Follow TV Tropes


Web Video / Nightmare Time

Go To

You can run, but are you fast enough?
You can hide, but I will find you.
Close your eyes if you don’t doze off.
Hold your breath so I don’t hear you.
The trail of tears that you will leave me
Will lead me straight to those that fear me.
You can run if I don't catch you,
But the nightmare time is gonna get you.

A special Halloween event. New tales of terror from the tiny town of Hatchetfield, read live by the casts of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday.

After the smash hit of Team Starkid's new Horror Comedy musical The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and its sequel Black Friday, fans were eagerly awaiting Nerdy Prudes Must Die, the third stage show in the Hatchetfield series of apocalyptic events overtaking a very unlucky tiny town in Michigan, as well as Workin' Boys, a Spin-Off Web Video short film (and Defictionalization of an extremely popular meme/in-joke from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals) about Breakout Character Prof. Henry Hidgens, which had been promised as a stretch goal for the Starkid 10th Anniversary Kickstarter.

Sadly, just as work would've started on Workin’ Boys and Nerdy Prudes Must Die, a minor apocalypse known as the COVID-19 Pandemic took over the country in Real Life, and Starkid had to change their plans.

Nightmare Time is a new entry into the increasingly popular medium in 2020 of "Zoomcasts", filmed Audio Dramas where we can see the performers (and they may have Zoom backgrounds, costumes, and minor props to help set the scene) but most of the visuals are left up to the viewers' imaginations. A throwback to classic Genre Anthology series like The Twilight Zone, each episode is a Double Feature of two roughly hour-long stories set in one of the many canonically-multiversal versions of the Town with a Dark Secret of Hatchetfield, Michigan, promising to slowly build on the "Hatchetfield lore" fans have accumulated from the first two stage shows and point to some sort of overarching Myth Arc for the series.

Nightmare Time premiered with its first episode, "Episode 1: The Hatchetfield Ape-Man & Watcher World", at 7 pm Eastern on October 10, 2020, which can be viewed for free here. The next two episodes were livestreamed on October 17, 2020 and October 24, 2020, before being released on YouTube on Valentine's Day 2021. Episode Two can be viewed here and Episode Three viewed here, with the soundtrack album released a week earlier on February 8.

A second season was announced in October 2021 and the weekly episodes were available as a digital ticket before being released to YouTube in May 2022. The episodes, "Ep 1: Honey Queen" here, "Ep 2: Perky's Buds & Abstinence Camp" here, "Ep 3: Daddy & Killer Track" here as well as "Ep 4: Yellow Jacket" here are now publically accessible.

Most recently, the unreleased episode "Hey, Melissa!" was unlocked during Starkid's Nerdy Prudes Must Livestream!, and the script for the episode is also publicly accessible in the description (viewers should be aware that this bonus episode touches upon more sensitive and mature content. Content warnings are available in the description, but are not mentioned in the video itself).

Tropes for individual episodes should go on the recap pages. Tropes pertaining to the series in general should go here, on the main page.

