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Nightmare Fuel / The Simpsons

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— "Cape Feare"

You wouldn't think that a show starring a cartoonish family could be scary enough for its own page, right? Wrong.

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  • "Flanders' Ladder" is creepy within itself. The fact the episode is a parody of The Sixth Sense makes this episode more intense. The scene at the end of the episode when Bart tells Lisa when they are going to die is really morbid, especially when Flanders has a wall of pictures of his dead wives Maude and Edna. Creepy stuff.
  • In "The Nightmare After Krustmas", Maggie has terrifying visions of the toy gnome that Marge gave her for Christmas.
  • "Homer's Odyssey" is filled with Adult Fear. Homer loses his job to circumstances that aren't entirely his fault, fails to find a new job, slips into a deep depression, and tries to kill himself. Marge finds his suicide note, and she and the family show up just in time to talk him out of it. What’s worse is that an old couple LAUGHS at Homer.
  • Krusty having a heart attack (in front of an audience consisting of several children) in "Krusty Gets Busted" was pretty jarring. The fact that the audience of kids thought it was part of his act and laugh/cheer arguably makes it worse. What's worse is that incidences of performers having heart attacks on stage have actually happened; e.g. the ukuleleist Tiny Tim, and British comedian Tommy Cooper (and in his case, it was not only fatal, but occurred on live television.) The Krusty scene is eerily similar to Tommy Cooper's death in that the audience thinks it's part of the show and laugh as he's dying.
  • Near the end of the flashback in "The Way We Was", it's heavily implied that Marge was almost sexually assaulted by her prom date Artie Ziff. He tries to grope her, and ends up tearing her dress sleeve and bra strap. 20 years later and he’s still a scumbag.
  • In "Bart's Dog Gets an F", the instructor demonstrates how to use a choke collar on the poor dog until he passes out. Even worse, there are dog owners like this in real life. Let's be glad it wasn't a SHOCK collar...
  • "All Singing, All Dancing": Snake repeatedly holding the family hostage which creates an unsettling tone for a musical-based clip show. To make matters worse, Snake even fires said gun during the closing credits.
  • "Bart Gets Famous": Lisa fantasizes about being incredibly successful and then impaling Bart on a trophy and when Bart tries to snap her back to reality, she doesn't want to because she's so happy.
  • "Bart of Darkness": The bit where the axe-wielding not murderer Ned Flanders slowly walks up to the attic where Lisa is, humming "Mary Had A Little Lamb".
  • At the beginning of "Burns' Heir", Smithers places a wet sponge on Mr. Burns' head. Burns, being extremely frail, nearly drowns to death in his bathtub. The disturbing part comes when Smithers returns to the room, finds Mr. Burns apparently dead, mourns for him... and Mr. Burns wakes up and, experiencing a massive burst of anger-induced adrenaline and strength, nearly strangles Smithers to death with his bare hands, with an enraged look on his face he doesn't normally exhibit. As he's being choked, Smithers is clearly scared and in pain. Then we see Burns, who's usually depicted as being weak and thin, with all of the muscles in his chest tensed up, glowering at Smithers with a look of pure hatred, and he looks absolutely feral.
    • Not to mention Burns' plans for after he dies- he tells Smithers that he wants his loyal assistant Buried Alive with him. Smithers is understandably disturbed.
    • In a more subtle example, the plot is an eerie example of emotional abuse when Mr. Burns becomes a sort of father figure to Bart, and nearly manipulates Bart into thinking that Bart's real family no longer love or want him. It's a rare, disturbing example of a personal, psychological cruelty that Mr. Burns doesn't usually exhibit. The idea of an adult persuading a young child that his family no longer wants anything to do with him is horrific.
  • "Bart Sells His Soul", where Bart sells his soul to Milhouse, in one of the darkest episodes of the series as noted by many. Bart becomes a Creepy Child pretty soon throughout the episode, eventually culminating in him threatening Ralph Wiggum.
    Bart: "I need a soul, Ralph. Any soul. YOURS!"
    • The scene when Chief Wiggum flashed the flashlight on Bart, and Bart hissed like a vampire was a bit unsettling.
    • Bart's own nightmare, where his soul can be seen working for Milhouse and he's left alone rowing in circles, unable to reach the magic castle on the island is kinda disturbing, too.
  • "Bart the Murderer": The nightmare sequence from "Bart the Murderer", where Principal Skinner, who was reported missing and assumed dead thanks to Bart becoming a bartender for the Mob, appears as a corpse —first rising from the ground, then wearing Cement Shoes under a pond, then hanging in a freezer— pointing and shouting "YOU KILLED ME, BART!" Hell, even HOMER turned against his own son.
  • "Bart Vs. Thanksgiving": Bart's nightmarish Imagine Spot where he thinks his family, appearing borderline demonic, won't forgive him for what happened with Lisa's centerpiece.
  • "Black Widower": During Selma and Sideshow Bob's wedding, Bart imagines Sideshow Bob as The Grim Reaper saying "I do".
    • More generally, it's heavily implied throughout the episode that Bob wants to kill Bart for exposing his original crimes. The license plates he makes in prison include words like "IH8Bart" and "BartDOA". Bob also says during dinner that if he wanted to kill Bart, he'd have choked the boy as soon as he walked in the Simpsons' front door in a Did I Just Say That Out Loud? moment. When the family is horrified, Bob quickly covers it up with a "Just Joking" Justification. In "Cape Feare" (see below) Bob actually follows through on trying to murder Bart.
  • "The Blunder Years":
    • Homer was hypnotized to age twelve. In the flashback when he pokes the stick into the drain to figure out where the water went and the decomposing (maggots and everything) corpse washes out and lands on top of him: it was Waylon Smithers Sr.
    • While it wasn't seen, Smithers Sr's death wasn't pretty.
    Mr Burns: Look at your heroic daddy in there. Making funny faces, falling to the floor, shedding his hair and... lying perfectly still.
    • Even worse, baby Smithers actually sees his father die right before his eyes. Granted, Smithers was young enough that he has absolutely no memory of this later on, but the way baby Smithers' smile fades as he watches this happen implies that he at least knew something was wrong.
  • In "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" there was a scene with aliens giving birth over and over again, that could qualify as nausea fuel also.
  • "The Bob Next Door" combines this with Squick: After Sideshow Bob has drugged his cellmate, Walt Warren, unconscious, he carries him to a prison hospital, where he makes a surgical face and hair transplant. And no, it's not a comical one, but a rather sickly one: Bob uses a scalpel to cut a line around Walt's face and hair, then tears it off, revealing some blood and muscle. And even worse, when Bob has to do his own face and hair removal, surgically, on himself, he tries easing the pain with some alcohol, before piercing his own face on the dotted line, screaming and wincing in pain! And in a close-up, too! Worse still, there was no Discretion Shot or anything, the whole procedure was shown on camera!
  • "Boy Scoutz 'n the Hood": The end where Ernest Borgnine and the other Junior Campers get attacked by an unknown someone or something hiding in the woods (though the fact that they were at an "abandoned summer camp" coupled with some tell tale sound effects, can allow a reasonable guess to the assailant's identity).
    • On a more mundane level, Homer, Flanders, and their sons, stranded in the ocean on an inflatable raft, with very limited food and water (not helped by Homer consuming both frivolously.)
  • "Brother From The Same Planet": During a Nightmare Sequence earlier in the episode, Homer realizes he forgot Bart and dreams that he drove up to where Bart was supposed to be waiting and all there is left is a (spiky-headed) skeleton.
    • Following that, when Homer actually does pick up Bart, Bart is left speechless in anger as Homer attempts to pass off a very shoddy apology about how "they were both wrong". Bart slowly turns to Homer and imagines his eyes and the flesh on his face melting off like wax, until Homer asks "NOW HOW 'BOUT A HUG" in a horrifying voice. While some consider this a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, in context this scene conveys just how angry Bart feels from his own point of view. He loathes Homer so much at that point that he sees him as a disfigured monster. The image was so frightening that it was the page image on this page for some time!
      • Made worse by the fact that the aforementioned image is associated with the "Dead Bart" Creepypasta (even though it's Homer).
  • "Marge Gets A Job":
    • Marge is sexually harassed by Mr. Burns, and it's skin-crawlingly creepy. It's really saying something that, out of all the horrible things he's done, this is one of Mr. Burns' most disturbing acts of villainy. And Burns' sexual harassment is actually depicted totally realistically. Later on in the episode, when Marge threatens to "sue the pants" off of him, Burns retorts that she "doesn't need to sue him to get his pants off," and he growls at her lecherously. Even worse, in later episodes, Marge is still shown to be angry about the entire experience, implied that she may have actually been traumatized by Burns' treatment of her.
    • Although Played for Laughs, the drugging and kidnapping of Tom Jones is disturbing, as well, especially when Smithers prods a gun to his back and says in an eerily soft, cheerful voice, "Big smile, everyone's happy." The episode ends with Tom Jones performing for Homer and Marge against his will, his ankles chained up, as he quietly begs them to help him.
