Babar/Nightmare Fuel

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  • HBO's Babar, based off of the famous book series, aired from 1989-1994 and while most of the series offers "slice of life" morality lessons, complete with anthropomorphism, the first few episodes of the first season are quite depressing for a 7 year old or even an adult (despite the fact that, as Babar tells these stories in flashback, you know he survives and all will be well).
    • The pilot episode, "BABAR'S FIRST STEP", in which a viewer is introduced to the merry elephant tribe before Babar grew up and "civilized" them, in which Babar's blissfull times of playing in ponds with other baby elephants and his mother are ended by a hunter with a rifle. He gets no name...he is "the Hunter". The elephants don't know what the sound of his rifle blasting means, and the elders assume it is a "monster". Babar's mother is eventually shot while the herd are fleeing the Hunter, complete with Babar being thrown from her back and screaming for her in the mud after she is shot, and then getting to watch her make a last, desperate attempt to cover their escape by charging the Hunter; she is then shot and falls over on screen, close range. This is complete with sad music, an elephant funeral, AND getting to watch baby Babar wail and try to snuggle with his (dead) mother. Much of it is depicted here [1], from about 1:40 in to 4:20. It is so bad that it even provides Babar's own Nightmare Fuel in the first half of episode 2, "CITY WAYS", when the death of his mother is replayed in his nightmares, complete with a spooky storm outside. Thankfully, the Hunter dies a deserving death in episode five.
    • The episode "The City of Elephants". Halfway through the episode [2], starting around 2:11, Babar has this twisted nightmare where he gets confronted by "The Beast of Misfortune", a giant red elephant that laughs/growls etc. in a very deep voice, and "The Beast of Haste", a small white ghost elephant thing capable of contorting itself into various shapes.
    • Here is an explanation on what's really so twisted; a door forms on the end of the Beast of Misfortune's trunk, that same beast's head going THROUGH a floating window, the Beast of Haste contorting itself into a spiral around Babar as he falls into the other beast's mouth, the Beast of Haste being split into an army of six mini-Beasts, and The Beast of Misfortune...SLOWLY...MELTING... AWAY as Babar chases away the beasts. It just looks so wrong.

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