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Nightmare Fuel / Resident Evil 4

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"Does somebody need a hug?"

Resident Evil 4 may be the start of the series shift to action, but don't be fooled: this is still a horror game, through and through.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

  • Los Ganados. Ordinary Spanish villagers from the countryside turned violent, psychotic and inhumane due to Las Plagas infection, their free will and normal lives gone due to the influence of Los Iluminados cult and its leader, Osmund Saddler, carrier of a "Master" Plaga strain that holds control over all other types and can induce them to do his bidding. Unlike zombies in the previous games, these infected villagers are still "alive" in that the original Plagas strain doesn't cause necrosis and can't reanimate dead bodies, and they are capable of enough rationality to utilize strategy and weaponry to attack intruders and perceived threats to their "community". This is best exemplified with Leon's first encounter with "Don Jose", who cusses Leon out of his house before trying to kill him with an axe.
    • The village itself, a rotten shell of what it once was, mostly due to the infection and hive-mind nature of the Plagas causing the Ganados to forego hygiene in favor of building aggression and irritability. While the villagers retain enough sapience to tend to the livestock, the water wells and animal food bins are all dirty and unkempt, tables have disgusting used plates and teapots with foul-smelling liquids inside, beds are messy and some are stained with blood, and houses have this particular texture to them that makes the dirt and rot in the floor and walls very apparent. It can be both this and Nausea Fuel to players sensitive to it.
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    • The two Spanish police officers that take Leon to the village region are both kidnapped and killed by the Ganados at the start of the game. When he finds one of them later in the village, his body is strung up on a stake and burning, the villagers just going about their day like it's normal.
    • The final illustrations showing what happened to the villagers: The music goes from quaint and upbeat to ominously chilling as we see men from Los Iluminados herding everyone into the church, a man is held down while Saddler's minions ready his injection, another man faces away from his concerned family with a demonic look on his face, a small child sits in a high chair either dead or dying while her indifferent mother stands nearby, a crowd gasps in horror as a parasite rips its way out of someone's throat and his head hangs off to the side...
  • Dr. Salvador. Imagine a burly, chainsaw-wielding Ganado with a brown potato sack for a mask, running at you with delirious abandonment, and you've got the idea. His primary method of attack is to swing the running blade of his chainsaw into the crevice of your neck, ripping your head clean off of your torso; needless to say, this is a One-Hit Kill. He is also very difficult to take down and often requires several bullets before even staggering backwards.
    • Not to mention you'll probably hear him before you see him... which means that you'll be hearing a chainsaw when you can't see anyone else. Or worse, you'll hear him and then be prompted by your panic to turn around to see if you can spot him, only to stare right at the chainsaw coming down through your neck for an instant Game Over. Oh yeah, and you can encounter this guy at the start of the game by entering a certain house before the cutscene with the church bells. Just imagine: You're being chased by Ganados, so you go into that house for protection, items, and to restore your health. Sure, there might be a few enemies in there, but that's probably better than the angry mob that was coming after you, right? And then you trigger a cutscene where you see this guy. Sure, you can find a shotgun in the house, and you might have some grenades you could use to fight Dr. Salvador, but taking him down still won't be an easy task.
    • If that's still not panic-inducing enough, try the "Bella Sisters". TWO female Ganados with their faces wrapped in bloody bandages and both armed with chainsaws. And you need to fight both at the same time.
    • Then there's SUPER Salvador. He's only fought in the "Waterworld" level in Mercenaries Mode, and for good reason: he's WAY too strong to fight up close, and cuts your head off if you even come into punching distance. Now, you may notice a high tower in the level that you can go up and snipe from...until he jumps up there and chops your head off!
  • The first El Gigante you encounter demonstrates its impressive strength by killing a bunch of Ganados right after they unleash him from behind his cage. The ensuing fight with him isn't any less intimidating - he uproots trees with his bare hands and tries to crush you with boulders the size of a minivan.
    • Like with the Bella Sisters, there is a fight later in the Castle with two Gigantes at the same time. Instead of ripped, oversized shorts, they're both outfitted for battle, and take a lot more punishment to bring down than the Gigantes in the village because of it.
      • It can only be done once, but Leon can use a switch in the room to open the central hatch and cause at least one of the Gigantes to fall into the lava underneath the arena. But players thinking they're in the clear as soon as the one monster is down, either circling the area to fight the second one or heading for the exit thinking the battle is done, all while the hatch is still open, are in for a very nasty surprise.
  • If you get grabbed by a Ganado holding a lit stick of dynamite, and it goes off before you can wrest yourself out of his arms, your unfortunate character gets blown to pieces.
  • The Regenerators. Seeing one lurch into view and stagger towards you, with an unholy, guttural sound like someone with razors stuck in their throat burbling from their maw...
    • Even worse, it almost sounds like it's laughing at you as it moves in for the kill.
    • There are two potential first encounters with Regenerators, depending on how you go through the lab. In one scenario, you're exploring when you see a big gray corpse in a freezer. So you keep going, and when you turn back, it's GONE. In another, you find Luis's notes explaining what they are and how they're created... and when you put them down, you hear the door behind you slide open, and that telltale wheezing starts up...
    • Encountering the lab where they were created, finding the horrific failed test subjects, and ending up inside a freezer with numerous partially complete creatures hanging from the ceiling with parasites visible and still moving inside them once you turn off the cryogenic device.
    • And then, once you've developed a healthy fear of the things but after a pretty good, long period of gameplay without them, you find yourself in a hallway lined with jail cells on either side. And you hear the telltale rasping of a Regenerator. And you know it's in one of those jail cells, but you don't know which, and you know that if you check inside the wrong one, you'll turn around just in time to see it stepping inside from the opposite cell, blocking your only way out. It's actually in the second cell to the left, in a position where it's unable to sneak up on you from behind at all.
      • Another interesting little tidbit: On Professional Mode, which isn't really that much harder than normal mode, they can run. And yeah, it's horrifying.
    • Iron Maidens, as seen in the page image. They're Regenerators that can stretch their arms and grab Leon, impaling him with their spikes. Hence the name.
      • Iron Maidens also twitch constantly, and if you shoot their legs off, they don't flop forward like normal Regenerators. They slither.
    • Their music theme sounds like a Silent Hill soundtrack piece.
    • If one of them grapples Leon, you get a nice close-up of their face practically opening up as it chomps down on him.
    • Think Regenerators are harmless once you've taken out their legs? Think again. The bastards can still lunge up and bite you in the neck if you get too close.
    • Speaking of the chomping, remember the zombies from previous games? Yeah, they bite into you, but simply go for it. When these guys start chewing on your throat, they're going at it with such horrific fervor, like they're seriously enjoying ripping your throat out.
  • The one test subject in the first laboratory in the Island base, with a Plaga sticking its spindly legs into his back while his face is frozen in a scream. You expect something else to come from this image, but the two are just completely immobile on that gurney...
  • The Colmillos, which are essentially wolves infected with Las Plagas, have a horrific transformation of tentacles popping out of their flesh, and savagely attempt to rip out your throat/bite your face off when they attack you.
    • Provided you didn't double back across the lake at night after facing Del Lago, your first encounter with the Colmillos will be walking up a path at night while a pack of Comillos wait for you. You can actually see them, sitting perfectly still with an evil snarl on their faces, waiting for you. It's ten times worse if you spot the Colmillo's silhouette in the distance and assume that it's your canine buddy who just helped you beat El Gigante not two minutes earlier; Mood Whiplash at its finest ("Oh, hey, doggie! Who's a good b—AAIIEEEEEEEE!!").
    • You also encounter them later on, wandering around the hedge maze in Salazar's castle. Hearing them panting from a distance without knowing their exact whereabouts in the maze is frightening enough as is, but the fact that they tend to pop out of nowhere and can even come up behind you makes this one of the more nerve-wracking segments of the game.
  • The very concept of the Plagas is terrifying, and introduces Mind Control into the franchise in a disturbing fashion. Viruses simply kill the victim or otherwise destroy their mind, resulting in a killing machine without any sense of self. In comparison, the parasite slowly takes over the host and assimilates them into the Hive Mind while the victim retains most of their mental facilities and some of their original personality. There are numerous times throughout the game where Leon will come upon the Ganados going about their daily lives and even having conversations with each other. Leon and Ashley are both shown falling under the control of the Plagas during the course of the game, losing control while retaining full awareness of their actions.
    • The first time you see Las Plagas in its natural form. During a "dark and stormy night", Leon enters a small canyon and sees a Ganado approaching him, twitching and convulsing in a way the player hasn't seen before. The effect is somewhat chilling because the Ganado's eyes are glowing. But then it gets downright horrific when his head bursts apart and a fleshy mass covered in squirming tentacles and eyestalks emerges from the Ganado's neck. And through all of this, the Ganado is smiling at you.
      • "Plaga A's" main tentacle is tipped with a scythe that only require one or two hits to kill Leon.
      • The centipede-like Plagas known as "Plaga B" that spout from Zealots are perhaps even worse. They erupt from the host's mouth and cause their head to tear open at the jaw and hang behind their back, and the huge, squirming parasite can bite Leon's head clean off if they get too close.
      • There's also the "Plaga C" that burst out of Zealot and Combatant Ganados. These wide spider-like Plagas hang out of the host's body and spew out acid when up close, and as if it couldn't get any creepier, they detach from the host body after it dies and walk around looking for another.
    • While the normal Plagas' habit of blasting out of their hosts' heads is pretty disturbing on its own, this collection of scrapped concept ideas look like they've been plucked straight out of a Junji Ito manga.
    • Unlike other monsters in the series, the Plagas aren't the product of genetic engineering by Umbrella or anyone else. While the modern ones are modified versions, the Plagas themselves date possibly as far back as the Neolithic Age, able to survive for centuries in desiccation until their spores were inhaled by workers excavating caves. Yes, these invasive, mind-controlling parasites evolved naturally.
  • Ramon Salazar's first scene, and all you can think is "What the hell is that guy?"
    • His boss battle is even worse. He willingly gives himself up before a large mutated parasite known as the Queen Plaga, essentially becoming a part of the monstrous plant-like organism, in a desperate bid to stop Leon from reaching the island where Ashley is held captive. His remaining Verdugo bodyguard is also absorbed into the organism, and spends its last living moments screaming in terror.
  • Del Lago, should you decide to shoot the lake repeatedly before engaging in the actual boss fight, will erupt from the lake and close its massive jaws over Leon and most of the dock in a single bite.
    • Speaking of Del Lago, getting knocked off the boat and swimming to safety as the creature encroaches from behind is always terrifying. The further away from the boat you are, the scarier it is. The distance flung is tied to your health, so if it hits zero, you're never going to reach the boat. And even after defeating the thing, you're still not in the clear. Your foot gets caught in a rope that is attached to Del Lago's sinking carcass - and unless you cut it quickly, it'll drag you down with it.
  • Aptly referred to as "It" by Saddler, U-3 is a disgusting abomination with a broken jaw, serpentine spear-like tongue, deformed body, and crazy eyes, among other things. And you have to outrun it in a large cage with narrow corridors where it can attack you from the ceiling as well. After you get through the cage, you enter into the second stage of fighting with U-3. If the creature gets a good enough shot at Leon with its pincers, it can give him what the medical community likes to call a hemicorporectomy - in layman's terms, he gets cleaved in half at the waist. If successful, this is a one-hit kill. Not a pretty sight...
    • And then when you enter the second phase of that fight, you manage to kill U-3's host body but the giant parasite keeps fighting you anyway, while dragging the limp torso around underneath.
  • The Garrador. Being trapped in the prison cell with the first one is bad enough, but later on, you fight two at once! And their eyes are sewn shut. Be thankful the developers were merciful enough not to go with their original plan for the two Garradores; the chamber you fought them in was supposed to be pitch-dark, with the only illumination coming from the lamp on Leon's belt.
    • That charging thrust Garradors make at you? Taking a lethal hit from that results in one of the more brutal deaths in the game: he stabs Leon through the face and lifts him up by his head, Leon screaming horribly all the while, and finishes by shoving his other claw under Leon's ribs.
