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Monday, March 4, 2024

Creatively creepy artists on Youtube

A YouTube deep dive to give your brain the creeps


By MIAH JORDANE — mjcampos@ucdavis.edu


If you’re chronically online like me, then you often find yourself scouring YouTube looking for something new to watch. During high school, I endured a YouTube dry spell as I felt I consumed everything there was to consume. It’s thanks to this, though, that I explored a side of YouTube I feel needs more recognition! If you’re also experiencing a content dry spell, then I’ve got you covered with some videos that won’t make your brain rot, but might instead give you the creeps.

Originally published in 2004, the disturbing short series “Salad Fingers” by the artist David Firth stars a humanoid creature with muted sickly skin and long, arching fingers. However, this series didn’t start getting extremely popular until around 2010. This series is a classic in the odd, creative scene on YouTube. It follows a deranged yet eerily charming little green guy as he embarks on his extremely off-putting adventures to touch rusty spoons, create personas for his fingers and more. If this description entices you, then this series is a good starting point.

Though “Salad Fingers” is likely Firth’s most famous work, he has a plethora of other creepy and fun videos that are a bit less disturbing but just as interesting. I got sucked into his work during high school and explored his entire collection of videos on YouTube, so here are some of my favorites:

O9i 98bn “Cream” introduces an all-curing and all-powerful product that comes in the form of, you guessed it, cream. Created by a (not real) scientist named Dr. Bellifer, this video depicts what life looks like after this revolutionary product changes the lives of everyone and “cures” all personal and worldly issues. But this powerful product begs the question, is it too good to be true?

The next recommendation is a bit of a short series by Firth, too. They can definitely be watched separately and out of order, but I always enjoyed plowing through a couple of videos at a time in order to fully get a feel for the chaos they encompass. These videos are a bit difficult to describe, but it’s basically Firth’s imaginative play on creating false news. His style is a mashup of animation and real-life images blended together, which I feel adds to the chaos of the videos.

However, Firth does not stand alone when it comes to artists I binged on YouTube in high school. I also fell deep down the rabbit hole of Lee Hardcastle’s work. Though his work embodies a very creepy tone, it is vastly different in style to Firth. Lee Hardcastle works with claymation –– but with a twist. Through an extremely cinematic filming style, Hardcastle has created a large archive of unique videos, most of which are extremely gory.

He grew a lot of his fame through remaking movies or shows into 60-second claymated reenactments which explore what the shows/movies would have looked like if there was a lot more gore and violence. For example, some of the shows and movies he’s done this with are “Sean of the Dead,” “The Simpsons,” “The Belko Experiment” and more. Hardcastle also has had a few of his claymations showcased on Adult Swim including some “Rick and Morty” adaptations as well as some smaller projects like “Earlier” and “Fight Room.” However, my favorite claymations of his are some of his earlier works:

“Filthy Apes and Lions” –– a music video for Mark Stoermer’s song. This video uncovers an interesting storyline involving animals and secret spies in a zoo while being paired with the catchy song “Filthy Apes and Lions.” It’s a quick watch, but definitely one that I recommend.

“Ghost Burger [full film]” –– a 22-minute video that depicts the journey of a couple of friends who are hunting down ghosts in order to make burgers with them (obviously). This one is the sequel to “T IS FOR TOILET,” which I also highly recommend. The extremely vibey lighting in this video contrasts the intense gore, but I feel it makes even more of an enticing watch. Hardcastle describes this video in the description of the video as being “like a dodgy bootleg version of ‘Stranger Things’ if it was a cartoon show.” So, if this doesn’t draw you in, I’m not sure what will.

These two artists are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creatively creepy artists on YouTube, but they’re a great starting point. I couldn’t even dive too deep into all of their work and my favorite aspects about them, so I hope you take it upon yourself to discover things you personally like about them.


Written by: Miah Jordane — mjcampos@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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