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Uncanny Valley

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.

Chip: I think we're in the valley... the Uncanny Valley.
Dale: The what?
Chip: Do you remember that weird animation style in the early 2000s where everything looked real, but nothing looked right?
Dale: Oh, yeah... that stuff was creepy.
Chip: Well, I think this is where they ended up.

Sometimes things that aren't realistic look pretty similar to things that are realistic, yet something about them seems wrong in some way and ends up being unsettling.

While the uncanny valley is usually known to be unintentional, it can also intentionally be used in a work — either for creeping out the characters In-Universe or for deliberately creeping out the audience. As a result, someone or something whose appearance exists in the uncanny valley can be offputting and unsettling to interact with, even though the thing or character being encountered may very well be harmless. If it's another character rather than an inanimate object who comes across as unsettling, that character may end up wondering why others are afraid of them, especially if they're otherwise good-natured.

See also Unintentional Uncanny Valley, for when the reaction comes from viewers seeing something that wasn't meant to be creepy. Related to Otherworldly Communication Failure, in which a supernatural being's uncanny appearance can impede their ability to communicate with others who run away in fear, often with disastrous results. Can overlap with Brown Note Being if a character's unsettling appearance causes physical harm or psychological damage to those that encounter it.

Not to Be Confused with the video game Uncanny Valley, the fifth anniversary Channel Awesome special The Uncanny Valley, or Uncanny Valley from Miraculous Ladybug.

Note: In Universe Examples and Intended Audience Reactions only and No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan does this with the designs of the Titans. The majority are deformed humanoids measuring anywhere between 4 — 15 meters in height, with Barbie Doll Anatomy and creepy, cheerful smiles that never waver regardless of being blown apart or in the midst of devouring their victims. This is further used with the unique, deviant types encountered throughout the course of the story. Eren's Titan form has pointed ears and a skull-like face, while Ymir's Titan form looks animalistic with shark-like teeth, claws, Creepily Long Arms, and fur sprouting along its shoulders. As a result, both look more like traditional non-human monsters in a reflection of their being on the side of humanity. The Armored Titan has an almost robotic appearance, due to the armored plating covering its body and is less creepy than the Colossal Titan and the Female Titan, who are essentially skinless but otherwise very human in appearance. This seems to hint towards Reiner's Becoming the Mask, in contrast to the more more ruthless Bertolt and Annie.
  • Azumanga Daioh references this in one of the Extra Lessons chapters, in which Sakaki admits to being afraid of the mechanical crossing guards at construction sites.
  • In the manga adaptation of Battle Royale, Kazuo Kiriyama was deliberately drawn with no reflection in his eyes. While barely noticeable, it still manages to give his face a look beyond creepy.
  • Berserk:
    • When Guts and Puck encountered Rosine's minions for the first time. They looked really similar to Puck's elf kind, he said.... but there was somethin' off about them.
    • Griffith after he was reincarnated. He is now so beautiful that he both awes and frightens people at the same time and the fact that he's a Humanoid Abomination. Hell, even before becoming a demon god, Griffith was just unnaturally beautiful, especially in Berserk: The Golden Age Arc, in which the artists do their best to make Griffith's face look angelic but completely alien compared to everyone else.
  • In Bubblegum Crisis, some characters complain about how creepy the human-like boomers are, such as Nene in Tokyo 2040 regarding the secretary boomer she works for. And that's not counting when they malfunction and transform into Mechanical Monsters. Another example happens in the AD Police Files Prequel, which has a case involving a boomer prostitute going berserk. It turns out that there was a brief market for Ridiculously Human Sexbots until this trope kicked in — most of the sex organs were illegally recycled and used for maidbots and waitress bots that weren't designed for them, causing some of them to go insane (due to a combination of hormonal imbalance and traumatic memories that can't be erased).
  • Buso Renkin: While most homunculi look convincingly human until they transform into spawn of the devil, Papillon's human persona in particular just looks odd. His eyes are always fixed on a lifeless stare bordering between condescension and rage, regardless of the actual emotion he's trying to express, and his pale skin just makes him more unsettling.
  • In Cat Planet Cuties, this is one of the reasons why the Assistroids are in their current form. The last generation were normal-sized Ridiculously Human Robots — due to this, the Catians couldn't see them as "Tools", and a war was fought until the current generation of Assistroids was made.
  • Death Note aims for this with L's design, with his rather unhealthy, pale skin tone, huge eyebags under his bulbous eyes, and his facial features and expressions overall being drawn in a more exaggerated way than the other characters. Given the numbers of fans L has, this backfired.
  • D.Gray-Man: Level Four Akuma intentionally falls smack dab into this trope. Example here.
  • Franken Fran: Fran Madaraki is a Frankenstein-style creature stitched together from dead body parts. She has visible stitching on her face and her eyes are usually drawn to look tired and lopsided.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist gives us the homunculi. They're of the zombie variety.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • The Tachikomas discuss the trope, musing that they are allowed advanced A.I. because they are not humanoid, and that advanced A.I. in an android would creep humans out.
    • Proto just so happens to be an advanced A.I. in an android. Even before this is revealed, there's clearly something... off about him.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Since the Stands are an extension of one's self, the more psychopathic characters often have Stands which are humanoid but have features which trigger mental alarm bells, not unlike a psychopath's public persona. For example, Yoshikage Kira's Killer Queen is always seen with an expressionless skull-like Frozen Face, Dio's The World has enormous lips and dead monotone eyes, and Anjuro "Angelo" Katagiri's Aqua Necklace has a mouthful of fangs and is covered from head to toe in giant eyes.
  • Nui from Kill la Kill is a unique take on this, as her constant Leaning on the Fourth Wall (i.e., leaning on her own Boss Subtitles, stroking a character's hair through a split-screen divider) and the very simple way she's animated (at one point dodging attacks by having her animation cel rotate around them) add to the feeling that there's just something seriously wrong with her.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files uses this as a plot point in "House of Wax". The killer intentionally makes wax statues of his guests that are fantastically detailed but look a little off. This is so that during a series of crimes when it appears that the wax figures are being set up to resemble the scenes of people who will be found murdered, the murderer can pose as a statue using a mask, and no one will examine it too closely since it so clearly looks inhuman.
  • Mazinger Z:
    • The Gamia from the original manga and Mazinkaiser are three identical robot girls. Outwardly, they seem to be three ordinary human girls... except that their skin is unusually pale, their motions are eerily mechanical, their expressions are completely aloof and unchanging, they are nearly always silent and they never blink. Anybody who sees them can immediately tell that there's something seriously wrong with them... before they begin punching holes in walls and shredding things with their razor-sharp hairs.
    • Most of the human-looking androids which Dr. Hell builds are sufficiently well done to reasonably pass for humans — except for an android which looks just like Kouji but which behaves in a different way and can't speak.
  • Discussed in Medaka Box as the reason of why Medaka's drumming solo fails to elicit any kind of reaction from her audience. Her playing is perfect to the point of coming across as cold and mechanical, lacking human emotion to it. Akune expresses that it's similar to the Uncanny Valley effect, although Zenkichi claims it's the opposite: that while Medaka's playing is technically perfect, it lacks any kind of self-expression, making it come off as inhuman and somewhat disturbing.
  • Naruto:
    • Even though Sai is actually a human, he has the inhuman feel of a robot, mostly because he's effectively emotionless. His vampire tan doesn't exactly help.
    • Gaara, with his missing eyebrows and heavily sleep-deprived eyes. Justified, as he starts out as a villain. Later, his eyes (though still retaining those traits) become softer and gentler, because Gaara himself has become softer and gentler.
    • Sasuke as well especially when he goes off the deep end after he kills Danzo, he goes from pretty boy to freak boy in the space of seconds. This may be a case of Evil Makes You Ugly.
    • The Six Paths of Pain are merely corpse puppets, controlled by Nagato. When they fight, all of them, except Deva Path, Nagato's go-to body, and the corpse of Yahiko, have blank, expressionless faces, usually. The anime goes further and makes them incredibly pale.
    • Edo Tensei shinobi. They're effectively zombies. When being fully controlled by Kabuto/Tobi they become emotionless and fight with blank, expressionless faces. Doubly so for the revived jinchuuriki who are being directly controlled by Tobi. Like the Six Paths of Pain before them, they are merely very powerful corpse puppets. Note that In-Universe, these shinobi are all identified by their blacked-out irides and cracked, pale skin.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: It has been said Rei Ayanami was intended to be uncanny in his appearance. It didn't work.
  • One Piece: Oda just loves to make Gonk characters so the Uncanny Valley is no stranger to the series.
    • Played straight with Laffitte whose face doesn't change at all, even when damaged.
    • Satori from Skyepeia is just odd, with his completely round glasses, his high voice and "dumpling"-like body.
    • Fukuro of CP9 is just plain weird, thanks to his big round body and his vaguely disturbing, rotten-looking zipper teeth. Plus, there's the insistence of having him by voiced by a female seiyuu in the anime, which just adds to the uncanny.
    • Kumadori is another weirdo who invokes this reaction. However, since he's based off Kabuki theater, as shown by his appearance/behavior, it's more understandable.
    • Most the villains and zombies in Thriller Bark go straight into Uncanny Valley territory, though it's mostly Played for Laughs. The tree zombie is very creepy since it's got a human face stitched to a tree trunk. Hogback and Absalom are very off-putting, especially in Absalom's case since he's not a zombie but still has the mouth of lion and other "parts". Perona and Cindry are more attractive but still have their creepy moments. Finally, Gecko Moria looks like an outright monster despite being supposedly "human".
      • In a similar vein, we have the Homies from Whole Cake Island. While a lot of them are merely talking animals (something not unique to One Piece), others are talking inanimate objects. This, combined with the Alice in Wonderland aesthetic, results in an extremely eerie effect. Made all the more creepy by the fact Homies are actually made from people's souls.
    • Duval's original face is very uncanny before Sanji rearranges it. Of course, thanks to his personalty, he's still pretty freaky even with his new face.
    • Due to the fact that the admirals are based off of famous Japanese actors, this can happen. While the first admiral shown, Aokiji, does look like a normal character, Kizaru is slightly more realistic, and Akainu doesn't even look like he's part of the show, looking exactly like the actor. Fujiora is the same, to Akainu-level creepily realistic.
    • In Dressrosa, three individuals are deep in the Uncanny Valley thanks to personality quirks.
    • Pudding, thanks to her Split Personality and her deranged distortion of her face (which, by the way, has a third eye).
    • Wano arc
      • Due to being based off Ukiyo-e paintings, Otsuru and Kyoshiro have this effect.
      • The SMILE users from Kaido’s army who have eaten the artificial Devil Fruit that gives them various animal-like appearances. Except unlike Zoan users who just look like perfect human-animal hybrids, SMILE users with only a few exceptions (such as Speed) have animal body parts growing out of them in all sorts of bizarre places. Although the effect is more amusing than unsettling.
      • The failed SMILE users definitely invoke this being very disturbing and extremely tragic. As seen with the poor people of Ebisu Town and Killer who unknowingly ate inefficacious SMILE fruits and now are incapable of showing any emotion beyond joy and laughter even while sobbing in despair.
    • To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Weekly Jump, Oda drew Luffy alongside Goku from the Dragon Ball series. The problem is that Oda didn't even try to draw the latter to fit in his artstyle and ended up giving him Luffy's face.
    • Nearly everybody in One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island thanks to Mamoru Hosoda’s direction, Tatsuya Kushida (who worked on Evangelion and AKIRA)'s animation combined with the context of the story, which is very unlike One Piece (which is saying something). While the movie is still quite good, it's very unsettling to fans. DJ Kappa in particular is exceptionally creepy.
    • Another movie example with One Piece 3D: Straw Hat Chase the first and so far only entirely CG One Piece film. As technically impressive as the film is, it still brushes against this trope, as Oda’s stylised characters can be very jarring when put in 3D, especially Franky and Brook and it also doesn’t help that characters have rather stiff movements. Canon Foreigners, Schneider and his dog Buzz are particularly freaky looking. One Piece: Pirate Warriors despite also being in 3D, doesn’t dip into the Uncanny Valley nearly as much. * Parasyte: The titular monsters, while usually looking human, never blink and have very limited understanding of facial/emotional subtleties that place them quite firmly in this trope. They also are drawn with slightly elongated eyes with sharply pointed ends, giving their faces a distinctly inhuman aspect. Even scarier is that near the end, when police start using these attributes to recognize and kill the parasites, they occasionally kill ordinary (but crazy) humans by mistake.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: While the rest of the characters are drawn and animated in Ume Aoki's style, the witches are each given their own unique styles. Gertrud, the first Witch with a proper fight, has butterfly wings a deformed rosebush for a "head", both of which depicted by paper cutouts of real images. Walpurgisnacht is a giant, upside-down clockwork harlequin doll with no facial features except for lips, and so on.
  • This is used in Rozen Maiden whenever the dolls have to act like regular dolls, as shown in the first season's opening. In addition, when Suigintou and Micchan encounter another creator's attempt at making a living doll, they find it unsettling.
  • Saber Marionette J: For the most part, the saber marionettes act as Ridiculously Human Robots, but on two separate occasions, one of them has something happen to her 'maiden circuit' which controls their emotions. They then nosedive instantly into Uncanny Valley territory, marked mostly by their vacant stares and completely lack of movement except when prompted.
  • Squid Girl: Eiko pulls out a really Creepy Doll in episode 11 of Season 1. She later finds the doll's partner, which is broken up a little, freaking out all the girls looking for it.
  • Tiger & Bunny: The Deceptively Human Robot Cis from episode 15 seems to have been deliberately made to look and act just slightly off.
  • In Time of Eve, the robots are all clearly identifiable and do not act human in the slightest — but only because society demands it. Any notion of treating robots as human (or that robots can act human) is vehemently opposed, as shown by the constant anti-robot rights ads that play on TV.
  • Evoked in Trigun whenever the Plants are involved. Vash is a Plant himself but doesn't cause this reaction compared to other Plants and especially his brother, Knives, who is just unsettling and even more so in the manga. In the anime, Vash and Knives were perceived as Creepy Twins for this reason.
  • Wonder Egg Priority: The first few Wonder Killers look like normal humans but with their eyes pixelated out and their mouths drawn far more realistically than the other characters.
  • Referenced offhandedly in The World God Only Knows. One unique girl is trying to make a 'human' out of a remote-controlled box, but people laugh at it. Keima draws a little smiley face on it and adds a cute note, and suddenly people start to help out. The girl then decides to put a mannequin head on it to make it even more human... and it creeps people out to see a box with a human head on top rolling through the hallway.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has a few examples. Ryou Bakura, and the way that smile never seems to leave his face, even when terrible things happen. And Dark Yugi, early in the manga, somehow managed to make not having a nose terrifying.
    • As a whole, Bakura fits in the valley. If you think that Bakura is actually very cute, then Yami Bakura is VERY much in the valley. Aside from some slight differences, he has the same features as Bakura, but there's something very wrong with his expressions... also, Yami Marik would look okay if it weren't for the veins that become more and more prominent on his face, and the way he sticks out his tongue.

    Comic Books 
  • If you have ever wondered why certain characters — such as Batman — have irisless white eyes in their masks, it's actually meant to invoke this. Lee Falk, the artist of The Phantom, claimed that he was inspired to give the Phantom white eyes after looking at Greek statues, with an "inhuman" effect suitiable for a masked vigilante. Ironically, this trend has stuck so well that it's actually more uncanny to see the likes of Batman having normal eyes.
  • Beautie from Astro City is a living, life-sized Barbie doll who can pass for human at first glance but soon reveals her artificial nature through her mannerisms. She's also painfully aware of it, and deeply disturbed when men find her attractive.
  • Batman:
  • Fall of Cthulhu introduces a brand-new character to the Cthulhu Mythos: the Harlot, a keeper of all men's secrets, whose giant green head houses a nose too flat and a pair of juicy red lips a little too big. She's a wonderful example of what a Humanoid Abomination would look if it took up burlesque fashion.
  • Spider-Man: The Symbiote characters, unlike Spider-Man, completely fall into this trope, especially Venom and Carnage with the former's Overly-Long Tongue and the latter having More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • In the early issues of the 1978 Spider-Woman run, this is Jessica Drew's curse, such that the comic's early tagline is "To know her is to fear her!", and later "Marvel's Most Misunderstood Heroine!" Biologically part spider and raised among the High Evolutionary's beast men, there's something subtly but indisputably "off" about her body language and demeanor that makes most people instinctively afraid of her, making it almost impossible for her to find a home or earn an honest living, let alone have any friends. She eventually learns that she's been emitting a pheromone which creeps everyone out (though some men find it very attractive) — when she learns how to control it via medical means, she's able to live a much more normal life.
  • In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, this is a big reason why Empurata victims are shunned by society: the amputation of their faces and hands strips them of their Cybertronian identity, while they can still speak, move and transform. For Cybertronians, Empurata victims are horribly disfigured, even though to the readers, they're still just robots (since Cybertronians are already on the far side of the valley).
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate FF: Sue finds it disturbing to see Reed twisting his body into several arms and asks him to look "normal" for a moment.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man: The thief who kills Ben Parker is scared out of his mind when he is attacked by Spider-Man: a man with a full body costume and weird eyes who can stick to walls! Keep in mind that at this point, the only superhuman who people knew about was Captain America, back in World War II.
  • The Vision is noted at various times to cause this In-Universe, particularly both him and his family in The Vision (2015). They have emotions, but their emotional responses seem "off" compared to most people (sometimes muted to the extreme, sometimes well beyond what would be considered normal), and their bodies feel "off" when touched (one character likens the title character's handshake to a warm sandwich bag).
  • Discussed in Basil Wolverton's "Robot Woman!" from Weird Mysteries. Despite being billed as the perfect mate, Fozzmo's creation makes people uneasy with her caricatured features and wide-eyed glare.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coraline deliberately sweeps the valley to induce fear.
    • The human characters mostly avoid it, considering that they aren't very realistic, but they are realistic enough to make the ragdoll versions of themselves fall into this trope. In general, taking emotion and soul out of a face is a keen way to achieve the Uncanny Valley, so in this case taking out one of the most expressive parts of the face, the eyes, was a good strategy.
    • The stop-motion in the Other World is slightly off, doing things like having single frames where background objects suddenly jump around, just enough to be unnerving.
    • The moving men at the start are almost as stiff and horrifying as the Other Mother.
    • Mr. Bobinsky has blue skin, freakish long legs and a big gut, and he's supposed to be a normal human. There's some justification, as the background information states he was part of the Chernobyl clean up crew, which may explain his appearance.
    • As the Other Mother's illusions start wearing off, the Other Father begins looking increasingly melty (for lack of a better word). And that's without mentioning the Other Mother's true form.
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence:
    • The Geisha-gynoids are chalk-white, life-sized Creepy Dolls modeled after Hans Bellmar's doll-sculptures and every bit as creepy. Their staggering mechanical movements and speech have just the slightest trace of humanity to put them in the Valley.
    • Batou and Togusa discuss the nature of the Uncanny Valley with a forensics scientist named Haraway, who ponders why humans are obsessed with recreating themselves. Haraway seems like a highly cynical but overall laid-back older woman — until Batou and Togusa leave, upon which she takes her face off and plugs cables into her eyes. If you look carefully, you can deduce her cyborg status by her wearing short sleeves in extreme cold and her breath not being visible, even though Togusa's is.
    • Kim had his brain put into a cybernetic body which is shaped and moved like a wooden puppet on strings. To Kim, the deepest point of the Uncanny Valley is the closest any being can come to perfection. As a result, his whole Big Fancy House is full of human-sized dolls, puppets, and robots.
  • Studio Ghibli:
    • The Great Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke has a face that's way too human-like for comfort. In profile, it eerily resembles a headless deer. The intentional part comes from how it seems intended to emphasize how otherworldly the creature is. Still, its Eldritch Abomination transformation manages to be less scary than its deer form.
    • Spirited Away invokes it with passengers on the Afterlife Express. No-face deserves special mention. Just looking at that blank expressionless face on the pale, ghostly body is enough to give you the willies. Observe, or maybe even worse when he becomes monstrous and gains a mouth full of teeth and bulbous body... but his mask-like face stays the same. Hell, Spirited Away invokes this everywhere, from the anthropomorphic animals to the "regular" humans who look completely alien compared to Chihiro, the justification being that most of them are spirits.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The 6th Day, Adam buys his daughter an animatronic doll thing. The movie gives the impression that the doll is very popular in the future, but it looks creepy. It comes to its demise when it's destroyed and slowly says "I have a boo-boo."
  • The Abyss: Some of the scenes of Coffey's descent into madness are shown with the film running backwards, so actor Michael Biehn looks odd in a way the audience can't quite put their finger on.
  • The remake of Alice in Wonderland (2010) by (who else?) is a haven for this. The mix of live-action, CGI, and motion-capture makes for some freaky Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dums, the Cheshire Cat and an uncannily disproportionate Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.
    • The Knave of Hearts is particularly creepy because unlike the Queen, Cat, and Tweedles, he seems normal at first glance. It's only when he moves that you notice he's wrong: an effect achieved by lengthening his limbs and torso just a wee little bit too much to be properly human.
    • The White Queen just feels slightly weird due to the exaggerated dark make-up and flaunting mannerisms. You might say she's adorably wrong in this sense. Anne Hathaway claimed that that the White Queen is, by nature, just as demented as her sister, but is willfully forcing herself to be good.
    • The Caterpillar. Alan Rickman's face? Very nice to look at. Alan Rickman's face on a caterpillar?! No. Sorry, but an insect's face should not emote like a human's.
  • The Spielberg movie A.I.: Artificial Intelligence turns the Uncanny Valley on its head by having actual actors play the human-looking androids. However, it's used for effect in some scenes with CGI-animated partially damaged androids being hunted down and put on a bonfire at the Flesh Fair, and a sequence with many identical boy and girl androids hanging in the factory. The part where David "breaks" after ingesting human food (he shudders to a stop and the left side of his face sags alarmingly) is particularly effective. Alas, a scene after that, where David is lying on an operating table, still looking human, but with the "skin" on his chest peeled away, especially with them "testing" him; they flick something in him and his hand rises up slowly in a dead manner.
    • Most robots (Jude Law's prosti-bot character Joe, for example) look a tad too perfect, with smooth skin, a perfect hairline, and so on. They slide deeper into the valley the more you look at them.
  • Bicentennial Man: invoked The valley is Discussed by Rupert when he starts making Andrew's new face, describing how minor flaws in human appearance, such as an asymmetrically shaped nose, make people more realistic looking. It's about getting to the other side of the valley, where the sharp incline to human-like appears.
  • Deliberately invoked by the victims of the Serial Killer in The Cell: He drowns, then bleaches his female victims to resemble dolls, and when the therapist journeys into his mind they're captive but "alive." Naturally, one of them has a kigurumi mask.
  • The short film The Centrifuge Brain Project features a rare mechanical variant with its bizarre and unsafe amusement part rides. They look familiar and nostalgic at first glance until they suddenly move in unexpected ways or the video pans up to show that they're far bigger than such a ride should be, all while a narrator speaks matter-of-factly about these machines stimulating the brain in such a way that a mysterious "enlightenment" is achieved. As the film goes on and the rides become more and more dangerous, it becomes increasingly apparent that the "enlightenment" the researchers are looking for is death.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers has an Animated Actors neighborhood named Uncanny Valley, consisting of Turn of the Millennium 3D characters that looked realistic but seemed very off. The most prominent of them, Bob the Dwarf, is introduced right away with the title characters complaining his design makes it hard to know if he's making eye contact.
  • Chucky of Child's Play in the first movie. As the movie progresses, Chucky starts gaining more and more human traits such as a receding hairline and skin imperfections. Justified, as Chucky actually is turning human as a result of having the soul of a serial killer transferred into him via voodoo magic.
  • In Die Another Day, Zao and his pale, hairless, diamond-encrusted face.
  • Drive (2011), starring Ryan Gosling as a character who is never given a name other than "Driver" and is more-or-less human most of the time but seems able to just turn off all emotions at will for the purposes of kicking ass. Your mileage may vary about how well that qualifies him for this trope, but when he dons his human-like rubber stunt driving mask and practically stares someone into drowning himself in the ocean, this trope is in full swing.
  • Evil Dead 2: Ash's dancing stop-motion skeleton girlfriend and Henrietta the Deadite!
  • According to the makers of Ex Machina, Ava was specifically designed to evoke this. Large parts of her body are transparent and contain visible electronics, while wherever she wears skin, she looks lifelike yet impossibly perfect. Her movement is not like a stereotypical robot's with jerky movements and mechanical noises, but instead very smooth and accompanied by soft, hard-to-pinpoint sounds. Alicia Vikander, having been a ballet dancer, manages to make her graceful walk and other movements look almost human but with something inexplicably off. The whole concept of her character is to find out whether someone knowing she is a machine will be able to overcome or even skip the discomfort/revulsion caused by the Uncanny Valley and instead find her human and sympathetic.
  • Christiane's White Mask of Doom in Eyes Without a Face achieves this effect with its blank expression and perfect skin, which clashes with its realistic detail.
    Christiane: My face frightens me. My mask frightens me more.
  • Tom Thumb in The Greatest Showman can come off as a little creepy with his obviously CGI legs that are used to make him look shorter and the fact that he's being dubbed over by an actor with a much deeper voice, yet the actor playing him has a baby face.
  • Michael Myers' mask from Halloween creates this effect. If you're not paying attention, or viewing it in the dark, it looks human enough. At a passing glance, you might not even notice that it isn't his actual face. But when you get a good look at it, you notice something wrong. Very, very wrong. It looks like it was based on a human face, but one rendered soulless and inhuman by some unspeakable evil.note  It gives the impression that Myers used to be human, but is now some horrific parody of humanity. The effect is unsettling at first, but the longer you look at it, the more it stares back, like some terrible staring contest. And the mask is never going to blink.
    • Dr. Loomis' description of Michael's actual face fits this trope like a glove.
      Loomis: I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The people who produced the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire say, in the DVD extras, that the reason they changed Voldemort's eyes from red (as they were in the book), to looking quite like your everyday eyes, is that "if you don't leave in a huge part of the human in him, he's not going to scare you."
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The scene where the Horcrux is destroyed has visions of Harry and Hermione appear to Ron, both of whom appear with white, almost featureless, sort of glowing skin. Here it is deliberately invoked.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Smaug also falls into this, Despite being a Kaiju-sized dragon, his face and body movements are much more human-like than they should be, since he is animated in Serkis Folk fashion.
    • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Thranduil the Elvenking. He may be radiantly beautiful, but the stilted way he moves and speaks (especially pronounced during his first conversation with Thorin) makes him seem like he's never had a conversation with another person before. And that's without mentioning the way half of his face melts away when telling Thorin that's he has "felt the Dragon's fire" suggesting his face is burned all the time and he's using magic to cover it up.
  • Found Footage horror film The Houses October Built has Porcelain, a woman wearing a Victorian child's dress and a mask/makeup combination that makes her look like a heavily damaged antique porcelain doll come to life (complete with strangely proportioned head, unnaturally white skin, cracks in her face and chunks of missing hair). The other primary antagonists also have disturbing masks that they never take off, but at least you can easily tell that they're masks right away. She also tends to make very unnatural, stiff head motions when she's looking around, and on top of that, even though she's presumably a haunted house actor like the rest, she's the only one who never goes out of character.
  • The odd Enki Bilal film Immortal has many eerie CGI side-characters who interact with the live actors. They're supposed to be mutants, gods, and people with strange body augmentations (mainly skin grafts), and seeing them next to live actors (even ones with ice-like blue hair and bluish-white skin) is jarring. This was said to have been done to show that most people on Earth (except for a few main characters) have been dehumanized.
  • The Incubi from Ink purposely invoke this trope. Their overly large glasses and screens in front of their faces exaggerate their features rather creepily.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That film was about this trope.
    • In the original version, when people started to be replaced, their closest relatives started to notice something off about them. A young woman was convinced that her beloved uncle was another man since, despite looking just like him, the gleam in his eyes was gone. A boy knew his mother wasn't his mother anymore because he knew her so well that he could recognize something was just wrong about her.
    • In the remake, the effect is subtler, but goes clear and glaring in the scene where a replacement gone wrong results in a pod person with the body of a dog and the face of a man. The result is, well, disgusting.
  • In-Universe in I, Robot, Detective Spooner asks why Doctor Calvin strives to make the robots so human, adding that people wouldn't trust them otherwise. He also adds that he finds the new models having faces makes them creepy.
  • IT adaptations:
    • Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It (1990), with layers of clown makeup and a nigh-permanent smile played brilliantly by Tim Curry is extremely off-putting, especially when he gets sharp teeth out. There's even early designs where he's even creepier and diseased-looking but the filmmakers thought Pennywise should be able to lure children therefore he should not be automatically scary, and ironically through a certain amount of Narm, Curry's Pennywise is actually quite funny.
    • Remake duology: Bill Skarsgard plays Pennywise like an absolute monster: even in a normal conversation with Georgie at the start, Pennywise is literally drooling with hunger while talking to the boy like he's an animal; at one point, he just loses the thread of conversation and stares blankly at Georgie like he's not used to talking like a human. When actually moving, 2017 Pennywise is even more terrifying, contorting his body freakishly and making exaggerated movements that are disturbing. People actually thought CGI was used to make Pennywise's eyes stare in separate directions but Skarsgard actually did it himself, which impressed/scared the director. It's even more scary when we learn Pennywise can accurately look/move like a human being, as at one point in the Library when Ben is staring at the book leading up to a Jump Scare. In the background you can see the Librarian stop stacking books and stares at Ben from behind with a huge scary smile on her face, getting closer while Ben looks at the book. Then after the Jump Scare, she goes completely back to normal.
  • Jacob's Ladder: Director Adrian Lyne uses a Body Horror technique in which an actor is recorded waving his head around at a low frame rate, resulting in horrific fast motion when played back.
  • The hideous baby with Arnold Schwarzenegger's face in Junior causes his character to have a Catapult Nightmare.
  • Live Forever As You Are Now with Alan Resnick: Discussed, invoked, and mentioned by name, by Alan:
    "Imagine I'm jogging. And I love to jog, so I'm jogging, and out of nowhere- DAMN IT!- I stub my toe on a rock! On an ugly rock. But hey, I got my pen here, maybe I'll draw two eyes on the rock, and now, all of a sudden, whoa! This rock's lookin'... kinda cute. Starting to like this rock. What if I draw a nose and a mouth on the rock, and now all of a sudden, whoa, this is the cutest rock I've ever seen, I can't believe I'm falling in love with a stone! And then you're gonna want to coat the rock in skin and flesh, and... (whistles) oooh, Uncanny Valley."
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The scene on the Extended Edition of The Return of the King with the Mouth of Sauron: that unnaturally large mouth and grin.... It came about because Peter Jackson walked in on the editing, decided he wasn't scary enough and had them double the dimensions of the mouth in both directions. It succeeded admirably. He originally wanted also to turn his mouth sideways, but they couldn't make this look remotely natural with his real chin moving normally, so this idea was thankfully scrapped. (It would have also been upsetting for other reasons.)
    • A more subtle example would be Grí­ma Wormtongue, whose corpse-like makeup was meant to make him look fairly creepy. The part that really did it was that actor Brad Dourif shaved his eyebrows. Off-set and without makeup, people kept telling him there was something just not right about him. Additionally, his girlfriend was not pleased to hear he had apparently shaved his eyebrows for a second time.
    • Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Galadriel certainly dips towards the Uncanny Valley. There's something very unusual and not quite "normal" about her. For example, the eye shine when she speaks to the Fellowship in their first meeting. All other characters, including Celeborn, have a single rather large point of light reflected in their eyes. Galadriel's eyes reflect a globe of multiple tiny points of light. Then you consider that Galadriel is not only among the oldest, wisest, and most powerful Elves in Middle-Earth, she is the only Elf in the films to have been to Valinor: she was born in the Undying Lands under the light of the Two Trees, and was one of the Noldor who went into exile in pursuit of the silmarils. Galadriel is literally living in two different worlds at once. These effects are entirely deliberate. To produce the unique eye light reflection, a special "Galadi-light" (which reportedly looked like a Christmas tree) with numerous small lights was constructed to be her spotlight. In addition, she was filmed at a different frame rate than the rest of the cast to produce her 'slow' movements... except for when she goes completely off the deep end when Frodo offers her the Ring and she shows what she would become if she took it.
  • Mean Girls: Cady finds Mrs. George to fall deep into the Valley thanks to her plastic surgery. The sight of her fake breasts approaching Cady is met with "Psycho" Strings, and Cady is clearly unnerved by her lack of reaction to her little chihuahua gnawing on her tit.
  • The costume designers of Killers From Space were probably aware of the Valley when designing the titular villains, but the film's instance of this trope — enormous bulging eyes made from bisected, painted ping-pong balls — has aliens looking stupid and hilarious rather than creepy. As Mike Nelson of The Film Crew comments, "He looks a little like Buzz Lightyear!"
  • Mars Attacks! has a Martian disguised as a woman. It is deeply in the uncanny valley, but doesn't bother the guy who was hitting on her. Until the Martian bites off his finger.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The First Avenger: Johann Schmidt/Red Skull's mutated face is pretty terrifying-looking by itself. But for the first hour, we see Schmidt hides his mutations under a very obvious rubber Hugo Weaving skin mask. At points, Schmidt actually looks creepier with his skin mask than when he is seen without it.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Bucky's under HYDRA influence, his face becomes blank and shows little to no expression while he does acts of extreme brutality, e.g. choking Maria Stark in Civil War, and even when he's not Brainwashed and Crazy, he has little expression.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: As the film progresses, Ultron's forms become increasingly humanlike and emotive, giving off an eerie vibe. The final glimpse in the trailer of Ultron's face, which is all metallic only with red eyes with pupils and emotion, and a movable mouth and a face capable of expression, is simply unnerving. However, Ultron isn't as disturbing as he is in the comics since Ultron is basing his personality on Tony Stark and so feels he needs to be witty to match his creator but becomes angry when it's pointed out he's copying Tony and therefore is less disturbing and more pathetic.
    • In-Universe Spider-Man once again invokes this, as in Civil War even the normally stoic Bucky Barnes is sufficiently weirded out by Spidey, questioning what the hell he is when upon seeing Peter Wall Crawl. Falcon too asks if the webs are actually coming out Spidey’s body, clearly unnerved. Even when he’s just being normal, Peter’s body is just unnatural e.g when the Spider Sense kicks in and his forearm hairs stand on end.
    • In Doctor Strange (2016) one of the crazier dimensions has a bad case of Body Horror. The Ancient One also has shades of Uncanny Valley: being played by a bald Tilda Swinton helps as well but since she draws power from the Dark Dimension, this might be intentional.
    • Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame has this as well. Much like the Hulk example above, there's a level of translucency to his skin and his enormous presence contrasting with Josh Brolin's calm stoicism can be extremely uncanny to witness in a regular non-action scene. Unlike Ultron who suffered from some bad Nightmare Retardant, Thanos's recognizable humanity in an alien face is both extremely unsettling and effective.
  • An interesting silent era example: In Metropolis, Brigette Helm effectively conveys the False Maria's "wrongness" with generally off behavior, particularly insect-like head twitching.
  • David Lynch in Mulholland Dr..
    • Mr. Roque, Mafia kingpin. This, incidentally, is Michael J. Anderson's only role as a regular-sized person.
    • The Cowboy, who is this despite being a seemingly normal person. He's able to get a dyed-in-the-wool Hollywood insider to stop snarking.
    • Whatever it is behind Winkies.
    • The too-chipper-to-be-real Betty Elms has this effect on some. The effect is magnified by dressing her in clothes that look as though they might be what she wore as a teenager: they clash with contemporary style and don't fit her well.
  • Oddly enough, the more human-looking Midians in Nightbreed are creepier than the ones who look just plain demonic. A perfect example is the guy with the crescent-shaped head.
  • The poster for the movie Orphan looks... wrong. Just vaguely creepy in the facial area, and you can't really tell how or why it's wrong. It's actually because the face is TOO symmetrical because it's actually half the face mirrored to make a whole face. Human faces aren't perfectly symmetrical, so a perfectly symmetrical face goes into Uncanny Valley.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu: Ditto's human transformation is almost perfect, but looking at its face is very disconcerting. Black Bead Eyes on human beings is not natural, though this was probably completely intentional, since Ditto transformations always uncomfortably maintain its beady eyes.
  • Prometheus: Michael Fassbender's cheerful monotone, neutral expression, and the fact that he can apparently cry on demand help to pull this off. Through the movie, small whirrs can be heard with most of his movements, and the Uncanny Factor goes off the scale when his head gets pulled off by a furious Engineer. Arguably, it's played with in a scene where David 8 is shown dyeing his hair.
  • The Purge: The psychopathic gang is wearing masks that resemble human faces, but the masks invoke a feeling of wrongness. The poster itself presents what looks like a horrifying Slasher Smile.
  • At the climactic scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark before the three main bad guys are destroyed by the Ark, their screaming faces are contorted and exaggerated in horrific ways before either melting away, vacuumed from within or exploding.
  • Invoked deliberately in Silent Hill. The nurses, especially, start out looking like ordinary mannequins. Then they start moving in that odd, jerky manner that instantly communicates that they are dangerous.
    • Another subtle touch to add to the nurses' creepiness factor is that, apparently, they had the actors perform all their actions in that scene in reverse and then re-reversed the footage, so their movements don't quite seem right, but the casual viewer is not quite sure why.
  • In the film adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City,
    • CGI is used to erase the actress's blink when Miho is sprayed with blood. Because it's practically impossible for any human to not blink when something hits him in the face, it serves to make her exceedingly creepy.
    • The facial prosthetics used by many of the characters in the movie to make them more closely resemble their characters from the comics tend to fall into the Valley as well. Benicio Del Toro in particular looks about half a step shy of being human. Reportedly, Robert Rodriguez wasn't going to give Del Toro prosthetics, because he already looked a lot like the character in the comics, but Del Toro insisted on it, possibly in recognition of this trope.
  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Maul is pretty freaky looking and set a standard for the Sith all looking like cenobites, but Maul is actually less scary than his original design. George Lucas made a wise decision saying it was too terrifying.
    • The Force Awakens gives us Supreme Leader Snoke, the major authority in charge of the First Order. Facial Horror aside, Snoke's face looks plain wrong, as well as his overall body proportions, which make him look too-human like to comfort. Supplementary materials confirm he used to be a handsome-looking fellow who became the withered, ghoulish husk he is because of extensive use of the Dark Side of the Force. That is, until The Rise of Skywalker revealed that Snoke was a cloned puppet of Palpatine's all along.
    • Kylo Ren himself has a strange face under his mask, he's not hideous like most of the Dark Side force users but Adam Driver‘s "innocent" looking face is stilted and expresses weirdly. It becomes even more uncanny when dueling Rey and he barely reacts to a lightsaber slashing his cheek.
  • There's also the 2010 movie The Town. During the armored car robbery, Doug and his gang are wearing nun outfits complete with leathery masks of old, wrinkled faces. The look on that boy as he sees Doug wearing the mask right before the robbery unfolds says it all.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Uncanny Valley is invoked in Judge Doom as foreshadowing, considering that he's actually an Ax-Crazy toon disguised as a human. He is at least half a head taller than any other character. His eyes are often hollow and he never blinks. Christopher Lloyd only blinked between takes or when his face was out of frame. Every smile is a Slasher Smile. He has a lot more strength than an average man. He is shown ripping the industrial dip barrel open with one hand. His skin is pale and lifeless. His vocal cadence is either too clipped or too drawn out to be normal. He talks, just, Like, THIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSS!
  • Martin Freeman's character in Wild Target has an Uncanny Valley look about him thanks to his capped teeth and creepy smile.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied brilliantly on the live action show 30 Rock as the reason why it is impossible to do a porn video game... and then the game Tracy made went on to make $300 million. He apparently figured out a way to avoid the valley after all. Of course, this explanation in a way even Tracy Jordan can understand:
    Tracy: Tell it to me in Star Wars.
    Frank: All right. We like R2-D2 and C-3PO.
    Tracy: They’re nice.
    Frank: And up here, we have a real person like Han Solo.
    Tracy: He acts like he doesn’t care, but he does!
    Frank: But down here we have a CGI Storm Trooper or Tom Hanks in The Polar Express.
    Tracy: I’m scared! Get me out of there.
  • Atlanta has Darius visit the home of Teddy Perkins, the eccentric brother of reclusive former Motown artist Benny Hope, to pick up an advertised free piano. Every single thing about Teddy is disturbing from the moment he appears on-screen — he doesn't seem able to fully relate to Darius like a human being, he speaks in a low falsetto whisper, he eats owl egg yolk for supper, and his mannerisms and clothing evoke the most bizarre kind of elderly rich shut-in. But above all, it's his appearance that's so immediately startling: Teddy, ostensibly an elderly African-American man like his brother, has perfectly smooth alabaster skin, straight black hair, and sculpted, almost equine Ken-doll features. It's not clear whether it's surgery, cosmetics, a shared genetic disorder with his brother, or something else, and his death in a murder-suicide deliberately leaves all questions unanswered.
  • In the Black Mirror story "Be Right Back", a woman buys an artificial meat effigy of her dead husband coded with a facsimile of his personality based on his social media posts. It starts to have this effect on her after a while, when she begins to pick up on things like the fact that he doesn't breathe, and that instead of sleeping he lies next to her with his eyes open, and how the pores and creases on his skin are completely two-dimensional and 'bump-mapped'.
  • Buffyverse:
    • The three creepiest characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer are generally considered to be Gnarl, the Gentlemen, and Sid. The first two by virtue of exaggerated and odd movement, and the last due to being a self-animating ventriloquist's dummy.
      • The "lead" Gentleman, played by Doug Jones, famous for his equally creepy performances as "The Pale Man" (also known as 'the creepy guy with eyes on his hands') and the faun in Pan's Labyrinth. Also the creepy "Angel of Death" (also known as 'the creepy guy with eyes on his wings'. is there a pattern here?) and much less creepy Abe Sapien from the Hellboy movies. As a trained mime and body artist, he clearly excels at placing himself smack in the middle of the Uncanny Valley.
    • April the Robot from "I Was Made To Love You". She's an in-universe example, as the main characters all slowly realize there is something wrong with the super-cheery way she talks, the way she walks, and eventually her huge amounts of strength.
    • Played with with Warren's second creation, the Buffybot. Though it has the same problems as April, her friends fail to realize they're talking to a robot, merely thinking that their friend that they've known for years is behaving oddly for some reason, until Buffy herself shows up.
  • The mascot from Community falls under this trope. Having been designed to have no ethnically distinguishing features, it ended up being an androgynous White Mask of Doom.
  • One episode of the season 5 of Criminal Minds has the title "The Uncanny Valley". Young women are abducted and paralyzed before being transformed into living dolls, giving them a surreal look. The creepiest part is that the eyes are often shown, being the only thing that they can still move. Here are some pictures.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Invoked with Susan's dancing to Pop music in "An Unearthly Child". It doesn't resemble any dance anyone would ever do to that kind of music and looks pretty, but freaky.
    • "Kerblam!" has the titular Mega-Corp's omnipresent robots, which have faces reminiscent of ventriloquists' dummies, and which companions Ryan, Graham and Yaz find unsettling. The Doctor tells them off for being "robophobic".
    • "The Robots of Death" references the Uncanny Valley effect in the form of "Grimwade's Syndrome", (named after Peter Grimwade, a production assistant who always complained about having to do robot-themed episodes) a mental disorder whose sufferers subconsciously equate highly humanoid robots with animated corpses; the robots in that particular story looked just slightly less human than the animatronic dummies on a Disneyland ride, but the idea of being surrounded by human-sized creatures with emotionless and immobile features is unpleasant enough that the audience could easily accept it.
    • Jack Harkness evokes this for the Doctor as a living fixed point in time, "a fact", which his Time Lord instincts balk at.
    • The Family of Blood from "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood". Perfectly normal-looking people turned to pure terror through a combination of Verbal Tics, Creepy Monotone, unsettling facial expressions and body movements.
    • Weeping Angels, played by actors, in special makeup, while using unusual, robotic movements to make them appear extremely creepy.
  • Laurence Fox manages this when he plays a British Nazi in Foyle's War. No makeup, no sci-fi elements, yet his performance is still inhumanly creepy thanks to his hostile and unblinking stare, dissonant smiling, and the oddness of his body language. He even manages to creep out other Nazis.
  • On Extant John says that the uncanny valley issue is not with his robots' appearance (which he's solved, as they cannot be outwardly distinguished from humans). Rather it's their behavior, which is still inhuman.
  • While not actually eerie-looking (since he's played by a real actor) the robotic sheriff from Eureka has this effect on the townspeople, who are unnerved by him and especially by his creepily fixed smile.
  • An aural rather than visual example from season 2 of Game of Thrones. Daenerys' baby dragons sound JUST enough like human infants to make their cries of fear extremely disconcerting.
  • Halo (2022) has the Artificial Intelligence Cortana, with human-like hair and skin tone and a clearly defined bodysuit that makes her much more unsettling to look at than the blue and slightly stylized woman from the games. Rather predictably, the other characters have an unnerved response to this not quite human's presence.
  • In an episode of House, the patient, a painter, is doing a portrait of a man's wife. When the painting is done, her husband goes to look at it, and it is horribly distorted. The same patient later sees extremely disturbing doppelgangers of Taub and Thirteen as a result of the same vision distortion, invoking an almost-but-not-quite freakiness.
  • The AMC series Humans is built on this trope. All the Synths look almost exactly like normal people, but there are all sorts of little details that uncomfortably remind you that they're not — unnatural eye colors, overly smooth and shiny glossy skin, etc.
    • Advertisements for a company named Persona Synthetics, which provides realistic-looking synthetic servants to look after your family, appeared in British newspapers and aired on Channel 4 in mid-May 2015, which drew a lot of comments on Twitter from people freaked out by it. It turned out to be a viral marketing ploy for Humans, and the synthetics in the ad were just actors.
  • Kamen Rider: This happens every so often given the number of monsters that have/create a human form without attempting to be human on the inside too. Humans who become monsters are usually even worse. Prominent examples include:
    • Worms in Kamen Rider Kabuto can go into this despite being able to mimic humans so perfectly even they themselves forgot who they actually are.
    • The Roidmudes in Kamen Rider Drive are supposed to evoke this trope, although all are played by regular actors. Chase, with his expressionless face and unnaturally wide purple eyes, is the most prominent example. His Kamen Rider Saga even lampshades this several times.
    • Kuroto Dan of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid pulls a zigzagged version of this. He is human well, used to be, but get more disturbing as time passed, such as moving with Marionette Motion and speaking in a variety of very much inhuman tones.
      • This is not made any better by his partner in crime, Bugster higher-up Parado, an eerily cheerful Psychopathic Manchild with truly eldritch Blue-and-Orange Morality. His smiles go from mostly normal and even somewhat heartwarming on few rare occasions to the teeth barred, corners of mouth upturned version of Technically a Smile three inches from your face.
  • One episode of The Librarians 2014 has the team chasing down a shapeshifter called Hoklonote, which impersonates other people, but has a tendency to break out into an inhumanly wide grin.
  • Though he doesn't play an alien, robot, or supernatural creature, Michael Emerson's performance of Ben Linus in Lost has a hint of Uncanny Valley, as one of his techniques he uses to achieve his magnetically compelling creepiness. He sometimes goes for a long time without blinking, then blinks very slowly at a carefully chosen moment.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Explicitly invoked in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the reason why Radcliffe used a real person's appearance when building Aida; starting from scratch always resulted in this trope. Personality-wise, she still dances on the edge of this trope, though not enough for people who aren't robotics experts to figure out why.
    • Daredevil (2015): Season 3 deliberately invokes this whenever we see Dex impersonating Daredevil as part of a False Flag Operation on Wilson Fisk's orders. When Matt wears the red Daredevil suit in seasons 1 and 2, he is like a silent guardian and he moves in a heroic and ninja like manner. When Dex is wearing a replica of this in season 3, the cinematography puts a lot of emphasis on the mask’s empty statue like eyes, and he walks in a robotic manner, like a mad devil on a rampage.
  • The majority of Power Rangers villains were far enough away from human that this rarely applied, but any time they veered toward human-like, they hit this full-force. Take, for example, Madame Woe or Lipsyncher.
    • Heckyl from Power Rangers Dino Charge is similar to the Kamen Rider villains mentioned on this page. He is (seemingly) twenty something man in Awesome Anachronistic Apparel (suit, waistcoat, pocket watch), whose expressions give off such a vibe that he only grasped the theory behind them. Also, he can go from Affably Evil to foaming at the mouth angry and back at drop of the hat.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Holly is generally acceptable because he/she acts just like a normal human, with a lighthearted, "chummy" way of speaking. But on the instances where he/she malfunctions and reverts to Robo Speak it can be damned creepy. "The phrase 'cargo bay doors' does not appear to be in my lexicon," for example. An episode in which it is briefly thought that Lister is from a previous class of robots to Kryten lampshades this trope, with Kryten explaining that these robots were too close to humans in appearance, which was creepy for some and so they were recalled, hence why despite being a later model he looks more reassuringly non-human.
    • Done deliberately with the Data Doctor from "Back in the Red", apparently inspired by Max Headroom.
    • The first novelization Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers notes that Holograms all have the big chrome "H" on their forehead to make it more acceptable and less creepy for your dead friend to be walking around and talking to you, as it makes it more explicit that the person you're talking to is not actually the real person.
    • Kryten mentions that his predecessor series was a notorious commercial failure because it looked so human that it made humans uncomfortable, while Kryten's "novelty eraser shaped head" (as Rimmer puts it) is sufficiently far enough from human appearance to avoid the valley effect.
    • Invoked in "Blue" where, in The Rimmer Experience, the appearances of Cat and Lister are slightly off, with extreme make-up and overly white teeth. A DVD extra shows a deleted scene from the episode, for good reasons: a rejected version of the Rimmer Experience ride entrance featuring a terrifying static CGI head of Chris Barrie.
  • Played for Laughs in the recurring Saturday Night Live sketch, "The Merryville Brothers", which features a trio of animatronic musicians (played by cast members) that engage in increasingly creepy activities towards couples trapped on their rides, usually culminating in trying to kill or harass the riders in an over-the-top manner.
  • Space: Above and Beyond features the Silicates, robots who, based on outward appearance, are nearly indistinguishable from humans, except for three things:
    • They have not been properly maintained since they Turned Against Their Masters, so bits of their "skin" have flaked off.
    • All Silicates (even the Sex Bot models) have crosshairs for eyes.
    • The odd physical tics and the occasional st-st-stuttering of speech.
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • The special 200th episode featured the SG-1 team as marionettes and as this link shows, it certainly qualifies as Uncanny Valley.
      • Human-form replicators definitely qualify. They look perfectly human, and even come off as human for the first thirty seconds they appear in the series. But soon it becomes pretty clear that there's something off. Fifth comes off as much more human and is (originally at least) a sympathetic character as a result.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
      • The first few appearances of the Wraith. In an attempt to avert Rubber-Forehead Aliens, their eyes and mouths were noticeably slightly too big (apparently with CGI), leading powerfully to this effect. It was apparently too creepy, or else just too expensive, and they abandoned it later on.
      • FRAN, the replicator created by Rodney McKay. She acts perfectly human, friendly, yet is willing to completely obey orders (meaning suicide) and is even slightly enthusiastic about it. It is very much the Uncanny Valley. The notable thing is that she is actually unsettling to the other characters (such as McKay himself) because of this, too.
  • Mr. Data, the android in Star Trek: The Next Generation, sometimes slips a little ways down the right side of the Valley — though, as he's played by a person, he never gets very far down. Though the grimace-lockjaw-rictus-smile he had during the dancing scene in "Data's Day" greased the slope quite effectively. This trope was cited in all but name when it was revealed to Data that he was designed to not perfectly mimic humans as it tended to creep people out.
    • Switching him off also has this effect, though for the opposite reason (the character we are expected to believe is a machine looks disturbingly human when he is deactivated and effectively dead). As Riker says in "The Measure of a Man", after demonstrating this during a trial of Data's personhood:
    • Which may be a big reason why the Amargosa scene in Star Trek: Generations wigged out a lot of people. Especially when his emotion chip overloaded and he couldn't stop laughing.
    • In the episode "Clues", everyone on the ship but Data is knocked unconscious after going through a wormhole. He tells them they were out for only a few seconds, but strange hints that he may be lying begin to appear. Picard gets increasingly frustrated as he — and the audience — realize just how hard it is to figure out what's going on inside Data's head, and how unsettling that can be.
    • Data's relationship with the uncanny valley is nicely illustrated when contrasted with his brother/prototype Lore. Lore had more human qualities than Data, including emotions and the ability to express them.... but this only made him unpredictable and dangerous to be around. As a result, Lore comes off as too human, with his emotions not matching up at all with what's happening around him, and it creeps out the audience. In response, Dr. Soong constructed Data to replace Lore and consciously dialed back the human qualities so he's be approachable and polite, keeping Data out of the valley.
    • "Brothers" is another episode where Data's inhumanity was brought into sharp focus. For reasons that only become clear later, he suddenly seizes control of the ship and pilots it by himself to an unknown star system. The frightening ease with which he accomplishes this — the entire rest of the crew are essentially powerless to stop him — and his blank expression throughout (even as a child's life is threatened by his actions) can be very disturbing.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Odo's face slips into uncanny valley. As a Changeling shapeshifter, Odo normally takes the form of a humanoid man, but he has difficulty mimicking humanoid facial details. The result is that his face has very blunted features with unrealistically smooth skin. Fortunately, he does not seem to trigger an uncanny valley response in the other characters.
    • The Vorta can have this aura. Their violet-color eyes and manikin-like smooth faces feel off and their extreme politeness can also feel more creepy than comforting. Justified because they are genetically engineered by the Founders to be ideal non-combat officials of the Dominion.
    • "The Darkness and the Light" shows an altered voice saying, "That's one", "That's two" after each murder victim is killed. The voice sounds broken, artificial, deep, and not at all humanlike.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, one could infer this is the reason why the Emergency Medical Hologram ended up being an utter failure. It seems that Starfleet crews found it difficult to trust medical care in someone "not real" and would often forget they were a sentient, self-aware hologram, leading them to treat them as though they were not even there. They also seem to have been designed a little too lifelike for people's tastes; the EMH Mk1 was too pompous, while its replacement, the EMH Mk2 was scathingly sarcastic, etc. As of "Life Line", the Doctor's creator reveals that they were up to a Mk4 and still running into this problem. Granted, this is less because of the uncanny valley effect and more that every version of the EMH has their physical appearance and demeanor based on an actual human.... and the creator keeps modeling them after smug, condescending assholes (starting with himself).
  • Star Trek: Enterprise has Dr Phlox. Normally his features are alien enough to just register as “non-human.” But then he smiles... from ear to ear.
  • Star Trek: Discovery:
    • When Georgiou has one of her Temporal Sickness episodes, her whole body warps at one point.
    • Twice, characters have gotten whited-out eyes. It's happened to Adira on the Trill planet and to Stamets during a spore drive malfunction.
  • David Lynch filmed several scenes in Twin Peaks within the Black Lodge. All the apparitions in the lodge were characters who did their scenes, all speech and movement backwards. Then the filmed result was played in reverse, giving all the action an unsettling tone.
  • Similar to Data, Cameron of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • "Know a lot of people, kid. Don't know you. Anyone ever heard of John Connor?"
    • Also from the finale: "You're building Skynet". "No. I was building something to fight it."
    • "Will you join us?" Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles sometimes slips into the Uncanny Valley, such as one scene where she perfectly repeats a deceased classmate's last words, word-for-word and inflection-for-inflection. In another, equally disturbing example, while she is being crushed between two trucks, her face is covered in cuts and burns, and her head is being sliced open, she starts talking to John in a completely normal tone of voice that shifts into frantic pleading and crying just like a normal person.
    • Speaking of Cameron, this full-scale reproduction of her head-and-torso shot at the Terminator Exhibition in Tokyo definitely qualifies.
  • The Terror: The Tuunbaaq resembles a polar bear with a weirdly long neck and a human face, making it extremely eerie.
  • The Adult Swim show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! uses this trope for comedic effect.
    • Whenever pictures of children are displayed on the show, there's always something terribly wrong with their face. The funny thing is, it's possible for kids to actually look like that.
    • The careful use of slow-motion, freeze frame and camera zoom makes pretty much every human actor fall deep into the valley at one point or another.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019) has Grace, a robot who perfectly resembles a human... except she is almost constantly smiling, moves with an eerie grace, appears to be perfectly flawless, and never reacts to situations normally. Plus, there's the time she spooked Baby Vanya by standing up after being flung into a glass case and twisting her head back into the correct position. You don't quite realize she's a robot, either, she's just unsettling — until the end of the first episode, when she sits down and a futuristic charger plugs itself into her ears, setting off blue glows under her skin.
  • Westworld: Deliberately used in the scene where Ford is talking to one of the first hosts created, who has become very old. He looks human, but his movements are very robotic and jittery.
  • One episode of Wife Swap featured a New Jersey woman as one of the wives who owned a huge and ever-growing collection of reborn baby dolls. She is shown carrying out a daily routine of brushing their hair, changing their diapers, and carrying them around with her constantly. She even brought one of them with her to her swap family's home, and the wife of the other family was understandably freaked out when she encountered the dolls.

  • David Bowie: Purposely invoked via makeup and image manipulation with the photos of the various characters in the liner notes for 1. Outside, as well as on the album itself with their spoken-word "segues" between songs, which are digitally tweaked to vary the voices further. It doesn't take long to realize Bowie is playing all of them, including the women; the low point of the valley here is Baby Grace Blue, the 14-year-old girl whose murder kicks off the story.
  • The Caretaker:
    • The heavily sample-based music is designed to evoke this, quietly distorting the originals in ways meant to be atmospheric ambience, yet always subtly off by way of low quality, vinyl scratching sounds, and inappropriate looping and inconsistent track-by-track flow. His more conceptual albums like An Empty Bliss Beyond This World and Everywhere at the End of Time are meant to be musical illustrations of the headspace of those suffering from mental disorders like Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and become even more unsettlingly warped and disturbing over time in a way that evokes losing your mind.
    • In a more visual sense of this, the accompanying album cover illustrations by Ivan Seal also count. While his paintings never depict human subjects, the inanimate sculptures he does depict are nevertheless very ambiguous, unidentifiable, and quietly impossible, behaving in ways that wouldn't make sense in real life. There's something "real" in them, but garbled under twisted abstraction.
  • The genre of hyperpop feeds off of this trope. All of the over-repetitiveness of some phrases, bright poppy colors and a background whine in some songs make you feel just a little off. Not to mention the vocals being pitched just a little higher than usual and the utter vapidity of some songs. A proper example of this trope and a big part of the genre, GFOTY really lives up to this, or Lipgloss Twins who just don't feel right in this song are true to this trope.
    • SOPHIE, one of the genre's popularizers (if not originator) was a master at this, taking a step further by designing all her sounds from scratch, designing bizarre synths comparable to rubber/plastic/elastic using waveforms and chaotically integrating them in her tracks. The end results resemble songs inspired by hyper-polished 2000s-era bubblegum pop, but as if entirely created by "hyperkinetic" aliens.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Many a mythical creature in human guise falls under this category, most notably changeling children and angels from The Bible. Though usually said to be beautiful, these disguised beings are also claimed to have something off about them that the human witnessing them can't quite pin down until they learn their true identity.
  • Examples abound in various mythologies. From Classical Mythology comes Pygmalion's creation of the most beautiful sculpture, who the Gods cause to become human, a woman made from stone. In Celtic Mythology, Blodeuwedd is a beautiful woman fashioned originally from flowers who has no conception of what it is to actually be human. She is later transformed into an owl — a night bird considered to be a non-worldly thing of the Otherworld — for her failings whilst trying to be human.

  • The NPR series On the Media did a segment on the Uncanny Valley phenomenon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Blanks are people born without a soul. While they look and act like completely regular people, other people are subconsciously aware of their lack of a soul, and the sheer unnaturalness of it causes them to instinctively hate and fear Blanks. Even if being a Blank makes you immune to the Warp, it won't do much good when you get lynched by an angry mob.

    Video Games 
  • The Working Joes from Alien: Isolation provide an in-universe example. The company that makes them is suggested to be far behind Weyland-Yutani technologically and can't produce the like-humans-but-not-quite-there synthetic androids the setting is known for, so they produce robots that look like bad crash test dummies cheaply for the mass market and use their less-than-perfect appearance as a marketing spin. Of course, they're still terrifying as they shrug off your firepower and give you False Reassurance while doing the The Slow Walk towards you and intending to strangle you. Not even setting them on fire slows them down.
  • BioShock:
    • The first game seems to make intentional use of this phenomenon - the grotesque, ex-human Splicers are even more unnerving for how human they still look. The first ghost you encounter subtly lampshades this: "I'm too spliced up! I'm too spliced up! Now nobody's gonna want me...." The Little Sisters are also examples of the trope.
    • BioShock 2 has redesigned the Little Sisters to make them cuter and more cartoony because the player character's viewpoint is a Big Daddy, who cares for them more than anything else; he doesn't find them creepy, neither should the player. Splicers, on the other hand, are still in the valley, because the PC sees them as threats to his Little Sisters. BioShock 2 brings up the valley when a journal of Andrew Ryan describes an animatronic replica of him built for a theme park as a "lurching, waxen nightmare" and wonders how children are supposed to respond to that. Indeed, the first time one of the animatronics is encountered can be startling because it appears to be a slightly less than normal human sitting completely still. Then you attack it and it breaks apart completely.
    • It's brought up again in BioShock Infinite as intentional on the developers' part for the Motorized Patriot, who was in fact based on a nightmare of Ken Levine's about the porcelain dolls his grandparents had when he was a child.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Played for Laughs with the tiny, harmless little rodents known as nugs. They are absolutely unable to hurt anything, totally docile, and most typically just kind of walk around in circles aimlessly looking for food until they hit a wall. Yet there are still several characters and codex entries that find them creepy because instead of rodentlike limbs, their limbs end in weirdly humanlike hands. Hands.
    • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening:
      • Justice falls right into the Uncanny Valley... because he's an animated corpse possessed by a spirit from the Fade. Of course he'll look like a corpse!
      • The Architect is much more human-looking then other darkspawn, which just makes it creepier when you notice that his hat is actually part of his head, and that when he takes his mask off you can see that his eyes are misaligned.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, this is done deliberately with the companion Cole — a Spirit of Compassion who has taken the appearance of a mage he previously met and comforted as the man was dying. Spirit Cole looks malnourished and has bags under his eyes because Mage Cole was dying from starvation after being locked in a jail cell by an abusive Templar guard. The issue is more pronounced because of his strange mannerisms as a spirit while still looking human, which only Solas can understand, or the fact he doesn't need to eat, drink or even sleep. Also, due to his spirit nature he can read a person's mind and can immediately know their deepest secrets, or know how past events in their life could have gone had they chosen differently, which they naturally find uncomfortable. If you side with Varric on his personal quest, he becomes more human... and starts complaining about how much he dislikes having to eat.
  • Fallout 4 plays with this. To the people of the New England Commonwealth, the Institute's 1st- and 2nd-generation Synths, which look like SkeleBots and Murderous Mannequins respectively, are pure Nightmare Fuel because of their uncanniness. 3rd-generation Synths, which can pass for human, are pure Paranoia Fuel. But potential companion Nick Valentine averts Uncanny Valley, since he's a discarded prototype with obviously fake "skin" and enough wear and tear to have his robot parts showing. As a result, he looks (and acts) human enough to be reassuring, but still obviously a robot instead of an infiltrator, and so is tolerated in Diamond City and even able to work as a private investigator.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Fire Emblem: The Elibe duology invokes this as part of its Artificial Humans theme. A few things that both war dragons and morphs have in common are that they're both described as hardly feeling sentient, being produced in masses by the games' respective final bosses, and a majority of them lacking any proper intelligence, which results in them looking very "off" compared to the two species (Manaketes and Humans respectively) they're modeled after. They also tend to lack emotions, though in the case of Blazing Blade, Kishuna is capable of displaying them.
  • Used liberally in Five Nights at Freddy's to make the animatronics more disturbing. Nothing more charming than pulling up a camera and seeing a robot that wasn't there before and now looking back at you to make you feel all nice and cozy at night. Of note is the history behind the characters: Scott Cawthon originally developed kid-friendly games, but one such game, Chipper & Sons Lumber Co., was criticized for having characters that look like creepy animatronics. After a Creator Breakdown, Scott decided to turn this flaw into an advantage by creating a horror game about creepy animatronics. Special mention goes to Toy Chica from Five Nights at Freddy's 2, who is the very incarnation of Fanservice gone horribly wrong. A yellow chicken-girl robot wearing attire that leaves very little to the imagination is slightly unsettling in and of its own, but when she starts roaming, she takes it above and beyond because her eyes and beak somehow disappear, leaving her with a very freaky Game Face.
  • Half-Life 2, which largely averts Unintentional Uncanny Valley with realistic lip-synching and largely realistic character movements based on character actors, deliberately evokes this with the G-Man, who is implied to be not entirely human. His speech is littered with awkward pauses and emphases, his way of standing and walking are oddly rigid, and his "humanizing" gestures — like brushing dust from his suit or straightening his tie — are unconvincingly stiff. He behaves as though he's had to learn 'human' behavior out of books and films. The effect is further compounded by his facial features, which are not only misaligned but also seem to lack any kind of expression at all. G-Man's mannerisms begin to look realistic only in the Episodes — the point at which he's caught off-guard for the first time in the series. His sole scene in Episode One has him look genuinely confused, then genuinely angry. When he appears again in Episode Two, a touch of actual nervousness and urgency seems to be creeping into his formerly effectless voice, and his movements become much more realistic. By Half-Life: Alyx, he's more or less entirely realistic in motions and expression to the point of showing some very pronounced emotions... but still has some bizarre mannerisms, eyes that look a little too piercing and a massive disconnect between voice and face that keep him firmly entrenched in the Valley.
  • The final boss of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Fecto Forgo, looks a lot like a human embryo and has uncannily photorealistic and detailed eyes, which is especially apparent when they dramatically open their eyes and deliver their threat to consume everything. Their true form as Fecto Elfilis also has this trait, as while they have a humanoid, angelic design, they also have disproportionately large hands, Creepy Long Fingers, and digitigrade legs, which adds to their appearance as an Angelic Abomination. Both are clearly meant to look otherworldly and just plain wrong, since they are an invader not native to this world, and plan on subsuming the entire planet for their own purposes.
  • This is invoked with the Manikins in Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. In-universe, it is discussed that they are not human, and even though they do look a lot like them, the characters just think there's something... off. In the game, their tendencies to do random spasms, their mostly expressionless faces and pale skin (pale even by Megaten standards) are unsettling at best. They are usually friendly, however.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The Blue Badger. He's only a battery-powered wooden panel of a mascot, but his vacant eyes, perma-smile, and jerky movements make him creepy to many characters. Phoenix mentions that if a child saw it, they'd probably have nightmares. It's a 3D model in a mostly 2D game. And Edgeworth... well, he sums it up pretty nicely.
    "What the HELL is that wriggling piece of plywood?!"
    • Calisto Yew from Ace Attorney Investigations falls into the trope because of how she behaves in the courtroom. She frequently bursts into laughter, even while talking about serious subjects like murder and her own past, and does it when she takes a hostage during the case she shows up in. Edgeworth himself finds her to be creepy.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies's Video Game 3D Leap gives it, of course, the chance to play this intentionally. Two examples come to mind: Aristotle Means and that goddamn smile, and the phantom and his loose mask.
      • Speaking of the phantom from the final case, their entire character seems to have been an intentional example of this. For context, the phantom is a Master of Disguise who does not feel anything, yet can convey facial expressions as if he does. When Phoenix and company start to corner him, his facial expressions start to mismatch his statements, such as smiling when he's trying to sound angry. When Athena runs her Mood Matrix on him, she finds that there is zero emotion in his voice whatsoever, despite the way he's gesturing with each line; in a subsequent testimony, his emotions start fluctuating all over the place in an attempt to keep in control of himself. It's a very disturbing effect that makes the player wonder if he's even human anymore.

    Web Animation 
  • Extra Credits has mentioned the Uncanny Valley several times. First in an episode specifically about it, then revisited in a Halloween episode and again in an episode about Kinect's controls.
  • going to the store and its sequels invoke this with featureless, unemotive CGI mannequins, their absurd bodily movements, and the remarkably high attention to detail in inserting them into real-world settings.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device mentions in episode 20 that the Salamanders invoke this reaction in the common citizens of the Imperium, as they have jet-black, coal-like skin and glowing red eyes.
  • Referenced in a Teen Girl Squad cartoon, where Japanese Culture Greg is going to the prom with Chizuko, his robot date.
    Science Fiction Greg: You think I'd be into life-size realistic robots, but that thing makes me want to barf up my earlier energy drink into the one I'm currently drinking.


    Web Original 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall has a surprising example with the Entity. It's usually the complete opposite, until you see it take the form of 90s Kid. Never mind the fact that it's acting and talking utterly different from what we normally associate with him, but the fact that his eyes are screens of static. Not to mention that the rest of the body keeps jerking to different positions without even moving.
  • Asenath of the Binder of Shame is a very pretty woman with a deformed arm, which according to the narrator isn't what creeps him out; what creeps him out is the fact that her clothes are "part schoolgirl outfit, part leatherwear", "she never seemed to blink", and "she was pretty much making out with the GM the whole time we played".
  • Hamster's Paradise:
    • A more tragic example happened with the Always Chaotic Evil harmsters and the peaceful but comparatively primitive splinsters. Both of them are furry bipeds with forward-facing eyes and long tufted tails, and both use spears as their primary weapons. However, the splinsters also have long necks and vaguely elephantine faces that the harmsters found disturbing to look at, which led to the naturally sadistic species wiping them out.
    • The harmsters had a similar reaction to the ripperoo, the predatory animals that the harmsters originally evolved from. They're large, savage and animalistic but still have an unnerving resemblance to the harmsters, which led to one culture of Matriarch Harmster to view them as monsters to be eradicated while another would go on to see them as death gods and try to placate them with offerings.
    • The white-eyes are a species of southhound that developed white sclerae to better nonverbally communicate with each other during hunts. This strange appearance combined with their general silence has led to other dark-eyed southhounds finding them disturbing and preferring to avoid them.
    • The bat-like desert falcyons have a very canine-like head thanks to convergent evolution, which makes them deeply unnerving to the dog-like drysander northhounds, especially since they will sometimes prey on drysander pups. This earned them a reputation in drysander folklore as flying monsters with the faces of people that swoop down on children.
  • Ilivais X: Iriana is meant to be at the very bottom of this — mostly expressionless, very cold, looks like a monochrome walking corpse, can't ever die outside an energy source, gets off to being stabbed, etc. — and she hates it.
  • The Journal Entries: One entry describes an encounter that gave a Pendorian this effect. Set shortly after Pendor first contacts Earth, the story involves one of the diplomats attending a convention which has a large Furry contingent. One of the costumers has made a very careful study of the diplomat (apparently from news coverage) and produced a costume that looks exactly like her. If only the face wasn't so completely still...
  • Mortasheen: Lester the Manbogey is a bio-construct designed to spy on and study colonies of humans by blending in as a human itself. However, it's noted to have a 100% failure rate; even human newborns can immediately tell that Lester is an imposter. Lester's creators are baffled how, since other races can't tell it apart from a real human.
  • The Slender Man Mythos: The central Humanoid Abomination is an abnormally tall guy with no face or hair that wears a business suit. He apparently can't talk, and he walks in a very stiff manner, often with his arms out in front of him. He can also teleport anywhere he wants. Like inside your house. The tentacles are a bit off-kilter, as well.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The ever-loved, the original SCP-173. It... it's kinda vaguely humanoid... but that face. Staring at it is so hard, so awkward. You want to look away. You can't. You mustn't. You did—SNAP!
    • 106 is already bad enough, what with looking like the rotting carcass of an old man... but, somehow, when he was young, despite being much less putrid, and a lot more human-looking, he was much, much worse.
    • 2852, the idea of a hollow shell and some cicada matter patched together to look like a human... and succeeding is just horrifying, especially the eyes which apparently have no function, not to mention the adult baby talk that they apparently spew.
    • SCP-096, with its gaunt, distorted face with blank, empty eyes, huge, gaping mouth and impossibly long, spindly limbs. What doesn't help is its incredibly human sounding, yet also very distorted sobs of anguish... and screams of pure, unbridled rage as it slaughters those unfortunate enough to look at it. The head of the squadron that initially found it refused to see an art piece done in its likeness due to being haunted enough by just the sound of it, not wanting to put a face to that awful, uncanny noise.
  • Serina:
    • Woodcrafters, a sapient species of antlears, greatly dislike their non-sapient bestial relatives due to finding it deeply unsettling to interact with creatures that so strongly resemble them but which only have the minds of animals.
    • The nop is described as fitting into the luddy's uncanny valley due to how different they are despite having a shared ancestor.
    • Woolly wumpos, a sapient and primarily herbivorous trunko species whose religion views predators as demonic entities, are implied to find carnackles and other carnivorous trunko species creepy because they can can see their physical similarities despite their profound differences in diet.
    • The savage gravediggers or wildwalkers, the nonsapient descendants of the tundra gravedigger, are considered unnerving by the thalassic gravediggers due to their physical similarity but inability to speak and lack of sapience or tool use.
  • charcoalman on DeviantArt has made many SCPs fall into the Uncanny Valley. But his depiction of the Yule Man is his most well known by far. [1]
  • I Feel Fantastic (also known as Fantastic Hey Hey Hey). It's a video of an animatronic woman singing an off-putting song, made all the more creepy by the low quality camera and how jerky and inhuman her movements and voice are. Just in case you're feeling extra brave, you can watch the entire 16 minute video it was sourced from.
  • Someone had the idea to feed the "Screaming Frog" video into Google's Deep Dream neural net software. The results? After what seems like what would take countless iterations, this. The frog's eyes pop up and disappear all over its body, it's sprouting some sort of tentacle-toe things all over the lower half of its body, and the video itself occasionally morphs into different things for an instant, such as a car or a dog. Now, keep in mind that Deep Dream is meant to look like a human dream. And not after our sleeping brains distill it into a form we can understand, for these are the pure memories of this neural net. And if that turned a relatively harmless frog video into Frog-Sothoth, then the real forms of our own dreams would be truly maddening.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in an episode of Chowder with a pink, badly CGI'd dancing pig-baby (probably a parody of the infamous CGI Dancing Baby), whose mere existence instills great horror (and grief) in those who watch it, especially Gumbo and Mung.
  • Done intentionally in the Justice League: Gods and Monsters short "Twisted" with Harley Quinn. While she's normally a very cute Anti-Villain (bordering on Anti-Hero in some versions), This version is both far eviler, and very ugly. Even if you can get past her weird makeup and Scary Stitches, her facial features are misproportioned, and her eyes seem to not be focusing in the same direction.
  • The Delightful Children From Down The Lane in Codename: Kids Next Door have Voice of the Legion, blank eyes, and sociopathic qualities, not to mention a slight Non-Standard Character Design. They're arguably the scariest aspect of the series. Lenny (the football helmet) averts this when he betrays them for the K.N.D. He's still a bit weird, but seems like a normal kid with a nasally lisp thanks to his headgear. Then he dives headfirst back into the creepy hole when he reveals himself as a triple agent. He slides back into his place in the group with a slurping sound.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Invoked with the avatar of the Tree of Harmony from "What Lies Beneath", which takes the form of Twilight Sparkle. Said avatar has unusually stiff, robotic movements, speaks with strange inflections on words, and has an off-putting gaze that is occasionally framed looking directly at the camera.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In the episode "Knock It Off", the Big Bad creates an army of PPG imitations, but with shoddy worksmanship. The scariest ones are those who are only slightly different from the originals.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: In-Universe, this is how the Funland operator of "Foul Play in Funland" is seen by the rest of the gang, who, throughout the episode, make it verbally clear his eerie atmosphere and superhuman abilities are absolutely off-putting. Of course, the revelation that he's just a haywire animatronic certainly helps.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer briefly imagines his children as "mutants" with pinkish skin, five-fingered hands and eyes with irises. The camera briefly cuts to a more realistic rendering of Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Homer screams and runs away after seeing that.
    • In the episode were Gabbo was introduced, Krusty tries to compete with his own ventriloquism number, using a shoddily-made puppet that looks rather creepy. And then the puppet loses its lower jaw. From this point on, things go downhill rather quickly.
    • One episode has a gag in which Krusty says "We'll be filmed in HD TV! Here's how I'll look!" cue a cut to this face - which makes the kids recoil in horror. This is how some people view HD TV today.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: This trope is alluded to, and parodied, in the episode "Frankendoodle". The drawings of the characters that come to life are described in-universe as being "kinda creepy when they move". And Patrick is obviously put off by DoodleBob because he resembles, but never entirely imitates, SpongeBob. In universe, DoodleBob is seen as disturbing, unsettling, and creepy.
  • Steven Universe:
    • White Pearl has INCREDIBLY robotic behavior, seems to be forever stuck in the same pose as her Diamond, with only her mouth moving, is perpetually smiling, overrules Blue and Yellow Diamond, glides instead of walking, even going through walls... and where her left eye should be, there's just a huge crack and a faint round outline. Unlike every other Pearl we've seen, she shares the voice of her Diamond, suggesting... something else.
    • White Diamond acts in a way that's both overly cheering and intimidating at the same time, calls the intergalactic war Pink caused "a game", and asks questions and keeps talking without expecting an actual answer. She also has eyes but no pupils... Also, she is stuck in a sort-of T-Pose, with her arms outstretched, and the only part of her that has movement is her face (while literally the entire rest of her body is drawn in the same style and with the same methods as the scenery).
  • Xavier: Renegade Angel has a graphical style reminiscent of early 3D games, down to all the imperfections in the models and movement. This intentionally makes everything looks disturbingly alien.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Nightmare Valley, Comics, Film, Music, Other, Advertising, Anime And Manga, Comic Books, Animated Films, Live Action Films, Live Action TV, Music Videos, Toys, Video Games, Web Original, Western Animation


Uncanny Analog Horror

MatPat explains why the Uncanny Valley works so well in Analog Horror, citing three works he discussed in previous videos as examples.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / UncannyValley

Media sources: