Let’s go. When an animation steps into the uncanny valley, or just leaves us wondering what psychedelic, catastrophic nightmare hallucination we just woke up from. Animated movies like this can be an… interesting experience. Sometimes helping us explore difficult concepts or better understand our own darker sides. So let’s step right in for the Top 10 CREEPIEST Animated Movies. For this list, I’ll try and find a balance between movies that are creepy by concept, and movies that just… look plain creepy. Hopefully we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. Anyway… What the…? Nostalgia Critic? Phantom Strider! I want in on this list! Really? Well, sure, Critic, it’d be great to have your opinion. Great. You give your reviews, I’ll give my thoughts on these creepy movies as we go. Okay. Welcome aboard. Glad to be aboard. Anyway, on with the countdown. Hey! It’s mine now. Coraline was probably the most requested for this list. And certainly one of my favourites. What makes Coraline so fascinating is that the animators purposely swiped their claws through the uncanny valley continually. With their alternate world characters For those of you who don’t know the uncanny valley refers to when something looks realistic but is just… slightly off. When this happens, we tend to respond with horror and revulsion. until it looks realistic enough that we can’t see the flaws. CG animation used to fall into this valley a lot. And we’re gonna see some of the worst of it on this list. Normally this uncanny valley happens by accident, but with Coraline, it was very intentionally designed to look uncanny. Admittedly, the story is relatively standard. Young Coraline is bothered by her current home life but finds another, better world, only to discover that her old life wasn’t so bad and the second world is a psychotic mad house. But what I like about Coraline is when we first see the other world Coraline goes to, Consciously, it seems like a happier world, but unconsciously, we’re picking up on the uncanny valley, and our brains know something feels slightly off. And the more time we spend seeing this world, the more the nightmare bubbles to the surface. And by the 60 minute mark, our subconscious has managed to communicate to our conscious, that this world is wrong, and Coraline needs to get the hell out of there. Sewing buttons into children’s eyes, just… Bleurgh! It’s colourful, varied and beautiful. Hey, Critic, did you have any thoughts on Coraline? Sure do! As I said on my “Top 11 New Halloween Classics”, I highly recommend it. While Coraline doesn’t get gory, there’s a diverse range of creepy visuals in it that actually warrant the PG rating. It’s not like Frozen where it gets it because of a shoe size joke. Kristoff: Foot size? Anna: Foot size doesn’t matter. I agree, it’s both diverse and creepy with its own unique style. I definitely recommend Coraline, too. (by Pixar) Actually, for 1988, this is pretty amazing looking. The CG’s a little dated, but… *DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!!!!* BAAGH! AAH! There was a time when Pixar wasn’t so good at their CG In fact, there was one time they fell so far into the uncanny valley that they made both kids and adults in the audience soil themselves. You may notice when this thing moves it encourages a feeling of revulsion and terror in your guts. That’s because this guy’s not a robot or a human. This little guy’s at the bottom zombie section of the uncanny valley. Which Pixar has fortunately ever since managed to stay right out of. What we see nowadays is the result of 20 years of Pixar pulling themselves out of this… hideous valley of terror. But… the idea was set. Disney took notice of Tin Toy, And they went on to help Pixar make Toy Story. So at least the terrified howls of viewers weren’t in vain. It inspired one of the greatest animated movies of all time. Hey, Critic, what did you think of Tin Toy? Well, Tin Toy was made by Pixar in 1988, so it’s no wonder the CG is so rough. And hey, the end result was Toy Story, so I’m glad Pixar ended up making Tin Toy. Tin… Toy… Story, I guess. I agree. Animation is far better off with Tin Toy existing. Man: Judyyyy! Okay, to start with, this doesn’t even need to be a monster movie. Just… look at that animation. This was from the era when animated movies were juuust coming out of the centre of the uncanny valley, Still giving off some of those creepy, David Lynch vibes. It’s meant to be a horror film for kids, but kids may not have realised exactly why they were horrified. But we’re only scratching the surface of the uncanny valley with Monster House. Chowder: Killer slinkiiieees!! CG animation was about to become even creepier. The story is that a couple of kids find a house that is haunted, and it tries to… eat people Chowder: I’m too young to die! From there, it’s got some of the usual standard tropes, but it’s got some creative scenes in the process, so I enjoyed it. Hey, Critic, didn’t you review this one in your Halloween Guilty Pleasures? I certainly did. The character animation can be awkward and the scenes can move slowly, but the way the monster house transforms everyday objects into nightmares was super creative. I think it’s still an interesting Halloween guilty pleasure. You thought Jim Carrey as the Grinch was terrifying, Try turning him into a disembodied freaky CG ghoul. A ghostly ghoul. Marley: [Man]kind… was my business. To me, this animated ghoul fest sits rock bottom at the uncanny valley. This was such a massive project that they decided to even screen this Christmas Carol in IMAX, begging the question, “Who would want to see these ghastly terrors in gigantic city destroying size?” Every character just looks creepy in this motion capture, from the peasants, to Scrooge, to the ghosts. And even if they didn’t, the whole movie seems intent on spooking the pants off of the audience. Without much reflection on the light moments of Christmas Carol The special moments that make it a pleasant occasion. This is one of those animated movies you can look at, and your conscious can register that these are meant to be humans, but your unconscious is in panic overdrive trying to figure out what the hell it’s looking at. and why everything looks so wrong. Even the merry scenes are disturbing in the way they move. THIS is what a heartwarming Disney Christmas Carol should look like. Not… THIS! And what about yourself, Critic? Did you have any thoughts on… Disney’s Christmas Carol? Well, to be honest, I often forget that Christmas Carol WAS a Disney movie. Not just because of the motion capture but also because it was so intensely dark. They really go overboard with scaring Scrooge as well as the audience. So… good choice Strider, it’s a fine pick for the list! Oh… thanks. Skewering vegetables alive; slowly boiling them; flattening them. There’s something… very unpleasant about this one. Like… post Cold War unpleasant. Potato: You’ll fry! There’s a very demented feel to how each creature is sliced, crushed or tortured. Even though they’re vegetables! Technically, this is PG content. Yet I’m feeling slightly queasy just watching it. But it is quite clever that all these macabre concepts are done through kitchen appliances. It’s not necessarily bad, But there’s something very eerie about how the creators have subtly interwoven disfigurement and torture into this innocuous… vegetable cartoon. It’s actually a short available on Youtube from 1939, and if you’re interested, I’d recommend giving it a look. It’s creepy, but interesting. Hey, Critic, I don’t suppose you’ve run into this one before, have you? Well, I have now, and I have to say, I’ve never felt so bad for produce. Eerie silences combined with disturbing, uncanny movements. I can’t quite tell if I’m looking at a puppet, a person, or a claymation. And it’s all mixed together with a strange combination of live-action footage. This film will hold on silences, a long time… as the creepily animated characters stare into our souls. AGH! AGH! LOOK AT THIS DUCK! LOOK AT HIM! I felt less creeped out by Linda Blair in The Exorcist than this duck! Anyway, the movie’s pretty brutal, too. In one scene, Peter silently gets thrown into a dumpster in the slums of an ice cold city, guns pointed to his face. and we slowly get to watch his vision fade to black Once again, the interesting part about this animation is what you feel in your gut as you watch it. Because of the uncanny animation, I constantly get this feeling in my gut while I’m watching that something horrible is about to happen. Like the cat is about to be mauled or a bomb is about to drop. And… THAT DUCK! BY JEEBUS THAT DUCK! Peter Wolf was perhaps intended to be a harmless children’s tale, but because 2006 seemed to be the year of the uncanny, if you weren’t Pixar, your animated movie had to make Frankenstein look attractive. This one’s a really obscure one. I don’t suppose you’ve run into it, have you, Critic? I have run into it, actually. Although the animation is unsettling, I think it’s an overall solid retelling of the fairytale. It’s pretty impressive that the entire movie is done with no words. That’s true. Creepy or not, almost all of the narrative is done through visuals, and I’d really give an animation credit for that. Oh boy. At first glance, this one may look like a young kid’s cartoon. I mean, I’ve seen this animation style in freaking Caillou. But this one isn’t creepy in being uncanny or having weird animation. It’s creepy on a more intricate, conceptual level. To be honest, I actually don’t like this movie. Not because it’s technically bad in getting its anti-war message across. But because it uses disempowerment techniques I’d normally only see in an NC-17 horror film. Behind a PG cartoon with young child animation. Jimmy: Supplies of milk will It feels… manipulative, like it has an agenda. So the story is we’ve got nuclear fallout and mass genocide here. You know, for a PG audience. The timing, the slow pace. The strange discolouration. The isolation. Everything leaves a feeling of realistic horror that tends to linger with the viewer. Jimmy: They-they’ll be alright. They’ll be safely home. Long-long before the bomb. Much like Grave of the Fireflies, there is certainly artistic merit to this. I mean, it delivers a strong, anti-nuke message with its terror. I don’t like how it delivers this to children, but… it’s there. Anyway, the story is our older, not so bright heroes, Jim and Hilda, are in this constant state of denial about their safety. They survive a bomb blast and we have to watch their world literally crumbling around them and all their hope of survival diminishing. but always blindly trusting that everything will be okay and just… waiting at their house. You know the Vault Dweller from Fallout? I take his idea. Radiation or not, at least you have a chance, then. By the 1 hour mark, the water is out; the house is a mess and the slowly unraveling tragedy completely unfolds. Creeping up on the viewer with a dark, oppressive atmosphere. Jimmy: Just leave everything to them. Frankly, these horror disempowerment techniques do not belong in a PG rated cartoon. I mean, seriously. Watching two elderly people slowly die of radiation sickness before jumping into sacks to die is PG? I question the point of teaching children at this young an age helplessness. But at least it’s a reasonable anti-nuke message. I don’t personally recommend this one, but I know many people do. Uh, Critic? You don’t have to comment on this one if you don’t want to. No no, it’s fine, Strider, I’ve seen it. Wait, you’ve seen When The Wind Blows? Yeah… While it’s definitely a weapon of the anti-nuclear movement, When The Wind Blows artfully drives home its message. It certainly does that. IMdB uses the highly definitive key word “disfigurement” to describe this movie. Let’s press on, shall we? You thought Watership Down was creepy? Well, this actually makes Watership Down look like clay dough Wind In The Willows. Felidae is an abandoned unreleased German cult animated cat movie. When you think talking cat movies, you probably think of charming animations like Puss in Boots, Hello Kitty and Aristo-Cats. Well, Felidae says, “Screw you!” to all those stereotypes and makes a brutal, violent, sexually explicit, mutilation kitty-cat cult movie. Imagine Aristo-Cats, except give it brutal murders, religious mass suicide, nightmare acid trips and disfigurement scenes. Yeah, I can’t really picture it either. So our hero cat, Francis, is investigating the murders of several of his kitty brethren. But soon, Francis uncovers a… suicide kitty cult. Jeebus, I never thought I’d ever use those two words in the same sentence. It’s pretty creepy and messed up seeing all this happening with animation I’d expect from Aristo-Cats. Francis: When I was watching, it wasn’t exactly a scene out of the Aristo-Cats. Yes, yes, I just said that, Francis, thank you. And we continue with kitty sex, more kitty decapitation, *Sure, why not!* And then we come to the big, memorable, horror show nightmare that gives Felidae its well earned spot on this creepy list. Pardon my censoring. To keep this on Youtube, I’ve unfortunately had to censor a few parts. We get a vivid nightmare sequence, showing dead cats on strings, …rising up as their heads fall off and they’re gutted. Then it turns out the house used to be used for surgically experimenting on cats- NOPE! Nope! Done! I’M NOT SHOWING THAT! Pardon me, but I think you have a clear enough picture of how creepy this thing can get. Interestingly, this was actually the most expensive animated German film ever made at the time. Apparently costing over 10 million marks. An English dub was created, and it’s actually quite good. Yet no English cast was ever credited. All the voice cast is entirely speculated. There’s so much mystery behind this movie. I actually kind of recommend this movie, though. It’s black and bleak, but cinematic, and at times, beautiful. It has a nice narrative and the English voice acting is VERY decent. But, uh… Don’t watch this movie if you particularly like cats. THEY ALL DIE! Did… you have anything to say on this one, Critic? *In complete shock* This makes Don Bluth’s darkest moments look positively tame. Satan: What kind of fruit do you like the most? No creepy list can be complete without the adventures of Mark Twain. Certainly the creepiest clay-mation I’ve ever seen. And a good example of combining intriguing with a macabre. Satan: You may make some people. The story is that our hero, Mark Twain, is so disgusted with the human race that he decides to… off himself. By launching himself into a comet. He’s apparently really looking forward to it. Twain: Oh, I’m looking forward to that. Jeebus, life is clearly not being good to him. So the kids from Tom Sawyer try to stop him, because… they’re also on the kamikaze ship. And I imagine they also probably don’t want him to off himself. One of the kids: What a view It’s a strange ambiguity, because there’s this feeling of glory and adventure when you look at it. But in reality, it’s a bunch of kids desparately trying to convince an old man not to kamikaze his ship into an asteroid. Along the way, we’ll learn more about the Twain philosophy, and meet familiar colourful characters from history, Like Satan. You may have heard of him. Satan: Hello. Becky: Who are you? Satan: An angel. And in this, he creates a mini civilisation in order to torture and murder them all. Pretty standard Satan stuff, I guess. Despite its cheesy clay animation, There is a sense of existential nihilism to Mark Twain. Which, understandably, may be more difficult for sensitive viewers to watch. Particularly in scenes like visiting Satan. Because, funnily enough, Satan’s a pretty nihilistic fellow. Satan: Nothing exists save empty space, and you. But the exploration of animation and ideas happening here really shows artistic merit. And the crazy part is, we’re given this dark perspective all through cheesy clay-dough. From its chilling imagery to its bleak universe, Mark Twain is likely to leave many viewers… unnerved. I think viewers would really appreciate your perspective on this one, Critic. Any thoughts on Mark Twain? Mark Twain is… definitely experimental, but you gotta admire the detail that went into the clay-mation. That’s true. The team who brought us this obviously really cared about the project and put a lot of time in the clay-mation. It really remains a unique animation piece to this day. There were a lot of choices for this list, so pardon me if I’ve missed a couple. AGH! That face could eat souls! A powerful animation made by the creator of Watership Down, that discusses the cruelty of animal experimentation. It’s a little creepy, but like Watership Down, it’s done with a real grace to it. AAAGH!!! THE EVIL ONE! Uh, don’t worry, Critic, we’re just leaving Food Fight as an honourable mention for this list. All of us have already talked to death about this one, so I just left it off the list. How?! How am I the only one who found this animation terrifying? Look at these disturbing characters. That creepy fur! This may have an exceptional story and excellent voice acting, but… that animation! Forget watching the world die, Let’s just start with it already dead. Hell, let’s have an animated movie that has already eradicated all life on Earth with chemical warfare. The story is basically that a Fabrication Machine has wiped out all of Earth’s population. Using toxic gas and chemical weapons to eradicate all humans and animals. Yeesh! All that remains is these 9 homunculus-like ragdolls known as stitch-punks. And these stitch-punks have to stand up against the soulless robot that has eradicated Earth and everything around it. 9 is much more about atmosphere than creepy appearances. The bleak, gas-filled, lifeless husk of Earth Is filled with empty, chilling visuals and hellish landscapes. We watch the remains of Earth’s apocalypse in a bleak, post-war, dead world. Dead, except for lifeless, spider-like creepy cyborgs, intent on eradicating the last 9 life forms on Earth. And all these 9 stitch-punks can do is try their best to restore some sort of bacterial organisms to Earth, To get the whole cycle started again. And then we get the fight scenes, Or, um… more like losing scenes, because fighting might indicate that our 9 buddies were actually able to fight back. But we’re more just constantly watching them die. Ghastly robotic catastrophes start popping out and sewing our heroes together. Characters can, and will, die repeatedly in this picture. In fact, the Fabrication Machines will use their corpses as lure. I mean, to me, this sort of imagery is REAL creepy. Just… how do you respond to seeing this? This zombie, snake-like cadaver robot? Possibly with a rocket launcher. Or an army of artillery tanks. 9 is ruthlessly bleak and creepy in visuals, concept, music and style. But honestly, I actually kind of recommend it. It’s artistic in its creepiness, giving a message of the importance of heart as well as intellect, in true human progress. And despite its portrayal of the end of life, it gives a message of the rebirth of life following after. And in the dawning of its blackness, it gives one of the most important messages we can ever be told. 9: But this world is ours now. It’s what we make of it. What intrigues me most about these animations is that sense of mystery and terror that isn’t afraid to challenge a younger audience. They may intentionally attempt to make viewers uncomfortable. Brushing a thin line of discomfort, charm and fear. Allowing viewers to explore darker elements of humanity and discomfort, with grace, understanding, dignity and respect. If it’s discussed sensibly and with respect, media should be brave and not shy away from discussing darker subject matters with young people. They show our universe can be incredibly dark, but also showing within that chaos and madness, we can find gentleness and serenity. If you can face the terror, chaos and uncertainty, with kindness, empathy and positivity, you will always carry my deepest respects with you. And my respects go with you too. Hey, thanks for your help, Nostalgia Critic. It’s always great to have you on the show. Hey, no problem, Strider, now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to hating other things. Until we meet again. Until we meet again And as always… And I’ll see you next time. Starring: Josh Strider and Doug Walker. Subtitles provided by Orbus XV.