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Adult Swim's New Rick And Morty Promo Is Pure Nightmare Fuel

Few television events send the internet into a tailspin like a new season of "Rick and Morty," and that has very much been the case of Season 5, which began airing at the end of June on Adult Swim. Following Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland's promise that fans wouldn't have to wait so long between seasons and episodes going forward (via Inverse), "Rick and Morty" has already aired three weekly episodes in 2021, with two more already scheduled for July 11 and 18.

The most recent episode, "A Rickconvenient Mort," was preceded by a 20-second Adult Swim promo that was posted to the official "Rick and Morty" accounts on Twitter and Instagram. Befitting the show and the network's typical surrealism, the promo doesn't actually have anything to do with the content of the episode, nor with any events ever seen on "Rick and Morty" — it's really just a helping of tone-setting, unadulterated nightmare fuel.

The new promo is a creepy stop-motion Hostel homage

The interstitial, entitled "Mortyfied," depicts a helpless Morty, shackled to a wooden chair and wailing in anguish, getting a bag pulled out from over his head and learning that he's in a "Hostel"-esque torture room, with knives and other tools lining the wall. Rick, wearing a butcher's apron and a mask, turns on a TV to reveal the Adult Swim logo.

The situation is creepy enough by itself, a more extreme rendition of a familiar feeling of confusion and impotence, which Morty has often experienced at the hands of his grandfather, while going along with his schemes on the show. But it's made even creepier by the style in which it's depicted. "Mortyfied" is the brainchild of Lee Hardcastle, the celebrated stop-motion animator whose YouTube shorts and music video collaborations have made him one of the hottest names in indie horror at the moment. As in Hardcastle's other work, the uncanny, rough-edged look of the characters and scenery only adds to the feeling that there's something off about what we're watching.

It's not the first time the animator has made contributions to the "Rick and Morty" cinematic universe. In 2019, he partnered up with Adult Swim to make a lengthy series of shorts called "Rick and Morty: The Non-Canonical Adventures," which placed the titular duo in a series of classic horror parodies. He never got to send up "Hostel," though, which might explain why he'd turn to the snuff franchise for inspiration this time around.