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A character who, despite or precisely because of being Nightmare Fuel is also greatly loved by a series' fandom. This can have a variety of reasons. Maybe the character is simply the biggest Badass in the show, or maybe s/he also has a cute, funny or tragic side in addition to his or her creepy side that endears the character to the fans. The character in question need not be a villain, though a majority of characters this trope applies to are villains or at least antagonists of some sort. This sometimes results in Misaimed Fandom and Draco in Leather Pants.
Note that while these characters ore often Nightmare Fuel incarnate, their appeal to non-Nightmare Fetishists is often due to being more appealing (e.g., Magnificent Bastard, The Woobie, etc.) than creepy (e.g., Complete Monster, etc.).
May or may not overlap with Creepy Good.
Anime & Manga
- Black Lagoon:
- Hansel and Gretel: Despite being deranged killers, they are also loved by a good portion of this series' fandom who sympathize with them because of their seriously messed-up childhood. The fact that they can also be quite cute also helps.
- Sawyer the cleaner might also count. A young woman who needs a electrovoice after having her voice box cut out and works as one-woman Cleanup Crew, using her trusty chainsaw to make unwanted bodies easier to hide by cutting them into pieces ...bodies who aren't necessarily dead when they are brought to her. She also has worked as a hired gun a few times, proving quite adept at using her chainsaw in close combat.
- She is just plain scary up to the point where she loses her voice-gadget, gets upset about it, and shifts from monster to moé in a matter of seconds.
- Roberta is one Meganekko any character with a brain, shouldn't dare piss off. Indeed this flower has thorns, on the outside she's loyal, calm and elegant but deep down, she's every villains nightmare. It goes to show that even the most modest of folk, can be natural killers.
- Bleach: Mayuri. Sort of.
- For all his high talk, Ulquiorra wants to be appreciated as such (and maybe even as a Magnificent Bastard, with his Nietzsche Wannabe Breaking Lecture attempts), transforming specifically to creep Ichigo out in a hopefully awesome way. He's actually surprised Ichigo doesn't buy it (while not buying a lot of other shit he spills).
- And let's not forget Hollow Ichigo V2 "Ressurection". Devil horns? Devil look? Still awesome, even in previous versions.
- And least during the Rescue Rukia/Soul Society arc, Kenpachi could certainly be classified as this. He kinda moved out of this category after becoming one of the good guys and instead was simply classified as Crazy Awesome instead.
- Hellsing's protagonist Alucard, due to being a serious Badass, among other things. Also, Jan Valentine.
- Excel Saga: Possibly Little Miss Badass Cosette Sara, who initially appears to be an Enfant Terrible, but is something of a Jerkass Woobie who is older than she looks, and must hide her Gag Boobs.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Russia, full stop.
- His sister Belarus even more so. Even Russia is terrified of her.
- On occasion, Sweden as well can be an off-putting character. It doesn't help that his expressions are as solid as stone and barely speaks at all.
- Azumanga Daioh: Possibly Mr. Kimura
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: ZOMFG TEH REI!
- Some of the Angels, particularly Ramiel (implacable, methodical crystalline entity that fries things with a Wave Motion Gun) and Zeruel (skull-faced abomination with Eye Beams and Combat Tentacles). They serve as the final battles for the first and second Rebuild movies respectively, and have some pretty epic music to go along with them (Ramiel and Zeruel).
- Death Note: Beyond Birthday is a creepy murderer, yet is loved by fangirls.
- Some fans also would consider both Misa and Light Creepy Awesome.
- And then there's Ryuk, everybody's favorite apple-loving shinigami. Hell, all the Shinigami are unpleasant in one way or another. Most of them are gambling bums, but special cases like Rem can be downright serious.
- L counts too, in a male version of teh Rei sort of way.
- Teru Mikami, as well.
- The Millennium Earl and his Noah Famliy in D Gray Man. Variously sexy, cool, and Affably Evil? Yes. Scary? Hell yes.
- Franken Fran. She does terrifying things, and is absolutely certain of being in the right. She's also cute, when her eyeballs aren't falling off...
- Johan Liebert of Monster.
- Legato Bluesummers from Trigun.
- Lucy and Mariko of Elfen Lied.
- Yuno Gasai of Mirai Nikki.
- Lain of Serial Experiments Lain.
- Pretty much everyone in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni fall into this at times.
- A number of characters of Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
- Kotonoha Katsura of School Days.
- Many a character from Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei. Kafuka, Matoi, and Chiri seem to be the most popular in this regard.
- Tsukuyomi of Mahou Sensei Negima. Creepy as all hell, badass, strangely endearing and also a fan favorite.
