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Nightmare Fuel / The Sopranos

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Given that The Sopranos focuses on The Mafia, it's easy to find disturbing content in this show. Besides that, there's some weird, unsettling dreams experimented by the main characters.

Moments pages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.

  • Being a mobster in the modern-day can be horrific, both from the perspective of his own characters and from the perspective of the viewer. Just imagine the day-to-day life of the main characters, knowing that law enforcement is hot on their heels and that there are plenty of people who may want them dead (and those people may or may not be in their own crew). They have to live their lives never knowing if today will be the day that they are finally arrested or killed, and never truly being able to trust even their best of friends.
  • Tony's dreams, notably in "Funhouse" and "Calling All Cars". "The Test Dream" is generally more comical, but has its moments.
    • The second dream sequence in "Calling All Cars" is incredibly disturbing. In that dream, Tony arrives at a dingy, unlit house, and sees a dark and silent silhouette of a woman resembling Livia Soprano (Tony's Abusive Mom, no less) standing on some stairs. The woman slowly walks down, stops, and creepily stares at Tony. Just as Tony enters the house, he wakes up. Nothing Is Scarier indeed.
      • To add bonus points, a lot of viewers believed that with this scene they were watching a horror series. You know that something is really disturbing when even the genre of the series itself is affected at this moment.
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    • After Junior shoots Tony, he spends the next few episodes in a comatose state, while experiencing some unsettling dreams and nightmares.
    • In "The Test Dream", the stand-outs for this criteria are the scene where Tony suddenly discovers that Carmine Sr is sleeping with him, the entire sequence with his high school coach, the shot of a distorted Artie pointing in the see-through part of the door in Vesuvio and Tony's teething troubles.
  • Christopher's dream that opens "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti" is absolutely terrifying: it's an incomprehensible cacophony of imagery, sights, and sounds that relate to the slaughter of Emil Kolar in the pilot. There's even a group of detached hands feeding his girlfriend sausages. It's all especially spooky because Christopher's repressed guilt noticeably manifests in the last words of Emil, which are repeated again and again until he wakes up. It's also accompanied by this song.
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  • The Mafia in general. Most of the mobsters are disturbingly violent and ruthless in running their business. Perhaps the most disturbing example comes from a flashback. There's Tony's flashback to when he was a kid, watching his dad Johnny cut off Mr. Satriale's finger with a butcher knife for failing to pay a gambling debt.
  • The final scene during the restaurant in "Made in America" (the series finale). Also doubles with Paranoia Fuel. It infamously ends with a sudden Smash to Black mid-scene. And all of its implications, for better and for worse, are absolutely haunting. But you probably already knew that.
  • Any time Tony gets angry. Really.
  • Lou Di Maggio and the Atwell Avenue Boys. In the scene with them, Chris and Silvio find themselves in a decrepit New England-esque house, which is populated by senile and physically challenged old men who mindlessly drone out about nausea-inducing murders they committed decades ago. Made even worse by the palpable fear from Chris and Silvio, and the unnervingly cheerful children of the old men. They are probably one of the most disturbing characters in the series, and that's saying a lot.
  • Livia's memorial, in which Pussy's ghost is seen reflected in a mirror, and, more ambiguously, a mysterious figure (who vaguely looks like a young Uncle Junior) can be faintly seen slowly walking up and down the stairs. In a show that doesn't normally focus on such elements such as this, that touch of supernatural is rather unsettling.
  • "Pine Barrens" has some eerie shots of the vast, quiet landscape. This, combined with the ambiguity of the Russian's fate and Christopher's realization that Paulie would kill him under the right circumstances, makes for a haunting and unsettling episode.
  • "Employee of the Month". As Melfi leaves work, she is trapped in a stairwell, beaten and pinned down, and brutally raped by a random man as she sobs and begs for him to stop (and no, Rape Discretion Shot is not in play here). He doesn't stop, finishes, and runs away. Worst of all, while there is a chance to do so he's never punished.
  • Valentina’s robe catching on fire in "The Test Dream". It comes almost out of nowhere while she’s arguing with Tony and her hysterical screaming while she flails in terror is hard to watch.
  • The onset of Junior's dementia, while prime fodder for absurd comedy, is also a bleakly disturbing source of Adult Fear. Most notably in "Where's Johnny?", in which he wanders lost through Newark in his bathrobe searching for his dead brother.
  • Janice's very sudden vision of Livia dying by falling down some stairs. While it's comical on a second viewing, the Staggered Zoom of Livia's demise is enough to catch distracted viewers off guard, especially with Livia's deathly face and the highly abrupt break in the structure of the scene. The way her eyes comically bulge is extremely creepy.
  • Paulie's vision of the Virgin Mary suddenly appearing in the Bada Bing definitely qualifies. You also see her in the mirror right before, which is enough to unnerve you, if you spot it. Right after that, BAM! floating Virgin Mary on stage.
    • Paulie's visit to a psychic all the way back in Season 2, while funny on its own, is also rather unsettling.
  • The show's various whackings, while a major selling point of the series, are never portrayed as anything less than horrific. Notable examples include:
    • Brendan Filone's Moe Greene Special. The kill itself is a Gory Discretion Shot, but later we see an unflinching close-up of his empty socket. It's especially chilling, given his sadistic killer gleefully taunts him before blowing his eye out.
    • Matthew Bevilaqua crying, begging for "Mommy" and urinating himself before Tony and Big Pussy shoot him over twenty times. Made even worse by the false Hope Spot Tony had sadistically orchestrated. The following episode shows that even Tony himself was unnerved by this.
    • Tracee's death is possibly one of the most disturbing murders in the entire series. Let's just say that, yes, it is possible to punch someone to death. Especially when there's a convenient highway railing around for you to slam their head into. Also doubles as Offing the Offspring, as Tracee was pregnant with Ralph Cifaretto's son.
    • Big Pussy's attempt to Face Death with Dignity, only to gradually panic as the reality of his situation sets in.
    • The killing of Jackie Aprile Jr. is incredibly abrupt, understated, and bleak.
    • Tony's argument with Ralph Cifaretto that escalates into a brutal fight to the death, and the ensuing disposal of Ralph's body, in which his head and hands are removed. All this just after Ralph's son was hospitalized.
    • Paulie's murder of the old woman in the retirement home. Made even more creepier by her extremely fake looking eyes on her recently smothered face.
    • Adriana's death. Silvio drives her to the forest and casually talks with her about Chris. Then Silvio reveals his true intentions, pushing her to the ground and ruthlessly executing her while she crawls away like an animal.
    • Tony Blundetto's death at the hands of his own cousin and brotherly figure, Tony, and the gory close-up of his buckshot-ravaged face after Tony Soprano blasts him several feet backwards into a pile of wood with a shotgun. Furthermore, the slaying is upsetting not just for the graphic detail of Blundetto's face, but also for the fact that the last thing Tony Blundetto ever saw was his cousin and friend approaching him with a shotgun, pointed right at him.
    • Vito Spatafore is beaten to death, then has a pool cue pushed into his anus. His wife describes him as no longer looking like a human being.
    • J.T. Dolan's unexpected murder perpetrated by Christopher.
    • Tony's compulsive murder of Christopher. After the two narrowly survive a car crash, Tony pinches Chris' big nose, causing him to choke on his own blood. What adds to this is Tony's cold, dead-eyed look as he's doing it.
    • Italo's (one of the "zips") murder of Phil Leotardo's mistress and her father in a case of mistaken identity is both graphic and disturbing. The kindly Ukrainian man who is mistaken for Phil is shot repeatedly in front of his daughter, who is herself shot through the abdomen and torso in a way that leaves her conscious enough for her to feel it; she then falls down a flight of stairs and is shot in the head.
    • Phil Leotardo's death in the finale, where after he's shot dead at a gas station and his car ends up going into drive gear and runs over his head. It cuts away from that shot seconds before it happens, but the Sickening "Crunch!" we hear says all we need to know. Well-deserved considering his depraved nature, but still brutal.