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Nightmare Fuel / Western Animation

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There's a reason it's called Deadtime Stories...
Terror all around you, and we've just begun
You'll be a trembling helpless lump of fear when we are done
Grim unearthly creatures flaunting nauseating features
Make for ghastly midnight screechers,
You'll be speechless but for AAAAAAAAAHH!!!
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Japan and the big screen don't hold a complete duopoly on mind-warping animated horror...


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Individual examples:

Make sure the example you're adding is not already in one of the series listed above. If it is, please add it to that specific page.

Examples below are in alphabetical order. Please provide context or an explanation for your example, and do not simply add a link to a video of a scene you found scary.

    Individual Examples 
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: In "Octopede Sailors", there is a shipwreck scene that could be considered this. In the scene, a young Grubby is swept away by a wave after attempting to save his dad. It doesn't help that there was a Commercial Break Cliffhanger right after Grubby drowns.
  • The educational short "Age of Mammals" features some rather gruesome stop-motion animation of prehistoric mammals, including an Eohippus getting caught by a predatory flightless bird and shook around like a rag-doll, or a Smilodon taking down a hapless Megatherium and triumphantly baring its bloody fangs.
  • In two episodes of the 2006 Biker Mice from Mars series Stoker changes into an aggressive, insane rat-like creature called Stoker Rat by the light of the sun due to the effects of radiation.
  • The episode of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot named "Birthday Bash" where a "fusing" ray strikes Rusty's gradeschool teacher against the wall, fusing her into it so she looks like a distorted—and completely inanimate—life-size wall plaque, arms splayed to the side in terror.
  • The Spanish CGI shorts series Clanners has the alternate form of Débora, an adorable slug-like creature who crazes to eat. Other than having a big red Mad Eye, she eats in an instant monstrous form where she bases in (or stretches through) her big can hat and has blank white eyes and a large mouth with sharp teeth, not to mention the less cute voice and quicker movement. One of the shorts has a frightening presentation of this form.
  • If you were an '80s kid and grew up in either Latin America, Europe or Turkey, you will probably remember a French-Japanese cartoon called Clementine. But if you don't remember the entire series, you will certainly remember two things about it. One being the catchy opening song and the other, the scary, nightmare indulging villain: a demon called Malmoth. He was a humanoid fire demon with a permanent Nightmare Face who was so obsessed with the titular character, a 10-year old handicapped girl, that he wanted to kill her to keep her soul forever. And whenever his human minions failed their mission, he punished them by turning them into worms, rats and other ugly animals with human heads to boil them alive. He also had the creepiest theme music ever. Here you can find some of his best moments, in french though. And this was a kids show, by the way.
  • In The Cramp Twins, "Holesome" is easily one of the most disturbing episodes, as it features Mrs Cramp becoming a Mad Scientist obsessed with testing a home-made cleaning product on her own family, which greatly terrifies the boys. When she finally succeeds in using it on Lucien's blouse, it gets a hole in it, then burns down completely. Her complete lack of sympathy and obliviousness to how dangerous her product is, despite having the property to burn things, is what make this episode disturbing.
    Mrs Cramp: (with a frightening voice) Yes, Lucien. It made made a nice clean hole. I must be working in the right direction. (Laughs maniacally, as Lucien runs away in terror)
  • There was an episode of Extreme Dinosaurs called "The Weresaur" that featured the heroes investigating the appearance of some kind of dinosaur-like creature that was terrorizing miners. A blind miner tells them the legend of the creature, how it was a miner who fell down a shaft, and came into the lair of a giant, Cockatrice-Dragon-Apatosaurus thing, that attacked him to protect its eggs. He escapes, wounded by venom from its mouth/scratch from a claw, and is able to make it out of the mine. Right as he does though, the full moon appears, and he turns into a human version of the same monster.
  • Freaky Stories. Several episodes, including the accidental eating of defecation via gas-siphon, and a visit to the weiner factory.
    • The episode where a couple buys a mansion and finds they have a barrel of wine the previous owner never got rid of. Said couple enjoys the wine profusely, until it runs dry... And they open it up, finding a mummified corpse. As a lot of episodes are based on urban legends, but often slightly softened because it's aimed at a younger audience, it can also be very unnerving to encounter the same story you remember from years ago with a much different, much gorier ending.
    • One episode is a musical version of the urban legend about the escaped madman with the hook hand, and the couple in the car who find his hook attached to their car door after they've driven away from the lover's lane. The fact that it was sung rather than told made it all the creepier, and the tale gives her the creeps to this day as a result.
