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Nightmare Fuel / Tom and Jerry

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At this point, Jerry thought that being with Tom isn't so bad after all.
The Tom and Jerry shorts (both past and present) are filled with rib-tickling comedic violence, but it is definitely a product of its time — not just with the racial tropes or how female characters are treated, but with how the violence and its implications are represented, which, these days, can be considered disturbing for modern viewers.

  • "Love Me, Love My Mouse" ends with a rather disturbing, psychotic look on Toodles' face wanting to eat Jerry, and it comes off as really unsettling despite all the roundabout comedy in Tom trying to present Jerry as food.
  • In the cartoon "Kitty Foiled" the canary was about to shoot Tom with a gun and played a trick on Tom to make him think the gun shot him, and the canary and Jerry were dancing like they were happy that Tom was dead, he wasn't dead, but the idea of someone dancing and being happy that someone is killed is disturbing and morbid.
    • Also in the end of "Kitty Foiled" Tom riding on the toy train fell in the floor and a loud crash is heard, assuming Tom was dead, and Jerry and the canary are in the cage whistling happily.
  • The infamous "Don't you believe it!" line from the shorts "Mouse Trouble" and "The Missing Mouse".
    • Not helped by the fact that many a Cartoon Network and Boomerang airing would often place "The Missing Mouse" as the final cartoon shown in a Tom and Jerry slot, meaning ending on the city destruction and Tom's line.
    • Some people, however, simply thought that moment from the short was funny.
  • Many of the Gene Deitch-directed shorts due to their extremely choppy animation and downright bizarre sound design. Three of them in particular ("Down and Outing", "High Steaks", and "Sorry Safari") depicted Tom as having a fat, easily provoked, loud master who frequently beats, clobbers or otherwise wails on Tom, oftentimes sporting a sharp-toothed Slasher Smile or a menacing scowl, bordering on Ax-Crazy. Even worse is that, except in "Sorry Safari", he always gets away with it.
    • The Gene Deitch cartoon "Switchin Kitten", in which a Mad Scientist switches the brain of a dog with that of a cat. Tom tries hard to convince the orange cat that he is one, but never succeeds. At the end of the episode, he tries to escape the castle and encounters other experiments, including an elephant that chirps like a bird, a chicken that bleats like a lamb, the dog whose brain was switched with the cat and a cuckoo bird that moos like a cow. The final nail of the coffin for him is when Tom sees Jerry, whom he begs to squeak, but instead roars like a certain lion, which drives Tom to a nervous breakdown and causes him to flee from the castle. The fluid animation on Jerry as he roars, compared to the usual wanky animation of the Gene Deitch shorts, does not help either.
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    • "Tall in the Trap" is fine for the most part, but there's a rather unsettling scene shortly before the climax where Jerry shoots Tom in the face with his own shotgun after falling down some basement stairs, and the following chase scene with Tom's face covered in soot. It doesn't sound scary, but somehow, actually watching it, alongside the very omnious music makes it scary.
    • "Buddies Thicker than Water" has a the scene Jerry disguised as ghost to scare Tom, if that wasn't bad enough Jerry puts a album of spooky music on the stereo and switches off the lights.*
"Heavenly Puss" short where Tom gets sent to Hell, even after getting Jerry's forgiveness (though it turns out that it was All Just a Dream.) That probably scared a few kids rather than amusing them. Matt Groening (the man behind The Simpsons, Futurama, and Life in Hell) even cited this as one of the darkest things he's seen.
  • Also in "Heavenly Puss" is the moment where the gatekeeper calls the name of Fluff, Muff and Puff, and we see a sack hopping along the floor accompanied by wet sounds before it pops open and three mewling kittens emerge. If the image of three kittens whose owner tied them in a sack and drowned them in a river wasn't enough, the gatekeeper's resigned response to it implies he has seen the same thing a lot.
    Gatekeeper: What some people won't do...
    • Some of the other souls in the line weren't too happy, either. One, who looks like Butch, is stated to have been brutally killed in a fight with a bulldog.
    • The part where Tom attempts to forge Jerry's signature only for the gatekeeper to shine down and calmly scold him. Tom looks appropriately terrified.
    • How about the cat who was squashed to death by a steam roller and walked away flattened?
    • How about Demon Spike constantly stabbing Tom with the pitchfork and laughing evilly?
    • He was waiting for Tom, and knew that they were watching him.
    • And then his appearance when Tom is about to hurt Jerry... and both of them see him.
  • And then there's "Blue Cat Blues", which has a Downer Ending of a depressed Tom and Jerry sitting on the train tracks with the train just about to come. No wonder it's not shown much in syndication (TNT and a lot of independent local stations in the 1980s and 1990s showed this, but good luck finding it on Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and on officially released DVDs).
    • This short aired plenty on Cartoon Network in the 1990s (not so much after that). And it's on the DVDs, it's other ones that are having a problem with that.
    • Tom's depressed face in itself is somewhat disturbing due to his eyeballs having prominent veins.
  • "Timid Tabby" has Jerry trying to terrify Tom's lookalike timid cousin George. Tom finally helps his cousin out by leaping in front of Jerry's path. Jerry tries to "boo" him...and "Tom" suddenly sprouts two extra arms. Another "boo" and out come two extra legs. Another and a second head sprouts up. Then "both" Toms let out ghoulish laughs as they chase Jerry around, including a close-up, seeming to come at the camera. No wonder the poor mouse runs for his life to the nearest sanitarium.
  • The "Fraidy Cat" short has some rather disturbing moments, especially for younger viewers.
    • There's a scene where Tom was literally scared to death nine times in succession. The numbered spirits dragged each other along by clinging on the tail of the one in front, and when Tom smacked into a wall while running in terror, the spirits kept going and reentered his body.
    • This shot when Jerry tries to use the vacuum cleaner and nightgown to scare Tom is for some reason extremely freaky.
    • The beginning of the episode, where Tom listens to scary stories on the radio. The voice of the storyteller is very creepy and some of Tom's reactions (icy chills on spine, heart leaping into throat) aren't pleasant to watch.
    • Heck, the opening credits are this! It doesn't help that the title card appears after the credits, complete with the picture of a ghost, and that suddenly you can hear an evil laugh.
  • In "Just Ducky", when Tom's about to eat Quacker, Jerry throws a brick at Tom, causing him to break apart like glass, leaving only his outline.
  • In "Year of the Mouse", Jerry and a mouse friend basically gaslight Tom. The poor cat's just trying to nap, but keeps waking up to find signs that he might be trying to kill himself as he sleeps. The cartoon is a remake of the Chuck Jones-directed Warner Bros. short "Mouse Wreckers," which had Hubie and Bertie gaslight Claude the Cat and get away with it. This short is pretty much the same, only Jerry and the unnamed mouse who gaslighted Tom got their comeuppance.
  • "Southbound Duckling" ends with Jerry and Quacker in a beach thinking they've defeated Tom. End of episode, right? Not so fast; Tom is right behind them and traps them under a bucket. Then he pulls down an umbrella to hide both him and the bucket, laughing evilly. Common enough sight in the middle of these cartoons, but in this case, that's where the episode ends... Good luck imagining what Tom is going to do to them...
  • "Pecos Pest" features Jerry's Uncle Pecos chasing Tom with an ax, because he needs "Yer wisker for mah' git-ar string!". It sounds funny until you see that Pecos is The Determinator when it comes to getting that string, and consider the consequences had he wanted anything else. It ends with Pecos pulling Tom's whisker from the television, which, combined with The Ring is both hilarious and horrifying in hindsight.
  • The early forms of the characters could count. Especially Spike, who was also completely berserk in his debut appearance. ("Dog Trouble")
  • And how could this list be complete without Tom actually getting guillotined at the end of "The Two Mouseketeers"?
    Nibbles: Pauvre, pauvre, pussy cat. (shrugs) C'est la guerre.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry is a lot Darker and Edgier than the show it's based on, with several characters actually dying onscreen (and many more dying offscreen). Perhaps the worst death goes to the Corrupt Corporate Executive head of Globwobbler Studios (the company behind the race): The President of Hollywood (depicted here as a middle-aged guy in a stereotypical Egyptian Pharaoh outfit) shoots a ray from his staff that burns the guy to ashes.
    • A similar situation happened with one of the characters in Blast Off to Mars.
  • The alley cats in "Mouse In Manhattan." When Jerry sneezes, thousands of eyes appear, and in a chilling way. Then when one appears, well, these aren't the comical ones like Butch and his gang, these were genuinely menacing. Well, we are looking at things from a mouse's POV, after all.
    • Jerry hanging from a great height above the city via a mere wick of a candle probably isn't something that is ideal to watch just before bedtime either.
  • Jerry coming EXTREMELY close to being chopped clean in half by Tom, at the beginning of "The Cat's Me-Ouch." His petrified expression is pretty jarring.
  • The episode "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse" doesn't go with the usual "evil alter ego" thing, but rather Tom mixes every bit of poison he can find in the kitchen to kill off Jerry. But then the concoction turns out to have gotten so poisonous it went right around and makes anyone who drinks it basically The Hulk. The real kicker, possibly, is Jerry is only pissed off at Tom for trying to poison him, not because of what amounts to cartoon roid rage. So Tom's plan REALLY blew up in his face as he made an already-unstoppable mouse into a super strong mouse whose mind ISN'T being addled by the chemicals. AND he's pissed.
    • The bombastic yet ominous music while he is going after Tom doesn't help either. Or maybe it does?
    • Possibly the scariest part is how nothing Tom does to stop Jerry has any effect at all. Nothing. Tom attempts to whack Jerry with a book. The book breaks on Jerry's head and he tears it in half, then tears the other half into quarters. Tom whacks Jerry with a poker four times. All this results in is four mouse-shaped dents in the poker. He shuts the living room door and holds it shut. Jerry simply walks into the door and it falls down around Tom. Truly terrified by now, Tom barricades himself in the wall safe. Jerry drills through it with his fist and pulls Tom out through the hole before slamming him against the safe numerous times. Only then does the concoction wear off.
    • Tom taking a massive dose of the potion at the end as well, snatching the saucer right out of Jerry's hands as he desperately tries to hulk back up, traps him, and forces him to watch as Tom begins to grow, actually getting even bigger and scarier than Jerry was, with his claws growing out of his paws... thankfully, it then backfires on him, as it turns out drinking TOO MUCH of the potion makes you shrink instead.
  • The haunted mouse episode, in the scene when Jerry's cousin hypnotized Tom and walked into his body was a bit creepy. The face Tom makes as he's laughing evilly is somewhat scary. His laughter turns to nervous chuckles as he realizes that the cousin isn't scared, and the cousin's face as he hypnotized Tom, doubled with Tom's face while his jaw drops is odd too. View it here, if you wish.
  • In the cartoon "The Flying Sorceress" the witch points out to Tom a cemetery of her previous cats with tombstones included, which is a bit unsettling. Apparently, Butch was one of them.
    • When the witch tells Tom to "sleep over there". "Over there" is a scary looking cat sized coffin accompanied by candles, that has its appearance backed by eerie music.
    • There is also the tone of the witch's voice when showing the graveyard. She sounds extremely excited, making it seem like she is intentionally trying to kill the cats. Making it worse, she has an eighth grave already dug with a tombstone present (blank except for the number eight at the top), supporting the idea even further.
    • Tom himself is terrified of her before he takes the job, and tries to run away.
    • The scene when she catches Tom riding on her broom without her permission and proceeds to try to kill him (and that's not inference: as the broom's first move is to try to bash his brains out against the ceiling). The happy music stops and gets replaced by creepy music.
  • Hell, the freakin' MGM cartoons logo (which used Tanner, widely considered by logo experts to be among the scariest lions MGM ever used) counts, particularly if you are not a fan of roaring lions in general. It became Nightmare Retardant for most kids though, due to the overexposure (as Tom & Jerry shorts were often aired in succession in television or home video)
    • Chuck Jones version of Tom and Jerry (which is the last batch of theatrical Tom and Jerry shorts) did the Nightmare Retardant of replacing the lion with Tom meowing, although it's still preceded with the lion. There is also one scene in the Gene Deitch short about mad scientist castle where Jerry's brain got switched with lion's brain and growling like the MGM lion.
  • Tom's near drowning in "Just Ducky". At first he's frantically struggling to stay afloat, but then slowly sinks into the water, arm outstretched. When Quackers and Jerry pull him out, he's not breathing.
  • The ending of "Advanced And Be Mechanized" has Tom and Jerry get converted into the robotic slaves of the two robots that they have been using for the whole short. This is implicitly revenge for injuring them repeatedly.
  • "O-Solar-Meow" has Tom chasing Jerry with a jetpack and flying headfirst into a fan. This being Tom and Jerry, he doesn't suffer any real injury from it, but the end result is still unsettling to look at.
  • Could be Nausea Fuel: The 2005 "The Karate Guard" has a disturbing moment — Tom is facing us when the samurai dog's blade comes down, cutting him in half (his back half presumably coming off). We don't see anything but we hear a very wet sound before Tom passes out out of frame, and Jerry stares at the camera in shock! The more realistic sound compared to the usual harmless cutting in half from these cartoons is what ultimate makes it horrifying.
  • At the end of the "His Mouse Friday" cartoon, Tom and Jerry are chased by a tribe of Blackface-Style Caricature cannibals. This is also one of the most racist shorts, which is why it doesn't air on TV anymore.
  • Muscles Mouse from Jerry's Cousin. Much like the hulked out Jerry from the Dr. Jekyll cartoon above, he is a super strong mouse that can easily beat up any cat and shrug off any attack thrown at him. Tom clearly has no idea what to do and surrenders at the end. It's one thing for Tom to encounter a bigger, strong opponent like Spike but to face a mouse with super strength is another.
  • The climax of "The Milky Waif" is as terrifying as it is awesome. While ya can't say it wasn’t deserved for Tom hurting a baby orphan mouse who only wanted some milk? Jerry's absolute massacre on Tom is a sight to behold. The roar Jerry lets outright before his rampage is absolutely bloodcurdling.