Follow TV Tropes

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

Following

Nightmare Fuel / Western Animation TV

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_tumblr_lrjh9sdk661qlyejg_6485.jpg

The Japanese don't hold a complete monopoly on mind-warping animated horror...


Sub-pages:


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.

  • The Animals of Farthing Wood: Several of the main animal characters were killed off during the journey: shot by hunters, cooked as meal, run over by a car,... Highly traumatic since it seemed to be a general TV series about cute talking animal characters from the start, but actually the makers strived for realistic death scenes.
  • "Attack Of The Giant Vulture" a Nickelodeon short features a cartoony yet creepy vulture who chases three girls around New York with the intention to eat them. The ''Psycho'' Strings which play when he attacks the girl in the beginning are creepy too. There's also the ending where the girls defeat and eat the bird.
  • 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 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 80's 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.
  • There was one episode of Extreme Dinosaurs 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.
  • [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 a 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, and 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 ˇMucha 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). That scene scared the shit out of me when I was young.
    • Also The Gross-Up Close-Up and Nausea Fuel of The Flea's rotten teeth. It scared me when I was 8 or 9 years old.
    • Watch Out for El Malefico, Misterioso Grande, The Masked Toilet and the other villains they might try or may might scare, injured,hurt or even kill you.
  • 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.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast had the episode "Girl Hair" which features Santa Claus transforming into an Eldritch Abomination known as "Bizarro Santa."
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Wonder Showzen is really scary. From the initial warning that this show isn't some happy little Sesame Streetwith horror movie trailer music/screaming in the background, to its creepy little opening involving footage of someone chucking knives at a little girl and creepy, jerky animation with pictures of nuclear explosions among other things. And don't even try and ask about the sketches (which is even more disturbing since these are real children between the ages of 5-8 saying and doing some of the stuff that's on this show)...
    • In one scene, they torched an actual beetle and showed its death throes.
    • There was an episode where, for no reason, they showed a time lapse shot of a dead fox decomposing.
  • The Wuzzles has the episode "Bumblelion and the Terrified Forest", an episode which has a goofy swashbuckler pastiche as its theme suddenly switches out of nowhere to a horror movie pastiche.
    • Butterbear is kidnapped by dingbats and spirited away to the castle of the "vampire witch of the Terrified Forest", which itself is a creepy fate, given that both Bumblelion and Hoppo are visibly terrified of the notion.
    • The dingbats themselves; horrible humanoid wolf-like creatures with bat-like wings and exaggerated, vampire-like fangs. Despite being characteristic bungling goofs, they are shown to have a distinct sadistic streak, as shown when they sabotage a bridge over a ravine that almost kills Hoppo when it gives way under her.
    • The first thing that Bumblelion and Hoppo see when they enter the Terrified Forest is a sign pointing the way to the vampire witch's castle, with some creepy "faced trees" in the background. When Bumblelion tries to boast that he's not scared, those trees come to life, speaking in a groaning voice that sounds like a chorus of damned souls. The camera zooms in close on their horrible faces - gaping, twisted mouths paired with deep, skull-like eyes - as they warn the Wuzzles to turn back before starting up a chorus of moans that encourages the two Wuzzles to beat feet.
    • After they get past the aforementioned sabotaged bridge, Bumblelion and Hoppo find themselves attacked by a swarm of starving piranhakeets - imagine flying cartoon piranhas.
    • Just getting into the vampire witch's castle requires getting past a moat full of ferocious crocodile-boar monsters.
    • The sequence when Bumblelion and Hoppo are exploring the vampire witch's castle, separated from other and trying to stealthily explore the creepy place (complete with portraits whose eyes move to follow them) whilst avoiding the attention of the monstrous gorrantula that's stalking them. It's especially tense because Transylvia, the vampire witch who used to reside there, had explicitly mentioned the last six people she'd sent to the castle to retrieve the butterberries she needs to defeat the gorrantula, had never made it back alive.
    • Then there's the episode's climax; Hoppo, being at the top tower whilst Bumblelion is on the ground outside, decides to have some fun and play a little Damsel in Distress routine - completely unaware that the gorrantula is right behind her. Which then leads us to finally seeing the monster in the flesh: a disembodied Killer Gorilla head scuttling about on eight spider's legs. One big enough to swallow Hoppo whole. No wonder Transylvia packed her stuff and left rather than face the thing without a shrinking potion!
  • One Terry Toon cartoon, Little Audrey; Audrey is over-indulging in sweets, and gets warned by her mother 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 forced-fed into her mouth. She wakes up, learning her lesson.
  • 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, got Hoist by His Own Petard, but it doesn't lessen the Nightmare Fuel.

Top