One of the big no no's in kids TV is murder or death or any kind of gruesome end of any kind. You are, generally speaking, not allowed to kill anyone. Pretty much all kids TV has either found a way to work within this system, or has found clever workarounds to test the limits.
The DC Animated Universe (or DCAU for short) is one such example of the latter, and the workaround the fine minds at Warner Bros. Animation came up with tended to be... well, let's just say they never said anything about making our characters WISH they were dead!
Yes, while very few characters actually straight up die in the DC animated universe, that hasn't stopped Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Dwayne McDuffie and the rest of that legendary team from basically doing whatever they want with their characters.
There are just some genuinely gruesome fates in these cartoons presumably made for kids that... well, to be perfectly honest, explain a lot about me and my whole deal when I go back and watch them.
Here are the most terrifying fates characters encountered in the beloved DCAU...
10. Living In Constant Fear - Batman: The Animated Series
It's almost hilarious to think of someone genuinely fearing the Riddler, but then, most people haven't pissed him off like Nygma's old boss Daniel Mockridge.
We have Mockridge to thank, in fact, for the Riddler even existing, as before Mockridge screwed him over (the cowardly boss fired him so that he wouldn't have to pay Nygma any royalties), Edward Nygma was merely an admittedly self obsessed game designer.
Nygma then became the Riddler two years later in order to get his revenge on this parasitical capitalist, but Batman foiled his plans, saving Mockridge from a life-sized and lethal recreation of Nygma's Riddle of the Minotaur game.
That said, Nygma did manage to get away, promising to return one day for Mockridge to finish what he started.
The last scene of the episode is Mockridge, whom we never see again after this episode, cowering with a shotgun as he tries to get some sleep. But every single shadow and noise makes him think that the man he ruined has finally returned to ruin him right back.
Riddler may be a villain, but it's hard to feel sorry for Mockridge here.