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"Generally speaking, when scary things get scared? Not good."
Xander Harris, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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It's one thing to Punch Out Cthulhu. It's something else entirely to scare the bejeebies out of him. This is a trope for when someone - or someTHING - is frightening enough to scare things that would usually be a subject of terror themselves. If someone can scare demons, monsters, and Eldritch Abominations, they're probably pretty Badass.

Played for Laughs in comedies almost as often as played straight in horror stories or action adventure stories. All too likely to happen when a Food Chain of Evil is in effect. See also Break the Badass, for when this happens to more normal entities. May overlap with Mook Horror Show for sufficiently monstrous mooks.

Examples of Horrifying the Horror include:


Anime and Manga

  • Night Wizard features a Journey to the Center of the Mind, where the Band of Brothers faces off against a Devil-Queen of Nightmares who prey on dreams and devour the minds of the sleepers. Inside the mind of Elis Shiho, the mild-tempered Friend to All Living Things / MacGuffin Girl, she is defeated... but manages to survive and hide out in a weakened state, determined to bide her time as her powers returns so she can seek vengeance. While looking for a good place to hide out, she finds a strange, black door in the dreamscape, and goes inside... followed by a Stock Scream, and her running wild-eyed out of there on the verge of a complete breakdown. What could possibly exist in the mind of such a nice girl, that is capable of terrifying a creature that lives off nightmares?
  • Tanaka Punie of Dai Mahou Touge is scary in ways that defy categorization. She activates this trope when she takes on a huge Dark God/Demon-thing... with wrestling-techniques. As soon as it realizes who she is, the huge beast is terrified and flees screaming back to the other realm.
  • The first act of true Badassery in One Piece is when Shanks scares off a giant sea serpent just by looking at it.
  • Toriko can do this. His intimidation is such that it can quell a herd of angry, monstrous apes.
  • In Hellsing the Ax Crazy murderous vampire Rip Van Vinkle completely falls apart from fear when she just senses that Alucard approaches.
    • Alucard loves doing this. He really seems to enjoy knocking lesser monsters off their high horses.

Comic Books

  • Many horrific creatures are scared shitless of Doc Stearne, aka Mr. Monster.
  • In DC, when super-villains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories.
  • Ozymandias has this effect on the heroes in Watchmen (comics). Dan Dreiberg explaining his nervousness as they infiltrate his lair:
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Dreiberg: "This must be what normal people feel like when they're around us."

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Literature

  • In The Light Fantastic, Rincewind (the ultimate coward) ends up fighting a creature from the Dungeon Dimensions (where everything HP Lovecraft ever thought of lived), while it possesses a man that may the most powerful wizard on the Disc at that moment in time. He fights it using nothing but his hands, feet, elbows, knees and teeth. In the end, the author points out that this is the first time anything has ever run away from Rincewind instead of the other way around. He not only beat up Cthulhu, he actually scared away Cthulhu with a fist-fight.
  • This comes up at the end of I Am Legend following The Reveal that not all of the vampires are mindless, bloodthirsty monsters. The vampire-hunting protagonist realizes that, to the vampires, he has become a terrifying figure, a myth of godlike proportions. Basically, he's become a legendary monster that vampires tell each other ghost-stories about.
  • In H.P. Lovecraft's Dream Quest to Unknown Kadath servants of Nyarlathotep, including (and especially) the monstrous Shantak birds are absolutely terrified of Nightgaunts, because they serve Nodens, Nyarlathotep's mortal enemy and the only being who really poses any kind of threat to him in the Dreamlands.
  • The basilisk in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets scares ten-foot-long talking spiders to death.
  • Ghouls and vampires have been known to run away screaming at the sight of Harry Dresden.
    • Early in Changes Harry comes face-to-face with a Red Court vampire. Keep in mind, a Red Court vampire can disembowel a half dozen mortal combatants in a matter of seconds, and this one in particular is one of the Court's best assassins. On seeing Harry, it shrieks in terror and bolts through a wall in the process of running for its life. Of course, over the course of the war, Harry has garnered himself a bit of a reputation.
  • In Anthony Reynolds's Warhammer 40000 novel Dark Apostle, a Chaos Space Marine is out-weirded-out by the architecture of the Necron tomb.
  • At the end of Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East trilogy, the demon-prince Orcus, mightiest of all demons and founder of the eponymous empire realizes just what Ardneh is, and what Ardneh's plan is, he flees screaming. Of course, by that point, it was much too late.

Live Action TV

  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Teacher's Pet. A vampire is scared off when trying to attack a seemingly harmless substitute teacher. She turns out to be a giant shape-shifting praying mantis.
    • Also in Buffy, Glory scared a few vamps away by basically existing at them. This was before we found out she was a god.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", when asked what monsters have nightmares about, the Doctor responds "Me".
    • This has become one of the Doctor's specialties. After untold centuries of defending the universe against the Daleks, the Cybermen, creatures too varied to count and too disturbing to name...well, let's just say that a race of supremacist, immensely powerful, intelligent living war machines, murders of untold billions upon billions of beings, with no other emotion left to them but hate, refer to him as "The Oncoming Storm".
  • In the Angel episode "I've Got You Under My Skin", an ancient Ethros demon possesses a boy hoping to corrupt and steal his soul only to realize too late that the boy had no soul. Instead there was a dark void that trapped the demon inside the boy. All of the creepy antics during the episode were the demon's attempts to escape by getting its host killed. When the demon is finally freed of the boy and Angel is about to kill him, it calmly accepts death and warns Angel about the boy's true nature.
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 Ethros Demon: Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? Nothing. That's what I found in the boy. No conscience, no fear, no humanity. Just a black void. [...] I just sat there and watched as he destroyed everything around him. Not from a belief in evil, not for any reason at all. That boy's mind was the blackest hell I've ever known. [...] I know you bring death. I do not fear it. All I have ever feared is in that house.

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  • In a halloween episode of Two and a Half Men the brothers are terrorized by a witch who appears to have real cursing-type powers. Charlie has just capitulated to her demands that he become basically a slave to her coven, after she threatened to make his manhood "a shriveled husk." Then their mother shows up, and the uber-badass witch recognizes her and is so terrified of her that she flees in a panic.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Deadlands universe, the Undead are animated by evil spirits called Manitou. However, the uber-undead Stone is such an evil son of a bitch, that his resident manitou is afraid of him.

Video Games

  • In the end of MOTHER, the protagonists use Maria's lullaby to defeat Gyiyg, an alien Eldritch Abomination whose very presence has thus far thrown the world into chaos. As the song grows nearer to completion with each iteration, Gyiyg is reduced to screaming incoherently for the protagonists to stop.
  • In Star Control 2, the Ur-Quan are a race of slavers who want to control or lock away every other sapient race (Kzer-Za) and outright omnicidal maniacs (Kohr-Ah). If you meet one with the right item in your inventory, it gives the following speech:
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 "We sense... something... something ancient... a sickly smell... a chilling wind. My ancestors scream from within their chambers in my mind... but I cannot understand their words. This feeling... a memory? It sickens us, and for the first time in our lives... for the first time in generations... we fear."

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  • Alex Mercer of Prototype may be a shapeshifting man-eating Humanoid Abomination and the stuff of New York's nightmares, but even he is shocked and disturbed by the sight of Elizabeth Greene's gigantic One-Winged Angel form, composed entirely of human flesh, crashing upward through the middle of Times Square and killing everything in sight.
    • Let's not forget The Reveal. The one responsible for the outbreak was the original Alex Mercer, the current Alex Mercer was an amalgamation of The Virus, the original Mercer in his death throes, and lots of other victims. After learning the reason why the original Mercer did what he did (out of spite), apparently The Virus was disgusted.
  • The Malkavian from Vampire Bloodlines is scared witless by the Cabbie and deeply disturbed by Mr. Ox. Exactly what these two characters are is unknown, but they've managed to unnerve a vampire is able to laugh off just about everything else the game throws at you and probably are nothing good.
  • In the single player campaign for Dawn of War:Dark Crusade, Eliphas the Inheritor of the Word Bearers Chaos Legion recoils in genuine horror when he tries to read the soul of the Necron Lord.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Ask That Guy With The Glasses is a Complete Monster who has committed literal acts of Dead Baby Comedy. Even he is horrified by the stuff Bennet The Sage says.
    • Similarly, another episode has That Guy describing something so horrific that SATAN HIMSELF is disturbed enough to censor him. This occurs twice in said episode.
  • In the occult/supernatural/monster community of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Nicholas Chandler is the most feared "mortal" on the planet, and merely mentioning Chandler's name to a vampire or werewolf tends to generate a flinch similar to what happens when a wizard hears the name "Voldemort" in the Harry Potter universe. What makes Chandler really Badass is that he's only fourteen years old. He's considered the "creepy little kid" in his neighborhood, and is distrusted by parents and children alike... until the children come to him telling stories of strange things bumping around their windows at night. At age eight he used a baseball bat to kill a menacing spirit he calls of as "the Boogeyman" to this day. And he's succeeded in taking down every ghost, ghoulie, or monster he's come up against ever since.
  • Boatmurdered: "Our legendary miner headed out to work on the elephant trap... and the elephants -ran away- from him."

Western Animation

  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy frequently scares off demons and the like with her terrifying aura.
  • Bugs Bunny short Hair Raising Hare. Bugs tells the monster who's been pursuing him that he's being watched by the audience. The monster says "People!", screams, and turns and runs through a series of walls. Watch it here, starting at 6:55.
  • The Classic Disney Short Lonesome Ghosts: Ghosts call Mickey, Donald and Goofy (who are ghost exterminators) and spend the rest of the cartoon scaring them. Then the three fall in the basement and end up covered in molasses and flour. The ghosts take one look at them, scream "Ghosts!" and run away.
  • On the Re Boot episode "Wizards, Warriors and a Word From Our Sponsor", Mike The TV defeats the evil Bob clone by showing him The Commercial Channel - "All Commercials, All The Time - An Eternity of Useless Products To Rot Your Skeevy Little Mind Forever!" The Evil Bob screams in terror and runs away frantically.
  • Children in Monsters, Inc. scare monsters... including the ones whose job it is to scare children for a living. Played for Laughs.
  • In the Wacky Races episode "Creepy Trip to Lemon Twist", Dastardly lures the other racers into a Ghost Town, where he plans to scare them by dressing as a Bedsheet Ghost. It turns out that the town really is haunted, and its resident ghosts send several of the racers running away screaming. It might have gone on working, if they hadn't tried to scare the Gruesome Twosome and their dragon.
  • A Monster Clown featured as the villain on an episode of Ben 10's first series. Ben shows him what's underneath Ghostfreak's cowl, and he explodes.
  • In The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a Heffalump takes the lid off a pot of honey (which for some reason has human legs and is able to walk on its own) in an attempt to steal the honey. She quickly slams the lid back down after the pot starts laughing/screaming hysterically.
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