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Nightmare Fuel / Wander over Yonder

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"I always loved the HYPER creepy cartoon episodes that used to make me run to bed when I was a kid. So we aimed to make one of those. Luckily, we also happened to have the co-writer of Krampus on staff, so…"
Story editor Frank Angones on tumblr

Wander Over Yonder is all about the joy of discovery. Unfortunately, some things are better left undiscovered...

  • Wander's expressions in "The Fugitives" as he tries to resist helping are pretty disturbing. The lighting, angles, and the fact that in at least one shot his fur looks more ragged and sharp don't help.
  • Lord Hater's appearance was deliberately designed to be intimidating, and he can be scary when he gets angry. Even Cloudcuckoolander Wander has been shown being visibly frightened by him.
  • The eerie backgrounds in "The Pet", Sylvia being all alone not knowing where Wander is, and the Jump Scare at the end.
    • Just looking at the wreckage inside the ship, with piles upon piles of bones, spacesuits and sleeping pods ripped to shreds (with one particular spacesuit clearly showing where the monster stabbed one of its claws right through the helmet), and the real Captain Tim's Apocalyptic Log, just imaging how the crew all died and were eaten is pretty nightmarish, to say the least.
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    • Wander finally figures that Captain Tim isn't really pet material when the critter sticks his tongue down his throat to try and rip out his heart.
    • The episode prior to Wander finding "Captain Tim" has a more ominous soundtrack (it sounds more like other episodes when Wander discovers him).
    • Sylvia's trauma at finding what she believes to be Wander's dissolved remains (it’s actually a teddy bear Wander gave it) isn't even slightly played for laughs. She rolls on the floor, screams, and promptly goes to blow the entire ship up to kill Captain Tim.
  • Lord Hater's ability to intimidate is pretty much played completely straight in "The Prisoner." He was willing to let his ship blow up in order to get Peepers to admit that he (Peepers) was wrong about capturing Wander being easy. Not to mention the fact that Hater's plan throughout the episode was to torture Wander. And he ends up giving Peepers the seizure of a lifetime.
  • Wander as a bad guy in... well, "The Bad Guy." Sure, it's just an act, and he's hamming it up the whole time, but all that growling and snarling can sometimes seem a little too convincing...
    • Added with a little Fridge Horror when you notice that Sylvia finally has to take the fake mustache off him in order to get him to drop the act. He doesn't remove it, she does, and when she does he suddenly goes slack. For a little bit, was the Wander we know and love just gone?
  • The title enemy in "The Troll" constantly getting larger and more disgusting looking simply from the angry reactions to his remarks.
  • While it's just an Imagine Spot, seeing Lord Hater actually killing Wander can be rather disturbing, especially the look of glee that goes along with it.
  • Wander's increasing Sanity Slippage from wanting to see what's in the titular box of "The Box".
    • "GIVE ME THE BOX."
    • The enlightened beings. Those weird movements were creepy!
  • In both "The Hat" and "The Bounty", Wander and Sylvia GET SWALLOWED ALIVE! In very grotesque form, too, especially in "The Hat".
  • Jeez, where to begin in "The Ball":
    • The inhabitants thought about nowhere to go except the way No Party Like a Donner Party, even Wander and Sylvia were shocked by this idea.
    • Averted; this was the second time Wander has gone in a Sanity Slippage (third if you count "The Fugitives").
    • Buster may be adorable, but he becomes highly terrifying from the inhabitants' perspective with all the mass destruction and monstrous close-ups.
    • Near the end, after all his plans to save the planet ended in failure, Wander just snaps and takes control of the ship, presumably to ram it against Buster. Thankfully, it wasn't the case, but it's still frightening to see Buster trying to chew on the ship as Wander screams his head off while piloting it.
    Sylvia: I know you're upset that Buster ate the planet! Heck, so are the rest of these folks! But destroying him and us is not the answer! We have to flee!
    Wander: That's what I'm doing! I'm facing this problem... HEAD-ON!!!
  • Time Bomb! Sylvia, anyone?
  • The climax of "The Lonely Planet," especially once Janet loses it and tries to drown Sylvia in a chasm and eat her.
  • Near the end of "The Fancy Party", just as Lord Hater is about to be given power by the queen, it turns out that she's actually a demonic body surfer who wants to possess Hater's body for the millenium! If it weren't for Wander doing the Heimlich, we would've ended up with a very evil being possessing him!
  • "The Void" has Wander grow and Sylvia mysteriously shrink. Giant Wander picks tiny Sylvia up and says that she's so small and so cute, he could just eat her up. Literally! And he starts to make chomping noises almost like he WAS going to eat her!
    • While the "Take a Step Inside Your Mind" song is incredibly catchy, it's kind of terrifying to see Wander essentially force Sylvia to sing and dance along with the song. She literally becomes Wander's puppet!
    • His antics throughout the episode, as they get nuttier, start to remind people of a certain Screwball villain from Season 2 on second viewing. Makes you wonder if Wander considers Screwball such a threat because Wander knows what that kind of behavior causes...
  • If you have any sort of entomophobia, you will be terrified by the scene in "The Night" where a bunch of centipedes crawl over a panicking Wander, the latter unable to do anything about it. But there's some Nightmare Retardant when one of the centipedes remarks that it forgot its purse in the most cheery and nonthreatening voice you can imagine.
  • Think about "The Gift II: The Giftening" from Lord Hater's P.O.V: His day is going as usual, shouting at his subordinates for incompetence. However, you find one who doesn't respond, and then he turns around to reveal that he has turned from an average soldier to a happy person who constantly laughs and says "Happy!" all the time. You check security footage, and discover it's your nemesis, giving them gifts and turning them into the same beings as the one Watchdog you watched earlier. Your commander goes to investigate with a team, but before you know it, he has also succumbed to the power of the gift. The worst part must be when Hater opens the door, sees a happy Peepers, and then turns to see Wander with a wide smile, taking out a gift from his hat...
    • The first Watchdog going batshit crazy on Commander Peepers when his gift gets taken away from him.
  • We get a hefty dose of Adult Fear in "The Toddler" when Huckleberry Knucklehead ends up on one of the upper floors of the mall, falls down so he is teetering over the edge, and then starts reaching over the railing for a bright red mall clock on the ground floor...
    Huckleberry: Lolly!
  • Near the end of "The Stray," it's revealed that Little Bits is a Bounty Hunter who hypnotizes her targets with her Ridiculously Cute Critter appearance. Sylvia and Little Bits then both attempt to get Wander's attention with Puppy-Dog Eyes, which slowly goes further and further into Uncanny Valley territory. Even Wander ends up getting creeped out by it.
    Wander: Sylvia, I think something's wrong with your eyes.
  • It's Played for Laughs, but "The Date" has Lord Hater basically coercing his date who is Sylvia in disguise into accepting his marriage proposal by threatening to destroy all the planets in the universe if she refuses. Sure, Hater ends up cancelling the wedding, but at the end of the episode, he's searching for another date. Who's to say he couldn't try to pull the same stunt again?
    Lord Hater: No pressure.
    • Thankfully though, Character Development seems to have pushed him past this by the time Season 2 rolls around.
  • In "The Buddies", the Sand Snapper. Dear God.
    Wander: "This place is AMAZING-ly horrible."
  • In "The Funk", the Mooplexians' revenge on Hater and Peepers crosses the line between this and Creepy Awesome.
  • That scene during "The Rider" when the space worm slowly creeps up on Wander is utterly terrifying. It's somewhat mitigated by the fact that said space worm is shown to be a rather polite and affable ally who speaks in an English accent.
    • During the credits animatic for "The Rider," the scene pulls back to show Lord Dominator in silhouette, watching the whole thing, complete with Evil Laugh.
  • Lord Dominator herself; Word of God doesn't even try to hide that she's not a funny character, and in some promo screenshots Wander of all people is shown to be outright afraid of her.
    • And while The Reveal at the end of "The Greater Hater" shows her to be rather affable and dorky, that does little to mitigate the fact that she is the single most dangerous villain in the show. Without so much as flinching, she delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to all four of the main characters, including an angry Lord Hater. Even Peepers flooding the ship with magma didn't seem to faze her.
    • "The Secret Planet" shows us exactly what happens to the planets she dominates. It's not pretty.
    • "The Bot" goes out of its way to remind us how evil a villain she can be, after she straight up murders Beep-Boop for his betrayal. Dorky she might be, but she is STILL the most dangerous and cruel villain in the show.
  • The electric squid the dentist uses for anesthesia looks an awful lot like a Facehugger.
    • Forget that, how about the dentist himself? His head is a giant mouth, with realistic teeth and gums, and his cheery voice just sounds a bit... off. He's not malevolent and he's rather affable, but the fact that he isn't even meant to be a monster of any sort somehow just makes it worse.
  • Dr. Screwball Jones's Tickle Torture. It's more terrifying than it sounds,
  • The state Wander's in when his personality parts are torn away in "The Wanders", just standing there, completely unresponsive with Blank White Eyes. Even worse, his ending comment implies he was fully aware through all of that, and could probably feel his personality being slowly torn apart without any idea of how or why it was happening.
  • "The Hole Lotta Nothing" has Wander forced to plug up a black hole with his finger, or else the galaxy will be sucked in. And, depressingly, only his finger successfully keeps it sealed. Not exactly a pleasant situation. And Hater definitely doesn't help.
    • Upon realizing how helpless Wander is, Hater channels the Grinch's "Wonderfully Awful Idea" Slasher Smile. How fitting.
  • "The Bad Hatter" has Hater subjecting Wander's hat to brutal electric torture in order to force it to give him what he wanted. It is later revealed that the hat has had a history of similar abuse. Keep in mind that this hat has been shown to be semi-sentient.
  • As mentioned above, "The Bot" reveals how badly Dominator treats her Mecha-Mooks. Within the first two minutes of the episode, she kills one of her bots as punishment for disappointing her. Said bot can be heard SCREAMING as it burns up in the atmosphere. And that's nothing compared to how mad she was when Beep-Boop actively betrayed her.
  • In "The Rival" Dominator makes it clear to Awesome that hitting on her under the pretense of delivering a "weapon" is a death sentence, as she pretends to fall for his advances and coat his entire body in lava. It says so much that Awesome is terrified.
    • Also, in "The Rival," Jerry the Watchdog spy is still trapped on the ship. Dominator didn't kill him onscreen in The Stinger, but it may be a matter of time...
  • In "My Fair Hatey", we find out what Lord Dominator's goal is. THE ABSOLUTE DESTRUCTION OF THE GALAXY AND EVERYONE IN IT. Why? Because it's fun. Suddenly Dominator's goofiness becomes a whole lot more terrifying.
    • Pictured above; during her Villain Song, Lord Dominator looms over Lord Hater after deliberately dropping him on the floor, briefly sporting a Nightmare Face before she pushes him down with one foot. The low POV, shadows and Hater's scared expression emphasize how helpless they are.
    • If her Villain Song proves anything, it's that she's utterly INSANE.
    Oh, it's magic,
    To watch a planet
    Shrivel up and die
    Oh it's thrilling,
    To be a villain
    I destroy your hopes and then I watch you cry...
    • Thought her lava powers were bad? She now has ice powers along with her lava powers. She's stronger than ever.
  • In "The Bad Neighbors", Emperor Awesome has apparently been downright traumatized by his encounter with Lord Dominator, down to having unsettling flashbacks when he tries to mention her name.
  • The Phantomimes from "The Heebie Jeebies". One of them starts following Wander, just grinning maniacally and bobbing up and down to creepy circus music. Then there's more of them, and soon dozens of them are terrorizing Wander and Sylvia.
    • Wander starts playing a variation of 'My Favorite Things' on his banjo to try and calm down... until the Phantomimes start popping up and he twists the song around, all the while becoming more and more terrified as he keeps singing
    Old dusty scrolls on which curses are written...
    Becoming a zombie right after you're bitten...
    Dancing ghost mimes that bounce just like springs...
    The dry-mouth and shivers that true terror brings...
    • Wander's nightmare, where Wander encounters a bunch of his friends he had met in previous episodes...only to discover that their faces had been replaced with grinning Phantomime faces.
    • Even worse is that these things are the first malevolent threat in the show that has zero explanation or motivation other than to scare you shitless. They never speak, they never change their appearance, they just stalk you and dance. Plus that Jump Scare at the end of the episode was a major dick move on the part of the show runners.
    • On a more meta level, this fanart of what happens if the Phantomimes get you.
  • "The Sick Day" has Wander's illness growing worse throughout the episode, especially because he keeps getting out of bed and the stress and surplus work exacerbate his recovery. Towards the end, he looks nearly unrecognizable, both mentally and physically. The poor guy isn't thinking straight anymore.
  • "The Flower" opens with a lovely shot several planets all reduced to lifeless husks by Dominator, and even Wander is starting to feel miserable over their lack of ability to stop her.
    • Dominator cancels an invasion to go completely out of her way so she can destroy a form of symbolic hope, just so she can truly cement that she is unstoppable. What really makes this moment however is that this is the first time she's actively chased after Wander and Sylvia, and the chase leads them through several more destroyed planets and falling straight through what would be their cores and into their wastelands.
  • The End of the Galaxy has Dominator at her WORST. She totally succeeds in destroying every planet in the galaxy, with the exception of the secret planet.
    • When she goes to destroy it, she takes every possible moment to REVEL in the terror by constantly dropping and raising her drill to scare everyone. When she finally decides to just get to it, she has her robots grab Sylvia and hold her down. Why? So that she can force Wander to watch as she DRIVES HER DRILL DIRECTLY THROUGH HIS BEST FRIEND'S BODY. And remember, she has nothing against Sylvia. The only reason Dominator has for killing her in such a horrifying way is that it would crush Wander's spirit. THAT'S how evil she is. All while making a callback to her Villain Song.
    I destroy your best friend and I watch you CRY!
    • Earlier, while Wander is fleeing Dominator, he sees Sylvia in the hall. As he runs towards her her head gets blown off by Dominator! Of course almost immediately afterwards it's revealed to be an ice statue Dominator made just to screw with Wander, but that just shows how absolutely DESPICABLE she is. She tricked Wander into thinking she had MURDERED his best friend just so she could laugh at him.
    • The final shot of the episode, and the series unless the #SaveWOY campaign succeeds. A crashed space capsule with an AMERICAN FLAG, crackling with Hater's signature green lightning. Hater's laughter is heard, along with the sound of monkeys screeching...and that's it.
  • According to writer Frank Angones, season 3 was supposed to introduce a new threat to the galaxy, one that is apparently MORE DANGEROUS THAN DOMINATOR. Considering that Dominator pretty much destroyed the entire galaxy, one can only imagine how horrible this new threat must be...
    "Dominator knew how to exploit everyone’s weaknesses. The S3 villain knew how to exploit everyone’s strengths."


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