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AI-generated ‘Heidi’ trailer goes viral and is the stuff of nightmares

The new Heidi trailer will scar your mind - and possibly assuage some fears regarding certain AI tools
The new Heidi trailer will scar your mind - and possibly assuage some fears regarding certain AI tools Copyright YouTube screengrab - @karpi
Copyright YouTube screengrab - @karpi
By David Mouriquand
Published on
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A trailer – created by AI – for a non-existent Heidi movie is going viral. For the love of all that’s good and pure, proceed with caution.

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In need of some nightmare fuel courtesy of ever-ubiquitous (and our soon-to-be digital overlords) AI?

We here at Euronews Culture can ensure that you’ll never sleep again. Or see Switzerland in the same way.

The enterprising Swiss comedian and film producer Patrick Karpiczenko, known as Karpi (@karpi) asked an AI tool (Gen-2) to generate a trailer for a 'Heidi' movie.

Quick recap for the heathens amongst you: 'Heidi' is a beloved children’s story by Johanna Spyri about a five-year-old girl and her grandfather living in the Swiss Alps. It was first published in 1880 and has become one of the bestselling books of all time, as well as a cinematic staple – most famously with Shirley Temple starring in the 1937 movie. Roughly 25 film or television productions have been made since, and the Japanese animated series became iconic in several countries around the world.

Now, the nostalgic bucolic idyll has gone dark, looking like a Lynchian fever dream or the sequel to Chris Cunningham’s 'Come To Daddy' video for Aphex Twin. It’s as if the artificial intelligence had surreptitiously fed viewers some LSD and invited you into the godless abyss.

Take a look for yourself – but be warned: some things cannot be unseen.

Creepy distorted faces, those grotesque smiles that belong in a body horror movie, torch riots... The less said about the proportionally-challenged animals and whatever that delirious ending is, the better.

The alpine horror was posted on YouTube channel Karpi this week, alongside the word #cursed, and it has received 143k views after 4 days. As of writing, the Twitter post with the video has been viewed by 18.1 million people, who are also facing the very real risk of insomnia.

At least it should assuage some fears, as the AI-generated video is tellingly devoid of humanity, and available AI tools feel lightyears away from generating something akin to human after watching this. 

They can, however, ruin your childhood and measure up to some of the best horror out there, as this cursed Heidi trailer may not be the first AI-generated spoof video, but sweet Pazuzu is it comfortably the most disturbing.

Happy weekends, one and all.

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