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Nightmare Fuel cleanup and maintenance

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Now with a sandbox!

It appears that many Nightmare Fuel pages have problems, including:

1. Listing non-scary things that made the viewer feel slightly uncomfortable at worst.

2. Having spoiler tags on them (which is against the page's guidelines).

3. Listing Fridge Horror and fan theories.

And much more!

On a few occasions, people from outside the site's community have pointed out our overly lax usage of Nightmare Fuel to make fun of us, meaning that it can legitimately harm our reputation to let this go unchecked.

The TRS thread meant for redefining Nightmare Fuel started to become a place for cleaning up Nightmare Fuel pages in general, so we may as well move these discussions to Long Term Projects where they belong.

Here are the guidelines to determine whether something is Nightmare Fuel or not.

    Nightmare Fuel rules 
  • This is a page whose name is intended to be taken more literally than most. It's not enough for material to be scary; to truly qualify, it has to be frightening enough to legitimately unnerve/disturb the viewer, with actually being nightmare-inducing as the ultimate endpoint.
    • Good signs that something IS Nightmare Fuel include if:
      • It left you feeling shaken even after the credits had rolled, you turned the last page, or are otherwise done with the work.
      • You have a hard time falling asleep if you think about it at night, or have a literal nightmare about it.
      • You dread that episode, scene, level, chapter, or song during re-watches, and consider skipping it.
    • With that said, don't add something just because it happens to be your personal phobia. For example, spiders can be scary and many people have arachnophobia, but just because a spider happens to be in the work, it does not make a Nightmare Fuel entry. It needs to reasonably be scary to someone without the phobia.
    • Don't confuse tension with fear. If the hero is in trouble, but you know he'll make it out okay at the end, it's probably not Nightmare Fuel unless the threat is especially disturbing.
  • Explain WHY the entry scared you. Try to convey your sense of fear to your readers. Avoid putting up Zero-Context Examples.
    • Remember that Weblinks Are Not Examples, and neither are quotes on their own. You should explain the horror in your own words, rather than rely on others to do so.
  • Don't add things that might have scared someone. If it didn't scare you, and you don't personally know anyone else who was scared, you shouldn't be adding it to Nightmare Fuel.
  • Nightmare Fuel should stick to you even after you're done with the work.
    • If something is initially presented as scary but turns out to be harmless, it's most likely not Nightmare Fuel since The Reveal makes the scariness vanish.
    • Jump Scares are a good source of Nightmare Fuel, but not all of them automatically qualify: being startled is not the same as being scared.
  • Hypotheticals are not Nightmare Fuel:
    • Remember that Trailers Always Lie: a scene that is presented as scary in the trailer could very well turn out to be inoffensive in the finished work. Only add examples from unreleased works if they were especially terrifying in the previews.
    • Fan theories do not belong on the Nightmare Fuel page under any circumstance. No matter how much evidence they have to support them, don't add them until they've been officially confirmed. In the meanwhile, take them to Wild Mass Guessing.
    • Fridge Horror goes on the Fridge page, not Nightmare Fuel. Don't add it unless it's Ascended Fridge Horror.
  • Keep in mind the work's intended audience when considering whether or not something is Nightmare Fuel.
    • If something is normal or expected in the genre, it does not automatically qualify. Violence in a Fighting Series or gore in a horror movie must be especially disturbing or gruesome by the work's standards to be Nightmare Fuel.
    • Remember that Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films. If a work is rated PG-13 or higher but would only be scary to young children, it's not Nightmare Fuel.
    • The standards on what qualifies as Nightmare Fuel are especially stringent on works aimed at children and pre-teens: kids have hyperactive imaginations, so even something benign can give them nightmares.
  • Spoiler tags do not belong on Nightmare Fuel pages. Much of what scares us comes from inherently spoilery stuff such as death and the unknown, so finding spoilers on these pages should be expected.
  • Nightmare Fuel is an Audience Reaction, so it needs to be scary for the audience. Describing how the characters react to something scary isn't needed. Just because something scares them, that doesn't mean it scares us as well.
  • Nightmare Fuel is a No Real Life Examples, Please! page. Meta-examples involving the actors, production, or behind-the-scenes incidents are not allowed.

Guidelines when proposing cleanup of a page:

  • Some rules are pretty objective. If you see a Zero-Context Example, Fridge Horror, Real Life example, speculation, In-Universe reaction that isn't scary to the viewers, examples that explicitly describe themselves as not being very scary (including "mildly creepy", "somewhat unnerving", and other synonymous phrases), or examples that are just scene summaries without going into detail about why it's so scary, you can (and should) remove them immediately without coming here to ask.
  • You should also strip all spoiler tags from the page. Itty Bitty Wiki Tools has a tool for that, but it can cause problems, so if you use it be sure to preview the page and thoroughly look it over.
  • Once you've fixed the objective issues with the page, bring it here so we can look at the more subjective problems, such as examples that may not be scary enough to qualify. If a consensus is reached that a certain entry does not qualify, it can be removed.

Edited by Zuxtron on Aug 1st 2020 at 9:40:30 AM

mightymewtron Lots of coffee from New New York Since: Oct, 2012 Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Lots of coffee
#5726: Mar 1st 2024 at 10:54:51 AM

This might be the new link for the Salem example, which could be valid with some elaboration.

I do some cleanup and then I enjoy shows you probably think are cringe.
Filip04 Since: Nov, 2023
#5727: Mar 3rd 2024 at 6:32:05 AM

Do you guys think that the scene from PAW Patrol episode "Jungle Pups: Pups Save a Golden Sweetie" where Sweetie accidently turns Rubble into golden statue counts as Nightmare Fuel? Because when I learned of it I was pretty schocked that such dark scene could happen in such show. Also, in one episode of Mighty Pups Mayor Goodway and Chickaletta are eaten by a giant moray eel (don't ask, it's a long story), and again, it's something that I didn't expected to happen in Paw Patrol. What are your opinions guys?

(Btw, I am new troper here and this my first post on this discussion).

generation81 Since: Aug, 2021
#5728: Mar 3rd 2024 at 7:18:39 AM

I've seen both and didm't find either scary.

Filip04 Since: Nov, 2023
#5729: Mar 3rd 2024 at 7:22:56 AM

[up] They could be scary for target demographic. Not to mention that some grown-ups (like myself) also could find them scary.

SharkToast Since: Mar, 2013
#5730: Mar 3rd 2024 at 9:23:52 AM

I haven't seen Paw Patrol, but a character being turned into a statue doesn't sound that scary, even for kids. I can see kids being scared of people being eaten alive.

Zuxtron Berserk Button: misusing Nightmare Fuel from Node 03 (On A Trope Odyssey)
#5731: Mar 3rd 2024 at 11:21:25 AM

I do think being Taken for Granite can be Nightmare Fuel, even in works for older audiences. It all depends on how it's presented.

Filip04 Since: Nov, 2023
#5732: Mar 3rd 2024 at 11:42:15 AM

[up] The episode actually presents it seriously (after finding the orb, Sweetie is basically cursed, gaining a Midas Touch against her will), so I think it qualifies as Nightmare Fuel.

fragglelover Since: Jun, 2012
#5733: Mar 5th 2024 at 5:01:57 PM

I found this on Advertising under the Fast Food folder:

  • An early '90s Burger King Kids Club commercial has a boy named Billy playing with the Kids Club Water Mates toys in a kiddie pool as the seasons change. The last shot is of him being buried alive by snow as his mom is still calling out for him unaware that he's covered in the snow and might freeze to death.

Watching the ad, it's clearly meant to be humorous, given the idea that he's even in the pool in the winter.

Edited by fragglelover on Mar 5th 2024 at 7:10:49 AM

Mrph1 he/him from Mercia (4 Score & 7 Years Ago) Relationship Status: Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
#5735: Mar 11th 2024 at 11:50:28 AM

Peppa Pig...

The only example is:

The spider episode was banned in Australia cause the spider would scare some younger kids.

Which feels like misuse, and in any case the spider episode was banned because the "spiders are friends and won't hurt you" message is not a good message in Australia.

Any reason I shouldn't immediately cut this?

jandn2014 Very Spooky from somewhere in Connecticut Since: Aug, 2017 Relationship Status: Hiding
Very Spooky
#5736: Mar 11th 2024 at 11:58:14 AM

Easy cut. I recall seeing said episode when I was young, and nothing about the spider in the episode is scary in the slightest.

back lol
punkcrow Tobias/TJ (He/Him) from Northwest Indiana Since: Dec, 2020 Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Tobias/TJ (He/Him)
#5737: Mar 11th 2024 at 5:30:15 PM

Yeah, I vaguely remember seeing the episode as a kid as well. The spider was drawn in a very cartoony art style that I doubt even most young children would find scary, and I agree that it isn't even an accurate example — as mentioned, the episode wasn't banned in Australia because kids found it scary, but because there are several more species of venomous spiders in Australia than there are in the US and UK, so the lesson doesn't really travel well.

Cold turkey's getting stale. Tonight I'm eating crow.
Mrph1 he/him from Mercia (4 Score & 7 Years Ago) Relationship Status: Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
#5738: Mar 11th 2024 at 5:39:09 PM

Sent to the cutlist. Thanks!

Diesel Konstruktor Since: Jun, 2013 Relationship Status: Abstaining
#5739: Mar 14th 2024 at 11:58:35 AM

Found this on Plague Inc. It feels maybe a bit too close being a real life example. Cut?

What's worse is that the Frozen Virus is actually called "Pithovirus", a VERY REAL virus. And almost everything about the Pithovirus in this game is entirely accurate to the real deal. Meaning this virus could potentially cause a global pandemic. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.note 

Mrph1 he/him from Mercia (4 Score & 7 Years Ago) Relationship Status: Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
#5740: Mar 14th 2024 at 12:08:50 PM

[up] Something real that's accurately presented in a work's narrative can still be Nighmare Fuel, as evidenced by all those True Crime docudramas.

But if we're keeping it, I think it needs to shift focus from the Real Life effects to how it's portrayed in the game.

And given the tone of the game... if it doesn't say "and it can really do this" and it's not nightmarish for someone who hasn't cross-referenced facts on The Other Wiki...then cut?

FishGirlViolet Since: Nov, 2020
#5741: Mar 14th 2024 at 9:40:21 PM

I need to do a proper review of it sometime, but the NightmareFuel.AtomicHeart Page is pretty bad. lots of ZCE's, headcanon, poorly written entries, Etc.

FishGirlViolet Since: Nov, 2020
#5742: Mar 14th 2024 at 9:47:14 PM

Also, the Hop page is literally just this:

* Carlos transforms into a bunny.

Willbyr Hi (Y2K) Relationship Status: With my statistically significant other
Filip04 Since: Nov, 2023
#5744: Mar 15th 2024 at 9:04:04 AM

[up][up] Similarly, the Nightmare Fuel page for The Garfield Movie also needs to be cut, because it's only one sentence.

generation81 Since: Aug, 2021
#5745: Mar 15th 2024 at 9:06:31 AM

Hasn't even came out yet.

Willbyr Hi (Y2K) Relationship Status: With my statistically significant other
Diesel Konstruktor Since: Jun, 2013 Relationship Status: Abstaining
#5747: Mar 15th 2024 at 10:23:01 AM

[up](x7) Good point. I've took a shot at retooling it to focus more on the depiction itself. The bolded bit is my edit; it came up a bit short, so I'm thinking of lumping it in with the bullet above. (Also ought to take care of the dead links somehow.)

Frozen Virus is a more apocalyptically frightening scenario. When you begin, you have to evolve DNA Repair in Abilities. When it's fully evolved, you'll get the ability to "reshape human temperament". The meaning of that soon becomes clear as you start killing; one thing you'll notice is that some of the symptoms are borrowed from the Necroa Virus, leading up to this. For those too nervous to tackle the link, it's Neanderthal Regression, i.e. mutating everyone back into primates. The win condition for the Frozen Virus is borrowed from the Neurax Worm: Infect everybody, evolve the 2 final lethal symptoms, and watch as this begins and ends. It's not a pretty thing to see. What's worse is that the Frozen Virus based on a very real virus. Many things were changed or exaggerated to ensure a good scenario,note  but there are enough details and real science present to create a believable, engaging, and thoroughly horrifying doomsday scenario.

akumeakumeakume Since: Jul, 2016 Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
#5748: Mar 17th 2024 at 11:55:52 PM

the imgur links don't work, they'll have to be replaced with new images.

yarisflat is a pretty cool ship lol
GreasyChicken Greasy_Chicken Since: Oct, 2023
#5749: Mar 20th 2024 at 12:39:14 AM
Thumped: This post was thumped by the Stick of Off-Topic Thumping. Stay on topic, please.
nightmare fuel lover
costanton11 Since: Mar, 2016
#5750: Mar 29th 2024 at 1:46:09 PM

From YMMV.Schaffrillas Productions:

The scenes in question are played more for laughs.

Total posts: 5,772