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Nightmare Fuel / Red Dwarf

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Mr. Flibble's VERY cross.
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In space, no one can hear you...


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    Series I 
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  • Rimmer takes Lethal Stupidity to a whole new level. In the first episode alone, he accidentally kills everyone on the ship, including himself after improperly repairing a drive plate (a task that Series VIII reveals to be incredibly simple). At least in "Meltdown" he has the excuse of Sanity Slippage caused by Lister chewing on his light bee.
  • When the ship breaks the light barrier in "Future Echoes", Lister's frightened astonishment at seeing his reflection replaced by an incongruous mirroring of his future facial movements is genuinely quite eerie. Seconds later, having shrugged off the phenomenon, he returns to the mirror to find his reflection absent. The eerie music would be quite at home in a Haunted House film.
    • His reflection also badly cuts his chin shaving minutes before Lister himself does, which only scares him more.
    • Lister finding Rimmer having a conversation with nobody, only for that Rimmer to leave right as another Rimmer enters and has the exact conversation with him. A conversation about how he's just seen Rimmer walk out of the other door and walk in this one...
    • Lister's failed attempt to change the future causes him to break Cat's tooth.
    • Rimmer appears to be enjoying telling Lister about his supposed grisly demise, to the point of turning up with a manic grin in the Drive Room when it seems to be imminent.
      • He also chases Lister down the corridor loudly singing funeral music, and is insulted when Lister finds his usual It's All About Me schtick disturbing in this context.
  • The two Rimmers arguing in "Me2". Instead of being funny, it's just disturbing, thanks to the sheer level of manic hate the second Rimmer displays.
    • Anyone who's grown up in an unhappy household will recognise that it's frighteningly similar to a heated argument between an old married couple, and Lister's not-so-sutble joke about that topic doesn't make it any easier.
    • Lister uses a bluff of imminent permanent deactivation, essentially death to a hologram, to trick Rimmer into explaining what Gazpacho Soup Day means. Then he bluntly admits to doing so and casually admits that he turned the second Rimmer off right before the original walked into the room.
  • The concept of an illness that causes whatever you dream to become reality, and that one of those dreams could generate two people who represent aspects of your personality.
    • Confidence attempting to convince Lister he doesn't need oxygen, and that he should take off his helmet in a vacuum. It quickly proves fatal for Confidence when he attempts to demonstrate.
      • After Lister starts wondering where exactly Paranoia went, Confidence casually admits he murdered him.
    Series II 
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  • Kryten still tending to the three skeletons of the deceased Nova 5 crew is pretty jarring, even if it is Played for Laughs. Rimmer sums it up best as Kryten being "The android equivalent of Norman Bates".
  • In "Better Than Life", the titular game is commandeered by Rimmer's self-punishing subconscious to bring him domestic strife, bankruptcy, and a tarantula crawling up his leg. It then transfers him and the others to a scenario in which they're buried up to their necks, smeared with jam, and about to be eaten by ants. Poor old Rimmer and Reality Warping do not mix.
  • From the same episode, the brief moment of Existential Horror when Rimmer admits that being 3 million years in deep space, he not only knew his father had to be dead, but that "they're all dead, aren't they?" - not just the crew, but everyone they've ever known is long-dead. It gives deeply disturbing meaning to the endless inane ways the Dwarfers fill their days in other episodes, as Rimmer's admission the letter makes it seem like yesterday makes it clear they're aware of it at some level, but purposefully choosing to ignore it.
  • The Paranoia Fuel of waking up with multiple days of your memory completely missing, and both you and one of your friends have somehow ended up with broken legs.
    • Although he meant well, it's somewhat disturbing how Lister can both watch whatever Rimmer is dreaming of at that moment, and how easily he can alter his memories, with the presumed side-effect of Rimmer not questioning the inconsistencies until Lister admits he did it.
