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Uncanny Valley

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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.

Turn this trope up to 11 and you'll most likely have a Humanoid Abomination.

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. He also doesn't blink, and is more often than not staring right into people's souls. Given the numbers of fans L has who think he's adorable and/or sexy, this backfired.
  • D.Gray-Man: Level Four Akuma intentionally falls smack dab into this trope. Example here.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • 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 be 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 of 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 a 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 personality, 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: When Ritsuko ups Rei's emotion-dampener medication in chapter 8, Rei crosses the limit between "emotionless girl" and "creepy person who doesn't seem quite human":
    If Doctor Akagi had been watching, she might of [sic] noticed the careful rigidity that Rei held her face to melt swiftly into a far more eerie stillness.
  • Alien/Species Crossover: Return to LV-426: Because of his behavior, Pike falls into this. The other Marines are uncomfortable around him because he's too still, too stoic, too disciplined. He doesn't relax, he seems incapable of relaxing, always at some form of attention. He doesn't chatter or joke around, he only speaks when spoken to and only replies with short, direct responses. Lise is a downplayed version; it's noted several times that there's something too perfect, too flawless about her beauty, that she's inhumanly beautiful, but it doesn't put anyone off.
  • Barefoot: Harry Potter is creeped out by conjured items because of his ability to read the history of anything he touches. Conjured items only have a history of minutes or hours and it weirds him out, especially since he can often tell the history of something from before it was made (such as how old a tree was when it's wood was used to make a wand).
  • Bird features Charnel, a woman who has been radically altered by a wetware Tinker into some kind of bio-mechanical doll-person. She is also stated by the author to be an expy of the Plain Doll, so this makes a lot of sense. Charnel herself is fairly pleasant and benign, though unsettling at first.
  • Brony Steve Makes Out With Fluttershy. As part of a deconstruction of the typical Wish-Fulfillment Self-Insert Fic, the protagonist realizes that the cartoonish ponies look rather grotesque with their half-horse, half-human features. The author has also dedicated a blog post to this issue.
  • Children of an Elder God: In spite of being heroes, the main characters creep most of people out because they can tell what those teenagers may look human but they're something different and very dangerous.
  • Deserted Distractions: After confronting the shadow demon, Yami Bakura's hold on his "human form" slips, and Tea has this reaction to him.
    This being was still human-shaped, still had the pale skin, brown eyes, and dead-white hair of the boy standing next to her[...]but he looked almost...stretched. Too tall and not wide enough, like a badly enlarged photo. His fingers were too long and too much like claws. His skin didn't seem to be quite opaque. If she looked hard, Tea could see the guttering shadows through the outline of his form.
  • A Devil Amongst Worms: Several people on Earth-Bet have this reaction to Makima. Notably, Alexandria describes her as lacking the sorts of micro-expressions and subtle facial tells that regular people have, describing her changes in expression as being akin to different frames in a film.
  • Everqueen: Isha, when not concealing herself behind a glamour, is described as disturbingly, impossibly beautiful, looking more like a statue that moves than a real, living person.
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Checker Monarch. According to Word of God, the fact that she's a Sociopath in a society where compassion and love are basically hardwired into everypony's genes makes her Lack of Empathy this for anyone who she lets see it.
  • The Gloaming, a The Twilight Saga rewrite: Vampires' status as an Inhumanly Beautiful Race falls into this — upon meeting Alice, Bella thinks that she looks more like a porcelain doll than a normal person.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters:
    • Upon first seeing Phobos, Jade notes that at first glance he seems the most normal of his court. Then she looks into his eyes, and sees an emptiness in them that proves there's something off about him.
    • Even before they see him, Alborn and Miriael note that something about the sound of Drago's voice is just wrong.
  • How the Light Gets In: Following Laurel's death a funeral home prepares her body for viewing by family. Dean and Thea were both deeply unsettled by her appearance, likening it to a wax figurine. As Thea puts it "all the makeup in the world can't make a corpse look like anything but a corpse." She then has to desperately try to forget how Laurel looked in the morgue and funeral home, finding both appearances too disturbing.
  • The Infinite Loops: Loopers will sometimes muse on how non-looping individuals and even nonawake versions of looping individuals are disturbingly static and predictable. On the flip side, young loopers or particularly competent nonloopers will sometimes view Loopers as strange eldritch forces inhabiting the bodies of their friends.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa: Summoned/Manifested shipgirls, especially those that have only returned recently, can be creepy. They blink and breathe too regularly or not at all. They lack the unconscious tics, twitches and microexpressions normal humans exhibit. They turn and move too sharply and jerkily. Also inverted, though, in that Summoned/Manifested find Natural Borns too humanlike as to be discomforting.
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World: Paul's eyes turn golden after he's hit by lightning, which weirds Ringo out “because he looked so goddamned inhuman.”
  • Manehattan's Lone Guardian: Leviathan has this effect on the city's residents, to them being a living mass of metal that looks and acts as if it were alive but clearly isn't. Between this uncanniness and her standard white undersuit making her look like a living doll, the pediophobic Ebony Evening in particular has a difficult time dealing with her.
  • A Mighty Demon Slayer Grooms Some Ponies: G1 My Little Pony "twinkle-eyed ponies" get this treatment. As their eyes are just unmoving gemstones, their faces seem creepily emotionless no matter what their mood is.
  • The MLP Loops: This is what makes the Slavequestria iteration of Celestia so uniquely horrifying compared to the countless other "evil opposites" that surface throughout the Loops. Her personality and mannerisms are flawlessly Celestia... but she still rules over a society that is built on the worst sort of slavery.
  • Morphic: This comes into effect in Chapter 13 after Jean accidentally "evolves," causing her face and limbs to get out of proportion. The trope title is even stated word for word.
  • Mutatis Mutandis: Northstar is basically described as vampirically beautiful. Rogue notices when she stares at Northstar's face for more than a few minutes, he looks so eerily perfect that he seems creepy and surreal.
  • Neon Metathesis Evangelion: Everyone finds Kaworu unsettling, whether it's his odd manner of speaking, unusual conversation topics, or constant smile. Furthermore, Maya is highly unnerved that in Sync tests his sync ratio never moves at all, something she finds completely inhuman as it would mean he's always focusing on the task to the exact same degree with the exact same success.
  • New Dawn: Nebiros is already an outlandish looking demonic clown, barely even human looking, so it might count as an aversion, as he does not look human enough to qualify for the trope. However, it is played straight with his speaking patterns. He talks as a whole like a young teenager, has no sense of personal space, views reality as a game and is oh so enthusiastic in a very child-like way about what he does. And, suffice to say, he does not see anything wrong with being a serial killer: "Because its so fun, watching em flail about like a fishy!"
  • The Conversion Bureau: Although a lot of it is heavily dependent on the individual writer due to the general nature of these works, many Deconstruction Fics depict the Newfoals (humans turned into ponies through a magical potion) as giving off this vibe to humans and natural born ponies.
    • The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone and its sequel The Conversion Bureau: Conquer the Stars: The newfoals are able to get sad, scared and even annoyed and frustrated, but they can't get angry or assert themselves. The natural born ponies are revealed to be unsettled by this, while the humans are just put off by how the newfoals possess their former human selves' memories and none of their original personality.
    • The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum: Aside from being perpetually smiling, glassy-eyed Extreme Doormats with no free will or individuality (to the point where many characters liken them to zombies), TCB!Trixie also points out that every single Newfoal, no matter how long it's been since they were ponified, is a blank flank, and she treats it as the unsettling icing on top of the creepiness cake. It's basically Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul taken up to eleven and then some. To a lesser extent, Comet Tail in the Asia Side Story finds regular earth horses to be rather unsettling and strange looking, though she notes they are still just somewhat better than the Newfoals. Another character named Sergei references this trope by name.
    • The Negotiations-verse: Twilight Sparkle inwardly admits that even when she still had complete faith in Celestia and wholeheartedly supported the conversion of humanity, the newfoals always rubbed her the wrong way with how they always seemed to be "too nice" and constantly happy. Pinkie Pie even noted how fake their smiles looked before the war kicked off (though unlike Fluttershy, who defected to aid humanity, Pinkie didn't act on her own doubts about the conversion).
  • The Nightmare House: Enforced. The dancers in Lucy's nightmare have blue (later red), pupilless blue eyes.
  • Passion and Justice: Invoked by Vision, having perfected the ability to speak in a way that's just off kilter enough to sound calm but faintly terrifying, which he uses when interrogating someone.
  • A Quiet Valley, an The Owl House fanfic, has Luz's witch friends hit this for Camilla (Luz's mother), who finds their near humanness creepy when she notices inhuman things about them, like their eye color, fangs, and pointed ears and is a lot more relaxed around Vee's basilisk form which is far from human. Camilla herself isn't too thrilled that she's reacting like this, as said friends are also all lost and injured following The season 2 finale and the last thing they need is them realizing their very nature unsettles her instinctively.
  • A Speeding Bullet: Night and Fog are so boring and repetitive — even having the same conversation every morning — that they give Taylor the creeps.
  • Thousand Shinji: Asuka's secondary form is frightening because she looks like a demon... and her skin and hair's colors don't look natural on a human.
    My red skin. As in brilliant crimson, the colour of arterial blood flowing from a fresh wound, before clotting has kicked in. It was the sort of colour more associated with paints than with the spectrum of human flesh tones. It was unnatural and terrifying with its ultimate wrongness for it had not the same quality as painted skin either.
    The same went for my hair. While copper was an accepted hair colour, mine was bronze. Again, it wasn’t so much the colour in of itself that was wrong, it was the fact that it was on a human, because it didn’t look like some strange admixture of blonde and red that might arise in nature, but it looked like it was made out of actual strands of metal. It just subtly did not look right.
  • Through a Diamond Sky: Jordan takes the doppelganger issue mostly in stride...but is never entirely sure what to make of her husband's double, Clu.
    • The same author has Tron: Invasion (a very loose adaptation of TRON 2.0), where Jet and Mercury appear as this to each other. Jet observes that Mercury's face is a little too angular and her movements a little too precise to be human, while Mercury is vaguely put off by Jet's hair color, the lack of circuitry under his gridsuit, and the "strangely flat" quality to his voice.
  • The Uncanny Danny is a Danny Phantom fanfic written with this trope as its core element.
  • A few Mass Effect stories, such as the NSFW An Unusual Companionship invert this. To humans, asari are Blue Skinned Space Babes. But to some asari, human women are too similar to them while being different enough to creep them out.
  • Realistic Pokémon: Some of RJ's Pokemon look really disturbing when brought into reality, but Mewtwo stands out the most here, as its origin story makes it very likely that RJ went for this effect intentionally with it.
  • This Bites!: The Self-Insert Cross experiences the world of One Piece through a realistic perspective rather than the manga style of the original series. This is especially the case when he encounters his first Fishman in Mock Town, where he sees fish scales in place of skin and warped physiology that pushes them more to fish than human. He has to remind himself that they are a race with their own society to break free of his uncomfortable feeling.
  • Under the Northern Lights: In-universe, Spike perceives the nidhoggs as this — they're superficially very similar to dragons like himself, but with a too-flat face, too-small eyes, no limbs, and a pebbled skin that looks like scales but isn't, resulting a very unsettling feeling of subverted familiarity.
  • What if the Yeerks Were the Good Guys?: The Quantum Kindred is described as looking like a mannequin with a face projected onto it, which freaks the humans out.
  • What About Witch Queen?: Most people are put off by snow horses. Inverted with Kai, though, who can't ride and finds his new Automaton Horse great.
    Kristoff: They're absolutely creepy.
    Kai: No, they're not.
    Kristoff: You're saying that only because you're a hopeless horseman and these are some automatons.
    Kai: Maybe. But I do like that they'll never kick me, or throw me off, or trample me, or generally act like jerks towards me...
  • Where We Don't Belong: Noah finds the Face Mechon Xord disturbing not for being a giant Killer Robot who self-admittedly eats people, but because his human-like actions and wording - comparing them to the elderly denizens of The City - is just so off when paired with that giant mech body. Of course, at this stage, he along with the rest of the non-Machina XC1 cast don't fully realize what Face Mechon really are.
  • With Strings Attached: Brox looks and acts like a normal little child — until he/she starts acting his/her real age. Her/his whole mien shifts, which creeps out the four considerably.
  • The Worm That Dorks: Izuku looks just a little off to anyone who meets him. Tokoyami describes it as his skin color being slightly off and that his body seems like it wasn't proportioned quite right. Also, Izuku has several lines on his face that look more like seams than scars.
  • Xenophilia: Rainbow Dash and most other ponies find regular non-sapient horses creepier than humans, mainly because of facial expressions.

    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.
    • Furthermore, the real humans in the film have asymmetrical faces. Coraline's mother has a somewhat hook-shaped nose that points left, a trait she shares with Coraline herself, and a slightly crooked mouth, while Coraline's father has one ear lower than the other and one eye larger than the other. Even Wybie has one much larger eye than the other and a crooked "hunch" to his posture. The "other" versions of them however have perfectly symmetrical faces, which gives them a very subtle but unnervingly unnatural look: human faces are never symmetrical in real life, so the imperfect real parents look natural while the perfect other parents look fake.
    • 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.
  • Penguins of Madagascar: Dave, when posing as Dr. Octavius Brine, makes some movements that are impossible even for a cartoony human, like walking on the ceiling, leaning forward almost to the ground, and stretching his arms to extreme length. These all indicate his true identity, but the humans are still fooled by his appearance.
  • Shrek the Third: When Shrek seemingly wakes up from a nightmare about ogre babies, Puss and Donkey have ogre baby heads, with the baby-headed Donkey calling "Da-da" in a deep, unsettling voice as the camera closes in on him. It cuts back to Shrek actually waking up.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:
    • The animation itself deliberately has this, as it's CG-animated but much of the movie is animated on twos with no in-betweens (rather than most CG movies, which have more naturalistic animation with tweening and motion blur). The end result is that the film closely resembles traditional animation or, indeed, a comic book, giving it a very distinct look from most other films.
    • This is also invoked with the three non-standard Spider-People. Spider-Ham is a Toon who uses Toon Physics in a realistic world, Peni Parker is an Anime schoolgirl who has deliberately Limited Animation, and Spider-Man Noir is a permanently black-and-white character who's always given heavy shading even in broad daylight. All of these characters are individually appealing, but put them alongside more traditionally CG characters and the result is pretty damn uncanny—intentionally so, to enforce the idea that they don't belong in this universe.
    • Even Kingpin invokes this, as hilarious as his ridiculously bulky body is juxtaposed to his tiny head. Compared to other characters (or Real Life people), he's a freak of nature.
  • 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.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Turbo, the lead character in Turbo Time, is a game character that's human, but due to the graphic limitations of his 8-bit game, he has grey skin, an oversized head, bright yellow teeth (which are all exactly the same size and shape, and perfectly straight so that they all seem to be one piece), glowing, sunken yellow eyes ringed with dark circles, a pudgy body, and skinny limbs, giving him the appearance of a zombie. No wonder his game lost popularity when Roadblasters arrived.

    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.
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010) is a haven for this. The mix of live-action, CGI, and motion-capture makes for some freaky Tweedledee and Tweedledums, 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.
  • 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. Also, most robots (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: 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.
  • In Bride of Frankenstein, the Bride looks mostly normal, unlike the original Monster, but her hair and wardrobe are famously peculiar, and Elsa Lanchester's performance as her is wonderfully off-putting. Her eyes are perpetually wide, yet her expression is almost completely blank. Her arms seem oddly stiff, her balance is just a little off, and the way she turns her head seems more birdlike than human. Then there's her unexplained, inhuman-sounding hiss at the end. This is probably why, despite saying nothing and doing virtually nothing in her few minutes of screentime, the Bride became a One-Scene Wonder that's famous even today.
  • 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.
  • Intentionally done with the Thermians in Galaxy Quest, as they're actually octopus-like aliens disguised as humans. Their skin is milky-white and appears to be completely smooth. They're almost always smiling in an unnatural way, especially the leader Mathesar. The smiling, at least, is justified by them being in the presence of their heroes. Their movements are a little jerky, though.
  • 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.
  • Halloween:
    • Michael Myers' mask 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 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.
  • The Hobbit:
    • Smaug 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is about this trope.
    • In the original 1956 version, when people start to be replaced, their closest relatives start to notice something off about them. A young woman is convinced that her beloved uncle is another man since, despite looking just like him, the gleam in his eyes is gone. A boy knows that his mother isn't his mother anymore because he knows her so well that he can recognize that something is just wrong about her.
    • In the 1978 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 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.
  • Intentionally used in MirrorMask, from The Jim Henson Company but with a screenplay by Neil Gaiman and directed by visual artist Dave McKean. It featured a scene of intentionally Uncanny Valley-tacular robots singing "Close To You" while hypnotizing the protagonist.
  • 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.
  • The Bruce Willis movie Surrogates does this intentionally, as almost every surrogate is "too perfect." They have a shiny, overly made-up look and clearly aren't quite people. A number of the actors portraying surrogates appeared to take special care moving just a hair more stiffly, and to not look like they were breathing. And while certain surrogates are indistinguishable from real people, like the Prophet, the "life-like" appearance varied according to the quality and model of the surrogate. Cam's landlord, for instance, is using a cheap, temporary model. This is especially evident on Bruce Willis' character's surrogate, who has the worst toupee in the world, and a scary-smooth face, which makes him look super-creepy. The main character's wife is likewise scary, particularly something about her Michael Jackson-esque nose. To add a dash of creepy, she works in a "beauty salon" where she peels off customers' faces and cleans them. The fact that there is a whole planet of sad shut-ins living through these weird robots just digs that Valley deeper and adds another layer to a movie that's already dark. Given that the moral is that the surrogates' artificiality is destorying real human interaction, this was very much intentional to emphasize the message.
  • Terminator
    • Used very subtly, but very effectively, in The Terminator with the T-800. Initially he sticks out by just being a little too large and muscular for any normal human being, being played by Arnold Schwarzenegger at the prime of his bodybuilding career. Not long after he gets his eyebrows burned off in an explosion, giving him an overly intense steely gaze and an almost skeletal face. Then he loses his eye and wears wide-brim sunglasses, even at night, which completely dehumanizes him despite still appearing human. Add in his stilted way of talking and his eerie movements, and even at first glance it's clear to audiences that something is seriously wrong with this guy.
    • The T-1000 follows suit, despite looking far more normal and average and even being able to act far more human than the T-800 right out of the box. Emphasis on "acting" human, as there's always something off about the way he talks, the way he stands motionless while speaking, the way he never visibly breathes or blinks, the way he runs, the way he is able to fire a gun without blinking or flinching. Robert Patrick studied insects and modeled his movements after them, as he surmised that, unlike humans, a machine would act like an insect and have "absolutely no wasted movements".
  • 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.
  • Martin Freeman's character in Wild Target has an Uncanny Valley look about him thanks to his capped teeth and creepy smile.

  • In Argo and the rewrite Ani-Droids, androids are usually designed to look like Funny Animals to avoid this trope, so that humans would be less intimidated by them.
  • In Bequin, Beta finds the Blackwards dolls deeply unsettling due to how highly detailed and lifelike they are, such as the girl doll having a wig of actual human hair. She finds them even more unsettling when they come to life and attack her.
  • Codex Alera:
    • The Vord Queen tries to act human and look like a Cute Monster Girl, but mostly just succeeds in making everyone, even Invidia, want to hide under a bed somewhere.
    • Beings Taken by the Vord look like this to other members of their species. Humans see something wrong with Taken humans' eyes, and Varg comments that Taken Canim's ears don't look right.
  • In "Cool Air" by H. P. Lovecraft, Doctor Muñoz looks normal and even handsome except for a slightly pallid complexion, a chill, and a hollow voice, but the narrator is instinctively revolted by the sight of him. His body has been dead for eighteen years.
  • Played straight in Neal Asher's Cormac novels with the Golem androids. Early in the series, most Golems are absolutely perfect in their humanoid design, with godlike strength and beauty. Humans are usually pretty disturbed by them in their perfection because it makes the androids feel less human, since real humans aren't perfect. Furthermore, most non-combat Golems have inhibitors which stop them using their joints in impossible directions and from using strength far greater than even an enhanced human. Subverted when later models have purposeful imperfections (moles, limps, idiosyncrasies) to make them feel more human (but are still quite capable of tearing people, and other androids, limb from limb).
  • Discworld:
    • The queen of The Fair Folk in The Wee Free Men is described as looking subtly wrong, because she's too perfect-looking to be human. It turns out her entire body is just an illusion of what she wants the viewer to see.
      Look at her eyes. I don't think she's using them to see you with. They're just beautiful ornaments.
    • Lady Myria Lejean from Thief of Time, who is an Auditor in an artificial body created by the Auditors to look human. They don't understand human standards of beauty, but to make her appealing to Jeremy whom they need for their plans, their idea of making her the most beautiful woman alive is copying the features of what was considered the world's most beautiful painting of a woman, then improved upon them by erasing imperfections, adjusting symmetry, that sort of thing. The result is something that Jeremy describes as beautiful, though a "monochromatic" sort of beauty; he first suspects her to be an undead. Even after he gets over it and falls for her, his servant Igor finds Myria highly uncanny as she doesn't smell like an undead — in fact, she doesn't have a smell at all. Also, she "doesn't manage to walk right" as her feet sometimes need a moment to touch the floor after she does a step — because she isn't used to submitting to gravity.
    • Trymon, the Big Bad of The Light Fantastic is found by other wizards, already established as being used to seeing things most people are incapable of seeing on a daily basis, to just be unspeakably... off somehow. And this is before the Things get their tentacles into him, so it's while he should be otherwise human. The fact he is a maniac might be something to do with this. Wizards can handle a cackling lunatic. A calm lunatic is far more unsettling.
  • Extraterrestrial Civilizations: Discussed. When comparing humans to other primates, Isaac Asimov quotes William Congreve's 1695 statement on finding disturbing similarities between monkeys and humans:
    I could never look long upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections.
  • In Flip-Flop Girl, while attending her father's funeral, Vinnie is unnerved and upset by the wax dummy they put in the coffin to look like him (it's not explained what happened to his real body).
  • In Frankenstein, this is what triggers Victor's near-immediate rejection of his creation. Victor had selected all of the Creature's body parts to make him as physically imposing and attractive as possible. What he ended up with was a sallow-skinned, sunken-eyed, varicose-veined hulk of a man with serious anger management issues. True to form, the trope kicked in as soon as it started moving. Junji Ito's manga adaptation of the story in Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection takes Shelly's words and puts a horrifying face to it, albeit more horrifying.
  • From a Buick 8: The titular vehicle looks very similar to a car, but there's too many things wrong with it to be a real one. The dashboard is made of wood, the exhaust system is made of plexiglass, none of the controls move and the key is just a stick of metal left in an ignition that doesn't turn. The worst is under the hood, where the vehicle has no distributor cap and wires that just feed into the engine block rather than the battery, meaning there's no way it can be driven. Not that it needs to, since there were no signs of mud or dirt on the tires, implying it teleported to where it was found.
  • Played with in the Gaea Trilogy, in which a race of obviously-nonhuman alien centaurs, for reasons that make sense in context, sport genitalia identical to those of humans. This single feature's similarity invokes the Uncanny Valley effect because the rest of the body is so strange.
  • In William Saroyan's The Human Comedy, Mr. Mechano (who advertises a particular brand of patent medicine in a drugstore window) frightens Ulysses so badly that he runs through the streets calling for his family.
    The man moved like a piece of machinery, although he was a human being. He looked, however, as if he had been made of wax instead of flesh. He seemed inhuman and in fact he looked like nothing so much as an upright, unburied corpse still capable of moving. The man was the most incredible thing Ulysses had seen in all of his four years of life in the world.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo reflects that his appearance falls into this trope: last he [Quasimodo] said, shaking his heavy and ill-formed head,—
    "My misfortune is that I resemble a man too much. I should like to be wholly a beast like that goat."
  • Discussed in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, not as a vague feeling of uneasiness, but as a general moral rule:
    Mr. Beaver: There may be two views about Humans (meaning no offence to the present company). But there's no two views about things that look like Humans and aren't.
    Mrs. Beaver: I've known good dwarfs.
    Mr. Beaver: So've I, now you come to speak of it, but precious few, and they were the ones least like men. But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be Human and isn't yet, or used to be Human once and isn't now, or ought to be Human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.
  • Naar from Lone Wolf doesn't really have a true physical form, but the one he favors in his inner sanctum is a grotesque misshapen thing. The trait that shocks Lone Wolf more than the others? The dark god has the eyes of a man.
  • In MARiiMO, Tammy tries to avoid this by giving Mariimo a face that doesn't look like a human's.
  • New Series Adventures: In The Clockwise Man, due to Melissa's information on how humans looked being inaccurate, her face is described as a "parody of humanity", with eyes that seem too human.
  • In Only Ever Yours, women can no longer be born naturally. They are bred in laboratories as future wives and prostitutes to serve men, and are engineered to be as physically perfect as possible. When protagonist Freida and her classmates first meet the Inheritants (the group of boys they were designed for), Freida notes the sharp contrast between the naturally born and physically diverse boys vs. the manufactured and artificial appearance of the girls.
  • Sector General: One of the series' main alien cultures is the Kelgians, who are human-sized furry mammalian caterpillars, with constantly mobile fur that expresses their emotions. In one of the later novels, a character is introduced from a different species, which has a similar body plan but black, immobile fur. Apparently, he looks to Kelgians like their equivalent of a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Discussed in So Yesterday. A special effects whiz explains that the human face is the hardest thing to animate convincingly because humans spend almost all of their time reading faces. If it's even a tiny bit off, we won't accept it.
  • The short story Stairway to the Stars by Larry Shaw has this concise explanation: "It — he? — looked almost like a man, and that only made the difference worse."
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Utterson says that Mr. Hyde's appearance gives the impression of deformity without having any. People who look at him dislike him immediately without quite understanding why, though by the end it's clear that his underlying evil causes the reaction rather than any physical property. Adaptations tend to just give Hyde a Nightmare Face however.

    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 MegaCorp'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.

  • Daft Punk's videos invoke this trope a lot, mostly in the Human After All and Homework eras. Of particular note is the weird robot baby thing from the Technologic video. It's the teeth behind those wireframe lips...
  • 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.
  • The fully Intentional look for the music video of "Carnival of Rust" by Poets of the Fall, revolving around a Circus of Fear carnival and its surreal, menacing denizens.
  • The music video for Serj Tankian's "Empty Walls" features the lead singer parading around a Circus of Fear with a bizarre, sociopathic look on his face, while various small children play happily... or, as some people have interpreted it, re-enact the War on Terror.
  • The music video for Sofi Tukker's "Swing" features Sophie and Tucker both developing large anime-style eyes in an otherwise live-action video.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic intentionally creates this effect for his "Perform This Way" video, a parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way". The video has a female dancer wearing a bunch of outlandish outfits, with Al's face digitally superimposed over hers. Not only is it obviously fake in and of itself, but it's also disturbingly out of sync in some places.

    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 
  • This is effectively what gives away upgraded Manei Domini agents in BattleTech. They are cyborgs who have been given a variety of implants, most of which are subdermal in nature. In theory any one high-quality implant is largely hidden, as is the case for standard characters who may need them. Too many, however, and they become subtly inhuman—agents with subdermal armor or strength enhancers have bodies that look more like a Rob Liefeld drawing than anything human, while agents with secret bio-weapon upgrades have odd patterns of head movement and speech because the location of the implants in their throats and mouths makes them sound 'off.' The tabletop roleplaying game Mechwarrior reflects this by forcing such affected characters to take unavoidable flaws that reduce their Charisma rating and make it harder to interact with others. This is helped by the fact that Manei Domini tend not to be the sanest of individuals to begin with, and all the cybernetic implants they receive frequently cause further Sanity Slippage.
  • The Whateleys from Deadlands are an entire family of uncanny valley residents, thanks to a combination of demonic influence to gain magical powers and a family tree that's really more of a family stunted shrub. Player character Whateleys in Reloaded take a noticeable Charisma penalty to represent that they freak everyone around them out. (Unless they're female, in which case they can choose to instead be "exotic" and get a Charisma bonus.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The elan "race" is actually made up of psionic humanoids who have undergone a Super-Empowering ritual to become ageless beings who don't need to eat or drink if they can spare a bit of psionic power to sustain themselves. While they look identical to normal humans, they're classified as Aberrations rather than Humanoids, and other people can tell there is something fundamentally odd about elans, resulting in a -2 racial penalty to Charisma.
    • Implied with the zenythri, a "planetouched" race with a Lawful outsider for an ancestor. They're noted for their flawless features and hair that naturally falls into place, but zenythri don't get any Charisma bonus from it, and in fact their basic statline has them with lower-than-average Charisma, implying that other creatures find them too perfect-looking.
    • Keepers, debuting in the Planescape setting, are a race of extraplanar humanoids who are all identical, bald, and have to hide their Eyeless Faces with smoked goggles. They're obsessed with hoarding secrets, which combined with their abrupt manner and odd appearance makes them unnerving to other beings. Keepers are also really bad at blending in with other races - an example has a keeper walking into a bar, seeing everyone taking drinks, and trying to imitate the patrons by chugging a bottle of lamp oil.
    • Unholy scions are mortals or beasts who were possessed by a fiend in their mother's womb, completely replacing the burgeoning soul, to the extent that an exorcism is impossible. While they're irredeemably evil and have a number of dark powers, unholy scions are physically identical to their mother's species, yet somehow disturb onlookers - "Their features might be ever so slightly off, their eyes possessed of an evil gleam, or they might simply make everyone around them nervous for no obvious cause."
  • "Uncanny Valley" is the name of a trait in Eclipse Phase that can be taken in exchange for Customization Points. It means that your character's body (or "morph," in the game's lingo) is designed to look human (and not like a spider robot or an evolved monkey or something) and doesn't quite make the grade. It has the effect of giving a -10 penalty on all social interactions with humans.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Phyrexian race goes toward this, being undead cyborgs, but especially jarring is Phyrexian Unlife, which shows someone finding out that she(?)'s become a Phyrexian.
    • According to the fluff, the Machine Orthodoxy invokes this. When a captured prisoner is compleated their face is often left just intact enough that their former comrades can recognize them.
    • The card Fleshmad Steed's flavor text sums up this trope pretty well: "More disturbing than the unknown is a distortion of the familiar."
  • In the Mage: The Awakening book Night Horrors: The Unbidden, there's a genetic ailment called the Ractain Strain, actually the result of a semi-successful incursion by an Abyssal entity called the Ractain. Those possessing the Strain have leonine features, lobeless, flat ears, and a general sense of something being off. This imposes a penalty to Social rolls, as people find them very offputting. (Taking the Striking Looks merit can help negate the penalty, as it makes the unusual features of being a Strain bearer look more exotic than creepy.) They especially bother werewolves, as their scent is completely wrong; as such, werewolves absolutely refuse to associate with Ractain Strain bearers, and thus they can't be wolf-blooded.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • Promethean: The Created puts a different spin on the Uncanny Valley. The player characters are artificial humans, ranging from reanimated corpses to magically animated statues, who appear human through the thinnest of supernatural veneers. Muggles can tell the difference on some deep, fundamental level, meaning that spending too much time around them is enough cause to haul out the Torches and Pitchforks.
    • Saturnine Night gives us a more "routine" example with Dr. Robot Hughes, a scientist whose lifelong goal is the creation of successful sex robots. His previous attempts were all terrible failures due to the Uncanny Valley. Only when a Qashmal guided him to an unconscious Galateid did he manage to create one that actually worked - and that was because he'd unwittingly created a clone.
    • A similar effect happens to vampires in Vampire: The Requiem. As they get older and lose touch with their Humanity, it gets harder for them to interact nicely with mortals. They forget to do things like blink, breathe, vary their vocal inflections or send off the other signals that humans unconsciously do without thinking. Even if they do make an effort to do all these things, vampires that have lost enough Humanity will appear like walking, talking corpses:
      A Kindred with low Humanity can put great effort into acting like a living person. He can force himself to breathe and remind himself to blink now and then... but he can't fake that subtle, unconscious dance of nonverbal interaction. Mortals soon pick up on this. They cannot consciously spot the problem, but their instincts tell them that something is very wrong and they should get away.
    • The Nosferatu clan gets this all the time, no matter how high their Humanity. Some of them look just plain ugly, but others might look perfectly normal... but when they interact with other people, they may carry about them the sterile scent of a hospital ward, or a gaze like they want to see what the other person's guts look like. They always carry the idea that there's something wrong directly centered on them. There's even an entire bloodline devoted to inverting the curse by bathing in blood to improve their appearance... and even then, it doesn't work, because they become too beautiful to be anything human.
    • This is also the case in the Old World of Darkness. In Vampire: The Masquerade, a vampire has to spend blood in order to mimic a human, and the cost rises quickly with a falling humanity. Additionally, skin tones and monstrous features become more and more pronounced as a vampire forsakes humanity, and alternate moral paths which abandon humanity make vampires unable to spend blood to mimic human functions.
    • Another World of Darkness example is the Ingamu from Beast: The Primordial. Like all Beasts, they draw from a strain of fears, and their fear is of "the other." As such, there's a sense that they just aren't right... which is driven home by their Horrors, which often appear human but has something distinctly ''off' about them.
  • Changelings in Pathfinder (the Half-Human Hybrid offspring of hags), at least in the lore. They're Always Female and conventionally attractive, but their otherworldly demeanor and minor deformities (like heterochromia) make them disconcerting to be around.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Blanks, people who are 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.
    • Cullexus Assassins, recruited exclusively from the aforementioned Blanks, literally weaponize this by amplifying their Uncanny-ness into a tangible and very harmful blast. They also literally suck out the warp energy of nearby psykers and a single punch from one of them can utterly destroy the victim's soul.
    • The Eldar, Depending on the Writer. Both official artwork and fan depictions have shown them looking suitably creepy, and some as the typical hauntingly beautiful Tolkienesque elf. The way they move has specifically been singled out in the fiction; it's so smooth and elegant that it wraps back to boneless and creepy.

    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.
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Bendy is drawn in a simple rounded 1930s art style, but has an uncomfortably forced grin that clashes with the style just enough to look... wrong.
  • 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.
  • Invoked with the Orphan of Kos in Bloodborne. Throughout the game, you fight increasingly inhuman monstrosities, ranging from werewolves to all manner of Eldritch Abomination. The Orphan, however, looks almost human. Almost human. It's impossibly thin, shriveled, and utterly hairless, but it's far more human-looking than any other boss. This sheer wrongness makes it absolutely horrifying, worse when you consider it most likely looks that way because Kos wanted her child to avenge her murder while wearing her murderer's shapes.
  • Detroit: Become Human discusses this in an in-game magazine article. It mentions that the very first androids were designed to be ideal beings who were perfect in the way they looked and acted, so much so that people were uncomfortable around them. To rectify this, android manufacturer CyberLife gave their androids a wide array of redundant but humanizing behaviors, like realistic blinking and breathing, and modeled them after various ethnicities in order to push them past the uncanny valley and make them practically identical to humans.
  • 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:
    • Fallout created what were known as "talking heads" for important characters by digitally scanning clay sculptures, which have aged well enough that they generally avoid invoking this unintentionally. However, at least one character was certainly intended to look creepy, and that's the Master. As a misshapen amalgamation of both technology and the flesh of various humans and creatures, the figure once known as Richard Grey only has the vaguest suggestion of human features left on his face, with his eyes, nose, and mouth being difficult to discern.
    • 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.
  • Both games in the Gadget series, Invention, Travel, and Adventure and Past As Future. Every character but one is locked into a single, vacant facial expression with limited body motions, never moving their legs, with what little movement they can convey being stiff. Special mention goes to a character only known as "the boy", who is able to float in the air while standing completely still in a straight line. Past As Future was a remake of Invention, Travel, and Adventure, so the character models are somewhat more detailed and have a little more capability to move, but not by much. According to Word of God, this was brought about by the technological limitations of the time but became a creative choice that was leaned into in order to show that the characters in this setting, a bleak dictatorship in a world possibly on the brink of destruction, deliberately keep themselves stoic so as to avoid judgement from the government and hide their true motives. It's interesting to note that one of these characters, Theodore Slowslop, would go on to inspire the G-Man mentioned below. The one character to avert their intentional Dull Surprise is Paulo Orlovsky, the dictator of the series who is creepy in his own way because he's a Perpetual Smiler.
  • 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, Fecto Elfilis, has a similar effect — 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. Even further, as Chaos Elfilis, their eyes are sunken inward to give the effect of staring at the player. The overall effect is that they 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.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown invokes this with the Thin Men enemies, who are described as alien saboteurs who adopt a humanoid appearance in order to infiltrate society. Even discounting their strangely tall and slender builds, they have unnatural physical flexibility, green patches on their skin, slitted eyes that they conceal behind opaque sunglasses, and poison within their body that they can spit out after unhinging their jaws. XCOM 2 reveals that their true form is precisely as reptilian as these traits would suggest: a species of Snake People. The only Thin Man that remains in their disguised form at this point is the ADVENT Speaker, whose proportions now appear more natural, but still has green patches of skin and strange eyes that betray his inhumanity.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • The Magnus Archives: The very first episode has what seems to be a man standing in an alley asking for a cigarette, but which is in fact only a lure for something Jon calls the Angler Fish. Later episodes introduce a group of creatures posing as anatomy students so they can "learn to get the insides right," animated taxidermy humans, and "philosophical zombies" that outwardly fake humanity but have no inner mind. All of these are under the domain of the Stranger, an entity of the fear of the unknown and the creeping sense that things aren't right, most commonly in the form of things that ape the human form.
  • 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.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • 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.
    • SCP-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.
    • 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!*
    • SCP-2852, a hollow shell and some cicada matter patched together to look like a human... and succeeding. It's just horrifying, especially the eyes which apparently have no function, not to mention the adult baby talk that they apparently spew.
    • charcoalman on DeviantArt has made many SCPs fall into the Uncanny Valley, but his depiction of SCP-4666 is his most well-known by far.
  • 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. If that turned a relatively harmless frog video into Frog-Sothoth, then the real forms of our own dreams would be truly maddening.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time makes use of this trope a lot when creating a character who is supposed to be off-putting. For instance, Goliad has the voice of a little girl and the head of a baby, and uses People Puppets as a means of ruling the kingdom. These generic cute characteristics paired together with the body of a sphinx make her incredibly unsettling. It doesn't help that Goliad is also HUGE, and runs/leaps like a lion would. That eye that comes out of her forehead notably makes her face even more disturbing, to the point where Jake actually gets disgusted.
  • 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 (1998): In the episode "Knock It Off", the Big Bad creates an army of PPG imitations, but with shoddy workmanship. 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).
  • Parodied in an episode of The Tick where a department store security guard complains that the store's animatronic Santa Claus is re-appearing in his nightmares. This gets aggravated when Santa's head gets torn off and thrown into his lap.
    "I may never sleep again."
  • Total Drama: In "Phobia Factor," Duncan confesses to an Absurd Phobia of the Céline Dion standees in music stores because they look too real. When he actually has to face one, the standee is caricatured and contoured in an unsettling manner.
  • 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


Celine Dion Standee

Despite his tough reputation, Duncan has an odd fear of Celine Dion standees seen in music stores. This includes a soundtrack similar to her signature song "My Heart Will Go On."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / AbsurdPhobia

Media sources: