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Nightmare Fuel / Red Dead Redemption II

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"There's a monster in the swamp..."
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Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.

Red Dead Redemption II is a big, big place. The environment is so big and diverse that this game can be very disturbing at times. In fact, it's safe to say that this game has some of the darkest, most disturbing things in the series.


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General

    Animal and Environmental Encounters 
  • It must be noted that the world of Red Dead Redemption II lives on Paranoia Fuel and Nothing Is Scarier. The better hardware allows rendering more foliage than before... which also means that dangerous animals have more places to hide in. In the previous game, shallow water (such as the lake in Tall Trees) was your best way to avoid dangerous animals, as they could not follow you. Well, this game adds alligators to counter that. Besides, you may be attacked by a pack of three up to seven wolves randomly, have a cougar chase after your horse out of nowhere, be bitten by a snake that only shows itself once you're right next to it, be put into a death roll by an alligator while traversing the bayou uncarefully.
  • Getting mauled by a bear, cougar, or other wild animal is depicted much more realistically than in the previous game.
    • Bear attacks are particularly horrific, due to the fact that shooting them usually just makes them angrier.
  • Want some Paranoia Fuel? You can get killed by lightning. Your current equipment doesn't seem to matter, so during any thunderstorm, you may get killed by a completely random lightning strike.
    • Sometimes you can find a hunter looking for a bear. If you follow him he tries to shoot it. Only to be violently and horrifically mauled to death, screaming in agony the entire time.
  • One that was found in the game files but not in the game itself. For a year, players spent countless hours trying to catch the legendary channel catfish, and it became a common belief it was a joke on the expense of the player (they were being catfished). Once the PC version came out, players found it's model in the game files. It's clearly not meant to be in the game as it's obviously unfinished, but here it is! Players immediately went from "We want to catch this thing" to "Throw that monster back to the lowest levels of hell where it belongs".

    Combat and Violence 
  • Much like Scarface: The World Is Yours, the gore system is pretty detailed. Not only are there Ludicrous Gibs, but the gibs themselves can be shards of shattered bones with some flesh still stuck to them. And not only can Your Head A-Splode, but not all of it will come off most of the time. Oftentimes, a point-blank headshot with a shotgun will leave behind just part of the jawbone and a big flap of skin.
  • The game allows you to strangle people to death. In first person view. It's just as disturbing as it sounds.
  • If you dismember someone anywhere but the head, they scream and writhe in pain on the ground until they bleed out. It's usually quick, but the screams are loud and knowing you caused that amount of pain on someone can almost be uncomfortable.
    • Do it on a female. It's ten times more blood-curling.
  • The revamped hit detection system actually gives you plenty of places to inflict pain on your victims. You can shoot someone in the artery, which will cause them to spurt out a HUGE amount of blood from their wound. They'll run away leaving a blood trail, but will eventually collapse and die. You can also shoot people in the throat, which causes them to slowly choke on their blood until they perish.
  • Seeing a firefight from the opposing side can be quite a Mook Horror Show. Imagine: you're part of a rival gang with your buddies hiding out in some abandoned farm. You see a lone man, seemingly unarmed riding toward you. Easy pickings, so you marshal up toward the entrance and land a few potshots. Then, the horror begins. The man ducks for cover and in a span of seconds, your buddies fall dead with bullet holes in their heads. You panick, reload and keep firing yet more and more of your buddies get killed by this cowboy with freakishly fast reflexes. Just when you think you've nailed him, he drinks from small flasks and is at full, roaring strength again. Eventually, you are huddled in a corner, the sole survivor of the massacre and you hear ominous footsteps creaking closer and closer...
    • And than he tackles you. Only than shooting you in the head. Or worse, strangling you to not waste a bullet.
  • Some of the ambushes that can be sprung on you can really inspire paranoia. Imagine, you're headed out of St. Denis and back to camp and go through a covered bridge. Once you're nearly out, the Lemoyne Raiders block you in and start firing. Now, after this, try going through that bridge without a gun in your hands again.
  • One sinister weapon is the poison throwing knife, made from orelander sage found in the swamp. When used in fighting, whether in close combat or ranging, a person hit by it will have a few seconds to either try to flee or struggle to stay up before dying.

    Other 
  • Simply reading the various in-game descriptions of the various items can do this. For instance, in the description of the Mauser Pistol, a woman, who believes her husband to be a good and faithful man, has a knock on her door, and another man tells her that her husband was arrested due to some trouble at a house of ill-repute. Believing him to be a liar, and that he's intending to make her his, the woman shoots him. Makes one feel sorry for the poor chap that brought her the bad news.
  • Go to those movies, and it's possible to see plenty of scary stories:
    • One is about a young man and woman, who go into the woods, only to get jumped by the ghosts of British Redcoats, with the man losing his head. When she tries to warn the townsfolk, one old man calls her a witch, and the crowd burns her at the stake. Don't go courting in the woods at night indeed.
    • Another involves Jeb Blackwater, who, at one point, turns a pair of bear cubs into sausages, in front of their mother. He then murders a group of Indians, and marries the sole survivor. Then there's the possum, that was his pet, that, when it died, was turned into a hat.
    • Another involving a bear is told that Winter would be extra harsh, so he eats, a lot. Some of what he eats, are those who were friends of his, disgusting the other animals, including the predators. Then, when Winter hits, all but Bear die, and when Bear wakes up from hibernation, and sees all those bodies, he eats them.
    • Though at least Bear can say "now who's laughing".
  • The Death of Molly O'Shea is equally parts tearjerker and terrifying. Arthur can tell she's drunk and acting out to get attention, and appears to succeed in talking Dutch down from killing her. Then Ms. Grimshaw shoots her dead with a shotgun. The worst part is, Grimshaw then proceeds to chastise Arthur about wanting to spare Molly, stating that 'she broke the rules'. It's a splash of cold, cold water on the face of the player, a grim reminder that this merry band of misfits you've been riding with are bad people.
  • According to Roger Clark, Arthur's son Isaac was actually in the game at one point. He was going to be a baby that froze to death during Chapter 1. That's right folks, you almost witnessed a goddamn baby freeze to death in a video game.

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Gangs

    Chelonian Cult 
  • While it's relatively tame compared to some of these, the Chelonians are scary in their own way. Mary is terrified of what they'll do to her brother, Jamie. You can read in the first New Haven newspaper that the locals don’t like them because they’ve been recruiting the young, fit men in the area. They've been having meetings at the church to try to figure out what to do about it. Jamie tells Arthur that he's given money to them. They preyed on him because he's got money and Daddy Issues and he almost shoots himself rather than go back. He also threatens to shoot Arthur. No telling how many Jamies out there are out there that weren't so lucky. You can find a man giving out pamphlets for them in Saint Denis and when you come back as John in the epilogue, he'll tell you there's an initiation with the new prophet. When you go back to the same location where you found Jamie, they all jump off the cliff.

    Murfree Brood 

  • Similar to The Skinner Brothers are the Murfree Brood, a demented, nightmarish family of inbred lunatics who are feared throughout Roanoke Ridge like they were banshees or trolls. We soon find out why. They rob and murder anyone that strays too far from civilization, and they're the lucky ones. The rest are dragged down into their cave hideouts, kept in cages and eventually eaten by the family. The worst part? They seem utterly unfazed by the absolute atrocity of what they're doing. If the Skinner Brothers are clones of Edmund Lowry Jr., these guys are clones of Randall Forrester.
    • It's also heavily implied they're worshiping some sort of Lovecaftian entity that's not referenced anywhere else in the story. How do we know this? Because they've made an idol of it out of human and animal parts all stitched together.
    • Fridge Horror: "That's Murfree's Country" involves saving a girl from this gang. Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that the girl is severely traumatized, which makes us ask: What will she have seen? Why she's so horrified? Keep in mind, we are talking about a bunch of depraved hillbillies who practice cannibalism.
    • There is a possible encounter at night where Arthur can meet a cart driven by two Murfrees and a woman screaming her lungs out in the back of the cart. If you save her she'll pretty much tell you Don't Ask, Just Run before doing so herself.

    Nite Folk 

    Skinner Brothers 
  • Every single aspect about the Skinner Brothers is Nightmare Fuel dialed way past eleven. Their favorite hobby is torturing and mutilating any enemy or innocent person that crosses their path. They also like to scalping them or roasting them to death over an open fire, For the Evulz. They are basically Mufree Brood 2.0.
    • Heck, they are scary even when they are casually speaking. If you hear them speak, you will notice that even their conversations are weird and disturbingly bizarre.
    • The way they charge towards you with machetes and hatchets is quite unnerving, considering you've had a whole game of people avoiding that kind of stupidity.
    • Some comparison has been made to Edmund Lowry Jr., the Ax-Crazy Serial Killer. Much like him, the Skinners know what they're doing is wrong, that it terrifies the local towns and cities, and that no sane person would be able to comprehend doing it. That is exactly why they're doing it. Just imagine if there were clones of Edmund Lowry Jr. scattered around the forests doing God-knows-what. That's exactly what this gang is.
    • In the Playable Epilogue, John and Charles have to go rescue Uncle, who's been kidnapped and being tortured by the Skinners. When you find him, he's bleeding from two wounds on his chest and his entire back is a horrifying shade of red from burns and similar treatment. In fact, if you look closely at the torture device he's strapped into, you can see a lit fire under him, implying that they were slowly roasting him like some sort of animal. It's hard not to feel bad for the poor guy at all the pained sounds he makes while you're escorting him back to the ranch.
    • And when Charles and John are riding to save Uncle, Charles very grimly and frankly tells John that, depending on how bad of a state he's in, it might be more merciful to just put him out of his misery once they find him, saying that if they've taken his scalp he'll live only for a week. Simple, yet chilling.
    • Not long after your first encounter with the Skinners as you ride towards Blackwater, there's a chance you'll pass by a slowly moving wagon on the road between Blackwater and Beecher's Hope. It's easy to pass right by it without realizing what you're seeing, but attentive players might notice that it's being driven by two slumped-over corpses and is absolutely riddled with arrows.
      • Similarly, you can also see a lone horse carrying a corpse of its rider with his back full of arrows.
    • There's another encounter in the epilogue where John will find the aftermath of a camp the Skinners have attacked. The place is littered with bodies, some riddled with arrows and others horribly burned. However, one man is still alive. Except he's been scalped, disfigured, and is covered in blood. He talks about the awful screams of his fellow campmates and John can choose to give some word of comfort to him as he slowly dies.
    They came... in the night... like jackals from hell... The screams! Something awful...
    • Finally, if John camps out in their territory, they can sneak into his camp. If they do, one of them immediately puts a knife to John's throat while the other aims a gun at him, and they both begin to joke about whether or not to kill John.