  • The reveal that only Lister, Cat and Rimmer can pass through the titular Stasis Leak without instantly being reduced to the same dust as the crew had been in The End.
  • The only logical way those babies were getting out of Lister without a C-section in Parallel Universe were straight through his chest headcrab style.
    Series III 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/polymorph_2.jpg
Do you need to ask why this is Lister's number one greatest fear...? Thought not...
  • The Polymorph. It can change into practically anything and drains emotions from sentient beings. It doesn't help that its Shapeshifter Default Form looks like this; it was supposedly inspired by the Alien (the episode itself is largely a parody of Alien), and it was the only episode ever to have a pre-credits warning about the content.
  • Everyone on the ship automatically has their memories copied so they can be easily duplicated as holograms. Everyone’s dreams are recorded and can be reviewed. Kryten flushed out Lister’s brain and inserted someone else’s mind. The entirety of “Bodyswap”. All these things seem mundane and even acceptable to people in their universe, but it’s insanely invasive and kinda terrifying.
    • Speaking of "Bodyswap", there's the idea that someone could steal your body, carelessly abuse it for their own selfish ends and then hold it hostage as you try to get it back.
    • Rimmer's crash of Starbug is so dangerous, Lister's reaction to witnessing it is a quietly horrified realisation that Rimmer could potentially have died, and taken Lister's body with him.
      • The episode ends with the reveal that Rimmer did not learn from this, and decided to hijack Cat's body instead.
  • Lister suddenly has a black eye and a cracked rib when he and Cat land on the alternative Earth in "Backwards." While the episode later reveals they were injuries from a backwards bar brawl, imagine suddenly being injured and having no idea how or why.
    • Watching the brawl in reverse reveals that the fight appears to start for no real reason, and also that Lister appears to throw the first on-screen punch.
  • Lister is both slowly starving and freezing to death in the crashed Starbug during "Marooned." He resorts to eating dog food and bitterly notes that Rimmer can't feel the cold because he's a hologram.
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    Series IV 
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  • The ending of "Meltdown", when it's revealed that Rimmer's "tactics" ended up wiping out the wax droids entirely. Lister clearly viewed the droids as being sentient, and he's distraught to hear about how they're all gone. The fact that Rimmer is oblivious to why Lister would feel that way only makes it worse.
    Rimmer: I brought about peace. Peace, freedom and democracy.
    Lister: Yeah, Rimmer. Right. Absolutely. Now all the corpses that litter that battlefield can just lie there safe under the knowledge that they snuffed it under a flag of peace and can now happily decompose in a land of freedom. Ya smeghead.
    Lister: That's something no one should ever have to see.
  • The DNA modifier is pretty horrific, especially if being operated by someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Lister alone ends up as a chicken, a hamster, and a miniature RoboCop/Lister hybrid. There's also the curry monster, who shrugs off bazookoid blasts like they were nothing, but, is fortunately susceptible to lager.
  • "Justice" introduces the Simulants, super-strong, highly impervious androids with a maniacal loathing of humanity. The Dwarfers happen upon a specimen who takes them by surprise, and gloats over their imminent sadistic massacre.
    Series V 
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You must be the... Unspeakable one.
  • The very concept of the Inquisitor. A simulant traveling the time streams to judge people if they're worthy of the gift of life, and disintrigates those he finds guilty. What's more, he has them judge themselves as the only fair way. Imagine that, you're having a good time with your life yet you think you can accomplish more with what you have, and then this guy shows up. He puts on a "trial" where you judge yourself and even though you make your decision for yourself, he makes the ultimate choice and might find you guilty. It's not helping that he finds that the shallow and pathetic people less prunable than the good guys who try their best at being a decent person in society.
    • Even trying to fight him is an exercise in futility, as he repairs any damage done to him in seconds. And his gauntlet has a variety of incredibly lethal settings, including one that vapourises any target instantly.
  • Rimmer's insane howl in "Quarantine".
    • The hologram doctor who gave him the virus was pretty creepy at times. The actress playing her noted that when she went to the canteen in costume and makeup, people avoided her.
      Dr Lanstrom: "Schopenhauer was right, wouldn't you say? 'Life without pain has no meaning'? Gentlemen... I wish to give your lives meaning." (howls, eyes glowing)
    • Mr. Flibble. Just Mr. Flibble.
  • Everything the Lows force Lister to do in "Demons and Angels" after implanting the remote control chip in his spinal cord. This ranges from pouring boiling hot water onto his crotch and eating a live tarantula to stabbing his High self to death before proceeding to try to murder his friends against his will. The rest of the guy's rather unsympathetic reaction and the fact that he's still being controlled by the Cat at the end (which is uncomfortably played for laughs) makes it worse.
    Series VI 
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I am Legion, for WE are ONE!
  • The Psirens are also pretty nasty, taking the original idea from The Odyssey that the original sirens only appeared to be beautiful women and were really cannibalistic bird-monsters, these GELFs look like giant insects but can make themselves appear as anything to deceive you before they literally suck your brains out through a straw.
    • The one that projects itself to Kryten as his creator, Professor Mamet is particularly chilling, as even though he'd thought himself immune to their tricks (as a mechanoid with no lusts or desires to be manipulated) it still found a way through him.
    Psiren: You cannot harm me, it's coded into every circuit in your body. You're totally defenceless against me.
    Kryten: True. However, the others are not so hampered.
    Psiren: You're also programmed to obey my every command. Drop the radio. <Kryten does so> Open the waste compactor.
    Kryten: What are you doing?! <opens the compactor>
    Psiren: Climb inside.
    Kryten: No! <climbs in while visibly trying to fight it> This serves no-
    Psiren: Engage the mechanism.
    Kryten: <pushes the activation button and the door starts to automatically close> You are sick!
    Psiren: Die. <Kryten is crushed>
  • The evil and decadent future versions of the crew from "Out of Time" are unsettling. Especially Future!Rimmer's calm proclamation that the crew will become them. And then when they calmly, and quickly, turn on their own past selves, killing three of them in seconds.
    Series VII 
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  • The vision of an alternate America, in which John F. Kennedy's impeachment and J. Edgar Hoover becoming president conspired to produce a re-run of the Cuban Missile Crisis turned Up to Eleven, resulting in all the country's major cities being deserted, is unsettling to say the least.
  • The Simulant trader, with his intimidatingly deep and raspy voice (which was only slightly enhanced from that of his actor, Don Henderson, who had terminal throat cancer during filming), and casually mind-raping both Kryten and Able by tricking them into accessing the file that contains the humiliating truth about their creation, ranks as one of the most scary and thoroughly unpleasant villains ever seen on the show.
  • The Epideme virus is just one long train of From Bad to Worse. It kills within days and has a 100% mortality rate. It's also intelligent, with the sum knowledge of all its victims, and enjoys tormenting them if given the opportunity. When the victim eventually dies, it re-animates the corpse in order to find a new victim. And if it's already killed all the potential victims, then it can freeze not only the corpse of its last victim, but the ship it's on until a new one arrives. Oh, and if the previous victim was reducing to a shambling rotting corpse during the time it was frozen, that's only a minor inconvenience. Just in case you need any further illustration of how dangerous this thing is, the Space Corps once incinerated everything on the surface of an inhabited planet just to get rid of any trace of the virus, and it still didn't work.
    • Lister waking up to find the wrong arm's been amputated to purge his body of the virus, only to find out it failed.
    • They later have to temporarily stop Lister's heart so Kochanski can trick it into transferring into the dismembered arm of it's previous victim, thinking its hers. Then they briefly forget that Lister is still lying there, without a pulse.
      • Lister is actually Driven to Suicide so that his corpse can't be used by the Epideme virus to infect the rest of the crew, and hopefully destroys the virus along with him. The virus is cunning enough to give Lister false hope for a cure to talk him out of it.
      • The mere concept of being infected with a fatal virus that is sentient and capable of holding a conversation with you, as it justifies why it should be allowed to kill you, even demanding a reason why you think you have more of a right to live than it does.
      • The original ending to the episode would have revealed the Epideme virus to still be alive and looking for new prey after being ejected from Starbug.
    Series VIII 
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  • In "Cassandra", the eponymous prophetic computer has been entombed in a submersed spaceship, and with good reason: her forecasts of any given death, about which she may well lie, cause havoc. Having evaded her web of preemptive vengeance, Lister, alone with the digital seer, gives an earnest speech about free will, and calmly refuses to fulfil her prophecy of his killing of her.
    Cassandra: But you do kill me. I've seen it.
In a generally comically staged concept, her calm announcement of the inevitable reveals an eerie Paranoia Fuel.

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    Back to Earth 
  • The shot of the comatose Lister, with his eyes rolled into the back of his head and twitching involuntarily, as Kryten sadly notes that there's a very real chance he's choosing not to wake up.
  • During the portal sequence, Katerina decides to send Rimmer through as a guinea pig. When he refuses to let go of what he's holding on to, telling her to wait, she grabs his Light Bee remote and turns off his projection, sending his Bee hurtling into the portal as he screams "I said wait!"
  • The reality warping typewriter used by the Creator, and then Lister.
    Series X 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/red_dwarf_x_fathers_and_suns_pree.png
"Greetings, gentlemen. My name is Pree, and I will be your new ship computer."
  • There is the matter of what they did to the sim Crawford, after she shot Rimmer's brother, Howard. As much as she wasn't the friendliest robot around, they string her up and turn her into a make-shift Stirmaster since Lister couldn't get an actual one after she had a resentment overload that crashed her hard drive. In practice, they made use of someone's corpse and are quite nonchalant about it.
  • Lister himself takes part in the Lethally Stupid trope in Series X, acting frighteningly nonchalant to the fact he had a hand in Professor Irene's death.
  • Pree's predictive function. Pree can accurately predict what tasks the crew wants done, which is fine if your crew is competent. Unfortunately, this function means that it's done exactly like the person in question would do it. So, you have repair tasks utterly botched because it was Rimmer supposed to undertake it or Lister's Alcohol-Induced Stupidity causing him to resign from the Space Corps and Pree to fly the ship into a sun because there are no living crewmembers left on board.
    • Pree calmly referring to flying the ship into the sun as "Operation Sizzle", and pretending to have miscalculated how long it would take just to toy with them. After spending the entire episode with a Kubrick Stare, it suddenly evolves into a Psychotic Smirk.
      • Pree's screen in the Drive Room takes up the entire wall. As she comes online, she slowly raises her head with that unsettling, unblinking stare. She also speaks in a digitised Voice of the Legion.
    Series XI 
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There was a time where I was was a teensy tiny teeny weeny bit... MAD!
  • The Rimmer monster from "Officer Rimmer". Not only is the concept of an insane, multi-headed Rimmer that resembles a Centaur a frightening enough concept on its own, it absorbs the other Rimmer clones, making it more powerful.
  • Asclepius. A malfunctioning medical droid who mistakes Lister and The Cat for two female patients and removes Lister's kidneys. Just look at the smegging thing. Even if it wasn't malfunctioning, it still doesn't look like something you'd want performing a life-depending operation on you, especially given how one of its arms is an Arm Cannon that fires tranquiliser darts and the other is a large pincer. And shooting it several times with a bazookoid is only enough to stun it temporarily.
  • The karma drive. Not only can it can be reprogrammed by anyone with the correct skills, but the amount of control that it can have over your life is extremely detailed. Even in its good state this was apparent with the quote from Professor Barker: So, we're all supposed to live the Mega Core dream. Where the married stay married, sons call their fathers "Sir", and everyone eats lots of homemade apple pie? implying that you could go as far as to program in a stereotypical 1950s style social structure into the device and force you to uphold it. And then once we get into the bad programming of what is essentially complete watch the world burn anarchy, you start to realise just what a dictator or psychopath could do with such a device. It is potentially one of the most socially destructive weapons ever made and yet ironically was never intended to be one.
    Series XII 
  • The MILFs' mind-uploading technology in '"Siliconia". Not only does it show that the entirely mechanoid crew is capable and willing to steal the minds of organics and upload them into mechanical bodies but, when they do, the programming inherent in any Series 4000 mechanoid (the same model as Kryten) begins to inexorably override the organic's mentality, as shown when Rimmer, followed by Cat and even the normally rebellious Lister - who had been the one to help Kryten achieve true sentience by teaching him to lie and breaking his programming - adopt facsimiles of Kryten's accent as the programming takes hold.
  • Rimmer, Kryten and Cat disappearing from Lister's perception after he is reprogrammed by the M-Corp upgrade, while making for some funny scenes of Cat stealing his breakfast, is also a pretty creepy concept when considered in real life.
    • Lister also being able to see only M-Corp branded products, to the point he can only see the walls of the room otherwise, and having to rely on touch to find anything else.
      • Lister not only "paying in life" when he's forced to buy things, but by the time the others find him, he's an elderly man indoctrinated into doing nothing but impulse buying.
      • To get rid of the M-Corp programming and restore his full perception, they have to wipe Lister's mind and restore it from a backup file from the hologram recording systems. Which Lister hasn't used since he was twenty-three. Kryten outright states that he'll have to "rebuild his personality" from the ship's security footage of the missing time.
    • Lister having what seems to be a heart attack (actually really bad indigestion) on the morning of his birthday, and passing out suddenly while Cat steals his breakfast.
      • The AI chip used to diagnose Lister suddenly telling him in a panic that he's about to die before shorting out itself.
      • "Chippy" also offers to give Lister an estimation of when he's likely to die. Rimmer leans in and asks for it in an impression of Lister's voice just to annoy him, leading to the above moment.
    The Promised Land 
  • The very fact that Holly has access to a stock of nuclear mining torpedoes, each of which is capable of destroying an entire planet. And with his first shot, he misses. Smeg only knows what that nuke eventually hit. And he doesn't even know if his plan to rescue the Dwarfers by blowing up the planet they're on (they'll be blown clear in the explosion) will actually work.
    • The restored Holly, before he gets his memories back. Frighteningly similar to Queeg in how he enforces JMC regulations, he gives the Dwarfers a week to get off the ship and find a new one. Then when he catches them planning to take him offline with an EMP, he angrily shortens that to seven minutes.
  • The Feral Cats have retractable claws covered in blood, and Rodon is seen torturing one of the Clerics with them.
    • In a deleted scene, it's revealed that Cat has them too, only much smaller and ineffectual.
  • The battery in Rimmer's Light Bee is fried, resulting in him relying on plug sockets to avoid running out of charge and permanently deactivating.
    • Later, he's forced to go into monochromatic Low Power Mode to save energy, prompting Cat to comment on how it makes it really obvious that he's not the original living Rimmer. The resulting existential crisis causes a further drain on Starbug's power, and Rimmer has to be talked out of permanently offlining himself by Lister.
  • How is Rodon defeated? The Dwarfers use the Cat race's natural weakness for moving red lights to trick Rodon's goons into ripping him apart, and with noone at the helm of his flagship, it explosively crashes into a moon's surface.
    Novels 
  • The Better Than Life game goes much further than the one depicted on the show. While that one existed in the book verse as an early version, the book's version gives players a semi-plausible reason as to how they were able to fulfil their fantasies as opposed to just giving it to them and even gives them things that they didn't even know they wanted. Moreover, the game hides itself from the player's memory, leaving them to waste away in the real world. Attempting to remove the headset results in death by shock, so the only way to leave the game is to want to, assuming you ever realise you were playing in the first place. And even when you do leave, the game tries to convince you that you've left when you're still really playing.
  • The only reason the crew ultimately escape is by Rimmer's psyche completely destroying Lister and the Cat's fantasies, followed by Lister spotting the thread of life aboard Red Dwarf being much better than before.
    • Rimmer, in the body of the hooker, obliterates most of Lister's town, Bedford Falls, in a tractor-trailer crash, causes Lister's family to walk out on him and the entire town to turn their backs on him (assuming that Lister has been unfaithful to his wife), and turns the street his house was on into a sewage facility. All entirely by accident.
      • Rimmer then causes an erupting volcano to form on the Cat's personal island.
  • Rimmer, Cat, Kryten and the Toaster experiencing Spaghettification during Better Than Life, during their attempt to escape a black hole. They essentially melt into a single strand of themselves, twist together until they merge into a writhing, pained, screaming mass, while their minds also merge. Kryten experiences what it's like to be Rimmer, and wishes he could scream at that moment.
  • Lister becoming stranded and alone when Rimmer's hologram fails, leaving Lister trapped on a world specifically and deliberately trying to kill him for being human.
    • What is said world? It's Earth, hurtled away from it's solar system after having been used for centuries as humanity's dumping ground. And Lister is trapped there for thirty years.
    • As his signal from Red Dwarf degrades, Rimmer's hologram becomes increasingly sluggish and slow-motion-like, as if time for him is slowing down. It's implied that from his point of view, Lister is constantly speeding up.
  • Lister narrowly avoids being melted in a waterfall of acid rain that eats the majority of Starbug. He loses an earlobe to it.
  • Rimmer returns to Red Dwarf, and finds that everywhere on the ship is in a different time zone. Because the ship is being pulled into a black hole, and one end of the ship is a week behind the other.
  • The Polymorph is a far more sickening sight to behold when transforming. It routinely collapses in on itself and leaves a trail of gore.
  • After Lister dies from a heart attack fighting the Polymorph, he wakes up, with his chest feeling like it's imploding. Then he realises that nothing makes sense, everything's going backwards and he can't understand anyone. Then he finds a letter from the others in the local newspaper, and learns he has to deal with being on the backwards Earth for thirty years.
  • Rimmer explores the salvaged Nova 5, and finds a partially intact stasis pod. The top half has perfectly preserved it's occupant, but the bottom half has been torn open and the occupant's legs have completely withered away over three million years. They die from shock as soon as Rimmer opens the pod.
  • The Agonoids from Backwards are an even worse version of the Simulants from the series. Created for a very brief war, it was decided that they were too dangerous to be allowed to continue to exist. The ones that survived, fled into deep space, looking for humans to kill. Utterly ruthless and sadistic, the lack of humans to kill means that they end up planning more and more slow and elaborate deaths for Lister when they learn of his existence. They're described as having once looked human, but now have deathly grey skin and metallic teeth, since they can't replace their body parts with anything other than those of other Agonoids. Like their Simulant counterparts, shooting them is an exercise in futility at best. Worst of them all is D'Juhn Keep, who murders his fellow Agonoids by flushing them all into space so he can have Lister to himself. There's a good reason he's considered the most evil character in the entire franchise, which is saying something considering that Adolf Hitler is a semi-recurring character.
  • The Apocalypse Virus is given more detail than its series counterpart, the Armageddon Virus. Able to infect any electronic equipment, it will erase its subsystems one by one, which for an electronic lifeform such as an android, is effectively the electronic equivalent of rapid onset dementia. And because it was developed by the aforementioned D'Juhn Keep, it's given the extra sadism factor of leaving the pain/pleasure receptors intact until last. Rimmer's death after his light bee contracts the virus is particularly gruesome, as he melts inside the AR machine and is conscious the entire time.
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