Horror Shorts

By: Alyssa “Alyssa II” Sherman

Slenderman is not the only horror sensation hosted by youtube. Recently, I rediscovered a video that I must have blocked from my memory called “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared”. Ring any bells? This creepy little production was released back in 2011 and it currently has over 21 million views, so you may have already seen it. However, even if you have, I bet you didn’t know that the video has since become a series. In the past year, two new installments have been added to the series, with even more still to come.

These unsettling videos are structured like a children’s show, so they seem harmless enough at first. The props are handmade and the puppets look silly, if a bit odd, like the alternate versions of Sesame street characters. Like in a kid’s show, the videos are all based around a central theme that is taught through song. Each video has its own message; in the original video the theme is creativity. A notepad on the kitchen table comes alive and attempts to encourage the puppets to get creative. The song starts out normal enough, but there are subtle signs of wrongness. Even though creativity is all about expressing yourself, the yellow puppet’s initial attempts at being creative are not good enough. The notepad pours ink on his clown painting and then claims that his favorite color “is not a creative color”. This adds another layer of fear because creativity and art are supposed to be subjective, but in the video, some answers are wrong. From here, things get really weird, the puppets suddenly become more human like and the music goes from upbeat to dissonant. The things they create are horrifying and gory. They throw glitter on a heart and enjoy an organ filled cake, but the decorations do not disguise the horror. Like the videos themselves, the attempt to cover the horror with cheer and bright colors only amplifies its effect through shock. In the second video, time is the theme, which is taught by a clock. Personally, this video is my favorite because I think it is the most unsettling. I often fall into the same trap as the puppets, sitting idly and watching TV, so when the clock forces them to realize their mortality, it was hard not to look away. The last video centers on love. Though I would argue that this is the least grotesque of the three, this video incites fear through its satirization of traditional views on marriage. In all the videos horror is used to poke fun at the simplistic treatment of complicated ideas in kid’s shows.

Oh, and I have another video. If you are a fan of Adult Swim then you already know about “Too Many Cooks”, if not then you’re in for a treat. What starts out as fake TV show intro extends on and on and on. This video mocks a multitude of shows and movies, first family sitcoms, then cop dramas, eventually transforming into horror, and even sci-fi. The horror portion is particularly interesting because it functions on more than one level. A creepy man who is very reminiscent of Jack Torrance from The Shining is able to slash his way through different genres. The Jack wannabe is not the only thing to fear however, as some things are worse than death. The actors’ nametags serve as their only connection to reality, so pay close attention to the way they affect the characters in the video.


7 thoughts on “Horror Shorts

  1. I was actually going to write about “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” for my blog post too! As unsettling as it is, I agree that the video acts as a commentary on kids shows nowadays. These shows all try to encourage kids to think creatively and think outside of the box, however after a certain point, our creativity enters a tabooed zone controlled by our id. At a certain point in the video (when the notepad sings “let’s get creative”), the camera pans around and we see the cameras and production crew, and the puppets double in size. It is during this time when the video takes a sinister turn and we see the unsettling images. I think this represents the horrors of reality that we try to shield our children from. Even though the truth is bent and filtered by cameras for our children, the undoctored truth is still a reality that we must be aware of. I haven’t seen the third video yet, but thanks for bringing it to my attention! I will be sure to check it out and over-analyze it like a high school english teacher!

  2. I was so excited as soon as I saw “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” on here. My boyfriend and I have spent and embarrassing amount of time discussing this video and what it means, and showing our friends and traumatizing each and every one of them. As a Communications Major, I’ve written papers and done projects on simply finding and coding the meaning of each individual sign and what every word, scene, and everything mean. When I was shown this for the first time I knew when it meant the first time I saw it. Similar to what Ryan said, it’s just a commentary about “teaching kids to be creative” but only “this way”. We teach kids to express themselves, but only in the ways in which society tells them to. As soon as they grow up and are actually expressing themselves, society tells them they’re outcasts.

  3. “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” is so ridiculous in the best of ways. I was excited to see a post on it. My friend just introduced me to it earlier this year, and it actually creeped me out a lot more than most of the things we’ve read in horror class. I’m not sure what it is about it exactly, though I think it might be something to do with the way that instead of being outright horror, it slowly unsettles you. It shows you one thing, gives you an idea of what it’s supposed to be, and then completely subverts that. I’ve always found that to be one of the most scary parts of horror.

  4. These videos were super weird and I definitely think “unsettling” is the most appropriate word for them. The yellow guy reminds me of Meep from AHS Freak Show which creeped me out even more. One of the scenes that bothered me the most was when there are fish on a plate being stabbed. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much. Maybe it’s because they’re being stabbed in their big lively eyes as they slide around. I found myself conflicted because I found the clock man to be rather adorable with his long silly legs and little feeties, so it was especially horrifying watching the characters’ skin peel off and blood gush out of their ears. They also use blood in strange and excessive ways, like in the third episode when they feast on copious amounts of raw chicken that for some reason leaves blood splatter everywhere. There’s definitely a large shock factor in play here. I think “grotesque” is also a very appropriate word. It’s definitely interesting to see unfortunate societal truths displayed in such an eccentric way.

  5. I had completely forgotten about the “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” video. I watched it when it first came out, and I remember now how creepy it was. My mind must have also chosen to suppress it due to how uncomfortable the video makes me feel. I hate it when horror plays on things that remind us of kids, cause its just rubs off in a different, eerier way. Too me, I find this the scariest type of horror.

  6. I was extremely excited to see a post on the “Dont Hug Me I’m Scared” video, as it seems many others were based on the comments above. I also saw the video when it first came out, more in the context of “Look how freaking weird this thing is.” We laughed and shared in the discomfort and uneasiness of the strange and macarbe characters and graphics. We had several different interpretations, could it be about drugs? That seemed to be our most plausible explanation. Or was it merely a graphic experiment? This is a great example of artistic and visual horror.

  7. Much like yourself, I avoided this video after my first encounter with it and to this day I still have no idea what it is trying to say. I also did not know they had added new videos to the series making it even worse because I still have no idea what they are trying to get at, this is so creepy to me. Since I have younger siblings and this video came out during the time they were much younger it freaks me out even more. My younger brother was actually the one to show me the video and I have since then been scared they will encounter something that will be even worse than this on the internet. As to the second video, I have one question,,,who even takes the time to do stuff like this? I mean it works and is entertaining for the rest of us, but it is just different and to think about the reactions they are expecting from the audience really makes me wonder their motives.

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