Follow TV Tropes

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


Nightmare Fuel / Quantum Leap

Go To

  • One particular episode, "The Curse of Ptah-Hotep", revolves around a villain faking a mummy's curse to steal its treasures, revealing how he did it all in the end. Then said mummy stands up and strangles him while the survivors flee in terror. Sam leaps out before we find out how it ends. Al confirms everyonenote  survived, but mysteriously could never find the ruin again after a sandstorm buried it.
  • There's also the episode "Last Dance Before an Execution", where Sam leaps into a death row inmate with only days left before his execution. He's able to complete his mission just in time to leap out while being electrocuted in the electric chair.
  • Advertisement:
  • In a similar vein, you have the episode "Shock Theater", where you have Sam leaping into a mental asylum... mere moments before one of the orderlies purposefully gives him an unauthorized electroshock treatment of 200 volts. Now, while Sam somehow manages to not die as a result, this shock does result in him forgetting who he is, and instead acts like the various people he had leapt into prior. Of note is his abrupt transition into Herbert Williams in the middle of a psychiatric evaluation, whereupon he begins freaking out due to the assumption he got caught by the VC, all the while his doctor tries in vain to figure out where Sam thinks he is now.
    Sam: (panicking; backs up into a corner of the room) VC! VC! (begins flailing back and forth as he remembers a VC ambush) It was an ambush, sir! We were set up by the hochoy! Oh, man!
  • Advertisement:
  • "The Boogeyman." Sam leaps into Joshua Rey, a horror novelist in The '60s, and, within just a few moments of arrival, a man falls to his death from a ladder, it having been moved by a goat which seems to appear and disappear throughout the episode, and Sam's the only one who can see it. As time passes, other characters get killed off in increasingly creepy ways and, to bring this Up to Eleven, something is writing the murders in Rey's typewriter seemingly as they occur. Then it turns out that the goat is actually Satan, who's essentially been trolling Sam throughout the episode and steadily wearing him down before taking Al's form with glowing red eyes and nearly strangling Sam in an extremely Mind Screw-ish sequence. Thankfully, Sam Beckett strangles Satan and resets the episode to the very beginning, but without the Devil causing mayhem, nobody dies this time around. And then, it turns that the allusions to horror novels from Sam's own time period has effectively inspired their own creation, because Rey's assistant is a young Stephen King.
  • Advertisement:
  • There was also the episode where Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald. As frightening as becoming the infamous assassin is on its own, it gets worse when Sam begins to behave like Oswald did, which includes abusing his wife. Both Sam and Al are horrified by his personality changes and Sam starts feeling like he's losing his mind.
  • Another episode, "Moments to Live", has Sam leaping into a TV actor who plays a doctor. He gets kidnapped by an insane dysfunctional couple with the wife (who had won a soap detergent contest to have lunch with him, and had entered the contest numerous times) turning out to be a rabid fan that can't tell the difference between TV and real life. Sam was held prisoner against his will in an isolated house in a setting no different than Misery, and as it quickly turns out, he was kidnapped so that he can impregnate her.
  • The Evil Leapers, who jump into your body or the bodies of people around you to ruin your life. And we don't even know why.
  • In "Another Mother", one of the kidnappers starts advancing toward the teenage boy with an incredibly creepy look on his face. It's not hard to imagine what he has in mind.
  • A particularly chilling example occurs in "A Leap for Lisa": Sam has lept into Al during his time in the Navy, and after Al's old girlfriend, Lisa, has died in a car accident. Due to circumstances during the leap, Al's commanding officer, Ryker, accuses him of raping and murdering his wife; as Al finds out via the handlink, this results in him being declared guilty and dying in the gas chamber. The horror aspect kicks in when Al's handlink suddenly begins rapidly increasing the probability of Al's death, with him nervously reading out Ziggy's estimates as it reaches 100%... only for a man by the name of Edward St. John V to appear in Al's place, commenting how Alpha is 100% certain of Al's impending death. Sam knows there's something wrong with this situation, wondering who the stranger holding the handlink is, only to then begin rapidly forgetting the prior timeline. It's only when Sam manages to discover a cigar in Al's car that the timeline reasserts itself, with Al unaware that something had gone wrong.
  • It is particularly disturbing seeing how fixated Leta Aider was in seeing Abigail Fuller get punished for supposedly killing her daughter and husband all throughout "Trilogy": from attempting to kill her with a house fire in Part 1, to trying to form a lynch mob in Part 2, to even going so far as to paint her own suicide as a murder in Part 3. It's also worth mentioning that these events span a period of 23 years, from 1955 to 1978. And what's worse, when this whole ordeal started, Abigail was only ten.
    • On the topic of Part 1's house fire, it's worth mentioning that Sam was literally seconds away from being killed by the ceiling collapsing before he leaped; Part 2 confirms that Sheriff Fuller, the leapee (and Abigail's father) died right after.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: