The Doctor Who titles have been sending tots scurrying behind the sofa for decades. It’s not at all rare for people asked to name what scared them most about Doctor Who as a child to single out the opening credits themselves.
Meanwhile recent internet trend Deep Dream will take any photo you give it and, by comparing the elements in the photo to the most similar match it can find in its archive and merging them, automatically generate terrifyingly surreal nightmare fuel.
So, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves – what if you put one through the other?
The result was as horrifying as you might have expected.
First up, appropriate enough: the First Doctor’s. Uniquely for the original 1963-89 run, William Hartnell’s sequence didn’t feature his face, as experiments with a stand-in were found to be pants wettingly disturbing. The Deep Dreamed version offers you a raccoon face on the right hand side to gaze at. Aww. On now account allow your vision to focus on the centre, however, or the whole thing turns into an enormous spider that wants to eat you through an anus like mouth.
A slightly disappointing entry, the Second Doctor get the standard treatment of several additional eyes, but nothing all that insane.
A dead eyed Jon Pertwee looms out from a crocodile skin vortex, wearing a fetching bat for a tie.
Tom Baker’s always been famous for his boggle eyed stare. In Deep Dream’s fevered imagination it’s more unearthly than ever. Plus, for some reason he now has Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal perched on his head (and the little muppet doesn’t look happy about it). As a bonus, the vortex appears to have bits of Renaissance Italy flying through it, which is very “Masque of Mandragora” of it.
The most unnerving thing about Deep Dream’s version of Peter Davison is that, at first glance, he doesn’t look to have changed so much. He still looks human… just like a human who’s giving serious thought to eating your spleen. And there’s a fish flying out of the vortex on the left hand side. Because.
OH MY SWEET LORD! THE HORROR! The Sixth Doctor inspires Deep Dream to true genius. His black, shark-like eyes are almost as evil and his elongated, leering, Joker like smile. His whole face is covered with a soft green fur, while some type of hairy grub sits atop his head, looking for all the world like it’s gentling sucking on his brains like an ice lolly.
Silver faced Sylvester McCoy winks playfully and gives a cheeky, reassuring smile. Not any more! Not only did Deep Dream open his eye (It. Opened. His. Eye!) but he know looks like we should be calling the ER to report a suspected stroke.
The next few Doctors don’t get their faces in the titles so let’s look at police boxes instead. First up, the 1996 TV movie. The panels become a series of glasses, or vases, into which milk pours from the windows, while a baby seal’s head is spurting out of one corner of the time machine. Also, in the top right corner of the picture a man with no legs looks sad on a cobbled street. Which is understandable, given how tough cobbles must be his hands. It all makes total sense!
The 2005 TARDIS survives the Dreaming process relatively intact, and the vortex around it becomes a sea of tentacles and octopus heads. A neon blue cephalopod wraps itself around the Doctor’s ship. It’s all quite eerily beautiful.
Eccleston and Tennant shared opening credits sequences so, to the give the Tenth Doctor a fair shake, here’s a second image. This time the Police Box is completely mutated, winding up a blue cocker spaniel wearing a light at a jaunty angle on its head. It rests against a background of pinkish, jelly-like, multi-eyed flesh. In some alternative universe where dogs rule the world, these are the credits of the long running show Doctor Woof.
Matt Smith’s face is in here. Honest. In 2012, BBC Wales returned to the tradition of including the Doctor’s face but did it so subtly Deep Dream can’t find it. Without any single strong image to hook on to, it’s simply filled every square inch with its own bit of weirdness. My favourite is over on the right, where a cute, if orange, dog’s head and neck sits atop a bulbous amoeba type body with feelers for legs. If HP Lovecraft had a poodle, it would look like this.
Finally, looking for all the world like it could actually be used for real one day, Peter Capaldi’s eyes are placed in a ring of similarly baleful eyes staring out at us. Appropriately, the message seems to be that the night skies are alive with watchful alien intelligences, but one of them is on our side.
Happy dreaming! Don’t let the many limbed, dog faced things bite!
By: Peter Nolan