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The first trailer for the Cats movie musical adaptation dropped Thursday, and it will make you want to claw your eyes out.
The trailer for director Tom Hooper’s adaption earned nearly 100,000 views and its own Twitter moment–only an hour after its release. Seeing the famous cast–including Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, and Rebel Wilson–mutated into bizarre CGI human-cat hybrids, with what looks like an Instagram filter straight from hell seems to have scarred all those viewers for life.
But hey, at least the horror show is pumping out some good memes.
Much of the conversation revolves around the actors’ looks: 50% human, 50% feline, and 100% horrifying.
A Twitter account posing as the official Cats one joked that “the cats in Cats (2019) will have realistic spiked penises,” and I–like, no doubt, the thousands of others who liked the post–half-believed it at first.
The cats in Cats (2019) will have realistic spiked penises— Cats Movie (@jaboukie) July 18, 2019
I’ve looked at a lot of cats in my life and I’ve never seen one with a tail coming out of its ass pic.twitter.com/XnskEXjZax— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) July 18, 2019
Others set the trailer to a more appropriate score, like the one from Annihilation or Us.
I put the song from Us onto the Cats trailer and I think it fits better. pic.twitter.com/VMBlbeDQs5— "Ian" Abramson (@ianabramson) July 18, 2019
HAHAHAHHAJKJAJAKA I KNEW THIS SHIT WAS GONNA BE BAD BUT I NEVER COULD’VE ANTICIPATED IT BEING THIS MUCH OF A FUCKING NIGHTMARE HAHAHAHAHA I’M IN ABSOLUTE FUCKING HYSTERICS OVER THIS CAT IN THE HAT-ASS HELLSCAPE #CatsMovie #CatsTrailer pic.twitter.com/xYPcFkOQaK— me write pretty one day (@_shoemouth) July 18, 2019
As someone who saw Cats on Broadway, I can say with good authority that the original costumes are only marginally less frightening. The large set pieces in the new Cats trailer make the actors seem, well, cat-size, which is a change from the play that somehow manages to make things even more disturbing.
The trailer also had plenty of users confused over what exactly this movie is about. Which again, as someone who’s seen the play, I still don’t really get either.
“The plot of Cats is that they’re cats and they introduce themselves until one of them gets permission to die,” Twitter user Louis Peitzman wrote, which sounds about right.
Please stop saying the plot of Cats is confusing. The plot of Cats is that they're cats and they introduce themselves until one of them gets permission to die.— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) July 18, 2019
Users began comparing screencaps and GIFs of the trailer to other horrifying memes, like Nicolas Cage’s face on a cat and Jemaine Clement’s failed transformation in What We Do in the Shadows.
them: patrick are you sneaking out of the room to watch the Cats trailer again?— Pat "Knife Museum" Gill (@Pizza_Suplex) July 18, 2019
Nobody:— watch Legion on FX (@smthngdarkside) July 18, 2019
Cats trailer: pic.twitter.com/VFd3Pi7g6q
my cat when I escort her out of the room to hook up with yet another stranger from Grindr pic.twitter.com/PxSyjVoFqA— 6’5’’ (@urdadwayne) July 18, 2019
And of course, the trailer brought to mind other characters whose CGI transformations failed to impress, like our toothy Sonic the Hedgehog.
The Lion King (2019) Cats (2019)— Blake (@TheBlakeBagu) July 18, 2019
Explaining how it’s
Actually look like
Many were also quick to point to former “adaptations” of the musical.
CATS (2019) pic.twitter.com/nuoTohINKR— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) July 18, 2019
Cats (2019) pic.twitter.com/qb4Owrgyi6— sloane (sipihkopiyesis) (@cottoncandaddy) July 18, 2019
Perhaps most frightening of all is what the new adaptation will inspire. Some are anticipating a Cats FaceApp and Snapchat filter.
How long until the cats FaceApp filter though— Alamo Drafthouse (@alamodrafthouse) July 18, 2019
Jennifer Hudson’s floating face superimposed onto a CGI furry like she’s Robert Smigel doing a lips segment on Conan... how many Oscars can one film earn pic.twitter.com/0Bl0Mk0c6V— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) July 18, 2019
Absolutely no one:— Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) July 18, 2019
The CATS movie: what would it look like if Snapchat cat filter and furry fan art had a baby that could speak only in intolerable nursery rhymes and that baby was Judi Dench pic.twitter.com/gJXuzEEutB
Maybe it was a bad idea to go see Cats... pic.twitter.com/CvedseFWzw— Thomas (@iucipur) July 18, 2019
Cats is set to premiere in December of 2019.
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Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.