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Nightmare Fuel / Penumbra

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Where to... even... begin... Most examples here will overlap a lot with Fridge Horror and Primal Fear.


  • The fact that in Overture several people were unable to get out of the mine before everyone else left, forcing them to stay underground, mostly in complete darkness.
  • The sight of the man at the end of the hallway, seemingly missing an arm is enough to make someone jump out of their seat, but the combined fact that the lights slowly go out, and then your flashlight stops working, does nothing against the surprise of getting knocked out and dragged away.
  • One of the early notes, written by the Spider Hater, recalling how he woke up with a large spider nesting in his mouth. And swallowed it. He then proceeds to live off of them, eating them like food. Not to mention the journal page where he recalls having to amputate his own tongue - without sedatives. You can also pick it up and play with it.
    • What's worse than that? The guy is still alive when you get to the storage area he's been holed up in. You can clearly hear him breathing heavily behind the door you can't open, but you can't do anything about it as you continue on and get the item you came for. However, once you are mere feet from the hatch back up to the storerooms, that's when you hear banging, vicious growls, and the man getting hauled away. No explanation or sighting of what got him, though most believe it to be the mutated Overseer Frisk.
      • And a final point: this happens JUST before you get to the hatch to climb back were mere seconds from being made lunch yourself...
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  • Red was trapped, alone, in a hellish nightmare, where he could eat only slugs, for thirty years, and he couldn't even kill himself. That in itself is not the true tear jerker. Red was trapped down in that mine, at the age of 14. Imagine yourself as 14, now imagine being torn away from everyone you ever knew, and experiencing what he went through. No wonder he went mad.
  • On one of Red's radio transmissions, he mentioned that he "ate ravenously of biped meat", described in context to be near the underground Lake Utuqaq. When Philip arrives, all he finds is a backpack with a blood puddle and someone's notes next to it.
    • Fridge Horror sets in and of itself when you consider that he might have also eaten other people as well, explaining why no bodies are ever found within the mine.
    • Actually, even when you're traversing the Refinery, Red asks that you bring "something to the party" and comments on how hungry he is that he could eat a stallion. But then comments that ponies are hard to find, followed by casually commenting that man meat is bland before asking you to find a rat for him. The simple casual tone of voice with which he says this can slip by almost innocuously that you may miss it, but once you hear it, the horror of what he's saying really hits home. Makes you wonder if he'd consider eating Philip if he came without any food to offer were it not for the ending...
  • The writing on the wall in Red's room.
    • LET ME DIE PLEASE!!!!, What's beyond, Red is dead, Get out of my head, Nobody to TALK to, DEATH, Poor lady
    • Well, "Red is dead" does provide a bit of Nightmare Retardant for those who have seen the French comedy La Cité de la Peur...
  • There's a good reason the Rockworms are one of the most well-known enemies. Even though they're hardly subtle they're very effective Advancing Walls of Doom that can't be killed like the other enemies and often appear during some of the most intense moments in the game.
    • The fact that there's large tunnels all over the mines really drives home one solid point about them too: there is NO safe place to be as they'll find you even if you barricade yourself in somewhere that the dogs and spiders can't get to, as proven by the sealed lab.
  • The sealed lab where the Rockworms were being studied. The tense, atmospheric music already has you on the edge of your seat, but there isn't any threats once you break into the lab proper. Quick look around, minor puzzle to get into the room next door, nothing out of the ordinary....until you flip the light switch and turn on the ultraviolet light to see the walls COVERED in mad scribbling. The Scare Chord that plays at the moment you flip the switch is sure to give you a heart attack the first time.
  • Lake Utuqaq. Huge underground lake that's frozen over, but isn't very solid. Step on the wrong spot, you fall through and die. Improperly balance yourself on the floating ice as you make your way across, you fall through and die. And just to heighten the rather unnerving atmosphere of the place, you find a WONDERFUL note nearby that details exactly how dying by falling into a frozen lake would feel just before you attempt to cross. You'll probably spend a LONG while here just trying to test the ice for fear of falling in.

Black Plague

  • The nightmares Philip has when Clarence merges with his mind are beyond horrifying. Philip wakes up after being chased through the final room by the rock worm.
  • The monsters you face through BOTH games are Nightmare Fuel incarnate. Dogs, Giant Spiders, GIANT rock worms, The infected lab staff. Whooooa nelly. The things the Infected say when they find you... "YoU ARe DeaD!", "TheRe Is NO PoINt In HiDInG!", "WhO ARe yOu!?", "YoU'D DO BetTEr StAYiNg PUt..." eep.
  • Your first conversation with Amabel is likely a point of relief since her conversations wind up being akin to Red from Overture, in that you now have an ally trying to help guide you through the horrors you're facing. This relief may wear out FAST when describing the virus's symptoms as she points out that "a feeling of deja vu" is one...and then not a minute later says again "a feeling of deja vu" as another symptom. It may seem slightly comical until the implication sets in that your new-found friend may not be someone willing to give you a hug when you meet up with her...
    • This one is especially cruel for the fact that when you get to where she's supposed to be, you're attacked by a Tuurngait. As a result, her repeating "deja vu" sounds like a nasty case of Foreshadowing, until you kill her...and find she was still healthy all along! Was the earlier comment a Red Herring that Clarence capitalized on to fuel the hallucination? Or was that another part of the hallucination from Clarence all along? All you know is that your very last ally is dead at your feet, and you killed her.
  • At one point, you have to get through a door that has a pointless, but interesting medical scanner. This doesn't seem important until you find out that the infection has progressed so much, you are read as a non-human sample.
    • Nightmare Retardant can be shown if you use the severed hand on the scanner, displaying "Subject critically ill, please contact medical staff."
  • Clarence establishes his "You see what I WANT you to see..." ability pretty early on in the game, and while he only uses it a small handful of times over the course of the game, it does leave you feeling like you can't trust ANYTHING you see from that point on. How can you be sure that anything you're doing from then on is real or not?
  • Anytime you have to put the gas mask on. It limits your vision to about a third of the screen and you constantly hear Phillip's heavy breathing while wearing it, so of course you'll be expecting the game to throw an enemy at you in this situation...but it never happens.
  • The encounters with Dr. Richard Eminiss. Already you know something is very...OFF...about the guy when he's giving you inhumanly detailed information, such as the time of his birth down to the millisecond, and from behind a locked door, no less. Otherwise, he seems at least semi-civil given he's willing to cut off his hand for you to proceed. Once you get the saw to him, however, things get REALLY bad then...
    • In fact, this example provides a question that isn't answered one way or another, and the implications aren't good either way: Was Eminiss almost completely overtaken by the infection when you met him? Or is the infection capable of rapidly overwhelming someone in mere moments?
  • The Kennel, which contains such wonders as constant dog growling (that quickly becomes Paranoia Fuel if you've played the first game), bloody pawprints all over the ground, dead dog bodies, and the insane caretaker hiding in the walls. It's especially scary because of its backstory is surreal depravity that reads like something out of Junji Ito. Namely, the overseer of the project decided to lock himself up with his assistant and all of the dogs. Overtime, the overseer began acting more and more feral, eventually killing the dogs and beginning to act like one himself. By the time you enter it, he's somehow dug tunnels through the walls and can travel between them at insane speeds. You never get a glimpse at what he looks like, but the noises he makes are indistinguishable from that of a dog. Also, if you walk into one of the dog cages, they start shaking violently and the growling and barking increases.
  • Fridge Horror can set in if you dug around on Amabel's computer. There's a diagnostics program that tells you the status of the facility among other things. Communications is listed as "Internal only." Think for a minute about what this means. That means Philip's email will never reach anyone outside the Shelter, despite his efforts. Quite a Tear Jerker in and of itself.


  • One of the endings of Penumbra:Requiem is very vague, but it looks like Philip is back in his out-of-body experience from the beginning of the game. The white fade-out and the ringing in his ears could mean either he's now trapped forever in an infinite loop of his adventure and unable to get out this time, or waking up. The other ending is also vague as well, as after Philip "kills" himself with Red in the incinerator, we can see him breathing on the floor, and the fade-out then doesn't tell us if he's alive or not.
    • If Red is to be believed, Philip does die if he joins him in the fire. Red asks him to take the other option simply because it would be "Better to have a story, and end it, than never to realize it has begun."