    • The telling of the urban legend about the recently escaped psycho killer hiding under the bed of a fearless little girl who's home alone is another scary moment. She hears a strange howling sound and lowers her hand by the floor and receives a reassuring licking from her dog. After a few times she checks what the noise is and finds it's her dog, locked in the basement. She looks out the window and sees the maniac running away, yelling "Humans can lick too." In most versions of the story the dog is killed and the line is written in it's blood. However, the fact that a maniac would hide under a little girl's bed and do nothing but lick her hand a few times is possibly creepier.
  • The vein transplant scene in the I Am Weasel episode "Plant Life". Ewww.
  • Kevin Spencer:
    • In "Invisible Sociopath", Percy sells Kevin out to the Quebec Mafia because he slept with one of the members' wives (and so that he can get a reward for ratting out the person). Kevin fakes suicide and ends up using the ID for Renaldo Sanchez, who was also wanted by the mafia. Kevin doesn't realize this until a member of the mafia asks Kevin if he knows anyone named Renaldo, and Kevin tells the man his name is Renaldo, which leads to him getting beaten senseless and then crushed by a hoist six times. Once he comes to, he tells the mafia that he is Kevin Spencer. And because Kevin has a bigger bounty than that of Renaldo, the members of the mafia decide to send him to their boss (but not before he gets crushed by the hoist again).
    • "The Tomb", where Kevin, Percy, and a man named Vernon have to fight off zombies underground. At the end, Percy gives Vernon a pat on the back, which pushes Vernon underground into the tomb (a thud is heard when he hits the ground). It ends with Kevin and Percy hightailing it out as an explosion occurs.
    • In "The Cruise", Kevin hits the man that nursed him back to life over the head with a shank of lumber (figuring "that oughta straighten things out"), which kills him. It ends with Kevin laughing (the first instance where we see his teeth), as the background music changes from tropical to creepy.
    • The ending of "The Talented Mr. Spencer", where a man goes to a live stripper tent to be greeted by a non-human stripper that chokes him with her tail, all while the man screams in pain.
    "Hey, I ain't payin' extra for this."
    • In "Jacked In", Kevin gets stuck inside the VR game by Snakepit Multimedia because Percy used a bottlecap instead of a quarter. Percy is then sent inside the get Kevin out, and the company ends up leaving them in there for days, being more concerned about their image as opposed to saving their customers. In the end, they have Shauna turn off the power to the machines, and she does so by unplugging the machines, which leaves them damaged.
    • "Big Ass Spooky Halloween":
      • Anastasia's story involves a homicidal maniac escaping for the insane asylum while she is on a date with Dirk. It gets creepy when, while waiting for Dirk, she sees what appears to be the corpse of Dirk hanging from a tree.
      • Percy's story involves him discovering the town of Revenant while in Northern Ontario. While at the bar, one man warns him to get out of town before the sun goes down, or else he'll never be allowed to leave. His story ends with the man being kidnapped by the zombie townspeople.
    • Greg Lawrence in "Merry Christmas, Asshole!" is portrayed as a horrible boss who mistreats his staff and plans to keep them at the studio during Christmas. The staff then attempts to kill him with booze, which doesn't work, which is then followed by one crew member suggesting to Greg that he get in insulin shot, which Greg dies from. You can't say that he didn't deserve to die, but his reactions to the insulin, alongside the creepy music, makes this one of the more realistic deaths in the show. To make matters worse, none of the staff members even care that they killed their boss, given how the episode ends with all of them kicking Greg's lifeless body.
    • At the beginning of "Quest", Kevin scares Percy with a naked picture of Anastasia (which Percy calls a "man-beast"), which scares him to the point where he has a heart attack. It's played for laughs, but here, Percy is legitimately in pain. To make matters worse, Percy begs for Kevin to get the puke bucket, and Kevin tells his dad that he will only call for help if he remembered or started caring. Percy also doesn't appear in the episode beyond this point.
    • Anastasia slowly going insane from Kevin and Percy not picking up the phone in "Demolition Derby", culminating with her wrecking the entire house with a chainsaw. The episode ends with Anastasia chasing Percy around the wreckage with the chainsaw as they both scream.
    Anastasia: GET THE PHONE!
    • In "Homunculus", Kevin gets hit by a lawn dart which goes right through his skull. Not only that, but we're treated to a graphic description of the lawn dart going through his brain, and also a slow-motion replay of the dart going to the bottom of his jaw.
  • Adult Swim's Korgoth of Barbaria may consist of just the pilot, but that pilot alone contains enough gore and mayhem for ten more programs.
  • The Little Engine That Could is a cute half an hour kids' film based on a short story. With the exception of a short 20 seconds segment towards the end that features a creepy talking cliff that sounds like some sort of demon from the depths of hell. Even if you don't remember the film, you're likely to remember the nightmares that thing gave you.
  • Liquid Television had many disturbing shorts, but one that stands out is The Wonder Hospital is a trippy animated short film about a little girl with a crooked nose wandering into this mysterious hospital and is convinced that they can fix her nose after seeing their before/after ads, and goes through the hospital to reach her surgery room, seeing all sorts of unsettling sights and characters before she gets operated on by bunch of puppet doctors. The Twist Ending is that they don't fix her at all, they make her look worse. The worst part is that you don't get to see what her face actually looks like from the front, only from the behind, and to top it off you can hear her bones clacking and her muscles stretching around inside her messed-up face.
  • Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil has a literal nightmare generator, disguised as calming sleep music, where The Devil himself comes to two main characters in their dreams with a fake accent, finds out their fears, and then tries to kill them through the dreams.
  • Martin Mystery had lots of creepy stuff like Martin being possessed by the alien creature Gastromo and being turned into something that reminds one of The Exorcist, or the episode where the shadowy creatures capture almost everyone on Earth.
  • The Maxx is much scarier in its animated form than as a comic. For example, the bit of Deranged Animation that happens when The Maxx exits through the wrong door in Julie's subconscious.
  • It's probably a good thing that Megas XLR ended early, because it got pretty sadistic in its later episodes. One scene in particular has Coop and Jamie being forced to watch a robot being thrown into a crusher, loudly screaming in agony. Note that this scene goes on for about half a minute, transitioning from the robot being violently crushed to a very disturbed Coop and Jamie.
  • There was an episode of ¡Mucha Lucha! that ends with The Flea getting ready to burn the polar ice caps. As he is about to set them on fire, a devil appears on his shoulder (in the typical angel and devil fashion) telling him "Do it! Do it!" Then another one appears, saying the same thing, and then The Flea laughs sinisterly as the camera cuts to a black screen with the words "THE END" appearing in flames.
    • One episode began with The Flea eating things he is not supposed to. Buena Girl says something like "You shouldn't eat that! It's bad for your digestive system!" It then cuts to a freaky and disturbing X-ray shot of The Flea as he is eating (his skeleton and organs are all visible). Also, the Gross-Up Close-Up of The Flea's rotten teeth.
  • The late-night Cartoon Network anthology O Canada. Between the creepy noise/sound reverb, freaky visuals, and either no dialogue or the equivalent to "Sim Speak", what made O Canada even worse was that it was shown in the wee hours of the morning. Possibly even the last thing you saw before going to sleep. Yeah...
  • The opening for the old French educational cartoon called Once upon a time... man. You follow the evolution of the human race, then its technological advances, and the end of the sequence shows the Earth exploding after a rocket blasts off, killing a number of potential survivors who were running to it in panic. Bonus points for the music it's set to. See for yourself.
    • And have you seen the last episode of that series? It shifts from history to a documentary on the problems of modern world — pollution, consumerism, the arms racenote  — and where they could lead if left unchecked. The music, the tone, the imagery all make an excellent work of building up the anxiety. In short, it's the Earth-Shattering Kaboom from the opening, expanded to twenty minutes.
  • A video tape called Night-Time Tales. It was a compilation of short stories but the one that stood out was a story about some sort of Nightmare Man who came into people's dreams like Freddy Krueger and terrorized everyone. It was animated in really crazy neon-on-black colours and ended with the Nightmare Man being trapped in his own bad dreams for all eternity. The last shot was the man kneeling over in the fetal position, complete with really creepy music.
  • You would never think that Rankin/Bass Productions would be the one to do it, but their version of A Christmas Carol, The Stingiest Man in Town, features easily the freakiest version of the famous Marley-knocker scene from the story. The Nightmare Face it makes as it transforms falls under nothing short of horrifying.
  • Return to the Planet of the Apes: The opening sequence has a scary thunder/lightning scene with an ape soldiers face. But it also includes the upside down crucified figures that briefly appeared in the 1968 film. This opening was actually omitted in some syndicated airing of the cartoon.
  • Chuck Jones's special Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, based off the story from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, focuses on a mongoose that protects his human caregivers from the threat of snakes.
    • The first snake he kills is a Dust Brown Snake named Karet, who introduces himself by materializing out of the ground seemingly out of nowhere and whispering to a human child, "Be careful; I am death." The narration adds that his bite is just as dangerous as the cobras.
    • The cobra Nag, jealous of the humans' dominion over the garden, plots to bite the patriarch of the family in the bathroom by coiling around the base of a pot in the middle of the night and waiting until morning. What follows is a tense sequence of Rikki sneaking around and trying to find the best angle to strike from; when he finds it, his eyes gleam blood-red and he leaps down from above. The scuffle, unlike much of the rest of the cartoon, is treated very realistically with both Rikki and Nag thrashing about the room and knocking things over. No music. No dialogue. Just the sound of battle until the pattern on the back of Nag's hood fills the screen with a sudden burst of multi-colored light and a boom...before falling limply as he dies.
    • Nagaina, Nag's mate, later attempts to enact revenge by sneaking up on the family during breakfast and starts eyeing the boy's leg. While the humans freeze still in an attempt to dissuade the snake from biting, Nagaina hisses, "If you move, I strike, and if you do not move...I strike!" It takes Rikki threatening the life of Nagaina's last remaining egg for her to be distracted enough to pull away.
  • The all-but-forgotten 80s cartoon Sectaurs shows people graphically mutating into mutant lifeforms in the opening sequence. Maybe its a good thing that it only lasted 5 episodes.
  • There was actually an attempt to turn the trippy adult-themed comic Swamp Thing into a kid-friendly show. They did not succeed.
  • Toxic Crusaders, all about people hideously mutated by chemical or nuclear accidents. Considering that it's a cartoon about The Toxic Avenger, a character from a series of R-rated Troma films. It was softened by the sheer ridiculousness of their acceptance to the mutations. Still, Melvin's transformation into Toxie is rather frightening, especially as he screams to the people nearby for help as his skin seems to melt.
  • ''What A Cartoon Show. Tales of Worm Paranoia''. Considering it was done by some of the staff who worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show, it's not really surprising.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The White Seal: The first scene with the seal hunters — a faceless, hooded mob with red eyes who chase the seals onto the killing grounds by waving giant rattles in unison to the most foreboding music.
    • Then there's the scene where Kotik saves his fellow seals from being clubbed to death. Just seeing him charging down the snowy slope, honking madly and looking for all the world like a Monstrous Seal - no wonder the men were scared away.
    • And of course, there's the first scene of the killing grounds, a sandy beach covered with the skeletons of seals who were clubbed to death.
  • Wicked which was quite similar to Toxic Crusaders only with animals being mutated and the villain being Appleman.
    • Mutant League. Just the opening itself is freaky since it's one of those openings that shows how it all begin and we see the main character's skin melted off, turning him into a skeleton man. Seriously, was Quentin Tarantino working on this show between movies?
  • One Noveltoon, the early Little Audrey short "Butterscotch and Soda"; Audrey is over-indulging on sweets and gets warned by her nanny to cut down. She then has a sugar-induced nightmare where she is chased by candy demons. This dream ends where she is tied to a chair, and an endless stream of candy is force-fed into her mouth. She wakes up, learning her lesson. Here's the cartoon in question
    • Just before her dream, Audrey is looking around for candy when she pictures her bird as chocolate. The bird flies away, but its shadow turns into a bat and swoops on her. In response, Audrey backs away with a bloodcurdling scream. The scream being so loud can catch you off-guard, and the closeup of her face doesn't help matters. This scene is lifted from the part in The Lost Weekend where Don Birnam hallucinates a bat swooping down on a mouse.
  • Super 4 isn't normally known for Nightmare Fuel, but the episode of "The Song of the Stork" is one from start to finish. Zombified characters with glowing pink eyes asking for hugs speaking in a Hive Mind tone is creepy. The Big Bad, Wizard Fourchesac, gets Hoist by His Own Petard, but it doesn't lessen the Nightmare Fuel.
  • "Les bessones del carrer de Ponent", or, "The Twins of Sunset Street" is a horrifying tale of child abduction, abuse, and possible twincest told in a rather grimey style of stop-motion.
  • There was a short called "The Snow Man". Starts off really cutesy, with a human and his animal friends building a snowman and dancing around, but all hell breaks loose when the snowman comes to life and goes on a rampage. The snowman eats a fish whole along the way, but it's set free when the snowman melts at the end. All's well that ends well... until the fish lets out a sinister laugh that sounds exactly like the snowman.
    • There are a couple of other strange things in the short, like the fact that the animal skin the boy has on his bed for warmth comes to life and licks the boy's face, being just portrayed as an animal giving its owner a sweet good-night kiss. Later the boy is riding a polar bear and makes the animal come to a complete stop. As he does so, he grabs the polar bear's tail and pulls, which makes the skin and fur slide off the bear's body before snapping back, as if the fur and skin were just clothes. It's an old cartoon and was meant to be silly, but old cartoons did some creepy things back in the day, all without meaning to, thanks to the old cartoon rule of everything being sentient, goofy, happy and cute.

Alternative Title(s): Western Animation TV

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