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Nightmare Fuel / SpongeBob SquarePants

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"Is your skin crawling yet?"
"Is SpongeBob SquarePants supposed to be terrifying?"
Kenneth Parcel, 30 Rock

SpongeBob SquarePants, with the over-twenty years that it has been on the air, has gave light to the dangers of living under the sea...

Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned!


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Main series:

    Season 1 
  • "Tea at the Treedome":
    • The episode revolves around SpongeBob slowly dehydrating in Sandy's tree dome. His Madness Mantra of "I don't need it" while staring at a vase of water before he finally snaps, complete with a Heartbeat Soundtrack and the Gross-Up Close-Up of his face, is pretty creepy. Before (and after) that occurred there were plenty of disturbing faces of dehydrated SpongeBob.
    • Sandy's scream of horror when she sees both SpongeBob and Patrick dehydrated, complete with a Medium-Shift Gag and dramatic music.
  • The moment in "Plankton!" when SpongeBob rolls his eyes all the way back in his head to see that the titular copepod has hijacked his brain. Then Plankton resumes control and lets out an Evil Laugh, while Sponge's eyes are still rolled over white. No wonder Squidward turned pale and passed out.
  • "Naughty Nautical Neighbors":
    • Near the beginning, Squidward laughs as he's eating a meal, and due to getting distracted for a moment, he chokes on his fork. We're treated to a shot lasting several seconds of Squidward choking on the fork, which is lodged in his throat, all while he makes painful choking sounds. Eventually, his face tuns blue and he passes out. Thankfully, Patrick saves him.
    • SpongeBob's wide-eyed stare from the window at Patrick getting friendly with Squidward is thankfully short, but very much unnerving.
  • The jellyfish stinging SpongeBob after he stops their music in "Jellyfish Jam" is unsettling, and the disturbing music certainly doesn't help either. We see graphic, violent shots of SpongeBob being stung by the jellyfish in full detail and in one frame, after he gets stung, you can see that he's blue and ripped in half for a split second! (No pun intended.)
    • The mere fact that they have the cognitive capacity to get this angry. Not aggressive, angry. Before they attack, they're shown being selfish jerks; the jellyfish make repeated attempts to have their way which includes attacking SpongeBob and Squidward when something isn't to their liking. Then the stereo breaks when SpongeBob rightfully puts his foot down and tries to drag it away from the persistent jellyfish, which is what enrages them. What makes it scary is that it shows these jellyfish aren't just wild animals operating on instinct — they're spoiled to the point that they're willing to force others to bend to their will and even cause harm if they don't get what they want.
  • "Squeaky Boots", which is a parody of The Telltale Heart. Mr. Krabs becomes annoyed by the squeaky sound of these new boots he gave SpongeBob, so he steals them and hides them under the floorboard of the Krusty Krab. Back at the Krusty Krab, he has a disturbing hallucination sequence as a result of his guilt, in which he hears the squeaking everywhere and goes mad from it.
    Mr. Krabs: STOP IT!!! STOOOP IIIIT!!! Oh, oh, don't you hear it?! Yes, I did it! I did it! I took the boots! They're heeere! Under the floorboards! Oh, please! Make it stop! IT'S THE SQUEAKIN' OF THE HIDEOUS BOOTS!!! I'm sorry, but I can't take the infernal squeakin' no more!
  • Patrick going crazy in "Nature Pants" due to starting to miss SpongeBob, who had decided to give up his old life and live among the jellyfish. Especially the scene where he takes a swing at SpongeBob with a jellyfish net, and as an Ominous Music Box Tune is heard in the background, Patrick tearfully but angrily says "If I can't have you as a friend, I'm gonna make you a trophy!" He then even shows SpongeBob a nice jar he picked out specifically for him with SpongeBob's name on it.
  • In "Scaredy Pants", SpongeBob wanted to dress as the Flying Dutchman for Halloween, but since his square shape didn't allow it, he decided to be shaved to a rounder shape which he had Patrick do to him for the costume to fit. It's not until after a botched attempt at a prank that the real Flying Dutchman takes off the sheet, and flies off screaming. The camera then cuts to SpongeBob, where it turns out Patrick didn't just cut off his edges, he cut him down to his brain! It's no wonder everyone else runs away from him. Patrick mistakes said brain for a pink hat at first, but when SpongeBob tells him that it's his brain, Patrick immediately runs away too. Despite all this, as Sponge points out, it simply grows back, which really isn't far-fetched in real life.
    • An unused close up of SpongeBob with his brain exposed for "Scaredy Pants" was found online. It was most likely removed for a good reason.
    • Speaking of the Flying Dutchman himself, his grand entrance, although a rather short sequence, is both terrifying and epic for a very good reason. As everyone else (save for Patrick) laughs at SpongeBob after a failed scare prank, a thunderstorm starts raging outside the Krusty Krab, and the doors are forced open with a deep, bellowing "ENOUGH!". When everyone turns to look at the front doors as they gasp in shock, the Dutchman manifests from a sickly green hue of phantasmal smoke right before their very eyes, then he maliciously laughs into their faces with blank, lifeless eyes and drool between his teeth, causing everyone to scream in horror at his arrival.
      Mr. Krabs: It's the real Flying Dutchman! [faints]
      The Flying Dutchman: You bet your lily white livers I'm the Flying Dutchman. And I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm going to steal your soul.
    • After the above exchange, everyone starts screaming in terror again only for the Dutchman to let out another Big "SHUT UP!", only this time he fries them with some sort of ghastly fire-like ectoplasm and renders them blackened as a result. The real kicker, however, is when he tells them why he plans to steal their souls in the first place: he's incredibly offended by people dressing up as him for Halloween every year, making it clear that he's extremely prideful about himself, and passing SpongeBob's costume as the biggest insult to his image. For a long time he's been made fun of and thought to be just a myth, but having had enough after being insulted by everyone laughing at his name as they were at Sponge and that horrible costume, the Dutchman's finally proven himself to be Real After All, and he is not having it anymore.
      The Flying Dutchman: You had it coming, you big crybabies. Every year, people dressing like me...
      [Squidward whips off his costume and whistles nervously]
      The Flying Dutchman: ...turning the Flying Dutchman name into a laughingstock! But that's not the reason I'm taking your souls, no, [notes SpongeBob] THIS is the straw that broke the camel's back. Out of all the Dutchman costumes I've seen, yours is the most insulting!
      SpongeBob: Do you mean I'm not scary?
      The Flying Dutchman: ...You? SCARY?!?
    • The creepy background music, titled "Ghost Child", that plays when SpongeBob nervously washes dishes at the beginning of the episode sounds like it wouldn't be out of place in a horror movie. Thankfully, it was only a short snippet of the full track.
      • "In the Crypt" is another nightmarish track that plays during The Flying Dutchman's rant about Halloween costumes based on him. The Ominous Pipe Organ just sounds so eerie and dead...
  • "I Was A Teenage Gary":
    • The episode has one of the creepiest examples of Body Horror in the entire series, namely the scene where SpongeBob slowly transforms into a snail after accidentally injecting himself with the snail plasma (think of it as a PG version of the snail chapter from Uzumaki). Near the end of the episode, Squidward gets transformed into a snail as well. Thankfully, his transformation occurs offscreen.
    • It also addresses the fear of leaving a pet with someone who will neglect it to the point of it dying, like Squidward almost did with Gary, who SpongeBob finds dehydrated and shriveled.
    • There was once a rumor going around that Squidward's transformation into a snail was originally (or meant to be, depending on the source) shown, but was cut due to being far worse than SpongeBob's. While the rumor has been disproven (despite some thoroughly believing in its existence regardless), it did ring up some Fridge Horror before the rumor's dismissal.
  • "SB-129" owes its creepiness factor due to what's possibly the most surreal audio and visuals out of any other episode on the show, but the most disturbing part of the episode features Squidward arriving in a realm of nothingness after traveling through the future and the past. He's alone there with only mild (but creepy) noises heard in the background. The audience can tell there's something... off about this place but Squid initially likes it because of its seclusion. Until he says "alone", the word "alone" appears in various fonts, all announced by disembodied voices that start to slowly layer upon each other. This freaks out Squidward to the point where he runs off-camera... except it just loops him back to his starting point. He escapes by pure dumb luck by stomping the ground enough times, which lands him back in the time elevator.
    • What makes this part even creepier is how little is explained about it. What caused Bikini Bottom to turn into pure nothingness? Who or what is causing those voices? Where or when is Squidward even at? We have no idea. The whole thing comes out of complete nowhere, and it's never brought up again outside of Squidward briefly mentioning it at the end of the episode.
    • Also Squidward being frozen alive was far scary.
    • Before that, Squidward ends up in the pre-historic time where initially, he’s being watched over by past versions of SpongeBob and Patrick in a tense scene, up until the former jumps out to Squidward with a screech. Quickly averted when the two prove to be harmless, just curiously examining Squidward and being dimwitted. That is, until Squidward starts playing his clarinet, at which point they go completely ballistic and chase after him with disturbingly feral looks on their faces, attacking the outside of the time machine until Squidward escapes, breaking the handle of the machine in his panic and leading into the above-mentioned realm of nothingness.
  • In "Sleepy Time", SpongeBob gets a sample of what Plankton's dreams are made of, where he is a giant monster, and destroys all of Bikini Bottom and killing people. He then attempts to crush Gary, just For the Evulz.
  • "Valentine's Day":
    • Patrick goes on a rampage due to thinking SpongeBob didn't get him a Valentine (the chocolate balloon didn't come on time, so he lied and gave him a friendly handshake instead). Eventually, he corners everyone and prepares to obliterate all of them, starting with his best friend, all while having bizarre swirling eyes as SpongeBob cowers in complete horror. If Sandy hadn't arrived last minute, then the poor sponge would have been done for.
    • Patrick looks directly at the camera in said shot, almost making it appear as if he were about to attack the audience.
    • "Nope, it's too late for that now... for all of you."
  • The episode where SpongeBob is trapped overnight in "Rock Bottom" definitely plays to childhood — and adult — fears of being stuck in a bad neighborhood overnight.
    • The things that come out of the bathroom (as users not refuse). What's even worse is the fact that Rock Bottom itself is inspired by the Marianas Trench, one of the deepest trenches in the Pacific Ocean. The trench is also known for being the habitat of uncanny sea creatures.
  • "Fools in April". After one too many a prank by SpongeBob, Squidward sets him up a prank that crosses the line, sending SpongeBob home crying. A lot of that episode went WAY beyond Tear Jerker, and became disturbing. First of all, Squidward laughing like a freaking SADIST as he pranks SpongeBob, who runs off crying. And then there's SpongeBob screaming in terror all the while he is being flung around the restaurant, really showing how dangerous the prank is. But Squidward's hallucinations caused by his own guilt are REALLY unsettling. Especially when he imagines his mother scolding him. (Which becomes Nightmare Retardant when you hear the voice come out of her. "YOU STINK!")
    • Earlier in the episode, SpongeBob, as part of one of his pranks, pretends to lose his tongue, which turns out to be a fake. But the part that makes it scary is that the tongue is alive, laughing cheerfully and innocently with SpongeBob. It's never explained what it/he/whatever is exactly, which makes it a bit creepy.
    • The fact that Squidward, after inflicting such horrific pain onto SpongeBob, initially doesn’t understand why the poor sponge ran off crying, saying he was just kidding. Apparently he thought doing all that was comparable to the irksome but otherwise harmless pranks SpongeBob did... Thankfully, he starts to understand and reflect after the customers, all of whom were rightfully mortified by what just happened and one even noting he's got some issues to sort out, walk out in disgust and he looks upon the aftermath of his pranks.
    • Oh, and Squidward tries to say sorry, but his face turns into a hideous donkey (or ass) for a few seconds. Then his head explodes!
    • Squidward’s eyes bulging out as he laughs the hardest at one of the “pranks” inflicted on SpongeBob is also pretty creepy, really emphasising how wrong it is for him to be enjoying this. The face he suddenly makes, while choking himself no less, when noting he should try to apologise to SpongeBob but isn’t able to say as much makes for quite a Jump Scare too.
  • In "Hooky", while Patrick and SpongeBob walk towards the hook infested area, Patrick mentions there was a kid who came by earlier, and then as proof that there was indeed a kid there, a pair of discarded children's shoes is seen lying beside a rock.

