The Legend of Zelda generally has a bright, coming-of-age tone, but there are still those moments that scared us to Game Over. While some fans encourage the horror genre, others still have to admit the ReDeads and Majora’s moon won’t leave our nightmares anytime soon. Here are 10 terrifying times the game series decided to send shivers up your spine.
10. The Moon Is Horrifying for Megalophobians
Megalophobians, or people who suffer from the fear of large objects, will immediately cower in fear when they see the Moon. Even those who don’t have megalophobia are still going to be scared at least one time during Majora’s Mask. The Moon is basically this huge grotesque moon with yellow teeth and more-than-menacing eyes fated to crash into the land of Termina. What’s worse is that it will remain hanging in the sky over the overworld throughout the entire game, ensuring you can never really run away from it.
9. The Great Fairies Are Too Interested in Link
The Great Fairies in Ocarina of Time appear outright creepy. Their eyes are thickly outlined in black, and while they do have good intentions and help you upgrade your stuff, that doesn’t take anything away from their general aura.
The ultimately most disturbing part of the Great Fairies, however, is the way they treat Link in Breath of the Wild. After he chooses which clothing piece for one to upgrade, she picks him right up off his feet, kisses him all over, and drags him into the waters of her fountain all while he screams for his life. It’s likely the fairies are doing nothing malicious with Link, but still, they’re tossing him around like a teddy bear against his will.
8. The Tail Cave Basement Has Hanging Skeletons
Link’s Awakening, especially the 2019 Switch remake, is an adorable game where everything from the dungeons to the bosses are cute and round. However, all of that changes in the first dungeon, Tail Cave’s, basement. As Link descends down the ladder, he can see skeletons hung on chains from the basement’s ceiling with only their clothing left on them. Who hung these poor people? In the utopian dream of Koholint, who dared do this? The Tail Cave’s boss, Moldorm, likely did not, but perhaps the final Shadow Nightmare did. The darkness of this cavern is a stark contrast to the bright rest of Koholint.
7. Link’s Mask Transformations Are Terrifyingly Painful
To be honest, Link rocks all those masks effortlessly like he was putting on a circus. But the sequence of actually donning the mask is pure terror (remember that these masks are obtained from dead people). Link starts screaming aloud and gasping and choking for his life when he puts it on, basically turning into that dead person and taking on all their pain in the process. Fortunately, these horrifying cutscenes can be skipped by pressing a button after watching the first one, but still. It’s hard not to admit that this is the horror highlight of Majora’s Mask.
6. You Can’t Forget the ReDeads
I’m sure everyone who has played Ocarina of Time know very well what a ReDead is. If you don’t, they’re walking mummies with empty eyes and skinny arms that paralyze Link with their screams. Their main attack is jumping on his back and sucking out his life force, which is already scary enough for one of the most favorable Zelda games of all time, but wait: there’s more. The ReDeads are supposedly citizens of Hyrule that couldn’t escape when Ganon took over. Only these petrifying skeletons are what’s left of them, making you think how painful that transformation was.
5. There’s Something Off About These Statues
The Elegy of Emptiness is obtained from Ikana’s late king as a song of lament. It actually proves pretty handy later on in Majora’s Mask, as it creates statues of Link that help him be two places at once in dungeons when he plays it on his ocarina. However, these statues don’t look all that appealing. They are rather grotesque images of a Zora, Goron, Deku Scrub, and finally, the normal Link. Only that Link’s eyes are as empty as the elegy itself, and his mouth looks forced into a creepy little smile. These statues just make you want to take your eyes off of them as quickly as possible.
4. The Masters of the Walls
Everyone who’s played Ocarina of Time can share a deep hatred of the Wallmasters. Not only are they annoying, carrying you back to the beginning of a dungeon, but they are also beyond creepy. Nintendo deliberately designed them to be hands that pop out of nowhere and simultaneously look like spiders crawling on the ground. What’s even worse is that they don’t give you much warning at all when they are going to reach out and grab you. The only sign is Link’s shadow growing larger, but that is barely noticeable at all. Every encounter with the hiding Wallmasters will likely end in the frightening instance of the unattached hands grabbing a screaming Link by the head.
3. The Not-So-Happy Mask Salesman
The Happy Mask Salesman is one of those characters whose essence is one hundred percent terrifying. He can change his temperament at a lightning speed, shaking Link around before beginning to gladly smile once again. Even when he isn’t interacting with Link, he walks around with a strange smile almost glued on his face and wearing the violet purple of Majora. This seemingly happy salesman also delivers the most startling line in all of Majora’s Mask. If you let the Moon crash into Termina at the end of the third day, Link will die, and the salesman, out of all people, will say, “You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”
2. It’s Raining Ilias
In Twilight Princess, a vision explains the origins of the Twili to Link while involving some incredibly horrifying visuals. It starts out just fine, but it eventually gets more and more disturbing, starting with Link and Ilia’s blank white eyes. The peace-loving and friendly Ilia then holds a dagger. The vision finally ends with several Ilias raining from the sky all while laughing menacingly, showing that this vision is not only about the Twili – it’s about people’s dark sides. Even the best people can quickly turn evil if led the wrong way. This unsettling vision only adds to Twilight Princess‘s overall dark vibe, new to Zelda at the time.
1. Beware the Shadow Temple
The utmost creepiest dungeon in Ocarina of Time, and basically all of The Legend of Zelda, has to be the Shadow Temple. It’s like Nintendo’s brain dump of all their nightmares in one temple. Multiple Dead Hand mini bosses litter the dungeon, those ghostlike guys covered in splotches of red, not to mention the unsettling clown paintings on the walls. Even the music is eerie. Heavy drum beats compose the main part of the song, accompanied by supernatural sighs that make you glance around in fear. Even worse, skulls and bones are the ground, which must make even the courageous Link shake all over.