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Adult Swim's Disturbing Short Films And Clips, Ranked By WTF-Ness

March 16, 2020 231 votes 51 voters 3.1k views12 items

List RulesVote up the shorts that made your brain melt in confusion and terror.

Adult Swim emerged as the late-night alter-ego of the child-focused Cartoon Network in 2001, taking over the cable channel at 8 o'clock every night from Power Puff Girls and replacing it with odd shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force. As the channel grew in popularity and showcased its willingness to grant shows to animators and comedians with bizarre ideas, even stranger programming popped up by 2009.

The dedication to experimentation and programming that fascinates, overwhelms, and (frankly) creeps out loyal viewers became an integral part of the Adult Swim identity. Nowhere is this more apparent than the roughly 11-minute-long Infomercials and shorter, uh, Shorts. Perhaps the most recognizable of their short films is Too Many Cooks, which premiered in 2014 and begins with an opening worthy of any 1980s television series appearing on TGIF - before devolving into strange, dark additions to the sitcom family.

Unedited Footage of a Bear takes viewers on a similar trip through insanity during an infomercial for a prescription medication, Claridryl, that causes "severe reactions" shown firsthand. These aren't even the tip of the mind-blowing iceberg when it comes to the Adult Swim cadre of programming, so grab a comfort item and vote up any of the clips that invoke strong feelings of unease.

  • 1

    Too Many Cooks

    Photo: Adult Swim

    Maybe the most infamous of Adult Swim's shorts, Too Many Cooks takes the opening credits tropes of several genres and plays them out over multiple additions of new faces until a sinister one appears, standing out of focus behind one of the many child actors appearing in the short. Eventually, the questionable addition gets to the forefront and shows his true, evil intent.

    This short includes beheadings, cannibalism, noise distortion, and a puppet with laser eyes. Glitches in the matrix that makes up the short's premise start to come more and more quickly as people scream in terror. It is truly insane, and we haven't even covered everything.

    Totally WTF?
  • 2

    This House Has People In It

    Photo: Adult Swim

    An unseen viewer, at a computer somewhere, pulls up footage from multiple surveillance cameras set up in a family home as they go about their mundane lives. As they attempt to prepare for their son's birthday party, their daughter Madison lies on the kitchen floor - where she becomes stuck. She then melts through the floor and into the basement as the family attempts to help her.

    During all of this, a television playing a strange program likens wet clay to the warm innards of a body, talks about allergies to water, and erupts with other peculiar comments. The grandmother releases a crawling infant that makes her way to the yard, and the house fills with smoke from an ignored stovetop.

    In the weirdest event, birthday guests relegated to the front yard play with presents until Madison's journey through the floor leaves them all prone and still in the front yard.

    Totally WTF?
  • 3

    Unedited Footage of a Bear

    Photo: Adult Swim

    After 30 seconds of the promised bear footage, a commercial for a medication called Claridryl begins. A woman taking the medication slowly succumbs to the "severe" side effects brought on by the medicine that "hits you where you're most vulnerable, acts immediately, and lasts indefinitely."

    Disturbing highlights include a crime scene where a man screeches while investigators carry bags of fluids and other oddities out of the house. The woman encounters her rage-filled evil doppelgänger, and the two fight in a bloody showdown. The doppelgänger also takes over the original's life, terrorizing her children with erratic and highly disturbing behaviors. Or does she?

    Totally WTF?
  • 4

    Alpha Chow

    Photo: Adult Swim

    An infomercial sells a fitness guru's line of dog food meant to give pooches stronger, longer lives. Unfortunately, it comes with the side effect of turning the 6 million dogs using Alpha Dog Complete Nutrition System into bipedal humanoid creatures with huge muscles.

    As if that isn't horrifying enough, the Alpha Dog system comes with a collar that injects amino acids into the dogs' brain stems. The entire thing turns into a reveal of a dog revolution spearheaded by former dog Dumper.

    Totally WTF?