    Season 2 
  • "Your Shoe's Untied" has a scene where SpongeBob, who doesn't know how to tie his shoes, tries to give Squidward a Krabby Patty. He hallucinates his shoelaces as hideous-looking snakes who choke him! This is worsened by the equally sinister background music and the background slowly melting as it happens.
    • When SpongeBob goes around asking people for help tying his shoes, one of the character he asks is a mysterious pair of eyes in a dark cave. This pair multiplies into many more eyes, and a huge, multi-eyed monstrous fish comes out and eats SpongeBob! Seeing such a terrifying creature is especially more disturbing in the sunny waters of Bikini Bottom rather than the dark areas of Rock Bottom, where it would be more appropriate. But that's not all! Inside, SpongeBob finds the skeleton of a fisherman. This monster's killed people before!
  • "Squid's Day Off" where SpongeBob is left in charge of the Krusty Krab while Squidward goes out to do some "errands". After running back and forth Squidward finally barricades himself in his house. "I'm not going to think about you know who, at the who know what, doing I don't care." Cut to creepy laugh and a psycho-looking Squidward with wide bloodshot eyes.
    • The music that plays in the scene mentioned above. It's very demented, creepy music box music and a kettle drum, ending with a loud "Psycho" Strings sting.
  • In "Something Smells", just the fact that SpongeBob's breath is so bad that it's getting people killed. Two anchovies allow themselves to be hooked to escape the stench, and another fish loses control of his boat until it explodes with him inside, leaving only the charred frame.
  • In "Bubble Buddy", where Scooter the beachgoer asks SpongeBob to bury him in the sand. He does and then asks Bubble Buddy to dig him out and walks away. He is immediately forgotten by both the cast and likely the viewers until he reappears near the episode's end and reminds everyone why he should have been dug out, as an angel complete with halo, robe and wings.
  • In "Dying For Pie", one of the things that SpongeBob wanted to do with Squidward is doing surgery on Squidward and poking Squidward's heart while Squidward is still conscious which is seen in way too much detail. A few moments later, BLOOD STARTS SQUIRTING OUT! Sure that scene was played for laughs, but still...
    • The entire premise of that episode is Nightmare Fuel. The concept of a bomb being hidden in food so there is no way to see or defuse it? Jeez.
  • "Wormy" has several sudden close-ups of a live-action horsefly accompanied with loud buzzing whenever someone sees Wormy the butterfly up close or whenever Wormy comes near someone.
    • Thankfully, that's not what an actual butterfly looks like, they actually look like this.
    • The episode as a whole is not good for those with Lepidopterophobia, especially with the way Wormy undergoes metamorphisis in a live-action scene which, due to the tense music, is framed like a horrifying transformation scene.
    • The scenes where the Bikini Bottomites flee in fear and Bikini Bottom itself burning can also be unsettling, at least given the subtext. note  Sure, people fearing a butterfly sounds funny on paper, but when that butterfly apparently has the head of a horsefly...
  • The climax of "Pre-Hibernation Week" has Sandy force the whole of Bikini Bottom to look for SpongeBob when he hides from her to avoid taking part in her dangerous stunts. She has them search in sulphur springs (where one of them has his face burned off), poison sea urchin coves, leech farms and even (inadvertently) in a monster. When everyone else bails on her, Sandy tries to find SpongeBob alone, running through the city and pulling buildings off their foundations, screaming for him.
    • The audience knows that SpongeBob isn't in any danger and that Sandy jumped to conclusions. But when one looks from Sandy's perspective, she was having the time of her life with her best friend, and now he's suddenly disappeared. The only thing that was left behind was his clothes. The scenario is Paranoia Fuel at its finest, no wonder she had a meltdown.
  • "Survival of the Idiots", has SpongeBob and Patrick being trapped in Sandy's treedome while she's hibernating for the winter, and nearly freezing to death. If that's not bad enough, Sandy has eaten so much to prepare for winter that she's transformed into a big aggressive beast that looks (and sounds) more like a bear than a squirrel. Many would fear the inevitable moment when she is going to wake up... and they would have every reason to as she rips Patrick's scalp off!
    • It is also shown when she wakes up properly that taking her fur and leaving her naked is a Berserk Button that can only be dealt with by replacing her fur.
    • Patrick openly demonstrates disturbing by producing a talking face from his back and having it proclaim it's "Pat-BACK!". SpongeBob lampshades this:
      "Hah, that really is disturbing!"
  • In "Pressure", Sandy gets into an argument with the other main characters about which is better: land animals or sea animals. They taunt her until she tries to prove her superiority by ripping her suit off and taking off her helmet and smashing it, leaving her wearing nothing but a bikini. The scene is frightening because her smashed helmet releases an air bubble which quickly floats away, and you can't help but think, "That was her only air!" The worst part is that her friends laugh at her as she begins drowning, until her lungs shrivel up and break off of her airways in an x-ray. Once she realizes she's about to die, she quickly finds a pickle jar which inexplicably has air in it and sticks her head into it.
  • "Shanghaied" features Squidward being thrown by the Flying Dutchman into the "Fly of Despair", an abyss filled with terrifying abstract imagery (eg a skull-snake with wings, heads and faces with great detail, eyes, etc.) and sounds while SpongeBob and Patrick watch in horror (it's worth noting that they look more detailed than usual when looking into the Fly of Despair's depths, mainly due to the shading and lighting). It's not gross like other infamous examples of a Gross-Up Close-Up, but it can catch you off guard.
    • Not to mention the incredibly dark ending with SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward being turned into fruit running away from the hungry Flying Dutchman. Being trapped in his dimension it would only be a matter of time until they were in fact eaten.
    • There are also the alternate endings you could take a look at. They're even darker than the original ending; basically, what happens is that Patrick and Squidward both screw up the last wish and lead the trio to getting eaten for sure, not to mention that they're still alive, trapped in the Dutchman's stomach for all eternity.
  • In "Welcome to the Chum Bucket," SpongeBob tries to cook in the Chum Bucket kitchen and opens the oven to reveal a mutated burger. The meat part of it forms into a hand and starts crawling towards SpongeBob, muttering something incoherently.
  • "Frankendoodle". The doodle's babbling, raving voice, its violent intentions, and the way it's drawn are deeply disturbing.
    • It almost becomes LESS scary during the climax, when its' face becomes overtly hostile, because there's something incredibly disturbing about the blank expression it has for most of the episode, even when it's acting violently.
    • When SpongeBob erases it for the first time, he misses one of its arms, which later tracks him down in the middle of the night, walks into his house, takes the pencil which SpongeBob is sleeping with, and redraws itself from below the bed. SpongeBob wakes up, but thinks it's the pencil itself that's moving, and just laughs, noticing too late when Doodlebob reappears.
  • The scene where two flag twirlers in Squidward's "Band Geeks" marching band never make it on-stage as Squidward forces them to over-exert themselves just spinning their flags... and accidentally kills them when the rapidly spinning flags turn into helicopter blades, propelling the flag twirlers into the air before they go into an arc and hit a blimp, causing it to explode. Squidward lying down on the ground in a fetal position while one band member plays Taps says it all. Squidward, in his desire for perfection, had just forced a truly explosive performance that he wishes he could forget.
  • The episode "Graveyard Shift", with its Real After All (Though not really) villain, the Hash-Slinging Slasher. This is a mild subversion.
    • If you ask several SpongeBob fans what scenes were the scariest in the show, it is likely they will respond with the Hash-Slinging Slasher. The episode already started creepily, with the consuming darkness and the unnerving ghost story, but the cherry on top was the slow-burn approach of the Slasher, with Squidward and SpongeBob accepting their demise.
    • The ending has all the scary things being explained rationally... but then the lights star flickering on and off because Count Orlok had been flipping the light-switch. He's not even animated!
    • The thing that makes this episode land here at all is that despite the overall comedic and over-the-top nature preventing it from being too scary, the episode has a genuinely dreadful and nail-biting atmosphere all throughout.
  • The episode "The Smoking Peanut" revolves around SpongeBob accidentally setting a large clam named Clamu off an emotional rampage after attempting to wake it up with a peanut. Clamu's earsplitting wailing is already hard to listen to as it is, but the really scary scene in this episode happens when SpongeBob goes home to relax and sees a news report about Clamu's rampage. The news reporter goes into gutwrenching detail on the incident, eventually breaking down in tears from the stress of the situation. We're also treated to a rather detailed extreme closeup of SpongeBob's horrified and guilt-ridden reaction and shots of various people around the world recoiling from Clamu's shrieks. The whole scene is very unnerving as a result.
  • In "Procrastination", SpongeBob has to write an essay for boating school about what not to do at a stoplight, but keeps putting it off by the most mundane things. Patrick pointing this out when SpongeBob calls him seems normal... then a mailman says to SpongeBob "Don't you have a paper to write?" before leaving. SpongeBob is stunned, asking to himself how the mailman knew about SpongeBob's assignment... and it only gets worse from there. A news report on the TV greatly horrifies SpongeBob as it seems that somehow, literally everyone in the world knows about SpongeBob's assignment which is quite impossible in a realistic setting, even more so when he sees the news anchor coming out of his TV to finish the report with "When will he learn?", and karate chops it in surprise, somehow cutting all the power to the house. SpongeBob then lights a candle and hears someone cooing his name. He turns around and sees his chair has gained a horrific-looking mouth and eyes and is coaxing him to "put his feet up" in an obscenely creepy voice. When SpongeBob arrives at the table where he's supposed to be writing his essay after running through a surreal landscape of melted clocks, he's somehow become smaller than the chair... and his pants come to life and trick the poor sponge into getting himself locked out of the house. The clock that's shaped like Gary, SpongeBob's pet snail, then spins its arrows rapidly until the clock face breaks and the hole left behind becomes a mouth as the clock comes to life as well and says in a ghostly deep voice "Time's up, SpongeBob!" Then a candle flame also comes to life, takes a look at the essay, and says "Only 799 words to go!", giving an Evil Laugh as he burns the essay... then goes on to set the entire house on fire. While this bizarre worst-case scenario of SpongeBob putting off doing an essay thankfully turns out to be All Just a Dream, it's nonetheless Paranoia Fuel for poor SpongeBob, especially towards the end, when his burning house suddenly becomes sentient like the pants, clock, and candle flame, using its door for a mouth and porthole window for an eye, and screaming in agony as it burns.
    House: SpongeBob, why? Why did you set me on fire, SpongeBob? Why didn't you just write your essay?! STOP WASTING TIME!!!
  • The episode "Jellyfish Hunter", sics on the viewers a nightmarish, twisted version of Krabs's face, one that has become an (in)famous representation of his greed through the internet known as "Moar Krabs".
  • "Squid on Strike" ends up with SpongeBob and Squidward having to work for Mr. Krabs "FOREVER". Which turns out to be no hyperbole as the very last scene has them reduced to skeletons and still working.
  • The Alaskan Bull Worm from "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm" has a pretty creepy lead-up , and it's all capped off with the big reveal right as Sandy is quick to celebrate allegedly defeating it only to find out very soon that she only defeated its considerably shorter tongue which predictably pisses it off. She goes from slowly realising exactly the scale of her opponent to uncharacteristically scream in panic and run for it.
    (cut to a distance, revealing that the entire cave is actually the mouth of a gigantic worm)
    Sandy: Oh. This is the tongue… and the whole thing is the... worm. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!

    Season 3 
  • In January of 2022, an unused painting of a disheveled Squidward from "Club SpongeBob" was revealed to the public, after being left on the cutting room floor for over two decades. Not hard to see why it wasn't used.
  • "The Bully" features Flatts the Flounder transferring into boating school and threatening to brutally beat up SpongeBob out of the blue. The Running Gag of "I'm gonna kick your butt!" aside, he constantly stalks and harangues SpongeBob at every turn, reminding him of what eventually awaits him making him spend the whole episode trembling under the shadow that he casts. To make matters worse, when SpongeBob tries to tell Mrs. Puff about Flatts's threatening remarks, she doesn't buy it, and falls for Flatts's lie of "I'm gonna kick your butt!" being a regional gesture of friendship. Perhaps worst of all, at the end of the episode when Flatts delivers said "butt kicking", only for SpongeBob to be immune to the bully's punches and Flatts to wear himself out and collapse, Mrs. Puff sees the result and believes that SpongeBob beat up Flatts rather than the other way around! Obviously, the episode is meant to be funny, but Flatts's continuous psychological torment of SpongeBob and Mrs. Puff's misguided siding with the bully can hit too close to home for victims of real-life school bullying, something that can and will scar the victim for life if it's not dealt with accordingly.
  • From the episode "Just One Bite" there is Squidward's deformed face that has gained infamy through the internet for answering the rhetorical question "Does this look unsure to you?!"
    • Squidward is an endless source of those as he later has a creepily insane look on face after he eats the patty he buried underground and runs back to the Krusty Krab.
    • The deleted scene is also frankly disturbing. See, Squidward first checks if the Krusty Krab has security measures for the Patty Vault. He realizes that it's just a bucket of water placed on top of the door. He laughs about it, opens the door, and the bucket spills over the floor. He steps on the puddle and comments that it's too easy. He then sniffs the liquid and realizes that the 'water' is really gas. A robotic arm then appears and drops a lit match into the gas, resulting in a huge explosion (made scarier by Squidward's realistic screaming). Squidward then opens the kitchen door, setting off another gas explosion.
  • "Nasty Patty". SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs believe the health inspector at the Krusty Krab to be a phony who's faking it for free food, so they serve him the titular Nasty Patty, a disgusting, moldy Krabby Patty which apparently kills him. The rest of the episode is creepily monochromatic, and about them hiding the battered body from the police.
    • The health inspector choking on a fly. While meant to be Funny, SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs laughing at his expense, thinking he ate the Nasty Patty, doesn't make it less uneasy.
  • "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV" takes Body Horror to a new level; when trying to reverse the ray, SpongeBob puts Squidward through an increasingly painful series of agonizing morphs — catching fire, being cut in half by scissors, having no skin... the worst transformations happened offscreen, with hideous gurgling sound effects that left the true horror to the viewer's imagination, which only made it worse.
    • And then there's the part where the shrunken citizens attack SpongeBob from the inside. The especially jarring highlights include Squidward sawing a blood vessel and Nancy Suzy Fish chopping off a lung.
  • "Doing Time", where Mrs. Puff is blamed for SpongeBob's inept driving and winds up in jail, which to her is a respite from the hell that is her normal life with SpongeBob. But alas, this respite is not to last, as he and Patrick, repeatedly try to rescue her, but instead make the guards think she's insane and throw her in an isolation cell. In the cell, she goes insane for real and starts hallucinating that the padded walls are made of sponge, and that each has SpongeBob's laughing face on it. Then she starts hallucinating the beginning of the episode over and over, each time a little different and a little weirder. It turns out that the the entire jail episode was just a hallucination Mrs. Puff had while still falling off the cliff. The episode ends with her giving up on deciding what's real and what's not and resigning herself to insanity.
    • What leads to Mrs. Puff getting tossed into the surreal nightmare that is this scene. SpongeBob and Patrick reveal to Mrs. Puff that they're disguised as prison guards and Mrs. Puff begins freaking out and the two walk away. Then the real guards come, but Mrs. Puff believes them to be "SpongeBob and that guy who likes the chili" and rips off their faces.
  • While "Can You Spare a Dime?" is a mostly comedic episode, there's just something about SpongeBob losing his shit and snapping that can be genuinely horrifying, especially on your first watch.
  • In "No Weenies Allowed", despite this scene being funny to some, Patrick beating himself up looks so uncanny that it seems as if an invisible force is beating him up.
    • A tough-looking fish in describing how tough you have to be to get in provides a lot of both hilarious and grotesque imagery by flexing first his muscles, then showing that he also has muscles on his muscles. Aaannndd that he ''also'' has muscles on his eyeballs. Which he promptly flexes as well.
      SpongeBob: (disgusted) Ew.
    • Not to mention Sandy tearing off Reg's tattoo. Not in the cartoony sense where the tattoo itself would come off like a sticker. She literally tore his skin off, and we can hear him scream in pain as she does so.
  • In "One Krabs Trash", Smitty Werbenjägermanjensen raises up an entire skeleton army from the cemetary just to convince Mr. Krabs to give his hat back.
  • There is a scene in the episode "Wet Painters" where SpongeBob sees a microscopic drop of paint on Mr. Krabs' first dollar and in his trademark exaggerated reactions has his eyes crack open, causing his irises to ooze out.
    • While the episode itself is basically about two guys trying to paint the inside of Mr. Krab's house, the Background Music that accompanies it is more fitting for a horror film, making the episode sound much scarier than it needs to be.
  • Tom, the infamous Chocolate Guy from "Chocolate With Nuts" is hilarious until you think about it from SpongeBob and Patrick’s view. They have just started an innocent business of selling chocolate bars, but when they offer one to their first potential customer, he suddenly snaps, yells like a broken record, and starts chasing them with the implication that he’s crazy enough to kill them over chocolate. And to make matters worse, just when they forget about Tom, he comes back as psychotic as ever. Thankfully, he simply just wants to buy all their chocolate with high patronage.
    • Mary the young lady's mother. She is in essence, a mummified corpse with no hair or eyes, and she was literally just a head with a spine that uses a wheelchair to move around! It is supposed to be funny, but it's also a little jarring...
  • In "Clams", after Mr. Krabs loses his millionth dollar, we see him slowly go completely insane. They cut back to Mr. Krabs, who begins giggling maniacally and tears his two eyes out, using them as a jumprope.
  • "The Great Snail Race" has two moments that qualify for this trope. First, the part where SpongeBob overworks Gary, causing the latter's shell and eye stalks to burst in the middle of the race, as well as bashing and grinding himself against a wall. Then there's the part where Gary crashes in a giant fireball against a wall of tires.
  • The live-action gorilla, emerging from his animated Patrick suit in "I Had An Accident" and proceeding to beat the snot out of Patrick and Sandy. He even tears SpongeBob in half! Thankfully, he becomes less scary when he realizes that he is underwater (albeit the close-up to his eyes can be quite startling) and that he has no idea what's he doing here in the first place, summoning George the horse and hopping onto him as they run off into the sunset.
    • Another factor that makes the gorilla so scary is how Sandy reacts to him. She’s Texas tough and a competent martial artist. Up against the savage simian, though? She screams in terror and is completely helpless. The last time we saw her way over her head against another creature was the Alaskan Bull Worm. It’s a grim reminder that she’s a Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond compared to other mammals.
  • Plankton's grand plan in "Plankton's Army" brings with it a mix of Paranoia Fuel and Fridge Horror thanks to his family's sheer overwhelming numbers, with their miniscule size making them difficult to even notice until they start moving. When Plankton offers an ultimatum to surrender the formula or see the restaurant destroyed, Mr. Krabs calls his bluff and asks the classic "You and what army?"
    Plankton: What army? What army?! Look around you, Krabs!
    Mr. Krabs: (Beat) Ye planted grass?
    Plankton: Grass!? [Laughs maniacally]
    "Grass": [Earth-shaking uproar of laughter]
    Mr. Krabs: ...Uh oh.
  • Believe it or not, the "cheap walk cycles" Fake-Out Opening in "The Sponge Who Could Fly" actually creeped out some younger audiences. This is mostly because SpongeBob acts strange where he goes from being happy, to being goofy, to acting paranoid about being followed, to explosive shock, over and over again without any explanation whatsoever. Sure, the scene is just for laughs, but even for this series, the comedy in this scene is so bizarre that young audiences can't help but feel creeped out by it. Patchy's Heroic BSoD afterwards doesn't help matters. His face turns red, steam blows out of his ears, and he trashes his SpongeBob merchandise while crying.
  • "SpongeBob Meets The Strangler" has a very, very painful scene where SpongeBob gets really pointy cleats to jump on the Strangler's shoulders to go to a window, but of course misses and lands straight into the strangler's waiting eyes. It's not displayed realistically, but the image of his feet sticking out of the Strangler's sockets coupled with his screams makes for a... memorable image.
    Strangler: Get your feet out of my eye sockets!
    SpongeBob: I'm trying, but my cleats are stuck in your corneas!
    • His plan to strangle SpongeBob does make the atmosphere darker, despite him being otherwise the recipient of all the nightmarish things that occur in the episode.

    Season 4 
  • "Fear of a Krabby Patty." On top of SpongeBob hallucinating uncanny, giant talking Krabby Patties that speak only in horrifying gurgles, the episode carries disturbing allusions to real life psychiatric practices involving convincing patients they are sick just to squeeze more money out of them.
    • There is also a scene where Squidward tells Mr. Krabs he has to go home because he's SO tired, the bags under his eyes have bags under the bags. Cue a Gross-Up Close-Up with a woman shrieking rather appropriately in the background.
  • In "Have You Seen This Snail?", Gary finds a closet filled to the brim with old, busted snail shells that the old lady used to have overfed, implying she either fattened them to death or eats them afterwards.
  • Squidward lashing at SpongeBob and Patrick for ruining his Sunday in "Good Neighbors" is rather unsettling as it's one of the few times where you can feel all the hate and anger he has towards his neighbors.
  • Carl from "Selling Out" is rather creepy, especially considering how happy he is during his every line.
    Mr. Krabs: (after witnessing Squidward as a Stepford Smiler) What have you done to the real Squidward?
    Carl: The less you know, Eugene, the better.
  • "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture". When SpongeBob was shooting the movie, after a scene (specifically, Pearl falling off the cliff) destroys the whole set, SpongeBob is disappointed but still relieved that they got the footage. Patrick agrees, but then SpongeBob notices something blocking the lens. Patrick then reveals that it's a lens cap, and that he put it on right before they started filming, therefore rendering the whole movie useless. SpongeBob then goes insane by breaking off a big chunk of the pavement and slurping the worms under it!! Even the characters were shocked. Granted, he gets better, but still...
  • The episode "SquidBob TentaclePants" features Squidward and SpongeBob becoming biologically fused due to one of Sandy's inventions into a disturbing hybrid that wouldn't look out of place for a David Cronenberg film. It's not so bad at first, but once everything seems to be resolved, Squidward wanted to be fused again, just so he could be a star... It ends with all the characters becoming trapped in an AKIRA-esque hideous flesh-colored blob with random moaning heads sticking out of it.note  The Scare Chord in the ending doesn't help either. Body Horror doesn't even begin to describe it, and it's probably one of, if not the most crowning Nightmare Fuel moment in the entire show. In fact, it was so bad that some countries removed the scene entirely, thus leaving the episode with No Ending.
    Therapist: So, what seems to be the problem, Mister Tentacles?
    Squidward: It all started when I was born.
  • "Ghost Host", in which the Flying Dutchman's ship breaks down, forcing him to take up residence in SpongeBob's pineapple. The Dutchman tried several mildly scary things in order to disturb SpongeBob, and, towards the climax of the episode, appeared as a huge snake with a huge, grotesque baby's head, which melted, turning into an effigy of SpongeBob, whose eyes elongated into hideous wiggling white worms and squiggled onto the floor while spiders crawled out of his eye sockets and mouth. Also among his forms are a clown's head on the same worm-like creature, and a giant, disturbingly realistic (for this show) spider. It was intended to be a parody of an over-the-top horror movie, but managed to be incredibly horrifying.
  • In the episode "Once Bitten", Gary gets "Mad Snail Disease" and goes on a biting spree, turning everyone into zombies. Some "survivors" are barricaded in the Krusty Krab, and when SpongeBob arrives (followed by a horde of zombies), the survivors refuse to let him in (although he manages to anyway). But Gary appears out of nowhere and SpongeBob protects him when the survivors decide to kill him "for his own good." However, there was no disease in the first place, and Gary was acting strangely because of a "splinter" stuck in him. Even so, the episode still ends with Gary biting Mr. Krabs for no reason whatsoever.
  • In one scene in the episode "Bummer Vacation", SpongeBob's sitting in Patrick's house after being forced by Mr. Krabs to take a vacation and hiring Patrick as his temporary replacement, which causes him to Go Mad from the Revelation. When Patrick finds him, SpongeBob looks (and acts) completely insane, with the maniacal laughter showing just how Ax-Crazy SpongeBob has become! Look!
    • Also, extra credits go here for Tom Kenny's absolutely terrifying performance during this scene, since with just the delivery of the line "I've been WAITING for you, Patrick!", he manages to amazingly turn SpongeBob from a happy-go-lucky sea sponge to a psychopathic lunatic!
  • The entirety of "Squidtastic Voyage", where SpongeBob and Patrick go inside Squidward to get his clarinet reed out of his throat. During which they are screwing around with his bodily functions, and, at the end, they end up GROWING inside of him...submarine and all.
    • The scene where they went into Squidward's brain. They messed around with his brain and made him spaz out against his will. One YouTube commenter actually said this episode made her paranoid that her brain hurt due to someone being in it. However, the brain cannot feel pain, so she'd be fine, but still, this episode can cause Paranoia Fuel!
  • "The Thing" has an extremely horrifying concept. Squidward is completely covered in a cocoon of rock-hard cement, rendered incapable of speech, and is mistaken for a wild animal. He seems terrified, desperate and absolutely miserable, and it's a bit hard to watch.
  • "Rule of Dumb" has "King Patrick's" Villainous Breakdown. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this episode is that Patrick's IQ seems to go up with his evilness.
    Patrick: My loyal subjects have deserted me! And it's all because of that horrible Squidward! This is all his fault! His, his! Not mine! HIS! (a spring seems to pop out of Patrick's head)
    SpongeBob: Patrick, what's happened to you?
    Patrick: I don't know what you mean.
    SpongeBob: Um...(chuckles nervously) You know, actually, Mr. Krabs is probably wondering where I am, and—
    Patrick: (threateningly) "And" what?
    SpongeBob: (meekly) And...well, it's...just're kinda bein' a...jerk.
    Patrick: Heheh...I thought you were going to say I was abusing my power...
    SpongeBob: (Nervous laughter) Well, I—-
    (SpongeBob shrinks and high-tails it while Patrick is screaming.)
    • The entire The Man in the Mirror Talks Back scene. Patrick looks like a monster!
      Mirror Patrick: Knock-knock.
      Patrick: Ooh! A knock-knock joke! Who's there?
      Mirror Patrick: You.
      Patrick and Mirror Patrick: I don't get it.
      Mirror Patrick: I am you, and you are me.
  • In "The Gift of Gum", Patrick has given SpongeBob his prized possession: a house-sized collection of gum that he's had for years which he dubs "Gummy". It's less of a giant ball of gum and more like an Eldritch Abomination made out of gum and junk which apparently has all sorts of stuff like pizza, clothing and OTHER PEOPLE (they were living in it though). A good moment is when a pair of underpants comes out of the wad, crawls up to SpongeBob until it reaches his face, then -we kid you not- it talks to him in a raspy, terrifying voice:
    Underpants: YOU'RE... NOT... PATRICK...!!
    • The point is further driven home by this scene:
      SpongeBob: (to Sandy in a weak voice) The more you touch it, the angrier it gets.
      Sandy: Oh, that's just crazy talk. HI-YAH!
      (Sandy attempts to chop a strand of gum, which ensnares her hand. As Sandy pulls away, Gummy seems to rumble in protest...)

    Season 5 
  • "Fungus Among Us". The Ick is a virus that causes green ooze to grow all over the victim's body. It's contagious on both touch and ingestion. Somehow, Squidward doesn't realize he's scratching a Ick-y spot, and a restaurant full of diners don't notice they're eating it. The only other known symptom is itchiness, but you have to wonder why Squidward called the SWAT team. And why they called the HAZMAT squad.
    • Ick is a real fish disease. The best way to explain it is that it's the equivalent of a flea to dogs and cats. It reproduces like crazy and feeds on blood and dead skin cells. However, it doesn't manifest itself as green fuzz; rather, it looks like somebody sprinkled salt on the fish.
      • It becomes more disturbing if you've ever dealt with Ick in aquarium fish. Ick is extremely contagious among fish because it has a fast breeding cycle and the fact that once the parasite encysts, it can stick to just about anything in the tank. If someone doesn't treat ick, it's 100% fatal among fish.
  • "Money Talks". Mr. Krabs wishes he could talk to money, so the Flying Dutchman grants him that ability. However, the money wants to be spent, and Mr. Krabs, having a Money Fetish, refuses to do so. During the night, the money moan, "Speeeeeennnnnnd uuuuuuuuusssss..." in the creepiest tone possible.
    • Even worse, the fact that Mr. Krabs sold his soul for that to happen. Then it turns out he had already sold his soul to at least 20 other demonic entities, and SpongeBob to weasel out of a paycheck.
  • "A Flea in Her Dome": In this episode Sandy brings a flea back from Texas. There's only one flea at first, but then it multiplies... and multiplies... until there's a huge WAVE of fleas inside the Treedome.
    • The worst part was seeing the details of the flea. And the screech...good lord, the screech.
  • "Mermaidman vs. SpongeBob", where Plankton brainwashes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy into hating the Krusty Krab. At one point, Plankton does what he did in his debut appearance and goes INSIDE OF MERMAID MAN'S HEAD THROUGH HIS EAR, STOPPING BEHIND HIS EYE.
  • The demented shot of SpongeBob's face from "WhoBob WhatPants" (pictured above), quite possibly the most terrifying thing to have ever come out of the show, arguably scarier than the "Moar Krabs" and "Unsure Squidward" faces.
    SpongeBob: Is there something wrong with me?
  • "Spongehenge" is regarded as one of the weirdest and most disturbing episodes of the series. Most of it is pretty funny, but the ending — where a bearded, crazed SpongeBob heads back to the Krusty Krab only to find it a derelict ruin, evoking the finales of both Planet of the Apes and the original ending of Army of Darkness — is unsettling: And the final shot of the far-future alien tourists examining the now-abandoned, eerily-piping huge stone SpongeBobs even more so. It was all somehow reminiscent of the ending of the original The Wicker Man...
    • The music produced by the jellyfish going through said statues can qualify as unsettling, well-crafted, or both.

    Season 6 
  • The infamous "toenail scene" from "House Fancy". For those who don't know, SpongeBob accidentally sets Squidward's couch on Squid's foot. His attempts to move the couch end up dragging it over his foot and ends up ripping off Squidward's toenail rather graphically.
  • In "Gone," SpongeBob slowly goes insane after he realizes that he's the only person left in Bikini Bottom. He is convinced that his new boatmobile is out to get him and talks to a puppet of Patrick made out of Krabby Patty meat, which says some creepy things.
  • "The Splinter": SpongeBob gets a splinter at work, which segues into 11 minutes of it getting infected, swelling, and oozing pus all over the place until Krabs walks up and pulls it out, thus causing gallons and gallons of puke green pus to shoot out and cover everyone.
  • In "A Life In A Day", Patrick ends up pissing off some angry bikers and SpongeBob tries to talk them out of beating him up, saying that "he has been left a hollow shell of his former self." A cutaway is then shown of an Uncanny Valley-ish Patrick with big empty black holes where his eyes and mouth should be.
  • There's a rather gruesome scene in "Plankton's Regular", where SpongeBob is lying in front of the Chum Bucket's door, and the regular customer opens the door over him, scraping off his face in the process. It doesn't get really disturbing until he sits up, and you can see all the (rather detailed) muscles of his face exposed.
  • "Squid's Visit" has a somewhat creepy premise, with SpongeBob making his entire house look EXACTLY like Squidward's down to every minor detail. But the real creepy parts are when SpongeBob is heavily breathing with a crazed look while staring at Squidward, and at the end when Squid's house burns down-he then gets a VERY weird looking expression, and then has a fantasy of him having tea with his vacuum and he then says "Yes, I'd love another spot of tea, Mr. Vacuum Cleaner!" and "care for some casserole?" in an eerie tone underscored by unsettling Background Music, and then he starts laughing insanely with his eye-twitching while the screen zooms in on his face.
  • In "Toy Store of Doom," SpongeBob and Patrick spend the day at a new toy store, and decide to stay inside after it closes. When the power cuts out, SpongeBob and Patrick are terrified, and believe that the toys are coming to life and trying to "get them." While it should sound rather silly to the viewer, we see it from their POV, where they both begin to see the cute and cuddly toys slowly turn hideous and evil. And if you thought that was bad, just wait until they bump into a shelf, and get buried under a pile of them! Not to mention the way we're subjected to that image.

    Season 7 
  • "Someone's In The Kitchen With Sandy" features Plankton stealing Sandy's fur and puppeteering it like some sort of grotesque flesh-robot. The act of obtaining the fur isn't so bad, as Sandy apparently wears it like a suit so she can just take it on and off, but the flesh-puppet that it becomes, with its Zombie Gait and nothing in its mouth and eye sockets...
  • In "A Pal For Gary", Gary is paired with a creature (who is dangerous around other pets) of similar size (a green blobby-thing that SpongeBob names "Puffy Fluffy") that opens its mouth and reveals tons of horrible-looking teeth. After eating a fridge worth of food, it grows into a massive, disgusting, all too detailed Eldritch Abomination with multiple Sarlacc-like tongues and tries to eat Gary and SpongeBob. And as if that wasn't enough, SpongeBob was completely oblivious that he's being eaten, and would've had his fate sealed had Gary not lassoed Puffy Fluffy away.
  • Squidward's nightmare sequence in "Squidward in Clarinetland". The worst parts include:
    • The disembodied Eagle head threatening him and laughing oh-so-creepily. At one point, it swallows him whole.
    • The file cabinets in the safe getting bigger and more maze-like was scary, it was not helped by SpongeBob laughing and running around in there.
      • When SpongeBob goes to open the locker, maggots eat the flesh off his hand!
  • "One Coarse Meal". Mr. Krabs takes advantage of Plankton's cetaphobia, and his extreme harassement drives him to suicide. Even SpongeBob is appalled by this, and when he tells Krabs about this, the latter just laughs.
    SpongeBob: Sorry to interrupt your gloating sir, I just thought it would be pertinent for you to know that Plankton is laying on the street, forlorn.
    Mr. Krabs: (gasps) Really? He's a mess! (laughs)
    • Plankton's nightmare is also unsettling to watch. He dreams he's being chased by Pearl in a cellar. Pearl catches up to Plankton and eats him, and we can see Plankton in the inside of Pearl's disgusting mouth, banging on her teeth, wanting to be let out. Pearl uses her tongue to knock Plankton down her throat into her stomach, in which Plankton sees his relatives from "Plankton's Army", all charred up in the acid. Then we cut to Pearl, who laughs evilly with Dramatic Thunder in the background. It's horrific for people with a phobia of Womb Levels to sit through.
    • The fact that Mr. Krabs is dressing up as his daughter to scare Plankton. Pearl even explicitly states that whales eat krillin, not plankton. She doesn't want to scare Plankton. So Mr. Krabs actually dresses up as her! Combined with the above nightmare, this is insane, as Pearl is one of the nicest characters on the show.
  • "That Sinking Feeling", where SpongeBob and Patrick get everyone's houses buried underground. The premise isn't scary, but we get a scene where we see from first person view Squidward angrily walking down a dark, claustrophobic tunnel up to SpongeBob and Patrick, like something out of Amnesia: The Dark Descent or Slender. Said scene also switches between the first person view of Squidward and the fearful reactions of SpongeBob and Patrick. SpongeBob and Patrick bursting into tears as Squidward rounds on them and yelling "We're sorry!" sums it up.
  • In "Enchanted Tiki Dreams", while Squidward is singing "Squidward's Tiki Land", as he sings "Don't matter to me 'cause, 'cause I'm crazy, man!", he suddenly takes off his glasses and juts his head forward at the screen, all while having bizarre-looking eyes and shakes his head at one point. It only happens for a few seconds, but it can be surprisingly creepy for those not expecting it.
  • Some parts of "Earworm" were rather creepy, such as when SpongeBob ran back home like crazy while singing to the tune of "Musical Doodle",
    "The song that you ran from is back again.
    You wonder if the madness will ever end."
    • That whole scene. The Room Full of Crazy and SpongeBob's weird humming/babbling and whatever he was doing with his hands, running home on all fours looking utterly deranged, crawling up and down around the outside of his house and in through a window while creepy music plays...that whole sequence was just unsettling. The very premise of the episode: if a song gets stuck in your head, a parasite will take up residence in there and drive you completely insane.
    • "Round and round, the record spins all day, listen again, it takes you FAR away..." feels like the song is telling you that you'll go mentally insane (which SpongeBob does) and wind up in a mental asylum if you listen to it repeatedly.
    • One scene that really crossed the line was when the earworm crawled into Squidward's head through his eye in his sleep. Then at the very end, Squidward screams.
    • The lyrics to the song get increasingly more disturbing as the episode goes on.
      The song that you ran from is back again! You wonder if the madness will ever end!
  • "Whelk Attack", in which Bikini Bottom is invaded by giant sea whelks who eat everything in sight. As if the premise wasn't scary enough, there's a scene near the end where SpongeBob and Patrick lend their corneas to Sandy.

    Season 8 
  • Although it's a minor scene, and he kind of deserved it for how much of a jerk he acts later on in the episode, Patrick getting electrocuted in "A Friendly Game" counts due to how oddly dragged out it is, and not to mention the fairly realistic screaming.
  • The snow-monster thing from "Frozen Face-Off". It looks like a cross between Squidward and a Yeti, which is a lot worse than it sounds, especially because it's not animated in 2D animation, but in something that looks like Claymation.
    • Mr. Krabs' worms turning on him when he overworks them. He joins SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy in their sleigh and the worms chase them down. It's genuinely unnerving to see Gary struggle to pull the sleigh with all the excess weight, everyone pleading for him to go faster and the vicious worms gaining on them. When they're cornered, everyone screams in terror as they're about to be mauled. Luckily, Gary scares the worms off, but still.
  • In "Walking the Plankton", Plankton gets chopped in half by the boat's propeller blade.
  • "Plankton's Good Eye". Plankton decides to grow another eye resulting in many body horror scenes. Including one where eyes grow all over his body including inside his mouth.
  • In "House Sittin' for Sandy", when SpongeBob realizes he's not wearing a helmet (the animators' fault), he suddenly dries up severely and ends up with a Nightmare Face with very shriveled up holes and explicit wrinkles. The small wrinkled Fish Eyes, exposure of gums, the still expression he has, and the fact he's gasping raspily for water make him look really suffering. See it for yourself.
  • In "Bubble Troubles", SpongeBob and Patrick destroy the air supply to Sandy's tree dome. As the episode progresses, Sandy's suit is running out of oxygen, and she loses her mind in a realistic portrayal of oxygen deprivation.
    • When piloting her submarine to the surface, Sandy completely loses it, turns back down, and crashes the sub into the Krusty Krab for a patty, and when her suit runs out of air entirely, she outright takes off her helmet! Now remember the last time she did so underwater...
  • The second half of "InSPONGEiac", dear gosh. SpongeBob loses sleep and halfway through the episode, Patrick gives him coffee to help him which makes him run uncontrollably. The scary part is when he starts hallucinating.
    • The title card itself is also unsettling, as we get an uncomfortable closeup of a drowsy SpongeBob's eyes.
  • Squidward being fried alive and almost eaten in "Restraining SpongeBob".
    • Hell, Squidward's reaction to SpongeBob right afterwards. He's so traumatized and terrified that he shakes, screams, cries and hides under a table, then starts crawling up the wall just to get away from SpongeBob. It's clear that SpongeBob finally broke him and made him have a nervous breakdown.
  • Karen preparing to cut open Plankton with a saw to remove a Krabby Patty from his stomach in "For Here Or To Go". What makes this even worse is that she did it without giving Plankton any anesthetic first.
    • The context for this was that she was going to cut the Krabby Patty out of Plankton's stomach to analyze its composition so that they could recreate the Krabby Patty themselves. It works at first, with the Krusty Krab's customers flocking over to the Chum Bucket, only for them all to leave in disgust. When Plankton asks the reason for this, she states she did what he said, to analyze his stomach contents. ALL of his stomach contents...including his entrails.
  • "Planet of the Jellyfish" where, in a parody of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, alien jellyfish invade Bikini Bottom. They replicate everyone, except for SpongeBob and Sandy, speaking in a robot-like tone and having soulless black eyes. The alien leader is keeping the real Bikini Bottom citizens in pods hanging from the ceiling in the freezer. It becomes slightly Nightmare Retardant when you find out the aliens Weaksauce Weakness is... mayonnaise.
    • The only time the jelliens ever seem to drop the monotone/zombie voice is when Clone!Patrick lets out a primal "NO MAYONNAISE!" in response to SpongeBob asking him where the mayo is. The way it's delivered makes it sound almost like a Jump Scare.
  • "Demolition Doofus". Mrs. Puff gets deflated (creepy in itself) and tries to kill SpongeBob. Not beat or injure him. Murder him. Despite this, she never says the word. It was so out-of-character that they had to tone it down for the book release, where she instead wants him to get injured to the point he doesn't want to drive anymore.
    • Her Imagine Spot shows SpongeBob getting clobbered by thugs from all sides and when they clear up, all that's left of SpongeBob is his grave.
    • If that wasn't bad enough, her dialogue only makes it more disturbing when he doesn't get hurt:
      Mrs. Puff: Why are you still ALIIIIVE?!
      SpongeBob: "Put it in drive"? Thanks, Mrs. Puff, you're the best!
    • In one scene, SpongeBob visits Mrs. Puff in the hospital and images of him appear in her eyes and explode like nuclear bombs. She then leaps out of her bed and attempts to strangle him to death by the nose before the doctor tranquilizes her. It's so shockingly disturbing that Sponge was forced to apologize for his joke about her condition.
    • When Mrs. Puff enters the derby last-minute as "The Huff", SpongeBob seems undeniably scared by her sudden appearance. You can even see the fear in his face as he tries to avoid her, and as he jumps a hoop, he can be heard screaming in horror.
    • And to make matters worse, Mrs. Puff does not get arrested for all this.
    • It's much harsher once you learn The Movie was originally supposed to be the series finale; no matter how many fans treat it as a Non-Serial Movie, SpongeBob CANNOT DIE, because he makes it to the movie alive and well.
  • Santa, of all people, in the Christmas special "It's A SpongeBob Christmas!", who looks like a pig-goblin hybrid. Considering it's a Rankin/Bass parody, this was probably intentional.
  • The customers at the beginning of "Oral Report" were... rather creepy.

    Season 9 
  • In "License to Milkshake", Captain Frostymug is graphically sucked into a milkshake maker.
  • In "Squid Baby," Squidward gets a brain injury so bad, he has the mentality of an infant for the majority of the episode. The doctor says that he will stay a baby forever if his head kept getting hit long enough. Guess what happens to Squidward for most of the episode regardless of the fact he gets better at the end.
  • SpongeBob's Madness Mantra in "Bumper to Bumper" is rather surreal.
    "Focus on the road. There is nothing but the road."
  • The whole "Don't Look Now" episode where SpongeBob and Patrick are convinced that a villain from a movie is after them. Their fear of said villain bothers Squidward so much that he decides to scare them.
    • Scarier than that is that this is a legitimate threat. "Hooky" proves that fisherman are a real concern.
    • When Patrick has Squidward's (as the Fisherman) hook lodged in his nostril, the hook line gets caught in SpongeBob's door, causing Patrick's face to rip off. We later see Patrick's exposed skull when he goes up to SpongeBob's room in the dark, and SpongeBob turns on the lights.
  • In "Company Picnic", Plankton shows up to the titular picnic in order to lure the Krusty Krab employees into working for him. In the end however, it's revealed that all of the "fun stuff" he had set up was actually nothing more than holograms casted over other objects. One such object was a rotting corpse of a sea monster, with a design complete with decaying flesh and gore drawn in a rather detailed fashion.
  • In "Pineapple Invasion", Plankton crawls into Gary's shell thinking the formula is there. The shell's Bigger on the Inside, consisting of not only your usual Womb Level environment, but caves and psychedelic landscapes. All while Gary's eye stalk is chasing Plankton. At one point, we see Plankton on an Alice in Wonderland-esque world full of Escher staircases. And then the episode ends with Gary at the vet's office and the vet revealing that it wasn't even real; Plankton had been in Gary's shell so long, the stink in the shell caused him to hallucinate. And the so-called formula he found? It was just an old grocery list.

    Season 10 
  • The whole concept of "Whirly Brains", and the fact that almost all of those who had a Whirly Brain got it kidnapped by a grumpy old fish. Imagine getting your brain kidnapped and not being to able find it. Hell, imagine turning your brain into a toy and using it to terrorize everyone!
  • "Mimic Madness" sees SpongeBob get the 'mocking mimicry madness,' which leads him to imitate everyone he comes across thinking this is the 'sincerest form of flattery.' While it's mostly funny at first, near the end of the episode; he can't remember who he is and launches into a heart-rending musical number. His friends come there to the rescue, though, and start imitating him, thus he remembers who he is again. However there is a twist - his friends get the 'mocking mimicry madness', and the episode ends with Squidward having his subconscious (represented by two copies of himself knocking on his eyes) begging to be let out of his real self!
    • Some of SpongeBob's imitations when he goes too far with are also pretty disturbing, namely his impressions of Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, and Plankton at once. When he tries to revert back to his old self and ends up doing a mashup of several characters, it gets even creepier.
    • One of SpongeBob's impressions is an old telephone (complete with an actual cord, one not made from his skin). The appearance is TERRIFYING, but it's the line he speaks while in this form that can really freak you out. It provides a subliminal message of some sort. It's also the way he sounds when he says it.
      "We're sorry. The person you are calling, SpongeBob SquarePants, has been disconnected or is no longer in service."note 
  • The face that the worms form on SpongeBob in "House Worming."
  • "Feral Friends", in which a strange moon devolves the sea creatures of Bikini Bottom... Plus, Sandy the squirrel appears to be the only one left. It's pretty unsettling seeing Bikini Bottom descending into animalistic anarchy as the majority of the fish are force-devolved into realistic, primitive wild animals... Some fish, like SpongeBob and Patrick, are left mostly harmless, while others like Squidward and Pearl, become gigantic and monstrous predators willing to devour everything in their path, including their former friends!
  • "Code Yellow" has the scene where SpongeBob performs surgery on Squidward: his heart flies up into the air, he chops him up into sushi to serve to the other fish, and accidentally chops his head off offscreen.
    • In an earlier scene of said episode, we see Spongebob riding a unicycle and trying to convince Squidward that he doesn't need a nose job. Well...that is until he gets a closer look. Cue a Gross-Up Close-Up of Squidward's nose with popping pimples, bugs, warts, and hair sticking out complete with a Scare Chord and the sound of a woman screaming in terror.

    Season 11 
  • The scene set inside SpongeBob's mind in "The Legend of Boo-kini Bottom" triples as this, a Funny Moment and a Moment of Awesome, since it was animated by Sally Cruikshank, but you gotta admit the Flying Dutchman was right to be freaked out by that baby SpongeBob.
    • Prior to that, there is the Flying Dutchman's last resort in scaring SpongeBob: using a green mist to rip his friends' and frenemy Plankton's souls out of their bodies and trap them in cages, leaving said bodies limp and lifeless. After realizing this fact causes SpongeBob to be so scared that his own skeleton leaps out of his skin and bolts from the Flying Dutchman's ship, the latter continues to have his jollies by planning to expose the captive souls to direct ghostly flame. Plankton avoids this by becoming the Dutchman's servant, but still...
  • The ending of "Teacher's Pests", where after SpongeBob, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton are caught in an explosion, they're sewn together; Plankton is now replacing one of Mr. Krabs' eyes, and Mr. Krabs' head is sewn to SpongeBob, who's missing the top of his head where his eyes were. And the episode abruptly ends right there.
    SpongeBob: Forget class, now we can be together forever!
  • The entirety of "Krabby Patty Creature Feature", as the ghoulish premise has Sandy Cheeks create a new Krabby Patty that causes everyone who eats it to become a Krabby Patty zombie. The Krabby Patty zombies are scary alone, but they also are shown to be able to infect people and make them become Krabby Patty zombies by feeding themselves to their victims. And then at the end, Patrick, who is still a patty zombie, attempts to offer a bite to the viewer. This means one of two things: 1) that the zombies may still be out there and this time around there may not be any more chum to cure them, and 2) that Patrick was trying to offer a bite to the viewer... Now how did the patty monsters infect the uninfected again?
    • Oddly enough, the rough storyboard version of the Krabby Patty zombies weren’t that grotesque. In fact, they mostly were Krabby Patties that were the spitting image of the ones who consumed them. With them in turn, being just Krabby Patties with arms and legs! ...Or fins and flippers in this context.. They even have goofy facial expressions to match! The original storyboard version actually looks Lighter and Softer in comparison to the final version! Never has the evolution of a original draft to its final version been this scary in a SpongeBob episode's development. The rough storyboard can be viewed here: [1]
  • "Cuddle E. Hugs". SpongeBob meets an imaginary friend, the titular Cuddle E. Hugs, a giant hamster who can only be seen by eating an old, moldy Krabby Patty. Things start off innocently enough and are even heartwarming at points. However, things start to go wrong when SpongeBob becomes sad that his other friends don't believe Cuddle E. Hugs is real and is then suggested by the hamster himself that he shares the old sandwich with everyone in town. And when everyone does eat the moldy Krabby Patty at The Krusty Krab, Cuddle E. Hugs goes on to eat all of SpongeBob's friends in a rather creepy manner. Granted, the fact that everyone wasn't really eaten since Cuddle E. Hugs is just imaginary dilutes the horror, but the subject matter is still pretty dark for a SpongeBob episode. And the "E" in Cuddle's middle name? It stands for "Eat".
    SpongeBob: No, Cuddle E. Hugs, no!
  • In "Ink Lemonade," Patrick and SpongeBob decide to bake cookies and serve them to Squidward. The secret ingredient? Spider eggs. The episode ends with Squidward screaming while spewing out ink and spiderlings at the same time!
    • Earlier, to scare Squidward and make him sneeze more ink, Patrick rips off his skin and shows his internal organs, which leads to:
      Patrick's intestines: May I borrow a cup of squid squeezings?
  • While "Stuck on the Roof" is a comedic episode about SpongeBob's inability to get down and going so far as to eventually build an entire replica Krusty Krab, the end certainly qualifies. The replica becomes the Krusty Krab itself because the weight of it pushes the original deep underground, and SpongeBob is now at ground-level and no longer stuck. However, Squidward was sleeping in the original and gets a massive flood of dirt in his face after opening the door and screams with nobody there to hear him.

    Season 12 
  • "Jolly Lodgers" has SpongeBob and Patrick appearing all over Hotel Halibut wherever Squidward goes, trying to convince him to come to the Jellyfishing Convention with them; the more he sees them, he freaks out more and more, and no matter how times he pleads he wants to be alone, they keep disobeying until he's reduced to a total mess.
  • "SpongeBob in RandomLand" seems fairly normal (as normal as an episode titled SpongeBob in RandomLand can get)...until this part. Squidward finds himself confronted by a series of doors. The first one features deformed Squidward and SpongeBob, the second one features a horrible boil-covered facsimile of Squidward, and the third door simply features his bedroom...only to be hit with a Jump Scare of himself with red eyes and black dripping tears on a static background with a Stock Scream.
    • If that wasn't enough, the bigger eyes this face has compared to how it originally looked manages to make it even scarier than it already was. Never before has Ascended Fanon hit this hard in the show with something this creepy.
      • Even worse, Adam Paloian, the storyboard artist for this scene, said the original idea was to make the Squidward face get closer to the camera until Squidward closed the door, making an already scary scene even worse.
    • Fortunately, this scene was removed after November 2019, and replaced with an image of a baby Squidward pooping his diaper loudly. According to Paloian, Nick's Standards and Practices ordered the Squidward's Suicide scene to be replaced with the baby one. However, the original version is still airing in Canada.
    • For context regarding the scene where the door originates, anyone outside of RandomLand who enters it never returns. The doors surround SpongeBob and Squidward, and not only prevent them from making a Krabby Patty delivery but also prevent them from ever returning home. If Rodger, a Mr. Krabs look-alike who made the order for the delivery, hadn't indirectly led them back to the Krusty Krab, they would've likely remained in RandomLand forever.
  • "The Ghost of Plankton" features Plankton attempting to turn himself into a ghost in order to enter the Krusty Krab and steal the formula. He creates a machine that does just this, which painfully extracts his spirit from his body, leaving it a withered husk. In essence, Plankton killed himself just to get the formula.
  • "Boss For A Day" has the scene where, in an effort to help Squidward keep customers happy, SpongeBob places a training smiling helmet on Squidward's head to have him smile for them. Though it doesn't last long, it's still very painful to watch, with his creepy smile not helping at all. The customer looks justifiably creeped out by this.
  • "Kwarantined Krab" gives us the implication that any sailors infected with diseases in Krabs' navy days were locked in a freezer and never let out.
    Mrs. Puff: You... let them out of the freezer once they were better... right?
    Krabs: Huh? I suppose someone let them out... eventually.
    • The ending. Everyone in the Krusty Krab ends up getting sick after all (though due to circumstances unrelated to the clam flu that prompted the kwarantine). All the diseases they get, such as Squidward's "grease gout", SpongeBob's "moldy measles", and especially Krabs' "whole shebang" are shown through really gross close-ups. The health inspector runs away in terror and the whole thing plays out like a zombie movie.

    Season 13 

Video games:

  • SuperSponge has several terrifying bosses like the shark sub, sea snake, bronze dogfish, and The Flying Dutchman. The former three can be quite scary looking, not to forget the accompanying boss music.
    • In the GBA version, some enemies and bosses have a more aggressive appearance than in the PlayStation version.
    • Some later levels can look pretty grim.

    Revenge of the Flying Dutchman 
  • The whole idea of The Dutchman stealing SpongeBob's friends one by one.
  • Some of the levels seem dark and depressing, such as Downtown Bikini Bottom, which is set entirely at night and has no background characters except for the construction workers, with eel thugs patrolling the streets.
  • The enemies in the game can be unsettling, particularly the first eel you meet just standing at an empty counter in the Krusty Krab, and the clown anglerfish.
  • The Lighthouse and Shipwreck areas have no music at all, save for the sounds of rain and thunder, making for an unsettlingly somber and atmospheric level. There's also something unnerving about a horde of giant jellyfish just floating calmly during this storm at the top, silhouetted by the lighthouse's light.
  • The fact that there are wildcat snails close to playing children in Jellyfish Fields.
  • Chum World due to its hazardous nature and the fact that most of the friendly clowns seem to off themselves by going into the sickeningly polluted goo after their mini-games are beat.
  • The mini-games are nothing but the inside of SpongeBob's head with his eyes turned back and looking around while everything involved in the current level swerves about with great madness.


  • If you have (or have had) any SpongeBob VHS tapes or DVDs released sometime between 2002-2009, you may remember seeing classic promos for SpongeBob (as well as other Nickelodeon shows) DVDs. One particular promo you might recall seeing was known as "The Attack of the SpongeBob DVDs". The entire promo mentioned many of the DVDs released or scheduled for release around this time, and showed clips from episodes such as "Atlantis SquarePantis" and "Dunces and Dragons", and portrayed all of them in a massively frightening manner, accompanied by horrifying orchestral music and an overly dramatic narrator. Though there is a small funny moment when the music stops when the famous clip of Squidward screaming in his tub appears, and there is an adorable moment with happy music showing adorable clips of SpongeBob and his friends having fun, in which a different narrator with a much calmer voice states the DVDs aren't really frightening, the majority of the commercial is, without question, pure nightmare fuel.
  • The Nautical Nonsense and Sponge Buddies DVD has a special feature called "Backstage Pants", which is a series of mini-feaurettes with the cast and crew talking about the making of the show, certain episodes, or other little anecdotes. Most of them are fun and charming. However, there's one among the bunch that's surprisingly unnerving. It features Tom Kenny talking about the closest thing he ever smelled to SpongeBob's gross sundae was some strange neighbors he once had while living in an apartment who, for whatever reason, caused you to get hit with a weird smell. He notes with an increasing look of horror in his eyes that no one ever found out who they were or what they were doing. Then he whispers "Maybe it was the Hash-Slinging Slasher..." before letting out a blood-curling scream.
  • In the video games Battle for Bikini Bottom and SpongeBob's Truth or Square in Rock Bottom. The music there is HORRIFYING. It's also not helped by the fact that those Sleepy Robots are REALLY ANNOYING AND IN THE WAY but also VERY HARD TO KILL! And it will hurt you very easily. Especially with Sandy. Rock Bottom in BFBB is also one of the most complicated places in the game.
    • The Kelp Caves. The music is a sluggish, lower version of the regular Kelp Forest music, with added background noises like the noises of cave-dwelling animals. Its combination of eerie setting, disturbing music, and cramped space is disturbing. Not helping is the fact that some get stuck in the cave for literally years before figuring out the solution...the Sleepytime robots are also scary, mainly because of the fact that it makes a loud noise when striking. For some reason, some also find the Monsoon robots scary. Not helping is the fact that one of each can be found in the Kelp Caves...
    • While many of the idle animations in SpongeBob's Truth or Square are humorous, one that particularly stands out is a long animation where SpongeBob stands around in boredom while slowly aging, getting a cane and growing a beard... but should you let enough time pass, he suddenly decomposes into Dem Bones, then after a while, his skeleton quickly collapses with a loud thud. Imagine leaving the game open to take a bathroom break or walk the dog and coming back to that.
  • This music. It combines an atonal creepy music box with quiet "Psycho" Strings, an off feeling, and ends in a Scare Chord. It's used to signify insanity. The name of the track would be "Unease".
    • Speaking of creepy unnerving music, there's also this music called "Shock", which usually plays when characters go insane, like in "Squid's Day Off" or "Earworm". Both are creepy enough episodes, but this music adds to the creepiness factor.
    • This music is arguably even worse, simply known as "Musical Box", it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A slow, eerie music box and unlike the other two, you can actually hear what sounds like the music box's faint winding gears in the background. Not helped that it was used in a very disturbing scene in "Nature Pants" where Patrick goes completely insane.
  • This educational short from 2005 called "The Endless Summer", which played as part of Earth to America, a television special from 2005 that tries to raise awareness regarding human damage to the environment (specifically global warming).
    • The short goes like this. With summer approaching, Mr. Krabs uses the exhaust from a car to make the summer hotter (encouraging global warming). This is a ploy to get more customers to attend the new pool. However, SpongeBob thinks that an "endless summer" sounds fun, and uses more cars and other greenhouse emitters to speed up the process. The customers "attending" the pool was just a Hope Spot, as the entirety of Bikini Bottom, even Patrick, realize that Bikini Bottom is too hot to live in and move to colder climates. The short has No Ending (or Downer Ending, depending on who you ask) and simply concludes with the water in Mr. Krabs's pool drying up and SpongeBob smacking into the bottom when he attempts a dive.
    • The horror of this short is that none of the moments are Played for Laughs, and that it portrays the tragedy of climate change (then known as global warming) perfectly straight. While climate change today involves some warming and some dimming in different parts of the world, the message still stands on how devastating this phenomenon is.
    • As the short comes to a close, study the backgrounds. The flowers are wilted, the flower patterns in the sky look melted, and the sky is a murky yellow. It's a haunting visual.
  • Love Hurts!, a flash game based on the episode; Valentine's Day" appears innocent at first, but upon opening the game, you are treated to a horrifying sight of an angry, giant Patrick with bloodshot eyes. It doesn't help the fact that Patrick is angrily stomping towards SpongeBob in a disturbing manner that resembles a stalker.
  • In the original 4D ride, Painty the Pirate lurches out of his painting when he says, "I can't hear you!" After the second "Aye-aye, Captain!", he grabs the viewers and throws them into Bikini Bottom while shouting "Good! In you go!".
  • Ship o' Ghouls, a flash game based on the episode; "Shanghaied", where you have to help SpongeBob escape from the Flying Dutchman's ship before all the water dries up. It could give you anxiety since you have to apparently mash the down arrow key to go inside the thin pipes.
    • It'll give you even more anxiety and stress if you play it on the Arrr! (hard) difficulty since the water will dry out fast.
    • The obstacles in the game are pretty horrifying too. The Flying Dutchman and bat come out from nowhere and scare you, and the skeletal fish will suddenly try to trap you.
    • SpongeBob's death animation when he fails to get inside the tube before the water dried up. The poor Sponge gets dried up and shrinks, unable to do anything.
    • The game over screen looks similar to the original ending of Shanghaied, as SpongeBob is stuck in the Flying Dutchman's plate, and the Dutchman is holding a fork and knife, ready to eat him.
    • During gameplay, a candy will randomly appear on top of the screen. If you click on it, you will interact with a sudden shot of SpongeBob making a scary face, with the screen flashing black and white.
  • SpongeBob Saves the Day! is a pretty fun HTML5 game, but if you look in the game's files, you can find this creepy little bugger, and people call him Yummer. He's a truly unnerving character, especially with his Nightmare Face. Did he really need to be in a SpongeBob game?
    • Even creepier? People have made animations involving the guy peeking out from behind a pole in the Krusty Krab. Yeesh...