  • The fight with Chief Bitores Mendez. The guy, who is as freakin' HUGE as a Tyrant, somehow sneaks up on you, starts to strangle you, throws you against the rafters, and proceeds to lock you in by bending the door handles with his BARE HANDS!!! He then tries to grab you again and snap your neck like a matchstick, but you get out of the way and knock over a barrel of gasoline, shoot it so it catches fire, and get away and all the gasoline blows up. But then, of course, the smoke clears, you see his body fall apart, revealing a long, thin hand with giant claws!! Then you see him, standing there, before his torso detaches from his legs, as his spine reveals itself as having been replaced by a ''giant centipede'', with two insectile, spindly limbs reaching out of his shoulders.
  • There's a room in Salazar's castle where you have to sort paintings. The paintings are grisly portrayals of hangings and lynchings, someone getting guillotined, and a rather horrible depiction of the crucifixion of Christ. Showing all too well how sick that midget is (probably more so than other Resident Evil bad guys).
  • From a quick comparison to the scene where you see how the Plagas inside Leon and Ashley are destroyed, the Illuminados emblem seems to be the image of a Plaga as it latches onto the victim's spinal cord.
  • This game has some Nightmare Fuel as a Bilingual Bonus, no less. The zealots' phrases get pretty creepy, specially the tone in which they are said: "Morir es vivir... Morir es vivir..." ("To die is to die is to live...") and "¡Oh, sí! ¡Quiero matar!" (Oh, yes! I want to kill!) deserve a special mention.
    • "Cerebros, cerebros, cerebros" ("Brains, brains, brains")
    • "Muere, muere, muere, muere..." ("Die, die, die, die"...) The way the high ranking red-clad Zealots say it is especially disturbing.
  • When the Plaga inside Leon begins to take control for a moment and forces him to strangle Ada, we get a close up of his face as his eyes go red and his expression slowly turns psychotic.
  • Despite being an Actionized Sequel, the game has one of the most nightmare fueltastic soundtracks of the series. The nightmarish crown jewel of the soundtrack is probably the Regenerator theme.
  • If you get killed by a Novistador when it grabs you and starts puking acid on you, you'll be treated to a disturbingly realistic sight of Leon with half of his face melted off. Also, the music during the first encounter with them in the sewers (link above) fittingly sounds like a swarm of giant insects.
  • Toward the end of the game, a filthy red dumpster can be seen near some jail cells. When opened, it contains a dirty, blood-stained bodybag, which suddenly begins writhing about violently. Taken Up to Eleven in the bonus game Separate Ways in post-GameCube versions, where the dumpster is already opened and the bodybag is thrashing about with significantly more vigor even before the camera pans down to the bottom. Ada simply looks disgusted and shuts the lid.
  • During the short segment where you control Ashley, you are left completely unarmed and the only thing you can use against your enemies are lamps that Ashley throws but even then, it's not enough.
    • The worst part is after you get past the Zealots. You descend into a dark room, a creepy drone constantly playing in the background, the only source of light coming from Ashley's flashlight, and in there, you see various armor statues scattered around the place. Eventually, after solving a relatively easy puzzle, you enter a room where you obtain the serpent ornament. And then, after hearing some mechanical noises, all you hear is the noisy clanging of the now conscious Plaga-infested armor statues, coming to get you.
  • The Boss fight encounter with one of the two Verdugos (the two hooded B.O.W's that act as bodyguards for Salazar) in the castle's sewers. Everything about it is nerve-wrackingly intense considering the circumstances. 1: You're in an enclosed space so avoiding it is almost impossible. 2: You have to wait for the elevator to come down, which feels almost like an eternity since you're having to dodge and flee this persistent abomination at every given turn. Finally, 3: Using whatever firepower you have against it... Which doesn't do any good except piss it off even more. And God help you if you use up the few scattered nitrogen canisters or even miss that one single shot with your Rocket Launcher.
  • The beginning of the game where Leon makes his way towards the village is littered with Nightmare Fuel; the first house you enter has the occupant attack Leon suddenly and underneath the stairs are a collection of skulls and maggots. And let's not forget the seemingly normal cabin further down... when you turn to leave and discover a woman has been impaled through the face to the wall with a pitchfork!
  • Leon is infected with a Plaga early on and spends the majority of the game as a carrier, suffering its effects at various points, coughing up blood, extreme pain and convulsions, briefly losing his mind and nearly strangles Ada to death, his nightmare after the Del Lago fight of seeing all the veins swell up from his skin while he screams in agony.