Nightmare Fuel/Playing With
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- Basic Trope: Something extremely scary and unsettling.
- Straight: Sam is walking home, minding his own business. All of the sudden he starts feeling someone - or something - is following him with intention of doing harm for reasons he cannot grasp. He sees hints of this menace, in the distance, in shadows, hard to see clearly. He has no idea who or what it is - not to mention why it is after him.
- Exaggerated: There seems to be something subtly off in the whole world and all the people Sam encounters and he can't put his finger on what. He also encounters brief, creepy hallucinations that may or may not be symbolic and cryptic letters warning how death would be the best way for him to happen. There are also hints of something ungraspable by humans dwelling near him and consuming his soul and body little by little, day by day. This is without mentioning someone he trusted, who turns out to be a psychopath and on false charges turns him over to authorities. These authorities then take him to be robotized, mind-wiped and machine-fed commands of slaughtering people in the messiest and the most disturbingly disgusting of ways.
- Up to Eleven: Sam lives in an utterly hellish world, where a totalitarian government reigns over and oppresses people by limiting, removing and mocking their rights. Sometimes people get abducted with no warning and unpersoned like they never existed - before or after being literally dragged through who knows what all sorts of disgusting and disturbing types of torture or 'treatment'(which would explain why some robo-soldiers or servitor-like work assistants look a little familiar) or fed to someone or something indescribably unpleasant. From time to time people also get slaughtered in the middle of the day by terrorists, sorry, freedom fighters who look like any other ordinary human being you would encounter on street and are ready to stoop down to any low in their fight against the government. Not that all civilians are great, either, because some of them exercise the worst kinds of depravity imaginable without conscience bothering them a bit, sometimes even completely serenely or childishly giggling. Some of them look mildly off and merely looking at or listening to them may get your body to warp in bizarre, agonizing ways. Even home you aren't safe, because houses can play tricks with your mind every second of a day, sometimes even hiding something that keeps eating your mind and soul a little by little without you being able to do anything about it. Brown Notes can appear out of nowhere. Nightmares are also sentient and if you wake up after one, there is a chance of finding yourself just as a lump of bloody skin with skeleton and pieces of brain all about a room - with some sentience still remaining. Sam has also discovered he has a worm inside his head that keeps eating his brain cells.
- Serial Escalation: On top of this all, there are invisible mind-controlling and body-snatching entities around every corner, meaning you can have your thoughts and body controlled and never realize it. Also, if you become a victim of crime, the police couldn't care less, because they are too busy running around killing random people and making a flashy show of it. The military can't be turned to for help, either, because all soldiers enjoy an opportunity to be colossal jackasses as well. Then there are Satan-worshipping cults, Eldritch Abominations, resurrected people shadows of their old selves, creepy perverts obsessed with the most disturbingly disgusting porn and snuff films, psychic master-hacker terrorists in it just for laughs, oppressive domination-oriented religious maniacs and radiation-, virally and bacteriologially infected mutants running out in the open while everyone in the neighborhoods does drugs, burns books and plays unlistenable music. These neighborhoods have the worst aspects of the Deep South. More urban areas have several labyrinthine zones where you can get lost forever and get chased by someone or something whose motivations you aren't sure of and who may or may not have a connection with a terrifying deity rumoured to dwell nearer to us than you'd think. Bob himself is an unbelievably monstrous wretch and only the slightest bit sympathetic because the whole damn world is full of fates that make death look preferable(until the inevitable meeting with Satan, who works extra-hard to make eternal suffering beyond utterly agonizing) and no one deserves. Every single milligram of the whole wide world. There are endless possibilities of legitimately developmentally damaging events happening to anyone that gets born - and it's just as common for someone to become a sadistic, depraved, predatory maniac even though they had the happiest childhood possible. You literally can't live and breathe without someting about it being the fuel of the worst nightmares.
- Downplayed: Sam is pretty unnerved at some people or events he encounters during his day, but acknowledges he doesn't have time to concern himself about every single detail that's wrong.
- Justified: A piece of work explores a disturbing side of human nature or universe.
- An author wants to make a point and nightmarishness is the best way to convey it.
- An author simply loves to scare him/herself and readers senseless.
- Inverted: Sweet Dreams Fuel
- Subverted: Turns out Sam's friend were playing a prank at his expense.
- Double Subverted: Except there is something sinister behind this, too.
- Parodied: Take something that ought to be scary and have everyone act like it was the most normal and uninteresting thing in the world.
- Deconstructed: All the scary things eventually drive Bob to existential dread and he lives in spiritual paralysis.
- Reconstructed: Bob eventually decides 'To hell with it!' and sees what he can do.
- Zig Zagged: ???
- Averted: Sam encounters nothing terrifying.
- Enforced: ???
- Lampshaded: ???
- Invoked: Ted wants to demonstrate his power, so he comes up with ways to frighten and disorient people.
- Exploited: With frightening events having happened recently, Sam sees an opportunity to gather himself some fame and appreciation, presenting himself as a savior.
- Defied: Sam refuses to stop to get frightened at things that are or could be scary.
- Discussed: 'All kinds of scary stuff seems to be happening as of late.'
- Conversed: 'That movie is so terrifying.'
- Plotted A Good Waste: ???
- Played For Laughs: Sam's reaction is so disproportionately over-dramatized that it dispels all horror that would otherwise awaken.
- Played For Drama: ???
Back to being scared senseless.