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Nightmare Fuel / Return of the Jedi

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  • "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." This is a line spoken by Darth Vader about his own boss. The same Darth Vader who regularly strangles senior officers to death for failing him. Even before he appears you know from that line that The Emperor is going to be a piece of work.
  • When C-3PO and R2-D2 were arriving at Jabba's lair, there's this large shadowy figure of a spider in the background. Even worse, it was revealed it's actually a Brain in a Jar — Jabba's palace used to be a monastery for the B'omarr monks, who surgically transplanted their brains into robotic containers in pursuit of enlightenment through the ultimate form of asceticism.
  • The Droid torture chamber in Jabba's palace. Just hearing that poor droid having red-hot irons applied to its feet...*shudder*. What's even worse is when one of the guards threatened to do the same to R2-D2.
    • Right after he was told Jabba's last protocol droid got disintegrated for angering him, C-3PO noticed a droid nearby is getting pulled apart and screaming in pain. One of its arms got blown off.
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  • Oola's life as Jabba's slave is... highly unlikely to have been pleasant (and let's not forget the other dancers who receive less focus). Legends canon makes it explicit Jabba forced her to pleasure him in some unspecified way and had her beaten when she refused (though thankfully that definite confirmation is no longer canon).
  • The Rancor. It starts off with Nothing Is Scarier when Oola is eaten with only her scream and its roar being heard coming right after Jabba's band plays, showing Jabba and his crowd are NOT to be trifled with. Imagine what it must be like to live in Jabba's court. If you piss him off, he'll dump you into the Rancor pit to be killed horribly, while everyone else watches and laughs. And really, how many spectators are putting on an act, all the while both deeply grateful it's not happening to them and terrified about whether they might be next?
    • For that matter, how many of them are laughing hysterically (a) because it's not them and/or (b) they've gone stark raving mad from the constant paranoia of wondering if—or maybe even when for some—they'll be next?
  • Yeah, seeing Princess Leia in the infamous slave bikini brought many fond memories, but look at it in a Fridge Horror perspective from her POV. Being constantly molested by Jabba and being forced to endure God knows what degrading acts that Jabba put her through before Luke arrived. There have been stories both in novelization and in fanfic that expand on the horrors Leia endured when being enslaved by Jabba. Some reach to the levels of Fan Disservice.
    Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.
    • In one of the stories from Legends: Jabba gave Leia to Boba Fett for a night as a reward for good work. The only reason she wasn't brutally raped is because Boba is disgusted by the idea of taking someone against their will. Had it been almost anyone else among Jabba's minions, she wouldn't have been so lucky. Not to mention the sheer horror of being at the mercy of the morals of the bounty hunter who took away the man you love and gave him to Jabba in the first place.
  • The Sarlaac, which is said by Threepio to keep people alive for a thousand years, as they're slowly digested.
    • It ATE Boba Fett... subverted by the fact that he survived this, as explained in Legends and now canon in The Mandalorian. May also be even worse when you think about what it was like while he was down there, since the only visual cues to that experience is that Boba's human face is now scarred by its stomach acid.
    • Or, from the Sarlaac's perspective: You have just eaten something that disagrees with you. And it has begun fighting its way out from inside your stomach.
    • The Legends expanded universe reveals that the digestive process of a Sarlacc is over a thousand years. And that Sarlaccs are not only partially-sentient, but practically sadistic, pretty much Mind Raping their prey for years and committing the torture to memory so that they can revisit it whenever they wish, as poor Boba learns...
    • Let's think about what would have happened had Artoo not gotten to the main deck in order to throw Luke his lightsaber. Imagine the consequences for Luke, Han, the Rebellion, and Leia ...let that sink in.
      • Never mind thinking about what would have happened, The Thrawn Trilogy actually showed us what would have happened. At one point Luke has a dream of the events on the barge where Artoo shoots the lightsaber into the air, but instead of falling into his hand, it's pulled away by the Force into the hand of a hooded woman standing on the deck of Jabba's barge.note  Weaponless and helpless, Luke is forced by the guards back onto the gangplank over the Sarlacc's maw...
    • The Book of Boba Fett gives us a glimpse of what's inside the Sarlacc... and it's not pretty. A claustrophobic, slimy stomach that will suffocate you if you have no supply of oxygen down there. While the Mind Rape aspect of the Sarlacc are likely retconned out, there is an implication that if you don't get out of there soon, you will be stuck on wall as the Sarlacc digests you slowly, possibly alive but unable to move.
  • Jabba the Hutt's death. Okay, we all gave applause when he died, but wow, that was disturbing. Basically, rather than being run through by a lightsaber like most villains in the franchise, he gets strangled, slowly and evidently painfully, by Leia. With his eyes bulging, his tongue darting and his tail thrashing all the while. Leia really is Darth Vader's daughter.
    • Hutts are supposed to have very thick hides and be very muscular, to the point that even a blaster shot wouldn't be reliably fatal. So to strangle Jabba, Leia would need to have superhuman strength. Given what he must have put her through, she was almost certainly unknowingly drawing on the Dark Side. This was later confirmed in the novel Star Wars: Bloodline.
  • Leia and Wicket started to get friendly, when suddenly Wicket holds his spear defensively and starts sniffing something out. Leia asked "What is it?" and Wicket quietly says something in his language (as if saying "Something's out there"). They both look around the woods for a few seconds, hearing only birds chirping. Then *ZAP*! Fortunately, the stormtrooper missed.
    • The Ewoks during the final battle are pretty disturbing when seen from the POV of the Imperials. Before, they're harmless furry natives who are at worst a nuisance, then they're vicious, whooping, terrifying savages who will think nothing of spearing you out of nowhere through a gap in your armor, or bashing your head in with sticks and rocks.
  • Consider Threepio's recap to the Ewoks as to how they got there. He says "Princess Leia", "Master Luke" and "Nootch Vader". Not Darth. Nootch. Meaning the Ewok language doesn't have a word for Princess or Master, but does have a word for "Darth". Meaning Ewoks know of the Dark Side. Bearing in mind (ha!) we know how much of a mess a basic Ewok can make of a stormtrooper. Now imagine an Ewok Sith.
    • Earlier in the recap, Threepio did indeed say "Darth Vader" to the assembly; it's plausible, however, that "Nootch" is Ewok for "Lord."
  • Speaking of the Ewoks being more dangerous than they look, let us consider how if it hadn't been for Luke manipulating The Force, he, Han and Chewie would have wound up on the menu for that evening's meal.
    • To make this more horrifying, consider how the Ewoks just happened to have a dress in Leia's size that she changed into after she befriended Wicket and went to his village.
  • "Fire at will, commander." As if the Endor battle wasn't going badly enough, this line threw into sharp focus just how absolute the Emperor's trap had been. One destroyed major ship later, the Rebels, having all realized what’s to come ("That blast came from the Death Star...that thing's operational!") are left with no choice but to either engage a still-shielded yet fully-armed instrument of genocide or a vastly-outnumbering fleet of Imperial fighters and Star Destroyers.
    • Palpatine looks pretty freaky himself in this film in particular, especially when he's zapping Luke with his twisted Slasher Smile as you can see above.
    • He's pretty frightening no matter what mood he is in. When Luke refuses to turn to the Dark Side, Palpatine's arrogant demeanor and mocking tone disappear and are replaced by cold, unadulterated rage. This is particularly jarring when you consider that the other times Palpatine unleashed his Force lightning, both before and after this instance, it's accompanied by him Chewing the Scenery, complete with his signature Evil Laugh ("unlimited power", anyone?). Here, he's dead silent apart from some sadistic instances of I Shall Taunt You, as if he's concentrating every ounce of energy into obliterating Luke from existence for committing the mere offense of standing up to him.
    • Another terrifying moment comes from some cut scenes. Ever wondered why the Death Star was facing the Forest Moon when it blew up? Because, in a cut scene, Palpatine, in a supreme act of pettiness and to push Luke just a little more into despair, ordered Moff Jerjerrod to destroy it if the shield came down, and when Jerjerrod pointed out they still had troops there he simply reiterated "You will destroy it". Thus the cut scenes follow Jerjerrod ordering to turn the Death Star to blow up the Forest Moon, even flooding part of the station just to gain enough time to do it - as he knew perfectly he was going to die - while his men inform him of the turn. And in his final scene, he gives the order. That's likely why the final explosion before the Death Star blew up was right over the superlaser: it was about to fire.
      • Jerjerrod's attitude through the cut scenes: first he tries to reason with the Emperor in puzzlement at the order to destroy the moon, only to resignedly accept it; then when the shield is taken down and he's stunned for a moment of horror before giving the order to rotate the Death Star to blow up the Forest Moon (and even his subordinates take a few moments before relaying his orders or executing them), when the Falcon and his attack group get in he orders to try and slow them down by flooding parts of the station while slowly growing more scared as the Rebels still get through and the station continues to rotate... And when the Death Star is finally in range, he orders "Commence firing" and takes the most psychotic and satisfied expression he ever had as his men activate the superlaser to destroy the Forest Moon.
      • One can imagine the horror the entire scene caused among the Rebels. The Death Star loses its shield - and it simply turns toward the Forest Moon. That's why the battle moved toward the Death Star, the Rebels started hammering it with as many turbolasers they could spare from the Imperial fleet, and even throw the Executor at it, in a desperate attempt to slow it down, while the commando force on the Forest Moon and even the Imperials could only watch as the station prepared to kill them all.
  • When Vader figures out that Luke has a sister and uses that to bait Luke:
    "Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side, then perhaps she will."
  • The final moments of the duel between Luke and Vader, as Luke finally gives into his hate, striking in all directions and overpowers Vader. It's the absolute closest that the Emperor comes to winning. The music during the scene goes along with Luke as well, with high-pitched violins that sound like screaming. To see such fury and cruelty from the sweet and dorky farmboy who left Tatooine in search of adventure is blood-chilling to say the least. The Sith Lord Darth Vader that was an unstoppable bringer of death, able to kill Jedi as casually as a common soldier, despite being a Handicapped Badass? Utterly overpowered by Luke in a blind rage; that's what a healthy Skywalker can do.
    • Consider the fact that, if you watch these films chronologically, then we've already seen what a healthy and angry Skywalker is capable of. The only reason Obi-Wan bested Anakin the first time around was because he had the high ground. Here, Luke gives us a prime example of how that battle would have ended if the footing had been equal.
  • The fact that Palpatine very nearly succeeded at having Luke join the Dark Side of the Force and become the Emperor's new apprentice.
    Palpatine: Hehehehehehehe, good! *cackling continues* Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny. And take your father's place at my side.
  • The Electric Torture Palpatine inflicts on Luke Skywalker, after he confirms that he'll never turn to the Dark Side, which lasts for almost a minute and a half. Not helped by Mark Hamill's agonizing screams and the fact that Luke is reduced to begging his father for help as he's slowly and painfully electrocuted to near-death. Oh, and Palpatine seems to be enjoying this. Also nicely foreshadowed with Vader's earlier line: "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" — which is pretty damn ominous coming from the guy who chokes incompetent officers left and right.
  • While it is certainly an awesome moment for the Rebellion and the audience, try imagining what must have been going through the minds of the Executor's bridge crew as they watched an out-of-control A-wing flying directly at them, knowing there was nothing they could do to stop it. Or, for that matter, the rest of the crew as the Executor fell into the Death Star II's gravitational pull and careened towards it.
  • Even though it's visually depicted by stock footage from the first film, a few changes in the sound design are enough to make the arming of the Death Star II's superlaser much more terrifying than that of its predecessor. The original Death Star's arming sequence was just accompanied by a few beeps, verbal commands and one or two other low-key sound effects. By contrast, the comparable sequence here is accompanied by a massive roar that gradually builds in intensity until the superlaser fires, making it clear that its predecessor — which blew away an entire planet as though it were nothing — was practically a pop-gun compared to this thing. And unlike its predecessor, this one would not have had the weakness that Galen Erso built into it.
  • During most scenes Jerjerrod is shown to be a stoic and calm guy, who only smiles in two cut scenes as he follows orders from the Emperor to bar him from the throne room, and when he orders to blow up Endor. There's something deeply wrong in this man...
  • What happens when Jerjerrod tries to keep Vader from the throne room: as Jerjerrod only told him "You may not enter", Vader just starts Force Choking him then and there, making Jerjerrod realize he's utterly screwed and stopping only when the poor Moff manages to relay he was following an order from the Emperor. At which point Vader just apologizes and leaves, as if choking the Death Star's commander half to death is normal for him... And it may well be.