Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Nightmare Fuel
A Fridge Horror for the whole of the Buffyverse. You can understand there being a lot of terrors around Sunnydale as there is a Hellmouth there. The spin off Angel though shows how many of these "terrors" happen in nice, normal places. Those just occur in L.A. So how many "terrors" take place worldwide do you think with no one stopping them and everyone trying to get on as normal with no understanding of what is going on or anyone to protect them...
- Special mention must go to "Nightmares". Everyone's nightmares come to life:
- The very first nightmare emergence of a classmate being attacked by tarantulas.
- Willow's stage fright.
- Xander doesn't like clowns and Nazis. The school gets covered in swastikas.
- Buffy is afraid being buried alive . Not only does Buffy get buried alive in her nightmare, she comes back as a vampire. She gets a look of pure horror when she realizes it.
- The Ugly Man himself is also terrifying. It's even worse when you find out what he is based on - the small boy Billy's fear of his abusive Kiddie League baseball coach.
- Sid the living ventriloquist dummy in "The Puppet Show". However, he's not quite as frightening when it is revealed that he's not a bad guy - he's a demon hunter whose spirit is imprisoned within the dummy. Prior to that reveal, however, he is truly unsettling.
- "The Pack". Those kids eating Principal Flutie... it only gets worse at the end when we find out that they didn't lose their memories. Let's all take a moment to think about just how those kids are going to turn out.
- The fate of Amy's mother, trapped in a trophy forever. One might argue that she had it coming.
- This one gets even more nasty in the comics. A group of Initiative Soldiers go down into the recently collapsed Sunnydale, and one of them swears that a statue is looking right at him. Far from escaping the events of Season 3 or Season 7, she survived and is still alive and trapped there.
- Marcie from "Out of Mind, Out of Sight", who becomes so unstable that she fully intends to mutilate Cordelia's face - including making her smile WIDER. (Of course, she doesn't succeed, but her intentions are still every bit disturbing and horrific.)
- Eyghon from "The Dark Age", especially when possessing the corpses of Giles' old friends. Not to mention when Giles takes Jenny back to his apartment, not knowing that she's been possessed...
- The first scene featuring Norman Pfister (aka "Bug Guy") from the two-parter "What's My Line?", especially that horrible, terrified scream Buffy's next-door neighbor lets out after she lets him into her home.
- Der Kindestod from "Killed By Death" - incredibly creepy, and only able to seen by sick people, and when you're very sick and weak and unable to fight back, it sucks your soul out by growing sucking tentacles out of its eyes. Brrrr.
- The episode "Ted". Buffy's initial distrust of her mother's new boyfriend comes across as simple dislike at first, until it turns out that he's not the nice guy he presents himself as. Unfortunately, nobody believes Buffy, dismissing her claims. Later, when Ted is presumably (and accidentally) killed, Buffy faces criminal charges and she is guilt-ridden at having killed a human being... and then Ted returns, apparently alive and well. Not to mention intent on killing Joyce and Buffy. Oh, and he turns out to be a homicidal robot created by a real human called Ted, an inventor who became distraught when his wife left him - driving him to build the robot Ted. Things went horribly wrong when robot Ted kidnapped and murdered the real Ted's wife, and then went on to murder all of his following wives when they didn't live up to his idea of "the perfect family". Argh.
- Not to mention the sight of his face after Buffy beats him up so badly that his synthetic skin is torn from one side of his face, exposing his teeth and jaws. Also, he dies/shuts down with his eyes wide open. Sweet dreams!
- Heck, Xander explicitly lampshades this!
Xander: So I'm Ted, the sickly loser. I'm dying and my wife dumps me. I build a better Ted. He brings her back, holds her hostage in his Bunker O' Love until she dies, and then? He keeps bringin' her back over and over. Now that's creepy on a level I hardly knew existed!
- Angelus is frequently compared to the Joker, and it's not inappropriate. Both because Angelus is capable of being darkly hilarious when he wants to be, but also because he is capable of being absolutely horrifying, and is constantly and unrelentingly shown to be a Complete Monster.
- "Passion." Angelus stalking Buffy, sneaking into her home at night and watching her sleep. Also when Angelus chases Jenny and breaks her neck.
- The Demon in "Killed by Death"
- The scene in "Dead Man's Party" when the recently-deceased burn victim rises from the dead in the hospital, very shortly after the doctors have given up trying to resuscitate him. The state of the man's horribly-burned face is frightening enough, but there's also the fact that the camera fixes on the Flatline during the ensuing chaos.
- "The Wish"
- Features an alternate version of Sunnydale where Buffy never showed up to stop the Harvest. Vampires - including Willow and Xander - own the night, and the Master rules from the Bronze.
- The early scenes right after Cordelia's wish becomes Harher In Hindsight. She reunites with Harmony and her friends and discovers that, thanks to Buffy not having come to Sunnydale, she's still as popular as she ever was. On first viewing, those scenes just seem like they're establishing that without Buffy, Cordy would still be an Alpha Bitch, but once you know what a horrible, Vampire-occupied wasteland Wishverse Sunnydale is, the scenes of ordinary high school life (the few surviving students cramming into an algebra class, random guys asking Cordelia to a dance) take on a horrible tone of the few remaining survivors trying desperately to live normal lives despite impending violent death.
- Some of the really horrifying things are in just how subtle the changes are, such as class being cancelled for the "monthly memorial", Harmony commenting on Cordy's bright colors making her a target for vamps, and a guy asking her to the "Winter Brunch."
- Two words: "Bored now." The reason they're so horrifying is because of when they're used. The first is for the reveal that Willow had become a vampire. The second is before she tortures Angel and shows that her Super-Powered Evil Side is just as much of a Complete Monster as Angelus.
- "Gingerbread". The idea of manipulating parents into committing acts of mass murder for the sake of their children sends chills up your spine. You can imagine the potential aftermath had Buffy failed, parents waking up to find they had murdered their own children. The terrifying part was how strong the subtext was. Up until they introduced the Monster of the Week, it just seemed like a plausible tale of normal people allowing their hysteria to get the better of them. The book burning, the locker raids - it could all happen in real life with the right circumstances.
- "Helpless". Everything that Zachary Kralik (said monster) did in that episode was Nightmare Fuel. This includes taking medicine. He turns a person into a vampire, makes him feed on his assistant (which they then mutilate), kidnaps Buffy's mother and takes pictures of her. Enough to fill a whole room with. Luckily, he only appeared in this episode.
- Though a moment of Fridge Horror instead of Nightmare Fuel - how many times did Kathy cut her toenails?
- "Fear Itself"
- The haunted house was pretty terrifying with all the things coming to life. Bonus points for the kid with a broken neck staring at Buffy and talking to her.
- The dummy head with one of its eyeballs dangling out of its socket transforming into an actual decapitated head. Which also happens to be undead and starts talking to Xander.
- The Gentlemen. Tall, suited demons resembling humans except for the their large, lidless eyes and never-ceasing smiles. They float about a foot across the ground, never breaking stride only smiling an image that will burn into your brain. They attack in the middle of the night, knocking on your door politely, then cutting out your heart while you are still alive. Oh, and did I mention you are unable to scream, completely helpless?
- Doug Jones - who played the main Gentleman - has done those eyes, teeth and hand movements without any prosthetics in public. It's still terrifying.
- One of the scariest parts is when the Gentlemen presented the hearts that they had collected and then gave themselves a round of applause.
- The Gentlemen's weird "Footmen" that went around on their hands and feet, in freaking straitjackets - just the sight of them along side the floating gentleman are scary as hell.
- Possibly their most spectacularly scary entrance was their silent appearance slightly in the distance behind Tara, at first blurred, but you recognize their signature movements a second before they come into focus. Brrrrr. A nice suit, floating so they appear a little taller, extremely pale face? This remind you of anybody?
- The little Ironic Nursery Rhyme the girl in Buffy's dream does at the beginning of the episode:
Can't even shout.
Can't even cry.
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows,
knocking on doors...
They need to take seven
and they might take yours...
Can't call to mom.
Can't say a word.
You're gonna die screaming
but you won't be heard."
- At the end of season 4, we have the Scoobies celebrating in Buffy's living room, and then they fall asleep. Just as "Nightmares" (read above), this whole episode is also a deconstruction of dreams (supposedly, without the nightmarish part, this time around). Well, the appearance of so many weird (but somehow familiar) dream scenarios is, on its own, quite disturbing. But then there's that fleeting, barely discernible, frantical, dark figure lurking in everyone's dreams... and the absolute certainty that it wants to kill you. Also, the "cheese guy" doesn't help.
- "Listening to Fear". Easily one of the most unsettling episodes of the series. The Queller. Oh, dear God, the frigging Queller.
- The very end of "I Was Made to Love You". Far scarier than any of the monsters featured on that show is the very real notion that someone could come home one day and find their mother or father dead.
- Dawn tries to resurrect Joyce. When she's half way through the spell, a silhouette of Dawn's mother is seen slowly walking (you might say "walking like a zombie") through the curtains. As Dawn finishes her ritual, she looks around to see some sign that it has worked, and that's when someone knocks at the door. The whole episode was centered about people explaining to Dawn how bringing back people from the dead is wrong, and furthermore how they sometimes come back wrong... but no one ever fully explains what that means. It doesn't help.
- Fridge Brilliance: Being buried alive is one of the few things Buffy fears. How much you want to bet that getting dragged out of Heaven (off-handedly mentioned as actually being called Paradise in Angel) wasn't the only reason she was traumatized at the start of S6? She just relived one of her worst nightmares, after all.
- The season six premiere, "Bargaining", had Buffy brought back to life inside her own coffin, forcing her to dig herself out of her own grave. Watching it is bad enough. For Sarah Michelle Gellar, who has a morbid fear of being buried alive, filming those scenes must have been terrifying.
- Willow's skin bubbling in the resurrection ritual. *shivers*
- The scene where Buffy is walking through Sunnydale and sees the Buffybot being torn apart and set on fire?? It's no wonder her first words to the Scoobies are, "Is this hell?"
- A completely emotionless Willow nonchalantly knifing a baby deer to get an ingredient for the resurrection spell.
- "After Life". Anya, cutting at her face with a large grin and manic laughter. Terrifying.
- The worm monster in "Doublemeat Palace".
- Surprising one: Vision!Xander going after Vision!Anya with a frying pan in a fake vision in Hell's Bells. Far scarier than all the monsters.
- An in universe example in "Pangs", where Buffy realizes the way she's acting (she's described elsewhere on the site as being the same as arch nemesis Faith) has nothing to do with Spike, or what was done to her, this is her true self. She's so scared and distraught by this that when she opens up to Tara she begs not to be forgiven.
- The last scene of "Normal Again" is truly psychologically frighting, in fact the entire premise of the episode is just disturbing. Buffy going berserk.
- Adam Busch put it best: On a show full of monsters and demons, the scariest thing is a guy showing up with a gun in broad daylight...
- "Your shirt..."
- The final appearance of "bored now", as she auditions for a spinoff, Willow the Vampire Flayer.
- "Same Time, Same Place". Willow is trapped in a cave with a Gnarl - a demon that paralyzes its victims, then removes their skin to eat, one strip at a time. Oh, and it's also immune to magic, so Willow, who recently went evil and nearly destroyed the world, is completely helpless against him. Its taunting bumps up the octane rating another notch. Just before Buffy shows up to save the day, we see Willow, paralyzed, helpless, and about to undergo an excruciating death. Her expression is one of absolute terror. She can't see Buffy at all, even when she does show up to save the day.
- The smile on Gnarl's face when he slowly scratches off a thin strip of skin and eats it, while paralyzed Willow is enough to make anyone Squick. Thinking about it further, imagine being in Willow's position: you're paralyzed and being eaten slowly, and the only thing you can see is this atrocious thing's face. The fact that he sounds like Salad Fingers does not help matters.
- Also, remember how Willow was upset with Giles and the Coven for not punishing her for flaying Warren alive? She probably felt like she deserved to die, alone, in agony, the way Warren did, and was psychologically tormenting herself almost as hideously as the Gnarl was.
- on that note, since Willow accidentally set up the whole "she and the Scoobies can't see each other" just by convincing herself that she couldn't face them after what she did, did she accidentally create the whole Gnarl situation by convincing herself that she deserved to be punished for flaying Warren?
- The episode "Conversations with Dead People" features Dawn trapped in her house with the spirit of her dead mother, who, struggling to manifest herself, ends up being about as terrifying as any monster the show features. Could double as breaking the cutie.
- "Mother's Milk Is Red Today."
- When Dawn was sitting by the couch, which was unoccupied. The camera panned down, then back up to reveal Joyce's dead body lying on the couch. When Dawn turned around, it was gone. And then there was when Cassie grinned and turned inside-out before disappearing...
- Xander getting his eye caved in by Caleb... the way the blood runs down his cheek... that is horror.
- The First Evil. It can appear anywhere. It can be anyone. And it is very, very good at getting you to do what it wants. At any time, it could show up and brainwash someone into doing something horrible. And once you outlive that frail usefulness or interfere in the plans too much? An Implacable Evil Priest is coming after you. If you are female, this is doubly bad, since said priest has some messed up habits involving women.
- Adam Busch (aka Warren) is just the creepiest dude ever. Whenever the First shows up as Warren, prepare for some truly epic creepiness. He has a stare that says, "I will devour you slowly, and not in a sexy way. In a way where I tie you to a table and fillet you one morsel at a time, keeping you alive with blood transfusions and an iron long." And then he quotes Star Wars.
- Spike's painful laughter as he bursts into flames and crumbles to dust. Tear Jerker, sure, but also so, so disturbing.
Season 8 comics
- Twilight. Not Angel/Twilight, the sentient reality Twilight.
- The three goddesses that get called when Buffy and the others temporarily give their powers back to the earth.
- Also, note that Joss was being especially evil that episode. Sarah Michelle Gellar's worst fear is being buried alive
- According to some of Supplementary Material, and referenced on the 'Buffyverse Wiki', one of the girls in that group became a vegan, so she might've been stable at least. However, nothing is mentioned about the others, and the incident would still be psychologically scarring...
- According to The Other Wiki, Joss Whedon intended them to be monsters that children would remember being scared of later in their lives.