    • Near the beginning of the episode, a retirement party is held for an elderly employee at the plant named Jack Marley. The thing is, Jack never wanted to retire, and he claims that his job is the only thing in his life that's worthwhile, and without it, he'd have nothing to live for. In one of Burns' cruelest actions in the series, Mr. Burns coldly declares that he doesn't care in the least. To reiterate, Mr. Burns was perfectly willing to drive a man to suicide for little to no reason. Fortunately, Jack Marley shows up as a background character in later episodes, but it's disturbing to think that Burns nearly made a man kill himself by taking away the only thing in his life that mattered to him.
  • "Cape Feare":
    • Bob's prison tattoo of Bart's severed, bloody head on a skateboard saying, "Ouch, man!"
    • Homer twice scaring Bart (who's already fearing for his life because of Sideshow Bob) before bed. Particularly, the silhouette of Homer's head as he's holding the knife, with glowing yellow eyes.
    • The episode's whole plot is disturbing. While we see Bob suffer as a Butt-Monkey, the fact remains that he's trying to stalk and murder a ten-year old child for exposing his original crimes. It was foreshadowed in Black Widower (see above), but the scene when Bob surprises Bart in his bedroom, holding a large knife, is chilling.
  • "Children of a Lesser Clod": Ralph getting trapped in Homer's scabbing knee injury.
    Homer: It knows you're afraid.
  • "Eight Misbehavin": after meeting the mascot of Shøp, the following exchange occurs.
    Alan Wrench: "You put it together yourself! All you need is me, Alan Wrench!"
    Homer: "He's named after what he is!"
    Bart: "Hey, cool costume!"
    Alan Wrench: [Robotic voice] "It's not a costume. They found me inside a meteor."
    Marge: Excuse me, where do you keep your hamper lids?
    Alan Wrench: [Normal voice] "Hamper lids? Uh, third floor." [Robotic, to Bart] "Help! I need tungsten to live! Tungsten!"
  • "Fraudcast News":
    • When Mr. Burns tries to get Lisa to sell her newspaper, he offers her some cute little ponies in exchange. When she refuses, they hiss at her, revealing sets of pointy teeth and lizard tongues.
    • Earlier in the episode, Mr. Burns ends up being Buried Alive during a rock avalanche. He was apparently trapped underground for days. Granted, he doesn't seem too rattled by the ordeal, but the image of him trapped underground is disconcertingly claustrophobic. Worse, Burns' dialogue implies that if he hadn't found insects and a mother mole's milk to feed on, he would have starved to death underground.
  • "Funeral for a Fiend": During Sideshow Bob's trial in this clip, when his parents reveal that their son has a congenial heart defect, and they put the blame on Bart, the boy tries responding that Bob is a Manipulative Bastard. It goes From Bad to Worse at the 56-second mark, when he angrily pulls a nitroglycerin vial (for his heart defect) out of his pocket with a "I didn't want to use this, but you've left me no choice!" Chief Wiggum sees that the nitroglycerin is a "bomb" and the crowd panics, but Bart snatches the vial and tosses it out of the window. Bob becomes horrified when he has lost the medicine and cries out, with a pained look on his face, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAAAAND! I- I-" And then his body goes out of control as he wobbles around, still clutching his chest in a dizzying manner, before his body collapses and falls onto the floor in a lifeless pose. (Oh, and the unsettling music doesn't help matters either.) Sure, the nitroglycerin-as-medicine thing is all a ploy, and Bob gets better thanks to the "fake death" IV anesthesia his father, Dr. Robert Terwilliger Sr., had discreetly administered to him when he collapsed during the trial so that he can later wake up in an effort to incinerate his Arch-Enemy in his coffin, but still, watching Bob in a pretense of agony as he falls into a temporary deathlike state like that is very unsettling, especially for kids.
  • "Future-Drama": Professor Frink's skeleton is shown hanging in his lab in the future, implying that he committed suicide and that no-one either noticed or cared enough to bother to look into his disappearance.
  • "Gone Maggie Gone": Marge staring at the solar eclipse and burning her retinas. Unlike some disfigurements in the show, this one is not treated as a joke: Marge screams in pain as her retinas give a sickening crackle noise. Even worse, she spends the entire episode blind. Adult Fear indeed.
  • "The Great Louse Detective":
    • Near the beginning of the episode, Homer has an Asian masseuse walking on his back, when she suddenly starts SINKING into it like it's quicksand, trying to pull herself free as she cries for help. The scariest part about that whole scene is Homer's completely nonchalant tune as he tells her not to struggle or she'll sink faster. Then it cuts to the next scene and is never talked about again. Has that happened to other people before? What happened to the lady?
    • Also scary is the thought of an old enemy, or a friend/family member of an old enemy getting revenge on Homer because of something he did. It's scary because this actually can happen in real life. Imagine you think your enemy is gone for good but several years later, you realize that the old enemy of yours has come back for revenge, or worse, a friend or family member of your old enemy has come for revenge. It's the unnerving thought to think about.
  • "Homer Alone": Two scenes of Marge getting angry: First after Marge stops the car at school she turns to them with an angry look on her face and says in a demonic voice "Get Out" Which Bart and Lisa do so very quickly. Another moment is where Marge goes berserk after Maggie spills milk on her by mistake causing her to swerve the car in front of the bus on the bridge the bus driver asks what's wrong with her but Marge roars at him like a lion causing the bus driver to get back on the bus.
  • "Halloween of Horror": The only canonical Halloween episode, it has a home invasion played completely straight. Three men, who got fired because Homer revealed they were stealing, decide to take revenge while Homer and Lisa are home, forcing the two of them to hide in the attic.
    • A lot of what happens at the Krustyland Halloween Horror Night. Lisa bumps into a zombie in costume, which then TEARS ITS OWN FACE OFF right in front of her, freaking her out. As Homer walks with Lisa through a zombie horde, Lisa is terrified to see she's holding a zombie's hand. Then when Lisa tries telling a random woman she's lost, she gets threatened with a chainsaw from the child with her. A face bursting out of the chest of the guard Lisa tries talking to right after that. It's hard to blame Lisa for huddling on the ground, utterly terrified and surrounded by zombies.
  • "Homer and Lisa Exchange Crosswords": "No... I'm not mad."
  • "The mark of evil upon Cain's face in "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass".
  • "Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment": What better way is there to instill the fear of eternal damnation into the viewer than with a vision of your family, blissfully ignorant of their surroundings, suddenly watching their stolen cable TV within the bowels of hell?
    Devil: C'mon, Lisa. Watch a little cable with us. It won't cost you a thing. EXCEPT YOUR SOUL!
  • "Homer's Enemy": Frank Grimes' complete mental breakdown and slow descent into insanity throughout the episode.
    Frank Grimes: Extremely High Voltage? [Well, I don't need safety gloves, because I'm Homer Simps-
  • "Homer Goes to Prep School": The Gainax Ending where a meteor is shown heading for Springfield and it's covered with zombies.
  • "Homer Loves Flanders": Homer randomly emerges through Flanders' hedge accompanied by creepy music.
  • "Homer the Heretic": God help you if you're pyrophobic during the end of this episode. Homer skips church for the second time in a fortnight and falls asleep with a lit cigar in his mouth, igniting some magazines on the floor. By the time he's woken up, the whole house is engulfed in flames. Just think about that. Homer is asleep, in a house fire. Only when the fire ignites his two hairs does he wake up. Luckily for Homer, Ned returns from church and is able to save him before the fire department arrives. This is made all the worse because it's Truth in Television. Smoking while lying down and not putting out the cigar/cigarette properly (in this case, at all) is one of the leading causes of smoking-related fatalities because of how easily they can start fires.
  • "Homer the Moe": The jukebox in Moe's bar gets stuck, leading Homer to imitate Fonzie by smashing it. Unlike Fonzie, he cuts his hand and bleeds out in spectacular fashion.
  • "Homer the Smithers": After a montage of getting berated by Mr. Burns, Homer actually punches Burns, hard enough that it seems like he killed him, leaving Homer muttering in fear before running away. From the punch to the panic, the scene is silent until "Psycho" Strings start to play. It's extremely frightening because up until this point, we were amused at Homer struggling to keep up as an assistant.
    • It's followed up by Burns extremely shaken and terrified from Homer's punch, even when Homer tries to apologize, and being alone with Smithers far away on vacation. Even an attempt to call for help fails by accidentally ringing Moe who presumes it to be another prank and threatens Burns.
  • "The Homer They Fall": Homer is in the ring with Heavyweight Boxing Champion Drederick Tatum. Up to this point, Homer has withstood blows from other boxers and even three thugs with weapons without even a wince. But one blow from Tatum is enough to daze him and send him reeling. His wife Marge understandably freaks, screaming for someone to stop the fight, and even Grampa, whose relationship with his son is tenuous at best, exclaims in horror that his son will die on his feet. The whole sequence is very reminiscent of the tragic scene in Rocky IV.
  • "Hurricane Neddy": Ned Flanders exploding with decades of pent up anger after he witnesses the half-assed attempt the town made to rebuid his house after a hurricane:
  • "I Am Furious (Yellow)": Homer Hulking Out. Becomes Nightmare Retardant when Bart says, "Thank God his pants stayed on."
  • Marge's Sanity Slippage, especially in the third act, is especially disturbing in "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", considering, you know, it's MARGE. GOING INSANE.
  • "Kamp Krusty". The dilapidated buildings and canoes are certainly scary enough for the kids (not to mention the idea of three school bullies-cum-local teenaged thugs — one of which is actually a father, though Kearney does love and care for his son more than the other kids — being assigned as counselors), and there's also plenty of Adult Fear at the idea of your kids being sent to such a death trap with an In Name Only Money, Dear Boy connection to a popular children's celebrity.
  • "Krusty Gets Kancelled": By the end of Krusty's failed ventriloquist act Alphonse the Dummy looks... rather scary. Understandably, the poor kids were horrified.
  • "Lard of the Dance": Homer's eye popping after his face is sucked inside the hose and during his fight with Willie. Doubles as Nausea Fuel.
  • In "Large Marge", when Marge was trying to hold Maggie but her breasts were so big Maggie got scared from her point of view and there is ominous music being played in the background.
  • "Last Exit to Springfield" has the series of pictures of what Lisa could look like without braces. The last one depicts her teeth being so bad that one tooth goes through her skull.
    Bart: Cool, she'll be a freak!
  • "Last Tap Dance in Springfield": Homer gets laser eye surgery, but forgets (read: doesn't want to spend any further money) to use his prescribed eye drops immediately after. Both eyes are instantly engulfed by thick, foot long crusts. The whole thing is made less disturbing (or more, if you think that Homer is being kidnapped) with the scene of Kearney and his hoodlum friends taking Homer to buy Jack Daniels and smokes, and then completely forgotten about after act one.
  • "Lemon of Troy": During the climax, a guard dog runs at the Springfieldians, who manage to make it into Flanders' RV and shut the door just in time. The dog slams into the door and makes an imprint of its jaws. The dog holds its position and tries to chew through the folds of the ruined door, which makes an unsettling creaking sound as it almost gives in.
  • "Lisa's First Word": The clown bed Homer made for Bart when he was a toddler, pictured above.
    Clown Bed: (with fake cheerfulness) If you should die before you wake... (Evil Laugh)
    Bart: Can't sleep, clown will eat me. Can't sleep, clown will eat me.
  • "Lisa's Pony": Lisa's scream when she finds her horse in her bed (in a Shout-Out to The Godfather).
  • "Lisa's Wedding" has the running gag of people revealing themselves as robots when they cry, short-circuit and go up in flames. Seeing a human head catch fire, burn and melt into goop is quite disturbing, as is the fact that nobody seems to really care.
  • "Little Big Mom": The wild deer turning feral and about to murder Lisa until she's unintentionally saved by a ranger. What's worse is they act cute when they are near the ranger. And to top it all off, they give Lisa one last menacing glare while the ranger isn't watching.
  • "Marge vs The Monorail": Burns and Smithers debate where to dump their nuclear waste. Burns is against dumping it in the park because "All those bald children are raising suspicions". Not "three-eyed children". Not "glowing children". Bald children. Whatever side-effects those poor kids have suffered from Burns' negligence isn't the usual Simpson-esque fantasy, but something very real.
    • Not to mention, the near-fatal monorail accident...
  • "My Fare Lady": Marge quits her Ride Service job, and gives Moe the smile from her car, to brighten up his refurbished bar. Just before the credits, however, it begins to talk, telling Moe he'll never be alone again. When Moe asks who the hell it is, it eerily replies, "You'll find out, soon enough..."
  • "My Sister, My Sitter": Bart doing everything he can to upset Lisa, getting injured and trying to make his injury worse, eventually falling unconscious… followed by Lisa’s nightmarish odyssey to get him to a doctor, resulting in the whole town thinking she’s on drugs and killed Bart.
  • "New Kids on the Blecch": Yvan eht nioj, yvan eht nioj, yvan eht nioj...
  • "Papa Don't Leech": Homer dreaming about suffocating Grampa after a car accident. It was meant to be a funny parody of a similar scene from an episode of The Sopranos, but it was still disturbing and a sign that the days of the Simpsons writers doing the kind of dark humor that emphasizes the "humor" part are done.
  • "The Parent Rap": The scene where Bart drags a tethered Homer across the baseball field. By the time Bart reaches home base, he's rather justifiably horrified when he looks back to see a dazed and bloodied Homer saying to him "Come on, hug me."
  • "24 Minutes": Bart carves the phrase "death before homework" into his arm with a knife. That's right, a child willingly injuring himself with a sharp object in a slow and painful fashion. One of the darkest moments in the series.
  • "Peeping Mom": Bart gets executed by electric chair. His eye pops out with the optic nerve.
  • "Realty Bites": Snake is spanning a wire over a road with the intention of decapitating Homer when he comes driving along. Luckily, that doesn't work out. What it does accomplish however is completely severing off Kirk van Houten's arm! (In a later scene, we briefly see him with his arm now complete again in a bandage - but still...)
    • The bits and pieces of the story behind the Murder House, which includes a "torso heap" in front of the fireplace.
  • "Rosebud": The ending, where we see, in a distant future, men (or rather, several Homer clones) are slaves to apes, Mr. Burns is still alive in some strange robotic life support machine, and Smithers's head is grafted onto a robo-dog's body, followed by the disturbing music that plays whenever there's chaos or a riot on the show.
  • "Selma's Choice": Selma takes Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens after Homer falls ill from food poisoning. The trio are on this "It's A Small World"-esque ride called, "The Little Land of Duff," with robot kids from all over the world singing, "Duff Beer for me/Duff Beer for you/I'll have a Duff/You have one too..." Bart dares his sister to drink the water. Lisa is then forced to drink it by Selma and Lisa begins tripping — first, she sees the Little Land of Duff robots fading away, then Lisa begins rambling, "They're all around me! No way out! NO WAY OUT, I TELL YOU!", and finally, Lisa sees Selma as a Medusa-like creature with multiple eyes and a snarling mouth for a shoulder. Lisa then screams and tries to beat Bart and Selma with an oar. Also counts as a CMOF.
  • "Separate Vocations": Snake attempting to run over and kill Bart with his car, while Bart screams in terror and covers his eyes as he braces for being hit.
  • "Simple Simpson" has Homer, who is dressed as a secret identity superhero, the Pie Man, get shot in the arm by Chief Wiggum for his troubles. He the decides to dig the bullet out of his arm himself and while successful, he casually names all the areas of his body that he feels with his knife while getting it out, including bone, muscle and artery.
  • "Simpsons Bible Stories": The Apocalypse, especially since the Simpsons go to hell, while the Flanderses go to heaven.
  • "Simpson Safari": DIAMONDS!!!
  • "Some Enchanted Evening":
    • Marge. Twice. First, she growls at the kids with a menacing face when they ask her for dinner. Then, her eyes turn demon red while she is waiting for Homer to return home.
    • The "Babysitter Bandit".
  • "Summer of 4 ft. 2": Lisa imagines literary characters coming to life inside a library and enticing her inside. When Alice tries inviting Lisa to a tea party, she then immediately starts warning Lisa to get away before the Mad Hatter pulls a gun to her head.
  • "A Tale Of Two Springfields": A badger mauls Homer and it appears it tore open his stomach.
    Homer: What am I, a tailor?
  • "Team Homer": Mr. Burns (high on ether), drilling Moleman's head off-screen.
  • "There's No Disgrace Like Home": Homer's hellish vision of his dysfunctional family compared to the family of another worker.
  • "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again": The breakdown of civilization on board the ship after ten days due to Bart's prank to extend the family's vacation forever, with no regard given to the consequences of his actions whatsoever. Made even more grimly ironic as the cruise started out as the funnest thing ever, but descended into a floating hellhole. It's even implied that some passengers have reverted to cannibalism.
  • Homer's Sanity Slippage towards the end of "The Mysterious Voyage Of Homer". After spending the episode desperately looking for his soulmate and believing he'd found one in the lighthouse keeper only to find out it's just a computer, Homer sees a ship heading towards Springfield. Believing they'll "have to be his friend" if they come to him, he smashes the light so that the ship will crash into the lighthouse. We see him not long after standing in the dark cackling to himself while he awaits the inevitable.
    Homer: Hehehehe. Well, I won't be lonely for long! Hehehehe HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    • The music that plays during Homer's laughing fit is just disturbing. It perfectly shows that for that moment, he'd completely lost it.
    • Something that makes it even scarier is that it's likely Homer knew exactly what was going to happen if the ship did crash into the lighthouse and that he'd just had enough and wanted to end it all while telling himself he wouldn't be lonely anymore.
  • "Trilogy of Error": The scene where Marge accidentally cuts Homer's thumb (and with blood squirting out) is surprisingly dark for a Simpsons episode that isn't part of the Treehouse of Horror series.
  • "When Flanders Failed": Homer's Evil Laugh after he wins the wishbone contest, complete with an ascending Scare Chord. That is, until he starts choking on his hamburger. (His wish: The Leftorium going out of business.)
  • "Who Shot Mr Burns Part 1": The ending of the episode has a very creepy feeling to it. It depicts triumphant Burns walking down the dark street with action cutting to various characters noticing odd details (Smithers forgetting his jacket, Skinner forgetting his mom at the town hall, Marge not being able to find other family members). One scene depicts a box in which Marge buried Grampa’s gun lying empty near a dug hole and being overturned by a gust of wind. The feeling of something bad forthcoming is almost palpable. And then Burns get shot...
  • "Who Shot Mr Burns Part 2": When Mr Burns can only say Homer's name after waking from his coma, it makes everyone think he shot him, not helped by the time the mob finds him, where he's practically strangling Mr Burns whilst ranting at him to tell everyone that he didn't do it. Further made worse, as Mr Burns chooses that moment to snap out of his daze and ask who the hell he is, causing Homer to completely snap, grab a nearby gun and hold it to Mr Burns's head, visibly shaking with rage.
    Homer: Say it, Burns! SAY I NEVER SHOT YOU...before.
    • Not to mention the ending where it's heavily implied that Maggie shot Mr. Burns intentionally as she starts shiftily looking around, all while a Scare Chord goes off and her pacifier sounds are replaced by gunshot sounds.
  • "The Springfield Files", with its ominous nighttime shots, spindly alien, and liberal use of The X-Files theme, is pretty damn creepy at times.
  • "Yokel Chords": The story Bart makes up to scare the other kids during lunch in one episode, about the murderous cafeteria cook Dark Stanley who killed the children who made fun of him and cooked them into a soup. The bizarre switch in animation during this segment doesn't help. Even worse, it's implied by some dialogue at the end that Dark Stanley was real!
  • In "The Last Traction Hero", Lisa had arranged where everyone sits on the bus. Bart warned her that everyone is not happy with it. Cue "The Night On Bald Mountain".
  • "Marge Vs. SSCCATAGAPP" features a cultural reference to the "Weeping Frenchman" photo during a montage. In execution, it manages to make Milhouse's face look unsettling.
  • "The Girl Code" kicks off with an Imagine Spot where Homer is so starved at work, he faints into a nuclear vat, and we're treated to his body graphically dissolving.
  • "Lady Bouvier's Lover": When the family celebrating Maggie's birthday, there's a surprisingly unnerving shot of Homer, Lisa, and Patty gleefully taking pictures of her, where they appear as ghostly cyclops with their mouths agape. No wonder poor Maggie looked so terrified of them!
  • "Gone Boy", in which Bart goes missing after peeing in the woods, is played relatively straight. The police's normal incompetence only makes Marge angry and there's an overall sense of doom. It really says something when Sideshow Bob attempting to murder Bart (again) is the least worrying part of the episode.

    Couch Gags 

Even the couch gags aren't safe from the occasional moments of Nightmare Fuel!

  • The "Mobile Homer" couch gag has the Simpsons sit down per usual, only to have Homer take off his mask and reveal Sideshow Bob underneath. Bob then proceeds to chase Bart off screen with a knife, while Marge, Lisa, and Maggie cower on the sofa in terror. The intense music doesn't help. Watch it here, if you wish.
  • A season 9/10 couch gag had a live-action hand spinning the image around and distorting it. Especially creepy when watching it the first time...
  • Another couch gag features the Simpson family sitting down, only to discover too late that it's the lure of an angler fish (a la Finding Nemo) that devours them and swims away.
  • A particularly disturbing one features the Simpson family rushing to the couch as usual, only to suffer Rapid Aging and crumble into dust.
  • "Clown In the Dumps" has a couch gag guest directed by Don Hertzfeldt, and yes, it's just as weird and disturbing as all of his other shorts. Watch it here. Highlights include:
    • Homer convulsing in pain and undergoing a horrific transformation just (thankfully) offscreen when he accidentally fast-forwards all the way to the 106th century.
    • Future Bart and Future Lisa are hideously deformed mutants who can only communicate by yelling "Don't have cow, man!" and "I am Sampsan!" respectively.
    • Future Marge shouting things like "ALL HAIL THE DARK LORD OF THE TWIN MOONS." and "ALL ANIMALS CAN SCREAM."
  • "Marge's Son Poisoning" begins with a particularly nasty couch gag, wherein all the couches and seating furniture come to life, and attack the citizens of Springfield. The Simpsons are menaced and pursued by their couch, which has sprouted More Teeth than the Osmond Family. Sherri and Terri are devoured by their beanbag chair. Moe fends off the advancing bar stools and booths in his tavern. And Homer, rather idiotically, attempts to seek shelter in the local couch store, only for all the couches present to lunge and pile on top of him. Given what transpires, and the eerie music that ends it, many have wondered if this was meant to precede a "Treehouse of Horror" episode.
  • "MoneyBart" features an infamous couch gag, courtesy of Banksy, where the cheery world of The Simpsons cuts back to show a dark and dreary sweatshop, with poor souls who are made to mass-produce Simpsons merchandise. Animators toil away to create cells for the cartoon, with noticeable piles of bones and toxic waste around them. The stuffing for Bart Simpson dolls is manufactured from kittens that are fed into a woodchipper. A sickly unicorn is chained and has its horn used to puncture holes in DVDs. And to top it all off, the shot cuts back to reveal the sweatshop is located inside the 20th Century Fox logo, redesigned to resemble a prison.
  • The couch gag in "Mathlete's Feat" crosses over with Rick and Morty...where Morty accidentally crashes Rick's spaceship into the Simpsons, splattering them into yellow goop. Rick then collects some goop in a vial and sends Morty to some kind of alien Kinkos to get them cloned. However, the cloning turns out to be a failure and the Simpsons are cloned as hideous mutants because Rick kept the vial clean with his own spit. And to top it all off, Rick shoots Flanders with a freeze gun when he walks into the wreckage, and the Frozen Ned falls over and shatters when the two leave.
    Bart: No more guest animators, man!
  • The couch gag in "Dad Behavior", in which the entire family manages to die on the way home from school/work, except for Bart (who happily settles down on the couch with the remote). Most unsettling is Marge and Maggie drowning after Maggie drives the car into a lake, and Marge's body floating to the surface.
  • The couch gag called Homer's Face, which has some Body Horror...
  • The couch gag in "Bart's New Friend" features Homer, Marge, and Bart as the Three Bears, discovering Lisa as Goldilocks sleeping on their couch. This results in a Big Ball of Violence followed by a rather disturbing scene of Goldilocks!Lisa and Bear!Marge and Bart eating Bear!Homer (and then a reveal that it's actually a story that Homer was reading to a traumatized Maggie, so it's also Nightmare Fuel in universe).
  • The appearance of Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War in the couch gag for "The Girl on the Bus". With a snap of his fingers, Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa suffer the same fate as Nick Fury, Bucky Barnes, Maria Hill, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Mantis, which is fading away into dust.

    Other Examples 
  • The "Game Over" screen to Bart vs. the Space Mutants. Bart is thrown into a dark prison cell with an expression of horror on his face, with some minimalistic "GAME OVER" text overlaid and the scene being completely pitch-black; only being lit from the door of the cell. Note that this screen only appears in the Sega Genesis version of the game — every other version of the game goes straight back to the title screen.
    • Interesting fact; it's actually based on a screenshot from the beginning of the obscure 1990 Simpsons music video Deep Deep Trouble.
  • The Itchy & Scratchy level in Bart's Nightmare has the cat and mouse duo chasing Bart with hammers, flamethrowers, bazookas and giant butcher knives. On top of that, household items come to life and also try to kill Bart including giant out of control vacuums, exploding telephones and an oven that shoots fire.
  • The arcade game:
    • Defeating the Krusty Balloon boss. It expands until it nearly fills the entire screen. Then, it explodes, taking out the platform underneath it!
    • The zombies from the Springfield Discount Cemetery, then the chained ghosts that chase the Simpsons into the Krusty the Clown grave.
    • Everything from the Dreamland stage, made to represent the bowels of the worst nightmares from the family. You fight off giant saxophones, Bart-vampires that shoot electricity and Homer's gigantic bowling ball at the end. Said bowling ball also explodes when you defeat it.
    • The X-Ray Sparks seen when a character is electrocuted may be unsettling for those scared of skeletons. Homer's high-pitched scream when it happens to him (sampled from his Catapult Nightmare in "Moaning Lisa") only intensifies it.
  • Behind-the-scenes example: In the DVD Commentary for "When Flanders Failed", they mention how one drawing of Bart came back from Korea looking really horrifying. Bart was supposed to look beaten up, but the Korean animators went overboard and made Bart all bloody, dirty, and overly bruised. Needless to say, they didn't use such a drawing in the episode.
  • During the show's classic seasons, characters had far more exaggerated facial expressions, some of which can be properly seen when pausing certain scenes. While many of these help contribute to the comedic factor, others can be rather harrowing and can fall right into the Uncanny Valley. Not to mention some of them can be quite creepy if taken out of context.

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