Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / The Dark Crystal

Go To

The Dark Crystal is the brainchild of Jim Henson, but it can be spooky and gross enough to not fit in the same breath as The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. According to Frank Oz, Henson's intention was to get back to the darkness of the original Grimms Brothers' fairy tales, as he believed that it was "unhealthy for children to never be afraid".

For The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, see here.

  • The Skeksis are pretty frightening. They are cruel and sadistic reptilian humanoids with vulture heads whose bodies are rotting as they age. They very much embody Evil Makes You Ugly.
    • The first Emperor is seconds away from dying, and the Chamberlain tries to grab his scepter. The Emperor suddenly, and aggressively, wakes up, making a Nightmare Face and using the last of his strength to hold onto the scepter, then passes away and crumbles like a dry and rotten piece of wood, with a nice closeup on his face as he does.
    • The Garthim Master/second Emperor might be hammy, but he makes for one ruthless and scary Big Bad.
    • The Chamberlain's constant whimpers and Faux Affably Evil demeanor make him pretty unsettling, especially when he stalks Jen and Kira, then talks to them to try luring them to their doom at the castle.
    • The Scientist, who performed experiments on himself, building himself an artificial blood circulation that protudes outside of his body.
  • The Garthim, essentially a monstrous mix between beetles and horseshoe crabs with claws. They not only move in a profoundly unsettling way with a rattle sound but also have a Psycho-esque scare chord when they attack, and were used to drive the Gelflings to extinction. Jen, Kira and the Podlings are completely powerless against them and running away from them is the only option.
    • Seeing them near Podling children is pure Adult Fear.
    • Advertisement:
    • When in the castle, Jen falls into a pit. Then plenty of purple eyes start glowing in the dark... he's completely surrounded by a horde of Garthim who promptly Zerg Rush him. Fortunately, they hit the cave's wall and create a hole large enough for him to escape... right into the deep shaft beneath the Crystal.
  • The scene in which the Skeksis Scientist drain the Podlings of their essence, what's even worse is you get to watch the poor Podling's Rapid Aging and zombification during the ordeal. By drinking the essence, the Skeksis keep themselves young.
    • Not only that. That twisted magic of the Dark Crystal used to work much better with Gelfling essence, as shown when the second Emperor's reversed aging doesn't last more than a few seconds with Podling essence. The Skeksis probably did this to hundreds of Gelflings when they didn't have them outright killed.
    • By the end of Age of Resistance, they have done it to dozens of Gelflings. But being zombified by a ray of the Dark Crystal that's refracted in the eyes might actually be worse than being directly exposed to the Crystal itself and getting disintegrated.
  • Advertisement:
  • The landstriders fight the Garthim outside the Castle to distract them from Kira and Jen's effort to rescue the Podlings captured from her village; the landstriders are able to hold their own against the Garthim at just two to six, with powerful kicks that topple the Garthim, but their high squeals as they fight become even more upsetting when the Garthim gain the upper hand, with a Garthim dragging one over the ledge into the deep ravine and the other Garthim toppling the other and closing in on it. Even worse, according to canon: "when a landstrider fell in battle, its flesh was prized by the Skeksis, who considered it a great delicacy". Ultimately, the effort to rescue the captured Podlings is for nothing and the Garthim close in on Jen, Kira, and Fizzgig.
  • Fizzgig's Jump Scare when Jen bumps into him is pretty damned effective.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: