|One of the terrifying episodes from Batman: The animates Series is "His Silicon Soul." / Photo by: BagoGames via Flickr|
Halloween might be over this year, but the thirst for spooks and screams is everlasting. It also applies to most anything, even cartoons, comic books, and superheroes. Of course, we’re talking about “Batman: The Animated Series” that even though it had ended a long time ago, some of its creepier episodes still stand out.
Here are some terrifying episodes from this incredibly successful animated series.
“His Silicon Soul”
What happens when the Bat is not quite himself and is more of a cyborg with an oddly conscious mind? Well, the stuff of nightmares, of course. For those of us who are used to animated series like “Batman” and others that tried to explore metaphysical topics in innovative ways, the episode was at the very least only mildly bothersome, but its creep factor was consistent because it played around with Batman/Bruce Wayne’s already turbulent psyche.
According to online culture magazine WhatCulture, what pushed this episode a little further was the possession of the cyborg Batman of the memories we completely know was not its own.
No one delivers the creeps better than the Clown Prince of Crime himself, and it’s no better evidenced by the “Joker’s Favor” episode that took viewers away from the central cast and hitched a ride in one innocent bystander's point of view. It’s an ingenious episode that exemplified just how much deep sh*t you’ll be in when you get on the Joker’s bad side—and maybe that’s the point.
“Joker’s Favor” ran along the same lines as some short storylines in the comics, too, where the Joker is often seen being utterly devious not only with the Bat himself but also with common people like the victim in this episode, Mr. Charlie Collins.
|In “Joker’s Favor,” the Joker is often seen being utterly devious not only with the Bat himself but also with common people like Mr. Charlie Collins. / Photo by: chingyunsong via Shutterstock|
“Feat of Clay”
Alongside the horror and the clearly gothic elements that were constantly explored and incorporated in each Batman animated series episode, the show also reached a certain kind of accord with its audience, especially when it came to the portrayal of their villains. Take the “Feat of Clay” episode, for example.
Essentially, it played out like an origin story of Clayface, which CBR.com, a website dedicated to the coverage of comic book-related news and discussion, described as a “struggling actor” named Matt Hagen, who was “forced to work for the corrupt businessman, Ronald Daggett. When the business went sideways, heartless Daggett “had his men shove chemicals down Hagen’s mouth,” which turned him into Clayface.
This episode went into some mild body horror, where, in the last minutes of the episode, Clayface was seen “constantly changing into numerous people” nearly to the point that it even killed him.
The animated series was known for upending and dissecting tropes and metaphysical concepts and mining them for amazing storylines in such an incredibly effective way. “Never Fear” was one such episode that easily turned the fear factor up as high as it could get in such a subversive way. Wouldn’t it be cool to not fear anything? This episode proved that having no fear was just as bad as fearing everything.
According to WhatCulture, it’s the idea that Batman could lose his near-perfect grasp of control that made the episode terrifying.
“Dreams in Darkness”
Finally, as WhatCulture pointed out, the show never really shied away from digging into Batman’s psyche. In “Dreams in Darkness,” the story followed Batman going through his hallucinations all while Scarecrow poisoned the water supply to spread fear among the citizens of Gotham.
Unfortunately, Scarecrow got to Batman first, therefore subjecting him to his own hallucinations before he could even fight back. The fact that the episode even started with Batman in a straight jacket and disbelieving doctors was already quite unfathomable for someone like Batman.
Honorable Mention: The Body Horror Elements of “Batman Beyond”
Out of all the Batman iterations and overlapping storylines, reboots, and everything in between, “Batman Beyond” went, well, beyond. This is at least in terms of the body horror elements. The less queasy of us might not find a terribly big issue with these (especially since in some cases, older cartoons add body horror in for comedic value minus the blowback), but “Batman Beyond” didn’t really seem to care about the queasy level of its audiences. Rest assured, no one here was playing with innards and skinning people alive Ramsay Bolton-style, but the brand of body horror that “Batman Beyond” did use was so outlandish it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows.
In an article by Syfy Wire, a website offering coverage of news in the science fiction, horror, and fantasy genres, a standout body horror sequence was when Inque, “a shape-shifting villain,” tried to kill Batman “by forcing herself down his throat.”
If it sounds weird, well, that’s because it is. The clip seemed even weirder; in it, we were shown Inque’s fluid plasma body stuffing itself into Batman’s body through his mouth.