Apocalypse Now/Nightmare Fuel
- Where to begin? A wounded Vietcong begging for water, as he struggles to keep his entrails inside him with a pot lid. The over-the-top raid on a village where school children flee from the sound of approaching helicopters, which is then spectacularly napalmed. A tiger out of friggin nowhere. An abandoned M.A.S.H with corpses left to rot in lockers. The massacre of the sampan. A remote outpost with no apparent leadership, the unlucky men stationed there being slowly driven insane by fireworks, flashing lights and haunting music. Kurtz's compound. Kurtz placing Chef's recently severed head on Willard's lap and of course the Montagnard ceremony. The film seems to be trying to show the entire Vietnam War as being this trope, and it does a pretty good job of it.
- The movie can be summed up with a single, nightmare-fueled quote: "I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving."
- Kutz himself is something of this. The way he's almost always shown in the dark, and only ever partially visible, is particularily creepy, and one can only imagine how Willard must feel in his presence. Even worse still he's more than willing to decapitate an innocent man and casually drop his head in front of his commanding officer.
- The worst part of it all might be that many veterans and witnesses have said that this Film is one of the truest representations of what the war was like.
Fridge Horror: Colonel Kurtz was a model officer with a successful career, he could have been anything he could have ever wanted in the Military Chain of Command if he even so much as asked, and yet the moment he goes even a little bit out of line, and ends up succeeding with his methods no less, the Military tries to crucify his career and even go so far as to assassinate him. A successful officer like Kurtz should have been someone they would try to save not destroy; how many careers and lives of officers like Kurtz have been unjustly destroyed by a corrupt chain of command like this one?
- Fridge Horror: Despite the fact that Colonel Kurtz was utilizing methods that logically would help win the war, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese were hiding in Laos and Cambodia and if that was the case logically America should have chased them there instead of just sticking around in the jungles of Vietnam, the American Command considers his methods unorthodox and try to assassinate him just so they can shut him up and keep American presence there classified. Ultimately the assassination of Kurtz ends up being for nothing since the Vietnam War ends up being lost by the Americans anyway and the revelation of an American presence by the CIA and MAC-V SOG is later revealed to the American public anyway, they killed off a model officer for nothing. Colonel Kurtz was the one with practical Military necessity in mind, not the Generals running the war.