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"We go places that, perhaps, other candy colored TV shows won't go. And that's part of what I love about this show, is that we're allowed to explore those areas... Kids love to be scared."—Jayson Thiessen
Don't put fan works on this page. They have been moved to this page.
Warning: there are plenty of spoilers in here.
Friendship is Magic, Part 1
- Nightmare Moon engulfing Equestria in darkness.
- The Ursa Major that was seen at the end of Boast Busters. The way it's a grotesque mix of at least two creatures that are terrifying on their own is petrifying.
- The Ursa Minor as well. It's big enough to destroy Ponyville in a matter of minutes, lives in a cave in the Everfree Forest right next to the town, and all it takes to wake it up is two young, curious ponies stumbling into its cave. Trixie's reaction to hearing it was only a baby is very justified.
- The Ursa Major was originally going to be this.
- Two children running into a dangerous forest in the middle of the night to wake up a bear.
Swarm Of The Century
- The cymbals that got sucked into Rainbow Dash's tornado ran the serious risk of slicing through her.
Feeling Pinkie Keen
- The hydra from "Feeling Pinkie Keen". Actively malevolent, really huge, powerful, and violent. Atypically for this show, Talking the Monster to Death is not an option.
- And it was pure luck in the form of a serendipitous Self-Fulfilling Prophecy that it didn't get the drop on Fluttershy all by herself.
- Seeing Fluttershy of all ponies slowly getting turned to stone as she stares down a cockatrice in "Stare Master".
- Seeing a snail crawling on the petrified Twilight's face the second time we see her is also kinda creepy.
- For that matter, the expression frozen on Twilight's face shows that she had time to realize what was being done to her.
- How about the first time when Fluttershy was so relieved to have found her friend, she starts talking to her, and then BAM. Realizes she's stone. That's just about the freakiest thing.
- Try listening to the background music with headphones on as the Crusaders enter the forest.
- The way the Cockatrice itself rises up out of the bushes is quite unnerving.
- Actually, this may very well have been disturbing on purpose, though probably on more of a Defanged Horrors level. Young fillies going into the woods despite their babysitter telling them it was dangerous? Major characters being temporarily or partly turned to stone, just by looking at a particular creature, which would imply either death or a comparably awful fate if this hadn't been stopped? Such themes are reminiscent of themes of horror movies, and may very well be one of the most legitimately frightening moments in the series yet.
The Show Stoppers
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders getting caught on Pinkie Pie's candy machine in "The Show Stoppers" is really frightening, especially with their bodies totally disappearing in the rainbow goop and only the Eye Scream left visible. They came out intact (albeit sticky) but still. Shudder.
- Becomes more horrifying if you happen to have listened to (or read the fic version of) "Rainbow Factory".
A Dog and Pony Show
- Rarity screaming in fear as the Diamond Dogs take her. It seriously sounded like the kind of scream you'd hear in a horror film.
- The desperation in her voice as she screams, "GAH! SPIKE!!" is just... scary.
- What about how she's kidnapped? The Diamond Dogs drag her by the legs down a pit as she screams for help.
- Also the first time the dogs show up, hiding in a bush and talking in a Gollum-esque voice and you have no idea what they look like.
The Cutie Mark Chronicles
- A lot of fans were creeped out by young Twilight losing control of her powers in "Cutie Mark Chronicles", and to a lesser extent by young Pinkie Pie's maniacally-cheerful grin on seeing her first rainbow.
- Any time that Twilight Sparkle manifests her blank-white glowing eyes ala Avatar State is… very unsettling, to say the least.
- Not to mention that it is exactly what happens when she uses the elements of harmony.
- Twilight is writhing and twitching inside the bubble before Princess Celestia comes and calms her down. She was probably in pain. Let's just be glad Celestia came when she did.
Party of One
- Pinkie Pie temporarily going nuts in "Party of One" was legitimately spooky, possibly bordering on pure terror. The odd expressions and the spastic ways they appeared didn't help in the least.
- The creepiest part is, after they say that it's her birthday, she is just back as normal, like it never happened.
- And just listen to the Creepy Circus Music playing during Pinkie's "party".
- Pinkie was actually starting to hear voices in her head, and believing they were coming from inanimate objects, signs of schizophrenia (and its about as big a subversion of Funny Schizophrenia possible on a kids show). After one day of being alone. Still not bad enough? The voices in her head were telling her that her friends were losers and she shouldn't speak to them ever again.
- While Rainbow Dash is fleeing from Pinkie Pie, she hides inside a bell at one point. Then you see two eyes... on the clapper. It's Pinkie Pie as the clapper.
The Best Night Ever
- Fluttershy losing her goddamn mind after getting rejected by the animals. Eep.
- Even more terrifying is her little bit during the otherwise adorable "Pony Pokey". As Pinkie sings, we are treated to shots of Fluttershy pouncing at every critter she sees. And at the end of the verse she has her own jump scare.
Pinkie Pie: You stomp your whole self in/you stomp your whole self out/ you stomp your whole self in and you stomp yourself about/ you do the pony pokey and you give a little shout-
Fluttershy: (Sudden, deep throated and screaming) COME OUT!
- Freakiest part is near the end, when she bursts through the door, the animals running away in terror and her giving a look of absolute pure rage. VERY un-Fluttershy.
- Not only that, but when Twilight snaps the mane cast out of it and gives the signal to get out of the recently-trashed Gala, Fluttershy has grabbed a squirrel by the scruff of its neck.
The Return of Harmony: Part 1
- "The Return of Harmony", part 1: When Discord first begins to awaken, we see his heart beating inside of his stone-cold prison, with a black aura pulsating in and out of visibility each time the heart beats.
- Discord gets up to some pretty disturbing antics. Robbing unicorns of their horns and pegasi of their wings, brainwashing Twilight's friends into becoming the opposite of their true nature, tricking Rainbow Dash into abandoning the game with a vision of Cloudsdale being destroyed...
- Although it's not dwelled upon, the taking of the wings and horns has some Body Horror implications. Imagine having a couple of your limbs vanish.
- Rainbow Dash's encounter with Discord gets even creepier when he produces a box that he claims contains her wings. Granted, we don't see Dash open it, but the idea that her unattached wings could be just sitting there inside a sparkly, neatly wrapped gift box adds new levels of unsettling to Discord's antics.
- Vision or not, seeing Cloudsdale - which many fans consider to be one of the series' best examples of Scenery Porn - being torn apart as pegasi fly and run around, screaming and panicking is pretty horrifying.
- Pinkie Pie's Mind Rape is probably the creepiest of all, with demonic balloons laughing at her while she begs them to stop.
- Even worse when Discord removes his head so his talking face is on the balloon. The faces of Pinkie's friends showing up on the balloons too is unsettling at the very least.
- There's also the talking piles of apples. It's a lot creepier than it sounds.
- The animals with the long spidery legs at the beginning. They just look... wrong.
- The worst part of it all is Discord's Faux Affably Evil personality. It's just so...disturbing. He LOVES what he's doing to them. He loves performing Mind Rape on the mane cast and he didn't even need to do the mundane version; as he showed with Fluttershy, he could've skipped straight to the instant supernatural kind! He did it because he wanted to. No wonder Celestia and Luna imprisoned him in stone for eternity!
- Not only that, this shows that he's not even trying, and yet he still won! Who knows what he's capable of when he starts getting serious?!
- And to think that he ruled Equestria before Celestia and Luna came along and turned him to stone with the Elements of Harmony.
- Another bit worth noting is part of the stained-glass window with the puppetmaster Discord. Him controlling the strings of the obviously-in-pain ponies is creepy enough, but then you notice he is dangling the ponies above a pit of fire. Do we even want to know what happened there?
- If you take a close listen as Celestia describes how horrible life was during Discord's reign, you can hear the tortured screaming of suffering ponies. Yikes.
- Those who study Tarot would definitely see the resemblance between this image and the Devil card from most major decks; the ponies being "chained" by the puppet strings, Discord's somewhat goat-like face, even the pit of fire bit can be found in the standard variants of this arcanum.
The Return of Harmony: Part 2
- Episode 2: Discord telekinetically holding the ponies up in the air by their Element Necklaces could be a bit frightening to some kids.
- What's worse is the Slasher Smile that he makes when he does it!
- The way Discord is defeated. He writhes in pain as he is turned to stone. Afterwards, the statue falls to the ground, the camera showing a close up of his horrified face.
- Discord's World of Chaos was getting progressively worse by the minute, and he only ruled Equestria for a few days max. With what was implied the previous episode (Ponies being held by puppet strings over a pit of fire along with pained, horrified screaming), it's a very good thing they stopped him when they did!
Discord: And these are only my first changes!
- The "slender bunnies" are pretty creepy before, but if you look closely when they stampede across screen before the final confrontation with Discord, it looks as if they don't have eyes.
- What made Lesson Zero so effective was how much it played with our expectations after The Return of Harmony. For instance, who would've expected any of this?
- On the inverse, some people found it scarier because it came after "The Return Of Harmony" and it made it seem like Twilight was psychologically damaged by Discord.
- For starters, quite a few people found Twilight's mental breakdown to be more than a little unsettling. Also, she seemed to have the power to brainwash ponies. She literally managed to cause all of Ponyville to descend into chaos just with one spell.
- The spell also seems to make ponies eyes roll back into their skull rather slowly.
- Twilight's bouts of Power Incontinence in general are pretty freaking creepy. Especially that she uses teleportation to yell at people without giving it a second thought.
- Twilight's crazy faces bloody well reached Ren Hoek-level.
- The way she was approaching the Cutie Mark Crusaders with those looks on her face can be rather unsettling.
- Fluttershy apparently breaking a bear's neck. It turned out she was only doing something chiropractic on it, but it looks horrific at first.
- Spike's claw cramp. It looks like he has a grotesquely broken wrist, and the sound effect doesn't help.
- The short moment where Twilight notices a few fillies playing jumprope, then she imagines them laughing at her, in an almost literally hellish background (see the page image). Seriously, the image is more disturbing than it sounds. It only lasts a second but for anyone who was socially awkward as a child, this might be the worst part of the whole episode.
- "HI, GIRRRRLS!" *ear twitch*
- This thing.
- Zecora telling the fillies about Nightmare Moon. She blows some green dust and illusions of Nightmare Moon appear, looking very vicious. Nightmare Moon is said to eat ponies!
- Princess Luna's actual entrance. She flies in with two grim looking ponies, with lightning flashing in the background, making her look pretty intimidating.
- This is part of the conflict for the episode-as it turns out, one thousand years ago, the standard royal etiquette was to be intimidating.
- After Pinkie Pie's third misunderstanding with Luna, the princess practically brings all the fake spiders to life! Which immediately overwhelm one of the ponies, knock her down, and crawl all over her!
- Luna finally gets furious after spending the whole episode being treated like a monster, complete with Glowing Eyes of Doom and summoning an ominous storm out of nowhere! A good lesson on why ticking off a Physical Goddess is a very bad idea!
- Zecora's illusion of Nightmare Moon and Luna's appearance when she briefly shapeshifts into Nightmare Moon as part of a prank includes fangs. Seeing fangs in a horse's mouth just isn't right.
May The Best Pet Win!
- While the Mix-and-Match Critters of the pets in Rainbow Dash's dream aren't that scary and are actually kind of cute, having Opal coming out of its mouth is truly frightening.
- The Quarry Eels. They aren't particularly monstrous, but damn they're fast, and not one of Dash's prospects manages to avoid being chomped. This doesn't stick (the bat pulverizes one from the inside out), but they lair in otherwise normal holes in the wall, and they give no hint to their presence.
Sweet and Elite
- This episode features a split-second closeup of a Salvador Dali-esque painting of ponies being horrifically stretched and melted.And Rarity approves of it!
The Secret of My Excess
- Spike's display of his nictitating membrane after Twilight leaves him be can be creepy to those unfamiliar with reptilian biological mechanisms. We've come to accept these characters as humans rather than animals like they really are. This scene is similar to watching someone you know as being as human as you are slowly turn into something not human.
- While grown up dragons in the show have a generally cool appearance, Spike's grown up form looks more menacing than the ones in "Dragonshy" and "Owls Well that Ends Well".
Hearth's Warming Eve
- The Windigos. Ghostly horses that feed off of negative feelings and distrust. The blizzard they caused further fueled the emotions that fed them. Close to the end of the episode, their cold became so intense that it froze the leaders of the three tribes alive, right where they stood. And apparently, they're still around, meaning that if you ever let your negative feelings get the better of you, they'll be waiting.
- And then there's the fact they're burned to death in the end!
- The scariest part is when we first see them, there's nothing explained about them. Until the end, we have no idea what they are or what they're up to.
- It gets better with research: they're either named after an Algonquin legend of evil spirits that could enter people and turn them into cannibals, or after Ithaqua the Wind-Walker, also known as the Wendigo: an Eldritch Abomination also known for causing horrible, deadly blizzards, and a character from the Cthulhu Mythos. Now that is a Shout-Out the primary demographic is unlikely to get.
- The pony leaders and their adviser's bodies turning into ice.
Family Appreciation Day
- The Timberwolves, a very eerie design of wolves made of wood. Plus, it's another rare time on the show where Talking the Monster to Death won't work.
- The "signs" that Granny Smith is on the lookout for, when they haven't been explained, can be a little unsettling. The Timberwolves' howling, the ominous weather, the crows and ravens forming symbols in the sky... it feels like Black Magic rather than an apple harvest.
- The scene where Pinkie Pie is searching frantically for the twins after putting them to bed looks like a scene out of a horror movie. She finds Pumpkin Cake (the filly) in a closet, chewing on a rubber chicken in increasingly-more-jarring slow motion. She goes out into the hallway to find Pound Cake (the colt). It's dark, the curtains are blowing, and there's weird music playing and she keeps hearing Pound Cake's laugh everywhere. It brings to mind some of the horror stories about babysitters alone in the dark....
- That scene was filled with references to horror movies, so it's only natural it would be scary.
- The blowing curtains also imply that there is an open window somewhere, and Pound Cake has just started flying. And the Everfree Forest is never far away...
- Well, considering that scene was directly lifted from the "dead baby crawling on the ceiling" scene in Trainspotting, it's rather unsurprisingly horrifying.
- There's also a massive amount of Adult Fear in that scene. Taking care of a child and then losing them is one of the worst feelings ever.
The Last Roundup
- Applejack learns the hard way to never break a Pinkie promise, as do the viewers.
Read It And Weep
- The entire Daring Do story is quite shockingly violent for this show. The worst is definitely when she's tied to a slab in a room filling with sand and spiked walls closing in, while spiders and cobras crawl over her.
- Ahuizotl's introduction. It's not immediately apparent how off his anatomy is until he starts talking, and when he does, it's in Pinkie Pie's voice, which is immensely jarring.
Hearts and Hooves Day
- Apple Bloom's Imagine Spot about Ponyville sliding into chaos without Cheerilee teaching and Big Macintosh helping at Sweet Apple Acres is amusing, but it also features a disturbing shot of a severely-emaciated Lily.
A Friend in Deed
- It was somewhat unsettling to see Pinkie Pie squeeze one of her eyes through the keyhole of a lock.
It's About Time
- Because Nightmare Moon, Discord and the Windigos aren't bad enough, Cerberus apparently guards a gate that holds all manner of evil creatures, and there's nothing stopping him from running off whenever he feels like it. Not only that, but according to Twilight the place is Tartarus - which was more or less Hell in Greek myth, as the lowest region of the underworld. Given that Cerberus guarded the underworld in Greek myth, and the MLP production team as snuck quite a few mythological references in, the fact that we're more or less introduced to Hell is unsettling in itself.
- The fact that teenage dragons steal phoenix eggs, and smash them. Imagine being the parents of those dead eggs.
- What's worse, when they find out the eggs hatch, their leader gleefully states they'll take the babies.
- After Spike refuses to hand over the phoenix egg, the teen dragons turn on him. Just imagine what they'd have done to Spike if the girls hadn't shown up...
- Fluttershy's fear of being ridiculed at one point is symbolized by her looking absolutely terrified in a tunnel of eyes with a red backdrop, while echoing voices taunt her. And just to make sure all the little kids don't sleep, they throw in an Evil Laugh.
- If you've been bullied in real life, that moment could bring up some very unpleasant memories...
- Roid Rage's muscle-y, vein-y appearance can be a bit... unsettling.
A Canterlot Wedding
- Queen Chrysalis and her Changeling minions. Not only do they look scary (Chrysalis and the other Changelings even have gaping holes in their legs), they can turn into the ones you love most.
- She is a good glimpse of what you can really flex on a kids' TV show. If so compelled, the writers could really turn up the darkness of the show by following her example down the road. It's still "kid-friendly" but man is it a shift from what you're used to.
- The ending of the first half. Specifically, the last 20-odd seconds. Seriously, the only thing that kept fans from freaking out completely is the fact that the second half of the plot started almost immediately.
- When Queen Chrysalis unravels her Cadence disguise, there's a short bit where, for a second, she has an Eyeless Face, and then her eyes suddenly open with stretched out sclera. This is then followed by an Evil Laugh with an extreme close-up of her face. Yikes.
- The shot directly after that, when her shadow falls over Cadence, her shadow looks absolutely terrifying!