Batman: The Animated Series, wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill superhero cartoon, but something for any fan of Gotham’s Dark Knight to enjoy. Considered by many to be the perfect Batman variation, this series had something for everyone regardless of age, including comedy, drama, and even horror.
True Batman fans shouldn’t be surprised that the series went as dark as it did, but there were definitely moments in the series that were certified nightmare fuel. From killer clowns and evil puppets to body horror and massive monsters, the series had as horror as it did hard-hitting action. The caped crusader’s animated adventures definitely had their share of the creeps.
10 Big Bad Harv
Part of Harvey Dent’s tragic origin story involved his psychotic second personality, known in his therapy sessions as Big Bad Harv. It was a subtle preview of the internal chaos to come, the monster inside waiting to come out.
Sometimes it’s the things viewers don’t see that scare them, and the slow transformation was definitely a subtle scare. It was only after the trauma caused by the accident that disfigured Dent that his evil alter-ego was able to take over entirely.
9 Man-Bat’s Transformation
The episode “On Leather Wings” was practically a monster movie in its own right. A scientist who dabbles in genetic experimentation turning into a horrific monster? How many times has that premise graced the silver screen?
Joking aside, the transformation scene is like something out of a John Carpenter movie. Far from the average Jekyll and Hyde act, this scene is not only horrifying, but it looks excruciatingly painful to endure. It definitely had a lot of viewers watching through their fingers.
8 Joker’s Victims
Since the censors would never let anyone get straight-up murdered in front of young viewers, the creators had to find a new way for the Joker to dispose of his victims. What better way than with that insidious rictus grin pulled straight from the Tim Burton adaptation?
To a point, this might be a fate worse than death. Watching anyone fall to the toxins of Joker’s laughing gas is more than a little bit unsettling. Thankfully, Batman knows a thing or two about antidotes, or Gotham’s citizens would be disfigured on a regular basis.
7 Clayface’s Origin
Again, sometimes what isn’t seen is scarier than what might be shown. Clayface wasn’t always a big muddy monster, but rather the victim of an insidious plot that left him not only addicted to toxic chemicals, but that corrupted his body and flesh, as well.
The silhouette of Roland Dagget’s gangsters literally pouring a concoction of experimental compounds down his throat is nothing short of nightmarish. This is definitely a horror-movie-worthy sequence that stays with the viewers until the monster is finally revealed.
6 One Night In Wonderland
The Mad Hatter might be one of the series most sympathetic villains in the show’s run, but that still doesn’t mean he isn’t a total creep in that garish getup. Aside from turning his pawns into mind-controlled puppets, he dukes it out with the Dark Night in a Wonderland-themed park at night.
There’s something incredibly uncanny about seeing Batman fight the Hatter in a Wonderland maze amongst statues and images of Lewis Caroll’s characters. It’s a creepy setting that complements the villain perfectly.
5 The Death of Batgirl
“Over The Edge” was a giant mind game of an episode that had everyone shocked and stunned right up until the ending, but there are few moments in the show quite so jarring as the death of Batgirl at the hands of the Scarecrow. It’s definitely not the subtlest way to start the episode.
During a fight atop one of the city’s skyscrapers, the fiendish Scarecrow sends Batgirl plummeting to her death. To make the sequence even more of a shocker is the fact that she’s discovered and unmasked by her father, Commissioner Gordon.
4 Scarface’s Return
Evil dolls and puppets will always be insanely creepy, and Gotham City has its own resident miniature monster in the form of Scarface. Scarface is the Ventriloquist’s evil other half. Unlike Two-Face, however, the pair can be separated and Arnold Wesker can live a normal life… for a while.
“Double Talk” is an episode that concerns the resurgence of Wesker’s other persona. When he starts seeing hallucinations of the puppet outside his apartment, there’s definitely something eerie that saturates the entire episode.
3 Scarecrow’s Makeover
The best redesign of The New Batman Adventures has to be the Scarecrow. In the earlier episodes, Scarecrow’s design was a tad inconsistent at best, as he seemed to change every time he was seen—until season four, that is.
Scarecrow went from having a borderline Scooby-Doo monster design to something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The undead preacher look paired with Jeffrey Combs’s raspy voice seeping out of those skeletal teeth, it’s practically the most horror-inspired design of the series.
2 Bruce Wayne’s Guilt
During Scarecrow’s first appearance, both viewers and Batman are introduced to Dr. Crane’s fear toxin. The Caped Crusader might be a bit harder to scare than most people, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune. During these hallucinations, viewers are given a deep dive into Batman/Bruce Wayne’s psychosis.
Frightening visions of a disapproving Thomas Wane in a blaze of fire, haunting visuals representing his self-doubt, and other dark and twisted imagery comes hurling at Batman a mile a minute—and that was only the first time he was infected.
1 Batman’s Nightmares
“What hidden terror keeps the Batman awake at night?” Scarecrow isn’t a villain that goes down easily, and, when he goes nuclear, everyone suffers. In a plot to poison Gotham’s water supply, Batman is hit once again with this toxin. This time, however, the hallucinations are even more intense.
These waking nightmares are possibly the most horrifying scenes in the entire series, ranging from gigantic versions of Batman’s rogues to a bleeding gun shooting his parents and Batman falling into a Scarecrow-inspired Hellmouth. There is a such thing as overkill.
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