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Nightmare Fuel / Tangled

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Adult Fear at its scariest.
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See also the page for Tangled: The Series.

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  • "If he's lying, don't come crying... Mother... knows best!" That's all. Most of the song is more on the mocking side, but that line just plunged several magnitutes into creepy darkness.
    • The way that Gothel, at the end of "Mother Knows Best", tells Rapunzel to never leave the tower is creepy in a way that can't quite be articulated.
    • The extended version of "Mother Knows Best" is much creepier than the version in the film. At one point Gothel is lying like a corpse on a table with her hands across her chest, and then sits up, pulling a face possibly creepier than any other face she makes in the movie. There's a reason this part was cut.
  • Flynn being stabbed In the Back with pretty much no warning.
    • Even worse, Rapunzel is helpless to warn him, because she's chained up and gagged. All she can do is give a muffled scream of his name as she watches in horror as he's stabbed.
  • Mother Gothel's death, in which she rapidly ages and crumbles into a pile of dust. The concept art for that scene shows her death in even more graphic detail.
    • What about the music that plays during this scene?
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    • Even the penguins and Ed were freaked out in the crossover of The Ultimate Ed Chronicles, All Tangled Up!
  • The whole idea of psychological and emotional manipulation of Mother Gothel. For example, merely setting a foot outside causes Rapunzel to freak out and consider herself a "bad daughter" and an "ungrateful monster" (when she doesn't dance around happily at her new freedom anyway). The idea of a treatment that reduces an otherwise sunny and upbeat girl into a ball of neurosis and fear is nightmare fuel (and solid emotional manipulation) at its best.
    • Mother Gothel singing the healing incantation at the beginning of the film is also kind of creepy. The way her voice gets younger as she does, and the way she's whisper-singing it the whole time, is unsettling.
    • Gothel's "You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I'm the bad guy..." is creepy because she's still being passive-aggressive and not accepting responsibility. She is not acknowledging that Rapunzel doesn't "want [her] to be the bad guy", she flat out thinks Gothel is the bad guy. And, let's face it, she's entirely right too.
    • Near the end of the film, Gothel dragging Rapunzel in chains toward a trap door in the tower as the girl kicks and screams through her gag, boyfriend dying on the floor a few feet away.
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    • The scene where Gothel panics over Rapunzel missing. It's one of the few moments where Gothel is relatable, which makes her scarier that she's capable of compassion. Maximus startles her, mistaking her for Flynn, and she notes, it's just, "A palace horse...where's your rider? Rapunzel!" She runs back to the tower, calling for her daughter, and hears no answer. After using a secret entrance, she searches through the darkened rooms, fearing the worst when noticing how desolate everything is and tearing down a curtain. Gothel even looks in places where she knows her daughter won't be, such as beneath her bedsheets. Gothel doesn't know what happened: if someone took Rapunzel from the tower — which would explain the palace horse— or if she left and is out there in the world, far from her "mother". When it sinks in, she starts panicking and rummages through a satchel with a glinting tiara, which Rapunzel had hidden from Flynn, for any hint about what happened. She then gets a murderous Death Glare and pulls a knife from her drawer. The stage musical has her outright say that she thinks Flynn Rider kidnapped her daughter given that she heard he has a reputation for seducing impressionable young girls.
    • Though some Nightmare Retardant is that she fails to cover the secret entrance to the tower, unwittingly allowing Maximus to find it when he transports Flynn there to rescue the Lost Princess.
  • The fact that Gothel sold out her own adopted daughter to the Stabbington brothers so they could get revenge on Flynn Rider, she would "rescue" Rapunzel and prove to her that the world is cruel to innocent girls, and all the loose ends would be tied up. That she never intended for Rapunzel to get physically hurt makes it even worse; it was all Gaslighting so Rapunzel would lose faith in the first person who was nice to her, and traumatize her for life.
  • For any person who's ever been abused, especially emotionally, Mother Gothel's whole character is one huge nightmare. She's such an accurate portrayal of an emotional abuser, you almost have to wonder if someone on the team who came up with her character had an abusive parent themselves or if the team did that much research in psychology for the movie.
    • Making this worse is that when you look only at Gothel's warnings of a cruel world, taken out of context and stripped of her deeds, her intonation, her mocking and Mother Knows Best, they sound reasonable. As the Stabbington brothers proved, there are people out there who would use Rapunzel for her hair and do terrible things to her. Rapunzel did only get to know Flynn days ago and it could have gone terribly, and Flynn was in it only for the crown at first (remember when he took her to the inn as a roundabout way to scare her enough to go back to the tower and go back on their deal herself?). Mother Gothel is a terrible person who used and abused Rapunzel, and her sheltering only made it more probable that Rapunzel's eventual attempt at seeing the outside world would end up as a disaster, yes. But she is far from the only danger Rapunzel has to/could face.
    • It's made even worse that whenever Gothel expresses genuine affection or motherly instinct it's directed at the hair, not Rapunzel herself.
    • Mother Gothel's abusive behavior has gotten her frequently compared to Disney's most heinous villain, Judge Claude Frollo. Both characters emotionally abused their younger charges into staying locked up in a high tower away from the rest of civilization and human contact. However, Frollo's wicked nature could be seen from a mile away, and he did nothing to sugarcoat his cruel rebukes to Quasimodo. Gothel, however, rarely drops her chipper demeanor when manipulating Rapunzel into doing her bidding. At first glance, she's warm, friendly, and many of the put-downs she throws Rapunzel's way can be misconstrued as good-natured ribbing, which she's very quick to assure Rapunzel is the case. It's much harder to call her out when her cruelties are cleverly hidden in what, on the surface, seem like well-meaning ground rules. Quasimodo, at least could eventually see Frollo for the monster he was and pick a fight with him. At the end, Rapunzel agrees to go quietly with Gothel if allowed to save Flynn's life. She's finally saved, not by her own initiative, but by Flynn pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure Rapunzel could escape from Gothel for good. That's right, Gothel is an even more effective abuser than Claude Frollo. note 
  • The scene where Rapunzel is all alone in the dark and notices the evil twin brothers walking her way in the darkness. The overall atmosphere makes it seem like a rape scene.
    "How much do you think someone would pay to stay young and healthy forever?"
  • Just the idea of an infant being abducted straight from their own home... with her parents only a few feet away from her and being able to do nothing to save their child.
  • Also, where did Mother Gothel get those chains and more importantly how long did she have them? Did she have them in the tower this whole time, expecting Rapunzel to eventually figure out her plan and rebel?
  • During the scene where Flynn and Rapunzel enter the bar, there's a guy with rats around his back who sports a terrifying Slasher Smile.
  • Trapped inside a small, dark cave with no way out is terrifying enough, but trapped inside a small, dark cave with no way out while you're drowning in rapidly-rising water isn't a pretty sight. Had Rapunzel not used her powers, she and Flynn most likely would have drowned to death.
  • Mother Gothel's a witch. She's used the flower and her own magic to remain alive for hundreds of years, and likely if she chose, she could force Rapunzel to use her healing powers on herself so that she, too, would be essentially immortal. So when Rapunzel promises to stay with Mother Gothel forever and never try to leave again if only she'll let her heal Flynn, she's essentially condemning herself to an eternity in the service of her abuser with no possibility of escape--not even through death.

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