Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / 12 Years a Slave

Go To

  • The idea that in one night, your identity could be taken away from you, and every time you try to profess who you are, you either aren't believed or you put your life in danger.
  • Whippings. If you didn't think A Taste of the Lash was that scary, you will.
    • When Patsey has been gone too long from the plantation, Epps throws a tantrum and yells at the other slave women. When Patsey returns, he strips her down, ties her to a post, and demands that Solomon whip her or else he'll shoot him and the others dead. When Solomon doesn't put enough rigor into doing it, Epps takes it instead anyway while his wife voices her pleasure at him hurting Patsey.
  • The Epps. One's a bible-thumping rapist, the other is a psychotic Yandere. Both constantly seem thirty seconds away from killing one of their slaves.
    • Ms. Epps smashing a glass pitcher in Patsey's face and later deeply cutting Patsey's face (or scratched at her eyes?) with her long fingernails, both times telling her and her husband to fuck off for third-wheeling her. And she never seems to flinch.
    • Here's something even scarier: the real Edwin Epps was even worse! He even admitted it: Epps purchased a copy of Northup's memoir and, after reading it, told a curious journalist that all the scary stories about him were completely true, even declaring that he was impressed by how detailed Northup's description of his behavior was.
  • While on an errand for Ms. Epps, Solomon attempts to run away, only to come across a group of bounty hunters about to lynch two other runaway slaves. The bounty hunters leave him with a warning and let him pass through (and at the bare minimum, he got pushed), and he exchanges glances with the runaways before he hears them getting choked as he walks away. The message is clear: that could have been him.
  • Advertisement:
  • The utterly horrific near-lynching scene will haunt you long after the movie is done.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: