Follow TV Tropes

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


Nightmarefuel / Codename: Kids Next Door

Go To
How scary can an old man be?

What's too scary for kids nowadays? Just because it's the Kids Next Door doesn't mean the show's not willing to make even the most stoic and badass of both Kids and adults shiver in fear. Suddenly getting decommisioned doesn't sound so bad.

  • If you take it at face-value, really, the whole setting of the show is creepy as hell. It presents a world where children and adults are at war - not openly, but in every little way, fighting each other for control. Adults are portrayed as being, at best, apathetic or bumbling idiots, and far more commonly as hostile forces out to hurt, torment or even kill children. Worse still, adulthood is itself presented as inherently evil; the Kids Next Door organization is even forced to use Laser-Guided Amnesia on any of its own members who get too old, as otherwise they will turn their knowledge and skill against the children they once fought to protect. It's a seething cauldron of paranoia and hate that establishes every loving, happy family as just a lie, a facade upheld to preserve the frail masquerade of civilization. Especially because, in addition to all of the adults portrayed as willing to hurt or kill children? There are extremist children who want to do the exact same thing to the adults.
    • Whilst the episode A.R.C.H.I.V.E. is contentious for just how much, if any, of it can be taken seriously, if you do take the basic facts as being presented accurately, then it just makes the setting even worse. In this world, adulthood truly is an aberration; children created adults artificially... as a Slave Race. But eventually the laziness and greed of the children caused them to abuse their creations too extensively, and they Turned Against Their Masters; ultimately, through a combination of superior work-drive and tougher construction, the adults took over the world. They offered the children a chance at peace, creating the first families as part of interracial cooperation... and then betrayed children by creating school and other institutions to render them into the slaves.
      • This episode, of course, leaves one question unanswered: if the two races aren't related, why do kids turn into adults over time? The closest thing to a concrete answer the show has given us is bone-chilling if taken straight: adulthood is a form of a biological weapon that the adults use to ensure the war between their races can never end.
  • A.R.C.H.I.V.E. Is a fairly dramatic (if slightly comical) parody of "The Second Renaissance", which in-it of itself is rather scary. And just as it seems everything is going to be fine, the tone suddenly shifts to this violent bombardment of hostile imagery, psudeo-gory objects, screaming and a scare chord. Thank god Uno's teacher stopped it before it got out of hand.
  • The Delightful Children are terrifying when you know who they really are, and what happened to them. They used to be Sector Z, until they were captured by Father himself, and put them through such rigorous torture (or as he puts it, Delightfulization) to the point that's it's quite literally IMPOSSIBLE to turn them back (any attempts are just temporary). To think that such honorable members of the KND have been turned into such monsters is not only scary, but you have to think of what kind of treatment Father put five ten year olds through, not to mention that the delightfulization was so intense that they work as one being.
  • Heinrich Von Marzipan, Numbuh Five's nemesis, trying to dunk a live rabbit in molten chocolate. Terrifying. Even worse when he soon after tries to dunk Abigail herself into the molten chocolate. And Heinrich used to WORK WITH Abigail before! And then Heinrich fell into the chocolate and became an eldritch abomination! And finally, the fact that Heinrich is really a pretty little girl!
  • Even though he's a minor villain, Chester has perpetrated some of the most extreme acts of Nightmare Fuel in the series against not only KND operatives but regular innocent children as well. Worse off he doesn't do it out of pure insanity like most villains on the show, but out of unbridled greed and apathy towards sacrificing children to make a buck.
    • In Operation C.A.M.P., Chester held innocent children against their will to use child labor to produce lanyards and wallets at low prices as part of a moneymaking scheme. He then revealed he brainwashed them to become his slaves and had them attack Sector V before trying to kill Bradley the baby skunk by throwing him into a lake.
    • In Operation: F.A.S.T.-F.O.O.D., Chester enacted what was possibly his most despicable plan ever (and possibly the most gruesome operation of any villain in the entire series): opening a fast food restaurant called Burger Frenzy, where kids visiting the restaurant would be captured and used as the meat on burgers which are then sold to sharks to be eaten. He nearly succeeds in having Numbuh 3 sold to sharks and would have continued on with other innocent kids if he hadn't been stopped.
    • In Operation: U.T.O.P.I.A.., Chester created the "Happy Headband", which trapped the victim in a virtual reality in which they experienced a personal paradise. He intended to sell it to parents as a product designed to keep children under control by basically brainwashing children into believing they're in a dream world. When Numbuh One was captured and placed in a dream world, Chester revealed himself by manifesting his head and face on all the people in the dream world to attack Numbuh 1.
    • In Operation: S.A.F.A.R.I., Chester disguised himself as a doctor who gives vaccination shots for "Moosebumps". However, he later reveals shots he gives to kids actually cause Moosebumps, which literally turns the victim into a moose. Chester intended to saw off the antlers of his victims and use them to make "Chester's Marvelous Moosicles". This turned out to be a story Numbuh 1 made up to keep himself from going to the doctor for real. Or is it...?
  • The Crazy Old Cat Lady in her first appearance, what with her merging her cats together and all.
  • The android duplicate of the fourth grade president sent by the Delightful Children in P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T. comes off as unsettling considering its notable Voice of the Legion that combines the president's voice with the already legion voice of the Delightful Children. In addition to its glowing red eyes. Not to mention it's real face after its skin was ripped off after being struck in the face with a phone.
  • Bradley's accident in Operation: H.O.S.P.I.T.A.L. He's hit by a car and mortally injured, while on an undercover mission to spy on Numbuh 5's older sister, Cree. What's worse is that we get to see how he got first person. Good news, he was sent to a hospital. Bad news, a team of surgeons, including Numbuh 5's dad, failed to save his life. Even worse, the hospital was the base of Cree's current operations. The way she managed to pick off Sector V one-by-one is terrifying, especially when this happens in a hospital. Not to mention Cree tried to "scramblify" Bradley's brain with a power drill hidden inside the head of a Rainbow Monkey toy before she found out he was a skunk, meaning she was fully willing to possibly kill a gravely injured child in his hospital bed.
    • R.O.B.O.-B.R.A.D.L.E.Y is terrifying himself. Half of his body is replaced with cybernetics and he managed to defeat Cree in a one-sided battle. In Operation S.I.X., he has combs for claws that can carve wood.
    • In the same episode, right before Bradley's reveal Numbah 3 tries to defend him from Cree - and gets a laser to the gut. In one of the few times someone actually seems seriously wounded by a direct hit on-screen, an overhead shot of the room shortly afterwards just shows her twitching and clutching her stomach in pain on the opposite side of the room. If Cree hadn't been so focused on scramblifying Bradley (who promptly hands Cree her butt on a plate), Numbah 3 was very likely in a position to outright be finished off.
  • Father, at least before his Villain Decay.
    "It appears you just aren't ready for the adult world, Mr. Uno. I believe it was time you were... FIRED!"
    • The peak of his villainy was the episode where he turns most of the KND into into animals. It's...not pretty. Just ask Abby, who, while being turned into a Gazelle, is screaming in agony. The others promptly follow suit.
    • In the Grand Finale, he gets so angry from his house being invaded and something stolen from under his nose that he transforms into a DRAGON. And the ending suggests that he's gotten so pissed that his Villain Decay has been totally reversed and he is a serious threat again.
  • Grandfather. Sure, Father was scary, Grandfather takes it to another level. Sure, he's got some humor, but overall, he's just scary. To elaborate, he's capable of turning anyone he touches into a citizombie...which naturally have the same ability as well. He's even capable of zombifying the world in a sense, turning it into a colorless world with tapioca factories for KND treehouses. His reign was implied to have been like one big old time Child Labor sweatshop taken Up to Eleven.
    • In the same film, Numbuh 362 getting infected. Yes, even Numbuh 362 is helpless against the senior citizombies, who proceed to infect her and turn her into one of them. Not to mention that while most of the Senior Citizombie transformations are frightening, hers was probably the most so because it was seen from her perspective. The shot in question involved a zombified Numbuh 60 with smirking sadistically and putting his hand over her face to transform her. Imagine everything going to black for a moment and then becoming evil when it cleared up. It's pretty easy to feel her fear. This only shows just how dangerous the senior citizombies are, as even the harmless Toiletnator can effortlessly induce infection with a simple touch.