- Black Butler has Grell, Undertaker, and, in the second season of the anime, Alois.
- Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari.
- Sakurako from Psyren. More to the point, the creepy part starts to show itself when her Super-Powered Evil Side is revealed and she's pretty much always awesome in battle.
- The Count of Gankutsuou.
- Narutos: Zetsu, Sasori, Deidara, Hidan, Kabuto, Kisame, Orochimaru, Itachi (at times)...
- Freeza, Cell and Majin Buu of Dragonball Z.
- The Toguro Brothers, Karasu, and Shinobu Sensui of Yu Yu Hakusho.
- Izaya of Durarara.
- From the same author, Rail Tracer.
- Mukuro of Katekyo Hitman Reborn. As is his First Generation predeccesor Daemon Spade.
- Ichijo of Pani Poni Dash!, who is also Crazy Awesome.
- Envy of Fullmetal Alchemist.
- Don't forget Kimbley. And Pride/Selim.
- The Groke in the second Anime adaptation of The Moomins.
- Kuroudo Akabane of GetBackers.
- Captain Kuro of One Piece.
- Kyuubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an odd example, he looks absolutely adorable but is a creepy amoral hivemind that steals young girls souls and the fans love him for it. For a very loose definition of love.
- Vincent Volaju of Cowboy Bebop.
- Soul Eater: Stein.
- There's also Crona, the woobie who has a bully living in their spine. The adorable woobie who has a bully living in their spine.
- The D-Reaper from Digimon Tamers. The creepy part is self-explanitory, the awesome part is the fact that this enemy came the closest to it's goals and it's likely the most powerful ...thing in the Digimon franchise.
- Paptimus Scirocco of Zeta Gundam is a sexual predator and mind rapist with a penchant for seducing young girls and playing head games. Yet despite this--or perhaps because of it--he remains one of the most popular and well-liked villains in the franchise.
- Almost every single one of Batman's more dangerous and psychotic rogues is this or has aspects of this, The Joker and Scarecrow in particular judging by just how many fans they have.
- Anathos from Les Legendaires is a Complete Monster, a Knight of Cerebus, a Hero-Killer and a walking Nightmare Fuel who left the heroes broken both physically and mentally after their first fight with him. Yet, most fans love him, mainly because he is also a Magnificent Bastard.
- When you have a character (The Erlkönig) who enters the home of someone (his son Jareth) casts a Blood Magic De-Power spell on him without a trace of Consent or anything (in his sleep to be precise) and then twists the world into a Lotus Eater Machine and the audience reaction is "Awwww that's kinda nice, in a terrifying Fae lord way!" that character is Creepy Awesome. Happened in the Mega Crossover fancomic Roommates
- Star Wars has Grand Moff Tarkin. The guy bosses Darth Vader, who could be considered Creepy Awesome himself, around. And he signed the death warrant on an innocent planet out of spite.
- The alien (or xenomorph) of Alien, a hideous killing machine and prime exemplar of the horror of Face Full of Alien Wingwong, borne of H. R. Giger's messed-up Freudian nightmares. And an awesome antagonist, worth pitting against Superman and Green Lantern.
- The Predator, a nine-foot-tall badass alien Great White Hunter who drops in on less advanced cultures to choose a Worthy Opponent and do battle with them using an Invisibility Cloak and other weapons that fit its form of honour.
- Then, someone had the very good (and character-appropriate) idea of setting them against each other in the Aliens vs. Predator franchise.
- Christopher Nolan's Batman films: The Joker and the Scarecrow. Make that The Joker in all his variations.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Kreuger
- Friday the 13 th: Jason Voorhees
- Halloween: Michael Myers
- Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter.
- 2001: HAL 9000: "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
- Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline... practically everything that Tim Burton and Henry Selick have ever touched, especially when it stars Johnny Depp.
- Ghostface in the Scream films.
- Hellraiser: Pinhead.
- For recent viewers, seeing noble Aragorn as a creepy blond Lucifer in the first of The Prophecy movies has an added layer of creepy awesomeness. Virtually every moment he is on-screen will make your skin crawl and be among the most memorable portions of the movie. A deciding factor in why people love his performance is probably that he manages to be creepier than Christopher Walken.
- Ditto for Constantine's Lucifer, definitely the high point of the film - unless you think it's Constantine flipping him off.
- Most of the characters from Repo! The Genetic Opera. Notably Blind Mag, Graverobber and Pavi.
- Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner and The Hitcher
- Rattlesnake Jake from Rango seems to have this going for him, mainly due to Bill Nighy's deliciously menacing voice.
"This is my town now..."
- From the Saw series: Jigsaw/John Kramer, Amanda Young and Mark Hoffman.
- Dorian Gray. No, really.
- The Phantom of the Opera. To a sometimes ridiculous extent.
- Irial from Wicked Lovely.
- Mr Teatime from Hogfather.
- Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort from Harry Potter.
- The entire Cthulhu Mythos runs on this.
Live Action TV
- The Addams Family pretty much runs on Nightmare Fuel Played for Laughs. Everyone in the family is a Nightmare Fetishist who sees the world rather differently from the rest of us.
- The Munsters takes creepy cute even further, with, for example, Herman (based almost entirely on Frankenstein's Monster) being not only a Fat Idiot, but also The Woobie for being a doting father trying to make a living in a world where his appearance makes nearly everyone he meets terrified of him.
- Buffy: Spike and Drusilla from season 2, before Spike's Badass Decay.
- Firefly: River Tam, when she's not being a hysterical, crying Woobie that you just want to hug because of what the Alliance did to her brain, can be one of the most frightening people you can ever meet. And she is also awesome, especially in the Big Damn Movie when she Takes A Level In Badass.
- Heroes: Sylar.
- Ben Linus of Lost is eerily magnetic when he's on the screen. Easily one of the show's creepiest characters, he's still incredibly fun to watch and can even come off as downright sympathetic at the right moment.
- Some also consider the Man In Black, to be Creepy Awesome.
- A few characters on Oz.
- Papa Lazarou of The League of Gentlemen.
- Cameron is cold, logical, and frighteningly efficient at what she does, and is scary as hell, but she is without a doubt the most huggable emotionless killer deathbot ever.
- Of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Borg. Lore probably counts too.
- Scorpius is a huge fan favorite from Farscape despite looking like this largely because he's a Badass Magnificent Bastard.
- Most monsters/aliens/villains in Doctor Who
- Special mention to the Weeping Angels, in part to their The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You aspect.
- Snafu from The Pacific. He throws pebbles into a Japanese soldier's blown-open head, pries out their gold teeth and has major personal space issues with the other Marines, but fandom adores him because he's fascinating to watch and develops a very sweetly protective friendship with Eugene. Full-out acknowledged by actor Rami Malek in a radio interview:
Interviewer: You were creepy in that show, dude!
Rami: (good-naturedly) I think I'm creepy in everything.
- Radiohead's "Climbing Up The Walls". A song written from the perspective of something living in the mind of a Serial Killer, sung in a slurred, eerily distorted voice over heavy guitars, dissonant strings and creepy, abrasive electronics. It's also a fan favorite.
- Most of the Industrial genre, in particular the abrasive early acts like Throbbing Gristle and SPK.
- Dark Ambient music, especially the subgenre known as Isolationism.
- World Wrestling Entertainment: "The Boogeyman." He was originally supposed to be a Heel, but he became so popular with the fans that WWE had no choice but to turn him Face.
- World Wrestling Entertainment: The Undertaker practically runs on creepy awesome, and, even if one says that that is no longer the case, it definitely was in the early to late 90's.
- Kane perpetually sits here, whether he's a face or a heel, masked or unmasked. He's worked every creepy aspect imaginable with his character, and nearly every one of them he's worked to perfection.
- In addition to Rule of Cool and Crazy Awesome, this is part of the appeal of Warhammer 40000.
- To give a specific example, consider the Obliterator virus. At first, it just heightens weapon proficiency. However, as it runs its course, the infected gains the ability to spontaneously generate ammo, absorb weapons into his body and recall them, and eventually even create new limbs and organs. Of course, this all comes at the cost of losing one's sanity and humanity.
- Magic: The Gathering: Phyrexia and New Phyrexia. The most dangerous yet enjoyable Big Bad in the game's story? Check. Mechanical Lifeforms? Check. Loads of Nightmare Fuel? Check. The bigger part of the fandom prefers them to the heroes? Checkmate.
- Bioshock as a whole. Sander Cohen. Dr. Steinman. The Splicers. Big Daddies.
- System Shock: SHODAN wo-wo-would likekeke to be m-m-mentioned, insect.
- Vulpes Inculta and Legate Lanius of Fallout: New Vegas. Both with excellent dialogue and copious amounts of sexy voices.
- Silent Hill: Pyramid Head.
- Kefka from Final Fantasy VI. Based on his actions, he should be a Complete Monster, but he's one of the most popular characters in the whole series.
- Doubles as Crazy Awesome.
- While on the subject of that series, Sephiroth.
- Jester from Devil May Cry.
- Giygas of Earthbound.
- Alma, the oddly, creepily adorable little girl who boils peoples' flesh off, destroys buildings, and rapes the protagonist.
- Sovereign from Mass Effect. One conversation with him is one of the most memorable parts of the game.
- G La DOS from Portal. Her somewhat off personality is what makes Portal the memorable experience it is, complete with Memetic Mutation.
- .hack's Skeith. That One Boss, Name To Run Away From Really Fast, Grim Reaper motif, creepy theme music, fan favorite. Azure Kite is also more than a little creepy, being essentially a zombified version of the first game's protagonist that is practically invincible and attacks people with no apparent provocation. The fact that he tends to be a major badass about it probably helps.
- Ridley of Metroid. Even the one person who seems a legitimate threat to him, the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, who takes on entire planets full of parasitic horrors, is terrified of him. And he's a dragon, which automatically makes him cool.
- Albedo, the crazy, regenerating, Evil Albino from Xenosaga. If you didn't get into the series because of KOS-MOS, chances are you got into it because of him.
- Creepers, the horrible kamikaze shrubs from Minecraft, are quite popular with the fanbase precisely because they're paranoia-inducing abominations.
- Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He comes off as incredibly frightening despite, or maybe even because of his campy lines.
- Irisu / "Alice", the heroine of Irisu Syndrome. Certainly doesn't come across as such at first glance (and given she's the protagonist, this is a rather big plot point): She appears to be a meek, quiet girl with a thing for bunnies and who likes cosplaying as a witch / maid. In reality, that's exactly right... except when she was very young someone killed her pet rabbit, leaving it's decapitated head for her to find topping the pile of gore, which broke something inside her, mentally and spiritually. She's now a drug addicted serial killer who thinks nothing of murdering a group of people so the boy she's stalking will have time to pursue his own psychosis. And, oh, how the fandom loves her for it.
- The Forsaken.
- Alice in Shin Megami Tensei is a small, innocent girl in a blue dress who will happily scamper around highly dangerous locales in search for a friend. She's actually an undead Humanoid Abomination gifted with enough raw magical power to murder everything and everyone, and an astounding lack of understanding on exactly why it's not commonly appreciated to torture, kill and eat your friends. Her weapon of choice? The corrupt armies of Wonderland.
- Relius Clover of Blaz Blue.
- A fair number of the Daedric Lords from The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, especially Boethiah and Hermaeus Mora. Boethiah sounds like a combination of a crotchety old lady and the general of the army of Hell itself, and has a perpetually-dark shrine high on the side of a mountain which is filled with anarcho-nihilist cultists, huge bonfires, burned corpses, ancient architecture, random blood splatters, and one badass statue. Mora appears (as a swirling void of purple and black) to you in a hollowed-out iceberg where a lunatic's made his home, and names you his champion in an Affably Evil voice before explaining that he is the lord of all knowledge and discovery. And the artifact he gives you is widely considered to be one of the best in the game.
- Cicero also qualifies. He's obsessed with his "Mother" (actually the Night Mother, the dead/undead? leader of the Dark Brotherhood), is not above casual murder as per his membership in the Dark Brotherhood, dresses, talks, and dances like an unhinged jester, and is a fan favorite specifically because of that.
- The eponymous Saladfingers.
- It is hard to describe but this definitely applies to the Slender Man. Mind you, fans still treat him like undistilled Nightmare Fuel but he is also quite popular precisely because of his uniquely subtle, yet terrifying creepiness. Why else would hundreds of people work actively to turn a creepy-pasta produced Memetic Mutation into a genuine Urban Legend?
- Flippy from Happy Tree Friends.
- A number of SCPs, notably 682 and "Able".
- Mr. Popo from Team Four Star's abridged series. Treats God like his bitch, regularly screws with the heroes, and is all the more awesome for it.
- Black Lantern Spoony. Just take a look at this trailer.
- Viceroy from Chadam.
- The Ask Pinkamina Diane Pie tumblr blog. All of it.
- Mr. Fox in Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time.
- Carmilla of the Whateley Universe. She combines Body Horror, Combat Tentacles, and Eldritch Abomination. She's a lust demon whose touch kills the grass she walks on. And there's a prophecy that her spawn will some day wipe humanity from this planet.
- From RWBY two characters in particular come to mind, lovable psychos Neopolitan and Tyrian get a lot of fan credit. Though she's mute Neo doesn't need to talk to prove how twisted she is, as for Tyrian well...he's just circus of evil.
- Speaking of Tyrian, Salem's Faction have an unwelcoming aura about them as well. It's obvious the members aren't your run-of-the-mill characters, all devious and very dangerous.
- Zimmy of Gunnerkrigg Court looks like a Stringy Haired Ghost Girl, has creepy eyes, no manners, has been called a demon by other supernatural antagonists, creates microscopic abominations, and can send you to a terrify place that can Mind Rape you and steal your soul. Fortunately her best friend and Power Nullifier Gamma has helped stave off an evil breakdown ...so far.
- Terezi Pyrope of Homestuck, at least initially. She is probably the single largest Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant in the comic; she was practically introduced by trying to kill John and succeeding in a Bad Future, though she admitted that she was well aware it wouldn't actually work out. Then came Act 5, and with it context and character development aplenty, where it was proved that as trolls go she is probably one of the most pleasant. Even before then, she is one of the most popular characters in the fandom, though that may be more related to her more positive development.
GC: EX4CTLY 4S PL4NN3D >8] ]]
- Whisper from Crimson Dark - imagine someone deliberately turning an almost-burned-to-death teenage girl into a combination of The Terminator and River Tam, who's snarkier than Zoe, and perhaps a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander. Now, imagine that girl poking around inside a dead guy's brain for info and entertainment -- and actually getting something useful out of it!
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The Nasaghasts. Sweet mercy... the Nasaghasts. Dr. McNinja upgraded from the last time we saw a ghost, which was basically a sheet with a mustach and a wizard's hat, into flying death astronauts that you cannot escape from. The Nasaghasts...
Chuck Goodrich: I can hear them whispering... they say I'll be okay... they're mad you thought putting on the suit would trick them...
Dr. McNinja: (In a panic) I wasn't trying to trick them! I would never try to trick a ghost!
- The eponymous Invader Zim.
- Raven of Teen Titans overlaps this with Creepy Good. Slade is this partially due to being also a Magnificent Bastard.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars recently had three episodes with Tarkin. We knew who he was, and what he was going to become. We saw him bonding with Anakin, making sure we saw A New Hope in a new light. And we watched as he served under Evan Peel, one of the most Badass Jedi in existence. It was definitely creepy, and very awesome.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: The Delightful Children From Down The Lane.
- Candle Jack from Freakazoid is a good exa
- Him from The Powerpuff Girls.
- Heloise from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- The eponymous Ren of The Ren and Stimpy Show.
- Koh the Face Stealer was in precisely one episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fans love him.
- Azula, too. She is a frighteningly competent tracker and she acts really off around Zuko.
- And from The Legend of Korra, we have Amon. Tarrlok, as well.
- Cartman from South Park but he does have fans who love him for how scary and sociopathic he can be.
- Fred from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- The Creeper from Animalia. He is the only character with no redeeming quality, a skilled Manipulative Bastard and a surprisingly evil and cruel villain for an otherwise rather light-hearted serie.
- The Grim Reaper in Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes. The man is clearly a Complete Monster (his callous attitude towards his brother should prove this) but his debut rescuing Baron Strucker from SHIELD was damn awesome, and the only thing thwarting it? Nick Fury.
- From My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic:
- Discord. Just... Discord. Let's see: preventing the mane six from flying or using magic by warping reality to get rid of their pegasus wings and unicorn horns? Turning the ponies against each other with a Mind Rape inducing Breaking Lecture? Maintaining a calm and pleasant tone throughout all of that? (Not counting the brief Villainous Breakdown when his Lecture failed and he was forced to Mind Rape Fluttershy directly.) And yet, his over-the-top dialogue is enough to make you wonder if his Mix-and-Match Critters body includes any ham parts.
- Nightmare Moon. Jet-black Omnicidal Maniac Mad God (and much more powerful than her sister, the God-Emperor) trying to bring The Night That Never Ends. Still lacking? Listen closely.
- Transformers Prime brings us the ever-present, silent, faceless Soundwave. There's a reason everyone but Megatron fears him- he's capable of not only gathering intel from nearly anywhere on Earth, he's an expert at curb-stomping upstarts who disrespect Megatron. He's so cool, he's capable of snarking without even speaking.
- The Liepard/Schrodinger Cat thing from the dungeon episode of Adventure Time
- Marceline and her father should count too considering what they can turn into...
- Doctor Destiny on Justice League Unlimited was a murderous, skull faced mind raping Dream Weaver with a Creepy Monotone voice. He was one of the most popular villains in the series, largely because of how well they kept to his comic depictions. Yes, even that one.
- Most aliens and villains in Ben 10 (and some of them in the sequels as well) are subject to this trope. Are included in it Vilgax, Kevin, Ghostfreak, Stinkfly and Big Chill, Aggregor, Darkstar, the Hightbreeds, Zombozo...