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Nightmare Fuel / Super Mario Bros.

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The cherry on top: this also has moving eyes!

With a series as iconic and long-running as his, Mario and his various allies have obviously run into their own fair share of frights, as these examples will attest to.

All spoilers are UNMARKED per wiki policy. Read at your own risk! You Have Been Warned.

The following examples have their own pages:

Main series

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    Main Series 

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. 2

  • Phanto. Creepy pumpkin masks that guard keys; when you pick up a key, they come to live and move really fast and chase you. Then just when you think you're safe after leaving the room, they follow you into the room you escape in. The GBA remake made him even worse by adding sound effects and making him grow as he chases you, and in the Satellaview version, big Phantos twice the normal size appear and chase the player without keys needing to be there.
    • In remakes, World 1-3 in particular has a chamber with a key, a squad of phantos, and a giant Phanto face in the background. When you pick up the key, the background Phanto face's eyes light up red.
  • In the SNES and GBA remake, they made warping much, much eerier. When you enter the Warp Vase, a creepy tune plays in the background while the screen becomes distorted and fades to black. See the warps in the SNES remake here.
  • In the ending of the SNES and GBA remake, while Wart is being carried away, you can see what looks like blood coming out of his eye sockets.

Super Mario Land

  • You know how in SMB1, when you defeat the fake Bowser at the end of a castle, you then go to the hallway in the back and a Toad thanks you for rescuing him while informing you that "Your princess is in another castle"? This game does a pretty cruel twist on it. You defeat the boss in World 1-3, 2-3, or 3-3, go into the hallway behind them, and as gentle music plays you see what appears to be Daisy at first... only for her to reveal that she's actually an enemy monster in disguise while the music changes to a much more sinister jingle.
    "OH! DAISY"

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

  • The game's U.S. commercial. Before Wario was portrayed as the greedy Anti-Hero character he is today, the U.S. portrayed him in a way that made many young gamers afraid of him. It depicts Wario hypnotizing the denizens of Mario Land to follow him and turn against Mario (and thus kicking off the game's plot), all set to a creepy "hypnosis" sound effect.
    Obey Wario! Destroy Mario!
  • There's a bizarre enemy in the boss stage of Pumpkin Zone called Pikku, which looks like a cross between a leech and a headless fish, and simply bounces back and forth while frantically wiggling. Just what the hell is that thing?!

New Super Mario Bros.

  • Bowser falls into lava in the first world. Not much different from what happened at the end of every single castle in the original Super Mario Bros... until the game proceeds to show him desperately flailing in the lava, and emerging with all of his flesh melted off. Totally unexpected and freaky as all get-out.
    • Later on in the game, it turns out that he's still alive and continues to live on as a skeleton.
  • If you fall into lava, not only does it defeat you instantly, like in the older games, but you additionally hear a violent sizzling noise with Mario exclaiming in pain. Alongside this, you can see a unique death animation.
  • In World 3-1, you encounter the Cheep Chomp, a larger purple Cheep Cheep with a bigger mouth. It follows the footsteps of the above-mentioned Boss Bass and will instantly take away one of your lives by swallowing you whole. Throughout the first two Worlds, you've probably seen Mario get defeated by an enemy by touching it, fall into Bottomless Pits, or get squished by moving obstacles in the towers, so being eaten in one bite can be rather shocking.
  • Touching an Amp will have Mario scream out in pain while being shocked. This can be startling, especially for younger audiences. This can be notably averted when the player has Invincibility.
  • Unagi the Eel returns from Super Mario 64 and is a regular type of enemy in this game. In World 8-3, there's also a giant, invincible version of it, which is easily the most terrifying enemy in the game.
    • This giant version also shows up in World 4-3, moving from right to left.
  • In World 4-Tower and World 8-6, the lava rises. You better start running!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

  • A platform in one of the ghost houses suddenly drops down, which can be very unnerving.
  • The final boss fight first starts off with a regular Bowser-on-the-bridge boss fight. Mario looks up to what appears to be Peach, a remix of SMB1's ending music playing... before it starts Letting the Air out of the Band, unveiling Kamek in a Peach disguise. He gets on his broomstick and gives Bowser some magic...the ground starts shaking. Kamek looks down, wondering what's happening... and then, Bowser springs up, looking tremendously giant, his eyes glowing a dark blood red, and he is truly LIVID. The demon starts chasing Mario down relentlessly in a mindless rage, with extremely intense orchestral music playing and only becoming even more intense in the second phase... and it's his demonic, ungodly roar that really sells it.

Super Mario 3D Land

  • An Easter Egg: In the yard at the end of any ghost house, waiting long enough causes a ghostly figure to appear in the background just behind the fence and will vanish after a few seconds. This figure doesn't actually do anything and cannot be interacted with, but what makes it creepy is that the thing resembles the Shiverburn Galaxy figures. They're not trees. They're still watching. And they're getting closer.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

  • Boohemoth. He just pops in out of nowhere in two of the ghost houses. Can easily frighten an unsuspecting player.

New Super Mario Bros. U

  • In a certain set of haunted levels in the Soda Jungle, you can see a giant, painted, Mega Bowser in the background (pictured at the top). He has blank, milky-white eyes and just sits there looking like he wants to eat you, sometimes moving his eyes. There's also a Bowser Jr. version with the same properties.
  • As with NSMBW, the final boss fight first starts off with a regular Bowser-on-the-bridge boss fight. When the player reaches the second phase, Bowser springs up, looking tremendously giant, and gives off that one demonic, ungodly roar for the ultimate battle, with a slightly different intense soundtrack.

Super Mario 3D World

  • As cited from a Miiverse post, the Shiverburn figures are back. They can be seen through a reflection on a Clear Pipe Cannon on the last main level, The Great Tower of Bowser Land.
    • The post? "Anyone remember those mysterious faces on the top of the cliffs in SMG2? Or the mysterious face in the ghost house in SM3DL? Look closely at the reflection in this photo. Tell me what you see."
  • The Switch re-release adds a new mode called Bowser's Fury, at first a seemingly mellow landscape based around the Super Bell and the cat suit, with Bowser Jr. helping Mario collect cat coins... with an encroaching, inky darkness off in the distance alongside a large black spiky mountain in the distance. But that doesn't quite put a damper on things on its own. What does, however, is that lump begins twitching as the spikes in it grow longer and begin emitting heat. Eventually, the mountain reveals itself to be Bowser, who has undergone a transformation that leaves him more powerful than he's ever been, and stuck in a blind rage, presumably over one too many defeats at Mario's hands. Bowser Jr. is thus helping Mario to try and knock some sense back into his dad, not just because he wants him back, but based on his fire breath now resembling a solid ray of blistering sunlight, because Bowser could probably snap the world in two if he wasn't stopped.
    • The inky darkness is actually paint from Bowser Jr.'s magic paintbrush. What makes this a different case from Sunshine is that in that game, the paint was weak enough that ordinary water could clear it off. Here, the paint is so strong that it's acting more like oil, floating on top of the water and not being affected by it at all.
    • As the game goes on, Fury Bowser starts to get angrier. Yeah, the new Super Mode powered by anger isn't as angry as it can get yet. By the endgame, he's become so apocalyptically furious that the sky Turns Red, and then goes past that to become a menacing pink. And as it turns out... Fury Bowser is actually a lesser threat compared to the more aware and more intelligent Giant Bowser.
    • Normally, Bowser goes back to being dormant after some time if you don't collect a Cat Shine or activate a Giga Cat Bell. However, near the end of the game, he stops doing this, and you have to do one of either to get him to stop. At 47 Cat Shines, even those and the lighthouses no longer work on him! You have to collect 50 Cat Shines and trigger the Final Boss fight to stop him!

