Fearless Fridays: Gail Nall Watches Stop-Motion Animation


I may have the weirdest fear ever – stop-motion animation.


I have no idea. There’s just something really freaky about the jerky movements the little characters make, and the fact that the clay ones seem to have no bones. Maybe it reminds me of old, bad horror films I shouldn’t have watched as a kid, or maybe I can blame it on my mom (who has some unresolved issues with Gumby). All I know is, stop-motion movies give me the heebie-jeebies, even though I can objectively acknowledge how much work goes into making them.

So today, I’m going to call up all my courage and watch 3 clips of stop-motion animation. Please, join me in this trip to Creepytown! Up first, the classic, spine-chilling Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Freakiness Rating: 9 out of 10
How long did I last? 1 minute 5 seconds (the independent eye movement!!!)
Why this one creeps me out: Holy majoly, where do I start? How about with the most nightmare-inducing part – the elf’s eyes roll INDEPENDENTLY at about 1:03. It’s the The Exorcist invading the North Pole’s. You all, I’ll see that in my dreams tonight. *shudder* Plus, the way the mouths move like they’re being operated by NASCAR drivers but everything else stays perfectly still. And they jump, almost as if they’re apparating Harry-Potter-style from one spot to the next. Creeptastic!
Would I watch more? Well, I’ve seen the whole thing, more than once. So I can suffer through it for my kid’s sake, should she ever feel the need to watch it. I can’t promise I’ll watch that independent eye-moving part again, though.

Moving on, clip number two is from Wallace and Gromit, a.k.a. The Creepiness Goes British…

Freakiness Rating: 5 out of 10
How long did I last? I watched it all! (Granted, it was only 1:34…)
Why this one creeps me out: Okay, I have to admit the dog is cute. (Also, I have no idea which is Wallace and which is Gromit, so for the sake of clarity, I will rename them The Dude and The Dog. Clever, right?) And I admit that I laughed when the robot said, “Knickers!” before exploding. But now to the more important, hide-under-the-covers things – the eyes, again. They’re like little round balls that are going to pop out and roll on the floor. Eeewww. And The Dude – he has no lips people! No lips, yet his face is frozen into a perma-smile! How? Why? Finally, I think the fact that it’s British makes it more creepy (no offense to the Brits of the world). There’s just something extra creepified about that proper accent paired with a jawless, lipless man…
Would I watch more? Ehhhh… it was funny…so, maybe? If I could keep my eyes on The Dog, anyway.

And lastly, Bert and Ernie’s Great [Disturbing] Adventures

Freakiness Rating: 8 out of 10
How long did I last? 1:29
Why this one creeps me out: Dear Sesame Street, what was wrong with normal, puppety Bert and Ernie? Why did you have to clay them out and subject me to watching this at least once a week with my three-year-old? Whyyy??? Okay, let’s start with that bed at the beginning. The bed’s legs bend. They bend, people. And if that’s not enough, they run with those bendy legs. Ernie’s strands of hair seems to move of their own volition, which sort makes me think of Medusa. And then, THEN, the eyes. Again. Little black dots that roll around in a sea of white. Thanks, Sesame Street!
Would I watch more? I don’t have a choice. My child likes it, and I try to hide my face.

Oddly, I ran across The Nightmare Before Christmas while searching for clips, and I never realized it was a stop-motion movie. It’s always been one of my favorites, so I opened a clip, and sure enough, it’s stop-motion. My unscientific conclusion on why Nightmare doesn’t bother me: it’s supposed to be all weird and Tim Burtonish. The creep-factor is negated with a movie meant to be creepy.

Well, that’s it, folks. I hope your nightmares are as lively as mine are tonight!

Gail NalGail Nalll lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She spends her early mornings writing, her days writing grants for a non-profit, and her evenings trying to stay up past eight o'clock. You can visit her on her website, and chat with her on Twitter. Her debut contemporary MG novel, BREAKING THE ICE, and a co-written MG novel, YOU'RE INVITED, are both available now from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster.

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