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Western Animation / Deadtime Stories

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"You don't believe in you?"

Deadtime Stories is a rejected pilot for MTV written by Breehn Burns and Michael Dougherty.

The 8-minute pilot follows a young girl named Ebola, who has just been released from an insane asylum and is allowed home. After talking to her own reflection for a bit, she discovers that the neighbors across the street are abusive to their young daughter. Her parents don't believe her, and send her over with a cookie to say hello and meet the family.

Then things get creepy. Well, creepier...

It can be viewed here.


Deadtime Stories provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Not only are the neighbors physically abusive and neglectful to their daughter (or are they?), and may or may not have killed their other two, but Ebola's parents are completely dismissive of her own worries, and bring up the fact she was diagnosed as insane in order to demean her further. To say nothing of naming her "Ebola"...
  • Ambiguous Situation: The neighbors in regards to the fact that the little girl transforms into a spider-monster. Were they killing their daughters to prevent them from becoming monstrous? Were the parents just doing what they can to prevent people from finding out the truth? And more importantly, who exactly is the true evil one out of the family?
  • Bedlam House: It's implied Ebola used to be in one of these.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: While the “evil” part is a bit ambiguous, the little girl gets these before shifting to her true form.
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  • Catapult Nightmare: Ebola in the opening, though her reflection says it was a memory, not a nightmare.
  • Creepy Child: Smirk. Ebola has shades of this but doesn't quite get there. Also, the little girl across the street.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Horribly subverted with the little girl, who turns into a truly vicious and terrifying spider monster.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Ebola and Smirk.
  • Ethereal White Dress: The little girl wears a dirt stained white nightgown.
  • Foreshadowing: On her way to the neighbors', Ebola runs into Smirk, who's holding a spider. He then releases it, saying that if a wild animal is tied down, they get vicious...
  • Giant Spider: The little girl's true form.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Little girls should NOT be able to transform into man-eating Giant Spiders and back again.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The pilot closes on a creepy, drawn-out note in the audio, with the sound of a door slamming and the little girl giggling at the cut to black.
  • Limited Animation: Many say it doesn't hurt the pilot's quality though, instead adding to the feeling of uneasiness.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Ebola has conversations with her reflection, who tells her never to mention this to her parents or she'll be sent back to the asylum.
  • Mind Screw: What would normally be a straight horror story becomes this too, taking Ebola's apparent insanity (and the pilot's last line) into account.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • According to Smirk, the little girl across the street used to have three sisters.
      Smirk: Supposedly, they all... "fell down the stairs."
    • Ebola also overhears the parents deciding to "get rid" of their daughter when she comes over.
  • Oh, Crap!: The parents' reaction to seeing Ebola has unchained their daughter. Also Ebola's response to the aftermath.
  • Or Was It A Delusion?: After returning home in the end of the pilot, Ebola questions whether what she saw was a delusion or not, then asks her reflection if any of it was real.
    Mirror Ebola: Sure it was real as I am.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Smirk is always seen with a big grin on his face.
  • Precision F-Strike: Courtesy of Ebola. "Oh shit!"
  • Self-Made Orphan: After she's free, the little girl murders and eats her parents.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Maybe, maybe not... It likely hinges on just how actually insane Ebola is, and if her parents' reactions to said purported insanity have a basis of truth to them or are simply them being abusive jerks to their daughter.