We’ve come a long way since the computer generated ‘flying cow’ in Twister and the truly terrible creatures in the Stephen King movie, Sleepwalkers. Well, let’s just say we’ve actually come a long way since the disturbing CGI baby in Twilight freaked out audiences worldwide. Not to mention the plastic-looking dinosaurs in the short-lived Terra Nova and the Joker’s transformation in Gotham. Sadly however, creepy and downright weird CGI is still with us, and rears its head every now and then, even in recent TV series and movies (we’re looking at you Justice League).
10 Keeping a beloved character on screen
When Paul Walker died during the filming of Furious 7, the filmmakers had to decide between starting from scratch or somehow keeping Brian O’Connor alive. James Wan wanted to honor Walker’s legacy and hired a fantastic digital effects studio that eventually paired 350 CGI shots of Walker with distant shots of his brother. The result was mostly great, with most fans not even noticing the difference for the majority of the film.
However, there are a handful of scenes that are pretty startling, especially when watching the film a second time. During once scene, all of the characters are standing in a line, looking out over Los Angeles. Brian stands at one end and looks over at Dom but as his face turns, the CGI becomes clear. It is most apparent at the end of the film, when Brian stops next to Dom before they both drive off, with the character almost ‘glowing’ inside the car.
9 Cartoonish horror
CW series, Supernatural, finally concluded its 15-season run in November 2020 after an impressive 327 episodes. As it entered it’s 11th season, it became the longest-running America fantasy TV series and remained hugely popular throughout all its seasons. Sam and Dean Winchester fought monsters, demons and ghosts of all kinds and found themselves in several life and death situations throughout.
During the 7th season of the show, the Leviathan was introduced in a scene meant to scare the pants off audiences. Instead, the CGI used to bring the creature to life went horribly wrong somehow, and the sharp teeth and forked tongue had a cringeworthy, cartoonish effect which led to laughter instead of fear.
8 007 surfing a tidal wave
Die Another Day marked the 40th anniversary of the James Bond franchise and despite mixed reviews, was the highest-grossing 007 film at the time. And, even though the movie made a lot of money, some fans of the franchise view it as the weakest entry. The invisible car didn’t help this view much and neither did the over-the-top scene which sees terrible CGI implemented in order to get Pierce Brosnan surfing a tidal wave.
The scene follows 007 as he travels in a rocket car on a glacier that is about to break apart. As the glacier does exactly that, Bond pulls a piece off the rocket car and proceeds to use it as a surfboard to surf the ensuing tidal wave. He also uses the car’s parachute to help him navigate the wave and strange-looking chunks of ice.
7 Terrible horror movie reveal
There are some truly terrifying moments in the horror movie, Mama. The film has a bleak beginning depicting a father taking his two young daughters into the woods with the intention of killing them, after he’d already murdered his estranged wife and colleagues. He is prevented from doing this by a shadowy figure that proceeds to kill him, before he can harm his children. When the children are eventually found five years later, many chilling scenes ensue, especially the jump scenes involving the youngest, Lily.
The shadowy figure, which followed them to their new home, is affectionately called ‘Mama’ by the children and mostly hidden for much of the film. However, when she is finally revealed the moment is overshadowed by bad CGI and the terrific buildup of suspense and terror evaporates in an instant.
6 The Hulkbuster
Marvel films are exceptionally popular around the world, but even this franchise hasn’t escaped the curse of bad CGI. Captain Marvel has the ‘floating Goose’, Bucky falls weirdly from a train in Captain America: The First Avenger, and a New York alley is turned into Norway in Thor: Ragnarok.
Some of the most notable CGI blunders in the Marvel multiverse comes in Avengers: Infinity War, which is unfortunate since many of the scenes feature excellent special effects. During the big fight scene in Wakanda, Bruce Banner uses the Hulkbuster suit which looks awesome right up until the suit opens and Banner’s head sticks out of the top. Because Banner’s head looks so small compared to the rest of the suit, it seems almost like he’s floating above it, instead of being secured inside it.
5 Is that a real bear?
TV shows typically have far less in the budget when it comes to special effects. And this is probably why the helicopters in Grey’s Anatomy always look so blurry and why explosions and fire in many shows look extremely fake.
Speaking of fire, in the popular Grey’s spinoff, Station 19, the characters face fire in just about every episode. But sometimes, just like Grey’s, they stand off against a different type of threat. The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial had a run-in with a lion while the firefighters on Station 19 have had to contend with a tiger as well as bears.
While the CGI tiger wasn’t ‘as bad’, fans couldn’t get over how terrible the special effects were when it came to the bears. Words can’t really explain it, so it might be best to watch the video clip to experience the horror first-hand.
4 The problem with ageing
The recently remade IT films were kind of a swing-and-a-miss for hardcore horror fans who couldn’t take Pennywise seriously with his high-pitched voice and lame insults. And then there are the monsters who are ridiculous-looking instead of scary because of the CGI behind their design.
One of the biggest problems the filmmakers faced was Finn Wolfhard’s growth spurt between films. This led to the de-aging of his character, Richie Tozier’s face in the second film which makes for some unsettling viewing. His skin is unnaturally smooth and his airbrushed cheeks and thick glasses make for a very strange combination.
3 Oh deer
Post-apocalyptic TV show, The Walking Dead, has never really been known for strong CGI effects. But the series is so popular that fans willingly overlook the cheesiness of the special effects. However, during one episode even the most loyal fans took to Twitter to voice their disgust about a particularly bad CGI moment.
Rick Grimes is being chased by a horde of zombies in one scene and he needs a distraction, so he decides to take down a deer. The deer that appears in the scene looks like something that wandered out of a bad dream. Apart from looking almost translucent, it’s body is weirdly elongated in the middle. Suffice it to say, the memes on Twitter were as over-the-top as that scene.
2 Technology gone wrong
If ever there was a universally hated movie, Cats is it. Despite starring big Hollywood names, it received brutal reviews with some reviewers bluntly stating that it is the worst movie ever made. Most criticized were the special effects which left the ‘cats’ looking like they indulged into too much makeup while trying to keeping warm in furry costumes. It certainly didn’t help that the movie features dancing cockroaches and mice sporting human faces. The sloppy ‘digital fur technology’ remains the biggest gripe however, with fans fixating on the cat-people’s human feet and all the gaffes which saw some character’s ears CGI’d out.
Some reviewers went even further, saying that the musical wasn’t that great to begin with, therefore the movie should never have been made.
1 Chucky baby
While it is understandable that real live babies couldn’t be used for TV show scenes during the coronavirus lockdowns, it is still quite disturbing to see the lengths that some shows went to in order to include infants in episodes.
Fans of Bull were excited for the show’s fifth season, only to be completely freaked out while watching the first episode. The beginning of the episode gave viewers a glimpse of Jason Bull’s baby girl, Astrid, who unfortunately resembled a creepy Chucky doll. Twitter quickly flooded with memes, with fans describing the obviously CGI baby as a zombie and quipping that it sounded like a cat.
Clearly, Bull hasn’t learned anything from the Renesmee fiasco.