    Misc. Games 
  • The Thwomps from Bowser's Castle in Mario Kart 64; it's that disturbing Evil Laugh. The green one in the cell is scarier for some reason. Luckily, they aren't scary in the Wii version's remake.
  • Super Mario RPG:
    • In the Switch remake, Mack (now known as Claymorton) becomes this thanks to his unique introduction. He (as in the reddish figure on top of the knife pogo stick) sticks his head towards the camera, which is terrifying enough due to the lack of pupils and does a laugh. The unexpected factor of it can really catch players off guard, especially if they were used to just a goofy looking knife.
    • The Kero Sewers theme. Backed by an Ominous Pipe Organ, it's very eerie and gives a feeling of desolation in such a dark, underground area. It also plays inside Belome Temple within Land's End (which is a Palette Swapped- Kero Sewers), in the depths of the Moleville Coal Mines that have become infested with enemies, and inside the cave areas of the Sea before you find the Sunken Ship.
    • Seaside Town is creepy on your first visit. When you arrive, your first clue that something is amiss is hearing the same ominous music that played when Mushroom Kingdom and Rose Town were invaded by Smithy's forces. In the former two places, it was obvious right away what was going on. In Seaside Town, however, it's not clear at first what the problem is. Just that something is off. The toads in the town all have an unusual grey appearance and seem to have trouble speaking properly, with frequent pauses in their sentences, and they behave strangely in general. Special mention goes to when you rest up at the inn. After waking up in bed, you see that the innkeeper has been standing there watching you sleep, before he runs out of the room.
    • The Weapon Factory. It's an apocalyptic, sunless, wind-ravaged, ghost-inhabited Death World that's surprisingly creepy compared to what's mostly been a bright, cheerful game up until now. The assembly lines are full of copies of Smithy's goons the player already defeated, revealing they weren't people but products which Smithy is now mass-producing in preparation for an invasion. The player immediately understands the Weapon Factory is what the Mushroom World will become should Smithy win. In the end, the heroes don't even fix Smithy's world once they beat him; the damage is too far done and they have to leave the place as-is, simply cutting off access to it with Exor's destruction.
    • Smithy, himself. Imagine a cyborg-bearded-giant-king-mechanical being, with a couple of replaceable heads, each just as creepy as the original. Special mention goes to the Magic head for how unsettling it is to look at. He doesn't turn his head into a wizard's head or hat, but the entire upper half of a wizard — head, body, and arms, while still having a face at the base of the body.
    • The final battle with Smithy. Never mind that he hammers his own skull into new weapons; he's a massive war machine in a playful fantasy world. A massive war machine that not only makes simpler ones in bulk, but (going by whatever the hell is going on with the Factory Basement in the second phase) is apparently self-replicating too, and the Smithy you fight is just the one currently active.
    • The Remake adds an extra context for the final arena by littering the scattered remains of other bosses in the arena. Claymorton's pogo stick, Speardovich's tassel, a piece of The Blade, and Bowyer's still-smiling severed head. It's not just a storage area, it's a junkyard of dismantled Smithy Gang units that are likely to be salvaged and remade into whatever else the parts are useful for.


Super Princess Peach

  • The wall of Blindfold Boos in Bowser's Villa is so fast you can only escape from them while crying, and if they catch Peach they move on to swarm the rest of the screen before her position is reset.
  • The Mad Boos and Mad Big Boos, which look positively Ax-Crazy, with beady orange eyes, sharper-looking teeth, and a more sinister grin.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Princess Peach: Showtime!

  • While the bosses aren't that hard to beat, they do come off as quite creepy, especially Purrjector Cat.
  • Grape herself comes off as this, as a sorceress who wants to take over a theater for no reason other than wanting to turn the stories into tragedies. During the finale, after Peach seemingly defeats her, she grows to a gargantuan size and obliterates the entire theater, the one you'd been working so hard to save this whole time, with Stella saying she will destroy the whole island if left unchecked. Her final form is also quite terrifying, especially as her mask slowly begins to crack as she takes damage.
  • The first Mermaid act is a colorful, vibrant fantasy world reminiscent of Atlantica in The Little Mermaid. The second act, on the other hand, takes an unexpectedly dark turn as you hunt down a scary-looking Ghost Ship resembling a gigantic, monstrous shark while swimming through dark and unwelcoming waters. The third act is arguably even more bleak, as massive whirlpools of dark energy are threatening to destroy the entire underwater utopia if you don't put a stop to them.
  • The basement levels as a whole are this. They take place in unsettling eldritch locations that just get progressively weirder as you play through the stages.

  • The German Club Nintendo comic Super Mario in Die Nacht des Grauens (ENG) features a zombie Princess Peach with creepy black eyes and a pale, cracked face.
    • What led to Peach becoming a zombie; Prior to her zombication, Wario had made a deal with Abigor to allow his demons into the skyscraper, where in exchange, Abigor would manipulate Peach’s brain to make her love Wario. Her ending up as a zombie raises a lot of questions about Abigor’s promise, such as him going against the deal or turning her into a zombie was his way of fulfilling his end of the bargain.
  • The Super Mario-kun manga's Wario's Woods arc has a delightful illustration of Yoshi's snout GRAPHICALLY CRACKING APART AND SHATTERING INTO TINY PIECES complete with his eyes becoming bloodshot due to the pressure. And you thought being thrown in lava was the worst thing to happen to him...

Alternative Title(s): Super Mario Bros 1, Super Mario Bros 2