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Nightmare Fuel / The Godfather

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In general

  • The very concept of Corleone and his family, that this close knit and seemingly loving family are actually brutal, vicious murderers and criminals, no matter how clever and generous they may seem on the surface. For all the talk of honor, there's a reason Michael finds himself dying alone and abandoned in Part III.
    • The idea that by the end of Part II Michael is basically on his own. The once tight family is totally gone. Sonny was ambushed, his father died of old age and his mother too. He had his own brother murdered. Finally his wife has left him. You can imagine how awful this feeling must be, but all we see him do in the final shot is stare and not say a word. And in Part III when things seem to be getting a bit better for him: he has reconciled with Kay and his sister Connie, his reputation is better than before and he is about to leave the mafia business... the Cycle of Revenge gets back at him again. Near the end he dies alone, abandoned by everyone, having reached nothing with his life.
  • Michael Corleone himself is pure Nightmare Fuel. Beneath that polite, charming personality lies a brutal, stone-cold man willing to commit murder without a second thought.
    • And remember that all this takes place in very few years. If he had never had a mafia family in the middle of a mob war, it's unlikely that he would have gone into the family business, so there could be plenty of people just as bad or even worse living out their lives like normal people just waiting for the right opportunity to unleash their inner monsters or, like Michael, not even realizing that they're there until they've broken bad.
    • Unlike other fictional mobsters, many of whom are just plain cranky thugs with a Hair-Trigger Temper, Michael is the opposite here, making him much more deadly. Michael is cunning, convincing, intelligent, incredibly good at showing a polite facade, rarely loses his composure, and has absolutely no problem in massacring all his rivals, even sending his henchmen on suicide missions, like the hitman who murdered Roth. And remember that massacring enemies is a plan that he carries out in all three movies. It certainly doesn't help that he has one of the highest body counts in the trilogy.

The Godfather Part I
The horse owner should have accepted the offer he couldn't refuse.
  • Don Vito's "one day, and that day may never come..." speech from the first scene to Amerigo Bonasera. Although the resolution of that plot point turns out to be a Tear Jerker, just imagine being Bonasera at that moment: with the knowledge that you now owe a Mafia Don a favor, there is absolutely no way he will take a "no" for an answer if you don't want to (or just plain can't) do it when he comes to collect, and no knowledge of what that favor will be—let alone if you will survive its aftermath...
  • The very cold and calculated way in which Michael kills Sollozzo and McCluskey in a restaurant. He retrieves a gun from the men's room, and then sits back down at the table. The camera slowly zooms in on his face as we hear the screeching of a Pelham Line train passing by, drowning out Sollozzo's Italian dialogue, before Michael fires a gun at Sollozzo's head, which emits a Pink Mist of blood and brain, before shooting McCluskey, once in the neck, and then once in the face, killing him. The whole scene plays out like something out of a slasher movie.
  • The infamous death of Sonny Corleone. Ambushed at a toll booth by a dozen gangsters with tommyguns, he gets shot several dozen times inside his car, then shot some more outside the car, then shot on the ground after he's definitely dead, then has his face kicked in for good measure, just to make sure Sonny stayed dead and to disfigure his face more for his funeral. The state he was left in is enough that Amerigo Bonasera, the undertaker from the very first scene, had to be called in by the Don himself to reconstruct his face so that his mother could see him at the funeral.
    • Even before the bullets starting flying, there's Sonny clearly beginning to panic as all the mobsters pop out of hiding to corner him, causing him to realize he's not getting out of this alive.
    • Carlo getting whacked as retribution for the above scene. After being told he's getting put on a plane to Vegas, he's put in a car with Pete Clemenza sitting behind him. "Hello, Carlo." On the signal of Tom loosening his necktie, Clemenza garrotes him so viciously that he's pulled partly into the backseat and kicks at the windshield, shattering it, which is a good thing because it saves us from witnessing the garrote cutting through the bastard's neck. It doesn't save us from hearing it.
  • The scene in which Woltz, after actually refusing an offer he couldn't refuse, wakes up in bed the next morning with the bloody head of his favorite horse. Creepier still is that they used the head of a real dead horse without telling the actor.
  • The mob hits against the remaining rival families while Michael was at church, showing how numb Michael has become at the thought of murder. Tattaglia's death is the worst, as Rocco and another assassin shoot him and a prostitute to death with submachine guns.
  • Pretty much the entirety of the hospital scene. The sense of urgency and wonder if Don Vito will survive another assassination attempt on his life again as he lies helplessly in his bed. Michael tells an oncoming nurse to help relocate him in another room and manages to stand his ground to the oncoming assailants (with the help of Enzo the baker who happens to be stopping by to pay his respects to Don Corleone) at the front of the building by warding them off with a ballsy bluff. The atmosphere for some reason screams Paranoia Fuel.
    • There's also the moment where the nurse suddenly appears onscreen, sharply asking Michael what he's doing. It's an effective Jump Scare if you're not expecting it.
      • It's an effective Jump Scare even if you are expecting it, especially if you're in a theater. The large screen and louder acoustics can make even the most seasoned of watchers get startled. Speaking from experience.

The Godfather Part II

  • Don Ciccio killing the entire Vito's family when he was a child.
    • Likewise, the scene where Vito returned to his hometown to find Don Ciccio, who was old as well as somewhat blind and deaf. This didn't stop Vito from slicing Ciccio's stomach open with a blade to avenge his family, showing just how strong his desire for revenge was.
  • Though it was well-deserved, the scene where Fredo is killed, while Michael just stands and watches from the lake house. The editing leading up to the scene of all the mobsters dropping like flies, similar to the montage near the end of the first film is part of what makes it so frightening. In addition, the blu-ray menu consists entirely of Michael standing and watching from his lake house.
  • The scene where Michael slaps - almost punches - Kay across the room, discovering she had an abortion instead of a miscarriage. Echoing painfully the damage done by Carlo to his own sister Connie, and showing a violent side of himself (even when he killed Sollozzo and McCluskey he was relatively calm). One of the few times Michael ever loses control, and it's to hurt a woman he claimed he loved...

The Godfather Part III

  • Mosca is frighteningly deranged and terrifying overall. His methods of murder were pretty brutal. Part III's Blu-ray menu shows the Vatican banker hanging from a bridge, and nothing more.
  • The frightening wounds on the victims of the mob war (shown in headlines and newspaper photographs) hit home how bloody and terrifying the "war" is.
    • What's even worse is that many of them are photos of actual mob hits and murders.
  • When Michael has a stroke after Joey Zasa's assassination attempt. It all looks so real you'd think Al Pacino was having one for real and was rolling with it. It then leads to Tear Jerker territory when before he collapses he shouts Fredo's name.
  • Any parent will find Mary's death to be pure Nightmare Fuel. The thought of watching your own child die in front of you is enough to make anyone remain sleepless.

The novel

  • Some of Luca Brasi's actions are this in the novel He dismembered a rival gangster with an ax slowly and even had his own child thrown into an incinerator.


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