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Nightmare Fuel / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

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  • Shredder's famous "Tonight I dine on turtle soup" becomes a lot more horrifying when you stop and think about it. He's literally threatening to kill, cook and eat the Turtles, who are sapient intelligent beings.
    • He intends to turn them back into regular turtles before doing this however.
      • Which is nightmare fuel in and of itself if you think about it too long. How would you like to regress to a state of non-intelligence?
  • Donatello's plight in What's Michelangelo Good For?. Doctor Lesseau initially comes across as a G-rated version of Doctor Moreau (hence the name), but he becomes a lot more nightmarish when it's revealed that he plans to actually remove Donatello's brain while he's still alive and fully conscious of what's happening. While Leonardo and Raphael watch, completely helpless.
    • Earlier in the episode, Michelangelo and Dr. Jane Goodfellow using the boat to get to Dr. Lesseau's Lair but he plants mines in the river so they don't make it out alive. Mikey gets out of the boat to save Jane but as he does so he gets too close to the mine and it explodes causing Jane to scream his name and his brothers watch in horror as well! Thankfully, Mikey survives since he ducked underneath the water but still it's the disturbing moment in that episode! What if Mikey had die what would have happened then?
  • Michelangelo's virtual hypermutation in the final season's premiere. He turns into a giant maddened monster with jagged claws, melty flesh, spikes for a shell and hyper aggressive attacks on everyone. And then he gets even worse!
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    • Leonardo's hypermutated form is not nearly as bad, but it's still pretty grotesque.
  • "Enter the Fly" is without a doubt the darkest episode from the original cartoon (barring the "Red Sky" episodes". Shredder, who's usually apt to take April hostage and place her in all sorts of crazy death traps, instead poisons her and forces the Turtles to seek an antidote, which he then manages to steal and forces them to confront him to get it back. Seeing the Turtles confronted with the fact that April could very well die and seeing her comatose body lie closer to death is disturbing enough.
    • But the real thing that makes this episode horrifying is Baxter Stockman's fate. After Baxter Stockman has failed Shredder one too many times, he winds up in Dimension X where Krang attempts to immediately dispose of him by tossing him into a disintegration chamber in the Technodrome's disintegration unit which then activates and causes his skin to disappear even as he is frantically frantically pleading for his life. Then a random fly that also winds up in the unit merges with Baxter, and he screams as the thing combines with him permanently and he's morphed into a giant mutant fly-man.
      • The transformation of Baxter Stockman from a dorky if mildly psychotic little scientist to a deranged fly-man is pretty spooky in itself, since you see his screaming skeleton in the seconds before he's mutated. It somehow becomes even worse as time goes on, because you see his mind progressively deteriorating and becoming more fly-like.
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  • Night of the Dark Turtle was a pretty dark episode. Donatello gets electrocuted during a fight with the Shredder and becomes obsessed with defeating the Shredder. Yes, Donnie, the meek and intelligent turtle, became a vengeful vigilante that tried to kill the Shredder.
  • Mutagen Man. Just... Mutagen Man. Even worse, the guy did that to himself. Had Seymour Gutz not been so insistent on being in that lab, he could have avoided falling apart in a vat of mutagen and getting mutated. Plus, Shredder was basically demanding that he leave prior to it (and without any spoken word or implication that he was going to send any of his minions after him once he did). Not helping matters is the fact the show tries to play what happened to him for laughs. A creepy scene in an otherwise light-hearted episode.
    • The Mutagen Man action figure isn't any better- it's a small batch of connected organs and a skull floating inside a clear container with limbs grafted on that are covered in torn flesh and exposed bones. Yes, this was sold to kids.
  • The Globfather. He seems like just another weird alien creature causing trouble for the Turtles... until it's revealed that he is casually capable of turning any person into a blob of mucus-like slime. And he does it. Raphael is nearly one of his victims.
  • Lord Dregg absorbed Krang's mental powers, causing a freakish image of Krang to form on his forehead at moments to provide him further insight. This, and the fact that the Krang image seemed to have a mind of its own was creepy enough. Still, as far as Dregg was concerned, it always gave him an edge and was reliable. Suddenly, at one moment, after clarifying a confusing situation to him, instead of offering a solution, it just coldly stated that he was doomed. Dregg was, suitably, horrified.
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Lord Dregg: "What on earth?! My brain energy must be malfunctioning"
Krang Image:
"No, your brain is working perfectly,"
"The turtles have brought their duplicates from the past to destroy you...and destroy you they will!"
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