist is the only person who will ever know what happened to Dolan. After Dolan disappears, a disc jockey even compares him to Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Dedication isn't really meant to be scary as much as unsettling, but there is one VERY creepy scene where the protagonist talks about her return to the old voodoo witch's apartment one last time. Nobody answers the door, even after she knocks twice, so she leans down to slide an envelope of money under it and the old woman's voice comes from RIGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR, like she's kneeling down as well. The protagonist even describes it as "a voice coming out of a grave". The witch isn't evil but she's definitely creepy.
    • Finding out that a witch has cast a spell on you that compels you to eat a racist white man's semen can count as this, as well as Nausea Fuel - the protagonist has no idea why she's being forced to do this, and actually describes one instance of it as her sternly telling herself that she can resist it before dissociating and coming back to herself to find she's already done it.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: