4 Dark As Hell Cartoon Scenes We Forgot About
We've written plenty of times about the cartoons that traumatized us as kids, from Tom and Jerry embracing a violent death to that little shoe getting dissolved in acid in Roger Rabbit to the body horror in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. But there's something worse than a traumatizing childhood moment -- one that didn't even get a chance to scar you because your mind immediately wiped it from your memory the moment it was over, as a self-preservation tactic. So, in an effort to prevent our readers from accidentally doing the same to their future kids, here's a necessary reminder about moments like ...
Dragon Ball Z -- Cell Sucks Up A Guy
Cell from Dragon Ball Z is a futuristic android who goes around "sucking up" other characters to gain their powers, like a less adorable Kirby. He's powered by plagiarism, basically. Most of the time, when Cell absorbs another character we just see their legs going up his tail chute until they disappear.
While the other characters sometimes talk about their absorbed friends as if they were dead, even as kids we all knew that they'd be spit out safe and sound at some point. At worst, they'd be left with some sore necks from being cramped in there for so long. But not this poor guy:
First you see Cell sting the guy ... somewhere ... with his tail, causing him to yell out in agonizing pain. Then he remains conscious (and screaming) as Cell slowly sucks up everything inside him, causing his body to deflate like a used up tube of toothpaste. By the end he's just an empty human skin rug.
Then he disappears, and we find out that Cell had been doing this to all those other regular people he'd been absorbing throughout the episode. Pretty heavy stuff for a show that started out being about a wacky kid with a monkey tail being continually perplexed by the female anatomy. At least the fact that Cell continues to refer to this process as "sucking you up" helps offset the horror a little bit.
CatDog -- Cat Brushes Dog's Teeth (From Inside)
Nickelodeon's CatDog had a pretty disturbing premise to begin with: a cat and a dog are born as conjoined twins sharing one body, raising unnerving questions about their parentage and how the hell they poop. But the horror is taken to a new level in the episode "Teeth for Two," which contains the scene at 0:30 in the clip below (admittedly made even worse by the fact that we couldn't find a version without the audio replaced by Kanye West talking about murder-suicide for some reason).
See, in the episode, Cat has grown frustrated with Dog's poor dental hygiene and tries to brush his teeth while he sleeps, but has trouble reaching Dog's teeth since he won't stay still. Pet owners can sympathize with Cat up to this point. But then, Cat goes into their shared body, emerges from Dog's mouth turned into a skinless monstrosity ...
... pulls out a toothbrush Dog had presumably eaten at some point, and starts brushing away with his inside out paws. Which doesn't sound terribly hygienic, come to think of it.
Dog wakes up to this scene and, presumably, never goes to sleep ever again.
Since the mechanics of Dog peeing himself in terror at this moment were too gross for even these writers to consider, he simply screams and swallows Cat, causing him to pop back out on his side of the body. The moral of the episode: always brush before bed, kids, or your inside out feet will do it for you!
Hello Kitty's Animation Theater -- Hello Kitty #$%@ing Freezes To Death
This one comes from Hello Kitty's Animation Theater, a show that remakes classic fairy tales with cute Japanese mascots. It's the perfect example of something you'd leave running on Netflix in front of a toddler while you go do more urgent things, like not being with a toddler. The problem is that fairy tales, as you might know, could get pretty dark, and in this case there was no effort to tone it down:
The episode based on "The Little Match Girl" shows Hello Kitty trying to sell matches in a snowy village populated almost entirely by people who have zero interest in this technology (to be fair, this is set in the 17th century, when matches were probably still seen as witchcraft). Despite being cold as hell, Kitty has to stay outside because she has been instructed not to come home until she has sold all the matches. At one point, she comes up with the idea of lighting some of them to warm herself and starts seeing wonderful visions, including one where she sees her beloved grandma. Her beloved dead grandma. You see where this is going.
The visions keep fading away when the matches are blown off, so Kitty eventually lights all of her remaining ones and begs her grandma to take her to that warm, magical place. And she does: we see her spirit fly out of her body to join the old woman ...
... and the next morning, Kitty's corpse is found in the snow. Yep, we just watched Hello Kitty slowly go insane and freeze to death.
At least she's not suffering anymore in heaven. Because that's where she went, right? That famously warm place with all the ... flames, and ... uh-oh. Whelp, that's what she gets for dealing with witchcraft.
Courage the Cowardly Dog -- "You're Not Perfect" (And Other Terrifying Cutaways)
Courage the Cowardly Dog was about a dog with intense but, as it turned out, completely justified anxiety issues. Nothing exemplifies that better than the final episode, "Perfect," which is about Courage being haunted by a strange woman who somehow expects a tiny dog to perform a series of tasks to perfection. Courage is so stressed out by the situation that, when he tries to go to sleep, he sees this:
That's not some clip from a Nine Inch Nails video that someone edited into the scene -- this is what actually aired in Cartoon Network 20 years ago. Courage sees some sort of bizarre 3D creature animated in a completely different style from the rest of the show, who whispers "You're not perfect" and disappears, never to be seen or referenced again. Some of you are probably finding out for the first time that, no, you didn't imagine that.
Nightmare scenes appear to be a great excuse for animators to include all the deranged stuff they come up with that wouldn't otherwise make it into the episode, like when Pingu had an inexplicable dream about a giant walrus in an episode the BBC has quietly taken out of the rotation (probably because their phone lines were jammed by hours of sustained screaming).
But then again, "the character is having a bad dream" makes more sense "let's just repeatedly expose kids to this horrifying eyeless cat image we created, for no reason whatsoever" as they did in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
Hey, at least it doesn't have a dog coming out of its butt.
Top image: Warner Bros. Television Distribution