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Nightmare Fuel / The Twilight Zone (1985)

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Don't worry, he won't hurt you, as long as he lives under your bed.

WARNING: Per wiki policy, all spoilers are unmarked on Nightmare Fuel pages. As such, this page will contain no spoiler markings of any kind. You Have Been Warned.

  • The damned theme tune by Merl Saunders and The Grateful Dead.
  • "Shatterday" has the main character slowly becoming a shadow whilst his alter ego becomes the "self". Towards the end, Peter even has an uncannily raspy ethereal voice to indicate how little of himself he has left.
  • "A Little Peace and Quiet" has a similar ending to "A Kind of a Stopwatch", except that the main character freezes time just as a nuclear war breaks out. She walks through a frozen town and sees all the panicking townspeople still frozen in place, as well as a Soviet missile suspended in mid-air. Her choice is stark: either unfreeze time and face annihilation with the rest of the world, or spend the rest of her short life in a frozen, pre-apocalyptic landscape. To make things worse, if you pay very close attention to the background audio, she froze time the exact second the first missile starts to explode.
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  • The ending of "Kentucky Rye", when we see the original owner of the titular bar laughing maniacally at Bob Spindler's predicament.
  • "Examination Day" takes Adult Fear and ramps it up to 11. A young boy's parents try their best to hide their nervousness when the boy is about to take a government required intelligence test. The phone call they get from the government after the test is taken reveals the nature of their concern. The boy passed the test with flying colors, showing a very high intelligence. However, the government in charge sees people with high intelligence as a threat to the status quo, so they inform the couple that the child was duly killed in accordance with the law.
  • There's something creepy about the hitchhiker from "The Burning Man" who talks about evil (generally evil) and cannibalism with a malicious, growly voice. And then, there's the ending...
  • In "The Shadow Man", Danny Hayes learns that there is a Living Shadow under his bed. It is tall and completely cloaked in darkness (as you'd expect), and speaks only to say in a deep, raspy voice "I am the Shadow Man, and I will never harm the person under whose bed I live," before floating out the window. In the subsequent weeks, someone fitting the Shadow Man's description murders several students, and Danny, the only student still willing to go out after dark, parlays his perceived bravery into popularity, including a new girlfriend, and insists, when her ex wants to fight him, that the fight take place after dark. Within moments of their meeting, the killer appears, and Danny laughs smugly and makes mocking remarks as the other boy runs away, until shadowy hands close around his throat and begin to lift him from the ground. The final lines scared the holy hell out of legions of youngsters:
    Danny: You said you'd never hurt me!
    Shadow Man: I am the Shadow Man, and I will never harm the person under whose bed I live...
    Danny: Well... well?!
    Shadow Man: ...but I am a Shadow Man from under someone else's bed.
    • You can take that line to mean several things, all of them chilling:
      • That is a different Shadow Man.
      • It's Danny's Shadow Man... but, because of Danny letting his popularity get to him, it no longer sees Danny as its Danny.
      • Danny's Shadow Man became so disgusted with the dramatic change in Danny's personality that he went out and told one of his fellow Shadow Men exactly where Danny would be that night.
      • It never lived under Danny's bed, only hid there when he wasn't looking, and was stringing Danny along from the beginning with Exact Words as a Secret Test of Character that Danny evidently failed.
  • The ending of "The Elevator", where the boys are Eaten Alive by a giant spider inside the Elevator. Even if you're not arachnophobic, that's pretty chilling to think about...
  • The ending shot of "Gramma". As bad as the filmed version is, the episode's writer Harlan Ellison wanted to have a spider crawl out of the newly possessed boy's mouth.
  • "Dead Run": The Moral Majority runs Hell. You can be put there for something as minor as not taking banned books off the shelves. Thankfully, the dead must be ferried to Hell by a mortal transporter, and he can decide to let them go and find their way to Heaven instead. Apparently neither place is guarded. Made even worse when you learn that the majority of the drivers to Hell don't care about "the cargo" as the damned are called despite all the trouble going on. Just their overall chilling, selfish demeanor makes one wonder if they sold their souls when they took the job.
  • "Devil's Alphabet". Mysteriously, ever since their first member hung himself, the members keep dying mysteriously, until there's only one living member left.
  • "The Toys of Caliban", where a mentally handicapped child has the ability to "summon" any object he sees in a picture. Near the end of the episode a social worker comes because she suspects abuse, but the father explains the horrific side of his son's ability: He saw a puppy on television and tried to summon it, but the resulting puppy was dead. The father buried it and dozens of other dead animals the child "summoned". As the social worker leaves, the child sees a picture of his dead mother. He grabs it and tries to summon his mother, only for the disturbing, decomposing corpse of his mother to appear in a chair across the room. The father comforts the son, saying, "Don't worry, I'll go into the back and take care of it," as he sobs into his son's shoulder. It ends with the social worker returning with police backup to take custody of the boy. The father (fearing for his son's welfare if his powers were known) takes out an encyclopedia and has the son reduce their house to ashes by trying to "summon" a picture of a fire.
  • "The Convict's Piano" shows us the Penitentiary inmates, who showcase what's at stake for Frost: if he can't find some way to use the piano to escape the prison for good, he'll face a "State Pen Welcome" courtesy of a blade...
  • The climax of "The Card". It's bad enough that Linda's pets and children disappear from her life as though they never were in her life to begin with. But when an attempt to fix everything backfires, everything disappears! Including herself...
  • "Shelter Skelter": Starts from the same idea as the original series classic "The Shelter" (people panicking in the face of an apparent attack), but puts a far more horrifying twist on it. While "The Shelter" involves a bunch of people temporarily losing their good sense, a fact which they acknowledge by the end of the episode, "Shelter Skelter" takes it much further: an obsessive survivalist who has made his entire life about nothing but preparing for the nuclear holocaust and everything he believes will come after, to the point where he barely seems to acknowledge the existence of his family except as it relates to his "plans". Mounting tensions seem to lead to a nuclear attack while his family is away, leading to him locking himself and a friend inside the shelter for several months, with the radiation not subsiding outside. The friend eventually goes insane from cabin fever and leaves, only to return, fatally poisoned, and report back that there is no daylight, and the entire city is now just a giant garbage-heap. The episode ends a year later after the attack, with the man sitting in his now rapidly deteriorating shelter, still waiting... And, as it happens, there was no nuclear attack; there was just an incident at a nearby Air Force base where a missile detonated inside a grounded plane, destroying most of the town. Confronted with the reality of nuclear annihilation, the world powers stood down, which finally led to world peace, and a large concrete radiation-proof dome, which has come to be regarded as a monument, has been constructed on top of the rubble of the town... and the shelter. It's also implied that the man's wife, who survived, knows he is (most likely) still alive down there, but isn't telling anyone else.
    Jason: Mommy, is that where Daddy is buried?
    Sally: [smiles knowingly] Yes honey, that's where Daddy is buried...
  • "Dream Me a Life" has a surprising one where Roger has a recurring dream about a woman named Lorraine who begs him to help keep a door shut. Something's behind that door and, according to Lorraine, if it gets out, "She'll die"! Just the nature of "him" feels like an Eldritch Abomination. Fortunately, the "him" turns out to be the woman's dead husband, desperately trying to tell her to move on. She does.
  • "Acts of Terror". It's one thing when a Doberman continually attacks an abusive husband like Jack. But Jack himself is the true nightmare of anyone who's been battered or hurt before by a spouse.
  • "Something In the Walls" is enough to fuel a thousand nightmares (and make you swear off patterned wallpapers).
  • In "Room 2426", Dr. Ostroff so callously tortures Martin with a false sense of friendliness that's just chilling to listen to.
  • In a matter of speaking, the ending of "The Mind of Simon Foster": After selling off enough of his memories that it makes trying to find a job with the unemployment office borderline impossible, Simon returns to the pawn shop and demands from the broker all his memories back. After telling him that it's too late, they have been bought, the broker offers Simon an alternative "[that's] not perfect". And so, the episode ends with Simon back at the unemployment office, talking to the counselor about his job qualifications... and, in a borderline schizophrenic dialogue, Simon explains his new, contradictory backstory, all with a smile on his face:
    Counselor: Where exactly did you learn to type?
    Simon: I had three years of typing at Sorworth College. It's all on the resume.
    Counselor: But... Sorworth was a women-only college at that time... How do you explain this?
    Simon: I graduated college on June 12th, on the year shown. And then I graduated college again on July 1st of the following year. I attended and graduated Lennox High School, also Chula Vista High School.
    Counselor: [looks up, confused] Mr. Foster-
    Simon: That was shortly after my return from London. Did I tell you I have two children? I remember when they were born. It was such a moving time for me, being an only child. [chuckles] I remember my fifth birthday. My brother and my sister helped make the decorations-
    Counselor: [slightly more scared] Mr. Foster-
    Simon: But, of course, the credentials are what's at issue here... I should also mention that my German is quite fluent. I spent most of last year in Vienna, and I worked as a translator, and a secretary, and a bus driver, and I interned at the Institute de Neurologica.
    • "Those were such wonderful times... I remember them so well..."


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