Individuals (van der Linde gang)

    Arthur Morgan 
  • Tuberculosis. For those who don’t know, it’s a disease that basically infects the lung tissues and robs it of the needed oxygen. As the body tries to fight it, scarring in the lungs occur and the victim gets to enjoy a slow death of fatigue, coughing (with blood) before they finally die of asphyxiation. This illness is spread through the air, meaning if you’re coughed on or sneezed at by someone who has it...you have it. And there is no cure. You will die. This was a deadly reality for everyone living in the time this game is set in — that person with a cough? Better hope they don’t cough on you...
    • If you think death by tuberculosis is bad, the deaths in the Low Honor endings are horrifying. Seriously, watching Arthur get either shot in the head with a gunshot (if you go with John) or getting knifed to death In the Back in a frenzy by Micah Bell while crawling away (if you go for Dutch's money) is so downright painful (and getting knifed a bit and wounded if you went for the loot in High Honor mode is a little less painful but still doesn't help matters a bit)! Suddenly these death scenes kinda make the aforementioned "death by tuberculosis" scene in High Honor mode seem a lot tamer (and a little more heartwarming and peaceful) in comparison.
  • Arthur beating up Tommy. Considering it really seemed like Arthur was gonna kill him.
  • If you choose to kill Anthony Foreman, Arthur will ruthlessly stab him in the stomach and growl out “Can’t take no chances with the likes of you.” and coldly toss him to the ground. Though he completely deserves it, he’s completely helpless as his hands are tied, and it puts all the other people you may or may not have Arthur kill into perspective. Just imagine those cold blue eyes staring at you as he strangles/stabs/beats/shoots you to death, possibly for no reason.
  • Combined with Moment of Awesome: If you choose to "Go for the loot" in the final mission, after Arthur parts ways with John and hands over his hat and satchel, Arthur himself becomes the Nightmare Fuel when he starts making his way back to the camp that is becoming engulfed in flames, making a Badass Boast (as if he were Not Afraid to Die) and fighting off the Pinkertons while an aggressive 1980s hip-hop-esque beat version of "Unshaken" plays in the background (at least in High Honor mode).
    Arthur: [muttering under his breath] Dutch... Micah... COME AND GET ME, YOU BASTARDS!!!
    Charles Smith 
  • Charles is one of the kindest and most stoic members of the gang, but when you go on a bison hunting trip with him and come across several bison that have been slaughtered and left to rot he goes ballistic. When he confronts the men responsible he shoots one down without batting an eye all while screaming in an almost feral tone of voice that’s rarely ever heard outside of this event. When Arthur has to choose what to do with the other person Charles says in an uncharacteristically dark tone “Just kill him, Arthur!” Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
    Dutch van der Linde 
  • At one point in camp, Dutch will call out to Arthur and tells him Dutch expects Arthur to betray him. Dutch's tone is cold and distant and downright hostile for a moment. If you calm the situation, Arthur asks Dutch gently with a touch of genuine hurt what that was all about. Dutch shakes himself out of it and seems genuinely taken aback, not sure exactly what came over him. This foreshadowing of Dutch's eventual madness comes out of nowhere, especially if you've been doing chores and working hard to support the gang.
  • The whole scene of Dutch drowning Angelo Bronte to death. It's a very disturbing scene, because at that precise moment we can finally see some of the insanity that he is going to show in the future.
    • Perhaps the most chilling thing is how Dutch's emotional state changes at that moment, throwing a spontaneous tantrum and drowning Bronte without mercy. It's just a reminder of what Dutch is capable of doing when he is truly angry.
  • It's heavily implied that Dutch suffers a concussion or other head injury when the trolley he, Arthur, and Lenny tried to steal derails. The first time you play through, it isn't that upsetting. Then as you replay the game, you realize Dutch becomes much, much more violent after the crash, and you just witnessed his first few steps into insanity before the botched bank heist cements his fate. This realization makes these lines much, much more ominous.
    Dutch: I don't feel so good.
    Arthur: Aw, you just got a bash on the head. You'll be fine.
    Kieran Duffy 
  • Kieran's death is quite possibly the most disturbing scene in the game. After being absent from the camp for a few days, he rides back to the camp... carrying his own severed head on his lap. With the eyes gouged out. And knowing Colm O'Driscoll, the eyes probably went first. While many of the deaths are shocking, the sheer brutality present in this one is chilling.
    Micah Bell 
  • Everything about Micah Bell. He is Ax-Crazy, sociopathic, and unpleasant whenever you interact with him. He is practically Trevor Philips without redeeming features and not Played for Laughs.
    • To add more horror to his awful personality, a newspaper excerpt from 1877 documents a crime committed by a 17 year old Micah and his father. They committed a double homicide, then hung the bodies from the rafters with their throats slit For the Evulz. There's no doubt he was an Enfant Terrible too.
    • He also is heavily implied to have killed the camp’s dog and even tells little Jack that the dog is not coming back.
    • His own brother is so scared of what he’ll do to his family, that he says he will kill Micah himself if he comes within fifty miles of them.
    • Late in the game, Jack can tell Arthur that Micah offered to take him fishing, and Arthur tells him to stay away from Micah no matter what. The idea of a little boy spending time alone with someone like Micah is just chilling, especially since we find out in the epilogue that he killed a little girl and is more than willing to find Abigail and Jack and "pay them a visit" once he's through with John.
    • He can tell Bill and Arthur that he slept with Jenny at the camp in Blackwater. She’s not around to tell her side of the story but one must wonder how consensual it was if it actually happened, especially since he previously had complained that the women in the camp wouldn't sleep with him even if threatened at gunpoint—which implied that he'd tried.
    Sean McGuire  
  • Sean's death. It's a complete Jump Scare, because the poor fellow is talking completely casually one second and then, right at the other, his head is suddenly blown open by a rifle shot, with blood and brains scattering everywhere. It stuns you completely because of how sudden and gruesome it is.

Individuals (other)

    Blind Man Cassidy 
  • One of the characters you meet at random is a crazed preacher who seems to be talking to God, ranting and raving and soaking himself in various rivers across the map. At one point though, he will ask you if you've spoken to "him", and reveal that "he" hates the preacher. After the revelation of the Strange Man's shack, the thought slowly dawns on you that the madman might not be talking about the almighty.
  • Stop and speak to him enough times, and you may unlock one hell of a disturbing prophecy:
    Prophet: Two strangers seek you friend: one is of this world, the other is not. The first means you harm, the second... their motives are unclear.
    • Considering that this prophecy is for John, the two are likely Edgar Ross and the Strange man, and it just adds more creepiness to the Strange man. Even a prophet who knows events 4 years away has no clue what the Strange man wants from John.
    Catherine Braithwaite 
    Colm O'Driscoll 
  • Heck, Colm O'Driscoll is made of this. Unlike Dutch, who at least has standards, moral codes, cares about his gang and is a charismatic leader, Colm is the exact opposite: he is a terrible leader, has no standards and is a psychopathic man who could willingly commit Rape, Pillage, and Burn.
  • On the day of his hanging, attended by the van der Linde gang, Colm laughs off the charges against him, insisting that his boys will arrive to save him, like they've always done. When he gets Bound and Gagged, and seconds pass, he starts realizing that his boys won't be there this time, and in a panic, he looks around for any sign of rescue, only to see Arthur (the survivor he had tortured weeks earlier) give off a smug grin and a handwave goodbye, as if to say, "See ya!" In his final moments, Colm has become completely terrified at the thought that he will eventually die, suffering a Villainous Breakdown. It's hard not to be grinning when his smug, sleazy, psycho exterior is shattered by the impending realization that he is going to hang, and Arthur's the reason why. We wouldn't want to be in Colm's shoes now.
  • Watching Colm viciously pistol-whip Arthur, who he has chained by his ankles from the ceiling like a deer carcass. Keep in mind this is the first time we've seen Arthur not only completely helpless but exhausted, injured, and in pain. Not to mention certain disturbing implications about why he felt the need to strip Arthur down to his union suit...
    Dying Man 
  • One of the Stranger random events has you find a man with a heavily damaged arm. It’s visibly bleeding and infected, and the poor guy can barely stand. You can offer to take him to the nearby city of St. Denis, and in doing so bring him to the local doctor. If you get him there in time, the doctor manages to stabilize him- but unfortunately his arm has to be amputated due to the infection. The doctor knocks him out, and the player is free to watch him saw off the poor man's arm in real time, averting Gory Discretion Shot as hard as the game possibly can. Even with the game’s usual gore in pitched gunfights, the fact that the game allows you to view this is just a reminder of how far we’ve come in terms of medicine and healing.
    • Topping all of it off, returning to Saint Denis at a later date, you may see this man being hanged for murdering a woman, with his final words expressing no remorse whatsoever. Arthur can comment to the police officers overseeing the hanging about his shock at seeing this, with the officers expressing sympathy.
    Edmund Lowry Jr. 
  • You can stumble across three of a serial killer's crime scenes, gory messes that all have a headless torso hanging from a tree, rock, or underpass, and the eyeless head not too far away with a note shoved in its mouth. Collecting all three will let you unlock the cellar to an otherwise burned-down house, where you will find the killer's lair, full of bloody and decaying body parts. Press through it to a somewhat hidden room in the back that is nearly pitch black and you will be prompted to examine a knife holding a mutilated body to the wall. Doing this will bring you face-to-face with the killer himself, and he captures and nearly kills you before you drag him to the sheriff... who he also attacks and nearly kills.
    Giaguaro 
  • Upon finally clearing level 9 of the Master Hunter challenges, you are given your final task to earn level 10 and unlock the special holster: Hunt a legendary panther named Giaguaro. He's as swift, dangerous, and stealthy as a typical cougar or panther, and what's worse, you hunt him in an area just full of thick foliage, all the better for him to hide in. The other legendary animals, you find them. Giaguaro finds you.
    Miriam Wegner 
  • There is a house in Emerald Ranch in which you can see a girl in the window. Players first believed she was some sort of ghost, but later found out she's part of a much deeper story that's entirely optional for the player to go into and investigate, going into several characters, including abusive guardians and a boyfriend being shot to death in a saloon.
    Rhodes Gunsmith 
  • In Rhodes, you find out that The Gunsmith is keeping a prisoner in the basement: a teenage boy dressed in a child's sailor suit. Investigation leads you to find the gunsmith is a deranged, bereaved father. He chained up the boy in his basement as a replacement for his (much younger) dead son, and is treating him like a six year old. The implications of all of this are chilling.
    Sam Freeman 
  • The sheriff from Tumbleweed, Freeman. You first encounter him by watching the man execute a tied up Del Lobo gang member right in front of his deputy and the entire town. He, then, coldly invites you into his office where he offers you a bounty. The bounty must be brought alive to be executed in front of the entire town by the sheriff himself, since he has lost his mind to power and wants to be the ultimate authority. You're essentially bringing a bounty target to a serial killer with a badge.
