Animatronics Are Probably Not Secretly Alive

It appears that people have an incredibly powerful desire to believe in hidden monsters. So I’d like to reassure you:

Animatronics are not secretly alive. In fact, the more frightening or dangerous an animatronic appears, the less likely it is that the thing is not actually a robot, but is, instead, a sentient, malevolent individual, able to move on its own and determined to rend and wreck human flesh and destroy human life.


I certainly understand that if you’re at, say, a haunted house, or an amusement park, and you encounter a mechatronic puppet, the thing doesn’t feel like a puppet. That T-rex, that shark, that ghoulish hand and arm, that peculiar character, it’s intended to act in a lifelike manner. And I do get that the uncanny valley is, like most valleys, imperfectly definable; that is, you can probably tell the deepest part is certainly within the valley, and at a certain distance out, the flatland or less-indented land is probably not within the valley. Likewise, the distance between that which has life and intentionality, and that which merely mimics it, is not easily defined in the chest and the gut.

But as long as we use logic and reason, we are fine.

I don’t mean the kind of ‘logic’ and ‘reason’ which rule out the supernatural, or say that all unknown things are actually known things in forms we don’t happen to understand. That’s more a dogma than an analysis. I simply mean that it’s unlikely that your local haunted house has actually located an active werewolf and convinced her to put on performances for tourists.

So the next time you visit a haunt and see an animatronic, don’t worry! It won’t actually attack you! It’ll just PRETEND to attack you.

At least while you’re at the haunted house.

And it probably won’t follow you home.

I think.


Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.