Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
The Uncanny. Believe it or not, there are things you find, well, uncanny. Unsettling, unnerving, something that just makes you feel uneasy. According to a book I read there are apparently thirteen uncanny things we all find disturbing. Lets see how many fit you.
1)Repetition (like deja vu): You ever had that unsettling feeling when you’ve felt like you’ve seen something before? That you’re doing the same thing again? If not, it’s a very unsettling feeling cos it feels like something is slightly… off. Like because this has happened before your life must just be on repeat. It also ties in well with the second type.
2)Odd coincidences: How many times have you ever had one of those odd coincidences. Like you hear someone say something on the radio and then hear it for the rest of the day. Or you see something online and on TV in a way that couldn’t be connected, but seems like it is. For example, I watched a video online about Cool Runnings. Then on a TV show recorded from a few days ago I was just watching they also referenced Cool Runnings. It’s such an odd coincidence you can’t help but feel like there’s some higher power pulling the strings.
3)Animism: You know why Carrie was so scary. It’s because it gives an inanimate object a soul or spirit. Makes it seem a bit human. Be honest, you’d freak out if your toaster suddenly turned out to be alive the entire time. It breaks the rules that you’ve set up in your head about what should and should not be alive. So it’s another uncanny thing that makes us nervous.
4)Anthropomorphism: Same as above, but do you know why you find those dolls so creepy? Just any doll with a china face and googly eyes? It’s because we find it creepy when something looks almost, but not quite, like a human. Dolls are a good example of this, as are mannequins/wax works models. They appear to look human, but aren’t alive. It’s like being next to corpses.
5)Automatism: This comes in two types. The first is where humans are like robots, where they act mechanical. Think about how creepy it is to see a bunch of people acting like clockwork and brainwashed. Of course this can be seen as the exact reverse, where we have robots that look like humans. That’s where the Uncanny Valley comes from. Robots that look like humans, but don’t give off the non-visual cues that humans give off (face twitches, body movements etc.).
6)Androgynous: Not that I’m saying it’s bad, but as humans, we find it uncomfortable when we can’t tell if someone is male or female. It’s just something hard-wired into us, and when something goes against that norm, we initially find it unsettling in some small way.
7)Buried alive/claustrophobia: Simple enough. We don’t like the feeling of being trapped. I mean, I don’t have a problem with it (and I’ve slept in boxes to be more comfortable), but that’s not the same of being trapped. Unable to get out of something can feel very scary. Hence why I’m terrified of being buried alive.
8)Silence: No, not the Doctor Who monster. Just general silence. As film has proven, there’s nothing more scarier than silence. Have you ever been by yourself and just noticed how silent it is? It really does make the world seem just a bit more uncomfortable.
9)Telepathy: The thought of having no mental privacy is something that we don’t like. It’s quite horrible when you think about it. Imagine if someone could read your mind and learn your darkest secrets, the ones you don’t tell anyone? It’s the reason why mind-reading is used to make some brilliant bad guys (and why Professor X and Magneto are nice twists on the classic hero/villain superpowers).
10)Death: You can’t comprehend your own death. It’s a simple fact. You can’t comprehend the idea of not being alive. Hence why it terrifies us. The idea of not being is something we just can’t think of. It’s like asking someone not to think about something. If they have to think about not thinking, they’re thinking about it. Hence why death is something we can’t comprehend.
11)The Death Drive: Contrary to what I’ve just said, there is a part of us that wants to fail. Consciously or subconsciously, we want to self-destruct or die. It’s just part of our nature, the little part of us that doesn’t allow us to be totally happy. I don’t know much about this so I won’t bang on about it too much, but it does exist in some way.
12)Ghosts: Relating back to death, we find ghosts scary. Why? Because they represent death in a way. They show what could possibly happen after death. That’s unnerving because we don’t want to think about the dead coming back to haunt us cos that makes us think about death and our inevitable own. So even if you don’t believe in ghosts (which I don’t), they’re still scary when you think about it.
13)Language: Or, rather, the loss of language. Being unable to communicate with anyone. Related to the idea of feeling trapped, the idea of being uncommunicative makes one feel alone. And feeling alone is pretty bad. Plus it’s scary if suddenly we couldn’t talk to anyone properly.
So there you have it. Thirteen of the scariest things you’ll find. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a message. Till next time.