    • The next day, you'll see him in the middle of town, spouting about how Tumbleweed is a place of rules, at the end of the civilized world and that if someone's not with him, he's against him. He then looks directly at you and asks if he was clear, twice, all while holding that gun over his shoulder.
    Sonny 
  • Major trigger warning for the following entry! Just southeast under the N in Bayou Nwa is a cabin you can run across, where a stranger who calls himself Sonny asks if you want to be 'friends' and offers to feed you. If you go in the cabin, it's... bad. Knocked out and violated bad. If you accept the man's invitation and follow him inside, Sonny knocks you out with a plank of wood immediately, without any option from the game to fight back. You hear a clanging of metal and what is most likely the sound of clothes hitting the floor, before Arthur wakes back up for a brief moment, now on the bed. Sonny tells you that you fought him hard but he still won (as he calls you his 'pet'), and as your consciousness fades he says, "See? Friendship isn't so tough. And neither is you...", his voice getting more and more distorted before you pass out again. After more metallic sounds you hear the sound of crickets chirping and Arthur getting tossed off a horse onto the ground. Arthur wakes up a good distance away from the cabin with no indication of how much time has passed, completely disoriented with all of his cores drained and some money missing- and when you get back up he is very clearly walking bow-legged for a little while. Rockstar straight up put in a random encounter where it's all but outright stated Arthur gets raped . Fortunately you can go back to the cabin and kill Sonny (in whatever fitting and creative way you can imagine, such as feeding him to the swamp gators), but the latter has even more disgusting lines for you, such as "I don't want you no more!" and, if you hogtie him and throw him on the bed, “You really know how to put a smile on Sonny’s face.” and "Any tighter and I’ll ejaculate!" Plus closer examination of the bed reveals chains and shackles attached to the head and foot of the bed frame- and what appears to be a large blood stain on the sheets. To add further insult to injury, some have reported Bill coming up to them in camp and saying, "I met an interesting feller in the swamp. ... He seemed to know all about you. I mean... all about you..." and Arthur responding with a very angry "Get outta here...!" Needless to say it viciously defies the Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male trope, with several players having felt violated themselves for what happened and reloading their saves. Long story short, don't go in the cabin.
    • What's worse? The man has various newspaper pages hung on his wall. One of these pages is from the fucking Vietnam War. In 1899. Either this man is a time-traveling rapist, or he has raped a time traveler in the past.
    Tucker and his Friend 
  • If you go exploring up in the West Grizzlies (not too far from where the game began), you can encounter a hunter who is desperately looking for his friend Tucker, and asks for your help. If you do so, you will eventually find Tucker's lifeless body, lying face down on a rock. You turn him over, and a good chunk of his head has just been destroyed by God knows what. You then return to his friend, and are given the choice to either lie about Tucker's fate or tell the truth. If you are truthful, he runs off to Tucker's mangled body, and when you follow him, he mourns his friend for a moment... before screaming "Oh Jesus, no!" as a gigantic grizzly bear charges in from out of nowhere and mauls him to death.
    Winton Holmes 
  • One of Strauss' loan shark collection runs takes Arthur into the mountains north of Strawberry. The poor fool in question, Winton Holmes, can't actually pay Arthur, but he has a line on a rare, white-furred cougar whose pelt should more than cover the debt. He's tracked the cougar all the way to its lair, a cave high in the mountains. Arthur and the mark head inside to track the cougar, splitting up to explore the darkness lit only by their lanterns. Arthur is left in the dark with only his lantern and his pistol when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. He comes upon the dead body of the mark, and it dawns on you the player that you're alone. In a cave. With a cougar. The literal cat and mouse is pretty terrifying, especially when it rushes Arthur from the shadows.
    • On top of that, you can't equip your weapon and your lantern at the same time so you can either keep sight of the cougar, or you can have your weapon drawn and wait for it to pop out of the dark.
    • Even Arthur is just about to lose his cool when he begins muttering under his breath; you can hear his voice trembling as he struggles to keep a hold of himself.
    Other Strangers 
  • Several of the random events can be extremely chilling, such as rescuing a woman in the middle of being kidnapped, or watching a hunter get torn apart by a bear due to having open bear bait on his person and not knowing about it. Another random event involves a man being brutally bitten by a wolf. In another random event you at least had the possibility of saving the man, but not in this one. The man is so damaged that his death is inevitable.
  • The random event with the incestuous couple, Bray and Tammy Aberdeen. who turn out to be Serial Killers who are after their victims' money and belongings. You know something is not right with them from the moment they appear and invite you to come have dinner with them in their home, and from there the tension builds as you are kept wondering what dark secret they could be hiding and what they intend to spring on you/when they'll do it. It's especially bad if you get this event when it's dusk or nighttime outside in the game, as very unsettling music will be playing in the background of their dimly lit house.

Locations

    Armadillo 
  • In the second half of the epilogue you can go to Armadillo from the first game. Based on what you saw in Blackwater, you expect to see a town under construction. Nope. You find a town half burned to the ground and everyone scrambling to get the hell out. The only explanation as to just what the hell happened here is a town crier shouting at everyone to stay away from town because of cholera.
    Fort Riggs 
  • East of Beecher's Hope and across a river is a burnt-out ruin that appears to have been a small patch of reservation land reserved for the natives: there are burned out buildings and teepees and a large graveyard just beyond the remnants of a large fence. Inside the ruins of a schoolhouse you can find a scrap of paper with an English exercise on it, but no indicator as to just what the hell happened here.
    • You can actually come across a stranger at his campfire who will offer to tell you about his misdeeds for some alcohol. If you give him some he recounts how he and other men hired by the government killed and mistreated the Native Americans held at Fort Riggs.
    Stranger: I ain't know what's worse... seeing the one's we killed, or... watching the other one's die... the slow way.
    Isolated cabins 
  • In Osman Grove, just east of Emerald Ranch, you’ll come upon an abandoned shack with a locked door. Kicking down the door will present you with a gruesomely horrific sight: an entire family dead and considering the state they’re in — they’ve been dead for a long while. Further inspection yields no clue as to just what killed them Worse still, whoever...or whatever did it may still be out there...
    • It was the wood stove. If you investigate the flue, you'll find it leaking smoke back into the cabin. They all asphyxiated to death. Such a mundane way to die, but no less a horrifying discovery, especially given that it's one of the very few times in the entire video game industry where a child's corpse is on full display.
  • Clawson's Rest is even worse. Upon breaking down the locked door you find the heavily decayed bodies of two children. Looting the nightstand reveals a note from their mother stating that there's enough food and water for four days, but she should be back before then. Evidently, she wasn't and what happened to her is never explained.
  • "Meteor House", located on the northeast portion of the map, is named such by Arthur after he finds a piece of a meteor inside it... in a small crater surrounded by human limbs and burnt bodies. So basically, a bunch of people were completely safe in their little home, and then they all die brutally by something they didn't even now existed. The meteor the piece fell from can be found nearby, but it's hard to appreciate it after finding out it killed a group of people in their own home.
  • Out in the snowdrifts of Ambarino, you can find a collapsed house with the only thing you can interact with being a drawer. You open it up, expecting some sort of reward for going off the beaten path to find this house and all you get is the words “You flourish before you die” carved into the bottom of the drawer. It’s very jarring and unexpected.
  • Vetter's Echo, a cabin in West Elizabeth were a pipe that Dutch needs is located. The moment you enter through the front door, you come a cross the unexpected and pants-shittingly horrifying sight of a bear roaring right in your face! Better kill it, quick!
    Pleasance 
  • The town of Pleasance, an abandoned settlement in Lemoyne, complete with some small houses, a church, and a schoolhouse. Looks normal enough to make you wonder what made it empty, until you notice the barn, because painted on its locked off doors in big letters is "STAY OUT PLAGUE".
    • What the ten gravestones near the church say add some horrifying detail: All ten were murdered in various ways the year the town was founded, all within the same month, possibly on the same day. Makes you wonder just what kind of "plague" they were able to keep the source of locked in the barn.

Missions

    Blessed are the Meek? 
  • Micah killing Skinny and his wife. It's considered the moment that most players start to realize Micah's true nature.
    "Hello Maddy, did you miss me?"
    Country Pursuits 
  • The mission in the swamp plays out like a straight horror game: Dutch and Arthur head to the swamps in order to hitch a ride from Dutch's friend Thomas. Thomas agrees but first ask that they help him finding his friend Jules. You are then forced to to traverse the alligator infested swamp in the middle of the night. You're expecting something to pop up but nothing ever does. Afterwards Dutch and Thomas split with you and you're tasked with finding Jules By. Your. Self. After you find him, he warns you of a giant alligator but the gang thinks he's exaggerating; on the boat ride back the boat gets stuck and when they send Jules to pull it he's pulled under...
    • Thanks to first person you can enjoy a full Resident Evil 7 experience with this one mission.
    • It is possible to kill the thing, but he just takes so many bullets and comes back for more so often that pretty soon you'll be panicking and thinking it just can't fucking die.
    He's British, Of Course 
  • Special mention goes to the (real) lion from the otherwise lighthearted sidequest "He's British, Of Course!": failing to shoot it in time results in the beast tearing open Arthur's throat with a single swipe of its claws, leaving Arthur to slowly collapse as he chokes on his blood.
    Wisdom of the Elders 

Supernatural elements

    Ghosts 
  • There's the ghost of Agnes Dowd (whose grave can be found near Shady Belle) in Bluewater Marsh. You can see her in the distance, glowing as she wanders cries about a lost lover and her cruel/uncaring parents over the course of several nights, and on the final night you encounter her, it's revealed that Agnes knows that you've been watching her and asks you to come over to her tree (where she hung herself) there you'll see her swing from an old noose tied one of the branches. Walk closer and Agnes wails "I Love You!" before vanishing. This has reportedly freaked out some players into turning off their game.
  • In a specific area of Roanoke, you can hear the ghostly whispers of a young couple by the names of Eugene Hutton and Ethel Boshared. Their backstory (as revealed in a viewable Magic Lantern film) was that the two got lost in the woods while courting at night when they were confronted by the ghosts of dead British Red Coat soldiers, one of them decaptitates Eugene with his sabre. Ethel ran back to Annesburg (carrying Eugene's head) to warn the village about the ghost army, however they accused her of witchcraft and proceed to burn her at the stake that same night.
  • There is a Ghost Train that you can find in Scarlett Meadows. You first believe it's a real train, but notice that the whistle sounds a bit...off. The reverb and pitch on it is much greater than usual. As you stop by the tracks, you notice there's no train arriving, but then, this light blue mist in the shape of a train drives right past you, making creepy noises all the while that hint a derailing. If you try to follow it, your horse gets spooked and throws you off. It's specially creepy at night when you're least expecting it.
  • Creepy, cryptic ghostly whispers have been heard around the map. Now imagine the reaction of a lot of people who heard these first with headphones on, at night.
    Man-Made Mutant 
  • Players can find a large house to the west of Van Horn Trading Post that is entirely locked and boarded up except for one second-story window with a light shining out of it. Climbing up onto the porch will let you climb inside, where you will find a room full of chimeric taxidermy, with the centerpiece being a ghastly, multi-limbed "man-made mutant" with a boar's head, bear body, bird wings, and various other animal pieces attached to it suspended from the ceiling. In the center of the room is a table mounted with leather restraints in a roughly human shape and some bloody instruments. When you first enter the house, the fireplace is still burning, meaning whoever lives there hasn't been gone long.
    Pagan paraphernalia 
  • Strange writings and symbols have been encountered in Blackwater, on trees, under a shed and so on. It's all conecting to some sort of Aztec mystery that probably relates to Undead Nightmare.
  • In the hills west of Owanila, you can find something that gets entered into the journal as “Pagan Ritual.” It consists of a symbol written on the ground in chalk, four stakes driven in around the edge of the symbol like a diamond, and the crown jewel, a body impaled upright on another stake in the centre of the symbol, with the legs and head hacked off and what looks like a whitetail buck’s skull stitched on top instead.
  • Butcher Creek contains a partially collapsed cabin that, at 0400, has a glowing red pentagram appear under the floorboards.
    Skeletons 
  • The skeleton of a giant has been found, with a huge fracture in its skull. What caused that is unknown but, what if it's out there?
  • Strange, inhuman skulls have been found in various places around the game world, sometimes mixed in piles with human skulls. They don't seem to resemble any animal found in-game, and more resemble some kind of ape. Combined with some players reporting strange sounds while travelling at night, there's speculation that an as of yet unseen Sasquatch is lurking somewhere in the game's dark woods and swamps.
    Strange Man 
  • While you don't meet the man himself, you can find a shack in Bayall Edge that apparently belongs to the Strange Man. Full details here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGs_7pOa5eY
    • One creepy detail is that one of the writings in the room changes depending on how you handled an earlier side quest. Meaning not only was the Stranger there somewhat recently, but he's been watching you.
    • If you can't watch the video, inside the shack is a painting of a black silhouette, a black top hat, some scribbling on the walls (Such as "The water is black with venom", "His final toll will sound my greatest coming", "I know you" and "From the snow to a cave"note ) and a map of Armadillo with the text "I offered you happiness or two generations. You made your choice." Considering Armadillo is suffering from a cholera outbreak and you can find a picture of the strange man in Herbert Moon's shop, (John actually mentions that the man in the picture reminds him of someone, presumably Josiah) an innocent-looking shack becomes much more sinister. Some of the other paintings also change depending on your honor; with good karma, there are paintings of deer and with low honor there are pictures of wolves; both just happen to be Morgan's spirit animals.
    Carved to a table: "There was a man called Jimmy Brooks, who was always running into crooks till one chased him down and he had to talk his way'round. That Jimmy isn't as dumb as he looks"
    • Most horrifyingly, after a certain number of times visiting his shack, he will eventually appear. Right behind you, in the mirror.
    • And considering that the event flag for his appearance can only trigger in the epilogue, you have to wonder; why is the Strange Man so fascinated by John Marston? While he has connections to Morgan, Herbert Moon and possibly the mad priest, he isn't nearly as involved in their lives as John's.
    • The video also reveals that you can find a letter on Herbert Moon from his daughter, who he disowned for choosing to marry a Jewish man and go into charity work rather than become a shopkeeper like him. This begs the question - which of the two options did he choose, and what were the consequences of that choice?
    UFO 
  • UFOs are back and this time, they don't hold back. One can be seen floating above a shed in which you find out there is a cult idolizing these things. Another has reportedly being seen abducting someone. There is another that eerily floats above you as you watch it over a hill. More sightings are probably coming as time goes on.
  • The UFO-worshiping cult is worth an entire entry all by it/themselves. Mainly because they're all dead. You come across a shack by a pond north of Emerald Station, and decide to see what you can loot. You open the door... and the background music suddenly stops. The place is overgrown, filthy... and packed with bunk beds loaded down with skeletons. In front of them is a makeshift altar with another, hooded corpse seated behind it, and a "sermon" that you can read:
    "At the Second Hour under the Half Moon, By the great love and grace of our savior Kuhkowaba, Voyager of time and galaxies, We cast off our corporal shells So his vessel can take our spirits to the Promised realm. To live in peace and power until the two Thousandth year, When we will return for the new chosen And worship once again at the peak of Mount Shann. In his love, we rejoice always"
    • What makes this even worse? They're based on a real religious cult.
    • And even worse that that? Come back at the right time, and you'll see an actual goddamn flying saucer hovering over the shack. So apparently aliens exist, and require you to kill yourself if you want to come with them. Wonderful.
    "Vampire" 
  • Read the newspapers and you'll soon learn of a series of murders in Saint Denis where bodies were found with what appeared to be bites on them and totally drained of blood. The attacks are similar to another string of killings ten years prior, and rumors abound that the killer might be a vampire. Of course, there's no such thing...right?
    • And on top of that Arthur can find and confront the killer after the latter claimed another victim. Surely he's just a normal guy, if a murderously insane human? Well, hello Count Orlok!
    Zombies 
  • Visit the Fence in Saint Denis and look at the shelf directly behind him, specifically the upper left-hand corner. Does that mask look at all...familiar? It should, it's the mask that leads to Undead Nightmare.
    • Want some more high-octane terror? If you look around the Fence's shop you find an identical mask on another shelf. If the first mask unleashed a zombie hell, what does the second mask do? And, most importanly, where is it now?
  • Going back to Undead Nightmare, depending on how wide spend the curse was, that would mean that all the fallen members of the gang Hosea, Lenny, Sean, Grimshaw, Micah, Javier, Bill, Dutch, etc. all came back as the undead for who knows for how long till John put the mask back and ended it. Till Seth took it again. Even Arthur may have rose again as a undead monster without a soul, unlike John who was buried with Holy Water. Same for all the old Van der Linde gang enemies and people they killed coming back.
    • In Arthur's case, it may be somewhat mitigated by his friendship with Rains Fall, who at least once gives Arthur a trinket he believes to be sacred, and thus allow him to rise as an undead with a soul like John. Although, given the sort of nightmarish creatures that come from Native American legends, Arthur as a zombie might not be the worst thing he could become....

Red Dead Online

    Mechanics 
  • Recently, Red Dead Online has been having a strange glitch where wagons and boats having been popping up randomly around the map with the drivers on it slumped over completely dead, with no wounds on them showcasing any sign of being attacked by bandits or even other players. Coming across one of these in the middle of nowhere, at night, is surprisingly eerie.
    • Picture this. You're out hunting at Roanoe Ridge, one of the most cursed locations on the map, at night, listening to nothing but the sound of crickets and the creepy soundtrack, and then, you end up coming across a wagon completely still in its tracks. You see the driver slumped over dead and throw him off the wagon for further analysis. His body is completely clean, but his eyes are wide open and his mouth is hanging agape, as if he's seen something before dying, maybe something he weren't exactly supposed to see. Suddenly, you don't want to hang around that spot for much longer anymore, but as you get on your horse and make your escape, more and more wagons appear on the tracks with all of the drivers lifelessly slumped over on top of them. The feeling of something chasing you gets stronger and, in a fit of panic, you shut off your console. Glitches can be very scary.
  • Make It Count can be a very scary game mode, supplied by the game's heavy atmosphere and brilliant use of soundtrack. 16 players sneak around an area of the map hunting each other with bows or throwing knives. Every death is unexpected and you have to watch out for every single sound. Of course, the fact that you'll be so attentive to the audio surrounding you, the sound of a throwing knive hitting you or an arrow going through your head is loud and works as a very effective Jump Scare.
  • Sometimes, the game may spawn you right next to a crocodile or an angry grizzly bear. Because, you know, Rockstar!
  • A half amusing, half terrifying glitch could result where a campfire's placement could end up a bit screwy and end up somewhere else, and persist even after said campfire was put out or just never spawns in the first place. If it happens to be on a major thoroughfare, a road near a settlement for instance, anyone or anything that passes through this will catch on fire. Not only would this result in NPC's bursting into flames and screaming in pain seemingly at random, but also leaves their charred corpses scattered around the area in ever-growing piles.
  • The horrifying sound the game makes when you're in Sergio Vincenza's sights, meant to warn you that your head is about to be blown clean off.
  • Phillip Carlier is a bounty that's all about nightmare fuel. The start of the mission itself is your player character arriving at his camp, only to be drugged and knocked out. What follows is a hallucinatory drug-fueled mission straight out of Far Cry 3 where you'll be seeing the animals of Red Dead Redemption 2 ten times bigger their original size, all while your character stumbles around with a creepy drone playing in the background. And Carlier? He's coming for you, over and over again, as each time you shoot him, he disappears into smoke and appears somewhere else. Sometimes, you won't even see or hear him until he's literally right behind you, which, by then, it might be too late to react, as his attack is an One-Hit Kill.
    • The rest of the bounty doesn't ease up on the spookyness either. After a few minutes of battling hallucinations, your character finally sobers up and decides to go after Carlier for good. What this means is that you have to go deep into the swamps, filled with the insanely creepy Nite Folk who managed to tame alligators to defend them. And when you find Carlier? Make sure you know when to hogtie him, because the chance of an alligator sneaking up on you and immediately turning you into their dinner is very high.
  • The Great Animal Drought of 1899 is currently on-going, as a result of many players being in the session, forcing the game to nerf animal spawns to the point that not even fish will spawn. How does this count as Nightmare Fuel, you may ask? Well, it makes the game feel extra empty. You can wander through Tall Trees without seeing even so much as a jackrabbit scurrying by your feet, bringing this Uncanny Valley feeling to the game which resembles the emptyness of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas's woods. You never know when the next animal will spawn or what it's going to be and the dead silence makes it all that much more creepier.

    Other Players 
  • Once again, the online counterpart is much like Rockstar's earlier game, full of players who are very unpredictable. Some may ignore you, but others definitely don't hold back in shooting you dead shall you cross them, making every encounter tense.
    • You can also be taken down with a lasso and hogtied by other players. Luckily, you can break free, but if you're caught by a posse of griefers, they can put you in a loop of being lasso'd repeatedly until your patience is drained dry.
    • There is a large amount of players in the fandom wanting the existence of "Hardcore lobbies", where player blips are turned off. While the idea certainly sounds very entertaining, the amount of Paranoia Fuel will go straight through the roof. Imagine hunting out in the Bayou at night only to hear the sound of a repeater being cocked right behind you...
    • Posses of six players can be very frightening, specially if they're scattered around the map. Kill one of the members and everyone in the posse is notified of it, meaning that you just pretty much pissed off a bee hive.
  • A recent bug is happening where certain players somehow manage to go completely off the radar and are only able to be identified by their name tag over their heads. Now, you can't see these players on the map but, if you're unfortunate enough to be close to them, they can see you. Paranoia Fuel, much?
  • Players can now become Bounty Hunters and, if they've ranked the role up enough, they can chase down other players with a bounty on them. This alone should encourage you to play nice and pay off your bounties before they get too high. Wouldn't wanna be hogtied and taunted on the way to jail now, would you?


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