Nightmare Time as a whole provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action-Hogging Opening: Since the Title Sequence is a pre-recorded video rather than livestreamed, it's significantly more polished than the show itself, with cool animations, outdoor shots, playing with lighting and camera angles, etc.
  • Animate Body Parts: Much of the Theme Tune is sung by disembodied, identical, heavily-lipsticked mouths (reminiscent of the opening song in The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Fans speculated it was the mouth of Jaime Lyn Beatty, but Word of God is it was actually Nick Lang putting on lipstick that matched her shade.
  • Auto Erotica: Parodied in ‘’Jane’s a Car’’ in that, while Tom and Jane do have sex, Jane’s status as a car means that Tom has physical relations with a car.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The Season 1 Title Sequence tries to scare us by showing us Robert Manion with these, which then flicker into other unnatural colors. Funnily enough, the effects that change his eyes are all Tiktok filters.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The Title Sequence shows musical director Matt Dahan nervously yanking off his headphones as though startled by Jeff Blim's ominous "Right behind you" while editing the song in his apartment, only to see nothing behind him and ask "Where'd he go?". This doubles as a Development Gag about the circumstances under which this series was made — since, under normal circumstances, Jeff and Matt likely would be in the same room working on the music together. This is a bit of multileveled fourth-wall breaking, since this shot is filled with Defictionalizations of things that originated in the Hatchetfield stage shows — Matt's computer desktop is a Hatchetfield High School logo and he wears a Hatchetfield High letterman's jacket (since when he's the band leader onstage he's technically "playing" the leader of the Hatchetfield High Band), and he has a Wiggly doll on his desk.
    • The fourth wall is later broken in the episode "Honey Queen," where a frustrated Linda tells her pianist to stop playing. Matt Dahan is shown, and he stops playing the background music.
  • Broad Strokes: More than any previous Starkid show, this show begs the audience to use that skill much beloved of live theatre audiences and fill in the gaps in the show with their imagination.
    • The musical numbers for this show are Surreal Music Videos that function more or less as Title Theme Tunes for each piece — with the one exception, the musical numbers from the Show Within a Show Blinky's Watch Party in "Watcher World", explicitly called out as a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. Jeff Blim said he took the opportunity to play with lyrics that don't literally reflect what's going on in the story and serve more to reflect the story's mood in the abstract.
  • Call-Back:
    • The title of the show is a reference to a small but memorable lyric from the song "Not Your Seed" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals: "Look what happens: nightmare time." Fittingly, the Nightmare Time theme song opens with the seven notes of that lyric.
    • And it doesn't end there — Matt Dahan's keyboard playing, while mostly improvised, incorprates many Leitmotifs that debuted earlier in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday; often if a character from one of the musicals shows up, Matt will start playing a song they sang.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Word of God says that an attempt was made for Season One to pair two stories in each episode with contrasting moods, having the first one be somewhat more lighthearted and the second be somewhat more serious and tragic. This is kind of zig-zagged in practice
    • "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" Crosses the Line Twice so often that it is often more hysterical than frightening, followed by a hard Mood Whiplash into "Watcher World", which plays on your fears to the extreme, although its Bittersweet Ending makes it less tragic.
    • Most fans find "Forever & Always" and "Time Bastard" to have a similar pitch-Black Comedy tone, with the real Mood Whiplash only coming in with "Time Bastard"'s extreme Downer Ending.
    • And while "Jane's a Car" lends itself to Black Comedy much more than "The Witch in the Web", the actual outcome of "Jane's a Car" is one of the harshest Downer Endings in the show, while "The Witch in the Web"'s ending is one of the most optimistic.
    • Both stories of season 2, episode 2 are fairly comedic, although "Abstinence Camp" is definitely more violent than "Perky's Buds".
    • Episode 3 of season 2 more closely follows this pattern, paring the comedic episode "Daddy" with "Killer Track," a horror story that is played straight.
  • Couch Gag: After the first episode of Season 2, each episode features a character popping up to interrupt the theme song. In Episode 2 it's the Homeless Man (absent from the YouTube release for some reason), in Episode 3 it's the Man in a Hurry, and in Episode 4 it's General MacNamara in his only NMT appearance to date.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Every episode ends with the Closing Credits playing over a Music Video of some kind made for that episode specifically.
  • Creepy Child: Angela Giarratana is giving off the vibe of one of these in the Title Sequence, complete with Cheshire Cat Grin.
  • Critical Annoyance: The Theme Tune plays a rapidly accelerating series of beeps to give this effect after the lyric "The timer is ticking down".
  • A Day in the Limelight: Basically the entire series.
  • Delinquent Hair: Fans have done a lot of poking fun at Curt Mega's new "quarantine mullet" and Nick Lang's "quarantine pompadour".
  • Downer Ending: In the same vein of the horror anthologies that inspired it, this seems to be the standard for the show. Only The Hatchetfield Ape-Man, Watcher World, The Witch in the Web, and Abstinence Camp avert this trope.
  • Dramatic Wind: Jeff Blim has some blowing on him during his part of the Title Sequence.
  • Eldritch Location: Just as in the stage shows, the sleepy little resort town of Hatchetfield, Michigan just can't seem to catch a break, being haunted by various supernatural phenomena and conspiracies.
  • Ending Theme: Every episode ends with one, usually tying into the theme of the second story.
    • The Hatchetfield Ape-Man/Watcher World has "One Thousand Eyes", properly the Theme Tune for Watcher World.
    • Forever & Always/Time Bastard has "Peanuts!", a song so utterly disconnected from the stories in the episodes that the recap pages and character sheets treat it as an entirely separate Hatchetfield story.
    • Jane's a Car/The Witch in the Web has "The Web I Spin For You", a song from the perspective of Webby, who makes her proper debut in The Witch in the Web.
    • Honey Queen has "Nibbly Ditty", a Sniggle song about Nibblenephim, the Lord in Black who makes his startling debut in the story's twist ending.
    • Perky's Buds/Abstinence Camp simply has a rehash of "Axe Man", the theme tune to Abstinence Camp.
    • Daddy/Killer Track has a cover of the Nightmare Time theme song, performed by Needy Beast, the rock band appearing in Killer Track, in a music video starring (and apparently directed by) the Man in a Hurry.
    • Yellow Jacket has "Next Time", a somber theme about the story being over for now.
  • Everytown, America: Hatchetfield, although this series continues to add to "Hatchetfield lore" and give us more specific details about what the town is like — "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" tells us the town is or at least used to be a well-known resort town with international tourists, and "Watcher World" tells us it's within driving distance of a major Midwestern theme park.
  • Evolving Credits: The Season 2 theme song has a few changes from the original; Robert Manion is replaced by Jeff Blim throughout due to Manion's Role-Ending Misdemeanor; new cast members Bryce Charles and Jae Hughes get a few moments to shine, lip-syncing near the beginning of the song and taking over the solos from Mariah Rose Faith and Kim Whalen at the end; new villain Lumber Axe pops up at one point in the place of Jeff Blim; and a Couch Gag is added (see above).
  • Extreme Close-Up: The Title Sequence uses one of Jeff Blim as a Jump Scare.
  • Femme Fatale: Mariah Rose Faith dresses up as one for the Title Sequence.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Matt Dahan's desktop image on his second monitor reads "Hatchetfield High School Music Department", with a (probably non-canon) motto: "Surviving the Apotheosis since 1824".
  • Genre Roulette: The Nightmare Time stories themselves swerve back and forth between the two poles of Horror Comedy, but the soundtrack goes even further, letting Jeff Blim dip into wildly different genres every episode. (Since Nightmare Time isn't a true stage musical, he's talked about having the freedom now to do genres completely unsuited to the Broadway-style singing and dancing traditional for a Starkid show.)
    • "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man" is old-timey Big Band jazz.
    • "Time Bastard" is "a James Bond theme song" (a soaring bluesy ballad in the style of Adele's "Skyfall").
    • "Jane's a Car" is an arena-style Classic Rock anthem.
    • "The Witch in the Web" is an intentionally creepy simple campfire folk song.
    • "Forever & Always," "Snoozle Town," and "Next Time" are Broadway-style musical theatre pieces (the first two are a traditional love duet and an "I Want" Song, respectively, while "Next Time" is a much more mellow piece similar to "Seasons of Love" from RENT).
    • "The Blinky Song" and "Peanuts!" are intentionally cheesy cartoon jingles,
    • "One Thousand Eyes" and "The Web I Spin For You" are both Jeff Blim stretching his muscles to do a Solemn Ending Theme as an experimental, moody indie rock piece.
    • "Queen B" combines electronic pop with rap verses.
    • "Nibbly Ditty" and "Use it or Lose It" are EDM.
    • "Yellow Jacket" feels reminiscent of 90’s pop punk.
  • Green Screen: All of the actors have some sort of "spooky" backdrop and/or one appropriate to the location their character is in, with the notable exception of the Narrator Nick Lang, keyboardist and musical director Matt Dahan, and Jeff Blim (who can't because it doesn't work on his computer).
  • Guyliner: Descended Creator Nick Lang appears briefly with a healthy amount of this plus Wild Hair during the Theme Tune. Word of God also says that the disembodied mouth with the ruby-red lipstick in the Title Sequence is his.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • None of them so far take place on Halloween, but they're all Halloween episodes in the sense that they're being released as a special event for October 2020 (in the tradition of the past two Hatchetfield stage shows opening on the week of Halloween). Averted as far the public YouTube release, in which Season 1 was released in February and Season 2 in June.
    • Nightmare Time 3 is planned to be Hatchetfield's first true Halloween episode, all of its stories taking place around the holiday in the same timeline as Nightmare Time 2.
  • Improv: The musical numbers were pre-written and pre-recorded, but all of the score accompanying the main dialogue is improvised live by the very talented Matt Dahan.
  • In the Hood: Joey Richter, Lauren Lopez and Curt Mega appear in the Title Sequence as sinister figures in generic black hoodies.
  • Interface Spoiler: Half the fun of an episode is seeing a performer already in costume and guessing who they'll be playing and what role they'll have in the story based on it — and half the fun of that is performers deliberately subverting expectations by doing a quick-change offscreen when people aren't paying attention.
  • Leitmotif: All Nightmare Time stories have the "Nightmare Time riff" as Book Ends — every story starts with a recording of the opening of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, playing the "Look what happens, nightmare time!" line from "Not Your Seed" on an Ominous Pipe Organ followed by Dramatic Thunder, and every story ends with Matt Dahan's piano underscoring segueing back into that same theme as Nick Lang reads the closing narration. The exception to this is the Grand Finale for Season One, "The Witch in the Web", whose Surprisingly Happy Ending instead ends on the motif from Hannah's theme, "What If Tomorrow Comes?"
    • The episodes also all rely heavily on familiar leitmotif in the underscoring, with each episode having several appropriate Call Backs to musical themes from earlier Hatchetfield shows or episodes of Nightmare Time that follow certain characters and concepts around from story to story. (An obvious example is the opening of "Showstoppin' Number" playing to announce Prof. Hidgens' entrance in any story in which he appears.)
  • Limelight Series: Each story focuses on one or two characters we’ve already met (ex.: Bill and Alice in “Watcher World”), dealing with relatively-minor supernatural phenomena (as opposed to the world-ending stakes of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday).
  • Live Episode: Season 1 was performed entirely via livestream, with actors interacting over Zoom in real time, with all the warts-and-all energy of a live performance, as opposed to more polished Audio Dramas in the Podcast format.
  • Loose Canon: Defied; in the Q&A at the end of the first livestream, Nick Lang stated unambiguously that all Hatchetfield stories are canon. How this is possible when each one is clearly set in a different universe where none of the events of any other Hatchetfield story happened or could happen (aside from ''Forever and Always'' and ''Time Bastard'', which are the only two stories that clearly take place in the same timeline), he withheld. In "The Witch in the Web", the mechanism behind the multiple timelines is explained.
  • Mini Series: In contrast to the longrunning horror Podcasts Nightmare Time is partly inspired by, like Welcome to Night Vale, Nightmare Time was announced as a "special event" consisting of only six hour-long "stories" released as three Double Feature "episodes". A second season, also consisting of six stories of which two are double-length, followed. The third season will share the second's format and is intended to be the conclusion of this particular corner of Hatchetfield storytelling.
  • Montage: All of the musical numbers are in this format, since they're pre-recorded and had to combine footage from actors all recording in their own homes.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Mildly so — Mariah Rose Faith shows up dressed in a revealing gown as a Femme Fatale for the Title Sequence, and puts on a similar outfit to play Webby in the Closing Credits of "The Witch in the Web" and of Season One as a whole.
    • There's some mild moments of Mr. Fanservice with Joey Richter as well, including him going fully shirtless to play Konk in "The Hatchetfield Ape-Man".
    • Sheila Young also falls into this trope, wearing a low cut purple gown.
  • The Multiverse: Black Friday very strongly hinted that the "Hatchetfield universe" is actually one of these, with The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday being Alternate Timelines where the world ended in two different ways. That continues here, with every story in Nightmare Time taking place in a different universe, with some minor twists: the stories in Episode 2 — "Forever & Always" and "Time Bastard" — are Simultaneous Arcs, showing two different perspectives on the same events in the same timeline; not only that, but its time travel arc brings it to before the Point of Divergence, thus having results that can be seen in every universe in the series. Nightmare Time 2 regularly indicates that all of its stories, though largely unrelated to each other, are also Simultaneous Arcs in a single timeline.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: Unlike its predecessors The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday, Nightmare Time isn't really a musical at all — it instead cuts from the livestreamed Audio Drama to a Surreal Music Video at certain points, most of which are either a Theme Tune or Ending Theme for the episode and don't diegetically take place at any point in the actual story. In all instances thus far of a musical number occurring during a story, it's very explicitly set up that the characters have rehearsed and choreographed the song beforehand, though it's generally implied that the music videos we the audience are seeing are a lot more impressive than the in-universe version of the number.
  • Negative Continuity:
    • Made clear from day one; characters who died in The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday show up in Nightmare Time, with their relationships with other characters having noticeably developed, and often to die again in new ways. Only at the end of the first season of Nightmare Time was it finally explicitly revealed that Hatchetfield has a multiverse.
    • Largely averted post-Season 1. While fans have some determination, as you'll see throughout the WMG here on TV Tropes, to try to fit every story in Season 1 in a single timeline — trying to work around everything except the rather unworkable fact that the season features two different deaths for Ted Spankoffski — it largely doesn't, presenting itself as five different timelines which at best the Wild Mass Guessing can whittle down to two. Nightmare Time 2, meanwhile, is full of little bits of continuity that make it clear that all six stories are set in a single timeline, and Word of God has indicated that Nightmare Time 3 will continue the story of that timeline in particular.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The second repetition of "Right behind you" in the Theme Tune has a disturbingly long silence followed by Matt Dahan looking up from mixing the song, confused, asking "Where'd he go?"
  • Personal Horror: The mission statement of Nightmare Time, where, as the name implies, every individual story is taking one or two characters from Hatchetfield and forcing them to confront their own demons — and, as Sam Raimi's "rules of horror" would have it, forcing them to grow into their true self and in the process be either punished or redeemed.
  • Post-Processing Video Effects: Jon Matteson's portion of the Title Sequence has a film grain filter passing over it, as though he's Trapped in TV Land (going with the theme of his background being the TGWDLM stage set).
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Nightmare Time is written in a style where rather than having a traditional narrator, the whole show is written as though it were a screenplay meant to be filmed, with Descended Creator Nick Lang providing "narration" in the form of stage directions. Of course, since this script was never actually intended to be filmed, they took the opportunity — as they did with A Very Potter Senior Year — to throw in plenty of visuals that would be extremely expensive and impractical in an actual movie.
  • Reaction Shot: One of the big draws of the original livestreamed version of the show was that with Zoom locked in gallery view, you could catch reactions from your favorite Starkid actor who wasn't in the current scene just by looking over to their window, just like being able to look around at fellow audience members during a live show.
    • The YouTube releases of Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 1 do try to cut down the number of people onscreen at once for a more professional production, but frequently leave a few extra actors onscreen to catch their reactions — at the very least, both participants in a two-person conversation are usually onscreen at once (as opposed to Zoom's default behavior of spotlighting only the current speaker), and frequently one or two extra actors are onscreen as well to give the scene color. Notably, the Narrator Nick Lang is often onscreen as a "third wheel" during two-person conversations, even when he has long stretches where he doesn't speak, just because it's fun to watch the writer/director of the show react to his words being performed live for the first time (which often includes a lot of muted Dissonant Laughter at dark, tense moments).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The only reason this show exists at all is the COVID-19 Pandemic, although the ideas for it come from a thick book of notes the Lang Brothers have been making of "Hatchetfield lore" since they came up with the idea for the universe.
    • In the Q&A, Nick Lang threw out a little bit of black humor about how bummed they'd been that Mariah Rose Faith's career had gotten too big to do Black Friday in 2019, and how lucky they were that the pandemic cut short the national tour of Mean Girls, leaving Mariah unemployed and with nothing better to do than come back to her old friends at Team Starkid for this project.
  • Re-Cut: The YouTube release of Episodes 2 and 3 was significantly edited from the original livestream, allowing the creators to address fan complaints like the use of gallery mode through the whole performance and the frequent Bloopers due to mics being muted or unmuted at the wrong time. The YouTube versions instead frequently go to a spotlight mode to show only the relevant actors during various conversations, have been tightened up so most technical glitches are invisible, and have had certain snippets deleted that Nick Lang felt in hindsight weren't working. Most agree that this is a noticeable upgrade in quality, but see They Changed It, Now It Sucks! on the YMMV tab.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Since the score is almost entirely improvised live by Matt Dahan on keyboard, it relies very heavily on Leitmotifs most fans will recognize from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals and Black Friday, reused in different contexts that may or may not be significant. In particular, the Theme Tune to the show is a Bootstrapped Theme from "Not Your Seed" from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, the "Look what happens, nightmare time!" motif, the lyrics of which are where the show got its title.
  • Rewritten Pop Version: All of the soundtrack versions of the Season 1 songs are an upgrade over the originals, with Matt and Jeff having taken the time to add complexity and polish to the mix for all of the tracks, and several of the tracks having extra passages and extra lyrics added to them. (The most extreme of these is "Time Bastard", which has a whole new verse added to it and whose soundtrack version is a full 4 minutes, 22 seconds long.)
  • Scary Flashlight Face: The actors use this trick to do their best to look menacing in the Title Sequence, which they mostly don't bother with in the actual show.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: A lot more necessary than it's been in previous Starkid musical recordings, given the limited resources and time to record, with most of them done by songwriter Jeff Blim himself. They make a joke out of it by superimposing multiple Jeffs onto the screen as a virtual chorus when it happens.
  • Ship Sinking: Fans developed a Crack Ship between Wiggly and Blinky almost immediately after Blinky's existence was revealed in "Watcher World", only to just as quickly abandon it once it was established that Wiggly and Blinky are "brothers" (the Starkid fandom not being a fan of Incest Yay Shipping, despite the fact that it's not clear how family relationships even work among eldritch deities).
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Well, given that she has red hair and green eyes, Kim Whalen could be tagged with this trope in any show where she has a significant role — but it seems like the roles of Jenny in Episode 2 ("Time Bastard") and Miss Holloway in Episode 3 ("The Witch in the Web") fit this role, where Kim was cast in a role where the story revolves around her character and relies on her being visually memorable in some way (Jenny as the Lost Lenore motivating the whole time-travel plot, Miss Holloway as a glamorous and beautiful new Big Good Shrouded in Myth).
  • Solemn Ending Theme: Ep. 1 and Ep. 3 both have an awesomely moody and serious one ("One Thousand Eyes" and "The Web I Spin For You"). Ep. 2 swerves in a wildly different direction with this, having had two extremely serious opening Theme Tunes and instead having an intentional Big-Lipped Alligator Moment for an Ending Theme ("Peanuts!"). The Season 2 finale has "Next Time".
  • Split Screen: Used by default in the livestream itself, which is just Zoom's gallery view, and frequently employed in the montage musical numbers.
  • Station Ident: Modern version; the first episode, which went on YouTube exactly as it was livestreamed, has the Zoom logo prominently displayed in the lower right corner the whole time.
    • A later Q&A included plenty of Biting-the-Hand Humor about how this is an Enforced Plug (there's no easy way to get rid of the "Zoom" watermark on a livestream of a Zoom conference call) and how much the cast actually hates Zoom as a "bad program" they're forced to use for reasons of convenience and expense. (Zoom's various quirks that most of us have gotten all too familiar with in the COVID-19 Pandemic are responsible for many of the Bloopers on Nightmare Time Season 1, especially the ease with which you can accidentally mute or unmute yourself without realizing it.)
  • Stock Footage: The show, having No Budget and having to be made 100% remotely, relies heavily on this for the musical numbers, including the opening and end credits sequences. This includes directly borrowing the Establishing Shot of the "Welcome to Hatchetfield" sign from the Title Sequence of Black Friday.
    • Many fans asked about the really cool abstract skeleton and monster animations in the Title Sequence, only to be told that these are free Shutterstock "horror" animations anyone can use.
  • Stylistic Callback: Jon's Zoom background in the Title Sequence is an abstract backdrop of colored rectangles, resembling the stage set of The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, with his trademark dark suit and tie pretty clearly indicating he's playing his character Paul Matthews. Or Paul 23.
  • Studio Audience: These shows don't have one, so the cast compensates by applauding each other at the end of each story, and taking a Q&A from the online live chat at the end of Episode 1. Nick Lang has encouraged fans to upload Reaction Videos to try to keep the same energy as a live show.
    • One reason these streams are done with Zoom locked in gallery view rather than spotlight view, making us watch the whole cast in their own individual windows even when they're not acting, is to help substitute for a Studio Audience, letting the actors who aren't acting react to what's going on. This is part of the reason each episode is a Double Feature, with the cast split up between the two stories each time so half of them are free to relax and watch the show without waiting for a cue. (Many fans consider being able to watch their favorite actors' reactions while they're "offstage" a highlight of the streams.)
    • It turns out this was more of a technical limitation during the original livestreams than an artistic decision — Zoom's automatic spotlight mode only spotlights the person who is currently speaking, meaning there couldn't be any Reaction Shots at all unless spotlighting was done manually, which the team didn't have time to rehearse comfortably before the show. Nick Lang took the opportunity to Re-Cut Episodes 2 and 3 for the YouTube release to create a more traditional Zoom broadcast, focusing only on the people relevant to a given scene at any moment. This, of course, led to some complaints of the They Changed It, Now It Sucks! variety.
  • Surreal Music Video: Thanks to the limited budget and time to make them, the musical numbers for this show are basically all in this style rather than literally telling a story.
  • Take Our Word for It: The whole show is like this, since it's a hybrid between an Audio Drama and a visual live performance, with very little budget. It's lampshaded by all of the episodes containing significant events that would be very expensive or difficult to actually show onstage even without the COVID-19 Pandemic, that we only get to experience through Nick Lang's narration, Matt Dahan's background music and the actors' reactions.
  • Title Theme Tune: The opening theme song is also entitled "Nightmare Time". Most of the individual stories also have one, the exceptions being Watcher World (with the theme tune "One Thousand Eyes"), Abstinence Camp (with the tune tune "Axe Man"), Daddy (with the theme tune "Young at Heart"), and "Killer Track" (which has the title number within the story but no theme tune to speak of).
  • Trauma Conga Line: Well, yeah, it's a horror anthology, but Nick Lang has specifically said his ideal for the Hatchetfield series is to follow Sam Raimi's "three rules of horror": The innocent must be tested, the guilty must be punished, and only through suffering can we grow.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 1 were released to the general public on YouTube on Valentine's Day 2021 — an appropriate date given how three out of four of the stories are centered around romance.
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: Jeff Blim's habit of giving himself the high notes comes back — notably in the Theme Tune for Nightmare Time he gives himself the belting high note at the very end of the song, after Mariah Rose Faith and Kim Whalen — both sopranos — sing the "normal" version of the line.
  • Wham Episode: While every story is full of brutal horror twists, some of them have massive impact on the lore of Hatchetfield as a whole.
    • "Watcher World" unveils Blinky, a creature whose nature would indicate that Wiggly is not the only eldritch god of the Hatchetfield multiverse.
    • "Time Bastard" introduces another of the Lords in Black, Tinky, and its twist ending reveals that the unnamed homeless man seen in every Hatchetfield timeline is a time-displaced version of this timeline's Ted Spankoffski.
    • "The Witch in the Web" finally explains the mechanics of the Hatchetfield multiverse, the reason the town is such a hotbed of supernatural activity, and much of its history. It further reveals Hannah Foster's nature as the most powerful psychic mind ever to exist, the one perhaps destined to save or destroy the entire multiverse. All five of the Lords in Black are properly introduced as a group here.
    • "Honey Queen" reveals that the Lords in Black's religion, the Church of the Starry Children, is still active in Hatchetfield.
    • "Perky's Buds", though it's not the main focus of the plot, reveals the same is true of the Church's equally-evil enemies, the Hatchetmen.
    • "Killer Track" delves more into the backstory and nature of Miss Holloway, clearly destined to be one of the more prominent good guys of the mythos.
    • "Yellow Jacket" sheds some light on Pokey, the last Lord in Black to be properly introduced, but clearly the first one to impact a Hatchetfield story, clearly being the true mastermind behind The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, and by his portrayal here, Hatchetfield's ultimate Knight of Cerebus.

Right behind you...


Video Example(s):


Fuck Clivesdale

Hatchetfield's mortal enemy is the neighboring town of Clivesdale, to the point that "Fuck Clivesdale" is the usual response given to a mention of the town.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmallTownRivalry

Media sources: