For those not familiar with the expression, fridge horror is when something really awful is implied by the plot but never felt with directly by the narrative so the horror of it all only hits you after a while, if you stop to think about it.
I don’t think I’m shocking anyone when I say I love fridge horror. It’s often unintentional, making the grim intimations completely dissonant and a little hilarious (to me.. I may have some issues). In fact. I have even been known to insert otherwise inexistant fridge horror in shows once I start getting bored by them.
The phenomenon can have many causes. Lack of proper storytelling foundations, making certain in show situations only possible through terrifying means. Poorly managed continuity when character evolution or plot progression contradicts itself in a way that would mean something truly frightful has happened. A cheeky author wanting to sneak in some thrills! The end result usually is you thinking to yourself.”wait… Does that mean?… Oh no…OH NO!”
The term itself seems to be derived from “Fridge Logic” which is a comment writer’s-room term for plot or narrative inconsistencies which are pushed to the side because the story can be told in spite of them. These tend to become plot point that the audience doesn’t realize during the show, but only long afterwards. Sort of like a plot crack (which is my personal term for mini plot hole).
According to TV Tropes: the phrase was technically coined by Alfred Hitchcock. When asked about the scene in Vertigo when Madeleine mysteriously, and impossibly, disappears from the hotel that Scottie saw her in, he responded by calling it an “icebox” scene, that is, a scene that “hits you after you’ve gone home and start pulling cold chicken out of the icebox.”
I also wish that story was funnier but hey, at least you learned something… Or maybe not…
Anywho when these inconsistencies actually imply some horrific consequences, it moves from Fridge Logic to Fridge Horror. Sometimes though, it’s just an ill thought out premise. Like when restaurant chains have adorable mascots of the animals you would actually be eating while ordering from them…
I’m not sure if Fridge Horror will bring you as much really weird jpy as it does me. (Again issues, maybe I should talk to someone…) But in the spirit of the season, I would love to share with some of my favourite examples from anime!
As a dark comedy, Black Butler is brimming with examples of Fridge horror but my two favourites are:
Sebastien clearly uses silverware as a weapon and it looks exactly like one used at the Phantomhive residence. Even if it is cleaned, are they eating with the same knives that have murdered tons of people? That seems unwise. I’m not sure how well dish soap disinfected at the time but considering average health care in the 1800s, I’m surprised even the demons survived…
In the first season, when Angela kidnaps Ciel she binds him with someone’s cinematic record. Since Grell cuts it up during the rescue, did the person whose cinematic record it was just get murdered for no reason or did they just suddenly start having serious mental issues? Why does no one seem to care at all. The reapers department has some management problems.
Most Shinigami aren’t as bright and educated as Ryuk (that in itself is pretty scary). From the little we see, most of them just peer into the human world and write down whoever they happen to see in their Death Notes, whenever they need to add to their lifespans. And there’s an entire dimension filled with Shinigami that have to do this all the time. Like we weren’t doing a great job killing each other.
In the first episode, a terrorist is trying to kill Bradley in retaliation for Ishval and because he believes him to be evil. Our heroes manage to stop him and save the day…However, he was right all along. This maybe a bit more of Fridge irony but it still pretty awful that had he succeeded, all the death and destruction that followed could have been mitigated.
Kill La Kill
Life Fibers consider Humans to be essentially life stock. So when you consider this, if Senketsu hadn’t lost all his memories when he first met Ryuko, would he have just eaten her? She was just one lucky coincidence from becoming lunch.
There is a lot of very apparent horror in Perfect Blue, that lingers with you whether you want it to or not. So you are completely excused for not noticing some of the little really odd details.
I have a feeling this was perfectly intentional but in the beginning, we hear some of CHAM’s idol song lyrics and they go:
- If it means you’re loved in the end,
- Be much more aggressive, because you will get a chance.
Considering the subsequent, absolutely devastating rape scene. Well….
I mean *everything*, right? It’s like dog fighting the anime – only they have to live in pandimensional prisons, considerably smaller than their own body size. They don’t get walks either. We all agree, Pokemon is cruel and terrifying stuff, right?
So how did Ragnarok become an integral part of Crona’s body? We know he was a normal weapon. From what I can tell Medusa had to force him into weapon form, grind or melt him down and mix him with the black blood. We also know that she drained all of Crona’s (her own child) blood to replace it with the black blood, which already had and independent consciousness. Add to that the fact that we see in flashbacks that Crona already had Ragnarok as a very small child (4 or so). Honestly, they are both doing great under the circumstances…
So Wolfwood’s a teenager….
Do you have any examples of anime that made you go, wait a minute…oh no…Oh NOOOOO!!! Please share them with me!