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Nightmare Fuel / Pan's Labyrinth

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Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.


  • The Pale Man.
    • The fact that there were so many shots of the dropped chalk has left more than one person terrified that the Pale Man would use it on his side to make a door into Ophelia's room and come after her while she was sleeping.
    • The pile of shoes. That's where the fantastic horror becomes as real as the military violence, because you've seen images like that from the Holocaust; which is still going on by the film's setting of 1944.
    • Ofelia looks up at the ceiling of the Pale Man's lair, and sees murals of the creature skewering and eating babies. Note, we never SEE the Pale Man eat a child, but this bit is enough to set up what kind of monster we're dealing with.
    • The horrific and unnecessary demise of two of Ofelia's three fairy guides.
    • When Ofelia is all safe in her room after the door closes, the last pound sound on the door, implying he's still trying to get her.
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    • The sound he makes when he's chasing her sounds like a combination of roaring and babies screaming.
  • The scene in which Vidal beats a man to near death with a blunt object while the man's father is forced to watch, leaving him alive long enough to see his father shot down before him, and then finishing him off. And it turns out the father and son actually were only hunting rabbits, making their deaths completely unnecessary. Vidal still didn't show any signs of remorse; instead, he just tells his men to be more thorough in the future before coming to bother him.
  • The capture of the stuttering rebel. His fear in that scene is palpable.
  • The scene where Ofelia looks at the book in the bathroom and sees nothing but blood spreading over the pages (forming a uterus-shaped stain to boot), then (clearly terrified) opens the door into the bedroom to see her mother hemorrhaging. Something about so much blood on white bedsheets, and the way she cries and her 11-year-old daughter is the only one around to get help... It just evokes such natural fear about the potential dangers of pregnancy/childbirth, especially at home, in a time when medicine wasn't what it is now, and in an environment where the man of the house is perfectly willing to let her die if she gives him a son first... She seems horribly vulnerable in a way that, like the realistically violent scenes, is worse because it can and does really happen. Her Death by Childbirth is a cruel inevitability on re-watching, especially for people who are only used to the media's usual Clean, Pretty Childbirth. She spends the movie in a clearly difficult pregnancy, and her hemorrhaging means she was hanging by a thread until Ofelia gets the mandrake from the Faun. And then Carmen finds the mandrake under her bed, gets upset at yet another of Ofelia's fantasy-trips, and throws the mandrake in the fireplace to prove that magic isn't real. Her screams of pain are terrifying.
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  • The Not So Different / Ironic Echo of the rebels executing all of Vidal's wounded men after rescuing Mercedes, just as Vidal had done to their side earlier.
  • Vidal's public execution by way of a bullet in the face. Though extremely satisfying at the same time, it's also graphic and realistic in a distressingly banal way: one of Vidal's eyes rolls up and wells with blood and the other stays fixed in horror.
  • The frog regurgitating its insides to reveal the key.
  • Even though he's there to aid Ofelia, the Faun himself is pretty creepy. And that's not counting when he gets angry.
  • The Faun tells Ofelia to give him her little nameless brother. He says that he needs to spill the baby's blood to open the portal that will lead her home, reminding Ofelia that her mother died having it. Ofelia is horrified and refuses — she knows that Vidal is chasing her with a gun, but she promised to protect her little brother.
  • Vidal calmly shooting Ofelia, then her calm reaction to it, before collapsing.

The novelization

  • All of the fairy tales are creepy.
    • The miller who feels guilt about the king drowning Rocio the witch in his pond. He didn't have a choice since the king was obstreperous and Rocio foresaw her death, but the flour turns black during that time of the year. After one day, he sees footsteps leading to the pond and sees a figure there. The miller kisses her and lets himself drown. When his wife and the villagers drain the pond, they see that the miller and the witch have turned into twisted figures of silver.
    • In the story about the watchmaker, a second king murders a fool by crushing him in a giant clock. Then he receives a watch that will stop the exact day and time that he dies. Also, he can't stop the watch since it will invite his death prematurely. His son, despite the king's cruelty, tries to find the watchmaker to save his father. He realizes they arrived too late — the watchmaker shop is empty, and the king dies— and the fool had a son who could make watches.
    • Garces is one of the guardsmen that drowned Rocio. The water turns black after, mud trapping him on the bank, and he starts to change. He becomes the monster in the pond.
  • Vidal in the novelization never refers to Ofelia by her name despite being her stepfather; he calls her "the girl" and wants her out of his sight. That is until he tracks her trying to run away with Mercedes. Rather than consider that Ofelia is grieving her mother and has no reason to stay, he assumes that she is with the resistance and plans to kill her when Mercedes successfully escapes. Ofelia was dead the minute she begged for Mercedes to take her away from Vidal's house.
  • Likewise, in the scene where he chases her into the labyrinth — which has only one entrance and exit, mind — he never stops to consider why she would go there rather than to the safety of the woods. All that matters is catching his prey and getting his son back. It never occurs to Vidal that Ofelia is trying to protect the only family she has left.

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