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Western Animation / The Shivering Truth

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Shivering is stranger than fiction.

"There's blood in the kitchen, there's blood in the hall.
There's blood in the parlor where my lady did fall.
O master, O master, don't lay blame on me.
'Twas the false nurse and Lankin that killed your lady."

The Shivering Truth is a 2018 stop-motion horror/comedy anthology/sketch series created for [adult swim] by PFFR, the minds behind The Heart She Holler, Wonder Showzen and Xavier: Renegade Angel.

If you've seen anything from PFFR, then you'll know exactly what to expect.

The Shivering Tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: After the cut on his arm comes to life, Benny Beekoh gains the ability to fire chili out of his nipples to lethal effect. Yes, indeed.
  • Abusive Parents: Sam and Iris Beekoh keep the romance in their marriage alive by, as the narrator puts it, "uniting against a common enemy" — their son, Benny. They subject him to all kinds of torture at every opportunity.
  • Animal Nemesis: Balinese culture is depicted as built on the suffering of butterflies, who retaliate by using their chaos manipulating wingflaps to raze the country with hurricanes.
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  • Black Comedy: Tons.
  • Body Horror: Everywhere!
  • Book-Ends: Usually paired with a Brick Joke, this is how a majority of the series concludes.
  • Central Theme: Some episodes have a recurring theme.
    • "Chaos Beknownst" is about the uncontrollable chaos of the universe.
    • "Nesslessness" has one on the act of being selfless.
    • "The Diff" is all about duality, and how each opposite side completes another.
  • Connected All Along: Each episode usually tells three-to-four stories that seemingly have no significance from one another. Then the last two minutes of the episode usually have these plots combine in some way. A particularly brilliant example is in "Nesslessness", where it was revealed that the woman from the Cold Opening, the mother's baby in the first story, and the woman trapped in the car wreckage in the last one, were all from the same person at different periods in her life.
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  • Couch Gag: Often of the not so pleasant variety. Every episode (except for "Tow and Shell") has a variation of the title card in which something often happens to the mask that serves as the symbol of the series, ranging from turning into a cross-shaped steak to giving birth to a miniature version of itself. This even occurs at the end of the intro of "Nesslessness" where the pile of guts and gore that the girl finds herself buried under takes the form of the mask.
  • Deranged Animation: Goodness gracious, yes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • In "Constadeath," Benny rejects the reincarnation contract offered to him in the face of his impending death and, poetically, gets to keep on living and puts the soul of the executed African slave from the intro to rest.
    • The second story in "Beast of Both Worlds" has a husband and wife's marriage being plagued by a machine that tells them whether or not they have true love for one another. In the end, rather than trying to force true love out of each other, they break the machine and lovingly embrace.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In season 2 a woman manages to get a demon to leave her alone by pretending to want to eat her baby.
  • For Want of a Nail: Parodied in the pilot, in which a mad scientist uses the flap of a butterfly wing to make himself into a basically omnipotent god.
  • Gainax Ending: Every episode ends on one.
  • Going Native: The butterflies that infiltrated Bali, disguised as a man, eventually fell in love with a local woman and grew to appreciate Balinese culture, which is centered around the suffering of butterflies.
  • Grew a Spine: Benny by the end of "Constadeath".
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A comedic and extremely weird example in "The Diff" when a geek is split in half vertically, one half being a macho alpha while the other retains his original meek demeanor, and the two go on to live their own lives, both utterly paranoid that the other half is having a better life. They eventually find peace within Eban's cross-eyed gaze, that makes it look like they're together again in his vision.
  • Haunted Technology: "The Burn Earner Spits" features a television inexplicably haunted by the ghost of a girl who worriedly speaks in rhyme about her predicament.
  • Irony: The mad scientist is unable to manipulate the flap of a butterfly's wing to find true love, but the Butterfly Man (a hollowed-out corpse filled with butterflies) he creates for the butterflies to infiltrate Bali (stay with us here) finds true love with a woman who also turns out to be a hollowed-out corpse, filled with bees. The episode ends with the "moral" that "the true nature of the Universe is chaos, and is beautiful, and must never be defiled again."
  • Mental Affair: An army private makes mental contact with his drill sergeant and manipulates him into a make-out session where he mistreats him.
  • Mind Screw: Basically the entire show.
  • Mood Whiplash: The pilot episode is far from the balls-to-the-wall horror insanity that are the episodes that follow it, but even in its own weird flux state of weirdness, its ending is surprisingly poignant. The culmination of the final skit is a confusingly heartwarming story of true love accompanied by a crescendoing orchestra. It's almost a invokedTear Jerker.
    Narrator: The true nature of the universe is chaos, and is beautiful, and must never be defiled again.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer presents the series as straight horror, when in reality, it's more of a horror-comedy Mind Screw ...thing. It also made it look like there was some underlying plot to the whole thing (there isn't).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A woman trying to give a homeless woman a sandwich gets sent to Hell because it had mayo on it. Thankfully the woman is able to out-gambit the demon and gets out alive (but eventually at the cost of her child becoming a corn-on-a-cob as a result of her keeping up a charade of wanting to eat her child to keep the demon away).
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The narrator always speaks in a stoic tone, no matter how disturbing the stories get. However, even he was a bit shocked when Pauly's teacher got into a car accident in "Tow and Shell" because it comes out of nowhere.
    Narrator: "Now that he was rich, he was free to live life to the fullest possible... (teacher's car crashes off-screen) uh-oh. Oh."
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Almost all the background music in the show is classical pieces from the Romantic Era. It just makes the whole thing even more unsettling, honestly. The show's title theme is itself an excerpt of "Suspension" by Lotic, while the ending theme uses variations on the ballad "Long Lankin".
  • Plague of Good Fortune: A man attempts to commit suicide, but a series of fortunate coincidences keeps him alive. It escalates to the point where the government personally requests him to continue his suicide attempts due to all the good it causes but, by that point, he's rediscovered his will to live.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Jam, a similar mesh of horror-comedy segments from comedian Chris Morris.
  • Shout-Out: The mask seen at the beginning and end of each episode resembles a mask from the titular episode of The Twilight Zone (1959).
  • Spoof Aesop: Loads.
  • Surreal Horror: SWEET LORD ALMIGHTY.
  • Take Our Word for It: One episode involves the discovery of the 27th and 28th letters of the alphabet, but they're always conveniently obscured.
  • Why Won't You Die?: A suicide hotline worker tells the story of a man who begins writing a suicide note to end all suicide notes. This eventually gains the attention of the media and the man becomes an overnight sensation. Once the letter is finally written, he holds off on finally doing the deed until the reviews come in. While the note is a success, fans turn on him because he never fulfilled the promise of killing himself and the note becomes yet another book on the shelf. In retaliation, the man wills himself to never die.

"The true nature of the universe is chaos, and is beautiful, and must never be defiled again."


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