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Nightmare Fuel / The Land Before Time

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

The first movie
Today your mother... Tomorrow you.
  • The tar pits. Seeing all the innocent, rather young protagonists getting submerged in black gunk and nearly losing their lives is not a fun thing to watch at the age of 6 or in your adulthood. The 'tar monster' that the characters form to scare the Domeheads attacking Cera (and right after, Cera herself) is also pretty morbid in appearance.
  • The Sharptooth. A Nigh-Invulnerable, perpetually furious, red-eyed demon of a Tyrannosaurus rex who brutally kills Littlefoot's mother and pursues Littlefoot and his friends with the singular intention of killing and eating them. One of the most terrifying villains to ever originate from family media.
    • The fight scene between Littlefoot's mother and Sharptooth, which leads to her death. They were originally planning on showing the scene where Sharptooth takes a bite out of Littlefoot's mother's back in full color instead of in shadow.
    • The Sharptooth himself is this trope. Imagine a large, extremely vicious T. rex that simply does not give up until he kills his target, no matter how many times said target escapes. Not to mention the fact that the main characters are in constant fear of him and have to always watch their backs. The scene where the beast ambushes them while they were asleep shows that he can attack anywhere.
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    • He's even worse in the novel. In the movie, he's mostly portrayed as an instinctive force of nature bordering on Super-Persistent Predator, but in the novel he's more akin to a narcissistic serial killer who fancies himself above other dinosaurs. He's hunting the children for petty revenge (Littlefoot and Cera in particular, as the former blinded him in one eye with a thorn and the latter used him as a headbutting practice target while he was knocked out)note , and during his hunt, he toys with them just to enjoy watching them tremble in horror before he'll kill them. And when he finds the entrance to the Great Valley, the novel says that he growled and sniffed the air "in evil joy", which would hint that he likely kills other dinosaurs for fun, and the next thing he plans to do after he kills the children would be going around doing a killing spree in the Great Valley...
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    • And guess what? It could have been worse. It's been stated that many scenes featuring the Sharptooth were cut because the producers feared that they might actually cause psychological damage to children. So, scary as the Sharptooth is in this film, what we get are the least frightening scenes they made with him that the creators said were basically Lighter and Softer in comparison to the deleted scenes! Whatever the hell was in the 11 minutes that were edited out is freaky in and of itself.
      • Some of it has been shown, albeit in storyboard or script form. It shows things such as several near misses and more than one Jump Scare (one of which seems to be inspired by the "Here's Johnny!" scene in The Shining). The deleted scene for the intro has Littlefoot and Cera climbing up and hiding in the hollow tree trunk and the Sharptooth ripping apart with his claws jaws to flush them out. It also shows him toying with them before Littlefoot's mother arrived; when they emerged from the thorns it was between his legs, he slams his head down in front of them, they run back and he slams his tail down, then he swings his head towards them, jaws gaping and just misses them. He even tries to stomp on them. This likely indicates that the Serial Killer portrayal of him in the novel was originally supposed to be in the movie, which is also evidenced by the artwork for the movie's poster where Sharptooth appears to be smiling wickedly.
  • Littlefoot and Cera's fight after she insults his mother is pretty brutal. So brutal in fact, that Ducky, Petrie and Spike have to shield their eyes.
  • There are several instances where the characters have almost suffered horrific deaths. Keep in mind that vague ages aside, our main protagonists are basically baby dinosaurs that could easily be eaten by any predator just wanting a quick snack. The mere thought of Improbable Infant Survival being averted doesn't bring happy thoughts to the mind...
    • The crowning example of which might be Petrie's near death in the first film. His scream as Sharptooth pulls him down into the pond is downright disturbing.
  • The "Earthshake" that happens shortly after Littlefoot's mother fights off the Sharptooth. If you think earthquakes are already scary, just imagine if you experienced one as a child, or mother nature forbid, a baby.
  • The scene when a newborn Ducky jumps directly into the mouth of a giant snapping turtle. Thankfully, her mother manages to grab her in time, but there's some major Adult Fear right there.
  • The Domeheads that attack Cera in the tar pits. The fact that they weren't even carnivorous may make it more or less scary.
  • The Mountains that Burn. That the whole place is crisscrossed with rivers of lava and full of rabidly erupting volcanoes is bad enough. Petrie falls into a tar pit and nearly drowns, and so do the others when they try to rescue him. The animators clearly did everything they could to give the place a feeling of hostility, whether it's the oppressive ambiance caused by the constant erupting volcanoes, the constant red glare even away from the lava, or the half-melted rock formations that seem to reach out like arms and gaping mouths. It's very quickly made clear why Littlefoot's mother told him to go past it and not through it: the whole damn place wants you dead from the moment you walk in there!

The sequels

  • For the second movie, The Great Valley Adventure, there's the Mysterious Beyond scene where the group comes across Chomper's egg. Set during the night, the scene itself is a spooky landscape filled with many dangerous dinosaur roars heard in the background.
    • The "sinking sand" from the same movie. Before we even see the place, Littlefoot's unease about going there unsupervised hints that events are about to turn sour. Sure enough, Cera's Suicidal Overconfidence very nearly gets the group killed, with their families barely arriving in time to save them.
      • The group actually submerge in the quicksand on-screen before being rescued, with Ducky helplessly watching Littlefoot go under before doing so herself with her arm reaching up. Had their elders showed up a moment later, the kids would've drowned.
      • The adult dinosaurs' horrified reactions when they realize what's going on. Their disapproving glares after saving the kids are also rather cringe-worthy, albeit perfectly justified considering what just happened. While Littlefoot is Easily Forgiven after the mishap, it's unknown whether the same can be said for his friends.
    • Ozzy and Strut, the Big Bad Duumvirate of the second movie, are Comic Relief compared to Sharpteeth, but they can still be intimidating. Ozzy is easily the more menacing of the two, with even Strut scared shitless of him, although Strut himself can be just as nasty when push comes to shove.

    • Chomper's parents are a tad scary when they first appear. One Sharptooth is bad enough; here, the heroes have to face two of them—both of which are T-Rexes like the one in the first movie.
      Cera: (about Ozzy and Strut) If this were a game, I'd never wanna play it again.
      (Chomper's parents show up)
      Petrie: Looks like we still it!
      Littlefoot: RUN!!!
      • As a show of the Sharpteeth's power, Chomper's mother takes on Grandpa Longneck and overpowers him. She would've killed him right there if Petrie's mom hadn't drawn her away. It takes a combined assault from all the adult dinosaurs to drive the Sharpteeth off, and even then, they still continue lurking around until Chomper gets them to recognize him.
  • The wildfire sequence from The Time of the Great Giving. Michael Tavera's score for the scene sells the characters' terror and panic as raging walls of flame close in on them from all directions. The most intense part is when Cera and her father are trapped by falling trees, with only Grandpa Longneck's timely arrival saving his neighbors from a fiery demise. Meanwhile, Grandma Longneck and the other adults are blinded by smoke, forcing Littlefoot to lead the herd out of the blaze by sound.
  • The Swimming Sharptooth in The Journey to Big Water. Its eyes are pure yellow, and its face looks vaguely like a crocodile's skull. The worst part is that it is in the water. You won't be able to see it or hear it until it attacks, and if you're in the water, you are helpless against it.
    • It doesn't help that it's a Expy of the Liopleurodon from BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs, and that it boasts probably the most accurate design of any of the Land Before Time creatures.
  • The Giganotosaurus from the fifth movie has one of the most intimidating designs to date, and it tosses around other Sharpteeth. It's also the only character to shed blood onscreen in the entire franchise— something not even the original Sharptooth did.
  • Rinkus and Sierra from "Stone of Cold Fire". Rinkus starts out seeming like a comically ineffectual villain, but shows his true colors later on in the film as a disturbingly realistic sociopath. Sierra, on the other hand, is easy to summarize; violent, hateful, sadistic and all too willing to kill a group of small children. Rinkus, meanwhile, starts out seeming like a silly, Dirty Coward (being voiced by Pinky undoubtedly helps in that regard), but then we find out just how nasty he truly is when he plots with Sierra to use Pterano to both their advantage and, in his words, "let him lead [them] to the stone". And when Pterano proves himself to be entirely useless to them, Rinkus drops his loopy, cowardly persona, implying that said persona was fake all along...
    • Also from "Stone of Cold Fire," a flashback shows that Pterano got into a disagreement with the other dinosaurs searching for the Great Valley during the events of the first film and the herd split into two fractions. Pterano led his to a secluded valley, which they thought for sure was the paradise that they were looking for. And then a pack of hungry Utahraptors shows up. While no blood is shown, the scene is still pretty violent, and we only see a brief glimpse of the massacre (the only onscreen death we do see is an unlucky Parasaurolophus falling off a steep cliff into the gorge below. And while you expect him to utter a pained animalistic screech as he plummets, he instead lets out a human-sounding yell of pure horror and despair.) with Pterano watching the ambush in horror. Pterano was the only survivor, and that's only because he can fly.
  • As lighthearted as the TV series was, the episode "The Brave Longneck Scheme", there's the fact that Ali's herd were willing to kill Chomper just because he's a sharptooth.
    • It makes the Sharptooth from the first movie even scarier in hindsight - this entire herd was willing to go on a rampage to kill a baby, and yet the original Sharptooth didn't even flinch at the idea of killing one dinosaur after another. He wasn't afraid that they'd gather together in a herd and fight him, he was that powerful (or overconfident) that he feared none of that.

  • The opening scene to Wisdom of Friends Littlefoot tries to cross a log over a deep ravine to get some tree-stars from it, despite his grandmother's objections that there's plenty of treestars where they're standing. He quickly regrets his foolish decision when the log shakes and he nearly falls before Grandma rescues him. Then the log breaks, and Grandma nearly plummets down the ravine, before she barely manages to catch herself and climb back up to safety.
    • Later that night, Littlefoot has a nightmare of his grandmother plummeting to her death in the canyon.
    • Littlefoot later has the exact same nightmare, only with Loofah, Doofah, and Foobie on the unstable log.
  • In "Secret of Saurus Rock" when Littlefoot is inside the Sharptooth's mouth trying to knock out one of his teeth and he slowly comes to the horrifying realization that the Sharptooth is not dead while he's still in it's mouth.
  • In "Journey Through the Mists" Ducky getting snatched up by Icky and almost getting eaten by Dil.


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