    • The backstory is even more nightmarish when you consider Grandfather actually ruled the world. What the hell did he do to have been able to topple every government in the world?!
      • Presumably same thing he did in the present, turned most of the adults into Senior Citizombies and enslaved the kids to be slave labor.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean parody episode. Somehow, turning into licorice skeletons seems scarier than turning into regular ol' skeletons. And that's not mentioning what happens to them when the sun comes up...
    • Also, consider poor poor Heinrick's position. He's kidnapped by the Black Licorice Pirates because he stole the Licorice seed needed to break their curse. They find out he ate it, so what do they do? Bury Heinrich, pour soda on him, and wait for the seed to grow in his stomach! One can only guess what would happen to him if it grew all the way.
      • And then comes the scene when the seed does start to grow! We get the image of red roots growing out of Heinrick's ears, nose, and mouth!
  • Operation P.O.O.L.'s premise: Numbuh 1 discovers Numbuh 4's pool has become a portal to a parallel dimension. One where not only do adults play and kids work, but the KND, or rather DNK, Destructively Nefarious Kids, are the tyrants running the world. And everyone here is the opposite. examples: Negative Numbuh 1 is a sniveling coward, Negative Numbuh 5 is a dork, Father is a good guy, and Negative Numbuh 4 is an evil genius running the whole thing!
    • The S.P.L.A.T.T.L.E., the only named weapon used by the DNK. It already looks more immediately deadly than anything the KND have, having two types of drills and some kind of pincer attached to a more noticeably high-end piece of tech, but then you hear what it stands for: Smart-alecky Prisoner Lobotomizing Apparatus Terrifyingly Tortures Loser Enemy. That's right, the DNK lobotomize their foes. Even the voice that states the acronym is noticeably more menacing than the one that does so with the KND's gear.
    • The other world takes Adult Fear to a whole new level! Adults don't even look after kids. In fact, it's a complete role reversal. Adults act like spoiled kids and kids are forced to work like miserable adults.
  • Cree's Berserker Rage in Operation V.I.R.U.S.
    • In an attempt to get revenge for the chicken pox outbreak, the KND infects Cree with a contagious disease. It's actually a giant pimple so big, she has to cover it with her hair.
    • What the KND didn't expect was Cree going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge while searching for Abby.
      • In retaliation, she unleashed Patient C before leaving the KND Scientific Research Sea Base.
      • She then interrogates Numbuh 1 by TURNING THE ENTIRE SECTOR V TREEHOUSE UPSIDE DOWN!!
      • Cree tortures Numbuh 2, to the point where she shoots the cables off his parachute to make him fall to his death faster.
      • While interrogating Numbuhs 3 and 4, her timer goes off. She lets out a Skyward Scream so loud, the ground below her cracks.
  • The delightfulization process. Can you imagine being permanently brainwashed into being evil?! There's also the fact that you're probably alive and aware throughout the entire ordeal and maybe even afterward...
  • Numbuh Three when she's pissed. She's just plain scary, especially her appearance. And her anger gives a whole new meaning to Beware the Nice Ones.
    • When she's almost made into a burger and served to a minivan full of sharks. Sounds hilarious? Guess again.
    • Operation H.O.T.S.T.U.F.F. gave her pyrokinetic abilities that rivaled Father's and the appearance of a demon. She's also way more villainous than usual in this episode.
  • Speaking of Operation H.O.T.S.T.U.F.F., the fact that Kuki's entire house turns into an active volcano just for touching the thermostat to make things hotter is creepy by itself. The visuals are not nice.
  • The show gets a large portion of its Nightmare Fuel from Fridge Horror and Adult Fear. Adults who enslave their children? Corrupt Corporate Executives that can and WILL kidnap your kids for cheap extraterrestrial labor? Dean Bitterman, the Scary Librarian, and even the Evil Teacher taken Up to Eleven? LICE THAT CAN GROW TO BE THE SIZE OF SMALL CARS? It's a GOOD thing the Kids Next Door is in charge, or the world would be a serious Crapsack World, and NOT JUST FOR THE KIDS...
  • The fourth grade class president shoving the reprogrammed boyfriend helmet, The Yes-Dear 5000, onto Lizzie's skull as it fuses with her head!!
    • The fact that in Operation L.I.Z.Z.I.E. it's revealed they mass produce and sell those helmets in magazine ads! The effects of the helmet actually become permanent as the helmet fuses with the victim's head.
  • Operation P.O.P., where kids are being shoved into giant bottles of root beer. It's played very seriously.
    • Numbuhs One and Four had it worse. They both got shoved into a bottle meant for one person.
    • What's worse is that in real-life, these kids would undoubtedly die a very painful death from suffocation or simply because their organs were crushed from being in such a confined space. Thank god for cartoon physics.
  • In Operation N.A.U.G.H.T.Y, um....well... let's just say there's a VERY good reason why only Santa is allowed to use the REINDEER System.
  • The Chicken Pox. As in, living chicken heads grow out of your face.
  • The Delightful Children From Down The Lane. Even without knowing their backstory, they're still creepy regardless. Especially the episode when one of them pretended to join the KND, after he revealed his true nature and rejoined the Delightful Children, he simply... slid into place *shudder*. Adding to the fact they talk in unison like a Hive Mind, as if the writers were thinking "You know the Children of the Damned? Let's see how far we can emulate that while still keeping a G rating".
  • The episode where Count Spankula turns Numbuh One into a spanking vampire. The entire treehouse is on lockdown til sunrise, it takes place in the middle of the night, and the colors change to a deep red, while the kids are stalked and picked off one by one, without even seeing who is after them.
  • The recent teaser shows Numbah One seriously contemplating whether he should do something drastic to Earth because it's too overrun with adults. Whatever it is, Chad is there and freaking out, and he even reminds him of all the innocent people who live there, seemingly trying to avoid serious collateral damage. It's all for naught, as One goes through and prepares to bring havoc to Earth, egged on by his new peers in the GKND. What the heck happened to Nigel during his time in space?
    • The fact he is willing to potentially kill the rest of Sector V, people who he loves so much.
    • Even scarier is the Rainbow Monkey website that leads into the G:KND ARG, where you can input names of characters, groups and places to get responses. What happens when you input 'Father'? DANGER DANGER DANGER Yeah, even the GALACTIC KIDS NEXT DOOR is scared of the guy, continuing the suggestion from the series finale that his Villain Decay has finally reversed thanks to his Berserk Button getting pushed enough.
    • The implications are profoundly terrifying, too. Basically, the GKND are the Nazis, except the target of their genocide is everyone over 13, not the Jews. Is more than 66% of your species' population over 13? Bam. Your entire race is massacred, whether your life expectancy is 25 years or 1,200 years, no ifs, ands, or buts. The entire Universe can be inferred to be one giant Crapsack World, and it's all the GKND's fault. Just like Numbah 3 said, "Holy BEEP!"
  • Operation S.A.T.U.R.N. was a creepy episode all in it's own. The whole backstory for Ramon-4 is just creepy in it's own. For context, it's the robotic remains of a space experiment that after being shot into space, had its plush and fur rot away, joined with other floating space junk and developed god like powers. Creepy...
    • Ramon-4's origin. He was the end result of a race between the United States and the Soviet Union to create the perfect Rainbow Monkey: the Rainbow Monkey 4-Ever. What came out of it was a Rainbow Monkey doll with an unlimited supply of energy to play all day, feelings like a real child would and a sentient mind. The US scientists toiled for many years to create a Rainbow Monkey in their own image. Unfortunately, they succeeded. The doll turned out to be so ugly, no child ever wanted it. So, the scientists sent it to space to hide their mistake. However, the doll's sentience resulted in it feeling nothing but anger and sadness for its rejection. When it became powerful enough, it used its powers to steal children's Rainbow Monkeys, for if no child could love it, no Rainbow Monkey would be loved. Numbuh 3 feels sorry for Ramon-4 when she hears this story.
  • Operation W.H.I.T.E.H.O.U.S.E. takes place in a bad future where Numbuh One is the President of the United States, and is about to sign "The Bill of No Rights for Kids". The only thing discussed is how it would lead to the dissolution of the KND, but it gets much, MUCH worse. The bill would essentially strip children of their basic human rights, and reclassify them as inhuman at the least, and "life unworthy of life" at the most. And that's not even getting into the likelihood of the bill plunging the United States into another, much more devastating civil war that could spill over and start World War III. Fortunately, the whole episode was All Just a Dream.
  • In Operation: C.A.K.E.D.-F.I.V.E., a Kids Next Door operative from the 1800s is thawed out after having been frozen in an ice cream explosion for over a hundred years. This is terrifying when you realize that everyone he ever knew is long dead (including his parents and any siblings he may have had), and he will have to adjust to life in a world that has changed so much that he is now entirely unfamiliar with it. His decommissioning might have helped in that it would have removed some memories of his previous life, but he still would remember non-KND related things.
  • Operation G.H.O.S.T. becomes this with the inclusion of the ghosts of dead hamsters that once powered Sector V's treehouse. After Kuki's beloved hamster Chubbo dies, she and the gang bury him in the yard below before Kuki wishes she could take care of Chubbo after his death. The ghosts of past hamsters then rise from their afterlife to haunt and drag Kuki back to the hamster afterlife to care for the hamster ghosts for all eternity. After she refuses, the ghost afterlife instantly becomes chaotic and the hamster ghosts become enraged snarling ghouls that attempt to chase down and kill Kuki and her friends. After they escape, the ghosts rise from Chubbo's grave to become a large snarling hamster ghoul to finish off Sector V, but are quickly warded off and appeased using soda fired by the hamsters living the Treehouse.
  • Three words. GREAT. WHITE. ASPARAGUS. Sounds ridiculous? Well, in addition to looking like a worm-like creature that simply should not 'exist', its basically Bruce the Shark, but with much less restraint. What puts it above most creatures that usually menace kids in cartoons? It does indeed devour all the 5 KND operatives, sans Abby at the last minute. The ocean is certainly a better place when Stickybeard kills off the thing and frees the eaten operatives.
  • The climax of the first part of Operation G.R.O.W.-U.P. It's dark, raining, and Sector V is caught completely off guard by the Delightful Children's Really Really Incredibly Destructive Machine. Our heroes use everything they got to fight back, but they all fail. That's when they capture Numbuh One and turn him into an adult. Oh, and the Delightful Children just smash the giant treehouse onto the ground when they are finished!
    Delightful Children: So much for the Kids Next Door and their glorious leader! (laugh maniacally as they smash the treehouse)
  • Operation T.R.E.A.T.Y. already has one of the most visceral battles in the show between Numbuh 1 and Chad, but then Numbuh Infinity, who the cast had suspected of being a Splinter Cell operative selling the Kids Next Door out to the teenagers but was ultimately found innoncent, stops Chad from spilling the beans about the Galactic Kids Next Door, walks on floating platforms made from seemingly nothing, and promptly uses the booger salute method with Chad to essentially teleport out of there. The cast are so caught off-guard that everyone is left speechless. While the story had been building up to Numbuh One being selected for something, this came out of nowhere altogether.
    • It also comes with the strong twist that Chad was The Mole for the Kids Next Door the entire time, except answering to the Galactic Kids Next Door - meaning no one on Earth or the Moon Base knew about his role. The fact is that Chad had more than enough opportunities to destroy the KND from the inside-out if he so wished, and relented or seemingly suffered from Badass Decay solely because he wasn't an actual enemy. Just how many other teens or even mere kids are part of the GKND with no one aware, as evidenced by Lizzie DeVine?
  • Operation: V.I.D.E.O.G.A.M.E. has the Dentadrones, Knightbrace's minions. For one, these are Brainwashed and Crazy children, being controlled by the braces they wear. Their faces have a permanent expression of pain, they run with a Zombie Gait, make animalistic noises when they attack you up close, and, when they are defeated, they might not stay down, getting up after lying on the ground completely still for a few seconds with their braces sparking with electricity and making disgusting-sounding noises. Both of the levels they are fought in (a nighttime neighborhood and Knightbrace's cave) are also dark and full of narrow corridors, with you playing as Numbuh 3 and being completely defenseless in the former until you get the 2x4 Gadget for the level, while in the latter they tend to drop from the ceiling to ambush you.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: