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People Are Just Realising How 'Terrifying' The Polar Express Is

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People Are Just Realising How 'Terrifying' The Polar Express Is

As the Yuletide period draws near, you'll no doubt be dusting off your Christmas movies for another viewing.

But as you prepare for a festive binge, be warned, as many people are suddenly realising that one of the seasonal favourites, Polar Express, is actually pretty "terrifying".

Yep, in case you need a reminder, Polar Express (Robert Zemeckis, 2004) centres around a young boy who jumps on a magical train to the North Pole which stops by past his window.

He then heads to visit Santa Claus with a whole bunch of other kids, in time for Christmas.

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It's got an all-star cast, too, featuring everyone from Tom Hanks to Daryl Sabara to Nona Daye to Eddie Deezen.

But it's not that, or the (rather adorable) plot that's making people's skin crawl - it's the animation.

"I hate how the characters in the polar express are drawn it's so scary," wrote one person after watching the Christmas classic.

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While another concurred: "Rewatching The Polar Express and I'm realizing the first half is just... a scary animated film??"

A third, rather frantically, chipped in: "THE POLAR EXPRESS IS LITERALLY SO F*CKING SCARY I DONT F*CK WIT THAT ANIMATION".

People say the animation has given them the creeps (Credit: Warner Bros)
People say the animation has given them the creeps (Credit: Warner Bros)

As a fourth wrote: "It took 15 years for me to notice how creepy the animations are in The Polar Express".

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These people are not alone, either. When the film first came out, many critics wrote how the characters in the film seemed alarmingly 'inhuman'.

The reason for this, apparently, is due to a phenomenon called Uncanny Valley - which is when non-human objects which look akin to human beings prompt feelings of eeriness and disgust, due to their similarities, and yet their simultaneous differences.

Some experts say it's the eyes which make the characters eery (Credit: Warner Bros)
Some experts say it's the eyes which make the characters eery (Credit: Warner Bros)

Ed Hooks, who is an actor who teaches animators, claims that in the case of Polar Express, this creepiness comes from the fact you can't use motion capture when portraying eyes, meaning they had to be animated separately.

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Meanwhile, Newsday reviewer John Anderson seemed to agree, writing that the film's characters were "creepy" and "dead-eyed", and the carriage in the movie was more of "a zombie train".

One thing is for sure, we're never going to be able to watch Polar Express in the same way again.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Topics: Christmas, TV Entertainment

Joanna Freedman
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